Everton consolidated their place in the top six and kept the top four within sight with a hard-earned but deserved victory over West Ham, their first for six weeks.
Romelu Lukaku notched his ninth goal in as many games in all competitions against the Hammers since joining the Toffees on loan in 2013 before he served up the killer second for Ross Barkley as the superiority of Ronald Koeman's side told in the second half.
What looked to have been a fairly comfortable victory based on the scoreline had proved to be anything but in the first half as the improving Hammers had arrived on Merseyside looking to build on three successive wins in the League and EFL Cup. It was a shame for those who used the ultimate betting guide for sports online, sportsbettingsitez.co.uk, expecting the Hammers to snatch a fourth victory but they came up against very different proposition in Koeman's outfit.
An Everton team featuring three changes from the one that had started against Burnley eight days previously — among them was captain Phil Jagielka who paid the price for two very poor performances with a place on the substitutes' bench — had begun the contest in less than encouraging fashion, with West Ham on the front foot for the first quarter of the match.
Koeman's side began by pressing from the front as instructed but if the visitors got past Lukaku, Barkley and Yannick Bolasie, they often found space in which to work in the space between them and Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye, their cause helped by the fact that the usually reliable Senegalese midfielder had a remarkably below-par and profligate first 45 minutes.
Michail Antonio, playing as striker, turned Dmitri Payet's tempting early cross narrowly over, Pedro Obiyang skied over after being played in smartly by the enterprising Frenchman before Joel Robles, in for the injured Maarten Stekelenburg, got enough on the ball to divert a shot from Payet himself behind after the home defence had been sliced open again.
And Payet was inevitably involved again when he scooped a pass between Coleman and Gueye to release Manuel Lanzini in the box who easily side-stepped Ramiro Funes Mori but lashed a great chance across the face of goal with 20 minutes gone.
Apart from an early opening when Adrian kicked straight to Kevin Mirallas but he couldn't find Lukaku in the middle, the Blues barely threatened Slaven Bilic's defence in the opening quarter of an hour. A rapid break-away in the 16th minute almost yielded the opening goal against the run of play though. Lukaku's cut-back fell to Barry as Winston Reid slipped on the greasy turf and he moved it on to Bolasie but his drilled effort was blocked by Mark Noble's arm and Barry curled the rebound just over the bar.
10 minutes later, after Barkley had played Lukaku in and the Belgian's shot was deflected behind, the Blues went even closer, forcing a world-class save from Adrian. Bryan Oviedo's cross had picked Barkley out nicely about eight yards from goal where the No 8 feinted to his right and fired from a central position but the ‘keeper somehow managed to readjust to his deflected effort and make a one-handed save.
Adrian was on hand again 10 minutes after that to bat away Mirallas's cross as it swung towards his crossbar, with Everton heading into the break now looking the more likely of the two sides to break deadlock.
So it proved within five minutes of the restart. After Lukaku had been unable to gather a heavy infield ball from Oviedo, Reid despatched a weak defensive clearance straight to Barkley. His pass met Coleman's run on the outside where the Irishman drilled a near-post shot that Adrian could only parry and Bolasie showed remarkable speed and desire to burst past two claret shirts, swing the ball on the stretch back into the goalmouth where Lukaku had the simple task of heading into the vacant net.
After another quick Everton move ended with Barkley curling over the crossbar from the edge of the box six minutes later, West Ham began to re-assert themselves in an effort to find the equaliser. Oviedo clumsily tripped Antonio — the England man was a handful for the Blues' defence all afternoon — but Payet's attempt to drive a free kick under the wall failed.
Ashley Williams had an awful lapse where he allowed Antonio to get away from him down the Hammers' left flank but Robles came to the rescue. Substitute Andre Ayew was denied a clear goalscoring opportunity by a superb covering block by Oviedo. And Noble attempted an impressive curling effort that looked destined to sneak inside the far post until Robles beat it away two-handed and at full stretch to keep West Ham at bay.
