While I wipe away the tears from what could and should’ve been on Wednesday, another match that promised so much but ultimately offered nothing, I am sat wondering just what Roberto Martinez offers Everton Football Club?!
In June 2013 Roberto joined us on an initial four year deal. It was a truly underwhelming appointment, but at that time the lack of suitable candidates were limited with Evertonians wanting an unknown Victor Pereira over Martinez spoke volumes.
Martinez inherited possibly the best set of players an Everton manager has had the pleasure of managing. I look back to the teams both Smith & Moyes inherited with mortification.
During the Spaniards first season he took the side Moyes left and added an attacking intent to it with the purchase of players such as Deulofeu, Lukaku and the promotion into the first team of Barkley. That blended with the defensive shape Moyes left we were flying. Finishing 5th and only just missing out on that illusive Champions League birth.
Everyone bought into the Martinez philosophy including myself and hoped it would be the start of something special. In truth 2013/2014 has been the high point of a disappointing reign.
In the past season and a half, he has been backed in the main and been able to bring in his own players. Recruitment has been good, lowering the average age of the squad, bringing Lukaku, Deulofeu in on permanent deals and moving on aging players like Jelavic and Distin. The squad in my eyes is as good a squad there’s been. Unfortunately I was born in the early 80’s so I missed Howard’s Championship teams but I’m told this squad is on a par with them. There’s no doubt the manager isn’t getting the best from a talented group of players.
David Moyes for all his faults, got the best out of very average squads. The side that finished 4th in 2005 proof that you don’t need to pass teams off the park, but find a way of consistently achieving results. Something Leicester City are accomplishing this season with aplomb.
We are 125 matches into Martinez‘s Everton reign, in which time he has won 55, drew 34 and lost 36 a win percentage of 44%. The record is average to say the least, the fact he’s not at minimum managed a 50% win ratio with these set of players is embarrassing. The most alarming stat in that time is we’ve conceded 169 goals, take away the fact we only conceded 47 in his first season (with Moyes’ defence), means we’ve shipped 122 goals in a season and a half! If we continue to concede goals at our current ratio we are on to concede 143 goals in three seasons under Martinez!
It’s fair to say we haven’t got a clue about defending under him, which considering the players at his disposal is incredible. As we all know it’s not the fact we have poor players, it’s the way he sets us up and makes us play. I’ve said it for a while now, we are a good group of individuals but not a great team.
My main pet hate with Martinez is how he sets us up and the lack of work ethic when defending. He says he wants us to play the Barcelona way? Attempting to win the ball back within 3 seconds of losing it. The problem is we hardly ever press the ball, our midfield is far too passive, and at times we let teams walk through us with almost an apologetic attempt at closing to the man with the ball. It was only when Mo Besic got back into the side that we seemed to have more of a bite in the middle of the park. He was a huge miss Wednesday and with him in the side I feel we might’ve got the draw we needed on the night. As they say hindsight is a wonderful thing. However under Martinez you always feel we have a soft goal in us somewhere. Everyone knew when there was 7 minutes added time at Stamford Bridge the other week that we would concede. Similar with Wednesday, after scoring there was a predictability about us and like clockwork we conceded 6 minutes after taking the lead!
Another pet hate with El Bob is his constant favouritism towards players who don’t justify it. How many times has Tim Howard cost us a goal this season? Imagine if Joel had made the same mistakes, there’s no doubt he would’ve been dropped quicker than Martinez mentioning the word Phenomenal in a presser!
Our style is only suited to playing away from home. We sit off teams in the hope to win it on the edge of our box and then counter attack at pace. A style that can’t be transmitted at home. Our football at home is so boring to watch it’s unreal, Goodison is like a morgue at times and that’s because what the supporters have to endure is dreadful. At home you need to be on the front foot but our football is far too passive to put teams under pressure for long spells. I genuinely don’t think we are fit enough to play that way and that’s down to the manager and his coaching.
Martinez has drawn every ounce of passion I have from me with the ground hog day performances. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to win a game and unthinkably I’ve come accustomed to that losing feeling, where it doesn’t quite hurt as much any more. He’s driven us to accept mediocrity. I’ll be honest I want him gone as soon as possible but I am a realist and know how unlikely that is, especially with a takeover in the offing. My hope is that we can somehow get to those magical 40 points and go as far as possible in the FA Cup. In that time the takeover will hopefully be complete and they can bring in their own appointment during the summer.
Thanks for the memories of that first season Bob but ultimately your style is not ingrained with the Everton way, you are taking us one way and that is backwards. As Evertonians we need to relate to the manager and the style and I’m afraid not enough people buy into your methods.
‘Roberto had a dream to build our football team’, shame he doesn’t have the slightest idea of how to use it!
Come on you Blues!