Southampton 3 - 0 Everton

With the exception of our Europa League form, there's a lot that has been worrying about this season. The haphazard pre-season preparations; the points dropped from winning positions in the first two matches; the defensive horror show against Chelsea; and the catalogue of errors against Crystal Palace. The first month or so of the campaign signalled that despite high expectation of another tilt at the top four, all was not well at Everton.

There were mitigating circumstances then, of course. The Word Cup and the varying periods of leave for the Blues' international players had severely disrupted pre-season and Romelu Lukaku, the man whose goals were might fire Roberto Martinez's side into the Champions League, began life as a full-time Everton player with a toe injury.

Ross Barkley, the talented starlet who had lit up last season with some mesmerising goals and vital contributions, was crocked on the eve of the season and would be out of action for two months. And as the weeks rolled by, all of Kevin Mirallas, Seamus Coleman, John Stones, James McCarthy and Steven Naismith would follow him onto the injured list, robbing Martinez of some of his most important players.

Most of those key components have returned now – McCarthy and Stones remain vital absentees, of course – but results and, most importantly, the performances haven't improved. Where on many occasions last season, the Blues were dynamic and entertaining to watch they have in recent weeks become turgid and predictable in their build-up play and easy to nullify.

Which leads to what was, without doubt, the most worrying moment of Martinez's reign to date – a game against a Southampton side reeling from five consecutive defeats, a trio of suspensions and injuries to some of their most important players. As the first 30-odd minutes showed, they were there for the taking if Everton could just find some of the attacking ingenuity and tempo that use to make them such an attractive team to watch.

For the first time in weeks in the Premier League, the Blues looked more like something resembling their former selves from the first year of Martinez's tenure, that despite the manager shoe-horning Samuel Eto'o, Naismith and Barkley into the same team, with the 21 year-old shifted out of the deeper-lying role in which he had been so effective on Monday to accommodate the return of Gareth Barry.

Allowed more space in which to operate than has been the case of late against sides that have elected to press their line into errors with a high pressing game, Everton dominated the first 30-odd minutes in terms of possession. Baines was finding plenty of opportunity to drive forward down the left flank and even Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka were taking turns to raid into the opposition half with the ball at their feet. But things routinely broke down when they got to the final third of the field and the illusion of the Blues' returning mojo was shattered seven minutes from half time when they scored a third successive own goal at the St Mary's.

It was simultaneously an instance of justice served for the Saints, who should have been awarded a penalty when Jagielka tried to clear Naismith's inexplicable high ball back into his own area but kicked Shane Long instead, and an example to Martinez's men of how to take a dangerous set-piece (although whether it would have been quite as threatening had Tim Howard not remained rooted to his goal line is another issue). Earlier in the half, Everton had taken four consecutive corners and failed to produce an effort on target from any of them; Southampton put their first corner into the six-yard box and forced Lukaku, under pressure from Jose Fonte, to head meekly into his own net.

It was downhill from there, with Martinez – unfathomably – unmoved to change a single thing to address a situation that was running away from him. Arouna Kone was summoned from the bench to start warming up in the 53rd minute but never made the field. If his frustratingly misguided post-match comments are any indication, Martinez mistakenly believed, on the basis of the first half, that his team had enough to get back into the game. But time and time again, whether it was the result of a poorly executed throughball from Samuel Eto'o or a youthful refusal to play in the easy ball to an overlapping teammate by Barkley for just two examples, the final pass almost never materialised.

When it did, Naismith did well to instinctively touch Eto'o's pass around a defender to create space for a shot but he was tackled just as he was lining things up and late on, Lukaku rolled his own marker brilliantly but Frazier Forster saved equally well with his foot. In between, the Blues had conceded two more soft goals and, as they plodded on with the same shape and personnel all the way through to the final whistlle, had seen the contest drift away from them.

20 minutes into the second half, Nathaniel Clyne's cross from the right was knocked down by Long in the Everton area and Graziano Pelle was on hand to convert unchallenged from close range with Howard flapping vainly to get something on the ball. Then, with eight minutes remainin, another cross found a Southampton head with ease as Maya Yoshida powered home a third to complete Everton's misery. Ronald Koeman's side, stretched to the limit by absentees and backed up by a slew of kids from their U21s set-up on the bench, was coasting at 3-0 while the Blues, pretenders to the top four in August, were in utter disarray.

From the dejected fans who trooped out of the packed away end in the closing minutes to the spleens being vented on social media and websites after the match, this was clearly a critical moment in the Martinez era; one where the concerns about the team's League performance to date were all crystallised by one demoralising defeat.

The scoreline, the depleted state of the opposition, the manner of the goals conceded, the Blues' inability to force a save from Forster until the 78th minute, and the manager's baffling refusal to make any substitutions all raise big questions over where Everton go from here.

It should start with an acknowledgement by Martinez that the sluggish passing game that has become such a drag on this season is plainly not working and that a team very similar to last season is capable of playing at a much higher tempo and more directly. He also has to concede that playing three "number 10s" in the same line-up at the expense of width is a visible hindrance, particularly as the ball hardly ever makes it into the opposition penalty area.

Martinez's inability or lack of desire to acknowledge both the team's failings and his own in his interview after the match – not to mention his insistence that he doesn't need to add to the squad in January – was deeply concerning, though, and casts doubt over whether the man so revered for his impressive first year in charge and all the positive change he has brought to the club is capable of making the changes that could turn things around.

The more battle-hardened Blues among us who lived through the barren 90s and the nearly-nearly of the 2000s were afraid to believe that this was it; that Everton had found the sledge hammer to shatter the glass ceiling between them and a return to the big time. The Martinez regime may yet prove to be the one that leads us back there but right now, in the aftermath of another wretched defeat, it just feels like another false dawn. Perhaps that should be the club's post-1980s motto?

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Amit Vithlani
1 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:04:42
Great article Lyndon. Like you, my big fear is that Martinez is in a tactical coma from which he will not awaken.

The alarm bells are ringing loudly enough now. Even his biggest supporters are expressing concern and angst. Hence the game against Stoke is a watershed.

My hope is still that Martinez will wake up and fire up the side to put in a performance. We need to see work rate, high pressing, and a greater exploitation of the flanks. This probably needs a change to 4-4-2 and a quicker delivery into the box for Kone and Eto'o (time to bench Lukaku).

All this would have been anathema to the man a few weeks ago. If however he is pragmatic enough to acknowledge that the style has to change (atleast until the side regains confidence and a platform from which to build his preferred style of play) then we may still find ourselves recovering in the second half of the season.

If however he fails to change his approach in the next game then an immediate change is necessary as the man will be putting our PL position at risk.

The fear I have is that our Chairman lacks the guts to make such a change. Whelan at Wigan had the same problem and look where they are now.

David Flanagan
2 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:18:33
Excellent post, David, I agree with all you say. When their 2nd goal went in there was movement on the bench and I thought thank god with 25 minutes left changes are now inevitable. But no not a sausage!

Lukaku is totally out of sorts and although heÂ’s not getting any good service his all round play is dire. Kone should at least been given this chance to offer something different.

