It has been a strange week at Goodison Park, but attention turns away from ticket squabbles with Arsenal,the surprise resignation of Alan Myers from his role as Director of Communications and the revelation that loanee striker Lacina Traore is unlikely to play for the club again due to an injury he picked up in the warm up at Chelsea, and back to matters on the pitch as the Blues look to get the league campaign back on track with three points against in form West Ham.
Everton have an excellent record against the Hammers and won the reverse fixture earlier in the season thanks to a late debut goal for Romelu Lukaku. The Belgium strikers header added to two superbly taken free kicks from Leighton Baines and ensured the Blues game twice from behind to eventually secure a 3-2 win.
In last seasons corresponding fixture Everton eased to a 2-0 win in David Moyes’ last home match in charge of the Toffees. In truth the scoreline flattered Sam Allardyce’s West Ham as Everton could have easily scored 5 or 6 in a very one-sided encounter.
Despite Everton having such a strong record against West Ham victory is far from assured as they go into this match against the Premier Leagues most inform team. West Ham have enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent weeks, rising from the relegation places to the top half of the league thanks to four successive wins. During that spell the Hammers have only conceded once and for a team that has been goal-shy for almost two seasons now they have scored an impressive 9 goals during this unbelievable run.
For Roberto Martinez it is the case of one step forward two steps back with regards to injuries. The Blues will be delighted to welcome back top scorer Romelu Lukaku after a 6 weeks layoff, but that joy is tempered by the loss of inspirational skipper, Phil Jagielka and the hamstring injury to Lacina Traore, who very nearly signed for the Hammers before Martinez stole him away from Sam Allardyce’s grasp.
Lukaku is expected to go straight back into the team as Everton look to add a cutting edge to their free-flowing passing style. Steven Naismith is likely to make way for the Belgium and it may well be a Belgium front two with Kevin Mirallas expected to play centrally to accommodate Gerard Deulofeu in the starting line up.
Possible Starting Team: Howard; Baines, Coleman, Stones, Distin; Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas; Deulofeu, Pienaar; Lukaku.
Since the formation of the Premier League Everton have played West Ham 35 times, winning 19, drawing 10 and losing only 6.
Everton are unbeaten in their last 12 matches against the Hammers.
Everton have only lost once at home all season.
West Ham have won each of their last four matches.
Everton have won four, lost four and drawn two of their last ten Premier League matches.
West Ham have won five, lost three and drawn two of their last ten Premier League matches.
The corresponding fixture last season ended 2-0, with Kevin Mirallas scoring twice for the Blues.
The reverse fixture earlier this season at Upton Park, ended 3-2 to Everton, with Leighton Baines (2) and Romelu Lukaku scoring the Everton goals.
Our archive footage comes from 1989 and a 3-1 win for Everton over West Ham. The Hammers took a surprise lead but the Blues hit back with goals from Sheedy, Watson and Bracewell to secure the three points.