Everton 2 - 3 Crystal Palace

We set off for our watering hole in good spirits as, in our minds, rock bottom Palace should be little or no threat to our quest for better things than ever before and this was bolstered by our demolition of a tidy German side just three days previous. With headlines on ToffeeWeb proclaiming ‘Clinical Blues Tame German Wolves’. ‘Solid Blues Defence wins out’ along with ‘We have Lift off’, those titles sort of captured the night’s great outcome yet explained today’s demise to a T. in the opposite direction. Lack of clinical finishing along with less than solid Blues defence prevented any lift off to be achieved.

The team came through and rotation had certainly taken place and all those assembled in the room of nonsense were agreed that it represented a squad capable of rotation and a team ready to go places. This pre match chat just like those ToffeeWeb headlines would be turned on their head come reassembly at match end. Still the walk up was pleasant and full of optimism even some singing. As I walked down Goodison Road amid a vast throng I could not forget that night last season vs the Palace so I had a cursory glance toward the roof of the Winslow just in case!

All was well so I took my seat and Palace kicked off. It was obvious Palace were taking no chances and had a massed defence as we passed and passed locking for that opening that would ensure a lead that would force Palace out and we could pick them off at will. It looked like succeeding as Osman put a great ball through for Atsu to make the by-line but he tried for glory and messed up when many thought a pass to the signalling Eto’o would have been more profitable. Within a minute our playmaker Osman had threaded a beaut to Lukaku who duly netted and received rapturous acclaim and a might Allez-Allez O.

That was supposed to be all that was required to suck ‘em in and spit ‘em out go home happy with a good three points and reasonable score and clean sheet. Snag was Palace didn’t quite see it that way and we never thought the game was to be turned on its head and for some minutes it never looked as though that would happen as we played our way forward in that familiar passing style and the next big chance soon came when McCarthy’s thrusting run brought a corner which was obviously practiced on the training ground as it came in low and short to Eto’o who fed Lukaku but his shot was blocked and the ensuing scramble went the way of the Palace.

Around twenty minutes Palace seemed to sense our pass-pass-pass wasn’t that great of a threat and committed more men forward, got a free kick and had first delivery on target albeit into Howard’s arms. Palace had a spell that had fans with head in hands and muttering about the passing at the back that was looking more hairy by the minute yet I thought we really need to show patience and the result will come but I must admit it takes some getting used to especially when we are challenged high and one mistake is usually fatal. We did have forays forward that breached their back line and on 30mins Atsu was put in and showed good speed to get to the by-line and pull back for Osman to hit first time but alas straight at the keeper.

From that attack Palace went down the other end and produced a horror show from Howard aided and abetted Distin and Stones. All three had the opportunity to take charge and clear from the lone striker yet none did and the upshot was Howard racing from goal brought the lad down and conceded a penalty. The only explanation could be lack of communication which is or should be intolerable at this level. It was kids on a Sunday morning stuff. The palace lad Edina took a pen that three keepers would not have saved. Back to square one for us and with Palace in different mind-set than at kick off I thought that it was not going to be plain sailing.

From 30mins to half time Palace realised they had little to fear as we just kept the ball at the back so they put us under ever increasing pressure as they hit the bar after misplaced pass by Atsu gave them the chance and we ended the half with a Baines free kick that hit the wall.

The half time chat was of a frustration with the half and the phrase of ‘Pissing about at the back’ seemed everywhere.

Second half and the players ran out to tepid applause and in truth it was a tepid start by us whilst I thought it might be front foot stuff but still Eto’o had the first chance when he dragged wide when well placed. Palace were now having some breakaways that were causing concern to the faithful and on 55mins a regulation cross came in that Howard went for with Distin and Campbell rising with him. His outstretched arms were definitely favourite but somehow he either missed it or fumbled but the upshot was the ball hit the Palace player and bounced into the net. Howard was berated and the word ‘Gift’ came to my mind. The faithful were right brassed off now 2-1 down to rock bottom Palace and still ‘Pissing about at the back’

We did rally and won a corner which for once we attacked the area and Lukaku hit it well but a defender was in the way but at least we had created a chance.

