Why Roberto Martinez's Everton Will Score More Goals Than David Moyes' Team
For all the positives of David Moyes' 11-year tenure at Everton, certain sections of support would often air their frustration at his generally defensive style.
As much as it would churn out routine wins at home and secure some valuable points away—which more than satisfied most—there was seldom any sustained period when his Toffees side dazzled their fans with free-flowing, attacking football.
Instead Moyes preferred to build from the back with a resilient defence that ranked as the Premier League's fourth best last season and third best the season before.
Although he urged his side to control the game in the opposition's half, to break an opponent down he would often resort to persistent crossing or an overly direct approach, which—while regularly effective—wasn't always the prettiest on the eye.
Part of that was to do with some of his selections being more accomplished in their defensive responsibilities, but most of all it's simply the philosophy he believes in and, to be fair, it secured him continued success at Everton.
With Roberto Martinez now in charge, stylistically things are about to change for the Toffees. Whether the end product will prove as effective as Moyes' remains to be seen, but it seems the spectacle is about to become an altogether more enjoyable experience for fans.
The former Wigan man is far more likely to emphasise events in the final third of the pitch and, as a result of this, should provide a more attractive style for supporters to watch, as well as a greater haul of goals—something that has troubled the Toffees for a long time.
Despite being embroiled in a relegation battle, goals were never an issue for Martinez's Wigan side. They hit the net just eight times fewer than Everton last season and scored more than the vast majority of their rivals at the foot of the table.
This is because Martinez's major strengths surround his attacking approach, a capacity where he's both bold and inventive. He encourages his side to attack with patient possession and short passes, luring a team forward before cutting through with incisive passing and canny movement.
His system is flexible and often unorthodox and, with superior players now at his fingertips, these methods should prove even more fruitful and lead to far greater scoring chances for the Toffees.
It was a lack of goals that prevented Everton from prolonging their Champions League challenge last season, with each of the Premier League's other top seven sides scoring at least 11 goals more than the Toffees.
Too many points were squandered late on with Everton guilty of not capitalising on sustained periods of dominance. A trait that should now be a thing of the past under their new manager.
With Martinez at the helm, next season's attacking statistics should be drastically improved, and that gap between the top sides, in terms of goals, is highly unlikely to be as wide.
Of course, what will define Martinez's Everton career is how well he balances these attacking intentions with his side's defensive duties, something he struggled with at Wigan. At the other end of the field the Latics were truly awful last season, shipping 73 goals, the joint most in the division.
Some of this must be attributed to personnel; Wigan made 17 individual errors that led directly to a goal, the most in the division, yet there would have been other times the manager's attacking focus would have caused the lack of clean-sheets.
As Martinez begins at the Toffees he would be wise to utilise some of Moyes' defensive techniques, while initially curbing elements of his more adventurous attacking traits.
Whether he can eventually forge a successful career at Everton is open for debate. However, due to his and Moyes' contrasting philosophies, the Toffees' style and attacking fortunes will almost certainly flourish over the coming season. If he can sustain his new club's defensive solidarity there could be an exciting few years ahead for Evertonians.
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