West Bromwich Albion 1 - 1 Everton

There are many qualities that Champions League-level teams possess, none more crucial than the combination of real strength in depth of ability and single-minded drive and intensity to push on and earn all three points from awkward encounters such as Everton's trip to The Hawthorns this evening.

Financial constraints are an obvious impediment to Roberto Martinez being able to add genuine quality in every position in his squad – although he should have an indeterminate amount of cash burning a hole in his pocket this month following the sale of £40m worth of talent since late August – but if his Everton have shown anything so far this season it's that they can grind out victory even when not playing at their best. Not tonight, and it was a big opportunity missed to move back into the top four.

Martinez has lamented the cost to his team's potential points tally of some of those draws earlier in the season and he should be equally frustrated at coming away from this game with just a point... though not for the performance his players did produce and more for the one they didn't in the second half.

Having established the platform from which they could put this game to bed against a very ordinary West Brom side with Kevin Mirallas' well-taken goal four minutes before the break, the Blues proved incapable of moving into another gear when it mattered in the second half. Instead, they allowed the Baggies to grow in confidence as the match progressed and carve out an equaliser through, of all players, Diego Lugano with 15 minutes to go.

The Uruguayan defender atoned for his role in Mirallas' goal with a lunging header from which he powered home James Morrisson's cross. It was a goal that stirred the Blues from their torpor for a fairly meek late charge for a winner but that crucial second that would have propelled them back into the Champions League places never came, despite Sylvain Distin turning the ball into the net with the last kick of the game but from a clearly offside position.

Frankly, a victory would probably have flattered Everton and been rough justice on West Brom who did enough over the 90 minutes to reward new manager Pepe Mel with his first point. Whether it was the sub-standard pitch or a collective malaise, the Blues struggled to find their rhythm and, with the home side pressing the back four high up the field, there was less of the Martinez-inspired possession game that has become a feature of the campaign and a lot more long ball from the back than we're now used to.

Ironically, it was balls forward that created the game's first chance, one that Lukaku dropped well wide as he attempted to steer it over Ben Foster who was well off his goal line, and Mirallas' goal.

In between, Bryan Oviedo, playing instead of Steven Pienaar but in an unfamiliar role on the right side of midfield, flashed two decent efforts wide of Foster's left-hand post: the first, a volley after the ball came back in following a defensive clearance; the second a left-footed shot off Lukaku's cross.

More openings followed but James McCarthy's first-time, side-foot shot from Mirallas's cross was planted straight into the 'keeper's arms in the 17th minute before the Belgian ended a good run by cutting inside his man and also firing straight down Foster's throat. Then, Seamus Coleman tried to place a shot from the angle into the far corner of the goal but his effort was blocked and cleared.

While Everton looked the more likely side in what was a fairly niggly first half, the threat posed by Nicolas Anelka was always present but he was restricted to one wayward attempt to bend a shot around Tim Howard from the corner of the penalty area.

Having not really got their passing game going at all, it was hardly surprising that the Blues' goal came from a very direct approach. Distin launched a ball forward to Lukaku who rose above his marker and headed into the path of Mirallas. He accelerated in front of Lugano with ease and calmly slotted it inside Foster's near post.

If Martinez's half-time instructions had been to go for the jugular by scoring a decisive second, the message did not appear to have filtered through to the players, whose lethargy persisted after the break and allowed Mel to gain more of a foothold in the game with targeted substitutions.

The first of them was Victor Anichebe, and were it not for a smart, last-ditch challenge by Phil Jagielka, the former Everton striker might have leveled the game in the 55th minute, but his former teammate did enough to stifle his close-range shot and Howard smothered the loose ball.

Similar to the frustrating draw at Stoke on New Year's Day, the Blues just didn't seem able to keep the ball and exert the kind of control over the game that we have come to expect under Martinez. And yet they still fashioned a chance for Mirallas to volley a few yards wide from Coleman's cross before the same player dipped a direct free kick narrowly over the crossbar after he'd been blocked off by Lugano 20-odd yards from goal.

With Leon Osman looking increasingly laboured as the match wore on, Oviedo looking a little uncomfortable on the right flank and Leighton Baines curiously subdued on the other, Everton's performance was visibly lacking pep and imagination. And when Lukaku was dispossessed near the halfway line trying to take Howard's long throw in his stride, the Baggies powered into the gap that regularly seemed to open up in front of Baines in the second period to build a move down their right flank. Anichebe fed the ball on to Morrisson and he twisted his way past the attentions of both Baines and McCarthy to squeeze a cross to Lugano who did the rest with an unstoppable header.

It was a goal that you felt had been coming and Martinez responded, belatedly, with his first substitutions, the first forced on him by an ominous-looking injury to Coleman which saw John Stones come on to play at right back, and the second where he introduced Aiden McGeady for Oviedo.

