From My Seat: Norwich (League Cup)

A frustrating night out watching a poor Blues display but in the cup a win is a win and passage to the next round.

Ken Buckley 28/10/2015 22comments  |  Jump to last

We gathered for the cup match and picked the team for tonight but when the official version came through no one had got it right. Eight changes from Arsenal left us wondering if making so many changes would have us playing like strangers or if they could click and push for places on Sunday. The walk up was cheerful enough with the fan zone looking like a medieval encampment as we made our way up Spellow Lane. The fat van was in full swing and by the queues assembled not many are taking much notice of WHO food advice. Over 31,000 of us assembled ready to sing about going to Wem-ber-lee but from the off and for a quarter of an hour it was hard to tell if we had turned up let alone gain a sight of the new arch.

We started slowly and sloppily with Stones slow to react in his own area and Gibson giving the ball away that led to a corner which when swung in it was headed wide but that was a good chance for Norwich. It was mostly all Norwich as we gave the ball away on a regular basis and by the quarter hour we were a tad lucky to still be 0-0. We did have a break and Funes Mori burst forward but instead of laying the ball off he chose to shoot from about 35yds and managed to propel the ball some 35yds over the bar; the reaction it brought from the crowd was a sort of half laugh. You dont see that often.

In the second quarter hour we had a spell of inventing new ways to give the ball away and allow Norwich to counter. It was hard to understand why we could not do the simple thing of shortening the pass and make sure the man you were passing to was wearing the same colour shirt as yourself. You could sense the crowd getting a bit frustrated. Those first 30-odd minutes certainly belonged to Norwich and many of us wondered if it was the eight changes that had caused this yet they all train together so they should have a better understanding than was being displayed.

At last Browning pinched one and put Lukaku in but he dallied on the ball and that was enough for Norwich to pinch it back. Browning got it again and tried a through ball to our captain for the night Osman but he put far too much pace on it and the ball left Osman behind and shot out for a goal kick to more groans. We had started to put a few attacking moves together thanks to Osman calming things down and getting the ball to intended targets; now if we could get Gibson up and finding his range we might be getting somewhere.

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With Osman directing things better now and having a run forward himself forced a hand ball out of Hoolahan, from the kick Gibson at last got his range and a great ball found McCarthy who put in a great cross and with Lukaku racing in Goal was in our throats but he just could not make it and slid into the post instead.

Into the final quarter hour of the half and we now looking far better and playing some good joined up stuff in patches but Mirallas is doing himself no favours with his petulance and poor pass choice he was more of an hindrance than a help, you could see why he is not a first pick at the moment, it is like he needs to get his head straight and concentrate. I am sure he has the talent but has his mentality gone? He sort of proved it as he just let his man go allowing Norwich to get into our box and were passing it between them searching for an opening when Funes Mori relieved the pressure by winning a tackle giving away a corner which we cleared. We were passing a bit better now near the end of the half and still a little laboured but we gained a free kick which was swung in and the athletic Mori almost connected. Just one minute added and Norwich attacked and went for it but the move broke down when Osman and Mori intervened as the whistle went.

H/T and the chat was not complimentary. Norwich had most of the pressure and our passing at times was atrocious but at least Osman and Gibson had belatedly improved. Most suggested that Mirallas be subbed for Deulofeu.

Second half and no changes and not our greatest start as once again a ball delivered into our box would undo us. It was a corner that came across and Funes Mori got a defensive header that did not go too far and Osman tried an overhead clearing kick which he mistimed allowing a Norwich man to slide Bassong in and he netted. Another goal from a set piece cross and only six mins in. From the restart we are looking shell shocked and Kone and Mirallas were guilty of poor passing and testing the patience of those assembled and a little booing is heard as yet another pass goes astray.

The hour mark was reached and Barkley and Deulofeu replaced Browning and Kone I think Ossie thought he was coming off as I noticed he taken his captain's armband off and looking who to give it to. After the change it was clear we had gone three at the back with Stones and Funes Mori flanking Gibson. We were looking better now and Deulofeu certainly didnt want three poor performances on the trot as his application was urgent from the off. We attacked better and spent more time in their box but we still cant get that end bit just right.

