‘Pre-season does not a great deal of relevance, but it does have some. This is our team playing, our players, and a representative level of sharpness and preparation. We are competitive team, and that competitiveness cannot be properly captured in a friendly. But, that said, we look a little off the pace at the moment. We must improve quickly or we will drop significant points in August again, just as [we] did last season.’
I went on to argue that our first three results last season, and in my opinion our below-par performances, also suggested that we were not up to speed at the start of that season. I think it’s more obvious this season: our tiredness in the second half against a fitter-looking Arsenal team which had played away in Turkey four days previously stunk of a fitness issue.
In six August league games under Martinez we’ve mustered no wins, and 5 draws against: Norwich (A- Relegated), West Brom (H -almost relegated), Cardiff (H -Relegated), Leicester (A -Promoted), Arsenal and Chelski at home. People will rightly argue that we were missing Lukaku, Barry and McCarthy in the first 3 games last season, who became fundamental to our success across the season and that we were implementing a new style.
But these arguments do not hold up for this season. I do not think Martinez’s stint as a World Cup commentator was the problem: Plenty of managers take time off over the summer, and he spent his at the biggest tournament in world football. I think the issue effected the post-World Cup period – we clearly did not get up to 100% quick enough.
This is most apparent in terms of our fitness, but I’d also suggest that we are behind where we need to be mentally, as illustrated by some serious defensive lapses. I’m a fan of Martinez’s attacking football, and his personality. But, I worry sometimes that he is too soft, and that is perhaps reflected through his coaching ethos.
I worry about our long term defensive prospects, as I think the defensive unity of last season was the legacy of the Moyes era. All four regulars were playing well under Moyes (including Coleman at right back for six months), and Moyes brought in Stones and Oviedo. I hope that Martinez can maintain that side of our game over the years, whilst improving our attacking returns (As he has done). I think he is a great manager for our club, but this pre-season has concerned me. What would have happened if we managed fourth place? What will happen in the future? Our differential will probably be low if we get into the Champions League anytime soon (unless we get consistently into the Europa), and we will therefore be at risk of getting a top team (Bilbao, Napoli, Leverkusen etc). We need to be ready when that time comes.
Before the season, I reigned my expectations in, given the pressure of Europa League football on our squad. I think we will probably come sixth or seventh, but I expect some progress in the cup competitions. We will need to be patient with this team I think, as it is a team in transition. Barkley, Lukaku and Stones are not the finished articles, and they will have poor games and great games.
Some players are ageing, especially Distin, and that will tell in their performances. But, we have the best squad we’ve had in a very long time, and in Barkley, Stones, McCarthy, Oviedo, Coleman, Lukaku, Atsu and Besic have a fantastic group of young players. They will need patience, and space to improve, and I think that Martinez will need it too.
Reader Comments (116)
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1 Posted 02/09/2014 at 19:45:41
Pre-season we should of went to the USA for fitness then returned to Europe and played against sides like Valencia, Sevilla, Fioretina and Napoli.
Why got to Thailand to play one game? Why play Tranmere? Why the newly promoted German side?
2 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:12:38
Other than Eto’o, Martinez had his entire squad in place before the first game of the season, and we weren’t ready. That said, the worry for me was during the Leicester and Arsenal games, we looked tired, we could all see where we looked tired, except Martinez it seemed. His management during the games has had me scratching my head this season. His substitutions suggests a lack of ideas, and he seems to flat refuse to ’shut up shop’ even when the shape of the game suggests it wise to do so.
This is a big season for him. This is his team, playing his way. He has to prove the hype surrounding him as one of the best young managers in Europe by achieving things that Moyes couldn’t before him, and hopefully not end up going down the knife to gunfight it’s not my fault route.
I also believe we will finish around 6th, unless we hit some awesome form. My worry about progress in the cups is some of our squad players. Can anyone see us getting that far with Joel in net?
3 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:26:51
4 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:31:07
Admittedly, I see a few players who have struggled a bit so far - Jags, Distin and Barry in particular. But have these 3 become bad players overnight? These 3 were instrumental in us having our best ever season in the Prem. They are not playing well - they might need extra fitness work, dropping for a game, a kick up the arse - whatever. My point is, with the squad we have got, we will be back beating teams and playing well shortly.
Hopefully, Roberto will learn lessons from this year's pre-season, because that is 2 season's running that we have started poorly. One or 2 players don't look as fit as they should be. But keep the faith. Something will spark our season, then we'll get going. We've got some European ties to look forward to as well. All is not lost yet.
