Palace frustrate Blues yet again

A tight and highly competitive game, tremendous attacking from Everton throughout, hitting the woodwork three times, but vulnerability on corners saw Dann power home a header to give Palace the lead. Everton replied minutes later when Lukaku finally converted one of many Deulofeu crosses.

Michael Kenrick 07/12/2015 160comments  |  Jump to last

James McCarthy failed a fitness on his hip injury and is deputised by Tom Cleverley
Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace

Everton return to Premier League action for the televised Monday match with the incentive of sitting in sixth place by the end of the evening if they can overcome Crystal Palace at Goodison Park.

Roberto Martinez makes two changes from the side that won at Middlesbrough with Tom Cleverley continuing in place of the injured James McCarthy, Arouna Kone coming back in for Leon Osman and Tim Howard reclaiming his place in goal.

The Eagles kicked off and Wickham was soon firing in at Howard before the Blues had much possession, with Palace snapping at Blues heels. Barkley played a lovely ball from deep for Galloway to run onto but who was almost too deliberate with his cross. Everton were trying some neat flicks and clips but it broke down and Palace were attacking again in what promised to be a very lively game, Funes Mori doing very well to intercept.

More intricate passing down the right seemed to have Coleman penetrating but his cross went behind Lukaku. Yet more clever stuff, Barkley, Kone and Lukaku finally overpassing, but then Barkley did a lovely one-two off Lukaku and curled a great shot that flew just past the far post.

Deulofeu almost got free but his first touch was not the best and it ran through to the keeper. a couple of crosses in by Palace were defended away but they were worryingly getting to the byeline. But Stones did superbly to control and play the ball out to Barry, whose first-time out-ball was too ambitious.

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Palace then won another corner crossed in dangerously and on the second ball Wickham was alert to delivery a point-blank header straight at Tim Howard's sternum. Bolaise then controlled a good diagonal cross with his hand not called.

It was Everton's turn to attack and Deulofeu magically kept control in a zig-zag move inside but Lukaku was crowded out and Barry's attempt charged down by close attention of the Palace defenders.

Lukaku did brilliantly to create a superb chance with a return ball from Barkley and a tremendous strike that smashed off the inside of the post and along the line, just a foot in front of the other post. So close!

The Blues combined superbly again, Coleman to Lukaku to Kone but the Ivorian's hurried shot was high and wide in a good spell for the Blues that needed to produce a goal. Deulofeu whipped in a great cross right to Lukaku's feet but it came back off the Big Man, who could not control it.

Kone did some good defensive work on a Palace free-kick. Stones forged forward and they tried another close-quarter passing move down the middle but it was just too crowded for that to work.

When Palace attacked again, Funes Mori showed great composure and timing to break their progress. But Everton were stymied again as Palace got back in solid and impenetrable defence as Deulofeu's cross flew long.

Deulofeu got free off a great Barkley flick. Then a brilliant piece of work from Stones, a deep cross on the byeline that Funes Mori pushed back in but Lukaku wanted the ball to fall for him rather than throwing his body at it... and the chance was gone. The lively ebb and flo continued with another Palace attack being denied.

Deulofeu had another opportunity to cross early but this time straight to Hennessey in the Palace goal. The next attack looked more promising with Cleverly running free but again Palace formed that solid wall and Deulofeu could only fire at a defender's legs. Was he running out of ideas?

Ward looked to fir in but Stones's sliding tackle was perfect, and Everton advanced again, ending with a Coleman shot deflected for a corner, short to Deulofeu and again more intricate passing, the Spaniard winning another corner. Barry crossed deep but Stones was under it and it looked like Kone would get a chance in the second phase but one pass too many when a shot on goal would have been preferred.

Barry chipped one in for Lukaku who was driven wide and then blocked by Delaney. Off another corner, the ball fell to Barry but his shot was far too tame. Some great pass-and-move from Everton in a very competitive first half but no end product despite tremendous creative effort.

Everton attacked from the restart and attacked spiritedly, winning a couple of corners, but nothing came of them and the game pattern continued, with alternating bouts of determined attacking and stalwart defending, apart from Barry's cynical shirt-tugging on a Palace corner! Kone eventually broke and his second cross was headed just wide.

Bolaise looked odds-on to break the deadlock after dodging Stones but Howard made himself big, his outstretched foot stopping a certain goal against. Everton, backed by an increasingly boisterous crowd, seemed to be upping the tempo and imposing even more pressure

Ward fouled Galloway wide left and Barkley flashed in a brilliant rocket of a delivery that Wickham glanced onto the bar and away. Everton kept up the pressure but it ended with a silly claim for handball when Ward took one in the stomach, with his hands tucked behind his back.

Baines replaced Galloway just after the hour mark, despite a solid display from the youngster. Lukaku played in CLeverley who struck a wonderful shot but Hennessey pulled off a tremendous save.

Baines showed his old self, picking out Lukaku with a 40-yard ball as Everton every way they could think of to get a decent strike on the Palace goal, Deulofeu involved repeatedly, but the winning move just would not happen.

After more determined Everton pressure, Palace came very close on the counter, a snapshot form Puncheon bringing out another tremendous save from Howard. But from the corner, Scott Dann was there to power home a header that Howard could only waft at as he fell backwards.

Lukaku did his best with an excellent strike that beat Hennessy all hands down but smacked off the bar. Deulofeu and Cleverley combined down the right to win a corner. From it, Deulofeu advanced again, as he had countless times before, but this time a perfect cross low, through to the far post, thanks to a dummy by Barry, and there was Lukaku to force it home.

Bolasie almost got through but Barry got the vital block as Everton were stretched. Funes Mori appeared to have given away a penalty with a late tackle on Mutch but perhaps not enough contact.

Everton tried again and again in the last few minutes to create more chances for the winner but it seemed destined not to happen, while Palace had a late resurgence and tested Howard a couple more times. In the end, Palace kept possession to the final whistle, despite a breakaway that saw Lukaku unable to get off a shot.

Hugely disappointing for Everton, who threw everything (except Mirallas) at this but Palace were the epitome of obdurate, and hard to deny them a very hard-earned point.

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori [Y:88'], Galloway (63' Baines), Barry, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku.
Subs:Robles, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Lennon, Naismith.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Cabaye, Jedinak, McArthur, Puncheon, Wickham, Bolasie.
Subs: Speroni, Bamford, Campbell, Gayle, Mutch, Chamakh, Kelly.

Kick off: 8pm

Referee: Craig Pawson

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Reader Comments (160)

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Patrick Carty
1 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:11:56
No surprise with the line up then.

We have a very strong bench if things are going wrong.

I fancy Kone for a goal tonight. C'mon, Blues.
Christy Ring
2 Posted 07/12/2015 at 19:48:19
Disappointed Macca is still out, but what’s happening with Besic? He played 45 mins against RoI a couple weeks ago. If he’s fully fit, why is he not on the bench ahead of Osman.
Christy Ring
3 Posted 07/12/2015 at 21:43:50
Our set plays are absolutely SHOCKING. We can't even hit a corner, and then Dann brushes Barry aside, with Howard flapping to put Palace ahead, absolutely pathetic defending.
Christy Ring
4 Posted 07/12/2015 at 21:52:19
What does Mirallas have to do to get a game? I can’t understand why he's left on the bench.
Stephen Brown
5 Posted 07/12/2015 at 21:54:25
Frustrating but really unlucky! Drawn last 2 games should have won! We would have been better to win one and lose one!! Gutted!
Tony Twist
6 Posted 07/12/2015 at 21:59:03
We got out of jail there. This manager is clueless, Palace were there for the taking and Martinez just bottled it. Kone was tired it is not a crime to swap him for another attacker.

How many daft goals do we have to concede before a defensive coach of quality is brought in?

Martinez is the weak link, this team should be achieving more than they are. Martinez is happy with mid table as long as the team plays his over elaborate football.

Mike Allison
7 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:00:11
Deulofeu is amazing.

If we practiced set pieces we’d be top of the league.

We were unlucky with the woodwork three times.

We should make substitutions earlier. Mirallas for Kone after about 65-70 mins should have happened tonight.

Oliver Molloy
8 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:01:00
Well, there you go we play a side in and around us and can't beat them.

Any ambitions this team have of top four or even top six rest in winning matches like this.

Dean Rolstone
9 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:05:01
I know it was only a draw but I thought we played some of the best attacking football tonight that we’ve played all season.

The football gods weren’t on our side tonight hitting the woodwork three times. They played how we expected them to albeit slightly more defencive but big credit for not feeling sorry for ourselves and getting the equaliser.

For once, we cannot blame Howard for the goal tonight; I thought he had a good game and made a couple of good saves. We just need to stay back for half an hour one day in training to practice both attacking and defending corners.

This is still shaping up to be a good season, especially after tonight's favourable FA Cup draw, so let’s stay behind the team and the manager for the upcoming important matches.

Jamie Barlow
10 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:05:21
We got out of jail?

We hit the woodwork 3 times and played well against a very hard team to break down. We were creating chances till the very end and Kone was playing his part. Nothing needed to be changed, just a better final ball and better finishing.

I agree that we need to sort out our concentration at set pieces but in no way was it us that got out of jail tonight.

Craig Fletcher
12 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:11:25
Absolutely agree, Jamie, and that was a ridiculous statement, Tony.

Very unlucky tonight, and once again, set pieces were our achilles heel. We won’t be the last team this season though to concede to Palace from a corner; didn’t Scott Dann do the same thing to the Reds?

I thought we were better than last week against Bournemouth. We certainly weren’t perfect but we did enough for the three points.

Tony J Williams
13 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:11:37
I think I will name that game "Just fucking shoot, you dozy cunt!"
Gavin Johnson
14 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:11:51
Yes, we got out of jail in the end. But we should have scored another 2-3 goals and we would have done in any other game... I think it’s official now that Crystal Palace are our bogey side!

Apart from the disappointing result it was an entertaining game albeit frustrating.

People are calling for Mirallas again, but I thought that it was more of a case of – if it’s not broken then why fix it. We had a lot of possession and could have scored at any time. It was just one of those games we weren’t meant to win.

My only criticism is of the abject defending from the corner. It was typical we’d concede from a set-piece. I actually feel sorry for Tim Howard. I thought he was having his best game in a long, long time until the calamity goal incident.

Patrick Carty
15 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:15:15
That was like a defeat. It’s time for Mirallas and Lennon to leave because the manager obviously does not rate them and the game was crying out for one of them.

I cannot fault the players’ effort but if we cannot beat Palace at home we have no hope of a top-six finish.

