Blues Rediscover Their Fight

The Blues displayed defensive resilience and revived impetus to earn a deserved draw with City

Lyndon Lloyd 11/01/2015 69comments  |  Jump to last

Everton 1 - 1 Manchester City

If there is one thing that has been missing from Everton for much of the past month it is fight. The kind of determination, passion and togetherness that was a hallmark of David Moyes's reign and the foundation of the Blues' success last season under Roberto Martinez's more expansive style.

It re-emerged in the final few minutes of last Tuesday's FA Cup tie with West Ham and was on display from the first whistle to last today against a Manchester City side who came to Goodison Park bent on keeping the pressure on Chelsea by winning this fixture for the second season running. Rather than meet the ragged, confidence-sapped and error-strewn Everton that had stumbled its way to four successive League defeats before today, Manuel Pellegrini's men came up against altogether more resilient and cohesive hosts. So much so that Fernandinho's 74th-minute header did not prove to be the winner it promised to be, merely the precursor to a Toffees fightback that was rewarded by Steven Naismith's excellent header.

The Scot has proven time and again his penchant for coming up trumps on the big occasion and, having scored against all of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in his time at Goodison, he produced the crucial equaliser 12 minutes from time that earned a much-deserved point for his team.

Had they benefited from the kind of refereeing that has benefited City with three of the softest penalties imaginable in each of the last three meetings between these two clubs at the Etihad Stadium, the Blues might even have won this contest. Phil Jagielka tumbled in the visitors' box under a heavy aerial challenge that would almost certainly have earned a free kick had it been outside the area but referee Martin Atkinson, no stranger to stiffing the Blues in front of their own fans, ignored the pleas for a spot kick.

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As it is, Everton took a morale-boosting point, one ground out with the kind of performance that made a mockery of premature calls from a minority for Martinez's head and talk of his being the shock team to go down this season. There were big performances all over the pitch and while the players weren't quite able to hit the attacking heights to which Evertonians became accustomed last season, they now have a platform from which to mount a recovery from what have been six devastating weeks in terms of their Premier League campaign.

Martinez made three changes to the team that had started against the Hammers, with John Stones a welcome sight in central defence alongside Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines returning at left back in place of Bryan Oviedo and Aiden McGeady a somewhat surprising replacement for Kevin Mirallas. The manager hasn't addressed the Belgian's fitness since explaining away his withdrawal from the Hull game with "soreness" so it's unclear if his ommission is due to him carrying an injury but he was a big miss from a game as important as this.

It didn't help that McGeady had one of those afternoons you'd sooner forget, one on which absolutely nothing went right for him and his trademark fast feet were more of a hindrance to him than a weapon against the opposition. It was no shock that he was hooked in the second half; the surprise was how long Martinez left it before introducing arguably his best player on the evidence of the season so far.

The Irish international's inability to keep hold of the ball in advanced areas coupled with his compatriot Seamus Coleman's somewhat clumsy early forays down the right contributed to City's domination of the early possession and chances. Once such instance when Coleman overran the ball on a typical bombing raid forward led to David Silva making a mug of Gareth Barry in central midfield but Stevan Jovetic smashed the resulting chance narrowly past the angle of crossbar and post.

It was one of a handful of good chances that City, who were using the ball far more effectively going forward than were the Blues, would carve out in the first 45 minutes. Jesus Navas spurned perhaps the best of them when gifted the ball by Jagielka's error while Jovetic and Silva also failed to hit the target from the edge of the box. That the visitors were restricted to just two efforts on target all game owed much to far greater organisation on Everton's part together with more urgency in pressing the ball and, perhaps most importantly, stopping the cross. Baines was excellent in this regard, denying Navas the ability to provide crosses with a series of blocks on the left side of defence.

At the other end, Romelu Lukaku and Baines both fired direct free kicks into the defensive wall from nearly identical positions early in the half as the energetic Naismith drew fouls from Pablo Zabaleta and Eliaquim Mangala. And, having soaked up most of the pressure, the Blues would engineer the best chance of the half three minutes before the interval when Lukaku breezed superbly past Mangala and drove a shot from the angle that Joe Hart saved well. Coleman met the rebound with a crisply-hit left-footer that smacked agonisingly off the crossbar.

Level at half time, Everton came out swinging a bit more in the second half, with Barkley picking himself up after a foul by Fernandinho to flash another free kick wide and Lukaku giving Mangala more grief. First he out-muscled him at the byline and prompted the Frenchman to bring him down and then he turned him inside out a few minutes later before hammering a shot that was destined for the far corner until Hart palmed it past the far post. It was a moment evocative of the same goalkeeper denying the Belgian striker in the reverse fixture last month and it forced the corner at which Jagielka appeared to be fouled in the box but the referee remained unmoved.

Looking far more assured at the back with the imperious Stones slotting seamlessly into his centre-half role and Joel Robles appearing more and more confident, Everton looked capable of keeping City at bay on their increasingly infrequent attacks. The Spanish 'keeper fisted away a shot by Samir Nasri just before the half hour mark while Stones put in heavy but legal challenge on Silva but got booked for it anyway in typical Atkinson fashion. Silva sliced badly wide when the resulting free kick fell to him on the 18 yard line.

The introduction of Sergio Aguero on 67 minutes, however, added an altogether more daunting aspect to the Champions' attack and it sparked chants from the home crowd of Mirallas' name, hoping that Martinez would fight Pellegrini's fire with some of his own. But after the Argentine striker had dragged a tame shot wide from the edge of the box, it was the almost irrepressible Silva who forced the opening goal from a somewhat fortunate City counterattack in the 74th minute.

Zabaleta's handball in a prone position was either unseen or ignored by the referee standing in close attendance and within seconds the ball was at Silva's feet in the Everton box. The Spaniard cut back into his left foot and shot, his effort taking a double deflection off two Blues players and looping up invitingly for Fernandinho to head goalwards. Unfortunately, Coleman, playing the Brazilian onside, couldn't adjust his body quickly enough to prevent the ball going over the goal line.

Within three minutes, Everton had a free kick wide on their left during the preparations for which Mirallas was finally introduced. Baines whipped in arguably his best delivery of the season and Naismith rose to meet it perfectly, glancing a header home as Hart punched thin air and sending Goodison to its collective feet in celebration.

It was anyone's game at that point but while Everton could scent blood, they couldn't quite find the attacking formula to carve out a final opportunity to win it. Mirallas had perhaps the best chance but scuffed a shot into Hart's arms with five minutes to go while Nasri tested Robles one last time with a similar effort at the other end and it ended all square after three minutes of stoppage time.

As opponents go, Manchester City are one of the last teams you'd want to face when trying to end a horrible run of defeats but it proved to the ideal contest for Everton to rediscover their battling spirit and some of their attacking drive. Of course, they now need to kick on and prove that it's a corner turned now and that this wasn't merely a case of rising to the occasion against fancied opposition.

First and foremost, they made themselves hard to beat again, which is the first step in trying to get back to last season's impressive form. Next will getting the attack running smoothly again with Barkley at the heart of it. The 21 year-old betrayed a shortage of confidence as he floated in and out of the game and both he and his manager need to find a way for him to influential even when things aren't quite going for him. He was a peripheral figure today.

