Bad luck to blame for Everton's struggles, insists Tim Howard

The American goalkeeper believes his team aren't far off replicating the performances which saw them achieve a fifth-place Premier League finish last season.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has insisted to the club’s official website that confidence has not been shaken following the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, claiming back luck has had a big role in their recent struggles.

Everton managed to go toe-to-toe with the Gunners for long periods of the weekend’s clash, but goals from Olivier Giroud and Thomas Rosicky either side of half-time saw them come away from north London with nothing to show for their efforts.

With just one win in 11 Premier League games, Roberto Martinez’s side now stand six points and four places above the drop zone with 11 fixtures remaining, and fans are starting to fear that their form could see them sucked into a relegation battle.

Nevertheless, the Blues have lost only twice in the league since the 2-0 defeat at Hull City on New Year’s Day – at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge, and Howard believes their form of old is not far from returning ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Stoke City.

“We haven’t had the luck so far this season. But I am a firm believer that you just have to keep on working hard and trying to do the right things, which we are,” he said.

“If you perform well on and off the pitch then you get the right results. We have had some bad luck but that is the way it goes. We just keep working.

“We have got back to that hard-to-beat resiliency in the defence,” he added. “It is disappointing when deflections happen [as for the Rosicky goal], things that are very difficult to control. The back four have been playing well.

“We will go to Stoke City confident. When performances aren’t right you start to wonder where the next one is coming from – that's not where we are.”

Howard’s assessment of a more resilient defence does seem to hold true for the most part, with Everton conceding nine goals in their eight top-flight games in 2015, compared to the 10 they shipped in December alone.

That said, until they can manage to weed out results like last month’s 2-2 home draw with Leicester City, then pushing up the table over the final stretch of the season is going to prove a tough ask.

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