Everton head south again this weekend for a second successive away game in the Capital to take on West Ham United under Goodison old boy, Slaven Bilic. The Croatian is off to the kind of start his summer expenditure might have demanded even if his team remains somewhat unpredictable and they will pose a stern test to a Toffees side that is also searching for its own consistency.
This is an intriguing one on a number of levels, not least Everton's record over West Ham which ranks as the Blues' best in the Premier League era, helped by the fact that they have won all of the last six meetings between the two clubs in the Premier League.
Then there's Romelu Lukaku's personal record against the Hammers – the Belgian has scored in all six of the games he has played against them since arriving at Goodison Park, including the two cup matches last season that stand apart from Everton's dominance of the East London side in recent years.
With the addition of the likes of Enner Valencia, Cheikhou KouyatÃ© and Diafra Sakho under Sam Allardyce and now the finesse and quality of Dmitri Payet, West Ham have become a different proposition over the past couple of seasons and made Upton Park a more feared place to visit. That didn't prevent Everton from winning yet again there in the League last season in what was a largely meaningless mid-table end-of-season affair but it they are a dangerous side when they – and Payet in particular – are in their groove.
Under Bilic this season they have been curiously erratic, however, beating Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City on the road and despatching Chelsea 3-1 at home while losing to Bournemouth and Watford and drawing with Norwich, all teams they would have expected to be beating. They come into this weekend four points and three places better off than Everton in the table but with neither their fans nor their opposotion quite sure which Hammers team is going to show up.
Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, has the task of prolonging the Toffee's fine record in this fixture and building on the fine 6-2 win over Sunderland. It was a team performance that demonstrated just how lethal Everton can be when firing on all attacking cylinders themselves but there is an air of unpredictability about the Catalan's men, too.
The events of last Sunday should at least make Martinez's team selection a little easier this weekend, however. Bryan Oviedo will be ruled out with the hamstring injury he suffered against the Black Cats and will be replaced by Brendan Galloway (who made his debut in this match back in May) in which could be the only change.
Certainly, hat-trick hero Arouna Kone did enough to warrant another start playing off Lukaku, as will Gerard Deulofeu who continues to be a mercurial but effective provider down the right flank.
Given the height that he possesses in his side – Andy Carroll hasn't been a regular starter so far but has been deployed successfully off the bench and could play this time with Sakho out – Bilic likely won't be averse to testing Everton's vulnerability to crosses and set-pieces so that, combined with keeping Payet quiet, will hopefully be the areas of priority for Martinez's men in this one.
A win would build on what was an impressive away record prior to the defeat at Arsenal, propel the Blues back into the pack chasing the European places and further establish them as a force in that regard.
Kick off: 3pm Saturday
Referee: Paul Tierney
Predicted line-up: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Report
Reader Comments (63)
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1 Posted 06/11/2015 at 06:53:37
It was a big result last week and I'd love another one tomorrow going before the international break. Can we keep a clean sheet?
2 Posted 06/11/2015 at 06:55:16
3 Posted 06/11/2015 at 07:15:44
4 Posted 06/11/2015 at 07:32:52
5 Posted 06/11/2015 at 08:20:33
If we can keep Payet quiet and don't soil ourselves everytime they put a cross in there's, no reason why we can't win this.
First goal will be important: if they score first, they can sit back and counter how they like to... but, if they keep coming at us, that's a game we can defo beat them at.
Its all ifs and buts... It would be a huge boost going into the break. Come on, boys, you're better than these bubble-blowing muppets!
6 Posted 06/11/2015 at 10:12:36
To answer your question about keeping a clean sheet..
Virtually no chance, I'm now accustomed to the fact that under Roberto Martinez we will never be defensively solid and it's something that will always be a weakness.
I fully expect West Ham to have the same kind of chances that Sunderland had last week; the question is: Can we outscore the Hammers like we did Sunderland? We couldn't quite outscore Arsenal or Manchester United but we needed to score three at West Brom to win, it may need at least a couple of goals to draw or win tomorrow.
