Late Equaliser Rescues Bungling Howard

The struggle goes on... Everton continue to falter where a season that many fans now just want to see the back of lurches from one frustration to the next.

Lyndon Lloyd 23/02/2015 40comments  |  Jump to last

Everton 2 - 2 Leicester City

And still the struggle goes on... No matter how high the highs in Europe, Everton continue to falter on the home front where a season that many fans now just want to see the back of lurches from one frustration to the next.

Much like the game against QPR the last time the team registered a home in the Premier League the visit of bottom-placed Leicester City offered three points if the Blues could just get their act together in front of the Goodison crowd for long enough to see it through 90 minutes. Instead, Roberto Martinez's side needed an 88th-minute equaliser to salvage a mere point against a team that will in all likelihood be returning to the Championship come May, a result that ensures that the next time Everton kick off a Premier League match at home in mid-March it will be almost three months to the day since their last win in L4.

Though this 2-2 draw bore many of the familiar hallmarks of previous grinds at home this season, it was not the typical 90-minute exercise in Everton employing the same mind-numbing attempts to budge the immovable object of an entrenched defence. In some respects, Leicester's openness to attacking themselves afforded the Blues more opportunities going forward, but there was, at last, ingenuity and guile from Martinez's side at times and the creation of enough chances for Romelu Lukaku to have comfortably beaten the Foxes even with Tim Howard's latest calamaties at the other end.

Much of that owed to a revelatory performance off the bench from Darron Gibson, a player almost written off by Evertonians because of his seemingly endless injury problems, but even among the familiarly pedestrian approach play that characterised the first half there had been glimmers of a bit more dynamism in Everton going forward.

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A couple of lovely balls down the channel from Ross Barkley that created crossing opportunities from the right, a deft backheel by Lukaku that just evaded Steven Naismith and some purposeful runs at pace from Aaron Lennon hinted at a potential breakthrough to come but the Blues managed to fashion just two clear chances in the first 45 minutes. Lukaku skied Seamus Coleman's cutback from the byline disappointingly over from about eight yards out and Barkley ballooned a similarly good chance into the Park End at the end of a quick counter-attack led by Lennon down the right.

For Leicester, Andrej Kramaric whipped a shot narrowly over and Jeff Schlupp had two chances to open the scoring but fired one too high and saw the other diverted over the crossbar by a brilliant lunging block from John Stones. Had the Ghanaian showed more composure when presented with his third chance early in the second half, things might have turned ugly inside Goodison earlier than they did but after Howard had pushed the ball straight to him, he fired wide of the target.

If Martinez deserves credit, it's for sensing the need for a change in short order after the break. He withdrew the increasingly nervy and hesitant Barkley again the subject of counter-productive groans from some of the crowd whenever he put a foot wrong and Muhamed Besic in favour of Gibson and Christian Atsu to add more attacking options to help break down Nigel Pearson's five-man defensive unit.

The decision to introduce Gibson appeared mystifying at the time but, by constantly looking for and often finding an early forward pass, the Irishman help transform what was becoming a textbook home Everton performance pedestrian (a word that finally made it into Martinez's post-match vocabulary), predictable and largely impotent into something altogether more dynamic and threatening.

Within three minutes of his arrival, Gibson had helped create the opening goal. Lukaku showed for his pass outside the opposition area and then determinedly held off his marker long enough to play in Naismith who screwed a right-foot shot through a defender's legs and inside the near post. 1-0, deadlock broken, a chance to now express ourselves and pad the scoreline.

The reality was very different. Pearson responded with a double-change of his own, throwing on Jamie Vardy and David Nugent, and within three minutes of their arrival, the Foxes were level. Wes Morgan clattered through Atsu as the winger tried to scamper away on the counter-attack leaving Vardy to advance down the Leicester right and then cross low towards Howard's near post. The American made an explicable mess of a routine situation, pushed it into the legs of Stones, and Nugent was on hand to tuck the loose ball home through Coleman's legs.

Worse was to come seven minutes later when Howard horribly mis-judged a deep cross and flapped the ball to Vardy who had time to lay it back into the path of Esteban Cambiasso to knock it in from fairly close range. From a position of strength and potential dominance, the Blues were left chasing the game thanks to two glaring errors by the goalkeeper and a familiar inability to stop the cross.