5 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:53:43
6 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:50:42
7 Posted 02/09/2014 at 21:50:23
As the season progresses, the fitness thing will continue to improve but of more concern to me is our tactics. Attacking moves that involve a dozen or more passes allows a few opponents to put up a token defence while their team mates park the bus. That creates two problems for us with number one is it becomes almost impossible for our attackers to have a clear run or shot at goal. In such congested areas Romelu is criticized for his less than perfect first touch yet his full power, height and speed needs a bit of space to get moving.
The second and most important problem is caused when too many of our defenders push forward in support of the joined-up stuff. Jags and Distin often faced by two wide playing attackers are unable to lay on cover for each other.
Roberto must choose either to continue with all out attack and hang the consequences or introduce a bit more caution. The flaws in Roberto's style are obvious and he must make changes.
8 Posted 02/09/2014 at 23:43:00
Since Martinez took over he has signed 1 first team defender, Alcaraz, who has looked utter rubbish and is well past his prime.
Martins indi went for 6m this summer a man long targeted by Moyes as a Distin replacement. Got to wonder why we didnÂt bring in at least one decent defender.
9 Posted 02/09/2014 at 23:52:06
I agree we are now paying the price for this strange episode. Little surprise that we’ve conceded 5 goals in the last 10 minutes of games played so far.
10 Posted 03/09/2014 at 00:15:55
Ten first teamers out injured, and they couldn’t score in a brothel with 50 pound notes falling out of their wallet.
How did Swansea prepare I wonder? They’ve won their first three, so let’s mirror their pre-season arrangements next season!
If we had held on against Leicester and Arsenal, but looked out on our feet, would everyone still insist we had an inadequate pre-season?
It’s all guesswork I’m afraid, and as someone has quite rightly pointed out Â– Moyes was renowned for making players vomit during pre-season training, and also renowned for awful starts to most campaigns.
Sorry, but if we had won those first two, we wouldn’t be having this debate, so two goals have turned the team, manager and club into a shambles?
11 Posted 03/09/2014 at 03:09:28
We should have 6 points, not 2. That wouldn’t be a terrible start and everyone would have forgotten the meaningless preseason.
As it is Jags (and a few others) has fucked the pooch and we’re sitting on 2 points.
Hindsight being 20/20 I agree with Jim - and I was wrong. We really weren’t up to speed when the season started.
But we should have 6 points, not 2...
Attacking / going forward I think we’ve been marvelous.
Let’s hope patience is given to Roberto as Jim says, and we see the back line, in whatever form with whatever players, come good. The points will flow if we get that sorted.
And finally as we are on 2 points (not 6...) maybe that’s a wake-up call to all and sundry to really analyze and scrutinize our preseason preparations in the future. I will. As I honestly didn’t think it a problem, and the fact is it has to be in some part because...
We’re on 2 points and not 6.
12 Posted 03/09/2014 at 08:25:05
My worry though is that we are slipping into Wigan under Martinez mode and appear to want to attack at all costs even when we are winning. I would much prefer a more cautious approach at times, a bit of dogged defending and to employ the dark arts at times, like all good teams can do if required to see out a game and claim maximum points.
13 Posted 03/09/2014 at 08:29:18
As previously pointed out, Man Utd had a great pre-season and have had MUCH easier games than us in the league. Leicester away was always going to be tough; we nearly won. Arsenal are always tough and we should have won. Chelsea are my tips for the league and we had some good spells.
My thoughts are always win the next game and attack is the best form of defence.
14 Posted 03/09/2014 at 08:45:09
Let’s face it, the new style is usually a joy to watch but, when it comes to having to score seven to win, it’s a luxury no team can afford.
I don’t buy into the current craze for managerial ’philosophies’ for, in the end, it’s the results that count not the ’fanny’ that is attached to them and provide the excuses for failure.
But, whatever your view, teams that concede 10 goals in three games don’t usually figure amongst the season’s successful.
15 Posted 03/09/2014 at 09:24:57
Insufficient movement up front, Jags crapping himself whenever the ball is passed to him, which invariably involves a pass back to Howard who finds touch at the half-way line. We do not have the central defenders to play the way Martinez wants.
Somehow we ended up with the 3rd best defence last season and I can’t for the life of me see how that happened, given the woeful start the defence has made this year, and Jags being as uncomfortable on the ball as he is. I think all the world and his wife and his dog knew we needed strengthening at the back. All except Roberto, that is. And why are we so unfit?
16 Posted 03/09/2014 at 09:31:25
Stupid first goal against Chelski set the scene and their second was clearly offside, it could have been different, especially if Mirallas would have scored when it was 4-3.
