After the disappointment of Wednesday night, we set off for Manchester to take on the Sky Blues from that locale. No-one was giving us much of a chance and when the team came through, some prepared for a backs-to-the-wall slog with the hope of the odd breakaway; others were convinced we would go three at the back and those that said Coleman in front of Hibbert haven’t let us forget it.

In the first minute, there was a coming together between Coleman and Aguero, both players went to ground but Coleman got up after some treatment and was ready to carry on; however, the unfortunate City man was led away after lengthy treatment, looking distressed... It could be a big blow to City, that. His replacement was a player called Pozo and wore Number 78 – makes you wonder just how many players City have on their books.

We then had our first attack and Lukaku got in down our left; as he neared the by-line, he looked up and saw no-one in the box, he spread his arms in desperation as Mirallas made the dash but so did City defenders and his cross was intercepted and cleared. Coleman then got booked for a tame rugby tackle that halted progress for a City man. Fifteen minutes gone and already there had been more support, songs and chants at high pitch than through all the Hull game. It is a pity all the fans who travel away can’t sit together at Goodison Park.

City got a corner and Eto’o was left writhing on the ground and a City man booked (apparently Eto’o was kicked in the back). It was mostly all City now and we were struggling to get out of our half but, at the same time, we were limiting City in clear chances. Then, on 20 mins Jags beat Milner to a ball near the edge of the box and the Ref blew for a penalty, much to the bemusement of all assembled – City and Everton varieties. The Ref waved away any protest and it occurred to me the Ref was that fella Marriner...

Oh dear, a right loose cannon he is, and proved it right through the rest of the game with decisions that brought anger from both sets of players but he seemed more prone to giving City more decisions than us – or maybe I thought that because I am an Evertonian. But I did honestly think that that penalty decision was very harsh and knocked the stuffing out of us till the half-time break. In that time City had the better of it and some last ditch stuff saw Jags hoof a dangerous cross well away. No time for ‘tippy tappy’ now as we dug in the best we could and Hibbert was having a good game with his tackling, positioning and calmness. He got Coleman in down the right and he beat his man, cut inside and fed Mirallas whose shot on target got deflected for a corner which was cleared.

City were having good spells which were repelled in the main by our back four whose cover by Barry and Besic was at times almost non-existent. Barry appeared a little slow and was getting caught in possession, while Besic seemed overawed by the occasion as he was a peripheral figure who, when he was on the ball, looked like he didn’t want it and consequently gave it away. In four minutes of added time, the only incident of note was a big shout for hand ball by Coleman in the box, this time the Ref was on our side, well he had to try and look unbiased.

Half-time: 1-0 down and the chat centred on a very debatable penalty and new derogatory names were invented for the Ref. My five-penneth was that we needed to quicken up all over the park. Mirallas was the only one looking really sharp and that was only when we could get him on the ball. We need to show them less respect and go for our own game... and then who knows?

We kicked off the second half but City soon had the ball and attacked us nonstop for a good three minutes before we mounted our first attack and then another but sadly both broke down on the edge of their box. Then City had the clearest chance of the match when Milner crossed and found Number 78 on his own in six-yard box and from point blank range hit his shot and as we looked for the net to bulge Howard had shot out an instinctive foot to deflect wide, what a stop.

Barry got booked and one of the lads said that’s his fifth so he misses QPR; if it’s not injuries, it's suspensions, eh. On 55 mins, Barkley was introduced for the totally misfiring Besic and right away Barkley looked a different player from Wednesday which coincided with a dominant spell for ourselves but the only real threat on their goal came when Mirallas cut in from the left and had a good shot blocked. Eto’o, who had been our best leader throughout, was complementing Barkley in some creativity and incisive surges. On the hour, Man City sent on Dzeko for Number 78 and I immediately recalled that he scored two against us at the ‘Old Lady’ last term.

Had a bit of a laugh when the erratic ref pulled up Lukaku for winning the ball and giving City a free kick. Eto’o was trying his best to unsettle them with some good running and twisting whilst orchestrating his team mates in true captain’s style and from one attack he almost wriggled through himself but we did get a corner that was taken short in some pre-arranged fashion by Baines and Mirallas... but I will just say it probably worked on the training pitch.

Eto’o ran at them and was fouled by Toure as City started to look a little rattled, especially as Barkley was finding a bit of form and was dictating things from midfield. Mirallas took the free kick and it deflected off the wall for a corner which Baines took and you had to say his cross was pitiful, that lad can’t cross a bridge at the moment. Milner floored Coleman but ref waved play on, the offence took place right in front of the ‘assistant referee’ and Coleman showed him his unlaced boot but to no avail.

We attacked again through Barkley and he found Eto’o who found room to shoot but unfortunately over the bar. Into the last 10 minutes and I wondered if we could just find that one golden moment... well, we did – almost. Barry fed Eto’o who cleverly played Lukaku in and his power took him to the right-hand side of Hart's goal and he smashed it early and the word ’GOAL’ stuck in our throats as England’s Number 1 produced a superb flying save. I must confess, I applauded the move, shot and a great save.

City had a little spell and some quick passing in our box saw Nasri and Dzeko force corners that we cleared. Eto’o then went on a run and left Toure trailing so the big fella tugged him and made him stumble and eventually lose the ball with the ref doing nothing yet at the next break in play he went back and booked Toure — remember the name Andre Marriner. He would be lucky to get a game in the Zingari.