In between, had Everton resumed their offensive and put together one the best moves of match when Lukaku played a one-two with the improving Atsu and the Ghana international picked out the Belgian's run into the box via a lovely flick around the last defender by James McCarthy. Unfortunately, Lukaku curled a right-foot shot just over the bar with just Mark Schwarzer to beat.

And it was Lukaku in the right place at the right time a minute after Leicester had gone ahead to latch onto another excellent first-time pass from Naismith to split the visiting defence but the striker made an awful connection and couldn't steer his shot on target.

The Blues' desperate attempts to get back on terms initially failed when Atsu popped up in the box but couldn't get a shot away off a bouncing ball and Leighton Baines' shot-cum-cross skidded through and then narrowly wide off Lukaku's out-stretched foot with just four minutes left.

But they eventually levelled with less than three minutes left on the clock when Atsu, looking more useful when floating over to the left flank than when previously deployed on the right, pinged an excellent cross into the middle, Lukaku lunged to meet it and glanced it into Matthew Upson's head which sent it past Schwarzer. 2-2 and anger in the stadium was now tempered by a measure of relief.

After Kevin Mirallas had been belatedly introduced with only five minutes to make an impact, Everton pushed for a late winner and Lukaku, looking more purposeful with his head lately, powered a header goalwards that was blocked by Roberto Huth off a corner. But a flurry of Leicester set-pieces at the other end would run the clock down leaving the Blues frustrated with a fifth-successive home draw. From the high spirits and optimism generated by last Thursday's win in Bern to the cold reality of another failure to kick on on the domestic front...

If there was a belief one I held, for what it's worth that the success in Switzerland would indeed prove to be some kind of watershed for the team, it proved to be ill-founded, at least in terms of the result and Martinez's stubborn insistence on playing the same formation against the more compact defences of the Premier League.

Once more, he started with Barkley and Naismith in their supposedly interchanging roles behind Lukaku at the expense of genuine balance in a formation that, with two anchoring defensive midfielders, is supposed to afford license to the fullbacks to raid forward but only Coleman has the ability to do so because Baines, who was bafflingly poor, lacks a natural link-man like Leon Osman or Steven Pienaar on the other side. Last season, the Gareth Barry-McCarthy axis was the foundation of a top-five side; now, against the wrong opposition, it appears at times to be a millstone around Everton's neck and before today it didn't look like Martinez was seeing it.

The manager's decision to withdraw Besic, who had been typically competent but couldn't offer a play-making outlet going forward, and introduce the more offensively-minded Gibson proved to be a prescient move and one that reaped immediate dividends. If he can stay fit, Goodison's forgotten man could become a very important figure in the run-in.

It was a substition that might ordinarily have won the game but one of Martinez's other pig-headed decisions came back to haunt him when he was let down badly by Howard. Dropping an in-form Joel Robles who was growing in confidence and had kept three clean sheets was both poor man-management and, simply, a bad decision. Since returning, Howard has conceded four goals in three matches and arguably been at fault for three of them. There is a growing clamour to drop the American now and give the Spaniard a proper run in the side but Martinez's ill-advised defence of Howard after the game suggests that's unlikely.

Even without goalkeeping farce at one end, Everton could have won had Lukaku kept his shooting boots from the win over Young Boys. The knives are out again for the 21 year-old for failing to score even one of three great chances and it's unfortunate that everything fell to his supposedly weaker right foot. What matters more, though, is that he was in the right place at the right time almost every time to be on the end of those chances and it's unlikely he will have many more similarly off-days.

Buried beneath the out-pouring of discontent and the post-mortem of another goalkeeping horror-show by a player in danger of permanently tarnishing his Everton legacy, were some encouraging signs indications, however small, that the manager is prepared to bend from his rigid ethos with earlier substitutions if things aren't going to plan (although leaving arguably our best player this term on the bench for 85 minutes smacks of deeper issues). Problems of morale and confidence in the man between the sticks clearly remain. That has served to prolong the feeling that Fortress Goodison has turned to Cauldron Goodison, with a poisonous atmosphere intensifying the fear and the psychological barrier among the players when things are going against us.

Just one remaining away game against a team legitimiately challenging for the top four the trip to Arsenal next weekend 12 points needed to reach the 40-point threshold, and at least three teams likely to be worse than us in the run-in means that relegation shouldn't be a real issue. But then we shouldn't be anywhere near the drop zone at this stage of the season in the first place.

