United expose gulf in quality and resources

Evertonian eyes will naturally focus on what this result means in terms of a reality check on the Blues' resurgence but the level of performance put in by Louis Van Gaal's men went a long way to influencing Everton's own dismal showing.

Lyndon Lloyd 17/10/2015 51comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 3 Manchester United

With the possibility of drawing level with today's opponents in the upper echelons of the Premier League, Ross Barkley in the news for his ever-improving form for club and country, and John Stones and Seamus Coleman returning to the starting XI, there was cautious optimism ahead of this game that Everton's decent start to the season would continue with another morale-boosting win over Manchester United.

It was an afternoon that started with bad news, however, the game itself rendered trivial in many respects next to the loss of a club legend, but Howard Kendall would, no doubt, have wanted the day to belong to the game he loved and represented so impressively as a player and manager.

As Roberto Martinez remarked after the game, It would have been nice to turn it into a day of celebration," but Everton came up against a team in a decidedly unsentimental mood. Still smarting from his team's humbling at The Emirates a fortnight ago and with his team's 3-0 drubbing in this game last season probably still gnawing at him, Louis van Gaal came to Merseyside with redemption and retribution on his mind. At least that's the way it seemed from the vigour with which they out-played and shut-down their hosts.

Having seen their side despatch United back along the M62 with defeats on each of their last three visits to Goodison Park, and then witnessed Arsenal put United to the sword with devastating effectiveness, Evertonians were hopeful and expectant of another positive result against the Red Devils; instead, they were given a harsh reminder of how things used to be in this fixture under Sir Alex Ferguson when Everton were were either hopelessly out-matched or paralysed by their "big four" inferiority complex.

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Not that fear played much of a role in Everton's defeat today this was simply the case of superior quality and managerial organisation coming together in the way they should after hundreds of millions of pounds invested in new players by an experienced, arguably world-class manager. United were unrecognisable from the directionless and toothless shambles that showed up in April and in David Moyes's only visit to Goodison as the opposition manager the season before.

Where on those occasions, the Blues were afforded the time and space with which to engineer United's destruction, today their opponents appeared to be under instruction to deny Everton any of either. Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Steven Naismith routinely found themselves smothered as Van Gaal's men collapsed the space around them as soon as they got the ball. With the Blues regularly electing to hit direct balls to Lukaku, red jerseys would latch onto the second ball and then pivot quickly through midfield into attack with quick, accurate passing.

The net result was a contest that made Everton look slow, ineffective and wasteful with the ball. They visibly lacked the kind of quality at Van Gaal's disposal but much credit should go to manner in which the visitors set about their task they were simply the better side throughout and were worthy winners, albeit not perhaps by such a wide margin.

The pattern of the match was established early. United began with an intensity and efficiency that Everton struggled to match. Where the Blues looked to go long and eschew much of the "joined-up stuff" that has characterised so much of Martinezs's reign, the visitors opted instead for swift passing through the middle and, when they didn't have the ball, they did their best to nullify any attempt by Everton's forward three to work their way past Chris Smalling and Phil Jones with passing interchanges in the final third.

The latter stategy would prove largely successful, although Lukaku almost bustled his way onto Naismith's throughball early on but he just couldn't nip it past David de Gea who had come off his line to close the chance down, while at the other end Wayne Rooney's first sight of goal ended with a waywardly speculative effort from 25 yards.

United made the all-important breakthrough in the 18th minute, however, after Tim Howard had pushed Ander Herrera's decent shot over his crossbar and referee Jonathan Moss put his inevtiable stamp of incompetence on the game. Rooney visibly impeded Naismith as he jumped to head clear following the corner but the official chose not to blow for the infringement allowing play to go on and Morgan Schneiderlin to benefit from poor defending to slot home unmarked at the far post.

Four minutes later, Everton had the stuffing knocked out of them by a second goal. Seamus Coleman, returning to the side after a month out with a hamstring injury, clattered through Anthony Martial but the referee correctly played the advantage to allow Marcos Rojo to overlap into the space behind the Blues' fullback and sweep a cross onto the head of Herrera. The Spaniard had run into the space between Phil Jagielka and Brendan Galloway allowing him the freedom to nod past the stranded Howard and double the lead.

Reeling, Everton struggled to respond and they almost went into half time 3-0 down when Rooney sprung the offside trap and cut the ball back invitingly for Martial but rather than nestle int the gaping net, his shot took a heavy deflection and rolled into the grateful arms of Howard.

With his side having troubled De Gea just once in the first period when Barkley forced prompted him into a one-handed save with a whipped shot from the angle, Martinez made his first change of the game at half-time, withdrawing the willing but ineffective Naismith with Arouna Kone. Nothing had come off for the Scot in the first 45 minutes and Kone would bring a modicum of better ball retention to the forward line even if he was unable to spark the revival for which Goodison was desperate.

The Blues were better coming out of the interval and a Barkley free kick almost ended with a chance for Lukaku at the far post but he appeared not to have anticipated the ball bypassing all the shirts in front of him and he could only prod the ball behind. Then, Barkley himself had a great chance from a similar position after Aaron Lennon, energetic and industrious as ever, robbed an opponent of the ball, Kone's shot was blocked and Coleman clipped in an inviting cross. Unfortunately, Barkley wanted too much time for the ball to arrive and Smalling was able to muscle in front of him and deny him a goal.

