Everton 3 - 2 Swansea City

The starting line-up featured Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku, with Osman, Deulofeu and Naismith on the bench where Antolin Alcaraz reappeared. Pienaar and Jagielka were both out injured.

Swansea started brightly, Bony getting off a couple of early potshots, as Everton seemed a little lackadaisical in their early passing, McGeady was the first to get forward for the Blues but his cross was too close to Vorm. Coleman was next on the other side and he fed a perfect ballfor Barkley who poorly miskicked at it when the net should have been riipppling. Really poor from the young star.

Then it was Mirallas, who benefitted from great work by McGeady, only to fire a horrible wayward cross well past the danger area. Everton tried to implement the passing game but poor midfield passing choices were letting them down until Lukaku and McGeady linked to win the first corner by Mirallas, defended away.

Again, Everton's possession play wass stymied at the half-way line, with apparently no opportunities to make worthwhile forward plays, and it was already becoming rather frustrating to watch. But Stones did spot Barkley and played a good ball to him, Barkley being fouled as he entered th area... Penalty! (Only the second of the season!) Superbly executed by Leighton Baines.

Lukaku was showing signs of injury as Swansea pushed back hard, pressing a rather nervy Everton defence, while the Blues' forward passing was at times anything but crisp as Everton repeatedly lost possession at crucial moments in the build-up play. Rangel got past Baines but Canas's mishit was shocking, although it won Swansea a corner.

But a simple move by Swansea , perfectly executed tore through the Everton defence, Routledge's superb cross-ball picking out Rangel we centered low first time and Bony could not miss. The worst thing was, it was definitely coming... as if the gifted penalty had allowed Everton to sit back on their laruels.

Stones conceded a corner with a poor backheel as Everton really struggled to regain the upper hand with Routledge continuing. Fortunately, Swansea 's shooting was well off target, but the players in Blue were well rattled, and the crowd rather displeased as they watched the visitors play Martinez ticka-tacka around them.

Baines gave away a soft foul on Dyer in a rather dangerous position, 3 yards outside the Everton area that was horribly deflected off McGeady's shoulder and just past the far post. Two more corners for Swansea , a poor clearance by Coleman and two more corners meant the pressure on the Gwladys St goal was right up to the half-time whistle. Worryingly poor stuff.

No changes at half-time despite some really poor play from Everton, underlined by a dreadful layoff from Lukaku soon after the restart that had the crowd howling. Barkley then failed to play in Baines, and Stones overhit his pass out of play. Just such poor quality passing repeatedly letting down the side. Stones needed to recover to put off Rangel after he was almost beaten before Lukaku finally takes a shot on goal, scuffed poorly from distance.

Some better play won a corner that was headed on by Lukaku but with no direction, then the ball fell to Distin who could only fire straight at Vorm. Lukaku was then dispossessed too easily running forward as Swansea felt they were doing a fine job of disrupting the Blues passing game. Lukaku was running better but trod on the ball, yet he persevered, playing it out to Mirallas for a return ball that the big Belgian lunged for and tucked home.

McGeady was warming to the task, winning a corner well as the Blues finally pressed and, on the second attempt, Barkley had no-one to stop him stooping down to head home form close range.

But Swansea were not giving up without a fight, Bony getting a chance to power a header past Howard but for a tremendous one-handed save as the American palmed the ball away. But McCarthy did not help things with a needless backpass to give away a corner. But that released Mirallas, he galloped away but tried to be too cute with a chip shot when it needed a firm strike to beat Vorm.

Swansea kept coming back again and again, Distin lucky when an overhead kick caught his dangling arm, but probably not a penalty. McGeady was doing more and more impressive stuff, but could not keep a shot from distance low enough. Everton's play was still suffering from some really poor layoffs by Lukaku, whose passing was shockingly poor at times.

At times, the ball just would not run for he Blues as Swansea threatened to run through then with each dangerous attack. Somehow, Hernandez was denied at close range by a very alert Howard in the Everton goal, although either side of him and it would have been in.

Osman and Naismith replaced McGeady and Barkley, with a few minutes left, but Osman's "clever feet" let him down again, as Everton were unable to maintain a sweeping move across the field, his flick going straight to a Swansea defender. < /p>

Swansea pulled one back in added time, Williams heading in a corner as Deulofeu replaced Lukaku, and Everton held on for a very important, if a little undeserved three points.

Scorers: Baines (pen:20'), Lukaku (53'), Barkley (58'); Bony (33'), Williams (90+2')

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; McGeady (84' Osman), Barkley (84' Naismith), Mirallas; Lukaku (90+3' Deulofeu) .
Subs not Used: Robles, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Browning.

Swansea City: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Ben Davies, Britton, Canas (69' de Guzman), Dyer (62' Shelvey), Hernandez, Routledge, Bony (69' Michu).
Subs not Used: Tremmel, Amat, Taylor, Lamah.

Referee: Michael Oliver

Attendance: 36,260

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Shahul Hameed
344 Posted 22/03/2014 at 16:15:28
Mark Frere
345 Posted 22/03/2014 at 16:51:50
A disgusting performance from our players, we got the all important 3 points but massive need for improvement! If Swansea had been more clinical in front of goal we could've got a real stuffing today.

Is 4th spot a realistic dream?

Alex Jones
348 Posted 22/03/2014 at 16:58:05
More dull dross from the Blues. Martinez really needs to change something radical as we are painful to watch at the minute, and have been since Christmas.

Chief among these changes should be the dropping of McCarthy and maybe Barry. They offer nothing to us in attack or defence so what are they there for?

I would like to see Osman play next to one of them as he's obviously not going to drop them both and then have Barkley ahead. Martinez seems to believe he can only play one of these two as he has to keep the two crabs on at all times. Even when we are chasing games, he still keeps this insipid fulcrum in the heart of our midfield.

Kevin Rowlands
349 Posted 22/03/2014 at 16:57:26
Just watched the 2nd half, awful is the word that comes to mind for me, how the hell we won that I'll never know. As for Lukaku, all I would say is thank fuck he's only on loan: nowhere near good enough.
Graham Mockford
351 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:07:28
No wonder we struggled today, we were playing the combined might of South Wales in the same game.
Kieran Fitzgerald
352 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:07:41
We're going backwards at the moment. I would have expected this performance at the start of the season. How Swansea didn't score five or six I don't know.
David Waugh
354 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:10:15
Cheer up. Not only did we win, but we scored from a corner!
Mike Powell
355 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:08:55
Lucky to win that awful performance, but it is just a typical game under Martinez. We cant keep playing like that — he has to have a Plan B. If we don’t get six or seven players in for next season, I really fear for us.

Martinez, it’s down to you to change it... I wouldn’t bet on it though. Just like Wigan last season and look what happened to them

Linda Morrison
356 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:12:59
I just do not understand some of the comments on here today and last week. Yes, the play was poor they certainly miss Jags, he may not be a captain that shouts but his presence gives confidence.

The team are not playing with the flair they can as they do not want to throw a good season away and we also missed Pienaar who Baines appears to need on the park.

We have won two games not playing well. Liverpool were very lucky today as SG should have been sent off for a second yellow early in the first half. Both Welsh teams are fighting to stay in the division – sometimes, that makes it harder to play against them.

I agree with the Lukaku opinion although maybe he can't be bothered as he won't be here next season. I don't know.

Come on, folks, cheer up at least we are not Arsenal or Fulham supporters. I expect we will see a better show next week – I hope!

Mike Oates
357 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:09:28
You can’t just have McCarthy and Barry fighting the whole of Swansea’s midfield. We were overrun there because Barkley, Mirallas and McGeady can’t defend, can’t pick up their opposite men and don’t track back. Coupled with that, young Stones had a mare, Bony completely dominated him all match and I couldn’t understand why he was taken off. Stones needed to get tighter, let him know he was there. Distin covered for him so many times.

I can’t see us getting back to the form we had 3 or 4 months ago, as both Osman and Pienaar are way off form; they at least track back and give us a more solid shape.

Amit Vithlani
358 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:14:19
Not our best performance by a long shot but I will take this. We have lost points in many games where we did not deserve to so as far as I am concerned things are balancing themselves out.