How Martinez manages those final games and how the team performs will largely dictate how confident supporters feel about his tenure as Everton manager over the long term. We need greater signs of progress, squad harmony whither Mirallas? mental fortitude, man-management and flexibility and imagination from the manager. Until then, the forces lining up against him will continue to grow in number and voice.

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Reader Comments (40)

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Michael Penn
1 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:05:13
Great article Lyndon. Three thoughts:

  • I wonder if we might actually play better away than at home right now. The team clearly feels the frustration of the fans and that’s turning into nervousness on the pitch. I probably shouldn’t tempt fate but perhaps Stoke away will be played in a more carefree manner than Stoke at home.
  • I thought Gibson made a huge difference. However, we’ve been there before. Players have had a great game only to be dire the following match. What we lack is consistency - I don’t think I’ve seen a single player play two good games on the trot (Stones the exception).
  • It’s funny how Robles seems to get better in our minds with every bad performance from Howard! That said, Robles is probably the safer option of the two right now. Worrying, but true.
Andy Crooks
2 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:12:45
Fair and excellent report, Lyndon. Do I sense that the tide is turning for you. Do you expect,or indeed want, Martinez to lead us into next season?
Ros Taylor
3 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:08:29
This is an excellent report of the game, far better and more balanced than any in the mainstream media.

Gibson changed the game completely when he came on. There were a few groans in the Gwladys around me when he was introduced, but he proved the doubters wrong with some probing forward passes.

Howard was all at sea for both goals and when Leicester had that run of corners in second half injury time you could smell the terror that another blunder was about to happen. Even if Robles was re-introduced to the team now it might not improve things. He was dropped for no good reason and then would be expected to go back in and keep clean sheets again - excessive pressure, and actually unnecessary, he should have just stayed in the team and Howard should have had to fight his way back in

Was disappointed Garbutt didn’t get a run out. Baines looked half fit, the game slowed down when he got the ball. If Garbutt can’t get picked for Leicester at home then...well, no wonder he’s probably off in the Summer

On the walk out of the ground I overheard "well, at least that’s one point closer to safety" - it was said in jest, but just shows how low our sights have dropped

Let’s bank these 12 points ASAP and then push on in the Europa. COYB

Nick Waters
4 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:03:27
Makes for great reading that, Lyndon, and I can’t disagree with anything. In particular I support your view of Gibson’s role, both yesterday and in the days to come, since he could have seen the runs that Lukaku made time and again in the first half, and might well see them again and find him over 90 mins. Also the miserable show put on by Baines whose first instinct 90% of the time was to close his body to the game and pass back to Jagielka was infuriating.

As for Howard, well I’ve never been a fan of his so I can offer nothing in mitigation for yet another example of his detriment to the team and its confidence.

A few games with Pienaar and Osman involved would have seen us playing to better effect, and hopefully that may still happen, but I don’t believe either Lennon or Atsu will stay beyond the summer.

As for the manager, assuming there is no relegation, then he should be given a 3rd season to get the team back on track, but without his hands tied either by BK, or indeed by his own obstinacy.

Lyndon Lloyd
5 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:15:00
The Robles situation is purely a matter of form for me, Michael (1). Evertonians were rightly concerned when Howard got injured based on the jittery Robles we saw last season – the one that punched even the most routine aerial balls – and against Krasnodar – where he went walkabout for their goal in the most alarming fashion!

Robles may end up not being the answer long-term but he clearly looked a much much better ’keeper while Howard was out and deserved to keep his place on form. That’s just good management and Howard coming back on less than a week’s training smacked to me of deference to a veteran player on Martinez’s part.

And if Robles isn’t the answer either... well, that reflects on Martinez as well, I suppose, because he bought him as a known quantity from Wigan.

Lyndon Lloyd
6 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:24:53
Andy: "Do I sense that the tide is turning for you. Do you expect, or indeed want, Martinez to lead us into next season?"

That’s deserving of another article for another day but, in a nutshell, I’m at the point where I think sacking him now would be premature (I said "massively" premature on Twitter yesterday but that’s a bit hyperbolic) but that now he has to prove himself to us all over again.

Stephen Brown
7 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:18:22
A superbly accurate account of the game and our current situation!

