With the arrival of Roberto Martinez at the start of last season, Everton's style of play drastically changed. His predecessor, David Moyes, played attacking football that was direct, and showed variation between short passing and directed long balls (usually to Fellaini), often to great effect. If anyone remembers our last game under Moyes (vs West Ham), we scored two cracking goals at the end of great moves.
Don't try to tell me that it was negative hoof-ball football, a myth heard a lot recently, because that is just blatantly incorrect. Think of the 4-4 draw vs ManU or the 2-0 defeat of Man City when Jelavic scored in the last minute. Was that bad football? I don't think so.
Under Martinez, tactics changed. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that we play a slow, possession-orientated game that relies on the individual skill and power of players to break through a team. It worked for the majority of last season because other sides were also trying to play attacking football against us, giving us more room in attack. Players like Mirallas, Barkley and Lukaku could flourish, as seen in games against Stoke, Arsenal and Newcastle last season in which we scored at least 3 goals and won comfortably.
For me, the turning point was the match we played Palace at home. They put their entire team behind the ball and counter-attacked at pace with the likes of Bolasie and Puncheon. Successive 3-2 losses at home against them in almost identical circumstances showed our weakness to the rest of the Premier League who have just copied that gameplan.
Sunderland, West Brom, Swansea, Hull, Leicester and Stoke all got results against us at Goodison Park doing the exact same thing. They sat back with 11 men behind the ball and essentially told our team "Break us down". Players like Lukaku, Mirallas and Barkley don't play like this. Lukaku loves balls over the top of the defence.
Barkley loves to run at retreating defences on the counter-attack. Mirallas loves to take defenders on and run into space. None of them like to play neat little passes 35 yards out from goal for 5 minutes until a poor pass or touch loses the ball. It's ineffective and it's boring.
I think of the 3-2 win against Swansea last season. There were 5 goals scored in what should've been a great display of football. Instead, it was dull, predictable and we were extremely fortunate to get the 3 points. Last season, we beat Stoke 4-0. This season, it was an uninspiring defeat. Other teams have worked us out.
My point is illustrated no better than in the matches we played well in this season. The 3-0 win vs Man Utd and the 2-0 victory in Wolfsburg were our best performances by a distance. And in each game we let the other team have the ball and then counter-attacked ourselves, doing to them what all the supposedly smaller teams had done to us.
In those matches, 4 of the 5 goals we scored were on the break, with balls to Lukaku and Mirallas proving particularly useful. We had 35% possession against Man Utd and 40% against Wolfsburg, well down on our average of 55%. Yet we played good football that got the crowd going, a quality missing from nearly every showing this season.
So for me, that is where we should focus on next season. Yes, the players under-performed, but most of them weren't playing in a style that suited their strengths. Baines now stays back and plays conservative passes back to Jagielka or sideways to Barry. He needs someone like Pienaar there to compliment his ability. At the moment, he doesn't have it. The only player who seems to suit this style of play is Naismith, who was inexplicably dropped at the end of the season.
In my opinion, this is the strongest squad of players we've had for many years, perhaps since the late 80s. They just need to be used in the right way; otherwise, the talent at this club will be wasted.
Reader Comments (62)
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3 Posted 29/05/2015 at 19:13:35
4 Posted 29/05/2015 at 22:46:46
Those 2 players represented the importance of width on both sides of the field, to break-down teams who Âpark the bus.Â
5 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:02:36
Not against the big teams he didnÂt. He shit himself and parked the bus every time, hoping for the best. What was his record against the top 4 again?
6 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:03:00
Baines stays back because he has to - firstly to protect the team from exposure on the counter attack, and secondly to protect himself. The amount of times before Christmas he would regularly charge down the flank towards the Park End expecting the ball in space, only to see Barkley or Mirallas turn inside into congested areas, was frustrating enough.
On the odd occasion he did receive the ball, heÂd look up to see nobody available to get on the end of a cross. ThisÂd result in him having to play it back inside, the pace would slow, and the momentum would be lost. Is it any wonder his trademark raids towards the oppositionÂs byline are becoming more and more infrequent?
