If there was a salient feature of Roberto Martinez's first season in charge at Everton, as the Blues charged though 2013/14 under the banner of "Sin Miedo" to a record points haul in the Premier League, it was the brand of bold, attacking football that carried the team to handsome victories at home against the traditional "Sky Four" and overwhelmingly positive displays against those kinds of teams on the road.

Keen to throw off the inferiority complex that seemed pervasive under his predecessor, Martinez took his charges to Old Trafford and shattered a painful 21-year winless record on Manchester United's home ground, made Chelsea fight tooth and nail for a fortunate victory at Stamford Bridge and played Arsenal off their own patch before grabbing the point they richly deserved thanks to a piece of magic from Gerard Deulofeu.

Unfortunately, in this increasingly demoralising Premier League campaign, these meetings with the top flight's elite clubs have reverted largely to type for Everton since they threw away a comfortable 2-0 lead against Arsenal at Goodison Park in August. They've lost home and away to Chelsea, been beaten away at United, needed a moment of magic from Phil Jagielka to avoid another derby defeat at Anfield, succumbed meekly to Manchester City at the Etihad and now seen normal service resume at The Emirates.

If there is fear that is holding the Blues back against the top five this season, it appears to be more about taking chances and risking a mistake than any real awe of the opposition. Everton controlled long portions of this match against Arsene Wenger's wounded Gunners, often out-passing one of England's most renowned possession outfits. But with that swashbuckling mindset that was so successful last season largely gone replaced by a safe, torpid approach that yields few chances and, therefore, even fewer goals they barely looked like scoring let alone grabbing a first away win at Arsenal for 19 years.

More worrying is Martinez's apparent inabiilty or refusal to either respond to events on the field with positive changes or to make attack-minded adjustments aimed at rescuing losing situations. From the manager to the players, once Arsenal had taken the lead in the 39th minute with their first effort on target, this performance was dragged down by an apparently passive acceptance of Everton's fate. More than the predictable result, it was the lack of desperation and desire to claw back a single-goal deficit for most of the second half that was simultaneously galling and deeply worrying.

In response to his side's distressing form over Christmas and a run of 14 League games that had yielded just two wins, Martinez's tactics have become increasingly defensive of late and he has used the return to fitness of James McCarthy as an opportunity to deploy all three of his defensive midfielders to shore up the back line. The Irishman started again alongside Muhamed Besic and Gareth Barry in a formation that allowed for plenty of possession in the first half an hour but very little action at the other end.

It also meant that Romelu Lukaku was often isolated or double- or triplemarked when he got the ball mostly with his back to goal where he is at his least effective and neither Kevin Mirallas nor Ross Barkley were able to take advantage of the space afforded them in forward areas. Indeed, Mirallas was a peripheral figure for much of the first half and though he showed some flashes of brilliance, Barkley was unable to dictate things in the final third in the manner in which he did in this fixture last season.

With Everton seemingly unwilling to put the ball in the box from a succession of free kicks early in the game and little in way of the purposeful forward passing exhibited by Darron Gibson against Leicester and Young Boys, it wasn't surprising that the Blues' first real chance of the first half came as the result of opportunism by Lukaku. The Belgian robbed full debutant Gabriel Paulista and raced towards a one-on-one duel with David Ospina but the goalkeeper did brilliantly to bat the ball away as Lukaku tried to knock it past him and then slid in to put the ball out for a throw-in.

Seven minutes before the break, on a rare counter-attack, Lukaku collected Barry's pass out from defence and superbly out-foxed Laurent Koscielny on the half-way line but his surging run was ended by an excellent last-ditch tackle by Gabriel as he was bearing down on Ospina's goal.

In between, Arsenal had sounded a warning bell for Everton when Oliver Giroud took advantage of a rare lapse by Phil Jagielka, stealing in as the defender tried to step out to play the offside trap but headed Alexis Sanchez's cross inches wide.

The Frenchman got his now customary goal against the Blues in the 39th minute, though. Seamus Coleman's refusal to put the ball into Row Z on one side of the defence kept the pressure on from Arsenal that required Jagielka to cut out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross from the other side for a corner. And, when John Stones failed to remain tight enough on Giroud from the resulting set-piece, the striker was able to sweep a side-footed shot into the far corner.

55% of the possession but just two shots and none on target told the story of Everton's dominance of the ball but general impotence, something that has become the overriding theme of the domestic campaign.

Half-time would have been the ideal time to make a change and either withdraw one of the defensive midfielders or push one of them further forward but Martinez left things entirely unchanged at the restart. Once again, it was the Blues who started the stronger and Ospina made a meal of Garbutt's wicked in-swinger after Giroud had cynically tripped Coleman in full-flight, flapping the ball behind for a corner. Barry went close from the set-piece, scissor-kicking a yard or so over the bar on the half-volley and Mirallas lashed a loose ball well wide from another free-kick swung in by Garbutt.

Playing more like the away side, ceding possession to Everton in the knowledge that there was little danger in doing so, Arsenal's chances were few and far between, but Giroud had one goalbound effort blocked by Jagielka's arm as the Everton skipper scrambled to stop him from troubling Howard and both Cazorla and Mezut Ozil drove shots over from distance.

With an hour gone, Martinez again resisted the chance to break up the central defensive three when he withdrew Mirallas and introduced Aaron Lennon in a like-for-like swap, perpetuating a lack of width on both flanks and, inexplicably, leaving another creative influence in the form of Gibson on the bench until the 85th minute.

Nevertheless, in a rare piece of incisive play, Barkley picked out Lukaku with a cross from the left that the striker swept first-time towards the top corner but he was foiled by another great save by Ospina. And when Coleman's cut-back found Lennon in the middle in the 72nd minute, the goalkeeper was in the right place again to stop the winger's first-time shot.

