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Everton vs West Ham: The Opposition View

We spoke with The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas prior to Wednesday’s EFL Cup clash at Goodison Park

West Ham United v Everton FC - Premier League
Everton’s last meeting with West Ham ended in a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium in January
Photo by Tony McArdle /Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton’s Carabao Cup journey continues on Wednesday when David Moyes’ West Ham United visit Goodison Park for the fourth round tie.

The Blues will look to continue their perfect start to the season, with three wins out of three in the Premier League and having seen off Salford and Fleetwood in the EFL Cup.

West Ham started the season with defeats to Newcastle and Arsenal, but eased past Wolves in a 4-0 home win on Sunday.

Moyes, who has lost on all three of his trips to Goodison since leaving Everton for Manchester United in 2013, will not be in attendance having tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Ahead of Wednesday’s match, we spoke to Roshane Thomas, West Ham correspondent at The Athletic:

RBM: Firstly, West Ham have made no summer signings besides making midfielder Tomas Soucek’s loan deal permanent. Where do they most need reinforcements before the deadline on October 5?

Roshane: Thanks for reminding me! All jokes aside, defence remains the priority for West Ham. It was good to see the team keep a clean sheet against Wolves, but a centre-half to challenge Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena would be ideal, while it would not come as surprise if they tried to sign a right-back with Ryan Fredericks ruled out until after the international break having sustained a hamstring injury.

West Ham used to play a 4-2-3-1 formation but now they play 5-4-1 and it’s starting to reap its rewards. Arthur Masuaku has been playing well as a left-wing back, Fredericks’ final ball has improved, so it’s just a case of bringing in the personnel to enable the club to keep more solid defensively and ideally compete higher up the table.

West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
The permanent signing of Soucek is West Ham’s only addition so far this summer
Photo by Andy Rain - Pool/Getty Images

RBM: The rift between the majority of the fan base and the owners at West Ham is deep-rooted and well-documented. How could it be resolved?

Roshane: There will always be resentment between the fans and the owners and David Sullivan’s recent radio interview did very little to appease supporters. I covered the protests last season and fans were really frustrated at the club’s lack of progress. Moving to the London Stadium was supposed to enable West Ham to be competitive in the league, not perennial strugglers in the lower reaches of the league.

It is hard to see how it could be resolved considering most supporters would rather the owners sell. But with that not on the cards anytime soon, it is a case of the board getting fans onside by backing David Moyes in the window.

RBM: Do you see the Carabao Cup as being a particularly high priority for West Ham this season?

Roshane: It should be because it’s a great opportunity to win silverware. Fans still talk about the 2006 FA Cup final when Steven Gerrard broke our hearts.

So, to be in the fourth round and have an opportunity to progress to the final and play at Wembley, that has to motivate you as a player.

West Ham United v Hull City - Carabao Cup Third Round
West Ham beat Charlton and later Hull to make the fourth round
Photo by Alastair Grant - Pool/Getty Images

RBM: David Moyes is now in his second spell as West Ham boss. Having kept them up last season, what is the general feeling among fans to Moyes as a manager?

Roshane: The majority of fans are happy with the progress Moyes has made at West Ham. He has integrated young players into the first-team and saw the potential in playing Michail Antonio as a striker, who has been in great form ever since.

The only frustration supporters have with Moyes is that he can be a tad bit cautious when it comes to making substitutions.

RBM: At Everton, Moyes often preferred more industrious footballers to so-called ‘luxury players’. Do you sense he’s adopting a similar approach at West Ham?

Roshane: Most certainly, with the case in point being Soucek and Jarrod Bowen. They both arrived from Slavia Prague and Hull City in January and have been key players for West Ham.

Soucek’s work rate is superb and the same applies to Bowen. Both are also a threat on the offensive end and it’s another example of Moyes being able to identify talented players who perhaps aren’t highly coveted by every club.

West Ham United v Everton FC - Premier League
Moyes has only beaten Everton once since leaving the Toffees in 2013
Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

RBM: Moyes has switched West Ham’s setup to a back five in their last two league games, a narrow defeat at Arsenal and Sunday’s thrashing of Wolves. Why do you think this system seems to have suited them better?

Roshane: West Ham become more compact in the central areas so they are tougher to break down. Playing with wing-backs plays to the strengths of Fredericks and Masuaku, both of whom are offensive-minded players, and they appear to be more threatening on the offensive end.

RBM: How do you expect West Ham to line up on Wednesday?

Roshane: Randolph; Johnson, Cresswell, Alese, Balbuena; Noble, Snodgrass, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller.

Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Yarmolenko has tormented Everton on multiple occasions before
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

RBM: Who do you think could cause Everton the most problems?

Roshane: So far this season Moyes, has played fringe players in the cup and Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Sebastien Haller have certainly caught the eye. Haller has scored four goals in the competition and he will be a threat in the air.

RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for Wednesday’s game?

Roshane: It will be a tough game but I predict a 3-1 win for West Ham.

Our thanks to Roshane for his time.