Difficult to be inspired

Disappointingly, Everton produced an uninspiring second half against a poor 10 man Burnley. We should have put these to the sword but just didn’t do enough and left the game pretty disappointed really, despite the result. We did create a few chances, and some of the link up play around their penalty area wasn’t too shabby, but our failure to put the ball in the net a few more times was particularly discouraging. I think pretty much every team above us in the league, and maybe even one or two below us, would have won this game by more goals from here.

Paul Traill 19/04/2015 31comments  |  Jump to last

Gaz had after-match plans and would not have been able to give us a lift home after the game so I decided to drive over, grabbing Ste en-route. My journey to Stes, and then to Goodison, was a frustrating one. I couldnt believe the amount of, as far as I could tell, unsubstantiated traffic on the road. Perhaps the nicer weather sent more people out and about...Im not sure but getting to the game seemed to take an eternity as we hit every plausible red light along the way. Needless to say it was a relief to get to the pub and relax for an hour or two before the game, meeting, Gaz, Gary and Sue in there.

We received the team news in the pub and were all a bit perplexed by Steven Pienaars absence. Surely he cant be injured again? This provided an opportunity for fit-again Kevin Mirallas to prove his worth with the jury very much out on his long-term future and commitment to the club.

We arrived at Goodison rather early and saw the teams come out, Burnley backed to the hilt by their travelling fans in a vibrant Goodison atmosphere on a warm, sunny day... glad I brought along my sunglasses. Mike Jones officiated.

Burnley kicked off towards the Gwladys Street end and it took Everton no time at all to exert their authority on the game. I was actually a little surprised and disappointed by Burnleys approach. From what Ive seen of them this season, theyve seemed a decent team, but they just didnt seem to take us on; I expected more of them given they are fighting for their Premier League lives.

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We, on the other hand, started well, caused them problems, and were given a golden opportunity to put ourselves ahead after terrific work from Aaron Lennon. He nicked the ball from a Burnley player and ran directly at the penalty area and was upended by David Jones. Everton had a penalty. Of course these situations are no longer simple for Everton and have in fact become unnecessarily farcical.

Leighton Baines has a fantastic penalty record so why he has been shifted from duty is crazy. He missed one at Old Trafford...not exactly the most heinous of crimes... he then went and scored his next one away at Sunderland anyway. Weve since had Mirallas, Lukaku and now Ross Barkley on penalty duty since with only a 50% success rate.

So Barkley, confidence already fragile, stepped up and his spot kick was duly saved by Heaton. Opportunity gone. If Baines really doesnt want penalties anymore (and I cant really imagine thats the case), then at least give the responsibility to Gareth Barry. How Martinez hasnt gotten a grip of this situation is maddening. When I used to play football in college, our old teacher used to say before we went out Rushie is on penalties and that was it. Job done. Everybody knew. Its not rocket science, Roberto.

Thankfully the miss didnt seem to scar our efforts and and we continued to play in the same vein. Aaron Lennon, our star man in the game, came mighty close to scoring with a great effort from distance before we did eventually get the goal our play merited when James McCarthy crossed from the right and Kevin Mirallas fired home at the second attempt having miscued his first effort. Up until then, Mirallas had dished up little.

Burnley had a dizzy five-minute spell when they suddenly had their tails up and David Jones was a little unlucky not to equalise when he lifted his half volley over the crossbar on his wrong foot. A reasonable penalty shout for a John Stones handball aside, Everton were pretty untroubled otherwise and were given the perfect platform to go and win the game handsomely when Ashley Barnes's enthusiasm got the better of him and he was shown the red card after a second bookable challenge.

Disappointingly, Everton failed to capitalise on this gift and produced an uninspiring second half against a poor 10 man Burnley. We should have put these to the sword but just didnt do enough and left the game pretty disappointed really, despite the result. We did create a few chances, and some of the link up play around their penalty area wasnt too shabby, but our failure to put the ball in the net a few more times was particularly discouraging. I think pretty much every team above us in the league, and maybe even one or two below us, would have won this game by more goals from here.