That was, unfortunately, more or less it from Everton. Arsenal, with the cushion of their lead, routinely pulled all their men behind the ball and compressed the space available while they continued to grow in confidence after the midweek humbling by Monaco in the Champions League. McCarthy was caught in possession in his own half and had to be bailed out by Jagielka with a saving block before late substitute Tomas Rosicky killed the contest entirely with a shot that deflected off Jagielka's foot and over Howard to make it 2-0 in the 89th minute.

Giroud would plant a free header wide and Howard beat another Rosicky shot away in injury time as Arsenal threatened to rub salt into the wounds but the scoreline held through an extra seven minutes tacked on for stoppages and Everton trooped off to ponder another game without a win in the Premier League.

Martinez has made much in his post-match interviews of his team's character but the plain truth is that there wasn't enough of it on display today, at least not in a collective sense. Individually, the likes of Jagielka, Garbutt and, at times, Lukaku were positives on an otherwise forgettable afternoon but the drive and urgency to try and overturn Arsenal's slender lead just wasn't there. It certainly paled in comparison to that of Leicester at Goodison last weekend or at the Emirates the Saturday before that where they had Wenger's side worried until the last kick of the game. Everton seemed resigned to their fate this afternoon.

That continues to be one of the more worrying aspects of a team that seems oblivious to the danger of being sucked into a relegation battle, a prospect that seemed a distant one following the victory over Crystal Palace a little over a month ago. That 1-0 win stands as Everton's only win in the Premier League in 2015, part of a sequence of results going back to the end of November that unquestionably constitutes relegation form. It's still highly unlikely that we will go downbut that really is beside the point even given the early-season challenges, relegation shouldnt even be in the equation for a team boasting this much talent.

Given the sense of déjà vu in the wake of another defeat at Arsenal, comparisons are again being made withthe Moyes era but they are largely spurious. Martinez is batting his own brief legacy at Everton his record last season and the alarming contrast it presents with this term's form. Nor is about our record at Arsenal because Martinez's whole ethos is supposed to render that psychological aspectirrelevant.

Unfortunately, it is more about the manager's failure to adapt in the right way. Martinez has shown signs of bending from his rigidity and resolute adherence to his principles at times over the past couple of months but his baffling substitutions and, most importantly, his refusal to deviate from a tried, tested and failed front-three system one that sacrifices much-needed balance are deeply concerning in the context of the season run-in and where we go from here should he remain in charge beyond the summer.

Martinez will continue to face challenges and situations that will demand a different approach between now and the end of the season, in both the Premier League and the Europa League. As supporters, he has to show us he has the imagination and the flexibility to make changes that will earn results because, sadly, his achievements last season now amount to nothing. Back at square one, he has to earn our trust and admiration all over again while battling to reverse the shocking run of form of the past three months.

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Robert Pierpoint
1 Posted 01/03/2015 at 19:57:18
Martinez is a nice bloke and I’m sure he could talk a brilliant game of football, but this is past concerning. It is dangerous to follow a philosophy so rigidly when it is clear that it isn’t suiting the players. Barkley is totally lost, clearly not having a clue about what he should actually be doing; Lukaku is struggling because he is always so isolated and the midfield three are simply happy to pass sideways for a full game.

Coupled with this is this ludicrous idea that this is the way to play football alongside the implication that this is a style that is more worthy than the ’parasite’ teams who defend their own 18-yard box.

I like Martinez, and he brought some real attacking verve last season, but this, on paper, is a fantastic squad of players, and they are simply not performing. There is a spine of a team that should be pushing towards the Champions League and at the moment, you cannot see where the next win is coming from. The statistics make embarrassing reading and I can’t believe that the media isn’t asking more questions in truth.

The best thing that I’ve heard is that, according to Roberto, players are desperate to join Everton because they love the style of play. Oh dear... do me a favour!

Milos Milenkovic
2 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:06:20
Any team that starts with 3 defensive midfielders absolutely deserves to lose. And to remove Mirallas, one of only two players on the pitch who can score a goal, while we are goal behind, must goes to history of managerial masterpieces.
Tim Michael
3 Posted 01/03/2015 at 19:52:49
Absolutely right Lyndon. The realisation of the slide of EFC seems largely to be ignored by the manager and the players. RM is now talking about getting 40pts and you are right in saying that relegation or the threat of it should never have been in the season’s conversation.

Strange reaction by RM to the Soton game in terms of subs then a catastrophic game plan at Hull illustrates your point about his ability to be flexible and to change.

I just don’t see him changing his ways and so I cannot see where the next win is coming from...

John Raftery
5 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:06:19
We are far too nice in our play. Today Arsenal were happy to commit fouls on McCarthy and Coleman to prevent attacks being built on the right flank.

It is high time every player got in the faces of the opposition. That needs to start on Wednesday at Stoke who epitomise what is required from a team in the lower half of the table. Oh for someone like Tim Cahill who never accepted defeat lightly.

Amit Vithlani
7 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:07:18
Brilliant article, Lyndon. I read with disbelief the quotes in various papers where Martinez implied systems and plans were less important than relying on a set philosophy done to perfection.

I think its time to call an end on Martinez reign. He does not deserve the summer to fix things as his philosophy is simply not suited to the Premier League. The Europa League is a fatal distraction. It matters little that we have progressed when it has been at the expense of our worst league campaign in 10 years. We are a big enough club – as Martinez himself has acknowledged – to prosper in both competitions and there can be no doubt the season has been a failure given how disastrous our league form has been.

I would opt for a change now. Give the new man 10 games to try his ideas and the summer to rebuild. We should avoid relegation provided the side is properly organised and motivated.

Candidates? There are a few. I would move heaven and earth to get Di Matteo. We surely offer a bigger challenge than Schalke.

John Keating
8 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:16:27
The sad thing is our EL success is masking the real threat to our Club. Had we gone out of the competition at the first attempt, MartinezÂ’s catastrophic incompetence would have been laid bare for all and I suspect we would now not be talking about him.

