What I have to say is contentious. It may even be utter rubbish. But 'in my struggle to make sense of where it's all gone wrong for Everton this season, I can’t help returning to one, single primary cause – Lukaku.

To be more precise, though I am saying he’s the problem, I’m not saying it’s his fault – he didn’t buy himself for £28million; he didn’t persist in playing himself in a position he was ill-equipped to play.

The problems Everton have now can all be traced back to spending way over the odds for an average player and then (in a blind attempt to justify paying silly money), repeatedly sending him out in the wrong position, whilst hiding behind the fact that he’s very young and therefore needs time to develop.

From this primary cause, all kinds of secondary cracks began to appear, these then disguised even further that it was in fact Lukaku who ‘was’ the problem.

Even when things were going well for Everton this season, the amount of toothless possession has been remarkable. Why is that? I believe it’s because the team don’t have enough faith in Lukaku as a lone striker. Give him the ball and the attack is likely to break down.

Though now slightly improved, his hold-up play has been abysmal and his movement off the ball predictable. The other players instinctively knew it wasn’t going to work and their confidence to build attacks around him was choked. So we get the aimless sideways passing between stretched centrebacks; central midfielders caught in possession… the inevitable silly goal against, followed by even more pressure for us to score, whilst adhering to the ‘possession is king’ mantra but having no clear-cut way to hurt the opposition. Lukaku as the 6’-3” bottleneck in attack.

The many ‘individual errors’ that have led to goals against us hide the fact that it was really a lack of forward pass options that meant way too much possession has been in the Everton half. As players making those mistakes, you look bad and feel resentful because it’s not really your fault. Of course Lukaku shouldn’t be the only out-ball, but lack of faith in his hold-up play mean others are reluctant to go past him.

Even when Lukaku’s hold-up play began to improve, that merely extended the time we’ve had to watch him play out of position. Meanwhile, to fit in with this, other players were also forced to play where they were ineffective (eg, Barkley on the left or Naismith on the right). Players have tried but you can see their frustration at being made vulnerable – asked to do things they’re not really any good at. Collectively it’s ineffective, it heaps yet more pressure on and causes tensions within the camp; stops partnerships blossoming.

Martinez’s decision to try and paper over the cracks with increasingly meaningless positivity (and latterly moaning about refs) is starting to get comically desperate and deluded.

At first, I thought his persistence with Lukaku through the middle was his way of giving him some consistency in order to aid his development but, as time marches on, I’m not so sure. I increasingly think it was more to do with a blind hope that Lukaku would suddenly score a hatful and then become the kind of talismanic centre-forward you’d expect for £28million.

So, of course, it’s not really Lukaku who’s the problem – it’s Martinez and by default Kenwright (who must surely now have a word with RM).

It would be a great shame if Martinez’s positivity becomes simply a cloak for pigheaded arrogance and some self-serving experiment in football. It would also be unacceptable if he persists in trying to prove a point whilst the team’s performance and unity evaporate. (Standby for some key players moving on from the club in January...)

I would love it if Lukaku could play lone-striker but, at this stage of his development, he can’t and that’s just something Martinez should accept and move on from. Kone is already being underused because Martinez seems to be afraid he will outshine Lukaku, especially if they should ever both be allowed on the pitch at the same time (which of course they should have been when 3-1 down to Newcastle or 3-0 down to Southampton).

It’s time to solve the problem; time to stop repeating mistakes. Kone, Naismith, Mirallas and even Eto’o are options in the centre. Martinez should stop trying to pretend Lukaku is a £28million centre-forward. Put him on the right and he will cause problems for the opposition; the rest of the players will breathe a sigh of relief and Everton's fortunes will change.

If Martinez isn’t big enough to make honest selections based on ability, then crashing out of the Europa League and fighting relegation in the Premier League are very real prospects.

Lukaku on the right is the solution.

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Reader Comments (97)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:21:25
Well-written piece, Martin, but I'm not sure I would buy your solution: Lukaku has been tried on the right and he looks awful to me, because he doesn't have the skills needed to control the ball. His biggest threat is nearer goal. I hate it when he cycles wide out of the area... but he's not getting the service and so does it to at least see some of the ball.

We know his penchant for scoring goals from central positions — it's just incredible how Martinez has contrived to have the team play in such a way that takes no advantage whatsoever of the big man's proven goalscoring ability.

Paul Andrews
2 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:29:26
Good point Michael.
We should go with a 4-3-3.
Kone Lukaku and Mirallas.
Managers instructions Lukaku not to go wider than parallel to 18 yard box lines
Rick Tarleton
3 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:42:56
I'm completely with you , Michael, the way the team is set up offers nothing to Lukaku, we are not playing to his proven strengths. We are asking him to be a hold-up player and he is manifestly unsuited in that role. He's a striker, one who needs quick service, and one who needs service from the wings. Yet in order to get the ball he keeps having to come short and to turn under pressure. It's a coaching, training ground problem.
Peter Laing
4 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:42:37
The problem isn't Lukaku it's the system that Martinez keeps using with players being asked / expected to play out of position. Prime examples of this are both Lukaku and Barkley, probably our most valuable assets who are being wasted and their confidence destroyed by the current set up.

If you watch the DVD of last season's campaign you will see that prior to Christmas we had Barkley playing just behind Lukaku supplemented in attack by Mirallas and Deulofeu / Oviedo with probably the best football that I have seen from an Everton side in 20 odd years.

Coupled with a serious loss of form in the defence, poor goalkeeping displays from Howard and an injury crisis that has wreaked havoc, we have all the makings of a team that has lost form at an alarming rate. We need to get back to basics and quick.

Paul Andrews
5 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:50:10

Agree 100%

Lyndon Lloyd
6 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:59:05
"The problems Everton have now can all be traced back to spending way over the odds for an average player"

Lukaku's goalscoring record over the past two full seasons was surpassed only by Suarez, Van Persie and Sturridge and it bettered that of Dzeko and Rooney. He's not an "average player"; as virtually everyone (apart from the manager, it seems) has identified, he's being utterly wasted by a lack of service.

Wayne Smyth
7 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:50:28
Martin, I disagree with your analysis.

Lukaku is not the problem and his best position must be as a centre forward. The reason he doesn't get given the ball more is that there is no space or the ball is too difficult, it's not that the other players don't trust him.

When he plays he is often crowded out, with 2 or 3 opposition players around him. Our "wingers" don't help. Barkley, McGeady, Eto'o, Mirallas and Naismith all come inside too much making it impossible for Lukaku to find any space to run into and any pass into him has to be both very precise and very precisely controlled.

We need proper wingers, who hug the touchline and a support striker who gets close enough to Lukaku to offer support without getting in the way.

We need runners from deep, like Barkley did playing alongside Besic. All of our play is generally too static. Players wait for the ball when they should be busting a gut making runs and pulling the opposition about. This is why we see so many sideways passes.

