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West Ham’s Everton showdown looks like a relegation six-pointer

PUBLISHED: 08:30 29 November 2017

West Ham United manager David Moyes gestures on the touchline during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

West Ham United manager David Moyes gestures on the touchline during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

PA Wire/PA Images

Still no Hernandez, Antonio or Collins for sticky Toffee test

West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

It may still be early in the season, but tonight’s (Wednesday’s) showdown with Everton at Goodison Park has all the hallmarks of a relegation six-pointer.

The Hammers have not won in six games in the Premier League and sit in the relegation zone, while managerless Everton have managed just one win in their last 12 games in all competitions.

West Ham boss David Moyes is expected to name a similar line-up to one that battled hard to a 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Friday night.

“We had a couple of knocks and niggles, but nothing that I am overly concerned about,” said the boss in his pre-match press conference.

Marko Arnautovic, West Ham United Marko Arnautovic, West Ham United

“I want to make sure, but I think we are okay.”

However, it seems that some of his top players will remain on the sidelines, including striker Javier Hernandez.

“Javier has not trained, so I would think he will be another few days or even longer,” admitted the Scot.

“But we want him back fit because wer have so many games coming up and it is the same for James Collins and even Michail Antonio.

West Ham's Michail Antonio and Watford's Younes Kaboul in action at Vicarage Road last season (pic: Scott Heavey/PA) West Ham's Michail Antonio and Watford's Younes Kaboul in action at Vicarage Road last season (pic: Scott Heavey/PA)

“We are having to be really careful because our squad is not the biggest and with no Jose Fonte either, it is important to get these boys fit and ready to play.”

Moyes must choose between keeping Arthur Masuaku for his extra pace, or perhaps bring in Andre Ayew for his potency as he returns to his old club for this televised clash.

So is it a good time to play struggling Everton?

“You never can tell,” said Moyes with caution.

“I know the players there and they will be hurting. I know the people around the club and the standards they have set, so they will be wanting to get back to there.”

One player that impressed the manager on Friday was Austria international Marko Arnautovic, but he still wants to push the player.

“I don’t know Marko long enough to comment on his previous performances, but I think in these last two games, you couldn’t say that he didn’t do any running,” he said.

“He has started to get rid of that tag and we want him to create chances and score some goals as well.

“He put in a couple of terrific crosses against Leicester. He has offered some good things, but we are always going to push him to do more and try not to let him drop off.”

And what did Moyes think of Masuaku’s display against Leicester City?

“I thought he gave us a bit more speed and purpose,” reflected the boss. “He overran the ball a couple of times when he was in good positions and he may not be ready to play left-back, but for what we need he gave us a bit more speed and directness.”

West Ham will certainly have more confidence than the Toffees going into tonight’s game and the manager is hoping his team can kick on from that promising draw with Leicester City.

“We now need to have a bit more quality, be it in our passing or our finishing, so that we can turn that one point into three.”

Now that would be nice.

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