Everton look to extend their perfect home record on Sunday afternoon but will have to do so against a strong West Ham outfit that has made a pleasing start to the campaign (2pm; TV: Live on Sky Sports).
The Hammers go to Goodison Park just three points shy of the coveted Premier League top four, while the hosts are only two points off league leader Chelsea. So what gives? Read on for our preview with betting tips to find out.
Rafa Benitez’s Everton arrive at this point off the back of a solid draw against one of the teams currently inside the top four, while they were successful last time on home soil. On top of this, they have lost just one of their opening seven Premier League fixtures, meaning that it has been a good start for the men in blue, who are just two points off top spot.
As for the visitors, though they’ve not been quite as good as Saturday’s hosts in terms of points accumulated, they too have impressed during the early weeks of the campaign. Managed by ex-Everton boss David Moyes, the Hammers have turned into something of a fearsome opponent, one that packs a punch and, on the right day, can go toe-to-toe with just about anybody in the Premier League.
West Ham were beaten late in the day by an ever-impressive Brentford side, but they’d won three on the bounce prior to that, while they’re unbeaten away from home, so there’s no reason for a lack of confidence in the visiting dressing room ahead of this fixture.
Rock-solid at home
Much of Everton’s early-season success has been built on solid home form. The Toffees are yet to taste defeat at Goodison Park, where they have picked up nine points from three matches, beating Burnley, Southampton, and Norwich. Yes, they have not yet faced anybody of the highest quality, in that each of their first four home opponents aren’t likely to trouble the upper echelons of the table any time soon, but they’ve completed each of their assignments with aplomb, while their efforts away from home against better opposition suggests that Benitez’s side aren’t to be taken lightly.
Everton are the only team in the league with a 100% record at home, while only three teams have scored more goals on their own patch than the Toffees, who also have the second-best home defensive record, having conceded just two goals. What’s more, only Liverpool and Man City possess better expected goal differences in front of their own fans.
While the Everton boys have enjoyed themselves at home, the Hammers have made light work of collecting points on the road, picking up seven points from three travelling matches, scoring six and conceding three in the process. In terms of points per game on the road, no Premier League team has performed better than West Ham so far, which shows that Moyes’ men are no mugs. It is not as if the visitors have been particularly lucky either. Only five teams in the division boast a better expected goal difference than the Irons, who have an average xG difference of +0.43 away from the comforts of the London Stadium.
Recent head-to-head in favour of the hosts
Head-to-head records don’t really count for much, as things quickly change in football, which is just as well for the Hammers, who have something of a weak recent record in this fixture. Everton have won four of the last six renewals of this clash, losing just once during that time.
Then again, Saturday’s travellers did return victorious from their last visit to Goodison Park, winning by a goal to nil on New Year’s Day, thanks to an 86th minute strike from a player in Tomas Soucek who has steadily grown into a key part of the West Ham engine room.
Hosts value at the betting odds?
Given the fact that both teams have made pleasing starts to the campaign, a case could very easily be made for either, though at the current prices, the hosts make plenty of appeal.
There has been little wrong with West Ham’s efforts on the road, but when compared with what the hosts have done at home, it’s easy to feel that the hosts represent a slice of value at odds of 13/8. For a start, Everton currently boast an average expected goal difference of +1.07, which is superior to West Ham’s +0.43 away from home. Add in that they have a superior goal difference and have generally bettered their opponents in every game, alongside the fact that they arrive at this junction off the back of a hugely encouraging display away at Old Trafford, and the home win really starts to appeal. Especially when we throw in that the visitors are coming off the back of their worst result of the season so far.
Andros at it again?
Few players have started the campaign better then Andros Townsend, who has hit the ground running on Merseyside, scoring five goals in all competitions since his summer switch from Crystal Palace.
The winger/forward has been playing with real freedom and confidence since reuniting with manager Rafa Benitez, so much so that he looks a good price to continue his scoring streak on Sunday. Given the recent form of the 30-year-old, odds of 9/2 on a goal anytime simply look too large, particularly when we consider the fact that the left footer is averaging 0.32 xG per 90, as well as 2.08 shots.
So these are the betting tips for our EFC vs WHUFC preview:
- Everton to win @ 17/10 with Betfair.
- Andros Townsend to score at any time @ 9/2 with Paddy Power or Betfair.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.