West Brom - Everton Preview: Baggies look to keep first clean sheet in 35 matches
Hosts welcome the Toffees to The Hawthorns as they look to secure their first top-half Premier League finish, whilst Peter Odemwingie aims to keep up impressive goalscoring run
By Ryan Benson
West Brom (4-3-3): Carson; Zuiverloon, Olsson, Tamas, Shorey; Mulumbu, Scharner, Tchoyi; Thomas, Fortune, Odemwingie.
The hosts will be without the services of Graham Dorrans (ankle) again, but Roy Hodgson could welcome back several players from injury and Paul Scharner could return from his suspension, whilst Pablo Ibanez remains sidelined.
Marek Cech, Steven Reid, Chris Brunt and Gianni Zuiverloon were all welcomed back to training this week and all could feature, with the latter likely to start at right-back should he be deemed fit enough, otherwise expect to see Reid start in the right full-back berth after Gonzalo Jara’s poor performance in the last match against Wolves.
Everton (4-5-1): Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Heitinga, Arteta, Neville, Osman; Beckford.
For the trip to The Hawthorns David Moyes will have almost a full squad available for selection, with the only notable absentees being Louis Saha and Marouane Fellaini.
Tim Cahill will likely continue his role of being used as a substitute after he revealed he is very much playing through the pain-barrier after being told just three weeks ago that he would not play again this season, whilst John Heitinga should start in midfield once again after making a successful comeback from injury in the win over Manchester City in Everton’s last fixture.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
In the league this season, Everton have conceded just five goals in the final 15 minutes of their matches.
West Brom hold the record for consecutive Premier League matches without a clean sheet after conceding in every one of their last 34 games.
The Toffees have lost two of their last three visits to The Hawthorns.
In the Premier League, Everton have won five of the nine matches against the Baggies, whilst West Brom have three victories to their name with there being just the one draw, which was played out at Goodison Park on May 7, 2006.
The highest-scoring match ever between these two came on September 17, 1966, a 5-4 win for hosts Everton.
West Brom’s Nigerian international striker Peter Odemwingie (pictured right) has scored in each of his last five Premier League matches, a record no one else in the league can match, and should he find the net on Saturday he will beat his own personal best goal-tally of 15.
After winning the Premier League Player of the Month award for April, the Nigerian joined an elite list of players who had won the award more than once in a season, with the others being Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Ashley Young, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney.
In their last six matches in all competitions, Everton have lost just once, with that game finishing 1-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford back on April 23.
In West Brom’s last six games they have lost two, won three and drawn once, with the victories coming against Arsenal, Sunderland and Aston Villa.
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Top 3 Predictions
West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Everton
- 15 %
West Bromwich Albion 9-9 Everton
- 10.91 %
West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Everton
- 10.46 %
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Jan 2014||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Everton 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||24 Aug 2013||Everton 0 - West Bromwich Albion 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Jan 2013||Everton 2 - West Bromwich Albion 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||1 Sep 2012||West Bromwich Albion 2 - Everton 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||31 Mar 2012||Everton 2 - West Bromwich Albion 0|
|West Bromwich Albion|
|22 Feb 2014||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Fulham 1||EPL|
|11 Feb 2014||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Chelsea FC 1||EPL|
|8 Feb 2014||Crystal Palace 3 - West Bromwich Albion 1||EPL|
|2 Feb 2014||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Liverpool 1||EPL|
|29 Jan 2014||Aston Villa 4 - West Bromwich Albion 3||EPL|
|-||Sebastien Gabriel Tamaş||Defender|
The Nigerian forward is in sensational form and appears to be playing with twice the amount of confidence he exhibited during his dry spell towards the end of Roberto Di Matteo’s reign, and the Everton back line will have to be alert to deal with the former Lille man’s overall presence.
Since joining West Brom from Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow, Odemwingie’s finishing ability is arguably what has garnered the most attention, however he is far from a one-trick-pony as the USSR-born Nigerian possesses a fair amount of pace and has considerable dribbling skills.
Should West Brom win, Odemwingie will almost certainly have a say in the match.
The Barcelona youth product has not had his best season by any stretch of the imagination, yet in some aspects it has been a typical year for Arteta. Injuries and inconsistency have been a problem for the midfielder this season, even though the former Real Sociedad man has appeared 27 times in the league.
Regardless of his injury troubles, the Spaniard has only netted three times in the league, whilst his assist record is not much better, laying on just four goals for his colleagues, with one coming against Manchester City in Everton’s last match.
However, Arteta is always a threat and there is more to his game than goals or assists, with his passing ability rivalling the very best in the Premier League and West Brom likely to pack the midfield, his intricate passing could be vital.
Obviously the cliché that a team has nothing to play for is overused, but in this instance it could well be evident come the final whistle.
West Brom are officially safe from the drop, therefore they will remain in the Premier League for another season, and as nice as it would be for them to finish in the top half of the table, they have already achieved their target.
Everton are no longer in the running for Europa League football next season as they now sit seven points behind fifth-placed Liverpool with two games remaining, but they are likely to throw everything at West Brom, and with the Toffees possessing some highly capable players, an away win could well be on the cards.