New Year, Same Problems

A 2-0 defeat at Hull City, a team struggling for confidence themselves who hadn't won at home since October, made it four defeats on the spin and five straight losses away from Goodison Park in the League.

Lyndon Lloyd 02/01/2015 61comments  |  Jump to last

Hull City 2 - 0 Everton

With matches compressed into a short amount of time, the Festive season can be a vital part of the Premier League season. Four matches in the space of 12 days, 12 points up for grabs and the chance to build some momentum heading into the second half of the season. Then, of course, there is the flip side...

Even allowing for the fact that three of Everton's four games between 20th December and New Year's Day were away from home, few Evertonians could have imagined that they'd be starting 2015 off wondering where the next point will come from, let alone the next win. A 2-0 defeat at Hull City, a team struggling for confidence themselves who hadn't won at home since October, made it four defeats on the spin and five straight losses away from Goodison Park in the League.

If you can fathom it, it's a worse points return from 20 games than the 2003/04 season when we finished 17th which underscores the seriousness of a situation that appears to be rapidly running away from Roberto Martinez's control. In need of any kind of boost in confidence from this trip to the KC Stadium the venue that saw the Blues confirm their best ever Premier League points tally with a routine 2-0 victory back in May Everton left Humberside with their tails between their legs and an inquest underway among supporters over how things could have got so bad so quickly.

If there's one thing that you can glean from Martinez's first 18 months in charge it's that confidence is a very powerful thing. It almost carried the Toffees into the Champions League last season on a wave of dynamic, scintillating football and outstanding invidivual contributions. Shorn of it almost completely after the last month, Everton look a sorry, disorganised outfit and that was woven into what was ultimately another dire display and result.

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The start was purposeful enough. Martinez's decision to change two of the more positive aspects of Sunday's performance at Newcastle by apparently dropping Luke Garbutt from the squad altogether (not, you'd hope, for his comments following that match in which he revealed the ad-hoc nature of the system the manager employed that day) and pushing Leighton Baines back to left back was a little disappointing. But the team he did pick started with the quicker tempo many have been craving in recent weeks and more attacking intent.

Steven Naismith, back in the side after serving a one-match ban, almost played Kevin Mirallas in in the first minute while a surging run by Muhamed Besic, two more changes in place of of Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy, was wasted by procrastination by Arouna Kone outside the penalty area. And when Ross Barkley's cross was met by a scuffed clearance, Mirallas skied his shot disappointingly over.

The warning signs at the other end were also in evidence, though, especially in the third minute when Gareth Barry tripped Abel Hernandez inside the box but benefited from the truly abysmal Kevin Friend's incompetence when he was only penalised with a free kick on the 18-yard line that Nikica Jelavic smashed over.

A couple of minutes later, Hernandez robbed Barkley in midfield and hammered a shot that Joel Robles fisted away for a corner before Besic picked up his almost obligatory yellow card after just 10 minutes for a late tackle on Andrew Robertson that would eventually lead to the Scot's substitution 12 minutes later. Presumably on account of the tightrope he was now walking, Besic would be withdrawn at half time.

Everton continued to demonstrate a measure of desire to get forward, though, and Naismith might have honoured a great run by Seamus Coleman, who was looking more like his marauding himself, by shunting his square pass on to Mirallas in the area but ended up getting the ball caught under his feet. Meanwhile, the Blues frustrating inability to threaten with any of their set-piece opportunities continued as Mirallas wasted a corner he had won, Baines curled an effort tamely into the 'keeper's arms, while a third somehow ended up going backwards as only Everton can do rather than being put into the area.

32 minutes of acceptable if not spectacular work was undone, though, when Coleman afforded Laim Rosenior too much space to launch a cross in from Hull's left and Baines, caught too deep against Ahmed Elmohamady, meekly allowed his opponent to muscle in ahead of him and plant a header past Robles who remained rooted to the spot. It was the kind of early ball that Martinez's Everton just seem to refuse to make these days and one the Tigers made seem so simple.

Not yet bowed, Everton responded and Mirallas almost profited by a good advantage call by the referee when Livermore fouled Baines but he fired off the post before a Coleman cross was deflected behind for another wasted corner than failed to cause the Hull defence any problems.

The killer came two minutes before half time, though. Hernandez was a alive to Jelavic ahead of him and hooked a ball over his shoulder that dropped over the Everton defence, catching Antolin Alcaraz sleeping and Barry trying, woefully, to catch him offside. Barry, having become aware of his error, just gave up on the chase and the Croatian ran onto the pass while Robles remained inexplicably stuck on his goalline. When the Spaniard did finally come out to close him down he had the space to comfortably lob it over him into the empty net. 2-0; confidence shot to ribbons; game over. Martinez's preferred back three system plainly wasn't working.

Who knows what was said in the dressing room at the break but Martinez's outward response was to introduce Oviedo for Besic and Lukaku for Mirallas. At the time it seemed an unfathomable decision to take off your best player but the manager suggested after the game that the Belgian forward had been feeling sore during the first half. A Lukaku-Kone partnership is one that holds promise for those who would like to see the former get some help up front from a partner who can take the pressure off him, but the Ivorian was having a largely off day and it was mystifying why he remained on the pitch until the final whistle with Samuel Eto'o sitting on the bench.

Still, after more defensive disarray had almost let Hull in for a comical third, Barkley produced the Blues' best moment of the match with mesmerising footwork that ended with Alan McGregor denying him with a point-blank save. That had come a couple of minutes after a good run by the same player had prompted a foul in a dangerous area outside the box but Lukaku steered the resulting direct free kick wide of the goal.

Jelavic then dipped another free kick of his own over Robles bar after Alcaraz had been booked for tripping his man before Naismith's side-foot shot from Coleman's cross hit Alex Bruce in the chest on its way to goal. Meanwhile, the tally of wasted Everton corners continued to climb they'd win eight in all and fail to make any of them count a Jelavic shot was blocked at close quarters and Hernandez almost rubbed salt into the wounds but prodded it just wide having eased past the depressingly sluggish Barry.

