From My Seat: Sunderland (A)

Ken reports from the Stadium of Light, another draw and more injuries

Ken Buckley 09/11/2014 24comments  |  Jump to last

Motorway breakfast as we have a Sunday away day to Sunderland to that Stadium of Light that is anything but. We awaited the team news and when it came most were satisfied. Little were we to know that within minutes Barry would be on a stretcher and replaced by Gibson and within minutes of the final whistle our other mid-field dynamo would succumb to injury. When will it all end?

The game started at a pace and the Blues were first to show when Etoo and Lukaku sashayed through the home defence in one-two mode that had Etoo in on goal, alas his shot was more Walton Park than San-Siro. Sunderland had next chance but a good cross from wide was headed over our bar.

In a midfield battle Barry went down after a sliding tackle and didnt get up. The ball went dead and Physio was called who in turn called the stretcher. A truly sad sight for Blue fans as he was carried away with the big yellow support in place. Gomez was booked so looks like he meant it.

After the Barry incident the game became scrappy for a while then on 20mins Lukaku set himself up for a shot but alas it was high wide and not so handsome and then he was involved in a comedy moment when he collected a McCarthy pass turned and fell over himself and ball . We were getting plenty of the ball but finding a way through a retreating defence was proving difficult. I know its not our way but I thought a few balls over the top for runners would at least turn their defence as they were merely letting us play in front of them.

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Sunderland attacked and had a big shout for a penalty but referee Mason waved appeals away as we went up the other end with a Barkley surge but his cross was slightly behind Lukaku who was unable to get any power in his header. After the half hour mark Distin cleared one from within the area after a melee and Gibson was spotted laying on the turf, not another I thought but he recovered. Barkley then surfaced again and had another surge fed McGeady who returned the favour but Barkleys powerful shot was blocked away.

Gibson then sent Blues fans into panic mode as he dallied on the ball in the box and was caught in possession, a right old ding dong took place and we gave away a corner to relieve the pressure which we cleared. I started to wonder if Thursday night was still in our legs as we did not seem to have the drive to unlock a nervy looking defence also both our full backs were not doing their usual bombing forward bits. This was highlighted with a move of many, many passes lasting about two minutes. Ball retention yes, end product no. We could not find the right key to unlock the door.

As half time approached we had a bit of end to end stuff. Sunderland won a corner which was headed clear to the edge of the box right to a Sunderland player who hit it over the bar. We went down their end with another Ross surge as 4mins added for the Barry injury and Ross got to the edge and fired but oh dear high and wide again and just as the whistle was blowing Etoo was shooting. (Didnt go in)

H/T chat centred on the Barry injury – another one out for weeks was the guess. On the upside Gibson had looked good after such a long layoff apart from one moment of brain freeze that could have cost a goal, he also survived a knock so that was encouraging. Jags had a good half and did as much as anyone to encourage quicker forward movement as we had plenty of possession but little in the box action which made me wonder if we would see Naismith sooner rather than later. First half summed up: midfield stalemate.

Blues out first for second half and no changes. We were the first to attack and Barkley fired wide, not much changed I thought. Mid field sparring taking place until a Sunderland player messed up and put Lukaku in one on one, he raced toward the big imposing keeper, seemed to change his mind three times and finally tried to round him but the long arm of the keeper thwarted that and a gilt edged one got away. The travelling faithful did manage a few chants and songs but it was all as nearly there but not quite as was the fare on the pitch. The next moment of note was when Etoo combined with Lukaku and got him in on our left he progressed toward goal and from a tight angle let a rocket go that the keeper got away for a corner via a post. That came to nought. The ref was antagonising both sets of fans and in our case he got dogs abuse when he waved play on when Coleman seemed to have been pushed to the ground in the box after beating his man.

Just after the hour mark a Baines cross was headed directly to the keeper by Lukaku. Baines and Coleman were getting up and down much more this half and did cause danger from time to time. We then had a moment from a kids cartoon when the all action McCarthy set off at pace to help defend a Sunderland attack ran into the back of the ref flattening him to the turf seeming to run over him and continued as if nothing had happened, the ref was quick to rise and he carried on as though nothing had happened so all square and on we go.

65 min mark and a Sunderland attack was halted when Baines mistimed one near the edge of the box. Their specialist dead ball man Larsson shaped up to take it, Howard set his wall and on the whistle Larsson struck the ball, Sunderland men in the wall moved and so did the Everton markers behind them allowing the ball to give Howard nothing more to do than recover it from the net. Inquest at Finch Farm Monday morning sharp.

