After the Celta Vigo defeat, I got into an argument on these forums: I maintained that our pre-season results, and specifically our performances, foreboded a poor start to the season. Others disagreed. The following paragraph from then captures my argument pretty accurately:
‘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.

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Ian McDowell
1 Posted 02/09/2014 at 19:45:41
I was disappointed in pre-season too. Think that Jags, Distin and Howard haven't become and players over night but are suffering as they and the rest of the players maybe aren't as sharp as should be.

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?

Dan McKie
2 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:12:38
I was saying the same during pre-season about the results and performances, but kept getting shot down. It’s all about gaining fitness, not results apparently. Well we got neither!

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?

Steavey Buckley
3 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:26:51
It was not the pre-season friendly results that over concerned me, but how easily the defence let goals in. Because there is one thing you must have going into the season proper, a defence that looks solid to build upon. And the shaky defensive start to the run of failings began with a 2:2 draw with Tranmere and, got even worse as more games were played. With the possible exception of a 1:1 draw with FC Porto.
Danny Broderick
4 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:31:07
You make a good point in your last paragraph about the strength of our squad. This is the most complete squad I can remember us having. I see a quality 1st choice 11. I see good cover in pretty much every position.

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.

Mark Tanton
5 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:53:43
The confusing and annoying thing is that Moyes ran a boot camp and seemed bent on killing players before a ball was kicked - and one season aside, we started appallingly. High expectations crushed by defeats to QPR at home and Blackburn away, and a mullering from Arsenal.
Harold Matthews
6 Posted 02/09/2014 at 20:50:42
Two worst defences I''ve seen this year. Everton and England.
Dick Fearon
7 Posted 02/09/2014 at 21:50:23
Roberto's high tempo passing game makes huge demands on the players' physical fitness. In the opening games it may have been better to gradually introduce the joined-up stuff.

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.

James Stewart
8 Posted 02/09/2014 at 23:43:00
Completely agree that last seasonÂ’s impressive defensive record was partly down to MoyesÂ’s legacy. My worry is that has now completely eroded.

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 didnÂ’t bring in at least one decent defender.

Steve Carse
9 Posted 02/09/2014 at 23:52:06
I don’t suppose we’ll ever get the full story of why our pre-season was so haphazardly arranged. Only 5 games played, with not one seeing our back 4 playing in tandem; games being fixed up at short notice like a pub team would do; a brief trip to the Far East (where, although we downplayed its significance at the time, we were outplayed by a clearly fitter Leicester side).

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.

Kevin Tully
10 Posted 03/09/2014 at 00:15:55
If only it was as simple as the article suggests. Man Utd had what you would no doubt call a perfect pre-season. Games arranged 6 months in advance, 7-0 victories, and they won ’The Champions Chevrolet Budweiser AEG champions Cup.’

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 – 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?

Jamie Crowley
11 Posted 03/09/2014 at 03:09:28
I’m not sure you can legislate for shit defending and individual school-boy errors...

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.

Peter Laing
12 Posted 03/09/2014 at 08:25:05
We’ve conceded ten goals in three games - therein lies the problem. We scored two away at Leicester in a tricky opening day fixture, two against Arsenal and three (could have been five) against Chelsea. Sort out the defence and we won’t have a problem.

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.

Iain Love
13 Posted 03/09/2014 at 08:29:18
I read an article about Martinez’s teams always being slow starters, it suggested that Robbie believes players have fitness peaks and lows. Perhaps he’s looking more at the Europa League than the Prem?

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.

Phil Walling
14 Posted 03/09/2014 at 08:45:09
Although not his greatest fan, I’m pleased to see Moyes – all but grudgingly – getting the praise he deserves for developing and training our defence. His legacy certainly hung over that department’s performances last season but has now been lost in the cause of ticci - tacca (or whatever it’s called) and all-out attack.

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.

Ray Roche
15 Posted 03/09/2014 at 09:24:57
Phil, I partly agree that the "new style is usually a joy to watch " but it seems to be getting a bit laboured in my opinion. We have not attacked with any real pace and are content to piss about at the back as if we are waiting for the chance to attack with ruthless penetration and then... what? Nothing.

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?

Tony J Williams
16 Posted 03/09/2014 at 09:31:25
I am not really an optimist, I foresaw a mullering by Chelski, but I hope that this is just the usually slow start and things will pick up again.

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?

