From My Seat: Arsenal (A)

Arsenal is never an easy game but neither is any other game in the EPL and we are just not doing well enough against anyone at the moment to rule out a relegation fight

Ken Buckley 01/03/2015 46comments  |  Jump to last

Away day to play Arsenal and year after year we seem to come away with very little no matter how we play but you always think each time you go that today maybe the day we get the points. Again today we didnt due to an insipid performance that saw lots of possession wasted due to a complete lack of spite n fight in the final third.

Roberto may have his philosophy but he dont have goals in the EPL. His style is fine in the Europa so far but you get the feeling that the first team we meet that plays similar to our Premier League teams then we will be done for. This assessment has nothing to do with glasses being half full or half empty its more of one win in the last eleven prem games that says it all.

The game started with us having plenty of possession, passing it about at the back then a bit in midfield then back again as the final third seems a no-go area, but after the quarter hour mark we ventured a little further forward. The ball was played back to Besic who had a shot goalward but the goal would have had to be in the heavens for the effort to cause any trouble.

Apart from that and up to the 25-minute mark all we had was Barkley giving the ball away too easily and a mistake from the Arsenal centre back that give Lukaku a foot race with the keeper which the keeper won by a whisker and cleared for a throw in. Arsenal playing cat and mouse with us came to mind.

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Arsenal had the first real chance of the game on 25 minutes when Giroud met a cross by diving across Jags but missed the target, much to our relief. However this did spark Arsenal into life more and started pressing us high which always results in the same thing, we pass it about at the back, eventually panic and boot it, they win it back and off we go again.

We did have one drive forward that saw Barkley fouled in what I call Baines territory, Garbutt took it but tamely to the keeper. Then on another foray into that final third saw Lukaku race past two defenders but was caught in the six yard box and a timely tackle saw him robbed of the ball and that was that chance gone.

Just as I started to think we really need to take advantage of one of these chances The Arsenal did just that at the other end just one minute later. A corner came in low and Giroud seemed the one player quick off the mark toward the ball and no more than diverted in to the net past a stranded keeper. Howard Kendall would have gone mental at that goalno one on the posts...criminal. Just before the half time whistle Besic had a goal bound header saved in the angle of bar and post, the trouble was it was our keeper making it.

H/T and 1-0 down from a lacklustre display. Many thought it was the Thursday hangover again; I just thought we lacked vim and vigour.

We started the second half unchanged and brighter and Coleman was fouled as he hared away from Giroud and the Frenchman was booked. Garbutt took the kick and it was an excellent delivery that forced their keeper to push it for a corner. The disappointment for me was that no Everton players were prepared to attack the cross.

Garbutt raced across to take the corner and put another beaut in which was half cleared and the move ended when an extravagant acrobatic effort from Barry was high. At least a bit more intent being shown. In our next attack we did it all again when another free kick allowed Garbutt to put another beaut in that caused a scramble but Arsenal finally cleared. In that scramble I noticed Arsenal had people back on the post.

We had been a bit better this half so far but it was noticeable that as we attacked it was often just Lukaku in the box marked by at least two players. On the hour mark, Lennon was introduced for Mirallas who had been a bit in and out but he is one player who can come up with the goods, albeit in his own time. Lennon was involved when we got a corner which Garbutt took short to him. With the Arsenal fans booing the ex-Tottenham man he returned the ball to Garbutt and from a changed angle the youngster overcooked his cross and the ball went for a throw on the opposite side.

On 70 minutes the impressive Coleman went on yet another speedy run to the by-line and pulled the ball back for Lennon to hit on target first time but the keeper did well. Barkley then had his first surge of the match and headed at pace into the box but, alas, he just seemed to run into bodies and was relieved of the ball. Then the manager took off Besic and sent on Naismith; many thought it should have been Barkley but I didnt think it made much difference except anything that can get Ross his confidence back is worth a try.

Into the last ten minutes and Gibson on for Barry, not much time for him to get into the game but he did demand the ball and made some good wide and forward passes. From one of his wide passes he fed Garbutt who put another excellent cross in that saw the keeper just get a hand to it before the jumping Lukaku could get his head to it. That was close and at least a good physical effort from our big man. It gave us some hope of a point as we seemed to have abandoned the keep ball stuff and were going for it when in the 90th minute we shot ourselves in the foot when defenders went to sleep as a ball was pulled back across the box to Rosicky unmarked who had time to steady himself and hit a shot that deflected off Jags and left Howard helpless.

The manager needs to study the video of that piece of play as the scorer was completely unmarked close to our goal. Even though 7 minutes of added time went up due mainly to a nasty looking facial injury to one of their players saw him need two bouts of treatment during the second half players and fans just knew we would once again be coming home with nothing. Nothing unusual there then.

MotM Coleman with Garbutt close.

Overall what can you say? Arsenal is never an easy game but neither is any other game in the EPL and we are just not doing well enough against anyone at the moment to rule out a relegation fight. As games come and go we are actually dropping down the league so I wonder if at any point our board will consider if any action is needed. I am no expert but if the manager states he will never change his way of playing and we continue to lose games, do we risk going down by playing for perfection or do we play ugly to stay up and dig out another ten points? And, if so, who decides? And when?

