A hamstring problem forced Lacina Traore to be withdrawn from the starting line-up selected by Roberto Martinez after he announced a side that featured one change, with Leon Osman in for Ross Barkley. Naismith stepped in to replace the stricken Ivorian.

Chelsea started off with a couple of early corners after Jagielka was mugged trying to play out from the back. But Everton took the ball forward, first on their left, then the right where Coleman won a free kick that was swung in to no effect by Baines. Chelsea then threatened with Oscar firing wide.

Baines did get behind the Chelsea defence and crossed for Coleman waiting in the area but Azpilicueta intercepted. Another Chelsea corner threatened but it was defended away and Oscar then took out Naismith and got a very early yellow card.

Some super football saw Naismith lay off a nice opportunity that Osman lashed goalward first time, forcing a good reaction save from Cech but the corners came to nothing — a reflection of the Martinez way?

Everton created another opportunity from some good play, Mirallas fluffing his shot but forcing another corner that came to nothing. But the visitors were making a good fist of it, pressing Chelsea well, and working hard for the ball, drawing Chelsea fouls. But it was tending toward good possession with no pace as an Everton attack stalled in a free-kick that Baines swung to the far post during a really good spell from Everton.

Chelsea were starting to get a little frustrated watching Everton pas the ball around them but finally mounted something of an attack but Barry stopped it as an intriguing midfield battle started to dominate.

Chelsea did force their way forward on the half-hour and finally got a shot away after some very well organized defending by Everton. Naismith was being a real terrier up front, but was denied a corner in a poor decision by Probert that allowed Chelsea to push Everton back again although it came to nothing and Everton broke well down the right, Coleman crossing and Osman forcing a defensive corner that was taken short, swung in to Jagielka by Pienaar but it was just behind him and glanced wide.

More defending was required until Eto'o dug out a shot that Howard saved well, and Everton were on the attack again, winning a couple more corners. Mirallas took the next one and it was much better, for Jagielka at the near post, but Chelsea got lucky, went up the other end and won a corner themselves off Willian's deflected shot, but it was headed wide by Terry.

Pienaar gave away a needless foul but it and the follow-up was again defended superbly by Everton. A nice-looking break down the middle led by McCarthy appeared to be the breakthrough but somehow they contrived to lose the opportunity. However, in the next attack, the ball sat up perfectly for Mirallas but his execution was disgraceful, when he had time to pick his shot and drove it horribly off target. A late free-kick came to nothing, bringing the half to a close goalless.

Ramires replaced Oscar at the break and started to get in it with Pienaar on the ground, much to Osman's annoyance. But Probert only gave a drop ball. Lampard got behind the Everton line and had couple of bites of the cherry and then won a corner after demanding a penalty. A couple of good Chelsea corners caused some panic, and Barry was then rather harshly penalized for his challenge but Willian did nothing with a very well-placed free-kick.

Chelsea were making a stronger fist of it since the break; would Martinez wait until the hour-mark to make some changes?Osman was fading, Matic batting him aside with ease. But it was Osman who fired one in that was deflected by Mirallas and forced a good save by Cech at the near post; however, Distin got himself offside following the corner.

Hazard and then Ivanovich forced good saves from Howard, but Everton could not break as Mourinho made another change, Torres replacing Willian... while Martinez finally decided to swap in Barkley with 25 mins left as Chelsea continued to force the pace,

The urgency for Chelsea was palpable as Everton stumped them and played it forward but a great move was stalled by Pienaar, much to Barkley's frustration, while Mirallas was having one of those days where the ball just would not run or play for him.

The game became a little scrappy for a while as neither team played with much fluidity until all the changes had settled in, with Martinez finally looking to Deulofeu to replace Mirallas who had an awful game.

Distin had been superb in defence for Everton, denying Chelsea at crucial moments. Everton tried to get Deulofeu and Barkley to link up but they had only 10 minutes to change this so far all too predictable (if admirable) performance, as McGeady replaced the a very frustrating Pienaar, who had slowed down far too many promising moves — but why so late?

Barkley did brilliantly to challenge for the ball on the Chelsea byeline but his ball to Deulofeu was lacking. Barry got a yellow as he had to block Lampard. Still time for Everton to nick one but Barkley went down too easily for a penalty, tripping on the ball. Naismith landed awkwardly and may have damaged his ankle as the game entered the final 5 mins.

Torres got a soft free-kick from contact by Baines that upset the Everton players but it was defended away as Chelsea pushed for the winner and Everton were reduced to hoofing when Barkley very poorly misplaced a crucial pass to Coleman. Ramires came close with a superb strike from nothing.

Barkley then ran the ball out under pressure, while Deulofeu could not get a touch, with 5 mins of added time on the board. Jagielka was booked for a poor block on Ramires, giving up a very dangerous free-kick that was powered in by Terry whose energy and determination startled Howard, forcing the Everton keeper to put the ball in his own net and win the game for Chelsea. An galling reward for greater intention shown by the Chelsea captain when the ball should have been Howard's.

A late free kick swung in by Baines and the follow-up won a late corner, driven in far too low. and the Everton attack came to nothing. A cruel but all too predictable end to an ultimately crucial defeat that probably ends any hopes of a league finish in the European slots for an ultimately dejected Everton side.

Scorer: Howard (og:90+2')

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Lampard, Matic, Willian (61' Torres), Oscar Y:25' (46' Ramires), Hazard, Eto'o (69' Schurrle).
Subs not Used: Cole, Salah, Ba, Schwarzer.

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry Y:83', Mirallas (75' Deulofeu), Osman (64' Barkley), Pienaar (81' McGeady), Traore (injured in warm-up), Naismith.
Subs not Used: Robles, Hibbert, Stones, Garbutt.

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 41,580

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Timothy Sebastian
410 Posted 22/02/2014 at 12:47:00
Unbelievable. ...Traore out !!!
Jim Bennings
413 Posted 22/02/2014 at 12:53:40
I am now starting to feel even more convinced I was right that we should not have been pursuing this Traore deal as urgently as we did. The guy is clearly not going to be right before the end of the season, then he has to acclimatise to the English league and then... he goes back.

Totally pointless!

The team looks weak to me today, very small in stature compared to Chelsea and for me we don't look like we have many goals in us. Hope it's not going to be a case of bringing on the attacking options when we are losing the game again

Shahul Hameed
414 Posted 22/02/2014 at 12:56:07
Very little shown in terms of possession itself in first 10 minutes.
Jim Bennings
415 Posted 22/02/2014 at 12:56:53
When does Martinez plan to start using McGeady? I would have thought he may have started ahead of Pienaar today and see what he's like fitness wise, he clearly is not going to get match fit sitting on the bench.
Shahul Hameed
416 Posted 22/02/2014 at 12:57:29
Wasting of corners again. May need to wait until next season for one of our central defenders to score.
Jim Bennings
417 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:16:57
Let's hope this wont be a carbon copy of the White Hart Lane trip.

While we are not quite dominating this, we haven't been in any real trouble. The annoying thing again is our lack of cutting edge yet again...

Oh and we have already had three corners that we have failed with... Just thought I'd say!

Timothy Sebastian
418 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:34:54
Naismith is doing well. But what's up with Mirallas again? Why can't we take our chances?
Sam Greenwood
419 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:36:34
Jagielka and Distin have been great so far, hope they can keep it up. Wish Mirallas had the touch when the ball isn't dead.
Tony J Williams
420 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:38:49
Fat Sam must be pissing himself laughing at the the close call he had with the sick-note Traore.
Max Wilson
421 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:36:11
Half Time: This is the way we needed to play. Great work but still, no final penetration. Mirallas isn't playing well, I'd haul him off and bring on Deulofeu and as Osman tires, bring on Barkley. Chelsea will come at us harder and we need to get them on the break, so fresh legs will help.

As for Traore, he looks like he's still crocked. Our Medics didn't do much of a job assessing him when he first came over did they?

We need to stay focused and go for it.COYB!

Kevin Rowlands
422 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:43:22
Decent first half but were crying out for a physical presence up front. Don't get me wrong, I like Naismith... but thank goodness Lukaku is back next week.

As for Traore, it's not going to happen, is it?

Paul Cullinane
423 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:44:03
Forget Traore!! It is what it is – we have play with what we've got. We look as good as them, we just need that bit of luck that the RS get IMO. I thought before the start that this game is going to decided by a mistake or a set piece. Believe. COYB
Andy Meighan
425 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:45:17
As Jim said, I just hope this is not another Spurs. It's taking the same pattern. That aside, we've made these look quite ordinary. But, for all our lovely little intricate passing and possession, we don't look a goal threat.

These twats on BT – it's "Jose this, Jose that".... they don't call Martinez "Roberto", snivelling cunts. That prick James is desperate for these to win. Let's shut him up. COYB

Jim Bennings
427 Posted 22/02/2014 at 13:55:19
It's not about luck, mate, you don't score the amount of goals the Shite do all down to luck. We look great until we reach the final third, but nothing after that, what's new there?

I predict the usual concentration lapse in the second half and we lose the game 1-0 just like at Spurs. Playing well only means something if you get points/goals to show for it.

Shahul Hameed
428 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:06:57
Cutting edge missing as every attack is slowed down when there are few players in their half.
Shahul Hameed
429 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:38:39
Ref awards free-kick for something trivial to get Chelsea to win. Another game without a clean-sheet.
Henry Jones
430 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:42:20
We just don't look like scoring. A bit worrying but I'm sure we will build on this. I can't see us scoring ever again.
Ciarán McGlone
431 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:42:30
I don't know what's going on with Barkley at the moment.. but he's playing absolute tripe.
Jim Bennings
432 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:42:29
Well, well, well... same old Everton. Is this really any different to the Everton of last season? I am starting to ask myself.

No goal threat, never hardly score a goal away from home, and basically we look very very very punchless.

Martinez and the board got it BADLY BADLY WRONG in January.

We'd have been better off keeping Jelavic than sitting on the £7 million... but don't worry, eh, lads — we can keep the money til the summer and then spend it on more shite because we don't have the REAL money to get top-drawer players.

Ralph Basnett
433 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:40:33
Small squad and lack of investment means seasons always fade out!

Barkley maybe one for the future but, since he has been back, it is one for the distant future. He seemed to be playing with a huge immaturity. And please don’t come back with his age – Rooney et al have all done it at his age.

Referee decisions once again not clear cut but can’t take anything away from Chelsea who scored when it mattered.

A Man Utd win puts us out of any distant chances of European football and really does show how far we are from the top.

Delboy didn’t get one opportunity to run at a very average old Chelsea defence surely shows that our players on the park don’t realise each others strengths.

All-in-all, it’s a same old same old — loads of possession but in the wrong areas and with zero end result.

And I have already renewed my season ticket!!!!!!!!!

Max Wilson
434 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:43:02
One-Nil. Disappointed we didn't manage to come away with a point but proud of the lads. Chelsea, one of the richest clubs in Europe, know they've been lucky. We know where we are weak and perhaps it's time we gave some of our promising youngsters a chance.
Stephen Coles
435 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:42:18
So frustrating being an Everton fan! Another game we could have won with a simple pass. Barkley is getting worse each game, he just doesn't seem to know what to do when he gets the ball.
Clive Lewis
436 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:45:34
Very disappointing... not really by the score but the performance second half was a panic and no real shape. I thought the substitutions were naive. Osman for Barkley was a terible decision, Mirallas was playing well. Naive and lacked any kind of organisation second half. When I think of the future, I see this as maybe being the start of nothingness.
Nick Entwistle
437 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:44:26
Chelsea took control of the area just outside our box and Martinez had no options on the bench to add another midfielder. If Barry or McCarthy get injured, we’re screwed.

Subbing like for like attacking players was wholly ineffectual but what else could he do?

Is this another January where Bill screws our chances yet again? A fat Scottish bloke who looks like he was spotted in the Park End and a Brett Angel with a dodgy knee? We had a healthier team when Gravesen Mk II turned up.

What’s Plan B, Roberto? — because we’ve gone flat.

Mark Robson
438 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:46:43
I cannot believe how awful Barkley was. Not only lost possession continually but absolutely zero effort. Simply not good enough!
Kris Boner
439 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:43:52
Feel sorry for Naismith. His better performances are as a secondary striker off the the bench. More room for him to work, and somebody else takes the knocks to let him do the smart stuff. Leading the line we lose the ability to hold the ball up as physical centre-halves batter him towards the end of the game.

Mirallas blows hot and cold too much, which is why he cost what he did. Barkley is still not there, come on and actually looked a lot worse than Osman. Deulofeu didn't get the ball once in an effective area.

I'm looking at McGeady with a little more hope though, he liked to stick his foot in which might make him a better go to defensive winger than Naismith meaning that Naismith will only get put behind/alongside the striker.

Defence was strong and good all day, but as Barry lost energy in the 2nd half the gaps became noticeable. Our defence is only as good as the midfield sitting in front of them and over 90 minutes were only really have 80% of a central midfield as Barry is getting on.

I thought we were very unlucky to lose today and I'm not going to overly criticise Howard after a very good performance. He didn't lose us the game. Sure the free-kick was a dive, but there were plenty of people who didn't head the ball before it got to Howard, under pressure, at pace. A lot of 'keepers will struggle in that situation.

Jim Bennings
440 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:45:55
I didn't think I would say this but, under Martinez, we look every bit as toothless and punchless as we did under Moyes. The only difference I can see is different players being toothless.

That's 4 defeats in 9 matches now anyway, so much for the old 'we don't lose many' purists. We don't friggin win many either though do we?

Truth is, we have been totally shite since before Christmas, our goal threat is bare minimum, even before Lukaku got injured. That is exactly why, I was craving some proper FIT new signings who could make a big difference to us maybe finishing 4th, now we don't look any better than finishing in our usual magnificent 7th again.

The Arsenal game is MONUMENTAL for the season now: lose that, and it's just our usual trot abouts from March to May where we look good when we are not playing with any pressure.

Same old shit, I am afraid.

Anto Byrne
441 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:42:57
Howard Howler. No bite upfront. Osman and Naismith just don't cut it for me. Mirallas a bit of a headless chook. All that good work thrown away by the keeper, but what's new? — he was due to fuck up sometime. Pretty gutted with the result. For all that possession we never look like scoring. Top four has gone!!!! Fucking shambles.
Björn Håll
442 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:50:58
Fucking biased ref and Hollywood Chelsea players. And the fuck Mourinho can do whatever he wants. He was on the field for Christ's sake.
Barry Rathbone
443 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:47:32
Jim Benning you sound positively triumphal with your "well, well, well" and "same Everton as last season" declaration.

I wonder why?

Ciarán McGlone
444 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:54:11
Some shit being posted on here. Was a great game and a great performance.

We played them off the park for long periods.

Barry Rathbone
445 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:55:30
Haha — as I was typing, Bennings answers with "no different to Moyes" shite...

