Bogey-boys Everton are back in town!
West Ham will look to break a run of seven games without a win against the Toffees at Upton Park on Tuesday evening.
THE USUAL reaction from any West Ham fan contemplating an upcoming match with Everton is a simple one – ‘we never beat them’!
Usually it turns out to be a fallacy, but in the case of the Toffees there is certainly some truth in it.
The Hammers have not beaten Everton in seven matches and in fact have lost their last four home games against the Merseysiders, including a Carling Cup quarter-final clash in 2007.
The last time they did manage to grab the three points was back in those magical Carlos Tevez days when an early goal from Bobby Zamora was enough to keep them on the road to the Great Escape.
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Since then it has been nothing but misery. It was 2-1 last season with Louis Saha one of those on target, the year before it was 3-1 with that man Saha grabbing a couple more.
David Moyes’ side have made another of their characteristic slow starts to the campaign. They bought no-one in the summer, only bringing in Jermaine Beckford on a free, and seemed to pay the price for that as they slumbered near the bottom of the table.
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But slowly, and surely they have found their feet, culminating in their superb 2-1 victory at Manchester City on Monday night.
One of the scorers was Tim Cahill, a strike that gave him his ninth goal of the season, a prolific tally for a midfielder who belies his lack of height by being superb in the air.
He must be the one to watch on Tuesday, though Saha, who seems to love playing and scoring against the Hammers will be not far behind him if he gets the nod from the start.
Everton are also likely to have Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta back in their ranks after recent absences and that could spell a difficult afternoon for West Ham.
Before Monday, the Blues had only managed one away victory all season, beating Birmingham City 2-0, and aside from Cahill, they have been struggling for goals with only Arteta (3) and Beckford (2) making any real contribution to the scoring statistics.
That should give West Ham some heart in a tight game, but having been blown away by the same Manchester City side that were beaten by Everton, it will certainly not be easy.
Can the Hammers break that seven game run without a win against Everton? Probably not.
Possible team: Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Neville, Coleman, Cahill, Pienaar, Arteta, Fellaini, Saha.
West Ham 1 Everton 2