And, would you believe it, the 33-year-old actually played rather well. The former Millwall man got his chance between the sticks in the Hammers’ 1-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday, and boy did he take it.
It was incredible to see the difference a steady pair of hands can make, not just in regards to the goalkeeping itself, but to the outfield players as well.
It was clear after the game that manager Manuel Pellegrini was very impressed with his ‘keeper: “I think that from the first time I spoke in the week with him I felt he was prepared,” he said at his post-match press conference, as per Football London. “I was trusting him. Especially before the game he was very quiet but he demonstrated what he needed throughout the 95 minutes.
Clearly Pellegrini liked what he saw from his stand-in number one, which begs the question of why it took him so long to plug him in? Either way, it seems like Martin is set for a long spell as the starting goalkeeper – until first choice Lukasz Fabianski is back, that is.
His performance at Stamford Bridge certainly suggests that he’s a superior option to the beleaguered Roberto. As per WhoScored.com, Martin made six saves against the Blues, with three of them coming from inside the penalty area.
Despite that, he wasn’t beaten once. Plus, he commanded his penalty area with aplomb and got the ball away from goal with regularity, knocking 11 long balls forward.
After that sort of display, and following on from Pellegrini’s comments, how could Martin possibly miss out against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday?