Putting current form to one side (for the purposes of this article only), why are so many of our players grossly underperforming?

When I talk to friends who support other Premier League clubs (Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Newcastle Utd, Arsenal and Spurs) they view our players very positively. All would take Baines at the drop of a hat, although they accept he might not be a regular at Chelsea. Coleman is coveted and all would see him a valuable acquisition to their team / squad. Jagielka, despite my own thoughts, is seen as a good solid Premier League defender. Stones is generally unknown to most, but they are impressed with what they see – they even think Howard is one of the top 5 goalies. In midfield Barkley is admired by them all and Barry is rated by Man City fans very highly.

McCarthy divides opinion but again he is seen a better than average. Mirallas is another good player who most would be happy to see in their squad. Besic is a complete unknown and Naismith is one of the few who gets little thought. Piennar and Osman are seen as ‘past it’ and Kone is not favoured by any. Lukaku is seen as a beast who many would far rather have playing for them than against them.

So in general we have a bunch of players who, playing to their ability, should beat / challenge all in the league. However, as we can all too plainly see, that is not the case. Players having off days and a run of poor form is not new and in any sport is to be expected but why, as a collective, are so many underperforming at the same time?

For me the answer is obvious, the tactics, formation, system however you want to dress it up, is one they are not comfortable with and they cannot implement easily. The manager wants them to play in a way that they find hard to implement and he seems hell bent on getting them to do it.

No different from last year some will say, but it is, in one massive way – the speed at which we break and attack. Last year I remember sitting at matches and commenting that we had pace in attack for the first time in years. The ball was moved quickly and whether it was Baines, Coleman, Mirallas, McCarthy, Barkley or Lukaku we attacked quickly and caused all sorts of problems. When we didn’t break quickly we were happy to keep more possession, but in general we played the game at speed and positively – the School of Science!

What have we seen from day one this year? Slow deliberate building up from the back, countless square passes by which time the opposition has funnelled back, has 9/10 men behind the ball and space is at an absolute premium for players like Lukaku and Mirallas. As Carragher and Neville say – slow and predictable and easy to defend against.

So this wonderful tactician, as the pundits would have us believe, does what? He keeps doing the same thing time and again and somehow thinks the outcome is going to be different. He applauds possession football but fails to realise that winning matches, by scoring goals, is the aim not passing the ball to death. For example we have the situation where last year Seamus would have knocked the ball past his defender and run, to the situation now where he stops, passes square or backwards but retains possession – playing to orders or what!!!

This man’s complete blindness to the obvious failings of his tactics is bewildering. Last night it was clear 10 mins into the second half that West Brom’s defensive set up needed something different to break it down. He stood there and made a change 12 mins from the end – so he either has no faith in Kone (his signing), or refuses to believe his tactics might not be working. The arrogance is both disturbing and scary and is a recipe to sleep walk into relegation. Teams at the bottom will graft and fight to get points, he wants to play pretty football – who is likely to stay up and who is likely to get relegated? Wigan, anyone?

I was very much against Moyes in the end, partly because I was so fed up walking out of Goodison dispirited and bored by the defensive dross served up. Last night I again walked out dispirited and bored, this time by the mind-numbing dross served up. Under Moyes, I never really thought about relegation, even in the worst season; sadly all I heard walking out last night was people talking about relegation.

Time for action – either change your approach Martinez or Kenwright pull the trigger – sadly, and very depressingly neither is likely to happen and god forbid if the worst scenario happens. I was planning to go to Bern in a few weeks, after last night I just think I’m going to keep my money in my pocket.

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James Stewart
1 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:01:56
In a word, Martinez.
Ben Jones
2 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:07:46
It's not the system. That's fine. We did well last year playing exactly the same formation and exactly the same way.

The problem going forward is confidence. Barkley summed that up for me, he chose to pass constantly instead of running at defenders at his best. Lukaku had no service and Naismith is playing out of position.

Martinez to me is not doing great at getting that confidence back. That's his job and it's not working. I'm still a fan but patience is wearing thin.

And then in defence, the notable decline of 3 players - Distin, Barry and Howard. They were good and solid last year. Now they will need replacing. Besic can do that for Barry, jurys out on Robles but we need a new centre back ASAP!

The answer? I think a couple of signingswould help, just to rejuvenate the squad. A quality flair player and a solid centre back. Im not naive in thinking it would be easy, of course it's incredibly difficult, but Roberto did it a year and a half ago with 3 excellent signings at the time.

Im hoping he's got people got in mind and can pull it out the bag again.

Mark Jensen
3 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:21:43
I think the original post has hit the nail on the head.
We are playing our way into the Championship instead of fighting to stay in this league.
That's the crux of the matter.
Will Martinez care if he takes a second club down?
Last time he was relegated he got a plumb job and probably a lot more money.
Robin Cannon
4 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:27:39
The pace of play is definitely the issue with me. I don't buy some of the arguments that we have players who can't play a passing game; that was disproven last year. What's different is that our passing game has gone from quick, positive and incisive to really ponderous. That just gives teams lots of time to organize at the back, and we end up passing it back and forth in front of their defence with no bite at all.

Last night I lost count of the times when space opened up wide from an initial passing move and, instead of crossing, the ball was played back and forth three or four times before the ball was ever played into the box. It just seems counter productive, like the manager and/or the team have fallen in love with the concept of short passing for its own sake rather than the *benefits* of short passing, which is what brought us our success last season.

Dave Lynch
5 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:40:17
Because Martinez is fucking clueless.

He is no more than a journeyman type manager in the mould of Megson, Warnock, McCarthy...

Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:12:00
ItÂ’s baffling, Jim, how much they have lost there way. I was of the belief that Martinez, was holding us back for the second half of the season, but the problems run so much deeper at the minute.

Confidence is affecting us, but we just donÂ’t seem to have enough craft out on the pitch. We get it wide, but it very rarely comes into the box.

Some of the positions Coleman finds himself in ahead of the ball, are for a fullback in a flat back four, hard to work out.

We play way too slow, but is it any wonder when nearly everything has to go through Barry, the slowest player on the pitch. Not saying he does a bad job, it just takes to long, with very little variation.

We have had an unbalanced team for most of the season, and itÂ’s no coincidence to me, that the last game we won we played with two natural wide men.

Too many stories coming out of finch farm, and there is definitely a lack of discipline (last nightÂ’s penalty) and an even bigger lack of leadership.

If we canÂ’t find a wide man, we must change our formation. Square pegs in round holes might work occasionally when a team is winning, but when itÂ’s not going right every player has got to know his job.
Take last night for instance. There wouldnÂ’t have been many watching, not shouting for Kone to come on, but what position did he play in, when he did go on?

Denis Richardson
7 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:35:01
The formation is fine problem is the square pegs in round holes . We simply don't have the right players in midfield (which is where a game is won or lost most of the time).

Last season we had Pienaar linking mostly with Baines down the left (couple of times it was Oviedo) and Coleman with Mirralas/Delboy down the right, added to that Osman played every single league game and Barkley played in the middle often. I.e. most games we mostly had midfielders playing across the AM positions in position they were comfortable with. (Mirralas is a forward but has gotten used to playing wide). None of Osman, Pienaar or Delboy are world beaters but they are midfielders and not forwards or strikers and comfortable on the ball. Added to that Pienaar and Oviedo both can comfortably play down the left, ie out wide.

This season Pienaar and Osman have been mostly missing, McGeady has been poor and Barkley has played wide more often than not. How many games have we played where at least 2, if not all 3, AM positions have been taken by Naismith, Barkley, Eto and Mirralas? Mirralas can play wide, all the other 3 are not effective out wide (Eto and Naismith are not even midfielders) and make matters worse by not linking well with the relevant FB. Our FB play used to be a decent weapon but this simply doesnt work if there's no wide midfielder linking up well. Our wide AMs tend to be central (forward)players and drfit in, hence Baines and Coleman have been ineffective this season.

