Feature

The Burning Question – Is Martinez’s Arrival at Everton a False Fantasy Dawn?

Resilient. Obstinate. You knew what to expect from Everton under David Moyes. The dictionary definition of “dogged”, the Toffees possessed a will-to-win and determination to battle for every ball that made them a tough nut to crack.

Last season, they lost fewer games in front of their own fans than any side in the Premier League and dropped a mere two points in the final eight games at Goodison. On the road, Everton conceded just 23 times – only City and Arsenal registered a more impressive tally in the goals against column.

With Moyes hot-footing it to United, Everton are bracing themselves for a brand new approach this season. The installation of Roberto Martinez to the Goodison hotseat has Fantasy managers eyeing up Everton’s assets in an entirely different light – the Spaniard’s expansive passing game, either in a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3, suggests out of position possibilities we’ve previously overlooked. There’s no doubt his football is pretty on the eye, yet Wigan slid into the Championship with the joint-worst defensive record in the Premier League last season – 73 times their backline was breached in 2012/13.

In our final Burning Question article, our contributors ponder whether we’re getting a little carried away by Martinez’ installation to the Goodison hotseat….

Paul says….
When you consider the lack of funds Martinez had available to him during his time at the DW, you have to applaud his achievements rather than focus on the negatives. Wigan were hammered by injuries to a number of key defenders over the final few months of last term – the absence of too many first-team regulars finally took their toll. Yet still, they finished the season with silverware; something Moyes never managed on a far bigger budget.

Our initial expectations of a shift to 3-4-3 may need reining in, though. The Toffees have started all but one of their pre-season games with a four-man backline – whether Martinez will gradually change the system when his players become accustomed to his approach only time will tell but for now, his penchant for a front three definitely looks good news for Kevin Mirallas. The Belgian’s classification as a midfielder across the Fantasy games hands us a strong out of position option for 2013/14 and makes up for Marouane Fellaini’s move to a more withdrawn role after the Belgian racked up the points in “the hole” in Moyes’ 4-4-1-1 last time.

Elsewhere, Leighton Baines will surely remain the same, reliable option on the left and should still hog most set-pieces, corners and spot-kicks, while Seamus Coleman looks a viable option at 5.0 even if Martinez fails to switch him to the right of midfield and mainly utilises him as a right-back.

In terms of pricing, last season’s top two performers, Baines and Fellaini, will set you back 16.0 in Fantasy Premier League; Mirallas and Coleman combined are 12.5. Essentially, this makes it easier to take a punt and back your gut if you’re caught up in the optimism brought on by Martinez’ arrival. Value-wise, at least, I’d expect the latter pair to prove a better investment the end of the campaign, with Mirallas stepping up under his new manager’s attacking approach and perhaps even outscoring Fellaini’s overall exploits from last year.

In Tommy We Trust Says…
No, quite the opposite when you evaluate the underlying statistics from the 3-4-3 system deployed during his time at Wigan. Defensively, player errors were consistently higher than the league average. This can be attributed to two main factors; the calibre of Wigan’s backline options wasn’t the greatest and the system itself can isolate a less-than-fluent passer of the ball at centre-half. Both these factors can be reduced, if not erased, with Everton already owning good ball players at the back who have the pace to recover from individual mistakes.

Going forward, the system is based on good possession, with intricate passing, creating space. Everton already have these players in abundance with the likes of Leon Osman, Darron Gibson and Steven Pienaar coming to mind. What Martinez was frustrated about last season was the lack of goals from midfield in his Wigan side – this may well be remedied by the likes of Marouane Fellaini ghosting into the box. When you look at the Everton squad, the player personnel is already well-suited to Martinez’s system with Pienaar taking the Shaun Maloney role and Kevin Mirallas the inverted winger, while Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman are expected to be handed the wing-back roles. All could have a bumper points total come the end of the season.

Next you have to look at the character of Martinez himself. He is a winner, whether it was at Wigan or in his Swansea days. The man knows how to take the players at his disposal and get the best out of the skills available to him. This can only help Fantasy point totals. He is also someone who doesn’t like to rotate and, crucially, is one of the most reliable managers around when it comes to his starting XI.

The last thing to consider is the potential value on offer by some Everton players this season. If a 3-4-3 becomes the default formation, Mirallas, Baines and Coleman will all be out of position, while new signing Arouna Kone is nicely priced. Let’s not forget that value is fundamental to this game so even with an average campaign in Martinez’s first season, the price and position assigned to some Everton players make them assets worthy of investment.