Get a grip, lad.

Steve Brown
446 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:56:36
Dont know what game some people watched today. I am very proud of the team – we didn't deserve that.
Nick Entwistle
447 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:56:51
Sorry Ciaràn, but Mourinho letting the opposition have the ball is nothing new. Different story second half when he changed things round.
Tom Bowers
448 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:52:16
Typical isn't it? Just like the Spurs game. Good approach play but no finishing. Chelsea not much better but they got the points.

We were seriously lacking in offensive qualities from the midfield to the front two. Mirallas has lousy ball control. Naismith has no pace but works hard and is not enough. Lukaku won't change anything much.

Wheels off now and Europa League looking remote at this rate. Osman had one good shot but easily brushed aside. And next we've got to come back to North London yet again in the cup. What a prospect. 18 years since they won here?

Raymond Fox
449 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:46:43
The game changed when Barkley & Del Boy replaced Pienaar & Osman. We then started to lose the ball on every play. Barkley was rubbish, I'm afraid, he contributed nothing.

For the doom merchants, don't forget we're playing the top of the PL in their backyard! We played some great football first half, they weren't in the game at all.

Give Martinez the money (fat chance!) & we could really challenge the top 4.

Andy Kay
450 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:53:53
All the momentum and good work shown by the usual whipping boys of Osman and Naismith was undone by an utter shite 30 minutes from England's new boy wonder Ross Barkley. He kept giving the ball away, not challenging, and looked like he couldn't be arsed! Doesn't deserve a place on the bench after that today. Brazil in the summer? needs to wake up and start playing for Everton again!!!! Shite!
Tony J Williams
451 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:55:42
But Ciaran, just like with Spurs, ultimately it means naff all playing them off the park when we have a return of Nil Points from six.

We pass the ball pretty but ultimately we have a Belgian who shits himself when it comes to shooting, A Scotsman who can actually shoot and knows where the goal is but no-one gets the ball to him in a dangerous position, the "new Rooney" who isn't match fit and is stinking the gaffe out... and that's the extent of our proposed goal threat... Oh, and a young Spaniard who is as frustrating as the Belgian.

No forwards, no goals and we are now ending up quite recently with no points.

It's not all Dad's Army time, but it's worrying how toothless we look. 3 out of our last 4 league games we haven't scored — but it's alright: we passed it well for two thirds of the game...

Roman Sidey
452 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:57:10
Only for the last year or so I've been able to "enjoy" the post match analysis from the UK commentators rather than the dumb-as-dogshit North American "soccer" journos or the Liverpool-and-Manchester-are-the-only-clubs-on-the-planet Australian blokes (Bozza and Simon Hill aside).

I already knew David James was a twat who didn't like Everton, but today has made me realise just how much he hates us. He can't keep that smug smile off his face after one of his beloved Redshite's rivals to the title has just won a match. Add to that his explanation as to why Jagielka's foul at the end was correct was full of liar's stumbles. I just don't understand how he can keep his job in the media. Twat.

Patrick Murphy
453 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:57:41
Ciaràn, I have to agree with you – apart from bad decision-making in and around the opponents area, the lads gave a really good performance and my view of the free-kick was that Jags didn't make any contact with the Chelsea player. We have to hope for as much commitment at The Emirates and a striker who will have a go when the opportunities arise. COYB
Michael Upton
454 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:55:35
What a load of tripe. Not the result or performance but the typical knee jerk reactions on here. Have you forgotten this was against the potential champions, unbeaten at home all season?

"An average Chelsea defence"??! — Four world class international defenders, you mean? "Ends all hope of European football" — Again total tosh.

We were unlucky to lose at Chelsea and have West Ham, Cardiff and Swansea at home followed by Fulham away in March. 10 pts from those and we re right in there.

Lukaku will be back soon while RM can hardly be blamed for Traore's knock. It's a hard to take in the circumstances but some people need to grow up and look at the bigger picture...

Trevor Lynes
456 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:50:36
We do not make enough chances from open play and the benches of all our competitors are much stronger than ours. Realistically we are where we should be, ie; just outside the teams who make Europe.

We have performed really well against all the top teams with the exception of Liverpool at Anfield. If we can finish 6th or 7th it is as much as any fan could expect.

Our defence are fantastic and we are a couple of players short of a serious challenge. If we could get Lallana and a striker like Ba plus another defensive midfielder we will progress

Roger Helm
457 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:56:04
It's a long old season and this is the time when teams get found out. Our small weak squad can't cope with the accumulated knocks and strains, never mind major injuries. Also, few players are fully fit at this time of the season and physical durability comes into its own – as we saw today with Lampard, who is hardly ever injured. Are we turning into West Ham or Spurs, a club everyone likes for their good football but never actually achieves anything? I think it's obvious by now that BK will never buy us top players, so the best we can do is develop our youngsters as much as possible.
Oliver Molloy
458 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:56:42
Great performance from us. Chelsea got lucky — just like us when we beat them at our place.

As I said yesterday, it is all about taking your chances when you get them. It really doesn't matter if their goal came from a debatable decision — they scored and we didn't. We are badly in need of a striker who can do it all.

The cup will do for me.
COYB

Tommy Coleman
459 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:58:38
We deserved a point but are just lacking that bit of quality and the dream is over. Barkley coming on was the turning point as he was a liability. He didn't look his usual self at all. KM should have stayed on as well.

We are oh so close to a title-winning team. We should now put everything into winning the FA Cup.

Andy Meighan
460 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:03:31
What a kick in the teeth that was. By far the better side but, once again, a lack of firepower has come back to haunt us. This has got to be addressed in the summer, because we can't buy a goal away at the minute.
Mark Frere
461 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:00:45
Well said, Steve Brown. I think we were worth a draw today. It's very frustrating of course, to lose right at the end but I think our display was far from toothless like MK's title seems to suggest.

Let's just win our next 4 easy looking fixtures in the league and take it from there. And there's still the FA Cup to look forward to.... not all doom and gloom.

The summer will tell us a lot about the board's ambitions to really take this club forward... desperately need new additions.

Patrick Murphy
462 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:06:14
Roger, We have been a team that everybody likes only for the last 18 months or so – we have not achieved anything for 19 years so for all and sundry to believe that the new manager has somehow let us down is totally wrong. We are a decent side who lack a bit of guile and class but that's nothing new – we have endured that for at least five years or so.

It's bloody frustrating but that is where we are and where we have been for most of BK's tenure as Chairman; that is where the problem lies – not with the manager or players because every one of those players gave it everything today and I'll wager that Chelsea haven't been tested so much at their own ground for most of their home games this season.

Mike Powell
463 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:57:34
We played well but once again we can not convert any of our chances. It's so annoying. By the way, John Terry never touched the ball, it was a own goal by Howard... and it was not a free-kick in the first place.
Kevin Rowlands
464 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:09:23
Michael #454, I agree, I thought we played well today, this is a team that hasn't lost at home under Mourinho for 74 matches, although geniuses like Jim Bennings would have us all believe if we'd have kept Jelavic we'd be far better off and may have even won today, the man scored TWO goals in the whole of 2013!
Graham Mockford
465 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:02:47
I've thought it for a while now but I'm not sure that Ross Barkley really is the great white hope he's been portrayed by many.

Taking aside today's performance which was terrible, I'm not really sure what he does to justify the hype. Three goals and no assists is a pretty poor return considering the media have been promoting him so much this season.

My issue is the amount of time he gives the ball away, his lack of awareness of players around him and his tendency to dribble into blind alleys.

Now I know he's a poster boy in these parts but I'd bite your hand off for £50M.

Paul O'Neill
466 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:08:21
Very similar to Spurs game in that the substitutions didn't come off. I thought Ross was awful and off the pace – we should have kept Mirallas on; Delboy was right choice but needs more time on the pitch.

Roman spot on about David James – how biased is he? He looked absolutely made up – he's that thick, though he doesn't realise that was a bad result for Liverpool today.

Max Murphy
467 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:08:59
I said last night Jagielka should have been on the bench. For our captain to commit that unnecessary foul in the dying minutes, in such a position, was unforgiveable. We are useless at defending set pieces, and so it was proven again today.

We had some good possession but it never lead to anything. Our crosses and corners were terrible. Mirallas bad game. Barkley & Deulofeu need a few games in the reserves, because neither of them are ready for the first team.

Brian Waring
468 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:14:11
I just wish that, out of the money Martinez says he has available to spend in the summer, he would have spent some of it on a striker in January who was actually fit to play.
Graham Mockford
469 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:22:07
Max

I think that's harsh, the ref was conned by a dive. The real error was Distin's who allowed Terry goal side.

Kevin Tully
470 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:11:21
Mirallas was completely frustrating and ineffective today, cheeky twat even sulked off after producing nothing for 75 mins.

We matched a very expensively assembled side with good football, and some neat one touch stuff. People need to realise it will take a while before the likes of Barkley, McGeady and Deulofeu can start to influence games together, especially at the likes of Stamford bridge.

I'm sorry, but Howard should have been off his line quicker for their goal, typifies how he reacts when the ball comes into the 6-yard area. A shame, because he had played well up to that point.

Naismith played well, but Mirallas didn't offer anything playing off him, which in turn blunted our attacking options.

Baines was back to his best and Coleman was as good on the opposite flank. I am in no way upset about the performance, but I would like to see Robles given a run now to the end of the season.

We won't be going to The Emirates in the Cup looking to keep them from scoring; we will be taking the game to them – which is good enough for me at this stage of our transition.

Chris Leyland
471 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:19:42
Michael Upton 'We were unlucky to lose at Chelsea and have West Ham, Cardiff and Swansea at home followed by Fulham away in March. 10pts from those and we are right in there.'

So, basically all we need to do is get 10 points during that run and, after the Shite lose against Swansea tomorrow, and then also lose their 4 games during the period in which we are picking up the above 10 points, we will be 3 points ahead of them and 4th place is back on?

Meanwhile, back in the real world, we simply aren't good enough to be anywhere near the top 4. Our record against the other top 7 teams is the worst of these teams against each other this season despite going 'toe to toe' against all of them.

Roberto's game plan has been well and truly sussed. Teams let us have the ball as they know we are zero threat against them. Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea away, we had the majority of possession in all of these games. The end result.... Zero points, zero goals scored, and 6 conceded.

Ian Glassey
473 Posted 22/02/2014 at 14:52:38
It has all gone flat since Christmas. If we had money, why did we not go out and buy a striker who could have made an impact? That along with a defensive midfielder and we would have been okay.

It is the same every year, whoever the manager is. We finish 6th, 7th or 8th and Kenwright is happy and keeps spending to a minimum.

Anyway, on to the match: we were too slow in the final third, great up to the box... then nothing. And don't start me on Barkley – he was woeful. If that had of been Osman coming on, he would be slaughtered for that display.

Paul David
474 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:32:30
We have no purpose to our play, that's our problem.

Can someone tell me what Pienaar brings to the team?

He is the only winger I've ever seen who refuses to cross, shoot or beat a man.

Jamie Barlow
475 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:25:23
I really enjoyed 92 minutes of the game. I thought we played really well and were unlucky not to score. Same old shite in the last minutes though, not being able to defend a long punt into the box. We’ve seen it too many times now.

Somebody needed to put their head on the line and launch themselves at the ball. We’re just not aggressive enough. We can’t defend crosses and we can’t score from them.

Plenty of positives though. Baines had his best game for a long time. Barry and certainly McCarthy played really well. Coleman, Howard and both centre backs played well and Naismith was fantastic without scoring.

Gutted that we lost but I didn’t expect anything else really. Maybe a draw at best. We were playing Chelsea in their backyard and we are toothless to the extreme.

James Carlisle
476 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:32:45
Lack of bite up front is really costing us. Not to mention the players we have on the pitch all look afraid to shoot when they get into the final third.

Yet again we've completely fallen off in the New Year, I'm sorry to say. We need to try and find some form again for the quarter-final.

Gerry McGuirk
477 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:33:55
Hard defeat to take — especially after what was overall a very good performance. Really paying for the lack of bite up front... Kone has been a disaster from the off and Traore looks like he's heading the same way.

Roberto needs to familiarise himself with that old chestnut... "goals win games"! It's the Cup or nothing at this stage I'm afraid. Really shocked how bad Barkley was... no touch and total lack of confidence.

Brian Waring
478 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:39:38
"We won't be going to the Emirates in the Cup looking to keep them from scoring, we will be taking the game to them"

Agree, Kevin... the only problem: I can't see where our goals are coming from.

Matthew Williams
479 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:40:06
Can't really moan about this defeat. I thought we controlled the game and looked fairly comfortable. We lacked a bit of a threat up front although I thought Naismith worked hard and had a decent game. Shame Traore wasn't fit as his height might have made a bit of a difference especially with corners and free kicks.

But I like how this team is shaping up. I had written this season off as one of transition so to still be in the top seven with a shot at the Europa League place and the FA Cup is a good start for the Martinez years.

Hopefully we will finish the season off well as we have some winnable games coming up and, with Lukaku back, we should be strong. I am still optimistic and you guys/gals should be as well.

Clive Lewis
480 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:43:36
How is it possible we have lost all our strikers? I think this is the reason we are not very good at the moment.

By the way, Jelavic has scored for Hull???????

Brent Stephens
482 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:31:07
We went into the game as underdogs. Worse still (I assume) was that Traore was in the starting line-up and then gets injured in the warm-up (but well played Nais – a real workhorse). Until the subs, we did very well. At least as good as them.

I guess we were always going to make subs (as all were calling for – Plan B and all that). But they really didn’t work for us.

I feel sorry for Ross. He’s really struggling to find his feet (and those of his team mates) in the last few games. Let’s put it down to lack of fitness, to be fair - not his fault (though lack of physical attributes doesn’t stop other players getting slagged off endlessly). But Ross was woeful.

I’m only disappointed in the result because we showed so well before the subs.

Arsenal here we come, with somewhat more fitness in the team.

Mike Oates
483 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:36:55
The mistake was not against Chelsea or Spurs, where we played well and had control, but we just haven't got the forwards go give us the goals our play deserves. The mistake was the January window when we let Jelavic go, recruited a crock, when any potential top team needs at least 2 or 3 top class strikers with a 4th up and coming player available.

Martinez was just too nice a bloke in letting Jelavic leave without adequate replacements. We were already one forward down with Kone out all season. We needed to buy another decent forward.

Interesting to see that Cahill had just tweeted that "It's no good being the better team all the time, it's goals that are needed, not excuses. Criminal to be toothless up front."

Graham Mockford
484 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:45:38
Selling Jelavic was a mistake. He was not good enough in the long term but would still have given us options.

I'm assuming Roberto sanctioned the sale which was a mistake. It left us exposed to Lukaku getting injured — and guess what happened in the first game.

Ralph Basnett
485 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:41:52
But we will be okay over our next five games as we are playing four teams in the bottom of the league so guaranteed full points and an Arsenal team that will be weakened for Champions League return leg, this football management is easy!!!!!
Brian Waring
486 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:47:49
It's almost as if Barkley thinks he needs to do it all on his own, therefore putting pressure on himself. He just needs to go out and enjoy himself.
Brian Waring
487 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:52:28
Still find the Traore loan a strange on.
Kevin Tully
488 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:47:40
Don't forget guys, Lukaku was fit to start today, but couldn't play for obvious reasons. I honestly believe we will be coming into our best form from here on in. We could have won that today if Lukaku wasn't already a Chelsea player. A draw was a fair result without him.

Give Barkley a full game next week against West Ham to try and find his touch, and we could bring that Cup home to Goodison.

Patrick Murphy
489 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:50:27
How could Martinez have foreseen that Lukaku would be injured by Barry - he should be sacked for not having made use of his sixth sense. It wasn't that long ago when we were relying on the injury prone Saha or the hard-working but useless Straq. Memories are very short sometimes. As for Cahill of course he is right that goals are the most important thing but how many games did he play in away from home where Everton were found wanting up front? Get a new owner and we might make a better fist of it until then we'll have to accept what we are a top eight team that can at its best give anyone a game.
Mark Tanton
490 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:54:15
Jelavic enjoying some service at Hull Tigers I see.
Dave Williams
491 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:35:19
I was livid at the end of the game but have had time to calm down and get some perspective.

We have dominated at Chelsea,Spurs and Arsenal but conceded one goal to each of them where we should have been home and dry. This suggests to me that we are a work in progress but have enormous potential. These expensively assembled teams have not been able to match us in open play and the missing link is clearly a goal scorer. We have seen what can happen with a January acquisition- Traore is unlikely to contribute much and I would hope that we have kept our money ready to buy a decent striker in the summer rather than risk wasting it on a January buy who wasn't first choice.

The rest of the team has the players in place but just need extra cover in CM and hopefully one of the youngsters will come through. Barry has done well but we need a young and vibrant CM which we will not get with him . Rather than spend a fortune on his wages we should get a young and energetic replacement .

Barkley looked appalling today making very basic errors and maybe he needs to regroup a bit( though he has had a good few weeks to do this anyway). Worth giving Gerard a few starts as Kev has been iffy in the last few games ?

All told a very disappointing day but also very promising- if we can bring in a decent striker in the summer we could move forward.

Iain Johnston
492 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:32:45
About today, where did the five minutes come from? Probert let 50% of the fouls go but crucially gave one which was bought.. We played well and took the game to them and lost.. We'd all be bleating if it had been another knife to a gunfight scenario. What do people want? Defensive football with the inevitable outcome or a positive performance with a chance of gaining something.

The same people who moaned incessantly about negative substitutions are now moaning because RM made positive ones and the ones the majority are always on about, Ozzie cos his legs have gone and Pienaar cos he's knackered and as for Mirallas, he's playing his own game more and more.

I think we'll see a change when Lukaku returns. I also believe Naismith should be given a chance playing behind him.

We are all disappointed because we have lost our impetus a little but remember the disappointment is borne from the earlier performances which gave us belief. The application hasn't changed, we are disjointed because we have had a huge injury list, one which I'd argue hasn't been as long since Paul Power signed for us. That seems to have been forgotten a little.

The Manager has changed not the board. Why are so many surprised by the lack of investment in January? We tend to only spend once in a season anyway.

I'm confident that when all the players are back and they settle again we'll see a return to the football we saw in November and December.
I also believe we'll win every match in March.

Mike Oates
493 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:51:18
Brian 486#

You are totally right, he is wants to run before he can walk. He wants to win us games, he wants to split the defence, wants to beat 3-4 men, he actually wants to look good. He is not doing the basics, he should have gone outside Pienaar to create space as all pro's would have done. He makes so many wrong calls at the moment, but I'm afraid Martinez built him up big time back 3-4 months ago and the lad is utterly lacking in confidence at the moment and looks frighteningly frail.

Victor Johnson
495 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:44:14
Disappointed but I have to say I would much rather watch this lot and the way we take the game to all and sundry than that which was served up under the previous regime. I think we are simply lacking that all important belief atm. Barkley is in a bad place and we can't quite knit everything together in the final third. Rome wasn't built in a day boys and I assure you we will get stronger and stronger over the coming years. Don't lose the faith. COYB
Nick Waters
496 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:57:23
Fully agree Dave, as long as some proper business is conducted in the summer. As I said on the live forum, however, we also need to be less naive, more cynical (at the bigger clubs), and Jagielka needs to impose himself on refs a lot more than he currently does
Jay Harris
497 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:55:34
Thought we were very much in the game until Naismith got injured and the ref decided it was time to give Chelsea the benefit of the doubt over a number of decisions.

My only concern is the lack of goals throughout the squad.

Defenders rarely look like scoring from set pieces.

Pienaar for all his hard work and creativity does not have goals in his locker nor does McCarthy,Barry nor Barkley at the moment.

So with one striker up front it is easy for the opposition to blunt our goal threat.

Roll on the Summer and the opportunity for Black Bill to empty his sofa and get a couple of goalscoring MF players in the Summer.

Eugene Ruane
498 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:36:50
I don't think money (or lack of it) is everything and believe we should go into every game ready to compete and 'give it a go.'

But I'm not an idiot either and know that Chelsea, City etc know that lashing out millions improves (significantly) their chances of winning games and consequently, trophies (fact: if it didn't, they wouldn't spend it)

By net spend over five seasons, from 2007/08 to 2011/12 Chelsea spent £159.7 million to our £5 million.

I'm always gutted when we get beat and today's no different, but considering EVERYTHING, I'm not going to start screaming and raging, blaming, pointing fingers etc when we lose 1-0 away to Chelsea and their huge pot of (iffy) money.

Brian Waring
499 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:01:47
Agree Victor, I've got this funny feeling that we are going places with Martinez in charge.
Graham Mockford
500 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:00:04
Patrick #489

He couldn't have foreseen it but he could have mitigated against happening by not selling a forward and replacing him with one who wasn't fully fit when he signed him.
Pretty basic really, you need a back up plan in case things don't go as expected.

Bill Gall
501 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:56:44
Hope our young strikers improve enough to start next season because if any one thinks that B.K.is going to splash a large amount of cash on a striker they better think again.

Loan players may be ok for a short term but to me it is a problem to replace them after they go back to their clubs. All the loan players we have are for a regular spot in the first team and that means at least 4 players will be needed to replace them.

The chance for a top 4 is starting to become harder so we may have to bite the bullet and start bringing in some younger players.

Ray Roche
502 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:54:16
Jelavic has scored twice since his move to Hull, yet only scored twice (?) in his last 13 months at Everton? Maybe we should have been playing to his strengths and maybe Hull are. That is all that is wrong with us, toothless up front.
Patrick Murphy
503 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:05:08
Graham but Jelavic didn't want to play for us well not as a second-string striker anyhow and even if he had been available he wouldn't have offered us any more than Naismith did today so I don't have a problem with Jelavic leaving and who knows if the new guy had have suffered with injury earlier this week Roberto may have taken one of the younger strikers. In fact seeing as our chances are all in the FA Cup bag I would like to see a couple of the youngsters given a chance in the remaining fixtures.
Ray Roche
505 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:11:05
It's also worth noting that Chelsea have spent more money in compensation to sacked managers than we have on players over a comparable period.
Graham Mockford
506 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:09:13
Patrick, which youngsters are you referring to?
Derek Knox
507 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:05:34
Really gutted with the result, but could not fault any of the players who gave a solid performance throughout. They dominated the game from almost start to finish. Okay, Chelsea were a bit lacklustre, but the onus was on them playing at home!

The main problem we had today, being all too evident, was the lack of a prolific front-man, Naismith could not be faulted, but lacks the physical presence of a Lukaku or dare I say Traore... it looks like we have another 'sicknote' till the end of the season!

The positive that we can take away from the game, is they gave it a good shot with the resources available!

Ross Norman
508 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:55:00
Again dropped points from a set piece conceded unnecessarily at the end of a match (first the 3-3 derby and now this match).

Also strikers from the Ivory Coast don't seem to have much luck at Everton (Bakayoko, Kone and now Traore).

Patrick Murphy
509 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:15:31
Any of the youngsters in any position that RM thinks have a future at the club. Graham, I agree with you: we should have spent £25m on a striker in January but the chances of that happening at any time during BK's tenure are very very slim. We won't see a striker of the correct quality at Goodison if we only buy those that are priced at around £5-8m.
Dave Williams
510 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:07:08
I understand the comments about Jelavic but the guy had stopped scoring and we had an offer which under those circumstances was surely too good to turn down — and likewise with Big Vic.

I agree with Victor (#495): Roberto is in the process of rebuilding. Playing style is changed but needs more work to quicken our attacks and score goals (which will happen if attacks have more zip). The RS were not dissimilar last season but have now learned to attack with pace. Our style will evolve but no team can change over one season and beat everyone.

I also agree with Jamie (#475) in that our centre-backs are not aggressive enough in attacking the ball at times. Yes, they play very well but can be found wanting; we do concede quite a few goals from crosses where they and Tim stand still and watch a John Terry type launch at the ball.

A work in progress but I think Roberto is on the right lines.

Ralph Basnett
511 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:16:10
That Jelavic bloke is starting to bang the goals in... if Hull go down, maybe worth a punt, probably get him for £10 mill!

I believe the Hull manager said he is getting more out of the lad by just playing to his strengths?

Another potential top striker the mighty blues could be looking at is Jutassomeonewitz, plied his trade around the Championship after being let go by a Prem team but can’t stop scoring wherever he goes?

Options would be to buy a big name striker and hope he gets no injuries, which is highly unlikely with our luck/training regime, or we buy several run-of-the-mills who could score if only from the amount of chances we are apparently making.

Phil Smith
512 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:17:11
Think some of the posters on here need to sort their heads out! Frustrating end to the game, which I squarely blame Tim for - bottled that, for me. That said, we played them off the park in the first half and frustrated them to long range efforts in the second. Only started butting pressure on us by sending on the diving squad and buying cheap free kicks. We can hold our heads high after that game.
Kunal Desai
514 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:07:38
The board and BK must have some conversation with both Moyes/Martinez in Jan for the last two seasons. Some negative shite must be spouted from bullshit Bill as we seem to hit a downward spiral when we're in a good position. How we have come to havng one loan striker all season is nothing short of a joke. Some may not agree but I think the focus this summer has yet again got to turn on the board and Kenwright.....where is the BU???
Graham Mockford
515 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:21:43
Patrick

Just a name please, who are these youngsters ready to play in the PL?

James Martin
516 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:19:51
When was the last time we beat a team 3-0 away from home in the league like Hull are doing. It’s just annoying that – no matter who our manager is – we still don’t ever score enough, we still don’t service our strikers, we still can’t defend set pieces, we still seem to have loads of bad luck. To add to this, we seem to have lost any set-piece ability we used to have.
Chris Butler
518 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:09:23
While I'm disappointed with the result, I expected it, to be honest. If you look at the Arsenal game, for example, we played excellent for most of the game, yet we could have quite easily come away with nothing. Against Man Utd, they hit the post and the bar, we were quite lucky to come away with a point against Stoke and even luckier to win at Swansea.

The simple truth is, say what you like about Moyes, we wouldn't have lost that game under him. We never really looked like scoring in the 2nd half, Barkley was awful; in many ways it was his mistake that led to the goal. If he hadn't wasted that simple pass and hit it out of play, we could've kept the ball up their end of the pitch.

It's all very well playing attacking football if you have Suarez and Sturridge up front but, if you have Naismith up front it doesn't really work. What is so annoying about this result is that it was so predictable. I knew the game would be settled by 1 goal and Chelsea were the only side who looked like scoring.

Kevin Hudson
520 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:18:54
Failures at White Hart Lane, Anfield and again today has seriously jeopardised any improvement on last season. I like the way we're playing, make no mistake, but the gulf in aspiration appears to be as wide as ever.

Great effort from the lads, and they didn't deserve that.

Frank Thomas
521 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:12:36
Can I say I like Osman he saved this club from being relegated and for that he has been well rewarded and should now be a multi-millionaire. But he is now causing havoc in our team.

He occupies a major goal scoring position and in the last two goals has spectacularly failed to score with 5 shots at goal. 4 last week and 1 today. In both games had he scored the result would have been far different. I think he is getting Mirallas really annoyed. Last week Spurs had 1 real chance and scored and the same thing happened this week 1 shot in front of goal and one goals scored from a defender!! We are playing well but the players are getting frustrated due to our failure to score from so many created chances.

So please Mr M only play Osman as a sub and only for 20mins then we will see him really focus. Look his shot today the ONLY shot the Chealsea keeper could have saved was if the shot was in the air which Osman supplied. Had Osman placed his shot in the bottom left then it was a certain goal and the flood gates would have opened.

Patrick Murphy
522 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:24:55
I'm not the manager, Graham, neither are you. I was suggesting that, as our season is more or less over as regards to a top 4 finish, it might be a good idea to blood some youngsters — if we can't do it now, when can we do it?

Ralph Basnett
523 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:23:36
Graham,

George Green is 18 years of age!!!!!

I think the point people are making about the youth is that it should be sitting on the bench, if we ever (and it’s not really happened for a while) in a position were the game is obviously won they should be getting a run out.

Yes, it’s nice to rest players when the game’s won... but bringing the youth through, if that is what we have to rely on, has to be done.

Ralph Basnett
524 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:28:05
Jose Baxter nets for another Everton reject list of scores today!!!!
Patrick Murphy
525 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:27:08
If people are so enamoured with Sturridge and Suarez why don't they switch their allegiances? Do you know how much they cost in wages, we can't afford people in that pay bracket. Get real! As for David Moyes wouldn't have lost that game are you sure? What proof have you got? I give up sometimes.
Brian Waring
526 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:26:09
Kevin, the football we now play is sweet to watch, even the 'special one' gives us loads of credit in his BBC interview. If we just had someone who could put the ball away, we would be scary as fuck.
Graham Mockford
528 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:27:05
Patrick,

I know what you were saying; I was just asking specifically which ones?

I suspect the reason you can't answer is none of them are even close to being ready. RM obviously doesn't fancy Vellios and I can't see anyone else.

The point being we have three centre forwards, all three who are currently injured. A ridiculous position for a team with aspirations to be in.

Ralph Basnett
529 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:30:11
Patrick, would much rather we bought one of them!

How sad is that that I would welcome one of them with open arms, unfortunately they have what in footballing terms is two of the most valuable footballing commodities, strikers that score!!!!!

Dave Williams
530 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:25:08
So we are back to Moyes are we chaps? If he had been in charge this season at Old Trafford we would have lost by two or three goals!

