Blues hold on for precious win

Despite not really playing well, Everton incredibly held out to not only win, but to win with a clean sheet, and hopefully reverse a dreadful run of form that had many fans fearing relegation.

Michael Kenrick 31/01/2015 168comments  |  Jump to last

James McCarthy fails to make his much-anticipated return to the side.

Crystal Palace 0 - 1 Everton

With the benefit of a week's worth of warm-weather training, Everton return to action this weekend with a trip to Selhurst Park and a match that has assumed uncomfortable significance for the Blues' season. McCarthy is still not fit enough to play; McGeady displaces Barkley.

Everton got off to a great start, Naismith crossing low and the ball flying in off Lukaku after Speroni parried it onto his body 3 yards out within just two minutes of the kick-off.

From a Palace corner, Gayle got in front of Robles and came so close to scoring before Jagielka produced a tremendous goal-line clearance of the line. There then followed a crazy sequence of play in the Everton box, in which Palace incredibly failed to equalize as Everton's defending

Mirallas gave away a free-kick and more dreadful defending was exhibited coupled with a failure to retain the ball as the visitors moved forward and Stones was very lucky to block a goalbound shot from Chamakh.

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After 15 mins and a worrying spell of passing across the back ended with Baines hoofing long and straight out for a goalkick. Beseic was fouled and Baines, who had been limping, scampered up to claim the shot but could not keep it down. Chance wasted.

At the other end, Coleman and Chamakh clashed heads going for an aerial ball, the Moroccan coming off by far the worst, blood everywhere from a bashed nose. After extended treatment on the field, he was stretchered off and new signing Jordan Mutch took his place.

Everton had plenty of possession but really showed limited forward impetus, Lukaku eventually getting the ball out to Mirallas but the cross was poor. In the next attack, Lukaku laid a nice ball back to Naismith whose attempted shot was absolutely abysmal, skied yards over the bar. There was better tempo in the next attack until Baines put his cross in over everyone.

Puncheon pulled a tremendous shot out of very little, Robles getting down well to parry behind for a corner, Palace taking a while to get back in the game after losing Chamakh.

Despite scoring, Lukaku's ball control was as bad as ever at times, the ball simply not sticking to him whenever he as under pressure. Naismith played a great ball forward for Lukaku who should have strode forward but his touch was simply shocking and the glorious chance evaporated in an instant.

Everton looked horrible at the back whenever they were put under any pressure, but Robles was doing his job well enough, claiming most aerial crosses confidently. Lukaku found himself isolated wide left and could do nothing with the ball and Palace were attacking again, Puncheon firing just a foot or so over the Everton bar.

It was pretty scrappy fare after the restart, Palace of course determined to run at Everton, who continued to piss-fart about with the ball, putting Speroni's goal under zero threat since the early and very fortuitous breakthrough. At the other end, Sanogo looked to finish a cross that curled away from him as Everton had to pull the stops out in defense... not all that convincingly, Gayle lashing well over.

McGeady produced a rare moment of quality, skipping to the byline and crossing well to Lukaku's head but the leap was more bear-like than salmon-like as the ball bounced harmlessly off the top of his head.

Martinez decide to change things up a gear, bringing on Oviedo in place of... no-one, as he had a re-think after Pardew beat him to it, Zaha on for Kelly. Coleman got in front of Gayle to prevent an almost certain goal. Oviedo finally replaced Mirallas who had really done very little of note.

McArthur had a poke at Robles, who was becoming a more commanding figure, with Everton holding off the efforts of the home side, and looking to get the ball forward with a little more zest a great move with Besic, McGeady playing in a good low cross first time, but just a foot in front of Lukaku, who missed the chance to wrap things up.

Barry was lucky not to see his 10th yellow for numerous clumsy fouls, the first card going to Oviedo after some free-kick silliness (time-wasting?) as Everton moved into the final 10 minutes with a one-goal lead and a precious clean sheet...

There was a big shout from the traveling Blues fans after a Besic shot hit Dann's hand but it would have been harsh. Everton finally started playing something approaching attacking football, winning their first and only corner, and McGeady driving in a superb curling strike that Speroni parried with an spectacular one-handed save perhaps the only moment of real quality in the entire game.

Naismith and Lukaku attacked with a two-on-two breakaway but the Big Man could only trouble the side-netting. Kone made a late appearance as sub for Lukaku in the 4 mins of added time. Somehow, Baines got booked for dissent as referee Roger East initially denied the substitution.

McGeady did brilliantly down the right to beat his man and advance along the byline but, with too much time and only Kone in among a throng of Palace defenders, he went for glory from a very narrow angle and all-too-predictably missed the target completely.

Everton incredibly held out to not only win, but to win with a clean sheet, and hopefully reverse a dreadful run of form that had many fans fearing relegation. The defence did its job, no matter how unconvincing they looked at times. Will this give them confidence to finally "be themselves"? Tune in for next week's derby bloodbath!!!

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Dann, Kelly (65' Zaha); McArthur, Ledley; Puncheon, Chamakh (15' Mutch), Gayle; Sanogo (71' Murray).
Subs not Used: Hangeland, Mariappa, Campbell, Hennessey.

Everton: Robles; Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Baines [Y:91']; Besic [Y:79'], Barry; Mirallas (68' Oviedo), Naismith, McGeady, Lukaku (92' Kone).
Subs not Used: Griffiths, Gibson, Distin, Barkley, Alcaraz

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 25,197

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Reader Comments (168)

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Mark Frere
1 Posted 31/01/2015 at 14:17:23
A good balanced line-up. Like others, I would rather have Oviedo playing instead of McGeady but that would mean shifting Mirallas to the right wing where he's not quite as effective. In a ideal world I would like to see Barkley starting in place of Naismith.... but Ross's confidence must be destroyed at present.
James Marshall
2 Posted 31/01/2015 at 14:23:34
I was under the impression Mirallas would start on the right. He's shit on the left. Mind you so is McGeady..... Either side!
Colin Glassar
3 Posted 31/01/2015 at 14:25:53
I personally think Mirallas is better down the left so he can cut inside, hence no start for Oviedo.
Brian Waring
4 Posted 31/01/2015 at 14:35:38
I just think it's another case of Martinez leaving you scratching your head, Colin.

One minute, "McCarthy is fully fit" — then, the next, he's not even in the squad! If he was fully fit, then surely he could have started from the bench.

Probably a load of nonsense, but could there be more to him not being included in the squad.........???

Ross Edwards
5 Posted 31/01/2015 at 14:37:08
Barkley on form doesn't deserve a start. I don't think that it's not bad. We'll see come full time. Surely we're due a win. COYB.
Tony Draper
6 Posted 31/01/2015 at 14:29:50
Not wanting to be a "contrary Mary", but I'm glad that RB has been rested, to get him out of the spotlight. Clearly you like what he has to offer, so we're very much agreed upon that.

(I suspect that RM didn't sub RB against WBA to prevent the possibility of hearing the lad being jeered or even boo'ed by the few few morons).

Thinking positively, should things go well then RB can be brought on later in front of the staunch away fans who'll give him a rousing reception, just what he needs. I would have far preferred Oviedo starting in place of McGeady.

So much for all the McCarthy is ready talk....... I'd rather wait for him be absolutely 100%, so no phoney bench position either!

John Malone
7 Posted 31/01/2015 at 14:40:54
Can't agree with having McGeady in the side when we need a solid, battling, reliable peformance with everyone doing the jobs and not wasting possession. I would've played Oviedo and swapped Mirallas over before starting that first division deadbeat he is Leicester City player not an Everton one, the worry is our manager is picking him.

Sorry to be a pessimist but it's what watching us this year has done to me, fingers crossed we pull it out the bag but I've said that too many times lately it's the hope that kill's you!

I hope he keeps it tight and counter's today no overplaying it, a few diagonal ball's for Lukaku to chase and we can do these!

Brian Hennessy
8 Posted 31/01/2015 at 14:52:05
I think Naismith is one of the few players who can say they have given 100% this season and would be one of the first names I would have on the team sheet.

He has suffered a bit from being played out of position out wide but I am looking forward to seeing how he does today without Barkley in the side.

Tim Locke
9 Posted 31/01/2015 at 15:11:04
Goes back to playing 4-2-3-1. Should mean a victory, maybe he is learning narrow is not an option with the players we have.m, k n
Andrew Cunningham
11 Posted 31/01/2015 at 16:01:31
Make this one count, PLEASE!
David Hayes
12 Posted 31/01/2015 at 16:15:43
I've never ever seen such a pile of shite from Everton, it's breaking my heart to watch this shite. I'm just waiting for Palace to score.


Lee Boylan
13 Posted 31/01/2015 at 16:57:44
Everyone needs to calm down... 1-0 win away – not the best performance but other results have gone our way. We will end the season in the top half; then we can regroup.
Ross Edwards
14 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:00:35
The performance wasn't great... in fact, it was awful, but what counts right now is the 3 points which we got. We have a 7-point cushion now to Hull, which gives us some temporary breathing space.

Onwards and upwards to the derby. We need to play better but I'm smiling tonight.


Brian Hennessy
15 Posted 31/01/2015 at 16:59:33
Delighted to finally get a win and 3 points.

I only saw the second half, very solid at the back but created very little.

Lukaku was incredibly bad from the half I saw, once again his heading, touch and passing was terrible.

Kone showed more in 3 minutes than Lukaku in the whole second half. Naismith making a nuisance of himself as usual and won a few crucial free kicks.

A win is a win and hopefully we can build on this.

Tony Hill
16 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:02:47
All that counts for now is the win. The performance is secondary. Results have gone for us too. A good day.
Richard Reeves
17 Posted 31/01/2015 at 16:58:56
Great result, it’s more important to just get the points than how we get them, for the table and confidence.

Keeping a clean sheet, also important; hopefully this can be taken into the derby.

Mark Frere
18 Posted 31/01/2015 at 16:56:51
Get in there! A real uncomfortable Moyes style win. Just delighted to get the win. I thought we defended very stubbornly which can't be said very often this season.