In another attack, just before normal time was up, Barkley made a surge and had a coming together with a City player and the Ref booked him for diving. Now I could not tell if was a dive or not but, from my distant seat, it looked no more than a coming together. The serious thing is, if it is his reputation going before him and all refs have him down as a diver, then the manager and club need to do something about it rather than other players telling him just to ride it out — remember what it did for AJ and us! In his time on the field today, he started to look like a player and he might live up to his hype if he can do it consistently but a diving tag is the last thing we all need.

Five minutes were added and, although we never gave up, it was not to be.

MotM – Eto’o

Overall, a better effort than against Hull but to my mind McCarthy and Naismith are big misses for us at the moment. I hope we can put out fringe players in the Europa League and give the likely starters v QPR a good rest and recovery week and hope against hope some of the injured are closer to playing.

We are going through a trying time at the moment and fans are none too happy but I do think we need to take into account the injuries to some very good players on top of an increased workload in terms of Europa League and soon the FA Cup, plus a dip in form to some of our more reliable players. The likes of Baines, Coleman, Distin, Barry and Jags plus Mirallas are just coming back from injury, not yet at their peak, and unable to help those who have to come in to cover for the injured first teamers as much as they would like. At times like this, you just have to dig in and hope the good times are back ASAP.

See you Wednesday.

UP THE BLUES.

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Reader Comments (74)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 07/12/2014 at 06:14:15

First: as they say on GOT.( or not as the case maybe ) You’re up and at it early Ken, well done again.

That Pen is a serious contender for a medal contender for the ’Dodgiest pen of the Season’ (in any major league ) category. All this in the split second via TV of course, but when Milner and Jags came together he seemed to be on his way down nearly before he the shoulders met and that’s all it was – shoulders. In the next frame, as it where I thought that the reff was allowing play on. The next frame had the ref blowing and me thinking, Oh he isn’t, he’s giving Jags the foul... fair enough, but you could’ve knocked me down with a feather (me, you and almost everybody else as well) when he pointed to the spot.

The rest of it is as you say. The (very low) high point for me is that; i) Lukaku IS being coached in his (several) deficiencies, you could see it early on, he IS going for the flick on and he IS trying to take a lighter first touch... it isn’t instinctive or ingrained yet, but he is at least following the text, even if it is with his finger under the words and sub vocalising them to himself; and ii) his best position is at the old inside left, ball at feet into the box...feed him and he will score.

As for the rest, while not exactly writing off the season, I’m not pinning too much hope on even the 7th-ish trophy, just keep as high up the table as we can and hope that the Europa draw is kind to us.

Andy McNabb
2 Posted 07/12/2014 at 06:45:38
Thanks Ken. I wonder what it would be like if all the away supporters could congregate together at Goodison?!
Darryl Ritchie
3 Posted 07/12/2014 at 08:41:55
Enjoyable read, Ken..... as usual.
Christopher Timmins
5 Posted 07/12/2014 at 10:10:21
Ken, What would we do without your Sunday morning report. Fair and accurate as always without any dramatics.

The team are going through a bad spell at present, however, given the fact that father time is catching up with some of our established players, it’s a team in the initial stages of transition.

There great saying "You only missed them when they are gone" certainly applies in the short term to

Stones
McCarthy and
Naismith

Brent Stephens
6 Posted 07/12/2014 at 10:14:54
Ken, I enjoy your reports but you say "Barkley was introduced for the totally misfiring Besic."

I have to declare a liking for Besic and acknowledge that, when we have our loves and hates, we might be prone to selective perception. But first, I thought Besic was again covering acres of ground closing down space for the opposition, getting a foot in and not much got past him. And second, Barry was woeful so I can’t see why he was not the one taken off.

Incidentally, Besic is seen as a yellow or red waiting to happen. But Barry has the highest yellow count in the premier did I read? and he was on yellow when that substitution was made??

Franny Porter
7 Posted 07/12/2014 at 10:27:48
Brent spot on. IMO, Barry’s lack of pace and mobility means he picks up cards left right and centre. He’s over rated I reckon. Basic, who seems to really divide opinion is im in my eyes, I like the way he puts himself about a bit having a couple of nibbles at Toure yesterday. A little bit of coaching and maturity and he’ll be a great player I reckon.

I thought Etoo was great yesterday, without having any real chances his attitude and commitment puts others to shame.

Barkley did well, unfairly booked but to me this lad is a substitute at the moment, behind Etoo and Naismith in the pecking order.

One last thing, I thought Distin and Howard played well after me slagging them off all week!

Bob Parrington
8 Posted 07/12/2014 at 10:37:23
Let’s face it, Mariner is an absolute prick of the highest order. What a diabolical decision? We deserved at least a point from this gem and his biased decision making process was completely unjustified to the point at which he should be suspended.

There, I got rid of some frustration with bad referees. Aaaahhhh!

Bob Parrington
9 Posted 07/12/2014 at 10:44:31
On another point, I reckon Besic (red card candidate or not) looks like an Evertonian of the future. He seems to be starting to fit in and, gut feel, he will become one of the top Everton mid-fielders. I hope I am right on this!
John Daley
11 Posted 07/12/2014 at 11:21:45
"We deserved at least a point from this gem".

