From My Seat: West Ham (A)

Considering both teams' displays and a goal for each side that was worthy of winning a match, then I suppose you can say a draw was a fair result.

Ken Buckley 08/11/2015 53comments  |  Jump to last
West Ham United 1 - 1 Everton

It was hard to realize that, barring a cup draw against them, this was the last time we would visit Upton Park (I could never get used to calling it the Boleyn ground) but, once the game started in the wind and rain, such things as that were lost as we fretted with the ease WHU were getting down our left hand side. As early as 2 minutes in, we got cut apart as Moses was put in and his speed and strength was a bit too much for Galloway but luckily he was just wide with his shot.

Much talking and gesturing was going on in our defence as they had started much faster than us. It looked like we were sitting in and looking for the quick breaks and we did fashion one on five minutes by getting Kone in down our right; his excellent cross just evaded the head of Lukaku. WHU charged back at us and the cool Stones lost his cool to panic as he made a hash of a simple clearance yet immediately regained his composure and strode out with the ball in elegant fashion.

Galloway was getting a bit of a roasting from Moses but he was sticking to his task better now, especially with the help of the excellent Barry from time to time. As the quarter-hour mark passed, we were coming to terms with the home team onslaught and the game was getting more end to end. Barkley got himself to the edge of the box, swivelled and hit one but straight at the keeper; then 5 minutes later we got a free kick and took it very quickly and Kone was given a shooting chance in the box but his powerful shot went swerving wide. At the other end, Moses was still causing Galloway trouble and the youngster fouled him for about the third time but luckily for him no card shown.

Deulofeu was showing well now and was becoming a constant thorn in the side of the hosts with his direct running varied with some fancy cross-overs and good crosses that WHU defence dealt well with. Stones was stepping out into the midfield doing a bit of playmaking so the fans sang Money cant buy you Stones. The Mori was at it raiding down the left, we will have to have a song for him. As the half hour mark was reached it was quite a ding-dong battle with us relying more on the break were the Hammers were more up and at it.

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What I was surprised with was for all of the WHU pressure Andy Carroll was mainly anonymous and wasnt needed when Moses yet again did Galloway and put in a cross that we blocked and cleared... but not far enough as Lanzini picked it up on the left, cut in and curled a beaut over Howard's head and into the top corner. No fault on Howards part in that one, it was just a perfectly executed goal but a right downer for the faithful. Still, I thought, here we go... another game to come back in. Well I hoped so!

I thought Barkley was doing well in midfield in wanting the ball and moving forward with purpose but, as their 18-yard line was reached, his pass decision and final ball were woeful today. I counted six occasions when his choice of pass was little more than a pass to their defence; however, if that can be worked on and improved and he can use a little more urgency and arrogance, then we may yet have a super player in our ranks.

Maybe he can take heart from Deulofeu who has certainly upped his game and was getting good results and appreciation for it. He had been a menace most of the first half and, as the clock ticked to half-time, I was hoping to keep the 1-0 score-line and regroup for a second half blast. But that thought was redundant when, on half-time, Deulofeu picked up a clearance from Barry and strode forward to the half-way line and delivered a peach of a pass that carried just the right weight to take WHU defenders out and play Lukaku in. The big Belgian reprised his goal from last week by calmly going around the keeper and slotting home. The faithful went ballistic and Lukaku was with them. What a pass from Deulofeu!

Two minutes were added and, as the last of these minutes were being played out, WHU hit a long one over the top with Andy Carroll after it. As he was gaining on it, the Ref blew up, much to the delight of the Blues fans and the ire of the claret and blue fans. Quite comical that, I thought.

Half-time: 1-1, and a good half of football. WHU just shaded it yet over the piece but I thought we looked the more likely. The half must have been quite even as peoples interpretation of it varied wildly.

We kicked off the second half and we got a free kick early but Barkley took a poor one and many a voice was raised in requesting he be relieved of set-piece kicks. Then the player who pulls the strings for WHU, Payet limped off leaving our fans quite happy but their fans not so.

The game was settling into one where both teams want to win yet neither want to lose so the play reflected this; as soon as an attack broke down for either team, their first thought was get back behind the ball rather than trying to win the ball back higher. WHU had the first really dangerous move and a cross from the right went right across our box and eluded everyone.

On 57 mins (I checked my watch!) Howard charged from his line and grasped the ball ending any danger. See he can do it!

