Having managed to avoid an upset against Silkeborg in the Europa Conference League in midweek, West Ham United resume Premier League duties with a trip to Everton on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Toffees have not been in action since holding Liverpool to a goalless stalemate in the Merseyside derby on September 3.
With the Premier League taking a hiatus last weekend following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Everton fans have had ample time to watch a compilation of Jordan Pickford’s heroic moments in the Merseyside derby.
While the England number one had to make save after save to keep Frank Lampard’s side in the tie, a better finish from Neal Maupay could have even stolen all three points for Everton, who also saw a Conor Coady goal disallowed for offside on the day.
Still waiting for their first Premier League win over the season, Everton are the resident stalemate specialists with four draws on the bounce in the top flight, and their slow start to the season sees them languishing in 16th place in the table.
Only goal difference is keeping Lampard’s men above Nottingham Forest and upcoming opponents West Ham at present, but their spate of draws does mean that the Toffees can boast a five-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and only two of their last nine top-flight encounters at Goodison Park have ended in defeat.
It has been 45 years since Everton last played out five consecutive draws in league action, and not since 1994 have the Toffees failed to win any of their opening seven games in the Premier League, so taking advantage of jellied West Ham legs is of paramount importance.
Nearly two weeks on from being the victims of a farcical VAR call in which Maxwel Cornet was denied a seemingly fine equaliser against Chelsea – with Jarrod Bowen adjudged to have fouled Edouard Mendy – this time it was West Ham’s turn to be on the correct end of a controversial officiating decision.
Manuel Lanzini’s penalty, Craig Dawson’s header and Gianluca Scamacca’s thunderbolt helped the Hammers avoid a continental upset, but Silkeborg were aggrieved to see a goal ruled out when Stefan Thordarson was penalised for a foul on Alphonse Areola following a corner – replays showed the West Ham goalkeeper simply ran into the Icelandic midfielder before taking a tumble.
Officiating controversy aside, two wins from two is just what the doctor ordered for David Moyes in the Europa Conference League, especially with his side in need of a major Premier League pick-me-up as they sit below the dreaded dotted line in 18th with just four points to their name.
Having discovered a golden attacking touch in Europe, West Ham will be determined to boost a paltry tally of three Premier League goals – making them the league’s worst attacking force alongside Wolverhampton Wanderers – but those three goals have come in each of their last three top-flight matches.
West Ham did the double over Everton in the 2021-22 Premier League and have claimed back-to-back 1-0 wins at Goodison Park in the last two seasons, and another triumph here would see the Hammers win a trio of league games away to the Toffees for the very first time.
Everton Premier League form:
Everton form (all competitions):
West Ham United Premier League form:
West Ham United form (all competitions):
We say: Everton 1-2 West Ham United
With all due respect to Asmir Begovic, the absence of Pickford removes a significant layer of protection from the Everton defence, and the goals have been flying in for West Ham in Europe at just the right time.
A trip to Goodison Park will still prove a stern test of the Hammers’ credentials, but Moyes can negate the midweek fatigue with a multitude of alterations, and we can envisage a narrow away win on Sunday.