Clive Mitchell
8 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:07:03
Outstanding article Lyndon. Agree with it all. You’ve helped me note that:
  1. Barkley had a decent game yesterday, we’ve got to help the lad relax, he’s an awesome talent.
  2. If we have the money and he’s available, Atsu might be worth acquiring.
  3. Lennon is too lightweight and too limited to consider even on a free; we need another Pienaar, not this.
  4. The evidence is stacking up against RM. The Howard thing in particular. A gift management opportunity to signal to his senior and junior keepers that you’re only as good as your last performance. An open goal if you like. He treads on it and the ball flies the length of the pitch into our own net.
  5. That said, it looks like Mirallas is being taught a lesson; whether he stays or goes, I can’t say it’s undeserved.
Michael Penn
9 Posted 23/02/2015 at 22:49:37
I agree Lyndon. Robles has a much better ability to come out and claim crosses. Howard seems incapable of doing this, which is mystifying given that he is 6’3 - that’s only 2 inches shorter than Robles and the same height as David de Gea (although you’d never think it given Howard’s lack of command of the box). Every time the ball is crossed into the box I get a sense of foreboding that the net is about to ripple. I have never seen a goalkeeper stay on their line as much.

However, Martinez does not seem to believe in form, which is why I think Howard and Barry will keep their spots and Gibson will be dropped.

Martinez seems to care more about team consistency and ’leaders’ than he does form. Last year that approach was hugely successful, so I can see why he is sticking with it. The problem now is that all the players are low on confidence, and nervousness begets nervousness. That’s the perfect opportunity to make a change in the hope of injecting energy and optimism. I am mystified as to why this isn’t being done.

My own view is that we overachieved last year, we will underachieve this year and Martinez will right the ship in the summer. However, we desperately need a player who has that creative spark (Lennon out, Deulofeu in) who help take pressure off Barkley’s shoulders, and when we need that energy and optimism to lift the team.

Chris Gould
10 Posted 23/02/2015 at 23:41:39
Great article, Lyndon, but disagree that sacking RM would be premature. I don’t believe he is a great student of the game. I don’t want a manager who can’t see what everyone else can. Or worse, a manager that can see it, but arrogantly or stubbornly refuses to accept it.
Rahman Talib
12 Posted 24/02/2015 at 06:12:39
Come on! Don’t you guys remember where we were during Moyes’s second season? We were much worse off compared to now

We need a bad second season because we need to weed out the excess fat and dead meat.

Nobody gets it right the first time in this game. Not anymore, at least. Even Howard Kendall took three seasons to bloom (if memories serve me right).

Nick West
14 Posted 24/02/2015 at 09:26:46
You’re right about quite a lot, Lyndon. Baines having no one to work with, particularly. There was at least one occasion that illustrated this when he made a run and was clear, on the edge of the box, and Barkley should have played him him in but just didn’t see him. Baines is a hugely potent weapon but only when he has someone with good close control and a bit of vision to work with him. We have sorely missed Pienaar and Osman.

Let’s hope Gibson can stay fit and contribute, because he completely changed our direction of play on Sunday.

And then there’s Barkley. Quite honestly, he’s looking a bit thick. He may have great physical attributes but repeatedly looks to be short of guile at the highest level. I hope I’m wrong and that both he and Lukaku blossom...but it won’t be for another season.

Dick Fearon
15 Posted 24/02/2015 at 08:49:22
Lyndon I admire your match description and concur with most of it.patience with the Martinez situation.

We differ when it comes to Martinez a manager who has been almost criminal in the he has destroyed our club. Earlier poster Chris Gould correctly summed it up with, Martinez can’t see what everyone else can. Or worse, he can see it, but arrogantly or stubbornly refuses to accept it.

What we really need is a chairman in the John Moores mould. He sacked Johnny Carey a popular manager whose team produced some of the finest but losing football in the clubs history. I was a very appreciative of Johnnies footballing philosophy and was dismayed to see him leave.

His replacement was Harry Catterick to whom results were more important than the manner they were earned. Harry is arguably our most successful manager.

I can see similarities with our current predicament. Unfortunately Bill Kenwright is no John Moores so I guess the club will be allowed to meander along its downward path.

Peter Murray
16 Posted 24/02/2015 at 09:51:05
A thorough,balanced match analysis.

We lost it in 2 key positions – a goalkeeper responsible for 2 (nearly 3) goals and a centre forward who missed 3 clear chances.

No defence can play with confidence in front of an error-prone goalkeeper. You can only imagine what Robles must have been thinking watching that shambles from the bench. His situation is mystifying. Is there something going on behind the scenes or do the coaches see something that we don’t?

