Date: 30th January 2013 at 11:20am
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It is shaping up to be interesting couple days for an Everton fan, although big money signings (hopefully!!) will have to be put on hold for at least 90mins as Everton entertain the seasons surprise packets West Brom at Goodison Park on Wednesday night. Everton are coming off a very hard fought, last minute winner to get past Championship side Bolton and book themselves a spot in the last 16 of the FA Cup, however, their league form is less than impressive with 2 pretty dull 0-0 draws against Swansea and Southampton in recent games. For West Brom, they enjoyed the weekend off, having last played 2 weeks ago, in the Midlands derby against Aston Villa where they threw away a 2 goal lead, which ended in a 2-2 draw. This week signals one of the biggest for Everton, not only do they need new signings, but with 2 home games against West Brom and Aston Villa, maximum points are a must if they want to stay in the hunt for top 4.

Vital Quotes:

Everton star Marouane Fellaini hopes to exact revenge on the Baggies following their 2-0 loss earlier in the season saying

‘West Brom have had a good season. They started well and so did Everton. It’s going to be a good, tight game on Wednesday. We have a good chance because we are at home. I like to play at night because you have a lot of time to rest in the day. I hope it’s a great game and that the fans help us to win. A lot of other big teams want to play Champions League like Arsenal and Tottenham, but this season everybody wants to win a place and we are working hard to get there.’

West Brom midfielder James Morrison highlighted the importance of the next 3 games saying

‘Everyone said at the start of the season that we wouldn’t get anything out of the opening three games against these same teams and we did. We can take a lot of confidence from those game, we just need to get back into the state of mind we were in at the start of the season. Whether it’s fatigue or something else we’ve been struggling with, we need to try and get back there. We’ve now got three games coming up against teams that are in and around us that can define our season.’

Everton Team News:

Everton received a big blow in the win over Bolton after Kevin Mirallas hobbled off with yet another hamstring injury, although Moyes has said it wasn’t as bad as initially feared. Everton will also be without right back Seamus Coleman, after it was revealed he has a thigh injury that will keep him out for a fortnight. Everton are hoping to tie up the deal for Dutch International Leroy Fer, although, if it were to happen today, there is no chance of him featuring. Everton will also be without Darron Gibson, although he isn’t too far off and Tony Hibbert with a calf problem.

Possible Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Neville, Osman, Fellaini, Pienaar, Naismith, Anichebe, Jelavic

Player to watch: Steven Pienaar

The South African hasn’t been his usual self in the past couple of weeks and it has reflected in Everton’s results. Everton’s main creative force alongside Baines, the partnership has endured a frustrating couple of games with opponents trying to stop their influence. With West Brom being extremely well organised at the back, Pienaar is going to have to be at his very best and hopefully create a few chances for his teammates if Everton want the 3pts. Should Pienaar and Baines dictate the game, it will hold Everton in very good stead.

West Brom Team News:

West Brom have no injury concerns whatsoever with manager Steve Clarke saying he has a full squad to choose from ahed of the match. Although, they will miss influential midfielder Youssuf Mulumbu through international duty. West Brom also have transfer dilemmas to deal with want away striker Peter Odemwingie making it very clear via Twitter his desire to leave the club, his future is unknown with West Brom at the moment

Possible Starting XI: Foster, Olsson, McAuley Jones, Ridgewell, Yacob, Morrison, Brunt, Dorrans, Lukaku, Long

Player to watch: Romelu Lukaku

Baffling to think whilst Chelsea are having striker problems, this lad seems to be scoring for fun. The on loan striker is loving life at the Hawthorns and has adapted to the Premier League with ease, the combination of pace and strength has caused defenders plenty of problems throughout the season and will inevitably cause Everton defenders a few problems. Lukaku also has an exceptional work rate and will work his socks off for his side, Everton are going to have to keep a very close eye on the young Belgian, should he have a quiet night, then Everton can hopefully look forward to the 3pts.

Match Facts & Stats

1. Everton’s achilles heel this season has been draws, having drawn 11 of its 23 games this season.

2. Everton have only lost once out of 11 games when they have conceded the first goal this season, coming against West Brom earlier in the season.

3. Everton have only used 22 players this season, the lowest amount in the league

4. Everton have only lost 3 times this season, only Manchester City (2) have lost fewer games this season

5. West Brom have lost 4 of their last 5 away games in the league.

Match Prediction:

The next 2 games are vital for Everton, although West Brom are a tough side, I would back Everton to win especially since it is at Goodison, and Everton should take the 3pts against a poor Villa side on the weekend, if they don’t, then the chances of top 4 are severely in doubt given some of the fixtures we have remaining. Mulumbu is a big loss for the Baggies and with it being at Goodison think it tips the scale into Everton’s favour, hopefully by kickoff Everton can have a new Dutch international to show off, which should have a big boost for the Goodison crowd, as the did with Jelavic and Mirallas. I am going to say a hard fought 2-1 win with Baines and Fellaini scoring for Everton and Lukaku scoring for West Brom. Then hopefully Everton fans can have a memorable deadline day to help with our push for top 4. COYB!!! 3PTS ARE ESSENTIAL LADS, NO EXCUSES!!!!