To put our current malaise down to one player is entirely wrong, but also sadly entirely predictable.

Tom Bowers
8 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:54:37
Lukaku has proved himself a top striker both last season with the Blues and before that with West Brom. What is different this season is the whole team and the system has gone to pot. Lukaku's ball control has been a problem but that alone cannot be blamed.

The progress from midfield and the back has been abyssmal this season resulting in poor forward progress. It's obvious that the wing raiding of Coleman and Baines has been sussed out by many teams and consequently the opportunities for Lukaku have been very limited.

Whilst he doesn't have the skills of a Messi type player he is still a big threat when given the chances on goal.

The injuries to Mirallas have not helped and people like McGeady and Eto'o have contributed little up front in his absences. It could well be that Everton do not have the strength in depth needed to keep up a top 6 push as yet.

Patrick Murphy
9 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:00:10
The lad has never been a target man and never will become a target man - he hasn't the basic skill set - I don't think he was worth what we paid for him and I didn't want Everton to buy him in the summer but everybody knows how much BK loves a deal.

Seeing as Roberto's initial purchases included Kone it would seem that he knew what type of striker he required which fitted into his preferred style of play - so why did he buy a player who is so unsuited to that style of play?. Obviously Kone's injury problems meant he had to buy somebody but could he not have gotten Bony or AN other for a similar price or did he think that a fit Kone would help Lukaku in the long-term?. It wouldn't surprise me if Lukaku was to be seen playing his football elsewhere next season, which is a great shame given his goals per game ratio.

Roberto has stated once again that he won't change his principles which is fair enough but will he change his formation? Personally I believe that the solution to the current problem is to play both Kone and Lukaku in the same team at the same time.

Chris Smith
10 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:24:09
My view is that the problem is wide midfield. Last season we could use two from Pienaar, Mirallas and Deulofeu. Pienaar has faded and Atsu has been poor. Mirallas has been in and out with injuries. Barkley has been used wide and this just doesn't work. We should sign a good right-sided player and build our attack around Lukaku and Barkley.
Steven Telford
11 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:18:43
Look at how many many Goals we have conceded!

Lukaku is CLEARLY NOT the problem, sorry but I find the article to be heavily misplaced.

Our defense has been utter shite, and that is as far away from Lukaku as is physically possible on a football field.

Lukaku is a fantastic player, the best striker we have had in years, and he is getting shit service.

Patrick Murphy
12 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:29:59
Steven (11) - I would agree with you to a large extent but the difference that Kone made at Newcastle to the way we played at least in the opening period was very noticeable but I can't argue with your assessment of the defensive frailties, but having two 'targets' would eliminate the lack of options that the mid-fielders seem to have which force them to go back towards their own goal it would also stop them from making excuses for that futile exercise, it may also allow Romelu to find more space for himself to get more opportunities to score.

Michael Winstanley
13 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:16:43
I don't agree with you Martin.
Lukaku can finish. He's not getting the chances this season which is down to how poor we are playing as a team.

Our problem is a lack of intelligence in our players, their decision making and application has been shocking this season.

On a different note Gibson, Pienaar and Osman have been huge misses this season, they know what's expected of an Everton team.

Lukaku, Eto'o, Mirallas, McGeady, Barkley, Barry, Alcaraz, Kone, McCarthy, Stones and Robles don't know what it means.

Phil Gardner
14 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:40:41
Curious post methinks. One question really....5th place and a record points tally last season....was Lukaku 'the problem' then then?
Will Firstbrook
15 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:34:45
Well written. If only there was a single solution to the problems we are facing.

Agreed Lukaku is not the center forward he is continually being asked to be every week. The fallout of which is we now have a striker with shattered confidence who completely unsure of himself. We all know how effective a striker is short of confidence. Truth be told, we have a complete squad of players short of confidence at the moment, often playing of two minds.

At this stage, surely Roberto sees what we all see. Last season Lukaku was allowed to play as a marauding menace in the box. This is where he's most effective. This year he appears shackled and his natural instincts are no longer guiding him. Why this is, I'm not sure. He's not getting the service he did last season and when he does, the ball is usually to his feet with his back to goal. No good. Not sure playing him wide is the answer. He initially enjoyed some success in this position last season but then became less and less effective over time. I think most know he needs to play more direct running onto the ball. If he can't play wide, then he needs to play off of a center forward, most likely Kone. However setting up this way means changing the current formation - which is altogether another story (and problem).

Like all of you, I've been vainly trying to put my finger on where the root of the current problems lie and, more importantly, how to fix it. Each week it seems we are punished for every mistake made in our half. We've had horrible luck with injuries, players out of form, poor/ ill-timed tactical decisions, etc... the perfect storm if you will. Ultimately what will change the current malaise is winning. Only this will turn player confidence. Simple (not). For winning at this stage means both gaffer and players sacrificing performance (Bobby's favorite topic) in favour of result - doing whatever is needed to secure a positive one.

Bobby's recent observation that the players must return to a state where they enjoy playing the game once again could be a signal (admission) that he needs to release the reigns a bit and allow their natural instincts/creativity to come through. Time will tell whether that is the case. One thing is certain, status quo will lead to rot - which one could argue is already setting in. Once that takes hold, turning things around will be extremely difficult and I fear where that will lead.

At the risk of saying the obvious, Hull is huge. We will see whether the manager has the ability to adapt and whether the players have the bottle and pride to play the way they are capable. The current situation demands both to happen.

Linda Morrison
16 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:38:56
The TEAM is the problem, not 1 player. I have never seen such a terrible performance from both mid field and defence as was on show at Newcastle and has been for 2 many occasions this season.

What has happened to Barry
Baines etc etc

I'm not bothered that Howard is out until February as he has been a liability as well.
Too many players listening to and believing their own publicity and not working hard enough to maintain their from.

I did initially put all this down to injuries but the loss of form plus the managers poor tactics at times are the cause. You should never change a winning team but he does I do not understand it.

Siege mentality needed now folks. Stop being so nice and get stuck in or we will be finishing in the bottom half of the table. Everything is against us so a fight is required with some guts
I would suggest
Disitn, Stones or Hibbert

If this lot were on performance related pay they would be in the queue at the food bank

Paul Andrews
17 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:04:36


James Joseph
18 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:06:10
Didn't we always used to blame Osman and Hibbitt? Seems we're not the only ones!


Paul Hewitt
19 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:17:40
The only problem we have is Martinez who clearly cant see were the players should play.
Love to see this guy doing a jigsaw, trying to put piece were they don't fit.
Martin O'Sullivan
20 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:24:53
I thought 㿈 mil on one player was a massive mistake considering top class in our squad is quite thin!!!

I'm starting to think Martinez is not too good at transfers (McCarthy aside)!!!

