Caution Prevails in Lifeless Mersey Derby

Everton spared their fans the agony of a Liverpool win in Steven Gerrard's last all-Merseyside clash but that was ultimately all they gave them in a torpid encounter at Goodison Park.

Lyndon Lloyd 08/02/2015 97comments  |  Jump to last

Everton 0 - 0 Liverpool

If there's one thing you want out of the derby, it's not to lose. Everton spared their fans the agony of a Liverpool win in Steven Gerrard's last all-Merseyside clash twists of fate in the Europa League notwithstanding but that was ultimately all they gave them in a torpid encounter at Goodison Park. In the context of their gradual recovery from those four defeats over Christmas, most Evertonians will take it, even if they'll feel like they didn't get to see their heroes really try and win it.

Roberto Martinez breezed into Everton last season with a new broom of optimism and the rallying cry of sin miedo but the spectacular manner in which the Blues' season derailed in December has forced a realignment of the Catalan's focus in recent weeks, one which was evident today in what was arguably the most Moyesean match of his tenure right down to the defensive substitution with five minutes to go that left Arouna Kone on the bench. It was imperative we didn't lose and Roberto made sure we didn't.

That Everton managed just one shot on target in 90 minutes speaks to their attacking impotence in this game, one that carried an unmistakable air of fear of losing from both sides. In truth, while they had the better of the game's few chances, the reds weren't much better and, apart from one acrobatic scissor-kick that deflected over the bar off Steven Naismith, Gerrard was abysmal. He was run close by Gareth Barry, whose heavy-legged display looked decidedly out of place in even this most pedestrian of derbies, but ultimately this was a match short on entertainment and one that both teams seemed content to just get out of the way.

With Leighton Baines and Aiden McGeady both failing fitness tests, Martinez was forced into two changes from the side that won at Crystal Palace last weekend. Bryan Oviedo was preferred to Luke Garbutt, whose continued absence hints at a contract impasse that may not get resolved, while James McCarthy made a welcome return to central midfield after five weeks out with a hamstring injury. New signing Aaron Lennon started on the bench alongside Ross Barkley.

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Liverpool dictated the early sparring and Joel Robles caused a few hearts to skip a beat when he went walkabout trying to close Raheem Sterling down and was relieved to see the reds' forward put a shot into the side netting before he pushed Gerrard's direct free kick over the bar a minute later. With Brendan Rodgers' side starting out with a high pressing tactic, Everton were restricted to a lot of sideways passing before they gradually began to assert themselves as the first half progressed.

Unfortunately, they just weren't able to establish any attacking momentum. With Naismith and Romelu Lukaku often playing too far apart, the Belgian cut an isolated and frustrated figure for much of the contest as he was forced to switch between the target-man role to which he has shown himself ill-suited and the wide berth that hasn't really worked this season. Once again, the team wasn't set up to play to his strengths and you have to worry that it will ultimately drive him away, but Lukaku drew warranted criticism today for a general lack of movement and his propensity to repeatedly stray offside.

He wasn't alone in a below-par display, though. Kevin Mirallas was unable to wreak any of the havoc we know he can cause and Seamus Coleman only showed in fits and starts what he is a capable of, much of it later in the game once Lennon's introduction had opened up the space for him and given him a blue-shirted option within 30 yards of him down the right flank.

There was a sense that something special would be needed to break the game open and it almost arrived via the boot of Jordan Ibe. Thankfully, as Goodison held its collective breath, his thunderous shot from distance thumped off the outside of the post and to safety from Everton's point of view.

Having failed to really threaten Simon Mignolet's goal at all in the first half, it was Everton who went close to breaking the deadlock three minutes after the restart when Joe Allen tripped Naismith outside the box and Mirallas whipped a free kick narrowly wide.

At the other end, Sterling was denied at the near post by Robles as the Everton defence backed off Philippe Coutinho, allowing him to play the England man in. And Gerrard's only moment of glory flashed before eyes from the resulting corner but Naismith diverted his volley over 10 minutes into the second half.

The match was almost over as a spectacle after that, the spark of ignition never really materialising despite the crowd's fervent hopes. Lennon came on for Mirallas with an hour gone and added a little zip to the Blues going forward and, after his belated introduction, Barkley carved out Everton's best chance of the game when he picked out Coleman. His powerful shot was pushed behind at full stretch by the Liverpool 'keeper, though. Even the usual spate of handbags that erupted between Naismith and Jordan Henderson following Muhamed Besic's foul on Ibe (for which both Everton players were booked by Anthony Taylor but only Henderson picked up a yellow for Liverpool) was tame by derby standards.

The derby carries so much hype in the build-up this one more than most and emotion on the day that a damp squib like the one that played out at Goodison in front of the Sky cameras can leave you incredibly unfulfilled. The clarion call from supporters is for their side to really take it to the opposition and vanquish the arch enemy and Everton just didn't do that, even against a poor Liverpool side that looked shaky on the rare occasions we did have a go. They didn't even come close.

It was wholly at odds with the swashbuckling Toffees that almost won a thrilling Goodison derby in 2013-14, but then we haven't really seen that Everton in the Premier League at all this season. It is true that many of the attacking deficiencies on show today have been a frequent impediment to our success for much of this season, but, again, in the context of the patient resuscitation of the campaign that has been building since Hull, a point from the derby should not be underestimated. And let's be honest we'd take the same again at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

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Alex Doyle
1 Posted 08/02/2015 at 08:27:53
Some overdue pragmatism from Everton who appear to have been humbled by the recent poor run. Not the adventure of last season, but I can't complain. A good building block of defensive stability to start a fresh and build confidence. Would have been nice to see Barkley get more time at 10, now that McCarthy is back and we look much more solid. Most of the time we were too far away from Lukaku.

Coleman looked more his former self. Mirralas needs to start delivering more if he thinks he is Champions League standard.
Adam Baig
2 Posted 08/02/2015 at 08:35:08
It was nice to see the majority of the team matching the effort levels of their opponents.

Only Lukaku and Mirallas didn't look arsed, and if it was up to me, Kone and Lennon would replace them on Wednesday.

Defensively, I thought we looked solid, and it's plain how much we missed McCarthy. I wonder if, once he's up to full fitness, we can be a little more adventurous and play Barkley instead of Barry?

The game was like a throwback to the 1970s derbies, ie, shite... but I would've taken a draw before the game, so I'm not too disappointed. The next game will be much tougher, but I imagine we will set up the same way.
Mike Green
3 Posted 08/02/2015 at 08:25:09
Spot on Lyndon.

Before the WBA game, I looked at the fixture list and though we needed to look at getting 7 points out of the next 4 fixtures (WBA, Palace, LFC and Chelsea). With a game to go, we've got 5, might end on 6, unlikely to end up on 8 but I guess I'll take 5 for now.

If you look at those results, Martinez has stopped the rot at the back – though much of this I think is due to the return of the excellent John Stones – what a class act he is / will develop into even more.

I also love McCarthy's and Besic's grit and determination but essentially with Barry we played 7 defensive players yesterday so no wonder were starting to keep clean sheets. I'm not sure a flair team could accommodate two of them in the middle, never mind three, but I'm thankful for small mercies at the moment.

We have zero creativity going forward, Coleman (and Baines...) seem to have had their attacking verve coached out of them and RM seems he'll bent on revealing all of Rom's flaws whilst not capitalising on his attributes. He has to play in the centre... and, if he can't, then, to be honest, what is he doing here? And, if we're not going to give him service he needs, the same applies.