On the hour mark I noticed that Mirallas and Naismith were readied as Everton attack a corner but Palace clear with no one really busting a gut to attack the situation. Stones and Atsu were replaced by the aforementioned with McCarthy going right back—Genius or Desperation? I defy anyone to correctly call our formation now.

70 mins and we wereundone again by – would you believe it? – another ball given away, this time it is Osman and just three passes by Palace and the speedy Bolasie calmly side-footed home. The mood of the faithful is unprintable. 3-1 down at home, thirteen goals conceded to date this season, now this will be some come back I thought but hey remember Leicester earlier, well you have to grasp at something.

The half moved on in similar dismal fashion and Osman has one saved, Gibson came on for Distin on 84mins again Genius or Desperation but the game now lost all shape and ‘Pissing about at the back’ jettisoned. Those that were left in the ground expected very little and gave very little such was the shambles witnessed except perhaps for us super optimists who fleetingly thought a miracle may really happen. Don’t laugh, Osman brought down in the box, penalty, Baines takes, 3-2, Miracle is on! Didn’t happen.

We gave it all we had got in the minutes remaining and caused a few scrambles. Even Jags joined in and hit one just wide but should have scored. Palace had a break with us all at sea and got a one on one with Howard but thankfully missed the target altogether. We have one last thrust and final whistle after 6mins of added.

M.O.t.M – Baines or Barry for me. (Academic anyway)

The walk from the ground was littered with the sound of snatched conversations not one of which was complimentary toward manager or players the fans not happy and with our next two games away at the shite and man u fans are not filled with confidence at all.

Overall I think the problem may have been the number of changes causing a disjointed performance that’s not to say the players brought in are not as good as those replaced but rather the cause of the team looking like a bunch of strangers. They may train together daily but I think most players would agree there is nothing like a spell of playing together to weld a good team ethic with all sure of their role.

If the Martinez way is to be pursued and we are in enough competitions to necessitate rotation then it is the manager and his staff that are responsible for the smooth integration of player for player in whatever circumstance. We seem to have the squad so now it’s just getting them to gel as and when required. With no reserve teams now and players to proud to play u/21s I wish the manager luck and the players the nous to understand.

Luckily no two games are ever the same so who knows lose to Palace 3-2 two seasons on the run at home and beat Shite and Mancs away in the same season--- or am I still looking for miracles.

Swansea next and should this have been the match to rotate or should we go full wellie for the Capital One Cup. Tough question but it’s time we had some silverware.

UP THE BLUES

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Reader Comments (13)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 22/09/2014 at 00:39:31

'Around twenty minutes Palace seemed to sense our pass, pass, pass wasn't that much of a threat'. sums up the whole game Ken.

Like you thoughts were running trough my head, 'walk in the park', 'strolling in the sun' 'lazy Sunday afternoon

That's where we fell down, we were looking for a pre-Swansea and pre-Derby. 'Lazy Sunday afternoon, I've got no mind to worry, close my eyes and drift away' but without any of the changes of drive and intensity that The Small Faces brought to their Classic, we were all swirling patterns and no hard rock intensity...In old money we were trying to walk the ball into the net...and we did...once, but with Us, once is never enough.

Yes Tim Howard was at half a fault for the first, I think he expected the two Blue shirts to sort out the one yellow, but they didn't and he had to scramble about, a bit of a nothing challenge, not even a yellow card, but it was a Penalty.

The second was Andy Grey 84 Cup Final revisited. The third, well Osman lost it, but it still had a way to come before hitting the back of the the net

We have Passing but lack INTENSITY. We have possession but have nothing to show for it

Over to you Roberto

Jack Cross
2 Posted 22/09/2014 at 03:05:46
Derek Thomas. Very good that mate. Funny, but sad and maddening at the same time.

I can see the Derby being a cracking game and I think the reason behind that will be because 2 poor teams will make lots of mistakes resulting in goals. So long as we don’t come out looses I’m not bothered how high the score line is.