Shaun Laycock
21 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:12:57
It is our ability to threaten both flanks forces players to come inside thereby squeezing lukakuÂ’s space. Only a few players in the world are able to manage the ball under pressure from three people. Where are the whipped balls into the box? The prime example is the first goal vs Newcastle. ThatÂ’s what we should be doing and asking Lukaku to face the goal not with his back to it. ThatÂ’s his main threat. Allow him (and Baines/Garbutt/Coleman/Oviedo) more freedom and use the width...now for the defence and by this I mean the team set up. How long have you got???
Ged Simpson
22 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:42:45
I suspect Martinez,like Moyes before him,is learning at ever ton. The rest of the season will see if he is a quick learner
Sid Logan
23 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:45:24
Very interesting piece by Martin Keown in today's Mail.
We could do with Martinez reading this and taking some of it on board before we play Hull - it may just be his salvation!
Personally I don't think Martinez is open to too many other options other that the pointless passing that is central to his possession football philosophy! He calls it controlling the game. However as many of us fear he appears to be in control of very little at the moment.
He's demonstrating the kind of inflexibility that get a team relegated!
Steve Woods
24 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:54:18
Martin (OP) regrettably all the signs since perhaps March point to Martinez being "The Problem"
James Stewart
25 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:55:32
Utter rubbish. The problem is Martinez and his inability to organise a defence. The glaring difference from last season is our defence has dropped to Wigan standards and we now have to score 3 a game to get anything.

Lukaku is the least of our problems and I feel sorry for him. Back to goal all game waiting for a cross that never comes. Shameful lack of organisation and tactics from a man who appears completely at sea.

Play to his Strengths and Lukaku will get you 20 goals a season. A feat no one else in our squad will ever get near.

Kevin Tully
26 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:01:55
You’re looking at the wrong end the pitch, Martin. Our problems clearly start and finish with the amount of goals we are conceding - compounded by individual errors.

We have to admit to ourselves there are deeper problems at the club than just the style of play. I think Martinez may possibly be losing the support of senior players. We haven’t heard a peep out of anyone regarding their support of the manager and his approach.

I think it’s over for him to be honest. How else can you explain the lack of fight?

Sid Logan
27 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:08:55
Kevin, I think the goals we are conceding and the individual errors are part of the same problem. Our obsession with passing without purpose has resulted in players trying to make a pass when it should simply be booted upfield or in to touch when needs be.
Many of the goals we are conceding arise from us passing about at the back and losing it as the opposition press us. Most teams know exactly what we will do and they know we're not Barcelona. Many players are not comfortable with it and if there is discontent in the dressing room I'd bet good money that this is the root cause of it. Read Keown's article entitled 'long ball Louis'.
Linda Morrison
28 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:18:20
I know Kenwright is usually not a sacking chairman but I honestly think that a few more losses and poor performances and he will act.

I think Roberto was a breath of fresh air for us and thew players last season after OFM, but this season has been a disaster, barring Europe, which he seems to be obsessed with.

I was surprised that he was chosen as I would have preferred a more experienced manager such as one with European experience.

Kevin Tully
29 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:18:55
Agree partly Sid, but I don’t want to see us punting long balls down the line if at all possible. The trouble is, we have gone too far in the other direction of keeping the ball at all costs.

If the likes of Distin, Jagielka, Howard, Baines have lost faith in the managers approach, there is probably nobody else at the club to take up his cause, and translate his ideas onto the pitch. He needed these senior players onside, to get his ideas across to rest of the squad. If he’s lost those names (which I think he has) then it’s only a matter of time.

Colin Glassar
30 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:19:42
I'm with Peter Laing on this one (haven't read all the others). To say Lukaku isn't a proven goal scorer is utter rubbish!! I think the lad has scored something like 77 top flight goals and he's what? 21? 22? Give him decent service, on the deck and in front of him, and he will deliver.
Oh, and ffs stop moaning about the price tag. Andy Carroll has cost over 㿞m and he's scored like 30 goals in his entire career.
Sid Logan
31 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:25:54
Linda, if Martinez showed just an inkling of recognition of what's going wrong there would be a little bit more patience from the fans. But the relentless optimism that many of those on TW have referred to is showing a dangerous detachment from reality.
Basically he doesn't look like he understands the meaning of grinding out a result when the pressure's on. That the real worry!

Patrick Murphy
32 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:29:35
I'm with Kevin Tully on this one we don't want to see a return of the huge punt up the pitch because it's a safer option, but we do need to pick and choose when and where to play the possession stuff. It wasn't that long ago that pundits, Liverpool Captains and pressmen berated Everton for being a long-ball team now they are worshipping Man United for doing similar, I wonder what long-term United supporters think of it, or perhaps it doesn't matter because they're getting better results this season than last. Some happy medium has to be found between keeping the ball and being a threat, not easy but where there's a will there's a way.
Ant Summers
33 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:34:24
IMO The problem is not LUKAKU, our biggest player prom on the pitch(and there are a few), but the top of the tree is GARATH BARRY. Devoid of pace, tackle, pass, all round carthorse, not a captain in a month of sundays, not a leader. Too old, should have been handed back to city. He aint going to improve, thats for sure...we all know there is improvement in LUKAKU.
Sid Logan
34 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:35:25
Patrick, I think most of us would go along with the play being a mixture of passing and long balls. What I would say that if we were to play more long balls someone like Kone as a target man (and Naismith who is also not bad in the air) we need someone like Lukaku looking to feed off the knockdowns.

But don't panic just yet - under Martinez I still expect us to pass at our usual pedantic pace until we lose it.

The move and Kone goal against Newcastle was a flashback to last season's performance against Arsenal at home.

Colin Glassar
35 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:35:32
Kevin, if he's lost these players (I also think he has) then he needs to ship them out ASAP. Their problem is they are uncomfortable with the ball.
Remember under OFM the constant, needless heading of the ball or the hoof downfield to no one in particular? Yes we cleared our lines but nine times out of ten the ball would just go to an opposing players and just come straight back at us.
I'm all for possession football but you need players with technique and intelligence to be able to play it.
David Foster
36 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:45:23
You can’t really blame Lukaku – if the guy isn’t getting the service then what’s he supposed to do?
Kevin Tully
37 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:52:03
Funnily enough Colin, it was the defenders at Man Utd who stabbed Moyes in the back. Ferdinand, Evra and Vidic all fell out with him over the style of play (and no chips on a Friday!)

Unfortunately, I don’t think Martinez will get the time to completely revamp this squad. I can imagine a few calls have already been made to Bill via the captain - hence the ’Martinez under Pressure’ headline in the papers recently. I think there may have already been some ’leaks’ from the club regarding his position. A loss to Hull and an early exit out of the Cup will seal his fate.

Paul Andrews
38 Posted 30/12/2014 at 20:05:28
Time will tell, Kevin, I would be very surprised if he was sacked or mutually consented as a result of losing to Hull and West Ham.

