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De Gea denies another late push as Everton fall at Old Trafford

by | 05/10/2014  Comments (103)  jump
Manchester United 2 - 1 Everton
Everton fell to an improving Manchester United and Radamel Falcao's somewhat fortunate first goal at Old Trafford, extending the Blues' winless run to five matches in all competitions

The Toffees also lost John Stones late on to an ankle injury that looks likely to sideline him for the next few weeks, adding to the injury crisis that is gripping the core of the team.

Roberto Martinez made four changes from the side that had started in Krasnodar three days ago, welcoming back Steven Pienaar after a seven-match layoff, deploying Muhamed Besic in central midfield after James McCarthy failed a fitness test and restoring Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku up front in place of Samuel Eto'o and Christian Atsu.

Everton found themselves having to deal with an invigorated United side, though, who probed with quick passing in the early going and exploited the space afforded them down their right by going ahead after 27 minutes.

Phil Jagielka could only divert Rafael's deep cross into the path of Juan Mata who laid the ball off to Angel di Maria and he swept it past Tim Howard from just inside the penalty area.

Howard had to make a smart one-handed save to turn a Di Maria free kick behind three minutes later and Everton had the chance to go into the break level when, at the end of their best move of the match thus far, Tony Hibbert latched onto Pienaar's backheel and was felled in the box by Luke Shaw.

Unfortunately, Leighton Baines placed his spot kick too close to David de Gea and his 100% record from the penalty spot evaporated when the Spaniard pushed his shot away.

Everton did level matters 10 minutes into the second half, though, when Baines atoned somewhat for his miss by picking Naismith out beautifully with a cross from the left that the Scot bulleted into the roof of the net.

And Jagielka went close from a corner a few minutes later but his header was probably sneaking the wrong side of the post when Falcao hacked it away from his goal line.

Everton seemed like they may be shifting the momentum in their favour at that point but the match turned just past the hour mark when, first, Pienaar limped out with an apparent recurrence of the injury that has dogged him for the last few weeks and then when United re-took the lead.

After Howard had come out of his area only to clear straight to a red shirt, Di Maria dragged a long-range effort wide of goal but it fell right to the feet of Falcao in the centre of the area and he diverted it home.

The Blues eventually started to ratchet up some pressure in the closing stages and will feel hard done-by that they didn't manage to grab a late equaliser. They were foiled by two terrific saves by De Gea in injury time, though, who made a one-handed save to deny Leon Osman and then bettered that effort by pushing a seemingly goal-bound effort from Bryan Oviedo over at full stretch following a corner.

Stones fell awkwardly on his ankle in the same incident and had to be stretchered off with suspected ligament damage, capping a disappointing afternoon for the Blues.

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports

Reader Comments (103)

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Victor Johnson
1 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:49:27
Lyndon, the second save was from Oviedo. Got to say that I was completely gutted after that. Apart from losing, I am disappointed and shocked at the way we have completely lost direction as a team. Important players are injured but thatÂ’s no excuse for the complete lack of intensity in our play and the succession of errors brought about by what looks like a Â’couldnÂ’t give a tossÂ’ attitude.

What the hell is going on in training? Has Roberto lost the dressing room, perhaps? I have a lot of time for Roberto and he gave me so much last season, but this year has been woeful. My faith is wilting...

Gavin Johnson
2 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:43:56
RobertoÂ’s going to get the flack at the moment, the results donÂ’t stand up this season. But heÂ’s got some serious mitigation if he wanted to make excuses, which he hasnÂ’t!

ItsÂ’ a complete joke and shows fickleness that some TWÂ’bers think the manager who got us our highest points tally in Premier League history suddenly doesnÂ’t know what heÂ’s doing. WeÂ’ve got some very winnable games after the international break, and when we start picking up points again theyÂ’ll say heÂ’s the bees knees.

Victor Johnson
3 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:10:34
Gavin, take a look at the table, and ’winnable games’ tend to be anything but. I support RM but something seems amiss this season – everything just seems uncomfortably lethargic, from the players to the manager to the communication regarding injuries. Lukaku is perhaps the perfect example of where we are mentally at the moment. I don’t like it at all.
Patrick Murphy
4 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:14:00
Fickleness you say but some will say that the warning signs have been visible for the latter part of the last campaign and the beginning of this - the table doesnÂ’t lie and it doesnÂ’t care who is injured or what fixtures any team has had to play and it wonÂ’t lie at the end of the campaign when, wherever Everton finish, it will be where they deserve to finish.

Many of us are just a little concerned that the results are being accepted a little too readily by the players and the management team. Let us all hope that they are right and we start picking up points. Nothing in football is given; it has to be earned and we have only earned six points from a possible twenty-one.

Scott Jones
5 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:07:09
Post 1 Victor Meldrew or what! When we have played high-intensity we have lost our shape and looked very vulnerable. Today we kept a pretty good shape for most of the game. When we create loads of chances we concede tons of goals,when we keep our shape it comes at the expense of creativity.

Individual errors and injuries to key players have cost us so far this season. On a different day, we would have got at least a draw from todayÂ’s game. We got our tactics perfect due to our lack of penetration with Coleman, Mirallas and Barkley all missing. Patience is a virtue, it will come good for us.

Gary Carter
6 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:23:13
Basically out of the last 30 points available we have taken 9, we have conceded 21 goals in these 10 games and have looked like a team incapable of defending as a unit, predictable and slow going forward and the manager is obsessed with possession in our own 3rd!!! Martinez is out of his depth and needs to go as soon as possible because we have the strongest team and squad I think I have seen since the Premier League began.

He is just not a Premier League manager, his one trick pony tactics worked for us up to about April this year and now he has nothing else. He has shattered the confidence and belief of some top quality Premier League and international players and needs to be held accountable for this and I would rather see him gone before the damage is irreversible.

I also worry that some of the promising youngsters we have are ruined by his poor footballing tactics and ideas, he is not strong enough as a manager as is clearly seen by the lack of fitness and ability to play as a disciplined unit in our team

His dealings in the transfer market have consisted of overpaying for players and bringing in complete dross and I can only hope we have someone in place before the next transfer window so they have a chance to repair some of the damage he has done.

Martinez Out!

Gavin Johnson
7 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:20:55
Patrick, to be fair I didnÂ’t read all the posts, they got a bit samey after reading a few. ItÂ’s just the usually rants about McGeady and Lukaku and now Roberto. The ones about Lukaku being the new Heskey are humourous; since when did Heskey ever have a decent goal return?!

The shit about wasting 㿈M on him (when we could have only dreamed about spending that amount on a player before the summer) HindsightÂ’s a great thing and very prevalent on this site...

We could have signed Joe Bloggs for X amount, when they suddenly start scoring goals this season. The comparisons with Costa are the best "But he only cost ٢M more" never mentioning the little details that the said player will be on twice as much wages and came from the La Liga champions and would never ever have signed for Everton.

I saw PulisÂ’s name mentioned a couple a times and a few people who now emerge as never rating Roberto. IÂ’m not happy with the results but IÂ’m going to give Martinez the benefit of the doubt. People on here can call it making excuses if they like. I think weÂ’ve had terrible luck with injuries and probably had the hardest opening fixture list. I donÂ’t give a fuck about the last few games of last season, all I care about his the next seven games that are very winnable.

Sam Hoare
8 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:52:09
At least QPR lost. Says it all really.
Ged Simpson
10 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:55:14
In a nutshell, Sam.
Declan Brown
12 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:55:56
Defeat at Old Trafford and weÂ’re annoyed, shows how expectations have gone up.

This season is concerning for many reasons, the defending (lack of), poor up front, Lukaku off to a slow start, Howard, Jags and Distan being a heart attack waiting to happen at the back, the lack of fitness, the lack of organisation, we never tackle any more, we donÂ’t even press any more.

ItÂ’s concerning, itÂ’s a bad start, the hard games being an excuse is cancelled out by the performances, individual mistakes and lack of energy all round. IÂ’m with Roberto, heÂ’s got himself a hard job now in the coming weeks.

I laughed at the Roberto back to Wigan and us with Pulis joke on the other thread. To push that a little further... I had a nagging feeling Mark Hughes was the man for us after Moyes left: pragmatic, attacking minded, his teams are oganised, fit, competitive and take no prisoners, gets good players in for cheap and has an eye for good attacking players> We wouldnÂ’t see a Hughes team getting easily turned over by the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal or Man City. That was my shout, I still think thatÂ’s right given the resources and what was needed to keep us competitive but progressing. IÂ’m expecting dogs abuse for that, but hey thatÂ’s only my opinion!

But Roberto is here for the long term and I support him and hope he turns it round, last season is still fresh in the memory, he restored the belief again, made us dream, but weÂ’ve been found out now, so tactics need to adapt, right away iÂ’d say just shore up the defence and get it organised, once weÂ’re solid at the back again the confidence will return, along with instilling some proper fitness back into the team, being physically stronger will help seeing games out too.

I just wish Roberto he could see what weÂ’re all seeing as supporters and address it immediately. At least we wonÂ’t have to worry about being in Europe next season so weÂ’ll be back to one game a week again!

And please, Roberto, stop the over-the-top enthusiasm after poor performances, I sometimes seriously think youÂ’re on drugs mate, after watching us so far this season I wish I had some of what youÂ’re smoking senor!

