Everton have to get back to winning ways and a return to Goodison Park could be the spark they need. It’ll be no easy task, however, as Ronald Koeman’s side face a West Ham United team on the rise after back to back wins.
Last week’s late collapse away to Burnley left a sour taste in the mouth as Koeman stated his side at least deserved a point from the game.
The trip to Turf Moor showcased the problems that will plague this Everton team if they’re not rectified in the January transfer window. Romelu Lukaku is a great first choice striker, but there is a glaring need for a back-up off the substitutes bench who can help change the game. Enner Valencia was loaned late in the summer window and is ineligible to face his parent club.
That leaves Koeman with a selection headache. Call up a young striker like Dominic Calvert-Lewin or utilise a winger, such as Kevin Mirallas, as a striking option.
The Dutchman and his system need time to be fully implemented but and the visit of West Ham should give Everton a true reflection of where they stand under Koeman. It’s been nearly three full seasons since Everton pressed the opposition in the way the new manager demands.
Finding support from the wings
Everton have yet to find consistency from their wide players this season. They all have plenty of talent but have been unable to click. Yannick Bolasie has linked up well with Romelu Lukaku but is yet to fully show why the Blues laid out nearly 30 million pounds for his signature.
Gerard Deulofeu and Kevin Mirallas, both fan favourites at Goodison Park, have been unable to find their clinical edge this season. Mirallas has looked more like himself to start this season but hasn’t found the scoresheet yet.
That could all mean a return for Aaron Lennon. The former England international works hard whenever selected but has found his opportunities limited so far under Koeman. While he isn’t a goal threat like Deulofeu and Mirallas, he is somebody who can pin his marker back, limiting their attacking ability and defends well when needed.
A look at the visitors - West Ham United
West Ham built on their late win against Sunderland last weekend by knocking Chelsea out of the EFL Cup during the week. They still sit 16th in the Premier League table but Slaven Bilic’s team have the potential to mix it with the better teams in the division.
Dimitri Payet is the obvious danger man and after an indifferent start, the Frenchman looks to be getting back to his best. The Hammers go as he does and they need him to be firing on all cylinders this season if they are to achieve their goal and get back into the European places.
The Hammers could welcome back record signing Andre Ayew after a two-month stint on the injury table. The Ghanaian hadn’t played for Bilic’s team since August 15th but made a brief cameo in midweek.
- Everton have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last five league matches.
- West Ham have conceded nine goals in their four away league games this season.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored in his last six Premier League games against the Hammers.
Leighton Baines and James McCarthy will both miss this weekend with hamstring injuries. Darron Gibson and Muhamed Besic remain out with long-term injuries while Enner Valencia is ineligible.
West Ham are still without Sam Byram, Andy Carroll, Arthur Masuaku, Diafra Sakho and Gokhan Tore.