From my seat: Real Betis (H)

Match Report from the final pre-season friendly which the Blues won despite a below-par showing

Ken Buckley 11/08/2013 40comments  |  Jump to last
I went... I saw... and I wonder. The only home pre-season game so always worth a walk up and meet up with friends and acquaintances. A good chat regarding change of manager resulted in almost unanimity: Not sure but lets give it a season.

The new additions were discussed and much the same outcome of suck it and see. All agreed a midfield player who can make a forceful difference was required but not many expected one to be recruited.

The walk up to the ground was leisurely suggesting not a great attendance but the fat van was doing well and the chippy. With the furore about the badge I glanced up toward the gable of main stand still same badge, also strange I never noticed the shirt badge once during the game; I guess to many of us the footy is paramount.

Z Cars and off we go. In no time at all Barkley clattered one of theirs in a mistimed way and got a talking to. Mirallas made a hash of a cross and Pienaar banged his head.

Their number 20 looked the business and his astute play had our team in a nervous state and many a fan blaming jet-lag for our opening efforts. I hope they were right as it may account for Barkley being sloppy in giving them the ball whilst we were attacking and other players passing to players in a different colour shirt to the one they were wearing.

The passing from the back that sees Keeper to centre back to fullback back to keeper then to retreating centre defensive mid-field man rarely got further than the half-way line before panic set in. This was well demonstrated when the Betis team who were pressing high broke the intended move and again the number 20 almost undone us.

Would you believe a few minutes later we took the lead when the play out from the back was replaced with a Jags trademark belt long which found Mirallas who scampered and delivered into the box for Jelavic who although outnumbered kept a cool head and manoeuvred himself a shooting angle and did not disappoint, much to the delight of those gathered.

Betis responded and we had a fiery interlude as Howard made a couple of great saves and Baines made a last ditch sliding tackle that kept us one up. Miralles had his shirt pulled and responded in childlike manner and earned a booking in a warm-up match. Then right on the whistle Gibson yet again succumbed to an injury of some kind and was replaced by Heitinga.

The second half was much of the same, pretty tame but with flashpoints thrown in and none more fiery than when Jelavic got knocked over with a push in the back from a throw-in and he reacted like a man possessed and was lucky not to be sent off! But for the action of Ref Webb in speaking to both managers, a very ugly incident will go unreported and unpunished.

Barkley going forward looked the business at times only to spoil it with overdoing simple situations. We did at last make it 2-0 in bizarre fashion when a high hopeful cross from Mirallas which was meat and drink for any keeper bar this one, he caught the ball well and then inexplicably threw it into his own net. The ground announcer then had us all in bulk by giving the scorer as Mirallas.

Staying with the comical when Mirallas or was it Barkley put Jelavic in and he drew the keeper in fine fashion and his first touch gave him the ideal angle and then came the shot. Oh dear nearly hit the corner flag. Many called for the local blacksmith to see if he could straighten a Croatian foot.

The subs started with Kone replacing Jelavic and later Barklay and Mirallas gave way to Deulofeu and Naismith. None were on long enough to comment on in a meaningful way but I did notice that Deulofeu has pace to burn and falls over very easily.

The game was petering out when Betis had an attack on the death that saw us all over the place in trying to clear. None of the fancy play out of defence, just wild hacks that went nowhere and, as a Betis forward closed in, Pienaar dragged him down, another forward saved the ref the bother of blowing for a pen by slotting home comfortably. Howard was not pleased with his defence and let his feelings show. Full time whistle and time to clap the lads off and retire to the room of nonsense to dissect our final friendly whilst I enjoyed a Brown / over.

Moyes has gone and Martinez is the boss and he plays a different way but that bit between middle third and final third seems little different. The playing out from the back is welcomed by many but on the evidence so far all that has changed is now it takes us longer to go long.

The difference between Moyes and Martinez as I see it is that Martinez has a way of playing that dictates that the players we have play that way whether they are technically up to it or not. Moyes on the other hand looked at the players he had and devised a way to play to maximise their talent. By the end of the season we may have a clearer idea which is the best approach for a club in our financial position.

