Everton v West Bromwich Albion
Saturday 28 February 2009,
Everton drew 0-0 away against Newcastle United in their last league outing, their third draw in five matches.
In their last five matches, Everton have won one (vs Bolton), drawn three (vs Newcastle, Arsenal and Liverpool) and lost one (vs Manchester United), earning six points from fifteen on offer.
The Toffees scored five goals and conceded three in these matches, as they currently sit 6th in the league, four points behind 5th placed Arsenal and six points clear of 7th placed Wigan.
Everton have been hit with the devestating news that their midfielder and equal leading goalscorer Mikel Arteta will miss the rest of the season and up to six months altogether after picking up a ruptured cruciate knee ligament in Everton’s 0-0 draw against Newcastle.
Everton will also be without Anichebe (knee), Valente (knee), Yakubu (calf/shin), and Vaughan (knee), although Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini may all be fit for this match. The Toffees will also welcome back their other leading goalscorer this season in Tim Cahill, after he completed his one match ban in the game against Newcastle.
West Bromwich Albion lost 2-0 away to Fulham in their last match, continuing a run of four games without a league win.
In their last five matches, West Brom won one (v Middlesbrough), drew one (v Hull City) and lost three (v Fulham, Newcastle and Manchester United), gaining just two points from the fifteen on offer.
West Bromwich found the back of the net seven times and conceded twelve times in these matches, as the Baggies currently find themselves at bottom place in the league, two points behind 18th Blackburn and 19th Middlesbrough, and three points behind 17th placed Stoke.
WBA will be without Greening (knee), Olsson (knee), Donk (groin), Miller (knee) and Clement (knee), Mulumbu (thigh) and Teixeria (toe).
Everton beat West Brom 2-1 at the Hawthorns earlier this season.
How Everton will perform without Mikel Arteta remains to be seen, and players such as Tim Cahill and Jo in particular will have to fill the goal-scoring void created by the Spanish midfielder’s absence.
With the Toffees recently silencing the critics regarding questions posed over their lack of attacking players, the entire team will have to contribute to the score sheet in order to dismiss any talks of a potential crisis at the front of the pitch.
West Brom’s form has been consistently weak throughout the season, and with the side currently holding the 2nd worst away record in the league, the Baggies don’t look as if they have the strength to mount too much of a challenge against an Everton defence that has only conceded 3 goals in their last ten league matches.
As such, Everton will go into this match as strong favourites for victory, and should manage to post a convincing victory if their attack is up to strength in this encounter.
Read all the weekend previews here.