Back from a wedding on Saturday and into the pub before the match, hungover to Hell, I slowly felt better with the thought of an Everton win at forefront of my mind. We were, after all, playing at home to the worst team in the league. An easy three points coming our way, then.
Not the case, however, as gutsy Leicester City put up a fight against pitiful Everton. So rancid was Evertonís game that the first half seemed to take an age to pass by. Both teams could, and should, easily have scored come the interval with Barkley, Lukaku, Kramaric and Schlupp all finding the stands rather than the net. At half time it HAD to get better.
The half time break didnít seem to do a lot to improve Evertonís display and Leicester City really should have taken the lead when Schlupp again missed the target with a great chance. Martinez had to change something as it certainly wasnít working though the substitutions baffled the Goodison faithful when Gibson and Atsu were introduced at the expense of Barkley and Besic. Ross Barkley just appeared to be getting into the game and may have been worth persevering with for longer, though it was the withdrawal of Mohammed Besic which was met with groans from the crowd.
Still the substitution worked somehow when Naismith bundled the ball in once he had been put up front. Everton extremely fortunate to be a goal ahead but we were glad to take it.
Earlier in the game we were discussing how David Nugent had never quite made it as a Premier League player. I just knew all that talk would come back to haunt us somehow and the boyhood Blue pounced to level the scores with I think his first touch. It was difficult to tell from the other end of the pitch but Tim Howard was at fault for the goal apparently.
If there was any doubt about whether Howard was at fault for the first Leicester City goal, there was no doubt about the second one when he got well under the flight of the ball from a deep Leicester City cross. The ball eventually fell to Cambiaso who, as expected, made no error in putting the Foxes ahead. Even in the twilight of his career the Argentinian is still a joy to watch.
Leicester Cityís mistake was in clinging on to what they had for too long. So bad were we playing that I was worried Leicester City would have scored a third at one point though eventually they sat too deep for too long and Everton managed to scramble an equaliser when Atsuís cross towards Lukaku was put into his own net by Matthew Upson.
We almost stole an undeserved winner from a corner after that but the ball just wouldnít go in, though following a bazaar decision by Phil Dowd to award Leicester City a free kick for an apparition Foul by Leighton Baines, we ended up defending for our lives in the dying minutes to preserve the point.
It was a disappointing display from Everton, very much so in fact. After probably our best performance of the season on Thursday night in Switzerland you hoped we would hit the ground running and carry on in the same manor but this wasnít the case. Instead it was the slow passing game which has haunted our season and we never did enough to beat the worst team in the league.
Fine margins define games however and had Lukaku put at least one of his great chances away we may have won. The fault lies with the manager however. I am not convinced Joel Robles is really our future when it comes to the goalkeeper position, though dropping him for Tim Howard when Robles has just kept three clean sheets in a row was not a good decision.
Tim Howard has been culpable for all four goals we have conceded since he was back between the sticks and he should not have been brought back into the team. I respect Tim Howard. Heís been generally excellent for us over the years and I would suggest he still has a future at the club but his performances have been poor and he should have to fight for his place...not walk straight back into it.
I donít expect Martinez to change the goalkeeper but I wish he would. I would put Robles straight back in on Thursday and at Arsenal on Sunday. We need to get solid again at the back. It seems Joel Robles is integral to that.
Howard: Needs to be taken out of the team. Robles was in much better form. 4
Baines: Solid if not spectacular. 6
Jagielka: Coped pretty well at the back and was trying to get forward to influence the game as much as anyone in the second half. 7
Stones: Comfortable on the ball and always looking for a forward opportunity. I hope we can keep hold of him as he has all the qualities to become an important player for us for a number of years. 7
Coleman: Got forward pretty well in the second half though doesnít quite seem at full pelt. 6
Besic: Was doing OK until he was substituted. 6
McCarthy: Did well. Huge player for us and great to have him back. 7
Naismith: Got himself a goal and full of running as ever. I donít really like he and Barkley in the same team however. Itís either/or for me. 6
Lennon: My man of the match. Seems to have settled quickly. Was in and out of the game a fair bit but did cause problems with his pace and directness when he got on the ball. I can see him making a reasonable impact for the rest of the season. 7
Barkley: Didnít really get into the game before he was substituted on 55 minutes. 5
Lukaku: Missed far too many opportunities and we need a lot more from our £28m striker. 5
Gibson (for Barkley): Had a positive impact on the game with his passing and running. May be well worth giving him a game on Thursday night. 6
Atsu (for Besic): OK he set up the equaliser but Iím yet to see what he brings to the party. I certainly wouldnít be making the loan move a permanent one. 5
Mirallas (for Naismith): Not on long and didnít get into the game. 5
Reader Comments (26)
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1 Posted 23/02/2015 at 05:59:57
I have always thought Howard a very, very below average keeper, I can't stand him and can't wait for him to be gone from our club.
