'This Is Pathetic, This'

"If those around where I sit are anything to go by, I'm not the only one who is pretty fed up of our style."

Paul Traill 04/12/2014 72comments  |  Jump to last

I was in Germany over the weekend, only returning on Tuesday afternoon. I deliberately avoided the score for the Tottenham match so I could watch the game "live" on record once I got back home. Picking me up from the airport, my Dad tried to hint the game wasn't worth watching but I wouldn't have it. I was buzzing when Mirallas scored his screamer and then watched in dismay as we surrendered two ridiculous goals to give Spurs the lead at half time.

In the second half I couldn't believe what I was seeing as Everton, seemingly oblivious to the score, seemed content in passing the ball around amongst our back line. I thought it was an atrocious display against Tottenham though was blissfully unaware that some 24 hours later I was to witness as flimsy a display I've witnessed at Goodison Park for quite some time. Tonight's draw with Hull City was utterly atrocious.

We were in good spirits pre kick off as we congregated in the pub. Everyone in agreement of how terrible we were at Tottenham but also confident we could brush it off and beat Hull City under the Goodison Park lights. Leon Osman in for Samuel Eto'o was the only change from the Tottenham match. Nikica Jelavic performed up front for Hull City who were cheered on by just a smattering of supporters who'd made the trip down the M62. Robert Madley officiated.

The atmosphere at kick off was lively though this soon dissipated as Hull began brightly, launching a few attacks down our left hand side with Rosenior playing in some wicked deliveries though thankfully with no end product from Jelavic in attack. Still Hull were threatening and it took some time for us to tilt the balance in our favour but slowly we did just that. Romalu Lukaku had already tried his luck from distance once, been denied a strong penalty claim for handball another time though finished well when set up by his fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas on 34 minutes to put Everton ahead. Deserved? Perhaps though there was little in the game really. Muhamed Besic also curled one just round the post before half time. At the break though unconvincing we went in a goal ahead.

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The second half carried on as the first with Everton just about more on the front foot though with little to show for it. Kevin Mirallas bizarrely tried to chip the giant McGregor from 20 yards early in the second half but that is about all I can think of in terms of Everton efforts at goal after the break. Still we were ahead in the game then out of nothing substitute Aluku skinned Sylvain Distin far too easily and before you knew it he'd smashed the ball past Howard and into the net. What followed was shambolic. It was nearly worse in fact when Jelavic came mighty close to heading Hull City 2-1 ahead though thankfully he headed just wide.

Anyhow, we had half an hour (plus stoppage time) and did nothing. We seemed to play with no courage or effort to get the ball forward and play. Somehow, as with the Tottenham game at the weekend, despite not having the desired scoreline we seemed content in passing the ball around our own penalty box. I can't remember ever seeing Tim Howard see so much of the ball and with no apparent urgency to get the ball forward, but it was never forward, it was always to Distin...or Jagielka...or Barry...and then back to Howard.

Despite having a striker as good as Sameul Eto'o on the bench Martinez elected not to try Plan B and we seemed to barely get out of our half as we chased the game. We had no ideas at all and worryingly, we don't seem to know what to do against a team which figures us out...as Tottenham and Hull have both just done. It's not rocket science. Everton like to play it out from the back but our centre backs and comfortable doing it. Simple then. Press high up the pitch and pressure our defenders into errors...or another pass back to Howard.

If those around where I sit are anything to go by, I'm not the only one who is pretty fed up of our style. A couple of times every game now I turn to Gary and say "this is pathetic, this", and judging by the boos which greeted the players at the final whistle as they applauded the Gwladys Street, I'm not the only one has this sentiment.

Manchester City away next...I shudder to think.

Player Ratings:
Howard: I've just seen Hull's goal on TV and you have to question him at his near post. Needs to get more authoritative with his distribution and command his penalty box better...though I'm stating the obvious I assume. 5
Baines: No shortage of effort but he doesn't quite seem himself at the moment. I hope he hasn't been rushed back to soon following his injury. 6
Distin: Had a rough few minutes with the goal we conceded and then he got skinned by Aluku. He won his fair share of headers however. He wasn't up to much distribution wise but that's never been his game. He is at least always committed. 5
Jagielka: Was doing as much as anyone in the closing stages to power us over the line. Fine otherwise. 6
Coleman: Not at his dazzling best though hasn't really gotten going all season in my opinion. 6
Barry: Caught out a few times but at least got stuck in. We need more from him in terms of passing however. 6
Besic: Over-elaborate at times but was at least getting into them and looks comfortable on the ball. I think he will improve with games as his confidence increases. He seems to keen for a first time pass rather than controlling the ball and bringing it forward but that should improve. After a poor start I'm starting to think we could have a decent player there, may require a bit of patience however. 6
Mirallas: Did brilliant for the goal and his all round play and work rate good. It's great that he's gotten right back into the thick of it after a little while out. We need a big game from him on Saturday. 6
Osman: Quite anonymous mostly. 5
Barkley: Not anonymous though mostly poor decision making. There was times when he excited and ran well with the ball but a lot of the times he appeared a little aimless. Seems to be suffering from confidence at the moment. Fingers crossed it will come back quickly. He'll need to be at his very best if we are to get anything from the Etihad Arena on Saturday. His screamer against Manchester CIty last season seems a long time ago now. 5
Lukaku: My man of the match. He's working hard and has certainly improved in the air. He is often so starved of support. We really need Naismith back to get up there with him and contribute to our attack. Either that or play that Eto'o chap up there with him. Is 4-4-2 outlawed these days? 6

