Everton vs. West Brom: Complete Premier League Preview, Team News, Projected XIs
Everton welcome Steve Clarke's West Brom to Goodison Park on Wednesday for some midweek Premier League action.
The visitors have been a surprise package so far this season, currently sitting just four points and three places below the Toffees in eighth.
However, West Brom will be aiming to amend a sudden patch of disappointing form. Having been so consistent for such a prolonged stretch of the season, the Baggies are coming off a run of just one point from a possible 12.
Everton will hope to return to winning ways themselves after two frustrating 0-0 draws. Just three points off a Champions League berth, a win and some favourable results could even see the Toffees end the night back in the top four.
Here's a Premier League preview, complete with team news and some possible lineups for Wednesday.
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There isn't much to separate these sides in terms of results, although in recent encounters there has generally tended to be a winner.
The Baggies' early-season win in September ended a three-game winning sequence for the Toffees and made it three wins each over the past six meetings.
Everton were clearly second-best on that day and will rank that performance as one of their most frustrating over the season. It remains one of only three defeats for David Moyes' side over the past 32 Premier League games.
Everton enjoyed a Premier League double over West Brom last season, as well as victory in the Carling Cup, while West Brom achieved their own league double the season before.
Going back further; it's five wins each in the past 11 contests, with one draw, which comes after a sustained period of Everton dominance, unbeaten between 1985 and 2004.
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Kevin Mirallas' latest comeback was once again derailed as the Belgian lasted just 17 minutes on Saturday against Bolton.
While David Moyes has stated he doesn't think the relapse is too serious, it seems doubtful Mirallas will be involved any time soon (via EvertonFC.com).
He will presumably join Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman on the long-term casualty list and miss out altogether on Wednesday.
On a more positive note, Darron Gibson is nearing a return and could be involved in some capacity, although a start seems highly unlikely (per EvertonFC.com).
For Clarke's West Brom, Shane Long, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Claudio Yacob have been recent injury worries. Long and Fortune missed out against Aston Villa, while Yacob played but was withdrawn after 36 minutes.
Already eliminated from the FA Cup, The Baggies had a weekend off to rest their players. Long and Fortune will therefore be far more likely to feature, while Yacob seems likely to join Steven Reid on the sidelines.
Youssouf Mulumbu remains at the African Cup on Nations with DR Congo.
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Tim Howard; Phil Jagielka, John Heitinga, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines; Victor Anichebe, Phil Neville, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar; Marouane Fellaini; Nikica Jelavic.
David Moyes has a few varying options due to his lack of right-backs. He could keep Neville in defence and push Fellaini back into midfield—as he's done recently—or bring in Heitinga and shuffle over Jagielka.
The Dutchman's FA Cup heroics may swing the decision in his favour, although Moyes will remember how poor Fellaini was in an advanced role earlier this season at West Brom.
If Moyes does want to keep Fellaini in a forward berth, he could still opt for Neville in defence and draft in Thomas HItzlsperger.
Up front, Nikica Jelavic has been substituted twice in the past two games with his side still chasing a goal and is desperately short of form.
Moyes is clearly looking for far more from his front man, but while Anichebe will be keen to start in an attacking role, it seems more likely he'll feature coming in off a flank.
West Brom (4-2-3-1)
Ben Foster; Billy Jones, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell; George Thorne, Chris Brunt; Graham Dorrans, James Morrison, Marc-Antoine Fortune; Romelu Lukaku.
West Brom's primary concern centres around their midfield options.
With Mulumbu in Africa and Yacob likely to miss out, the Baggies are short of some starting options. Brunt will play in a deeper berth with the exciting Thorne most likely to come in and partner him.
Ahead of them, there remains a dilemma about one of the attacking slots as Peter Odemwingie's protracted transfer saga means he could miss out (via the Guardian).
That leaves his position open to any of the returning Fortune, Long or Jerome Thomas—who will all be looking to support the in-from Lukaku in attack.