Dave Lynch
17 Posted 03/09/2014 at 09:43:33
If, if, if...

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.

Colin Glassar
18 Posted 03/09/2014 at 09:55:25
Man Utd had a fantastic pre-season.

I’m not saying you’re wrong but.....

John Daley
19 Posted 03/09/2014 at 10:13:08
Going a bit overboard with all the revisionism now. Moyes had some absolutely abysmal starts to the season, serving up some truly shocking shite.

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.

Andrew Ellams
20 Posted 03/09/2014 at 10:17:26
Stubbs was the reserve team coach, why would he be responsible for the organisation of the first team defence?
David Ellis
21 Posted 03/09/2014 at 10:39:16
I remember Moyes at the start of one season saying we could not afford to score 3 goals in every match just to win (as we were shipping goals over the first few games).

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 – 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.

Amit Vithlani
22 Posted 03/09/2014 at 11:14:32
This post is a "look, I told you so" post and ignores other plausible contributors to our poor start. 2 of the 3 games were against good sides. What about the numerous other factors at play here, e.g. injuries - with Ross Barkley, Pienaar, Kone, Gibson, Oviedo all fit and firing how different would results be? Has the World Cup mentally taken its toll on Jags? Is McCarthy being tapped up?

Mirallas hardly had a pre-season and he was outstanding against Chelski.

EtoÂ’o 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?

Raymond Fox
23 Posted 03/09/2014 at 11:45:57
Too many sweeping statements in the thread for me.

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.

Colin Glassar
24 Posted 03/09/2014 at 12:18:10
Three of the last four posts spot on. Way too overboard some of the stuff on here. Okay, last season we had three points at this stage but it’s hardly a catastrophe. We’ve played really well in all three games but our defence has let us down. Sort that out and we will be back up there by mid-October, battling it out with the big boys.
Kevin Gillen
25 Posted 03/09/2014 at 12:36:48
Jim is right, the point of pre-season is to prepare you for the real challenge of acquiring league points. It doesn’t matter what the results are as long as you enter the pitch on the first game of the season ready to battle for every inch of ground. We are clearly undercooked.

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.

Jim Potter
26 Posted 03/09/2014 at 13:00:15
Let’s judge things a bit further into the season – if we’d won the 3 games I wouldn’t be on here saying we’re going to be champions.

Having drawn two we should have won – and lost a freak game – I’m not too despondent either.

Yes, the defence needs to improve... but it’s early days. I thought Jags and Distin were very good last season – they can’t have turned into duffers overnight. Jags I think is suffering from a World Cup hangover having been slagged so badly by the press. It’s a confidence thing.

If Stones plays well tonight for England, we might well see some changes for our next game.

We will get better – but we will regret the lost points.

Steavey Buckley
27 Posted 03/09/2014 at 14:24:17
The pre-season should have been awake up call that showed the defence is not up to it; now been proved in the last 3 games with the worst defensive record by conceding 10 goals.
Dean Adams
29 Posted 03/09/2014 at 14:53:42
One thing that has stood out for me so far this season is how easily opposition players have run on to our back line. For me, it seems that the midfield enforcers who were so good last season, have, well not been up to their excellent best. This in turn has created uncertainty at the back. Being used to having excellent cover and then not getting it does not breed confidence in anyone, let alone Jags who has not been anywhere near his best since his injury.

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.

Dean Adams
30 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:24:46
Dave Lynch 17

"bottom line is heÂ’s shit at organising defences and thatÂ’s 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.

Dave Lynch
31 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:32:07
Dean they where perenial relegation strugglers. Does that not tell you something?
I like Roberto, I like his football philosophy but you cannot ignore the fact that all his teams ship goals.
Dean Adams
32 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:35:10
Dave, yes it tells me that the owner of Wigan was willing to sell RM best players every year. It is of course contrary to your philosophy that Wigan won the FA cup, beating several of the top 6 on the way. Every club that has little or no money, a small ground and an owner who sells his best players will flirt repeatedly with relegation. Just look at the tables over the years.
Dave Lynch
33 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:37:35
In his last 4 seasons in the prem with Wigan they shipped an average of 70 goals a season...
Dave Lynch
34 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:38:44
For fucks sake Dean.
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.

