West Ham United travel to Everton on Wednesday night looking to bring to an end a run of six games without a Premier League victory.

Their opponents have had problems of their own this season, so where can the Hammers expect some joy at Goodison Park?

Centre-back issues

The centre of Everton’s defence has not looked so leaky since the end of the Roberto Martinez era.

Michael Keane was signed from Burnley over the summer to strengthen the backline but has come in for stiff criticism, whilst Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are both now well into their 30s and certainly some way past their prime.

With Keane a doubt for this encounter after being substituted in the defeat to Southampton on Sunday, West Ham could find themselves up against his two ageing colleagues and need to exploit their lack of pace.

Both Williams and Jagielka showed that they are susceptible to quick and clever forward movement at the weekend and with that in mind it may be an idea to bring in Diafra Sakho up front in place of Andy Carroll.

The former Newcastle United striker has started both of David Moyes’ matches in charge to date but his game is playing up against the centre-halves, not stretching them in behind.

Sakho would look to drag the defence around and hopefully create space for the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini to thrive.

Lack of width and pace going forward

As an attacking force, the Toffees have no doubt been blunted by the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United in July.

However, their problems lie deeper than that; they lack width and pace in offensive areas, often struggling to maintain any sort of tempo in the final third.

This has tended to mean that their attacks get funnelled through the middle of the pitch, giving teams time to get organised and suffocate the space.

West Ham struggled at times against Leicester City’s pace on Friday but they should not encounter the same issues this evening.

If they close down the gaps and counter-attack with width themselves, the Irons should be able to punish their Merseyside opponents.

Confidence issues

The form guide coming into this match does not read too well for either side, but taking a closer look at their most recent encounters should offer West Ham considerable hope.

Moyes’ men sit 18th in the table but played out a credible 1-1 draw with Leicester on Friday night, coming from a goal down and looking the more threatening team as the game wore on.

Everton, on the other hand, were resoundingly smashed 4-1 at Southampton and are sliding towards the relegation zone.

They still have David Unsworth in charge of first-team affairs on an interim basis, although Sam Allardyce is expected to take over following tonight’s fixture, according to Sky Sports.

That means that the Hammers could avoid the new manager ‘bounce’; the lift in form that often occurs at a club following a managerial change.

The Toffees are low on confidence and the stage is set for West Ham to make a fast start and put them on the back foot from the first whistle.

This is the sort of fixture that Moyes needs to win to get the fans onside and spread belief amongst the players that they can get out of their current predicament.

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