After another disappointing home display for Everton against Southampton, more pressure piles on Roberto Martínez as his side fail to lighten up Goodison Park once again. What lies ahead for Martínez, another season or possibly the sack?
Having won only 4 of their 17 league games at home this season, it’s no wonder Everton fans are starting to lose patience with Martínez, a man who had come to Everton fresh from winning the FA cup with Wigan in 2013 to replace long-term manager David Moyes, who departed for his infamous stint in charge of Manchester United.
Everton have actually won more league matches away from home this season with 5 bringing their total league wins to 9. Only Aston Villa, Newcastle, Sunderland and Norwich have won less matches this season, all of whom currently occupy the bottom 4 places.
Despite Everton’s league form, their FA cup run has certainly been very different. They face Manchester United in the semi finals at Wembley on Saturday 23rd April.
What started off so well at first for Martínez has slowly gone downhill. In his first full season with Everton in the 2013/14 campaign, they finished in 5th place, only 7 points behind 4th place Arsenal. The next season was a real comedown with the club finishing 11th, way off the pace from the previous season.
Looking at the Everton squad on paper, it’s very talented with some game changing players. Despite having the promising English defender John Stones playing a majority of the season, his still young and prone to making the occasional mistake. Having Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines injured for a course of the season has certainly hampered their defensive stability.
The midfield has also struggled this season with the usual holding players Gareth Barry and James McCarthy not always performing to the best of their abilities. Tom Cleverley has also struggled to hold a place in the team this season, having put in some impressive performances for Aston Villa last season.
The forward line is possibly where Everton are at their strongest. England international Ross Barkley has continued to impress but isn’t yet the finished article. Former Spurs player Aaron Lennon has also enjoyed a new lease of life at Everton, scoring 5 league goals this season. Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu also show glimpses of promise but don’t do it often enough.
22-year-old Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku is the main focal point of the team, often relying on him to make the difference. With 18 goals and 6 assists in the league this season, it’s very easy to see why. He is most certainly the go to man for Martínez when his side really needs it the most.
With the calibre of players in the squad, the failure to get them to their potential seems to come down to Martínez. Leighton Baines last week apologised to Martínez for comments made in an interview with the Liverpool Echo.
“I just don’t feel as though the chemistry is quite there with the team on the pitch at the moment, and it hasn’t been for a while. We are maybe leaning too heavily on individuals to come up with something.” Said Baines. He also said “Look at the teams who are having success this year and you’d say they have chemistry. If I had to say one thing, I just don’t know if it’s there with us at the moment, for whatever reason.”
It will be up to Martínez to revive the chemistry in the team and get them playing at a top-level once again. He won’t want any repeats from the game against Southampton which saw one fan go and confront the Everton manager on the pitch before security took them away. Banner’s were also on display around the stadium expressing their feelings towards him.
Whatever happen’s this season, Martínez could well face getting the sack in the summer. But if he does stay, he won’t have long to turn things around before patience is finally lost with him.