Saturday 21st September
West Ham United vs Everton
Despite what many West Ham fans would have you believe this week, Everton are not unbeatable. There is a certain doom and gloom feeling around E13 at the moment. Three games without a goal can do that to a fanbase.
But, in my opinion, the negativity is not entirely justified. We are still a good side. We still have good players. I don't think I can remember a better defensive unit for the Hammers since I began supporting the club, and that is something we should be proud of. The attacking unit isn't performing to the best of its abilities at the moment, but all it will take is a fluke goal and the confidence will come flooding back.
Maybe I'm being foolish, but I think we can beat Everton.
Despite the performance and result against Stoke, we are a very tough team to play at home. Our record last season speaks for itself. The Toffees, meanwhile, haven't won an away game in the Premier League since the 2nd of January against Newcastle - that makes it 10 without victory for them.
This could be a good opportunity to play Everton. They are still adapting to Martinez's favoured tippy-tappy-tika-taka approach, and they are vulnerable. Okay, so the back four of Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin & Leighton Baines have been excellent for quite some time now. But there is a weak link.
I rate Tim Howard, but he has mistakes in him. Last season, he made 5 mistakes leading to shots on goal - four of which went in. Only last week he suffered a lapse in confidence with the ball at his feet, allowing Chelsea in to a golden opportunity (what a tackle by Gareth Barry, by the way!).
The image below shows defensive mistakes made by Everton's back five last season. As you can see, Howard is the obvious weaklink, although Jagielka is also prone to the odd slip up too.
I'm not a massive fan of Martinez. I don't really understand how a manager who was relegated just 4 months ago has found himself in the hotseat at one of the biggest clubs in the country. That said, the Spaniard should be applauded for his use of Ross Barkley.
We've been promised for a few years now that the young midfielder would be the next big thing, but his opportunities under David Moyes had been restricted. Martinez though, has made Barkley his main man - and he is reaping the rewards.
Barkley has been one of the stand out performers of the season so far, even managing an England cap just a few weeks ago. In 4 appearances so far this season, he's successfully beaten his man 19 time out of 26 attempts.
His goalscoring display against Norwich City on the opening day of the season was spectacular. Barkley completed 96% of his 51 passes, won three out of three tackles, beat his man 4 out of 5 times, created a goalscoring chance for a team mate, and grabbed one himself. It was an almost perfect all round midfield performance.
However, the issue with putting so much faith into such a young player is that the consistency is not always there. In last weekend's victory over Chelsea, Barkley was successful with just 69% of his passes, giving the ball away 9 times.
The game was also the first time Barkley had less than 50 touches of the ball in a game this season. It could be suggested that starving Barkley of the ball causes him to be less patient in possession, thus giving the ball away with more regularity.
The image below shows Barkley's touches and pass accuracy in each game so far. The more touches he has, the more accurate his passing.
Like us, Everton have lacked a cutting edge in front of goal this season. Despite a promising start to life in England, Nikica Jelavic has been a bit of a flop for Everton. Unfortunately for West Ham though, this could be the week that Romelu Lukaku makes his Toffees debut.
The young Belgian was, reportedly, courted by West Ham all summer, but opted to ply his trade in the blue of Everton. It seems all too typical that he'd make his debut against us, having supposedly spurned our advances.
Lukaku is dangerous. During his loan at West Brom last season, he scored 17 Premier League goals, and created 36 chances for his team mates. If Lukaku hits the ground running for Everton this weekend, West Ham's excellent defence may have their hardest challenge of the season.
The image below shows Lukaku's shots on goal last season. In total, he shot at goal 79 times in his 35 appearances. He hit the target 66% of the time (52). He scored with 22% of his shots, and 33% of his shots on target. He really is a deadly finisher.
Sam Alladryce has got some difficult decisions to make this week. Do we bring Joey O'Brien to right back to help defend against the rampaging Leighton Baines? Does Mark Noble spend the game sitting on Ross Barkley, or should he continue to press forward as he has done in recent weeks? Does Modibo Maiga deserve to continue up front, or does Ricardo Vaz Te offer the bigger goal threat?
Big choices for Big Sam.
Getting those decisions right could give us a very happy weekend, and finally lift that grey cloud off of the Boleyn.