Elsewhere in the side, though, Muhamed Besic covered every blade of grass with another committed display and Barry, a couple of glaring errors in distribution aside, was more effective than has been the case in recent weeks. And while Lukaku is looking more and more like getting back to his rampaging best, it was Naismith deservedly took the plaudits for his goal. Had he not popped up with another vital goal, the inequest into a fifth successive defeat would likely have dwelled heavily on why Martinez left a potent force like Mirallas sitting on the bench for so long, particularly while McGeady was having the nightmare game going forward that he was.

With another shot in the arm, the Blues move on to the cup replay on Tuesday and another home game in the league against West Brom beyond that. Score wins in both and things will really be looking up.

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Reader Comments (69)

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Darren Hind
1 Posted 11/01/2015 at 06:48:33
You would think that having watched the game for over half a centuary I would understand the rules of this game, but this offside law is driving me nuts. No two people seem to see these " borderline" cases the same way.

Another excellent report Lyndon, but I didnt see their goal the same as you did. When The City player headed the ball, it looked for all the world - from my seat anyway - that Seamus was the only player goalside. He was static so I don’t think he moved after the ball was played. Maybe the referee deemed him onside because it looped off an Everton player, but doesnt "playing a man onside" have to be deliberate these days.

This first phase / second phase, played onside / not played onside malarky is wide open to interpretation. How can we ever get consistancy?

I wish they would introduce one set of rules and stick to it.

Jay Wood
2 Posted 11/01/2015 at 09:27:03
Pretty much agree with all you wrote Lyndon. That’s how I saw the game, including your evaluation of the players.

The tendency for many is to dwell on the negatives, isolated incidents in a game, and condemn the player at fault accordingly. Or alternatively, have default pre-fixed ideas on players and not change them regardless of how they actually perform in a game.

Barry is an example of that. In the last 2 games he has been VASTLY improved. Solid, good range of passes, taking responsibility. Yes, as you wrote, there have been glaring errors over the 2 games, but they weren’t critical. He contributed a great deal more positive play than many wish to credit him with.

Similarly with Besic. People stereotype him as a liability, a short fuse ready to explode, ignoring all the good stuff he is starting to display. Not least his commitment!

Everton have long lacked a cantankerous sod like Besic! Cahill was our most recent. Besic doesn’t take a step back to ANYONE! How can you not warm to his passion? Who didn’t laugh or say "go on son!" when a free kick was awarded against him in the centre circle yesterday and he thumped the turf 4-5 times in frustration! Give me more of that Mo!

Naismith still continues to draw mixed responses, but he is another narky little bastard at times! And boy! Does he put a shift in, regardless of whether he is on top of his game or not.

These kinds of players, their commitment and performances are what will haul us up the table.

And then there is McGeady ... it’s a year since he arrived from Russia, a country Winston Churchill once described as "... a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." It seems very apt for McGeady, too.

There is clearly talent, a footballer, in McGeady. We’ve seen glimpses of it. Even yesterday he did some good tidying up work in help of the defence, and there was a nice touch and pass for the Coleman shot against the bar. Important, but that’s not what he is primarily in the side for. He primary role is to be more offensive (and ... I know! He offends many!) and deliver the bullets for our Lukaku and co.

But how many more times are we going to see him running with the ball ... and completely run over the ball! Or run into blind alleys or directly into touch? Or turn into trouble with easy options on? Or deliver overhit crosses over the heads of all or way beyond the goal line?

I understand better now the frustration may Irish followers have with McGeady.

And Darren ... sadly, their goal was 100% legit. I think there was so much going on it was confusing at the time, but the lino got it spot on.

Two things confused the issue:

1) Fernandinho is goalside of Robles, seemingly with only Coleman on the goaline.

2) The deflection off an Everton defender before the ball got to Fernandinho.

Some folk continue to think you are offside if the keeper isn’t one of the two players necessary to play an attacker onside. That is wrong. It simply has to be any 2 defending players ... and sadly for us, to the left of our goal, Besic IS in advance of the Shitteh player. So, together with Coleman, he was onside, making totally redundant the question of him being played onside by the looping deflection.

The rule is a good one and yesterday the officials stuck to it and got it right.

Nevertheless, it was laced with spammy good luck and fortune, so how the lads responded was great.

Wayne Smyth
3 Posted 11/01/2015 at 09:49:46
Lyndon, I think your post nails what has been missing from our play recently.

All through the season we’ve been nervy, lacking in quality in certain places and lacking in confidence. A few weeks ago I noticed something else, which was quite worrying. A lack of fight.

You are spot on to mention that the last couple of games have been different, performance wise. If I were to look to one player who may be largely responsible, or at least most improved, I would look no further than Lukaku. He has often looked disinterested or frustrated, but his recent workrate and all-round performances have been second to none.

As well as Lukaku, I have also been very impressed with Robles. I originally had high hopes. Then I wrote him off after some poor decisions cost us goals. Now I’m wondering if a run in the side and the realisation that he has an actual opportunity to stake a first team place is allowing him to perform at his proper level. Maybe he will be good enough to be here longer than a few seasons?

Even with the current stabilization you can see the team has no confidence. Jags in particular, but also Coleman and a few others. I think both Stones and Besic improve us. Both of those players are calm and confident. I’m particularly thankful that Besic isn’t getting red cards every few games. When he first came in, I think a few of us did wonder.

Although Jags is captain, he is not a leader and the team lacks leaders. Besic and Stones I can see as leaders, Lukaku also. But all of those guys are too young and inexperienced to really drag the team from where it is to where it needs to be, which is probably why our current predicament has gone on for so long and may continue.

A lot has also been spoken about various reasons for our current malaise. I think most of it is probably inaccurate or simply fabricated to make the manager look bad.

We know the players spoke with him to alter our play to work to Lukaku’s strengths a bit more. We know he let them. Some would have us believe he lost the dressing room, players wouldn’t play for him anymore and the players held an extraordinary meeting to change our playing style.

Some say he wants us to play slow, ponderous football. When we play it quickly, it’s because the players are ignoring him and aren’t doing the ’tippy tappy shite’. When we play slow or give the ball away, it’s Martinez’s fault.

Martinez said that he always talks with the players and that the recent talk with the players wasn’t anything unusual. I suspect we won’t actually know exactly what happened till the end of the season at least, possibly longer.

There are managers who I can believe wouldn’t dream of using feedback from players; any dissention punished with a transfer or training with the reserves. Martinez isn’t one of those, and it is a strength, not a weakness.

Personally I’m inclined to believe Martinez. He is an intelligent man, obviously keen to learn from anyone he can, and so far as I’m aware, truthful in his statements.

Other than asking the players to have the confidence to keep the football and be measured with passes, rather than hopeful, I don’t see him having too many really strong convictions that he might consider immovable.

Playing it slow, playing it sideways, playing it in risky areas, failing to defend set pieces or making other individual errors are things that I can’t imagine Martinez telling them to do.

Kunal Desai
4 Posted 11/01/2015 at 10:16:30
What was evident is the urgency, the drive and the energy in the players. Looks like players have had a word with Martinez to change things around a little. We must carry that attitude on to our next two league games and pick up wins. What we also don’t want is for the cup replay to go into extra time and penalties. Physically exhausting the players is the last thing we need before the WBA game. Get it done and dusted in 90 mins.
Nigel Gregson
5 Posted 11/01/2015 at 10:45:41
Great post Jay wood. Will watch Barry carefully next game, but other than that agree with all you had to say esp about players. For their goal, I thought the bone of contention was actually a hand ball by Zabaleta, in the build up much much before the ball ever reaches our half.
Brent Stephens
6 Posted 11/01/2015 at 10:53:48
Jay #2 - agree about Barry. The narrative has become that he’s past it, his legs have gone, he’s signed a long contract and is now complacent, etc. But, as you say, the last two games, much improved. Let’s at least acknowledge that.
Mike Green
7 Posted 11/01/2015 at 11:06:41
Darren #1 - couldn’t agree more!

