Lets get it straight: I like thousands of fellow Evertonians I am wallowing in the type of football we are playing, the dominance in all games, the really great feelgood factor emanating from the club at the moment. Undoubtedly we should all feel or expect that the Champions League is the target. Being realistic, though, it will still be a tall order considering the number of clubs vying for the top 4 places and, unfortunately for us, all seem to be churning out the results week after week.

I felt outwardly that Liverpool would have a real toughie yesterday against Stoke, but inwardly had a feeling that they would succeed in getting the 3 points we missed out on a few weeks ago. Even though they were slightly fortunate, they still came away with a victory and scored 5 in the process. And I feel it emphasised to me where we could be short.

After the game, out of sheer boredom, I looked at the match stats for both Evertons and Liverpools recent games against Stoke, Hull, and Norwich. We and Liverpool have played them on same home and away basis since December and I wondered whether the stats would concur with the feeling I have that we are just too short upfront. I suppose its obvious as we all know we just dont have a Suarez. But since Ive done it Ill show you them.

On average over the 3 games we had:

  • Possession 64% to Liverpools 52%
  • Shots: 20 to 17
  • Shots on target: 5 to 12
  • Corners: 9 to 3
  • Goals scored: 1.7 to 4
  • Goals conceded 0.7 to 1.

It’s total dominance, but a lack of cutting edge for us.

I feel at the moment that the Premier League is likely to be won by Man City (huge squad and three great forwards), with Chelsea running them close (just sue to the Mourinho effect). I still have worries that Man Utd with a fit Van Persie and Rooney will come good, but hope to God they dont... but I feel the 3rd and 4th places are between Everton, Liverpool and Arsenal.

I know its sacrilege stating this but I do feel the attacking qualities Liverpool have over Everton and Arsenal will give them 3rd place. Can we outgun Arsenal to the 4th place? Can Bill & Bob find us a future potential 30m forward on the cheap in the next 3 weeks???

At the end of the day, all good or great teams have that extra super quality forward: like Suarez, Aquero, Negredo, Van Persie, Rooney... give them two chances and theyll score one; they create something out of nothing. We are not quite there yet, but we are giving it a real go on the cheap.

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Patrick Murphy
1 Posted 13/01/2014 at 14:54:49
I was a little perplexed when reading another Everton fan site how little they thought of the Blues' chances of CL, saying we have drawn too many games and that our slow start to the season would cost us.

Yet a large percentage of them couldn't see the Dark Side losing too many matches Are they really playing that well? I wouldn't know personally as I have only seen them at Goodison and refuse to listen/watch/read about their exploits Come on Roberto get a team together and shut those lot up and for at the same time give some of our fans a much needed boost to their belief in the Blues' who seem to fear them to the point of distraction.

But I look at the table and guess what we are only a point behind them, not a great gap is it? As for the slow start we have taken 41 points and that equates to having won all our home games and drawn 8 away from home. not exactly too far off the pace.

However, I do think that the injury to Barks is a huge blow to our chances and if we don't buy anyone really useful we could suffer as to the other lot we don't care do we?

Steve Carse
2 Posted 13/01/2014 at 15:50:17
Can't disagree with this but in the absence of an outstanding goalscorer we need to be better than we are in making the final pass. Two or three times every game we engineer positions where we outnumber the remaining defenders, only for the final ball in to be misplaced or wrongly weighted. The four teams above us (with the possible exception of Arsenal) are far more clinical when they get to dangerous positions. Witness the RS last two goals yesterday.
James Fletcher
3 Posted 13/01/2014 at 15:57:54
I think at least part of this comes down to the decision making of Mirallas. I can think of at least three occasions where he should have passed the ball through to Lukaku but held onto it instead when we were outnumbering the opposition and the same can be said to an extent of Deulofeu in some of his earlier games. I think they are both learning from this and we may see the goals per game increase in the coming months.
Timothy Sebastian
4 Posted 13/01/2014 at 15:57:50
I actually don't think it's a question of which team has more or better forwards who can score goals. It's about goals coming from all sections of the team - forwards, midfielders and defenders. Winning games doesn't mean always scoring 4 or 5 goals a game, entertaining though it may be. A single goal will do, as Mourinho's Chelsea proved some years back when he won his first Premier league title. If you recall even further back when Everton won the League Championship in 1987, the goals where fairly distributed throughout the team. And the 1985 Championship winning team had Sheedy, Steven and Mountfield in double figures together with strikers Sharp and Gray. So the cutting edge in terms of goals needs to come from the whole team, and not just from the strikers. Winning 1-0 or 2-0 is fine, so long as we win and win more than Liverpool or any of the other potential top 4 teams over the second half of the season.
Linda Morrison
5 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:11:06
Totally agree with Mike. The difference between us and Liverpool is Suarez, whatever we may think of him he's on fire at the moment.

I think Arsenal will finish third after Chelsea and Man City with the 4th spot from us, Liverpool and United. Our injuries are mounting up and if we get a cup run it is going to stretch the first team

Having said that I do beleive that Barry and Disitn have a portrait of Dorian Gray in their attics.

Even when Barkley and Deloufe are back we still need either a goal scorer or midfielders that can add to the goal tallys of the rest of the team

I predict that Mirallis is going to surprise us all in the second half of the season and score goals!

Paul Niklas
6 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:16:20
12 wins in the second half it's as simple as that.

Nothing less will do.

Thomas Lennon
7 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:15:52
And the year Lineker came in at great expense and scored lots of goals with few coming from elsewhere in the team we won nowt. A team that can score from any position is the better team - usually.
Shane Corcoran
8 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:20:22
I can only disagree with your reading of United over Arsenal.
Otherwise you're probably spot on.
I hate when stats make sense.
Jason Ingham
9 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:24:04
Interesting stats. There's always a bit of both but I wonder if the shots-on-target figures are mostly down to the quality of the chances we are creating or the quality of the finishing?
Dean Adams
10 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:22:08
"Even though they were slightly fortunate, they still came away with a victory"

Are you trying to guild the lilly? They were more than just a little fortunate. I still believe that if the first had not gone in, Stoke would have kept it tight and the shite would have struggled.