Pienaar (for Mirallas): Poor. He infuriated me straight away by trying to get Barkley to kick the ball out when a Hull City player went down injured. Otherwise his flicks, touch and passing were all rather wayward. Is he reaching the end of the road or was it just an off night? 4
McGeady (for Besic): Contributed at least and brought something positive to the table. Unfortunately nobody else seemed to understand this baffling idea of running at players and trying to force a winner. 6

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Reader Comments (72)

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Mike Campbell
1 Posted 04/12/2014 at 05:43:13
There must be a goalie out there somewhere? Howard is far too shaky for me.

Our passing game simply lacks imagination and a player to provide it!

Jeff Hughes
2 Posted 04/12/2014 at 06:42:44
There is no doubt that a frustration is building amongst our fans and this is caused by both results and style of play. Roberto claims the result against Hull was affected by poor energy levels but I blame the way he sets his team up.

At the start of the season, we were caught out by pushing our fullbacks forward – since then, Baines and Coleman have been shackled by both defensive thoughts and a lack of consistency in selection in the wide forward/midfield positions, with neither full back feeling comfortable in bombing forward. Yesterday, a talented Mirallas shifted left and right which did not help our full backs.

Whilst control of the football is important, we are all sick of seeing 60%+ possession with hardly a shot on goal. If Roberto wants to know what we want, I would say watch our first-half performance at the Emirates in the league last year. High intensity, high pressure and we played them off the park – though to be fair we didn't shoot too often that night.

I want to see more consistency in team selection to enable players to develop partnerships – haven't Chelsea played their strongest eleven in most of their recent games? Roberto is a lovely guy but his positive spin after poor performances is worse to watch than our beloved politicians and is starting to wear a bit thin.

Steve Pugh
3 Posted 04/12/2014 at 07:52:42
I am waiting for the day one of the outfield players concede a penalty and somebody comes on here criticising Howard for not saving it. Not every goal we concede is his fault. Last night it was not his fault – when a striker is one-on-one with the keeper, he should score. Any save is a good one and if you don't save it, so be it.

Criticise when he deserves it but not when he doesn't, their goal was brilliant forward play following a mistake by Barry, no-one else.

Paul Andrews
4 Posted 04/12/2014 at 08:15:47
He got beat on his near post, Steve, a cardinal sin for a keeper.

Distin went to ground too easily to be fair. He’s looking a tired, leggy defender now.

David Midgley
5 Posted 04/12/2014 at 08:39:13
Paul, why were you infuriated with Pienaar wanting the ball kicked out with the player injured?
David Morgan
6 Posted 04/12/2014 at 08:44:55
I took my 7-year-old to his first proper game in the top balcony. From where I was sitting, Besic was our best player and was taken off – surely a 7 for him.

That 6 for Jagielka is high when his bad pass put Hull on the counter and then Distin was skinned. Barkley, Mirallas and Lukaku looked lively whenever the ball came forward... which was almost never.

Barry was almost invisible, rushed back to soon in my opinion. There was no West Ham peformance from Osman who was back to his usual standard. Coleman and Baines failed to make an impression on the game.

And the less time the ball spends around Tim Howard the better but it was like a magnet to him.

Damian Braithwaite
7 Posted 04/12/2014 at 08:53:01
I have to agree with this post, we are told to patiently build up the play from the back and look for an opening. Too many times now we have seen no urgency from Everton until the last ten minutes of a game.

By dallying on the ball we are prone to mistakes which is why Barry, Distin, Jagielka and Howard are all shaky. Our only goal threat at the moment is coming from Mirallas but again for some unfathomable reason he only lasts for 60 every game.

Last night's performance saw a team that sussed us out by breaking up play, upsetting our rhythm and out muscling us in every department. Martinez needs to have a Plan B. Whatever happened to our high-tempo pressing game and hunting in packs when we lost the ball? Now it seems the players don't really know what their roles should be.

Derek Knox
8 Posted 04/12/2014 at 09:16:14
Yes, Mike (#1), his name is David Marshall, and he currently plays for Cardiff in the Championship.

I have been rattling the can for some time but unfortunately, those who are instrumental in making these things happen, don't seem to think we need to look elsewhere, and that Robles is an adequate replacement, waiting in the wings.

Although, I don't think Tim can be blamed for all our poor displays, which are growing as the weeks progress, I do think he has contributed more than anyone else.

Miami are supposed to sniffing round him as a Marquee signing (Beckham's new outfit) so maybe it would be a good time to cash in and get David Marshall on board, who I don't think would cost the earth, and would probably jump at the chance of returning to the Premier League.

Ray Roche
10 Posted 04/12/2014 at 09:35:31
David Midgley @5

David, if Paul doesn't want to answer that one I will. Hull used the same methods as Swansea (among others) to run the clock down. Players feigning injury to stop the game, waste some time and disrupt any rhythm that we had, on the occasions we had any, or put any pressure on them. How this ridiculous idea to put the ball out of play for ANY injury, not just a head injury, came into being is beyond me. Players are going down with the regularity of a porn star with any excuse, broken nail, lost an eyelash, anything to stop the game.