7 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:20:43
8 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:19:13
How attacking is it to play with no fucking forwards at all on the pitch... in consecutive games... when youÂve got some sat on their arse, watching on from the bench?
How is it not negative to have ambition that stretches only so far as Âgetting out of there aliveÂ in way too many games?
9 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:53:55
Well, I donÂt know what youÂd call it but it bored me into slight depression for the most part of 10 years and if I was going to judge a manager's style of play I would consider his whole time here as manager and not just his last season.
People were doing the same trick with Tony Pulis earlier in the season.
10 Posted 30/05/2015 at 00:31:15
MoyesÂs record against the top teams wasnÂt great, thereÂs no denying that. It was one of his many flaws and it was the right time for him to leave when he did. However, he adapted his style for the team we were playing, something Martinez seems very reluctant to do.
I feel like falling asleep in half the games we play nowadays, I donÂt remember feeling like that a single time under Moyes. To me, there is no doubt that watching a Moyes team was more exciting than a Martinez one.
11 Posted 30/05/2015 at 01:33:23
I donÂt disagree that weÂve had to bear witness to some almost unbearable, turgid, displays of titanic tittery this season. However, I donÂt think this current dross makes former dross look any less...err...drossy. For me, the struggles of Martinez havenÂt suddenly recast the days of Moyes in some new halcyon light demanding reappraisal. Sure, we played some good stuff under Moyes for spells, but it was always interspersed with plenty of hit and hope, safety first shite. These pages were full of people screaming blue murder about it often enough. To now claim that the oft witnessed Âhoof ballÂ was just a figment of our collective imagination, simply because Âtika-takaÂ has turned out to be a bit crap, is taking things too far.
For what itÂs worth, I do agree that the players Martinez has at his disposal are much better suited to playing a counter-attacking style and have said so myself on a number of occasions. We have neither the craft nor brain to break down sides who come to stubbornly dig in, or the energy and endeavour to outpower teams who work their arses off to deny us space and time on the ball.
13 Posted 30/05/2015 at 05:07:09
Stones and Jags no longer spend half an hour passing the ball to one another, very few 20-yard passes back to Howard and they run forward with the ball if the opportunity arises.
McCarthy joins in with the attack, Coleman tries to cross the ball instead of stopping to dribble the fullback and Lennon carries the ball forward at speed.
Unfortunately, as Chris points out, Baines has no left side support, is often faced by two attackers and can rarely get forward. The "No 6" Barry should be in front of him but he drifts inside to protect the centre backs. Things will only alter when we go 3-4-3 with the two wingers putting in a full shift,
People who still go on about the slow sideways and back stuff are beginning to annoy me. They yatter on about other managers sussing us out, which is very true, but itÂs about time they themselves sussed out that we have drastically changed our playing style.
WeÂve been doing our best to quicken things up and the recent Lennon, Mirallas and McCarthy goals were the end result of lightning-quick forward passing movements. 18 seconds for a 65-yard six-man passing sequence starting with Jags and ending with a Lennon tap-in is 5 star football and, by the way, Kone was the striker that day and he played a vital role in the goal.
14 Posted 30/05/2015 at 12:34:32
"Teams have sussed us out" seems to be the story under Martinez but I remember teams coming and parking the bus under Moyes. We struggled to break them down then and often would grab a draw from either victory or defeat.
Deulofeu was the game changer last season, coming up with vital goals and assists: Cardiff at home, Sunderland away and of course the cracker at the Arsenal.
We have always struggled to break teams down, in fact most teams struggle to score when the oppo has 10 men behind the ball. The players with the skill and vision to break down such teams we donÂt have. Silva, Nasri, Augero, Rooney, Ozil, Sanchez, Hazard, Fabregas, Oscar and Cazorla. They play for the big teams.
We do struggle to break teams down, unless we spend big on a Number 10 and get Deulofeu back I canÂt see that changing next season either.
15 Posted 30/05/2015 at 21:56:10
Our much needed upturn resulted I believe from vocal dismay of the crowd and a revolt by senior players.
Martinez has made no secret of his possession at all cost philosophy thus re creating the turgid mish mash that failed him in the past. His grandfatherly attitude, specially toward our young players does them no service. Some of them are on the threshold of lucrative national or international careers. There are times when a vigorous kick up the bum would be more appropriate than being constantly told how phenomenal they are.
