clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Poll: Who Should Start on the Left Wing for Everton?

New, comments

Getting production from the left wing has been a struggle for the Toffees in recent weeks, so what should Roberto Martinez's next move be?

Arouna Kone fails to convert a glorious scoring chance against Norwich City.
Arouna Kone fails to convert a glorious scoring chance against Norwich City.
Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Though Everton's major problems lie in its own defensive third, the Toffees have also had problems keeping their attack balanced during their recent struggles. Arouna Kone has been playing left midfield almost exclusively since his hat trick against Sunderland on November 1.

Kone has started all six of Everton's matches since then, accumulating no goals and one assist. His WhoScored.com rating in that span is a mediocre 6.66.

Even when Kone plays well, no one mistakes him for a true winger. He has proved his usefulness, but is he the answer going forward? Or should another player step into the left wing role?

Below are each of Roberto Martinez's options at left midfield: have your say about who should start during the holiday period in the poll below!

Arouna Kone

The Ivorian striker has five goals and four assists, all of which came while playing left wing. But, his tendencies to drift centrally have become predictable and tend to isolate Leighton Baines in the attack.

Of course, Kone has been the most successful left-sided attacking player Everton has had this season. Is patience the right course of action with Kone, or has his time run out?

Kevin Mirallas

On paper, Kevin Mirallas should be Everton's starting left midfielder every week. He is by far the most accomplished winger on the squad and has single-handedly carried the Toffees at times during his tenure on Merseyside.

Injury was the first thing to derail Mirallas' 2015-16 season, but it isn't what is keeping the Belgian out of the lineup now. As has been the case with Mirallas throughout his time at Everton, his form, mentality, and commitment to the club remain in question.

After his goal against Leicester, Mirallas may be closer to returning to the starting lineup than he has been since returning from injury, but Martinez surely hasn't forgotten the Belgian's two-minute red card performance against Swansea earlier this season.

Steven Naismith

The Scottish attacker shone brightly during his hat trick performance against Chelsea earlier this season, but has done little else. With Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku healthy, Naismith's preferred positions are filled, so he's been funneled out to the left wing when he has played at all.

Naismith plays similarly to Kone, tending to drift toward the middle and making Everton's attack unbalanced. Having an unbalanced attack is not a bad thing on its own, but it must be managed correctly to be effective, and Everton's recent performances with Kone put into question how well the side can play in this manner.

Naismith will defend more than either Kone or Mirallas, but what he provides going forward over either of those players is somewhat unclear.

Aaron Lennon

The former Spurs man has had limited opportunities in his preferred position since signing a permanent deal with the Toffees. Could he fill in on the left wing with Gerard Deulofeu clearly staking his claim to the right?

Lennon is active both in defense and attack, but he is not as skillful or strong with his weak foot as Mirallas. His pace could give opposing defenses headaches, but it might not make a significant difference if his left foot is not strong enough to whip crosses in from the left side.

Leighton Baines

The English left-back has returned to the starting lineup in his natural position, but some have wondered if the team might be better served having Baines play in the midfield and returning Brendan Galloway to left-back.

Baines is easily the best passer and crosser on this list, but he has no experience as a midfielder. He lacks the pace of Lennon and Mirallas and the finishing ability of Naismith and Kone. Does his technical ability outweigh those shortcomings?