Everton Sleepwalk to Another Away Defeat

A second 2-0 defeat in the space of four days, another blank on Everton's side of the scoresheet in the points column, and one more frustratingly inept performance has deepened the gloom among supporters trying to fathom how the magic of last season has turned so black.

Lyndon Lloyd 04/03/2015 40comments  |  Jump to last

Stoke City 2-0 Everton

The European dream is still alive and it must be a dream; a beautiful, unbelievable escape from our domestic struggles but there are plenty of Evertonians who would be quite happy to call everything quits right now, Europa League and all, if it meant an end to this Premier League nightmare.

A second 2-0 defeat in the space of four days, another blank on Everton's side of the scoresheet, and one more frustratingly inept performance has deepened the gloom among supporters trying to fathom how the magic of last season has vanished so quickly and completely. This fixture last season may not have been anything to write home about from the Blues' perspective but Leighton Baines's injury-time penalty at least salvaged a draw that was part of a sequence in which Roberto Martinez's side won six of nine games.

This term, of course, Everton have managed just six League wins all season and, in truth, they never looked like improving on that record at the Britannia Stadium this evening, as unforgiving a place as anywhere in the top-flight when the home side are up for it.

Stoke were up for it, to a point, but the galling aspect of this contest was just how ordinary Mark Hughes's side were over the 90 minutes. With their most creative player out injured in the form of Bojan, there seemed to be little threat to the Blues if they could contain Peter Crouch's aerial threat and stifle the enthusiastic but limited Jonathan Walters.

Article continues below video content

As it turned out, it was the spectacularly average Victor Moses who scored what proved to be the decisive goal with an unchallenged, looping header that flew inside Tim Howard's post from fully 14 yards out with a little over half and hour gone.

Up to that point, neither side had offered much apart from a tame 20-yard shot by Darron Gibson and a powerful drive by Moses that Howard beat away, but the goal came as a result of the Potters first real spell of pressure. A throw-in from the Stoke right ended at the feet of Phil Bardsley, fresh from a bout of "handbags" with Steven Naismith and Luke Garbutt, and the fullback took advantage of plenty of space to ping a cross into the box that Moses steered beyond the goalkeeper's despairing reach.

Everton's response was a slight improvement on the tepid fare that had characterised the first half an hour but Seamus Coleman failed to find a blue shirt with a cut-back from the byline, Aaron Lennon forced a decent save from Asmir Begovic with a shot from the angle and Gareth Barry ended the half with a weak header that the 'keeper easily caught.

The second half was better from the Blues' perspective, especially after Leon Osman and Arouna Kone had come on for Barry and Lennon with an hour gone, but the improvement was marginal and the destiny of the points would remain unchanged.

Romelu Lukaku, cutting the familiarly isolated and wasted figure to which we fans have become so accustomed this season, came within inches from equalising two minutes after the break with the one and only chance he was given to run onto a ball behind the Stoke defence but his shot caught a defender's heel and it just missed the far post.

Osman saw a shot charged down from his first real involvement and Kone followed it up with a rasping effort that Begovic did well to parry to safety but the required intensity and guile just wasn't there from Everton. It certainly didn't help that Martinez started with just one winger in the form of Lennon and then left himself with no natural width when the Tottenham loanee was withdrawn once more, the manager was expecting to break down a resilient Stoke defence by playing straight through its centre rather than trying to stretch the game and put balls in from wide areas.

Kevin Mirallas, again left sitting on the bench as the team's second-top scorer until late in the game, came on for the final eight minutes and blasted a disappointing free kick over the bar but by that stage Everton had largely lost their way and seemed resigned to their fate.

A fate that was sealed six minutes from time when a horribly wayward touch by Lukaku spun up into the centre circle where Stoke substitute Mame Biram Diou appeared to illegally barge Phil Jagielka in an aerial duel before rampaging off towards the Everton area and knocking the ball on to Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian's shot came back off the post and fell straight to Diouf who couldn't miss. 2-0, game over.

Garbutt forced a good save from Begovic with a stoppage-time free kick after McCarthy had been dragged back by the neck by Walters but it was never going to be Everton's day and the team trooped off in dejected fashion behind a manager who is now under serious pressure following an awful run of just one Premier League win in 12 games.

