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Everton given timely boost ahead of West Ham clash

The injury list has thankfully thinned out a little as the Hammers head to Goodison

Everton v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Having stewed on a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield for more than a fortnight Everton return to Premier League action against struggling West Ham at Goodison Park.

Failing to win your final game before an international break is always irritating, but the nature of the result and performance against the Terriers has made the gap between fixtures feel even longer than usual.

As soon as I saw Huddersfield waste time after just 14 minutes I knew we were in for one of those matches. But no matter how negative their tactics were, Everton failed to break them down, barely creating a chance other than Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal.

The result was perhaps a bit of a reality check and a reminder that with all the changes both on off the pitch, things will take time to gel.

In mitigation, Marco Silva hasn’t been helped by a crippling injury list that was made even worse during the international break when Seamus Coleman suffered a stress fracture in his foot.

Off the pitch things weren’t much better, with news of an Premier League inquiry being set-up to try and solve the long-running dispute between Everton and Watford over their pursuit of Silva last autumn. Then on Friday it emerged that the Toffees face a second inquiry over the alleged tapping-up of a schoolboy player from Cardiff.

The one bright spot? Richarlison tearing it up for Brazil again making everyone who criticised his signing look foolish....again.

The opposition

If you think things have been difficult for Everton over the past few weeks spare a thought for West Ham.

Despite spending in excess of £100m in the summer the Hammers find themselves bottom of the table after losing all four league matches so far.

There’s mitigation in defeats at Arsenal and Liverpool but home losses to Bournemouth and Wolves has cranked up the pressure on new boss Manuel Pellegrini.

It’s not all the Chilean’s fault mind. West Ham seem to have been in a permanent state of crisis in recent years, not helped by the antics of their controversial owners - Davids Gold and Sullivan - as well as the controversy surrounding their move from Upton Park to the London Stadium.

With games against Man Utd and Chelsea to follow their trip to Goodison Park Pellegrini can ill-afford to suffer defeat on Merseyside. But with no termination clause in his contract the Hammers would be forced to fork out around £15m in compensation to remove the former Man City boss, meaning he is likely to remain in the dugout for now to see if he can guide the team out of the mess they once again find themselves in.

Team news

Everton have been boosted by the news that Idrissa Gueye, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bernard and Theo Walcott have all been passed fit for the game at Goodison.

Yerry Mina and James McCarthy have resumed training but won’t be considered. Richarlison is also unavailable as he completes his three-match suspension.

Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane, Andre Gomes and Benni Baningime are still sidelined.

Projected starting XI

Final word

Given West Ham’s dreadful form you’d expect Evertonians to be confident of picking up the points in this one. But that expectation is precisely why Toffees fans are nervous - this is Everton after all.

The easing injury list is a timely boost but Silva’s side remains a work in progress and they will be coming up against an opposition desperate for any sort of positive result given the fixtures lying in wait.

But Everton have some tough fixtures coming up of their own, meaning anything other than a win will be considered a disappointment.