Why he plays EtoÂ’o and Naismith in the same team is beyond me and playing Barkley out wide is just a joke. Two fullbacks now nullified by everyone and two holding midfielders creating nothing we lack any guile going forward.

I hope Stones, McCarthy and Mirallas are not too far away from fitness and, with Ross playing central, Kone up top, improvement surely canÂ’t be too far away.

Ian Bennett
3 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:25:41
We've been worked out, and his arrogance, like Rodgers, in refusing to play any other way is costing us dear.

A 3-0 defeat against an injury ravaged Saints side on a poor run is hopefully the wake up call this season has demanded. No subs used yesterday, wtf is that all about.

A Europa league win will of course be celebrated come May, but you just can't see this side being anywhere strong enough to defend when it matters. All roads run to Wigan...

Phil Skupski
4 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:48:18
Amit ... You make some very valid points but if the ball is getting into the box faster then I think we should stick with Romelu. Quick ball in front of him will play to his strengths.
Matt Traynor
5 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:49:25
Ian #3 but they weren't injury ravaged where they? All week we'd heard how they were down to the bare bones, but they had 2 players missing through suspension, and maybe 1 injury. We probably have a list to match.

That's not an excuse by the way. They were on a dreadful run of form, confidence should've been on the floor, but maybe facing Everton these days is what these teams look to as the opportunity to snap out of it, same with players. Pelle hadn't scored for a while after his prolific start. And that goal to put them 2-0 up was their first shot on target...

Fact is our play is laboured, and if we don't have the players to play his system, nor the funds to bring players in who can, then the system has to change. It won't, he's as stubborn as his predecessor.

With games coming thick and fast, and a game in the FA Cup we're more than capable of throwing away, I can see it getting quite testy down Goodison. For me the question is why wasn't it like this when DM was boring us to tears at various points of his tenure?

Darryl Ritchie
6 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:45:33
BK became chairman in 2004. He inherited OFM. Moyes left us for a "bigger" club. BK has hired 1 manager and sacked no one.

I genuinely like Roberto. I pray he he can turn things around, but as Amit points out, I really hope BK’s on top of this and can pull the trigger if needs be.

Christopher Timmins
7 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:47:44
Lyndon, this is a very depressing time for all supporters of the team. Lets forget about top 4 for this season, it's gone, well gone. From a look at the table this morning I can't see how we can finish above any of the following:

Chelsea
Man City
Man United
Arsenal
West Ham
Spurs or
Southampton

What drives me crazy at the present time is the complete lack of balance in the team. We have what I consider 4 right sided players at the club:

Coleman
Hibbo
McGeady
Mirallas, two from the above 4 should start!

We have have left sided players:

Baines
Oviedo
Grabutt
Pienaar, two from the above should start!

We have three number 10's

Barkley
Naismith
Eto

One of the three should start!

and we have two players who play up top

Lukaku and
Kone

One of the two should start!

Unfortunately we need a new number one and this should be dealt with in the next two windows.

Peter Carpenter
8 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:51:36
What's that phrase he uses? Sin miedo? Well, if he means it he will drop senior players out of form - Barry, Howard etc. and give young players a chance in meaningful matches - Garbutt. He will recognise that some senior players are close to the end and have reduced value to the team - Distin. He will begin the process of replacing the over 30s. He will pick Barkley in his most effective position and stop switching him around week after week. He will choose one of Besic, Barry or McCarthy to partner Barkley. He will choose between Naismith and Eto'o for the number 10 role, not both. He will play with a higher tempo to play to Lukaku's strengths more. He will leave out Lukaku when it's not going for him and give Kone a chance. He will leave a player on the halfway line when we defend corners. He will make substitutions early to try and change games. He will stop saying 'incredible' and 'phenomenal' in interviews when we all know there was nothing incredible or phenomenal to be seen.
Sin miedo - you said it Roberto, now prove you mean it. It's not all over - you can do great things with this team - stop fannying around man. BE BOLD!
Andrew Clare
9 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:05:12
My worry is that BK will do nothing and it will be too late. I am not advocating sacking Roberto but I am expecting a meeting between the two so that it is established how the situation will be remedied. If satisfactory answers aren't heard then further action should be taken.
Eddie Dunn
10 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:57:32
The writing has been on the wall for some time now, and I like many others have been willing to give Roberto the benefit of the doubt,

The problem is he is so stubborn, and unwilling to admit publicly any shortcomings.

This leaves us fans scratching our heads, because if he doesn't indicate that he needs to sort out some roblems, then he is either a fool or deceiving us. Either way he is losing our blind faith.

Most people realise that his selections lack balance, and he is playing good players in the wrong places.
We can forgive this in the midst of a real injury crisis, but not when he has other options.
I'm sick of it ,and hope he gets a grip and turns it round but doubt that he will.

A tough time ahead, mid-table at best, with a big reality check in the Europa to come. We have ridden our luck so far, but we are not as good as our results, and a clever team will hammer us.

Steve Pugh
11 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:08:48
What Christopher said.

Although I do like Barkley in the deeper role

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:11:54
The players, I believe, are in the main trying their best in a rigidly imposed, spontaneity-draining, fear-inducing, (so-called) fluid system.

I'm dreading the Stoke game. The first couple of errors and the crowd will be on the players' backs. I can hear the boos now, in the early minutes, and all that will follow - the fear of the crowd, the fear of the manager, the fear of Stoke, the blame game amongst the players.

I'm so bleeding depressed with yesterday and future prospects.

Jay Doyle
13 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:08:40
Martinez will not change. Kenwright will not change the manager. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded sadly. Everton have no Plan B and wonÂ’t deviate from a stubbornness to pass, pass, pass whilst getting nowhere; no urgency whatsoever in attacks. Barcelona can do this because they have world class players... We donÂ’t.

Moyes was far from perfect but at least his teams could apply pressure when they needed to. IÂ’m genuinely worried now...

Simon Harris
14 Posted 21/12/2014 at 09:21:23
A depressingly accurate article Lyndon.

I posted last night that even in our dark times under Moyes, you always felt that he could muster the fight, desire and organisation within the squad to retain our premiership survival.

Sadly, I'm not sure Martinez is capable of change. There appears no 'back to basics' pragmatic football in his locker.

I'm reminded of Wigan's crucial home game against Swansea, a must win, that they lead early in the 2nd half. Could they grind out the win and hold on by playing percentage must win football. No, they invited trouble by pissing around at the back and conceded. And a couple of weeks later threw away their premiership place.

Of course it's not just down to one game but that game frustrated the hell out of me watching them throw it away against a team with nothing to play for and reminds me of our current predicament. Yesterday was an embarrassment and his post match comments were delusional.

Will we go down, I think not, but can anyone with any confidence say that they believe Martinez is capable of resuscitating this squad and club. If his patronising post match interviews and recent past are anything to go by then I think not.

I hope I'm just being a dramatic pessimist and he can change - or listen to his staff and senior players who should be encouraging him to try something different, starting with 3 points on Boxing day in front of a packed Goodison closely followed by a win at Newcastle. Which will hopefully have us wondering what all the fuss was about.