That paved the way for Barkley to effectively kill the game at the end of another nicely-worked move between himself and Lukaku. The former turned neatly away from Lanzini before sending the latter away down the right channel to the byline where the Belgian checked, occupied Angelo Ogbonna with a body feint as Barkley made up the ground to get into the box and meet Lukaku's chipped centre with a controlled left-foot finish inside the post.
With a two-goal cushion, Koeman had the luxury of bringing on first Phil Jagielka and then Aaron Lennon in the last 10 minutes or so and while West Ham huffed and puffed, they were largely contained by the this point. Instead it was Lukaku whose first time shot off Tom Cleverley's cross almost ended a brilliant move two minutes before time before the roles were reversed and Cleverley was slipped in by the striker but Adrian had covered the angle and blocked the ball behind.
Everton probably should have had the opportunity to round things off as the game ticked towards the final minute of stoppage time when one more defence-splitting one-two allowed Gueye to spring the offside trap but though Ogbonna clearly impeded the Blues' midfielder, referee Anthony Taylor waved away appeals for a penalty.
A minute later, the official called time on an excellent result for the home side, earned on the back of an increasingly strong performance that was worthy of all three points in the final reckoning. Apart from Lukaku's consistent scoring record, most pleasing for Koeman, no doubt, will be the offensive production of Barkley and Bolasie who weighed in with assists while the former finally scored his second Premier League goal of the season.
An important game in the context of Everton keeping up with the leading pack and maintaining morale heading into the most difficult month of the campaign so far was successfully won, setting the team up nicely for the trip to Stamford Bridge next weekend.
Everton finally shook off some of the lethargy that had not seen them win all month, with Bolasie's energy creating a simple and customary goal for Lukaku against his favourite opposition. Barkley, after being denied by Adrian, then started and finished a fine move in which Lukaku picked him out with a pinpoint cross from the byeline.
Everton were back at Goodison Park for a Sunday lunchtime kick-off after successive away games that yielded just one point since the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at the end of last month.
Ramiro Funes Mori returns to the defence in place of captain Phil Jagielka, who is on the bench. Joel Robles also gets a start in goal, with Maarten Stekelenburg sidelined with a foot injury. Some surprises on the bench with goalkeeper Mateus Hewelt and Dominic Clavert-Lewin elevated from the table-topping Under-23 squad. On loan Enner Valencia is ineligible to face his parent club.
Everton held possession and moved the ball around well enough until it was turned over, Funes Mori into action, with a good block out wide. West Ham's first attack came to nought but Everton's building from the back was painfully slow but, as applause rang out in memory of the death of Howard Kendall one year ago, Wet Ham almost scored but for the timely intervention of Coleman.
A free kick for a foul on Bolasie was wasted with more sloppy play as the Blues were slow to get going but Adrian gifted a clearance to Mirallas; however, he made nothing of it, and the meaningless football continued through the 10-minute mark, when what looked like a lively move down the left channel ended abruptly when Bolasie fell over the ball. That saw Fernades up the other end put in a good cross that was headed away. But Antonio and then Payet had good opportunities to score, winning the first corner.
Everton were simply not at the races, the Hammers getting a second corner from which Lukaku broke well down the left but his dreadful cutback evaded most, Barry coming back to lay it off for Bolasie whose shot was closed down by an arm.
Payet continued to cause Everton problems but Coleman did very well to track Antonio and dispossess him. Everton won another free-kick with Ebola hustling Lukaku. There was finally some pressure from Everton in the Hammers area, Bolasie firing in but Lukaku could not dig out the shot.
Lanzini danced into the area but messed up his cross/shot as the pace and tempo of the game improved, but the passing didn't, Lukaku maddeningly playing the ball straight to a West Ham defender. But there was more movement and a slightly better effort in attack, Barry's through-ball too much for Lukaku. But Barkley did very well to feed Lukaku whose shot was deflected behind for a corner by Mirallas that Adrian caught easily
Much better play from Everton saw Oviedo cross in superbly for Barkley who seemed certain to score but Adrian made an instinctive save as the shot was slightly deflected, to deny the Everton goal. A West Ham free-kick was shipped in by Payet but nothing came of it as Everton's defending looked solid.