As it stayed at 1-0, I was anxious that at some point Burnley would have to roll the dice and go for it; with six minutes left Sean Dyke made his changes. Just a minute later, they had their golden chance when Danny Ings headed over with a free header. I shudder to think of the crescendo of boos that would have greeted the final whistle had we not have converted the win against Burnley having played an entire half against 10 men and missed a penalty under ridiculous circumstances. We were also lucky not to be a man down ourselves following a disgraceful challenge from Kevin Mirallas. Its difficult to be inspired from that display and we may well have a rude awakening when we take on Manchester United next weekend.

The drive home was even worse and we were stuck getting to the tunnel, and then in the tunnel for what seemed like forever. Driving Ste home we went past Prenton Park, where Tranmere Rovers had just gotten thrashed 0-3 by Oxford United, leaving them bottom of the entire football league and staring the very real threat of relegation in the face with only two games to go. Just over two years ago they were very close to promotion to the Championship. As we drove past, there were protests outside the ground with chants of Micky Adams out. It hits it home how quickly things can change in football. Martinez must notably improve next season to avoid a similar supporters' revolt.

I then hit further traffic before finally getting home pretty infuriated with my journey... naturally I complained to Katja about it. Katja, though a fantastic English speaker, has a habit of taking things a little to literally at times and I was shocked when she replied Yes I saw on facebook the traffic was awful, but there has been a murder in Wirral today!. Really? Where? I asked. I dont know she replied, but look, Lauren wrote it on her facebook post. I looked at the post on her mobile phone and it read: This Wirral traffic is murder!

And finally, I raised a smile.

Player ratings

Howard: Not a lot to do but he could have been embarrassed once or twice by taking his time with his kicking as strikers closed him down. 6

Baines: OK in patches but nowhere near his best. Doesnt seem to be enjoying his football to me. 5

Jagielka: Did OK. 6

Stones: Had a good game I thought.. Got a little lucky with the first half handball shout but was otherwise fine. 7

Coleman: Did OK, though also not at his best. 6

Barry: Had a fantastic game, particularly in the first half. Looking back now as the season draws to a close, I question the wisdom in throwing him straight back into the team as soon as he could walk following his injury. He almost broke his ankle and was thrown straight back in. We would have been better off getting him fully healed and then bringing him back. In Robertos defence we also had McCarthy, Gibson, Osman and Pienaar all injured at a similar time, though he did once pair Besic and Barkley together at home versus QPR and we won quite convincingly, Barkley scoring a screamer. This may also have been a platform to play Baines in midfield and give Garbutt a run of games at left back...he may even have signed a contract and stayed with us had he have felt he was getting some game time. Anyhow, its good to see Barry back in good form, will need to be at it again next weekend. 8

McCarthy: Not quite at his best and limped off near the end. Lets get him through these next few games, let him rest up then hopefully have him firing on all cylinders after a good pre season. 6

Lennon: Edges Barry out for man of the match for me. A constant threat and very busy. Ive been sceptical of his ability but have to say hes finally grown on me. Hie enthusiasm is infectious for the team and he causes problems with his pace and directness. Would be good business if we can get him at around 7m in my opinion, though doing business with Tottenham is never easy. 8

Mirallas: Did little other than the goal and should have walked for a really poor challenge. Hes lucky the hapless Mike Jones decided to book him for it as he will now avoid a suspension. 5

Barkley: Lord knows why he was given the penalty responsibility. Had a hit and miss sort of game otherwise. 6

Kone: He tries I suppose but ability is lacking. Had he not have gotten injured so soon after arriving, who knows, it may have been different for him but we really need a better back up striker to Lukaku, should the Belgian decide to stick around of course. 6

Lukaku (for Mirallas): Did OK. Will start against Manchester United I think after a full week of training. Good opportunity to put himself in the shop window I suppose. 6

Naismith (for Kone): Did fine.