That all three of the bottom three clubs going into the evening QPR, Burnley and Leicester all lost will come as some relief but it should not be regarded as any consolation. Everton will likely survive this season thanks to the number of points they have already earned over the first 28 games because it's hard to see them winning many in the final 10. It's actually hard to see where the next League victory is coming from... and that's with Newcastle United coming to Goodison Park in 11 days' time.

At the root of the problem is Martinez's mystifying abandonment of width and balance over the course of the campaign. Shorn of the creativity and imagination of Steven Pienaar a player he didn't even try to replace in January despite it being painfully obvious that he would be making little to no contribution over the second half of the campaign because of injury the Catalan has persisted with trying to either shoe-horn three central midfielders into his formation, with Naismith playing off Lukaku and just one wide player; or two number 10s, also at the expense of balance and width.

It didn't help that Naismith, despite being a tireless runner and the de facto skipper of the side with his refusal to get bullied by a physical opposition, had a poor game overall, that Lennon was worse, that the team simply doesn't get enough men forward to support Lukaku, and that Garbutt wasn't quite able to justify the reliance on his deliveries from the left flank.

Evertonians demanded a big performance from a team that possesses an abundance of talent but instead got a flaccid display that made a mockery of last season's stunning achievements. Though they dominated the possession again, it wasn't even a case of the usual mind-numbing passing game going nowhere either on Martinez's instruction or the players' own volition, plan A was actually abandoned for a more direct approach for much of the contest but all too often balls were launched forward aimlessly or wasted because, in the absence of a left winger, Lukaku was being pulled wide to the touchline when he should be in and around the penalty box.

All in all, the whole debacle perpetuates the belief that Martinez is either too stubborn to change his rigid approach or simply doesn't have the answers to his team's deepening malaise. Either way, it doesn't bode well for the remainder of the season or the one that lies beyond if he remains in charge.

Follow @EFCLyndon

Share article:

Reader Comments (40)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Robin Cannon
1 Posted 05/03/2015 at 06:15:14
I think I’ve reached the point of joining those calling for Martinez to leave.

I’ve been patient, albeit hugely disappointed, for most of this season in the belief that a long term plan is what the club needs, and that implementing such a plan might have temporary tough times.

I don’t see a plan, though. There’s no sign that we’re playing to a system at all any more, we’re just going backward. The talent the team genuinely has is being wasted through lack of motivation, poor tactics and an incredibly passive approach. I wouldn’t mind losing quite so much if I could see that there was some kind of target of positive play that we were trying to reach.

If there is going to be a change before the end of the season, and I think it’s warranted, I want it to be a short-term one – an internal caretaker appointment to simply bring some motivation. Such a change would hopefully drag us away from trouble, and possibly even give impetus for European progress (does anyone have any great faith in this Martinez team to get past the better teams we’ll now be facing?).

I want a caretaker because if we were to change then we need to take the same risk we took with Martinez again in terms of a long term appointment. It shouldn’t be something we rush into for security.

Because here’s the thing – if Martinez is the wrong man, then the risk behind the hire was still the *right* one; a desire to implement a long term plan that is intended to change the philosophy of the club deeply. Not a mid-table manager, not a manager for security, not a Pulis or a McClaren, etc.

If we’re ever to progress we need to keep taking risks with our manager, whoever it is. We clearly won’t attract the proven top quality managers, so we need to keep risking on the ones who might become a top quality one – not a safer, but average, known quantity. It’s exactly the same approach we have to take to bringing in players.

We are good enough, and will remain good enough, to remain safe with safe managers. But we should never be satisfied with safe, with "we’re OK". And that’s our conundrum; the only way we can reach higher is to put ourselves at greater risk of falling lower.

Steve Guy
2 Posted 05/03/2015 at 06:42:18
This man will have us relegated rather than give up on a system (if you can call aimless passing a system) that has been well and truly sussed by other teams.

10 games is barely enough time to rescue our status. I don’t agree that our points tally to date is enough. It assumes we will get more points and I just can’t see where from.

