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Everton vs West Bromwich Albion

by | 18/01/2015  Comments (233)  jump
Match Preview

All eyes will be on whether Mirallas starts after his superb display last Tuesday
With the brief FA Cup adventure over, Everton's focus returns to the Premier League and a fixture that has assumed huge importance for team morale and the Blues' season as a whole.

Roberto Martinez's side come into the Monday night televised clash with West Bromwich Albion sitting in 13th place, just three points off the relegation zone and a bewildering 18 points shy of the top-four finish that was the accepted goal before the season started.

Though Europe remains uppermost in the mind, it's the resumption of the Europa League campaign next month and timing a revival in the Toffees' fortunes for the first leg against Young Boys that is the target and not an increasingly unlikely finish in the League's European places.

Difficult but winnable fixtures against the Baggies and Crystal Palace, followed by more marquee games against Liverpool and Chelsea, lie in wait before then and Martinez's challenge is to use the next four games to resurrect his team's form and build up some momentum.

He will be aided by the potential to name a virtually unchanged team if he is moved to do so. Aiden McGeady's suspension following his sending off in the Cup replay at West Ham last Tuesday is the only enforced change to the starting XI and his place could be taken by Kevin Mirallas if his ankle is up to it.

The Belgian came off the bench at Upton Park to put on a breathtaking display that almost won Everton the tie but he admitted midweek that the injury he sustained a month ago against Queens Park Rangers might not be fully healed for another week. Should be need to start on the bench again, his absence could open up an opportunity for Bryan Oviedo or Luke Garbutt, depending on how Martinez wants to line up his side.

Deploying the Costa Rican or Leighton Baines wide on the left would shift the width to the left flank and allow the manager to retain the forward trio of Romelu Lukaku, Steven Naismith and Ross Barkley. With Barkley's form and confidence dropping off noticeably in recent games, though, it's not out of the question that Martinez could opt to give him a break, in which case Arouna Kone might be the beneficiary, with Naismith dropping a little deeper.

Of the walking wounded, only Tony Hibbert appears likely to be passed fit. James McCarthy, Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin are all ruled out, while Christian Atsu is on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The fact that struggling West Brom, who have already gone through a managerial change, come into the weekend just a point behind the Toffees underscores how much Everton have under-performed this season. And with Tony Pulis, the man who oversaw one of the most painful results of last season when his Crystal Palace side put an irreparable hole in the Blues' Champions League dream, in charge there will be nothing foregone about the conclusion of this one.

Importantly, though, the Blues appear to have rediscovered their fight since the debacle at Hull on New Year's Day and provided they don't allow indecision to creep in and fear to set in on the terraces by conceding early, they should be able to add a win to the hard-fought draw over Manchester City to continue the turnaround in results.

Kick off: 8pm
Referee: Michael Oliver

Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports


Reader Comments (233)

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Harold Matthews
1 Posted 18/01/2015 at 00:54:09
Excellent preview Lyndon. Not sure whay he’ll do with Baines, Oviedo and Garbutt but we should win this one.
Colin Glassar
2 Posted 18/01/2015 at 01:16:07
As they said during the Clinton campaign, "it’s the points, stupid". We need points. We need to win this one. We need to start moving up the league.
Joe Doakes
3 Posted 18/01/2015 at 01:26:15
The big question is this: Has Roberto ditched his slow moving possession style?

The answer to that question will determine our fate, not only in the Premier League, but also in Europe.

You can bet your boots that Young Boys will be well prepared for it. If we are to go down at least let us go down fighting.

Jamie Crowley
4 Posted 18/01/2015 at 02:45:13
We simply have to get 3 points. Anything less and the 1 in 13 brigade will be baying for blood - and they’ll have every right to.

I believe in Roberto. But he’s taken me to the precipice of the death cliff.

Frank Crewe
6 Posted 18/01/2015 at 03:13:39
Virtually every club below us lost on Saturday. All we need now is for West Ham to defeat Hull and we will have a great opportunity to put some distance between ourselves and the bottom three. So no excuses we have to win.
Mark Andersson
7 Posted 18/01/2015 at 04:43:20
Oh no, all teams below us lose... sorry for being negative but we usually fuck up in these circumstances.

I think the crowd need to be 100% behind the team for the full 90 to get anything from this game.

Darryl Ritchie
8 Posted 18/01/2015 at 06:32:16
After months of so-so performances and general underachievement, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Whether the light is actually our escape from the dark days of December, or a train coming at us at a hundred miles an hour, we’ll find out on Monday.

I tend to believe the end is at hand....of the woeful performances, that is. Hopefully RM has adjusted his tactics, and continues to be more direct with the attack. I know he doesn’t put much faith in corners, but opposition managers do, and I hope the squad has spent some time practicing defending them. Every time the other team wins a corner, I can’t watch. We suck at them! At both ends of the park!

Roberto should hire a defensive coach, specializing in corners. If we already have one on the books, fire him and hire one that knows what’s what.

Rant over; nice to get that out of my system.

On paper, we shouldn’t have much of a problem with West Brom. There’s only one potential fly in the ointment. Pulis. He has a way of making ordinary players play extraordinary.
3-0 Toffees.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 18/01/2015 at 07:39:54
A monumental fixture that could either make or break the rest of our season. Defeat is unthinkable and would surely signal the beginning of the end for Roberto.

We have scored just 11 league goals since we won at Burnley at the arse end of October, no clean sheet since November 1 against ten-man Swansea and just an embarrassing TWO league victories in all that time.

In other words, we have had a nightmare of a time and it’s a run of for that simply cannot be allowed to continue and fester.

Five wins all season, failure to beat West Brom tomorrow night then a run of fixtures which starts at Crystal Palace and is quickly followed by back-to-back games between Liverpool & Chelsea will seem like a journey into oblivion for Martinez.

We are desperate for a clean sheet, it’s okay Martinez going on about clean sheets not being important but, let’s be honest, unless you are like Man City or Chelsea or Kevin Keegan’s Newscastle of the 90s, scoring three or four every week, the chances are your going to need to grind out some 1-0 wins.

Martinez has shown a total contempt for the defensive side of things, he has been happy to go with a 37-year-old and a dodgy-at-best Jagielka, and expect a inexperienced 20-year-old Stones to hold the fort this season, the man has woefully neglected what we needed.

To beat West Brom tomorrow would nowhere near lift the pressure because we have been so poor this season, it’s going to take quite a few wins to steer clear of the bottom three but it MUST start tomorrow. Nothing less than the win will do.

Jim Bennings
10 Posted 18/01/2015 at 07:53:57
Whatever happens between now and May, there’s no getting away from the fact that this club will need a major overhaul and the team requires big surgery during the summer months to shake things up.

Whether Martinez is here or not to oversee that is all down to the next few months of matches..

Russell Smith
11 Posted 18/01/2015 at 07:47:27
The next step in our ’improvement’ will be to keep a clean sheet. If Robles can continue to perform as he did against West Ham, and We do not concede early, we should have enough to beat even a Pulis inspired team.

Lose an early goal and we could be in trouble because, like him or loathe him, Pulis knows how to set up his team defensively. He also knows how to disrupt the flow of the game with his players winning cheap free kicks, staying down injured, time wasting on goal kicks and throw ins etc etc.

Let’s hope we continue to move the ball forward quickly and even with Stones back we don’t revert to passing it aimlessly across the back four.

Wayne Smyth
12 Posted 18/01/2015 at 08:03:39
The main thing I want to see on Monday and for the rest of the season is some fight & desire. If the players continue to give the effort they did against City or in the last 60 minutes at West Ham then we’ll be fine this season.

If we see the same lack of effort as at Hull or Newcastle, I’ll be seriously worried for our prospects.

As if to underscore the lack of talent we possess in certain areas, the very average McGeady being missing is actually a big problem for us. If Mirallas is fit we can play him on the right and as Lyndon says, use Oviedo or Baines on the left.

If Mirallas is unfit, I’d go 4-3-1-2 and forget the wide forwards completely. Put Kone and Lukaku up top, Naismith in behind, a fairly narrow central 3 of Besic, Barkley and Barry, with a back 4 which will probably pick itself.

If we’re playing Naismith, or Barkley on the wings then I can’t see a good performance from us. The players already have no confidence so playing them out of position is not going to help.

Mohammed Horoub
13 Posted 18/01/2015 at 08:29:24
Jim@9 I think the beginning of the end for Roberto was 1 July 2014 when he should have been in his office preparing for this season instead of dropping his ’phenomenal’ commentary all over Brazil. You and hundreds on here knew we needed a central defender in August and I had hoped the rumours of Shawcross coming in at the end of the summer window were true...

But keeping a clean sheet isn’t a priority for the Tiki Taka master. I’m hopeful of a win on Monday but if I see Barkley in the starting 11 I won’t watch the game. We have had a lot of bad form lately all over the park but the way Barkley plays is so passionless.

I’ve never seen a player avoid physical contact like him. His diving is a result of this fear and Martinez has continued to defend him. Giving the ball away is part of the learning process but how many times has he won the ball back?

It’s times like these when you really appreciate Arteta at his peak. We have never really replaced him and getting a player like him will be one of the many priorities this summer. It’s sad that in mid-January, all I am thinking about is 40 points and the summer.

Keith Meakin
14 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:11:55
Totally agree with you Mohammed, Barkley needs to be dropped from the squad for now. Give him a break and time to practice how to track back and to make the occasional tackle, It’s as though Martinez has told him not to worry if he looses the ball some other poor mug will clean up after you. We had more fight in our bellies when he was substituted v West Ham.
Colin Glassar
15 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:18:20
Jamie C, win, lose or draw won’t change a thing for many. There’ll always be another game....... I’m with Jim B 10, come what may, in the summer the squad needs some major (not cosmetic) surgery.

Mo Ho, there are better players out there than Shawcross.

Nick Swallow
16 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:29:36
I’d play Garbutt at left back, Oviedo in front of him and play Baines with Besic and drop Barry
Kevin Gillen
17 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:20:54
Losing to West Ham in the cup after a favourable home draw is unacceptable, whatever the manner of the defeat. Martinez is in last chance saloon. I did wonder if he would survive January. Disappointing considering we have so much talent at the club.

I am hoping the panic stops here and we get positive results at Palace and at home to the reds and that last year’s points total was not a fluke. As an Evertonian I want Martinez to do well but a big improvement all round is required. If I was Blue Bill, I would be demanding a clean sheet at the very least against WBA and the same against Palace.

Brian Porter
18 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:28:52
I totally agree with all the previous comments. It’s become significant to me in the last couple of weeks that we are now mostly talking about the results of the clubs below us, ie, those in the relegation fight, rather than looking to those above us and the need to close the gap on them. In other words, reality has set in for us supporters, even if it hasn’t for the manager. Loose on Monday, and we are without doubt in real danger of going down.

Besic must start and STAY on the pitch, not be subbed unless he’s having a stinker. He’s the type of player who will relish a midfield battle with Pulis’s troops. He and McCarthy would be an ideal pairing but I can see Martinez putting Barry there again to be walked over. Here’s hoping it all works out for us and we get that vital win before it’s too late.

Colin Glassar
19 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:44:55
Nick, I’ve been saying that for weeks now. That naturally left sided triangle would give us balance and attacking and defensive options. Plus it would allow Coleman and Mirallas room to attack down the right.
Wayne Smyth
20 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:46:50
Barkley gets a lot of shit but people seem not to apply the same standards to the experienced pros that have also let us down this season.

Have the performances and efforts of Baines been acceptable? Jags? Barry? McGeady? Distin?

I’ve seen a lot of sloppy play and lack of effort from all of those players many times this season, but lets focus all our bile on a 21-year-old who is often being asked to play out of position and trying to learn his trade in a team chock full of players who have failed to stand up and be counted.

Phil Walling
21 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:55:51
’Pivotal game for Martinez’. Lose to the Baggies and he is toast. Win and he’ll get a reprieve. Simples!
Peter Murray
22 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:42:56
# Mohammed Horoub 13

Mohammed, why would Roberto want to sign another centre-half when we already have Jags, Stones, Alcaraz and Distin?

Ross is going through a relative bad patch but he still takes 2 or 3 players with him when he sets off. A typical burst followed by a goal would restore his confidence immediately. Indecision is his main problem but then again that applies to several players.

I agree about Arteta. We have never replaced him but maybe he had his best years with us. His current injury record must be of some concern to Arsenal.

Max Wilson
23 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:59:37
If we lose this game at home, the knives will really be out for RM. As it is, it’s looking uncomfortably close to a relegation struggle.

Without seeing the team sheet it’s difficult to comment further. I’m not expecting to see Eto’o on it, although he should be.

Andrew Ellams
24 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:02:02
Peter Murray, two of those centre halves are no longer up to it and out of contract in the summer.
Eddie Dunn
25 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:01:22
Peter (22), Barkley can take a cluster of players off on a jaunt, but he does not see that a quick pass across field, will take his minders out of the game and open up space for a team mate. Until he sees things like this he will flatter to deceive.

And Mohammed, yes, I cannot remember Barkley chasing and winning the ball in a tackle. Is his "fear" a hangover from his awful broken leg?

Jim Bennings
26 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:59:49
Totally agree Mohammed.

We have built this season so far on too many excuses, injuries, Europe, the World Cup and so on. But none of the above have been the reason for way too many half interested performances and endless playground defending. The desire has picked up slightly in the last few matches but the playground defending is still plaguing us horrendously.

