At 5pm on Saturday, it is clear that a Dutch Master rates higher than a Spanish Impressionist. Ronald Koeman – in the words of "Survivor" – outplayed, outwitted and outlasted Martinez to such an extent that, unless Roberto starts to seriously reflect on what team and tactics he is sending out, he may become a candidate for being "voted off the island".

For Southampton, Ronald Koeman, stretched to his limits of who he could play, came up with a very simple plan that Roberto Martinez had no answer to.

Acknowledging our strengths, he nullified Coleman and Baines by pushing Bertram and Clyne further up the pitch and in fact got an added reward when Bertram fired in the cross for the 2nd goal. Koeman played two strikers up front who won both the attacking and defensive battles against Jagielka and Distin so that the Blues could not play their way out from the back. Where was Barry???? Midfield was crowded out and Barkley only occasionally managed to get away from the crowd and looked our most promising attacking option. Naismith, Lukaku and Eto'o never got a look in.

So although it is the XI on the pitch who win or lose the game, Martinez's stubborn meaningless possession mantra is blunting any talent that the Blues have. For 18 months, I have loved everything that Martinez has done for the Blues, but his inability to have a Plan B is becoming as worrying as it was before he arrived.

More worrying, I think, is the demonstration (or lack of it) by some of our previously most influential players that they outright do not like playing this way. Our best attacking options have always come from Baines and Coleman. Yes, other teams have worked this out and push high on to them but with the right players around them, I still believe they have skill and enthusiasm to get high up the pitch and put in the dangerous crosses that have always been our main way of scoring.

Martinez, this season, has preferred to use them more as defending fullbacks rather than attacking ones. Martinez has broken up the left sided combination of Baines, Pienaar and Osman (yes, there have been injuries) but even when they were fit, it does not appear that this is part of his strategy, preferring McGeady and Mirallas to occupy the wide areas and so nullify any progress that may come from these areas. But today with neither McGeady nor Mirallas in the starting XI, he had Pienaar on the bench but never used him or anyone else.

Of the 2 fullbacks, Baines looks the most pissed off and out of sorts with himself and everyone else. Has anyone else noticed he is no longer the #1 option for corners and free kicks when Barkley, Etoo and Mirallas are around? When he does get the chance, his consistency and confidence has gone.

Martinez does clearly believe in his own ability, football philosophy and tactics but I think others are beginning to question that after today's worst display for a long time. Unwilling to change in the face ineffectiveness is a classic case of ego-centred stubbornness (where have I heard that before?) Maybe there are reasons that we are not privy too but how can you not change the line up when you go 2-0 down and have not threatened to score a goal?

What are we saving ourselves for? There will be no Christmas cheer around Goodison unless Martinez shows some adaptability in the face of tactics that are clearly not working.

When things are not going well, other areas are highlighted. So many other things now appear to need fixing... like asking players to play out of position to accommodate his tactics or favourite players. Not being able to defend high balls in around Howard due to a lack of physicality. Not having a centre forward, even under the guidance of Big Dunc who does not seem to be learning anything. Have you noticed that he very rarely wins a high ball and now Naisy has become the target for Howard's punts down field.

Yes, everyone can have a bad game, a bad run due to missing influential players, but that is when a manager earns his money and yesterday I am sorry Roberto did not. Bright spots again were Mo Besic and Ross Barkley but, hard as they try, they cannot do it on their own and I can't really remember anyone else looking like they gave a damn.

Is everything being sacrificed on the altar of the Europa Cup?

So today and for most of this season, the Dutch Master has it over the Spanish Impressionist.

Seasons Greetings from the Frozen North and a much better New Year

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Reader Comments (18)

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Bob Skelton
1 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:04:47
Agree with every you say. We have been sussed out by the opposition. The goodison crowd have known this for a while, hence the booing and lack of atmosphere. Lukaku and Baines both need a rest. Give Kone and Garbett a chance.

Spanish Impressionist is a very good analogy for our manager, intransigence is another of his traits that could put us in a very precarious position this year.

