Everton, That...

Having won so handsomely on Thursday in Europe and then seen Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea all drop points, you just knew we were going to lose today.

Lyndon Lloyd 21/09/2014 52comments  |  Jump to last

Everton 2 - 3 Crystal Palace

One match into our Europa League adventure and the debate over its merits and Roberto Martinez's response to it is already underway. Can we afford the so-called European hangover when we're supposed to chasing a place in the top four? Should the manager favour continuity over squad rotation through a congested part of the fixture list? And do Everton have a truly deep or strong enough squad for an effective player-rotation strategy anyway?

For the first half an hour of this contest against a Crystal Palace side that was winless to this point in the season and bottom of the Premier League table at the start of play, there really was little to debate. Everton were in control, a goal to the good thanks to Romelu Lukaku's goal, and simply in need of some greater intensity to drive home their advantage and score the goals that would make sure of the points.

One awful misjudgement from Tim Howard later, however, and the whole character of Everton's performance changed. The American ploughed into James McArthur as Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka dithered over who should take control of a long punt forward by Julian Speroni and left referee Michael Oliver with little option than to point to the spot and allow Mile Jedinak to plant a penalty into the top corner to make it 1-1.

Edginess in a crowd for whom April's defeat to the same team was all too fresh in the memory, matched that which suddenly pervaded the blue shirts on the pitch and the Blues lapsed into a more cagey, disjointed unit suddenly less sure of itself.

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Lukaku's goal, served up by Leon Osman's terrific through-ball as the Belgian rolled out from position on the shoulder of his marker, was an excellent example of how Everton could slice through Palace with the right movement and ideas. But it was an afternoon characterised by a general lack of imagination at least until Kevin Mirallas came off the bench in the second half as is so often the case against teams that dig in with discipline behind the ball and look to take you out on the counter-attack.

Atsu flitted about with occasional intent as the right side of what looked to be a three-man forward line with Samuel Eto'o on the left and Lukaku on the right but the two strikers interchanged during the game and generally weren't providing enough options for the midfield, particularly in the second half.

Palace, meanwhile, were finding joy through Yannick Bolasie down their left, and, just as he did in this fixture last season, he rattled the woodwork and Evertonian hearts, although this time it was via a deflection of John Stones' out-stretched leg and it looped onto the angle of crossbar and post and out to safety. That chance came as a result of Atsu's poor giveaway and the unheeded lesson would be repeated in the second half.

Palace ratcheted up the increasing frustrating among the Goodison crowd by going ahead eight minutes into the second half when Frazier Campbell appeared to be the only player near Martin Kelly's deep cross and he easily out-jumped Tim Howard to loop a header into the empty net.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Martinez's attempt to salvage the match by bringing on Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith was scuppered when Osman picked up Leighton Baines' infield pass but dallied on the ball outside his own box and was robbed before he'd had time to react to the cries of "man on!" from the stands. Palace quickly worked the ball out to Bolasie and fired past Howard to make it 3-1.

The Blues looked better once two of their form players had been introduced but they were chasing a game they shouldn't have been losing by that stage and, as such, were right where Palace wanted them frustratedly trying to break down an entrenched defence and vulnerable to the counter-attack.

Nevertheless, the increasing pressure told when James McCarthy now playing right back following Stones' withdrawal with Atsu was chopped down by Scott Dann in the area and Baines the referee awarded the penalty. Baines stepped up and does what he always does from 12 yards: buried it.

The third goal never came, though, despite some late pressure that didn't reach "kitchen sink" proportions when it probably should have done. Lukaku almost scored twice but Dann managed to get a head on his goalbound effort and steer it over and he steered a later shot agonisingly over the bar from close range after more good work from Mirallas.

Six minutes of injury time yielded nothing more for the home side but Palace could, and should, have compounded their misery with a fourth when Adlène Guédioura was sent clear with just Howard to beat but he screwed his shot across goal. The final whistle blew shortly afterwards, the Gwladys Street booed, and that was that. Deja-friggin'-vu.

The term "European hangover" usually applies to teams labouring under the effects of having travelled to the Continent and then turned out a poor performance in their next League match and it really shouldn't apply to Everton today. Coming off a home game and theoretically buoyed by a great win against Wolfsburg, there should have been little hangover for those players that played.

