Trying to step back from the reaction to Saturday, let’s focus on some facts.
We have in the first two games demonstrated that we are a force to be reckoned with; there were significant parts of those matches where we dominated the opposition, and vitally made a significant number of goal scoring chances, and actually took four of them. None were fortunate; all four were well crafted and executed – even without Barkley.
Against that, Leicester scored two fortunate goals, both conceded from ricochets; Arsenal's goals to be truthful were deserved and taken well, even if you could argue they should/could have been eliminated. In both games, we lost our way after 60, 75, 80 minutes – whatever time you think we lost it. Why ?
My view is that Martinez, after last season’s success, has to go with the 12-15 or so players who delivered it, and that means to me the Jags, Distin, Osman etc. They suddenly don’t become past it over the 2-month summer break. He can't and won't just throw in Atsu and Besic.
To me, our downfall has been due to a lack of player fitness, sharpness, game time. The pre-season was poor, if you look at Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd they all had their World Cup players back at least a week earlier than ours, even those who played after the group stages. Arsenal gave their German lads another 2 weeks off, but had their French players back early. We gave our England lads a further week off than our rivals and our losing Qualifiers and Quarter finalists (Belgium and USA) another week off.
I suspect Martinez hadn’t got his brain round this issue all summer, convinced himself rest was important and we suffered and are still suffering because of it. We played less proper pre-season games than all our rivals, and in fact never ever played our first 11 players at all together.
Someone mentioned in an earlier thread that Arsenal should have been worse off than us fitness wise on Saturday after playing in Turkey midweek, but that’s what we are actually missing – game time. Even this week, our closest rivals, Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal are all playing again, getting mentally sharper, physically stronger.
I don’t believe the team can suddenly perform at the excellent level as last year, they need to gel, they need to regain that composure, that trust in those around them, they need game time and conditioning.
As an aside, I’m slightly concerned that we lost 3 coaching staff over the summer: Alan Irvine and Alan Stubbs... also Steve Tashijan (US Conditioning Coach, brought in by Moyes 5 years ago who decided to go back to the USA), and I don’t think any have been replaced as yet. We seem to me to have taken our eye off the ball. I’m sure Martinez will do the necessary to sort it out, but it’s just another factor contributing to our poor pre-season giving us problems at the moment.
I’m optimistic we’ll go on and do well, we could have been more fortunate than getting Arsenal and Chelsea so soon, but a good victory sometime will undoubtedly help aching legs and minds.
Reader Comments (19)
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1 Posted 27/08/2014 at 21:19:59
2 Posted 28/08/2014 at 07:11:24
Costa seems to have done his hamstring.
If I were a Chelsea fan (i.e. a fatuous part time glory hunter) I would be seeing a Lukaku or EtoÂo winner as inevitable.
I take it Atsu canÂt play any role? Anyone know?
3 Posted 28/08/2014 at 11:13:09
4 Posted 28/08/2014 at 19:01:55
I believe we're better than most teams already and I'm hopeful we become even better than we looked last season and once we find our stride we'll be hard to shift off it.
I think we'll hammer Chelsea. We'll play the perfect game of football. Goodison Park will erupt to such an extent that everyone there will spiritually elevated and the oneness of Everton will be heard around the world.
5 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:38:58
6 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:35:55
Some could argue that with the extra space available on the wings for him to run into and use his pace, Lukaku is often more effective than up front.
7 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:42:50
8 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:42:04
9 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:42:10
I'd actually go with a 4-3-3 formation with Mirallas on the left of the front 3 (which is his best position) with Besic, Barry and McCarthy in central midfield:
Coleman Stones Jags Baines
McCarthy Barry Besic
Lukaku Naismith Mirallas
10 Posted 28/08/2014 at 21:06:38
I also had to laugh when he shook hands with Mertesacker at the end of the game. The guy towered over him, but he knew he'd been in an aerial battle. Tim Cahill eat your heart out.
Mark 9 - I would go with your side. Plenty of legs needed.
11 Posted 29/08/2014 at 00:19:10
12 Posted 29/08/2014 at 00:47:18
It reminds me that the game isn't all about the money although we'd all love a trophy or two Â– whatever happens on the pitch it can't rob us of the sentiments that Durham Toffee outlines on page 2 of the thread.
13 Posted 29/08/2014 at 03:55:05
14 Posted 29/08/2014 at 07:38:20
I googled it and results show
Game Of Thrones
someoneÂs GOT talent
GOT to dance
IÂm fairly sure none of them have an Everton-related thread.
15 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:08:43
16 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:40:17
17 Posted 29/08/2014 at 15:43:15
18 Posted 30/08/2014 at 06:43:48
I'm with those calling for Besic to start. Barry, McCarthy and Besic will be like the Hounds of Hell. However, said it elsewhere, I don't like Lukaku out wide.
19 Posted 30/08/2014 at 12:14:07
I looked at our game on Saturday and thought we were the better side against Arsenal for most of the game.
I think though, that a number of factors combined to give them a way back in. For me, the major factor was silly mistakes by our defence, that cost us the most. Then there was Ossie, who I didn't think could chase back or was strong enough not to get pushed out of the way. We miss Barkley without a doubt; not only for his good engine to chase back but his forward runs to put the opposition under pressure.
Although he scored a great goal and did some excellent runs, I don't think Seamus had a good game either.
When Lukaku went off, it left a huge gap that Arsenal enjoyed taking advantage off and if you give them the room then they will use it and generally use it well.
I wondered if Robbie would bring on Besic, as I thought he would do a great job in the midfield, but maybe he thought Mo might just be a bit too rash.
I don't see us as not being fit enough because of the pre-season; I think that, without the running of Barkley, Barry isn't able to fill that gap enough towards the end of the game, especially with Ossie alongside. I'm not having a dig at him, I just think he is not as effective with his defensive duties, as Ross.
We then had McGeady who didn't have a good game. He was brought on to put them under pressure but it seemed to me that he lost the ball to easily, especially with misplaced passes.
To come away from that match, deeply disappointed with the draw, shows me that we're not doing too bad at all.
Personally, I think Jagielka is a good last-ditch type of stopper but his positional sense for a defender, isn't good. However, we can't replace the team overnight and what I've seen in the last season and a bit makes me think we're well on the way to being a top class side Â— but we still have weaknesses and the centre of the defence is one.
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