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Martinez admits defence needs to get back to basics

by | 30/08/2014  Comments (154)  jump

Roberto Martinez was left to dwell on a surprisingly poor defensive performance as Everton were beaten 6-3 by Chelsea at Goodison Park this afternoon.

The Spaniard presided over a team that boasted the third-best defensive record in the Premier League last season but, this term, his charges have shipped 10 goals in their opening three games, severely undermining their start to the 2014-15 campaign.

Goals by Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic had the Blues on the ropes before the players had even had a chance to settle into the match as Chelsea ruthlessly exposed the space afforded them in and around the Everton back line. And though they would recover to halve the deficit by half time and hit back twice more in the second half, Martinez's men were undone time again by loose defending.

"We started the game very uncharacteristically," Martinez said after the match. "It seemed we didn't have that defensive intensity, that focus that you have to have, especially against a team like Chelsea where you need to start sharply. We were chasing the game, but even when we went 2-0 down, we reacted really well.

"I thought we were very good going forward in the way we controlled the game for long spells and created chances to score three goals. I don't think many teams will score three against Chelsea this season. But the two boxes are going to dictate the scoreline and we were too soft with our defending. Every time the ball was around our 18-yard box we had a real sense of fear of it ending up in the back of the net."

The manager has two weeks now during the international break to re-assess his defensive options and work with the players in training on shoring up the back line whose record so far this season belies the experience in its ranks.

"We have conceded 10 goals in three games and that's not like us at all," Martinez added. "We have a back five that we didn't change the whole of last season when we kept 15 clean sheets but, at the moment, we are not at that level. We need to be more positive with what we're good at in defence. We have 1100+ Premier League appearances in that back five. We need to get back to basics."  


Reader Comments (154)

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John Malone
1 Posted 30/08/2014 at 22:14:54
Bit of understatement, nearly a third of the goals conceded last season in three games!!!

Season starts against West Brom.

Tommy Campbell
2 Posted 30/08/2014 at 22:19:37
I fear unfortunately that Jags had run his race for Everton. There’s no doubt that he’s been great for us – but I feel that Jags always had to be at his very best to be ’good’.

Howard got nowhere near any if the goals – I haven’t made my mind up on as to why but I found that disappointing.

Stones has to mature now into our 1st choice, with someone strong and no nonsense next to him: I think we have to dip into the market for this.

Besic: IÂ’ve read on this website about how he should be starting, based on a short cameo in a pre season friendly. He chose to mark his debut for the club by trying something he hasnÂ’t yet earned the right to do. Not ready yet and Martinez knows this, hence why he hasnÂ’t featured.

Positives: plenty going forward. Naismith is becoming invaluable, heÂ’ll never be a naturally gifted footballer but he is finding a way to hurt the opposition and his attitude and commitment is first class.

Eto’o looked sharp, hungry and classy – he could be a great signing.

Rom: needs confidence. Coming off the bench to score in out next game will do him the world of good

Mike Hughes
3 Posted 30/08/2014 at 22:30:31
OK - I know IÂ’m on a downer tonight (and I really like RM) but I really dislike this comment from him:

"I donÂ’t think many teams will score three against Chelsea this season."

ItÂ’s a bit like, "You failed the exam. But youÂ’re handwriting was lovely."

Patrick Murphy
4 Posted 30/08/2014 at 22:40:40
Sack him! He obviously doesnÂ’t know what heÂ’s doing.

But seriously, he is as, if not more annoyed with his players than we are. No manager can legislate for going 2 down in 3 minutes. The fact that his team reacted to it in a positive way says much about him and his team.

If people really think that he sends his team out in a gung-ho manner and that he is only a Ian Holloway type of manager all style and no substance then I think that is totally unfair.

I’m not backing Martinez because he is Martinez but rather because I do think he knows the game inside out and he will be successful at Everton if he has the time, but I also worry that if we don’t have enough points on the board by the end of October, the board may be forced into making a decision that will set this club back for years – if not decades.

Muj Rasul
5 Posted 30/08/2014 at 22:43:57
Just watched it again on MotD (first time ever as I never like re watching our defeats): defensively very nervous but I think we are not getting enough cover from Barry meaning McCarthy has to chase or track runners most of the time. Jags looks unfit, but I still think the scoreline flatters them; we had more shots hit the post and bar, they scored an offside goal, an own goal and a silly Besic first touch (I donÂ’t know why he was brought on anyway).

What worries me is the confidence of the defence will be drained; we need an ugly win against West Brom and Crystal Palace with clean sheets.... However our attacking play was the best I have ever witnessed.

IÂ’m still feeling confident. Once a Blue, Always a Blue.... In Martinez I trust... Sign Cleverly!!!

Dick Fearon
6 Posted 30/08/2014 at 22:36:18
In recent games, most goals we conceded resulted from our defenders not shutting down their immediate opponent. Put another way, they allowed them space and time enough to select their best options.

Roberto also should sort out JagielkaÂ’s and DistinÂ’s pathetic performances at our attacking and defensive corners and free kicks. While dealing with that problem, he might also point out to our takers of free kicks the stupidity of lobbing high balls into the six-yard box. Particularly when the opposing keeper is over six foot tall.

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 30/08/2014 at 22:54:44
Nobody is suggesting we should sack Roberto, Christ no way, I love the guy.

No the problem is he needs to get tough with some old favourites of Moyes team.

Roberto, nobody would shed any tears if you drop Distin and Jagielka.
We are not going to all start shouting "oh you canÂ’t drop those two stalwarts they have been in the team for yearÂ’s"

The fact is this is Moyes defence.

Martinez needs to start thinking where he wants to go with it now.

This for me is his biggest decision since heÂ’s been here.

You canÂ’t just play players on past exploits.

Paul Dark
8 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:03:07
Colin G - Any chance of us getting Vlaar before the deadline? :-)
Paul Dark
9 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:04:57
Joke btw, CG - I know you donÂ’t rate The Rock!
James Elworthy
10 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:05:16
Alderieweld in on loan – heard from a good source. Duffy fee to finance it.

Vlaar would be a good shout. Stones to start.

Nicky Styles
11 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:03:06
Patrick, if weÂ’re rock bottom after a hiding at Anfield in October, the idea of RM losing his job will still not come into question. Moyes was backed in far more worrying periods (being 20th in Sept/Oct in 2005 comes to mind).

Not everything our board does is ideal, but they certainly donÂ’t think with the short-sightedness one associates with the relegation-threatened sides. Besides, we will come good. We are perennial slow-starters. Hopefully things will pick-up dramatically after the break.

Kieran Kinsella
12 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:05:10
Just calmly rewatched it. Jags at fault for first goal, ball watching for third, caught in possession when Costa hit post, knelt down instead of running to block fourth which clipped his toes, was rooted to spot marking no one at all for fifth, fell on his arse after Besic set up sixth. In all seriousness was he injured? He was immobile, unwilling or unable to run or close down. I know he is slow but it was ridiculous. He was truly awful.
Jim Bennings
13 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:11:05
IÂ’d take Ron Vlaar..fuck at the minute IÂ’d take me auntieÂ’s da.

IÂ’d have any of Alderwiereld(how you spell it I donÂ’t know)

IÂ’d take Shawcross, Davies, Tomkins, Chico Flores, IÂ’d take any of them.

I always say what you need to do during the summer is make duet youngest the spine of your team strong.

With the cash we had we should have..

Signed a strong commanding defender..one of the above.

Tom Huddlestone from Hull..a younger option to Barry and more durable.

Wilfried Bony..a strong bulldozer who actually uses his strength and is more finished article than Lukaku

Kieran Kinsella
14 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:19:55
Moyes had bad days too (1-6 vs Arsenal) but always turned it around, so hopefully RM will... but IÂ’m seriously concerned about CB. Jags looks injured, Distin old, Alcaraz crap and Stones in pre-season looked like a jittery kid whoÂ’s overwhelmed by his own success and afraid to make a decision.

Besic is confident, which is nice... but that backheel was out of the Brazil World Cup semi-final playbook. I think Stones will be superb but this year may be tough as he has to handle the hype and Besic may come good or be another wild man like Materazzi.

Dave Williams
15 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:15:51
I invariably agree with you, Patrick, but the Everton Board will not react if we struggle this season. Roberto is a long-term appointment and they know as well as we do that the defence, including Howard, needs replacing. I think he has been hoping that it will survive this season while he reshapes the attack but it is not looking too promising at the moment.

Roberto has had things go his way up till now but, with the defence and general fitness issues, he now has to show us what he is made of.

The big decisions have to be made – old players can thrive if they are paired with younger ones but, with four of our back five either at or approaching the veteran stage, we need to get at least one younger player in there, preferably two.

I think he will sort it but he has to seize the moment as we fans can see what has to be done and dwelling on it wonÂ’t do much for his reputation.

Mike Hughes
16 Posted 30/08/2014 at 22:56:54
Patrick #4

Bit of over-reaction to say the least there especially in relation to:
"If people really think that he sends his team out in a gung-ho manner"

Who suggested he sent his team out that way?
The team reacted in a gung-ho manner.
They certainly werenÂ’t sent out that way.
However great the pre-match planning and strategy was (the videos, the drills, the chalk board, the power points and so on) went right out the window at 3.04pm. ThatÂ’s football.