Wayne Smyth
13 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:50:33
Lack of fitness, Gary?

Thats why a couple of days having come back from a 2000+ mile trip from Russia, having played 7 games in 3 weeks with half our squad out injured, we ended up sieging Man Utd in the last 10 minutes of a game...because weÂ’re knackered. Lets not forget we finished strongly at Mordor last week too, and came back to get a result against Krasnodar. Seems people are confusing poor form for....well anything that takes their fancy.

Also, on his transfer record, my only criticism of him would be that IÂ’m not sure I agree with giving long contracts to players like Hibbert and Barry....but thatÂ’s something that will prove to be right or wrong in a year or two.

Lukaku, McCarthy, Besic, EtoÂ’o, Kone are his main signings and I wouldnÂ’t call any of them dross. Certainly EtoÂ’o, McCarthy and Besic look decent value on their current showing and we know Lukaku can play a lot better than his current form suggests.

I think itÂ’s clear we donÂ’t have the strength in depth to cope with so many injuries and I think a few individuals in our defence have had a shocking start to the campaign leading to dropped points.

If weÂ’re not in the top half of the league after our next 7 fixtures, then IÂ’ll be a lot more worried, but giving our managers some stability and support is the only thing that has kept us from relegation over many years when trying to compete with clubs who are in a different financial league.

Paul Ferry
15 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:28:14
We havenÂ’t played well for a while; the gafferÂ’s decision-making can be questioned every game now; we have conceded 16 goals so far, sixteen!

It is a question of confidence but also there are examples of poor judgment all over the pitch and at times it seems to me that players are genuinely unsure about whether or not to do something that might not fit in with the gafferÂ’s seemingly rigid system.

Take today. Goal 1: Their right back is in acres of space that lead to the goal because Naismith and Baines are in centre-mid doing what exactly? (Ball-watching.) Goal 2: What on earth was Howard thinking when he did not hoof that ball into Row Z?

IÂ’m hurting right now and worrying also. But Bobby will turn it round so long as he can start to show a little flexibility and quite frankly more incisiveness when it comes to the obsession with possession, sticking rigidly to the centre-midfield situation week-in and week-out>

Bave decisions need to be made about certain players (although that itself becomes more difficult with one injury after another): Lukaku (something needs to be done); Baines (more below par now than he was this time last season, and that is saying something); Barry; McGeady (not up to scratch).

The gaffer needs to be thinking more carefully and regularly about Besic (wind blowing in that direction), Oveido, Browning, Garbutt, and we could do worse than spend serious time looking at the 18-/20-year-old crop. Ross, Macca, and Seamus will be back it seems for the next game or at least thereabouts but then more kicks in the balls with Kevin and John.

Villa at The Old Lady? Howard – Browning – Jags – Distin – Garbutt (won’t happen) – Macca – Besic – Coleman – Oveido – Naismith – Eto’o

On the brighter side, Schmeichel not alone in saying that De Gea won points for Man-Utd today and we looked perfectly capable of (okay, yet again) nicking a draw.

But the last thing we need at this minute is idiotic drivel like "Martinez Out"!

He looked as down in the mouth as I have seen him post-match today, but I was pleased that for the first time I think he said that he was "concerned". Thank God there is an international break next week because Bobby needs to take that "concerned" on board and think more clinically and decisively than he has up to now about what exactly needs to be done to put things right.

Doug Harris
16 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:24:24
Todays failure in not getting a result, be it a draw or a win, was down to Tim Howard. Schoolboy error in not putting it in (or better still) over the stand. Biggest fear now is another injury to get over, thankfully we have an international break.
Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:18:07
I thought it was the right time to be playing Man Utd because of their injuries and them not playing really well under a new manager but we never competed at all in the 1st half and there wasnÂ’t much energy (again) to their performance with hardly a shot on goal.

However they had a decent go in the 2nd half and could have got something from the game if Howard hadnÂ’t done one of his cock-ups.

IÂ’m with Robbie, I think he is a good manager but his tactics have been sussed and he needs to mix his game plans up a lot more.

Simon Jones
18 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:35:30
Martinez Out? Really? Slightly shaky start to the season, several of our better first choice players are missing through injury and we hit the panic button? What happened to supporting your team through thick and thin?
Jamie Barlow
19 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:29:38
Why do we only start playing high intensity football when we go behind or with only 10 minutes left? Why do we start every game far to slow? If we played teams like we played Man Utd for most of the second half, we wouldnÂ’t be in the shit we are in now.

Paul Scholes said we "look like a team that had travelled to Russia on a Thursday night and had an early kick off on Sunday." Problem is, weÂ’ve looked like that most of the season. Up the intensity ffs!!

I hope Martinez isnÂ’t being hard-headed. He just canÂ’t ignore our absolutely fuckin garbage set pieces. ItÂ’s criminal to waste so many good chances because it doesnÂ’t fit the way you think football should be played. His philosophy isnÂ’t quite working is it? Mix it up a bit!!

Peter Laing
20 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:43:44
When Leighton Baines misses a penalty, you just know itÂ’s not going to be your day.

The difference between the two teams today was the goalkeepers for each of the respective sides. De Gea was man of the match, Tim Howard once again at fault for not clearing his lines, the ball was recycled and without having the defence set and a miscued shot the poor clearance once again comes back to haunt Howard.

Martinez needs to find a top drawer goalkeeper in January. Distin is coming to the end of his career and I believe that Howard has made enough errors this season to justify the acquisition of a replacement.

Adrie Wan Ahmad
21 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:47:36
People, we have 82% of the league games to play for. 5 points away from the last CL spot. Rom is playing with a bad toe. Yes, we were appalling for the past 4 games.

Moving on: 3 winnable games in the league on the trot. Naismith is scoring and playing well.

Barkley, Coleman and McCarthy are coming back soon. Hibbert was solid as neither goals were his doing. WeÂ’re still top of our Europa group as well.

Calm down, give Mr Bobby Brown shoes some space to work his magic.

Gavin Johnson
22 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:50:26
ThatÂ’s a good assessment Jamie, on how we only seem to spring into life in the final 10 minutes or when we go a goal down. I also agree that we look absolutely gash at set pieces. Corners donÂ’t mean anything any more. (WasnÂ’t it 1 goal for the entire of last season?)

Surely we could get a coach in who would specifically work on defensive and offensive set pieces. ItÂ’s not as though you have to completely change your style of play to do these things better.

Gary Carter
23 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:45:42
Alright, Wayne Smyth, yes, I think our players look lacking in fitness, I think itÂ’s indicative of the injuries weÂ’ve started picking up. Yes, I know a couple are more impact injuries but our players just donÂ’t look up on the pace of games and our pre-season was laughable. ItÂ’s often the case by the way that when teams are a goal ahead with 10 minutes to go they sit back, hence it being easier for us to "lay siege" to them.

What are your thoughts on our tactics? Why is it that we play with two holding midfielders yet our centre backs are being made to look poor because they have no cover in front of them? These individual mistakes are because our defenders are unsure of what to do because they have no cover in front of them and they are playing a system they cant cope with.

Even when we beat Wolfsburg they walked through us at will. We lack shape and discipline as a team when we donÂ’t have the ball, do you think the players that used to not give an inch of ground to anyone and were always well set up have suddenly decided to stop doing it against MartinezÂ’s wishes or is it something in the way he has us set up?

For me, he is tactically naïve and not disciplined enough and it is showing in the team and the way they play. The team is a reflection of the manager, 2-2.5 goals a game we are conceding, that’s Wigan standards, mate, and I put it all down to him.

Of course I back the team, but I donÂ’t believe in Martinez, never have done and am very worried my fears are being realised. I get no satisfaction out of that as some people might suggest because it means we lose and obviously I want us to win. LetÂ’s see what happens over the next 7 games but it doesnÂ’t look good, and this hasnÂ’t suddenly started happening, it was happening towards the end of last season....

The long contracts are a bit of a concern but I think on the whole Barry and Hibbo made sense. My concern is Alcaraz, Robles and Kone, they are poor IÂ’m afraid. ٤ million for an average 30-year-old striker that has barely played and when he has has looked awful. Robles has been appalling when called upon, an accident waiting to happen. Lukaku, 㿈 million? 㿀M at most...

McCarthy 㾺 million, heÂ’s good at passing backwards and sideways and heÂ’s fairly quick but for a team like Wigan, that had just been relegated to boot, ٦ million maximum. WhatÂ’s his record like for assists or goals? I like him, good at what he does but no way 㾺 million in my opinion. EtoÂ’o, absolute quality signing, canÂ’t for the life of me understand why heÂ’s not had more football.

Andy Walker
24 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:01:40
Declan, you forget Man Utd are not what they were. We should expect at least a point. Our manager is letting us down. We must ensure we donÂ’t bury our heads in the sand and get swayed by the PR from Mr Martinez. Patrick is spot on, the table doesnÂ’t lie.
James Morgan
26 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:18:34
ONE victory in SEVEN games. We are up shit creek without a paddle IÂ’m afraid. Missing key players and others not performing. IÂ’m not worried about relegation, but we certainly will not finish top six.

We finished 14 points off the Champions last season, we are 13 behind the current leaders already. Top 10 is about all we can hope for.

