First home game of the season and a fair bit of razzmatazz to welcome the faithful back to the fold; the games on Stanley Park then the ‘Martinez March’ to Goodison where fans could enjoy the Fan Zone and its delights.

Whilst this was going on I was in our ale house meeting up again with hardened regulars and, as you might expect, the Moyes situation was debated and most were of the opinion that the man is a hypocrite but no different than any other manager on the trail of recruits, especially one with the back-up of being able to guarantee ‘Champions League’ participation and also a hefty pay rise. Most were looking to the club to get the best possible deal rather than roll over.

For my part I thought it was a bit rich to say that Everton were holding back a great career move for the two players when in fact it is him and his club who are holding the players back by not offering sufficient money to trigger the club's valuation, as surely they must have one, but rather he would seem to like to revel in giving the impression of a ‘Big time Charlie’ to impress his new masters and fans by poaching top players for peanuts. It will be fascinating to see how this pans out. A tough resolute board gaining a deal that suits all of a Blue persuasion I believe can make a big difference in how our entire season unfolds.

I do believe the above played a part in today’s showing as in all honesty no matter how anyone may care to spin it was in truth a dismal spectacle.

At the start of the game there was a moment of applause for the great Dave Hickson led from the centre circle by Billy Ingham, the star of the Barclays Ad on TV. As it turned out it was a highlight of the afternoon as the match itself dragged a bit.

The patient tippy tappy stuff from the back usually ended in a punt as its obvious at the moment the players are not au fait with it but they at least persisted and in fact had the better of a dull first half which was reflected by their keeper Foster being brought into action much more than ours. He blocked a diving header from Pienaar and later got down well to thwart the South African.

As the half wore on both teams seemed short on ideas and move after move broke down in the final third. Barkley was looking sharp and powerful but again only up to the edge of the box when either ideas ran out for him, or and in most cases, when he looked up nothing was on so it was back and square again much to the frustration of those assembled.

The out-of-sorts Mirrallas did manage a good shot before the break that the keeper tipped over. The corner just sort of petered out. The keeper did thwart us but as the half ended there was a definite feel of discomfort from the faithful as the new way of playing seemed to be producing little in the way of goalmouth action or indeed excitement.

H/T and the conversation again was Moyes-centric but no more than raking over all the stuff already said. I wondered if the manager would make an early change as that first half certainly needed something different added but, no, it was as you were.

The second half started and where I expected a fast flurry it was more of the same and the first mutterings of slight discontent were heard. We tried well enough and got sort of half chances like when Pienaar threaded one and the raiding Coleman had a direct shot crowded out. Then Coleman forced a corner from another good run but he could pick no one out as none had gambled so he shot and got the corner. Came to nothing.

Osman hammered one in from the edge that ricocheted off a defender and out for a corner but the ref gave a goal kick. It’s that sort of game, lads.

Again we passed our way forward only to be thwarted time and again by not so much a resolute defence but rather a lack of movement that gave the ball carrier little scope to deliver much at all.

We seemed to lose a bit of heart as the crowd became quiet with little to rouse them and WBA had their best spell of the game around the hour mark. Jelavic passed the ball to a West Brom player who played the tireless Long through but as he tried in vain to fully control the ball we rescued the situation—just.

Tim Howard showed his powers of concentration when out of the blue a shot homed in and but for a diving one handed parry and gather up we could have said goodbye to all three points as it was very clear a goal either way wins it. Mirallas who was having a mare did cut in and shot near post for the keeper to gather rather than the text book approach of across the keeper that would have been a proper test. It was now poor fare and was epitomised when Baines took a free kick into the box where no more than two Blue shirts were interested.

Mirallas was hooked with 20 to go and replaced by Naismith. Now I am never one to overly slate anyone in a Blue shirt but really as it turned out Naismith was less effective than Mirallas which today was hard to achieve. (With all the hype about getting a Barca whizz kid on loan I wondered why he wasn’t given free reign considering the state of the game at the time.) Kone came on for Jelavic and he did look strong and sharp but service to him was spasmodic to say the least.

However, Martinez picked up on Kone’s contribution and went all Moyes and sent Fellaini as the number 10 and Barkley dropped as midfield anchor. We looked more threatening but that nagging doubt was always there that something was just not working or going to plan. Carrying on the Moyes way we had our chance of the game. A Jags long hoof found the chest of Fellaini and he controlled superbly, shot and hit the post and out to be cleared. The dismay of the faithful gathered could be felt as that seemed to say game up.

Hold on, just on the death lady luck almost smiled on us as Coleman raided, made a cats of his cross but it fooled all and came off the bar. Not our day eh.

Final whistle and not the best of displays and most leaving the ground seemed unsure of the value of ‘tikka takka’ that does not seem to create to many goal threats.

