With each passing loss for Everton, the feeling of déjà vu grows stronger and stronger. When the Everton faithful began filtering out of Goodison Park after a loss to Sean Dyche’s Burnley there was a sense that they had seen this before.
When the axe finally fell on Martinez in the spring of 2016, it was due to a lack of ability to properly utilise the players at his disposal. The Spaniard’s Total Football philosophy was to be his undoing as Everton leaked goals at a frightening rate.
When Ronald Koeman was appointed he had the blueprint of Martinez’s mistakes to help him steer clear of what had gone wrong in the past. He certainly seemed to take heed of that and Bill Kenwright’s appointment worked wonders as Everton finished 7th in the Dutchman’s first season in charge.
That was a positive start as any and had the fans believing maybe the 2017/2018 season will yield the Champions League football Goodison Park craves. With only 7 games played, it looks as if that dream will have to be put on hold as Everton look as fragile and unconvincing as they have for a long time.
There is a growing feeling that Everton may descend into free fall and will have to fight for their Premier League lives instead of challenging for top honours if Koeman is left at the helm. That has prompted questions about whether the former Dutch defender has been able to better what Martinez did.
After Martinez’s first 50 games as Everton manager, the Spaniard had a win percentage of 54% whilst Koeman has only managed a 44% win ratio in his first 50 games. The Dutchman has now been in charge for 55 games and has the same win percentage that his predecessor had when he was sacked. Martinez went on to oversee 162 games as Everton manager and eventually ended with up with a win ratio of 43%.
Martinez’s inability to alter his footballing principles undoubtedly cost him his job at Everton, but could he have had made a better run of it had he had access to the funds that Koeman has? In the three seasons that Martinez was manager, he spent just under £100m, whilst Koeman has spent a whopping £221m in just over a season in charge.
Everton have had one of their toughest opening set of fixtures in recent times at the club. There is still hope around the terraces of Goodison Park that normality will be restored after the international break as the fixture list gives the Toffees some much-needed respite. The sooner the Blues can climb away from the foot of the table the better. The threat of a relegation battle is not a concern for now as Betsson’s Premier League odds confirm that they are an outside 28/1 to go down.
Everton historically are not a club that fire managers at the first sign of troubled waters. Bill Kenwright may have his patience tested as he fired Martinez for failing to adapt to the situation Everton found themselves in, and it appears Koeman’s stubbornness is also getting the best of him. With an enormous amount of money spent and the current performances Everton are turning in, it is difficult to see how much of an improvement Koeman has made.
Everton fan exiled in Michigan. Duncan Ferguson obsessive, history buff, optimist.
Follow me on Twitter @DixiesSixty
Europa League: Thurs 23 Nov (20:05); Atalanta at Goodison
Premier: Sun 26 Nov (13:30); Southampton at St Mary’s