If he has lost the dressing room it’s opposite the Winslow. Through the double doors, can’t miss it

Tony Hill
39 Posted 30/12/2014 at 19:59:49
Someone elsewhere said Eto'o is a problem and I agree. Class act as a sub but not a 90 minute player and he has been a blocker on Barkley in the 10 role because he wanders about and gets in the way. Lukaku plays best with Ross behind him, see the Villa game, because he gets quick, incisive service ahead of him.

Maybe Barkley wants out anyway - his current attitude stinks - but he has been consistently messed about and the cramming in of Eto'o, Naismith and Barkley or the confused selection of some mix of the 3 has been one of our major tactical errors.

RM has a strange reverence for the senior/ageing player (add Barry, Distin, Howard, Osman) as though they have special wisdom and magic - that may be so, but the PL player has to be able to move and react at pace throughout and we have too many who can't do that.

By all means let's use our experience in the right way, but not at the expense of our young talent and that very much includes Lukaku.

There are problems of technique with Rom but we're making them worse because we're ruining his confidence by failing to play to his strengths.

Colin Glassar
40 Posted 30/12/2014 at 20:17:57
Ossie is really Yoda in drag, Tony.
Tony Hill
41 Posted 30/12/2014 at 20:21:27
But Yoda has better touch.
Dave Lynch
42 Posted 30/12/2014 at 20:09:12
I still think he didn't realise what a big job this was.

He bailed from the Swans and took over Wigan, where, let's face it there was no real pressure.

It's a rugby league town foremost and without the away fans would have had around 12-15,000 fans per week.

The city of Liverpool lives for its football and as a manager you are under scrutiny every minute of the day, the pressure when things are not right must be immense, especially when you have the added pressure of the other bastards across the park.

He has fucked up royally and there is nowhere to hide, unlike Wigan where let's face it, he had no expectations to live up to.

He is like a rabbit in the headlights and doesn't know which way to run.

Steavey Buckley
43 Posted 30/12/2014 at 20:46:21
According to the Everton ToffeeWeb poll, now being conducted, the weaknesses that need strengthening are the goal keeper (36%) and centre backs (38%.) Solve those problems, with everyone else fit and ready for selection, Everton may salvage something from a broken season so far, in the premier league - Lukaku is a symptom of an Everton malaise, that began in the pre-season.
Anthony Gee
44 Posted 30/12/2014 at 21:00:56
I hope to god Bobby is having a go at the players behind closed doors while still talking shite on camera. Our main problems this season are there for all to see; bad pre-season preparations, changing the side too much, playing players out of position, terrible set pieces and having no Plan B – plus bad luck with injuries.

Lukaku needs the ball playing into feet in front of goal or at least into space, he looks bemused at the minute. Plus IÂ’d like to see a right side of Coleman/Mirallas and a left side of Baines/Oviedo. Swerve Barry for Besic and play Barkley in the no 10 or he will never find consistency.

If we had that going forward, IÂ’d hope the defence wouldnÂ’t be as exposed. Over to you, Bobby.

Mark Boulle
45 Posted 30/12/2014 at 21:04:18
Lukaku has had moments where he has looked woefully inadequate as a lone centre forward, for sure. Yet he still has 6 (or possibly 7?) goals in a struggling side. Imagine how many he might have if he was actually presented with a chance or two per game...?!

I don't think Lukaku is the problem. Any player who can hold off defenders, turn, look up and play the majestic through ball he did to Mirallas vs Wolfsburg in the EL is clearly one we need in the side. His goal in that game wasn't bad either come to that!

On a different note, amidst all the never-ending injuries and general gloom, the issue I am possibly more angry about than any other at the moment is Bryan Oviedo.

Colin Glassar, our man on the inside, has alluded to a bust-up between Bryan and RM. Of course we don't know details, and of course not all players can get on with all managers all of the time. However, given how sunny and positive Bryan has always been since he arrived at Everton, throughout all the time he waited for his chance under Moyes and then last season until he got in when Bainesy was injured, I find it very hard to see him as the sort who would cause problems.

He is now fit and available, we know this as he has appeared in the U-21s a few times and played the full game vs Krasnodar.

In a time of crisis and a shortage of bodies such as now, we need talented, committed and fresh players like him on the pitch! He definitely cuts it at LB or LM, we saw that last season. He would be a breath of fresh air in the team right now, as his previous displays have shown no little skill and, above all, a serious will to win and fight for the shirt.

If I'm right about the supposed bust up and Oviedo's continued exclusion has come from RM taking against him, that I'm afraid is unforgivable and the manager's biggest mistake of all. I used to hate the way Moyes froze out players he fell out with, I thought RM above that sort of nonsense.

Oviedo should be a huge part of this club's future. If, thanks to some petty spat, we sell him whilst continuing to pay perma-crocks like Pienaar, Gibson etc, who offer us nothing, I will be absolutely furious.

Andy Crooks
46 Posted 30/12/2014 at 21:20:44
Lukaku has not been any thing other than a fairly consistent goal scorer, which will do for me. He is already good with more to come. His failings this season seem to me to be down to the tactics of the clown in charge.
Raymond Fox
47 Posted 30/12/2014 at 20:36:25
Martin I think your way off the mark blaming just Lukaku.

As has been said, heÂ’s not getting the service he requires which is a ball he can run onto.
Having said that I must say I was fooled along with plenty more, and wanted him signed even at that price, heÂ’s looking one dimentional this season without a ball to run on to + his aerial threat is none existant which I find very strange.
He is not looking anywhere close to a 28 million player!

Lets get the defence out of the way, none of the back 4 are looking good in defence, Jags and Distin seem over the hill IÂ’m afraid, Baines and Coleman both leave a lot to be desired as defenders. Stones is still work in progress and Alcaraz is also seen his best years.
1 shining light seems to be Garbutt, hope IÂ’m not being premature!

We urgently need a classy playmaker in midfield not just a good one but a top quality player, Ossie and Pienaar have been good/excellent players but again have seen better days.
McCarthy and Barry are defendsive not creative, Barkley is more of your solo player, but at the moment heÂ’s not doing much of anything!
So after defence, midfield is a large problem because there is no go forward or cohesion.

Now where the money is coming from to fund buying 2 good central defenders and a top quality midfielder IÂ’m not sure but strange as it may seem I would look at selling 1 or both of our full backs!

Steve Orchard
48 Posted 30/12/2014 at 21:27:17
I suspect Lukaku will never be a good hold-up player, he just hasnÂ’t got it in him. He needs the ball in front of him but our play is so slow heÂ’s never gonna get that service. Although I will say for such a big guy he never wins anything in or outside of the box.

But one of the main problems why we never look like holding on to a lead or coming back from goals down is set pieces. We canÂ’t defend them or crosses in our box and I canÂ’t remember the last time we scored from a decent corner or free-kick that wasnÂ’t a direct shot.