One of the potentially best Everton sides in any years is being raped of all confidence. Look at Barkley, he looks lost on the pitch where only a season ago the opposition were panicking every time he got the ball. Just as bad is Martinez’s insistence on playing players with no form. Tim Howard is quite rightly a whipping boy in this regard; without a clean sheet since he returned to the side. What has that done for Robles’ confidence; a player who was keeping clean sheets and inspiring confidence in the players ahead of him ?

The Dear Leader needs to grow some cojones and deal with this now. Forget the Europa, survival is more important both financially and given our Club’s heritage. There is an 11-day gap to our next fixture; time enough for a new management to come on and hopefully change our shape and mentality and get the points we need.

I am old enough to remember the relegation dogfights of the 90s when teams that (on paper) were not as good as this squad, fought tooth and nail to keep us up. I get no such confidence from our team now. Those dogfights were horrible and make no mistake we are back in one now.

Martinez still doesn’t get it and that’s why he needs to go. Bring in caretakers who are Evertonians who know what this Club is about and get the players fired up. Then go out in the summer and get a manager who can take us forward and not sideways and backwards.

Peter Barry
3 Posted 05/03/2015 at 07:07:36
We were extremely lucky to get a draw against bottom of the table Leicester so can anyone in all honesty say where our next ’point’ , and I mean point not points, will come from.
Jim Bennings
5 Posted 05/03/2015 at 07:27:07
Sleepwalking our way into the Championship more like... We are an absolute embarrassment. I wouldn’t even mind if the Premier League was actually that good this season but it’s weak.

This was a truly great chance for us to push on and get that top 4 spot but instead it’s been one of the worst and easily one of the most horribly frustrating in our recent history.

Back in the 90s, you always knew relegation battles were coming before the season had even started but this has taken this piss. I suppose we should really have heeded warnings at the tail end of last season when we were collapsing in games at Southampton or at home to Crystal Palace. Then of course there was the woeful pre-season we endured. It was on the cards, just maybe we didn’t expect it in such a severe dramatic downward spiral.

All said and done, though, regardless of whether we stay up now or not, there is no way on earth we can go with this same group of players and the same management again next season. We will be lucky to stay up this season, we won’t get lucky again.

Gareth Fieldstead
6 Posted 05/03/2015 at 07:25:29
Great article as usual, Lyndon. I am not as confident as you regarding safety. I think other sides will start picking up points and we will be in big trouble.

I agree, Robin, an interim manager would be welcome, but Kenwright would have to make the change now, like he did with Smith, a new boss would need the 10 games to be sure of safety. My only reservation would be what happens if the interim boss does well, as in keeps them up safely goes a couple if extra rounds in the Europa League and the players like him?

I personally would go for experience, someone who knows the club, like Royle or Reid; after all, we cannot afford to pay compensation twice. But this wouldn’t support a long-term plan as such.

Thomas Lennon
7 Posted 05/03/2015 at 07:47:19
Those who worried when Moyes departed were proved spectacularly wrong but are now proved equally spectacular right. I thought a corner had been turned in January but, after three clean sheets, it can’t be a coincidence we have now had six since changing goalkeeper? With no clean sheet.

What is the ongoing plan? Are we still waiting for this team to ’click’? If we drop into the bottom three, will we still be patting ourselves on the back for possession? Roberto?

Neil Cremin
8 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:00:13
Unless we take action now, we are going down. If we can’t get up enough fight to win at home against the bottom club, where are we going to get the fight to get the points we need? We need a caretaker fighter in charge and dare I suggest the one of the best: Roy Keane.
Zayn Zaffar
9 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:07:28
Our morale is down thanks to Mr Motivator, can’t see where are next win is, and I don’t want to see us play Fulham, Bournemouth etc. I want us to play Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool...
Jim Bennings
10 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:09:20
Neil — No to Roy Keane! He has failed drastically wherever he had coached and his presence at clubs is a negative one.

If we are going for an interim manager, then I’d go and get Joe Royle until the end of the season, he knows the club and he knows how the English Premier League works and what you need to do to gain results.

Martinez has proven that he is too obsessed by simply holding possession but the reality is there is never ever anything at the end of it.

Our scoring since the end of October has been appalling. We have three central midfielders in Barry, Besic and McCarthy and not one of them has scored a single goal in any competition this season.

Ian Ravello
11 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:14:38
I’m bold to think that last season’s success was down to the initial freshness of a new positive approach (which has turned out to be totally one-track) combined with the lingering after effects and influence of one David Moyes.

