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Joel Robles is set to continue in goal as Maarten Stekelenburg recovers from a dead leg
The wider world can't get rid of 2016 fast enough and the sentiment is mostly true for Evertonians as well who are still waiting for a new dawn to fully break on the pitch following the descent into chaos of Roberto Martinez's tenure earlier in the year.
The assumption of the Goodison Park hot seat by Ronald Koeman promised big things for the Toffees but, six months in, the scale of the project ahead of the Dutchman has been exposed by a three-month stretch of poor form that threatened to plunge the club back into the bottom half of the table.
There have been signs that Koeman is getting to grips with the task and his squad, however, and with two wins in the last three matches, Everton are once again looking up the table with designs on catching any of the top six who might hit a bad patch of their own in the second half of the season.
The Blues will see out the calendar year with a trip to Hull to face the Premier League's bottom club. Mike Phelan's Tigers began their first season back in the top flight in decent fashion, registering back-to-back wins in the Premier League but, despite progressing to the last four the League Cup, they've only won once more in the league since.
That has left them with just 12 points from 18 games, four points from safety coming into this Friday night encounter on Humberside, and one of the favourites for the drop back to the Championship.
For Everton, that represents opportunity as they go in search of successive victories for the first time since September. A number of sites listed at gamblingwebsites.org.uk have attractive free bet offers for new sign-ups if you fancy betting on the Blues' chances. Hull made life difficult for Manchester City on Boxing Day but eventually collapsed in the last 20 minutes in the face of Pep Guardiola's superior firepower; if Koeman's men can put on a repeat of the Leicester display, then they stand a good chance of taking the points.
With both Maarten Stekelenburg and James McCarthy still ruled out through injury, the line-up could conceivably be the same, although Hull's preference for one up front might preclude the three-man central defence that was effective at the King Power Stadium. His relative youth would make Mason Holgate the unfortunate but likely casualty in the event that Koeman reverts to a back four.
In midfield, meanwhile, Tom Davies and Ross Barkley both made strong cases for inclusion from the start with strong cameos at Leicester and, with Barry unable to play two games in a week, the manager could opt for one of them in his stead and bring the veteran back against Southampton on Monday. If Barry plays — Hull have a robust midfield of their own but it's not one blessed with an abundance of pace — Koeman could just as easily keep Davies or Barkley in a super-sub role, ready to make an impact off the bench.
With all of the teams above them accumulating results from games against weaker teams, Everton have little room for error if they are to keep on the coattails of the top six. That makes this an important fixture, in terms of points, momentum and morale.
A win at Hull with three successive home games to follow — not to mention any boosts provided by early forays into the transfer market — could set Koeman's men up nicely for a strong start to 2017.
Kick-off: 8pm, Friday 30th December, 2017
Referee: Jon Moss
Last Time: Hull City 2 - 0 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Robles, Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Gueye, Davies, Lennon, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku
Full details: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (70)
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1 Posted 29/12/2016 at 19:09:16
For a confident Everton team, this shouldn't be a problem. Never sure which Everton team will turn out though. 3-1 to Everton if we're on form.
2 Posted 29/12/2016 at 19:20:46
3 Posted 29/12/2016 at 19:23:34
3 more points would be handy. Go on lads, make it a happy new year.
4 Posted 29/12/2016 at 19:29:42
I hope to God that we play better than in the Leicester game and that the team warm us up.
Same team as Monday where I thought Williams had his best game for us.
5 Posted 29/12/2016 at 19:58:07
We all got free woolly scarves going in, (School of Science!) and I remember thinking; what's the catch? The catch was we had to watch the match. At the final whistle, it seemed like half the Evertonians stayed to hurl abuse at the team.
I remember the days when the cushions came raining down from the main stand at Goodison Park, but this was something else. Some of the abuse was vicious and seeing mothers and fathers put down their children so they could give the team two fingers with both hands was a sight I hope never to see again.
This season, I am watching it on the telly. COYB.
6 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:06:18
I must admit I'd never thought I'd see him as active (and good!) out in the box as he was in that match!
7 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:14:55
If we play without fear we are better than them and will win. Attitude and endeavour should be a given in every game.
8 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:16:56
I had tried to wipe that game from my memory, we played like we'd been on the ale all night from memory, Didn't we play a back three with Gareth Barry in it whilst Sylvain Distin got splinters in his arse sat on the bench?
And made Hull look like Barcelona. Also din't we get beat by a certain Ronald Koeman's Southampton just before Xmas as well? They gave us Blue Santa hats as free gifts from memory too. Martinez made no subs at all, probably because he couldn't take all 11 off.
