Everton vs West HamEnglish Premier League, KO: 12:30 Oct 19, 2019, Goodison Park
THE pressure is starting to intensify on Everton boss Marco Silva and another defeat when West Ham come calling could signal the beginning of the end for his Goodison reign.
After Silva splashed out huge amounts of money to sign players from the likes of Barcelona and Juventus, Toffees fans are right to demand a better return than two wins from their first eight Premier League games.
A dispiriting defeat at Burnley before the international break left Silva's side stuck in the relegation zone, hardly what owner Farhad Moshiri would have been expecting after such an expensive shopping spree.
I said last season that there was a sense of the Emperor's New Clothes about Silva, a man whose reputation far exceeds his achievements as a manager.
Evertonians are now starting to see him in the scud and the naked truth is some punters want him axed. Graffiti of “Silva Out” has been spotted near Goodison and patience is starting to wear thin.
Stories in the press claimed Silva had the next three games to save his job, with the visit of the Hammers followed by a trip to Brighton then a Carabao Cup date with the manager's old club Watford.
This clash looks like being the toughest of the three, with West Ham sitting just two points off the Champions League places. But Manuel Pellegrini's men were stuttering a little before the international break, crashing out of the Carabao Cup to League One Oxford before drawing at Bournemouth then losing at home to Crystal Palace.
So it's a tricky game to predict, with both teams in need of a morale-boosting win. I'm more inclined to lean towards West Ham so the wisest best might be backing them in the double chance market (which also pays out on a draw) at 93/100 with Marathonbet.
I tipped Everton to beat Wolves at home earlier in the season and they duly obliged but that was mainly because the Molineux men were having a tough time juggling domestic and European commitments. This time, both teams will be equally fresh although some players may be tired after returning from international duty.
West Ham won 3-1 on their visit to Goodison last season, although the Toffees got their revenge with a 2-0 win in London. Ukrainian winger Andriy Yarmolenko netted twice in that 3-1 triumph and could be worth backing for another goal here at 16/5 with Paddy Power.
Everton's biggest weakness under Silva has been defending set-pieces so it could also be a shrewd move to back some of Pellegrini's defenders at long odds in the same market. Angelo Ogbonna is 22/1 with Paddy Power while his partner at the back, Issa Diop, is slightly shorter at 20/1 with the same firm.
Seamus Coleman misses out for Silva's side after his red card at Burnley and the Irish right-back will be a big loss. But Silva's biggest problem seems to be that he doesn't know what his strongest team is.
Marquee summer signing Moise Kean has yet to get off the mark and Dominic Calvert-Lewin often starts up front ahead of the young Italian. Alex Iwobi has made a bigger impact since his arrival from Arsenal and the Nigerian looks the best bet for an Everton goal at 3/1 with William Hill.
In last season's clashes between these sides, five of the six goals scored came in the first half. So that stat lends value to the first period being the highest-scoring half here at 12/5 with Coral.
This English Premier League match between Everton and West Ham will be played on Oct 19, 2019 and kick off at 12:30