My ratings for tonight:

Howard 7.5
Galloway 6
Stones 7
Funes Mori 6.5
Barry 6.5
Cleverley 7
Barkley 6.5
Deulofeu 8
Kone 6
Coleman 8
Lukaku 7

Mike Powell
16 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:15:17
Why didn’t Martinez change it? Kone did fuck all all night and then that chance at the end says it all. Mirallas should have come on. Why oh why didn’t Martinez change it?

They do it to us every time. We had a chance to get us up there tonight and we blew it again. Tonight’s game tells me we will never win fuck all because we bottle it every time.
Alexander O'Brien
17 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:15:50
Some of the comments on here are unbelievable. Pointing the finger at the manager? Got out of jail? Can’t beat a top six side? C'mon, we didn’t do a lot wrong there hitting the frame of the goal 3 times. Pathetic!
Paul Jeronovich
18 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:16:01
Very unlucky, defence is shaky but apart from that we were excellent. I thought Cleverley had a good game and tries to stretch teams looking for wide passes. On another day a definite win but can’t be too disappointed.
Geoff Evans
19 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:17:36
Why no Mirallas for the last 20 minutes?
William Cartwright
21 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:21:12
Wonderful display of committed attacking footy from the off. Howard showed us the schizophrenic nature of his game; good shot stopper but doesn’t command his box. When he gives the airspace to the onrushing aerial attack all he can do is spread himself into a blocking option on the line, when sometimes he gets lucky. When he does it's high praise. When he doesn’t its criticism and lost points.

It is a fundamental flaw and will be the undoing of all our aspirations, as well a Roberto’s demise. The blind spot. He just can’t see it and is too bloody arrogant to listen to constructive criticism. I cannot think of any other goalie I have ever seen in 50 years of watching the game who does not take charge of his box. Even if he loses out on the aerial challenge nine times out of ten the ref blows for a foul on the keeper.

Roberto, or your secretary or whoever, if you are reading this, and the many, many other posts in the same vein, address the goalkeeping situation before it is too late. I don’t care what he does in the changing room, at the end of the day its what goes down on the pitch that counts. How many times have we got to lose to the cross ball and crash finish before you wake up to how destructive your blind spot is. COYB!
Aaron Underwood
22 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:21:35
Before we all start slating Martinez, let's remember we were very unlucky to hit the bar three times, not to mention the save their keeper produced for Cleverley's shot was out of this world. I have no worries about the football we played today.

However, the worries I do have are obviously about Howard after another goal conceded from a header in the six yard box. Also, I don’t really see the what the rush is to get Baines back in the team, he was an incredible left back a few years ago but he underperformed last season, and shouldn’t be rushed back in to the team unless Martinez is sure he’s good enough.

I thought galloway was excellent today, and we looked much more exposed down that side once he went off.
Sam Hoare
23 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:23:07
Great game to watch if ultimately a bit disappointing. We were not clinical enough and Deulofeu put in a lot of crosses that were poor. Performance was encouraging but 2 points from last 2 games is why we are 9th and not 5th-6th.
Mike Price
24 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:24:26
Unlucky with the woodwork and a great save off the Cleverley shot.

Leighton looked like he was running underwater and was very easily exposed, let’s hope he gets some pace back quickly.

It’s very noticeable that lots of our players run out of steam with 20 minutes to go, making the reluctance to use proactive substitutions even more baffling.

David Hallwood
25 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:32:19
Agree with Paul (#13); I thought Cleverley grew into the game and that’s his true position.
John Voigt
26 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:34:59
Everton didn’t give up a lot of set pieces, but the Dann header showed again how Everton are poor in this area... It wouldn’t be so bad if Everton scored even an average number of set piece goals, but Everton’s set pieces looked tame.

Another draw and another wasted opportunity. Blues look like a side that should be further up the table, but just can’t seem to win enough games...

I’ll stay loyal and hope better things are to come in the next month.

Come on you Blues!!!

Charlie Burnett
27 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:35:09
Going to be positive for a second. I love the fact we’re looking like a much better team in the final 3rd. At least we’re trying the flicks, tricks and quick 1-2s. It’s getting there. We were very unlucky with the woodwork but, as much as I hate to type this, Howard did pull off few good saves.

What is going on with us and corners? We had 330 corners tonight and couldn’t put a head on one of them and if we know we ain't going to score from a corner (which every fan knows so players must as well) why don't we play short and keep the ball? It was shambles. We have a team who cannot head the ball.

I’m going to be honest – Kevin Mirallas must have shagged Roberto's wife. What has the boy done? The game was screaming out for a change. At 60 minutes we needed someone who was willing to let go around the box. Kone cannot last more that 60 min in my eyes. Game was there for the taking...
Si Cooper
28 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:36:10
Cracking game between two teams who are on their best form and pushing for the top six. Not perfect but Bellamy and Carragher both thought we deserved to have won tonight.

How was Howard at fault for their goal? Some more nonsense from people who will never be happy.

Ross Edwards
29 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:36:51
We absolutely battered them there. We should have won 5 or 6-0 at least so Alan Pardew saying it's a 'fair result' is utterly bizarre in that respect.

But as ever, our inability to convert draws into victories is costing us massively. We're too inconsistent, we haven't won 2 in a row all season.

We should be in the top 4 now, never mind the top 6, and it's Martinez's fault. His decision to stick so loyally to Howard in the face of poor form and numerous errors is costing us, and his inability to change games off the bench is also costing us as well.

It's alright waxing lyrical about how exciting we are and how well we're playing but if we are inconsistent and don't get the results that merit those displays it's redundant.

We have to beat Norwich next week, it's as simple as that. We can't afford to drop more points in a winnable game especially with the games to come in January.

Patrick Murphy
30 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:37:25
A good game for the neutral a good performance from the team and a tad unlucky not to get all three points, I would prefer to watch this current Everton team than Palace. They like Bournemouth will upset a few more teams this season and they are a very strong and determined bunch.

We lack something at the back at set-pieces and Barry should never be the player given the task of marking one of their most dangerous players at a corner but, like has been said previously on another day, the performance gets all three points – the fact we didn’t wasn’t because of an inept performance or lack of effort, all teams good or bad need the breaks and tonight wasn’t our night.

BW Johnson
31 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:40:14
I played this last night on my son's Xbox ... Palace scored, Lukaku replied and with 15 minutes left I brought Mirallas on ... who scored the winner. Just sayin' like!!
Michael Williams
32 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:42:56
Only two losses in the last ten in the league but, ooooh how good it would feel to turn any of those two draws into wins.
Ciaran Duff
33 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:45:22
I thought we played pretty well overall. Cleverley did well in midfield and we were very unlucky not to score more. We also showed a lot of patience and maturity to come back from 1-0 down. I can understand the calls for Mirallas but I think RM made the right decision.

The team was playing well and creating chances. Kone was also providing some defensive cover for LB (Mirallas would leave Baines a bit exposed I think).

Also, it was not a game that would suit Mirallas’s style, running at players, as Palace were sitting back and defending in numbers especially later in the game, If anything, maybe Lennon or Naismith would have been a better option.

Our weak areas are obviously set pieces (13 corners and we never looked dangerous) and to a lesser extent our interplay in and around the box.

Sam Hoare
34 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:51:23
We have not beaten a team in the top ten this season. Sin miedo?
Darren Hind
35 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:51:25
At what point do we say we can't progress because we concede too many goals from corners and free kicks and it's the manager's fault?

We were fantastic tonight, but once again the manager's refusal or inability to organise the team for corners has let the players and the fans down.

I just despair.

Andy Walker
36 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:52:52
If we’d had their defenders and they had ours, we’d have won. We look great going forward but so open at the back.

Absolutely not convinced by Funes Mori and, however good Stones is on the ball, and he is brilliant, he’s weak in the air. Add in a reluctant keeper on crosses and a defensive midfielder who has no pace and teams will always have a chance against us, whether they run at us with pace or lump it into the box.

Why Mirallas never got on for Kone I will never know. Palace had a nailed on pen too, lucky Barry.

Rom was ace again, also Barkley good, Kone mostly missing. Del was frustrating today but still delivered the goal.

Brian Furey
37 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:53:11
Good to see some fans on here saying what they really saw as opposed to far too many trudging out the same aul rubbish blaming Howard and Roberto Martinez when we "lose" and praising Deulofeu, Lukaku etc when we win.

We were by far the most positive team tonight and hit the woodwork three times. Geri looked frustrated until he set up Romelu AGAIN. He needs to keep his head and not show his frustration. Palace are a good side.
Eddie Dunn
38 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:53:11
Patrick,

Isn’t Barry the man that we would use as a centre-half if we had an injury. He is also a tall lad, so there should be no reason why he should not compete in the air with Dann.

The problem for defenders is trying to get off the ground when the attacker is at an advantage, with the extra momentum from the run into the box.

We have a soft centre, and we have to improve defensively. I hope Martinez will spend the rest of the week on heading it out from set-pieces.

Oliver Molloy
39 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:57:15
Alexander @ 12,

That we can not beat a team in and around us in the league or top a top six side is pathetic alright in my opinion.

As I said if we harbour any hope of top six or higher we must be beating sides like Palace, West Ham, Spurs, Swansea, Watford, Liverpool.

Had we won just two of any of the above games, we would be in the top four now. If we won 3 we would be second and dare I say it won 4 we would be up there with Leicester!

All this – we were unlucky is wearing itself out,the manager must find the way to get the three points.

Tony Hill
40 Posted 07/12/2015 at 22:57:57
We are within a shortish instance of being a really good team. We still need a pacy forward of course and a creative midfielder but I thought some of the stuff we played tonight was excellent.

Obviously disappointing to draw and conceding the Dann goal again was also pretty inexcusable. I am afraid I don't understand either why Mirallas was not brought on for a tiring Kone.

We are still only 6 points off 4th after this weekend. That's ok but wins are now imperative.

I thought Cleverley was particularly good and thought Seamus had his best game for a long time.

John Malone
42 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:00:15
So frustrating we should've won tonight! Could not understand why Martinez didn't bring Mirallas on or swap Deulofeu over to the left it was becoming obvious were our attacks were coming from.

Tonight was were Martinez had to prove he could make the right decisions at the right times and he blew it!

Patrick Murphy
43 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:00:45
Eddie, that may well be the case but he can’t jump, so I hope we never have to use him there.

We need to sign a strong uncompromising centre-back asap or a very good International keeper who will dominate the six-yard box. It has been Everton’s Achilles heel for years.

Only the likes of Felli and Cahill in our own box stopped us conceding many more goals in the time previous to Roberto arriving.

Tony Abrahams
44 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:01:27
I enjoyed the game, but I was frustrated not to have won. I felt we should have brought Mirallas on so we could play down both sides, but I can definitely see improvement.

Some very tired legs out there at the end, and I just felt a change out wide might have given us a bit more scope to really stretch Palace.

