Everton Lack Extra Dimension Against Pellegrini's Machine

City were superior but also fortunate and the margins on the day in front of of the respective goals were slim. Sometimes fortune favours the brave but Martinez played it frustratingly safe.

Lyndon Lloyd 24/08/2015 30comments  |  Jump to last

Had Everton been able to carve out a first win over Manchester City in two-and-a-half years, they would, perhaps for only 24 hours or so, be sitting on the top of the Premier League with three matches gone having made their best start to a season in almost 10 years.

Following the emphatic nature of the 3-0 win Southampton last weekend and with the possibility that the club might unveil a new signing or two Goodison Park this afternoon, optimism was high that Roberto Martinez's side might be able to do just that with the right kind of performance and the rub of the green.

Unfortunately, none of the new players were signed in time and, on the pitch, luck would not be on their side today not only did the Blues' display fall short of the calibre needed to end their opponent's 100% start to the new campaign, they came up against a City side that displayed all the characteristics of a team on course to reclaim its Premier League crown. It is they who will almost certainly occupy the top flight's summit tomorrow night, a lofty position that still looks some way beyond Everton's reach on this evidence.

It wasn't that Martinez's men played particularly badly overall but the solitary shot on target they mustered spoke volumes of their inability to seriously examine the visitors' rearguard. The pace, cohesion and incisiveness in the final third that proved much for the Saints last Saturday was largely absent despite an unchanged line-up and when the manager belatedly tried to salvage the game with his remaining second-half substitutions, he altered the personnel but neither the shape nor the outcome.

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Everton made a habit of frustrating and beating City when Roberto Mancini was in charge but those stirring results were mostly achieved on the back of relentless pressure, tenacity in midfield and sheer will going forward; here the desire appeared to be there but the Blues left simply left City's most dangerous players too much space in which to operate and failed to make enough inroads at the other end.

Despite having not really risen to the occasion, at the halfway stage Everton's plan was still very much intact, however. Indeed, they could count themselves slightly unfortunate not to be ahead after Romelu Lukaku had seen a first-half "goal" ruled out by an incredibly tight offside decision and then grazed the crossbar with a direct free kick after Tom Cleverley had been upended in full flight by Fernandinho on the edge of the "D". Phil Jagielka had also gone close with a header off a corner and Seamus Coleman's left-footed shot at the end of a solo run slid narrowly wide of Joe Hart's post.

By the same token, a half-time lead might have flattered Everton given how important Tim Howard had been in the early going when he twice denied Sergio Aguero with impressive saves with his legs, saw Yaya Toure flash the ball across his goal and then bundled Raheem Sterling's low shot behind.

It was City who emerged from the interval showing evidence of a managerial catalyst, however, and it resulted in their superiority eventually telling within 15 minutes of the restart. A better finish from the game's stand-out performer, David Silva, would have put the Blues behind a lot earlier in the second half he latched onto Sterling's reverse pass and smacked a shot off the face of Howard's right-hand post but Aleksander Kolarov provided the opening goal on the hour mark.

Sterling, booed throughout because of his Liverpool connections, was again the provider with a neat pass that found Kolarov's unchecked run on the overlap and with Howard inexplicably diving in the direction of an anticipated cross, the Serbian fired easily inside the American's near post.

It was ironic that such a sloppily-conceded goal had come down City's left because Everton had been compromised late in the first half by an injury to Brendan Galloway that necessitated his withdrawal, with Tyias Browning thrown into an unfamiliar left-back role and charged with the task of dealing with the direct running of Jesus Navas. Curiously, the visitors hadn't tried too often to exploit the youngster's weakness out of his natural position but there was a strong case for Martinez dropping Gareth Barry back to left back and Cleverley alongside James McCarthy to allow for Kevin Mirallas to come on further forward.

Despite Kone's impact inthe previous two games, the Belgian's guile and goalscoring productivity had been many fans' preference to play off Lukaku up front so it was mystifying and then infuriating when he didn't start and was then left unused on the bench for the entire 90 minutes. (Mirallas himself was visibly annoyed that, having warmed up on the touchline, he wasn't called upon, even in the late stages.) Instead, it was Steven Naismith who replaced Kone in the 65th minute after Howard had partially redeemed himself with a point-blank save to deny Navas from the angle following a mix-up between John Stones and Browning near the touchline. Perhaps Martinez had both Naismith's rescue act in this fixture last season in mind and his team's threat from set-pieces in this game in mind when he made the change but the Scot offered nothing to change Everton's attacking dimension.