I don't think we are going backwards as, at this stage of the season, it is only about results and at home at least we are doing the business when it matters. The team seemed to take their foot off the gas at 3-1 and did just about enough.

Some tougher assignments ahead and with a winning streak under our belts, confidence is slowly returning. Not forgetting that it was another game under the belt for the likes of John Stones and McGeady as they continue to integrate into our squad.

Bill Griffiths
359 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:16:16
Okay, so we have been a little bit fortunate to get all 6 points from the last couple of games but this only makes up for the games where we have deserved something and haven’t got it.

The fact that we are winning games and picking up points either late on or when we are not playing well shows the effort and will to win put in by the lads. As this has happened so often, it can’t be just down to mere luck.

As of now, we are handily placed in 5th place with what are on paper two not too difficult games. If we can get at least 4 points from these 2 games, then I will be more confident that we can kick on and finish 5th at the lowest and who knows even get 4th if things go right. Let’s have a bit of faith.

Amit Vithlani
360 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:22:55
Bill Griffiths 359 great minds and all that...
Declan Madden
361 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:22:33
Wins at this stage of the season against teams fighting for their lives, no matter how they come about, is all that matters! I'll take that performance with a win every time from here til May!
Brian Waring
362 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:23:51
Kieran, how can we be going backwards? We are 5th in the league, a point above Spurs with a game in hand and a much better goal difference, also 6pts above the Mancs.
Phil Walling
364 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:23:24
Mike Oates has hit the nail on the head. We just haven’t got ’a joined up midfield. Barry and McCarthy defend, the others attack. Such naiive tactics got Wigan relegated, here Roberto will just get some wallopings!
Ralph Basnett
365 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:33:00
As each games goes, it shows more and more that we cannot play McCarthy and Barry in the same position. Whilst they are doing a good job protecting the defense, the midfield is being swamped as they play so deep. Some strange substitutions today as well?

Whilst grinding wins is okay, it is getting more and more desperate against mediocre opposition!!!

Big summer of transfers needed, I think.

Philip Bunting
367 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:38:45
Phil 364, I hear what you're saying but, from the start of the season until Xmas, we were flying... It's the same team squad with the addition of McGeady. No-one was complaining in the lead up to Xmas about our midfield, in fact quite the opposite. What we have to ask though is, what has changed? Pienaar and Jags missing maybe? New tactics?
Luke Rustad
368 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:37:07
Don't panic.

Darron Gibson is the best passer of the ball we have at the club. He will be back next season to probably play alongside McCarthy, thus giving us greater threat going forward than our current pair of holding midfielders. He is also more than competent in his defensive duties.

I agree that things need freshening up this season, and by playing Osman for a while in that role (instead of either Barry or McCarthy) would give us greater creativity from deep, especially against the sides that we are expecting to beat.

Jamie Tulacz
370 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:46:01
Philip (367), for me, the difference is many players tiring due to a small squad.
Philip Bunting
371 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:42:47
I would add to my previous post in that teams have worked out how we play, countered that and that we haven't worked out how to change our style to become more dangerous. For me, after going 3-1 up, I would have gone two up-top as they chased the game and brought fresh legs like Deulofeu on with pace to burn to inflict damage and go for the 4th... But that's just me.
Jamie Barlow
373 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:47:50
I think people are forgetting how old Lukaku is. He's still only a young lad. I wouldn't pay any more than £15 million for him but he will get better and is still a good striker.

As for the game, a good result but the way we play at the moment bores the shit out of me.

Still, 5th when we haven't played well since Christmas. We must be doing something right.

Patrick Murphy
375 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:56:00
What a strange day of football; We go into a three one lead and then if looks as if we have just gone three-one down. At no point in today's match did we control the game and we struggled to put two passes together. We played like a team struggling at the bottom end of the league and Swansea looked like they had European ambitions.

I can't remember a game in the last few years where we looked like complete strangers and seemed in the second-half to forget which end we were kicking towards. A lot of half-hearted performances and if you didn't know better you would believe that someone in the hierarchy had asked them to cease adding to the points tally.

It's always nice to win whether playing well or not – but today's game raised a whole load of questions about the desire and abilities of our players and I can only hope that Roberto can find out what the hell's wrong with them because that was not an Everton team that I recognise.

Swansea played well but mainly because we allowed them too and, if it had been Man City or Chelsea we were playing today, we would have got well and truly smashed.

West Ham, unlike Swansea, have just laid down to Man Utd – why do these teams only perform against us? It will be the same on Tuesday on Tyneside where the Barcodes will attack us like it's their cup final.

Mike Gwyer
376 Posted 22/03/2014 at 17:42:50

Phil 364.

You seem to moan constantly about most things that are blue and as a supporter of this great club I seriously do not understand how you can generate so much shite.

Did you think that Swansea were going to sit back and say "score as many as you like?". Fuck off, they are a good team and, now that all their players are returning from injury, they will easily pull away from relegation. Watch them on Tuesday, they will make things very difficult for the Arsenal.

Everton did what they had to do and that is fucking win; last year, this result would not have happened – no way.

Lukaku?? – the boy is going home soon and today he put in a shift; no more, no less... but there are big home games against big clubs coming up, so I'm sure we will see him shine.

Take a break from spewing your never ending shite and take a look at what this club is trying to do. We are 5th in the EPL, sitting above mega spending Spurs and the fuckwits from Manc land, this club is trying to compete with clubs that probably spend more money in expenses than we do in transfer deals.

Kieran Fitzgerald
377 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:06:48
Gibson is due to be back before the end of the season. Sick note or not, his passing range is superb. I think that he would add good competition for the two places that Barry and McCarthy currently fill. He would also add good momentum going forward.

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Last week's winner and today's list of missed chances by Swansea smacks of a bucket full of good luck.

Brian Denton
378 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:16:44
Phil (364) Roberto's tactics may be naïve, but he's on track to get us more points in a season than Moyes ever did. Why should that be, I wonder?
Dave Lynch
379 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:17:40
Patrick @375

The reason these teams perform against us, is we let them perform. We are not clinical in front of goal and cannot impose ourselves on a game the way other teams do.

Brian Burns
380 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:11:30
I like McCarthy and think he's got the legs to drag the team forward. It looks though, that Bobbie is telling to hang fire. His back passes and holding the play up and going backward when we're on the break is getting annoying. Let him loose for fuck's sake!!!
Declan Madden
381 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:28:43
Well said, Mike lad (376)!
Eugene Ruane
382 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:07:07
Shocking performance and last week's was only slightly better.

Just about everything I saw today was sub-standard.

Passing, marking, movement off (and on!) the ball.

At times we were like amateurs playing professionals.

I don't know if it was the players who badly (nb: not at all) carried out the 'plan' or if it was a shite plan, but the whole thing was woeful and painful to watch.

I said before the kick-off (having seen the cup game) that I rated their attack and midfield, but fuck me, they were walking through us at times.

When you're watching a game, there are certain things that, Tourettes-like, come out of your mouth depending on certain passages of play.

A player doesn't go into a tackle with 100% commitment – "Shit-house!"

A player fucks about at the back – "Get rid!!"

A player gives an opponent to much space – "Get tight!!"

What I heard today, over and over, was 'Nob-ead!!" which was basically 'idiot!"

And it was understandable as there was SO much stupid on display today.

I don't know what RM will say publicly (probably not a good idea to say 'We were fucking shite") but I would be very confused/disappointed if in private he says anything other than "that was garbage and a million miles from being good enough."

Patrick Murphy
384 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:30:03
If we hadn't have been clinical in front of goal today we would have lost – so I'm not buying that argument. We didn't play well today and I'll be the first to admit it but you don't get 54 points on the board by luck alone and so we must have done something correct during the season.

Today's game was probably the first time that we have not had the ball for long periods during the game - funnily enough Swansea played in the style that Roberto wants Everton to play but we won they lost. It's a strange game football.