The thing that stood out for me was that we lack a real leader on the field, the type that can lead by example and mouth and galvanise others out of occasional stupors.

Back to our room of nonsense for the inquest and many thought the Man U 2 had been got at as both looked to be erring on the side of an injury free afternoon. Everyone had a moan of the match to recall yet most seem to think that as this transfer window closes and the players get more used to the ‘Martinez Way’ then things will pick up. I can no more than hope so and hope that the squad that emerges post Sept 2 has the Dave Hickson spirit and gives us something to roar about. Just as the moans were reaching crescendo by those in Blue Liverpool scored—what else could we do but slope off home!

Still, Stevenage on Wednesday night and, tickets purchased, I will eagerly await the line up and the intent of the ninety mins. Don’t want extra time. Then off to Cardiff and see what shape we are in as the windows crash looms.

Great game this footy – see you there.

UP THE BLUES

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Derek Thomas
448 Posted 25/08/2013 at 00:40:26
I think you may have pretty much nail - headed it there Barry.

We need to get something out of the next 2 games, 2 wins would be nice, then we can press on after 2nd Sept with everybody's mind on the job in hand, not on the speculation on the back of tomorrow's fish and chip wrapping.

Why do I get the feeling that it will go all ' tits up ' as the midnight hour looms and we will find ourselves 2 players down and no time to get top class ( or any for that matter ) replacements.

Anto Byrne
470 Posted 25/08/2013 at 03:09:12
I would suggest that when United stump up the 35mil, Martinez will have players lined up. Bryan Oviedo can do a job at left back so that's covered.

I hope they can get it sorted in the next few days and RM can start the process of rebuilding this one trick pony of a team he inherited from Moyes.
Albert Perkins
478 Posted 25/08/2013 at 05:24:25
My sister just got an email account in Liverpool and messaged me in the US for the first time. I know, she's a bit behind the times.
After the usual pleasantries she goes off on Moyes. That's more like it, I thought.

I think, maybe Roberto is making a case against Moyes that Kenwood has to respond to by holding firm and not selling. I wish Roberto had criticised Moyes and given him a piece of his mind, like my sister.

"The Manchester United manager has failed to buy his first, second and third choice players because they have no confidence in him as a manager. He has become desperate to get someone in and so bid for two Everton players. He says he knows Everton VERY WELL as so makes a derisory bid for said players, thinking we need the money and will fold. The Man Utd manager has made a mistake in undervaluing these players. He famously said 'Everton do not sell cheap.' His miserable bid shows how little he really values these players.

He also remarked that 'Everton were holding the players back in their professional careers by not allowing them to move.' This statement is contradicted by his refusal to allow Rooney to move to another club to forward his career. Mr. Rooney wants to go to a club that he thinks has a better chance of gaining honors now that Moyes has become manager of MU.

I have spoken with the board and they are completely behind me as we move into the new season without selling our best assets.

Mr. Moyes has misjudged the mood of Everton Football Club, who have no interest in dealing with him in this transfer window. "

If only..............................COYB.


Jim Harrison
481 Posted 25/08/2013 at 06:08:34
Strange performance, I have always thought Fella looked crap playing deep, just seems to get passed around and doesn't do much with the ball when in possession. He is better for us playing in an advanced role. Baines looked better, still got forward and played decently. Can't understand why the young Spanish lad wasn't brought on instead of Naismith, who looked very average.

I think Barry is right in a way, but I also think that the club should cash in on Fella and give the manager the funds to get a couple of his own players in

Jim Bennings
510 Posted 25/08/2013 at 08:33:47
Well, it hasn't quite had the same rollercoaster start that last season had, beating United and Villa in the first two games. Watching the highlights on Match of the Day made it look like we played better than we actually did.

I will say what I said a few weeks ago, we are going to need to be really patient with what Roberto Martinez is trying to do. The thing where my patience is seriously tried is with our board and its lack of activity yet again this summer. Martinez is basically having to make more of Moyes's players and try to turn some of the failings and weaknesses shown last season into successes..That is not going to easy.

For a start, I think yesterday we saw the same familiar lack of cutting edge in front of goal – something we saw all last season – was still very evident for me yesterday. We had no real stand-out performers. The back four played well, Fellaini for me stopped committing to tackles in that second half, Pienaar played ok in bits but as ever frustrates with the final ball too often.

Jelavic did some nice things but still never looks like scoring. Mirallas is so talented but needs to start showing up week-in & week-out, something he hasn't done yet. Barkley is promising but will have games where he will struggle.

I really don't see how we can sell Baines though, and as much as Oviedo may be a half-decent player (squad player probably at best), you simply can't sell the most productive left full-back in European football and replace him with someone who can 'just do a job'. If that is the case then it really will sum up the lack of ambition from Everton's board.

