Defensive errors standing in the way of Everton's top four push

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The incredible unpredictability of the 2015-16 Premier League campaign is giving some of the so-called 'also-rans' a genuine chance of breaking into the top four this season.

Champions Chelsea are floundering at the wrong end of the table, and current title favourites Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United have been incredibly inconsistent, dropping points to the likes of Stoke, West Brom, and Bournemouth, respectively. Their usual positions of dominance are looking more and more vulnerable.

It means that the clutch of teams that usually hover around 5th-8th in the league should see this as their best ever chance of grabbing a Champions League berth.


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Leicester City have been the most consistent side in the league this campaign and, despite title odds at the start of the season of 5,000/1, find themselves two points clear at the top of the league after 16 games.

Sitting below the Champions League places, among the likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham and Watford - who's form you would expect to drop off, but who knows this season - are the usual suspects to attempt to threaten the elite, of Liverpool, Spurs and Everton.

If this dream is to come true for Everton this season, they need to break their habit of conceding from soft set-pieces. They are playing football that is easy on the eye, but are also easy to smash in the blink of an eye.

The ability and presence as a leader of Phil Jagielka has been sorely missed, and as captain, his return will be hotly anticipated among Toffees fans as 2016 approaches - but you also have to ask questions of manager Roberto Martinez.

Defensive woes

Under the Spaniard, Wigan Athletic always played great attacking football but defended like they have never practised - rumours coming out of Goodison are similar. The Catalan is so focused on keeping the ball that he doesn't worry about what happens when they lose it. In the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last week, Scott Dann was able to score from a corner after being allowed a free header with no-one blocking his run. Against Norwich on Saturday neither Ramiro Funes-Mori or John Stones even jumped at the back post with two unmarked Norwich players attacking the ball.

That is Everton's key problem. Sometimes you need to park the bus for 20 minutes when a home team come at you, you can't keep the ball for 90 minutes.

Everton should have been out of sight against Bournemouth, Palace and Norwich. Six points dropped that would have seen Everton in joint 4th place with Man United in the league. As it stands Everton are 9th.

With the quality in this squad and the lack of true leadership during the absence of Jagielka, you have to question the judgement of the manager when he says there will be no January recruitment. Everton fans are restless as they feel their manager has the best squad of players seen at Goodison in 30 years, and are in a league where bigger teams are dropping points every week. The problem is, so do Everton.

Over to you, Mr Martinez.

Can Everton make the top four this season? Have your say below!

Premier League
Roberto Martinez
Romelu Lukaku

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