Football

Why Everton fans shouldn't get too carried away by Martinez' first campaign

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Roberto Martinez has rightly received a lot of praise and recognition for his first season at Everton after steering the club to a Europa League place at his first attempt.

By changing their approach to a more expansive, attacking style of play that supporters and pundits alike have applauded.

But behind all the accolades, how much better have Everton actually performed this season in the Premier League?

An analysis of some of the stats would suggest that this would have been a pretty typical Everton season under David Moyes' previous regime with Martinez' real impact being confined to two areas, the style of play and the signing of a regular goalscorer.

This might seem a little harsh as Martinez collected the most wins and most points Everton have ever achieved in the Premier League, but let's look at some of the facts.

In the 2013/14 season, Everton scored 61 goals and conceded 39, while in 2012/13, it was 55 for and 40 against.

The immediately obvious thing is that the defensive records were almost identical, with the personnel largely the same throughout both seasons.

The most obvious difference in the two seasons was the contribution of Coleman as an attacking force and goalscorer which certainly owes something to Martinez' positive philosophy.

However on the downside, Leighton Baines appears to have been reduced in effectiveness creating less than half the chances he did in the previous season and contributing only one assist.

The 61 goals scored represent around a 10% increase on the previous season, a modest but significant improvement.

Top goalscorer Romelu Lukaku accounted for 15 of these, four more than the previous season's leader Marouanne Fellaini, a comparison that suggests most of the improvement could be attributed to Lukaku's presence.

In terms of actual results, the 2013/14 season superficially appears a lot more successful than the previous year.

The overall performance was W21-D9-L8 compared to W16-D15-L7. Again an immediate similarity in the number of losses is apparent, 8 and 7, confirming the same consistency in defence that the goals against suggested.

The big difference is in the number of draws converted to wins which provides the bulk of the 9 point difference in final points tally.

Perhaps a more revealing and interesting viewpoint is to look at the results and points the team would have gathered in each season had they closed out the games they dominated.

Based on my own analysis which is probably flawed, but at least consistent over the two years, in the last Moyes campaign Everton should have achieved 83 points, a massive 20 points over what they actually amassed.

Late capitulations against Norwich, Fulham and Tottenham, plus failure to capitalise on dominance and chances created against the likes of Reading, Newcastle, Liverpool, Arsenal and Wigan cost the side dearly in terms of points lost.

The following season they were much tighter and more ruthless. They escaped Liverpool and Cardiff with draws from games they might have lost and a single undeserved reverse against Sunderland.

Overall I assessed a 73 point haul,  hardly any difference to the total achieved.

So if Moyes' final Everton team had been better at closing out games they would have achieved 10-points more than the best assessment of Martinez' first campaign.

Of course it has to be said that Moyes' more negative attitude and tendency to try and hang on for one goal victories contributed to his team's failure to win some of these games, but the lack of a killer goalscorer also contributed and Martinez was fortunate to get Lukaku to remedy that shortcoming.

Everton's season was based on a attack-minded, possession-based approach that looked a little over-meticulous at times but was generally pretty effective.

The base for this was the solid midfield core of Barry and McCarthy the progressive wing back approach of Coleman and Baines, and the fearless, aggressive attack of Lukaku and Barkley.

The pair might well not be around next season and it remains to be seen who Martinez can recruit to replace them and Everton's progress might well rest on getting this and a couple of other signings absolutely spot-on.

Statistics can lie, and speculation on the fair outcomes of games is totally subjective. There are undoubtedly similarities about Moyes' last and Martinez' first campaigns probably mainly due to the consistency of personnel.

What is undeniable is that Everton play a better brand of football under the Spaniard and the fans are appreciative of that.

The players have improved and benefitted from the new regime. That alone is something to be grateful and optimistic about for Toffees fans.

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Topics:
Everton
Football
Premier League

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