The international break is over which means that the Premier League is back. West Ham supporters probably don’t know whether to be joyful about this or filled with dread. Whether they like it or not, their side will be getting back onto the pitch tomorrow as they face Everton. This is undoubtedly an important game for Manuel Pellegrini and his side, with a first Premier League point still eluding them after four matches.
During the break Pellegrini was given the ‘full support’ of the West Ham board, something which seemingly means nothing in modern football. Rather than showing a great relationship between the owners and their manager, it is perhaps more indicative of how important it is for the Hammers to start getting results in the league. With fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester United following tomorrow’s match at Goodison Park, if West Ham fail to get anything against Everton they could easily be without a point after seven matches.
There are some positives for the Hammers going into this match though. The first is that the Evertonians will be without Richarlison, their best player so far this season. He has just returned from his debut outing with Brazil, in which he scored twice against El Salvador. However, he won’t be able to use the momentum gathered from that trip, as he continues to serve the ban that was incurred after going head-to-head with Adam Smith during the 2-2 draw against AFC Bournemouth. While Everton will still be a threat without their Brazilian, West Ham certainly have a better chance of picking up points while he isn’t on the pitch.
Another positive concerns one of West Ham’s own wingers. Having struggled in the early stages of his West Ham career, Andriy Yarmolenko has had a successful international break with Ukraine. Winning both of his UEFA Nations League matches, he was involved in his side’s first goal against Czech Republic and scored a penalty against Slovakia. Most importantly though, he started two games in a row having been left on the bench for each of West Ham’s league matches to date. This will surely put him in a position to challenge Michail Antonio for a starting spot, with the former Hammer of the Year having been underwhelming so far.
While Yarmolenko has shown the benefits of going on international duty, Hammers fans will be hoping to see signs of work done on the training pitch from those who stayed in East London. There have been many times this season where the team has looked disjointed and unfit, the break has given them time to address this. If West Ham are to beat Everton, they must improve upon their lack of defensive solidity and up their work rate.
It is not only important that the Hammers get something from the game in order to get off the mark. There is a lot of unrest amongst supporters and plenty of talk about Pellegrini’s job security. A result here would certainly help begin to ease some of that. West Ham spent a lot of money in the summer, it’s time for that to start paying dividends.
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