Everton host West Brom in the final game of this Premier League matchweek with both teams desperate for three points as they look to climb the table. Everton, despite a poor Premier League season as of yet, still harbour top eight aspirations under Roberto Martinez. West Brom, unbeaten in two under Tony Pulis, seek to continue pulling away from relegation trouble.
Everton have looked better in recent games after a terrible Christmas period which saw them take just four points in December, leaving them dangerously close to the relegation zone. They took a point at home to champions Manchester City last week and followed it up with an enthralling 2-2 draw against West Ham in their FA Cup replay, a game the Toffees lost on penalties midweek. Despite their Premier League faulterings, Everton swept the competition aside in their Europa League group and will be hoping to recapture the form that saw them top their group ahead of Wolfsburg, Lille and Krasnodar. Romelu Lukaku, who scored 17 goals on loan to West Brom from Chelsea in 2012, is sure to be Everton's danger man as the Toffees look to utilise his physical presence with a more direct style of play than they are known for. He dedicated his goal on Tuesday to friend and Belgium colleague Junior Malanda, who died in a car crash last week.
West Brom have had a poor season so far, leading to the sacking of Alan Irvine just after Christmas. Tony Pulis, reknowned for keeping teams in the Premier League, was employed and has so far overseen a 7-0 FA Cup win over Gateshead and a 1-0 victory against Hull. Saido Berahino is sure to feature for the Baggies with Tony Pulis saying he intends to 'build the team' around the youngster. Berahino has 14 goals so far this season and his pace is sure to cause problems for the likes of Phil Jagielka in the Everton defence.
Everton, plagued with injury woes all season, remain without goalkeeper Tim Howard (calf) or defenders Sylvain Distin (groin) and Tony Hibbert (hamstring). South African midfielder Steven Pienaar remains out with a knee problem whilst Gareth Barry and Mohamed Besic are likely to be the midfield two with James McCarthy (hamstring), Darron Gibson (knee) and Leon Osman (ankle) sidelined. Winger Aiden McGeady is suspended after being sent off against West Ham.
Aside from Jonas Olsson's achilles injury, West Brom have a fully fit squad to choose from. Saido Berahino is likely to start ahead of summer signing Brown Ideye and former Evertonian Victor Anichebe. Pulis is likely to favour a more defensive system as he has become accustomed to with his past Premier League sides.
When they last met:
Everton easily dispatched West Brom with a 2-0 win at the Hawthorns in early September. A superb early strike from Romelu Lukaku was followed up by a Kevin Mirallas goal in the second half, as Everton dominated the game from start to finish. West Brom will be looking to make it a more competetive game come Monday.
Last five (all competitions):
West Brom: WWDLL
Head to head (all competitions):
Played - 152: Everton - 63, Drawn - 35, West Brom - 54
Everton striker Arouna Kone has scored in two of his last three games against West Brom.
Everton have conceded 34 goals this season, they only conceded 39 in the whole of last season.
Only Swansea have dropped more points from winning positions this season than Everton.
West Brom have conceded 59% goals in the first half of games this season.
The Baggies have scored 55% of their goals this season from set pieces.
Saido Berahino has six goals in his last three games in all competitions.