Everton v West Ham United – Preview: Toffees look to defeat the Hammers to re-ignite European hopes

Everton host West Ham United at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League, with the Toffees looking for a victory to get back in the hunt to secure European football for next season.

The Blues defeated Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park on Wednesday night to make it three wins out of the last four in the Premier League.

Roberto Martinez’s men currently sit in eleventh position on 38 points after 27 games, eight points behind the Hammers in sixth, and nine points off Manchester City in fourth who occupy the final Champions League position.

In 14 games  at Goodison this season, the Toffees have only managed four victories, with three of them against three of the current bottom four sides in the Premier League. A drastic turn of form is needed in the final five home fixtures if European football is to return to Goodison next season.

The Hammers, meanwhile, are enjoying a fantastic campaign to date, and a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday has pushed the Upton Park outfit into Champions League contention with the ten games remaining.

Slaven Bilic’s side sit in fifth in the standings on 46 points after 28 games, one point off Manchester City and Manchester United in fourth and fifth respectively.

In their 14 away fixtures in the Premier League this season, the Irons have won five, drawn five and lost four, with their last victory on the road coming in a 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the beginning of January.

When the two sides met earlier this season the game ended in a 1-1 draw at Upton Park in November, while the Blues defeated the Hammers 2-1 at Goodison last season.

Everton have won the last three Premier League games against the Irons at Goodison, and you have to go back to December 2005 for the last time the London side recorded a victory at the  L4 venue.

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In teams news, Leighton Baines is set to return to the side in place of the injured Bryan Ovideo, while Kevin Mirallas could keep his place ahead of Tom Cleverely who miss the Villa game through illness.

James Collins is out of the game for West Ham after picking up a hamstring injury in the match against Spurs, while fellow centre-back Winston Reid will also miss the fixture with the same injury.

Sam Byram, who turned down a move to the Blues in favour of West Ham will miss the game through suspension.

Recent FormEverton (W-W-L-W-W) West Ham (W-D-W-W-W)

Expected Starting XIs

Everton (4-2-3-1): Robles, Coleman, Jagielka, Mori, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Lennon, Barkley, Mirallas; Lukaku.

West Ham (4-3-3): Adrian, Antonio, Oxford, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble, Obiang; Lanzini, Emenike, Payet.

Graphic courtesy of www.Sporticos.com

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