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Ok, so we have had many many articles slating Martinez; "clown" they call him, "inept" they call him, but maybe just maybe all is not as bad as it seems?
Let's look at the squad. A young, bright, talented group of players that Roberto has assembled, playing in my view the best attacking footie that I've seen from an Everton team in a long long time.
It's a pure joy seeing Delboy ripping up the wings and pinging those whipped crosses to our number 9 who is banging them in for fun. It's a joy when Ross goes on those lung-busting runs and buries one in the bottom corner. It's a joy when we play those slick one-twos in the box we all love, dont' we? Of course there is a negative side to all this that has been well documented on this site. So where do we go?
Most want him sacked. I understand why – the stats dont lie, as they say. But let's say we got the rub of the green "just a little bit"– the wrong penalty call vs Stoke, the Chelsea offside goal, the Bournemouth goal after "too much added time"... I could go on but that's 7 points better off. Would we really be calling for a new manager if these wrong decisions were made correctly? Not to mention the semi vs Manchester City.
I'm still with Roberto. I see what he is trying to do with this squad. I think this season will open Roberto's eyes as to what we fans expect OUR Everton team to be. We want an agressive, positive side willing to run through brick walls with plenty of skill and a winning mentallity. You're halfway there Roberto. Now apply the above and we could be onto a winner. COYB.
As far as I am concerned no matter what the timing the Martinez project is dead.
There has been much debate over who could succeed him with the usual conservatives saying "be careful what you wish for" and "Better the devil you know" etc.
Many supporters seemed to be struggling for names so I decided to post this article as a means of reassuring the supporters who are worried about who could replace Roberto that there is plenty of Choice.
I have always been of the opinion that Martinez appointment was lazy probably done over a brandy with Dave Whelan at a much earlier date than we were led to believe.
I also could not understand why a top 6 club would appoint a manager who has just got his side relegated after flirting with it for 3 years.
I also could not understand why no other names were mentioned at the time of interviewing.
However I only mention this as a cautionary way of saying that is not how I feel the recruitment of the new manager should be conducted.
Although not necessarily the widely held view in the sport Everton are a sleeping giant that has been asleep so long it has forgotten to wake up.
Imagining myself as chairman (yes I know) I would start by drawing up a list of the top coaches in the world, identifying t and give a search consultant the job of identifying which names would be the best fit and then going out and selling the job and the club to them.
In the world of modern technology a short search identified the top 50 managers in the world as researched through industry experts.
Here are the top 25 for discussion and debate with some unfamiliar names on it:
1 Jose Mourinho
2 Pep Guardiola’
3 Luis Enrique
4 Diego Simeone
5 Max Allegri
6 Jurgen Klopp
7 Unai Emery
8 Joachim Low
9 Carlo Ancelotti
10 Laurent Blanc
11 Arsene Wenger
12 Leonardo Jardim (Monaco)
13 Ronald Koeman
14 Rudi Garcia
15 Jorge Jesus
16 Louis van Gaal
17 Lucien Favre (Borussia M’Gladbach)
18 Phillip Cocu (PSV)
19 Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay)
20 Marcelino (Villarreal)
21 JosĂ© Pekerman (Colombia)
22 Edgardo Bauza (San Lorenzo)
23 Mircea Lucescu (Shakhtar Donetsk)
24 Bob Bradley (Stabaek)
25 Dieter Hecking (Wolfsburg)
I've had enough now..
We've got to get rid of Bobby before it's too late. Before he manages to bluff us into relegation on the back of a dodgy cup run. Here are a few observations from the Park End:
When we appointed The Incredible One, he had been trying for several years to achieve relegation at Wigan with his brand of suicide football. It was a bold move by the Everton board, perhaps mitigated by the real lack of an outstanding candidate, and I would suggest I was like a lot of Evertonians in thinking "Fuck it, let's give the guy a go". Finally, we would have a boss who would give Brenda a run for his money in the obfuscation stakes, or as the media would say, “a young progressive coach”.
Contrary to popular opinion, I've always thought that Bobby's first season should be assessed more in terms of potential than actual achievement. Finishing 5th in a very open league was hardly world-shattering when 4th was definitely in our grasp, and even at this early stage in his tenure, basic defensive issues were already manifesting themselves, eg, set-pieces. This ability to undo all our brilliant attacking play would surely be addressed in the close season... surely??
Unfortunately, last season was a complete debacle, albeit not aided by Jagielka being hopelessly out of form. The Europa League run was achieved at the cost of all else, and the usual excuses of World Cup, squad size etc were trotted out. The business end was always going to be difficult, and for me the home tie against Wolfsburg was a massive turning point. Time and again we were breached, only Howard providing any resistance. "He's gonna change it, isn’t he?... that was a wake up!" – only for bobby to sit on his hands. How we won 4-1 was beyond me. I’m sure Wolfsburg were stunned as well. Despite the result, we had definitely got out of jail.