The way we went about it may have been cavalier but wouldnÂ’t any team / manager try and salvage something from a start like that whether they played football, long ball or whatever? That Â’gung-hoÂ’ attack is being re-packaged by some on here as marvellous rather than necessary. Regardless of the style in which it was delivered, at its heart was desperation.

We lost. We got absolutely stuffed.

I really donÂ’t get why youÂ’ve extrapolated a load of stuff suggesting accusations of Â’all style, no substanceÂ’. I like RM but I donÂ’t think heÂ’s perfect (who is?). Some people seem to get obsessed and label things pro- and anti- this and that. IÂ’m an Everton fan not an RM fan. I hope things come good for him and us.

I also think youÂ’re way off the mark suggesting the board being Â’forced into a decisionÂ’ in October.

This is the board that stuck with DM for 11 trophy-less years. And some of the footy was like watching paint dry under DM. And in his second season we barely escaped relegation.

(I am on a downer but I think that is a more normal reaction to defeat than the near mania some people have about a Â’performanceÂ’.)

Sean McCarthy
17 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:21:48
Muj (#5) I sincerely hope your Cleverley comment was tongue in cheek!!!

Time has caught up with Distin. Jags looks like his legs have gone. How many of the 10 – yes, that’s TEN, goals conceded so far have exposed the centre of our defence??

I donÂ’t think thereÂ’s a lot wrong with the rest of the team other than perhaps McCarthy/Barry getting back to something like last years form but my god the centre of defence is non existent!!!

Stones and Duffy anyone????

Chern Lee
18 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:32:47
Looking on the bright side ... Eto’o looks like a great signing and our attacking play was superb. If Mirallas had scored his second and Besic hadnÂ’t commited that howler, it would have been 5-4!

I guess IÂ’d rather the blues lost in this gung-ho fashion than the meek surrender we saw under Moyes all too often.

Mike Hughes
19 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:42:01
Sean - Duffy doesnÂ’t play for us any more.
Derek Knox
20 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:25:18
Having read all the comments, it is pretty clear, that we as fans, have a collective knowledge base as far as football is concerned, but even moreso where our beloved Blues are concerned.

I think we can all pretty much agree too, that the horrendous mistakes in defence are not just a one-off, or indeed due to a temporary dip in confidence or form.

I was surprised in Roberto, where he has quite rightly recruited midfield and forward positions, and until now believed that the defence was adequate enough to carry another season.

Most of the team are MoyesÂ’s choices, but having said that we have a few diamonds in there, but also a few past the sell-by dates, and creaking gates.

Ironically this has come to light just before the window closure again, so it will be interesting to see just what happens between now and Tuesday.

ItÂ’s not all doom and gloom as there were some good things to take from today, despite the defeat.

Barry Morrison
21 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:30:32
The challenge Martinez now faces will possibly define his career as a manager.

I’m a big fan and love the positivity he has brought to the club – but he now has to build a defence, and I don’t know if he’s done that successfully previously. Certainly his Wigan team was not renowned for its defensive strength.

If Martinez is to get a crack at one of the top, top jobs in world football, he needs to prove that he has the nous to identify and develop a solid defensive unit to complement his attacking players.

LetÂ’s hope he can and that the people saying last season went so well because Martinez was living of the remnants of Moyes’s defensive attributes are proved wrong. If he canÂ’t, his first season at Everton will possibly prove to be the pinnacle of his career (FA Cup win with Wigan aside).

Dave Williams
22 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:42:29
Sean,

Duffy has been sold.

Stones plus whoever has been pencilled in before midnight on Monday!

Steavey Buckley
23 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:36:53
If Everton do not solve their defensive weaknesses, sooner than later, Everton wonÂ’t be looking forward to the champions league but the championship next season.

No team can remain in the premier league with such abject defending.

The ominous signs of defensive weaknesses were shown clearly in pre-season friendlies, when Everton could not defend to save their lives.

Everton have conceded something like 20 goals in all matches this season. And it could get worse, before it gets better.

There is still a couple of days before the transfer window closes to find some players who can defend properly.

Jon Ferguson
24 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:47:12
When Jags got injured last season, Stones came in and put in performances that led to an England squad call up. Jags came back and has looked awful since (for us and England). Stones still has mistakes in him, but overall I feel he has surpassed Jags as a player and should be in the first choice centre back pairing for us. He also has time to develop into a top international defender, something which has unfortunately alluded Jags. I say unfortunately as IÂ’ve loved Jags, but think his time has come.
Patrick Murphy
25 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:44:33
Mike, IÂ’m right with you on being an Evertonian first and foremost and I donÂ’t give a hoot who is the manager as long as the results are satisfactory or better. But I do detect a lot of impatience among a fair number of posters on this site.

Where DM had the majority of supporters onside during those bleak years and he had the ready-made excuse of not having a lot of money to spend which helped him to survive. Roberto wonÂ’t be afforded the same patience if the results continue to disappoint as he has had money to spend - which to my mind is up for debate. I want Roberto to succeed because that means that Everton succeed and I also happen to believe he is the right man for us long-term.

Of course I am not a purely performance only supporter but rather I believe that the more often a team plays good football the more often it will triumph. Obviously the defence is a major cause for concern and if it takes a backs to the wall game at WBA whilst sneaking a 1-0 win IÂ’m sure that we would all accept that but not as basis for the whole season.

Anthony Burke
29 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:02:48
IÂ’ve been worried about the defence for a while. Going forward is not a worry too much but Distin, Jagielka and Stones scare the shit out of me.
Dennis Ng
30 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:56:08
Patrick, this is exactly the hasty rise of expectations I alluded to last season. I am with you that RM is the future, with the cautious view that he needs help on the defensive end from time to time. I do not know the backroom situation but I feel it might be a bit thin.

Perhaps, instead of the shout to sign Vlaar and Shawcross, both of which would cost us a limb given the situation, we should be looking for good backroom staff that can help stem the situation short term and build long term. Success of the team is build both on and off the pitch.

We had improvements last season, now we need to sustain that improvements, but that canÂ’t happen if we canÂ’t fill the void left by departures in the off-season.

Muj Rasul
31 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:01:32
Sean #17. I agree, Jagielka’s and Distin’s legs have gone. I heard a rumour about Alderwield from Atletico, as a centre back.

On the Cleverly bit but I truly believe he would be a good signing and a long term replacement for Barry. He can pass and is quicker than him which will help shield our defence a little more.

Let’s not rely on McCarthy all the time. I know I am probably the only fan who thinks Cleverly would be good. But definitely I agree we need to sort out our defence ASAP..... Jagielka’s time is over.

Mike Hughes
32 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:56:54
Patrick -

With respect to Â’impatienceÂ’ I think itÂ’s more Â’alarmÂ’ at our lack of solidity.

I think it’s a pure reaction to a getting absolutely stuffed at home with a common theme – pre-season and early season – of shipping a ton of goals.

You rightly point out that RM has had an uncharacteristic amount of money to spend (in Everton terms). But I hope we have some left in the pot to spend before 11 pm on Monday.

Given a tough Europa campaign and a previous season in which the bar was raised in expectation of achieving further progress, we are in danger of looking like all our eggs have gone into one expensive basket (with holes in it).

Patrick Murphy
33 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:10:22
I wonder if Pulis would seriously consider an offer of a coaching role at the club? It probably wouldnÂ’t be a goer but sometimes two heads are better than one.
Dennis Ng
34 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:13:33
I wouldnÂ’t mind Pulis if he can keep his head under RM. Think Colin G was talking about Weir on another thread. imo, we need to shore up whatever RM needs help on. I think we might need more than just one more name in the backroom. Hell, I wouldnÂ’t mind OFM if he swears his life by our beloved club from now on LOL

On the field, we can build around Barkley (if heÂ’s healthy) but off it, we have to build it around RM.

Tony Twist
35 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:14:52
Martinez just hasnÂ’t a clue about building a defence, this has been coming for a while and he has no answer to it. We need a quality defence minded assistant coach who can influence Martinez because as I have said before this bloke will ruin us if he can not adapt and be flexible. Some grim times ahead.
Paul Ferry
37 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:22:02
Need to go easy on the juice – it is 6:22 pm – as I thought that the headline read ’defence needs to get back to Besic’. Which might not be a bad thing after today. Wasn’t there a link on TW a week or so ago: Besic best defender in Hungary (for what that’s worth; sorry if that sounds condescending).

Well the lads up front did well (3) but the defence did not (6). ItÂ’s not hard to see how and why we lost that one!

Bobby M: "But the two boxes are going to dictate the scoreline and we were too soft with our defending. Every time the ball was around our 18-yard box we had a real sense of fear of it ending up in the back of the net."

So, I trust that you will be bollocking the defenders today, tomorrow, and the day after; thinking of making changes; thinking about a different approach if Plan A is not working; bringing in a left-sided central defender in the next 48 hours; and sitting down in a room for a long time with your defensive coaching staff, reading the riot act to them, telling them that things have to change and giving Pullis a call to offer him a short-term deal while he is in-between jobs.

