Everton v Westbrom: Preview

It will be a clash of the Premier League middle weights at the Hawthorns this Sunday as ninth place Westbrom and tenth place Everton look to start the New Year with a win.

Home side Westbrom have had a mediocre 2011 campaign with 22 points from 18 matches, while the Toffees are one point and one place behind their rivals with a game in hand.

The Baggies will go into Sunday’s encounter on the back of an encouraging goalless draw with league leaders Manchester City on St. Stephens day as they aim to move further up the top half of the Premier league table.

Former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson earned plaudits on Monday last when they became the first side to hold City scoreless this season and they will be hoping to continue this form into the New Year.

Meanwhile, Everton also earned a point in their last game after a controversial Leigthon Baines penalty in the second half secured the blue half of Merseyside a draw with Sunderland at the stadium of light.

David Moyle’s men will arrive at the Hawthorns on Sunday hoping to extend their three-game unbeaten run however, they will need to improve on their defensive stability having kept only two clean sheets in the last ten matches.

The home-side will be also be hoping to erase the memories of their meeting with Everton last September when the Toffees knocked them out of the Carling Cup by 2-1.

The most recent Premier League meeting between the two sides took place last May with West Brom emerging as narrow winners by 1-0.

The Baggies are also leading in the head to head stakes with Everton needing to improve on a record which has seen them lose 39 and win only 16 of the 73 games played at the Hawthorns.

West Bromwich Albion will need to improve their home record if they are to secure victory on Sunday, picking up just two wins from their last six home games and losing three.

Whilst they have scored 6 goals in these games, the Baggies have conceded an alarming 8 goals and will be hoping to turn this deficit around as they welcome the Toffees on Sunday.

Everton have enjoyed an average record on the road of late, picking up two good wins, but losing three from the last six and while they have scored a respectable 8 goals, they have also conceded the same number in this period.

Team News:

West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is a major fitness doubt for Sunday’s clash after he aggravated a groin injury during the home draw with Manchester City.

Injuries aside, Baggies boss Roy Hodgson is expected to keep faith with the side that drew with Manchester City and is expected to field a 4-2-2 formation.

Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie are expected to start in attack, while Hodgson is expected to field Chris Brunt, Paul Scharner and Jerome Thomas in the middle of the park for the Baggies.

James Morrison – if he recovers from a recent hamstring problem – and Graham Dorrans are in contention to replace Mulumbu.

Central defender Jonas Olsson is expected to shake off an ankle knock suffered against Roberto Mancini’s side, while Billy Jones is again set to deputise at right-back for Steven Reid, who is recovering from knee surgery.

Everton are also having injury concerns and Marouane Fellaini will remain on the injured list with the abductor strain that kept him out of the Stephens day draw with Sunderland.

Moyles will have to do without Jack Rodwell, who is nursing a hamstring injury and Seamus Coleman who remains side-lined with
a thigh problem.

With both sides sitting in the middle of the table and on a recent surge in form, the game is almost too close to call.

It may just come down to the home advantage with the Baggies recent draw against League leaders Manchester City possibly giving them the confidence they need to pull a victory out of the bag.

Betfair have Westbrom at 2.66 to get the win, while Everton are at 2.96.

Possible starting XIs :

West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey, Thomas, Scharner, Mulumbu, Brunt, Odemwingie, Long

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Neville, Heitinga, Drenthe, Cahill, Saha


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