Luke Garbutt could be in line for another start in Leighton Baines's absence
Everton and West Ham meet at Upton Park in the "battle for 10th" — how the somewhat mighty have fallen — and a game which has the added dimension of possible entry to Europe via Uefa's Fair Play League.
This time last year, the Blues lay comfortably in 5th place and could afford the luxury of losing to Manchester City and scuppering Liverpool's title ambitions in the process; this time, an exactly mid-table finish is the best they can hope for.
Everton come into the weekend three points behind the Hammers and could erase the disparity in goal difference between the two teams with a victory that would put them level going into the final day of the season.
The European part of the equation, meanwhile, will depend on the fair play dimension to the game. West Ham had a slightly better ranking at the start of last weekend's fixtures and, having picked up a booking fewer than the Blues, will probably have retained that edge (although there are a number of factors that also go into the complicated scoring system).
Roberto Martinez has said that Everton would embrace the opportunity to return to the Europa League next term despite the fact that it would entail starting the campaign on 2nd of July and dismissed half-hearted suggestions that the two teams will kick lumps out of each other at Upton Park this weekend to avoid the "poisioned chalice."
The Spaniard will have the same squad from which to choose as last weekend's disappointing defeat to Sunderland, with the exception of the absent Leighton Baines. The left back underwent surgery to repair a long-standing ankle problem this week and won't be fit again until pre-season.
That puts him in the same position as Bryan Oviedo who is due to return around the same time once his fractured metatarsal heals and, theoretically, opens up a final opportunity for Luke Garbutt to see if he feels happy enough extending his contract at Goodison Park.
Martinez wouldn't be drawn on whether the 21-year-old would play but he is expected to be in the starting XI this weekend.
Predicting the rest of his line-up is made complicated by the two successive defeats to Aston Villa and Sunderland which were underpinned by poor performances from two slightly different line-ups. Ross Barkley and Leon Osman got the nod last Saturday but Kevin Mirallas could be given an opportunity to reprise his impressive display in East London in the FA Cup Third Round replay earlier in the campaign and Martinez has hinted that he would like to see Aiden McGeady before the season is out now that he is fit again.
Whether Aaron Lennon starts in what would be his last appearance before his loan spell from Tottenham ends might indicate the manager's level of keenness to retain his services on a permanent basis; or, if the winger doesn't start, it could simply mean Martinez has seen enough to make up his mind.
Since beating the Blues in that agonising penalty shootout in January, Sam Allardyce's side have chalked up home wins they would expect to get over the likes of Hull, Sunderland and Burnley but have failed to beat teams around and above them in the Premier League.
Draws with Manchester United and Stoke and defeats to Chelsea and Crystal Palace have underscored the Hammers' decline since their impressive early-season form and they should give Everton heart as the go in search of what would be their fifth League win away from home.
Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Kevin Friend
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (59)
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1 Posted 15/05/2015 at 04:14:08
3 Posted 15/05/2015 at 06:29:25
4 Posted 15/05/2015 at 07:57:14
One final chance to put a bit of respect on a totally dismal away record of just 4 wins and unbelievably just 2 away clean sheets all season!!!
I wonÂt hold my breath on anything other than a failed display again though with Martinez finding something "phenomenal" about it and then a few days later seeing the headline from one of our yes men "we wipe the slate clean and start again".
Yeah yeah wipe the slate clean and find a foundation rotting to the core!!
5 Posted 15/05/2015 at 08:59:13
6 Posted 15/05/2015 at 08:57:27
7 Posted 15/05/2015 at 11:54:00
Hopefully we win but it wouldnÂt surprise me if we lost the final two games as weÂve seemingly reverted back to our sideways, dull and toothless shite that proves that our Great Learner and Tactical Tweaker hasnÂt in fact done either.
8 Posted 15/05/2015 at 12:15:56
9 Posted 15/05/2015 at 12:27:41
Martinez was I stated on a previous thread yesterday is like a mad scientist , he has become that engrossed in experimental bullshit and tactics, thatÂs heÂs forgotten about the actual end results.
If itÂs not this total fascination he has with controlling possession just for the sake of it then itÂs the same with the players he brings in and younger players.