Indeed, the Blues' display as a whole had become disconcertingly poor by this stage, lacking in any real finesse or intensity. An occasional threat running from deep in the first half, Barkley's decision-making had diminished in quality, Lukaku was cutting a familiarly isolated figure up front and with Everton lacking any width apart from the willing running from Coleman the man of the match from the home perspective it left them bereft of any real attacking threat from open play.

They were able to unsettle Hart from a couple of corners, however, that the England international struggled to deal with but after Naismith's shot was charged down leading to a second consecutive set-piece, referee Anthony Taylor waved away appeals for a penalty when Toure jumped over Jagielka in the City area. Barry then had a header that looked to be flying wide cleared away from the goal line.

It's not clear what Martinez was seeing because Gerard Deulofeu, who would eventually become the third and final substitute, stood ready to come on for a good five minutes before he finally came on in place of Cleverley. Even as late as the 86th minute, the Spaniard's introduction offered hope of a late flourish but it would be a dreadful five-minute cameo filled with poor touches that betrayed his rustiness and raised more questions as to why he and not Mirallas was thrown on with the Blues chasing a point.

One more moment of typical Manchester City brilliance rendered the change moot two minutes from time, however. Toure's smart flick past a flat-footed Everton defence released Nasri in behind the Blues' back line and he dinked it over Howard who, bafflingly, didn't raise a hand in defence of his effort as it floated past his shoulder.

It was a goal that underscored that the better team won on a day on which Everton were unable to bridge the divide with sufficient tenacity, drive or invention. The result ends the Blues' unbeaten start and further undermines the notion of "Fortress Goodison" which has now witnessed three successve defeats and a disappointing draw since Manchester United were humbled here at the tail end of April.

Martinez has promised that reinforcements are coming but you couldn't help but feel that we need more than one possible marquee acquisition assuming, of course, that even materlialises given the doubts expressed before kick-off by a report in the Liverpool Echo surrounding the proposed move for Andriy Yarmolenko and the addition of a back-up defender and striker. At the same time, though, if the manager is going to keep leaving the craft in the form Mirallas and even Leon Osman on the bench in favour of the industrious but one-dimensional central-midfield triumverate of Barry, Cleverley and James McCarthy, it's not going to matter whom we sign unless it is a grafter like Aaron Lennon because they could spend more time on the bench.

It's a curious state of affairs given how attacking and expansive Martinez's outlook was when he first arrived. Today smacked of playing it safe and hoping for something to break in the Blues' favour rather than taking the bull by the horns when it was still 0-0. City were superior but also somewhat fortunate and the margins on the day in front of of the respective goals were slim. Sometimes fortune favours the brave...

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Phil Walling
1 Posted 24/08/2015 at 09:31:33
When are Evertonians going to acknowledge that this manager is totally inept?

Take the injury to Galloway as a starting point. He claims credit for giving young Browning a chance. What for? – to prove he's totally out of position and his depth at this level?

Against quality opposition like the Mancs, the obvious move was Barry to left-back and Besic into midfield. Then he dallies over the substitutions and finally replaces Kone with Naismith. I fecking ask you... Naismith!?! When the game was screaming out for a game-changer like Mirallas.

And don't start me on the useless Deulofeu, who as I remarked last night, now looks like a poor man's Atsu! A disaster in his own country, he seems incapable of getting himself into the shape needed for the greater challenge of the Premier League.

Last season, the team only got its arse into gear when Lennon appeared so he was the obvious early signing we craved. But no, it's Deulofeu on whom he blows what little he's given. Watch out for further disasters in the next few days!

There, I've given my views and you will see they haven't changed one bit. We are going to hell in a handcart with this guy, I'm just glad they've had none of my money towards the fare!

Mike Allison
2 Posted 24/08/2015 at 09:31:52
Nice report Lyndon. I think the big thing to come out of yesterday in terms of Everton having room for simple improvements is how poor the substitutions were. Man City are the best team in the league and with Chelsea in a bit of turmoil are already making it look like this season will be a procession to the title, but we stuck with them and could have been ahead at half-time with just a tiny bit more luck. Indeed, if the benefit of the doubt really did go to the attackers on offside decisions we would have been ahead.

