Back for another tea-time kick-off, wondering: Where did that week go? It was helped along well with the announcement of the signing of Etoo which took up a fair amount of the time in the Room of Nonsense. Most were for... but some good arguments against too. My view being: Make no judgement until around Christmas time... and by then, barring injury, we will have more idea if he will be Gough and Martyn or Ginola and Gazza. If the former, we will be well in. The teams arrived on mobile screens and Etoo on the bench; apart from McGeady being in most were happy. I didnt quite understand the anti-McGeady bit; when you looked at it more closely, with Pienaar injured and Atsu ineligible, who else have we got to go wide?

The walk up was wet but crowded, with all food outlets doing very well, most fans opting for something with chips for their evening meal which ensured overflowing paper bins... but at least fans did try to use them even after they were full. Roberto looked down upon us from his perch on the main stand as we made our way to our turnstile; his Spanish motto, when translated, says something about "no fear" but it said nothing about the fear felt after shipping two goals in the first three minutes and then witnessing a humdinger of a game that thrills neutrals and fans of the winners yet, at the same time, leaving the losers to still have some optimism after a thrashing to the tune of ship 6 score 3.

It was just that sort of game that will provoke anger from both managers at the sloppy defending but eulogising the creation of goals. If you were lucky enough to be in the ground today, I can safely say you wont see many games like that as fans roared and roared and the whole place was a bear pit as we witnessed comeback goals that were quickly nullified, one after another, until the bitter end. Making sense of it was not straight forward as both teams demonstrated that they both could enjoy success; yet both had the capacity to blow chances.

The game started with Chelsea kicking off and they set up a move that cut through our midfield and defence and netted without one of our players getting a touch of the ball. It seemed so simple as Fabregas slotted a fine ball through to Costa who finished with some aplomb. Our lads appealed for offside but ref and lino said "Goal." A goal down in the first minute is a blow but two down within three minutes is a horror story... but that is what happened as Ramires made a trademark burst, played in the right back Ivanovic, who slotted. Even more howls for offside but officials unmoved: 0-2.

"Could we be on for an embarrassment?" was the worrying thought and, on the 10-minute mark, more madness this time from Tim Howard who clearly stepped out of his area to gather a ball from Fabregas that had Costa on its tail at speed. But he jumped back into his area at scalded cat pace and brought no retribution from the officials. One lucky man.

We then seemed to get a grip of ourselves and started playing as we should have from the start. We did outplay Chelsea for periods of time and, after good work from Baines, Mirallas switched play to McGeady who headed at pace for the by-line and forced a corner. Lukaku met it with a solid header and struck the bar, from which the ball bounced down for Distin to bundle home only for the celebrations to die away as the linos flag signalled offside.

We continued to have the better of the half and were rewarded just before the break when some excellent head tennis saw Coleman head back and across to Mirallas who deftly glanced home leaving us more than a glimmer of hope for a second half come-back.

The second half started with us kicking off, so no chance of us conceding without touching the ball, but defensively we had learned nothing from the first knockings when Costa broke again; but for an outstretched leg of our keeper, 3-1 it would have been. Chelsea kept breaking on us but we just didnt seem to learn lessons and this came home to roost after the hour mark.

Apart from a ropy opening, we had been getting the better of Chelsea and confidence was certainly growing in the crowd but then the defence was caught napping again as Hazard was fed near the by-line in front of the Park End and allowed to make ground along the by-line and send a low one across goal that was diverted past Howard and into the corner. What a bummer, playing well and giving that away.

The Chelsea players celebrated and I dont what Costa did to prompt it but Howard lost it and charged at him and had to be pulled away. Yellow card only lucky man as, at this point, he could have been sent off twice. The defence must take all the blame for that.

The attack on the other hand had no inclination to throw the towel in and went once more in controlled fashion for a chance to reduce the deficit; within two minutes, Naismith was played in and he made good ground leaving players in his wake and left the Chelsea keeper helpless. Cue the Goodison Roar, bear pit recreated, could we get the draw?