Though the Irish international showed a couple of nice touches and some much-needed speed of thought there wasn't much end product as Everton went in search of a winner in the closing stages. A late free kick near the corner flag that Baines whipped into the mixer had the traveling fans' hearts ready to leap out of their chests when it dropped to Barry with clear sight of goal but when Distin, standing yards offside, diverted his low shot into the net, his "goal" was predictably ruled out.

With the need to secure three points at every opportunity so acute, this draw represents a massive disappointment... the kind of setback for which only a derby win at Anfield can atone, really! The hope, expectation and support is there but the Blues just fell a little flat when this tricky away game demanded so much more, particularly after they had gained the upper hand with the first goal.

In many ways, it was a display reminiscent of the previous regime and the manner in which Everton started to fall away from Champions League qualification this time last year when sufficient reinforcements failed to materialise in the January transfer window. Of course, sitting just a point off fourth and having been beaten just twice all season, it's far too premature to suggest that this campaign is heading the same way. It does represent a challenge for Martinez, though, in his first season in charge to not only motivate and inspire the players he currently has but to also inject the quality needed to keep this team in the hunt for the top four all the way to May. Otherwise 2013-14 will go down as another missed opportunity for Everton Football Club.

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Steavey Buckley
913 Posted 20/01/2014 at 23:50:13
The team lacked spark for good reasons, firstly, Oviedo and Osman (who was very poor in any position he attempted tonight) played out of positions. Secondly, there was no type of player showing any drive, passion and commitment from midfield to link up with the attack.

When Coleman would have been a better option playing on the right side of midfield because he has a goal in him, with Stones in his accustomed position at right back and Oviedo on the left side of midfield where he is natural left footer and drives down the left side before getting a cross in.

Lukaku got barely any crosses played to him all night; while Osman look stranded all night not knowing what to do next while pushed aside by WBA players. At times with Osman,Everton appeared to have 9 outfield players.

Patrick Murphy
914 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:00:45
Don't hold your breath Bill! But we do need more bodies, if the loan goes through for Traore then we will have to buy new players and I worry that we will be either unable or unwilling to spend the money.
Bill Gall
919 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:10:43
The second part of your comment---- unwilliing to spend the money sounds par for the course from our beloved chairman.

In regards to Lukaku,s performance --didnt sampson loose his power after gettimg his hair chopped off

Christopher Kelly
921 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:09:25
Lukaku looked alarmingly ineffective and the team showed no grit and drive. Very bizarre performance as it seemed the players kept relying on someone else to pop and get the winner for them. The problem is, that game winner most likely would've come from the guy with the broken toe.

Couldn't think of worse timing to lay an egg, as we all know we could've made it up to 4th with a win. I just HATE that we're setting ourselves up for an impossible run out and CL failure by losing points to these lower, beatable teams. With Man U tanking and 4th really up for grabs, it would be a shame to miss out. Performances like this will guarantee that.

Si Cooper
928 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:33:59
Not having these comments about Lukaku.

Go back and watch the first half like I have just done. Sure his control lets him down at times, but he put in a real shift, and the tactics were obviously for him to pull the central defenders out of position and open up space for Mirallas and Oviedo to exploit coming in from the flanks on their stronger foot.

Christopher Kelly
933 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:46:37
He certainly isn't the only one at fault, but his touch looked off and his heart to me didn't seem into it at all times. In his defense, there were multiple times that he didn't get a pass, mostly from Mirallas (as is usually the case) which would've put him through. I wonder what RM tells Mirallas as he's scoring more but still really, really selfish. Lukaku probably would've had 3 more goals this season at least if Mirallas were more generous with the ball.
Mike Gaynes
935 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:55:25
I think all the comments about the lineup and the need for more players are beside the point. We got outworked in the second half tonight -- WBA pressured us into one turnover after another and came out with every contested ball. That isn't supposed to happen to us. Good, bad or middling, we should never be out-hustled.
Lloyd Brodrick
938 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:57:07
I have to say I was surprised and disappointed with the Mirallas, Oviedo positioning and more so when it's wasn't changed? Gutted that we again failed to take an opportunity to have those around us hanging off our coat tails, we did this with the Spurs draw, the Sunderland defeat also.

Bad pitch but I bet the Hawthorns is 10 times better that the one we play on at the weekend. Bobby suggested it was also dry? Did the Baggies fail to water to slow us down?

Still it's the second half of the season and after two we are 2 points better off than the corresponding fixtures at the start. Man U have 7 defeats. When they hit 10 they're out of the race. We have to beat or draw the RS and beat Spurs... it's doable!

Patrick Murphy
940 Posted 21/01/2014 at 01:13:11
After 22 games last season we had just drawn with Swansea at Goodison and the league table looked like this
1 Man U 55
2 Man City 48
3 Chelsea 42
4 Spurs 40
5 Everton 37

We are 5 points to the good and a win at the other place would certainly lift the mood after tonight's disappointments, but you can't help feeling that the injuries and the inability to rotate some of the squad is going to cost us dear. The Sunderland defeat on Boxing day is perhaps the game that has put us in a worse position than we ought to have been in, having said that just under two points a game is not so bad, but only if we continue to win our home matches and snatch more than a point off some of our rivals near the top.

