Everton vs. West Ham
Venue: Goodison Park
Kick off: 12:30PM
Everton will be hoping that the international break has given them the chance to arrest a terrible run of form when they return to Premier League action against West Ham United this afternoon.
The Toffees have lost their last four league games to slip into the relegation zone, piling the pressure on Marco Silva ahead of the visit of eighth-placed West Ham.
The bookmakers have Silva as the favourite to be the next Premier League boss sacked and, while Everton have historically given their managers time, a fifth consecutive defeat would surely push the Portuguese closer to the exit door.
Not since October 2005 have Everton suffered a longer top-flight losing run than the four-game streak they are currently on, with that leaving them in the relegation zone having only picked up seven points from their opening eight games.
It is a far cry from the level of expectation which surrounded the club ahead of the new season; the signings of Moise Kean, Alex Iwobi and Fabian Delph led to predictions of a top-six push which now look to be wildly optimistic.
The Toffees surely have enough quality to ensure that they will not be dragged into a relegation dogfight, but the main question right now appears to be whether Silva is the right man to get that quality out of the team.
The visit of West Ham could be a perfect opportunity to claim just their third win of the season, with Everton having registered more Premier League victories (25) and scored more Premier League goals (83) against the Hammers than they have against any other side in the competition.
However, Manuel Pellegrini’s current crop have bucked that trend in recent clashes, winning two of the last three Premier League meetings – as many victories as they had managed in their previous 22 before that.
Indeed, the Hammers could win consecutive top-flight away games against Everton for the first time since March 1930, and many will be backing them as favourites considering their confident start to the season.
Just two points separate them from the top four after eight games, while the fact that they currently sit above Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in the standings has raised hope that they could be challenging for the same top-six berth that Everton were tipped to claim.
West Ham will view their next four games – against Everton, Sheffield United, Newcastle United and Burnley – as winnable fixtures, although they did go into the international break off the back of a poor run of form which included a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of League One Oxford United.
In general, though, their away form has been decent and they have not tasted a Premier League defeat on the road since April – a six-game streak which is their longest for more than a decade.
Everton possible XI: Pickford, Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne, Gomes, Delph, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Kean.
West Ham possible XI: Jimenez, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Yarmolenko, Noble, Rice, Lanzini, Anderson, Haller.