This season so far I have made just two predictions, one is using my unscientific method we will finish the season between 8th and 12th; the other being the first two or three weeks in March could be pivotal on the managerial front. We will see. Maybe there will just be three teams who cant catch us.

Aah well... Stoke on Wednesday; another tough place to go arent they all? Heres hoping for lift off.

Heading for home and the game going around in my head, I mused how the likes of Ball, Ratcliffe, Reidy or Cahill would have been whispering sweet nothings in most of our players ears and then seeing rockets appear in their backsides. Yep, for all the philosophy, game plans and formations you still need characters that are winners and woe betide those that dont contribute.


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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 02/03/2015 at 07:54:49
Can't argue with a word of that Ken.

Slightly off topic and off site even, but over on GOT They are on their 5th(?) Martinez out? poll since The Stoke (H) game and as usual all shades of opinion but still basically 2 camps; yes / no.

The No's go on about knee jerk and should we do bothering with this etc

The yeses say the fact that we are on our fifth one and the problem isn't going away tells a story.

Now you're mentioning it Ken, there were, last time I looked 300+ on Lyndon's report with support % in single figures / dead cat bounce mode. Including plenty of former stalwarts seriously waivering in the face of continued Martinez's can't or won't change performance.

I don't think we will go down, but we are paddling in the shallow end and drifting.

Not that we are too good to go down, more like there are some that too bad to at the moment to stay up. But if we don't get our act in some sort of order and they do... squeaky bum time beckons... and we have to play some of them.

What we have is Martinez and the team doing the bare minimum and it is taking them all their time to do that

Any comments from Bill??... yeah right.

Nathan Goulart
2 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:45:39
I think its all Leon Osman's fault. After that back pass to Howard last season its been all down hill.
Steve Harris
3 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:02:59
Yet another goal conceded from a corner/set piece that could of been avoided by the simple matter of having some fucker on the posts!
David Harrison
4 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:00:02
Too weary to go over all the points made by so many others but if scoring from set pieces is ok for Arsenal & Chelsea why not for us? 2 hardened, battle-scarred prem managers in Pulis & Pardew are now looking down on little Roberto's tippy tappy wendy house project and probably pissing themselves
Jeff Hughes
5 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:44:58
Excellent piece Ken and I for one get tired of those who believe that blind loyalty to Martinez is a supporter's duty. Stiff upper lip boys; wave your scarves in defeat a la Young Boys fans last week; don't criticise - it is not the Everton way. Oh isn't it! At one point in the first 30 minutes the stats showed we had 71% possession at the Emirates but what did we do with it and how many shots did we have? Arsenal started that game very nervous but did we really put them on the back foot; did we really try to shake up a dodgy defence. In the end, our toothless play gave them the confidence to come at us and then holding out against Arsenal is a tall order for anyone. You have to score and create doubts in their mind and, by doing so, watch their talented players go missing. I also find it very difficult to show loyalty to a guy that talks absolute nonsense in an effort to avoid the truth. He has lost the fans and I cannot believe our players think any different. Is it time to say goodbye? Unfortunately, no! It would be unfair to expect anyone new to change anything significant and most talented managers would give us a wide berth at this stage of the season and given the situation. We have to grin and bear it and hope that a very talented squad can find the drive and commitment to a) stay in the premier and b) keep our Europa run alive. Cannot see us dropping but change badly needed at the end of the season.

Finally, my frustration with Barkley is reaching an all time high. I don't care how talented he is, he is not contributing anything at present and should be rested or used as a late impact player and told to run at defences. His cautious, sideways and backwards passing, failure to find space in forward areas and total disregard for winning the ball must annoy his team mates as well as fans who want passion and drive in ther Blueboys. I wouldn't criticise him if he wasn't talented and had the physique to be a dominant midfield player - but he has and he doesn't. Is he the only kid from Liverpool who doesn't enjoy a challenge? Come on Ross we want you to do well but ....... Rant over!

Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:06:57
Steve, that’s basic non-league stuff to most of us, and the fact that we don’t have anyone on the posts is madness. A man on both posts can make the goal two yards smaller, and since Howard is back in goal the aerial threat posed from set pieces has returned.

I think this one is a joint enterprise, between both the manager and the goalkeeper though, because I know if it was me in goal, I would insist on having two defenders on the posts.

How can we be too good to go down, when you look at our last ten results in the league? One win in ten is a disgrace to everyone involved, and it can only be the signing of a five-year contract that is keeping Martinez in his job.

It’s bad enough losing, but it’s even worse when you’re watching your team have loads of slow possession, but lack both craft and fight – the biggest things required on a football pitch.

Sam Hoare
7 Posted 02/03/2015 at 08:56:11
I was there yesterday. Sat with a gooner mate in the arsenal stands. Told him it was going to be 2-0 but couldn't bring myself to bet against us.