He is an absolute joke of a keeper, and as somebody else already said on another thread, I can't believe its taken so long for people to realize this.
I also get the sense that a lot of our players don't really like him, and see him as the utter clown that he truly is.
2 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:16:39
It makes you wonder if certain players have the 'if fit must play' clause written into their contracts. Remember Phil Neville being played in any position available just to give him a game, & he WAS A JOKE.
If the shite can drop Mignolet after he had a few bad games why can't we with Howard, over to you El Bob.
3 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:15:57
I entirely accept that we all have the right to choose which players we like or don't like.
You think TH is "an absolute joke of a keeper", OK got that.
"I also get the sense that a lot of our players don't really like him, and see him as the utter clown that he truly is."
You supply absolutely no supporting evidence for this deep "insight" to explain how you have seen into the other players minds/opinions. For the benefit of the far less intuitively gifted (ie, the likes of me) could you please identify or explain what "signs and signals" or "vibrations" you are reading ?
4 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:33:54
5 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:41:17
The danger is that Martinez's insistence on selecting him - despite poor form throughout this season and in truth for a portion of last season - will tarnish his reputation with the fans and cause bad feeling. That would be a shame.
6 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:45:48
Second goal was all his.
How can a man who kept more clean sheets in a single season than the Great Neville Southall have always been useless?
7 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:47:37
We gave Joel dog√ās abuse and just as he settles down and is proving us all wrong Howard is recalled. I can√āt fathom that.
The goals we conceded yesterday, well if your local pub team played like that it would still be poor, for professionals is was abysmal.
8 Posted 23/02/2015 at 08:15:24
Things were starting to fit into place and he drops Robles after three clean sheets which everyone bar the manager thought was wrong.
I've gone from hanging off every word our manager says to keeping away from his utter drivel week after week, it's my six year old lads first full season, he's still young for match going so it's hard to keep him focused and get into Everton as it is without witnessing dross boring crap week after week, it's only the sweets that are keeping him going and he's going to end up with no bloody teeth left with this crap on offer.
The scary thing is we are going to lose a good few players next year and I'm thinking can we trust this fella if we give him another season?
9 Posted 23/02/2015 at 05:40:20
RM, like his predecessor, won't drop his favourites - even when woefully out of form. Howard has had his worst season in memory this season - either partly as a result of a ponderous defence, or possibly causing that nervousness. Brenda across the park had no hesitation dropping Mignolet earlier in the season.
10 Posted 23/02/2015 at 09:36:25
If we meet any Premier teams in the last 16 we will of course bottle it. This season and this manager has turned me into a negitive thinking man when ii use to be optimistic. Fed up after watching the game for the 2nd time.
11 Posted 23/02/2015 at 10:01:05
Don't see Lennon as an answer, he's so one-footed you know every time which way he is going to go and therefore a pacy fullback will read him and block him. At times he and Coleman got in each other's way.
12 Posted 23/02/2015 at 09:53:59
Beaten far too easily at Bern for their goal through poor positioning ( a sin for any top 'keeper) then he does his usual against Leicester for their second - completely misjudges the flight of the ball. How many times have we seen that?
Remember Gerrard's free-kick in the Merseyside derby? Poor again. Palace at home and Chelsea at home, another two stinkers.
Sorry Tim, you have decent at times and average for 90% of your time with us. Far too hesitant when coming off your line. Distribution and starting attacks - again, too hesitant.
For the money he is earning, we could do far better. Let's give Robles the rest of the season to prove he is worthy, if not, we need a new 'keeper.
13 Posted 23/02/2015 at 09:58:59
14 Posted 23/02/2015 at 11:29:00
15 Posted 23/02/2015 at 11:31:09
16 Posted 23/02/2015 at 10:28:20
Never like to see Besic brought off but Gibbo was a revelation. Coached from a boy at Man U to think in an attacking manner, he'll never be a great defender but he pushes us forward at a quicker tempo.
Baines was less effective than Oviedo because he continually refuses to use his right foot. When turning inside the fullback, instead of crossing the ball or getting it forward to a team-mate, he passed it 20 yards back to Jags. Left foot, left foot, left foot.
Unlike several others, I am delighted with Lennon and Atsu.
