Tom Cleverley's potential absence with a calf problem could cause a selection headache for Roberto Martinez
Everton may have one foot tantalisingly hovering over Wembley Way ahead of the much-aniticipated return leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City later this month but, as Roberto Martinez acknowledged this time last week, it's in the bread-and-butter Premier League that the greater long-term riches lie.
Thanks, of course, to the series of disappointing results between Bournemouth away in late November and the Stoke defeat at the end of last year, the Toffees find themselves a fair way off the top-four berth for which they're striving and they now face two of the most difficult fixtures on their calendar, starting with a dress rehearsal for that second leg at the Etihad Stadium. Needing to start putting a run of victories together – Martinez's side haven't managed to win successive League games yet this season – Everton face City and then seemingly rejuvenated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the space of four days this week.
When Romelu Lukaku limped out of the first leg, many Evertonians feared they would have to face those two daunting-looking games without their leading scorer but the manager has indicated – and reiterated, somewhat unconvincingly it must be said, this morning – that the Belgian should be fit to face City, potentially postponing the dreaded question of "what do Everton do without Lukaku?" Arouna Kone, the only other experienced striker on the books not on the brink of joining Norwich City, may have scored only his seventh goal in Everton colours in the FA Cup against Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday but overall his was not a performance that would have convinced many that he could be a regular source of goals in Lukaku's stead.
Ramiro Funes Mori, who came off against the Daggers with a gashed head and required 10 stitches, should be fine to play if needed and Leighton Baines is expected to return at left back. Tom Cleverley and Seamus Coleman, both of who also hobbled out of the first leg, are unlikely to be as fortunate. The Irish fullback is ruled out until at least the home game against Swansea in 12 days' time, while Cleverley, having been forced to come off early in two games since his match-winning heroics at Newcastle on Boxing Day, is rated as "50-50" by Martinez but could be rested for one more game to allow his calf injury to properly heal.
Given that the Blues have no natural cover at right back, Coleman's absence is, theoretically, the more problematic of the two but Bryan Oviedo acquitted himself well there in the FA Cup at the weekend (albeit against League Two opposition) and is probably the most likely to fill the role again this time. Tony Hibbert has been unable to maintain fitness for many months, Mason Holgate is untried and carrying a knock, Matthew Pennington is similarly green at senior level and Martinez has already stated that he does not see pulling a first-choice centre half in the form of John Stones or Phil Jagielka out of their primary position. In goal, the manager has hinted that Tim Howard will retake his spot as first-choice goalkeeper.
With Cleverley a doubt, James McCarthy injured, Steven Pienaar just back to fitness, Darron Gibson potentially the subject of a loan move this month, Kone less fancied as an option away from home and Martinez reluctant to deploy two wingers, who fills the slot on the left side of midfield is perhaps the biggest question mark ahead of this game. Does the manager go for another central midfielder like Gibson (he looked rusty on Saturday), deploy two wide players but instruct Aaron Lennon to be mindful of his defensive duties, or go for a more attacking option that risks exposing Baines at left back without cover?
Meanwhile, Manuel Pellegrini, who has seen his side win their all of their last five home games in all competitons, was likely to make changes from the side with which he started at Goodison a week ago, with players like Raheem Sterling and Aleksander Kolarov candidates to retake their places in the starting XI. Wilfried Bony, Smair Nasri and Vincent Kompany are major doubts and unlikely to feature and the Chilean will be forced into further alterations with Eliaquim Mangala and Fernandinho ruled out.
Where ordinarily a draw from the next two games would be considered good results for Everton, their failings against lesser teams in the first half of the campaign – you could throw the fairly meek 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture against City back in August in there as well – mean that they are going to need to pull some spectacular results out of somewhere if the top four isn't to an unattainable and unrealistic dream for another year, even in this most unpredictable of seasons.