Again the close season would offer a chance to regroup. However, it was clear that Howard was staying; instead of a credible first choice keeper, we signed a centre-half and another winger of dubious end product. For me, Howard has been a solid keeper; let's not forget he was part of the Premier League's best defence under Moyes. He has never been a truly commanding keeper though. His inherent weakness on crosses was compensated for by preventing deliveries into the box, a more than successful formula as it happened. Unfortunately under Bobby he continues to be ruthlessly exposed, begging the question: Do we change the keeper or the defensive set up? Apparently neither.
This obstinate desire to push square pegs into round holes has extended to other areas of the team now as Bobby attempts to pin the tail on the donkey. The vulnerability to crosses is still all too obvious, and while we all acknowledge that in playing bold, enterprising football, we are going to get done on the break now and again.
I wonder have I been alone in questioning what Baines and Coleman actually achieve in the attacking third? The delivery from wide areas is shocking (Deulofeu aside), particularly from set-pieces; unless we create some sort of outcome, then we are just leaving ourselves wide open. Despite being told by the media that they are two of the best attacking full backs around, they both look increasingly bereft defensively as they are exposed every week.
The media love-in with Stones is still in full swing, exacerbated by the sheer lack of any real quality English centre-backs. While I have no doubt that he will develop into a top class player, it is clear that bobby intends to burn both him and Barkley on the altar of “tic-tac”. Again, I would not mind the odd mistake in bringing the ball out if we could manage a clean sheet, but would it be particularly old school in asking for the basics to be done well before we take on players in our area? It would seem so as bobby continually relies on our young players taking terrible risks in order to move the ball ten yards.
In short, the pursuit of aesthetic football has not been underpinned by any of the fundamentals. We are set up to fail, built as we are on the Wigan template. While keeping Lukaku, Barkley and Stones was always going to be a tall order, the lure of winning trophies after a decent Euros will surely mean that best case scenario would be securing top dollar for our young talent.
The levels of apathy at recent home games may vent into anger at the prospect of another season of mediocrity, forcing the board to act decisively as the post match hyperbole well and truly smells of bullshit now. The progressive young manager has shown that he is massively limited and is still at heart the Wigan manager. He needs to go.
So for most Roberto has reached his Walter Smith moment. Dumped out of the cup, isolated in his views, reaction, opinions and perception.
The growing and now majority feel he has sadly taken us as far as he can and regressed us during the last 18 months.
You just cannot see him coaching our defenders to defend; what Moyes coached into them, he has coached out of them and there is no sign of that ever coming back. Resilience and hard to beat were the brand values and mission statement under him. Let's not lose and see if we can win, we lived with it for 11 years. If Man Utd hadn't come along, maybe we still would be?
The board appoint a manger based on a certain criteria/profile they are looking for. The options they had to chose from when appointing Martinez were slim at best. Weir, Stubbs, Ferguson and Neville. Who wouldn't have appointed Martinez?
He is solely responsible for the way the team set up, play and perform. It is he in this instance that needs to change or be changed. In the case of Walter Smith, he had to go, plain and simple; he was too old to change, had a poor and aging squad... the days of 7 defenders starting a game had become too much for us to stomach.
The complete opposite of Martinez, it is true; he's still very young in terms of age and management experience, a young and vibrant squad with real talent and value.
It is now that we need someone at board level to take a firm control of the state we are in, someone to spell it out plainly and clearly to the manger that he has at maximum, the end of the season to turn it around – a minimum of top 8 finish, good showing in the FA Cup or he will be leaving.
The money that is coming into the Premier League next season will see clubs with much greater opportunity to buy quality, we cannot, just cannot be left behind. In my lifetime as an Evertonian, I never thought or expected to be envious of Stoke City or Leicester City. Clubs have one-off seasons, just look at the likes of Reading, Ipswich and Blackpool in recent memory, but these two seem to be solid.
I genuinely believed after the first season we had found something that just clicked. He said the right things, did the right things, showed no fear against 'bigger teams', immersed himself in the history of the club. For the life of me, I just cannot see how it's all gone so horribly wrong.
Lots of posting on Twitter last night about at least we haven't got to suffer losing to Liverpool in the final, that's no comfort for such a missed opportunity.
Over to you Mr Kenwright...
Nothing more to add from last night's continued farce. I was thinking more about injuries. Maybe someone on here, like Mr Murphy, will delve into the stats in regards to certain players and the amount of time they are out.
I am thinking Besic and Mirallas of late but since Martinez's reign, we have players continually breaking down. He hasn't picked either for decent spells of time and they have sat around fit at some points until belatedly being picked, then limp off in the first 30 minutes.