If we escape relegation, the man must go as soon as we get confirmation of such. This season has shown that he is totally out of his depth. By attempting to keep to his so called football philosophies regardless of what everyone can see, this man could sound the death knell of our Club, while he himself swans off somewhere else to try his theories.

Dean Adams
9 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:24:42
Is the Martinez mantra to win a trophy and take you down?
Paul Hewitt
10 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:28:06
John@8 the EL run should have no bearing to Martinez being sacked. The league form is horrendous and that’s all he should be judged on.
Terry Downes
11 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:29:16
Di Matteo?

God help us... there must be a dozen managers better qualified than him.

John Keating
12 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:33:47
Paul, I agree totally and thatÂ’s what I allude too. Because we are doing well in Europe supporters, the media and Board are giving him an easier ride than he should be getting.

Last season, around Christmas, there was a thread about us possibly qualifying for the CL. Personally I was all for it but I did say if we didnÂ’t manage 4th IÂ’d prefer we missed the EL places - didnÂ’t go down too well !

As I said above the EL campaign is masking MartinezÂ’ incompetence and I believe that is the only thing that has kept the clown in the job. Regardless of what weÂ’re doing in Europe Martinez should be judged on the PL and in my opinion should be long gone.

Paul Hewitt
13 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:45:03
I simply don’t know why BK hasn’t sack Martinez by now does he think we are going to go on some amazing unbeaten run.

Well we wont and the longer he leave this clown in charge the more we slip to relegation.
James Hughes
14 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:49:23
Woe,woe and thrice woe. Lost for words about our direction or lack of.

David Hallwood
15 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:31:55
Great report Lyndon; I had to work today but managed to listen to most of it and even a club loyalist like Sharpy is saying the obvious, don't play in front of the opposition. get it up to Lukaku and give him the type of service he thrives on.

Speaking of Sharpy; one of his former teammates Gary Linaker stated (the bleedin' obvious really) that good players make good teams and bad players makes bad teams; so where do we stand in this? We've got a team chock full of internationals, and at least five of the players wouldn't look out of place in the Sky 5 teams, as evidenced by a lot of the players being on the radar of 'bigger clubs'.

However here we are again; lots of possession, we haven't been beaten in a man-against-boys way, and of course the team keeping the averages up of four shots on target, two goals conceded.

Who knows maybe it is time for Martinez to go, as managers with less talent to work with have been sacked for better records than that recorded by the team this season. Personally I don't like changing managers at the drop of a hat, because it usually ends up in tears; but if he is to go-Slaven Bilic anyone?

Andy Meighan
16 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:41:25
I’ve just been reading the reports of yesterday’s games in the paper when I come across Derby’s. And McCaren said (and I quote): "We come up against a team who wanted it more and we wouldn’t have scored if we’d have been here til Tuesday." Now why the fuck haven’t we got someone straight talking instead of this gobshite who keeps referring back to last season and the first two games of this?

Now I’m not saying go and get McClaren but someone who tells it as it is instead of all this ’phenomenal’ bollocks and ’in the moment’ crap. He must be the only person connected with the club that can’t see the danger were in. FFS goals win games and we don’t score them – simple as that. When will he learn? I’ll tell you: when it’s too late.

Fuck the Europa League, we won’t win that. We need wins in the Premier League. I personally don’t think we’ll get anything at Stoke because of our atrocious away form, so it’s imperative we beat Newcastle, Burnley and Sunderland at home and maybe a couple of draws along the way.

But everyone knows it doesn’t work like that. There’s no urgency or fight within the squad and I really can’t see us beating many sides. These are worrying times indeed.

Ian Riley
17 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:25:42
How lucky is our manager. The run of results in the past nine months would have him out the door months ago at any other club. Last season, a 5-year contract was signed with no justification. He failed to get us in the top 4 due to a bad run of results from March 2014. It’s 1 March 2015 and we sit six points above the bottom three.

My most worrying aspect of our football is the lack of attacking options in our play. Our manager is young and is not willing to change his football philosophy. My thought when he was at Wigan was the lack of quality in the team but no it’s the lack of tactical styles applied to the team.

How do we get out of this mess? The manager will not be sacked before the end of the season but I do feel his interview today was a man in trouble.

The chairman will be concerned because we are not improving and every game has the same story. He will know the fans are not happy. I don’t see us getting to 40 points but I still think we will stay up based on other teams below us. Please don’t ask me to put money on it!

Perhaps last season we over-achieved or the additions (loans) had something to prove. Also, the defence had a solid system from the previous management team. The manager has set his seeds into the style and mentality in how we play.

I could not give a shit about the Europa League, the Premier League is our bread and butter. Wigan won the FA Cup, got relegated and will be playing in the third tier next season. The manager has to go in the summer whatever happens because he is not willing to change when it is going wrong and that will continue into next season.

Doug Harris
18 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:44:23
Arsenal’s second goal: Goalkeeper pumps it upfield, first touch by a player, goes to a second player whose first touch controls it, makes his second touch easy enough to find the back of the net, albeit with a deflection.

Point in question: what are we doing, fucking about in midfield passing it sideways, backwards with about minimum movement forwards?

Oh, that’s possession football... Goals win matches – does Roberto not know this?

Bill Gall
19 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:54:31
Not often you get a stubborn ineffective manager and a stubborn ineffective chairman in the same club were both are to stubborn to admit that they made mistakes.

There are a lot of people who want Martinez out but there are a lot more across the park that want us to keep him and just gloating that they never hired him. I have supported Everton since the early 50s and have never heard so much anger against a manager so early in his time at the club.

As far as BK goes, do not let him tell us how much of an Everton supporter he is as he is willing to let our club become a laughing stock on Merseyside.

Bob Heyward
20 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:57:35
Well, the mess we’re in now is no surprise. No surprise at all. Here we are, 27 games into the season, with 28 points.