Unscrupulous teams will use any method to their advantage and gullible teams like Everton will bow down to their needs and put the ball out for a throw-in. Bloody stupid. And please, don't come on here claiming that the injured player "might" have been seriously injured. I "might" have been playing myself last night, but I wasn't.... Hull, Swansea etc., came for a point and will bend any rule to get one.

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 04/12/2014 at 09:53:08
Ray Roche@10

I agree with all you say; the mystery was why were Hull wasting time? They looked the more likelier team to score the winner.

Jamie Barlow
12 Posted 04/12/2014 at 09:55:02
We had a "bottlers" tag when Moyes was in charge and told that Martinez is all about attack. That's 12 points we've lost now from winning positions. We'd be 2nd if football was only 45 minutes long.

Where's this fast flowing beautiful attacking football we were told would be coming to Everton? We score and we bottle it time and time again.

Michael Penley
13 Posted 04/12/2014 at 09:59:53
I don't know what it was like at your own educational institution Paul, but at mine, 5/10 is 50% – a passing grade. The only player I would have given a "pass" vs Hull was Besic and maybe Lukaku – just. In fact, if I were in charge of their school reports, I'm quite sure it would be easy enough task because I would just write "needs more effort" on each one and wouldn't hesitate to hand them a fail.

The fact they are getting paid a fortune every week to do just this only makes it all the more unfathomable.

Pat Waine
14 Posted 04/12/2014 at 10:14:58
Too little invention from the middle of park and no goals from midfield players. Anyone remember Barkley last scoring? Or Besic... or McCarthy... or Barry?

McCarthy is happy passing sideways. He gets about the pitch but is no leader and provides absolutely nothing by way of invention. Don't tell me he is a defensive midfielder... I know that but in the modern day you have to contribute something going forward.

David Midgley
15 Posted 04/12/2014 at 10:42:24
Ray, (#10),

Fair enough. However, I never mentioned, mighta, coulda or shoulda.

I thought it a fair question to a post.

Ross Edwards
16 Posted 04/12/2014 at 11:03:39
I have my own theory. I think Roberto is clearly prioritising the Europa League over the Premier League. Performances in Europe compared to the league, you do a double take.

How could we have been so good v Wolfsburg – clinical, superb counter attacks – to turgid, slow, pointless tripe against Spurs and Hull?

After Man City, we have Krasnodar obviously, that's not relevant but our next 8 league games are:

Southampton (A)
Stoke City (H)
Newcastle Utd (A)
Hull City (A)
Man City (H)
Crystal Palace (A)

On paper, at least, we should win 6 of those, probably a draw with Soton and most likely a defeat v Man City. If we get less than 15 points from those, something is badly wrong.

If we can't beat QPR, write off top 6. Top 4 is already slipping away.

Ray Roche
17 Posted 04/12/2014 at 11:14:48
OK, David, a fair question to post and I hope I answered it fairly. But come Saturday I shall be hiding behind the sofa instead of watching Man City v Everton.
Brent Stephens
18 Posted 04/12/2014 at 11:42:35
School of Science? – see me after school, please.

Totally agree with Ray (#10). We fall for it all the time, putting the ball out to be gentlemanly. And then, as always, the guy gets up and plays on. More annoying still is when the ref, as seemed to happen last night, even instructs a team what to do with the throw after these incidents.

Nigel Gregson
20 Posted 04/12/2014 at 11:59:25
The School of Science is back, and sadly we are going through Kindergarten at the moment
Ray Roche
21 Posted 04/12/2014 at 12:44:23
I think we're playing truant....
Adam Weight
23 Posted 04/12/2014 at 12:21:01
We were absolutely awful last night, first half was barely passable, mostly due to the score at the time, but once again we came out with no clear idea of how to continue and put the game to bed.

How is it we have twatted Wolfsburg twice and put those boys to bed with no problems, yet when it comes to shite like Hull we are aimless and pathetic?

I thought Besic was far and away our best player (not saying much, but a bright-ish spot nonetheless), and Mirallas looked at least like he MIGHT provide something, which made it all the more bewildering and frankly, utterly, teeth grindingly infuriating when RM took those two off for McGeady (at least he ran at them I suppose) and Pienaar (way past his best).

It appears unfortunately that RM is a bit lost at the moment and – although I'm not going to start with the "RM out" bollocks – he needs to come up with something to fix these awful performances. Starting to pass the ball into dangerous areas would be a start, as would sorting out these second-half performance dips we are becoming accustomed to.

Come on, you Blues, let's get this sorted and at least put some pride and hard work in against Man City on the weekend.

Steavey Buckley
24 Posted 04/12/2014 at 13:01:24
Everton not being able to beat a poor Hull City side at home is as bad as it gets. Although, Everton have to play Man City on Saturday, with an evening kick off, so it could get worse before it gets better. I think the problem with Everton at the moment is too many players are not trying hard enough, which is not being helped by Martinez being too nice to certain players when they are not good enough.