Personally, I'm not at all comfortable with the match tomorrow. I am not at ease with our shocking defending and I know we are not capable of scoring three every week... so, unless we learn to tighten up, we will continue to ship chances galore. As I said, Sunderland themselves could have had six last weekend!
I'd take a draw tomorrow provided we take six points off Villa and Bournemouth.
Sadly though I can see West Ham finally turning us over tomorrow. I got a bad feeling for a 2-1 defeat!
7 Posted 06/11/2015 at 10:13:58
As Lyndon states in his excellent review, the 'Ammers will be a stern test, but one if we've any hope of challenging we'd need to match; and more than match.
Like a lot of Evertonians, I'm becoming increasingly concerned at the Wiganisation of our team. Lots of goals scored and shedloads conceded... I would love a 1-0 or 2-0 than a 4-3, call me old fashioned, but no team won anything with a leaky defence.
The Score? Too difficult to predict, I've got us 3-1 on my Super 6, but then again I never put us down for a draw or a loss, that's why I hate it when we're one of the games on Super 6!
8 Posted 06/11/2015 at 10:21:29
10 Posted 06/11/2015 at 10:42:21
As regards to clean sheets, we never worried about them in the 80's and that was with Big Nev in goal. We always had the confidence then as in what is starting to grow now under Roberto that if they score two we will score three.
That is not me saying it about scoring three, they are quotes from Peter Reid & Kevin Ratcliffe. Look at our goals-against record in that successful period, we were not clean sheet merchants and we know that defence was one of our most solid with the world's best goalkeeper at the time.
Also, I remember the great Howard Kendall stating that, for every three players you sign, you expect one to be a success and one to flop, you just hope the other does enough to make you a profit to make up for the flop. Both Martinez and David Moyes pass that test.
What Howard built started slowly then exploded, if we have a good period from now to the end of January (including cup progress) it could be the start of a very exciting time for the Blues.
11 Posted 06/11/2015 at 10:54:37
Years of suffering has a negative outcome for a fan's mindset eventually.
I get the point your making but comparing this team with the success of the 80's and even football in general is a bit difficult because everything has changed so much.
We scored six goals last week but if you look back over our results in recent years, we don't normally win many games by scoring four or five goals and I'd be a lot happier knowing our defence is sterner.
What happens if we concede another two tomorrow?
It greatly reduces our chances of winning the match because we can't score so many goals every week!!
I'd be happy tomorrow to see a hard fought 1-0 win.
12 Posted 06/11/2015 at 10:56:22
I also think our style is sometimes better suited to playing away from home. They will let us play, and we normally do well there anyway. I fancy us tomorrow. Lukaku will hopefully bag a goal or two.
13 Posted 06/11/2015 at 11:02:34
I just kind of liked the days too when Everton were rigidly hard to break down, notoriously difficult to beat; nowadays you feel like any half-baked cross into the box is going to result in a goal for the opposition.
Don't get me wrong: I want to see us score loads of goals but we definetly need to work more on defending and I think 90% of Evertonians will agree with that.
14 Posted 06/11/2015 at 11:12:00
My first match was a Liverpool Senior Cup Final in May 1961. It was only way a derby match could be played then with the reds in the old Second Division. So like you I have plenty of helter skelter rides. (Everton won 4-3, with a Harry Catterick defence.)
At the end of January (with my predication) one of us will be right. If I am correct you can buy me a pint with a smile on you face.
15 Posted 06/11/2015 at 11:13:58
I reckon it'll be 2-3 but could easily be 4-2 to West Ham.
16 Posted 06/11/2015 at 11:36:23
If we have as good a spell as you predict between now and January I'll gladly buy you two pints with a gleaming big smile.
17 Posted 06/11/2015 at 11:52:36
Martinez is totally clueless in the tactics and set-up department. We can win if we keep the same side as last week.
