Everton have lost their first game in eight today, defeated by Tottenham Hotspur in a game where unfortunately Roberto Martinez was tactically outclassed by Mauricio Pochettino.
One area where Martinez specifically got it wrong was on the right hand side. There were plenty of poor performances in the game. Sylvain Distin continues to struggle for his best form, Gareth Barry looked very rusty in his return from injury while the usually reliable Leighton Baines did not have his best day at the office. They also desperately missed the robust and mobile James McCarthy in the centre of the midfield.
But the main problem was with Ross Barkley.
His performance was in fact not bad. He showed off some real class touches and cute passes but the idea to play him on the right by Martinez was not a good one.
When Barkley went on loan to Leeds a few seasons back he struggled, as Neil Warnock used him on the right. In the end Warnock sent him back to Everton with his tail between his legs.
Of course Barkley is not entirely to blame, he is not a winger. Seamus Coleman is an excellent attacking full-back but he needs a man ahead of him to play off of. With Barkley and Samuel Eto'o mostly occupying the same space in the middle of the park for much of the game Coleman continually found himself having to go backward and they could not take advantage of Christian Eriksen playing out on the left.
Simply put, Martinez got it wrong today, and it will likely be a long time before we see Barkley on the right once again...
@KeiranRichman Martinez has to take the fall for today.our shape an players not supposed to be where they belong.ie Barkley.— ben h. (@hoddyEFC) November 30, 2014
Martinez got it wrong today. Can't play Barkley and Eto'o in those positions when they want to occupy the centre. Osman should have started— David (@NothingbutBoffo) November 30, 2014
Mirallas was decent, Coleman has lost the ability to take players on! Barkley was virtually not on the pitch, Barry was dire, step it up EFC— Leon Cummings (@LeonCummings1) November 30, 2014
Barkley needs to be dropped. Not played well yet this season. Kid needs a rest.— James McCann (@JamesMcCann_17) November 30, 2014
Got to stop playing Ross Barkley on the wing. Complete waste of him.— Casey Dorgan (@CaseyDorgan) November 30, 2014
Superb win today, what a player that Ross Barkley is tho. Looked absolute class.— Martin (@IAmNotOllyMurs) November 30, 2014
Ross Barkley is such a talent, should be played in his natural & most comfortable position in the Centre Attacking Role so he can progress!— Molly Harrison (@MollyOHarrison) November 30, 2014
Have to say, Ross Barkley is absolute class. What a player he is going to be. England's future for sure.— Rich (@richierabs) November 30, 2014
Ross Barkley played one good pass, other than that he was as bad as Distin— Dave (@dvdchrlswlkr) November 30, 2014
another poor performance from you. Stop trying to be Roy of the Rovers and do everything. Stop hogging the ball and release it @RBarkley20— Steve Bibby (@steve_bibby) November 30, 2014
If Barkley is looking to move to a bigger club next season ? He needs to play better than that tday ! Keep the ball Ross !!!!— stephen Barrett (@jasperkingkenny) November 30, 2014
Ross Barkley through the middle. Nowhere else. Through the middle. It's that simple.— Jonathan Lee (@Snodders86) November 30, 2014
Shame to be beaten today. @RBarkley20 looked really sharp though!— Bontan (@BontanUK) November 30, 2014
Again Ross Barkley showing he is luxury player at present.What does he contribute?1 or 2 good moments and lots of giving ballaway.#passenger— Toffee (@Toffee1995) November 30, 2014