Martinez's niceness prevented him from making two or three changes to the personnel at the beginning of this season, because he probably thought the same players as last season could get better; however, some of them have actually got worse and most have not got any better.

Martinez's tactics are not to blame because possession is everything in football, if the team wants to dominate the opposition. It is just the players not showing enough energy and zest with or without the ball; and at times, players are just downright careless and lazy by not being accurate and diligent with their passing.

This season is starting to petter out already, because last season's enthusiasm has already gone. All that is left is the cup competitions and finishing in a decent position in the league, as the manager, quite rightfully, should show the door to players who are not up to it, while giving others a chance. Otherwise, there might be more games like last night, when the fans boo the players off the pitch,

David Holroyd
25 Posted 04/12/2014 at 13:23:37
What's the matter with Gibson? He is costing us a fortune in wages.

There is a lot of pruning to do at the end of the season: Alcaraz, Gibson, Osman, Pienaar, McGeady, and Distin, who looks weary.

Last night's display was rubbish. What's gone wrong with Barkley? most decisions he made went up blind alleys.

We really need to find a goalkeeper to replace Howard. Knee-jerk reaction no. It's been comming.

Ray Roche
26 Posted 04/12/2014 at 13:56:26
Steavey, they will be lucky if they don't get booed ON to the pitch after that crap last night.
James Stewart
27 Posted 04/12/2014 at 13:57:58
There are plenty of better keepers than Howard about who would come here. Marshall being one. There aren't many worse than Howard in my opinion though.

Good report. Ratings are a little generous! Mirallas was probably our best player.

Atrocious on the whole. Calling pathetic sideways and backward 5-yard passes in your own half a 'Style' is being kind. Mind-numbingly boring cowardice is what I'd call it.

John Keating
28 Posted 04/12/2014 at 14:02:57

possession is NOT everything in football. If it was, we'd be top of the league – unbeaten! It's no good having 70% possession and have 500 passes if 69% and 450 passes are in our own half. There has to be a reason, an end result and unfortunately we haven't got one.

Our play is boring, one dimensional and has been well sussed out by every team – apart from the European ones – this season. Howard's insistence on passing to defenders who are either already marked, or close to being so, immediately puts us on the back foot.

Defenders hardly ever look for the forward pass, continually making square passes until they're in the shit. This is solely Martinez's philosophy and I doubt it'll change. You are correct in pointing out the shite the players are producing but the perseverance in shite tactics by the manager is not helping the situation.

Joe Foster
29 Posted 04/12/2014 at 14:19:15
Yeah, John, I hate this passing to the defenders who are then closed down and start to panic. It just seems so obvious that I don't get why we do it.
Tony J Williams
30 Posted 04/12/2014 at 14:16:29
David (#5),

I was infuriated when we looked to put the ball out after Ossie (all five foot none of him) has a shoulder charge with the six-foot-plus defender who went down faster than Paris Hilton in front of a camcorder.

Miraculously the fella went off and then, 10 seconds later, ran back on the pitch.

One of the first things you learn in school footy is play to the whistle. If the player wants to re-enact the dying swan routine, then let him be a burden to his own team, not ours.

Harold Matthews
31 Posted 04/12/2014 at 14:29:03
Steve. Guess you must have only watched the highlights. Your last paragraph is wrong. Barry is not number 6.
Jay Harris
32 Posted 04/12/2014 at 14:52:25
It's not just about last night. It's about the latter end of last season when we blew a Champions League place that was gift-wrapped. It's about the most disorganized and disinterested pre-season I have ever know in 55 years of watching Everton.

The team selection and motivation has been an issue since day one of the season. Our midfield (the heartbeat of any side) is woefully light in almost every team selection.

Apart from Barkley there were no injury concerns in the early part of the campaign so that should not be an excuse.

In short, I think RM is totally out of his depth. He has a small club mentality and is too laissez-faire for a club the size of Everton.

Paul Ferry
33 Posted 04/12/2014 at 15:34:48
’We were in good spirits pre kick-off as we congregated in the pub’.

Love that! Sums us up in a nice nutshell. Boss supporters who always believe and continue to push the faith even after we get kicked in the teeth three days before.

You’re a nice kind-hearted fella, Paul, with 6s and 5s spread across the board. Actually you look like a really nice bloke in yer photos. I imagine that you give a lot to charities; better man than me!

Howard 4 - Coleman 4 - Jags 5 - Distin 4 - Baines 3 - Besic 8 - Barry 4 - Osman 5 - Mirallas 7 - Barkley 3 - Lu 6 - Pienaar 2 - McGeady 2

Martinez 3 - Martinez’s subs 1 - Martinez post match chat 0

Booing 10

Steve Carse
34 Posted 04/12/2014 at 15:49:17
Jay (32), I suspect RM took his eye off the ball in the closed season, mesmerised by the 'beautiful game' at the World Cup and the attention he was getting in the media. As a result, the transfer activity in the summer was limited, and the pre-season build up was simply farcical.

He's got to show that he has a greater capability than what he's shown so far this season. What we've got so far this season is probably what most of us expected we'd be getting in his first season. Improvement is urgently required.

