How Everton Will Line Up Against West Ham

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How Everton Will Line Up Against West Ham
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Everton have changed their Premier League personnel just once this season, and only when forced to do so. The same XI were deployed through three frustrating draws, with injury to Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini's departure the only reasons for change against Chelsea.

The fact Roberto Martinez is so focused on altering Everton's style may initially keep his lineups consistent, deferring any selectional tweaks, or shifts in formation, until later in the season.

This weekend he faces Sam Allardyce's West Ham, a team likely to surrender the majority of possession to Everton. Once on the ball, the Hammers will adopt a direct approach and look to pepper the final third with crosses and long balls.

 

Team News

Darron Gibson has been absent through injury this season. Both he, along with Arouna Kone—who missed the recent Chelsea clash—are in line to return against West Ham, according to Martinez's pre-match press conference.

Steven Pienaar, however, who also missed the Chelsea game, is only rated as 50-50 to return this weekend.

Elsewhere, Romelu Lukaku will be desperate to feature in attack, having been ineligible to play against his parent side, Chelsea.

 

Selection

Therefore, considering the above team news, this is a selection Martinez may well use.

Everton - Football tactics and formations

There is no reason to alter a defence now on a run of three clean sheets in a row. Whether Martinez eventually envisions three at the back or not, there is no sense toying with such a consistent unit. In fact no side has conceded fewer than the Toffees' 17 goals during 2013.

They will, however, need to sharpen up at set pieces and prepare for a prolonged aerial assault, two areas where they often erred last season.

In front of the back five is where the key decisions lie. Gareth Barry's impressive debut will earn him another start, almost certainly alongside Leon Osman. Barry's left foot brings better balance to midfield, he improves Everton's passing, and he has the positional nous to cover any space behind Leighton Baines.

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Despite the £13 million spent on James McCarthy, he is likely to wait on the sidelines, for now, with Gibson unlikely to force his way in either. Osman is the starter under most pressure from both, but until Everton's midfield appears overrun, it's hard to predict a change. 

Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas are two guaranteed starters, fitness permitting, which leaves the final calls to be made about wide midfield and up front. It would be harsh to omit Steven Naismith after a match-winning strike against Chelsea, and Pienaar's questionable fitness is likely to keep the Scot in the team.

Many fans are craving further glimpses of Gerard Deulofeu, but the Spaniard will be restricted to short cameos as he acclimatises to England.

While Martinez has preached continuity thus far, it seems time for a change up front. Nikica Jelavic has toiled away without much joy so far, and the hype Romelu Lukaku has fetched makes starting him the most sensible option.

If the Belgium international's not yet settled in, then Arouna Kone would offer the Toffees more in possession than Jelavic.

 

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