Criticism has also been levelled at Martinez for attempting to start rotating players to cope with the demands of the extra games from the Europa League and Capital One Cup but there is squad depth there and that team is not only good enough to have won but probably would have done were it not for those annoyingly destructive individual errors. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough like-for-like replacements for players like Mirallas and Coleman (who is, let's face it, almost irreplaceable) and Martinez paid the price for moving Stones out of his best position to accommodate Sylvain Distin as cover. Meanwhile, the likes of Atsu and Besic who are there to provide that depth have had very little opportunity to bed in.

Should both in-form players in the shape of Mirallas and Naismith been rested at the same time? Would Eto'o, with his superior touch and movement, have been more effective down the middle than the frequently pedestrian Lukaku? Probably, because Everton were disconcertingly impotent for long periods of this game. They're all questions worth pondering but this came down to costly mistakes for which a manager cannot leglisate.

What was almost a given is that having won so handsomely on Thursday (against a team that leathered Bayer Leverkeusen 4-1 today for their first Bundesliga win of the season) and then seen Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea all drop points, you just knew we were going to lose today. Everton, that...

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Reader Comments (52)

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Lee Courtliff
1 Posted 22/09/2014 at 00:00:22
We are the Specialists.

"It’s the hope I can’t stand".

James Stewart
2 Posted 22/09/2014 at 00:15:31
Today was a totally inept and unprofessional performance from the top down. The tactics and team selection were wrong from the get go. The substitutions to correct those mistakes were also wrong and not for the first time this season.

Howard while a good shot stopper is a liability with his poor decision making and all the good work Moyes did defensively has now completely eroded.

Martinez’s obsession with possession is infuriating. Far too slow build up with players like Distin who shit themselves whenever they get the ball under pressure looking totally misused

Dick Fearon
3 Posted 22/09/2014 at 00:28:53
Statistics that showed us having 76% of play do not state how much of that was possession simply for the sake of it.

For most of the game I was cursing our useless, negative, brain dead, boring, joined up shite. It should not require every available player and dozens of passes merely to move the ball across the half way line. On view last night was an example of what brought about the downfall of Wigan.

Osman in the team did little to boost my hopes and more so because after an earlier game Roberto had said one thing he learned was, ’Leon cannot last for more than 60 minutes’. That being the case why in hells name was he on the field?

Roberto must quickly sort out our extremely slow transition from defence to attack or we face another slaughter at Mordor.
Kevin Rowlands
4 Posted 22/09/2014 at 00:26:26
Couple of things, I’m not and never have been a big fan of Howard, yes he can be brilliant at times but look back at all the fuck ups, he’s so inconsistent and Robles obviously doesn’t fill anyone with confidence, we need to address that position.

I haven’t seen the game yet so can’t comment on that but my other point is I’m not comfortable at all with that huge mural of Martinez with the ’solo le mejor’ quote up on the side of the main stand, unwise decision if you ask me. He’s been manager for just one season, yes it was a good season but FFS did we ever do the same for Howard Kendall? Don’t get me wrong I’m a big Martinez fan but that did not need to happen especially if things go tits up.

Eric Myles
5 Posted 22/09/2014 at 01:56:14
What Dick said. Too often we were just passing the ball around for the sake of it without making any forward penetration and ended up gifing mishit passes to Palace to jump on.

Just look at the last 10 minutes to see how we should have been moving the ball forward quicker and penetrating their defence. We should be doing that for the whole of the first half and then sittng back and relaxing when we’ve got 3 on the score board.

Jack Cross
6 Posted 22/09/2014 at 02:27:13
Eric Myles. The problem is Eric, we can’t do it with any conviction. Their time wasting when we should be pushing forward to get a second and third goal. Even when we get ahead, how many of us feel as if we have the game under our control, because I know I don’t.

Roberto, talks about us as if were Barcelona, I just can’t fathom what he is watching on the pitch. What is he seeing that were not?

The German game good result but in the second half they pounded us. 15 attempts on our goal, apart from 3 daft free kicks down to Naismith. That meant they penetrated our defence 12 times (the ball got through to Howard). I know that is what he is there for as our last line of defence, but isn’t it worrying that he had to cope with so much, without defensive support?

Eric Myles
7 Posted 22/09/2014 at 05:52:02
I agree Jack, I thought the Wolfsberg score flattered us and they were the better footballing team although we played solidly beacuse all but a couple of those 12 shots were direct at Howard and posed no danger (although I'd have to question that after his performance yesterday!)
Norman Merrill
8 Posted 22/09/2014 at 08:31:05
After watching that so-called performance yesterday, I just wonder which Everton is going to turn up at Anfield next Saturday?