Gareth Fieldstead
27 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:31:28
Moyes got slaughtered after a Spurs game in Â’07 when we were chasing a game and he brought a defender on, yet Martinez brought on two and Osman yet nothing. I will reserve judgement if and when we get all our top players back, but if we are still near the foot of the table at Christmas then well Kenwright may have a huge decision to make. Bilic anyone?
Colin Malone
28 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:19:10
Gary@ 8. Martinez out?

Are you for real?

Mike Powell
29 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:35:56
Woeful performance again... how much more off this crap have we got to put up with? The league table does not lie. Before people tell me their keeper made some great saves, Man Utd shouldÂ’ve been eight up by then.

Martinez is getting found out; if he doesnÂ’t turn it round soon, then we will struggle to stay in the Prem.

Ian Riley
30 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:58:52
ItÂ’s not about who comes in during the next transfer window but who leaves. The pre-season was an indication of were we are today. However, we have played three of the top four from last season and Manchester united.

Are we up for the fight, the next five games villa, Burnley, Swansea, Sunderland, West Ham and Hull will tell us more. I hope the manager will stuff the Europa League and play the reserves. The league is our bread and butter and staying up is my concern. There is no point moaning about the position of the manager, he signed a long-term contract in the summer.

By December 3rd, after the Hull game at home, letÂ’s hope we are mid table after a good run. The international break will allow the manager to reflect on a poor start. If we are in the bottom three by then, well itÂ’s over to you Mr Chairman.

The team needs to start games at a faster pace, we are letting teams control the pace. Something is wrong and it needs fixing, formation or players, and quickly.

John Daley
31 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:51:19
Actually Gareth, thatÂ’s not what happened at all. it wasnÂ’t the fact he just Â’brought a defender onÂ’ that turned the crowd that night, nor were we Â’chasing the gameÂ’.

Everton had just equalised. He brought our only forward off and brought on Tony Hibbert to see out the game. Spurs scored straight away to leave us chasing the game with no attackers left on the field.

Patrick Murphy
32 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:50:48
Bilic will have to wait for Pulis to leave before he leads us to the promised land; this is purely based on history repeating itself.

If we regard David Moyes as the modern equivalent of Harry Catterick in terms of longevity only and then Roberto as the modern day Billy Bingham – nice guy but unable to get the results when required – then Pulis would in my mind be the only candidate who could emulate Gordon Lee, dour personality but sometimes likeable with a penchant for liking hard-working players.

Thus, the next man to take over from Pulis will be the chosen one who manages to emulate Howard Kendall Mk1 so it has to be an Ex-Everton player, so yes, Slaven Bilic would fit the bill...

And now, back in the real world... Come on Roberto, get it sorted mate and soon – otherwise, we may have the aforementioned scenario in a whirlwind six months.

Wayne Smyth
33 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:37:16
Gareth, I donÂ’t think many would disagree with bringing Browning on as a like-for-like swap for Hibbert. Most would probably like to have seen him start the game.

Oviedo came on for Pienaar (enforced) and although Oviedo can play left back, he can also play as a midfielder, and Osman came on for McGeady.

How you can criticise those subs is beyond me, not because of who they are (eg, Osman), but for what impact it had. It resulted in the best part of our play and we were desperately unlucky not to score on about three occasions in the latter part of the game, with Osman being at the centre of a lot of our good work.

Gary, IÂ’ll be honest. IÂ’m not a fan of two defensive midfielders. I think itÂ’s overkill especially against teams that sit deep, but it works very well when we have two attacking fullbacks... which with Coleman out, we donÂ’t have.

Compound the lack of threat from right back with the loss of Mirallas, Barkley and a fit Pienaar, and I think itÂ’s obvious that McGeady, Naismith, Osman and Atsu are not of the quality we need to do damage to top teams... and IÂ’m not going to lambast Martinez after only 15 months in charge because of injuries, or because heÂ’s not replaced all the ageing shite with top quality talent to take Man Utd apart at their gaff.

I think our centre backs are being made to look poor, not because of the lack of cover in front, but because of their own mistakes, compounded by a goalkeeper in poor form. WeÂ’ve seen lots of individual errors from Distin and Jags costing us key goals and today unfortunately Stones was playing Falcao onside for his goal, after Howard failed to kick the ball into touch while we were a man down (Pienaar was injured on the pitch).

If we were conceding lots of goals from passing the ball about at the back, I think you could easily argue this is down to Martinez tactics, but clearly the errors are simple individual mistakes that you donÂ’t expect seasoned professionals to be making.

ItÂ’s also easy to look at the team and assume theyÂ’re playing like Martinez wants them to be. HeÂ’s come out and said in the press conferences that he doesnÂ’t want our team to be sitting back defending a lead, or having slow build-up play. He wants us to be sharp in our play. ItÂ’s clearly not happening at the moment, but if thatÂ’s what heÂ’s aiming for then he has my full support.

On the transfer front, Martinez has spent about ٥.5M on Robles, Kone and Alcaraz. Not big money even if all 3 turn out to be complete shite. Moyes wasted more on Bily than all of them combined.

I actually think Alcaraz is decent, but clearly injury prone. Robles doesnÂ’t look great and the jury must be out on Kone due to his injury.

Andy Walker
34 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:20:54
Gary @8 IÂ’ll second that!
Rob Halligan
35 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:10:01
Just home from the match, and to be totally honest if we had drawn I would have been pissed off. We should have well won that.

Only one person to blame, and that is Tim Howard. United were no threat whatsoever second half and were there for the taking. What Howard was doing in the lead up to that second goal God knows. Kick it into the stands for fuck sake. They canÂ’t score while the ball is up there. Second half we were by far more than a match for a very poor Man Utd side.

So now the first seven games are out the way, including Arsenal, Chelsea, the Redshite and Man Utd. Now letÂ’s go on a run and win a few games. Once Barkley, Seamus, MccCarthy and Mirallas are back, we will be a force to be reckoned with.

My only concern now is Stones. I donÂ’t know how bad his injury is. Think Howard needs to up his game as well.
Shit, maybe IÂ’m being too optimistic!!!

Mike Oates
36 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:13:13
Just got back after a nightmare 6½-hour journey to South Coast. I was given a ticket by a Man Utd mate and when I arrived it was obvious that the supporters were hoping that Everton wouldn’t turn them over, as they expected, but the game would be a close run thing.

After 30 mins, they knew we were there for the taking because we showed nothing at all going forward, absolutely paceless, no creativeness, tired, slow slow play, and mainly in our own 3rd.

The penalty should have been the major turning point, because if we scored they would have collapsed, but, it wasnÂ’t.

We looked a bit better in 2nd half but howler after howler with our passing caused no end of trouble and even though we had a good 10-min spell when we scored, we shot ourselves in the foot with HowardÂ’s poor clearance leading to their winner. Man Utd then didnÂ’t have the confidence to do us and dropped off and hey we finally got going, and maybe should have come away with a draw.

Their supporters after the game were saying we looked absolutely clueless and nowhere near the team they played last year... What has gone wrong?! We just donÂ’t seem to have the energy anymore, we are so slow and boring (the Man Utd chant in 2nd half), Lukaku a disgrace, Besic like bloody Wilkins crab style, even Stones looked off the pace most of the game and Pienaar should never have played.

One gutted Evertonian!

Andy Walker
37 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:23:10
Howard - past his best
Baines - past his best
Jags - past this best
Stones - great prospect (bought by Moyes)
Hibbert - past his best
Barry - past his best
Besic - early days but nowhere near finished article
Pienaar - past his best
McGready - not good enough
Naismith - good enough in the right formation
Lukaku - not the finished article

Is it any wonder? Yet our manager paid ١m-ish a year canÂ’t fucking see it.

Kieran Riding
38 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:29:25
Rob #38
And Mike #39

Both been to the same game, yet different opinions. Sums it up perfectly for me. Thanks lads.

Gary Carter
39 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:29:13
Wayne, I would agree with you about the injuries apart from the fact only Barkley has been out all season and weÂ’ve been shit all season AND the tail end of last season.

Martinez saying he doesn’t want us to sit back on a lead, well that’s just naïve and clearly it didn’t work at Arsenal did it, that was one of the most grossly mismanaged matches I’ve seen since Moyes brought Hibbert on in the Tottenham game, in fact it was worse than that. He brought on a lightweight winger in Atsu that had never played for us and was untested in the Premier League!!

And forgive me for being picky but if his tactics don’t work with Coleman out then he should surely adjust them to something that works with the personnel at his disposal – it’s called ’managing’!!

Like I said, one-trick pony that got found out at the tail end of last season, 9 points out of the last 30 and conceding nearly 2.5 goals a game against teams like Leicester, Swansea and Palace!!! Relegation form... I didnÂ’t want Martinez when he was appointed; he almost convinced me last season... doing as I expected him to do now!

Barry Stevens
40 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:28:11
Also back from the game. We were unlucky today. As someone else said, when Baines missed the pen, you sort of just knew it wasnÂ’t our day. The next 5 games will bring a different outcome.

I said on another thread. Watch the difference when Ross starts playing again. We overacheived last year. This team is capable of putting a run together and we will finish in the top 7.

And as for "Roberto Out" calls. Ludicrous.