Playing poorly, not winning, mostly loosing. All these things completely wipe out any confidence the team had. Without confidence the whole team then plays nervously, players don't want the ball in case they make mistakes and are afraid to try things.....all this is a snowball effect and the situation gets worse and worse.

Solution? Decent manager would;

i) recognise what;s happening and first of all make us hard to beat and working very hard to close down the oppo
ii) change things a bit to try something different (if not formation then personnel)
iii) grind out a couple of results to get the confidence up

Personally I don't think RM is able to achieve any of the above 4 things.

Dead man walking.

Nick Entwistle
8 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:45:29
The Premier League adapts. Even last season it was obvious what the opposition should do. Teams thought they would have a go at us, playing right into Martinez's hands, yet any one of them who sat back would mark Lukaku out the game and the team became impotent.

Last night was just the most blatant of examples.

What we have in addition is the rank irony of a team so rigidly sticking to the style the manager desires of attaining expressive football, that its devoid of exactly that.

11 years of the other guy, and people were saying 'we're Everton, we should be winning things' blah blah, but no. No one should be winning things, bar the billionaire owner. Everyone else is in the numbers game. And I seem to remember a succession of managers in a time before the ginger bloke where relegation was a possibility. The 90s I believe it was called.

Why get existential about it. The guy is more than likely a dud. Lose against Palace and that's my tipping point. Get shot.

Jay Harris
9 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:58:15
When one or two players are off their game you can put that down to form and make appropriate changes.

When the whole squad is off their game consistently you have to look at the management.

When the statistics run parallel with the managers previous record you have to look at the manager.

Good players do not turn into bad players overnight there has to be a reason.

All the team spirit and comradery that Moyes built up has evaporated.

The whole squad is playing without motivation and in a laborious way.

The players took it upon themselves to change tactics against West Ham and City but you could see Martinez discomfort at that.

He went on record during the week as insisting we will not change our passing game despite the fans and media pointing out it was not working.

He is a one trick pony who has been sussed out and is too obstinate to admit it and change.

He brought all his back room staff and a number of players from Wigan and what have we turned into ....... Wigan.

IMO the blame lies at the feet of one man and one man only.

Pre season preparations were not even fit for Chester City never mind EFC causing fitness and injury problems.

Players brought in did not improve the quality of the squad like we were promised in fact I question Martinez judgement of a player when I see some of the dross he has brought in.

But besides the complacency and stupid "phenominal" statements he does not inspire anyone and that for a Prem Mgr is a massive weakness.

For me there is only one solution to rescue the season and that is to book a taxi now.

Christian Gawne
10 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:02:36
Everything will come good. And if it doesnt, ah well.
Andrew Ellams
11 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:15:37
Spoken like a true fan Christian
Guy Hastings
12 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:07:13
Surely our players can remember how they played last season. Faff about at Finch Farm by all means but as a collective they should have the professional experience (and balls) to junk RM's tippy tap instructions when the whistle blows and go about it their own way. What's he going to do? Keep them in after school?
Christopher Dover
13 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:08:24
It seems not long ago Pienaar and Osman were past it... now, lots hoping for their return? I agree with most that is said, it’s so obvious that even I know what will happen, one of two things:

1/ Push up so they hassle the back line to give them no time on the ball to stop the passing from the back; or

2/ Fall back and let Everton have the ball with 10 men in front of them.

What is missing? Pace of attack, being able to control a ball quick when receiving it and quick fire passing to get behind a defence. The manager will not change... so, as reluctant as I am, then change the manager, and quick!

Ian Burns
14 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:35:33
An excellent article Jim and excellent posts by Denis -7 and Jay 9 which basically says it all and covers every aspect of the problems at EFC not only at this moment in time but in recent months - kick started by the debacle RM called pre-season.

He really is an apprentice trying to be a craftsman and falling woefully short.

Jeff Hughes
15 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:34:30
The system is right if you play players in their right position and don't play too many players of the same type. We are not playing with pace or confidence but that IS to do with Martinez. His insistence on players keeping possession leads them to avoid taking risks> leads them to taking safe options > leads them to going sideways and backwards > leads players to stop making runs in order to retain their position > leads to slow build up and defences covering all forward players > leads to players in possession getting frustrated by having few passing options > leads to players getting caught in possession > leads to fear of getting caught in possession > leads to lack of confidence and more sideways and back passing > leads to the bloody mess we are in now. Footballers have to take risks; they have to have the freedom to make runs and the desire to put defences on the back foot and put crosses in first time, even if speculative. The Martinez philosophy has come unstuck. Possession is not everything in football.
Phil Walling
17 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:28:08
Confidence in what ? The C word is trotted out in every report and comment we read.
Is it confidence in their ability to tackle, pass or shoot ? Or is it confidence in the regime that currently runs the show ?

To have got this far in their careers - most were good enough to claim fifth place last season - it can't be the former. So what was it that occurred last summer that so altered the team dynamic?

Could it possibly be that a new relaxed approach to fitness training and practice left them confused and without clear direction ?Perhaps it's what didn't happen that's caused the loss of purpose rather than any sea change in the tactics their manager espoused . After all, he's always been the Archbishop of Passencenta !

Linda Morrison
18 Posted 20/01/2015 at 17:08:37
I've always thought that Roberto would have this turned around by now. I was wrong.

After listening to his post match interview I fast forwarded to May and heard him saying after relegation, "The players gave their all today and we were just unlucky".

I felt a little more optimistic after the previous 3 games as the players showed some fight.I then read in The Guardian that Roma and a few others had spoken to Roberto saying the team needed to play more directly. Out of the mouth of babes.
To tell the fans that Mirralis is injured when we all saw him jog off and that was why he was substituted was a joke! I would like to see KM on the transfer list to give him a kick where it is needed. He won't sign a new contract and he only has a year left on his contract

I think we have major problems and fear it is the only the fact that other teams are even worse that may save the club from relegation.

BK is not known as a sacking chairman, but things have moved on since the Walter Smith days, no-one wants to lose all that dosh.
I reckon that a loss to CP will see him gone, with temporary people in charge until the summer. I know Roberto signed a long contract but he will agree to "Part by mutual consent" as he won't want his reputation ruined by a sacking

Paul Tran
19 Posted 20/01/2015 at 17:13:07
For me, the system, or general proposed way of playing is fine. Keep the ball, drag the opposition around, then strike fast. At times last season it worked very well, at times it was laborious and bailed out by the odd bit of magic.

This season, it has been slow and laborious. I don't buy the 'sussed out' or 'confidence' arguments. The best teams keep the ball more, pass quicker and strike quicker. The good managers find ways of genuinely motivating their players - by organisation as much as platitudes.

The damning evidence against Martinez is that since the summer, he has presided over a team devoid of energy, confidence and strategy. The midfield is stuffed with similar players getting in each other's way and leaving the defence vulnerable. There is a complete lack of movement and energy, yet the more energetic, direct players like Oviedo, Besic and Garbutt seem to be played as a last resort. The body language suggests a group of players unhappy with everything. That's Martinez's job to put right and he's showing no signs of doing so. In the last few weeks he has appeared increasingly clueless regarding how he will turn this around.

Of course, there are many rumours and 'facts' about what's going on behind the scenes. I don't know about any of this, but it's clear that the camp appears divided, unhappy, unclear and disorganised. The players have largely let us all down this season, but at all times the ultimate responsibility lies with the manager.

I like the fact that we're not a 'sacking' club, I am dismayed at the clarion calls for ex-Everton players to manage the team, regardless of any evidence of ability. I like what I thought Martinez was trying to achieve, but there's no evidence of it happening this season or beyond.

If he gets sacked, I won't be coming on here protesting, but if we bring in a meathead ex-player whose only qualifications are 'knowing the club', the ability to shout and make players 'work hard', I will be.