Well, just five minutes later, we got our answer, not likely as Matic shot and netted. Down and out, it seemed... but Etoo had replaced McGeady on 70 mins and now, on 76 mins, he was heading home a well flighted Baines free kick for a debut goal. 4-3. Could we...???

Well four sides of the ground thought so and roared at deafening levels and this scoring fest was not yet over but, instead of us making it all square at 4-4, no-one seemed to want to close down a Chelsea attack and Ramires was allowed free passage on goal and his shot left Howard helpless. 5-3 down and I got the feeling that fans and players alike just knew that that was it.

The ground started to empty but those of us left did get to see Besic make his debut on 89 mins. It had been suggested that he had been kept on the bench to see and get used to how we play... well, he was a quick learner as he gave away goal number six by, without looking, back-heeling one slowly into the path of Costa who does not look gift horses in the mouth; he went around an Everton defender and the keeper and slotted.

Five mins of added time that meant nothing and then the final whistle. Many of us did stay and clap the team off as at least we had seen them put good effort in and entertain us for long spells with good joined-up stuff. Its the leaking of goals that does not go down too well.

MotM --- Naismith

Overall, despite the result, a cracking match to watch with some good and poor displays on view. Etoo made his debut and, from his cameo, I saw enough to suggest he may be an astute acquisition... but time will tell. Coming out of the ground no-one seemed to have a kind word for our centre-backs with Jags getting the lion's share; whilst I acknowledge they were not at their best, I have to say that the way we are playing this season seems to leave them exposed more than they should be. But that is just my view; its the job of the manager and his staff to look into the problem... but it must be addressed as shipping ten goals in three matches does not bode well for the season.

A fortnight off now as it's international time again; then West Brom away... then, five days later, our first Europa League game; then three days until Palace at home. It is said every successful team has been built from the back; we seem to have built from the front. I hope it is sorted by the time hostilities recommence.

Still, onward and upward. See you at the Hawthorns. Three goals and a clean sheet for us will work wonders for fans and players alike.

UP THE BLUES

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 31/08/2014 at 01:38:20

Well summed up as usual Ken...Where do you begin? well you can't give teams a 2 goal start, especially one of Chelsea's class.

Only 2 of their goals were of the wtf nature the rest were well worked and 9 times out of 10 would've been scored, no matter who the opposition was. There were 'Offside' goals, but so was Naismith last week, there was a goal disallowed for us, there were 3 deflections that could've gone anywhere, but only Coleman's counted, we hit the post twice

They some how contrived not to lose it and We, in our own shoot our selves in the foot trademark way, contrived not to win it

It is easy to blame Jags and Distin and blame them only, but this is a collective guilt and just as the credit always seems to go up the blame should always go down...So come on down Roberto Martinez... but bring the rest of the crew, both playing and none playing with you.

Is this just part of the Everton Roller-coaster. Well we've had plenty of poor starts before. I don't expect an 11hr triple loan coup like last season and I'm not sure we have the money or time to replace or shore up the middle 2, even if you allow that they are all of the problem

It's too early ( by two or 3 seasons ) to start with the MOB Mk II, but things need to change for the better. It just struck me, is this just the Martinez equivalent of Moyes finishing 17th

Sort it Roberto and quick...3-6 is a bit too much with the no fear, even if we had ended up with anything from 2-3 to 5-5 we would be consoling our selves with 'Everton in 5,6,7,8,9,10 goal thriller' headlines. This would just be papering over the cracks

As always with Everton, there are more questions than answers. I would look for a cat to kick, but it's not the cat's fault

Jim Harrison
2 Posted 31/08/2014 at 03:42:44
Great report as always Ken. I always appreciate your lack of hyperbole or knee jerk reaction.

What a game! The result sucks, but some parts of that match were utterly breathless.

