West Ham United v Everton: Five players under the spotlight

West Ham welcome Everton to Upton Park with the sides only one point apart in the early stages of the season.

Last season 1-2

Odds: West Ham 9/4, Draw 12/5, Everton 7/5.

West Ham will be hoping to get back to winning ways after they suffered a surprise defeat to Stoke City in their last home game. Everton, however, will be full of confidence after maintaining their unbeaten start to the season by beating Chelsea at Goodison Park last weekend. Everton currently sit one point ahead of the Hammers after four games on six points.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is still without Joe Cole, Stewart Downing and Joe Cole until October at the earliest whilst there has been no real timescale put on the George McCartney’s injury whilst Everton could welcome back Arouna Kone. Question marks still remain over the fitness of Steven Pienaar and Darron Gibson who are due to undergo late fitness tests.

Last time they met:

Everton 2-0 West Ham – Premier League May 2013

It was the final home game of the 11 year era of David Moyes in the Everton dugout, and Everton confirmed a 6th place finish in the league. Kevin Mirallas gave Everton the lead after six minutes, a lead that lasted until the hour mark in the game, where Mirallas doubled his tally, and Everton’s to give them all three points.

Romelu Lukaku

He is likely to make his Everton debut this weekend after being unable to play against his parent club Chelsea last weekend. Will he hit the ground running and show the impressive form that allowed him to score 17 league goals for West Brom last season? Everton fans hope so.

Darron Gibson

If Gibson is past fit for this game, it will be interesting to see how he combines with Gareth Barry, who had an impressive debut against Chelsea for the Toffees last week. Those two combined could mean a difficult task for West Ham to control the midfield area.

Mladen Petric

He has been brought in to provide another attacking option to the club as West Ham are light in that area, so will we see him against Everton, and just how much of an impact can he have for the Hammers?

Mark Noble

Noble is going to have a very tough task in helping control that midfield for West Ham as Roberto Martinez’s side like to control the football, so whenever Noble gets his foot on the ball he must use it wisely and do his best not to be wasteful.

Leon Osman

He was impressive in a deeper role last week against Chelsea for Everton, but if Osman is played in his usual position further up the field, his relationship with Lukaku in the final third could be key to success for Everton this season, and they’ll want to start well.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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