Everton's keeper woes contributed to Roberto Martinez's downfall

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Roberto Martinez was sacked as Everton manager last week after a terrible downturn in form, especially over the second half of the season and a slow decline in the last 18 months. He was widely criticised for his team's defensive frailties and rightfully so, but it was really two goalkeepers who played well below the level needed that really helped to extinguish their dreadful campaign.

Tim Howard, who was heralded by many football fans two years ago for his outstanding display against Belgium in the World Cup, has declined rapidly. The American has been a measure of consistency at Everton despite having the occasional poor game, however this season has been a tale of disasters for him.

Olivier Giroud's goal at the Emirates was a strange one, when he decided not to come for a cross he should be easily claiming, before allowing Laurent Koscielny to get in front of him again to nod Arsenal into a two-goal lead that was too much of a mountain for his teammates to climb.


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He then allowed an absurd near-post goal from Aleksandr Kolarov before rushing out at an inopportune moment for Samir Nasri to score and give Manchester City a 2-0 win at Goodison Park. In two different games, against West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool, he allowed a defender a header within his six-yard box, directly in front of him - an almost inexcusable piece of goalkeeping at any level.

That problem was solved midway through the season as Howard was replaced by his understudy Joel Robles, who was set to move into the number one spot next season once Howard returned to the US. However, the Spaniard has not covered himself in glory in recent weeks and could find his spot under threat when a new manager is chosen.

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His erratic play was on full display in Martinez's final game against Sunderland. The first was entirely his fault as he moved twice to his left during a free-kick before watching the ball go in the net exactly where he started. For the third, he strayed off his line and was caught out by the flight of the ball, he clawed it clear but gave Lamine Kone an easy tap-in.

The fact that Everton have not had a consistent man between the sticks seems to have adversely affected a defence that wasn't entirely perfect last season either and now looks a shambles at times during this campaign.


You compare them to the likes of Southampton and Manchester United, who have struggled at the back at times this season but do have real quality in Fraser Forster and David de Gea respectively, and it's clear how much a good goalkeeper can change your defensive outlook.

Like many managers would say, it's not just one mistake that leads to a goal, it is usually a number of small mistakes and that epitomises Martinez's reign with Everton. While the fact he did not plan ahead with his future goalkeeper, it was simply one fault that combined with another which eventually brought down the curtain on his time with the club.

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