Defending remains Everton manager Roberto Martinez's Achilles heel

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Roberto Martinez may have been referring to the referee's performance against Chelsea last Saturday when he claimed it was 'diabolical', but it's a term more suited to describing his side's defensive frailties.

John Terry's 98th-minute equaliser after Everton's initial injury time goal was the sixth time in under two months that the Toffees had surrendered a lead. In two of those matches - Bournemouth and Chelsea - a two-goal advantage was thrown away.

Martinez's men currently reside 11th in the Premier League with 29 points. Add the ten points dropped in those six matches alone and they would be level with Tottenham Hotspur in fourth - and if you look at their first team and squad as a whole, that is arguably where they should be.


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They live up to the billing going forward, both in dynamism and effectiveness, plundering 39 goals in just 22 games at a ratio of 1.7 a match - joint second best in the Premier League.

Player for player, their defence looks like it should be amongst the meanest in the top-flight with the likes of Seamus Coleman, John Stones, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines in attendance. As it is, they have shipped 32 goals thus far.

Stones is obviously a fantastic player, but he does take a lot of unnecessary risks in dangerous areas, most notably in the game against Tottenham earlier this month when he performed Cruyff turn after Cruyff turn inside his own 18-yard box.

Martinez defended him, but if that's what he encourages his defenders to do, then it's no wonder they're conceding so many.

Despite having his admirers at Wigan Athletic for the style of play he enforced, some of those devotees and many others questioned whether Martinez should stick to his principles due to the amount of goals conceded - and it seems those questions were wisely placed.

After his impressive first season at Everton, when they came fifth and leaked just 39 goals throughout the entire campaign, it seemed the Spaniard had aptly succeeded David Moyes.

However, after last year's disappointing 11th-place finish, where they conceded 50, and now this season's farce, it would appear he has disregarded the Moyes model and introduced his own stamp on the team. As a result, Everton now appear Wigan-like defensively.

In 2008/09, the season before Martinez joined, Wigan came 11th and conceded just 45 goals - not bad going for a club like Wigan - but straight away in his first campaign with the club, the Spaniard saw the Latics concede 79 and finish 16th.

Wigan were undeniably punching above their weight in the Premier League, but they were an established club in the division and had three seasons' worth of top-flight experience come Martinez's arrival.

The pure anger that was evident in his language and criticism of the referee after the game against Chelsea may prompt Martinez to reassess how he lines up his defence and how they play.

Everton will not end up like Wigan and get relegated, but if the Toffees manager wants his side to win a trophy and be in contention for the Champions League, he will have to leave behind the outlook he had at previous clubs.

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