Bobby Thomas
386 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:07:50
I think one of the problems is that other than Pienaar and Osman, who are both getting on, need less football and are beginning to struggle to do 90, is we don't have any linking possession midfielders who can hold, give. help the tempo from the wider positions of the advanced midfielders in possession, create and also help the shape. One with energy and legs wouldnt go amiss either. The kinds of midfielders Arsenal have.

This is then compounded by the slow tempo of the passing initially, its a vicious circle. But I think that would sort itself to a large degree if we had Arsenal type attacking mids who could provide better options when we were in possession and were more inventive and intelligent on the ball. Basically I think the mix of mid players is wrong.

Today we just went with two out and wide men and were strung out and cut through, leaving Barry, McCarthy and the back 4 exposed.

As for the fella who thinks McCarthy offers nothing, you must constantly just watch the ball. He offers great protection and covering. He is a very good holding player, tidy in possession and gets through masses of work.

Mirallas is also beginning to show a level of self indulgence he would never have dared show under Moyes.

Raymond Fox
388 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:21:52
Well said Mike 376.

Of course we all want us to play well every game, but with our squad its obviously not going to happen.

All I can say is that's it a good job we are not down the table, we would get some serious moaning on here!

Not vintage today, but a win nevertheless, that's 6 on the bounce at home I believe. 5th in the league with a game in hand, not doing two badly are we!

Anthony Flack
389 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:43:42
Barry, hear, hear – thank Christ we are not 5th from bottom.

It works both ways how often have we played well and got fuck all, so to play poor to average and win, okay with me.

Trevor Lynes
390 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:30:18
I honestly am very pleased at our season so far but some players are suffering from fatigue. We need to rotate Barry with perhaps Alcaraz or play Osman there as there is no creativity in the starting line up we had today.

Unfortunately Ossie is only really good for an hour max and we do not have alternatives. The money gap amongst the top teams rears it's head after Christmas every season.

Unless investment from the board is forth coming things will not change except for the worse. I can see Martinez going the same way as Moyes when he becomes disenchanted with the lack of ambition of this board.

Brent Stephens
391 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:42:04
Possibly the most bizarre performance all season. We got 3 points, fine.

But I can't believe the amount of space we gave them! We seemed to be playing 4-3-3, even 4-2-4 with such a gap between the back line who stayed back (Stones urging them to come up at times) and a front line way up the pitch, thus conceding so much space for Swansea to operate in in midfield, with Barry and McCarthy overrun and the fullbacks with no cover.

I just couldn't believe the amount of space we left them in midfield, all game.

Lee Simpson
392 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:42:13
Well said, Barry. Swansea were excellent today, probably one of their best performances all season and we still beat them. The team are uncomfortable when teams come here and have a go. What do you expect? Most teams come here and play for a 0-0. Today's result was massive.
Kieran Riding
393 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:49:15
Win the game in hand.. Beat Arsenal..
Beat Moyes back at Goodison..

Not arsed with the negative stuff.. It's deffo on.

Greg Mckerracher
394 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:39:14
This negativity is absurd. Swansea are a really good team and they are almost back to full strength. I hate being the mush outlining the next fixtures, but here we go;

Arsenal : Swansea, Man City, Everton (at Goodison) = 3 points?
Everton: Newcastle, Fulham, Arsenal (at a sold out rocking Goodison Park), Palace (game in hand) = 12 points?

We are going to finish fourth. You all know it, you just don't know it yet.

Ste Traverse
396 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:55:29
That was the most boring 3-2 game you will ever see. Still, at this stage of the season results are far more important.

We aren't playing well but winning games. Good sign

I see the hapless Gunners collapsed again today. Win our game in hand on Wenger's Jokers,beat them at Goodison and we will at worst be 2 points behind them.

All still to play for then.

Brent Stephens
397 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:58:10
Some on here are decrying what they call "negativity". The only positive for me to come out of that game was the 3 points. If pointing to weaknesses in our game today (or any day) is negativity, then you'll have to get used to it. Honesty is branded as negativity!

Denis Richardson
398 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:47:35
Lot of complaints about the performance on here but the only thing I care about right now are the 3 points. I would rather play shite and win than play well and lose, any day.

Job done by RM and the team. That's three league wins on the trot. 5th in the table, onto the next game.

Some people just can't help moaning I guess.

Chad Schofield
400 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:19:56
Christ, thank God we didn't lose!

I don't understand the shit being slung.Yes,we didn't play well... at least the 70 minutes I saw before falling back into a flu-induced coma. Came on here as I know Michael and/or Lyndon always do a record-breaking matter-of-fact dissection of proceedings, but buoyed by the win I really didn't expect the comments nearer the top:

"A disgusting performance"

"More dull dross from the Blues... Chief among these changes should be the dropping of McCarthy and maybe Barry... I would like to see Osman play next to one"

"We're going backwards at the moment."

"If we don't get six or seven players in for next season, I really fear for us..."

"As for Lukaku, all I would say is thank fuck he's only on loan: nowhere near good enough."

Wow. There's also call that are young slot-in centreback made naive mistakes... well that's because he's young and um, naive. The same with having McCarthy playing alongside Barry... balancing experience with youthful exuberance. Of course at his stage of the season our players will be tired... or "shit" if you're fickle.

Lukaku's going to be a great player. He scored today, and we won. Both he and Barkley are still returning from injury so the aren't fully fit.

Seriously, some of you guys need to put this into perspective. It wasn't the greatest but this is still Martinez's first season... did most people expect us to be fifth at this stage? Was it really a disgrace of a performance or a bit of a struggle who really are in about to have to scrap for survival. Forget us looking like we were 3-1 down after the break, with the comments on here you'd think we were 15th, not 5th.

Alex Jones
401 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:51:01
If McCarthy is such a great holding mid why are we conceeding so much? If you line up as defensively as us (with essentially 6 defenders) and yet your defence is shit, then surely you are doing something wrong.

We don't play with any flair and our football is worse than it has been in years. Equating meaningless possession stats with good football is a misnomer. We just don't look like scoring and scoring is the name of the game.

We used to create plenty of chances under Moyes but had no decent striker and now we do but we don't create any chances.

What disturbs me most is how blatantly obvious it is to anyone who watches us with even a modicum of knowledge that this system is not getting the best out of our players. And yet Martinez refuses to change it.

We played some great football under Moyes and we played some utter shite too but under Martinez we are consistently dull and insipid. I don't go into any games thinking they might be entertaining anymore. It's a foregone conclusion we will be shit and that's not a good place to be in as a fan.

Jamie Barlow
402 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:06:00
No one's moaning about the win. Just a lot of moaning about the WAY we won. All justified in my opinion. It's shite to watch so we'll say it's shite to watch.
Jim Knightley
404 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:06:14
We won. And winning whilst playing badly is usually a necessity for success. But that badly?

I don't understand what Martinez, or some ToffeeWebbers, see in Stones. Practically everytime I've watched him play his positioning has been appalling. He doesn't play like a Prem centre back...he doesn't even play like a Championship one. Obviously he was nervous today, and made a dodgy pass or two, but his complete ineptitude in terms of positioning is what concerns me the most. Letting Heitinga leave and bringing no one in was madness when the alternative is Stones and an injury prone Alcaraz as 3rd choice options.

We were poor in most areas today. Barkley, again, was not good enough. He did well to score, but he has produced so little of late. He hasn't come near to justifying the hype imo. Mirallas was also poor again for stretches...but he played a great ball to Lukaku.

We did win. And that fact alone says we performed better than we realise. But something isn't right at the moment, and Martinez needs to rectify it before the end of the season, or United and Spurs will finish above us. Jags coming back will help massively, but we need to get the balance right in midfield too. A playmaker is a must next season imo, either in one of the wide positions, or instead of Barkley in the centre. Barkley has alot of potential, but he is excessively wasteful, and if he wasn't English, he wouldn't receive half the hype he has. He needs to set up more, use the ball better, and score more to justify a place in our starting 11 next season.

Patrick Murphy
407 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:10:14
We scored THREE times today TWICE against Cardiff and all of the other games we have won we must have scored at least ONCE. The defensive side is I believe due to the loss of Jelavic and or Felli they used to win a hell of a lot of headers from opponents free-kicks and corners and we haven't got anybody in the side who can do the same job.