Si Cooper
941 Posted 21/01/2014 at 01:39:58
You have to give some credit to the Baggies midfield (which contains some decent players) for the second half tonight. They bossed the middle of the park much more than we did at any stage of the game. Anichebe played well; the move to the midlands seems to have made him more mature and there was little sign of him sulking or going to ground too easily.

Without Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu we didn't have enough to keep them on the back foot, and they were able to shove our defensive midfield and defence back to our area for large portions of the second half and play the ball on the ground.

We need cover for Barry and McCarthy, but it would also be nice to have someone who could do a similar job to Barkley in case he has further injuries this season. I doubt there will be too many of them up for grabs though.

McGeady did enough to suggest that he will be very useful when fully fit. Anyone want to comment on how grossly overweight he obviously is?

Dick Fearon
949 Posted 21/01/2014 at 02:12:22
Osman was less than useless yet only God knows why Martinez persisted with him almost to the end. In that regard, Roberto showed no better judgement than OFM. To see Leon's name on the team sheet causes me to despair.

Against WBA he had another of a long long list poor games. He was not just our worst player, he was by far the least effective player on the field and that includes all the subs.

Naismith in 10 minutes, and despite many TW critics, showed more bottle for the battle than Osman did in 80.

Steavey Buckley
952 Posted 21/01/2014 at 03:46:18
Dick: It was pitiful watching Osman standing on the left hand side or in the middle and did not know what to do next, as WBA players just brushed him aside as though he did not exist. For some strange reason, Moyes now Martinez are completely taken in by him as an effective footballer, who don't see what the fans see, a player who is easily knocked off the ball as the opposition run passed him.

Osman can only be effective when Everton are in control of a game at home or away, when shed of any midfield responsibilities he can play one twos and inter-pass around the opposition's penalty area. But not in away games when players must stand tall and not up give up any ground when the opposition are on a charge. No wonder Baines had a nightmare last night, would not you if Osman was standing near to you during last night's game?

Craig Fletcher
954 Posted 21/01/2014 at 03:58:14
Patrick (940) that's an eye-opening statistic.

We're 5 points better off, yet one league placing worse off compared to the same point last season.
Goes to show that this season the bottom ten in the league have been absolutely shite at taking points off the top five (though evidently they are more than capable at taking points off us!!!!).

That is the big reason why we are where we are - I know it's been done to death, but our inability to close out the games against the likes of WBA, Palace, Norwich (a), Sunderland and Stoke (a) is what is costing us. Our record against the teams in the top half of the league by comparison is extremely good.

I'm sure we'll see a different team at Mordor next week and the guys will be up for it, as always let's hope for that little bit of luck to get us over the line. Firstly, a decent ref, and secondly, no more fecking injuries!!!!

Peter Mills
957 Posted 21/01/2014 at 04:32:03
To add to Patrick's points stats, I think most people are agreed that an average of 2 points a game over the course of the season would be a superb achievement. That is precisely what we have collected since the Derby match kick off on 23 November, and we are only 2 short of the average over the season so far. Those points will be collected in style, as they were at Old Trafford and The Emirates, and scratched as they were last night.

Not a great performance, tuck the point onto the scorecard, move on.

David Pearl
959 Posted 21/01/2014 at 04:33:12
Osman was ineffective but he looked to be playing with an injury that became more apparent as the second half wore on. Its a bit lazy to just point the finger at him. I think injuries to a few key players are also taking its toll. These draws have been killing us for the last few seasons.
Eric Myles
967 Posted 21/01/2014 at 04:49:53
Exactly what I've been saying Craig #954, it's our inablity to put away what should be the weaker teams that is hurting us.
Eric Myles
968 Posted 21/01/2014 at 05:41:31
Si #941, Anichebe might have learnt to stop sulking but he hasn't leant to put a ball on target, not even from 6 yards!
Matt Traynor
970 Posted 21/01/2014 at 05:48:26
Last night was the perfect illustration of why we'll fall short, yet again. We just simply don't have the squad size to compete. Bear in mind that as well as these injuries that keep cropping up keeping the likes of Baines and Barkely out for 6-8 weeks, we also have a player in Alcaraz feeling his way back, and two season-long injuries to Kone and Gibson.

I wouldn't look to the Board for inspiration either. If they are truly looking to sell the club, then in crude terms it's better for them personally to use a trading surplus to pay down debt, rather than invest in the squad. Yes he's a true Blue but he still wants to make his millions like any other shrewd business owner!

Barry Pearce
971 Posted 21/01/2014 at 05:54:39
Great summary Lyndon, just as I saw the game.

We showed injuries are beginning to take their toll on the way we play.

Paul Hughes
972 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:03:05
I think that the injuries and our small squad caught up with us. We were totally flat in the second half, but there wasn't available options to freshen up the forward line or the midfield. If Barkley, Pienaar or Deulofeu had been playing (or McGeady fit and a stone lighter), I think we would have won.