Apart from the goal today, I thought Lukaku was poor, desperately poor! There were many times where he could've relieved the pressure by holding the ball up and he was unable to do so. His first touch was abysmal (as usual). His all round contribution was just lacklustre. I can't recall him once winning a header either.

McGeady was frustrating as usual... but I think most of the players but in a real shift today which is refreshing; hopefully, the quality will improve with the results.

Bill Gall
19 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:04:15
If that was playing like it was a cup final, I do not think I will watch any more cup finals. That ranks with the rest of the garbage that has been played over the last few months.

The only positive to come out of it is the three points. Hope people are not thinking a performance like that was a Get out of Jail Free card for the manager.

Paul Burns
20 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:04:54
How can a team with the players we have consistently play so badly? It’s like watching 11 strangers drawn by lots from the crowd.

Not good enough for Everton Football Club but why expect any different when the fools masquerading as EFC treat the fans with contempt and downright hostility?

Tony Draper
21 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:07:03
Three points on a day when the bottom half sides that played all fared poorly.

A scrapping performance with a display of commitment. Not a performance to terrify Chelsea or Man City, but most importantly not a performance to leave me terrified.

Mohammed Horoub
22 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:04:44
What a relief!!! That's how you do it Bobby! Clean sheets and a balanced team. Lukaku 'scored' the goal but he was horrible... Kone needs to be given a chance in the next few games.

Mirallas can fuck off if we can get some cash with Lennon it would be better than seeing that loser on the pitch.

Once we get to 40 points, then we can start to talk about performances; till then, 1-0 is an excellent performance. 14 points to go and then build from there.

Steve Brown
23 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:11:06
Gall, the only positive to come out of that was three points. What the fuck are you talking about?

You sound almost disappointed we won!

Terry McLavey
24 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:07:28
Thank fuck for that! Not pretty... but not worried!

What the hell was McGeady doing in the final minutes! Did he really think he could score from there? Kone was in the box, ffs!

I'm a bit worried Robles seems glued to his line all too often.

Anyway time to move the sofa away from the wall for next week!

Wayne Smyth
26 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:04:46
Tim, probably apart from 90 minutes this season, we've always played 4-2-3-1.

The difference today was that Mirallas and McGeady stuck more to the wings than Naismith, Eto'o or Barkley... although I'd like to see Mirallas and McGeady stay out wide even more often than they do.

It was inevitable this team would attempt to sit on a 1-goal lead. I don't think that comes from Martinez, but something we've done for years and with the team having no confidence at all, something which is understandable. Hate it myself, but until we get confidence back I don't think we're going to see us chase 2 or 3.

On the plus side, a clean sheet, another solid performance by Robles, saving everything that came at him and doing a better job than Howard at dominating the box, to catch the many high balls that were pumped in. I'm also far less worried about relegation than I was 3 hours ago.

Jags and Stones played well and Kone showed some great ability when he came on at the end. I think I would like to see him start against the RS, or play alongside Lukaku as a two which would maybe help Lukaku improve his own game. Although Lukaku wasn't great, he worked hard and I think a lot of the time he had no support, with Naismith playing too far away from him.

Mike Powell
27 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:12:26
At last, a win... bad performance – but it's a win. Martinez you lucky sod still want you out the door. Jags and Stones played well. McGeady was his usual self – useless.

Anyway, it's a win... let's try and get a few more under our belt! COYB

Jay Wood
28 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:13:30
What a relief!

All I care about in our position is the result. The 3 points today and other results takes the pressure off for our challenging forthcoming fixtures.

We now have some breathing space.

AWFUL performance, but as I say it’s the result that counts. Give me 5 more of those this season and the same result and I’ll take it now.

Bill Gall
29 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:19:02
Brown not disappointed we won, far from it. Just disappointed how we played to achieve it against a team that was poorer than us.
Ajay Gopal
30 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:19:58
Nice! :-)

The only change next week maybe Kone & McCarthy for Naismith and McGeady.

Coleman Stones Jagielka Baines
McCarthy Barry Besic
Mirallas Kone Lukaku

Paul Smith
31 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:20:45
Happy with that. Barry is a dirty bastard but he was better today. I thought Naismith had some good moments and knows how to draw a foul. Lukaku makes up for his lack of technical ability in his eye for a goal.

The Redshite are on fire at the moment, looking forward to next week.

Jay Harris
32 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:20:34
I thought the defence won us that game with the forwards unable to hold wind never mind the ball.

Excellent work by Besic and Barry too.

Lukaku didn't look worth £100 – never mind £100 million.

Robles looked a little shaky initially but overall held some crosses really well.

Still not convinced we don't need another GK though...

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:27:51
I didn't see the game, couldn't t listen to it. Just used the telex. So happy with the win, my nerves were shattered waiting for the final whistle.

One swallow doesn't make a summer but it's a start.

James Marshall
34 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:41:51
1-0 away to Palace is a great result whichever way you look at it. Clean sheet, your top striker scores the winner and people are still complaining!

We'll be fine.

Glen Garrett
35 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:35:14
Everton got lucky, very lucky. But three points is three points. We're still not out of trouble yet, and we've got Liverpool and Chelsea next so these were a good lucky three points as I don't see Everton getting any points in the next two games.

Sturridge back for Liverpool today and already he has scored? Everton's defence have got to be at there best next week.

Roman Sidey
36 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:44:10
Relief is definitely the buzz-word today. Not the perfect performance by any stretch but you could tell the players actually cared today rather than the shifts they've been putting in over the past few months.

Coleman was an improvement on what he has been doing, so hopefully he will continue in that direction.

Jamie Barlow
37 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:43:47
Lucky you Dave. I sat through it and it felt like 90 minutes each half. Awful to watch again. No urgency. Just slow boring shite.

Anyway, 3 points. Hope it gives us the confidence to play quicker football. I won't be watching next week though. Think I'll take the kids out.

MotM – Besic or Jagielka.

Ian Brandes
38 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:47:30
Wished for a 1-0 when I last posted. Thanks lads, more of the same till we get out of trouble.

Not as nerve-shedding next time though.

James Marshall
39 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:51:04
Jamie, I spent most of the game screaming at the TV. It was painful at times but, fuck it, we won ugly and that's all that counts.

Finally Martinez played a team with some balance as well.

Kunal Desai
40 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:52:13
We ground out a result today, something which we have failed to do for large parts of this season. More crucially, this should instill some much needed confidence in the players, who need to look to try and get 3 points next weekend and climb up the table.

I actually thought Robles had a good game and is slowly growing in confidence with another assured display. Howard should not walk back into the side.

Len Gowing
41 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:55:55
Did we not just win this game? We did exactly what the majority of teams that have "sussed us out" have done to us this season.

There was a plan which was to stick 10 men behind the ball and tell the opposition to break us down, which they didn't and where possible nick one, which we did. RM has scared me recently but today seems to be an indication of a Plan B: KITANO....

Still, not looking forward to next weekend.

Brian Hennessy
42 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:59:19
Kunai, I agree re Robles, he certainly looks more comfortable on crosses than Howard.

Ajay@30, Can I ask why would you drop Naismith, I thought he had another good game today, far better than Lukaku.

Paul Thompson
43 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:01:51
I lost the stream with 10 mins to go and wasn't tempted to get it back. So poor going forward, but Robles and the defence did look better, as did Barry. I hope, but don't expect, some new blood on deadline day. We are desperately short of confidence and flair.
Colin Glassar
44 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:08:13
Shades of the Sunderland game a few seasons ago on a cold December afternoon when we won 0-1. Now, like then, it's the result that matters. Could this be pivotal? I don't know but it's still three vital points.
Tim Locke
45 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:08:47
Wayne Smith 0 formation this season has been 4-2-2-2. May say 4-2-3-1 on paper but not how we played. Bobby likes to play a narrow game, through the middle and this has caused us problems.
Dave Williams
46 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:16:12
Teams in the middle of a bad run seldom tear the opposition apart. Form tends to improve gradually and a win plus clean sheet here was a good start. Robles is showing that he could be a good keeper for us and the much maligned Barry and Jags did well today.

Let's give credit for a win at a difficult ground and move on with a 5 game unbeaten run. Yes, there is plenty of work to do but it will take some time as the squad needs an overhaul to get rid of elderly players and inject energy and fight. Tonight we should be content with a vital win and hope for reinforcements and a fit Jimmy Mac for the derby.

Well done boys!

Trevor Peers
47 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:21:10
Looked a lot better balance today the two wingers did well and Barkley needed a rest. Let’s hope that good kick up the arse has done Martinez some good he came mighty close to the exit door, could a turning point I think we deserved our bit of luck for the goal.

Overall, much better. One small criticism: Get the ball into the box quicker and we will score more goals... Sounds pretty obvious but SO important.

Sondre Haga
48 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:50:47
3 points, the only thing that mattered today. Not pretty, but more solid tighter defending. Besic was the MotM today, I think. Calm, good passes and the best man marker in this squad.

Hopefully we can get a decent finish to this season now, it's been awful to watch us play this season. But football is a game of margins, the difference between success and failure is not that big as it looks like sometimes.

The booing from the terraces has been embarrassing this season. Thank god that we have a chairman with balls to stick with his manager despite of that. Last season was our best since the 80s, nobody can ignore that.

Kevin Tully
49 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:27:51
I don't think anyone thought Robles was the answer to our goalkeeping dilemma, but I am hoping he can become our № 1.

I've never rated Howard as more than average – too slow to come off his line, terrible with high balls and he's about done as a Premier League 'keeper after this season's performances.

Robles was very good at West Ham, and he definitely isn't scared of coming for any crosses.

It would be an amazing buy if it turned out well, but I'll reserve judgement until I see him perform in a dozen games or more. He's only 24, which means there's plenty of improvement in him.

John Keating
50 Posted 31/01/2015 at 17:46:02
Nothing's changed, absolute crap. But let's be honest: who is interested? The main thing is the points.

