CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) takes a look at the Monday night match for us. Which of these struggling sides can take three points?
Everton v West Brom | Monday 20:00 | Sky Sports 1
I ought to start this article by saying I’ve got Everton massively wrong this season. I had them down for fifth place in the league this season and thought they might be a value bet to qualify for the Champions League. Wow, I got that wrong didn’t I?
The problems for Everton this season seem to be in defence. They’ve leaked 34 goals, that’s the same number as bottom club Leicester. Remarkably they conceded just 39 during the whole of their successful 2013/14 campaign so something has gone seriously amiss.
Over Everton’s 21 Premier League games this season they’ve kept a clean sheet just three times. Crucially though, the last of those came on November 1st. Since then they’ve conceded in games against the likes of Sunderland, Hull (twice) and Stoke. Hells bells, even QPR scored against them away from home!
Their opponents on Monday are a Tony Pulis led West Brom side. Since the ex-Stoke manager came in just before New Year the Baggies form has improved. An impressive draw at Upton Park was followed by a demolition of Gateshead in the FA Cup and a win over Hull which I predicted last week.
The hosts are odds on in this fixture and that’s not a bet that appeals to me. There seems a bit of unrest amongst the Goodison faithful at the moment and with just three home wins in the league all season I’m happy to swerve supporting them.
Pulis will no doubt firm Albion up at the back, two clean sheets in his three matches in charge point towards that and I’m expecting a low-scoring match in this game.
Yes, Everton have leaked a lot of goals this season, but with three blanks in their last five away games I can’t see West Brom knocking more than one past them on Monday. Remember Pulis’s Palace side scored just 33 goals last season in the league, only Norwich scored fewer. His priority will be keeping things tight at the back and Everton will find it hard breaking them down.
It’s an incredibly unsexy shout but I’ll be backing Under 2.5 Goals in this match at 4/5 with Ladbrokes.
Everton v West Brom – Under 2.5 Goals (4/5 Ladbrokes)