Is Martinez Coming Unstuck At Goodison?



After analysing the mixed form of Manchester United and Liverpool so far this season, it would be unfair not to look at the poor start Everton have suffered so far this term.

Last year Roberto Martinez and his men were terrific. They played with an intense, free-flowing style and deservedly took fifth spot in the league. The Spanish manager helped gain the team their greatest points haul in the last twenty seven years.

But so far this campaign we’ve seen Everton struggle in the league. The Toffees have only managed to gain five points in the opening five league outings. Plus they are still to pick up a win at Goodison.

In fairness two of those home games were against ‘Top Four’ sides. They probably should have beaten Arsenal as they had a two goal lead going into the last ten minutes but alas they folded and gave the ‘Gunners’ the incentive and a point. The 6-3 game against Chelsea was great for the neutral but both teams defences were shocking that day.

The opening day, saw Everton travel to Leicester to take on the Championship winners. It’s never easy against a newly promoted side on opening day, especially on their own patch. Leicester showed us against Man Utd that they are a battling side that never give up. That said Roberto Martinez may have expected his side to exert dominance and experience and get the better in that encounter.

They beat WBA away on the thirteenth of September with an assured display. It helped getting the early goal. But the stats were still pretty even.

I think that the loss to Crystal Palace, at home last weekend, was the biggest disappointment for the Everton faithful so far this season. Again they lost a lead (for the third time this campaign). The London side had yet to secure a Premier League victory, yet three mistakes from the Merseyside team allowed Palace to triumph 3-2 at Goodison. It was a defeat that came on the back of a convincing win for the Toffees in their opening Europa League fixture. But if that competition is going to mean anything then the team needs to be able to pick up points in the league after midweek adventures!

Last night they lost heavily in the League Cup to Swansea City. Now obviously that competition doesn’t mean as much as the league, in terms of priorities. But the fact is the team could have done with a victory or at least performance that could have lifted the clubs spirits.

We cannot forget that Bill Kenwright has went out this summer and backed his manager with hard cash in the transfer market. The £28m signing of Romelu Lukaku was huge for a team like Everton. It shows that they have big dreams and plenty of ambition. Then you add in the signing of Muhamed Besic for a fee in the region of £4m and the signings of Gareth Barry and Samuel Eto’o, both of whom will be on decent wages. They have also supplemented the squad by adding in a few loans.

Looking at the squad at the beginning of the 2014/15 season and it looked as though Everton could go from strength to strength and again challenge for a ‘Top Four’ finish. But this start has caught quite a few off guard. Yes they are missing Ross Barkley but they aren’t bad going forward or in the creative roles. The problem seems to stem from the back.

Too many mistakes have been made.

After his World Cup heroics in the summer, Tim Horward hasn’t had the same impact on the team as he did in previous years. I’m not a huge fan of current number two Joel Robles, but maybe Howard needs a break. Plus Martinez needs to address the central defensive situation. Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin aren’t getting any younger and have suffered dips in their form. John Stones looks to be a fantastic talent, but I am unsure he’s ready to play as a full-time centre back in the EPL. Antolin Alcaraz is also thirty-two and seems to be too injury prone to be relied upon.

We have to remember that it’s still only September. Everton aren’t in a crisis. They have still engineered exciting football and have a superb squad capable of shooting up the league. It should be seen as an achievement that pundits and commentators, such as myself, now ponder their start to a campaign and think they could be doing so much better.

I know Roberto Martinez will stay calm and get things going again but he might need to make some big changes at the back to get the side back on track!

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