Besic (for McCarthy): Quickly got involved. 6

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Reader Comments (31)

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Harold Matthews
1 Posted 19/04/2015 at 20:41:21
Thanks for the report Paul, but I just read your ratings and wondered how we managed to win.
Andrew Presly
2 Posted 19/04/2015 at 21:37:51
The farcical approach to pens surely hints at deeper issues relating to organisation and leadership?

Martinez’s thoughts on the whole thing afterwards were predictably muddled. Concerning.

Oscar Huglin
3 Posted 19/04/2015 at 21:45:42
Baines and Mirallas 5?! Baines was fantastic second half – most of our chances came through him – and Mirallas not only scored the winner but also had the highest pass completion rate on the pitch. I love your reports and look forward to them every week, Paul, but your ratings are often incredibly off.
Jim Bennings
4 Posted 19/04/2015 at 21:30:12
As has already been stated, a win is a win but we are God-awful to watch and I think if thus style of play persists next season then you’re going to hear even more disgruntled groans from the support.

We have won a meagre 10 matches all season; people talk about a mini-revival lately which okay, fair enough, is true in terms of results but the performance levels are embarrassing. We haven’t won anywhere near enough matches or scored the goals required to be a top 6/7 side.

I just can’t see the overall feel of the club changIng much next season if Martinez is still here; if he is here next season, then he needs to change his ways because another entire 38-game season watching this pre-season-esque, slow build-up is slowly killing the fans’ interest levels. The atmosphere at Goodison is as bad as I’ve heard it for years: no noise, no anticipation or enthusiasm.

Martinez MUST work on the following..

Set-pieces: We are embarrassing at them.

Physical fitness: This is an absolute necessity. David Moyes had his troops in superb shape but Martinez had completely neglected this side of it (now we know why the fitness coaches walked out earlier in the season!). We forever look totally dead on our feet, rarely press teams and never play the game with much intensity.

Headed goals: A massive part of football, let’s face it, and it’s something that’s always been associated with Everton FC, from a Tim Cahill, to Big Dunc to a Graeme Sharpe. It’s also a way to alternate your play and enhance your goals tally, yet, believe it or not, we have not scored a single headed goal since, wait for it... January 10th when Steven Naismith headed home versus Man City.

The trouble with Martinez is he thinks every goal has to be scored with 1000 passes, but unless your Barcelona then your not going to score too many. We don’t move the ball about quick enough to be successful at it on a regular basis.

So for me these are the things that need changing for next season if this man is still at the helm, he needs to be more flexible and learn from his mistakes, failure to do so and the fans will not be so forgiving.

We are entitled to see a passionate man in charge of our club, we need something to wake this club out of the slumber it’s currently in, much in the same way Tim Sherwood has waltzed into Aston Villa and transformed the club and basically got them playing to the image of his own personality.

Ross Edwards
5 Posted 19/04/2015 at 22:03:30
What people have conveniently failed to mention, Jim, in their defence for Martinez, is that the 4 wins in the last 5 total to nearly half of our 10 wins all season.

It took until the last 8 games to win successive games. People now praising RM for adapting and turning it around but the most obvious question is, why didn’t he do it sooner?

It’s poor management. I’m in university now, so if I went a whole semester not using paragraphs and getting really poor marks, then with the last essay of the year got a 1st, I wouldn’t be getting applauded by my tutor for learning from mistakes, I’d probably be asked ’Why didn’t you just structure all your work like that in the first place?’

He made the same mistakes for 6 months then suddenly stumbles across a solution and gets 5 fortunate results which has kept him his job and retaining the support of the majority of the fans.