From the hour mark, the game got sort of sloppy and we saw end-to-end stuff with no end product. WHU did have an attack that we defended but only to their goalscorer Lanzini who shot strongly but Howard tipped over in good style. From the corner our keeper was off his line like a train, taking all before him, à la Southall, and got a free kick to boot. We used this break in play to replace Kone with Mirallas. In the next WHU attack, Coleman takes no prisoners and the sub Valencia limps off, limps back on and lays down and is then stretchered off... No quarter asked for nor given in this game. He was clapped off though.

We then had a decent spell without really troubling the keeper. Then back came WHU for their turn and in one attack swung in a cross from a dead ball situation; it was their centre-back who rose highest and headed just over the bar. Then we had a go and Mirallas did well to win the ball near halfway and progressed to the edge of the box but, on looking up, not much was on, so he played it back to the supporting Barkley who looked up himself. With all avenues blocked, he fed the marauding Funes Mori some 35 yards out and the Argentinian took on the shot which was high... very high, talk about being optimistic!

Deulofeu took things into his own hands and ran right at them at pace whilst twisting and turning. He got along the by-line but unfortunately the best he could get was a corner that was cleared. On 80 mins, his race was run as Lennon replaced him as he got tremendous applause for his slow walk off arms aloft clapping as he went.

The clock was ticking down and it looked like we had settled for it bar a quick burst forward without overcommitting came off. Their right back had run at us and we laid off enough to get the gee up from those assembled from L4. He got a shot in though and Howard was grateful it was low and straight at him.

Near the end, we had 5mins added, Galloway galloped away down our left and fed in a measured low cross that saw Lukaku come across his man to the near post and his stretch sent the ball just the wrong side of the post, some thought it was in it was that close. We then got a free kick in a dangerous position but all that did was reinforce our need for a change of kicker.

The half ended similar to the first with a WHU attack that saw them gain a free-kick in a dangerous position only for the Ref to blow time just as they were about to take. 1-1 and considering both teams' displays and a goal for each side that was worthy of winning a match, then I suppose you can say a draw was a fair result.

MotM: Deulofeu or Barry

A good display in patches from us. Galloway grew up a little more this afternoon as Moses was a fast, strong, rough opponent who knew how to gain a free-kick from a rookie. Fair play to Galloway: he stuck to his task and by the end was performing much better. The game also exposed our need for what I call a good schemer who would know how to use the talent we have in other quarters. Barkley has talent but experience in such matters as directing the pace and ebb and flow of a game has not yet been gained. We must hope he develops so we must give him encouragement.

The games up until the end of December look to be ones we can gain points in, but a quick look at the fixture list and you see Palace, Leicester and Stoke, you soon realise it's not all plain sailing and top form and attitude will be a minimum requirement. Still lets go for it. See you after the international break; I hope our participants do well and return in one piece.


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Reader Comments (53)

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Jon Withey
1 Posted 08/11/2015 at 19:02:26
Great report, thanks Ken.

We seem to put a lot on Barkley's shoulders, it would be good to get him some support in scheming.

So happy that Deulofeu is strutting his stuff again, a genuine match winner.

Lukaku also must be the most prolific striker we’ve had in two decades.

Also made-up that Stones is back and Funes Mori was a decent purchase.

Peter Mills
2 Posted 08/11/2015 at 19:08:06
Ken, I also travelled down for the match yesterday. We had a 20 hour day, spent a fair bit of cash, enjoyed the day, I was pleased to get my first visit to the Boleyn Ground at the last opportunity, but just a bit frustrated at the performance and the result.

We were okay. The expression these days is "meh". Yes, we badly need that schemer. And one or two more to start taking a grip of things, being nasty, making the rest of the team able to see when the game is there for the taking.

I thought Stones was back to his excellent best yesterday, and Barry played very well. I’d love to see an Alan Ball or a Peter Reid playing alongside Ross Barkley, he’s a talented lad who was poor yesterday, he looks like he needs some guidance.

Brent Stephens
3 Posted 08/11/2015 at 19:22:54
Lukaku - in 90 league games for us, he’s scored, I believe, 43. Not far off a goal every two games, with some terrible service to him at times. Impressed.

If Deulofeu can keep providing the assists (3rd best for assists in the Premier League this season, despite not having played all the minutes), Rom will rock on.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 08/11/2015 at 19:36:20
It was a hard earned point but for me I just hope the theme of the season isn’t going to be too many drawn games costing us where we want to be.

You have to say the top four is there for the taking this season If any team is good enough to put a winning run together, the thing that concerns me is that we haven’t got the consistency in performance level to be that team.

It wasn’t a bad result yesterday but it wasn’t quite a good enough performance to get us the win which would have given us real momentum after last week, especially after West Ham suffered the loss of Payet in the second half.