If there was a potential pivot in the game that might have turned things in Everton's favour it came ten minutes into the second half hour mark amid a spell of mounting pressure from the home side that represented their best period of the game. Barkley's slide-rule pass played Lennon in down the right channel and his equally pin-point centre to Lukaku ended with the Belgian placing a side-foot shot aimed for the bottom corner but De Gea saved superbly with an out-stretched leg. And the Spanish 'keeper was there again a few minutes later to beat away Barkley's awkwardly-bouncing free kick.

Any momentum the Blues were building towards an unlikely rescue act on the scale of the one at West Brom last month was killed, however, by a rare moment of calamity by Jagielka on the 62nd minute. His inexpicably poor pass straight to a red shirt gifted possession to United in the centre-circle and two passes later, Rooney had been released into a one-on-one confrontation with Howard. In typical fashion, the American went to ground too quickly and the former Everton forward fired it over his leg to put the game well out of reach.

Howard redeemed himself somewhat by denying Rooney a similar goal seven minutes later after Jagielka had given him a five-yard head-start at the half-way line and he romped away towards the Park End goal, getting enough on the England striker's shot to prevent it from slipping underneath him and adding further insult to the scoreline.

Preferring to retain his two defensive midfielders, perhaps to avoid further embarrassment at the back, Martinez substituted the rather unfortunate Lennon in favour of Gerard Deulofeu but the evident gulf in class between the two sides and United's refusal to budge made it largely impotent gesture. A stoppage time free kick by Barkley that brushed the roof of the net was as close as the beaten Blues would come to a consolation.

Talk of United being viable title contenders may have seemed premature after their defeat at Arsenal but they bore the look of potential Champions on this evidence. And while Evertonian eyes will naturally focus on what this result means in terms of a reality check on the Blues' resurgence as a force among the Premier League's top five or six teams, the level of performance put in by Van Gaal's men went a long way to influencing Everton's own dismal showing.

Nevertheless, the concerns voiced by many fans over the lack of genuine match-winning and game-infuencing quality in Everton's ranks an issue that dominated the summer transfer window will return to the fore once more. The result was a harsh one on Lukaku who did almost everything he could to drag the Blues back into the game but Naismith's struggles, the continued absence of Kevin Mirallas and a general lack of cohesion in the team's play will lead to plenty of introspection and, perhaps, some realigned expectations of what is possible this season.

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Mark Andersson
1 Posted 18/10/2015 at 04:26:44
Great report, reflects the truth about the men in blue. The red devils where by far the better team. The real test will come after the Arsenal game. Can we put a string of good wins together against teams on our own level. A top 4 finish on this evidence is nothing short of dreaming.

I forecast a mid-table struggling side like last season. Man Utd came with a plan and had the players to implement it; the reality is we are nowhere good enough to beat the money clubs.

Jim Hardin
2 Posted 18/10/2015 at 04:29:09
What did Howard do to have to redeem himself from? Just curious since he played Rooney to take a shot to the back post like most players would do and most GKs would do.

The insertion of Lennon who seems to have lost all ability to ever cut inside and take anyone on, or even make a run past midfield, was shocking. He is nothing but a defensive player at this point and one who wasn't needed since Coleman was slotted in at right back.

As for Naismith, he was point blank awful. his second touch on the ball was a turnover. He is a Chelsea killer but on any other weekend is and should be on the bench. Either Delboy or Mirallas should have started with Kone and Lukaku up front.

Anto Byrne
3 Posted 18/10/2015 at 06:14:52
Last time out against the Reds and this time versus the Devils the difference was world class goalkeeping. Both keepers made saves that we should have buried. Our keeper is a shadow of the one who arrived all those years ago.

Yes, experience counts but so what if you're not physically up to the job any more? How much longer do we keep the likes of Howard, Hibbert, Pienaar, Osman and Gibson on the wages bill? If Robles can't push Howard for the No 1 spot, what is the point?

At Man Utd they had a massive clear out in the summer with 5-6 very good players being moved on. Players at Everton don’t move on – they get contracts beyond their useful lives. They get paid extremely well so why is there this sentiment about loyalty to players when the only thing keeping them here is the £50+ grand a week they get paid?
Darren Hind
4 Posted 18/10/2015 at 07:36:35
I can't agree with the money argument, Lyndon, it comes up every time we get beat by a richer club. Yeah, having enough money to accrue strength in depth will almost certainly push you up towards the top end of the table over a season, but we can't keep using it as an excuse whenever we lose a one-off game. We sent this crew packing a couple of months ago.

Everton FC may not spend the sort of money the rich clubs do, but in many cases (most) that merely means we don't squander as much. We have players like, Coleman, Barkley, Lukaku, Baines, Stones, Jagielka who would strengthen their teams, we also have players like Deulofeu, Mirallas, who although not consistent enough, have as much skill as any of their players.

I'm back in love with Martinez after the way he stood firm throughout the John Stones saga; I think he is improving, but he still has this annoying habit of bringing back his favourites as soon as they are available. Seamus Coleman (one of my favourites too) should have been made to wait for his chance to get back in. He had a shocker yesterday, as did one or two others. I would suggest that had more to do with yesterday's defeat, than the amount of money the clubs have spent.

