Hold-ups by the million going down and only marginally better coming back. In-between, we had a footy match to watch for a place in the semi-final of the FA Cup. It would be an understatement to say the performance left us less than pleased.

For me it started to go downhill as the team sheet arrived via electronic means. Robles in goal? Well, in itself not surprising, given the manager’s previous tendencies, and the modern trend of doing such things... but when you factored in a rookie centre back as well, then given it was just one step from Wembley, then you can understand the fan fury at the end of a 4-1 beating. The question is: Who in their right mind would put out a much weakened back line against regular Champions League qualifiers on their own patch and expect to progress to the Semi-Final?

In the end, this action I believe led to our downfall as the two rookies without playing that badly did however have an impact on how the defence operated in terms of understanding and trust. Playing away at Arsenal is no time for gay abandon but more of resolute defence, tireless midfield play and that spark in attack.

From the off, we didn’t look right. Too much ‘get stuck in’ rather than ‘The Martinez Way’ which let Arsenal build things and the difference was shown after less than 7 mins. First we attacked and won a free kick which Baines took in fine fashion into the area but first Distin then Barkley were unable to control the ball and the chance was lost.

Arsenal attacked, McCarthy slipped, letting Carzola have a free run and play Ozil in and score rather easily. No blame on the keeper there.

We did attack from time to time and Barkley looked strong on the surge but he either lost it easily or put in a dangerous cross that saw very few Blue shirts in attendance.

Arsenal looked the more likely going forward and our rookie keeper had a right mixed bag of a first half. Cracking saves from three Arsenal shots whilst in between getting a rollicking from his defenders for punching instead of catching and at one point he seemed to have lost all bearings as his attempt to flick the ball over only found his own crossbar and in doing so caused more finger pointing from defenders.

Arsenal had gained control of the game yet on the half hour Barkley showed what a talent he may become as he picked up the ball in our half and in a surging run left players in his wake as he reached the by-line and although very tightly marked with very little or no back lift got a cross in that gave Mirallas a tap in and we all roared his name but on closer inspection he had missed but thankfully Lukaku was there to tap home.

Pandemonium broke out and all celebrated, some more than others as a few blue smoke bombs went off. So if you could not get a ticket for this game then blame these mentally challenged idiots. They made Arsenal's case for them and now they are fully justified in taking their stance. Not all Blues are rational and steadfast as we would like to believe.

Still 1-1 and who knows but it still looked a tall order as we got through to the break with a couple of standouts, first Robles did well to divert a shot past his post at full stretch and Mirallas all full of running and attacking proved yet again his lack of end product by firing in weakly straight at the keeper when better could have been expected.

The second half started out with hope and ended in disaster. Early on Lukaku had a powerful run into the box and either he didn’t see players either side of him or he chose to ignore them only he knows but his non-shot produced nothing. Again, good approach: no finish — it’s starting to become our by-line.

The Arsenal continued to press and we were looking a bit threadbare as we repelled a flurry of corners. From one, I had to laugh as, from my seat, it looked as though, from a starting point of panic, Robles went up with his own man Distin but fortunately the ball fell safe.

Just when you thought a draw might be our best result, we had a gilt edged chance to go into the lead. Lukaku challenged and hassled the Arsenal centre back forcing a mistake from him. Lukaku took advantage and progressed into the area, looked up, saw Barkley, set him up with a well weighted pass but the youngster showed nerves where ice was required and blasted a gift over the bar from just 12 yards. It would have been against the run of play but, boy, that could have done wonders for us.

Arsenal came roaring back after that miss and Robles did well to save from Carzola but then the cool Barry got the wrong side of an Arsenal man on our by-line and in a tangle of legs the Ref awarded the Gunners a pen. No real complaints from our players so another mistake and we are behind again through our own doing from a twice-taken Arteta pen. As soon as I saw who was taking it, I knew it would count, that lad could always be relied upon when he was with us.

We did try to up our game then but no end product Baines put a cross in but only to the keeper, Mirallas had one hard but too close to the keeper and Barkley shot wide of the target yet again.