But the Blues resorted to nonsense pass-the-parcel stuff at the back, Gueye getting caught and very lucky not to see red as he blocked Kouyate from a certain run in on goal. Dreadfully amateur stuff from Everton. The free kick was driven into the wall by Payet and defended away. At the other end, Bolasie won a corner that Mirallas took well and Barkley's shot was deflected over, with nothing coming from the ensuing corner.
Much better play saw Mirallas firing in a clever shot from a tight angle that Adrian touched behind, Mirallas shooting again but with insufficient power. But the Blues were moving the ball a lot better, finally, winning another corner swung in by Mirallas, headed well wide by Funes Mori.
Better movement and faster passing looked to make something for Barkley but three defenders were on him in a flash. There was more competition for the ball in a crowded midfield but Bolasie did well to fire in a cross but too close to Adrian. Half-time approached as Payet scampered away but was well blocked by Coleman before he could unleash on Robles. Barkley looked to break but could not find Lukaku and the half ended goalless.
The visitors showed more intent from the restart, winning an early corner. Everton proceeded to build at snail's pace, with more pass-the-parcel until possession was lost. Oviedo won a corner for Everton, that went straight to Adrian.
Barkley laid off to Coleman who did very well to make space and shoot low. Adrian parried but Bolasie was in like a terrier to clip the ball over him into the middle of the goal area where Lukaku had a simple header for his customary goal against the Hammers.
Barkley found some space and went for goal but his shot was disappointingly high. Bolasie did well to get wide only to stupidly showboat with a cross-kick that went well wrong. Not impressive at all. At the other end, Oviedo was forced into a foul on the edge of the area that Payet tried to put under the wall and failed. Bolasie tried to break but lost the ball.
Another free kick, given away by Gueye, saw a superb ball headed behind by Barry for another corner that proved no danger. Really sloppy stuff from Barry let Antonio in; Williams looked to cover but missed it and Antonio had a one-on-one with Robles that the Everton keeper did very well to block.
Antonio then played in Ayew who looked set to score when Oviedo clipped it off his toe brilliantly. A good break saw Mirallas overhit his cross to Lukaku. Noble fired in a beautiful strike that Robles saw all the way and pawed behind, a splendid save. West Ham applied some pressure, prompting Koeman to switch Mirallas for Cleverley.
Oviedo could not keep pace with Ayew and fouled him, drawing a card and giving away a free-kick that saw more West Ham pressure applied without real danger and it was Barkley who sealed the points, playing a lovely ball to get Lukaku away and from the byeline he picked out Barkley at the far post, where he had to control the shot well to bury it past Adrian.
West Ham kept pressing as the game entered its last 10 minutes, the Blues having to defend resolutely. Lukaku and Gueye combined to feed Barkley but his shot was deflected behind. Barkley took the corner but Williams was penalized for a push.
Barkley played a nice ball forward for Lukaku but he rather lazily played it to the defender. Bolasie was withdrawn for Phil Jagielka as Oviedo continued to do great things in defence and Lukaku broke with Coleman but the return ball from the fullback was overhit.
A fantastic series of first-time passes, Lukaku, Coleman, Cleverley ended with Lukaku firing sharply but straight at Adrian, what a fabulous goal that would have been to end the game!
Lukaku tried to set up Cleverley, who could not beat Adrian as wide spaces opened up in the West defence, GGuyee running in and getting chopped by Ogbonna, a penalty all day long — but not given by referee Taylor, who brought the game to an end with Everton finally securing a win.
