West Bromwich Albion 1 - 1 Everton
There are many qualities that Champions League-level teams possess, none more crucial than the combination of real strength in depth of ability and single-minded drive and intensity to push on and earn all three points from awkward encounters such as Everton's trip to The Hawthorns this evening.
Financial constraints are an obvious impediment to Roberto Martinez being able to add genuine quality in every position in his squad – although he should have an indeterminate amount of cash burning a hole in his pocket this month following the sale of £40m worth of talent since late August – but if his Everton have shown anything so far this season it's that they can grind out victory even when not playing at their best. Not tonight, and it was a big opportunity missed to move back into the top four.
Martinez has lamented the cost to his team's potential points tally of some of those draws earlier in the season and he should be equally frustrated at coming away from this game with just a point... though not for the performance his players did produce and more for the one they didn't in the second half.
Having established the platform from which they could put this game to bed against a very ordinary West Brom side with Kevin Mirallas' well-taken goal four minutes before the break, the Blues proved incapable of moving into another gear when it mattered in the second half. Instead, they allowed the Baggies to grow in confidence as the match progressed and carve out an equaliser through, of all players, Diego Lugano with 15 minutes to go.
The Uruguayan defender atoned for his role in Mirallas' goal with a lunging header from which he powered home James Morrisson's cross. It was a goal that stirred the Blues from their torpor for a fairly meek late charge for a winner but that crucial second that would have propelled them back into the Champions League places never came, despite Sylvain Distin turning the ball into the net with the last kick of the game but from a clearly offside position.
Frankly, a victory would probably have flattered Everton and been rough justice on West Brom who did enough over the 90 minutes to reward new manager Pepe Mel with his first point. Whether it was the sub-standard pitch or a collective malaise, the Blues struggled to find their rhythm and, with the home side pressing the back four high up the field, there was less of the Martinez-inspired possession game that has become a feature of the campaign and a lot more long ball from the back than we're now used to.
Ironically, it was balls forward that created the game's first chance, one that Lukaku dropped well wide as he attempted to steer it over Ben Foster who was well off his goal line, and Mirallas' goal.
In between, Bryan Oviedo, playing instead of Steven Pienaar but in an unfamiliar role on the right side of midfield, flashed two decent efforts wide of Foster's left-hand post: the first, a volley after the ball came back in following a defensive clearance; the second a left-footed shot off Lukaku's cross.
More openings followed but James McCarthy's first-time, side-foot shot from Mirallas's cross was planted straight into the 'keeper's arms in the 17th minute before the Belgian ended a good run by cutting inside his man and also firing straight down Foster's throat. Then, Seamus Coleman tried to place a shot from the angle into the far corner of the goal but his effort was blocked and cleared.
While Everton looked the more likely side in what was a fairly niggly first half, the threat posed by Nicolas Anelka was always present but he was restricted to one wayward attempt to bend a shot around Tim Howard from the corner of the penalty area.
Having not really got their passing game going at all, it was hardly surprising that the Blues' goal came from a very direct approach. Distin launched a ball forward to Lukaku who rose above his marker and headed into the path of Mirallas. He accelerated in front of Lugano with ease and calmly slotted it inside Foster's near post.
If Martinez's half-time instructions had been to go for the jugular by scoring a decisive second, the message did not appear to have filtered through to the players, whose lethargy persisted after the break and allowed Mel to gain more of a foothold in the game with targeted substitutions.
The first of them was Victor Anichebe, and were it not for a smart, last-ditch challenge by Phil Jagielka, the former Everton striker might have leveled the game in the 55th minute, but his former teammate did enough to stifle his close-range shot and Howard smothered the loose ball.
Similar to the frustrating draw at Stoke on New Year's Day, the Blues just didn't seem able to keep the ball and exert the kind of control over the game that we have come to expect under Martinez. And yet they still fashioned a chance for Mirallas to volley a few yards wide from Coleman's cross before the same player dipped a direct free kick narrowly over the crossbar after he'd been blocked off by Lugano 20-odd yards from goal.
With Leon Osman looking increasingly laboured as the match wore on, Oviedo looking a little uncomfortable on the right flank and Leighton Baines curiously subdued on the other, Everton's performance was visibly lacking pep and imagination. And when Lukaku was dispossessed near the halfway line trying to take Howard's long throw in his stride, the Baggies powered into the gap that regularly seemed to open up in front of Baines in the second period to build a move down their right flank. Anichebe fed the ball on to Morrisson and he twisted his way past the attentions of both Baines and McCarthy to squeeze a cross to Lugano who did the rest with an unstoppable header.