You can see in an open game that they will score plenty, but when the shackles are on, they get uber annoyed and thats where teams will punish them in the second half of the season.

Craig Walker
11 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:40:24
Stoke gifted them two goals yesterday and the referee gave them the third. Suarez and Coutinho are excellent players even though I hate the former with a passion. Gerard is still effective and Sturridge will get goals. Mignolet has made some crucial saves this season. Apart from that, I think they are pretty ordinary. I don't rate Sterling. He's quick but greedy and makes bad decisions. I'm not having it that Henderson is a good player. Their back four get away with murder every set piece.

I hate them. I really do.

Kevin Tully
12 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:34:49
If we can match our points average for the first 21 games, that would see us on 74 points after 38.

Here are 4th place points totals for the past 10 seasons, starting with last season ;


If we want 4th, we will need mid-seventies probably.

If you want to look on the bright side, we are 1 point behind Liverpool, who unfortunately have the most prolific striker in world football at the moment.

So we're not doing too badly! The derby could be the deciding fixture for a C.L. spot.

Lee Jamieson
13 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:43:47
Martinez has all his eggs in one basket at the moment because if we suffer an injury to Lukaku we are knackered as we would have to put Vellios in up front and trust me no one is going to keep Liverpool, Man U and Arsenal out of the champions league with Vellios pulling the trigger.

We are seeing the squad really stretched at the moment as Gueye's appearance on the bench on Saturday demonstrates. If we have the money I hope Martinez uses it to bring in another striker. I would also like to see him bring in either on loan or permanent something along the lines of what Harry Redknapp did when he brought in Van der Vaart. I don't know if we have the money for something like that but someone who was maybe 32 and looking to just come on as an impact sub but someone with real quality. I think that would give the squad a real lift take a little pressure of Barkley and Lukaku. I have no idea who these players are like I will leave that to Roberto.

Patrick Murphy
14 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:47:03
The derby match will be important in the context of the season, but it won't define the outcome - wasn't it in February 1986 when we beat them at their place thanks to Rats and Lineker and thought that we had all but clinched the title, but it never panned out that way. Nobody knows how many points will be needed - we can speculate and have an educated guess, but we don't know for sure.

Even if god forbid we slip up in our next two away fixtures there would still be ample time to recover and we have been a lot further behind the top teams and closed the gap in previous years - why shouldn't we be able to do the same this season.

Injuries, loss of form, nerves will all play a part in the rest of the season, let's hope Roberto manages to convince his team that they are more than capable and that they prove him right - if we miss out so be it but now is not the time to panic although some do feel that it's never too early to do so.

Karl Graham
15 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:48:03
We will finish above the Shite I'm more confident than ever they were gifted 2 goals by a combination if rubbish defending and poor referring there was an own goal and 2 on the counter attack. They haven't got the guile to break anyone down and Suarez only scores against smaller teams his Premier tally against the other members of top 7 is 12 in 31 which is hardly heroic. Man United rely on 2 players so if they don't return soon they may have too much to do. Spurs are bottlers and will hopefully get caught up playing too many European games.
Brian Harrison
16 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:46:26
Sadly I think that all the usual suspects will occupy the top 4 placings, Even as bad as Man Utd are at present when both Rooney and Van Persie have played they have lost only once. As for Liverpool yes Suarez is on fire but they cant keep a clean sheet to save their lives and that means they have to score at least 2 to win a game, and they have already lost 5 games this season. The only clubs who have a chance of finishing in the top 4 besides those I have mentioned is us Spurs and Liverpool, and I think it is worth remembering that we have only lost 2 games this season. So we have lost the least in the Premiership so far, but maybe the amount of drawn games maybe the reason we might not get 4th.
Len Gowing
17 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:59:32
Many teams have won with "lack of firepower" as several have stated above. I think that we should not worry about not scoring for fun and just work towards the points required.

Looking at the stats for top 4 finish over last couple of seasons, at 21 games in, between 37 & 40 points has done it. Granted this season there are more in the race, but what it boils down to is how many of the games we gain points from those not in direct competition.

There are 17 games left, of which we play the direct competition 3 at home (MU, ARS, MC) and 3 away (RS, TH, CH). Now forgive my optimism here, but the 11 other games should all be winnable. Of course they won't be, but with the football played this season would it be too optimistic to hope for 23 points ?? ( 5 x home wins & a couple of aways with a draw and surprise loss thrown in). You would hope that we could be in the region of 63/64 points without having played any of the 6 pointers.

So what you have is the stats that show RS winning and scoring goals freely,We now have 6 games, home and away, 18 points to play for against direct rivals with them all having to play each other.

I think RM said somewhere 70 points was the target. RS Draw, TH Win, CH Draw, MU win, Arse,win, MC Draw - Why not?

James Martin
18 Posted 13/01/2014 at 17:02:11
A lot of it comes down to how the two teams play. We look to dominate possession, draw the opposition out then cut through them. This way of playying also allows us to have a good defense. When we’re not quite at it though (crystal palace) or when a good defense decides to sit in because they can’t get the ball off us (stoke) it becomes tough to score. When we are at it or if a team comes to take us on we can see of anyone as was shown at I’d Trafford and the Emirates.