These were my ratings for what its worth:

Howard-6 Not sure he could have done much about the goals, perhaps he might have come for the first and done a little better with the second but harder to see in the ground than on tv!

Coleman -8 Thought he was our best. Often running down the right when given no support and not letting much in down his side defensively. A bit hesitant at times in the first half but strong in the second.

Stones- 6 Not his best game. Let Giroud go for their crucial first goal and could do with being a bit more physical in general. Dare I say Shawcross-esque.

Jagielka- 7 Covered pretty well and made some good last ditch tackles. Bit unlucky with second goal or should he have done better?

Garbutt- 7 Wasn't quite as impressed as many on here were. His set pieces were great and probably get him apoint alone but thought he had plenty of opportunities to run into space and didn't take it. Let quite a few crosses in but did alright defensively.

McCarthy-5 Judging him perhaps by his own high standards but not a great showing. All energy as ever but lost the ball a few times in bad positions and just never looked even slightly creative to my eyes. A few very poor balls forward.

Besic- 6 Thought he was the best of the defensive midfield trio, covered alot of ground and unlike the others would ocassionally take an extra touch to look for something forward. Tired in second half. Is essentially a very similar player to McCarthy with slightly better passing range and dribbling but not quite so good at reading the game defensively.

Barry- 6 Fairly solid defensively but unable to offer the same precision passing wise that we saw from Gibson against Leciester and Young Boys. Should probably play second fiddle to him now.

Mirallas-5 Pretty invisible to be honest. Had a few opportunities to run at them in the first half and misplaced the pass or tried to beat one man too many. Still looked one of the few players likely to fashion a chance or half chance and probably should have been played with Lennon rather than replaced by him.

Barkley- 4 So frustrating. Has little moments of magic quickly followed by terrible decision making and then most criminal of all little desire to atone for mistakes. I recall a young Wayne Rooney seeing it as a personal affront every time he lost the ball and chasing back to reclaim it. Barkley shows no such hunger.

Lukaku- 6. Actually thought he wasn't so terrible. Had a near impossible job trying to hold the ball up under pressure from 3 defenders and it looked to me like his first touch was better than it has been alot of the season. Should have put his head in when through against Ospina and reckon he could have nudged ball ahead and won a penalty and red card for their GK.

Lennon- 6. Barely got a chance to run. Decent chance that he might ahve done better with.

Naismith-5 Not the right man for this situation. Needed someone to pick a pass, beat a man or slot the ball home from long range. Never seen him do any of those.

All in all, pretty grim. Both teams were nervous at the start but had we scored first I know Arsenal would have come roaring back and probably got one back. As it was we sort of purred a bit and rolled over to let them rub our tummy.

Were this season not going so badly I think yesterday may be written off as a decent effort but given the need for points and general malaise it provides more evidence of a manager unable to really fire up his troops. We are too nice, too slow and too cautious. Thank god there is a 6 point gap between us and bottom because I think that will be just enough breathing room to get over the line but as many have said even being close is bad enough. Wonder what BK is thinking.....

Phil Walling
8 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:13:33
An excellent summary as usual, Ken. No knee-jerk about you, mate, just a measured judgement that we are on the fringe of the mire.

I suspect it will be up to this manager to ensure safety as our chairman doesn't do knee-jerk either and loves Roberto to bits.

Prayer mats at the ready then....or fingers crossed for the non believers.

Mark Palmer
9 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:06:07
Thanks for the report - I didn't see the match and I didn't bother with the highlights as I'd read there weren't any Everton ones.
Having watched us several times this season, I can't work out why we look so nervous and indecisive in front of our own and the opposition goal - although, actually getting to the opposition goal is a problem in itself.
On Roberto's spell as our manager; one poor season does not justify calls for his sacking. As I've told others, we've won fuck all since 1995 and we're way down the EPL rich list, so I'm not sure we can demand change right now. There was plenty of cheer last season, I seem to remember.

Dave Pritchard
10 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:32:02
Ken, your comment about our probable exit from Europa once we meet a team that adopts Premier League style tactics against us is one that I am also worried about. Hopefully we are both wrong on that.
Steve Hogan
11 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:25:35
As the season continues to get worse and results simply don't improve, the silence from the chairman is deafening.

Will he come out and publicly back the manager, or will he remain silent until we fall into the bottom three.

Even the mild mannered Liverpool Echo, have come out this morning and openly questioned the manager's playing policy, (see the article by Neil Jones).

And what we see is yet another quite bizarre statement by an increasingly floundering manager, who states 'we are suffering as a result of the two early draws in the season against Leicester and Arsenal'?

Forgive me, but if my memory serves me right, that was over six months ago!! So what has been happening in the interim?

I really have tried to give Martinez the benefit of the doubt over the last four months,second season syndrome, fine margins,player injuries, World Cup etc, but when I see West Brom and Stoke open up significant gaps above us, you simply HAVE to question whether Martinez really is getting the best out of the players he has available.

One things for sure, if we suffered relegation, it would probably put the club back at least five years, and end all hope of a new ground move for the same period.