A lot of games coming up now, and it’s time to start using the squad. Especially the players who might have just won us a game like tonight’s.

Going over old ground, but corners for us are an absolute fucking disgrace. Palace are well drilled at set plays, whereas we just don’t seem to know the value of them.

Jay Harris
45 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:04:27
Despite my views on Martinez, I have to say tonight was the best football we have played in a long time. What I enjoyed most was to see the whole team chasing the ball and putting tackles in (even Ross with a sliding tackle!!).

Special mention for Stones, Coleman, Barkley and Lukaku with Cleverly not far behind.

You have to consider yourself unlucky when you hit the woodwork 3 times and their keeper brings off a world class save.

When RM talks about small margins, you would think he would take heed of the number of crosses we have conceded from and do some work on that.

At the moment, we are back to our "Arsenal lite" definition but that’s nothing to be ashamed about.

Tighter defence, better and more timely substitutions and we’ll make progress.

Les Martin
46 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:04:55
We played some excellent football at times tonight and just needed Lady Luck. The goal conceded will be learnt and the rest is looking very impressive. The criticism of Martinez is lunacy, he has the players playing with confidence and passion and the Everton crowd are starting to get really excited.

Palace are well drilled at the back and hit you on the break but we were light years better. Make no mistake, no-one is playing better football than us in the Premier League at the moment. Romelu knows it and you could see his frustration when interviewed and at the end of the game too.

With luck we would be 4 points farther up the board after the last two games. No worries, we are going to be one hell of a team and it's coming along faster than you think. Keep the faith!
Gordon Crawford
47 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:05:17
We played well tonight, and should have won. Again, we give away an easy goal. Howard needs to flatten people and get to that cross, that should be his ball everyday. But, in saying that, his shot stopping was very good tonight.

Defensively we look pretty awful when it comes to set pieces; I don’t know if we are using man-marking, zonal marking or both, but it’s not working.

Deulofeu is pure genius and Lukaku is the best striker in the Premier League. I thought Ross really does look lost at times.

What about Besic? Is he still injured?
Ross Edwards
48 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:07:04
I'm also sick of our ineptitude at set pieces. We can't attack them, we can't defend them and we repeat the same mistakes time and time again.

That is purely down to the coaching staff. We clearly don't practice them. I don't care what Martinez's philosophies are, set pieces are a vital part of football, whether he thinks they're proper goals or not.

It's the basics, and we can't do them. If our coaches can't even teach the players how to defend from set pieces, they should be sacked. That's gross incompetence. How many times have we conceded from a set piece this season?

Tony Hill
49 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:10:54
Sorry, I should have said we're 7 points off 4th. We're still capable of getting there.

You can't blame Howard for the goal. I thought he was excellent tonight actually.

Si Cooper
50 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:11:10
John Malone, I really don’t see what point you are making? You can’t automatically assume Mirallas would have made a difference and we made chances down the right throughout the game so it is not as though knowing where we were going to attack did them a lot of good anyway.

Dann got the run on Barry and converted a good cross. It is a strength of his and he delivered on one occasion. It happens. Hennessy pulled off as good a save as you will witness anywhere. It happens.

Leighton Cooper
51 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:12:20
We should have won that. Hopeless with set pieces (13+ corners... not one threatened) and not much better defending them.
Raymond Fox
52 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:14:53
If it was boxing we would have won on points, but we can't quite finish teams off for the win, can we. Palace are no mugs and I thought we played some decent stuff against a difficult team.

Crosses into the box are definitely our ’Achilles Heel’ though, I think the defenders need some wrestling practice a la Skrtel; failing that maybe some springs in their boots!

The results not really a great surprise given the unpredictability of this season.

John Crawley
53 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:15:48
Si (#18), for their goal Howard started to come off his line, realised he shouldn’t have, started to go back and was unbalanced when the ball was headed into the centre of the goal. Any good goalie should have saved it.
Si Turner
54 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:16:46
I can’t believe more people are blaming Howard for that goal. If he would have come off his line into a crowded box and flapped at it, and they scored, the same people would complain.

I thought we played really well tonight and were unlucky. Last week we were not unlucky because we took our foot off the gas but we deserved to win tonight.

I agree Mirallas should have been brought on but, when we are so dominant, it can upset our flow by changing so I don’t think it was a glaring error from Martinez. I think he expected Kone or Lukaku to score and Kone should have with the last kick of the game.

Philip Yensen
55 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:19:30
We played great tonight. Just a couple of points:

Set-piece goal conceded again, also too many little flicks and back heels.

Overall we were unlucky and Palace are a very good team. To be honest, pick a team using both sides and that team would win the league.

That was a top performance by Barkley, tackled back, played wall passes and more constructive passes too. Sorry, but Kone is a passenger.

Si Cooper
56 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:23:19
I would be very interested to see how many shots their defenders blocked tonight? I know we blocked some of theirs but it seemed to me we had far more concerted pressure in and around the box.

I can’t see how people expected us to do markedly better against a very robust defence, nor contain their power and pace for the whole 90. We just didn’t get the breaks our overall play deserved.
Michael Polley
57 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:23:46
Frustrating game to watch. I thought it wasn’t going to be our night, hitting the woodwork 3 times. Palace were very solid at the back and got men behind the ball, we couldn’t find any space in their penalty area.

Relief for our equaliser and delighted for Lukaku. I thought Deulofeu over-complicated things at times instead of the simpler option but another assist for him. Some of his corners were poor.

Howard had a good game: two crucial saves.

We need 3 points against Norwich.

John Crawley
58 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:25:30
Si (#54), well he’s got to do one of the two, either stay on his line or come for the cross. He did neither. It was a routine save. The manager shouldn’t be playing him, he’s nowhere near good enough.
Jon Withey
59 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:29:29
I enjoyed the match. A strange one as a point seemed fair – but it could have been 4-2 to us.

Howard kept us in it, Lukaku and Cleverley were unlucky.

I thought Funes Mori was a bit wobbly and Baines didn’t add much.

Like others, I’m a bit disappointed he didn’t give Mirallas 15 mins at least.

I like our first team a lot but you can see we are going to lose out through too many draws and we could do a lot more with set-pieces.

Oliver Molloy
60 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:32:37
Les @ 46:

"Make no mistake, no-one is playing better football than us in the Premier League at the moment."

That’s we are top of league, Les – right?

Mike Gaynes
61 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:35:36
Gordon (#47):

" Howard needs to flatten people and get to that cross, that should be his ball everyday."

Silliest statement of the day in my opinion. A driven ball to eight yards is NEVER the keeper’s ball. NEVER.

And Christy #3, if you saw Howard "flapping" on the goal, you’re the only one who did.

Fair play, people. He had a fine game today. Two excellent saves and was certainly well positioned for the Wickham header even if he knew little about it.

Eddie Dunn
62 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:43:42
Patrick 43. it makes me wonder whether we were in for Dann?

I don’t like to pick on Tim Howard, as he played well, but he does tend to stay on his line. I don’t know if Robles would have been equally fallible but the header did pass very close to Tim’s arm, and he didn’t react in time.

Galloway has been targeted in every game, and fair play to him, he has tried his best and done okay. Baines is still not match fit and Martinez is right to gently bring him back. However, it is another aspect of our frailty at the back.

We really need to be banging in three goals a game to have a real chance of victory.

Graham Mockford
63 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:44:04
John Crawley,

He did stay on his line; however, Dann was allowed a free header from eight yards out. To call that a routine save is just ludicrous. Barry lost his man, simple as that.

He’s had some stick on here and some of it has been deserved but he actually had a good game tonight. However the number of goals we are conceding from headers needs sorting out and that’s not going to be done by expecting a keeper to make up for the our inability to allow free headers in our penalty box.

All-in-all a good display; another day with the rub of the green and we would have won comfortably, although credit to Palace. They are a tough side to break down.

Best game I’ve seen Seamus have this season.

Steve Jenkins
64 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:48:29
We played well tonight, we’re unlucky and should have won.

Make no mistake Palace are an excellent side - even "God" (sorry Klopp) lost at home to them.

They’re one of the most organised and difficult sides to break down in the league and have serious pace to counter.

Defensively I thought they were outstanding and incredibly frustrating!

We’ve got a very strong first team now, but Mirallas aside, who’s clearly out of favour, we don’t have enough game-changers to come off the bench and until we have that strength it’s difficult to see us breaking top 4 (although not impossible), and will have to stay injury free (until the end of the season) to key players (unlikely).

Tonight was the perfect game for the No 10 (like Nolito) if we can pick one up (summer most likely).

I also look forward to Garbutt breaking into side sometime in the next 3 years (if it does actually ever happens), so we can take some quality set-pieces.

Steve Jenkins
65 Posted 07/12/2015 at 23:54:55
I have to agree with Ross Edwards: as much as it’s great to be playing and scoring as we are in open play, set-pieces are a big part of the game and are going to happen (like it or not). It’s an "extra" opportunity to score when you get one, so why not be good at it?

We have to address this, as well as our defending of them.

Thomas Surgenor
66 Posted 07/12/2015 at 00:01:29
Why I like Mirallas....
... When in a position he doesn't hesitate to get a shot off!!

Some call that selfish, I call it an eye for goal.

Gavin Johnson
67 Posted 07/12/2015 at 00:03:04
To reiterate what some other posters have said. I thought Cleverley had a fantastic game. He was always looking to make a pass and he was very unlucky not to score. I also thought we bossed midfield for much of the game.

Gareth Barry, to my mind played well but he could have done more on the set-piece for the goal. I think he was more at fault than Howard. I’ve not had a chance to see their goal again, but from what I saw it looked far worse than it was for Howard because he was standing in the centre of the goal and fairly near to the flight of the ball. But to me, it looked like his view was being obstructed somewhat and it was too late for him to react.

Although I can understand other posters frustrations with Howard being rooted in the centre of goal near the approaching ball. Had he kept a clean sheet, it would have definitely been his best game in recent memory.

I’m probably going against the consensus but I think we looked very solid defensively tonight. It was again our soft-centre from defending set-pieces that shot us in the foot.

We did play some very good football tonight and it was free flowing and entertaining. The footballing gods were just not on our side on this occasion, but I fully expect us to beat Norwich convincingly based on this performance.

John Crawley
68 Posted 07/12/2015 at 00:03:49
Graham (#63) I agree Dann shouldn’t haven’t got to the header the way he did but you need to look at the goal again, he heads it down the middle of the goal!

It is a routine save for any good goalie. Howard may end up back on his line but he comes out towards the ball and is more interested in shoving the Palace defender in the back, is caught off balance, and flaps at the ball as it goes past him. If Dann had headed it in the corner then I would agree it’s not a routine save but he didn’t and Howard should have saved it.