Still 38 league games to watch and as many cup ties as possible which will no doubt bring forth many forceful arguments and probably at the end of the season no definite agreement. Bring it on!


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Reader Comments (40)

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Dennis Stevens
1 Posted 11/08/2013 at 21:43:35
Thanks for the report, Ken. With all the changes going on it's nice to have something reliable to look forward to for the coming season!
Mike Oates
2 Posted 11/08/2013 at 21:55:17
Hello once again, Ken, look forward to future reports. I totally agree with you that Martinez believes in the system and wants the players to conform to it, and I'm not sure we have the players yet to do it. I think you need a real strong, pacey midfielder who gets the ball deep and drives forward creating space for others. Neither Gibson, Fellaini nor Osman can provide that strength with pace. As a consequence we looked slow and ended up playing square, square, square and finally back to Howard.

I'm sure Martinez wants Barkley to do the job, but he's still got to learn that you just cannot give the ball away cheaply, particularly in your own half.

Barry Rathbone
3 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:02:45
Be surprised if anything different given it's virtually the same squad a year older trying something new - "old dog new tricks" springs to mind.

Really think he'll need a clear out of Shankly proportions to change things for the better.

Quicker we conclude outgoings including Felli and Baines the better, just arsing round in limbo at the moment.

Peter Mills
4 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:02:59
Ken, I always enjoy your reports. However, I think in this one you have drifted into the dreamy, soporific mood that pervaded Goodison today, failing to say that we really should have been 3 or 4 down at half-time.

Okay, the players were probably tired. But this was a worrying performance.

Dave Weston
5 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:17:27
At the game yes well ermmm!!!!!!!!!!!! Not what I expected... it's gonna be a long season, I think.
Roger Trenwith
6 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:19:53
Blimey! That sounds like a frightening shambles...a la Wigan. I was nervous, now I'm really scared. Cheers Ken! :)
Dave Weston
7 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:24:15
Frightening is only a start, don't want to consider any more adjectives.
Michael Coville
8 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:12:30
Thanks Ken for the report as usual. I paid for the Spanish program GOL in the US, 15 dollars a month for 56 Spanish programs non of which I can understand to watch the game. Lousy picture and a bit of a waste of money. I thought Real Betis were much better than Everton in every department apart from scoring. Our middle was just too weak and although I like this new approach of Howard passing it to one of our defenders we just don't seem capable of moving it on quickly and we too often get the inevitable back-pass.

Hopefully we will see an improvement when the season starts next week but if we are to make Europe next year the players have to start taking on opposition players more often and finding our players at a higher percentage rate than seen today.

Tony Marsh
9 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:39:06
Until Osman is bin-bagged we will never improve in midfield. I thought Martinez would of got rid by now.Not seeing much of Deulofeu either which is strange.

I would've played Oviedo as well seeing how Baines will play 90 mins for England on Wednesday night. No panic yet though.

Steve Cotton
10 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:50:56
Midfield shocking today, all the problems came from the inability of Osman and Gibson to command the middle. Barkley needs to play further forward or come on for the last 20 mins...

We badly need a central midfielder who can find space and keep things moving. Even Joey Barton would have made us tick today, the others were that off the pace.

Milos Milenkovic
11 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:43:39
Thanks Ken. I must say that I don't know exact position of Barkley. Him and Osman looked like playing in the same position and with that my main concern is that there is no support for the lone striker. Our by far most dangerous player (Mirallas) is wasted on the wing. He is very similar player to Suarez and he should be playing just behind Jelavic/Kone/Anichebe. At this moment we are not looking like a team ready for a new season.
Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 11/08/2013 at 22:50:11
Much appreciated summary, Mr. Buckley. Being cheaper than Michael Coville, I didn't make the investment in accessing GOL-TV here in the US, and it sounds like I didn't miss much.

Regarding the pessimism here... guys, what did you expect?

The equation is simple. New system + same players = a lengthy adjustment period for both manager and team.

I long ago predicted we wouldn't see the True New Everton until November.

