Having set off down the M6 amidst a buzz of anticipation, confidence and expectation, it was desperately depressing to leave The Emirates Stadium beaten and deflated with a nagging thought of “Why do I do this to myself every year?”
A lengthy delay on the M1 due to an earlier accident aside, we were plain-sailing all the way to London. My sister lives a 30-minute walk from The Emirates so having parked at her flat we took the nice walk through Clissold Park and towards the ground. We had time to kill so had a couple of beers in The Arsenal Tavern on Blackstock Road where I found the team news on Twitter – the team a good one. I’d forgotten about Roberto’s preference to play Joel Robles in cup competitions rather than Howard but otherwise, you had to be happy with the team news with Lukaku and Barkley featuring. Stones continued to deputise in the absence of captain Phil Jagielka. Mikel Arteta featured for the Gunners.
With time kicking down until kick-off, we headed on to the mighty impressive Emirates Stadium where I met David to collect my ticket. In we bundled through the turnstile and up to our seats. Row 9 – directly by the corner flag. Mark Clattenburg (urgh) officiated and got proceedings under way, the travelling Evertonians in fine voice.
It didn’t take long for our singing to be silenced. Seven minutes in fact when Santi Carzola took full advantage of a slip by James McCarthy and put the Everton defence into a state of panic as he ran at goal. He slipped in Ozil nicely who finished nicely and clenched his fist. The Emirates erupted and Arsenal were ahead 1-0.
What followed in the remaining 25 minutes was probably as poor as I’ve seen Everton play all season. Okay, maybe I’m overlooking the first-half horror show at Anfield but we were certainly on the ropes and struggling to make any impact on the game at all as Arsenal broke forward time and time again, Robles terrifying the hell out of us by electing to punch pretty much everything that came at him… at one point even almost punching into his own goal.
However, he did keep everything out at least as Everton miraculously hung in there and eventually we decided to break ourselves. Credit to Barkley who ran a long, long way from inside his own half all the way to the right by-line and put in an awkward looking cross. Mirallas did well at the back post to get something on it (that’s pretty much all he did all game by the way) and Lukaku was left with the simple task of dabbing the ball home from just a couple of yards out. 1-1 and game on. It was completely against the run of play but we were glad to take it.
Arsenal almost regained their advantage again immediately and would have done but for an excellent save from Robles away to his left hand side, but we were now back in the game at least and made it safely to half time at 1-1 with a great chance to re-group.
It was bedlam getting a beer at the break but I just about managed it. David and I got chatting to some acquaintances of his, one of which promised me Everton were going to win 2-1…a promise which sadly couldn’t be fulfilled.
It wasn’t from want of trying from Everton. Moreover, Everton were actually very much in the game up until Arteta’s 68th minute penalty, the key moment probably coming when Barkley cut his effort narrowly over the crossbar having been teed up by Lukaku. Liverpool for example just don’t seem to squander them chances and it certainly came back to bite us this time when Gareth Barry felled Oxlade-Chamberlain in the penalty area. Clattenburg didn’t hesitate for even a micro-second and gave the penalty, even if he was nice enough to make Arsenal take it twice, though it mattered not as Arteta is about as deadly as they come from the spot. I haven’t seen it since and couldn’t say if it was a penalty or not as it was down the other end of the pitch though I’m told it was. I actually thought it was Ozil stepping up to take the spot kick and was hopeful it would be missed but when I saw Arteta step up I knew we had no chance. Even with the re-take you never really felt Arteta would miss.
Other than baffling substitutions (Naismith and Deulofeu would have been a better choice), tripe defending by Everton and devastatingly good breaks and finishes by Arsenal, there is precious else to comment on for the remainder of the match as Everton had lost their bottle. So let's stay on Arteta for a moment...
Well I’ve nothing but disappointment and a new found lack of respect for our old ‘best little Spaniard’. Given Everton signed him from Real Sociedad wilderness, made him our highest paid player, gave him the honour of captaining our side on plenty of occasions, supported him on very good wages for almost a whole year whilst he recovered from a very serious injury, sang his name game-in and game-out, offered him nothing but well-wishes on his departure from Everton, and gave him quite a reception on his return to Goodison Park.
