Besic or McCarthy for Merseyside derby: tough choice for Martinez

The Everton manager has a tough choice to make ahead of the visit of Liverpool.

Roberto Martinez has a selection headache ahead of the Merseyside derby, albeit a nice one.

The Blues take on Liverpool at Goodison Park on Saturday, and the Spanish manager will have to choose between returning midfielder James McCarthy or Muhamed Besic to partner Gareth Barry in central midfield.

McCarthy has spent an extended period on the treatment table with an on-going hamstring injury but is now fit again, having missed out on the victory over Crystal Palace to ensure he is fit for the derby and the upcoming game against Chelsea.

Now, Martinez must choose between him and Besic for that second spot in the centre of midfield, with the Bosnian having impressed in the Republic of Ireland midfielder’s absence.

What does this mean for Everton?

  PositionTeamDuel WonWon TackleInterception WonPoss Won Def 3rdAppearancesMins Played
James McCarthy MF Everton 81 23 20 34 13 1104
Muhamed Besic MF Everton 80 31 18 24 15 951

The Blues have arguably missed McCarthy’s presence alongside Barry, especially his energy and closing down in front of the defence, while Barry has also looked a shade of the player he was while on loan last season.

However, when comparing the statistics between McCarthy and Besic, there is little to split the pair. While the former is arguably better at winning possession back for his side in the defensive third, Besic wins a higher number of tackles.

Elsewhere the duo are shockingly close, with their totals in the duels won and the interceptions won painfully close when compared. That will make the decision even harder for manager Martinez, who is only likely to choose between the pair.

Barry is a firm favourite of the Catalan and unlikely to be dropped as his performances have improved following a poor start to the season. There is also an argument that Besic has performed well during his run in the side, and McCarthy should earn his place once more.

Either way, it is a nice choice to have for Martinez, and given both players’ young age, the future of the Everton midfield is likely to feature those two prominently.

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