One thing's for sure, it had better be a more direct & controlled team than the eleven who wore the Blue shirt yesterday, let's sort out that 20 passes to get over the halfway line.

Last season's performance away resembled yesterday's in decision making. Roberto needs to wise up, & the players certainly do. But I won't hold my breath.

Tommy Coleman
9 Posted 22/09/2014 at 08:54:19
Doesn't matter what team or formation you pick, if your players gift the other team 3 goals you've had it.

This game is really simple to analyse unless you think Howard and Osman should not have started.

I welcome the fans' high standards they expect of Martinez but where was this level of criticism when Moyes was in charge?

Craig Walker
10 Posted 22/09/2014 at 08:58:59
Anybody who mentions the phrase top 4 or possibly being champions during the close season should be barred from ToffeeWeb. I'm sick of getting swept up in the euphoria of a couple of signings. One thing I say time and time again about Everton is that there is one certainty: they will always let you down when it matters. I like Martinez but I agree with Kevin above that the mural is going to back fire. I'm afraid that this is what happens when you are in the Europa League. Look at Tottenham. They averaged something like 1 point a game every time they played straight after a Europa League match. Michael Laudrup was tipped to be a great manager having won Swansea a trophy. He was out of a job last season. I don't know about my fellow Blues but I'm on tenterhooks every time one of our back four have the ball in our own half. Tim Howard has been a good ambassador for the club but he makes too many costly rickets. We need somebody like Petr Cech who commands his area and back four. The only truly great keepers we've had in my time are Southall and Martyn. Jagielka has lost all confidence since the World Cup. Distin is becoming a liability now. Stones will always give a team a chance. Alcaraz isn't up to it. Apart from our fullbacks, I am seriously worried about our defence.

Would like to see Besic in the team at Anfield.

Alan McGuffog
11 Posted 22/09/2014 at 09:13:51
Norman. For God’s sake, we all KNOW what will happen at Greyskull on Saturday. Just wish I was going on holiday then and not the following week!
Rick Tarleton
12 Posted 22/09/2014 at 09:39:03
Based on the defensive strengths of both sides, next week's derby should be a twelve goal thriller, but on current defending. we'd lose 7-5.
Kunal Desai
13 Posted 22/09/2014 at 09:49:08
Still fuming from that embarrasment of show yesterday! Some of the players need a reality check, they think they are performing in fucking circus. The the 'Moyes' brigade being shipped out can't come soon enough, Jagielka, Distin, Osman, Pienaar and Howard all need replacing all dead wood in my opinion. Get your chequebook out Bill in Jan ya tight git!
Sid Logan
14 Posted 22/09/2014 at 09:19:20
A good summary Lyndon.

Tim Howard and Osman must take much of the responsibility for a yesterday's descent in to a fiasco! But one thing you can be guaranteed as an Evertonian: when your team is given an opportunity to step up to the plate - such as defeating a team like Crystal Paalce to go 5th and above Liverpool - they will invariably let you down!

After getting back from the game yesterday I sought some solace in watching Leicester beat Man U. One thing that was evident was that they did it by always passing forward and hardy ever sideways and never backwards!

Roberto needs to absorb for him a new concept – it's goals that win games, not possession! I can even live with the frustratingly pedantic passing around at the back and in midfield for so much of the game but what is driving me mad is that we then attack with the same lethargic pace.

If we're keeping possession with the intention to probe for an attacking opportunity surely when the time come to go forward Roberto needs to instil in the team that we have to to do so with speed (and precision). Instead we carry the same pedantic possession-keeping tempo in to attack which means teams are given the time to get organised in defence.

If we don't up our game in this respect we can expect nothing this season.

Tony Marsh
15 Posted 22/09/2014 at 10:03:29
It’s not impossible to see what Martinez is trying to achieve with his brand of football; the trouble is, a lot of the players are letting him down big time. Howard and Osman to blame for yesterday. Jageilka the main culprit against Chelsea.

Week-in & week-out, we are handing games on a plate to opponents. Palace didn’t beat Everton – we beat ourselves. We are in a period when, every time we make a mistake, it’s punished. It’s now getting to a point were we need to score 3 or more goals a game to get a sniff of a win.

It’s time to shed the nice guy approach as well. We don’t have any nasty bastards in the squad. We lack leadership on the field because all the players are good guys.