There are reasons for optimism: we have an excellent young spine to the side (Stones, McCarthy, Besic and I'd say Barkley and Rom in the right circumstances), we just need to build around them, play to their strengths and get the team in general to look up, look where the goal is and head for it.

As for yesterday, credit to Martinez for being pragmatic if nothing else, he recognised that the priority was not to lose and we successfully poured cold water over almost any chance of Gerrard leaving grinning – ultimately though we have let a poor LFC side dictate our tactics at home simply out of fear of ritual humiliation.

Roll on Wednesday, and you never know we may yet salvage a pretty awful season via the Europa League.
David Flanagan
4 Posted 08/02/2015 at 08:49:23
Poor tactics, non-existent attacking play but people seem happy.

That has to be the lamest home performance in a Derby for years. No desire to win the game is not good enough.

This season has been a car crash and, to stop it happening next season, the manager has to go.

Colin Glassar
5 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:14:05
Great, balanced post, Lyndon. Despite the moaning, we got what we we’ve been asking for for ages – we’ve stopped leaking silly goals and now, defensively, look solid.

Now we need to regain our attacking flair and combine the two. There are definitely reasons to believe we’ve finally turned the corner.

Denis Richardson
6 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:02:06
A lot of angry posts on some other threads, a lot I believe simply due to frustration and posting soon after the game, especially a derby game.

We need to take a step back and view the game realistically. From the team sheet it was obvious to see our intent was not to lose. We effectively only had 3 attacking players on the pitch from the off, so it was easy to predict we'd create very few chances.

People may be pissed off by the negative approach but fact is had we been offered a point before the game, most of us would have grabbed it.

Got a point
Kept a clean sheet (not hard with 8 defenders)
Gerrard had a shit game
6 games undefeated
3 clean sheets in a row
Lennon looked pacey, hope there's more to come

Not going to go into negatives as the derby is always a unique game (and generally crap) so no point moaning above tactics. We came for a draw and got one.

I'd have brought Kone on for Lukaku with about 20 mins to go and Barkley on for Naismith a bit earlier – other than that, I'm content with a point that now puts us 7 points clear of the drop zone.

The league is a write off, we're not going to finish higher than around 9th this season – we need to focus everything on the EL.

(If Seamus had just stuck that one in.......)
Ajay Gopal
7 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:19:58
Good balanced report as usual, Lyndon. It is good that Roberto has understood the importance of a solid defence to turn around the season and performances, and we have done that with a new GK who had to replace the 'irreplaceable' Tim Howard and come out with a lot of credit.

Yes, it was disappointing that Everton did not attack and create more chances, but you can understand the reasons for that in the background of the poor results over the past 2 months. People wanted a more pragmatic Roberto and they have got it!

If we can retain the core youth spine of the team – Robles, Stones, Oviedo, Coleman, Barkley, Besic, McCarthy, Lukaku – ably supported by the 'seniors', Jagielka, Baines, Barry, Osman, Pienaar, Kone and add to this core with some genuine quality especially in the creative third of the pitch, we could have a team that potentially challenges for silverware in the years to come.

Kunal Desai
8 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:37:59
Here is a question to all. Our next home game is against Leicester. Will it be acceptable by many on here if we were to grind out a 0-0 against them playing a similar pattern to the game yesterday?
Colin Glassar
9 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:35:33
Spot on, Denis. We’ve been crying out for more defensive strength and once we get it, the moaners start moaning about our lack of attacking threat.

We will get the balance, maybe not this season but it will come.

Phil Walling
10 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:43:23
No we won't, Colin. With this bloke, it's either one thing or the other. Now he's obsessed with shutting up shop and hoping to score on the break. His constant Wigan tactic.

The trouble is our more forward players are so profligate, the season will end in a cluster of bore draws. For which BK will be eternally grateful. Our club is now back to the 1990s!
Keith Harrison
11 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:44:27
Colin – I usually like your posts, mate, and yes we do need defensive stability, but we could have had Barry sent off yesterday and been better all-round!! He was shocking from start to finish, but Roberto seems totally unaware of this.

A defensive midfield two of Besic and McCarthy was up to the job as Gerrard was almost as bad as Barry. Naismith was pretty ineffective, so Lennon for him much earlier would have been okay. Finally, Mirallas was our one shining lights up front, and he got pulled.

Lukaku was offside numerous times, and shows zero awareness of where he is and what’s going on round him.

My last gripe is corners where we insist on packing our box, and will therefore never clear the ball unless they score or we get a goal kick. Aaron Lennon cannot mark anybody, he’s rapid, so put him on the half-way line to occupy some defenders and give us an out ball and possibility of a break.

Add all the above up, and without taking anything away from yesterday’s defensive performance, we could have won that game against an ordinary RS team.

Darryl Ritchie
13 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:26:10
I have to agree with what already been said. Before Christmas, the team was broken. They were clueless on defence; had run out of ideas on offence; and were in a free fall down the table.

Getting Stones back has solidified the back and getting McCarthy finally fit (cross fingers), means there will be greater competition for midfield spots. The two loaned wingers should liven things up at the top; if Atsu plays for us the way he's playing for Ghana. Lennon is QUICK!

That little dust up near the end was encouraging to see. Besic and Naisy, in the middle of it. We're starting to show some spirit!
Colin Glassar
14 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:50:46
Phil, whatever he does you will criticise him. At least you’ve been consistent in your dislike of him and I guess if he took us into the CL, and won a few cups in the process, you would still belittle him. That’s a valid stance as yours seems to be a personal issue.

On the other hand, a few of us are finally seeing the green shoots appearing. Now with defensive stability back we can start concentrating on our offensive capabilities.

Murdo Laing
15 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:43:11
No, clearly that would be a step back IMO, Kunal. We should have blown Leicester away in the opening game of the season, but in allowing them back into that game, we set the tone for defensive lapses thereafter.

Pragmatism does not just involve shut-outs, it involves adapting game-on-game. For the LCFC match, we should go on the offensive from the "off" as they are quite a poor side going through a bad run of form. A win, and an ambitious performance – no less is acceptable .

Good summary I think, Lyndon. There can't be many fans on either side of Stanley Park who actively look forward to derby games any more? Gone are the days when the fixtures were the first thing you'd look for when the new season fixtures come out.

Adam Baig
16 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:52:51
I don't think he is 'obsessed with shutting up shop', Phil, neither was it his constant Wigan tactic.

The sad fact is, we rely on the likes of Stones and McCarthy to give us defensive stability and energy in midfield. I think if Barry drops out for Barkley after the Chelsea game, and Lennon and Mirallas can give us a bit of width, we will create more.

We still need 5 more players to have a decent shout at competing where we want to – whoever the manager – and that is as unlikely as us winning the League.

Martinez, like Moyes before him – and whoever is our next manager under the current regime – has his hands tied by the lack of quality players at his disposal, relative to the teams we aspire to compete with.
Mark Palmer
18 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:55:45
I agree with the above posts, more or less, as they represent a measured response to the game. I liked that we have learned to shut up shop.

However, just how bad does Lukaku have to play for Kone to get a chance for more than a few minutes? He was terrible against Palace and offered nought yesterday. He's too easily bullied and I detected, particularly against Palace that his team mates sometimes hesitate to give him the ball as he loses it too often.

If we're to set up defensively then our centre-forward needs to be able to make something out of nothing. Unfortunately, unless it's on a plate, Lukaku is impotent.

Christopher Timmins
19 Posted 08/02/2015 at 10:04:24
Good point last night. We restricted a team, who are in much better nick than us a present, to very few chances. The Kid on the right side of their midfield was their biggest danger, the rest of their attack was kept quite.

