Everton v West Brom: Premier League
Monday 20:00 and live on Sky Sports 1….it’s Everton v West Brom from Goodison Park.
Aiden McGeady is suspended for the Toffees following his red card in the FA Cup defeat at West Ham but defenders Tony Hibbert and Sylvain Distin could return after injury.
Saido Berahino is 0kay for the Baggies after his court hearing for drink-driving was re-scheduled.
There are few more obvious managerial contrasts in the Premier League than Roberto Martinez and Tony Pulis.
One is a thoroughly modern, foreign coach who preaches good attacking football but often suffers from defensive problems, the other an old-school British coach renowned for being a defensive specialist – and doesn’t care about pretty football.
That suggests Pulis’ tactics could frustrate Martinez, and it’s worth remembering that Pulis recorded a victory at Goodison Park with Crystal Palace last season, with a counter-attacking performance based around quick transitions through the wide players.
Everton are in awful form, having lost four and drawn one of their last five Premier League matches, while last midweek they had to play 120 minutes against West Ham in the cup, half of it with ten men.
Tony Pulis is unlikely to make many changes to the side which recorded a distinctly Pulis-esque 1-0 victory over Hull in his first game as Baggies coach. The defence and midfield functioned excellently without the ball, and Saido Berahino pounced late in the game for the only goal.
Everton are highly likely to dominate possession throughout this game, with West Brom sitting deep to guard against the pace of Lukaku.
Everton will attempt to play clever passing combinations to work the ball into dangerous positions, but West Brom’s midfielders will stay extremely tight to prevent their midfield cordon being penetrated by through-balls.
Everton will therefore rely heavily on Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman to stretch the play and provide crosses, which should in turn allow McGeady and Naismith inside.
However, Pulis won’t be disappointed to see both full-backs attacking simultaneously, because it will create space for West Brom to break into.
Chris Brunt was fielded on the right last weekend, where he can cut inside and shoot, while Stephane Sessegnon is an excellent ball-carrier.
- West Brom are without a win in their last four matches against Everton (L2, D2).
- Everton have won 43 of the 74 home league games against West Brom (D16, L15).
- The Baggies have only won once at Goodison Park in the Premier League (D2, L5).
- Everton beat West Brom 2-0 in the corresponding fixture on September 13 – a first league win of the season for the Toffees and a first goal of the campaign for Romelu Lukaku.
- Everton are without a win in their last seven games in all competitions (L5, D2).
- They have only won one of their last 12 matches in all competitions, failing to record a single clean sheet.
- Everton have only won three of their 10 home league games this season (D4, L3) – they had only lost one at the same stage last season (W6, D3).
- They have conceded 34 league goals already this season after only letting in 39 in the whole of 2013-14 season.
- Leighton Baines’ assist against Manchester City last time out was his 45th in the Premier League – a record for a defender.
- Arouna Kone has scored in two of his three Premier League games against the Baggies.
- West Brom have only won two of their 11 away games in all competitions – the last of which came on 1 November against Leicester.
- They have won just four of their last 26 Premier League away matches (W4, D7, L15).
- Tony Pulis has won six of his last nine Premier League games as a manager (D2, L1).
- Only QPR and Aston Villa, five and four respectively, have scored fewer league away goals than West Brom’s six this season.
- Having gone 11 games without a goal, Saido Berahino has scored six in his last three.
- Berahino is the second highest-scoring Englishman in the Premier League with nine, behind Charlie Austin who has 13.
With Berahino’s pace, West Brom should be able to grab a goal on the break.
West Brom already look much better under Pulis. I think he’d take a draw, though, so rather than backing a West Brom victory, lay Everton at 1.9.
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