There are many talking points to be discussed over Everton’s upcoming away trip to face West Ham United.
It seems like almost every match the Toffees contest at the moment are relegation six-pointers in which defeat could spell the end of Frank Lampard’s time at the club.
The difference this time is the man in the Irons dugout is under an equal amount of pressure and David Moyes’ potential dismissal could also affect the Blues, with the Scot posing a likely candidate to be their next manager.
While off-the-field matters at the club have dominated the headlines this week, there is still a lot to be addressed on the pitch for Everton.
A lack of resilience or ruthlessness
A 2-1 defeat to Southampton at Goodison last week after going ahead in the first half was the final straw for a lot of supporters and fell under a common theme of recent weeks.
When they’re up against it, this Everton team just doesn’t seem to have the character to pick themselves back up again and more often than not end up crumbling, just as they have done in all of their last three home matches: defeats to Southampton, Wolves and Brighton.
Against the first two of these teams, the Toffees took the lead in the first half but lacked the cutting edge necessary to put the outcome beyond any doubt as well as the defensive solidity to keep their opponents at bay.
Once they end up chasing a goal at the end of match, their lack of creativity becomes even more apparent and a lack of any new additions to try and solve this issue will only worry Everton fans even more.
A glimmer of hope
On the plus side, the Hammers are similarly blunt in attack as well as cautious which could play into the Toffees and Lampard’s hands.
It must be remembered that one of only three wins for the Blues in the league this season came against West Ham back in September.
For much of the game, the Everton players were allowed to keep hold of the ball and patiently look for an opening, exactly how the manager likes it, and the only goal of the game eventually came in the form of a Neal Maupay strike.
While Moyes’ men might be more reluctant to let their opponents dominate possession this time around, especially being at home, if the Toffees are able to find an early goal, it might just be they’re able to shut the Irons out.
One to watch – Alex Iwobi
In Everton victory’s in the reverse fixture, Alex Iwobi produced an outstanding display.
He was able to play to his strengths, drawing defenders out with his precise dribbling and picking out passes to the forwards ahead of him, as evidenced by his assist for Maupay’s goal that day where he did just that.
He could be the key to unlocking West Ham’s defence once again on Saturday and Lampard will be praying for another top performance from a player who has been revitalised under his guidance.
One to watch – Danny Ings
The Hammers’ aforementioned blunt attack has been handed a big boost by the signing of Danny Ings.
After some sporadic links with a loan move to Goodison Park, the 30-year-old has instead joined the Irons from Aston Villa for £15m.
The former Liverpool striker has a fantastic record of scoring against the Toffees, including this season when his strike in a 2-1 Villa victory back in August marked his seventh goal in 15 appearances against Everton.
With the forward being confirmed as available to play tomorrow, there will certainly have been a lot of bets placed up and down the country.
There’s no getting away from the fact that it has been a particularly horrible last seven days to be an Evertonian.
From a disgraceful club statement three hours before kick-off against Southampton last Saturday to an eventual breakthrough in negotiations with Villarreal’s Arnaut Danjuma towards the end of the week being the very first indication the club might actually sign someone this window, there has been much to be unhappy about.
A win in East London tomorrow would finally give the supporters something to smile about as well as being crucial for any potential survival bid.
Over to you, Frank and the players.