I agree with you, Lyndon: yesterday's result feels / is irrelevant. It seems wrong to even discuss the game on the day we lost an Everton giant... but you can imagine what his reaction would be to that.

Yesterday was a bad day all round for every member of the blue family.

Steve Brown
5 Posted 18/10/2015 at 08:02:37
Jim (#2), I’d back your defence if Howard wasn't regularly beaten at his near post – but he is. That added to his unwillingness to command his six-yard box or come for crosses has lost him the confidence of many supporters. He should be dropped.

I agree with you on the wide players we picked – it limited our attacking game and to see Mirallas and Gerry sat on the bench for a home game annoys me.

Les Martin
6 Posted 18/10/2015 at 08:39:15
Howard wasn't to blame; he did not lose the marker for the 2nd goal or give away the ball for the 3rd.

It wasn't our best but we got punished for our mistakes. They kept the ball better and we relied on the hoof as a form of counter attacking rather than doing it in a more controlled way.

The balance of the side is still a concern to me too, no left-sided Pienaar type player but I think we will still have a great season and look forward to Cleverley's return who may solve my concerns.

Steve Carse
7 Posted 18/10/2015 at 11:03:12
I can’t agree with Lyndon that United are championship-winning material.

They were extremely well organised (or at least were made to look so by an Everton team that stood yards off the opposition and didn’t press at all) but they didn’t produce anything unexpected or out the ordinary. They didn’t need to,of course.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 18/10/2015 at 11:13:15
I totally agree with Darren, for a change. Mistakes were made with the team selection and tactics but after "calmly watching" the entire 90 minutes on SNF I have to admit that Man Utd were superior to us in every department.

This was the best United display I’ve seen since Fergie left. They were quick, strong, quick, creative, quick, skillful, quick, hungry, quick... you get the picture.

All the pundits agree that we were second best in every aspect of the game and that happens. It doesn’t make us a shit team. It doesn’t mean our season is over. It just means that on the day they were great and we weren’t.

Paul Jeronovich
9 Posted 18/10/2015 at 11:16:44
In my humble opinion, this is the worst Man Utd teams for a long time. We showed a distinct lack of effort and attitude yesterday; if there is an obvious issue either on the wings or through midfield, then the manager should switch his tactics early.

Van Gaal’s Utd do not attack with pace, we simply gave them too much time. Darmian and Rojo are shite fullbacks... did we get at them? Did we fuck. Stones and Coleman were not fit enough to start and Stones was not his assured self.

Utter shite and I left early as this is total dross at the moment.

Paul English
11 Posted 18/10/2015 at 12:17:18
Martinez has turned into the new Moyes. Howard, Jagielka, Barry and Naismith out... The rest were shit. We're a million miles from being a great side!!!!!
Paul Tran
12 Posted 18/10/2015 at 14:47:00
Lyndon, of course Man Utd have more money than us and have more chance of buying better players.

How much does it cost to work your guts out from kick off? How impossible is it for us to buy a centre mid who has got genuine physical presence, good movement and an eye for a good forward pass?

How much does it cost to keep picking players who are doing a good job, like Funes Mori and Kone?

Martinez would have been crucified on here if he hadn’t played Stones and Coleman and we’d lost. I think he’s got to start backing the players he’s bought. Funes Mori has been playing well and Kone has linked up the play well. Why not start with the pair of them and give Man Utd some problems early on?

I keep saying it; we’ve got too many forward players who are 75% there, all trying to cover up each other’s shortcomings. I’m just concerned that we’ll have to get rid of the deadwood (Pienaar, Gibson, Mirallas, McGeady) before we can bring in better talent.

Peter Gorman
13 Posted 18/10/2015 at 15:07:17
Agreed with most of what you said Paul T until you lumped Mirallas in with the deadwood.

Money is not the issue, we beat moneybags Chelsea comprehensively. I also happen to agree with Paul J that this is one of the weakest Man Utd teams in recent years and nothing to indicate there is a gulf between us as some suggest.

We are seeing the same mistakes repeated, some punished some not. We are shocking at corners, this needs to be addressed. Players still playing out of position, needs addressing. Players not getting dropped when out of form, needs addressing. The players losing possession cheaply for the last 3 games at least....

James Stewart
14 Posted 18/10/2015 at 15:29:43
Good report but I would strongly disagree that the result wasn’t down to fear. That starting line-up absolutely stank of fear. The hard working Naismith out wide on containment duties and Lennon drafted in on the opposite side was a play straight out of the Moyes handbook at his worst.

In the interest of being a better blue, I have tried to bite my tongue this season and warm to Martinez. The Southampton and Chelsea results certainly made me question my opinions of the man, but yesterday really stirred up my disdain for Martinez once more.

It was obviously an emotional day for us and I will put it down to that but I rarely enjoy watching us anymore. Even the Liverpool game was not acceptable tactically. I expect to see a reaction against Arsenal but doubt it will happen.

We are a team at war with itself far too often under Martinez. Getting the best out of Lukaku and Mirallas (our best players!) should now be priority number one.

Jay Harris
15 Posted 18/10/2015 at 15:30:30
I also disagree with your assertion that the main difference was money, Lyndon.

