Everton face a tricky game at League Two Carlisle on Sunday in fourth round of the FA Cup.
The tie looks like a banana skin waiting to happen for the Toffees and their beleaguered boss Roberto Martinez.
The game is one that Everton cannot afford to lose, or the Spaniard may just be living on borrowed time on Merseyside.
The majority of fans have lost faith in the former-Wigan boss and another defeat will see the number of his remaining fans dwindle.
Underachieving this season
Martinez had the cheek to suggest that his team are not underachieving this season, despite such a highly-rated team currently sitting in 12th spot in the Premier League table. The Spaniard surely cannot believe that. Is winning one of the last ten top-flight games underachieving? I think most people would give a definite yes to that question.
He says this is a new team and he is building for seasons ahead. The problem is Everton do not have time to be looking at seasons ahead, because the talented young players at the club will disappear looking for a club who are not in the bottom half of the table.
The likes of Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku are all doing their jobs and it is proven in the teams goals for column in the Premier League this season.
The only teams that have scored more goals than the Toffees in the top-flight this season are Manchester City, Leicester and Tottenham. All three of the aforementioned teams are occupying positions in the top-four, yet Everton are in the bottom half of the table.
Poor organisation skills
I have to say I really like Roberto Martinez as a person and his positive attitude, but his reign is getting pretty hard to defend at the moment. The Spaniard’s almost naive nature of playing football is costing Everton at the moment.
Martinez comes across as a nice guy, but he seems like he couldn’t organise a whip-round, never mind a Premier League defence. The Toffees are punished so many times because of Martinez’s style of play, mainly passing the ball out from the back.
It is all very well playing possession-based, attacking football, but sometimes a team has to mix-up their style slightly in an effort to win games. Ironically in Martinez’s first season he was praised for his tactically adaptability, now he is being accused of having no plan B, as plan A is clearly not working.
He does have a very clear philosophy. Surely nowhere in that philosophy does it state that his team need to give away soft goals week-in week-out, because that is what is happening to Everton this season.
Highly-rated centre-back John Stones is one of the main culprits for the team conceding goals, not because he is a poor defender, but it appears he is just starting to believe his own hype and the transfer speculation may just be going to his head slightly.
Too many times he is taking risks that centre-backs should not take and it has cost Everton in the past few months. He does have potential, but he is not Frank Beckenbauer yet.
The way the seasons going, I believe that most Evertonians would not mind seeing the youngster leave the club in the summer. For all his potential, under Martinez he can be a liability.
Could be a high-scoring game at Brunton Park
Everton have a history of being victims of cup giant killings. The names of Shrewsbury, Oldham, Stockport, Port Vale and Millwall all spring to mind as lower league sides who have knocked the Toffees out of the domestic cups in the last two decades or so.
Carlisle are 11th in League Two and are another team that can score goals, but are not particularly great at the back. The Cumbrian’s are odds of 6/1 to beat the Toffees. Those odds reflect the current fragile state of confidence at Everton.
An FA Cup run is vital to Everton, but for Roberto Martinez more than anybody, because his reputation as a top-flight boss is starting to diminish by the game.
Making it to the Capital One Cup semi-final has not masked the fact that Everton are majorly underachieving with their current squad of players and the Toffees boss cannot afford a shock defeat at Brunton Park on Sunday.
Can Carlisle upset the odds against Everton on Sunday?
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