Andy Crooks
6 Posted 19/04/2015 at 22:13:30
I’m glad Lennon is doing well. I liked him at Spurs and was always a worker. I hope we have first option to buy because Levy will love another club to show interest.
Tom Bowers
7 Posted 19/04/2015 at 22:09:14
Whilst a few others have had a poor season I am perplexed by the non-advancement of Ross Barkley after some of the outstanding ones of last season. This lad has great talent but has shown very little of it this season which asks the question, is he the real deal or not?

It just may be he is unhappy and doesn’t like the set-up under Martinez or the fact his head was turned after media reports of interest from other clubs in better standing than Everton. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Summer to him and a few other players.

He hasn’t moved to the next level in my opinion and his penalty miss reflected a lot of what his season has been like. I only wish Nessie with his work rate had half the talent that Ross has but maybe Ross’s form is indicative of the whole malaise at the club this season.

Thankfully it will be over soon.

Danny Broderick
8 Posted 20/04/2015 at 00:04:34
Lennon has been key. There was no balance in midfield until he came. If we can get him on the right, and Pienaar or Mirallas on the left, we have half a chance. Much better than having 3 no10s.

I still think we need a proper player to play off Lukaku (when fit). We have Naismith and Barkley, but while they can both be effective, they cannot be relied upon for 50 games a season. They are both much better impact players from the bench, in my opinion.

I would like to see Mirallas tried there, if we have Pienaar or another winger on the left, as Naismith doesn’t offer enough real quality on the ball for a top 6 side, and Barkley doesn’t offer either enough goals or assists. Mirallas also seems to link quite well with Lukaku...

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 20/04/2015 at 08:39:51
I believe it’s fair to say that Martinez will get the first 10/12 matches of next season and if things start the same way again then we can’t be hesitant, the man needs moving on.

One thing we can’t allow is a situation that fester’s into mediocrity, if we are in the bottom half in early October then don’t allow it to continue, it’s all down to Kenwright really.

Martinez has been a very lucky man at times this season especially at the turn if the year when our form, following the awful Christmas period, hit a new low.
He could and maybe should have walked after we got completely outfought, and outplayed by Hull City.

As stated already the majority of Everton fans I know are far from happy with watching this Everton team, and certainly nobody is confident going into another season with this managerial staff.

Jim Bennings
10 Posted 20/04/2015 at 08:50:53
It’s not asking a hell of a lot here but you what, all I want for Sunday’s visit of Manchester United is to see Everton play the game, start the game like it actually means something.

I’d really love to just see us come out of the blocks, harry, press their defence high, with some intensity and for once this season just make the match a real war that gets the fans bang up for it, get us on your side Everton by actually showing us that you are so hungry to win.

Our record against the top side’s this season is poor, I can’t remember the last time we had a full season without a single win at home to one of the top sides. If we can’t get psyched up for the visit of Manchester United then something seriously is wrong.

Ross Edwards
11 Posted 20/04/2015 at 09:24:17
I think if we play against United like we have done in the last 5 games we certainly won’t enjoy it. United dominated possession v Chelsea and are likely to do so again.
Andrew Ellams
12 Posted 20/04/2015 at 09:43:17
Last season he changed his philosophy against Man Utd and let them have the ball and hit them on the counter. Will he have the balls to play the same way on Sunday?
Jason Lam
13 Posted 20/04/2015 at 10:41:20
I too would like the inside scoop on the penalty fascio. It’s not only embarrassing it’s disrespectful and classless. From the goalie’s perspective, ’so whoever next wants a goal to their name step up?’ Everton should not behave like that. Martinez poor.
David Hallwood
14 Posted 20/04/2015 at 11:01:13
Good report Paul, and the title sums up how we’re all feeling, maybe if we tonk Man U 4 or 5 it’ll wake us all up, but can you see that happening?

Like everyone else I’m baffled at penaltygate; WTF is going on, has Baines thrown his hand in because of the United miss or is he getting overruled by other players. Strange.