Amit Vithlani
15 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:21:43
Matt @ 5 the answer I suspect is because last season opened everyone's eyes as to what could be achieved with the right attitude and approach. This season we appear to have thrown away those foundations. It is a deep sense of frustration and what might have been. One feels as if Martinez is putting his philosophy above all else. We also know that Martinez already has at his disposal the nucleus of an outstanding team at the club, something which our OFM did not have until his latter reign
Brent Stephens
16 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:39:02
Simon #14 "encouraging him to try something different, starting with 3 points on Boxing day."

My fear is that we play the same way and scrape a win against Stoke, with that being seen by Roberto as vindication of his approach and a no-change mentality still.

Clive Lewis
17 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:30:23
I think Roberto is deluding everyone to put them into a positive mindset. Poor defending go hand in hand with Roberto teams. Mediocrity and then relegation is heading our way, we are at stage 2 of the Martinez era, denial, the old one of we defended badly, shame because stage 1 was good last year. Stage 3, well just look at Wigan when they were relegated, it is not to disssimilar to our very own Europa league successes only then it was the fa cup.
Amit Vithlani
18 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:37:46
Phil @ 4 I will readily admit I am Lukaku's biggest fan. The boy can be a destroyer if we played to his strengths.

However what we need is an all action high energy game against Stoke, both to counter their approach and also to get the crowd and the team going.

Lukaku is not about work rate. He will not put himself about in the rest of the pitch. It's best to use him as an impact sub until the team regains confidence and can once again start playing to his strengths.

John Crawley
19 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:34:30
Some good posts particularly Peter and Christopher. To me Martinez needs to get back to some basic principles.

Don't change a winning team
If someone misses a game due to injury or suspension and their replacement comes in and does a good job then keep them in the team.
Play people in their best position.
If something isn't working then change it ASAP in a positive manner - we've got 6 outfield players on the bench, use them!
Play at a high tempo

Last season Martinez was pretty much doing that, for some reason this season he's stopped doing pretty much all of them! I'm hoping that last season was the true Martinez but time will tell.

John Keating
20 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:36:43
Totally agree with everything above except Lyndons exception of our Europa League form.
In our 2 games against Wolfsburg we could well have been beaten home and away. The problems we have in our League games was there also.
Lille and Krasnador away we were lucky to get away with those results.
Had our European opponents known more about us and watched us more often - as our domestic opponents - we could well have been out of this totally worthless competition.
Half way through last season I posted that I hoped we either finished 4th or out of the Europa placings. I got a bit of a slagging as I think most posters wanted trips abroad rather than useful games.
I do not for one minute suggest the Europa League is the reason we are so pathetic in the league but it has not helped.
We need to spend the remainder of this dismal season consolidating our league status.
No doubt we'll hear from the usual "our league status is not in doubt" brigade but let me ask if our form and performances bode well to keep out of any relegation battle ?
Our tactics are shite and our performances are pathetic and whilst our management refuse to accept this we will only go in one direction and that is not up !
Lee Courtliff
21 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:33:53
It's a bit 'Groundhog Day'.

All the same posts that were aimed at Moyes.

Especially that one about bringing EVERYONE back for corners !!

That's my 'pet hate'.

I think it's a combination of
1) Injuries. Which every team gets so we can't complain too much. It's just 'football'.
2) Second Season Syndrome. Novelty has gone , teams adapting to us , etc.
3) Europa League. Massive drain on thesquad. Which we eexpected but didn't have the funds to avoid.

Despite all this I'm still quietly confident in Bobby. I almost expected this season to be very 'up n down'. It's gonna take time for the players and manager to learn how to balance all this.

I'm not making excuses for him because I get just add frustrated as the rest of you butv I'm willing to give him until the end of his third season in charge before I start talking about replacing him.

I wouldn't worry about relegation , I could keep this team in the Premier League. We aren't Wigan , we have much better players.

Trevor Lynes
22 Posted 21/12/2014 at 10:50:46
I agree with all the article and like Rogers we do not seem to know what is our best team.How does Alcaraz make the bench while Oviedo does not ?Why wasnÂ’t Kone brought on at half time to replace EtÂ’oo.I actually said before the game started that we looked really vulnerable in front of Baines with no Pienaar or Oviedo in front of him.Our football last season was much quicker and now it is too slow that is one of the reasons for our most turgid displays of late.Really the Barkley goal last week was a big surprise as we were meandering along until then.last season we were having over twenty attempts a game whilst now we are hardly troubling opposing goalkeepers.I have said it ad nauseum that our squad is not big enough to adequately cover injuries and continue to play competitively, especially with the added fixtures.Now we have three away games coming up and we need to turn the corner quickly as defeats affect confidence.When we have our best team out I do not fear any other side but we cannot cope with injuries.
Dave Williams
23 Posted 21/12/2014 at 11:14:48
Brent #12 I have the same fear. Unless Roberto sorts himself out and regalvanises the players, the crowd will start off quiet and then change to jeers and boos which will only make players even more nervous.

Time for him to show what heÂ’s made of because if he canÂ’t turn this around then he will not be in the job next season. Some posters donÂ’t think BK will do anything but bear in mind that for the club to progress, to have a chance of selling it, we have to get a new ground and that will never happen with a poor team. Some may think it wonÂ’t ever happen anyway but relegation would be fatal to any such hopes and if we get too close the board will take action.

We have the players who can turn it around and we are still 10th but Roberto has to grasp the problems – poor motivation, elderly players with no energy, ponderous football and poor gutless defending – and pick the younger and hungrier players in their true positions before this gets to real crisis point.

James Martin
24 Posted 21/12/2014 at 11:17:09
Lee its not just about worrying about relegation though. Its about wasting what is potentially our best premier league squad. If this season doesn’t end in European football then we are running a huge risk of Stones, Mirallas, McCarthy Barkley Lukaku (although some might not care so much about him) Coleman and Besic wanting to leave. They obviously all won’t but top players will not stay at a club that cannot achieve higher than mid-table. We kept hold of them in the summer because we had European football and looked ambitious with the signing of Lukaku. If we have a summer of no European football and no signings then they will be off. It will be for hefty money but would anyone want Martinez to spend it?

The facts are that after three transfer windows only one of Roberto’s signings feature in our top players list. Barkley (academy) Stones (Moyes) Naismith (Moyes) Coleman (Moyes) Mirallas (Moyes). Lukaku could join that list but he’s bang out of form and at his price tag cannot yet be concluded a good signing (although I think he would come good if we played to his strengths). Besic is another one who I believe will be a good player. Worst of all he’s still trading on Moyes’ back five that even Moyes himself knew needed replacing (signings of Oviedo and Stones).