It’s funny that our disastrous turn in form actually dates back to that last victory over Manchester United in Moyes’s last match – observe our results since then as he departed the Premier League scene!

I can’t be alone in this thought but surely David Moyes is now in an even better position to manage us after his experiences at Man Utd and coaching in Spain – and he must believe now his true love and calling in football. Come home, David Moyes, your People’s Club needs you!

Joe Clitherow
12 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:11:04
"Martinez is either too stubborn to change his rigid approach or simply doesn’t have the answers."

There’s no "either... or..." about it, it is clearly both, a fatal combination.

Jim Bennings
13 Posted 05/03/2015 at 09:09:14

I think last season, especially the fitness side if things, even the Moyes detractors would have to accept that he played some part in the early part of last season.

It’s no surprise that we now look one if the unfittest sides in the Premier League because Martinez has totally neglected that side of the game.

Dave Lynch
14 Posted 05/03/2015 at 09:20:00
It will take us getting knocked out of the Europa League for the "vast" majority to turn against him.

This is the only thing he has to hang onto, a possible European trophy. The minute we get battered by one of the top teams in this competition, he will be laid bare.

Phil Rodgers
15 Posted 05/03/2015 at 09:19:08
Another atrocious performance but an all too predictable one for this team this season.

Hull away was the end of the line for me, the warning signs were there against Southampton away when the manager inexplicably made no substitutions.

I admire those who wanted him to stay as I’m a big believer in loyalty, but even his most ardent fan must see that we are at a critical point and that we must take drastic measures to ensure survival.

A honeymoon period of a new manager may be enough to maintain our status.

Rob Dolby
16 Posted 05/03/2015 at 09:26:30
He has to go, if we manage to stay up this year we will only faced with the same issues next season.

He is turning the best squad of players that we have had for 20 years into Ray Wilkins’s crabs. £28M for a striker with a first touch like a hand grenade going off! Face him at goal and you have a threat, face him away from goal and you have Brett Angell.

I could run through the whole team and slaughter the lot of them but that just brings me back to the manager who is supposed to get the best out of them, not the worst.

I’d replace him with Phil Neville. He led us well as a skipper, even though he was quite limited as a player. He never gave anything less than his all when he had the shirt on; something that this team is lacking in spades is heart and endeavour.

Denis Richardson
17 Posted 05/03/2015 at 09:33:19
Can’t say I’m really that disappointed this morning. I was expecting us to lose and we did.

The thing is, I really do feel sorry for Martinez, he’s a nice guy and you want him to do well but its so clear that he’s at fault for all that’s gone/going wrong. The guy just won’t admit his ’system’ is wrong (with this set of players anyway) and adapt. Pride comes before a fall as they say.

I’m pretty sure the cost of sacking him is one of the main reasons the guy is still there. No other established team in the league would tolerate a manager managing just 1 win in 3 months. 7 points from the last possible 36!

BK needs to act and fast. It won’t be long before the law of averages kicks in and one of QPR or Burnley picks up a win.

John Crawley
18 Posted 05/03/2015 at 09:43:45
"At the root of the problem is Martinez’s mystifying abandonment of width and balance over the course of the campaign." I agree with this completely and it’s one of the things that has me totally stumped.

I read a lot about teams have sussed us out after last season but to me we are not playing anything like we did last season because Martinez has changed it. For instance, arguably our best performance this season was Wolfsburg away when we actually played with width and balance, just like last season. Why he has changed this, I don’t have a clue... but I wish someone would ask him.

We are in serious trouble. We looked to be clawing our way back to safety when he tightened the defence up and Robles kept three clean sheets on the bounce. Then came the mystifying decision to drop Robles for Howard and we’ve been in a downward spiral since then.

Brian Mills
19 Posted 05/03/2015 at 10:02:20
Here’s an idea! When we were so good last season, we had two mobile wingers, Mirallas on the right and Pienaar on the left, giving the opposition something to think about, which allowed Baines and Coleman to maraud down the flanks, and weigh in with a bag of goals and crosses/assists for Lukaku to also net a bag of goals. If it’s not broke, what is there to fix?