In between, Alcaraz was shown a second yellow card for merely getting in his opponent's way another horrendous decision by Mr Friend and apart from a late Barkley free kick that ballooned over, that was pretty much that. Everton, who have taken only two points from losing positions all season, were comfortably beaten and shut out from scoring for the third time in four games.

The fall from last season's grace has been quite spectacular; it's hard even to imagine that this team topped one of the toughest groups in the Europa League and went into the round of 32 draw as a seeded team just six weeks ago. They have lost nine games in the League now and with the exception of the Stoke match, it hasn't been an issue of fine margins, bad luck or poor refereeing lately although there has been plenty of that, too. The team is leaking goals and shedding confidence at an alarming rate and it's going to take more than a few tweaks to resolve it.

Frankly, we're a mess and the time has come for some cold, hard truths, starting with Barry who is a pale imitation of the defensive linchpin he was last season when McCarthy's running masked his advancing years and glaring lack of pace. Since being rushed back from an ankle injury too soon last month, he has been shockingly bad and needs to be dropped for his reaction today alone when he realized he had completely screwed up the offside trap for Hull's second goal and simply stopped running. It's not the first time he's done it this season, either.

Next is Alcaraz who may have been harshly sent off today but he was mostly terrible and lacks the physicality and temperament for the fight that's ahead. He's a luxury we can ill afford at the moment and the sooner John Stones returns to partner Jagielka again, the better we will be. In addition to a goalkeeper to replace the horrendous Robles, a commanding centre half should be Martinez's top priority in the transfer window. He has said in the past couple of weeks that he is content with his squad but if there is money there, he will surely be under tremendous pressure to use it.

After that, a midfield general capable of running things and linking up play more effectively than we have been doing woudl be a welcome addition. Jagielka is a leader by example of performance, not one to take a team by the scruff of the neck and drag it to its feet. Strong leadership is sadly lacking in Martinez's team and it's hard to survive the rigours of the Premier League without it.

Finally, signing the potent wide role that Christian Atsu was presumably supposed to fill should also be high on the manager's to-do list. Since Steven Pienaar's career was derailed by a succession of injuries and Gerard Deulofeu left, we've struggled badly for consistent width and that has made us very easy to contain. It's high time Martinez found a settled team with pace and directness... like the one we were last season.

While a home FA Cup Third Round tie against lower division opposition would pose a dangerous banana skin to a demoralised side like Everton, it would also represent a nice, reduced-risk distraction to help the Blues regain some of their mojo. As it is, we face a strong and direct West Ham team that were unfortunate not to come away from Goodison with a draw in November. If Martinez's side are to rediscover any spine, that is the match to do it in and if they can win it, it would stand them in good stead for the visit of the Champions, Manchester City, the following weekend. Lose it... well, things just get messier and more worrying.

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Reader Comments (61)

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Christopher Timmins
1 Posted 02/01/2015 at 07:53:46
Stones and McCarthy need to come back fit and in time for Man City on Saturday week, the first of 18 Cup finals we have to play in between now and the end of the season.

It’s hard to take that at this point in time the following squad members may have little or nothing to contribute going forward:

Barry and

Three of the above were signed by the current manager and the three that he signed were all Free Transfers?

The January window may not be the best time to acquire players but at present we need:

Goalkeeper, who will be number one choice going forward
A central defender to compliment Jags and Stones and
someone to play wide left

At present we are one of the three worst teams in the division, the only team to take 0 points over the Christmas / New Year period.

Eddie Dunn
2 Posted 02/01/2015 at 08:19:56
Good report, Lyndon, I agree about Barry – his deficiencies were masked by McCarthy’s industry last season, but he is so far off the pace it’s embarrassing.

The second half was much better, but it was disappointing that the two big front men couldn’t get anything going together. Barkley looked like the only likely scorer and Baines at least looked like he was searching for the killer pass.

As for Robles, he was like a rabbit in the headlights for Jella’s goal, just awful. We were lucky we didn’t concede more goals, and a better team would have capitalised on the worst defending I have seen this season. Baines caught napping again – perhaps he should stay in midfield. On the positive side, Oviedo looked up for the fight, and with more games under his belt I think he will be an asset once again.

Let’s hope for a rousing Cup win against the Hammers to set us up for a big moral-boosting win against Man City. If we don’t stop the rot soon, it really will be a crisis.

Jim Hourigan
3 Posted 02/01/2015 at 08:12:53
The team with the worst defensive record makes dramatic changes to its back line and goes with 3 defenders in a 3-5-2 formation!! Where is the sense in that? Playing Barry on the left of a defensive 3 was a disaster waiting to happen.

I do not want a return to the Moyes negativity but I do expect a manager to recognise that if there is a problem conceding goals then you do something about it, not put more into the attacking side hoping to ’out score’ the opposition.

Baines and Coleman played as our two wide men in midfield, not as defenders yesterday. As we stood yesterday and watched us give the ball away in the last third, Hull had a simple solution: play it into the spaces vacated by these two and watch Barry and Alcaraz struggle against the pace and the athleticism of their centre forward (and Jelavic).

Is this the ’Wigan’ philosophy happening again? Are we sleep walking into relegation? Pundits will say each year about a team that is ’too good’ to be relegated getting drawn in – well on the performances of the last few games we are there already!!

Martinez needs to do 4 things:

  1. Openly recognise and admit there is a problem with our defending and publicly say he will address it, otherwise he continues to treat the paying public as morons.
  2. Accept that at times you have to be pragmatic in the Premier League and change your philosophy to get points on the board. It’s no good going on about playing style, defeat breeds a lack of confidence and no number of ’positive words’ will ever compensate for points and wins. God help us against Man City if he tries to attack them!!
  3. Stop putting square pegs in round holes to accommodate players. Barry has one position, if he isn’t performing, drop him. Barkley has only one position, he cannot / does not defend, so it’s behind the CF or on the bench. Naismith has only one attribute – effort – is that good enough for a Premier League player? If so, my dog available next week. Eto’o, Barkley, & Naismith cannot play as wide men, whoever thought they could?
  4. Playing three ’Number 10’s’ in the same side invites disaster against any side with the nous to move the ball wide and make any of these players track back. Put players in systems that they understand and can play and stop changing it every week when the problem is defending.