Baines cost us a win against Arsenal last month because he stayed on his feet in the box when twice clipped. We were 2-0 up at the time and a penalty at that moment would’ve sealed the deal. As it was, Arsenal got away with it and snatched a 2-2 draw. Too nice and too honest... How many Arsenal players would’ve stayed on their feet after being tripped in the box? None – that’s how many.

I don’t get all this slagging of Martinez for the shambolic on-field mistakes players are making. It wasn’t Roberto telling Tim Howard to do his best Superman impression for one of the Palace goals, was it? Did Bobby instruct Leon Osman to fuck about with the ball on the edge of his own box?Where have the legendary quick feet gone, Leon?

It’s not going to be pretty next Saturday at Anfield. I am dreading it. I am not going and I am not watching either. I can’t take any more. After all these years, I have given up the fight were derby matches are concerned.

When we get battered at the weekend, which we will do, please don’t blame Roberto Martinez as it has happened throughout my entire life. Even during the Kendall era, we got twatted by them when it mattered.

Only one man ever really believed we could beat the Shite every time we played them. Can we get Joe Royle back just for derby games? I think Big Joe was unbeaten in derbies as Everton manager including a win over at their place. Joe’s teams were the only ones I can remember who were never scared of those twats...

Barry Pearce
16 Posted 22/09/2014 at 13:42:04
I just think we always struggle against a team with pace.
Bobby Thomas
17 Posted 22/09/2014 at 14:09:14
There is a lack of individual and collective responsibility and an unwillingness to be tight, defend and do the basics. This is an afterthought in the attacking utopia Roberto lives in. The emphasis is all wrong.

We aren’t cohesive, the players look unsure of their jobs. There is doubt and hesitation everywhere.

This isn’t a defensive blip its a systemic malaise and our established senior pro’s are going to take this awful defensive record plus their mental scarring to Anfield.

I thought we were awful in the second half against in midweek and the scoreline was no reflection on the game.

We are all over the place. Its not a blip, we have not lost our "defensive intensity".

We are a shambles. We are badly organised, ill disciplined, too open, too gung ho and playing without responsibilty.

The players love playing for him, but thats because we don’t do any dirty work anymore.

We have good players in the outfield back 6. Currently whatever we are doing it isn’t working. Team shape has gone, defensively we are embarrassing.

Will Firstbrook
18 Posted 22/09/2014 at 14:06:48
Nothing to dispute in that summary, Lyndon. Bang on.

I agree that the amount of crab passing in the first and second third of the pitch is wasteful (at best) and oftentimes downright dangerous when we play against a team that presses up on the back 4. Not looking to revert to the hoofball of days gone by but we should be able to adjust and become more direct when the situation calls for it. Best defense is good offence and all that.

Steavey Buckley
19 Posted 22/09/2014 at 15:01:27
Everton will never be a top team because they don't have a enough money to replace the likes Tim Howard, Jagielka, Distin, Osman and Tony Hibbert with better players. That situation existed with the previous manager and now with the present one. Although Diego Simeone, the manager of Atletico Madrid, is doing a fantastic job with limited resources, so it can be done,
Colin Malone
20 Posted 22/09/2014 at 14:49:46
Bobby has got to make a decision on who to leave out for Besic. McCarthy gets a nose bleed if he goes over the halfway line but does a great job defensively, Barry has not got the legs but does a great job along side McCarthy as a holding midfielder. We have not got a box to box midfielder.This is were Besic comes in, he can fill that big gaping hole between the midfield and attack.
Denis Richardson
21 Posted 22/09/2014 at 15:09:16
Shite result but I have to say I've never believed in the so called 'european hangover'. At the end of the day its just two games a week and it's not even every week. The game against Wolfsburg was also at home so there wasn't any travel involved.

Granted palace didn't play midweek but our players still had 3 days to recover from the EL game so I don't subscribe to that as any sort of excuse, (Arsenal travelled to Dortmund midweek but still stuffed Villa away 3-0 with pretty much the same side that played midweek, and they had to travel to Germany).

Reviewing the game, we seemed to be comfortable for the first half an hour until Howard gave the penalty away, running out miles from his goal when there were already two defenders dealing with the threat. Then came his clanger for the second and we were chasing the game from then on. The third was a really terrible bit of play from Osman - I'd be annoyed but would allow a youngster to make a mistake like that, but for a pro with 10+ years of top flight experience to get caught out like that near the box is unforgivable.

