It was difficult to get too enthused about the prospect of sitting in the cold and watching Everton vs Stoke City... and as we traipsed away at full time in the falling snow, I concluded that I had just witnessed one of the worst football games I've ever seen. Our team, their team, the referee... all abysmal and Roberto Martinez certainly has his work cut out these next few weeks if he is to turn this around.
Pre-game was a bit more fun. Gaz, Katja, Scott, Gary, Sue and I joined in the pub by Sue's family from Australia who are visiting for the festive period. They travel by boat on their journey back to Australia... taking in 18 countries en-route. Not a bad life for some eh!
Back to Goodison Road and the rain was falling as we made our way to the ground; as we got to our seats, we could see the rain was getting heavier. It didn't stop all game and, by the end, it was snow falling from the skies. The team switched ends before we commemorated Evertonians who have passed away this year in a really nice gesture by the club.
There were three changes from the team which got battered at Southampton: McCarthy, Mirallas and Stones in to replace Distin, Besic and Eto'o. Whilst we were pleased to see all three back in the team, you wondered how it would shape up... Ross Barkley on the wing was how Martinez chose to play it.
We began well, attacking aggressively from the start. Indeed, very early on, Kevin Mirallas went down in the penalty box though the utterly shambolic Lee Mason waved away the appeals. It looked like a bit of a dive to me from Mirallas under not a lot of contact but therein lies the big problem with this woeful referee. Not even a minute later, he gave a free kick to Stoke City for a very similar foul by Mirallas. His inconsistency and lack of control of the match was seriously poor from a top-flight referee.
The big talking point of the game was, of course, the decision to, firstly, not give a red card to Jonathan Walters for dragging back Leighton Baines when he was played through. The ball would have taken Baines slightly wide of the penalty box but I think he would have created a chance from it. We've certainly seen them given many a time but Mason thought otherwise and elected to only book Walters. He did the same thing to us just last month at Sunderland when he only booked Connor Wickham after he brought down Coleman when he was last man. This irked.
Lee Mason then exacerbated things by awarding Stoke City a penalty when Bojan skipped into the penalty area and was felled by James McCarthy. Was it a penalty? I've no idea as I couldn't tell from the other end of the pitch... but, given what had just happened, and that he'd already denied us a penalty very early in the game, we found ourselves shocked that he made this call. Bojan converted and, as if it was even possible, this ugly game of football somehow got uglier. Everton huffed and puffed, Lee Mason continued to baffle but, had Mirallas not dragged his shot wide of the post when nicely set up by Naismith, this might have been a different story.
Such was the amount of stoppages for injuries in the first half and time wasting at every opportunity, we found ourselves with 10 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the half. This meant for a confusing second half as, with the scoreboards broken (at one point it was showing Jelavic missing chances against QPR in last season's FA Cup... but that's another story) and the second half start time uncertain, it was difficult to tell how long was left in the second half.
Strangely, despite it being as bad a half of football I can ever remember seeing, it seemed to breeze past pretty quickly and I knew the game was up when the stewards surrounded the pitch a few minutes before we reached 90. We were turgid in the second half. Totally awful. A right-footed effort from Baines was about the closest we came. Naismith may also have scored had he not have turned like a tanker inside the penalty area and was tackled.
Boos greeted the full time whistle and rightly so. Whether you were booing our team, Roberto Martinez, Stoke City or Lee Mason or all of the above. That was woeful in every conceivable way.