McGeady played well for me, looking much more comfortable, Naismith again proved he is a very good player who isn't scared to put himself about.

Peter Creer
3 Posted 31/08/2014 at 04:39:10
Thanks Ken for another great tale of the day. Here in Canada it was a midday start and before I had settled in we were two goals down. It was the way the day would play out...over and over....and over. After Mirallas got us back in it before the break we started the second half on the front foot and looked like we were going to get something from the game.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be as we were sliced open time and time again with Jags and Distin not looking like they knew what they were doing and frequently looking like they were several steps off the pace. Stones may be young but when he plays he is composed on the ball and that is what is needed. 10 goals in three games.....not good enough.

As you said, we have been building from the front in this transfer window.....now lets close the window by getting someone who can help close the door!!!!

A long season ahead and there is much to be won.

Dick Fearon
6 Posted 31/08/2014 at 06:00:45
Ken, another good report except it was a bit too kind on our manager. Roberto should make a few tactical changes because some of our players are unable to maintain a high tempo passing game for 90 minutes.

Swansea, Arsenal and now Chelsea have served up a few lessons that could be useful. When under pressure, it was noticeable that defenders in those teams had no qualms about hoofing or lashing the ball out for throw ins. Too often we see Jags and Co put themselves under greater pressure by attempting joined-up stuff in and around our own penalty area.

Where it comes to central defenders I am a firm believer in the old saying, 'Keep It Simple'. On one occasion when John Terry almost came unstuck when tried joined-up stuff with his full back. A TV close up of Mourinho showed he was livid over it.

Andrew Mahon
7 Posted 31/08/2014 at 07:11:04
I really do think we need to get more street wise. Did you notice every time we got around the back out wide and threatened the byline as for 2 Chelsea goals, our lads were brought down. Likewise through the middle Naismith was clinically brought down more than once when through on their back four. Had we done the same we would have conceded at least 3 less yesterday.
Marcus Choo
8 Posted 31/08/2014 at 07:23:06
Where to start? I felt mentally and emotionally exhausted at the end. Each time we narrowed the score, they came up with a sucker punch. Talk about having hopes built up and punctured... three times!!!

Defence needs some serious sorting out. What has happened to Jags?? He's just not the same commanding figure as he used to be. Got caught out and lost his tackles a couple of times. We didn't seem to have the discipline that the Chelsea rearguard possessed - holding their positions well while staying close enough to our forward players to nullify our threats.
Having said that we did score three against this season's potential champions, which speaks volumes for us going forward.

Agree with Naismith being MOTM. Makes intelligent runs into space and works tremendously hard when we lose the ball. Mirallas was probably the only other player with enough menace to bother Chelsea's defence.
First time watching McGeady in action other than through the highlights and I must say I'm encouraged with what I see. He's a bag of tricks and has pace to offer. Great pass for Naismith's second goal.

Diego Costa is a nasty little bugger. The whole incident with Coleman started with a minor tangle which he somehow took offence to and got booked when he retaliated. When he scored, I'm pretty he sure he said something to Coleman in Spanish to rub it in. Guessing Howard knows a bit of Spanish and didn't take too kindly to the new guy trying to bugger young Seamus around in a language he doesn't understand. Just standing up for your teammate I guess...
Having said that I think Lukaku was poor in comparison to Costa. If you want to play the strong target man, Costa is a good example to follow. Pressed our defenders into hurried passes and mistakes. Showed up for the ball in spaces (flanks) and generally played Jags out of the match I feel...

Sigh.... early days yet, but we've played two home games now with minimum rewards to show.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 31/08/2014 at 07:27:07
I didn't think I could feel much worse, deflated and angry after last weekend's "throw it all away " job.

But that?

That was every but as bad as Arsenal on the opening day of 2009, the 1-6 reverse..
At least that day there were mitigating circumstances such as injuries and Moyes playing want away Lescott.