A glance through the life stories of some of the games greats makes one realize that their early managers were hard bastards. David Beckham still carries the physical scars of SAFs temper.
18 Posted 31/05/2015 at 13:21:49
If he takes Everton on a year-by-year downward spiral he orchestrated at Wigan, I hope BK has the foresight to avoid the repeats of Barry Horne and as Sunderland were able, have the belief they are worthy of a manager on Dick AdvocaatÂs level. Until that day, the longer he remains in charge, the longer we will take to recover.
19 Posted 31/05/2015 at 13:45:15
I think reading the posts here some people do have selective memories. MoyesÂs early years were quite dull and pragmatic but that's how it had to be. Moyes took over a really bad side and he had to try and make us hard to beat which he duly did. The bonus is those early years was making the top 4.
We had some disasters in the Moyes years notably the 4-0 drubbing by Bolton at home, Wigan in the cup game, not to mention the 5-goal hammering we had from Man City last game before Rooney moved. However, for the most part, the reaction to those humiliations were positive ones and we put in a performance next time round.
True, MoyesÂs big stumbling block was playing the so-called big 4 away from home (I do recall more than giving as good as we got at home against these teams) although he did have a very good record against Man City home and away. However, for the last few years of the Moyes reign, we did play some good football regardless of some peopleÂs opinions. Fiorentina at home, the Sunderland drubbing, RS 3-0 drubbing, to name a few but there were many others too as Arteta, Pienaar, Baines, Coleman, Osman etc attacked at will... we did have an exciting team and I canÂt remember too many occasions leaving the ground bored.
Fast forward to the Martinez era and to be fair he has done an excellent PR job on our record against the so-called top 4 in his reign. Apart from beating a piss-poor Man Utd team away from home (as did WBA around the same time) we have done nothing really of note against the others. A walloping at the RS, regular beatings against Man City and Chelsea (6-3 total humiliation at GP), the exceptions being Arsenal and Man Utd at home. Some will point to the entertaining game against Arsenal away last season but again we didnÂt beat them.
Most games this season have been so dull and that's not just me being biassed against Martinez, I have never heard so many people saying the same at the game. For all of this season, Martinez has seemingly been unable or unwilling to change the sterile tactics we employ. Even towards the end of the season, Martinez did not employ a faster style of play as some allude to; it just appears that Jags and to a lesser extent Stones decided to hoof the ball up the field rather than fuck around with it. We were still as dull as dishwater and a half empty ground at the final whistle, even when we were winning, backs that up.
Speaking to Wigan supporters, this is the Martinez way of football. We can expect more of the same next season and I guess more of the same pathetic excuses. Even allowing for all of the good footballers we have at the club Â– and we do have a lot in my opinion Â– I can see no silver lining. Martinez has managed to oversee too many players having a bad season for it to be a coincidence.
I would like to be more positive about Martinez, I donÂt hate the guy like most Martinez apologists seem to counter arguments with, I just don't think he is good enough for top level football and if I had to make a choice between Moyes and Martinez then it would be Moyes every day of the week Â– regardless of the flaws Moyes had, I never had the impression that Moyes didnÂt have a clue what he was doing, unlike Martinez, and I never ever questioned whether I should renew my season ticket under Moyes, like I did at the end of this season. I also never left GP under Moyes having had the joy and life sucked out of me and left wondering whether football would ever be exciting again.
20 Posted 31/05/2015 at 14:26:33
The tactical setup was to compress the space between defence, midfield and attack engendering a more possession based approach. Kone was missing in those games, whilst McCarthy was much more withdrawn having been used as an enforcer in the oppoÂs final third to try and win back possession quicker.
We had abandoned the basic attacking precept that the ball needed to be played forward far quicker if we were to unsettle packed defences.
On a separate note, I disagree with Sam DayÂs inference that we played sparkling football on a greater frequency with Moyes. I admired the way Moyes had rebuilt the squad into a tightly knit athletic outfit capable of overpowering less capable teams on a regular basis. But against the big boys his consistently stubborn safety first approach ultimately scarred his reputation. Watch replays of the 4-4 Manyoo game and see how deep we fell back after we took the lead. Same in the semi against the RS and the final against Chelski.
