Everton have consistently proved a difficult test for West Ham United. The last time the Hammers got the best over them was over five years as part of the great escape triumph of 2007. Since then, these two teams have drawn against each other in their last three occasions, meaning a tight affair could ensue. The most notable absentee from this fixture is Marouane Fellaini who has proved himself a top class player this year; his nonattendance is a result of retrospective action taken against him after he nutted Ryan Shawcross, a moment of madness that shouldn’t surprise seeing as he shares 99% of his DNA with Sideshow Bob. West Ham United have Jack Collison back in the squad, but he is struggling for match fitness and the club still have a long injury list which could prove costly come the Christmas period.
One feature of West Ham United’s side that is unlikely to change is the back four, due in part to injuries, but also to their solid display last week against West Brom in which James Collins and Winston Reid were immense. A shake up could come in midfield. Matt Jarvis has struggled for form which might see Modibo Maiga work his way into the first eleven. A man many wish to be seen given a chance up front this season, Maiga is a player with unrealised potential which can be fulfilled with first team football. One of the main reasons Jarvis was brought to the club was his crossing and speed down the wing. While glimpses have been shown of his quality putting balls into the box, Jarvis has shown a reluctance to beat his man, constantly trying to cut in onto his right which often leads to an unsuccessful delivery. Carlton Cole looks likely to continue deputising for Carroll after his consistent performances.
Despite the Boxing Day postponement of the Arsenal game, West Ham’s next few games are still difficult tests, and the injuries West Ham United are suffering at the moment have thinned the squad to its bare bones. Only six substitutes were named against West Brom, with three of those never having played in the Premier League. Vaz Te, Benayoun, McCartney, Carroll and Diame could be missing for all of the upcoming matches and their return could not come quickly enough. Allardyce is keen to bring in new faces in January, with Nicolas ‘le Sulk’ Anelka seeming the most likely to join. The three points against Everton is the primary concern for now, a defeat would prove incredibly demoralising and a slump in form could follow, leading to another relegation battle no West Ham United fan wants to go through again.