For me, there is a consistent problem of the whole team not putting anything into the game until the second half.

As most have already said, you don't need to spend millions to be fit and apply pressure. Under Martinez, we consistently stand off teams and give them the space to play around us and that is compounded when teams close us down quickly and take the ball off us.

We look lethargic and off the pace too many times under this manager. I was told yesterday that some of the backroom staff he cleared out are now employed by West Ham...

Paul Thompson
16 Posted 18/10/2015 at 15:33:31
Money is an issue, perhaps the most important, but it’s not the only one. To counter the effects of the money (generally superior players and skill levels), you need consistently higher intensity, game plan and performance. There were massive holes in all these areas.

We started slowly again and with low intensity; the balance of the side was not effective (much better with Kone on in the second half); and the actual performance was below par, with (again) defensive lapses to the fore.

Blaming Howard is clutching at the wrong straw. I felt sorry for Lukaku who was one of the few to put in the intensity and performance.

Bill Gall
17 Posted 18/10/2015 at 15:48:08
Yes money can make the difference in the quality of the player you can buy. What it can't buy is commitment and intensity. We may have players who have commitment and intensity but, if you are going to play the same formation and hoping it gets better using different players each game, plus trying to build up from the back that allows the opposition time to defend that makes it harder to open them up, you are going to struggle.

We are playing the same as last season and during the summer we never got in the player we have needed for the past 4 seasons and that is a quality midfielder that can open up defenses.

Barkley was praised last week for his games for England were they played him in front of the back four. Playing for Everton they use him in front of the 2 defensive midfielders and he does not seem as effective were the opposition find it easier to crowd him out.

Watching the game yesterday and the previous 8 league games, we look a lower mid-table season team and as the Manager is now into his 4th season with the club the expectancy has well and truly worn off.

Saturday's game was unacceptable from an Everton side and it is amazing that the club can still receive the support that it gets. With more rumors about takeovers, the club should have their manager having the team playing with at the least "commitment and intensity" as the first team are supposed to be the showpiece of the club.

Patrick Murphy
18 Posted 18/10/2015 at 15:53:25
I have read a few times that Roberto is into his fourth season, I don't think I have been in hibernation, but isn't this his third season at the helm?
Bill Gall
19 Posted 18/10/2015 at 16:03:12
Patrick (#18),

My apologies I stated his 4th season even knowing it was only his 3rd, guess I was getting mixed up with his Wigan period. Many more displays like Saturdays and hibernation may be a good idea.

Paul McGinty
20 Posted 18/10/2015 at 16:10:06
Martial's pace gave Coleman severe problems and restricted his movement forward.

I didn’t see Barry getting on the ball, and he was chasing shadows for much of the game. Playing from behind didn’t help our cause.

Before Barkley got around the box they doubled up or fouled him.

I agree, Lukaku worked his rear end off. Tactically they did us and too many in blue lost individual battles.

Tough to blame Howard for the loss but like a lot of our guys on the day, his opposite number out played him. De Gea made the saves at key points in the game.

The loss is dwarfed by that of Howie Kendall , not just a great man and manager but a wonderful player. Sadly missed.

Richard Lyons
21 Posted 18/10/2015 at 16:39:12
What an utterly shitty weekend: first Manure, then Argentina. A parrot was never as sick...
Sid Logan
22 Posted 18/10/2015 at 18:53:59
Lyndon, I’m afraid for once I have to disagree.

I don’t believe it was an "investment versus no investment" argument. If that was the case, Man Utd would have given a much better account of themselves against Arsenal.

For me, it was about tactics. Clearly one manager who had fired up his team because of their last performance and another Manager who didn’t prepare for this eventuality and in my opinion couldn’t fire up his team if they were playing for their lives.

Even when the reality of what was happening on the pitch eventuality dawned on Robbie the Cautious, he failed to do what the hour called for and bring on, at the start of (or very early on in) the second half, Kone, Mirallas and Deulofeu for Naismith, Lennon and Barkley.

More often than not, he appears to be like the rabbit in the headlights and fails to act decisively when it’s pretty clear he needs to.

When we are playing as poor as we were on Saturday surely the logical option is make changes.

I’m afraid this season will be what in my darkest moments I believed it would be – a mediocre season under a mediocre manager.

For those who would come back with the money argument – and whilst I’d welcome new investment – it was only weeks ago people were saying that this was Everton’s best ever squad for a considerable time!

Philip Yensen
23 Posted 18/10/2015 at 19:08:15
We stood back and let them play. Do that with any team throughout any division and you will get snotted. We had no fire, hunger, determination, guidance. No direction.

If we don’t close teams down and hit them hard we’re fucked. United are nothing but we made them look good. Centre of defence was crap midfield looked tired and lifeless.

Why did that Spanish idiot make changes? Stones was lost, Coleman was clueless. Everyone was fooled by a bit of form but we are still crap.

Can anyone answer me. Why can’t we get stuck into teams from the off? What is RM's plan?

Lyndon Lloyd
24 Posted 18/10/2015 at 20:11:50
In retrospect, I would agree that placing the emphasis of my report on the disparity in resources makes it seem as though that was the only issue because tactics certainly played their part.

