Indeed, as we enter matchday seven, the Blues and the Hammers have managed to win just one game between them so far.
But despite a winless start, optimism is oddly high around Goodison Park with Frank Lampard having refreshed the squad over the summer with an impressive blend of experienced leaders and exciting young talent.
So how will Everton line-up here?
Good news for the Blues!
Dominic Calvert-Lewin returned to full training this week and Lampard has said that he’ll make a late decision on whether he’ll feature or not. Abdoulaye Doucoure has also returned to full fitness, but it’s hard to see him getting much of a look in now following the additions of Amadou Onana, Idrissa Gana Gueye and James Garner.
The only major negative heading into this one is that Jordan Pickford is out and won’t return for several weeks. With third-choice Andy Lonergan also injured, Everton have signed former Hull and Leicester keeper, Eldin Jakupovic, as cover and he’ll take his place on the bench.
Other than that, Mason Holgate and Yerry Mina remain out and are expected to return in late October, while Ben Godfrey and Andros Townsend are out for the foreseeable.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS WEST HAM
Pickford (INJURED), Begovic, Lonergan (INJURED), Jakupovic
Mina (INJURED), Godfrey (INJURED), Tarkowski, Holgate (INJURED), Coady, Mykolenko, Coleman, Patterson, Vinagre, Welch
Midfielders: Allan, Doucoure, Iwobi, Davies, Onana, Gueye, Garner
Wingers: Gray, Gordon,
Townsend (INJURY), McNeil, Mills
Attackers: Calvert-Lewin (DOUBT), Rondon, Maupay
Tactics and Formation
Now this is a hard team to predict.
Having begun the season with a back three, a 4-3-3 now seems to be the flavour of the day after a significant injury list at centre-back. At the back, it will be Begovic in goal with Patterson and Mykolenko at full back, with Coady and Tarkowski in the middle.
Midfield is where the questions really come though. Davies, Onana and Iwobi have started the last two games and all have impressed. But with Idrissa Gana Gueye back in Blue, he surely needs to be thrown back in the team ASAP. Alex Iwobi has been a revelation under Frank Lampard, so his place is safe. The main question is whether Gueye will replace Davies or Onana. I’d wager that Davies drops out, enabling Onana to push on more.
James Garner is also in-line to make a debut, but I don’t see there being a rush to start him and we’ll likely see him from the bench, along with last season’s midfield duo of Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure who now appear to be bottom of the pile.
It would surely be naïve to start DCL given his fitness issues over the past year, so Neal Maupay should lead the line for Everton, with Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray on the wings.
For once, Everton have some strong options from the bench, with the likes of DCL, McNeil and Garner eager for action. Indeed, it’s also possible that Allan or Doucoure, as well as Rondon, won’t even make the squad. How far we have come in just over eight months since Lampard took over.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Asmir Begovic – 10/10
Nathan Patterson – 10/10
James Tarkowski – 10/10
Conor Coady – 10/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko – 10/10
Idrissa Gana Gueye – 8/10
Amadou Onana – 7/10
Alex Iwobi – 9/10
Anthony Gordon – 10/10
Neal Maupay – 9/10
Demarai Gray – 9/10