Match Preview: West Ham vs Everton

Everton travel to West Ham for Saturday’s Premier League clash buoyed by last weekend’s fantastic home win over Chelsea. The win came as a huge relief to Roberto Martinez, as despite dominating each of the three previous Premier League matches, all had ended level.

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Everton have an excellent record against West Ham, especially at Upton Park. In the last ten years, the Blues have only suffered 1 defeat in East London. It has been the venue for some fantastic wins and I sure many Evertonians will remember the two Yakubu inspired wins in the space of 4 days in 2007.

Roberto Martinez will again have a strong squad at his disposal, with Steven Pienaar the only significant injury doubt. The South African is likely to be absent for three weeks, but with Steven Naismith impressing against Chelsea and Gerard Deulofeu eager to impress, Martinez is not short of alternatives.

Darron Gibson is in contention for the first time this season, but Gareth Barry is likely to continue in the centre of the Everton midfield after his man of the match performance on his debut. James McCarthy is expected to be Barry’s partner, with Leon Osman on the bench, despite Martinez highlighting Osman’s importance in his pre-match press conference.

The exciting Romelu Lukaku is almost certain to make his first start for the Blues, replacing Nikica Jelavic, with the Croatian still short of goals. Lukaku was excellent for West Brom last season and Everton will be hoping he continues in the same rich vein of form.

Like Everton, West Ham have struggled for goals and are desperately missing the influential Andy Carroll. The ex-Liverpool man is out injured, as is another ex-red, Stewart Downing. West Ham’s biggest threat is likely to come down the flanks, with Matt Jarvis and the Ravel Morrison operating on either side of a loan front man.

Expected Starting Team: Howard; Baines, Coleman, Distin, Jagielka; Barry, McCarthy, Barkley; Mirallas, Naismith; Lukaku.

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