Shawcross would do me fine.

I’m just amazed that before the season started Martinez looked at the central defensive options and thought we were okay to get through a season with just four that included a guy close to retirement (Distin), a guy who hardly plays (Alcaraz) and that leaves you with a 20-year-old who really shouldn’t be expected as our defensive leader and the most reserved Captain I have ever seen at Everton.

Martinez is to blame for that, not Europe or too many games. The Europa League hasn’t bothered Spurs too much differently to not being in it.

It’s time the excuses stopped now.

Chris Gould
27 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:59:54
I think most of us would agree that we are a better team when we play more direct, when we play to the players strengths, when we’re fit, when we don’t fuck around with it in defence, when we don’t do tika taka......so basically we’re far better when we don’t do anything that Martinez wants us to do.

Emphasis has to be on a clean sheet. The defenders become more confident and the attacking players play with more freedom. Clean sheets breed confidence throughout the entire team.

Terry Hayes
28 Posted 18/01/2015 at 09:45:24
I hated every minute of being a Stoke, Spurs and Man Utd fan yesteday... I was almost happy them lot across the park won too (not really) but almost.

Reality finally kicked in when it occurred to me that I no longer look at the top of the table, And that my main concern is what’s happening below us.

Jamie Barlow
29 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:04:11
I don’t see why playing Ross on the wing and his age is an excuse for not putting the effort in. The least we should expect off every single player is 100%. This lad has got the world at his feet and could do what ever he wants in football if he really wants it. Not seeing it enough yet though.
Jim Bennings
30 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:13:15
Peter Murray

Was that serious comment? I just don’t know if many would find that humorous at the present moment in time.

Tony Twist
31 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:09:12
Two games to save his job, has Martinez got it in him? It has come to this point with poor preparation and dropping points against teams we should have beaten. Good performances against West Brom and Crystal Palace would be nice but it’s six points or bust for Martinez.

The points tally we have presently is embarrassing considering the players we have. My team would be: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Garbutt, Mirallas, Barkley, Besic, Baines, Lukaku, Kone.

Fingers crossed for two victories, for our sakes, not for Martinez.

Wayne Smyth
32 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:14:29
I think after last season’s performance not many would’ve predicted the sudden drop-off in ability of our centre-halves this season. If they did, I’d be interested to see evidence with a link to a post from before the World Cup saying that they would need replacing immediately. I suspect it’s actually made up nonsense using the 20-20 vision of hindsight.

Stones still looks quality, but we’ve gone from having a top defensive unit last season that was good enough to get Jags and Baines to the England World Cup squad, to a complete shambles this season where our experienced pros cannot defend a simple long-ball or set-piece or close down the opposition.

Jags and Baines both came in for a lot of criticism at the World Cup, and I wonder whether because they’re not naturally confident players if Jagielka’s mind in particular was not in the right place at the start of the season.

One thing that is noticeable is that we’ve gone from a bad season, to really awful form as soon as McCarthy got injured. He was someone who got stick on here for not bringing anything to our game. People can make their own minds up whether those people were actually talking garbage.

Wayne Smyth
33 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:28:38
Jamie(29) - there is no excuse for lack of effort. However, people focus on Barkley as if he’s the only player not performing and not putting effort in.

Where are the barnstorming runs of our full backs this season? Where was the effort from Barry when he let Jelavic walk through on goal with his head in his hands rather than try to catch up and apply pressure?

The Hull and Newcastle games were probably the worst, most spineless performances I’ve seen since Walter Smith’s last game away to ’boro. That lack of effort came from the entire team. As often is the case, people require a scapegoat.

Phil Walling
34 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:42:31
I don’t agree that Barkley is the latest scapegoat. Regular readers will know that opprobrium has been shared around EVERY member of the squad from Howard through to Lukaku.

ToffeeWebbers may be many things but they are never unfair!

Denis Richardson
35 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:31:42
No McGeady and presumably no Eto’o. Martinez has an interesting choice to make re the three AM positions. Ideally he’d play Oviedo from the off but we’ll see.

We’re now a whopping 7 points off 10th, 5 points off 11th and only 3 points ahead of QPR in 19th. Even Palace are now above us! If we don’t win tomorrow I just cannot see how BK can avoid looking for a new manager.

This game for me is do or die for Martinez. If he can’t win a home to West Brom, then we’re not going to take many points in the next 3 games after that.

David Greenwood
36 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:47:22
There are some great thoughts and ideas on here about formations, line-ups and variations of play.

I think it’s safe to say that Tony Pulis will not be worried in any way shape or form about how or who we will line up with. Pulis must be rubbing his hands with glee, he doesn’t need to put any effort into working us out.

It is an absolute certainty that we will play 4-2-3-1 regardless of who we have available and that Gareth Barry will be our main (and least effective in the league) holding midfielder. He knows we don’t break quickly, we’ll let his team get back and set up defensively before we attempt to move the ball forward.

I am normally very optimistic before games, but I fear that we will lose this one. And we shouldn’t; we have players of immense quality, who are not being used, worked, motivated and managed properly.

Please prove me wrong Bobby, I want you to succeed. Last season was great, prove that it’s this season that’s the blip, not last season.

COYB

Kunal Desai
37 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:36:45
My worry is the resumption of the Europa League and the impact it will have on results.

The Leicester game at home is sandwiched in between both Young Boys ties. The return leg being followed up two days later with a trip to Arsenal.

Newcastle at home is sandwiched between both the last 16 ties. The return leg being followed up two days later with a trip to QPR.

Burnley at home is sandwiched between the quarter final ties. The return leg being followed up two days later at home to Man Utd. I’ve not looked that far ahead to the Semi-finals.

For me the home games are absolute crucial against Leicester, Newcastle and Burnley and all falling in between Europa League ties. Personally I would take the 9 points from the home games at the expense of the Europa League. Considering we’ve only won one of six games after EL games earlier in the campaign and the fact that Martinez will prioritise the EL ahead of the league, this really does worry me.

Mike Gwyer
38 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:50:14
Peter Murray #22.

"Why would Roberto want to sign another centre half when we already have Jags, Stones, Alcaraz and Distin?".

Simple. Alcaraz and Distin are both shite, finished, fucking garbage and both have the pace of my dead nan; and come June both will hopefully be put out of their misery when their contracts expire.

The list of players we need to cover the crocks or old boys, that we currently have on our books, is probably becoming the biggest laugh in the EPL.

RM’s policy regarding player contract’s is crystal clear, if your shite and old or fucking both, ker-ching, pension problems sorted. However if your up and coming, like say Garbutt, then Everton will wait till your contract expires and then look at renewing it.

If this club loses Garbutt in June then we seriously need to look at who administrates our player contracts!!

Harold Matthews
39 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:17:40
I can’t see us getting a tough, tall, experienced centre back till the summer but, if we continue the direct route, we are definitely in urgent need of a pacey right-footed right winger who can cross a ball. Mirallas sulks if he plays there because he can’t cut in and have a shot, which leaves only McGeady who is not everyone’s cup of tea. Oviedo and Atsu are left footers and Naismith can’t play wide.

Of course, the whole thing is a waste of time if no-one gets into the box. The opposite winger needs to be in there, along with Lukaku, Naismith and Barkley. We know Ross won’t cross the 18-yd line but if Lampard can do it then so can he.

Colin Glassar
40 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:44:39
I think PM’s post #22 was tongue in cheek. Wasn’t it?
Peter Murray
41 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:17:30
@ 30 Jim Bennings

Yes I am being serious.The only joke doing the rounds is the calls for Shawcross.

@ 38 Mike Dwyer

I disagree that Alcaraz and Distin are "both shite, finished, fucking garbage". Alcaraz has had a list of injuries. Distin has, apparently, some issues behind the scenes. If this means that both have to go, so be it. But, basically, both are decent players.

In fact, last season Jags/Distin were arguably the best centre back pairing in the Premier League. I didnÂ’t see any of these "comments" flying around then.

John Williams
42 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:03:17
When we looked at the fixtures after the Hull game, I think we all knew this was the pivotal game of the season. A win at home against a relegation candidate is a must because the next three games can’t see us getting much change and if that’s the case after the Chelsea game maybe a head will roll.

Although we have played much better in the last three games, still no win... which makes Monday night critical for Martinez and Everton. Similar urgency and desire, the crowd right behind the team, and a result and performance could do wonders. We hope and pray.

Mark Andersson
43 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:43:29
I was one of MatinezÂ’s biggest supporters when he came. I couldnÂ’t understand the Phil Whaling scepticism... oh how I was proved wrong.

I don’t bother reading anything this manager says – he is a total toss pot. I hope he gets the boot regardless of any win tomorrow, but realistically we won’t get a win and the board won’t have the balls to get shut.

The players should be giving it all for the fans, fuck Martinez’s stubborn game plan. Everton cannot afford to go the same way as Wigan. Phil Walling, sorry mate – you were right, I was wrong.

Colin Glassar
44 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:49:44
Peter, thanks for clearing that one up.

John, paradoxically we seem to perform better against the teams above us so, if we can beat WBA and CP I wouldn’t be surprised if we beat the RS (still not playing well) and get a result (draw?) at Chelsea.

It’s paramount that we go into those two games on the back of a couple of wins to get the confidence flowing through the team.

Jim Bennings
45 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:53:22
Peter

Whatever you have had to drink a few of us might just meet up tomorrow with you and have a few.

Jags and Distin are yesterday’s men, what Distin did last season is history now.

We are here and now, we are not in last season chasing 4th we are chasing 4th from bottom.

Mark Taylor
46 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:50:20
My heart will sink if Barry retains his place and Barkley continues to play wide left. The definition of madness is doing the same thing, again and again, and expecting a different outcome.
Conor McCourt
47 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:19:47
Wayne, excellent post regarding the summer. We all knew Distin was getting on but his performances were excellent last year and we could have predicted a small decline in his performances but not his sudden demise when he has totally gone both physically and mentally.

We had a great defence last season and so not a priority. Our fans are critical of Roberto’s spending in the summer but we really only spent 㿊 million on 2 quality players who will be the backbone of this team for the next 5 years. Some TW posters would prefer to buy 4 or 5 mediocre players to beef up the squad.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and Roberto knows more than most we need a GK, CB and LW but bringing in short term solutions is not the answer. We have enough mediocrity in the squad already.

Brian Waring
48 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:59:04
Has anyone heard the rumour that supposedly we’ve got a Portuguese translator lined up for tomorrow?
Colin Glassar
49 Posted 18/01/2015 at 12:08:39
Is Mourinho taking over, Brian? I thought his English is pretty good.
Mike Gwyer
50 Posted 18/01/2015 at 11:47:17
Peter Murray.

Please tell me where you sit at GP?? From my seat, Distin scares the shite out of everyone when he gets the ball, so let’s not even discuss how many goals we’ve conceded when he loses or gives the ball away.

I’m also at a loss as to where to start with your comment "last season Jags/Distin were arguably the best centre back pairing in the Premier League".

That fact means absolutely nothing right now but, for fuck’s sake, Distin is 37 and you consider him to be one of the best CBs at this club. Everton are in deep shite because we are playing utter shite and one of the reasons is playing Distin at CB.

The Everton defensive players are responsible for conceding the second highest total in the EPL, for making the most mistakes in the EPL and our defensive record against corners is seriously laughable. RM may not give a fuck about corners but you would have thought that Distin & Alcaraz would at least do what they should do and that is defend.

For me, June can’t come quick enough when these two CBs will be replaced. Please do not raise an argument by telling me what Distin or Alcaraz have already done, let’s argue about what they are currently doing, which is basically picking up a big wedge and doing fuck-all squared for this great club.

Mark Taylor
51 Posted 18/01/2015 at 12:01:43
Conor, I don’t agree with either you or Wayne on this. I haven’t time to look this up but I know that there was a big clamour pre season for another centre half. This was based on the reality that Alcaraz is incredibly brittle, as well as of dubious quality, and that relying on a 37 year old who, let’s face it, is not Paulo Maldini, would be risky to say the least, given the back up (Stones) is very promising but inexperienced.

What was unexpected is how bad Jagielka would be this year but that just turned a clearly identifiable need into a near crisis.

Ian Jones
52 Posted 18/01/2015 at 12:33:24
Off topic but if you haven’t spotted the thread about Justice for Jeff Astle which is tucked away and may get overlooked, please take a look. It’s a cause worth supporting.
Wayne Smyth
53 Posted 18/01/2015 at 12:21:37
Mark, for a long time our centre halves have been under fire from many quarters... going back to the Moyes era. For example, Distin does blow hot & cold and always has an error in him, such as his backpass during the FA Cup Semi-Final.

However, people are talking now like they could foresee both our main centre halves needing emergency replacement. Strange given our goals conceded last season was better than Moyes best record, I think??

Neither Jags or Distin have physical issues due to age. Distin is still somewhat of a beast who will beat most forwards for pace. Add Stones into the mix and I think a lot of fans would be thinking maybe we need one more to add depth and a bit of quality, since we know that Alcaraz is not rated at all by most.

What I don’t think is the case is that in June people were seriously contemplating that our existing defenders’ form would drop so severely from the level they had shown they were capable of.

It’s also easy to say we needed a centre half. We needed two strikers. We need two wingers. We needed a right back. We needed two midfielders. Howard has come in for as much stick over the years as our centre halves due to his errors so you could point back to posts saying he needed to be replaced too. All on about 㿏M.