However, even at 3-1 we almost came back. Not sure how you can blame the manager for the errors really, other than he needs to think about changing the personel. It's been said umpteen times on TW but Osman should not be starting anymore - he just doesn't have the engine. Was impressed with the pace of Atsu though, he's a bit raw but there's a lot of potential there.

Really really hope Coleman will be back for the Derby as Stones is not a RB and I'm not confident Hibbo will be able to do a job given his lack of pace. Stones needs to be given a run at CB now imo, whether its Jags or Distin next to him I'm really not too fussed. The Stones/Distin pairing did quite well last year when Jags was injured, however cannot see RM dropping Jags given he's skipper.

Gibbo and Besic need to be given more minutes at some point, would probably start both of them against Swansea and keep Barry and McCarthy fresh. Baines also needs to be rested against Swansea - give Garbut a run out (maybe Oviedo might be fit enough for the bench - which would be a big boost).

Keep the faith blues, its only 5 games in and no one is leaving us behind (yet) so we still have all to play for.

(Think RB is our issue area at the moment, if Coleman's out we're really weak there.)

Denis Richardson
22 Posted 22/09/2014 at 15:46:48
Steavey 19 - have to say I can't agree with you on that one. Keep in mind that RM cannot change the whole squad in just one year (no team can), it will take him time to make over the whole team (at least 2 years imo).

When he first came in the defence was not the priority, he focused on the midfield and attack and has since brought in no less than 3 senior strikers and 4 midfielders on permanent contracts, getting rid of a lot of deadwood in the process.

Other than a true creative no.10, I think we're fine in midfield and attack. He'll now be able to focus on improving the defence in the next coupld of windows and this will hopefully include getting a decent RB as cover for Coleman and a new (decent) CB to go in front of Distin and Alcaraz in the pecking order - here's hoping anyway..

Jim Knightley
23 Posted 22/09/2014 at 15:54:45
I think Denis that it is easy to imagine tiredness is the only issue with Europa league participation, but I think that preparation is perhaps even more of a problem. If we play on Sunday after a Thursday match, we have two preparation days for that Sunday match, and one of those falls after a 90-minute game (Where the intensity of training will change), and the other falls only 1 day before that game. I think this problem of preparation is a specific issue with the Europa league, as we lose an extra day or two of crucial training time in comparison to those playing in the Champions League. In view of the obviously tactically complex nature of the modern game, this gives us far less time to get ready for the next match.

That said, this Palace result had a lot to do with our general defensive trend this season, which was just as apparent on Thursday, but went unpunished. We simply cannot give away so much at the back. It's something I feared last season, as I felt that in many games we had the look of conceding but didn't. (I wrongly expected us to concede more than we did last season.)

At the start of the season, I stated I had a real fear about Martinez: his ability to set up teams defensively. I have no doubt about his ability to get teams attacking, but will him, and his coaching staff, manage to maintain our defensive game? Martinez's defence was poor at Wigan, as were his defensive acquisitions, and I personally feel that last season's defensive performances were a legacy of the Moyes era. We've got good defenders, and they have no excuses for conceding 13 goals in 5 Premier League games (3 of those at home).

Few managers manage to combine effective defensive and attacking play. If we are going to be successful under Martinez, we must get the defence right, especially because we have so many gifted defenders and two superb defensive-minded midfielders.

Mick Wrende
24 Posted 22/09/2014 at 15:57:55
Our players need to take a reality check and stop thinking they are much better than they are. Howard trying to claim he was fouled for the 2nd goal and Osman trying to blame colleagues for not warning him he was about to be pick pocketed for the 3rd was pathetic. And Martinez for not realising that if he leaves our 3 best players out we will beat no-one. We have an old and average squad who suddenly think they only have to turn up cos we did well last year. And why are we still playing this tippy tippy stuff deep into injury time? If we had played our strongest side yesterday and won and again on tuesday then we would be going into the shite and manure games with loads of confidence. We all know footballers and managers are brain dead and didn't it show yesterday.
Chris Leyland
25 Posted 22/09/2014 at 16:08:24
Tony Marsh, so Martinez is absolved of all blame and it is totally the player's fault? Therefore, we might as well not have a manager then as he clearly has no influence on matches?

But hang on....

How about some of his piss-poor substitutions this season? Who is to blame for them?

How about the system where the defenders are encouraged to piss around at the back which leads to mistakes? Who told them to do this?

