- Everton remain the only unbeaten team in the league.
- Toffees boss praises the chemistry and mentality after 3-2 victory over Newcastle.
When the dust had cleared on this summer’s managerial merry go-round, Roberto Martinez’ appointment at Everton may not have figured prominently in the greater part of pre-season discussion. Then, in a whirlwind of frenzied transfer activity on deadline day, the 40-year old Spaniard pulled of a triumvirate of exciting swoops, galvanising the Goodison faithful and prompting the new Evertonian boss to rub his hands vigorously with delight as he stared down the barrel of what is surely his most promising season as a manager in English football.
It is common knowledge amongst managers and coaches alike that Martinez possesses tremendous passion for what he does. He is an a man with an aura of confidence and conviction. Even in the darker days at Wigan, watching over the repeated, and in one case, doomed, attempts at escapology, Martinez always upheld a great pride in what he had established tactically and the mentality that he instilled in the players. Unfortunately for him, there was only so much available for him at Wigan. He served his time loyally, quietly keeping tabs on higher-profile management that may arise. He was mooted for Liverpool and strongly considered for Tottenham. But perhaps with Everton, he has found his perfect fit. His likeability and superiority in communication has obviously rubbed off on the players. Phil Jagielka, one of the old-guard at Everton has embraced his new boss warmly. “He’s come and made life easier…it’s really nice to be able to open up to the manager.” Martinez has almost with a masterful stroke of charisma and charm, won over those who hold Everton dearest in their hearts and this will prove imperative if they are to find success together.
Tonight’s home tussle with Newcastle was synonymous with Martinez’ philosophy. Geared up from the beginning, an energetic Everton set about dismantling a fragile Newcastle (French) side systematically. Retaining the services of Leighton Baines was a massive morale boost for the Merseyside club and Martinez has repaid the defender by building an extremely impressive looking squad around the 28 year-old. Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Gareth Barry, Kevin Mirallas and Leon Osman all shone on a night that showcased Martinez’ slick and stylish brand of attacking football. Martinez gave Baines his usual licence to venture up the pitch whilst Barry sat deeper and screened Distin and Jagielka in defence. Despite missing his usual go-to-guy in Steven Pienaar, Baines linked up effectively with Lukaku and Barkley at times in a nutshell of flourishing football from the home side that saw them brush Newcastle aside 3-0 in a dominating first-half display. Martinez praised the chemistry of his team after the match and stated that his team carried “great threat” whilst showing “great combination to score great goals.”
Martinez likes to have a strong presence in the centre of the pitch to help control the tempo and ensure that they maintain a sense of control over the game. This season, that man is Gareth Barry. Secured on loan from ManchesterCity, Barry comes with a wealth of top-flight experience and can find a new lease of life with his new club. As a defensive-minded midfielder with an eye for a great pass, it provides freedom for Ross Barkley to attack the space in front of him with his dazzling set of skills that have taken Premier League on-lookers by storm. In Barry and Barkley, Martinez has found the right balance of attack and defence, of a trustworthy seasoned campaigner and the exhilarating exuberance of a youthful star. Barkley provided the first for Romelu Lukaku tonight and chipped in with a fine finish of his own. Doing wonders for his confidence, Martinez will look to keep the young man’s feet on the ground as he becomes more acquainted with regular first-team football in the top-flight. Complete with McCarthy as a recruit from his former club and Everton stalwart Leon Osman, Martinez finally has a polished and reliable bank of midfielders to express his philosophy and take him to new heights in the managerial game. Many thought Martinez had a point to prove coming to Everton. He is making it emphatically.
An unbeaten run is uncharted waters for Martinez in the Premier League. Continuing their impressive run of results and re-establishing Everton’s claim for Champions League football may not be quite achievable this season bearing in mind the strength of Arsenal and Tottenham but they are certainly staking a claim and showing the wilting beasts of Manchester United and Newcastle, among others, the way forward. An unbeaten run is uncharted waters for Martinez though. An exhausted cliché dictates; getting to the top is tough, staying there is tougher.
Romelu Lukaku’s performance deserves a mention tonight. Two goals and a constant threat for a sorry looking Collocini and Yanga-Mbiwa. Chelsea must be deeply regretting a baffling decision at letting him go in the summer. He looks the complete forward’s package; pace, power, clinical finishing and work rate are a winning blend in any team. He is still young, but he is learning fast. This is what his boss had to say about him after tonight: “What you see today, that’s him (Lukaku). He is strong, powerful, very knowledgeable for a No.9 to have that awareness around him, and he is technically really gifted, so that always brings a very strong package. At times he was unplayable. He opens up the spaces for others as well, and we will get stronger. We need to get to know him and the players around him need to get to know him.”
And a special mention to Gareth Barry, who became only the tenth player in Premier League history to reach the 500 appearance mark. Some milestone.