Liverpool on the other hand play reactively. Their game is based around scoring first defending and then utilising the space on the break. They do it very well. Their midfield is almost so poor on the ball that they allow lesser teams to come out and play even at Anfield. That’s why you see ridiculous things in their games like Norwich and Stoke trying to pass it around. They then have carthorses like Henderson to get it back quickly and get Suarez in onto a one on one quickly as possible. The problem comes when you meet better sides. Even with a goal advantage against us City and Chelsea they couldn’t win one of them. When you give up control of the ball like they do you rely on the opposition and the top teams punish you for that. When Arsenal scored first Liverpool literally had no clue how to get back into the game. The issue for them becomes how do they improve? We have a system wherein we could add top attacking or midfield talent and get better. They already have one if the best strikers in top form for them and they’re only a point ahead. If they buy better midfielders who want to get on the ball then their counterattacking game plan goes to pot and they don’t get so many goals on the break. They never use to win at stoke because they’d hoof it to stoke and pulis’ team would hoof it straight back. Stoke made the mistake this time of trying to play football and were punished for it.

In the long run we will be better served with Martinez’s philosophy. If we want to win stiff then you have to win bug games and Rodgers doesn’t win many of them at all. There aren’t many good teams who go far without playing on the front foot in control of the ball. The revs will do their best to get them into fourth but I would rather play how we are regardless of the goal difference than how they are. That is not the school of Science and it is not how the good Liverpool sides of the past played. Brendan goes on about tiki taka pass and move but really it’s just good old kick and rush with one wotkd class player.

Ian Burns
19 Posted 13/01/2014 at 17:04:49
Thanks for the Article Mike - very interesting and I can understand clearly your sentiments even if I don't 100% agree. My own thoughts on the matter have already been pointed out in posts here, in that it is far better to share the goals around, which is what you tend to get from a team playing the sort of football we are at present under RM.

I also agree that a new striker would be most welcome but there is another part of me which would prefer any spare funds to be spent on a quality DM to cover for Barry/McCarthy (or even push McCarthy further forward a la Alan Ball and play the new potential recruit alongside Barry). I say this because I can see Mirallas playing through the middle and in some ways given the style of play we are now enjoying - dare I say it - be a little more productive than Lukaku. (That is NOT a negative shot at Lukaku because this guy does so much work off the ball, it is often not appreciated.)

However, Mike, unless you have forwards such as those at Man City; Suarez (spit); RVP and/or Rooney, sharing the goals around rather than relying on a single forward is far more enjoyable and long may Coleman; Oviedo; Baines; Barry; Mirallas continue to find the onion bag.

Steavey Buckley
20 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:48:14
The next 2 matches are vital for Everton to secure 4th spot, lose the next 2 and Liverpool gain the maximum of 6 points, 4th place looks remote. And it could be not a worse time with Barkley and Defoleu out injured to provide the blues with attacking options.

A lack of goals are caused by erratic shooting. The times I have watched matches this season when players have managed to shoot high and wide when easier to put the ball on goal when in sight when in good positions.

In the last match, Osman managed to put the ball high and wide when in front of goal when just outside the penalty area, when it was easier to hit straight at goal, as I closed my eyes in disbelief and wondered, how is it possible to miss so far.

The answer to shooting problems is a lack of composure and not being able to see where the goal actually is as a shot is just about to be taken. To correct this, eyes before a shot is taken should be fixed on the goal when just about to shoot instead of relying on instinct for the feet to know where the goal actually is.

Barry showed in the last match with his eyes fixed on the goal, was able to hit the ball in the right place on goal well away from where the goal keeper was standing ; as was the same with the free kick of Mirallas.

As for corners, how many times this season has a corner been taken when the ball is hopefully floated into the penalty box as defenders normally head or kick the ball away from the danger areas? When corners are more dangerous when swung in with pace, giving defenders less time to know how to deal with them, so, providing more opportunity to score from a corner kick.

Wayne Smyth
21 Posted 13/01/2014 at 16:56:00
If we are to finish in the CL spots we need the rich teams to slip up. That was true in August and is still true today. Their squads are generally better than ours and they have individuals with fantastic skill and ability.

We have a very strong team when our best 11 is available and can be a match for them if they are not at their best, but it will always have taken a slice of luck to finish in any of the first 4 positions over the course of 38 games.

What we've been doing well this season is beating teams we would've lost to in previous seasons, and we've kept doing that even with half the team out injured. On those occasions when we can't break them down, we generally get a point which keeps us in the hunt.

It's as tight as I've ever known at the top and I think injuries will be key. We've got McGeady in to provide a bit of pace and a more useful substitute than Naismith. If Martinez can buy a good replacement for Jelavic and we start getting the injured players back then we should be well set for the run in.

Unlike the clubs who've spent heavily and have key players demanding CL football, as a club there is no pressure to finish in the top 4 spots. As a fan there is no expectation that we need to do it, either. I think Roberto is the perfect manager in terms of keeping the stress levels in the team down and this will also be important when it comes to the last 5 or 10 games.

As Patrick mentions, the derby game - as well as the matches against all our peers - will have added significance. If we can get a point or 3 then we will be giving our own chances a massive boost.

Bill Gall
22 Posted 13/01/2014 at 17:14:42
The moment that R.Martinez was hired most supporters were split between (a) He was the wrong manager and (b) Lets give him a chance and see where we stand halfway through the season.

At this point a lot of supporters are pleased at the clubs position and can see that we have a good chance to qualify for Europe either in the C.L. or the Europe cup.

The problem that I can see at the moment is the injuries and the players being transfered out leaves us short on coverage. For the first time in years Everton do not have a centre foreward under contract only a loan player.The 2 players who were backup Jelevic and Anichebe have been sold and changing the shape of the team if Lukaku gets injured may cause problems.You can only paper over cracks for so long.

This brings us to the January window that so far has got us a player who I think the position that he plays in we allready had coverage for, and a lot of rumors. Everton are going to need a proven striker to (a) replace Lukaku if he gets injured and to lead the line next year and (b)a top class midfielder to replace some of our aging midfielders who struggle over 90mins.