I just think we are a nearly team, nearly get that final ball in the area right but don’t, nearly challenge the top sides above us but don’t quite have the cutting edge to put them to the sword.

We need to put a decent run together before Christmas and get past Middlesbrough in the Cup then we need to go searching in January for that creative attacking central midfielder, for me the target still hasn’t changed from the summer window when we, "apparently" pursued Yarmolenko.

Barkley has proved he is not that lock-picker of rigidly organized defences. And whilst Deulofeu has produced some laser-guided through-balls recently, most of his work will undoubtedly be from the wing not the centre.

Terry White
6 Posted 08/11/2015 at 19:48:27
I get excited when I see Barkely pick up the ball in midfield and move forward with it - then everything goes wrong. It looks to me like he has tunnel vision, he is incapable of picking up players running to either side of him. An early ball to one of them, keep moving, and he would be in a good position for the return. As it is he delays the pass, puts his head down, and runs out of options as he delays and is closed down.

As already said on here, why does he have to take every corner and free kick? At present he is an Arteta clone with them. We offer no threat. The only PL team not to score from a set piece this season. A Plan B for free kicks in front of goal instead of lofting the ball over the bar would be helpful - a training ground move to an unmarked player off the end of the wall could pay dividends, I have seen GD in acres of space in these situations but every time it is a direct attempt on goal with nothing to show.

Colin Glassar
7 Posted 08/11/2015 at 20:04:32
Great post Jim. Like you said, top 4 places are there for the taking but so are the bottom 5. This league, imo, is incredibly tight as the traditional top 4-6 teams aren’t as powerful as they used to be (see Chelsea and Liverpool) and there are a bunch of other teams e.g. Stoke, Leicester, Palace, Southampton etc...who can beat anyone on their day.

Patrick Murphy
8 Posted 08/11/2015 at 20:06:34
Jim (5),

It’s so difficult to quantify when is a draw a point gained or when it is two points lost. Last season, after 12 League games, Everton had the same number of points (17) and were only 2 points off 4th spot, but a massive 15 points off top spot.

The previous season we had 21 points, were a point off fourth place and only seven points from the top spot; by the end of that season we ended up with our record Premier League points total.

Currently we are nine points off the top spot and seven points away from the team in fourth place.

Following 12 league games played from (2010-11) to present day. Everton’s points total reads current season first. 17; 17; 21; 20; 16; 15. Not much changes does it? I wonder if it has anything to do with transfers and or wages paid?

Steve Jenkins
9 Posted 08/11/2015 at 20:38:01
Spot on, Terry.

Barkley has the tools to be a great player, but needs to improve his decision-making significantly.

He’s young and it should improve, as you said, it needs drilling into him (on the training ground) to get his up and pick out and early ball, and get into position for the return ball.

I had visions of Barkley bagging a load of goals by playing it up to the striker and then making a breaking run into box, getting played through by the striker...

Rarely happens, but it is exactly what a player of his ability should be doing all the time.

I use to think that Rom touch never allowed for this to happen, but even with Kone playing (who arguably alongside Deulofeu) has the best touch in the team, and with Deulofeu playing (with their touch and vision) it doesn’t happen.

Not sure why, I don’t think he seems to make those driving runs enough, which along with improving his decision making, is the other thing that will take his game to the next level.

Perhaps if we get that elusive No 10, he may start making more of these runs?

David Greenwood
10 Posted 08/11/2015 at 20:45:30
This ’No 10’ that we need...

Can he play in goal?

Gerard Carey
11 Posted 08/11/2015 at 21:48:28
Thanks Ken, good report. Same problems exist that were there last season, that elusive No 10!!!!! Maybe in January we might get in one if RM sees what the fans see.

I don't think we should be too hard on Barkley, at least he still shows for the ball; his decision-making needs to improve, but hes' not hiding.

Colin Glassar
13 Posted 08/11/2015 at 21:53:19
Don’t get your hopes up about this mythical figure also known as the No 10. Roberto has already said he’s happy with the squad he has so, apart from a few cheap kids like the lad from Bury, I’m not hopeful of any major buys in January.
Dick Fearon
14 Posted 08/11/2015 at 22:14:24
As with others on this page, I cannot see the point of Barkley taking all our dead-ball kicks. Martinez seems blind to how wasteful such opportunities are.

Moyes had the same problem with Arteta who could not cross the ball past the first defender. Mikel when at Arsenal took over that role and without fail in game after game would deliver a succession of great crosses. My guess is it is all to do with practice and coaching.

Hibbo is not noted for crossing the ball yet even he could hardly do worse than young Ross.

