Koeman won't play it safe: Three things we expect from Everton when they take on West Brom
COMMENT By Matt Farr
Everton and West Brom will do battle at Goodison Park in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
The two sides are pretty evenly poised in the league table headed into the tie, with Everton holding a four point advantage over the visitors with 11 games remaining.
Both Everton and West Brom tasted defeat in their last matches, and be will be eager to make amends on Saturday in what could be an enthralling encounterthat could go a long way to deciding the final Europa League place come the end of the season.
But there are some aspects of the game that can be predicted, and Football Insider reveals three things that we can expect from Everton when they host the Baggies:
Three on the bounce for Lukaku
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Romelu Lukaku has simply been brilliant for Everton this season, and rather unsurprisingly, he will be backed to score against West Brom.
He already has 18 goals in the Premier League this term from 26 appearances, and has found the back of the net in each of his last two appearances.
Facing a West Brom defence that has kept just five clean sheets all season, and just two in their last 10 games, Lukaku looks likely to extend his goalscoring record to one in each of his last three appearances.
He was kept quiet in the previous meeting between the two sides at the start of the campaign – which finished 2-1 to Everton – but with the 23-year-old in hot form, West Brom are not likely to do it again.
Koeman won’t play it safe
The Everton boss was accused of playing it too safe during the defeat to Tottenham last time out, naming defensive midfield stalwart Gareth Barry in his starting eleven instead of the attacking Ademola Lookman.
But Koeman will not make such an error against West Brom, and will likely pull out all the stops to ensure his side extend their lead over their opponents in the league.
Tottenham’s midfield won the battle at White Hart Lane on Sunday, but Everton will be back in front of their home fans and will dominate the middle of the park.
Koeman will be expected to name a more attacking line-up to exploit the vulnerabilities in the West Brom defence, and that could cause problems for the visitors.
Everton need to win the game to keep their faint hopes of finishing in the top four alive, while they while also want to keep West Brom at bay.
Impressive home record to continue
Everton have won all of their home league games in 2017, and have been defeated just once at Goodison Park in the Premier League this season.
From their last four victories, they have scored 15 goals and kept three clean sheets. West Brom, on the other hand, have won just one of their last seven away games.
The Toffees have also lost just one of their previous eight meetings with West Brom.
Therefore, Everton will be expected to continue their impressive run of form at home at the expense of Tony Pulis’ side.
It may not be a straightforward victory, but Ronald Koeman’s side will have more than enough about them throughout the 90 minutes to ensure they overcome the challenge.