Roberto is changing our style because, once it is working properly, we will have 60% plus possession and will therefore score more goals than the other team provided we have a scorer by then. At present he needs younger centre backs who are comfortable in this style (one is already waiting in the wings), a young creative midfielder (Gibson, Barkley, one of the U-21 squad or buy one) and a striker. It is nothing to do with aspiration – if we don't have the money, then we can't spend it. Hopefully there is a decent kitty for the summer but, if not, then, as Patrick says, Roberto will hopefully blood one or two of the youngsters if he thinks they are ready for a run out.

Oh, and hands off Nais – he played really well today and deserves full credit for it!

Graham Mockford
531 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:35:15
Ralph

Martinez would like a little more discipline in his play. "We need to help him a little bit, because to get into the first team he needs to master a position," the Everton manager has said. "At the moment he is a player who will win you the game for the Under-18s, but he is a bit of a free spirit."

I think it is easy to see RM's view.

Barry Rathbone
532 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:23:40
Onus on Kenwright and Co to put up or move aside this summer it really is now or never.

I enjoy all the community stuff and improved PR, full credit there, but the first half of the season showed a footballing promised land that old hands thought gone forever and younger fans have never seen, there's no going back from that.

Bar a few "head the balls" the Martinez aspirational game has been embraced he plays football and plays to win but as injuries bite the squad is being shown up for what it is.

To play "properly" you need proper players, numerous players, if we don't supplement the quality of Baines, Coleman, Barkley, Mirallas, Mcarthy and Oviedo this summer I can't see Roberto dossing around for years on end like the previous manager.

Imagine the desperate spirit of "ginger bollocks past" returning to haunt this sacred place - I'd take up train spotting to avoid the tedium.

Tahir Abdullah
533 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:30:47
The clamor for Jela by some on here beggars belief; I agree with Patrick @489 on the decision logic used by RM when selling Jela. In 5 starts and 4 subs appearances in 2013 in EPL he scored 1 goal FFS. Of course those who lambast RM for selling Jela point to his goals at Hull and would try to translate this to our current striker crisis without considering context. Indeed Hull do play to Jela's strengths by playing more directly amongst others; oh and of course the fact that Jela is now partnered by Long who also contributes to his goal getting opportunities is also valid. Jela as a lone striker in the current EFC playing setup was and will never be a match. RM saw this and sold him when Hull offered some decent money.
Si Cooper
534 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:24:17
Very painful that one.

First half we were very good; weathered an early storm and then controlled most of the half. Second half we couldn't make the ball stick in their half which meant we couldn't apply sustained pressure.

I am a big fan of Ross Barkley but he got pretty much everything wrong this afternoon when I thought the stage was set for him to sit just in front of Barry and McCarthy and keep the ball moving into their half.

Little surprised Mirallas came off at all as both Pienaar and Naismith had pretty much given everything they had by the last fifteen minutes.

Most frustrating thing was our general reluctance to whip the ball early into the box. Considering we apparently don't rate our chances from corners we managed to turn a fair few decent crossing / shooting opportunities into corners through hesitation / reluctance to take the initiative.

If you blame Howard for their goal then you know nothing about goalkeeping. He couldn't move initially because of Ivanovic's leap. Ivanovic probably brushed the ball (which makes Terry offside but it would have been a tricky one to spot at full speed) and if he had got more on his header then Howard would have been ideally placed to make the save. Keeper can't be expected to cover all the threats; put it down to an excellent delivery and an attackers gamble paying off.

Ralph Basnett
535 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:48:23
Graham, Barca called Messia free spirit, now I am not saying Green is anywhere near as good but if Rooney, Owen, Fowler and all of these other youngster can get into their respective teams why can’t they at Goodison?

Lots of teams have at least one teenager on the bench, by teenager I mean one that has not played. Moyes blooded Barkley and he looked like a rabbit in the headlights, but has come back quite well, why can’t others?

Graham Mockford
537 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:58:12
Ralph

Because the manager says he's not ready. Could I be any more clear?

Ralph Basnett
538 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:53:53
Tahir, I think people are making the point that we are letting a striker go when we are struggling for a striker, does not particularly mean Jelavic, it's just that he is scoring.

We got good money for Victor, but too be quite frank I would have him back at the moment because although not prolific can hold ball up.

A number of former blues have scored today; I would not like all to still be at GP, but any striker would help at the moment.

I know loans cost money, but surely as we are as tight as they come when it comes to the purse strings must have a good deal that we took an unfit, untried in the prem striker because he scored in Russia?

Si Cooper
539 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:47:09
Frank Thomas (521) – are you on drugs?

What about Mirallas's fluffed effort from about 18 yards and central which almost became a pass for Naismith? Or when he jinked nicely inside the box but squandered the chance by merely trying to blast the ball through a defender?

You could take Bainesy to task for his cross when Seamus made the right run for him in the first half – there was plenty of space for him to put the ball where it would have been a sitter.

Osman did perfectly well today.

Graham Mockford
541 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:59:41
By the way Ralph have you ever actually seen George Green play?
Mark Dunford
542 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:46:07
Agree with Si (534). Barkley is way off his game at the moment and hasn't really looked like the same player since his comeback. I guess it happens with young players and I really hope he doesn't go to the World Cup as I can't see him doing much except travelling with a team that keeps losing.

Apart from this, the whole team played well today – even McGeady in his brief cameo was impressive. The absence of a centre-forward cost us dearly in the end as it did against Spurs the other week. Naismith is a wholehearted footballer but is best coming off the bench when his guile can be used effectively against tiring defenders. We brought on wingers because there was little option.

I'd have thought it was a game when we needed a Heitinga figure who could sit in front of the defence but all we had on the bench were wingers and full backs. Howard made one stunning save in second half and looked safe. The goal came from another free kick which should never have been given and – anyway – Ramires should have been sent off for his appalling kick at Pienaar shortly after he came on. All-in-all, it was very like Spurs with Everton players surrounding another inept Ref at the end.

Big summer ahead for Martinez. He needs to sign Barry quickly when the season ends and then add more depth to the squad. My feeling is Lukaku will go abroad after the World Cup (I am just guessing but it seems to be the only way he'll play in Champions League) so we'll need at least one and possibly two forwards. Will be interesting to see if any others from the strong looking crop of youngsters we had at the start of the year manage to break through –– Lundstram, Garbutt, etc. Stones and Barkley are obviously good enough. I also think Joel seems to be settling after a shaky start. No reason to doubt Martinez can work all this through...

Geoff Evans
543 Posted 22/02/2014 at 15:53:56
Mike Oates (#483) Great comments, stopped me saying something I might regret tomorrow.

The one thing I will say, though, is that RM's responsibility is to EFC and its long-suffering supporters – not to any individual player. Had he have utilised Jelavic, instead of selling him, we might have benefited from the three goals he's already scored since he left; he'd have had no need to worry about his World Cup place and we'd have had no doubt about his commitment.

Instead of that, he's brought a sick-note in on loan to go with another loanee who hasn't cut it since before Christmas. Wouldn't be surprised if Jelavic out-scored them both between now and end of season.

Jamie Carroll
544 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:58:43
Everton’s good work is yet again being undermined by a lack of a fit striker being bought in January. That isn’t the manager’s fault.
Max Wilson
545 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:54:09
We played well against the league leaders today and they got nowhere until injury time when we were cream-crackered and made a mistake. Yes, several players weren't at their best, or were made to be by the league leaders.

Roberto has said this is a development season and we should be a lot better next year. I was against this guy for a long time but I've started to trust him and I think we'll finish this season quite well although, as he says, it's development time. I'm gutted to lose but feel optimistic for the long run.

Ralph Basnett
546 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:01:59
Graham,

Let's not make this our thread.

However, watched him on numerous occasions and as a midfielder and we are currently carrying a few shall we call them senior midfielders such as Barry, Osman, Pienaar we need to bring certain positions through quicker if we cannot afford to buy them which we obviously can't.

It is only a bonus when the likes of Rooney and Barkley come through.

Graham Mockford
547 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:01:15
Frank #521

Of all the anti-Osman posts that has to be the most sad and desperate. It is now his fault that two games running a keeper has made a good save from a good shot.... Fucking priceless!!!

Paul Johnson
548 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:51:31
I believe Everton where the better football team today. Yes Chelsea have great players but their style of football is awful to watch. And that is the crux of our problem put those Chelsea players in our pattern of play and they would piss the league. More importantly put their players winning mentality into Everton's team and we would piss the league. Terry won that ball because he wanted it more than Leighton and Tim. That is the difference between being with winners and mixing with guys who haven't won. I don't like the word losers when there is so few competitions to play for so we are not losers we just need to win something and I believe with the players we have we can challenge every year.

Therein lies our problem we cannot buy that winning mentality into our club. So we have to nurture it through the system so we should not be too hard on Ross Barkley. He is 20 for Christ's sake, yet he is up against Lampard, Ramires and Matic – all trophy winners.

Today we played well and with Suarez in our team would have won. Problem is we can't afford one.

The ref gave us fuck all by the way.

Alex Jones
550 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:46:08
I'm not too impressed with Matinez's signings so far. Barry and Lukaku have been a success but can't say any of the others have. He's signed a reserve keeper who rarely plays, two crocked strikers (not including Lukaku here), a crocked centre half, a young lad with potential who has yet to show any of it and McCarthy who adds nothing to our attempts to win games. McGeady has looked unfit and basically irrelevant. I don't think Moyes ever signed so much dross in one season. Yet Martinez seems to escape criticism for it?

All of our decent play comes through players who were already here and so he really needs to sign some decent players this summer that are actually ours. A creative mid to sit alongside one of either Barry or McCarthy (definitely not them both together) and a decent striker who will actually stay fit.

John Ford
551 Posted 22/02/2014 at 16:59:04
We have Chelsea's fifth choice striker as our main target man. Says it all really.

Keep it going Bob. It's my belief he gets plenty from his players. As dissapointing as this, it's usually the case that money speaks in the final third of the season. We play with confidence and belief and I can't ask more of our players or our manager.

Graham Mockford
552 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:08:53
Ralph,

Well there you go, you are a better judge of a young player's readiness than Roberto.

Kevin Rowlands
553 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:10:03
For anyone on here saying that Jelavic would have been the answer to our current goal scoring problems I have one question: How come he wasn't the answer the last 18 fucking months? — and please don't give me the shite about playing to his strengths; he was absolute shite over that period.

I'm actually quite looking forward to Lukaku coming back next week with hopefully Naismith playing just off him, that could be good.

Tom Bowers
555 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:07:39
I think we all have to admit that the team was overachieving up to Xmas and the Sunderland game in particular. Whilst RM has made some improvements, I always thought that the lack of strength in depth that the billionaire teams have was always going to be the undoing. This was proved when the replacements like Oviedo, Kone, Delboy and Alvarez picked up their injuries. Also Lukaku and Barkley's woes have contributed significantly.

Although today's result wasn't a surprise, it is galling that they should play well just like the Spurs game and come away with nothing. Perhaps next week will see some changes to the starting eleven such as Lukaku and Delboy coming in and maybe Osman and Pienaar being put on the bench.

Graham Mockford
556 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:20:56
Kevin,

Well he's knocking them in for Hull, he scored two in his last game for us. I don't think anybody truly believes he was good enough in the long run, I certainly don't. But it was just the short sighted timing I don't get. By all means improve the squad but how replacing him with someone who is patently not match fit was just daft.

Leaving us in an exposed position should Lukaku get injured was negligent.

Graham Mockford
557 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:20:56
Dup
Linda Morrison
558 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:11:54
I was very disapponted with the result, as everyone on this site is. However the commentator on Radio 5 stated that J. Terry kicked out at Jags and then all the Chelsea players, plus the crowd, starting baying at the referee. This matches the guarded comments of Roberto after the game.

We have a small squad, when they are all fit which they are not. Too many players like young Barkley, playing with injuries and trying to carry it all on his own.

We need to support our team and hope for a continuance in the cup run.

As for the league we will, barring others collapsing, finish anywhere between 6 and 20.

I think it was a mistake to bring in an injured striker, on loan, in January. God knows how long he will be out for... will we see him before the clocks go forward?

It's stop-start and has been since Xmas, we need to move on and hope that this season we have used up most of our injuries and bad luck, not getting penalties etc.

Before people start going on about the money the players get, they are doing their best. We had a settled team in the first half of the season and now it's different people every week. I think the players' confidence is being affected and Roberto should have Deulofeu and McGeady on from the start against West Ham.

Pat Whitmore
562 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:32:39
Difficult to take a defeat after the effort shown by most players but you always had the feeling the ref would hand them the chance when required and sadly we gave them that; we all know what came from the suspect free kick.

We have been playing good football but never look like scoring and until Mirallas either learns to pass or is far more clinical in front of goal, nothing will change. Our small squad is showing signs of tiredness. Players are badly out of form; Pienaar and Barkley are probably the biggest culprits there.

The FA Cup offers a genuine chance of success and hopefully a bit more success with some decent signings this summer would go down well. Europe with our current squad would only tire an already tired and ageing squad.

Tahir Abdullah
563 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:27:30
Graham @ 556, as usual your wisdom knows no bounds; Patrick @489 asking the question on RMs reasoning on selling Jela, has no relation to the current striker crisis. Lukaku is our main man and was fit at the time that Jela left; with Traore on the mend at the time that he arrived, the risk of us being striker-less, as is the currently the case was not significant.

Jela knocks them in for Hull for sure but how do you address his poor return for EFC (particularly under Roberto)? Hull play 4-4-2 and have a markedly different playing approach to RM's EFC. So RM could not foresee the injury to Lukaku (which if not happened, would not have us debating on the striker issue). Jela did not and will not suit RM's style, otherwise why sell him?

Mike Oates
564 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:33:31
Clearly we are performing at another level than the last few years; our football, control of matches is a joy to watch. But this is as far as it gets unless we find that quality forward. We cannot afford the £30m that will be required to find the quality we need. We can only hope that Martinez knows of a young forward somewhere in the world.

That's not the final solution – we just do not service any forward we have, haven't done for years and even now we don't create clear cut opportunities. Our final balls are poor, our final decisions are poor. And I don't know the answer to this.

Graham Mockford
565 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:40:56
Tahir,

It does have a bearing, Traore was bought after Jelavic was sold in the knowledge he was not fit and had played little football. We sold... leaving us in a position that, if Lukaku got injured, we had no backup.

He did; we haven't.

Tahir Abdullah
567 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:46:45
Graham you are not addressing the issue on Jela for which you are arguing? Traore played last week and was about to start today so again from RMs PoV what would be the reasoning for getting Traore in on loan (did he have a crystal ball that would foretell that Traore would be injured in warm up today?). Please explain this? What is your point with Jela anyhow? He was shite for us and would not have helped our cause in the least today.
Dean Adams
568 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:18:47
The major problem I have seen in our play away from home is that we are so slow on the counter. We just slow the play down and allow the opposition to flood back, hence so many blocked and rushed shots. We lack the imagination to do what the best teams do, break with pace and conviction, expecting to score.