Dave Abrahams
69 Posted 07/12/2015 at 00:04:18
It would be interesting to hear what players, who have come from other clubs, think about not practicing set pieces at corners and free kicks; they are definitely letting us down. I couldn’t fault Howard for the goal; just very poor defending.

We did enough to win the game, but we were lucky with what looked like a clear penalty by Funes Mori. I thought the referee and the linesman with the yellow flag were both incompetent and gave quite a few decisions against us, really poor, even the penalty they should have had looked obvious to most people in the ground.

Coleman was Man of the Match for me.

Gordon Crawford
70 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:11:57
Mike 61. Schmeichel, Southall and Jennings used to catch those balls for fun. But we will agree to disagree on that one. I do think he had a better game tonight and I'm not blaming him.
Andy Crooks
71 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:13:25
I bow to no-one in looking at faults with the coach. However, tonight was, in my view just one of those nights. We played well, should have won and were just unlucky. We played some really good football and, unlike some of the other draws, I don’t see much wrong.

It was hard to take but we are a good side and will get better.

Graham Mockford
72 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:18:23
John #68

The header wasn't headed straight,but back from where it came. The only chance a keeper saves a point blank header at pace if it comes straight at him. It didn't it comes across him.

it is really simple, our inability to prevent the header leads to the goal. I'm still not sure why Gareth Barry is marking probably their most potent aerial threat. Defending crosses has been our biggest weakness this season. On occasions Howard has been at fault but the whole team needs to take responsibility to defend as a unit and we need to be getting much more aggressive in one on one situations.

This is an area Martinez needs to look at himself and do something about. It's all very well talking about exciting young players and we again looked very good most of tonight. But we are talking about some basic footballing discipline here.

Colin Glassar
73 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:21:29
Gutted about the result but can’t really complain about the performance. On another day we could have had 4 or 5 goals but lady luck wasn’t smiling on us today/yesterday.

Ross was my MotM but all the others put in a good shift. Pity Deulofeu was a bit off the pace in the 1st half or we would’ve been out of sight early doors.

Colin Malone
74 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:25:04
How many times did Geri knock the ball low in the box,for Rom and Kone but they just stood still? So fucking frustrating. That's where Mirallas or Naismith would have made a difference, a fox-in-the-box player. Every time the shite lose, you can put your house on us not to win.
Fraser Auld
75 Posted 07/12/2015 at 00:27:08
Pards summed it up well: two good teams showing what they are good at... then he went on to say a draw was a fair result and I stopped listening.

Martinez’s face in his post-match interview, looked gutted. He said we played well (which we did) but he also made a couple of references to having to be stronger defensively.

It’s an important point. The question is, can we be stronger defensively?

If we can, a European finish, of some description, is a distinct possibility. If not... well, God knows the way the league is at the moment, though we’re unlikely to trouble the top 6 or 7-ish...

Si Cooper
76 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:31:44
Dave Abrahams, it is nonsense to say that we don’t practice set pieces. Obviously we do (or do you think the players move to a particular position in the box on a whim?) but too many times the delivery just isn’t up to scratch.

Martinez doesn’t think there is enough of a percentage outcome to spend endless hours practicing them, but the real question is whether he can reasonably expect his players to beat the first man, or to stay with the man they are marking? I think people blame the manager for tactical faults when a lot of the time players just aren’t doing the basics consistently enough.

We have scored and forced saves from corners recently when the delivery has been good (Ross Barkley has put in some beauts lately) which shows the players know what should be happening. I could see no reason attributable to the manager as to why Geri’s were generally so poor tonight.

John Crawley
77 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:34:39
Graham (#72), I’m sorry but you are talking rubbish, the ball was headed straight down the middle of the goal. That is the position that Howard should have been in, instead he’s messing around pushing the Palace defender in the back and then backtracking to his goal line which is why he’s off balance. It's a simple save.

Danny Broderick
78 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:35:39
Good performance, and on another day we would have won. More of the same please - we will win more than we lose playing that way.

No way was Howard at fault for that goal. Watch it again, he had a man on his toes as the ball was coming in, he didn't have a free run to come out and punch it.

Palace are a big team. Barry is decent in the air, and also old school when it comes to putting someone off their run. Before the game, if you had told me we would use our 2 centre halves & Barry to mark Wickham and their 2 centre halves, I would have been fine with that. We can all be wise after the event, but I just think that a team like Palace will always be a threat at set plays. We got caught out on one, but handled them generally well.

On another day, Lukaku would have scored a hat trick. Shame we have drawn the last 2 but onwards and upwards...

John Daley
79 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:39:04
"Thought Ross really does look lost at times."

On the evidence of tonight's match? Personally, I thought he was excellent and put in a performance demonstrative of the fact he's improved in areas people have previously pinpointed as weaknesses in his game. He was always showing for the ball, retained possession, never gave it away by trying too much at the wrong time, was either moving into space or making a beeline toward the box as soon as he released the ball, showed great vision with the defence splitting pass that led to the goal and even tracked back and threw himself into a sliding challenge.

A maddeningly frustrating game but, let's be honest, who didn't know it was going to be one of those nights as soon as we hit he woodwork for a second time?

Graham Mockford
80 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:39:32
Colin,

I thought Ross had a really good game, his ball retention has improved dramatically this season. I think there were a few players with claims for MotM.

Deulofeu was a real threat and gave us a constant outlet. As Paddy Crerand famously said about Best, I think their full back will have twisted blood tonight. The final ball never quite came off but he got his reward in the end.

Lukaku was excellent again. He was busy, held the ball up well especially considering he was playing against two big strong centre halves. Unlucky to only get one but that is six games in a row, I think the first player to do that for us in 20 odd years. In all competitions he is now the joint leading scorer in the country and unlike Vardy who has three penalties, they are all from open play.

However, I agree with Dave, Seamus was superb. He dealt with Bolasie really well and he was back to his energetic best getting forward.

Gavin Johnson
81 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:42:13
Roberto Martinez argues that goals from set-pieces are secondary and it is better to make your own destiny and score from open play.

I believe it's true that have scored more than any other team from open play and that should be applauded. But I don't understand why we can't also do more work on both scoring and defending from set pieces.

Maybe it comes down to not having enough hours in the day on the training field. I guess it comes down to finding the right balance. I won't grumble too much though because we're going in the right direction and our open play and ability to break down teams has moved light years from when we were struggling last season.

Graham Mockford
82 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:42:43
Well I guess we all see it differently

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BEv_nghy6hQ

John Crawley
83 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:42:51
Danny (#78), I agree he shouldn’t have come for the ball; what he should have done was stay on his line and saved the ball as it was headed straight in the middle of the goal!
Derek Thomas
84 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:47:03
'On another day we could've won 4-2' and last week 'we should've won 3-2'...coulda, woulda, shoulda.

It's starting to get like RAWK where the poor deluded souls have an 'Alternate League Table' where all the coulda W, S, plus a whole heap of other factors AKA Excuses, give them a 'real' view of where they're at.

If Martinez is to be praised for the way we attack, then excused for 2 that hit the post and a very good save by their keeper. He must also be blamed for the piss poor defending.

The corner for the goal wasn't driven in like Hinchcliffe, right down the keepers throat. It was a bog standard Phil Neville 'Floater' that landed just outside the 6 yd box. Dann took 3 or 4 steps, jumped, basically just to get off the ground a bit. He didn't have to leap and hang in the air and power it with neck muscles bulging in effort, all he had to do was nodded it in like he was nodding to the fella across the street who was off for a stroll to pick up a sunday paper.

We're all marking space NO-fukin-Body attacks the ball...except the opposition.

We won't finish higher than 7th. We won't get more than 60Pts. We may win the Micky Mouse cup and even the Proper one.

If we do, the bang average Catalonian, 7th-ish trophy, Moyes by any other name will get another extension and probably a rise to boot.

Oh and the good news is...He's not going anywhere...3 more years minimum.

Yeah but you're a bit of a footballing dinosaur, you want the old fashioned days back, you don't appreciate the way He's getting them to play...well yes I do...He's just not very good at it.

Look at the table...9th.

Keith Monaghan
85 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:49:11
Like many, I felt we deserved to win and were unlucky hitting the woodwork 3 times. I thought Seamus had his best game for ages, including playing Bolasie very well; Cleverley was very good too, offering much more going forward than McCarthy.

Our corners are very poor – I was amazed when Barkley delivered a good one! This is basic, it’s not down to under- or over-coaching – schoolboys take better corners.
We played some great stuff though – I think we didn’t help ourselves by Ross, Ger & Kone dwelling statically on the ball in 2nd half allowing Palace time to get into position.

I would have brought Mirallas on for Kone, but I can understand why RM didn’t. I'm not sure if their goal was Tim Howard’s fault, but I would like to see Robles given a run – we need the keeper to be taking crosses in/close to the 6-yard box player. Howard spends too much time trying to push the forward nearest to him when the corner is being taken.

John Crawley
86 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:49:56
Graham, I suggest you take a look at these highlights, you’ll get a much better view of what went on for the goal.

http://hoofoot.com/?match=Everton_1_-_1_Crystal_Palace_2015_12_07

Dave Abrahams
87 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:50:25
Si (#76),

Yes most of the corners were poor tonight no matter who took them. I don’t think we have scored many goals from corners or free kicks.

Again if you watch us defending corners the players are mostly flat footed when the corners are coming in, we never seem to learn from them, didn’t Scott Dann score from one last year.

We were the better team tonight but are always liable to concede from corners and there has been no improvement in defending them under Martinez. Although Robles, in the very few games he gets, defends corners better than Howard, I'm not blaming him tonight; he seems to let the opposition attackers distract him and he loses focus when the corners and centres are coming in.

Mark Wilson
88 Posted 08/12/2015 at 00:59:29
If ever there was a game that summed up why many Evertonians just don’t seem to get it, this was it.

The case for the defence is well made and hardly a big stretch I guess... we hit the woodwork three times, we played great, we passed the ball beautifully at times, we deserved to win.

Pardrew is a knob but a clever knob nevertheless. But loads fail to grasp that this game remains about WINNING and despite the genuine support we should have for a very decent young squad, we just don’t win that many games.

This was a crucial match to get three points. The game was part of the supposedly "easier" run of fixtures after a tough start. We look exciting but even beautiful football doesn’t disguise failings. We have to pick up wins and fast. It sounds harsh but otherwise it’s another mediocre outcome to a season.

Graham Mockford
89 Posted 08/12/2015 at 01:06:02
John #86

It's ok, I had a very good view from my seat 30 rows back behind the goal.

Keith Monaghan
90 Posted 08/12/2015 at 01:07:14
Have just seen Palace’s goal again – poor all-round by us, but Tim Howard was pathetic.
Graham Mockford
91 Posted 08/12/2015 at 01:14:01
Mark

Thanks for the tremendous insight, when you win that's good right? What have I been thinking these last 40 years.

