Everton v West Ham | Tuesday 19.45 | BT Sport 1
It’s a big cup tie on Tuesday night with the winners playing either Doncaster or Bristol City in a potentially very winnable fourth round fixture. The last 16 is well within sight.
I hate betting against my own side West Ham, but the Hammers hold a dreadful record against Everton. We’re winless in 14 matches against the Toffees, dating back to 2007, and we’re also going to be missing key players. So Everton have plenty of appeal at 21/20 with William Hill.
Key midfielders Alex Song and Cheikhou Kouyaté are both missing. Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan will struggle to contain the likes of Ross Barkley and co. And up front, Sam Allardyce won’t be able to call upon Diafro Sakho with one of Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll likely to be rested.
Weaker in midfield and a little light going forward, the ingredients aren’t good for West Ham who also have a woeful record in FA Cup ties. We’ve lost our last five away, failing to score in four with last season’s 5-0 thumping at Nottingham Forest still fresh in the memory.
Everton need a result for confidence and probably to keep Roberto Martinez in a job a bit longer. James McCarthy’s likely absence is a big loss for the hosts but John Stones should return and they looked much more solid when the youngster was in the side at the start of the season.
The Toffees have progressed past the third round of the FA Cup in the past six years and they’ve netted 20 goals in those six games. That’s a decent pedigree for FA Cup football and striker Romelu Lukaku loves playing against West Ham – scoring in his last three against the Hammers. So without a goal in six games, don’t be surprised if he nets on Tuesday night.
So with West Ham’s squad looking a little thin and talk of fringe players coming in, I can’t see them coping with an Everton side determined to end their rotten run. After all, the Toffees have scored at least twice in 11 of the last 14 meetings between the two sides. Home win.
Everton v West Ham – Everton to win (21/20 William Hill)