It was a goal that you felt had been coming and Martinez responded, belatedly, with his first substitutions, the first forced on him by an ominous-looking injury to Coleman which saw John Stones come on to play at right back, and the second where he introduced Aiden McGeady for Oviedo.
Though the Irish international showed a couple of nice touches and some much-needed speed of thought there wasn't much end product as Everton went in search of a winner in the closing stages. A late free kick near the corner flag that Baines whipped into the mixer had the traveling fans' hearts ready to leap out of their chests when it dropped to Barry with clear sight of goal but when Distin, standing yards offside, diverted his low shot into the net, his "goal" was predictably ruled out.
With the need to secure three points at every opportunity so acute, this draw represents a massive disappointment... the kind of setback for which only a derby win at Anfield can atone, really! The hope, expectation and support is there but the Blues just fell a little flat when this tricky away game demanded so much more, particularly after they had gained the upper hand with the first goal.
In many ways, it was a display reminiscent of the previous regime and the manner in which Everton started to fall away from Champions League qualification this time last year when sufficient reinforcements failed to materialise in the January transfer window. Of course, sitting just a point off fourth and having been beaten just twice all season, it's far too premature to suggest that this campaign is heading the same way. It does represent a challenge for Martinez, though, in his first season in charge to not only motivate and inspire the players he currently has but to also inject the quality needed to keep this team in the hunt for the top four all the way to May. Otherwise 2013-14 will go down as another missed opportunity for Everton Football Club.
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913 Posted 20/01/2014 at 23:50:13
When Coleman would have been a better option playing on the right side of midfield because he has a goal in him, with Stones in his accustomed position at right back and Oviedo on the left side of midfield where he is natural left footer and drives down the left side before getting a cross in.
Lukaku got barely any crosses played to him all night; while Osman look stranded all night not knowing what to do next while pushed aside by WBA players. At times with Osman,Everton appeared to have 9 outfield players.
914 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:00:45
919 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:10:43
The second part of your comment---- unwilliing to spend the money sounds par for the course from our beloved chairman.
In regards to Lukaku,s performance --didnt sampson loose his power after gettimg his hair chopped off
921 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:09:25
Couldn't think of worse timing to lay an egg, as we all know we could've made it up to 4th with a win. I just HATE that we're setting ourselves up for an impossible run out and CL failure by losing points to these lower, beatable teams. With Man U tanking and 4th really up for grabs, it would be a shame to miss out. Performances like this will guarantee that.
928 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:33:59
Go back and watch the first half like I have just done. Sure his control lets him down at times, but he put in a real shift, and the tactics were obviously for him to pull the central defenders out of position and open up space for Mirallas and Oviedo to exploit coming in from the flanks on their stronger foot.
933 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:46:37
935 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:55:25
938 Posted 21/01/2014 at 00:57:07
Bad pitch but I bet the Hawthorns is 10 times better that the one we play on at the weekend. Bobby suggested it was also dry? Did the Baggies fail to water to slow us down?
Still it's the second half of the season and after two we are 2 points better off than the corresponding fixtures at the start. Man U have 7 defeats. When they hit 10 they're out of the race. We have to beat or draw the RS and beat Spurs... it's doable!
940 Posted 21/01/2014 at 01:13:11
1 Man U 55
2 Man City 48
3 Chelsea 42
4 Spurs 40
5 Everton 37
We are 5 points to the good and a win at the other place would certainly lift the mood after tonight's disappointments, but you can't help feeling that the injuries and the inability to rotate some of the squad is going to cost us dear. The Sunderland defeat on Boxing day is perhaps the game that has put us in a worse position than we ought to have been in, having said that just under two points a game is not so bad, but only if we continue to win our home matches and snatch more than a point off some of our rivals near the top.
941 Posted 21/01/2014 at 01:39:58
Without Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu we didn't have enough to keep them on the back foot, and they were able to shove our defensive midfield and defence back to our area for large portions of the second half and play the ball on the ground.
We need cover for Barry and McCarthy, but it would also be nice to have someone who could do a similar job to Barkley in case he has further injuries this season. I doubt there will be too many of them up for grabs though.
