Everton v West Ham United – Premier League – Goodison Park – Sunday (2pm) – Preview
Brian Dear is hoping to see a refreshed and revitalised West Ham United that takes on Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday
The Hammers appeared jaded ahead of the international break, winning just one of their previous five Premier League outings: “We’ve been stewing on the Brentford defeat for a fortnight, but in truth, we looked off the pace and lacked energy,” the former frontman told Yellow Sport.
“I thought we’d got away with it when Jarrod Bowen equalised. I know we want to be winning our home games, but Brentford are a decent side. A point, under the circumstances, would have been a reasonable return.
“I think David Moyes has some decisions to make. I think it might be time for Alphonse Areola to start in goal for the league matches. The manager also needs to monitor the form of Tomas Soucek, who hasn’t reached the same levels yet this season.
“It’s easy to get carried away, particularly after we made such a good start to the season. But expectations are a lot higher now. West Ham are expected to perform, expected to win.”
The Hammers head to Merseyside on Sunday and will face an Everton side beaten only once in the Premier League and believing – under the guidance of Rafael Benitez – that they can secure a top-seven finish this time around: “Rafa has shaped Everton into a stylish side. Perhaps not quite ready to challenge the top four, but the foundations are certainly going in.
“They are strong at Goodison. The crowd noise it up there and can make it intimidating for away sides. But we need to go back to basics. Remember what was making us tick at the start of the season and replicate it.
“We’ve won at Everton a couple of times in recent years, so it isn’t as if we are looking to lift a curse or anything like that. Sure, they are a good side and will cause us problems. But as I said, back to basics – Remember what made us tick – what our strengths are.
“We must string a few results together over the coming weeks. We want to be in the mix, not sitting in mid-table bobbing up, and largely down. I know it’s tougher this season, trying to emulate last as well as compete in Europe. But we do have a squad that is more than capable these days. Perhaps we could do with an out and out goalscorer – couldn’t everyone. We also have a tough run of matches coming up.
“But the truth of it is that word expectation. Standards were set last season, both on the pitch and through the player’s we have brought into the football club. This is a game we should be targeting. I believe we are capable of something and I predict a point and something to build on.”
Brian Dear’s prediction: Everton 1-1 West Ham United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Everton 2-2 West Ham United