A meet-up in the room of nonsense saw a full house that left late-comers standing room only. Liverpool were live on the TVs but, apart from awaiting a shout of "Goal" from an over- enthusiastic commentator, aren’t they all when Rogers's Robots are on, the chat was of Lille and who was where and saw what in the square. The French police were castigated for their approach and some lads who follow England said it was much the same in the Euros of 2008 in France and they had learned nothing in modern day policing instead using their trusted method of assuming something must happen – and when it doesn’t, make something happen, then wade in with everything but the air-force.
This discussion ended when Newcastle scored; oh such sweet thoughts to accompany us to the ground where, after navigating a multitude of people in Goodison Road, our turnstile could be reached. On the way, I had a quick stop at the fat van and, true to form, Bacon Baps were well advertised... and yet again, the reply to the order was, "Sorry, La, we run out of bacon." A recurrent bind... but at least I pleased the health police.
After the entry of the gladiators, we had a moment's silence to remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms, which was respected with immaculate reverence by all assembled.
Kick-off time and a rip-roaring first few minutes as both teams had chances. First Barry picked up a loose ball and played Eto’o in but his shot was straight at the keeper. It could have been a super start but wasn’t and Swansea went down the other end and our defence stood and waited for an offside flag that never came, allowing Bony a free run on Howard, but to every Blue’s relief he put it wide. All that happened in the first five minutes which whetted our appetites... only to be disappointed as the game became a bit of a battle of attrition; both sides promised much but nothing in the box to worry either keeper. I thought we were the better but the Swans were fast and direct on the break.
I am looking for some real in-the-box action to write about but nothing worth noting happened. All fur coat and no knickers came to mind. It was all 'if’s and 'but's and 'maybe’s as Barkley had a shot diverted for a corner and two loud shouts for a penalty, one for either side. McGeady passed to Shelvey who unfortunately for him plays for the opposition. Shelvey’s shot had venom and appeared to hit Alcaraz on the hand but our Ref Mr Friend waved play on. This infuriated the Swansea man; shortly after, the ref pulled him up for a foul he kicked the ball away and was booked, much to the delight of those of a Blue persuasion. We then had a loud shout for a pen when a McGeady blockbuster was diverted from goal but all we got was a corner.
The half-hour mark was reached and wasn’t good timing for us as Alcaraz seemed to crash together with a Swansea player and hit the deck. After lengthy treatment, he was led away for another bout of rehab, this time on what looked like a collar bone or shoulder injury. The lad has no luck so I wish him well. Barry took over centre-back duties. (No Distin on the bench and the manager says he is fit?) Besic on in midfield. We seemed to lose something as a team with that change and the game merely sort of wound down although we were off our seats as Naismith and Eto’o just failed to get a toe to a cross and the ball ran on.
Half-time and no-one seemed happy yet no-one was unduly critical. The game had been end to end without any end product. In the break, we were introduced to one of our younger age groups who had won a nice-looking trophy and they seemed mighty pleased to be on the hallowed Goodison turf. I wondered if any of them would one day be hailed as another Rooney or Barkley. It is sad that youngsters can spend all their youth at a top club only to be released at the death. I often wonder what Rooney’s teammates from that side that lost to Villa in the 2002Youth Cup Final are now doing...
Second half and no changes and no change to the pattern of play. Both teams showing well in all areas except the one where the goal is situated. The hour mark came and went and then our first real chance of the half as Naismith intercepted a clearance and set of for goal with defenders in hot pursuit, he did a quick turn and fed in McGeady who made good ground and fired in a curler that looked mighty close but alas slid past the far post.
From now until the end, I thought we dominated. Howard had little to do, we forced many corners whilst they had none, but this was not helped by the ref who stopped the game far too often and his grasp of the advantage decision only highlights the fact that the current batch of Premier League refs is poor. I won’t castigate him as they all seem the same at the moment but thankfully they are as bad for both teams. One farcical incident was when Besic got free of a Swansea player who had fouled him but he strode on into a dangerous looking position only for the ref to blow to book the Swansea man for the foul. The faithful gathered were incandescent with rage.
As the clock ticked, we looked more menacing but still had to be wary of the odd fast counter. McCarthy was the action man of the team and nothing was a lost cause as far as he was concerned. Coming up to the 70-minute mark the manager made a double substitution when Pienaar and Lukaku replaced Naismith and McGeady. A change was needed but I thought McGeady was having one of his best days and Barkley one of his poor days, so I was a bit disappointed with that change.