I used to defend Moyes a lot in the early days because what he was working with was genuinely rubbish. In the later days when he did have some quality then he deserved the criticism that came his way for underusing it. This side Martinez has, however, has more quality than any side Moyes possessed. Stones Barkley and Lukaku are three potential world class talents that have been added to this team (ok Moyes was rightly criticised for not using Barkley but he was a lot younger) Coleman has become world class, Mirallas is in his top form. Yet the end result looks like we’re going to finish lower than some of the teams Moyes had with a midfield of Osman Neville and Cahill. Simply not good enough. Lots of the commentators away from the usual Sky RS mob who are loving it, have pointed out that on paper our squad and first 11 is miles behind where it should be. Given United’s poor start and Arsenal and Liverpool spluttering we should be easily up in the top 4 or at least around it.

Paul Andrews
25 Posted 21/12/2014 at 11:36:07
Can we put the talk of relegation to bed please.
It wonÂ’t happen
Bob Parrington
26 Posted 21/12/2014 at 11:51:58
What a pathetic performance by both the team ad the manager. Just shows we have NFI, Time to have a complete rethink and maybe a change.................
Lee Courtliff
27 Posted 21/12/2014 at 11:48:42
I agree with a lot of your points, James. But in fairness , injuries and European fixtures have dictated what Bobby can field at times.

The three Number 10s clearly doesn't work. I blame him for that.

I'm disappointed too but I honestly was almost expecting this. Last season was too 'smooth' a transition , there were bound to be some bumps in the road eventually.

Let's just give him so more time before we panic about losing players and relegation.

Lots to play for yet.

But I wish he'd fuck off with bringing EVERYONE back for corners !!

Charles McCann
28 Posted 21/12/2014 at 11:42:55
Like Lee No 21, I'm still well behind Roberto to turn things around. He now needs to be a bit more ruthless when selecting the team... time for Howard, Jags, Distin and Barry to be dropped. Robles doesn't inspire me with any great confidence but Howard has had his chance.

A new keeper in January is essential. I'm confident things will improve with better ball players at the back in Stones and Alcaraz. We have a strong squad and I do believe that Martinez passing style will prove successful in the long run as opposed to Moyes direct hoof ball style.

Simon Harris
29 Posted 21/12/2014 at 11:37:23
Brent #16 - I hear you and share your frustration.

I'm just looking for a crumb of positivity and getting to 40 points as quickly as possible is now a must.

Whilst this maybe papering over the cracks, it will hopefully reduce the pressure allowing his style to come to the fore.

Brent Stephens
30 Posted 21/12/2014 at 12:20:45
Simon #29 Can't disagree with that.

Trevor #22 "How does Alcaraz make the bench while Oviedo does not?"

I wonder if there's something up with Oviedo that they are keeping quiet about.

John Keating
32 Posted 21/12/2014 at 12:40:32
Paul 25
I seem to remember a few Newcastle mates saying the same thing a few years ago.
Even us many seasons ago !!
If you truly believe that our results and performances are not those of teams down the bottom then good on you.
If this team and management don't sort themselves out pretty quick then we will be getting too close for comfort
John Raftery
34 Posted 21/12/2014 at 12:28:55
Lyndon - A very accurate summary of where we are at present. Yesterday reminded me of the worst days of Mike Walker's reign. The question is whether or not Roberto will be sufficiently pragmatic to do what is necessary to grind out some results. Some may turn their noses up at a dogs of war approach but defeats are even less palatable. The best managers are those who learn from their mistakes and adapt systems to suit the players available and the situation in which they find themselves. They also listen to their back room staff. Will Roberto do that? The next few weeks will provide the answer.
Jim Lloyd
35 Posted 21/12/2014 at 12:40:24
I agree with your comments Charles (28) also with Lee and with many others too. It is another excellent piece Lyndon.

Brent, are you in the front section of the upper Bullens roughly in line with the Gwladys St penalty area edge. If so, yes, that's the bloke you can hear.

I too have bought in to Roberto's vision but I have to say, I'm having doubts at the mo. There have been some really long term injuries to what is an already small squad and it will be great to see everyone fit and ready to play Especially if we can bring Stones and Oviedo back in and Miralles too.

I agree that our two centre backs and our goalkeeper need replacing and it doesn't look to me that Barry is anywhetre near as good as he was last season. Even then, though, he was getting caught out but generally he used his brain to cover his lack of pace.

Now, I have my doubts whether Roberto can, or rather, will do anything about changing our defence by dropping Jagielka and Distin. I don't think he can drop Tim Howard, as I don't believ Robles is the answer but I do think we should be looking very urgently for a replacement.

I think we have to remember too, that Mr Kenwright might not have the cash to spend out on anyone. Maybe when the Summer window comes, he can.

Until then, it looks like we only have the players we have now but I do hope he will consider changes when everyone is fit. Otherwise we are going to see more of the same and even the better players losing the confidence.

I'd hate to see Goodison ring to howls of anger rather than cheers but, if the rot isan't stopped soon I can see it happening.

Daniel A Johnson
36 Posted 21/12/2014 at 13:00:38
I remember watching MOTD Sat lunch time a few years back and Robbie Savage and Co were touring behind the scenes at Wigan Athletic. They had Roberto Martinez on, Whelan and the tea lady interviewed etc etc. When interviewed Martinez was giving it the usual "Phenomenal effort" blurb after Wigans 2-1 defeat the week previous.

However, near the end of the segment Robbie Savage said something quite critical of Martinez which rankled some of the local staff.

He mentioned that he didn’t subscribe to the growing reputation that Martinez is a great manager. He mentioned that year on year Wigan always struggle and he’s not been able to move them to mid table security and that puzzled him.

That season they were relegated.

As a man I like Martinez he’s a genuinely decent bloke. But I think he’s too nice. Mourinho, Van Gaal et al are all ruthless bastards and I think Martinez needs to find his mean streak. Players look like they are on a pre season stroll this year.

What genuinely worries me is that Martinez relegated Wigan by sticking to his principals of playing passing football with players who ultimately weren’t up to the task. He’s a stubborn arrogant bastard who likes to hammer his square pegs into round holes as he has his "principles".

Our current squad either don’t get what he’s trying to do or they simply don’t have the ability to do what he asks. They look genuinely miffed and fed up. It almost as if he’s staring to lose the dressing room. His "captain Ahab" approach to his style of football wont send us to the top 4 but it will send us to mid table obscurity with the current squad.

MIke McLean
38 Posted 21/12/2014 at 13:27:38
Darryl @ #6

He sacked Smith & appointed Moyes.

John Keating
39 Posted 21/12/2014 at 13:30:38
What, pray, is the point of dropping Howard, Distin, Baines, Barry etc etc etc ??

You can change the whole 11, get Xavi and Messi in, get anyone in; unless he changes his tactics and attitude then we'll always struggle
Brent Stephens
40 Posted 21/12/2014 at 13:39:20
Jim #35 - no I'm nearer the half-way line - but it might be the same guy I can hear!!
Paul Tran
41 Posted 21/12/2014 at 13:33:46
James Martin, you've hit the nail on the head. We won't get relegated, but a squad of good players is being wasted.

Last season's balanced side that defended well and kept the ball with assurance has been transformed into a complete rudderless mess.

Every Everton manager in my lifetime (Catterick onwards) has hit a bad patch. I've not seen a bad patch like this with this quality of player.

