Welcome to the 2017-18 Everton Season Review. Unfortunately, an autopsy is required before we can truly bury this year. Next up, the left backs.
2017-18 Everton Left Back Performance
Performance: As has seemed to be the case at Everton for the past 5 (6/7/8?) seasons, the Toffees came into the campaign with Leighton Baines as the only recognized left back on the roster. Any injury to LB would mean catastrophe for the back line and the Toffees in general.
So, in a turn of events that was all too predictable, Baines went down with a calf injury and missed 15 matches. The Toffees were left (back) hahahahaha...sorry....to be creative in their coverage of LB’s position.
Long story short, Leighton’s absence was as impactful as his presence. His importance can’t be understated.
On either side of the injury break, Baines put together another solid season for the Blues. While he never found his best attacking form, Baines was solid defensively and his set piece service proved useful after Gylfi Siggurdsson was lost at the end of the season.
Future Outlook: While Baines is certain to have a place in the side next season, there is no denying that the Toffees are behind the curve in grooming a replacement. Should the Toffees bring in another LB this off season it would surely be as a complement/understudy who can slowly take over the position from one of the best of all time.
Performance: Let’s be honest.
The fact that we have to include Cuco Martina in the review of the LB position for the Toffees tells you everything you need to know about the roster construction prior to the season.
When Leighton Baines went down in November, Everton fans knew the club was in trouble.
However, for all of the hand-wringing, let us give credit where credit is due.
Originally brought in as cover at right back, Martina took his move to the left side in stride, and while not every match was pretty, Cuco did a more than admirable job filling in.
He didn’t bring much to the attack, but his athleticism made up for his awkward positioning and Martina made the best out of a TERRIBLE situation.
Martina made the best of a bad situation, especially considering he played through the most tumultuous parts of the season.
Future Outlook: As far as next season goes, it’s hard to see Martina playing much of a role for the Toffees. With Seamus Coleman back to form and Jon Joe Kenny proving a more than capable backup, Martina will find time at right back hard to come by.
As for left back, if Martina is still in the equation for the Blues then Marcel Brands and the decision makers at the club have failed the Toffees at the position again.
Performance: He looked great in warm ups when he made the bench against Watford in February.
Future Outlook: It’s impossible to imagine a scenario in which Garbutt breaks into the squad. Having played under a handful of managers, it is clear that the force just isn’t with Luke.