A month that could define Everton's season, and Roberto Martinez's tenure

Roberto Martinez

It's a month that presents an opportunity for Everton and Roberto Martinez, but a poor January could lead to questions being asked.

After a creditable 1-1 draw against Tottenham, attentions are quickly turning towards Everton's League Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.

They have a real chance of ending their 21-year wait for silverware but they face the tournament favourites over two legs in Manchester City.

Failure to capitalise on this opportunity means that not all is lost as there is the FA Cup is a target to go for, with a relatively straightforward looking third round tie against Dagenham & Redbridge presented to the side.

It's a tough period of fixtures for the Toffees as it's a month which could not only define their season, but also the tenure of Roberto Martinez.

But the league campaign also has it's challenges. Everton will come up against a Chelsea side which is showing signs of improvement under Guus Hiddink, another encounter with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, and with those two games taking place this month, the clash with Swansea City at Goodison Park - a side just the one place above the relegation zone - has to be seen as a must win.

Everton's record of wins this season hasn't been great and they need to find that knack again. In the league this season, they have only managed to win six of their 20 games which sees them sit in 11th place, leading some to suggest that Martinez is vastly underachieving with the squad at his disposal - one that features the league's joint top scorer.

The draw with Spurs showed a lot about Everton altogether this season. They're a side that can compete with the best sides in a game over 90 minutes, though the slightest lapse in concentration can cost them, and at times they just can't finish the game off - though not many will have begrudged Tottenham their point on the balance of play. 

Plenty will expect Everton to give City an epic encounter and play without fear, and for it to be a close game overall. Getting them through to the final would give Martinez the opportunity to write his name in the club's history books and end that long wait for a trophy. But failure to show signs they can compete with the best for honours, or get some good league results could lead to questions as to whether things are progressing on the field at all.

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