After a bad defeat I usually wish the next Everton match was a soon as possible, as to put my mood right after a poor result. This time though it felt like the international break was exactly what was needed for our group of players after two points in three games and conceding 10 in the process. As far as England goes Stones and Baines, and techinically Jagielka all kept two clean sheets which would of boosted confidence. As would of John Stones playing well in his unfavoured right-back position and receiving his due plaudits. Away from England and the likes of Atsu, Besic and Gibson got much needed game time and the likes of Eto’o, Lukaku, Barry, and Distin got rest for various reasons. Most importantly of all, there were no new injuries to report.
West Brom have also got two points from their opening games and will also be looking for their first win. Alan Irvine, however strange the appointment, will get the best wishes of all Everton fans after Saturday but a difficult season may lie in wait for him. Everton last won at The Hawthorns in 2012 when a certain Victor Anichebe gave the blues a 1-0 win. He is recovering from a small knock but may feature on Saturday, as may Lescott who has recovered from a knee problem.
A big call for Martinez is whether John Stones is to come in or not. After Jagielka’s start to the season you’d suggest that John Stones will play at centre back alongside Sylvain Distin. However, Jagielka did perform well in the latter part of the Switzerland match to close out the game and dropping him for Stones would be a significant statement. Jagielka would lose his starting spot at Everton, which he has had for a very long time.
You’d expect Martinez to stick with his 4-2-3-1 formation for a number of reasons. The form of Naismith and McGeady being two of them. Naismith has been our best player so far this season and you’d expect him to start again behind Lukaku. McGeady was sensational for Ireland and capped off a brilliant display with a last minute wonder goal. I think a start can be expected for both of them with Pienaar only just returning, Osman and Eto’o doubts and Atsu playing on Wednesday night.
Coleman – Stones – Distin – Baines
Barry – McCarthy
Mirallas – Naismith – McGeady
As mentioned they are also on two points from three games. Ben Foster, Gareth McAuley and Graham Dorrans have all been passed fit to start but our fans will be keen to see the starting line-up to see if Joleon Lescott plays. Having only just come back he may not be risked but a hostile reception from the away fans would be given if he did manage to play. A much more favourable reception would be given to Anichebe but it is also doubtful with a hernia.
Last time out West Brom lost to Swansea 3-0 away but we will be looking for any kind of victory after our poor start.
My heart is willing my head to say we will win but I feel it will be another close one, in which hopefully we will just get over the line. The international break has hopefully rejuvenated the players and we will now be able to kick on and get our season truly under way. Lukaku had one of his worst games for us at The Hawthorns last season. Whether that was a lack of passion playing against his old club or a coincidence remains to be seen but hopefully there is more fire in him this time out. We need him to start scoring and hopefully this weekend will be when he chalks up his first goal of the season, one of many we hope.