18 Posted 06/11/2015 at 12:04:08
John Stones chose to gamble on a clearance he could easily have made (and should have given the scoreline and the proximity of the half-time whistle) and Funes Mori was simply 'out-competed' by a striker renowned for his heading prowess. I simply don't believe the manager coaches these things into the players and / or they are not allowed to make a judgement call that might lie outside of the manager's preferred approach.
As others have said, the great team in the mid-eighties was not infallible, but whenever we went behind we (the crowd) just 'knew' we would peg them back in the end, and most of the time we did.
Draw seems most likely result, but that will all depend on how West Ham approach the game. If they play it as a typical home-team opportunity to parade before their home supporters, then we will have loads of chances to play on the break; if we score first then I fancy our chances for the win.
19 Posted 06/11/2015 at 12:47:59
Can we manage to score more than them? Maybe.
It would be a good win, they are above us and have a decent enough first team.
20 Posted 06/11/2015 at 12:53:02
Can you image Moyes letting Stones miss a simple clearance like that? No way – risky mistakes like that would have been coached out of him in the week and he would have got a good rollicking if he still did it in a game.
21 Posted 06/11/2015 at 13:06:19
With Stones and Funes Mori out there in front of Howard, we need to be lethal with our attacking, and that's what we did last week, and I hope that's what we do again this week. No chance whatsoever of a clean sheet.
I'd say Andy Carroll is on the scoresheet already, pretty much. However, I do think we're a better team, and with Deulofeu and Kone pretty much guaranteed to start, I think there's going to be a lot of goals in this game. I'm gonna say 4-3 Everton, with Lukaku to score as well as Super Kev off the bench.
22 Posted 06/11/2015 at 13:45:11
We seem to play well against teams attacking against us, because our counter attacking is immense. West Ham will want to attack, they still love their 80s team and the home fans won't expect anything less. That's why the majority hated Allardyce. Though he did well, their style of football was not to the fans liking. I used to work with a guy who was a West Ham season ticket holder, he refused to go to any games when Allardyce was in charge.
The only thing that could count against us is exactly the way we played against Sunderland happening to us! If West Ham get the early goal, they can then sit back and counter. Our defence isn't good enough at the moment to handle much, so with players like Valencia and Payet, pacy and creative, could be a problem.
Set pieces could also be a problem with Carroll, Koyate, Tomkins, Reid and others.
If we don't concede in the first 30 minutes I still think we have a really good chance. Think our attack is better than theirs and we will have space for Barry and Barkley to dictate the game.
23 Posted 06/11/2015 at 13:51:44
West Ham are not great at home at the minute but will be a lot harder test than Sunderland were. Payet is a quality player and they have some decent forwards as well. If Carroll is up for it, our CBs will have their hands full.
Hard to call but I can't see this being 0-0.
24 Posted 06/11/2015 at 14:12:28
After last week, confidence in front of goal should be good. If we cut out the silly mistakes at the back, we should hopefully be onto a winner.
25 Posted 06/11/2015 at 14:30:39
Add to that the two that hit the post and you can see how we have become Wiganised. A poor defence means you can't go into any game with confidence despite having good players.
26 Posted 06/11/2015 at 14:49:44
27 Posted 06/11/2015 at 16:28:28
On the other hand, if we go all out attack with no concern for the defence, we might go with an unchanged side.
Colemasn should be fitter than the other day but Stones remains a worry. No leg speed since his knock against Reading on the 22nd September, he has told Hodgson he'll be available for the end of the month but we need him now. Personally, till Stones is definitely 100%, I would prefer Browning who is better in the air, physically stronger and quicker.
28 Posted 06/11/2015 at 16:40:27
29 Posted 06/11/2015 at 17:53:23
Plus Coleman had a mare vs Sunderland.
Other than that, I hope he sticks with the same team... though that seems unlikely.
31 Posted 06/11/2015 at 19:11:19
I think he's only really had one really great season in nearly six years, Martinez's first season 2013-14, before that under Moyes he was always decent to good but last season and so far this, albeit due to injury, he just hadn't pulled up that many tree's.
I think that's one of the downfalls to having attacking fullbacks like Coleman and Baines, neither are too drawer defenders for me, not old school like Tony Hibbert anyway.