This is the time the club need the manager to be given funds to buy these type of players so once again regaldless of comments made in the media it is up to, one of the most unreliable persons in Evertons history B.Kenwright to put up or shut up.

One player who is mentioned today Batshuayi unless the manager can see in him more than what I read about him at the price quoted it seems he will just be a backup and not the future #9 we require.

Brian Waring
23 Posted 13/01/2014 at 18:11:57
If Suarez get's injured, they are in deep shite.
Patrick Murphy
24 Posted 13/01/2014 at 18:16:10
I agree that we do need our 'own' striker and that the loaning of players is not ideal and that has led some to question the policy. However, aside from Jelavic in his first spell we haven't had a striker of any note for many years in fact our most prolific 'Striker' last season was Felli. The problem with strikers is that they cost a lot of pennies in transfer fees and wages and whether we like it or not we can't really afford what we would all like to see.

We have a plus 15 goal difference which makes a pleasant change as for many seasons we had a negative goal difference for large portions of a season.

I can't remember when I said it this season or last season, but we really need a talisman similar to Ferguson, Cahill or Rooney not necessarily a striker but someone of that type of personality who the crowd can get behind. But we do have 41 points from 21 games which I believe to be our best tally at this stage of the season in the PL era. But as always we seek perfection and it can be a long hard road.

Karl Graham
25 Posted 13/01/2014 at 18:31:06
We share our goals around and do not just rely player which means teams cant say stop so and so stop the team. Both United and the Shite rely on goals from mainly 2 players although United are now starting to find other ways. We will have better idea when the windoe shuts where everyone is cos all teams us included need additions. Im cautiously optimistic about our chances but we are gonna require something that always seems to desert us luck.
Jeremy Benson
26 Posted 13/01/2014 at 18:31:26
I wouldn't be overly concerned. Liverpool are a one-trick pony; it used to be Gerrard, now it's Suarez. If he gets injured, suspended, bad run of form, then they will rapidly slide down the table.

And will he be there next season?

We aren't in a minority regarding a cutting-edge striker either. 17 of the Premier League clubs are after one too. The reality is that finding those strikers of that immense quality and consistency is very difficult, and the top 4 have been through countless hundreds of millions trying to find them (and failed in some cases).

The odds are against us finding one in our price bracket everyone is trying to bag a 20-a-season man for <15 million. Rather than trying to find one "Suarez", I'd rather just have another "Lukaku". Two good 15-20 a season strikers is better than one great one.

Dean Adams
27 Posted 13/01/2014 at 18:46:28

You have just stumbled onto RM plan. We need an injection of luck, which as the saying goes, "the luck of the Irish". So Bobby your plan is in the open!!!

Jim Bennings
28 Posted 13/01/2014 at 18:43:30
I think you may find that if we had the money to go out and buy a Suarez or Van Persie then you would probably find a cutting edge at the end of all the good footballing moves.

As it is we have only Lukaku, a loan striker who most likely wont be here next season and a long term injury to Kone.
We do need too try our best and find a striker this month to improve our chances of top four qualification.

I was a little worried by what I read from Martinez regarding the signing of McGeady, it went something like 'signing Aiden will mean less pressure on us having to find a replacement striker for Jela leaving'.
Now I am not too sure I know how McGeady coming in, means we don't need an out and out striker to come in and pressure a mis-firing Lukaku, let alone replace Jela.
McGeady is unlikely to even figure before at least early February if reports are to be believed, due to a lack of fitness ect:

The target has to be 10 more wins,we have won some massive games so far, Chelsea, United away, Swansea away but we have failed in many winnable games at Palace, Cardiff, home to West Brom, home to Sunderland.
If we are proper serious then we must go to the Hawthorns next Monday and take all three points, they have won just three matches all season and basically we have better players than them but its the exact kind of game where all too often we have slipped up and drawn.
Then we welcome what needs to be done in the Liverpool match.

Denis Richardson
29 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:11:08
Tough ask and yes ratboy just won't stop scoring. However, Liverpool tend to blow hot and cold. All it takes is an injury to Suarez or loss of form and they drop like a stone as the goals dry up.

All we can do is take it one game at a time and if we put enough wins on the board we'll be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. At the end of the day, whether you win 1-0 or 5-0, you'll still only get 3 points. And at least we're not nearly so reliant on one player.

They have the 2nd best attack in the league and 9th best defence. We have the 2nd best defence and 6th best attack - so not actually that much in it.

Points are the only thing that matter and we're only one behind at the moment.

Phil Friedman
30 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:11:05
Jim 133: we can only hope he meant that he could now use Mirallas up top in some cases, either to give Lukaku a breather or as a second striker. If he doesn't then we will fail in the CL quest unless he brings in another striker he can count on for some scoring.
Colin Glassar
31 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:16:47
No problem Jim, we will batter the baggies.
Geoff Freeman
32 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:19:42
When I first started reading this site I realised that though I had been watching our team from 1958 and spent all my working life on the buses most of my fellow fans are experts in finance or are qualified coaches. For me at the moment Roberto has given no reason to doubt his judgement, so I'm going to enjoy the 2nd half of the season
Colin Glassar
33 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:41:55
Hear, hear Geof. In Roberto I blindly trust (for the moment) as he's done nothing to shake my faith in him since day one.
Steve Cotton
34 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:47:29
One other point to mention is that, should the RS get 4th place, they will be given a preferable seeded draw against Minos FC from Iceland. On the other hand, should we get 4th, it is nailed on that we would get one of the Milan clubs or the equivalent.

So 4th for us is not the same as 4th for them.

Colina is cleaning his boots as we speak!!!

Bill Gall
35 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:42:20
Brian #116
Saurez was suspended for the first 8 games and I think liverpool managed ok without him. The thread of this article is evertons lack of firepower by 1 player. As quoted we seem to be spreading the goals around but we could do with a 15-20 goal a season type of player.

