Everton face a trip to West Brom’s Hawthorns this evening.
The Toffees could move above city rivals Liverpool and Tottenham in the Premier League table and into fourth with a win in the Midlands.
The game will be Spaniard Pepe Mel’s first game in charge of the Baggies.
Everton’s transformation from a direct style of football to passing football this season has been a major one.
The Toffees started to play more passing football towards the end of David Moyes reign at Goodison Park, but it was never as good to watch as the style that Roberto Martinez has instilled since his summer arrival.
The transformation in style has been embraced entirely by the Goodison faithful, as the football being played is a breath of fresh air.
When Roberto Martinez was at Wigan his team always played good football, but the Spaniard never had the defensive players to be successful. However, at Everton Martinez has the joint best defence in the Premier League.
The current Everton team have mixed Martinez’s brand of football with the hard work and discipline of David Moyes Everton. It seems to be a winning formula so far this season.
When Roberto Martinez was appointed as Toffees boss he stated his aim was to get Everton into the Champions League this season. A lot of people laughed and believed that Everton would struggle without the presence of Moyes in the dugout.
Some were even predicting that the Toffees would be involved in the relegation battle, which was ridiculous considering the standard of player in the Everton squad. Everton were never going to go from finishing in sixth last season to strugglers, just because Moyes had left the club.
In fact, Everton have prospered this season under the affable Martinez and played some of the best football in the top flight.
One of the key reasons that Everton are performing so well this season is Martinez’s positive approach to the game. The Spaniard sets his team up to win every game, no matter who or where they are playing.
Compare that to David Moyes’ caution approach during his tenure at Goodison Park and the Spaniard’s approach comes out on top. Everton are still difficult to defeat, but they are now far more threatening going forward and fans actually want to watch the team.
The Scot took a cautious approach and it lead to no victories at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United in 11 years. Martinez broke that hoodoo at his first attempt, winning at Manchester United. Thanks to Roberto Martinez Everton fans no longer have an inferiority complex, which Moyes seemed to have perpetuated for much of his time at Goodison Park.
Everton have won the same amount of top-flight titles as Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham combined. They are one of English football’s traditional big clubs, with a history to match that tradition.
Roberto Martinez has restored Everton fans faith in their club. Football is entertainment at the end of the day and it was often a slog to watch the Toffees under Moyes regime. I doubt that many would say that it is a slog to watch the Toffees under Martinez.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez has already been active in the transfer market bringing in Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady from Spartak Moscow for an undisclosed fee and sold Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic for a reported fee of around £6million to Hull.
The Toffees also look set to capture Ivory Coast international striker Lacina Traore on-loan from French Ligue One outfit Monaco. Traore looked set to join West Ham, after the Hammers had agreed a loan deal with Monaco and they had a work permit approved.
However, it now looks like the giant striker is set to snub a move to West Ham in favour of a move to Merseyside, with reports from Sky Sports suggesting that the striker has already had a medical with the Blues. The striker is highly-rated and only joined Monaco earlier this month.
Traore could be yet another shrewd piece of business from Martinez, who has impressed with his dealings in the transfer market since his summer arrival.
Despite the fact that the Toffees could move into fourth spot with a win at West Brom, the Toffees are still considered big outsiders for the Champions League spots. The Toffees are currently odds of 4/1 to finish in the top four.
That means Martinez’s men are behind rivals Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham in the betting to claim that valuable fourth spot, which seems very strange considering the way that the Toffees have performed this season.
Nobody connected with Everton will be writing off their team anytime soon. Toffees boss Roberto Martinez seems determined to achieve his aims at Goodison Park. It would take a brave man to bet against the Spaniard being a successful on Merseyside, even if the bookmakers think differently.
Are Everton being underestimated this season?