We are scoring goals and, once the team has settled down due to the transfer window closing, we will start winning again.
Right, that’s enough optimism for me, what’s the odds that Stones, Baines and Gibson get injured playing for their countries?
17 Posted 03/09/2014 at 09:43:33
If my auntie had balls she’d be my uncle, bottom line is he’s shit at organising defences and that’s why Wigan took the drop.
Could be a number of reasons but is it any coincidence that, since Stubbs left, the defence is playing like strangers? Don’t get me wrong: i’m no fan of Stubbs, he didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut, but something has drastically changed with that back line.
18 Posted 03/09/2014 at 09:55:25
I’m not saying you’re wrong but.....
19 Posted 03/09/2014 at 10:13:08
As for his being the super efficient Gunnery Sergeant of defensive drilling (’Private Pistone!!! You climb obstacles like old people fuck’ etc) the one who organised a unit opposition forwards never dared run rings round? That’s myopic bollocks too.
Let’s see where I put some of those shameful spankings: 0-7 Arsenal. 1-6 Arsenal. 0-5 Benfica. 2-6 Newcastle. 0-4 Bolton. 0-4 West Brom. 1-4 Blackburn.
I’m sure there’s more. Those are just the ones where the horror was seared into my brain.
20 Posted 03/09/2014 at 10:17:26
21 Posted 03/09/2014 at 10:39:16
I think Martinez either got the training wrong so the players were not fit in time, OR (being charitable) did not overdo the early season training because he realises it is a long season and did not want to overload the players too early Â– and the payback will be a stronger finish than last year (when we did run out of gas).
But I am not worried. We are a good side with a strong squad. The season is long; as long as confidence stays high, we will be alright. And Martinez is good at instilling confidence.
22 Posted 03/09/2014 at 11:14:32
Mirallas hardly had a pre-season and he was outstanding against Chelski.
EtoÂo training on his own all summer and in the 10-15 minutes I saw he looked sharp and fit.
No Deulofeu, and Atsu not had much game time. Besic new to the league, needs time to gel.
Could it just be that there are other factors at play, or is that a little too inconvenient to mention here?
23 Posted 03/09/2014 at 11:45:57
Come on, who in our vastly experienced defence needs to be told how to defend, they should know by now, as they knew last season!
So Martinez can’t arrange a defence, what pearls of wisdom could he tell them, they’ve played countless Premier League games and now they have forgotten what position in defence they should take up? Bullshit.
Maybe they are not at their peak fitness, I’ll wager that many teams if not all are 100% fit when they start the season. This season will stretch our resources and the stamina of the players to the limit, maybe Martinez has been easy on the players purposely to get them through the season.
We’ve only played 3 games, with 2 against top 4 clubs and Leicester away who have since managed a draw against Arsenal! Not fantastic, I agree, but it’s not panic stations either.
24 Posted 03/09/2014 at 12:18:10
25 Posted 03/09/2014 at 12:36:48
I do agree we have a good squad with three excellent strikers for the first time since Lineker, Heath and Sharp. I would have liked to have seen another midfielder, a goalkeeper and a central defender arrive in the transfer window and I still see little actual investment in the team or stadium.
Last year, we beat Chelsea and Arsenal at home. I want to see us challenge for the title but I’m already consigning this year’s league campaign to the dustbin. We need to improve and quick.
26 Posted 03/09/2014 at 13:00:15
Having drawn two we should have won Â– and lost a freak game Â– IÂm not too despondent either.
Yes, the defence needs to improve... but itÂs early days. I thought Jags and Distin were very good last season Â– they canÂt have turned into duffers overnight. Jags I think is suffering from a World Cup hangover having been slagged so badly by the press. ItÂs a confidence thing.
If Stones plays well tonight for England, we might well see some changes for our next game.
We will get better Â– but we will regret the lost points.
27 Posted 03/09/2014 at 14:24:17
29 Posted 03/09/2014 at 14:53:42
Time will tell, but I would bet we improve dramatically over the next few games. Our players have professional pride and I would imagine that they are hurting right now, knowing they have let the fans down.
30 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:24:46
"bottom line is heÂs shit at organising defences and thatÂs why Wigan took the drop."
So it was nothing to do with the injuries to all his defenders that season, in which he had midfielders playing at the back because none of his first and second choice defenders were fit!! Shoehorning your opinion, but ignoring the facts does not really add to your arguement.
31 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:32:07
I like Roberto, I like his football philosophy but you cannot ignore the fact that all his teams ship goals.