It's not beyond the realms of possibility. Liverpool, whose results have been chequered since, showed the way when they blitzed Pellegrini's men with a first-half display of relentless pressing and clinical finishing back in November on the way to a surpise 4-1 win. Everton have been a bit more circumspect in their last two games against top-flight opposition as they've tried to tighten up defensively so coming out of the traps like that might not be something Martinez would consider but it at least shows that City can be got at and unsettled.
Kick off: 7.45pm
Referee: Roger East
Predicted line-up: Howard, Oviedo, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, Besic, Lennon, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku
Full details: ToffeeWeb Match Report
Reader Comments (93)
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1 Posted 12/01/2016 at 17:38:30
2 Posted 12/01/2016 at 17:47:54
Stones, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines
Lennon Barkley Deulofeu
Subs: Robles, Mirallas, Kone, Osman, Oviedo, Galloway, Gibson
3 Posted 12/01/2016 at 18:02:07
4 Posted 12/01/2016 at 18:04:52
5 Posted 12/01/2016 at 18:21:47
I would like us to get some more points on the board and go for 6th in the hope that the likes of Stones and Lukaku will give it another season but that is more hope than anticipation.
While he continues to alienate supporters with his bizarre support of Howard and his penchant for 4-2-3-1 with Kone out wide, ignoring the goalscoring ability of Mirallas, his "project" will not come together.
6 Posted 12/01/2016 at 18:22:11
7 Posted 12/01/2016 at 18:32:47
Jagielka, Stones, Funes Mori
Lennon, Barry, Besic, Baines
I know that Howard will start but feel this could give City problems and feel it's worth trying out to see if it works until Coleman is back. If not, we can change back to our normal system.
8 Posted 12/01/2016 at 18:37:07
9 Posted 12/01/2016 at 18:54:31
Things will start to come good I'm sure of it
10 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:00:11
11 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:01:50
Lets look at the facts, we've managed 6 points in our last 6 league games, with not one home win in the last 4 games at GP out of those 6. In fact the only win in that run of six came against relegation placed Newcastle (where we needed a 94th minute goal to win..). Now taking that into account, and keeping in mind that we have both City and Chelsea away over the next 5 days (after which we'd have played 22 games) what are the chances we're going to be much better off than the 27 points we currently have come Sunday? (Imo there is more chance of us losing both these games than getting one win.)
Granted we beat City at home last week but we now play them away and in the league - different kettle of fish and we won't keep a clean sheet.
I'm not worried at all about relegation as we only need 10 points from 18 games but if we keep up the point a game average for another few games our final position is going to be woeful come May. Unless we produce something special this week I can see us struggling to finsh top half, never mind top 4.
Sorry to say it but being realistic, the league is probably already a write off for the European places. All hope in the cups (saying that I'd take a trophy and 17th place now if offered!).
12 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:07:48
13 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:11:55
You wouldn't finish on 61 points and get top 4 now. It really does get tiresome every time this challenge is mentioned. Can we just give it a rest.
14 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:12:28
15 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:14:56
Just for once to see us travel to one of these venues like The Etihad, Stamford Bridge etc, and actually win the game!
Since Martinez won at Old Trafford in his first season it just seems to slowly be going back to the glass ceiling that held back the David Moyes era away to these so called top sides.
West Ham went to Man City, Arsenal and Anfield and won, Crystal Palace went to Anfield and Stamford Bridge and won, Bournemouth won at Chelsea too!
It seems like only Everton that never seems to get wins away to these sides.
When Martinez first came and we won at Old Trafford it almost seemed as though a psychological barrier had been broken down but since then we've had 2 trips to Liverpool, 3 at Chelsea, 3 at Arsenal, 2 at Manchester City and we have barely scored a goal!
Let's see what tomorrow night in Manchester brings but Martinez speaks of this golden generation at Everton at the moment but, it's really time to start pulling up some tree's now.