In fact you could quite happily argue that when all the loanees like Barry and Lukaku left, centre half was one of our strongest areas.

In the end Martinez did well to get Eto’o and Besic in. I think in hindsight Lukaku was a mistake. We’d have been better off this season getting 3 or 4 players in to avoid having to play players out of position.

Richard Lyons
54 Posted 18/01/2015 at 12:47:58
It has to be a win, and it has to be morale-boosting.

Therefore, we have to score lots of goals (Lukaku 2, Barkley, Mirallas and Baines (pen), please)... and keep a clean sheet.

Nil satis nisi quinque-nil.

Andy Crooks
55 Posted 18/01/2015 at 12:50:50
Harold #39, we let a tall tough centre half go in the summer. One who has international experience. He has done well since. The decision to let him go was a poor one considering how, with the exception of Stones, our centre backs are poor.
Colin Glassar
56 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:03:05
Andy, who? Duffy? I haven’t heard anything about him since he left. Where is he now?
Conor McCourt
57 Posted 18/01/2015 at 12:51:55
Wayne, I really don’t believe the big man is a mistake. He will guarantee 15 goals a season for the next 5 years. He’s been awful in the league this season, has played with an injury and still he has got 10 goals in all competitions. Now he has hit a bit of form we will see a different player especially if he’s injury free.

Mark, Wayne said really what I wanted to say so no point repeating it.

David Hallwood
58 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:05:16
One of the interesting stats about Pulis (and BTW I wouldn’t want to see him at GP) is that he’s never been relegated despite spending all of his career in the bargain basement.

Therefore, I’m expecting a tough game tomorrow but, if we play to our strengths, we win – simple. It won’t happen because of the manager’s insistence of playing Barry. I would team up Besic with Barkley, and have Mirallas, Naismith, Oviedo and Lukaku with the usual suspects making up the back four.

Colin Glassar
60 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:16:28
David, we all know Pulis will have everyone behind the ball and will try to hit us on the break. Even though the crowd might get edgy, I think we will have to be patient to try and break them down. If we go gung ho, they will cause us problems.
Denis Richardson
61 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:04:11
Kunai 37, tbh I don’t think the EL of is of any relevance right now. It’s still a month away and we have 4 league games before then.

If we don’t get much before then, especially against West Brom and Crystal Palace, then Martinez shouldn’t be around come that time anyway.

Also if we play like we did over Xmas then the EL won’t be an issue as we’ll be out soon enough. Young Boys won’t be a walk over.

There are just no excuses anymore. 3 points on Monday or taxi.

My main fear is that we draw the West Brom game thereby giving BK the slightest of excuses to put of the decision further, in the hope we beat Palace. I truly hope we win tomorrow but what I really don’t want is a draw.

Kieran Riding
62 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:24:31
0-0 at half time.

Bellew on the pitch during the break filming New Rocky installment. Crowd gets going.

Blues win 2-0 in the second half, Lukaku scoring both.

Wayne Smyth
63 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:36:17
Conor, I’m a big fan of Lukaku, I think he’s great.

But, the reason I think it was a mistake to get him is that, in hindsight, we’re so weak in other areas that we’d have been much better off with a couple of ٦M wingers, a 㾶M striker and perhaps a defender.

Properly balanced teams with average players will probably out-perform a team of better players where they’re being forced to play in the wrong positions.

Remember back to when Donovan came on loan? We were awful before he arrived. We had only one major creative outlet, Baines/Pienaar, which teams sussed out and closed down. Donovan came in and gave us a pacy attacking option on the other side and changed our form completely from what I recall. He wasn’t a world-beater, but completely changed the dynamics of the team.

My worry this season is that we either get relegated or do so badly that our best players look to leave. No doubt including Lukaku himself.

Joseph Clarke
64 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:42:08
Just read a quote from RM, apparently he said "Barkley, is the complete midfielder, with a long way to go."?
Chris Gould
65 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:37:49
Denis #61, I absolutely agree. A draw would encourage comments such as, "to continue the turnaround in results."

I personally don’t consider two draws and a loss to be a turnaround in results. After four losses a turnaround would be some wins!!!!

Max Wilson
66 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:41:51
I’d like to record my agreement with anyone saying that it is a mistake to play Barkley out on the left, which seems to be done to accomodate Naismith, as well as Lukaku.

Also that our defence is showing it’s age this season and needs attention. Crosses into the box have been met with abysmal amateurishness. And that right now while the window is open we need a decent fit, intelligent, midfielder because Barry suddenly looks his age.

Finally, anyone that is indignant about how crap we are at taking corners, please add my agreement. No wonder we are where we are. We have some great players and they need colleagues of the same standard – that is what a team is.

Kevin Tully
67 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:52:35
Wayne – people lose sight of the fact those three extra players you mention would all be on a minimum of 㿞k per week. ThatÂ’s ٥.5m in wages alone, plus agentsÂ’ and signing-on fees.
Andrew Clare
68 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:56:29
QPR were a shambles and we made heavy weather of beating them. A highly organised WBA with Pulis newly at the helm will be a completely different ’cup of tea’.

I hate to say it but anything other than a win tomorrow must signal the end of Roberto’s reign.

John Keating
69 Posted 18/01/2015 at 13:34:44
6 points from West Brom and Crystal Palace are a must. On form, we’ll get sod all from our following two games!

I think the only thing that has saved Martinez so far has been the improvement in general attitude and play since the players "had a word". We’ve not had the results yet but we need to see them in the next two games.

Anthony Hanlon
70 Posted 18/01/2015 at 14:22:59
QPR 3 points behind Everton, Rednapp on the verge

Hull 3 points behind Everton, Bruce on the verge

WBA 1 point behind Everton, manager already replaced

Aston Villa same points as Everton, Lambert on the verge.

Martinez... safest job in football?

Conor McCourt
71 Posted 18/01/2015 at 14:18:56
Wayne, I totally agree with you with regards to the short-term position but, although it’s difficult at the moment, in 2 years time we will see Besic and Lukaku as great business.

We won’t be relegated as you can see how we have improved just by Stones being fit and the difference he has made. Unfortunately, it’s been a disastrous season so far but hopefully a good run in the Europa League will convince our better players not to leave.

I would only worry about Mirallas as we would have to cash in should he want to leave due to his contract situation. We don’t want any of our stars to leave but Roberto has made sure we will get decent money as they are all on long-term deals.

I feel we are better served by getting a few loans in such as Januzaj and hopefully buy one top player in this window such as Van Dijk.

We have tried the 㾶 million centre-forward before with Johnson, Beattie and Jelavic... and we know how they turned out.

Andy Crooks
72 Posted 18/01/2015 at 14:56:21
Colin, #56. Duffy is a regular in the Blackburn side. A pal who became a Blackburn fan in the days of Shearer goes to games. He was at the draw with Middlesborough last month and said that Duffy was excellent in helping Blackburn keep a clean sheet.
Paul Tran
73 Posted 18/01/2015 at 14:44:13
Pulis’s teams never get relegated. That’s precisely why he should never get near our job – I think we’re better than that.

You can talk all you like about form. The thing that has really bugged me about Martinez this season is that he is seemingly determined to play unbalanced teams. Barry and the back four are consistently left exposed and vulnerable by Martinez’s obsession with putting three square pegs in two round holes.

Whatever he does tomorrow, we need Besic’s fight and Oviedo’s pace and directness. And three points.

Colin Glassar
74 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:13:42
I’m glad to hear that Andy. I always liked Duffy.
Tony Hill
75 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:15:32
Good news with Hull’s defeat. Win tomorrow and we are 6 points off relegation. Small comfort in the grand scheme but we need to think in these terms at the moment.
Brent Stephens
76 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:01:22
Win this and we can aspire to Walling territory in the league. Let’s have more of the passion, pace and directness of recent games.
Mike Childs
77 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:19:19
It’s a comfort, Tony, that we’re all pulling for. The gaffer could make a big statement that he’s on the same page as us by benching a few favorites.
Bill Gall
78 Posted 18/01/2015 at 14:31:54
First off taking the remarks by Jim Benning (#10) and Colin Glasser (#15). I doubt that there is any supporter that does not agree with the comments that, come May, Everton will require a major overhaul and the team will need surgery to shake things up.

Regarding Martinez’s position, will he be here to do this? This is going to depend on his own abilities as a manager to improve our league position plus, continue to advance in the Europa League with possibly a win in the final.

I do not believe Bill Kenwright will fire him until the end of the season; regardless of results, his future will be examined at this time.

Regarding the end of season, Everton’s major overhaul, and the team’s surgery – this IMO is the major requirement at this time... BUT, unless we sell a number of our younger players, there is a foundation of young players in the squad mixed with a couple of experienced players in the squad that will require possibly 2-3 quality players to compliment them.

Like all other supporters, I have my own opinion of the type of quality players I would like to see at Everton but I will pick out the stumbling blocks that may prevent any or some of it happening:

(A) Financial support to bring in players and this leads to the major stumbling block that controls this, and that is BK. ThIs is the man who will decide if we sell our younger stars to keep up his friendship with the larger clubs; or he stands firm and finds the finances to improve the team.

BK controls the club from top to bottom and, although he employs people for the general running of the club, all major decisions are made by him; any major overhaul, at either the manager’s position or how the first team will be financed, will be up to him.

Getting off the future and on the West Brom game... please do not play Barkley on the left wing. If that is the only place you think that you can play him leave him on the bench.

Mark Taylor
79 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:26:52
Wayne, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. Distin may remain reasonably quick in a straight line, but his reactions and his mobility are deteriorating. He can look very statuesque. To my eye, we started to see this towards the end of last season.

I believe he is the oldest Premier League defender still playing. When you’re past 35 or 36, it really is a case of any minute, you’ll lose it. Even someone like Rio Ferdinand reached that point well before Distin’s current age. He could perhaps ply his trade a level down for another year, but the EPL is an unforgiving place.

The other problem is that he is very ill-suited to RM’s philosophy of ball-playing centre backs. Even last year, he looked at bit headless chicken at times and that was before our opponents sussed that a high pressing line puts us into panic attack.

Bearing in mind our resources are constrained, the minimum we needed in the summer was a CB, another central midfielder and a winger (always assuming we kept Lukaku). We got the other two, albeit Atsu has turned out to be a waste of time.

Mark Andersson
80 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:14:53
Hull have lost. Bring on PulisÂ’s men. IÂ’ve said on other threads that the crowd need to be behind the team for the full 90...

Good luck.

Tony Draper
81 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:46:58
Regardless of our circumstances we would need to win tomorrow.

The requirements on the players are no different, their motivation is no different (3pts at home), the circumstances are a little different than in recent seasons, but not so wildly different (we have had poor starts and great second halves to our seasons and vice versa).

What is expected by the fans is a continuance of the attitude since the Cup game against WHU and for that to deliver 3 solid points.

Also, what is required of those of us "packed tightly" into Goodison is for us to show some of the determined attitude being demanded/expected of the players.

No hypocrisy, just consistency, from the stands and the pitch.
No moaning at a misplaced pass.
No "quitter attitude", just ’cos "I’ve paid me money, I’m entitled....."

Tomorrow, requires non stop commitment and 3 solid points.

Simon Dutton
82 Posted 18/01/2015 at 16:05:09
Okay, I’m gonna ask the obvious question as no-one seems to want to see Barry play, let’s take him out of the team... and play who there?

McCarthy? I believe is still out injured.

Barkley? Most on here have said he is not putting any effort in and not tracking back – a rather important trait, I would have thought, for a defensive midfielder, so would you trust him?

Baines? Although I personally think this may be the best option, if we drop Barry, people on here complain about playing players out of position... so, if it doesn’t work, Martinez gets the blame again!

So, if anyone has any other suggestions as who to play instead of Barry, who is fit, committed, and not playing out of position, I am all ears.

James Stewart
83 Posted 18/01/2015 at 16:08:00
One win in 12 and not a single clean sheet. Doesn’t look like any sign of a recovery from where I am sitting.

The West Brom game is a must win but I just can’t see it happening. We don’t have the discipline to get the job done under RM. My prediction: a draw. Pulis will have them well drilled and organised.

It’s a sad day when West Brom come to town and, if I were a betting man, I would not feel confident backing Everton to win at all.

Paul Tran
84 Posted 18/01/2015 at 16:21:51
Simon, I’d play Barry like a shot.... in a balanced team that gives a bit of movement. It’s only the static tactics that compress the play that exposes Barry. Put him in a balanced side with energetic colleagues and you’ll see a different player – hopefully at Goodison tomorrow!
David Hallwood
85 Posted 18/01/2015 at 16:32:32
Paul Tran (#85) my problem with the 2 holding mids is that IMHO it was the reason for our success last term in that they made everything tick by protecting the back 4 so the FBs could attack and they protected the back 4.

This simply hasn’t worked this season, and I would look at the Matic-Fabregas partnership, which is holder/playmaker.

Yes, Barkley isn’t as accomplished in that role as Fabregas (but then again, who is?), but I remember him running the show in the derby last season and it would give him responsibility and play him in the role that I think he’s most suited – round pegs in round holes for a change.

Paul Hewitt
86 Posted 18/01/2015 at 16:56:38
Why are some people thinking we will lose tomorrow? We won’t.

I fully expect to win our next two home games and take at least a point at Palace. Then we can all breath a little easier.