I thought we got exactly what our pedestrian play merited.

We offered nothing at all as an attacking threat until the final fifteen minutes. Even then, there was only one real chance created during what should have been the teams ’shit or bust’ spell.

Yes, the penalty was contentious, and certainly soft, but it wasn’t a scandalous decision. In fact, it could almost be said to be deserved due to Jagielka’s downright stupidity in needlessly going in there for no reason whatsoever. The only danger was of his own devising. It was like Wile E Coyote setting the ’big pissing boulder perched precariously on the edge of a cliff’ death trap and then dancing around directly underneath it to test it out. The comical look of surprise seconds before he goes ’splat’ doesn’t cover the fact he really should have seen that shit coming.

If it was a young player making that needless challenge when the forward was going absolutely nowhere then you could accept it and put it down to the rashness of youth. When it’s an experienced 32 year old full international, your captain, and he can’t anticipate the risk of inviting a forward to introduce his arse to the deck on the edge of the box then it absolutely beggars belief.

As for which of the defensive midfielders should have been subbed? I’d say Martinez got that one wrong, but it wasn’t as though Besic was covering himself in glory. He’s got energy and attitude but he produced a lot of loose passes and spent long periods turning back into trouble. However, he was the best of a disjointed duo. Barry basically spent the entire game slowly stomping about like he’d been strapped into Ripley’s power loader from Aliens (*Clomp. Clomp. Clomp* ...."Get away from the ball YOU BITCH....I need at least another 40 seconds to lift my leg").

Danny Broderick
12 Posted 07/12/2014 at 11:27:19
I didn’t think we played too badly, but if there are 2 things we are lacking at the moment, it is energy and pace. We have no conviction going forward, you never feel like we are going to get behind an opposition defence.

Hopefully having Naismith and McCarthy back will add some energy going forward. We are crying out for someone with a bit of pace on the right though. This would help us to open teams up.

We are just too predictable to play against at the moment.

Clive Mitchell
13 Posted 07/12/2014 at 11:42:55
Ken, impeccable report on an unbelievably frustrating match. Thanks for dulling the pain by expressing it all so accurately. What a piece of work Marriner is. Agree with you about Besic and also think the guy shows considerable promise.
Kevin Dale
14 Posted 07/12/2014 at 12:10:23
As usual great write-up and one I always look forward to reading. My thoughts – refereeing apart, which was by far the worst I have seen in a long time (Clattenburg comes to mind a few years ago when we played them across the road!!)

I thought playing Hibbert at the back with Coleman in front of him did not really work as at times Coleman looked lost in the first half, although in the second half they did seem to grow into the roles and play better! I also thought Besic played much better than Barry and was baffled when he was taken off and not Barry who was on a yellow?

Overall though I thought we did look a little tighter in defence but all the other issues with us keeping the ball and playing it about at the back plus getting no-one in the box when we have the ball out wide still exist!

My summary so far before we enter the very busy and telling Christmas period is that we seem to be going backwards: set-pieces are awful, attacking play awful, plus the reliance on older so-called experienced players at the expense of our youth policy is starting to worry me! IÂ’m hoping our coaching staff are working on all of the above!!

Have a great Christmas!

Murdo Laing
15 Posted 07/12/2014 at 11:36:39
John #11. You, got it right, seems to me our play was pedestrian for the most part, and really we only had Mirallas showing any pace and EtoÂ’o trying his level best to create something, but we were playing the Champions, and clearly they were not in the mood to throw away any points on a day that Chelsea get dumped by Newcastle. It appeared to me that City used the flanks very effectively, Milner had a really good game, and every time Seamus was on the ball they nullified his threat quite easily. Put simply, we werenÂ’t at the races.

Ken, as ever, a balanced report, a little sanguine in tone, understandably so. We have been through these bad times before, both with RM at times last season, and before that under OFM. Injuries are taking their toll, but for me, I want to see more hunger and winning intent in our players. Samuel EtoÂ’o clearly has it, as does Naismith and McCarthy, but yesterday I felt some of those lads looked jaded, listless even?

On one of the threads on TW, someone commented on the potential for Baines to be moved into defensive mid with young Garbutt coming in at left back in the mould of Philip LahmÂ’s transformation at Bayern. Having seen the laboured way Gareth Barry is performing now, and with Gibbo (as ever) and JM out, IÂ’d like to see RM experiment with LB in BarryÂ’s place and give young Luke a long overdue run of games. Baines has the intelligence and guile to play there, and, importantly, he is rarely injured.

The ideal stage would be against Krasnodar , with us already qualified, why not try this out , with Kone, Browning and Ovideo given their shirts as well?

Gary Cargill
17 Posted 07/12/2014 at 12:55:51
Marriner was a joke. He let the game down badly yesterday. On the subject of away fans sitting together at Goodison. YES! If fans at Goodison could support like the away fans weÂ’d win every match.

I sit in the street end with my Dad and look at THE PARK END LIBRARIANS in disbelief sometimes, that single tier stand is deathly quiet. If they could get themselves going the rest of the ground would follow and Goodison would be a fortress. Shame. I donÂ’t understand it.

David Hallwood
18 Posted 07/12/2014 at 12:35:59
Great report as ever Ken, and a honourable mention for John Daly (#11), but trap or not John there was no player as surprised as Milner when Homer Marriner awarded the pen.

