Everton: Premier League 2013/14 preview
The prelude to ‘the Roberto Martinez’ era at Goodison has so far been overshadowed by the actions, or more so by the lack of it, by his predecessor to the throne at Everton.
Moyes’ uncanny habit of rounding up the season at 6th or 7th despite having only tit-bits to spend on in the window has left him a legend of acclaims. On a pretty similar scale, Roberto Martinez’s era of stubbornness to survive at Wigan and his initial heroics during the establishment of the current Swansea, have claimed their own pages.
The Europa League was a spot that Everton were fighting for at the end of last season, and ironically it was Martinez’s antics at Wembley that claimed the spot for Wigan instead. The fact that last season was Martinez’s most successful in terms of silverware; his move to Everton along with interests from Liverpool and Sunderland has now put him in a different ballpark altogether.
It is often seen that managers moving on to other clubs in the same league, try to bring some of the players from their previous club with them. This was seen controversially in Joe Allen’s case with Brendan Rodgers and is expected imminently in Fellaini’s case with Moyes. And again the situation that has caused the least bit of stir is the parade of players that Martinez has brought in to Merseyside from the Latics. Kone, Alcaraz and Joel (earlier on loan from Atletico) have all completed the move, and each one of these moves makes some sort of sense.
Moyes’s eternal tactic at Everton has been to take advantage of the chemistry between Baines and Pienaar on the left. This often leads to the lads in the centre being huge and towering and winning every single ball in the air; enter Jelavic and Anichibe. Adding Fellaini, Jagielka and Distin to this mix shows Everton as the single most scorer of set-piece goals in the league.
This does not mean that Moyes’s midfield was just a connect between the defence and attack, but the Scotsman major tactic was sweeping the ball from the centre towards the likes of Baines and Coleman. Certainly Martinez’s style at Wigan was quite dis-similar; and despite the fact that the Spaniard played a different shape at the back, his style involved the men in the centre: McArthur, Watson and McCarthy much more in the build and always found a forward in a wide position running in at goal.
This led to successful stints for Kone and Di Santo at the club, whose pace during direct attacks at goal, ideally complemented the skills of Maloney and McManaman.
Kone’s arrival at Everton is currently being seen as just a back-up plan for Jelavic, who was out of form for the whole of last season. But looking forward, Kone is nowhere near a presence in the box, and his positioning in the box is not going to encourage the likes of Coleman or Baines to put crosses in the box.
All in all Martinez is not going to play the Ivorian as the main striker and neither is he going to compromise on Everton’s eternal tactic of playing majorly through link-ups on the flanks. And with Pienaar’s position on the left being pretty much fixed, Kone should be restricted to the right-forward spot.
With the front three temporarily fixed, the main question is that where does Martinez see Miralas playing. The Belgian has been a real revelation in his first season, and like all his compatriots he has rarely disappointed. Moyes had started to use Miralas on the right flank initially, but he was seen converted into a No.10 as the season progressed.
Miralas is more than capable of playing from the left with Pienaar in the centre, but then Belgian direct approach at goal would restrict Baines’ ability to overlap alongside.