Some may question whether Coleman has really even been that outstanding going forward lately.
32 Posted 06/11/2015 at 19:15:18
Some fantastic memories, Saha's late double, The Yaks run in, Lukaku's powerful late header, those fantastic free kicks from Baines, We so often have been able to to be able to produce a rabbit from the hat down there. Sad this will be the last time we play there.
One more time, boys.
33 Posted 06/11/2015 at 19:15:48
West Ham are a capable side, but they, like us, are better suited to counter-attack, and have fared better away from home.
For me, a draw would be fine, but our good record against them gives me hope for a win, but I think we may need to score three to take the points!
34 Posted 06/11/2015 at 19:26:16
WHU have been given loads of accolades because they are everyone's favourite second team in the smoke but they usually start well and then fall away as the season progresses.
35 Posted 06/11/2015 at 19:54:59
36 Posted 06/11/2015 at 19:58:59
37 Posted 06/11/2015 at 20:57:28
But let's talk about the other 18 goals against in 14 games in all competitions this season, and how about the 50 (yes 50) goals conceded in the league last season, from a defence that was the best in 2011-12.
And comparisons between us & Wigan in for and against columns... don't go there.
38 Posted 06/11/2015 at 21:19:57
I am looking to McCarthy in particular to carry on in the same vein, that man could be an absolute giant for us over the coming years if he develops his game going forward.
I feel that something might have clicked together for our club. Let's keep it going tomorrow.
40 Posted 06/11/2015 at 21:28:08
41 Posted 06/11/2015 at 21:32:51
It's our GK who is to blame for much of this IMO. Perhaps Joel Robles isn't the long-term answer but I'm convinced we'd reduce the amount of set-piece goals conceded if the lad was playing because he'll attack crosses. He made three clean sheets last season and was unceremoniously dropped.
42 Posted 06/11/2015 at 21:53:09
43 Posted 06/11/2015 at 21:58:25
I know the Utd game didn't turn out well; not too sure what you're getting at.
44 Posted 06/11/2015 at 22:12:24
Barry brought great maturity last week, and we will need more of the same. Keeping Carroll out will be a big challenge, so the full backs better improve on closing down the crosses.
Same team as last week plus Galloway. Fingers crossed, up the Blues.
45 Posted 06/11/2015 at 22:31:09
So we just have to win. And we will win, and Lukaku will score again. Yes. Definitely.
46 Posted 06/11/2015 at 22:56:27
I hadn't clicked it would be the last game there. Memories indeed.
Growing up in Kent, Upton Park was the first time I saw the blues 'in the flesh'. 1973 an awful game with an awfully ugly team (I was scarred for life by the sight of Joe Harper).
February '74, I was there for Bob Latchford's debut, when we lost a cracker 3-4. I can still remember George Telfer's screamer.
Finally saw them win early in the 74-75 season, 3-2. I remember a penalty from Joe Royle and possibly one from Colin Harvey. All seems just like yesterday.....
47 Posted 06/11/2015 at 23:27:13
The area around Upton Park reminds me a little of Walton - but without the trees and greenery! 2-3 to EFC (Lukaku hat-trick).
Paul Andrews #4 - the Ruskin Hotel has a large decent sports bar (also serving food) and is only half-a-mile away. I'm pretty sure it'll be a local's place. Mind you, I stayed there a year or so ago when doing some work at the local hospital. Man Utd were playing in Europe midweek and it filled-up with Mancs. After a couple of pints, I went to bed early.
48 Posted 07/11/2015 at 00:15:44
Even that great team had to grind them out; I would settle for same tomorrow, a clean sheet would be more than welcome. I was in the chicken run that day which restricted celebrations!
49 Posted 07/11/2015 at 00:48:03
50 Posted 07/11/2015 at 02:40:28
Coleman was ball watching last week. He needs to tighten up that side of his game. All our defensive players need to be on their game. No tippy tappy, thank you. That would only play into West Ham's hands.