Martinez had to go post Christmas but some of us weren’t ready for it. Funnily enough, that tiny minority still aren’t ready for it. Some would keep El Pied Piper into relegation. Unfortunately, we’re now going to reap what some people insisted, very vociferously, that we sow.

The Premier League is a very unforgiving league. Our saving grace is the bottom four just aren’t winning anything. So, already we find our fate in the hands of other teams. If one starts to pick up points, we’ll be in real trouble, right quick.

Our abysmal record under Martinez offers little hope. Our last 11 games, in the context of the Leicester game, are all tough challenges. We’re in a relegation scrap, we have been since Christmas, and anyone who can’t see it is crazy.

Where this will end, I fear to think. The only thing that is sure is that we made a grave error not losing Roberto after the Christmas debacle. Many had the foresight to see the actions needed. Sadly a few, including our chairman, decided to put their ego first. Shameful.

Brian Garside
21 Posted 01/03/2015 at 20:50:59
I have said before and I shall say it again. Martinez does not get English football. He does not get Everton. We are about playing one-/two-touch football with pace style and verve. What is he serving up?

He is as far away from Everton as is possible to get. He will take us down. If not this season then next.

We know the squad can play. So why are they not? He has coached Ross to confusion, poor lad. Would RL have signed if we had played in this manner last season? How many players would have left?

BK gave him a 5-year contract and looks a bit of a twerp at the moment. Cannot, will not pay RM off? BK. Your toy is breaking. It is a sinking ship. Do not let the EL distract from the evidence as it will be harder to get a buyer when in The Championship.

As a person, I like RM. He is just not the man to manage EFC.

Dick Fearon
22 Posted 01/03/2015 at 21:50:22
This incompetent fool turned down the RS job. They certainly dodged the bullet eh? Can anyone imagine kopites putting up with his garbage? My guess is he would have been frog marched out of the place months ago.

Why oh Why do match going Evertonians put up it? I hold Billy Bullshit equally responsible for our plight. He is the only one who can save us from disaster. It is obvious that Roberto does not have a clue.

Nick Armitage
23 Posted 01/03/2015 at 21:06:42
Get rid ASAP. If you haven’t seen enough evidence now then you never will. It was Arsenal away in the FA Cup that ended Martinez in my eyes. We simply have not been the sane team since and he isn’t capable of changing it.
Craig Mills
24 Posted 01/03/2015 at 21:43:06
You are so right, Bill@19, we are fucking laughing stock to the RS and who can blame them, Brenda had his critics amongsts the RS but you had to admire what he did, because he admitted what he was trying to do simply did not work with his squad of players and he changed things, in fact he changed his whole system – and holy shit it worked!! He is now odds on for champions league again.

In contrast, we are stuck with this fucking stubborn idiot who wouldn’t recognise change if it smacked him on his smiling post-match interviews describing another phenomenal loss. Do us all a favour, Martinez, you are out of your depth.

Andy Crooks
25 Posted 01/03/2015 at 22:10:11
Why give Martinez until the summer? The players need the sort of shake up than can only happen with immediate change.
Declan Brown
28 Posted 01/03/2015 at 22:45:19
As stated in another post. The only answer to this is to get rid of Martinez.

Get a manager in who can get the players fit, toughened up, organised, practice set pieces, competitive, hard to beat and up for the battle that lies ahead.

Like Moyes with more bravery and tactical nouse in trying to win games. I suggest Mark Hughes (due to our financial situation and our league position, we ainÂ’t going to get the next Mourinho, get a tough son of a gun in to get the fire back in the bellies.

Will be hard to get Hughes now, maybe in the summer. But we need to find another Joe Royle and quickly, before this turns into our worst nightmare.

Michael Evans
29 Posted 01/03/2015 at 22:46:45
We currently have a manager who is more concerned with self-aggrandisement and hyperbole.

Where’s the pace, passion and intensity to our play?

Football isn’t an ’art form’

It’s a visceral, win at all costs game where there are no prizes for being ’nice’.

Wake up or move on, RM.

This wonderful club and its supporters deserve so much better.

Colin Gee
30 Posted 01/03/2015 at 22:53:36
Does Kenwright have Delta or Davy Liver Cabs phone number?

Lose aginst Stoke on Wednesday and he will need it. Otherwise we can look forward to trips to the likes of Huddersfield and Brighton next season.

As soon as Arsenal scored we knew it was all over, normally our fans are great, keep singing, but everyone looked at each other around me and everyone knew what was going to happen. You know it’s bad when even the fans can’t be arsed.

Oh and my unwanted record of never seeing Everton win at either Highbury or The Emirates is still intact.

Jim Hardin
31 Posted 01/03/2015 at 23:13:30
Maybe Everton can keep Martinez as the European games manager ad someone else for the EPL games?
Len Hawkins
32 Posted 01/03/2015 at 23:06:47
On the live forum, I asked what do the players do at Finch Farm? Watch cartoons – because they certainly seem incapable of passing the ball to a fellow Everton player.

I’ve just realised they don’t watch cartoons; they watch recordings of Countdown because that can be the only place this moron gets his post-match big-word diatribe from.

Colin Gee
33 Posted 01/03/2015 at 23:20:25
That’s what pisses me off the most, Jim – on Thursday night we moved the ball around quickly and most importantly forwards; today it was back to the side to side and backwards.

How many times in the first half did Seamus get the ball in space on the right and instead of going forwards, he came inside and gave to one of the midfield? Yet last season he would have just run with it to the byeline and crossed it in or played a one-two with someone and blasted it into the roof of the net.

David Hallwood
34 Posted 01/03/2015 at 23:21:44
Just watched the lowlights on MotD2... a couple of points.

Firstly, whatever happened to putting men on the posts to defend a corner?

Secondly, after seeing the RS goals why din’t we try a couple of shots from distance seeing that Mirallas and Barkley are perfectly capable?