The personnel have the attributes, but the supporting midfield slow it down too often. We tend to blame the wrong players for not scoring enough. Jelavic did not get the service last season nor this and now he his away at Hull who see his strengths and play to them.

We just don't see the bigger picture. Lovely passing but always allow the opposition to get back in numbers and snuff out our threats.

Graham Mockford
570 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:55:35
Tahir

Traore was not fit when he signed, hence why he didn't play until last week. He obviously still isn't fit, pulling a hamstring whilst warming up is probably a good indication of that.

I don't think Jelavic was a top class striker but who would I prefer on the books in the last month and right now? Jelavic every day.

Matt Traynor
571 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:48:58
Mourhino's comments after were interesting. Easy to be magnaminous after victory, but whilst he said he felt Chelsea deserved the win, and we didn't have much in the final 3rd, he was very, very complimentary about our performance.
Brian Waring
572 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:47:06
We had Naismith Graham, who is a striker.
Nick Waters
573 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:00:46
So, ... Because Jelavic scores against Cardiff and Sunderland, some people think he would have scored for us at Chelsea and Spurs? Really? £7m is still a cracking bit of business for us whatever he does at Hull before he inevitably stalls there.
Graham Mockford
574 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:07:22
Exactly, Brian.
Andy Walker
576 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:08:03
Our manager fucked up again for the third time in a month. First, gung ho at the Shite; second, destroyed the shape at Spurs with subs; third destroyed the shape at Chelsea with bizarre subs. He gets to the 60-70 mins and then just takes off midfielders and replaces them with a load of attack-minded players and – guess what – we end up losing. Shocking tactics.
Julian Exshaw
577 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:09:43
I don't understand the negativity here at all, I can only assume it's down to the total frustration we all feel at having squandered it at the death. I thought it was an excellent performance but how can we expect to score without a recognised striker?

Naismith is a gutsy lad, honest as the day's long but he has little presence up front on his own. I feel sorry for Barkley...here's hoping he doesn't read the totally unjust reviews he's getting here. We are improving, we are not perfect but we have to have patience. Let's stay positive... all of us!!

Ajay Gopal
578 Posted 22/02/2014 at 17:04:23
The first half, we played some of the best football I have seen this season. Osman was unlucky not to score and Mirallas was poor today, but we matched the most expensively assembled team toe to toe.

Strangely, it seemed to me that we came out very flat in the second half. And, after the two substations, it became very one sided – Barkley's performance was embarrassing. Deulofeu did not create one chance after he came on.

Now, I am a big fan of Martinez and am really glad we have him as our manager, but I think he got it badly wrong in the January transfer window on the striker situation. He should not have let Jelavic go (and not because Lukaku got injured or that Jela scored 2 goals today) – Lukaku was looking very poor before the window, Jela had just started scoring and we didn't have any other goal scorer in the team. And to go and get an unknown entity with an injury was a poor decision in my opinion.

However, on the positive side, I think we saw excellent performances by the back four, McCarthy & Barry. Osman was wonderful in the first half and Naismith created good chances although nobody created a good chance for him. Fantastic commitment from him, but was let down by poor final balls from the other team members.

One more thing: Why is our set piece delivery so bad? For people who say, why don't our centre-backs score more goals, I say because the delivery is shit! Out of the eight or so corners we had, not one threatened their goal.

On the bright side, Lukaku will be back, and with Chelsea out of the way, he will be keen to help Mourinho's quest for the title by damaging the other sides in the league. I hope he starts banging the goals in, so that we at least finish a respectable 6th and maybe a good run in the FA Cup.

Guys, at the end of the day, when you look dispassionately, we are competing in a league which is ridiculously loaded in favour of the moneyed clubs... (Rooney at £300k per week, anyone?) At least Martinez is getting us to play without fear and competing with the big boys. Maybe, just maybe, some of our young players will turn out to be world class and decent enough to stay with us for a few years. I can dream, can't I?

Patrick Murphy
581 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:14:30
Fat chance, Julian. Many people appear to prefer the days of eight men behind the ball and hope to snatch a goal during the game. Patience among some Blues' has already started to wear thin and if we continue to lose matches their will be a clamour to replace RM with a less cultured but effective manager.

Big Sam is here next week perhaps BK should tap him up.

Jackie Barry
584 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:19:36
Letting Jelavic go a big mistake? Come off it most people wanted him gone and he wasn't scoring goals, so having him still in the team may not have made one bit of difference. I think RM is hardly doing a bad job, he needs to be given time and will come good. If the fans start getting on RM's back then they are an absolute disgrace considering they can't muster even a whimper towards Kenwright and his cronies. I seriously do wonder if they put something in the food and drinks at Goodison.
Jackie Barry
585 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:22:34
Oh and shocking tactics? Give me a friggin break first of all we bloody moan when Moyes made late subs and then when the manager brings on the players you want to see at a point when they can make an impact we still friggin' moan, me included.

Tell us exactly how it was shocking tactics, he took of midfielders and replaced them with midfielders? He tried to win the game and we lost to a late lucky goal. Try to remember that we did beat Chelsea this season and our record at their ground is hardly splendid.

Brian Waring
587 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:33:30
"... takes off midfielders and replaces them with a load of attack-minded players" I know, it's fucking horrible isn't it, Andy, a manager who actually goes out to win the game, what a plonker!

God, how I long for those days of shite, negative football, where the focus was on just not getting beat.

Graham Mockford
588 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:35:17
Jackie,

I'm certainly not getting on his back, I thought he was positive in trying to win the game. The subs just didn't work out, Ross had a shocker and that changed the momentum in the game. We stopped retaining possession which until that point we had done really well. We were still unlucky though.

I do still think he made a mistake letting Jelavic go because he at least would have given us options. To me I'd have waited until the summer.

Brian Waring
589 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:39:57
The problem was, though, Graham, Jelavic wanted more game time because of the World Cup coming up; we couldn't guarantee him that.

Darren Robinson-Cooke
591 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:39:13
Just one thing to add to this conversation chaps with regards to RM not bringing in a fully fit striker back in January...WHO??

No club in their right minds were gonna sell any decent striker mid season to another club, unless it was for an extortionate fee, so that kind of shows Roberto's rationale around why it didn't happen and why he chose to save the kitty to spend in the summer. Then better players are available for all clubs to wheel and deal and the market is more open...

Graham Mockford
594 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:57:25
Ralph

How am I stopping you having your say?
This is a site for debate and discussion. You post something , I post something.

Just because I think your opinion on George Green being ready for first team,despite our manager being quoted this week saying he isn't, is a pile of steaming horse shit doesn't stop you saying it.

Raymond Fox
596 Posted 22/02/2014 at 18:04:40
The first half we played them off the park, and were playing a team costing fortunes, Eugene's post 498 says it all.

Martinez is not a miracle man, the top teams are looking to buy players valued at £30M+ while we are looking to bring in loan players or ones costing around the £5M mark. Small wonder we just fail, the wonder is, that the club is as competitive as it is.

We should be proud of that performance today, they gave 100% & the season so far. We might not be winning trophies but we usually give the best teams a game.

Andy Walker
597 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:01:37
Brian 587 - er.... Yes we lost 3 games we should have got at least 3 points out of. If you're happy with that fair enough, I'm not though I'd rather we don't lose. We have now blown Champions League which will cost us Lukaku, and possibly Barry and Delboy. It's massively significant and to dismiss the reason why and justify it on the basis we were attack-minded makes no sense set all to me. We were in contention and we needed smart rather than reckless thinking to keep us there. No hero worship here, I'm afraid, just realism.
Paul Mackie
599 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:07:32
Darren #591 — "No club in their right minds were gonna sell any decent striker mid-season to another club."

Except that's exactly what we did. Fuck what Jelavic wanted. There was every chance that Lukaku would get injured at some point and here we are. The blame for that one lies squarely on RMs shoulders.

Colin Glassar
600 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:06:23
We have been very poor in 2014 and, ever since we got to the magic 40-point mark, we've just gone sideways, if not downhill.

Looks like it's now a question of limping over the finishing line.

David Flanagan
601 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:10:46
Having seen most of our games this season, I'm really struggling to see us an attacking side. We have the same problem as in previous seasons of creating and scoring goals. We have wide players but seldom put in crosses. And we rarely create clear-cut chances.

The manager places great emphasis on possession but there has to be an end result. Despite dominating games at Tottenham and to lesser extent today, we failed to score in either game or even work the keeper. The lack of goals is a team problem with the midfielders contributing little nor the centre halves. All-in-all, I'm disappointed in how the season is heading.

Steve Durham
604 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:01:53
Home truths time: its no good dominating teams for most of the game if we are about as potent as an 80-year-old bloke's dick. Not good enough to turn draws into wins and narrow defeats into draws.

So, whilst I am admiring our new style of football, it counts for nothing and will ultimately just mean we get beat in a more palatable fashion than we did previously. Never will we have a season of the promise this one has had and January could have really seen us make a statement as true challengers. Such a shame.

Our only hope is Lukaku comes back stronger than ever and hits the ground running to give our season the lift it needs otherwise we will aimlessly drift to 8th, 9th or 10th.

Dean Adams
605 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:12:14
We are slow on the break, hence our poor away form. It really is not rocket science and no matter who we have, the system is to blame, not the players.
Karl Jones
608 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:04:11
Martinez is harping on about Chelsea conning the referee into awarding free kicks in order to try and win the game as if it is a surprise. Well why doesn't he instil the same deviousness into the Everton players? The only way to beat a cheat is to cheat (or bend the rules) yourself.

We have probably the two best dead ball experts in the PL in Baines and Mirallas. Why are we not drawing fouls more, in and around the penalty area in order to capitalise on this asset? Especially away from home when we don't look like scoring in a month of Sundays.

All we seem to do when in the last third is to give possession away cheaply by trying to score the perfect goal and our play becomes so slow and predictable.

We have to face it, the top four teams all cheat their way to victory and taking a moral approach is only going to give us many more so-called hard-luck stories.

Andy Walker
611 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:15:06
And one other thing Brian, Wigan played attack minded football...ffs
Dean Adams
612 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:18:40
I'd rather stick with bad luck than resort to being like them and cheating.
Andy Crooks
613 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:14:05
Graham Mockford, you have made some pretty fair points. In hindsight I'd like us to have kept Jelavic but it many ways selling him made sense. We got a decent fee and a fit Lukaku would have kept him out of the side. Still, much as support Roberto the signing of Traore does leave me utterly baffled,
James Marshall
614 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:16:41
Toothless. We continuously play the ball backwards & sideways. Pienaar played one forward pass all game. We play so slowly it's painful to watch and we don't even try to break on teams even when we have the opportunity to do so. Why?!

Barkley looks terrible since his injury. Deulofeu trips over his own feet and not having a striker as a focal point means we just don't go anywhere in possession.

We're still hard to beat because we keep the ball well, but not doing anything with it is never going to win us games. It's all well & good playing neat, tidy football but you have to do it in the right areas to be effective.

So frustrating today.

The only good thing was the support.

Andy Walker
616 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:24:11
Toothless but solid against the shite, spurs and Chelsea would have been ok, we could then have gone for it in the rest of the games as we have been in contention. We have a casino manager though.
George McKane
618 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:22:02
I believe we have to get through this season, hopefully with a Wembley appearance and maybe an FA Cup win. I would like a trophy, as I am sure we all would.

Then onto next Season. Tough decisions win games.

Personally, I do not want to see any of the following starting a game next season - - Howard, Hibbert, Distin and Osman.

All been good servants and done well(ish) but all past their best now. Distin is getting like Yobo - - plays really well but makes regular points costing mistakes.

Patrick Murphy
620 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:26:20
If we don't find £50m in the summer we will be facing exactly the same problem this time next season. Fortunately we have a very saleable asset in young Barkley so all is well with Bill's world he's the person you should be aiming your ire at nobody else. His manager's have shielded him for too long and I will bet five cyber pounds that if BK is still in charge next January, Roberto won't remain our manager.

Patrick Murphy
621 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:32:27
Dare I say a Wigan Casino manager?
Kunal Desai
622 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:31:10
I would still have Distin in the first 11, I'd instead put Pienaar along with the other three all on the bench.
Andy Walker
623 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:29:21
Raymond, I think the problem was it was self inflicted. We deliberately changed our shape to roll the dice and as previously, we lost. We were better than them until we thought we could take the piss by having Naismith, Delboy, McGeady, Barkley all on the pitch for the last 20 mins against Chelsea at Stamford bridge. Staggeringly naive, or reckless, take your pick.
Dean Adams
625 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:31:54
George, have you lost the plot? Distin has been amazing this season. Everyone makes mistakes, but he is so smooth and efficient. Howard has been solid, but again he aint superman. Osman has so much ability, I just wish the lad had the strength to play at this level and Hibbo, well he is not in the first 11 at all so not really a valid point is it?
Graham Mockford
628 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:37:35
Dean #625

Agree with the sentiment until we get to the little dig at Ossie. Best midfielder on the park today which considering the opposition says he has no problem playing at this level, after all he's done it over 300 times.

Dean Adams
631 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:44:55
Graham, not a dig at Ossie, just wish he was stronger so he would not get knocked off the ball so often. He has plenty of assists, his shots of late have been good, just lacks the physical strenght to avoid being bullied.
Andy Walker
632 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:43:47
Spot on Graham, he shows the gulf between him and Barkley in terms of consistency and the ability to trust his performance. Ossie was superb today, ran rings round their so called world superstars and we went downhill after he was subbed.

Not a popular view on TW though for whatever reason.

John Daley
633 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:48:59
"The simple truth is, say what you like about Moyes, we wouldn't have lost that game under him"

Except it's not the simple truth is it? It's pure conjecture on your part.

You speak as though Moyes never suffered a narrow defeat after a battling but ultimately toothless display, away against one of the top four, so I can only presume you avoided watching Everton entirely over the last 11 years because that sort of result has pretty much been par for the course.

"Barkley was awful; in many ways it was his mistake that led to the goal."

Except it wasn't.

How can the blame for the Chelsea goal be lumped onto Barkley's back? It's not fucking connect the dots. How far back do you want to go to apportion blame? What about the bastard who kicked off to start the second half? That single action set in motion a chain of events that eventually led directly to Chelsea scoring over forty minutes later. He should hang his fucking head in shame.

Graham Mockford
634 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:47:58
Dean

Funniest thing today was watching him square up to Ramires. Never seen him do that before but I don't think Ramires was too worried.

John Daley
635 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:50:42
"Can I say I like Osman — he saved this club from being relegated."

You can. Can I laugh?

George McKane
636 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:44:12
Dean. No, not lost the plot. Just having my opinion – just like you.