Wayne Smyth
87 Posted 18/01/2015 at 16:48:02
Simon, I think Besic and Barkley can play together. They did against QPR and Barkley played well. That said, I’d have no problem playing Barry.
Tony Hill
88 Posted 18/01/2015 at 17:01:44
Tony (#82), absolutely correct about the crowd tomorrow. Let’s continue the support we had against Man City. Pulis will be delighted if we get anxious because we’re not 2-0 up after 20 minutes. Though 2-0 after 90 minutes would be fine.
Ian Bennett
89 Posted 18/01/2015 at 16:56:25
With players still out, we are shuffling a very limited deck with Kone, Barkley and Garbutt the only real options after a fit XI. I bloody hope reinforcements come in if Eto’o’s wages leave.

Robles

Coleman
Baines
Jagielka
Stones

Besic
Barry

Mirallas
Naismith
Oviedo or Garbutt

Lukaku

Dave Abrahams
90 Posted 18/01/2015 at 16:39:16
There are only 13 days left in this transfer window and it looks like one player is going with no real sign on anyone coming in. This will have to change very quickly or we will be in more trouble than we already are.

Oviedo and Garbutt have still not sorted their new contracts out, if any have been offered, so they can both walk away at the end of the season... Has nothing been learned from the Gosling situation, when he was allowed to go free when we could have got possibly two or three million for him? Whoever deals with these deals wants a good talking to.

Tomorrow it is then, shit or bust.

Paul Tran
91 Posted 18/01/2015 at 17:10:57
David - it hasn’t worked? I’m not sure he’s tried it so often. This style of play is dependent on quick movement of players and quick passing. It’s been ’sussed out’ because we’ve been unfit/not ready to return/playing at a snail’s pace this season.

Martinez keeps trying his idea of throwing similarly attacking players in midfield. They get in each other’s way and the full backs aren’t sure what to do.

It doesn’t work because the team isn’t balanced.

Everyone knew how we were going to line up in 1985. It worked because the team was balanced, everyone knew their jobs and would die for each other. There was none of this ’we’ve been sussed so we can’t do this anymore’ bollocks. We just worked harder and did it even better.

Yes, times have changed. Yes, that team was special. I think you’ll mind that most of the best teams have been balanced, hard working and know their jobs first - then the ’special’ stuff is added.

Why not get the basics right first?

Kieran Riding
92 Posted 18/01/2015 at 17:26:16
EtoÂ’o at the game tomorrow to wave goodbye. A bit odd for me that, but good luck to the fella.
Ray Roche
93 Posted 18/01/2015 at 17:35:54
Where did you hear that, Kieran?
David Hallwood
94 Posted 18/01/2015 at 17:36:30
Paul (#92) he starts every game with 2 holders, that’s the glue that holds the system together; the idea being that they protect the back 4 by breaking attacks up and filling the gaps when the FBs get caught up the field. So I stick by my assertion that it hasn’t worked because the amount of goals we’ve conceded especially getting carved open down the middle.

Granted it hasn’t helped that McCarthy’s been injured/off the pace all season, and Barry’s had an indifferent season, but I think the system needs a shake up.

Sam Hoare
95 Posted 18/01/2015 at 17:52:49
Depressing that the result of Man City - Arsenal, and indeed any other top 6 fixture, has so little bearing on us.

I am hating this season and tend to blame Martinez for that. Even if things go well for the next month or so, we will be lucky to get top 8.

West Brom will be well organised tomorrow but I reckon we will roll ’em over. I hope he plays a younger team and I’d like to see:

Robles
Coleman Jagielka Stones Garbutt
Besic Baines
Mirallas Barkley Oviedo
Lukaku

Colin Glassar
96 Posted 18/01/2015 at 17:58:41
’Frustrating’ is the word, Sam. Last season, we’d have beaten most of the current top 6 the way they are playing. So this season, most teams are poor and inconsistent and we just happen to be even worse. Typical.

Good team that Sam, I’ve been calling for the Garbutt-Baines-Oviedo triangle for some time now. Won’t happen though.

John Malone
97 Posted 18/01/2015 at 17:51:12
Oviedo and Garbutt should be tied up now. If they are allowed to leave for free, it is a disgrace. Both of them are good young attacking full backs and worth long contracts.

Dave Abrahams
98 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:19:37
Sam (96),

That’s a well balanced team; hope it is the team Bobby picks... bet you a penny it isn’t.

Paul Tran
99 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:18:31
David, point taken, especially regarding McCarthy’s absence being a major factor.

I just think that it’s very simplistic to blame ’the system’, when the main problems are lack of movement and pace, an unbalanced team, painfully slow build-up, poor defending, misuse of Lukaku and full backs.

Last season went to pot when Martinez started bringing injured players back too quickly and unbalanced the midfield, flooding it with too-similar attacking players. Going forward we got in each other’s way, we left huge gaps at the back and Lukaku was nullified. This has carried on this season, Christ knows why.

For me, it’s more about negligence and incompetence than any ’system’.

Jay Harris
100 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:10:23
First of all I would take issue with people saying Distin is over the hill.

IMO he became a scapegoat for the totally amateur pre-season and lack of confidence and commitment all over the squad in the early part of the season when only Barkley was absent through injury.

Distin then for obvious reasons had a falling out with the manager and was left out. Results did not improve and, although Sylvain is prone to the occasional error so is Stones, Jags and even more so Alcaraz. These errors were compounded by the imbalance of the team selection and extra exposure that brought to the back 4.

Secondly, it is misleading to say we spent all of our budget on Lukaku. We spent ٦ million which is less than the money we got from Anichebe and Jelavic sales so there should have been plenty left over for other acquisitions which our manager chose not to do.

Our problems this season have had to do with lack of energy, poor marking at free kicks and corners and unbalanced team selection. All of which led to a marked drop in confidence.

IMO we have a very good group of players perhaps lacking good wide players due to McGeady’s lack of quality and Atsu’s lack of everything.

The manager seems oblivious to this because he keeps playing Barkley, Eto’o and/or Naismith as wingers and will not beef up the midfield.

A number of posters have been advocating playing Baines or Oviedo on the wide left and maybe giving Garbutt a reason to renew his contract by giving him some game time. This would take the pressure off Besic and Barry, enabling them to be more effective and enabling better link up play with the wingbacks.

Please listen and stop preaching bullshit, Roberto.

Paul Tran
101 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:33:56
Jay, spot on, it’s so obvious I’m amazed more people aren’t mentioning this.
Kieran Riding
102 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:35:59
Jay #101
Distin relied on pace. His pace got him out of trouble most of the time. Now he has lost just a wee bit of it. That slight loss has caused a decline in his form and ability to defend at the current Premier League level.

There is not much in life you get better at as you get older. The fact that he has acted like an utter tit is irrelevant.

Phil Walling
103 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:37:25
Jay, why do you assume that BK only agrees to pay for players ’on the drip’ whilst ever club we sell to pays cash up front ?

There is an agreed formula for transactions between clubs in the Prem which is far more onerous than in respect of deals for foreign players. The annual accounts reflect the ins and outs but don’t tell the whole story.

Tony Draper
104 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:16:16
John @98 Spot on.

Your point does raise a wider worry for me. Oviedo, Garbutt and Mirallas all stalling on contracts Eto’o apparently leaving. Coleman could be on Man Utd’s shopping list and I think frankly would go if they offered the right money.

Worst case scenario is that they all go, and they could. Why? Because the money will not replace them and the discontinuity created won’t help.

As another thread (which for the life of me, I can not find) very articulately and accurately pointed out we have players in 3 age/experience categories. With the exception of Eto’o we can feasibly lose four of our youngbloods. THAT deeply concerns me.

So, whether Roberto remains in charge or not, losing so many young quality players would blow a very nasty hole in our squad leaving us with a far too many "veteran" or injury prone players.

The consequence of this would be that the "Old Dead Wood" could not be swiftly removed in the current window and summer because the sheer number of players required to go and be replaced would be almost a complete team!

Jay Harris
105 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:54:56
Phil, you are right but I was trying to make the point we did not just lash out 㿈 million on Lukaku. In fact it was reported to be 㿄 million plus add-ons paid over 3 annual installments.

Given the 㿊 or 㿔 million from players sales and the extra 㿊 million TV money I would have expected the "kitty" to be enough to bring some more quality in rather than just sign up the status quo and add Besic.

Phil Walling
106 Posted 18/01/2015 at 18:53:16
Anybody got stats to hand on whether we get better results with or without Ossie in the team? Guy I sit next to is adamant that he is the difference between winning and losing – the midfield glue, he calls it.
John Keating
107 Posted 18/01/2015 at 19:11:14
Robles
Coleman Stones Jagielka Oviedo
Mirallas Besic Barkley Baines
Naismith
Lukaku

We have to win!

Len Gowing
108 Posted 18/01/2015 at 19:07:59
They’d be interesting stats, Phil... I made that point a couple of weeks ago – I think he played every Premier League game last season and, whilst it went wrong at the back end of the season, we did better with him in the team than out. Since he got injured is when our run of really bad form started.
Brent Stephens
109 Posted 18/01/2015 at 19:21:40
Phil #107, Len #109 – not worth looking as the response will only be something along the lines of "lies, damn, statistics and damn Leon".
Brian Harrison
110 Posted 18/01/2015 at 19:18:17
Well we couldn’t have hoped for a much better set of results over the weekend, apart from Palace beating Burnley all the clubs below us lost. So if we are ever to get clear water between ourselves and the other teams at the bottom then we must win tomorrow.

Yes, we know that Pulis will have his team well organized and will as he always does will have drilled his side on set pieces. But time for our manager and players to deliver, man for man we are better than WBA so about time we showed it.

Should we not win this game or the next then I would think RMs position would be untenable. This would mean we had only won 1 game in 14 added to the fact that the players have lost faith with his style of play I don’t see how he could survive.

Aman Kanji
111 Posted 18/01/2015 at 19:06:32
To be honest I don’t care about referee decisions, dropped points, bad formations, injuries, in previous games OR the team tomorrow... we NEED to CONTINUE playing as we did against West Ham AND WIN!!!

The only way we’re returning to Europe next year is to win the Europa League this year... If we finish fifth thus year, Martinez deserves Manager of the Year!

Gut wrenching...

Chris Gould
112 Posted 18/01/2015 at 19:39:10
My biggest fear is that players leave because of how poorly they have been managed this season from pre-season and throughout. Then sometime in February Martinez finally gets the bullet as BK finally realises that he doesn’t have anything else to offer apart from his limited/found out system.

At this point Martinez will have had at his disposal the best squad we had in decades, drained it of confidence, sold some of it, and then left. Heartbreaking.

Gavin McGarvey
113 Posted 18/01/2015 at 19:48:08
On the subject of Leon, my mate thinks that the thing that was so good about Leon (and I tend to agree with him) was not that he was such a fantastic player but rather that he played with consistency, with most games being 6 or 7 out of ten, while a lot of our players flip between 4 and 8 on a game by game basis.

Obviously our results were better with him in the team, by virtue of the fact that we’ve been dreadful without him. I think if he’d been in the team we’d be up past mid table with maybe an extra 4 or 5 points.

Jackie Barry
114 Posted 18/01/2015 at 19:53:58
If it’s the best squad in decades it has to live up to it’s billing. Bad manager or not some of our so called great players have been poor, even when you see relegation threatened squads there are stand out players, players who earn a transfer to better teams. Based on what I have seen this season none of the players being touted for moves have done enough to warrant it.

I can have a bad boss but it doesn’t mean my own work performance should be poor, if it does then I can blame somebody for everything and never take any responsibility for what I do. Wow how awesome that could be, not!

Wayne Smyth
115 Posted 18/01/2015 at 20:13:16
Jackie, most teams in the Premier League have the best squads in decades, unfortunately.

English teams are cash rich compared to their European peers, even the likes of West Brom, Hull, etc.

Colin Glassar
116 Posted 18/01/2015 at 20:20:31
Time for them to step up, Jackie, and start acting like men.
James Hughes
117 Posted 18/01/2015 at 20:22:07
Colin, strong men need strong leaders, that is a proven fact.
Milos Milenkovic
118 Posted 18/01/2015 at 20:19:53
The EtoÂ’o situation is actually very important. That shows that we are in decline, that can be sign for other squad members that this is a club without future.

RM’s decision to play him (Eto’o) in midfield was very strange and poor – not only for the outcome of every single game but for the atmosphere within the team. I mean if you play one of the best strikers in last 15 years in midfield, position where he never played, at the age of 33, than you are sending a sign that your management is weird and your players will start to lose belief in you, they will lose faith in success.

I am afraid that Martinez canÂ’t turn this around, but still hope that we will win next two games in order to move from the relegation places...

Mike Hughes
119 Posted 18/01/2015 at 20:35:24
Sam #96

I like that set-up - canÂ’t see it happening though.

The telling point for me was that yesterday I wanted the rs to get a draw with Villa. Normally IÂ’d want them to get a good thrashing. Also IÂ’d normally be wanting Sunderland to beat Spurs but was happy Spurs won.

All of this illustrates how far we have sunk this season.

But the bottom half team results went well for us. Even the Palace win was good as I can see them pulling away under Pardew while I think Burnley have had their purple patch and will be struggling from now on.

3 points is mandatory tomorrow.
And a minimum of 1 point away to Palace.
Anything less and RM may as well start walking, at least for me.