That yesterday was just straight out of the schoolyard.
From the first goal conceded to the last.
Not one of our defenders can actually defend and Tim Howard?

What the hellwas he doing on Coleman's OG??
How the hell is he letting the ball in from that angle when there isn't even a gap there?

It was also McCarthy's worst game since joining us.

The least said of Laurel and Hardy the better...I don't think people need any explanation of who I am referring to there.

I love Martinez I really do but I think this is going to be a very different season to last.
Last year he got off to a honeymoon period.

This year he may need to make big decisions and he may need to change his rigid philosophy that doesn't always work.
He needs to realise that sometimes you have to adapt to the way the match is going or maybe even who your playing.

A clear example of that was the Anfield Derby in January.
If we go there so wide open again next month then your looking at another avalanche of goals conceded.

Craig Fletcher
10 Posted 31/08/2014 at 07:50:11
Thanks for the balanced report Ken. I think this game was just one of those freakish results.... akin to the Man U - WBA 5-5 result in SAF’s last game.

Both teams’ were incredibly open in the way they played, that’s not to say poor defences didn’t contribute as well.

Nine times out of ten if we score three at home we win. I think we’ll still see Jags and Distin at the Hawthornes in a fortnight’s time, but I’m sure they’ll realise they are on borrowed time if things don’t improve.

Alan Rodgers
11 Posted 31/08/2014 at 08:10:45
Superb report Ken. Great game and atmosphere but the wrong result. 3 good goals and 3 joyous celebrations from the faithful. The highs and lows of supporting Everton!!!
Ian Gulliford
12 Posted 31/08/2014 at 08:30:15
You can't have a go at Howard for the OG – he's anticipated the ball across and the deflection has left him wrong-footed, it went through the only gap there was: pure bad luck. Costa goaded Coleman for the OG and I actually was glad Howard did what he did – Costa was bang out of order
Harold Matthews
13 Posted 31/08/2014 at 08:30:58
I'm still trying to work out why Jags abandoned his man for the first goal and Baines abandoned his man for the second. Game over.

The keeper and his six defenders performed like clueless novices and need to be coached and organised in a proper manner by an experienced specialist.

Mike Cawley
14 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:41:38
Thanks once again, Ken, for a great report. The large Roberto sign outside the Main Stand actually translates as "only the best", not the "no fear" thing he used at Wigan. Maybe the signwriters need to tweak it after yesterday. Any suggestions?
Bill Griffiths
15 Posted 31/08/2014 at 10:01:14
Great report, Ken. I can't argue that Jags and Distin form appears to have dropped significantly this season and they probably deserve the stick they have been getting. However, last season we had the 3rd best defensive record with the same players.

I think part of the reason for this seasons shambles so far is more of a collective issue in that the team is not functioning as a unit rather than just the fault of a couple of individuals. Yesterday, at least two of the goals were as a result of 2 laughable attempts at playing offside.

As well as Roberto trying to bring Jags and Distin up to speed he needs to get the defence and our two DF midfielders working as a cohesive unit.

Aman Kanji
16 Posted 31/08/2014 at 10:02:26
I have said for a while, Jags is not a natural leader. He's not vocal, doesn't set the standard per game or direct his midfield.

He should at least be screaming when we were 3-1 down! Howard had to push past him to square up to Costa after he jibed Shamus.

Midfield was poor as they got dragged all over the place. Manager to take the blame for playing so deep, standing off and playing the offside trap.

Manager / staff to blame for disjointed play AND ineffective pre-season.

Rest Jags, bring in Stones and Duffy. Give captaincy to McCarthy or Barry... GET IT SORTED, Boss!

Jim Bennings
17 Posted 31/08/2014 at 10:22:31
It's no use harking back to last season, though. Last season was exactly that... last season. Manchester United believe it or not were Champions of England when Moyes took over and well the rest is history.