Atsu was another example, sign him last summer and what do we hear?? "he will catch fire in the latter part of the season"
Then upon signing McGeady we hear him drag out "next season we will see the best of him"
Then there was Lacina Traore.
Then there was a ready made excuse for Lukaku in the first few months of the season, it was "due to a lack of fitness and toe problem".
Now heÂs dragging out an excuse to buy time for Kone..
Its as though with Martinez itÂs always "the future or next season "
What about here and now???
10 Posted 15/05/2015 at 12:33:02
11 Posted 15/05/2015 at 13:04:05
12 Posted 15/05/2015 at 13:47:36
13 Posted 15/05/2015 at 14:38:08
He also signs older and sometimes injured players (Traore and possibly Kone). Under Martinez the squad has aged both naturally and through some of his purchases.
Finally, Alcaraz is worse than Nyarko. I only rate Brett Angel as worse than him.
14 Posted 15/05/2015 at 14:47:30
If that is the case then whoever picks the team for the qualifier, stick with it all the way through,
Give the fringe players and youngsters some experiance.
Leave the first team to concentrate on a better start to the season, thats if we get the fair play slot,
15 Posted 15/05/2015 at 14:59:18
16 Posted 15/05/2015 at 15:01:02
1) Withdraw from the Asia Trophy
2) DonÂt accept the Fair Play Europa place
ItÂs common sense. Although our manager doesnÂt seem to have that...
17 Posted 15/05/2015 at 15:34:30
But this season has taken the enthusiasm out of me. I always want us to win, but for the first time I couldnÂt care if we donÂt. LetÂs just get this over with.
18 Posted 15/05/2015 at 15:45:02
19 Posted 15/05/2015 at 15:45:49
Given how disastrous this season has been, I canÂt help thinking a year concentrating on the Premier League would do us the world of good.
20 Posted 15/05/2015 at 16:06:00
21 Posted 15/05/2015 at 17:42:30
22 Posted 15/05/2015 at 17:42:21
23 Posted 15/05/2015 at 18:15:27
24 Posted 15/05/2015 at 18:17:58
25 Posted 15/05/2015 at 18:32:44
Two comics together, one means to be funny the other...
26 Posted 15/05/2015 at 18:39:44
28 Posted 15/05/2015 at 18:38:23
If this is the case or even if it isnÂt, I still want Martinez out asap. The football has been rubbish
this season. ItÂs got to change big time and very soon.
WeÂll only tolerate shite durge tactics and below par effort for so long.
I think the time has come to emulate the fans of the nineties. They voted with their feet and hit the club right where it hurts. Nothing says more to the tv companies when they televise a half empty ground.
That will say more than any protest march. (march and protest as well though)
I have never been as downhearted over the club IÂve loved and supported, as I am now.
I was chosen when Alan Ball and big Joe were in their pomp so thatÂs how long IÂve been at it.
Anyway moan over,
29 Posted 15/05/2015 at 19:14:24
30 Posted 15/05/2015 at 21:55:36
Phil #29 can totally understand why you wont watch anymore....however I have been daft enough to renew my season ticket for next season. Guess I must be a serious masochist.
I have given up hoping for the best next season....on the bright side, anything other than a disaster will be a bonus
31 Posted 15/05/2015 at 21:50:44
32 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:01:33
33 Posted 15/05/2015 at 22:52:01
Martinez out now.
34 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:05:35
Still, I donÂt fancy us with Baines out, but the Master McGeady could be back so the seasons saved - canÂt resist joining in and having a dig at RM. It really has been a shite season.
35 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:31:29
37 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:36:45
As it stands it would still be Spain, Germany and England that have the Top4 teams qualify for the Champoins League for at least a couple of seasons.
I for one hope we do qualify for Europe via the Fair Play extra place, looking at some of the teams that we could play in the 1st couple of rounds I reckon you could get 11 lads out of the Lower Gwladys and the Park End who could beat them!
38 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:39:43
39 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:45:56
Good to know what is what though, cheers.
40 Posted 15/05/2015 at 23:42:05
Like the rest of you, IÂm hoping for a win... but either way IÂm just dreading the inevitability of next season with RM at the helm. Would a 7-0 defeat see him out the door early? I could never root for an Everton loss... IÂm just dying to get this managerÂs reign over with.
