West Ham travel to Goodison Park to face Everton on Sunday, looking for their first points of the season.
The international break came at the perfect time for Manuel Pellegrini and he will be hoping his side return invigorated. But what kind of challenge will they be up against?
We asked Everton fan Matt Pink for the lowdown on Marco Silva’s new-look side and also for his views on the Hammers’ current predicament…
Which player or area is Everton’s weakest link?
Set pieces. It’s safe to say that Silva’s zonal marking is yet to fully embed within the team, with six of our seven goals conceded in all competitions so far from dead ball situations.
With Yerry Mina yet to make his debut, hopefully his aerial presence (when he comes into the side) can shore things up at the back.
But with more than 38% of goals conceded by Hull and Watford under Silva coming from set plays, there’s a fair question of whether the problem runs deeper…
Where do you think Everton can hurt West Ham?
West Ham seem to be in a real rut so far. In a similar vein to us last summer, promising signings were made and expectations were raised, but they’re yet to fully bed in.
Midfield looks like a strong opportunity – with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Morgan Schneiderlin both having been in good form, I’d hope that we could control that area.
We’re limited by injuries currently, with this season’s bright starters in Richarlison, Idrissa Gueye and Theo Walcott set to miss out. Cenk Tosun’s looked sharp, but is yet to score, so I think he’ll be determined to cause some damage to a back line that is yet to convince.
What differences have you noticed under Silva?
For the first time in a while, it’s genuinely enjoyable to watch us play. Huddersfield aside, we’ve seen a real change in mentality and style from a team was truly dire to watch towards the back end of last season.
High-pressing and attacking football has been the theme, with the determination from almost every member of the team seeming to go up a notch.
Once the whole squad is fit, I’m confident we’ll kick on and give top teams a decent game, when previously we’ve limped to defeats! Please don’t remind me of these comments when we’re 4-0 down 30 minutes into the Derby.
How are the new signings settling in?
It’s hard to give a verdict as most are yet to play! Richarlison, bar his moment of madness, has been a real bright spark with his work rate and flair – he’s the type of winger that every football fan loves.
Kurt Zouma already looks assured and a great addition to the side; I suspect he’ll be the partner to Mina once the Colombian’s fit.
Lucas Digne nicked Leighton Baines’ place in the side last time out and made the most of it with a great assist for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He already looks a sensible long-term replacement at left back and I expect him to keep his spot on Sunday.
Bar a brief appearance by Bernard, the rest are yet to kick a ball for us, but it’s exciting knowing the talent that we have to come into the side!
Do you think West Ham will turn it around this season?
It’s hard to say… you’ve got to give the new signings time to get settled, but there are still fundamental weaknesses in the team.
How West Ham didn’t sign a quality defensive midfielder in the summer I’m not sure, and I’m skeptical as to whether Carlos Sanchez will fit that bill.
I’ve always been a big admirer of Manuel Pellegrini and wanted him to replace Roberto Martinez, but it’s surely one of the biggest challenges of his career!
Going forward though, the team has real potential to cause damage. Having witnessed what Andriy Yarmolenko did to us a few seasons ago in the Europa League for Dynamo Kiev, along with having Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson in the side, you’d like to think it’ll get better…right?
Score prediction for Sunday?
3-2 to the Blues. Free-scoring, end to end and a defensive disasterclass. Probably be a 0-0 now!