West Ham United are expected to have Angelo Ogbonna available for selection later this afternoon, leaving David Moyes with a decision to make in defence.
The Irons conceded a silly goal against Burnley last Monday but managed to come from behind to secure all three points thanks to a brace from the returning Michail Antonio.
With the 32-year-old Italian – who has played an influential role this campaign – likely to feature, Moyes can bring him in for either of Craig Dawson or Issa Diop, or else switch to a three-at-the-back system.
We’re backing him to do the former as the French centre-back was largely at fault for Chris Wood’s goal and struggled to cope with the physicality on offer from the Clarets.
Some of the Hammers faithful were far from pleased with Diop’s display, with some deeming him to be a “liability” and the only “weak link” in the side. He was also the man to concede an own goal during their defeat to Newcastle United a couple of weeks previously.
Moyes risks the same happening when Everton come to town in what is a must-win for their chances of qualifying for Europe. The Toffees are hot on their tail and can halve that six-point gap if they win, and they also possess a game in hand.
Carlo Ancelotti’s main threat will be Dominic Calvert-Lewin and he is another aerial beast and prolific goal machine. The England international has bagged 20 goals in 34 appearances, and is averaging 4.4 aerial duels won per Premier League match this term – that’s just 0.1 fewer than Wood’s average for the season.
By comparison, Diop has been a weak presence in the air, averaging only 1.5 successful aerial duels per game, which is behind both Dawson (2.8) and Ogbonna (2.6). Even Antonio (2.9) and Vladimir Coufal (1.6) are better in the air than the Frenchman.
Starting the £18m-rated defender could be a recipe for disaster as Calvert-Lewin could tear him apart, and that would only increase the pressure on Moyes’ attack to deliver once again.
It’s no coincidence that the 24-year-old centre-back did not feature when these two teams met earlier in the season, with Moyes opting for Dawson and Ogbonna, who went on to keep a hard-earned clean sheet at Goodison Park.
The 58-year-old must show no mercy and ruthlessly axe the former Toulouse defender.