I'm not looking forward to Boxing Day.

John Williams
2 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:14:28
Excellent post, David, I agree with all you say. When their 2nd goal went in there was movement on the bench and I thought thank god with 25 minutes left changes are now inevitable .But no not a sausage!

Lukaku is totally out of sorts and although heÂ’s not getting any good service his all round play is dire. Kone should at least been given this chance to offer something different.

Why he plays EtoÂ’o and Naismith in the same team is beyond me and playing Barkley out wide is just a joke. Two fullbacks now nullified by everyone and two holding midfielders creating nothing we lack any guile going forward.

I hope Stones, McCarthy and Mirallas are not too far away from fitness and, with Ross playing central, Kone up top, improvement surely canÂ’t be too far away.

Steve Pugh
3 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:08:53
I think Baines performances show that the players aren't happy with the way we are playing. There was a moment yesterday when he was looking for a pass ahead of him and nobody showed so he had to go back to Howard. He then turned and laid into the rest of the team, only Eto'o apologised. A couple of minutes later Baines got the ball again, still clearly pissed off. Instead of looking for a pass he cut inside and ran from the edge of our 18 yard box to the edge of theirs taking on and beating everyone in his way before trying a one-two with Eto'o. Sadly it didn't come off and afterwards Bainsey went back to following team orders.

But in that moment it became clear... it isn't the players. It's the system.

In the beginning I was against Martinez but last year he did a good job of converting me and this year I have found many reasons why things aren't working.

Should have stuck with my instincts.

Si Mar
4 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:18:26
I personally think we have a very tricky Christmas period and yesterdayÂ’s performance fills me with dread.

Last season seems a distant memory and I hope we can turn it round but IÂ’m struggling to see how the way we are playing.

I thought it was great when I first saw it but I think it was a good decision to take down the mural of Bobby on the Top Balcony!!

Allan Board
5 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:43:11
A very sad decline in players attitudes means you will lose lots of games. That attitude decline is laid squarely at the Managers/Staffs door. This guy and his mates he bought with him are not intelligent enough in a football sense and are lacking the nous to change games and spot who should be playing where. I don't agree its stubbornness on Martinez part-HE PLAINLY HAS NOT GOT THE ABILITY/KNOW HOW AT THIS LEVEL!

The squad we have are not GOOD ENOUGH to play how he wants to and the guy and his staff CANT SEE IT,whether on the training pitch or in games! I cant really bad mouth him/staff as its not there fault they are out of there depth and not experienced enough. They are not good enough coaches to "dumb it down" so players take the style/tactics on board and learn quickly.

The intensity needs to be upped in training drills by several notches-read kendalls and Cattericks books to see how they approached training-it was no different to a match scenario and if you pissed about you ended up on your arse,no quarter given Roberto.

Our players work hard,press harder,and use the ball quickly and progressively when they get it back. That's when we are at our best. This manager does not even see that! Unless you get 200milion put in your mit in January and you can go and buy the players to play "your" way Martinez,ask for some help and stop ruining our players(who on the whole are good lads)by employing poor ,negative tactics and not getting the best out of them!

My family and I are at Finch Farm tomorrow for a tree planting for my late brother,a blue and the reason I am too. A day of mixed emotions beckons.

Joe Foster
6 Posted 21/12/2014 at 12:29:50
For me this is simple this all lands squarely on RM shoulders. He is the manager if people are not performing he needs to have a word with them find out what's wrong and try and fix it. If he can't see that this "style" of play is not working the board need to have a word with him. What is he trying to achieve/prove. This is a tough league but there are teams we should have beaten easily but I have no confidence we will beat anyone. Maybe the players feel the same
Helen Mallon
7 Posted 21/12/2014 at 13:18:48
Alan board he does know what he is doing, he IS stubborn.
Mike Oates
9 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:06:56
I was at St Mary's yesterday just below the camera tower opposite the dug-out. So in first half I watched Coleman, and in 2nd half Baines like a hawk and I can honestly state that neither player is at all happy with what's going on round them. Baines had about 3-5 near hospital balls passed to him from Barry, Distin and Barkley, not once was he found in space going forward and at the end he just gave up. Similarly Coleman didn't have a clue when to push on, Naismith as a wide right player is really a waste of space. We don't use Coleman as a route out of defence, always Baines and Southampton absolutely sussed it.

