Everton v West Ham United

We assume that you are as excited about next year's royal wedding as Preview Percy is. If you need something to bring down the mood a little why not read his look at this week's visit to Goodison Park.....

Next up we have a midweek trip up to Scouseland where we face Everton for a Wednesday 8pm kick off. Last train from Lime Street leaves at 20:48. However, there is a 23:34 service - if you don't mind a five-hour wait at Crewe on your way to arriving at Euston at about 7:30am. Wear something warm I'd say.

So Everton then. Despite the extra couple of points and two place advantage they have over us at the moment it could legitimately be argued that they are in fact in a worse position than us. "How so, Percy?" I hear you cry. Well for a start there's the managerial position. Whatever you think about our current manager - and I appreciate that the jury is still out for many supporters on account of the fact that he's only just gotten here - at least we have a degree of stability by virtue of the fact that we actually have one. Since the sacking of Ronald Koeman in October, the first team managerial reins have been in the hands of U23 coach (and of course former Hammer) David Unsworth.

I'm not sure if Unsworth was ever actually being considered for the role on a permanent basis but if he had harboured ambitions of having his nameplate screwed into the office door rather than fixed on with blu-tak his audition stats leave a lot to be desired. Under his stewardship he has won but one of the 7 matches played - a 3-2 win against Watford which hinged on a last minute penalty miss by the Hornets without which they would be below us on goal-difference.

The managerial position is one over which there has been a lot of speculation. Watford's Silva is a name that has been thrown about so often in recent weeks that Watford are said to have instructed their legal team to send one of those "cease and desist" letters to prevent further chasing. Any further courtship of Silva is therefore likely to end up costing Everton an arm and a leg, despite the original apparent lack of dissuasion from Silva himself. Other candidates include Sean Dyche (which presumably would see the Everton Mint replaced by cough sweets) and even Tony Pulis, though I'm not sure that would go down too well. Hot favourite as I write this is none other than Sam Allardyce. Sources suggest that there were earlier negotiations in which the club had envisaged a deal for Allardyce to take them to the end of the season. Allardyce, it is said, held out for a two and a half year contract at which point the parties involved shook hands and went their separate ways. However, their failure to obtain a boss has meant that negotiations appear to have been re-opened.

Their failure to sort out the managerial situation is something that is clearly costing them points. Remember in the time since they sacked Koeman we have parted company with Bilic and, allegedly contacted dozens of potential targets before alighting on and appointing Moyes. The apparent re-opening of negotiations with the fat one does rather smack of desperation and it would be interesting to know whether Moyes was actively considered at any stage.

It has been said that the current situation has caused some friction between owner Moshri and chairman Kenwright - owner wanting some big overseas name whilst chairman would prefer someone with more experience of the English game, for example Dyche. The chairman has prior experience of soap operas. He may need it.

Meanwhile owner Moshri has his own explanations to come up with regarding his relationship with Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, whose company is pumping a fair few bob into the sponsorship of Everton's training ground. You might think it a bit odd that a training ground is being sponsored for ?6m a year for 5 years. I certainly do. Maybe if he has anything spare Ashmanov might want to pay us ?10m to have his name plastered on the minibuses used by our academy. All very rum.

The work-experience kid of as yet-to-be determined gender wearing a hoodie who seems only able to communicate with some strange grunting noises suggested that much of their current problems will have arisen from their failure to invest adequately the ?75m received from the Salford lot for Lukaku during the summer. The phrase "chosen subject the bleedin' obvious" leaps to mind. It's not as if they didn't buy anyone, more a case of buying the wrong sort of player. For example, with Lukaku out of the picture you'd have thought a half-decent striker would have been a priority. However, although three forwards were signed two commanded no fee and and the third came in at a few shirt buttons.

Nowhere to be seen at the weekend was ?23.6m Ajax midfielder Davy Klaassen. He's managed only 4 Premier League matches this season otherwise being employed as part of the Thursday Night League cannon fodder. As such he was part of the team that went down to Atalanta 5-1 last week, a match which sees them marooned at the bottom of the group with only a draw with Cypriots Apollon to their name. With him not being selected for a Premier League squad since mid-September, and them being knocked out of the League Cup by Chelsea last month, it appears that next month's trip to Cyprus might well be the player's last appearance for Everton unless a new boss who actually likes the player is installed PDQ. Oh and tradition dictates that I mention the fact that he has 18 Dutch caps. Obviously.