16 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:20:16
We could be going into the Swansea home game on January 23rd in about 15th place if we are slack, you don't need undue pressure on the team going into a busy period.
17 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:44:17
I hope Lukaku shows no ill-effects from last week. Don't rush him back if he's not 100% fit; RM rushed Macca back and we saw what happened.
18 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:53:05
However, I do think they should be higher in the table than they are now.
19 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:56:41
I couldn't agree more.
We looked like we had mastered it with that Old Trafford hoodoo being banished at Martinez first time of asking but since then we just seem to offer nothing going to this places, limited attacking threat and little defensive resistance.
If Liverpool went to Manchester City and won 4-1 , and West Ham went there and dominated the first half, is there any reason at all why we shouldn't go there and face them up?
We seriously need to cut out the defensive lapses though against the top teams, it has cost us dear all season.
20 Posted 12/01/2016 at 19:57:33
Moyes did well against Man City, if only we could mix the best of RM's attacking play and Moyes's tightness at the back.
21 Posted 12/01/2016 at 20:08:48
If we can keep it tight at the back, a big if, then this is a winnable fixture. Gonna go 1-2 to the blues with a brace by big Rom. COYB.
22 Posted 12/01/2016 at 20:13:34
23 Posted 12/01/2016 at 20:32:06
24 Posted 12/01/2016 at 20:39:19
26 Posted 12/01/2016 at 20:57:03
With Baines back been gelling back into the team and Oviedo being fresh for a challenge as always, we'll get at least some proper football from our side, with all respect to City being desperate to control the game if they can. That'll depend on the final result.
27 Posted 12/01/2016 at 21:04:02
I'm not sure you can really put the first half of the season down to bad luck or good luck.
We have been slack in too many games, defensively we have been fragile and disorganized and have never really worked on bettering this problem, which I point out, was a problem last season too!
Then of course there is Martinez and the goalkeeper situation which he remains stubborn on.
Donr get me wrong, in sone games our attack has been excellent but blaming luck for so many consistent bad defensive shows won't get the team anywhere, the manager talks of the team needing to learn it's lessons, facing up to the problem not blaming luck is the only way of learning.
28 Posted 12/01/2016 at 21:15:43
Howard is playing. RM, said on news he brings confidence to the team. Not sure how that is, would have thought that is was the other way around, with his recent displays.
I can't see us getting three points there. A draw if were lucky.
we might have inform Lukaku, but who else? Barkley, maybe if he doesn't try and take on three players, then loose ball.
They have so many players that can put the ball in the net, I've a bad feeling we will see tomorrow.
my favourite City player Silva, superb.
I don't think the same team will turn up as at Goodison. But we will see.
As someone as already said, we can score against anyone, but I still have my head in my hands when any team gets near our defence. And that's been our season's downfall as we all know only too well.
29 Posted 12/01/2016 at 21:22:31
He too often let's games away from home against the better teams pass him by, he's 22 now, if he's going to really fulfil his potential then now has to be the time he starts doing it, by the time the likes of Gerrard or Rooney were that age they were taking team's on and being talismanic figures in their respective teams.
31 Posted 12/01/2016 at 21:52:09
32 Posted 12/01/2016 at 22:01:23
Spot on Jim. I think people on here forget how old Barkley is. As you say Jim, Rooney was several years his junior, and was world class.
To be truthful all that attacking dribbling is exciting it gets us all going but seems as if there is a glass shield preventing him going further than the edge of the box.
he has a great shot, but doesn't do it enough for me. As you said needs to take the game by the scruff of the neck. So what's stopping him?
33 Posted 12/01/2016 at 22:21:49
34 Posted 12/01/2016 at 22:42:35
There's only been glimpses of what Barkley does best, not enough for the talent he's got though.
If he's talking, or rather Martinez is talking about him showcasing this great talent then he has to start doing it on the big stage, away games like tomorrow and at Chelsea on Saturday.