Kieran Riding
41 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:33:46
Andy #40

I agree: weÂ’re doomed. I mean, Moyes signed Stones after all didnÂ’t he. He didnÂ’t agree to join Wigan and then decide to join a bigger club, it was deffo the Moyes factor.

We would have won at Anfield last week, and deffo won at OT today under Moyes.

Andy Walker
43 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:43:41
Kieran, donÂ’t be so pessimistic, weÂ’ll stay up. Not a good target though is it?
Mike Oates
46 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:43:18
Kieran, we didnÂ’t even get De Gea to make a save in first 44 mins, we tested him for 10 mins at the start of 2nd half and last 10 mins as Man Utd sat back. We are fine at retaining ball in our own half but we are nowhere near last seasonÂ’s form. We just canÂ’t keep waiting for Barkley, Mirallas, Coleman et al because they are out injured and have been or will be for some time yet.

Man Utd were missing Rooney, Jones, Smalling, Carrick, Evans, and Herrera and still looked sharper and more incisive than us.

Yes, we could have scored 3 near end but Man Utd could have scored 2-3 in first 20 mins.

Paul Holden
47 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:51:17
IÂ’m getting a bit restless now...
Kieran Riding
49 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:57:01
Paul (#50),
DonÂ’t worry, MotD2 is on in 5 mins, they will edit it and make us look boss.
Jamie Barlow
50 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:37:28
Rob, Tim didnÂ’t put it into Row Z because itÂ’s not the Martinez way. He wants to keep the ball and play football at all cost.

The amount of times weÂ’ve conceded this season because of stupid mistakes instead of just clearing our lines in mental. First and foremost, defenders need to defend. Keepers need to keep (is that right?). We need to get back to basics and do the simple things in defence. I donÂ’t mean lumping the ball up front at every opportunity but knowing when to play and when to get rid. Let the forwards play the football.

We might get to see Baines in midfield now Oviedo is fit. HeÂ’s the only player we have that can find a forward pass at pace. He did it time and time again today. Fast balls to the forwardsÂ’ feet. I think heÂ’d do a good job in there with McCarthy or Barry. Plus heÂ’d get forward a lot more than both and is as fit as a fiddle. IÂ’d like to see what he could do.

Kieran Riding
51 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:00:31
Cracking post that, Jamie (#54).

IÂ’d have Baines full back with Bryan in front of him, interchanging all game.

Rob Halligan
52 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:07:36
I get your point, Jamie. But players donÂ’t have to abide by everything a manager tells them to do. Surely Howard must have been able to see down that line where he was putting the ball? It was almost right in front where I was sitting and no way did he look up to see where the ball was going.

Just boot it out of play FFS!!!!!

Nigel Gregson
53 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:25:39
Rob H – absolutely. I can’t believe that Martinez hasn’t played Robles all year. I mean I’m not Joel’s biggest fan, but fuck me, Howard, ever since retiring from international football, seems have lost the drive and the extra edge that he showed last season.
Mike Price
54 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:21:23
I hope Martinez turns it round but I am getting worried now. The pre-season was shocking and players not being properly conditioned is totally unacceptable. Lukaku is overweight and he needs to lose about a stone to not look ponderous and regain his pace and sharpness. Just look at how much heÂ’s sweating after 10 minutes... itÂ’s complete negligence from both the player and management.

The lack of conditioning is affecting the speed of our play and undoubtedly not helping with all the injuries weÂ’re picking up. Something just doesnÂ’t feel right at the club right now... too much niceness and fake positivity, and not enough aggression and pragmatism.

Tony Abrahams
55 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:01:36
The kid Lukaku does not know whether he is coming or going. I love to see good football, but I also like to see threatening football. Put the ball in behind and play to his strengths. If we do this then am sure his touch will improve, because heÂ’s that desperate to get a pass, he ends up coming towards the ball at 100 miles a hour.

I thought his head went today, and so would anyoneÂ’s playing upfront in the first half for Everton. IÂ’m not making excuses for him because if he wants to be the best, then he has got to be braver and develop a nasty streak. But how many runs has he got to make before he gets a decent ball over the top?

The kid is getting mixed up because we wonÂ’t mix it up. When we finally decided to play, it was too late and he offered us very little presence when we needed it most.

As for being glad QPR lost, why? Because we would be in the bottom three? Man Utd, are in the top four now, which just goes to show how false the league can be after seven matches. We havenÂ’t got started really, but despite how bad we played first half, I still donÂ’t think we deserved to lose.

Rob Halligan
56 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:30:48
Biggest balls up we made during the transfer window was not signing a backup keeper. I, like you, Nigel, am not a fan of Robles, and wouldn't trust him in goal. However, if Howard keeps up this inconsistent performance then I fear Robles will be given a run in goal.
Tony Byrne
57 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:35:25
I've said for the past 3 years that Howard is shite; this season though he has excelled into a complete liability. Moyes didn't buy a good enough back up in Mucha & neither has RM in bringing in Robles. For him to not put that ball into Row Z today was unforgivable. I can't believe he didn't see Pienaar lying injured. He does not instill confidence into the back 4. RM has to bring in a goalie in January. If he doesn't then he should walk. Begevic anyone?

The 1st half today was woeful, did you get on the space Blind had coming out of his own half with the ball, resulting in them scoring their 1st goal.... fuck me. No pressing or harrying of the ball at all, we gave them the freedom of the park.

Is it just me or are the players under orders not to put crosses in or only as a last resort? We have played the RS & Man Utd with both having dodgy defences & yet we fail to exploit these weaknesses. We put the odd good cross in but when in a good position to put it in, it gets passed 3-4 yards back with the hope to create a one-two going back towards the opposition box – what's the fucking point? Get it in! Even the corners are shite 'cos they usually end up with the opposition counter attacking!

Everyone has injuries but we are struggling without Coleman, Mirallas & Barkley, even if we had two of these playing today we would have pissed that game.

When Baines missed the pen, I think we all knew deep down that we wouldn't get anything out of the game. Man Utd are average at the back & in midfield yet they sit 4th in the league tonight.

We have to back RM but he needs to earn his wages in the coming weeks as this current form is simply not good enough. This break might give us some breathing space, fuck me, I hope so!

Bob Heyward
58 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:49:02
DonÂ’t get me wrong, IÂ’m by no means one of the Roberto sycophants. That said though, I think those who are either openly agitating for a sacking or hinting at Â’time running outÂ’, are both well wide of the mark.

ItÂ’s not BillÂ’s style and heÂ’s right. WeÂ’re not a Newcastle type knee-jerk club. As painful a choice as it may be, IÂ’d sooner have a duff season, then let a manager leave by Â’mutual consentÂ’ in the close season.

The only way I would countenance anything other than this approach is if the team were facing a true relegation battle after playing a representative cross-section of the League, i.e. not just the Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd, and Chelsea that form the majority of games weÂ’ve played in the League so far.

I’m not sure Roberto can do it. I do think he’s more limited than many crack on, while this season has been shambolic in some areas (fitness, substitutions, rotation etc). That said, he’s Everton manager, and he should get our support – even if that means a bottom-half finish. Anything less for an Everton manager would be a betrayal of our history.

James Martin
59 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:59:08
Calls for Martinez to go are madness. Did I just dream that we got our Premier League points record last season under him?

The fates haven't been kind this season. Bad injuries, a rough fixture list throwing us Arsenal and Chelsea in our back-to-back homes and Liverpool and Man Utd in our back-to-back aways. Other teams have had two cannon fodder sides at home and picked up 6 points. We should have beaten Leicester, Arsenal and Crystal Palace and yes it's our fault we didn't but it is certainly not the time to panic yet.

All we need to do is survive this rough period because at some point we will hit top form and we will beat a lot of teams. I'm still confident we will finish ahead of both Spurs and Liverpool this year. We've had far less convincing starts than this in the Premier League and still crafted decent seasons out of it. Everything we want to achieve is still available this season. One win will change everything.

Everybody was basking in Martinez when everything he touched turned to gold last season, much like they were when Moyes arrived. Rather than taking 8 years for the worm to turn though it seems as though some want out at the very first rough patch under him. How about we pretend to be supporters for once and give the guy a chance based on what he did last season/

Ste Traverse
60 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:19:45
Just seen that utter prick Phil Neville wanking off over the Mancs on MotD2.

I hated this phoney when he played for us. How the fuck did he ever become our captain??

Jack Cross
61 Posted 05/10/2014 at 23:32:04
Ste Traverse. He was a great captain and motivator at Everton and itÂ’s only your bias and hatred of Man U that is clouding your judgement, Ste.
Patrick Murphy
62 Posted 05/10/2014 at 23:15:36
James – I don't want Martinez to go anywhere anytime soon, but I do want him to have his team up for it from minute one to the last minute of the game against all opponents at all times. That clearly hasn't been the case for most of this calender year and it's not acceptable; there are players who are not giving 100% at all times and as the manager he has to address that and soon.

If we had started the game like we ended it, who knows we might have been celebrating a victory at Old Trafford but we aren't – mainly to handing a depleted side the initiative and allowing them to dominate us for long periods. Of course we'll suffer defeats along the way but many of the dropped points have come about through our own shortcomings and not so much from superior opponents.

