Player: Antolin Alcaraz, #30
Games Played: 11; Games Started: 9; Goals: 0; Assists: 0; Shots: 8; Shots on Goal: 3; Fouls Committed: 11; Fouls Suffered: 8; Yellow Cards: 1; Red Card: 1
The 2014-2015 campaign saw Antolin Alcaraz complete his second season with Everton. In July 2013, the Paraguayan defender joined the Blues on a free transfer from Wigan along with Joel Robles and reuniting with manager Roberto Martinez in the process. The move was to benefit Everton by adding extra depth to the position and also help by bringing in a player that was familiar with the manager's tactics.
However as with many things in life, not all went well. Alcaraz's time with the club has been marred by injuries. In two seasons he has only managed seventeen appearances in all competitions. His time out has been attributed to hernia surgery, muscle fatigue and a major shoulder injury among other things. Whether he's injury prone or has had a back run of luck is yet to be determined.
Also not helping his cause was the emergence of John Stones who has made himself a squad regular and is beginning to stake his claim in England's squad. Youngsters Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway have also made pushed for playing time this season. At this point, Alcaraz just does not have a spot in the team.
With his contract expiring this summer and Roberto Martinez confirming that he will not be re-signed, Alcaraz already has both feet out the door. His last appearance in a blue shirt will have been the brutal 5-2 Europa League round of sixteen to Dynamo Kiev.
What He Did Well
With limited game time, we are stuck with a rather limited sample size. For the matches that he did play in, he was mostly criticized. Not all was bad though, he did have a relatively high pass accuracy rating of 84.5% albeit with only 577 attempts. He also did well with keeping the ball in the Blue's possession when passing in his own half, averaging 94% accuracy.
In some matches, Alcaraz was able to live up to the reputation he had built for himself at Wigan as a strong tackler. He won 82% of his tackles and 59% of his duals in all competitions. However one could argue that those numbers would be significantly different if he had managed more time on the pitch.
What He Could Have Done Better
First and foremost, be healthy. You can't discuss the player's time in Merseyside without discussing his health woes. As mentioned above, it is difficult to determine whether Alcaraz is now vulnerable to injuries that eat into significant portions of the season or if he just has had bad luck. He is on the wrong side of thirty and it's natural for the body to begin breaking down, making the player more susceptible to injuries and requiring more time to heal. From the known account though, he did show up at training and did follow his program so he cannot be faulted for not taking care of himself or not having himself in proper shape.
When healthy, Alcaraz needed to show better in training and more important, in the games that he was given. With lackluster play and the emergence of the Jagielka-Stones pairing, Alcaraz was forced down the lineup. Late in the season, Roberto Martinez seemed to have made up his mind that Alcaraz would not be back next season and decided to give playing time to the younger players.
Here's hoping that he can find another home for a couple of seasons and finish his career on a high note.
Now it's your turn to tell us how you would grade Alcaraz's season. An "A" would represent a great season, a "C" for average and "F" for an utter failure.
After voting, please share your comments below.
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