Hector Blaukugel
35 Posted 01/03/2015 at 23:16:45
Its bizarre how the Samuel Eto’o departure went pretty much unnoticed & there was no real post mortem?

His early spat with the new boss smokescreened his worrying departure; here was a consummate pro (albeit past his best) who had seen it all, played under numerous managers & been a resounding success. For him to up sticks barely months into his tenure here, should have set alarm bells ringing that all wasn’t well under Roberto’s tutalage?

I can imagine the younger players like Ross etc, who would have been in awe of Eto’o, must have been affected & wondering whether A-list players have a place at our club?

Next thing: Kevin & Rom are talking Champions League ambitions, obviously not with us. Sadly, I think there will be an exodus come the summer.

Dick Fearon
36 Posted 01/03/2015 at 23:49:51
Shooting at goal comes secondary to making the next useless pass.
Phil Walling
37 Posted 02/03/2015 at 00:02:11
’As long as we keep doing the things we know to be right, the results will come.’

What is everybody worrying about?

Clive Mitchell
38 Posted 02/03/2015 at 00:08:29
Great article Lyndon. I don’t agree that ’it’s still highly unlikely that we will go down’, I’m afraid. We’re six points off the drop. We can’t beat anyone.

Villa will recover in the next three games. Sunderland and Hull will limp past us too. This season has been like a lorry hurtling out of control down a very long hill for months. The crash is getting closer. The EL is just a distraction for manager and players from the harsh reality that we cannot get results because we are nowhere near as good as they think we are.

There’s arrogance aplenty in our side, but no passion, no belief, no fight, no grit, and that’s what it takes down where we are. After Stoke both the next games can be derailed by EL.

If we get beat at QPR on the way back from Kiev the situation could be close to desperate. How can this be? How can we lack the necessary grit and fight with players like Naismith, Barkley, Coleman, Stones, McCarthy, Besic, Gibson, Barry, Jagielka and Baines? You have to blame the manager.

Michael Winstanley
39 Posted 02/03/2015 at 00:08:45
Great report Lyndon.

Why does he have to play three CDM’s? No creativity in our play today, expecting Lukaku, Mirallas and Barkley to produce a performance to win us the game, sadly that didn’t happen.

I’m not sure what Martinez is doing with Barkley, at times I see flashes of brilliance followed by complete inaction. I assume he plays like that because that’s what the manager wants. Same with Lukaku.

Injuries and poor form with our attacking options have clearly hampered any progression from last season. Pienaar and Osman, although not world beaters, you know what you’re going to get, 100% effort and they don’t hide. Naismith is the only other player I can think of who continues to give 100%.

This season we’ve seen the progression of Stones and Lukaku. The emergence of Garbutt and Besic, Robles could be our next keeper, Browning and Ledson have both played.

Inexperience is on it’s way, well in fact it’s here. Add Barkley to the list and you can see it clearly, most moan youth isn’t given it’s chance.
The reason it’s rarely given its chance is because it will make mistakes, lack consistency and produce sub-par performances.

Mirallas, Jags, Howard, Baines, Coleman and Barry are our senior pros out on the pitch, our leaders to guide the youth. All of them have been woeful at times, often all at once.

Hopefully a fit Osman, Pienaar and Gibson can bring back the bit of Everton that’s been missing (clutching at straws I know).

Jay Harris
40 Posted 02/03/2015 at 01:26:31
Good report as always, Lyndon.

Besides all the boxes Martinez doesn’t tick, the most worrying thing right now is complacency.

He seems to be living in a different world from the rest of us and that is transmitting to the players.

I honestly do not believe that the players are playing for him so it doesn’t matter who he chooses.

IMO he is a dead man walking and the sooner we end this agony the better.

Mark Andersson
41 Posted 02/03/2015 at 01:18:29
Good reading, Lyndon

No-one, including the players, expected a win.

If we stay up, it won’t be because we suddenly turned the corner; what we have seen all season will continue. If the bottom 3 have any kind of good run, then we are down.

We know the manager won’t get sacked; we also know that he will be in charge next season.

It beggars belief that this smiling fool is still in a job. Did he really turn down the RS job? Or is he on their pay roll to take us down?

Anto Byrne
42 Posted 02/03/2015 at 01:44:33
Two more games and then what? Stoke and Newcastle. We need six points. Why can’t we play 4-4-2 and have Kone and Lukaku up front? Why cant we have Barkley along side Gibson in the middle Lennon and Mirellas out wide? Why cant we have a solid back four who just defend? Why cant we have a keeper that keeps clean sheets? Oh we do but he is not the Number 1.

Hey look no McCarthy Besic or Barry in my team. We defend as a team and attack as a team. Mix it up with long balls and whipping in crosses into the box. Something’s got to change and Phil Neville’s comments were right on the money. Perhaps he would be the man to replace Martinez?

Victor Jones
43 Posted 02/03/2015 at 03:25:54
Very good report. My sentiments to a tee.

Football is a straightforward game. The purpose is to win games. Or at least try. Sorry for stating the bloody obvious. But would someone please point that out to Mr. Martinez. He is not winning any plaudits with this possession based game. He can get his team tippy tapping the ball until the cows come home. But we need to start hitting the onion bag. And soon.

And still people on some of these threads are defending Martinez. He will wave his magic wand, and everything will be wonderful. What a load of crap.

And what was the reason for the warm weather training break. A complete waste of time. Goodnight.