How about the fact that he picks Osman and refuses to bring him off (something you used to give the last fella dog's abuse for)? Is he forced to select him?

How about his inability to adopt the system in games even when it is clearly failing? Is this beyond a man paid millions of pounds a year?

How about him making too many changes to the starting line up yesterday? Was someone else forcing him to do this?

Paul Tran
27 Posted 22/09/2014 at 16:19:49
That side was good enough to beat Palace. I think we would have won the game but for Howard's glaring mistakes. They hardly bothered us through the game and still scored three.

Where I would criticise Martinez is the general vulnerability around the team, the lack of genuine strong characters, the lack of leadership and most of all, the lack of cohesion in the team. Most of the time, these players are good enough to beat most teams in this league, but we'll need to toughen up if we're going to make progress.

I'll echo my summer plea for a good keeper and centre back to partner Stones.

Tony J Williams
28 Posted 22/09/2014 at 16:51:52
I love that fact that there seems to be some Hibbo bashing on here even due to the fact that he has only played 1 league game this season and last.

Tony J Williams
29 Posted 22/09/2014 at 17:00:48
Paul, I agree that that team should have been good enough to beat Palace.... but how many times do we hear that after changing a line up?

Moyes did it so many times in cup matches and we'd get beaten and we would all say that the team should have been good enough to beat x, y and z.

However, I would wager a decent wedge that the team that played Thursday WOULD have beaten Palace. Impossible to prove, I know, but I feel they would have been too much and there wouldn't have been such a difference in play up top.

Steavey Buckley
30 Posted 22/09/2014 at 17:02:04
Denis Richardson: It was glaring obvious that the defense stunk in pre-season, which was carried on into the season for real. Yet, Martinez only actually spent £15 million on players, most as a down payment of £9 million on Lukaku. On that sought of out lay, can't expect top defenders and a goal keeper to play for Everton. That is why Tony Hibbert was given a further contract.
Andrew Rimmer
31 Posted 22/09/2014 at 17:02:58
Possession is not nine tenths of the score! By all means pass the ball around but there has got to be some outcome from it rather than giving the ball away and being vulnerable to the counter attack. We must make teams think that we are going to pull the trigger any second. Also it would be a lot more enjoyable to watch than ploughing grooves into the turf of Goodison park with the same passes over and over again.
Kevin Tully
32 Posted 22/09/2014 at 17:42:39
Of course Martinez carries the can, as all managers do. He receives all the praise when we win, so he has to take all the flack when we lose.

Saying that - his players are letting him down as individuals, so he has to be ruthless enough to sell them, or replace them with other squad members. Simple enough for me.

Read a good one today; We are a carnival up front, and a circus at the back. True.

Helen Mallon
33 Posted 22/09/2014 at 17:53:50
I am going to send a letter Roberto at Finch Farm and ask him three questions.
1: Why do you insist on playing the passing game out from the back when teams press us high up and our players are prone to making a total hash when this happens?

2: Why put back together a defensive partnership that has now conceded 13 goals when Stones and Jags where playing so well as a unit?

3: Why is there such a need for rotation, especially in the Premier League? I can understand doing it for the FA Cup and the League Cup but never the Premier League.

We as fans have not played at the highest level or got Uefa badges BUT we have watched football for decades between us and we collectively know when a side is not happy with or technically good enough to play a certain way — and this team can’t play well when we are pressed high up the field, especially the defence.


Harold Matthews
34 Posted 22/09/2014 at 17:19:31
Shortly after we went 1-0 up we won a freekick near the right touchline, midway in their half. Palace gathered 7 defenders around the edge of their box. The only blue shirts were Lukaku and Atsu. Over to the left wing we had Eto'o with Osman standing in the middle of their half all alone. Perfectly placed for an attacking move............What happened next?

Yes, you guessed it. McCarthy stepped up for the freekick.......and belted it 25 yards backwards to Jagielka who was in our own half.

Understandable if we were !-0 up with 5 minutes to go, but to do it in the first 15 minutes at home is a total disgrace. What's going on?

Tony J Williams
35 Posted 22/09/2014 at 18:31:34
The same in the final minutes Harold. We had a close free kick to the right (my right) of the box and what do they do?

Pass it short and then ultimately lose the ball. Not one cross in the box from a free kick close to the box all season

Dave Lynch
36 Posted 22/09/2014 at 18:35:07

You used to slaughter Moyes for even considering playing Osman.

