Boss Wants Set-Piece Superiority
Martinez out to nullify Hammers' dead ball threat.
Roberto Martinez has warned his defenders they will face the Premier League’s set-piece experts at Upton Park this Saturday.
The Blues have kept three successive top-flight clean sheets but travel to a West Ham team that has become renowned for its direct approach and effectiveness from corners and free-kick routines.
Sam Allardyce's side will be without injured target man Andy Carroll, so the powerful Malian Modibo Maiga is expected to lead their line, just as he did in the goalless stalemate at Southampton last weekend.
“It’s important we understand that West Ham have got a really strong unit and continuity in their playing staff,” Martinez told evertontv. “They have followed on that winning feeling they had from getting promoted from the Championship and last season they were really strong, finishing 10th in the league.
“It was a terrific year [for them] and we are well aware of the quality and goalscoring ability they have in dead ball situations.
“They are also really strong defensively. You can not underestimate them because they are very well organised and solid, and they have huge intensity in their defensive duties. They are a difficult team to score against.
“We will have to be aware but clearly we cannot stop being ourselves and we need to go there and be as good as we can be.”
A key ingredient in West Ham’s success in the last two seasons has been influential midfielder Kevin Nolan.
The former Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United man joined in the summer of 2011 and has since plundered 24 goals.
Understandably, Martinez believes nullifying the 31-year-old’s threat will go a long way towards Everton returning to Merseyside on Saturday evening with a favourable result to their name.
He continued: “It’s not easy to be successful season after season and to find a real niche in the game. I think Kevin Nolan has done that over the years. He has accumulated success at the different clubs he has been at and that deserves huge credit.
“At the weekend we need to focus on ourselves and be perfect in what we need to do. But Kevin Nolan is someone who can score out of very little and that’s something we need to be well aware of.”
Fans not travelling to Upton Park can listen to live commentary of the game on evertonfc.com, with the broadcast beginning at approximately 2.55pm.