Martinez Is Thriving at Everton, Sturridge and Suarez Best Premier League Pair

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Everton manager Roberto Martinez looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton at Villa Park on October 26, 2013 in Birmingham, England  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

It was interesting to meet Roberto Martinez for the first time this week—a manager who would have set Manchester City alight had they chosen him instead of Manuel Pellegrini, as I thought they would.

Roberto has the ability to manage at the highest level, and I am sure he will prove that still further, as he pushes Everton toward a trophy or a place in the Champions League.

I was really impressed with Martinez at Wigan, so it's no surprise to me he is doing so well at Everton. When I told him I thought he would end up at Manchester City, he gave me a big smile.

What I like about Roberto is he believes in playing the game the right way. He has Everton playing fabulous football. If you ask Everton fans who have been watching their team over the last 20 years, they will tell you they can see a massive difference this season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19: Everton manager Roberto Martinez gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Hull City at Goodison Park on October 19, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

The players have clarity of mind. They have been taught well, they're well-drilled and they know what the coach wants from them. Some have freedom of expression, while some are more disciplined in their approach, and it makes for a nice balance.

I really hope Martinez's style of football brings Everton success. Winning a cup or even reaching a final would be deemed success for Everton these days, but reaching the Champions League would be a real measure of what Martinez can achieve in his career.

It will be no surprise to me if he ends up at managing a top-four side.

That thought brings me to the Everton vs. Spurs match this weekend, which could be a classic if both teams opt for an English-style tempo.

It's going to be a difficult game for Tottenham, who are used to being in possession. Against Martinez's Everton, they will find that the opposition have more possession. But that might just give Roberto Soldado and Spurs more space to attack on the counter—which may suit them.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27:  Roberto Soldado of Spurs celebrates scoring their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Hull City at White Hart Lane on October 27, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finne
Julian Finney/Getty Images

I hope the game is played with a genuine intensity, as there have been some Premier League games I’ve seen this season that have been very slow and, for periods, boring. The Manchester City-United game was fantastic, because it combined highly skilled players with a searing pace of play.

The main match, of course, is Arsenal vs. Liverpool—a big test for both sides, for different reasons.

Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are now the best front pairing in the Premier League. You could put up an argument for Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, but I don’t see anything close at Chelsea or Arsenal, while Manchester City are still finding their feet a little.

Liverpool are looking really impressive in the final third, with Philippe Coutinho taking creative control. Steve Gerrard is playing a more disciplined, conservative role, but they have a nice balance.

Neither Liverpool nor Arsenal have been tested fully yet this season, but they come together at just the right time to answer our questions.  This match will be a barometer for the way the rest of the season will shape up for the two teams.