From My Seat: West Ham Utd (H)
It seems like an age since we gathered for a home match and after our run on the road it was a game that held some trepidation for even the keenest of Blues as our opponents today had gained some form after an indifferent start to the season. The room of nonsense soon filled and talk of lapsing back to the form of last season was countered by the optimism of reaching better things the sooner our players bought fully into the ways of big Ron and finally leave behind all that had been drilled into them previously. The Rooney situation was discussed but while most were in favour of a return for the Crocky kid most thought that nothing would happen until he had a chance to break some record or other concerning one R Charlton of Man U. Wait and see seems to be the order on that one.
We had a bit of a grumble all around the room as when 12.30pm was reached heads went down to stare at the palms of hands to take in the team news. The news s grim—no signal. Then the shout of ‘Eureka’ as the odd person had a network that was functioning and by word of mouth we learned Jags was benched, Robles in goal. Conversations were mainly between knots of fans who had at least one member with the signal.
The walk up to the ground was filled by so many fans that a full house was expected. Into Goodison Road and firstly it was filled with patrons at the fat van and the scarf and badge stall that had queues stretching some distance as was the Blue Dragon. This was compounded by the number of people taking pictures of our newly upgraded ground exterior as well as the artwork on some properties. Try to get down to see it before the move to the docks!
Into the ground in good time for Z-Cars and a reminder from our announcer of the Howard Kendal show of appreciation. The players came out and after the preliminaries we had a well-respected minutes silence in remembrance of those who gave their lives. You could have heard a pin drop such was the respect given by all in the ground.
On the Ref's whistle, we kicked off and so began one of those halves where the words ‘cat and mouse’ could describe most of the play. Our visitors started the brighter and for half an hour we were very much on the back foot. I didn’t think it was that our opposition was that good but more of a hangover by us from the five previous games. On four minutes the figure of Howard Kendall was seen on the big screens and loud applause filled the ground. The game was going on and I thought what a good and poignant time this would be to score but instead WHU attacked and but for Coleman getting some sort of block in and ball going out we could have been one down.
Our new man Gana was not his ball winning self as twice in quick succession he gave it away and started WHU moves on our goal. We were slow in build-up but when we did put something together it always ended with someone falling over or misplacing what looks like, from the stands, and easy pass. Big Ron was prowling the technical area head down and by the look of it not enjoying the play on show. Half hour in and we started to get to grips more with the game. Barkley was starting to dominate a bit more and Lukaku was making some good attacking runs but in both players cases it was always the final ball that was lacking. However it was good to see Ross at last show some of his finesse and the physical strength he was born with as he became more influential.
Bolasie was in and out, showing some threat and then either falling over or misplacing a pass or cross. Although the foregoing is on the negative side the last quarter of the half was slowly building and by the whistle went we were the team carrying the most threat. Our one gilt edged chance of the half came when Oviedo put in a great cross for Barkley to get under control, shimmy a little and get in a goal bound shot that somehow the keeper got a strong hand to and kept it out. The replay on the big screen seemed to suggest a slight deflection that could have made the difference between 1-0 and 0-0.
Our biggest scare of the half was when the Ref Mr Taylor decided not to yellow card Gueye after he blatantly blocked a run of a WHU man. He was already carrying a yellow for persistent fouling. As it stands that yellow was his 5th so misses Chelsea next week. The coach needs words in his shell like methinks.
At least as the half ended with Everton looking much more like the team who would go on and win. Well at least we hoped they would.
During half-time we took part in a film ITV are making about Rhys Jones and his family were on the pitch edge as the crowd roared and clapped until the men with the cameras had done their take. It was announced this will be ready for showing this coming March so keep your eyes peeled for that one.
Second half and no changes and we clear a quick attack by a fired up WHU and proceed to either play slow from the back or the quick over the top channel ball that Lukaku was willing to chase and often be first to it and cause real trouble to the Hammers rearguard. Just five minutes in and we get a reward for good joined up play. Barkley gets on the ball and looks up and sends a raking pass out to Coleman who made ground fast – shot and the keeper did well to parry it away a couple of yards but Bolasie was in like a robbers dog and somehow got a flicked cross to Lukaku standing in front of an unguarded net and he headed home much to the delight of those assembled. The hammers fans who had taunted us on our lack of atmosphere were repaid with some raucous chants.
