David Moyes believes Everton are strong enough to avoid Premier League relegation, but the West Ham boss is focused on getting one over on his former side on Sunday.
Everton snapped a four-game losing run last time out in the league with a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United, but they entered the two-week break sitting just one point above the drop zone.
The Toffees still have Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and high-flying West Ham to play, but Moyes does not expect them to finish inside the bottom three.
“I think Everton are good enough to stay in the Premier League and come the end of the season you’ll find that,” he said.
“We’ve seen Everton and they’ve had some really good performances – they had a good win against Newcastle a few weeks ago.
“I’ve seen them in other games where they’d probably be disappointed, but that’s the way the Premier League is. A lot of the games are tight.
“It will be a very tough game and from our point of view, we have to keep winning to keep up with the teams in the top half of the league. It’s more about us than Everton.”
West Ham have won three and drawn one of their last four games at the London Stadium, but they lost ground on the European spots with a 3-1 loss at Tottenham last time out.
The Hammers may have one eye on Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against Lyon, but Everton boss Frank Lampard does not think that will be a distraction.
“I see that and understand it, but from my experience of going into big games there’ll be competition in the players to show the manager they deserve to play,” he said.
“They have things to fight for in the league, I don’t expect a drop off.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
West Ham – Andriy Yarmolenko
Yarmolenko has scored two goals in his last three appearances for West Ham in all competitions, which is as many has he managed in his previous 38 games. Eight of his last nine outings for the Hammers have come via the substitutes’ bench, but Moyes may be tempted to throw the Ukraine international in from the beginning.
Everton – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has not been able to build on his hugely impressive campaign from last time out, the England forward scoring just three times in the league this term. Heading into this gameweek, only three teams had scored fewer goals than Everton’s 29 in the Premier League.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Following their 1-0 win at Goodison Park in October, West Ham are looking to complete their first league double over Everton since the 1972-73 campaign.
– Everton have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League away games against West Ham (W8 D4), going down 3-1 in May 2018. Indeed, the Toffees have won more Premier League away games against the Hammers than they have at any other side (12).
– West Ham have lost two of their last three Premier League games (W1), as many as they had in their previous nine. However, at home the Hammers are looking to secure three consecutive league wins for the first time in over a year (March 2021).
– The Toffees have won fewer away points than any other side in the Premier League this season (six). The Toffees are currently without a win in 11 away league games (D2 L9), their longest such run without a win since a run of 16 between February and December 2017.
– Everton are winless in nine Premier League games played on a Sunday, losing eight of those (D1). Away from home, the Toffees have won just four of their last 36 league games on Sundays (D6 L26), though all of those victories have been against London clubs (QPR, Tottenham, Fulham and West Ham).