1. Everton’s deepest positions are disappointing the most
While Everton have had depth problems due to many injuries, oddly enough, the positions that are underperforming the most are the ones where we have some depth. Wingers and attacking midfielders are where we seem to be coming up short the most. Everton can not get enough sustained attack on goal over a whole match and it has come back to hurt them this last month. Steven Pienaar seemed to perform up to standards but no one else really threatened Chelsea's defense (Leon Osman had one solid effort).
2. Everton need more height
This sounds like it doesn’t matter too much but it is actually very important. Our lack of height nullifies most of our corners or crosses. Most of our opponents know this so they focus on our link up play or dribbling. This has also forced us to only take short corners. This would generally be fine except we can't come up with a decent effort on goal after that. Corners have now become losses of possession or resets back to the goalkeeper.
We haven’t really come close to scoring during corners/crosses without Romelu Lukaku in the lineup. We also stick in some of our centre backs in the box during corners to fill our height void, but that usually ends with a risky counterattack. Luckily Gareth Barry or James McCarthy disrupt the counter-attack most of the time, but it is still a very risky method. Lacina Traore coming back should at least keep defenders on their toes (even though I hear his heading ability is lacking) but Roberto Martinez really needs to invest in some height for the future.
3. The counterattack is atrocious
This has been a problem for Everton since the David Moyes days. Everton can’t seem to counterattack at all because the attacking players usually just hold up for the defense to set and then attack slowly or we just lose possession immediately. This is fine during possession based football which Martinez practices, but there needs to be a counterattack every once in a while to keep the defense on its toes. The only one that seems to have any sort of inclination to counterattack is Kevin Mirallas and to a small degree, McCarthy. This is mainly a fault of Martinez who needs to bring some counterattacking plays during practice.
4. Barry is replaceable, McCarthy is not
After scrutinizing Barry and McCarthy the last couple of games, I have concluded that the both play very similar styles and both have been quite dominant at their position. Neither can really shoot and they aren’t the greatest going forward. Do we really need two of the same player on the pitch at the same time for the future? I personally don’t think so. When we have Ross Barkley at full form and Darron Gibson back from injury next year, it may not make sense to get Barry if he is too expensive.
5. It is the perfect time to get back into contention
It is still not time to panic yet. Yes, we are in 7th now and 5 points behind Tottenham for 5th and 11 points behind Liverpool at 4th. But we have a game in hand and our next matches are West Ham at home, Arsenal away for the FA cup, Cardiff City at home, Swansea City at home and Fulham away. All these matches are very winnable and if Martinez can bring confidence back up and we get some good results we can still challenge. Europa League is definitely still on the table we still have an outside shot at Champions League. Focus is key.