Everton aim to continue winning run while West Ham seek first victory in four
Everton 1-1 West Ham
A tight clash between Everton and West Ham sets us up nicely as we head into a brand New Year, one in which both teams will be hoping for success.
Everton sit best placed to claim that success of the two, with The Toffees ending 2020 on a fantastic run of form which took them into 4th. Four wins on the spin has seen them shake off their previous lull a month or so ago and have taken points from tough fixtures against the likes of Chelsea and Leicester.
Carlo Ancelotti will want to guard against talk of the title, being such an early stage of the season, but he realises the huge opportunity his side have to press home their advantage.
West Ham, despite enjoying great form a month or so ago, have slipped considerably of late. A run of just one win from six matches has left them in 10th place.
Form Guide (all comps): WWWLW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Great league results against big teams
Will have had three days additional rest over West Ham
Reasons to be fearful:
Have not won five games on the bounce since 2013/14
Calvert-Lewin hasn’t scored in four
Everton are on a run of four successive wins for the second time this season, having also won their opening four fixtures.
Unlike the first run, which was built off terrific attacking play and outscoring their opponents, their recent run has stemmed from a tight defence which has seen them concede just one goal, an Arsenal penalty.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has failed to score in any of the games during the recent winning streak, which will be a concern for Everton, but if they can continue to keep things tight at the back, they will always have a chance in games.
James Rodriguez, who has been out injured since the start of December, could be fit to play a role in this one, though may be kept out by the form of Sigurdsson who has done well in the Colombian’s place.
Star Man – Gylfi Sigurdsson
Has slotted into the injured Rodriguez’s spot nicely, scoring twice in his last four appearances.
Form Guide (all comps): WDLDD
Reasons to be cheerful
Are proving hard to beat despite winless run
Several players in line for a return
Reasons to be fearful
Three games in a week is tough to cope with
Goals have somewhat dried up of late
West Ham have played two games of football since Everton last stepped onto a pitch, with The Toffees last match postponed against Manchester City due to an outbreak of Coronavirus.
The Hammers’ boss David Moyes will be concerned about fatigue among his players, and will almost certainly consider rotating his stars for this one after three games in a week.
Fortunately, several players are ready to step into the breach for The Hammers, with Bowen, Benrahma and the injured Michail Antonio possibilities for David Moyes here. Antonio, in particular, can help West Ham come up with some of the goals that have missing of late.
This will undoubtedly be a tough match for The Hammers, coming up against a top four side in great form, but they will have faith in their style of football and it won’t be long until they’re back winning matches.
Star Man – Michail Antonio
If he is fit, he can make a world of difference to this West Ham side. He provides a different dimension to Haller.
Everton are favourites but will find it tough
Both sides are likely to make changes
Could finish all square
In the first match of the year, both sides will be desperate to get off to a good start – Everton in order to keep pace near the top of the table, and West Ham to return to winning ways.
Everton are in a better place, but won’t find it easy to beat a tough West Ham side, especially with their top scorer suffering a dry spell currently.
Neither side will want to lose, meaning it could end up all square.
Everton 1-1 West Ham