John Raftery
38 Posted 30/08/2014 at 23:57:51
People are perhaps overlooking that Chelsea are the best team in the country and one of the top sides in European football with exceptional forwards and attacking midfielders. Handing them a two-goal start was criminal. Our record of three defeats in our last five home league games, scoring

seven while conceding 12, suggests we need to adopt a more cautious approach. Against a top side like Chelsea our tactics were naïve to say the least. We needed a more pragmatic shape with the full backs sitting deeper and Barry and McCarthy shielding the back four.

Most of the top flight teams defend with two banks of four, sometimes five. At times we are trying to defend with one bank of two. On occasions when Chelsea broke, half of our side were out of the game. No wonder we struggled in defence. Teams have found a way to exploit the gaps and will continue doing so until we tighten up.

So yes, Roberto is right; we need to get back to the basics in defence. If that means sacrificing some of the attacking play in order to get results, so be it.

Bobby Thomas
39 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:20:38
This happened before at the start of MoyesÂ’s last season. We were open and were conceding goals, although not to todayÂ’s extent.

We need to get organised, aggressive and back to the back 4 playing as a unit. We have plenty going forward without trying to blow teams away. We need to get shape and discipline.

This needs to get sorted fast otherwise, with the amount of games coming and aways on the back of European games, it has the potential to get messy.

Oviedo is not fully back yet and I think we lack depth all across the back 4 as, well, Alcaraz is way too slow and is the depth other than Stones, and Hibbo is the other right back.

Go and get Micah Richards sharpish.

Sean McCarthy
40 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:36:39
Mike Hughes - whereÂ’s Duffy gone?? That move mustÂ’ve by-passed me.

His Twitter page still says he plays for Everton.

Bobby Thomas
41 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:37:03
Mike #32

I went to the freindly at Tranmere and we were a mess defensively.

You do tend to say to yourself that itÂ’s pre-season, donÂ’t worry, fitness, blah blah. But it was concerning because we were all over the place. Stones played in that one and we were a shambles.

IÂ’m worried that the shape and organisation have gone. We were always so tight because, boring or not, Moyes worked on that defensive shape and had them drilled, big time.

We have had a short pre-season, and Martinez tends to worry about what weÂ’re going to DO to teams. It seems the shape, organisation & discipline have gone with the change of focus & the close season. We need to get that back and quick.

Mike Hughes
42 Posted 31/08/2014 at 00:53:17
Sean #41 - Duffy signed for Blackburn yesterday for ٟ.5m.

Bobby #42 - there is definitely an urgency in getting the defence sorted. I think weÂ’ll buy someone by Monday night.

Sean McCarthy
43 Posted 31/08/2014 at 01:03:55
Thanks, Mike

Good luck to him.

Lewis Barclay
44 Posted 31/08/2014 at 01:31:48
This result makes me especially angry about our last two results where we needlessly dropped 4 points. IÂ’m glad there is an international break now for the team to regroup and start the season properly, build some confidence.

I thought EtoÂ’o looked like a real good signing.

Besic – I hope he’s got a good head on his shoulders because he made a bit of a muppet of himself.

Howard, Jags and Distin: based on today’s performance, they need dropping – if only we had quality cover for them.

Diego Costa – Seamus Coleman is probably laughing his tits off about you right now, over a lemonade.

Sean McCarthy
45 Posted 31/08/2014 at 01:50:25
Lewis, while Seamus is laughing, Costa will be thinking about his 2 goals and 3 points!!

Coleman should concentrate on his game and not try winding up a world class striker, the likes of whom we can only dream about!

Harold Matthews
46 Posted 31/08/2014 at 02:11:59
Crazy game. Could so easily have been 4-4. We attacked like champions and defended like the local girls school. From the off, Jags made decisions that were beyond comprehension. Can’t believe Stones is the answer just yet but he does need some game-time. The bench is a renowned killer of form and talent.

Why is it pre-ordained for subs to be used up front when both DMs are legless with 30 minutes to go?

Strange thing. We shipped six goals but our reputation definitely went up a notch or two. TBH, I didn’t realise we were so good.

Ant Dwyer
47 Posted 31/08/2014 at 03:13:37
I blame Roberto for the third game in a row! I like him and this is not a call for his head but, letÂ’s be honest, did he expect to dictate the centre of the park with only Barry and McCarthy vs Fabregas, Ramires, Matic and even Willian popping into the middle?

I feel like Jags needs to be dropped as his form is shocking and I also think Stones is now a must as we do not want a repeat of the Barkley situation under Moyes were a full year has to be wasted.

Also, I can’t believe for the life of me why Barry got given a 3-year deal, he will be lucky to see this season out – let alone two more after it!

MIke McLean
48 Posted 31/08/2014 at 07:53:43
Nil desperandum!

Chelsea are excellent. We are quite good with a couple of chaps who need to have a word with themselves. If we had more money, doubtless Roberto Martinez would have bought better class, younger defenders but, as one of the comments above notes, he addressed the areas he thought were critical and kept his fingers crossed that the defence would get by till next summer.

WeÂ’ll end up winning more than we lose but it probably wonÂ’t be anything like enough for top four. (Top 17 is looking good at the moment!) Maybe the club have bigged up RM too much and maybe his comments about cash only being an accelerator havenÂ’t helped him either but we have to go with what weÂ’ve got and hold on tight as the ride progresses.

Oh, and why would Stoke or Villa sell their best assets to us at this stage – even if we had the money?

Harold Matthews
49 Posted 31/08/2014 at 08:14:10
Yes Ant. Barry must have a very clever agent.
Eddie Dunn
50 Posted 31/08/2014 at 08:09:31
As for Jags, some wonder on here if he is injured. Well he can’t have been injured since before the World Cup. Perhaps last season’s injury problems have had a lasting impact on his body. It is a shame seeing him like this, he has always been a 100% player, giving everything.

It is plain to see that he is really slow and, against good, quick, technically gifted players, two old centre-halves, who need tugboats to turn, are found out. End of! Time to blood younger replacements, and put these two fine servants of the club on the bench.

Martinez seems happy to trust youth elsewhere on the park, so now he MUST give youth a chance at the back. The game is all about pace now. Surely, in training, Martinez must watch Mirallas, Naismith, and Lukaku skin our centre backs, or does he always make Pienaar and Ossie play against them!?!

Anthony Flack
51 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:05:17
For me, Jagielka was as bad as Neville was against Wigan. I am not turning on him, but he has not been the same since injury. Perhaps needs a break or a rocket.
Al Reddish
52 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:01:10
First time for 58 years we shipped 10 goals in 3 games.
Phil Roberts
53 Posted 31/08/2014 at 08:57:52
Can we get over this myth that RM plays a youthful team.

Average age yesterday was 29½. It was older than the season’s average of any of the years of OFM.

Distin 36, Howard 35, Barry 33, Jagielka 32, Pienaar 32 and he will play next match as he will recover from injury, Baines 30, Naismith & McGeady 28. Come the end of October, only Lukaku and McCarthy will be under 25.

He has only ever started 3 teenagers: Barkley and Deulofeu, who both turned 20 during last season, and Stones.

Stop believing the hype – it is a myth.

Tommy Coleman
54 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:12:25
This was all about the fitness of Jagielka, and Distin and Jags being unable to cope with elite players. Jagielka’s fitness will come but we need a long-term top-class centre-back to come in anyway.
Brin Williams
55 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:15:22
Lots wrong; lots more right – more positivity than negativity, in my book anyway.

This club has come on in leaps and bounds in 12 months and we all know why. This time last month, everyone was in agreement that what was needed was a strike force. Well guess what – we have one, in fact we have an abundance of strikers – all we need now are goals from them. But the signs are there and some of the attacking play yesterday – according to those who saw it – was the best they have ever seen!! (??)

So the attention has now turned to our hapless, aged defence – but to compare the boss’s attitude to Wiganesque is in my opinion totally wrong. Last year we shipped few goals – now we are shouting out for changes. Quite rightly so but, unlike our RS neighbours, we will have to live within our means to ’complete’ our team and that will, in my opinion, take another couple of years.

Deep down, we all know that, but being Evertonians we are not prepared to put up with mediocrity and want everything now – nil satis. That is not going to happen; I wish it would but it won’t. Roberto is no slouch: he knows what is required and will be working 24/7 to rectify the situation. But miracles take time and money; we have the time but not the money... but I do think he is capable of miracles – just WAIT and see.

Paul Kennedy
56 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:29:44
Okay, so 1 or 2 games are a blip. I remember Barça getting thrashed in the Champions League but having watched every pre-season game and the two Premier League games before this — is anyone surprised? Let a lead go when leading, ripped apart against Spanish opposition, and every time you could see the M6 down our center.

Not panicking yet... but very very worried.

Derek Thomas
57 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:18:28

Al #56 in 1958 we let in 10 in one game, so make that 56 years, but we get the point.

I went on CFCnet to see how they saw it. About 10% were not convinced on Jose at all. Though most were: a) happy for the result: b) thought we were kicking everything: c) and thus, the reff was a total homer / bottle merchant and him and his mates wouldn’t know offside if it bit them: d) their players were faultless: e) Howard was lucky to stay on...TWICE: f) they couldn’t believe how they were over run for 70-80% of the game and if we could defend they would have been in deep shit.

