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It will come good - sometime shortly

by   |   25/08/2014  Comments (19)  jump

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.

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Reader Comments (19)

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Terry Murphy
1 Posted 27/08/2014 at 21:19:59
If you told me three seasons ago that I would be this p*ssed off with a draw with Arsenal, I'm not sure I'd have believed you.
Jim Potter
2 Posted 28/08/2014 at 07:11:24
ItÂ’ll become very good on Saturday Mike. 1-0 to us - and the season lifts off.

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 EtoÂ’o winner as inevitable.

I take it Atsu canÂ’t play any role? Anyone know?

Chris Morris
3 Posted 28/08/2014 at 11:13:09
Atsu can't play but I don't think he'll be a great miss until he settles in properly and has a few games under his belt. Lukaku should have a point to prove (and hopefully fitness levels to prove), Eto'o should be itching to score too. But hopefully Naismith starts becuase, love him or hate him, he's been excellent so far.
Michael Winstanley
4 Posted 28/08/2014 at 19:01:55
Our focus appears to have been the defence but in reality we lost the midfield, we didn't keep the ball, often the ball went from back to front and we conceded possession too easily.

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.

Robbie Muldoon
5 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:38:58
We will be in the Champion's League within the next two years. Hopefully after we win the Europa League this season. The best way to qualify. Second would be all these Russian and Ukranian clubs getting fucked off by UEFA and us getting in the back door. Either will do.
Wayne Smyth
6 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:35:55
Anyone think that with Pienaar out it would be worth deploying Lukaku on the left wing with Eto'o up front?

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.

Patrick Murphy
7 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:42:50
I can see Lukaku playing on the right wing on occasion but not the left-side. As somebody already mentioned on another thread, I can't see both Rom and Sam being on the pitch at the same time very often.
Robbie Muldoon
8 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:42:04
HereÂ’s a reason why we blew both games so far. It really isnÂ’t rocket science. We hadnÂ’t put the games to bed. Why? Because Ross Barkley is injured. By far our most creative player. Our strikers suffer when he isnÂ’t around, for fucks sake they had to rely on Osman through the middle on Saturday. Everybody needs to keep their knickers on and it will come good. Fingers crossed.
Mark Frere
9 Posted 28/08/2014 at 20:42:10
Wayne, I think Lukaku would be better deployed on the right wing, so he can cut in on his left foot. I don't think Eto will be fit enough to start against Chesea but could be a good option to bring on with 20 mins to go.

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

Ian Bennett
10 Posted 28/08/2014 at 21:06:38
Chris 3 - I think you need to replace the Naismith comment with love him or love him. He has been excellent for the last 18 months, and fully warranted his chant on Saturday - it was genuinely heart warming stuff.

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.

Terry Murphy
11 Posted 29/08/2014 at 00:19:10
Please start Besic. I'm hugely appreciative of what Ossie has brought to club in the past, but I'm not sure I ever want to see him start again. For the nothing it's worth, I'll vote for Mark's line-up.
Patrick Murphy
12 Posted 29/08/2014 at 00:47:18
I recommend that all readers take a look at the thread on GOT asking why you support Everton - QA Thread on why you're an Evertonian - and what it means to you. There are plenty of good responses but the one that hits home is a reply from a lad from County Durham. It taps into what most Evertonians that I know believe but it is very poetic and poignant as well.

It reminds me that the game isn't all about the money although we'd all love a trophy or two – whatever happens on the pitch it can't rob us of the sentiments that Durham Toffee outlines on page 2 of the thread.

Terry Murphy
13 Posted 29/08/2014 at 03:55:05
Are you in County Durham Patrick?
James Hughes
14 Posted 29/08/2014 at 07:38:20
Patrick, excuse my lack of knowledge, but what is GOT?

I googled it and results show
Game Of Thrones
someoneÂ’s GOT talent
GOT to dance

IÂ’m fairly sure none of them have an Everton-related thread.

Patrick Murphy
15 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:08:43
Terry - Not guilty! I've never even visited the place.
Jack Plant
16 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:40:17
Great analysis Mike, couldn't agree more.
David Ellis
17 Posted 29/08/2014 at 15:43:15
James Hughes - GOT = Grand Old Team - its another EFC fan website
Chad Schofield
18 Posted 30/08/2014 at 06:43:48
I suppose though had we been sitting here with six or even four points if we'd beaten Arsenal, people would all be hailing Martinez's World Cup player strategy a masterstroke.

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.

Jim Lloyd
19 Posted 30/08/2014 at 12:14:07
It amazes me how some posters believe they know better than Robbie how fit are players are (or according to some, unfit.) He is not only a manager, he is an experienced physio and has a team of professionals to cover every aspect of fitness, training, diet.

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 — but we still have weaknesses and the centre of the defence is one.

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