We have played with no wingers most of the season till Lennon’s arrival, unless of course he sticks Barkley (playmaker) or Lukaku (goalscorer) out on the wing. Mirallas has been available, and we’ve had either McGeady (not good enough is true) or Oviedo during the season. What is this inept, clueless Manager trying to prove?

Change your setup and tactics back to the winning formula instead of your arrogant misguided philosophies. YOU ARE NOT BIGGER THAN EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB.

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 05/03/2015 at 10:04:02
He should be put on "gardening leave" from this morning and a caretaker manager put in place in time for the Newcastle game. Fuck the Europa League – it is helping us to go down...
John Gee
21 Posted 05/03/2015 at 10:52:28
Ian, 11, I’m hanging my head in shame to admit this but you’re right.

What a mess this guy has led us to.

Denis Richardson
23 Posted 05/03/2015 at 10:40:53
Not blaming Howard for the first goal, nothing he could do about the header. if Moses tried that another 100 more times he wouldn’t connect that sweetly again. The goal was down to clown defending; first Garbutt doesn’t mark the thrower allowing him all the time in the world to cross and then Moses gets a free header in the box even though there are 3 defenders stood within a couple of yards of him doing fuck all.

Only reason I bring up Howard is that, since Robles’s three clean sheets in a row, Howard has come in and in the 6 subsequent games he’s played we’ve kept a total of 0 clean sheets and conceeded 9 goals in all competitions. Now Howard was not at fault for all those goals but the GK is such a key part of the defence that I can’t help but wonder how many goals we’d have conceded had Robles kept his place.

Our main problem is however at the other end of the pitch; yesterday was the 5th league game this year (out of 9) that we’ve failed to score with teams like the mighty Stoke, West Brom and Hull managing to keep us out. Yet the manager doesn’t think there is something wrong with his ’system’.... instead it’s us being tired from too many games or being out of luck or the ref is against us or players are injured or EL games/travel.... every reason under the sun apart from the obvious.

I feel sorry for the fans who go regularly to the games, especially to the away games. I normally only manage 4 or 5 a season, however this year I’m yet to go and I honestly cannot be arsed to waste (yes waste) my time and money going to a game knowing what will be served up. Life is just too short.

I wonder how many season tickets have been renewed since they became available last month... the silence from BK and the board is deafening.

Bob Parrington
24 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:04:30
Roberto Martinez – Your ideology only works if you have the resources of clubs like Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City.

You can only fit the ideology if you can attract the players to fit the ideology. Everton clearly cannot. This is a simple amateur league understanding.

You need to get your finger from up your backside and realise that you need to use the players that you have at your disposal to play to their best potential. If you don’t, I fear you’ll doom us to relegation. This is something for which no proud Evertonian will ever forgive you!!!

Jim Bennings
25 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:02:27
I think the whole trouble with Everton Football Club is it has now started destroying players, it’s eating itself away from the inside out.

Where Liverpool train players to become better and better and work their players so that they are at the very peak of their physical fitness, we simply destroy players and that’s what we have specialized in this entire season, going back to pre-season.

Liverpool are miles fitter than us now, look at Jordan Henderson? Forget all this "he’s not fit to lace Barkley’s boots" bollox. At the present moment in time, I’d be taking him every single week over Ross. That’s because the Shite have trained him into a better player, a fitter stronger man.

Barkley doesn’t jump, he doesn’t press the opponent... It’s embarrassing. We need a managerial team that us going to start working them much harder again.

Tony McNulty
26 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:04:45
I wrote on here before Stoke that RM’s position was precarious and he had three more PL games to win points. Two of those games now remain.

If we only draw or are pointless against Newcastle, then the calls for his head will grow louder. If we then take nothing from the QPR game, he will be gone. It will be Joe Royle with back to basics for the rest of the season. We will survive, and a new manager will be appointed in the close season.

Jim Bennings
27 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:33:12
Tony, I honestly believe now the only way back for Martinez now is if he won the Europa League. Once you lose the vast majority of the support and it becomes as vocal as it has been this season, then it’s almost impossible to overturn that.

I honestly haven’t heard so much unrest and arguing, general ill-feeling at Goodison since the Peter Johnson demonstration days of 1997-98. The entire group from the management team (not just Martinez) right through to the players have to share the blame.

