Everton's home form has unquestionably improved since last season. However, as we seen last season our away form was pretty good. Now, it appears the tide maybe changing. It's difficult to explain as to why our form away from home is suffering somewhat, but with only 2 wins out of a possible 7, it maybe an area Martinez may want to address.
Travelling to the South coast has been somewhat of a walk in the park for most traveling teams in the Premier league this season and its started exactly the same for Everton in the first 45 minutes. We headed in at the break 2-0 up through goals from Funes Mori and Lukaku. But, what was to happen in the second half, defensively, was nothing short of inexcusable. Conceding 3 goals in any half of football is not a good thing let alone having taken a 2 goal lead. We allowed them the time on the ball they needed and they took their opportunities. Eventually, the game ended 3-3. But, that wasn't all it entailed.
Whilst the British media are hyped over Jamie Vardy's 11 goals in 11 games, theres a young Belgian quietly going about his business. lukaku's goal against Bournemouth made it 8 goals in 8 games for the striker and going under the 'media radar' so to speak might actually be helping.
There was a loud call for improvement from fans last season regarding main aspects of Lukaku's game. Be it, holding the ball up, his distribution in the final third, more constancy in his performances or more goals.
I'm a firm believer that he has improved on everyone of those areas and we're starting to see a more complete striker.
Undoubtably, since last season, the players around Lukaku have improved or added more opportunities for him. Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Arouna Kone have all aided the Belgian in scoring goals.
Fans on the pitch
Through various social media outlets fans of our club and others have spoke about how they feel, the fans who celebrated Ross Barkley's goal, caused the Bournemouth side to equalise minutes later. Thats a joke, right?
Well, i'm going to banish those opinions with a few simple stats. Firstly, Everton touched the ball in the oppositions half of the pitch 172 times in the first half. In the second half, that number dropped dramatically to 103. That stat alone sums up our tactic in the second half. We sat back, we allowed Bournemouth time on the ball and it cost us massively. Secondly, our possession overall in first 45 minutes was recorded at 58% to the Cherries 42%. In the second half, our possession finished at a percentage of 43% to Bournemouth's 57%. That might not look much, but thats a massive turn in the scheme of things. Finally, if you needed anymore proof the fans weren't to blame, the Blues conceded 3 goals in 10 minutes of football.
So, to summarise if anyone is to point a finger its should be directed at the managers tactics and the players for not defending they're goal professionally, certainly in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Giving the game away
As above ,the summary of the stats prove the game got away from the Blues in the second half. The managers tactics proved to be wrong and cost the traveling Blues 2 extra points. Looking at the game upon reflection, the tactic to play the ball in Bournemouth's half and go for a 3rd goal would have probably seen us win the game. Its hard to remember the last time Everton won a game having defended a lead for a full 45 minutes, we tried on Saturday and failed once more.
By playing the ball in our own half, it allowed the home team to press us deep into our half. When the Cherries got the ball off us, it didn't take much effort for them to reach a dangerous are from which they could score. It baffled many fans at the game into thinking, at what point will the manager realise the tactic wasn't going to work. Was it when the first goal went in? Was it going to be when they qualise for the first time? Well, it proved it wasn't realised at all. Smart tactics, win you games of football. In the second half at Dean Court, the tactics were arguably prettu stupid and certainly did cost Everton.
It's now vital we play Middlesborough on Tuesday, with the same intent and tactics we played in the first half on Saturday. With no doubt, its a must we progress into the Semi final after Tuesday night's game.