Another good performance from our goalkeeper, back four and central midfield players in keeping a clean sheet.

The same again on Wednesday will do just fine!

Tony Hill
20 Posted 08/02/2015 at 09:59:59
I will be more convinced that we have restored defensive durability after the next few games. WBA didn't try to score, Liverpool were also clueless yesterday and we had some horrible close calls against Palace. I agree it looks more solid but I'm not assuming too much.

As for pragmatism, this is not a side that can just turn on the attacking burners when it chooses against the likes of Leicester. Being pragmatic means having a realistic view of our options and our opponents, including during the game itself; that's why our failure to have any sort of go yesterday, was so disappointing when it became apparent that the RS were lifeless.

If we systematically carry no attacking threat, then the pressure on the defence is self-evidently intense. I hope that the optimism as to our impregnability at the back is justified.

Colin Glassar
21 Posted 08/02/2015 at 10:18:16
Phil contradicts himself when he says Wigan couldn’t defend to, literally, save their lives. Now he says yesterday’s game was a typical Martinez/Wigan shut up shop performance. Make up your mind, Phil.
John Raftery
22 Posted 08/02/2015 at 10:13:41
Yes, it was a good point. Having seen 92 consecutive league derbies and only 16 wins, I have long since given up any notion that we will 'take it to them'. Give me 0-0 every time. Even in our best period in the mid-80s, we were never able to give them a real thumping.

When the team is in mid-table, hovering just above the relegation fighters we need every point we can get. Yesterday's performance fitted the bill nicely. If (a big if) we can do the same again on Wednesday, we can start to relax a little and perhaps play an additional creative player against Leicester.

Andrew Clare
23 Posted 08/02/2015 at 10:37:01
Some very valid level-headed comments on here. Considering our position and personnel I think it was the right approach yesterday.

As said above, we have the nucleus of a very good team. If only we had the money to build on it. We are competing against teams that are spending huge sums on players every season, it is a monumental task.

Unfortunately no money = no progress. It's the only reason our neighbours have had the upper hand in the derbies of recent years.

Hopefully once we reach safety we can go back to a more attractive and attacking approach like we saw last season.

Rick Tarleton
24 Posted 08/02/2015 at 10:43:07
The pragmatism was probably correct as a tactic against a team with the counter-attacking pace of Liverpool. However, I did feel that one of the three defensive midfielders (Barry probably) could have been sacrificed for Barkley, the two passes he gave in the few minutes he was on were a reminder of just how good he could be.

When he and Sterling went to the World Cup, Barkley looked the better player, but Sterling's been nurtured, praised and given confidence, Barkley hasn't.

Glad to have a point, except for the last ten minutes, we were on the back foot. Stones, McCarthy and Besic were excellent. Robles looked safe (safer than Howard who is not my idea of a good keeper) and Naismith worked hard.

Am I alone in thinking Mirallas, after the penalty incident and his interview, should be left to waste away for the rest of the season?

Darren Hind
25 Posted 08/02/2015 at 10:40:20
Martinez betrayed Every Evertonian with his spineless tactics yesterday. This is the game we want to win more than any other and we are entitled to see our team at least try.

He's betrayed his own principles too. He was all Maggie Thatcher a couple of weeks ago with his not for turning stance about our style of play. He insisted he would not abandon his Philosophy. That performance yesterday looked like something Tony Pulis had masterminded.

We deserve better than this,despite anything the easily pleased may say

Ian Jones
26 Posted 08/02/2015 at 10:49:05
Not much to add to the above. Would have liked to see a bit more attacking but needs must etc.

Pleased to see that our defence saw off the threat of Sterling and Coutinho. Both subbed. Sturridge and Gerrard didn't do too much.

Was a bit concerned with leaving a Liverpool winger apparently unmarked and in space but Oviedo moved quickly over when needed. Assume the plan was to keep it compact in middle of defence making it difficult for their attack to play their little flicks thru middle etc. Also no crosses from the Liverpool wings.

Jim Knightley
27 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:03:01
We were impotent again and did not deserve three points.

We play in a way which does not suit one of the best strikers in the world. We desperately need creativity but only brought in one play in January: an out of sorts speedster with a poor end product.

Barkley's cameo was a positive although his misplaced control in the centre demonstrated why he can also be a liability and why playing him next to only one defensive midfielder would invite trouble.

We have Moyes's defensive legacy, and our recent clean sheets could have been achieved by most managers given our generally excellent defensive players. I agree that it is encouraging because it shows Martinez is realising the need for defensive returns... But why are the tactics still wrong?

It scares the hell out of me that we have a manager who likes short-passing football, but invests in direct and fast wingers... It is an utterly irreconcilable conflict.

We are too good to go down, and I expect we will get through at least one round in the Europa League. but we need to replace Martinez in the summer. If we stay with Martinez, I expect a return to the early and pre-days of unpredictability, and ultimately, underachievement.

Paul Thompson
28 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:00:57
Defensive solidity was the priority after our disastrous run and it's now been achieved. The set-up will no doubt be the same for Chelsea and hope to snatch one on the counter attack.

However we are not geared towards counter attack because (without Osman and Pienaar) we lack players who can move the ball quickly in the middle of the park. We can't carry on with three defensive midfielders if we want to win games.

Barkley has been poor, but surely he has to play and hope he comes back into the kind of form we saw in glimpses towards the end against Liverpool. Barry should be rested to make way and we should play with McCarthy and Besic.

I would also put Mirallas behind Lukaku in place of Naismith, who though always wholehearted, is woefully out of form. This would allow us to play Lennon on the wing and from the start. That way we might actually score a few goals in the rest of the season!

Ian Jones
29 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:05:58
Hi Darren,

So would you have preferred Martinez to have taken the same approach as in the Anfield match last year and taken a more attacking approach. That game ended so well.

Personally I would have preferred us to make a more direct approach and taken the game to Liverpool. I think the team did try although I would like to see so much more from Rom etc.

There was also a point in the game second half when Coleman moved into the Liverpool area and I was hoping he would have a shot but he switched the ball to Lennon on the wing who then turned and played the ball back and impetus was lost. That was disappointing.

But we got a point. Better than nothing.

Colin Glassar
30 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:22:54
I wish I could copy and paste some of the comments made a few weeks ago about our defence, or lack of, but I don’t have the time, patience, knowhow or willpower to do so.

There’s a school of thought that no matter what the manager does the final aim is to get rid of him. You all know who you are so just admit it (some of you do in all fairness) so stop all this hypocrisy and just come out with it e.g. I don’t care if we win all our remaining games I just want this man out!!! See? It’s easy.

Adam Baig
31 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:29:26
So - basically if you have an irrational hatred of Martinez, we are shit, otherwise we settle for a point against one of the form teams in the league..........
Darren Hind
32 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:25:16

There is a very clear difference between trying to win a game and encouraging suicidal tactics.

I get really annoyed when people try to say we attacked at Anfield last season. We didn't. Our snail paced defenders played a high back line against Rat Boy and Sturridge (neither of whom started yesterday, btw) and we just walked onto sucker punch after sucker punch without posing any threat to them all night.

Darren Hind
34 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:34:08

"I don't care if we win all our remaining games, I just want the man out"

You've got it arse about face mate, we don't care who's in charge, we just want to win all our remaining games... why cant you see that ?

Its not about liking or disliking the manager, its about disliking the performances and the results.

Joe Foster
35 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:39:53
Colin that logic can also be put back the other way by saying no matter how bad the manager does there are supporters who will want him stay. Me, I don't rate him and would like him gone. He could also change my mind by winning games and going on a run of wins. The power is in his hands.
Phil Walling
36 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:41:16
Are you suggesting we were all wrong to be criticising our defence 'a few weeks ago'? It was shocking, truly dreadful, and because the stopper has been replaced in the bottle, are you implying we should all be doing handstands?