I think it was Cloughie who said ’if you’re not interfering with play, you shouldn’t be on the pitch’. I don’t understand what was wrong with ’if level giving advantage to the striker’, talk about making the officials jobs more difficult for the sake of it - I bet the players are none the wiser either.

Aside from that great to see the team appear to regain their spirit, hopefully we can build on it with a good performance against West Ham and start climbing away from from danger.

Michael Winstanley
8 Posted 11/01/2015 at 11:22:29
Good report, Lyndon.

Some observations from yesterday:

Robles is a showing he is a keeper.
Stones is a quality player.
Besic, I’m liking him more and more and would like to see him and McCarthy in the middle.
Lukaku is showing desire.
Naismith is a nark. How Martinez works it to fit Barkley in is his problem.
Barkley. Patience needed. He doesn’t have a regular position and lacks experience.
Better from Coleman and Baines.
Jags. No idea what’s got into him but if we had a suitable replacement I’d drop him.
Wide players, we don’t have the quality.

Overall we’re improving, can’t wait to have McCarthy back and personally I would start Oviedo wide left, he has skill, pace, stamina and intelligence. And if we could get Delboy then I think we’re nearly there with a first choice eleven.

David Hallwood
11 Posted 11/01/2015 at 11:31:46
Great report Lyndon; getting up there with Ken. Firstly I agree that it was far too early to call for the head of Martinez, and hopefully the posters that did are suitably embarrassed.

Nevertheless Martinez needs to address the fact that we’ve gone from the best defensive record in 2013, to the shambles we’re witnessing now as we are now the team with the most unforced errors in the EPL, and yesterday Citteh had 2 shots on target for the goal, and that’s been the shots to goal ratio all season.

There was a really good thread about the squad not being balanced and IMHO that is holding us back. If the special one has a talent, it is a clarity of vision and to pick/buy players that will articulate the way he wants to play; okay it helps when you’ve got an unlimited wad of money, and you’re based in dat dare London so you attract the best players.

But, and this is what frustrates most fellow Evertonians, this is the best squad in 20 years and we have 7-8 players that would walk into any of the ’big’ teams, which then prompts the question, if that’s the case, why aren’t we a big team?

To my mind we need to look at the players we have and play then in their best positions; Chelsea play the same formation as we do, but instead of having 2 holders, they’ve got a playmaker Fabregas and Matic. I think it’s time to put Barkley in there with McCarthy/Basic, and have Naismith behind Lukaku with Miralles and A.N. Other as part of the 3.

Another option would be 4-3-3 Besic/McCarthy/Barkley in mid with Nias, Lukaku & Mirralles. The old cliche that the table doesn’t lie masks the fact that we are far better than our lowly position, we’ve got some big, big ( to use a Roberto turn of phrase) games coming up that may make or break Roberto’s carreer.

Graham Mockford
12 Posted 11/01/2015 at 12:09:44
Best performance for a while, still giving the ball away too often in midfield with Ross and McGeady the main culprits. However noticeably McGeady did give us much needed width. Stones looked the business, Naismith gave his customary high-energy performance.

But for me the biggest positive was Lukaku. I saw it in the second half on Tuesday but it just shows if you are going to break your club transfer record it probably makes sense to play to his strengths. Don’t expect him to play intricate football around the edge of the box but get him on the shoulder of the last man and have him playing facing the opposition goal. Twice he had Mangala on toast and, but for two good Hart saves, he would have got the goals his performance deserved.

Jay Wood
13 Posted 11/01/2015 at 12:13:19
@ Wayne 3 " I think both Stones and Besic improve us. Both of those players are calm and confident."

I think, in the long term, they will improve us. Good footballers, confident as you say ... but I don’t think ’calm’ is an adjective I’d ever use to describe Besic! He’s our psycho killer, and I love him for it!

Andrew Ellams
14 Posted 11/01/2015 at 12:09:42
I didn’t see the game yesterday but the comments I have read since Tuesday are starting to remind me of the Walter Smith era when wins were so few and far between that any half good performance was greeted as the turning point.

We are so far ahead of that place now that any similarities should not be tolerated.

Steve Brown
15 Posted 11/01/2015 at 12:39:11
Andrew watch the game. Big improvement against a Man City team who played well.
Graham Mockford
16 Posted 11/01/2015 at 12:41:49

You didn’t watch the game but it was a ’half decent performance’. Priceless.

John Keating
17 Posted 11/01/2015 at 12:33:57
We still have a long way to go but at least the City game has shown a vast improvement and change from the crap we’ve been served up since the season started. We still have to address giving the ball away so cheaply.

Without doubt the last 2 games have shown a distinct change, and whether it was instigated by the players or Kenwright, I suspect it was from both parties, it has been most welcome by all.

The players at Wigan were of a lesser calibre than our lot and I would imagine they would have listened to the managers requirements regardless. Our lads having more experience and a higher level, plus knowing they are at a top Club would have less truck and fear of approaching the manager.

The next 3 games will show us whether this change is here for the rest of the season or whether we revert to type. I did notice yesterday that at times Martinez was extremely frustrated in us making more direct clearances than the chancier pass. Bollocks to him – it worked!

Jay Wood
18 Posted 11/01/2015 at 12:57:23
@ John 17

I know you go the game John, but is that right? Martinez a bit pissed on the sidelines at our more no nonsense defending?

One or two other commentators on here have alluded to the same thing. How did he demonstrate his frustration? I’m curious and intrigued!

Jay Harris
19 Posted 11/01/2015 at 13:19:21
Lyndon, spot on as usual.

My only concern remains Robles who enjoyed the best back 4 performance all season in front of him with players putting their bodies on the line to prevent anything coming in.

The one moment that stands out for me is when Stones was pleading for him to come and get the ball he was protecting and Robles was glued to his line.

If he was a young up-and-coming keeper, I would accept that as part of his learning but he has been around long enough to make better decisions.

So, for me, a new top class GK has to be a matter of urgency for us.

John Keating
20 Posted 11/01/2015 at 13:19:49

There were a number of occasions I recall Martinez was a bit more animated than normal. I recall Baines hoofed it up when there was a square pass on, we’d just broken up a City attack from a free kick I think. Martinez just started shouting at Baines and gesticulating sideways. Thing was the ball went to Lukaku and he had a good shot on target saved by Hart!!

Again Baines played a forward ball to Naismith, I think and Martinez shouted for him to play it square. To be honest, Jay, there were a few occasions when I thought it strange but I can say that, on the occasions I noted him pulling up players, not one player took a blind bit on notice and I believe Baines didn’t even look at him!

Oliver Molloy
21 Posted 11/01/2015 at 13:44:59
I agree that we had a much improved performance from the players on the pitch yesterday but, like it or lump it, we are in the relegation battle right now, and the same attitude will be required in every match we play in the league until the end of the season if this team is to make amends and put the smiles back on the faces of the fans.