Dull and insipid - well stop watching then, have you watched most of the other sides in the Premier League outside of the top 4 - if you think we are dull and insipid god knows what those other teams must be like to watch on a regular basis.

Also in defence of the team we have Lukaku (20), Barkely (20) Stones (20?) and McCarthy (23) who are inexperienced and obviously prone to off days and we have the likes of Osman and a couple of others who wouldn't even be allowed to train with the big clubs squads never mind be important members of the first team pool. Today was a poor poor performance but it doesn't mean that the whole season has been a disaster - I often wonder why some people even bother being Blues they seem to take no satisfaction from watching the team no matter what the result

Kieran Riding
408 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:20:59
Patrick #407
Jags is a massive miss..

But did you see how many those kids slotted past Howard on Sport Relief last night ?

Phil Walling
409 Posted 22/03/2014 at 18:28:40
Mike, unlike you I do watch both teams. When Everton are less than impressive, I do feel I have the right to say so!
Jamie Barlow
410 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:19:56
"Dull and insipid - well stop watching then"

How about watch it and then comment about how dull and insipid we were? After all, it is a forum to express how we feel about Everton and comment about the way they play.

Patrick Murphy
411 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:22:53
Sorry Kieran I didn't watch it – far too much red in the show but I did hear that we did something or other for charidy.
Mike Hughes
412 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:20:49
RM has stated post-match that CL is still the target. He reckons 71 points will be needed. That means 17 from a possible 27 points.

It also means Arsenal only getting 9 points from their remaining possible 24. Personally, I can't see it.

Mike Price
413 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:13:09
I can hardly ever remember us being lucky but that was a lucky win, adding to Coleman's fluffed shot too; it's about time we got a slice.

What's worrying me is that RM suddenly seems a bit slow to change things when things are clearly not going to plan and his substitutions aren't as effective as they were earlier in the season. A bit like Wenger keeps doing with his high defensive line against fast attacks... it doesn't work.

He has to sort it quickly because if we beat Newcastle and Man City beat Arsenal, oh and we beat Fulham, then top 4 is definitely on again!

Kieran Riding
414 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:25:28
Patrick, Aye.. Loads of Red in it.. The Ian Rush "milk" sketch made me laugh I'm ashamed to say.

The league table is full of possibilities for us looking into it, fixtures etc... Were not playing great, but I thought we played great against Chelsea and got nowt the other week. So playing gash and getting 3 points is sound with me.

To get negative... A Jelavic goal will deffo blow our Champions League chance in the last game of the season!

Ray Robinson
415 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:23:04
Jim @404. Whilst I agree that Stones was not very impressive today and that his positional sense was poor, I fail to understand how you can’t see the lad’s potential. Based on what I have seen so far, there is an excellent centre back in there – but he’s maybe 2 more seasons away from being a regular.

I shudder to think what Bony would have made of Heitinga, by the way, as the latter just cannot cope with big physical forwards. We sorely missed Jags today. Just as well that Sylvain had a good game.

I don’t think I’ve seen a team this season have so much good possession in our 18 yard area – other than perhaps Chelsea – but I thought that this was down to the defence as a whole rather than just Stones. We just didn’t close down or mark tightly enough.

We could easily have lost this one.

Patrick Murphy
416 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:24:34
Jamie, the comment "Dull and insipid" was a summation of the whole season not just today's performance. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion and mostly it is well thought out and reasonable but to suggest that the whole of the campaign has been dull and insipid is in my opinion grossly unfair on the players.

Thank god we aren't down among the dead men struggling for points because I'm not sure if the fans could pull the team out of the fire any more if they were called upon to do so. I'm not even sure that the fans could will us on to win in the upcoming home games against Arsenal and the likes which in recent seasons would have been a given.

Brent Stephens
417 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:24:45
Denis #398 "I would rather play shite and win than play well and lose, any day."

Denis, they are not the only choices. A third choice is play reasonably well and win, for example.

To just accept the 3 points today is burying one's head in the sand because that sort of performance would at other times result in a loss. In which case you have the fourth choice which is play shite (your words not mine!) and lose! So do you want Roberto to just say – "Doesn't matter that we played shite, 3 points gained, don't need any analysis or learning from that"?

Tony Abrahams
418 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:08:24
Let's just see how the next two games go but it isn't looking great despite the win. We looked to be lacking energy again and this must be due to the small squad – or were we trying to conserve energy because we now have two away games to play?

Barry wasn't involved much and although he got an assist Mirallas was really poor again today. Biggest miss today was Jagielka, we need him back urgently.

Stones is not physically strong enough at the minute and when he plays against brawn he's just not up to it just yet. We collapsed in the FA Cup when Giroud came on but this kid is going to be a top player when he turns into a man. If we could just find some energy inside Goodson on and off the pitch then things would feel a lot better. Win the next two and I'm sure this energy will return.

Nick West
419 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:33:16
Just to help redress the balance toward the positive – we won today. Move on.

We can still finish fourth. That's always how you should think if you're playing in a team. There is absolutely no profit in negativity... as RM would no doubt tell you. I'd hate to think how some of you fellas look at the other aspects of your lives.

Amit Vithlani
420 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:40:52
Johnny Stones is quality. He struggled today as Bony was excellent at finding space and his understanding with Distin is not perfect. However, he reminds me of a young Kevin Ratcliffe. Composed on the ball and capable of making crucial interceptions. The boy is 19 and has tremendous potential. If he keeps developing he could be one the best acquisitions we have made in recent years.

Brian Denton
421 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:51:59
Amit, I think you're right about Stones. But I also think he will make plenty of mistakes getting there, and it's up to the fans to make allowances.
Andy Crooks
422 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:48:44
Has Alcaraz had a leg amputated? John Stones might have loads of potential but he should not be playing Premier League football at the moment. He should be out on loan in the Championship.

Playing badly and winning is often the sign of a good side. However we, too often, are playing well and losing. I just hope that Roberto doesn't try to polish up what was just shite.

Brent Stephens
423 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:54:12
Agreed, Stones made a few errors today but he's developing and I guess will come on much more – Stepping Stones. Love the guy's poise and confidence. Maybe just a bit too confident at the moment. At times Row Z is the best option. But love this guy.
Steve Guy
425 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:54:29
With tin helmet and body armour at the ready I would just like to say that some contributors need to get over themselves. Sometimes you win ugly and I am old enough to accept that as better than losing ugly or playing like Brazil 1970 edition and also losing.

We have played some great football this season; way better than the 11 years of turgid dross we endured under Moyes. We have a positive manager who is inspirational to both players and most fans. After taking knives to a gunfight, I don't know what the Martinez equivalent is but he clearly doesn't start off with an inferiority complex going into matches.

We have played much better this season but, with only a few games to go, I would take a realistic chance of Europa League and an outside chance of Champions League and hang the silky footie until next year. I would suggest you do too!

Kevin Tully
426 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:56:16
Swansea were very good, far better one- or two-touch football than we attempted to play.

That said, we are in 5th (3 points above the current champions with a game in hand) and 4th is still achievable.

That tippy-tappy shite will get us relegated – but not this season.

We need to play better, but so do Arsenal. I'll take 5th and a record points total. Some won't.

Kevin Rowlands
428 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:06:58
Our No 1 priority this summer should be to bring in two strikers and a creative midfielder to replace an ageing Osman, we seen all three in action today, Bony, Michu and Shelvey, wishful thinking I know but we saw today what they can bring, especially Bony. As for Lukaku, thanks Jose but you can have him back.
Greg Murphy
429 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:08:48
Admittedly not an ideal comparison but that's now our third best "start" (after 29 games) since 3pts for a win was introduced in 1981.

1984/85 = 60pts (+31)
1986/87 = 55pts (+30)
2013/14 = 54pts (+13)
2004/05 = 51pts (+4)

Brian Denton
430 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:26:18
Kevin, bit of a leap in logic to say that this tippy-tappy shite - currently being played by players who are not used to it and not always best suited to it - will get us relegated... not now, but in a future season, when players will be more used to it and those that can't adapt retired or replaced.
Darren Hind
431 Posted 22/03/2014 at 19:41:24
I agree with Ray @415

Stones is a truely outstanding prospect, but by center half standards, he's not just a rookie, he is a baby. His inexperience was exposed today and I believe it had a detrimental effect on those around him. He will have his inexperienced exposed a few more times before he becomes the finished article. No real harm done; he 's got one of his inevitable lessons under his belt and we still won.

