Having set off down the M6 amidst a buzz of anticipation, confidence and expectation, it was desperately depressing to leave The Emirates Stadium beaten and deflated with a nagging thought of “Why do I do this to myself every year?”

A lengthy delay on the M1 due to an earlier accident aside, we were plain-sailing all the way to London. My sister lives a 30-minute walk from The Emirates so having parked at her flat we took the nice walk through Clissold Park and towards the ground. We had time to kill so had a couple of beers in The Arsenal Tavern on Blackstock Road where I found the team news on Twitter – the team a good one. I’d forgotten about Roberto’s preference to play Joel Robles in cup competitions rather than Howard but otherwise, you had to be happy with the team news with Lukaku and Barkley featuring. Stones continued to deputise in the absence of captain Phil Jagielka. Mikel Arteta featured for the Gunners.

With time kicking down until kick-off, we headed on to the mighty impressive Emirates Stadium where I met David to collect my ticket. In we bundled through the turnstile and up to our seats. Row 9 – directly by the corner flag. Mark Clattenburg (urgh) officiated and got proceedings under way, the travelling Evertonians in fine voice.

It didn’t take long for our singing to be silenced. Seven minutes in fact when Santi Carzola took full advantage of a slip by James McCarthy and put the Everton defence into a state of panic as he ran at goal. He slipped in Ozil nicely who finished nicely and clenched his fist. The Emirates erupted and Arsenal were ahead 1-0.

What followed in the remaining 25 minutes was probably as poor as I’ve seen Everton play all season. Okay, maybe I’m overlooking the first-half horror show at Anfield but we were certainly on the ropes and struggling to make any impact on the game at all as Arsenal broke forward time and time again, Robles terrifying the hell out of us by electing to punch pretty much everything that came at him… at one point even almost punching into his own goal.

However, he did keep everything out at least as Everton miraculously hung in there and eventually we decided to break ourselves. Credit to Barkley who ran a long, long way from inside his own half all the way to the right by-line and put in an awkward looking cross. Mirallas did well at the back post to get something on it (that’s pretty much all he did all game by the way) and Lukaku was left with the simple task of dabbing the ball home from just a couple of yards out. 1-1 and game on. It was completely against the run of play but we were glad to take it.

Arsenal almost regained their advantage again immediately and would have done but for an excellent save from Robles away to his left hand side, but we were now back in the game at least and made it safely to half time at 1-1 with a great chance to re-group.

It was bedlam getting a beer at the break but I just about managed it. David and I got chatting to some acquaintances of his, one of which promised me Everton were going to win 2-1…a promise which sadly couldn’t be fulfilled.

It wasn’t from want of trying from Everton. Moreover, Everton were actually very much in the game up until Arteta’s 68th minute penalty, the key moment probably coming when Barkley cut his effort narrowly over the crossbar having been teed up by Lukaku. Liverpool for example just don’t seem to squander them chances and it certainly came back to bite us this time when Gareth Barry felled Oxlade-Chamberlain in the penalty area. Clattenburg didn’t hesitate for even a micro-second and gave the penalty, even if he was nice enough to make Arsenal take it twice, though it mattered not as Arteta is about as deadly as they come from the spot. I haven’t seen it since and couldn’t say if it was a penalty or not as it was down the other end of the pitch though I’m told it was. I actually thought it was Ozil stepping up to take the spot kick and was hopeful it would be missed but when I saw Arteta step up I knew we had no chance. Even with the re-take you never really felt Arteta would miss.

Other than baffling substitutions (Naismith and Deulofeu would have been a better choice), tripe defending by Everton and devastatingly good breaks and finishes by Arsenal, there is precious else to comment on for the remainder of the match as Everton had lost their bottle. So let's stay on Arteta for a moment...

