Everton’s defence has come under severe criticism this season.
The Toffees have failed to build upon their fifth place finish recorded last season, and they sit in 12th place heading into the New Year.
Despite playing a brand of stylish, attacking football last season, head coach Roberto Martinez also managed to continue the Everton tradition of a strong defence who were tough to beat. Building on David Moyes’s classic workmanlike style, the Spaniard also taught his players to build from the back, and it worked wonders for the Toffees, as they conceded just 39 goals in 38 games across the whole of the last campaign, whilst also providing a wealth of creativity from full-backs Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman.
Alongside the more attacking duo, 37-year-old Sylvain Distin and 32-year-old Phil Jagielka - stalwarts of Moyes’s regime - continued to provide defensive solidity, and many expected the same style to occur this season, as Martinez continued to keep faith in his impressive back-line.
However, for some reason, the defensive unit has all-but collapsed this year, conceding 31 goals - only eight fewer than the entirety of last season - in just 19 games, and only conceding fewer than QPR - themselves on 34.
It seems strange that such a collapse could occur, and there are reports that the failure to defend could cost Martinez his job, but there is one area that offers an explanation for many of the problems suffered at Goodison Park this term.
|Errors Leading To Goal||Games|
The Toffees have made an incredible high tally of 10 errors leading to goals, showing that individuality is costing the side whose game is so heavily built upon teamwork. In the Premier League, their closet rivals to the unfortunate crown are Liverpool and Sunderland, both with six errors leading to a goal for the opposition.
Amazingly, no team in Europe’s top five leagues has made more defensive errors leading to a goal this season than the Toffees - with Serie A side Parma joint on 10 - and they have already almost doubled the amount of errors made last season, when they only committed six across the duration of the whole 38 game campaign.
There are many reasons why Everton are failing to scale the heights they enjoyed last season, and it appears as if none are more obvious than the cost of individual errors to the first-team squad. Whether or not they can recover from these set-backs remains to be seen, but surely it must be done if they intend to secure their place in the top half of the Premier League table come the close of the campaign.