I somehow expected more from Mikel Arteta than badge-kissing when celebrating his goal, pretending to be injured because his boot fell off and stopping our attack in doing so, and then moaning to try and get our players booked. To do that in any game is not how football should be played but to do it in front of supporters who collectively have paid thousands, maybe millions to watch you play and cheer your every pass is really not good. I didn’t exactly expect him to skip around the field and roll over for us but I didn’t appreciate that one bit. Some of them guys were his friends for a number of years and it was embarrassing behavior. I’ll certainly be giving him an earful back at Goodison in a month’s time.
Like many others, David left at 4-1. I stuck it out and applauded the players off. We were beaten but it wasn’t from lack of effort from many of them. Kudos to Distin for fronting up to the fans. I do admire his character.
So that’s another year gone without a trophy and Liverpool fans will be licking their lips at the prospect of a new banner stating “20 YEARS” since our last trophy success. 20 years. It makes you want to cry doesn’t it?
I met my better half after the match and a few of us went out for drinks around the Stoke Newington area in the evening. I got chatting to another chap whilst out who wasn’t even much of a football fan but had watched the game on TV that afternoon. I’ll let you finish off one of the first things he said.
“That Arteta is a bit of a…”
Robles: “Yeah but if he’s not confident enough to catch it, I’d rather he punched it,” I said in his defence during the game. “If he’s not confident enough to catch it, he shouldn’t be a keeper!” replied David. Stumped. To be fair I wouldn’t really blame him for any of the goals and he actually made some good saves but Good Lord he can’t be punching out everything that come at him. I don’t want a keeper like that. No. No. No. 6
Baines: Captained the side and was one of our better performers. Kept on going and gave it everything. I wish he hadn’t have kicked the ball out for Arteta but Baines is a class act and should feel let down as he probably thought his old pal was injured. 7
Distin: Needed him on top form today. Sadly he wasn’t. 5
Stones: Poor game but you can’t blame the young lad. All part of the learning curve. 4
Coleman: A few surges forward, one in particular was pretty good but he just hasn’t been his buccaneering self since his injury. 5
Barry: Gave away the penalty but did keep it together pretty well… at least until Arsenal ran away with it. 6
McCarthy: My Man of the Match. It’s a shame some of his team mates couldn’t show the same fight and desire. Battled hard. 7
Pienaar: Not a good game from Pienaar. We needed more from him and sadly he couldn’t deliver. 5
Mirallas: I really question what he’s doing half the time I really do. Was anonymous for the most part, Maddeningly his only contribution resulted in our goal however. I wouldn’t be adverse to moving him on this summer and bringing in a hungrier player. 4
Barkley: An excellent contribution for the goal and the effort was at least there from Ross. Will be ruing that missed chance. 6
Lukaku: Seemed to come to life after his tap in and kept their defenders occupied. A decent effort. He’ll need to be on top form from now on in if we’re to salvage anything from this season now. 7
McGeady (for Pienaar): Didn’t really get going or influence the game. 5
Osman (for Mirallas): Tried to stamp his authority on the game but many heads around him had gone by then. At least someone stood up to Arteta though. 6
Deulofeu (for Barkley): Came on just as Arsenal went 4-1 ahead. He should have been brought on sooner, particularly after his goal at the Emirates back in December. He wasn’t on long enough to make an impact and the game was dead by then. 5
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913 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:07:17
If for example McCarthy turned out to milk tackles from Wigan players and kissed the Everton badge after scoring against them would we as Everton fans care? No. We wouldn't turn around and say he should have shown his former employers a bit more respect.
People need to realise Everton, as it currently stands, is nothing more than a stepping stone for players managers: Arteta, Rooney, Fellaini, Moyes.... If we are looking to point the finger at people then look no closer to home and bullshit Bill and the mugs on the board.
Don't waste time in looking at the antics of Arteta and instead look into the root of Everton's problem now and the foreseeable future.
917 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:23:58
920 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:27:48
McCarthy MOM is a joke. What does he do apart from run around a lot and play short passes to Distin and Jags or Stones? He has the ability to get forward with and without the ball but always goes safety first. Need him to take charge of a game but just don't see it.
921 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:29:52
923 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:38:29
We stupidly put the ball out for him and, although it was a foul, he was well fit to throw a strop about not getting a free when he was supposed to be injured.
925 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:42:45
926 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:37:48
936 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:41:54
Arteta is an arse.
940 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:41:48
We got beaten in the 1/4 final by Arsenal on their turf when the Bookies made us 4/1 underdogs (they don't have any prejudices, they call it as they see it).