Dean Adams
35 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:46:12
Yes Dave they shipped 79 in the 09-10 season and finished on 36 points, then 61 goals for 42 points in 10-11, 62 goals for 43 points in 11-12 and got relegated with 73 goals abd 36 points. They were always a club that would struggle because the owner sold his best players every year, including when they went down, McCarthy and Kone to us and then guess what, this season they have sold again.
Dean Adams
36 Posted 03/09/2014 at 15:54:31
You are right Dave, it could so easily have happened to us. IT nearly did on several occassions. And we are Everton ffsake.
Tony Kinsey
37 Posted 03/09/2014 at 17:08:17
I totally agree, Jim. Another point to add is that I thought the arrangements for pre-season were late this year being put in place, which suggests a lack of preparation on the administration side also. You cannot play a pre-season like we did then flick a switch and be up to pace for the seasonÂ’s start.
James McPherson
38 Posted 03/09/2014 at 17:26:16
Wigan had a lot of injuries in the year they went down. That’s a fact. Begs the question about their general conditioning - lost count of the number of hamstrings/muscular injuries we had last year.
James McPherson
40 Posted 03/09/2014 at 17:28:52
With regard to the original topic. I contributed to the debate and offering an open mind stated that we could not judge Martinez before the season started about the quality of his pre-season preparation. That was fair. Witnessing what I have, I am of the view that we are significantly undercooked and Martinez’s pre-season will roll into mid/late September. That’s unacceptable. Bizarre that those people who cried foul arfound the premature assessement of the pre-season are still saying it’s too early. To them, I would simply ask, at what stage in the season is it acceptable to be ready to commence? Four games in? Five? A round 10? Crazy. It’s no different to Moyes btw...but don’t live in denial. Saying that they may have a different deal on their season ticket - I personally paid for all 19 home league games.
John Crawley
41 Posted 03/09/2014 at 18:20:28
Dave if you are going to state that Martinez is "shit at organising defences" then surely you have to look at his managerial record as a whole.

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.

Harold Matthews
42 Posted 03/09/2014 at 18:25:34
To compete with the rich boys, Martinez has a system firmly locked into his head. Eventually he will have 25 players who will be comfortable with the system. Till then we’re on a wing and a prayer.
Raymond Fox
43 Posted 03/09/2014 at 18:51:07
Your correct Harold, we are never going to buy a CL side, were consistently outspent by at least 6 teams.
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!
Eugene Ruane
44 Posted 03/09/2014 at 19:28:58
The Mayfly lives 24 hours.

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).

Phil Walling
45 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:19:08
Thanks for more patronising education, Ruane. But why take six paras to get to the punchline.

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.

James McPherson
46 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:26:23
Now then, Phil Walling: be civil. Eugene, just tell me how many games before concern kicks in? I respect the fact that you think three is premature.
Eugene Ruane
47 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:27:45
Phil Walling - "Thanks for more patronising education, Ruane. But why take six paras to get to the punchline. 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."

No need for all that, you could have just said ’disagree.’

Eugene Ruane
48 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:32:43
James, I’m giving RM what I gave Moyes - 7 years.


James McPherson
49 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:34:35
Generous, Eugene! I was asking about when concern kicks in – not necessarily when you believe a change at the helm is in order. Or is it a case that, no matter what happens, you will not be concerned for 7 years?! Oh to be that sanguine about matters Everton. Envious, fella. I believe in Martinez – he’s human and has made mistakes in his prep for this season – so long as he learns.
Phil Walling
50 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:43:02
Why, is it a sin to ’disagree’ with Mr Ruane?
Andy Crooks
51 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:38:04
Eugene, I think our ex-manager (I hate that term but this ducking Kindle, — see what I mean for duck’s sake – changes his name to Notes), got loads of time. I fear Roberto will get less but three games is ludicrous. I think, though, that it is the way some of us to put the boot in after a bad result. I almost demanded his saving after he sold Duffy. Ducking Kindle again... I meant ’sacking’.
Mike Gwyer
52 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:19:32
Harold (post 42).

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.

Patrick Murphy
53 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:55:16
Andy, you almost demanded Roberto’s sacking after he let a player leave the club who he and his staff didn’t rate! Well, if that is the bar set as to when an Everton manager should be relieved of his duties, it’s lucky for Roberto that the fans have given him three games.

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 – what on earth is this country coming to.

John Daley
54 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:00:44
"Thanks for more patronising education, Ruane. But why take six paras to get to the punchline"

Beats waiting for the exact same tired punch line every sodding time though Phil.

