Everton’s Aerial Weakness Is Nothing New – and is Joel Robles Really The Answer?

By Unclassified • Mar 8th, 2016 • Category: News |

ANYONE who has watched Everton over the past few seasons will know that a vulnerability in the air is nothing new.

Whether that’s conceding goals from set pieces or from open-play crosses, the blues have been susceptible for many years.

The problem probably goes back as far as the David Moyes era. Everton’s strongest centre back pairing of the decade in Jagielka and Sylvain Distin were usually decent defending crosses, but when the likes of now retired John Heitinga played it created a huge weakness within the side.

Roberto Martinez has taken it to another level.

HAVING ALCARAZ last season didn’t help his cause – possibly the worst centre back Everton have had in the past ten years.

This season he has had the personnel. He has Everton’s best squad in 30 years, a defence full of internationals such as Argentina international Funes Mori. He is 6ft 3 and highly rated Stones is not far behind – they’re not small – they should be doing far better in the air.

I think their approach is all wrong: they don’t attack the ball. We can’t head a ball – just look at the amount of headers we lost for Chelsea’s third goal against us this season..win one and you stop the goal.

Teams Don’t Have To Do Much To Score Against Us

I CAN’T REMEMBER the last time Everton conceded a well worked goal or a worldie were fans can hold their hands up and say ‘you can’t do anything about that’.

We concede cheap goals; mistakes, set pieces and from crosses that should be dealt with – Sunday League players would do better.

In Martinez’s first season, we didn’t concede many goals due to the incredible work rate and intensity of the side, however we conceded mostly goals from set pieces.

In our second season, we conceded many goals from individual mistakes and errors.

This season has been a combination of the two – add deflected goals, poor refereeing, conceding penalties and a huge lack of luck to that list too.

Looking back at the goals we conceded against West Ham, you have to think; how are our defenders being coached? A lot of questions an be asked.  Why don’t they – or the goalkeeper – attack the ball?

For the first goal, a second phase from a set piece, we fail to clear our lines and then nobody is near the ball the ball.

You can’t win every header but you have to adapt to certain situations. There is no leadership at the back. As soon as the ball goes out wide for the cross, push up so if the ball comes into the box, they are offside. Manchester City have been utilising this tactic for a while. You have to find a way to negate your weakness.

We would of course prefer if we could stop the cross. With tired legs, the otherwise outstanding McCarthy was nowhere near.

The second goal was a disaster.

We said the substitution left us vulnerable, but two Everton players were around the West Ham wide men and had to do much, much better to stop the cross.

If you don’t stop the cross, you put yourself under huge pressure.

Let’s be honest. We weren’t back peddling as we were against Bournemouth for their third goal, everyone was facing play and it should be a routine header.

Mori was nowhere near. Mistimed jump, beaten in the air easily. For a player with his leap and height, it is hard to take. He was also the last defender back – he could have pushed up to play the striker offside.

Otherwise you have one last solution.

The likes of Martin Skertyl have been doing it for years. Do whatever it takes to stop your opponent. Mori should be much more aggressive, put him off.

Don’t get me started on the third goal.

One thing’s of sure though, it’s about time our first choice defence of Baines, Jagielka, Stones and Coleman reunited.

A Defensive Coach Needed

THE STUBBORNNESS of Roberto Martinez and his decision not to hire a specialist defensive coach is ultimately going to cost him his job.

We all want Roberto to succeed, but knowing what you are good at – and what you are not good at and therefore need help with – is an important trait.

Bill Kenwright is a loyal man but there will get to a stage when enough is enough. He will appreciate that we have dominated most games, but in a results based industry and with Farhad Moshiri now the most powerful man at the club, Roberto’s days could be numbered.

This season Howard, Pienaar, Osman, Hibbert, McGeady and Gibson are leaving. This is an opportunity to bring in some really high calibre footballers but whether Martinez is here to replace them is a whole question all together.

Is Joel Robles Really The Answer?

JOEL, for me, not the long-term answer in the goalkeeping department.

Because we’ve been exposed to Howard’s unfortunate decline, our standards have dropped considerably and we are now happy to accept a mediocre goalkeeper.

Howard had been outstanding over the years, pulling off incredible reaction saves from close range. He had always been vulnerable from crosses, but his other qualities made him a viable choice in goal. Once he lost those, it was time to go.

Don’t get me wrong about Joel – he has done well, but an experienced goalkeeper has to be the priority in the summer.

Robles looks like an error waiting to happen coming out for corners and crosses and has been lucky that shots are frequently hit straight at him.

A goalkeeper with the physique, authority of Chelsea’s Begovic will install a security and confidence in a defence. We have a huge aerial weakness but this lad loves to come and collect crosses and command his box, taking pressure off the defence.

If we can’t head them away then we need a goalkeeper such as him to come out and attack them. The crosses from West Ham were from far out – plenty of time for a goalkeeper to come and deal with him.

Every goalkeeper at premier league level should be a shot stopper. What sets the best apart is their handling, authority and distribution. Begovic will leave for first team football; he is at the right age and has Premier League experience. It’s a no brainer.

Referees Have Too Much Control

A closing thought – when you consider how much money is going round in the Premier League now and from next season, should referees have as much control as they do without video assistance – and be allowed to influence results with incorrect decisions that ultimately cost clubs financially?

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