I think the 2014 World Cup was too soon for him but, 18 months on, he needs to start consistently doing it more .
35 Posted 12/01/2016 at 22:57:17
It doesn't matter who we bring in player wise either, it won't cover up the massive shortcomings he has, his football philosophy does not work, it NEVER has done, most people can see it, the hard facts point to it unarguably, he has to go.
36 Posted 12/01/2016 at 23:10:49
Unfortunately, this season is turning into a numbers game. If you do the math(s), our points-per-game total has to be ridiculous to get top 4.
But that's why they play. Who knows?
I'd take the double with the League and FA Cups and 10th in the league... :0)
Pigs just flew by a window again.
37 Posted 12/01/2016 at 23:19:56
38 Posted 12/01/2016 at 23:30:35
A quick response to top 4; there's still 20 games to play and we're 9 points off CL spot. Yes it's an uphill struggle and normally you'd say no chance. But this season isn't normal and IMO there are a lot of clubs ahead of us that are dependent on 1 or 2 players, Spurs, Leicester and Watford come to mind (and so do we).
So with 54 pts up for grabs it is still achievable-just. But 6 pts v Citteh and Chelsea is essential. Yes it really is that easy.
39 Posted 12/01/2016 at 23:34:47
I have been watching the blues since 1958 and I want to see silverware and a trip to Wembley..
40 Posted 12/01/2016 at 00:03:07
We only need a draw in the second leg or even a 3-2 defeat after extra time but I see your point and I also cannot see us getting two positive results at City given our defence this season.
On the other hand, we could lose both heavily and be out of the cup and about 14th in the league. It has to be one game at a time really.
41 Posted 13/01/2016 at 00:16:39
However, just as it ain't over till the fat lady sings, why give up on lofty goals?
Every season, I think we can win the league. Does that bring loads of disappointment? You bet it does, but we don't watch the games and support the team because it's the realistic thing to do, isn't it?
Unless there are real negative effects on the team that we hold such goals, I don't see why fans who hold such views should be knocked.
I am still believing for two cups and a possible Champions League place.
Man Utd wouldn't have won the Champions League in 99, despite being outplayed for 89 mins and a goal down, and being a goal down if they didn't believed that it was possible.
Liverpool wouldn't have won the 2005 Champions League if they didn't believed they could have overturned a 3-0 deficit against a world class Milan.
Liverpool wouldn't have overtaken us in 86 despite being a good number of points behind us, after we beat them in the derby in February, if they didn't believe that it could be done.
Man Utd wouldn't have overtaken Newcastle to win the league in '96 if they didn't believe that it can be done.
So, I think it's worth believing that you can win each game that is ahead of you. Focus on the 90 mins ahead of us, and then do it again for the next game.
I shudder to think that if I were the manager, I would go into the dressing room and tell the lads, "well, let's take a cup and 17th place, shall we? Okay, that's great, so about the Man City game that we are about to play in 5 mins' time..."
42 Posted 13/01/2016 at 01:11:23
43 Posted 13/01/2016 at 02:09:53
44 Posted 13/01/2016 at 03:17:08
A two points a game average from this point on will give us 63 points, and in seasons' gone by that has been enough to pinch a Euro league spot. If other results go our way and the likes of Watford, West Ham, the RS, Crystal Palace etc. start to drop off, then who knows?
46 Posted 13/01/2016 at 05:33:01
All the talk above about what Man Utd and Liverpool once did has absolutely no significance in our situation of a measly SIX wins all season.
Be optimistic by all means but base that feeling on success in the cups. At least Martinez has shown that even a poor manager can get his hands on one of those!
47 Posted 13/01/2016 at 05:59:32
Oviedo Jagielka Stones Baines
Lennon Barkley Mirallas
Lukaku (Kone, 60')
Don't let them see what Deulofeu can do and have a plan for him in the Cup tie.
Not a min more than 60 for Rom, take him off whatever the scoreline reads at the hour mark.