Over to Roberto, then. Less talk and more action required as whatever it is he does evidently isn't working... At what point do you say "Enough is enough"?Player ratings:
Howard: Didn't do anything wrong as such first half but didn't reappear for the second. He does get some flak on here, Tim Howard, some of which is justified, though I don't think he's our biggest problem. I think we'll see on Sunday how big a problem we have when he doesn't play. 6
Baines: One of the few who tried. He seemed to pop up around midfield at various times in the second half in trying to force the game and probably came as close as anyone to scoring. I really think we need to get back to basics and give Coleman and he more to work with. Their effectiveness compared with the last two seasons is minimal. 7
Jagielka: Perhaps he was struggling with his injury for a lot of the half as he hoofed the ball out on a few occasions when under no real pressure. We could do without him being out for long. I think he's just about held that defence together this season. 5
Stones: Tried to bring the ball out from defence on a number of occasions though without much effect. Perhaps struggling with fitness having been out injured for a while. 6
Coleman: I think that's the worst performance I've ever seen from Seamus. His confidence seems completely shot. At one point in the first half, he received the ball with a clear sight of goal. Last season, he was smashing them into the top corner. This time he panicked and timidly tried to pass it inside when it was never on. He also defended nervously and just didn't seem to have the confidence to beat his man. Really poor and he needs somebody to work with. Are Pienaar, Oviedo and McGeady still registered Everton players? 2
Barry: My man of the match. Effort was certainly there and he at least had the stomach for the fight. 7
McCarthy: Clearly not fit so why he was put in is mystifying. Hope he can get back to fitness quickly. When he's fully firing, he's key to our team. 5
Mirallas: Had an effective first half but didn't click into gear in the second. "Is he made of plasticine?" screamed Gary as he again went down injured in the final stages of the match. Thankfully he got up this time. 5
Barkley: Looked lost at times, almost disinterested. He showed some good flashes in the first half but nowhere near enough desire to make things right in the second period. Where has that spark gone? His will to win really stood out for me last season when Martinez gave him a run of games. He doesn't seem the same player anymore. 4
Naismith: Poor game really. Effort was there as always but not a lot came off for him and he made a mess of a good second-half chance which on other days you've seen him score. Now suspended for the game at Newcastle Utd on Sunday. 5
Lukaku: Worked quite hard, especially in the first half but he can run around all day and it won't make the blindest bit of difference. He's getting no service. 6
Robles (for Howard): Hard to criticize a man who had nothing to do but the thing that really struck me was that the defenders ahead of him were doing whatever they could to avoid giving him the ball. If they have zero confidence in him, and with Jagielka out, I really worry about our patched up defence for the trip to Newcastle Utd. 6
Alcaraz (for Jagielka): Though he tried to play the ball out from the back, he didn't get a lot of success. Not the bravest defender but Stoke barely attacked all half as they sat back on their 1-0 lead. Will presumably play at Newcastle Utd. 6
Eto'o (for McCarthy): Effort was there and he does show good professionalism. Unfortunately this didn't rub off on any of his team mates. 6
Reader Comments (77)
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1 Posted 27/12/2014 at 03:02:24
2 Posted 27/12/2014 at 03:15:45
You get slammed for being a little off with your ratings but giving Coleman a 2 was probably fair, for that dreadful decision above all else, that seemed to typify the hopelessness of the game.
I was apoplectic when he failed to shoot on sight.
3 Posted 27/12/2014 at 03:51:43
4 Posted 27/12/2014 at 03:57:13
I actually wish we'd have lost without controversy so everyone (most importantly Martinez) could have a serious look at our performance. Even at the MOTM ceremony after the match (which is frankly absurd after a loss) where Stones was presented with a bottle of champagne the first thing mentioned was the reffing.
5 Posted 27/12/2014 at 05:21:16
- This for me is one of the big problems with us this season.
Eto'o is, undoubtedly a step above the rest of the squad. The ball he gave in to Naismith towards the end was exsquisite, and had it been another player feeding the same ball to Eto'o it would have been a goal 99 times out of 100. It has been mentioned at least a couple of times in the threads since this match ended, but he should be the stand in captain whilst Jags is out (and beyond IMO) as he is so used to not losing he isn't scared to get in the ref's face and he leads by example when he is given the opportunity.
Alternatively, I think Barry's form would improve if he were to carry the armband as he would be required to really stamp his authority on the match. However, he isn't exactly first choice for the CM at this point if Besic and McCarthy are fit.
6 Posted 27/12/2014 at 09:05:57
With Robles likely to be in goal tmr I am dreading it. As much as Howard has made mistakes this season I have zero confidence in Robles.
8 Posted 27/12/2014 at 09:04:09
Now we are looking at the teams below us - thought we had put all that behind us. We are stuck with Martinez and I just hope we can survive long enough till he does finally get the boot.
9 Posted 27/12/2014 at 09:57:41
10 Posted 27/12/2014 at 10:32:25
12 Posted 27/12/2014 at 10:43:15
14 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:04:50
While the manager applies his tactics onto the team and puts players into wrong positions they are simply just going to continue losing interest, so scoring them is a waste of time right now.
I've had enough of this manager now tbh and I truly think his games are numbered. I was at the game yesterday and that was some of the worst football I have ever witnessed in my life.
15 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:17:32
Besic and McCarthy every time for me if possible, though Barry on the left of a 3 at the back would be interesting, as others have said.
16 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:09:20
17 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:25:44
They've just sacked Warnock.