Danny Broderick
49 Posted 30/12/2014 at 21:29:42
If Lukaku was missing chance after chance, you might have a point. But he only had 4 touches in the penalty area against Stoke. He's not had any service all season and his head has dropped. Give him the service and he will score 20 goals - it really is that simple.

Martinez needs to get the balance right behind him. The 3 creative players need to create far more. We need Mirallas on the left, and we need to bring in a pacy right winger, because McGeady is not up to it. He then needs to decide who is going to play no. 10. That has to be Naismith on form. Barkley will have to make do as an impact sub.

He needs to stop trying to shoe-horn Etoo, Barkley and Naismith into the same team. The balance has been wrong all season. There is nothing out wide, no link up with the full backs, so it's no wonder Lukaku has been off form. It's a wonder he has managed to score 7 goals if you ask me.

Hopefully a better balance will protect the defence a bit better also. We have had one of the best defences in the league for the last 6 or 7 years. Those players haven't forgotten how to defend. They need protecting. The team shape is letting them down and exposing them...

Anthony Lamb
50 Posted 30/12/2014 at 21:54:42
Mark (45) fully agree with you regarding Oviedo. I think his broken leg was a tragedy coming as it did when he was proving to be a major force in the team and someone with a real future at the club. I too would be even more despairing if talk about him being "frozen out" is true. If he is fit enough to play then he should certainly be involved in some way in each game's squad sheet.

On another note, the current malaise is threatening to become a very real battle to avoid being dragged into a relegation scrap (after all even if they did manage to beat Hull this week they will not move upwards in the league, so entrenched are we becoming in the lower reaches). I think all the club's efforts should be focussed on avoiding that relegation threat and as such I do feel that the sooner we exit this Europa competition the better. In the current malaise it is pretty clear that the first decent team Everton meet will bring about that exit, so perhaps others will solve this little matter for us! We are just not capable of competing on the three fronts of league, FA cup and Europa league.

It would apper to me that in these current circumstances nothing should concentrate the minds more than focussing on the Devils we know. When the current shambles is sorted, stabilised and hopefully progress is established then perhaps our eyes could again look to further challenges which at present look way beyond our capacity and capabilities.

Mike Gwyer
51 Posted 30/12/2014 at 22:03:36

Lukaku!!!!! Please.

As soon as there is a thread "tippy tappy shite football is the problem" we will probably be getting closer to the issue.

Martin. Have a second or even a 3rd look at the goals that Newcastle score, then tell me where Lukaku is the problem.

Anthony Gee
53 Posted 30/12/2014 at 22:43:58
What I will add is that Liverpool were undeniably shit hot from January onwards this year playing direct, penetrating football at pace and going from back to front within 5 passes. I know Brenda had one of the best players on the planet in Suarez to spearhead this, but he was still willing to change the pass, pass, pass style to the more direct style to compensate Ratboy, Sturridge, Sterling and Gerrard. I don't think our boss is capable of this....
Jim Bean
54 Posted 30/12/2014 at 22:30:25
If anyone needs to be singled out for blame, its not Lukaku, but the old timers, especially Barry and Eto'o. How Martinez deals with these two formerly superb players will go a long way to deciding his own future.

There are two issues:

1) He needs to admit to himself he made an error in signing them on long-term deals.
2) He needs to face down their reputations/egos by leaving them out.

The way Barry was destroyed by Sissoko was painful to watch, but hopefully it will be the catalyst for Martinez to take action. Maybe the slower pace of European games would be more suited to him now, as long as there is a fully fit McCarthy alongside. Eto'o, I'm sure can still have a good impact as a sub.

Rob Dolby
55 Posted 30/12/2014 at 22:48:08
Barking up the wrong tree blaming 1 person for our predicament. It's a team game the lad isn't exactly missing a lot of chances as he isn't getting any to miss. Have we got anyone who is playing better than what they where last season, I don't think we have.

Naismith is the player of the season up to now and that is just on his own drive, desire and determination. All of those qualities every player should have once they step on to the pitch not just 1 and that is the problem. You have to earn the right to play in this league Chelsea and Man City players all put a shift in.

We have too many luxury players all wanting the ball but not wanting to go and get it which puts far too much pressure on the likes of Barry McCarthy and Jags. Roberto needs to instill a work ethic into this lot before this slide gets too serious, the natives are already stirring.

James Flynn
56 Posted 30/12/2014 at 23:27:58
Maybe there is something wondrous and new the rest of us don't understand. Sign a bonafide predator and make him wait his turn to get the ball. If at all.

Support your local manager. At least that's what I hear.

John Williams
57 Posted 30/12/2014 at 23:00:49
DonÂ’t agree Lukaku is the crux of the problem. I also donÂ’t agree with some posts on here that heÂ’s not a centre forward. What the hell is he then? His problem has been lack of service and also being marked out of games. Having said that we have seen all season how poor his first touch, hold up play and heading ability in open play is.

If he scores 20 goals a season would he be worth the 28 mill? I think he would. You have got to play to his strengths, him being direct and running onto decent service.

I think RM has got to try playing Kone up top with him in a 442 and if they gel could cause havoc for defenders. This would be my team for the must win Hull game, barring injuries:

Coleman Stones Alcaraz Garbutt

Mirallas McMarthy Besic Baines

Lukaku Kone

This would give balance which we have sadly lacked. If he plays this side and we get hammered, I give up.

Derek Thomas
58 Posted 30/12/2014 at 23:28:48
Martin; by the time you'd got halfway down your piece you'd answered you own argument and said the problem was really Martinez.

But He and Lukaku are only parts of the overall problem; between them they are only part of the whole cause and effect big picture (* has mental 'earworm' to the tune of John Browns Body...we're shite, because we're shit, because we're shite, because we're shit, etc etc ).

Plenty of good teams have had poor(ish) keepers and plenty of poor teams have had very good keepers. So Howard's crap and getting, so it seems if not crapper, then no better, thus Robles will overall be no net loss or gain.

Plenty of Poor teams have had 'good' goalscorers, the likes of Cottee who would always score because the poorish team was set up in such a way as to 'feed them' ( the Yak at every club he was at for the first season, especially B'burn ) Plenty of good teams have had goalscorers that looked good, but never made the really top grade

Plenty of Poor teams have had good Central Defenders in them, who while helping to stem the tide can't do it all on their own...and who mostly get snapped up by the rich teams anyway. Many Good teams have had average Central Defenders, Bruce at Man U and sorry Mountfield nearer to home, lets face it Beckenbaur he wasn't.

Ratcliffe though WAS World class but in a Wales team with a World class keeper and Rush and Hughes ( can't bring myself to say they were World class but they were vv good. ) did nowt

why ( gets to point, hurrah ) were Wales crap, why do poor Keepers play effectively, why do the Cottee's of this world
score, why do some Strikers struggle in some big Clubs after doing well... The Mid Field.

