West Brom-Everton Preview
Carlo Ancelotti has hailed the impact of James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure after the trio put in impressive displays in Everton's victory over Tottenham.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin's excellent header secured a 1-0 win on Sunday, with Allan and Doucoure particularly impressive in a combative midfield unit, while James provided the creativity and craft Everton have often been missing in the final third.
The trio are set to make their Goodison Park debuts against West Brom on Saturday, and Ancelotti praised the influence they are already having in the dressing room.
"For sure. They are experienced players, all three of them in different ways, James, Allan have international experience. Doucoure has played really well in the Premier League. They have brought more confidence to their team-mates," Ancelotti told a news conference. "We have a more competitive squad. It is difficult to do the line-up, difficult to make the bench and the most difficult part is to tell the player to stay home and watch the game on TV. But if we want to be a more competitive team we have to have competition in the squad."
One area Everton are short in is centre-back, with Michael Keane and Yerry Mina their only fit centre-backs, and Ancelotti confirmed they are looking to sign reinforcements, with Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori having been linked.
While Everton are on the hunt for a defender, West Brom boss Slaven Bilic is searching for another striker before the transfer window closes on October 5.
"We would love to do it," Bilic replied, when asked about the striker hunt. "It is important we bring a different type of striker to what we have into the club. We are trying to get it done but it's not easy, but it is instrumental for us. Then the next phase is to improve the team from last season."
Everton – James Rodriguez
It was confirmed on Thursday that James had actually signed for Everton on a free transfer, and in his debut against Tottenham, the Colombia star showed flashes of real quality. Having got close to 90 minutes under his belt, James will be eager to impress in his Goodison Park bow, even if it is behind closed doors.
West Brom – Grady Diangana
West Ham captain Mark Noble was not happy when the Hammers sold Diangana to West Brom earlier in the transfer window, but the winger is a key part of Bilic's plans. He played the joint-most key passes (one) and had the most passes in the opposition half (26) than any other West Brom player in their defeat to Leicester City, and his pace on the break could be key against the Toffees.
• Everton have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League encounters with West Brom, a 0-1 reverse at Goodison Park in February 2016 under Roberto Martinez.
• Against no side have West Brom kept more clean sheets in the Premier League than they have against Everton.
• Everton are winless in their last four home league meetings with newly promoted opposition.
• Following their 1-0 win at Spurs, Everton are looking for back-to-back victories at the start of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 2012-13.
• Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has never lost a Premier League game to a newly promoted club in 15 previous such matches.
• James created five chances on his Premier League debut for Everton last week, the most by a débutante in the competition since Alexis Sanchez with Arsenal in August 2014 (also five).
Updated September 18, 2020