32 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:35:10
33 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:37:35
34 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:38:44
Your last post could well be about Everton and BB’s reign. Take the blue tinted spectacles off mate.
Facts are facts whatever excuse you come up with, as for the FA cup? remember when we won it in 95? No-one gave us a hope in the semi or final, all you need is a bit of luck and to play out of your skin on the day.
35 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:46:12
36 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:54:31
37 Posted 03/09/2014 at 17:08:17
38 Posted 03/09/2014 at 17:26:16
40 Posted 03/09/2014 at 17:28:52
41 Posted 03/09/2014 at 18:20:28
First full season at Swansea in the league 46 games, 42 goals conceded, second season (promoted to championship from previous year) 46 games, 50 goals conceded. Last season 38 games 40 goals conceded.
There are good reason why Wigan conceded so many goals but its too simplistic to state that Martinez doesn’t know how to organise defences.
42 Posted 03/09/2014 at 18:25:34
43 Posted 03/09/2014 at 18:51:07
To succeed we will have to buy shrewdly/cheaply and make our youth development the best in the land.
That’s not going to happen overnight!
44 Posted 03/09/2014 at 19:28:58
Basically the males swarm over lakes and rivers and after a while, females swarm in to join them.
They then go bang-at-it in mid air.
The females drop eggs in the water to hatch then, knackered, they drop into the water themselves to die and/or be picked off by fish.
The males go to the bank and die.
The reason I mention them is that even given just one day to live, with the only highlight being getting their hole, I have a feeling that (pre-hole) they still show more patience than some of the posters on TW.
We. Have. Only. Played. Three. Fucking. Games.
Roberto Martinez (he of ’Wigan relegation blah defensively useless blah’) in one season gave us our best ever PL points tally and bettered Moyes’s best points total in 11 attempts, yet because we’ve made a few mistakes in our first three games, he’s (roll on the drums) ’shit at organising defences.’
(Mayfly: "Fuck me, these must only live for about 20 minutes")
As for the ’disappointing’ pre-season that has fucked our start/season etc, as Kevin Tully said, Man Utd’s was perfect so that knocks that theory into touch (and if not, please explain why not).
45 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:19:08
If you are happy with what you have seen this season that’s great. It’s your opinion. I think we are unlikely to come good until November when the inadequate summer work will no longer be an issue.
46 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:26:23
47 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:27:45
No need for all that, you could have just said ’disagree.’
48 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:32:43
49 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:34:35
50 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:43:02
51 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:38:04
52 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:19:32
Good post and sure enough we are now playing football at Goodison but do you really feel that Everton are on a "wing and a prayer"?
Leicester and Arsenal were both beat and the happiest man to leave GP on Saturday was the Chelsea boss, his smile told everyone that he’s knows full well that not many teams will leave Goodison with 3 points.
For me Barkley has been our biggest miss but rest assured we will soon start winning and it will have nothing to do with luck.
53 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:55:16
Catterick would have been strung up for letting Bally go; Lee would have been thrown in the Mersey for selling McKenzie; and Moyes would have got a light rap on the knuckles for selling Rooney. My God as Leonard Rossiter might say Â– what on earth is this country coming to.
54 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:00:44
Beats waiting for the exact same tired punch line every sodding time though Phil.
’Wait for it...wait for it...here it comes.....WIGAN!’
Much mirth fails to ensue....but at least Basil Brush feels that little bit better about the fact that the best he could come up with was ’Boom fucking Boom’.
55 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:02:02
Hahahaha, good one Phil.
56 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:50:46
The amount of games we have played is irrelevant. If it is at the start of the season, mid way, or at the end makes no odds. The only reality is, we have dropped at least 4 points, 2 of those points against a significant 4th place rival. Confidence breeds results, so I think we have all the right in the world to be concerned at the manner in which we have slipped up in every game we have played in. If we had been beaten fair and squarely after putting in our best, then there is no need for concern but this is clearly not the case.
57 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:46:15
So do you think the Bobby has lined them up and said "right I want you to forget all that defensive shit from TGC and I want you to let in as many goals as you can".
The defence have been playing together for so long that I doubt if they need coaching, IMHO it is a combination of factors:
a) Jags hasnÂt looked the same player since his injury last year and would probably had been better sitting out the World Cup.
b) Barry & McCarthy arenÂt protecting the back 4 and arenÂt stopping the runners from midfield.
c) The entire team look dead on its feet @ or around the 60 min mark.
It is the fitness level that IMHO has seen us drop 4 points v Leicester & Arsenal when we were comfortable in both matches; Chelsea was just a nutty result that happens every 3-4 years, and it must be noted that we played some fantastic attacking football; it certainly wasnÂt an Arsenal-like tonking of some years ago.