As long as we can get the 40 points or whatever we need asap, I'll be happy. I am not interested how we play or how we get them — as long as we do!

Andy Crooks
51 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:33:29
Steve# 24, no way is anyone disappointed we won, in fact, my weekend is now fine. I think that what Bill meant was that the performance was scrappy and should in no way mean that Martinez is anything other than utterly unfit to manage our club.
John Keating
52 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:41:23
Sondre, your first two paragraphs were spot on. Your third paragraph, however, in my opinion is bollocks!!

You go there week after bloody week watching the same useless shite and, if you want to boo these overpaid players, then you have every right! If they don't like it and it upsets them, well tough. We've been more upset this season than any of the players or management team – I can assure you of that.

And, regarding last season, well it's exactly that – last, gone, finished, forgotten. The only thing that matters out of this wasted season is that we survive. I'm sure everyone will say "Yes, we got relegated but we had a great season last year."

Breandan Clarke
53 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:44:22
Great to get 3 points today. If we manage to get 1 or 2 in, the mood may change significantly – and I hope it does. We need at least 6 points from the derby, Chelsea and Leicester. We have three tough away games in February.
Phil Walling
54 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:21:06
I suspect that just like us, BK has been shitting himself – relegation was not on anybody's agenda! From the tone of his most recent pronouncements and today's tactics, it looks like Roberto has been read the riot act and a more pragmatic approach required of him.

The time for philosophies and self-indulgence is over. He will know he is now on borrowed time. Half-a-dozen good wins will save his skin but stuttering towards narrow avoidance of the drop will see him gone before season's end.

Which is your money on?

Lyndon Lloyd
55 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:54:02
John K (51): "Nothing's changed, absolute crap."

On the contrary, John. It wasn't pretty and it was never going to be at a place like Palace but it was not "absolute crap".

But quite a bit has changed, in my opinion. We finally looked balanced again with two wingers (the first quarter of an hour aside), we defended well, we pressed them well as a unit, and we continue to look hard to beat.

That killer instinct in the final third is still missing but we won and, as you say, that is all that matters.

Colin Glassar
56 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:56:26
I concur Phil. This has been a massive slap in the face for him. Now it's time to forget the philosophy and concentrate on the nuts and bolts, ie, winning.
Paul Ferry
57 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:54:55
Get used to it Phil (Walling) and get realistic, unless he resigns Martinez is going nowhere and will be our manager in the autumn. He will not be fired if we do not get results against Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal. BK, unlike some of the fans on here, is realistic enough to weigh things up and I suspect matches like Leicester will be more decisive in the should-he-go-or-should-he-stay debate.

I’m absolutely made up with a 1-0 win at Palace, however scrappy, against a tough in-form team on a roll. Well done, Martinez, for changing things with a better balanced formation. I thought and we were more gutsy everywhere: on the pitch and off it with strong signs of a Plan B. So, well done lads – especially Jags, Besic, and Robles – and well done, Bobby Martinez.

Sid Logan
58 Posted 31/01/2015 at 18:37:44
Mixed emotions. Relieved to pick a valuable 3 points but not that chuffed that Roberto the naive lives to manage another day.

I now feel that under his management style we'll never be more than mediocre. Cleadly I've no longer got the same faith that some on here still have.

Anthony Garner
59 Posted 31/01/2015 at 19:21:05
90 minutes of rubbish football. Misplaced passing, panic defending, attacking midfield players poor, poor substitutions.

How the hell are Chelsea and Man City top of the league?

Keith Meakin
60 Posted 31/01/2015 at 19:24:43
Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah!!!!!!!
Mike Price
61 Posted 31/01/2015 at 19:23:42
The only thing that matters right now is getting the points we need for safety so today was a good day. Five more lucky wins is fine by me.

Safety first and then the postmortem.

Rick Tarleton
62 Posted 31/01/2015 at 19:49:20
Just got back from Selhurst Park, a gutsy performance, Stones and Jagielka were excellent and McGeady was lively. A win was fortuitous, but we've lost and drawn games we deserved to win.

The spirit suggested better things to come. It was only my third live game this season, the other two were home games against Swansea and Hull, so you can see why I'm feeling charitable!

Conor McCourt
63 Posted 31/01/2015 at 19:36:36
Disgraceful report laced with anti-Martinez bias. On numerous occasions you speak of poor defending yet from after the 20 min mark we were excellent in that department after a shaky start.

I thought the back four were superb despite not getting the greatest of protection from the 2 in midfield yet are constantly criticized throughout this report. Yes this was a Moyes-like win but considering the terrible pitch, blustery conditions and facing a team in red hot goalscoring form this was a very good victory as the elements didn't favour our brand of football.

What makes you think facing the shite will be a bloodbath? We played a better team in Man City the other week and held our own and we drew at Anfield so it sounds from this report that no credit should be given to the team today and is more opinion than fact based.

How many times did you hear that terrible drum and vociferous crowd today? Not many. This was a professional job from a team low on confidence and will increase moral going into next week's game. I for one am very happy tonight.

Chris Gould
64 Posted 31/01/2015 at 19:37:51
It's all about getting 3 points right now, nothing more. I wanted rid of RM weeks ago but it hasn't happened and probably won't. So it's time to get behind him and the team. I appreciate that it is difficult as he has been awful this season, but it is what it is, and unfortunately we don't get a say in the matter.

As long as we pull clear of the bottom 3 then maybe we will get to enjoy a good run in the Europa. There's no doubt that RM's philosophy/system seems to work better in Europe. Just as long as we don't come up against an English team, maybe we'll all have something to cheer come May.

Andrew Clare
65 Posted 31/01/2015 at 19:50:58
Glad for the win. I thought we would lose. I wonder what will happen if we finish outside of the top ten but avoid relegation and there is no improvement in the performances. Will RM be retained?
Stephen Brown
66 Posted 31/01/2015 at 19:56:40
If we can get a win in the derby, it will be fantastic but also 6 unbeaten. RM better be careful as ge might win manager of the month (joke – before I get it!)

Happy with the points today and hats off to the defence! And I can watch MotD for the first time in months.

4 wins as quickly as possible then concentrate on the Europa League? You never know!!!

Brett Jonathan
67 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:02:23
Couldn't watch the game, but geez Michael, if that wasn't the most cynical, pessimistic match report I've ever read on TW. Are you sure we won? Hope this is a turning point for our season and a bit of positivity on here too.
Jackie Barry
68 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:09:37
Not a fantastic performance by any means but this report is way of the mark.
Michael Polley
70 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:23:00
Phew!!! Got a win. Got 3 points!!!

Now concentrate on the next game.

Bob Heyward
71 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:18:42
Poor performance where, especially in the first 30-minutes, we made Palace look like Barca.

Ignoring those who hype Martinez, this was a victory for he players, who dug in and ground out a result. Stones and Jags were men of the match, which again says much when we were only playing an injury hit, African nations ravaged, Palace.

So, after delivering an uninspiring performance after ten days of preparation, I'd say this does nothing to lift the question marks over Martinez. It does however show the grit of our lads, and I was proud to see the strength of the away support.

We now march on to the kopites, with a lame duck manager and a bankrupt philosophy. Today's result had little to do with Martinez, a man who needed to get an impressive performance in. I fear relying on the players to get us through, just like today, will not be good enough for a journey up the smelly hill. That may be his end. If not, I stand by my prediction; on 28 games we will have no more than 28 points.

Wayne Smyth
72 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:17:11
Tim Locke (46), wrong again. Bobby does not like to play a narrow formation. However, he has often picked players that play narrow, or cut inside, because they are not wingers: Barkley... Naismith... Eto'o...

Today we had one winger and one who can do a decent impression of one, hence we had a bit more play in the wide areas.

The upshot is I think it's fair to complain he has played square pegs in round holes which has ruined performances and results because we're playing too narrow, but often that has been because Martinez hasn't had fit decent quality pacy wingers....also something he is at fault for not sorting out in the summer.

Chris Jones [Burton]
73 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:22:48
I think I tend to agree with those saying Michael's report was more than a little jaundiced and unfair: "more dreadful defending was exhibited coupled with a failure to retain the ball as the visitors moved forward and Stones was very lucky to block a goalbound shot from Chamakh."

Yes there was a period when Palace tore at us in the first half (they were at home and as yet unbeaten under their new manager) but I prefer to see it the same way as the TV commentator at the time...

Stones was near the penalty spot and there was a small group of players between him and Chamakh, who had the ball on the edge of the box. The Palace player moved one way and then dragged the ball back, making space for himself to his left to get a shot off. But 'lucky' for us Stones perceived the move in an instant and immediately moved to his right, and was able to block the shot as it came in. The ball cannoned off into touch (IIRC) and Robles raced out of his goal to hi-five Stones in celebration of the young lad's amazing good fortune to have been accidentally in the right place to stop the goal-bound shot!

Michael Kenrick
74 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:24:51
"Couldn't watch the game" — that might well be the key point here, Brett. If I hadn't had the misfortune of watching it, I might also be able to be joyous and optimistic.

The truth is, we scored a lucky goal and in the end we defended well enough to hang onto it but we hardly looked convincing at times and, going forward, we looked absolutely dreadful for most of the game.

Unusually it was McGeady who actually had the best moment of the game, as you will see if you actually read my report.

I call it as I see it. Always have, always will. No-one has said we played well. If you want a different story, there's always Roberto Martinez's wonderfully optimistic, phenomenally incredible post-match comments that might be more palatable for you.

Andy Crooks
75 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:35:02
I thought the report was realistic. It shows just how low our expectations have sunk if anyone sees that as anything other than a scrappy win against a side that Liverpool would expect to despatch with ease.

Yes, I know, be thankful for small mercies. But this is what Martinez has reduced us to.

Lee Boylan
76 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:32:41
Let's build from this and all pull together for the derby, make Goodison roar and scare the Redshite to death.

