Everton keen to make case for the defence
After being left to stew on a stuttering start to the season during the international break, Everton will be keen to get set the record straight when the Premier League resumes this weekend.
September 12th, 2014
Two points from three games is certainly a disappointing return after such a productive campaign last term, but it is the goals against column that is of most concern.
The Toffees have shipped ten goals in just three matches, including six in just one game against Chelsea immediately prior to the international break.
Evertonians have not failed to spot the irony in seeing their usually reliable defence start to crumble, the very summer the team spends a club record £28million on a new striker. Scoring goals should no longer be a problem. Conceding them, on the other hand, may well be.
It was a most un-Everton like performance against Jose Mourinho’s men, with the players sloppy in possession, appearing to lack stamina and making a series of critical mistakes that directly led to Chelsea goals.
The game prompted a minor panic among the supporters, who called for emergency reinforcements on transfer deadline day.
Despite some early rumours Everton never pursued a defender in the final hours of the window, with manager Roberto Martinez reaffirming his faith in a back four that had the third best defensive record in the Premier League last season.
It certainly makes little sense to tear up and rebuild a back line that was so watertight last season just three games into the new campaign, and the break from domestic matters may well have done them some good.
Certainly the three Everton defenders on England duty – Leighton Baines, John Stones and Phil Jagielka – will have taken heart from clean sheets against Norway and Switzerland. Seamus Coleman meanwhile was also on the winning side as the Republic of Ireland beat Georgia 2-1.
Aiden McGeady was the match winner in that game with two spectacular goals, offering further evidence that should they tighten up at the back, Everton have sufficient goal threat to score against most teams.
A trip to the Hawthorns to play West Brom offers Everton the ideal opportunity to get things back on track, though it pays to note they have won just once in their last four trips to the Black Country.
If Martinez’s men can’t kick-start the season within a win against Alan Irvine’s side, then at least a clean sheet would be a significant step in the right direction.