I don't understand how or why anybody should be upset by the criticism of today's performance; unless you are very easily pleased, it was very poor, often even unprofessional. Most people in attendance today will have forked out around 50 quid getting to the game, for what? A performance that will have left them feeling cheated... They are entitled to criticise. I think 'dull and insipid' is a fairly accurate way to describe many of our performances this season – and that's why the criticism is growing louder.

Sometimes people have to accept that some of the criticism of Martinez is fair and justified; you can't always blame the refs, the players, or even the fans... well, you can, but it doesn't lend credibility to your argument.

Still... we are still in there, if Martinez can find his A-game, the players will follow.

He must be sniffing the panic coming from The Emirates, even from up here. If he can somehow inspire his troops to take advantage, nobody will give a fuck if some of our games were "dull and insipid".

Mark Frere
432 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:29:17
I think some posters on here need to learn the difference between people being negative and constructive criticism – merely posting what they saw in a game.

When we played well, like we did earlier this season when we went to Old Trafford and the Emirates, most people are more than happy to heap praise on our players. When we don't play well, like today, then it's worth discussing where we think we are going wrong.

Nobody's saying that we aren't happy to be in 5th place with 9 games remaining, or Martinez isn't doing a good job.

Kevin Tully
433 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:29:27
Apologies Bri - there is no sarcasm font. Just attempting to make a tippy-tappy point that 5th position is not really the fault of the one-yard pass.

In fact, it must be effective after all, or is it?

Or maybe the hoof to Lukaku would have won more games?

Hoof and rush is where it's at brother.

Kieran Riding
434 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:46:39
Kevin... I read "That tippy tippy shite will get us relegated " imagining Begbie off Trainspotting was saying it.


Greg Murphy
435 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:46:39
Apologies, it's our fourth best:

We had 59 pts after 29 games in 1985-86 (+32).

Can't imagine what made me almost airbrush that season from memory!

Craig Mills
436 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:41:09
You know what — we were bloody lucky today, but there have been games where we have been bloody unlucky... so let's be thankful it's another 3 points in the bag and let's get on with enjoying our Saturday night,

The beer tastes all the better when we win — even if we didn't deserve it!!

Iain Johnston
437 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:14:32
The club has had mediocrity brainwashed into it for years. Most of the players have historically gone through the motions at this stage of the season for a decade. Even when we finished 4th, we were garbage after Christmas. Average has been acceptable at the club for too long.

Why did Mirallas choose us over Arsenal...? Because he knew playing at the Emirates requires 100% Luckily the older core players are coming to an end, hopefully to be replaced with young hungry players who have ambition.

The "Baines needs Pienaar to play" bullshit is exactly the type of excuse which will win us nothing... He's England's number one fullback, for fuck's sake! Martinez has to knock that out of them and that will take him longer than 6 months.

Kieran Fitzgerald
438 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:41:54
I think that today's performance was exceptionally poor compared to other performances generally this season. If you compare today's game to the Cardiff game last week, they are chalk and cheese. Last week, we controlled the game for long spells and would have been out of sight by half-time only for their keeper.

I think that today's game, while a shocker, is something of a one-off. I really don't think that we can play that badly again. We have Newcastle on Tuesday. They are no world beaters. Delboy will be fresh for that game, as will Osman and Naismith. Alcaraz will also still be available. I think that we will see a different performance Tuesday night.

Peter Jones
439 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:47:09
John Stones is the best young centre-back at his age I have seen since Brian Labone at the same age. He made some errors today but stayed strong for 90 minutes against the most sustained pressure we have had to undergo this season – and that includes against the Shite.

We are basically a defensive team and Martinez is a defensive manager. Defensive managers can be effective – look at George Graham – but it eventually palls. We should be building a team for next season now rather than hanging on for 3 points desperately but that is the opinion of a fan. I am sure a professional would see it otherwise.

Bobby Thomas
440 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:36:29
Stones has clearly got bags of potential but he is learning at the sharp end.

Centre halves generally don't tend to mature until they get towards their mid-20s; people are going to have to cut the lad some slack. He is a baby in terms of his position and will only be better for this.

Plus, not giving young players a chance was one of the reasons people hated the last fella so much, wasn't it?!

Martinez certainly is brave, I will give him that. We were very, too, open today and, combined with Stones in as well, it could have blown up in his face.

It nearly did, as I didn't think we deserved to win the game: however, we capitalised on a quick, higher tempo, improved start to the second half, one of the few occasions we imposed ourselves on them.

One thing is, you only tend to notice how important Jags is for us when he isn't there.

John Daley
441 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:49:29

A few weeks ago, the typical shout was: "We can't keep bossing games and getting beat. At the end of the day it's all about getting the 3 points. It's better to win ugly then play well and come away with nothing."

Now, we're winning when under par, and the shout changes to "Yeah, we got the win but the performance was shite. It's not just about the 3 points, we need to be playing better stuff so we can say we deserved it."

Peter Mills
444 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:44:24
Not the best of performances yet, despite my in-built pessimism, I always thought we would win. Indeed, I was confident that my fiver bet on us to win 4-1, as recommended on this site, would come in.

McGeady showed some very good pace and skill. Mirallas and Lukaku have to be more aggressive, and learn when to pass. Stones is very talented, but he is 19, very very young to be playing centre-half for a top 5 club – he will learn, but it will probably be at our expense.

I like McCarthy, just wish he would carry the ball forward a little more. Howard made some excellent saves... The next 3 games are crunch time...

Kevin Tully
445 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:56:27
Ha Kieran, I'm going a little Begbie meself at the mo. Go back out and feel the wrath on the morning? Or just act my bastard age?
Kieran Riding
446 Posted 22/03/2014 at 21:00:16
Kevin... When I find myself feeling like this.. I find a bit of George helps me out...


Peter Jones
447 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:57:27
We have never bossed games this season. We have kept possession and occasionally scored goals through excellent play but they have been rare. We have essentially defended well via monopolising the ball usually against poor opposition.

Teams which have sussed us out, like Liverpool, Arsenal in the cup and Swansea today, have worked out that, if they pressurise us so that we don't keep possession, then our defense is vulnerable.

OFM worked this out to our advantage which is why we have such a good record against the likes of Swansea. It is a case of the biter bit.

Kevin Tully
448 Posted 22/03/2014 at 21:03:10
Kieran Riding
449 Posted 22/03/2014 at 21:08:44
I call my own Kevin..
Tom Martin
450 Posted 22/03/2014 at 20:21:03
I read a copy of the "Roberto Martinez, Life Story" Magazine at the game today. I am a big fan of his and I'm also a programme seller. (we were selling copies). It contains a number of highly complementary articles about him from various people who know him.

Dave Whelan, whilst singing his praises, makes what I think is a very interesting. not to mention worrying, point. He says something like, "although Roberto was a very good midfield player, he lacked the killer instinct". I do hope that they are not prophetic words!

Mr Whelan's words are an apt description of RMs team this season. Whilst most of us are finding this season really refreshing, I do hope that Roberto will not only be willing, but able, to bring in at least one "20-goal striker" before the beginning of next season.

My own feeling is that although it could be said that none of our players are playing fantastic at present, a lot of our problems would be solved if we had a Fast, Mobile, Striker who would give our defense and midfield someone to aim at when they look up the park.

Raymond Fox
452 Posted 22/03/2014 at 21:15:44
Why not give the opposing manager & team some credit from time to time!

Our form lines stand up to the closest scrutiny. We're not a top 4 squad this season, in fact I cant see us being any time soon either.

The only teams in front of us are the 4 most talented squads out there. Bloody hell, quite what some of you expect to see each game I've no idea!

As for team selection & tactics, it's not like RM has a multitude of options has he.