In case you haven't noticed we have won but SIX of our TWENTY-FOUR games which although in line with Martinez's Premier League average elsewhere is way, way short of what is expected here.

But the defence is okay.... Big fucking deal!

Ian Jones
37 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:34:14
Darren. Fair point about the high line and trying to win a game and suicidal tactics etc. Can't disagree with you there. My recollection is that we started well against Liverpool in that game and thought we had plenty of shots in the game before their 3 first half goals. We also had unfit defenders and Ross returning after a broken toe and lost our main focus of attack through injury. Wasn't a good night!

Re last night. I agree that Evertonians deserve more and I wouldn't say I am easily pleased. But I accept that sometimes you need to do whatever is necessary. I assume we would have all been delighted if Coleman had buried his chance with minutes to go. We would have not deserved a 1-nil.

However I also realise Gerrard would have then embarked on a one man mission and would have equalised in injury time.

Stephen Brown
38 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:55:35

Coleman Jagielka Stones Baines

Besic McCarthy

Lennon Barkley Mirallas


This team going forward for the rest of the season will surely see us combine defensive strength and attacking flair. No more excuses please!

Eric Myles
39 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:55:03
Jim (#30): "We play in a way which does not suit one of the best strikers in the world."

Is that Kone or Naismith or Mirallas you're talking about? Surely it's not that guy with the touch of an elephant?

Kevin Tully
40 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:48:39
Those who say we were facing a poor Liverpool side yesterday clearly don't follow football – they are top of the PL form table.

We will finish mid-table this season, around 9th-11th. I want to see some progress in the Europa League, hopefully a semi-final at a minimum. No excuses from here, we have everyone back fit. If I don't see some improvement in our results/style by the end of the season, then I agree, we need a new manager.

Our defence seems to be fixed for now, so let's see if McCarthy and Besic can let the forward players express themselves. This season seems to be one of transition, not last season, as expected.

Colin Glassar
41 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:09:59
Darren, Joe, Phil, yesterday’s game was awful. It was one of the worst derbies I’ve ever seen... but the fact remains, our defence (with Robles and Stones) has finally stabilised and we are starting to get those coveted clean sheets.

Going forward, we are still struggling but, I think, this has more to do with confidence rather than anything else. Once our midfield and attacking players feel more confident in their defenders, that part of our game will also improve.

After such a dreadful season the rebuilding (of confidence) process is clear to see. He’s obviously learnt his lesson and is now showing he is more than capable of adapting to different teams and styles.

I expect more of the same against Chelsea so a point there would be fine with me. Would you criticise him if this comes to pass?

Brent Stephens
42 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:10:38
There were plenty of times we were positive when in possession, looking to take the game to RS with balls into Lukaku. And what did we get? Countless offsides because he couldn't be arsed to get back onside. He's crucifying our attempts at attack.

Is he willfully doing this? Or does he not see it? Regardless, this is one of the biggest failings of Roberto – either he doesn't see it, or he does see it but can't fix it, or won't fix it. Which is it?

Giving away possession like that is not Roberto's philosophy – so what's going wrong? I was angry beyond words again yesterday at this.

Daniel A Johnson
43 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:19:15
The only thing I can't get my head around now is Gareth Barry.

Wrong side of 32 and yet starts every game and is never subbed despite the needle pointing to empty.

He's at least 5 seconds behind the play and some of his tackles are so late they are dangerous. As soon as he gets the ball he takes about 5-8 secs to do something with it. He slows us down and in most cases as he is quickly closed down so he always passes back.

In McCarthy and now Besic we have the Barry role well and truly covered. Time to rest him surely?

One last shout for Robles who is really looking like a replacement for Howard – he's looking neat, tidy and solid.

Kevin Tully
44 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:25:15
If Pulis had come in, as some called for, and had us keeping these clean sheets, these boards would have been full of posters saying he had done what Martinez couldn't and organised the defence. He can't win either way.
Colin Glassar
45 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:27:12
Daniel, maybe he keeps Barry on because of his experience. I mean both usually (seems so anyway) pick up a card each game but Barry seems to know how to keep himself out of trouble afterwards whereas Besic just keeps throwing himself into every tackle (not a criticism mind). So maybe he pulls Besic off to protect him against a red card.

No doubt this is Barry’s last season as a regular starter as it’s obvious Besic and McCarthy are the future midfield duo.

Colin Glassar
46 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:35:12
He’s doing a great job at WBA, Kevin. 2-0 down to Burnley already. The man’s a defensive genius by all accounts.
Phil Walling
47 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:34:09
OK, Kevin. Just for you. Roberto is a fecking genius. Happy?
Winston Williamson
48 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:23:59
Team for Chelsea if all are fit:


Coleman Stones Jagielka Baines

Besic McCarthy

Lennon Mirallas Garbutt


Garbutt can double back as a defensive winger. Mirallas as an outlet for the counter. Sub Lukaku at half-time if he is struggling to control and pass Mirallas off if he’s shite (you never know if he’s gonna turn up).

Winston Williamson
49 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:39:14
I understand Barry does a lot of things which go unnoticed but he’s a fucking liability at the moment... he’s so fecking slow!!!
Joe Foster
50 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:38:10
A draw at Stamford bridge I would take now. A listless game at home to shove it down the throats of the RS, not so much.
Tony Hill
51 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:41:59
Interesting that Burnley are managing to show some pace and invention in attack and look like scoring goals. That always helps.
Colin Glassar
52 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:44:41
Winston, I don’t think Lukaku will start against Chelsea. Kone holds the ball up better than Rom and he will probably play up on his own as he won’t have too much to do.

It doesn’t look like Baines will be fit so I’d go with Garbutt at LB and Oviedo just in front of him. My team would be then:






McGeady (yes, defensively the best of our wide men)







Jim Knightley
53 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:32:41
Colin... Despite my pre-season critique of Martinez's preparations, and our obvious lack of fitness, I was a supporter of his. I liked his optimism and attacking desire, and what I saw as his intention to mix the solid defensive play of Moyes with his attacking intent. I always made clear on here that my fear would be whether Martinez could keep the defensive side of the game going, especially when it came to buying new defensive players.

Now, this season I've seen him introduce a style which clearly does not suit the players. I've seen him buy players not suited to the style he wants to play. I've seen us look unfit, and not prepared for a 90 minute match. I've seen him push Eto'o, Naismith and Barkley into unfamiliar positions, destroying Barkley's confidence in the process. I've seen Lukaku, one of the world's best young strikers, struggle in a style which does not suit him.

I've seen our defence undone time and time again, best of a style which did not suit us. I've seen our manager make a serious of dreadful errors, which have turned us into the biggest underachievers in the league. I've seen Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd all turn around poor runs of forms and problems...and I've seen ours get worse.

Now... your comment: 'There's a school of thought that no matter what the manager does the final aim is to get rid of him. You all know who you are so just admit it (some of you do in all fairness) so stop all this hypocrisy and just come out with it e.g. I don't care if we win all our remaining games I just want this man out!!!' – is pathetic. It is asinine. You take reasoned critiques of the manager, and style, and turn them into an unrelenting critique of the manager irrespective of results.

All of us would love to win us go on a winning run, and turn things around. All of us would like to see us produce what we can produce. But, do you expect me and others to be riding high because we've drawn against West Brom home, beat Palace away, and drawn at Liverpool at home? In matches which, whilst demonstrating a defensive improvement in result, have still illustrated the very same stylistic problems further up the pitch which have plagued our season?