Patrick Murphy
15 Posted 20/04/2015 at 11:07:45
As usual with Everton, this sort of fiasco is not unusual as David Prentice points out in his feature on past penalties.

In 1980-81 five out of six Everton players missed from the spot with only Asa Hartford being successful, the offenders included Trevor Ross, Steve McMahon, John Gidman, Billy Wright and Joe McBride. Ross and McMahon both missed in the same game at Selhurst Park, but the Blues still managed to take the points.

After the match, Gordon Lee said ’If we get one again it will be down to the five players who have taken them before to decide between themselves who is the right man’ - Gordon Lee lost his job at the end of that campaign as a new era was ushered in.

Brian Murphy
16 Posted 20/04/2015 at 11:33:18
Made the Trip over from Ireland for the game and was in good spirits, lovely weather and we even started brightly and brought the game as we should to a poor Burnley team.

The problem with Everton this season is that they have the unique ability to drain all of the life and happiness from you. Talk about Martinez making a rod for his own back. "Bainsey your on penalties". Its that simple. If he misses well then guess what, your penalty taker has missed and I can live with that. But what happened on Saturday was shocking, no leadership off or again on the pitch. Where’s Jags to say get away from the ball Ross and go hand it to Baines.

That set the tone for the rest of the game. No pace or directness from the flanks or anywhere else (apart from Lennon) just the usual Coleman jogs to half way with the ball and its square or back to Stones. Jesus its Burnley FFS. Take the game to them.

During the game my mind wandered to the goal we scored last year away to Norwich at the beginning of the season. Who were the 2 men in the six yard box. Baines to Coleman, GOAL. Whats happened this season. Where has it all gone wrong. How has this Coach managed to drain the life from these players in this way.

Anyway a win is a win as they say however I can say with all honesty I am alraedy not looking forward to next season under Mr Martinez. I feel like i’m back in a dead end marraiage again I’m afraid as last seasons exciting fling is well and truly over.

Andrew Ellams
17 Posted 20/04/2015 at 12:40:44
Jagielka has shown he can take a penalty in the past. If we having issues, maybe the captain should step up.
Jay Wood
18 Posted 20/04/2015 at 11:47:22
Patrick @ 15

This sort of fiasco at Everton is not unusual Patrick..? Yes it is! You have to go back 34 years for the ’example’ offered by Prentice. And it’s not a like for like example to this season’s penalty fiascos.

For me, and I’m sure many others, the situation over our penalty taker is indicative of poor management, leadership and clear decision making by the manager and players alike.

Unquestionably, Baines is THE proven and best penalty taker at the club over many seasons. Clearly, how the players reacted when Mirallas claimed the penalty duties against WBA revealed he had unilaterally gone against established protocol: Leighton takes the penalties.

Given that Mirallas’s miss cost us a possible win when we were desperately in need of one, you would have thought behind closed doors this situation would have been definitively resolved. It hasn’t.

We’ve had 3 penalties since then. A key one in the home leg against Dynamo Kiev, scored by Lukaku in the dying minutes, with Leighton in the ITV studio rather than on the pitch. Fair dos.

The very next match, home to Newcastle, Everton leading 1-0 and we get a pen. Both Leighton and Rom are on the pitch. In my mind there should be no doubt. You revert to the long established penalty taker, but no! Rom claims the ball and thankfully sticks it in.

Then we have another debacle with Ross on Saturday, followed by the after match pseudo babble from the manager. I’m not one to give much gravitas to manager or player media interviews, but seriously, can any one make sense of whatever Roberto was trying to say on the subject of Everton penalties and penalty takers?

IMO it is unprofessional, amateurish and sadly all too indicative of a laissez-faire that has infiltrated the club this season in many areas, not only on the subject of penalties.

The situation has now escalated whereby whenever we get a penalty uncertainty abounds, extra pressure is heaped unnecessarily on the shoulders of any penalty in an already pressurised situation.

Rank bad management and decision making by manager and players alike.