However, I also don’t agree that this was purely an issue of effort. I saw plenty of it from Everton until the air was sucked out of them by the two goals in the first half. The problem for me wasn’t one of application, it was execution.

While United were swamping us in our final third and then ripping forward with the kinds of quick passing that we used to destroy them back in April, we insisted on knocking it long too much. And once we went 2-0 down, we didn’t really look like we knew how to respond until Roberto was able to get into their ears a bit at half time.

The game was really won and lost on space – they gave our key players almost none of it and we afforded them way too much. At one stage, there were five men on one blue shirt but we weren’t able to profit from the space that having that many players focused in one area creates.

But, I can’t look beyond the fact that 20 years ago, United would be going through a period of readjustment that would have taken years. Their massive resources have enabled them, however, to buy their way back into the top 4 and title reckoning in very short order.

They’ve bought players like Mata, Herrera, Depay, Martial for massive sums of money (and wasted plenty on the likes of Falcao), any one of which would be welcomed at Everton and two or three of which would walk into our team. They highlighted areas of need – fullback, central midfield, striker, etc – and had both the resources and the pulling power to get them. We talked the talk all summer but failed in our main objectives.

On top of all that, they landed a vastly experienced manager (again, that doesn’t come cheap at all) who, while carrying the air of a buffoon, is turning their club around, giving them organisation and belief, and making them look like a top side again. That they were humiliated by Arsenal was, arguably, down to the sheer quality of the players at Arsene Wenger’s disposal and their ability to turn it on on the day. We can’t hope to match that and we have to admit that if one of those teams plays to its top potential in a given 90 minutes, we are not going to win. It’s that simple – the way United played yesterday, we couldn’t win IMO.

That’s not to excuse Martinez who is responsible for the way we defended, how poorly we pressed the ball despite having six defensively-minded outfield players on the pitch, and how we’re not able to consistently move the ball around in the final third with any effectiveness. But there are realities at play that we have to acknowledge.

Steavey Buckley
25 Posted 18/10/2015 at 20:24:36
I did not see a great Manchester United team out there yesterday. What I did notice was an Everton team that did not turn up and put in a real performance which was needed.

If players who wear the blue shirts of Everton can’t put the effort in, then they should find a club where they can. Because, a couple of weeks ago, Arsenal put 3 past Manchester United without conceding a goal.

Jay Harris
26 Posted 18/10/2015 at 20:25:41
Lyndon, I usually agree with every word you say but I have a totally different opinion to you.

Yes, Herrara and Martial are two good players but not that I would swap Barkley or Lukaku for.

The main difference for me is that they were prepared properly and we weren’t.

They had a tactical plan and we didn’t even get out of the starting gates.

One home win in 7 against far lesser teams than Man Utd says it all for me, as does the consistent not closing down and being unable to control midfield.

All team issues rather than individual problems.

Mark Andersson
28 Posted 19/10/2015 at 08:44:19
So did we get lucky when we beat Chelsea? Did they have a bad day when we had a good day? Were we unlucky to have a top keeper doing a job for Man Utd when he could have been playing for Real Madrid?

Do the players respect their manager? As it seems to me they do not respect the fans. It is really all about effort.

Personally I think our own fans are having a negative effect on the players; sure, they go to the match with good intentions but are they 100 % behind the team, whoever is on the pitch? What happens to the 5 or 6 thousand travelling blues fans at Goodison, are they told to be quiet.

I listened to the audio on headphones and all I could hear was Man Utd supporters, even from the off. Oh I did hear the groans and moans and the booing at half-time.

Well, at least the travelling army will cheer the boys on at the Emirates.

Jim Lloyd
29 Posted 19/10/2015 at 09:42:08
A good report Lyndon and it identified, for me, the gulf in class between the teams on the pitch and I think (but hope not) that we’ll see the same against Arsenal.

I like Naisy, he’s a trier and has some good goalscoring instincts but I thought his touch was awful on Saturday. No doubt that was partially due to the opposition closing him down as soon as he got it but the number of times he lost the ball or gave a poor pass was into double figures.

I think James McCarthy and Gareth Barry were swamped in midfield and also thought that Macca had his worst game for us in ages.

They were cutting through us like a knife through butter and our midfield and defence seemed not to be able to get near them. It looked to me that it could have easily been 4-0 by half time.

Perhaps we could have started with a different setup and tactics, maybe with Mirallas and Lennon going at them from the start and leaving Naisy on the subs bench.

Overall though, I though Man Utd were excellent, organisation wise, talent wise and whoever said Rooney was over the hill, I’d have him tomorrow if he’d come back.

I think you're right, Lyndon, we have done alright, so far this season and we have had a tough start.

However, if a team has consistently spent hundreds of millions of pounds and brought in top class managers, then I think it’s going to tell.

Two teams have come to Goodison this season who I thought were classy, aggressive and knew what system they were playing to. That was Man City and Man Utd.

I don’t know if Utd will win the League; I doubt that they will but I think they’d certainly be in the top 4 places, if they play like they did on Saturday, same with City.

Us? Again, I agree with Lyndon, we’ve got some fine young players coming through and some decent Premier League players but, without being disrespectful to those players, we are picking up journeymen or those who are past their best, either on frees or for comparatively small fees.

I’m sure that if we were able to spend the amounts that the top 5 or 6 clubs have spent, we would be in the mix with them. But we can’t.