We forced a corner after good work from Osman which Deulofeu took and Lukaku got something on it but it was hacked off the line; so near yet so far but Osman picked up the ball again and Mirallas was fed wide. He puts in a low cross and Osman, like a robber's dog, pounces and scuffed a creeper past a wrong-footed keeper. 1-1 and our captain for the night was well made up as were his backing group, the Street End choristers.

Norwich fought back and Gibson blotted his copybook as sloppy play handed the ball to the opponent and but for some good defence by Funes Mori we somehow avoided conceding. Deulofeu was now lighting up Goodison and Gibson was giving it away again allowing Grabban to force Robles into a fine save from point blank range with a tip over for a corner which we cleared and set Deulofeu off on a run that left defenders blowing for tugs. He crossed well and both Lukaku and McCarthy just could not get the ball to sit were they wanted and from a tackle the ball went to Osman who shot over. We were playing better now than in any other part of the match as 10 minutes to go showed up. Could we avoid extra time? Well we were giving it a good go now. They get a corner which Robles cleared and we were in their box in a trice but that final ball or first touch was still thwarting us.

Just 5 minutes to go and neither team wanted extra time as both went Gung-Ho. Olsson burst forward and hit a screamer but Robles tipped over in good style . We cleared the corner and attacked again and Barkley was fouled. Mirallas swung in a beauty and their keeper tipped over but our corner came to nought. 90 minutes came up with 4 added and Norwich attacked and crossed and Grabban got in a power header but Robles made a great save as he palmed the ball away. We got one chance and from a dink over the top Lukaku won the foot race with their keeper and went around him but a Norwich covering fullback got around to clear. Extra time it was.

We started on the front foot but we are still unable to make a final ball count. Mirallas was still playing in a lackadaisical way and even when Barkley put him in one on one which used to be his forte, tonight he put it wide. The manager must have seen enough so he was subbed for Naismith. Both teams had attacks as the whistle approached and Stones was having a bit of a mare – in fact he was poor all night, especially in dealing with crosses. At the whistle still 1-1

Second half and we started strong and pressed hard but Barkley spoilt our first three attacks with poor ball control. Gibson was now back to decent passing and from one through ball he fed Lukaku who gained a corner and what a corner. Deulofeu took it and sent the ball into orbit across the front of the street end and following its trajectory it looked like 4 planets lined up. Venus, Jupiter and Mars, plus a Spanish moon. I have never seen a corner taken like that. We had another couple of corners but Stones headed one wide and the other was cleared. Norwich were attacking as often as us and it resembled a basketball game – real end to end as no one wanted pens.

In the run up to the whistle tired legs gave it a go. Naismith gained a free kick which was arced in and Funes Mori sent a power header over. Inter play between Deulofeu and Stones set Lukaku on a run on goal and even after being tugged back he managed a shot that went wide, deflected for a corner. Why the Ref didnt give a pen for the blatant tug I dont know, unless he was related to Clattenberg and Collina.

Norwich gained a corner and the excellent Robles punched clear. Deulofeu beat man after man and set up Barkley at the near post. He can tap in or pass to McCarthy but, no, he blasts well over. What a miss. Composure is not his middle name, so thanks, Ross pens it was.

After what seemed like an hours deliberation we finally got to take them at the Street end.
Deulofeu, Barkley, Lukaku and Gibson all scored.
Dorans, Whittaker, Grabban all score Robles saved Hoolahan's pen and Redmond missed.

Everton win 4-3 on Pens. If yer know yer Istery was loud and proud.

MotM Robles

A frustrating night out watching a poor Blues display but in the cup a win is a win and passage to the next round. And who knows even with a poor performance all round that win can kick start are home fortunes. Can we get fortress Goodison back? I reckon Robles should have another go on Sunday but I am not the manager so I will expect to see Howard.

After tonight I am delighted that Barry can play I thought we missed his vocal input and play tonight as we didnt have one player showing composure and craft. He might be getting on but he will take some replacing down the line. See you Sunday for lunch and a win.


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Reader Comments (22)

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:28:55
Ken, you clearly have a fairly sunny disposition, you seem to remain upbeat, I admire that.