That said, I agree with the comment above that there is no excuse, whatever the players available, for being outfought.

Did we learn anything?

Well, to no great surprise we found that Oviedo isn't a right midfielder.
We need another striking option as soon as possible
Tony Hibbert won't start a game ever again.

Bill Gall
973 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:15:54
The thing that struck me today about the Everton team was what we were once renowned and feared for was the No 9. Looking at previous names like Dean, Lawton, Hickson, Young, Latchford, Royle, Gray, Sharp, and Ferguson. These are the No 9s that had the cult following among supporters and made Everton renowned and feared for its Number 9s over the years.

Today, Everton do not even have a No 9 who belongs to the club but, even though he is a good player, we have a loan player from Chelsea.

I realise that it is difficult these days to find players but Everton need a No 9 to follow the tradition.

Harold Matthews
978 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:43:13
They put in a full shift. We didn't.
Kunal Desai
980 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:53:22
I genuinely believe that if we have any hopes of seriously getting that 4th spot then playing both home and away to some of these lesser sides like WBA, Stoke, Cardiff etc we need to play a second out and out striker. Defences are just marking out Lukaku and that's why he is struggling to score more goals. We need to start going with 4-4-2 against some of these mid-tables teams and get the second goal.

Martinez has seriously got to look to get in a decent striker with a reasonable scoring ratio especially if he has in the region of £40 million to spend. Osman is simply not cut out to support a striker and should be coming of the bench and, although Barkley can play in the supporting role, I still feel we need someone who is going help out Lukaku and possible chip in with 10-12 goals a season. We desperately need to start playing with two strikers and give the opposition something to think about.

James Morgan
983 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:36:59
It's so damn frustrating being a blue! Every time something is in our grasp we choke, annoys me like crazy!
Rahman Talib
989 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:46:57
The problem was Osman.

He was too lightweight for the WBA's center backs.

He kept getting knocked down.

Should have made the sub earlier.

Darryl Ritchie
001 Posted 21/01/2014 at 08:20:49
Everything posted by everyone on here, has to be obvious to RM. Thanks to all the injuries, the bench is so thin it's transparent. Roberto's options are almost nonexistent. What do you do when half the squad is playing the shits and and you look to the bench to see Velios and JohnyH?

I hope BK loosens the purse strings, and brings in some quality. There are too many out injured and those who aren't, look tired. Can't say I'm to confident about the Derby; or Stevenage match, for that matter.

This is where we get to see what kind of a motivator Roberto is.

Christopher Timmins
015 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:18:36
The most dissapoint performance in ages. Never looked in control after taking the lead. We are starting to feel the pinch squad wise.

We had an opportunity last January to push on and achieve European football and blew it. We have an opportunity this January to go one better and qualify for Champions League. Are we going to blow it again?

You looked at the bench last night and the options were not great, Is the club not allowed to buy a player other than on loan?

Ajay Gopal
016 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:08:30
Agree with Kunal (980) above. We need someone to support Lukaku up-front and I am afraid that Osman is not the answer. He can come in as a super-sub to turn things around and that is not a demeaning role in any way. Makex you wonder why Martinez sold Jelavic without bringing in any immediate replacement.

Although it was a bad day for Blues yesterday, we need to put things into perspective - we have had the following players injured/missing for long periods of time this season - Baines, Pienaar, Barkley, Distin, Deulofeu, Jagielka, Kone, Alcaraz, Gibson - and now, possibly Coleman. Martinez is slowly building the team in his mould. Next season, we may see some of the loanees coming back into the squad as possible 1st teamers - Duffy, Lundstram, Junior, etc. However, we do need to purchase at least 2 quality players - 1 a top-class striker to replace Lukaku, 1 a mid-field creator in the mould of Arteta/Mata/Cazorla.
This season, once we start getting our players back, we should be good for a late charge at the Top 4, just as the others start to fade away.

Phil Walling
019 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:30:57
Matt @ 970. We've had our spats in the past but this post sums up my view of the club's situation perfectly. I guess the difference in our outlooks is that after nigh on 50 years, I won't allow myself to enter the dream world that so many Evertonians inhabit.

The reality of our situation is a likely seventh place finish although seventh under this manager will be much better to watch.

Simon Temme
023 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:29:32
Barry (971) Paul (972)

Totally agreed,

Without coming over all "Fat Sam" injuries were the main reason why we didn't compete. To many tired or in the case of Osman totally inefectual players out there.

Take away Barkley, Deulofeu and Pienaar and it's no wonder we lack the cutting edge and service to Lukaku.

I also think that Baines back in the squad has unsettled Oviedo , who was having a very constructive time at left back. Left midfielder, he ain't.