Christopher Timmins
30 Posted 19/10/2015 at 09:48:45
Respective resources are not the deciding factor all the time but if you look at the top of the table you will see that over the long haul they cannot be ignored.

As one who remembers the mid 80’s and just about remembers the 1969-70 team, Saturday was a very sad day. God bless you, Howard lad, I am sure you are enjoying your eternal reward.

Colin Glassar
31 Posted 19/10/2015 at 09:53:00
I haven’t read all the posts but Jay and Jim sum it up for me. They swamped us in midfield and were up for it and we weren’t.

And as has been stated, a £100m(?) worth of talent against what they’ve spent (£400m?) is a factor, believe it or not. I still think that on our day, with the right players, attitude and tactics, we can beat anyone.

Brent Stephens
32 Posted 19/10/2015 at 10:10:43
I really love Barkley’s talent – when he’s able to show it. He wasn’t able on Saturday. And has no defensive skills to compensate. Won’t run hard, won’t tackle, won’t head, won’t EVEN close a man down and not let him pass (you don’t always have to tackle and win the ball) – at least Osman could do that.

Ross coming back into the central midfield areas when they had the ball did nothing to close play down and merely allowed another Man Utd payer to pack the midfield. We should have left him high up the pitch with Rom to occupy that spare Man Utd player and keep him from adding to our midfield pressure.

Brian Harrison
33 Posted 19/10/2015 at 10:17:13
I am afraid, while RM is in charge, our style will not change; he has sucked the soul out of our football. He also doesn’t know what his best 11 is and that is always a bad starting place. His front 3 change from game to game; we have had Lennon, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Kone Naismith, Cleverley and Besic all starting games.

Our tempo is slow and cumbersome; despite having a lot of pace in the squad, we never attack quickly as RM likes this possession-based football starting from the back. As Alex Ferguson said, possession football without penetration is meaningless, and that is exactly how we play a lot of games.

We play with Lukaku up front and isolated with Barkley and his wide players at lest 20 yards away, and with our 2 defensive midfielders getting nosebleeds if they cross the halfway line; it limits our attacking capabilities.

Seems like he has no intention of starting Mirallas anytime soon despite him being our best goalscorer from playing out wide. Some rightly say Mirallas doesn’t put it in every game but he is usually a goal threat which is more than can be said for Lennon or Cleverley or Besic who have all started in that wide role.

Sam Hoare
34 Posted 19/10/2015 at 10:34:08
We actually remind me a lot of the England rugby team. A squad with a lot of decent players and some really excellent prospects but very few if any proper top class players who get it right every week.

A manager who seems a nice bloke and seems to have most of the players onside but does not know his best team and does not seem to be able to get the tactics right consistently when coming up against high class managers. He also makes some baffling substitutions.

The end result is a team that flatters to deceive, that is capable of the odd inspiring moment or game but generally lacks solidity and consistency. A team that will usually compete but lacks incision and clinical end whilst looking much dodgier at set pieces than it used to. In short, a team that has not won any trophies for a while and hasn't really looked like threatening to do so.

Both managers may have their positions questioned and if I'm honest I probably fall into the camp of thinking both should be replaced although I’m only 55/45.

Jerome Shields
35 Posted 19/10/2015 at 10:42:07
I just think that we have a manager who has only one way of playing, and though he may vary it a bit, he often has no Plan B and is unable to counteract an opposing tactical manager. His tactics and selections are often wrong.
David Chait
36 Posted 19/10/2015 at 11:34:06
I didn’t get to watch, but chatting to Man Utd fans at work they said they thought Barkley was good. Involved etc. They felt that tactically LVG sorted out Coleman with Martial trying him up and particularly that McCarthy was shit and Barry ineffective. That goes with what I read about the midfield being overrun.
Jim Lloyd
37 Posted 19/10/2015 at 12:09:51
The thing is, when talking about replacing managers, then the next thought is, with whom? And if a replacement is mooted, then what finances would be made available to improve the squad?

As we all see the game differently, my view is that Martinez is a good manager. He, I believe, still has a lot to learn but I’m much happier with him in charge than I was with Moyes.

I don’t see that our defending is much worse now than it was with Moyes and, as we have four internationals in defence, I would have thought they know the rudiments of defending by now.

I think that, mainly, I view it along the same lines of Colin (#31) but differ slightly in that I believe we can give most teams a game now, even the rich clubs and we are capable of beating most teams on our day.

Someone criticised a number of us the other day for saying that Ross has things to learn and I think Brent has summarised those well. Whether he’ll ever learn the aspects that Brent has mentioned, who kinows? If he doesn’t, then the team will have to adjust it’s style to compensate.

That certainly didn’t happen on Saturday, where Ross and Naismith were both ineffective in stemming the flow. We had no-one to take the attack to them on the left and we sadly miss the attacking strength of Pienaar and Baines when they were in great form during Martinez's first season.

At the beginning of the season, I thought we’d find it hard to break into the top six, and I still do so. We need a goalscorer on the Roy Vernon, Tony Cottee or, dare I say it, Ian Rush or Gary Lineker mould.

We also still need a general in midfield but the big block in the way, is cash.