I supported and defended Martinez on here last season because I could see what he was doing and he was getting results while changing the style of play. Right now I can't see what he's doing. The way they are playing and the body language of the players suggests to me that it's not a happy camp and whatever Martinez is saying isn't getting through to the players.

Of course we've been here before, many a season under the last regime started like this and we ended with a flourish. That may well happen again, but whoever mentioned the Walker years struck a chord with me.

The last thing we should do is go running to another percentage merchant like Pulls. If I was Kenwright I'd be telling Martinez he's got till the end of the season to show he can get the best out of a good squad.

Mark Frere
42 Posted 21/12/2014 at 13:58:30
I think we are going to learn alot about Bobby from now until the end of the season. He needs to be proactive now and stop making all the same mistakes. For a start, Distin needs dropping along with the out of form Baines; the players need to know their place is not assured if they put in dismal displays.

Barry should be kept away from the central defensive midfield role, age really seems to have caught up with him and his performances are going further into decline as the season progresses. I would like to see him play in a back 3 along with Jags and Stones in a 3-5-2 formation. Playing this formation would get the best out of the players we have in my opinion... Stones and Barry are comfortable bringing the ball out of defence and it will eradicate all the pissing about with the ball in our own half that we've seen from Distin and Jags. The formation will also get the best out of Coleman and Baines/Garbutt. Lukaku would also benfit from having a strike partner like Kone who can hold the ball up and supply him with ammunition to score. Its definitely something Bobby should consider.

I just hope Martinez has learned from his mistakes and doesn't play players out of position; Barkley and Naismith are not wingers. Playing Naismith out wide nearly ruined his career here.

Martinez needs to show he can be flexible and take a different approach depending on the opposition we are playing, all good managers are able to adapt. I remember Mourinho having his Chelsea side well drilled last season at Anfield... you could tell they'd spent hours on the training field coming up with a game plan to come away victorious. Is Martinez capable of doing the same or is he just a one trick pony?

So many unanswered questions, but we should have a better idea by the end of this season. The honeymoon is over and the jury is out.

Jim Lloyd
43 Posted 21/12/2014 at 13:42:43
Brent: It probably is him!

John (39), I'm not into praying but, you never know, I might be trying it soon.

My view on our centre backs is that they lose us goals that we shouldn't be letting in (Distin in particular.) I'd much rather see Stones (when fit) and Jagielka (though I don't think he's much use at distributing the ball) can give the ball to Stones to distribute. My view is that Distin or Jagielka should drop down but, as he's Captain, Jagielka is likely to stay in the side.I don't think we can drop Howard, as Robles doesn't look any better. If we keep him I thinkl we should at least go for Ruddy as competition (I'd love Peter Cech but we couldn't afford him)

As for Barry, when McCarthy is in the team, Barry's lack of pace is covered to a large degree; when not, Barry's lack of pace is really blatantly obvious. I thought that last season we won quite a few games but rode our luck in doing so, as the back four looked at sixes and sevens on quite a number of occasions.

I don't agree that Martinez is useless but time will tell. He has to replace quite a few players who have reached their sell by date and he can't do it all at once. He's bought McCarthy Besic and Lukaku, all young players and the first two mentioned are both top class. I think and hope that Lukaku will be the same, although his strength is goalscoring, and I don't think we're playing to that strength.

I think this season we, do well to stay around, perhaps above, mid table and I hope Martinez will use the time between now and the end of the season to see what showing, Barkley, Besic, Stones, Oviedo and Garbutt can make with more regular appearances.

Kieran Fitzgerald
45 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:09:26
Gillette Soccer Saturday spoke at length yesterday about playing players out of position. Eto'o is a quality 'in the box' type no.9 yet is benging asked to play as a no.10. Barkley is by all accounts the most exciting no.10 since Gascoigne yet is being asked to play out wide.

Both players have shown quality in abundance and the skills sets to be able to hugely influence games. Yet both are being wasted.

Having Eto'o, Naismith, Lukaku and Barkley all on the pitch and in the offensive roles is clearing not working and is not suiting any of the players involved. Yet Martinez is persisting with it.

As many have said already, this is clearly the most talented squad of players we have had in years. But, we cannot play them all at the same time. Martinez must learn how to manage these players and explain that they will be dropped/rotated as each game requires.

Daniel Lim
46 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:18:09
Mr Courtliff@21,
I think what you said are valid, the problem I think many people have is, why is RM so different last season and this season? Last season on many of the matches, he made early substitutions and those were turning points of the matches, which won us many points. But this season, he's worse than OFM.
Gareth Fieldstead
47 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:10:07
This season has that feel of 05-06 about it. So much expectation on the back of a great season yet fears of relegation over Christmas when we couldnÂ’t buy a win. Successive 4 0 defeats to Villa and Bolton with defeats to West Ham and Liverpool in between. A fortunate win at Sunderland and we turned our season around.

We have a better team than we did that season but I have my doubts if we have a manager willing to change his philosophy to grind out the necessary results. Unless there us genuine danger of us going down like in 02 then Kenwright will not do a thing. Short of the sort of performance against Arsenal last season there could be a hostile atmosphere on Friday. I hope the likes of Mirallas and McCarthy are fit.

Peter Carpenter
48 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:11:02
This is the test.
Is he brave enough to drop Howard? I know Robles hasn't impressed but he hasn't had a run of games either. Does he recognise that Distin and Jagielka aren't naturals at the game he wants and will he replace them with Stones and Alcaraz? Did he spot that Besic v QPR was quicker, sharper and more positive than Barry has been all season? Does he know that Barkley has been more impressive in a deeper, central midfield role than as a number 10 or out wide? Can he adapt to play to Lukaku's strengths ie. give him the ball facing goal not back to goal?
Big decisions coming up. Is he ruthless enough to take them?
Mike Childs
49 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:18:21
RM is in the crowd for the Newcastle - Sunderland game where he can see the GK he should have signed if was promised a fair chance Pantilliomon. Plus Perez from Newcastle.

Who's in the studio today providing commentary TH. wish they make him an offer he can't resist.

Jim Lloyd
50 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:33:36
Spot on Peter.
Bill Gall
51 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:19:14
Don't hold your breath hoping Martinez will change his tactics this man is to stubborn and firmly believes his style of play is the only style of play.

I am starting to wonder why he was hired as the only thing he achieved during his time at Wigan was to win the FA Cup and beat Everton in the quarter final and that was the only premier team they played up to the final.

Everton have always stood by their manager but we are now in a different era that is strictly result and financially motivated and loyalty has gone out the window.

Stoke is more than just 3 pts it is to see what the managers reaction will be from the Southampton game and if it is negative what kind of chairman we have; one with balls or one with no backbone.

Jim Lloyd
52 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:34:49
And if Oviedo is fit, try giving him a bit of time in the position Pinear plays in, either one subbing for the other till Brian is fully match fit.
Ken Williams
53 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:41:22
Our play week on week is getting worse, this can only be down to Roberto. Even when we have won games it has been more by good fortune. Sorry to say is Roberto cannot do what he is paid (very well) to do and turn a talented team into winners then BK needs to show him the door before it is to late.
Jim Lloyd
54 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:54:29
Bill,

The kind of Chairman we've got is the one that's happy all day long with, is Cheshire cat grin on the big screen, fondly relating stories of his days in the boys pen and generally being his cheesy, sickly egotistical self. Him saying that Roberto is more than a manager "He's my fwend!"