Should he stay or should he go? I want to give him a chance but if he can’t / won’t change his approach then he must go. Success, even at a modest level, is achieved when you recognise your own weaknesses and address them. Not accepting there is a problem is blind ignorance and will lead to disaster sooner rather than later. I haven’t heard his pronouncements on yesterday’s debacle and sadly don’t want to – is that the end of the line for him from me?

Jeff Hughes
4 Posted 02/01/2015 at 08:46:24
Nice balance, Lyndon, and some measured warnings. No doubt the side is losing confidence fast but I believe this has been brought about by Roberto picking badly balanced sides and this exacerbated by injuries.

He has to decide who he wants at No 10 – Barkley, Naismith or Eto’o. Whilst Eto’o could play up top or out wide, the other two should not play anywhere else. Barkley has the class to threaten defences but is woefully limited in a midfield role where his work rate and awareness of others is poor and, consequently, he leaves us exposed.

Why he didn’t persevere with the Garbutt/Baines experiment I don’t know as we have missed balance on the left. Besic deserves a full match and Barry requires a rest.

The second imperative is the need to quicken the pace of play, mix the passing and get back to using crosses from out wide. Some signs of greater urgency recently but this has coincided with our draining confidence. We need to put teams on the back foot.

Finally, I think fans would rally around Roberto if he came out and talked with greater honesty and less patronising drivel.

Mark Palmer
5 Posted 02/01/2015 at 08:42:45
We have no divine right to eat at the top table. We’re neither rich enough not have a recent history of any success to fuel high expectations. If you don’t finish in the top six, you may as well finish 17th. And, the fact that top six is considered a success tells you a lot about modern football. Half a season of disappointment is not a good enough reason to sack RM. Everton doesn’t do that, right?

Fans have every right to air their views and everyone’s utterly fucked off but right now, Roberto, having been up all night struggling with the same issues as us all, has had a eureka moment and things will look up in 2015. I would say Keep the Faith but that slogan is associated with Wigan Casino and any references to Wigan weaken my argument.

Kevin Gillen
7 Posted 02/01/2015 at 09:53:04
Playing Baines and Steven Naismith in central midfield says to me Martinez hasn’t got a clue and is totally panic stricken. We made an average Hull team look like world beaters. I can’t see Martinez surviving this with our upcoming fixtures.
James Murphy
8 Posted 02/01/2015 at 09:52:00
I never thought I would say this, after Moyes, but until we sort this rot out, the manager needs to to play a 4-5-1. Keep possession, and with five midfielders covering the defence it provides a solid base.

It can work with a big, strong front man, Didier Drogba played this role well, he can win the ball in the air and hold it up. Lukaku – I am sure he could play this role, if the team know when to play him and not just lump balls up, and isolate him.

Play 4-3-3 when we have the ball and 4-5-1 when we don’t. The only problem is the manager wouldn’t play 4-5-1, when the likes of Jose Mourinho would play it and knew how to play it effectively. The results and goals against us tells everyone that we need to tighten up and change the setup and tactics; other mangers have sussed us out, time for a change of plan, Roberto.

Phil Walling
9 Posted 02/01/2015 at 10:21:12
Not much to disagree with there Lyndon but I can't see BK entrusting Roberto with more than token funding in this window.

Would you, if it was your's ?

Mike Childs
10 Posted 02/01/2015 at 10:23:45
Thanks again Lyndon. Also enjoyed your Wheels coming off articles.
Barry Sherlock
11 Posted 02/01/2015 at 11:03:42
Mark Palmer (5)
"if you don't finish in the top 6, you may as well finish 17th"...

What, really?
@£2m per place in the PL??

If we finish 7th we just missed out and could point to a handful of results where we could do better next year. We finish 17th and frankly a lot of the players are thinking "new club".

January fixtures include Palace, City and WBA. Last year I would have predicted wins over Stoke, Hull, WBA, Palace and probably a draw vs City.

Now I would say... beat WBA, lose to City and force a draw at Palace. But Palace and WBA have got new managers:Tony Pulis will have WBA much more difficult to beat. And Pardew has already sussed RM out at Newcastle. City, well I wouldn't expect too much there anyway.

At the end of January if the above result go against us RM has to go. We cannot continue going through game after game being soft.

Wasn't it Einstein that once said; to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results is the sign of insanity??

Phil Walling
12 Posted 02/01/2015 at 11:41:20
No, it wasn't, Barry ! But I get your meaning .
Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 02/01/2015 at 11:39:57
Jim 3, good sensible post.

Kevin 7, I thought Baines did okay in there, but agree with Naismith. Barry and Alcaraz in the same back three? Playing a high line, with no pace between them? Especially with a keeper stuck in his six yards box? They are the worst tactics I have seen since Walter Smith was in charge.

I’m wrong there. Those tactics would be okay, but only if the personnel was different. This suggests one of two thingsL Martinez, doesn’t even know his own players – or his head has fallen off!

Ian Burns
14 Posted 02/01/2015 at 12:10:03
Great article Lyndon but it didn't make me feel any better!

Jim 3 - I agree RM has four options but I disagree with your 4 - mine are:

1. Leave;
2. Leave;
3. Leave.
4. Leave

before the damage is irrepairable.

Barry Sherlock
15 Posted 02/01/2015 at 12:13:40
Phil, hahaha, apparently is wasn't Einstein! It's a common misattribution.

And just for the record....
Apparently Marie Antoinette did not say "let them eat cake" either!!!

I wasn't around when either of the above did or did not say, well any of that!

