Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein.
At the half way point in our season we find ourselves trying to assess the reasons behind our sustained poor performance. What i find most troubling is the reluctance of Roberto Martinez to adapt, repeating the same mistakes game after game. A stubborn loyalty to his philosophy leaves us exposed with teams knowing exactly what to expect from us. They press us high up the pitch. They wait for the inevitable mistake. They conserve energy while we dwell on the ball to attack in numbers when we stretch ourselves.
As I write this Sky Sports News happily proclaim that we have made the most individual mistakes of any team, along with making the least number of fouls. For me that underlines how we have become such a soft touch.
Last season represented a highly impressive debut season for Martinez. He reinvigorated the whole club when it was going stale. The results bred confidence with players and fans alike buying into his methods. A record Premier League points haul followed, with key players from last season retained.
Equally we should not forget that the first season was built upon solid foundations already in place. Rival fans would often remind me how the challenge would be for Martinez in replacing the ageing defence that has served us so well. That has come sooner than we expected with the likes of Distin and Howard declining rapidly.
Also if we look at the wider football world things never stand still. Spain and Barcelona (the blueprint for our philosophy) have both taken heavy beatings in key competitions over the last 12 months. Teams find new ways to combat possession based short passing football with a more direct quick approach often favoured.
This stubborn loyalty to his philosophy, “phenomenal” press conferences, and strange team selections have made me lose a lot of faith that Martinez is the man to take us forward long term. However, on reflection I do not see any realistic options out there to replace him In the short term and arguably he has earnt more time based on last season.
In the remainder of the season I feel Martinez must adapt.By adapt I don’t mean throw away his principles. For instance I would like to see a much more aggressive first 20 minutes of games at Goodson park. Getting in front of teams first and then frustrating them with our keep ball. I would like to see a centre half (a Distin replacement to complement stones) a goalie and a quick winger brought in to freshen up the team (even if they are loans).
Although I have been quite critical here I still feel as fans during matches we do not help matters with the boos, moans and groans. We need to try and get behind whatever 11 is on the pitch 100% and make us a team people fear playing again.