CanÂ’t agree with Franny Porter (#7) that Barry is overrated however I think that heÂ’s come to the point in his career that all midfielders get to where the legs are slower than the brain, and red & yellows are picked up almost weekly – Souness, Keane & Scholes come to mind.

All-in-all some positives can be taken from the game in that weÂ’ve played all the Â’big clubsÂ’ and havenÂ’t been battered or it hasnÂ’t been Â’men against boysÂ’ that IÂ’ve witnessed for most of the Prem era; and against City we wasnÂ’t at our best (although in fairness neither were they).

To compare our current team to the team of 3 or 4 seasons ago; we played Man City, Chelsea & Man Utd in successive home matches (I think), and we beat them all, but IMHO the Chelsea & City games were giant killing affairs, and it was only the United game (the one where Rodwell came on and scored to make it 3-1) that I had an 84-85 moment, with a rampant Donovan giving Neville a nightmare and we controlled and bossed the game against a very good united side..... yet another in a long, long list of false dawns.

Weirdly enough I havenÂ’t given up an a CL spot; there are lots of points on offer and no team (including us) have stepped up to the plate as nailed-on for the 3rd or 4th spot.

Keep the faith boys and girls, even though you lose sanity, hair colour and credibility with the outside world.

Mike Childs
19 Posted 07/12/2014 at 12:58:46
Thanks again for your brilliant take on the madness that is football. I agree Hart deserve a nod for that save as well as Eto and Rom.
Ian Glassey
20 Posted 07/12/2014 at 14:20:48
Good report as ever Ken, we missing Macca and Naismith big style.
Steve Carse
21 Posted 07/12/2014 at 14:30:46
John (11), thing is John, Jagielka didn’t tackle Milner. His body position was exactly where you’d want it to be when defending. Milner’s body moved towards Jagielka’s. Despite the best efforts of RS Redknapp to show otherwise, Jagielka’s foot did not meet with Milner’s.

If you’re going to stop defenders limiting the ease with which the man in possession can work himself a better position, then the game really is destined for oblivion.

John Daley
22 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:09:21
Steve,

I wasn’t suggesting it should have been a penalty or that the referee called it right. Simply that there wouldn’t have been a decision for the referee to make if Jagielka had not gone haring in when Milner was receiving the ball in a position from which he couldn’t really inflict any harm.

Why risk contact or connecting with an opposition player in the penalty area when he’s heading harmlessly away from goal? It was naive defending in the extreme, both clumsy and unnecessary and, nine times out of ten, a forward is going to take advantage and throw himself to the ground in such a situation (not suggesting Milner did in this instance).

Why give him the opportunity to do so, and the referee the opportunity to make another dogs dick of a decision?

I neither know nor care what Jamie Son Of Jam Face had to say about the incident but I’d bet my left nut he couldn’t wait to back the ref up.

Ajay Gopal
23 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:03:54
Thank you, Ken. After reading the knee-jerk reaction posts on the other match review threads, your report has come as a breath of fresh air. Clearly, Martinez is not able to get the team playing as we would like them to, but all teams go through a phase at some point in the season. Newcastle had theirs – now look where they are! Same with Man City – people were calling for Pellegrini to be sacked, but now they are 3 points off the ’invincible’ Chelsea.

Football is a funny game – and I am sure that, given the rub of the green, Martinez will turn this season around. Already, it has not been too bad – top of a very tough group in the Europa (giving us the luxury of trying our B-team in the dead rubber against Krasnodar) and lying like a wounded animal in 11th.

When we go on our run, you can bet that we will be up there with the Champions League contenders (but we would still have people moaning about how we could have won the league if we had not dropped points against West Brom, Crystal Palace, Hull, blah...blah..)!

Colin Glassar
24 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:26:31
Great post Ajay. If we won the league we’d still have a few saying we should’ve won with more points or goals or more flair etc....
Rob Halligan
25 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:50:03
As you said a few days ago Colin. Fickle fans!!
Tony Marsh
26 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:48:12
The penalty was harsh but on reflection WHY did Jagielka give a twat like Mariner an option to award one in the first place? Milner was going nowhere and when Jags makes contact in the box, there was only one outcome. The Ref spoiled the game but we also got away with a few as well.

I can’t see where our next win is going to come from now that Martinez has turned into Moyes. Coleman and Hibbert playing together. I am still scratching my head over that one.

In the summer, we need a total clear out of the meals-on-wheels brigade. It’s a joke the amount of geriatrics we have in the squad.

It’s no use trying to figure out what’s going wrong when it’s staring you in the face. Old men versus Young Lads will nearly always come off second best at this level.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
27 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:35:10
I think I’ll let Dave Lynch’s post say it a lot better than I can:

Football is a results-driven game and no-one can predict the future, which is why the vast majority of footy fans line in the "now" and quite rightly so.

Bottom line is this, we are poor at the present and a lot cannot see where the next 3 points are coming from. It "might" get better but, then again, it "might" get a lot worse and only time will tell.

The only thing we really had to go on was Martinez’s past record, which – let’s be honest – was not that great and (barring a fluke FA Cup win) was pretty abysmal really considering he got relegated.

Remember, it is a results-driven game and not a game of fortune telling and predictions.