None of us know what goes on at Finch Farm and the backroom but the clown in charge holds a piece of paper proclaiming to be a physio or some such. Proclaiming to be a Premier League manager doesn't require a piece of paper, just a good line in patter, it seems. Can the powers that be please put us out of our misery and start a new chapter?
Gary Russell Posted 28/01/2016 at 07:23:25
During the Walter Smith era, the cry of 'yer fuckin' big lazy twat' (or twats) wasn't an unusual thing to hear screamed Goodison.
Often justified as there were definitely a few players who were (obviously) just going through the motions (it also seemed that Walter 'Verra disappointat' Smith himself was 'swimming in the Med').
Under Mike Walker, 'useless twats!' was possibly the most used expression you'd hear in the ground or as you traipsed dejectedly away.
Under Moyes, when things weren't going well, I don't remember much in the way of specific complaints – more of a head shake and a muttered despairing 'fuck me' (after 9 years I gave up my season-ticket and decided I would be getting another while he was in charge, I just couldn't 'do' Moyes-ball anymore)
I don't think I ever heard 'you predictable shower of nob-heads!' screamed but that is certainly what many were thinking.
Well I'm actually not a big abuse-screamer. And when I do occasionally let rip, it tends to be at referees or when I feel some big dirty grock has just crippled one of our players.
But this season, regarding our performances, 'concenfuckingtrate!!' has been flying from my face with regularity.
I don't go along with the 'we've got the best squad we've ever had' (or whatever that claim is I keep hearing) but it is (nb: on paper) possibly a better bunch than many I've seen. But fuck me, I can't remember many Everton sides, good or bad, with such a pitiful level of concentration.
We simply don't have it (taps head) up here. We are a side who are almost guaranteed (every game!) to simply switch...off.
We are a weak-minded side and also possibly the quietest Everton side I've ever seen (I pay 40 odd nicker to watch them and yet they expect ME to let them know when there's a man on!?)
Against Chelsea, we went one up, then two up – it should have been a (relatively) simple case of looking to hit them on the break and the pressure should have been on them, yet every Everton supporter KNEW that (within a couple of minutes of us getting our second) there was a good chance concentration would go out the window and we'd concede.
And when we did, was there any Evertonian who thought 'ok but they won't get a second!'?
There are obviously a lot of reasons why we are where we are (ie: nowhere) and though blame can maybe be aimed in a few different directions, the buck absolutely stops with Martinez.
However, I'm less concerned with all the many complaints about his tactics, who plays, who doesn't, who plays where, when substitutions are/aren't made, one/two up front etc etc, because for me, these things are all secondary when compared to the lack of concentration in this side.
There needs to be a dedicated concentration coach (and if there IS one, he should be fucking sacked). Either that or we need an absolute beast of a player in the side, someone (scary) with a big mouth who can keep all of them thinking about what they're doing.
If this is not addressed, it won't make any difference if 'Pienaar comes for blah-blah in the second half and we push Kone Blah-blah..'
Until someone deals with what is going on in their heads, everything else will, in my opinion, be simply papering over cracks.
John Stones has had a bit of stick lately: show pony, thinks he's Bobby Moore, his mind is with Barcelona or somewhere else. Believes his own publicity, arrogant etc. Sell him, cash in etc. As someone who is capable of mighty overreaction I can sympathise with those views but I vehemently disagree.
When I was his age,frankly, I couldn't be trusted to go and buy a bag of spuds.Y et, this young man has recently played against men in the Premier League along side another novice, and he has done well.
He has, in my view, every natural attribute to be a world class defender. Anything he lacks will come with experience and tuition. This last weekend is part of his learning. Making a mistake, getting stick and learning from it.
He is the best young defender I have seen at Goodison Park. If he did not have a bit of arrogance about him I would expect him to acquire it.I would rather he learned beside Jagielka than Terry. We have, in my opinion a player to be cherished and nurtured.
If our club is to be great again we need a nucleus of world class players. In Stones I think we will have one.
Andy Crooks Posted 26/01/2016 at 23:26:26
In my mind two games which stand out will be this Wednesday against Manchester City and our next league game – both games will provide the crucible which could determine the answer. With perhaps the Newcastle game at home, the following Wednesday being the most important.
Undoubtedly, the gifted squad we have at our disposable is capable of achieving great things. Whether they are better than the class of 04-05 or 94-95 I think is debatable – yes as individuals on paper they are, however as a cohesive team, willing to go through the proverbial brick walls for each other, I think the jury is still out.
Still, Wednesday and the Newcastle game could answer that. Maybe like the legendary side of the 80's they just need that one epithanic moment to galvanize them into something great. Sometimes lightning does strike twice. Regardless, in my mind, now is the time. It's time deliver, to stand as men and be counted.
I would urge all Evertonians, to get behind the team for these two games, to give them the best possible chance so there can be no excuses this time.
