On the 28th of December, Everton lost 3-2 away to Newcastle in the Premier League, with the Toffees having thrown away a one-goal lead early into the clash. The defeat to Newcastle was Everton’s third on the bounce, their fifth in seven league outings, and piles the pressure on manager Roberto Martinez going into the New Year.
The Spanish coach could not be having a more contrasting 12 months, with his debut campaign on Merseyside seeing Everton fourth in the league with 37 points from 19 games. Midway through this season, and the Blues are eight places and 16 points worse off. It sees Martinez on the brink with Everton closer to the relegation zone than any side in the top-eight of the table.
Only Alan Irvine (West Brom) and Alan Pardew (Newcastle) are ahead of Roberto Martinez in the bookies for ‘next manager to exit his post,’ and the 41-year-old has recently admitted how concerned he is about Everton’s poor form.
“It is concerning. We have had no momentum in the league and concede goals. Everything that could go against us went wrong. We have to rectify that. As a team we have to stick by our principles. We have to be a stronger team from this. We have not lost the talent from last season,” he said.
Everton’s defensive record in the biggest problem, with only Queens Park Rangers (34) having conceded more goals than the Toffees (31). Dropping points to bottom-half opposition such as Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Hull City and Stoke City has seen the Merseyside outfit plummet down the table, and confidence is low in the camp.
The last clean sheet Everton kept was at the start of November (0-0 at home to Swansea City), where they have since earned just two wins from the following nine games. Martinez has taken the flak for the poor run of form, and with Manchester City (home), Liverpool (home), Chelsea (away) and Arsenal (away) as four of their next eight league games, things don’t get any easier for Everton.
Losing games so readily was something that didn’t happen last season, and Everton have already matched last season’s total of eight defeats for 2013/14 in half the time. Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright gave David Moyes more than a decade at the club, but will the struggling Martinez be given similar treatment?