Of course it is frustrating to drop points especially when much of the play was excellent. I'm not sure Palace is ever going to be an easy game, in fact I suspect the way they set up they will be a difficult team for many to beat. I actually think we will fare better at their place.

But we are still in touching distance however at some point we will have to string four or five wins together to keep challenging for Top 4.

And that starts at Norwich.

Colin Glassar
92 Posted 08/12/2015 at 01:32:06
Graham, I thought they all played well, even Howard. I thought Gerri was a bit off his game, as was Funes Mori, in the first half but both improved in the second half.

And how good is Stonesy? He doesn’t even get a mention anymore as we are so used to his brilliance now. Seamus was excellent and is getting back to his best. Bainsey will be vital over the Xmas period etc....

Just a shame we couldn’t win the bloody game but Pardew set them up well for the draw.

Gavin Johnson
93 Posted 08/12/2015 at 01:44:10
Yes, Colin. You’re completely right about John Stones. I think we’re just accustomed to his brilliance now.

When he was making one of them surging runs up the pitch last night he reminded me much of the RS’s Alan Hansen and, as much as I hate name-checking their players, Stones’s ability to take the ball up field and find a pass is Hansen-esque.

Ernie Baywood
94 Posted 08/12/2015 at 01:51:13
I quite enjoyed the performance but I was disappointed with the result. On another night, we would have all been beaming after a good win with the chances that we created. Obviously not good enough for the set piece, though I don’t blame Howard.

I’ve been a critic of Martinez but there must be something substantial going on with Mirallas. Not featuring at all leaves a lot of questions to be answered and it’s probably time he did answer them.

Danny Kewley
95 Posted 08/12/2015 at 02:09:57
Good report, Michael, and to sum it up Palace were a hard nut to crack and from their point of view deserved a draw.

However, as much as the team is definitely improving, we have got to win these "rival" games at home.

Martinez should learn very quickly when to make a bloody good substitution, ie, Mirallas in this case!!
Kieran Kinsella
96 Posted 08/12/2015 at 02:13:51
Imagine a dream team of Dixie Dean, Lukaku, Kendall, Sheedy, Ball, Pointon etc
Nicholas Ryan
97 Posted 08/12/2015 at 03:11:38
I was just about to tear my hair out with frustration, at the last two results, when my son pointed out; that, this season:

Palace have beaten Liverpool at Anfield, and
Bournemouth have beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge,

Hmmm....!

Paul Ward
98 Posted 08/12/2015 at 03:21:23
A very good all-round and entertaining performance. Also a great improvement by Barkley who actually won a couple of 50/50 balls. Despite all this, we still lack the ingredients to be successful over the season. Winners or Champions League contenders just don’t draw as many as we do.

This season, we have dropped points we deserved because of our poor set piece mentality and very bad use of subs. How many teams inferior to us share the points (like Bournemouth) because they use all their assets how ever limited? Everton don’t, so who is responsible for coaching set pieces and substitutions???

Peter Barry
99 Posted 08/12/2015 at 03:26:33
So where are we after last night's match? Why... still in mid-table mediocrity, of course, and a point behind the RS who are having one of their worst seasons for years – it's just not good enough, Martinez, and neither are you.
Harold Matthews
100 Posted 08/12/2015 at 03:33:25
I remember Stones back-pedalling off Bolasie and allowing him a free shot on goal. What was that all about? Funes Mori spent half the first 45 minutes clearing the ball to a Palace player. What was that all about? A wag on the live forum suggested he might be colour blind.

These details may seem trivial but they are not. They are moments of inexperience, indecision and poor coaching. Two promising young players with lots to learn.

Of course, there were many similar moments with our other young players but they believed in themselves, kept persevering and deserved all three points.

As for their goal. Well, Scott Dann is a 6'-5" monster we tried to sign for £8mil and few people in Europe would have prevented him from getting on the end of that perfect cross. It's a major Palace weapon. He trains for it day after day.

Our main problems were at the other end where the ball would not go into the net. We played so well but it was not our day. Heartbreaking stuff.

Paul Kelly
101 Posted 08/12/2015 at 04:42:36
Level with the mighty Watford.
Gary Russell
102 Posted 08/12/2015 at 05:32:45
For those on Howard’s back for the goal, I am a very long way from being a Howard believer. But last night he made two class saves that were sure goals.

And as Harold has pointed out, a 6.5 ft monster allowed a free header from the 6-yard box. Yes, he should come off his line much more but we know he doesn’t.

Robles deserves a run of games. He has shown glimpses already until the manager sticks with his annoying habits.

All this talk of Butland... Butland was pretty gash a season or so ago. Goalkeepers need to play and gain confidence. We might have the answer under our noses, if Robles gets a chance.

I am still hopeful this season can be very good indeed. Let’s get a good Xmas campaign out the way and see where we are.

Danny O'Neill
103 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:00:47
Or a point off Klopp's "title contenders" and 4 from Europe with more than half the season to go Paul! Have a half full glass of the finest from me!!!

I think one of those games where it's easy to focus on the name / historical stature of the opposition vice current form and assume an easy win on paper. Reality is they are a very well organised team who set up to frustrate and are difficult to break down as many have found out this season.

We absolutely should have won it and were very unfortunate but also showed character to grab the equaliser when it just looked like being one of those nights.

The important thing at this stage is to stay in touch with the pack and we are. Save the best and peak in March for an unbeaten run into a Champion's League place after winning the League Cup!!!

Kunal Desai
104 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:09:58
Take aside the result last night but have we now not seen, over the past 2-3 transfer windows, if you standstill and do nothing, then others eventually catch up with you?

As a club, the aim should have been to push on from those regular 5th/6th finishes. Instead, we now find us in a tough battle to finish in those places. It's what happens when don’t improve on the pitch.

James Morgan
105 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:15:08
After facing most of the top teams at the start of the season, we had a so called "winnable" run of games to propel us up the table, yet we've dropped four points to Bournemouth and Palace. Not good enough. Too many draws will be why we won't finish top four.
Phil Walling
106 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:20:48
Five wins out of fifteen indicates we are in for nothing more than a seventhish finish. What's new?
Dave White
107 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:21:01
I’ve been critical of Howard on crosses but I think this one is simply a case of Barry losing his man. It happened earlier in the game too and Barry nearly pulled the Palace player’s (Wickham?) shirt off. I love Gareth Barry but there are times when the game seems to move to fast for him.

As for Howard’s positioning, I’m a keeper and trust me when I say that an on rushing 6’ something opposition player who makes a sweet connection with the ball from 8 yards is almost impossible to stop. At that range you only stop it if it hits you. Also Howard’s save from Bolassie was excellent and kept us in the game (and for me Stones didn’t back off, he simply got mugged by a very good player).

I thoroughly enjoyed the game, Pardew has turned Palace into a really good side. They remind me of Stoke in how they’re greater than the sum of their parts. It’s just so disappointing, having watched us play some lovely attacking football, to see us concede such a simple goal.

I always worry about us at defensive set pieces these days, and offensively our set pieces are friggin DREADFUL! Thank goodness Leighton is back because Barry, Barkley and Deulofeu proved that when the ball is next to the corner flag they all turn into Chris Waddle at Italia ’90!

All-in-all, a nice performance, but last night contained all the elements of why we are not, right now at least, genuine top 4 contenders.

Dave White
108 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:26:16
Re the goal when I say ’Hits you’ I mean the ball is directed at your body (as with Howard’s earlier block from Wickham) as opposed to making a save away from the body.
Pete Edwards
109 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:37:54
Anyone blaming Howard for last night should be ashamed, he made a couple of good saves and had no chance for the goal, free header – not his fault.

Also, people calling for Mirallas for Kone, I understand but what would be said if he came on, lost the ball as, let's face it, he wouldn’t be passing, and they went up the other end and scored the winner?

Hypothetical, I know, but no more than saying his introduction would have won us the game

Kieran Jones
110 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:55:58
Re #96 from Kieran: you left out Terry Phelan!
Ray Roche
111 Posted 08/12/2015 at 08:19:15
Harold (#100),

Re Scott Dann: "It’s a major Palace weapon. He trains for it day after day."

You can see that, I can see that, why can’t Martinez? Why can’t he swallow his pride and admit that set-pieces need defending and you need to practice defending.

Why can’t he see that substitutions can change games? Why does he set his side up and send them out with his Plan A but can’t figure out a Plan B when things don’t go as he expected?

A like-for-like substitution will not change a game; only a player with game changing ability, like Mirallas, will come on and give a team like Palace something else to think about. Martinez, the epitome of a one-trick pony, hasn’t got it in his locker to provide a different outlook during a game.

If Mirallas isn’t playing because Martinez has seen his arse with him then that is a disgrace. Everton are paying Mirallas good money, money that we don’t have to waste, on a player Martinez won’t play despite his ability to rescue points for us because Martinez has got a cob on with him? Really?

We will win nothing with Martinez until that prize bell end swallows his pride and drops the arrogant "I know best" facade. He clearly doesn’t. His subs are as bleak, baffling and late as Moyes's ever were.

Derek Thomas
112 Posted 08/12/2015 at 08:52:03
Exactly right, Ray, but his prized bellendedness has already stated, three times to my knowledge, that he won’t change. That defending set pieces aren’t worth the bother, as not a lot of goals are scored that way so it’s a waste of time.

And did he also say that the performance is more important than the actual result... if so, the mind boggles.

Set pieces (defending AND attacking 101: don’t mark space... I’ve checked all the stats and since time began ’space’ was never listed as a goalscorer.

Ernie Baywood
113 Posted 08/12/2015 at 09:00:19
The reality is that, as much as we can feel great that we have been able to retain players due to the financial stability the TV deal has given us, it’s also allowed a lot of clubs to build.

Palace, Stoke, West Ham... they’re all spending money to catch up. Palace bought Cabaye! He’s a top player that they couldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago.

The top four or five aren’t getting their own way every time anymore. But despite holding onto our players, we’re likely to be the biggest losers here. Neither rich enough to go with the big sides nor at the point where we can make significant progress from a small bout of spending on half-decent players.

We’re playing well but we’ve gone from a good top 7 side to a very good one that could struggle to finish in the top half. January and the summer transfer windows really need to be ones where we reassert our advantage over these clubs who suddenly have cash to burn. If we’re one of the top teams, then we need to spend like one and use our greater reputation over the likes of Palace.

Andy Meighan
114 Posted 08/12/2015 at 09:07:03
I understand why people at the game were screaming for the substitution around the hour mark; any decent manager worth his salt would’ve see Kone was shot and it wasn’t happening for him. But no... instead of introducing Mirallas or even Naismith, this clown decided to leave it be.