What we need is a series of 1-0 wins, the uglier the better at Mordor, but has Bobby got it in him to play for it.
58 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:08:45
59 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:06:37
2. If you donÂt want to listen to me, fine - but Arsene Wenger knows a thing or two doesnÂt he? Ã¢Â€ÂœI have had the experience of post-World Cup years and they are always difficult years to get everyone back to the same level. ItÂs difficult for everybody. ItÂs a bit levelling. Until everyone gets going it could take some time for some clubs.Ã¢Â€Â
3. We have proven we are capable of a 7 game winning streak.
4. TWeb logic "The only reason we did well defensively last season, is that Martinez inherited MoyesÂs back line."
Same 4 players are now shite, 3 months later, and itÂs all MartinezÂs fault!
5. WeÂve signed Samuel fucking EtoÂo - doesnÂt the manager get any credit for that?
6. I wonÂt be looking at the League table until 10 whole games have passed.
60 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:19:30
If it is not fitness, what is it?
61 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:27:27
62 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:27:20
63 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:33:30
64 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:35:55
65 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:58:05
66 Posted 03/09/2014 at 23:23:31
There are a lot of situations that would make me concerned James.
6 games without a win would concern me, as would 11 games without an away win or 10 games without a goal from Lukaku or 1 light tackle on Gibson.
What I’m not prepared to do however, is carry on like a big soft, flouncy, impatient tart and do a corporal Jones after three games played - lost one, drawn two.
Dan (56) - "Wouldn’t bother giving him the time of day James, his only contribution is to snipe others whilst offering no valid points of discussion at all"
Yeah because you know all about ’valid’ don’t you Dan.
I particularly remember all those valid posts of yours praising dull Davie as a genius, only for him to kick Everton in the nuts, then make a complete twat of himself in ’the biggest job in football’.
Then there were the valid posts where you vigourously waved Bill’s ’let’s all fuck off to Kirkby’ flag, even though it was obvious to Lennie Peters that the whole thing appeared to have been contrived by a bladdered, insane ape.
Yeah you’re ’insights’ are REALLY valid.
67 Posted 04/09/2014 at 09:48:22
What some (not all) people are saying is that the three games we have seen would clearly indicate that the players are undercooked - certainly not at peak fitness. This does in some people’s view correlate with what seemed to be a very disjointed pre-season. Martinez, the manager, has responsibility here. It’s not terminal, but it is an error.
I agree that aspects to a pre-season are multi-faceted; however, one cornerstone is fitness, surely? To not form any assessment and thereby provide free leeway for 6 games (15% of a season) seems generous. If that were to happen season-in & season-out (some say it has for years, btw) it would reduce even further our already slim chances of getting 4th spot.
68 Posted 04/09/2014 at 10:19:32
69 Posted 04/09/2014 at 10:05:43
Are we temporarily shit due to pre season?
Or just permanently shit with a temporary blip last year?
Or were we good but Martinez has finally made us shit after a year of trying to undo Moyes’s good work?
Personally I just think we’ve had a below par pre-season and we look tired towards the end of games right now. But we still deserved 6 points out of Leicester and Arsenal and threw the game away inside 3 minutes against Chelsea... Then played some great stuff trying to chase the game.
Far from writing the season off, I’m more excited than ever. Fkin hate international breaks.
70 Posted 04/09/2014 at 14:04:40
71 Posted 04/09/2014 at 19:03:36
I've also said many times before that you cannot fairly judge the 'legacy of preseason' until the season has ended. It's a hare and tortoise thing. That is, I think Martinez is opting for the tortoise approach and judging that we'll make up more in April and May than we lose in August. Only time will tell if that is a wise choice.
72 Posted 04/09/2014 at 20:26:40
What I do know is that to post 'against him' is to make discussion irrelevant and invite personal abuse for daring to disagree.
So as the kids say it's best to leave it at 'whatever'.
73 Posted 04/09/2014 at 20:43:35
74 Posted 04/09/2014 at 21:10:30
And I'll prove it.
On this thread, in my first post (44) I pointed out (in my own style - which is allowed) that I believed there was a level of impatience being exhibited on TW that was beyond childish.
Nb: It was a general point and I didn't mention any names.
So no 'abuse', just me sarcarically expressing my opinion (iie: that after three games, some on TW are showing ludicrous impatience)
I also referenced a good solid point made by Kevin Tully...
"As for the 'disappointing' pre-season that has fucked our start/season etc, as Kevin Tully said, Man Utd's was perfect so that knocks that theory into touch (and if not, please explain why not)"
Nobody (including you) could or did.