’Wait for it...wait for 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’.

Brian Waring
55 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:02:02
"Although not his greatest fan, I’m pleased to see Moyes"

Hahahaha, good one Phil.

Dan Brierley
56 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:50:46
I 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. If our pre-season preparation is not to blame, then what actually could be the reason players like Barry, McCarthy, Jags, Distin, Pienaar, Lukaku, Coleman look unfit both physically and mentally? I am certain that Martinez will be trying to understand it to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and not shrugging his shoulders and saying "It’s only three fuckin’ games, innit?"

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.

David Hallwood
57 Posted 03/09/2014 at 20:46:15
The defensive lapses have been baffling but I donÂ’t buy into Martinez importing his Wigan record to Everton or the departure of Stubbs; to state the obvious, this is the same defence that had the best defensive record in the last calendar year.

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 hasnÂ’t looked the same player since his injury last year and would probably had been better sitting out the World Cup.

b) Barry & McCarthy arenÂ’t protecting the back 4 and arenÂ’t 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 wasnÂ’t 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.

Patrick Murphy
58 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:08:45
If we had beaten fair and square while giving our best is exactly what happened on Saturday. All this fitness malarky also ignores the number of times any Everton team of the last five years has actually played for the full 90 minutes. We either get a great first-half - mostly seen in the RM era followed by a lack-lustre second period. Or a poor and turgid first-half display followed by a rip-roaring closing 20 minutes mostly seen in the DM era. I have been a poster who has moaned about this situation for a good while and sometimes I believe that because our players feel they are earning half as much as the players at other top clubs they somehow believe that it is ok to put in one half shifts. It happened under both managers and I have no answer as to how the situation is resolved so that we as fans get 90 minute displays more often than we have been used to.
Kevin Tully
59 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:06:37
1. We were all having this debate after 3 games last season.

2. If you don’t want to listen to me, fine - but Arsene Wenger knows a thing or two doesn’t he? “I have had the experience of post-World Cup years and they are always difficult years to get everyone back to the same level. It’s difficult for everybody. It’s a bit levelling. Until everyone gets going it could take some time for some clubs.”

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 MoyesÂ’s back line."
Same 4 players are now shite, 3 months later, and itÂ’s all MartinezÂ’s fault!

5. WeÂ’ve signed Samuel fucking EtoÂ’o - doesnÂ’t the manager get any credit for that?

6. I wonÂ’t be looking at the League table until 10 whole games have passed.

Dan Brierley
60 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:19:30
Patrick, have a look at James McCarthy for Chelsea’s 3rd, 4th & 5th goals. And please explain if you don’t think it is a fitness problem, why he was unable to at least catch a player running with the ball and put a challenge in when last season he was running around like a man possessed.

If it is not fitness, what is it?

John Daley
61 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:27:27
Blame it on the blisters Dan?
Patrick Murphy
62 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:27:20
My issue is that the pre-season is not the reason for lack of fitness I don’t think that the Everton side as a whole are capable of playing for 90 minutes and haven’t been for most of the last five years that has nothing to do with regimes or pre-seasons that has a lot to do with players attitudes. Naismith doesn’t look unfit does he? I wonder why that is?

Dan Brierley
63 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:33:30
Naismith looks great, because he was ready both physically and mentally from his first involvement this season. He has come roaring out of the blocks, suggesting that he had a good pre-season. All the other players I have mentioned do not look ready at all, suggesting whatever their pre-season regime was, has not worked as well.

David Graves
64 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:35:55
"I’m already consigning this year’s league campaign to the bin"
Grow up.
Dan Brierley
65 Posted 03/09/2014 at 21:58:05
Blisters on his instep for all those sideways passes, or on his soles for carrying Barry for three matches?
Eugene Ruane
66 Posted 03/09/2014 at 23:23:31
James (45) - "Generous Eugene! I was asking about when concern kicks in - not necessarily when you believe a change at the helm is in order"

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.

James McPherson
67 Posted 04/09/2014 at 09:48:22
Eugene, cheers for responding. The original topic was debating the connection between pre-season and the performances thus far. Don’t think people are extrapolating this to then assess a forthcoming season, well not at three games in anyway. If they are, they are off topic and wrong. Your mayfly analogy would be right in that instance.

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.