If there is none and we find ourselves in the throes of an end-of-season relegation dogfight then I suspect that even Kenwright would be moved to call an early end to his tenure.

Steavey Buckley
35 Posted 04/12/2014 at 16:23:47
John Keating, Everton's goal creation and goalscoring is there up with the best, this season; so, the present Everton passing game is not to blame.

What has let Everton down has been defensive lapses and goalkeeping errors; and that is where Martinez has got to get a grips with, because great teams have a great goalkeeper and a great back four in front of him, who very rarely make mistakes.

Jay Harris
36 Posted 04/12/2014 at 16:32:49
My real worry, Steve, is that we should have been able to put a reserve team out and beat Hull in our sleep.

The manager quoting tiredness is even more worrying. If they are too tired, why are they on the pitch? Why not use more substitutes.

WTF is going on with Gibson, Kone and Oviedo who have all had over 12 months recovery time? Why wasn't Atsu used? If he is not good enough to play against Hull then send him back to Chelsea.

Too many questions and BS answers from this manager.

Patrick Murphy
37 Posted 04/12/2014 at 16:36:18
I think that's what makes it even more galling, Steavey, we are scoring goals but we rarely get that second goal cushion to kill the game off. Everton are the joint third best goalscorers with Man Utd and Southampton but way down the table with the fourth worst defensive record, better than QPR, Leicester and Palace and level with Burnley.

Break the bank for a proper goalkeeper and bust up the comfort zone of players who believe they are immune from the axe. I've said it before, the only place I want the players to be happy is on the football pitch winning matches; what they do or don't do in training doesn't matter to me, and whether they are one big happy family in training isn't showing up in the results.

We need a few hungrier players who want to achieve things at Everton.

Steavey Buckley
38 Posted 04/12/2014 at 16:47:09
Patrick, the goalkeeping situation has never been resolved for quite awhile, because the reserve goalkeepers even during Moyes's reign have never been serious contenders to replace Howard. As for the centre backs, it was a mistake of Martinez not to replace Duffy with someone else. Now, Martinez has only 2 players to choose from.
John Keating
39 Posted 04/12/2014 at 16:43:24
Steavey, the passing game is great, in the oppositions half, and it's those passes that score the goals you mention. The ridiculous amount of passes in our half are mostly a complete waste of time and cause the mistakes you mention and the results that come from them.

I think our passing game is a tactical fault/problem as far too much of it is square and non-productive. Baines and Coleman are highly effective both in creation and scoring, not the greatest defenders but excellent supporting the attack, take them out of the equation and our goal scoring would be well down. A lot of the defensive lapses stem directly from the passing game that takes place in our half.

As I said we miss a lot of opportunities to get the ball up quickly from defence because we are too slow and look for the easy sideways pass. I have no problem with a passing game and a sideways pass if there's nothing on up ahead but we pass it sideways as a matter of course.

Steavey Buckley
40 Posted 04/12/2014 at 17:17:07
John, all the great teams keep hold of the ball; while lesser teams spend their time chasing after the ball; that's where Everton used to be under Moyes. But the likes of Iniesta and Xavi don't waste the ball, because they are serious minded masters of holding the ball and passing.

Where Everton go wrong with their passing game, some Everton players are not comfortable holding on to the ball before passing; that's why the ball invariably goes all the way back to Howard, who just kicks the ball up front on behalf of defenders in front of him, who were not honest enough to do that in the first place.

Jay Harris
41 Posted 04/12/2014 at 17:26:22
Steavey, that is why the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid etc pay big bucks for top class players who also have the luxury of playing in a Spanish league where the workrate and intensity is far less.

As Besic proved in the World Cup, mark Messi closely and even the "best" player in the world cannot perform to his ability.

We have aging quality combined with potential but no real "generals" or matchwinners and lack the winning mentality of top class players.

It is wrong for RM, as discovered at Wigan, to try and make a silk purse out of a sows ear and impose a style of play that is alien to the players.

The reason for our lack of success this season is IMO a lack of fitness, motivation and poor team selection all of which comes back to the manager's door.

Brent Stephens
42 Posted 04/12/2014 at 17:29:53
Steavey #35 "Everton's goal creation and goal scoring is there up with the best, this season; so, the present Everton passing game is not to blame. What has let Everton down has been defensive lapses and goal keeping errors".

In a way the "goals for" tally doesn't seem real but it's true, you're right. I think it doesn't seem real because of the loss of points and the fact that for all our possession, we don't have more goals than we do.

And I do think that while our passing game lies behind some goals, there are significant other goals which have not been based on a passing game (mixing it up works! but we need more of it!); and that the passing game actually does for us in defence at times, putting pressure on panicky CBs and hence significant goals conceded that way.

Brent Stephens
43 Posted 04/12/2014 at 17:41:04
Steavey #40 "that's why the ball invariably goes all the way back to Howard, who just kicks the ball up front on behalf of defenders in front of him, who were not honest enough to do that in the first place."

Absolutely, Steavey. I was making the point last night to the fella next to me. After a long passage of possession, it ends up with the keeper, who does what... punt it up field, losing possession!

Tony Marsh
44 Posted 04/12/2014 at 17:37:27
We all have theories on why we are playing shite this season but, as I have said in other posts, the Europa League has a lot to answer for. Love it or hate it, you can't escape the facts. Every club in the EPL that qualifies for the Europa League struggles that season in the domestic games, every single one of them.