Last season and this, I am finding myself veering between apathetic torpor and hysterical fanaticism. The latter is there having supported the Club all my life, it lies within all of us, it keeps us going. But despite it, despite the fact I was pleased with the shootout and we live to fight another day, another round, I have to say I was bored senseless at Goodison last night.

Such indifference is dangerous, it allows things to drift. I hate to hear booing, but I was almost relieved by the show of dissatisfaction at Martinez when he took Kone off. We'll hear some more on Sunday if Howard maintains his current form, following a very competent display by Robles last night.

Mark Andersson
2 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:55:50
I enjoyed reading your take on things Ken as always. As I have not watched the match your summary on it is far removed from most venting their frustration.

One thing is clear: Martinez is losing the fans he almost won back. More booing at the Old Lady is a double-edged sword. Yes, fans have the right to express themselves; however, the younger plays such as Barkley will loose confidence.

Ian Robert
3 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:13:04
Ken, I admire your happiness. Let us be clear... neither Moyes nor this idiot get the fact that we can win this trophy with a little effort.

This moronic "resting" of players when we play in the League Cup is sticking in everyone's throats. What the hell is he saving the players for?? I would rather we went hell for leather and won a trophy that has so far been missing from our trophy room than pondered whether we may finish 6th or 7th or owt else!!

He won't get it... he's a waste of space... and his blindness re our keeper just beggars belief.

James Flynn
4 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:19:22
Thanks Ken. Always enjoy your match-goer's eye-view.

Thinking on something since yesterday. I can't remember a win, an important one at that, surrounded by Evertonians ripping into the players and manager as if we lost. And lost badly.

I didn't watch the game, but had the Fan Forum open and read all the comments in Michael's report. If I didn't know the result, I'd think we lost the game. Again, I can't remember that happening after a win.

BEIN has the replay here this morning. I'm going to watch it. Could we have been THAT bad?

By the by, "The fat van was in full swing and by the queues assembled not many are taking much notice of WHO food advice.". Nice one.

" . . . scuffed a creeper past a wrong-footed keeper.

Christopher Timmins
5 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:29:11
Ken, you are spot on with Barry, with Jags out, he is our only voice on the pitch and he should captain the team on Sunday.

Great to play so poorly and still win!

Peter Weaver
6 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:38:15
Thanks for an entertaining read, Ken – sounds like it was better than having to suffer being there!

I've never given any time or money to this competition as over the years it has become just a reserve team romp. To those who want silverware of any sort, I would point out we've won the Liverpool Senior Cup in recent memory so we are not potless!

Bad though it sounds, it did give the manager the chance to see his back-up players in action although reading this report that's just what they will remain – including the goalie!

Trevor Lynes
7 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:40:38
Norwich made a lot of changes too so makes our excuses seem pretty weak!
Tom Bowers
8 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:57:28
Hard to be critical when the team is a mishmash but then again when the so-called regular starting eleven is playing the performances have been just as disappointing.
Seems like Everton enjoy giving up the first goal in most games this season.
Hard to fathom what RM is trying to do but certainly some players have to be let go in January and a couple of key areas need filling desperately with top performers.
Steve Carse
9 Posted 28/10/2015 at 12:22:30
The booing was totally justified in this instance. The fans message over the Kone substitution was loud and clear. More telling though was the spontaneous and loud booing midway through the second half when, one down, we had to sit through a procession of go-nowhere passes and no off the ball movement which only ended when Stones, with no forward looking option on, punted the ball out for a goal kick.

It was a rank bad performance.

I also thought that it was the crowd that ultimately won us the game. I've never before heard at any ground the opposition players striding up for their penalties to a wall of sound of chanting for the home team. The fans were silent for most of the game, understandably given the sleep inducing football being watched, but they more than made up for it in penalty time.

Ben Jones
10 Posted 28/10/2015 at 12:52:24
It was a strange game. Two main negatives and positives.

As I said yesterday, they wanted it more than us. The amount of 50 50s we lost was shocking and mistakes too. The Norwich midfielders always had space, and I think the main downfall was the Gibson McCarthy partnership. McCarthy in particular had a terrible game, that midfield to me really missed bite, Besic comes to mind.