Near 80 mins, Martinez did a double substitution when Osman replaced the injured Pienaar and McGeady replaced Mirallas; that one I thought strange as at least Mirallas had got them on the back-foot from time to time and McGeady has shown little to date.

We were going for it now and you could just see what Wenger thought of that when he put Rosicky on to partner Giroud. Yes, that’s right: we were ripe for the quick counter and so it proved when they got in down the right and Giroud produced a clinical finish. We persisted with having a go and Martinez played his last card: Barkley off; Deulofeu on... but to no avail. Arsenal just let us attack and then counter and pick us off again with the silky Ozil playing in Giroud for another clinical finish. Oh how I wish I could have used the word 'clinical' to describe our finishing.

Go on Ref. blow your whistle I thought and he did. I didn’t stop to see too much at the end. Just wait to be released then head home with the dream of lifting silverware gone for another year.

MotM — ?????

The Deulofeu situation is mystifying. From returning from injury and the Manager in every interview telling all and sundry he will be better than ever and many other superlatives yet he has hardly featured and when he has he looks nothing like a ‘Barca Wonder Kid’

I just wonder if it is anything to do with when he was back at the Camp Nou having his hammy mended. For then a group of youngsters were promoted to the first team squad and he was left out on loan to us? Might explain his remarks of this week too.

I just can’t understand playing your reserve keeper in a quarter-final — especially when your captain and centre back is out injured... as well as a centre back who we have been assured is well and raring to go is not even in the squad, so an up-and-coming rookie has to be deployed. This move in my book impacts on the whole of the back five plus your two holding midfielders. Still, our present manager is allegedly on the short list to manage Barca, so what do I know? Still intrigues me though...

Cardiff on Saturday and they are desperate for points so I just hope we get today out of the system and have a result that both ensures the points and entertains. Well why not? They are professional people after all — Aren’t they?

See you Saturday... UP THE BLUES

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Simon Smith
657 Posted 09/03/2014 at 00:13:02
I wasn't at the cup game today, like many I had to watch it on the TV.

A good friend of mine who was able to get a ticket and who usually phones me with a match report rang me when he got home and for once didn't want to talk about the outcome of the game but more about what can only be described as an unsavoury element of our fan base that we can well do without.

His concern was about two things. The first was the racist chants from our so called fans towards Distin and Lukaku. The second was the use of smoke bombs.

I can only hope that if anyone knows who these idiots were that they "shop" them at the first chance they get. I for one do not want them to tarnish our club with their bigoted racist views and child like dangerous behaviour.

And we wonder why Arsenal only gave us the number of tickets that they did. Just as well in this case, but it only takes a few to spoil the fun of many.

Dylan Parsons
661 Posted 09/03/2014 at 00:19:20
Martinez blew it today big-time. Why take off Mirallas and Barkley and leave on Barry and McCarthy when chasing a game? Again, no striker on the bench.

Vellios played for Greece Under-21s midweek and they came back from a goal down and with only 9 men after 25 mins to win. I would've loved to have seen some of that spirit today.

He talks and talks about how great all his players are... how about praising them when they actually deserve it? We have heard how wonderful McGeady is, yet so far he has done nothing.

Send Delboy back, he's another over-hyped player, he could not beat his man in five one-on-one attempts. Barry's not got the legs anymore and is only going to get slower. No heart and no spirit equals no chance. Bring back the Dogs of War, 1995 – not flashy but I was always proud when watching them.

Dick Fearon
678 Posted 09/03/2014 at 02:04:30
Ken, I agree with most of what you say yet differ on your wish for more of the "Martinez' way. Football is basically a holding game balanced between attack and defence. It is not and never has been a game of non-stop attack. Roberto's over-concentration on attack comes at a cost that has been exposed and ruthlessly exploited by astute managers.

Wenger used the same kind of retreating defence as used successfully by Rodgers and Co. It goes something like this: pack your defence and counter-attack with speed. The only time we did that was Barkley's 70-yard sprint that led to our goal. Normally it would have required about twenty passes to advance the ball that distance.

Many on these pages think Roberto's manic almost childish obsession with tic-tac is the only way to go, which I believe is an over reaction to OFMs years of safety first negativity.

Regardless what players come or go, Roberto must temper his current all-out attacking style or we could end up in a much worse situation.