As for Lukaku, maybe Martinez’s "margins" comes into play here.On another night he could have left the pitch with 4 goals to his name.

3 more games in a week coming up.Drop 6 points away to Arsenal and Stoke and we are in very serious trouble.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 24/02/2015 at 10:13:40
Lyndon,a very good, sensible and accurate account of the game. The recall of Howard was very poor management by Martinez, like a lot of fans I thought that was a kick in the face to Robles who seemed to settling in to the goalkeeping position and now has to start virtually from scratch again.

I want Martinez to succeed but he is making it very hard to support him with every league match, roll on the end of the season, I have not really enjoyed any of the league games and because of our position in the league I couldn’t give a toss about the Europa Cup.

Christopher Timmins
19 Posted 24/02/2015 at 11:16:05
Lyndon, its sad that the team play better on the road than they do at home. If you go back to the last home win, we were 3 - 0 against QPR and yet the atmosphere was not good in the stadium.

The Robles Howard goalkeeping issues is no longer an issue, Robles has to play as he is the short term solution!

Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 24/02/2015 at 12:07:29
Very good article, Lyndon, it completely echo’s my thoughts. One slight disagreement would be over Martinez, finally saying we was pedestrian, because I’ve heard him say it a few times... (He just hasn’t done much about it!)

I agree so much about Baines, because not only is he the most isolated player in our team, but by having no-one playing on the left, it gives the opposition an out ball every time.

Most good managers would change the personnel to suit the system, but Martinez seems to be doing the complete opposite, and you have to question, WHY?

He’s a student of the game, but is he strong enough, to upset players? Because that would be the only reason Howard should walk right back in the team.

Agree that we could have won by a decent margin especially once the subs came on, but why do so many of our home games make you feel like your watching a game of chess?

Jim Harrison
21 Posted 24/02/2015 at 14:17:37
Have to say, I am surprised that there has been so little mention of how well Jimmy Mac played. I thought he was immense.

Gibson just showed why he was such an important player for us under Moyes. If only he can stay fit!

Charles Barrow
22 Posted 24/02/2015 at 15:05:16
A superb article - it was particularly fair to Barkley who actually was no worse than anyone else in the midfield (before Gibson came on) and who was the only one in a dire first half who was remotely creative. He is clearly not at this best but I think he gets unfair criticism on blogs and in the ground.

I think some of the reaction to Sunday’s game has been over the top. If Howard hadn’t ballsed up a couple of routine crosses it would have been a straight forward home win (and if Lukaku had been on form it would have been a big win!) Then it all seems different - not exactly rosy in the garden but two back to back wins with a bit of confidence flowing through the team.

My concern is that Martinez is just too stubborn to drop Howard; especially now everyone is legitimately clamouring for Robles to take his place.. If he doesn’t drop him and Howard continues to lose us points and he still stubbornly persists with him that should be reason enough to get him the sack!

Milos Milenkovic
23 Posted 24/02/2015 at 16:33:14
I can’t understand that we need to play with two defensive midfielders at home against bottom team?! After two seasons with Martinez, I can see that around 80% of the fans are thinking that it is some kind of written rule to play with two No.4. For me that is the start of our attacking problems and we will hardly move forward with that kind of approach.
Keith Harrison
24 Posted 24/02/2015 at 18:31:50
Well thought out, and supremely well-balanced Lyndon. I wish that I could say the same for Roberto. We might be in a parlous state if Rom keeps mis-firing with the goal shy midfield we have. Whatever KM needs to do in the summer should be parked as he is the only goal threatening midfielder we have.
Roger Helm
25 Posted 24/02/2015 at 18:43:27
Milos, the theory is that they cover for the fullbacks as they bomb forward and set up attacks. Except it isn’t happening. Baines seems to have lost form and confidence - whenever he gets the ball he looks to play backwards now. And Coleman rarely produces the surging runs we saw in his second season.

As they are, they just hang back and all the passing in our own half frustrates the crowd, who then don’t cheer the team on.

I am not going to apologise for moaning at GP. I spend hundreds of pounds on my season ticket and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect these millionaires to entertain me - with a win, or exciting football, or preferably both.

I don’t think RM will leave any time soon but I hope he shows the cojones to change his approach, psychologically and man-mangement wise as well as tactically. A squad with that talent shouldn’t be scuffling round hoping for an undeserved point against the bottom club.