Well I’ve nothing but disappointment and a new found lack of respect for our old ‘best little Spaniard’. Given Everton signed him from Real Sociedad wilderness, made him our highest paid player, gave him the honour of captaining our side on plenty of occasions, supported him on very good wages for almost a whole year whilst he recovered from a very serious injury, sang his name game-in and game-out, offered him nothing but well-wishes on his departure from Everton, and gave him quite a reception on his return to Goodison Park.

I somehow expected more from Mikel Arteta than badge-kissing when celebrating his goal, pretending to be injured because his boot fell off and stopping our attack in doing so, and then moaning to try and get our players booked. To do that in any game is not how football should be played but to do it in front of supporters who collectively have paid thousands, maybe millions to watch you play and cheer your every pass is really not good. I didn’t exactly expect him to skip around the field and roll over for us but I didn’t appreciate that one bit. Some of them guys were his friends for a number of years and it was embarrassing behavior. I’ll certainly be giving him an earful back at Goodison in a month’s time.

Like many others, David left at 4-1. I stuck it out and applauded the players off. We were beaten but it wasn’t from lack of effort from many of them. Kudos to Distin for fronting up to the fans. I do admire his character.

So that’s another year gone without a trophy and Liverpool fans will be licking their lips at the prospect of a new banner stating “20 YEARS” since our last trophy success. 20 years. It makes you want to cry doesn’t it?

I met my better half after the match and a few of us went out for drinks around the Stoke Newington area in the evening. I got chatting to another chap whilst out who wasn’t even much of a football fan but had watched the game on TV that afternoon. I’ll let you finish off one of the first things he said.

“That Arteta is a bit of a…”

Player Ratings:

Robles: “Yeah but if he’s not confident enough to catch it, I’d rather he punched it,” I said in his defence during the game. “If he’s not confident enough to catch it, he shouldn’t be a keeper!” replied David. Stumped. To be fair I wouldn’t really blame him for any of the goals and he actually made some good saves but Good Lord he can’t be punching out everything that come at him. I don’t want a keeper like that. No. No. No. 6

Baines: Captained the side and was one of our better performers. Kept on going and gave it everything. I wish he hadn’t have kicked the ball out for Arteta but Baines is a class act and should feel let down as he probably thought his old pal was injured. 7

Distin: Needed him on top form today. Sadly he wasn’t. 5

Stones: Poor game but you can’t blame the young lad. All part of the learning curve. 4

Coleman: A few surges forward, one in particular was pretty good but he just hasn’t been his buccaneering self since his injury. 5

Barry: Gave away the penalty but did keep it together pretty well… at least until Arsenal ran away with it. 6

McCarthy: My Man of the Match. It’s a shame some of his team mates couldn’t show the same fight and desire. Battled hard. 7

Pienaar: Not a good game from Pienaar. We needed more from him and sadly he couldn’t deliver. 5

Mirallas: I really question what he’s doing half the time I really do. Was anonymous for the most part, Maddeningly his only contribution resulted in our goal however. I wouldn’t be adverse to moving him on this summer and bringing in a hungrier player. 4

Barkley: An excellent contribution for the goal and the effort was at least there from Ross. Will be ruing that missed chance. 6

Lukaku: Seemed to come to life after his tap in and kept their defenders occupied. A decent effort. He’ll need to be on top form from now on in if we’re to salvage anything from this season now. 7

McGeady (for Pienaar): Didn’t really get going or influence the game. 5

Osman (for Mirallas): Tried to stamp his authority on the game but many heads around him had gone by then. At least someone stood up to Arteta though. 6

Deulofeu (for Barkley): Came on just as Arsenal went 4-1 ahead. He should have been brought on sooner, particularly after his goal at the Emirates back in December. He wasn’t on long enough to make an impact and the game was dead by then. 5

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Kunal Desai
913 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:07:17
Don't agree about Arteta, he was a good servant to us over the years and performed exceptionally well. Arsenal were his new employers three years ago, he doesn't owe Everton anything.