Wayne Smyth
453 Posted 22/03/2014 at 21:03:30
Peter, we're not defensive. We just aim to retain the football. When we attack, we attack with numbers.

We don't boss for 90 minutes because our players are not good enough and we are in a transition season with the players getting used to each other and a new system. Only a handful of teams generally boss games.

We didn't boss games for 90 minutes under Moyes, either. So no change there, either.

John D hits the nail on the head. Initially this season, our performances were good, but results didn't come as often as they should. Recently its been the opposite.

We've had 4 tough away games to rich sides, lost most of them narrowly in terms of performance, and some in terms of results. Injuries to a large number of our squad has not helped. Confidence is bound to be low, so I'd not read anything into performances too much.

Tom Bowers
454 Posted 22/03/2014 at 21:40:48
The bottom line is that Blues are still in with a shout of 4th place ,albeit a longshot. Everton have been sometimes lucky of late but still getting the results and all-in-all deserve to be where they are despite being the ''poor'' team in the top seven.

Everton have still been difficult to beat having only lost 5 games, the same as Redshite who's leading goalscorer alone has a bigger contract than all of the Everton side together. Okay, I exaggerate somewhat but you know what I mean.

We shouldn't gripe about how they win sometimes simply because on other occasions they have played really well and not gotten the three points. The chopping and changing in the team doesn't help but I am sure RM will learn a great deal from this, his first season at Goodison, and that he will do even better next season.

John Daley
465 Posted 22/03/2014 at 22:52:59
"I think some posters on here need to learn the difference between people being negative and constructive criticism"

I love that Mark. Especially bearing in mind your earlier comment:

"A disgusting performance from our players"

For some reason, I'm now picturing 'Parents evening with Mr Frere':

"Evening, Mr and Mrs Chew. I'd just like to give you some feedback on your son's recent performance in class. I was going to offer some criticism.... perhaps say something like 'he should really be able to reel off his 5x table by now'....but I decided that it wasn't quite 'constructive' enough.

Basically, for a four-year-old, your son is an absolute fuckwit. He's like the Fu Manchu of fuckwittery. Fu Mong Chew.

Seriously, he's mastered the art of dumb motherfuckery to such a degree that my fellow teachers and I are beginning to suspect he may have been possessed by some kind of dunce demon... or Dave from Chas and Dave.

As for your daughter, Penny? Well, young Penny is performing superbly in all her classes but, having said that, she is something of a fat cunt.

She needs to shed some of that beef before the other kids start bullying her, calling her shit like lbs (y'know... instead of Penny), Porky, Penny the living planet, Little Miss Mammoth, Asteroid Arse, Accordion Chin, Hefferlump, or Honey Boo Boo's mum."

Eddie Dunn
466 Posted 22/03/2014 at 22:43:39
For me, there was a definite gap between our defensive players and our attack. Where was a link man?

Swansea played well, and deserved more from the game. However, this was a more clinical performance and we scored, or looked like scoring whenever we ventured into their half.

Stones made mistakes, but often made up for them himself. He deserves our patience, and will become an excellent player.

Arsenal are getting closer... Keep going boys!

Mark Frere
473 Posted 22/03/2014 at 23:49:23
John (465)

Very witty mate - love it!

TBH, I wasn't in the mood for being articulate after just witnessing that lacklustre performance, I decided to take the blunt approach. Thank god I'm not a primary school teacher.

Jimmy Hill
486 Posted 23/03/2014 at 00:42:49
Yes but, Mark Frere, you should take note of John Daley's comments; 'constructive criticism' means it adds some value and suggestions for possible improvement. Yours and many others on here are a long from being constructive in any way shape or form. Simply it's moaning.

Well said, Mike Gwyer, too couldn't agree more. We won and won ugly – for me, that's mark of a good team... and I don't see the keeper making saves as being lucky – that's what he is there for. Well done, Howard!

Last week, if it had not been for the Cardiff keeper, it would have been 5 or 6. If we win all our games ugly till the end of the season, I don't give a shit.

Neil Pickering
498 Posted 23/03/2014 at 06:44:33
I’ve been saying it for months on here, Bony should be our top priority in the summer. Quick, strong, and scores goals.

Oh, and don’t forget the old saying: ’Rome was not built in a day’. Unlike under Moyes, I can see a plan with Martinez, and when I see him on TV in his press conferences, I don’t feel like topping myself like I did under Moyes.

We are doing alright. Keep the faith.

Ged Dwyer
519 Posted 23/03/2014 at 10:17:23
I can't believe the comments from Alex Jones. Barry and McCarthy have been a revelation this season and are the main reason we are up there. And, if we replaced Barry with the lightweight Osman, we would shed points like we did against Sunderland.

The problem with the team at the moment is that we are not getting a good 90 minutes from the flair players like Mirallas, Lukaku and Barkley. They produce flashes of brilliance but don't have any consistency (Barkley hampered by injury).

Barry and McCarthy keep winning the ball for us and start passing the ball around but, when the ball gets to the final third of the pitch, then it is given away cheaply, Barry and McCarthy win it back again, start passing it around again but all too often one of the flair players give it away cheaply again.

But the football is far superior to anything Moyes ever came up with. And our centre midfield is far superior to anything Moyes came up with. Neville and Osman, be serious!

Peter Jones
530 Posted 23/03/2014 at 10:31:46
We played better football with Osman and Gibson in midfield than most games this season. Our main tactic seems to be to defend by denying the opposition the ball. Some like it. I don't.
Dave Williams
536 Posted 23/03/2014 at 10:59:04
Ste (#396) sums it up nicely. Not good yesterday but we have also dropped points when playing well so let's concentrate on the win. As Ste says, if we win our games in hand and beat Arsenal, we are two points off 4th. We would also only be eight points off 2nd which is obviously too much to claw back but is not a bad position for the manager's first season.
Colin Grierson
540 Posted 23/03/2014 at 11:10:38
Oddly, the debate seems to be about whether people should be negative when we have won. You can if you want, I would say. We got 3 points and should be happy with that. I don't think people are bemoaning the nature of the way we played so that we can say we deserved it as has been alluded to though. I think all Blues want to see us playing a quicker more incisive passing game.

I can see why posters are not happy with the Barry and McCarthy partnership as it does lead to non-progressive possession which leads to losing the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch. Stones is one for the future but we are in the present and are badly missing Jags.

I personally think Osman's role is where we need to strengthen as he is showing his age but I still think he offers more threat than most when he is playing.

As for Lukaku, he is a great player but he's inconsistent. My biggest problem with him is his first touch which is akin to that of a 1970s TotP DJ.

3 points = bewildered grin whilst shaking my head.

Colin Malone
543 Posted 23/03/2014 at 11:29:36
I said it last week and I'm saying it again his week: Barkley and Lukaku need the ball passed to feet, they were asking all match when the opportunity arose around the box, but the ball went square again and again. These two have the ability to turn defenders.

McCarthy has got to learn to receive the ball as Barry does, instead of putting his arm out saying don't give me the ball, I've seen it too often.

Geoff Evans
544 Posted 23/03/2014 at 10:44:55
Dear Mr Martinez, you have been at our club now for three quarters of a season, and still this club is no nearer to winning every game we take part in and certainly not with the style that some of us expect.

With nine games to go, we still have Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and one other above us, you've only won just over half the games you've played, you've wasted five others by losing them. May I remind you that's one more loss than the current leaders.

On top of this, your defence has leaked more goals over the season than two of those sides above you, seven and three respectively.

I know you will probably hide behind the old chestnut that these clubs have chairman that actually regularly invest money to achieve success; may I point to Man Utd and Spurs who are both below us to dispel this over-worked myth.

To conclude, Mr Martinez, us patient Evertonians, especially the older ones like myself, are used to the heady days under such greats as Walker, Lee, Smith, and of late Moyes... I have to say it Mr M, you're certainly not one of them.