However, at 0-1 down with 25 mins to go, and Deulofeu and Mirallas sitting on the bench, I was still hopeful that we could change tack and really cause them problems. Barkley and Cleverley had shown that there was space to run at the Man City defence and cause them problems, so the two players most able to do that should have been brought on. Unfortunately, Martinez seems to be developing that ’favourite player’ mentality that Moyes was often accused of. He likes Naismith, so Naismith it was who came on. I like Naismith, but Martinez was probably the only man in the stadium who thought he was the right person to bring on at that point.

We played some good football at times. I found myself screaming at players to clear it occasionally, but then we worked a lovely passing move forwards and I calmed down a bit. McCarthy can really frustrate though, as sometimes he receives the ball in midfield and has space to turn and take the team forwards, but he doesn’t even look round and goes backwards or sideways anyway. Cleverley and Barkley are excellent to watch in this regard, as they take the ball instinctively half-turned, and are always looking to move the side forwards.

So overall some promising signs, including the excellent Coleman. The sooner Oviedo gets up to speed and offers similar incisive running down the left the better. Galloway looks a player, and has a future, but he’s never going to replicate Baines’s attacking threat out wide. Unfortunately we have only one week left in the transfer window, are about to sign two players who won’t improve our first XI, and are left desperately hoping to pull off a transfer coup that is hanging hugely in the balance. Even without Yarmolenko or someone similar, we’re in a strong position to do quite well in the league, but we absolutely need one more special player to give the whole place a lift and inspire fans and players alike to believe that something special is possible.

Milos Milenkovic
3 Posted 24/08/2015 at 09:48:00
Man City are very good team and it’s not a disaster to be beaten by them, but this game again showed everything that is wrong with Roberto Martinez.

First of all, he pays to much attention and respect to other sides instead of building up our own. Opponents should be worried about us and we should play our game. We have very talented players to play football, still he clearly set us up to defend.

Arouna Kone was great against Watford, playing as a striker and very useful against Southampton in the first half, again playing very close to Lukaku. Same can be said for Lukaku, for the same time, when Kone was on the pitch. In the second half at St Mary’s, Kone was moved to the left side and from then on he didn’t exist. That role was unfortunately given to him again yesterday and I was thinking all night, What can be in your mind, to make decision like that? He is not left-footed, he can hardly do anything there or cross from there. At the same time, you are leaving Lukaku totally isolated with two extremely hard defenders on his back.

If that was not a poor enough decision, substitution – when we are a goal down, without any creativity, and with Mirallas and Deulofeu on the bench – to bring on Naismith to play left wing is absolute madness. That must be one of the worst substitutions in recent history. How can you for one second believe that something positive is going to come up from that? For 70 minutes system is not working, we are losing, jet you are sticking with the same system plus you are putting strikers to play on the left when they clearly are not good in that????

We are all here refreshing pages in order to find out have we signed some talented players, or have we kept Stones, but in general if we keep McCarthy - Barry combination, we will be extremely limited side regardless of who we sign.

Bobby Thomas
4 Posted 24/08/2015 at 10:13:47
We are badly oganised and easy to play against.
John Keating
5 Posted 24/08/2015 at 10:27:08
I doubt any of us expected 3 points yesterday but I do think we expected a bit more than what we were given. The number of times we gave the ball away when in good easy possession was a disgrace.

One shot on target at home... say no more.

The substitutions, both timing and personnel were mystifying. It was obvious Kone and Lukaku wasn’t happening. I thought Mirallas for Kone at half-time would have been on the cards.

If Oviedo is only – supposedly – not playing because of shortage of match practise, why wasn’t he either on the bench to come on if needed, or at least why hasn’t he been turning out for the U21s?

It was obvious last season we are pretty incapable of dictating a game with the slow methodical Martinez style of play and are better on the counterattack. Counterattack worked last week but failed yesterday due to the slow play when initially getting the ball after a City breakdown.

The Martinez methods are still ingrained in our play and we sadly lack pace, Mirallas was there but unused, Deulofeu was there but needs games so get him playing every U21 game.

Brian Murphy
6 Posted 24/08/2015 at 11:15:02
John, absolutely on Oviedo. The guy has played international football for the last 6 years and is a quality player. Galloway was getting killed before he came off and had very little protection from Kone who I don’t blame for that either, that’s the manager's call to play him out of position.

Cleverley put in a great shift out on the right and the Kolarov - Sterling Cleverly Coleman dual was the highlight of the game for me as it was the one area of the pitch that we matched City; Coleman was by far our best player.

