Of the four Premier League games being played this Saturday, this fixture is the least significant. Both teams are safe and neither team can qualify for Europe, so what is there to play for?
Pride and as high a finish as possible will be the most likely responses from the managers and players but after long and not untroubled seasons for both clubs, would you blame either side for not being quite at the races in their last two games? West Brom put in their worst performance since Roy Hodgson took over against Wolves last week and were simply outdone by their opponents’ will/desperation to win. Everton on the other hand are coming off a rousing comeback win over Man City and seem to playing as thought they have a point to prove having begun the season with realistic European ambitions, only to struggle through multiple injury crises and spells of woefully poor finishing.
Saying that, the Baggies have lost only once at home in the league since Hodgson took over and with the home fans cheering them on and Paul Scharner back in the team, David Moyes will be expecting a steelier showing from West Brom. Though he won’t be expecting a repeat of the 4-1 thumping they gave his side at Goodison.
Everton have won just four games on their travels in the league but two of those have come in their last four away games and on current form the Blues are well worth backing at the profitable price of 17/10. The draw is their most common result on the road though, having avoided defeat but failed to win on eight separate occasions. If you fancy the Baggies to bounce back from last week’s disappointment then this may be the bet for you at 9/4.
He didn’t start last week but Tim Cahill was on the pitch for both of Everton’s goals and should he start against West Brom he’s worth a bet at 7/1 to score first. The Baggies struggled with Wolves’ set plays last week so you could be well rewarded for taking a chance on either centre half to get on the scoresheet. Jagielka is 25/1 to score first and 10/1 to score anytime with Distin 40/1 and 14/1 respectively.
Neither team really needs the win so it will come down to who really wants it. If it comes down to a matter of pride, then it’s Everton to win every time.