Clive Lewis
545 Posted 23/03/2014 at 11:52:52
Seriously... How we won, I don't know, I would have accepted a draw and a good performance because I am starting to worry when our luck is going to run out against mediocre teams. Sadly I fear for the future if we continue to slide into a team that looks inconsistent and basically Wigan-like under Martinez.
Kevin Tully
546 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:03:25
We should really stop underestimating the 'smaller' teams in the Premier League. The massive injection of TV money has allowed these teams to go out and spend big money on players, and our big signing this season has been the norm even for the likes of Swansea, who paid £12m for Bony.

Add the fact that they are fighting to stay up and no game will be the walkover some suggest it should be.

That's not to say we played well yesterday – we were poor... but got all 3 points. We got nothing from Spurs and Chelsea whilst being the better side in both games. Sometimes the ball runs for you, sometimes it doesn't. Fine margins.

Brian Harrison
547 Posted 23/03/2014 at 11:55:46
Yes, great to pick up another 3 points and, as RM says, the points are the most important thing at this time of the season. But I would love to know what has happened to the team from around November and December who were playing good attacking football and keeping possession for large chunks of every game. Whereas lately our tempo is getting slower and slower, our possession is mainly between our defenders and our defensive midfield players.

Seems the players are frightened to play any early ball forward and would rather go back and across to make sure we keep possession of the ball. Possession of the ball is important but it should not be the only defining part of our game, the Chelsea game against Galatasary showed that Galatasary had more possession and a better pass completion than Chelsea yet they were never in the game.

So RM, you have said that the remaining games are like Cup finals... well, let's play them in that manner and let's see at least one of our defensive midfielders join the attacks, let us play with the passion and pace that we were only a few months back.

We have lost our last 4 away games, 3 in the league and 1 in the cup; if we have the remotest chance of finishing 4th, we will need maximum points from our back-to-back away games.

Shane Corcoran
548 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:24:30
Geoff Evans, I hope the irony isn't lost on you of calling yourself patient after the rant you've just had at Martinez after three quarters of a season in charge.
Geoff Evans
549 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:31:21
Shane, the whole point of the thread was irony, mate.
Kevin Tully
550 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:32:45
Wayne Smyth
551 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:49:36
Brian, injuries.
Colin Grierson
552 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:50:11
Shane, that's the best post I've read in ages! (Assuming of course that you were being ironic about the irony infused post from Geoff...)

Madness and genius! Such fine margins.

Brent Stephens
554 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:58:30
Colin, are you serious?!
Simon Howett
556 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:40:04
I am constantly surprised by supporters constantly slagging off players, performances and generally Everton on this website. Whilst I agree yesterday's performance was not the best, we got 3 points and have now won three back-to-back Premier League matches, which hasn't happened for a long time.

The constant criticism of many of our players is what worries me most. John Stones for example is a young 19-year-old centre-back who would probably be 4th choice if it was not for injuries. He is the youngest CB in the Prem... Some of his performances have been nervous but some have been excellent, namely West Ham.

Barkley is being criticised again, but he scored and won a penalty and he looks like he is coming back to form from his injury.

As for the season as a whole, we are on course for our biggest ever points total and we will be getting close to most goals scored in the Prem as well. Under Martinez, we have scored 4 goals at home this season – something dour Davey could not do in his last season after 11 years. We have developed a whole new style of play and a new philosophy of football is being implemented. Our manager talks about our history and embraces Everton in a way DM rarely did. WE attempt to win every game. We have only been thrashed once this season.

A perspective is needed. We are 5th with a game in hand on the Arse. WE have not spunked £100million on players and gone through several mangers. Goodison is a fortress at the moment and many of our away games are winnable. WE have suffered some long term injuries and some have come in clusters but we have come through. Our loans are not Drenthe and Stracq, they have been quality and have brought something to the squad.

I am delighted with the way the season has gone and I believe we will move up another level next season; 4th is probable but, with the demise of Arsenal, who knows what could happen.


Anthony Washington
557 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:39:33
Mike (413)

You're right about RM's use of his subs; the first part of the season he was excellent with his changes from the bench. But to me RM deffo changed since the derby defeat... what that is, I can't quite put finger on it!

Eugene Ruane
558 Posted 23/03/2014 at 11:58:50
Obviously, it's nice to win and get three points (always) but right now I'm not too concerned about results or where we finish or if we get Europe etc – my main interest is how we go about games and how we'll go about games next season.

Had yesterday's performance come in the 10th game of the season and we were still trying to find 'the right way', I wouldn't have been particularly concerned (frustrated maybe but...)

The problem/concern with yesterday, for me, was simple: Compared to our performances earlier in the season (even our early draws), for long periods, we looked hopeless. Or, to put it another way, I think the Everton that played Norwich away would have battered yesterday's Everton.

Yes, Swansea deserve/d credit (a good side lacking a defence); and yes, I'm familiar with the disruption injuries have caused, but none of that excuses the PACE we played at yesterday.

I'm a fan of RM's passing game but it absolutely needs to be played at (a certain) speed – once it slows to the degree it did yesterday (and imo last week), it's effectiveness is almost gone.

Also, without screaming "SHOWER O' LAZY CUN.." the movement yesterday was woeful. Passes played into spaces where no-one had moved, players bunching up, getting in each other's way and concentration was terrible.

I've often thought that (if such a thing exists) a concentration expert (!?) should be brought in and rather than listening to 'rousing' team talks ("Now come on lads, fucking get into them!!") each player was told (every week!) 'you must think about EVERY pass, about the weight of pass, the proximity of opponents to the man you're passing to etc etc.

As twee as the onomatopoeaic tiki-taka might sound, that appears to me to be what RM is striving for (nb: which I'm 100% all for).

But if tiki-taka becomes tiki...............................................taka, we are going to be making things much easier for our opponents and much harder on ourselves.

James Martin
559 Posted 23/03/2014 at 12:54:12
I'm not sure what people are complaining about. To improve as a side, we needed to become more consistent. In the past few seasons, it's been great home records mixed with dismal performances away and in big games. Clearly something needs to change if we have one of the best home records in the league but we're coming 7th.

Now we're playing in a similar manner every game. You get the odd extremes either way: Newcastle and Liverpool at home, when the system clicks perfectly; Liverpool and Arsenal away, when it falls of its axis and breaks. In between that, most games have been played the same. Yes, sometimes it's boring but had we beaten Sunderland at home or not thrown away the first three games, we'd be smack in the hunt for 4th. What more do people want?

We've had three season ending injuries, one of which was to our key midfielder who has dictated our style of play the last two seasons. We also had a crisis in January with injuries. Apart from the cup exits and the Anfield match, I think it's been a very good effort this season, especially considering the relentless pace of the top 4 all showing title-winning form.

Raymond Fox
568 Posted 23/03/2014 at 13:37:04
I thought our main problem was that their players were given far too much room. They were allowed to find space & pass it about without much pressure from our defenders. I said earlier though, sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition; if they had finished well, we could have easily lost the game!

No doubt as any season progresses opposing managers suss out your strengths & weaknesses & will make it as difficult as they can for you to play the way you want to.

As I also said earlier, RM is limited by the size & quality of our squad, that's where the spending power of the money clubs tips the balance their way.

It wasn't our finest hour yesterday but I think RM has done a great job in the short time he has been the manager, all we need now is 2 or 3 more top quality players.

Good players make the manager's job a lot easier!

Simon Hermansen
573 Posted 23/03/2014 at 14:12:56
Our problem, or current reality if you like, is that we don't have enough of the right players to play the RM way.

DM played more to players' strengths (or limitations) but RM is putting some players well outside their comfort zones and as the season goes on this is showing more and more.

I'm with RM all the way but its a massive work in progress and we should be proud to look at the table and see how we've done despite our means.

I just hope RM gets the finances and the time he needs to get us to what he wants the team to be... that's the bit I'm worried about.

Paul Smith
607 Posted 23/03/2014 at 00:02:55
I'm sorry but I am getting a bit fed up with our testimonial type football. We do not press anyone to try and get the ball off them and fear any team with a bit of nous will take us to the cleaners.

In my opinion, we only played for about 15 mins after half-time when we quickened the tempo and had a good go; until we do that on a regular basis, we will struggle to break teams down.

