Everton will be hoping to close to within one point of sixth-placed West Ham United by taking all three points when the two sides meet in the Premier League on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the hosts will be keen to bounce back from their below-par performance at Watford last weekend which saw their unbeaten away record come to an end., as they suffered their first defeat in the league since August. Manager Slaven Bilic admitted that his team were outplayed in all departments as they slipped three places in the table, and the afternoon was made worse by the late sending off of James Collins for a nasty challenge.
The objective here will be to regain the kind of intensity they showed in the last home match against Chelsea, and capitalise on the defensive failings which have blighted Everton in recent matches. Andy Carroll may have ruined his first Premier League start of the campaign by gifting Watford their opening goal, but he will be aware of the fact that the visitors have been hugely susceptible when defending crosses and set-pieces of late, so the big striker could profit.
Upton Park has been an especially kind venue for Everton over the last few seasons, so coming into their final ever visit they be looking to build on the confidence gained from scoring six in their last outing at home to Sunderland. They were vulnerable at the back as they initially squandered a two-goal lead, but quickly recovered to take the Wearside to pieces and return to winning ways after a lean October which did not yield a single victory, save a penalty shootout success in the Capital One Cup.
Like his opposite number Bilic, Toffees boss Roberto Martinez has a huge number of attacking options, and they were instrumental on Sunday, with Gerard Deulofeu grabbing the opener and then helping teammates Arouna Kone and Romelu Lukaku do the damage in the second half. Lukaku will be a marked man after scoring the winner in this fixture in each of the last two seasons, but Kone is one to watch out for after netting his first Everton hat-trick.
West Ham are unable to call upon striker Diafra Sakho for a second successive game, while James Collins begins a three-match ban. However, Victor Ogbonna and Winston Reid are both back available.
Tom Cleverley may feature for Everton for the first time since he was injured at Tottenham in August, but utility player Bryan Oviedo starts another spell on the treatment table.
Last Meeting: This game on the penultimate weekend of last season was billed as a game between two sides vying to earn a Europa League place via the UEFA Fair Play award. West Ham won that particular battle, but Everton won the match as Romelu Lukaku netted in stoppage time to complete the comeback after Leon Osman’s acrobatic finish cancelled out Stewart Downing’s 62nd minute opener.
Played for both – Lucas Neill: The Australian defender already had considerable Premier League pedigree when he joined West Ham from Blackburn Rovers in 2007, and he was a consistent performer over a two-year stay as he helped the club achieve back-to-back top half finishes. He spent the 2009-10 season with Everton, appearing for the club on 12 occasions in the top-flight without finding the net.
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