McGeady did enough to suggest that he will be very useful when fully fit. Anyone want to comment on how grossly overweight he obviously is?
949 Posted 21/01/2014 at 02:12:22
Against WBA he had another of a long long list poor games. He was not just our worst player, he was by far the least effective player on the field and that includes all the subs.
Naismith in 10 minutes, and despite many TW critics, showed more bottle for the battle than Osman did in 80.
952 Posted 21/01/2014 at 03:46:18
Osman can only be effective when Everton are in control of a game at home or away, when shed of any midfield responsibilities he can play one twos and inter-pass around the opposition's penalty area. But not in away games when players must stand tall and not up give up any ground when the opposition are on a charge. No wonder Baines had a nightmare last night, would not you if Osman was standing near to you during last night's game?
954 Posted 21/01/2014 at 03:58:14
We're 5 points better off, yet one league placing worse off compared to the same point last season.
Goes to show that this season the bottom ten in the league have been absolutely shite at taking points off the top five (though evidently they are more than capable at taking points off us!!!!).
That is the big reason why we are where we are - I know it's been done to death, but our inability to close out the games against the likes of WBA, Palace, Norwich (a), Sunderland and Stoke (a) is what is costing us. Our record against the teams in the top half of the league by comparison is extremely good.
I'm sure we'll see a different team at Mordor next week and the guys will be up for it, as always let's hope for that little bit of luck to get us over the line. Firstly, a decent ref, and secondly, no more fecking injuries!!!!
957 Posted 21/01/2014 at 04:32:03
Not a great performance, tuck the point onto the scorecard, move on.
959 Posted 21/01/2014 at 04:33:12
967 Posted 21/01/2014 at 04:49:53
968 Posted 21/01/2014 at 05:41:31
970 Posted 21/01/2014 at 05:48:26
I wouldn't look to the Board for inspiration either. If they are truly looking to sell the club, then in crude terms it's better for them personally to use a trading surplus to pay down debt, rather than invest in the squad. Yes he's a true Blue but he still wants to make his millions like any other shrewd business owner!
971 Posted 21/01/2014 at 05:54:39
We showed injuries are beginning to take their toll on the way we play.
972 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:03:05
That said, I agree with the comment above that there is no excuse, whatever the players available, for being outfought.
Did we learn anything?
Well, to no great surprise we found that Oviedo isn't a right midfielder.
We need another striking option as soon as possible
Tony Hibbert won't start a game ever again.
973 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:15:54
Today, Everton do not even have a No 9 who belongs to the club but, even though he is a good player, we have a loan player from Chelsea.
I realise that it is difficult these days to find players but Everton need a No 9 to follow the tradition.
978 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:43:13
980 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:53:22
Martinez has seriously got to look to get in a decent striker with a reasonable scoring ratio especially if he has in the region of £40 million to spend. Osman is simply not cut out to support a striker and should be coming of the bench and, although Barkley can play in the supporting role, I still feel we need someone who is going help out Lukaku and possible chip in with 10-12 goals a season. We desperately need to start playing with two strikers and give the opposition something to think about.
983 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:36:59
989 Posted 21/01/2014 at 06:46:57
He was too lightweight for the WBA's center backs.
He kept getting knocked down.
Should have made the sub earlier.
001 Posted 21/01/2014 at 08:20:49
I hope BK loosens the purse strings, and brings in some quality. There are too many out injured and those who aren't, look tired. Can't say I'm to confident about the Derby; or Stevenage match, for that matter.
This is where we get to see what kind of a motivator Roberto is.
015 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:18:36
We had an opportunity last January to push on and achieve European football and blew it. We have an opportunity this January to go one better and qualify for Champions League. Are we going to blow it again?
You looked at the bench last night and the options were not great, Is the club not allowed to buy a player other than on loan?
016 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:08:30
Although it was a bad day for Blues yesterday, we need to put things into perspective - we have had the following players injured/missing for long periods of time this season - Baines, Pienaar, Barkley, Distin, Deulofeu, Jagielka, Kone, Alcaraz, Gibson - and now, possibly Coleman. Martinez is slowly building the team in his mould. Next season, we may see some of the loanees coming back into the squad as possible 1st teamers - Duffy, Lundstram, Junior, etc. However, we do need to purchase at least 2 quality players - 1 a top-class striker to replace Lukaku, 1 a mid-field creator in the mould of Arteta/Mata/Cazorla.