Si Cooper
681 Posted 09/03/2014 at 02:18:31
"I must admit that keep football in your own half is bad enough when you are winning, but mind blowing when you keep getting beat."

"Football is basically a holding game balanced between attack and defence. It is not and never has been a game of non-stop attack. Roberto's over concentration on attack comes at a cost that has been exposed and ruthlessly exploited by astute managers."

Two posters, both complaining but, about polar opposites. Unfortunately typical of much of what has been posted today.

Sadly, ToffeeWeb is currently morphing into what it has long been labelled (but which I never saw until recently) – a bunch of miserable, serial complainers. The inconsistencies in the opinions is breathtaking!

Paul Ferry
682 Posted 09/03/2014 at 02:29:13
As ever, KB, thanks for your report and support, you are a star.

But this reasonable question grates for me at any rate... The question is: Who in their right mind would put out a much weakened back line against regular Champions League qualifiers on their own patch and expect to progress to the Semi-Final?

Look at the bench; Howard, Hibbert, McGeady, Deulofeu, Naismith, Osman, Browning.

Okay, I could see a shout for Hibbert in the middle but no. Without our disappearing Paraguyan, Stones was the right pick; but, yes, I agree: along with Baines and Coleman at the back, he had a poor day at the office (Distin was slightly better than this) but, given his options, Martinez was right to pick Stones.

Harold Matthews
688 Posted 09/03/2014 at 02:52:32
Not easy to keep out Arsenal with a shaky reserve goalie and one centre back.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
689 Posted 09/03/2014 at 02:55:50
"The inconsistencies in the opinions is breathtaking!"

Si — do you seriously expect everyone posting on here to view the game in the same way? That would be more than breathtaking.

We each have our own views of the game, the players, the manager... some overlap; some don't.

And guess what: we get more posts 'complaining', as you put it, when we have a poor result. Isn't that only natural?

Try to accept the diversity of opinion — rather than trying to beat it all into submission to your will.

Si Cooper
690 Posted 09/03/2014 at 03:02:37
I actually thought Alcaraz would (should) get the nod today, but most posters on the pre-match thread seemed to prefer Stones instead. Alcaraz's complete absence is very worrying given that he is supposed to be fully fit.

I also would have preferred Howard (and countered a post that was singing Robles praises) but I can't say that I saw any evidence today that the goalkeeper's bizarre insistence to punch catchable balls translated into a lack of confidence in him amongst his team-mates. They seemed content to leave him to deal with the balls that he should be dealing with. I don't remember any mistake he made that had a tangible negative out-come and don't think he could have reasonably been expected to prevent any of their goals.

Has my mind blotted out something that happened in the game?

Jim Harrison
691 Posted 09/03/2014 at 03:07:26
In fact, Michael, you could say that the main attraction and what makes this site so addictive is the fact that people have differing opinions and come here to debate them.
Paul Ward
692 Posted 09/03/2014 at 02:51:58
I must admit I am now becoming bemused by the Martinez tactics. The first name on the team sheet was a bad start. Robles is a complete liability and despite Howard only being mediocre at best he is far superior to this permanent reserve keeper. The main problem with our manager and tactics has been best described by (Dick Fearon 678).
I hope this is not too much of a criticism for (Si Cooper 681) who does not think listers should have an opinion unless it is his.
Si Cooper
693 Posted 09/03/2014 at 03:18:09
What would seem far more constructive to me Michael, is for people to read what others have posted and counter what they disagree with with their own points rather than just posting a moan.

I maybe having a whinge, but at least I have tried to provide evidence of what I am talking about.

The fact that two such contrary posts appear so close together without any apparent interaction suggests that people aren't interested in what other people think, nor why they think it, which seems a little perverse on a site which I presume is intended to stimulate 'conversation' between fellow Evertonians.

It is not intended as an attack on the two posters (though I do disagree with their opinions) just on what I see as a growing trend of obliviousness.

Maybe I am feeling a little brow-beaten by the tide of negativity; I don't expect any of us to be happy when we lose, but I dislike the bitterness that has crept in.

Si Cooper
695 Posted 09/03/2014 at 03:33:51
Paul, where have I questioned anyone's right to an opinion and to post it.