David Graves
20 Posted 20/01/2015 at 17:32:01
1. Because it isn't actually such a "Talented Group" e.g. Barry, Naismith, Coleman (current form), Jagielka.
2. What Denis @ 7 says.
Ray Roche
21 Posted 20/01/2015 at 17:43:02
Any coaching staff that decide that practising defending free kicks or corners or decide that we don't need to practise the TAKING of free kicks or corners should be shown the door, immediately after their manager has been shown the very same door. Defensively, we've looked as bad and as inept as just about any Everton team that I've watched since I first went in 1959-60, and I include the Smith and Walker years as well as Kendall mk111. That gobshite in charge MUST make keeping a clean sheet a priority. And before any smart arse comments that we kept one last night, we kept one because WBA were happy with a point. Any decent team would have torn us a new one.
Mike Oates
22 Posted 20/01/2015 at 17:30:49
The reason is that our start this season was totally shatteringly dismal. We've all stated ad infinitum that pre-season was a joke which it was, but then to play ever so well against Leicester, Arsenal then Chelsea but to come away with 2 points and conceding 10 goals was the biggest blow to the squad and management. We should have beaten the first two teams and we could have given Chelsea a real run that day.
The run that followed wasn't that bad , win at WBA, loss at home to Palace, draw at Liverpool, unlucky loss at UTD, but all in all games we just give goals away through silly individual mistakes and bit by bit tension, lack of confidence, major injuries to McCarthy, Mirallas, just further eat away at our confidence.

Its Martinez's fault no doubt at all, his pre-season was a joke and he has never ever since found the key to scrape results, build confidence back. The other real boo boo was squandering 90% of available monies on 1 player and picking up two poor late players in Atsu and Eto who just haven't worked out.
Losing Osman, Pienaar, and McCarthy has been a huge blow though in saying that Moyes and Martinez last season and this have failed to bring in adequate replacements.
Martinez philosophy is built on positivity, both him and his players, he has overdone it far too much in his briefings and as a consequence we've been made to look foolish and even more confidence has been shot.
Honestly don't know the way forward, sack Martinez or bunker down this season, miss relegation more through that there are 3 other teams worst than us - QPR, Villa and I suspect Burnley and start afresh next season with Mr Positive still in charge

Tony Marsh
23 Posted 20/01/2015 at 17:53:34
Mike @22: Martinez never spent all available money on one player. We got Lukaku on a 5-year drip plan. So where is all the money from the Fellaini, Anichebe, Jelavic sales?

We are shite and we are sinking and the manager has turned out to be a clown but Martinez was hardly backed in the summer, was he? Now we are paying the price. Eto’o came in and Deulofeu went out and that was it. Now Eto’o’s gone again?

Any other club which had finished 5th and pushed hard for 4th spot in the EPL would’ve gone out and broke the bank in the summer... We – or should I say Kenwright – has just sat there smiling thinking: "We’ve made it here, job’s a good’un."

Our squad was thin last season; now, this season, it’s even thinner and we are in Europe?Blame Kenwright as well as Martinez... Niether of them couldn’t lead a hungry donkey to a sack of carrots – and they certainly can’t lead this football club.

Potless, cluless, rudderless, and fucking pointless – that’s the club in four words.

John Keating
24 Posted 20/01/2015 at 18:01:58
sometimes, when things are going pear shaped fast, it's best to let everything go and see what's left when it calms down.
Sometimes it's best to just do something, to react.
Difficult to know what to do.
We are in a very dodgy situation now and nothing looking good on the horizon. To do nothing at this relative late stage in the season would, in my opinion be criminal.
We really have to stop the rot - and extremely quickly.
Long term we have to look at next season but right now in the situation we find ourselves I doubt we could attract a top manager and we have to concentrate on getting out of our present situation.
It might not be ideal but can any "meathead ex player" be any worse than what we have right now ??
Maybe someone who would shout at players and make them work hard would be a plus just now.
The softly softly unbelievable phenomenal approach of Martinez is obviously not working.
Steve Carse
25 Posted 20/01/2015 at 18:14:51
Mike "The run that followed wasn't that bad , win at WBA, loss at home to Palace, draw at Liverpool, unlucky loss at UTD"

Is that what you thought at the time or is that a retrospective assessment? A loaded assessment in any event -- you refer to the Utd defeat as unlucky but don't label the point at Anfield as 'lucky'.

Colin Glassar
26 Posted 20/01/2015 at 18:29:29
Ben #2, I thought Robles and the defence were superb last night. They were the only bright spot on a miserable evening.
Sam Higgins
27 Posted 20/01/2015 at 19:42:16

A lot of what I’ve read tonight on the site is very good alas sadly it doesn’t change our current predicament one I jot. Can’t add to what’s been said as I really don’t know what to be done. I didn’t even feel this bad in the 90s at least then I knew we had a shite team and it would be a relegation scrap. But to be facing Championship football with this squad of players nothing short of criminal.

Last night was shameful – watching that circus with Mirallas was embarrassing and said everything about our current plight.

My advice? Load up u tube and watch Arteta v Fiorentina like I’ve just done. Glorious.

Ray Said
28 Posted 20/01/2015 at 19:47:37
We have 23 points. We need at least 37-40 to be safe (Dear god I sound like Moyes).
These are the fixtures left-i cant see where we get 17 from?
A Crystal Palace
H Liverpool
A Chelsea
H Leicester City
A Arsenal
A Stoke City
H Newcastle
H Southampton
A Swansea City
H Burnley
H Man Utd
A Aston Villa
H Sunderland
A West Ham
H Spurs
Mark Griffiths
29 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:01:29
I have looked and looked at tjose fixtures ray and at best I can see 15 points with wins against Sunderland, Burnley and Leicester. I guess we really are in the shit!
Mike Green
30 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:02:04
Dennis #7 - excellent post, that all sounds like a very plausible explanation. Nice one.
Ray Said
31 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:09:05
Same here Mark- I struggled to find points.

Will we out football /outbattle Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, Spurs, Southampton, RS? Will we outbattle /out football the relegation strugglers?. I cant see us outfighting anyone at present. I really think we are in a spiral of decline and Martinez looks incapable of doing anything about it. I really hope I am wrong about him.

Mike Green
32 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:14:16
Hhhmmmm.....I keep getting 16 points Ray :S

Have to best QPR, Burnley and Leicester to help our cause - wins over Palace and Liverpool in the next two would be the perfect tonic to be honest, I would look no further than those two games if I was Martinez.

Seb Niemand
33 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:17:44
The answer is most likely that we have a manger who is in way too far over his head and too invested in his own hubris and mythology to realize that a bunch of talented round pegs can't play his one-note square hole style. The sooner we are rid of this fraud and get someone in who can work with the (more than reasonable) tools at their disposal, very much the better.
Ray Said
34 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:23:41
Mike, I have been as low as 14 points like last night when I was really depressed by the way we played.

I think we are spiraling downwards and in freefall. The next five games are, dare I say 'pivotal' and if we lose against Palace and Leicester as well as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal (all three of which I think will beat us) then I think we are fucked!