I donÂ’t know why but I have a good feeling about LukakuÂ’s contribution for the rest of the season. With an adjustment of our style of play, thereÂ’s another 12 goals in him I think.

Phil Sammon
120 Posted 18/01/2015 at 20:40:19
Should be interesting tomorrow. One manager who values set-pieces as the ultimate opportunity versus another who freely admits he places little importance on them. Win or lose tomorrow I would put my hat on a West Brom goal from a dead ball situation.

That said, we have the players to roll this lot over. Hopefully Martinez opts for a bit of width on the left instead of playing Barkley or Naismith out of position.

Time for us to get our act together.

Anthony Lamb
122 Posted 18/01/2015 at 20:50:33
Although it is a cliche it nevertheless tends to bear witness to the truth. All this talk of "best squad in years" even some contributors talking about "finishing in top eight" or "winning the Europe Cup" seem to miss a pretty obvious point. Namely that the sole objective for Everton Football Club this season is to avoid the relegation with which they are now very seriously threatened.

Everton are where they are because at present they are one of the worst eight teams or so in the division. They are now becoming quite detached from even the top half of the league and unless they do win the next two matches then they are very certainly in a dog fight to keep out of the bottom three places. Whatever the causes, and they have been paraded here for many a month, it seems to me that the sole focus this year is to avoid relegation, deal with some of the undoubted consequences, including the better players wanting to leave and start over again. But I think our sights should be set very clearly on this battle to get away from the bottom places.

Can anybody see this team winning the Europa Cup? Can we not see that once we re- engage with it the usual claptrap will emerge about "tired players" " too limited a squad" etc. Of course one would never wish defeat etc on the team but such is the precariousness of the current situation it may well be the best deal on offer that we get out of it as quickly as possible and attempt to remain in the premier division of the English game.

John Keating
123 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:10:52
Anthony, spot on.

Keeping out of any sort of relegation issue should be our only priority, everything else is bullshit.

Hopefully when we get out of any relegation issues we can look at the longer term but for now every league game should be our cup final.

Victor Jones
124 Posted 18/01/2015 at 20:41:46
My team for tomorrow, barring injuries:

Robles; Browning, Jagielka, Stones, Garbutt; Coleman, Besic, Barkley, Oviedo: Mirallas, Lukaku. Lining up 4-4-2. With a strong bench, consisting of Griffiths, Naismith, Baines, Barry, Kone, EtoÂ’o (??) Hibbert (if fit), and Osman (if fi)t. Of course I would also include a fit McCarthy in place of Barkley.

I know that this will not be the team for tomorrow. But, whilst indulging in this little exercise, it has become very clear to me, just how thin and threadbare our squad actually is. Survival this season is a must. Then a complete clear out of all the deadwood. And the signing up of Garbutt, Oviedo, Browning and Mirallas.

LetÂ’s build a team full of energy and poise and skill around the good young players that we have. And bring in 4 or 5 to complement them. I live in hope but I fear that very little will be done. And we will be starring down a barrel, just as we are now.

Anyhow, on to the WBA game. Says it all when we are worried about an old codger like Tony Pulis. And it says it all that Pulls has managed to bully Martinez and Everton in the past. That stops tomorrow. Everton will win. Everton will win. Everton will win. WhereÂ’s Uri Geller when you need him? He just might do a better job than our resident mind bending Â’phenomenal philosopherÂ’. COYBS.

Phil Walling
125 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:12:08
I am sure that when the end of season inquest is held, Europa will get the blame. Convenient, you see!

As for Eto’o, I’m convinced he is leaving because he has been asked to play a role alien to him. He has no faith in Martinez.

A bit like me, really. The faith bit, I mean.

Chris Jones
126 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:20:53
4-3-3. Barry and Besic either side of a deeper-lying Barkley. Mirallas on the left, Kone on the right (he played there often for Wigan); Lukaku in the middle. If either of the wide players isn’t performing, bring Oviedo on the left. This management lark’s easy!
Steve Higham
127 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:26:18
No matter what has gone on during the disappointing season so far, we need to get behind the team from the start against WBA. Three points are imperative to get us out of the relegation battle.
Mark Frere
128 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:21:59
Sam (96), I think you have the team selection spot on there mate. But sadly, I think this will be the team Martinez will go for:

Robles
Coleman Stones Jagielka Baines
Besic Barry
Naismith Barkley McGeady
Lukaku

Whatever the team selection is though, I just hope the players show the same fight and desire that they did in the West Ham game. There’s definitely been a big improvement in the last 3 games and it’s now vital we start turning these draws into wins. This game is a must win against a relegation rival.

Gavin (#114), I couldn’t disagree more. One thing I’ve never associated with Osman is ’consistency’. In many games Osman has had me tearing my hair and many times it has been the fault of the manager for playing him out of position. However, in certain games, Osman has been sublime with his quick feet and ability to link up play. Unfortunately though, he has as many bad games as he does good games. I think you have it the wrong way round: he’s 4 out 10 one week, then 8 out of 10 the next week.

Paul Tran
129 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:21:51
Good to hear that, Phil, but I can’t visualise you having much else in common with Mr Eto’o!

I’ll point anyone blaming the Europa League towards White Hart Lane for comparison, as well our current run, which has taken place between Europa games.

My guess is that Eto’o has looked at what’s going on here and doesn’t like what he sees, especially as he’s not being played in his best position. No proof here, just a hunch. Not good, regardless.

As with any player, if he doesn’t want to play for us, get him out of the door.

The question is, once he’s gone, who will replace him as the third square peg for two round holes? Hold on, maybe Martinez will now pick a balanced team, or spend Eto’o’s wages on a decent defender?

Chris Jones
130 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:34:23
Mark (#219) — McGeady’s banned. Shame, eh?
Mark Frere
131 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:37:02
Of course, Chris, how could I have forgotten the sending of at West Ham. Silly Aiden and silly me!

At least this might be a blessing in disguise and Oviedo baby will get the start he deserves. I can’t think of any other alternative.

Paul Tran
132 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:44:51
I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he picks Oviedo. Too fast, too direct. Should be one of the first on the team sheet and I’m starting to wonder whether they are the two reasons he’s not in the team....
Phil Sammon
133 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:44:45
McGeady gets an unbelievable amount of slack on here. I appreciate that he loses the ball an inordinate amount of times...but at least he tries to make things happen.

Too many of our players have been lethargic and far too conservative this season. He’s a frustrating player at times... just like the rest of the team this year.

Dave Abrahams
134 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:25:30
Anthony Lamb, I’d wager a good percentage of Evertonians are thinking like you, staying in the uePremier Leag has to be the first thing that is imperative to the club. The Europa League is the least thing I’m worrying about.

Get some wins in the league is all I’m interested in at the moment and, the quicker we get them, the quicker we can all relax. I’m glad I haven’t got high blood pressure – although I will have the way soon the way this club is run.

Phil Sammon
135 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:59:42
I don’t know whether I meant ’stick’ or ’flack’ in that previous post. Either way...I didn’t mean ’slack’.
John Keating
136 Posted 18/01/2015 at 22:00:33
I see some on the threads are blaming our position partly on injuries. In that case... Southampton should be bottom of the league!

What a load of shit!

Joe Doakes
137 Posted 18/01/2015 at 22:01:05
Like everyone, I am praying for a resounding win yet I have butterflies in my stomach thinking about the dreaded alternative.

In the blue corner, we have mild mannered articulate Roberto standing aloof from any consultation with assistants, almost immobile as the game meanders along, in true Martinez fashion. Approximately 25 mins to go, he makes his customary poor choice of subs as he displays slightly more agitated animation by semaphoring incomprehensible signals that seem to have no effect whatever to the flow of the game.

In the other corner is Pulis, a street fighter of the old school, barking out instructions and encouragement while wearing a groove the length of the technical area.

He has our old friend Anichebe on the bench, champing at the bit and just about to be unleashed. Surely it will not be much maligned Victor who sees off the false pretender...
The end of this gripping account is tonight at 5:45 pm

Tom Bowers
138 Posted 18/01/2015 at 22:59:30
The bottom line, as everyone agrees, is 3 points – no matter how they come. They score early, they loose; they score late, they draw; they go to penalties, they loose... For once, let’s score in the last minute to get the result, like the RS often do.

If they show the spirit they have shown recently, surely good things will happen and Albion donÂ’t have much except Berahino. Everton need to be patient and not be in a hurry to surge forward where they frequently cough up the ball too easily and donÂ’t allow their own back four to compose themselves again.

As others have mentioned, when that happens, too much space is left in the middle of the park for the opposition to counter and they donÂ’t need to be a Chelski to get Everton all in a tangle.

RM cannot continue to use gung-ho attacking tactics now that they are only 3 points out of the cellar.

Harold Matthews
139 Posted 18/01/2015 at 23:21:57
John, no matter what line-up Koeman chooses to go with, they always play with great intelligence. Wish I could say that about our boys.
Michael Polley
140 Posted 18/01/2015 at 23:58:16
3 Points is a must on Monday night. We need to break away from the relegation area. As some people have already stated the league has to be our priority. I’m afraid Europa is now a liability for us. Interesting to see what team RM fields for these games.
Andrew Laird
141 Posted 19/01/2015 at 00:04:45
A win and 3 points please, nothing else is good enough no matter what spin might come our way afterwards.
Sean Kelly
142 Posted 19/01/2015 at 00:36:31
It simple, folks: three points with a clean sheet – nothing else will do. All the talk of revival is crap without three points in each if our next two games. Difficult but it can be done.
Peter Barry
143 Posted 19/01/2015 at 01:30:02
Let’s see.... West Brom are on a terrible run and can’t even buy a win – cue another ’Phenomenal’ performance culminating in an embarrassing defeat.
Conor McCourt
144 Posted 18/01/2015 at 21:06:07
Jay Harris, Distin has been awful this season and it hurts me watching him as he has been such a great servant. At least 1 goal a game has been his fault and its no surprise that we have done well since he is out of the team.

I think Roberto bashing has dropped to a new low with you. Roberto decided not to spend the money. What a load of rubbish. He identified that we needed 7 new players at least for the extra demands of the EL, then he met with the board and suddenly said he would go with the youth. That suggests that the so called big pot they were saving last summer did not end up being one.

I know that he was interested in Tadic when ٦million was supposedly the fee. Saints offered 㾷 million and suddenly our interest cooled.

Incidentally Roberto has always had balance to all his teams and always liked tricky wide men. Pienaar has been unfit for most of the season and Atsu hasnÂ’t been the player we thought we had signed. This has meant we have only had 2 players available for those 2 positions.

I agree that we have nothing to lose by trying 1 of our full backs in the wide role short term but its much more difficult to play that role as when attacking from deep as Coleman found out. Most wingers either need electric pace or a trick and none of our left backs possess either. To me, it’s just another example of a square peg in a round hole even though it may bring more balance to the team. We need a top winger asap.

Dick Fearon
145 Posted 19/01/2015 at 02:17:47
Peter @144, You forgot to mention one of their goals will be scored by someone who has never done so before and probably never will again.
Mark Wilson
146 Posted 19/01/2015 at 02:10:17
In a crazy moment two weeks ago I suggested that we have it in our grasp to make us better defensively AND still out out a passing side with decent forward intent. ItÂ’s the three left back scenario being discussed in this thread... IÂ’m sure I said it first!!!

Anyway, it won’t happen of course because the manager won’t drop Barry... or is this the shit-or-bust game where he shocks us and plays two guys who can tackle and put a cross in – Garbutt and Oviedo – with the guy who used be great at those things – Baines – anchoring the spot in front of the centre backs and letting Besic continue his progress as a tough ball winning midfielder with an eye for a great forward run and pass?

IÂ’d really love to see Barkley behind Lukaku with Mirallas starting wide right, injury permitting... or Kone there. Harsh on Naismith but worth a try at home in a must-win game.

I have to say I really like Roberto as a guy who clearly is proud to be here with us and loves our community, our sense of whatÂ’s right. But he is driving me mad with his "phenomenal" press interviews where he seems to create doubt at a rate of knots. EtoÂ’o is going nowhere yet every media outlet in Europe told us differently... and now it seems heÂ’s off. Mirallas suddenly is only staying if we get into the CL, so heÂ’s off too. Barkley and Stones are "complete" footballers... "with lots to learn"...?

I looked at the table tonight... Southampton are 20 points... yes TWENTY points clear of us half way through a season... the Redshite 13 points better and they have been shite most of the campaign but somehow pick up cheap wins. Hull have taken four bloody points of us this campaign... Hull...

Now there are calls for a complete re build of the squad in the summer... but only last May we finished 5th with a record points haul... I badly want him to turn it all around but heÂ’s messed this up with his appalling close season and pathetic preparation in the pre-season games.

His refusal to buy a decent centre-back before deadline day and his even worse refusal to change – even a little until recently – his obsessive tippy-tappy style when the players themselves a screaming at him to mix things up and play to Lukaku’s and Barkley’s strengths. Boy do we need two good wins against West Brom and Crystal Palace.

James Flynn
147 Posted 19/01/2015 at 02:27:43
So Conor (145) - 2/3rds of the goals weÂ’ve conceded are specifically the fault of Distin? Got to be some kind of record, no? And only you, of all ToffeeWebbers, have sussed this? Tip-o-the-Hat sir.

However, donÂ’t take a bow. No, no... According to Kieran, his inside dope has determined Distin "is a cunt."

