The Everton half term report (Part Two)

With the arrival of the midway point of the 2014/15 season following Everton’s defeat to Newcastle United three days ago, there is no better time than to look back on the performances of both Roberto Martinez and his first team squad.

Part One of Everton’s half term report, concerning the Blues’ goalkeeping and defensive players, can be found here. In this second part, the Toffees’ midfielders, forwards, strikers and manager are reviewed:

Gareth Barry: Lauded for his calming influence in the middle of the park last season, the 33 year old has struggled to regain the kind of form that made him a firm fans’ favourite within his first few matches at Goodison Park. The midfielder has won 85% of tackles, and possesses a passing accuracy of 87% so far this season, but costly mistakes have contributed to at least two of Everton’s ten self inflicted goals this term. Rating: 5/10

James McCarthy: One of the few bright sparks in an otherwise disappointing campaign so far. The 26 year old’s tireless performances in the middle of the park have resulted in the Republic of Ireland international sitting out recent matches with muscle fatigue in his hamstring, and the Blues have certainly missed his effervescent performances during the current poor run of form. Rating: 7/10

Darron Gibson: The 27 year old has only managed seven appearances during another injury hit season, and yet it is arguable that the midfielder has been missed, with the Irishman possessing a 94% pass success rate and with the Blues only losing one of those seven matches in which Gibson has played. Rating: 5/10

Muhamed Besic: A mistake with his first touch in the Premier League led to Chelsea adding their sixth goal in the 3-6 rout at Goodison Park in late August, but the Bosnian appears to have gone from strength to strength since his summer move to L4. The 22 year old’s combative displays in the middle of the park have won praise from sections of the Goodison faithful, which culminated in an extremely mature performance as the holding midfielder in the 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers earlier this month. Promising. Rating: 6/10

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McCarthy has performed admirably for Everton this season

 

Leon Osman: The 33 year old has not played as often as he might have liked this season, but when the midfielder has played the Blues have looked more creative and sturdy, with just four losses in the sixteen matches that Osman has played a part in. Not the most physically imposing, but the Toffees have arguably missed his fight and spirit in recent weeks due to a tendon injury. Rating: 6/10

Steven Pienaar: The South African’s season has been one of frustration so far. Hampered by injuries, the 32 year old has only figured ten times in the Royal Blue this term, and only completed 90 minutes once. His link up play with Leighton Baines has been missed. Rating: 5/10

Christian Atsu: The Chelsea winger has failed to make his mark for Everton during a season long loan thus far, and it remains to be seen whether the Ghanaian will return to Goodison Park following treatment for a hamstring strain at his parent club. Disappointing. Rating: 4/10

Aiden McGeady: Despite looking fit and sharp in three matches of the season, the Republic of Ireland winger has failed to carry on that form for much of the campaign. The 27 year old has often frustrated the Everton crowd with his desire to overplay, as well as giving the ball away that resulted in goals being conceded. Needs to improve his consistency to regularly start for the Blues. Rating: 5/10

Kevin Mirallas: Quite possibly Everton’s standout performer throughout the 2014/15 season. Whenever the Belgian international plays well, Everton play well. The 26 year old forward started the season in fine fettle, netting three goals in Everton’s first five matches but, following a lengthy period out with a hamstring strain, Mirallas appears to have come back even stronger – scoring four times and assisting two goals in his last seven appearances. He will be extremely influential if the Blues are to arrest their current slump. Rating: 7/10

Ross Barkley: After seeing his start to the season curtailed by a last minute knee ligament injury, it took until late October for Everton’s young star to make his first appearance. His performance, on his return, in the win over Aston Villa showed fans what the Toffees’ first team had been missing, but his form since then has been inconsistent, and not aided by claims that the 21 year old was a diver following the win over West Ham. With only one goal and one assist to his name this season, the attacking midfielder will need to find form to help Everton climb the table. Rating: 6/10

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Lukaku needs to find the net more to justify his price tag

Steven Naismith: Another one of the few bright sparks in a season where Everton are currently underachieving. The Scottish international has enjoyed a complete reversal of opinion on him since Martinez took over from David Moyes in the summer of 2013, and has netted six times for the Blues during the first four months of the season – three of which came in the Toffees’ opening three league matches. Like McCarthy, the 28 year old’s energetic displays have become vital to Everton’s overall performance, and the Scot will be of extreme importance to helping turn the club’s fortunes around on the pitch. Rating: 7/10

Arouna Kone: The Ivorian’s eighteen month long lay off finally came to an end at the start of the month when he started the final Europa League match against FC Krasnodar, and put in good displays against both the Russian outfit and Newcastle United last weekend – the latter of which saw him register his first goal for the Club. If he can stay fit, he will be a vital component in Everton’s squad for the second half of the season. Rating: 5/10

Samuel Eto’o: The arrival of the 33 year old six months ago seemed like a masterstroke of a signing from Martinez, with the former Cameroonian international becoming a firm favourite amongst Evertonians from the moment he first stepped onto the pitch. The striker may have seemed a little off form in recent weeks, but his experience and knowledge of the game have been invaluable to Everton’s younger players this season. Rating: 6/10

Romelu Lukaku: The Belgian international struggled for form and fitness following his World Cup exploits with his national side, but the 21 year old has performed at a much higher level in recent weeks, despite a lack of service and the Blues’ poor run of form, thanks to his link up play with the fit again Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith. Needs to score more goals to justify his hefty pricetag, however. Rating: 6/10

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Martinez has to turn Everton’s fortunes around as soon as possible

Roberto Martinez: The Spaniard’s second season as Everton manager has been inconsistent to say the least, and is currently experiencing his first real period of discontent amongst Evertonians. The 43 year old’s tactical nous has paid dividends in the Europa League, but his lack of a plan B, stubborness and positive outlook has come under fire in recent weeks. Has the ability and experience to turn around the Toffees’ fortunes, but must do so as soon as possible. Rating: 5/10

 

Tom Power would like to wish all of his readers a Happy New Year, and hopes that 2015 will bring you much joy, both in your own lives and with regards to Everton. NSNO!

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