Yesterday was not only a great result and performance it was yet another example of the flexibility and tactical nous Roberto Martinez has. I will admit that I doubted whether he was man who could change his tactics to suit the opposition. I had a vision of a man who was stubborn in his approach and philosophy. How wrong was I?
Martinez has consistently identified a team’s weakness and capitalised on it. Against Manchester United he realised that conceding possession was not a bad thing with us having some of our lowest possession stats of the season. He saw a team that were impotent and slow and one that were defensively frail to the counter attack, something he also identified when we destroyed Arsenal a week earlier.
At times Everton looked predictable at the turn of the year. I even questioned how necessary Barry and Mc Carthy were at home, something the Crystal Palace performance put to bed. Martinez identified the predictability and changed it up by rotating the squad so players who looked a little jaded such as Kevin Mirallas now look invigorated.
This is a side that can now play in a number of ways. In Steven Naismith we have a player who can be used if we need to be direct although that isn’t all he offers, we are able to play a controlled possession based game but we have also added pace and the ability to counter to our play. Earlier in the season our passing triangles looked the part but we often looked one paced. Rather than sacrificing our passing philosophy we have speeded up and altered the pace of those triangles, maybe even added the odd dodecahedron!
There is a real sense that every player is starting to become comfortable with what is required from them. This was no better illustrated by Antolin Alcaraz’s seamless introduction into the team yesterday after months out of the picture. There is the same togetherness to this squad that is characteristic of all Everton teams but there is also a flexibility now and a real feeling that everyone is making a contribution.
Martinez has recognised that for this team to be successful everyone needs to be ready and everyone needs to be able to play in a variety of ways. The potential of this team under him is frightening and there is only one way I can say us going and that’s up. There are already transfer rumours about players leaving in the summer but I have never been so confident of them staying. Why would anyone want to leave this? Viva la evolution!