One guy summed all of the above up "Martinez has certainly coached the Moyes out of Everton and not, I fear, for the best."

Back to fucking basics indeed... sooner the better.

Mark Tanton
58 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:41:59
We need to use the transfer market to solve this but is there anything left after Lukaku?
Michael Winstanley
59 Posted 31/08/2014 at 09:40:01
We don’t have buckets of cash to fill the positions all at once, last season saw an improvement to our midfield and this season we’ve strengthened in attack. Next up a new keeper and a ball playing centre half to play with Stones.

We can play, there’s no doubt about that. Chelsea are one of the best teams in Europe and apart from the gifts and general shoddy defending we played very well.

Someone posted earlier that Naismith isn’t a natural footballer, strange comment as I thought he was our best player yesterday and from what I’ve seen so far this season he’s improving, great finish for the second goal.

Stones and Distin to start next match please and as previously stated this is Roberto’s big challenge but will he drop Jags?

Trevor Lynes
61 Posted 31/08/2014 at 10:38:17
It was not just the back five, it was the back seven who did not defend properly. Although the forwards played really well going forward, they also failed to close down when Chelsea had the ball. It was just one of those days that happens to every team and I just hope and pray that things are sorted out before the close of the present transfer window.

The same defence who were poor yesterday evening have carried this club for years. Stats count for nothing as we had far more possession and shots on target than Chelsea but still lost.

Hazard absolutely buzzed past Coleman and McCarthy and generally Chelsea were yards faster. I would not however blame any individual player for a total shambles of a defensive display collectively.

Carl Sanderson
62 Posted 31/08/2014 at 10:42:37
Muj #5:

I agree with all of your excellent post... except the bit about signing Cleverley.

Denis Richardson
63 Posted 31/08/2014 at 10:35:39
"We have a back five that we didn’t change the whole of last season when we kept 15 clean sheets’

Actually not correct, a certain Mr Stones was part of that back five for a fair few of those clean sheets, when a certain Mr Jagielka was injured.....

Milos Milenkovic
64 Posted 31/08/2014 at 10:21:49
Well, I don’t think we should be back to basics. We have same defense and two defensive midfielders which kept 15 clean sheets last season. I was waiting 20 years to see Everton playing attacking football and now, when we finally have that, I don’t want to go back. Even more, my only concern is that we play with 2 defensive midfielders as I would prefer just one, especially with Barkley in team.

As written before, Everton is now footballing team and should look into how to progress even further in terms of playing and controlling the game. Three of Chelsea’s goals were offside (2nd), unlucky own-goal (3rd) and bizarre mistake by Besic.

I am still much more disappointed with the way we didin’t show up for second half at Leicester and against Arsenal.

Derek Knox
65 Posted 31/08/2014 at 11:03:16
Some good points you make there, Milos (#68), and I have to agree on the two DMs which worked fairly successfully last year, but the opposition not only scrutinise the set-up but also play to counter it.

I also feel that, apart from the previous comment, it does limit the forward distribution, without an Attacking Mid to feed both the wings and the strikers.

If Barry was a quicker player, we could probably get away with it, but there is no disputing his experience and ability to read the game. Generally speaking, neither Barry or McCarthy have assimilated last year’s partnership.

John McQuade
66 Posted 31/08/2014 at 11:05:02
Deffo think Martinez letting Dave Billows (fitness & conditioning coach) go at the end of last season, coupled with the shambles of a pre-season, has everything to do with this poor start. As Carragher said last week, in this day & age, conditioning & preparation is all important.

Our players don’t look right, Billows used to work on individual fitness plans for the players & focus on certain strengths & weaknesses. O’Keefe should ask Martinez why someone who is regarded as the best in the business was allowed to leave after 5 years.

Dean Adams
67 Posted 31/08/2014 at 11:20:42
Wow!!! Some amazing over-reactions on TW. A few years ago, I went on Holiday at the end of August early September. Whilst I was away I heard that Arsenal had been battered in the premier league, shipping eight, yes eight goals in a match with United. Were Arsenal relegated that season? Did the defence carry on letting them down, so that they finnished bottom half? Did they finnish mid table? Did they qualify for Europa league? NO. They still qualified for the champions league. Why do people over-react? Emotions running high, stupidity seems to take over.
Rob Halligan
68 Posted 31/08/2014 at 11:09:56
Have been saying all summer we need to sign a goalkeeper. One or two have disagreed saying Robles isnÂ’t all that bad. Now I know he has played no part in the first three games, but for me he is not the answer to replace Howard. If Petr Cech wants to leave Chelsea, then try and get him and put him number one!!

Roberto says "not many teams will score three against Chelsea". Very true, but not many will concede six against them either!! IÂ’ve said in the last few weeks loyalty plays no part in football, and if jags and Distin need replacing then do it ASAP. We have about 36 hours to find a centre half if Stones is to one replacement. By selling Duffy tells me RM already has a replacement lined up.

Dean Adams
69 Posted 31/08/2014 at 11:57:41
All this we need a new keeper crap. Howard was immense at the world cup, not that long ago. Chelsea were lucky. They scored deflected goals, had the run of the ball and the bounce. It could be argued that because they were positive they deserved the luck, but never the less, they got it. OUr deflections went well wide, our shots just missed. The stats showed how much effort we put in. Not every team will score with almost every shot. I feel really confident about this season having seen how good we were going forward.
Paul Thompson
70 Posted 31/08/2014 at 11:50:31
There are two defensive issues - the people and the system. On the first, unless someone is brought in before the transfer window closes, the likely alternative is Stones for Jags. Stones will be a great player, but at the moment his positional play isn’t up to scratch. Ok, he will learn, but expect goals to be shipped along the way. I wonder whether RM will experiment with Besic at the back (which was his main position at the previous club).

As for system, it’s not working. Yes, we did have a good defensive record last season. But as other posters have noted, some of the pre-season problems have persisted. They are not playing well as a unit, the wing backs are giving too space to (counter) attackers and the midfield is not providing enough cover in front of the back four, making us vulnerable to swift attacks, particularly by top clubs such as Chelsea. We have some time to put tis right, but it’s a huge test for RM.

Colin Glassar
71 Posted 31/08/2014 at 12:05:11
Spot on Dean. Football is a game of margins. That game could easily have ended up 5-5. They scored an off side goal, a deflected goal and an own goal. The other 3, admittedly, could’ve been defended better but with our two central defenders in a constant state of panic it makes it incredibly hard for the rest of the team to cover them.
As I said on another thread, if we sort out our keystone cops defending we will have a great season.
Carl Sanderson
72 Posted 31/08/2014 at 12:28:58
Can’t agree that Chelsea were lucky. Nobody scores six goals away from home against an excellent team - and we are - through luck. Their finishing was ruthless and took full advantage of pathetic defending. Phil Jagielka will have woken up this morning with the image of Diego Costa imprinted on his mind.

It’s easy to rationalise it all and say, "if this or that had happened..." Our defence was a fucking joke yesterday and Martinez needs to take some hard decisions, either about personnel or tactics.

Ray Roche
73 Posted 31/08/2014 at 12:38:55
Carl, although I can agree with some of your post, "defence was a fucking joke ", to say that " Nobody scores six goals away from home" isn’t right. Chelsea did just that yesterday. If you take the OED description of "luck" as "Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions" then Chelsea were indeed lucky. Deflections, offsides, own goal, us hitting the post , could all be construed as bad luck for us, and good luck for them. OK, Howard could have been sent off if Stevie Wonder wasn’t the linesman, sorry, assistant referees ,but that could again be described as luck. Or incompetence.
Nick Entwistle
74 Posted 31/08/2014 at 12:51:05
Ray, Roman philosopher Seneca (I looked that bit up) described luck being when preparation meets opportunity.

There was a lot of opportunity going about yesterday.

James Smith
75 Posted 31/08/2014 at 12:58:37
Theres one thing that worries me with stones and thats his pace. He can be painfully slow at times.
Peter Morris
76 Posted 31/08/2014 at 12:55:32
was struck by a comment made by our former captain Pip on MOTD last night(he’s now of course firmly re-established in his former MUFC Biggest Club in the World dreamworld), when he said that Chelsea had dominated the first half of the match. Really? Apart from scoring twice in the first 2 minutes, I thought most of the play was in their half and most of the possession was held by the team wearing blue, including of course scoring a goal and striking the bar, but maybe I was at another game?
Carl Sanderson
77 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:01:40
Ray:

You possibly misread my post. I said that nobody scores six away goals THROUGH LUCK. I stand by that.

Mark Frere
78 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:09:03
Its debatable weather old father time has finally caught up with Jags and Distin... perhaps both are simply just struggling with fitness and form at the moment, but whatever the reason for their poor showing this season, both need dropping.

Stones and Alcaraz should start the next game. Alcaraz gets far too much criticism on these boards IMO; he struggled with injuries for the majority of last season and never really got the chance to get into his stride. He had some good and bad games... terrible in the Anfield Derby but was no worse than Jags and some of the other players that day. He was actually excellent playing alongside Stones in our home victory against Southampton.

Slightly off topic: I see we are linked strongly with Holtby again. Would love him here, along with Micah Richards and a long term partner for Stones... okay I’m being unrealistic; probably not enough money left in the transfer kitty for all 3 players.

