Old failings return
Last weekend’s win over Man Utd raised hopes Everton had banished their inconsistencies for good. Sadly those hopes proved unfounded as familiar problems reared their ugly head at Villa Park. They were soft in the tackle, unable to deal with crosses and struggled to hold onto possession, while Christian Benteke bullied Phil Jagielka all game on route to his two goal haul. They are the same things that have dogged the team all season, though credit also has to go Villa side looking transformed under new boss Tim Sherwood. The only positive I can take is that it serves as a timely reminder to Roberto Martinez that our recent run shouldn’t mask the urgent need to rebuild in the summer.
If it aint broken- don't fix it
Despite last week’s impressive win Martinez still chose to make two changes to the side with Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas coming in for Ross Barkley and Leon Osman. Mirallas was certainly pushing for a recall after scoring against Man Utd but there is value in not changing a winning side. It is with the enormous benefit of hindsight of course, but perhaps Martinez got his starting XI wrong on this occasion.
Why wait to make substitutions?
Everton improved in the second half and Romelu Lukaku’s penalty gave them a route into the game. But when Tom Cleverley stroked home Villa’s third why did Martinez wait more than ten minutes to make a change? Restoring the winning team from last weekend in the process? Again It’s easy to pick out failings after the event, I accept that, but this isn’t the first time Martinez looks to have lost his Midas touch when it comes to changing the game from the bench.
Is Cleverley worth a purchase?
Speaking of Cleverley the on-loan Villa midfielder continues to be linked with a summer free transfer move to Goodison Park. Martinez, who worked with him at Wigan, is definitely a fan but has been reluctant to elaborate further while Cleverley is still playing for another side. The supporters’ reaction has been much more mixed, though his form in recent weeks has begun to alter people’s perceptions of the 25-year-old who in my opinion would be a useful addition to the squad, especially as he would cost nothing
Season petering to a close
With just nine more points left to play Everton can only realistically finish as high as ninth or as low as 13th, meaning the final few weeks of the season at Goodison Park are unlikely to be particularly dramatic. However, with each finishing position worth around £1.2million in prize money Everton need a strong finish to boost this summer’s transfer kitty. There’s certainly no reason why Everton can’t pick up at least six points from their games against Sunderland, West Ham and Tottenham. A few late wins would also send us onto our summer holidays feeling optimistic for the future after a season which has left us feeling anything but for the majority of the year.