Over to you Mr Chairman.

David Hallwood
12 Posted 02/03/2015 at 10:01:50
Great report Ken; one day you may surprise us and write some nonsense!

Although you're not one for knee jerk reaction, I'm beginning to detect a lot of despondency in te reports-and with good reason.

Apparently Martinez stated that we were 'fantastic' on the 2nd half-fantastic how? We're chasing the game and we manage a single shot on target in the half;how that can be deemed as fantastic is beyond me.

He seems to have OCD in that provided we 'win' the possession and passing stats, that's some kind of moral victory, but to quote the old cliche there's only one stat that matters.

So onwards and downwards in this car crash of a season and just what the doctor ordered a trip to the Brtiannia. Speaking of stats, I'm wondering if we've set some kind of record in goal attempts against us to goals conceded,as we saw yet again a 50% return for the Arsenal.
And don't get me started about having no one on the posts for the corner; where did he pick that one up from, the under 11's Huyton league?

Dick Fearon
13 Posted 02/03/2015 at 09:41:41
Well said Ken.
No matter that we may avoid relegation this season under Martinez that fate is just a matter of time.
Can you all finally see what I have been saying since day one.
His kind of game may be played in Heaven but most certainly is not played on earth.

Kevin Tully
14 Posted 02/03/2015 at 10:40:59
Unfortunately, his record this season is indefensible. It's all about wins on the board, and we can't buy one at the moment. I don't think it will serve any purpose to fire him right now, as we should reach safety with our remaining home games. Roberto, your time is up my friend.

I'm more worried about who we will bring in next. Maybe we could ask the Southampton recruitment dept. who else they had in mind? We have got a few old retired directors straight out of some 70's football drama making these decisions - worrying times.

Ged Dwyer
15 Posted 02/03/2015 at 10:59:21
Good assessment of the game, Ken.

The last third is a no-go not because of the midfield but because Lukaku is absolute rubbish against a decent team and unwilling to work hard. He is killing the team in league games. Mirallas is not interested and Lazy too and Barkley's confidence is shot and he has lost his appetite for the game.

Barry McCarthy and Besic are not the problem, it is all in front of them. Gibson will make no difference with those three forward players in the team together as they are not prepared to make space for themselves and lose possession easily. The Europa is just hiding the reality as we have not played anyone decent yet.

I would carry on playing Lukaku in the Europa (as I do not care about that competition) but I would not have him anywhere near the first team in the league as he is that bad.

Steve Hogan
16 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:34:07
Ged Dwyer, give Lukaku the minimum amount of service, and he will get goals.

If he's that bad, how do you explain his goals this season or last?

Just got lucky I suppose. Check out his goals to games ratio, it's up there with anyone at the moment.

I guess at £28m he's an easy scapegoat. You need to be asking the manager why he continues to play him upfront with little or no support.

On Sunday afternoon, he had three Arsenal defenders around him most of the time.

If I was him, I would be pretty pissed off with the way the team plays. Whether he stays at Everton or leaves, this guy will get goals provided he has something to get on the end of.

Neil Gribbin
17 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:48:42
Now that I have calmed down a bit after yesterday, I actually think in patches we played okay. Not great but okay, but to listen to Martinez spout off, I genuinely think he has lost the plot. I really do.

We are floundering, there is no cutting edge, the defence can't defend. We are doing the basics wrong. We as fans can see, he can't. Or won't.

For me the players need to step up. If the manager doesn't coach them in basics, men on the post etc, then they need to start doing it themselves. And soon!!!

Jeff Hughes
18 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:54:31
Although Lukaku is limited in terms of his control and hold up play and although he is unlikely to attract the attention of a 'top team' just yet, I agree with Steve that he is a goal scorer and when running at defences he is dangerous. He is suffering from a failure of midfield to attack and go beyond the striker; a failure of runners to take some of the close attention away from him; and an almost pathological reluctance at times for our players to play quick passes, crosses or quick shots. Look at the angle Costa took his goal yesterday. Most Everton players would have checked back at that angle, waiting for some imaginary hole to appear in the defence. Sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate and shooting stats show we are unlikely to get deflections or win second balls in the area if we don't bloody shoot.
Henrik Lyngsie
19 Posted 02/03/2015 at 11:51:38
Ged 15- Well it might not be that simple. May be Barry, McCarthy and Besic is not the problem. But given the setup is we play 4 defenders and 3 defensive midfielders offering very little going forward, that leaves the three offensive players pretty much on their own. That tactic might be OK away against Arsenal. but then we need to have some understanding for the services provided to the three offensive players. In particular when our full backs who were so good last season seems to offer very little going forward.

I think our team needs creativity. We can play with a solid midfield and a solid defence, but some of these players needs to offer something going forward. When we play Besic, McCarthy, Barry, Naismith and Coleman it is hard to see who should make the killer pass. I think we have far too few players who are actually a threat in the attack.

Steve Davies
20 Posted 02/03/2015 at 12:25:36
Anybody talking about sacking Martinez, sorry fellas, it is too late. It should have happened a couple of months ago when Palace and WBA acted. Where are they now? Above us.