It obviously looks to many, judging by comments around me last night, that (a spate of injuries permitting) it is doubtful Mirallas will start another game under the Spaniard. While I'm no lover of Super Kev, he is a talent who could have offered something different; but no, Martinez knows best.

Yes, we were desperately unlucky but conceded a soft goal again and at times left ourselves vulnerable on the counter. Thank god for Deulofeu and Lukaku! While the former can be frustrating at times, you always get the feeling he's got something up his sleeve... as proved with the assist.

As for Lukaku... well, what can you say? On another night, he could have had a hat-trick; he deserved one and looks like he's going to score in every game – a far cry from last season.

Final thoughts: Palace got what they came for and are hard to break down... but two words sum us up: draw specialists – that’s why we are where we are.

Kevin Elliott
115 Posted 08/12/2015 at 09:24:36
Absolutely cracking game of football and very unlucky for the boys.

You can’t blame Martinez for the bar and the post being in the way a few times.

Bring on Norwich.

Paul Kelly
116 Posted 08/12/2015 at 09:26:05
I’d love half a glass of the proverbial optimism, Danny, I really would... but the reason I don’t get carried away is the manager. Posts #111 and #112 explain why.

I’ll give him credit for the team / squad he’s brought together and I do feel we will get better... but not at defending – it’s one area that really concerns me. If you don’t learn from mistakes, you're doomed to repeat them – and he repeats it every time. Howard is in goal... but he ain’t the only problem; how many times do we come unstuck against crosses?

Oh, and we’re one point above Southampton who sold three quarters of their first team (give or take a few players). Plus we're well into ’a winnable set of fixtures’ according to most who seem to forget the league started months ago and that we have dropped points already in these so-called ’winnable fixtures’.

Mark Fitzgerald
117 Posted 08/12/2015 at 09:27:30
Good performance, very unlucky not to have won this game against a team that will trouble most in the league.

I thought Seamus was MotM but good shifts put in all around the park. We needed that extra bit of luck to nick the first goal, that would have made all the difference.

I agree that Roberto should have looked to the bench for the last 15-20 mins. I thought Kone and Barry should have been replaced at that stage. Some fresh legs and minds could have made the difference.

But I will take the positives out of the game and look forward to our upcoming fixtures.

Graham Mockford
118 Posted 08/12/2015 at 09:28:04
Kieran (#96),

I've just re-read your post and I just have to ask.

In your dream team you have Dixie Dean, Lukaku, Sheedy, Kendall and Ball. You finish off your line up with Pointon.

What Neil Pointon?

Am I missing something? I suspect autocorrect but maybe I’m just not getting the joke.

Mark Wilson
119 Posted 08/12/2015 at 10:17:08
Graham (#91),

Thanks for the compliment. I too thought is was insightful punditry to suggest "winning is good". Thing is, all these "winnable" games in this "crucial next 12 games" as Martinez himself said... how many are we really actually winning?

Dropping points against some of the 8 teams who finished above us last season was in part understandable. Yep, we beat Chelsea just before it was very clear everyone’s beating them now. But, despite the fact that Palace are a strong team and Bournemouth may yet surprise us by staying up, dropping points against them in the most competitive league ever isn’t going to get us top four, is it?

Graham, deep breath, I take your point, I honestly do, but it’s not simply about "frustration". I’m worried. I’m loving this new young squad performing as they are. I’m enjoying seeing Stones (mostly) play like he can be Bobby Moore. I like seeing Rom prove his "he’s lazy" doubters so wrong... and as for Geri and Ross, well it’s great to see that promise develop in a consistent fashion at last. It’s all good, isn’t it... and yes, the "run" can (should) start again against Norwich.

But... "winning is good" isn’t a silly mantra – it’s actually an imperative if you want to see these players at Goodison next season and beyond. Rom never ceases to talk about the importance of a top four Champions League finish. Stones has sucked it up and given us a year but we will get bids of £45m in the summer unless he fails badly at the Euros. Rom is worth £50m now, easily more than Sterling cost Man City. Barça may take Geri back if he carries on like he is all season.

So....."winning is good" isn’t just about the obviously insightful analysis I brought to this thread!! It’s about keeping this exciting squad intact or it’s just another false dawn... and we have had a few!

We badly need that run of four or five wins you spoke of, Graham... I'm hoping it starts by thumping the Canaries Saturday lunchtime...

John Crawley
120 Posted 08/12/2015 at 10:19:25
Ray, the annoying thing is that Martinez can change games with his substitutions, we saw that in his first season. For some reason since then he’s become increasingly conservative and now it’s just like for like with the subs, same as Moyes.

His refusal to introduce Mirallas last night was odd as was his refusal to play him against Middlesbrough. Equally bizarre is his continuing with Howard in goal.

Dave Abrahams
121 Posted 08/12/2015 at 10:51:45
Martinez should definitely use his substitutions more, they are going rusty on the bench. How many minutes have Lennon, Mirallas, Naismith and Gibson had in the last few games? they are all going to be needed very shortly with the flood of games coming up, they are all going to be well short of match practice.

The squad is not really as strong as some people think it is; maybe we will be reinforced in the January transfer window, with some going and a couple of experienced players coming in.

Graham Mockford
122 Posted 08/12/2015 at 11:03:20
Mark (#119),

I do get the point. Ultimately we will have to go on a winning run if we want to seriously challenge. However, you have to be playing well to do that and I’m seeing signs of things starting to click. It’s just frustrating that the three wins and three draws in our last six games should have been five wins.

There are still concerns: our fragility defending crosses will undoubtedly be part of the Norwich team talk on Saturday; however, I expect their back four will be a bit worried.

Out of interest, I had a look at the Palace forum this morning, it’s always interesting to get a different perspective. The general view was they got out of jail; many said we were the best team they had played this season and one said ’at least we won’t be against Deulofeu every week’. It also appears that Jason Puncheon is their Leon Osman!

As you say, roll on Norwich.

Dave Pritchard
123 Posted 08/12/2015 at 11:50:07
Many players are not getting much game time at the moment. This will surely change over the next 6 or 7 weeks with all the fixtures we have coming up. This will be an indicator about our squad strength.

It will be interesting to see how the rotation works. Plenty of leeway in midfield but much less so at the back. When is Jags due back? Is Rom going to play every game?

Tony J Williams
124 Posted 08/12/2015 at 13:12:45
Such a frustrating game and I am sick and tired of shouting the same thing every game... "Shooooooooot"

So many potential chance wasted because they look for the extra pass, the extra touch or just plain scared to put their laces through it.

I remember Arteta saying that of Moyes, he told him that sometime you just need to twat it... or in so many words.

Barkley trying to do the perfect goal and curl it in in the first half, one for the cameras. how about you just put you foot through it.

Cleverley has the right idea, he tries to shoot. The same with Mirallas when he gets on, he is greedy but so should be every attacking player.

No-one seems willing to have a dig, they want to walk it in like Arsenal.

Baines looked like he was running through treacle and Kone offered him absolutely no protection whatsoever and should have been subbed for Mirallas.

Yet another corner and another goal against us, who needs to train for set pieces though!!!

Good game for the neutral – frustrating one for the Blues.

Paul Cherrington
125 Posted 08/12/2015 at 13:27:45
Sorry but a team like Palace at home we should be beating. The minute we start to think a point against them is a good result is the time to call it a day.

I don’t care about them being in good form and having a few quality players – we’re Everton, we should be beating teams like that at Goodison.

Jamie Crowley
126 Posted 08/12/2015 at 14:43:14
Watched last night delayed. I thought we played very well. As many have said previously, on another night we knock 4 in the back of the net.

Someone above mentioned Lukaku and Kone not getting on the end of Geri's crosses. In their defense, it seems to be very, very difficult. The issue in my mind is you're never sure when DelBoy is going to actually pull the trigger and whip it in.

Step over, step over, run, step over, run, repeat... When is that cross coming? When do they start their run? OR... Geri receives the ball and snaps one off before he does anything. Again, when to make the run?

That's NOT a criticism of Geri. I think the kid is fantastic. But if you're looking for service from him it has to be exceedingly difficult to actually time your run to get on the end of it because you're never really sure when he'll actually pull the trigger!

Finally, at least for me, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Coleman-Bolasie chess match.

We played well. Keep this up and we'll see where we sit after the next 4 games, halfway through the season.

I think we're one of the most talented, young, exciting teams to watch at the moment. Last night was no exception, despite missing out on the 3 points.

Steve Jenkins
127 Posted 08/12/2015 at 14:57:40
I’m a self-confessed Martinez fan, think he’s building a wonderful squad that will only get stronger the longer he’s here.

I’m really enjoying the brand of football we’re playing – from an attacking perspective, some it is breathtaking.

However, he’s not without fault or accountability.

Defence is our weakness, our Achilles Heel; it’s been identified, we all know it.

We don’t defend well enough, as unit in open play or from set-pieces, we also don’t close down the opposition as a team well enough, mark tight enough and give too much space.

Great managers are great – because they can let go and delegate, they can identify what they’re strengths are and what they’re weaknesses are and, what they’re not good at, they bring someone in who’s strong in that area.

They delegate and realise that they can’t do it all and are not perfect. This is one of the reasons that Alex Ferguson was so successful, he knew his strengths and weaknesses would delegate where he was weak. Rodgers, on the other hand, is someone that could not let anything go and wanted to control it all.

Roberto has a lot of great qualities and strengths as a manager, but defence, understanding and prioritising is not a RM strength. It’s the one thing holding us back from being a really top level team, I just hope the penny drops and Roberto does something to address this (ie, bring a defence coach) by the start of next season.

Eddie Dunn
129 Posted 08/12/2015 at 15:49:44
Steve, my worry is how on earth will we hold on to Rom? The lad is improving with every game. The aspects of his play that, last season, were so frustrating, have all got better. If we fail to get the points to achieve Europa League or better, I fear that a very big offer will appear that triggers a buy-out clause and he will be off to win trophies elsewhere.

We could be victims of our own (modest) success.

Ray Roche
130 Posted 08/12/2015 at 16:31:55
Steve#127

"I'm a self confessed Martinez fan, think he's building a wonderful squad that will only get stronger the longer he's here."

If we don't get European football for next season Lukaku, Stones, Deulofeu and maybe even Barkley, the nucleus of our forward thinking team, will be looking for pastures new. We managed to hold onto Stones but he'll demand a move if we're still piddling around mid table come the seasons end and I'm pretty damn sure we won't be top six by then. Not if we keep gifting points away in these "winnable" games.

Jamie Crowley
131 Posted 08/12/2015 at 16:50:33
Steve Jenkins,

I also am a self confessed Martinez fan.