This season, once we start getting our players back, we should be good for a late charge at the Top 4, just as the others start to fade away.
019 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:30:57
The reality of our situation is a likely seventh place finish although seventh under this manager will be much better to watch.
023 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:29:32
Without coming over all "Fat Sam" injuries were the main reason why we didn't compete. To many tired or in the case of Osman totally inefectual players out there.
Take away Barkley, Deulofeu and Pienaar and it's no wonder we lack the cutting edge and service to Lukaku.
I also think that Baines back in the squad has unsettled Oviedo , who was having a very constructive time at left back. Left midfielder, he ain't.
026 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:50:05
029 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:54:12
Mourinho states that you need two 11s to compete in the premier league. With injuries we barely have one yet are competing for fourth and playing (on the whole) good football.
030 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:45:57
Also badly missing Deulofeu and hopefully have him back for the run in.
Lukaku faded rather alarmingly in the 2nd half last night and reinforcements are needed ASAP up top.
All in all, not a great result but considering the players we have missing, perhaps it was to be expected.
If we are still in touch with the pack after we've been to the shitespurs and chelski then I still think we have evry chance of a top 4 finish.
034 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:01:05
036 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:00:32
037 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:53:13
I think Daryl (001) has the right of it. Any observation we make will have been well spotted by Roberto and the coaching staff. It seemed last night, that we were just about down to the bare bones, leaving RM little in the way of options to change things around.
Without ammunition, Romelu isn't going to have much joy and I think the posts who've mentioned the injuries are right. We're left with Osman and little alternative at present, for a creative midfielder and that's one major weakness. I'm not knocking him as I'm sure he does his best but he always seems to me to be lightweight. And as well as needing a creator, we also need our midfielders to boss the midfield, and I don't think he can.
Whether Roberto has the £40 million or so that we've received in transfers, is a mute point. I don't think he'll have anything like that amount. Hope I'm wrong but no matter how good a manager we've got and how creative he is with loans and bringing on the young lads in the Academy, we are still stuck with a Board who have done fuck all for the last ten years and I'll be surprised to see them change.
042 Posted 21/01/2014 at 09:45:47
What is less forgivable is what Lyndon describes as the "torpor" that seemed to characterise the display. It was inevitable that the side would be less creative given the injuries, but the lack of a sense of urgency in the second half was concerning. Mirallas was the exception – always seemed up for it. Jags also had a good game.
To my eyes, Martinez does need to take a share of the blame. That formation didn't really work. Putting Osman on the left revealed all the usual problems and meant that there was little penetration down that flank. Oviedo wasn't bad, but the shape was wrong. In the second half, Chris Brunt caused us a lot of problems down that flank with the pace he had.
It was very instructive watching Anichebe, who as someone has remarked, gave a lesson in hold up play – always his strength. It certainly isn't Lukaku's! But we are not playing to his and defenders are crowding him out. Unless we can bring in new faces quickly, I fear for the next few games until Brakley, Pienaar and Del return.
043 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:10:13
Romelu Lukaku completed only 46% of his passes and missed the target with both of his shots against West Brom - and we were relying on this guy as our No 1 threat up front. As I've said in the past, his first touch is atrocious. We turned over possession every time we got in the last third.
West Brom targeted our front three with a physical approach, and they wilted. Add to that a poor tactical approach and we were lucky to come out with a point.
I can take no positives from last night – the worst performance in years.
044 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:12:34
Originally I had you pegged as a Moyesophile which meant you were predisposed to be anti-RM. I don't think that's the case anymore after reading more of your posts. I do agree that whilst the team is performing "better" and is easier on the eye most of the time, the faults we had in the last couple of seasons - failing to put away matches etc. are still there this season.
046 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:25:13
We had a great build up to the match in probably the best pub in the world (WBA away will be a regular for me now)... forget the name of the place but it was a 'Tandoori Pub' and was epic!
As for the game, we should have been 2 or 3 up at half time, with good shifts from Barry, Oviedo, Jags and Distin. They came right back into it in the 2nd half, but up until the 60 / 70 min mark we looked a threat on the break, and Mirallas looked a real threat (despite a lot of poor play, I thought he was our main attacking hope). In the end, a point was fair.
