Football Season Review

№5: Everton

Everton enjoyed a great first campaign under Roberto Martinez and were one of the sides that have punched the most above their weight. The Toffees had always been a well-drilled, defensive side under David Moyes for the past ten years but there was a stark change in approach after Martinez came in. He focused much more on passing football and control of the game while being proactive as well. The Merseysiders laid the foundations for their great campaign by being one of the most clever operators in the transfer market. They sold Marouane Fellaini for a great sum while bringing in a few very good players on loan, along with the talented James McCarthy, who worked under Martinez at Wigan. Everton may not have won any of their first three games in charge but a superb display and a well-deserved 1:0 win over Chelsea in September gave the side a very good platform to work on. They continued to get good results on regular basis while also being very pleasing on the eye. They actually suffered just a single defeat in the league in the first 18 games of the campaign and played like equals with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Gareth Barry was enjoying a great campaign from midfield while Romelu Lukaku was blossoming up front after being given a leading role at his loan club. But the real star of the team was Ross Barkley as the young midfielder was playing constantly brilliant football and rose to prominence very quickly. The results started to stutter a bit from January onwards and an emphatic 4:0 away defeat at the hands of Liverpool was easily the lowest point of the season. Further defeats to Tottenham and Chelsea increased the gap to the top-four places and it was hard to see Everton staging up a sustained challenge for the rest of the season. But the team emerged stronger after that and won seven games in a row to increase the pressure on Arsenal in the battle for the fourth place. However, losses to Crystal Palace and Southampton at a key stage of the season ended their hopes and the team had to settle for the fifth place. That is still a great success and Martinez has shown the sort of vision and audacity that will carry Everton a long way if he stays there for the long term.

Player of the Season: Seamus Coleman