If we do not beat West Brom, we are in real trouble. Pulls will have his side up for the battle and this will be a tough match. We simply have to win this match, there can be no excuses, it is a MUST WIN situation.

Then we are away to another rejuvenated side with Pardew having just taken over. Both matches are 6 pointers in my eyes and will shape the rest of our season I believe.

Although I want us to win on Tuesday in the cup replay, I would sacrifice us going out for 4 or 6 points against West Brom & Palace, anything less and it really is getting squeaky bum time!

Kevin Tully
22 Posted 11/01/2015 at 14:33:25
Really enjoyed watching us yesterday. Lukaku looks back to his powerful best, why did it take 20 games to look fit though? Besic and Stones were both superb, McCarthy and Besic are a mouth-watering prospect in our midfield.

Stones showed Jagielka up in central defence, Jagielka is a defender, and that’s all he has in his locker. Stones, or ’Future England captain, John Stones’ as he a should be referred to, looks to be one of the finest prospects in European football.

Barkley needs to sit down and watch Suarez chasing everything that moves. Ross does not look interested if we don’t have the ball, he won’t realise his potential relying on a few wonder goals. Hard work first, then the rest of his game will take care if itself.

My own personal pet hate about this current side though, is we never, ever, confront the referee. Terry, Gerrard, Carragher, Ferdinand, Rooney all have one thing in common - they won’t stand for shitty decisions against their side, especially at home. Where is our captain when we need him? Besic and Naismith have a little go, but we really need to be putting more pressure on ref’s.

Jay Wood
23 Posted 11/01/2015 at 14:47:09
Quite agree Oliver. Still no wriggle room for complacency.

Whilst we have seen 2 vastly improved performances than of late in the last 2 games, the starting base for such improvement was rock bottom!

The cold hard facts are we have just won 1 game in 11 since winning in Wolfsburg in November.

Any defeat in the next 3 fixtures would see us out of the cup at the first hurdle, or truly sucked into the relegation dog fight.

Sid Logan
24 Posted 11/01/2015 at 14:33:56
Lyndon, another enjoyable read.

Massively more energetic and determined performance from the Blues. Are we witnessing a team who have told their manager to stick his brand of possession football - at least for the immediate future?

I’ve also got a major concern that Martinez is turning Barkley in to someone who is beginning to look like a pin in a pinball machine. Far less movement forward and resorting to pinging balls to the nearest player robotically much to often without any inclination to create an opening.

The talk about Martinez showing annoyance with Baynes could well be true since although I didn’t spot it at the game when watching the Sky excerpts I saw Bainsey with signal to Robles in no uncertain future terms to get the ball upfield and with a gesture that said ’don’t even think about a short pass out’! Robles did as he was told.

First time for a while as well I’ve seen Baines looking like his normal self - clapping supporters as he usually does rather his recent demeanour of a slight wave with his head down. It wouldn’t surprise me if he wasn’t a leading protagonist in the back to basics demands made of Martinez.

Wayne Smyth
25 Posted 11/01/2015 at 14:42:25
David (11) - are you really saying that because we restricted Man City to two shots on target in 90 minutes and they scored from one of those, that we were shit?

The fact a team without confidence and without seven of their best players takes probably the most expensive team in the world, who were in imperious form and restricts them to so few chances is a testament to the desire, workrate and ability of the outfield 10 who played yesterday.

I agree completely that we need to improve a lot from where we are, but if you had offered me two City shots on target at the start of the game, I’d have ripped your arm off.

Jay(13), although Besic is a "psycho killer", he goes about it quietly, confidently and efficiently. He doesn’t get nervy in tight situations like Jags. He has enough ability and faith in his ability to try to play his way out of trouble or pick the right pass. It seems to come off for him most times too.

I think if we are going to play with the football, we need to bring in more players like Stones and Besic who are comfortable on the ball and confident enough to do something positive with it.

I’ll be delighted when McCarthy comes back as our recent losses seem to have occurred while he was out, but I actually think that Barry should be making way. His form has been below par and Besic has shown himself to be consistently very good.

One possible issue Martinez has is that as Lyndon mentions we had become easy to play against. Most teams have seemed to want to win more than us and battled harder. With McCarthy and Besic, I don’t see many teams who will win that fight in the centre of the park.

Victor Jones
26 Posted 11/01/2015 at 14:42:40
Some very good comments on here.

Here’s my opinion on a few things. As stated, when Man City got the ball, they moved it upfield crisper and more accurately than we did. Well that’s what players valued at £30M+ do... compared to some of the sloppy passing and ball-losing antics from some of our bargain basement players. You get what you pay for. And McGeady has been thrust into this Everton team, but we all know that he will never be good enough. But there again, Everton over the years have had numerous players that were just not good enough.

Barry in recent games might be playing a little better... but some of his tackling is way off (hence he is always getting booked). We just can’t afford giving away penalties and going down to 10 men. Barry is the man most likely to commit fouls as he can be slow and ponderous. Football games can be won or lost on a set piece.... fine margins. And Everton need to be careful – no more mistakes.

I just had a look at Everton’s remaining Premier League fixtures. They have 17 games left... 51 points to play for. In my humble opinion, and also being conservative in my predictions, I can see Everton getting another 22 points at worst. Now, should we start playing like we did last season, then I can see us getting maybe 40 points. Now of course, I know that predicting how this Everton team will play over the next few months is near impossible. The fact is that there are a lot of winnable games and points coming up. But no more slumps or blips – we just cannot afford any.

So Premier League survival is a must... maybe a decent FA Cup run. But this is one Everton supporter who is not fussed on the Europa League... Play the youngsters and see how they do – although I suspect that won’t happen and we then struggle in our Sunday Premier League games.

Sorry for straying away from yesterday’s game but you could write a book on Everton this season. It’s hard work being an Evertonian... and I just wonder what team is going to turn up for the rest of the season.

Jay Harris
27 Posted 11/01/2015 at 15:24:33
IMO a midfield trio of McCarthy Besic AND Barry would be much more effective giving us the strength in MF to win the ball, the flexibility for one of them to go upfield safe in the knowledge we are covered and provide much more freedom for Baines and Coleman to go raiding down the wings.

In addition Lukaku’s space would be much less crowded.

I would also use Oviedo when one of these is unavailable.

Max Wilson
28 Posted 11/01/2015 at 16:24:05
This felt like a victory, after all City are the richest club in the country and second in the league. Our immediate response to going a goal down was exhilarating. However while he got in front of Joe Hart, Naisy also got in the way of Jag’s goal by being offside,s o he made up for his mistake in the end.

Aiden McGeady looked outclassed all of the game and the comments about him on the live feed on this website were classic, if you like richly blue lingo. Our respected Lyndon says he is our fleetest of foot – not so says the Sunday Mirror...

They quote the EA Player Performance Index which gives Rom the fastest pace-20.9 mph,followed by Shamus (20.6), Kev (20.5), McGeady and Besic (20.4) and Ross (20.1), Naisy (18.5), Jags (17.9).

Most of our players deserve rich praise – Besic is the star man of the game in the Sunday Times. Tuesday night now dominates all our thinking. Let’s hope this performance hasn’t emptied our tanks.

Harold Matthews
29 Posted 11/01/2015 at 14:33:43
Brian..I hate it when people knock players without observing all aspects of their performace and not bothering to consider the roles they may be asked to play.