Too nice, naive whatever it is will cost us dearly this season and it's about time the team showed that it matters to them with every pass, tackle and shot. I'm fed up watching a group of decent players going through the motions and only applying themselves when they are a goal down or are running out of time. I am fed up of an Everton team that continually hands the initiative to whoever we are playing. I am sick and tired of watching this Everton side fail to go for the jugular when the opportunity arises and then meekly capitulating when under any real pressure.

A good side shows itself through its determination and willpower and at times this season too many players have shown themselves to be lacking in both, if they can't show the right spirit throughout a game they shouldn't be in the team. The manager has to show the players who is the boss and if he doesn't he should be shown the door.

How many of us have had a weak boss and sometimes underperformed because of it, even without intending or realising it, we have just done enough to provide the minimum required.

Professional sportsmen are also human beings and they need to be coaxed and managed into going the extra yard and it is the manager's job to ensure that his players from the first whistle are prepared to go into battle and earn the right to play their football. I think that Roberto's positivity could also be responsible for some of the players' performances, I want Everton's players to be confident and cocky but not to the extent that they forget that hard-work is required in every game and 100% effort is the bare minimum the fans expect from them.

If Roberto addresses some of these issues he will get us back up the table, if however, he keeps on spouting about how good his players have been when they are only performing reasonably well in small portions of the game then he will find that managing Everton FC is not the easiest job in the world and he might have to seek new employment. We are not yet at that stage but another 10 games with half-hearted performances and weak-willed players will result in fewer points on the board and that will bring its own pressure to bear.

Ste Traverse
63 Posted 05/10/2014 at 23:40:53
Jack Cross.

Phil Neville a 'great captain'???

Ha ha!

I'd say 'great' Everton captains were the likes of Brian Labone, Kevin Ratcliffe and Dave Watson. Men who had blue blood coursing through their veins and lifted major silverware as a blues captain.

'Phoney Phil' compares to them? What an unfunny joke.

John Daley
65 Posted 05/10/2014 at 23:44:58
Speak for yourself Jack. I personally feel Ste summed up Captain 'Amazing.... for a club like Everton to finish mid-table' quite well.

Christopher Kelly
67 Posted 05/10/2014 at 23:10:30
This is a Europa League season for us obviously. Let’s focus on that. I’m having more fun with that personally. We’re going to yo-yo down to 9th this season probably so we should focus on that tournament, especially since it generates a Champions League spot. That’s what I hope Roberto focus’s on and I think he will. (I was upset with the strength of the team in Russia.)

Roberto is a better tournament manager anyways. And don’t forget this happened to Moyes a lot as well. Martinez also doesn’t have the players to implement his system. Not enough athletes for my liking.

John Daley
68 Posted 06/10/2014 at 00:28:16
Err... you do realise that doesn't even make sense Jack. Especially when you take into consideration the first three words of the second sentence: "I personally feel...". Kind of gives the game away as to whose thoughts I'm expressing.

You may have a man crush on the mashed play-dough faced Manc, who used to point maniacally whilst misplacing simple passes in the centre of our midfield, and proclaim him to be professionalism personified and (laughably) the guy who really should have been the next Everton manager after Moyes sent the ejector seat spiralling over the East Lancs Road, but don't be so flabbergasted that others consider him no more than a fucking charlatan. You'll be telling us he's a 'proper Evertonian' next.

Tell you what, I'll let you get back to your blossoming Statler & Waldorf partnership with Mr Bennings over on the other thread.

Gavin Johnson
69 Posted 06/10/2014 at 00:28:37
Just had a chance to read all the previous thread now and seen that the Pulis link was a joke. I just saw his name and thought... WTF! and didn't read any further.

Someone on that thread also mentioned second season syndrome which I buy into. We had it ourselves the season after we finished 4th and we had a few posters saying Moyes should have got the sack then.

But it's happened at other clubs more recently. I'm thinking of Swansea last season sacking Laudrup after the League Cup win. It seemed a snap decision to me, but you've got to say that they've moved on from that tricky period under Monk. Another case is West Brom sacking Steve Clarke after he got them to their highest ever finish in the EPL, appointing Pepe Mel was a disaster and they've not yet made the transition under Irvine, so it's hit and miss whether these things come off.

I don't think we're at the stage yet where people can seriously say we should sack the manager who got us our biggest ever EPL points tally. I don't think Martinez does himself any favours on how he has to put a positive on absolutely everything, but then again many would say that it was the same positivity that got us all to believe last season and made a nice change from dour Davie's habit of downplaying everything.

Expectations have gone through the roof so Bobby's probably made a rod for his own back now we're going through the rough patch (with that Champions League sound bite). So I think that its natural to have a lull in fortunes and the more favourable fixture list after the international break will see us turn the corner.

On a side note, someone mentioned Bilic. If I remember right, didn't he pretty much shaft us by feigning a career-ending injury so we paid up his contract before going to play for Hajduk Split?

Andy Crooks
70 Posted 06/10/2014 at 01:19:16
Some of the comments remind me of the stuff I wrote at the last couple of years of the Moyes reign. That was after giving him eight years of support and acceptance of the circumstances under which he had to work.

Frankly, I think some Evertonians are going to be embarrassed at the stuff they have written today. I know that being negative is easier because I’ve done it; if you are right then how fucking smart are you. If you’re wrong then you can come on and admit how happy you are to be wrong.

We have good players but are devoid of confidence. I haven’t read anyone who finds Roberto faultless but talk of relegation and sacking the manager is utterly mind boggling.

Gavin Johnson
71 Posted 06/10/2014 at 01:42:02
Good post, Andy.
Paul Dark
72 Posted 06/10/2014 at 01:21:06
Pulis represents every anti-Everton value in the book. Horrible manager, simply horrible – he should never be mentioned in the same breath as Everton. Bilic could be a very good EFC manager.

But Roberto stays for now, definitely. He needs to make some hard decisions: McGeady, Alcaraz, Robles and Osman must never play again. We need an experienced rock in the centre of defence in January.

Lack of fitness and injury-proneness need to be addressed, too. Once Barkley and everyone is back, things will be much better, but how long can we bank on that for?

Lukaku needs to stand up and be counted: he looks slothful. Eto'o should be given the striker's berth until he does, I'd say. Sam looks sharp and very clever. I think Pienaar still has a lot to offer us. We need a deeper squad.

The full-backs need to defend wider and McGeady must NEVER again play for us, never. He's one of the worst players I've ever seen in an Everton shirt – and certainly recently. He's worse than Osman. He can't tackle, pass, go past a man or hold the ball – and he gives it away with consistency. Atsu needs to replace him. What must McGeady think in his private moments? He must wonder how he holds down a regular place. It's embarrassing.

Gavin Johnson
73 Posted 06/10/2014 at 02:16:32
Don't you think Osman made the difference for us when he came on Paul? He was involved in most of the attacking play and nearly scored. I'm not his biggest fan, but I appreciate him coming on for 20 minutes.

He just can't do for 90 minutes and he gets lynched by many on here which I understand but it's not really his fault. He isn't going to turn round to the manager and say 'my legs are shot after an hour boss, take me off'.

Paul Dark
74 Posted 06/10/2014 at 02:37:08
Gavin – I do agree; though he didn't score did he – despite two very good opportunities. I accept your point, though I personally consider him too high-risk for a side chasing CL (or wanting to avoid relegation?).

Why do Everton managers never pick the side I want them to? One of the eternal mysteries... :-)

Brian Wilkinson
75 Posted 06/10/2014 at 06:50:33
Refreshing change to come on here and local whipping boy Osman not mentioned in a single comment of blame. Time yet for someone to say Osman broke wind on the bench when Baines was taking his run-up for the penalty put him off.

The point I am making is Osman is easy to blame if he plays and some do not see that the problem is way beyond Osman being on the field.

'Martinez Out' is an absolute joke, When you have the likes of Pienaar, Coleman, McCarthy, Barkley, Mirallas and now John Stones to name but a few this season injured, along with a fixture list that includes Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool both away, I really do think people are getting ahead of themselves.

It's worrying our loss of form but at the same time we have the players here who have the ability to go on a run unbeaten and it will come, trust me on that.

Keep the faith, coyb.

Dick Brady
76 Posted 06/10/2014 at 08:02:32
On the bright side, at least Roberto Martinez knows all about relegation battles and he's got a pretty good record in them. He's only been relegated once in all the times he's fought relegation.
Hugh Diamond
77 Posted 06/10/2014 at 08:12:29
There is definitely a lack of confidence, not helped by the fact that we should have had 6 points after the first two games & then we were thumped at home by Chelsea.

I think we need to play a settled team in October & stabilise things a bit. We have Villa at home, we should concentrate on just not losing that one. Draw away at Lille & then crush Burnley. Build confidence until the best players come back.

I'm sure we'll get our mojo back and go on a run before long. It's no use slagging off the players. We have who we have & it's a better squad than Moyes left us with. Defensive coach might be an idea though?

Eddie Dunn
78 Posted 06/10/2014 at 08:47:53
Scot 5, we could have been 3 goals down in the first nine minutes,- so much for our good shape.

The fact is, that we could not get a grip of the midfield till they took off Di Maria. We did not put them under any real pressure till near the end, when Martinez at last put on Browning and Oviedo, and Ossie. Too little too late, and that is once more down to the manager acting too late again.