Mr 4-years with "My way or none Drill Sergeant Moyes" Distin is a "cunt" now.

Standards Conor, standards. YouÂ’ll have to do better than blaming Distin for 2/3rds of goals against. HeÂ’s a cunt, Distin is. Ask Kieran. HeÂ’s got the inside info.

Mark Andersson
148 Posted 19/01/2015 at 02:13:10
Tick tock, tick tock, I hope that the board has given Martinez a final written warning. But that is just as fanciful as other post wanting to see Del boy back.

We will loose tomorrow because we donÂ’t have the bottle to stay in front. I will stay up in the early hours of Tuesday to watch the match live. If we win, I will still go to bed disappointed knowing that Martinez will still be in a job.

ItÂ’s all the other stuff as well the wrong contracts given out to old players while the young ones get insulted.

I was a "glass half-full" guy; however, this season has utterly turned me into a skeptic.

Abhishek Saha
149 Posted 19/01/2015 at 03:12:01
1. We donÂ’t need to both Besic and Barry, if we play a conventional back four.

2. We need a genuine winger, Mirallas being the other one.

3. Barkley needs to play a central role whether as attacking midfielder or a holding midfielder.

4. ItÂ’s time we stopped tinkering with our backline in every match. Give our best back 4 (Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Baines), now that they are available, every opportunity to play together and the defensive errors should reduce.

Robles
Coleman Jagielka Stones Baines
Barry Barkley
Oviedo (left) Naismith (centre) Mirallas (right)
Lukaku

Sub:
Kone for Mirallas (if we have the match in the bag to give KM some injury healing time)
Kone for Lukaku (if Rom has finished doing what he is expected to do, a 2-0 lead).

Besic for Barkley (if we have the match in the bag) or Barry (in case he has already got his customary yellow). Garbutt for Oviedo (in case Oviedo is not effective, remember he is returning from a long lay-off).

Jay Harris
150 Posted 19/01/2015 at 04:05:40
Conor
I donÂ’t usually do this but what a load of absolute tosh.

Would you care to list the "goal a game" Distin has caused?

Let me remind you that RM said he would like to bring in 6 or 7 new players while sunning himself out in Brazil before getting back and realising he had left himself with so little time to get things done he adjusted his statement to saying he was surprised how good the kids were and may just bring in one or two. Now that may be because Black Bill wouldn’t let him look down the back of his sofa but there is no question he was backed far more than Moyes ever was and no-one else can take the blame for an abysmal preseason and the whole squad – not just Distin – looking lethargic and unfit.

Roberto had plenty of balance to his Wigan team – they were relegated with a record number of goals against like all well balanced sides – eh?

I see RM for what he is – a nice well meaning guy who is totally out of his depth at a club like Everton.

I would have loved him to succeed and I don’t wish him bad – I just want him gone from EFC before too much damage is done. If that’s Roberto bashing count me in.

Brian Hill
151 Posted 19/01/2015 at 06:16:06
How can we possibly lose? Check this out:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/sly-stallone-deliver-special-message-8468143?

Tony Hill
152 Posted 19/01/2015 at 07:09:46
Mark 149, I understand your scepticism and I think most Blues feel something similar just now. But the thrill hasnÂ’t gone, not really. It never does and it never will. I canÂ’t wait for the game and I bet you canÂ’t either. Even if we lose, IÂ’ll still be there next time.

We canÂ’t help it.

David Ellis
153 Posted 19/01/2015 at 08:26:26
Relax boys. This season so far is all white noise – normal statistical variations. Things will revert to mean shortly – hopefully tonight!

I have seen Everton teams that looked like they could (and frankly should) have been relegated... and this is simply not one of them.

As for the remarkable hounding of Martinez following the even more remarkable praising of him last season... where is the perspective? Things go up and down – it’s in their nature, he has not become a bad manager overnight (anymore than Moyes did) and I am truely grateful that Kenwright is not a knee-jerk chairman or otherwise we would be like Newcastle (who’s stone is now, once again, sinking with satisfying speed).

We will finish in the top half. Roberto will be with us next season. We wonÂ’t win the Europa League.

Brian Hill
154 Posted 19/01/2015 at 08:45:52
Tony Hill (great name!), I agree with your outlook. Despite the myriad disappointments this season has brought, the anticipation of a match inspires a feeling like no other – over 11 hours till kick-off and I already have that nervous tension that has been there before every game since I was a kid. Can’t wait.
Charles McCann
155 Posted 19/01/2015 at 08:48:52
Well said, David (#154). The lack of support from most on here is disappointing. IÂ’m still fully behind Martinez and believe we will come good.

Yes, we have had some poor results but this past three performances have been an improvement in terms of fight and so I believe the corner has been turned.

Tonight is important and if we play with belief and lots of energy then we will have too much for West Brom.

Ray Roche
156 Posted 19/01/2015 at 09:07:10
Conor McCourt (#145)

"Most wingers either need electric pace or a trick and none of our left-backs possess either."

Conor, our most celebrated attacking force for several seasons was the Baines / Pienaar combo down the left. Neither has electric pace. What they did have was an understanding and I, like others, believe that the use of Baines and Oviedo, Baines and Garbutt, or Baines centre mid and Garbutt and Oviedo down the left could be a system that gives us an attacking left sided force that provides us with width and potential.

If you recall, Coleman first broke through being used wide right ahead of Hibbert. He tore Spurs apart in one match and TWers were calling for Moyes to give him a run in that wide right position.

Andrew Ellams
157 Posted 19/01/2015 at 09:25:52
Why do people insist on tormenting themselves with lineups and formations that will never happen? I am fairly sure that the only change that will happen tonight is Mirallas will start instead of the suspended McGeady. Maybe heÂ’ll surprise me and pick Oviedo ahead of Barkley or Naismith and give the team a bit more balance but IÂ’m not holding my breath.
Mark Andersson
158 Posted 19/01/2015 at 09:17:51
Tony Hill, you just maybe right. This season has gone from bad to worse, as pointed out before we seem to be a carbon copy of Wigan. That reality is frightening, those that defend Martinez are as deluded as he is. A dip in form is one thing, a lose here and there can be expected but we are the polar opposite to where we was and should have been.

A few years back, Blackburn had that clown Kean managing them, same as Martinez with his ridiculous after-match comments, I think they finally got shut, but the damage was done.

Let’s see what happens in a few hours time. My missus will be sound asleep in bed, I will have my headphones on full blast to take in the Goodison roar but will have to scream into a cushion – I just hope I’m screaming with joy.

Chris Gould
159 Posted 19/01/2015 at 09:35:53
I wish people would stop banging on about last season. ItÂ’s entirely irrelevant. WeÂ’ve been poor since March 2014. Even MartinezÂ’s most ardent supporters must see this.

I think Jay Harris has it spot on. I like RM and would like him to succeed, but he wonÂ’t. I want him rid before he damages us any more.

I don't actually see one redeeming feature about the guy apart from heÂ’s nice. His system doesnÂ’t work. He isnÂ’t a motivator and he canÂ’t change things positively during a match. His many other mistakes have already been highlighted numerous times. What is it that people see that I don't?

Laurie Hartley
160 Posted 19/01/2015 at 09:29:13
Anthony @ 123 – that’s it in a nutshell. If you were the captain of the good ship Everton and I was a crew member I would follow you.

YouÂ’ve identified the threat, set the objective, and identified what you are going to sacrifice to achieve it.

Tony Marsh
161 Posted 19/01/2015 at 10:18:57
Chris Gould @160. Maybe some of the blame for this season's demise is down to RM but in all honesty he isnÂ’t helped by the board. The Players In list this season is pathetic. Eto'o in, Delboy out... that's it?

With the likes of Howard, Barry, Distin, Osman, and Pienaar all ageing before our very eyes, what do you expect.

All the clubs above and just below us in the League strengthened massively. We went backwards. That's where the truth lies, mate.

Adam Williams
162 Posted 19/01/2015 at 10:43:40
I think we should drop Barry and deploy Barkley deeper, I thought he was excellent in that role against QPR. He looks lost out wide and to play to his strengths he needs to be central, I also think weÂ’d benefit from his runs and ability to carry the ball from that deeper (almost playmaker) position.

The concern would be that both Barkley and Besic have a tendency to lose the ball so theyÂ’d need to be disciplined and not do anything stupid, easy said than done perhaps. I also think Oviedo should get a run out wide. For me...

Robles
Coleman - Stones - Jagielka - Baines
Besic - Barkely
Mirallas - Naismith - Oviedo
Lukaku

The alternative, should Mirallas not be fit, would be to play Kone up top and have Lukaku out wide maybe, or if anyone has to go out wide in a round peg, square hole scenario perhaps Naismith shifting out wide (rather than Barkley as that wide role benefits from NaismithÂ’s industry) with Barkley then in the No 10 and Barry coming into CM.

COYB!

Dave Burke
163 Posted 19/01/2015 at 11:00:58
A clean sheet is an absolute must this evening. If we manage that then we win the game tonight as we will cause West Brom problems at the back.

A continuation of the performance post McGeady getting sent off will do the job. Mirallas has to start and Barkley needs a break for me as he continually holds onto the ball too long and makes the wrong final decision.

James Hughes
164 Posted 19/01/2015 at 10:50:23
ItÂ’s not when the things are going well should you judge someone. ItÂ’s when things are going badly and their ability to analyse, acknowledge and rectify shortcomings is the true measure of a person.

So questioning the evidence of my own eyes and looking at our performances is not me being disloyal or being a Â’bad supporterÂ’. ItÂ’s me wanting answers and to see some assurance that we will stay in the PL.

I would like to think that Roberto is an intelligent man and can see that we are in trouble and need to fight. That keeping a clean sheet is not just important but necessary and that he needs to change his tactics.

James Hughes
165 Posted 19/01/2015 at 11:41:11
To add to my earlier point, even Wenger can change:

How Arsenal finally put defence first to beat Manchester City

Andrew Ellams
166 Posted 19/01/2015 at 11:46:05
Chris Gould, if Martinez took us all the way down to the Northern Premier League you would still get people using the 72-point season as his defence.
Kevin Tully
167 Posted 19/01/2015 at 11:48:44
I am big supporter of Martinez and his attitude towards the Â’biggerÂ’ teams. He says all the right things with regards to our history, and where we should be setting our sights for the season.

However, all of the above becomes laughable after the performances this season. He comes across as a dreamer – an idealist who refuses to change to stance on how the game should be played.

The most successful sides are the most hardworking – this is the first rule of football for me. They run themselves into the ground to win the ball back from the opposition, then they earn the right to ’play.’

We are in the bottom three for least tackles, least blocks, and only QPR have conceded more. Well fuck that, if you think these limited players can pass around teams worth hundreds of millions, then I would seriously question your sanity.

Why did we look a little better against Man City and West Ham? Quite simply, we decided to run and press the other side. Schoolboy shit.

Sort it out, or fuck off, itÂ’s that simple.

Phil Walling
168 Posted 19/01/2015 at 12:08:32
Kevin, he certainly says all the right thing! Just seen him on Sky voicing his famous ’filosofy’ – quote: "As you know, we are not a team that relies on clean sheets to get points."

Exactly. Good to know we are in safe hands, isnÂ’t it?

Gerard McGregor
169 Posted 19/01/2015 at 12:08:39
Chris (160), I feel exactly the same as you. Everton have been increasingly fragile since March last year and watching them has not been much fun since then. I am not looking forward to this evening.
Christian Gawne
171 Posted 19/01/2015 at 12:34:25
We will win tonight, no worries.
And if we donÂ’t, ah well.
Denis Richardson
172 Posted 19/01/2015 at 12:36:23
Find it amazing how many people on this thread keep going on about the EL - we havenÂ’t had a meaningful game in this competition for 2 months and wonÂ’t have another for another month.

It has no way contributed to our crap season, the run of shite results starting after weÂ’d already won the group. Looking forward we have 4 league games before we have to play Young Boys. The EL is not relevant for our league status at this time. Worry about it in a monthÂ’s time if weÂ’re in the drop zone.....

Also having been knocked out of the FA Cup in the 3rd Round, weÂ’ll have a few weekends off in the next month or two, starting with this one. After the game tonight, we donÂ’t have another game Â’till the 31st Jan. The EL has been no disadvantage so far and I highly doubt it will be going forward. If anything, itÂ’s a great experience for the players.

Ian Burns
173 Posted 19/01/2015 at 12:51:40
The amateur pre-season; a team being coached by an apprentice and inexperienced backroom staff for this level of club; questionable team selection and even more questionable substitutions; a striker of Eto'oÂ’s experience leaving without playing as a striker; players voicing their opinions about tactics.

Just some of the reasons why we are 3 points from the relegation positions.

Do I want to see RM leave our great club? - Er, yes.

Do I want 3 points tonight? Even more than my annual leg over.

Conn Prosser
174 Posted 19/01/2015 at 13:03:28
I donÂ’t see a win coming. Think Roberto could be in serious trouble. Sorry to doom monger but IÂ’ve lost faith IÂ’d been holding on too. 2-1 the Baggies.
Conor McCourt
175 Posted 19/01/2015 at 12:45:51
Jay Harris- Now you are trying to change the discussion by talking about Roberto's ills this season. I am a supporter of Roberto and I accept some of the mistakes he has made this season but the point I pulled you up on was that Roberto had more funds available and decided not to use them. This is wrong and should be retracted. He is an easy target and you have enough ammunition without resorting to fantasy.

