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Everton v West Ham Match Preview

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Short of Pienaar and the Yak Everton are back at Goodison against the sort of side we have struggled against this season - i.e. near the bottom of the league and in crisis.

If you ever get down about Everton's plight this season just spare a though for Hammers fans. The clueless board have behaved disgacefully in recent weeks, leaving AvramGrant clinging to his job while they court other potential replacements, before finally backing Grant once they all turned the job down.

I watched their game against Arsenal last week and at times it was embarrassing. There seemed to be no fight left in the Hammers side, they were beaten before a ball had been kicked.

To be honest I don't think they played that much better against us in December (they had no shots on target but still scored!) but we seem incapable of turning pressure into goals and working away through sides whose first priority is defence.

We can at least take heart from our last three games, which have yielded two wins and a draw as well as a much improved team display.

I thought we could have gone on to win the derby at Anfield last week had we been a little braver, but given our first half showing I can have no complaints with a draw.

Now the side has to take that improved form into the sort of game we have struggled to take points from this season - I hope that we don't put this match into the same bracket as Wolves, Wigan and West Brom.

The Hammers are there for the taking - though the influential Scott Parker will have to be watched. But if we keep the 4-4-2 formation, with Jermaine Beckford and Big Vic upfront we should be able to replicate the performance from our last home game v Spurs. And if we do that, three welcome points should be ours.

We will, of course, be without the departed Steven Pienaar, who finally completed his inevitable move to Spurs this week. It is sad to see a talented player like him go but given the way we are playing, his age and where Spurs are heading I can't begrudge him the move.

It does of course offer up a slot on the left-wing - will Billy finally show us the skills that persuaded Moyes to splash out £9million in him?? I'm not sure about that!

Team news wise Everton have doubts over striker Louis Saha, who is still troubled by a thigh strain that kept him out of the Liverpool game last week. Phil Jagielka is expected to return from a knee injury, but Tim Cahill is still away on international duty with Australia at the Asian Cup.

Scott Parker returns for West Ham (dam it!) after missing the defeat to Arsenal with an ankle injury. Victor Obinna is suspended, and Manuel Da Costa, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Lars Jacobsen are all injured.



• Everton have won over half (16) of 31 Premier League matches against West Ham, more victories than they have enjoyed against any other opponents.

• The Toffees are unbeaten in their last seven league matches against the Hammers. Their only defeat in the last 10 was a 1-0 loss at Upton Park in April 2007.

• West Ham have won just two of their 15 Premier League meetings at Goodison Park and have scored only 10 goals in those games.

• The Hammers didn't manage a single shot on target against Everton last month, their goal being an own goal scored by Tony Hibbert.


• The Toffees have drawn 11 games in this season's Premier League, the joint-highest tally in the league.

• David Moyes's side have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 league matches.

• Everton have managed just two wins in their last 12 league matches, but both victories were against current top-five clubs - 2-1 at Manchester City and 2-1 at home against Tottenham.


West Ham

• Only one team that was bottom of the Premier League after 23 games has avoided relegation and that was West Bromwich Albion in the 2004-05 season.

• West Ham have kept just two clean sheets in their last 17 league games.

• The Hammers have conceded 10 headed goals this season, more than any other team.

• West Ham are the only team in the top flight that have not conceded a goal from a shot from outside the penalty area.




Cahill: 9 goals (9 league); Coleman & Beckford: 5 goals (3 league)

West Ham

Piquionne: 7 goals (5 league); Parker: 6 goals (4 league)