What’s the matter with Everton’s ageing Swiss cheese defence?
History was made in the Capital One Cup, but it won’t be a record Everton or Roberto Martinez look back on too fondly.
For the first time in 21 attempts, Swansea beat the Toffees to progress in the League Cup with a 3-0 win. For Everton, it was their second defeat in as many days, shipping three goals on both occasions.
The backline of Martinez’s side is sure to be a worry. 17 goals conceded in seven matches is a statistic alarming enough to take action, but what should that action be?
Individual errors are costing the Merseyside club at present. Tim Howard made two in the 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, then Sylvain Distin headed against his own crossbar before Gylfi Sigurdsson volleyed home in south Wales.
Martinez claims the defensive frailties his side have shown so far this term aren’t a worry, pointing to the 15 clean sheets they kept last season as proof of their capabilities.
However, Distin, Howard and Phil Jagielka – the tripod on which the Spaniard’s backline stands – have a combined age of 103 with one shut-out between them so far.
Throw in the 29-year-old Leighton Baines and this defence can certainly be rated among the more senior in the Premier League.
Tony Hibbert, 33, made a long-awaited comeback from injury at Swansea, but isn’t a replacement in the long-term, while the same can be said for Antolin Alcaraz.
With the Merseyside derby against Liverpool, who are 14/1 to win 3-0, ahead, Martinez must start introducing some youth into his leaky, error-prone defence, before it’s too late.
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