The game is and always will be won and lost in the Mid Field...That's why Moyes played 5 because we didn't have 4 ( as it was then ) who were good enough.

That's why Ball came and and ripped the rs a new one on his own.

The Bite, Skill and Balance has to be right and complement each other. That's why Dennis Stevens was brought in, Tony Kay added ( then taken away ) Ball, Kendall Harvey, with a lot of help from Tommy Jackson and Morrissey. Reid etc do we see a pattern.

Roberto can't or won't...The Midfield need to be the ones passing it about, not the Labones nor the Ratcliffes or Mountfields.

It's come full circle Moyes ( IMO ) need to change ( not a lot ) or go, as it turned out he was pinched, he would not have gone otherwise.

Martinez needs to change ( not a lot ) or go...soon, we won't get lucky twice and have somebody pinch him.

Philosophy my arse... Football; It's a simple kids game ffs, made complicated by bullshitters, it doesn't need to be so.

Sort it Roberto and if he can't / won't and doesn't look like trying YOU better had Bill.

Steve Jones
59 Posted 31/12/2014 at 00:32:31
Sorry Martin but can't agree, so far the goals we've given away from our own mistakes have been caused by Tim Howard (twice), Jagielka, Distin, Barry, Besic, Osman, Barkley, McGeady and Lukaku himself losing the ball either in or at the edge of our box or bringing it away from it. Aside from Lukaku's own mistake how can the others be his fault? We din't play the long ball so he wouldn't be the next pass.

The cause is the fact the players have had it drilled into them to pass the ball out or play their way out of trouble. Againt Newcastle McGeady lost the ball at least once before the mistake that lead to their second goal with poor underhit passes but never took heed of the warning, he along with Barry and Distin has been the worst culprit this season.

The real problem is that we have been sussed, teams press us high and force mistakes knowing we won't hit it long or vary our game.

Harold Matthews
60 Posted 30/12/2014 at 23:44:18
The problem is our woeful defence. Even Pardew pointed this out before the game. We are unable to defend high balls into the box.

Also, all over the pitch we give the ball away, we are slow to close down and get tight, we lack a real fighting spirit and , when in possession, we don't move around quickly and offer options.

I won't mention individuals. Too many differences of opinion. Some players know what to do, some don't. Some try hard, some are bone idle. Some try to play with intelligence, some play with the brain the size of a pea. Some are quick, some are slow. Some stay alert, some lose focus. Some enjoy being on the ball, some dread it. Some will fight like tigers, some have faint hearts. Some are just beginning, some are at their peak and some are over the hill.

A real mixed bag but there's a decent team in there somewhere. It's just a matter of sorting the wheat from the chaff and organizing things in a proper manner.

For me, 100% commitment and a fighting spirit come first. No passengers are allowed. I don't care how talented they are or how highly they are rated. If they are not prepared to bust a gut for the team they don't even sit on the bench.

Only last night Van Gaal was talking about the fighting spirit which was carrying his team through. None dare shirk the issue and that's how it should be. Martinez needs to get real, get tough and get anyone out who is not prepared or not able to break sweat for the cause. All for one and one for all.

Eric Myles
61 Posted 31/12/2014 at 02:16:28
All the comments defending Lukaku have been aired many times before in defence of our previous strikers when the consensus was that OFM ruined them.

Maybe we just have a new manager that ruins strikers, and defenders!

Harold Matthews
62 Posted 31/12/2014 at 07:52:32
Interesting Everton stats on Sky last night.

Most errors lead to goals. 10

Fewest crosseas from open play..225

Conceded fewest fouls..178.

Won most amount of fouls..246.

Caught offside the most..49.

Harold Matthews
63 Posted 31/12/2014 at 08:06:50
Sorry about the typos.
Danny Broderick
65 Posted 31/12/2014 at 08:31:07

Those stats show we are not doing the basics...

Harold Matthews
66 Posted 31/12/2014 at 09:28:40
Yes Danny, and it shows the opposition closing down quicker and harder than us.
Mike Gwyer
67 Posted 31/12/2014 at 09:25:56


Those stats show that our players are a bunch of big time pussies.

Stoke had to almost dismantle our whole team before Barry started to put it about and I can't remember when we last got given, or even deserved, a red card. Any blue player worth his salt should of put "RS" Adams into row fucking Z, he's nothing more than a dirty twat. Mind you, I think he knows that the Goodison crowd fucking hate him.

Those stats don't tell you that most teams now come to Goodison and just take the fucking piss, that most teams just wait for us to fuck up at the back and that most teams take the three points. Those stats also don't tell you that the Goodison faithful have to listen to their wonderous away fans singing how shite we are and what a morgue we play in.

Yep, it's happy days for those glorious stats.

Dave Abrahams
68 Posted 31/12/2014 at 10:30:26
Harold Mathews(60), couldn't add much more than your very good expose of Everton's faults this season except to say that all this passing about, mostly in our own half, while the other teams just sit back and wait for us to make mistakes, means we are tiring ourselves out while the other teams just relax and refresh themselves.
James Byrne
69 Posted 31/12/2014 at 10:49:04
Sorry Martin but for me Martinez is the sole problem at our great club, not Lukaku.

What Martinex has also done is destroy the confidence and possible futures of some of the best young talent in Europe. He has turned a left back who over previous seasons has won accolades for being the best passer / assister of a ball in the whole of European footy.

He plays a system that requires the ball to be passed 900 times before we even make an attack at goal, and in the process we've increased our exposure to more hospital balls that then result in mistakes and added injuries to players.

Dave Cooney
70 Posted 31/12/2014 at 10:47:46
Why then was Lukaku not a problem last season? He is the same player but unfortunately the team does not have the same fluency as last season.

People say that Everton have been found out. I cannot agree with that. Other managers had many seasons playing against RobertoÂ’s teams. Also you canÂ’t tell me that every manager took a whole season to formulate a plan against us. It is incredulous to think that top managers didnÂ’t get onto it last season.

For me, the difference this season has been the tempo of the passing (anyone who has played will tell you that with confidence you do it automatically; lack of confidence makes you check yourself for that vital millisecond). Once we get that back, we will be okay – that and keeping the same 11 for a run of games would be helpful.

As for Lukaku, once the team starts playing again, he will start scoring regularly again – as he has proven for the last three seasons, ie, not a fluke.

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 31/12/2014 at 10:52:40
In response to the title, no, Lukaku is not the problem. Not one for stats but looking at them itÂ’s clearly the team which is the problem.

Who picks the team? IÂ’d say he has been the biggest problem up to date.

Harold, after the Leicester game, we played Arsenal at home, and I could not believe Wenger left Giroud on the bench. Even though we were two up, I still knew we had problems when he came on at half time. The reason being is how scared we looked at Leicester when defending any type of high ball.

This was the start of Roberto Martinez showing us a piece of what was to come this season by leaving three forwards on the pitch, instead of playing on the counter and protecting the lead. Martinez is the one who is having the shocker and I hope heÂ’s good enough to change. Change tactics, change desire, change tempo and change our belief.