I’m very happy with his approach with the team and his vision for the Club top to bottom.

Could we concentrate on the defensive side more? Yes. But I’d rather watch a team, week-in and week-out, that simply wants to out-score the opponent and play attacking football. So I accept that, while there will be moments we pull our hair out with defensive "errors", I’m prepared to accept that and appreciate Roberto’s approach.

Move on, head high, freaking score, score again, score more than the other team. Simples.

And I have to say I don’t think we’re as poor defensively as some make out.

Tom Roberts
132 Posted 08/12/2015 at 17:04:35
There’s nothing wrong with our attacking play. 3rd highest goals tally in the league. I think we would all agree that Man Utd and Spurs have the best two goalkeepers in the Premier League.

What a coincidence that these two sides have conceded the least amount of goals in the league. Just saying...
David Hallwood
133 Posted 08/12/2015 at 17:15:53
The posters that state on another day it may have been 4 miss the point; this is yet another game were we failed to keep a clean sheet, and it’s that which will do us in.

We’re looking so flimsy at the back that I don’t expect clean sheets anymore. Call me old fashioned but teams are built on defence; can you name a team that’s won the EPL on the basis of if you score two, we’ll score three.

This season may be the season to challenge the sky 4-5 and really we should be in the mix, but without a mean defence we’ve got no chance. It’s when you look at the solidity of Dann and Delaney, or Ryan ’rugby league’ Shawcross, I realise that despite all the plaudits heaped on Stones (and rightly so) there’s no substitute for two no-nonsense centre-backs.

Four points dropped in the last two games mainly because we’re not doing the simple things, and the goals against column is beginning to rack up. Jeez... this game's a cruel mistress...

James Hughes
134 Posted 08/12/2015 at 17:43:43
Jamie whilst I agree with your youthful enthusiasm and can see great days out with the score board ticking over and goalkeepers being replaced due to bad backs picking the ball out of the net.

Could we concentrate on the defensive side more? Yes.

Dann’s goal last night was a repeat of at least 3 others we have conceded in exactly, and I mean exactly, the same circumstances this season. This has cost us points when we can't score, score and score again.

Now don’t get me wrong; I really enjoyed the game last night and I even had my money on 4-1. It would just be nice if we stopped making the same mistakes at set pieces, be it defending or attacking.

Anyway, let's carry on with the ride as who knows where it will stop?

Ray Roche
135 Posted 08/12/2015 at 17:45:41
Jamie (#131)


"But I’d rather watch a team, week-in and week-out, that simply wants to out-score the opponent and play attacking football."

Isn’t that what Holloway was trying to do with Blackpool. That worked well, didn’t it?

As David says (above) and I’ve said earlier, no team wins the EPL with a crap defence. NO team. Having the ethos that "you score three and we’ll score four" is all very well. "You score three and we’ll score... er... three" is crap.

Danny O'Neill
136 Posted 08/12/2015 at 19:07:54
Exactly Ray. The Kevin Keegan approach is doomed to failure.

(Now not directed at Ray) Look, I know I’m ever the optimist, avoid the anti-manager stuff and view life through blue tinted glasses: I defended Moyes for years even though he went against my own footballing principles but I understood what he had to do (up until that semi-final).

I do the same with Martinez. I didn’t jump on the Kendall out bandwagon when the leaflets were handed out it 1983. Rightly or wrongly in some people’s opinion, you just don’t really know what’s around the corner and in truth can’t predict on the basis of one result or a bad run (and we’re not really in that space right now).

In my opinion, we are watching the most exciting Everton side with the potential to achieve and win something since our last heyday. Fact, we are weak at defending set pieces and it is costing us goals, which costs us points, which jeopardises that. Yes, it needs sorting out but we are watching a young team and young players (especially young defenders) will lapse concentration and make mistakes.

Change the keeper and get Jags and Baines back (don’t underestimate the importance of the blend of youth and experience) and perhaps that will go some way to helping resolve our problems.

I’ll repeat myself from earlier: stay in touch with pack (we are); win the League Cup; and time an unbeaten run from March to May to clinch a Champions League spot!!

Cue slating from fellow Blues!

Seb Niemand
137 Posted 08/12/2015 at 20:12:50
I can’t believe how calmly this result is being taken here in these comments. A come-from-behind 1- 1 home draw with Crystal Palace? Fucking hell.

We used to have standards at this club – we should be burning the manager in effigy for results like this. Nil Satis, etc.

Phil Smith
138 Posted 08/12/2015 at 20:25:17
See OPTA have given that assist to Barry, not Deulofeu. Only 2 points this week for the little magician... :(
Kevin Tully
139 Posted 08/12/2015 at 21:12:41
Sadly, there is no hope of Lukaku staying with us beyond this season. I’ve no doubt he will manage 20 League goals this season, and he will be sought after by many of the big European clubs. I bet Chelsea wish they had him right now.

What money do top young strikers go for? I’d say anything between £40-50M, possibly more if a bidding war breaks out. Once again, Champions League football will be used as an excuse for the move. (Nothing to do with doubling his wages!) I can’t say I would blame any player for leaving to be honest, we do seem to be perennial bridesmaids.

Let’s just hope he can win a cup for us before he packs his bags.

Ray Roche
140 Posted 08/12/2015 at 21:15:03
Danny,

I could almost have written your post myself, but with the rider that "we are watching the most exciting Everton side with the potential to achieve and win something since our last heyday" needs to be accompanied by:

"We now need the manager we had during his first season, you know him, the guy who introduced us to Sin Miedo, the guy who lost his way when he tried on The Cloak Of Negativity that he found in Moyes's locker..."

Trevor Peers
141 Posted 08/12/2015 at 21:44:45
I went to the game last night; we did play some neat stylish football and were indeed unlucky not to win by two clear goals. I came away feeling pretty frustrated having vented my spleen at the Palace fans, who moronically chanted all the way through, even though they only had two shots.

Watching the Blues, there are some pretty obvious worrying signs: no-one has the ability or confidence to shoot accurately from just outside the box. That leaves the only route to goal as a pass to Lukaku and it’s all a bit too easy and predictable for the opposition, unless Geri works his magic.

We also need more attacking options on the left side of the pitch; a few years ago, we were so strong down the left flank... now, there’s nothing.

Dave Abrahams
142 Posted 08/12/2015 at 22:01:03
Danny (#136),

No-one could slate that, you are obviously a very genuine Evertonian who wants the best for the club. I like that and of course we can win the League Cup.

It’s just that I think these players can have a good go at getting into the Champions League but, at the risk of repeating myself, the manager is not helping this course; but, like you, I can dream we can.

Dave Pritchard
143 Posted 08/12/2015 at 22:05:26
Seb 137. Palace are a half-decent team these days. Times change. At the moment we are of a similar standard to them. I believe we have the better squad but that they have a better team ethic. It would be disappointing not to finish above them at the end of the season.

We have Leicester in a couple of weeks. They are top of the league on merit. In the past we would be strong favourites to beat them but not at the moment. Our history is great but you have to live in the real world.

Jay Wood
144 Posted 08/12/2015 at 22:57:45
A very ’pretty’ performance, easy on the eye, and no doubt luck was not with us, given the 3 rebounds off the goal frame.

BUT! The manager himself has very recently spoken of the need to achieve Champions League qualification if we are to retain our young guns who have the ability and desire to play regularly in Europe’s elite competition.

A succession of drawn games, an inability to shut out the opposition, to close out the game from winning positions, or to score when clearly in the ascendancy in games, will only ensure we will fall well short of European, let alone the Champions League, qualification.

The inevitable consequence of this will be the moving on of the likes of Lukaku, Stones, Deulofeu and Barkley.

So... sorry! I can’t agree with posters content with the performance, claiming "I’d rather watch a team, week-in and week-out, that simply wants to out-score the opponent and play attacking football."

The key flaw in that glib thinking is that ... we AIN’T outscoring the opposition! 2/3rds, 10 of our 15 league games to date, have ended in draws or defeat.

Including the back end of last season, we have failed to achieve back-to-back league victories in our last 19 league games. That equates to half a season.

That is not the form of a team seriously capable of challenging for a Champions League spot. That is the form destined for mid-table mediocrity, as ’pretty’ as our football can be at times.

Jay Wood
145 Posted 08/12/2015 at 23:14:11
And another thing...

We are now 5 games in to our 'easy fixtures' after what many claimed was 'the most challenging of fixtures' in our opening 10 games.

We have thus far gleaned 2 wins and 3 draws from those 'easy' fixtures.

And as for having the most difficult opening set of fixtures in the league, maybe this will give some pause for thought.

Would you settle for these results as a good return for Everton this season? ALL away games!

Arsenal d 0-0
Chelsea w 3-1
City w 4-1
(Everton) d 1-1
Man Utd l 1-3
Spurs d 0-0

Pretty impressive return, isn't it?

Well ... I hate to break this to you, but those are all the results THIS SEASON of our loveable neighbours. That list constitutes their opening 7 league games of the season. They have ALL their home fixtures against those sides still to play.

Now I love the comic element that they achieved that list of impressive away results, but then lost easily to the struggling Barcodes last time out.

But that list rather debunks the idea that we have had the most challenging opening fixtures of all the clubs in the league, that some are still claiming they are the worst RS team in years ... and yet ... look at the league table.

What does that say about us and where we are as a football club...?

Jamie Crowley
146 Posted 08/12/2015 at 23:19:00
Ray @ 135 and James @ 134 -

Ray, funny you mention Holloway and Blackpool. I absolutely loved watching them. Yes, they went down...

Yes, of course the defensive side of the game is important. But for consideration, I'd bear in mind we've got a very, very young back four at present and a back four that hasn't gotten a ton of experience playing together.

I think they'll develop and I believe they've done admirably considering the circumstances. Galloway just really beginning his career has been magnificent. Stones is sheer class. Funes Mori has just been brought in and has done quite well, and I've always been a Coleman fan. Those four haven't played a ton together and that bears mentioning. I believe it will get better.

In the meantime, I prefer us to take the pitch with the intent to score and attack. Something we've been witnessing recently and long may it continue. With a young back four gaining experience, I believe the defensive side will only improve. Ergo, we will start to rack up points... hopefully...

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas.

Danny O'Neill
147 Posted 08/12/2015 at 23:28:45
Ray, fair point and no comeback on that.

Dave; thank you, let's all keep dreaming because it will happen!!

Seb, you’re falling into the trap of associating clubs in historical context. Forget how small we think Leicester & Crystal Palace are as clubs. That is disrespectful to them. At this moment in time, they are teams in great form.

Palace had recently smashed Newcastle (who beat Liverpool 2-0 on Saturday) 5-1 and beat Klopp’s title contenders at Anfield a few weeks ago. Leicester will be a tough fixture on current form.

