Which season do we judge Roberto Martinez on?
From close to the Champions League one year to avoiding the Championship the next.
Roberto Martinez has seen his time at Everton go from the club’s highest league finish to struggling in mid-table and looking over their shoulder at the drop.
In his first season Martinez guided the Toffees to a record 65 points, with Gareth Barry, Romelu Lukaku & Gerard Deulofeu looking astute loan signings and his brand of football gaining high praise.
This season however the Toffees have come unstuck. The 65 points amassed last year have dropped to 47. Christmas was a particularly tricky period with saw Everton lose 4 games in a row. This form continued and from 1st December until 4th March, Everton only picked up a staggering 16 points from 57 in total.
Martinez is no stranger to Jekyll and Hyde style performances. His Wigan side looked handy, winning the FA Cup in 2013. The thought was he would be the next big thing at a top club. That same season though, they were relegated and it became hard to decide which the true Wigan was. The FA Cup winners or the side that fell out the division? And now, his Everton side are becoming equally hard to recognise as well. Which is his real Everton?
Is it the side knocking on the door of Europe or the mid-table side 12 points above relegation?
The great fear is that Everton may regress back into their old selves and allow the likes of Southampton and Swansea to become the new challengers for the Top 6 or even worse, battle it out at the bottom with Aston Villa and Newcastle becoming a scary look into the future.
Everton fans are used to better than this. Their side hasn’t been outside the Top 10 in a decade.
It will now be harder than ever to return to the position of chasing Champions League football. Martinez may not catch the likes of Manchester United in a transitional season which saw them finish 7th last season.
A tally of 60-70 points has been enough to challenge the Top 4, but Everton would need some serious investment and make sure they keep hold of their young stars to reach that. Both look tall orders for Bill Kenwright and the board.
For Martinez, next season is the casting vote. Do well and this season is a blip. Struggle and it becomes clear he can’t take them further.
It’s not just the likes of Eddie Howe or Alex Neil, who take their promoted sides into the Premiership for the first time, with have something to prove next year. Next year we’ll finally know who the real Roberto Martinez is.
Take advantage of @CampoRetro’s FREE printing this weekend. Get any legend on shirts from £15 http://bit.ly/1CSHHj7