International weeks allow time for reflection and with Everton under new management it has provided the perfect opportunity to look back at the first 7 league matches of the Roberto Martinez reign.
Expectations have undoubtedly grown, with the style and approach to football incredibly refreshing. The first three games brought a slight disappointment, with three draws in three games the Blues had dominated. From that moment forward performances improved dramatically and three consecutive wins sent expectations into overdrive. Brilliant wins over Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle, with all the deadline day signings in terrific form, sent the Blues into the top four. It was however one of Everton’s established players who took our player of the month award, with Leighton Baines a surprise winner, proving consistency and match winning goals (West Ham) can sway the opinion.
Leighton Baines has certainly put talk of a move to Manchester United behind him and the display at West Ham was sensational. Our regular columnist Tom looked at Baines’ form since Pienaar picked up his injury and wondered if Baines is missing the inspirational South African.
Two players who have found life difficult this season are Tony Hibbert and Nikica Jelavic. Hibbert has found himself very much out of favour and played in the U21s victory over Blackburn Rovers, a fourth consecutive win for Alan Stubbs’ team. Tony Hibbert has been a stalwart of the David Moyes era, but now finds himself with a big career decision ahead of him.
Life isn’t quite so bad for Jelavic, but with Romelu Lukaku now first choice centre forward, is it time for Everton and Martinez to consider selling the Croatian striker?
With Hibbert out of favour, Seamus Coleman is very much established as Everton’s right back. The Irish international who captained his country on Friday has enjoyed a strong start to the season, but enjoyed a mixed 7 days last week, brilliant against Newcastle, but disappointing against Manchester City.
The result against Manchester City is one of only two defeats suffered by Martinez’ Everton, the other coming in the Capital One Cup away at Fulham. But with Everton failing to win at City, a number of pundits have continued to question whether Everton are able to go to the Premier Leagues top club and return to Goodison with the three points. The evidence from the trip to the Etihad would suggest that the Blues will take a more adventurous approach under the management of Martinez, which we all hope will bring with it positive results.
Martinez has already had a positive impact on the atmosphere at Goodison. The Goodison roar is back, with the Evertonians enjoying the exciting free-flowing possession based game favoured by the new coaching team. Results have been good, with two league wins and a draw, with Hull City next up at Goodison on Saturday.
There is certainly a positive feeling at Everton this season, with the club adopting a more open approach, with constant two-way communication between supporters and the club. The only remaining wish for many, would be a successful resolution to the boards search for fresh investment and the Sunday papers brought news of a possible takeover offer from Austrian drinks superpower, Red Bull. The huge multinational company would have the finances to power Everton to the riches of the Champions League, but is this the right takeover offer for Everton?
Our final thought this week is for a former Blue, a club icon of the David Moyes era, who remains an Evertonian after falling in love with the club during his time on Merseyside. Tim Cahill is adored by many and is back in fantastic form for the New York Red Bulls, bagging a host of goals to propel his new team to the end of season play offs and the chance of silverware, a fitting reward for a fantastic career.