Let Kev play all 90 min, he deservingly needs it. if he can get something going with Baines, then we're talking of something special here.
If required sub Lennon with Osman; his experience will help provide some defensive cover for Oviedo.
48 Posted 13/01/2016 at 06:11:51
49 Posted 13/01/2016 at 06:19:56
If you can't pick up even one win against 3 promoted teams in your own league, then you don't deserve to play Champions League.
52 Posted 13/01/2016 at 09:08:37
If we go 4-5-1 with Lukaku as a lone striker we will play right into their hands. Kompany and Mangala are out, so Lukaku could have a field day with a bit of support from Barkley.
This would be my starting eleven:
Oviedo, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines
Gibson, Barry, Besic
Lennon, Barkley, Lukaku
Up the Blues.
53 Posted 13/01/2016 at 10:19:50
Ross has played.....what....80 - 90 Premier league games? So, yes, I agree that is coming into the stage of his development where he is "taking the game by the scruff of the neck". But I would suggest he is doing this, just perhaps not with the consistency some would like. To compare him with Rooney, who must have played double that number at the age of 22, or Gerrard (probably similar) is daft. When Leon Osman was 22 and only just breaking into the Everton first team no one would have expected him to be a dominant presence in the team, just because of his age.
Barkley is playing really well at the moment. He's an immense talent. Yes, he can be frustrating and yes we all want / expect more, based on the flashes that he shows. And if he is still at the same stage of his development after another 50 Premier League appearances I think we'd all be disappointed. But his age has nothing to do with it. Given time and more games and he will continue to grow.
54 Posted 13/01/2016 at 10:44:41
Maybe Martinez does Barkley and other young players more harm by constantly talking about the "best crop of youngsters in Europe".
Robbie Savage is a clown but he's got a point referring to Martinez's superlatives.
If they are that good then why are we looking at a mediocre league table?
55 Posted 13/01/2016 at 11:00:50
Subs: Robles, Oviedo, Cleverley, Osman, Mirallas, Deulofeu, Gibson.
56 Posted 13/01/2016 at 11:13:06
57 Posted 13/01/2016 at 11:18:54
Gerrard and Rooney mastered the crowd pleasing at an early age using their physical attributes. Both brilliant footballers from day one. Ross is developing his decision making and playing well but does things with the ball that Rooney and Gerrard could only dream of. For me, he's on a different plain from those two with the potential to be anything over the next 10 years. I'm certain he'll also still be top class in his 30s, unlike Rooney or Gerrard. He's not so reliant on his pace and power... he just happens to have those attributes too.
Feels like people are waiting for him to start going box to box throwing tackles in. What a waste that would be.
58 Posted 13/01/2016 at 11:23:00
59 Posted 13/01/2016 at 11:24:34
He's a good player, a talented player but what I said is he needs to start doing it in these kind of big away games to truly showcase his so called great young talent.
In the summer, Barkley will go to his second major international tournament; this is not something Leon Osman had done by the age of 22.
Whether Barkley was rightly or wrongly selected for the World Cup in Brazil is irrelevant; he went. He should soon be past the stage of just potential and promise; he is meant to be at the fulcrum of our attacks and is a regular starter but so far he fails to be dynamic in these big away games that you are looking at him to do something or create something yet too often it's passed him by.
He's a talented footballer, no doubt... but, over the next 12 months, the challenge is digging in and doing it more consistently in harder games when we are looking for inspiration.
60 Posted 13/01/2016 at 11:29:27
61 Posted 13/01/2016 at 12:30:11
Still, we've improved on last season and we really should be 6th. One or two cup finals are not beyond us.
I'm encouraged by the gradual improvement of the squad, it looks like Pienaar, Gibson, Naismith, Howard, Hibbert will be freeing up wages by the summer, maybe Osman too they've all been good players but can move on.