Then Robles bailed us out, our defending from set pieces is atrocious. Mori had a fantastic game I thought, he won everything in the air, but he was the only one capable or defending crosses and corners in our box. Stones wasn't great last night, and actually looked better further forward when he went to right back.

Then the positives was the amount of chances we created. Only one in the first half, but so many in the second and extra time. I remember at least three one on ones, and we probably should have scored 5 goals last night! We need to be more clinical.

Also I thought Mirallas played alright, and I think Ken, you were a little harsh on his performance. Remember he did the assist and he looked a lot better after the subs. I don't see Sunderland's full backs as that threatening, so I'd like to see him and Deulofeu start on Sunday, or at least on the bench.

But I was at the game and thought we were god awful. General play we were but I did forget about the amount of chances we created. That's a positive at least.

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:06:39
Thanks once again Ken, although you made the match sound better than it actually was, putrid was the word I would have used.

Norwich rarely gave the ball away, we rarely passed the ball to each other but found the opposition much more.

I thought we started with two passengers, one was substituted, the other scored our goal, I think you saw him differently, strange that Martinez kept Osman on for the whole game when he has hardly played this season.

Deulofeu’s corner by the way was very weird, but in mitigation he did slip when he took it.

Patrick Murphy
12 Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:19:59

It was a well deserved passage to the next round with the quality that we showed in our penalty shoot-out. You look at the other results elsewhere and it shows how difficult it is to get in the position we are now. Our performances deserves a great amount of credit.

Roberto talking about last night’s penalty shoot-out victory. I’m not too sure many would agree that the performances so far in this competition deserve a great amount of credit. Greg O’Keefe from the Echo, who usually sees Everton through very blue-tinted glasses said:

Those who were there will bear the scars of watching that first half forever.

I don’t know where we will end up with Roberto, better or worse, but I wish he would try and see the game from the perspective of the supporters. Life is so full of technocrats and managerial speak, which isn’t designed to capture the imagination of the viewing public and often has an air of "but the ordinary person shouldn’t be expected to understand the various nuances..." of whatever the subject matter.

I never thought that I would be watching an Everton team led by a person who seems to have no affinity, from a football point of view, with the match-going fan and who sees himself as a missionary trying to convert the followers of the club to his precious philosophy.

The faith Roberto shows in his own beliefs are unlikely to be replicated by the masses, for they have witnessed good football from good players, some have witnessed great football from great players and many have witnessed bad football from bad players, but rarely have we all witnessed, so often, bad football from a pretty decent set of players.

If the manager stays aloof from the fans from a football perspective the chances are he will have to find a new audience of fans to convert, because in general Merseysiders treat football as a religion and they know every hymn and can quote chapter and verse every tactic that has ever been employed by any manager, they also recognise what is good and what is bad and from that point of view they don’t need converting.

Terry Underwood
13 Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:37:25
Long time reader, first time poster. Once again, Ossie gets a vital goal, he has his detractors but has been our main goal scoring midfielder for ages. I can’t understand the haters.

Finally, a big hello to any London blues [ESCLA] who I travelled with in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I have a lot less hair now and one less leg. Oh yeah, my daughter is called Emma Frances Catherine and is proud of it!
Keith Glazzard
14 Posted 28/10/2015 at 15:14:17
Ramiro Funes Mori was MotM, quite right. He looks well worth the extra few quid we had to pay for him, a class act. We really can’t afford any more injuries in that department, except that Galloway might turn out to be better than Stones!

Speaking of which, good to see Oviedo having a decent game. We can do with him back to his best.

Ossie scored. Like Naisy, up around the box is where he ought to be, leaving midfield graft to others.

So, Sunday all eyes will be on Tim Howard, and I don’t just mean ours, plus Joel Robles has shown he is ready to play for us.

Solo lo mejor es lo bueno.

Jay Harris
15 Posted 28/10/2015 at 15:36:25
Thanks Ken for bringing a bit of levity to my mood.

In over 55 years of watching the Blues I currently feel as low as I have ever felt because there is a chasm between the club and the fans.