If you don't believe me, check the stats. The Europa is a killer. I blame this competition for the extra injuries and fatigue. Let's face it, we ain't going to win it and we gain very little financially... What is the point apart from our fans being able to go on the lash abroad?

All who enter are doomed.

Gareth Fieldstead
45 Posted 04/12/2014 at 17:48:33
Steve (34) that will never happen. Kenwright sat back and watched Smith undermine Hutchinson and McCann while he brought in washed up has-been Gascoigne in 2000. He didn’t do a thing while we got hammered by shite like Man City 5-0 and the worse performance I have seen in 40 years of watching Everton, Tranmere. It was only when relegation was a real possibility the year after did he move his fat arse and sack him.

As for the Europa League over PL, really? Besides the fact there are several sides better than us currently in the competition, once the CL sides come in, we are out.

Yet another manager who believed his own hype. Dreadful.

Steve Harris
46 Posted 04/12/2014 at 18:07:09
I think our total lack of movement is one of the main reasons why Barkley and the other midfielders are struggling at the moment. With nobody showing for the ball and not making space, it means Ross has to take an extra touch or try and beat his man again which results in him losing it and look bad but with such limited options, even the likes of fucking Zinedine Zedane would look shite in our team at the moment!
Phil Walling
47 Posted 04/12/2014 at 18:38:34
Yet another of about 100 excuses for Barkley 'not performing'.

Next one, please.......

Patrick Murphy
48 Posted 04/12/2014 at 18:42:47
Phil - Now that you're in town, did Wigan aimlessly pass, pass, pass at the back as much as the Everton team are doing at the moment?

Perhaps you could ask your pie-eating relatives if this is correct; I'm hoping the answer is No... but suspect it might be Yes.

Phil Walling
49 Posted 04/12/2014 at 18:39:53
Hey, Brent and Steavey, what do you expect the poor bugger to do, roll it out to Distin so he can tap it to Jags who can pass back to him and start the whole process all over again?

Makes the possession stats look heathy, though, eh?

Colin Glassar
50 Posted 04/12/2014 at 18:49:53
Phil, did you have your fill of pies last night? Are they better than the ones Roberto made at Wigan?
Phil Walling
51 Posted 04/12/2014 at 18:49:20
Patrick, I know they say Alcaraz rarely wasted a ball but sometimes got caught out when a pass wasn't on and he just would not hoof it.

I was also told that the regular keeper Al Habsi never kicked long but preferred to throw long distance (à la Westy)!

ps: Why didn't Bobby sign him instead of No Balls Robles?

Jay Harris
52 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:05:37
Phil, he went further than that – he bought three duckeggs right through the spine of our team in Robles, Alcaraz and Kone.
Paul Andrews
53 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:10:39
Steve Harris,

100% correct. Obvious to anyone who understands football.

Colin Gee
54 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:18:10
Steve #46 and Paul #53 Correct.

I mentioned on a thread on here somewhere that there is no movement so all that happens is pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, back where you started then repeat.

Everytime Ross got the ball last night, he had three men on him straight away but no-one was running into the space. What's he supposed to do? He keeps hold of it gets tackled and everyone gets on his back saying "You're keeping hold of it too long, you greedy bastard."

He passes it into space but no-one runs on to it and everyone gets on his back saying "That's a shit ball that, who was that to, Barkely lad?"

Phil Walling
55 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:29:27
So are you all saying that the latest Wonder Boy will have to move on to fulfil his career?

The very best players make things happen regardless. Just think how brilliant Rooney was in a crap side.

Brent Stephens
56 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:33:55
Phil (#49) "Hey, Brent and Steavey, what do you expect the poor bugger to do, roll it out to Distin so he can tap it to Jags who can pass back to him and start the whole process all over again?"

I guess I didn't make my point clear. Which was that it was a waste of time to pass, pass, pass rather than a quicker ball forward, if the end result is only for the ball to go back to the keeper and for that to then go where? Where a quicker ball forward in the first instance would have gone – but with more accuracy. So let's get it forward more quickly a bit more often. Probably what you want as well!

Colin Glassar
57 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:43:14
I agree with Colin. Ross makes some great runs, divides defences better than Moses, but no-one runs into the spaces created. This must be really frustrating for the lad.
Jim Knightley
58 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:48:12
Incredibly disappointing. Martinez needs to sort out the structure of our midfield. Jags is still good enough, Distin will be displaced by Stones, and we have two of the best full backs in world football.

McCarthy should be nailed on, with either Besic or Barry next to him. Then Mirallas should be nailed on for one wing, with Lukaku up front. That leaves two crucial midfield players, who should be contributing goals and assists... who are they?

Barkley – he is not there yet, and if he is going to get there, he needs to be playing behind the striker, not out wide. Eto'o? Naismith? We can only play one of the three with Lukaku up top, and need to stop sticking square pegs in round holes. That leaves one wide position, where Osman, Naismith, Barkley and Eto'o should not play, because they are not wide players – their skills are not suited to the wide areas; when they play wide, they muck up our shape, and effect the ability of our full back to get forward.