Nick Entwistle
79 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:07:34
Peter, I think given the two goal start Jose would have been happy keeping it tight for 87 minutes. He’s the master of letting the other team have the ball.

RM did it against Utd and hailed a genius, two weeks later Pulis does it against us and gets called a shit house tactician.

Jamie Barlow
80 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:15:53
Mark, everyone looks unfit. McCarthy was at fault for two goals yesterday. Not because he had a bad game. It was because he was absolutely knackered. He let Hazard fly past him for the 3rd and just watched Ramirez for the 5th. Would anyone that came in be fitter than what we have because to me, this is the biggest problem we have. Every one of our players are dead on their feet from 70 minutes on.
Paul Dark
81 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:23:07
Apart from the defence and McGeady, I thought we looked good yesterday, very good. Barry and McCarthy need to protect the defence a little more than they did; Coleman is very vulnerable to wingers since he plays so narrow and gives time. Santi Cazorla and Hazard are real class acts and can’t be given space. I think RM is doing really well, but he will undo his good work unless the central defence is shored up and Coleman has someone to help him on the right (NOT McGeady who is signally inadequate despite playing some really good passes).

We will look back on Besic’s first touch in the Premier League and laugh in time to come up. I really like the look of this player in all senses: his confidence, his technique, his vision. He’s going to be excellent for us, probably better than McCarthy or Barry, I predict (albeit somewhat cautiously).

Still think it’s too early for Stones to be playing week in, week out. We need one, possibly two centre backs before Monday - or we could see Hibbo there! :-)

It’s a shame that some people simply can’t help betraying their lack of class: John Terry’s post-match comment calling us a ’lesser side’ confirms everything we know about this cheat, good-for-nothing and weak bully. He will never understand that we are the biggest club in England.

COYB!

Mark Frere
82 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:25:14
True Jamie, very true. All our players look a bit jaded at the moment but hopefully with this International break coming up, it will be a chance for the players to fully build up their fitness levels.

There’s no excuse for Distin and Jags not dealing with balls crossed into the box though. This is the basics of being a centre back... and on this basis, Stones and Alcaraz should get the nod for the next game.

Peter Morris
83 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:27:46
Agree with you Jamie(84).RM made a bizarre comment last week about getting up to fitness in a few weeks time. Wha?
We were out lunged for the last 25-30 minutes last week by an Arsenal side, a number of whom had travelled to and played in Turkey in mid-week(that’s at least two very long and tiring days out), whilst our boys were presumably relaxing at home watching them on tele!
That said, we had much more energy in the final quarter yesterday than against Arsenal(IMO), so maybe we are getting better. A decent break now for most of them, so let’s hope so.
John Pickles
84 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:47:07
I seem to remember that when Jags arrived here from Sheffield United, he has less than brilliant and Moyes said he lacks the belief that he is as good as the others at a bigger club. It was only after settling down that he started to realise he was good enough that his confidence grew and he started performing.

Maybe his confidence is shot again after mixing with the world’s best players at the World Cup and coming off second best.

Allan Board
85 Posted 31/08/2014 at 13:17:55
Hi fellas, first-time poster but daft Evertonian since November 1977 (Latchford hat-trick in 6-0 v Coventry) and regular visitor to The Old Lady.

Lots of negatives from yesterday, understandably, but our forward play is great! I think Jags needs to be taken out of the firing line and Stones to play alongside Distin for a lengthy spell.

We could do with Oviedo back fit and healthy soon to play left back – I think he’s a better athlete/tackler and much pacier over 3 or 4 yards than Baines. Baines then into left midfield which means we don’t lose his undoubted class.

Stones I think will get Seamus going forward quicker as his ability with the ball is so much better than Jags. And perhaps look at playing a bit more savvy with our full-backs... like if our left backs bombed on, get our right back to sit? Opposition teams seem to have oceans to counter us!

Denis Richardson
86 Posted 31/08/2014 at 14:22:27
Sign Ron Vlaar from Villa - guy is in the last year of his contract so would not cost that much. 29 years old and loves putting his head where it hurts. He’s right footed but there’s no rule that you can’t have two right footers at CB.

Would add a great bit of steal to the defence and at 6ft 3, he’s got decent height too.

Either way, Jags and Distin combo cannot be used for the whole of the season again - need to plan for the future. Distin (36) Jags(32) and Alcaraz (32) are not the future of our central defence.

Rob Murphy
87 Posted 31/08/2014 at 14:21:57
Jags has always been a ’last-ditch tackle’ type – a really good defender who reads the game well doesn’t have to make such tackles.

Think there was a touch of Moyes about Martinez’s selection yesterday – he stuck with the tried & tested because of the opposition, rather than replacing one of our centre-back duo with Stones after two very poor performances. Stones must start our next game.

As for Besic – people can wax lyrical here all they want. For me, his cameo last night was simply unacceptable at this level.

Ben Dyke
88 Posted 31/08/2014 at 14:36:39
I am not sure we have the right balance in the team yet this season. It’s obvious from Martinez’s time at Wigan that he knows how to set teams up to attack well, as evidenced by that win against us. Sadly, overall, Wigan’s record showed that, more often than not, he didn’t get either the right defensive players or the right defensive system.

Last year was a big surprise that we did so well defensively and it’s understandable that he continued with that back 5 but now is where he earns his money. Jags has looked really short on confidence and form, Distin has been OK, Howard hasn’t been at his best to me, Alcaraz is not good enough and Stones is not ready to be first choice, I think.

I think we need a new centre-back but all our top money was spent on Lukaku, presumably in the hope that the defence would carry on as last year. Let’s all hope the international break restores confidence and form and Martinez has the right coaches to instil a new spirit defensively.

James Stewart
89 Posted 31/08/2014 at 15:21:17
@75 Delusional. That was not a game of small margins. To defend like that in a Premier League game is totally unprofessional. We made Chelsea look like Germany vs Brazil when that wasn’t the case.

We have some excellent attacking talent. Mirallas, Naismith and Eto’o were absolute class. Lukaku and even McGeady to a certain extent also put in shifts. McGeady was hauled off after setting up a goal. Another bizarre decision from Martinez.

I am beginning to seriously worry about Martinez’s ability tactically. 3 games in a row he has failed to keep up with the game and give some players who are dead on their feet a break. His use of substitutions is literally shocking. People will point to Besic and say thats why he wasn’t on earlier but give the lad a break the game was already dead by his introduction.

Martinez also can’t seem to even organise basic defending principles. The positioning of centre-backs especially was beyond belief at this level and not for the first time this season. I was certainly no Moyes fan but he knew how to set up a defence and that looks like it has completely eroded now.

Martinez should seriously think about bringing in a defensive coach.

Brendan Whelan
90 Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:15:55
James @93, well said....
Ray Roche
91 Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:22:01
Nick Entwistle @78

Yeah, well Nick, that Seneca bloke is deffo old school. We’ve moved on since those days.

Carl, yes, mate, Chelsea didn’t score all six goals through "luck" alone, we helped them by being as inept at the back as I can remember, and they were as you say, ruthless, but I still think luck played it’s part.

Colin Glassar
92 Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:25:04
@75, I’m not saying anything to the contrary what I said is, if we’d cut out those silly mistakes we could’ve stopped at least three of their goals. Plus the fact that their 7ft giant of a keeper tipped Kev’s cert onto the post which could’ve been another game changer.
Yours truly,
Delusional.
Paul Tran
93 Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:31:58
Nick & Seneca have it spot on.

Chelsea had the solid central defence we are looking for, the midfield playmaker we are looking for, the goal scorer we are looking for and the organisation we are looking for.

We gave them the opportunities they were looking for and they took them.

The only comfort is that we troubled that defence, which gives me confidence that we can do some damage to most teams in this league. The big question is how many will we have to score to win games?

Colin Glassar
94 Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:39:00
Wasn’t it Plato (or Aristotle) who said, "if you can’t do the basics in football you are going to get spanked"? They liked their spanking those ancient Greeks that’s why their teams have been historically shite.
Nick Entwistle
95 Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:51:46
You referring to this Colin?

Link

Paul Tran
96 Posted 31/08/2014 at 17:00:19
Oh well, I liked Nick’s Monty Python link, but you miserable buggers want to go on about Martinez, so here’s my pennyworth.......

Last season we had a miserly defence, coached by Martinez. The only time it was seriously breached was away to City, RS and Arsenal in the cup. Blow me down, Chelsea buy an excellent striker and playmaker and they cut through us too!

So this leaves us down to one or more of the following:

1. Martinez has forgotten how to organise a defence.
2. Our defence has forgotten how to defend.
3. Distin and/or Jagielka are past it/out of form/unsuitable for a blocking, non-hoofing defence.
4. Martinez has left them seriously undercooked and they are all ring-rusty.

I think its a combination of all of 3 and 4.

Like I said a couple of weeks ago, we need at least one more decent defender, who looks like he relishes the combat of stopping others scoring.....and knows what to do with a ball once he’s done it.

If Martinez is anywhere near as good as we hope he is, he’ll get us at least one of them by tomorrow night, he’ll get them to work on defending as a matter of urgency, or if he can’t, bring someone in who can. The best leaders know when to bring in specialist help (eg Ferguson). Let’s hope he acts now , or puts his his ego away and brings someone in, because our defence certainly needs something more than letting Distin and Jagielka play themselves back into form.