Of course, when we're losin, he (just like the Cheshire cat) disappears up his own er... Merry Christmas!

Ian McDowell
55 Posted 21/12/2014 at 14:59:15
I'm dreading the Stoke game. I can just see how its going to unfold. Nervous crowd, lethargic slow build up play, Stoke putting balls into our 6-yard box.
Helen Mallon
56 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:00:17
Lyndon. You seem to be in the know with media contacts, and there are other posters who seem to have connections. So answer me this why are the media having inquests about Rogers and the red shite but say nothing about Roberto and Everton.

Is it just me who thinks that no body outside of Everton fans gives a flying feck if we go down or how bad we play. I have just been listening to 5 live and they did a show in Liverpool just on how bad the shite are, we are worse at the moment.

James Marshall
57 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:27:10
Helen - it’s because the RS are seen as title contenders every season due to the way their horrible supporters shout all that YAWN bullshit all over the place, and half the media are RS as well.

It has nothing to do with us, other than we don’t beat the drum all the time and we don’t think we have a divine right to win the league every year. We’re still seen as also-rans (which in truth we are) so expectation among the media is low.

The league doesn’t lie and I believe last season was a fluke on our part. We were always going to struggle this season, especially being in Europe and the media knew it, we knew it, and now we really do know it.

Us finishing in the top 10 this season will be no surprise to anyone.

Norman Merrill
59 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:34:21
Mark Frere 42.

Your thread was spot on mate, Roberto needs to sort this out & quickly.

Paul Tran
60 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:37:35
James, I'm not sure about Europe being a reason for this. We're struggling because the manager has no grasp on players' fitness, keeps playing an unbalanced team and failed to strengthen the necessary areas in the summer. I also think he's lost the players and will need to get them back before we look at systems, tactics, etc.
Carl Sanderson
61 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:41:08
Helen,

The broadcast, print and online media are obsessed with Liverpool because they have legions of clueless, armchair gobshites following them – and God knows how many ex-players as pundits. The Telegraph, a national newspaper, even has its own Liverpool FC Facebook page.

James Marshall
62 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:44:13
Paul - I meant regarding expectation this season. Personally I thought that being in Europe would hinder us in the league as it has many other teams with smaller squads - we might have more numbers now, but apart from our first 11 (ie best 11) we still lack quality in depth.

Anyway, I do also agree our problems lie WAY deeper than being in Europe. See my countless other posts about Martinez!!

Nick Entwistle
63 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:41:06
Martinez's biggest tactical changes from the old bloke is that the flanks are no where near as potent.

Bainaar has disappeared and in the last season of Moyes, Coleman and Mirallas were on their way to over taking the left flank. Without this emphasis of attacking play Baines has gone from world class (Bayern Munich sniffing around?) to just very good and Coleman too has had his price tag cut by 50% it would seem.

Both flanks gave pace and trickery. Moyes could mix the styles more than people give credit for, even if that included a direct down the middle approach, but mixing it up is not part of the RM 'philosophy' .

As the flanks are not his priority, I'd like to see what Belgium did in the WC when Lukaku was getting marked out the games. They put Mirallas up front and they were transformed. Pace, movement and skill.

Steve Guy
64 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:45:58
The Dear Leader will take his lead from the crowd. A few more home games with poor results and the boos ringing in his ears and BS Billy will have Bobby in his office for a "chat" faster than you can say "West End".

Trouble for us fans is that Martinez is every bit as stubborn as Moyes was. I've never thought we would do well this season; in the league at least. We have a manager and some players who are definitely suffering second season syndrome. You can't say he's lost them as too many have clearly bought in to his philosophy; I think that collectively they have lost their way and need to get back to basics.

First thing , start playing a settled side with form players in it. Drop Howard as a statement that their are no sacred cows. Get Stones in for Distin as soon as he is fit. Give Barry the bench to sit on for a few weeks and let Besic and Barkley try and form a partnership. Above all stop trying to shoe horn three forwards into the frontline; they get in each other's way and it weakens the midfield.

I think they will continue to frustrate this season although I still fancy us in Europe.

Jackie Barry
65 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:04:39
BK take his lead from the crowd? I very much doubt it, he does not give a damp about the average Everton fan and never will. He is looking forward to the cash lining his pockets once a new stadium is built and a buyer comes in.
Ian Tunstead
66 Posted 21/12/2014 at 15:45:05
In the days of playing one striker, I was told that the tactics were negative and that if we had a manager who went out all guns blazing then positive attacking tactics would lead to more goals and positive results. Well, I suppose they were half right. We played 3 strikers and we conceded 3 goals against a Southampton side that I couldn’t even name 3 of their players.

Although we are playing 3 strikers does that actually mean that in reality we are playing a more attacking side? For example we are playing 2 and arguably even 3 defensive midfielders in some games. The balance of the side is all wrong and players seem to be uncomfortable playing out of position and playing in a style that they are not suited to.

But this is what people wanted and asked for, they wanted a manager with a more "attacking philosophy" a manager who would have his players play it out from the back and play tici-taca football like the template set by Barcelona. People didn’t seem to take into account that we don’t have Barcelona type players.

For me its not so much the tactics and the team selection and the use of substitutions and the poor signings its all that and the bullshit false positivity. Martinez certainly talks a good game.

I can accept getting beat by a good side, and I can take getting beat by a side that we have had the better of but the luck and the decisions have gone the other way. But to get beat by a side that has sold all its best players and is suffering from an injury crisis and lacking in confidence after a run of bad results is difficult to take or accept.

Player for player we are better than them all over the pitch, even players on our bench were better than some of their first team. That points purely to poor management, there is no excuse to get beat 3-0 by such a shite Southampton side.

Luke Garbutt was the MotM match in his last game and he hasn’t played since! Where is the incentive to improve and fight for your place? Where is the incentive to sign a new contract? I would be off if I was in his shoes. We are short of a skillful quick winger who can cross a ball and yet Garbutt was left on the bench. Give the guy half an hour on the left wing and see how he gets on, he has all the attributes a good winger needs in the same way Bale did when being played as a left back.

Martinez out, Laudrup in.

Nick Entwistle
67 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:10:34
When the time is right Bill gives his nod to the cameraman and he appears on the big screen and gets applause. That's what he was doing when the BU were having influence and it worked. So who's taking who's lead?
Jackie Barry
68 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:08:43
Bainaar is done, Pienaar is finished and Coleman has had some of his most effective games under Martinez. Belgium were awful at the World Cup. Truth is RM is stubborn just like Moyes and we need new players to replace dead wood in team. Problem it ain't going to happen.
Mark Frere
69 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:21:00
"Martinez's biggest tactical changes from the old bloke is that the flanks are no where near as potent"

Not really, Nick. Mirallas was injured half of the season in Moyes's last season and we had to make do with the dreadful (so we thought at the time) Naismith out on the right. I think Baines and Coleman have been given more freedom to get forward under Martinez and it worked very well for us last season. The Bianaar combination hasn't worked as well since the Moyes days because Pienaar has been on the decline and injury has often interupted his progress.