Dave Lawley
026 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:50:05
Simon, you mean 'right midfielder he ain't' although he was our biggest threat in the first half.
David Graves
029 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:54:12
Through the fog of despair and over reaction shines the statement from Phil Walling at 019.
Mourinho states that you need two 11s to compete in the premier league. With injuries we barely have one yet are competing for fourth and playing (on the whole) good football.
Matthew Roache
030 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:45:57
The absence of Barkley last night was key. As much as I like Osman, he cannot do what Barkley can - ie. carry the ball and get defences on the backfoot. I thought we were going to get away with it but when they brough Mulumbu on they just seemed to take control of the middle. We didn't seem to have anyone aside from Mirallas who could drive at the opposition. I doubt Ross will be for for the derby but boy could we do with him!
Also badly missing Deulofeu and hopefully have him back for the run in.
Lukaku faded rather alarmingly in the 2nd half last night and reinforcements are needed ASAP up top.
All in all, not a great result but considering the players we have missing, perhaps it was to be expected.
If we are still in touch with the pack after we've been to the shitespurs and chelski then I still think we have evry chance of a top 4 finish.
James Stewart
034 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:01:05
Quite a few poor performances but without Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Pienaar we look really toothless and less fluid. None of those little triangles around the box happened and we started lumping up to lukaku which was surprising. Injuries starting to mount up lets hope we can pull through
Andrew Clare
036 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:00:32
As stated above, injuries and a small squad are taking their toll. With no creativity in midfield, whoever our striker is suffers. Even a player of Lukaku’s calibre finds it hard. We must buy a creative midfielder this window to maintain our challenge for Europe. Like Phil, I have followed this great club for over 50 years and agree that, without investment, we will find it hard to match the rich few... but, unlike Phil, I still dream.
Jim Lloyd
037 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:53:13
Thanks Lyndon, for a fine account of the match. I didn't see it, only able to listen to it on Merseyside. Ronnie Goodlass is a good summariser and his point about us going away to sunny Spain and coming back to a cold murky night in the Midlands was an interesting one.

I think Daryl (001) has the right of it. Any observation we make will have been well spotted by Roberto and the coaching staff. It seemed last night, that we were just about down to the bare bones, leaving RM little in the way of options to change things around.

Without ammunition, Romelu isn't going to have much joy and I think the posts who've mentioned the injuries are right. We're left with Osman and little alternative at present, for a creative midfielder and that's one major weakness. I'm not knocking him as I'm sure he does his best but he always seems to me to be lightweight. And as well as needing a creator, we also need our midfielders to boss the midfield, and I don't think he can.

Whether Roberto has the £40 million or so that we've received in transfers, is a mute point. I don't think he'll have anything like that amount. Hope I'm wrong but no matter how good a manager we've got and how creative he is with loans and bringing on the young lads in the Academy, we are still stuck with a Board who have done fuck all for the last ten years and I'll be surprised to see them change.

Paul Thompson
042 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:45:47
One look at our bench last night – Hibbert, Heitinga, McGeady, Naismith, Stones, Vellios – tells us why Martinez didn't do much to change the games with subs and, more importantly why we are not going to get the 4th Champions League spot. Yes, it's the result of injuries, but just compare what our rivals have available when the same thing happens.

What is less forgivable is what Lyndon describes as the "torpor" that seemed to characterise the display. It was inevitable that the side would be less creative given the injuries, but the lack of a sense of urgency in the second half was concerning. Mirallas was the exception – always seemed up for it. Jags also had a good game.

To my eyes, Martinez does need to take a share of the blame. That formation didn't really work. Putting Osman on the left revealed all the usual problems and meant that there was little penetration down that flank. Oviedo wasn't bad, but the shape was wrong. In the second half, Chris Brunt caused us a lot of problems down that flank with the pace he had.

It was very instructive watching Anichebe, who as someone has remarked, gave a lesson in hold up play – always his strength. It certainly isn't Lukaku's! But we are not playing to his and defenders are crowding him out. Unless we can bring in new faces quickly, I fear for the next few games until Brakley, Pienaar and Del return.

Kevin Tully
043 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:10:13
Of course we suffer from injuries and a small squad, but don't let that cloud how poor the 11 on the pitch were last night.

Romelu Lukaku completed only 46% of his passes and missed the target with both of his shots against West Brom - and we were relying on this guy as our No 1 threat up front. As I've said in the past, his first touch is atrocious. We turned over possession every time we got in the last third.

West Brom targeted our front three with a physical approach, and they wilted. Add to that a poor tactical approach and we were lucky to come out with a point.

I can take no positives from last night – the worst performance in years.

Matt Traynor
044 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:12:34
Phil #019, I don't think there's much difference between our viewpoints as to where the problems at GP really lay. The only difference I can figure out is in the expectations (?) of the squad under the new manager compared to how they played under the old.

Originally I had you pegged as a Moyesophile which meant you were predisposed to be anti-RM. I don't think that's the case anymore after reading more of your posts. I do agree that whilst the team is performing "better" and is easier on the eye most of the time, the faults we had in the last couple of seasons - failing to put away matches etc. are still there this season.