Head to Head
29% Head to Head Win % 50%
36 Won 63
27 Drawn 27
63 Lost 36
146 Goals Scored 215
215 Goals Conceded 146
W W D W L D Last 6 L D D W D W
8 Goals Scored 6
4 Goals Conceded 5
W D W W W L Home/Away Form D L D L D D
10 Goals Scored 3
4 Goals Conceded 5
Form Player (All Comps)
James Collins - Sylvain Distin
4 Appearances 4
0 Goals & Assists 0
1 Chances Created 0
63% Pass Completion % 85%
12 Defensive Actions PG 12
53% Aerial Duel Success 82%
75% Tackle Success 78%
04 May 2013
1-0 Kevin Mirallas 6'
2-0 Kevin Mirallas 60'
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
Jussi Jääskeläinen - Tim Howard
Guy Demel - Seamus Coleman
James Collins - Phil Jagielka
Winston Reid - Sylvain Distin
Joey O'Brien - Leighton Baines
Gary O'Neil - Darron Gibson
Mohamed Diamé - Leon Osman
Jack Collison - Kevin Mirallas
Kevin Nolan - Marouane Fellaini
Matt Jarvis - Steven Pienaar
Andy Carroll - Victor Anichebe
West Ham United: George McCartney, Alou Diarra, Joe Cole, Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll
Everton: Antolin Alcaraz, Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar, Arouna Koné
West Ham United: n/a
Opposition Last Time Out
Goals Scored: 1
Goals Conceded: 0
Starting Formation: 4-2-3-1
Seamus Coleman Phil Jagielka Sylvain Distin Leighton Baines
Leon Osman Gareth Barry
Kevin Mirallas Ross Barkley Steven Naismith
subs: Joel Robles, John Heitinga, John Stones, Bryan Ovieda, Gerard Deulofeu, James McCarthy, Magaye Gueye
Best Player: Leon Osman
Squawka Rating: 60
Worst Player: Gerard Deulofeu
Squawka Rating: -1
Top 5's (2013/14 so far..)
Joe Cole 1 - 1 Ross Barkley
Kevin Nolan 1 - 1 Seamus Coleman
- 1 Steven Naismith
Matt Jarvis 1 - 1 Seamus Coleman
Mark Noble 1 - 1 Nikica Jelavic
Ravel Morrison 0.9% - 0.9% Maroune Fellaini
Stewart Downing 0.8% - 0.9% Ross Barkely
Kevin Nolan 0.8% - 0.9% Leon Osman
Mark Noble 0.8% - 0.9% Leighton Baines
Joey O'Brien 0.8% - 0.9% Arouna Koné
Chances Created per game
Mark Noble 1.5 - 2.5 Leighton Baines
Stewart Downing 1.3 - 2 Steven Pieneaar
Matt Jarvis 1.3 - 1.5 Seamus Coleman
Modibo Maïga 1 - 1.3 Ross Barkley
Joe Cole 0.5 - 1.3 Kevin Mirallas
Successful Dribbles per game
Mohamed Diamé 2.5 - 4.8 Ross Barkley
Mark Noble 2 - 2.3 Kevin Mirallas
Joe Cole 1.5 - 2 Seamus Coleman
Ravel Morrison 1.3 - 1.7 Steven Pienaar
Mogibo Maïga 1 - 1.5 Leighton Baines
Tackles per game
James Collins 3 - 4.3 Marouane Fellaini
Mohamed Diamé 2.3 - 4 Leon Osman
Joey O'Brien 1.8 - 2.3 Sylvain Distin
Mark Noble 1.8 - 2.3 Leighton Baines
Guy Demel 1.8 - 1.8 Ross Barkley
Aerial Duels Won per game
Modibo Maïga 7.8 - 6 Maroune Fellaini
James Collins 4 - 3.8 Phil Jagielkaa
Winston Reid 3.5 - 2.3 Sylvain Distin
Joey O'Brien 2.5 - 2 Steven Naismith
Joe Cole 1.5 - 1.8 Leon Osman
Sam Allardyce - Roberto Martinez
42.8% Current Club Win % 40%
42 Won 2
27 Drawn 3
29 Lost 0
40.0% Managerial Career Win % 37.7%
336 Won 116
226 Drawn 87
276 Lost 104
2 League Titles 1
0 Cup Wins 1