By Amir Mir

Paul Merson has backed Everton to beat West Ham on Sunday afternoon, but has expressed his worry at how Toffees manager Ronald Koeman has treated the cup competition.

Sky Sports pundit Merson believes the Merseysiders will win 2-0 on home soil, but was adamant a cup run would have been “ideal” for the Goodison Park club.

Koeman’s side were knocked out of the EFL Cup in September, when they were beaten by Championship outfit Norwich.

Since then they have lost two, and drawn two fixtures, which has drawn criticism from former Arsenal midfielder Merson.

“The turning point for Everton was the Norwich defeat,” Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column. “They’re not going down, they’re not challenging for the title and they’re not in Europe so a cup run would have been ideal.

“But the way Ronald Koeman treated that game was worrying and they haven’t won since.

“West Ham have had three big results in a row and this game looks more difficult than it did a few weeks ago, but Romelu Lukaku loves a goal against the Hammers and I think he nets again.”

Everton are currently sixth in the table, with 15 points from their nine games, as their opponents have picked up some good form in recent weeks.

The Hammers were in the relegation zone after six encounters, but they are now unbeaten in their last three games, with two wins and sit 15th with ten points.

In other Everton team news, former defender Michael Ball has stated this struggling Toffees midfielder has the quality.