Kieran Fitzgerald
79 Posted 06/10/2014 at 08:41:08
Gavin mentioned second season syndrome above. I think it is a very valid point. We all expected a season of transition last season and if we are being objective, we did over-achieve in terms of consistency and progression. Expecting the same season again with all the changes in personnel and managerial styles was never going to happen. This season is when we will see the last of the Moyes effect on the team and the Martinez ethos and style really being instilled.

Are we playing anywhere near as well as we could? Definitely not. Are we really as bad as we appear? Definitely not either. There would seem to be a crisis of confidence or a mental problem of some description that needs to be addressed. There is still plenty of time to fix this.

When you look at the squad, things are staring to come together. A fit Oviedo will give us more options on the left hand side. Browning will give us more options on the right. Besic is getting more game time and will give us more options in midfield. Eto'o is getting game time and will give us more options up front. Barkley is back training and he will provide us with options going forward.

When you look at our next six games, they do give us the opportunity to get some wins under our belts and to instill some confidence.

Phil Walling
80 Posted 06/10/2014 at 09:28:53
Keiran's is a fair and measured summation of where we are at the minute although I think he is slightly over-optimistic that 'things are beginning to come together.' Only in the final phase of yesterday's game did we look like last season's team.

Certainly, the next six games will tell us whether or not Martinez has it in him to turn the chaos of pre and early season into a reasonably satisfactory campaign. Personally, I don't think he has enough quality at his disposal to fight on two fronts but it was he who chose to blow virtually the entire transfer budget on just one player.

I hope we shall see some of the much vaunted youngsters in action but I hope their progress won't be halted by coming into a struggling team. But such situations can be the making of the really talented and results could hardly get worse than those to date.

In Coleman, Barkley and Stones we have three of the most exciting talents to emerge for years and I am more enthused by them than the multi-million-pound lummox we had to suffer yesterday. Just a pity that injury means our future has to be put on hold for some time yet.

Kieran Fitzgerald
81 Posted 06/10/2014 at 10:21:08
Phil, I was also unsure about the fee spent on Lukaku. It's not a slight on the player, just that goals weren't the main issue last season. A lack of depth was. Yes, getting Lukaku in was an attractive option given his input last season, but I don't think the price tag was in our financial favour. I suppose it was a judgement call on Martinez's behalf. Only time and a fully fit squad will tell if spending the money on Lukaku was worth it.

In terms of the youngsters, you are right to say that results can't get any worse. I think Browning will start to get more game time. He seems to be the only one making the bench though. This was one of the hopes for many fans that got carried over from last season to this one. So far, with the exception of Browning, it hasn't materialised.

If this season is to be the one of transition, then embrace it to the full. If it starts to look like we will be a mid-table team as the season progresses, then give the young players as much time as possible and prepare for a more sustained push next year. I know this sounds silly when we are only seven games into this season, but I think that we may need at some stage to shift what our goals and targets may be.

Phil Walling
83 Posted 06/10/2014 at 10:35:19
Actually, once the results have been stabilised, I would be happy to see this as a season of transition in which up to half a dozen of 'the young ones' get a real opportunity to impress.

For certain, we can forget another push for Europe so it would be good to have another agenda to follow. Of course, we shall still moan at bad results but at least they would be in the cause of proper player development. It's worked at Southampton so why not here?

Mike Childs
85 Posted 06/10/2014 at 12:50:10
I too would love to see a push of the youngsters, especially on the back line, and would settle for a mid-table finish if the youngsters were allowed game time.

Biggest positive yesterday had to be Oviedo. His IQ for the game was great, he just missed a few great linkups due to pace on the passes. I think he was spot on getting on Romo's case for not going back post when Romo came near post.

Sorry but I hope Pienaar never see the pitch again. I hate diving and he is a serial diver. Slightest contact and he's on the ground.

Gareth Fieldstead
86 Posted 06/10/2014 at 13:29:59
Your definition is different to mine and a lot of others, John. Drawing at home to an average Spurs side... yes, I would call that chasing the game, presuming we should have been beating the likes of Spurs that season at home – after all, we had already done just that away.

Sorry, Wayne, I still think the substitutions could have been more adventurous. Browning was always going to offer more going forward than Hibbert and no doubt he may not have got skinned as often as Hibbert did by Di Maria, but I thought Lukaku was dreadful yet again yesterday, as was McGeady. You wouldnÂ’t have considered EtoÂ’o and Atsu?

Roger Sunde
88 Posted 06/10/2014 at 14:00:12
De Gea MotM, Bainesy missing his first penalty ever and we have half the team out with injuries. At OT I might add.

And people say RM out, this is getting embarrassing.

Joe O'Brien
89 Posted 06/10/2014 at 14:09:55
Exactly, Roger, calls of "Martinez Out" are embarrassing. Only 7 games in and it's panic stations already. Missing a lot of our important players at Old Trafford and we still should've come away with some points. It just goes to show how far we have come.

Tony Pulis and Everton shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence. I think some people on here are afraid of success. Some go on about this being the best Everton team in a long time and I agree but, if RM wasn't our manager, the core of this team would have been sold already. Definitely if OFM was in charge. The only reason the likes of Barkley,Stones, Coleman and McCarthy are still here is because of Martinez.

It'll all come good. We get a lucky break in a match to get 3 points, get a bit of confidence, then go on to get another 3 points and things start to click. Only 7 games in and the league table is so tight: three straight wins and we're right up there. This team is more than capable of that.

James McPherson
90 Posted 06/10/2014 at 14:18:01
Gavin (73) - good, well thought-out post. I think you are correct around expectation. I think too that you are correct on Martinez having to look inwardly at his own performance.

Previous threads have debated the pre-season and how we seemed to dawdle into the present campaign with a lethargy and staleness that has disappointed many. They looked so under-cooked and without doubt, it cost us points – points that could have helped the lack of confidence that seems to be spiralling ever downward.

My personal view was that complacency was its heart. Martinez's hyperbole and positvity grates on some because it lacks sincerity and realism. Given the injuries and the general situation, an away defeat at Man Utd should not ordinarily herald the outcry that has emerged. However, it's the frustration around what could have been that irks.

Dropped points at Leicester Arsenal and Palace were absolutely avoidable. Pre-season was an absolute shambles and its ensuing consequences are there for all to see.

Nicholas Page
91 Posted 06/10/2014 at 14:58:04
Bit concerned, I must say. IÂ’ve just looked at all our results, including pre-season 2013-14 vs 2014-15.

2014-5 vs. (2013-14)
EPL only
P7 W1 D3 L3 F14 A18
(P7 W3 D3 L1 F10 A9)

All domestic
P8 W1 D3 L4 F14 A21
(P9 W4 D3 L2 F13 A12)

Inc Preseason + European
P15 W2 D6 L7 F19 A31
(P16 W7 D4 L5 F26 A21)

Now, the comparable games vs same fixtures last season and not same period reads;

P8 W1 D3 L4 F14 A21
(P8 W3 D2 L3 F10 A11 - excluding the Stevanage League Cup game, and using the Fulham loss vs Swansea and substituting Cardiff for Leicester).

What is striking is just how many more goals we are conceding, and how shit pre-season was not only in terms of results but quality of opposition. Last year, over the same period, we had won 5 more games scored 7 more goals and conceded 10 less. Which is hardly fucking phenomenal in anyoneÂ’s language. So either there is some masterplan in place which I have yet to see or weÂ’re POTENTIALLY in trouble. Which leads me on to some Wigan analysis:

Pos W D L F A GD Pts
RM 2012-13 18 9 9 20 47 73 -26 36
RM 2011-12 15 11 10 17 42 62 -20 43
RM 2010-11 16 9 15 14 40 61 -21 42
RM 2009-10 16 9 9 20 37 79 -42 36
SB 2008-09 11 12 9 17 34 45 -11 45
SB 2007-08 14 10 10 18 34 51 -17 40
PJ 2006-07 17 10 8 20 37 59 -22 38
PJ 2005-06 10 15 6 17 45 52 -7 51

Anyone notice the Goals Against column? Well it rose significantly on RM joining Wigan and averaged 69 over his 4 years vs 52 for the 4 years previous. Goals For rose by only 4. This translated into 2.25 less games won on average (replaced by draws as losses statistically the same).

I have not compared this to the division as a whole, so maybe more goals were conceded on average in the last 4 years but what I do find remarkable is that the 34 goals conceded jump in 2009-10 vs 2008-09 which never then dipped below 60.

Given the gaping chasm opening up in our Goal Difference this season, I thought it was worth looking into further.

My conclusion is that IÂ’m very worried.

Colin Metcalfe
92 Posted 06/10/2014 at 15:30:01
I just got back from a working trip in the States where I watched the game. Upon opening the papers today, it makes depressing reading with the Blues languishing in 17th place, that's 13 points – yes, 13 points behind the leaders Chelsea after only 7 games played!!

I am of the opinion we are in a bit of trouble. The team on a whole seems to be low on confidence, we are having a bad run of injuries to key players, and the players coming in are not stepping up to the plate – plus a keeper whose performances are getting more erratic with each passing game!

