Scouting report: Everton

Take a closer look at our opponents, Everton, ahead of our festive clash at Goodison Park...

Manager

Sam Allardyce. The former West Ham and Palace boss arrived at Goodison Park in November, replacing Ronald Koeman who had been sacked as the Toffees sunk into a relegation dogfight. However, ‘Big Sam’ has made a fine start to life on Merseyside, lifting his side into the top half of the Premier League table following a fine run of form. Everton defeated Swansea 3-1 at Goodison Park in their last home game, with Gylfi Sigurdsson on target against his former side. 

Key player

Wayne Rooney. The former England captain made a return to the place where it all started for him earlier this summer, after departing Manchester United. Rooney has made a good start to life back on Merseyside, netting 10 times in the Premier League and once in the Europa League for his boyhood club. Now 32, Rooney is often deployed in an attacking midfield role instead of his more customary striker position he has occupied throughout his career.

Recent form

The Toffees head into the fixture unbeaten in their last six games, winning five of those ties and the other was a hard earned draw against Merseyside rivals, Liverpool. Allardyce’s side have been victorious in their last two games, winning away at Newcastle before following that up with a home win over Swansea. 

One to watch

Tom Davies. The teenager is the latest youngster to have come through the academy and made a real impact on the first-team at Goodison Park. Capped by England at U21 level, Davies has caught the eye with his energetic performances in the Everton midfield and was named as ‘Young player of the season’ last campaign, as well as scooping ‘Goal of the season’ for his strike against Manchester City.

Worn both badges

Mark Hughes. Our former striker, who is now the manager of Premier League side Stoke City, took in a brief spell with the Toffees towards the end of his illustrious career, spending a year at Goodison Park before moving on to Blackburn. Previously, the Welsh international spent three years with us in west London, clocking up almost 100 appearances in a Blue shirt. Hughes helped us win the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.