We are not exactly doing badly are we?
Not fantastic, we are where we usual are, no better, no worse.
Every time we get beat, many on here with unrealistic expectations throw their toys out of the pram!
As far as Martinez buying the players that he wants, what's he going to buy them with.
You don't think he wants to be buying £6m players do you, he would much rather be shopping for £20m+ players but he's the manager of Everton, so its the bargain basement for him.
If he's lucky!
944 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:14:59
945 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:23:31
So much money to spend to go through the turnstiles. For so much predictability once your inside. It's a wonder people bother.
949 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:32:48
Can we focus now on those who actually wear the Royal Blue instead ?
968 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:36:58
Martinez must have known what McCarthy's strengths & weaknesses were, I would expect him to improve his creative play as he matures, but he was no doubt bought for his graft & tackling.
We can argue whether McCarthy is worth £13m or not, I would say yes, but with reservations.
The main point I was attempting to make was that £6m players are that price for a reason.
I don't think the trophy winning clubs are doing much or any shopping in that price band!
976 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:24:56
His football is a better brand in general, but his transfer policy has been woeful up to now. This has to improve during the close season as our managers must fund the improvement themselves by being clever in the market.
984 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:53:01
We overpass the ball with no pace or penetration in the final third. We can't expect to win games when we don't try to win games, Arsenal worked harder than us and went down at the slightest of touches to get a free kick. We need to wise up; we are too nice.
985 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:57:31
As for Arteta, he's theirs now, I couldn't care less what he does after he scores. Even when a player does mute celebrations, you know they are still feeling it.
Dan #944, with you on McCarthy, said it for as long as he has been here. There has been a couple of decent performances from him, but to hear some blues, he only has to tie his boot laces correctly and he is man of the match. He can lose the ball but then get praised massively for winning it straight back, before playing the easiest pass imaginable.
I'm beginning to wonder if Martinez is just very naive, or tactically void. We all slated Moyes for concentrating more on the opposition at times, rather than ourselves, but I wonder if we have gone completely the other way with Martinez? He says it's all about what we do, and that's all very well and good, but how much time does he focus on what they might/can do? Very little it seems. He thinks we just need to turn up, have the ball for a bit longer than they do and hey presto, we win, but if we don't win, then the game and the world is very harsh on us.
986 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:35:54
I like Martinez, even though his explanations are sometimes not what happened, but what he actually wanted to occur.
I apologize for repeating myself (too many threads on basically the same subject) but over the years I think without doubt the PL proves that money can & does buy success!
Without those extra multi millions, we're goosed, history proves it. Hope is all very well, but hoping for the impossible only leads to frustration.
The fact is, that our squad is not as good as your Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool. Spurs, Man Utd & over a season we're likely to finish in our usual 7th-10th spot.
993 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:17:14
Do Wigan, Hull or Sheff Utd have the extra multi millions?
995 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:10:29
Robles, his positioning for first goal was terrible, Tim would've saved it. Marks for Stones and Distin very harsh. Midfield left gaping holes making it more difficult against a good Arsenal team.
Arteta? No problem with him celebrating his goal but I just don't like the feigning injury.
Under Martinez we are doing a bit better than I thought we would but are playing much more attractive football. He is making mistakes but different ones to those that Moyes made. Great thing this football mullarky, full of different opinions and we all think we are right.
999 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:43:44
Fair enough if you disagree with McCarthy as MotM, but 'Out of his depth playing for Everton'...you say it is all about opinions but on that one you are just plain wrong.
002 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:37:02
Being so far from the real deal, I very much appreciate your reports and those from Ken, Michael and Lyndon. Please keep them coming.
003 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:52:14
I am entitled to my opinion as much as anyone. I just don't think McCarthy is good enough to play for us, you might think he is, that's fine.
I would be absolutely delighted if he develops into a player that top teams want to buy from us – and we say no.
009 Posted 09/03/2014 at 22:22:48
015 Posted 09/03/2014 at 22:48:53
In the system that we play, the two holding mids are the key to the tempo of the game, and earlier in the season they were controlling midfield. And as they've stuttered, so have we, but to quote the old cliché, form is temporary etc.
All-in-all, I thought that we were evenly matched sides until the penalty, and then we didn't look like we would get back into it – and that's a worrying sign.