Patrick Murphy
15 Posted 08/11/2015 at 22:26:10
Dick (#14),

I couldn’t agree more and it’s an area that needs addressing but RM according to this piece in the Echo doesn’t seem to mind:

Everton Set Pieces

. I understand that it’s not good practice to rely on set-pieces to score goals but surely he must realise they can be a vital tool for winning games. Every team should have a specialist free-kick / corner kick taker but even our best Baines/Mirallas are useless at Corners although often very good at free-kicks

Patrick Murphy
16 Posted 08/11/2015 at 22:26:59

Above is the link in full...

Steavey Buckley
17 Posted 08/11/2015 at 23:02:10
The sad thing for me yesterday: of Everton’s four out-and-out attacking players, only Deulofeu and Lukaku were at their best. That means 50% of our attackers were ineffective. There is no way Everton can go away from home and earn 3 points if more than 1 Everton player is off their game.

It was the same against Swansea, that’s why Everton could only prise 1 point like yesterday. I do believe the manager has to see this straight away and make changes.

David Holroyd
18 Posted 09/11/2015 at 01:15:12
Not a bad result, a draw at West Ham. But we keep going behind in games. I read somewhere that Martinez says he doesn’t mind going behind in games as long as we win, but looking at our recent history, we hardly ever go on to win after letting the first goal in.
Harold Matthews
19 Posted 09/11/2015 at 01:36:36
For me, Barkley is a big strong lad with a tremendous shot in both feet, has exceptional skills and loves to be on the ball. The way he received that sharp low pass yesterday. Backheeling it to himself, turning and shooting all in the one movement. Amazing stuff. While he patrols the midfield we'll always enjoy a fair amount of quality possession. Unfortunately, possession is never mentioned in the final league tables. Right now, after dominating almost every game, Chelsea are nearer last than first.

So, what is it with Ross? With him there why do people keep screaming for this magical No 10? Why not a magical No 6 like Carrick, Ya Ya Toure or Xavi Alonso?

Whatever the number, what it all boils down to is a need for a genuine intelligent thinker who can also play a bit. The football brains of Barry and Gibson in Ross's body. Sadly, it aint gonna happen. Ross will always be Ross and we'd better get used to it because he's not likely to be going anywhere.

Abhishek Saha
21 Posted 09/11/2015 at 03:42:22
I would like to see Kone play behind Rom. I guess he has the guile and vision, which Barkley "presently" lacks, to put Rom through to goal. Clearly Rom's and Kone’s understanding is far better than any other pair we have seen so far.

Play Mirallas and Deulofeu on the wings. Kone, not doubting his recent performances, maybe a tad slow for the left flank.

Make it clear to Ross, that he is by no means being dropped. Bring him on for Kone later in the game. Sometimes seeing the game from the bench provides you with the knowhow of what you need to be doing once you’re on.

It is an experiment of sorts, but there is no better opportunity to do that with Aston Villa at home. With the Villains expected to defend deep, Barry and McCarthy will push up a bit more which will mean that there will be phases when we have two genuine strikers up-front.

We all have seen what these two are capable of when they’re together in the box and we just saw what Villa can do to a Man City with their stubborn defending. COYB!

Jim Bennings
22 Posted 09/11/2015 at 08:19:48
Arteta may well have hit a bad patch at some point with his set-piece deliveries but trying to compare Barkley with Arteta on free-kicks is like comparing Beckham with Mark Pembridge.

Arteta scored umpteenth free-kick goals for Everton over his 6-year spell with us, I’d like to know just how many he actually scored but it must have been well into double figures, I can recall a good 6 or 7 straight off hand.

He did have a poor spell with corner taking but he also put in some outrageously great whipped in balls, remember that one for Tim Cahill’s late header at Anfield?. Think was January 2009.

We also never had many problems scoring from goals from corners under Moyes.

I do agree though that practice has a lot to do with it; Baines, who took over after Arteta, then became a specialist, but even before his injury in August, can someone tell me the last time Bainsey even hit the target with one?

I’m pretty sure it was the two he got at West Ham, so he’s deteriorated on them and his corners have become as bad if I remember from last night.

They say practice makes perfect but, when Martinez doesn’t care much for set-pieces, don’t expect to see any dead-ball experts any time soon soon at Everton.

Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 09/11/2015 at 08:41:06
In plain simple English. If the kicker can’t get it past the first man, then why can’t that first man, wear a blue shirt then?

Never went, never watched it, but it doesn’t surprise me when you said West Ham, started quicker Ken. Every team starts quicker than Everton, and this is my biggest problem with Martinez, at the minute, especially when we are at home.

Listened to his interview after the match, and he actually said we had more corners than West Ham. Honestly, why don’t we fucking practice them then?