Kunal Desai
35 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:32:32
Just something to bare in mind the Leicester and Burnley games are sandwiched in between the EL ties.....Now we generally don't do well after EL games in the league. Two games against relegation rivals played on a sunday who are more fresher than us. If Martinez has an ounce of decency he'll ditch the EL and focus his priorities on the league.
Colin Glassar
36 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:45:24
24 points from those games.
John Keating
37 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:47:50
To everyone looking to where we will get these points.
I think almost all of us expected 3 points last night we got 1
Based on present form and lack of fight I think we'll do well to get anything from the teams below us !
Some posters were slagging off West Brom and their approach last night - I thought they played it great, bastards!
Teams below us will be exactly the same.
Talking of West Brom I asked the question earlier. Based on our situation and form at present, given the choice who would you prefer to have at the helm today ? Pulis or Martinez ?
People slagged him but by God he's sorted West Brom out.
Oliver Molloy
38 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:49:49
We will not be relegated - end of story.
John Keating
39 Posted 20/01/2015 at 21:13:28
glad you said that and that we have absolutely nothing to worry about. Obviously our position and form is not worth mentioning.
I bet you anything before the season started none of us, including yourself thought we would be in this position.
10 games in I bet you anything you would not have said we'd be in this position.
Thing is we are in this position.
If we all had your attitude that it is imposible for us to be relegated then we are in big trouble !
Problems have to be addressed and hard decisions taken to ensure we don't go down.
Burying your head in the sand will not cure our ills !
Mark Tanton
40 Posted 20/01/2015 at 21:17:24
What in God's name are your optimism on Oliver? We are going to be right in it after Palace, Chelsea and Liverpool have been and gone.
Steve Davies
41 Posted 20/01/2015 at 21:35:14
Jim great article - agree with all of it.

Ray (21 post), great observation, we were not tested, anybody who does not think a clean sheet or a good defense is a necessity is a gobshite.....

RM talks nonsense. I don't even want to listen to him nowadays. Just win some matches lad........

Oliver Molloy
42 Posted 20/01/2015 at 21:48:59
John @ 39 and Mark @ 40

Without going over the whole Mirallas shenanigans again,I think it will have a positive affect on the remainder of our season.
If he stays he owes us - big time, and if goes this could be a good thing for the team.
None of us know what has gone on in the training ground or dressing room,but we all know there has been unrest.

This "warm weather" training camp should be a good bonding break,and an opportunity for players and management to get a lot of their chests,and come back refreshed and with a lot to prove to all of us fans!

I said before the West Brom game that it was a must win game and I acknowledge we are in the relegation battle.
Our chairman is not going to sack the manager.

If we get stuffed 4 nil by Palace and then again at home to the our biggest rivals then he may have to act,but I don,t believe that will happen.
I think we will sign a few players also.
I,m keeping the faith and we will get out of this nightmare of a season and Martinez will be wiser for it.
That has to be the plan for the manager.

Charlie Burnett
43 Posted 21/01/2015 at 00:35:09
The answer to your question is that we have been sussed out, just like Spain were in the World Cup, the best passing team around.... then teams worked out how to stop that style by pressing high and thinking "Okay, you can pass but how good and accurate are you under pressure?" Germans don't it to Spain and what happened.

I watched against Man City; okay, we played well compared to our recent form but they were pressing so high, the likes of Jagielka were making mistakes, like he was a Sunday league player. Coleman & Baines couldn't push forward.

We have just been sussed out... for example, Barkley under pressure what is he doing going sideways? Last year, people gave him space; he had time to think, he worked his magic. This year, two on him at all times, he can not handle it. Down to Roberto to be like okay we hit them with this style then maybe go back to that other style but he looks like he got one book and read it too many times.....

Victor Jones
44 Posted 21/01/2015 at 00:20:18
I can see Everton getting maybe 19-21 points. But that will only happen if this team can get back to some sort of form. And what the hell do I know? I thought that, as sure as snow is white, Martinez would have had his players fired up last night and that we would beat a poor WBA... WRONG!!! Now we have to hope that we can get something against teams fighting at both ends of the league.

Just a wee comment on this warm-weather break. I seem to remember Everton doing something similar last season, and their form dipped for a few games after it. I could be wrong on that but I think that I just might be right. Point is that a break might not have the required effect if the correct training is not enforced. And it seems that this Everton squad practise nothing worthwhile.

Last point, the Europa League will be upon us soon. Can Martinez mix that alongside a relegation scrap? Will Premier League survival play second fiddle to the Europa League? Can Martinez be trusted to do the right things for Everton with regards to that competition? Or will we sacrifice the points available from our Sunday Premier League games?

I somehow just don't trust Mr Martinez to do the right thing. This European campaign should be something to enjoy, but I'm sorry, I just cannot get into it this season. Wouldn't it be ironic if we actually won the Europa League and Martinez is lauded as a footballing genius? Think all us Everton supporters know different... Don't we.

I don't think that we will be relegated. But it will be close. And I also think that Martinez and his Wigan backroom staff have to go. Do we really want to go through all this crap again next season. Cause I don't think that Martinez has much more to offer.

Paul Kelly
45 Posted 21/01/2015 at 00:05:03
Kunal. If Martinez had an ounce of decency heÂ’dÂ’ve fucked of after overseeing this shambles.
Darren Robinson-Cooke
46 Posted 21/01/2015 at 07:54:24
I can’t believe I’m posting such a ridiculous suggestion but I would bring Tim Cahill back for the remainder of the season on loan.My thinking on this being that I truly believe if anyone can turn the belief around in the dressing room then Mr Everton is the man.He epitomises the fight and spirit we USED to have,he fought for the shirt,was always putting himself about winding up opposition and in the refs ear if decisions didn’t go for us.

In Cahill you could clearly see the players looked up to him and respected him,he just had that air about him of a leader which sadly Jags is clearly lacking an god knows right that is sorely needed.Out on the pitch we are lacking someone to drag the malaise out of the team and even though his best days are gone he would show up half of that team with his fight and effort for the shirt.

The mans passion for the club knows no bounds,you cut him and he bleeds blue.Sadly it is at a time like this we could use someone of his calibre.

Laurie Hartley
47 Posted 21/01/2015 at 09:26:40
The question for me is how many of these players would be prepared to play their heart out for the rest of the season regardless of:

Who is the leader (captain) on the pitch.
Who is the leader (manager) off the pitch.
What the formation / style of play was asked of them.

If it's all of them then we have a chance. If some of them would take the huff at a change of captain or manager then that would make it much more difficult.

I think Joe Royle and Samuel Eto'o would have been a very good combination but the Eto'o ship appears to have sailed. Pity both winners, both leaders, both have a football brain. I am sure they would have gotten the best out of the squad.

Because in my view the one ingredient that the team and the club is short of at the moment is leadership.

Who amongst the crop of players we have available is a leader? You know the type of man I mean - perhaps someone you don't like on a personal level but one who you will listen to and take orders from when your back is to the wall.

Is there such a man in our squad? Because our backs are most definitely to the wall.

Ken Buckley
48 Posted 21/01/2015 at 09:58:11
After what I witnessed Monday night it appeared that a fine team has been replaced by an ill disciplined motley crew.

When this happens, in most cases, the only answer is to replace the person who has overseen such a change.

Early March could be quite interesting.

Brent Stephens
49 Posted 21/01/2015 at 10:30:26
Under a Scottish manager the individual players became more than the sum of the parts. Under Roberto, sadly, they've become less than the sum of the parts.

We can talk about what players should and shouldn't do. Some of this we can see for ourselves, some we are guessing at. End of the day, we have a manager to ensure they do what's required. Otherwise we'd just let them organise themselves, as they should know what to do (actually, isn't that what Leon's autobiog said was the reason they don't need to practice set pieces?).

Ray Robinson
50 Posted 21/01/2015 at 10:32:24
You're right Ken but March could be too late. The transfer window would be shut for a start - although it doesn't look like there's going to be much activity there anyway. I don't disagree with Eto'o going but we need another potential goal scorer at the very least as we're woefully short in that department right now. Martinez though is probably phenomenally happy that we kept a clean sheet!
Mike Hughes
51 Posted 21/01/2015 at 10:34:22
Ken#48 - interesting that somebody as measured as yourself now has that view. I changed my own view to Â’RM outÂ’ on Monday evening after that match.

However, I think change has to come a lot sooner than March for the clubÂ’s sake.

A desperate situation.