Paul Tran
19 Posted 20/04/2015 at 12:56:24
Martinez clearly trusts the players more than we do. This season had shown that time and again. Some clarity would help on this one. If Baines doesn’t fancy taking them, fine by me. If I’d got Betfair up quick enough, I’d have lamped on Barkley missing - his body language looked shocking. If he’s still here next season, he needs to realise that these players need telling everything.

No doubt someone will go with the surprise the keeper theory with us alternating penalty takers. I’d rather have the surprise of someone confidently stepping up and burying one!

Regarding Martinez’s daft comments, all he had to do was say how impressed he was with Barkley’s character after his miss. That’s all he meant, but he was over - effusive as ever. Now he will be regarded out of context as the man who likes Everton missing penalties!

Andrew Ellams
20 Posted 20/04/2015 at 13:13:27
I have just read a report on the Villa/RS game yesterday and in paticular Jack Grealish. Martinez needs to sit Barkley down, show him the video and say just do that every week.
Tom Bowers
22 Posted 20/04/2015 at 13:50:36
To be fair, Ross was equally as impressive as Grealish when he first came on the scene but, like all young phenoms, the rest of the league catch up with them and they fail to impress as much due to heavy marking. Only a few actually become consistently great.

The placement of a new gaffer at Villa has contributed to Villa’s recovery and also the introduction of Grealish and only time will tell if he is the real deal.

Mark Fitzgerald
23 Posted 20/04/2015 at 13:51:33
Have to agree with Brian @ 15 that watching the team at the moment is fairly uninspiring. Granted, the season’s league expectations were extinguished pretty early on. Still Shocked that were watching the gap to the relegation zone for a couple of months.

The Europa League run kept us going until that disappointing (but not entirely unexpected) defeat to our Eastern opponents. The recent good run of form doesn’t impress me much either; too little to late I’m afraid and almost irrelevant except for the financial rewards of that final finishing position. If the style and effort of those wins hinted at a promising future it would at least placate any critics.

But has anyone really been convinced that we have ’turned a corner under Martinez’. He’s a nice guy (infuriatingly so during those cringing post match interviews) and I’ve never called for an Everton manager to be sacked so early into his reign. But I can’t say that I look ahead and see a promising future under Roberto. Too many issues (personality clashes, penalty takers, media remarks, etc) point to a troubled journey.

I genuinely hope he proves me wrong; for all we ever want is for the team to succeed. But It’s hard to see at the moment.

Bill Gall
24 Posted 20/04/2015 at 13:36:21
I wish people would stop using the word ’amateurish’ in their comments on the penalty fiasco. I have been involved in the amateur side of the game for over 20 years as both a player and a manager in the UK and Canada and I can not recall being in a team where the penalty taker was not known before we got on the pitch.

Watching the game on TV on Saturday, both pundits who were ex professionals said at half-time that all the teams they had played for, the name of the penalty taker was on the team sheet in the dressing room. They were both at a loss why Baines never took the penalty who as one of them stated has scored 15 out of the last 16 he has taken.

If the comments from the manager that the penalty taker is taken by the player who feels confident at the time, and there is no designated player or backup as a penalty taker, this is just very poor game management or lack of confidence in Baines.

Jim Bennings
25 Posted 20/04/2015 at 15:04:05
Paul Tran

Barkley’s body language is always like that, he always seems to play the game slightly off balance to me.

I never once had any belief that he would score that penalty.

Regarding the penalty issue, it should be Baines first and foremost and how about Gareth Barry??
If my memory serves me right he took every penalty at Aston Villa and always slammed them hard and true.
Jagielka also has a surprisingly good record from the spot.

Andrew Ellams
26 Posted 20/04/2015 at 15:07:32
Very true on Grealish Tom, but I guess my point is that he is the same type of player as Ross but Ross probably more talented. So to show him a video of Grealish’s performance yesterday and to tell him he’s better and this is how he should be approaching games may just give the kick up the rear that he has needed this season.

