Everton welcome West Bromwich Albion to Goodison Park on Saturday for the Toffees first home game of the season. Both teams will be looking for their first wins of the season as Everton drew 2-2 with Norwich, and West Brom lost 1-0 to Southampton on the opening day. Roberto Martinez’s men head into the game with seven wins in their last nine at home, and Martinez will be hoping that the good home form that David Moyes established will continue in his reign. Albion go into the game having won only 5 of their 19 away games last season. They will be hoping that they can improve that record this season and get some points on the board for the new term.
Everton will most likely be without defensive stalwart Sylvain Distin as he picked up a knock in their opening game against Norwich. New signing Antolin Alcaraz is also out with a hamstring problem. It’s not all bad news for Everton as Tony Hibbert and Darron Gibson could be involved after returning to training. West Brom have no new injury concerns from the weekend’s game, but Nicholas Anelka will not feature after given compassionate leave by the club. Diego Lugano, who joined from PSG in the summer after spending the previous campaign on loan at Malaga, is still behind in match fitness and is unlikely to make his first appearance. Matej Vydra, a loan signing from Udinese, is likely to figure at some stage after coming off the bench at the weekend for the final ten minutes.
When the two sides met last season in this fixture, Everton were 2-1 winners. At the Hawthorns West Brom won 2-0 early on in the season. Everton have won three of the last four when the two sides have met in the league and will be looking to continue their strong form against the Baggies. With Martinez arrival in the summer, a more settled West Brom under manager Steve Clarke will be looking to get a result at Goodison despite their poor record against them in recent times.
Both sides will be looking for their top players to perform in order to ensure victory. Everton will be looking for Ross Barkley to continue the form he showed on Saturday where the midfielder scored a stunning effort. The nineteen year-old spent time out on loan learning his trade in the Championship last season, and has returned to Everton looking to impress new manager Roberto Martinez. Barkley possesses all the attributes to be a future full England international, and Martinez will be hoping he can get the best out of him.
West Brom will be hoping that Jonas Olsson will be able to sure up the Baggies defence and keep Barkley and co from getting any joy. The big Swede has impressed in recent times and was a mainstay in the baggies defence last season starting thirty-six games, the joint highest along with fellow centre back Gareth McAuley. Steve Clarke will be depending on the two to form a solid partnership this season.
With both teams looking for their first win of the season, this will be a very tight and competitive game. Everton’s superior home record and the Baggies poor away record make the Toffee’s favourite for this one. Pinnacle’s odds reflect this with Everton 1.549 to win, a West Brom win at 7.01 and the draw at 4.33. Martinez’s men were unlucky to draw on the weekend due to a late Norwich equaliser, and they go into their first home game of the season looking in better shape than West Brom.
More betting information from Pinnacle can be found here.