Brent Stephens
68 Posted 04/09/2014 at 10:19:32
James #67 - a very reasoned and reasonable post.
Ernie Baywood
69 Posted 04/09/2014 at 10:05:43
To be honest James, I’m still not sure what the opening post is claiming. Never mind the subsequent posts.

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.

Peter Fearon
70 Posted 04/09/2014 at 14:04:40
Poor preparation in pre-season and lack of match fitness may also be a factor in the injuries to Ross Barkley, which is catastrophic in my view, and Steve Pienaar. Fit players get injured, of course, but partially fit players get injured far more easily.
Wayne Smyth
71 Posted 04/09/2014 at 19:03:36
Football is usually too complex to put anything down to one particular cause. There has been an element of unfitness(mentally and physically), but also individual mistakes by players as witnessed in the first few minutes against Chelsea, when fitness was absolutely not a problem.

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.

Phil Walling
72 Posted 04/09/2014 at 20:26:40
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.

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'.

Patrick Murphy
73 Posted 04/09/2014 at 20:43:35
Or perhaps What-Everton! don't you mean Wigan? Phil!
Eugene Ruane
74 Posted 04/09/2014 at 21:10:30
Phil Walling (72) - You're the classic likes to give it, but whines long and loud when you get it back

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)

Dan Brierley
75 Posted 04/09/2014 at 22:10:48
Wow, you sure showed him Eugene. Take a bow fella, your intelligence and mighty wit is a sight to behold. It was like watching a daddy long legs fighting an earwig.

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.

Eugene Ruane
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)

Phil Walling
77 Posted 04/09/2014 at 23:12:22
Yea, we get it now. Thanks for the clue - you're the actor !
Lee Courtliff
79 Posted 05/09/2014 at 00:23:20
Is there a more polarising figure on TW than Eugene Ruane ?

Hibbert , Osman ?

Maybe even Moyes ?

Either way...........He's right up there.

Derek Thomas
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

James Flynn
81 Posted 05/09/2014 at 01:10:52
"Is there a more polarising figure on TW than Eugene Ruane?"

Never occurred to me, this.


Fun? Yes.
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.

Gavin Ramejkis
82 Posted 05/09/2014 at 02:06:39
TW would be a much duller place without the wit we get from these boards. The world is also a quieter place devoid of great orators like Tony Benn, who no matter whether you loved or loathed his politics you have to admit the guy could stand up and chat about it and face any questions and opposition viewpoints to it. The alehouses used to be awash with similar diverse viewpoints where you could jostle with views on anything you could think of. The internet is a lot more sanitised and remote but shouldn't sacrifice the opportunity for a good debate.

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.

David Ellis
83 Posted 05/09/2014 at 02:32:29
Now if I dive in and say Eugene is not divisive does that show that he is in fact divisive? Have we created a ToffeeWeb paradox?

Never mind - Eugene is clearly a dangerous leftie...but very amusing with an more power to his elbow.

James McPherson
84 Posted 05/09/2014 at 08:32:20
It is indeed a paradox (David Ellis 83 - very good!). Taking reader's contributions, Michael and Lyndon create threads for debate. What I see is that debate starts with healthy views (on all sides) being expressed. However, sometime thereafter it moves off thread and starts to zone in on the semantics and stylisation of an argument rather than the substance....which then often descends into the personal...and we find ourselves quite far removed from the original thread and valid talking point. Sorry to point fingers Eugene, you never seem far away from the centre of things when this happens...just like it has here.
Nick Entwistle
85 Posted 05/09/2014 at 08:46:41
This should be adopted as the TW anthem.


Tony J Williams
87 Posted 05/09/2014 at 09:14:23
The Paradox has been knocked down and Sports Direct are building a shop, gym, restaurant and car park on it's site.......ahhh the memories!!
Craig Bellew
88 Posted 05/09/2014 at 10:25:05
Tony J - Funny post that, especially off the back of what has been discussed previously re a Paradox.

ps: That place will be missed; I spent many a night in that place!