If for example McCarthy turned out to milk tackles from Wigan players and kissed the Everton badge after scoring against them would we as Everton fans care? No. We wouldn't turn around and say he should have shown his former employers a bit more respect.

People need to realise Everton, as it currently stands, is nothing more than a stepping stone for players managers: Arteta, Rooney, Fellaini, Moyes.... If we are looking to point the finger at people then look no closer to home and bullshit Bill and the mugs on the board.

Don't waste time in looking at the antics of Arteta and instead look into the root of Everton's problem now and the foreseeable future.

Peter Jones
917 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:23:58
I cannot imagine anything more unlikely than McCarthy kissing the badge after scoring unless it is McCarthy scoring. Man of the match? You are joking.
David Flanagan
920 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:27:48
Couldnt care less what Arteta does. Players should celebrate.

McCarthy MOM is a joke. What does he do apart from run around a lot and play short passes to Distin and Jags or Stones? He has the ability to get forward with and without the ball but always goes safety first. Need him to take charge of a game but just don't see it.

Paul Gladwell
921 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:29:52
When you see Jonjo Shelvey showing the respect he did last week, a player who spent far less years at the shite than Arteta did it does show him to be an arsehole in my eyes, would his mate Cahill have done it? No chance.
Shane Corcoran
923 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:38:29
Yeah Arteta went down in my estimation too.

We stupidly put the ball out for him and, although it was a foul, he was well fit to throw a strop about not getting a free when he was supposed to be injured.

Steven Telford
925 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:42:45
McCarthy MOTM.............. what game where you watching?
Paul Ewer
926 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:37:48
Think your being harsh. Kissing the badge wasn't good, but he deliberately didn't celebrate when he thought he'd scored the first one. Celebrating after the retake was more about relief. As for the rest, going down easily and whinging at the ref, he was exactly the same when you had him, he's the same every week.
Jimmy Sørheim
936 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:41:54
We are too nice, handing them the ball like that is a disgrace.
Arteta is an arse.
Raymond Fox
940 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:41:48
Dean, we are currently 7th in the league with a game in hand over Utd.

We got beaten in the 1/4 final by Arsenal on their turf when the Bookies made us 4/1 underdogs (they don't have any prejudices, they call it as they see it).

We are not exactly doing badly are we?
Not fantastic, we are where we usual are, no better, no worse.

Every time we get beat, many on here with unrealistic expectations throw their toys out of the pram!

As far as Martinez buying the players that he wants, what's he going to buy them with.
You don't think he wants to be buying £6m players do you, he would much rather be shopping for £20m+ players but he's the manager of Everton, so its the bargain basement for him.
If he's lucky!

Dan Brierley
944 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:14:59
Ray, our 2nd highest EVER signing's best plaudit is 'he covers a lot of ground'. £13 million is hardly bargain basement to be fair. Especially when you consider Leroy Fer was a third of the price, can we honestly say McCarthy is three times better?
Geoff Evans
945 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:23:31
Raymond 940

So much money to spend to go through the turnstiles. For so much predictability once your inside. It's a wonder people bother.

Nigel Gregson
949 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:32:48
He was once ours and he isn't anymore. He gives his heart and soul to his current team and he will play to his best against us without cutting corners because he's a damn good professional. This means milking fouls, diving, arguing with the ref - the whole package. If he did anything less, Wenger will probably drop him from playing Everton. Its football - his livelihood and job . He gave his all when with us and left for 4 times more than what he came for. He's now the second best Spaniard I know.

Can we focus now on those who actually wear the Royal Blue instead ?

Raymond Fox
968 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:36:58
Dan, no £13m is not exactly bargain basement I agree, its more than our average spend on a player though.

Martinez must have known what McCarthy's strengths & weaknesses were, I would expect him to improve his creative play as he matures, but he was no doubt bought for his graft & tackling.

We can argue whether McCarthy is worth £13m or not, I would say yes, but with reservations.