Well done, Colin, if you want to naively accept the football on show. I expect you started the season with optimism too, ignoring the tangible problems which were all too evident in pre-season. The problems which are still evident now, and have seen us win 1 in the last 10 in all competitions.

In the last 8 seasons we've finished 5th, 6th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 5th, and 5th. This season, after the biggest net spend I can remember, we are languishing in 12th, 15th points off our mean median position. Do you expect us to be happy about that? Do you expect us to be salivating because we've drawn at home against a Liverpool team which we should get at least a point against?

I would love my Everton to improve, and Martinez to become the manager we all hoped he was. But I've seen numerous reasons this season to illustrate why he isn't. If there had been one factor off, I'd accept it. But I can't accept the multiple errors I've seen, which will cost us several million pounds in placing, and which will likely cost us a couple of players.

But irrespective of that, I will support us with everything I have at Chelski. Because I want the team to win, even if I think the manager will limit our potential for as long as he remains in charge. If he wants to change that, he needs to prove it to me, and every other disappointed Evertonian around. And a true Evertonian is disappointed at the moment, because we are clearly underachieving, and clearly failing.

Kunal Desai
54 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:53:22
Personally I think we were right to set ourselves up to start with Besic, McCarthy and Barry, taking the cautious approach was right, however we should have been a little more adventurous perhaps in the last 20 minutes or so with our substitutions. You have to bare in mind that Liverpool played a full 90 minutes in midweek with pretty much all their players, you would expect Everton to be much more fresher and fitter.

A point isn't bad, but to have one shot at home in an entire 90 minutes is woeful. Oh an no wins against the shite in 9 meetings now, sorry that simply isn't good enough for a 'supposedly' big club in the same city.

Dean Adams
55 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:37:31
Colin. You are pretty much of the same thinking as me (sorry!!). The only difference for me is that I believe he picks the wrong line up in most games.

He tells us that Kone is fully fit. If this is true, why is he not starting him instead of Naisy, who, to be fair struggles for control, loses his feet and the ball, causing our front players to be caught out of position. This allows the opposition to run at us at will. It was something that not long ago poor old Ossie was being lambasted for. The team balance would be better with Kone on the right (he was doing that job for Wigan under Bobby) leaving KM on the left and Rom in the middle where as a natural striker he should spend the whole game.

Frustration this season is born out of so many injuries. Most teams struggle for form, points and plaudits when they are ravaged by injury. Our problems are all loaded on Bobby though. I am not particularly a fan of his, but believe that with a bit of time he will turn us around and get us back in the hunt for top 4 next season. But then I always have been an eternal optimist with occasional doubts and reservations!!

Winston Williamson
56 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:05:09
Colin, I was tempted to remove Rom for Kone (that’s why I said sub him if he’s not playing well). But I think Rom might have a point to prove at Chelsea...old club, Jose etc....

And as bad as he plays at times he’s still our top scorer and knows where the net is...

But I agree with the left side if Baines isn’t fit.

Dean Adams
57 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:02:57
Jim 59

The only difference with this season to those you listed, "In the last 8 seasons we’ve finished 5th, 6th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 5th, and 5th.", is that we have a Europa League run this season, which has been partly responsible for our poorer league form.

So many variables. If, at the end of the season we have been knocked out of Europe earlier than we would expect and finish outside of the top ten, then and only then would I feel we have gone backwards.

I will admit though that the football on show is inferior to what Moyes offered from time to time. Even he was inconsistent though.

Mike Childs
58 Posted 08/02/2015 at 12:44:14
If it wasn't for the fact that he was playing partially concussed for most of the first half, Naisy hits that header. Christ he's better with his head then his feet. Watch it in slow-mo – he's drunk. Hats off to him for banging on.

Adam (#2), hit it dead on: Barkley for Barry. I too liked the combo of Lennon and Coleman. These two changes could give us the forward thrust we need.

Colin Glassar
59 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:01:03
Jesus Jim, I’m not denying our poor results, pathetic pre-season, lack of fitness etc, etc, etc....... I can hardly refute any, or most, of the points you make as it’s visible to all what has gone on in recent months. Where we do differ is in our assessment of the manager,

I know it’s not popular and I know I’m in an ever shrinking minority but, I believe in this guy. I believe in his potential. I believe he IS the right man for the job despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Only time will tell but he won’t be sacked in the summer. He will be given time to reshape and rebuild the squad as the threat of relegation slowly but surely dissipates. Now everyone is entitled to question him on all levels but the simple fact is he’s going nowhere in the near future.

So I opt to back him and hope he learns from this season (he’s already showing signs IMO) and is able to resurrect his reputation amongst fellow Evertonians. All I want is the best for the club and on this point, I think I’m in with the vast majority on here.

Steve Brown
60 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:25:21
It's interesting isn't it? Mirallas can play like he's wearing a 'for sale' round his neck and still gets a pass from the fans. While Lukaku has committed his future to us, averages a goal every two goals in the PL and works his arse off (he was out on his feet yesterday). Well he gets called an elephant.

Lukaku didn't have a great game yesterday, but that was due to having to go slogging up and down the wing after long punts upfield – what was Kev's excuse? Apart from West Ham away in the cup, his performances have been a joke and his attitude frankly a disgrace.

Interesting to see RM's slow metamorphosise into David Moyes. Holding a deep line, three defensive midfielders, long diagonal balls sprayed wide for hapless forwards to slog their guts chasing down the channels. It was a straight out of OFM's playbook.

Frankly, I thought RM's tactical set up was gutless and embarrassing against a mediocre team. And I still quite like him!

Andy Crooks
61 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:31:09
I am glad for our club that we will grind out results and get to safety. I am glad we got another clean sheet. I am glad that Robles looks like a good goalkeeper growing in confidence.

We have Barkley, Stones and Lukaku who I believe will become great players. However, the problem remains the coach. We are now in the ridiculous situation. of having some Evertonians expecting others to admire the coach for this more pragmatic effort to grind out clean sheets. The accusation seemingly being that whatever he does some will criticize him.

Well, it's not like that at all. In my view, this poor season is down almost entirely to his ineptitude. He has earned the sack. Unravelling the crisis he caused should in no way allow him to remain coach.

I believe, for now, that we are stuck with him so I will cheer and be pleased for every point he grinds out. That does not mean that the turgid shit that he put on offer yesterday is acceptable.

Write this season off and he he is gone before the start of the next one. He has lowered the expectations and aspirations of Evertonians and he must not continue to try and make us thankful for small mercies. We deserve better than Roberto Martinez.

Ross Edwards
62 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:42:59
I think Darren is spot on. It's all well and good concentrating on keeping a clean sheet but if we go through every game not looking like scoring then it's pointless.

He bottled it yesterday. If Moyes would have settled for a draw in a derby imagine the reaction on here? Imagine if he would have made a change like Martinez did, putting Alcaraz on at 0-0 when he had a striker on the bench.

Many fans seem to be content with a point, as do the players, and Martinez was going on like he'd masterminded a Champions League win. It's mentality like that which will never see us win a derby any time soon.

Our own manager didn't think we could beat Liverpool so he settled for a draw. He did that at Anfield which was failing until Jagielka bailed him out.

I should think we'll be using the same approach at Stamford Bridge. Bradford attacked them, and won, yet we could be going there trying desperately not to lose.

How quickly Martinez has changed. We all admired his approach against the big teams last season. Now he's the complete opposite.

Paul Smith
63 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:58:46
How far behind the City of Liverpool is falling in footballing terms (always been behind economically) from London. The North Larndon derby by comparison was far better.

