Everton’s run to within the odd goal in seven of the Capital One Cup Final this season has gone some way to sustaining the myth that their manager, Roberto Martinez, is domestic knockout competition specialist.
Exhibit A in the case for the Spaniard’s savvy is Wigan’s scarcely credible FA Cup triumph of 2012/13, in which the Latics made a mockery of form that would finally lead to their relegation from the Premier League after years of struggle to best Manchester City at Wembley.
Given he had presided over four seasons of prolonged-bust-to-ever-more-improbable-survival-snaring boom at the DW Stadium, his role in the unlikely conquest must have played a sizeable part in convincing the Everton board to offer him the chance to build on these sturdy foundations left behind by the departing David Moyes.
Somehow the cup know-how implied by his winning the competition with lowly Wigan has failed to manifest itself over his nearing-three seasons at Goodison Park.
Eliminated at the round of entry in three of Everton’s four domestic-cup sorties across his first two campaigns in charge, Martinez has admittedly done better in this year’s attempts, with Bournemouth standing between them and a sixth round berth.
The sham nature of the Spaniard’s knockout expert status is highlighted by the Cherries-heartening irregularity of Premier League scalps on his resume across the two competitions as Toffees manager.
Everton have played a total of 15 domestic cup ties under his leadership (a total of 17 games), yet they’ve progressed on just two of the seven times they’ve been drawn against top-flight adversaries.
To fully illuminate the picture, the nine matches that comprised those seven ties produced just two victories, making them queasy 5/4 favourites to oust Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.