Also there were quite a few occasions when Moyes shifted Mirallas to the left and Pienaar to the right which didn't seem to work.

Steve Guy
70 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:20:00
Jackie the stadium is years away and no use to BK if we are in the Championship ( in which case it won't get built anyway)...
Jim Lloyd
71 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:12:30
Bullshit Billy! He's got two interests. Making money and feeding his ego by owning his boyhood club. Con Glasser was saying about a multi billionaire looking for a Premiership Club. No use though, as BB said years ago, "There's no Fairy Godmothers out there" that was before half the Premier League clubs were bought. He wants it all, megabucks investment... and still be Chairman Bill

It will be interesting to what, if any, response Robbie makes to the run of games. Not only the results but the stuttering, perhaps turgid displays.

I hope that he will be decisive and take immediate action. I just wonder whether he is willing to take on establish players and tell them they are not performing. Whatever way, we'll soon see because apart from McCarthy and perhaps Brian Oviedo everyone is now just about fit.

Kieran Riding
72 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:23:18
We need a leader out on the pitch right now. What would I give for Dave Watson !

Make McCarthy the skipper, and make the change now.

A few arses need kicking in our side, and some 'un-droppables' need dropping.

Mark Frere
73 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:23:14
One other thing, Nick, my recollection of Belguim in the World Cup is different to yours. As I remember it, Lukaku had a stinker in the first game then was replaced by Origi for the rest of the tornament. Lukaku's only telling contribution was coming on as sub against USA. I don't remember Belguim ever being transformed into anything special... they were dreadful, especially considering the talented squad they had.
Carl Sanderson
74 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:31:32
Kieran 72:

Howard, Barry and especially Distin need to look at themselves. Beyond them, I believe it is Martinez's set-up of the team that causing the problems. No tempo, no movement up front and hence no service, no logic to his midfield selections. Poor defending of set-pieces, and very poor use of corner kicks, which we apparently do not practise. All down to the manager.

David Holroyd
75 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:27:14
Loads of supporters didn't want Martinez but we came round to him because he gave us a different style. But six months later things have changed, it bloody boring slow football. Never thought I would say this but West Ham are playing better, faster and more attractive football. The only two players that have any cutting edge are Barkley and Mirallas.

These players need replacing asap. Robles, Alcaraz, Pienaar, McGeady, and Howard, where's the money coming from maybe shouldn't have wasted all that money on Lukaku.

Pace is key in today,s football Miralas aside we don't have any

Tony Marsh
76 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:18:58
Why is it we are always the hand of charity to players and teams out of form? Soldgado of Spurs, Zamora QPR and now Southampton all breaking out of horrible form against us... It's gone on for years.

I don't see any way out of this huge crisis as long as that dickhead starfish stays in goal and the Dad's Army players stay in the side. I have said all along that Naismith is an average SPL player. He is totally useless at everything but gets away with it because he slots a decent goal now and again.

Barry, Pienaar, Osman, Distin, Howard and Hibbert are all finished and all still getting game time.Some of these lads are 5 years past there sell by date. Every goal conceded yesterday was a joke. Our so called keeper was at fault on all three.Never comes and clears corsses any more. Useless bearded buffoon.

Southampton on a 5 game losing streak one of which was to a 3rd division side took the piss out of us.Its was embarrassing and almost a carbon copy of the Moyes years

Clueless and tactically a mess. Why not chuck the kids in because there is no way they can be as bad as this Geriatric bunch of losers... Chrimbo is officially cancelled.

Bill Gall
77 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:48:04
Shame that Barry is becoming the whipping boy on here he is not going to be any differant from last season he is just there to break up the play and get rid of the ball .

The problem was the changes the manager made to play him. Like the majority of supporters when the team was selected yesterday I was a little more than supprised to see Lukaku, Barkley and Eto'o picked in a foreward attack as in previous games when this formation was used it never worked.

Now I am sure that the majority of Everton supporters have in one way or another been involved with football as either a player in amateur,semi professional or full professional and even some may have coaching badges so if they are aware that this formation did not work why is it that a manager who is supposed to have all the qualifications not see this and was so unaware of what was happening yesterday fail to change it.

Nick Entwistle
78 Posted 21/12/2014 at 17:16:41
I'm pretty sure Lukaku had two stinkers with Origi coming on as sub until the 2nd round where he started. But Mirallas started the third game and got the Belgians going, and again.

Then again I did watch every single match and it is now one big glorious blur.

David Hallwood
79 Posted 21/12/2014 at 16:32:24
Like all Evertonians IÂ’m frustrated by the horrible season so far, but cÂ’mon boys stop talking bollocks. Firstly, Lukaku isnÂ’t having a good season (neither are Baines Coleman et al) but class and form and all that.

IMHO we are going through a torrid time and what I will criticise Martinez for is that when the free flowing football stops, then win or draw ugly because what we badly need is clean sheets, and we ainÂ’t gonna get them with defending like yesterday. As a former RB/CB (admittedly not a high level) the basics went out of the window yesterday; attack the ball, track the runners, anticipate where the ball is going to drop, that led to the goals that youÂ’d bollock an U10Â’s team.

ItÂ’s fast becoming a cliche that weÂ’ve been Â’sussedÂ’ and that everyone sets out their team to negate us; pardon me but isnÂ’t that the idea? But I know how Chelsea play and so does the world and his wife and that hasnÂ’t exactly stopped them winning has it?

IMHO, MartinezÂ’s 2nd season has been hampered by a collective loss of form, and that the wide players have either been injured (Mirallas) or inconsistent (McGeady& Atsu) hence the square pegs of EtoÂ’o/Barkley/Naismith. This is a dilemma that Martinez needs to solve ASAP, either by changing to a 4-3-3 or even 4-5-1 squeeze-the-life-out-of-the-opposition a la Moyes.

Reinforcements are urgently needed next month, top priority is a keeper and spend what is needed to get one, and according to the Daily Star (yeah right) Del Boy is on his way back. IÂ’ve watched Everton for many years and IÂ’ve seen some shite sides, but this isnÂ’t it one of them. Keep the faith.

Mike Childs
80 Posted 21/12/2014 at 17:25:29
Kieran (#72) 2nd Best suggestion I've heard all year. If you're captain is willing to spill blood you better be too. Best suggestion Phil W. A new GK for Christmas.
Colin Glassar
81 Posted 21/12/2014 at 18:40:42
As soon as the team was announced yesterday there was a collective gasp on here. The team, on paper, looked disjointed. The team, on the pitch, played disjointed. Why can't HE see this?

I don't give a shit about his post match interviews, we all know he won't criticise his players publicly, what I expect him to do is have all his players at Finch Farm today examining yesterday's debacle and working on fixing it.