Also I was trying to be positive here but for the manager to leave Mirallas on the bench and bring on Naismith is ridiculous. He is not going to come on and change a game and the part that really pisses me off is that he takes off a player (Kone) who is playing out of position and then brings on a player (Naismith) to change the game from the left wing, again out of position.

If I was Mirallas, I would fuck off. He’ s Prob our most dangerous attacker behind Rom and the manger doesn’t bother bringing him on. Its really is 2 steps forward after last week and 2 steps back again this week with Martinez.

Now look, don’t get me wrong: we played a superb team yesterday and TBH I’m not sure we were good enough to win, but FFS will you just play the players you have in their best positions and give us the best chance we have with the tools at your disposal to win the game, Roberto.

Jay Woods
7 Posted 24/08/2015 at 11:21:10
We were playing against one of the best teams on the planet yesterday, so it was no great shame in losing. However, I have to agree with those who are critical of the manager for his part in the defeat. Kone starting should have been an obvious bad idea long before the actual game proved it thus.
Dave Williams
8 Posted 24/08/2015 at 11:22:40
Very harsh words, Phil #1. Deulofeu missed half of pre-season and will take a few games to get match sharp. His game relies on sharpness and raw pace so he should only be judged once he is up to speed.

Otherwise, I can only echo what others have said: Barry should have gone to LB as putting Browning there was an invitation for City to attack him. I felt sorry for him and as a young lad he should never have been put in that situation; that really was bad management, Roberto, and I am one of your supporters!

Kev should have been on as soon as the first goal went in and with Barry at LB we would have been stronger down that flank to allow Kev to play.

I have spent a lot of time talking to managers, ex-managers and ex-players and am constantly amazed at how differently they see things to us fans and you soon realise that actually they DO know a lot more about the game than we do but, that said, I think Roberto got it badly wrong with his tactics and subs yesterday.

Craig Walker
10 Posted 24/08/2015 at 13:48:43
There were some encouraging signs yesterday. We got beat by a far superior team. I must say, expectations were low for me when I read the articles on Saturday from Lukaku talking about being the best in the league. Let's here statements like that after 20 good games, not just one.

Tim Howard played well but Kolarov wouldn't have beaten my mum in goal on the near post from there.

I have a bad feeling about Deulofeu. He had some good moments in his first spell but the game that sums him up for me was the League Cup exit to Fulham. First half, excellent. Second half, couldn't trap a mattress.

Some tough fixtures coming up though. We need some new faces and fast.

Rick Tarleton
12 Posted 24/08/2015 at 15:20:02
Not living on Merseyside any longer, can someone explain to me what has happened that makes Oviedo persona non grata to Martinez? I see him as a top-class player, remember the Stoke game two years ago? Instead, we had two right-footed left-backs, who may actually be clones, failing to get hold of the fast but essentially one dimensional Jesus Navas.

I’m with Phil Walling on two counts:

(1) Martinez is tactically inept, naive, useless, you choose the adjective... but you get the sense. McCarthy should have been deputed to stand a yard from Silva throughout the game and make sure the ball didn’t reach him.

(2) When Galloway was injured, it should have been Besic into midfield, another player whose non-use amazes me, and Barry back to left back.

Joe Green
14 Posted 24/08/2015 at 16:13:43
I also expected Mirallas on instead of Naismith. Although I also thought Kone was doing okay... he has a football brain and can hold it up, lay it off, unlike Lukaku.

Not much commented on here or in the match reports is that both Mangala and Ferhandho got yellow cards first half when Tom Cleverley and Ross Barkley ran at them. I’d have thought bringing on tricky, pacy Kev to test Mangala was a good idea.

Galloway and Browning did okay for me, although neither would claim to be class left-backs. Is it only Everton that could go from having too many class left backs (Baines, Garbutt, Oviedo) to having none available for the start of the season?!

Although Deulofeu had a few poor touches, I thought he showed for the ball (confidence) and did make a useful burst into the box right at the end (I think). It would have been better to get him more time on the pitch to change the game dynamics.

Both their goals looked "easy" – as did the 2 we conceded against Watford. We have to work so hard for ours and make them beautiful, but then concede too easily. Keown was interesting on MotD: Howard at fault for both and Jags playing them onside for the first.

Second half we gave away the ball a lot, easily (started first goal), seemed to be trying too hard to make something happen.

Mark Dunford
15 Posted 24/08/2015 at 16:19:46
You could just take the words Extra Dimension out of the headline on this article to get a truly accurate sense of the game.

