When David Moyes decided to leave Everton in the last day of 2012-2013 season, people has been worrying about how this team will go in the future. People remembered the glory of Sir Alex Ferguson and his legendary Manchester United, and perhaps neglected that David Moyes had also coached Everton for ten years. Distinctive from Manchester United, Everton did not fall significantly in the last season but play fairly well and out of the public expectation, ranked 5th place in the league. In this season, while everyone is expecting the team make one further step to challenge the top four teams in the league, Everton is only sitting in the 11th place so far. What happened to the team, which make the team disappointed everyone？
First of all, before we go into the team analysis, we need to know the fact that Everton is losing 5 away games in row, and they are going to play another away game against Crystal Palace. According to our prediction, Everton is not likely to come back in this game. This losing streak is the key factor that causes the drop in the league position.
The defense of Everton varies hugely based on whether they play home game or not. According to our analysis and calculation, the team tends to be scored 1.10 goal less in home game than in away game. Here is the goal against record of last 5 away games,
In this five games, they were scored 2.2 goals per game. Please consider this fact, even with the offensive power of Chelsea which scores 2.19 per game, the team is hardly win any games, regardless of the fact that the offense of Everton in away game can be relied on. I am not going to criticize any individual player because the defensive work is based on the contribution of all the players on the field.
According to our analysis result, the team defense highly depends on Passing accuracy, due to Manager Roberto Martinez’s strategy on controlling the ball. Here are the numbers of Passing Accuracy of the last 5 away games,
The average of the Passing accuracy of this five game is 0.83.
To define how well the passing percentage is, we decided to use simple k-mean clustering in this case. Here is our result of the Clustering,
As we can see in the graph, most of the five games are in Cluster 1 which has the second lowest Passing Accuracy among the four clusters. Therefore, we can conclude that the passing performance in these five games are disappointing. The table above indicates that there are eight games in this cluster, let us take a look at them,
1st away game, Leicester vs. Everton, 1:1
2nd away game, WBA vs. Everton, 0:2
4th away game, Manchester United vs. Everton, 2:1
5th away game, Burnley vs. Everton, 1:3
8th away game, Manchester City vs. Everton, 1:0
9th away game, South Hampton vs. Everton, 3:0
10th away game, Newcastle vs. Everton, 3:2
11th away game, Hull City vs. Everton, 2:0
As we can see above, there are only one game that Everton played without being scored, and 4 games that were scored above the average of all the away games. We have to say, when Everton played their game with 84% passing accuracy or below, they tends to have a hard time on their defense.
Although we mentioned that the defensive work will be improved when the team picks up their passing accuracy, the team are somewhat relying on the fast and direct passes for their offense, which will decrease the passing accuracy considerably. According to our analysis result, when the team with relatively low passing accuracy, the team will score easily. This is a paradoxical problem which you want your team to do good defense while you also want your team to score as much as they can.
This problem can not be resolved unless they change to a new style. When Roberto Martinez took over David Moyes’ position and infused his typical Spanish Style into the team, this paradoxical problem has taken place. Everton is not a big clubs, such as Manchester United, which has a great budget to change their rosters as the manager wants, Roberto Martinez had to maintain Moyes’ roster while making a significant change of the playing style. Even though they were in a fairly good position last season, the problem consistently affect the team, and caused the downfall this season. Therefore, even though Martinez is still a fairly good manager, he will receive a lot of criticism and media pressure in the coming future. Fortunately, Everton has their tradition to protect their manager, and does not have the extra budget to pay the penalty for firing the manager.