A familiar lack of early-season staying power offers West Brom a chance of the second-half spoils.
Travelling Everton fans could be forgiven for checking out of the Hawthorns at the interval this weekend, with the Toffees rock bottom of the Premier League’s second-half table.
West Brom’s long-standing poor form makes them rightful 23/10 underdogs to their 6/5 visitors, with the draw priced up at 11/5.
Yet, given what we know about the Goodison Park outfit’s tendency to run out of batteries in the second stanza, backing the Baggies to emerge victorious from the match of the final 45 minutes looks a far better 23/10 shout.
Everton have lost their first three closing halves of the season, shipping a league high of seven goals in doing so.
That’s three more than any other side.
Words like ‘tiredness’ and ‘fatigue’ have swarmed around post-match assessments of the Merseysiders’ matches all season.
After throwing away three points in the last seven minutes against Arsenal Roberto Martinez told reporters:
“I was delighted with the performance for 80 minutes, I thought the first half was phenomenal. We’ll make sure going forward we make it a 90-minute performance.”
Everton fans on BBC Radio Five Live’s 606 phone-in were less diplomatic in bemoaning the lack of vigour their side displayed in the closing stages.
Liverpool Echo’s David Triggs’ was another voice lending it’s self to the growing chorus suggesting that the Toffees have once again started the season undercooked:
“In a way it’s the same as the start of last season. The players looked tired then as they have now.
The difference is the system, which last season looked to consolidate – hence the draws against Norwich, West Brom and Cardiff – before kicking on after the win against Chelsea.
It was not expansive, whereas this season there was no fear in the way the team lined up and the tiredness and lapses in concentration meant conceding goals rather than not taking chances.”
Against a side whom they’ve failed to beat at the Hawthorns for two successive seasons they are fancied to be stung for running out of steam once more.