Jamie Barlow
38 Posted 19/10/2015 at 12:32:24
As good a player Ross is, he'd be twice the player he is now if he grew a pair of bollocks. I know he's had a leg break and all that but there's no excuse for shitting out of a header 3 yards out.
Ernie Baywood
39 Posted 19/10/2015 at 12:35:33
I just don’t see the huge gulf that some do. Though there is a gap.

De Gea is exceptional but I don’t think it’s beyond any club to bed in a good keeper.

Back 4s. I’ll have our best 4.

Schwein and Schtein or McCarthy and Barry? I’ll take McCarthy every day - the other 3 are rank average .(Schwein in his day but he’s long since past his best – I know some will slate me for that but it’s how I see it.)

Their attacking options won the day but, even then, we’ve got decent options too.

The difference is that players like Naismith or Lennon wouldn’t get within a mile of their team. I like them but it’s the squad players who tell the tale. Towards the back end of our best 11... it gets a bit weak.

On the day, they were nothing special; certainly not anywhere near Man City’s level. They’re a good team who made the most of some poor defensive errors. They’ve got some good players; they’ll do that.

In attack, we’re simply too conservative. We caused them problems but if you’re not getting players in the box at 2-0 down at home then there’s a fundamental flaw.

It was never a 0-3 game but we didn’t cover ourselves in glory.

Ernie Baywood
40 Posted 19/10/2015 at 12:46:23
Sam (#34). I’m reminded of the description of the late Moyes teams as being a good sparring partner.

Right now, I’d see us as a Gary Stretch type. Quite popular, decent to look at, and we’re clearly at this level. But no-one really expects us to progress beyond being a few steps away from the main prizes. I get the sense that we’re kind of happy to just compete.

Eugene Ruane
41 Posted 19/10/2015 at 13:14:09
Ernie (#40) — ’Right now I’d see us as a Gary Stretch type’

On Saturday, we looked more like Richard Dunn.

(And it’ll take a billionaire rather than a millionaire to turn us into GGG.)

Pete Edwards
42 Posted 19/10/2015 at 13:15:25
Anto: "How much longer do we keep the likes of Howard, Hibbert, Pienaar, Osman and Gibson on the wages bill?"

Only one of these played on Saturday so what’s your point?!? Maybe keep it for another thread as they had (apart from Howard) nothing to do with Saturday's poor performance and even then I don't think blaming the keeper is right.

Mark, I thought we beat Chelsea a couple of weeks ago?! Are they not one of the monied clubs anymore?

My take on it, the back four should have remained the same as the last few games but, saying that, I would have been annoyed and surprised had Stones and Coleman not started. (Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? Who would be a manager, eh?)

Kevin Tully
43 Posted 19/10/2015 at 13:36:44
Quite simply, Van Gaal did a number on Martinez. They didn't give our midfield a minute on the ball, so we had to resort to hoofing, bypassing midfield. You could see the players were lost for ideas on the pitch. Poor from the manager & players.

I don't know if the players were affected by the news of Howard's passing, but the crowd certainly were. A very strange atmosphere all round. I certainly hope we witness a reaction against Arsenal, or the stuffing could be knocked out of us before Christmas. Two important games coming up, I hope we can get at least a point at Arsenal, and through to the last 8 in the Capital One Cup against Norwich next Tuesday.

Sean Patton
44 Posted 19/10/2015 at 14:15:54
There is far too much being read into this result. The fans were not up for the game, which was understandable, and I think this transferred to the players who were affected and Man United to their credit took advantage.

6 months ago, the scoreline was reversed and I don't remember talk of Martinez displaying a tactical masterclass or Everton being outstanding, we just grabbed the opportunity of a poor display from the opposition. These things happen, particularly when you have a lot of young players in the team.

Special mention for Jagielka doing a "Yobo", of all the days to do it and to gift him a goal was just the cherry on top of a dreadful day. Onwards and upwards –there will be a vast improvement against Arsenal, I am sure of it.

Peter Weaver
45 Posted 19/10/2015 at 14:37:16
Jim Lloyd @ 37 quite understandably cites lack of cash as the reason for us remaining with the 'also rans'.

But only yesterday I read that huge amounts of debt were currently being paid off so I guess we can't have it both ways.

Personally, I'd be happier to learn the Club is in a healthy financial state than see us 'chasing the dream' as did Leeds. Just look at the mess they are now in.

Peter McHugh
46 Posted 19/10/2015 at 14:45:36
I have a lot of time for Martinez but two things which are disappointing throughout his tenure for me are set-pieces and tempo.
Robin Cannon
47 Posted 19/10/2015 at 15:33:04
I thought we took a negative approach to the game, both in terms of line-up and general play. I didn’t really understand the selection when I saw it, and that was compounded by numerous poor performances all over the pitch. When we’re on then, yes, we’re a match for the best; but we don’t have anything like the kind of consistency they do.

Naismith was awful; I really don’t understand the point of Aaron Lennon, and I wonder what we have to do to consistently see some appearances for Deulofeu and/or Mirallas.

Martin Mason
48 Posted 19/10/2015 at 20:19:53
While I believe that this site attracts some extremist rubbish, I’m always impressed by the genuine understanding and knowledge expressed on threads such as this.