Below par from Baines, Coleman, Osman, and a real shocker from the disinterested Lukaku. I thought Barry was our best player throughout the 90 mins, but all in all a disappointing result away at one of the poorer sides in the league.
049 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:39:40
We gave them far too much respect and Martinez gave their new manager too much respect. Call me naive but if we would have kept the same formation as what we have done all season and played half as well we would have walked away with the game by half time.
We will get slaughtered in the derby if he plays the same formation.
054 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:08:49
We have a squad, we have a budget, end of story.
055 Posted 21/01/2014 at 10:54:54
059 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:26:03
060 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:32:35
061 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:24:14
What Kenwright and so many on here expect of the manager is totally irrational. All teams will suffer injuries and suspensions and bases need to be covered. This is particularly so in an age where there are half-a-dozen clubs with money to burn.
I'm a pragmatist so I don't dream of achieving too much so don't make those demands or have great expectations
ps: The FA Cup would be nice, though!
065 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:38:04
067 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:31:22
It's time for somebody at the club to delve into the video archives and get some clips of Sharpie to show to Lukaku how its done.
Or get Sharpie to give him some coaching?
"This is how you chest or trap the ball son, you then protect it like this while waiting for support from your team mates, who will then overwhelm the opposition defence!"
069 Posted 21/01/2014 at 11:55:54
People who are laying into Kenwright are wrong - we have brought in players as best we can at this point.
070 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:10:54
071 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:22:31
073 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:25:23
074 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:30:12
075 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:31:57
076 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:33:06
By the way, with Barkley, Coleman, Deulofeu all unavailable for the showdown with the Red Shite, I would take a draw now. We can't lose ground on them twats, but we can stay in touch and as we recover from injuries and the new lads bed in we can finish the season strong and ahead of them. How Tottenham carry on performing is another question though.
080 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:57:42
081 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:41:18
The match highlighted that we havn't enough quality players in the squad, its the same old story, get injuries to some key players & its enough to affect our play considerably!
Hardly a surprise though, even the money clubs suffer if they have certain players missing.
Is not a disaster, look at rs. last match, they were thought of as a virtual certainty to beat Villa!
082 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:55:37
Lukaku has been poor for too long and is under no pressure to perform (no competition). His first touch when he eventually gets the ball is that of a Sunday League player. His value is plummeting after every performance.
Last night he wasn't the only one under performing. Baines, Distin and McCarthy didn't turn up. It's obvious we need a better squad but the starting eleven didn't start at all. Mirallas to be fair upped his game because he looked at the bench and saw competition coming soon from McGeady.
I think Roberto royally fucked up last night with his selection and tactics. Ossie on the wing is so wrong on so many levels. He has no pace, no legs and fuck all strength and too easily put off the ball. We shouldn't be relying on RB solely for creativity. Our big problem is we have no depth in our midfield or forward lines. Its Dave-ja vu all over again.
Ossie and Naismith playing for our club is a joke. If we are to aspire for any European football they have to go. I have been an Everton supporter for over 50 years now and was really encouraged by some of our play this season but in the last few weeks we have been as poor as some of our early 90s performances.
The ginger one has cast his spell on Roberto. Roberto encouraging his defenders to hoof it up to Lukaku, who incidentally had drifted to the wing, was shocking.
Sorry for the depressing tone but I'm pissed off and waited until today to post as last night I was really angry at the team for their total lack of passion.
083 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:10:03
That's the benefit of low expectations, you don't get too disappointed. I'm not sure it's an attitude I'd want pervading the dressing room though, it's likely to become self fulfilling.
That being said there is some real world class over reaction going on here. A bad day at the office but roll on next Tuesday.
I may have said it before but I am reminded of John Cleese in Clockwork which often reminds me of what an being an Evertonian sometimes feels like.
As a time obsessed headmaster he is desperately trying to get to Norwich to receive an award. Having been thwarted at every turn he is sat at the roadside, and told don't despair there's always hope.
"It's not the despair, .... I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand."
084 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:16:55
We looked heavy legged last night, no-one has mentioned how poor a game McCarthy had, probably his first, hopefully his last. I was particularly disappointed in how uncommitted he seemed in allowing their cross to reach Lugana for the goal.
We also failed to play to Lukaku's strengths in playing balls behind defenders, everything was played to him with his back to goal.
