What a difference a few months makes. In May, West Ham finished the season in 7th position with 62 points, comfortably above 11th placed Everton whom had accumulated 47 points.
Now though, things are different. West Ham are languishing in 15th position, and even an EFL Cup run to the quarter finals, beating Chelsea on route has been marred by violence in the London Stadium.
Everton on the other hand, under new boss Ronald Koeman are going about life very well indeed, albeit under the radar, so to speak.
The Toffees lie in 6th position, just four points behind Tottenham in 5th. Despite this strong start, Everton are without a win in 5 games in all competitions, since beating Middlesbrough on 17th September.
Equally, West Ham have won three on the spin, edging past London rivals Crystal Palace, relegation threatened Sunderland and Chelsea in the EFL Cup.
Two Premier League heavyweights do battle at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon, kick off 13:30 GMT.
As alluded to above, despite the contrasting league positions of the two sides, it is in fact the visitors who are on a better run of form heading into this fixture. After losing four on the bounce, Bilic’s West Ham side have now put together a run of form of four undefeated in all competitions, which has dragged the Londoners out of the relegation zone. Everton is a tough test, especially away from home, but with Stoke, Spurs and Manchester United all to face the Hammers in the next month, they need points on the board as soon as possible to build on the last few weeks good work.
Everton are in a much more relaxed position, and the pressure is certainly off of Ronald Koeman – for the time being at least. That said, it depends how ambitious this current crop of Evertonians are. For instance, they sit back and marvel at their strong start to the season or; considering the bunched up nature of the teams above them, really aim to push on, secure wins against the likes of West Ham and cement themselves in the top four of English football again. If they are to follow that path, they cannot accept anything less than three points against the Hammers.
Predicted line ups
Everton may look towards a slightly changed side, after a less than impressive 2-1 defeat at Burnley. Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu will eye a return to the starting XI, as will Tom Cleverley. Ross Barkley’s position in the side may be in jeopardy, as Koeman this week stated that he is no longer a “young talent” and that he requires consistency from the 22 year old.
Everton predicted starting XI:
West Ham didn’t make too many chances in the EFL Cup, but expect the starting XI to resemble the side that defeated Sunderland more. The area of right back remains a cause for concern for the Iron. Arbeloa may be fielded there today with Byram injured but in the longer term the Hammers are rumoured to be looking at Millwall’s Mahlon Romeo.
West Ham predicted starting XI:
Everton have no fresh injury concerns following defeat to Burnley last time out.
West Ham will remain without Andy Carroll and Sam Byram, but Andre Ayew is edging closer to a return to the starting XI.
Three weeks ago this one would have been a lot easier to predict. However, notwithstanding West Ham’s recent turnaround it is still hard to look past an Everton win in front to the Goodison faithful to keep the pressure on the top 5. Prediction 2-1.
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