One up and confidence up as Barkley tried shots, mostly a bit high bur he was a danger. Bolasie was –well—Bolasie. From superb goal assist his next two efforts ended in farce as firstly he broke well and left a defender for dead only to try to run through the next defender only to lose the ball and as if he didn’t know he had lost it he continued to run a few yards before sheepishly retreating. Then he got the ball on the by-line, beat his man then tried some sort of crossed leg manoeuver fell over taking himself and the ball out for a throw in. Who said Everton aren’t entertaining?
The half went on with Everton mainly in charge but WHU were looking to get back in the game and we needed concentration which Barry did not show and his poor back pass to a defender went wrong as Williams failed to halt Antonio who was through one on one with Robles. The big Spaniard was out in a flash and blocked away the shot that was on target. Phew, that was close and the crowd roared as if to wake up our players a little. Oviedo responded when he made a superb timely tackle to rob their sub Ayew. Mirallas had a break that came to grief when he over hit his cross. Robles again to the rescue when Noble fired a beaut in toward top corner which our big keeper launched himself to his left and palmed the ball away. A good save that.
WHU were now going for it as the 70th minute passed and our manager decided to shore us up a little and replaced Mirallas with Cleverly who settled quickly and supplemented Barry and Gueye in centre midfield with Ross going wider left. On 76mins the move paid off as Barkley sent an inch perfect pass to get Rom going down the right channel and showing good pace and strength got into the box and on looking up saw Barkley making ground to the far post and delivered a cross good enough for Ross to watch onto his foot and net with some aplomb. Applause and celebration for the goal plus applause for the move and the excellent work done by Lukaku in providing and the technical ability of the shot. If these two players can find consistency I believe their potency can galvanise the whole team. I wish them well.
On 83 mins Jags replaced Bolasie and 4mins later Lennon replaced Barkley who got and excellent send off from the big crowd as the manager shut up shop. In between the two subs we put the move of the match together when Coleman, Cleverly and Lukaku played a series of crisp accurate passes that ended with Lukaku in their box but his shot was too near the keeper who held on. Gueye was floored in the box for what looked like a stonewall penalty but our man in black decided against.
As the clock ticked down I could not help thinking back to last season here v WHU when from 2-0 up we contrived to lose 3-2 at the death. I needn’t have bothered as we saw out time well.
MotM --- Lukaku and or Barkley
A good day out and I was delighted to see Barkley at last start to look like the player many forecast he would become and I can but hope he comes good for the rest of the season. Coming off the ground it was Lukaku and Barkley who were on most people’s lips. I must give a mention for Oviedo as he seems to be improving with the game time he is getting. I hope Ron sticks with him awhile he can get better still I reckon.
Chelsea next and they have found some form so a stern test for us at the Bridge And no Gueye to mark Hazzard out of the game. Someone will have to as he is on fire this season. All things are possible.
UP THE BLUES
After what feels like an eternity, it was great to be back at Goodison Park for a fixture which is, strangely I admit, one of the games I look forward to the most on the football calendar. For some reason, I find that the visit of West Ham United is accompanied by quite a fervent atmosphere and this seasons duel certainly didn't disappoint in what was a rather exciting game at Goodison Park.
With Gaz unable to make it, I took on the mantle of designated driver. We bumped into another mate, Stu, outside The Brick and, in good time for kick off, rested there for a while before heading on to the neatly adorned Goodison Park. The giant posters of Dixie Dean, Graeme Sharp and Joe Royle look splendid along the Main Stand on Goodison Road and really gives the stadium a much needed facelift. You wonder why it wasn't done sooner, though I suppose every penny has been required elsewhere until recently.