Better value for money was highly rated 'keeper Jordan Pickford who arrived in the summer for ?25m possibly rising to ?30m from Sunderland in a deal which, at the moment, must be prompting mentions of the words "frying-pan" and "fire" in the player's brain at the moment. The fee makes the player the third most expensive 'keeper ever in the world and the most expensive British custodian of all time. He gained his first full cap in the recent friendly against Germany, apparently - well do YOU know anyone who stayed awake through the recent English friendlies.

Michael Keane came in from Burnley for another ?25m. If I'm honest it seemed like an odd move at the time when all sorts of other clubs - including his former employers at Old Trafford - were being linked with the player. Keane is dual-qualified at international level and was capped by the Irish at U17 & U19 levels before remembering his Stockport birthplace is in England not Eire. He went over to the English set-up and gained caps at U19, U21 and finally this March for the full England team. Keane is a doubt for this one having picked up an head injury on the south coast.

The second of the three forwards to arrive was Sandro Rameirez aka Sandro. The ?5.2m fee barely made a dent in the Lukaku lucre but this was largely a function of it being the release fee contained in his contract with Malaga. Not a full international, he is hardly the big name that one might have expected to replace a player who scored so regularly for them.

Which brings us on to the signing of Wayne Rooney. Much like some of the women he has a reputation for preferring, he is probably past his prime at the highest level. It is suggested that his return to Goodison was at the personal insistence of Bill Kenwright who, despite last year's takeover by Moshiri, retains the title of Chairman. So far this season it appears that the return has had more success on a sentimental level than it has on practical terms. Having been selected for the Thursday Night League defeat to Atalanta the spud-faced granny-botherer was an unused sub at Southampton and, with this being a midweek game that will finish late, his participation will probably depend on whether Coleen allows him a late pass.

?40m more than Rooney cost was the fee paid to Swansea for Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson is a class act but they don't seem to have worked out what to do with him. It looked a promising start - a 50-yard goal against Hajduk Split in the Thursday Night League qualifying round was a decent way to open one's account. However he failed to hit the back of the net again until this weekend past, his equaliser against Southampton ultimately proving to be a consolation.

Us. Well Friday was an improvement I suppose. Well after Watford It was hard to envisage anything getting worse. We still gave away a rather daft goal - Ogbonna's slip for their opener resembled a comedy banana skin routine. And I hope that the club has fined Ayew for his dive. Not at my club mate.

Injury news is that Arnautovic, who had his best game for us against Leicester, faces a late fitness test for the trip following the knee injury that curtailed his involvement on Friday night. Antonio's rib will see him similarly tested. Chicharito, Fonte, Byram and Collins are all out. As usual.

Prediction? Tough one this. They looked pretty awful at the weekend whilst our confidence will have increased a bit. Much will depend on whether they will have been able to name a new boss or not. On the whole though I think a win is eminently do-able but I will be popping down to Winstone The Turf Accountant to place the ?2.50 that was going towards a wedding present for the Royal Couple (gawd bless 'em) on a 1-1 draw.

Enjoy the game!

When Last we met Goodison: Lost 2-0 (Premier League October 2016)

Failure to capitalise on a host of decent chances in the first half proved costly as we faded in the second half. Barkley and (naturally) Lukaku were enough to secure the points for the home side to provide our only defeat of October 2016.

Referee: Michael Oliver

The result of an experiment in the laboratories of PGMOL to see if they could produce an invertebrate that looks like a human being. The experiment worked.

Danger Man: Wayne Rooney

Past it but always scores against us.

Percy's Poser:

Last weekend we asked you what is the world's most pointless motorway. Congratulations to Mrs Juliet Hremesetas of Herongate who correctly identified the M69, explaining "Let's face it, as bad as things are in Leicester things could never be so bad that you'd actually want to get to Coventry quickly. And vice-versa" Mrs H added "With the demise of Coventry City in recent years the only real point of the road has all but disappeared. The ought to roll it up and put it into storage in case they get drawn together in the cup" Quite.

For this week's poser we ask you about Goodison Park. In November 1971 they installed an electronic scoreboard for the first time. To win a discounted massage at the Golden Girls Massage & Therapy centre (Wayne Rooney's favourite apparently) just tell us why the scoreboard proved to be unfit for purpose on its very first day.

Good luck Everybody!

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