But I WAS there when Roberto said "I can get you Champions League". And I don't recall him saying that we would be getting beaten at home by Stoke and be made to look like a conference side against the mighty Hull??

I like Roberto. I do. I like the positive vibe he gives off. But he has made us into a soft team who do not look capable of keeping a clean sheet.

Phil Walling
16 Posted 02/01/2015 at 12:37:22
Barry, it may surprise a few on here but I like him, too ! I suspect he would be far better company that OFM and several before him. But 'being nice' has little to do with it. He has been on a mission to prove some cock-eyed theories which over anything but the short term don't hold up.

'Bobby Bright Eyes' he may be but using our club as a football laboratory is not on and BK should never have paid his 'research fees'.

Who was it who said 'Off with his head' ?

Nick Page
17 Posted 02/01/2015 at 12:29:38
We finished fifth last year due to the remnants of Moyes (fitness, fight, desire, organisation) mixed with some fresh ideas which probably caught a few teams off guard. Roll-on pre season and all the good things we once had were washed away with some quite frankly lazy and pathetic planning. Now that the squad has forgotten what it once was and capable of, we’ve been turned into - and I hate using this cliche - a mirror image of Martinez’s piss poor Wigan side. I put up an analysis a while ago on how Wigan changed when he took over highlighting especially the huge change in the goals against column.

He clearly lacks any sense of pragmatism and is stubborn as a fucking mule. I liked his ideas last season and thought he could mix it and had learned. Very clearly I was completely misled like a lot of other blues, perhaps players too.

We are in serious fucking trouble here and unless the board make a big decision this idiot of a manager is taking us down with his awful planning, tactics, arrogance, obstinance and general fucking one-eyed bullshit.

Please please please have the fucking decency and just GO.

Phil Roberts
18 Posted 02/01/2015 at 13:00:27

9 days ago he refused to rule out us getting into 4th place.

We all thought he was deluded. What we didn't realise was he was talking about 4th from bottom.

And to keep reminding people. We lost 5 on the bounce when it was the last 4 games of the season and we were virtually safe from relegation and nothing for which to play. The following season we played awful with a KITAP1 philosophy and stole into 4th place with a negative goal difference. Fight, hard work, effort and bit of skill and some good fortune seemed to be the key.

Chris Matheson
19 Posted 02/01/2015 at 13:45:32
Thanks Lyndon. For me, the four defeats are not the problem, merely the symptom: those of us who watched regularly would have seen this coming a mile off. The slow-and-getting-slower style of play, the increasing irrelevance of two of our most potent attacking threats (Bainsey and Coleman), the defence that puts itself under pressure every match. We concede the most goals in the division, and that whilst playing two defensive midfielders.

Early doors it was Lukaku and his toe that were the lightning conductor when it was apparent that it was the styile play rather than his deficiencies that were the cause of his lack of goals.

Since then it is fair to say that injuries and bad reffing decisions have affected us.

But the main problem is the dreadful "philosophy" we are shacked with and the position we find ourselves in now has been coming or a while.

So to call for the the manager's dismissal is not knee jerk as some posters have suggested on here. It is the culmination of months of frustration.

We have not won anything for almost 20 years. That is mostly down to the Chairman but right now the main problem at the club is the manager. He can't change so it is time for him to go.

On an entirely separate point, I am impressed how all the reviewers here, Lyndon, Michael, Ken and Paul, have been able to write with coherence and depth about the last few games where we have been so flat and featureless that I would have struggled to put any description together. Thanks and well done.

Andrew Rimmer
20 Posted 02/01/2015 at 14:03:44
Oh My God.

This man's refusal to accept anything bad about his style is really killing this club. Here's an interview he did when Wigan got relegated.

See any similarities?

Joe Clitherow
21 Posted 02/01/2015 at 13:24:49
Nick 17

I absolutely, completely 100% agree with your post.

The only thing I might add is that my purely personal belief is that we should avoid relegated players if possible. I think there is some kind of subconscious psychological damage to self belief and they are more fragile if put in the same situation.

Given that we have a manager and have heavily raided relegated Wigan this is an even worse situation for us if we keep this empty vessel who makes more noise with less action than any other manager in the Premier League.

Bill Gall
22 Posted 02/01/2015 at 13:54:37
We are talking on here about the January transfer window and the type of players needed for the fight to stay in the Premier League that we are facing. My fear is that the wolves will come when they see a wounded animal and they will start offering large fees for our more younger talented players.

The other problem is, if the rumours are true about unrest in the dressing room and friction between the manager and a couple of players, some of them may start to put in requests for transfers and that is really serious as we do not want players who do not want to play for Everton.

Firing the manager may not be the answer at this time as it may be too late for someone to come in and change it around... plus I do not think BK has the backbone to do it.

All we can do is hope that some way Martinez can turn it around and, as he is too stubborn to change what he believes is the only way to play the game, look at the end of the season to replace him if it is still not working.

Phil Walling
23 Posted 02/01/2015 at 14:26:02
Bill, sitting back and 'hoping that someway Martinez will turn it round' is not a strategy but an abdication of responsibility if that is what you really feel BK should do.

Sure, he could throw a few millions at the manager to bolster the defence but who the hell would trust his judgement after what he did with £40M + this summer ? And, who worth his salt, would wish to join a team that every observer says looks like a rabble at the moment.

No, the time has come for positive action. That is if the Wiganization of our great club is to fall short of sampling FL Championship football next season !

Barry Sherlock
24 Posted 02/01/2015 at 15:41:56
Some excellent replies!

I have to say I’m not one for chop and change and all that, but we need stability first and foremost. We need tippy-tappy football second. If RM cannot get the two together it is a lost cause. RM has to have a better defensive mindset.

For the record, I don’t think that we bought badly this summer or last January. McCarthy, Besic, Kone, Lukaku are all decent players. However the formation and/or the positions they are asked to play in are the problem.