Bill Gall
13 Posted 11/08/2013 at 23:04:00
Good report, Ken. It highlighted the new system the manager wishes to play but the problem I see is that a number of the Everton players are not yet able to play in this style and it may take time for them to adapt. This raises the problem that with no backing seeming to come from the board we may struggle this year.

All supporters are aware from last year that a priority with Everton was signing a quality midfielder but now it seems we would have to sell our best players to do this.

James Stewart
14 Posted 11/08/2013 at 23:27:13
Central midfield we are absolute garbage and that needs addressing. If we start with Heitinga, Barkley and Osman in there against EPL opposition we are in serious trouble.
Kev Johnson
15 Posted 11/08/2013 at 23:30:26
Betis are a better team than Norwich. Yes, we were pretty shocking today, but I don't think we are not going to be tested in the same way at Carrow Road.
Andrew Cutler
16 Posted 11/08/2013 at 23:44:59
Thank you, Ken, for taking the time to submit that informative report for those of us who did not watch the game (not at 3am in the NZ morning!!).

I must confess that the style we are trying to impose just does not suit our players but it is way too early to make any meaningful conclusions.

Norwich?... will be difficult. That pitch of theirs is a pocket handkerchief (or it seems to be with the spectators so close). Difficult game.

Gary Seed
17 Posted 11/08/2013 at 23:09:42
I think I am being pragmatic here but I expect no more than 7th - 10th this season ? I have no doubts that we will be a better team in time but we must bite the bullet and accept a season of transition. I don't relish being frustrated but I'm prepared to dig in for the long haul, by the way, I'd love to be proved wrong !!
Ben Jones
20 Posted 12/08/2013 at 02:07:32
I think there's 2 different things and people are saying the same for both.

There's first that the players aren't technically good enough for the system, and then there is that they are, but aren't used to it yet.

To me, it's more the second than the first, although players like Distin and an ageing Osman do apply to the first.

I think we'll crack it, I think Gibson is capable of controlling a game, I think Pienaar and Mirallas are capable of causing more problems up front.

And to try and prove this theory, look on paper at Wigan and on our best team, and see who's better. I would suggest we are, but Wigan have been coached a certain way. Same as Swansea, they've had years and years of the same coaching.

Basically long story short, it's gonna take a lot of time, this season is going to be frustrating, but I do genuinely believe Martinez will come good in 2/3 seasons.

Paul Kelly
21 Posted 12/08/2013 at 05:00:39
With Ben on the second part of his comment, that all professional's are technically good enough (as they should be) it's just going to take time to implement the new system.

It might be, a case of how long we (the fans) and the board (wankas) will put up with it should it go pear shaped.

I know I'll be on here venting my spleen at the first opportunity if it does, hope it never comes to that.

Roll on saturday,


Anto Byrne
22 Posted 12/08/2013 at 05:07:50
We didn't play with any level of intensity, it was a Sunday Arvo stroll on the park. The odd occasion when we slipped into gear it was very nice.

This system will suck other teams into our half as we keep the ball, the lump up the middle to a packed defence was the Moyes tactic and well that hardly worked that well. Lots of half chances no cutting edge. At least we saw what RM is on about with Real Betis. Im sure that's what he has in mind for us. We don't have the cattle on the paddock to play this yet so Osman and Gibson giving the ball away and the team panicking at the back and Howard lumping it forward.

With this system we have to be patient, keep the ball and try and unlock the defence with careful passing and to pick out Jelavic in the box.

Phil Walling
23 Posted 12/08/2013 at 08:34:25
The best teams are the ones that can switch styles mid-game. Sticking strictly with tippy-tappy when it ain`t working was the undoing of Wigan.

I just couldn`t bear to see our very talented side implode in the same way.

James McPherson
24 Posted 12/08/2013 at 08:58:55
Phil 472 - I agree. We have to be patient and support RM. However, it is a fine line that separates patience through transition and dogmatic pig-headedness that insists on a system around which players do not have the technical ability to do it effectively.

We just do not have the players in my view. Neither did Wigan. He did not change there...I hope he's more open minded...he will soon know that the fans have more expectation than the board!

