Why Everton Fans Should Be Excited About Roberto Martinez
Swooping in for a recently relegated manager to put him in charge of a top-six side with Champions League ambitions is not a ploy too many would predict resulting in success.
There is certainly a lot more to the former Wigan man than his lowly Premier League win-rate of just 29 percent suggests, and most Evertonians seem to have recognised this.
For any remaining doubters, here's a belated look at why this managerial move made sense for the Toffees, and why it may prove an exciting marriage over the next few years.
First off, there's no escaping the fine job performed by Moyes during his time at Everton. He transformed a relegation-threatened side into persistent top seven finishers, considerably raising hope and expectation in the process.
This is the first reason why Martinez was a sensible pick. With Moyes instilling his own methods and systems on a side for over 11 years, it's important his successor shares certain traits so not too much is altered right away.
That certainly seems to be the case with Martinez. He uses the same thorough preparation and meticulous analysis techniques as Moyes, and openly recognises the fine job done by his predecessor, frequently referring to the platform given to him during his opening press conference.
Importantly, he is also keen on longevity and understands the value of building a project over time—something Everton have enjoyed under Moyes and will hope to continue now with Martinez.
Working at Wigan, with a similarly sparse budget as was afforded to Moyes, he is equally versed at unearthing value in the transfer market. He understands the need to occasionally sell big in order to stave off financial difficulties and keep improving the squad by favouring youth.
On the field there are perhaps fewer similarities, but as Martinez gradually imposes his often inventive style it should prove to be absorbing viewing for Evertonians. He is renowned for favouring a possession-heavy, attacking approach, a brand of football that should be both attractive to the eye and—most importantly—effective, if applied efficiently.
For those prone to grumbling about Moyes' generally defensive setup, this should come as a pleasant switch, with Martinez almost certain to put a greater emphasis on the final third of the field.
While maintaining possession, Martinez looks to draw teams onto him, before penetrating them with some swift movement and incisive passing. His style differs from what Everton are used to and there won't be such a reliance on a Leighton Baines to carve out chances or a Marouane Fellaini to win aerial duels in the final third—elements of play that have become increasingly predictable.
Whether it will be as effective as Moyes' techniques will only be discovered in time, but having seen one approach for so long, regardless of all the various subtleties included, it will come as a refreshing change to see a different approach.
Considering their ultimate relegation, it's also impressive to note his Wigan side finished in the top 10 for shots on target, shots in the six-yard box, dribbles per-game and pass success in the Premier League. With better players at his disposal, those numbers should rise.
What would represent a decent first season for Martinez?
On the flip side, there clearly has to be an element of caution about his defensive record, but, as mentioned, Martinez will be provided with far better tools to work with at Everton. Wigan recorded 17 individual errors that led directly to goals, the most in the Premier League, highlighting some major individual flaws at the back.
While he was never able to maintain prolong periods of consistency at the Latics, which he must do at Everton, he did manage to devise strategies to win at some of the toughest away grounds—something Moyes drew criticism for so rarely doing. His FA Cup win was an especially impressive triumph, that Evertonians will be desperate to see replicated.
There's no doubt Martinez has a tough job on his hands to mirror the success of David Moyes, but there's clearly much to look forward to about his tenure.
He will introduce a new style that, when fully in sync, should be far more attractive to the eye as well as effective. His tactical approach and work in the transfer market will continue to improve and evolve the club and he seems intent on building a project, which should keep the club stable.
Even those supporters desperate for another managerial candidate would surely admit that, while there were numerous worse choices in the running, few realistic options made more sense for Everton than Martinez.
If he's given time to influence the club his own way, and is backed by his chairman and board, there's plenty to suggest this partnership could quickly become a special one.
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