Dave Williams
72 Posted 31/12/2014 at 12:53:49
Colin #30 - totally agree. It is clear that we are not playing to his strengths. Older readers will recall Malcolm McDonald who was very similar to Lukaku and teams knew that he could be stopped by preventing him from running onto through balls - back to goal he was useless.

As a team we are failing to create space and support. Coleman and Baines have been nullified by having 2 defenders on them and there being no support from wide midfield as we are playing men out of position there who drift inside instead of combining with the full backs. The player we miss more than anyone is Pienaar - not the player he used to be but last season he and Baines were still good and if the opposition are worried about the left flank then it draws defenders over to it thus creating space on the right.

When we cause problems for other teams they canÂ’t press so much but this season we have been slow and ponderous which enables teams to press more and we then give away possession and goals.Howard for me has had one good season for us and that was last year - otherwise he has always been prone to silly lapses and this season has reverted to his old self.

Several players have appeared to age overnight but basically Roberto is playing people out of position which is disturbing the pattern of play and causing other players to suffer. Ross has not progressed but has to be played in the middle. Kone and Garbutt should start and get back to basics by putting square pegs in square holes before this goes TOO far!!

Aidy Dews
73 Posted 31/12/2014 at 12:57:45
Lukaku isnÂ’t the main reason for our poor form but he is a contributor, just like a lot of the players who arenÂ’t playing to the same standards of last year!

People saying weÂ’re not playing to RomÂ’s strengths etc are correct but also wrong imo aswell. Yes, we donÂ’t give him through balls or work it wide and flash balls across the 6 yard box for him to tap in but you wonÂ’t go through entire games without needing to play in to him and build off of him when attacking either and this is where heÂ’s seriously lacking.

His first touch is so poor that it gives the defender the chance to sneak in behind and pinch the ball off of him, or he tries a first time lay off and it never goes to another blue shirt and that breaks things down, or he always passes it backwards which slows down the momentum of our play.

And his lack of movement is a problem aswell, he never gives the advancing midfielders an out ball which in turn forces them to go square or backwards and slows the game and attack right down.

When the likes of Kone or EtoÂ’o play up top, theyÂ’ve got an immaculate first touch but also get there body between ball and defender and shield the ball brilliantly, something Lukaku needs to grasp and grasp quickly as heÂ’s going to be our main CF for a fair few years yet and itÂ’s what weÂ’re going to need from him! Also, Kone & EtoÂ’oÂ’s first instincts when they get the ball played into em is to turn and go forward and keep the momentum of the attack flowing, which Lukaku also struggles to do.

There are a lot of things he needs to improve on and he is still only young and finding his way in the game considering heÂ’s been round a while but over the years, IÂ’m sure heÂ’ll pick up on certain things and get better.

Last season it wasnÂ’t as noticeable as we either had Barkley or Naismith in behind him and we could play into either and one would turn and run at defences and theyÂ’d either retreat which would create space informs of Rom or someone would come to tackle and Barkley would beat his man and eliminate a body out of the game which would also create spaces. And then Naismith would play like a No.10/false target man and do the holding up of the ball, or heÂ’d run beyond Lukaku and take defenders away from him and free up space that way but this season it hasnÂ’t quite happened.

Martinez now as to start looking at playing players in there preferred positions, choosing the right partnerships on the pitch to try and get the best out of the players and the team as an hole. Get back to basics like he says and stop using players like Barkley and EtoÂ’o out wide and keep them central.

Martinez needs to take a look back at last season and see where everything went so good for us and try and replicate that and get us into some sort of form to climb the league!

Elijah Constantinou
74 Posted 31/12/2014 at 15:44:53

There has been debate that Martinez cannot control players making individual errors, but I think he can have an effect. If he has instructed his players to pass it about in tight areas, the players take this on board and are scared to effectively clear the ball.

It seems to me they are scared of breaking rank. McGeady a prime example the other night, just clear your lines and get organised. But he mispays a tight pass, leaving Coleman breaking and out of position. I understand that mistakes do happen, but there is always a cause and passing out all the time does this.

Mike Childs
75 Posted 31/12/2014 at 16:46:21
That was excellent reading, Harold, thank you.
Harold Matthews
76 Posted 31/12/2014 at 17:56:15
Cheers Mike C..All the best.

Mike G. Cheers. Always appreciate your unique, on the spot, observations. Great stuff. Have a good one.

Mike Price
77 Posted 31/12/2014 at 19:55:39
Lukaku is a good finisher, 7 goals and unlucky with a few others, that Joe Hart save and a couple by Forster too.

Trouble is he is clearly carrying too much weight, probably about 10 lbs, and that is affecting his speed, sharpness and mobility. This is partly his fault but also the shocking preseason which is the managers responsibility.

Anthony Hawkins
78 Posted 31/12/2014 at 20:52:40
The issue isn't Lukaku, it's getting the ball into the box for Lukaku to put away. The real problem is the lack of wingers and a strong keeper.

The team has more than enough central midfielders but no wide men and the defence suffers from a lack of strong leadership by the keeper.

Neil Pickering
79 Posted 31/12/2014 at 22:31:48
I agree, it wasnÂ’t LukakuÂ’s fault he was bought for 㿈 mil, but you cant get away from the fact he is turd. If we had paid ٣ mil I would have been complaining it was a waste of money.

Regardless of what happens this season, I will never forgive Martinez for spunking 㿈 mil on a lad who at best is potential. That money could have bought us the finished article and probably another player in addition. For me, thatÂ’s his biggest crime as our manager.

Neil Pickering
80 Posted 31/12/2014 at 22:38:09
One thing I've noticed: Lukaku is good at pointing. World class at it! He points at impossible places he wants the ball delivered to and then shrugs when it doesn't go there. Basically it means he's hiding and doesn't want the ball.
Tom Bowers
81 Posted 31/12/2014 at 23:50:56
Lukaku is only part of the problem. The whole team and approach is just not working. Passing and ball control in the final third is poor. It's like a heavyweight boxer with no knockout punch!

The supporting wing backs and midfielders are just not delivering the back-up needed. Only the players not playing can escape criticism for the current woes.

Ross Edwards
82 Posted 01/01/2015 at 01:33:33
Lukaku isn't the problem. Is he to blame for our horrendous defence? Is he to blame for our injuries? Our enforced errors every 30 seconds? The non-existent service?


Paul Smith
83 Posted 01/01/2015 at 02:11:07
Neil Pickering - good observation re Lukaku not really wanting the ball. With him being low on confidence and 㿈 mill worth of expectation on his young shoulders it might be that he just buckles under the pressure. He was banging then in last year, yet he's been asked to play a different role this year.

He's never gonna be a ball player or be able to thread a pass, he's got a great eye for a goal & a great shot on him.