18 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:25:18
(Sacked and yet even he managed to beat us at Fortress Goodison!)
19 Posted 27/12/2014 at 10:57:39
Has he accepted the tiniest shred of responsibility for our diabolical pre season. So far not a word about that fiasco has passed his lips.
Did his sojourn in Brazil allow the all other premier league managers steal a march on Everton?
On that question our managerial media tart who can talk the back leg off a Donkey is strangely silent.
Is there any chance he will cease messing with the players minds. Apparently there is not a snowball in Hells chance.
Does he recognize that half the players try to adopt his methods while the rest are either incapable or unwilling.
Does he think our very slow build up could or should be speeded up or is he happy with it. etc.
It seems that Roberto is treated with kid gloves by a compliant media.
20 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:39:20
21 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:41:08
We also put all our eggs in one basket with Lukaku. As other teams were doing their business, our manager was in Brazil waiting for Chelsea to give us the go ahead to sign the Belgium Heskey. We were ripped off big time (he may have potential but you expect the big lump to stay onside/tackle/head the ball/run into space/play 1-2's/use his strength and pace etc..) and we have ended up with the same squad as last season (plus Eto and Besic) with even more games. We swapped Del Boy for Atsu but we have been told by Bobby that he will be 'phenomenal' in the second half of the season.....I am still waiting for McGeady to take the League by storm as promised last year!
Big problems afoot at Goodison and I just hope we have the man in place to sort them before it all goes wrong.
23 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:41:24
Martinez should be first out the door.
It took a long time for most of you to catch on to what I said last season about his fanciful idea of creating a Barca on the Mersey.
25 Posted 27/12/2014 at 11:57:54
I've seen better performances from my Sunday league side than the shit those cunts churned out yesterday.
I want Roberto to succeed but it's not looking good. Get to 40 points this year and see what happens over the summer and the first dozen games of next season. If it's not going well then, then a change will almost certainly be inevitable.
26 Posted 27/12/2014 at 12:06:33
Lee Mason hates us pure and simple . . . but it appears that most ref's find it easy giving us dodgy decisions - there's no leadership from Jags and no "crowding" of the ref. We are too nice and it would be great if we could avoid that type of behavior, but the refs are taking the piss - I don't care when the pundits say "it's a soft penalty" - they never say that it's always against Everton. Can you imagine the likes of Ratters, Peter Reid and Big Nev accepting these decisions meekly?
28 Posted 27/12/2014 at 12:20:55
On another point it won't be long before someone like Manu go out and pay 㾶M plus for Shawcross because he is the type of player / captain who will get in your face - a lot of people don't like him but he's a natural leader on the pitch. Jags is not and he's too nice!
29 Posted 27/12/2014 at 12:26:35
I don't get what Martinez is trying to do at the moment, what with Barkley on the wing as well... square pegs and round holes indeed!
31 Posted 27/12/2014 at 13:27:01
32 Posted 27/12/2014 at 14:39:01
I fear that Roberto has put all his eggs into one basket, the Europa League, in the hope that it will hide our deficiencies in the Premier League. It may come to the point at the end of the season were Bill Kenwright has to be ruthless and dispense with Roberto's services. I wouldn't do it in January as who would we get?
Also, Roberto may pull a few signings out of the bag. Another poster mentioned Shawcross which was a good shout and I'm sure he hasn't got long left on his contract, also Deulofeu is hinting at an Everton comeback. Just keep our fingers crossed eh?
33 Posted 27/12/2014 at 14:59:54
The sad fact is that Everton are not playing anywhere near well enough to win games and that is not the referees Â– it is Martinez. Yes, he was refreshing in his approach last season and that may have been down partly to players responding to a new boss.
This season has been a relative disaster so far and I have to say that although many of us criticized Moyes for not having a Plan B, it appears Martinez doesn't even have a Plan A.
Remember earlier in the season when Palace looked so good? Well, it hasn't done Warnock any good... so what about Martinez now?
34 Posted 27/12/2014 at 15:12:26
35 Posted 27/12/2014 at 15:12:14
No one player has been great, nor have any of them been terrible Â– it's the system that's at fault, not the players.
Too slow, the opposition gets 9 or 10 men behind the ball in two banks of 4 and we come up against them Â– football is a very simple game made complicated by managers who are blinded by their own faith in the system they employ.
Change it some times, and things change. Simple.