Phil Walling
25 Posted 12/08/2013 at 09:16:28
Someone on another thread described this style as `delayed hoofball`. After the back four have played it around our penalty area,the opposition close them down and it goes back to the goalie. Then, under pressure, he HAS to kick it long and it goes anywhere!

What`s clever or attractive about that ?

John Jones
26 Posted 12/08/2013 at 10:04:19
Dup.... and then:

See more at:
Colin Glassar
27 Posted 12/08/2013 at 10:15:06
Our defence, first half, were all over the place but that is the same defence that was one of the best in the prem last season so I doubt Roberto Martinez has suddenly turned them into bad defenders. Maybe the idea of playing the ball out of defence is alien to them but they will have to learn or move on. Jags especially looked uncomfortable hence the rumours concerning Toby?

I agree with the majority that we are lacking a play maker in MF, hopefully Fellaini can fill that role as Gibson is too injury-prone IMO.

Bill Gall
29 Posted 12/08/2013 at 14:18:18
i don't think it is garbage to state that we do not have a creative midfielder who can open up a defence and is aware of who is open as soon as he recieves the ball. With Martinez's style of play, this type of midfielder is essential and we do not have this type of player in the club since Arteta left. Supporters mention Osman but to me his performances have deteriated since his England call up.

Once again this shows the major problem with Everton the board, who once again are failing to supply funds after BK stated that funds will be made available for new players... unless the paltry amount that has been spent is all the manager is getting.

Dave Weston
30 Posted 12/08/2013 at 14:48:43
Real Betis gave us a lesson on how to play the passing game. Only very poor finishing and this could have been embarrassing. Back four uncomfortable, midfield virtually non-existant in any shape, three passes and then lump up the middle that was when we did not give the ball away. We need CM to get the ball on the floor and then work it through to the wings.

First half Baines never got passed the half way line, Pienaar... well!!!!! Likewise, Coleman did not pass the halfway line. Apart from a couple of nice moves in both halves, we struggled to even keep any shape although you could not really tell what formation we were trying to play.

We need to improve dramatically before next week or play like we did at the beginning of last season and then try introducing a style that suits us progressively instead of doing it all at once. The players need to be confident of what they can do first and foremost.

Christopher Timmins
31 Posted 12/08/2013 at 15:21:40
Ken, great to have you back after a long hot summer. It is going to take a lot of time to get the team playing the way the manager want's them to play.

Is it asking too much of our (Moyes) players that they would be comfortable on the ball and would be able to play the ball through the midfield?

Tony Marsh
32 Posted 12/08/2013 at 16:23:07
We must be the Dumbest set of fans on the planet at EFC. After years of Moyes's anti-football tactics being constantly drummed into this squad on a daily basis for 11 years, don't you think it might take more than four pre-season friendlies to shake off the old habits?

What Martinez has to do is dismantle and de-construct in order to rebuild. It wont happen over night.Surely being rid of the Grinch is worth it? A little bit of time for the new manager to intergrate his ideas isn't to much to ask is it? You gave DM over a decade.

Martinez has to change and re-habilitate the entire squad from doing all the nonesense that became second nature to them. We must escape the punting game we used to play for a possesion-retention style which we have never played before. Is will be hard but proffesional footballers should be able to adapt or the shouldnt be in the game.

I and many others grew sick to death of watching 60 yard Hoofballs down the channel to the isolated striker who then in turn crossed it in to an empty six yard box for yet another wave of attacks from the opposistion. Let's face it, we very rarely scored more than 2 goals in a game in 11 years did we? Did you really want more of that Crap? Clinging on for dear life versus the minnows and rolling over and dying versus the Big Boys thats all we consisted of all those wasted years.

Give the new Boss 6 months to get things moving then pass judgement. We may well slip a few places in the League, we may not... but, as long as we get value for money and try to win games, it can only be a good thing long term.

Get off Roberto's back FFS.

Mark Boulle
33 Posted 12/08/2013 at 16:44:31
Bill Gall #566

You are absolutely right. It is simply not possible that the summer outlay so far, which even allowing for wages / signing on fees etc cannot be more than 8-10m, is all there is to spend, in the year of this bumper new TV deal.