We had a right go to the end but it was not to be our day as a Baines rocket that appeared to be on target was intercepted by Lukaku, you couldn’t make it up. Then Baines put in a low cross that had Lukaku’s name on it for a tap-in but the big defender Williams got there a fraction first and that chance was gone; and then at the end of four minutes of added time Eto’o sped down the right and drilled one across the goal that any touch would have converted. Lukaku was closest but alas he was short by the breadth of a gnat’s whisker. Final whistle and it felt a touch like a loss.
MotM — McCarthy
Overall, a frustrating afternoon. Not a lot wrong with the build-up play but, oh, the lack of pace in that last third. It was our manager’s 200th Premier League game and it left him with little to cheer about. Today’s display was fine up to a point, that point being the final third and that I am afraid is a trait that may well leave us short come May. Today was the first game this season we have failed to score and add the fact we kept a clean sheet then there is still room for optimism.
Thursday night will soon be upon us and a home win will put us in a good place for qualification for the knockout rounds. It will have to be without Alcaraz though as that injury considering the way he held his arm and hand looked like a long-term job. I wish him well. After today’s performance, I will eagerly await the team sheet. No two games are the same so let’s hope this is one that we get back on the goal trail.
Still plenty of points to play for toward the top four and Europa glory.
UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (49)
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1 Posted 02/11/2014 at 05:31:04
Can't find much to argue about there Ken, all in all a bit of a 'meh' game, as is sometimes the case. Everybody, from Martinez, down to the lad without enough bacon, seemed to think it was national 'do the exact opposite of what you should do' day, zigging when they should've zagged, passing when they should've shot.The Reff was erratic, aided and abetted by more daft decision making, this time from Swansea, so it wasn't just us.Plenty give McGeady stick, but, early doors, like Naismith and Fellaini before him, I don't think he is as bad as he is painted... or did he just look better because everybody else was ordinary?
Both Teams had one chance, Bony at the start, played on by Baines and Lukaku at the end, not played on by anybody, who was the tip of his sore toe away, while being tugged back, which the ever erratic Mr Friend, either didn't or chose not to see... did the Linesman, how ever briefly, even flag it?...In the end who cares? net result still the same 2 Pts. lost.
As for Lukaku's toe / foot, what ever, just what is the problem, would it be worth biting the bullet and give him 'x' weeks off, Roberto must, on balance, think it isn't. We get updates on all and Sundry especially Kone, who most have written off, in all but name, as Whelan's 'Compo' for Martinez leaving.
Shows what an average game it was, when a sore toe and lack of bacon get a mention...though I personally take the lack of a bacon butty as pretty serious
2 Posted 02/11/2014 at 06:39:58
Regarding Lukaku's miss at the death, he was just offside. For those of us watching on TV, the replays clearly show the linesman in the process of raising his flag as the ball evades Rom's outstretched leg. Won't stop his detractors having a field day though.
The referee is no "Friend" to Everton Ã‚â€“ in all the games he's reffed us down the years, I can't think of one where he had a good game, for a ref. In the past, at away matches, he seems like a typical "homer", reluctant to give us anything but the most clear-cut of decisions. Yesterday, though, he was equally inept for both sides, I thought, so I guess that means he wasn't as bad as he could've been.
3 Posted 02/11/2014 at 06:49:46
For the most part, though, we were frustrated by an admittedly very well-organised and well-drilled Swansea team, especially after Uncle Fester was sent off. I think Roberto was out-managed by Monk today, and he may have missed a trick by taking off McGeady (who was looking dangerous) and not bringing on Atsu (my thinking being a bit of pace on the flanks looked like the best way of getting through them).
Ross didn’t look too boss today, and Pienaar perhaps wasn’t the option to try and break Swansea down in the last 20-25 minutes. Bainesy had a bit of a day to forget too.
Shining lights for me were Eto’o, who showed his class at times while not having much of a clear sight of goal, and once again Barry and McCarthy. McGeady had one of his best games in a blue shirt (okay, that may not be saying much!) while it’s great to see Jags return to form.
4 Posted 02/11/2014 at 07:56:11
5 Posted 02/11/2014 at 09:43:29
I suppose the only consolation, if there is one, that apart from Chelsea, nobody is running away with the points, but can't help feeling too that it is another opportunity that has gone begging to improve our position, and turn Goodison back to the fortress it once was.