David Flanagan
28 Posted 07/12/2014 at 15:59:19
’When we go on a run we will be ok’. When will this start then? We are far too pedestrian in both defending and more importantly in attack.

Lukaku will score given service but we don’t have any idea how to do it. Martinez needs to start earning this reputation he has of being an attacking manager as I don’t see it in our performances.

Ian Glassey
29 Posted 07/12/2014 at 16:12:14
I have stood up for Roberto and think he will be a great manager, but now is the time to start proving it.
Dave Pritchard
30 Posted 07/12/2014 at 16:15:54
I never expected to read posts on here agreeing with Jamie Redknapp’s view. He said that Jags didn’t need to make a tackle and that is why it was a penalty. Did Jags actually make a tackle? No.
Mark Frere
31 Posted 07/12/2014 at 16:29:52
Michael (27)

Why was it a fluke that Wigan won the FA Cup? Doesn’t our record 72 points and 5th place finish count for anything? I suppose us topping the ’group of death’ in Europa League with a game to spare also counts for nothing? Is our situation in the League that desperate that we can’t completely turn things around with a few wins?

Yes, fans are fickle and I for one am not ready for throwing in the towel!

Marc Sansum
32 Posted 07/12/2014 at 16:41:05
Spot on Mark Frere
Jay Harris
33 Posted 07/12/2014 at 16:34:14
Great report as usual Ken.

I think a lot of the frustration comes from poor planning and preparation preseason which did not add sufficient quality to the squad and left the players unfit to start the campaign.

IMO this is behind the number of injuries we have suffered and the lack of confidence and team spirit we are now seeing.

Kieran Riding
34 Posted 07/12/2014 at 16:47:45
Can’t beat a ’flukey’ FA Cup win though, can you?

I mean Sharpie getting in the way of an off target shot from Gary Stevens, and Gray fouling Sherwood in 84, not to mention the spawny Rideout goal in 95, eh??

Colin Glassar
35 Posted 07/12/2014 at 17:13:04
Well said Mark Frere. How many times did we have to wait until January before our season kicked off? I think we got spoilt after last season and probably our expectations were too high this season.

Some cooler heads did predict a second season syndrome, I for one didn’t believe them but maybe they were right. Still, I trust in Roberto and I believe in his project. Yes he’s fucked up, yes he’s acting strangely lately, yes he needs time to change things. Oh, and yes we are fickle fans.

Michael Kenrick
36 Posted 07/12/2014 at 17:07:25
Mark (#31), I hate to say this but the fear of relegation under Martinez cannot be discounted until the horribly Moyes-esque 40 points have been secured. That’s just a reality of life in the lower half of the Premier League — where we currently sit.

The points total last time out was brilliant — better than anything the former charlatan could manage in 11 long years of trying — but, last time I checked, it counts for nothing in this current season.

And the Europa League? Yes, we’ve won the group, but the perception is that Martinez’s focus on this has contributed to our, at best, mediocre performance in the one that really matters, the bread and butter of the Premier League.

Fans are not being ’fickle’ when they praise good performances and castigate bad ones — they’re just being normal fans who have more than a passing interest in the outcomes from one week to the next.

So please, let’s stop accusing fans of being ’fickle’ or producing ’knee-jerk’ reactions. It’s a cheap way of obliquely dissing other opinions rather then addressing specific instances where statements made seem over the top.

Colin Glassar
37 Posted 07/12/2014 at 17:22:26
Michael, if you did a poll on here about whether fans would prefer a top 4 place or a cup win, I think at least 80% would go for a trophy.

Personally, I’d rather earn a place in the top 4 as it is, as you say, our bread and butter. I agree with you that he seems to be putting all his eggs into one basket in detriment to the league. This is I dangerous game IMO as we saw with Wigan.

In an ideal world we’d finish 3rd this season and do a cup double but that isn’t going to happen. I’d rather concentrate on winning league games and seeing how far we can go in the cups but the league first for me.

Mark Frere
39 Posted 07/12/2014 at 17:45:29
Michael, it’s your opinion that the Premier League is the one that counts. Things aren’t going great in the league at the moment... but I don’t subscribe to this ’dramatic relegation dogfight’ malarkey. Despite our poor recent form, I think we are far too good to be battling it out with Burnley for PL survival.

We aren’t going to win the league or get relegated, so, actually winning the FA Cup or preferably, the Europa League is more important in my opinion. Remember, we win nothing for finishing top 8... we achieved that many times under the ginger one and every time it left me feeling unfulfilled.

Dave Lynch
40 Posted 07/12/2014 at 17:47:40
Mark Frere.

What I posted was FACT! We are poor at the moment and posters "stating" it will get better are only guessing.

Wigan "were" very lucky to win the FA Cup, they where battered by Man City who could not put the ball in the net for love nor money; another "fact" is Wigan where relegated.

I bet Newcastle fans where "guessing" things would improve half way through the season they went down as well.

Fact is this: You, me, Uri Gellar or any other person you come to mention cannot predict the future, the "fact" that we have won the EL group also counts for fuck all because that is over and done with, so for the best part is history. If we get twatted in the first knockout stage then it all counts for nothing.

Try living in the "now" because that is what "is" happening and not what "might" happen. Perhaps thinking of a brighter "future" is a lot less painful than facing a painful "now".