Instead you responded to me with..
"Thanks for more patronising education, Ruane. But why take six paras to get to the punchline" (nb: can't criticise content, so attacks style).
This from the person who now cries - "What I do know is that to post 'against him' is to make discussion irrelevant and invite personal abuse for daring to disagree"
Sorry, who started the personal abuse?
Now (as I had the temerity to give you some back for being snotty) you're (once again) giving it "Look look, he's being nasty again!"
As for - "I'm never quite sure whether 'our' Ruane is the guy who appeared in Golden Vision and Z Cars or the comic copywriter whose use of profanities makes him seem like Johnny Rotten in blue"
Well let me just say it's enough for me to know you spend your evenings googling my name.
(you forgot to mention my book, 'This And That, Here And There', Amazon ٦.99)
75 Posted 04/09/2014 at 22:10:48
But you labelling anyone childish, is the equivalent of Harold Shipman saying 'That Pol Pot is a bit of a nasty bastard isn't he?'. Hypocrisy of the highest vintage.
76 Posted 04/09/2014 at 22:26:52
God love you (squeezes cheek) - I LOVED "you labelling anyone childish, is the equivalent of Harold Shipman saying 'That Pol Pot is a bit of a nasty bastard isn't he?'"
Here's another -"Someone who promoted the idea of Everon moving to Kirkby, hoping to have their opinions taken seriously, is like...erm..something that's like...something...being something.
(ok, I haven't got your gift for it but you get my drift)
77 Posted 04/09/2014 at 23:12:22
79 Posted 05/09/2014 at 00:23:20
Hibbert , Osman ?
Maybe even Moyes ?
Either way...........He's right up there.
80 Posted 05/09/2014 at 00:03:34
I will leave off reading the comedy gold for later, that’s just the wrapping, the real gold ( for me ) is Harold #42.
Add this to various types of ’Give him a chance’ and ’How long is long enough’. From day one I thought 2-3 seasons, not to get rid, just to assess, are we headed in the right direction. Well in broad strokes I think we are, we are playing to win, not playing not to lose, this has got to be good, well better
When Moyes brought in Yobo, that was the first piece in the jigsaw, but by the time some others had been added, Yobo had become surplus, bordering on a liability but as Martinez, Harold and many others have said, we will never be able, this side of Fantasy Island, be able to compete with the big spenders. It’s going to have to be in small steps.
Robles, Coleman, Garbutt, Oviedo, Stones, Barkley, Besic, Gibson, Mirallas, Lukaku, Niasmith, McGeady. that’s being generous, based mainly on age. For various reasons only Coleman, Stones, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku and Naismith are to my mind Deffo on any team sheet for the next 3 seasons. The rest fall into 3 main categories, some into more than one... Age, Has been, Never will be. Then there’s Injury and the chance that some one will make us an offer we can’t refuse for one or more
I’m sure that this will not come as a shock to Roberto. He is in the best Club to do it on the relative cheap. What ever Bill is or isn’t, he does know a good thing when he sees it, just like he did when Moyes got into his stride and he isn’t trigger happy.
Even with the increase in TV money, big for Us, but not big in real terms to the BIG big spenders, will he be able to move enough class acts along the Snakes and Ladders board that is the PL, before the early ones go down the snake to the start again like so many latter day Joseph Yobo’s... or will we ever be ’Just 3 players short ’
I prefer his system over the previous one, but all along I have had the doubt that, If it’s required and only time will tell if it needs to be required, for all I know in 2 or 3 or 4 yrs we may be steaming into the CL on a regular basis...But if it is required, IF, does he have it in him both literally and figuratively to coach back into the team a little bit of the Moyes that may be required, the same Moyes he is busy coaching out of it ( and rightly so )
I was brought up on The School of Science, Young, Vernon, Harvey, Kendall, Ball. But I don’t forget that, whilst They were weaving in and out of teams for fun, Denis Stevens, Tony Kay, Kendall, Harvey and Morrissey were the steel woven into them team as well...and they could play a bit as well
As Harold says, until then we are on a wing and a prayer
81 Posted 05/09/2014 at 01:10:52
Never occurred to me, this.
Opinionated? Yes again.
Ball-buster? Oh yes. Eugene would fit right in the bunch I grew up with.
Polarizing, though? Eugene, how polarizing are you and in what ways exactly:
to cause (people, opinions, etc.) to separate into opposing groups?
to cause (something, such as light waves) to vibrate in a particular pattern?
to cause (something) to have positive and negative charges : to give polarity to (something)?