A lot of people on here have talked about midfielders taking the game by the scruff of the neck recently and this young lad did it at Wembley in a semi final. That’s what makes the difference between a good player and a great player. (Yes I know Grealish is a long way from being a great player).

Martin Mason
29 Posted 20/04/2015 at 20:48:47
Nice report, Paul, and I’m glad to see no overt criticism and blame. We got 3 points which is all that matters but when we sit down at the end of the season I see little hope for much better next season although we’re picking up points much better since the excellent Lennon joined us.

We need constructive replacements for Osman and Pienaar and without that we are too unbalanced to play attractive football, for our full backs to be as constructive as they once were and for Lukaku to reach his massive potential by getting good constructive passes. We are too overwhelmed with defensive midfield players at the moment to play good football only to keep lucky clean sheets and sneak the odd ugly win.

Dave Ganley
32 Posted 20/04/2015 at 20:54:54
Firstly, Brian Murphy (#16), I think you hit the nail on the head "the problem with Everton this season is they have the unique ability to drain all the life and happiness from you" very funny but also very true.

Firstly the positive and that is Everton won and to be fair, we never looked like losing regardless of other posts opinions on this site. It was a very poor game but Burnley were much worse than we were.

The negatives of this game... where do I start? Well lets start with Jimmy Mac. In my opinion, he is a fine player who is very good at what he does, which is make a nuisance of himself, wins a lot of ball and feeds it to someone who (allegedly) knows what to do with it. Ever since that idiot journalist in Ireland decided to lambast McCarthy about not scoring/creating goals he has played much further forward. Granted he scored the other week (with a scuffed shot) however in my opinion, he is not a box to box player who will prevent/score goals, the miss on Saturday typified that view. Leave him where he is able to do the most good and that is just in front of the back four. At times on Saturday he was almost playing as a number 10, he was far further forward than Barkley at times.

Gareth Barry had another decent game but the last few games have hardly been against talented teams (Southampton excepted but they froze) so for me the jury is still out as to whether he can still hack it against the pacey younger players that were skinning him alive earlier in the season. I am not too sure that injury can be blamed for the first 6 months of the season. Nothing against Barry but I feel that this is one season too many for him.

I think as a unit the back 4 have a lot to offer although the need to have wingers playing in front of the full backs was glaring yet again. At times, especially in the 2nd half when Mirallas went off, Baines was yet again out on his own with no one to pass to/cover if he lost the ball. Why Martinez feels the need to not play out and out wingers and when he does, insist that they come inside all the time is anybody’s guess. Granted, Pienaar and Miralles have been injured a lot this season but when you bring in a replacement then play them akin to last season which brought much success. This neglect of tactics has not only lost the potency of the traditional winger but also both fullbacks have suffered greatly from it too. Lennon has shown great pace and direction but he also keeps coming inside... probably due to instruction from our messiah.

Kone is just not good enough and apart from if Lukaku was fit enough for the bench then he should be fit enough to start, I have no more comment on this matter.

Ross is fast becoming an enigma. The penalty debate has been done to death so I don’t need to say any more on that. I feel that Ross should be playing just off the shoulder of the striker, let his instinct take over. He obviously has talent but he is no creator. When he is running with the ball he is powerful, strong and definitely has an eye for goal. However, when he has time to think, he invariably makes the wrong decision and can’t see the right pass. Think Newcastle away last season, great goal but he should have passed on a couple of occasions to the better placed man, especially Lukaku. As it happens, his greediness paid off on that occasion, but it will not on many other times. That is why I feel he should play up top so he can shoot on sight without having to try and be the playmaker that I feel he is most certainly not.

