The tragic and sudden death of Cyrille Regis on Sunday evening has overshadowed this week for Baggies fans with talk of the transfer window and the build up to another massive game on Saturday relegated to an after thought.
The volume of tributes and the deep sincere feelings expressed have left me in awe of the man that was already a hero to me. I hadn’t really appreciated what he meant to the wider football family, not to mention the symbol he was to minority communities across the country, and I feel immensely proud that he was a Baggie.
It is only fitting that Regis will be honoured with a minute’s applause at Goodison Park on Saturday, and I’m sure it will an emotional experience for those Baggies fans present, particularly those lucky enough to have met the great man, or seen him in action.
But Cyrille was as big an Albion fan as anyone, and I’m sure he will be hoping for another three points this weekend to follow up the crucial victory that was earned at the Hawthorns last weekend.
For the first time since September, the Baggies go into a match in better form than their opponents. Since a run of five wins in six games following the appointment of Sam Allardyce, the Toffees have not won in six and are a run of four straight defeats. They have scored just two goals in their six games and it represents a great opportunity for Albion to keep their (brief) winning run going.
Unlike the Baggies, however, Everton have added to their squad this month with the signings of Turkish striker, Cenk Tosun, and, more recently, England forward Theo Walcott. Tosun made his debut in the 4-0 defeat to Spurs at Wembley last weekend, while Walcott is likely to pull on an Everton shirt for the first time against the Baggies.
Allardyce was scathing of his team after last week’s heavy defeat and even said that they need to be a bit more boring, something I’m sure the Goodison faithful will be delighted to hear. However, two attacking signings point to Big Sam realising that there is a need for more goals in the Everton team, something they have in common with Albion, and I’d be surprised if he approached the match cautiously this weekend.
Having said that Everton’s good run in November and December was brought to an end with two 0-0 draws, the second of which was at the Hawthorns on Boxing Day. Albion were by far the better side that day and did everything but score, so while they can take confidence from their performance that day, Everton will be a different proposition at Goodison Park, and their new additions should make them stronger.
The Baggies will have gained confidence from their two victories, but it remains fragile. With Southampton not facing Spurs until Sunday, victory will see them move above the Saints and, should Stoke fail to beat Huddersfield, out of the bottom three. Defeat would be a blow to confidence and, with a trip to runaway leaders, Manchester City, to follow next in the league, the pressure will be on once again when Southampton visit the Hawthorns next month.
Albion have won just once in their last ten games against Everton, although that was a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park just under two years ago thanks to a goal from Salomón Rondón. Their only other win at Everton in the Premier League came in 2010 when Scharner, Brunt, Tchoyi and Mulumbu were all on the scoresheet in a 4-1 victory, their first at Goodison since a 2-1 win in the League Cup in September 1980.
Regis played in that match, of course, as resting players for cup competitions was not the done thing in those days. Remi Moses and Ally Robertson were the scorers, however, as the big man never managed to find the net at Goodison in an Albion shirt, although he did for both Coventry and Villa. He would certainly have been hoping that this year’s Albion Number 9 would be able to score his second at the home of the Toffees this weekend. Interestingly, all but one of Rondón’s five goals this season have come away from home.
All Baggies fans will be hoping that Albion can win it for Cyrille, but I think this one will finish all square.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
26 Dec 2017 – Premier League
West Brom 0
Last meeting at Everton
11 Mar 2017 – Premier League
Everton 3 (Mirallas, Schneiderlin, Lukaku)
West Brom 0
13 Feb 2016 – Premier League
West Brom 1 (Rondón)
Albion’s Record against Everton
|Premier League Record|