Phil Walling
52 Posted 21/01/2015 at 10:42:21
What do you good people all want from our players ? Feck me, they carried out the manager's instructions perfectly on Tuesday, didn't they ?

69% possession and over 90% pass execution. What do you expected - goals? Who do you think we are, Aston Villa ?

And as for that penalty farce, don't you know we don't practice set pieces because they bring no real aesthetic value to the game ?

What this phase of the season is about is continuity, don't you know? And we are getting it. How many games is that without a win ?

Bloody supporters ! They do your head in !

Jim Hourigan
53 Posted 21/01/2015 at 10:43:38
One point on the EL which worries me enormously, RM has pinned his colours to the mast with this one - he wants to win it. But does he want to win it for his own CV and a job back in Spain? or does he want to win it because we are Everton? Wigan and the FA Cup anyone? a trophy and relegation - no thanks !!!
Brian Hill
54 Posted 21/01/2015 at 10:59:47
Phil, the Wiganisation is almost complete! Phenomenal!!
Phil Walling
55 Posted 21/01/2015 at 11:15:10
Hey, Jim. FA Cup and relegation was his route to the Everton job so why wouldn't Europa and relegation get him another one ?

Don't think Bill Kenwright is the only sucker who appoints on a bullshit basis !

Clive Lewis
56 Posted 21/01/2015 at 11:26:55
Players lose confidence by the manager and what they are told. Systems that fail and the players are uncomfortable with all add to the loss of confidence.

I actually have lost confidence in Martinez and not the players at all, the players ability is more or less the same as last year.

Dave Lynch
57 Posted 21/01/2015 at 11:47:44
We really do have the 2 biggest bullshiters in football.

Bobby and Bill.

Together they have dragged the club into mediocrity and we as fans can only sit back and watch as the ship slowly sinks into the murky depths.

if we take the drop and sack him, who the hell of any note would take the job and bring us back up? I am bricking it as I honestly fear a Leeds, Wednesday scenario is on the cards.

Matt Williams
58 Posted 21/01/2015 at 12:51:19
YouÂ’ve answered your own question, Jim: Martinez.
Nick Armitage
59 Posted 21/01/2015 at 13:04:51
I have said it before and I will say it until the cows come home, we haven't replaced Pienaar. He covers our defence and launches attacks, he retains possession and wins it back. He made Baines the player he is. He is the most underrated played we have had in years.

Oh and Martinez is fucking clueless.

Daniel A Johnson
60 Posted 21/01/2015 at 13:18:24
Leeds were one of the most talented squads to ever go down.

Anyone who thinks we are not in a relegation fight and are too good to go down needs to wake up.

Martinez could relegate 2 teams in 3 seasons if he's not careful.

Max Wilson
61 Posted 21/01/2015 at 13:17:55
It would be nice if we knew exactly what BK is thinking and saying currently. We can only use supposition. He is a fan so he's not happy, his money is at stake, so he's increasingly concerned... but, like many of us, can't believe we'd be relegated.

He doesn't like what he's seeing on the pitch, the tactics (being a fan and reading what we all are saying) but is told these win games – they did last season. We have injuries etc, so that is why they are not working?

And finally, he's agreed to wait and see if RM can turn it round. His silence is disappointing. Perhaps by now he should have said something.

Phil Walling
62 Posted 21/01/2015 at 13:26:23
.......and didn't they bring Reidy in to save them ? He didn't !
Denis Richardson
63 Posted 21/01/2015 at 13:23:03
Nick 59 - imo we already have a ready made replacement for Pienaar in the squad. Left footed, young, pacey, enthusiastic and full of energy.......trouble is the manager rarely plays him.

Brian Oviedo has been fit since the start of December and should imo be in the starting XI at AML every game from now on. He's not a natural midfielder but at least is left footed and won't look to come central. Last year he was great before his injury and showed he can play in that role. He can start to link up with Baines and form another decent partnership down our left to replace Pienaar (who even if fit is approaching the end of his career). He'll also provide a damn site more defensive cover down the left than anyone else Martinez is currently playing down there.

Basically since the EL dead rubber we've had 9 games in all competitions and he's started one (West Ham 1st cup game) and made just two second half sub appearances. Everytime he's played he's put in a decent performance so I am totally at a loss as to why he's not starting games down the left. It cannot be worse than starting McGeady, Naismith or Barkley out wide at this time.

Oviedo won't solve all our problems but it's at least a step in the right direction. Still also amazed he hasn't been given a new contract yet, he's now free to start talking to other clubs ffs!

Bill Griffiths
64 Posted 21/01/2015 at 13:44:11
Maybe I saw a different game to everyone else but, while I wouldn't say we played well, I do not think we were as awful as everyone else seems to think we were against The Baggies. The vast majority of teams, other than the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Real Madrid etc, would struggle against a solid organised team with 11 men behind the ball with no interest in going forward.

When RM was appointed, I thought he wasn't right for the job but was willing to give him time. Later, I came round to thinking maybe he was but realised he would need time for his plans to come to fruition. In my heart, I still hope this to be the case. However, I can see why others are upset and calling for him to go as my head can't justify his actions and utterings of late.

While it would not take much for me to decide maybe he should go, I can't come to that conclusion after Monday's game. Maybe if we lose to Palace then I may decide it would be better for him to go... but I feel that most people are going overboard after Monday's game.

Phil Walling
65 Posted 21/01/2015 at 14:42:08
Bill, what exactly did you see about our display on Monday that so enthused you? Was it our ball retention (69%) or pass completion (93%) or, perhaps,Robles not having to make a single save ?

I do appreciate that do some students of the game, goals are irrelevant.

John Keating
66 Posted 21/01/2015 at 15:00:16
Denis 63
Spot on.
Been advocating for this since Pienaar got injured.
Preferably Baines and Oviedo Or Garbutt and Baines Why we've been misusing Barkley, Eto'o and Naismith out wide is phenomenally mystifying
Milos Milenkovic
67 Posted 21/01/2015 at 14:42:45
Reading this for months, I now see that Martinez has actually fulfilled wishes for many people on here. For you, the Carling Cup was an unwanted competition so, we went out at the first attempt. Than came FA Cup, another wish was checked, and now we must get rid of the Europa League as soon as we can.

In fact, our league form was by far the worst in the period when we were not "obstructed" by cup competitions and when "our priority" was the only thing that we can concentrate on, obviously doesn't change your opinions.

Europa League has nothing to do with us being shit. Quite the opposite: EL can help us, if play well at least one game and win it.

People, realize for once that European competitions can only be good for us. If we are doing things properly we will be fine; if not, it doesn't matter whether we are playing some more games or not. If Martinez continues like this, your wish will be granted very soon, but so will our participation in the Premier League.

Mark Halliday
68 Posted 21/01/2015 at 17:27:49
Get rid of the one-trick pony, he is ruining our club. I have supported Everton for over 30 years and cannot remember a worse performance than Monday night. Bring back Joe Royle and the Dogs of War. We have morphed into the Wigan side that Manuel got relegated.
Steve Boardman
69 Posted 21/01/2015 at 18:02:38
I have been trying to assemble my thoughts on our current predicament and wanted to say that the original poster, Jim Hourigan, has it spot on. The only comments I would add are that I was getting fed up with the final years under Moyes and his dour, defensive tactics so I welcomed his departure and the opportunity to move to a more positive style of play.

I was initially sceptical about Martinez for the obvious Wigan/relegation issues. However, I was won over by the improvement both in our performances and the results. I had not seen a better display than the one against Arsenal since days of Kendal Mk 1.

Sadly I am now convinced that Martinez days are over and he has to be dismissed immediately (not that I think this will happen). If we do survive relegation it will be on a knife edge. Put ourselves in WBA shoes. Does anyone think that Martinez could organise the current team to put in such a disciplined defensive shift and keep out Chelsea, Arsenal etc?