Will Firstbrook
82 Posted 21/12/2014 at 18:14:06
Perhaps Roberto and the lads need a refresher on what nil satis nisi optimum means. What we are witnessing now is a complete and utter disregard of this core club principle. I can tolerate poor performances and mistakes now and again if, at minimum, the effort and desire is there. Without trying to sound overly-dramatic, yesterday's performance by both player and manger was shockingly poor. They all should be embarrassed. Worryingly, this has been a growing trend over the past several weeks.

Players are supposed to be professionals and should not require a cattle prod to perform. The manager needs to recognize what does and does not work with the players at his disposal and adjust his tactics accordingly. Something must change here as status quo will most certainly drag us into a relegation battle.

At the end of the day, professional football is a results driven business. There is little room for unrelenting tactical idealism. Bobby, time for you to stop talking crap and start leading this team into battle. For this is what we are now in.

Colin Glassar
83 Posted 21/12/2014 at 18:48:58
I remember a few seasons ago under OFM we went into Christmas in about 17th and we were in free fall. Didn't he take them to the lake district or Wales for a bonding session? I think we beat Sunderland and then went on a run to finish 11th.
Jackie Barry
84 Posted 21/12/2014 at 19:27:50
Yep you are right Colin, some people on here think that OFM never had a bad season though by the sound of it. Short memories.
Colin Glassar
85 Posted 21/12/2014 at 19:30:45
I think that was the 2005-06 season Jackie. We'd been knocked out of the CL by Villarreal and then humiliated by a bunch of Romanian farmers from Bucharest.

I honestly thought we would go down that season but as we all know, Everton don't do relegation.

Jackie Barry
86 Posted 21/12/2014 at 19:40:05
Highlights for me that Europe really doesn't help us until we have the money to put into the team. We just don't have the squad to cope and our aged back line isn't going to help the situation further.
Nick Entwistle
87 Posted 21/12/2014 at 19:50:35
Didn't we have Gough, Weir, Stubbs and Valente as our back four once?
James Stewart
88 Posted 21/12/2014 at 20:38:51
@73 Quite right Mark. Belgium were awful considering the players they had available. Wilmots is a really poor manager though
Mike Price
89 Posted 21/12/2014 at 21:08:42
He started worrying me when he started handing out contracts to bad players, Hibbert, Howard, Osman, Robles, 3 years for Barry and now Naismith until 2019!

I really thought he would bring pace into the team at least, but I was always worried by a lack of aggression and steel. Every player, apart from Besic, is 'nice', they're all quiet and soft, and if it doesn't change, we're in big trouble.

When that clown Whelan said he'd take Evertonians to places they couldn't even imagine, I was thinking champions league, now lots of us are worried it might be the unimaginable.

Brian Swift
90 Posted 21/12/2014 at 23:07:19
Holy trinity, mark 2. How about back four of Coleman,Stones, Alcaraz, Garbutt. New holy trinity of Macarthy,Barkley. Besic.and top three of Mirallas, Naysmith, Kone. Lets give them something to think about. Swifty.
Laurie Hartley
91 Posted 22/12/2014 at 07:42:41
Brian, McCarthy, Barkley, and Besic are the midfield of the future but they are all along way from being the new Ball , Harvey and Kendall. Perhaps in time if we can keep them together. One thing they all have with the illustrious 3 is the are all fighters - that's a good start.
Max Wilson
92 Posted 22/12/2014 at 10:42:25
Just recovered from the depression caused by Saturday. Read what Lyndon and you all have been saying. Essentially there are a few central points that need repeating. RM set out to change our impregnable defensive style with its poor attack into a possession first and more attacking style. He's succeeded with the first, we had 60% of the ball again on Saturday but not with the second. The existing team has several players that repeatedly fail in the final third, and getting the ball into the box. Secondly on Saturday we were unable to deal with crosses into the box.Panic set in, Luke's shoulder got in the way. Out of interest the Sundays said Distin and Barry put in a reasonable shift and but once again we had no penetration into their box. Why did RM not make any substitutions? We were'nt in the dressing room at half time but it looks like they were told do things they failed to do. Is he losing the dressing room? I think one or two players pleaded with him for second chances and have tried (Distin for one) but others have also shown they are getting past it too.(Baines,Jags). In my opinion midfield needs a fast skillful and experienced player. I don't think that is Naismith.In any case he wants to be a PL striker. At this level just one or two players in your team below par is quite enough to be beaten 3 love. RM has got some decent talent coming through but he has not got a good play maker. Barkley is not that player,sorry, he's got a lot of talent but he is not a leader of men. RM is running out of time both in terms of this season and our faith.
James Byrne
93 Posted 22/12/2014 at 14:06:38
Bells are ringing (Alarm) and it has nothing to do with the festive period!

You only had to look at MoTD over the weekend to see some of the goals scored by mediocre teams in the league to know we've got our work cut out over the coming weeks. Some of the passion and commitment shown by other teams also concerns me. We've lost a shed load of passion and urgency over the past few weeks and the players look lost.

We all know that Martinez has probably the safest managerial position in the league and won't be going anywhere soon, but he has now been massively found out in the big world of Prem football.

Let's face it his tactics overall have been shite all season, he has lost it when it comes to player vs positioning (Barkley FFS), our once best in class wing backs are shot of confidence and vision, his signings have proved to be fucking awful (Robles + others), his field strategy has almost destroyed a once potentially world class striker and there are no positives in sight.

Just to finish off we've got the worst goalkeeper in the Prem who is stinking the place out with nothing in depth to challenge him.

Really worried Everton fan.....................!

Jay Harris
94 Posted 22/12/2014 at 17:02:55
Firstly I disagree with all posters saying certain players are past their sell by date.

The problems this season have been all too obvious.

The worst preseason preparation by a Premiership club for as long as I can remember.

Tactics and team structure that have been bordering on grossly negligent.

We did not have injuries apart from Barkley at the start of the season and all players including the youngsters looked totally lethargic.

Hence we picked up injuries from players being unfit and confidence and team spirit have taken a huge knock.

Fortunately there are some bad teams this year otherwise we would be in a much more precarious position.

However things do not look good for the manager who took Wigan to relegation with record goals against..

Cue big Joe taking back over and dogs of war to keep us up.

Andrew Rimmer
95 Posted 22/12/2014 at 17:51:58
I still feel the same as I did on the day that Martinez was appointed manager.
Deflated!
I still recall the positivity of his post match mumblings while guiding Wigan to the lower reaches of the division and then eventually to their relegation.
Tony Pulis anyone?
John Keating
96 Posted 22/12/2014 at 18:25:20
I appreciate the players are performing below even half expected levels however the manager picks the players the manager has the opportunity to either play/drop/substitute those who are below par.
It is the manager that sets the team up and dictates the tactics.
From the preseason fiasco to the obvious lack of fitness of the team in general, the woeful tactics and unbalanced team, the whole shebang falls firmly at one mans door.
No excuses.
I cannot remember one game this season where we have been in control. Our best games Wolfsburg at home and away we could easily have had a cuffing !
Yes we need new faces and yes we need established players dropping but at the end of the day it is the abysmal tactics and team selections which have caused us to miss out on the best chance we will ever have to get into the top 4.

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