Shane Corcoran
608 Posted 23/03/2014 at 16:33:58
Oh dear, I need to hold the biggest hand I have (my right one) up in that I didn't read the thread and therefore missed the irony of it.
Apologies to Geoff and a "I can't accept" to Colin.
Geoff Evans
620 Posted 23/03/2014 at 17:04:47
Shane: No worries.
Jamie Crowley
625 Posted 23/03/2014 at 14:06:35
John Stones is one of the best Prem younger players I've seen this season. He's going to be one of the best Everton players we've seen in quite a while in my opinion.

I can not believe the amount of criticism this boy is taking.

Play on loan in the Championship? Andy Crooks I couldn't disagree more.

This kid is has bags of talent. I'll take his errors as he learns his craft at nineteen years of age any day of the week.

We won. Fourth is still on. Please go find your happy pills. The negativity is so thick here I'm about to open up my house in Florida to the whiners so they can get away - you need some sun and beach to cheer you up.

Geoff Evans
626 Posted 23/03/2014 at 17:40:03
Jamie you can't reward negativity, I'll go!
Jamie Crowley
630 Posted 23/03/2014 at 17:46:44
I think I just did...

Manchester to Orlando. See you next weekend.

Phil Sammon
632 Posted 23/03/2014 at 17:43:51
Absolutely agree Jamie!

The lad looks like he is going to be top quality. What he needs is games and support from older players. With Jags and Distin he is in a great position to learn from some terrific pro's. If we get Europa League next year then he will get even more games, which can only be good for him.

As an aside, he is one of the most grounded, humble and likeable young players around.

Chris Corn
638 Posted 23/03/2014 at 18:17:45
Nice to see some sense regarding the young players. As soon as there is a dip in form there is a rush to write our young lads off.

Have to agree that the shout for Stones to go on loan was extremely poor. He's far better off learning his trade with Jagielka and Distin then playing in the Championship. Because Barkley has not been winning games single handedly he is over rated. Deulofeu gets the ball taken off him and he is a waster. They will make mistakes and thats how they will learn.

Lukaku has scored 30 goals in two seasons and there is still ten games left, so he clearly has ability. Yes, hes not our player but why slag him? His record is there for people to see.

Moyes was criticised for not trusting youngsters, now Martinez is slagged for giving them a go. Can't believe it really.

Colin Grierson
709 Posted 23/03/2014 at 21:50:51
Brent, I was being ironic, mate, as Shane has manfully held his hand up to speed reading Geoff's 'letter to Roberto'. His response did make me smile, as did Geoff's letter. I'm partial to a bit of ironic sarcasm. As I'm sure is true for many on here, I grew up with it!

Shane, fair play to holding that big right hand up.

Jim Lloyd
714 Posted 23/03/2014 at 22:19:30
I think we missed Pienaar.
Paul Roberts
789 Posted 24/03/2014 at 15:29:45
I am, frankly, disgusted at the level of negativity and vitriol in these comments, and, more worryingly, in the report itself. I was at the game too. I did not see "dross", or witness a "disgusting" or "dreadful" performance. I witnessed many of those in 1994, 2000-2002 etc. We are 6th in the table, a point behind the 5th placed team with 2 games in hand. We've just completed our 8th home win in a row. Everything about our trajectory suggests a bright future. And yet there seem to be a huge number of people who just winge and moan. Really? Get a life. I honestly think the club would be better off without you.
Eugene Ruane
791 Posted 24/03/2014 at 15:45:50
Paul Roberts (789) - All that negative whinging and moaning (about..er..people negatively whinging and moaning) became instantly void with 'get a life'.

Still it must be reassuring to know you're not the only person who uses the completely meaningless, pointless, only-makes-the-user-look-daft expression.


(do you do the hands?)

Paul Roberts
821 Posted 24/03/2014 at 19:12:02
Eugene. The fact that you would go to so much trouble and effort to try and belittle another's opinion only serves to reassure me. Grow up.
Denis Richardson
826 Posted 24/03/2014 at 19:49:19
Brent 417 - first of all apologies for late reply. In response to your saying that there is a third option which is win whilst playing well, that is well... stating the blindingly obvious.

Fact is however that we are Everton and we've played shit football for the majority of the last 25 years! Obvioulsy it would be nice to win and play well regularly but the first and foremost aim with each and every game is to win. Having followed Everton for around 30 years, playing well and or nicely whilst winning for me is just a bonus!

Every fan has an opinion and every fan is entitled to have a moan/criticise but a vast number of posts on this website go over the top imho - maybe people are simply being melodramatic to gain attention, I don't know. I would ask What exactly do people expect?. That we play like Man City most weekends and stuff teams 5-0 regularly? People need to have a bit of perspective, the team and Martinez are having a great season considering and whilst some of the recent football has not been easy on the eye and involved a large slice of luck, we have been picking up wins after a really tough run in January and February. How often do we win three league games in a row or score three goals in a game?

Yes the performance against Swansea was below par, the team could and should play better but....we scored 3 goals and got 3 points, so why all the long faces and people behaving as if we're about to sink into a black hole?

I just feel people should give more credit to the team for winning and then criticising the performance a bit rather than just laying into the team and ignoring the fact we actually won the game - like quite a few posters on here have done. Some people even moaning that we create so few chances under RM and that we created so many more under Moyes - we scored three goals FFS! So we created at least 3 decent chances! I remember many Moyes games where we didn't even have a single shot on target, AT HOME! Seems some people obviously don't know what KITAP means and would like to go back to Neville and Heitinga in CM with Straq upfront!

I remember how utterly depressed I was with Moyes, in comparison am so happy to have Martinez (to be honest pretty much anyone) than Moyes. Let's get behind the team and push them to the end of the season and see where we finish, in what will only be the managers first season as well as half the regular first team.

Will be at the Fulham game come Sunday - before that lets hope we can get 3 points tomorrow and keep the run going - regardless of the performance.

Graham Mockford
831 Posted 24/03/2014 at 20:34:46
I know we want all see Roberto succeed, but I do think some are getting a little carried away with what's been achieved so far.

We've definitely had a decent season results wise, we could still make a run at 4th place but I've not been convinced about our performances in the last three months. But 9 months in I'm not prepared to judge Roberto yet, two or three seasons are needed before I can do that.

However this myth of exciting football is wearing a bit thin. I certainly think the recent side of 2007-08 were much more attractive to watch. Unfortunately Moyes never managed to make the progression, in fact it declined over the following five years.

Eugene Ruane
836 Posted 24/03/2014 at 20:52:41
Paul Roberts - (821) "Eugene. The fact that you would go to so much trouble and effort to try and belittle another's opinion only serves to reassure me. Grow up"

Three things;

1) You tell people who see things differently to you to 'get a life'. This suggests they don't have lives and (by implication) that you do. How incredibly belittling!

2) Teachers all through school told me to 'grow up'. I looked at them in their tatty tweed jackets, sweaty two-bob bri-nylon shirts, beige cavalry-twill kecks and grey Norvic slip-ons and thought 'What..and be like YOU!? Fuck that!"

3) It was much less 'trouble and effort' than you might imagine. When I saw you'd used the 80s American-babble classic, I immediately remembered Alan Partridge had used the expression (because he's the type who would!). I clicked on YouTube – 'Alan Partridge, Get a life' – up it popped, copied the link, done (about 19 seconds in all.

Brent Stephens
839 Posted 24/03/2014 at 22:13:05
Hi Denis #826.

I see where your coming from and I don't think I'm a million miles away from that. 3 goals, 3 points again, looking good re position in the table in Roberto's first year, a great defensive record not the goal deficit many had feared under Roberto.

And yet, Saturday's game (and my thoughts were mainly about that and recent performances) left me pleased about 3 points but uneasy about how we were overrun in midfield so much. I just hope we can sort that problem and unlock defences more and more often.

So, on to Fulham, COYB!

Dennis Stevens
841 Posted 24/03/2014 at 22:19:00
You do make me smile sometimes, Eugene [no easy feat, as I'm a miserable git]: " ... about 19 seconds ... "!!!
Paul Roberts
920 Posted 25/03/2014 at 12:28:09
Eugene (836)

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks"

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