We were all a bit surprised by the team news, with some happier with it than others. Maarten Stekelenburg's injury allowed a first opportunity for Joel Robles under Ronald Koeman, and Phil Jagielka was dropped, presumably due to his howler of a display at Turf Moor last weekend. The rest remained unchanged and with Arouna Kone, Enner Valencia and Oumar Niasse all absent for different reasons, it was good to see Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the squad. Anthony Taylor officiated. This is the fourth time in recent memory he has refereed a fixture between Everton and West Ham United, and he has shown three red cards in this fixture, two of which were ridiculous, so I do wonder how he keeps getting picked for this one.
We attacked the Park End in the first half; the crowd raising the roof in tribute to Hoard Kendall on the fourth minute aside, there was little to shout about for Everton in the opening exchanges and indeed West Ham United really should have taken the lead when Pedro Obiang skied a great chance way over the crossbar. Everton retaliated with a lovely curling effort from Gareth Barry which just cleared Adrian's goal.
This seemed to work as something of a catalyst to spur Everton forward a,s from then on, we were much improved, coming close to netting a goal a few times but none closer than when Ross Barkley masterfully jinked past his marker having been teed up by Bryan Oviedo. His goalbound effort then deflected towards Adrian who still had to react smartly to keep the ball out. After a slow start, this was much better from Everton and you felt encouraged heading into half-time.
At the break, there was a filming on the pitch of a TV drama which is in the making called Little Boy Blue, about the tragic story of Rhys Jones. It is heartbreaking what happened to that kid and you couldn't help but reflect a little on the poor lad and his family. That was a real sad time back in 2007.
Back to matters on the pitch, and Everton continued their verve into the second half and it didn't take long before we had our noses in front with, who else, but Romelu Lukaku nodding in after Yannick Bolasie did brilliantly to hook the ball back into his path from the by-line. This was after Adrian had fumbled a pretty routine left-footed drive from Seamus Coleman. That was Romalu Lukaku's ninth successive game in which he has scored against West Ham United and they must be frankly sick of the sight of him!
Though nervy at times we were resolute in the second half and did well to stand firm from a series of corners. We were however dangerous on the counter attack and this is how we sealed the game when two of our most impressive performers on the day combined to hammer the death nail for West Ham United. Firstly Ross Barkley played the ball over to Romalu Lukaku in a wide position. Barkley made his run into the box and Lukaku returned the pass beautifully into Barkley's path. Ross made no mistake, finishing low past Adrian. The crowd, delighted for Barkley, erupted. He's had his stick, but he'd had a good game and deserved his goal, and didn't he enjoy it. "Yes, Ross!" I yelled. That's the Barkley we know and love.
We could have added gloss to the scoreline but it wasn't to be. Adrian saved, or rather was hit, by the ball from a Lukaku drive late on (that would have been some goal by the way); and, inexplicably Anthony Taylor failed to give a penalty for a clear foul on Idrissa Gueye but it couldn't spoil our afternoon.
The day belonged to Everton. A day which was doubtless enjoyed by Howard Kendall and Rhys Jones looking down on us from above.