Martinez and his staff for simply refusing to budge from this pathetic possession at snail’s pace football without penetration and also for totally neglecting the physical fitness of players.

The players themselves have not covered themselves in glory either and frankly I believe they are overrated, are they that much better than the days of the John Ebbrell, Barry Horne and Joe Parkinson?

If it came to final-day battle like 1994’s win or bust, could we expect James McCarthy or Besic to stick an "Ohh Horne" 30-yard screamer in the top corner?? No... I doubt it either.

Ross Edwards
28 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:59:26
Some director from William Hill tweeted over 5 minutes ago that the odds of Martinez not being here next season is 2/1.

Usually the bookies are an indication of something happening.

John Crawley
29 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:59:38
Dennis, I partly blame Howard for that goal. The ball was in the air for a while and if you look at it he doesn’t move his feet. The rest of the defence takes the main blame but I think Robles saves that header because he’s more agile and he’s bigger.
Ross Edwards
30 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:02:07
He is now 8/1 to be the next manager out and our relegation odds are now 14/1 with SkyBet.
Pat Kennedy
31 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:54:31
I was at Stoke last night and on the way back up the M6 had a long debate with the four of us in the car – son, grandson and his mate. I’ve been watching our boys since 1962 and this is probably the worst I’ve felt. We knew we were crap in 1994 and 1998 and it was no surprise to be fighting for our lives on the last day of each season. But, despite our obvious shortcomings, the players gave it their all and we got through it.

This is by far a more talented group but their attitude and application is pathetic. The Manager is simply a charlatan who has been given a free ride by a compliant media and a chairman who seems to have disappeared up his own arse.

I work with a Wigan supporter who when we appointed RM told me what he would do to us and he was spot on.

As a group of supporters, we are also compliant in accepting this pile of steaming shite. I think a bit of ’kopite behaviour’ is in order and we need to make our voices heard. Can you imagine our nearest and dearest across the park tolerating this?

Oh no, I hear some of you say – I’m sorry we can’t do that because we are Everton and we have class etc and other such assorted bollocks.

Well when I take my 3 lads on a wet Wednesday night next November to our big night away game at the Keepmoat stadium in Doncaster, I might just be thinking that perhaps some our support are fuckin deluded.

Quite simple – fire this idiot right now, play the U-21s in the Europa League and concentrate 100% on getting points in the Premier League. I don’t give a fuck about style of play — just get another 10 points any way you can!

Sid Logan
32 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:54:53
One protest many of us can make is withhold renewing season tickets for as long as possible without losing out financially.

That message will get through to the board quicker than anything.

Phil Rodgers
33 Posted 05/03/2015 at 13:02:25
Pat 31,

Quite simple – fire this idiot right now, play the U-21s in the Europa League and concentrate 100% on getting points in the Premier League. I don’t give a fuck about style of play — just get another 10 points any way you can!

Couldn’t agree more.

Victor Jones
34 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:37:34
No secret that I want Martinez out of Everton. I never wanted him at Everton in the first place. And said so numerous times. I was not interested in the fact that he won an FA Cup with Wigan. FFS, Portsmouth, Coventry City and Wimbledon all won the FA cup. Teams like Millwall and Cardiff City reached the final. We were not chasing after their managers to take over at Everton. No, we took on a manager that had just seen his team relegated. And I remember his rhetoric then. It was the same old bollocks that we are now listening to. Never his fault.

Anyhow, everything has been said, and I agree with most posts. One good thing that I noticed last night, is that the media now seem to be on his case. They finally realise that Martinez is somewhat been found out. That Everton are in a scrap. That has to be good. Maybe start to make Martinez wake up to the situation. Maybe make him start earning his money.

A little protest. A little dissent. A little disgruntlement. Might just shake this bloody man up enough to start acting like a manager. But there again.

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 05/03/2015 at 13:17:48
The way we play goes right through the whole club, I watched the Youth Team earlier in the season in the FA Youth Cup and they were like robots, didn’t seem able to think for themselves, just did by numbers. The one lad with a bit of individuality was substituted in the second half, Liam Walsh. If he is left to play the way he knows, he will do well; if not... he will become like one of the robots who now play in the first team.
Brent Stephens
36 Posted 05/03/2015 at 13:33:48
Dave #35, in relation to youth team playing like first team...