We all know the League Cup isn't the most prestigious of trophies but it's imperative the club win something and soon. There are many supporters who aren't as fortunate, as many of us here, to have witnessed Everton sides lift some silverware. Give them something to take pride in and brag about. That generation is the future of the club. To be trophyless for another 20 years would be a catastrophe. I could go on and counter and argue against, but I think we should wait. Let's see what these two games bring and then the post mortem can begin and the wrath that will surely follow.
So here's my rallying cry: forget the Board, forget Martinez, forget the bad blood. We'll be the 12th man on the pitch, harrying, pressing, fighting for the royal Blue. Let's stand together, let there be no mistake who we are. We are Everton and when riled to action, a force of nature, so powerful, fearless and unstoppable. Now let City and Newcastle face our fury.
Despite only three wins in the league since September I walked up to Goodison feeling confident of beating a poor Swansea side who had struggled for most of the season.
After 10 minutes of this woeful game my confidence was gone, as was most of the crowd's to be fair. A slow and pedestrian start and, to be honest, players not looking interested and looking like they all they thought they had to do was turn up and three points would be won.
I ran out of patience with Martinez after the terrible run over Christmas 2014 and wanted him out in January last year as I was convinced he would take us down to the Championship. After 16 wins in the last 61 games I haven't changed my mind – he needs to be sacked before he does get us relegate. I suggested last year he would take us down and laughed at by many but this is now again a reality under this delusional fraud.
The problem is who will sack him? Right now I am not sure who actually runs the club at the very top. If rumours are true then Kenwright is ill and in no fit state to be making those decisions and I fear if he was ok he still wouldn't sack him as our club resembles a boys' club these days; everyone mates with everyone else and while they are being paid no one will say anything even the media in this city are terrified to ask the important questions.
Many people see Wednesday as the final straw go out against City and what have we got left? Well, we have the FA Cup and a relegation battle. Personally after that yesterday he should have been put in a taxi and told to do one back to Wigan. We are Wigan mark II now and if he stays in charge he will relegate us. I have no doubt about this because the man will not change and once you start blaming the crowd for your own deficiencies then the writing is firmly printed on the wall,.
Please, EFC – react now before its too late.
Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson provided us with some amusing spats. My favourite one was when Sir Alex lambasted Wenger’s team, stating that United played the better football. Arsene then responded with his now legendary, “everybody thinks they have the prettiest wife at home”. Cue apoplectic fume from Sir Alex. You may wonder what this has to do with the ToffeeWeb forum.
Unfortunately, in our case, everybody thinks that WE have the prettiest wife at home, when in fact our ‘Old Lady’ is rapidly turning into the mother in law from Hell. This article is not a case for or against our Manager, just a statement of the facts.
We have now played 12 of our 19 home league games. Let us deal with the three victories, the high point being the 3-1 victory over Chelsea and a comfortable demolition of a hapless Villa side 4-0. The third was a 6-2 victory over Sunderland who could have been 2-0 up after 10 minutes, and came from 2-0 down to be drawing 2-2 early in the second half.
Of the 9 remaining games, five have resulted in defeat, with four draws. Being honest with ourselves, our performances in those games deserved nothing more – no hard luck stories please. In those 9 games, we conceded the first goal 8 times. I will repeat that – we conceded the first goal eight times!
Played 9, Lost 5, Drawn 4, Goals for 11, Goals against 19. Nineteen! Put another way, we would have had to be scoring 3 goals per game to stand a chance of winning.
Who do we have in our defence, you may well ask? Well our defence is full of international players – Howard, Baines, Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Funes Mori, Oviedo.
Who is our defensive coach you may well ask? Do we have a defensive coach?
If I cannot make it to a game, I always look for the report written by Ken Buckley. Always sensible and well-written with no knee jerk reactions.
I have followed the Blues now for 50 years, and cannot honestly remember us conceding so many soft goals at home, not even at the fag end of Walter's reign, or the disaster that was Mike Walker.
You can all make your own minds up but do you remember ‘good old entertaining’ Blackpool in the Premier League five years ago? After 24 games, they were 11th in the table with 28 points and were relegated that season. But everybody loved watching them and probably thought they too had the prettiest wife at home. That same year Birmingham City won the League Cup and were also relegated.
A few years ago, for a guilty verdict in court, the evidence had to prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ to convict. It was subsequently changed to ‘on the balance of probabilities'. Have we reached that point, and if we have, will anything be done before it is too late?
I always want every player and Manager to do well for our Club. Just let the season end on a decent note and put to bed the barely believable scenario of our dĂ©nouement against Norwich on the last day of the season, with a certain player scoring against us. (Anyone old enough to remember that Dennis Law goal against Utd that relegated them?)
Last week Paddy Power were offering 150-1 on Everton being relegated.