We battered Palace and had it not been for genuine misfortune, the defensive lapse (acknowledged and accepted) would have been irrelevant. If you read the Palace fans’ forum (always good to get the other perspective) and they generally have nothing but praise for getting out of jail against the best team they’ve played this season. The Telegraph report also provides a balanced view of the match.

To put into context, had this type of forum existed in the day, and against the backdrop of discontent that existed, I wonder what some of the comments would have been on the night we rescued a draw in the FA Cup against Oxford (yes the mighty Oxford) in 1983-84 that changed the course of Howard Kendall’s managerial stewardship of Everton and subsequent platform that propelled us to two League Championships and a European trophy.

All I am saying, is don’t be too quick to judge. May is a long way off.

Harold Matthews
148 Posted 09/12/2015 at 01:16:43
We have a very exciting young team but we do have a dilemma. Barry would seem to be the old experienced head offering wise guidance to the youngsters but he is the cause of us being very unbalanced.

Forget the numbers on their backs, the two defensive midfielders play the No 4 and No 6 roles. This means that the No 4 (McCarthy or Cleverley) covers the centre and right. The No 6 (Barry) covers the centre and left.

Unfortunately, Barry no longer has the legs to cover both centre and left so he stays in the middle. This leaves a big hole in front of the left back which grows in size when the winger goes missing. A glance to our right wing would show McCarthy or Cleverley working with Coleman and Deulofeu. We are so lopsided that, if we were a boat, we would capsize.

An interesting note is something Besic stated several months ago. He said that Martinez was coaching him for the No 6 role. The Barry role. Centre and left. Where we are with this I don’t really know. The young Bosnian seems to have disappeared without trace since his International outing.

Paul Cherrington
149 Posted 09/12/2015 at 10:30:47
I agree with Seb at 137 – we draw at home to a team like Palace and a lot of our fans just accept it as alright. probably the same people who used to scream about settling for mediocrity if Moyes wasn’t blasting every team away 8-0.

Once you start seeing teams like that as equals and come away happy with a draw, you really are settling for second best. We should be expecting to sweep these sort of teams away and stand sneering over their defeated bodies knowing that we are Everton, especially at home.

We talk about winning mentality for the players but some fans need to adopt it as well I think.

Steve Jenkins
150 Posted 09/12/2015 at 13:21:07
Eddie (#129),

I agree that’s the biggest concern along with Stones, I don’t see Deulofeu or Barkley wanted to leave for 2/3 seasons. But Rom really has coming into his own this year.

My thoughts on this though are – if there’s one thing our manager and his scouting team have shown to excel at, it’s finding quality players at low cost (at least compared to what they’re resale value would be).

If we have to sell these two in the summer, we should be looking at £100M, for that kind of money Martinez can bring in 5/6 players of quality that can strengthen the all around squad, as well as however many quality youngsters to develop later.

It might be misguided belief and it may take a further couple of seasons but I do believe our squad (with a further wealth of youth ready to come through over the coming 2/3 seasons) will continue to get stronger.

I don’t see (I could be wrong any other players) that will be ready to leave over the coming 2/3 season other than Stones and Rom if we don’t get Champions League football.

As much as I’d like them to stay, if they do leave we’ll be given a serious amount of bank to strengthen to squad.

Ray (#130),

I disagree about Deulofeu and Barkley. Deulofeu just wants to enjoy his football and be loved, his eyes will be on a Barc return in 3 seasons imo.

Barkley’s a local boy (I know, I know – Rooney) but I think he will stay for a 2/3 seasons – he’ll be coming into his prime then, and will then look at where we are and where we’re going before deciding.

My hope is that if we can win a cup this year – we may get one more season to go for Champions League out of Stones and Lukaku.

However, if Barca or Madrid were to come in for either then they’re gone.

Jamie (#131);

James (#134) and Ray’s post (#135) covers my thoughts here.

Danny O'Neill
152 Posted 09/12/2015 at 16:07:01
Me too Steve. My post at 136: it was the Milk (League) Cup, not the FA Cup. Mid 40s, fading memories, half 11 at night and wine.....bad combination!!
Steve Jenkins
153 Posted 09/12/2015 at 16:16:26
I was in a rush posting, but at least you have some better excuses, Danny, I’m only mid-30s and no wine whilst posting... lol.

Ray Roche
154 Posted 09/12/2015 at 16:44:23
Steve (#150);

Steve, I still believe that Rom, if he keeps on in his present run of goalscoring form, will be targeted by a top club, home or abroad, and will go. I also think that that would make our other players, as mentioned, question whether or not they should continue to buy into the manager's dream or remain on the ground and realise that we’re Europa League at best, especially with our defensive frailties. Even Barkley. And if they have any ambition, they’ll go.

Too many stupidly dropped points in drawn games have left us where we are, had we won four of those games, as a club with lofty ambitions should have, we’d be third and would have a good chance of keeping them for another season at least.

If Martinez seriously thinks he can bring Champions League football then he MUST bring our defensive performances to an acceptable level.

Steve Jenkins
155 Posted 09/12/2015 at 17:34:40
Steve (#150)

I still believe that Rom, if he keeps on in his present run of goalscoring form, will be targeted by a top club, home or abroad, and will go. I also think that that would make our other players, as mentioned, question whether or not they should continue to buy into the manager's dream or remain on the ground and realise that we’re Europa League at best, especially with our defensive frailties. Even Barkley. And if they have any ambition, they’ll go.

-------------

I see this part differently, Ray, as stated in my post to Eddie, but that’s not to say I’m right.

I don’t agree with ambition bit either – if we could keep the players we have, no exceptions and add to it, I believe we would get there (Champions League) – real chance next season, which is what is so frustrating if these players move on.

If they move on – and I only see Stones and Rom as likely next season – then it will really depend on whether we spend the money well replacing them, as to how quickly we can get back challenging for a Champions League place.


-----------

Too many stupidly dropped points in drawn games have left us where we are: had we won four of those games, as a club with lofty ambitions should have, we’d be third and would have a good chance of keeping them for another season at least.

If Martinez seriously thinks he can bring Champions League football then he MUST bring our defensive performances to an acceptable level.


------------

Agree 100% with this comment; currently our defensive performances aren’t up to an acceptable standard and need addressing if we’re realistically going to get a Champions League place this season.

Ray Roche
156 Posted 09/12/2015 at 17:43:22
But that’s my point, Steve; until and unless Martinez addresses the defensive problems, we will continue to drop points to the stage when our finest young players will think, "Sod this, I’m off to an ambitious club".

Martinez has had three seasons to cure the faults and it’s only our good goalscoring form that keeps us where we are. Lukaku gets injured and we’re stuffed.

Brent Stephens
157 Posted 09/12/2015 at 17:48:28
Ray, I agree that if Rom gets injured we're stuffed. I also suspect that if Geri (Rom's provider) gets injured, we're also going to suffer. The chances of just one of them being out injured for a while are quite high (if only because of our hammy record).
Ray Roche
158 Posted 09/12/2015 at 17:57:53
Brent, that'll be the only way that Mirallas will get a game....
Brent Stephens
159 Posted 09/12/2015 at 18:03:43
Ray, are we expecting Rom or Geri to get injured before January's transfer window?!
Ray Roche
160 Posted 09/12/2015 at 18:16:36
No Brent, not EXPECTING – just fearful that, if it does happen, we are going to struggle.
Steve Jenkins
161 Posted 09/12/2015 at 18:23:15
I agree Ray, defence has to be addressed and is key.

The point I’m making is I don’t think we’ll lose all our best players – certainly not this summer, and I believe with the amount of money we’ll have from selling Rom and Stones (if we sell both) – we can bring in 5/6 players of real quality.

In fairness to the manager and scouting team, that is something they appear to do excellently.

Brent Stephens
162 Posted 09/12/2015 at 18:41:24
Ray, aye to that. I was really alluding to the fact that our Kev might be gone in January. Have to admit I've got mixed feelings over that. I wish I knew what was going on between him and Roberto. One day Roberto might tell us but I'm not sure I understand.
Ray Roche
163 Posted 09/12/2015 at 18:56:31
Brent, we’re paying his wages, if he can do a better job than someone on the field who’s struggling, like Kone at Bournemouth or against Palace, then bring him on. Martinez should swallow his pride (or arrogance) and do what’s best for Everton, not his vanity.

Mirallas showed effort and desire in the two cameos he’s been allowed recently, enough to have a bit more game time in my opinion.

Steve (#161). I wish I had your confidence regarding our ability to keep players, especially when they’ve already stated their desire to play Champions League football or have handed in a request to leave.

Steve Jenkins
164 Posted 09/12/2015 at 19:35:28
Ray, two have not all, and, I’ve conceded that I believe we’ll probably lose two – Stones and Lukaku (without a cup winning team this year or CL football).

The difference in our views and the confidence I have is, I believe as long as we spend the money from them well, we can recover that same season, as I don’t see any other players leaving for two seasons other than those two.

Only time will tell whether my confidence is misplaced, and there are "ifs" and "buts" involved.

Ultimately, I would rather keep those two and build, but if they want to go it’ll be hard to keep them and you have to make sure you spend the money well, which RM has done thus far.

Laurie Hartley
165 Posted 10/12/2015 at 09:41:37
Harold # 148,

I believe you are 100% correct about the "Barry Dilemma". With Jagielka out he is the glue that is holding us together and I think he has been absolutely terrific for us this season. But as you say he can’t cover the ground that McCarthy or Cleverley can. We are way out of balance on the left.

My view is that Martinez has the two left sided players in Besic and Mirallas that can provide perfect balance to the team.

It is a as you say a very exciting young team and Martinez should do everything he can to keep them together. That could mean rolling the dice big time and dropping all the old heads Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Barry, and Kone, and replacing them with Robles, Galloway, Funes Mori, Besic, and Mirallas.

The starting eleven would then look like this:

Robles
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway
McCarthy, Barkley, Besic
Deulofeu, Lukaku, Mirallas

This team is 4-3-3, 4-5-1, or 4-4-2 – it has tenacity, pace and skill.

It’s a bit Sin Miedo but if it gelled that outfit would run rings round most opposition. (Bring Ray in as the defensive coach)

Nothing against all the old heads but the thing is Stones, Funes Mori, and Galloway are all going to improve. Jagielka, Baines, and Kone have all had serious injuries at the wrong time in their careers. Barry’s boots are hard for Besic to fill but I think he can. Tim Howard – well we have a 6’4" goalkeeper who has a recent track record of keeping clean sheets.

On Palace – I thought they played really well against us and when Sakho and Zaha are back in the team they are going to be serious contenders for the 4th spot. I suppose that makes the draw all the more disappointing.



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