I'd go with:

Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines
McCarthy, Barry, Oviedo, Mirallas, Barkley, Kone with Lukaku coming on at 60 minute mark and Naismith and Besic coming on to finish 'em off.

Make us proud......

Dave Williams
77 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:43:37
Roberto has made a number of mistakes starting with the World Cup and pre-season but a five-game unbeaten run suggests he has realised what needs to be done and is working on it.

Give the man a chance and see if he can get us back to the form of the first two thirds of last season. If he can't then it may be time to reconsider but not yet. Howard Kendall's first stint looked hopeless until the Kevin Brock game and things then turned around but even that wasn't overnight.

Let's be thankful for 3 points and Roberto now has a huge challenge next week – I think he can do this but next week will be revealing one way or another I suspect!

Denis Richardson
78 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:34:16
Finally 3 points and we avoid going an entire calendar month without a win!

Not fussed about the performance (couldn't really expect anything better given how low the players' confidecene must be). The 3 points gives us a useful cushion as we're going to be lucky to get more than 1 point from the next two games.

This win takes my faint relegation worry away. With the likes of Hull, QPR, Burnley and Leicester currently averaging less than a point a game, it looks like 35 points will be enough to stay up, nevermind 40. So only need another 9 points, which with 15 games left 'should' not be a problem. I predict we'll finish somewhere between 9th and 13th.

Needed a lucky/srappy win today - thank god we got it. Still not convinced RM is the answer but this 3 points pretty much guarantees that he'll be there 'till at least the end of this season.

Full steam ahead for the EL as the rest of the season is a write off.

Bring on the derby!

Joe Clitherow
79 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:43:49
Happy to be able to post that we got 3 pts that was won by the defence today – Jagielka I thought was immense today. See how important it is to defend, Roberto?

Not even a single shred of mixed emotions for me today, not one bit. We won, all that matters.

Yes, it was a horrible game; yes, I still want Martinez out... but, for me, an away win, however earned, gets him a week of respite from calling for dismissal (from me at least)... until the next game.

David Hallwood
80 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:47:46
Just before the West Brom game, I said clean sheets were essential and that I'd be happy if the next 6 games were 0-0 or 1-0; two down four to go.

Absolutely delighted with the points, now for the Redshite and, if we can win, I wouldn't give a flying one how it was achieved; maybe we'll bring in a couple of players on Monday and that'll save our season.

John Harrop
81 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:00:01
Andy (76)

Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 1

November 2014

Will Firstbrook
82 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:53:11
Wasn't expecting a Picaso today especially considering the horrible run we've been on. If that was what people expected, disappointment was always inevitable.

Today was all about getting a result. Full stop. Team is desperate for something positive to build on; some element of momentum. Hopefully that is what today's result provides. Time will tell.

Are there still concerns and major work to do before any of us can truly say we'll be OK? Without a doubt. However, this is where we find ourselves at present and need to get behind the lads.

Dave Lynch
83 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:09:05
Same disjointed frustrating shite.

Different result. Thank Fuck!

John Raftery
84 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:56:48
Dave (78) Spot on. Most of the great runs we have had in the past 40 years started with a result such as the one we got today.

Nobody who went to Palace was the least bit concerned about the performance. In the last 20 minutes, there was only one team likely to score and that was our team. Robles played well dealing with crosses but had little to do in the second half in terms of saving shots.

Palace have beaten some good sides recently but today struggled to penetrate our solid back line which was ably supported by Barry and Besic.

Kevin Rowlands
85 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:14:41
Well said, JH (#76), some peoples expectations are fucking ridiculous.

Palace are coming off a 6-game unbeaten streak, winning four games in a row, comeback wins against Southampton, Spurs and Burnley, a new manager, full of confidence... Yet we go there and beat them without conceding a goal.

What were we supposed to do? Go there and give them Germany/Brazil type pasting? Get a grip, FFS. Today was a fantastic result given our current situation!

Brian Denton
86 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:28:56
John Harrop – great post. As my kids would no doubt write – lol! But Andy will no doubt have a comeback...
Andy Crooks
87 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:27:09
Kevin, no-one could be more happy than me at today's result. However, the "current situation" did not come about by some twist of fate.

I will celebrate every point but I will never praise Martinez for getting out of a situation that his ineptitude has caused.

Michael Kenrick
88 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:06:46
Conor... "anti-Martinez bias"? Very odd... It's strange to imagine what you might have been reading, as I mentioned the bloke just once, re hesitating over the Oviedo substitution.

The way we defended at times looked laughable. There were some incredibly lucky moments. That's what I saw anyway. But we did keep Palace from producing many decent chances for long periods of what was a pretty awful game. If that was good defending by Everton, so be it.

Of course, I was looking for them to go forward with purpose and intent... as for the pitch and the weather — weren't they the same for both sides? What sort of nonsense excuse is that?

Yes, I think next week could be a bloodbath for a variety of potential reasons: drunken fans could riot if things don't go well; Everton might finally find themselves and rip into Liverpool from the off, with a raucous Goodison roar behind them, and chalk up a fantastic victory, blood and guts littering the hallowed turf; or Liverpool, presently in good form, could tear us apart if we play like we did today...

Any outcome is possible, a number of which might fit the 'bloodbath' label. What have our results against Man City and Liverpool got to do with today's game? Of course the report is my opinion, but it's based on what happened on the field.

I thought the inane drumming was audible all through the game – what imbecilic mentality can sustain such nonsense? It was a good result from another poor display. I'm glad for you that you're happy. Some of us expect better from these players.

John Malone
89 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:42:33
Glad we held out and got the points but we sounded woeful at keeping the ball and creating chances, we badly need some attacking quality in before this window shuts!

By the sound's of it Mirallas's head is elsewhere; he stunk today. I hope it's just a lack of fitness and we're all good for the derby next week.

Kevin Rowlands
90 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:35:28
MK, today was all about the result; for once we were the team putting an end to another team's good run of form instead of us being the team that actually stops a team's run of bad form. We all know how that feels... we're Evertonians, today was a good result.

Hopefully we'll send Slippy G home with bad memories from his last derby ever next week.

Brian Denton
91 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:50:21
Look, let’s face it our only chance of getting where we want to be, ie, actually in with a shout of winning the title, never mind clawing our way into 4th place, is if a combination of unlikely things happen. I am assuming that our billionaire will never arrive.

Firstly, we must accept that NO player (or MANAGER!!!) who is on the radar of the money clubs will come our way. Therefore we must take a chance on unproven injury-prone ’difficult’ players with baggage in the hope that they come good.

Secondly, we must hope to bring another Rooney or two through, tie them early to long contracts, and not sell them.

Finally we are going to have to take a punt on a manager (not necessarily Roberto, before I get shot down) who has new ideas and knows how to put them into place. A big ask, but otherwise we are going to be trolling among the likes of Southampton and West Ham till the cows come home, or at least till I pop my clogs.

With Moyes, we all knew we were never going to win anything, but equally we were never going to be relegated. Whoop de doo.......

Roger Helm
92 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:40:41
Spot on Kevin # 86. A win away against a form team, a clean sheet – and people grumble about there being no champagne football. Still, it's being so cheerful that keeps them going.
Joe Foster
93 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:50:08
Made up we won, of course, and if we win next week that would make a lot of my displeasure with RM seem... unpleasant during a transitional period, But my feelings still say he is not the manager we need.
Kevin Rowlands
94 Posted 31/01/2015 at 21:56:27
BD, I think 99.999999% of Everton fans have already accepted that we more than likely will never win fuck all while Kenwright and his bunch of grave robbing phoneys are running the club.

I'm glad I was old enough to see and witness all of our success in the 80s, it was magic. I really hope the younger fans of today will get to experience that one day.

Dave Hall
95 Posted 31/01/2015 at 22:18:54
Cheer up a bit, Michael Kenrick. FFS, winning ugly is probably the best medicine this group could get this afternoon in that cauldron. The defending particularly was far better than you've called it. Robles looks comfortable – to most of TWers surprise, the defending was good, 3 points away from home.

Yes, Lukaku looks awful in possession and it wasn't dominant, but who among us wouldn't have taken the unattractive win we were given?

Prettiest girl or not, we were the better team out there today, full stop. We pressed high and hard, deserved the win, took the points and a clean sheet – job done.

Mark Frere
96 Posted 31/01/2015 at 22:23:13
Kevin, I don't think all fans have given up hope of winning a trophy. I think we've all accepted we will never win the PL title or CL while this Board are at the helm. Personally, the best I hope for is just to win one of the lesser trophies, eg, the FA Cup, League Cup and (call me deluded if you like) the Europa League this season... we all need dreams and aspirations or what's the point in bothering at all?

I just want a team I can be proud of... which can occasionally upset the odds and finish in the top 4 and win a odd trophy along the way. Yeah, I think most of us would be pretty content with that...

First things first, though: let's stuff the Redshite next week and secure our PL survival.

Colin Glassar
97 Posted 31/01/2015 at 22:29:12
We won didn't we? Weren't we all crying out for a win? Ugly, lucky, scrappy, whatever? A win's a win, ffs. And a clean sheet to boot!!
James Flynn
98 Posted 31/01/2015 at 22:41:28
With this win, I'm in the "We Won't Get Relegated" group. 15 games to go, we can't find 11-12 more points? Clubs below will have that problem, because they're not fielding EPL-level sides.

Hopefully, we keep this "defense first" outlook for the rest of the season. Might be boring, but we'll grind out the necessary points, so the conversation turns to what we have to do next season.

Speaking of grinding, let the RS come at us and hit em on the break. As well as they are doing right now, Suarez is gone. They can be had.

Big relief leaving the relegation worry behind.

Raymond Fox
99 Posted 31/01/2015 at 22:43:05
Kevin 86, exactly mate some on here live in their own fantasy world, I think.

I see Wolfsburg beat Bayern Munich 4-1 and are lying 2nd in the Bundesliga, what happened when we played them! And that's managed with the worst manager on earth, some would have you believe!

Not long ago Robles was total shite, and Kone was absolutely hopeless! McGeady the latest whipping boy, watch this space.