To say McGeady had a game to forget and did absolutely nothing is one of the most incorrect and disgraceful statements I’ve ever read on Toffee Web. If it had come from Paul Dark I would have just shrugged my shoulders because we all know he hates the Irishman. Unfortunately this came from the Editor, a man who is not usually given to passing on vague impressions.

In the game I watched, McGeady played a very important role which saw him chasing back at high speed to make several crucial interceptions, one with his head and one very close to the goal. In the first half attacking melee following City’s edge of the box freekick who raced in to clear the ball? Yes, McGeady. This was closely followed by a left foot clearance from the left back position when things looked dangerous after Baines had cleared a corner. Remember, this is the lad who "did nothing." Earlier on he had broken up a Fernandinho - Nasri move, pushed the ball to Stones who sent Coleman away.

At the other end he hugged the touchline when we were in possession, continually making himself available and helping us to keep things stretched. After Hart had cleared to the edge of the box following a Lukaku shot, he used his pace to seize on to the ball, slipped it perfectly to Coleman who hit a tremendous shot against the bar.

He started off the 2nd half by again intercepting a Fernandinho pass to Nasri before feeding Coleman who cleared the lines. Three high speed middle of the park runs in support of Lukaku were followed by the Mirallis substitution which didn’t work.

All in all, the lad made three or four minor errors, covered a tremendous amount of ground and helped Coleman and the team. Throughout the game everyone made mistakes. Besic, Barry, Naismith, Jags and Stones all gave the ball away or mistimed headers and tackles, failed to get tight and allowed crosses and shots. Stones was completely skinned by Silva for the City goal, Barkley was in dreamland. No-one was anywhere near perfect.

McGeady was not our star man. He’s an ordinary squad player who cost us very little and is asked to do certain things by the man in charge. For my money he did fine. Telling the world he did nothing is completely out of order. Big time.

Brian Hill
30 Posted 11/01/2015 at 17:13:32
Thanks Harold. Very fair comments.
Sam Hoare
31 Posted 11/01/2015 at 17:28:45
This is the team I look forward to seeing for the future

Coleman Jagielka (or other) Stones Baines
McCarthy Besic
Mirallas Barkley Oviedo

Youth, pace, energy and intensity. Though Barkley needs to step up.

Henrik Lyngsie
32 Posted 11/01/2015 at 17:50:56
Harold 29, as usual a sensible comment from your side regarding McGeady.

I do agree we got him from a very small fee and he should be considered a squad player. Yesterday I followed him as closely as possible on the television. I do agree that he really tried to work hard but I also thinks he is loosing the ball far too easily without creating much when he has got the ball. So I agree we should not bash our own players automatically. But I am not convinced McGeady got the qualities to a starting place and would frankly speaking hope he was sold. However as long as he is blue I will support him but still doubt he has got what is needed.

Below is my halftime observations from yesterday:

I asked McGeady before the match to prove me wrong when I stated he is nowhere near good enough for the starting line up. Some first- half observations: He had a decent pass to Coleman when he hit the bar. McGeady had three decent crosses; however, none of them hit a blue. He lost the ball 6 times. 6 times as unprovoked errors as they would be called in tennis.

He seems to work hard defensively but also seems to struggle on where to position himself when defending. He created nothing on the right but I also think that Coleman in his current form does not offer much support.

So, in conclusion, on the first half, McGeady does put a shift in, works hard defensively. Does not create anything and looses the ball far too easily for a player who is supposed to be technically gifted.

I guess he still needs to convince me that he is good enough. I still hope he proves me wrong.

Victor Jones
33 Posted 11/01/2015 at 17:45:40
Okay, so A McGeady broke up a Man City attack and managed a few passes that actually reached an Everton player. Good for him. That’s the very least that you would expect a professional footballer to be able to do.

Now here’s what I would like to see him do: successfully pass the ball more often to his team mates (and – unless under pressure – not backwards). Push forward and take the ball past the opposition more often. Pepper the opposition penalty box with crosses. And start scoring the odd goal (as Naismith does).

But I accept that, with Everton’s transfer policy, McGeady is there to be a squad player. And there are other players also that need to start playing better, including a certain whiz kid. Everyone at the club now needs to step up. And just maybe turn this season around... it’s always a big ’if’ and ’maybe’ with Everton. Anyhow... no more silly... stupid... costly mistakes.

Darren Hind
35 Posted 11/01/2015 at 17:11:05
Wayne Smyth, your determination to defend the manager at all costs becomes more hysterical with every passing game.

"Some say he wants us to play slow ponderous football " ... Really??? Do you really believe that? Have you ever seen a post from somebody (anybody) saying this? Or are you not – yet again – just making up another argument you think you can defend because you struggle to defend the real criticism of your idol?

Did it not occur to you that people thought we played slow ponderous football as a result of the manager’s insistence on asking out-and-out defenders to play keep-ball?

And what’s this "we restricted City to two shots on target" bollocks? Who is it you think you are trying to kid? City may have only hit the target twice (although I can think of more that that as I type) but if you think that’s all we restricted them to, you couldn’t have been watching. They had at least half a dozen very good chances. Don’t take my word for it – ask ANYBODY else who watched.

Do you really think people are fabricating things to make the manager look bad? You sound demented. We’re Evertonians, unlike you, most people support the club not the manager... if he does good, he gets praise; if he does bad, he gets criticism... that’s how it works.

You complain that people blame Martinez for us playing in risky areas, playing it sideways, failing to defend set pieces and then try to exonerate him because "he doesn’t instruct them to do it".... WTF?

All of things have are happening on his watch, his failure lies in the fact that he has not addressed any of it.

If you can’t/won’t see what smacks you in the face, that’s your problem, but when you are claiming that criticism of Martinez is "fabricated" or slamming other posters for posting "mallicious" bollocks. You need to be able to back it up. You can’t.

Jay Wood
38 Posted 11/01/2015 at 18:03:02
Harold @ 29 earlier in this thread I wrote something similar to what you are saying - the tendency for some to dwell on negatives, isolated incidents in a game, and condemn the player at fault accordingly, ignoring his overall contribution. Or alternatively, people have default pre-fixed ideas on players don’t change them regardless of how they actually perform in a game.

Now that cuts both ways. People also have their favourites and are reluctant to acknowledge when they don’t play up to standard. I know you like McGeady, so I think – on yesterday’s performance – you fall into this latter category in your defence of him. You over egg him.

Again, earlier in this thread, I acknowledged his tidying up work in help of the defence, and the nice touch and pass for the Coleman shot against the bar.

There is clearly talent, a footballer, in McGeady. But we’re not seeing enough of it. I recognize his defensive work, but his primary role is to be more offensive and deliver the bullets for Lukaku and co. And he is not deliverying on that ...

He is an Everton player. I want him to do well, but a year on since he arrived from Russia, he is like that country that Winston Churchill once described as "... a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."

David Hallwood
39 Posted 11/01/2015 at 18:22:53
Wayne Smyth (#25) you really should read posts properly. In bullet points I said:

a) The calls for Martinez to be sacked are/were a hysterical overreaction.

b) Nevertheless we have gone from the best defence in the EPL in 2013 to conceding goals at the rate of 2 shots to every one goal conceded, which needs to be redressed ASAP, and even though we played a lot better yesterday, it was 2 shots 1 goal.

c) We’ve got the best squad since the inception of the EPL and 7-8 of the players would hold their own playing for ’bigger’ clubs, so we shouldn’t be in this position.

