Everton need a win at Goodison Park today if they want to keep their hopes of a European place alive, but they’ll need to get past a newly resurgent West Ham to claim all three points (watch live online on NBC Sports Live Extra at 10 a.m. ET).
After spending the majority of the season in the relegation zone, West Ham are, incredibly, now in tenth, after a perfect February saw them win four in a row. The majority of those victories came at the expense of others in the bottom half of the table, but last week’s 3-1 win over Southampton showed that the Irons really are in form.
Everton, in contrast, have lost their last two matches, to Tottenham and Chelsea. Both games finished 1-0, a remarkable result for Roberto Martinez’s attack-minded side. With Sam Allardyce’s focus on defense, will the Toffees be able to create much today?
Romelu Lukaku and Andy Carroll both make their returns at Goodison today, although both managers have elected to keep their strikers on the bench. In fact, Allardyce is sticking with the same side that beat the Saints so convincingly last week, although we can be sure if the visitors are struggling, Carroll will make an appearance.
Martinez makes two changes to the side that lost to Chelsea last time out. John Stones replaces the injured Phil Jagielka, while Kevin Mirallas drops to the bench in favor of Gerard Deulofeu.
Everton: Howard, Baines, Distin, Coleman, Stones, Deulofeu, Naismith, McCarthy, Barry, Osman, Piennar
Subs: Joel, Hibbert, McGeady, Mirallas, Lukaku, Barkley, Browning
West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney, Noble, Nolan, Taylor, Jarvis, C.Cole, Downing
Subs: Reid, Armero, Carroll, Diame, Jaaskelainen, J.Cole, Nocerino