A response was needed so Naismith for McGeady and Jags was doing his best to lead by voice and deed. Etoo took up the cause and threaded a delightfully weighted ball to the marauding Coleman who got to the byline but his pull back was blocked for a corner. Baines took it high to the back post but the keeper who was at least 618 tall gathered easily. Those gathered were getting edgy as 75mins came up when Etoo again fed a great ball to Coleman who got past his marker and into the box only to be felled PENALTY was the yell and hell the Ref agreed. Much protesting by Sunderland only delayed the inevitable cos Baines never misses, well not often then, He shot, and the keeper sprawled but to no avail as ball entered net. The celebration of relief took place and the noise and songs got that much louder.

From that kick off the game got a bit meatier and a bit of a cup tie feel was noted as both teams went that bit more direct. Rodwell once of this parish came on for the Barry destroyer Gomez. I hardly noticed him after that. Etoo and Naismith were looking the likeliest to create something but each time they looked up not much in the box to aim for as often Lukaku was in the left side channel unable to get near anything breaking in the box. Five mins to go and Osman replaced Barkley who the Sunderland fans roundly booed, he must have done something right!

We had a right let off when Sunderland got down our right and the lad squared the ball right across our six yard box that was an Everton free zone but mighty luckily no Sunderland player had made up the yards to tap home. Into time added and I note McCarthy down as Jags and Howard get in a two and eight the upshot being Howard lays on the ball at the edge of the box a Sunderland lad goes over him as he gets up and kicks clear, god knows what went on but much protesting and waving of arms took place. I must watch that on M.O.T.D. if they show it and I have recorded the right channel.

McCarthy was attended to and had a bandage wound around his thigh, he soldiered on as all subs used but he didnt look that pain free. Maybe the international break has come at a good time.

Time running out and we attack with a Baines dash a good ball to Naismith who fed in to Lukaku but his control and movement was best described as surely must get better and the chance was gone. Sunderland attacked again down our right and amongst a bevy of bodies falling and scrambling the ball was belted off the line by someone in a blue shirt. Rip roaring stuff as Coleman raced down the line but his cross was blocked for a corner. Every big man up, Baines takes, ball cleared, whistle goes and the Toffee Lady with the drawing pin will be included in the Echo report.

M.o.t.M. -- Jags with Etoo close.

Overall a bit disappointing after the Lille match Thursday night or maybe that was the cause. In the Lille match I thought Lukaku was looking sharper and more dynamic yet today you have to say he had a poor game. I wondered if his head is so full of instructions and suggestions that there is no room left for Instinct and spontaneity. But hey thats just a fans thought. I hope he fulfils his dreams and does become world class and still with us. I also thought both Barkley and McGeady summed up the game with their performances, one of fits and starts, as they both struggled to make a mark.

Since I started writing this I have heard Barry may not be as bad as first thought so that would be good news. Hope all the lads away on international duty come back injury free as we will need them. I doubt if McCarthy will now be going. Get well soon, Laa.

West Ham next and lets hope its the rattle not the drawing pin adorning hand of the Toffee lady in the Echo report. See you there.


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Reader Comments (24)

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Peter Barry
1 Posted 10/11/2014 at 09:05:08
Howard is a liability and so is Robles; Barry is an Old Man as are Eto’o and Distin; Pieenar and Osman are well past their ’sell by’ dates; Mirallas is a far too greedy one trick pony; Coleman at the moment is erratic, Hibbert is over the hill; Oviedo hardly ever gets a game and neither do Besic or Atsu; Baines is way off the boil and making too many mistakes as is Jagielka.

Lukaku has lost what we thought he had and we need is a £28M STRIKER in his place. Stones gets fucked about too much then he gets injured. So that leaves McGeady who is not Premier League material and McCarthy is carrying the team.

Patrick Murphy
2 Posted 10/11/2014 at 09:45:19

That’s the majority of the first-team squad who in your opinion are not good enough or too erratic for Everton FC. Well, we had better prepare for a terrible remainder of the season if your assessment is correct.

I sometimes wonder if some supporters enjoy denigrating all and sundry at Everton FC; if this is the true belief among the vast majority of Blues, it’s little wonder that Goodison is so quiet this season

We have probably lost Barry and McCarthy for the next couple of fixtures so perhaps starting with the game against West Ham those Evertonians who have the same opinion as yourself, would be better served getting behind the team and giving them some encouragement and support. Otherwise, all this negativity will become a self-fulfilling prophesy and if you think it’s bad now......

Dick Fearon
3 Posted 10/11/2014 at 10:04:09
Our back line treats us to a back pass, then a square pass, followed by another back pass, then another square pass... often with a couple of passes back to Howard. All this when not a single opponent is within a bull’s roar of the ball and it not being advanced more than a few yards.