Applebonkers says….
I think it’s harsh to judge Martinez off the back of Wigan’s relegation. You also have to take into account his full tenure and successful time at Swansea. The Everton defence is being written off in some quarters due to Wigan’s poor clean sheet record but, to put it bluntly, the Toffees have far stronger backline options than Wigan. Antolin Alcaraz, for example, improved the Latics’ defensive record dramatically when injury-free last season, yet he may struggle to break into the starting line-up unless they play a back-three.

Holding onto Marouane Fellaini will surely be vital. His move to a deeper position should strengthen the defensive quality of the midfield so, even if there is any merit to the theory that Martinez’s more cavalier cojones may lessen their resilience, the Belgian’s installation in the engine room should balance matters.

I tend to sub-consciously put a value on defences. For example, Man City and Man United I think of as 6.5 backlines, the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal are 6.0 defences and Everton, in the next bracket, are a 5.5 defence. Therefore Seamus Coleman at 5.0 appeals even without an attacking threat – when you then consider he rivalled Leighton Baines for assist threat in the second half of last season, then he’s definitely worth considering.

Green Windmill says…
As a longstanding Newcastle fan, I’ve witnessed more false dawns than a Vicar of Dibley lookalike contest, so I should be able to spot one by now. Everton, in my view, are in for a difficult season. There’s no doubt in my mind that under David Moyes they were consistently greater than the sum of their parts and Roberto Martinez is going to have his work cut out trying to maintain those standards. Despite this, it may not be all bad news for us Fantasy managers – many are anticipating a more gung-ho approach from Everton this year because as frail as they were defensively, Martinez’s Wigan adopted a much more expansive style when in possession.

It’s worth noting though that whilst Wigan’s defensive record was a horror show, Martinez’s time in charge of Swansea was a different story. The Swans were promoted to the Championship with the fourth meanest defence in the division and the following season were again in the top five performing teams in terms of goals against. There remains the possibility, therefore, that when presented with the right players, Martinez can organise a team which is harder to break down than some (including myself) might expect.

In short, whilst I don’t expect Everton to struggle, I also don’t expect to see them challenging for Europe as they did every year under Moyes. As a result I’ll be starting the season with a watching brief, hoping I haven’t seriously underestimated Roberto Martinez.

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1,425 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Mr Mz
      8 years, 3 months ago

      Mig - Davis

      Ivan - Kol - Turner(cardiff) - Chester - Toure

      Coutinho - Haz- Wally - Mirallas - Kim

      Tekker - Soldado - Rodriguez

      0.5 in bank. Should I do Toure -> Collins to save another 0.5?

      Any other improvements?

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    • FantaCity
        8 years, 3 months ago

        "Rat's the way, Zaha Zaha - Aluko - Zaha Zaha"

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      • bandit17
          8 years, 3 months ago

          Apologies for the re-post but looking for some feedback,

          Went to bed pretty sure about my team with RVP, woke up completely unsure!!! Which team do you think looks better? All thoughts appreciated thank you.

          A:

          Mignolet, (Harper)

          Collins, Koscielny, M Turner, (Brayford, Chester)

          Hazard, Coutinho, Silva, Mirallas, (Morrison)

          RVP, Lukaku, J Rod

          0.5 in bank, Lukaku to Giroud in GW2

          or B:

          Mignolet, (Harper)

          Coleman, Koscielny, M Turner, (Clyne, Brayford)

          Hazard, Coutinho, Walcott, Mirallas, (Kim)

          Soldado, Lukaku, Dzeko

          1.5 in Bank to swap Lukaku in GW2, then maybe upgrade defence.

          Thoughts?

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        • Hernandez Lynam
            8 years, 3 months ago

            Typical FPL. I've been hapuu wth my team a few days now and today I changed 4 players!

            Mignolet, 4.0gk,Coleman & Giroud OUT
            Foster, Boruc, Toure & Dzeko IN

            Ivan > Coleman GW2 is an easy move now

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            1. Hernandez Lynam
                8 years, 3 months ago

                plus 1m in the bank just feels nice to have

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            2. James
                8 years, 3 months ago

                Why can't I see the Captains Poll on the home screen?

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              • PAIRIDAEZAN
                  8 years, 3 months ago

                  I wonder, will Chelsea keep a CS in both games?

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                • rfinn
                    8 years, 3 months ago

                    Hi guys,

                    Really need some help here, please could someone RMT and let me know A or B?

                    A)

                    Foster

                    Ivan Toure Zabaleta

                    Bellamy Courtinho Oscar Hazard

                    J Rod RVP Dzeko

                    ________________________________________________
                    Boruc - Shaw - Barker - Collback

                    B)

                    Foster

                    Ivan Toure Zabaleta

                    Bellamy Courtinho Mirallas Hazard

                    Lukaku RVP Dzeko

                    ________________________________________________
                    Davis- Whittaker - Barker - Collback

                    C)
                    Basically A) but transfer out Oscar and Shaw for Silva and Whittaker?