I agree with all the comments on the subs and the strange imbalance in the side, which was there from the off with Kone out of position, but got worse when Galloway went off. Moving Barry to left back to bring on Besic or Mirallas was not just an obvious move – it was the sensible one. Crazy not to have a proper left sided player.

Deulofeu is clearly not the fresh faced boy wonder promoted when he first arrived a couple of years ago, but he is still a very promising young player who merits our support; he's certainly far more use than Atsu (now on Bournemouth’s bench) and probably McGeady. In any event, he arrived too late yesterday to have a real impact.

Thomas Surgenor
16 Posted 24/08/2015 at 16:21:20
Barry would have got ripped to shreds at LB by Navas’s pace. Besic would have been a cert for a yellow against twinkletoed midfielders.

My only disagreement with the subs was that Naissnith for Kone was a bit like for like and I would have preferred Mirallas on instead to try and take the game to them.

Thomas Surgenor
17 Posted 24/08/2015 at 16:24:20
PS: Perhaps Browning was selected on the bench as he can fill in anywhere across the back 4.

Oviedo plays LB or LW, we already had 4 options on the bench for LW.

In hindsight (as easy as it is), I think Martinez had too many similar options on the bench and Nais should of made way for Oviedo.

James Stewart
18 Posted 24/08/2015 at 16:24:39
@1 Acknowledged that a long time ago Phil. The Southampton game of last season was the tipping point for me.

@14 Joe is also right. Far too often our play is obsessed with striving for the perfect goal. Admirable at times but sometimes you just have to get the ball and bodies in the box fast without the opposition all getting back behind the ball. We created absolutely nothing for Lukaku after he had a strong start to the game and I don't blame him for getting frustrated.

Mirallas should have come on as soon as they started with the tactical fouling and being carded.

Martinez is so blinkered with one track mindedness the obvious seems to blissfully pass him by. I thought Moyes's subs were bad but Martinez's take the piss.

Jay Wood
19 Posted 24/08/2015 at 16:59:41
It's too easy and too commonplace to lay the blame at the feet of one person whenever we concede a goal. It is usually a collective failing, rather than the fault of one individual, when the opposition score. That is certainly the case with all 4 goals suffered so far this season.

It is more fruitful to look for common denominators so you can work on them and stop conceding unnecessary goals. Sadly, one such common denominator this season is the failure of 3 players - 1 in particular - and not one of them is Tim Howard. And before any one leaps in, that is not totally absolving Tim from any blame.

The 3 are the 2 centre backs and McCarthy. The 1st goal v. Watford, both CBs failed to cut out a meat and spuds cross, but McCarthy was also culpable ambling back on the edge of the area as the eventual goal scorer runs past him to score.

The 2nd v. Watford, a player had acres of space running through McCarthy's midfield domain unchallenged (Barry had moved to left back by then), then the 2 CBs were both left on their backsides as they scored.

Yesterday, credit to Kolarov for his 90 yard dash that presented him with his scoring op, but if Jags had held a more correct advanced position the City player would have been caught offside. But McCarthy was also at fault, neither being alert or fast enough to cover Kolarov's charge. Indeed, he fatally expended time and energy raising his arm calling for offside rather than tracking his man.

For the 2nd goal, the CBs and McCarthy in particular were again exposed and failed to track the runner and scorer, Nasri.

I recall under Moyes how he introduced the 'the spread armed touching hands' in the defence when defending dead ball situations. Just one measure to ensure the defensive line was a compact unit. As Keown demonstrated on MOTD yesterday, our defensive line continues to look fragmented at times, as it did last season.

Two things here for me. Firstly, I don't think there is a better drilled back line than City in recent seasons and how frequently and effectively they move forward when under siege to catch the opposition offside. See Romelu's disallowed goal yesterday. We take the lead and it's a different ball game in the bear pit GP can be. We would do well to imitate City in this skill.

Secondly, I like McCarthy, but I don't think he has started the season well. He is our firefighter, the player charged with stamping out the threat before it catches fire. I'm afraid he has failed in his primary duty this season and has been culpable in the 4 goals conceded thus far.

Phil Walling
20 Posted 24/08/2015 at 17:03:31
Further to the above, I heard some 'expert' on BBC World Service this morning saying that, whilst Roberto's substitutions were not effective, "he likes to do like-for-like so that the team can maintain its shape."

