It would be easy to be as negative about this as the majority of my film reviews but there have been periods of this season where Everton have been excellent and some of the new talent has been outstanding. However the only consistency we have had this season is when we have been consistently bad. The first few games of the season actually looked promising, we switched off at the end of a few games and some silly defensive errors gave us only one point when we should have had three and with them late goals being conceded came a massive drop in confidence. The shining light at this time of the season was the Europa League. 2 rather comfortable wins over one of the favourites in the tournament Wolfsburg and a great win and a draw against Lille let us put out a young team against Krasnodar knowing we were going through top of the group. The Europa League became a bad excuse for atrocious league form from October through December. We could beat teams who were inevitably going to be in a relegation battle but any team in decent form seemed to make us look like a Sunday league team. We were playing the same passing game as last year but getting outplayed at it in every game. Going forward we barely posed a threat and at the back we always looked like giving it away and it cost us week in week out. Our £28 million signing was firing on all cylinders in Europe and looking tired in the league and by the time January came around we were looking down instead of up.
We got a kind draw in Europe against the Swiss Young Boys and demolished them with ease in both legs but our league form wasn’t getting any better and our FA Cup run came to a heartbreaking end against West Ham. Despite the devastating penalty end it was the first performance of the season that I was really proud of the team and they really looked like they tried and cared. Aiden McGeady let himself down getting sent off and he knew it but his effort has been excellent this season and I have been really impressed with him when he’s been given the chance to play. I honestly thought that was going to be the match that turned our season around like it so often did in January under Moyes but it wasn’t to be. Our poor form continued into the middle of March until a good first leg against Dynamo Kiev was followed by a bullying performance against a shocking Newcastle side. Unfortunately what followed that was a humiliating defeat against Kiev in the second leg that ended our Europa League run quite unexpectedly.
Following that match was the eventual revival we needed, but it was too little too late to have any success for the season. By the time March came around it was looking like avoiding a relegation scrap would have been a success and with a few good performances and some actual effort that’s exactly what they managed to do. A couple of scrappy performances against QPR, Southampton, and Burnley and the performance of the season against Manchester United and we were looking up towards a top 10 finish. That form lasted all of a single month though and when we were safe from relegation the poor form came back, the effort disappeared, and the booing returned. Absolutely nothing to play for at the back end of the season and the only minute chance of getting Europa League next season via the Fair Play table and the fans made it clear every game that they were not happy.
Throughout the whole season the crowd had been on the back of Martinez and Kenwright. There were very boring games at Goodison when we played with no intent at all and the noise was brutal and for good reason but I don’t think it is ever a time to be calling for sackings. He made some good investments and he made some poor investments. Tactically he got it wrong a lot this season and more often than not there has been no plan B and it’s caused a lot of problems. But as I said we have had a few outstanding players this season and some good additions to the squad. John Stones for me has been phenomenal. As a young defender he’s allowed to make a few mistakes and he has done but in the second half of the season he has been the stand out performer for me and has formed a great partnership with Jagielka. However they’re both much better as right sided centre backs, so with Distin now inexplicably allowed to be let go I think it would be wise to get rid of Alcaraz and invest in a solid, left sided centre back. Aaron Lennon has been another player for me that in the latter half of the season has been a great addition. He has quickly gelled with the rest of the team and formed a good bond with Coleman on the right side but most importantly he lifts the team with his effort every time he is on the field. Besic and McCarthy are two more who are non-stop with their effort and with what could be Barry’s last season they need to form a good partnership pre-season. Coleman has been excellent once again but in games that Lennon has been missing and for the first half of the season he was really lacking in support. Naismith started off perfectly, scored a lot of important goals in the first half of the season but for some reason was replaced way too many times for Barkley, who has had a really poor season.
There have been a lot of polls of who Everton should get rid of over the summer and a lot of names are on there that a lot of people want to get rid of and I just don’t understand it. The only player who has been truly bad in every game he’s played is Alcaraz and he’s the only player I would be looking to offload in the summer. The likes of Kone, Gibson, Hibbert, Pienaar, Osman, McGeady, Oviedo they’re all dedicated and solid squad players. Gibson and Kone there would be no point in getting rid of because we couldn’t get any money for them. I do think there are some young players coming through that have excellent potential to break into the first team this year, David Henen for me being one of the most impressive. We’ve seen Galloway and Browning a few times this year and they both look like good players for the future who just need a few games and a bit of experience.
I certainly still believe Martinez is the right man for the job and unless the right investor comes along, Kenwright still deserves to be the chairman of the club. With no Europa League next season we’ll be able to put all of our focus on the league and the cups and I have no doubt that next season will be much more successful.