Can West Ham take advantage of Everton changes?
Avram Grant takes his beleaguered Hammers troops to Goodison Park on Saturday.
IT MAY have only been last month, but a lot seems to have changed at Goodison Park since the Toffees grabbed a 1-1 draw with the Hammers.
Top scorer Tim Cahill has gone off to the Asia Cup and will miss Saturday’s return clash; Louis Saha, so often a thorn in West Ham’s side is injured and Steven Pienaar, their talented South African, has moved on to Tottenham Hotspur.
Their new look attack of Victor Anichibe and Jermaine Beckford are talented, but raw and it could be that West Ham have a real chance to get a positive result on Merseyside for a change.
Everyone knows that the Hammers can’t beat Liverpool at Anfield, but they haven’t won against the blue half of the city either since 2005.
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That day an own goal from David Weir and a fine strike by Bobby Zamora cancelled out James Beattie’s early goal and gave West Ham all three points.
Tony Hibbert’s own goal last month gave West Ham the lead at Upton Park, only for Seamus Coleman to earn David Moyes’ side a point they certainly deserved.
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After another of their notoriously slow starts, Everton now find themselves fairly comfortably placed in mid-table with 26 points from 22 games, despite winning only three of their 10 home games.
Beckford and Coleman have scored four goals apiece this term for Everton, but perhaps the one to watch is dangerous and distinctive midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who had an impressive game at Upton Park.
Remember, miracles can happen at Goodison Park, if last season’s encounter is anything to go by.
The Hammers seemed to be drifting to a 2-1 defeat with just a couple of minutes left when Julien Faubert delivered a magical cross and just as unlikely, Ilan thumped in a bullet header to make it 2-2!
Nobody is saying something like that is going to happen, though you may remember Radoslav Kovac scoring from distance there a couple of seasons ago, so you never know.
With the managerial situation finally decided, maybe West Ham can finally concentrate on the field and get a result.
Possible team: Howard, Heitinga, Baines, Coleman, Distin, Neville, Fellaini, Osman, Arteta, Anichebe, Beckford.
Everton 1 West Ham 1