21 Posted 31/05/2015 at 14:42:40
Whatever may be said about them, their futures and fortunes are at stake and are, therefore, as dependent on the team thriving as any emotional feelings we, as mere ÂspecciesÂ, may have towards team performances.
Whilst most of us see the Martinez ÂwayÂ as boring, disappointing and leading only downwards, do they hold a contrary view or is it that Âsold outÂ notices at most games is enough to convince them the public are very much Âon sideÂ?
I donÂt think so because I have never subscribed to the view that Âthe powers that beÂ are so detached from their public that they are oblivious to the common feeling Â– after all, they watch the team just as we do!
So is the total absence of any comment on the Martinez philosophy indicative of Âprivate concernÂ at the direction of travel? Watch this space...
22 Posted 31/05/2015 at 15:19:48
I just donÂt know how he came to be part of EvertonÂs story.
23 Posted 31/05/2015 at 15:27:46
24 Posted 31/05/2015 at 15:17:11
I am sure you all watched the FA Cup Final yesterday. The team in yellow displayed all that I wish to see from an Everton side. A wonderful incisive passing display from players who are told to use the ball quickly, in two touches, and be positive!
Villa were lucky it wasnÂt 8 or 9. Fluid football at its best. My tip for the title next season if they avoid major injuries. Fabulous. Any chance we can pinch Wenger on a 10-year deal?!!
25 Posted 31/05/2015 at 15:57:46
I think the bums on seats is a very important scenario for the club and if, as has been reported, we have 3,000 less season tickets sold for this season as opposed to last season, that will make them sit up and notice. If BK is as much a football lover as the fans are he surely canÂt ignore the silence of the supporters at home games or maybe he can.
If there were any moves afoot regarding the manager's position, we might have to wait for the 2nd anniversary proper of RMÂs tenure (June 13th?) but I donÂt think the board will be pro-active and will be happy to jog along, hoping they still have the right guy in charge.
26 Posted 31/05/2015 at 16:26:07
IÂve often heard him talk about how he wants the team to play fast passing football that opens teams up. I couldnÂt agree with him more.
The biggest issue regarding MartinezÂs ÂstyleÂ is the great yawning gap between how he says he wants the team to play and what we see on the pitch.
Nick, hereÂs my tip for cheering yourself up re Everton. We played most of last season with unfit, demotivated players in various unbalanced formations, we defended poorly, created few chances/goals... and we still finished 11th! The teams around us will spend vast sums on ordinary players, we will spend a few quid on ordinary players and at worst we will stay mid-table and heÂll be sacked. And if he gets his finger out and does his job... who knows?
Or you could sit in a darkened room with a bag over your head repeating the mantra, ÂHe took Wigan down and heÂll take us downÂ at least 100 times till you nod off.
I know what IÂd prefer to do...
27 Posted 31/05/2015 at 16:45:58
As I challenged you and others this past week, name just ONE player whose game has improved under your heroÂs tutelage! Still waiting...
28 Posted 31/05/2015 at 16:44:28
As we all know, Martinez talks a good game but rarely actually delivers. ThereÂs no actual evidence he will get his finger out... the general consensus is hope hope hope rather than any expectation and that, my friend, is just not good enough for Everton Football Club.
30 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:02:31
So he certainly isnÂt my hero.
My point is that he canÂt communicate what he wants to the players, resulting in the confusion and inertia weÂve been watching, which for me, is far worse than any ÂstyleÂ or ÂphilosophyÂ issues.
Dave, I am not inferring that it is ÂOKÂ. Martinez should be sacked for turning a top 5 team to a midtable one. My point about relative spend is an answer to those who are ÂcertainÂ we'll go down. We wonÂt. ThereÂs plenty of teams worse.
Please read what I say.
31 Posted 31/05/2015 at 16:49:11
YouÂre looking for bogeymen again Mate.
Nobody will show you where Martinez says "I want us to pass aimlessly, defend poorly, created very few chances, and score very few goals" ... but then you won't be able to point to the post where somebody actually accuses him of saying or doing any of those things. Even his biggest critics don't claim he gets thing wrong deliberately
Give this up. You have better things to say,
32 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:24:04
And vice Versa.