I know that there are many threads discussing our current frailties but I, personally, feel that many fans are missing the main issue.
I think that we all agree that this season our defensive record has been the team and manager's Achilles heel. Every good team is based on a solid defence and it provides the foundation for the team's success. So what is the issue?
From what I can see, most fans seem to be looking at individual players and mistakes in isolation. It's all Tim Howard or John Stones's fault, etc. Now, I'm not saying that there have not been individual mistakes but in my opinion the fundamental issue is that we have no defensive system.
Similar to Wigan, Everton are absolutely hopeless without the ball. The first half yesterday was a classic example. Swansea were allowed to waltz around with the ball and were put under very little pressure. In particular, the front 4 seem to do very little in terms of (intelligently) pressing the opposition and when they do it is not co-ordinated. It is as if every player is left to make their own decision on how to defend. Compare this to how other teams like Leicester, Palace etc behave when the other team have the ball. Even total football teams like Barca, work really hard to get the ball back (as a team) when they lose it.
This lack of pressing and teamwork then puts pressure on the 2 defensive midfielders and defence. It is very unsettling for a defence if there are opposition players running into gaps, as you tend to get dragged out of place which has a knock-on effect for other defenders. A lack of confidence at the back in turns will lead to more individual errors. How Roberto Martinez cannot see this is beyond me.
I like Martinez and I think he has brought some great players to the club. He has assembled an excellent squad with great attacking ability who should be capable of winning silverware and competing for the top 4. However, he seems to have a fatal flaw with his (lack of) defensive strategy.
Without that, we will never achieve what we are capable of and so, sadly, I think he needs to go at the end of the season unless there is a major change in tactics and mentality.
There comes a time in a manager's tenure at a football club when he reaches the point of no return as far as the fans are concerned
Walter Smith realised it after Everton's disastrous FA Cup tie up at Middlesbrough a few years ago, and now I believe Roberto Martinez has reached the same point
After the latest horror show against a woefully inept Swansea team, someone at a senior level within the club should step in and bring matters to a speedy conclusion
Of course it won't happen, because Everton and Roberto Martinez deserve each other at the moment – we are like a ship sailing without a rudder, totally lacking in moral courage right at the top of our once great club, with a distinct lack of any real leadership
There were many things wrong with Everton's performance on Sunday, the quite baffling line-up of two out and out wingers in Deulofeu and Mirallas, a 'left-footed' player at right back, and a sub brought on who's only played three games in nearly two years, and was out on his feet for the last thirty minutes of the game
Having somehow worked out that getting the best out of Lukaku means playing a fit Kone alongside him, he then decides to totally isolate him in a 4-5-1 formation with three hairy arsed centre half's pushing right up on him
Six wins in 21 games isn't fine margins Roberto, it's a recipe for the sack at most clubs, and then to cap it all, he turns round in his post match interview and blames the Goodison crowd for making the player's 'fearful'
If this season was simply a 'one-off' all well and good, but it's been a downward spiral now for nearly two full season's, he simply refuses to change his 'philosophy', it's Roberto's way or the highway I'm afraid
Would they put up with it across the park, absolutely not, so why should we? The man is truly delusional, I honestly mean that, I'm not actually insulting him, and I do wonder whether like all despots, he has a mental condition
The longer he stays, the more damage he's doing, particularly to our young guns, whilst player's can be naive, most are not stupid. They can spot a phoney a mile off, and this guy is a phoney believe me.
Arrogant, delusional, take your pick, but he simply ain't going to change, and he certainly isn't going to accept one iota of blame for our current plight
I'm not going to suggest who should come in to replace him, but there are managers out there who could certainly perform better
Go now, please – you're simply out your depth.
In my view Martinez is a total enigma. When he walked into Goodison he stated that he would get our great team into the Champions League, the players took a lot of getting used to his style of play but did well enough to get us into the Europa League.
At this time, despite the criticism labelled at him, the die-hard fans like me wanted to maximise his chance and tried to believe in him. In fairness we did well enough in this cup and went out to a very good team. Our league form suffered greatly and we have yet to recover the form the players are capable of or what our manager wants from them.
Although I was giving him every chance this season has really brought it home to me that, like many other fans before me, he is not up to managing our great club. I watch eagerly every game his pre-game spiel about the players and injuries etc but recently he has demonstrated a dishonesty I do not like:
The list is endless. Every week I watch Duncan and wonder what he is thinking about all this crap. If only the players could show as much passion as he did then I could see they are really trying from the badge AND THE FANS, then I could believe in him but after today's total inept performance, the second half was also crap, the players injuries didn't affect the team, the two players replacing them surely are good enough. Even Romelu gave up.
This article may be something that Everton fans have seen it all before but this is from probably another fan who has finally given up when I promised not to do so.