In my opinion Distin, as I said, has been great but he has been at serious fault for quite a few goals this season – you cannot keep doing that. He is smooth and looks really cool but is beginning to get caught out too often for me. No thought of him being crap or rubbish or anything like that. It's amazing that he is so fit but he is beginning to cost us points.

Howard is solid but prone to fault – great save today but very poor on the goal... as was Distin.

Agree about Osman,who is not a lad but a 32-year-old man... but sadly he does not have the strength, as you say, "to play at this level"... so maybe we have both lost the plot.

Again OK on Hibbert – but I do not want to see them starting next season and now is the time to look for decent replacements from within or outside the club.

Actually... bang on the plot, I think!

Andy Walker
638 Posted 22/02/2014 at 19:52:24
John 633 'par for the course' except it wasn't we had only lost 2 out of 8 in last 7 seasons until today and beat them in the cup there.
Dean Adams
641 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:01:26
George, glad you qualified your reasoning, that is far more acceptable and it is hard to dissagree with your findings. Ossie has been great on occassions as have Howars and Distin but they are not getting any younger and will all need replacing over the next few seasons.
Brent Stephens
643 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:03:17
George, at the start of this weekend we'd conceded 26, same as Arsenoo, 1 better than Citeh, 6 better than rs. Distin being part of that defence.

Patrick Murphy
645 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:09:02
Andy we haven't won at Stamford Bridge since Joe Royle was Everton manager in November 1994 - granted we beat them in the cup but that was on Penalites.
Tom Constable
648 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:01:51
Another day, another defeat away from home. Alright Chelski are up there with the front runners - like we were before Christmas. The Moyes jokes are flagging now that we've dropped below United while the gap with the RS seems to widen every week. Martinez said after the Derby match that you learn more after a defeat - yes, we've learned how to lose. I'm tired of getting the majority of the play (even today) and the minority of the goals.

He needs to focus on Everton, cut out his media work, get some wins now and sorting out the squad before the Arsenal game. Too many players, notably Mirallas, are frittering away their abilities on grandstanding, while Barkley seems to have lost the plot since his injury – or, more accurately, being rushed back too soon.

Perhaps Martinez has learned that you can't build success by borrowing other teams' rejects, crocks like Traore and wastes of space like McGeady. The money we've used rebuilding Wigan's bank balance might have bought us a decent striker. While our recruitment policy seems to show neither rhyme nor reason with finding a decent striker neglected. This must be our absolute priority before the Felli, Jelavic and Anichebe money is frittered away.

Andy Walker
650 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:29:18
True Patrick but we haven't lost many either and a draw would have been ok today.
Russ Quinlan
652 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:32:41
I saw a quick glimpse of someone with Traore supposedly stretching his hammys before the game, as soon as I saw what he was doing I thought it looked far too much, not only how far he pushed his leg but also the way he 'bounced' his leg into the extreme position ! I was an athletics coach for 15 years and any athlete knows you just don't do that, you gently extend it not bounce it to its extreme position especially if he's already got problems with it !!
Patrick Murphy
654 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:30:49
I'm pretty sure the team would still have got flack even if they had have held out for a draw - the usual opportunity lost brigade and those who think that the team just has to turn up to beat certain teams at Goodison. Sometimes I don't whether to laugh or cry we put in a decent performance but admittedly without troubling their goal enough. some think we are a bad team or if we are not a bad team our manager is making huge mistakes, but as Bill Gall says on another thread the blame lies firmly at the door of the Chairman and the board - they are the only people that can back the manager and they as always failed to do so.
Brent Stephens
657 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:40:11
Patrick, I'm not sure most people would have been complaining if we'd held out for that draw. I think the narrative would have been "away from home, against top of the league, with a weakened side, having played well fro chunks of the game - well done lads, a point well earned".

With a goal in the dying minutes, that narrative has changed for some to "crappy".

The goal might have been crappy but for me the performance overall still stands as good.

David Flanagan
658 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:35:32
We haven't scored more than 1 goal away from home since Swansea and only 6 in our last 8 away games. That sort of form won't get us into the Europa League, let alone Champions League.

The same issues are still here from last year the football looks better but end product is worse. We have less attempts on goal and seem to have little idea of how to break any defence down. Big summer awaits as, without investment and replacements for our loanees, this will be as good as it gets.

John Daley
660 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:40:02
"...John 633 'par for the course' except it wasn't we had only lost 2 out of 8 in last 7 seasons until today and beat them in the cup there."

I never narrowed it down to just games against Chelsea. What I said was games against 'one of the top four' :

"You speak as though Moyes never suffered a narrow defeat after a battling but ultimately toothless display, away against one of the top four, so I can only presume you avoided watching Everton entirely over the last 11 years because that sort of result has pretty much been par for the course"

Wayne Smyth
663 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:51:24
Exactly Brent. If the ref had blown on 90 minutes, I think virtually all fans would've been content with the performance and the result away to a team able to afford vastly better players than us.

Yet we concede a freak own goal in the 92nd minute to a set piece and its toys out the pram, sky is falling time.

Andy Walker
666 Posted 22/02/2014 at 20:56:54
EXCLUDING this season results away to the current top 4:

City won 4 draw 1 lost 2
Arsenal drawn 3 lost 4
Liverpool drawn 4 lost 3
Chelsea drawn 5 lost 2

28 played 4 won 13 draw 11 lost

Not bad away from home to the top, par is a draw.

Graham Mockford
669 Posted 22/02/2014 at 21:10:32
Andy

That's so unfair using actual data!!

Kevin Tully
671 Posted 22/02/2014 at 21:06:24
I thought we played quite well today, whilst having the bottle to go for the win. We were narrowly beaten by a stuffy goal in the 93rd minute. What's the problem?
Michael Penley
672 Posted 22/02/2014 at 21:15:22
"Late Terry lunge defeats toothless Everton"

No, it was Howard with an own goal. Terry didn't touch the ball. See here: http://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/12697253204_97a6af09d0_o.gif?w=649

Quite simply, bad luck. I thought first half was our best performance all season. The ref was terrible, giving free kicks for the slightest contact without regard to what the offending player does. Jags tried to get out of the way and Ramires ran into him – not a free kick at all.

John Daley
673 Posted 22/02/2014 at 21:12:40
Andy,

Don't be such a boring twat desperate to prove a point. It makes you look a bit of a dick when you fail.

You can look up 'stats'. Well done.

Might be better off learning to read the written word though. I said 'games against one of the top four' in 'the last 11 years'. Only played 28 games against teams in the top 4 in that period? Nope. Better chuck some basic maths in there as well then.

Oh, and by 'top four', did I mean the current top four, or teams in the top four when we actually played them? If the former then that would be pretty shortsighted, if the latter then City and Liverpool can be discarded for some seasons and almost all United games can be added to the mix.

Andy Walker
674 Posted 22/02/2014 at 21:30:43
Charming John. Have a good weekend mate and chill out.
Ray Griffin
677 Posted 22/02/2014 at 21:29:54
Andy Walker - spot on in all you comments especially regarding the subs.

Why bring on attacking/non-tackling players McGeady, Dell boy & Barkley when the game was heading for a draw? Fair enough if we we're playing them off the park but MotM Distin was showing what we needed to do and the lightweights that came on didn't fit the bill.

I have followed McGeady's career since he was a young boy, watched him for Ireland & Celtic numerous times and I can honestly say that he has no place at Everton; simply not good enough... and I'm very surprised that RM seems to have a blind spot when it comes to him,

His agent touted him about at Celtic and Spartak were the only (big) club to come in for him. Same again when he went on strike in Moscow and RM fancied him, no other Premier League club showed the faintest of interest.

Patrick Murphy
680 Posted 22/02/2014 at 21:38:39
Due to the fact that the landscape has changed significantly since we lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea in 2009, I think we have to make it a top six comparison. From the 30 games played away from Goodison, we have taken 20 points: 3 wins, 11 draws and 16 defeats from Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs, Chelsea and Man City. City are the only team we have beaten twice in that period and the other victory was at OT earlier this season.

Team W D L
Man U 1 1 3
Liverpool 0 2 3
Man City 2 1 2
Spurs 0 2 3
Chelsea 0 2 3
Arsenal 0 3 2
Total 3 11 16

So it really is par for the course that we lose more often than we gain a point at these venues and win 1 in 10 of the games played.

Victor Johnson
691 Posted 22/02/2014 at 22:28:54
Steve Durham (604), my old man is approaching 80 and he's got a cock like a baby's arm holding a granny smith. Use a better analogy next time mate.
Mark Stone
696 Posted 22/02/2014 at 22:57:10
Graham #634 it's not as if Ramires cuts a particularly imposing figure is it? I'd put my money on Osman against that skinny streak off piss.
Simon Smith
701 Posted 22/02/2014 at 22:55:50
Well, I sat with a mate and watched the game on the TV at his house. Looking back, the defeat was harder to swallow than a battered deep-fried cream egg (not that I’ve ever tried one) — just the thought of it makes me feel sick!

For me, Pienaar went missing again several times during the game and was most upset with Ross Barkley. (Have Chelsea tapped him up already?) Ossie really is a tryer — just a shame that he’s not rewarded with the goals he deserves for his effort.

The lack of a fully fit strike force is really beginning to come back to haunt us and has cost us more than once this season. How I wish for a 20-goals-a-season player but, without a fairy godfather or a very very rich Arab uncle, this is never going to happen. (If any ladies have the wonger, I’m sure we wouldn’t say no to their help either!)

I’m sure we all hope that Lukaku comes back next week champing at the bit and ready to fight for us Blues all through the run in.

As for the lad on loan from Monaco, I’ll forgive him for today if he nods in an 89th min winner against the Arsenal in the cup the week after next. (One can only dream!)

So, as I curse the extra-time free-kick that never was, I think it’s time to grab another beer and drown my sorrows some more. Stella can only blot out some of the memories of today!

Clive Lewis
704 Posted 22/02/2014 at 23:15:30
I do not really share the optimistic views for next season. I fear we will lose Lukaku and we might lose Barry. This will leave us at the mercy of how much is available to buy players to replace them and the ability of our manager to get quality.

The real problem is that we seem to have lost some shape. Yes, we can pass the ball well and played some good stuff, but at times in the second half we looked a bit panicky and started hoofing the ball.

We have no strikers and the fact is, if we would have replaced Jelavic with a better player, no-one would care; however, this never happened. I worry that the Martinez style could be starting to compromise the structure and shape of the team. If we wanted to look really depressingly about it, Wigan played good stuff at times but they mostly looked disorganised. Are Everton now starting to show the same – albeit with better players.

Patrick Murphy
706 Posted 22/02/2014 at 23:46:51
No, Clive, they are not and they were a tad unlucky today and at WHL. I have just put on another thread that Everton's return from away games is appalling — 22 wins in 90 fixtures — so we are not imploding as some think; we are just keeping up with previous seasons' returns from away fixtures.
Clive Lewis
710 Posted 22/02/2014 at 23:49:45
Patrick,

Well, yes, the facts might suggest something different. However, it's an observation really from the 3 games, particularly the dark side awfullness.

Patrick Murphy
713 Posted 22/02/2014 at 23:54:06
It's the Dark Side awfulness that has for some unknown reason coloured many peoples views and I'd rather take the facts from a long period of time. The reason being is that somehow our former manager and Bill Kenwright are praised and lorded for what has been – away from home anyway – nothing like the return a club with top 6 ambitions should be.

The reason I have chosen the last five years is because it shows that lack of investment up for what it is a dereliction of duty by the board. How Roberto is somehow supposed to turn it around with a negative net-spend is beyond my comprehension.

Patrick Murphy
714 Posted 23/02/2014 at 00:02:17
To put the away thing into perspective, Wigan won 18 times in 76 games during the same period.
Si Cooper
724 Posted 23/02/2014 at 00:24:04
You simply can't tell whether John Terry gets a touch on the ball or not from the clips I have seen of their goal. If he does (even if it is only his toe or studs) then Howard actually made a save and was very unlucky that it bounced off his arm the way it did. A slight deflection off Terry would actually make a lot of sense because the angle of the ball would move to the right of where Howard was trying to meet the flight of the ball and hit the inside of his left arm.

Can't believe people are calling for Howard and Distin to be moved out because they are liable to make mistakes! Show me a 'keeper and centre back who aren't! Obviously better replacements would be expensive even if they could be identified and these two are simply not bad enough for their replacement to be a priority.

Some strange comments on this thread about the manager making unnecessary risky changes. I thought the game had started to drift away from us before RM made his substitutions today and he was simply trying to wrest the initiative back. Unfortunately for us Barkley had a 'mare and Deulofeu hardly saw the ball. Definitely no reason to see the final result as a direct consequence of the manager being too adventurous. If we had gone defensive then they could still have sneaked one at some stage.

Peter Barry
734 Posted 23/02/2014 at 03:43:39
Jelavic scored TWO brilliant goals today and Big Vic is scoring for West Brom – both of them are STILL Prem players, So either there is something wrong with the training at Goodison – or the atmosphere – just saying.
Dick Fearon
735 Posted 23/02/2014 at 03:30:31
Russ Q @ 652, thanks for you view of Traore's injury. I have been searching for it. Dosen't sound good for him.

Mourino needed to pull something out of the hat and that something was two despicable divers. In one incident, Torres, with face contorted in torture and with a scream agony, when the camera clearly showed there was no contact... yet he fooled the ref and was awarded a free in a dangerous position.

Ramirez did what what so many in the modern game do: a bare minimum of contact and he dived. It was noticeable the 'Special One' practically broke into a run as he fled the field of shame. Not another sick note.

Peter Barry
736 Posted 23/02/2014 at 04:07:20
The Sunderland game was the tipping point and since then Everton have not been able to perform as they did so well in the first half of the season. Injuries and the lack of squad replacements have played a major part in this decline but worryingly those returning from injury don't seem to have the same 'spark' as they had before they were injured.
However looking at the Prem Table and the fixtures left it would seem that we will be in competition with OFM's Man U for sixth place. Which considering the money they have spent and that they started the season as Champions is not too bad a result for Martinez's first season in charge.
Ernie Baywood
737 Posted 23/02/2014 at 04:39:07
Ross was our spark in the first half of the season. A few weeks out and he's a completely different player. Fitness may be an issue, but when he does things instinctively he's still showing his quality. Any time he has the opportunity to think it falls apart - like he's back in preseason.

Could really do with something going for him. Just to get his confidence back.

