When Roberto Martinez was tagged to replace long-serving Everton manager David Moyes three campaigns ago, few believed the club was going in the wrong direction. However, three seasons later and Martinez finds himself sacked by the same club.
Under Moyes, the team was heading towards the fight for European competition and looking up with a squad full of potentially brilliant offensive players. Under Martinez, the club has been mired in mid-table mediocrity.
No example of that is better than what many believe to have been his final match with the club — a 3-0 defeat to relegation-battling Sunderland. Currently the Toffees sit 12th in the English Premier League table and have struggled to keep teams out of the back of their net.
It’s been both a lack of scoring and a lack of defensive prowess that has killed his time at the club. Martinez’s squad won 21 games in his first season at the helm of the club, only to see a combined 22 wins over the last two seasons.
Few saw the decline coming after an opening campaign that saw the Toffees sit fifth in the EPL table and compete in the Europa League. But, that European campaign showed just how thin the squad really was and a stretched club finished 11th in the table last season.
Playing uninspiring soccer, while also losing the fans was a sure recipe for disaster. So was selling off top players and failing to replace them with equal talents. Martinez and the Everton board decided selling star Marouane Fellaini (£27.5 million) and replacing him with James McCarthy a day later from Martinez’s former squad — Wigan Athletic — was a good idea.
That has turned out to be disastrous on the pitch, while a great piece of business off it. Fellaini hasn’t lived up to the hype in the Red Devils’ jersey, and McCarthy has been good, but far from the replacement needed for Fellaini.
Other moves (outside of the big-money move for Romelu Lukaku) were pretty uninspiring as well, and it all adds up to the reason we see Everton sitting as a mid-table club that few have paid much attention to the last two years.
Given the news of Frank de Boer’s departure from Ajax, it appears Everton has a clear target in mind to replace the Spaniard. Whomever the manager is, this club needs some new life breathed in to it and some focus on defensive intensity if it wants to start to compete for European soccer once again.