Pienaar, in my opinion, should play, or even Oviedo, because as least he is a natural wide player, even though if may be a case of playing a slightly less square peg in a round hole. We need to get the structure right with a consistent first 11, and concentrate on increasing our creativity in the final third. We need more urgency, and quite simply, more confidence.

There are things wrong at the moment but, as I said a few weeks ago, any talk of a relegation fight is the talk of idiocy. We have some top players in this side, but lack creativity. We will come good at some sort, but when? And what will be left to play for? An 8th-place finish? It is not good enough at the moment, and Martinez, and of course the players, must shoulder the blame.

I've consistently asked one question of Martinez since the day he took over: Will he be able to retain the stability of the Moyes defence as players age, and need replacing? I have another now: We he will be able to introduce the creativity we need in the final third?

I fear that Barkley will never be that creative player, and therefore it will have to come from another wide player, who I do not think we have at the club at the moment.

We need more urgency too, and more forward momentum. Obviously it is a question of tactics, but it is also a question of confidence. Personally, I think this team will do much better, and has done much better, and is suffering from a lack of confidence at the moment, and a fear which is preventing sharper passing.

We've got Man City away next, and personally I'm glad. I would rather play an extremely tough team, than a team we are expected to beat, and break down, at home. City will come onto us, and a good performance will remind the team of what they can do. The team need to stand up, and Martinez does too.

Jeff Beaumont
59 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:37:46
On Monday, I was looking forward to watching the Under-21s as I had heard that there a few good 'uns.

As it turned out, there wasn't... but the most worrying thing for me was their style of play – exactly what we are seeing from the first team – farting about at the back.

It's obviously being coached into them... so much for the future!

J B Schmidt
60 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:44:47
I think it's hilarious how we had ONE decent attempt on goal ALL game, yet Tim Howard is taking the rath for not stopping a one-on-one situation. Our creation and finishing is what is killing us right now, not our goalkeeping.

We've only given up 6 goals in the last 10 games. Are you guys paying attention? Or is it because you expect shutouts in EVERY game?

Dave Pritchard
61 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:56:47
In the light of RM's comments that we lacked energy and were tired, you have to wonder why he is not rotating the squad more. I know we have some injuries but there were players on the bench who didn't play at Spurs so why not use them?

Easy to say in retrospect, of course, but you do wonder how they monitor players' tiredness.

David Barks
62 Posted 04/12/2014 at 19:57:03
I have to say it's really refreshing seeing everyone is as sick of this brand of football as I am. I remember watching us last Summer when the team were in the US and thinking it was incredibly boring watching the defenders pass it to themselves and the keeper 10-15 times before the ball was inevitably booted up field to nobody.

But that was tempered by the fact that it was pre-season and it would just take a little time. Well, we're firmly into the middle of year two and the football is exactly the same, defenders passing it around in their own half, the opposing team closing them down, and no ideas in the final third.

And if you really think about it, most of our goals have been either sublime shots that rarely come off so well or very lucky goals where it's a rare scramble in the box. When do we actually break down an opponent's defense with slick passing in the final third and slide a man through on goal? In all honesty, we're lucky to even be where we are in the table.

Ray Robinson
63 Posted 04/12/2014 at 20:07:55
I don't see much point farting around with the ball at the back only to eventually have Howard hoof it forward. I don't see the point in taking a corner and passing the ball back to the half way line either. I know that good sides keep possession but we are not blessed with an over-abundance of ball players at the back – Baines, Coleman and Stones, yes; Jags, Distin and Hibbert, no way. Why lay yourself open to error at the back? Get the ball forward faster, preferably through, passing and movement but occasionally through targeted long balls. I'm sure Lukaku would thrive on a faster release of the pass.

Possession in itself means nothing. Chelsea had less of the ball than Spurs last night yet still won 3-0. Only last year we had 79% of the ball at Crystal Palace only to draw 0-0 (and Palace had the best 3 chances of the match!). Wolfsburg had the lion's share of possession in both their games against us and lost 6-1 on aggregate. It's what you do with the ball that matters! And fannying around at the back unnecessarily does not hurt anyone – except occasionally ourselves!

Martinez needs to encourage a Plan B when teams press us high - as most teams will now do, waiting for us to cock-up at the back. Mixing things up is good. We are not Barcelona at their peak!

Just as an aside – anyone else notice Robles doing an extensive warm up at half-time? Howard was clearly injured and reluctant to kick the ball long – yet we still persisted in playing the ball back to him. Distin even took a long throw back to him – which wouldn't have reached if Jags hadn't headed it back to him! If Howard could not kick the ball properly, Robles should have been on at half-time.

Bill Gall
64 Posted 04/12/2014 at 20:20:02
Hmmmmm.... seems we defensive midfielders to spare but no creative midfielder. But then Bill was happy we saved money at the start of the season.
Phil Walling
65 Posted 04/12/2014 at 20:00:51
A fortnight ago, I focussed on a piece by Guardiola in which he concluded that ticci tacca was 'pointless and a waste of time.

As was to be expected, I was assailed on all sides – many even denied Martinez indulged it – and it was suggested that I longed for a return to 'the dinosaur era of Moyes when defenders too often hoofed it'.

