Unbeaten Everton Already Reaping The Benefits Of Roberto Martinez’s Influence

It’s still there. That Everton spirit. The coveted togetherness that many predicted would cease the second David Moyes walked out of Goodison Park. In fact, it’s been more prominent than ever in the past seven days. It’s helped Everton to their first two victories of the campaign and of Roberto Martinez’s tenure as manager; they remain unbeaten in the opening five games.

There was a sense that Everton’s season only really begun in their second home game against Chelsea. Transfer speculation lingered around Goodison Park over the course of the summer, as Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines were touted for moves to Manchester United.

It was far from ideal, and the constant coverage was always going to be a distraction, especially with the new Catalan intent on implementing a significant stylistic shift. But with some shrewd transfer dealings conducted by the club, Martinez has been able to work with a focused, bolstered and settled squad since the deadline closed.

And the benefits have been immediately obvious. Granted, the first triumph of the season – a 1-0 victory over Chelsea – was founded on the pragmatic principles instilled by his predecessor, but the next performance – a 3-2 defeat of West Ham – whilst showcasing an unyielding will to win and character, was also saturated with the ideologies and influence of the new man.

It hasn’t taken long for Everton to reap the benefits of having Martinez at the helm, and for those of a blue persuasion, it is so refreshing to see.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time against West Ham, the manager saw fit to act in swift and decisive manner. Introducing Romelu Lukaku and James McCarthy at the break was an especially bold move – one that might not have been made under the previous regime – but it revitalized his team

McCarthy moved the ball at a better tempo and with increased purpose, whereas Lukaku ran the West Ham back-line ragged; dropping deep, running in behind, pinning down centre-backs and dominating aerially. And it was all done in especially classy fashion. Lukaku’s understanding with his compatriot Kevin Mirallas was plain to see, and the link-up play between the two Belgians and Ross Barkley was mouthwatering at times — brimming with pace, power and youthful exuberance.


It was a very, very encouraging 45 minutes that has gotten Evertonians very excited about the coming months, and Martinez deserves credit for laying such promising early foundations.

Firstly, the former Wigan man has created an environment by which young players can flourish. This has allowed Barkley to come in, show his quality and nail down a first team place. Under Moyes, the young midfielder was restricted to cameo appearances, but now Barkley has the freedom to go out and express himself. Not to mention gain crucial and learn from his mistakes, a vital experience for any young player.

Second, Martinez’s methodologies have also been a catalyst for securing the services of prodigious young talent such as Lukaku and Barcelona youngster Gerard Deulofeu on loan. Whilst it is obviously imperative for Deulofeu’s future as a Barcelona player that he operates within a possession-heavy stystem, Lukaku also told the Liverpool Echo how crucial the manager’s principles were when a when choosing to join Everton on loan.

“I came here because it is a team that can dominate games and Roberto Martinez as a coach likes possession of the ball and he’s a manager who can really help me at this stage of the career to be a striker with good movement. I think he’ll help make me more clever on the pitch too.

“Sometimes I’m maybe too enthusiastic on the pitch and have lost easy balls in the past but at a team like Everton where there is a lot of possession of the ball I can improve.”

Taking those words into account, would Everton have picked these players up under the previous regime? Probably not.

But that’s not to say the new regime should wipe the slate clean and abandon all the good work done by Moyes. And Martinez is acutely aware of this.

Keeping Leighton Baines for example, the heartbeat of both past and present Everton sides, was so vital. The way Everton dug their heels in in the face of United’s interest should be applauded, as should the player’s professionalism during the whole transfer saga. But Baines is Everton’s talisman, and his two exquisite free-kicks show exactly why United’s valuation of the player was way low.


The determination shown by the club in keeping hold of Baines suggests Everton will not be ousted as top four challengers with ease. As we’ve already said, that steely determination Everton have become renowned for has remained. Against Chelsea and West Ham, this has shone through, albeit in different facets of each contest. Martinez too has shown his ugly side, as he apparently gave the players quite the rollicking in the Upton Park dressing room at half time.

