Everton end an emotional week in the capital when they take on West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday.
The club is still in mourning at the news of chairman Bill Kenwright’s passing on Tuesday. It perhaps seems fitting that Everton’s next match will be against a side managed by David Moyes, the boss most closely associated with Kenwright following their 11-year tenure as manager and chairman at Goodison Park.
There will be tributes paid to Kenwright and England 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Charlton before kick-off on Sunday.
The Toffees will likely pay their own tribute before the Burnley game at Goodison Park next week, while Liverpool deserve praise for their touching tribute to Kenwright before the Europa League game against Toulouse on Friday. A reminder that there is more to unite than divide the two clubs.
December 2019 increasingly feels like a sliding doors moment for Everton following recent revelations by Moyes that he had all but sealed a return to Goodison Park, only for Carlo Ancelotti’s sacking at Napoli to prompt an about turn by Farhad Moshiri.
Moyes instead went to West Ham, then struggling against relegation. Not only did he turn them into European contenders, he went on to win the Europa Conference League.
Most Evertonians did not begrudge Moyes finally winning a major trophy, even if it was tinged with frustration that it never happened during his 11 years at Goodison.
Sustaining that success is key of course. The departure of Declan Rice in the summer was significant, but the £100m was reinvested in the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Edson Alvarez and one-time Everton target Mohammad Kudus (who I certainly expect to score on Sunday as a result).
They go into the game in ninth place in the table, though a win could lift them as high as sixth depending on other results. Games against the Hammers used to be fruitful pickings for Everton, but not recently. West Ham have won four of the last six meetings, having won just three of the 24 before that.
West Ham 2-0 Everton, 21 January 2023
The Frank Lampard era came to an end with a dismal 2-0 defeat at the London Stadium in January. Jarrod Bowen’s first-half double was enough to secure victory for the Hammers, who had lost six of their previous seven matches before then.
Everton will be without Ashley Young through suspension following his sending off at Liverpool last weekend.
Seamus Coleman is back in full training but will not be risked as he works his way back to full match fitness after six months out with a knee injury.
Dele Alli and Andre Gomes remain sidelined.
What they said
Everton boss Sean Dyche: “Some had a bigger connection to the chairman than others due to their time here, particularly Seamus. Myself in a different way. Obviously, being quite close to him over a period that was difficult for him and his family. He’s a big loss, that’s for sure.
“He was incredibly supportive of me. I was reading some of David Moyes’ comments about how supportive he was to him as a young manager. He was supportive of me as an older manager. He was nothing but supportive, even during some hard times.
“He was someone to pick up the phone to, always got time for you, and always wanted to find out what was going on. Touch base with the feel in the camp, how the players were, and the mood with individuals. He was often telling me all of his wisdom about Everton Football Club and what we should be doing - always in a supportive way.
“He was a perfect gentleman and I always enjoyed listening to him, the stories about his own life, not necessarily just Everton Football Club.”
West Ham manager David Moyes: “Everton are a hard nut to crack. They’ve probably played a little bit better away from home this season, so we expect it to be a really tough game.
“I don’t see them getting turned over easily, I don’t see teams beating them easily – I see a resilient team who keep at it, and on their day they have players capable of scoring goals.
“We’ve just got ourselves back, we’ll get ourselves ready for Everton. Every Premier League game is difficult – Everton is a tough game – and we’ll approach it the same as we’d approach any other game.”
This looks a tough match given West Ham’s rapid progress over recent years. But Everton’s away performances have been decent and give me hope they can sneak something.