Paul Ward
738 Posted 23/02/2014 at 04:44:47
Once again the commentators erupt after a good footballing display against a higher placed opposition with only a loss to show. Frustration is felt by all especially as Everton's amount of possession merited at least a draw. Unfortunately this is nothing new and won't change until they add another dimension to their play. The striker is a problem as all have said, but even if Everton had a choice of any CF in the world he would have a big job scoring goals in this team. As (Dean Adams 568) says our build up is so slow that we give the opposition time to get back and defend. I think it is time that detractors and enthusiasts of our style of play accept the fact, that it is just exhibition football and will not win trophies. We are still not in the same class as the top four.
David Crewe
746 Posted 23/02/2014 at 08:02:04
Very proud to be at the bridge yesterday in amongst the home fans who all thought we deserved a draw.

Barclay will come good and we'll find a striker.

Look at the next four games and all is not lost this season.

Very very promising all round.

Daniel Joseph
759 Posted 23/02/2014 at 09:50:28
All foreplay - No penetration. Oh for a goalscorer who doesn’t want to walk it in.
Kunal Desai
762 Posted 23/02/2014 at 09:42:01
Not quite sure why people are saying the next four games are a certainty to get 3 points. Hammers have picked up form of late, cardiff are fighting to stay in the league, just about beat swanseas second 11 side last week. Sunderland have already taken 3 points of us. Yes they are less fashionable sides in the league but it won't mean it'll be easier to get 3 points that it would if we played chelsea and spurs.
David Price
770 Posted 23/02/2014 at 10:33:26
John Terrys' studs up challenge at Howard and not getting the ball not a foul then ? If Tim had been more commanding then if he didn't get the ball he would have been clattered and got the foul.Shame as he had a blinder until then.
James Marshall
775 Posted 23/02/2014 at 11:05:17
Oh and Ross Barkley continues to be terrible post-injury. He's clearly not fit.
Derek Thomas
777 Posted 23/02/2014 at 10:43:08
We could've won it or at least took the lead via Osman or maybe even Miralles, if he had his shouting boots on... but we didn't.

We were well worth a draw...but we didn't

Would the 1 point we were worth have made any real difference in the short or long term.

We can't afford the numerous 25Mill players, both on the field and on the bench, that build the pressure that forced the none foul that led to the big yard dog CH lunging at it ala Skrytl.

All we can do is play fast and loose ( within the rules ) with the loan system and try to get 'cheap' players we can ' improve' like Cahill, Pienaar... and hope for the best.

Oh and maybe get a better quality of improver to improve.

Brian Waring
779 Posted 23/02/2014 at 11:11:41
Andy (#597) obviously I'm not happy with losing, you blame Martinez' tactics, I don't.

After all these years where the majority of the time it was all about starting games where the onus was on just not getting beat, and hoping to nick one. You only have to look at some of the shite Moyes came out with when he left, things like it was all about getting out of Old Trafford alive.

Now we have a manager whose mentality is all about not fearing anyone.
No money excuses etc, he's a breath of fresh air.

Also Andy, Wigan may have gone down by playing football, but Martinez is at a bigger club with better players.

Barry Rathbone
782 Posted 23/02/2014 at 11:22:03
James Marshall, you are an absolute buffoon we're not even through Martinez first season and we've had more highs than virtually any season from the previous decade.

If you can't see it's all about the summer transfer window and prepared to support the man (he HAS earned it) then go somewhere else you droning vaccuous pretender.

Get a mini bus there's a handful of other gobshites that need to join you.

Keith Young
783 Posted 23/02/2014 at 11:08:20
Two other Evertonians and I were at yesterday's match in great seats surrounded by Chelsea fans including Jeremy Clarkson all crowing at the start. By half time they were quiet and we three were happy though necessarily well behaved. Nearing the end of normal time the Chelsea fans were anxious. In extra time they were relieved but respectful to us.I was disappointed BEFORE the end if we had only drawn. Chelsea fans knew and we Evertonians must NOW know we are " in their league".The game was good and sadly we narrowly lost playing in style. RM is delivering, believe me he knows what needs doing.He is not looking for excuses and he doesn't "know his place" unlike OFM.
James Marshall
784 Posted 23/02/2014 at 11:33:32
Barry Rathbone (#782)

Don't abuse me because you don't agree with my opinion. I was at the game yesterday so I'm more than entitled to express an opinion. I was banned from this site for less than you've just said, so grow up and put up an opinion – don't just spout childish abuse.

It's people like you that ruin this site.

Roberto Martinez is pigheaded and extremely stubborn in the way he plays – fact.

I stand by my comments because they hold weight.

Brian Waring
786 Posted 23/02/2014 at 11:40:35
Has anyone heard anything on the Traore injury? Also, think we need Mulder and Scully to look into this loan deal, because it's baffling as fuck.
Patrick Murphy
793 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:01:15
Darren can you suggest what we do to win more games and score more goals? Sack the manager? Revert back to having less possession? Play two up front? Change the mentality of the board?

If people choose not to accept that the underpinning reason for Everton being unable to make a season long challenge lies with the directors and their lack of investment in the team that is their choice. As I've said before if Roberto does get a proper war-chest in the summer and we are still struggling to score goals by this time next season then I will also start to have major concerns about his strategy - but I am willing to ride out the rest of this season because in truth the same problems that beset David Moyes haven't gone away and until they do Evertonians will have to accept that we cannot make a season long challenge and haven't made a season long challenge in the whole of Bill Kenwright's tenure.

David Graves
794 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:05:36
James you are of course entitled to your opinion. I don't see how your opinion that Martinez is pig headed holds weight though. "if you have Osman, Naismith etc. In your team it isn't going to work" But what is? What is the magic formula he is missing witb the players we have?
James Marshall
796 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:16:03
There is no magic formula and I'm not saying the new style is the wrong way to go. What I do think is that it needs to be applied slightly differently - more crosses, quicker build-up play, not being afraid to play on the break and getting more players in the box.

We keep the ball brilliantly and I applaud both players and manager for that. I do believe however, that we're not Barcelona, we're a good team of limited players who need to be more direct at times. We don't shoot enough, we play sideways & backwards too much and all too often have no end product.

Pienaar played the ball backwards all game yesterday - Baines barely crossed the ball, same with Coleman. Pretty football, and keeping the ball is great to watch but it has to have at least an attempted end product. All bar a small handful of times yesterday, we played right up to their box, then ended up back with Distin, Jagielka or Howard getting the ball.

Darren Hind
798 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:12:29
Yes I can Patrick, but it involves an element of risk, we need midfield players to leave their well drilled duties and drive into the box in support of attacks, if that involves sacrificing possesion from ime to time the so be it.

Moyes and Martinez - opposite ends of ends of the same problem. One didnt know what to do with the ball and the other doesnt know what to do without it.

Frying pan, Fire

Paul Tran
799 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:24:15
James, it's hard to disagree with you. We desperately need some pace and conviction in the final third. For me, there's two things behind this; one is that the players are concentrating so hard on keeping the ball that they're almost forgetting about going towards goal. The other is that they have little or no confidence in the players in front of them.

I'm surprised at how tight we've been under Martinez. The problem is that because we can't score, every mistake gets punished.

Martinez's success at Everton depends on how he deals with this. We need at least one quality striker and a crafty midfielder with pace.

Can't fathom the Traore deal - an impact player who.....doesn't play??

Raymond Fox
800 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:22:23
I agree with James 796 post.

We can argue the toss as much as we want, about how we should play etc, but the simple truth is we cant afford to improve our squad enough to win CL football.

If we could buy an Aquero, a RVP, Hazard or even a Rooney we might stand a chance!
The PL is basically a money competition

David Graves
801 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:33:05
The problem is that we cant go direct when he has to play Naismith and we are never going to play the 3rd man runner style because that's not his way. Failing to do any proper business in January ( so he doesnt have to start with Naismith) will cost us this year. If this is solely down to Roberto then that hass to be a criticism.
James Marshall
803 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:39:47
"The problem is that we cant go direct when he has to play Naismith and we are never going to play the 3rd man runner style because that's not his way"

Agreed, David, it's even harder with the limited Naismith up front. I quite like him and his attitude before anyone jumps on that - he's limited but half-decent up the middle. Anywhere else and his limitations are exposed.

The second part of your sentence is a pertinent point - Martinez does have his 'way' of doing things, and he never, ever falters and never ever changes that 'way' of playing even when it's ineffective. This is what frustrates me and what I feel is his failing at times.

Paul Smith
804 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:37:35
James Marshall - spot on!.

Stick to your guns mate. If others get a little feeling by reading something they don't agree with, then, maybe a little introspective is needed on their behalf and not yours mate.

After all, as long as your not calling for people to be shot - this is only an Everton related football site designed to facilitate supporters differing opinions.

Brian Harrison
805 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:35:04
Darren 798

I agree about the holding midfield player getting forward more when we are in possession, quite often we get the ball wide to Baines and there is only 1 player in the opposition box.
Surely RM can see this problem but as someone else said they seem more intent on keeping possession than counter attacking quickly. Sadly Barkley is going through a poor run of form add to that we have Deulofeu short of match practice and Lukaku unable to play yesterday.

I know there is always great debate here on TW about different styles of play, but for me there are only 2 ways winning or losing the rest is just about semantics. Did Chelsea fans really care that they parked the bus against Barca to win the Champions league. Would Arsenal fans care if they passed it a little less but won the league.

Paul Tran
807 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:48:07
James, I'm not sure about this 'Martinez way' argument. We keep the ball well and generally defend well. We lack pace and conviction upfront. Is that his 'way', or an indictment of the players we have upfront?

I'd certainly be critical of Martinez in the last transfer window. I agreed with getting rid of unwanted players but they did need replacing - either with long term prospects or immediate impact players. We got neither.

This summer will tell us plenty....

Wayne Smyth
809 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:21:33
James, I think you're assuming that what we're witnessing is the end product, when infact Martinez has been fighting on many fronts this season. Its naive in the extreme to suggest at this early stage that Martinez doesn't want us to get the ball forward more quickly.

Lets look at what the guy has had to deal with. If we go back to July, we have OFM leaving with most of the coaching staff. Martinez comes in with his own staff, new methods. OFM then spends the next 2-3 months destabilizing the club by trying to poach our two best players for a pittance. Martinez brings in 3 11th hour signings to cover the last minute loss of Fellaini and spends the next 3 months dealing with our best player who wont sign a contract.

Added to that, he's got rid of some deadwood, brought in the best loans he can, got some players on a free and managed to save us some cash he can spend in the summer when decent players are available.

He's endured the most horrendous injury crisis I can recall over the last few months - and we still have many players out, he's got us playing toe to toe with the "rich teams" on their patch, on most occasions. We now go to these places looking to win.

Against spurs it was an individual error that cost us, at chelsea a last gasp own goal from a set-piece playing a team who hasn't lost there in 73 matches or something. We could've won it. We didn't sit back and circle the wagons, complain about finances. We went at them and created problems for them. This is how I want my team to play!!

What do you expect Martinez to do? Its his first season, he's trying to get to know the players, improve our squad, keep us competitive, and plan for the long term future. We're still not out of the champions league spots with 12 games to go and are on even points with OFM who has been able to take the league winning squad from last year and spend a further £70M to strengthen it....and we have a game in hand over them.

I can't argue that the football or the results are great, because they're not. Where I disagree with you is that somehow Martinez wants us to play slowly, side to side football with no end product and that this is all its ever going to be. When our players are up against a side with the players that Chelsea have, they're unlikely to be able to play great football.

What Martinez wants is controlled football. He wants our players to be comfortable on the ball and I'm all for that. I don't want us to go the percentage route, clearing our lines straight to the opposition so it comes straight back. We don't have the size of player in the squad to give a team like Chelsea aerial problems, and if we go there putting 4-5 players in the box for a cross, you think Chelsea with Hazard and Etoo and all the other quality they have are not going to fuck us royally on the break?

When we don't break quickly; is that because of Martinez? Is it because a lack of individual control or bad decisions on the part of the players? I think mostly the latter.

When you have Osman and Naismith against a squad which has cost hundreds of millions to put together, and we narrowly lose to a freak set-piece goal, I'm not going to throw my toys out the pram and call for the manager to forget his beliefs.

We're going the correct route for the long-term. Look how frustrated sherwood and mourinho were before their sides scored their goals? If we keep doing what we are, it will come good. Roberto just needs time to really work with the players and bring in players who can play the way he wants to a higher standard.

Kieran Fitzgerald
812 Posted 23/02/2014 at 12:48:34
Raymond @800, brilliant point. Having the cash to buy just one RVP, or Mata, or Ozil, does make all the difference. Liverpool in the most are a very ordinary side, but over the last couple of transfer windows they have had the money to buy Sturridge and Courtinho. Add them to Suarez and they have one of the most potent forward lines in Europe right now.

Everton, well... er.. em... we splashed out 13m on McCarthy and then cemented the piggy bank shut straight away. While McCarthy has been a great signing, he is hardly driving us forward to a CL league place.

Whether people like it mentioned or not, I think that there has been enough evidence in the season to date to show that at times Martinez hasn't been flexible enough in his style. Yes, sometimes he has made substitutions at the right time without altering his style of play that have won us games. But then again, there have been games when the style has clearly not been working yet it has not been altered.

I would agree with some of the comments above though that we will see what the summer transfer window does to the quality that Martinez has for both the first eleven and also the bench. If he gets to strengthen the way he would like then he should have the quality in depth to give him the option of varying his style. If he still doesn't change things as next season goes on, then I would start to have concerns. For now, I am happy to see this season for what it is, transition.

Brian Waring
816 Posted 23/02/2014 at 13:09:30
" I think you're assuming that what we're witnessing is the end product" That is it in one Wayne.

It's Martinez' first season in charge and some on here are already slagging him off to death. He needs to be given time to do it his way.

Kevin Tully
817 Posted 23/02/2014 at 13:10:11
"Everton deserved at least a draw"

"Everton were the better side for much of this game"

"Both sides went for the win"

"They really deserved at least a point"

Those are quotes from the press this morning. It's funny that certain 'supporters' didn't see the same game as all those reporters.

Take their jammy goal away, and I thought we played quite well, especially considering we lost Traore 5 minutes before kick-off. Don't forget that we would have been training all week with the big lad up top.

Can't wait for the Arsenal game, I know we will go at them at their place, instead of 9 men behind the ball, hoofing it out of defence.

Dean Adams
818 Posted 23/02/2014 at 13:41:58
We play lovely football, but its all very pedestrian, which is fine at home and suits us. Away however we need to play quicker through balls so the pace of our quicker players hurts the opposition. Lukaku and Mirallas play better when running with the ball, as does Ross and Gerard so why we don't utilize these strengths is strange. I like Roberto's style of play, but away from home you need to mix it up from time to time.It's all a learning curve for us fans as well as the manager, so I hope next season we see more of the good intelligent play that we have shown in patches.
Colin Glassar
820 Posted 23/02/2014 at 14:04:37
Unless we start to have a killer instinct in front of goal, we will be ranked alongside those other entertaining teams like Swansea, WHU (pre-Sam), Arsenal etc... who play pretty football but win nothing.

