After falling short of beating Tottenham Hotspur before the international break, West Ham United are back in action this afternoon when they face Everton in Stratford.
The Toffees were enjoying an unbeaten start to the season under Rafael Benitez until the Hammers arrived at Goodison Park back in October, meaning that if they were to start April with three points, David Moyes will have done the double over his former club.
West Ham may have had a good recent record on Merseyside but they will be aware of Everton’s form in East London in the not too distant past. The Toffees achieved three points here last season under Carlo Ancelotti’s guidance but the hosts will want to avenge that defeat and follow up their doubles over newly-promoted Watford and Aston Villa with a third here.
Since the reverse fixture though, former Derby County and Chelsea Head-Coach Frank Lampard has replaced Benitez in the dugout and the home fans would enjoy nothing more than getting a third success over their former player after he was beaten twice by the East Londoners in the 2019/20 campaign when he was in charge of Chelsea.
Both sides were in action two weeks ago but whilst the Irons suffered London derby disappointment at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Premier League, the Toffees were dumped out of the FA Cup, as they were thrashed 4-0 at Crystal Palace. However they did pick up a rare success in their last top-flight game just three days earlier as a last-minute winner saw them clinch a home win against Newcastle United.
The visitors also have a game in midweek and it is a crucial one. They are on the road again, this time facing fellow strugglers Burnley on Wednesday night. Having said that, the Irons will want to make sure that they prepare for their “big” European night in the best way possible.
Moyes stated in his pre-match news conference on Friday that both Jarrod Bowen and Vladimír Coufal have recovered from their respective injuries but was cagey when asked about the possibility of including them in the matchday squad. If Coufal doesn’t make it however, then Ben Johnson will retain his place. The manager did reveal however that Manuel Lanzini has recently been involved in a car accident and will have to be assessed ahead of the game. If the Argentine isn’t available, then either Mark Noble or Alex Král may receive a rare start.
Pablo Fornals was dropped to the bench in favour of Arthur Masuaku at Spurs on 20 March and the two players might swap places again here if the Scotsman decides to make changes ahead of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final first-leg at home to French outfit Olympique Lyonnais on Thursday night.
The match is a 2pm kick-off with live coverage being screened by Sky Sports from 1pm. The referee is Michael Oliver.