Dec 072014

They may have only been brief, but you could hear them loud and clear. The unmistakable sound of jeers that greeted the final whistle at Goodison following Everton’s frustrating midweek draw with Hull City.

There was probably some currency in Roberto Martinez’s assertion the boos were more about emotion than a moan at his team.

But there’s no doubt Everton are struggling to make Goodison a fortress again this season.

And that led one Twitter wag to declare the old stadium had become more Care Bear Pit than Bear Pit.

The Europa League hasn’t been a problem.

Wolfsburg and Lille were swatted aside with such nonchalance that Thursday’s forthcoming closing home group game against Krasnador is the deadest of rubbers.

In the Premier League, though, matters have gone somewhat awry.

After trouncing Arsenal 3-0 in April, Everton have won only three of 10 Premier League games on their own patch.

Put into context, the defeat of the Gunners meant they had taken 38 points from a possible 45 at Goodison.

So what has gone wrong?

It would appear opponents, having had a season to assess matters, have worked out how best to negate the Blues.

And that usually means pressing high up the pitch and not allowing the central defenders to build from the back.

Martinez needs to come up with a different approach.

Frustratingly, that’s precisely what provided Romelu Lukaku with Everton’s goal on Wednesday night.

Unable to play through midfield, the Blues were more direct, a long punt forward flicked by Phil Jagielka flicked on by Lukaku to Kevin Mirallas, who then returned the compliment to his fellow Belgian.

Yet having gained such joy, Everton then stubbornly returned to their patient, probing attacking approach.

Hull sat back, picked up an equaliser and their job was done.

If the disappointing draw has proven anything, it’s that Everton need to mix things up a bit more.

And with a powerhouse such as Lukaku prowling the front line, there is absolutely no shame in seeking to capitalise on his pace and physical presence.

Injuries and the punishing schedule are starting to take their toll, so Martinez will have to compromise. And not only in terms of his personnel.

Why is this happening? Find out more about the shortage of Everton branded football boots.

 Posted by at 4:17 pm

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