More drive, ambition, adventure, creativity. As I was watching I thought, this is a cracker - endeavour from both teams. Just knew the Northern affair wouldn't match It. Not solely because they're not as good, although that argument does have merit, mainly because you very rarely get two great derbies on the same day.

Kevin Tully
64 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:53:53
Andy, it's not admiration, or genius of behalf of the manager. We ALL begged this manager to change his tactics to stop this side leaking goals. We are still playing poorly.

The next step is to see if he can get us playing like last season, getting back to some free-flowing, attacking football.

Is there anyone who has said these current performances are what we want to see next season, or even the near future?

Just because some are happy we are no longer a soft defensive touch, it doesn't mean we are satisfied with the season, or the last few games where we have defensively tightened up.

The likes of yourself and Phil W are constructing a straw man by saying anyone who supports the manager is satisfied by the past few clean sheets. That's plainly wrong and I'm sure you know it is.

Kevin Tully
65 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:10:09
Case in point ; Many fans seem to be content with a point, as do the players, and Martinez was going on like he'd masterminded a Champions League win.

It's posts like this which make any sensible discussion about the future pointless.

Brian Hennessy
66 Posted 08/02/2015 at 13:55:26
Colin. I take your point that our defence has improved but rather than this being due to any inspired desision making by RM this is how I see it:

1. The form of Robles and Jagielka has improved and Stones's injury problems have gone away.

2. Martinez has abandoned the attacking full-backs and they now seldom offer attacking threat.

3. Yesterday he played three defensive midfielders and Naismith too was expected to drop behind the ball when we lost possession.

Now I will give RM credit for stopping the rot and us leaking goals but this has come as a result of us being an ultra defensive team and I believe he does not have the tactical ability to set up his team as solid at the back, while also offering enough going forward.

Add to this the fact that he cannot see that Barry needed to be dropped 10 games ago and that Lukaku needs to know he too will be dropped or take off when he doesn't give 100%.

Also he continues to play McGeady who he said wasn't fit for yesterday and he has not given Garbutt the games he deserves. The same goes for Oviedo who only played yesterday as Baines was injured.

These are just some the reason why so many of us still think RM is not the man for us.

Colin Glassar
67 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:12:56
Kevin, minds have been made up. He’s in a lose-lose situation right now I.e. damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Draw against Chelsea and it will be another turgid, drab, lucky performance. Have a go and lose and it will be naively, clueless, Wiganesque etc.... I can’t wait for this season to finish.
Daniel Thomas
68 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:05:50
Has anyone thought about the fact that generally, teams who give managers 'time' (years not months), are generally the teams who are most successful?

I would be the first to admit that this season has seen us play easily the worst football since the late 90s. However, I can relate back to turbulent times under Moyes where I also thought relegation was a distinct possibility.

I am pleased to say that Moyes regained my trust by delivering consistent league finishes and even trips to Wembley.

Such is the nature of our financial situation, unfortunately that is pretty much the limit of powers.

I am willing to give Roberto my full support for at least a couple more years, but if we have not got back to the heights of Moyes reign then I'm afraid he'll have to go. Until then, let's get behind everyone at the club and kick on in the Europa League! COYB.

Kevin Tully
69 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:17:09
Colin - I don't know any Evertonian who is happy with the team or manager. So to hear posters saying some of us are content with draws etc shows how little they really know about the current situation.

I was as unhappy as any (reasonable person) on here regarding yesterday's performance, but that doesn't mean I will deliberately overlook recent improvements to the defence to make a point.

Chris Gould
70 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:19:48
Jim 59

Absolutely word perfect. My thoughts completely.

Paul Tran
71 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:05:37
This game reminded me of a lot of derbies I want to in the 70s; nothing much happened and it ended up 0-0.

It proved that Martinez can organise a defence, begging the question why has it taken six months?

It proved that replacing him with a relegation saviour, then quickly replacing the saviour, would have been a waste of money. We have the option of replacement in the summer if need be.

It proved that for the last six months, Martinez can't get the whole team functioning at once.

Good to see some defensive momentum and another good display from the back four and Robles, who should keep his place.

Desperately disappointing to see another game with barely a shot on goal, especially against them. I'm all for solidity and the need to get back to basics, but surely not at the total expense of attack?

So in the short term, I'm glad Martinez has made us difficult to beat, albeit in the context of a shocking season. For the long term, who knows?

It's a shame that the manager's getting stick for doing what his critics wanted. An even greater shame that I have to point out that I'm not doing handstands and don't think we've turned any corners........yet.

I'd like to think there's a difference between appreciating a manager.

Declan Brown
72 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:52:12
Jim (59) nails it perfectly for me, top post sir. Agree with Andy (69) too. Colin, you're fighting a losing battle, we've sussed Roberto out, now it's down to Kenwright to make the call and get shot.

I wasn't happy with the point but it was better than a defeat, but first shot on target in 86th minute in a Derby? How we have fallen. That Liverpool team yesterday was there for the taking, that world class keeper they wanted to bench indefinitely had one save to make.

As for Lukaku, dear oh dear, what is going with this guy? He has been dreadful this season, to see such a monster of a centre forward playing the Jolly Green Giant and Mr Niceguy at a cost of £28m? I've seen more predatory skills, desire, anticipation and clinical finishing in my 2-year-old niece when she sees a bar of chocolate in her sights than this guy has. Did you notice Roberto shouting after him and he just turned his back on Roberto?

Think back to the dreadful teams we have had over the years after Kendall Mk 1; they were bad but their approach in the derby gave us hope, they were up for it despite being far inferior to this current crop of players we have. I thought it was despairing myself to the point of utter boredom. One shot on target a game will get you nowhere in this league.

If you've no idea what I'm talking about, go and rewatch Joe Royle's first game in charge back in 1994: no creative players, just a Dogs of War mentality and watch what they did to Liverpool that night (which was a better team than the current Liverpool team), we were bottom of the league that year with one win by mid November.

My only hope is that, once we're clear from relegation and the next tranche of Sky money comes in, then Roberto is told where to go (nicely) and we get rid of this ridiculous spoofer. Watch him in his press conferences, the man talks utter garbage. He should be a car salesman, not a football manager. The tripe he spouted after last night shows he so deluded he's lost the plot completely.

If he's in charge of us next season, God help us; I despair at the thought of it. Get shot of him asap and all of that backroom team he has with him. Waste of money and a dreadful waste of a talented squad.

Dave Abrahams
73 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:33:36
For those still hoping we will have a good run in the Europa League, I think the further we progress in that, the worse our results will be in the league.

I think the Europa League is an handicap to clubs like Everton with a limited, in quantity, playing squad.

David Flanagan
74 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:57:28
It's easy to defend when you don't attack and have eight defensive players on the pitch. Martinez hasn't remedied anything. Last three games, three clean sheets... but scored once and we haven't had 10 shots on goal in total.

Pathetic, clueless and patronizing is my view on him.

Steve Barr
75 Posted 08/02/2015 at 15:03:20
We may have kept a couple of clean sheets but I for one don't think for a minute that we have sorted out our defence.

I have kittens each time we come under attack. Yesterday Liverpool cut through our defence on a number of occasions and on another day would have bagged a few goals.

The stats say one thing but the reality, to me, is another.

The defence is still poor, our attacking capability is very poor and we still run out of ideas as soon as we get in the last third of the pitch.

If we continue to set up like we did yesterday we will inevitably crumble. We won't be getting the creative midfield player we need now that the transfer window has closed so will have to make the best of what we have.

