Pienaar Makes Everton Tick – A Lack of Width Has Cost EvertonBy Ryan Grant • Apr 13th, 2015 • Category: News |
It’s been painfully obvious how poor we have been this season.
The Europa League has been blamed by some – but for me that is absolute nonsense and a very poor excuse. If you fight all season to qualify for a European competition you cannot use it as an excuse when things go wrong.
We came into this season with effectively the same excellent squad as 2013/14 – plus a couple of additions. It was clear that the manager thought that continuity would be key and expected the further development of the likes of Barkley, Lukaku and Stones to push Everton forward.
That just hasn’t happened, and as a season ticket holder, I have been bored watching Everton all season.
For most of the season (and pre-season), the truth is, we simply haven’t been able to string passes together.
For a side so focused on ball retention we give the ball away far too cheaply and struggle to retain any possession high enough up the pitch to build up sustained pressure to create chances. In past seasons we have been excellent at keeping the ball around the opposition penalty box, relying on clever movement and passing to work an opening. This season, it has just been about the counter attack.
We are starting to get something consistently down our right hand flank, but part of the problem for me this season has been a lack of anything down the left.
The overloads and triangular passes down the flanks are long gone – with very little focus on width.
It’s been proven for Everton in the past that when we work it down the channels we create openings and chances.
Baines has been a shadow of himself going forward, mainly down to a complete lack of link up play down the left hand side.
The return of Steven Pienaar is a massive boost – as not only does he get Baines going, he gets Everton going.
He helps Baines get further up the pitch and more involved in an attacking sense AND protects the defence well. But most importantly, he can keep the ball, win fouls in dangerous positions and links up across the pitch.
But with him and Osman both nearing the end of their careers – and very injury prone – it’s up to Martinez this summer to find long-term replacements.
He didn’t foresee the painful decline of Distin until it was too late, leaving us with the very poor Alcaraz as the only cover for Jagielka and the raw John Stones.
He must think ahead this time and find the right players to integrate his style and tactics. But for now, I have no doubt that Lukaku will bang the goals in with Pienaar and Osman back in the side.
On a final note, who should be shipped out this summer? Distin, Alcaraz, Hibbert, Barry, McGeady, Kone, Atsu are all on my list.