The calendar year of 2014 has seen us concede:

4 at Anfield;
4 at Arsenal in the Cup, another day when the defence totally wilted;
3 at home to Crystal Palace;
3 at home to Man City;
2 at home to Swansea;
2 self-destruct own goals in a must-win match at Southampton in April;
2 to Leicester, a spirited but limited side;
2 to Arsenal in the last few minutes despite them not really putting us under immense pressure;
and 6 in that debacle yesterday.

The defence's best moments this year was during the 7-match winning streak in which Stones partnered Distin, how coincidental?

That doesn't mean we can be happy with the centre halves we have. Stones is still young and a bit green although he is the best user of the ball he is not necessarily that commanding and a 'shouter'. Alcaraz, well he is never going to be reliable to play enough matches.

The other two? The least said the better – I have seen better defending on a Sunday league pitch.

Dave Williams
19 Posted 31/08/2014 at 11:01:26
On all of the threads TW is running on this, no-one has mentioned the absence of Ross Barkley. Whilst he is no ball-winner, his was a significant physical presence last season in the centre of midfield, supporting James and Gareth where they needed help.

We have replaced him with a winger yesterday who, no matter how well he might have played, was never going to add backbone to CM in defensive situations. Whereas Ross was the first obstacle allowing the other two to cover the centre-back area, we currently have a space which Gareth or James have to attack, thus leaving the centre-backs exposed and they cannot cope. The answer is on our bench – either play Besic (he was just a bit naïve and unlucky yesterday) or Gibson if he is fit.

Gibson was the player I was most excited about when Roberto joined us as his game is all about ball retention and clever passing. The centre of our team would look a lot more solid with one or other of them plus Gareth and James and maybe the whole team would feel more solid and play with more confidence at the back.

That said I feel desperately sorry for Jags who just doesn't look up for it at present and should be rested to get over whatever is bothering him.

Great report by the way Ken – no knee-jerk!

Stuart Mitchell
20 Posted 31/08/2014 at 12:28:28
Positives: We looked good going foward and Eto looks a very good buy.

IHowever I think it may have been time up for Jagielka last season when he was out injured. Stones came in and looked amazing. Tons of rave reviews and almost a call up to the WC squad. Question is why did we then drop him and bring Jagielka (who look weak at WC).

Would go Stones, Distin and look to bring in a new cb on deadline day.

Brian Dagnall
21 Posted 31/08/2014 at 12:41:37
Thanks Ken for your usual measured report .... not so aggressive language as many other comments we have seen.

I do think some people have to remember that there were 2 teams playing, and Everton are a very good one, but Chelsea are better. It seems every goal scored can result in blame for one defender or another. That's life, get over it. And yes, we had defensive lapses aplenty (as did Chelsea), and let's hope the manager can fix it either with new blood or better training.

I also was disappointed with the performances of four or five of our players, some of whom have been excellent in previous games. But in all honesty we were playing Chelsea, not MK Dons. Not easy to avoid all mistakes when players of that quality press you with speed, power, precision, and a share of good fortune. We were hammered, let's move on.

Dennis Stevens
22 Posted 31/08/2014 at 14:01:38
I do wonder whether Jagielka has now lost all confidence in the wake of the post-World Cup criticism he received. As has been mentioned, I suspect that Stones & Distin are our best available pairing but I'd like to see an appropriate signing to improve our options before the window shuts.
Jim Bennings
23 Posted 31/08/2014 at 14:38:41
Having watched the match in full again now, it becomes like watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Defensively collectively we were an absolute shambles.
There was no leadership anywhere, nobody knew who they were meant to be marking , nobody went with their men, we just stopped running.

The other thing that frustrates me is why does not one of Barry nor McCarthy never ever try to help out more in attack and try to get into the box?

Iknow we haven't struggled for goals so far but really we need more help and support sometimes for Lukaku and Naismith.

Mirallas does a good job but perhaps McCarthy needs to start looking to get into the box more seeing as he has younger legs.

Just watching the Redshite murdering Spurs again.

