Video Ranking: 4 / 5
After a great first half of the season, Everton have not been very consistent in the last few weeks. As a result, they have been slowly slipping down the table. The prospect of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League, which seemed realistic during the months of January, has all but evaporated. Despite this, manager Roberto Martinez says that he is confident of getting the club back to European football. This could prove key in keeping a number of star players like Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku.
They have done exceedingly well this campaign and were the reason for the good work done by the blues so far. However, these players have Champions League ambitions and are unlikely to stay at Everton if it is not offered. Martinez is looking to overcome this Catch-22 situation by doing well over the next two months of league football. After being knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal last weekend, Everton can fully focus on the league. Even though they suffered a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal, Martinez says that the club can take a lot of positives from recent performances.
Everton have slipped nine points behind the final top four places with only 11 matches remaining in the campaign.
“All we want is to try and get as many as we can. And can you get top four? Well mathematically you can. I think you’re looking at the points tally that you’re going to need to get in those positions and it’s still achievable. It would depend as well on how the other clubs react to the disappointment of not being involved in Europe, other clubs that are still in Europe. I think there are many aspects that are going to affect top four position,” said Martinez ahead of the weekend’s match against Cardiff City.
Online video Score: 5 / 5
Everton manager Roberto Martinez was extremely unhappy with the way Chelsea got the winner in the 1-0 win over his team at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The victory helped Chelsea maintained their lead at the top of the table, but it was extremely cruel on Everton, who dominated for most of the encounter. Everton’s defeat also ends any hope of the club reaching the top four this campaign. For most of the season, Everton have been able to go undefeated in most of the matches. However, they conceded an injury time goal against Chelsea to fall 11 points behind fourth placed Liverpool.
Ramires was fouled just outside the penalty box in injury time. Frank Lampard took the resulting freekick, which was headed into the net by John Terry. It helped Chelsea overcome a frustrating match in which both teams had little clear-cut chances. After dominating in the first 15 minutes, Chelsea succumbed to intense Everton pressure, but they were once again able to come out on top in the second half without really testing Tim Howard. It looked like the game was going into a stalemate before Terry came with the winner.
Martinez was unhappy with the decision by the referee to give a freekick to Chelsea for Ramires going down softly.
“If you watch the replay, it’s not a free-kick at all. That happened with other incidents. I don’t blame the referee at all. It’s an incredible knowhow, using every trick in the book. We defended really well but John Terry was brave and they scored. Overall I thought we were the better side. It was a very unfair result not to get anything from the game after the performance that we had. We need to make sure that when we play well and when we deserve to get a positive result, we do that,” said Martinez.
Movie Score: five / 5
Everton have been one of the standout performers in the Premier league for the first half of this campaign. They have suffered just two defeats in the first half, as Roberto Martinez has done a stellar job after taking over from David Moyes. It was never going to be easy for Martinez since he was succeeding the Scot, who had clearly overachieved with Everton all these years. Everton also have one of the best defensive records amongst the Premier league teams this campaign. One of the consequences of doing well for a team like Everton is that a number of players start being linked with top clubs.
One of them is Ross Barkley, who has come of age this season. He has scored some important goals and is starting to dominate the centre of midfield. He has been linked with moves to Manchester United and Chelsea in the last few years, but it is expected that the interest will get serious from here on in. Martinez has confirmed that there will be no players leaving the club in January, while he is also planning to bring in Aiden McGeady from Spartak Moscow. The 27-year-old will be available on a free in the summer and Everton are close to signing a pre-contract agreement with him according to Martinez.
“We are very close for the summer, that’s true. You know I like Aiden. As things stand now, no, because there are too many difficulties. Many things can happen in the window but right now it would be difficult. I like Tom. As a young, English talent he’s a phenomenal footballer but it would be unfair of me to talk about him because he’s got a very important second half of the season with Blackpool,” said Martinez about the club’s transfer plans in January.