Play Barkley, and drop Barry would be a good start.

However, this season is a wash out and once again another false dawn has quickly dissipated.

BTW I spent last weekend watching the videos posted above on the 84-85 and 86-87 teams. Absolute class in every way. In particular, the fact that we had many leaders in those teams.

We don't seem to have one at the moment!

Bill Gall
76 Posted 08/02/2015 at 14:28:17
Regardless if you believe Martinez will either still be here or not at the start of the next season, there is a general consensus that we have a number of young players that we can build a team around with what is available in the youth system (if any) or with activity in the transfer market.

No matter who we have as a manager, the problem at Everton is we do not have the finances or do not use what we have correctly to purchase more than 2-3 players a season.

The reason that Martinez may not be at Everton next season is, that because of the success from the previous season, it may have clouded his thinking over the whole squad and the board may have thought that he did not spend the monie's given him wisely and will be reluctant to give him any large amounts in the summer.

We are allready thinking that Miralles will be leaving and the club "may' sell some of our young players and that will require a lot of rebuilding .So Martinez has till the end of the season to turn the club around to an attractive team to let B.K. and the board see, if he is the manager for the future.

Paul Jeronovich
77 Posted 08/02/2015 at 15:32:06
I hope Martinez does exactly the same as the RS match. Keep it tight and a point at Chelsea would be a result. Deep down we all know five points out of Palace, the RS and Chelsea would not be a bad return.
Colin Glassar
78 Posted 08/02/2015 at 15:29:17
I don’t mind being in the minority Declan, I’ve always been a bit of a Quixote, fighting windmills and all that. I believe in the guy and he’s already started to prove, to me at least, that he’s learning.

We will see in the summer if chairman Bill sacks him or, like he did with OFM, shows confidence in him and backs him to rejuvenate the team. I hope it’s the latter but only time will tell.

Jim Knightley
79 Posted 08/02/2015 at 11:03:01
We were impotent again and did not deserve three points. We play in a way which does not suit one of the best strikers in the world. We desperately need creativity but only brought in one play in January: an out of sorts speedster with a poor end product.

Barkley's cameo was a positive although his misplaced control in the centre demonstrated why he can also be a liability and why playing him next to only one dm would invite trouble. We have Moyes's defensive legacy, and our recent clean sheets could have been achieved by most managers given our generally excellent defensive players.

I agree that it is encouraging because it shows Martinez is realising the need for defensive returns.. But why are the tactics still wrong? It is scares the hell out of me that we have a manager who likes short passing football, but invests in direct and fast wingers... It is an utterly irreconcilable conflict.

We are too good to go down, and I expect we will get through at least one knockout round in the Europa League. but we need to replace Martinez in the summer. If we stay with Martinez, I expect a return to the early and pre-days of unpredictability, and ultimately, underachievement.

Nicky Styles
81 Posted 08/02/2015 at 16:04:11
Why are people stating with such certainty that this will be Gerrard's final Merseyside derby?

Something tells me we'll see him again at Goodison in the Spring via the Europa League...

Nicky Styles
82 Posted 08/02/2015 at 16:06:39
Oh and one more thing: considering the abuse/criticism that the likes of Osman and McGeady get on here, it baffles me how Lukaku – joke of E35 million transfer that he is – flies under the radar time and time again.


Michael Kenrick
83 Posted 08/02/2015 at 16:11:08
Read the threads, Nicky. Plenty of people giving Lukaku tons for being very poor yesterday... (although strangely some thought he played well!) and for most of the season.
Andy Crooks
84 Posted 08/02/2015 at 16:12:05
Kevin , # 72, fair point. It is not my intention to imply that any Evertonians are fooled by Roberto and that I know better. I have no doubt that you and Colin and others are as disgruntled as I am.

I am obviously glad we are not leaking goals but I see this less as a tightening of defence and more of a watering down of attacking options. We have pace and energy but little guile. Arteta at his best would do. We have the option of bringing in someone to drag us to forty points or hope Roberto will do it. I fear that getting us safe will earn him more time. I don't think he deserves another season. Do you?

Ray Roche
85 Posted 08/02/2015 at 16:00:54
One of the disappointing things for me yesterday was the substitutions. Moyes was regularly, and deservedly, criticised for his poor and late substitutions but Martinez was every bit as bad as Moyes at his worst.

Mirallas was poor, disinterested and looks like he wants the move to a Champions League club where he can warm their bench while he looks at his payslip. Lennon should have replaced him much earlier, just as Barkley should have replaced a knackered Naismith much sooner, too.

But the thing that really naffed me off was, after telling us what a wonderful player Kone is, Martinez had him trotting up and down the touchline and then left him on the bench. Lukaku was tiring after an hour and should have been hooked off then, to allow Kone, who is a better target man, to hold the ball up from the long hoofs upfield. Instead, Martinez bricked it at the sight of Lambert coming on and took off Besic (not the useless Barry) and brought on Alcaraz who gave the ball away almost every time he had it. What a clown.

Jim Knightley#59

I agree with almost all of that post and it just echo's my own comments from recent weeks but I take issue with:-

"I've seen Lukaku, one of the world's best young strikers, struggle in a style which does not suit him."

I'm sorry, Jim, but I haven't changed my opinion on Lukaku since pre season. We paid way too much for him (not his fault, I know) and even if we WERE to play to his strengths his fee was too much for a forward who lacks the basics, such as trapping a ball, heading the ball.... With the correct service he looks pretty damn good but one of the world's best? Not in my book.

Kevin Tully
86 Posted 08/02/2015 at 16:33:29
Well Andy - that would depend on a number of things. If we won the Europa, of course he'd be a hero on here. If I can see all our younger players starting to click, such as Besic, Barkley, Stones, MCCarthy, Lukaku and Robles, then yes, he deserves another season. If I can see some decent, winning football between now and the end of the season, I would give him another in charge to prove this season was a transitional one.

I would also take into consideration the options of a replacement. I would also ask what are the goals for any new manager. Top 8? We may still make that this season, so surely you wouldn't want a manager sacked for finishing in that position?

If we continue scraping around the bottom half, with no discernible improvement on the horizon, then I would say make a change this summer - not now.

James Hughes
88 Posted 08/02/2015 at 16:38:14
The most annoying thing about this season is that we still haven’t started playing in any recognisable shape or form. Unless you call the dross served up as recognisable.

We can all point fingers, but mine is pointed firmly at Roberto, as he is paid to get the best out of what is available, he clearly hasn’t done that so far this season. I am beginning to feel that last season was just a figment of my imagination.

Everyone can blame second season syndrome, but can we afford a 3rd if we get this fraudball next year.

As the saying goes, neither one thing or t’other or more fittingly. Too tall for Bob, too short for Roberto.

Steve Carse
89 Posted 08/02/2015 at 17:03:36
A few posters in this thread have raised the old chestnut of our results/performances being a consequence of our Europa League engagements. Utter nonsense. Let's not forget either that we've compensated for these extras fixtures by conveniently going out of both the two domestic cup competitions at the first hurdle. If it wasn't for the Europa League, we would have been playing just 41 games this season – not good for group morale, and certainly not good for club finances or our exposure to potential players and backers.
Paul Tran
91 Posted 08/02/2015 at 17:59:59
Europa League hasn't been a hindrance for Spurs, has it? Plus they look fitter and certainly press and work more effectively than we do.

This season has been poor because Martinez has got the basics wrong; poor fitness management, unbalanced team selection, buying one striker and not playing to his strengths, poor morale? etc.

For me, we should be finishing top six, regardless of manager. If I was Kenwright, I'd be looking at replacements and seeking an explanation from Martinez about the differences between this and last season. If he didn't convince me about that or his future plans, I'd fire him in the summer.

