West Ham United travel to Goodison Park on Saturday looking to end a nine-year hoodoo and further boost their European hopes with a win over Everton.
Their last win came in 2005 during the Hammers return to the Premier League with goals from Bobby Zamora and a David Weir own goal sending the east end club to an unlikely win.
In recent times, though, Goodison Park has been something of a bogey ground for the Irons with only a handful of points being secured in the blue half of Liverpool.
They will though travel with confidence having found themselves in a bit of a purple patch of form, unbeaten in their last five games the Hammers will hope to end the hoodoo and bring the three points back home with them.
Sam Allardyce will be without a few key men however, with Stewart Downing, Diafra Sakho, Winston Reid and Enner Valencia all potentially missing for the visitors.
With Sakho and Valencia missing, there is an unlikely start for the returning Andy Carroll on the cards. The former Liverpool man who has only managed three minutes of first-team football, continued his recovery behind closed doors during the international break, and completed ninety minutes in a 3-3 friendly draw with Fulham, getting on the scoresheet in the process.
Before the weekend clash Andy Carroll spoke of his delight at being back involved with the first team.
“It’s great to be back, it’s been a while being out and I’m just getting my fitness back up. Getting 90 minutes against Fulham was great and obviously getting my first appearance for a while against Villa the previous weekend was even better.
“I thought we were really unlucky [to only get a point against Villa], it was a great save from the keeper, but I put myself about in the last three minutes and got a couple on target, which possibly could have gone in.
“I’m feeling really good. I’ve worked a lot with the medical staff and they’ve got me fighting fit and I’m feeling great. Obviously to train for a few weeks, get on as a sub and to then play 90 minutes just proves that I’m feeling good,” he told WHUFC.com
The Hammers know a win, would more than likely keep them in the top four, but Sam Allardyce is refusing to get carried away claiming there is still ‘a long, long way to go’.
He said, “We’ve made a good start but there is a long, long way still to go. I think it’s a huge ask which is probably just ahead of us at the moment. Had we got three points against Aston Villa, which we should have done, then maybe but I think that was a game that if we really are going to push for Europe then we would have won that game.
“We have a vital part of the season coming up. November and December is a tough time and it will determine where we finish. There isn’t an international break for a long time so we don’t have an opportunity to regroup if necessary so it will be a big test for us.”
Everton meanwhile are used to finding themselves inside that top six, priding themselves on keeping tight at the back, and playing expansive football on the counter attack.
However, this season, whilst still playing decent football on the counter, they seem to be leaking goals at the back, a somewhat unusual sight at Goodison Park.
The Toffees have conceded eighteen goals this season so far, scoring twenty, it is a case of we will score more than you under Martinez at the moment.
Much like the Hammers, they have been blighted by injuries and this weekend is no exception. Leighton Baines and Gareth Barry are major doubts for the hosts, whilst they will also hope James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman, Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas all pass late fitness tests.
Ahead of the game, Everton boss Roberto Martinez heaped praise on the Hammers tagging them brave, and tipping them for Europe.
He said, “West Ham have been the most consistent team in the Premier League and it wasn’t by accident.
“The way they play is very brave – they’ve a lot of attackers. It’ll be one of our biggest challenges.
“It is still early days but we still have four teams challenging for the title and eight teams looking for Europe.
“West Ham are one of the big challengers for those places without a doubt.”
Whilst Martinez may well tip the Hammers to challenge for Europe this season he only has to look at the record books to see the task the Irons will have to overcome to win at Goodison Park.
I think in truth both the fans and Sam Allardyce will take a point up in Liverpool on Saturday, but will dare to dream for a win, with the Hammers potentially missing Sakho and Downing that task will be made that much harder.
Last five games:
- Sunderland 1-1 Everton
- Everton 3-0 Lille
- Everton 0-0 Swansea
- Burnley 1-3 Everton
- Lille 0-0 Everton
West Ham United:
- West Ham 0-0 Aston Villa
- Stoke 2-2 West Ham
- West Ham 2-1 Manchester City
- Burnley 1-3 West Ham
- West Ham 2-0 QPR
- Everton are unbeaten in their last 13 games against West Ham in all competitions (W9, D4), winning the last four.
- Victory would see the Toffees record five consecutive Premier League wins against the same opponent for the first time.
- West Ham’s last victory against Everton came at Upton Park in April 2007, when Bobby Zamora got the only goal. It was the first of four successive wins that saw the Hammers narrowly avoid relegation.
- There have been four red cards in the last five Premier League games between these clubs, with three of those for the Hammers.
Approximately 350 tickets of our 2,900 allocation remain.
Where to drink:
Thomas Frost, Bradleys wine bar or the Arkles are the best bets for travelling supporters.
Everton 2-1 West Ham