Everton v West Ham United. The Everton Forum Preview

    Everton v West Ham United. The Everton Forum Preview

    What an utterly dismal display it was on Sunday.

    I thought we might see some kind of a reaction after the spanking we suffered at home against Atalanta but there was absolutely nothing there. A Southampton team who’d scored 9 goals in 12 league games put 4 past us in 90 minutes and if we’re honest, it could’ve been more.

    This Everton team can’t defend, they can’t keep the ball, the can’t exert prolonged periods of pressure and they can’t score. Add it all together and you’ve got yourselves an Everton team in crisis, make no mistake.

    Now the questions are; have we hit rock bottom yet? and if not, how much longer of this must we endure?

    Anyway, we don’t have long to lick our wounds as Wednesday night we’re back in Premier League action and this time it’s West Ham United at Goodison Park (8pm kick off, live on BT Sports).
    The Hammers

    Our visitors arrive at L4 with an all-too-familiar face at the helm.

    David Moyes, our former manager of 11 seasons, returns to Goodison Park for the third time since leaving and he’ll be hoping he can do better than the 0 points he’s won at Goodison from the visitor’s dugout.

    Naturally, when you’ve had a manager for 11 years, there’s plenty of scar tissue there. Every blue has an opinion of Moyes and given the way it all ended, plus the later disrespectful pursuits of our players (Baines, Coleman, Fellaini to name 3) the good work he did at the club has largely been overtaken by a sense of dislike.

    Of course, I don’t want to make this preview all about David Moyes, but for what it’s worth, I think he did a good job at Everton and the fact we’ve since had 2 managers (with more money to spend), who both failed over a much shorter period of time reinforces that argument.

    Personally, I wouldn’t ever want Moyes back at Everton because too much has happened since he left, but I wouldn’t be that surprised if he did get a tune out of West Ham this season.

    This will be the Scotsman’s third game in charge of West Ham following a 2-0 defeat at Watford and a 1-1 draw against Leicester, so the Evertonian in me naturally finds it quite ominous that he’s coming to Goodison in search of his first win.

    I watched the hammers’ last game against Leicester on Friday and wasn’t blown away by their performance, but let’s be honest, it was streets ahead of our pathetic effort at Southampton on Sunday.

    Maybe it was because it was their first home game under a new manager but they did give it a good go and definitely finished the match the stronger of the two teams.

    Now they’ll come to Goodison having had more valuable time on the training pitch (having played Friday night) to face an Everton team which currently are, let’s face it, absolutely clueless.

    Looking at the West Ham team, I think we can expect Moyes to go with a fairly similar shape to that which battered us against Southampton – 4 at the back, 2 dominating central midfielders, 3 attacking midfielders and 1 up top (4-2-3-1).

    In goal we’ll see the man mysteriously ranked as England’s number 1 goalkeeper, Joe Hart. Then he’ll likely have Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna directly in front of him with Pablo Zabaleta and Aaron Cresswell on the defensive flanks.

    I think the two combative midfielders are likely to be Pedro Obiang and Cheik Kouyate (unless Mark Noble is preferred) and West Ham’s best player, Manuel Lanzini will be given the roaming number 10 role.

    Out wide Michael Antonio remains sidelined and there is a slight worry over the fitness of Marko Arnautovic, so it’s possible Andre Ayew could be preferred on the right with full back, turned recent winger Arthur Masuoku potentially operating from the left.

    Up front, Andy Carroll (who will surely have been licking his lips watching the 2 headed goals Charlie Austin scored on Sunday) is almost certain to lead the line in the absence of Javier Hernandez.

    I think we can expect West Ham to play very directly on Wednesday night. They’ve got one of the best aerial strikers in the Premier League so I think their best bet is to keep it very simple and play to him, given how poor we are at dealing with aerial threats.

    I think the crossing ability of Lanzini and West Ham’s full backs (especially Cresswell) will be wheeled out for all to see here and it will be a question of how well the likes of Williams and Jagielka can deal with Carroll and then how good Everton are at mopping up second balls.

    Away from Carroll, Lanzini is a quality little operator who’ll need close watching and in Ayew and Arnautovic there is a bit of the unknown. Both definitely possess match-winning quality, it’s just a question of consistency.

    From a weakness perspective, I look at the West Ham defence, including the goalkeeper and believe Everton can get some joy out of them. Aside from Everton, who currently boast the worst defence in the league with 28 conceded (what a shambles we are) West Ham rank joint 19th with 26 conceded.

    Further, West Ham are yet to win away from home this season. They’ve played 7 away games and managed just 3 draws, scoring 5 and shipping 15, so won’t be bouncing in to Goodison Park brimming with confidence.

    Although, they are playing Everton, so maybe they will…

    The Blues

    Normally I’d say it’s nice for us to be returning to Goodison Park for a night game, but given we’ve just conceded 5 to the 12th best team in Italy last Thursday, I’m not so convinced.

    As the season goes on, I just find myself more and more lost for words at how just bad we are and how quickly it’s fallen apart. I know we all thought we’d struggle for goals having not replaced Romelu Lukaku but did anybody really see our defence going up the creek like this? Worst in the league for crying out loud!!

    We spent £30m on Michael Keane, £30m on Jordan Pickford, £25m on Morgan Schneiderlin, £10m on Williams and we simply can’t keep teams out. Teams who can’t score for love nor money rattle them in against us. 11 goals in a 3 games? It’s just scandalous.

    And what really gets me about it is, it’s like the players don’t care. It’s like they’re scared to put their head in where it hurts for this club and they’re just cowards, to a man. The lack of character among this group of players is disgusting. They’ve already seen off 1 manager, they’ve just about seen off a caretaker manager and now we’re left no choice but to get an ass-kicker in – and if that doesn’t work? Well, we’re going down, it’s simple as that.

