Everton at West Ham: Match Preview

How have we not scored?! - Steve Bardens

The Toffees won the Battle of the Blues last weekend - off to West Ham on Saturday.

Who starts upfront?

Everton have three goals in four games.
Incumbent Nikica Jelavic's statline: 37 appearances; 7 goals; 2 assists; 85 shots; 32 shots on goal.
Romelu Lukaku's statline at West Brom: 35 appearances; 17 goals; 4 assists; 99 shots; 47 shots on goal.
You do the math.

Manic-possessive?

The Blues hold the ball 59% of the time (3rd in the PL), dribble 14.5 times per game (2nd in the PL), and 3.5 offsides per game (1st in the PL). They are rated 7.12 (10th in Europe, Barcelona first with 7.44 - per WhoScored.com)

The butler ref did it!

Referee Lee Mason officiated in four Everton games last season. The three at home - Everton won 2-1, 2-1 and 2-0. The one away? A 2-1 loss at Norwich. Home team always scored two goals. Just saying.

Team News -

Lukaku is eligible to play this weekend. It will be a surprise if he doesn't start on Saturday. It will be a monumental surprise if he doesn't play at all this game. Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone are both fit again and should be in the squad, while Steven Pienaar and Antolin Alcaraz remain out with hamstring injuries.

Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em. Well, West Ham are hurting themselves pretty badly right now, with their entire ex-Liverpool contingent out injured. Andy Carroll, Joe Cole and Stewart Downing will all miss the game, as will new signing Mladen Petric, Alou Diarra and George McCartney.

Keys To The Game -

West Ham have been pretty stingy in defence, giving up just one goal in four games. Winston Reid and James Collins are a formidable duo, and Everton will be better served trying to beat them with guile than by the direct approach. The one goal they conceded came from a freekick, so setpieces will play a big part. Everton have done 42% of their attacking down the left, versus 33% on the right. West Ham conversely attack primarily down their right. Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas will be a busy pair this Saturday, with Gareth Barry expected to mop up behind them.

The Hammers strengths lie in protecting leads as they do a good job packing the box and hoofing it clear. They are also strong in the air and that is where their best chances at scoring come from. They boast an excellent conversion rate of two goals from six shots on target - unfortunately, that stat pales considerably when you realize it comes from four games, not one. Goals have been hard to come by for West Ham too, and veteran Kevin Nolan will be relied upon for a boost. Dead-ball situations will be key in this game.

Match Facts -

  • Everton have won six of their last ten against West Ham, with the other four ending as draws.
  • The Blues are in the top six in Europe for passes attempted in the final third - behind Barcelona, Bayern, Roma, Napoli & PSG.
  • They have attempted 681 passes in the final third, completing 517 of those - both leading the League.
  • The Toffees have kept six clean sheets in their last eight Premier League games.
  • Barkley has had the most shots blocked by defenders in the League - seven in four games.
  • West Ham's four games are in the bottom seven across the League for 'Ball-In-Play' time.
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