I have just pointed out that two posters have both complained about Martinez's style of play but apparently one thinks it is all too safe and the other thinks it is too attack-minded.

At least one of them could be right. You, however, are blaming the selection of Robles when he cannot be held accountable for any of their goals. Almost as ridiculous as calling Tim Howard mediocre. There may be some who are better, but they are very few. No doubt you can provide me with a long list of of infallible goalkeepers currently plying their trade that relegate Howard to the no better than average category.

I suggest you look in the mirror to see who is actually posting stuff that could be considered biased to their own opinion.

Dick Fearon
725 Posted 09/03/2014 at 08:46:53
Si, please note I did not criticize or blame any player. My argument is that Roberto's notion of wholesale attack contains seeds of its own destruction.
Other clubs would have noted how those flaws can be used against us so we can expect many more games wherein our cumbersome attack hits a brick wall of packed defences.
The derby fiasco was a practical demonstration of what I say.
We had a vast majority of possession yet lost to fast isolated counter attacks. That was followed in similar vein by a succession of defeats plus a few other games we could easily have lost due to our back line being exposed to long ball attacks.

I make no appology for saying that against teams that employ a retreating defence Ticka Tacka will bring us more defeats than wins .
Coming from a country that invented that style I would expect

Dick Fearon
727 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:16:29
cont. Coming from a country that invented the retreating defence I would have thought Roberto would have been expert on its strengths and weaknesses. Obviously he is not.
Michael Evans
741 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:51:40
Anybody out there with a better memory than me ?

Match in the mid-eighties - opposition (?) either in the box or at the edge of it. Bracewell plays a long pass onto the right wing. Steven shows his pace, powers into the box and scores. Goodison erupts !

My point ?

Possession football is meaningless without an end product.

You can have 99% possession stats, be the media's darlings for playing 'good football' and have a very articulate, likeable, well-presented manager spouting superlative upon superlative about how everything and everyone is 'wonderful'.

Football isn't an art form - it's visceral game and winning is everything.

Graham Mockford
746 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:04:38
Michael #741

Sunderland 4-1. Great goal


Brian Denton
747 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:08:00
Michael, it was against Sunderland towards the end of 84/5. We won 4-1 and three of our goals from that match formed the 1,2,3 of that months Goal of the Month. The only time that has ever happened. Trevor's goal which you describe won it.

Happy days. They ain't coming back......

Michael Evans
755 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:10:46
Graham@746 and Brian@747 - many thanks !

Brian@747 ' Happy days. They ain't coming back .....' Hope springs eternal but you may well be right.

Saw most of that season at Goodison and yes very happy days.

Am I looking back with rose tinted spectacles or did 'Our Howie' assemble most of that side for relatively low cost ?

Reid, Mountfield and Southall weren't much were they then ( in comparative terms for the time) ?

Seem to remember Steven was £300,000. Went to watch him play for Burnley when I knew we were interested in him. He was playing alongside Martin Dobson who was coming to the end of his career - but still class !

Could it be done again ?

Brian Denton
758 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:26:34
Michael, no, not with the Bosman ruling and the substitute/loan rules allowing the money clubs to hoover up any talent. We would have no chance of getting today's Trevor Steven for example. At that time he was already earmarked as a promising youngster, but in those days we could attract promising youngsters. And even established players eg Snodin chose us over Liverpool.
Mike Hughes
764 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:26:04
Michael #741 – I've said it before on TW that the 4-1 win over Sunderland was the best I've ever seen us.

I was in the Gwladys Street End that day. We were top, Sunderland bottom, so it was a surprise when they went ahead. But the passing, movement and brilliant finishing that day was something else.

Your point is well made – we had forward momentum in that era and an objective to the passing which was to score.

Graham Mockford
767 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:46:41
I was there and also remember a fantastic day with great goals. Funnily enough I just watched the highlights on YouTube. Sunderland went 1-0 up, then had what looked like a perfectly good goal disallowed and had one cleared off the line.

Funny what nostalgia can do.

