Everton seek Premier League respite in FA Cup clash with West Ham
Everton (20/1 with Coral to win FA Cup) will be aiming to overturn their poor run of form in the Premier League with a victory over this season’s surprise package West ham United.
The Toffees, odds-on 8/15 favourites to qualify, currently lie in 13th place of the domestic league table, after losing their previous four games on the bounce and will face a high-flying Hammers outfit who sit in seventh spot.
West Ham triumphed in the last FA Cup meeting between these sides, edging out 2-1 winners in the 1990/91 season’s quarter-final. The Hammers are 12/1 to secure victory by the same scoreline this time out.
Roberto Martinez’s men have picked up just one win in their last nine outings in all competitions, seeing pressure build on the Spaniard’s future at Goodison Park.
However, Everton have a great record over Sam Allardyce’s side, having won the last five consecutive meetings, with the Hammers without a victory in 15 clashes, stretching back to April 2007.
Everton, 19/20 to win in 90 minutes, toppled their London opponents already earlier in the campaign, with big Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku netting the opening goal in his team’s 2-1 result at Goodison. The terrific Toffees target-man is 4/1 to bag the first goal again in this round-round cup tie.
The FA Cup carries a lot of importance to Everton boss, Martinez, who guided Wigan Athletic to an unlikely triumph in the competition in 2013.
“The FA Cup is the best cup competition in world football in terms of a domestic tournament and we look forward to it,” said Martinez.
“It is a good time, not to experiment because it is not a word that I like, but to open competition for the players and do it in a different tournament.”
The former FA Cup winner is having to cope without key absentees, as goalkeeper Tim Howard remains sidelined by a calf issue, while defenders John Stones and Phil Jagielka are out with ankle injuries.
Allardyce is expected to shuffle his pack, with James Tomkins available again, having served a one-game suspension for picking up five yellow cards, but trio Alex Song, Diafra Sakho and Cheikhou Kouyate miss out due to their involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations.
With top-scorer Sakho unavailable, the goalscoring burden will fall upon Enner Valencia, who has netted three times in the Premier League this term. The Ecuador international is 15/8 to score at anytime against Everton.
West Ham, 6/4 to qualify, have had an amazing season so far, but in recent weeks have dropped slightly in form. Allardyce will be keen for his Hammers to recover from a series of three games without a win, and his side are 7/1 to win to nil, with their Merseyside opposition failing to score last time out.