Makes me really think now the likes of us, Spurs, and you'd have to say United are only fighting for 5th.

There is no way City, Chelsea, Arsenal or the Redshite are finishing outside the top 4.

Hate Rodgers but the little shit seems to be a good man manager and motivator, you can spend loads of money but you need to get your men playing sensible football and get them all knowing what their strengths are.

At the minute I'm not sure Martinez is doing that.
He brings Lukaku in but so far had anybody seen him really pick the ball up and run with the goal in front of him?
He has spent most of the time coming from a wide area, fir Christ's sake he's our only out an out striker.!!

I would personally start Eto'o with Naismith just behind him at West Brom., maybe give Lukaku a chance to influence the game as a sub, after all goals where most of his goals came from in his time at West Brom.

Its a big test for Martinez.

I'm backing him but many more displays like the first three matches and the fans will have every right to become disgruntled.

This is meant to be the season when we really try to push on, what with the money being spent.

Chris Jones [Burton]
24 Posted 31/08/2014 at 14:39:53
Yes the defence was crap, and it needs sorting, but 6 goals may have been harsh - you are always going to be vulnerable when chasing the game the way we were. Of those goals, two involved deflections, one was offside, and the bizarre sixth (one trusts) will NEVER happen again!

And as someone has said, we were playing Chelsea!

Positives? Naismith is getting better every game. Eto'o looks a great acquisition. Lukaku's touch and play when he has his back to goal must surely get better (it can't get any worse, can it?!).

Unlike Manyoo, who don't seem able to buy one, we can score goals. We bagged three yesterday AND hit the post twice. Had Mirallas got a deserved second headed goal from what was a brilliant move (instead of drawing a top class save, with the ball pushed onto the upright) who knows how the game would've panned-out?! Chelsea may well have collapsed and we'd now be celebrating. And I know Howard's departure would similarly have changed things, but football is mad sometimes.

We created twice as many chances as them, had twice the possession, and won 8 corners to their one.

It is easier, I think (I fucking hope) to learn to stop opponents' scoring than it is to rediscover one's own scoring touch. Being able to score 3 (could've been five) against Chelsea means we're doing something really well. Chin up lads!

Final comment: yesterday reminded me of a midweek game at home to Chelsea in the early/mid 1980s. We battered them all night, but it just seemed like every time their forwards (Dixon, Speedie and Nevin) got the ball they fashioned a goal. We lost 3:4. Granted we were better that night than we were yesterday, but shit happens. I'd rather lose 6:3 than 3:0, and to be fair, maybe 5:4 would've been a fairer scoreline. I don't believe for a moment they were three goals better than us, not in a million years.

Onwards and upwards.

Carl Taylor
25 Posted 31/08/2014 at 15:17:07
I refused to watch the match last night but watched it in a calmer mood today. Yes, Jagielka had a mare but we also had no luck yesterday:

Goal 1: Jags plays worst offside ever.
Goal 2: Offside.
Goal 3: Ddeflects off Coleman and goes the one place the goal isn't covered.
Goal 4: Deflection, though poor closing down.
Goal 5: Howard.
Goal 6: Besic has a mare and is punished.

Add some poor luck at the other end and poor refereeing, to both teams I know, and the little bits of luck that turn a game mainly went the way of Chelsea. Jags and Distin are shot and any confidence they had has long gone, but let's not write the season off based on yesterday.

Naismith is turning into a great, McGeady is creating chances, Mirallas looks more focused and Eto'o looks sharp.

Two weeks to sort the defence before West Brom and get the positivity back in the club and the supporters. Over to you Bill, Bob Elstone, RM and the coaching staff.

Kevin Tully
26 Posted 31/08/2014 at 15:18:38
Jagielka can regain his form, he needs a few good games and four or five clean sheets though. Like Jim, I am watching the whole game back today, and those first two goals were schoolboy defending. Jagielka stepped up to play off-side for the first, giving Costa a free run, and he didn't know what to do for their second - his confidence is shot to pieces.