Brian Denton
768 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:48:56
Mike Hughes, are you old enough to remember when we beat Chelsea 5-2 on the 69-70 Championship run-in? That would take some beating.
Dave Williams
769 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:32:09
Yes it can be done again but it will require a base of home grown talent as MU did in the nineties. Get a nucleus of five or six coming through at the same time and supplement them with astute purchases. I know that most people will say this will never happen but it can and we have to believe that it is possible.

In two years, we will hopefully have a mature Ross Barkley linking up with a 19-year-old George Green with midfield anchored by a 24-year-old James McCarthy who by then will be a man able to boss his central area. Stones will be England centre half and Coleman will be in his prime – get the picture?

I keep repeating that Roberto has tried to mould this squad into the style he plays; in the main, it has worked well but he will know better than anyone that he needs to replace certain players... Once he gets the right ones, the style will evolve and that is when the goals should be easier to come by. Yes, we need to find a striker from somewhere and I have no doubt we will.

Yesterday was depressing but Roberto has only had eight or nine months so far – we have to give him time and I would be looking for season after next to be the time when we should be judging him – not before. It took Howard Kendall a few years to bring his team through and I can remember the terrible abuse he and the team were getting – they couldn't score at all... and suddenly, for no real reason, it started to click – not overnight but they gradually evolved over a few months... and we all know what came next.

SAF needed a while too at Man Utd – we must be patient and grit our teeth.

And as for the morons with racist chants – absolutely unbelievable! Someone please tell the police who they are and let's get them thrown inside. I can't believe this – and at our own players!!!

Dave Williams
770 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:51:24

I was there. Kendall scored after 14 seconds I think and we were 3 up after 10 mins including a second from HK. That was a good Chelsea side too with Osgood, Hutchinson, Hudson, Cooke etc and we absolutely murdered them with Colin Harvey in his prime – what a player he was!!!

Michael Evans
775 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:24:02
Dave Williams @769 '...we must be patient and grit our teeth'

We ALL seem to have been gritting our teeth for 30 years now.

Must be a lot of Everton fans out there with falsies!

Dave Williams
777 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:39:58
Michael – I am on my third set!!
Sean Randles
780 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:33:55
Brian, I was also there – along with 58,000 others. Great memories!

Closing in on the title, "Back Home' was played over the tannoy at half time... lol. Where have 20k Evertonians gone since 1970??

Phil Walling
783 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:46:37
Reading about feats of yesteryear is all we have to look forward to these days!
Brian Denton
799 Posted 09/03/2014 at 12:50:13
Phil, for once you're right. I was born at a good time to follow Everton and football. Little did I realise on the drive home from Norwich in 1987 that it was probably the last time Everton would win the League. Still, imagine how a Huddersfield fan felt in 1928, as they had just won their THIRD Championship on the trot. What a team; the sky's the limit; etc. And that was, erm, it for them.
Linda Morrison
803 Posted 09/03/2014 at 13:04:11
I'm glad I read the report as it highlights a number of issues I was not aware of.

1) The young goalie made a number of good saves so it can not be put down to him we lost.

2) I am furious that our own fans were racially abusing two players who mostly do their best Distin (our best player by far this season) and young Lukaka. He is unlikely to even consider staying after that, long shot as it was.

3) We did our best and Barkley's miss, not the penalty, was the turning point, but give the lad a break.

4) Our manager is still learning.

5) Arsenal's first goal was scored by a player that cost more than our whole team.

I think it would assist people on this site to a healthy life to realise where we are and likely to be for the foreseeable future. The Top 5 is almost always going to be the same bunch. Our best chance is a cup run.

Stephen Moore
811 Posted 09/03/2014 at 13:21:48
Very good read and true to the point. The amount of smoke bombs that are set off at away games is beyond a joke, and I for one suffered yesterday due to the imbeciles who managed to get smoke bombs into the ground.

I go home and away with my son, his friend (both 16) and my father who is 68. After the goal we all celebrated and were engulfed in the blue smoke and realised that the smoke bomb was under my seat, this was not the first time one had landed next to us, the first one (before the game started) was thrown away by the elderly gentleman standing next to us.

