Is Roberto Martinez The Right Man For Everton (Or Is This Wigan Athletic All Over Again?)


Fans are getting restless. Players are nervous about doing the very things that the manager wants them to. Results are very poor when expectations are high. So the question is – is this the right manager to take the club forward?

I’ll start by saying that this isn’t a new subject for me but that I’ve never been part of the ‘Martinez Out’ brigade. Mainly as I wasn’t sure who else could come in and do a better job plus the fact that, like many Evertonians, that first season he had was pretty special. He has bought himself some time in a way that Moyes did early on when he finished fourth with a very different style of football.

He has also bought himself some favour by leading us into the second leg of the league cup with something to defend (Ha! As if we can get a 0-0 tomorrow night!)

The stats, hoovered up unashamedly from Twitter, are damning though:

– Martinez’s win percentage at Everton is now 29% (the same as he had at Wigan) – It’s been 9 months (to the day) since we had consecutive league wins – We are currently 4 league points better off after 23 games than when we finished 17th under Moyes – Three home wins all season in the league – Six wins all season out of 23 games – 10 defeats at Goodison since the start of last season

– The worst defence in the league in terms of goals conceded

Our form guide in the league since beating Villa 4-0 (and that was after a good draw at West Ham and a 6-2 crushing of Sunderland) reads:

DDDLWLDDDL – that’s 1 win in 10

Although in that run we’ve been leading twice in injury time (after scoring ‘winners’ or ‘pre-equalisers’ if you like) and had good away draws at Chelsea, Manchester City and Spurs plus a decent away win at Newcastle. So is it that bad? The stats don’t lie unfortunately…

Look at our squad though – our defence includes an international experienced goalkeeper (don’t laugh – I know he needs replacing), the England left-back, an Argentinian centre-back, an England squad centre-back (Jags), the ‘best centre back in der wurrlld’ apparently and one of the best right-backs in Europe. Protected by Gareth Barry, who is playing out of his skin.

Ahead of them they have a brilliant ex-Barca right-winger, one of England’s brightest talents in Barkley and one of the most in-form strikers in Europe. So why can’t Martinez get them to form a winning team?

Some say that it starts at the back and that Neville Southall would organise that defence like the ultimate leader; taking responsibility for crosses, shouting at the defence and making sure that John Stones stopped taking daft risks when he can take pressure off the team at times.

Others state that the manager needs to organise his team properly, and that’s where my head is with this. Get the defence to worry about keeping the ball away from their goal and not doing Cruyff turns in their own box. Get holding midfielders to tackle and attacking midfielders to attack and be able to take risks.

Allow the strikers to take risks too and for full backs to bomb forwards when they are sure they are covered at the back – i.e. talk to each other on the pitch. It’s what you do at a basic level so as to not get caught out on the break when you’re playing Sunday League for goodness sakes.

Wednesday night is going to be Martinez’s biggest game of his career. Get something from this and we have Wembley to look forward to (unless the RS get there too). Lose and Carlisle away looms as the game that could get him sacked if he slips up.

Martinez did well at Wigan but his stats weren’t brilliant. He took over when they were mid-table and their position got slowly worse over time until they were relegated after selling their best players. He had a stay of execution due to them winning a cup and then got awarded a promotion when they somehow got relegated despite having an easy run-in. Listen to their fans now and at the time and they all state that he was too stubborn to move away from his ‘philosophies’ and ultimately that took them down as he refused to learn from his mistakes.

Whilst I’m not suggesting he will relegate us, we have the best squad that we’ve had in years and should be pushing for Europe, not looking nervously over our shoulder.

Blimey, imagine if we don’t win that. Newcastle at home next week could become a very hostile place indeed.

Oh, and get your cash on a 0-0 for Wednesday night whilst you can. About 11/1 at Bet365 I believe…