We seem to be getting punished with a goal every time the opposition get sight or our 'keeper lately, bad luck? Who knows?

I am confident we will soon see a few wins on the board, but it's hard to take at the moment.

Phil Walling
27 Posted 31/08/2014 at 17:46:55
The transformation to New Wigan continues apace. A sloppy approach to pre-season and the absolute fixation on an all out attacking formation.

The gung-ho philosophy to defending which did for them up the M6 will surely do for us if allowed to continue unchecked and only the introduction of Robles in goal is needed to see us rooted in familiar territory for Martinez.

Yes, we played some good stuff at times but if that is as nothing if it continues to prevent us winning due to a total lack of goal prevention and running out of steam in every game played.

Always had my doubts now I have my fears.

Patrick Murphy
28 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:16:57
Slipped another place in the league today although its a little bit early in the season to be panicking. Phil I apologise as you were correct all along. How about you apply for the upcoming vacancy it seems you are well qualified and can see into the future a useful tool in modern day football or indeed any profession. It might be your face adorning the stand on Goodison Road this side of Christmas.
John Daley
29 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:18:50
"...the absolute fixation on an all out attacking formation..."

An all out attacking formation that features a back four and two defensive midfielders?

Phil Walling
30 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:24:47
Much appreciated, Patrick. It takes a big man...............
Dean Adams
31 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:23:10
Phil Walling 27
I would seriously advise you to seek urgent medical acvice. You are showing all the signs of an impending mental breakdown. Early detection would assist the medical profession to give you the best and most urgently required medication. Don't ignore the signs, as it can be very difficult to make a full recovery when you slip too far.
We are not the "new Wigan" and if you were careful enough to look at the facts of that season, you would see just how severe the injury crisis that club had was.
Good luck fella, get well soon!!!!
Ajay Gopal
32 Posted 31/08/2014 at 19:06:14
Ken, good report, but you missed out on what was a key moment of the match - at 3-5 down and the crowd and players almost given up, Mirallas fashions a brilliant header, only for Coutois to make, possibly, a contender for 'save of the season'. 4-5 and the final 10 minutes and you never know which way the game might have ended. As it turned out, Martinez gave up in the last 2 minutes and brought on Besic and he gave away another stupid goal and the 3-6 score was really flattering to Chelsea.
Phil Walling
33 Posted 31/08/2014 at 21:31:00
John: A back four and defensive midfielders most of whom spent all their time in the opposition half!
Peter Mills
34 Posted 31/08/2014 at 21:27:23
John#29, that's an interesting comment about us having a goalkeeper, a back four and two defensive midfielders.

Clearly, it's not quite as straightforward as that as, often, our fullbacks are operating as forwards. But what struck me so much yesterday was how often, especially after 60 minutes, there was a huge gap between our defensive midfielders (who were very deep) and our 4 forwards. This left so much space for Willian, Matic and Fabregas, and they took advantage of it.

Mark Dunford
35 Posted 01/09/2014 at 08:18:16
A great game to watch for a neutral or a Chelski fan, but it was terrible for those of us in the top balcony. Agree with most of this and Ajay makes a very good observation about Courtois’s save with 10 mins to go. I don’t think the team can carry both Mirallas and McGeady, so I’d drop the latter to the bench. Howard made two very good saves so it could have easily been worse. Naismith was man of the match, Eto’o had an impressive cameo, Mirallas played well and Coleman impressed in the first half. Beyond that - Lukaku needs a goal and is carrying his price tag heavily, Besic made a horrendous error but at least looked for the ball afterwards when it could have easier to hide. The heart if the issue seems to be in the middle of the team.