Colin Glassar
100 Posted 31/01/2015 at 23:05:35
Nothing to add to that Raymond. 3 points are 3 points. At the end of the day that's all that counts in our situation.
Bob Heyward
101 Posted 31/01/2015 at 23:04:48
MK hear, hear! The report was not biased, although some on here are appallingly jaundiced in their bullying views.

As for your last line; bang on. It was a good result from a very poor performance.

But let's not lose the context. It was against Palace. PALACE. P.A.L.A.C.E. Not Barca. Pardew and Palace. Injury hit, African nation hit, Palace. And our central defenders were the Men of the Match.

A useful three-points, but I stand by my prediction – on 28 games we will have a maximum 28 points. And then we will truly be in the shit.

Andrew Laird
102 Posted 31/01/2015 at 23:36:16
3 points and only 1 number 10 in the starting XI. Penny dropped.
Andrew Laird
103 Posted 31/01/2015 at 23:41:26
I forgot to add: penny dropped? Hopefully.
Joe Foster
104 Posted 31/01/2015 at 23:40:01
Yep 3 points are 3 points but your fantasy land seems to go against what is actually really happening. We won today which I am relieved at. I will take any type of win right now scrappy or not but FFS let's not lose perspective.
James Stewart
105 Posted 01/02/2015 at 00:17:31
Have to agree with Michael on today's game. I didn't see an awful lot of great defending personally.

Dreadful game between two poor sides. All that can really be taken from that is 3 points which could quite easily have been 1 point or less had Palace taken their chances. They were also missing Bolasie, their best player, so I didn't see much to get excited about.

McGeady was still woeful, as were others. Lukaku's finishing was poor. Especially the one that hit the side netting.

I would love to see anything but misery next week but I just can't. The RS looked really good on MotD and I'm not looking forward to the game at all. Why do they always get us when they are coming into form?

Eddie Dunn
106 Posted 01/02/2015 at 00:18:38
Thank God for three points. We defended well as a team and everyone worked hard.

However, Lukaku was just awful. Mirallas was invisible. Kone did more in 4 minutes than these two did all game!

Then Martinez lauds Lukaku to the heavens in his post-match interview. Bizarre.

Chris Leyland
107 Posted 01/02/2015 at 00:40:22
Eddie, there was one thing Lukaku did, score the winner. Last time I checked, that was quite important.
Peter Gorman
108 Posted 01/02/2015 at 00:30:36
Can't see anything wrong with this report. It was dire stuff except for some decent defending at times. Just watched it back on Sky and we really did give the ball away at almost every opportunity (not just a spell after we scored but most of the 2nd half too).

If anything, Michael, you were too effusive in your praise of calling our forward impetus 'limited'. Lukaku cannot play football, it is that simple. He isn't the second coming of Drogba but Brett Angell. First touch like a tackle.

Michael Penley
109 Posted 01/02/2015 at 00:43:16
Only saw the first half, but I thought we did okay.

We've upped the pace which is the main thing, and are playing more direct and with more pressure off the ball. It's still far from where I'd like us to be, but I can't deny it's an improvement.

Would I be saying this had Jag's clearance off the line occurred 0.1 seconds later? Probably not. It's the result that counts, and we should enjoy it at least for one night.

Ernie Baywood
110 Posted 01/02/2015 at 00:20:12
We'll play better and lose. Lukaku will play better and fail to score.

I'll take this outcome right now.

Mike Price
111 Posted 01/02/2015 at 01:02:59
Can't really understand people saying that's the end of relegation fears. It was a big step forward but we're certainly not out of trouble yet.

Just watched it back and can't believe how shocking Lukaku's touch was. He looks like a poor Sunday league player 90% of the time. I can't remember him being this bad the last two years, so hopefully it's that injury or lost confidence, which will hopefully fix itself before next season.

Naismith is a park player though, I just don't get why so many on here rate him. He tries hard, had a short purple patch and that's it. Hope they both notch next week to shut me up though.

Mark Andersson
112 Posted 01/02/2015 at 01:43:19
I don’t usually comment until I have watched the game. I fell asleep but not before watching Newcastle destroy a woeful Hull City. How the fuck did they take 4 points off us? Just shows how bad we are.

I also watched the Chelsea – Man City game. Now that’s what I call entertainment: skill galore fast, incisive football, we look light years away.

Good posts as usual, although I’m not convinced that Martinez is the man for us, but I can see this clown hanging on to his job, even if the Redshite twat us.

Mark Andersson
114 Posted 01/02/2015 at 07:16:56
I don’t usually comment untill I have watched the game. I fell asleep – but not before watching Newcastle destroy a woeful Hull City. How the fuck did they take 4 points off us? Just shows how bad we are...

I also watched the Chelsea - Man City game. Now that’s what I call entertainment: skill galore, fast, incisive football... we look light-years away.

Good posts as usual, although I’m not convinced that Martinez is the man for us, but I can see this clown hanging on to his job, even if the Redshite twat us.

Darren Hind
115 Posted 01/02/2015 at 06:37:54
Difficult match to report on, although I think MK makes very decent fist of it.

I think there has been a lot of soul searching and my impression is that our defenders were hell bent on not making individual mistakes. I thought all four of them were trying very hard to get their own house in order, as individuals, they played well. Unfortunately, as MK points out, as a unit, it did get a bit Keystone Cops out there.

Biggest plus for me was hearing the severity of the bollockings Robles was giving out. He's been as timid as a Church Mouse, but he's beginning to feel he has earned the right to be № 1. More to come from this fella.

I have been a long-time critic of Martinez, but to deny him credit for this result is churlish in the extreme. Few (if any) managers have been under the sort of pressure he has faced recently and he'd have been murdered on every forum and radio station if we didn't win this.

I'm genuinely pleased for him. It may have been ugly, but the three points look beautiful to me.

Mark Andersson
116 Posted 01/02/2015 at 07:18:03
Okay, I have now watched the match, I think Michael report is fair and well balanced. Lukaku has not improved his first touch and is a embarrassment. Nearly all the 50/50 Balls were won by Palace. The defenders worked hard and finally got the rub of the green.

I hope Besic is not dropped for the derby, as he offers fight and steel. If we can get some sort of cutting edge then we may get a result against a inform red shite team. But realistically I think we will get beat.

Oh and I thought yet again that the ref was suspect against Palace. Prove me wrong, Bobby, your job is safe with Billy in charge but you have lost the majority of the fans.

Gavin McGarvey
118 Posted 31/01/2015 at 20:56:46
I don't think the match report was harsh at all. We were a little better in the second half in terms of defending, and we were better going forward in the last ten minutes, but apart from that we more or less stank the place out with our football.

That being said, I'm really genuinely happy we won. I'd take that fairly fortunate 1-0 win over us playing like Brazil and drawing 4-4. We're in a relegation battle and all that matters is the 3 points.

Just think what the next couple of games would have looked like if we'd lost. Going into the derby with pressure on to win would be a nightmare, now a win would be a bonus and a draw far from the end of the world. Also the pressure should hopefully be off for the Chelsea game as we won't be so close to the relegation places.

I agree with the poster who said it's unrealistic to expect an immediate turnaround in fortunes. It's going to take time to get back to playing good football, and that's if everything goes our way which is hardly guaranteed. Hopefully regardless of what it means for Martinez, we're on the verge of a few decent results.

Laurie Hartley
119 Posted 01/02/2015 at 09:12:03
The football was dour but I thought the effort and determination shown by all but Mirallas was cause for for hope – so, for me, it was a "good" performance.

I think we may look back on this game at the end of the season and see how important a win this was. I would have taken a draw before the game, because a defeat, in my view, would have seen us swept into oblivion.

All I care about at the moment is that we steer clear of relegation. Fortunately, it appears to me that the players have decided to do something about it. As a result, my level of anxiety has dropped considerably.

Pete Edwards
120 Posted 01/02/2015 at 09:59:16
Terry @25 what game did you watch if you thought Joel was stuck to his line?!?! Ridiculous comment as, all bar the Krasnodar game, he’s commanded the area and come and caught almost everything put in. Feeling confident with him between the sticks at the moment
Colin Glassar
121 Posted 01/02/2015 at 10:07:39
Robles can actually catch a ball, unlike Taliban Tim, who appears to be playing basketball rather than goalkeeping.
Tony Abrahams
122 Posted 01/02/2015 at 10:01:41
John 82, haha. Why would you bring the other crowd into this debate about Everton finally winning a game?

Andy, fuck Liverpool (next week, I hope) post 88, is how I also see it, but I would lean more to the post by David Williams, when thinking about the future.

Tony Abrahams
123 Posted 01/02/2015 at 10:38:51
As Michael says, he reports on the game as he sees it.

It wasn't great but when your on such a run as Everton's, the best you can usually hope for is a scruffy goal and a clean sheet. We got both yesterday, but the biggest thing for me, was that we weren't really hanging on, when the clock was ticking down.

Jamie Barlow
124 Posted 01/02/2015 at 11:24:24
I'm starting to look a bit of a tit where Robles is concerned. I've slated him unfairly after seeing a handful of sporadic games and come to the wrong conclusion. I hope I'm not jumping the gun too much but he is starting to look quite a good goalkeeper and commands his box well. And he's only 24 isn't he?

When did he learn how to catch a ball?

Joseph Clarke
125 Posted 01/02/2015 at 10:59:21
We won't get relegated because there are teams much worse than us. In my opinion, the manager has proved to be incompetent. He is not going to change into the new "Special One" – no matter how things go between now and the end of the season.

We have seen enough to know, because the faults are in his judgement, his arrogance, his inability to see the basic problems in the team set up, and I fear his and the club's contempt for the supporters. But mostly his shortcomings as a manager. That is why he is employed. But he won't be sacked because the club don't have a winning mentality from the top down.

