Thursday, March 10, 2016

Toffee Troubles

I wrote a post a while back about Romelu Lukaku and how he could potentially take Everton to a European spot this season...I still stand by what I said at the time but due to a ridiculous defensive record Everton find themselves 12th in the league, three places lower than where they were when I wrote that post.

Now of course this is going to cause a lot of finger pointing over who's to blame and most fingers seem to be fixed on Toffees boss Roberto Martinez. Some are even comparing the Spaniard’s current managerial reign with that of Mike Walker, a man who still gives some Evertonians nightmares.

Now for those of you reading this who actually agree that Martinez is just as bad as Walker just please lift your hand up to your face, either hand will do, and just give yourself a slap. Hopefully it’ll make you see some sense and realise that things aren’t as bad as all that, it’s bad but not that bad.

Now I’m not going to write about how Martinez has been “unlucky” or that “his players are letting him down” because frankly they’re both a load of bollocks. The reason Everton are in this situation is because of Martinez’s refusal to change his tactics…

Last Saturday against West Ham, one of the most inform teams at the moment, Martinez took a huge risk in persisting to attack whilst 2-0 up and with 10 men on the pitch. He had three points in the bag and what has he gained from it? Nothing and that is simply because of a lack of a plan B.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Martinez. What he did for Wigan year on year was nothing short of a miracle but when there’s low expectation the job is easier. Wigan weren’t expected to stay up year on year so their was no pressure on Roberto to do well, this is probably the first year he’s expected to perform in the Premier League and I think it's been a shock for him.

When there is an expectation on your club, you need to achieve it. Why do you think Chelsea have been through so many managers over the years, because they weren’t meeting expectations. Why was Martinez in a job for so long at Wigan? Because he was exceeding expectation every season.

Personally I would like him to stay, I think he’s a good manager and he’ll learn a lot from this season. Obviously though if he doesn’t achieve a European spot (which is still achievable if he wins every games from now until the end...) his job is going to become ten times harder with the looming possibility of losing Stones, Barkley and Lukaku…

I’m sure he’ll find suitable replacements for these players if they were to leave. He’s already shown he can sign quality players with lads like Lukaku and Deulofeu. Then again for every Lukaku and Deulofeu you have an Arouna Kone or Alcarez just behind…

It’s not about the signings though if I’m honest. He needs to change his style of play. Martinez tries to play like Barcelona but what he needs to understand is that they have different styles. Former footballer Ray Hudson said “they don’t force their football. They adapt to the circumstances, to their opponents, and eventually...well, they kill ya.” Personally I’ve never heard a truer description of Barcelona.

Whereas you look at Everton. They beat Stoke away 3-0 with some great play to force open up their defense who weren’t expecting such a strong attacking performance from an away side. Martinez then tries the same tactics of forcing play against West Brom at home, a team known for doing well at shutting up shop and they get beat.

Against clubs like West Brom, Southampton, Watford and “the top four” he needs to understand that you can’t force opportunities and that the build up needs to be more patient. This style works for clubs like Leicester who force attacks and don’t care for possession because they set up to constantly pressure the opposition, another thing that the Toffee’s don’t seem to do.

Another thing that hinders Everton in my opinion is that they don’t have enough defenders. Let me explain, Leicester have a back four of Huth, Morgan, Simpson and Fuchs. All of them barring maybe Fuchs is an out and out defender. Martinez loves a ball player at the back which shouldn’t take priority over a defender.

Why would you need a ball player and fancy play at the back? You don’t score goals from the back. You look at Arsenal and they have defenders like Koscielny and Mertesacker, not particularly ball players and they both know how to defend first and foremost. For me if Martinez wants to improve Everton he needs to sign a Ryan Shawcross type of defender; a leader as well as defender.

I say they need a leader because there seems to be no voice at all during set pieces which has been a real bad area for The People’s Club. It’s one of the ways that they’ve lost some many points this season from winning positions.

Everton’s away record this season doesn’t look too bad having only lost one away game this season. But losing seven home games this season for me is inexcusable, you should always be looking to make your home stadium a fortress which is probably one of the reason’s Everton fans have turned so much on Martinez…

But anyways that’s all I really wanted to say on Martinez, I personally wouldn’t want to see the Spaniard go but if he was to get sacked I don’t think anyone would question it. With that side he should be performing a lot better and I’m sure he will next season IF he’s given the opportunity.

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Cheers for reading.

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