Mr Martinez,s comments on differant players providing coverage makes me think that if the type of player he wants is not available during January he will not be upset about it.The problem is with injuries and selling of players it is starting to stretch the squad to far.

Mick Davies
36 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:20:36
Bill Gall @115, I was neither a) or b), I wanted Martinez (and suspected something was brewing) after he spoke so fondly about our club after his Wigan side had just taken us to the cleaners. I had been sick of the turgid displays from the team and manager for years, and when an informed Man Utd friend told me in January that they were getting our boss, he seemed bemused when I said I'd pay his taxi fare to OT.

And yes Bill, a lot of supporters are pleased at the club's position, but more than that, we appreciate the seismic shift in philosophy, attitude and positivity that arrived in the summer. The expectation is understandable but with it must come a sense of reality: Roberto hasn't been at the club long and to 'expect' CL qualification is both unfair and delusional. The squad he inherited was weak in numbers and structure, and for him to impose his long term football strategy on a club that had been playing a totally different concept of the beautiful game, and introduce some new and young faces, takes time. I personally think we'll see the benefits of his regime in the next couple of years - but a cup final win would be nice! (Well I am a fan too)

Joe McMahon
37 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:59:03
I agree, the final ball is taking too long, Naismith missed a fantastic chance to feed Lukaku but didn't. They may try hard but Osman and Naismith would not feature in an Arsenal (et al) side.

We will never have money or a new owner due to the dump that is Goodison, and if he is here long enough I think it may take Roberto some 3 - 4 years, until we have shaken off the Moyes years of... well nothing.
Somethings won't change Sadly the global appeal of Liverpool is always going to give them extra revenue, Christ they can even afford to pay human-flesh-eating Ratboy over 200k a week. They will always get at least 15 penalties a season, and the media is always going to be full of ex-Reds.

Bill Gall
38 Posted 13/01/2014 at 20:05:39
Mick#153 I never said I expected CL qualification I just stated that there was a good chance of qualifying for Europe in either the CLor the Europe cup.
Steve Pugh
39 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:53:44
Geoff,144, it always amazes me how many former players there are on here, Obviously they're not using their real names but, judging on the comments they make, they must have been right at the top of the game.
Jim Bennings
40 Posted 13/01/2014 at 20:16:49
I hope your right about us battering the Baggies. I wont be at the Hawthorns on Monday, watch it on telly but I have been there four times since 2003 and its a ground we never seem to play well at, we won there on New Years Day 2012, worst game ever, but good win and I can remember being there when we got 4th in 2005 but lost 1-0 and I was there when we lost 2-0 last season so I am hoping my absence will improve our chances.

With regards to the striker situation. I don't really know about playing Mirallas down the middle. He may do well there but I ask myself if he does play well down the middle why has he never been used there in nearly 2 years since joining us?
I would feel more at ease with a striker coming in and deep down I reckon Martinez would feel that way too, whether there is anybody available for the money or on loan who knows.

I did have a thought that maybe we could have borrowed Robbie Keane on a similar Donovan type loan until March.
Past his best but still knows where the net is, and has good experience...Oh and he is Irish.

Dean Adams
41 Posted 13/01/2014 at 20:25:56
Steve Pugh

Glad someone else spotted that.

Iain Thomson
42 Posted 13/01/2014 at 20:28:13
Im hoping an under the radar striker comes in we have barely heard of and he proves to be a success. Overpaying for average players who are hyped up in the media isn't what we need.

I agree its likely between us, liverpool and man u for 4th...Id take our defensive players over either of theirs and I feel its our defense that may see us make it to 4th.

Liverpool did ok during the Suarez ban..just sayig

Oh and Ryan Gauld...please God ..........( I know hes hyped, but as an investment there is no doubt he will gain in value massively)

Sean Patton
43 Posted 13/01/2014 at 20:44:17
Why compare us and them against Stoke and Norwich? what about the league leaders away from home when they played at the Emirates they got schooled but when Everton played there we played them off the park and got a deserved point.
Adam Luszniak
45 Posted 13/01/2014 at 20:40:38
It would seem to make sense that Mirallas could be used as a striker now that we have Mcgeady. I can't see him doing the kind of knockdowns that Lukaku excels at and he isn't going to muscle too many people off the ball. That said, he knows where the net is, has great control and decent pace. He hasn't fully convinced me on the wing this season but he scored some great solo goals last season.

As for the OP, it would be great to have a 20 goal a season man, but I actually think it is a great advantage to have so many different scorers. I see it as a testament to the way Martinez has set up to play, we make opportunities all over the shop.

Patrick Murphy
46 Posted 13/01/2014 at 21:02:16
Hasn't ratboy got a website of his own yet - god knows I'm sick of hearing about the obnoxious little toad - I don't care if he breaks Deans record he'll always be a horrible little so and so and doesn't deserve any credit what-so-ever who needs the tabloids when everybody else is worshiping at his alter.
Jim Bennings
47 Posted 13/01/2014 at 21:22:03
I think we always tend to see more from Mirallas when he switches over to the left, he gets more joy cutting inside and trying to shoot or bamboozle defenders with trickery, whereas on the right he does seem to flatter to decieve with too often a poor final ball into the box.

It would be hard for him to bully Premier League centre halves and I am not sure he would be the key to our striker problems really.
Its a bit different scoring goals for fun in a poor standard which the Greek league is in all honesty.

The trouble we seem to have is we have Deulofue, Pienaar and Mirallas who in my opinion all seem to thrive more on the left wing, out of the three I think Delboy takes to the right side the best.

It will be interesting to see what McGeady brings to the table, another tricky customer who likes to get the ball and run so at the minute we look fine for wide players.

