Brentford stopped West Ham United from making their best ever start to a Premier League campaign when they won 2-1 in Stratford exactly a fortnight ago. However, West Ham United still remain unbeaten on the road and will look to extend this run, as they head to Goodison Park to take on Everton this afternoon.
The Hammers started 2021 by handing manager David Moyes his first victory over his former club since he left Merseyside in May 2013 and having recently recorded victory against another of his old teams after the Carabao Cup success over Manchester United, the Scotsman will certainly be hoping he can repeat the trick and come away with three points for the second consecutive visit.
When the fixtures for the current campaign were published in June, it was unknown who would succeed Carlo Ancelotti as Everton manager but after a thorough selection process, the club’s hierarchy had decided that former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was the man to replace the Italian, who made a shock move back to Spain for a second spell at Real Madrid.
Many of the loyal Toffees fan base wondered how the former Reds chief would get on once confirmed in the hotseat but, somewhat surprisingly, he has only lost one game this season, as they were beaten 3-0 at Aston Villa back on 18 September. Coincidentally, this was the same weekend that the Irons fell to their first reverse, having come out on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline at home to the Red Devils.
Everton still have a 100% record here whilst by the same token, the Irons have yet to experience a losing feeling on their travels so far. Either one of these unbeaten records could go here and with a tough week ahead of them, the visitors will be hoping to build some momentum.
Ironically, the last time that the Hammers travelled to Goodison Park after an international break back in October 2019, they suffered their first away defeat of the season under the stewardship of Manuel Pellegrini. Moyes will certainly want to avoid that fate, as he will be looking for his side to bounce back from defeat to the Bees.
Although Moyes never actually made use of his substitutes bench during the defeat to Thomas Frank’s men, Nikola Vlašić was set to come on but the Irons’ boss decided against making the change. The Scotsman could employ a switch in formation and hand the Croatian a start upfront with Michail Antonio at his former club. Kurt Zouma is also set to keep his place in the side and make a return to Goodison Park having spent time on loan with the Toffees during the 2018/19 campaign.
Vladimír Coufal was deemed fit enough to face the newly-promoted Bees before the latest international break but having been forced to return to East London early from duty with the Czech Republic, he is a doubt for this encounter.
There may also be another change in the matchday squad ahead of the trip, as Mark Noble will have to be assessed to see whether he can be involved.
The match is a 2pm kick-off with live coverage being screened by Sky Sports from 1pm. The referee is Stuart Attwell.