    I couldn’t believe the club wheeled Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday out to say how important this week is for Everton and how we’ve got to fight our way through this. How can he talk to us about fighting for each other when he does a vanishing act every week? Complete and utter lip service from him, he’s got no intention of changing his ways and as much as I think there’s a player in there, I’m sick of him.

    There is a lot of talk about Sam Allardyce and many are up in arms, saying how embarrassing it is. I’ll just say this, would you rather be embarrassed we hired a manager or, embarrassed we keep getting tonked every match and go down?

    For me it’s no contest and if you want to blame somebody for us going down this route, blame this squad of shithouse players (you’ll have to excuse my language). Ultimately, they’ve forced the hand of the board to push the panic button.

    Trust me, I’m no fan of the Everton board, in fact I think they’re incapable of running a top club but, they’ve tried waiting around to get an exciting manager in mid-way through the season (which does take time). I’m sure they would’ve kept trying if the players would’ve at least kept things ticking over under Unsworth, but 9 goals conceded to 2 bang average sides seems to have forced this conclusion.

    I’m not doing cartwheels over an Allardyce appointment but if it keeps us up, that’s going to have to do (what a sorry state of affairs considering the optimism 3 months ago).

    This club isn’t capable of going down, look at our wage bill, do you think there are relegation wage-drop clauses? No chance. Relegation would cripple us financially.

    Anyway, I think this will be the last match David Unsworth is going to be in the saddle for.

    It’s a shame how it’s panned out for Unsworth, I understood the club giving him a chance but ultimately, it’s become clear he isn’t the answer and the players aren’t performing for him.

    I won’t hold this run against Unsworth, but I do think if he wants to get into management, he’d be better cutting his teeth in the lower leagues. Taking over a bunch of shithouse over-paid primadonas lacking in confidence and team-spirit was always going to be hard for him.

    If I’m honest, I don’t know what team will be selected for this, nor what formation will be used. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Unsworth try and go at a weak West Ham defence by playing 2 up top, but at the same time, it’s going to be hard for him to leave out Gylfi Sigurdsson (who doesn’t suit the 4-4-2).

    We do know that Everton will be struggling for numbers at the back, Leighton Baines looks to be out of this one while Michael Keane is questionable after his ‘concussion’ on Sunday.

    Presuming those two aren’t available (along with Mason Holgate), you’d think it would be Cuco Martina at left back (gulp) and Ashley Williams at centre half alongside Phil Jagielka with Jonjoe Kenny at right back.

    The only other alternative might be Mo Besic who did play at right back in Lyon following Martina’s nasty bump but frankly, I’m unsure if he’s even fit or in the picture anymore.

    No matter how you dress it up, that defence looks absolutely awful.

    Moving into midfield, Tom Davies returns from his suspension so is probably likely be selected to freshen things up. However, who he starts alongside is anybody’s guess.

    I personally wouldn’t have Schneiderlin near the team at the moment, his form is atrocious and I’m just not sure he’s the man to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in like we need. If it were up to me, I’d prefer to see Gana with Davies or even Baningime ahead of Schneiderlin.

    I think it’s most likely Sigurdsson will play in front of the midfield 2, with 1 winger either side and a striker through the middle.

    I hope the Icelander, who’s set pieces could take on a fresh importance if we hire an Alladryce type, gleans some confidence from his worldie on Sunday. He’s been very disappointing so hopefully he can build some sort of form off the back of that beauty.

    On the left, I think I’d give Ademola Lookman a game here. I know the youngster hasn’t been particularly impressive against Crystal Palace and Southampton but I think he’s the best man to target the ageing Pablo Zabaleta with.

    To the right, Aaron Lennon has enjoyed a decent run in the side so is probably likely to continue. I know people will have their issues with Lennon and his lack of attacking productivity but in a crisis, I think he’s a sensible pick.

    Lennon is by far our most disciplined winger and his tracking back to deal with Cresswell will be needed in this match. However, if Unsworth was to surprise us and select Vlasic I wouldn’t be against it.

    Up front, I’m usually an advocate of Calvert-Lewin, but I thought he was very poor against Southampton so I’d look elsewhere in this match – meaning Sandro Ramirez or Wayne Rooney would get my vote.

    If I had to pick one, I’d go with the Spaniard. He scored last week at Goodison and looked bright off the bench against Crystal Palace before that. I believe there is a player in there and seeing as there’s no Niasse, he deserves a crack.

    So, with no confidence whatsoever, I’ll guess at this –

    That being said, I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see Rooney somewhere in the 11.

    We’re in a time of need and say what you want, the lad is a winner and a leader. Plus he isn’t shy of a goal against West Ham (having scored 11 PL goals against them). I’d just prefer he wasn’t selected upfront on his own, I feel quite strongly he can’t play that role anymore.

    Overall, this feels like a massive game for Everton. We’re playing one of the handful of teams behind us who could overtake us and obviously, a team managed by David Moyes.

    West Ham are not a great side, they’re 19th in the Premier League form table and a bit like us in the fact they’re woeful defensively and really poor away from home. So, all in all, it just seems like a game that Everton must win.

    You feel the Evertonians are at the breaking point, so a poor result here could see it really turn ugly at Goodison – and who knows, maybe that’s what this pathetic group of players need.

    I hope it doesn’t come to that and I hope we can sign Unsworth off with a win, lord knows this last 5 weeks has probably taken years off him.

    Anyway, the referee for this one is Michael Oliver – a ref regarded as one of the best, but one who did his utmost for Brighton against Everton earlier this season, failing to send off Propper for a clear lunge on Gana and award Everton a clear penalty prior to that we were awarded.

    Anyway, come on Everton, they’re shite, these!

    Just show us something. COYB!!!

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