Moyes never beat the top four clubs, but on the whole he could beat the bottom clubs, this clown cannot.

The reason we are doing better in Europe is that the teams haven’t rumbled him. The premier league managers have. He plays the same system, players who are out of form (Barkley, Barrie, Howard), his teams cannot defend or score from corners. He will not try a different system 4.4.2

Basically we are hoping that there are three worse teams in the premier to save us from relegation. Because Martinez will not.

He still bangs on about his philosophy etc.....and he is constantly so positive about things all of the time, It is like listening to a cheap car salesman. I deal with the facts and 2 wins in 15 league games is not good enough. His selection, tactics and results are what matters, not his philosophy....

I was seduced by the guy once but I am now immune to it. I turn him off when I see or hear him on TV/radio talking his usual garbage.

Stop talking Roberto, get us some wins, and Bill please sack this spoofer at the end of the season.

Thank you.

Matt Hickey
21 Posted 02/03/2015 at 12:15:08
We play our full backs out wide, Coleman in particular spends more time in the opposition half but, for all his effort, he doesn’t get the ball as often as he should and, when a move breaks down, he and the right back are left exposed.

I remember seeing Ivanovic and Willian standing wide open numerous times when we played at Chelsea. The same thing yesterday: both our full backs getting caught then Besic and/or McCarthy chasing back, Jags making last ditch tackles. Then Jags or Stones making fruitless runs forward, Barry chasing back covering for them. I think this tactic wears everyone out without any payoff.

These three midfielders rarely play a forward pass trying to expose the fullback or wide midfielder of the opposition. Macca in particular is the worst culprit, making no attempt to play any offense. Yes, he runs around picking up the pieces, looking good... but creating absolutely nothing.

Tippy tappy dross, this must be what they work on all week on the training pitch. Ultimately, the Manager’s footballing philosophy.... or could it possibly be that RM is totally clueless and the players run around on matchday like headless chickens?

I could go on about the forward play and Tim Howard’s flapping but this all comes down to coaching and it’s hardly healthy for any of us to be on here ranting about something that we can’t change; that ball is in BK’s court.

Charlie Burnett
22 Posted 02/03/2015 at 12:55:40
Barkley has fully lost it. he stands still, can’t header, waits for the ball. It was causing pain watching Arsenal players walking past him with no effort to tackle them. if only there was a World Cup squad to get into, maybe we would see a different player... who knows?

Young Luke was our best player, I thought; every ball into the box, every free kick, every corner was dangerous – the boy has a great talent. What I don’t understand is our midfield does not score goals, so why do we play 5 across the middle?

Even the subs made yesterday were all like-for-like: Lennon for Mirallas; Naismith for Besic – okay, we’re thinking a bit more attacking; Barry for Gibson – 84 mins gone with 7 mins added time, 1-0 down at the time, why are we swapping a centre-mid for a centre-mid? There no gamble. I said this before: 1-0 or 2-0 – it’s about points, not goals. Why isn’t he throwing two up top? Kone had a decent game on Thursday.

Also this was winding me up at corners – why have we got 11 players in the box? Lennon was in the box defending a corner – he 4-ft 6-in... why isn’t he out wide or on the half-way line so it stops players going up for the corner?

This is textbook Sunday league football.

Colin Grierson
23 Posted 02/03/2015 at 12:46:17
Steve #20 I too was 'seduced' by RM when he first came and have since felt, some may say misguided, loyalty to the man. Not any longer...

I was against us getting a new manager in after the Christmas shambles. I felt RM needed more time given the way we played last season. I agree that it would do no good now though. We have to hope for the best that we get a few lucky results and the teams below us continue to be as poor as us.

I have heard and seen enough now though to convince me that RM must go at the end of the season. People go on about a plan B. RM hasnt got a plan B and prefers to follow his philosophy but if plan A is not working he should at least try to do plan A better. His stubborn and unfaltering belief in a system which is clearly failing is baffling. The pace at which we move the ball means that this system will never bear fruit. He has got it wrong and has demonstrated through his inaction that he wont get it right.

BK will not act now and shouldnt in my view. He should act at the end of the season though, although I fear he wont then either. If we manage to stay in the Prem BK will put it down to a bit of bad luck and pat him on the back for a good Europa run.

I just hope QPR, Villa and Leicester don't perk up. I dread the rest of the season. How sad is that?

John Keating
24 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:28:33
Martinez’ style and tactics have failed miserably.
As Ken mentions when it does go in the opposition box there’s either nobody or just Lukaku in there - maybe that’s the same ??
Anyway if we don’t score we don’t win.
Let’s just revert to 4-4-2
Let’s at least try playing 2 strikers !
Can it be any worse than the shit formation that’s been proven redundant ?
Dave Abrahams
25 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:19:21
Another very good report and although you don't go overboard at Everton's sad displays I can feel the despair you are feeling and you almost say without saying that you can't see where the next victory is coming from.