For once, the international break is working in our favour. Two weeks for fitness and remembering how to defend. If there are no leaders on the pitch, we need one off it and we need one coming in. Now.

Patrick Murphy
97 Posted 31/08/2014 at 17:18:54
If it’s only a matter of Roberto’s ego getting in the way then we are well and truly screwed and it might get worse before it gets better. I do agree though if RM is unable to see the deficiencies at the back he could do worse than to bring in an experienced defensive coach - if he’s half the person I think he is I don’t think his ego will get in the way of asking for help if it means that the results will improve - after all HK Mk1 got his team going following the appointment of Colin Harvey as his assistant. I would also like to see RM up in the directors box on occasions as there is no way you can see the pattern of play developing from the dug-out.

Mike Allison
98 Posted 31/08/2014 at 17:22:22
Tomkins.

I have seen it all now. Wow.

Players play badly in all sports. They have bad runs of form, it doesn’t mean they’re finished forever, even when they’re relatively old.

I personally think our defenders are good enough to recover from what is happening at the moment. Although, really the point is that the whole team needs to recover from what has happened.

For most of the Chelsea game we were dominant, and we were cruising to a 2-0 win against Arsenal with Jags and Distin looking very solid and comfortable. We need to keep calm and get it right, not push the panic button and chuck out the bathwater, bath, baby and all our life savings.

Any single bad result can happen, what matters is how we react to it. If we go five games unbeaten from now, pick up 11-15 points and concede very few goals, then a mad opening three minutes and crazy last 15 against Chelsea isn’t going to look so important.

Last season we smashed Arsenal 3-0 at home. Then they won their next five games and finished above us in the league. They didn’t drop their centre backs, they didn’t panic, they just regrouped and got on with it.

Sorry if it’s not as hysterical and dramatic as some of the ToffeeWeb drama queens would like, but all we need to do is regroup and get on with it.

Drew Shortis
99 Posted 31/08/2014 at 17:24:08
James Stewart 93 "I was certainly no Moyes fan but he knew how to set up a defence and that looks like it has completely eroded now."

I remember eagerly anticipating our first game of the season against Arsenal a few years back only to get humiliated 6-1 by Arsenal! I wouldn’t say I’m not concerned by our defending, but I think its too early to say our defence has completely eroded. This is the same back five that did so well under Moyes and for Martinez last season. I think we need a new centre-back to bring some leadership but I’m not ready to write our defence off just yet.

Hopefully the international break will give us the opportunity to really focus on our new-found weakness and we will be much more solid against West Brom. I just hope there is the money available and Martinez has the will to bring someone in. It would be a shame if we didn’t make the investment to sure up our defence now that it seems we have sorted out our forward line!

Glen Garrett
100 Posted 31/08/2014 at 17:23:03
I feel that Everton have been very unlucky in the first three games. Let’s face it, Everton are an amazing team. They just need to get the defence right.

I think the defence are just too open when defending, leaving too many gaps for the ball to be played through and getting caught too easily. They need to keep that defence in line when defending. The Everton defence is just all over the place at the minute.

I’m praying that Martinez can get the defence sorted. If he can, then Watch Out, Premier League... because they all know what Everton can do when they attack.

Please get that defence sorted.

Paul Tran
101 Posted 31/08/2014 at 17:35:52
Mike, IÂ’m neither panicking nor being a drama queen. This team with this defence will finish top six and will be bloody good to watch.

If we want to progress, weÂ’ll need at least one tough, dogged CB who can pass the ball. All the title winning sides have at least one. We have two defenders who will need replacing soon, plus another who is in turn very promising and over-hyped.

IÂ’m not convinced our current CBs are tough enough or skilful enough if we want to be more than an attractive top six side. I hope they prove me wrong.

Phil Walling
103 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:26:49
More of the expected clap-track from a manager who is a likeable bloke and a limited manager.

June, July and August have been wasted months for Everton. Only one man is to blame.

Brent Stephens
104 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:44:29
Colin, wouldnÂ’t listen to that that Aristotle - he was all rhetoric.

Nick #99 that German CB was one Kant.

Anthony Jones
105 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:32:19
Those calling for a defensive coach: Experienced defenders donÂ’t forget how to defend. The team is set up to control play at all costs, which includes letting in 6 goals, apparently. Disappointed with RobertoÂ’s fear comment. Defenders who are ordered to play high up the pitch and who are frequently lacking cover from their team mates are hardly going to appear full of confidence.
Christopher Kelly
106 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:52:50
I couldnÂ’t read any more after Patricks
Idiotic Comment. Sack the manager in October??!! Hahah. Just such a dumb comment I really donÂ’t know what to say??
Patrick Murphy
107 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:55:55
Christopher pity you didnÂ’t read the whole comment as then you would have read the "But seriously..." which indicated that I was not at any point calling for the manager to be sacked, if you are only going to read the first and last lines of the postÂ’s then it is possible to get the wrong impression about its content. But are you honestly saying that if we are in the bottom three at the end of October that the board wouldnÂ’t have a decision to make? Would you still consider my thoughts as dumb?
Drew Shortis
108 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:41:29
Phil, why the anti-Martinez obsession? We were going nowhere under Moyes. We had plateaued as a decent top seven team but after a few promising years where we qualified for European competition this was a backwards step! I was a Moyes fan but he had taken Everton as far as he could.

Could we have hired a better manager (Tunchel, Bielsa, Rangarick etc...) to take over? ThatÂ’s a difficult one to call. Did we get a very highly rated and ambitious manager whoÂ’s enthusiasm (or clap-track) has convinced the likes of Lukaku, EtoÂ’o and Barry to join us and the likes of Baines, Coleman and Barkley buy into his vision and sign long term contracts? Yes we did!

I disagree with you that he is a limited manager. Last season we made significant progression, both in terms of our playing style and our league position. We also had one of the leagues best defensive records. We are back in Europe and we look like a real threat going forward. OK, pre-season preparation does appear to have been inadequate and we have some pressing issues in defence, but these setbacks can and will be overcome. Lets judge Martinez at the end of the season, not after three games.

ItÂ’s clear that you are a glass half empty kind of guy and IÂ’m one of the starry eyed optimists, but donÂ’t you feel any hope for the future, It almost seems like you are just Trolling for the reaction or that you genuinely want to see Martinez fail so you can be proved right. I just donÂ’t get where you are coming from!

Brin Williams
109 Posted 31/08/2014 at 19:03:09
Bill Kenright is in the entertainment business and so is Roberto.

9 goals in 90 minutes for what 㿊 odd quid ranks as bloody good entertainmet to me. I would of course have preferred it to be Everton 6 Chelski 3 but there you go.

I reckon with games like that Goodison will be rocking to the gunnals for many more games.

Well done Roberto, well done Bill but perhaps we do need a few more to fill the yawning gaps at the back.

Bringing in the crowds to entertain them will ensure our future both home and abroad.

Phil Walling
110 Posted 31/08/2014 at 19:10:57
Drew, donÂ’t accuse me ofÂ’ trollingÂ’ just because my view is diametrically opposed to yours !

You are quite entiltled to think we are blessed to have this guy as manager. Some people fall in love after just one date. So be it. IÂ’m a little more circumspect.

Just bear in mind, other teams know how we play now and a number of managers are a lot less naïve than this merchant.

Darren Hind
111 Posted 31/08/2014 at 18:24:34
I think MartinezÂ’s half arsed attitude to this club in the summer is really coming back to bite him on the arse. The trouble is its now biting us on the arse too. Claims that the extra four weeks break he took and our shambolic pre season build up wouldnt matter have been shown up for what they always were, Syncophantic babble.

IMO Martinez has got used to being told how wonderful he is and he has committed the cardinal sin of not giving this club his undevided attention. Does he really think he can fuck of moonlighting for a month then come back and accuse his players of lacking intensity?

Being Everton manager isnÂ’t easy, you have to cope with the expectations of fans of a big club, whilst working for a board with a small club mentality. You have to get back BEFORE the other managers, not weeks later.

The excuse factory have excelled themselves this week. This sort of beating is alien to our current back five, although such hammerings have featured regularly throughout the managers entire career . . . .yet it is THEY who need the bollockings.

"We lacked Intensity" ? Fuck me, theres some competetion for Evertonias Pot, Kettle and Black awards this season already

Nick Entwistle
113 Posted 31/08/2014 at 19:22:35
Bit early in the season to be making sweeping arguments against the man in charge and as you all know, I am MartinezÂ’s No.1 fan.

We wonÂ’t be top 4, but we wonÂ’t drop out of that top 7 either. EtoÂ’o is very exciting and the Europa Cup will be a ride.

ItÂ’ll come good. Up against Alan Irvine, Anichebe and Lescott next. What could go wrong?