36 Posted 27/12/2014 at 15:10:04
37 Posted 27/12/2014 at 15:12:51
If we are going to play with Barkley and another centre mid in the side we need to move to 3 at the back. I would be happy to see Barry in that back 3. I feel Everton have become a little like England with the midfield good players but who to play Lampard and Gerrard? How do you for Paul Scoles in? Everton with Eto', Ross and Steven, have the question. It's not bad to have two of them on the bench.
I know bobby watches the games time and time again. He would do well to ask himself a few questions:
What teams have beaten stoke, crystle place, etc this year?
How did they beat them?
How can we employee the same tatics this season?
Tomorrow Newcsatle, the one team to beat cheliski, I can see nothing but a draw at best. I don't think we are going down this year but the question in my mind is do we give Bobby 18 months to resolve the situation. My gut says sit tight and hope, think we will do ok, but then is that not what Wigan did. Seat of your pants time
38 Posted 27/12/2014 at 15:48:10
39 Posted 27/12/2014 at 16:15:15
OK its been a poor season and we are all pretty gutted, Im at a loss to explain what has happened but doesn't this supposed future manager of Barca deserve the chance to turn things round?!
Its a bad season, we are not a club who plays in the Champions League, I hate to say it but we have sadly become a club who is huge but occasionally has a season where we punch above our weight, that was last season and we had many under Moyes who was a great manager with limited resources.
Mind you if we are still 6 points above the relegation zone with 5 games to play, I will gladly take all of the above back?!!!
40 Posted 27/12/2014 at 16:32:27
Due to illness I didn't go yesterday. But the worst game I've ever seen for sheer lack of spectacle (with the exception of obvious black days e.g. the Keeley derby, the 1-6 Arsenal, the Jelavic semi final,the 4-0 rs defeat last season) was around this time of the year in 1983.
We were at home to Coventry. There was hardly anyone there and it was freezing with an easterly blowing right into the Gwladys Street End. It finished 0-0 and I've always remembered it as the most turgid game of footy I've ever witnessed - and, like all of us, I've seen some shite. I had one of those snorkels and tried to zip the hood up completely about 10 mins into the second half.
I've avoided MoTD for obvious reasons but, if anyone saw that Coventry game and yesterday's game, surely it wasn't that bad?
41 Posted 27/12/2014 at 16:32:23
The opposition have now worked out our system of play and we are clueless, under this management, to offer any different alternative. Roberto has one way to play and I fear for our survival at this level.
Brace yourself because things are going to get a lot worse now that we have absolutely no imagination up front Â– added to a back four comprised of geriatrics. You have been warned!
43 Posted 27/12/2014 at 17:32:18
................wait 'till after the Newcastle game...........Everton are bound to screw up with another inept display, by an Everton team low on confidence and can't buy a goal or stop them going in at the wrong end. It's a bad time to be an Everton fan. And things may get worse, before they get better. But better when? That is the real question.
44 Posted 27/12/2014 at 17:45:39
The reason why people are so angry is that we have a good squad, which was playing well last season. The same squad plus Eto'o have been appalling this season. The manager has forgotten everything he did last season. Moyes and Kenwright managed expectations brilliantly. The bile is all about hope followed by a long four-month setback.
45 Posted 27/12/2014 at 18:03:50
I too shared the painful viewing of that Coventry game. Both sets of supporters booing their respective teams. It's quite funny with hindsight but it as anything but funny at the time. Yesterday's game was nowhere near as bad as that that same squad of players ( with. Couple of additions) went on to win an FA cup not too long after as the cup run went on their confidence grew and a shit side started believing in themselves. Indeed that game was a prelude to our best ever period of success (certainly in my living memory). I remember HK being under lots of pressure before he came good too. Keep the faith!
47 Posted 27/12/2014 at 18:35:52
Glad you confirmed that day was as bad as it was!!!
I think the comparison with today's issue is as you mention - heightened expectations. On paper, this is the strongest team / squad we've had for some time. The slump from last season is alarming.
The comparison with HK's early shaky start before the breakthrough to success is interesting. However, I always put that down to Peter Reid's inclusion in the side as well as the signing of Andy Gray.
These are exactly the sort of characters we need now. Fiery, in-your-face, winners.
We played good football in those days (the 4-1 v Sunderland in 84/85) but could also mix it when needed. Either way, there was an end product. Again, the sort of approach that would not go amiss this season. (Shit, I sound about 90! In my day ......)
P.S. I also remember a Radio Merseyside phone-in circa 1983 when Peter Reid's brother / cousin phoned-in to question why HK was not selecting him for the team. So HK took flak as well.