If Baines and Fellaini are sold off this coming week, then we MUST replace both players with top top quality footballers and not just also-rans like Naismith, Gueye etc. Come on, Bill start showing Martinez some financial support if you want him to drive the team forward.

Andy Amey
515 Posted 25/08/2013 at 08:53:33
Agree wholeheartedly about Naismith. I'll always support a lad in a blue shirt but he has nothing to his game at all except running round and falling over.
Andrew Cutler
527 Posted 25/08/2013 at 09:40:55
We seem to be shite at throw ins...why?
Ella Thornton
538 Posted 25/08/2013 at 10:05:22
Yes, I keep saying that too.
Phil Walling
553 Posted 25/08/2013 at 10:26:07
I agree with Barry @437.It is a bit of a phoney war at present with great uncertainty over what the team will look like in a month's time.I guess by then it may be full of 'Roberto chosen' tippy-tappy players.

At present it looks like 'Moyes Boys' on valium.

Mohammed Horoub
554 Posted 25/08/2013 at 10:20:48
After watching yesterday's performance I think Felli and Baines both want out... Hopefully we can get ManU to pay the 35-40 million RM needs to buy a strong CM and 1 striker and 1 left footed winger. I think if Baines is sold Pienaar will have to be used just behind the striker. As pathetic as Moyes has been in the transfer market if Felli and Baines want to leave then goodluck to them. RM has been very diplomatic and we need him to get the team sorted on the pitch. That's the only way to shut people like Moyes up. I've never wanted a win against ManU like this season, sorry to say it but it's become just as important as the derby...
Phil Walling
578 Posted 25/08/2013 at 11:18:25
Mo : In working towards the 40 point mark-and that will be the main focus this season-3 points against WBA is likely to count for more than 3 against the Mancs or RS.

I say that in the belief that whilst the more local clubs will be out of sight by Christmas,we shall be scrapping with the Baggies,Saints and Potters to keep out of trouble.

Brian Harrison
609 Posted 25/08/2013 at 12:24:44
Like everybody I am waiting to see what position we are in when the window closes next week. I would love to keep hold of Baines but if I am honest I think both will go, then a lot will depend on how we spend the money provided the board give RM all the proceeds.

My worry is that the press have been speculating for weeks that if we sell Fellaini we will buy McCarthy from Wigan, well if this guy is so good with all the money being spent so far in the Prem how come nobody has put a bid in if he is that highly rated. I would hope that we would spend every penny on a striker because our failure to score enough goals has been our downfall.

Dick Fearon
613 Posted 25/08/2013 at 12:06:32
After years of making excuses for Moyes, I am not inclined to start all over again with RM. Some of his decision-making was very Moyeslike and very disappointing. In fact, he was a carbon copy of many things I disliked about OFM.

Osman in the team for starters was one of those things. Then there was the timing and baffling timing, choice and use of subs. Others in Moyes style were his 'what we have, we hold' attitude including some time-wasting. This was demonstrated when, late in the game, he sent only 4 players into WBA's penalty area for corners.

We also ran out of ideas in the final third just as we did under the old regime.. It was classic Moyes when, with a goal desperately needed, he replaced one striker with another, not having two strikers. In one completely different aspect, it now takes at least a dozen passes before we run out of ideas.

James Stewart
627 Posted 25/08/2013 at 13:56:47
I thought it was a very Moyes-like performance. Topped off with subs coming on too late. Naismith, Jelavic and Osman are not good enough for a side aiming for the top 6.

Jelavic is simply shite and contributes zero goal threat and little else.
The only silver lining was Kone looked sharp. If the lad Gerard isn't better than Naismith, then what the hell is he doing here?!

Brent Stephens
634 Posted 25/08/2013 at 14:13:51
James, another silver lining was Barks, in my view.
Ian Hollingworth
636 Posted 25/08/2013 at 14:19:15
Other than a bit of tippy tappy build up play so far there is no difference, same players, crap in last third and even the same substitutions at the same time.

Early days I know but the enevitable last minute deals for felli and baines to manure with no time for replacements has me a tad worried

Hope I am wrong but BK is still in charge

Paul English
641 Posted 25/08/2013 at 14:32:11
James, spot on: our midfield is so one-paced: Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Naismith and Jelavic up front. It's going to take time but Roberto will get it right.
John Ford
642 Posted 25/08/2013 at 14:42:51
Isn't the final third where most money gets spent? In which case it's inevitable that we will look short at times, irrespective of who manages.

Whatever anyone's opinions of Moyes we're bound to resemble his approach because they're 'his' players. I'm giving Martinez two seasons before a judgement is made. This doesn't mean he shouldn't be criticised, but lets give him time to do his stuff. The problem of course is that we have few funds, and selling our best two players, as Ian says, without having an opportunity to replace them would be idiotic. We're also unlikely to bring in similar quality. Again, not good.

