Having won their last two matches on the road, West Bromwich Albion will be determined to gain their first three-point haul at home on Monday evening against Everton, who they have not beaten in their last five Premier League meetings.
The first six games of the season have proven how difficult a side the Baggies are to penetrate, emphasising the level of organisation that Tony Pulis has implemented at the club. A key figure in that success is Claudio Yacob, who over the course of 2015 has re-emerged as one of their most important players alongside the reliable presence of captain Darren Fletcher, and he will be central here to ensuring that Everton are not able to profit on the break as they have done in recent weeks.
Pulis watched his side produce a highly assured performance last time out at Aston Villa, where they came away deserved winners from a game of reasonably few chances. The difference was eventually made by a piece of quick thinking from Saido Berahino, who showed the kind of predatory instincts that have gained admiring glances from elsewhere. The signs are that he is now over his spat with the club hierarchy, making Albion all the stronger for the remainder of the campaign – or at least until the transfer window reopens in January.
Everton are on song themselves and appear to have consigned their malaise of last term to the past, losing just the once in the Premier League and making a rare foray into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup thanks to two come-from-behind victories away to lower division opponents. A fit and in-form Ross Barkley has been a significant factor in that, finding the net three times in all competitions and thriving in an attacking midfield role.
But he was unable to find the net in the last Premier League game away to Swansea City, and so were his teammates, as the Toffees were left to rue wastefulness in front of goal for their failure to come away with what would have been a superb win. Numerous openings were created in the second half in South Wales but none were taken, so with West Brom such a tough side to penetrate, a clinical edge in front of goal is a must this time.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster is the only man out for West Brom; the England international sidelined until November.
Kevin Mirallas serves a suspension for Everton, who are still without Leighton Baines and Tom Cleverley.
Last Meeting: Everton ran out very comfortable 2-0 winners when they last visited the Hawthorns in September 2014, taking the lead early on when Romelu Lukaku seized on a defensive mistake to curl home against the side with whom he had previously spent a season on loan. The result was sealed in the second half by another Belgian, Kevin Mirallas, whose shot went through the body of Ben Foster.
Played for both – Kevin Campbell: The powerful striker made an immediate impact upon arriving at Everton in March 1998, scoring nine times in eight games to help keep them in the top-flight. That was the start of an excellent five-year stay in which he was the club’s top scorer on four occasions. He moved to West Brom in 2005 and played a part in that year’s great escape, but left the following year after relegation having scored six times in 45 matches.
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