037 Posted 10/03/2014 at 01:46:47
Distin ball watching, Mirallas a headless chook, Osman over the hill, Pienaar past it. Should have sold Baines. Howard 35 well past his best.
We will now see if RM has the mettle to do the job. Barry looked tired (lazy penalty), McCarthy all huff with no end product. McGeady... WTF?
Top 5? Let's see if they can give it a go.
043 Posted 10/03/2014 at 03:15:52
044 Posted 10/03/2014 at 05:30:50
054 Posted 10/03/2014 at 08:30:23
064 Posted 10/03/2014 at 09:02:45
Arteta went down in my estimation. He went to Arsenal to win things and they haven't beaten Wigan yet. He didn't show half the commitment or ability at Anfield did he?
I was completely depressed on Saturday afternoon even questioning why we put ourselves through it. We've got a good team who on our day can give anybody a game but we're as far off winning anything as we've been in 19 years. A draw and get them back to Goodison and I would have fancied us. We'd have then faced Wigan in a semi-final. We've blown two great chances in the last two years.
I really don't know what the answer is. We need massive investment and a new ground for starters.
071 Posted 10/03/2014 at 09:58:44
In the long term I believe he will become a big player for us. The type we like to see at Goodison. Two footed, quick feet, creativity and pop in with a few goals. Isn't that the type of player we've all been calling for on the right midfield slot?
074 Posted 10/03/2014 at 10:20:58
084 Posted 10/03/2014 at 11:52:15
I went to bed last night, still sick and sore about our cup exit, but woke this morning feeling on top of the world...
Why? Because of the dream I had. In it, I was reading the back page of a Sunday tabloid. It read Roberto Martinez named Manager of the Season after Everton's amazing 11-game winning streak which saw them pip Arsenal for 3rd place. With Liverpool 5th and Spurs 6th, which leaves the Ginger One free to go and play his friendlies in Asia.
Is this reality or did I just have too many pints of Carlsberg???
085 Posted 10/03/2014 at 11:50:09
Everything that we post on here is opinion and if people can remember that there would be a lot less disharmony.
115 Posted 10/03/2014 at 14:11:45
Can I ask why your drinking that stuff anyway, it is synonamous with all things RED being emblazoned across thier shirts for as long as I can remember. It also resemebles in taste a very poor mans Chang (which is saying something)
Going off on a tangent a bit there, so I'll get back to ya point. You were dreaming and it wont happen but wishful thinking I think it may be rather than a dream that will become a reality. If it does come off though I will join ya in raising a few cans of that stuff as horrendous as it may be.
122 Posted 10/03/2014 at 14:58:33
Equally it's a bit early to be writing off McCarthy and surely very early to be giving McGeady such short shrift. The problem McCarthy has is he and Barry are sharing the same job. Unless Barkley finds his form again we have a creative void between those two and attack - through the middle at least. Out on the flanks we have more product but still a frustrating tendency to pause when an early cross might give the opposition something different to think about.
282 Posted 11/03/2014 at 12:04:03
350 Posted 11/03/2014 at 19:10:48
Could you please include for me the following players for the summer transfer pane of glass. Honestly you'll love it you being a secret Blue an all.
Rodriguez and Lallana, along with Ross, and the most exciting and powerful midfielder at this time, as Stephen said, Jonjo Sh.
What a brilliant powerful, driven footballer this guy is. You can just see the attitude he sweats. Weren't we talking about shooting in another thread? Well this guy puts guys like Ozzy and Peanuts to shame.
Get him and the two Southampton lads in I say and make that the core of the team to build around.
Football isn't a sport anymore and as Micheal C said "it's just business Sonny" so it has to be recognized that if you're there for the pose then you should be shipped out. I for one am sick to death of yesterdays passengers.
Do we have a board room and a manager strong enough in character to achieve this goal?
418 Posted 12/03/2014 at 11:44:03
He does a hell of a lot more than run around and play the ball backwards. He shows for the ball from the centre halves and maintains possession very intelligently in our own half.
He works unbelievably hard off the ball to win back possession and gets forward quickly to support the forward runners.
In the opposition half his job is not to get into the box but support the play just outside the box and maintain possession as the ball is recycled.
My only criticism of him is that he doesn't demand the ball enough, he's a little too passive.
503 Posted 12/03/2014 at 20:43:38
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