IÂve been trying all season to find the words to say to people who want to compare the two managers ... and Daley does it in a sentence.
33 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:23:52
Darren is right; you have written far better posts than this clutching-at-straws post.
34 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:39:41
Dave, sorry for any offence, I get a bit annoyed when I write something critical about Martinez (especially the part you referred to) and it is then misconstrued as me justifying his appalling performance this season.
People keep talking about ÂstyleÂ and ÂphilosophyÂ, whatever that is. For me, it's about straightforward incompetence. He says he wants his team to play in a certain way; the team plays in a different, very poor way.
I canÂt comment on a player that Martinez has improved, because I donÂt believe heÂs improved any players .
I donÂt buy into the nonsense that ÂheÂll take us downÂ. He wonÂt. I canÂt prove it; itÂs just what I think. It doesnÂt mean IÂm happy, it doesnÂt mean I think itÂs acceptable. It isnÂt.
The fact that I didnÂt and donÂt believe heÂll relegate us is a separate issue from whether he should stay as manager. IÂd sack him, for all the reasons I stated in my original post. For the reasons IÂve stated for the last few months.
I promise to do better next time I post. But IÂll maintain my argument that you can criticise Martinez for his dreadful performance, without thinking heÂll definitely take us down, or without acknowledging the good he did last season.
35 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:55:12
You can't compare managers as they all prefer a different style and build the team to that style. The problem is with Martinez, his style is difficult with the players he has, and I do not think he will last long enough to bring in enough of the type of players he wants, so will have to change as his ideas seem to one-dimensional.
36 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:10:12
Which is largely why I was happy when the current manager brought them to the club and why IÂm frustrated that he canÂt get the best out of two good players.
Back to straightforward incompetence. .....
37 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:16:42
I also agree that Lukaku would have been a hit under Moyes... pretty similar to Saha really although not as good. Would have been interesting to have had a top-level striker in MoyesÂs team in his prime... the one thing that was missing for much of the time.
38 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:06:42
I have a feeling all is not well behind the scenes Â– thatÂs why I said earlier I wondered what Silent Bill was thinking. But then, IÂm thousands of miles away and KNOW nothing!
39 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:38:32
40 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:47:09
41 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:40:43
I fully expect Cleverley to join us in the summer having watched his negative display in the Cup Final. He was quite happy passing square or backwards always taking the easy option.
42 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:49:51
43 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:03:36
And donÂt dare think about running beyond the forwards thatÂs definitely a no go area for RM.
44 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:13:38
But I guess it shows we all care and want the very best for our club.
45 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:04:31
46 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:26:36
47 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:37:17
48 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:40:45
Well, he was till Moyes got hold of him and had him running all over the place.
49 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:55:56
50 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:51:15
Still, Muthmir and New Bay both won, so allÂs not so bad in the world of sport!
51 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:47:28
The following players have improved under Martinez relative to where they were before he started working with them: Stones, McCarthy, Barkley, Coleman, Naismith.
52 Posted 31/05/2015 at 20:38:56
54 Posted 31/05/2015 at 20:57:45
55 Posted 31/05/2015 at 21:21:46
Either way, at the point of being close to something special, we lost our two most creative and irreplaceable players. The only time I ever felt sorry for Moyes.
56 Posted 31/05/2015 at 21:57:39
57 Posted 01/06/2015 at 05:46:58
The Yak didn't do "running all over the place".
Not for Moyes; not for anyone.
58 Posted 01/06/2015 at 17:39:55
59 Posted 01/06/2015 at 17:57:23
Martinez "may" have learnt from this season and adapt but I think he is too stubborn, and he believes that his style and philosophy is the only way to play the game. Next season will show if he is right or wrong.
60 Posted 02/06/2015 at 16:26:10
So lets not slag the players any more or Moyes, the problem is with the draughtsman with no drawing board to go back to.
61 Posted 04/06/2015 at 03:01:14
62 Posted 06/06/2015 at 16:28:37
Barkley, Coleman and Naismith have all had a terrible season and gone backwards. Naismith even lost his place in the team.
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