That might explain it but it's a tactic that's hardly likely to unlock a defence as composed as Man City's. Being addicted to a system is stupid if it's proving not to be effective on the day – whoever you send on to operate it!

To be fair, I thought he got things right at Southampton but by half-time Sunday, it was clear it wasn't working against a very much more talented side. And throwing on a novice to play out of position was nothing short of nonsensical and totally lacking in good judgement in respect of the team and the lad concerned.

Greg Symon
21 Posted 24/08/2015 at 17:39:01
Good analysis, surely even the stubborn RM must accept that Howard has gone. The first goal was a disgrace and symptomatic of his inability to protect his near post.

We will continue to ship goals due to his general decline. We don't just need a striker, defender and ball player, we desperately need a quality goalkeeper.

And as for Yarmalenko, more smoke and mirrors from a bunch of jokers in charge of OUR club. It will be Lennon on deadline day as has always been the plan, although it gives them too much credit calling it a plan.

Jay Harris
22 Posted 24/08/2015 at 18:02:55
I don't blame Howard as much as our lack of discipline and waywardness.

Under this manager we consistently stand off the opposition and give them too much room to play in.

But for me yesterday was a classic case of the team not being set up properly.

There was no shape or discipline just a few cavaliering efforts from Coleman and Barkley.

I told myself I should be more patient with Martinez seeing as it looks as if we are stuck with him for the foreseeable future but there are already some worrying signs and I hate to say it but he does not sign the quality of player required to make a difference.

The fans pushing the case for Galloway and Browning to be included in the first team squad can see now that if a young player is thrown in the deep end it can ruin his confidence and career.

All this 'Golden Generation' bullshit reminds me of one of my mentors in business who constantly reminded all of our managers that without a good short term there won't be a long term. Remember that well, Roberto, because the dawn is on the horizon again.

Eddie Dunn
23 Posted 24/08/2015 at 18:39:50
Howard had a good game and kept us in it, when we could have been dead and buried. He was caught out on his near post, but they were lining up in the box for a tap-in so he had to keep an eye on the cross or shot to the far corner. The second one fooled everyone, and was just cute from Nasri.

Martinez just got his subs wrong, and needs to up his game. His reliance on the Barry/Macca twosome is depriving the team of any width. I thought that McCarthy was poor yesterday, and as Toure was nursing a groin injury, we should have done better in midfield.

Those yellow cards should have prompted Roberto to put some twinkle-toed speedster up against them, but going for the workmanlike Naismith, and sticking him on the left, was simply daft.

It makes me wonder that even if we pick up some new talent in the next week, will Martinez actually give them any game time?

Raymond Fox
24 Posted 24/08/2015 at 19:19:47
Why some of you are not manager's I will never know! I should get your applications in smartish when the opportunity next arises.

You come with complaints about he should have been substituted for X etc; are you on speaking terms with the players? Do you have privy to how fit some of these players are?

Mirallas is a waste of space when it comes to any semblance of defence, sure he poses a bigger threat in attack, but I seem remember Naismith has poached some vital goals in his time.

Man City were all over us when he brought Naismith on, he does help out defence wise unlike Mirallas. Oviedo was not ready to play yet, he’s not match fit according to the manager, so you can forget that one.

Baines and Garbutt are both crocked, now Galloway looks like he will be out for a few weeks, it looks like Martinez will be forced to pick Oviedo next match fit or not.

Surprise, surprise; we got beat by a team that cost fortunes and are on top form at the moment, I actually thought we played a decent game but we're man for man just not good enough, no disgrace in that.

John Crawley
25 Posted 24/08/2015 at 20:41:31
Jay 19 some great points on the defence. As you say most goals are a combination of poor defence but the most important position on the pitch is arguably the goalkeeper. Brilliant managers like Clough and Mourinho build a strong spine down the centre of the team which includes a top class goalie. A top goalkeeper can save you 10 points plus a season.

Martinez should have brought in a better goalkeeper than Howard. A top goalkeeper would have stopped both of those goals yesterday. He's 36 now and is only going to get worse, still we have no mention that he is targeting a goalkeeper. In my opinion his priorities for this summer's transfer window are wrong.

John Keating
26 Posted 24/08/2015 at 21:47:11
Raymond (#24),

I don’t think we all should or could be managers but surely some things are quite obvious. We are 1-0 down with no pace in the team we need a goal surely Mirallas is obvious. He’s not being asked to play 90 minutes.