So by the same token Martinez is as culpable or maybe worse seeing as he (Osman) is 12 months older and therefore 12 months shitter.

Nigel Gregson
37 Posted 22/09/2014 at 18:50:48
Surely the rubicon has been well and truly crossed with regards to Osman. Gibson, Barkley, Besic or Pienaar should adequately be able to cover that position going forward. Trouble is, Pienaar & Barkley are out injured, Gibson is coming back from a long layoff, and Besic is not fully bedded into the squad yet. But I don't expect to see Ossie playing nearly as much, come the end of the season.
Colin Glassar
38 Posted 22/09/2014 at 19:04:17
Some really good posts but Tony Marsh makes the most sense. No manager sends out his players to commit stupid mistakes like Ossie and Howard made. I agree the changes were unnecessary and the substitutions strange, so the manager has to take the blame for that.
There's something rotten in Denmark, or Goodison park, and I hope it's sorted out soon or we'll be out of the running by November.
Will Firstbrook
39 Posted 22/09/2014 at 19:18:43
With regards to that late free kick, Tony - the only Blue that I saw in the box was Osman.... Shocking someone actually thought that was a set-piece strategy worthy of the situation.
Peter Holland
40 Posted 22/09/2014 at 19:31:04
Great post Helen. Spot on. We look very uncomfortable sometimes when trying to pass the ball around when being pressed by opposition. High risk strategy and as we saw against Wolfsburg very risky and only Howard heroics on that night stopped them getting back into the game. I felt even and 3-0 up, if Wolfsburg scored with 20 mins still on the clock that we could/would concede goals.

I acknowledge that Wolfsburg are a good team but, thus far, we are not able to control and shutdown a game. I was there for the Arsenal game and as soon as they scored the first you knew that a second was coming; at the end, the final whistle was a relief.

In my opinion, suddenly we are playing far too deep and rely on hitting teams on the break, which is okay away from home to the bigger teams, but I don’t think that we should be adopting this approach at home.

Darren Hind
41 Posted 22/09/2014 at 19:32:35
We murdered Moyes When the shite beat us in the semi final, Distin may have made the biggest howler in recent Everton history when he put one on a plate for Ratboy, but fuck me did Evertonia come down on TGT.

Now we have a manager who persists with players who are making errors on a regular basis . . .yet according to some it isn't his fault.

So who's fault is it ? if the defenders are good enough, what sort of coaching is making us a laughing stock and if they are not good enough why are they still playing ? Martinez's contribution to our defence is to sign a crock from wigan and a goalkeeper who nobody trusts.


You are right, No manager sends his players out to make stupid mistakes, but if they keep making them, does it not become a "stupid mistake" to keep sending them out ?

Declan Brown
42 Posted 22/09/2014 at 19:43:25
Can't believe i'm saying this but i'm actually dreading this Derby more than I ever did with Sergeant Major Moyes in charge.

The defence is absolutely shocking, Jags, Distin and Howard trying to play Barcelona style football from the back is going to give me a heart attack one of these days, I love wee Bobby's positivity but now the honeymoon is over and we need to get into the muck and bullets at the back, we've loved the Bobby's brown shoes, now he needs to use them brown shoes to kick some backsides and get this lot "back to basics".

Anyone willing to pay £50 to sit at Anfield and potentially see another defensive calamity inspired drubbing needs awarding a medal for bravery alone. This one has me worried, very worried. Again Liverpool will be there for the taking but watch us roll over (as always) for them and take a bad hammering again.

Just can't believe they've went and frigging well put this derby on during the Ryder Cup weekend, at least there's that to turn over to if it gets like the last visit to that place.

It's so frustrating waiting to see an Everton team turn over a less than inspiring Liverpool side at Anfield, Christ we don't even kick them about like we used to, frig the respect and just get into them and harry / rough them up like they do to us.

Once a big fan of Roberto, now becoming disillusioned, as Tony said, this lot we've got aren't up to the Barcelona style of football. I wouldn't drive a Ford Mondeo around like a Formula 1 car, it's about knowing your limits and getting the best out of what you've got.

We're not world beaters so we need to be organised, disciplined, fit and determined before it even starts on the pitch. Show them a few videos of the Dogs of War suring Joe Royle's time to show them how it was done.

James Stewart
43 Posted 22/09/2014 at 20:03:55
Martinez is getting cut far too much slack on here. If Moyes had made a lot of the same decisions as RM this season he would have been slaughtered.