I’m a long time (55 years), non-Scouse (parents are), Evertonian and a passionate lover of the club and its magnificent fans. I don’t like the negative extremism but I still rate this as the best EFC site by a country mile because its editorial and fan base is fair and independent. As always, a very good thought provoking article by Lyndon.

Can we consistently compete against clubs like United who can outspend us by multiples? No, of course we can’t... but surely we can avoid this type of abject humiliation.

Peter Morris
49 Posted 20/10/2015 at 08:41:56
I think a number of factors, from our perspective, affected the outcome of the game.

The whole team were flat from the outset. Very little zip or verve in the legs. I don’t think the sad passing of Howard Kendall can be blamed. If anything, the ovation afforded to his memory, magnificently observed by home and away fans, should have lifted our lot, but no.

There were a number of players who simply didn’t cut it on the day. Seamus, and Stonesy looked decidedly ring rusty, particularly our right back. In centre midfield, Barry and McCarthy were over-run.

Jimmy Mac in particular looked jaded and out of sorts, drooped shoulders, standing around watching play, a picture of frustration, a shadow of his erstwhile bundle of energy. I’m not sure he warrants a starting position at the moment, possibly needing to recharge his batteries and his attitude on the bench. Gibson, Besic (when fit), Ossie and Cleverley are worthy in-fills.

Lennon runs around a lot, but mostly to little effect. We craved the cutting edge of an ’up for it’ Kevin Mirallas. Our goalie was a pansy as usual. Hates the physical stuff that man. A goalie who has been at the top for 15 years should be covered in battle scars, but I reckon our TH still has his eye on fashion modelling when he packs in!

On the plus side, the team came out with renewed energy in the second half, and I felt it was game on until Jags’ defence splitting pass to the opposition. I thought Ross was better than people give him credit for, and I thought Lukaku was a beast. One of his best games in the shirt.

We must do MUCH better this Saturday, or embarrassment beckons!

Paul Cherrington
50 Posted 20/10/2015 at 09:00:48
I think people trying to blame that performance on HK passing is a cop-out. If anything, it should have made them more up for it than ever with being at Goodison.

To me, it shows that there is a lack of character and drive in the team, as has been shown previously. One of them should have been geeing the team up and getting them going if they were looking down.

I agree that it's crazy that Mirallas and Deulofeu aren’t starting more games – they are matchwinners and a threat. I know the argument about the defensive side with both them starting but surely that's why we play 2 DMs?

David Hallwood
51 Posted 20/10/2015 at 09:54:03
A bit late posting but... hey ho. Firstly, the money argument is quite frankly ridiculous as there is enough information out there that proves the more money spent the higher the team is in the league.

If you take Man City for example, it wasn’t so long ago that they were in the third tier of football and now they regularly compete for the title, cups and are a shoo-in for Europe. Great coaching? Motivated players? I would argue, perhaps somewhat controversially, that having a sheikh who’s poured zillions of pounds into the club has had the most telling effect.

Yes, it’s 11 v 11 when they cross the white line, and when we’re up for it, we’ve got a team that can beat anyone on the day. But what we don’t have is world class players sitting on the bench chomping at the bit to get on, which in turn keeps the ones on the pitch motivated.

Onto the game and a couple of quick points:

1) If RM continues to play the formation then Barkley and Naismith cannot play together. They’re both playing or trying to play behind Lukaku and if they’re going to be in the same team them Barkley has got to further back and replace Barry or McCarthy.

2) The two holders in midfield has ran its course. A good idea when you have Coleman and Baines bombing forward, but obviously that isn’t happening and, even when Baines returns, teams set up to nullify them.

The problem is that Barry & McCarthy offer nothing going forward; we’ll be lucky to get 5-7 goals out of them and their passing range is poor. This means that the onus to score falls on Lukaku when in fact the midfield need to chip in at least 20 collectively.

We were comprehensively beaten but conversely not hammered but the slow-out-of-the-blocks start needs to be addressed. Start like that against Arsenal and we’ll be back to the bad old days of being beaten 6 or 7.

Teddy Bertin
52 Posted 20/10/2015 at 12:19:48
Brian (#33), sucked the soul out of our football? From when? The 1980s?

Moyes never beat the top 4 teams. Under Martinez, we’ve look more likely to consistently beat the top teams than any EFC teams I’ve seen in the last 25 odd years.

This is the best EPL squad that Everton have ever had and it’s been assembled by a mixture of homegrown talent, canny Moyes bargains, and exciting players who have come to play for Martinez. I’m not saying that we’re getting the most out of the squad but we certainly haven’t lost our soul.

We battered Man Utd last time, Arsenal just battered them and LVG put a rocket up their arses. He made some unpredictable changes that paid off (Martial on the wing, Depay dropped, Rooney up front despite an awful run there previously) and Smalling was absolutely superb.

They were well organised and patient. If we’d got the first goal, it would have been a different match but one thing you can say about Martinez is that, unlike Moyes, when going a goal down to a top 4 team he never shuts up shop, through fear of conceding more, and hope to sneak a goal from a set piece for 1-1 draw. That’s not the sort of "soul" I want back at Goodison.

Michael Polley
53 Posted 20/10/2015 at 19:37:43
Totally accurate report. I'm dreading the Arsenal game, but maybe we can get a lucky break. The games after the Emirates are going to be our proving ground.

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