Harold Matthews
114 Posted 31/08/2014 at 19:47:55
My major complaint is that we never get the truth, and because we never get the truth, we are never really sure where we stand.
Brent Stephens
115 Posted 31/08/2014 at 20:12:17
IÂ’m with Nick #117. We should finish in top 7. LetÂ’s enjoy what comes in reaching that, plus a few cup runs. LetÂ’s enjoy Etoooo, the new Nais, Lukaku when he fires, Barks when back, Peanuts with Baines when former is fit, Coleman keepy-uppeys, Bryan when fit again, and my man Besic. Not to mention Atsu. Chelsea game not feeling so bad now! 5th here we come (well...).
Paul Smith
116 Posted 31/08/2014 at 20:24:27
Go Â’ed Brent. Needed that glass half full post. COYB
Barry Morrison
117 Posted 31/08/2014 at 20:33:24
Total tangent - can anyone explain why Torres has gone to Milan on a two year loan if he only has two years left on his contract? Is that not simply a transfer, with the loan fee (which I assume isnÂ’t small) the transfer fee?

Just wondering.

Colin Glassar
118 Posted 31/08/2014 at 20:48:44
They didnÂ’t want to buy out his contract, Barry. It was something like ٦m. He goes to Milan, they pay his wages and he disappears into the sunset and everyoneÂ’s happy.

Drew, Phil................ Nothing.

Barry Morrison
119 Posted 31/08/2014 at 20:53:27
I suppose that lets Chelsea save a bit of face too after taking such a hit on a 㿞m striker.

Cheers Colin.

Drew Shortis
120 Posted 31/08/2014 at 20:53:16
Phil, OK Trolling is probably the wrong word, no offence intended, but donÂ’t you see anything positive in what Martinez has achieved so far?

Obviously I am a big fan of his but I admit that something has not gone quite right in pre-season as several players seem to be lacking fitness. This needs to be addressed immediately.

Regarding other teams / managers knowing how we are going to play. Surely thatÂ’s the case for the majority of teams in the league. Every team has their own character. What should we be doing differently? (Genuine question!)

Colin Metcalfe
121 Posted 31/08/2014 at 21:08:22
Just been reading that Micah Richards is talking to Sunderland either in loan or for a price of about ٢M. I wonder if RM would consider some reinforcements at CB before the window closes?
Phil Walling
122 Posted 31/08/2014 at 21:33:57
Drew : Of course all the teams do their research on forthcoming opponents. It’s just that last season, Martinez pulled off a few surprises in formation and tactics that caught teams cold. Now it’s all so predictable and there are no surprises. That’s unless Etoo can spring a few.

Here’s hoping !

Drew Shortis
123 Posted 31/08/2014 at 21:58:05
That’s more like it Phil!

I agree that we are a little too predictable in how we are going to line up. It was the same under Moyes with the 4-4-1-1. As Barkley is out we don’t have to stick to 4-2-3-1 every week. I would like to see us try two up front. I think playing Eto’o alongside Lukaku would allow Rom to concentrate on getting into better goalscoring positions. Its clear that he’s not yet capable of leading the line alone on a regular basis. His touch is just not good enough. Eto’o on the other hand has all the attributes to act as a focal point and bring others into the game.

I was impressed with Mirallas’ control of the ball against Chelsea. Perhaps we could try out 4-3-1-2 with Mirallas just behind Eto’o and Lukaku who could pull out wide making room for shooting opportunities for Kev. This would also allow us to put Besic or Gibson into midfield alongside Barry and McCarthy which would help out the centre-backs whilst still allowing Baines and Coleman to get forward to join the forward three. Only a subtle change, but I think it would work.

Phill Thompson
124 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:15:15
Ryan Shawcross from Stoke at ٦ mill is latest rumour to solve our central defensive problems.
Colin Glassar
125 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:15:25
Drew, I still think Mike Bassett's 4-3-2 formation is is the way to go. I still can't fathom out why nobody else has implemented this.
Brent Stephens
126 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:25:00
After 24 hours to calm down over those shocking goals conceded, I’ve just watched the full recorded game. I have to say that, having acknowledged the shambles around the goals, we actually played better than I realised when I was at the game. And McGeady much better than I gave him credit for. And Lukaku, despite some poor touches. And McCarthy and Barry. In fact, we just never gave up and collectively more impressive than I thought. Nais, of course, I’ve already drooled over, and cameo from Eto’o. Roll on the next game!
Derek Knox
127 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:26:11
Brent#120

Alright mate, I was almost having a ham shank whilst reading your post, about the possible permutations of our first team squad when fully fit.

I then decided to slam in the lamb, well it is Sunday.

Brent Stephens
128 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:37:20
Derek, that "ham shank" - never put mustard on it!
Derek Knox
129 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:33:10
Oh I forgot to mention, the link with Shawcross, seems to be gathering pace, but I have also heard that Rolando's agent was seen on Merseyside too, how anyone could recognise the agent, let alone Rolando, is beyond me.

As I mentioned on another thread, Rolando is an anagram of Old Roan, how much of a coincidence is that?

I think by this time tomorrow night all will be less of a mystery, and Jags and Distin may still yet be splinter gatherers! :-)

Rob Halligan
130 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:32:28
Phil Thompson saying we are signing Ryan Shawcross. What’s it got to do with an ex RS?

Only joking Phil!! Not sure on this deal to be honest. I think Shawcross has managed to control his rash tackles in the last year or two, and to be fair, he has not been in the press for "the wrong reasons", so may not be a bad signing. SSN reporting Southampton close to agreeing deal for Alderweireld!!

Colin Glassar
131 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:43:50
Derek, Rolando's agent is that guy outside St. John's Market with the, I am Rolando's agent, sign around his neck. Everyone in town knows him.
Brent Stephens
132 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:46:14
Derek, if Jags is on the bench, I hope somebody puts superglue on it first. On the other hand, maybe not - the thought of him running around the box with a big piece of wood hanging from his arse...!
Jim Bennings
133 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:50:01
Get Shawcross AND Rolando!!

We need a fucking defence that can see out pressure.

There's no way we can go a whole season with the four central defenders we have.

Jim Bennings
134 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:53:38
Jagielka and Distin are proving they cannot be reliable anymore and if we stick with them we are going to concede many many more pathetic goals.

Alcaraz is shit to bits after a few games and Stones can't be expected or relied upon for a whole season's demands as promising as he is.

Jim Bennings
135 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:57:27
* correction Alcaraz is SHOT to bit's not shit haha
Derek Knox
136 Posted 31/08/2014 at 22:57:13
Jim#139

" if we stick with them we are going to concede many many more pathetic goals ".

I see this Superglue that Brent suggested, is getting out of control, but until 23:00 tomorrow we are, well erm stuck with it!

Brent Stephens
137 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:07:39
Derek, word is we're signing a guy called Bostik to replace Jags.
Colin Glassar
138 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:08:47
I think we could sell Alcaraz to either Hull or QPR tomorrow for around 㾶m.
Colin Glassar
139 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:11:23
Is he east European Brent?
Rob Halligan
140 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:10:24
Maybe we can put some bostik on Robles gloves!!!
Brent Stephens
141 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:17:14
Colin, I thought you of all people would know him!
Colin Glassar
142 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:19:57
Well it's going to a long day tomorrow lads. I'll have all my mobiles, iPads, laptops, faxes, telephones, teleprinters, ticker tape, telegraph poles, bongo drums, smoke signals etc....switched on tomorrow to keep you all up to date with the latest news coming out of Finch Farm.
So, it's goodnight from me and it's goodnight from him.
Derek Knox
143 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:22:21
Colin#136

That explains it, I haven't been to St John's since the fire, and No. it wasn't me who started it.

Rumour has it, Billy Joel knew something about it.

All this Arson about transfers is doing my head in.

James Marshall
144 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:33:08
Stop coaching them to step up against teams with great movement, and you might get somewhere. Suicidal defending on a grand scale.

The management and coaching was as much to blame as the players themselves.

Harold Matthews
145 Posted 01/09/2014 at 01:18:16
James. I'm with you on the suicidal defensive strategy.
Richard Harris
146 Posted 01/09/2014 at 01:34:35
Unfortunately the defence is starting to play like Wigan under Martinez and it's not just individual player errors. In the last few years of OFM I watched Wigan games more closely as I was impressed by Martinez's positive mentality, openness and his philosophy of attacking football. However the positives were often undone by poor positions of the defenders, ball watching and with a number of players in the box who did not seem to close down a dangerous situation or be on the same wavelength as their team-mates. Generally Martinez never really sorted this out and Wigan and I would have expected that with better players at his disposal that this would be addressed. And as for our fitness levels so far compared to other teams....it is no excuse to say that players will take a while be at the required level as the season has only just started. You need to hit the ground running to be successful otherwise you are always playing catchup.
I'm not sure what Graeme Jones, Inaki Bergara and Richard Evans add to our poor pre-season and start of the campaign but if they are only there because they worked with Martinez previously then they were collectively a part of the problems that eventually got Wigan relegated. Yes I know that Wigan won the FA Cup but sometimes that requires a little luck, a favourable draw and negating a better team while taking the few chances you may have.
I'm particularly concerned about Richard Evans - Head of Performance.

"Evans is involved in both physiotherapy and sports science, meaning he's tasked with preparing and maintaining the fitness of the Everton squad".

"This involves managing the ongoing fitness programmes for the first team squad and overseeing injured players' rehabilitation".