Everton in the Community, seems to be the one thing we do consistently well, and something to be very proud of. Whoever is behind it has done a wonderful job. It would be great if our club could really become The Peoples Club. COYB

Paul Johnson
126 Posted 01/02/2015 at 11:22:55
Mark @ 113 yesterday was the same team that gave Man City a hell of a game 2 weeks ago.

Let's make no bones about it, a great result and if we were in the top 6 the thread would be so different. But we are not and Roberto still has a lot to do including how to get a result next week.

I get the downbeat vibe after last season and I believe a lot of that is down to the fact that Roberto set the bar high but some of the diatribe that is being posted is beyond me. You would genuinely think we were 3 points adrift at the bottom. We are supporters and we need to give the team some backing. Particularly next week because, if those red-nosed fuckers sense we are not behind the team, they will go for the jugular.

Kieran Fitzgerald
127 Posted 01/02/2015 at 11:37:42
You get the impression that recent suspicions around player power may be true. There has been more of a direct style to our play than previously. Also, we were set up more like a Moyes team than a Martinez team yesterday.

I think that Martinez may not quite be getting the carte blanche that he got at Wigan. The set of players he has now are used to better and may have finally told him so. Also, I think this Board is going to expect more than the one Dave Whelan led at Wigan.

The Everton Board are under pressure to get the finances together to pay for the new stadium and still have enough for day-to-day running expenses. That has always come through league position and Sky money as the Board is not willing to spend any of its own money. I wouldn't be surprised if the Board had a quiet word with Martinez.

Nigel Gregson
128 Posted 01/02/2015 at 11:49:58
Jamie Barlow – top post! It takes very mature mentalist to own up :-) Hopefully Roberto also makes some others own up in the future.
Andy Crooks
129 Posted 01/02/2015 at 11:40:38
Kim, #118, you obviously did not read John Keating's post #51. Sad that a passionate supporter is ridiculed for not being positive enough. There just are not enough "proper" supporters.
Conor McCourt
130 Posted 01/02/2015 at 11:03:59
Michael Kenrick – that was a clever attempt at deflection but no-one is disagreeing that we could have played better, that we didn't counter very well, that it was a tough watch, or that some of our forward players had poor games.

No, the ineptitude of the report came from its inability to reflect what happened on the pitch thus my belief that the one-sided manner was clearly from someone who wants the manager out and that set the tone for the report rather than actual events.

How you watched that game and use adjectives like 'horrendous' and 'dreadful to describe our defending beggars belief? Even in the 15-min period where we were all over the place it was Stones and Jags invariably there to save the day. Anyone who hadn't seen the game would have thought are centre halves were poor through your account when conversely they were head and shoulders the 2 best players on the pitch.

The other main problem I had was that you suggested that we didn't deserve to win that game. You accused the boys of being 'lucky', 'fortuitous' and that they 'incredibly held out'. Once again this was completely inaccurate. For a team with 1 win in 13 we held our nerve well and while never pretty we controlled the game for large parts and if there was to be a 2nd goal it was far more likely to come from us as the longer the game the poorer we made them look. Your report showers them with plaudits but gives our boys little credit despite a valiant effort.

Michael with regards to me highlighting the pitch and conditions, I don't think they are an excuse but the reality of the day. You point out they were the same for both teams which is true but Palace are a direct team consisting of monsters like Sanogo, Chamakh, Murray, Ledley, Dann and Delaney whereas our game is based on possession football with players like Stones, Coleman, Baines, Mirallas and McGeady not served well by the prevailing elements. If you look at their good 15 min period – this was all caused by long hopeful punts using the wind and their physicality which resulted in mayhem in our box. We were reduced at times to whacking the ball up front as the pitch was so bad that it was tough to play out as normal or we would have been in trouble.

I thought it was clear what you meant by bloodbath and used those results just to highlight we have nothing to fear if we are on our game. If you weren't implying that we would get annihilated, I take that back but judging by the rest of the overly antagonistic summary towards the team, it's an obvious conclusion to make.

Finally I watched the Palace game when they beat Spurs and you couldn't hardly hear the commentators as their fans were so noisy it was such an amazing atmosphere. Against us we never let them build any momentum and it was our magnificent away fans who were dominant throughout the game. They were clearly frustrated and we kept them pretty quiet as their heroes became increasingly predictable and desperate on the pitch.

Wayne Smyth
131 Posted 01/02/2015 at 11:52:56
Jamie (125), you are in the majority on that score. I thought Robles was decent when he first came in, then I did a volte-face the more games he played and figured that perhaps he just wasn't of Premier League quality.

However, I've been shocked at just how solid Robles has looked when given a sustained run in the team and now I'm actually dreading the day when Howard is back in goal for us. Not something I'd have imagined saying a few months ago.

I wonder if selling Howard to the MLS is a good idea, especially while his stock over there is high on the back of his world-cup heroics. We could then get another keeper in to fight with Robles for the no 1 jersey.

Another Martinez signing who has been slated on these boards is Kone. Looks a top, top player to me if he can keep fit... and if he can stay fit for the rest of the season and put in the kind of shift that we've seen in his few appearances, I think I'd be happy to see him given a 12- or 24-month extension, perhaps with some sort of mitigation inserted in case he has any more long-term injury issues.

Colin Glassar
132 Posted 01/02/2015 at 12:11:27
Conor, I've spoken about agendas and vendettas on here clouding people's judgements. At the risk of getting myself into a bit of bother, I wholeheartedly endorse every word you've written. Good man and well said.
Eddie Dunn
133 Posted 01/02/2015 at 12:09:40
Chris,108. yes Lukaku did score. The keeper parried the ball on to him and into the net. I suppose credit due for making the run and getting in the right place, is in order. However, are you happy with his contribution?
Wayne Smyth
134 Posted 01/02/2015 at 13:01:36
Eddie, I thought Lukaku was poor. However I can forgive his shit control or his inability to hold up the ball because I thought he put in a shift and worked hard and made the right run to get his goal.

It's clear to see there is a quality striker in there. A few times he managed to get away and but for a heavy touch allowing the covering centre half to get in, he could've had a second.

Lukaku needs confidence and he needs the right kind of service and support to see the best of him. At the moment he isn't really getting a fat lot from those around him.

He didn't put the price tag on his head and yet he's our main goal threat with the pressure of trying to help us avoid relegation despite being only 21 years old. Not an easy task.

People should get behind all our players, especially the younger ones and especially when they can see the effort is being put in... and the time they need our support is when things are not going well.

Bob Heyward
135 Posted 01/02/2015 at 13:01:18
Michael Kenrick - You keep calling it as you see it.

ToffeeWeb always had an awkward reputation during the Moyes years. Many, especially on other forums, referred to it as being incredibly anti-Moyes.

It seems to me that a hard core anti-Moyes militant tendency very much saw Martinez's success, which was welcomed by all Evertonians, as validation of their anti-Moyes narrative. Yet, as the wheels fell off this season, it seems that those people seem to have entrenched, becoming more rabid with every legitimate question of Martinez. To many, this appears to go beyond support of the team, instead transcending into a bullying, absolutist attempt to constrain legitimate debate, all for the egotistical end of saying "I was right to say we should have got rid of Moyes."

Certainly, those of us with a differing view to a very vocal pro-'Bobby' lobby find ourselves subject to the most appalling abuse. That is, sadly, the norm here, though interestingly such abusers are easily defeated by even a cursory reference to the facts.

However, to reach the point where a match report is criticised as being 'anti-Martinez' shows how bizarre this forum is getting. The barracking, shrieking, cabal are taking us to a place where we should not be. Yes, yesterday was sub-standard. Yes, it was not the confidence building performance we truly needed. Yes, it was far from what we expected from a well-rested, well-prepared team. Yes, we made Palace look great, and yes, it is a sad state of affairs where Stones and Jags are our star men in such a fixture.

Finally, though, yes, you have every right to report a match as the majority saw it, and yes, you should not allow yourself to be cowed by a tiny minority of fans who have confused their loyalty by supporting a manager over our Club, which is, tellingly, something they didn't do with our last manager.

Keep asking the questions, Michael, and keep calling it as you see it. The truth will out, shortly.

Paul Dark
136 Posted 01/02/2015 at 13:53:33
We continue to play 10-11 in every game where McGeady starts or comes on.
Paul Dark
137 Posted 01/02/2015 at 13:54:25
I really hope we don't sell Mirallas – and that Spurs don't get him.

Too much has been made of the penalty miss now, and we need to put it behind us. He's one of our best players.

Trevor Peers
139 Posted 01/02/2015 at 14:05:13
No chance of selling Mirallas at this point, Paul – his contract can be extended by 1 year if Everton wish.
Colin Glassar
141 Posted 01/02/2015 at 15:01:02
On a separate note it looks like any of the following teams are doomed; Aston Villa, QPR, Hull, Burnley and Leicester. I think Palace, WBA and Sunderland should be ok.
Peter Gorman
143 Posted 01/02/2015 at 15:26:04
Darren @116

"Few (if any) managers have been under the sort of pressure he has faced recently" - self-induced pressure mate.

Conor, Colin – I have to respectfully disagree with you, the report is accurate and adjectives such as 'horrendous' and 'fortuitous' are entirely merited where used. Perhaps the bar has been raised too high, not just by last season but the 4 preceding it where we didn't finish lower than 7th. The season before that, 8th. So, yeah, my bar has been raised somewhat over celebrating a 'fortuitous' win over Palace.

Brings me onto another point; how many people have described this as a Moyes-like win is beyond me. What do you mean? As in a Moyes win against the likes of Man City or Chelsea? I can't recall a Moyes team performing like that against Palace.

If Michael has an agenda, as you think, perhaps it is one that is merited. I watched the game and we were highly inept, could barely keep the ball. Defence was pretty good but let's be honest, we looked fragile at every cross and high ball put in, thank God Sanogo is about as good a header of the ball as Lukaku.

Raymond Fox
144 Posted 01/02/2015 at 15:09:05
Anyone still fancying us to go down, rush round to the bookies and get your money on if your still spinning that line, were 45/1 from 25/1 with 10 other teams more likely to go down than us according to them!