I am another lifetime fan whose first games were in the Carey era and my father's ashes are in the remembrance garden in St Luke's backing on to Gwladys St (as a Catholic he may be doing somersaults but that is another story). This is as bad as I can ever remember.

Steve Davies
70 Posted 21/01/2015 at 17:40:59
I read the Echo again. Maybe I should just join Bobby's fantasy world as I am getting depressed right now.

In this world we don't have defenses or set pieces and clean sheets don't matter, you win games based on possession, and every time a player gets taken off it is because they are injured (Mirallas - hamstring, Besic our best player had a knock and asked to get substituted?). We dream of Champion's League and I can walk out in my designer brown shoes and tell my team that wins one match in 14 that they are heroes!!!! We don't need a leader as the team will work together as one........And I think to myself 'What a wonderful world.'

I sit with my chairman and tell him how we will conquer Europe and instead of developing a new ground he sticks flags outside the ground and tells us about our great history.....perfect.....

Sorry about the sarcasm fellow Blues. I am trying to make light of a desperate situation.

The reality is both guys should show a set of balls and tell it how it is. I am not party to what happened on Monday but I would suggest that there were no injuries. If he was honest and said I took Mirallas off because he obeyed orders and I thought keeping Barry on and putting on Kone was a better bet tactically, I might not agree, but could accept that.

I actually know that BK loves the club and I like the guy. I may be in the next Rocky film? It is entertaining at half times, he loves to put on a show, he has limited funds and BK is a fan like us. He backed RM to 㿈m for Lukaku.

But the facts in the real world are:

In terms of ground development although we have new toilets in Lower Gwladys (thanks Bill), the last real ground development was the Park End under Mr Johnson. Who by the way had the balls to bring in Joe Royle the last time it went Pete Tong.

The facts say it all. One win in 14. Nobody could do worse. Even the national media who blow smoke up RM's arse, actually consider us relegation candidates....

So if we do not BEAT Palace then the guy gets his P45. Although BK is a dreamer, as a fan he has seen it all before, please give him some credit.

But maybe Bobby's World will prevail and we will beat Palace, LFC and Chelsea, then win the Euro Cup......

Living the Dream......PLEASE DON'T WAKE ME UP....

Frank Crewe
71 Posted 21/01/2015 at 19:17:16
We play too slow. You can't just stroll up the park and not expect the opposition not to be ready. We cannot possession our way to victory and two weeks dicking around in the sun ain't gonna change it.

Top sides have pace, pace and more pace and until we get some into our squad we will go on as we are.

Jay Harris
72 Posted 21/01/2015 at 20:30:50
you are right Monday night in isolation wasnt too bad. It wasnt too good either.

Having only won one in 13 games we desperately needed 3 points.

The supporters knew that, the manager knew that and the players as sure as hell knew that.

We saw a glimmer of hope in the City and West Ham games even though we didnt win so the anticipation was there for a solid 3 points.

To not trouble their keeper in anyway whatsoever in 90 minutes when we controlled 70 % of the game speaks volumes about our style of play and the ineptitude of the manager.

If it was a one off like we used to get occasionally under OFM then we could probably swallow that but when people make "Phenominal" statements about being "incredible" after 13 games without a win and poor form before that including a Xmas period where we lost every game then Monday night was not that good.

Colin Malone
73 Posted 21/01/2015 at 20:28:45
If the shite would have went ahead against Chelsea, Mourinho, who believes in total football just as Martinez does, would have abandoned it and put Drogba on, Fact.

We have no one who can ruffle feathers in the oppositions box. So we carry on walking through a brick wall.

Christine Foster
74 Posted 21/01/2015 at 20:28:30
I had to wait 48 hours to let a few things sink in and after watching the game again I have to say that this was a game where the team played to orders and it resulted in a display devoid of individual inspiration and lack of responsibility.
The past two games against West Ham and Man City, saw what we thought, was a spark of commitment and desire to play the way they could, should. But that was eliminated against WBA as RM obviously insisted on a method of play that is not suited to the quality of players we have.
A lot of money buys exceptional players, who can turn a game with individual brilliance, clubs without massive cash reserves play to their strengths and individual capability. We, clearly are not doing this and clearly the players are not enjoying the football either.
If you keep doing the same thing and getting the same results then you have to change it. Possession without pace is boring. Possession without penetration is pointless. Literally.
RM has dug himself a hole and he keeps digging. A wise man would tap him on the shoulder and tell him to stop, that's down to BK.
Adopting a philosophy of play is great in theory, but to consistently perform it needs moments of tactical skill and directness in the face of the opposition, who have Sussed out RM and his adherence to style over substance.

It's clear that even with the best will in the world that when things aren't working you have to change your approach. You can only wait so long before you have no choice. The longer you wait the more risk you load upon the club.

David Moyes served up some dire performances in his time with a brand of negativity that was painfully consistent sprinkled with some brilliance. By comparison Roberto has served us with optimism without substance, a much worse meal to digest.

Trevor Lynes
75 Posted 21/01/2015 at 22:06:09
If the article writer thinks that we have a talented group of players then so be it !I however, do not think so.

Most of our players are mediocre and we are not improving as quickly as other clubs.

Our youngsters are a pretty disappointing bunch apart from Stones and Garbutt. Other clubs seem to be producing better youngsters.

The squad needs a big overhaul as did Man Utd. But Utd have bought their way out of trouble whilst we cannot.

Jay Harris
76 Posted 21/01/2015 at 22:47:54
they weren't mediocre when they nearly got CL last season with 72 points.

Good players do not turn bad overnight.

It is obvious to everyone that if the whole squad has gone sour they have not lost their ability just the motivation.

Paul Hewitt
77 Posted 21/01/2015 at 23:04:00
The squad we have is good enough for a top 4 finish.So why are we playing so poor? that to me is all down to the manager.
You cant take the praise when things are going well then moan when things turn bad and you get flack.
James Marshall
78 Posted 21/01/2015 at 23:15:37
The problem is simple, and summed up by the way we perform against teams that attack us - when we're attacked we're able to break on teams who have maybe 3 or 4 players back defending. When we keep the ball well against the lesser teams, they mass in two banks of 4 and we play in front of them = easy to defend against.

We're victims of our ability to keep the ball, and it's as simple as that. When we have less possession we're more effective as an attacking unit because we attacked with pace.

When we keep the ball, the opposition gets organised, sits back and we struggle. Simple.

Let the opposition have a bit more of the ball - Barkley, Lukaku, Mirallas, even the much derided McGeady, all better when running at back-pedalling defenders.

End of story.

Gavin Johnson
79 Posted 21/01/2015 at 23:08:33
It's about teams adapting to our style this season. The teams we should be beating, like WBA, sit behind the ball. Martinez spat his dummy out earlier in the season when we drew with Swansea because they refused to play an expansive passing game that suits Martinez's style. That's why we seem to put up more of a fight against the better sides like in the Man City game recently – a team that fully expects to beat us and plays their own attacking game.

The big problem is that he doesn't seem to have any other ideas (or is unwilling) to find another way to break down the lesser teams. Even fat Sam alluded to this in the preamble to the FA Cup game.

Added to this, you've got the likes of Barry and Distin another year older. And while I'm a massive Lukaku fan, if Martinez knew the well would be dry for transfers this window that 㿈m may well have been better spent on a striker for half the money.

Ray Roche
80 Posted 21/01/2015 at 23:22:06
Trevor Lynes#75
"disappointing bunch apart from Stones and Garbutt. Other clubs seem to be producing better youngsters."

"Other clubs" produced Garbutt and Stones, we didn't.