Secondly, I very rarely single out players and I accept the defensive record must fall heavily at the manger's door but Sylvan has been poor and the home game against Man City was the only good game I can remember him having. So many games I could mention but the worst was Newcastle when we held a good line and he was 5 yards behind it. Then when the ball came in he didn't even try to make up for playing all onside and looked helpless.

This season we have conceded roughly 1.8 goals a game. Since Stones has come back its 4 in 3 and over the next month or so we will see a marked improvement defensively.

Ray, good point; however, I would say that Pienaar had vision and skill, and chemistry was important but in addition Pienaar was able to play the perfect weight of pass or fit through the eye of the needle to Baines or feint to go inside and play a reverse pass. None of our full-backs can cut inside onto their right or possess Pienaar's vision at his best.

Incidentally, I don't think Coleman was a success in that position as defenders found him predictable and he is much better coming from deep. I wouldn't mind seeing how it worked especially with McGeady out and I agree it couldn't be worse than Naismith and Barkley but I fear its not a real solution though would love to be proved wrong.

I was just making the point, Ray, that some fans who are always berating the manager for playing square pegs in round holes are being hypocritical by suggesting this as an alternative. For example, Oviedo after his last game said he was delighted to have started against West Ham (1st leg) in his best position.

Joe Clitherow
176 Posted 19/01/2015 at 13:52:16
David 154

There are no statistical means that cover 1 win in 12 or losing every game over the Christmas period which is why we were the only club to do so. That's outside of any 95th percentile bell shaped curve you care to produce. Not sure "relax" is the correct approach when action needs to be taken...

Phil Walling
177 Posted 19/01/2015 at 13:38:38
Just been fixing up my lift for tonight. My mate assures me that 'we need only a point a game to be safe.' He wonders why I worry so much!

Just shows how far Evertonians' aspirations have fallen. Twelve months ago he was telling me that an average of TWO points a game would see us troubling the top four. Now we dream only of survival!

This morning I read that Wenger 'has seen the light' and yesterday, swopped to a tight defence and a more direct approach.' No doubt Martinez watched that game on his 60' screen and will follow suit. Unless he knows better, of course.

Harold Matthews
178 Posted 19/01/2015 at 13:13:03
Kevin T (#168). Absolutely spot on. People going on about the system, line-ups and God knows what else are missing the main point.

Too many players not putting in a full shift. Not busting a gut for the team. The best sides don't carry passengers. We do. In the bottom 3 for least tackles and least blocks says it all.

Jay Harris
179 Posted 19/01/2015 at 13:44:30
Conor,
I don't know what planet you are on but it is you who are introducing fantasies by claiming Roberto had a meeting with the board and his budget for players was cut. What evidence do you have for claiming this?

Furthermore, my post was initially about making Distin a scapegoat where I felt the whole squad were poor because of the extremely amateur pre-season preparations which is down to the manager and nobody else. You then accused me of being a "Roberto basher" and "reaching new lows".

In case you hadn't noticed, the world and his Uncle are fed up with the manager recently mainly to do with the team's performance but also from the "phenominal" bullshit he is spouting.

I wouldn't call this "Roberto bashing" – I would call it being real.

Derek Knox
180 Posted 19/01/2015 at 14:04:21
Phil@178

While your mate may be statistically correct, with regards to our eventual placement in the Prem, it is a negative concept in my view.

We should not be 'happy with a point at home' regardless of the opposition. Neither should we be relying on other teams to 'do us a favour' and beat whoever may be close to us in the table.

We should be striving for three points, each and every match we play, because developing a winning mentality tends to perpetuate itself and brings success with it.

Oh and make sure you get 'in camera' tonight mate, for Rocky 37 or whatever it's going to be called!

COYB

Andrew Ellams
181 Posted 19/01/2015 at 14:26:15
Phil, your mate is probably right but if that happens it will be a very scary run in.
Col Wills
182 Posted 19/01/2015 at 14:27:56
Its time for everyone to put a shift in tonight, players and fans alike. We are all in this together and we are only going to get out of it by being unified.

Each striker needs to close down from the front, each midfielder has to be in touching distance of the opposition, defenders need to be alert to danger and the goalie has to come for crosses and help the defence.

Corners have to miss the first man and reach the penalty spot and free kicks need to hit the target.

That is the bear minimum; then, we can earn the right to play.

Fraser Auld
183 Posted 19/01/2015 at 14:53:09
Phil, your mate is probably right but your generalisation, that it shows how far Evertonians expectations have fallen, is not.

If that's what you expect fair enough but don't pin it on all of us.

Jimmy Kelly
184 Posted 19/01/2015 at 14:50:34
Harold, I agree that a major part of the problem is that we're not putting a shift in but I think you're missing the point that this is directly connected to 'the system'.

The formation we play is top heavy with attacking players, we effectively have four players in the side who are excused from getting their hands dirty. I vividly remember being at Southampton last season and going apoplectic at Deulofeu for not tracking his man past the half way line. While I was calling him all the names under the sun, Roberto popped out of the dugout gave him a bottle of water and a thumbs up.

Same sort of thing happened at Spurs away in December. When the whole away end was screaming for us to bolster the midfield at 1-0 because we were being steamrollered, we just carried on the same way, with 4 players standing on the halfway line with their hands on their hips while they stormed forward. Bizarrely though, we ask them all to come back to defend corners.

Colin Glassar
185 Posted 19/01/2015 at 15:30:02
Phil, I look forward to your posts. I don't know why but I do. The nerves are starting to kick in now but one must keep ones upper lip stiff, what, what.
I've put a tenner on a 3-1 home win.
Mike Childs
186 Posted 19/01/2015 at 15:20:21
Wegner got lucky that some of his favorites were hurt and he finally had guys willing to get stuck in. Even Corzola was closing people down. But Bobby knows better Phil he told us so.
Phil Walling
187 Posted 19/01/2015 at 15:33:31
Fraser, In my 50 years as a match attending supporter we have won the top league but 3 times ! I don't count Catterick's first success in 1963 because the only match I was taken to was the final one v Fulham when Roy Vernon scored a hat-trick and I was nearly crushed to death in a 60,000 crowd !

The sixties, being my formative years, seemed magical to me and nothing since -not even Howard's Era - has ever come close. No doubt, many others have the same feeling about the eighties.

For the rest of the time, Everton have been also rans - so much so that I came to EXPECT no more than a top half spot although I HOPED for far more. Thus 'Seventhish' became my middle name because that was reality. And boring old Moyes invariably delivered that.

With only amazement that Martinez should get near the management of our Club, last season was a shock - although a nice one. This time round he has reverted to his laissez-faire intellectual self and fulfilled my worst fears. I suspect the players -or some of them- are as unimpressed with him as me and so we struggle big-time.

Of course that's wrong, they should be working their bollocks off to turn the tide but history will show that it's a hard job to turn the tide. So, Fraser you may well EXPECT that happy ending where all I can do is HOPE for it. Sorry.

Colin Glassar
188 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:08:23
Lovely post Phil, it brought a tear to my eye....except for paragraph 4. We agree to disagree. Tonight we will see in which direction we are going.
Anthony Flack
189 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:12:36
I guess at least we will not start with Naismith, Barks and Eto - a combination I feel never worked..
Jay Harris
190 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:12:03
Phil,
nostalgic post which parallels my own experience of the magical sixties.

Vernon, Young, Alan Ball, big Joe and a league title and 2 FA cup finalsone of which the whole world was shocked when "plucky little West Brom" who had been outplayed for most of the game won the cup in the dying minutes through Jeff Astle in 1968.

In fact the "Sky brigade" would not know or admit that up until the start of the Premiership we were level pegging with Man Utd and considered just as big a club.

Now they are the so called "biggest club in the world" and we are "plucky little Everton".

How I wish for even a sniff of our former glories.

Jimmy Kelly
191 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:25:18
I'm of the Sky Generation Jay, but I think you're miles out in thinking we were seen as just as big as United until recently. While we may have had a similar level of success prior to the formation of the Premier League, they have long been seen as a major global power in football which we, sadly, have not.
Ian Burns
192 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:41:57
Jimmy 192 - Jay said we were as big a club up to the start of the Premiership and he is quite maybe bar a couple of years leading into the start.

I also had a wee year in my eye for the glory days as I can well remember also being crushed on the day we beat Fulham 4-1 and prior to that one Boxing Day losing at GP 3-0 in front of 75,000!

Today Alan Ball would have left Blackpool for Man Utd but in those days you actually expected EFC to sign the top talent.

Time to wipe away the tears and prepare to shed a few of a different kind if we don’t win tonight!

Ian Burns
193 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:51:35
Sorry I am an old sod trying to type on an iPhone - that last para should have read time to wipe away the tears and prepare to shed a different type of we lose tonight!
Jamie Crowley
194 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:47:49
Colin says:

Tonight we will see in which direction we are going.

Yes we will. If we God forbid lose its officially time to hit the panic button and drastic changes will just have to occur.

I'd have never thought a game against West Brom in January would be so pivotal.

James Marshall
195 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:59:05
I'm oddly excited about a relegation battle. It's like the dark old days. I'm also hoping for a rare old atmosphere tonight as this is my last game till May.

We're due a win.... Right!?

Conor McCourt
197 Posted 19/01/2015 at 16:07:58
Jay I don't want to get into a tit-for-tat argument. I only accused you of taking Roberto bashing to a new low because you said he had funds available and chose not to use them. I accept I'm in the minority and I accept your criticisms of pre-season and defensive work are valid.

Roberto is a man of integrity and isn't going to openly criticise the board but we know from history what our board is like.

If you remember we got the Fellaini money and only bought McCarthy. We were told the manager had over 15 million to spend as we didn't have time to re-invest. In the next window Roberto only paid a nominal fee for McGeady and said we were saving for the summer. We then got an extra 10 million ( which Moyes obviously didn't get) on top of the normal tv money and it looked as if we had at least 40 million to spend and Roberto publicly said we need 7 players.

Within 2 weeks he said we will just go with the youth!! We had Tadic watched on a few occasions yet never placed an offer despite reports saying how much he wanted the player. I have no evidence he met the board but his statement on going with the youth was made before he was back in pre-season so he hadn't even seen if any had developed. What changed in those 2 weeks?? Obviously he had been talking to the chairman about Besic and our other targets so as you say 30 million is a lot for us but we had 15 million + 2 windows savings + over 15million tv money.

You argue he had funds and didn't use them -where did you draw that conclusion from?? If he had funds available and didn't use them then why are we being linked with loans and being put off by Van Dijk's 8 million price tag if he has these funds available to him??

Without doubt you are correct in terms of our collective organisation this season and I'm not disputing that. But Sylvan is a shadow of himself and if you look at the home game v City our defenders were also left unprotected but the difference between Stones and Sylvan was night and day. Its only an opinion but I feel we would have conceded a few had Distin been left like that as we saw at Southampton.

Roberto obviously shares my view as he was only brought back into the squad when Stones and Alcaraz got injured and demoted to 4th choice centre back. He even tried Barry ahead of him which was also disastrous. I don't think he will play much again unless needs must and it wouldn't surprise me if he retired before the season ends. I repeat I am not a person for singling out individuals and it doesn't please me to do so especially given what he has done for the club.

Andrew Clare
199 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:19:35
Tonight it will be a tough game for a poor team that has only won one match in twelve.

We are like a ship without a rudder – going nowhere.

I will be delighted if we win but I doubt if we will.

Colin Glassar
200 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:23:18
Jimmy Kelly, we were known as football's millionaires at one time. We could go out and buy the best of the best. United used to develop their youngsters hence, the busby babes, name. How times have changed.

John and Andrew, that's the spirit lads. You'd have been great at Dunkirk.

Eddie Dunn
201 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:30:36
Before anyone hangs individual players out to dry for errors, you must bear in mind how exposed the defence has been this season. Everyone of them has been at fault at some point. If the midfield and attack have all made mistakes, but they are not so obvious . However, they still lead to goals, and the defenders take the blame.

Zonal marking is part of the problem, and our tactics, and both of these things are down to the coach.

Jimmy Kelly
202 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:20:33
Ian, I know what he said. He's wrong, and so are you.

As I said, we may have been neck and neck in terms of trophies but Jay said we were seen as 'just a big a club'. This just isn't true. For whatever reason (many people put it down to a 'sympathy vote' after the Munich disaster) United have long been seen as a much 'bigger' club than Everton have. Look at the reverance afforded to Bobby Charlton and George Best in comparison to Alan Ball and Alex Young, that's not a recent thing. There's also the well known tale that when Bill Shankly was offered the the job at 'the biggest club in the country', he replied that he didn't realise United were looking for a manager. Kids around the world knew all about United well before the Premier League started, not so much Everton.

Everton is a big club, and we should all be proud of that, but we haven't been seen as a competitor to United in that sense for at least 60 years.

Kevin Tully
203 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:39:30
Eddie - these players must take some responsibility. I don’t care if Martinez has them all smoking 60 Regal before a game, kebabs as a pre-match meal, and drinking 10 pints of Guiness as a warm-down. They decide if they want to put their body on the line for the shirt, and they have clearly decided to down tools for whatever reason.

Lowest number of tackles I the League next to Burnley! That’s scandalous when we are getting beat regularly.