Either way, you’re guessing about the rest of the season, mate.

ps: I so hope you are right, by the way.

Patrick Murphy
41 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:10:43
Mark we are a whole five points ahead of Hull City who are third from bottom, and a team which could quite easily have won at Goodison last week, I’m not saying that we will be involved in a relegation battle but at the same token our current position and form cannot be totally ignored. Is it a mere coincidence that this bad run came immediately after we had cemented our place as group winners of the EL?
Sam Hoare
42 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:19:14
The trouble is, Mark Frere, that we could get all the way to the semis or even the final and still come away empty handed. There’s zero guarantee of a cup. Whereas there is an increasing guarantee every week that we drop points in the league that we will not be making the top 4.

I think a lot of people would probably take us ending 10th-16th in the league if we won the Europa or possibly even the FA Cup but we are a long way from doing so.

As for being too good for a relegation battle... other teams have been doomed by such complacency. I don’t think that’s where we are headed personally but no-one can rule it out.

Kieran Riding
44 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:25:44
Mike Walker.

No time to panic lads, Bobbys got this.

Mark Frere
45 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:20:04
Dave Lynch

Instead of harping on about what Martinez did or did not achieve at Wigan, ie. winning the FA Cup and getting relegated, wouldn’t it be a more accurate to analyse what he’s actually done at Everton... and that is finishing 5th with a record points total.

Wigan and Everton live in a completely different financial world.

Practice what you preach: "try living in the NOW".

Darren Hind
46 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:18:43
"We were spoiled last season"

The single most depressing thing I’ve read on an Everton Website.

I remember when Everton managers got the sack for finishing fourth... now people want to book an open top bus to celebrate failure to manage even that.

Colin Glassar
47 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:32:22
I’m with you, Mark. I can see us getting at least 7 points from our next three games which will put us in the top half of the table before we push on in January.

Am I guessing? Of course I am, but so are the naysayers who are predicting a relegation struggle. The fact is, is we just don’t know. We could go on an amazing run or we could fold (highly unlikely) and get involved in a dogfight.

The thing is is to remain calm and trust the team and manager. Both are far better than our league position would indicate.

Dave Lynch
48 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:32:44

Last season is history, Just look at our loveable neighbours across the park.

You must have a tardis mate, as I thought a year ago was in the past and today is "now".

Note to self... Space time continuum is fucked, must treat last season as "now"...

Dave Lynch
49 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:38:40
Just for the record Colin.

I have predicted nothing.

Kieran Riding
50 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:39:34
Dave (#38)

You should have said Liverpool are proper shite this season and we’re still behind them!

Jay Harris
51 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:29:10
"You get nothing for top 8".

Of course you do.

Every Prem place is worth around ٠ million a year plus a stronger chance of getting better commercial deals (LOL).

The Europa league is bringing in extra gate receipts but it is pure delusion and optimism to think we will win it at this point. You have to have luck, good form and good refereeing decisions. WE have none of those at present.

On the basis of most of the managers signings they were bought lazily (ie former players of his previous club or a job lot from Chelsea) without a lot of research into their suitability for a top club like Everton. Add to that the amateur "couldn’t care less" pre-season and it is no surprise we have fallen behind the likes of Southampton, West Ham and Man Utd.

I may be in the minority but I think the club is too big for Roberto to manage.

Colin Glassar
52 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:46:24
Darren, and I can remember when we could go out and buy the best players available. Am I happy or content with that? Am I hell!! But that’s our stock right now and it ain’t going to change soon.
Do I want to go down the road of so many other clubs and start sacking managers in December? Like fuck I do!!
Dan Hollingworth
53 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:44:13
Jay @51

I agree with you regarding pre season. It was an absolute shambles, only had 5 games and one of them was a testimonial. Playing teams at a neighbors ground in hastily arranged games. Taking kids to Germany to play newly promoted sides and for what? We were off the pace them first 8 games and these extra Europe are really are starting to show on a tired and jaded team.

Oh how differently things could have been if we came out the blocks and secured them Leicester and Arsenal points first 2 games of the season.

Bill Gall
54 Posted 07/12/2014 at 18:20:09
Mark # 39

Re your statement that we win nothing for finishing top 8.

Everton Football Club are in the entertainment business and the first team (regardless of some of our comments ) are their showpiece that a large amount of their budget is spent on. This means the first team are required to bring in money through their perfomances getting them higher up the league, gate money.TV monies and cup competitions.

The main source of money is in league positions that pay more the higher you finish in the league,so it is more beneficial to finish 4th than 8th financialy and this may help in not going back to our previous way of running the club by selling all of our better younger players to keep the banks happy.

I cerainly am not happy with the opinion that we put all of our efforts in the Europa competition as once the knockout competition starts 1 slip up and we can be out on the away goal rule.

Yes it was good to get into Europe this year but with the building up up of the team to bring the age of the squad down we still have to rely on as people say (our bread and butter) to stop sales of the likes of Coleman or Barkley .

Not a lot of supporters are happy at the momement but we are going to have to persevere with Mr Martinez until he shows that no, he is not as good as we believed from our perfomances last season

We all are aware that at the end of last season that the manager stated he required 6-7 players, but until we are informed why he never brought that amount in we have to support who we have

Peter Creer
55 Posted 07/12/2014 at 21:32:44
Thanks Ken for another great report on the game. This season has been a difficult one with many players suffering injuries and the additional games in the Europa League do impact our season.