Such lethargic boring pointless piss-farting is doubly annoying when it is clearly obvious that it causes no concern to the enemy yet it allows them to consolidate by blocking of all possible avenues to their goal.

When we do get into attacking areas, we find it so densely crowded we can barely see the corner flags let alone the goal posts.

I feel sorry for Lukaku who has the build of a Drogba yet he is forced to use the close ball skills of an Osman.

Our transition from defence to attack must be more rapid.

Bill Gall
4 Posted 10/11/2014 at 13:40:12
Just a thought: if we had a quality midfielder (we have needed one for the last few seasons), do you think our transition from defence to attack would be more rapid?
Geoff Evans
5 Posted 10/11/2014 at 13:42:17
Fourteen points gained and nineteen lost, almost twice as many league draws as wins in a crap league.

The Old Lady’s quiet because mediocrity is nothing to get excited about. RM’s tactics have been found out. Last season’s positivity has given way to fear.

Waiting to see if there’s a plan B.

Andrew Clare
6 Posted 10/11/2014 at 13:59:34
Definitely, Bill. A creative midfielder is the number one requirement. Also, players like Barry and McCarthy should drop back and take the ball off the toes of the defenders and bring it forward, driving past the half-way line to look for openings. Stones is the only central defender who brings the ball out of defence well.

Strikers will always struggle without creative midfielders. Every time we have brought in a new striker they just fade away after the first season. With Moyes, we knew this was down to his negative approach. Now, with Martinez, it appears to be playing the striker in an unaccustomed role.

The only solution for me is spending big on a proven top-notch creative midfielder. Which will be hard as they are a rare breed in the modern game.

Graham Mockford
7 Posted 10/11/2014 at 14:36:06
Peter Barry

Even by the very low bar that is set on here, that is by far the most ridiculous post (rant) I have seen this season. Eighteen players who are either too old, too crap or out of form.

Let’s just start with the back five. Firstly, as a combined unit, they have let in two goals in six games after an admittedly dodgy start. We have the best full-back pair in the league, bar none.

As an attacking force, we are averaging two goals a game. Can I also just maybe point out we are unbeaten in six games.

I think everyone is a bit frustrated we have not gained more points given how equal everything is around us, but 27 games to go and we are four points off fourth and almost qualified for the Europa League knockout stage – your observations are quite frankly ludicrous.

Sean Roberts
8 Posted 10/11/2014 at 17:18:08
Here here Graham Mockford.
I thought as supporters we are supposed to support the team not rip them to bits !!!
Mike Childs
9 Posted 10/11/2014 at 17:30:00
Great column again Ken. Wish the game had been as enjoyable. I listen to the game over Evertonfc radio broadcast. Great to listen to announcers who actually root for the team.
Steve Higham
10 Posted 10/11/2014 at 18:45:58
From the heights of the away end yesterday what I saw is that we play too narrow with players clogging the midfield area.

Lukaku is not working hard enough and appears to be lacking in confidence.

We play one dimensionally now always playing in front of teams and moving the ball too slowly. Come on Roberto sort it out lets get back to playing like we did last season.

Dick Fearon
11 Posted 10/11/2014 at 19:43:05
When we see a backline and keeper sharing half dozen passes and the ball not crossing the half way line it is ugly, negative and boring.

If it causes opponents to break ranks and create space for our attackers to work in fair enough but surely to god Roberto can see that ploy has not worked for some time.

A creative midfielder would be an improvement and I am thinking more of Besic in that role rather than Osman. Besic has shown he has the required ability, imagination and grit for the job.

As for Lukaku I am minded of a time when in a strictly amateur coaching post I was frustrated that my big strong burley striker fancied himself as another Stanley Matthews.

I advised him not to prance around like an over grown fairy but to use his physicality to act like an angry bull elephant. He took my simple advice and the improvement to himself and the team was immediate.

Trevor Lynes
12 Posted 10/11/2014 at 20:21:32
Just a mention that Wolfsburg have now won seven games on the trot and are serious contenders for the Bundersliga.

Hey Dick, was that the Knowsley Safari Park side? :0)

Brian Waring
13 Posted 10/11/2014 at 20:44:30
I have said it before about Besic, when he is playing he is always looking to take the ball from our centre backs, and when he picks it up in midfield he is always looking to turn and get forward. For some reason though Martinez doesn’t give him much game time.
Bill Gall
14 Posted 10/11/2014 at 20:39:42
Comments on here about the slow build up and passing across the back just plays into the opposition's hands, that can be heard on Poyet's comments when he explained that during the week he had told the team to just hang back and let Everton have all the possession they want in their own half, and press as soon as they reach the half-way line.

The problem we seem to be having with the possession type football is that when it comes off we play great but when it does not come off we seem to have no Plan B.