The main point I was attempting to make was that £6m players are that price for a reason.
I don't think the trophy winning clubs are doing much or any shopping in that price band!

Dan Brierley
976 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:24:56
Of course, Ray. Which is why Moyes bought cheap/young players and made them into superstars. If Martinez truly needs money to compete then he might as well give up now as we don't have the money. He must have known that when he came here? What we need is a shrewd manager able to identify the next Seamus Coleman. Not someone spunking money away on loan signings and unfit players.

His football is a better brand in general, but his transfer policy has been woeful up to now. This has to improve during the close season as our managers must fund the improvement themselves by being clever in the market.

Eric Fogg
984 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:53:01
Arteta is a cheat. he held his head after he elbowed Barry and looked to see us attacking before he rolled around to get us to put the ball out.

We overpass the ball with no pace or penetration in the final third. We can't expect to win games when we don't try to win games, Arsenal worked harder than us and went down at the slightest of touches to get a free kick. We need to wise up; we are too nice.

Dan McKie
985 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:57:31
Arteta didn't stop our attack, Baines did like he always does.

As for Arteta, he's theirs now, I couldn't care less what he does after he scores. Even when a player does mute celebrations, you know they are still feeling it.

Dan #944, with you on McCarthy, said it for as long as he has been here. There has been a couple of decent performances from him, but to hear some blues, he only has to tie his boot laces correctly and he is man of the match. He can lose the ball but then get praised massively for winning it straight back, before playing the easiest pass imaginable.

I'm beginning to wonder if Martinez is just very naive, or tactically void. We all slated Moyes for concentrating more on the opposition at times, rather than ourselves, but I wonder if we have gone completely the other way with Martinez? He says it's all about what we do, and that's all very well and good, but how much time does he focus on what they might/can do? Very little it seems. He thinks we just need to turn up, have the ball for a bit longer than they do and hey presto, we win, but if we don't win, then the game and the world is very harsh on us.

Raymond Fox
986 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:35:54
Dan, Moyes did an excellent job over the years given our finances, but he couldn't bring a trophy back to Goodison.

I like Martinez, even though his explanations are sometimes not what happened, but what he actually wanted to occur.

I apologize for repeating myself (too many threads on basically the same subject) but over the years I think without doubt the PL proves that money can & does buy success!

Without those extra multi millions, we're goosed, history proves it. Hope is all very well, but hoping for the impossible only leads to frustration.

The fact is, that our squad is not as good as your Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool. Spurs, Man Utd & over a season we're likely to finish in our usual 7th-10th spot.

Eric Fogg
993 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:17:14

Do Wigan, Hull or Sheff Utd have the extra multi millions?

Peter O'Connor
995 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:10:29
Sorry Paul but McCarthy MotM? Had you been drinking a lot when you wrote this article? McCarthy is out of his depth playing for Everton, very weak in the tackle and too many of his mistakes result in goals against us. Fee isn't McCarthy's problem though.

Robles, his positioning for first goal was terrible, Tim would've saved it. Marks for Stones and Distin very harsh. Midfield left gaping holes making it more difficult against a good Arsenal team.

Arteta? No problem with him celebrating his goal but I just don't like the feigning injury.

Under Martinez we are doing a bit better than I thought we would but are playing much more attractive football. He is making mistakes but different ones to those that Moyes made. Great thing this football mullarky, full of different opinions and we all think we are right.

Phil Sammon
999 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:43:44
Peter 995

Fair enough if you disagree with McCarthy as MotM, but 'Out of his depth playing for Everton'...you say it is all about opinions but on that one you are just plain wrong.

Dick Fearon
002 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:37:02
Hey Paul, from what I saw on the box your report was spot on, er... except for your MotM.

Being so far from the real deal, I very much appreciate your reports and those from Ken, Michael and Lyndon. Please keep them coming.

Peter O'Connor
003 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:52:14

I am entitled to my opinion as much as anyone. I just don't think McCarthy is good enough to play for us, you might think he is, that's fine.