Both me and my father suffer from asthma and luckily enough I had my inhaler on me, so I made a judgement call to quickly pick up the bomb and throw it onto the running track for stewards to extinguish. 10 minutes later I was arrested for throwing a missile onto the pitch and bringing fireworks into the stadium, taken to Holloway police station and put into a cell for nearly 4 hours, leaving the rest of my party to wander round London trying to find out were I was.

After being fingerprinted, photographed, DNA tested and interviewed, I was released without charge as the detective believed that I had only thrown it away for me and my family's health and Safety.

The idiots who bring these pyrotechnics into grounds are ruining the occasion, they don't set them off and leave them were they sit but kick or throw them somewhere else into the crowd for us all to suffer and this is making me think twice about attending away games.

Ajay Gopal
815 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:06:17
I am with Si on this one - I don't understand where all this negativity is coming from. Yes, getting bundled out of the FA Cup is bitterly disappointing, but just 1 or 2 incidents changed the course of the match.

Mirallas in the 1st half, instead of shooting at the keeper could have looked up and picked out Lukaku who was in acres and acres of space in front of goal (in the exact same situation, the Arsenal player I think it was Rosicky picked out Giroud and it was a tap-in)... or Barkley missing a golden opportunity when Lukaku had set up the goal on a platter... and the experienced Barry giving away a very soft penalty. These were the small things that made a big difference in the end. Individual mistakes and poor decision-making led to the loss, not poor selection or tactics.

My observations and opinions:

Mirallas is one of the most selfish players I have seen wear an Everton shirt. He should be benched from now on. Naismith or Osman for me any day over Mirallas. These guys work for the team – not for individual glory.

Lukaku worked hard yesterday and that was nice to see. He was working wide right or wide left especially in the 2nd half and was always winning the ball and being a thorn in Arsenal's defence. One of his best performances in a long time.

Coleman is having a dip in form – he hasn't been as effective as in the first half of the season.

Barkley had a good match in patches. He needs to improve his decision-making too.

The back 5 did look shaky, Stones and Robles in particular, but agree with Si, Robles was not to blame for any of their goals.

But, this run of poor results is worrying – we need to rediscover the winning habit fast.

Phil Walling
827 Posted 09/03/2014 at 14:41:48
Ajay, the annual fall-off in form of some of our players – and remember also that a quarter of our nominated squad are making no contribution to the cause through seemingly permanent injury – may well be down ’second-half syndrome’ whereby opposition managers have sussed out how to counteract our tactics and negate our strengths this time round.

Just as under OFM, the availability of only a small bank of real quality players means that two thirds of them know they are a shoe-in for every game and the likes of Mirallas, Pienaar and Osman have to be indulged in, come what may.

Perhaps alone on here, I see no surprise in this situation as whoever is manager for the time being will always be doing a good job to achieve the budgeted top third finish and Fifth Round Cup exit.

The simple solution is not to get your hope up for anything much better because it just ain’t gonna happen. Ever.

Jimmy Kelly
828 Posted 09/03/2014 at 14:39:45
Surely people can see that the selection of Robles influenced the way the game panned out?

He wasn't at fault for the goals – and made a couple of decent saves to be fair – but, on a number of occasions when we were under the cosh, he failed to relieve the pressure as we needed him to.

A keeper coming to claim a cross, calming everyone down and taking the sting out of an attack can change the momentum of a game. Instead of that, we were kept under pressure because he kept flapping and punching things that should have been routine. It's likely that seeing the keeper making basic errors encouraged Arsenal to shoot on sight more and to put the ball in danger areas more rather than patiently building and giving us the opportunity to win the ball back.

Also, his kicking is absolutely abysmal, meaning that we were regularly giving away throw-ins when he was trying to kick out to Coleman on the right, turning the start of an attack into defence. He also failed to get sufficient distance on his long kicks, meaning we weren't getting a platform for attacks in their half.

He may not have directly influenced the result but there's far more to it than just saying he couldn't have stopped any of the goals.

Phil Walling
834 Posted 09/03/2014 at 15:20:06
Jimmy, anyone who saw him in action pre-season and took particular notice of him in his limited competitive games would have seen him as an accident waiting to happen.

Whether or not Martinez felt it necessary to honour a promise to play him in cup games is immaterial for he must have been aware that he would provide an unsettling backcloth to a defence already weakened by the absence of Jagielka.

