4 min EVE 0 WHU 0
Davies brings the ball forward down the inside-right but his pass out to Richarlison, given space by Sigurdsson’s run infield, isn’t controlled by the Brazil forward and West Ham nip it away.
3 min EVE 0 WHU 0
Rice stops the Everton attack and springs a counter up the right, sending Coufal a ball to chase that Godfrey, again, deals with by letting it run out of play while ensuring that Coufal has no chance of wriggling past him.
1 min EVE 0 WHU 0
West Ham on the attack through Bowen down the right but Godfrey, who has played at right-back and even slotted into midfield despite being a centre-half, corrals him in the left-back position and shifts it up to Bernard.
After a minute’s applause
For Everton fans who have died during the pandemic, the players take a knee and then kick off.
Carlo Ancelotti’s campaign for the donation of blood plasma to the thought of chicken burgers soused with gravy. As every PL match is now televised and hence reported here, the adverts have begun to invade my dreams.
Interesting bench action
Featuring James Rodriguez for Everton and Michail Antonio for West Ham.
And now for those of you watching in black and white
Everton Pickford; Coleman, Mina, Holgate, Godfrey; Doucoure, Davies; Bernard, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Substitutes Olsen, Lossl, Keane, Tosun, Nkounkou, James Rodriguez, Andre Gomes, Gordon, Branthwaite.
West Ham Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice; Bowen, Fornals, Soucek, Benrahma; Haller.
Substitutes Randolph, Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Noble, Diop, Antonio, Johnson.
Referee Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
Happy New Year
Manuel Pellegrini lost his first four matches as West Ham’s manager in the summer of 2018, a remarkably dispiriting start after spending so heavily in the summer, but his side, who would eventually go on to finish 10th sparked into life at Goodison with a 3-1 victory in their fifth game, won by two fine goals from Andriy Yarmolenko. That match was Marco Silva’s first defeat as Everton manager but in the subsequent three meetings between the two clubs, with Pellegrini and Silva in place and since their short-lived spells ended, Everton have won two and drawn one and also knocked David Moyes’ side out of the League Cup this season.
Victory for Everton today in this, the first Premier League match of 2021, would take them back up to second place and a point behind Liverpool. Richarlison can play for them today after sitting out the win at Sheffield United because of head injury protocols but it is unlikely that James Rodriguez, who has resumed light training, will feature before next week while Lucas Digne and Allan are out until at least the third week of January.
David Moyes has only Arthur Masuaku from his regularly deployed group of first-team squad players absent as the 10th-placed club (who need a victory by at least four goals to advance even a place up the table, such is the bunching and their relatively poor goal difference) try to do for him what he was unable to do with Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham, namely bag a win on his old stamping ground.
So, saddle up for the Danny Williamson-David Unsworth derby as Yer Actual West Ham, a team with three draws and a defeat since beating Leeds coming into this match take on the School of Science who have drawn one and won four since being beaten by Leeds. Strange days indeed in the Premier League. Most peculiar Mama.
The team news will be here imminently.