I am now getting bored saying that Martinez has to go sooner or later, he is just not the manager I thought he was going to be, sadly.

Mike Childs
26 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:19:39
It's this simple really we lead the league in individual mistakes leading to goals in the league by a wide margin. Why, because it doesn't matter your spot in the starting XI is assured. I get sick everyday thinking about how he did Robles.

Ken my heart goes out to you it must be tough trying to find the right words these days. As always an excellent report. Thanks

Steve Carse
27 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:33:35
Jeff (18), Lukaku strikes a good ball, and he is,as you say, a goal scorer when running with the ball. Can you understand then why, after he'd run 40 yards with the ball stuck to his strong left foot, creating a clear shot on goal from 15 yards, he then decides to not only take the ball on further but to shift the ball onto his far weaker right foot when doing so? He's never shown that degree of hesitancy before. In the area, the ball on the left peg, he's always pulled the trigger.
Patrick Murphy
28 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:39:13
My take on Everton is that Roberto doesn't see a team of players, he sees a group of 11 individuals who he deems the best available or in form or doing well in training. Which if my theory is correct makes the team look unbalanced and leaves the players mystified as to what they should be doing.

I would have the best back four available with two in midfield a combination from Barry, Besic, Gibson or McCarthy. Two wingers take your choice from who ever is available and Naismith or Barkley as a Number 10 with Lukaku up top. This is the formation that RM Should have been fielding all season and if certain players noses are put out of joint because they are omitted so be it. Having the same formation every week would give the players confidence that they have a certain shape and that it will be their form that dictates selection and not the whims or idiosyncrasies of the manager.

Martin Mason
29 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:30:46
Now I believe that RM is a barely competent chancer who's completely out of his depth with no plan A never mind plan B. The 3 dm's is a desperate attempt to make sure we survive by staying in the EPL. Exiting all cup competitions early is I believe club policy to help ensure EPL survival and staying in the EL must be a nightmare for the club because it threatens our EPL survival strategy. The reality? We are a club now without any more ambition other than to stay in the EPL. Success? We're not in that market now. Fraud? Yes it is but until people stop going then that is where we'll stay as a club. The last time we genuinely went for a cup competition?
Steve Barr
30 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:50:06
I agree with the post that blind loyalty to Martinez is NOT a supporter's duty.

It's our duty to give him a fair chance, as we should and do to any one associated with EFC.

However, once it is apparent that the chance has not, and does not look like it will be taken, it's our duty to kick up shit and get the changes needed to put us back on track to at least an upward trajectory.

To me and many others it is apparent that the golden chance is not going to be taken, rather blind stubborness is likely to take us down and out.

I don't generally rate coaches to be honest. I reckon they are over hyped and over praised for their limited abilities. Some have the ability to improve things short term like Pulis has done at WBA rot though and that is what we need now.

I'm afraid if you have the money, you typically have the best team and win things. Coaching ability, youth and player development, don't get you anywhere other than living in hope of a temporary success, be it the league cup or a European slot!

What we are missing though are leaders on the pitch and that is even more of a problem for us at the mopment. Without them we are not looking like we have the stomach or ability to stage a successful relegation battle.

There are certainly three less technical teams than us in the league, but not one that is as apathetic and complacent as us, hence my concern for the drop!

John Keating
31 Posted 02/03/2015 at 13:59:17
the clown has been playing that formation week in week out with whoever is around and it has not worked !
Lukaku up front by himself with his back to goal trying to hold the ball up for midfielders or the No 10 coming through has not worked. Plus every single team we’ve played expects it.
Lukaku up top by himself stands no chance being marked by 2 sometimes 3 defenders.
The system he’s rigidly stuck to has failed.
He has to try something different. We have to help Lukaku.
Can 4-4-2 be any worse ??
Kevin Tully
32 Posted 02/03/2015 at 14:02:10
I thought the team were set up perfectly yesterday. The front three of Lukaku, Barkley and Mirallas were all well below par (Lukaku, maybe a 6/10) so we had no chance of coming away with 3 points, did we?
Ged Dwyer
33 Posted 02/03/2015 at 14:05:20
Steve Hogan,
7 goals in the League this season, which is what I am talking about, isn't impressive and Lukaku has done little else.
Last season he had a lot more enthusiasm, now he is just plain lazy. Facing goal ball at feet with a bit of space he will always get the odd goal but we need much more than that from a striker.
Patrick Murphy
34 Posted 02/03/2015 at 14:13:27
John - He may have played that formation but he hasn't used two wingers in many if any matches and his insistence on playing three Defensive mid-fielders in recent matches is never going to see us take the game to our opponents. He has often had Barkley and Naismith in the same team which also doesn't work. I don't agree that 4-4-2 would be a good alternative and in my view if Lukaku was fed by wingers from either side of the park he would benefit from such service.
Gerard Carey
35 Posted 02/03/2015 at 14:24:50
Well I am dreading the run in. If anyone thinks we can pick up easy points at home from the so called poorer teams(QPR etc), think again.Look what happened against Leicester.
Chris Gould
36 Posted 02/03/2015 at 14:27:40
Could it be possible that RM made the decision at the start of the season that winning the Europa was our best bet for Champions League qualification?
Could it be that he is aware that it isn't working in the league, but feels that we won't go down and that league position is worth sacrificing if we can win the Europa?
Could it be the case that he can't change the system between the 2 competitions as it would become confusing and then less effective for Europa matches?
What if RM spoke to BK and the 2 of them decided to throw everything at winning the Europa in the knowledge that the league form would suffer?