I imagine Roberto now knows who's going to leave and which players he will bring in in the summer.

Dan Brierley
826 Posted 23/02/2014 at 14:21:17
Disappointing, but to be fair it is our own fault that we needed to beat Chelsea to keep our hopes of CL alive. The war was lost in earlier battles, not this one.

What stood out again yesterday, was that when Chelsea sat back and let us have some possession in the 1st half, we looked clueless. Instead of turning up the heat and getting bodies forward, we remained flat with the two centre halves and defensive mids staying around the half way line leaving our 4 attacking players and 2 wing backs with the task of breaking through a Chelsea side sitting deep. What is frustrating is that we play exactly the same way whether a team is coming at us full pelt, or we have constant possession. There has to be some variation depending on how the game is panning out, Barry or McCarthy or even both should push forward at some points and make runs that take defenders away from our attackers. The way we currently play, our forward man often has to take on 3 players every time he gets the ball.

I hope Barry is not offered a contract and we instead get someone in the centre that can make things happen, but as I have mentioned before I don't think James McCarthy is ready to play by himself in that role yet, he still has a lot to learn and Barry is a good model for him to learn from. I don't see us improving in front of goal while we continue to play with 2 defensive midfielders.

Andy Walker
841 Posted 23/02/2014 at 15:52:40
Completely disagree that this us down to not enough players. Open your eyes and look what's happened in the last month. Our casino manager rolled the dice yet again and his luck has run out. A totally irresponsible team selection and tactics against Liverpool, followed by bizarre subs against a Spurs that caused us to loose shape and then the match, and as for yesterday it was ludicrous subs when again we were in control until he decided to have a bet and we lost again.

Everyone's entitled to an opinion without having to be vilified for it. Fans should respect alternative views, yet the aggression shown towards a critical view of our manager's performance is really astounding. We as fans have ever right to question the validity of Martinez's tactics without getting a load of personal abuse thrown back.

I can see the benefits Martinez has brought to our team but I also believe he's been shown lacking when it's really counted in the last month. His high-risk style can come off sometimes but over a season it's not going to get us into the top 4; we know that now as we have seen first hand he is not prepared to adapt to the context of a game in the run-in to the end of a season.

It's a good style for cup competitions though, and I can see how Wigan won the cup as you can get the luck over a few games. But over 38 games you need to show more guile and recognise times to be more defensively minded and when to attack. Mourinho is a master at this; Martinez an apprentice. I hope he can learn and give us all what we want as fans of our beloved team.

Phil Friedman
844 Posted 23/02/2014 at 16:34:52
All the talk about what RM might do in the summer transfer window, I’d be concerned that he thinks Kone and Gibson coming back off injury as sufficient cover at striker and defensive mid. They are not. He needs to make Bill give him all the cash they have hoarded in the past year, and spend it wisely.
David Graves
846 Posted 23/02/2014 at 16:37:42
Andy Walker perhaps you need to open your eyes rather than suggesting others do. "the master" as you call him was able to bring on about £80 million worth of subs to win the game. So yes, it is completely down to not having enough quality players. As for giving us what we want as fans Martinez is doing a pretty good job for this fan - and that includes trying to go on and win the game at Chelsea.
Raymond Fox
850 Posted 23/02/2014 at 16:33:34
Andy what gives with the casino manager tag?
You say you want success for our beloved team, it isn't going to come anytime soon, because we can't afford the quality of players needed to bring us success.

As far as playing the league leaders on their ground yesterday is concerned, I thought we were the best side 1st half & they were undoubtedly the best team 2nd half. Now the manager is getting slaughtered by some because we lost in injury time, hardly a poor performance, is it?

For us to make the top 4 with the current ownership, it will take a miracle maker – not a football manager. Wishing for success isn't going to make it happen!

Andy Walker
852 Posted 23/02/2014 at 16:53:21
David, the subs made against Spurs and Chelsea clearly affected our performance. The team selection and tactics against Liverpool were over aggressive, Martinez even said it post match himself! Eyes wide open here looking at the reality that tactical changes effect results both positively and negatively, which is no revelation is it? Martinez has rightly been given credit for some substitutions but criticism is valid when he gets it wrong which he has in these vital recent games. We could have got better results with the same players if the tactics had been better and the squad had been used to better effect.

It's too easy to simply blame the size of the squad. The biggest influence on our recent performances has been the use of personnel, not the quality we possess in the squad.

Barry Rathbone
856 Posted 23/02/2014 at 17:08:10
Andy Walker the fundamental flaw in that is you speak as though sitting back inviting pressure is ever a good idea against the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea!!

Even if we have such a plethora of accomplished defenders to call upon it would be madness – and we simply haven’t.

It’s quality and quantity, we don’t have it and there’s no way around it.

Raymond Fox
858 Posted 23/02/2014 at 17:11:06
Andy I agree with you about substitutions making a difference good & bad, fair point, but lack of choice & quality are still relevant.

It no coincidence that the same 6 clubs invariably finish in the top 6 places each year!

Andy Walker
860 Posted 23/02/2014 at 17:05:53
Raymond we have shown we CAN compete with the best teams when Martinez gets the tactics spot on. We were the better side against Spurs and at least equal to Chelsea and then threw this away intentionally by making far to high risk subs, it was a pure gamble by our manager. Both games changed following the substitutions and we came under more pressure as we lost shape simply because of the substitutions, this handed the initiative to the opposition, invited pressure and they both scored as a consequence.

The tactics against Liverpool were totally wrong, I didnt see many disagreeing with this, including our manager.

With our squad and performances to date, we should gave been capable of getting 3 points from these 3 matches which would have meant we were still in the race. Of course more quality players in the squad will give more options to help to turn around games we are struggling in, but we weren't being outplayed against either Spurs or Chelsea, the opposite was nearer the truth before the subs were made.

Oliver Molloy
866 Posted 23/02/2014 at 17:14:12
Andy Walker,

We were never going to reach the Champions League places this season. Yes, we can dream and we are a match for the best teams if ALL our players on the team sheet play at the top of their game on match day. The fact we have a small squad and have had a right handful of injuries was always going to tell and come into play in the latter part of the season. Until we find the money to buy the quality needed to close the gap, I predict this will always be the case.

In saying that, I have every faith Martinez will make Everton strong contenders to challenge the best in our league, but it will take maybe three seasons to do just that. Even if Kenwright finds a pile of money, it could happen quicker, but I think we need to give the new manager at least three seasons to build his side and then we can judge.

I do agree with those who have stated the obvious regards the loan signing of Traore, it does seem a little silly given the guy was not fit. Don't be surprised if we lose a few more matches before the end of the season. The cup has to be the priority for the club now.

Brent Stephens
867 Posted 23/02/2014 at 17:30:37
Had Osman's legs gone when he was subbed yesterday? Not sure I saw that.

If that was the case (if his legs hadn't gone) it was, for me, a throw of the dice (risking disrupting our shape and control in midfield, for the chance of something sublime from Barks) - Plan A subsection 2.

Presumably Roberto knew how fit Barks was, and either he aint fit enough yet (in which case, a real throw of the dice) or he's lost some confidence (in which case, really worrying) or just one of those days (again).

Easy for me to say... on reflection I wonder if Roberto might just have told them to swing the ball into Naismith a lot quicker (pace) and get him to put the CBs under pressure (passion). Would have kept our shape etc in midfield and given us something we discovered in the month or so before xmas but have lost since – pace with passion.

Raymond Fox
869 Posted 23/02/2014 at 17:32:48
Andy, come on... My take on the subs against Chelsea was that they came out second half with more determination & were bossing the game at that point. Add to that Ossie & Pienaar were tiring, so fresh legs seemed the obvious way to go.

In the match against RS, it's easy after the event to say the tactics were wrong, I put it down to they were just too good for us on the night. They tore us to pieces — just like they did to Arsenal in their next match, Wenger didn't learn much off our demise, did he?

Dean Adams
870 Posted 23/02/2014 at 17:57:00
So Spurs just lost away to Norwich. Those moaning about strikers and saying that we have lost because we have none must have some really interesting ideas as to why Spurs failed today.
Matthew Williams
875 Posted 23/02/2014 at 18:07:51
I do Dean, they were as toothless as we’ve been... oh yeah & Norwich have Snodgrass, plays like Ronnie Goodless & has a wand of a left foot like Sheedy, ’nuff said.
Kevin Tully
877 Posted 23/02/2014 at 18:05:17
Martinez like to bring on attacking substitutes to try and win games. How those substitutes perform when they take to the field will clearly make that substitution a good or bad call. Barkley looked like an Academy kid when he came on, and at least three good attacking positions were lost because of him - for one of them he let Terry get back goal side when he should have worked the keeper. It was probably his worst 20 min's on the pitch in a blue shirt, but he will come good.

Or should we write him off along with Martinez?

Graham Mockford
879 Posted 23/02/2014 at 18:15:17
Dean

Not at all, the two events have absolutely no relation whatsoever. We have struggled since Lukaku got injured, three away games no goals.

Some foresight in the transfer window could have prevented that situation.

Paul Johnson
882 Posted 23/02/2014 at 18:06:25
Andy’s point is fair. Against good sides away, you need to accept that a point is a great result occasionally. That was my assumption at half-time when I texted my brother a point would do.

I love Martinez but, if he is to become a great manager, then he needs to set the team up for a result and play to his strengths or identify how his team’s weaknesses can impact the game – particularly away from home, where you don’t have the backing of the crowd. We will be a far better team next season because Roberto will have grown as a manager as he will start to recognise that he is at a serious club that will not tolerate defeat to easily.

This by the way is not a knife to a gunfight. I had no time for Moyes’s negativity but Andy is right. Know your strengths and use them to get results. Yesterday he made subs against a very aggressive side that I believe handed the initiative to the opposition. We played well but we are not yet there in terms of overall quality.

Keep playing football Roberto but recognise that sometimes getting a point is no bad thing.

Andy Walker
914 Posted 23/02/2014 at 19:19:01
Kevin, I don't think you can right off Martinez or Barkley just yet! One side of a substitution is how will the players you bring on play, which I agree is an unknown to a large extent. However, what isn't an unknown is how well the players you sub have been playing and how effective they have been in the match. I still see no reason for 3 subs yesterday.
Michael Kenrick
923 Posted 23/02/2014 at 19:34:21
I'm finding Andy Walker's comments about the subs at Stamford Bridge just utterly bizarre.

Martinez was trumped early again by the opposition manager making a proactive change that swung the balance of the game — at half-time! After that, it was only too evident that Martinez would again wait far too long to make his substitutions, in a far too belated effort to counter what Mourinho had done.

But no; we needed to "be ourselves" (I'm starting to get a little agitated by that phrase...), Osman was playing well (was he really?!?) and everyone know he only has 60 mins in him, so that's what he was going to get, come what may.

For me, Both Barkley and Deulofeu had the potential to change this game.... but ONLY if they were brought on way early in the second half and given a decent opportunity to get into the game — and as soon as possible after it was obvious that the pendulum had swing Chelsea's way. Sadly, that was obvious within 5 or 10 mins after the break, but I worry that Martinez does not allow such real-time negative observations to affect his admirable Big Picture Positivity...

I can't guarantee that the outcome would have been any different, but at least these players would have had a decent chance to get into the game. As it was, giving them just 26 and 15 mins of normal time respectively was a huge mistake by Martinez.

His subs policy has become far far too predictable. The gameplan and ultimate outcome of this game was far far too predictable. Yes, he's only been here 8 months...we all know that. But we still have 11 games to play... THIS SEASON! He needs to be more adaptable, more flexible, more willing to change his policy based on how he senses the game is changing — assuming he actually does!

Jackie Barry
925 Posted 23/02/2014 at 19:52:02
Very bizarre indeed!
Darren Hind
928 Posted 23/02/2014 at 19:29:38
Chelsea's winner was not "jammy" — it was a gift from a team who didn't have the resolve to keep it out, a direct result of Chelsea's captain showing more desire.

John Terry's attitude was the difference yesterday; he's a winner and, unlike our defenders, he cost nothing.

Kevin Tully
929 Posted 23/02/2014 at 19:59:50
Maybe those sub's aren't fully match fit MK, and he's easing them back into full fitness. I don't agree Martinez is predictable in his substitutions, I would say his hands are tied with options at the moment, and he has to be careful certain players don't break down again.

Didn't he make two changes at half-time against West Ham to win the game? I think he has made plenty of game changing substitutions so far this season.

Graham Mockford
930 Posted 23/02/2014 at 19:55:10
Michael #923

It's only with hindsight that the substitutions can be called a mistake. Certainly in play I was happy enough with the changes, however they undoubtedly changed the dynamic of the game.

Barkley had one of his worst ever games, he literally gave the ball away every time he was in possession in the last 15 minutes. That contributed to us coming under increasing pressure and Mourinho made reference to that in his after match comments. I'm not sure another 15 minutes would have made any difference to his performance.

I'm not sure where this Osman has only got 60 minutes in him comes from, he played 90 against Swansea and didn't look to be tiring to me on Saturday where yes I think he played well.

That being said, Ross can give you something different, which is why I thought it was the right substitution. Who knew he would look like his boots were tied together.

Colin Glassar
944 Posted 23/02/2014 at 20:41:39
Roberto went for the win yesterday, with his substitutions, something OFM would never have considered. I think the majority of Evertonians believe in him, and his project, and will back him to the hilt.
Wayne Smyth
946 Posted 23/02/2014 at 19:12:36
Andy, which of our subs against Spurs caused us to lose the match?

Was it Barkley for Pienaar a minute before they scored after a Naismith foul? They battered us so badly, that was their first shot on target. Or was it the two subs we made late in the game after they were already ahead?

Against Liverpool, which tactics did he get wrong? Assuming it was the unfit players he played, which team was he meant to put out?

Against Chelsea, I will agree we looked worse after our subs. But we looked fine till the 92nd minute when Howard scored an own goal. Should we have brought a defender on for the last 20 minutes, circled the wagons hoping to get a point? Do you think we'd have been any better equipped to defend a set piece against a team with so many tall players?

What I find odd, is that Martinez has generally got his subs spot on for so much of the season. I understand people are frustrated, but I also see a lot of whining and moaning and not a lot of specifics about what the hell Martinez was meant to do. Should he pull a Xavi out of his arse?

All of the teams we've played and who've narrowly beaten us have spent vast fortunes and have significantly better individuals. Any criticism of Martinez or indeed our players needs to take this into account as well as the injured players we have out

Colin Grierson
963 Posted 23/02/2014 at 21:00:14
I was proud of the manner of our performance yesterday and indeed the way the team has performed all season. Individuals will make mistakes and we will have off days as a unit; however, we matched the table toppers whose bench cost more than our entire squad!

I never thought we would be challenging for a Champions League place at the beginning of the season so, for me, we are in a good place at the moment despite a few frustrating results.
COYB!

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