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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

What is going wrong at Goodison?

Another game without a win at Goodison saw Roberto Martinez’s side leave the field to a chorus of boo’s as they continued their bad run of form with a 0-0 draw at home to Tony Pulis’ West Brom side. The draw makes it just one win in thirteen for the Toffees and sees them lying in 12th place only 4 points clear of the relegation zone.

Roberto Martinez’s side have been struggling all season having won only five games this campaign and collecting just 23 points from the first twenty two games, a huge regression from last season where they finished 5th narrowly missing out on the top4 to Arsenal.

Last nights draw brought it to three home games without a win since they overcame QPR. Not only have they struggled at home, their way form has been terrible, they have lost their last five games on the road and Martinez may be starting to feel the pressure of the recent run.

Why Everton have performed so badly this season is a question that many people have been asking and it’s not that much of a mystery. Everton have been playing in the Europa League this season and as we have seen in the past with the likes of Spurs and Newcastle, the Europa League commitments take a lot out of the players and with Everton having a relatively small squad they’ve struggled to cope with the amount of games. Everton were impressive in their group in the Europa League finishing top in a group that included both Wolfsburg and Lille, due to this success they will have to continue to cope with a large amount of games when the knockout stages begin in February.

Their European exploits may excuse their poor form to a certain extent but it does not explain all of the bad performances the Everton faithful have had to endure this campaign. In Martinez’s first season Everton built themselves on a strong back four conceding only 39 goals in the entire season. Compare that to this season in which they have conceded 34 goals after twenty two games. Their defensive displays have been somewhat reminiscent of Martinez’s relegation troubled Wigan team.

Not only has their defence struggled this season, up front main striker Lukaku has also failed to reach the heights of last season scoring just 6 goals thus far but he still has time to recapture his form and make it to the 15 Premier League goals he scored last season. The £28 million price tag may be a burden for the big Belgian but some of the blame for the lack of goals must be given to the rest of the team who have not been creating enough chances for the striker.

The delivery into the box last night by Baines, Coleman, Barry and some of the other midfielders was terrible, the amount of times they failed to beat the first man was shocking and must be of concern for Martinez.

Fluent, attractive, attacking football were words associated with Everton last season but this season they have not implemented their style to any real effect. The urgency and quick passing that made them such a threat last season has been lost and been replaced by a laboured passing style that offers no real threat to a well drilled defence like the West Brom back four they came up against last night. The injuries to key players James McCarthy, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar have been detrimental and have played a big part in their poor form.

As if things weren’t bad enough for Martinez, last nights Mirallas penalty incident shed new light on the possibility there is unrest within the camp. Mirallas appeared to take the penalty from designated penalty taker Leighton Baines and subsequently missed. The decision by Mirallas to disregard team orders maybe suggests a lack of control over the team by Roberto Martinez. Another problem in an ever growing list for the Spaniard.

Everton’s next outing is a trip to Selhurst Park followed by the visit of Liverpool in the second Merseyside derby of the season, failure to win at least one of those games could see the end of Martinez’s reign as Everton manager.

photo credit: flickr.annieandrew via photopin cc

photo credit: illarterate via photopin cc