Peter Healing
44 Posted 02/03/2015 at 05:06:20
Get rid of Duncan Ferguson. he’s out of his depth and clueless. He’s brought no improvement with his appointment... in fact we are dire with him around.
Martin Mason
45 Posted 02/03/2015 at 06:08:51
Very disappointing and difficult to take any positives. If we need to play 3 defensive midst to stop being taken apart then not only do we deserve to be relegated but we probably will.
Christopher Timmins
46 Posted 02/03/2015 at 06:37:51
Folks, the table does not lie. We will stay up but to be 10 points or more behind Swansea, Stoke and West Ham will 11 games to go is just hard to take.
Peter Barry
47 Posted 02/03/2015 at 07:18:30
Roberto kept the promise he made in the Mail on Saturday to stick to the same crap tactics Everton have used all season and he did - in Roberto’s world there is no Plan B - and the result once again proves how stubborn and deluded he is. He has to go.
John Ford
48 Posted 02/03/2015 at 07:21:02
You don’t sack a bloke on the basis of one poor season. Other clubs do the manager merry-go-round but it’s not the way to do things. It doesn’t work. If you appoint a manager he has to be given a minimum two years, probably three and RM showed last season that he is capable of producing the goods.

I don’t like what’s hapening but the only exception to this would be if we’re right in the mire, and I don’t believe we are. I’d give him this season and the first third of next season to show what he can do.

John Barnes
49 Posted 02/03/2015 at 06:56:05
Not so sure we will stay up. Can you see how we expect to win games when you don't even take a chance to put free kicks into the danger area let alone take a shot on goal even occasionally? Everyone has sussed us. Every week different pundits in the studio and at the games point out the same weaknesses, the flaws in the way we play but the same failed players and methods are wheeled out time and again. Everyone else can see it. Recipe for failure, not success.
The players are at the club to get close to last season's level of performances and results. They are just used wrongly, played in the wrong positions, or incorrectly picked in a rigid system that doesn't suit anyone, except maybe Barry.
Yesterdays selection in midfield was designed for a 0-0 and hope. Once Arsenal scored that was out of the window but taking Mirallas off, not bringing Gibson on until 85 mins, Kone not at all was designed to do what? I can't fathom it at all.
John Barnes
50 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:03:04
John Ford,
Should Martinez have got a 5 year deal on the back of one good season then?
I'd like him to succeed but the evidence is mounting that he won't
Andy Cobham
51 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:01:26
One win in 2015 in the league....with that form we are going down. We've all seen a team that looked fairly safe fall into the relegation places late in the season because their form is going the wrong way as others pick up a few odd wins out of nowhere....unfortunately that team with poor form (and more worrying no fight), is Everton.

We are too talented to go down, which is why it's more likely to happen(!). Exactly because we don't grind it out, is why we keep getting beat.

I am very very worried, 40 years of supporting Everton and watching some bloody dire stuff and some close shaves....this smells, feels and looks the worst I've seen (including Gareth Farrelly, Paul Gerrard, Mitch Ward, Craig Short...).

John Ford
53 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:33:14
John B....to answer your question, no.
Steve Harris
54 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:53:43
Yet another goal conceded from a corner/set piece which could of been avoided by the simple matter of having some fucker on the post!
Ernie Baywood
55 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:59:11
How many teams are doing that nowadays? Is it still the case with most teams? Genuine question as these days I'm tending to just watch the blues.

While we're on that goal, what was going on in the live forum during the game? ToffeeWeb was always a fairly well informed group of people but yesterday we seemed to have regressed into soccer AM morons. Quite a few responding to that goal with criticism of Howard flapping.

I can guess you can never know if people are actually watching the game. If they were watching then that would be quite an odd response.

Roy Steel
56 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:49:52
I watched the Redshite against Man City in the first game... a really good game, full of good passing, shooting, and – as much as it hurts – cracking goals.

Then I tuned in to our game: drudgery, nonsense passing along the back, no football brains, nobody wants the ball, canÂ’t get rid quickly enough, Coleman runs 40 yards with the ball and stops... then runs 40 yards back again.

Some players in blue seem not to be bothered too much, whilst others would die for the jersey. Ross posted missing again; he needs to be taken to one side and told in no uncertain terms what’s expected of him. I want him and a few others to be up for this scrap that we are in – just look at the Pulis ethic at Albion. NSNO

Alan Wilson
57 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:20:09
John (#48), the problem is that this is not one poor season. At Everton, yes, but that is to ignore his seasons with Wigan.
Tony Hill
58 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:28:24
Andy (51), I agree. There is a complacency and lack of heart in this team which are unprecedented in my memory going back to the early 60s.

There is an awful feeling that we are just sliding through our fixtures and that we can't get a grip. I think that is because relegation has become inconceivable for us, it has not been part of our Everton consciousness for 65 years and so it is easy to think that it will never happen. Therein lies the danger.

We'd better wake up. Yesterday was typical: a couple of near misses for us, a sloppy set piece goal, a deflection. But never any conviction that we would win or take the initiative. It's become a habit and it could be fatal if we don't shake ourselves out of it.

Phil Walling
59 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:35:07
I think John Ford's view @ 48 mirrors that of our esteemed chairman. Only when we drop into the exit zone would it become an emergency situation and the Europa progress muddies the waters just as the FAC did for Roberto's former employer - a proper shrewdy who even got paid easing him out of the door !
Ernie Baywood
60 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:53:25
I wonder what effect the Europa is having on us now?

It's a trophy. It's CL qualification.

I wonder if they're just going through the motions waiting for the games that still mean something.

Denis Richardson
62 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:39:06
John 48. I can see where you’re coming from however there is one big issue with Martinez.

The guy simply won’t change his ’phylosophy’ to best suit the players we have. The only way I can see him succeeding is if we buy practically an entirely new squad. That’s not going to happen anytime soon so question is, do you really want to risk him maybe succeeding in 2-3 years time at the very real and present risk of taking us down?

Maybe with Gibson, Osman and Pienaar back things will change. However, starting away to arsenal with 7 defensive outfield players was an obvious play for a 0-0 draw. That’s as bad as any white flag waving we had under Moyes and is simply not acceptable.