What else can I do on matchday but I live in hope and hope...?
Somewhere, stuck in a corner of a ToffeeWeb page is a Poll asking fans to vote for Howard or Robles. At present Howard has around 14% and Robles 86% of the votes cast. That in itself is pretty decisive I would think but still the ToffeeWeb revelation appears to have fallen on the deaf ears of management.
What the poll does not say is how many fans actually voted or what percentage of the total TW membership that represents. It would be very interesting if the moderators could supply those stats to confirm that such polls are representative of the membership. For all we know less than 100 could have voted!
Where does all this lead to? Well, with a possible take over of the club I am sure that potential buyers will already have their plans for all things Everton and whether they consult us fans before coming to their conclusions is highly unlikely.
David Cameron promised a referendum on Britain's membership of the EEC and said it will take a very simple YES/NO majority to settle the issue.
What I am proposing is that TW set up an official poll run over the remainder of the season on one very simple all encompassing question:.
Do you want Martinez as manager of Everton after the current 2015/16 season Answer YES/NO.
AND to supply us with the eligible number of members and the number of votes cast in addition to the %s.
Is that asking too much?
AND finally to bring this poll to the notice of the club, we are after all the 'Independent Everton Website'!
Brin Williams Posted 24/01/2016 at 18:45:24
One of the most amazing transformations this season must definitely be credited to Romelu Lukaku. I was one of his critics last season as he ambled through games with heavy touches, a wimp with abysmal control and to be honest, he didn't look like he gave a monkey's! And all this for a club record outlay of Ł29 million. Some games he made my blood boil with his lethargic attitude.
Then, in the middle of it all, I remember a cup game against West Ham, in which he was absolutely breathtaking. He looked dangerous every time he got the ball, cruised past defenders as if they were not there, and his first touch was immaculate. I couldn't believe it. I sat there scratching my head wondering if he had a twin brother or maybe he was schizophrenic. This was not the Lukaku I knew. If he can do it in one game, why can't he do it all the while? But we were soon back to normal as, in the next game, he didn't look like he could trap a phonebook.
So, what has happened this season? Suddenly, we have one of the best strikers in the league. Strong, fast, clever on the ball, and close to lethal when he gets a chance. Was he just coming of age? Is the difference in the players around him or is it Ferguson & Martinez that have made a man out of him?
I know one thing: I bleeding-well like it... as long as it lasts. Humble pie never tasted so good!
Tony Cheek Posted 22/01/2016 at 21:32:29
Where to begin? The sense of what could have been is surely to be what defines our thoughts. The 29 points from 22 games is a pitiful tally, and one that should be at least 10 better off.
The nativity, or the tendency to bottle it, shown when it matters, has destroyed our season, and has sapped our morale. Of course, silverware could surely lift spirits, but that is a huge IF.
The league is what shows a teams strengths and weaknesses. But of course, nothing is so black and white.
One the one hand, Martinez has built a young and exciting team. The fact that we have been in so many winning positions, and are argueably one of the most exciting and dangerous teams when on the ball is a huge upturn in fortunes.
The days of seeing Beattie spearhead our attack, (un)aided and (un)abetted by the likes of Kilbane, McFadden and Co, are long gone.
Yet, for all our attacking verve, we are lower in the Premier League than we were in the days of boring, predictable and uninspiring football.
Are Martinez's flaws irreversible? Or is he building something special, something that with a new Keeper, more experience and time that can turn 3-3 draws into 3-0 victories?
Martinez is in his 3rd season, and each one is more distinct than the last.
Last season, we were slow, predictable and impotent. Martinez has managed to change that, making us quick, spontaneous and potent, albeit absurdly fragile and naive.
Of course, another 11th place finish could render all of Martinez's team building obsolete, should Stones, Barkley or Lukaku decide they are ready to challenge the best.
But I am still in doubt. At 2-0 yesterday, there was a feeling that yes, maybe Martinez can get this team to tick. Then, inside 5 minutes, all the doubts return, and the calls for a new manager begin to dominate.
But still, I really don't know. Klopp at Dortmund built a style that took years to click, but when it did the patience paid off.
Is Martinez in a similar situation? Is he building a great team, or wasting one?
Without the riches of the big clubs, can we afford to take a chance on a new manager, once again build a new style, once again begin the team building?
I'll be honest, I really don't know.
Fran Mitchell Posted 17/01/2016 at 12:47:34
How can ones's weekend be blighted by a football match? I imagine it has happened to many Evertonians this weekend; that sickening knot in the stomach that only our club can provide. Yes, we were robbed, unlucky, a bit naive. Yet what is the point in counting the minutes added, or the yards that Terry was offside?
Yesterday was a metaphor for our season and what is most unbearable to me is my realisation that that is as good as it gets. The ability to grind out wins, to hold onto leads, can be coached... yet our coach has stated yesterday that it is not going to be our way.