9 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:21:43
10 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:25:32
11 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:36:09
Weren't Swansea bottom when we played them at home?
12 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:42:32
13 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:44:00
That will keep us ticking over until we sign the 4 Galácticos in January – along with the confirmed start date for our shiny new 4-sided 60,000-seater super-stadium on the docks...
14 Posted 29/12/2016 at 20:58:09
15 Posted 29/12/2016 at 21:13:58
17 Posted 29/12/2016 at 22:02:57
Also having only played on Monday, our lack of squad depth will make it hard on the team as there's not really that much the manager can do to freshen things up without bringing shite into the team.
Normally I would go with the same team that won but feel a fresh pair of legs in midfield wouldn't hurt. Possibly start with Barkley in the middle? I'd keep a back three and allow Coleman and Baines to move up the pitch. Hull are desperate for any kind of result so it's important for us not to concede.
I doubt it's going to be fun to watch but again the result is the most important thing. Especially before we go into January without Gana.
18 Posted 29/12/2016 at 22:43:58
20 Posted 29/12/2016 at 23:13:28
However getting 6 points against the Gunners and Foxes with a late deprivation of the spoils against the RedShite in between may mean they are slowly turning the corner.
We'll have to show Hull who's boss from the off as they can play some decent stuff despite their league position and are a desperate bunch. Keeping Snodgrass quiet will help.
21 Posted 29/12/2016 at 23:18:22
Admittedly I'm a pessimist by inclination, the bettings saying we are expected to win – Evens Everton. 10/3 Hull. 5/2 the draw.
22 Posted 29/12/2016 at 23:28:27
Let me sprinkle a little Christmas and New Year optimism in there and say, I hope this time round we can keep all of our defenders on the pitch. Alcaraz was sent off in 2015.
Alcaraz – remember him?! Almost had to Google that one
23 Posted 29/12/2016 at 23:53:16
24 Posted 30/12/2016 at 00:03:54
25 Posted 30/12/2016 at 00:45:21
Happy New Year.
26 Posted 30/12/2016 at 00:49:17
Surely it's time to drop Gareth Barry and give young Davies a start particularly if Gueye is going to be missing soon due to the African Cup of Nations.
27 Posted 30/12/2016 at 01:04:28
28 Posted 30/12/2016 at 01:07:48
29 Posted 30/12/2016 at 01:11:39
31 Posted 30/12/2016 at 03:58:11
Ed, did you by any chance watch the second half v Leicester?
How good were the Davies and Barkley subs in that apparently 'desperate performance'? Let's hope that they both start tomorrow, Ed, and we can give a performance there like we did in the second half at Leicester.
36 Posted 30/12/2016 at 06:59:42
Thank you for your patronising tone? Yes I was there and yes we were better than in a dire first half. Are you saying you think we played well in the second half? We played okay for the last 15 minutes, no more than that. Did you think we played well for 45 minutes in that second half?
As I got up to leave, two old timers (well even older than me and I'm 54) looked at each other and made the comment, "That was shite football really, wasn't it?" and it was. You appear to be overjoyed by this victory and clearly perplexed by my analysis that the football we have played is in general fucking awful to watch. My question to you then is were you there?
37 Posted 30/12/2016 at 09:09:28
38 Posted 30/12/2016 at 09:41:49
They are bottom for a reason ...They are shite. They can't score goals and they can't defend. While I agree we are not exactly setting the world alight with some of our football, we should, and will have too much for Hull tonight. 3-1 to the blues!!
The negativity and pessimism from some on this site is unreal.
39 Posted 30/12/2016 at 10:02:31
You are mistaking people caring about how we play, with pessimism there is a difference. I don't expect to win every game or play like Barcelona; I do however expect us to attack at home (silly idealist that I am). I also expect us to play the ball to feet on occasion rather than launch the ball into the ionosphere at every given opportunity.
40 Posted 30/12/2016 at 10:18:55
I agree with what you say about the standard of football we play. It should be better. Like you, I don't expect to win every game, but I expect to win tonight.
41 Posted 30/12/2016 at 10:29:11
We must, and will, take 3 from this. 3-1 Everton is my bet possibly conceding first though!
42 Posted 30/12/2016 at 10:31:49
43 Posted 30/12/2016 at 10:34:56
44 Posted 30/12/2016 at 11:21:57
45 Posted 30/12/2016 at 11:36:51
47 Posted 30/12/2016 at 13:09:36
48 Posted 30/12/2016 at 13:10:00
49 Posted 30/12/2016 at 13:41:54
50 Posted 30/12/2016 at 13:59:18
51 Posted 30/12/2016 at 14:17:16
Actually this referee is almost as bad as Mike Dean. A 0-0 score wouldn't surprise me at all.