If we lose to Stoke my fear is that BK still won’t do anything. For me Martinez should have walked after the xmas debacle. The guy is so out of his depth it’s unreal. I cannot imagine there are many in the squad who believe in his ’style’. He will be gone at some point, I just hope it’s before it’s too late.

Les Fitzpatrick
63 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:49:36
Great report, Lyndon, but it makes for scary reading.

I donÂ’t want to sound too negative, but do we think that the RS shower over the road would put up with this crap for the last 10 months? Remember how quickly they hounded out Woy. IÂ’m not saying I approved of their methods, but they worked. ThereÂ’s no way that Brenda would get away with what El Bob does.

Maybe itÂ’s time for some placards and banners at Goodison... ItÂ’s not the Everton Way; however, we cannot let this idiot take us down. If itÂ’s not this season, it will be next season.

We are just fortunate to have five or six equally poor teams around us, else we would be cast adrift in bottom three by now. This is not just a knee-jerk reaction to SundayÂ’s loss, I have been voicing this type of concern since October of last year.

Andrew Ellams
64 Posted 02/03/2015 at 10:01:21
Ernie @ 55, standard forum stuff. Certain things bring predictable comments from certain people. At the moment, every goal conceded is down to Howard flapping
Chris Gould
65 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:57:36
West Brom are now above us. Tony Pulis took over when they were hovering above the relegation zone, now they are 8 points clear and still in the FA CUP. He has them organised and playing to their strengths. He also has them working their balls off. So many scoffed at the idea of him coming here. Maybe they didn't witness his Crystal Palace team dismantle us last season. If his West Brom team - without a player who would get into our first team (Berahino?) - finish higher than us...then what could he do with our squad? I would have liked to have found out. Just a contract from January until the end of the season to sort us out. My betting is that we would have finished about 8th. 12th is probably as good as it can get with RM, but it may very well be lower.
Paul Thompson
66 Posted 02/03/2015 at 10:19:57
Incisive and insightful as ever, Lyndon. As you indicate it's the tame, complacent mindset that seems to be shared by manager and team alike that is so maddening.

It was like watching a slow motion version of last year at the Emirates. Plenty of possession, but this time not doing anything with it. And I can't see how it's going to change – that's the worrying thing.

Paul Kennedy
67 Posted 02/03/2015 at 10:38:39
Any self-respecting club with hopes, aspirations and ambition would have moved this Championship manager on by now... not us. Just giving the Redshite more ammunition to laugh at us.

Oh the joy of supporting Everton – at least I have my memories of bygone days!!!

Allan Barratt
68 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:31:45
I too can't see where the next win will come from, Stoke away midweek will be another defeat or at best a 0-0 draw.
As mentioned above, Phil Neville wouldn't be a bad shout as gaffer, would instill a hard working mentality back into the team, he knows what the club is about and we want as fans.
Dan Hollingworth
69 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:01:39
Phil Neville?

Oh Jesus.

Denis Richardson
70 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:01:14
Phil Neville as Everton manager?? Please God no! Was glad to see the back of him when he finally left.

We need a manager with top flight experience and gravitas, not a gobby upstart. What next? Robbie Savage as assistant??

Matt Traynor
71 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:08:24
Phil Neville knows what the club is about and what we want as fans? Good one. What was it he said? "A club like Everton should be happy with 10th", or words similar?

It's not so far-fetched mind - he'd be a perfect BK patsy.

Andrew Hawes
72 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:09:24
Tim Howard headline on EFC website:

"Confidence still high despite 2-0 defeat" – Seriously? What the fuck???

Is there not one person on the board, management or playing staff that will actually have the balls to come out and say we have been totally shit since pre-season and no amount of this dribble about confidence, performance etc can hide that???

We are seeing a total re-run of MartinezÂ’s last season at Wigan: a cup run papering over the cracks of a dismal season...

Rodgers was 3 points behind us in the run-up to Christmas... theyÂ’re now in a Champions Leauge position due to his man-management and tactical skills... just shows up our manager for what he is. NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Tony Draper
73 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:30:33
Phil Neville as next manager ?

Yep, then we can drop Z-Cars and take the field to this................
Link

Bill Griffiths
74 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:06:28
John Ford, up until at least the Leicester game, my feelings were exactly the same as yours. I doubted MartinezÂ’s abilities when appointed but was willing to give him a chance and know that it would/will take him a few seasons to get his message across.

I was surprised at how well he did during his first season but fully expected/accepted there may be some regression during this, his second season. However I would still have expected to see some signs of his philosophy/intended way forward to be evident for all to see.

What has shocked me is the scale of the regression, no sign of his intentions being evident and the inane comments he seems to be spouting more and more these days.

While my heart hopes your views are right my head is more and more telling me that he has totally lost the plot. He just canÂ’t seem to see what is obvious to all other than himself and to rely on one way/method of playing is utterly stupid.

There are obviously times when you need to make adjustments according to the situation. Roberto has consistently shown that he either doesnÂ’t see this or is blindingly ignoring it rather than admit he is wrong.

While my heart agrees with your view, my head is telling me he must go for the good of EFC and all concerned.

Tony McNulty
75 Posted 02/03/2015 at 12:06:39
Tony Draper - no, I don't think too many of us will be around to hear it. We will have already succumbed to the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXOwNOf2QXY
Ray Roche
76 Posted 02/03/2015 at 12:24:38
You're both wrong...this is what we should take to the field to...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5sQL7q_IOI

Nick Wall
77 Posted 02/03/2015 at 12:12:50
Phil Neville was co-commentator for NBC yesterday. Early on he was asked what's gone wrong for Everton this season. His response ? Everton have played well, but there've been too many individual errors by experienced players. Yes, that was the sum of his "expert" analysis. As the game went on he also offered the thought that the "one critcism" that Everton fans had made of Martinez this season was that we weren't purposeful enough going forward.

Neville to manage Everton ? He's yet to convince me that he's fit to manage our U-16s.

