Everton visit West Ham on the back of a 2-0 defeat at home to Sunderland last time out and are in danger of failing to finish in the top 10 which would’ve been the worst case scenario at the start of the season. That was on the back of a 3-2 loss to Aston Villa which broke an unbeaten run of six, a run of form that Roberto Martinez will want to end the season with.
West Ham started the season brilliantly and for a while were up in the European places and looking sharp with attacking and free flowing displays. They have since dropped off slightly but currently sit in tenth which is par for The Hammers but will want to bounce back after a 1-0 loss against Aston Villa last week.
The Hammers will be hopeful that Winston Reid will be fit after a hamstring injury which has kept him out for the best part of a month but will need a late fitness test to determine his availability. Carlton Cole is also on the cards for a timely return after a similar problem, with West Ham very short in forward options. The reason for that are injuries to Enner Valencia (toe) and Diafra Sakho (thigh) whilst Andy Carroll is a long term absentee with knee ligament damage. Defenders James Tomkins, who dislocated his shoulder, and Guy Demel (calf) will also miss the rest of the season.
Leighton Baines has been ruled out until the start of next season after injuring his ankle in the 2-0 loss to Sunderland last week. He joins Darron Gibson (foot), Tony Hibbert (knee) and Bryan Oviedo (foot) who have all been ruled out for the season. Steven Pienaar has a slight chance of playing after recovering from a muscle problem.
- There have been goals in all but two of the last 14 meetings between these two sides in all competitions.
- West Ham have gone 13 games without a win against Everton in the Premier League (D4 L9), losing each of the last five.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored in each of his five appearances in all competitions for Everton against West Ham.
League Head to Heads
2014/2015 Sat 22 Nov Everton 2 – 1 West Ham
2013/2014 Sat 01 Mar Everton 1 – 0 West Ham
2013/2014 Sat 21 Sep West Ham 2 – 3 Everton
2012/2013 Sun 12 May Everton 2 – 0 West Ham
2012/2013 Sat 22 Dec West Ham 1 – 2 Everton
2010/2011 Sat 22 Jan Everton 2 – 2 West Ham
2010/2011 Tue 28 Dec West Ham 1 – 1 Everton
West Ham: Stewart Downing
One of the main reasons that West Ham did have such a successful first half of the season was down to the tremendous form of Stewart Downing, who helped influence them to win matches on numerous occasions. However, just as West Ham’s form dropped at the start of the year, it coincided with the form of Downing himself, who failed to replicate his early season heroics. That being said, let us not take credit away form what has been a good season for the former Aston Villa and Liverpool winger, with Downing recording an impressive 85% success rate from his 1346 passes made, with his creativity going forward also excellent with 85 chances created and eight assists. Downing has also scored five goals this season and that is probably the part of his game that he would like to improve on the most on going into the new season.
Everton: Aaron Lennon
With Aaron Lennon’s loan spell at Everton soon to be coming to an end with only a few games left, if Lennon wants to make the move a permanent one in the future then he will have to prove that he has settled into the Toffee’s side and be capable of making an impact on a regular basis. Since his move in January, he has managed to score two goals and both have come in games that Everton haven’t lost which shows that he can have an impact on the team at times. The English midfielder has created 13 chances while at Everton with no assists but he did grab two assists for Tottenham earlier in the season. Lennon has also shown that with his pace he can offer a handful of problems to defenders and he has won 18 fouls so during his spell at Everton.
I’m expecting a very tight but entertaining affair between two sides who have very little to gain or lose. Both will ideally want to secure a top ten finish but I sense a score draw for this one.
My Prediction – West Ham 2-2 Everton