In the Cold Light Of Day – an Everton Review 2014/15

lennon-9958257

When I look back at the 2014/15 season I wonder if I’ve been overly critical of the team over the last twelve months. Then I look at the stats…

I mean, eleventh place plus a run in the cups is something many teams would be pleased with. If, perhaps, they saw their team competing in more than one cup.

In fact, let’s start with a look at the overall stats from our team compared to previous campaigns:

– First time finishing outside the Premier League top 10 since 2005/06 – Lowest points haul since 2003/04 (47) – 25 points less than previous season tally – Worst goal difference since 2005/06 (-2) – Lowest number of home wins since 2000/01 (6 wins) – Highest number of home draws since 2000/01 (7 draws) – Lowest number of home goals since 2005/06 (27) – Highest number of away defeats since 2003/04 (10 defeats) – Highest number of goals against away from home since 2004/05 (29 goals)

– First time ever that Everton have been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions at the first round entered (including losing to Swansea to the first time in any competition).

Hmmm… to be honest I looked for positive stats from the season too, but that was pretty tricky. Luckily, Robert Elston in the Chief Exec’s end of season report (dated May 24th 2015) gave me this positive info: – Everton’s average attendance lasts season in the league was 38,400 – our highest in 11 years (since the season we finished 4th) – no doubt on the back of our amazing season the previous year – 25,000 early bird season tickets for 2015/16 were bought by 20th May 2015

– Last season only 15,000 tickets were unsold for home fans (8,000 unsold away fan tickets)

I guess that our run in the Europa League was good fun whilst it lasted, but no-one really thought we’d win it did they? You did? Really?

All that tells me that we’re all fools or that Everton weren’t actually that bad, despite the poor results. You can decide yourself on that one…

But what other memories do we take away from last season? Here are some initial thoughts off the top of my head:

– Joel Robles took over goalie duty from Howard, kept several cleab sheets and was then dropped shortly before we embarked upon our poorest run of results in years over Xmas. – Distin forgot how to defend and then fell out with Martinez. – Eto’o joined Everton, scored some goals, wore a daft jumper at Xmas, inspired Lukaku and others and then left at Xmas when he realised he was basically Naismith’s regular sub. – Lukaku became the first player since the Yak to score 20 goals in a season, although only 10 of them were in the league and 5 of them came in one tie in the Europa League. – Gareth Barry became the most booked player ever in Premier league history, single-handidly stopping us from getting entry to the Europa League via the Fair Play award. – Arouna Kone played 16 times it says here. I don’t believe it. Atsu? 14 games?? nah. – Players worked out our tactics so much (‘stop the full-backs and we’ve got nothing’) that our ‘world-class’ full-backs suddenly became the worst players in the country as they weren’t scoring two goals every match. – Kevin Mirallas basically became a ‘super-sub’ style player who comes on for ten minutes and gets the odd goal. 18 starts, 10 more as sub? Can’t see a Champions League club letting him get away with that.

– Losing 9-8 on penalties to West Ham and the club and players presenting it as some sort of triumph as it was a ‘decent game’ despite the fact we got knocked out by WEST HAM.  – After drawing them at home first too.

Not forgetting of course our woeful pre-season against Tranmere (drew), Lesta (lost), Porto (drew at home), Celta de Vigo (lost at home), SC Paderborn (lost away).
Paderborn actually got relegated from the Budesliga whilst we beat the team in the Europa League that finished 2nd in that league, so who knows how useful that game was??

It seems to me that an over-haul of certain players is needed over the Summer, as early as possible. Tom Cleverley is in already and rumours are flying about about Delefeu… Deleffew.. Deloofowee… the Spanish kid we had last year, Seriously, is Martinez only going to buy players he’s worked with previously from now on?!?

On the back of that we need some good pre-season results to get confidence up and some fitness training plus some decent points on the board in the first 5 games.

Last season we scored 7 goals in the first 3 games but let in ten (including being 2-0 up against Arsenal with 7 minutes to play), and didn’t win at home until 13th October. We also need to find a way to beat teams that come to us and park the bus/stifle our full-backs. Width is a priority and attacking teams in that way and giving Lukaku more chances is the key to success for me.

Having a Plan B will also help avoid runs like the one we had between Xmas and March – 4 defeats over Xmas became a run of only 2 wins in 16 games before we pulled it back with 6 wins in our last ten games (which I predicted based on the games we had compared to the previous year here).

Last season the Europa League masked the fact we were so poor in the league. Teams didn’t know us and how we played so we sucked many teams into our preferred counter-attacking style. We don’t have this luxury this season. It could be a long hard slog.

Hopefully this will be like Moyes’ second season and we’ll bounce back and be smashing teams around the park like the way we did aganist United at home, and not the powder-puff effort we put in against Spurs on the final day.

This year has been poor. Saying that, the fixtures are out very soon… COYB!!!