Steavey Buckley
16 Posted 10/11/2014 at 20:58:01
Everton’s problem were not caused by slow build ups, in yesterday’s game, but missed chances, a badly assembled defensive wall and woeful refereeing decisions.

In the first 15 minutes, Eto’o managed to skew his shot wide, when it was easier to hit the target when he was inside he box. Lukaku failed to score when he capitalized on a bad back pass but could not beat the goalkeeper in an one-on-one situation.

Both Gomez and Wickham should have been sent off, but the referee bottled it, and let them off.

As for the defensive wall that was lined up to defend the free kick that led to Sunderland’s goal, there was a gaping gap for the Sunderland player to pick his spot.

And finally, what made Martinez change a team that played so well against Lille with the same type of passing game against Sunderland?

Peter Bell
17 Posted 10/11/2014 at 21:37:04
Steavey, the gaping gap in the wall was created by the two Sunderland players that were stood in it.

Everyone could see it happening except the players in blue shirts, or the one in a green shirt with that ridiculous amount of fungus on his chin.

Peter Bell
18 Posted 10/11/2014 at 21:43:55
Another thing that is starting to piss me off is how close the keepers now seem to be getting to Bainesy’s penalties since he started taking that short run-up.

Yesterday’s just about went in after his miss at OT and the United keeper nearly had the other one at Goodison last season.

Chris Jones
19 Posted 10/11/2014 at 21:49:56
We’re like Hugh Heffner and his young blonde "girlfriends" – all possession and no penetration. Sorry to be crude, but I’m still fuming over our seeming inability to attack the opposition box whilst waiting for another safe pass.
Paul Andrews
20 Posted 10/11/2014 at 21:59:32
1. Matt Le Tissier

Scored 25 out of 26 pens - 96.2% success rate.

2. Danny Murphy

Scored 18 out of 19 pens - 94.7% success rate.

3. James Beattie

Scored 16 out of 17 pens - 94.1% success rate.

4. Julian Dicks

Scored 15 out of 16 pens - 93.8% success rate.

5. Leighton Baines

Scored 14 out of 15 pens - 93.3% success rate.

Great record for Leighton

Trevor Lynes
21 Posted 11/11/2014 at 10:54:38
You are missing the great Roy Vernon as a penalty king!

Shame on you as an Evertonian.

Trevor Lynes
22 Posted 11/11/2014 at 10:59:21
Hey Bill, if Poyet used those tactics and we had scored first then he would have been really stupid.

Lille also held back and let us have the ball in our own half and look what happened to them. Tactics are only good when they come off!!

Martin Mason
23 Posted 11/11/2014 at 18:41:06
We need to get used to the fact that the EPL games are getting harder and harder, no game is truly predictable and thrashings areever more rare. What we saw Sunday could be said to be the reaction from the Soyhampton thrashing of Sunderland. They parked the bus and made sure it didn't happen again in front of their critical fans.

We were by far the classier team but that isn't enough at current fitness and organisation levels and the concept of all points having to be won not lost becomes ever more important.

Losing Barry is a disaster, losing McCarthy is even worse. For me he is Everton's jewel in the crown , a magnificent athlete and killer of opposition creativity but they are playing him while he is injured. I rate McCarthy at 50 million now and we would get that for him if we should sell.

So why do we have so many injuries? The reason for that is obvious, we don't have the absolute skill level of the top teams and to compete we have to play harder. When we play harder we get more injuries.

We are almost a top level team, we aren't top level because we don't have the resources to get the best players. That we are as good as say Liverpool who have squandered very large amounts of money on some very average players is a massive plus for the club. I'm as proud of them now as perhaps I've ever been. A great group of often Everton produced players, a charmingly articulate manager who wants us to play stylishly and a chairman and board who despite not having Oligarch or Gulf Oil Money have and are building firm financial foundations that we have no right to expect from a club in an unfashionable area of an unfashionable city.

I'm perhaps more proud of the club now than I've ever been. Having been a big club once isn't a justification for being one for ever. Being at the table with the big clubs when we have nothing like their resources is something to be truly proud of.

Bill Gall
24 Posted 11/11/2014 at 20:09:40
Hey Trevor if we spent more time passing foreward or even trying a long ball over the top instead of passing backwards and sideways I agree we may have made Poyet look stupid. The manager appears to not have a plan B.
Mike Childs
25 Posted 11/11/2014 at 21:29:54
Ken I think you hit the nail on the head with too much between Lukaku's ears.

Dick F. Like your suggestion last two paragraphs.

Martin M. Feel the same way about Jimmy Mac the only other player doing the same job on the same level is Matic at our farm club. How anyone can give him stick is mind-boggling.

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