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Poll: How to Fix Everton's Defense

As the week's international fixtures draw to a close, the weekend's match against West Brom is firmly in sight. How can Everton shore up their issues at the back for the match?

Ramires slots home Chelsea's fifth goal.
Ramires slots home Chelsea's fifth goal.
Laurence Griffiths

Ten goals conceded in three matches. Six goals conceded at home against Chelsea. Two points from three matches.

The numbers are not kind to Everton's defense, nor should they be. The Toffees have been let down by their defense regularly so far this campaign, and the results speak for themselves.

We'll quickly take a look at some of the problems that have plagued Everton, and below, have your say in the poll and comments as to how the Toffees can keep the ball out of the back of their net going forward!

Phil Jagielka

The club captain has been generally poor this season, following a less than stellar effort with England at the World Cup. Jagielka lost his starting place to Phil Jones with the English national team in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier, but came on in the last 15 minutes when Jones suffered an injury, helping close out the game.

Could his starting place at Everton be next on the chopping block?

His positioning has been sub-par, he has not sufficiently taken charge at the back, and he does not have the physical attributes to make up for underwhelming mental play. There's no doubt that Jagielka is a much better defender than we have seen in recent weeks.

At the top of his game, Jags is a worthy Everton captain and England first XI member-- but until he can find that form, Roberto Martinez may have no choice but to cut down his playing time.

Sylvain Distin

The 36-year-old central defender has looked, well, 36 years old thus far this season.

He has appeared, to me at least, not to be as susceptible to mental errors as his English counterpart, but one incident in particular stands out as a potentially defining point in Distin's young season.

Against Arsenal, Distin was marking Olivier Giroud when the Frenchman knocked home the equalizer. A cross came in from the left, and Distin was right with the Arsenal striker, but was simply overpowered.

Sylvain Distin has not been a man who gets simply overpowered during his time with Everton. His strength has always been his biggest asset as a defender; if that is slipping away from him, there could be trouble ahead for the big man.

Lack of Cohesion

This might be the most mystifying of all the problems we've seen at the back for Everton thus far.

Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman, Jagielka, and Distin (as well as Gareth Barry and James McCarthy in the midfield, who also play an important role in defense) have all played together extensively.

Yet, this group has had problems with simple communication and coordination. Offsides traps have been askew, runners have gone unmarked, and crosses and long-range shots have been allowed far too frequently.


Speaking of the offsides trap, Everton attempted to use it with little success against Chelsea. Diego Costa and the Chelsea attackers easily broke the slipshod attempt to push forwards behind the last defender, and it led to an explosive defensive failure.

Martinez noted after the match that the squad needed to "get back to basics" and "be in a strong position."

Hopefully this will lead to work on the training ground and improvements on the pitch.