The Toffees have been struggling so far this campaign…
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has been having a tough time in his second season as boss of the Toffees. They are currently lying in twelfth in the Premier League, and are twelve points of the fourth place which was their aim at the beginning of the campaign.
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The Blues also crashed out of the League Cup in a 3-0 loss to Swansea City back in September. The one bright spot of their campaign has been in the Europa League, in which they qualified top of a tough group and face Swiss side Young Boys in the first knockout round of the competition.
The trouble that the Catalan coach finds himself in his down to a few reasons, including but not limited to a hefty injury list, the poor form of his defensive players, and his tactics being found out by opposing teams.
First of all, an injury list that has included at times up to ten players has not helped. Key members of the squad such as John Stones, Ross Barkley, and James McCarthy have spent time on the sidelines, and Romelu Lukaku played for the first month of the season while carrying a toe problem. This has meant that they have been unable to play their first choice XI for most of the matches so far, which obviously hasn’t helped the Merseyside club.
Another reason for the poor form has been the complete capitulation of most of the side’s defensive players during this campaign. Sylvain Distin has seen age finally catch up with him, while Phil Jagielka, Gareth Barry, and Tim Howard have all been playing badly throughout the season. The team as a whole have made 10 errors that have led to goals, four more than any other side has so far. This points to a drop in the quality of the team that the manager has no control over. The only criticism that could be made about Martinez here is that he should have strengthened more in the summer.
Finally, a major problem has been the fact that teams have worked out how to counter the 41-year-old’s tactics. Opposing sides now know that if they get men behind the ball, and then counter with pace they have a good chance of success against the Toffees. This has not been helped by the loss of confidence in recent weeks. Players are now taking the simple pass rather than attempting the risks they did last time round because they no longer believe in their abilities. This is accentuated with a style that is so dependent on incisive passing.
So these are the reasons why Roberto Martinez has been gaining ground in the Premier League sack race in recent weeks. With a little bit of luck and regained confidence it could all still turn around, but we’ll have to wait and see if that is going to happen any time soon. The Catalan has to hope that it does, as the pressure will only build if the poor form continues.