If we were to win the Europa and then gain entry into the Champions league then it would prove a genial move (as long as we didn't get relegated).

I don’t believe this to be the case. I think RM is simply one-dimensional and not capable of making the necessary changes required. I wanted him sacked weeks ago....but is it beyond the realms of possibility that this season has been a calculated risk? One that could still pay off!

Colin Grierson
37 Posted 02/03/2015 at 15:12:24

I don't think the Europa league has had that much bearing on our season. I certainly don't think that it has been targeted in any way as our way in to the CL. I have championed Martinez since he arrived at the club and strongly believe that manager's should be given time to build and establish themselves at a club. I don't say this because it is the Everton way or any such nonsense but because I think it is common sense.

However, I feel that the situation has changed now. The run of results over Christmas was alarming and we have had some games that were MUST WIN (West Brom and Leicester at home). We haven't won them and we never looked like winning them. We nearly lost the Leicester game.

The rhetoric has remained the same, the formation has remained the same, the tactics have remained the same, the personnel has remained (largely) the same. The only things that have changed have been that confidence is now even lower, Goodison is even quieter until someone makes a sideways pass then the groans ring out (and rightly so).

I now believe that Martinez is indefensible. If he had made changes to even one of; the formation, the personnel he selects, the style of play/tactics or even the pre and post match rhetoric then I would probably still offer him my support. He hasn't done so and I think we all know that he won't. He's still a nice fella. I admire his tenacity of belief, but he's wrong and therefore must be replaced. Its too late to get anyone in now IMO and I've no idea who but its academic anyway.

The thing is, and I've said this all along, the decision is BK's and I don't think his view will match that of the supporters. His silence on all things Everton is deafening. He gave a 5- year contract out in the summer. That'd be a massive U-turn that I don't reckon, bar relegation, he will make.

Steve Davies
38 Posted 02/03/2015 at 15:30:01
The plan he has for Stoke will be roughly the same line-up. It doesn't matter if you played well or not, he will pick his matter how well you play when you are picked, he always resorts to his out of form favourites (Howard, Barrie etc). After Leicester Howard should be dropped end of.

The tactics will be the same. Lukaku up front on his own when it is obvious he needs someone like Kone up there with him. The tactics have failed before but apparently it is because of bad luck blah, blah, blah. Usually crap he churns out in the papers.....

He will not change his system. Stoke will throw everything at us at corners, we will probably buckle at one of them. We will waste our corners. Mark Hughes will not be worried in the slightest.

We will win the possession stakes and he will bang on about how unlucky we are. I thought we were going to lose 2.1 at home to Leicester (and we nearly did). He would then laud it about the positives of getting a goal in a home game against the bottom of the league team. The quote about us scoring three against Chelsea was a beaut. He forgot to mention that they scored six and our defense was a shambles.

There is no leader on the pitch. As much as I like Jags, he is the quiet man when it kicks off. Not a natural captain unfortunately.

RM is a deluded. If he does not take us down this season, if nothing changes, he will next season that is for sure. Just look at the facts. I now know why Wigan were relegated. He now has the personnel and players but he still cannot turn it around. The media love him because he is approachable etc....but the facts suggest that in terms of results he is not very good at this job in the premier league.

Let's face the reality, apart from the blip last season when he took us to fifth, RM doesn't do the premier league. Look at his record. We were seduced by his FA Cup win but the reality is that over 38 games he took Wigan down. And we took him on. The league has always been the true barometer of success.

You should always look at the facts and they are damning. At the end of the season he should be sacked on his record not his lovely rhetoric.....5 year plan, he is having a laugh.

My son, says I am negative, however, sitting in the Lower Gwladys, most of the old timers seemed to have formed a similar opinion as me.I hope we beat Stoke, but at best I feel we will scrape a draw. He will probably trot out the old cliches and excuses........COYB.

Phil Hamlin
39 Posted 02/03/2015 at 18:56:46
The problem all season is that we have been playing 2 defensive midfielders (i.e. McCarthy & Barry) which has meant no creativity in the final third from centre midfield. We keep possession which is fine, but time after time we have left the ground and can’t remember a shot on goal. To compound matters we have been leaking goals all season which has meant that we have virtually lost the game as soon as we concede.

What does Roberto do to rectify the problem? – He goes from 2 defensive midfielders to 3 by adding Besic to the team! Good players as they are, they are basically stoppers who keep possession by taking the easy option of short square (or backwards) passing.