Although I appreciate people are bored of Howard's mistakes, there is still a question mark over Robles too.
62 Posted 13/01/2016 at 12:54:50
I agree that the top 4 ship has sailed and it would take a major set of results to get us into the top 6. Top 8 is perfectly feasible...if a little disappointing. However we do now carry a real threat and other teams I am sure will worry about handling us.
The real disappointment with that run of draws against lesser teams is that it may have blown our opportunity to hang on to our "fab four". This could be a serious blow to our long term ambitions. But that ship has not sailed yet so maybe we can keep the gang together for another season and have another shot at it.
Say what you like about him but Martinez has brought in some excellent players and seems to have kept them mostly happy. His transfer picks have on balance been very good and we certainly seem to have far less transfer howlers than other clubs. Those oft cited examples of failures such as Alcaraz and McGeady (and in some quarters Robles... or is he the new Messsiah... opinions seem to differ here) were either free transfers or very little outlay so there was far less downside than a failed high price tag signing and they were never meant to be first team players more rounding out the squad.
Barry, McCarthy, Lukaku, Deulofeu are all excellent signings and Funes Mori and Cleverly have also done well. A good set of youngsters has been acquired although we will have to be patient to see how many of them mature into first team players the signs are there that Galloway will make the breakthrough at least. This compares very well with other clubs' acquisitions. Moyes was good at this as well but Martinez seems to have a slightly more exciting brand of player on his shopping list... perhaps because we have a bit more money now relative to clubs on the continent.
63 Posted 13/01/2016 at 13:11:11
Our imbalance and inconsistency is not good enough for me as a paying member of the match going fraternity. Good football is both attack and defence not the fundamentally flawed approach Martinez does and has historically always taken, and always will.
64 Posted 13/01/2016 at 13:17:36
65 Posted 13/01/2016 at 13:19:45
66 Posted 13/01/2016 at 13:26:22
67 Posted 13/01/2016 at 13:36:23
I must be the only one at present that's looking down not up, all this talk of top 4 but, as you say, we could be 14th or 15th in two weeks time. Then we don't play Swansea until the Sunday 23 January, teams above and below can make more points the day before, putting yet more pressure on us.
68 Posted 13/01/2016 at 13:40:06
I'm one of those who consider fate and I cant see us winning tonight and also in 2 weeks. I know that we only need to draw in the Semi-Final but I still don't feel we can get a result in both games. I do feel as I've said in another thread that Martinez needs to demonstrate to the likes of Stones and Lukaku that we can compete and beat the current "Top 4" normal favourites as if we don't then they are definitely off in the summer. So we need to get at least 4 if not 6pts from the City and Chelsea games .
Best for tonight and Semi-Final is two draws! I hate draws...
69 Posted 13/01/2016 at 13:48:15
Conversely, we can hardly expect Martinez to achieve Top Four on top eight expenditure. He's done it once and his predecessor made a habit of it but it is by no means our right. Perhaps the current frustration is borne out of a belief that the present manager has more than sow' s ears to work with even though the purse that seeks to keep them here is made from cotton!
70 Posted 13/01/2016 at 14:16:16
The selection of games for live coverage continues to 'puzzle' me as it often skews in favour of those teams selected for such coverage. An extra day's rest here and there, a 15 minute window to push on for a win if rival teams have won or settle for a point if the rival team has lost. The TV companies have far too much influence on proceedings, as do the multitude of betting sites.
In midweek fixtures like tonight, the Premier League should insist that all games kick off at the same time. Tonight's fixtures are the nearest that Everton and Liverpool will have kicked off at the same time on the same day, apart from the Goodison derby match.
71 Posted 13/01/2016 at 14:38:11
I don't now how much snow you got but I have just finished clearing away the snow to my garage to get at the snow blower here in Sussex, New Brunswick and will be watching the game later on... providing we don't have a power outage.
