A Quarter-Term Report on Everton

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent INovember 14, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Leon Osman (R) of Everton celebrates with team-mates after scoring their team's second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park on October 26, 2013 in Birmingham, England  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Roberto Martinez has now passed through a quarter of his first season in charge of Everton.

The Catalan took over the reigns from David Moyes and has already started enforcing his own brand of style on the club.

Given his predecessor's lengthy, successful tenure in charge, Martinez will need substantial time to pull the Toffees in his desired direction. 

With yet another protracted international break preventing any Premier League action, here's a look at exactly how the Toffees and their new manager have begun the 2013/14 season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03:  Roberto Martinez, manager of Everton on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on November 3, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Ge
Tony Marshall/Getty Images

The first and most important category is results. In Premier League terms, 20 points from 11 games is an excellent return, and one that fans would have readily accepted back in August.

Averaging 1.8 points per game would leave the Toffees around the 70-point mark come May, almost certainly enough for Europe, and enough to be in the conversation for fourth. 

His side haven’t dominated in the way he will ultimately desire, but just one defeat in 11 games is hugely encouraging, considering the evolving on-field approach.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Ross Barkley of Everton reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park on August 24, 2013 in Liverpool, England (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Everton haven't collected more points from their opening 11 games since 2004/05, when they went on to finish fourth. Martinez deserves credit for making such an instant impact; however, there’s no escaping the fact the Toffees could, and should, have amassed even more.

Four of their five drawsagainst Norwich, West Brom, Cardiff and Crystal Palacewere games the Toffees dominated and should have won, unleashing 70 shots to their opponents' 28, yet somehow scoring just two. 

Part of the reason for these needlessly squandered points is the transition to a more possession-absorbing, short-passing approach. The drastic change will understandably take time to click and has fluctuated in its effectiveness thus far.

The Toffees began the season with three disappointing drawsperformances burdened by slow, unimaginative passing and predictable movement.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  Gareth Barry of Everton in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on September 14, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The arrival of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy has improved the tempoand the resultsbut there's still a long way to go to reach Martinez's coveted level.

A more natural ball-playing defender is a glaring issue, and something that should ideally be addressed in January.

Certain phases, such as the first half against Newcastle and the second halves against West Ham and Aston Villa have been exciting; the aim now is to start transferring these glimpses of potential into full 90-minute showings.

In terms of individuals, the emergence of Ross Barkley has been a huge bonus for Martinez and his new side. Still raw and far from the finished article, he has the potential to become one of his country's leading players over the next decade.

Tim Howard, Barry, McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku are others who would consider their first part of the season a success, while Everton's right side, of Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman, are two starters yet to find their fluent best.

The size of Martinez's task makes intensive analysis worthless at this stage. He's made a bright start in terms of points but, unsurprisingly, there's still considerable work to be done to forge Everton's new identity. 

What's encouraging is exactly how potent the Toffees have looked during brief phases of fluency.

To reach that finished product, Martinez will still need to pass through a few more transfer windows and continue enforcing his approach. His first 11 games have seen some promising signs and show he's steering the club in a new, exciting direction.


Statistics via Who Scored?


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