I would argue that he is sending players out to make mistakes, Tony, because by trying to play a tika-taka system at the back with players like Howard, Distin and Jags... well, that is going to end only one way!

Harold Matthews
44 Posted 22/09/2014 at 20:14:33
Yes Declan, the four adjectives in your last paragraph describe Leicester City and they're not doing too bad. Also, they get forward quick with midfielders in close attendance.
Paul Hewitt
45 Posted 22/09/2014 at 21:25:44
Its not the players that’s the problem, it the ridiculous over-the-top passing. How many times do we pass the ball at the back left to right right to left and go nowhere? We really need to get it forward quicker and start playing in the opponents half. Simple, Mr Martinez.
Tony Abrahams
46 Posted 22/09/2014 at 21:12:25
Fuck Liverpool, until we have played Swansea. It’s 20 years since we last won a trophy and we have only played in one other cup final during that time. The most barren spell in our entire history and I’d sooner win a cup than win at Anfield on Saturday.

Those fuckers can wait because I’m sure we will have our day with them soon enough. But, however derby matches make you feel please don’t give up on The Toffees!

Mark Wilson
47 Posted 22/09/2014 at 21:12:26
I understand that the game has become a squad game which is not quite to say that "rotation" is now an accepted tactic. The dismay I feel at losing again to Palace is simply this, we do not learn from mistakes. Everton are not a team or a squad that does well when lots of changes are made. Three by choice and one enforced was just too many. I thought we'd still win and especially so after that excellent first 20 mins. Ok those abysmal errors are impossible to legislate for, but you can't change your game plan so many times in 90 minutes, we are not that good, end of.

Three away games await that will shape the entire season. Lose all and I genuinely think playing massive catch up until January will condemn us to a disappointing season. Win all three and who knows. But honestly I can't see it happening unless Martinez makes a bold decision to start his very best 11 available every game and look to sub three earlier than usual to combat tiredness, though why I'm saying that in September has more to do with a stupidly mismanaged pre season and dire fitness levels than squad rotation issues.

Decide on the best team, stick with it, and frankly if we can beat Swansea and grab two draws after that I will be a happy guy and steadying things now will pay off later. Still, it was great that we didn't need to strengthen the defence before the window closed !

Clive Rogers
48 Posted 22/09/2014 at 21:56:03
Apart from Martinez’s team selection mistakes, I couldn’t understand his use of Eto’o. At first he played in an advanced midfield role, drifting out to both wings. When we went 3-1 down he was stuck out on the right wing hardly seeing the ball. I had assumed he would play alongside Lukaku, especially when we were losing. Another manager with a one up front obsession.
Jay Harris
49 Posted 22/09/2014 at 22:38:55
I think we've only won four out of last 10 home games.

That is appaling and should have the manager scurrying for solutions.

Instead its getting worse.

Tom Dodds
50 Posted 22/09/2014 at 23:12:47
Helen (#33),

Dead right... We might not have our badges but it’s not to say we the people/supporters can’t see the woods from the trees.

Peter Z Jones
51 Posted 22/09/2014 at 23:13:07
Clive 48. Yeah RM's use of Eto'o was a bit strange. However, I think I have a reason for why we didn't go up two up top. Gareth Barry quite simply cannot cover enough ground for us to play 442. In theory, the only pairing that could is Besic/McCarthy, because they are young and can run around all day tackling people. Unfortunately, Besic is probably backheeling to the wrong bibs in training still, so I doubt we'll see that combination anytime soon. Hopefully he has a great game against Swansea, and we can see his talents for 90 minutes finally.
Clive Rogers
52 Posted 23/09/2014 at 19:10:40
Peter 51,
Agree with that about Barry, compounded by playing Osman in midfield also. Particularly 2nd half we just wern’t covering the ground and lacked pace. If Barry is too slow and lacks the pace now, what will he be like in 2 yrs. We’ve invested £11M in him, rediculous at nearly 34 yrs age.
Bob Parrington
53 Posted 24/09/2014 at 11:26:46
Just a lousy lack of focus! Howard was out there thinking of sunning himself on some Miami Beach (albeit the penalty decision by the ref was a bit soft), it was just a holiday on a Sunday afternoon. What a load of bollocks. Bad management to pick Osman for more than 30 minutes, just bad. No goof for the EPL ........ mind you, just like Manure and Spurious, the RS and others. Too much money paid to players who just couldn't give a shit and a manager who is trying to spread his meagre squad around too many competitions.

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