I think it was Phil Walling who accurately likened us to Ron Greenwood's West Ham: admired but never feared. We are feared by no-one. I would imagine that every team fancies their chances against us. There is a fundamental weakness about us that can be corrected by the right coach... but it won't be.
It is hard to take that we have a good squad who are not challenging for a weak Premier League. I believe we have better players than Leicester City, but I think they have a better coach.
This is not a call for Martinez to go because that would be pointless. He is doing exactly what he was employed to do. Keep us safe, get the odd cup run and keep Evertonians off the back of the Board. It could have been our year and it is so depressing that it won't be. I think that, for my blood pressure, I will have to accept we are nice but soft – moulded in the image of our coach.
I know that cup statistics can be misleading – I’m admitting to that right now – because, yes… the sample size is generally smaller. But I’m also kind of using this whole notion of 'misleading stats' to support the idea that Martinez has continually relied upon cup competitions to remain, relatively, out of the limelight (in relation to any potential sacking) the FA Cup at Wigan; Europa League performances at Everton; and, more recently, the League Cup performances.
Do you think Martinez's style is suited more to cup competitions? Have his cup performances masked, or even made up for, his Premier League performances?
I’m also posting this because I know that there is a lot of current talk about how good the side look when playing; and I’m therefore, pretty interested to see how people interpret these statistics.
Do you think these stats are misleading or garbage? Are performances more important than stats?
Anyway, the trends are:
Total Win% = 64% (16/25 games)
1. GF ratio (goals scored per game)
Season 13-14: 2.5
Season 14-15: 1.8
Season 15-16: 2.3
2. GA ratio (goals conceded per game)
Season 13-14: 1.33
Season 14-15: 1.23
Season 15-16: 1.00
3. Win % (percentage of games won)
Season 13-14: 67.0%
Season 14-15: 46.2%
Season 15-16: 100%***
Total Win% = 39.8% (39/98 games)
1. GF ratio (goals scored per game)
Season 13-14: 1.6
Season 14-15: 1.3
Season 15-16: 1.77
2. GA ratio (goals conceded per game)
Season 13-14: 1.03
Season 14-15: 1.32
Season 15-16: 1.45
3. Win % (percentage of games won)
Season 13-14: 55.3%
Season 14-15: 31.58%
Season 15-16: 27%***
The Premier League win percentages in 14-15 and 15-16 are, in my eyes, definitely the most alarming stats (especially because that first season seems to be the only thing keeping the total Premier League Win percentage close to 40%). Martinez has spoken before about ‘performances being more important than results’; and it appears that some people have actually been swayed by the beauty of recent performances. I honestly hope however, that these people have a long hard look at the stats, and realize that, at the end of the day, performances mean absolutely nothing when your Premier League win percentage is as low as it is.
Joshua McGreen Posted 17/01/2016 at 07:51:24
We all know that we've thrown away an incredible amount of points in the supposedly easier part of our fixture run and we all have theories as to why (most will be some variation on lack of defensive nous).
In the next two-and-a-bit weeks, we have some unarguably tough looking challenges:
Away to Man City (Premier League)
Away to Chelsea (Premier League)
Home to Swansea (Premier League)
Away to Man City (League Cup Semi-Final)
The questions for consideration are:
Personally speaking, my answers are:
Whilst I am a die hard Evertonian, and will cheer my team on until the last minute of the season, I find myself in the awkward position of having written this season off already. To counter that quite depressing standpoint, I have put all my eggs in one basket and am looking forward to next season, salivating over the obvious potential that this team has.
Tempering my excitement for the future, is the constant feeling that some of our younger, "future stars" will want to leave in the summer to pursue Champions League football. So the question I am asking myself, is how we keep those players, without the prospect of Champions League next season?
I will describe what I would do, if it was up to me, but I would also invite your thoughts.
First of all, the plan for next season starts now. We have half a season, two transfer windows and a pre-season, to get the balance right, build momentum, and build confidence. If those goals are achieved, then that might be enough to convince the young stars to stay, and sufficient to attract new quality players into the squad. It might also allow us to start next season on the front foot, at full speed, and from then on who knows what might happen!
So what would I do? I would identify the future and give those players more game time, and I would identify the past, and drop them. I would do this gradually over the remainder of the season, so as not to jeopardise this seasons league performance. I would use this transfer window to move some players on, and add one major signing (Yarmolenko?), and a couple of prospects.
In my opinion, the "past" include Howard, Hibbert, Gibson, McGeady, Pienaar, Kone, Naismith and Mirallas. I would sell, loan or release all of these players in this window or next. I would keep Jagielka, Baines, Barry, Osman and Lennon not necessarily all as regular starters, but more for their experience, attitude, squad involvement, and possible future coaching roles.