Duncan McDine
046 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:25:13
Forgive me for not reading any of the previous comments, but I imagine they will be similar... Lukaku didn't show up last night.

We had a great build up to the match in probably the best pub in the world (WBA away will be a regular for me now)... forget the name of the place but it was a 'Tandoori Pub' and was epic!

As for the game, we should have been 2 or 3 up at half time, with good shifts from Barry, Oviedo, Jags and Distin. They came right back into it in the 2nd half, but up until the 60 / 70 min mark we looked a threat on the break, and Mirallas looked a real threat (despite a lot of poor play, I thought he was our main attacking hope). In the end, a point was fair.

Below par from Baines, Coleman, Osman, and a real shocker from the disinterested Lukaku. I thought Barry was our best player throughout the 90 mins, but all in all a disappointing result away at one of the poorer sides in the league.

Rob Dolby
049 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:39:40
Not at any point last night did we look fluent with the ball. We lost possession too often and handed them the impetus. We scored the goal against the run of play then sat back until they scored. This was a Moyes type performance,

We gave them far too much respect and Martinez gave their new manager too much respect. Call me naive but if we would have kept the same formation as what we have done all season and played half as well we would have walked away with the game by half time.

We will get slaughtered in the derby if he plays the same formation.

James Marshall
054 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:08:49
All this talk of Kenwright and buying new players is bullshit - this isn't Football Manager. You can't just go out and buy someone when you have injured players. Reality check.

We have a squad, we have a budget, end of story.

Dean Adams
055 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:54:54
We really missed what Pienaar adds to our team last night. There was little or no invention and we constantly failed to pass the ball until an opening arose. Hopefully the injury list will start to shrink now and we can get back to our normal style.
Colin Glassar
059 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:26:03
Agree with James, we aren't going to spend in this window, and Dean, we miss Pienaar big time. Not only for his understanding with Baines but his drive and influence on other players.
Daniel Lawrence
060 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:32:35
Duncan, it's called The Vine and is indeed the best away pub around!
Phil Walling
061 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:24:14
James, the TEAM is good but the SQUAD was always inadequate if we were to challenge seriously for 4th place.

What Kenwright and so many on here expect of the manager is totally irrational. All teams will suffer injuries and suspensions and bases need to be covered. This is particularly so in an age where there are half-a-dozen clubs with money to burn.

I'm a pragmatist so I don't dream of achieving too much so don't make those demands or have great expectations

ps: The FA Cup would be nice, though!

Rick Tarleton
065 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:38:04
Agree with Kevin Tully, Lukaku is a young man in a very physically demanding role, he looked tired and a little lazy last night, he needs more support or a rest. Hope Traore is the answer, but I think Vellios is also worth a run.
Robert Collins
067 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:31:22
I'm hoping the powers (that be) at the club see this post.

It's time for somebody at the club to delve into the video archives and get some clips of Sharpie to show to Lukaku how its done.

Or get Sharpie to give him some coaching?

"This is how you chest or trap the ball son, you then protect it like this while waiting for support from your team mates, who will then overwhelm the opposition defence!"

James Marshall
069 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:55:54
Phil - I don't disagree we lack quality in depth, but the reality is that we can't at this point just go out and buy to cover on the basis that we have injuries.

People who are laying into Kenwright are wrong - we have brought in players as best we can at this point.

Brent Stephens
070 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:10:54
I was surprised how long Coleman struggled on with a clear hamstring problem. He should have been off for Stones much, much sooner.
Andy Meighan
071 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:22:31
Like I've said on numerous occasions, if Barkley doesn't play, Everton don't play... that's how pivotal he is to our play. We lack pace, creativity and cohesion in midfield when he's missing I am dreading the derby as injuries have taken their toll and we will be sorely understrength.
Colin Glassar
073 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:25:23
Brent, he was struggling for about 15 mins before he was taken off. I suppose he was asked and he said he was ok to continue. Stones looked good when he came on so let Seamus rest this weekend.
Brent Stephens
074 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:30:12
Colin, but how long have we lost Coleman for? Any news?
James Marshall
075 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:31:57
There won't be any news on how long he's out for until the injury has settled down. Muscle pulls/tears take time to settle before you can assess them and make a definitive prognosis.
Robbie Muldoon
076 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:33:06
That was a solid point last night. We didn't create anywhere near enough chances to win the game and without the excellent flick down header from Lukaku into the space for Mirallas to run on to we would have drawn a blank and got beat. We got a point, we know it was a below par performance and now we have a game to get it right before a massive derby.

By the way, with Barkley, Coleman, Deulofeu all unavailable for the showdown with the Red Shite, I would take a draw now. We can't lose ground on them twats, but we can stay in touch and as we recover from injuries and the new lads bed in we can finish the season strong and ahead of them. How Tottenham carry on performing is another question though.