I say again, never mind the moneyed elite, Norwich, Sunderland, Cardiff, Southampton and others have all spent big. That can only be as a result of the TV money. I believe Cardiff's owner is wealthy but the others do not have owners with a track record of pumping money into their clubs to my knowledge.

Midfield reinforcements are needed urgently on yesterday's evidence. This has to be, and should be, accomplished without selling anyone. If it is not, serious questions have to be asked, perhaps at another EGM, as to where the influx of tv money has gone.

Bill Gall
34 Posted 12/08/2013 at 17:00:35
Thank you, Mark (#582).

All the talk is about selling Fellaini and Baines to raise money for players. To me, this would be a disaster as both players are the best in the league as (a) a defensive midfielder and (b) attaking fullback.

My problem if this happened is very little of the money that came in will be made available to the manager and we will become weak in those areas.

I am willing to give the new manager a chance as his system may take time... but if the board are not willing to help in areas we are and have been weak in for a long period, I hope supporters wiil attatch the blame to the right people (ie, the board) if we struggle.

Jay Harris
35 Posted 12/08/2013 at 19:23:56
You cannot play this tippy tappy stuff with 2 wide men deep upfront and not coming back to help.

It is Ok highlighting Ossie, Gibbo and Felli's weaknesses but with only 2 of them in there under pressure from the opposition they are going to get caught on the ball.

In terms of a new MF signing I believe Manny Fernandes is available and would love to see him back in a blue shirt.

James Flynn
36 Posted 12/08/2013 at 21:22:23
"We did at last make it 2-0 in bizarre fashion when a high hopeful cross from Mirallas which was meat and drink for any keeper bar this one, he caught the ball well and then inexplicably threw it into his own net".

Yet, didn't top this one for originality/stupidity.

Clive Rogers
37 Posted 12/08/2013 at 23:10:47
Bill and Mark,

Doesn't the money always disappear at EFC? It's like a black hole. There will never be any progress in terms of team building while this board is in place. The best we can hope for is mid table. That was a worrying performance against Real.

Peter Laing
38 Posted 12/08/2013 at 23:49:06
Kenwright and Elstone or whoever the incumbent CEO trot out the same shite ad infinitum, hollow and meaningless sound bites Moyes, Martinez blah blah blah white noise spin will be backed to the hilt in the transfer market. Leroy Fer may just come back to haunt Everton in the middle of the Park on Saturday with a massive point to prove.
Peter Cummings
39 Posted 13/08/2013 at 00:08:51
I didn't see the game, only the 'highlights', but by all accounts not a good performance and, not for the first time, Gibson injured, with Fellaini missing. My question from day one: Why did we waste money on Kone??

I'm all for giving Martinez his chance but, as in DM's case, money promised never showed up. Unfortunately I feel pessimistic about the coming season, especially if we lose our only assets to the billionaires... I just hope I'm wrong.

Rahman Talib
40 Posted 13/08/2013 at 12:15:45
"Many called for the local blacksmith to see if he could straighten a Croatian foot."

Are there still blacksmiths in England today?

Colin Glassar
41 Posted 13/08/2013 at 12:22:30
Peter Laing, Fer is suspended so that's one doomsday prophesy erm.......doomed.
Colin Malone
42 Posted 13/08/2013 at 16:13:54
Unbelievable. one friendly and the critics are out. It MIGHT take time for the players to adapt to Roberto,s way of playing, so let's get behind the team and install confidence. So come on all you blues, give him time.
Andrew Wilson
43 Posted 17/08/2013 at 09:28:30
No doubt Real Betis were the better team, although this friendly did come after 3 tough matches in the States. I noticed Pienaar and Baines didn't link up as much. Pienaar seemed to be playing further up, so Baines couldn't overlap him.

In the first half none of our midfielders seemed comfortable taking the ball from the defenders and starting a move, often giving away possession in our own half.

I wondered whether a 4-2-3-1 formation would work better, allowing our two attacking minded full backs to get more involved in the game. I guess we'll just have to sit tight, be patient and see what happens over the season.

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