Roll up, roll up, it’s time for El Sackio. The winner gets David Moyes.
If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.
And let’s face it we all need a bit of a laugh at the moment after yet another tortuous week for the football club.
On the pitch the dismal defeat to Southampton pushed the Toffees further towards relegation. Off it the fan protest and coach greetings were undermined by murky, off-record briefings that has only served to splinter the club into more pieces.
The overwhelming feeling for me is sadness. Sadness that such a great club has descended into such disarray and that it is now more likely than not that the club will drop into the Championship for the first time in nearly 70 years.
Can anything arrest the club from this death spiral? Well, there is still a glimmer of hope. We are not cut adrift - yet, and are only halfway through the season. A few new players might help too.
The reported signing of Arnaut Danjuma will boost a forward line that has sorely missed the presence of Richarlison. At least one more forward player is probably needed to further bolster the joint second-worst attack in the league.
But what of the manager? Frank Lampard is an elegant talker whose commitment and drive is without question. The supporters want him to succeed, especially after last season’s great escape, but the results and performances are just not there.
Another loss here could leave Everton cut adrift in the drop zone with leaders Arsenal and the Anfield derby to follow next.
No wonder this match feels like decision time.
West Ham are in similar peril as they welcome Everton to London Stadium on a run of just one point from their last seven league games.
Reports suggest Moyes will be sacked if they fail to beat the Toffees, who ironically could then become favourite for the Everton job. It would be quite the turnaround for the former Blues boss after he guided the Hammers to sixth and seventh-place finishes, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League.
However, Moyes spent in excess of £160m this summer on the likes of Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca but the team has seemingly gone backwards. Michail Antonio recently said the team has struggled its “transition into a big club” and the change in philosophy is “not working”.
That has echoes of Moyes’ time at Goodison when he tried to employ a more expansive style of play on his workmanlike side. He eventually got there, albeit repeatedly smashing into that glass ceiling, but it remains to be seen whether he will be given the time to ride out this rocky spell here.
One thing is for certain is new Hammers signing will Danny Ings will score. He has scored more goals against Everton than any other Premier League side and has been registered in time to make his debut.
Everton 1-0 West Ham, September 18 2022
One of only three Premier League wins so far for Everton this season. Neal Maupay’s strike from outside the box earned the Toffees all three points in the reverse meeting at Goodison Park in September.
Everton have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game, with Nathan Patterson still sidelined. James Garner and Andros Townsend have begun individual training but are not yet ready for a return.
What they said
Everton boss Frank Lampard: “I came here a year ago in what was a difficult moment for the club in terms of confidence and results. The feeling when I come up here was that we are in a relegation fight.
“That’s how it turned out, and we stayed up. But that’s part of the reason when you are in these situations you can call them challenging, rather than tough because this is football management. We are always striving to get the best for the next game ahead.
“Everyone here wants the same things; they want Everton to win games. Whether that be an Evertonian who is sitting at Goodison or sitting at home, there are so many of them around the world, I have learnt that in this last year. We all want the same thing.
“The players don’t want to be in this position, the reality is we are here. There are lots of reasons for that but they should have a human reaction to that after games. I have had things to say, too, because from my point of view given the position we are in, we must fight, and be ready to fight.”
West Ham manager David Moyes: “It’s a huge game for both, but one you look forward to.
“Hopefully we can come out on top. Tomorrow’s game means a lot, and from that point of view we need to focus on getting three points.
“We’re halfway through the season, there’s a long way to go and we have to make sure we improve [to get the results].
“We need to score more goals, that’s the obvious thing. We’ve brought in Danny Ings and we we’re working hard to get those better results.”
It is hard to feel remotely confident about this one given how Everton have proven such generous opponents in recent weeks, particularly against fellow strugglers.
Lose here and that could be it for Lampard. But whether that actually happens and whether a change in manager will make any positive difference remains worryingly uncertain.