Well, I have to fess up. There were lots of times last night when I wished to God they would do just that if only to break the bloody monotony!!!

But, in truth, Roberto must have been as pissed off as we were and will be telling his 'stars' to stop making him look a crap manager. Because he isn't.... is he?

Peter Bell
66 Posted 04/12/2014 at 20:40:22
A lot of names being criticised of late. Let me throw one name into the hat and see if anyone can tell me what his contribution to the first team has been?

Duncan Ferguson...

Paul Tran
67 Posted 04/12/2014 at 20:36:57
Phil, if you can show me the quote where Martinez eulogises 'tiki-taki' as slow, aimless passing with no pace or end product, I'll apologise. Strikes me that you and some others are misusing a phrase for your own ends. The only 'tiki-taki' I know is what Barcelona played for a few years, and that looked far from pointless to me.

The real issue isn't the passing, it's the complete lack of pace, desire and invention. Last night we played like a team that was either helpless, out of sorts with itself/Martinez, or 'tired'. If we were tired, why did he leave out energetic players in form, replacing them with players who didn't look fit? Why take off Besic and Mirallas when they were the only good performers?

I was half anticipating this last season. When we looked solid defensively, I thought we would build on things this season and pass the ball with more pace. Everything's gone backwards: poor defending, dire goalkeeping and no pace. If the players really are 'tired', I'd raise questions about the ability of Martinez and his staff to assess fitness of players, especially after the non-pre-season we had.

Whatever Martinez is telling the players – and unlike some, I don't believe for a second that he's telling the players to pass the ball slowly with no pace or movement – it isn't getting through to them. The only person to blame for that is Martinez. It's down to him to rectify it.

Phil Walling
68 Posted 04/12/2014 at 20:49:27
Didn't Romelu say Big Dunc was helping him to develop his skills in 'holding up the ball' or some such?
Bill Gall
69 Posted 04/12/2014 at 20:37:13
Gareth (#45),

Don't underestimate Bill Kenwright. If there is one thing he hates, it is to loose is money, and in Smith's time there were not the financial gains as there are today with TV money and finishing league position monies.

To give an example – in 2012-13 season, Everton recieved £51.8M and in 2013-14 season there was an increase of about £33.2M to £85.8M.

To me, if BK thinks that Everton are going to start loosing money, he may do something about it.

[Anyone who thinks these figures are wrong, I got them from the Daily Mail.]

Guy Hastings
70 Posted 04/12/2014 at 21:11:30
A minor point perhaps but it seems to sum up our attitude at the moment. When we take throw-ins, there is no urgency to take them, no movement to receive them and if/when a player does get the ball, the basic control is shit and any option for moving it on limited at best. Bearing in mind the number of times throw-ins occur, I find this attitude bewildering.

A throw-in is supposed to be an advantage. Why don't we ever make anything of them?

We're just as crap at corner kicks. Apparently the goals scored from them are something in the region of 0.01%. On that basis, we'd be better off tapping the corner off for a goal kick and hope that that we gain possession from the goalkeeper belting 70 yards in our direction.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
71 Posted 04/12/2014 at 22:48:17
Gareth, this had me scratching around for the record books: "Kenwright sat back and watched Smith undermine Hutchinson and McCann while he brought in washed up has-been Gascoigne in 2000."

I don't recall said "undermining", so I checked the dates...

Gavin McCann? He departed in November 1998 having played barely a handful of games for Everton. Gascoigne didn't arrive until July 2000...

Hutchinson left around the time Gascoigne was signed up (I didn't check the exact dates) but The Don had been on his way for months, as he revealed himself, over Everton not willing to up his wages.

Hutchinson and McCann 'undermined' by Gazza coming in? Not sure that's a case you can make stand up, to be honest.

Phil Gardner
72 Posted 04/12/2014 at 23:22:37
Howard puts the fear of Christ into me, I simply can't be doing with the clown. He appears to be believing the shite thattwas written by the Yank Soccer 'journalists' on the back of a couple of decent World Cup games. A keeper has to perform at a steady consistent level and that's one thing Howard has never been.

He has started coming for crosses at last (in his mid thirties) but the rest of his game has gone to shite and a poor, erratic and inconsistent keeper seriously undermines the defenders in front of him. Give Robles or Hibbert five games in goal.... hey won't be any worse.

Howard's judgement off the field appears to be as iffy as it is on it as (in order to flog his fresh-from-the-World Cup book) he appears to unnecessarily slag Friedel off. The sooner he disappears, the better, as far as I'm concerned....he's a liability!

Eric Myles
73 Posted 05/12/2014 at 06:13:29
Adam #23, we hardly twatted Wolfsburg at their place, they completely outplayed us and only a solid defence and good goalkeeping saw us through.

The difference with them and Hull is that they played their own attacking game at home with little care of what we were doing. Whereas Hull came to Goodison with a clear, well thought-out plan of how they would stop us from playing our game, and it worked.

Eric Myles
74 Posted 05/12/2014 at 06:23:30
Jim (#58), isn't Stones the right centre back / right back?
Kenny Pratt
75 Posted 04/12/2014 at 14:29:44
Besic to snap Aguero in two on Saturday! I have no doubt he could handle Toure too.

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