EPL Game Preview - West Ham United v Everton

 
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West Ham manager and former Everton boss David Moyes feels both teams can compete for a top-four place in the Premier League.

Everton, who host West Ham on Sunday, were fifth heading into the weekend, with the Hammers back in ninth.

A compact table has both within reaching distance of the top teams, though, and it is Moyes' ambition to lead West Ham into the Champions League - something he believes his old side should also target.

"I can speak because I'm the manager of West Ham and my plan is to challenge the top four," he said.

"I'm hoping I can challenge the top four and maybe catch one, maybe topple one. That's what I want to do. That's what I've let the players know in terms of where I'm aiming.

"I can only speak for Everton as ex-manager. I can't speak for Rafa. But Everton is a big club, with big traditions and they've challenged the top four, certainly in my time there."

Rafael Benitez spent the build-up to the game answer questions about his own former club, Newcastle United.

Newcastle are widely expected to pursue a new coach following their lucrative takeover, and Benitez would be a popular choice.

But he said: "I can tell you a lot of friends were asking me the same thing [about returning], and people there, a lot of messages, but from day one when I was talking with the board here, they didn't need to worry about that.

"I decide to stay here. I am really happy, trying to improve everything I can here, focused, wishing [Newcastle] all the best but when I decide to come here, I keep my word and I continue working here."

Everton - Salomon Rondon

Everton are still without Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, meaning they need back-up forward Salomon Rondon to step up. Brilliant for Benitez at Newcastle, he is without a goal in four Premier League outings, including three starts, so far for the Toffees.

West Ham - Declan Rice

Rice was already a key man for club and country, but he has gone from strength to strength this season. The midfielder has scored twice for West Ham since a rare England goal in the September international break. However, he will also have to contain in-form Abdoulaye Doucoure on Sunday.

- Everton have won more Premier League games (27) and scored more Premier League goals (87) against West Ham than they have versus any other side in the competition.

- West Ham have won two of their past three Premier League away games against Everton (L1), as many as they had in their previous 21 visits to Goodison Park. They are looking to win consecutive away league games against the Toffees for the first time since March 1930.

- Everton have won all three of their Premier League home games so far this season - they last won each of their first four at Goodison Park in a league campaign back in 1978-79 under Gordon Lee.

- West Ham have lost two of their past three Premier League games (W1), more than they had in their previous nine combined (one). However, away from home West Ham are unbeaten in six Premier League matches (W4 D2), with the Hammers last having a longer such run in the competition back in January 2009 (seven games).

- Everton have won seven points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side coming into this weekend's games. Indeed, it is already as many (or more) as they won in each of their previous three campaigns, with the Toffees last winning more points from behind in 2017-18 (14).

Updated October 16, 2021

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