I would begin to bring in the younger players, starting with Robles, and use the rest of the season to determine whether our crop of youngsters are up for the challenge of Premier League football. The young players that have been brought in so far (Galloway, Browning) have done well, but I would try out more.
If the younger players give any reason to suggest they will not be able to play at the top level, the summer transfer window should be used to address those weaknesses.
Anyway, that's what I would do... what about you?
Posted 10/01/2016 at 05:36:07
After watching the cup matches and not finding a whole lot wrong with the performances that Joel Robles has given, and then comparing them with the – sometimes very shaky – play of Tim Howard this season, is it time to shuffle the keepers?
Darryl Ritchie Posted 08/01/2016 at 06:33:55
Here we are, still in the throes of the festive season and just into the new transfer window. At this time of year, I always make a point of watching It's a Wonderful Life, that uplifting tale with James Stewart where good triumphs over evil and the little man overcomes all stacked against him with the help of his friends and family (and Clarence, his guardian angel, of course). The best movie of all time. No contest.
In between my uncontrollable sobbing — which used only to be at two or three points in the film but now extends for some reason from the opening to the closing credits — I got to thinking of strong parallels between some of the main protagonists and our own great and good; in particular, the stark similarities between the situations of John Stones and George Bailey.
So, those of you familiar with the storyline will recognise the characters. For George Bailey read John Stones; for Old Man Potter read Roman Abramovich. Bailey Park becomes Goodison Park... You can probably fill in one or two of the other gaps yourselves.
Our story revolves around Potter trying to get his grubby little hands on the one thing that has eluded him for too long. No matter how much money Potter has, George Bailey holds out. Yes, of course George is tempted, and in an unguarded moment, is flattered by the offer of untold riches put on the table by Potter, but he soon comes to his senses and tells him where to stick his fancy cigar and inflated salary. George is a man with big ambition, high hopes and morals to go with them who has always done the right thing, at great personal cost, putting others' welfare and happiness before his own.
Then it all goes tragically wrong for George. He goes through the depths of despair before finally realising just in time that it is a Wonderful Life. In his time of need, his friends and family have no hesitation in coming to his aid and baling him out. Why? Because George (or is it John?) is an inspiration to us all. One of life's good guys. With all those friends he truly is the richest man in town.
So, here we are, in the transfer window once more. If Old Man Potter comes calling again, I've no doubt George Bailey will do the right thing again and tell him where to stick that cigar!
Happy New Year.
Frank Mullin Posted 02/01/2016 at 13:15:51
Forget a Top 4 place... it’s virtually gone. Whilst the Atlantic has been dropping its water on the UK over last two or three days, I took opportunity to get back to my beloved maths. (Some of you might well remember my previous forecasts some years ago!)
Before I give you the results, I must fully agree with the torrent of abuse I’ll get on the basis that we are heading towards the bottom 4 with our porous defence — never mind moving up the Premier League. That aside; here are results of tonight’s mathematical deliberations.
I’ve looked at each of the current Top 12 clubs' results over the last 3, 6 & 9 games they’ve played and to take account of some clubs dropping some rising I’ve split the 12 into groups of 4 teams: Top 4, 5th to 8th and 9th to 12th.
The current Top 4 got 11.5 pts on average out of the last 6 games - 18 pts possible; 5-8th are average 8.5 pts, and 9-12th average 7.5 pts. Everton over the last 6 games have got 6 pts only! — and weren’t these supposed to be easier games after our tough opening 10 matches???
We are 9 pts away from Spurs (who are on 35 pts), currently in 4th. People are saying we can easily get 9 pts back, but actually it’s not easy as there are clubs in 5th to 10th places who are also trying to get back the 4 to 6 pts they need for 4th place. We would need a sustained improvement of about 14 or 15 pts per 6 games for the rest of the 19 games to be played, and even Arsenal & Leicester (currently top on 39 pts) have only averaged 12 pts per 6 games. Arsenal and Watford both have 13 pts from last 6 games and, in Watford’s case, it’s moved them from 12th place to 9th today still... 6 pts away from 4th place.
To get into the 4th position, we are therefore talking about winning at least 13 more likely 14 out of the remaining 19 games; draws don’t help at all. This form would have put us on top of the league after the first 19 games with 42 pts, Arsenal top at the moment with 39 pts. So, can we reach 4th – in my view, the answer is an emphatic NO!
Can we reach 5th or 6th and the beloved Europa League? Yes, we can... but we will need about 10 or 11 pts per 6 games over the remaining 19, in total about 33 pts extra from today — so we need to win at least 9 of our remaining games, losing only 4 at the most.
All this I think rightly assumes that we don’t see a complete collapse by Spurs, Man Utd, Liverpool, Palace, Stoke, West Ham and Watford all together.
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