So I don’t think giving RM money to spend is a problem, however who will come and what will RM ask them to do?

Barry Sherlock
25 Posted 02/01/2015 at 16:11:03
Bill (22),

Spot on; this January some clubs are going to be turning some of our players heads for sure. Losing Barkley, Coleman, Mirallas, McCarthy or Besic would be really bad.

I fear for us. I really do. I can honestly say I do not see 3 worse teams in the league. QPR and Leicester. Burnley have done a bit better and can dig a result out. They play for their manager.

When you see situations where a manager loses his players there are not many situations where that can be repaired.

Ray Roche
26 Posted 02/01/2015 at 16:30:00
Wigan's former manager, backroom staff, trainers, fitness (HA!) coaches and five former Wigan players. With that in mind, why do we think we aren't a Wigan side?
Brian Hill
27 Posted 02/01/2015 at 16:31:15
Phil, "Wiganization" - magnificent.
Zayn Zaffar
28 Posted 02/01/2015 at 16:35:26
New to this site, haven’t posted before today, although I have been supporting Everton since the 1984 FA Cup Final v Watford at Wembley.

I agree with Ian (#14), but if Martinez does get the boot, who else is there? Let’s forget the philosophy/attractiveness play, let’s get back to the basics. Why not try Besic in Central Defence? Let’s play 4-4-2, guys... it’s just an opinion.

Steve Woods
29 Posted 02/01/2015 at 16:40:24
"Phil, "Wiganization" - magnificent."

That's the first time anything Everton related has made me smile in months never mind laugh out loud!

Even in the depths sometimes a chuckle can be found, thanks for that one Phil!

Now come on Bill do the right thing and find us a manager to keep us secure in the PL for 2015.

Frank Crewe
30 Posted 02/01/2015 at 17:11:13
Everton are not being "Winganized" they are being "Swanseaized" at least the version of Swansea that RM had for the two seasons he was manager there.

He had success with his "philosophy" at Swansea because he managed to get them promoted from the 1st division to the Championship but they finished 8th and he left to manage Premiership Wigan. As we all know his time at Wigan was not a success. All he did was dodge relegation using the same methods he’s using now until it caught up with him and Wigan went down and he jumped ship to Everton.

We now know his "philosophy" is not a success at Everton either. It’s just wishful thinking. RM is a fraud who had a little bit of success with a lower division club who could afford to take a chance on him.

RM is a dreamer who fancies that he has come up with some brand new innovative way of playing football. He hasn’t.

Everton need a pragmatic manager who can get the best out of the players at his disposal. We do not need some Pep Guardiola wannabe who is busily running the club into the championship. Get rid now before it’s too late.

Bill Gall
31 Posted 02/01/2015 at 18:20:25
Phil no it is not what feel BK should do, as I said he does not have the backbone to do anything else.
Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 02/01/2015 at 18:57:55
Phil Roberts (18) "what we didn't realise, he meant fourth from bottom" — If he could guarantee us getting that now, I'd grab it with both hands.

I think everyone is starting to realise how bad the situation we are in, so it is imperative that Martinez's position, one way or the other is sorted out very quickly.

Lee Gorre
33 Posted 02/01/2015 at 19:25:15
Looking back on it, where we really that good last season? I have been watching the season highlights dvd this last few days and save for a good spell around Stoke at home to Swansea away and then the 7 game winning run in March and April (when we were actually bloody awful at home to Cardiff and Swansea and away at Sunderland), we got by on the solidity of the defence which as many have alluded to already, was still in Moyes mode, and a group of players at the top of their games.

Move on a year and we have a combination of players out of form and/or over the hill.

I look at other teams at the moment and wish we were them - the spirit of Burnley even makes me envious.

The myth that we play (or have played) great football under Martinez as opposed to the supposed dirge under Moyes needs to be put to bed. Sure in the early days under Moyes it wasn't great, but look back to his last season - Swansea away, Villa away, Man Utd and City at home, we played some great stuff.

Anthony Hawkins
34 Posted 02/01/2015 at 19:42:33
For me, Martinez has to do these things immediately:
1. Pick a first 11 where each player fits into their own natural and strongest position and don't try to accommodate favoured players in a team just for the sake of it. E.g. Left back at left back, Central midfielder in CM. Striker and forward up front. It really is that simple unless I'm missing something.

2. Sign a new #1 keeper NOW. Goalkeeper deficiencies have been papered over (and possibly ignored) whilst the team appeared to be doing well. As the team has aged, the deficiencies have become more apparent.

3. sign players to suit and fulfil your preferred formation and playing style. Signing players as stop gaps just doesn't work.

4. Accept when an approach isn't working and when it needs to change. If an approach continually doesn't work or reaps the same bad outcome then it's simply not going to work with the same group of players. Lots of things work in theory but not in practise. Van Gaal was man enough to admit his approach of 3 at the back wasn't working.

5. Buy new wingers. The Everton squad is full of central midfielders and very few wide men. Yes they can play wide but it's not their speciality. Buying players to fit the formation will always reap a greater return (goals) than retro fitting players.

Denver Daniels
35 Posted 02/01/2015 at 19:56:42
Lee, under Moyes we played some cracking stuff, but those games were few and far between. It was mostly boring, predictable dross where we ran out of ideas as soon as we reached the opposition final third. I could never understand how we could look so good one week, and then so poor the next.

Roberto was never my first choice, but I was willing to give him a chance and some time.

But I think it's gone too far now. He needs to go because he's stubborn and idealistic and right now we need someone who is willing to put the club first, not themselves and the "philosophies".

As most have alluded to on here though, Bill doesn't have it in him to make the right call.

Sid Logan
36 Posted 02/01/2015 at 21:22:20
Well written piece Lyndon. Those Evertonian's who follow TW are indebted to you and Michael (and of course Ken) for great match reports and to the two of you for excellent articles. As most of the written media knows, bad news sells papers and that's undoubtedly true. The worse things get, the more I turn to TW for solace and some of the excellent posts that make for such enjoyable reads and often make me laugh out loud.