You mention Oviedo not being match fit; well, I would ask why? He had almost a full preseason. I watched him play in the Hearts match and he looked as good as anyone. Why has he not played in the 2 U21 matches to get him fitter.

Yes, we got beat by a better, bigger, fitter team but some things can change a game but unfortunately we are a one trick pony team managed by a one trick pony

Eddie Dunn
28 Posted 24/08/2015 at 23:03:20
Raymond. We won’t be managers, but it isn’t rocket science to see that our manager either will not try to win a game for fear of falling further behind in a game, or does not trust his offensive players to do their job.

We may not have the full SP on Oviedo, so perhaps he has a more serious problem that we are not aware of, but it does appear that Roberto only trusts his "favourites", and the likes of Mirallas, will wonder whether staying here was the right choice.

You are right in that it was no disgrace, but I wonder what Lukaku is thinking, after toiling away against two big lumps with no wingers till the last 4 mins?

One shot on target. Nuff said?

Peter Murray
29 Posted 25/08/2015 at 09:05:28
# 24 Ramond Fox, Spot on. Everyone seems to think that he is a better Everton manager, coach, tactician or negotiator than those currently doing the job.

Let’s take the case for Mirallas: he wanted to leave us months ago; he indicated this in more than one interview and is only with us because no club came in with a realistic offer. So who is he to trot alongside the pitch shaking his head in disapproval? Maybe the coaching team see something here. Talent? Yes; commitment? Er.........?

Moreover, the anti-Martinez Bandwagon has started to roll — 3 games into the season. Banners over Goodison soon?

Yesterday’s game was enthralling with Everton not too far behind the favourites to win the Premier League. The reaction of the fans showed this.

Harold Matthews
30 Posted 25/08/2015 at 10:03:10
I like the link-up play of Cleverley, Kone, Barkley and Lukaku but they got little change out of a magnificent, well organised defence.

Wide players leave Lukaku very isolated but Mirallis will always make some sort of impact. We know he can't defend but his presence prevents the opposition fullback from venturing forward. Pity he wasn't used.

Like it or not, Martinez is not building a team for Toffee Webbers. He probably has a plan in mind and is building HIS team to play HIS way. We can moan day and night. He won't take the slightest bit of notice.

The way I see it, we have nine players who will not be moved to the bench. Ten when Baines returns.

This leaves one vacancy. The "Kone, Osman, Pienaar" position. Three players who can link well and keep possession in the final third but no longer have the legs to win the ball or present a goal threat. This is our missing link. A fully alert semi-striker with skill, intelligence, energy and attitude.

Watch this space.

Paul Tran
31 Posted 25/08/2015 at 10:22:09
I spent the whole of last season berating Martinez for sending unfit players onto the pitch, exacerbating their injuries and weakening the team. I get the impression he's being more careful this season, long may it continue.

If Mirallas had come on, leaving gaps at the back and we ended up shipping goals, would you have praised Martinez's courage, or would you have accused him of kamikaze football?

I wanted him on, but I can see why he left him on the bench.

The missing dimension was the playmaker we all crave. The current team will win plenty of games this season. We need that playmaker to push on.

Peter Morris
32 Posted 25/08/2015 at 10:48:46
I think against these teams who have the riches of world class players, you are caught between a rock and a hard place. RM had to pack out the middle of the park, and in a way it justified his set up, as we went in at half time having had just about 50% possession, and pressed them quite hard as the half wore on. The problem is this stymies the offensive opportunities and in this regard we fell short, no doubting that.

If we had gone out with a more expansive set up from kick off, we would have been played off the park. These teams look like they have an extra player. They brought on £45m worth of substitutes!

My only criticism on Sunday was that after they scored on an hour, I’d have chucked Kevin Mirallas on then, rather than wait another 20 minutes, by which time a number of the players had simply run out of energy. Instead RM sent on a lad with no match practice whatsoever, and it showed.

I recognise it’s easy in hindsight, but in the main, I think RM got it right, and the team just fell a bit short on the day.

Harold Matthews
33 Posted 25/08/2015 at 12:03:01
I don't want a playmaker. Whatever that is. I want a Silva, Eriksen, Holby type character. Naismith with skill and intelligence. Pirlo? No thanks.
Barry Jones
34 Posted 03/09/2015 at 03:28:51

Silva and Erickson are playmakers, classic #10s. They work from a forward central spot and dictate the pace of play. They are there to unlock defences.

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