72 Posted 13/01/2016 at 14:38:17
I've just been told that Adele is going to do a duet with Leonard Cohen, just thought I'd let you know so you could be the first in the queue to buy it.
73 Posted 13/01/2016 at 15:03:17
We have him... RM is playing him... So let's get behind him and the rest of the lads.
I don't think we can win 3 in a row against Man City so if we have to blow one, it might as well be tonight. Fingers crossed for a good confidence-boosting performance and result, though.
75 Posted 13/01/2016 at 15:37:44
Lost on me, who are Adele and Leonard Cohen? I just got out of Solitary Confinement after 50 years of watching the Blues to be enlivened only in 1966, 1971, 1985-88 and 1995... hoping to see success before I re-enter voluntarily.
76 Posted 13/01/2016 at 15:51:55
Yes, it does give them an advantage. So does starting the season away to the team you lost heavily against in the previous season. Why are you surprised?
77 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:28:38
The season before and the one after, we won the league, with lots of players chipping in with goals.
78 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:53:45
Others include: West Ham 11th, Palace 16th, Stoke 9th.....
All clubs above us in the league I believe... (also we're only £1M behind Newcastle in 7th.)
What I would add though (and I haven't reviewed other clubs for 'waste') is that we chuck away multiple millions every year in wages on senior players who don't even play. Either crocked, old, shite or a combination of the above. Everyone knows the players and if we even got rid of just 2-3 of them we'd free up a good £5M a year in wages. (Btw, our total wagebill is running at around £75M/year....)
I know you can't legislate for injuries but the contracts to the likes of Gibson, Howard, Pienaar and even extensions to Hibbert and Osman have got some real head scratching about them. Why do we give such long term contracts to old and/or injury prone players? What happened to the 'nothing more than one year' once a player gets to 32 or 33. Even Barry still has 2 years left after this one and he's 34.
So whilst we have one of the higher wage bills, a lot of the cash is actually going to players who make little or no contribution...
79 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:55:31
(Just hope Martinez only plays him tonight if 100%!)
80 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:57:34
81 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:58:30
With Fernandinho out then Yaya will have to remain in his defensive role in which, as he showed at Goodison, he's not very good at. He'll most likely still be inconsolable about not winning his fifth African Player of the Year award.
Aguero, unfortunately, is coming into form but they're also down to Otamendi and Demichellis at the back.
I'll go for 1-1 and I'd take it now.
82 Posted 13/01/2016 at 17:29:44
Mike (#69)... good retort!!
83 Posted 13/01/2016 at 17:42:43
Tindersticks are the band with Nick Cave guesting on the show. I heard local hotels are not taking high-rise room bookings.
84 Posted 13/01/2016 at 17:48:13
Just like they seem to be dealing with our defence. And mixing how we attack. And playing out a lead. Stubborn manager? Bollocks. Just remember Phil Neville with OFM... who had a lot more experience.
85 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:05:05
87 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:11:51
The truth is that what Howard used to bring to the team has now been outweighed by the failings he now displays on a consistent basis. Martinez must be afraid of not getting a transfer fee for Howard at the end of the season if he is dropped as it will half any post the stupid Spanish shoe salesman has no option but to pick him
89 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:21:02
Reality probably somewhere in the middle: 2-2.
90 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:48:04
I, like most, want Robles to get in; if Tim fucks up tonight, then it's hasta la vista for sure.
91 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:50:56
92 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:54:15
93 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:55:19
94 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:03:19
Subs: Robles, Oviedo, Kone, Mirallas, Lennon, Pienaar, Galloway.
95 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:05:25
96 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:06:05
Cheers though, James, I presume it's Deulofeu on the bench... Joke!
Most assists and he's benched. Best chance of scaring them to death and he's a sub.
97 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:08:40
98 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:20:41
I hope I'm proved wrong but we shall see.
99 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:23:42
100 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:26:25
Colin I was quietly optimistic but it's slowly fading!
101 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:28:40
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