The Roberto Martinez revolution is well underway at Goodison Park, with the team playing flowing attacking football instead of the dreary, attritional football of David Moyes.
It’s a glorious thing to watch when it gets going, and early signs are promising. Of course, Everton have had a decent thread of midfielders over the last few years and, though it might be a little late to completely change Leon Osman, having Martinez around can only be to the benefit of the likes of Ross Barclay, who is already showing signs, be it as a result of the Spaniard’s faith in him or his coaching methods.
I heard a remark today that I would (perhaps wrongly) attribute to James Horncastle about the Toffees need for a leading striker, and that Nicola Jelavic is perhaps not the man to fulfil that role. My thoughts were, initially, drawn to Wigan and their top scorers of the last few season.
Seeing that none of their forwards had bagged more than Arouna Koné’s 11 last season, I was intrigued. I know Wigan haven’t scored loads of goals during Martinez’s reign, but I expected someone around fifteen at the minimum. You have to go back to the days of Jason Scotland for that (21 and 24 during the two seasons they spent together – as below)
There does seem, from a Martinez Team, to be a large amount of players scoring goals, however. That trend looks to be on the up and up – something that Seamus Coleman netting for Everton perhaps indicates may continue on Merseyside; not just the Irishman’s goal, but the position he was in when he scored it, as well, was very definitely that of a forward player.
Again, there’s a small sample size for this (and the numbers are different between Swansea and Wigan, reflecting the aim of the club and the nature of the league) but the graph is quite revelatory, and seems to point towards how Everton’s season may well pan out.
In the last two seasons in particular, Wigan shared the goals around – everybody ‘chipping in’. I used 5% as my marker because it seems an actual contribution rather than just a fluke figure – it tends to work out as two goals for Wigan and three for Swansea. Wigan were never going to be Barcelona, or the Holland team of the 1970s, but they never needed to be either.
The Wigan team under Martinez evolved; they changed and adapted to the players who were available to them. That’s the sign of a good manager, I would say. The fact that he is imposing himself on a fairly settled Everton squad already is a good sign.
If I were guessing, I would be sure that the new regime at Goodison Park would love to bring in a striker; anyone who scores a great many goals lightens the load on the rest of the team, but, if not, then sharing the goals around the squad (and lessening the reliability on one specific player) is a fairly good way of going about it.
Do Everton need a striker? No. It wouldn’t hurt, but indications suggest they’ll be fine.