James Marshall
81 Posted 21/01/2015 at 23:23:58
Spend 㿈m on a striker who's main strength is running at defenders and make him play with his back to goal all season......yeah, that'll work. Idiotic from Martinez at times.
Gavin Johnson
82 Posted 21/01/2015 at 23:51:48
Trevor #75 I see you're warming to Stones a bit. I'm guessing you've now seen the light and realise he's way ahead of Distin now.
Clive Lewis
83 Posted 22/01/2015 at 00:01:19
1 win in 13 is relegation form. I don't see how it Is not possible to not get relegated. We have no confidence and, unless this changes, we will go down.

In these situations, your chairman has to make a decision on whether to gamble on the upturn in confidence or make a change to a manager who can provide this. I feel that if this change is not made, our chairman will retire from Everton knowing that he had the final say in the downfall of a great football team, and will go down in history for not making the change when all the warning signs were there.

Wigan fans and Chairman must be thinking this as they stare at the possibility of life in the 1st division.

Paul Kelly
84 Posted 22/01/2015 at 04:05:12
Bob is the problem; getting rid is the answer.

The derby fast approaching, IÂ’m having nightmares already.

Heaven help us all.

Harold Matthews
85 Posted 22/01/2015 at 03:40:48
The opposition have strengthened since last season; we haven't. They have also sussed us out. As Christine points out, we need to change things but he won't. The older players are older, the players with no skill still have no skill. As Trevor also points out, we need a complete overhaul but don't have the funds to implement it. We are in a mess.

With Martinez being the perfect mouthpiece for BK, it's hard to see him losing his job. We've even got young Stones being pushed forward to spout positive rubbish.

Hopefully we'll escape the drop but it will be tight.

Eddie Harrison
86 Posted 22/01/2015 at 06:49:55
Having read so many comments and views concerning the current plight of our once-great club, I can only hope that Mr Martinez takes some time out to digest some of their content, because, in my opinion, the views and solutions of concerned genuine supporters make a lot more sense than the same drivel served up by our embarrassing leader.

To make matters worse, after Monday nightÂ’s usual disappointingly inept shite, the following night I watched them from across the park produce a performance full of pace, desire, commitment and purpose. I am ashamed to say, I was jealous... ThatÂ’s how bad itÂ’s got.

Sadly, I think the solution is not merely sacking the manager... the Board is a joke. No ambition, just content to keep hold of the train set...

Ian Hollingworth
87 Posted 22/01/2015 at 06:58:00
Answer is simples, the problem is Martinez. This is not just opinion – look at the hard facts.

I fear the bigger problem is that good old Bill and half the fan base will only fully realise that when it is too late...

Anto Byrne
88 Posted 22/01/2015 at 10:45:29
I started watching a rerun of the WBA game. We faffed around for a good 20 minutes up the park and back to the keeper. Barkley was fed a sweet ball down the left and had a yard on his marker and had the chance to motor away. He stopped went sideways passed the ball back and then it was lumped forward by Joel. What the fuck?

I turned this shit off. Twenty minutes in and I would have dragged Barkley and Barry then either Coleman or Baines or Jags. Put Kone up with Rom, give McAleny and Oviedo a run and go long pumping high balls to the front two or three, might get a lucky break a free-kick for Mirallas to line up.

Albion weren't up for a game of football – why the fuck oblige them piss farting around playing keep ball.

Col Wills
89 Posted 22/01/2015 at 12:24:20
The answer isn't 'simples', the answer is a perfect storm of bad injuries to key players, players underperforming, players losing confidence, players moving the ball slowly, bad first touches, lack of closing down, opposition players defending on mass, opposition being lucky (Man Utd), referee decisions going against us (Newcastle etc). Bad referees, and the failure of the players to move the ball quick enough to penetrate space.

95% of the issues are player and referee related; granted, Martinez's tactics aren't helping but the players are the ones who need to take responsibility and sort this out.

ps: We've been shite ever since Sharp/ Stuart and Snods became ambassadors and the new mural went up!

Christian Gawne
90 Posted 22/01/2015 at 13:24:06
Easy. They are not that talented. Go through the squad and it is full of average Premier League standard players who us Evertonians have built up above their actual abilities due to the fact that they play for Everton. If we take off our blue-tinted glasses, we would see that.
Craig Walker
91 Posted 22/01/2015 at 13:34:21
What Tony Marsh says. He's spot on. We got 5th and rested on our laurels.

It's easy to look at individual players and then conclude that we have a great team. Pundits were doing the same with Brazil at the World Cup. Individually, they look good, Neymar, Willian, Oscar, Fernandinho, Thiago Silva etc. but we all know that they couldn't defend and couldn't break down teams who put 10 men behind the ball.

John Keating
92 Posted 22/01/2015 at 14:00:25
regarding your excuses:
"Bad injuries to key players" † If that was true then Southampton should be bottom of the league.

"Referee decisions going against us" – Every team makes the same complaint plus we've had a couple go for us as well.

EVERY other excuse as you say is player/playing related and EVERY one of them can be and should have been addressed by one man – Martinez. We are where we are due to the shite the manager has inflicted upon us from the close season –and nothing has been changed.

Col Wills
93 Posted 22/01/2015 at 14:08:37
Jon- why should Southampton be bottom of the league cos of a few injuries? They are a top squad and have improved after selling all their rubbish to Liverpool. Plus they work their socks off in every game, score goals and defend well.

In fact, I'd be looking to try to sign Alderwerield and Bertrand for starters, they are both only on loan at the Saints and I also reckon Shane Long would be a perfect addition alongside Lukaku with his relentless workrate.

Steavey Buckley
94 Posted 22/01/2015 at 16:03:01
Everton are failing down the wings, where Everton are far less effective than last season. Kone's goal against Newcastle, where he got on to the end of a cross from Coleman, is a rarity this season, than other seasons. And is one of the reasons why Lukaku is less effective this season than last.
Brian Williams
95 Posted 22/01/2015 at 16:53:22
I watched some of the RS V Chelsea game the other night and I thought I'd put the TV on double speed somehow because (much as I hate to admit it) Liverpool were moving from their own box to the edge of Chelsea's in a matter of seconds. They weren't lumping it upfield either. They were passing their way quickly and incisively. Everton unfortunately might as well send a telegram they're on their way as our build up is slow and ponderous. There's nobody moving into space, nobody moving quickly with the ball, and nobody seems prepared to take a chance or create a chance. Awful to watch at the moment. It hurts to say that too.
Andrew Rimmer
96 Posted 22/01/2015 at 16:54:31
When was the last time we scored from a corner? RM doesn't like corners as it could lead to losing possession.
Tony Hill
97 Posted 22/01/2015 at 17:00:37
Brian you're right. Compare with how we played against Arsenal at the Emirates in the league last season, the high point in terms of performance for me under Martinez. Then we had the same crisp, imaginative, incisive and fast movement and passing you crave. Don't we all, and what happened to it?
John Keating
98 Posted 22/01/2015 at 17:09:16
the reason I said that is because this season Southampton have had major injuries both long and short term to key players.
So if we are using injuries as a reason for our present position then Southampton should be below us.
Their squad is as small, if not smaller than ours.
The major difference is in the management style. They have brought in reserves in their correct positions whereas we've played people out of position.
I just hate it when I hear supporters blaming injuries contributing to our present situation.
The reason we are where we are is purely down to the manager with shite tactics and personnel choices.
All teams suffer injury issues throughout the season, good managers manage them - Martinez doesn't !
Andrew Rimmer
99 Posted 22/01/2015 at 18:26:41
Well said John.
Eto'o isn't a midfielder Naismith or Barkley aren't wingers and Robles isn't a Goalkeeper
Tim Locke
101 Posted 23/01/2015 at 07:44:58
In no order or importance several things have changed from last season:

Howard has got worse: his shot-stopping has dropped from one goal conceded every 2.5-ish shots to 1.2-ish shots.