Maybe then we can sing a song about Funes Mori. He will fly through the sky, and you’ll get a black eye, THAT’S AMORI!

Ken Buckley
24 Posted 09/11/2015 at 09:03:04
Tony @23
Love it, that could be a Eurovision winner.
Jim Bennings
25 Posted 09/11/2015 at 09:03:53

Great point and one that I made a while ago, well last season!

We never have "runner’s" when attacking the corner. You seldom score from a standing jump and then by just standing still in the centre of the goal your always looking for the perfect ball into the box, but sometimes corners will be over or underhit hence why you need players peeling off front and back post! This was always a massive strength when Joe Royle was here with Andy Hinchcliffe, we scored deft headers at near posts, bullet headers far post.

It pays to be creative from corners because it’s a massive part of football, being able to put the ball into the box and working at different ways of dragging your opponents defence out of position, remember the old Anderton/Sheringham combo at Spurs?

This is the one thing that I really really don’t enjoy about the Martinez era at Everton, what has become clear as day our total negligence and almost ignorance of the use of what could be such a useful weapon if worked on...

The old classic corner kick.

Iain Love
26 Posted 09/11/2015 at 09:58:38
It’s now got to the stage where, if I haven’t seen the game, I don’t read any write ups except yours, Ken; well done.

I read somewhere that 1/3 of all goals come from set pieces and if that’s the case we MUST improve in that area. If we haven’t got anyone capable of shooting then try something else, a dink, a layoff... anything, I think Ross tried a layoff against Sunderland last week that was woeful and in kickabouts would automatically relegate that player from taking them again. The practise ground is where all this should be sorted out.

David Hallwood
27 Posted 09/11/2015 at 10:06:02
Great report as ever Ken, and spot on as ever.

I’ve mentioned this in other postings, but there’s a brilliant fly-on-the-wall documentary called ’The Class of ’92’ which follows Gary & Phil Neville, Giggs, Scholes & Butt after they become owners of non-league Salford City. After a good start, Salford go on a losing run and Gary Nev, turns to Scholes and says "If you compare our players to the other teams, we shouldn’t be losing" It wasn’t long after that the manager got the sack. Don’t forget that between them they’ve won everything in the game and only played under one manager, so sacking a manager didn’t come easy to them.

There’s a interesting report in the Guardian today ( obviously from a neutral perspective:

"Every one of the Premier League’s current top nine should consider themselves in with a shout of fourth place in the table.

"Of two evenly matched teams at Upton Park, it is Everton who will harbour the more realistic hopes. This is based more on the quality of Marti­nez’s first choice XI than a recent run which has seen only two wins, against West Bromwich and Sunderland, in the past nine games."

Which echoes The Class of ’92’s remarks about their manager. We now have what I believe are some excellent players, but the team is built on sand, as we’ve now conceded 21 goals this season in all competitions; and this with playing 2 DF’s to ’protect’ the back 4. Add to that the 50 we shipped in the league last season, and that, IMHO, is the stuff of nearly men...

To state the bleedin’ obvious, we need a new GK – oh for Jack Butland, but I would like to see RM abandon the 2 holders and put Ross in there. And to all those who say he can’t tackle, neither could Scholes but it didn’t stop him from being one of the greatest midfielders in Europe, and would free up a position for Mirallas

As the article points out, Champions League places are up for grabs; we need to be both bolder and stop shipping goals, and no... they’re not mutually exclusive.

Patrick Murphy
29 Posted 09/11/2015 at 10:48:59
David (#27),

I can understand and share your concerns about the lack of clean sheets and lack of victories, but is sacking Roberto really the solution to those issues?

What about the long-term future of the team? If and admittedly it’s a big if the team manage to go on a winning run and make it’s way to a two-legged Capital One semi-final this side of Christmas, wouldn’t that mean that Roberto is doing a reasonable job?

I can’t remember an Everton manager being so lacking in support from a fair proportion of the fan-base. I can understand some of the reasons and most of them are valid, but this lack of support seems to be of a more personal nature and has been present since the man was first appointed.

Given the short-termism among many clubs in the Premier League, it shouldn’t come as a surprise... but usually Evertonians are willing to give their manager time and patience; for some unfathomable reason – at least to me – many won’t be happy until Mr Martinez is plying his trade elsewhere, unless of course he gets maximum points from the next dozen games.

If Mr Martinez is fired (I don’t think he will be unless the club does actually get taken over), who else of any substance would replace him? How many of our talented players would choose to follow him out of the door in the Summer? Most importantly of all, would another manager really increase Everton’s odds of qualifying for Europe?