Play on the front foot. Same team as last week will do for me. I think that WHU can be vunerable at the back. And talking of "big lumps". We have our own version. I sense a blinder from him soon.
Attack, Attack, Attack, that's the best form of defence. See, it's easy, this management lark. Nothing to it. Let's hope Mr. Martinez realises that. No tinkering, please.
51 Posted 07/11/2015 at 03:09:53
Flip a coin.
But then I read that Andy Carroll is likely to lead the line and I can't help but think we should be beating a team with options so limited as that.
52 Posted 07/11/2015 at 04:38:38
Expect lots of crosses and dead balls across our 6-yard box, with our keeper nailed to the goal-line as usual.
54 Posted 07/11/2015 at 08:53:40
55 Posted 07/11/2015 at 08:59:34
WHU 0 - Everton 2.
That'll do nicely!!
56 Posted 07/11/2015 at 09:40:59
Was it Hibbo's debut when Pearce was sent off for cutting him down, and we got the penalty and won 2-0?
Also recall a 4-0 there when Barmby scored a Hat-trick and Joe Max Moore got the other. Ended up in the Blind Beggar that night. But that's another story...
57 Posted 07/11/2015 at 10:14:30
They're steadily building a good side, first under Allardyce and now Bilic, who is carrying it on with class signings like Lanzini, Moses and especially Payet. They're a good all-round team for me, even if they are a bit unpredictable at times this season with results. They seem to do better when nothing is expected of them but when, the onus is on them to take the game to teams they're expected to win, they've struggled. The West Ham fans will feel confident they can beat us today; hopefully the team come out and feel that way also as that could play into our hands!
Martinez likes it when teams come on to us and leave themselves a bit open at the back. He likes to hit those teams on the break and exploit the space so hopefully West Ham make this an open game and we're deadly on the break!
There will be goals in this definitely and I don't know why but I get the feeling it could be another ding donger like we had down there in Martinez's first season?! 3-2 to the Blues and Lukaku to keep up his form and record against the Hammers.
58 Posted 07/11/2015 at 10:43:05
But when with Newcastle, Carroll was a lot better than limited Ernie, he was on fire, it's being badly managed at our neighbours and then his consistent injuries at WHU that have done for him.
59 Posted 07/11/2015 at 10:48:58
The fact that a poor Sunderland team created so many good chances and scored two against us regardless of the fact we scored six worries me a lot. We can't go away to West Ham and give Carroll, Payet and Co the same space because we will lose, I have a feeling Martinez will change the shape to a 4-5-1 or a 4-3-3 and play counter-attack which suits us fine!
We always concede under Martinez so I'm just hoping Deulofeu and Rom can do the damage up top again and we can get a winning streak going!
60 Posted 07/11/2015 at 11:35:22
I expect us to control the ball and probe for an opening without pressing too high. Hope he has the courage to play 4 forward players that we had playing last week and I think we will 2-1.
62 Posted 07/11/2015 at 11:46:59
Last week saw some very poor work against a generally poor side in Sunderland where firstly Coleman was frequently caught out and then Stones who let in Defoe to square the game. Funes Mori was then caught with his feet in the mud when Fletcher scored.
Okay, all matches are different but one hopes they will be more solid today and that Kone keeps up his fine work. Kone has been a much better player this season now that he seems to be fully fit.
Deulofeu is another who makes a difference as he is very quick and goes at defenders making space for Lukaku and Kone to exploit.
Come on Blues, let's keep the good record going against the Hammers.
63 Posted 07/11/2015 at 12:10:33
65 Posted 07/11/2015 at 12:33:19
66 Posted 07/11/2015 at 12:36:43
67 Posted 07/11/2015 at 12:37:59
69 Posted 07/11/2015 at 14:01:32
70 Posted 07/11/2015 at 14:26:55
I just hope RM got the message about the need to improve our defending and slow starts and that he has prepared the squad properly for this game.
This is a six pointer and will go a long way in identifying our credentials.
We are due a clean sheet but I have been thinking that for so long now.
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