(With apologies to Philip Larkin)

They fuck you up, your managers.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Manager hands on misery to manager.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 05/03/2015 at 13:44:59
Brent, Philip Larkin, great man, great fighter for what he believed in, great orator, we could do with him in the dressing room before the players go on the pitch.
Tony McNulty
38 Posted 05/03/2015 at 15:38:48
Jim (#27),

An interesting post, especially your point about the unrest and it reminding you of the Johnson era.

As for the Europa, going on recent performances, we have more chance of winning Eurovision.

I believe that the dressing room, if it hasn’t already been lost, is very close to being so. Roberto’s increasingly vacuous positivity flies in the face of results and performance. And the players know it. They want guidance, tactics and the sort of confidence-inspiring leadership which will deliver results. They need a workable system which plays to their strengths. Instead of practising set pieces, they appear to get weasel words – at least I suspect so... there doesn’t appear to be much evidence of tactical nous on the pitch at the moment.

Funnily enough, I think Roberto has much to offer, in the right context. So we could play the Barcelona way if we were up in heaven and could call upon George Best, Eusebio, and Garrincha. However we are here, stuck on planet earth, in 2015, with a squad rapidly losing confidence whose players are being asked to play to alien strengths.

Unlike you, Jim, I blame the manager more than the players. He seems to be quite stubborn and I don’t think he has anyone who ever tells him to stop persisting with what patently isn’t working. The message needs to be: forget the purist stuff for a few games; focus on gathering points; make us hard to beat; write off this season; make sure we survive; and adapt your approach next August when you can start again.

As the French put it: he needs to put a little water in his wine.

Rick Tarleton
39 Posted 05/03/2015 at 16:17:02
Larkin a great poet, but an utter right wing shit. I met him and utterly disliked him, though I think "Dockery and Son" the greatest poem of the latter half of the twentieth century.

However, back to serious matters, Brian Mills sums up very cogently one of the great differences. Last season Baines and Coleman were the best wing backs in the League, this year they are not able to work up their flank because the personnel and the system have changed. The result is they go forward and then stop, come inside, get lost and get caught out of position.

I’m with Jim Benning, I see this as the worst position since the late nineties, but with one crucial difference, that team had a lot of guts and fight, not a lot of skill, but hey made every game a dogfight. This lot haven’t that quality and they often make you think they can be bullied. Barry may get booked regularly, as does McCarthy, but they are cynical and professional fouls Only Besic gives you the feeling that he actually physically imposes himself on the opposition. And of course, Martinez prefers Barry!

Howard is a liability, Mirallas a prima donna and Barkley is being destroyed by inconsistent and unsympathetic handling.

To return to Larkin, watching the present Everton is "first boredom, then fear".

Robert Johnson
40 Posted 05/03/2015 at 17:10:12
We are indeed sleepwalking our way into the Championship!

First Martinez and his apologists said, wait till Barkely returns and once he does, Lukaku and the whole team will be firing on all cylinders.

Then, we have a tough run-in. Let's get over this period and we will be flying.

Then, wait for some of our main players (Stones etc.), who were missing due to various injuries, to return and you will see the real Blues.

Then, after Christmas there will be Europa League distractions and the manager and team will finally show their mettle!

Yet, we are now over two-thirds into the season, collecting a measly 28 points from 28 games!

We have won only 1 game in our last 11 PL games while losing 6 and drawing 4, all too with

1) Barkely
2) Easy fixtures (Leicester,Hull, West Brom etc.)
3) Almost the entire squad
4) No or very little Europa League distractions

So what's the next excuse? Oh I forgot, tired legs!

Dara Vaughan
42 Posted 06/03/2015 at 01:08:20
Oh, that was weird. I totally confused Philip Larkin with James Larkin. It was the right wing comment which alerted me. Initially all that fighting (union-lock out-toffees) talk had sold me. I'll look into this Philip lad then.
Martin Mason
43 Posted 06/03/2015 at 15:31:01
I feel that where we've gone wrong is that once we had wide midfielders and full backs who complemented each other in attack and defence. Now they don't know each other. 3 defensive mids? We are devoid of a sensible tactic.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb