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Stones set for early return

by | 12/12/2014  Comments (104)  jump
Star defender in contention for Monday

John Stones could make his highly anticipated return from ankle surgery as soon as the match against Queens Park Rangers on Monday, two or three weeks ahead of schedule.

Manager Roberto Martinez has revealed that the 20 year-old is already back in training despite his initial prognosis suggesting he wouldn't be back in action until the Festive period at the earliest.

The England international has been sidelined since early October after damaging ligaments in the game at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The injury required an operation that has deprived Everton of his services for the last 12 games in all competitions and Martinez admits that Stones is itching to get back on the field.

He is ahead of schedule, probably two or three weeks, but I would expect that," the Catalan said. "He's such a quick healer and he hasn't stopped for one second trying to win those small margins to get back early.

He's trained once with the team and he came through that really well. Now it's just a matter of making a good measurement of allowing him to be involved into a competitive game at the right time. I'm really pleased with his comeback.

John is desperate to get back onto the pitch, said the Spaniard. I know he doesn't want to hear this but I said to him maybe it's a perfect way for him to divide his season into two clear spells.

I thought he started the season really well. Sometimes at that age it's difficult to maintain your level for 10 months. Now he's got a clear period from January until the end of season to try to, if anything, step up the level."

Stones's imminent availability represents the return of another component of Martinez's side after Kevin Mirallas came back from a hamstring injury last month and both Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo completed their long-term recoveries with 90 minutes against Krasnodar last night.

The manager told reporters on Wednesday that it was too early to tell if James McCarthy and Steven Naismith will be fit enough to face QPR but both will be assessed this weekend. Christian Atsu is likely to be ruled out after injuring his hamstring early on in the Europa League defeat to the Russians.

Quotes sourced from The Guardian


Reader Comments (104)

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Tony J Williams
1 Posted 12/12/2014 at 17:12:48
Not too soon, I hope
Kunal Desai
2 Posted 12/12/2014 at 17:15:30
Give Stones another 2 weeks rest, 4 games in 10 days is when he will be needed.
Patrick Murphy
3 Posted 12/12/2014 at 17:17:07
I think it would be better to be sure than sorry with Stones – make sure he is completely fit before risking him. Reading between the lines, I would be surprised if he appeared against QPR.
Peter Jones
4 Posted 12/12/2014 at 17:42:32
Yes, too many players have been brought back too early lately. Give him gradual game time, 20 mins, half an hour before starting him.
Paul Hewitt
6 Posted 12/12/2014 at 18:21:01
Bring Stones back on Boxing Day.
James Stewart
9 Posted 12/12/2014 at 20:16:37
Great news. Best defender we have.
Mike Berry
14 Posted 12/12/2014 at 20:57:06
Give him a few weeks and some bit parts to build him up. Then partner Barry at the back?
Gavin Johnson
20 Posted 12/12/2014 at 21:26:32
I must be living in a parallel universe then, because I canÂ’t see anything in this Everton team to suggest weÂ’ll be a relegation dog-fight come Feb. The worst case scenario would be finishing where we are.

I should think we’ll kick-on after the festive period – we’ve got some player in Garbutt and I hope his development won’t be stifled by Baines being untouchable.

WeÂ’ve also got Kone, Oviedo and Stones coming back amongst others. A couple of shrewd January signings and the only way is up.

Kieran Riding
21 Posted 12/12/2014 at 21:58:41
Gavin, when new contracts were being sorted, Hibbert got one, Osman got one, Garbutt’s is now running out! So maybe Â’untouchable BainesÂ’ wonÂ’t be an issue.

As for Stones. Give him Xmas off, and he will be like a new signing come January.

Kieran Riding
26 Posted 12/12/2014 at 22:54:49
When you look at last night’s game and realise McAleny is two years older than Stones and one year older than Lukaku, itÂ’s frightening how good our top young talent is really, isnÂ’t it!
Bill Gall
27 Posted 12/12/2014 at 22:49:38
My previous comment was I thought that we were bringing players in too quickly after injury. It is a tremendous boost to get Stones even back on the bench and he may just get 5-10 min if we are comfortably ahead.

Once he is fully fit, then is the time for him to get back into the centre of defence. He has to get some game time to bring him up to match fitness, so giving him periods in the game is better than resting him and then throwing him on for the full 90 mins.

Gavin Johnson
29 Posted 12/12/2014 at 22:59:01
Kieran, I didn’t realise Garbutt’s in his final year. (We signed him in 2009, so that sounds right.) It’s a bit of tricky one then – play him too much then other clubs will come circling; don’t play him and he’s going to think he’s better off at another club! It would be a disgrace if he walked after just giving Osman and Hibbo new contracts.

We seem to have really young players mixed with old pros at the moment. The average age of the side against Man City was alarming. I think itÂ’s something we need to address with some players (22-26) who we donÂ’t need to develop (IÂ’m thinking Atsu) and can hit the ground running and replace Distin and Pienaar.

John Voigt
32 Posted 13/12/2014 at 00:06:08
Teams with a positive goal differential donÂ’t get relegated. Everton are way better than the sides in the relegation zone. Another factor in the relegation battle this season is the high number of games that have wound up as draws. What this means to me is the number of points needed for both Champions League qualification and staying up will be on the low end (of points needed).

Of all the Everton centre-backs, John Stones is the most comfortable playing the ball out of the back. HeÂ’s a key to getting the ball forward without losing possession.

With the busy holiday period coming up, having Stones available is a big plus. I hope he isnÂ’t rushed back, but if heÂ’s 100% fit, I hope he plays.

Andrew Presly
34 Posted 13/12/2014 at 02:13:42
Roberto sounds like the kind of guy who gives thanks to someone every time the sun comes up. ItÂ’s getting tiresome.

You just played half of the 2017 Walsall reserves live on TV & IÂ’m reeling from that depressing squib. Can we have a moratorium on bullshit please?

Dividing seasons in half? So have we had the crap half already?

Win a game please Everton. ItÂ’s been a while. Danger of sleepwalking into oblivion here.

Darryl Ritchie
35 Posted 13/12/2014 at 02:13:51
If the training staff say heÂ’s ready, let him play. If they say he needs more time, donÂ’t. Either way itÂ’s not an exact science.

It would be a plus to have him back, but heÂ’s got to be 100%.

Jay Harris
36 Posted 13/12/2014 at 05:56:04
Just looked at Dave PrenticeÂ’s suggested team for Monday after talking to Roberto, and it doesnÂ’t includes Stones:

Howard

Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines

Besic Osman

Naismith Barkley Mirallas

Lukaku

I am disappointed as once again we have weakened midfield at the expense of forward players. Ossie has not got 90 minutes in him and should not be starting in what will be a battle for control initially and RM seems to be following OFMÂ’s error in putting Naismith on the wing so he can accommodate him and Barkley.

I have gone on all season about needing to control the midfield more and link up with the full backs but Martinez seems to want to continue with his "project".

Jamie Crowley
37 Posted 13/12/2014 at 06:25:30
Any way you slice this...

Thank... Freaking... God.

Colin Glassar
38 Posted 13/12/2014 at 08:08:42
Maybe you, or Prenno, should apply for the job then, Jay. Why get so upset over a journo’s suggested XI? Life’s too short mate.
Christopher Kelly
39 Posted 13/12/2014 at 08:46:30
We seem to win with him in the line-up, so thatÂ’s a big plus. With the way we play (for better or for worse) we need players in the back who can play the ball out and Stones is that guy. HeÂ’s not needed against a beatable QPR side so donÂ’t risk him. Wait Â’til next week. Get him healed up proper and then unleash him.
Andrew Hawes
40 Posted 13/12/2014 at 11:33:16
With regards the league and a top four finish, it will soon be irrelevant if we have Stones and McCarthy returning to the side!! Giving the likes of Man Utd, Southampton etc nearly a 10-point lead at this stage – maybe more by Monday night – will leave us too far behind.
Roberto keeps referring to players returning and people being fit for the second half of the season? Well that has to begin Monday night!! Nothing less than a four or five game winning streak is going to propel us anywhere near European places.

Time for the talking to stop Roberto ,we need points on the table!!

Sam Hoare
41 Posted 13/12/2014 at 13:18:34
CanÂ’t wait to see him back. He has been one of the few things that has put a smile on my face in the league and was our best player before he got injured.

IÂ’m really keen to see Garbutt get more game time too. Especially because of his excellent set pieces.

IÂ’d love to see more young players in the team and would love to see this team in action in the not so distant future:

Howard
Coleman Stones Jagielka Garbutt
McCarthy Besic
Mirallas Barkley Oviedo
Lukaku

Of course Baines is one of our best players and will not be shifted easily. Perhaps Martinez could start trying him in midfield while McCarthy is still out?

Max Wilson
42 Posted 13/12/2014 at 14:07:25
Sam, Sam, the dirty old man (No, donÂ’t mean that at all!), I agree with your selection of talent, there is no-one mediocre in there. It reveals that we have a pool of real talent, and of course youÂ’ve left out EtoÂ’o, Baines you admit to, Ossie and Barry.

Then there are our promising youngsters Ledson and Long etc. So overall we should be doing better. It’s tactics and the speed of them that seems to have been our bugbear. I think we need our midfield to become fast attackers – the Blue Isrealites!

Denis Richardson
43 Posted 13/12/2014 at 14:09:49
Stones should not be playing any time soon. If we donÂ’t have enough to beat QPR on Monday without Stones, then we may as well settle for mid table now.

Let him carry on training so heÂ’s ready for Boxing Day or games after, Southampton away next week at the earliest. WeÂ’ve already brought back enough players to soon.

Alex Carry
44 Posted 13/12/2014 at 16:10:03
I really donÂ’t like Lukaku by himself; I prefer him side by side with someone else up near him. I hate having a lone striker that canÂ’t hold the ball up.
Trevor Lynes
45 Posted 13/12/2014 at 15:59:57
It seems that all a player needs to do is play a few games and then he is talked about as our best defender. Players who have belonged to one of the most consistent defences in England over the past few seasons are seemingly not appreciated. Martinez did not tinker with the defence when he took over and that surely is a tribute to the defence he inherited. It was the midfield and attack that needed to be strengthened.

Unfortunately Barkley seems to be still developing and the only young players that have forced their way into contention are defenders. Only Garbutt and Stones have broken into the best 14 or 15 we have at present.

We are supposed to be interested in the young Slovenian Duda who is 20 years old and playing for Legia Warsaw and the Slovenian national team. He is a certain star of the future by all accounts so I really hope we can get him. Watching him play shows me that he is way better than our present Under-21 attacking midfielders and he could be the successor to Osman or Barry. I am afraid that none of our Under-21s look any threat to those two and that is a big disappointment to me.

Our coaches are not teaching them the basics about closing down and running off the ball and that must be the minimum requirement if they are to make the grade. Garbutt actually runs at defenders and has ball control and pace. The others just passed sideways and backwards and played safely but with no attacking intent. Kone was virtually on his own up front.

Under-21s should be pushing for places, they are not too young if they are good enough.

Conor McCourt
46 Posted 13/12/2014 at 17:10:35
I think if he is medically fit then he should be in contention asap.

IÂ’ve heard Roberto getting stick for bringing players back too quickly, especially with reference to Barry after his injury. This is just Roberto-bashing in my opinion. Players can only get match fit in games and those like Jags and Barry are always slow to get up to speed after injuries.

Normally when players are rushed back they get similar injuries such as Kompany today. The only player that could be levelled at is McCarthy but even then IÂ’m not sure if that was the same injury as before?

Stones is crucial to how Roberto operates as he comes into midfield so easily and makes it difficult for our opponents to drop off as they do with Distin and Jags. He will need time to get match fit but so does Alcaraz and Distin has been a disaster apart from Man City when he did well. If fit enough to make the matchday squad this is a good game to introduce him back in.

What a player and has been as big a miss as Mirallas.

Jay Harris
47 Posted 13/12/2014 at 18:30:17
Colin,
it was supposedly based on what Roberto had inferred to Prentice.

I have always maintained we should leave it to the professionals but, based on RM's bizarre team selections this season, I feel entitled to put my point of view forward.

Colin Glassar
48 Posted 13/12/2014 at 18:41:38
I still think it's not worth getting upset over a hypothetical team, Jay. ThatÂ’s what journos do, they hypothesise.

I canÂ’t talk really, as I get upset over the rumours spouted in the media even though I know itÂ’s rubbish.

Phil Walling
49 Posted 13/12/2014 at 19:32:12
I wonder when people will stop mithering over the relative merits of the players we have here and begin to realise that the present malaise is because of the managerÂ’s failure to deploy them properly.

It seems to me he’s like the kid who tries to complete a jigsaw by trying to bend the pieces just to make sure he’s got them all in. Playing to the strengths available has always been the way to success – not ruining good players by making them fit his already outdated philosophy!

Conor McCourt
50 Posted 13/12/2014 at 20:05:08
So outdated Phil that the best three teams in the world deploy the same philosophy — Bayern, Barça and Real.

Yeah, it's the managers fault he puts players in the wrong positions. Usually he plays one player out of position and had we Dellboy this season then there would probably be none.

He inherited an ageing squad and thatÂ’s not Moyes's fault either as we are a club that just donÂ’t have the resources. When he didnÂ’t spend the Fellaini money and only brought McGeady on a free, he identified that he needed 7 players to cope with the demands of Europe. Then, after a board meeting, he said we will just go with the youngsters.

Of course our current position is poor and Roberto certainly isnÂ’t blameless but we overachieved last year and so far this we have not been producing enough points. I still feel we will finish in the top 7 though and who knows how far we can go in Europe.

Kevin Rowlands
51 Posted 13/12/2014 at 20:36:34
Phil, how did your hero OFM deploy the then current champions at OT when he took over? Oh, wait a minute...
Jay Harris
52 Posted 13/12/2014 at 20:32:46
Conor,

I agree with your viewpoint of inadequate support from the board but the squad still has enough quality to be playing a lot better and achieving better results.

The board do not pick the team or decide tactics or substitutions all of which I have serious issue with this season.

The board do not run the fitness and conditioning of the players which again I have issues with this season.

My major concern however remains the manager's propensity of playing too many "forwards" at the expense of the midfield. There is no linking up of play in midfield because of lack of numbers with the consequence we have to either piss around at the back or try getting the ball to the forwards.

Then, if the ball doesn't stick or we lose the ball, it comes straight back on the centre-backs with too much space for the opposition to exploit.

Football is a simple game.... you pass and move and try to retain possession but, when the majority of that possession is in your own half, you have to question the management of the team.

Mark Frere
53 Posted 13/12/2014 at 20:42:32
"He inherited an ageing squad."

Yes and he addressed that by signing Barry, Alcaraz, Kone and EtoÂ’o... And furthermore, he gave Hibbert a new contract, Barry a ridiculous 3-year deal, and it looks like Osman is getting a new deal.

Personally, I would have liked Bobby to invest in more younger players and cleared some of the older ones from the wage bill.

Conor McCourt
54 Posted 13/12/2014 at 21:28:07
Jay, we are in our worst position in a few years so it’s easy to be highly critical. We have had many injuries in the midfield so we havenÂ’t been as consistent there as last season.

I think we have had our fair share of bad luck and I think the manager is paying by going so strong in the Europa League. If you look how poor we were against Spurs and Hull after the Wolfsburg game, I think those results were down to fatigue. The manager would have needed to make about 10 subs in those games to get the victories.

Yes, you are right that RobertoÂ’s decision to give the players as much time off after the World Cup looks as if it has backfired but perhaps in the second half of the season the benefits may show in terms of results.

After Southampton we will have already played 5 of the top 7 from last year, excluding us, away from home and we have a nice run until January in terms of fixtures so hopefully at halfway our position will look more respectable.

Mark I think you are being harsh as EtoÂ’o and Barry are a different level from the experienced players we have had before and highlight the financial difficulties in which our managers have to work with. We needed a centre half and a forward when he arrived so he knew those players.

Look at the youth he brought to the club in McCarthy, Lukaku, Delboy and Besic as well as bringing Barkley, Stones and Oviedo into the first team with Garbutt and Browning close also. Others such as Henen and Galloway are there for the future also.

I totally agree with you Mark that we need to get a lot of the deadwood out asap but the problem is that to improve on what we have requires funds and as we sawthe other night the majority of the youngsters arenÂ’t good enough and of those that are, eg, Ledson are not ready yet.

A win over QPR is a must.

Alan Corken
55 Posted 13/12/2014 at 22:28:33
Wind your necks in – we are still top 4 material, we have had frig all but bad luck this year and played most teams off the park.

Have faith – Roberto will not let us down!

Phil Walling
57 Posted 13/12/2014 at 22:34:10
OK, Alan, the table lies. Of course we are a top four side because Â’we play most teams off the parkÂ’. ItÂ’s some divine force that determines we can win only FOUR of our first FIFTEEN games.....

Or, perhaps itÂ’s the players and not us that donÂ’t have your faith in St Roberto?

Mark Frere
58 Posted 13/12/2014 at 22:44:30
Fair enough, Conor. For what it's worth, I rate Eto'o and Barry but age does seem to have caught up with Barry on the evidence so far this season. I suppose when he signed Kone, Martinez expected Kone to hit the ground running and obviously he couldn't have predicted an injury lasting 18 months.

The financial constraints that Bobby is working under obviously dictates his budget; he seemed to put all his eggs in one basket spending 㿈 million on Lukaku. A risky strategy.

Martinez does seem to have gone down the route of signing too many geriatric players for my liking and the wages of these senior pros will eat considerably into the budget, but I don't know his true vision for the future... perhaps he's keeping the older players around long enough until some of the younger players are ready? Perhaps he's just doing his best (with the funds he has) to put a team together that can compete in the short term.

Whatever his plans are, he deserves some time and patience to put his plan into place.

Charles Cook
59 Posted 13/12/2014 at 23:20:28
And it seems to me, Phil, that you're obsessed with the manager. You didn't rate him and have hammered your point in a hundred different ways since his appointment.

Of course your position is reinforced by your Wigan connections. I must say the Wigan fans I know say very different things to your people.

And while I'm on the topic – I was a bit confused by your point the other day about signing Joel and the role of Whelan in this. I didn't think he was a Wigan player but I may be wrong...

Kieran Riding
60 Posted 13/12/2014 at 23:59:34
Phil #57 I deffo hear you, but I'll throw in us bumming Wolfsburg over two legs, you know, performance wise?

So frustrating isn't it.

Phil Walling
61 Posted 14/12/2014 at 09:17:02
Charles, True I don't rate Martinez and never have. I just don't think his style builds on the considerable talent he has around him – and I include some of the players he has amongst that talent we are not seeing the best of.

As far as Robles was concerned, Wigan had an option on him after he had played for them in the Cup Final. When DW decided to retain Al-Habsi, he offered to waive his option on the Spaniard so Martinez snapped him up.

Rochdale had a better keeper!

Paul Andrews
62 Posted 14/12/2014 at 09:33:03
Phil,

The Wigan staff speak very highly of Roberto. Nothing but high praise from them. I can possibly understand (but disagree with) your dislike of him with some of this season's performances. Can you explain why you don't rate him on last season's results?

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 14/12/2014 at 10:04:11
On what I've seen of Robles, I must agree with you, Phillip, and can only assume he hasn't been sent out on loan because nobody fancies him. He has all the attributes but will never improve while he is not playing senior football.

I saw him play in the Cup Final without really looking nervous, and then stood behind him shaking at Arsenal in the cup last season.

He doesn't look good enough to me but not playing must surely affect both development and confidence, and if the kid is going to have a career, he has got to play for someone soon, because he looks like he's wasting away to me.

Phil Walling
65 Posted 14/12/2014 at 10:33:45
Paul, I am not going to bore the arses off fellow TWers by listing my reasons for not being a disciple of Martinez. If it intrigues you so much, go back through the archives – right to the day of his joining – my views have never changed.

Maybe I'm wrong about the bloke. Let's even hope so!

Paul Andrews
66 Posted 14/12/2014 at 10:59:50
Thanks, Phil,

It doesn't intrigue me at all. Baffling how any fan could not be impressed with last season's performance.

Martin Mason
67 Posted 14/12/2014 at 11:45:13
Getting to goal directly now is impossible with current formations and all of the top teams pass the ball around tip-tap as we do. Man Utd did it really well under Ferguson. I watched Barcelona last night and they do it. The difference is that they do it quickly and players move into space well to receive the ball, they also create chances. Everton do similar but they are ponderously slow.

It's frustrating at the moment because there's a great team in there if they were all fit, RM could pick sensibly and give them a system that they are comfortable and efficient with we could go places. I can't really see them finishing in the top half and I see a banana skin on Monday against QPR who I believe have lost all of their away games.

Mark Andersson
68 Posted 14/12/2014 at 12:00:38
After reading all the above I'm left hopelessly pessimistic. QPR must be highly delighted that their dismal run will come to an end when facing us. Not just me but 30 odd thousand in the Old Lady waiting for it to happen...

Oh and if one of their players has never scored, or their top scorer has failed to hit the target in the last month... mmmmm.

But then again, we could just turn the corner and twat them 8-0. Me thinks not judging by most of the above posts on our current situation.

As for Phil Whaling, let's wait and see at the end of the season; one thing's for sure, he has certainly given me much food for thought with his posts.

Phil Walling
69 Posted 14/12/2014 at 12:14:52
Martin and Paul. Under this guy, 'the system' has become more important than 'the result'!

Last season, 'the old hands' in the team adapted 'the system' to suit. By now, they have HAD to absorb the Martinez way and the results are the consequence.

I think that in the key Europa League games, he ceded some control to the players – allowing adaption to counter the opposition style and tactics. And, surprise, surprise, didn't they do well!

Ciaran Duff
70 Posted 14/12/2014 at 12:18:27
Call me crazy but I am still optimistic for the rest of the season. We have virtually our full squad back from injury, more options off the bench, no Europa League games for a while, a reasonable run of games.

Cheer up, fellas, keep the faith, all is not lost.

Andrew Clare
71 Posted 14/12/2014 at 12:08:46
If QPR have lost all their away games so far, it points to only one thing – they won't lose on Monday! Just kidding!

It seems like this is the season of transition. The players appear to be having difficulty adapting to the style Martinez wants, plus too many injuries are also hampering progress. It will happen but it will take time.

All teams are having problems breaking down defences in the modern game, whether it be Chelsea v Hull or Almeria v Barcelona. Chelsea won 2-0 after Huddlestone was sent off and Barcelona drew 0-0.

Persistent quick passing, running off the ball, pressing defenders and getting into the box with the ball are essential in order to break teams down. Constant pressure is also important.

Top players produce the goods week-in & week-out. Lesser players perform now and again. Unfortunately, at the moment, too many of our players fall into the latter category.

Paul Andrews
72 Posted 14/12/2014 at 12:51:44
Phil,

Another TW poster who thinks it's the manager's fault when we get beat but the players who choose the tactics when we win? That's two of you now with the same warped logic.

Brent Stephens
73 Posted 14/12/2014 at 12:54:29
Ciaran (#70) "Call me crazy but I am still optimistic for the rest of the season. We have virtually our full squad back from injury, more options off the bench, no Europa League games for a while, a reasonable run of games."

I guess that, with a virtually full squad, this will be a real test of whether our poor form is down to Roberto's tactics or injuries.

Mark Frere
74 Posted 14/12/2014 at 13:24:01
"Last season, 'the old hands' in the team adapted 'the system' to suit. By now they have HAD to absorb the Martinez way and the results are the consequence."

That is pure utter gibberish of the highest order! So we achieved 5th place and record points total despite of Martinez, not because of Martinez?!?!

There are many factors in my opinion for our poor form this season:

(a) A poor pre-season and the players not coming into the season in good shape physically.

(b) Individual errors by players like in the Crystal Palace game – a game we would have won if not for costly errors.

(c) The defence (and in particular Jags) out of form and conceding too many goals in the early part of the season.

(d) All the injuries the squad has had to cope with.

(e) The extra games we've had to play with being in the Europa League.

Some of the factors are Roberto's fault, some aren't, but he deserves time and patience to turn thing's around in the Premier League. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Phil Walling
75 Posted 14/12/2014 at 13:06:49
It's a game of opinions, so one man's blind faith in his team's manager is another's man's 'warped logic' because he doesn't share the view!

ToffeeWeb wouldn't exist if we all thought the same way.

Paul Tran
76 Posted 14/12/2014 at 14:44:36
People have to stop making excuses for Martinez. We are where we are because of consistently playing an unbalanced team and a baffling lack of judgement regarding the players' fitness. Yes, he raised expectations, but if he's the good manager we hope he is, things really ought to be going better right now.

There will always be bad luck, injuries and poor referee decisions. Last season, we rose above that; this season, we have regressed. I'll give the manager credit for last season, criticism for this season.... so far.

Droning on about 'the system' or 'Plan B' is fairly redundant. Last season, the system appeared to be a sound defence, solid centre midfield, good ball retention and a bit of pace when it mattered. Hardly rocket science, is it? This season has seen poor defending, poor quality possession combined with a complete lack of pace and ideas.

So is it 'the system', or just poor performance by predominantly the manager and to a lesser extent, his players?

It's a bit early to write him off or demand his dismissal, but things need to get better before we all fall asleep!

Tony Hill
77 Posted 14/12/2014 at 15:49:26
I don't think anyone can reasonably deny that the season in the Premier League so far has been disappointing, mainly because of the sloppiness and lack of intensity that have cost us points throughout. But I share the modest optimism of those who look to the second half of the season with some hope.

We are in the later stages of the Europa League and have adapted ourselves to that competition very well; we have the FA Cup to come and we traditionally come on well after December in the league. That is, I accept, frustrating because you cannot start the Premier League season halfway through, but I have a suspicion that we are going to come good.

Finally, anyone who didn't see the serious promise of Ledson as well as, obviously, the quality of Garbutt on Thursday wasn't watching properly. It's not all doom – though I understand why people are irritated by performances to date.

Conor McCourt
78 Posted 14/12/2014 at 15:40:09
Phil, you are some boy. I've heard it all now.

Last season, I could understand your argument that the basis of the team was Moyes's and although I argued that we used a different system and that 3 of the 6 defenders used didn't play under Moyes and the 2 holding players which were pivotal to the system were also Martinez men. But I believed you made a genuine point that we were built on Moyes's defensive organisation.

If you had just argued that the Moyes effect was wearing off, I could respect your viewpoint but such is your clear bias and distaste for this manager, the fact that we have performed so brilliantly in Europe doesn't tally with this synopsis, so you have ridiculously put this success wholly down to the players.

You have accused me of blind faith towards Martinez but I have been critical of him, especially in the Leicester and Swansea games where I feel we could have won those games with a few tactical changes and better subs. However you have never given him any credit despite our marvellous season last year and now our excellent European campaign this.

In addition when we have had terrible injuries or as at Spurs we had a really fatigued performance due to the trip to Wolfsburg you have never allowed any leeway for mitigating circumstances and usually pounced on these to berate him with. Even at City when the referee decided the game with 3 awful decisions it was Roberto's fault.

If you are wanting people to respect your viewpoint, a little balance is necessary... after all this manager produced a season last year that Moyes was never able to and only considered us a small club. Roberto believes we can be one of the elite. You have plenty of fuel for Roberto bashing without stupid statements like the European one.

Jay Harris
79 Posted 14/12/2014 at 15:50:42
Totally agree Paul.

When the going gets tough....

Well we will find out on Monday.

Phil Walling
80 Posted 14/12/2014 at 16:49:30
So, in spite of this phenomenal manager, we are in 12th spot after 15 games.

Injuries, bad decisions, players' individual errors, Europa League etc. etc. etc. But none of it down to your hero. And then you cite the appalling pre-season non-preparation.

Well, perhaps, just perhaps, that is what's behind the whole dreadful league record. But, of course, that can't be down to St Martin because he was in Brazil all summer!

But Everton are a 'second half' of the season club so what's to worry about?

Paul Andrews
81 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:09:32
Phil,

Can you not see the simple logic?

When we get beat it's the fault of the manager.... when we win it's the players who deserve the credit. You do yourself no favours with your refusal to accept the futility of your point.

Colin Glassar
82 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:09:57
We will be 9th tomorrow Phil and 5th by January 1st. Will you do the Martinez tika taka if this happens?
Colin Glassar
83 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:13:32
End of January I meant.
Patrick Murphy
84 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:03:28
Phil the points total we have now whilst not acceptable to many is more than we had in the seasons 11-12, 10-11 and 09-10 after 15 PL games. What has altered, are the demands made upon this Everton side are a lot greater than has been the case for most of the last 20 years, despite us having an injury list which has undermined any sort of consistency so far.

Seeing as our spending power hasn't greatly increased relative to the other clubs in the division how is Roberto or indeed any other manger expected to fulfil those expectations. Imagine supporting one of those clubs who have spent 5 times more than we have and are still unable to challenge Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd.

I will agree that the football has at times been disjointed and hard to watch but I'm still confident given a full team and a fair wind, this Everton squad can still make a challenge this season, however there is also a risk that the negativity and lack of patience from some could undermine the whole thing but as usual we'll have to wait and see how things go between now and the end of the season.

Before anybody posts something along the lines 'making excuses' or 'Defending Roberto' I couldn't care less about individuals it's about the team and the club and I believe those 'excuses' are in the main plausible reasons as to why so far this season things haven't been as good as we had hoped for.

Colin Glassar
85 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:24:56
Great post, once again, PM.
Paul Andrews
86 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:26:50
Well said, Patrick.
Linda Morrison
87 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:21:32
Well said Patrick. I find it amazing that commentators on the Radio and more so the TV will come up with a whole list of excuses for the "Big Teams" not doing so well, injuries, Europe etc but we never get anything.

I'm very disappointed with our in the table but not surprised.I think other posts have covered all the reasons but I'm sure that a job lot of mirrors must have been broken at GP!

I think we will get at least 7 points out of the next 3 games.
ps: Fingers crossed.

Ray Said
88 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:26:48
Patrick Murphy,
Good post and picking up on your point that 'our spending power hasn't greatly increased relative to the other clubs in the division how is Roberto or indeed any other manger expected to fulfil those expectations? The only ways are:

A) to look abroad were our spending power has increased in relation to other leagues but with all the complications of players not settling and trying to measure the relative merits of players performances to see if they are capable of playing in the premier league or;

B) have a smaller squad, in relation to the clubs with greater revenue, of about 16/17 top line players mixed with 4 developing talent (we hope ) and 4 older players who cant play every game but can manage 15/20 good games a season.

I think we have chosen option B but a few injuries, older players not having as much in the tanks as the manager thought and the younger talent not developing in line with expectations can really affect that strategy.

Colin Glassar
89 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:33:34
Linda, we can't afford to have powerful journos in our back pocket like some clubs e.g. Bates (Man U), Beasley (Chelsea), Dunn (RS), Lipton (Spurs), Burt (Arsenal) etc... We don't take them on expensive European jollies or give them goody bags or Xmas hampers from Harrods.

To be perfectly honest, I'd rather stay that way than have a few mercenary hacks making excuses for us.

Mark Taylor
90 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:31:11
Just out of interest, if we could wind back the clock, how many wish we had pocketed the cash when Man Utd came in for Baines? This is one position where we look to have some strength in Oviedo and with Garbutt looking very useful and the money might have come in handy to replace some of the oldies in our team and maybe add a little much needed pace out wide.
Colin Glassar
91 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:50:17
The monies offered was, and is, insulting Mark. When no-marks are going for 㿀-25m what they offered for Bainsey was a disgrace.

Hindsight is a great ability to have but at the time Bainsey was in his pomp and I hope he recovers his form ASAP.

Like others have said, I'd like to see Baines moved into MF with Oviedo alternating with Pienaar LW, and Garbutt at LB.

Steve Carse
92 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:52:43
Patrick Murphy, 'negativity and lack of patience' could 'undermine the whole thing'. I hope you're not seriously suggesting that any degree of criticism from our support is going to be held responsible should we fail to improve. What nonsense. We will fail to improve if the manager doesn't get his act together. Simple as.
Peter Mills
93 Posted 14/12/2014 at 17:57:46
Patrick (#84), I think our manager could help keep at bay that very destructive "negativity and lack of patience" by just being a bit more frank with us. We are not daft, most of us have experienced the highs and lows, so don't treat us like idiots when talking about our performances.
Darryl Ritchie
94 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:02:43
RM is an intelligent, likeable fella. The problem is, while he talks positivity off the field,his players, lately, tend play with a lot negativity on the field.

I believe he will find a way to get things moving. Not time to hit the panic button quite yet.

Plus I agree with Phil; any and all criticism is valid. If we all agreed, it would be boring as hell.

Sean Kelly
95 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:13:40
Three points please tomorrow, Roberto, and we are ahead of the Redshite. Good to see that horrible smirk falling off that ugly mug of Brenda.
Bill Gall
96 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:14:03
Reading the comments on here shows how our opinions differ on what people are commenting on about Everton's performances this season and how to change it.

Looking at the other clubs and how the majority have improved their teams with astute buys, I will ask a question: Do the supporters believe that we strengthened the squad this summer with money available, as only Besic was a new player coming to the club?

Darren Hind
97 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:10:28
Steve Carse

Nail, Head

Paul Andrews
98 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:30:42
Evening Darren,

Phil has made a point on this thread suggesting when we get beat it's the managers fault... when we win it's the players who should get the credit. Bearing in mind previous posts of yours, would you agree with that logic?

Bill Gall
99 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:26:33
To finish my previous comment, both Barry and Lukaku were signed to a contract, Barry for his performances last season, and Lukaku for the future... but both played last season so in my opinion they never strengthened the squad. So really we only signed Besic.

I believe the signing of Lukaku was a good piece of business but, as there is different quotes on how the transfer fee is paid, it makes me wonder what monies were available to Mr Martinez in the summer.

Steve Brown
100 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:35:37
Rodgers is facing the threat of the sack rightly for spending 𧴜m and making the team worse, but it does make you think that we are three points worse off and have won four league games all season. Plus, when we have faced our main rivals we have mainly lost.

RM has earned the right to ask the fans to stick with him, but the team now needs to get firing and win games in December. Equally, I'd be satisfied even if we could turn in a good performance over 90 mins in the Premier League!

Darren Hind
101 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:35:27
Just been watching Martinez tell millions of viewers that QPR will be incredibly dangerous.

QPR's away record is just about as bad as it gets... They are without their top scorer and Robbie's making them out to be Real Madrid.

Been here before haven't we... Frying pan / Fire.

Paul Andrews
102 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:55:08
That's a yes then :-)
Mark Taylor
104 Posted 14/12/2014 at 18:57:06
Colin, I seem to recall Man Utd were considering an offer of 㾼m but that RM didn't want to do business even at that price.

I would have taken 㾼m in a shot. We are not a club that can afford to have our assets depreciate to near enough no value, for the sake of a year or so, when we have (albeit maybe with the benefit of hindsight) decent back up in that position.

I'd sooner have seen that money buy a proper central midfielder and wide left midfielder rather than shoehorn Baines and Oviedo into positions they are probably not ideally suited to.

Phil Walling
105 Posted 14/12/2014 at 19:00:45
Paul, please don't obfuscate in your endless pursuit of point scoring against other posters. You know very well that what I said was that when Everton played with more apparent freedom – as they have seemed to be allowed in the important games in Europe – the results were better.

We are not in a ToffeeWeb competition, just a usually friendly exchange of views. You think the sun shines from the manager's arse, I've just seen his Sky performance re-inforce my view that he is an ace bullshitter.

Let's just agree to differ and let the guys get on with discussing prospects for tomorrow.

Paul Andrews
106 Posted 14/12/2014 at 19:10:27
Phil,

Flattery will get you nowhere... Seriously, it's not point-scoring at all, it's debate, trying to get an accurate opinion from you – that's all.

Of course it's friendly exchange, I have criticised our style of play on several occasions by the way. If you don't mind me saying, you are taking my comments too personally.

Darren Hind
107 Posted 14/12/2014 at 20:11:50
Endless pursuit... endless failure.

Martinez has undoubtedly short-changed us this season, but as the really fit bird in Gone with the Wind said... Tomorrow is another day!

Mike Childs
108 Posted 14/12/2014 at 20:28:41
I'm scared every time the Redshite have lost in front of us haven't we done the same? Watching Michael Carrick today makes me believe Barry should move to CB so we can get 3 years out of him.
Kevin Rowlands
109 Posted 14/12/2014 at 20:59:20
The subject of this thread is John Stones back from injury early, something I think we are all very happy about, yet Phil uses this as an excuse to have yet another go at Martinez? Why? the fucking thread is about John Stones, tells you all you need to know really, obsessed!
Brian Waring
110 Posted 14/12/2014 at 21:17:42
Kevin, this could be a thread about the weather, and Phil would still find a way to make it about Martinez.
Dave Lynch
111 Posted 14/12/2014 at 21:36:15
Surely Stones is being rushed back?

If he plays tomorrow and breaks down, it will be a travesty. I think Martinez is desperately looking for something to stem the tide and I fear he won't find it in a non-match fit Stones.

Here's a revelation! Play your fittest best team in the correct positions, we should have more than enough to wipe the floor with QPR tomorrow.

Mike Childs
112 Posted 14/12/2014 at 21:52:31
Touché, Dave.
Brian Waring
113 Posted 14/12/2014 at 21:56:49
Dave, don't think Martinez will rush Stones back, now he has Alcaraz back as cover.
Brian Waring
114 Posted 14/12/2014 at 22:01:34
One think Martinez has to stop doing, trying to fit both Barkley and Eto'o into the starting 11.
Phill Thompson
115 Posted 14/12/2014 at 22:00:30
While Martinez will make the final decision, it will be the medical team's advice on the nature of the injury, how he has recovered and how he had been in training that will decide it.

It's good fun trying to run our beloved club, but surely nobody thinks they know better than our manager on this one about the best way to handle a recovering injured player.

Paul Andrews
116 Posted 14/12/2014 at 22:24:35
Kevin, Brian,

There are a few posters who use any excuse to berate Martinez regardless of the subject of the thread.

Would you believe one of them stated last week,"If Martinez hadn't gone to Brazil to watch the fit birds playing beach volleybal,l we would have been in a better position."

Hahaha...

Colin Glassar
117 Posted 14/12/2014 at 22:34:00
I have seen PW blaming Roberto for global warming and the cost of pork pies in the Wigan area. But at least he's never called Martinez, 'Cretinez' or a charlatan like some have.
Eric Holland
118 Posted 14/12/2014 at 22:43:23
I had a pork pie in Wigan last week, and it was very reasonable and tasted OK too.
Colin Glassar
120 Posted 14/12/2014 at 23:01:15
Roberto has already said Stones probably won't be ready.
Phil Walling
121 Posted 14/12/2014 at 23:06:54
Hey, Eric, don't use ToffeeWeb to push your Baxenden pies on here – they are strictly for Stanley supporters!
Eric Holland
122 Posted 14/12/2014 at 23:18:39
Shhhhh, Phil, there will be none left for me...
Colin Glassar
123 Posted 14/12/2014 at 23:19:00
Without a doubt, the best pies I've ever had at a match was at Ibrox. Lots of meat and gravy washed down with a mug of hot Oxo. No wonder the Scots don't feel the cold.
Andy Crooks
124 Posted 15/12/2014 at 00:09:44
This thought is nothing to do with this thread but not worthy of another one. But, I saw the crowd on MotD2 for the Sunderland game. Over 40,000. So why do we expect so much more on quite a bit less?

John Daley
125 Posted 15/12/2014 at 00:34:42
"Phil has made a point on this thread suggesting when we get beat it's the managers fault.....when we win it's the players who should get the credit".

There's an easy flip side to that accusation though.

I myself have, on a number of occasions, done exactly the opposite and placed the blame squarely on certain players for making shocking individual errors, whilst absolving the manager of blame as he couldn't possibly legislate for the experienced and trusted senior pros ( who served him so well last season) suddenly turning into Frank Spencer in football boots.

However, we're now four months in, the players are still fouling up from week to week, and the manager clearly hasn't yet fathomed a way to refocus their minds and get them to eradicate these costly cock ups.

I still take the view that certain players have let him down badly but, by now, he should really be making a better fist of motivating them and ensuring the same bollocks don't keep being dropped.

When Distin was temporarily dumped from the side, I hoped it was a sign that Roberto had finally removed the soft velvet glove and whacked on an Ash from 'The Evil Dead' style chainsaw attachment in an attempt to wake up his lifeless fucking Deadites . However, it now seems like the 'he just had an injury, honest lad' line might have had more legs instead.

His trademark trusting of players and talking up of their (phenomenal) abilities is all well and good, but even the worlds most donkey respecting 'Rag and Bone' Man knows there comes a point in the road where you need to bin the carrot and switch to the stick. Otherwise, you're just going to come to a grinding halt and be stuck sat on top of a grotty cart full of someone else's old shite.

Last season Martinez managed to coax a bit more out of his players by bestowing them with belief. Belief that they had the ability to challenge the top teams if they took the shackles off. Belief that by following his methods they were in with a realistic chance of getting over that final hurdle they've fallen short at so many times before.

They didn't quite make it but the players clearly bought into his way of thinking. They played with a swagger and a sense of freedom that was sorely missing for most of the Moyes reign.

Liberation... by lovely little sound bites.

At the start of this season the belief seemed still to be there, but began to be slowly eroded by a slew of stupid mistakes. They did well enough at Leicester but switched off disastrously at vital times. They totally outplayed Arsenal for 80 minutes, only to panic when their teetering opponent finally mustered up enough fight to tear themselves off the ropes and have a pop back. When the self-destruct button was swiftly pressed again at the start of the Chelsea game you could almost see the 'WTF? Maybe we're nowhere near as good as we thought' look creeping over their faces. That expression has never really changed since. It's freakishly frozen there. Like Mickey Rourke's mad rubbery rigarmortis mug, or David Copperfields disbelieving yet disgustingly smug 'cum face' after he finally got to shag Claudia Schiffer.

Since then, whenever it seems like they're about to turn the corner, another banana skin is dropped kamikaze style, sending them careening back onto their arse again. You can see it in the ponderous passing, the unwillingness to take risks, the uncertainty at the back.

I also think Martinez himself has been sapped of some confidence. In a number of after match interviews now, he's looked like a more shellshocked, Catalan, Choi Min-Sik in 'Old Boy'. As though he's been abducted off the street by an unknown assailant, gassed, locked up in a windowless hotel room for fifteen years, then shoved in a suitcase and suddenly set free to speak about the game before he can begin to get his bearings. He's still trying to talk a good game but it's ringing kind of hollow and almost comes across like he's trying to convince himself as much as anyone else right now.

I know injuries have played a part, as well as the demands of the Europa, but at other times the changes could stand accused of coming close to needless 'tinkering'. The constant switching up of personnel suggests he's no longer sure of his strongest side and undermines any chance of certain players finding their flow. Barkley, for example, has found himself starting one game, sitting out the next, playing in his proper position, sitting on his arse, being shunted out onto the wing, back on the bench again etc. Not surprising he's yet to hit his stride thus far.

It's not as simplistic as saying it's either the players who are the problem or it's the manager. There's been fault on both sides. You can't absolve Martinez of blame just because he did better than expected last season and he seems like a boss bloke. On the other hand, you can't call Cousin Otis to 'go get the hounds ready' and march round his house to order him to leave town just because you've always thought there was something 'off' about him.

I still think Martinez will turn it around and get us moving up the table, sooner rather than later. We've got too many players long overdue a good run of form, and a manager who is surely too smart to leave his head half buried in the sand all season.

I just think he needs to be a bit less Ned Flanders to nudge things along and the players need to be a lot less Homer Simpson to help him out (Kenwright can just carry on being Ralph Wiggum in the background).

John Daley
126 Posted 15/12/2014 at 00:38:11
Oh yeah.... be good to get Stones back ahead of schedule but he's too important a player to be pushed too far, too soon. If he plays any part tomorrow night I'd be absolutely astounded.
Christopher Kelly
127 Posted 15/12/2014 at 01:17:32
Barry at CB is a very exciting proposition. He could partner with Stones and have some great ball-playing centre-backs.

The sooner we see the back of Distin, the better.

Mark Andersson
129 Posted 15/12/2014 at 12:42:48
I watched the Shite v Manure game today. Both are shite at the back if we ever go on a decent run then maybe we can finish above both of them. However I have not seen anything this season to suggest we will even make top 10.

QPR should be a no-brainer, but I will not wait up in the early hours of the morning to be frustrated, I may well just go to bed early and be equally frustrated hoping for a shag.


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