You're in there somewhere.
P.S Your last name spell-checks to "ruined" (not much explanation needed there). And, "rune", a mark or letter of mysterious or magic significance.
82 Posted 05/09/2014 at 02:06:39
We all get wound up no end by an opposing view, that's the sheer nature of them but how poor would it be to be shoved into a box with identical clone sheep with the same views? Embrace the debates, when they wind you up just step away and choose another.
83 Posted 05/09/2014 at 02:32:29
Never mind - Eugene is clearly a dangerous leftie...but very amusing with an more power to his elbow.
84 Posted 05/09/2014 at 08:32:20
85 Posted 05/09/2014 at 08:46:41
87 Posted 05/09/2014 at 09:14:23
88 Posted 05/09/2014 at 10:25:05
ps: That place will be missed; I spent many a night in that place!
89 Posted 05/09/2014 at 10:36:07
Paradox on a Wed night was the dogs dangly bits, remember DejaÂ Vu? many a great night spent there! Until the night I met my future wife there.
90 Posted 05/09/2014 at 10:40:43
91 Posted 05/09/2014 at 11:20:39
92 Posted 05/09/2014 at 11:23:50
93 Posted 05/09/2014 at 11:31:16
94 Posted 05/09/2014 at 11:43:20
95 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:09:13
96 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:14:39
Although they probably see themselves as Van Helsing and Harker to Eugene's Prince of Datkness, in reality it seems ToffeeWeb has at last found it's very own version of Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the newly formed alliance between Phil Walling and Dan Brierley (or 'Ran Rierley' as Phil calls him).
It just stinks of sour grapes and seething resentment to me.
From what has been said on here you would be led to believe that Eugene is nothing but an angry arl arse always agitating for an argument. Not that he needs any assistance from me, but that's not right, nor is it fair.
Humour has always been a potent weapon for exposing the fundamental flaws in a philosophy or point of view. Eugene wields that weapon well, but definitely not indiscriminately. It's not a case of cruelty leavened by wit. He simply makes his case in his own manner and manages to avoid falling into the trap of mercilessly mocking someone. It's not like through his words he's MAKING a person look stupid. More often than not, he's simply shining a light on what he perceives to be the already present stupidity in the shite someone has sat down and chosen to publicly air.
The problem here is people take things personally. Viewing an assault on the absurdity of their argument as an assault on their very person. Then they're perpetually on pins, impatiently waiting for their chance to have a pop back at the perpetrator.
Just look at this thread for example. He's been portrayed as 'patronising', a 'hypocrite', a sniper, someone not worth giving the time of day to, someone who brooks no disagreement and a petty man-child who aims 'personal abuse' at poor innocent parties. Yet he's the one who calmly came on, made a valid point and suddenly finds himself coming in for criticism that has nothing to do with what was actually said.
What should he do? Reign it in? Steer clear of any stinging barbs and remain in the bounds of straight-laced civility?
When do you think Richard Pryor was more socially relevant and hard hitting? When he was an unflinching, searing stand-up or when he was slumming it in fucking Superman III?
97 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:31:35
98 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:52:20
100 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:45:23
Each season is different, and in certain seasons a gap between the top and bottom clubs will lead to higher points totals. We came seven points off 4th last season, and that is the essential stat, because we need to be aiming for 4th. We still came 5th in a season during which Man Utd had a horror show: We came 5th without the pressure of European football, and we failed to achieve in either cup competition.
I was happy about last season, but I am not overjoyed just because we recorded a record points total. I was happy because Martinez introduced an attacking style of football, and continued the positive league performances we achieved under Moyes.
The concern re Martinez's defensive ability relates to his time at Wigan, and his failure to buy a good defensive player. Alcaraz did not impress me at Wigan and he has not at Everton, and Robles has hardly filled me with confidence. Martinez's Wigan team also consistently defended poorly, and whilst Martinez was constrained in terms of his budget at Wigan, it remained an unresolved issue.
My concern, as expressed in the original article, relates to Martinez's time at Wigan, his defensive purchases and his failure to buy another CB (which I believe we need). We will see what happens this season, but I believe we will concede far more goals this year than last, and will generally look less sound defensively. That is natural for an attacking team perhaps, but I have fears over the centre-back positions over the long term, and I hope that Martinez can maintain that part of our team, because I have no doubt that he will improve our attacking strength (and that he has).
With respect to the link between pre-season and our start: Those who watched the first two games, especially the Arsenal one, would have noticed a dropping off. Our players looked more tired than Arsenal's players, who had played away in Europe several days previously and were dealing with injuries of their own (and had three German players returning very late to training).
