Everton: BBC Sport’s Mark Lawrenson labels Sheffield United defeat as ‘damaging’ for Marco Silva ahead of tough West Ham clash

Everton: BBC Sport’s Mark Lawrenson labels Sheffield United defeat as ‘damaging’ for Marco Silva ahead of tough West Ham clash

BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson has pointed to Everton’s defeat at home to Sheffield United as being ‘damaging’ for Toffees boss Marco Silva, ahead of the Blues facing West Ham in a game that will not be easy for the Goodison Park natives.

Everton lost at home to Sheffield United in a game in which they dominated possession, but failed to produce anything in front of the net either side of an unfortunate own goal by Yerry Mina that handed the Blades the lead.

Chris Wilder’s side secured the three points on the road when Lys Mousset later fired past Jordan Pickford, on a day the Everton players were booed off the pitch at the full-time whistle.

The Blues fanbase are yet to see an uplift to their side’s season since that result, either – with Silva’s men beaten by Manchester City and Burnley in their following two Premier League fixtures to fall inside the bottom three of the table.

But Everton losing at home to last season’s Championship runners-up has been described as a damaging result for their campaign by Lawrenson, as it was a game the Goodison Park faithful expected their side to win, and they will be expecting three points against West Ham on Saturday.

“This is a huge game for Everton boss Marco Silva, whose team are in the bottom three after four straight league defeats,” Lawrenson wrote in his weekly predictions for BBC Sport.

“The Toffees had been in great form at Goodison Park, but they have lost their past two on home turf, against Sheffield United and Manchester City. That defeat to the Blades was particularly damaging for Silva, because it was a game the Everton fans expected to win – and the same applies here.

“And it will not be easy for them. Yes, West Ham lost at home to Crystal Palace last time out, but I have been impressed by Manuel Pellegrini’s side this season and they will definitely carry a threat up front.”

Despite noting the threat of the Irons attack, Lawrenson backed Everton for a 2-1 win, which would be a much-needed result for Silva amid the Blues’ struggles of late.

Losing at home to Sheffield United certainly played a key part in derailing the Toffees’ season, but the Merseyside club continuing to be a flight risk when defending set-pieces was an issue raised long before the Blades arrived at Goodison Park and cropped up again at Burnley last time out.

The former Liverpool defender’s acknowledgment of West Ham’s potential danger upfront cannot be underestimated by Silva, either, as the East London outfit were unfortunate not to beat Crystal Palace before the international break, when a moment of madness by Declan Rice gifted the Eagles a penalty and VAR ensured Jordan Ayew’s late winner could not be struck off for offside.

Everton fans, are you expecting to see an improved performance by Silva’s side when West Ham look to score from set-pieces this weekend? Let us know in the comments below…

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