Mike Price
93 Posted 08/02/2015 at 17:29:09
There's a lack of respect from the players towards the manager. Stories of Baines and Lukaku ignoring him and players showing disgust when substituted. The body language is terrible.

He's just too soft, like a teacher that's lost the classroom and its anarchy with everyone taking no notice and doing what they want.

Some of them need straightening out, but imagine Bobby giving you a bollocking....laughable. His tactic is to over praise, Lukaku worth £100 million etc, it just removes any credibility he may have had and makes him look weak and clueless.

Dave Abrahams
94 Posted 08/02/2015 at 18:15:22
Paul (#101),

Spurs have got a bigger and, in my opinion, a better squad than Everton, but even so the longer Spurs and Liverpool for that matter are in the Europa League, the harder it will be for them to make the top four in the Premier League. I don't care about the other two teams but I do care and worry about Everton.

We will find out in time anyway.

Colin Glassar
95 Posted 08/02/2015 at 18:34:10
I'd really like to back Kevin Tully and Paul Tran.

Can we just get to the end of the season before we do a full blown autopsy? The season hasn't ended and there's still a lot to play for.

Paul Tran
96 Posted 08/02/2015 at 18:39:18
Dave, fair point about Spurs' squad size. They do look fitter, faster and better organised than us, which makes it easier to rotate the players.
Bill Gall
98 Posted 08/02/2015 at 19:29:19
It's a shame Lukaku can not train like Everton's old-style centre forward Tommy Lawton. Did I not see on a video that he said, when he was transferred to Everton, he travelled to the ground on a tramcar and during training the trainer used to hang the ball from a rafter on a rope, and he had to leap and head it and they would keep raising and if he missed he would get a wack across the backside. After a couple of wacks, he never missed.

I wonder what today's OHS people would have to say about that.

Michael Winstanley
99 Posted 08/02/2015 at 19:20:19
None of us know what goes on behind closed doors but clearly there has been something amiss this season.

From my point of view, I'm hoping we've just gone through the biggest change/challenge of the Martinez era. I'm confident he is the right manager to take our club forward. Yes we are under performing and we need to improve, however I think we will see that unfold during the remainder of this season.

I think we'll do okay in the Europa too.

Colin Glassar
100 Posted 08/02/2015 at 19:54:27
Same here, Michael. This season has been a massive slap in the face for him and it must've rocked his self confidence. Let's hope, for all our sakes, he's learnt his lesson.
Tony Marsh
101 Posted 08/02/2015 at 19:55:45
What I want to know is why not a single player in our team can pass a moving ball? Why is a touch always required?

If you watch the good teams around Europe, the receiving player already knows were the ball is going before it reaches him and moves it along accordingly. We take touches and end up going backwards. The passing game is effective only when the players know how to pass.

What ever shit we practise at Finch Farm all week just isn't working and our decent players are regressing. Ross Barkley is being ruined with each passing week and the speedy counter attacks from last season are just a memory. If we want to implement a philosophy of total football, we need the personnel to carry it out.

Naismith and Barry must go now.

Martin Mason
102 Posted 09/02/2015 at 06:29:24
RM tried to make Everton a good-to-watch, attacking side last season and he almost made it despite a crippling lack of spending power. Towards the end of last season, we imploded and we now know that the experiment failed despite us almost making it.

The big money spent on Lukaku is looking like really bad value and we have a possible passenger in Mirallas who seems to be playing to get out. Now we’ve had to go back to defensive basics to avoid the very real risk of being relegated, an existential threat for EFC. The key thing is what happens now, where do we go from here?

For me we have to base the defensive midfield around Besic and McCarthy and to play Ross Barkley as a genuine № 10. He isn’t a defensive or wide MF but is great when he’s given the more forward role. we also need genuinely good wide players in MF perhaps Lennon on the right and Oviedo on the left. I believe that less well financed sides like use can only survive by playing a tight counter attacking 4-5-1 and we look dreadful when we try alternatives that we don’t have the skill to play.

I’d also cash in on LB, I know that this is a terrible thing to say but he has real value now and in Oviedo and Garbutt we have great cover. One of them is a waste now. I’d give frees to Barry and Distin and see what we can get for Howard, they are the past not our future. Maybe not as they were given generous contracts.

RM has shown that he does have some flexibility and I’ll reserve judgement perhaps until the end of next season. For me, it would be a disaster if we were to discard him now. I think that Moyesie is beginning to look not too bad with the benefit of hindsight?

Tony Abrahams
103 Posted 09/02/2015 at 12:28:47
Kevin 96, good post, but it just seems hard to think like this at the minute the way things are going. I like Martinez, but think he's got lost this season. Maybe Phil's right and he his a fraud, but I've seen enough in individual games to believe otherwise.

He's underestimated everything this season, especially since there were signs that he might have woken up a sleeping giant called Everton. He's based our whole season on Europe, and totally forgot about the league, which has led to a massive lack of confidence on and off the pitch.

If he can learn from this, he might become a very good manager. But 32,000, season tickets sold this year, will drop to about 20,000 in the summer, and for him to keep his job, will require The Chairman to not only remain strong, but also to have a lot of faith in him.

Europe will probably be key to him getting more time, but to play like we did on Saturday, was so hard to take for me. I genuinely wanted to leave after a hour, and it was only for my seven-year-old godson, and the fact I was giving my dad a lift home, I stayed.

We actually got better when Lennon came on, but after containing them for an hour, I just felt if we had gone for it properly, then we would have not only won, the fans would have been given back some pride.

Roberto I would love you to learn from your mistakes and succeed, but you have got to be strong and pick your best eleven. Confidence generally comes about when you have a go, so I'm not convinced that Saturday has done us any good on that score. You tell us Barkley is great, but don't trust him to play against Liverpool for even half an hour?

I could have accepted this if we would have had a few other match winners on the pitch, but to understand the passion of a Merseyside derby you left out "A SCOUSER", who you profess, you want to play without fear?????

Nicholas Ryan
104 Posted 09/02/2015 at 23:13:22
'Calm down... Calm down..!' This season has not gone well; mistakes have been made; goals have been shipped; players have got injured too often; confidence has drained.

Two priorities: stop losing; stop letting in daft goals. We seem to be pretty much achieving this. The manager, has hopefully learned some brutally hard lessons, in this most unforgiving of leagues. There is mounting evidence that he has.

Once stabilised, we can be a bit more adventurous.

We now need to draw against the 'big boys' and start hammering the lesser lights.

We will not qualify for Europe this season. I think we will finish 8th or 9th. It is too late to go any higher.

We must hope that the lessons learned, and some shrewd buys, will bear fruit next season. If they don't .... well....!

Roger Helm
106 Posted 10/02/2015 at 08:41:48
After the terrible run we had, what we needed was stability and clean sheets, and Roberto has provided them. When confidence is low, gung-ho attacking is a recipe for disaster. I would have settled for a point beforehand – we rarely beat Liverpool anyway (for whatever reason), in my 40-year experience, and they had been playing well recently.

I agree Tony about the slow passing. Wenger's rule (I heard) is that if a player takes a touch then the pass has to be forward.

Fourth is out of reach now and we will finish mid-table so let's hope the EL brings success. As for the future, it seems bright to me, with a great cadre of young talent – Stones, Barkley, Oviedo, Lukaku, McCarthy, Besic, even Robles (if he goes on developing), etc on long contracts. So we have to stick with Roberto. Who would replace him anyway? It's not like we are a rich club who can pick and choose top managers.

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