Kevin Tully
48 Posted 13/01/2014 at 21:30:13
The Michy Batshuayi rumour seem to have some legs, but as a 20 year old just coming into the P.L. you would have thought he is one for the future.
James Stewart
49 Posted 13/01/2014 at 21:42:58
We could sure use a top quality forward. Lukaku is good but still learning his trade and you can't compare him to the best in the league just yet.
Trevor Lynes
50 Posted 13/01/2014 at 22:40:56
The second half to this season is going to be difficult unless we bring in some fresh faces and unload Gueye and Heitinga.

It is at this time that the strength of a team's squad is the difference between success and a near miss. I can easily see us in the top 6 or 7 but gaining a spot in the top 4 is going to be really difficult. None of the top sides are losing and we are in the position of needing to win almost every game to stay in touch. If we don't strengthen the squad as promised during this window, it would be a shame if we missed out through injuries.

Robert Pierpoint
51 Posted 13/01/2014 at 22:47:07

Can we have Jelavic back, please?

Dennis Ng
52 Posted 13/01/2014 at 22:49:45
First, stats brain tells me, how did we average the possession percentage and not add to 100%...

Second, I don't think we kicked into Barca mode until right around the Arsenal game, so we're not sure how they can handle that.

Third, our season should not be defined by the derby. Yes, it can be a huge diff if we won or lose both but both have to play 18 other teams...And they suck, even when they scored 5, it looked like football gods and refs gave them 4 of their goals! Agree with Sean, didn't they get schooled by Arsenal? We schooled Arsenal! AWAY!

Fourth, transfer for an elite striker aside, not scoring on so many chances is normal for a possession team. Barca was like that before Eto'o and Villa. Spain, well, we know they are the Armada before 2008, sinking under pressure. I trust RM to handle it well even without quality strikers.

Fifth, I like Jelavic, but how many goals did he score in the last 365 days? He's not going to add or substract that much from us. Of course, I had hoped he play Norwich so I can see if he righted his own ship but its done. Jelavic's gone. And I'm ok with it.


Harold Matthews
53 Posted 13/01/2014 at 22:29:57
Batshuayi could be trouble. Morata too expensive and likes La Liga. The Icelandic No9 is a good finisher but the one I like is the other Icelandic lad who plays for AZ and the USA, Aron Johannsson age 23. Selected and coached by Klinsmann this lad is clinical with both feet, has tremendous skill and will keep on improving. The dream goes on.
Dennis Ng
54 Posted 13/01/2014 at 23:07:19
Read that Stoke wanted Aron too. Sounds like a great kid to groom. Plus we have the USA connection.
Mick Davies
55 Posted 14/01/2014 at 00:04:10
Bill, I didn't mean it personally, I was generalising about the unrealistic expectation around the club; yes, I want us to win the league, the cup or at least qualify for Europe, but I also understand our predicament via a vis the transfer market, so I won't be suicidal if we fall short. Roberto is giving us all hope but I see this more as a long term plan, and I am looking forward to next season already.
Harold Matthews
56 Posted 14/01/2014 at 00:10:31
Dennis. Mark Hughes is putting in a 5m bid for Johannsson. I feel sick. He must be worth double that and we're after someone Stoke don't want. Just when I thought we had gone up a notch.

Kettle on. I need a cup of tea and a fag.

Patrick Murphy
57 Posted 14/01/2014 at 00:17:17
No sugar thanks Harold - I hope it is purely paper talk as this does seem a retrograde step.
Drew O'Neall
58 Posted 14/01/2014 at 00:49:29
Aron Johannsson looks bang average to me, we need a world class striker and we should have the cash on the basis of BK's comment that RM could keep the proceeds of player sales when he joined... (Elects not to hold breath)
Dennis Ng
59 Posted 14/01/2014 at 00:56:09
Harold, true. I'm just following whoever's suggested by the papers. I think the Belgian kid is good but a bit suspect on the character. Morata would be great but how likely would we get him...I sometimes feel we should just loan the Barca under 21...

On a side note, isn't Holtby on his way out? Maybe we can get him by getting him unsettled! Play the MU card while we can! :)

Drew, kinda agree but those will cost half our club...

Harold Matthews
60 Posted 14/01/2014 at 00:53:34
The old girl next door reckons Jones is not handsome. He is beautiful.

John Terry says he is the best header of a ball in the Premier League but you're right Patrick. It does seen a retrograde step.

Si Cooper
61 Posted 14/01/2014 at 01:03:19
I am amazed by how many football fans can spend so much time watching games and yet observe so little that they are incapable of formulating their own ideas on players, performances, tactics and management. It would be pretty pointless having sites like this if people weren't prepared to present their opinions for consideration and debate. Challenge what you don't agree with, don't just sneer about the temerity of others to express their opinions.

There was a time, many years ago, when I would have been very happy for the club to be interested in Kenwyne Jones. He has never kicked on though has he, seemingly content to become the back-up to some fairly mediocre strikers (apologies if his problem has been terrible luck with injuries). Whatever the reason, he seems like yesterday's man, but maybe the manager thinks he could be a cheap and low risk squad player who can still produce the goods often enough.

I haven't seen enough of any of the players we have been linked with by the press, or those that others on this site have suggested, to have strong opinions one way or the other. I will be irked if the likes of Stoke bring in a gem for the sort of money the manager should be able to get at the drop of a hat, but I understand that we are still not in a position to squander large chunks of what funds we have on long-shots.

Si Cooper
62 Posted 14/01/2014 at 02:10:21
I am confused by some of the posts.

Are we not allowed, or is it not possible, to have a prolific striker and lots of goals spread between another half dozen players as well? Surely the best teams have as much firepower as possible.