During pre-season, we looked off the pace. The results were not important, although confidence is, but the performances, and our level of fitness, is. Man Utd have, as others have pointed out, failed to live up to the levels achieved during pre-season, but United have also been going through the biggest squad transformation in their recent history and have had a ton of injuries.
There are plenty of examples of teams who did well in pre-season and did well in the season, and picking out one adverse example is very simplistic. The important thing is our fitness: we looked behind in pre-season and we have looked behind in our matches in August. We have had injuries, and players returning from the World Cup, but so have most teams.
We kept the squad together admirably over the summer, and I am optimistic about us going forward, but these are lost points, and they may cost us in the long term. I'm particularly worried about the effect the drubbing by Chelski will have on the team, especially with Liverpool and Man Utd around the corner.
I think we need to be patient with this side, but that does not mean that we cannot express concerns and critiques.
101 Posted 05/09/2014 at 14:20:52
In hindsight, and as hard to take as it was at the time, it may have happened at exactly the right moment.
With the International break following directly on from that defeat it offers a brief respite period in which the players can, hopefully, come up to speed with their fitness.
Furthermore, as a wake up call, it should suffice more than a slap in the face. If anyone in the squad thought they had stepped up to another level last season, and could now look to take teams on without maintaining concentration and grafting the entire game, then surely they've been brought straight back down to reality now?
102 Posted 05/09/2014 at 14:59:19
103 Posted 05/09/2014 at 17:05:13
I know some have said the players were not mentally prepared Â– how the fuck could someone know that?
Where the defence goosed after 2 minutes against Chelsea? We may have stopped attacking Arsenal in the last 10 minutes, but surely that was down to having a two-goal lead. Nearly every side in the world sits back on a two-goal cushion with 10 minutes to go.
Yes, there were tired legs, but what did everyone expect two games in, after giving them a pasting for 75 minutes?
19 other teams are fitter than us then Â– OK.
104 Posted 05/09/2014 at 17:35:31
At least he's decisive about it - no fuckin' about - says it as it is.
105 Posted 05/09/2014 at 18:49:09
You always find out more about players when they face a bit of adversity, so we will find out for ourselves pretty soon.
DonÂt know how EugeneÂs pre-season went but it looked like a few of the class have decided over half term that they were going to try and get stuck into him really early!
106 Posted 05/09/2014 at 19:04:08
107 Posted 05/09/2014 at 20:28:36
I wish Barry was a yard quicker because he really is a top footballer and wonder how one of the finest, Peter Reid would get on in modern football. The game is so quick now, and we as an attacking team are also getting a lot quicker, but we have got to find a way to cut down the space between the lines.
You can also see why McCarthy gets so tired with all the defensive duties he carries out for the team and he maybe needs someone quicker alongside him.
We also played too much offside which is alright if the defence plays as a unit, but we look like four individuals back there at the minute. That said itÂs not easy playing against, Matic, Ramires, Fabregas, Willian, Hazard and Costa and we gave Chelsea a very good game, except for those first 3 minutes.
108 Posted 05/09/2014 at 22:21:06
"But we ran out of legs a little bit and Arsenal, as you would expect, threw everything forward and you get into a position where the third goal is going to be vital.''
He went on to praise the performance in the 'first' half. I think anyone who watched that match could see the fatigue, as Martinez too saw it. What's more frustrating is that it happened against an Arsenal team who had played away in Turkey four days earlier with largely the same team, and who had three players involved in the World Cup final.
I still don't understand why the season has started so early though. They will move a season around for a winter World Cup in all probability, but we cannot start the season a week later when nothing but a European Under-21 Championship follows in the summer.
109 Posted 05/09/2014 at 22:32:07
111 Posted 06/09/2014 at 04:23:51
112 Posted 07/09/2014 at 21:14:36
WeÂll never win a trophy again if the fuckwits running our club donÂt up their performance and thereÂs no sign at all of it happening.
113 Posted 09/09/2014 at 17:34:47
I also sometimes fancy Keira.
115 Posted 09/09/2014 at 17:56:32
I trust you will have managed to work in some mention of Les Bleus......
116 Posted 09/09/2014 at 18:28:18
I got the Partridge reference, my favourite moment and there's many to choose from.
I've said it a few times on previous threads. Roberto is not the boot camp type of manager flogging the players through the sand dunes. I believe he does not expect players to be at peak at the start of the season and we will see improvement as the weeks go on. Not sure if I agree with him, mind, given the relatively tough start the fixture list has given us.
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