Eto'o and Barkley both wanted the same space and nothing, nothing at all went round the back of Southampton defence. In fact Eto'o was also a complete and utter waste of time.

I don't want to say anything about Distin, Jags and Howard as they had a horrid day as they always do against Long, who terrorises the life out of them and Pelle learned quickly yesterday about how to go about it.

Lukaku – looks lazy but frankly didn't get one decent pass all game, until last 5 mins when he got a stubbed pass , turned and goalie saved.

Martinez just seem to stand further and further back in the manager's area completely in shock. Graeme Smith his assistant came over about 3-4 times around the 60th minute to speak with him, obviously about subs but went back with his head between his legs.

Could be classed as irrelevant but our warm up was a complete joke compared to Southampton's, we came out 10 mins later after them, players and coaches spent most of time chatting, they did about 3-4 sprints, a couple of keep ball and went back in.

Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:09:19
Allan Board (5)

I know your feelings tomorrow will be for your brother but if you get the opportunity try and speak to Mr Martinez and explain your feelings to him in a quiet way, explain the way the majority of Everton fans are feeling at the moment and express your hopes that he will do something to change what is going on.

Dave Randles
11 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:50:28
Excellent article and pretty much nails how I feel.

Possession means absolutely nothing if the stat in the top left hand corner of the TV screen isn't what you want.

The boo boys got hammered against QPR (perhaps rightly so) - but the frustration of this painfully slow, tika taka, going nowhere, keep-ball, eminently readable and predictable game we play is horrible.

Someone above says we don't have the ability to play that way and I agree, we keep the ball all day long without the nouse to slide in the killer ball or drag defenders out of position and instead pass it round aimlessly until it goes back to Howard, who then take the opportunity to fire a hopeful punt up field from 90 yards further down the pitch.

Would that punt not be better from the byline into the box? But no, we keep the ball under a misconceived notion that somehow possession wins games.

We've now got more talent in the team that we've had for many a year, but it's nullified by our fear of losing the ball and perhaps taking the odd attacking risk or two. The talent we do have demonstrates every week that it isn't suited to the slow, slow patience and possession-based game that RM seems intent on us playing.

Bill Gall
12 Posted 21/12/2014 at 20:29:18
Picked this bit from an article by a pundit from E.S.P.N. onyesterdays game
The use of a trio of attacking players at their best in the centre looked doomed to fail from the start and it did.
The preferance for operating in areas restricted each individual. Forced to play through the middle of the pitch the cronic lack of width is easy to combat. Sheer weight of numbers will keep this one -paced Everton attack at bay. Such is ths excrushiating pace of the football the opposition face no real danger.

This was followed up with--Perhaps most alarmingly of all is Martinez's inability to acknowledge what appears right under his nose.

The club should give all the supporters that travelled down to Southampton their money back including travel expenses.

Colin Glassar
13 Posted 21/12/2014 at 21:07:13
If its any consolation to any of you, Roberto's pictures has been taken off the wall on the Sunday Supplement programme on sky sports.
Patrick Murphy
14 Posted 21/12/2014 at 21:15:24
Colin the only surprise to me is that his picture was up on that wall in the first place it doesn't seem to fit in with their pandering to the rich clubs to have Roberto's picture on their show.
Colin Glassar
15 Posted 21/12/2014 at 21:26:07
I think Phil W bought it and now has it on his dart board.
Colin Glassar
17 Posted 22/12/2014 at 10:28:46
Brenda is still on it.....for now. Big Sam must be on it soon as he's so photogenic.

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