Craig Walker
78 Posted 02/03/2015 at 12:56:27
Bradford City have beaten more Premier League teams in 2015 than us.
Bill Gall
79 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:04:31
Nick Neville all so said that Martinez wanted to play one way
but the players wanted to play another way.
Brent Stephens
80 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:16:19
Craig #78 "Bradford City have beaten more Premier League teams in 2015 than us."

Jeez! What a sobering thought! And frightening for the future, though we might avoid having to play them next year.

Clive Mitchell
81 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:48:05
One of the things about TW is that people sometimes post nightmares you've never yourself had. Phil Neville as manager... Robbie Savage allowed to do anything at all at EFC...

That Roberto's doing a great job isn't he?

Phil Rodgers
82 Posted 02/03/2015 at 15:10:19
24 hours have passed and I am more pissed off than I was yesterday. We have become a team of gutless losers. Losing to arsenal is no disgrace, but they were terrible yesterday. This season has been an absolute aberration

Europa league is his only saving grace, but I personally don't think its enough. We need to be competitive in the league first and foremost, and any goodwill from last season has long expired.

Dave Williams
83 Posted 02/03/2015 at 15:35:09
Listening to Talksport this morning and a guy was talking about a team at the weekend who played with passion, pace and real intensity and put on the most entertaining display of attacking football he had seen all season.

How I would love that team to be us but unfortunately it was the shower across Stanley Park! Rogers was in trouble earlier in the season but has sorted them out and adapted to life without Suarez. Can Roberto do likewise and transform us into a vibrant, young attacking side?

I used to think he could but one win in ten in the league has me questioning this now.

Patrick Murphy
84 Posted 02/03/2015 at 15:48:09
He's an effin genius that bloke across the Park, he'll probably do the double like and then go for big ears next season. Seriously it has been a dramatic change in fortune for both teams, at one point in the season not so long ago both Everton and Liverpool were both on 21 points we have gained 7 since then and they....well don't get me started.
Steve Guy
85 Posted 02/03/2015 at 16:16:07
Luke Garbutt in the Echo today speaking about the Stoke game....."We absolutely need to get something out of that game. It is a must-win. At the very least we must get a point." Errrr, a must win is surely by definition not a draw... Desperation seeps from every pore of our Club at the moment.
Rick Tarleton
86 Posted 02/03/2015 at 19:20:23
It's Martinez's complacency that frightens me. He genuinely seems to believe that playing ten passes across the park then back to your keeper is an effective style. He doesn't seem to see that you need to penetrate a team's defence.

In my youth I attended a few days at Lilleshall with our university team, our coach was an England youth coach called Meads (Meades?). He kept shouting "width and depth", by which he was telling us to keep possession until we could make a forward pass. Martinez doesn't seem to worry about depth and his players are so scared of giving the ball away they just keep going sideways and backwards.

Possession is the goal for Martinez, but it's possession without purpose, possession without penetration, possession for its own sake. And other teams have rumbled this and just keep their shape and wait for us to make a mistake when they regain the ball.

Jamie Barlow
87 Posted 02/03/2015 at 19:51:37
Frightening isn't it Rick? What bothers me is that it seeps down to the players too. They're just as deluded as Martinez. Tim Howard had this to say today 'Our performances, you can't fault those. They have been really good.' Unbelievable!!
Ross Edwards
88 Posted 02/03/2015 at 20:00:25
Good God. Phil Neville? Oh dear.
Gerard Carey
89 Posted 02/03/2015 at 21:19:36
We're too good to go down!!!!. Just keep telling ourselves that. Spuds on the last day and we need three points to survive!!!, and Nero, sorry Roberto keeps fiddling as we head for the Championship. He should have been dumped after Xmas. We deserve so much better. Its beginning to really hurt.
Fran Grimes
90 Posted 02/03/2015 at 21:54:11
Di Matteo, Phil Neville, Mark Hughes, Joe Royle... sweet suffering Jesus, are these endorsements serious?

I was at game yesterday and felt the mood was seriously gloomy, again we sold our full allocation. RM should be told to start getting back to basics, two men at the posts for corners, stop fannying about at the back, and move ball rapid to forwards.

The RS play to their glory huntersÂ’ demands: quick movement creates urgency and tension... slow build up, and you think a quick cup of tea, before we move 25 yards forward.

IÂ’m sticking with RM, but he has to change tactics or else weÂ’re fucked.

Conn Prosser
91 Posted 03/03/2015 at 11:32:44
It's all gone a bit Mike Walker. Was the last day Wimbledon game under Walker? Him and the players didn't seem to give a shit for weeks and weeks until Horne hits that doozie.

I've been pro-Martinez and anti manager-sacking but it's gone far enough. Does BK want to wait until there are queues of red-shirted fans at Wickes buying coffin timber?

This is extremely serious. I don't care about 'not our way', we need loud protest from fans at games. Europa League is utterly academic when Premier League survival has become so fragile. The fun of playing in the Champions League and the Championship will not last.

Matthew Mackey
92 Posted 04/03/2015 at 12:04:51
I agree with the author here, as soon as Arsenal scored I knew we would lose. It's a very depressing feeling and so disappointing from 12 months ago.

I'm not sure who else agrees here but my own opinion is that we really really, really miss one player in particular. A player who has the ability to bring out the best in others around him. A player who is like the cement that glues all the other components together and makes them work more efficiently and effectively. A highly underrated player who I believe has a massive influence on the way we build up attacks and give them that cutting edge that brings goals.

The player in question – Steven Pienaar.

Matthew Mackey
93 Posted 04/03/2015 at 12:18:17
Martinez is fast turning us into Wigan Athletic and that scares me.

As for an alternative to take the reigns, what about Slaven Bilic? (sorry I haven't read all the other comments here so someone else may have mentioned his name). I saw the way he set up his Besiktas team to play the RS recently and thought he might do a good job for us.


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