Sandra Bowen
26 Posted 24/02/2015 at 18:49:25
Agreed Lyndon, spot on. To nullify our most creative player in Baines with his recent selections are baffling to say the least. For all
Sandra Bowen
27 Posted 24/02/2015 at 19:05:04
For all their faults, by god we’ve missed Pienaar and Ossie.

RM likes his players to be unpredictable but this has been one of our many problems this season. All of our fit attacking players seem to be lacking in the brains department and the decision making is pretty much always wrong, it’s always so blooming erractic. Ossie and SP have got proper footballing brains and generally make the right call, not always the greatest of executions but the idea is usually the right one.

I thought that bringing on Gibson was completely the right call and it was so refreshing seeing him hitting passes with purpose and pace. Great vision too, please please let him have a bit of luck with his fitness, he can offer so much.

I like Besic and there is plenty of ability there but he takes far too many touches. No doubt that this will improve though as he’s still learning this new position.

Less said about Howard the better, he’s been nothing short of abysmal this season.

Darren Hind
28 Posted 24/02/2015 at 18:52:51
"He’s a student of the game" . . . sorry Tony but this guy would not recognise a footballer if he fell fell over him.

His signings have been quite simply appalling, made even worse by the cowardly way he deploys them. I don’t remember three midfielders carrying as little threat going forward as Besic, Barry and Macca they creat nothing and score even less.

Somebody needs to teach him that the purpose of the game is to score goals and to do that you have to take the occasional risk.

Absolutely no way am I renewing my season ticket next season if this guy is still around. He’s scared of his own shadow. . . .He makes TGT look like look like Richard the fucking Lion Heart

Jay Harris
29 Posted 24/02/2015 at 19:14:54
Very good and balanced report as always Lyndon but I have to disagree on being patient with Martinez.

IMO he has lost the plot and is beyond recovery both in his relationship with the players and a vast number of the supporters.

Only the most optimistic among us believe that we will win the EL and for half of them it is something to hang some hope on rather than real belief..

It has become glaringly obvious that every facet of Martinez management is not up to the job.

His man management and motivation.

His tactics.

His judgement of players.

His preparation and training of the squad

His stubborn beliefs

His use of substitutes and squad rotation

His stupid statements to the press.

Other than he "appears" to be a nice guy I cannot find one redeeming feature I hate to say.

Andy Crooks
30 Posted 24/02/2015 at 19:48:22
Darren, that post is spot on.
Ross Edwards
31 Posted 24/02/2015 at 20:05:41
I was just saying before that it’s quite funny seeing our manager providing an analysis on tactics when he doesn’t even acknowledge or realise that teams worked out and exposed his ’philosophy’ months ago.
Paul Tran
32 Posted 24/02/2015 at 21:30:11
'Student of the game' is a phrase as empty as the Moyes 'is a decent man of the people' guff we were told in times past.

If Martinez was a practical student of the game, maybe he'd play a balanced team, with individuals in the right position, he'd play a keeper in form, he'd play the players he's bought and praised, he'd notice the impact Gibson made with his forward passing and the movement up front it gave us?

The interesting thing is that he did most of these things last season, yet he's ignored them this season. Hopefully he'll 'study' last season and this season and notice the differences, which have been self-inflicted. And while he's at it, he'll study what some of us said last summer, that we're in urgent need of a decent goalkeeper, centre half and dominant, ball-playing midfielder.

Darren Hind
33 Posted 24/02/2015 at 22:26:32

He had a young keeper playing well and he dropped him. He inherited the best young footballing center half the country has seen in decades . .He also inherited a supremely talented ball playing midfielder, but he has set about destroying his confidence by playing him here there and everywhere. how far has that kid fallen under Senior Bob's tuition ?

The brand of football he has us playing is utterly brainless. I knew Besic and Macca contributed little going forward, but (until I just checked) I didnt realize they had only scored only one goal between

Barry, Besic and Macca have scored a grand total of four between them having played a combined total of over 150 games and I'm really struggling to remember when any of them created a goal.

Despite missing large parts of this season and last through injury, the much maligned "not good enough" Osman has scored more than the three of them put together. . . he's also scored more than Mcgeady and Kone Put together.

You can analyze and hide behind the "individual error" excuse all you want, but many of Moyes's hand-me -downs are ageing and these five signings have carried all the menace of a trick or treat party.