We are once again in a time of major crisis. It looks as though two camps are emerging and I suspect the majority of Evertonians – I accept not all – are in the "Martinez is on borrowed time" camp and have virtually no faith that he can turn things around. The rest probably, along with most of the media, are in the "Martinez needs to (presumably because they believe he can) dig deep and turn things around" camp.

I am most definitely with the no faith camp simply because the evidence that he can't to me is overwhelming. Here's some of the reasons why:-

Pre-season was abysmal. He was misguided to spend so much time at the World Cup and undoubtedly neglected the Club's pre-season preparations. His apparent search for World Cup nuggets produced only Besic and I think the jury is still out on him. But either way his impact will never be worth Martinez's neglect of his club responsibilities.

How can we trust a Manager who put his faith in Robles for so long when the rest of us had massive doubts from the beginning? Our fitness levels look to be lower than they've ever been.

In all my time watching football I have never heard a manager say (as he did after the Southampton game) that he believed that the team he had selected had the ability to win the game. Why, on that basis, would any Manager need to make substitutions ever again? That kind of inflexibility – is that becoming a common theme – can get you relegated!

The constant post match spiel about the players needing "to be themselves" and to "enjoy their football" is so far removed from the situation we find ourselves in as to be laughable.

Then there's the utter crap about not being deterred from playing attacking football even if that means giving goals away. Excuse me, Roberto – is that the king of attacking football that generates huge excitement amongst supporters, that leads to goals or at the very least forces the opposing keeper miraculous saves and most importantly clocks up 3 points in most games? If it is – take it from most of us – we ain't playing it!

And finally, when the world and his wife could see that Barry was getting unmercifully creamed with regularity by Hernandez in the Hull game – why didn't he change the defensive set-up? To carry on with it was nothing short of lunacy.

I could go on with Roberto's misjudgements, whether they're caused through ego, arrogance or naivety... but there's little point. Our problem is that Roberto is such a likeable guy and probably like his Chairman a a naïve romantic that, other than from those Evertonians who have been forced to watch his team's performances for most of this season, calls for him to do the right thing and say adios will be distinctly muted and perhaps until it's too late.

In conclusion: I would love him to turn things around – do I think he will? – on the evidence so far – not a chance in hell!

Eddie Dunn
37 Posted 02/01/2015 at 21:37:05
Andrew, just watched the clip of Martinez, Fuck Me, the record was stuck back then. He really is a fucking spin doctor spewing verbal vomit which is an insult to the Wigan fans who had been to Arsenal to watch their team beaten 4-1, and get relegated!
Andy Crooks
38 Posted 02/01/2015 at 21:47:04
Lyndon, I believe that Blackburn have a solid centre half with international experience. Perhaps we could get him on loan.
Colin Glassar
39 Posted 02/01/2015 at 21:41:30
Very telling, IMO, that the first Hull goal was down to the woeful incompetence of Coleman and Baines. Neither can defend to save their lives and in these times of crisis I'd rather see Hibbo at RB and Garbutt or Oviedo at LB. We need to shore up the defence with players who at least know the basics.
Brian Swift
40 Posted 02/01/2015 at 21:56:21
We have two midfielders playing In front of the back four,normally Barry and Macarthy. I think that Hibbo could just as good a job there on his own. He's younger than Barry, fitter than Barry, he tackles better than Barry, and has even played in the middle of the back four in Europe. in these days of leaking goals every game, think it would be a good punt. Carsley did the same job, also on his own, and it release Macarthy into the middle of midfield. I wait for the flack.
Andy Crooks
41 Posted 02/01/2015 at 22:29:16
No flack, Brian, original thinking.
Mike Hughes
42 Posted 02/01/2015 at 22:31:20
Actually that is not a bad idea, Brian.
Hibbert might do well there - he can certainly tackle.

Funnily enough I remember Carsley getting subbed when we were 2-0 up against Wigan (of all teams) a few years back and they came back to draw 2-2.

Andrew Rimmer
43 Posted 02/01/2015 at 22:40:55
Eddie, there's plenty more where that came from.
I am now playing Go Now by the Moody Blues and am singing every word like I really mean it.
Lee Jamieson
44 Posted 02/01/2015 at 22:28:00
I think we need to look back at last season and ask what has changed?

Firstly we have lost the first team coach for a start who just happened to have been one of the most solid defenders we ever had. A quick look at Hibernian and they appear to have a half decent defence as they are currently sitting third with a +15 goal difference. Yes I know that it is the second tier in pub football but clearly Stubbs knows how to set out a defence and how to train them.

Secondly our squad has aged. Distin had been holding back the hands of time for a long while, Pienaar's legs look older than mine, Osman never had pace but he did have quick feet which appear to have gone and Barry also looks geriatric.

Thirdly our pre season was awful, poor opposition and poor amount of games. Contrast that with who we played last season and they are chalk and cheese.

Fourthly injuries, we have had critical injuries which have disrupted our rhythm. I am struggling to recall when we have been able to put out the same back four or midfield in back to back games.

Fifthly we lost Delboy and replaced him with the woefully inadequate Atsu. Last year we had width in spades, this year we are far too narrow.

Lastly we seem to be playing players out of position, Ross was great behind the forward last season and when he had an off game Naisy went in. This season we have tried Ross as a no 10, defensive midfield and even on the wing. Christ I am surprised we haven't given him Tim's gloves for a go in goal! Barry has played centre half, Baines has played midfield, centre halves at full back and we have had strikers on the wings.This maybe due to injuries but I also think it is due to tinkering to try to fit everyone in and keep certain players happy.

All-in-all it has led to what we have now which is a team with no direction, no clear idea of what their doing and low in confidence.

The answer get a defensive coach in to replace Stubbs and go back to the basics like how we had it last season. Fast free flowing passing with wide players, trickery in the final third and a settled back four with two solid anchors in front.