That being said, we are fans, and slagging the team gets us nowhere. The next few games will play a big part on where the season goes and my hope would be that the many players who have returned from injury and those currently out like Naismith, McCarthy and Stones will again contribute to the team.

In my opinion, John Stones has been a big miss. I will agree with many who have said that the way we are slowly building from the back is sometimes frustrating. I will also say that this has been the case since Stones was injured. He is younger, a better passer of the ball, and quick. The sooner he is back the better.

LetÂ’s give the team a chance to grow together and letÂ’s get them back fit and fighting. Mirallas has made an impact after his return and I am quite sure that Eto will help Lukaku grow as a player.

COYB

Darren Hind
56 Posted 08/12/2014 at 05:51:34
Colin #52

IÂ’ve never called for an Everton manager to be sacked. (Although I wasnÂ’t too downhearted when Moyes did one.)

You want to shout from the rooftops that Martinez has raised our expectations... Then you want to claim we were spoilt last season when we won nothing and even blew hopes of CL football in the last few games of the season.

If thatÂ’s you with your bar raised, I fear for you when you when BobbyÂ’s Viagra effect wears off.

Mike Gwyer
58 Posted 08/12/2014 at 06:35:43

Good report Ken but itÂ’s difficult to get worked up about the game as the man in the middle was fucking atrocious, some of his decisions bordered on total fix and yet fuck all is mentioned anywhere. Most of our players really couldnÂ’t give a fuck when they could see what a biased twat Marriner was.

Also have to say that BarryÂ’s association with Man City reminds me of NevilleÂ’s fixation with Man Utd. Hugs and kisses for all his ex-mates and then he throws in his worst game for Everton. Surprise surprise.

Worrying thing though is the age of some our players, I mean how the fuck did Barry get a 3-year deal?? HeÂ’ll have a walking stick before he leaves Goodison, accompany that with Eto'o, Osman & Hibbo having almost 2 years as well!!!!!. Fucking giggle when you see that OviedoÂ’s contract runs out this coming June and Mirallas now states that he wants CL footy – oh yeah, he has 18 months on his contract.

James Hill
59 Posted 08/12/2014 at 06:44:07
Great report Ken. WeÂ’ll come right IÂ’m sure of it.
Harold Matthews
60 Posted 08/12/2014 at 09:35:45
Spot on, Mike. The commentator called us "Elderly Everton."

The Premier League is everything for me. It's a status thing and I hate where we are right now. Newspaper hacks on Sky Sunday Supplement kept rattling off the 6 best teams and we were mentioned every time. It felt good. It felt right. Unlike Southampton, West Ham, Newcastle, Swansea, Stoke and Villa, we are viewed as one of the big boys and that's how I want it to stay. Unfortunately, I'm not sure all the players feel the same way.

Thomas Surgenor
61 Posted 08/12/2014 at 10:47:36
Teams know how to play against us now. We need a little more urgency/directness with the passes... that is all.

I still believe in our philosophies. We've been highly unluckly with injuries to key players. Unfortunately our injuries this year have all been to our more direct players.

West Ham won at the weekend with the long ball game. I remember when we won like that and still some people on here complained.

Martin Mason
62 Posted 08/12/2014 at 11:17:17
One thing we have to realise is that the Premier League is tougher now than at any time, teams are constantly improving and there's little less difficulty playing the bottom teams like Palace and the top teams like Man City. Chelsea lost at Newcastle too – amazing.

We had a great season last year but we blinked in the close season, we bought fairly badly, prepared badly, and then couldn't cope with the injuries that have piled up. My glass is half full though and feel that we'll improve but won't see CL or even EL football next year – too late now. Our best players are missing still (Naismith, Stones and McCarthy) and we'll improve gradually as we get fit with Oviedo, Garbutt and Browning coming along as well.

RM has to take the blame, of course, he's done badly this season and I think it's surprised him. His reaction has so far been poor in tactics, selection and substitutions but he'll recover a bit.

I think in the final reckoning though that we have a lot of players who are too old or just not good enough for the EPL. We have to rebuild again around our strong young core. If we could polish Ross Barkley so that he could do something good at the end of every run instead of giving it away, that would be a great start.

Anto Byrne
63 Posted 08/12/2014 at 11:48:18
As good a defender Tony Hibbert is, he can't be first choice ahead of Browning who is big and strong and has pace. It was his effort in the Derby that led to our equalizer.

The Europa League has seen Garbutt get a run and he impressed with deadball situations. Coleman was reluctant to get forward as he would have left Tony exposed. Besic seemed to be restricted by the tactics as we always had eight behind the ball and no-one was getting forward to help the forwards. Eto'o put in a shift but was all too extravagant while Barkley did a few good things in that central role.

With 20 minutes, a reshuffle of the pack was required. In days of old we would push the likes of Dave Watson or a Mike Lyons forward. If we're going to lose, lets go down fighting. This current mob has no fight, no arrogance, lacks that bit of mongrel. Mr Nice guy needs to get that fucking suit off and put his tracksuit and boots on.

Tony J Williams
65 Posted 08/12/2014 at 15:26:09
It's Hibbert's fault again....brilliant.