My patience is exhausted

Joe Foster
34 Posted 24/02/2015 at 23:01:24
RM probably had nothing better to do tonight. He has not got a care in the world. Unbelievable
Darren Hind
35 Posted 24/02/2015 at 23:05:48
You wrong Joe. He was "scouting for players"
Peter Gorman
36 Posted 24/02/2015 at 23:02:31
Eek Darren, Barry created a goal for Lukaku against those Swiss young boys. I don't think 2 holding midfielders is such a bad thing when there is a creative player ahead of them and fullbacks who are willing to overlap but in contrast to last season we have seen so little of this, hence we are playing like the proverbial dog toffee.

But yeah, I am essentially with you on the patience front.

Joe Foster
37 Posted 24/02/2015 at 23:08:02
Yep Darren. Probably looking at Messi and thinking he would be better as a left back
Paul Smith
38 Posted 24/02/2015 at 23:27:40
Doesn't he sit watching footie vids in one room whilst his missus is in the other? All the will in the world won't make up for a lack of ability to set a team up properly.

I'm no master tactician and we can argue for and against his team layout until the cows come home, but one thing is blatantly obvious: picking TH over Joel was a schoolboy mistake.

I'm also a 3rd year student at Bath Uni, doesn't mean I'll amount to fuck all in my field though.

Gavin Ramejkis
40 Posted 25/02/2015 at 09:15:23
Howard did his very best to give the win to Leicester at the weekend right at the death to add to the two shocking goals he handed them on a plate, he should never have won back the first choice role without earning it. Robles had already kept more clean sheets than Howard has all season in that short burst and on Howard's return he's given four really poor keeper mistake goals away in three games, he is losing us games.

As predictable as Martinez is he'll bury his head in the sand and leave Howard to balls it up again in our next league game and nailed on the slow Barry will return at the cost to Besic/Gibson and remain on the pitch as usual no matter how poorly he is performing for another full game. Can't see where any points are going to come from for at least the next two league games.

Victor Jones
42 Posted 25/02/2015 at 15:35:21
I never wanted Martinez as the manager of Everton FC. And I have never ever rated Tim Howard. Never. And I am not being clever after the event. I have stated this numerous times. I don’t get excited because Everton managed 72 points last season. We still ended up with no silverware. Even though we supposedly had a good season. Still couldn’t make our supposedly good play count.

Sorry, that was a little of track. The draw against Leicester was very disappointing. And as well as blaming TH. I also blame Lukaku. He needs to start making more of his chances. He needs to start scoring meaningful goals. He might end up with close to 20 goals this season, but they need to win football matches. They need to earn 3 points. Not 2-2 draws. Or 3-2 defeats. This Everton team and Martinez need to learn how to maximize Lukaku’s goals. And close out matches. Not much point scoring say 2 against Arsenal(hopefully), but then conceding 4.( hopefully that doesn’t happen). And Martinez telling us how wonderful it was to see Lukaku score 2 goals. Remember the 6-3 against Chelsea.

I expect that Martinez will play a strong team against YBs. To secure a place in the next round. I would then like to see Garbutt, Oviedo, Robles and Gibson play against the gunners. In place of Howard, Baines( rested for a few games), Barry and Barkley(also taken out of the firing line, and rested). The rest of the team picks its self, barring injuries. I am in consent with most ToffeeWebbers, and believe that players should be picked on form. But we know that that won’t happen.

And my biggest fear is that most of our form players will not be at Everton next season. Just read somewhere that Oviedo is being checked out my Moyes. That would be a disgrace, should Martinez let him go.

Tony Abrahams
43 Posted 25/02/2015 at 17:12:41
"He inherited one of the best young footballing centre-halves this country has seen in decades." Agree. "He wouldn’t know a footballer if he fell over him." Completely disagree, especially since Stones was on his way to Wigan, until Everton stepped in.

Darren, I’m not sure Stones, was a Moyes type of centre-back, especially when you listen to Rio Ferdinand. I would even suggest that Martinez, sent him to Everton because he knew he was going there too.

James Stewart
44 Posted 25/02/2015 at 18:25:35
Martinez has already stated the idiot will be in goal for the YB game. Further proof if any was needed that he does not pick the team on form.
Andy Crooks
45 Posted 26/02/2015 at 00:03:08
Darren , I had no idea that the the attacking contribution of Barry, Besic and MCCarthy was so utterly abysmal. That is beyond belief. Why on earth do we play two holding midfielders against really poor sides?

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