I will add that football is like hotels-clean sheets are essential an we haven’t had enough of them, and IMHO that’s why the confidence has drained out of the players.

Lyndon Lloyd
40 Posted 11/01/2015 at 18:40:03
Harold, I didn’t say McGeady "did nothing", I said that "absolutely nothing went right" for him and I’ll accept that in referring purely to his attacking contributions, that statement didn’t acknowledge what he did defensively. (I also didn’t mention that it was he who conceded a clumsy free kick that almost led to a goal in the first half which I might have done if I had it in for him.)

It is next to impossible to do everything wrong in 75 minutes on the pitch, though, so I stand by the gist of by assessment of McGeady’s performance. To my eyes it was very poor when viewed as a whole. A lot of it is due to confidence and the fact that some fans were on his back inside 10 minutes which really doesn’t help but I can’t ignore a bad display, particularly when he was playing instead of Mirallas.

(There may be good reasons for that in terms of Mirallas’s fitness – in which case I wish Roberto would spell it out.)

David Hallwood
41 Posted 11/01/2015 at 19:13:37
In days gone by, managers would have called McGeady "a tanner ball player" – doesn’t get much better than that!
Joe Clitherow
42 Posted 11/01/2015 at 18:47:35
David 39

"the calls for Martinez to be sacked are/were a hysterical overreaction "

Please don’t generalise like this. I have never been hysterical and I still want him replaced based on my own personal assessment of:

a) The crap I have watched once his "system" and "philosophy" seem to have been fully implemented. For me, the transition of last year where, granted, I think he added another dimension to the team but which mixed things up was far more successful than his "purist" philosophy which has bored me stupid for most of this season. I don’t think it is any coincidence that the "regression" of the last two games has been much better - but note we have still not won since November so let’s not dust off the bunting just yet eh?;

b) The rigid inflexibility to adapt to circumstances - and I, for my part, don’t subscribe to the view that he has changed it at all, I think he has been discounted. At least once yesterday I saw him screaming at Baines to go sideways instead of Leighton following his much better instincts and playing a much more effective and incisive ball up the line. I didn’t see the other instances other posters have highlighted. So I think the change is despite Martinez not because of him;

c) The rubbish spouted that we don’t have good enough players. we have very good players; not worldbeaters but very good players. A good manager adapts to his circumstances and in my mind a good manager would decide it is better to get 100% from the players you have available rather than 50% from a "system" or "philosophy" (which I don’t think would work anyway);

d) The general fitness and coaching - I’ll say no more, done to death;

e) The poor transfers. With the exception of two players I think his buys have been woeful and have not improved the team, and those two players cost in excess of £40M, which in my mind puts to bed the poor little pauper Everton myth which seems perpetuated. Kone cost 6.5M plus he has spent God knows how much on loans that have not been used (Atsu) or were injured for the whole duration (Lacina Traore renewal - work that one out please?). Martinez has been financially backed to an unprecedented level in recent times;

f) Nothing in his track record which suggests he can change things around. A good squad of players is now 3 pts off the bottom three past the halfway stage of the season, but for me a more telling gauge is the negative GD, which is always a bellweather for a struggling team. Shipping almost 2 goals a game with clean sheets like hen’s teeth should always have alarm bells ringing;

g) I’ll just gloss over his ridiculously embarrassing press conferences.

So there you are, believe it or not I could go on much longer but no doubt some posters think I have fabricated the above, and I wasn’t hysterical or frothing at the mouth. I have a genuine belief that the guy in charge right now is way, way out of his depth, certainly for the aspirations of an established Top 6 side, and he should be replaced.

They would be some of my reasons and I have asked many times on this site what are the counterarguments and almost always this is met with one or more of:

1. Silence (mostly it is silence)
2. "Well err look at last season, we owe him" (look at the season before that and this one and we owe him nothing at all)
3."I like Roberto" ( I quite like him as a person too, I like Everton much more)
4. "I have this feeling he will come good" (based on.....???)
5. Ad hominem attacks which deflect away

Peter Mills
43 Posted 11/01/2015 at 19:18:08
I suspect McGeady’s main task is to accept, and adapt to, the fact that he has far less time on the ball in the Premier League than in Scotland, Russia, internationals or Europa.

It seems that his brain is working faster than his feet. He wants to be on the move before he has the ball under control, such control usually taking two touches, the second of which often moves the ball away from him.

Jamie Crowley
44 Posted 11/01/2015 at 19:42:21
The City goal was not offside.

It’s the second to last defender, goalie or otherwise, that plays the attacker offside at the point the ball is played. Besic and Coleman played the City attacker onside.

I initially thought it was offside. The replay clearly shows the AR got it right.

That notwithstanding, we were vastly improved and the sun is shining again in my opinion.

Sandra Bowen
45 Posted 11/01/2015 at 19:28:40
McGeady is always going to divide opinion. He always has. When he gets it right, he looks like a super little footballer. However, he gets it wrong more often than he gets it right and this, rightly, leads to huge frustration amongst fans.

I for one can’t bloody stand him half the time. He goes from the sublime to the ridiculous. He can do difficult things really well but seems completely incapable of the simple stuff. Very strange player.

David Hallwood
46 Posted 11/01/2015 at 19:41:01
Joe#42 calling for a manager to be sacked after 4-6 games is the stuff of Palace, Barcodes, WBA et al, and what has been proved that stability is the route to success. If Martinez had 1 and 1/2 seasons where we lurched from crisis to crisis, I would probably agree that a change was needed, but we played some of the best, joined up stuff I’ve seen for many a long year from the blues.

Secondly, people are forgetting that some of the football play earlier in the season was excellent, and before the Spurs game there was a statistic that we would be 2nd in the league if games lasted 45 mins (please don’t do the obvious response).

IMHO there’s been a slew of unforced errors, primarily from Howard that have sapped the confidence out of the team that’s developed into a full blown crisis. Without a doubt Martinez’s tactics are under the spotlight, but ultimately its down to the players to make it happen and not just stroll around feeling sorry for themselves.

Mike Childs
47 Posted 11/01/2015 at 20:01:14
Sandra that has to be the best take I’ve read on McGeady on TW.
Henrik Lyngsie
48 Posted 11/01/2015 at 20:17:47
Sandra, many tricky players would go from the sublime to the ridiculous. You state half the time you can’t stand McGeady. For me the problem with him is that it is far too much ridiculous and far too little sublime.

When I am watching our games and as usual on the edge and close to a heart attack I get the felling that he is 95 percent ridiculous and max 5 percent sublime.

It is not that he is not trying hard. Maybe somehow his trickery could work in Scotland but he is just not good enough for the PL.

Dave Abrahams
49 Posted 11/01/2015 at 20:23:06
Lyndon (40), there didn’t seem much wrong with Mirallas’s fitness on Tuesday night, however there did seem to be plenty wrong with his heart, bottle and will to have a go.

I’ve said before many times, he is a good player when he wants to be; on Tuesday, that wasn’t one of those occasions. I’d have preferred Oviedo to come on yesterday against Man City, he has a go for every minute he is on the pitch and offers plenty.

Joe Clitherow
50 Posted 11/01/2015 at 21:04:00
David 46

Firstly I think there is a fundamental flaw in the pillar of your argument because I am certainly not calling for the manager to be sacked after 4-6 games. If you think it has been fine up until then, then we will never be in the same book let alone on the same page.