49 Posted 27/12/2014 at 19:01:43
It was after a derby game at Anfield when we lost 3-1.Howard Kendall had a hard time when he first took over, but he didn't do too bad after the poor start did he?
50 Posted 27/12/2014 at 18:48:55
51 Posted 27/12/2014 at 19:17:03
52 Posted 27/12/2014 at 19:36:51
Dreadful game, but light years worse than yesterday.
53 Posted 27/12/2014 at 19:52:22
But doubt I'd have watched MotD after watching that first hand. It's a scar on the memory.
54 Posted 27/12/2014 at 19:59:15
Accepted refs aren't why we are doing so badly but they don't help. Mason is hopeless irrespective of whether it's us or not Â– sending off Agbonlahor for Villa the other week (rescinded) and I recall him absolutely robbing the RS at Man City last Boxing Day. He got so much wrong yesterday, it was embarrassing.
55 Posted 27/12/2014 at 19:58:07
56 Posted 27/12/2014 at 20:06:33
57 Posted 27/12/2014 at 20:13:44
Channel 37 - Quest - Freeview - 'Nomad Chef'. It's a culinary programme set in Spain in this episode.
I've only been watching for 3 mins but 'phenomenal' and 'incredible' mentioned several times already. Obviously a Spanish thing as they're basically eating a fry-up.
ps: Eric Â– I've no idea who the new Reid / Gray is sadly.
58 Posted 27/12/2014 at 20:20:14
59 Posted 27/12/2014 at 20:15:49
Most of our defeats since then have come in similar fashion and Roberto's only answer is to moan that opponents will not allow us to play attractive football.
60 Posted 27/12/2014 at 20:55:50
(For those who don't know how bad things have been...)
63 Posted 27/12/2014 at 22:22:26
64 Posted 27/12/2014 at 22:28:07
65 Posted 27/12/2014 at 23:44:17
I'm absolutely staggered, this is the kind of nonsense I would expect from Geordies, not Evertonians. Do we really crave a return to thumping long balls to a target man at this, the first sign of trouble? Shocking.
66 Posted 28/12/2014 at 01:07:19
The worry is that we do not have the types of player who will be able to react well if we get caught up in the relegation mire and my own view is that the manager will be at serious risk of dismissal if we lose our next two games. I do not think we will and I believe he will get out of this mess and that we will recover. Indeed, I happen to think that we may yet have a very good season but I accept that I am saying that against the evidence at the moment.
But there comes a point when any PL board has to act, otherwise they are putting the future of the club at grave risk. I am one of those who thinks we would struggle to get back if, God forbid, we ever went down. That is what's at stake and that's why people on TW are rightly very concerned.
67 Posted 28/12/2014 at 04:52:24
This lad can't play with his back to goal like Costa, Van Perse, Benteke or Fletcher. He's a charging buffalo who knocks defenders down like skittles when racing towards goal with the ball in front of him.
A unique goal scoring asset so why try to make him into something which is un-natural to him. Bringing in Big Dunc who played the opposite kind of game. The result is a young striker who hasn't got a clue what he is doing and is probably wishing he was somewhere else.
68 Posted 28/12/2014 at 05:41:51
69 Posted 28/12/2014 at 10:14:46
70 Posted 28/12/2014 at 10:30:55
71 Posted 28/12/2014 at 11:01:14
72 Posted 28/12/2014 at 12:36:54
Garbutt to left back, Baines on left wing. Decent idea which solves that problem we currently have.
Maybe bring in a couple of signings in January to freshen things up too and it might all be different.
73 Posted 28/12/2014 at 13:00:00
74 Posted 28/12/2014 at 13:20:19
God knows what state we'd be in if he listened to every fan about team choice and tactics?
75 Posted 28/12/2014 at 13:00:21
My ongoing pain is borne as a right of passage! I have had so many false dawns. Are we about to endure another but with added terror of a relegation battle? God Forbid!
Please can our manager have a Plan B? We have a 㿈 mill, 6ft-3in centre-forward together with a ٤ mill Championship player, who can"put himself about!!
Let's try it the West Ham way, play it long and quickly. and short and quickly Â– the emphasis on the QUICKLY! This is no longer an anathema to The School of Science Â– it is fast becoming a necessary plan.
76 Posted 28/12/2014 at 13:29:42
77 Posted 28/12/2014 at 13:29:23
I'd love him to surprise us but I think he will remain stubborn and stick to his tried and trusted players and tactics.
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