Hammers Do Battle With Familiar Foe In Premier League Season Finale
In the final round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, David Moyes’ West Ham United do battle with a familiar foe in Sam Allardyce and his Everton team at in what promises to be an intriguing season finale in East London, where both sides have plenty to play for.
The Hammers go into the intriguing encounter off the back of a goalless draw with Manchester United at London Stadium on Thursday evening while the Toffees also drew their last match, at home to relegation strugglers Southampton, a result that secured the Irons’ safety last Saturday, the hosts are the favourites for this one.
The encounter is scheduled to kick-off at 3 PM BST tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 13 May 2018), and as is custom with starts of this time on the final day, television coverage will be focussing elsewhere, so there will be no live television coverage of this match being shown in the United Kingdom.
However, there will be live radio commentary being broadcasted by BBC Radio London, but if you don’t have access to a radio device tomorrow afternoon, never fear, you can stay with us here at West Ham Matters as we bring you a Live Blog, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction from the clash, live from the Press Box of the London Stadium from 1 PM BST.
The visit of Allardyce’s Blue Boys of Merseyside will take place at the home club’s London Stadium, with a capacity of 57,000 and the option to go high into the 70,000s, it is one of the most spectacular and newest arenas in English football.
Originally opening in 2012 for the London Olympics, the ground has now been a Premier League stadium for nearly two years, and as well as football hosted rugby, athletics and concerts among other events, but hasn’t always been popular with supporters who were reluctant to leave the Irons’ former home of the Boleyn Ground.
Their discontent was catalysed early in this season when the first-team stars, then under Slaven Bilic, were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting the World Athletics Championships and World Para Athletics Championships.
But, the stadium is slowly starting to feel more like home for the Claret & Blue Army, and today will be only the second time that the team from Liverpool have visited Stratford, drawing 0-0 in April of 2017, many will hope for more entertainment this time around.
Little has changed for home manager Moyes in terms of injuries since his last update before the Manchester United clash, as he now only has a few remaining long-term injury worries, including the likes of defenders Sam Byram, Winston Reid and James Collins.
Many are predicting the Hammers Xl to be unchanged from the handy draw, but if there are going to be some alterations, they could encompass the return of midfielder Pedro Obiang for his first start since January and a chance for January signing from Preston North End Jordan Hugill.
Meanwhile, visiting boss Allardyce has a few more injury concerns of his own with no fewer than five stars doubtful and or on longer-term injury lay-offs, with names such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Eliaquim Mangala, James McCarthy and Martin Stekelenburg fitting this billing.
However, there is a small chance that legend of the English game Wayne Rooney could return to fitness in time, should he do so, it will, in all likely hood be his last Premier League match as a move to the MLS with DC United awaits, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Theo Walcott are two more names scrambling to make it back for the last match.
The first-teams if West Ham United and Everton have met before on a staggering 137 occasions in all competitions in a fixture that has been being contested since all the way back in the year of 1907.
Over the years, tomorrow’s visitors to East London have dominated this fixture, coming away with the victory an impressive 69 times to the East Londoners’ 38, there have been just 30 draws, the overall record does not make for pleasant viewing for members of the Claret & Blue Army.
In times more recent, the matches have very much followed the Status Quo of Everton dominance as the Irons have been victorious just three times against them in the last 12 years and won one of the last five meetings between the two clubs, two of which have been claimed by the Blues and the points have also been shared twice.
Last time out, and in Moyes’ third game at the helm of West Ham in November 2017, the then-struggling Toffees recorded an emphatic 4-0 Goodison Park thrashing, a Rooney hat-trick and Ashley Williams header making it, with Manuel Lanzini missing a penalty for the visitors, it is fair to say that this has not been a happy encounter for the side from East London throughout time.
Everton Football Club was founded exactly 140 years ago in 1878 as St Domingo Football Club and then changing to what it is known as now some years later, since its formation, the team have gone on to be one of the most successful in English football.
The Toffees, also nicknamed the “Blues” and the “School of Science”, have one of the richest histories in the game, lifting as many as nine English Top-Flights, five FA Cups, nine Community Shields and a European Cup Winners’ Cup, to simply scratch the surface.
However, the club haven’t won a major honour since 1995, not even the 11-year reign of current West Ham boss Moyes providing any, and they haven’t always been the consistent top-four challengers they were before, in this decade, struggling at the wrong end of the table in recent seasons.
Nowadays, under experienced gaffer Allardyce, who managed the Hammers from 2011 to 2015, lifting them back into the Premier League from the Championship, following autumn 2017 sacking of Ronald Koeman, they ate sitting pretty inside the top half after some early-season struggles, a whole six places and ten points above their Sunday afternoon opponents.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group referee Graham Scott will be the man in the middle in Stratford on Sunday afternoon, with the duo of Constantine Hatzidakis and Dan Robathan acting as his assistants, and Simon Hopper taking up the Fourth Official’s role.
So, now that the London stadium scene has been well and truly set for an exciting afternoon of final day Top-Flight action, can Moyes’ boys claim a closing three points that could see them finish in the top half of the standings?
Or, will Allardyce play the role of the pantomime villain and spoil the party, moving his Toffees team over the 50-point marker, in the process? Think you know? Be sure to find us on Twitter @WestHamMatters_ to cast your early score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.