Martinez off to a Flying Start

October 2, 2013 in Premier League by Louis Baxter

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Pre-season there was a realism from Everton fans about the effect of a new manager after spending the previous decade under a single manager. Even the optimists who had no qualms about Martinez’s appointment, many did, thought there was no realistic chance the team could match last seasons 6th placed finish. The general consensus being 7th or 8th, a solid start while Martinez gets used to the players and the players get used to Martinez. Compared to Manchester United fans, who went on about United having winning ‘in their DNA’ and thought replacing the greatest manager of all time with David Moyes wouldn’t have any effect. Perhaps this isn’t the time to point out United haven’t won a trophy without Ferguson since the 1960′s, and he was appointed in 86. Decent chunk of time that.

City and Chelsea fans didn’t seem to be much more realistic, assuming the internal struggles that ravaged their clubs last season would be washed away with new appointments, but Pellegrini has had a maddeningly inconsistent start, champions of Europe one week, relegation candidates the next, put into now clearer focus by following up one of the best Premier League performances of recent memory against United with an utter shambles against Aston Villa. Mourinho meanwhile is making decisions nobody understands, walking out of press conferences and having his team look worse than they were under Benitez.

Martinez, though, is managing the only unbeaten team in the Premier League. Everton are playing some fantastic football and while I think they should watch their excitement somewhat that second half fight-back from a very poor Newcastle side on Monday night would worry me if I were an Everton fan, and implies the trusty Martinez defensive deficiencies haven’t entirely left the building yet. Ditto conceding two goals apiece against the traditionally goal shy Norwich and West Ham. But fans have every reason to believe that they have a bright future under Martinez, and if the growing pains period is a couple of wacky 3-2 victories, then that seems pretty sweet doesn’t it? I’m sure United fans would have taken that right now.lukaku

Up until deadline day, I feared for Everton this season. Their squad looked thin, with their most high profile signing being Arouna Kone and their midfield, with the imminent departure of Fellaini looking desperately thin. But then in the last hour, Martinez secured the signatures of Gareth Barry, James McCarthy and most bafflingly Romelu Lukaku (Thanks for the insanity Jose). Suddenly they had one of the best defensive midfielders in the premier league in Barry, not flashy but incredibly efficient and effective in his work and underrated by most due to poor performances in a poor England team. One of the more promising young players in McCarthy and without doubt one of the best strikers in the Premier League in Lukaku. A player who was exactly what Everton needed to end their problems in front of goal with the misfiring Jelavic and the underwhelming Kone. He has also promoted Ross Barkley, a player Moyes never really seemed to fancy - perhaps because he was too expressive with the ball - and has been rewarded with a series of great performances by the youngster that have already earned him an England call up. Barkley can still be found making the wrong decision here and there, or being over confident on the ball, but the talent there seems well worth any of that and first team football will only improve him.Barkley_2828024

Can they put in a top 4 challenge? It seems difficult, with Liverpool and Spurs seemingly ascending to the top tier from the second tier and there still being Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea and United to deal with. But they can be confident that Martinez will not be a flop at Everton, he’s made a confident start and the club’s adapting to him and his adapting to the club seems to be at the right proportion of give and take.  Everton can be confident of their team will be great to watch every game this season, and as for top 4? Never say never. To me its unlikely, but if a couple of those top 6 end up under-performing over the course of the whole season then who knows. Stranger things have happened, like Manchester United losing to West Brom at home. This season might not play by the rules of previous seasons. But I think we can confidently say that of the new managers in the PL this season, none has had a better start than Martinez. Just look at the table.martinez1