Phil Sammon
644 Posted 25/08/2013 at 14:53:00
I think (and hope) that Kone and Deulofeu get 60-70 minutes against Stevenage. These two lads need to be match fit and start to make a real impact for the team.
Kev Johnson
648 Posted 25/08/2013 at 15:06:13
I imagine it will be a much changed team on Wednesday, Phil. Kone, Defo, Stones, Oviedo, Heitinga, Robles. Maybe Big Vic and Naismith? Lundstram conceivably. I don't see how we can shuffle the midfield much, as we don't have the numbers.
Phil Sammon
650 Posted 25/08/2013 at 15:13:23
I would settle for

-------------Robles

Coleman-Jagielka-Distin-Baines

--------------Fellaini

Deulofeu-Barkley-Pienaar

---------------Kone

Maybe Stones instead of Coleman or Distin. It's a game we need to win though so I wouldn't like to see too many changes.

James Lee
652 Posted 25/08/2013 at 15:14:54
Didn't anyone noticed how good a keeper Ben Foster is? Norwich is also the dark horse outside top six. Oh... btw, we certainly play like we are outside the top six at the moment.

Gosh... Martinez seems super loyal to Osman and Naismith. I know Mirallas didn't play well... but the chance of him scoring out of nothing certainly is higher than recent substitutes (minus Kone... who looks good.) And why can't we play two strikers at home?

Kev Johnson
654 Posted 25/08/2013 at 15:18:14
I don't think Fellaini or Baines will play, mate. Talking of which (and although this is the wrong thread), I've read Chelsea will make their final bid for Rooney after the game on Monday - that might have a knock on effect on what happens to our two, depending on whether or not it's accepted. I'd love it if Rooney left, thereby indicating he has no respect for the man called Moyes. On the other hand, that might mean Man Utd would step up their interest in MF and LB. Anyway, I don't expect either of them to feature in midweek. Gibson will probably get 20 mins, but I think Martinez will want to save him for our next Prem match.
Jay Harris
662 Posted 25/08/2013 at 15:33:48
Although I'm not a big fan of RM I have always believed that the quality of the players was the dictating factor so until we bring in a top class striker we will struggle to win games even if we dominate possession.

That has become apparent with the likes of Van Persie and (I hate to say it) Sturridge winning games their club had no right to win.

Come on Kenwright the back of that sofa must be overflowing now with the 25 million windfall from Sky.

Brent Stephens
694 Posted 25/08/2013 at 17:27:19
Phil #650 - room for one more?
Jim Bennings
695 Posted 25/08/2013 at 17:19:35
Jay Harris makes a great point and one what match-going Evertonians have know for some time. You need a striker who scores goals, not just nine or ten but 20 or more. We haven't had the likes of it since the Yak in his first season.

We had a glimpse of it when Jelavic first arrived. I felt certain we had signed a striker who would cakewalk the 20-goal mark but something has happened with Jelavic; I am not sure whether he will ever get back to where he was when he first signed.

We have to ask ourselves how long can we give Jelavic to start scoring goals? He just doesn't look like scoring anymore, one goal since last December is a woeful return for any striker. I feel the last chance for Jelly is depending on Martinez being brave and linking Kone together with him. It could just work.

Kone looked very lively when he came on, has the pace, his touch looked relatively assured also. I just think leaving Jelavic up front alone is going to be like a repeat broken record of last season, gradually a player whose confidence will ebb away and he will become a liability again.

Sadly we cannot (yes Bill and the board muppets cannot) go out and sign a Sturridge or Van Persie, Soldado ect.

Phil Sammon
716 Posted 25/08/2013 at 17:51:17
No Brent. I'm so supremely confident that I reckon we should just play with ten men.
Ross Edwards
718 Posted 25/08/2013 at 17:53:43
There is Brent but Osman is invisible...
Steavey Buckley
737 Posted 25/08/2013 at 18:02:14
Everton are in still a desperate need of a goal scorer while Liverpool have 2. And a midfield player who can replace Osman. Even though at times, the defence looks shaky.

At times against WBA, Everton could have had 9 players on the pitch with both Osman and Jelavic appearing anonymous.

It's going to be a 'bumpy' and difficult season after playing 2 very ordinary teams and 2 very unimpressive performances with just 2 points to show.

Michael Parrington
884 Posted 26/08/2013 at 02:05:13
Totally agree Steavey, we are missing a striker and a classy passing midfielder.

If we end up loosing Fellaini and/or Baines to MU then perhaps we could get Hernandez and Kagawa coming the other way... Fat chance of that though!

Long season ahead.

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