Criticism is required to improve anything on this planet, I realise that, but a little praise and positivity thrown in would not do any harm sometimes I think.

Things are not all black and white there's a hell of a lot of grey areas where football's concerned, reasons you can play poorly and win, play well and get stuffed.

There's no way we'll go down, at least that's in my opinion, we've still got the Europa to come in which we've not shaped so badly in up to now, maybe we can enjoy that.

Dave Abrahams
145 Posted 01/02/2015 at 15:53:28
Paul (138)

Does Mirallas want to continue to play for us?

Frank Crewe
146 Posted 01/02/2015 at 15:42:42
Just watched Villa get crushed. They make us look like Real Madrid. They haven't even scored a goal for six PL games. If RM is under pressure then the pressure on Lambert must be twice as bad. They only just dodged the drop last season so I will be amazed if he survives this season.

Might be a message here for those who think managers should be given time. Under Lambert Villa have finished 15th, 16th, and are currently 16th. Sometimes things don't get better no matter how much time the manager gets.

BTW Cleverly did sod all. I hope we've dropped our interest in him.

Darren Hind
147 Posted 01/02/2015 at 15:53:31
Ray If you are going to go by the bookies odds to try to score a point, you might want to consider the fact that they were only offering 13/2 for us to qualify for CL football. They knew we had a squad capable of doing so you see.

Ask them what odds they'll give you for CL qualification now, they'll probably invite you to name your own?

Dave Abrahams
148 Posted 01/02/2015 at 16:25:29
Bob Heywood (102) If you think we will only have 28 points after 28 games, go the bookies and have a good punt on that, I imagine you would get massive odds for that.
Colin Glassar
149 Posted 01/02/2015 at 16:32:27
Peter Gorman, we got a CL place, a few seasons ago, playing like this under OFM.
Paul Dark
150 Posted 01/02/2015 at 16:33:46
Dave (146) - according to reports, I'm not so sure he does. We as fans need to get behind him and make him feel loved. He wasn't really cheered when he went off yesterday. He's a bit like a little boy needing approval. But he can turn games. We need Mirallas at the moment more than he does us.

Showing him the lurve a bit will do no harm.

Raymond Fox
151 Posted 01/02/2015 at 16:27:10
Its all about opinions Darren, that's how they see the situation as of now and I wouldn't take the 45/1 myself, luckily for us there are enough teams worse than us this season!

I also think as you suggest they do get their prices wrong sometimes, and 13/2 for us to get into the top 4 in any season is an extremely skinny price for me, I would need to be offered 14/1+ before I would consider backing us unless we were taken over by some mega rich Arab or the like.

Paul Dark
152 Posted 01/02/2015 at 16:37:14
Two points about RM:

1. How can any of the players have respect for him when he consistently picks McGeady over Oviedo/Mirallas? It really is a sackable offence in itself (I mean that seriously). The post-match interviewer was trying to get Rom to praise McGeady yesterday and he steadfastly (implicitly) refused to. No fellow player praises Mr Aiden McGeady. He embarrasses me.

2. I know Roberto has his own idiolect (like all of us), but the point about asking Evertonians to 'enjoy the three points [against Palace]' was very telling, in my view. Of course, it was a huge relief to win yesterday, and I personally felt as if we had won the Cup (I was wondering if we'd win another game this season – seriously), but the fact that he says that shows a real small-time mentality that betrays his pedigree (all lower leagues and survival fights in the PL). As Big Nev said: 'It's different at Everton'. I really don't know if Roberto gets that – and that could be the reason he might have to go sooner rather than later.

Darren Hind
153 Posted 01/02/2015 at 16:49:01
Fair enough Ray, but I think a repeat of last season would have seen us go mighty close, many expected improvement, No Bookie in the world would have given you 14/1

You have to ask yourself: who got it wrong this summer, The Odds Makers, or our Manager ?

Paul Tran
154 Posted 01/02/2015 at 16:20:24
Nothing wrong with the original article, nothing wrong with criticising Martinez's poor managerial performance this season.

Everything wrong with all the personal insults, skewed statistics, one-sided historical analysis and 'facts' that people are rushing to that 'prove' Martinez is the wrong man. The self-induced relegation hysteria, the mangling of the 'proper Evertonians' quote, all masking the fact that some people just don't like the man and would prefer a Mr Shouty-Sweary who will deliver the mid-table finish that Martinez will give us anyway.

If you don't like Martinez and want him out, point at the league table. That's all you need to do. Maybe suggest someone else that's done more than play for Everton years ago and has a hard-man image would be a good start for me.

I enjoy debating all things Martinez on here with a few people with opposing views to me who can recognise the good as well as the bad.

For me this debate is bigger than Martinez's future. It's whether we want the skilful, passing, attacking with a bit of edge Everton, or the post-Moyes one more heave of run, run, run, tackle, run, run Everton. We won't trouble the top four till we control and pass the ball better with pace, regardless of your personal antipathy towards one manager.

I want the manager we had last season. If we can't get him back, let's get someone else, but for me it's got to be someone with the best qualities of our current and last manager.

It's all about perception and it's great fun, as long as you don't pretend your perceptions are facts......

Paul Tran
155 Posted 01/02/2015 at 16:56:02
Darren, you're dead right about Martinez's performance this season, but I agree with Ray that 13/2 was a typically skinny reaction to our previous season.

Best quote about the current state of affairs was Bet 365 last week, who offered me 4/11 for us staying up (low stakes only!) and 25/1 for relegation.

The bastards never take any chances, do they?

Paul Tran
156 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:01:48
Peter, I can remember lots of games under the last guy when we played aimless, artless football and scraped a 1-0......or worse

Your real point, of our finishing position the previous four years, is the big indictment against Martinez.

What Bill has to work out is whether last season was a one-off, this season is a one-off and how much he's prepared to kick Martinez's arse to build on last season.

Whoever replaces Martinez as manager will have to work with the reality that to get us further up the table will require more than doing what we've done the last few years. 6th to 4th is a lot more difficult than 15th to 6th/7th/8th.

Paul Dark
158 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:12:07
Sad thing is: I love the School of Science, possession football, incisive passes and everything that Stoke etc aren't. But Martinez is giving it a bad name.

We are Everton and don't feign and cheat like all the other 19 Premier League clubs (especially Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpol at the top), and I'm very proud of that.

We, as a club, embody values: one of them is not picking your favourites and playing a pointless, aimless possession game.

Roberto needs to re-find his mojo if he is to stay... and quick. We have been playing like relegation candidates, no question. Let's hope we're away from that unthinkable possibility now.

Paul Dark
159 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:17:11
Oh, and thank God for Muhammed Besic. He's a shining beacon.
Sam Hoare
160 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:13:11
Paul, you talk about clouding facts but then describe Martinez's Everton as attacking and skillful but Moyes's Everton as run, run tackle etc.

For me that's some revision right there.

In fact some of Moyes Everton teams had plenty of skill and precision (hence the Arsenal lite tag) but often there was no end product. I don't see Martinez's Everton as being much different. We have more possession yes but still lack penetration up top despite a record smashing spend on a striker.

Tony Abrahams
161 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:10:02
Only low stakes, Paul? A professional gambler would have stood to make a fortune with those odds.

Paul Dark, the fans were singing his song when Mirallas left the pitch yesterday. We need him more than he needs us, but only if he really wants to play for us though.

Paul Tran
162 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:26:31
Sam, I wasn't referring to Martinez's Everton. I was referring to the arguments around the time of his appointment when some of us wanted to go back to the more skilful Everton rather than the percentage stuff that got us to a certain level but couldn't take us further. I think it's an argument that will return in the summer and I know which side I'm on.
Sam Hoare
163 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:32:29
Paul, I'm all for attacking football if it works. To be honest I'd be happy to see almost any brand of football so long as we get top 4, stuff the RS and maybe sneak a trophy or two.

Paul Tran
164 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:36:56
Just to be extra clear, Sam, I wasn't suggesting a lack of skill in Moyes's teams. I think we did and still do need to add some ball retention and better passing to control/see out games. We did it last season and aren't doing it this season. All I'm saying is that whoever is in the seat next season will need to be doing this if we want to trouble the top four.
Michael Kenrick
165 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:15:23
Conor, it's a pity your otherwise interesting comments have been devalued by this 'agenda' nonsense. How you can claim that straight-forward descriptions of what actually happened on the pitch are presented in a "one-sided manner that was clearly from someone who wants the manager out" is utterly laughable and so far from any point of truth, it really doesn't merit the respect of any response from me.

However, FYI, I never joined the Martinez Out cacophony, so I'd appreciate it if you could put a stop to that particular falsehood.

My 'agenda' if there is one, is to get a summary of the match up online as the game ends — not five or ten hours later. As such, it is primarily a description of the game (obviously as I see it), as it happened. It includes the goal, scored inside 3 mins... along with incidents from the rest of the game.

Admittedly, my 'agenda' (if I have one) is watching good attacking forward-moving joined-up football that goes for goal. For me, that's what the game is all about when Everton have the ball. I believe, incidentally FWIW, that coincides with the manager's much derided philosophy, does it not?

And from that aspect, I must fundamentally disagree with your mischaracterization of the match summary and "its inability to reflect what happened on the pitch". I challenge you to quote one thing I recorded that did not happen on the pitch.

By any analysis, the goal we scored was fortuitous. Lukaku knew very little about it — the ball ricocheting off his thigh and into the net. Yes, they all count; yes, he was at least in the right place... but it was the kind of luck that has not been going our way for most of the season.

It gave the team something to defend — not that our record is that great this season when we take the lead: 14 times this season... losing that lead 9 times. So you could understand some nervous consternation as to whether we could successfully defend that for the full 90+ minutes. Yes, we did in the end, while both teams came close to scoring — none closer than the superb effort by McGeady, the description of which you apparently failed to read.

Rather than this gratuitously biased and presumptuous nitpicking of my match summaries, I suggest perhaps you try actually writing one yourself?