Joel Robles: I'm not his biggest fan but he did well, his save in the second half which hew slapped around the post a particular highlight. 7
Oviedo: Another I'm not a huge fan of as he hasn't quite been the same since his horrific injury a few years ago but you have to credit him for his defensive improvement this season. 7
Funes Mori: Another I don't really rate but he coped well throughout. 7
Williams: Made the odd error but he kept things pretty organised at the back. 7
Coleman: He had a good game did Seamus and was constantly attacking down the right flank. Did well defensively also. His best game for a while. 8
Barry: The odd stray pass aside, he did superbly well and kept us ticking along. 8
Gueye: Lost possession a couple of times in probably his worst display for us yet. Picked up a harsh yellow card also and will now miss next weekends daunting visit to Stamford Bridge. 6
Bolasie: Did superbly with our first goal but he was pretty average otherwise really. 5
Mirallas: Not his most productive game but he was full of effort. 6
Barkley: Great to see Ross with his mojo back. His best game for a long time, perhaps the best part of the year. He worked hard in the middle, was creative with his passing and scored a lovely goal. Let's hope he can keep that form going. Excellent Ross. Well done. 8
Lukaku: He is unplayable when he's in that mood, it's just a shame we don't see it often enough. He was on fire and West Ham couldn't live with him. Perhaps the only surprise is that he didn't score more than just the one goal. My man of the match. 9
Tom Cleverley (for Kevin Mirallas): Got involved and did OK. Will be needed next weekend, we may see more of him then. 6
Phil Jagielka (for Yannkck Bolasie): Filled a few holes at the back. 6
Aaron Lennon (for Ross Barkley): Marauded forward on the counter attack in the short time he was on the field. 6
Everton are back at Goodison Park for a Sunday lunchtime kick-off after successive away games that yielded just one point since the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at the end of last month.
Winless in the Premier League since beating Middlesbrough in mid-September, Ronald Koeman's is a side in need of momentum as his honeymoon start has faded in the interim.
Last weekend's defeat at Burnley was harsh on the balance of play and Everton's control of the contest overall but it was rooted in off-days by individuals at the back combined with a general lack of guile in the attacking third.
A home game against West Ham, themselves battling through chequered form, offers the Blues a chance to get back to winning ways and ensure that the gap that is opening up between the themselves and many of the teams predicted to vie for the top four and the title. Though the likes of reigning champions Leicester, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham have failed to really hit their stride consistently, Everton will kick off this weekend eight points off top spot and five off fifth place. Just 11 games in, they are already in a position where three points tomorrow won't result in them moving up any further in the table.
Koeman has been relaxed about his team's fortunes and was still looking forwards rather than backwards in his comments to the media this week but he will know how important the visit of West Ham is to his team's immediate prospects, particularly with a trip to Chelsea on the horizon next Saturday.
Last season's defeat in this fixture might have ended a run of impressive results against West Ham and solidified in many supporters' minds that Roberto Martinez's tenure would never return to the heights of his first term in charge but the Hammers remain Romelu Lukaku's favourite opposition.
Just as well, because Everton have had an unhealthy reliance on the Belgian's goals this season. Yannick Bolasie's first goal in royal blue at Turf Moor was the first time someone other than Lukaku had scored since that win over Boro, highlighting the glaring need for someone else to step up and shoulder more of the responsibility in that department.
In the meantime, Lukaku will be looking for a ninth goal in as many games against West Ham tomorrow and that good luck charm against this opposition can only help in what could be an awkward foe, depending on which Hammers side shows up.
Slaven Bilic's men came into the season on the crest of a wave after qualifying for Europe and moving into their new ground but have had a rocky time of it early in the campaign, bombing out of the Europa League and struggling to settle in their new surroundings.
Since losing 3-0 at home to Southampton, however, they're unbeaten in four in all competitions and have won their last three, including a win at Crystal Palace and an EFL Cup triumph over Chelsea. There is a danger that, buoyed by those results, Everton could face a Hammers side more akin to the one that did so well last year but if Koeman can get the team clicking again up front then they could prove too strong regardless.
The Dutchman will again be without Leighton Baines, however, whose hamstring strain continues to be a problem, while James McCarthy is ruled out with a similar, albeit worse, injury. Enner Valencia, on loan from the London Stadium, is ineligible to face to his parent club, not that he was likely to be involved much anyway if the recent weeks since his arrival are any indication. Dominic Calvert-Lewin looks to have been the beneficiary of the Ecuadorian's absence if a report today suggesting he has been called into the senior squad is true.
Kick-off: 1.30pm, Sunday 30 October, 2016
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Predicted Line-up: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Oviedo, Barry, Gueye, Barkley, Mirallas, Bolasie, Lukaku
Last Time: Everton 2 - 3 West Ham United