52 Posted 30/12/2016 at 14:35:09
53 Posted 30/12/2016 at 14:48:59
54 Posted 30/12/2016 at 15:14:00
Just for once can we go there be positive from the start and actually boss a game for large parts. Instead of being tentative and allowing the opposition to settle on the ball. I cant remember the last time we won back to back away games, but its not something we do very often. Also with John Moss being the ref I have no faith in him so most likely Hull will get a soft penalty and one of ours sent off or both.
56 Posted 30/12/2016 at 15:19:03
They are bottom of the table for a reason, as Rob highlights: the league's lowest scorers with just 14 in 18 matches, 39 conceded (only Swansea with 41 have let in more) and comfortably the worst goal difference in the league, -25.
Add to that they are bottom of both 'form' tables over the past 6 and 10 games and have lost their last 3 games.
Since impressively winning their opening 2 games of the season (home to champions Leicester and away to Swansea), they have won just ONE of their 16 PL games since then (home to Southampton).
A team (and supporters) with any ambition should look at this fixture and consider anything less than 3 points a failure.
Cue a Hull victory tonight then ... it's the Everton way.
57 Posted 30/12/2016 at 15:48:28
Hull were unlucky against West Ham, but they are bottom for a reason and we need to put the proverbial foot on their collective throat and keep it there until they are dead. Time for a cuppa!
58 Posted 30/12/2016 at 16:22:11
Blue tinted glasses back on: Everton to win 4-0.
59 Posted 30/12/2016 at 16:29:40
Just like all of them, he gets his excuses in before he crashes the car !
61 Posted 30/12/2016 at 16:47:59
These are the teams that Everton have collected 3 points from since August 2012
figures in brackets show the number of wins Everton have recorded at their hosts during that period.
West Brom (3)
West Ham (3).
In total 25 victories on the road from 87 trips. It's little wonder that us fans aren't overly confident when Everton travel away from home, it's something the team has to improve upon if we want to be considered contenders for the European spots.
62 Posted 30/12/2016 at 16:57:40
63 Posted 30/12/2016 at 17:00:10
That is a sobering piece of information you have posted there. What a poor performance .
Very sobering. I think I'll take another drink
64 Posted 30/12/2016 at 17:02:10
65 Posted 30/12/2016 at 17:11:15
66 Posted 30/12/2016 at 17:23:58
Please, please, a win now to boost our confidence and show that we are on the mend and that the future really will be bright !!!!
0 - 2
67 Posted 30/12/2016 at 17:38:51
68 Posted 30/12/2016 at 17:46:43
69 Posted 30/12/2016 at 17:51:44
70 Posted 30/12/2016 at 17:53:58
71 Posted 30/12/2016 at 18:11:41
72 Posted 30/12/2016 at 18:17:41
73 Posted 30/12/2016 at 18:21:03
(Admittedly it doesn't happen that often.)
74 Posted 30/12/2016 at 18:38:44
"We currently struggle to create enough goal scoring opportunities."
We certainly could do with more creativity in the final third of the pitch, but I don't think your statement is entirely accurate (a bit like our shooting).
As this article on the Beeb mentions,
"Plenty of shots on target, but not many goals. Everton have the third-best shooting accuracy 48.9% but their shot-conversion rate of 13.5% is only the 13th best."
Oh! And the big lazy lump up front...? A close 3rd place behind Defoe and Ibrahimovic for scoring the largest percentage of goals for his team. Imagine if the useless twat converted more of his chances, eh?
(I'll leave fellow TWers to discern which paragraph is heavily laced with irony.)
75 Posted 30/12/2016 at 18:42:17
Hull were desperately unlucky against West Ham and could have both taken the lead and run away with the game had they had an ounce of luck.
And they gave Man City a game too until a 72nd minute penalty put them behind.
We will have to be right on it to get anything and we all know what a perfect opponent Everton are when a team is down on its luck...
This is NOT in any way a foregone conclusion for those who believe it ought to be.
76 Posted 30/12/2016 at 19:05:00
That has not been working for us AARRGGHH!!!!
77 Posted 30/12/2016 at 19:09:27
Stand by for a very slow start....
78 Posted 30/12/2016 at 19:11:44
79 Posted 30/12/2016 at 19:18:30
80 Posted 30/12/2016 at 19:49:55
Please do come on blue boys, if you would.