That is taking nothing away from Swansea, who are turning out to be a good side this season. While the missed opportunity remains disappointing, I agree with Matt Traynor that this was one of those 'forgettable games'.
Let's just hope there are no more to come.
6 Posted 02/11/2014 at 09:49:41
7 Posted 02/11/2014 at 10:28:06
It seems that it is not some players' job to shoot and that is not the way to win games against determined defenders. Barkley should be scoring double figures by now and he is going match after match without shooting. It is all very good linking up play and looking tidy but he needs to impose himself more if he is going to realize his potential.
We are badly missing Mirallas and it was a shame Alcaraz got injured as it seemed to unbalance the team formation. I am just hoping that Besic and Oviedo get some game time as perhaps we will see goals from them.
Pienaar, Osman, McGeady and Barkley are not scoring which puts too much onto the likes of Eto'o and Lukaku. Naismith's early scoring seems to have dried up lately and the only other goals have come from Baines, Coleman and Jags. The midfield are not producing anything of menace at all.
We really need Barkley to step up to the plate and start attacking defences and shooting more often.
8 Posted 02/11/2014 at 10:32:27
As I heard or read somewhere yesterday, clean sheets go a long way towards winning games. We have kept three clean sheets in our last four games and that is encouraging. It's all the more so considering we haven't had a settled back four and were leaking goals for fun at the start of the season. I think that defensively, Martinez is learning. The fear that his lack of defensive nous was going to get us in trouble, ÃƒÂ la Wigan, have been very much reduced. If it comes at the cost of creativity going forward, I will take it, for now.
9 Posted 02/11/2014 at 08:28:20
I think it was you, Ken Ã‚â€“ apologies if it wasn't Ã‚â€“ who recently posted that the guys who sit near you say Ossie is shite when he plays, but we miss him when he doesn't.
Perhaps yesterday was a prime example of the latter
10 Posted 02/11/2014 at 10:48:44
McGeady needs to get to the byline and Eto'o is not a winger. If you have to replace McGeady, why not give Atsu a chance to impress?
A point and a clean sheet and edging towards safety and 40 points. It's going to be a difficult second season, I just hope we can get up to the top 5 and have a decent shot at Europa.
11 Posted 02/11/2014 at 11:23:27
12 Posted 02/11/2014 at 11:41:50
The play of the game that had me throwing my eyeglasses across the room, as you excellently point out, was when Besic setup the second denied advantage.
13 Posted 02/11/2014 at 12:14:53
I have a feeling that Besic will be another who divides opinion, like some others we won't mention. My take on yesterday's game was that he played well.
He has a really good engine, he was all over the park. He played a lot of passes, most successful; some quite quick, long, fast and successful, and keeping the game ticking over; a few others not successful. And he closed down space a lot (though once letting Shelvey, I think, through into a dangerous position). We know that he just needs to watch his tackling, but Fellaini managed to get that sort of right.
My point is that one or two near me at the game immediately jumped on the small number or errors and ignored (didn't actually notice?) the good stuff. But the reverse being the case with the favoured ones. Who does that remind us of?!
14 Posted 02/11/2014 at 12:25:33
15 Posted 02/11/2014 at 12:27:23
Like with Stones last season, injuries may force Martinez's hand with the likes of Besic and Browning getting more game time as a result. We are now woefully short on fit centre halves and if Coleman limped out of the ground yesterday, then Barry may spend more time at centre half and Browning may get more chances. Barry as a defensive midfielder may demand more of him than Barry as a centre half. May not be a bad move. By all accounts, Barry played well there yesterday.
16 Posted 02/11/2014 at 12:34:45
Aye, Kieran, I thought Barry slotted quite nicely into CB.
17 Posted 02/11/2014 at 13:00:08
18 Posted 02/11/2014 at 13:35:52
Watching the game here in Canada, once the game got going and we ended the first half with 70% of the possession and not a sniff at goal, I spent the second half fearing that counter-attack goal that loses us all the points.
Thankfully, Barry did slot in nicely at the back and Besic did a great job moving the ball from the deep midfield. I agree with the many posts that say that he gets better the more he plays and the loss of Alcaraz, the disappearance of Distin, and the ongoing patient wait for the return of Stones, might give him the time he needs to stake his claim.
The end saw another clean sheet and really a game which promised much and delivered absolutely nothing.
Bring on Lille!