Colin Glassar
080 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:57:42
No idea Brent but I imagine he will be back for the Villa game at least.
Raymond Fox
081 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:41:18
Agree with the consensus in the thread, that the performance was disappointing in the main.

The match highlighted that we havn't enough quality players in the squad, its the same old story, get injuries to some key players & its enough to affect our play considerably!
Hardly a surprise though, even the money clubs suffer if they have certain players missing.

Is not a disaster, look at rs. last match, they were thought of as a virtual certainty to beat Villa!

Sean Kelly
082 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:55:37
I think we got away with it last night. We have been poor for the past month and it caught up on us. There is only so many times you can ride your luck.

Lukaku has been poor for too long and is under no pressure to perform (no competition). His first touch when he eventually gets the ball is that of a Sunday League player. His value is plummeting after every performance.

Last night he wasn't the only one under performing. Baines, Distin and McCarthy didn't turn up. It's obvious we need a better squad but the starting eleven didn't start at all. Mirallas to be fair upped his game because he looked at the bench and saw competition coming soon from McGeady.

I think Roberto royally fucked up last night with his selection and tactics. Ossie on the wing is so wrong on so many levels. He has no pace, no legs and fuck all strength and too easily put off the ball. We shouldn't be relying on RB solely for creativity. Our big problem is we have no depth in our midfield or forward lines. Its Dave-ja vu all over again.

Ossie and Naismith playing for our club is a joke. If we are to aspire for any European football they have to go. I have been an Everton supporter for over 50 years now and was really encouraged by some of our play this season but in the last few weeks we have been as poor as some of our early 90s performances.

The ginger one has cast his spell on Roberto. Roberto encouraging his defenders to hoof it up to Lukaku, who incidentally had drifted to the wing, was shocking.

Sorry for the depressing tone but I'm pissed off and waited until today to post as last night I was really angry at the team for their total lack of passion.

Graham Mockford
083 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:10:03
Phil Walling

That's the benefit of low expectations, you don't get too disappointed. I'm not sure it's an attitude I'd want pervading the dressing room though, it's likely to become self fulfilling.

That being said there is some real world class over reaction going on here. A bad day at the office but roll on next Tuesday.

I may have said it before but I am reminded of John Cleese in Clockwork which often reminds me of what an being an Evertonian sometimes feels like.

As a time obsessed headmaster he is desperately trying to get to Norwich to receive an award. Having been thwarted at every turn he is sat at the roadside, and told don't despair there's always hope.

"It's not the despair, .... I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand."

Col Wills
084 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:16:55
Jeez... what's going on with all these hamstrings? Deulofeu, Distin, Jagielka, probably Alcaraz, Now Coleman.

We looked heavy legged last night, no-one has mentioned how poor a game McCarthy had, probably his first, hopefully his last. I was particularly disappointed in how uncommitted he seemed in allowing their cross to reach Lugana for the goal.

We also failed to play to Lukaku's strengths in playing balls behind defenders, everything was played to him with his back to goal.

However, a point away is always a good point and I'll take that an move on.

Liam Reilly
086 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:52:03
I saw on sky that RM made references to the pitch as it prevented the team enforcing their passing style.

God help us at Stevenage.

Phil Walling
087 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:28:34
James Marshall: I was not laying into Kenwright, I've been around too long to expect much in that direction. My argument is that he cannot EXPECT to qualify for EL on a hope and a prayer.

Thus he – and we – have no alternative but to settle for being 'near misses'.

John Keating
088 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:07:30
I don't really understand this "being tired... needing a rest" stuff. We're only half-way through the season, we've really only had league matches to contend with. Apart from McCarthy and Coleman, have all the rest played every game??

Up until a couple of years ago players like Lampard, Terry were playing almost 60 games a season. Certainly I can remember players saying that when they were on a roll they couldn't wait for games to come quick enough and never wanted to be left out.

Villa have played as many games as us this season and their players managed to put in a shift on Saturday. I will accept we played shite last night but let's not use tiredness as an excuse.

Ian Tunstead
093 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:50:23
There are people on toffeeweb who keep telling me what a good player Ossie is. I think to myself "Have I got it all wrong? Am I missing something? Are my eyes deceiving me?"

I would love to see the stats from Osman last night, especially that first half, because to me that was the worst performance I have seen in an Everton shirt all season. Can anyone get some stats on here to reassure me that I'm not losing my mind?

John Brennan
098 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:09:08
With you there, John. We aren't involved in the Europa League, and we went out the League Cup ages ago. The team have just had a break in sunnier climes, so why should we feel empathy with this "tiredness" thing? Although, to be fair, I haven't heard any member of the squad moan about that (yet) !!

Like most fans have already said, it was a bad day at the office last night with too many putting in sub-standard performances. As someone else has already said somewhere on ToffeeWeb, I was disappointed with Baines's cheating by pretending he had been fouled in the first half near their goal, and he got a free kick for it. I don't like that one bit from any player, even more so from one who represents my chosen team. Its time we saw a bit more from him, if he really is going to sign a new deal, then give value for money to those hard working fans who make these salaries possible.