Most managers spunk cash on a flop once in a while (Torres) (Carol), the list is extensive. Thing is we were crying out for a big money signing, we get one and its a disaster. Gutted!

David Holroyd
84 Posted 01/01/2015 at 02:23:50
Against Newcastle they started pressurising us as soon as we gave the ball to our centre halves. The team in general is slow – we need more pace.
Neil Pickering
85 Posted 01/01/2015 at 07:34:36
@Paul 83. Yes he’s obviously feeling the weight of expectation the price tag brings. It’s up to the manager then to treat him like the kid he is and take him out for a prolonged period and play experience down the middle in Eto’o.

Even the best managers makes mistakes in the transfer market, but because we are skint that 㿈 mil is the equivalent of us buying a player for 𧴜 mil. We will never pay that for a player again, and our manager chose to spend that money on a player who we can all agree is only potential at this stage. It’s unforgivable mate, and a massive gamble. I can’t honestly think of any other club in world football that has paid that amount of money on a player who isn’t the finished article.

Lukaku does not and will never in my opinion suit our style of play under this manager. He would suit a team that plays on the break who pushes the ball in front of him into empty spaces. He isn’t technically good enough to play in a team that plays possession football, and the sooner he comes out the team the better. Eto’o and Kone are far better than him I’m afraid to say, so even at this stage I would be looking to get him out for as much as we can to recoup some money. We never will mind, and I think that is the rope that us supporters will eventually hang the manager with.

I like Martinez, but I can’t forgive him for blowing that money.

Dick Fearon
86 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:14:04
Defenders will aim to outnumber attackers by at least one extra man.
Due to our slow build up by time the ball arrives in our attacking zone Lukaku is faced with a double line of defenders. This crowded area becomes even more densely packed with the arrival of our wing backs and attacking mids sharing an orgy of possession.
This makes it impossible to create a clear shot at goal and reduces opportunity for our lot to round the defensive walls.
With so many of our own defenders sucked forward it leaves us vulnerable to long range counter attacks.

The solution to both problems is to get the ball forward with as quick as possible and with minimum fuss.
When faced with break aways our centre backs should dispense with finesse and simply welly the ball as far from our own goal as possible.

Drew Shortis
87 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:09:52
I would advocate trying to go back to a 4-4-2 with Kone playing up top with Lukaku or Eto'o. Kone might not bag a hat-full of goals himself but he is a good target man to get the ball forwards to when we are on the attack. This would allow Lukaku to play on the shoulder of the last defender and look to make runs onto through balls and crosses. Lukaku's strength is his finishing, not his hold up play.

We paid 㿈m for his goals but are not set up to make that happen. We should set the team up to supply him with opportunities. If we score goals we can win matches. I'm fed up with the modern five in midfield system that seems to focus on neutralizing the opposition. I don't mind conceding goals as long as we score more than the opposition!

I would try out: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines,McCarthy, Barkley, Mirallas, McGeady, Kone, Lukaku.

The Barry - McCarthy DM barrier does not provide the defence with the protection it requires and lacks the creativity to drive us forward and we end up with an isolated Lukaku and no outlet when we have possession. Time to gamble a bit and really go out to win games. The current system seems like a safety first one, but that only works if it is defensively tight. As it is not we should go for goals and hope to out score the opposition making best use of our offensive options.

Just my opinion. I'm sure others can blow my argument out of the water ;0

Chris James
88 Posted 01/01/2015 at 18:10:48
Don't agree that Lukaku is the problem.

1. The problem is the team aren't playing with confidence, fluidity, passion or threat.

2. The reasons for this are primarily down to the team selection and the tactics and style that they aren't comfortable with and that the opposition have twigged.

3. The person solely responsible for tactics and team selection is the manager.

So where is the real problem?

Phil Spencer
89 Posted 01/01/2015 at 23:45:19
Lukaku isn't the problem, Roberto Martinez's naïvety is the problem.
Steven Telford
90 Posted 02/01/2015 at 09:13:58
Well, after seeing the first half of the yesterdays game against Hull this article is surely put into perspective
Jack Cross
91 Posted 02/01/2015 at 14:26:27
I got this from a very good source that 10 minutes before the match was to start Roberto, told Baines, to move to cent mid. Baines, said but we haven't tried it in training and it will not be balanced. Roberto, replied just play there. The dressing room isn't happy.

Stats, on TV last night Roberto's, last season at Wigan: 20, 35 goals against. At same stage at Everton, 20, 33 goals against.

Papers today are saying McCarthy possible move to Spurs, for cash injection in Jan.

Patrick Murphy
92 Posted 02/01/2015 at 14:53:37
Jack - The commentator I was listening too mentioned that Everton had altered their formation after hearing Hull City’s line-up, which I thought had been a little strange on the other hand it probably happens more often than we believe at every ground in the country.
Jack Cross
93 Posted 02/01/2015 at 15:01:39
Patrick 92. Possibly Patrick.

I am not a Roberto, fan as you probably are ware. But I'm not a sack the manager fan either. There is enough time for him to get us in to a safe and respectable position and I have a feeling (don't ask me why) that it will come in the Man city game on the 10th Jan. And I will be putting a bet on it.

You have to feel sorry for Robles, I mean unfortunately for him he came in to a team were the defence is at an all time low. His confidence must me shattered and then to hear that there is talk of replacing him with a January temp, goalie. Who is coaching him at the training ground? Either he is showing a different side to his game in training or he is all we have.

Jack Cross
94 Posted 02/01/2015 at 15:57:56
Well I am not and never have been a Lukaku fan. I thought 㿈mil was ludicrous. Jose, must have been laughing his head off doing that deal. Wouldn't it tell you something when he was prepared to sell a young striker who had scored 30 premier goals over the previous 2 seasons and he's more interested in bringing Drog, back whose 36. It's no good saying who we would have liked anymore because we have him now. I'm sure even he can't be blamed solely for lack of goals, because you do have to have the service at times. I would simply put him in the box and pump in as many balls as possible. That's got to bring goals surely. it Mightn't be pretty passing football. But at the moment we want points on the board and I'd take them anyway at present.
Paul Bristow
95 Posted 03/01/2015 at 14:59:50
If only it was that easy! Lakaku is not the problem, it's the buffon who goes by the name of Martinez.

Lakaku will score lots of goals once we get a new manager and he gets a semblance of decent service.

Pat Waine
96 Posted 03/01/2015 at 21:53:19
Lukaku is not worth the money but not the real problem.

The real problem is hoping that you can attack with two negative central mids in your team. McCarthy and Barry give nothing going forward.

You could say that's not their job but we can not afford two in the one midfield. Barry far too slow and bad business giving him 3-year contract.

Bob Heyward
97 Posted 03/01/2015 at 22:48:29
@Ross 82 AHAHAHAHA. HavenÂ’t you changed your tune!

So, are you actually starting to doubt Martinez now?

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