I would be absolutely delighted if he develops into a player that top teams want to buy from us – and we say no.

James Stewart
009 Posted 09/03/2014 at 22:22:48
No way Barry gets a 6. Absolute horrorshow from him
David Hallwood
015 Posted 09/03/2014 at 22:48:53
Another great report, Paul. I think there's an over-reaction about McCarthy, and Jams Stewart's comments (#009) that Barry had a horror show. However IMHO both of them are suffering a dip in form from their high standards of last year and again, IMHO, that is the root cause of our struggles of late.

In the system that we play, the two holding mids are the key to the tempo of the game, and earlier in the season they were controlling midfield. And as they've stuttered, so have we, but to quote the old cliché, form is temporary etc.

All-in-all, I thought that we were evenly matched sides until the penalty, and then we didn't look like we would get back into it – and that's a worrying sign.

Anto Byrne
037 Posted 10/03/2014 at 01:46:47
I think we can see that most of the Moyes era players will have to go as RM builds his foot-balling team.

Distin ball watching, Mirallas a headless chook, Osman over the hill, Pienaar past it. Should have sold Baines. Howard 35 well past his best.

We will now see if RM has the mettle to do the job. Barry looked tired (lazy penalty), McCarthy all huff with no end product. McGeady... WTF?

Top 5? Let's see if they can give it a go.

Peter Barry
043 Posted 10/03/2014 at 03:15:52
Give me an Everton that plays as they do under Martinez, even though we may lose a few, to the Everton that played dull, defensive, percentage dross under TGT any day.
Peter Barry
044 Posted 10/03/2014 at 05:30:50
Arteta always was a 'bit of a twat' its just that when he was 'our' Twat we tended to ignore/forgive him for doing it.
Peter Murray
054 Posted 10/03/2014 at 08:30:23
Arteta, all cool class with us, has become just another tetchy, niggly player, lacking pace. Since he left, he has not demonstrated any empathy with Everton, refusing to acknowledge the appreciation of the fans even when he came back to Goodison for the first time with Arsenal.
Craig Walker
064 Posted 10/03/2014 at 09:02:45
I was really mad at Baines for stopping play. Can you imagine the RS kicking the ball out in that situation? No chance. We are too nice. I'm afraid that the modern game is all about being ruthless and cheats prosper. It wasn't a head injury, the ref didn't stop the game so why kick it out?

Arteta went down in my estimation. He went to Arsenal to win things and they haven't beaten Wigan yet. He didn't show half the commitment or ability at Anfield did he?

I was completely depressed on Saturday afternoon even questioning why we put ourselves through it. We've got a good team who on our day can give anybody a game but we're as far off winning anything as we've been in 19 years. A draw and get them back to Goodison and I would have fancied us. We'd have then faced Wigan in a semi-final. We've blown two great chances in the last two years.

I really don't know what the answer is. We need massive investment and a new ground for starters.

Barry Stevens
071 Posted 10/03/2014 at 09:58:44
Noticed on here and other threads people having moan about McGeady. Every time I've seen him play for us, he's looked a clever player. Always looking for a forward pass or run. Can't see where criticism of his displays for so far are justified.

In the long term I believe he will become a big player for us. The type we like to see at Goodison. Two footed, quick feet, creativity and pop in with a few goals. Isn't that the type of player we've all been calling for on the right midfield slot?


Rick Tarleton
074 Posted 10/03/2014 at 10:20:58
Dan McKie, well said "He's theirs now", I'd far rather have a player doing his best for the people who pay his wages , than this faux, I will not celebrate ritual, as performed by the Ronaldos and Sturridges of this world.
Raymond Ingram
084 Posted 10/03/2014 at 11:52:15

I went to bed last night, still sick and sore about our cup exit, but woke this morning feeling on top of the world...

