West Brom vs Everton pre-match analysis: Déjà vu for Baggies and Bolasie?

Seven days after taking on West Brom for Crystal Palace, the DR Congo international is set to face Tony Pulis' side for the second successive matchday, but this time for Everton.

West Brom vs Everton pre-match analysis: Déjà vu for Baggies and Bolasie?
Bolasie signed a four-year contract at Everton in a deal believed to be worth around £25million. (Image:Everton FC)

Everton will travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday hoping to build on their 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

But for one Everton player it could be a case of déjà vu when Ronald Koeman's team travel to the Hawthorns as the Baggies are set to see double with Yannick Bolasie.

Debuts for Bolasie and Williams?

Seven days after taking on West Bromwich Albion for Crystal Palace, Bolasie is set to face Tony Pulis' side for the second successive matchday. The DR Congo international came on as a substitute for Palace in their 1-0 home defeat to West Brom last weekend in what turned out to be Bolasie's last appearance in a Palace shirt after the winger joined Everton for a fee believed to be around £25million on Monday.

Bolasie could make his debut on Saturday and in doing so he would become only the second player to face the same opponent for two different clubs in consecutive Premier League matchweeks, after Gaston Ramirez. In the 2014/15 campaign, Ramirez played West Ham United for Southampton in matchweek three, before facing the Hammers once again next time out after joining Hull City on loan, coming off the bench in a 2-2 draw.

There could also be a debut for summer signing Ashley Williams, who moved from Swansea City to Goodison Park earlier this month. The Wales captain was handed an extended break following his Euro 2016 exertions, and with 14 days training alongside his new team-mates, he should now be ready to take on West Brom.

Ashley Williams and Yannick Bolasie in training ahead of the West Brom match. | Photo: Everton FC
Ashley Williams and Yannick Bolasie in training ahead of the West Brom match. | Photo: Everton FC

Koeman's set-up and his use of Bolasie

Ronald Koeman could preserve his 3-4-2-1 formation against West Brom, a system which he utilised during his tenure at Southampton and trialled during pre-season, before choosing the same set-up at home to Tottenham last weekend. It remains to be seen whether the Toffees' boss will only use this system against the stronger teams in the Premier League and revert to a four-man defence thereafter.

The Dutchman also has new pieces of the jigsaw to play with for the visit to the Hawthorns, as Romelu Lukaku edges back into the frame and both Williams and Bolasie prepare for their Toffees debuts. It remains to be seen if the trio will get run outs against West Brom and how Koeman adjusts his formation and teamsheet to include them.

Given the significant outlay made by Everton on Bolasie, it is expected that he will warrant a regular starting berth. Koeman praised the winger's versatility and, if Koeman was to keep the 3-4-2-1 system, Bolasie would most likely take Kevin Mirallas' position in the formation, with Romelu Lukaku taking Gerard Deulofeu's spot in attack. Alternatively, in a 4-2-3-1 system, Bolasie could play out wide, with either Deulofeu or Mirallas on the opposite flank, leaving Ross Barkley in the number ten role behind Lukaku.

Will Everton's fitness have improved?

Koeman was right when he said in is pre-match press conference to last weekend's Premier League opener that his team were only at "70 per cent" physically after having an extended summer break. The Toffees started quickly against Tottenham - closing down the ball and breaking with numbers and conviction - before fading in the second-half as their fitness levels became evident.

The players have had another week of training since then and no doubt improving the player's fitness was high on the agenda with the club's new fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg. The Toffees may not be 100 per cent match fit against West Brom, but when they are at full flight not many will be able to live with their pressing.

The Everton player's fitness levels faded dramatically in the second-half. | Photo: Getty Images
The Everton player's fitness levels faded dramatically in the second-half. | Photo: Getty Images

Can Everton find a way through a resolute defence?

Everton struggled to break down solid and organised defence's under Roberto Martinez, not more so against West Brom at Goodison Park in February when Everton had 34 shots on the West Brom goal, hit the woodwork twice, had an effort cleared off the line, 14 corners and enjoyed 74 per cent of the possession, but they failed to find a way past a resolute and organised West Brom defence.

This became a trend under Martinez as over the past two seasons Everton have enjoyed more possession and had more shots on goal at home against West Brom, SunderlandStoke City, Crystal Palace, Swansea City, Leicester City and Hull City. However, they have failed to win any of those games, drawing five and losing seven.

Everton will have to again break down the Baggies on Saturday, who will be what is expected of a Tony Pulis side; resolute, organised and difficult to break down. Ronald Koeman has said that his side is relishing the challenge and the Everton boss will no doubt be looking to use the pace of his wingers to open up space and get behind the West Brom defence. If Bolasie does make his debut on Saturday then he is likely to have a key role in Everton's fortunes.