1 win in 11 is in my opinion the fruition of a malaise first observed 27th January 2014 when Martinez was comprehensively unpicked at Anfield. He failed to address obvious errors in-game and in subsequent weeks with the result that managers of lesser teams picked him apart too.

The reality is we have been poor since March/April this year when the team collapsed and anyone who pressed high up generally got something out of Martinez’s Everton. It is absolutely no coincidence in my opinion either that the exceptions to this, e.g. Arsenal 3-0, have been teams who followed their own instincts and attacked instead of countering and pressing. Even Man City tried to play us yesterday and I think that played a part in us doing better, coupled with mixing it up;

Secondly, "the stuff of Palace, Barcodes, WBA et al", yep, there’s that ad hominem stuff I was talking about and I also notice you haven’t specifically addressed a single one of my points - that’s the ad hominem pattern. I’ll address yours though;

Thirdly, "people are forgetting that some of the football play (sic) earlier in the season was excellent" - you’re right, I’ve forgotten, remind me when this was? I recall a good hour against Arsenal (see above again) before a collapse in the last 10 minutes, and a good half against Leicester, and 20 mins against Spurs. We didn’t win any of those games though. I wouldn’t say any one of our 5, yes 5, PL wins this season have been in any way convincing and I include the 3-0 against Villa too;

Fourthly. "we would be 2nd in the league if games lasted 45 mins (please don’t do the obvious response)" well if the response is so obvious that it invalidates your own argument I don’t really have to do very much do I? I’ll hazard a guess that the obvious response is to say that the game is 90 not 45 and then we are back to that fitness thing again;

Then the errors from Howard. Apart from rotation in Cup games, Martinez has picked Howard every single time he has been available. He’s the manager, if you are correct then surely he should have dropped him for Robles or sacked him for a replacement. Either that’s his responsibility and he fails it again or he doesn’t see it that way? Either way your logic doesn’t follow surely?

Lastly, please don’t confuse what you are calling hysterical calls after 4-6 games with a clear decision over a relatively short space of time (it’s much longer than 4-6 games) based on a weight of evidence even if they superficially look the same. Like a lot of people here I will say that if Martinez proves me wrong I will be ecstatic because Everton will benefit, but right now in the present I want him replaced.

James Martin
51 Posted 11/01/2015 at 21:06:45
Think some people are being a bit harsh on Barkley. There’s been quite a few accusations of laziness. Statistically he covered the most ground out of anyone second only to Besic.

I thought he played alright and, whilst below the games top performers, like Besic, Stones and Lukaku, he still carried the ball well, played Lukaku in when required and kept possession mostly. There’s been far worse performances recently from nearly every player in the 11. It would be great to see Barkley ahead of Besic and McCarthy.

Gavin Ramejkis
52 Posted 11/01/2015 at 21:15:42
James a simple statistic of covering ground doesn’t mean much unless you have the ball or are winning the ball, if you are going to use statistics use them in context - Robles probably covered the least ground but he would wouldn’t he??
Tony Abrahams
53 Posted 11/01/2015 at 21:10:49
Joe 42, what makes you think that Martinez’s system and philosophy seem to have been fully implemented?
Andy Crooks
54 Posted 11/01/2015 at 21:07:45
I agree, Joe. It is only the last number of games that have made me realise that the dreadful stuff this season is not a temporary blip. If we had been playing well and then suffered a 4-6 game dip in form, then calls for Martinez to go would be unfair. However, we have been poor for long enough to raise, in my view, reasonable concerns.
Tony Abrahams
55 Posted 11/01/2015 at 21:20:06
Gavin, very true... but Besides Coleman, Barkley is the only Everton player who consistently runs with the ball.
Tony Marsh
56 Posted 11/01/2015 at 21:31:47
Much better all over the park. Faster tempo, quicker decision-making and energy levels back. West Ham will be a breeze.
Joe Clitherow
57 Posted 11/01/2015 at 22:11:46
Tony 53

Because he has gone, in my opinion, as far as he can possibly go with trying to implement his "philosophy" with Everton. He will not have the time, in my opinion, for a dead cat bounce because he will relegate us first, and we have seen his response to that failure with his previous club. Add to that that I think he needs hundreds of millions of pounds for his experiment to work with the type of players he needs and I think he is now at the pinnacle of his entire career and it has failed.

Just my opinion of course but I’ve set out my reasons for why I believe it.

Max Wilson
58 Posted 12/01/2015 at 09:56:00
JE SUIS GLADYS! To quote the Froggie philospher, I may hate what you say but I’d die for your right to say it. Toffee supporters supply most of the income of the club and are there, nearly all of us in good times and bad, so we are entitled to say what we feel and think. Of course we are not always right.

All teams have weak spots. All supporters moan about them. I’m happy that in the recent past we’ve seen the emergence of McCarthy, Stones and Besic – all skillful, intelligent players to add to what we already have. I’m always interested in what others are saying and this often changes what I think... but Je suis Gladys Street!

Tony Abrahams
59 Posted 12/01/2015 at 09:37:25
Joe, that’s all it is with any of us mate, an opinion.

I also think his experiment has failed, and quite rightly too, but I would never class managing Everton Football Club as an experiment. A great experience but never an experiment.

I think he has badly misjudged this season, so far, and he got the shock of his life when the fans told him in no uncertain terms against QPR. He’s a man who is always looking ahead, and he never gave nowhere near enough thought to our league campaign and has probably built his plans around Europe. He’s banking on a long season, and because of this his team has very rarely got above half pace up to now.

I back this opinion up by saying that the four times this year that Everton have gone into a 3-goal lead at Goodison, they have stopped playing. "Save it for the next game" would seem to be the mantra, until it exploded in his face when the fans voiced there dissatisfaction.

If he learns from this, he will become a very good manager. If he refuses to change, then I would agree with you that Everton will not be the place for him to ply his trade for much longer.

Joe, look at Wigan now, they are struggling in the league below, and that’s with the parachute payments. This suggests to me that Whelan has tightened his belt even more, and is probably one of the few chairmen in football who actually makes money. Maybe Phil Walling might be able to tell me if this is right or wrong, but Wigan Athletic were always going to be relegated eventually. And anyone who says that winning the FA CUP for such a small club, was not a massive achievement, obviously has a very different opinion, than mine.

Tony Draper
60 Posted 12/01/2015 at 10:13:45
I understand and agree Max, however..... however, I believe that you mean Gwladys, so therefore .......

Je Suis Rue Gwladys !
Nous sommes rue Gwladys !

James Martin
61 Posted 12/01/2015 at 10:40:26
Gavin, it still shows there’s nothing wrong with his work rate. He’s either running when we’ve got the ball or running when we haven’t. Unless he’s running in the wrong direction, he’s either closing people down or making runs for people which are both good things.

I didn’t say he played really well, but I don’t understand this criticism of him being lazy. I didn’t see it in the game, and the stats don’t back it up either. He’s working harder than Lukaku, either of the wide players, either of the full backs, and Barry.

Max Wilson
62 Posted 12/01/2015 at 10:44:44
Desolé, mon ami.
Paul Andrews
63 Posted 12/01/2015 at 20:23:41
Wayne Smyth,

I have read a lot of newspaper reports on top of watching the game. Every report has in the stats City having two attempts on target, I could only remember them having two.

I am open to being corrected if anyone can refresh my memory of course. If, as I think it was indeed only two, I think that’s a job well done.