19 Posted 02/11/2014 at 13:56:21
I do so hope we shall get the opportunity to see Browning from the start but am beginning to think that, just like his predecessor, Martinez is a bit of a safety-first merchant... or has turned into one!
20 Posted 02/11/2014 at 15:38:38
21 Posted 02/11/2014 at 16:05:25
I can't see any evidence that Martinez looks to the younger players more than the last guy. He kept Barkley and Stones in the team when they played well and gave them plenty of confidence (which in the case of Stones, was not reciprocated by too many on here!), given Browning his debut and...........that's it.
I've never understood this 'sin miedo' football thing, either. Our progress last season was built on a tight defence and better ball retention. It only makes us more productive and attractive when the flair/pacy players actually perform. We may look more attractive when there's a genuine playmaker in midfield. If, like yesterday, Barkley's off his game, just take him off and put Eto'o in there. Or maybe just buy one in January!
We're starting to defend well, at last. We need to do that and have more conviction and balance going forward. Barry at centre back, McCarthy to hold, Besic to take things forward, Eto'o and Barkley for a bit of guile, Lukaku and Naismith up front. I'd keep McGeady on the bench until we're in front and the other team's knackered and send Atsu back to the Bridge.
He hasn't tried this and it looks an obvious option to me. What do you all think?
22 Posted 02/11/2014 at 16:50:08
He is a young player with an excellent scoring record. He is carrying an injury and is playing a role that doesn’t suit him. He is playing in a team that is performing satisfactorily in what is a transition period.
I find it unbelievable that some supporters seem unable to accept that he will improve immensely. In a couple of years time, when the squad has been developed to fit Roberto’s vision, I believe he will be a world class striker.
He has pace, power, belief and a goal scorers instinct. The people around him will Improve the areas where he is not natural. We haven’t forked out 㿈 Million for him; we have got world class potential in instalments.
By the time he is 25, he will be leading scorer in the Premier league. For his age, he is about as good as we can expect. We have a striker with years of improvement in him who will help us to success or be sold on at a profit. If staying free of injury, he will be star. We are never going to get the finished article like Costa but we have got the best for the development of our team.
23 Posted 02/11/2014 at 16:53:14
Meanwhile, in the here and now, we have a proven Premier League striker who is injured, unfit, has horrible first touch, can't play the target-man, needs a foil to play off him, is being played in the wrong place, denied decent service, forced out wide, etc etc. I don't understand the need to make excuses for him or to keep telling us his age, as if we didn't all know how old he is.
The fact is he has not been performing to anywhere near the level he reached last season. He only did that on a few occasions, if we are honest, but it was enough to more than fully justify the loan. However, for many reasons, it seems (see above), he hasn't done that so far this season. That's what matters to us right now Ã‚â€“ not what he may become in five or ten years.
I'd be very surprised if your plea causes anyone to reverse their opinion on his poor performances so far this season. But well done for trying!
ps: Talking of Bony and Costa, Lukaku has actually scored more Premier League goals than both of them put together! And yes... he's only 21!
24 Posted 02/11/2014 at 16:55:18
When Lukaku's good, he's unstoppable. He's got an excellent strike rate. He isn't getting the service he needs Ã‚â€“ that's not his fault, it 's down to Martinez/team mates. If he doesn't fit in to our style of playing, we shouldn't have bought him. If we spend that level of money, we should be building everything around him. If he isn't fit, let him recover until he can do himself justice.
One thing that annoyed me about Martinez's performance in the summer is that he appeared to base the transfer strategy on whether we bought Lukaku. We paid over the odds and got him, now he seems to make him as ineffective as possible.
25 Posted 02/11/2014 at 17:14:21
26 Posted 02/11/2014 at 17:15:23
Too many centre forwards all getting in each others way and space instead of more graft and craft in MF.
I also thought we lost more in MF than we gained at the back by moving Barry there.
Why was Distin not on the bench.
The manager was lavishing praise on him after an average game last time and then immediately banishes him to the ranks of the no marks.
27 Posted 02/11/2014 at 17:19:56
28 Posted 02/11/2014 at 17:25:56
I was hoping that Atsu would be given a run in Mirallas's absence, but clearly at the moment he's not up to it. He needs plenty of game time to give him the confidence to show what he's got, hopefully some decent time on Thursday if we get ahead by a goal or two.
29 Posted 02/11/2014 at 17:31:53
30 Posted 02/11/2014 at 17:28:03
If we have a finite budget and we smash our transfer record for one striker, let's make sure we get the best out of him. If he isn't fit, give him time to recover.