However, a point away is always a good point and I'll take that an move on.
086 Posted 21/01/2014 at 12:52:03
God help us at Stevenage.
087 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:28:34
Thus he – and we – have no alternative but to settle for being 'near misses'.
088 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:07:30
Up until a couple of years ago players like Lampard, Terry were playing almost 60 games a season. Certainly I can remember players saying that when they were on a roll they couldn't wait for games to come quick enough and never wanted to be left out.
Villa have played as many games as us this season and their players managed to put in a shift on Saturday. I will accept we played shite last night but let's not use tiredness as an excuse.
093 Posted 21/01/2014 at 13:50:23
I would love to see the stats from Osman last night, especially that first half, because to me that was the worst performance I have seen in an Everton shirt all season. Can anyone get some stats on here to reassure me that I'm not losing my mind?
098 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:09:08
Like most fans have already said, it was a bad day at the office last night with too many putting in sub-standard performances. As someone else has already said somewhere on ToffeeWeb, I was disappointed with Baines's cheating by pretending he had been fouled in the first half near their goal, and he got a free kick for it. I don't like that one bit from any player, even more so from one who represents my chosen team. Its time we saw a bit more from him, if he really is going to sign a new deal, then give value for money to those hard working fans who make these salaries possible.
Overall, as Harold Matthews said so succinctly, they turned up (second half) and we didn't.
Must do better at Anfield. Much better!
100 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:35:14
Perhaps a week in Russia might have provided a contrast the Hawthorns would have improved on!
105 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:17:48
Roberto Martinez has given us hope of success by a combination of good buys and loans. I would hope that, in the Summer, we will build on what we've got but going on past seasons, I'm not holding my breath.
It's sad that we have injuries to the players in the first team that we don't have good replacements for. As soon as Berkley, Pienaar and Deolofeu are back from injury we will have a decent squad again, and later on perhaps Gibson and Kone back in, then we'll see how we fare.
106 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:44:36
Well if your not losing your mind, Martinez (and Moyes before him} must be as they keep selecting him.
107 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:47:47
109 Posted 21/01/2014 at 14:53:20
114 Posted 21/01/2014 at 15:16:32
117 Posted 21/01/2014 at 15:02:56
Pienaar was a big loss for us last night his work rate and ability to keep hold of the ball was greatly missed.As for Lukaku still don't think we play to his strengths lost count of the number of times he was signaling where he wanted the ball passed to him and he was ignored.
Still think where in a great position though and hopefully we wont play as badly in our next.We all have bigger expectations now with Roberto at the helm and have to remember that you cannot play great every game.
129 Posted 21/01/2014 at 15:09:10
Osman and Naismith must be sold or let go asap.
New players on loan is the solution and I hope Martinez is not kidding himself with the Naismith as a striker because it is insane to think he has anything at all to offer this club.
We can not afford to have deadbeats like Osman, Naismith and Gueye any longer.
To suggest we have a shot at 4th with these players is a joke.
Martinez has still not figured out how crap Osman and Naismith is, no doubt Martinez is not a ready made top manager but he needs to learn quicker than this.
His hype of Osman this season is just an example of this.
130 Posted 21/01/2014 at 16:02:36
I just don't understand why the players are all getting hamstrings, is it down to those silly boots as is the case with the broken toes?
Talking of broken toes I thought that Barkley's was a "minor" issue and he wouldn't be out for too long, yet we still don't know what is happening. Same with Deloufe.
The club's web site states they are waiting for a work permit for the new giant striker. He's another one with a dodgy hamstring.
It's a shame our season could hinge on the fact that we have a tiny squad and have been cursed with injuries. Long term at that.
I knew last night would be a bummer. if you look at the games the team have played after a period out, internationals etc, they are always playing like a park team after a night on the ale
185 Posted 21/01/2014 at 20:02:03
290 Posted 21/01/2014 at 22:36:15
We all know that City and Chelsea have larger squads but this is our best for many years and if Traore signs we have what looks like a decent striker who can knit things together.Lukaku on form will run at defences and score goals but he hasn't the ability yet to knit play together.
Lay off Ossie chaps – he looked poor last night but so did a lot of others. He is not my first choice but he always does his best and it's not his fault if he gets knocked around by bigger aggressive players.In an ideal world he'd be on the bench but we were down to the bare bones last night.
Roberto will sort them out!
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