41 Posted 16/05/2015 at 00:21:03
42 Posted 16/05/2015 at 00:45:22
IsnÂt that the most depressing thing of all though, Paul, that Martinez doesnÂt learn from his mistakes.
I could accept this seasonÂs poor showing if it looked as though Martinez were planning ahead. Sadly I see none of that.
43 Posted 16/05/2015 at 00:20:58
The fact that Mcgeady gets a mention from our phenomenal manager means he is likely to play a part at West Ham,god help us.
For the first time last week I left after the 2nd goal went in,the lads sat around me also headed to the exits,a sad indictment that the majority of fans have had a belly full of RM & our poor performances.
Sunderland were appalling in the 1st half but once they got into the dressing room at half time,Dick had got onto the fact that we are quite shit so instead of grinding out a point,"we can piss 3 points here against this lot" was his team talk,simple really,as proved.
RM has destroyed me as a fan this season. We have all been subjected to awful periods from the past 25 years,this time from a personal point of view is the tipping point.
Prediction for tomorrow....1:0 to West Ham.....no subs till 85th minute.....Lukaku looking like the 5 million pound signing that he should have cost....etc etc etc...turgid boring phenomenal bollocks.
45 Posted 16/05/2015 at 07:03:53
Difficult one to call this. I expect it to be as close as the two cup games, hopefully it will be our turn to be lucky.
46 Posted 16/05/2015 at 08:36:41
47 Posted 16/05/2015 at 08:33:02
It will be interesting to see which of us it will be.
I reckon weÂll win 5-2 (yellow cards that is)
48 Posted 16/05/2015 at 09:27:22
Sigh. Even though I agree with most of what is said I still fundamentally am against sacking the manager. I think it is a pity we, the constant witnesses and observers, donÂt have more influence. Or perhaps we secretly do? Who knows? I feel for the Chairman too. HeÂs a fan just like us. Perhaps he gets angry and frustrated too. RM doesnt appear to be much of a listener. I think he thinks he can change players or maybe it is that old stupidity about not wanting to admit you are wrong?
Anyway, just to make you feel better, Lawro (shit shirts) says weÂll be beat 2-1. The gobshite. Oh happy day.
49 Posted 16/05/2015 at 09:23:02
Our current ambition is capped at Europa league with the financial outlay that we have got. We are a 5th-7th placed team at best, with the top 5 jostling for those top 4 spots every season. Even top 5 looks a problem with Liverpool, Spurs able to outspend and West Ham looking like they can get into the bracket once in the Olympic Stadium.
Our best chance of champions league is via the Europa league. Treat it as a good preseason for the fringe players and have a go. Robles, Galloway, Ledson, Garbutt, Browning, etc plus the injured players that need to get back could all be given a go. It isnÂt as competitive as the EPL, so chuck them in.
50 Posted 16/05/2015 at 09:38:11
That said, itÂs a fun away day and IÂm looking forward to it as the sun is shining in London and love em or loathe em, thereÂs always good banter with the West Ham fans.
51 Posted 16/05/2015 at 09:58:18
52 Posted 16/05/2015 at 09:58:49
53 Posted 16/05/2015 at 12:18:18
54 Posted 16/05/2015 at 12:20:38
We used to rightfully have expectations of challenging for a top 4 finish each season. Survival next season is the target now it seems. Of course we could just get rid of a manager who has no track record of managing a consistently successful team and contradicts himself nearly ever time he opens his mouth. Get a quality, proven manager who talks sense and understands our fans want to see fast paced, attacking football that delivers results and excites us fans.
I donÂt think we will do any better next season if Relegation Roberto remains. Alas, I fear we will have to suffer the same shite until BK sees the light.
55 Posted 16/05/2015 at 12:48:25
Good luck, lads, I hope the Blues win for them.
56 Posted 16/05/2015 at 13:06:45
57 Posted 16/05/2015 at 14:07:44
58 Posted 16/05/2015 at 14:09:59
59 Posted 16/05/2015 at 14:12:20
60 Posted 16/05/2015 at 14:12:53
61 Posted 16/05/2015 at 14:15:06
62 Posted 16/05/2015 at 14:14:54
When you see this kid play it will become apparent why Garbutt is not being offered a big contract to stay.
64 Posted 16/05/2015 at 14:29:36
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