EVERTON take on West Ham on Super Sunday. Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB ) is on-hand to preview the match-up.
Everton vs West Ham | Sunday 17th October 2021, 14:00 | Sky Sports
As former manager David Moyes makes a return to the club he was in charge of for 11 years, it is the current Everton chief who is winning over what was a sceptical fanbase after an impressive start to the season which has seen them win four and lose just one of their opening seven EPL fixtures.
Rafa Benítez has actually got off to a better start than his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti who had collected 13 points at the same stage last season – and it is the improved home form which is most eye catching.
Following a season where only the three relegated clubs plus Brighton and Burnley collected fewer points than the Toffees 22, it was possibly fortunate for the legendary Italian manager that games were played behind closed doors – no such lack of scrutiny or expectation for Benitez however, but he has risen to the challenge with three Goodison wins from three, meaning his side go in to this game defending the only 100% home record in the EPL – another three points here and it will mean winning the first four home league games of a season in the top flight since 1978.
The underlying data supports the good work being done with Everton up in third for xPTS and they have a long-standing good record against the Hammers, being the side they have won the most points (27) and scored the most goals against (87) in the EPL.
West Ham did buck that trend last season however, with a 1-0 win thanks to a late Tomas Soucek strike although when the clubs met here in the Carabao Cup the home side ran out comfortable 4-1 winners with Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagging a hat-trick and Richarlison scoring the other – both, according to their manager, will be absent this Sunday.
With DCL and Richarlison picking up injuries in successive fixtures, there must have been fear amongst the Goodison faithful as to who was going to fill the void left by their two top scorers of last season – well step forward Andros Townsend.
The summer free signing has eight goal involvements from his nine Everton appearances in all competitions which is the same number as his final 61 appearances for former club Crystal Palace and I was very tempted to take the 9/2 on offer for another goal from the 30-Year-Old but another price really caught my eye.
Although it is Townsend who has grabbed most headlines, it is another player who has really impressed me this season and looks to be thriving in his role under the new management, putting in performances akin to his best days at Watford, after producing two goals and three assists last season, the midfielder looks set to post new career season highs if carrying on his excellent form.
Abdoulaye Doucoure already has two goals and four assists to his name from the opening seven EPL fixtures having played in every minute of league action to date, firing in a total of 12 shots with five on target, I mentioned him in a previous Everton preview where odds on him finding the net were 7/1 – although he didn’t score that day he went on and did so in the following game.
Therefore, I was very pleasantly surprised to see even bigger odds of 8/1 with William Hill for a Doucoure goal at any time here, especially considering he could well be up against a potentially leggy West Ham midfield of Declan Rice (90 minutes for England) and Tomas Soucek (180 minutes for Czech Republic) “fresh” from their international exertions.
My best bet for this match is centred around goals and not so much how many we will see but rather when we will see them.
Of their three home games in the EPL played so far, the Toffees have seen a total of 10 goals with only two coming inside the opening 45 minutes, one of which being a penalty converted by Andros Townsend against Norwich.
This trend has been replicated in their fixtures away from Goodison and in total fans watching Everton games this season have had to wait until the second half to see 15 of the 21 goals scored featuring the Merseyside club – 71%.
West Ham have only a slightly lower overall percentage with supporters seeing 15 of the total 24 goals scored after the half-time interval – 63%.
With a combined 30 of 45 goals in EPL games featuring these two sides scored in the second half (67%) and with the first game at Goodison directly after the last international break featuring four goals, all of which coming after the break, the 11/10 on offer from Betfair for the half with most goals to be the second, looks a cracking price.
My final selection follows a similar theme and could be helped by having a few tired legs on the pitch as the match gets to the latter stages, especially for the visitors who had five of the starting line up from their last fixture away on international duty, while the hosts only had three – one being goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, another, Lucas Digne only sat on the bench for France although Yerry Mina played the full 90+ in all three games for Colombia in South America.
With seven, Everton have claimed more points from losing positions than any other side and six of those have come from their games in front of their own fans, falling behind to Southampton in the season’s curtain raiser before three second half goals secured a 3-1 opening day victory, with a seven minute, three goal blitz taking care of Burnley by the same scoreline after a Ben Mee strike gave the Clarets a 53rd minute lead.
Given of West Ham’s two defeats this season, one came after taking the lead against Manchester United and the other was the result of an injury time goal, conceded against Brentford with the last kick before the international break having looked to have secured a point with an 80th minute Jarrod Bowen leveler, the 12/1 available with Bet Victor for Everton to win from behind looks well worth playing with some loose change.
Everton vs West Ham – Second Half with most goals (11/10 Betfair)
Everton vs West Ham – Abdoulaye Doucoure to score (8/1 William Hill)
Everton vs West Ham – Everton to win from behind (12/1 BetVictor)