The fourth goal seemed to exemplify the problems. A line of Chelski players could have shot but the ball reached the furthest from the passer who calmly hit it home. The defence was too deep and the defensive midfield had vanished. The wisdom of Barry’s three year contract is questionable (2 with an optional 3 might have been OK - Eto’o has 2 years??) and the defensive heart of the team - Jags, Distin with Barry in front of them - has a combined age of over 100 and it looked frail on Saturday. We are vulnerable here and players seem to "lose it" suddenly. There is little experienced cover as our squad seems to be a mix of young and old - with at the peak of their career in the 24-29 age range - and no key defenders in this group. Would anyone be disappointed if Micah Richard’s arrived today?

Mark Dunford
36 Posted 01/09/2014 at 08:18:16
A great game to watch for a neutral or a Chelski fan, but it was terrible for those of us in the top balcony. Agree with most of this and Ajay makes a very good observation about Courtois’s save with 10 mins to go. I don’t think the team can carry both Mirallas and McGeady, so I’d drop the latter to the bench. Howard made two very good saves so it could have easily been worse. Naismith was man of the match, Eto’o had an impressive cameo, Mirallas played well and Coleman impressed in the first half. Beyond that - Lukaku needs a goal and is carrying his price tag heavily, Besic made a horrendous error but at least looked for the ball afterwards when it could have easier to hide. The heart if the issue seems to be in the middle of the team.

The fourth goal seemed to exemplify the problems. A line of Chelski players could have shot but the ball reached the furthest from the passer who calmly hit it home. The defence was too deep and the defensive midfield had vanished. The wisdom of Barry’s three year contract is questionable (2 with an optional 3 might have been OK - Eto’o has 2 years??) and the defensive heart of the team - Jags, Distin with Barry in front of them - has a combined age of over 100 and it looked frail on Saturday. We are vulnerable here and players seem to "lose it" suddenly. There is little experienced cover as our squad seems to be a mix of young and old - with at the peak of their career in the 24-29 age range - and no key defenders in this group. Would anyone be disappointed if Micah Richard’s arrived today?

Phil Brown
37 Posted 01/09/2014 at 08:50:06
Mark # 36 - Yes I would, another defender who can't defend! He's goodish going forward but hopeless at defending. Not what we need at all.

Jags just needs a rest to get his confidence back although we are suffering from the same problem as Man United (Vidic/Ferdinand): our first choice centre backs are past it but their annointed heirs are not ready yet (Jones/Smalling and Stones/Galloway respectively).

Jack Cross
38 Posted 03/09/2014 at 00:55:39
Get Hibbert back in he'll do a job. I thought he was always good at what he did and gave his all.
Jack Cross
39 Posted 03/09/2014 at 01:40:05
Phil Walling, I couldn't agree more mate. I'm all for giving someone a chance but Roberto wouldn't have been my choice. I remember saying that I fancied Neville, and got shot down. He worked long enough with Moyes, and I think with Man Utd's attacking flair (people forget Neville won a lot of trophies with them) with a mixture of Moyes's defensive qualities you basically got a team that can win things.

But he did say it would take him 3 seasons to put a team together to challenge for trophies, so it would be unkind of us to not at least give him that time.

Kevin Tully
40 Posted 03/09/2014 at 02:07:39
Jack - which Neville? Neville Neville the arl fella? Gary Neville? Phil? Who still has '80's Butlin's redcoats highlights in his balding pate?

Or a triumvirate of all three? You may be on to something there Jack...no-one has ever considered what three Neville's could bring to the table (or four if you count Neville Neville)

I'm in!

Jack Cross
41 Posted 03/09/2014 at 02:20:30
Kevin . Very good, ha ha. The point I was making was Phil Neville, played under Fergie and Moyes so had the coaching ability to put together a team with attack and flair and also defensive qualities. And that to me is a winning team. And as he was a long time player at the club he new what arses to kick and who to off load. And as I said he won a lot of trophies under Man Utd so had the taste of success Phil Neville. Not to be scorned at I would say. A very good captain and motivator. Maybe if he was still here we wouldn't be so lack lust in defence.

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