Why? Because of the dream I had. In it, I was reading the back page of a Sunday tabloid. It read Roberto Martinez named Manager of the Season after Everton's amazing 11-game winning streak which saw them pip Arsenal for 3rd place. With Liverpool 5th and Spurs 6th, which leaves the Ginger One free to go and play his friendlies in Asia.

Is this reality or did I just have too many pints of Carlsberg???

Steve Pugh
085 Posted 10/03/2014 at 11:50:09
In would like to propose an unwritten rule for ToffeeWeb. When reading someone elses post insert these three words at the start..."In my opinion..."

Everything that we post on here is opinion and if people can remember that there would be a lot less disharmony.

Craig Bellew
115 Posted 10/03/2014 at 14:11:45
Ray 084 - As the adverts go if Carlsberg made dreams they'd possibly be the best dreams..............

Can I ask why your drinking that stuff anyway, it is synonamous with all things RED being emblazoned across thier shirts for as long as I can remember. It also resemebles in taste a very poor mans Chang (which is saying something)

Going off on a tangent a bit there, so I'll get back to ya point. You were dreaming and it wont happen but wishful thinking I think it may be rather than a dream that will become a reality. If it does come off though I will join ya in raising a few cans of that stuff as horrendous as it may be.

Sam Morrison
122 Posted 10/03/2014 at 14:58:33
Not sure why Distin gets such a low mark. Thought he had a good game.

Equally it's a bit early to be writing off McCarthy and surely very early to be giving McGeady such short shrift. The problem McCarthy has is he and Barry are sharing the same job. Unless Barkley finds his form again we have a creative void between those two and attack - through the middle at least. Out on the flanks we have more product but still a frustrating tendency to pause when an early cross might give the opposition something different to think about.

Geoff Evans
282 Posted 11/03/2014 at 12:04:03
Arteta: Not worth wasting column on.
Jon Cox
350 Posted 11/03/2014 at 19:10:48
Dear Santa,

Could you please include for me the following players for the summer transfer pane of glass. Honestly you'll love it you being a secret Blue an all.

Rodriguez and Lallana, along with Ross, and the most exciting and powerful midfielder at this time, as Stephen said, Jonjo Sh.

What a brilliant powerful, driven footballer this guy is. You can just see the attitude he sweats. Weren't we talking about shooting in another thread? Well this guy puts guys like Ozzy and Peanuts to shame.

Get him and the two Southampton lads in I say and make that the core of the team to build around.

Football isn't a sport anymore and as Micheal C said "it's just business Sonny" so it has to be recognized that if you're there for the pose then you should be shipped out. I for one am sick to death of yesterdays passengers.

Do we have a board room and a manager strong enough in character to achieve this goal?

Brian Keating
418 Posted 12/03/2014 at 11:44:03
If people can't see what McCarthy gives in midfield, then I give up.

He does a hell of a lot more than run around and play the ball backwards. He shows for the ball from the centre halves and maintains possession very intelligently in our own half.

He works unbelievably hard off the ball to win back possession and gets forward quickly to support the forward runners.

In the opposition half his job is not to get into the box but support the play just outside the box and maintain possession as the ball is recycled.

My only criticism of him is that he doesn't demand the ball enough, he's a little too passive.

Al Reddish
503 Posted 12/03/2014 at 20:43:38
Anto, you say Martinez needs to get rid of the Moyes players and then you add "We will now see if RM has the mettle to do the job. Barry looked tired (lazy penalty), McCarthy all huff with no end product. McGeady... WTF?" , ironically all Martinez signings. This is not a dig at you but to me highlights where Martinez needs to improve big time. If you add Kone, Alcaraz and Robles to the equation, plus all the loan fees for players we are unlikely to own, it's potentially a worrying sign of things to come as not many of the players he has signed have done much to improve us. Although in the main we are more pleasing on the eye, we still have trouble in the final third, and bottle it in the games that matter. What we need is a nasty bastard and someone who can create.

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