Patience remains key, but slowly, it seems to be coming together, and Martinez is beginning to strike a blend between his own cavalier style and the robust, practical approach a lot of these players are so accustomed to.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter: @MattJFootball

10 thoughts on “Unbeaten Everton Already Reaping The Benefits Of Roberto Martinez’s Influence”

  1. They’re a great team to watch, both under Moyes and now Martinez, but will only achieve Europa League competitions at best. Athough, there is no doubt other managers circle the visit to Goodison Park as one they don’t look forward to. It’s a shame they can’t find a rich buyer to send them to the next level, a la Man City.

    1. I’ve never understood why that is. Why did those guys go for Man City and not Everton, why does no one come in for Everton who are probably the biggest “locally” owned team left.

      1. The stadium is the key issue. Goodison Park is old and can’t be expanded to build modern corporate boxes and facilities to attract and generate more revenue. If a stadium solution can be found, then that’s a different story.

      2. Everton’s stadium and finances are why they haven’t been bought yet. The club isn’t well run on the financial side of things. The board has made quite a few blundering mistakes throughout the years and they lack money to rectify the situation.

        Everton have almost no assets other than the players. Goodison is old and lacks a lot in the way of revenue generating ability. Everton do not own their training facilities (they pay £1 mill a year to rent Finch Farm). Everton also have to partner with other companies for any type of merchandising or food sales. While it keeps costs low, it puts a limit on what kind of revenue they can make.

        Add to this, Everton have a good amount of debt, some of which is classified as “bad debt” and is really hurting the financial statement.

        Bottom line, with limited revenue streams available and a decent amount of debt, potential owners would need a large outlay of cash before they could start making money on their investment. Add that initial investment to the already sizable purchase price and it’s quite a large risk.

  2. I think Everton held a special place for most fans. For many in England it was the small team that could challenge the giants. For Americans the team under Moyes had a US touch with Tim Howard and Landon Donovan.

    The long term interest in the club may be based on Martinez developing talent on a budget which Moyes did so well.

    1. Nice comments, however the impression that everton are a small club is wrong, founder members of the original football league, one of only three now playing in the premiership , fifth most successful club in England, more seasons in the top flight than any other club, first club in Liverpool, the peoples club, more local supporters than the other club on jersey side.

  3. While Martinez has done well in his personnel decisions and man management, I’m still waiting to see if his stylistic changes will result in better on-field performances. Possession has it’s advantages but doesn’t, by itself, put balls in the back of nets.

    My main concern is that Everton’s passing is still slow and methodical. This leads to problems when the players’ are pressured and when they’re in the final 3rd, trying to fight through a team parking the bus.

    When Everton are pressed, they lose the ball quickly and make bad decisions. Even Barcelona have problems when they’re pressed and they have far greater skill players than Everton do. It’ll take time for the players to make better decisions and change up play styles when pressured.

    In the final 3rd, Everton will need quicker passing, faster decision-making, better vision, and forwards willing make more runs. Too often Everton are stuck passing the ball around the box with no one really making runs or being aggressive.

    All that being said, the system is still new and Martinez has shown the ability to change when necessary. I’m also happy that Martinez recognized the defensive strength of Everton and has kept that part intact.

    Someone like Lukaku is exactly what we’ll need to score this year. If we were forced to play Jelavic or Kone, I think we would struggle to score.

  4. A very good point by mekias regarding Everton’s struggles against teams that press high up the pitch, and the problems this causes for the Martinez system. The first half against West Ham was a good example – although the Hammers don’t really have the personnel to capitalize, they repeatedly pressured Everton into bad giveaways in midfield and even on the backline. Neither Jagielka nor Distin are especially confident playing out from the back, and over the last year or so, Osman has increasingly been prone to poor passes and lack of awareness against pressure. (We won’t talk about the departed Phil Neville.)

    Obviously, they would love to have a deep-lying playmaker in the Pirlo mold to defeat pressure, but so would almost everyone. Realistically, they need Gibson and/or Barry to solidify possession in their own half, and hopefully McCarthy will develop into a reliable holding midfielder over time. The development of Stones, who looks to be a technically-skilled defender, will be important for the future.

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