Andrew Rimmer
46 Posted 02/01/2015 at 23:01:11
Every one of the above comment is down to RM.
He's not capable of it. Get Rid!
Kim Vivian
47 Posted 02/01/2015 at 21:25:08
First of all, as with Zayn (#28), I am new to TW and this is my first post, and may I say how refreshing it is to read well articulated and for the most part well punctuated and constructed comments (notwithstanding Sid’s keyboard glitch! No offence intended!)

I have supported Everton since 1970 when I would attend most, if not all, home matches before moving down South – since when my attendance at games has become dreadfully sporadic mainly due to distance and difficulty getting tickets. I have raised a family who have all successfully responded to treatment and are all avid Evertonians (including the dog, if only he knew) and 2½-year-old grandson is shaping up nicely.

Now – I am one of the noisiest critics of the "take ’em on, chuck ’em out" mentality in football these days and think DM for one was majorly crapped on by Man Utd (even Fergie was facing the sack in the early days), and I felt quite good about Martinez when he joined for some reason despite the relegation issue. I guess his FA cup success and Swansea history swayed me.

When he raided Wigan for the players he brought over, with the exception of McCarthy, I was somewhat perturbed – especially with Robles, and at the time thought that McManaman might actually have been a more interesting prospect than Robles, Alcaraz or Kone. Doubts creeping in but, hey – give him a chance.

Then we had last season which was quite a nice time to be an Evertonian for the most part, except for finishing with a bit of a whimper.

This season – WTF is going on...?

Insofar as camps and divisions in the club are concerned, I cannot help wondering about the mental state of the ex-Wigan personnel on our books and how their experiences must be (a) affecting their own performance, and (b) rubbing off on our established and new players. I wonder also if there is some sort of loyalty issue going on within the Wigan camp whereby they are sticking together to support RM which is being reciprocated in the team selection, or are they all perhaps intimidated by a sort of control freak personality emanating from RM that we have not seen. I’m sure we can all relate to that kind of situation in everyday life at some time or another, and it is a very disturbing environment to try and perform in.

It is interesting that the fall-out rumours between players and RM are centered largely on the characters who are somewhat stronger willed - Distin, Besic etc. I have coached football at a junior level and always instilled the fact that the game is won as much in the head as it is with the feet – if the head’s in the wrong place the feet simply won’t work properly. And that is where we are now. Every team has it’s share of injuries, suspensions etc so I don’t accept that cop-out excuse, and I do not believe we are physically unfit. Mentally we are morose with a couple of exceptions.

We could start by getting a TOP sports psychologist in on the backroom staff (much as ’they’ did last season) which unfortunately would not be an instant fix but would pay dividends this season, as well as the much discussed CD, CM and GK.

Someone needs to stand up to RM, and BK should dish out an ultimatum. Change now or go now – preferably go. (There... I’ve said it.) I do think Joe Royle could rescue this season, maybe try for Irvine to assist and regroup in the summer. Hopefully we can keep all our key players in the meantime! That would be a start.

Myself? I love success, can accept defeat or failure if one’s done one’s best, but this utter capitulation we are witnessing this season must be halted NOW. I do not think RM is the man to arrest the slide. Sadly.

Paul Taylor
48 Posted 03/01/2015 at 00:22:49
Like all Evertonians, I despair at the state the club is in. I think that the priority this season is to remain in the Premier League. Europa League and FA cup are for resting priority players, whoever they may be???

We need a minimum of 20 points from our remaining fixtures to get us to 42 points. Monthly points required for survival could be:-

January: WBA (H) = 3 pts; Crystal Palace (A) = 3 pts

February: Leicester (H) = 3 pts

March: Newcastle (H) = 3 pts; QPR (A) = 3 pts

April: Burnley (H) = 3 pts

May: Sunderland (H) =3 pts

At this stage, ALL games are difficult and no doubt there will be a few draws as well, but I think that the above points per month should be achievable as an absolute minimum. Then a summer clear out of the dead wood and re-evaluation of RM's future...

What a contrast to last years optimism... If we lose the next two, then maybe more drastic action is called for. But our Premier League status is paramount.

Paul Ward
49 Posted 03/01/2015 at 04:30:14
Lee Jamieson (#44) A lot of validity in what you say about Stubbs. In fact, I would not be surprised if he was our next manager. Knowing the cheapskate BK is, if Martinez has to be paid off, Stubbs maybe the cheapest alternative.

It is hard to accept that so many things are wrong with team. Apart from the inept defence, how have we allowed the team to age so much without replacing them with younger players? Howard, Distin, Hibbert, Pienaar and Osman should have moved on last season. Then we signed Barry who surprised by having a good first season but is now completely finished.

I think above all our problems is the fact Andy Gray's comment of "Martinez has made Everton soft" is correct. So how will we get some fight and pride back into this team?

Brent Stephens
50 Posted 03/01/2015 at 11:17:06
Kim #47. Nice first post. I'm also in the "out now" camp. You'll take some stick from some for that view (any view) on TW but you'll find that it's generally stick that's well-reasoned and not insulting (a few exceptions!) – that's the attraction of TW.

Keep posting!

Andrew Clare
51 Posted 03/01/2015 at 12:07:39
For a club of our size, we really have been failed time and time again by the owners of the football club.

Since Howard Kendall Mk 1, we have had a succession of mediocre managers, with the exception of Joe Royle. We have persevered with a mid-table minded manager for 11 years... and now – when we are in dire need of leadership – we are slipping further and further into major trouble.

It all adds up to one thing: We have been massively let down by Kenwright and Co who shouldn't be in place.

Bobby Thomas
53 Posted 03/01/2015 at 12:36:10

Stubbs wasn’t first team coach.

Joe Clitherow
54 Posted 03/01/2015 at 12:27:00
Sid 36

Excellent post, 100% agree.

Brian 40

That's a good shout and worth a try IMO.