Dennis Ng
147 Posted 01/09/2014 at 01:35:58
I hope you have a busy day for us Colin, seems like we need a bit of that.

Harold, James, I don't think we're at that level yet other than this last game. If we are, our record last year would not be that good. Stones (or Besic) for Jags (or Distin) might be something to think about in the short term, unless we get one of the proven names in the market.

Jim, Alcaraz was always a short term "help the team" project. I do see him coming in for a change if he's fit. He's never more than a bit part role for us.

Harold Matthews
148 Posted 01/09/2014 at 02:05:15
Dennie. Last year's record was last year. We're in a whole new universe now and I can't keep up with all the Premier League squad changes and new philosophies. Anyone facing backwards with a safe feeling of satisfaction will be sucked into a black hole at the speed of light.

The world is turning on it's axis. Cleverly is demanding 70k p/w. Roy thinks he is better than Huddlestone and Shelvey. Van Gaal is selling half his squad. Howard is starting to nut the opposition. Lacina Traore has disappeared. Henen could sign within the next 48 hours. We've conceded 10 goals in 3 games and Swansea are joint top.

So there you have it. Last year Mr Moyes wore Armani suits and was manager of the biggest club in the world. This year he can be seen on TV getting a bucket of cold water poured over his head. All for a good cause but last year it wouldn't have happened......and it's the same with our great club. The six goals against were a wake up call and we have to bury the past and start anew. Our brilliant attacking play will all be in vain if we wait for our weaknesses to regain their former strength. It could be a long wait.

Julian Wait
149 Posted 01/09/2014 at 03:34:56
I must admit I already wished we'd sign Lescott before WBA did and now I really regret that we didn't. Ah well, hopefully Roberto and the 24x7 crew will come up with a better a ball playing left side centre back tomorrow ... me, I am ever the optimumist ...
Sean Kelly
150 Posted 01/09/2014 at 05:43:19
Harold you’re spot on mate. I too am fed up hearing about the 3rd best defence record last year. If the defence goes out thinking that we are screwed. It matters zilch what happened last year. Teams have sussed us out and now our weaknesses.

I often here managers and players being clinical in there thoughts after a defeat and often here them say " it’s done we move on to the next one". I wish some people would heed these words whether we win or lose. Football is always about the next game and future development of the squad. We had some brilliant times and players in the past but as great as it is to remember and respect them it is just memories. We should be about making positive memories for the future generation of supporters.

With this mindset we should be always be building for the future development and success. We as a club are very sentimental. We keep players for too long. We give players long contracts at an age when other clubs won’t. I know this may seem cold and harsh but Hibbert Eto’o and Barry would not get two year deals at other top clubs. Hibbert should be given a one year rolling contract at most and encouraged to take up his coaching badges. At times it feels like we are a retirement home for respected players from other clubs. In short we are too soft.

While accepting that the following players have served our club and others well in the past it doesn’t mean we should be seen as a soft touch. Jagielka Distin Barry Hibbert and Pienaar have been held onto for too long.

I won’t buy in to the futile idea of top four this year although I would love it. My wishes are for Roberto to get a pulis type defensive coach in to help out and buy younger players as replacements for our ageing squad. I would like to see hungry driven young players coming in or through our ranks to drive us forward. Too many players at our club are comfortable in their positions. This had been as a result of inadequate investment through the years by the board.

So can people please stop wallowing in what we done last year as what’s done is done. We should be demanding from Roberto and the players to build on the past achievements and not rest on our laurels.

Mark Andersson
151 Posted 01/09/2014 at 04:51:52
After reading all 150 post I finally decided to watch the match. Brilliant entertainment if you look at it with a neutral point of view. The score line does not reflect the game as a whole. Everton played some great entertaining footie.

Martinez has his work to do now as a lot of fans are loosing faith. Let's hope he does learn his lessons from being the Wigan manager. If not we will go the same way.

I see the RS spanked Spurs. Still early days, my money is on Man City even after their slip. A funny old game is football.

Phil Walling
152 Posted 01/09/2014 at 08:56:01
Roberto's true commitment to improving his appalling defence will be determined by what he does today.

If the window closes without his bringing in a keeper and a central defender, we can only assume that his philosophical addiction to attack at any cost has taken precedence over plain common sense.

My off stated belief that he and his band of failed support staff at Wigan will eventually do for us will only be brought closer by a failure to address a glaring deficiency.

Our fate could be sealed by 11.00 pm this day.

Derek Knox
153 Posted 01/09/2014 at 09:07:42
Hi Phil, unlike you to spell doom and gloom, but you do have some valid points there mate. At least you can cross Shawcross off the list (confirmed by SSN reporter at FF)

I agree that something has to be done and preferably before the deadline tonight, as to the identity of any additions, well that all adds to the excitement factor, but let's hope it's not a last minute knee-jerk reaction, post Saturday's debacle defending.

Kevin O'Regan
154 Posted 01/09/2014 at 11:49:27
We’re a season behind with strengthening the defence. If the wing backs move up like Seamus & Baines do, you will need very good cover – especially against top teams. Good meaning, fast, strong and quick thinking. Or else we can go back to being ‚happy‘ with 6th & 7th. Nice going fwd. but that’s not enough - most teams are. Tough being near the top I’m afraid when you need a balance of youth, experience, craft & strength. Won’t be an easy year. But looking forward to it I am.
Harold Matthews
155 Posted 01/09/2014 at 11:58:33
Yes Sean. We're a sentimental bunch. It's in the blood I'm afraid.
Harold Matthews
156 Posted 01/09/2014 at 11:58:33
Yes Sean. We're a sentimental bunch. It's in the blood I'm afraid.
Ajay Gopal
158 Posted 02/09/2014 at 12:14:45
After thinking about the game dispassionately after a few days, there were lots of positives, but plenty of things for Martinez to sort out.
1. Our full-backs (Baines & Coleman) are too gung-ho, so much so that they seem to forget that their primary responsibility is to defend. I would say that Ivanovic is an absolute beast in this position - fantastic overlap play and a tiger in defence - and he is what our lads should be aspiring to be.
2. I think there is a very good player in Alcaraz - he has been unlucky with injuries. If we give him a few games and allow him to settle, he could be a great defender for us. I know many TWers don't rate him very highly, but whenever I have watched him, he has looked very competent, but lacking in match sharpness.
3. We have a massive period coming up - starting September 13th, we will play 7 matches in 23 days (one match every 4 days including Liverpool, ManU, Swansea, West Brom and Krasnodor away and Wolfsburg and Crustal Palace at home) and this will define our season. Martinez will have to use all his managerial nous to get his tactics and player rotation spot on. No way will Jagielka and Distin play all these matches. Tough choices for Martinez to make - does he fiddle around with his centre back pairing during this crucial phase and potentially be out of 2 competitions? Does he take the 'safe' option of going with Jagielka and Distin and allow more goals to be shipped? Personally, I would like to see Jagielka and Alcaraz together for the Europa games with Besic instead of Barry providing the aggression and running with his younger legs.Surely, Stones and Gibson will also play major roles during this period.
4. I was hoping that the 2 week break would give Martinez and his staff time to work with the defence especially the set-plays, crosses and the off-side trap. But with 4 important defensive players (Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Stones) away on international duty (also Garbutt and Galloway for the U-21s), there is very little that Martinez can do prepare and refocus the defense. Hopefully, RM and his staff use the time to analyse the 3 games gone by and identify the problems and take suitable remedial measures.

On another note, I don't see any updates about Barkley after the "let us wait for the swelling to subside and then assess the situation" statement which Martinez made - and that was a good 8-10 days back. Surely, the medical staff would know by now what is wrong with Barkley's foot and a possible time frame for his return? The silence on this front does not give me a good feeling ....

Robin Cannon
159 Posted 02/09/2014 at 21:39:47
In the aftermath of the transfer window closing, on one level I'm actually quite relieved that we didn't sign anyone.

If we had, it would have been short termism, rushed thinking based on a grand total of three league games.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that it might not backfire, and that defensive reinforcements shouldn't have been considered at an earlier date. But it's not unreasonable to point out that we had the third best goals conceded record versus only the sixth best goals scored record last season, or that we conceded only two goals more than the champions but scored forty one goals less.

That, at least, reinforces the fact that our attacking foundation was legitimately a more important focus than our defence. And, it's fair to say, while we all want the team to be continually strengthened in all positions, that seems to me to have been the general consensus here, too.

That doesn't mean that that decision might not backfire. But I don't think it's demonstrative of some totally irresponsible approach to transfer policy.

Jack Cross
160 Posted 03/09/2014 at 00:23:21
Can anyone tell me what Roberto's defence was like at Swansea?
Gavin Ramejkis
161 Posted 03/09/2014 at 00:57:47
It was right for that league Jack and the promotion it earned, Roberto bought some decent players, predominantly further up the pitch but Ashley Williams and Angel Rangel were both his signings in defence
Dennis Ng
162 Posted 03/09/2014 at 01:44:03
Harold, agree on not looking back. I am adamant that we have enough pieces to cope though. Perhaps form, injuries, luck or RM outthinking himself. I want to panic but the other part of me is like "what the heck, it's only 3 games!" Well, 2 weeks to guess which is which...I just wish we don't have so many players away for the weekend...

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