West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini may task his central midfield duo with ‘man-marking’ Everton midfielder Andre Gomes on Saturday, according to journalist Sam Inkersole.
The Hammers make the trip to Goodison Park to take on a Toffees side who now have Portugal international Gomes back to full fitness, and Inkersole believes Pellegrini will attempt to shut down the former Barcelona man.
“Gomes is a key player for Everton, a lot of their success last season came about because of him and that’s why Pellegrini was keen to bring him to east London, though the manager didn’t get his wish,” he wrote on the Football London website.
“Whether that means Mark Noble or Declan Rice, if the latter plays, man-marking Gomes for the game, who knows. But whatever way, there needs to be a plan to stifle the Portuguese player throughout the game on Merseyside.”
Gomes was excellent for Everton during his loan spell from Barca last season, but he has yet to really hit those same heights this season. With that said, it’s doubtful that Pellegrini will look to shut him down personally on Saturday. Noble and Rice have both been in terrific form so far this season, so you’d think that Pellegrini’s opposite number Marco Silva will be looking at how to limit their influence on Saturday. Given how poorly Everton have performed this campaign, Pellegrini probably isn’t overly worried by any of their players. Particularly not Gomes, who has not been at his best this time round. As per WhoScored.com, the 26-year-old is averaging just 41.8 passes per game, with a slightly underwhelming 83.3% pass success rate. While that’s not terrible, it’s not a tally you’d expect from someone like Gomes either. Meanwhile he is averaging just 0.8 key passes per outing this campaign. So he’s not influencing things as much as he used to, meaning Pellegrini may not actually do what Inkersole expects here.