In what can only be called El Crapico, West Ham and Everton faceoff in a remarkably underwhelming match for the neutral but a game that can decide a lot for the two floundering Premier League main-stays flirting with relegation.
A fire has been lit under both teams, starting at the manager position. David Moyes of West Ham and Frank Lampard of Everton are both in the managerial hot seat. A loss would see either sacked and a draw may see them both sacked.
For Everton, Lampard’s sacking would be a swing and a miss on the Chelsea (managerial) flop, but for West Ham, Moyes’ sacking would be the end of one of the most successful eras in the club’s history.
With both West Ham and Everton underwhelming this season, El Crapico equally promises to be an entertaining circus or tense affair for crucial points.
To remedy their slow starts, both teams are trying to address the lack of goals (just 15 for both teams), however, by dipping into the January transfer window. Everton are on the verge of signing Villareal winger and summer transfer target for the Hammers Arnaut Danjuma on loan. The Toffees hope to complete the signing on Saturday afternoon.
In an uncharacteristically quick and uncomplicated manner, West Ham identified and signed Danny Ings from Aston Villa for a fee rising to £15m. Ings is a Moyes player – he’s Premier League proven, a grafter, and does his job well. Ings will score goals for West Ham and is actually a player who can be more effective in heavier possession games, a situation the Hammers have needed to get a handle on this season.
Ings was registered in time to factor into this match, the question now is will Moyes pick the striker, who is fit and trained on Friday, to start or will he cameo off the bench to relieve Michail Antonio later in the match?
Both Ings and Antonio are immediate goal threats for the Hammers. Both will spend time, potentially together as well, as the tip of the spear, but there will be a lot of focus on Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, and Lucas Paqueta to ignite the offence and bring the forwards into the play.
For Everton, Domenic Calvert-Lewin and/or Neal Maupay will be the immediate threat up top. Besides their strikers, Anthony Gordon and Demari Gray bring pace on the outside while Alex Iwobi can spark offensive production from small chances on the break.
It’s hard to quantify these players as “dangerous” this season when there has been so few goals scored, however as individual players over their careers, there is legitimate threat in the Everton team.
So, prediction time! I predict two very strange things: Danny Ings to start the match and West Ham to win a stressful match. Player vs. player and manager vs. manager West Ham is a much better team. When you factor in this as a home match, the Irons are primed to explode… if not, enjoy the post-match fireworks at least!