Felt very sorry for young Stones during the last 10 minutes when he looked absolutely knackered and was running on auto. The result of having to cover for too many team-mates too many times.
Not sure which is worse. A keeper conceding goals or a striker missing sitters. I guess they both make the difference between winning and losing. Lukaku drives me crackers but we're stuck with him and I have to believe he's working hard on his right foot technique. At least he is not afraid to use it. Always a goal threat and a handful, he has time on his side and will hopefully improve. After the Chelski, Leicester games I wanted to kick him out but he did get himself into scoring positions and caused much chaos in the opposition defence.
Not a good time to be a blue but if we find a decent keeper we'll be okay.
17 Posted 23/02/2015 at 13:28:17
You beat me too it; I thought Lennon was awful, not in the game at all and poor decisions when he was.
Atsu looked like he has something about him and if Mirallas stopped believing his own hype; he'd be a starter for me.
Don't understand the Barkley substitutions either. The last time we won was against QPR at home wher he played deeper (with Besic I think); so why not put him there again; as Gibson is not the future.
18 Posted 23/02/2015 at 13:54:57
What game were you watching Paul?
He was awful, a couple of times bearing down on goal after a quick break away, not once did he try and have a dig at goal, just looked for a pass and ultimately ballsed it up.
I was one of the fans mystified by the Besic sub (he did acknowledge the groans) but to be fair, Gibson changed the game with his forward passes, won’t say accurate, as he hit quite a few straight into touch behind Baines.
Lukaku obviously had his "Premiership" boots on, maybe the kit man can replace them with his "European" boots and maybe he will actually start slotting again.
19 Posted 23/02/2015 at 14:20:45
20 Posted 23/02/2015 at 16:57:23
21 Posted 23/02/2015 at 17:41:22
Coleman Jagielka Alcaraz Garbutt
Besic Gibson Barkley Barry
SUBS: Howard Browning McCarthy Baines Mirallas Kone Naismith
22 Posted 23/02/2015 at 18:02:15
23 Posted 23/02/2015 at 18:39:12
Based on his performances this year he is no longer viable as a goalie at this level. If the defenders do not trust their keeper then it leads to all sorts of problems, he effects more than what happens between the sticks
24 Posted 23/02/2015 at 18:42:36
But this is a GK getting god knows how much a week and playing in what is supposed to be the best league in the world. So how many more times have we got to see him flap at crosses, get done at his near post, push a ball out back into open play, punch a ball(weakly) instead of catching it.
Harold Matthews(#16) posed the question what's worse "a keeper conceding goals or a striker missing sitters". No contest, the keeper wins by a country mile and mistake a game Howard or if we're in front 2 mistakes a game has costs us at least 15 points.
A fucking liability get shut. It's also a test of Martinez management skills, because the Mourinho's of the world correct their mistakes in double-quick time, rather than persisting with players or systems that need replacing. That could be the end of him
25 Posted 23/02/2015 at 20:24:20
Leicester barely troubled us yesterday. Without Howard's mistakes, we would have won. Ditto for many occasions this season.
Martinez has made many poor decisions this season and we have suffered. He can't see what we all can see. He keeps dropping players in form for players out of form. A good keeper wins you points, gives confidence to the back four and can cause doubt in strikers. Howard does none of this. He shouldn't play for us again, he isn't good enough.
26 Posted 23/02/2015 at 23:11:06
To be honest, the uncommitted TV-viewing neutral would've been hard put to say which team was actually bottom and, given this hypothetical neutral's limited knowledge, and shaky grasp of geography, he might've read somewhere Leicester were bottom and didn't he have half a dim memory harking back to Gordon Banks that they also played in blue... and there you have it
We have given them more that 10% of their total points 2 games 2 pts. the other 24 games gave them 16. This says much more about us than them.
I don't think we will get relegated, we will ( should ) be clear with plenty of games to go, if we maintain our average of fractionally just over 1 pt. per game.
I fear that Bill and Bob ( more like Bill and 'kin Ben at times ) aided and abetting each other, have put all their potential season saving kudos into CL entrance via the Thursday League.
I also fear that the first really decent technical foreign side... or heaven forbid, you know who or spurs if they get through...and the odds are on us drawing one or the other, will do us over to finish off that pipe dream.
At this stage in the proceedings I see no good reason to take the extra strong bike clips off my brown trousers.
If we stutter along doing our point-ish a game average by May and there ISN'T a trip to Warsaw. I will be very disappointed, but not too surprised if Martinez is still in the job by July.
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