Of course it's early days and we can still turn our season around; however, I believe some hard decisions will have to be made by RM – Pienaar, Hibbert, Osman and Alcaraz are squad players and are not good enough to start. I believe it's time to rest Howard and give Joel Robles a good run in the first team. We then have our trio of Martinez signings: McGeady, Besic & Atsu, who at this present time are not up to the job! These three have to start coming up with the goods! And if we don't see Kone soon (which I doubt) he should be moved on in January on a free and cut our loses.

We now have a break of a couple of weeks and then some winnable games but it's not going to be easy; we are in this position because we deserve to be there - although there have been flashes of good play, on the whole we have been very poor this season.

Mark Griffiths
93 Posted 06/10/2014 at 17:37:57
Lukaku will come good as you don't suddenly become a bad player –perhaps it's the team's tactics this season?

With regard to the fee, yes, he is not worth 㿈M but that's not his fault and I bet you the fee was so high in order to compensate the payment schedule, ie, if we stumped up the cash, then he would've cost 20-22m, so we are paying long-term interest in that fee.

Tony Marsh
94 Posted 06/10/2014 at 18:20:07
For those of you who crave European football for this club, regardless of the stature of the competition we play in, then what is happening to our season is a direct result of the extra games we are now playing. Slagging off Stones, Lukaku etc serves no purpose. The truth of the matter is we as a football club are not in any shape to play three games a week.

We are the only club in the EPL apart from Burnley who did not greatly increase squad size this season from last. I think we are only one up in numbers from last season and that's with the Europa League to contend with.

We qualified for Europe last season but we are not ready for it and that's a fact. Spurs and Liverpool added about 10 players each per squad; we added one and there lies the problem. Hull City even outdid us in the transfer market. Our one big purchase was Lukaku and that was on the Littlewoods catologue payment plan.

Stop whinging and accept we are in above our heads. The Europa is a noose around our necks and until we get knocked out we will struggle. It's not as if any of our fans are even interested in the football in the European games. The Lille game is all about piss ups and Baccie runs to Belgium from what I hear.

Face facts: we've got a two-bob Chairman living a dream he can't afford. Until that changes, we are what we are... Martinez can only do so much with a wafer-thin squad. Do you really think he wants to play Hibbert and Osman?

Ian Jones
95 Posted 06/10/2014 at 18:18:49
I was amongst many who couldn't see what use Naismith had to the team when he first came to Everton. He didn't seem up to much but be has been great the last 12 months or so.

So perhaps we should encourage some of the players like McGeady. Give them a chance to come good. We are all disappointed at the start we have made but I believe 3rd and 4th will be up for grabs this year. I can only see Chelsea and Man City getting the top 2.

The other usual two, Arsenal and Man Utd plus Liverpool and Tottenham look as if they could be up for it one match and not the next, so hopefully Everton can be as consistent as those and take advantage. Of course we are up and down as well. May be a low number of points is needed for 4th this season

Eddie Dunn
96 Posted 06/10/2014 at 18:48:43
Mark 97, you're right about Lukaku. He can't hold the ball up, but surely Dunc can teach him that. What he does need is quick ball out of defence, either down the channels, or over the top. What he doesn't need is Jags thumping it 50 yards in hope. The slow build-up is ruining his chances.

Baines must be under orders not to bomb-on until the last 20 mins, he constantly stops at halfway, and tucks it inside to whoever, and momentum is lost.

Lukaku can pull defenders out of position for others to benefit, like in Russia, where Eto'o took his chance, as the defenders watched the big man.

Phil Walling
97 Posted 06/10/2014 at 19:08:22
Are you serious, Ian? 3rd or 4th? Even my perennial 'seventhish' will be out of reach this season.

As for giving the hopeless a chance, Bobby must be near to calling up Robles after Sunday. Now that would be a gamble!

Wayne Smyth
98 Posted 06/10/2014 at 18:40:42
Ian, I agree completely with everything you wrote there. It's just too easy (lazy) to write players off as being shit and a waste of money when the whole team is not performing.

The same is largely true of criticism of the manager. I've seen posters on here laud Martinez when we go a goal up, and call him all the names under the sun 10 minutes later when the team concedes. It's as if they have no brain and whatever they see comes straight out their mouth without having gone through any thought process.

Gareth (90) – I think Atsu is not currently ready for top flight football on his current form. It was no surprise that he was not in the squad after his recent showings. He looks at least one level below where Deulofeu was last season. Maybe he's a confidence player and struggling with playing in a team not playing well.

Eto'o was one I would've expected, but perhaps Martinez figured that Lukaku would offer more than McGeady? Either way, the effect of Martinez's subs was pronounced and we caused them so many problems, so I can't complain.

I don't remember going to OT and laying siege their goal too often, so we were obviously doing something right at the end of the match with Osman, Browning and Oviedo on the pitch forcing world-class stops from their keeper.

Phil Walling
99 Posted 06/10/2014 at 19:20:48
Wayne, it also too easy (lazy) to ignore the evidence of your own eyes and come to believe that everything is okay based on a 15-minute siege (unsuccessful) of the opponents' goal when they are clinging to a one-goal lead.

Perhaps you see Osman, Browning and Oviedo as the answer to our problems. I bet Bobby doesn't agree with you.

Howie Rushton
100 Posted 06/10/2014 at 19:15:42
Truth be told, for how poorly the team has played so far, for them to only be 5 points off 4th and top of our group in Europe, I'm surprisingly optimistic. We should, fingers crossed, by the end of this month, finally be back at full strength and then the sky is the limit.

A few have said how Lukaku was overpriced and how he is only a 㿀M player. This is madness, the market dictates the price and for a 21-year-old with his potential, 㿈M is a good price.

I have also read that it was madness to sign Barry to a 3-year deal; have you thought of the possibility that he would have gone somewhere else if the third year wasn't offered? I'm sure the bargaining didn't go along the lines of Barry saying "I only want 1 year, I'm getting old and it wouldn't be fair to Everton to be here for longer," and Martinez saying "Absolutely not; if I can't get you for 3 years, I don't want you."

Without Barkley we have struggled and will continue to do so until he's back, there isn't a team out there who wouldn't miss a player of his level. People need to calm down and get behind our boys, I for one am confident they will turn this around.

Ian Jones
101 Posted 06/10/2014 at 20:03:41
Phil, what I probably should have added re the 3rd or 4th places is that they are potentially up for grabs this season, for many clubs, and whilst I don't necessarily think Everton will be able to take a spot, why not?

I seem to remember the last time Everton finished in 4th spot, they had a decent enough start to the season up to Christmas, sold Gravesen in January to Real Madrid, and then managed to cling to 4th spot, helped in part by other teams playing poorly and not taking advantage of some of the defeats Everton endured. 4th spot was also somehow retained with a negative goal difference – some achievement!

Assuming the top teams are able to take points off each other, thereby cancelling each other out up to a point, the teams that finish 3rd or 4th may just be the ones who can perform against the once perceived 'less able' teams. So far Everton have lost 2 and drawn 2 against the 'top' teams, and drawn 1, lost 1 and won 1 against these so-called less able teams, so find themselves sitting in 17th place, 5 points off 4th spot, a position currently taken by Man Utd, who are apparently having an indifferent start to the season.

Summary – interesting times ahead!

Wayne Smyth
102 Posted 06/10/2014 at 20:14:12
Phil, I don't think that those 3 are the answers to our problems, although they clearly did better than the 3 they replaced. However, I also don't think that Martinez is a "problem" for us, either.

Do you think it's reasonable to expect the manager to stomp all over Utd away from home? A team that's spent probably close to 𧶀M this season alone, while we're missing Coleman, Mirallas, Barkley, McCarthy and about 3 or 4 others, and only 60 hours after playing a very hard 90 minutes in Russia.

Perhaps you should take a look at our historical results there. Personally I've sat through a lot more inept, spineless performances than games where we've played really well. I'm glad we don't seek to "manage" a result anymore, so that it doesn't get too embarrassing.

The reason why I've come to the conclusion at the moment that Martinez is still a good manager for us is that I can't see anything fundamentally wrong with what he's trying to do. Things aren't going well for us recently, but the way he wants to get the team playing proper football no matter who we're playing is something I support.

If you think I'm not generally disappointed with the performances and the results, you're wrong. However, I also understand that a lot of our problems are down to the fact we're missing key players, a lot of individual errors and the quality of the opponents we've played must be factored in.

Unlike our opponents on Saturday, we can't just go out and buy top quality replacements for all our players who need replacing. This means that when injuries hit in key areas, we can struggle.

John Voigt
103 Posted 06/10/2014 at 20:08:12
I think Lukaku is worth the 㿈 million. His track record as a goal scorer warrants the fee. Plus he's only 21 and he counts as a homegrown player under Premier League rules. Homegrown players carry a premium.

In his defense, he's not playing in a position that maximizes his ability to score. He's been playing forward on the right side miles away from the 18-yard box. He's been asked to be an outlet from defense and lay the ball off. This helps the team but minimizes his chances of scoring.

Also, he needs service. I saw him make a few runs in the last game and there's not even an attempt at service. I saw him throw his hands up a couple of times after making good runs and the ball doesn't come his way.

He had one half-chance around the 37-minute mark and shot wide left. Usually he's good at getting his shots on frame but he rushed his half-chance at the 37-minute mark. That happens to basically all top goal scorers.