David Ellis
63 Posted 14/01/2014 at 02:08:08
I think we fans have forgotten what it is like to truely compete. Yes we had to win against Norwich - no ground was gained because the top 7 all won. They're all good teams, they won't give 4th place to us (or the title). But we're also a good team, and we are improving all the time regardless of injuries. Enjoy the challenge of the competition - I am sure Martinez is.
Eric Myles
64 Posted 14/01/2014 at 00:51:53
Denis #136 "At the end of the day, whether you win 1-0 or 5-0, you'll still only get 3 points"

And at the end of the day, when the teams have the same number of points, the one that has the greater goal difference will be the higher placed in the league.

I'd rather we didn't lose out on CL to the RS on goal difference, that's why I've previously said our chances are not dependent on how well we do against our peers but on how well we put away the bottom teams, which we haven't been.

Sean #172, the above applies to your post also.

Matt Woods
65 Posted 14/01/2014 at 04:25:06
For WBA I would play Mirallas behind Lukaku and Peinaar on the right and slot in our little Costa Rican infront of Bainesy. Mirallas is an infuriating greedy showpony but think he would go up a couple of gears if played in his more favoured position.
Harold Matthews
66 Posted 14/01/2014 at 07:09:56
Matt. I'm hoping the McGeady signing has a positive effect on Kev the showpony. I know he's a "homer"but there was a lot to like about his performance against Norwich. Let's hope his away form shows the same improvement.
Simon Hermansen
67 Posted 14/01/2014 at 07:38:58
Mirallas has bags of potential, just all a bit misdirected at the moment. Something RM will of course be aware of and working on. Also I'm sure he has more than half an eye on making sure he's in the Belgian starting 11 for brazil.

I do agree we need to find a way of playing him more central but has he got the strength and dynamism to play the Barkley role or the presence needed to be a loan striker in the prem. Probably the latter but will RM trust experimentation at this crucial stage of the season?? .. I'd like to see him give it a go in next 2 games will Lukaku ready to come off the bench if needed

Sam Hoare
68 Posted 13/01/2014 at 19:13:02
It's ok. Kenwyne Jones is the new Suarez.

In all seriousness every team could obviously use a clinical striker who converts and creates chances for themselves but they cost a shed load of money. We will surely be buying someone in the next fortnight to help out lukaku but chances are it will either be a young, developing striker or an experienced striker who can help out.

David Ellis
69 Posted 14/01/2014 at 07:46:53
Eric 287 - well pretty much we have been putting away the bottom teams, and more so as the season wore on (given that we drew the first 3 matches). OK we lost to Sunderland in a freak game and Liverpool lost to Hull (and City and Arsenal have both lost to Villa), all the big boys have lost points to lower teams.

But the six pointers are more important because this is where you get your 3 points and inflict damage on your competitors - especially, in our case against Spurs, Liverpool and Utd who are our real competition.

Derek Thomas
70 Posted 14/01/2014 at 07:36:55
Steve Pugh # 163, you sussed me out, my years in the LOBL,CMS and Zingari Leagues have given me insights beyond the ken of mere mortals
Mike Oates
71 Posted 14/01/2014 at 08:52:45
Dennis NGO #221 go back to school for goodness sake . Everton's average possession per game vs Liverpool's average possession per game - NOT. AGAINST each other . It doesn't have to add to 100% .
Eric Myles
72 Posted 14/01/2014 at 11:58:16
David#407, we haven't been putting the lower teams away convincingly by scoring 4 and 5 goals against the, like the RS have, although rather luckily.

And that's what could bite us in the bum at the end of the day when we're tied with them on points. Remember 2 seasons ago when United lost the league to City on goal difference?

Robbie Muldoon
73 Posted 14/01/2014 at 12:28:14
Put a goalscorer like Suarez in our team and we would be talking about winning the league rather than clinching 4th!
Robbie Muldoon
74 Posted 14/01/2014 at 12:28:14
Put a goalscorer like Suarez in our team and we would be talking about winning the league rather than clinching 4th!
Robbie Muldoon
75 Posted 14/01/2014 at 12:28:14
Put a goalscorer like Suarez in our team and we would be talking about winning the league rather than clinching 4th!
Robbie Muldoon
76 Posted 14/01/2014 at 12:28:14
Put a goalscorer like Suarez in our team and we would be talking about winning the league rather than clinching 4th!
Robbie Muldoon
77 Posted 14/01/2014 at 12:28:14
Put a goalscorer like Suarez in our team and we would be talking about winning the league rather than clinching 4th!
Robbie Muldoon
78 Posted 14/01/2014 at 12:28:14
Put a goalscorer like Suarez in our team and we would be talking about winning the league rather than clinching 4th!
Robbie Muldoon
79 Posted 14/01/2014 at 12:28:14
Put a goalscorer like Suarez in our team and we would be talking about winning the league rather than clinching 4th!
Robbie Muldoon
80 Posted 14/01/2014 at 12:28:14
Put a goalscorer like Suarez in our team and we would be talking about winning the league rather than clinching 4th!
David Ellis
81 Posted 14/01/2014 at 14:40:30
Eric yes, their goal difference is worth an extra point, best way to fix that is to beat them 5-0 in the Derby.
Harold Matthews
82 Posted 14/01/2014 at 14:31:59
Robbie. I think we'd need him to clinch 4th.
Bill Gall
83 Posted 14/01/2014 at 18:01:06
Mick # 251. I am fully in agreement with you on the unrealistic expectations,mostly based on the players we should buy quoted by a number of supporters. This is why I wrote an article called (Can Everton Compete In The Transfer Market). My thoughts on this was the money we are supposed to have for transfers from various sources may pay for a transfer but we will start putting the club in financial difficulties by paying obscene wages to this type of player.

As you and a number of other supporters are saying the manager is laying a solid foundation for the future of the club and as the saying goes (let's learn to walk before we start to run).