Phil Walling
166 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:38:42
Paul Tran: Why make it all so personal? All this stuff about liking/not liking Martinez is totally irrelevant. Nobody on here knows him or has ever met him !

As I posted the other day, Catterick was a miserable bugger who never had a word for supporters. Any comment about any aspect had to be dragged out of him as he let team performance/results speak for him.

All we can ever do is respect the manager in place for how his teams perform. When he has to speak – as they are now expected to – just tell it as it is with all those superlatives left on the dictionary where they belong.

Bullshit does not baffle Evertonian brains and liking the manager has got nothing to do with it!

Colin Glassar
167 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:46:22
Paul, more often than not, at least in the early years, we struggled to string more than three consecutive passes together under OFM. Plus his predilection for our players to head the ball in defence, MF, or attack when it was completely unnecessary was insane.

His style of football was maddening and frustrating for many years. But in all fairness to the man, we did improve our ball retention towards the end of his seemingly endless tenure.

I don't like historical revisionism. The fact is, most of our games under him were horrible to watch. Just ask any of the commentators or pundits who had to watch them.

Andy Crooks
168 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:46:07
Wayne Smith, I agree with you about Arouna (this Kindle calls him 'Lone') and Lukaku. The former is talented but has been very unlucky. With a run in the side he can be excellent for us. The latter will, in my view, be a star. Some players at his age are as good as they are going to get. He has great potential and scope. The way he plays suggests he will improve tons with experience. He cost a lot but to me will be worth it.
Will Firstbrook
170 Posted 01/02/2015 at 18:01:38
Paul Tran @155, Well said, mate.
Brian Hennessy
171 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:54:00
Regarding the debate over the original match summary here, I think the author pretty much called it as it was.

I am as thrilled as anyone that we got three points yesterday but, let's be honest, it was a really poor game (hence we were last on MotD), we created very little, struggled to retain possession and Lukaku was really terrible.

Hopefully it will give the lads some confidence and we can improve for next week.

Maybe those who disagree with the match summary would prefer to read the positive spin on the official Everton site, where everything always seems rosy.

For me I will continue to visit ToffeeWeb for a more balanced view.

Eddie Dunn
172 Posted 01/02/2015 at 17:54:36
Reading this thread makes me reflect on our expectations of our players and club.

In the old days, going to home game didn't cost much more than a few quid to get in, a few bob for a bag of chips, and even a programme, if you were feeling flush, and a few coppers for the bus home.

Now, if you go, it all costs so much more, and so, we all expect a lot more. This is magnified if you make a long journey and shell out lots of your hard-earned dosh.

We also get to see lots of games in their entirety, when in the past we may have just a few highlights on MotD. Therefore we have a greater picture of the whole.

So we all resent it when players don't appear to try, when players lack basic skills, when our manager makes strange decisions, and then fails to explain via the media, what he was trying to do, or what really happened.

The money in the game is so big, and the stakes are high, so with all these stars making so much money, we are less forgiving of any short-comings, and we expect a lot for our sacrifices. Also, the games are under the microscope and we expect regular information updates every day, and we can smell it a mile off if a manager is bullshitting us.

Yesterday, we got a valuable three points at a difficult place, and let's hope that the confidence improves for the derby and beyond. It is a step in the right direction but we all have a right to expect a lot from our team and our manager, and we have every right to criticise. Our manager told the media that Lukaku had been great in all aspects of his play, etc, etc. Lukaku scored and worked hard, but was far from perfect! A typical example of why people are losing respect for Martinez. Why couldn't he just say.."We defended well, rode our luck a bit and got our goal. We dug in and held on, and could have nicked another near the end."

Conor McCourt
173 Posted 01/02/2015 at 18:30:51
Michael, I stand by that I felt your report was super harsh and unreflective of the days events but I will take you at face value that you found it a difficult watch and offer you a sincere apology with regards to the anti-Martinez agenda accusation.

Bob Heyward, very strange comments attributed to me of wanting Moyes out. I never once called for the previous manager's head and indeed thought he did a remarkable job at our club consistently over-achieving with limited resources. Just because I really like the present incumbent doesn't mean I disliked the former.

My criticism of Michael's report was me defending the performance of our team and I would have done so whoever was in charge.

Phil Walling
174 Posted 01/02/2015 at 20:12:23
Why the need to dress up yesterday's game as anything other than a scrappy victory? The players did what had to be done and that's about that.

It's often said on here that 'you can't polish a turd' so why is it that so many attempt the impossible?

Three points in the bag with a winner off Lukaku's knobhead in a game he stunk the place out. But in our plight, does it matter?

Paul Hewitt
175 Posted 01/02/2015 at 20:22:51
Phil, I would take the same performance and result next weekend.
Bob Heyward
176 Posted 01/02/2015 at 21:26:45
@Paul 155: 'Self-induced relegation panic' - that'll be the one that Roberto is thinking about to, eh? For as Roberto says:

"I've been long enough in this league to understand how difficult it is to get to 40 points."

"We have 16 games to go and want to treat every one as a final."

So, it's not just the fans. It's the Manager.

As for the binary review of management options, i.e. 'Shouty Sweary' v 'Philosophy', well, it's just that, isn't it? Binary. As starters for ten, Galtier, de Jong or Koeman would all offer interesting half-way houses between Moyes and Martinez. To think that Martinez is the only way forward is itself to accept a false paradigm, that of Roberto or nothing.

Finally, I don't think anyone is advocating a Megson type, and if they did, I'd be the first to say 'no way'.

As I keep saying, Roberto had it in his hands, he recreated a School of Science, but then he messed it up for a thousand reasons that we've discussed on these boards already.

I know you think that relegation is not going to happen, but perhaps you need to look again. Try thinking on these four issues:

1: Our points average per game. The table doesn't lie, and as you said in your post, it's as objective a measuring tool as any. It's relegation form.

2: Of the games we have to play, we will defo' have trouble with six: Liverpool (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (A), Man Utd (H), West Ham (A), Spurs (H). That leaves us nine games to get 14-points, with Stoke (A), Swansea (A), Southampton (H) all offering other tricky tests. Remember, our season average is nine-points in nine games. Saturday helped, but believe me, it is going to be close... unless we get some sort of late season miracle (and have you seen any sign of that yet?)

3: Our squad is not filled with relegation scrappers. How will they if we start facing six-pointers? Do they have the grit? Some do, but will they all? Teams facing the drop need different skills to teams pushing for the top-six. Are those skills and managerial leadership there?

4: Strikers. Our manager looks like he's choosing not to strengthen, so we now have two recognised strikers. Most players experience a lay-off in the season. Howard, Coleman, Distin, Jagielka, Stones, Baines, McCarthy, Barkley, Pienaar and Mirallas (that's our entire first choice team) have all been out for a month-plus this year. Up to the time of this post, we're betting the farm on Lukaku and one of our most notorious sick-notes ever, Kone. Now, I hope they don't get injured, but if they do, and the balance of probability says they will, we have a very big problem.

You see, that's why I and a lot of other Evertonians, including the Manager, are taking this relegation issue seriously, and not just airily saying "Oh, we'll win our homes and few aways and Bob's your uncle."

Don't you believe a word of it, Paul. After 28 games, you'll see what trouble we're in, I'm afraid to say. That's why I, and many others feel that Bobby has to go.

And it's not about personality politics or anything so vain. It's just about our great Club; the one we all love.

Mark Andersson
178 Posted 01/02/2015 at 23:26:57
Bob 177, nicely put. I lost respect for Bobby after being one of his biggest fans, when his over the top positive spins on poor performance reminded me of that twat Kean who eventually lost his job at Blackburn.

I am by no means any where near to being a educated football man. But I have eyes and can be objective in watching a game. This season has been utter shite in both results and moreover in performance. I refuse to listen to or read anything the manager says now. Lukaku scored a goal, the rest of his game was poor. Kone showed us in the few minutes he was on how to hold the ball up. If, and it’s a big ’if’, Rom ever learns to control the ball when his back is against the goal, then he just might change my opinion of him.

He loses it more than he retains it basic stuff for a professional fuck knows what they do during the week, but to me he has only improved marginally when it comes to this side of his game.
Oh yes... he is only 21 – all is forgiven.

Paul Tran
179 Posted 03/02/2015 at 20:14:17
Bob, good to hear that we agree on plenty, ie no Megson-type manager, Martinez talks bollocks, Martinez has messed the season up.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I advocate a 'philosophy' manager. I just want one who can organise a team and have them pass well and control the game with pace. Is that a philosophy? I don't really care. I'm only interested in philosophy when I'm reading books.

I'm not convinced that replacing Martinez with my original and all-time Everton hero will help us, when he's been out of the game so long. Neither will a desperate trawl through the past looking for an ex-Everton hard man help us in the long run.

I can understand anyone being concerned that we'll get relegated with our form and quality of play this season. I think we've played like a mid-table team all season and that's where we'll end up.

There's an equally likely type of probability that points to us having a good run at one point in the season. If you look at the other squads in the bottom half of the table, there's a strong probability argument that at least three of them will get less points than us.

It's less dramatic, but a perspective that's different to yours. I'm sure if I ran a Kahnemann or Taleb-type statistical test, our probabilities would be equally likely. That leaves us with our different perspectives. I don't think either of us are deluded, we just want the best for the club.

The fact that I disagree with your view on our potential relegation does not make me a blind supporter of Martinez, nor does it make me an advocate of what he's done this season. I've criticised him consistently and will continue to call it like I see it.

Martinez will probably be sacked this summer. I won't argue with that decision when it comes, because he's failed on all the basics this season. I just hoped he's sacked because of not preparing the players in the summer, poor fitness management, poor team selection and motivation, rather than because he took Wigan down, talks rubbish, allegedly criticises Evertonians, is morally corrupt because he took a better job when offered one, etc, etc.

I hope our next manager organises the back four, keeps the players fit, plays a balanced team, encourages them to keep the ball, control the game, attack with pace, create chances and score goals.

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