Eric Holland
89 Posted 05/09/2014 at 10:36:07
Tony, Craig,
Paradox on a Wed night was the dogs dangly bits, remember Deja Vu? many a great night spent there! Until the night I met my future wife there.
Eric Holland
90 Posted 05/09/2014 at 10:40:43
Daja vu ??
Craig Bellew
91 Posted 05/09/2014 at 11:20:39
Eric - Yes, over-25s' night belta of a night! Pre-drinks in the boozer in the middle of the car park, cant remember the name now but something Gardens springs to mind. I remember seeing D:Ream in there and the place was chocka, not the greatest band/group but a boss night!
Craig Bellew
92 Posted 05/09/2014 at 11:23:50
My arl fella ran the door on DeJaVu behind the old C&A or opposite were Quiggans used to be. Another great little club with character now replaced by football player style hangouts all over the city centre!
Tony J Williams
93 Posted 05/09/2014 at 11:31:16
Manhatton Square wasn't it?
Craig Bellew
94 Posted 05/09/2014 at 11:43:20
Yep, correct, Tony, it was Mnahattan Square. I loved that place and was always a boss atmosphere in there before walking over the car park to the Paradox. Great memories lads!
John Crawley
95 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:09:13
Ruane - divisive? He's an amateur next to the masters of Moyes & Kenwright!!
John Daley
96 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:14:39
Well, this thread got derailed.

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?

Sod that.

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?

Tony J Williams
97 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:31:35
Oh go get a room John.......
John Daley
98 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:52:20
Thanks Tony. Perfect example. So lazy even Lenny Henry would turn his nose up at it... and he's been face to face with Dawn French's fanny. Sure it got Phil Walling snickering 'Schh schh schh schh' though.
Jim Knightley
100 Posted 05/09/2014 at 13:45:23
I am a big supporter of Martinez. I like his personality, and his attacking approach. But, as well as he did last season, I do not think that his record points total is worth parading around so often, as Eugene and others done.

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.

John Daley
101 Posted 05/09/2014 at 14:20:52
"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."

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?

David Chait
102 Posted 05/09/2014 at 14:59:19
I wonder who made up the teams..
Kevin Tully
103 Posted 05/09/2014 at 17:05:13
If you look closely at all the goals we have conceded, please point out which ones were due to lack of fitness?

I know some have said the players were not mentally prepared – 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 – OK.

Brin Williams
104 Posted 05/09/2014 at 17:35:31
'Ruane - divisive?'

At least he's decisive about it - no fuckin' about - says it as it is.


Tony Abrahams
105 Posted 05/09/2014 at 18:49:09
Agree with that assessment John, and I would also add that if the players think they are a good team, they will be hurting like mad.
You always find out more about players when they face a bit of adversity, so we will find out for ourselves pretty soon.

DonÂ’t know how EugeneÂ’s 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!

Andy Crooks
106 Posted 05/09/2014 at 19:04:08
John D, you weighed in to support Bill Hicks against Cannon and Ball. It's not fair.

Tony Abrahams
107 Posted 05/09/2014 at 20:28:36
Watching the game again on Chelsea TV, for a team that have gone two down, EvertonÂ’s football is very good. Our work rate is good, we look a threat, and you could argue we are so open because of having to chase the game.

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 itÂ’s 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.

Jim Knightley
108 Posted 05/09/2014 at 22:21:06
Kevin... did you watch the Arsenal game?! We were shattered half way through the second half, and allowed Arsenal to come onto us as a result. Even Martinez agreed re the impact of fatigue:

"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.

Andy Crooks
109 Posted 05/09/2014 at 22:32:07
Jim, I don't think starting later would have helped us. For reasons I don't get, I believe we are exactly where the coach expects us to be fitness-wise.
Derek Thomas
111 Posted 06/09/2014 at 04:23:51
Could it be that our 'slow' pre-season / start is deliberate given that we have 7 games in 21 days and Roberto will target the Europa and Prem over the League Cup.

Paul Burns
112 Posted 07/09/2014 at 21:14:36
Three games is almost a tenth of the entire league season. We canÂ’t afford to be so amateurish in preparing for a new season, itÂ’s fuckinÂ’ hard enough as it is.

WeÂ’ll never win a trophy again if the fuckwits running our club donÂ’t up their performance and thereÂ’s no sign at all of it happening.

Max Wilson
113 Posted 09/09/2014 at 17:34:47
I've only just seen this. I agree with nearly every word Jim has written. Spot on!

I also sometimes fancy Keira.

Brian Denton
115 Posted 09/09/2014 at 17:56:32
Just downloaded a sample of your book to my Kindle, Eugene. Have just enough left on a gift voucher to buy it if the sample lives up to expectations (as I’m sure it will).

I trust you will have managed to work in some mention of Les Bleus......

Graham Mockford
116 Posted 09/09/2014 at 18:28:18
Eugene #76

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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