Hibbert was the tool that allowed the ref to allow a pathetic penalty.

Hibbert was the player who consistently failed to pass to his own players or fall over...

Hang on! it wasn't him.

He was there to defend and allow Coleman, who is in the worst form of his career, to have a go at their left back.

Didn't do any worse than Baines.

You know what you get with Hibbert, some posters seems to forget what type of player he is and is somehow not playing to his potential??

Also it seems that we want to big up our players based on 20 minutes of play again. There must be some reason why Bobby isn't playing Browning. It certainly isn't Hibbert's fault.

Eric Myles
66 Posted 08/12/2014 at 15:53:42
"Coleman was reluctant to get forward as he would have left Tony exposed"

Despite the fact that Hibbert is the better defender of the two???

Colin Glassar
67 Posted 08/12/2014 at 15:57:46
Seamus has been poor ever since he returned from injury. I wonder if he's 100%. I doubt it. Loving the Hibbo renaissance though.
Ray Robinson
68 Posted 08/12/2014 at 16:29:17
Hibbert is a decent defender - no more. The point is that when Coleman is off form, as he undoubtedly is, we should not have to resort to re-selecting a player is so limited. Maybe that's one of the reasons we're not moving on? The squad's not nearly so strong as we imagined.
Bill Gall
69 Posted 08/12/2014 at 16:58:34
Talking about how we will improve once we are able to get our injured players back and the amount of injuries we have make me think that to try to keep the team competitive the manager is bringing in to quickly some of the injured players.

2 that come to mind are Coleman and Barry who are way off their performances they had prior to their injuries.
We would all like to see Stones back but the length of time Miralles is taking to get match fitness it may be late January until Stones is fully fit.

This thursday is an ideal situation to bring in a number of youngsters and others deemed as fringe players and not risk any more injuries to tired players.

Paul Andrews
70 Posted 08/12/2014 at 17:21:40
If McCarthy is fit and is partnered with Besic and Barkley plays we will see a more pacy,mobile midfield.

Barry been great for us but he looks shattered,needs leaving out for a few games imo

Denis Richardson
71 Posted 08/12/2014 at 17:29:26
Lot of interesting points and to be fair I think it could very quickly go either way league wise.

Positives:

a) Relegation is not an issue. Regardless how shite we play we will still pick up more points than the likes of Burnley, Leicester and Sunderland just to name three (can include West Brom and QPR to the list if you want). Doom mongerers need not bother posting about relegation.
b) Other than McCarthy and Stones, all key players are healthy again and not far off match fitness
c) We won our EL league with a game to spare and don't have anymore EL games until end of Feb (so no more tiredness excuses for a couple of months at least Mr Roberto)
d) Oviedo should now be back and his enthusiam will be real bonus
e) V.Important - our play can only get better as we've been playing shite but are still in 12th.
f) Also V. Important - its still early enough in the season for a couple of back to back wins to make a big difference league wise.

Moving on.....Negative

Our own style of play seems to be our main problem. Whether it's the slow build up, balance of the starting XI, off form players, tiredness.....probably bit of everything. Big Question - Does Bobby know what's specifically wrong and more importantly does he know what to do/how to fix it? Recent evidence is not comforting and that's the 64k dollar question.

I don't buy into the 'our squad is not good enough' argument. On paper we have one of the strongest squads we've had in years. However, something just isn't right at the moment. Far too many players are off form (nevermind match fitness) and the whole team doesn't seem to have that positive body language that they had last year. Maybe its just down to confidence and we only need to get a couple of results (although we did that in the Vlla and Burnley matches.....).

Personally I'd like to see the manager try something new with the starting XI. We seem to play the same faces every game in defence and midfield. It would be good to mix it up a bit to at least give some of the senior off form players a kick up the back side and let some of the younger players get some minutes on the big stage (e.g.Garbutt, Browning, McCaleny, Atsu). I'm not saying they're better but the older players need to fight for their places. Too many walk into the starting XI regardless of form (and at times fitness!). E.g. Baines, Coleman and Barry have been really poor last few games.

One thing is clear - this weekend's game against QPR is massive and a lot more than 3 points is a stake. The crowd is going to go apeshit if we don't win (I think we will easily) and the added pressure on the manager and players will not bode well going into the xmas schedule if we don't get max points.

We need to maintain a good run in the league as winning a cup is a complete lottery.

Anto Byrne
73 Posted 09/12/2014 at 12:26:51
We do have a lot of players over the age of 32. I realise we need experience and level heads in big games. But what happens when players are not performing, giving away stupid fouls and getting caught in possession or, dare I say it, giving the ball away cheaply?

We endured two full seasons carrying Tim Cahill whose time ran out. I dare say time is up for quite a few players but they all seem to have signed longer contracts keeping them around until they are pushing 40.

A four-year extension for Howard and putting Barry on a three-year deal looks a bit premature given their performances so far this season. So who are you kidding, Mr Martinez?

Phil Walling
74 Posted 09/12/2014 at 19:47:18
I was away for the weekend and missed game completely. From your report, Ken, it looks like we were the victims of a very dodgy penalty but didn't show much up front.

Good to see that Ross was influential and had a few of his 'surges' as you call them. Opta don't seem to record those unless they lead to a goal or assist but perhaps I'm looking in wrong place. Was he playing in a box to box midfield role ?

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