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                  • Rider on the Storm
                      8 years, 3 months ago

                      Whats best ?
                      A : speroni(cry) mc grego(hul) + turner(nor) pieters(sto)
                      B : begovic(sto) ruddy(nor) + ward(cry) chester(hul)

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                    • yeahboy
                        8 years, 3 months ago

                        repost:

                        Hi guys, first of all good luck this season:) Can you please RMT? Appreciate it!

                        Mignolet - (Davis)
                        Mertesacker - Coleman - Luiz - (Chester and Baker)
                        Mirallas - Coutinho - Hazard - Walcott - (Tonev)
                        Lambert - Soldado - Lukaku

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                        1. neopaint2005
                            8 years, 3 months ago

                            Luiz not nailed on , Toney still inj other than that your team look ok

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                        2. rjw499
                            8 years, 3 months ago

                            Which nailed on 4.5m mid looks the best bet for GW3?
                            Tiote (FULHAM), Britton (West Brom)?
                            Anyone obvious I've overlooked?

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                            1. Sheep Flavour
                                8 years, 3 months ago

                                Tiote is a card machine..Britton wont score big most times but he wont be booked as much.

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                            2. Water_Pink
                                8 years, 3 months ago

                                first n prob last this season.
                                RMT:

                                DAVIS/ MANNONE

                                WILLIAMS/TURNER(CARDIFF)/ GARRIDO/ WARD/ TOURE

                                HAZARD/ OSCAR/ MIRALLAS/ NAVAS/ COURTINHO

                                LUKAKU/ SOLDALDO/ BONY

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                                1. busteddocket
                                    8 years, 3 months ago

                                    Like the Navas/Bony punts, defence is shite though.

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                                2. Valar(Keith)
                                    8 years, 3 months ago

                                    Just had a crazy though.. Ivanovic to Reid and Foster to Cech.. gives me more breathing space to make a transfer. Also, let's me see who's more nailed on from mannone/westwood and go for those later

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                                  • Sheep Flavour
                                      8 years, 3 months ago

                                      Soldaldo or Sturridge?

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                                    • D-Sizzle
                                        8 years, 3 months ago

                                        Almost there..

                                        Kim or Dorrans as 5th mid?

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                                        1. Sheep Flavour
                                            8 years, 3 months ago

                                            Kim

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                                        2. Sheep Flavour
                                            8 years, 3 months ago

                                            Rate my wife....

                                            Sorry wrong site...just my team then:

                                            Migs
                                            Turner...........Invan.............Toure
                                            OScar,,...Mirallas..........Coutinho.....Hazzard
                                            Dezko.....Soldado.......Benteke
                                            Subs: Kim.........McShane.....Chester Price

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                                          • Raul
                                              8 years, 3 months ago

                                              Staying away from sturridge, I will give him a week off, and bring him in next week, just to be certain that he will start.

                                              Brought in dzeko, looks like he will start.

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                                            • Mayanyi
                                                8 years, 3 months ago

                                                Which one?
                                                A.
                                                Migs (Davis)
                                                Kos Coleman Toure (Brayford, Chester)
                                                Walcott, Hazard, Coutinho, Silva(Kim)
                                                Studge Lukaku Lambert

                                                B.
                                                Migs (Davis)
                                                Kos Coleman Zab (MTurner, Chester)
                                                Walcott, Hazard, Coutinho, Morrison (Kim)
                                                Studge Lukaku Lambert
                                                +2m in bank

                                                C.
                                                Migs (Davis)
                                                Kos Coleman Toure (Brayford, Chester)
                                                Walcott, Hazard, Coutinho, Morrison (Kim)
                                                Benteke Soldado Negredo

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                                              • Shon
                                                  8 years, 3 months ago

                                                  Last minute RMT pleas:

                                                  Foster
                                                  Ivanovic - Coleman - Collins
                                                  Silva - Hazard - Mirallas - Paulinho
                                                  Lukaku - Soldado - Sturridge (thinking about changing him to Dzeko/Benteke)

                                                  Subs: Sondgrass - Turner (Nor) - Brayford

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                                                  1. Shon
                                                      8 years, 3 months ago

                                                      Subs: Boruc

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                                                  2. Kieranduru
                                                      8 years, 3 months ago

                                                      Anyone else out there that also opted with jussi jaas instead of mignolet? West ham have a decent run of fixtures

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