The first Premier League match of 2021 takes place at Goodison Park, with David Moyes taking his West Ham United side to Everton, a club he previously managed for 11 years.
Everton enjoyed a relatively happy 2020. Whilst their neighbours Liverpool stole headlines after securing their first league title in 30 years, the Toffees have quietly developed into one of the Premier League’s most improved teams, under Carlo Ancelotti.
Everton’s improvement under the infamous Italian has been remarkable. Victory in Friday’s match against West Ham will put them one point behind Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
West Ham also had a fairly productive year in 2020. Whilst their success has not been at the scale of their hosts on New Year’s Day, Moyes has recruited well to guide his Hammers away from the bottom reaches of the top flight.
However, West Ham’s first task of 2021 is no small order. The East London side have lost 26 games and conceded 86 goals against Everton in the Premier League, both competition records when it comes to head to heads.
Moyes is also still waiting on his first win at Goodison Park since leaving Everton back in 2013, although the West Ham boss has never lost to Ancelotti in the five previous Premier League meetings between the managers.
This game will mark a year since Moyes began his second stint as manager at West Ham, and the Scottish boss will hope to end a run of four games without a win. Meanwhile, Everton are going for a fifth Premier League win in a row.
The most recent meeting between these sides came earlier this season, when Everton coasted to a 4-1 home win in the Carabao Cup.
Lucas Digne, Allan and James Rodriguez are all still unavailable for Everton, but Richarlison returns for the Blues.
West Ham’s only injury concern is Arthur Masuaku, who looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.