West Brom v Everton
Tony Hibbert will be hoping to return in time having missed last week’s trip to Aston Villa and the midweek visit of Leyton Orient. Skipper Phil Neville was taken off as a precaution against the League One outfit and David Moyes could recall rested players after making six changes for the clash. Kevin Mirallas may be in line for his first Premier League start.
For the Baggies, Shane Long is again expected to start ahead of summer signings Markus Rosenberg and Romelu Lukaku in attack, while Peter Odemwingie could return after a two-game absence. Winger Jerome Thomas is yet to see a minute of action this term and is also a doubt for the Baggies.
Despite it still being August, Everton are already in a rich vein of form. David Moyes’ men kicked off the campaign with a 1-0 home win over Manchester United before defeating Aston Villa 3-1 in the Midlands last Saturday. Wednesday’s 5-0 Capital One Cup rout of Leyton Orient saw the Blues start the season with three successive wins – the first time they have achieved such a feat since 1993/94.
West Brom kicked off their campaign with a 3-0 home win over Liverpool before earning a respectable 1-1 draw at Tottenham last weekend. Like Everton, the Baggies also booked their place in the third round of the Capital One Cup this week thanks to a 4-2 victory at Yeovil.
1) Everton and West Brom have faced each other six times at the Hawthorns in the Premier League era, with each side boasting three wins.
2) Everton have only won their opening two away fixtures of a league campaign twice in the post-war era. The most recent occasion was during the 2008/09 campaign, when one of the victories was a 2-1 success at the Hawthorns.
3) The Blues are currently on an unbeaten run of 11 games in the Premier League, equalling the Club record set at the end of the 2009/10 season. If they avoid defeat on Saturday it will complete the Club’s longest unbeaten league run since the title run-in of 1984/85.
4) Tim Howard will reach 350 appearances in English football should he feature on Saturday.
5) Phil Jagielka requires just one more appearance to reach 400 career league outings, having racked up 254 for Sheffield United and 145 for the Toffees.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard: “A tonne of credit goes to West Brom. They've been playing fantastically well. They ended last season really well, they've had a good start this time and it's going to be tough. But we're focused, we're determined, we’re playing some excellent football and we're confident. I don't know Steve Clarke personally but I've come across him before and he seems like a gentleman in every way, a top, top football man and he's earned the chance to be the captain of the ship, so to speak, at a great club like West Brom.”
West Brom striker Shane Long, who is hoping to retain his place after bagging his first goal of the season against Yeovil on Tuesday: “The more games I play, the better I feel on the pitch and the more chances I have to score goals. That [goal] will build my confidence and I can go into Saturday on a high. There is strong competition for the strikers and, with the way we play, there is only really one place up front. There is a lot of competition but it’s good for the squad that there is a headache for the head coach.”
Everton 2-0 West Bromwich Albion, 31 March 2012. Having defeated West Brom 1-0 at the Hawthorns thanks to a last-ditch goal from substitute Victor Anichebe, Everton completed a double over the Baggies with minimal fuss. Leon Osman's shot deflected in off Gareth McAuley to give the Blues the lead on 18 minutes before supersub Anichebe again proved the scourge of the Midlanders, stepping off the bench to double the advantage 22 minutes from time.
West Bromwich Albion 2-6 Everton, 16 March 1968. Harry Catterick's Everton stormed to victory at the Hawthorns thanks to a masterclass from Alan Ball. The irrepressible midfielder notched four, including two from the penalty spot, and was joined on the scoresheet by Johnny Morrissey and Joe Royle. The manner of the defeat arguably proved costly however - the riled Baggies quickly gained revenge when they inflicted an FA Cup final defeat on the Toffees just two months later.
The first day of September proved a victorious one for Everton five years ago as goals from Yakubu and Joleon Lescott gave the Blues a 2-1 win at Bolton. Lescott's winner came with just a minute on the clock after Nicolas Anelka had earlier cancelled out the Nigerian's first-half opener.
Players who have played for both clubs include Kevin Campbell, Steve Watson, Imre Varadi, Kevin Kilbane and Andy King.
Referee: J Moss
Assistants: S Child, D England
Fourth Official: P Dowd
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