Players have got older

We have changed our formation. So last season we played with similar players but in a different formation. Mirallas was on the right wing with Pienaar on the left, or McGeagy covering. Not to mention Del Boy playing his role. This provided width to our game, Baines and Coleman provided overlap. This season, McGeady and Mirallas rarely start together, Pienaar is injured. So we have gone from 4-2-3-1 to 4-2-2-2 or 3-2-3-2. The final formation normally had Barkely and Eto'o standing in the same spot.

The other formation had Mirallas on the left which meant he spent a lot of time cutting back into the centre, making the team narrow. This lack of width has meant it is easier for teams to close us down and win the ball back.

Tempo: Last season, we played more long balls, moved the ball quicker front to back and closed teams down. This resulted in us winning the ball back higher up the pitch and allowing for quicker counter attacks. If you look at heat maps of Lukaku this season, he is playing, mainly, about 10 yards closer to our half-way line than last season. We play in less space, the opposition don't need to expend as much energy closing us down.

Now I would presume the final issue of passing and tempo is partly confidence. You are worried or the crowd are on your back, you make sure you make the pass, pass it short, keep the ball. Barkely is running less and laying it off more; the crowd are def on his back about this and the atmosphere has changed from last season, when I was off my seat when he got the ball, to head in hands and thinking what can I spend 㿨m on.

I don't think any of the problems, except age and injuries, are unrecoverable. Bob needs to decide if he wants to change things. I think the two weeks off will help as will Eto'o leave, less options of narrow play. If we could get a player like Del Boy in, that would help. But the biggest change needs to come from Bob saying we can have width and the players having confidence to do their thing.

Colin Grace
102 Posted 23/01/2015 at 10:27:50
We have no craft in midfield. The loss of Pienaar and Osman is so obvious but not to so many Ossie haters on this forum.

Barkley needs to start playing his own game and stop passing to Barry all the time.

We need a wide player who can cross a ball. There is too much dependency upon Coleman who after all is a very good full back at best.

Stones can't defend and needs time to develop. He needs to become more physical in his challenges and stop switching off.

The captain needs to step up and start to motivate the team on the pitch. He should have sorted out the Kevin penalty debacle.

Col Wills
103 Posted 23/01/2015 at 10:36:01
Jon, quote -"The reason we are where we are is purely down to the manager with shite tactics and personnel choices" ???

What a strange comment, I think you'll find there's about 14 other reasons, and they generally run around on the pitch.

Are you trying to say that the loss of McCarthy, Pienaar, Stones, Osman, Barry, Mirallas et al for long spells without the opportunity to bring in replacements hasn't weakened the team? The squad is obviously not performing to its capabilities, Martinez for all his faults cant 'force' the players to perform – that's the players job first and foremost.

Harold Matthews
104 Posted 23/01/2015 at 09:51:55
Interesting post, Tim. I'll take your word on last season. Most of it is now a vague memory.

I didn't think we would miss Pienaar and Ossie so much, not to mention Delboy. We also had Barry, one year younger and pulling out all the stops for a contract and an England place. Howard was playing well, Barkley was flying and the centre backs still had a bit of pace and confidence. Lukaku never looked like a footballer but he scored goals and caused confusion. We also had Oviedo, a fit McCarthy and two red-hot fullbacks. Wow. What a difference a year makes.

The passing has gone to pot, everything is too slow and narrow, and your heat maps show that the big fella is playing too deep to be dangerous. The constant ball watching and inability to close down has been amateurish and disgraceful. We're in a mess and every coach in the game knows how to nullify our strengths. Martinez now has to change things and earn his money. He still wants to build from the back which is the way of all good teams, but they do it at speed and always seek to go forward. Players have to up the tempo and put in a real shift. We also have to up the skill levels and movement up front.

Mike Childs
105 Posted 23/01/2015 at 22:09:59
I am sick and tired of hearing Pienaar's lack of form is the difference. He was injured for the majority of last year and the year before he started like a house on fire and sucked the last half of the season. He is not the answer and much like Howard I wish he would retire immediately.

Martinez has to go! Even if we survive relegation which I am certainly worried about he is not the one to lead us us forward ( I admit I thought he was) his stubbornness and playing of favorites BARRY is enough to fire him!

Harold Matthews
106 Posted 24/01/2015 at 08:32:14
Mike. I reckon Martinez thinks the deep lying DM role requires experience and Barry is the only one he trusts. There's also the fact that the lad has admitted that he loses match fitness very quickly if he is not playing.

Agree about Pienaar. Once a terrific little player, it was painful to watch him struggling for pace when his legs started to go. Ossie too.

Like you, I feel very let down by Martinez. My many supportive posts are now looking pretty stupid. I'm not against BK because he's always true to form and we know exactly where we stand with him but Roberto had me duped.

Okay, he genuinely believes in his system, which worked well till everyone cottoned on to it, but it has shackled some of our best players and needs to be ditched. Unfortunately, he says he's changing nothing.

Last night, I watched Man Utd playing the same system with multi million dollar players and they failed to beat a League Two side. Sideways passing, slow tempo and a reluctance to cross. No wonder they can't score goals.

Allan Board
107 Posted 24/01/2015 at 16:53:41
Bit quiet on the "Qatar 18-40 jolly" isn't it? No news is shit news for us fans, I'm afraid. I would have liked to hear some news regarding a fucking good punch up et al and Mr Moment being pushed in the pool with his Boss two-piece/brown brogues on!!!!!!

However, this is Everton 2015 and sadly not Everton 1985... How is this "no mark" regime still in place???

Did anyone else notice how shit Man Utd were last night? Has Louis van Gaal decided to adopt Mr Phenomenal's ethos after all? Somebody wake me when this 'mare ends!!!!

John Keating
108 Posted 24/01/2015 at 17:35:58
I reckoned Martinez should have been shown the door at the final whistle on Monday night.
Some posters have been saying "he should be given the benefit of the doubt" "Wait until March and see where we are" and an assorted of dates and times when we should reassess the situation. In my opinion all too late !
So lets have a quick look at our next 3 matches.
Palace away. New manager, unbeaten in 4, great win at Southampton today, confidence sky high.
RS home. Well they are definitely on a roll and have put their woes well behind them. Confidence sky high knowing they can always nick a goal. We all know these bastards have the Indian Sign over us.
Chelsea away. Top of the league, without doubt the best squad in the league by far. Lost today and out the cup, Jose will be having kittens, have them all in tomorrow and read the riot act. They'll have a point to prove and wouldn't surprise me if they go on an unbeaten run after Joses "meeting"
Personally I can't see a point out of these games. No doubt we'll get all the excuses.
At least when the lads get interviewed after the games to explain their shite performances they'll look well with their suntans !
Dick Fearon
111 Posted 30/01/2015 at 21:58:04
We have as a manager a person so wrapped up in his determination to show us and everyone else in the football world how brilliant he is and how stupid the rest are. He willfully ignores the fact that his slow build up and multiple pass philosophy has been an absolute failure and resulted in our woeful position.

The only thing that can save us from relegation is a complete turn around in this idiots tactics or a It is rumoured that our senior players have had a word in his ear. My response to that is why did it take them so long to do that. Perhaps they are totally befuddled by this charlatans propaganda.

Those of us who know a little about this game realized months ago what every man and his dog also knew about the basic flaws in Roberto's grand plan. It is beyond credibility that some who is paid an absolute fortune to lead our club is so pathetically inept.

One would have thought his experience at Wigan would have been a salutary and unforgettable lesson. It is staggering that he is treading the same path and persisting with the same failed system.

Last season when everyone was gushing over Roberto's 'joined up stuff' I was warning about its slowness and the potential danger of pointless fiddling passes among our back line.

The Anfield slaughter and subsequent games were a clear warning of what to expect. Premier league managers, except perhaps ours are quick in latching on to a systems flaws and boy did they rip into Roberto's. Despite all that while there is a god in his heaven we will not go down.

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