Recently we had Darren Gibson in the team for the latter part of the Leicester game followed by Young Boys. For the first time we suddenly had a player who wanted to pass the ball forward and try to split the opposition defence with a killer ball. What an absolute revelation! Gibson may not be the best, but I say he has to be re-instated to the team. To drop him for the Arsenal match was totally predictable as was the outcome of the game.

Peter Mills
41 Posted 02/03/2015 at 21:18:07
Please keep your reports coming Ken - they really do help provide perspective.

Phil#39 - that's an excellent post. Simply putting in more defensive midfielders is not the answer. For many years we watched a team that was very effective at preventing goals with just one player in the "Carsley position".

Now, no matter how many players we have back, we are always liable to concede a goal due to lack of discipline, lack of drill, lack of knowledge of who should be doing what, lack of command. It's very basic stuff, the foundation of every football team from the park to Sunday League to La Liga to the World Cup winners. It's fundamental, and we haven't got it.

James Potter
42 Posted 03/03/2015 at 00:25:12
We didn't have a Europa League game from 11 December until 19 February; we still went out the FA Cup, lost four Premier League games on the trot, six in total. So talk of the Europa League affecting our Premier League form all season is nonsense.

To say that Martinez is targeting the Europa League to the detriment of the Premier League is also farcical. He's stubborn, has unwavering belief in his philosophy which simply does not work in the Premier League, at least not with our squad of players – or Wigan's, judging by him getting them relegated.

He recently said, "Top players will still want to join Everton in the summer because of our brand of football, they will see past the league table and our position." This just goes to show he's more bothered about style over substance, possession over goals, and this is what will take us down... or very close to it.

John Keating
43 Posted 03/03/2015 at 07:53:27
Patrick (#34), 4-4-2 would allow 2 wingers, 1 holding midfielder, 1 forward looking midfielder. For example, he could start at Stoke with:

Coleman Stones Jagielka Garbutt
Mirallas McCarthy Gibson Baines
Kone Lukaku

Lennon or Atsu are available if Baines is not fit. Osman can come in if Gibson tires.

Victor Jones
44 Posted 03/03/2015 at 14:10:18
Some very good and knowledgeable comments on here. It is no secret that I want Martinez out. The Premier League position is awful. The capitulation in the domestic cups is undefenceable. The refusal to change tactics and the failure to adopt different tactics and formations to combat the threat and weaknesses of opponents, just shows poor management and guidance. Does anybody at Everton actually study the opposition. Cause if the do, then why does Martinez persist in plodding on and on in the same old predictable style of play? Soul destroying and stubborn and mind boggling in equal portions.

Did Martinez watch the great Barcelona team a few years ago, and decide that that was the style for him. Very original. Pity that he cannot come up with a style of his own. Or maybe even a few styles of play. (I am joking here, Martinez has nothing, there is no other style). What we are now witnessing is it. Would someone please tell Senor Martinez that Barcelona had world class players. Players that could pass the ball through the eye of a needle. And with speed. Our players look ready for a bus pass, never mind making a forward pass.

Anyhow, yet again into the breach we go. And as usual, ever the optimist, I am hoping that in spite of Martinez, I hope that this group of players can muster enough to get a result at mighty Stoke City. Another must win game. Another chance to try and scramble to safety. God only knows what Everton team will turn up tomorrow.

And stick someone on the posts for corners. Jeez-U-S-Christ. Try and do something right. And if it helps, I will be keeping everything crossed. That seems to be our Plan B for this season. COYBs.

Steve Davies
45 Posted 03/03/2015 at 23:22:41
Victor Jones, John Keeting bang on the money! That is the team I would select but it won't happen.

RM who doesn't do tactics but has a philosophy! Here is one for you, from one of the greats, Einstein: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results!" Enough said...4-4-2

Another one for you from Einstein: "You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than everyone else"

Corners are part of the game, defend them, exploit them.Look at the article in Echo, his record is appalling.

The Euro stuff like the FA Cup before is a smokescreen. He is inept... can't do the Premier League....

Andy Crooks
46 Posted 04/03/2015 at 00:54:37
I always thought than when Ken shows signs of doubt then it is really time to doubt. Ken, I think you are worried, which is worrying.
Steve Davies
47 Posted 04/03/2015 at 21:29:46
I read an article today from RM of how he kept Swansea in the League on the last game of the season...and that is real pressure! Obviously he is used to relegation fights.....maybe because he drags his teams into the mire in the first place.

The Stoke result does not surprise me. Same personnel, same tactics (philosophy), same result. But at half time we led in the possession stakes and as he thinks he is Pep Guadiola, the way he struts around the sideline in his designer coat and brown shoes, that will be taken as a positive by him.

Luckily there may be three worse teams in this division. But for all the Martinez apologists out there do we really want this clown at our club next season? BK grow a set and learn from this. Sack him in the summer and get a proper manager instead of a clueless dreamer......

I said on this website months ago, put Joe Royle (or even somebody else from the backroom) in until the end of the season and make sure we stay up. Then re-group and get another manager in the summer.....preferably somebody who hasn't got his team relegated the season before!!!

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