Christopher Timmins
3 Posted 22/09/2014 at 06:46:19
It's not good enough and if it was happening under the previous manager there would be more negative comment. It's about time Roberto sorted this mess out!
Jason Davenport
4 Posted 22/09/2014 at 09:33:42
Seems to me that defence was Roberto's weakness at Wigan. Maybe time to bring in a defensive coach to help him.
Helen Mallon
5 Posted 22/09/2014 at 12:18:05
I am going to send a letter Roberto at Finch Farm and ask him three questions.

1: Why do you insist on playing the passing game out from the back when teams press us high up and our players are prone to making a total hash when this happens?

2: Why put back together a defensive partnership that has now conceded 13 goals when Stones and Jags where playing so well as a unit?

3: Why is there such a need for rotation, especially in the Premier League? I can understand doing it for the FA Cup and the League Cup but never the Premier League.

We as fans have not played at the highest level or got Uefa badges BUT we have watched football for decades between us and we collectively know when a side is not happy with or technically good enough to play a certain way — and this team can’t play well when we are pressed high up the field, especially the defence.

Regards
Helen

Danny Broderick
6 Posted 22/09/2014 at 18:23:02
Regarding squad rotation, why is it no-one talks about it being a problem for Champions League clubs playing Wednesday & Saturday? Yet Thursday & Sunday seems to be such a problem?

Also, do players really need resting/rotating? Today is 22 September; we are barely a month into the season, and we have also had an international break in that month. The pitches are perfect etc. Rotation for rotation's sake, if you ask me.

Mike Allison
7 Posted 22/09/2014 at 18:41:38
Danny I think it is mentioned less with Champions League clubs because they have more quality in their squads, so the five guys you bring on a Saturday are no worse than the the five you leave out, some may even be better as individuals but don't fit the balance of the 'first XI' such that it is. Teams who qualify for the Europa League are generally not as rich and don't rack up quite the wage bill.

I actually think we have a very good, deep squad and should have been rotating slightly more so far. Besic has to get the 90 against Swansea or he'll be wondering why he's signed for us. Having said that, playing at home Thursday and Sunday shouldn't have been a problem physically at all, and seems to have been more a mental thing.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 22/09/2014 at 23:31:19
Helen Mallon — let us see MartinezĂ‚’s reply.
Steve Carter
9 Posted 23/09/2014 at 04:34:17
"the phrase of ‘Pissing about at the back' seemed everywhere". There was none of that with David Moyes and we "darn’t lark thart". Hey, we’re playing "entertaining football’ with Roberto now: 3 goals against the league leaders Chelsea, and 2 against everybody else.

When Roberto was appointed, I referred to him as "Mr Brazil on a budget", and one bloke on here went ballistic. Thought I was wrong after last year. Not so sure now. Wolfsburg and WBA aside, the rest have worked out that our tippy tappy play out means at least as many goals for them.

Harold Matthews
10 Posted 23/09/2014 at 04:16:06
This back-passing is driving everyone crackers. Stones trots forward, stops, turns around, passes it back. Jags, Distin, McCarthy, Barry. They're all at it . Even Lukaku. A couple of times he slammed it back 25 yards.

Don't know what we'll do about the shambolic defending. Watched Lescott against Spurs and he was better than all our defenders put together. Watched Caulker fighting to score from a set-piece. When's the last time we scored from a corner? Hopefully Joe Royle will be having a quiet word with Martinez.

Iain Love
11 Posted 23/09/2014 at 11:06:14
Stones suits passing it out from the back , he played central for the 2 wins.
Iain Love
12 Posted 23/09/2014 at 11:48:16
Just read an article which says the same. http://www.squawka.com/news/three-major-problems-with-Evertons-leaky-defence/182523?.
Brent Stephens
13 Posted 23/09/2014 at 11:59:11
I did suggest elsewhere that Roberto's expectation that we don't lose the ball becomes the default easy way out for players to just make a safe pass to somebody. Meanwhile, there's no attempt at a quick incisive pass as that risks losing the ball. He's surely got to mix this up a bit, as we seemed to start to do at about this time last season. I know people will moan if those higher risk passe lead to loss of possession, but let's make the opposition guess at what we're going to do and where they should position themselves.

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