Everton suffered a 4-3 defeat at home to Stoke City on Monday which left them 11th in the Premier League table at the mid-point of the season. The Toffees have been struggling for consistency all campaign, and their defensive flaws have really heavily exploited of late which is piling pressure onto manager Roberto Martinez. Conceding 12 goals from their last six league games highlights how porous the defence have been of late, and how much work is needed to turn things around.
“Every player’s position is always under scrutiny and we are where we are because of the competition for places we have in the squad. No-one is guaranteed a starting place just because of their name or past. In the same manner, I don’t think it’s a situation that is down to one individual. It would be very stupid of us to think the solution is just to blame someone. Clearly at home we have not been good enough defensively of late. We have to defend the box better. That’s a team responsibility,” said Martinez following the Stoke defeat.
Last season, Everton finished in a disappointing 11th place with their lowest points tally in the Premier League for 13 years. Jugging the Europa League as well as domestic duties was blamed for their struggles, but there’s little excuse for the Blues this time round. Everton’s Roberto Martinez is 40/1 to be the next Premier League manager to exit his post, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s greatly underachieving this season, and the last 18 months are showing similarities to his spell at former club Wigan Athletic.
Under Martinez, the Latics dazzled with their brilliant attacking style of play, but such a penchant for open football meant they often conceded a lot of goals. In his last two seasons at the DW Stadium, Wigan had one of the leakiest defensive records in the division, and at Everton they have so far shipped 28 goals this season. There seems to be a trend with Martinez’s style, but the Blues could well steam the tide with Phil Jagielka returning to the frame.
Despite having a solid backline and protecting midfield, Everton are just too susceptible against other sides. The squad is incredibly strong, but play a very expansive game to stretch the pitch as wide as possible at times, and it leaves them very thin in men in the key central areas. Nevertheless, if Martinez can’t find the solution, could his job become available?