John Keating
31 Posted 09/11/2015 at 11:05:57
Patrick, in my opinion I think Martinez’s lack of support is not of a personal nature. In my case I think he comes across as a really nice guy who has tried to understand the Club, it’s history and values.

The way he dealt with the Stones issue preseason I believe only enhanced his personal reputation amongst the support. I firmly believe that Martinez’s critics, in the main, are those that cannot understand his tactics and football philosophy.

His obsession with statistics has been done to death. The imbalanced teams, certainly of last season, he puts out. The relatively slow build-up play, fitness issues, apparent non-practise of set-pieces; these and more I believe create disenchantment with supporters
Brent Stephens
32 Posted 09/11/2015 at 11:10:29
Tony #23 "Maybe then we can sing a song about Funes Mori. He will fly through the sky, and you’ll get a black eye, THAT’S AMORI!"

Love it! I hope somebody picks that one up and runs with it at games. I know can’t get the tune and words out of my head!

To continue but adapt the first verse of the sing...
"When the blues seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine
That’s our Mori".

However it then continues...
"Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you’ll sing ’Vita bella’
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella"

It’s the tippy-tippy bit that concerns me. Sounds like some of our tactics.

Brian Harrison
33 Posted 09/11/2015 at 11:16:42
Patrick you always give a thoughtful and fair assessment when you post.

Just to take up your reply to David's post, you said you agreed with some of his criticisms of RM, and you I think rightly said you felt that a majority of fans wants him gone. I have been going to Goodison since the 50s and I can't remember the crowd being as quiet as they have been in the last 18 months.

I have to say that I thought we could have done better than get RM as manager, but in his first season we played bright attacking football a real joy to watch at times. But, since that first season, I don’t know why he changed his style but we have become slow and predictable and quite honestly boring to watch at times.

Probably this is why the crowd is so quiet. Having said that, I believe we have some excellent players who could (if managed correctly) challenge for a top 4 place. As you say, opinions will change if we get to a Carling Cup final and go on a winning run in the league. I just feel as if we are a team playing with the handbrake on.

I hope I am completely wrong about RM and we do challenge for 4th place and push on for a Cup final. There are many varying views amongst us TW posters but what unites us is our love for our club, but we all differ on how to get the best from our team.

Peter Barry
34 Posted 09/11/2015 at 11:42:29
Nice to see that Klippety Klopetty is already going plipetty plopetty.
Jim Bennings
35 Posted 09/11/2015 at 12:36:27
And what was it that won Crystal Palace the game at Anfield??

Yes, guys, you guessed it: a good old-fashioned centre-half scoring a header from a corner!!

Take note, Roberto, that just sometimes a lot of can be said of doing work from set-pieces.

By the way, Patrick, I’m not certain how many fans really want Martinez sacked; I think the majority (me included) just want the man to be a lot more flexible and to wake up to his negligence on working on certain subjects — such as the set-pieces.

Patrick Murphy
36 Posted 09/11/2015 at 13:08:47
Jim (35) The link I provided earlier which was from the Echo clarifies the managers thoughts on the subject of goals from set-pieces and he said when he first came to Goodison:-

The Catalan admitted as much in an early season interview. The key, as he consistently maintains, is about his side imposing themselves on the game via possession.

Set-pieces? He can take or leave them. Largely because the risk of losing the ball as a result is just not considered worth it.

"I always believe that a goal from open play is a more satisfying goal," said Martinez. "The hardest thing in football is to break a team down when everyone is behind the ball. A free-kick or dead-ball situation is less in your control. But you are relying more on the bounce of the ball or people switching off or doing their duties.

"Dead-ball situations are a big part of the game, don’t get me wrong. But you are a winning team when you don’t rely on set-pieces and I do prefer open play goals — I’m not going to hide it."

Given he hasn’t said anything different in the ensuing 2.5 years, it doesn’t look as if the Manager will listen to the fans’ concerns and will carry on regardless of our criticism. The fans are asking for something that the manager is unlikely to give them, so the dissatisfaction on that particular aspect will continue unabated. Jim, I’m not so sure that you are correct in your assertion that a decent portion of the fan-base don’t want Roberto removed from his position.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 09/11/2015 at 14:07:28
When Martinez came in as Everton’s manager, I had a open mind about him and I can honestly say under his first season it was a pleasure to go to Goodison Park again.

It started to go wrong during the last few games of that season but I, and I think a few more fans, put it down to a drop in form after a long season.

