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The real reasons behind Everton's dodgy start

Mid-season statistics make interesting reading.....

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Chris Brunskill

After finishing fifth last season and spending the summer bolstering the squad expectations were understandably high for Everton back in August.

Now, three months on, excitement has tempered somewhat after a opening to the campaign that can be best described as patchy.

It hasn't been a poor start by any means, the club are ninth in the league and only four points off fourth after 10 games, while they sit top of their Europa League group at the halfway stage.

But it has certainly been an inconsistent beginning, with the players struggling to string more than one or two decent performances together.

But what are the reasons behind the inconsistent start? Well I'm not a numbers man myself so thankfully the clever people at the Daily Telegraph sourced some number bods to come up with some key statistics for the first quarter of the season to see where teams are doing well and where they are not. Some of the figures do provide us with some clues.

Firstly, unsurprisingly...

Everton like to pass

Everton have completed 5,764 passes so far this season which puts them only behind Manchester City (6,070) and -inevitably - Arsenal (6,214) in the top five. Keeping possession is at the heart of Roberto Martinez's philosophy and given Chelsea and  Manchester United complete the top five, it is clearly a style of play the better teams in the division adopt.

However, keeping the ball is good, but it all depends on what you do with it, which brings me to....

Bad luck? Or poor finishing?

Everton have struck the woodwork four times already this season, joint fourth highest in the league along with West Ham. Would Everton's start had been different had those chances gone in? And it that down to bad luck or poor finishing? It is difficult to tell.

Meanwhile, at the other end....

Stop. Making. Stupid. Mistakes.

Those who have watched Everton games this season probably won't be surprised to hear that they have made more errors leading to goals than any other team - six.  From Romelu Lukaku at Burnley to Muhamed Besic against Chelsea, Everton have shot themselves in the foot on too many occasions by making basic mistakes in dangerous areas. The one positive to come out of this is that this problem should be relatively easy to correct, which should have a significant impact on the goals against column.

And finally..

I thought Everton were rubbish at corners?

They generally are, but the team have scored twice from corners this season already (short corners and moves originating from corners count as well, rather than just those crossed direct into the box). Along with one penalty and five from crossed free kicks, Everton are bizarrely joint-second in the list of goals from set pieces so far this season.

Only Crystal Palace (8) have scored more, while the Toffees are level with West Brom and  West Ham. It certainly goes against what you would expect from a Martinez side and suggests the impact of David Moyes' reign lives on among the current team.