Everton kicked off the new season in style, beating Tottenham Hotspur away, 1-0, on opening day. Carlo Ancelotti has been in the job at Goodison Park for less than year and has done wonders for the Toffees. Can he get the team into the top six? It could happen if the club remain consistent in what could be a chaotic Premier League season.
On Saturday, Ancelotti’s team will welcome newly-promoted club West Brom to Goodison Park. The Baggies were thoroughly beaten on opening day by Leicester City, 3-0. The loss showed the gap between West Brom and a well-established Premier League club.
Both Everton and West Brom were in action in midweek in the Carabao Cup, and both clubs registered victories. Everton defeated League Two Salford City 3-0 at home thanks to goals from Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Moises Kean.
West Brom also registered a 3-0 win against League Two opposition. Goals came from Rekeem Harper, Hal Robson-Kanu, and Callum Robinson. The two clubs have not met since the 2017-18 campaign when West Brom were relegated. Their matches that season finished in draws. Will matchday 2 end the same for the rivals or will one club prevail?
Everton were good value for their victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last weekend. Dominic Calvert-Lewin's second-half goal gave Everton the win in a very big opening day game. The Toffees tallied 15 shots with four landing on target during the 90-minute game. They average calculated 48% of the possession and prevented Tottenham Hotspur‘s press from getting going.
Everton were just as good defensively as they were in attack. Ancelotti turned Everton into an organised side. They conceded just nine shots with five on target to the home team. Ancelotti favoured a 4-3-3 formation against Spurs with Richarlison and James Rodriguez on either side of Calvert-Lewin. Rodriguez was able to move inside to play as Everton’s playmaker. The Colombian tallied a brilliant 5.00 key passes during the 90 minutes.
West Brom conceded two penalties to Leicester City thanks to sloppy defensive work. They allowed 13 shots in total with seven hitting the target. Slaven Bilic’s team registered seven shots with just one falling on target. Their inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in the final third led supporters to cry out for the Baggie to spend money on a goalscorer.
Watford’s Troy Deeney could move to West Brom as their goalscoring saviour. The jury is out on whether Deeney can actually score enough goals to keep the Baggies up.
Ancelotti has five players on this injury list and all five are ruled out for the weekend. Mason Holgate, Fabian Delph, Jarrad Braithwaite, Cenk Tosun, and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are all ruled out of the game on Saturday. Ancelotti is likely to deploy his Everton team in the same 4-3-3 formation with the same players taking up the positions.
Rodriguez was brilliant on matchday 1 and there were calls after the game for Tottenham player Dele Alli to replicate the Colombian’s play. Calvert-Lewin is likely to lead the line once more for Everton. He tallied 2.02 shots per 90 minutes on matchday 1.
Bilic has just one player on the injury list heading into the game. Kenneth Zohore is ruled out of the match with a shin/calf injury. Bilic got through Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup fixture without any further injury incidents.
Robson-Kanu and Charlie Austin could be in line to make a start in attack versus Everton. Both played in midweek against Harrogate Town. Everton will offer much stronger opposition than the League Two side did.
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Everton have claimed back to back clean sheet wins this season in the Premier League and Carabao Cup. The Toffees were excellent in defence against Tottenham Hotspur and should be just as difficult to breakdown this weekend at home. West Brom may have claimed a midweek win over Harrogate Town, but they conceded three times to Leicester City. The Baggies should have a difficult time breaking down a Premier League defence once more.
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Ancelotti’s team are compact and difficult to defeat. They are not a high-scoring team, but efficient. Everton were just off their expected goal total for matchday 1. They scored just one and finished the day with an expected goal total of 1.27. It wasn’t much but did show they may not finish all their chances. The side have been upgraded. Rodriguez adds a top-class creative player that can finish chances. He should find a lot of space against West Brom’s defence.
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Rodriguez’s arrival upgraded the team’s attack significantly. He is a proven goalscorer and creative players capable of unlocking defences. He made 5.00 key passes per 90 minutes and tallied 3.00 shots per 90 minutes. The Colombian’s chances were few and far between at Real Madrid. He was another signing by the club they quickly regretted. It wasn’t due to Rodriguez’s play, rather it was the managers not wanting him in the team.
Injuries and form limited Rodriguez to just eight La Liga appearances in 2019-20. He scored one goal and add an assist in a mere 418 minutes of football. Rodriguez averaged 52.3 minutes per game in La Liga for Los Blancos. He was excellent versus Spurs and West Brom’s defence should give him more chances to find the back of the net.
West Brom were sloppy against Leicester City. It is difficult to believe they will have improved for matchday 2 against Everton. Although they defeated Harrogate Town 3-0 in midweek, it was a League Two side that offered little.
Goodison Park will host Saturday's match between Everton vs West Brom.
Everton vs West Brom kicks-off at 12:30 on Saturday 19 September.