It was a bad shout and one I have no doubt the manager regrets.

Si Cooper
877 Posted 09/03/2014 at 16:48:14
MK (#699) - I mentioned confirmation bias just the other week; the whole heuristics stuff is fascinating though also quite bewildering at times.

I tend to find my views reflect the middle of the road on this site and I tend not to post if someone has already made the point I would have. Some of the 'extreme' (or nonsensical) views really do niggle me, but I am not looking to have them quashed or anything - as I understand it I have the equal right to try to undermine them by posting about them.

Okay, not everyone will check what has gone before or even what replies may be made to their posts and I am not expecting that to be some sort of site rule. It is just that by choosing to post on a supporters forum you would hopefully want to find out about other peoples opinions as well, and consider where yours sits in the mix.

My initial point remains; those who want Martinez to change his approach would do well to thrash out between them exactly what is wrong with it in the first place.

Yes, I did notice the posts that suggested Robles spread panic throughout his defence, but I didn't see it myself. The defenders did not start to avoid playing the ball to him or trying to deal with balls that were his responsibility. The punching was comical at times because it was unnecessary, but it did not actually cause problems because he did manage to clear the danger on each occasion. In some ways it would have been far more unnerving if he had been attempting to catch balls and kept dropping them in the danger area.

Any mistakes the defenders did make seemed to be due to lack of communication / lack of understanding of who was covering who rather than anything to do with the keeper who simply kept punching balls he should have been able to catch. That can just as easily be considered to be due to the skill / hard work of the opposition and a measure of inexperience.

Before the game my choices were for Howard and Alcaraz, but having watched it I can't say with any degree of certainty that the inclusion of either (or both) of those players would have prevented us from losing that game, and in Robles' case there is nothing that can definitely be attributed to him.

Si Cooper
892 Posted 09/03/2014 at 17:40:15
Dick (#725) - I don't think I mentioned an attack on players in reference to your post, did I? In fact the whole point of quoting from your post was simply to show that some people are accusing Martinez of being too committed to attack whilst others say he is happy for the ball to be endlessly passed in our own half.

For me, neither of those apparently contradictory assessments address what is our major problem, which is translating the possession we do have (a lot in the oppositions half) into genuine goal-scoring opportunities.

I don't see where you get 'wholesale attack' from. The whole point of the Barry / McCarthy pairing is to ensure that there is adequate cover for the full-backs when they venture forward. This responsibility has been so instilled into McCarthy that, in my opinion, he tends to ignore good opportunities to receive the ball in a relatively advanced position and prompt an attacking move himself, even when we are well in control against lesser opposition.

Paul McGinty
943 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:47:32
McCarthy has the legs to make lung busting forward runs...I have yet to see him get anywhere close to a Stevie G type finish.
When our fullbacks are closed down as an attacking threat,which I thought was the case yesterday, given Stevie P and Gareth Barry are not exactly goal machines, we are almost wholly dependent on three positions for our goal output. (yesterday.,,Lukaku, Barks, Mirallas) . Its not as if the playmaker position whether its Barkley or Osman has been replete with goals.....we are not exactly lightning fast to play on the break...so its no surprize when we play quality teams possession stats are not reflective of the final result. Without the dosh to sign an Aguero type striker , assuming we do not develop any kind of threat from corners , we need more goals from the midfield 5 in open play. Thats down to coaching ....and decisions on player personnel in the coming off season.
Liam Reilly
591 Posted 13/03/2014 at 18:24:01
Stephen #811,
Horrendous experience mate. I'm surprised you'll bother again after that. I know I wouldn't put my kids through that.

Bloody idiots.

Phil Sammon
789 Posted 14/03/2014 at 22:43:16

For crying out loud, the man's name is LUKAKU. Is that so hard to get your head around? You have been picked up on it before and seemingly take no notice. It's not even a misspelling...you clearly just don't know the guy's name! Sort it out.

Barry Thompson
793 Posted 14/03/2014 at 23:19:24
Well said Phill Salmon
Phil Sammon
797 Posted 14/03/2014 at 23:42:16
Haha, I deserved that.

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