As regards to our glorious manager, a lot of posters feel he is due another season due to 2nd season syndrome. In fact most of these posters seem to think that we TWers who express our dissaisifaction with him are in the minority. Well I suggest these posters look at how many people leave the ground 10 to 15 minutes early. Saturday was indicative of what has been happening for most of the season. I was actually shocked at how many empty seats there were at full time, especially since we were winning. The style of football has been pitiful and the fans are letting the board/manager know about it, although whether anybody at that level actually cares is anybody’s guess. The atmosphere in the stadium this season has been amongst the worst I can remember and I have been going to the game for 40 years. I think the loudest the fans got on Saturday was when Rom was warming up to come on and the street end chanted his name. Apart from that it was painful and the style and pace of the football we play is directly responsible for that. It is near to the embarrassing stage the amount of opposition fans who taunt shall we sing a song for you and your support is fucking shit. Its just so hard to get excited and passionate much less sing songs with glee watching EFC play. If this is a so-called second season syndrome, why wasn’t last season first season syndrome with this season returning to type?? How many times have we seen a new manager come in and galvanise a side until that novelty wears off? The warning signs were there last season, even as early as the Chelsea game at home which I have to say was a thoroughly dull dull game which was masked because we won (yeah yeah I know complaining about a win) but it was the style of football in that game that bored me to tears. After new year last season with the exception of the Arsenal game at home the season just tailed off with a whimper.

Don’t get me wrong, I was sucked into the euphoria with everyone else at the points haul we achieved but how much of that was due to the amount of points we picked up in the first half of the season? (I actually haven’t looked that up so could be wrong) Certainly when we mention the so called big clubs and how well we did... RS 1 point, Chelski won 1 lost 1, Man City lost both, Arsenal 4 points, won both against a very poor Man Utd (even WBA won at OT) Spurs 1 point. Not too bad I suppose but certainly not the new dawn we were led to believe. I think we lost 1 game before the boxing day game with Sunderland, New manager syndrome?

This season is just not acceptable for me. I think every Evertonian should read Patrick Hart's excellent Lost tribe on TW, a sobering and thoughtful read that may change the opinion of most diehard Martinez/Kenwright supporters. Whilst not all his arguments and reckonings are without fault, there is enough in there to start caring again and wonder why our magnificent club is yet again in this state.

Just as a side issue, the hilarious RS result yesterday did highlight a remarkable stat in that Brenda is the first manager since the 50s that has not won a trophy inside 3 years... why are we not demanding that kind of ambition for our great club instead of wasting away not winning anything for over 20 years and then making excuses for a manager that has seen us flirt with relegation when we all thought we were safe from that kind of disaster? Nil Satis Nisi Optimum? yeah right.

Jim Bennings
34 Posted 21/04/2015 at 09:21:22

To answer your question: Because Everton FC don’t do winning trophies anymore.
It's clearly not something the club deems as success, much preferring to take the money from top 10 finishes.

Quite why they don’t take the cups seriously anymore though is a mystery to me, it’s hardly like we have bigger fish to fry in the Champions League is it?

Tony Abrahams
35 Posted 21/04/2015 at 10:34:06
Been away, haven’t missed it one little bit. Problem is it’s April and not July.

Agree with you Jim, why the fuck don’t we take the cups a lot more seriously? It’s not as if we have a team that can win the league.

Answers simple, the money is made by your league position, but I’d much rather be in Aston Villa’s shoes now, with an FA Cup Final to look forward to next month.

I heard there wasn’t much urgency from Everton on Saturday though, so at least we have been consistent in one area this season!

Christopher Timmins
36 Posted 21/04/2015 at 16:40:59
Paul, I liked the article and given your ratings can see why we only beat the bottom team who played with 10 for 45 minutes by 1 - 0.
Dave Ganley
37 Posted 21/04/2015 at 21:02:42
Jim (#34), yeah, it is indeed apparent that the powers that be seem to have no interest in winning trophies, although your assertion that they seem to have more interest in league position for the cash seems to have become null and void also this season.... pathetic all round.

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