Then last season became a very poor experience going to watch Everton and it became clear that the manager would not change his tactics or philosophy. I gave him another chance to change his stance on how we played this season but is apparent that the slow build up and too many passes is part of the managers plans and he isn’t going to change this style. There is no adventure in this game and it seems to me Martinez is more frightened of losing than trying to win matches.

I follow Everton and I think I always will, God willing, but I am getting very little pleasure from following them under Mr Martinez, the other week my great grandson, aged eight didn’t want to go to the game. He has a season ticket, he said "grandad it’s boring" and he lives for football.

Michael Penley
38 Posted 09/11/2015 at 14:39:25
Patrick (#36),

So Martinez wants us to play bad set pieces and short corners so we don’t lose possession, yet West Ham’s goal came from us playing a short corner while inexplicably leaving half the team in their box. That makes sense.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 09/11/2015 at 14:51:17
Jim (#35),

I would go along with you regarding Martinez, being more flexible, but regarding corners, we have four coaches in the dugout plus several subs. Why can’t someone make a point about putting a man at the front for set-pieces, because as you say, a lot of the crowd have been aware of it for over 12 months now.

Fourth place is definitely up for grabs, and with the attacking players we now have at the club, it should be within our reach.

I think it’s been better than last season, so far at Goodison, Dave, but I do think we’re at a crossroads, and I’m not sure if Martinez is hindering us or not at the minute.

Brent, who’s the gay tarantella? Frankie?

Jim Bennings
40 Posted 09/11/2015 at 14:53:46
What we gather by now is Martinez is extremely rigid in his "possession at all costs" belief.

Apart from the odd exception like the Sunderland match, the majority will be games where we don’t work the opposition goalkeeper anywhere near enough.

Did we really test West Ham enough on Saturday once they lost Payet?

Did we really test a very tired weak looking Arsenal team at the Emirates or did we really test a Liverpool team anywhere near enough which was in crisis in Rodgers last game in charge?

You wouldn’t mind but unlike in Martinez’s first season, we don’t even boss possession anymore, Norwich came to Goodison a few weeks ago and dominated the football.

I truly believe to some extent that Martinez has some kind of OCD when it comes to this possession obsession!

Jim Bennings
41 Posted 09/11/2015 at 15:02:42
As Evertonians we can do nothing other than try to support it but we don’t have to love it!

I doubt we’ll ever truly adore this type of slow build up unless it leads to some kind of considerable success, either a trophy win or something that is unusual for Everton Football Club like a win at Anfield.

Until we achieve something that pleases the fans like that, then the majority will continue to be disgruntled with it, and I will be completely unbiased here, at this very moment in time, and arguably over the last 12 months if I was a neutral I’d rather watch the swashbuckling performances of the likes of Leicester City and Crystal Palace than some of the mundane lifeless displays I’ve witness as a Blue.

David Hallwood
42 Posted 09/11/2015 at 15:05:58
Patrick (#29),

Firstly, I’m not in the Martinez Out camp, I’m commenting on a problem with our game that he isn’t addressing. In the calendar year 2013, we had the best defensive record in the division, last season we shipped 50 goals and this season we’ve conceded 16 in 12 games, which is on course for yet another 50 goals against-and that with what is effectively a 6-man defence (or 7 if you count the GK – oh sorry in our case that’s still 6).

Now football is about opinions and whether you’re the average punter like us or a pundit who had stellar career in football, the only opinion is the managers. For example the world and his mother are saying that the way we set up has been sussed, and by pressing high nullifies the best pair of attacking FB’s in the EPL. I would add that with the injury to Baines the rational for having 2 holders in MF was questionable.

But to go back to the 50-a-season habit, Martinez will have to solve it because if you remember he took the job with a promise of CL football, but shipping 50 goals we’ll be lucky to get top 6, which means Stones, Coleman, Deulofeu, Lukaku et al will be poached, and our destiny will be to be a feeder club for the rich & famous.

Martinez deserves a huge amount of credit for bringing in and bringing on players that would not look out of place at any of the top sides in Europe let alone England, but that’s also his weakness, because if he doesn’t fix glaring problems in the team, that’s where they’ll end up not in a blue shirt.

Brent Stephens
43 Posted 09/11/2015 at 15:21:21
Tony #39 "Brent, who's the gay tarantella? Frankie?"
Tony Abrahams
44 Posted 09/11/2015 at 15:25:00
He won’t fly through the air, coz he’s scared he might get hurt... FRANKIE HOWARD.
Oliver Molloy
45 Posted 09/11/2015 at 15:28:56
Every manager deserves 3 years minimum to build his own team (unless of course it is all going horribly wrong) in my opinion.

After this time, the board must weigh up the situation, look at how the manager has performed, and either back him or sack him.

