Everton v West Ham
Wednesday 20:00, BT Sport 1.
Match Odds: Everton 2.47/5, West Ham 3.55/2, The Draw 3.412/5.
When Everton v West Ham was announced as a televised fixture, it seemed a curious choice. Since then, however, West Ham have appointed David Moyes as manager, which means the Scot returns to his former club and makes this a fascinating clash.
Perhaps more pertinently, this is 17th against 18th, a battle between the two sides enduring the most disappointing campaigns in the Premier League so far. If Moyes can record his first victory as West Ham manager, he'll leapfrog his old club, and move out of the relegation zone.
Everton are still without a permanent manager, among speculation that Sam Allardyce is set to take charge imminently. For now, David Unsworth remains interim coach, and is forced to choose from a squad which has a quite incredible injury list. Maarten Stekelenburg, Ramiro Fuenes Mori, Michael Keane, Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley, James McCarthy and Yannick Bolasie, while Mason Holgate is doubtful and Oumar Niasse is still suspended following his dive against Crystal Palace.
Some of these injuries are long-term absences Everton have become accustomed to, others don't involve regulars anyway - but this remains a serious problem.
Defensive problems for Unsworth
Unsworth started with a four-man defence in the 4-1 defeat to Southampton, then switched to a back three because of Leighton Baines going off injured - and Everton looked completely disorganised in that system. With Keane also out, there will be a major restructure at the back, though Unsworth will surely return to a back four.
Ashley Williams looked wretched having replaced Baines, allowing Charlie Austin to score two identical near-post headers, but seems the obvious option to partner Phil Jagielka. Jonjoe Kenny will continue at right-back, but the left-sided position might be filled by Cuco Martina, who looks hapless in his favoured position on the right, so it remains to be seen how he copes in the left.
Idrissa Gueye will probably continue with Morgan Schneiderlin as his partner, although neither have looked good in recent weeks, and then there's a huge question mark about what Unsworth does in the final third. Wayne Rooney will expect to return, presumably as the number 10, while Gylfi Sigurdsson should continue after his superb goal at the weekend. Nikola Vlasic may come in for Aaron Lennon to provide some thrust down the flank, while Dominic Calvert-Lewis should retain his place upfront - Everton desperately need his running in behind.
Moyes' West Ham looked promising in their 1-1 draw with Leicester on Friday night, and he'll look to make few changes here. Pablo Zabaleta, Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell is a decent four-man defence, while Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang provide security just in front. West Ham look much better without Mark Noble, although it's not impossible that he might return if Moyes wants to stiffen up the midfield.
But Moyes should continue with the excellent Manuel Lanzini in his favoured number 10 role, with Marko Arnautovic wide. It was something of a surprise to see Arthur Masuaku start on the wing against Leicester - he's more of a full-back - so Andre Ayew might return. Andy Carroll will lead the line, and will be encouraged by Everton's double concession from headers last weekend.
West Ham are the underdogs away from home - but I very much fancy them this evening. The Hammers simply seem further along the road in terms of recovering from their awful start to the season, with Moyes drilling the defence in training. Everton's defence still looks an absolute shambles, and changes in personnel won't help - I'll back an away victory at 3.412/5.
Back West Ham at 3.412/5.