Overall, as Harold Matthews said so succinctly, they turned up (second half) and we didn't.
Must do better at Anfield. Much better!

Phil Walling
100 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:35:14
Knowing how I felt about getting back to work after a winter break in warmer climes, I can't imagine the Black Country on a damp winter's night had much appeal to our lads last night.

Perhaps a week in Russia might have provided a contrast the Hawthorns would have improved on!

Jim Lloyd
105 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:17:48
I don't blame Kenwright for last night's game in particular, I blame Kenwright and the Board for perenially under investing in the team. To have a realistic chance of a one off, let alone regular, tilt at Champions League football, we need a squad where the players on the bench are better than we have now.

Roberto Martinez has given us hope of success by a combination of good buys and loans. I would hope that, in the Summer, we will build on what we've got but going on past seasons, I'm not holding my breath.

It's sad that we have injuries to the players in the first team that we don't have good replacements for. As soon as Berkley, Pienaar and Deolofeu are back from injury we will have a decent squad again, and later on perhaps Gibson and Kone back in, then we'll see how we fare.

Eric Myles
106 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:44:36
Ian #043, "Can anyone get some stats on here to reassure me that I'm not losing my mind?"

Well if your not losing your mind, Martinez (and Moyes before him} must be as they keep selecting him.

Max Wilson
107 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:47:47
It's all been said, TOO MANY IMPORTANT PLAYERS MISSING last night. And, these injuries we are picking up are a real worry. We want to give the Reds what Aston Villa tried to do to them but a weakened side won't be able to compete. And won't be fresh. Sorry, I'm now thinking the worst.
Eric Myles
109 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:53:20
James #069, the problem is that some of our more deusional fans expect that there is around £30mn excess money from player trading floating around a the moment that can be used to strenghten the squad.
Bill Gall
114 Posted 21/01/2014 at 15:16:32
One of the comments said -- "after a break in the sun the players looked tired and needed a rest." What is going to happen next week after only three days rest after playing in the cup?
Steve Higham
117 Posted 21/01/2014 at 15:02:56
Hate to say this but last night reminded me of our performances under Moyes.There was very little football played by us last night and I think if we where all honest a point was as much as we deserved.
Pienaar was a big loss for us last night his work rate and ability to keep hold of the ball was greatly missed.As for Lukaku still don't think we play to his strengths lost count of the number of times he was signaling where he wanted the ball passed to him and he was ignored.
Still think where in a great position though and hopefully we wont play as badly in our next.We all have bigger expectations now with Roberto at the helm and have to remember that you cannot play great every game.
Jimmy Sørheim
129 Posted 21/01/2014 at 15:09:10
I do not want us to buy Lukaku in the summer.

Osman and Naismith must be sold or let go asap.

New players on loan is the solution and I hope Martinez is not kidding himself with the Naismith as a striker because it is insane to think he has anything at all to offer this club.

We can not afford to have deadbeats like Osman, Naismith and Gueye any longer.

To suggest we have a shot at 4th with these players is a joke.

Martinez has still not figured out how crap Osman and Naismith is, no doubt Martinez is not a ready made top manager but he needs to learn quicker than this.

His hype of Osman this season is just an example of this.

Linda Morrison
130 Posted 21/01/2014 at 16:02:36
Totally agree Steve that we have too much hope now!

I just don't understand why the players are all getting hamstrings, is it down to those silly boots as is the case with the broken toes?

Talking of broken toes I thought that Barkley's was a "minor" issue and he wouldn't be out for too long, yet we still don't know what is happening. Same with Deloufe.

The club's web site states they are waiting for a work permit for the new giant striker. He's another one with a dodgy hamstring.

It's a shame our season could hinge on the fact that we have a tiny squad and have been cursed with injuries. Long term at that.

I knew last night would be a bummer. if you look at the games the team have played after a period out, internationals etc, they are always playing like a park team after a night on the ale

Phil Walling
185 Posted 21/01/2014 at 20:02:03
Jimmy @129. So all our problems can be solved 'by new players on loan'. In case you've been on Mars, the whole fecking club exists on loans - that's the problem !
Dave Williams
290 Posted 21/01/2014 at 22:36:15
We played poorly but got a point away. The RS played poorly and got a point at home so let's not get too despondent. Our squad is really not that bad; it's just that we have an awful lot of injuries. Our absentees last night would give a midfield four of Gerard, Gibson,Barkley and Pienaar which looks very decent to me.

We all know that City and Chelsea have larger squads but this is our best for many years and if Traore signs we have what looks like a decent striker who can knit things together.Lukaku on form will run at defences and score goals but he hasn't the ability yet to knit play together.

Lay off Ossie chaps – he looked poor last night but so did a lot of others. He is not my first choice but he always does his best and it's not his fault if he gets knocked around by bigger aggressive players.In an ideal world he'd be on the bench but we were down to the bare bones last night.

Roberto will sort them out!

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