Date:Friday August 23 2013
Saturday, August 24
Goodison Park will see a new face in the dug out for the first time in 11yrs as Roberto Martinez takes charge of his first home game as Everton manager as they take on West Brom on Saturday. The Martinez era began with a 2-2 draw with Norwich last weekend, however, Everton fans would be pleased with the performance, which warranted the 3pts. West Brom began the season in rather disappointing fashion conceding a 90th minute penalty to Southampton as they went on to lose the game 1-0. Both sides will be eager to pick up their first win of the season and hope to kickstart their season.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez dealt with the transfer speculation and mentioned that they are focused on West Brom saying
'In football, you want to keep your best performers and that's where we are. Obviously you always get into a debate when there is a club that matches the valuation of a player. Then you need to make a decision. That has never been the case and where we are at is that we want to keep our most influential players and build from that.
'We're still in the same position we were a few days ago. The concentration now is on West Brom, the opening game of the campaign at Goodison.'
West Brom midfielder James Morrison spoke of the need to bounce back after the disappointment of last week saying
'For us, we need to get last Saturday out of the system, because it wasn't great. Having the internationals go away meant we didn't have much preparation time which didn't help, but we didn't perform well, we know that. Probably a draw would have been fair, but we've had a few games that have gone that way over recent years and that's something we need to stamp out.
'It's always hard to go to Goodison Park, we haven't had a great record there in the last few years apart from the 4-1 win. It's a hostile crowd, they're always on top of you, and if you don't start right, you find yourself in for a tough afternoon.'
Sylvain Distin is a fresh injury concern after injuring his ankle in the 2-2 draw against Norwich and is listed as a doubt for the game. Darron Gibson is listed as 50-50 as he is still trying to recover from a knee injury picked up in the preseason. Antolin Alcaraz is definitely out with a hernia problem. Everton could regain the services of Tony Hibbert as he has brushed off a knock picked up in preseason.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Howard, Baines, Heitinga, Jagielka, Coleman, Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Mirallas, Barkley, Jelavic
The Everton youngster was really impressive against Norwich last weekend. Martinez gave the youngster the start, after being largely under used by Moyes last season, and he didn't disappoint. The 19yr old completed the most passes and registered the most shots in the game and topped off his performance with a stunning strike. Barkley possesses all the tools to become a world class player, his composure on the ball, his technique, passing range and the fact that he is two footed, means that Everton fans can expect to see a lot more from the 19yr old this season. If he puts in a similar performance as last weekend, then I find it hard to see West Brom picking up a result.
The big story regarding West Brom has been the omission of summer signing Nicolas Anelka, after he was granted compassionate leave to deal with personal issues. West Brom could hand starting debuts to summer signings Matej Vydra and Diego Lugano. West Brom have also secured the services of Scott Sinclair on loan from Man City, however it is unknown whether he will feature in the match.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Foster, Ridgewell, Olsson, McAuley, Jones, Yacob, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Morrison, Vydra, Long
Although the threat of Long and Vydra should not be forgotten, you would expect the engine room for West Brom to be very busy. With Everton's new system, which saw them register nearly 70% of the possession last week, the West Brom central midfielders will have to work hard to try and break up the play of Everton. Yacob did this really well last season against Everton, especially at the Hawthorns where the Baggies won 2-0. If Yacob and Mulumbu can get on top in the centre of the park, Everton could find it difficult to score.
1. Martinez's philosphy was in full effect for Everton last weekend. The 67% possession they had against Norwich was the highest from the weekend and the 519 completed passes also topped the chart. Everton had a 91% pass completion rate, which was up from previous seasons average of 79%
2. Last season, the corresponding fixture ended in a 2-1 Everton win, with left back Leighton Baines scoring both
3. Everton will be hoping they can sustain the home form they had last season, in which they only lost 1 home league game all season, which was to Chelsea.
4. Everton lead the head to head 8 to 5, with one draw between the two sides. The home side have typically won the fixture
Although we didn't get the result we wanted against Norwich last weekend, the performance was really impressive, Everton looked calm and comfortable in the new system, and hopefully we will only improve with time. With Martinez's first game in charge at Goodison Park, I would hope that the atmosphere will be electric and the players will be fired up to pick up their first win of the season. Couple that with the fact that West Brom were largely underwhelming against Southampton and Anelka is out, I am going for a 3-1 Everton win with Mirallas, Jelavic and Baines on the scoresheet. COYB!!! LETS PICK UP THESE 3PTS LADS!!!!!
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Date:Friday August 23 2013
Everton never felt inferior (Thursday December 5 2013)
Everton beat Man United 1-0 (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Stats: Manchester United v Everton (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Martinez wants to shed Moyes' inferiority complex (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Manchester United V Everton Match Preview (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Everton chase Brazilian striker (Tuesday December 3 2013)
Martinez takes on Moyes (Monday December 2 2013)
Stats: Everton v Stoke (Sunday December 1 2013)
Everton cruise to 4-0 win (Saturday November 30 2013)
Baines hasn't played his last game for Everton (Friday November 29 2013)
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