Chris Gould
204 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:48:13
John Malone #197 - are you a writer? I feel inspired.
Colin Glassar
205 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:45:24
James Marshall, you sound like Ricky Hatton and Liam Gallagher when they say they prefer the good old days of Maine Rd and being skint.

I know what you mean but I'd prefer not to go back to those last minute escape days.

Eric Holland
206 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:36:18
Colin was it also the bank of England?
Ian Burns
207 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:46:12
Jimmy 203 - you have to humour an old man who has been supporting the team for the 60 years you refer to.

I may be wearing rose tinted glasses to go with me gin but well I remember Man Utd being relegated and going to GP to watch and expect EFC to beat them Charlton, Law and Best on their side and a certain Mr Royle planting a header for number 3 in a 3-0 win.

Good old Mr Moores In those days caused EFC to be called the Millionaires Club.

However I take your point and defer to your point of view.

We both share the hunger for 3 points tonight so we at least agree on that point! Enjoy - or try to!

Eddie Dunn
208 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:47:16
Yes Kevin, the kebabs don't help matters but my point is that they are ALL responsible, from Lukaku not holding it up, or McGeady losing possession, or Barry being done for pace.

This then becomes finally a problem for say Distin, who is pulled out of position , and say faces a 2 on 1, and as the slide tackle is missed, we all say "Fuckin' Distin", when it should be "Fuckin' Lukaku", or "Fuckin' Barkley"!

Ian McDowell
209 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:56:23
We will not sacrifice our footballing philosophy or tactical approach to the game in exchange for short term success, I'm with Roberto on this one (however will I be saying that after sitting through 90 minutes at a freezing Goodison Park?) COYB!!! 3 points tonight
Jay Harris
210 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:44:56
Conor,
you may well be right about the funds but then so could I.

Likewise you may be right about RM being a man of integrity but thereagain you could be wrong.There is no proof either way but a man of integrity does not lie or bullshit.

Nobody really knows the truth about the funds but we do know RM had more funds available to him than Moyes ever had and he inherited a top six squad.

We could debate all day long about the quality of his signings and whether he has "improved" the squad but none of us can deny what is in front of us and that is 1 win in 12 games, one of the worst defensive records in the prem and having lost all our xmas games.

If that doesnt press the panic button for you, nothing will.

I admire your support of RM and many Evertonians including myself wanted him to do well but the fact is he isn't.

Jimmy I understand what you are saying in global terms but I was just talking about the football world and we would never go into games with Utd as the underdogs pre Sky.

Joseph Clarke
213 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:27:30
Nostalgia, a wonderful place to live in! The sixties was a magical time to be a Blue, and to be a Scouser.

We had world class players. We had a chairman who thought nothing but the best was good enough for Everton. He backed this up with his money. I remember him saying , we are interested in any great players that are available .If Pele, became available, he said, Everton would be in the mix for him. This was at a time when I don't think there were any players from abroad playing in this country. It was an audacious thing to say. That was Everton.

COYB !

Eddie Dunn
214 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:00:44
Does anyone remember last season and early this season, the endless debate over whether Osman was worth a starting berth, and how he was costing us!

How times have changed. I wish we had him in the squad tonight.

John Malone
215 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:04:37
Chris Gould 205, Shithouse says it all!
Ian McDowell
216 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:06:41
Eddie I wish we had Osman and Pienaar available. Think Pienaar is a big miss. Works hard out wide and always tucks infield and seems to open up space for Baines.
James Marshall
217 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:15:49
Colin, there is a bit of that about it. The old lady is bear pit when our backs are against the wall and I've always enjoy that aspect.

Of course I'd prefer us to be winning with style but we've always enjoyed a scrap as well eh!

Paul Tran
218 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:15:20
Osman on one of his good days would be a real asset. Pienaar has gone for me, a shadow of the player he was. Time to start looking forward.
Ian Burns
219 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:16:47
Joseph - 214 - stop it - crying into me gin here!
Andrew Clare
220 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:50:33
Colin, I am just being a realist. Look at Southampton, their good manager was poached by Spurs all of their best players were sold and what did they do? They appointed another good manager backed him in the transfer market and hey presto! They are having an excellent season.

Our board are totally useless, they provide zero backing and look where we are- fighting a relegation battle.

Of course I want us to win and I am excited about tonight's game as I am every match but I do really think that we are a poor side with too many old and unmotivated players- Barry, Jagielka, Distinctive, Mirallas etc. Unfortunately I have also realised that Martinez is too much of a nice guy.

This is a great club that has been failed time and time again.

We are treated with disdain by Sky probably because since they invented football we have been a mediocre mid table team.

Can't someone get a grip and realise our great heritage and put us back to where we belong.

I look at Arsenal and think up until 20 years ago we were at the same level. Now look at the difference, they have a magnificent stadium, challenge in Europe every year without fail and consistently play to a high level.

I hope we win tonight I really really do.

Victor Jones
221 Posted 19/01/2015 at 17:39:18

Sorry for indulging in a little bit of fantasy football by attempting to select the Everton team. I know that Martinez would never look at football the way that any of us mere mortals do. For the record I would play a flat back four, with four across the middle and two up front. No wingers as we don't at present have any. Adapt Joe Royle's Dogs of War approach. At least be hard to beat. Win a few matches. And I don't care if we only win one-nil. Get points on the board. And then regroup and rebuild for next season.

I noticed in the media today that Sam Allardyce at half-time yesterday scrapped his tippy-tappy approach for a more direct high ball approach in the second half. And his West Ham team went on to score three goals. Sam Allardyce changing his system and changing the outcome of the game. Food for thought, Mr Martinez. Food for thought.

Nice to see people reminisce about the Everton team of the 1960s. That was my era as well. Just a wee comment on the fitness of the players back then. Those players played every game. You could name the Everton team of by heart . No need to rest players, no need to rotate. Are you telling me that A Ball, C Harvey, J Husband and H Kendall ran less than the modern day player? Same applies to the mid-1980s team. Has the modern game really become that much faster? My point being that I would like to see Martinez field his strongest 11, and stick to that team. No rotating (except for injuries). And why exactly do players get so many injuries nowadays???

I would love to see Everton put in a real morale boosting performance tonight. How about a 4-0 win? Regroup for a few weeks, and then stuff Palace.

The best laid plans of mice and men. Time now for the men to stand up. COYBS.

Ian McDowell
222 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:25:54
All this talk about Martinez being such a nice guy is different to what I hear at what goes on at Finch Farm.
Paul Smith
223 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:20:05
As long as we play at a good tempo and show the same desire as the last two games I'm hopeful for tonight. I would drop Barkley as his form and effort is not good enough at the moment. I would love him to play Naismith up with Lukaku and Mirallas just behind them with 3 central midfielders but I won't hold my breath.

Let's try and start a game on the front foot and fast and really get at these instead of our usual slow and pedestrian start which builds up the other teams confidence.

Colin Glassar
224 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:24:28
I can't disagree too much with that Andrew. I just hope to god we win tonight.

Eric, I think the Bank of England was another one. Why can't we find a multi-billionaire Evertonian? There must be one out there.

Chris Gould
225 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:27:35
John Malone at 216 - I couldn't agree more. You must be a poet. To be able to sum up all of my feelings in so few words.
Denis Richardson
226 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:31:09
Anyone know if Sly brought his gloves?
Milos Milenkovic
227 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:37:07
Ian #223, can you give us some more insight?
Mike Hughes
229 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:27:30
Boyhood Blue Sylvester Stallone will be making a rallying call to the troops at half time tonight via video.

I remember seeing him on the Gwladys Street terrace in the 80s during the 0-5 to the rs and he had to be restrained by 6 stewards as Glen Keeley was walking off.
He was screaming, "Keeley, you effing asshole, IÂ’m gonna do you, ya sonofabitch!"

He was also at a few of the early 80s games when attendances were so low. I remember him jogging up and down the steps of Gwladys Street and I said to him, "You want to put that in a movie, mate."

Mind you, he was moody. You know how packed the Winslow used to get on matchdays? I remember jostling at the bar and I knocked into someone. It was Stallone.
"Did you spill my pint?" he said. I backed away slowly with fear in my eyes.

He was down-to-earth though. YouÂ’d always see him having a Bovril and a pie at half time unless he was training for a fight. Then heÂ’d just have a pie.

He went on to greatness despite the loss to Apollo Creed.
ItÂ’s that kind of character weÂ’ll need tonight. Top bloke.

Ian Jones
230 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:40:33
4-1 Everton on the basis that some day an opposition team has to get it...
Milos Milenkovic
231 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:39:39
Andrew #221, our board provided 28 million plus huge money for Eto'o salary in last transfer window. Additionally we didn't sell anyone. So that is far from zero.
Ian Burns
232 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:40:17
Milos - 228 - many on here will tell you the 60's was a magical ride for the blues and specifically blue Scousers. We were annually expected to be up there at the end of each season; the greatest midfield I personally have ever seen play in Ball; Kendall; Harvey and a back four to cry for today in Wright; Labone; Hurst and Wilson.

Winning was a habit and the pride one felt being a blue living in Scouse land was looking back such a magical time and believe me I've put me gin to one side and taken off me rose tinted spectacles to write this. Throw in the fantastic music which put Liverpool on the world map - you might be able to feel the spirit of the time.

Now for today and WBA

Ian McDowell
233 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:51:13
Milos @ 232. This is not something I have any more info than the next bloke in. Its just rumours and people who I speak to who know a few people around the club. If its true or not I couldn't say. Just been told and I wouldn't pretend I know either way.
Conor McCourt
234 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:00:38
Jay, Moyes had us consistently 6th or 7th and he was continually overachieving playing risk free football which meant that we never had an opportunity to take the big boys on. I supported him also.

Of course its easy for fans to be remissive of our manager due to where we are but it's no place where any of our manager's haven't been for the last 30 years. Even the most acclaimed British manager had his team in a more precarious position despite massive funding.

Lets look at your assertion that we have a top 6 squad- would Distin, Howard, Robles, Hibbert, Alcaraz, Gibson, Naismith or even Ossie make the spurs bench. Pienaar couldn't make it 3 years ago and he's in serious decline now. For goodness sake Sigurdson couldn't get near the team so joined Swansea.McCarthy is our best player and he wouldn't get in the Saints team ahead of Schneiderlin and Wanyama.

We have about 7 top players and the rest wouldn't look out of place at Palace. Zaha cant get on their team yet he would walk on ours. We are a top 7 squad perhaps and too many are fooled by last year. We all can see what a cock-up this year has been especially December.

Most fans think its blind faith but this guy has impressed me since the job he did at Swansea when he transformed the club and he is credited by Monk as the best manager he has worked under. At Wigan he kept the team with the lowest budget playing on a rugby pitch in the division for 4 out of 5 years and won the FA Cup which is incredible but because he got relegated some see him as a loser. If Sean Dyche does that at Burnley will he be seen as a failure??. We were magnificent last year and even this disastrous season we were brilliant in the EL beating the 2nd best team in Germany home and away.

While many don't share my view and see 'mr tippy-tappy nice guy Roberto' there is a steel and a determination which is as great as any of our previous incumbents. You only had to watch him as a player to see that and why he was captain at such a young age in a foreign league. Up until December we had won after every game we lost I heard, which after 18 months at not 1 of the so-called big clubs is some stat.

Right Roberto I've give you the big I am so don't be making a fool of me and win our next 3 games so not all tw posters will think I'm a complete nutjob .

Andrew Clare
235 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:54:04
Milos, The Lukaku money came from the Fellani sale.
John Malone
236 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:54:45
I think all these snippets coming out about Martinez is down to the fact Moyes was the gaffer for so long, a bit like what happened at United to Moyes the players and the staff get used to doing things a certain way now there's a new guy cracking the whip in a different way it takesa bit of getting used to.
Paul Tran
237 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:58:09
Ian, what have you been told? I'm curious.
Mike Corcoran
238 Posted 19/01/2015 at 19:02:54
Mirallas in for McGeady and that's it. Need a shift please Mr Barkley.
Mark Jensen
239 Posted 19/01/2015 at 19:00:07
I watched the Man City v Arsenal game yesterday where Arsenal gave City a lesson in defending. Too often they have gone away to their rivals had a go and come away with zip. Yesterday they showed a maturity and Wenger was buzzing after the game.

It's time for Martinez to look at that game and see what can be achieved from good solid defending of corners and from open play. Possession doesn't mean Jack when you win 2-0 away from home. COYB, can we have our first clean sheet of 2015 please?!!!

Bill Gall
240 Posted 19/01/2015 at 18:39:04
Joseph # 214

I believe a quote by Mr Moores at that time was Everton are the best, they're supporters deserve the best, and I will make sure they get the best. Shame we don't have a Chairman with the same convictions.

Fraser Auld
242 Posted 19/01/2015 at 19:02:29
Phil 188, that's fine, I've supported Everton since 1990 and we've always been also rans in that time. Based on that I expect a top half finish but hope for better, same as you, that wasn't my issue with your post. If you had said that I wouldn't have commented.

You used your friends statement to generalise what "Evertonians" now aspire to under Martinez and projected "now we only dream of survival", which is frankly shite.

Colin Metcalfe
243 Posted 19/01/2015 at 19:21:55
I can't believe Ross has kept his place in the side, he has been very poor of late and I would much prefer Oviedo on the left and Naismith playing in the hole behind Lukaku.

Also disappointed Macca is still not fit, I think we all want to see Macca and Besic starting!


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