Dennis Ng
84 Posted 14/01/2014 at 18:36:03
Mike (319) You don't have to be rude to point out he meant the last 3 games each team has. He said "over the 3 games we had" which sound head-to-head. I would have said "over each team's last 3 EPL games" which would have made it clearer.

OF ALL THINGS YOU PICKED, you picked the one that can be interpreted either way and be such a jerk about it. WELL DONE!

Tahir Abdullah
85 Posted 15/01/2014 at 18:06:00
Lack of firepower, I think not. Comparing our goal scoring stats vs the RS as a function of matches vs. Stoke, Hull and Norwich does not constitute statistics.
The assertion is that our risk of non-achievement of a CL place is significantly related to our lack of a Suarez, Negredo, Aguero, Van Persie or Rooney type of forward/striker is simply inaccurate and imprecise to boot. If the aforementioned does have any merit, How then does one explain the consistent top four achievement of the Arse (especially last season with a "green". Giroud spearheading their strike force) during the recent past (even beyond the Henry years). In terms of possessing a super quality forward, Chelsea this season is in a similar position yet their lack of a super quality forward does not see them being mentioned as at risk of losing out on a CL (note the rs with the potent Ratboy are not considered a threat to the Arse or Chelski losing out on CL).

One interesting stat not shown here is that our top scorer this season is Lukaku with 9 goals, 4 assists, 49% shots on target. Compare this to the Arse, where Giroud is top scorer with 9 goals, 5 assists, 30% shots on target. Now compare both to Negredo who has 9 goals 3 assist, 43% shots on target. Based on the assertion that Negredo is a super quality forward, then it would appear as though EFC does (at long last) have a super quality forward in Lukaku. Rat boy in current form is in absolutely phenomenal goal scoring mode, yet his presence does not relate to EFC losing out on CL to the shite (lots of stats on our overall team performance supports this).

A stat which might actually relate to our potential loss of a CL place is the difference in number of assists between us and the rest of the CL chasing pack with Barkley leading in the wrong direction with 3 goals and 0 assists. Ironically Kev, the anointed selfish one has 3 goals and 4 assists.

Karl Masters
86 Posted 15/01/2014 at 23:20:08
’Kev the anointed selfish one’, made me chuckle!
Harold Matthews
87 Posted 15/01/2014 at 23:21:20
Yes Tahir. Your last paragraph caught the eye because it highlights a discrepancy in this stats stuff which often involves Barkley.

He will beat two or three opposing players, surge forward and feed the guy who makes the assist. He is praised on Match of the Day and Sky but the stats give him nothing. He is brought down for free kicks from which we score. The stats give him nothing. With so many Directors of Football using stats when buying players, it's no surprise that many turn out to be duds. They can be very misleading.

James Hodgson
88 Posted 16/01/2014 at 21:08:56
Can I ask a serious question here? Where is the money going?

I'm constantly told by my Evertonian mates that the club have a lot of outgoings and can't compete with the so-called big boys. But I've seen the club sell players for a substantial profit for a number of years now and buy relatively cheaply. Everton have been in the Premier League for 20 years and, with the amount of TV money that's come in during that time, I want to know why the club seems to be always trying to get Champions League football on the cheap.

With all of this and no stadium improvements or high salaries paid, it seems to indicate a board similar to the Glazers at Man Utd. The Everton debt is not exactly huge but it does sound like someone or some people are taking money out of the club. Right now, Everton are a point from 4th, with serious investment, tehy could make it. A similar thing happened last season if I recall correctly: opportunities passed up in January.

Does the Everton Board of multi-millionaire Directors really want Champions League football? Or are they happy producing quality players like Barkley and Coleman (just to name two) and selling them on at a massive profit???

I seriously want to know why Everton are still in this situation. I honestly don't believe it's solely down to not selling the club to a sugar daddy-type.

Frank Crewe
90 Posted 18/01/2014 at 15:52:57
I don't think it has anything to do with how many goals we score as with how many goals we concede.

We tend to be getting carried away because we have seen a lot of high scoring games this season but you still only get three points regardless of how many goals you score. If you win all your games 1-0 you will win the league.

The one time Everton actually finished in the top 4 Marcus Bent was our striker. Hardly the most prolific scorer in the history of Everton, That season we managed to win a lot of games 1-0.

So it would seem to me if you don't score a lot of goals then make sure you don't concede a lot of goals either. A win is a win. 1-0 is as good as 10-0, So lets not fret about how much firepower we have. As long as it's enough to knock in a goal or two and our defense is strong enough to keep out the opposition we should be OK.

Colin Glassar
91 Posted 18/01/2014 at 16:08:55
Lukaku for 20m in the summer rising to 25m with add-ons. That's why we won't be buying a striker in this window. We will, however, get one in on loan this week or next.
Patrick Murphy
92 Posted 18/01/2014 at 16:14:58
I'm sorry, Colin, there is no way we will splash that much cash on any single player unless of course we sell Barks for a massive fee and I don't think that would be a good thing for the club. I like Lukaku but I think that Barkley is far more important to the club for a variety of reasons.

Colin Glassar
93 Posted 18/01/2014 at 16:19:10
I beg to differ Patrick. We do have the money (Fellaini and Anichebe fees) from transfers, plus the extra tv money (20m) we get at the end of the season. I I think Roberto could have anything between 30-40m to strengthen the squad in the summer. I know BK's history but I think he trusts Roberto and this time will give him money to spend, 4th or no 4th, as he can see we are definitely going places with this manager.
Patrick Murphy
94 Posted 18/01/2014 at 16:30:43
I fully understand what you are saying however, we can't really say that BK didn't fully trust David Moyes any less than he does Roberto, even with what you say about the extra income - I just can't see the banks (who still appear to have a big say in how we spend our money) allow the club to spend so much on one player.

Pat Mustard
95 Posted 19/01/2014 at 18:33:43

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