If you look at the combination of Naismith playing centrally with 4 goals in 7 games and Lukaku playing out of position wide right with 2 goals and an assist through 7 Premier League games, the combined 6 goals in 7 games from these 2 forward players is more than OK. I figure as long as Naismith keeps scoring, Lukaku will remain wide right. That's OK team wise and I think Lukaku is enough of a team player he's willing to go along with status quo.

Also, the defending has been poor but, if you take away the Chelsea game, the lads have given up 10 goals in 6 Premier League games scoring 10 goals in those games. That's not great but it isn't god awful when you consider 3 of those 6 games were against the big money teams. Plus this has been done with way more games without key players.

I'd like to see Eto'o play more. Let's not forget he was Chelsea's first choice striker last season and his goalscoring record wasn't bad last year at Chelsea for the way they played.

I'd like to see Browning get more playing time. We'll also have to come up with a plan "B" for playing out of the back with Stones not available for a while. He's been great at dribbling the ball out of the back and coming forward if defenders play off him.

This season is going to require patience. Buying players in bulk isn't the answer (look at Spurs with what they did with the Bale money and Liverpool with the Suarez money). Everton need to stay the course and try to find away to get results against the teams they need to get points from. It's not going to be easy, but I think it's more than possible.

I'd like to see a January signing, but only if the price is right and the player is someone who fits in with the current squad.

Harold Matthews
104 Posted 06/10/2014 at 19:20:59
Disappointing result but, in the circumstances, I thought we did okay. I felt a bit sorry for Martinez when the players let him down for the two conceded goals. McGeady not bothering to track back with Di Maria for the first and the Howard gaff plus the whole defence going asleep for the second. Normally, I support McGeady because he does do the odd good thing but this was a bad one.

Unlike many, I was delighted to have Pienaar back even though, as admitted later, he was nowhere near ready and was surprised to get a start. Yes, he falls over, especially when tired, but what a football brain. A few more starts and he'll be really buzzing.

Another plus was the return of Oviedo, a lad with pace, skill and a big heart. So unlucky with that great shot in the dying seconds. Like Pienaar, he needs games.

I was pleased to see young Browning get 15 minutes. A fine natural athlete who should have a decent career.

Lukaku is a real enigma. I don't know what to make of his recent performances but I wish he would up the revs and flatten a few centre-backs. It's almost as though he is trying to learn a new role.

Tony Abrahams
105 Posted 06/10/2014 at 20:24:34
Phil, he might have blown all his budget on one big signing. But if it's paid in installments, like it's rumoured, then it's fair to say that we couldn't have afforded any more on the wage bill. Especially since we only took one player on loan.

It's as big a squad as we have ever had, but it's still short of real quality when you get past the best starting eleven. I would love us to win in Europe, Tony, but if we do then I expect only a mid-table finish. It would do for me but it's not an easy competition to win.

Martinez talks about the Champions League, so he has got to take the Europa League seriously. How else are we going to gain the necessary experience, otherwise? I actually think he's already gambled on the players being good enough to get a few wins early on without being properly fit, because he his banking on a long season in Europe. His gamble hasn't worked so far, and has created a lot of uncertainty amongst the players and fans, but I'm still hopeful of a good season.

Let Lille be like Stoke was in 1984, when the competition became all about the fans, and our great club rose from the dead!

Kevin Tully
106 Posted 06/10/2014 at 21:06:07
Some of the hysterical reaction we are now witnessing can be attributed to last season, and the summer transfer window.

Last season, we achieved 72 points, our highest ever return for a Premier League campaign. We all agreed some of the football was the finest we had witnessed since our glory days in the '80s.

A real push for 4th spot, and a 7-game winning streak had us all believing we could finally match any of the moneyed elite.

We then went shopping for a 㿈m striker! Feck me, we couldn't believe our eyes. Add Eto'o, Atsu, and a new midfield enforcer in Besic, and we ALL thought we would improve on last season – who wouldn't?

Sadly, lads, it's not that simple. Just look across the park. 𧴰M blown and they went backwards. Man Utd look average, Spurs as poor as us. Arsenal blew 㿼M and couldn't manage a shot on target until the 90th minute against Chelsea.

Hull City, Newcastle and West Ham all matched us in their summer spending sprees, so let's not believe we have broke any records in this division.

I think Martinez will turn things around, but he is a victim of last season's success, and blowing all the housekeeping on a 㿈m prospect. (㿄m actually - ٢m was an add-on if we reached Champions League.)

If he can mould a team to play how he thinks the game should be played, then we will all be watching some of the best football for a generation.

It's either Ole football, or probably Malky McKay. Or even that other chavvy baseball cap wearing knob, Pulis, in the dugout.... Does any Evertonian really want to witness us regressing back to kick and rush?

Bobby Thomas
107 Posted 06/10/2014 at 23:36:29
The midfield options are completely unbalanced and, as Pienaar & Ossie are basically finished, we have nothing but wingers & holding players.

We badly need a linking, ball-playing, dynamic midfielder. Delph fits the bill; however, we may not be in any shape to bother after this season as we have clearly gone backwards.

We are a poor side at the minute and the next two games dictate what the rest of season will like. It’s very early to say it but Villa almost feels like a must-win. Confidence must be low. It will be on the floor if we don’t perform or don’t get the 3.

Phil Walling
108 Posted 06/10/2014 at 23:56:04
Good to see so many Evertonians are happy with things at present. It would be a dull world if we all felt the same way.
Mark Andersson
109 Posted 07/10/2014 at 01:45:22
As with a lot of fans, I am well disappointed with what I’ve seen so far. Every commentator and co-commentator say the same thing "other teams have now got Everton sussed, Everton need to vary there shape, they need to quicken the pace and get the ball out of there own half faster."

Big Rom is a waste of space at closing down, he half-heartedly runs at a defender who has the ball, he does the same when the ball is passed back to the keeper. We all know his first and second touch is shambolic and the team is not set up to play to his strength.

Well, I hope Martinez knows what he is doing as I’m loosing faith and I mostly try to see the bigger picture. My only positive is I thought Besic looked good in patches and he seems hungry & angry to make a good player.

One last thing: I hope we turn it around soon or we will all be biting our nails come May. If we have a bad season, you can expect players to jump ship come the summer. If we go down, I can not see us coming back up anytime soon.

Tom Laskaris
110 Posted 07/10/2014 at 08:56:31
We conceded two goals – one to Angel Di Maria and one to Radamel Falcao. Let's just take a deep breath and think about that for a minute. I doubt it's panic stations just yet, folks.
Phil Walling
111 Posted 07/10/2014 at 09:37:00
Tom, like most on here, you seem to be indicating that concession against the likes of Di Maria is inevitable. If that's the case, victories against the likes of Crystal Palace and Leicester City will become essential.

Seems a bit Moyesish to me!

Keith Knowles
112 Posted 07/10/2014 at 09:59:09
Yes we should be concerned by our lack of form, mounting injuries and a seeming inability to vary play.... but I am gobsmacked at the suggestions of RM to go and bringing in Pulis after he has had one half-decent season with Palace and the previous 6-7 keeping Stoke mid-table.

Why don't we just bring Moyes back!!

Phil Walling
113 Posted 07/10/2014 at 10:08:35
Keith, I think there's a good chance of BB turning to his old blood brother if Martinez flops this season!

Be a real pisser for me and most Evertonians I suspect but stranger things have happened. Makes me want Roberto to prove me wrong, believe me.

Laurie Hartley
114 Posted 07/10/2014 at 10:09:53
I watched the full game on Foxtel here in Australia.
My slant on it – we were terrible first half but finished the game really well – well enough to have deserved a draw.

The commentators got on my wick ranting on about how badly Man Utd were affected by injuries. No mention of the fact that we were missing Coleman, Barkley, Mirallas & McCarthy!!

The first three of the above mentioned all run at defences with the ball at pace – this is good for Lukaku because it draws defenders and creates spaces for him to run into.

With a bit of luck, we will have Coleman, McCarthy and maybe Barkley back after the international break. That combined with the fact that Oviedo is back (big plus) will I am hoping, see us turn the corner between now and Christmas.

My major concern is the injury to Stones. I hope he is not out too long because even at his young age he is a leader on the pitch.

Matthew Svatos
115 Posted 08/10/2014 at 04:38:34
One thing I just don't understand: how Everton can play so badly for 75 minutes, then, like a button being pressed, attack for 15 minutes and almost score 3 goals if not for De Gea playing the game of his life. Why didn't they play like that for the entire game? It's just so frustrating to watch.

It really looks like players are too comfortable in their positions and just aren't showing up. We looked best when Oviedo, Osman and Browning came on. All of a sudden, we had runners moving up both flanks and some creativity in the middle.

With the current injury list I would love to see this team line up against Villa: Robles (because I'm sick of Howard)
Browning, Jagielka, Distin, Baines
Besic, Gibson
Lukaku, Etoo, Oviedo

With Galloway and Long on the bench for some experience.

Matt Traynor
116 Posted 08/10/2014 at 06:11:49
Matthew (#119), Arsenal fans were probably asking the same thing when we played them, the only difference being we didn't have a 'keeper playing the game of his life, and consequently they escaped with a draw.

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