Roberto is totally indifferent to the fans views as is our "one of us" leader.

When you treat the masses with total contempt like making the statement: "Tim will be back against Sunderland" immediately after a MotM performance from Robles, the mind boggles and you inviting a very bad reaction.

It almost seems like RM wants the sack with some of his inane statements LIke "He thought it was a good game of football and was quite impressed by the players attitude."

I would have been questioning why the players are in a slumber until the second half of every game or when we go behind.

It doesn't matter who plays we see the same every game and it's now 2 wins out of the last 8 home games.That is an appalling statistic.

Jimmy Salt
16 Posted 28/10/2015 at 16:23:43
We spent the first 20 mins of the game supping delicious Chang beer in the park end terrace... I know, I know... but it was still better than watching what was happening on the pitch.

Seriously though I thought we had learned some lessons from last season but that was one of the worst performances I’ve seen in a long time.
But not the worst; I was at THAT Tranmere FA Cup game.

Denis Richardson
17 Posted 28/10/2015 at 16:53:39
Thanks for the write up Ken, although I didn't see our performance as being as 'good' as you describe....

RMs quote of 'It was a well deserved passage to the next round with the quality that we showed in our penalty shoot-out'. Is also odd - shocker that. There really is no stopping him. From what I saw, we only started playing after around the 70 min mark. Before that we looked like a pub team and Norwich ran rings around us, at home, with a lot of changes to their line up too.

For an honest view, I'd rather go with the Norwich manager, 'We played really well. If anyone deserved to win the match over the 90 or 120 minutes, it was us. Having gone out of the cup on penalties is disappointing.'

Still - we're through to the next round, which is the only good (and most important) thing we can take out of the game. I believe the next round is already the quarter finals.....although City, United and RS are still in the competition so fingers crossed we avoid all three of them in the next round. Seems like an away tie to a Hull or Shef Weds is what we need.

Paul Thompson
18 Posted 28/10/2015 at 17:50:33
Got to agree with the more negative comments. Watching it on dodgy streams with no or Arabic commentary didn’t help (or perhaps it was a mercy). Robles, Gibson and Funes Mori were pluses.

I hate to say this but Stones was a liability defending in the 6-yard box. His positional play really needs to improve. As Ben Jones says (#10), he looked a lot better when he moved to right back/flank. Perhaps Roy Hodgson knows something after all.

Ken Farrington
19 Posted 28/10/2015 at 18:52:43
I dislike posting negative comments but it is very difficult to find anything positive to say about this performance other than we are through to the quarter-finals.

In over 60 years of supporting the Blues, I cannot ever recall leaving the ground feeling sympathy for the opposition but I did on this occasion. I thought we were dreadful and if our manager thinks otherwise I think he needs to take a serious look at himself and the tactics he employed along with the team selection. To play both Osman & Gibson, with little game time between them, in midfield was surely a grave error proven by how overrun we were in that department.

The next few games are crucial to the future of our season but similar performances to this one will surely lead to mid table obscurity with little prospect of further progress in the cups. Let's hope it's just a temporary blip.

Peter Weaver
20 Posted 28/10/2015 at 19:24:37
Just why do people seek to dwell on this 'reserve team' nonsense. It has about as much relevance to the real thing - the Premier League - as the old Central League did.

It was a chance to get some rust out of fringe players paid tens of thousands for spending their time here sitting on their arses and for proving our reserve goalie is better that the one the manager is in love with.

Saturday is the real deal and I'm sure there will be a far different approach by both manager and players.

Abhishek Saha
21 Posted 29/10/2015 at 03:30:12
I would assume that our inability to deal with crosses or when the ball is simply lobbed inside our box, is a result of Bobby’s over focus on playing the passing game starting from the back.

So our lads do not know whether they should clear the lines or find a way to start the passing and more often than not they get caught somewhere in between. As a result, they’re able to do neither and end up either losing the ball or finding it in the back of their own net.

Harold Matthews
23 Posted 30/10/2015 at 00:19:15
True Abhishek. Your last sentence is an accurate observation. If we do have a specific pattern of play then I have yet to see it.

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