Roberto Martinez’s debut campaign as Everton manager is widely acknowledged to have been a success.
He built on the foundations put down by predecessor David Moyes and, it could be argued, made the Toffees even more entertaining to watch.
His ball-playing and attack-minded philosophy was embraced by those within the playing staff and the paying punters in the stands at Goodison Park.
In some respects, he has taken that a step further this season.
It may be difficult to comprehend that Everton have improved in any area in 2014/15, given that they currently find themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League standings after a run of four straight defeats which has seen them draw three blanks, but they have.
They are seeing more of the ball over the course of any given 90 minutes and are doing more with it as their passing numbers continue to grow.
There is, however, a flip side to that coin, as the Opa statistics below show.
|Season||Touches GAME||Total Pass GAME||Accurate Pass GAME||Total Tackle GAME||Interception GAME||Goals Conceded GAME||Total Clearance GAME||Appearances|
While Martinez will be pleased to see that Everton remain a difficult outfit to contain when on the front foot, he will be bemused by their defensive struggles and inconsistency as a collective.
The Toffees have been so reliable at the back in recent years, while remaining solid in midfield as the holding role has remained a key position.
They have, however, seen their performance levels drop in a number of key areas, with those at the back being placed under greater pressure and buckling under it on a more regular basis.