I spent most of last season defending Martinez and his style/tactics. Harder to do that this year, you have to call it as you see it. I think he'll do the business for us, but right now he looks to me like he's thrashing round for solutions when the simple answers are staring him in the face.
I didn't do blind faith when the last guy was in charge and I won't start now.
31 Posted 02/11/2014 at 17:37:24
32 Posted 02/11/2014 at 18:04:27
I wish I had been given a quid for every time Swansea had eight players in and on the edges of their penalty box. Great defensive performance from them but I wouldn't want to watch that every week.
We needed Mirallas to burst through.
33 Posted 02/11/2014 at 18:14:04
34 Posted 02/11/2014 at 21:18:39
They tell their defenders that, when the ball is out of our shooting range, stay on your feet and don't commit. While the Blues are building up their possession rate with pointless excessive passes, our opponents are efficiently closing down all routes to their goal.
35 Posted 03/11/2014 at 05:08:56
37 Posted 03/11/2014 at 11:36:06
38 Posted 03/11/2014 at 12:08:05
For all our possession and good football, we rarely have any sustained period where we're peppering the goal, drawing great saves from the keeper, striking the woodwork etc.
39 Posted 03/11/2014 at 12:21:35
40 Posted 03/11/2014 at 12:26:24
I think quite a few of us miss those type of games. Now, I just sit there frustrated, watching pass after pass and going nowhere. There is no energy, even taking throw-ins, it’s all done in an unrushed way.
I think we will have to get used to this type of football until Martinez gets his own players in, when we hopefully will see a quicker passing game.
41 Posted 03/11/2014 at 12:41:55
Apart from that, the game was dull and disjointed with the Swansea side deciding to fall, foul and time-waste from minute one.
Bony should have been sent off and I am still surprised that posters are lauding his performance; apart from the missed shot at the start and his fouling, he did nothing to suggest that he is better than Lukaku (one poster learned that the hard way with his rants about "feeds" and actually going the game).
Shocking decision by Friend to pull back play when we were screaming forward for a foul in our favour. Coleman had one of his quiet matches and looked to have pulled up about 5 mins to go but then carried on.
Once again we talk about the corners, here's a little tip, if 95 out of 100 corners hit the first man, put a man on the near post to flick it on. I am not paid millions to manage so Martinez can have that one for free. Or better yet, like with free kicks that are constantly blazed over, hit the ball a little harder and higher.... simples
42 Posted 03/11/2014 at 13:03:13
43 Posted 03/11/2014 at 13:18:11
44 Posted 03/11/2014 at 14:24:26
45 Posted 03/11/2014 at 14:48:13
I am a big fan of Martinez and will back him all the way in the style of football he us developing.
As time goes by and he gets his own squad I believe our football will speed up.
You make a good point re mixing it up though,we did it Man Utd second half and had some good positions through knocking it in to danger areas early.
46 Posted 03/11/2014 at 21:39:55
47 Posted 03/11/2014 at 22:04:40
You seldom see the intensity level of the old games anymore thanks to the modern keep-ball tactics. I remember well the old Goodison days when Everton teams could pound the other team with endless streams of attacking football until the opposition broke but that was when teams had 5 forwards always up.
The passing style of Swansea is very competent and they are a tough team to beat getting robbed at Stoke and then losing in stoppage time to RS. I kind of figured it would be tough for the Blues on Saturday after the comparatively easy win against pathetic Burnley a week earlier.
Hopefully they will be back firing against Lille and then Sunderland who got some big breaks by Phil Dowd today but will be missing Van Aanholt and Cattermole come Sunday. Van Aanholt seems to have the same injury as Alcaraz.
Thank God Everton still have Distin to fill in.
48 Posted 03/11/2014 at 23:05:00
A subject that has started to come up is the person that I have been saying about for the last couple of seasons and that is we must get is a quality midfielder that can control and change a game but then I am not in a position to change the managers mind on that.
Looking at the season so far Everton do not have what the top teams and individuals in any sport have and that is being able to perform at the top level consistently. Everton have players who are able to perform at the top level but our problem is they are not consistent.
The managers job is to play to a system that all players are comfotable with and can get the better individuals playing at a consistent top level but the problem at the moment is,partly due to injuries and the chopping and changing of players and the positions he is asking some of them to play is what I believe is causing the inconsistent performances.
49 Posted 04/11/2014 at 00:02:46
Your last point is probably right on the button.
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