Michael Kenrick
64 Posted 12/01/2015 at 20:46:17
Paul, was your post really addressed to Wayne? I only skimmed the thread but thought that the disbelief was expressed more by Darren.

It comes down to semantics in the end, tho, as it seems Darren wants this stat to include missed chances, as in shots that were off-target when they could have been on.

Paul Andrews
65 Posted 12/01/2015 at 21:07:55

My post was addressed to Wayne; I think common consensus is Man City had "2 shots on target."

If we want to include off-target shots as on target shots, City had 12 and we were lucky to get a point.

Wayne Smyth
66 Posted 12/01/2015 at 20:59:18
Paul, I’ve no idea if there were actually 2 shots on target or not. I can seem to recall there being more, but maybe not. Either way, I was responding to David’s comment (#11) which stated this as fact and seemed to suggest this was a bad thing.

David, I did actually read your post. I commented on one small bit of it. When you’re dealing with numbers like 1 in 2, it’s a bit statistically insignificant, especially in the context of who we were playing.

Darren, resorting to name calling now? I’m no Evertonian? And you say I’m the hysterical one.... Grow up.

ps: In your rush to disagree with me, it would appear you have left a smidgen of complete bullshit in your post.

Our ponderous football is not the fault of our out-and-out defenders. We play our ponderous football when we have the ball and are attacking... I think you’ll agree even Martinez isn’t dumb enough to ask the team to defend when they have the ball.

I think you’ll also agree we don’t often attack with our ’out-and-out defenders’... although the ball often ends back with them because the attacking players have no-where to go with it.

Martinez has come under a lot of criticism for our slow laborious attacking play, and a lot of people on this site have been putting the blame squarely on his ’tippy-tappy’ playing style.

I think some of that is valid, but it’s also true that a proportion of our problems are down to confidence, some of it down to injury and quite a bit down to a lack of quality in wide positions, resulting in too many square pegs in round holes.

So, quite clearly having identified mistakes made in the transfer market and probably a decent level of blame due to his failure to motivate the team to work hard enough, I’m clearly a Martinez apologist who thinks the sun shines out of his arse.

Paul Andrews
67 Posted 12/01/2015 at 21:26:10

I too only skimmed the thread, so maybe my post was aimed in the wrong direction. Regardless of who posted what, Man City had two shots on target.

Wayne, apologies, you are big enough to defend yourself. I reacted to unrequired insult in another post.

Andy Crooks
68 Posted 12/01/2015 at 21:30:42
Wayne, when I first read Darren’s post I thought he was suggesting you are not an Evertonian. It seems clear to me now that he is not suggesting that.

Some supporters take the view that supporting the club means getting rid of a manager they believe inadequate. This is my view. Others such as yourself take the view that supporting the club means giving total support to the coach appointed by the club. Both seem to me to be valid points worthy of debate.

Dan Brierley
69 Posted 12/01/2015 at 21:45:28
"I think some of that is valid, but it’s also true that a proportion of our problems are down to confidence, some of it down to injury and quite a bit down to a lack of quality in wide positions, resulting in too many square pegs in round holes."

I am not sure I understand your response Wayne. So the manager is responsible for the style of football, but not accountable for instilling confidence, ensuring proper squad conditioning and having the right personnel available?

Darren Hind
72 Posted 12/01/2015 at 22:54:09
Okay, we had the goal – one shot on Target

We had the shot from Silva leading up to the goal – two shots on target.

We had the decent save from Robles when he got down to his right in the second half – three shots on target.

We had the shot from Jovetic after he had megged Besic which had Robles beaten all ends up, until it bounced off Stones’s arse and spun the other side of the post (I was right behind that one ) – four shots on target... the question is : do we believe what we saw with our own eyes or what Paul Andrews read in the Sun/Mail or wherever??? I guess its up to the individual.


Sorry, mate, but you’re at it again. I don’t resort to name-calling, You have made that up too.

I don’t have a problem with anybody who has a different view to me (in fact, I find all views interesting) but on a few occasions recently you have resorted to calling other posters liars, claiming the are "fabricating" stuff to "make the manager look bad" and making up "malicious bollocks" about him.

Most people have their views as to why our football is slow and ponderous, but you are accusing people of saying Martinez wants us to play it... That’s why I challenged you to show us a post to back up your claim. You couldn’t.

You need to understand the difference between people saying Martinez hasn’t been able to stop it and Martinez is actively encouraging it.

Nobody is making stuff up to make the manager look bad; they are basing their opinions on what they see. They are also basing their opinions on statements made from several players – from the most experienced, to the newest rookie – BTW, are the players making it up to make the manager look bad too?

You, on the other hand, seem base all your accusations around a desire to believe anything the manager says. You want to believe that the players and the manager are as one; fine... but I witnessed something different on Saturday.

Anybody sitting near the front of the Main Stand or in the Family Enclosure on Saturday could have seen several exchanges between Martinez and his left-back. Every time the player tried to play to the centre-forward’s strengths by pushing it into the channels, the manager was onto him. He clearly wanted him to keep it... Guess which one the crowd were encouraging?

Maybe all clubs go through these differences within the ranks at some stage, but let’s not pretend to play happy families, at least not at this moment in time. You cant keep blaming the players and the fans.

Darren Hind
73 Posted 13/01/2015 at 05:30:40
I don't think anybody would want off target shots to be included in the on target shots, only an idiot would suggest such a thing.

The point here, was Wayne was trying to claim that is what we restricted them to and it was therefore a good defensive display, we didnt and it wasnt. Chance after chance was handed to city on a plate. That they either screwed wide, blazed over, or delayed their efforts had absolutely nothing to do with what we restricted them to.

I think most people watching would have seen these chances just as clearly as they saw the four shots that
were on target.

Anyway. West Ham up next. It would appear that our international players are starting to get through to the boss and I'm really optimistic.

Paul Andrews
75 Posted 13/01/2015 at 07:00:35
Check the stats on the Everton FC official website match report.

ToffeeWebbers may, or indeed may not, be surprised at the shots on target.

Tony Abrahams
76 Posted 13/01/2015 at 08:32:47
I thought it was our best defensive display for a long time, Darren, but we still gave the ball away at least twice in stupid areas to let Man City in. I thought we had two banks defending, for the first time in ages, but can we handle the high ball into the box, which is what we will face tonight?

People say Robles has done better, which he has, but tonight worries me. Our biggest problem for me this season is defending high balls and if The Geordie Gypo plays, that is what West Ham will do.

Where City tried to walk it in, The Hammers will go direct. If we can cope with tonight then I will accept that "The Blues Really Have Rediscovered Their Fight"!

Darren Hind
79 Posted 13/01/2015 at 18:33:57
Just checked out the stats for Saturdays match on the OS.

It actually gives City's shooting accuracy. Rather tellingly it say ( in brackets) "excluding blocked shots" Now we know that out of the 5 "shots blocked" both Silva and Jovetic had efforts ON TARGET. How do we know ? because hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions ) of us saw them.

I guess that exposes the naivety ( and futility) of trying to counter irrefutable fact . . .with some little office boys hastily put together, inaccurate stats.

Tony A

agreed. it was our best defensive display for sometime, but I think you'll agree there was plenty of room for improvement

It would be great if you were right, that we have rediscovered our battling qualities and are on the march

I'm quietly confident tonight, but I' m a bag of nerves. got to work tonight too so, without penalties please guys

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