Lots of people here clinging on to the last season performance as the reason to stick (the only reason so far as I can see and iignoring the overwhelming weight of contradictory evidence too) but the more I look at it, well...

In my job, I interview people and the very first I do after looking at the CV is ascertaining whether the list of achievements were actually carried out by the candidate or was he or she just "in the room" when other people did things and they are listing the plaudits for success as their own.

More and more, I am convinced that Martinez was just "in the room" when some overly cautious shackles were removed from Moyes's side, as many of us had called for, and they played with a mix of instilled discipline and organisation and natural instinct. Moyes himself used to say that a well-drilled squad didn't need managing.

But I think even more restrictive and ineffective shackles have gradually been placed on the side and make no mistake, the players are following a Martinez plan since the back end of last season.

RM's vaunted philosophy does not work at all in my opinion, certainly not without £100M+ of investment and possibly not even then. No-one sane will fund such a gamble. I think he is a nice guy but I don't think he can manage at all and he has to go before he does any more damage.

Max Wilson
55 Posted 03/01/2015 at 16:25:58
A lot of thought from our Lyndon and you all. Fundamentally though, I HATE HOW WE ARE PLAYING. I can't stand it. Never mind 3 at the back-bloody stupid with our recent defensive record and using Alcaraz,who is'nt good enough for our team in my opinion. What I loathe are those slow build ups that give the other side ages to get into shape, the lack of penetration from midfield, the dreadful corners we take with no threat at all, our strikers not getting good balls,having to go looking for the ball,when did we last see a decent early ball into their area? This is'nt the Everton I want to see. I hate it. Soon I shall loathe Martinez unless he sees the light.
Brian Harrison
56 Posted 03/01/2015 at 16:51:55
The stats show that we have conceded more goals than everyone apart from QPR. So people are now suggesting some central defenders who can do a job for us.

But can I remind people our right back is allegedly being sort after by 2 teams in the top 4, our centre back is an England regular as is our left back. Also John Stones is now a regular with the England squad. I am sure if you offered this back four to most of the Premier League teams they would all accept them with open arms. Possibly only Chelsea have a better back four. Yet Martinez and his tactics have made them look very average.

So, if he can't do it with this back 4 then I wouldn't trust him with any money in the window for a back 4 player but we desperately need a keeper. Although despite having Robles at Wigan, he and his goalkeeping coach both thought he was a good understudy and possible replacement for Howard. How anyone can trust this man's judgement is beyond belief.

Steve Davies
57 Posted 03/01/2015 at 17:08:55
Some great articles and some great comments from fellow Blues on this site. Many of the suggestions to replace Barry, change the style of play, play more defensively are spot-on and make footballing sense.

However I know that the one person who should be reading this (ie, Martinez) will not take any notice of all of this common sense suggestions. He is stubborn, arrogant and deluded and will continue to play good players in either the wrong position or in an ill-advised system according to his philosophy. He did this at Wigan and he took them down. He will do this to Everton if we stay with him, make no mistake. We are dropping like a stone.

The answer may be to sack him after the West Ham game. I would put Joe Royle in charge until the end of the season and we will see the difference immediately as players become organised, hard to beat and play to a system that works. You will instantly see a change in the players' attitudes. He will keep us up and then we can re-group next season and find another long-term manager.

Martinez has been an experiment and we had one good season with him mainly based on Moyes's defense and the fitness regime that he inherited.

I did want to give Martinez a chance as he is a young manager, has a lot to learn and a manager does need time. However, his 'Know it all' arrogance and poor results have convinced me that, for the sake of the club and to preserve our 'Top Flight' status, he should be removed forthwith. Basically, he has learned nothing from his Wigan days!!!!

Bill Gall
58 Posted 03/01/2015 at 18:17:46
Joe # 54 Like you, I interviewed a number of people for a position in the mining company I was working for and the first thing I did was went over the CV to check if the candidate had the qualifications for the position he was applying for. With only Wilkipedia to go on regarding Martinez's experience as a CV, I will ask you a question:

Would you have hired him for the manager's position at Everton.? — I know I would not.

Clive Rogers
59 Posted 03/01/2015 at 21:11:06
Forget about Hibbert. He struggled against City away and has been out ever since. In other words his body is past it. There is no sign of him returning to fitness and he has rarely been available for two years.
Joe Clitherow
60 Posted 03/01/2015 at 21:53:45
No, Bill - I didn't want him. But, once he was here, I supported him 100% until it became plainly obvious he was not the man for us.

It started IMO last January in the Anfield derby when he didn't correct (in game) something that was painfully obvious to anyone who watched. It's continued through watching some of the most turgid boring unimaginative football I've seen and topped off by the fact we are easy meat for just about anyone.

Harvey Miller
63 Posted 03/01/2015 at 22:10:52
Very good posts here now, the post-match anger gone. No-one wants to wait any more and most of us would want Roberto to go now. I feel the same way too and would welcome Joe Royle as manager until June. Alan Irvine would be a good help too.

If we stall, we will go down. On Tuesday, it will be more of the same because most of the players have already decided not to bother, which is disgusting. But it is still Bobbys's fault and because of that, he has failed and must go.

Brian Hennessy
64 Posted 03/01/2015 at 22:44:24
I still think Hibbert has a big role to play in our season.

For me he is the best out and out defender we have at the club.

To stem this flow of goals we are conceeding I would have Hibbert at right back as soon as he is fit and Coleman in front of him right midfield.

I would have Garbutt or Oviedo left back with Baines left mid.

Until we can stop conceeding goals and get some confidence in the team I would forget playing wide players such as McGeady and even Mirallas who cannot defend, although I do think Mirallas should be used more up front to give us a different option with more pace.

Above all else Barry should have no place in the team.

Clive Rogers
65 Posted 03/01/2015 at 23:22:51

He's out indefinitely and has started 8 games in the last 3 seasons. His body can't do it any more.

Nicholas Ryan
66 Posted 03/01/2015 at 23:32:07
To play like Barcelona, you have to BE Barcelona!

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