In season two, Martinez went all out to win the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League and it totally backfired on him. If I was the Chairman of EFC, I would be expecting Martinez to deliver a season similar to season one or better.

Failure to do so, and I would be saying "Thank you and Goodbye."

Brent Stephens
46 Posted 09/11/2015 at 15:47:23
Tony, that one passed me by.
Patrick Murphy
47 Posted 09/11/2015 at 15:49:39
David (#42)

It wasn’t my intention to put you in any camp, but rather I was trying to reflect that there is more disquiet among the supporters than any of us would like. But it is not difficult to understand why and this blog on ESPN, gives some of the reasons for that disquiet:

Inconsistent Everton

James Flynn
48 Posted 09/11/2015 at 16:06:03
Patrick (47) - Yep, read that this morning. Luke covers soccer for ESPN, but is a Blue and time to time they let him post Everton-specific columns.

What he says at the link you provided has been part of the running discussion here in ToffeeWeb.

James Hughes
49 Posted 09/11/2015 at 16:32:04
Patrick it’s what we have all been saying/thinking for 18 months now, since the back end of RM’s first season we seemed to lose the plot.

I believe we have some quality players and should be doing better than we are. (Galloway has been outstanding.)

On another note, it was funny to see Klopp moaning about the fans leaving early, but then they do have to get back to Norway !!!

Jake Prendergast
50 Posted 09/11/2015 at 17:16:03
I was very encouraged with the defence (at last).

I thought Osman for Barkley would have helped for the last 15 minutes.

Dick Fearon
51 Posted 09/11/2015 at 20:53:56
To say there is not a plan for set pieces could be wrong. There must be some as yet unfathomable reason why Barkley is delegated as the sole taker of dead ball taker.

There could be a degree of subtleness involved that escapes us all.

Jim Bennings
52 Posted 10/11/2015 at 09:27:30
Deulofeu should be on the corners, when he’s on the pitch, he’s the one man who can beautifully whip balls over so it’s a no trainer for me.

I read the full in-depth column from the Echo about our set-pieces dilemma and whilst I agree with it, it’s very ignorant to ignore the lack of movement inside the box, the jostling to try and attack the ball and try to drag defenders and markers out the way.

Greg O’Keefe focuses on what a lot of fans do, the failure to beat the first man but as someone pointed out why can’t that first man on the near post be an Everton player? Goals do get scored or created from deft near-post flick-ons do they not?

But again it’s about the lack of movement and jostling inside the area; yes, our corners are poorly taken at tines but rather than just the taker, the guys inside the box need to get out of the comfort zone of just standing still like statues, it’s too easy to mark for opposing defences.

If I was manager of any team, this would be one of the first things I would be making my players aware of.

Too much focus is on the taker but not the lazy bastards that just stand there static in the box..


A very key word in football.

Laurie Hartley
53 Posted 10/11/2015 at 09:36:18
Ken - "From the corner our keeper was off his line like a train, taking all before him, à  la Southall,"
Made me chuckle.

Laurie Hartley
54 Posted 10/11/2015 at 09:41:08
Jim (52) - Movement - you mean like Tim Cahill don't you.
Dave Pritchard
55 Posted 10/11/2015 at 09:46:28
Ha ha Jim, 52 'a no trainer' . Sounds about right to me with respect to our set pieces.
Jim Bennings
56 Posted 10/11/2015 at 09:58:36
Haha no brainer or trainer eh Dave, guess the same thing applies for our setpiece " in-expertise".

Yes Laurie I think Tim Cahill had pretty much mastered the fine arts of movement in the box, other examples like Gary Speed, Dave Watson, Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell, or Joleon Lescott even had that canny knack.

Its hardly like we don't have lads there who can't do it if trained and encouraged correctly.

Funes Mori?
Naismith when he plays?
Stones, big enough lad?
Even James McCarthy, big physical lad?!

It just need more time spending on.

Tony Abrahams
57 Posted 10/11/2015 at 10:28:59
The crosses wouldn't have to all be in the air either Jim. Dela, Barkley, Miralles and Lennon can all beat a man, Coleman likewise. We just trot over put two hands in the air and take the same out-swinger every time.

No variation whatsoever, and never a quick short one, to catch out our opponents. Remember the roll back to Gary Stevens, in the eighties? Simple but very effective.

Jim Bennings
58 Posted 10/11/2015 at 10:40:55

I agree!

The one part of O'Keefe's article though I do fully agree with is where is says it's unlikely to ever change with this current managerial philosophy, the day's when a ripple of excitement ran through Goodison from corner-kicks have long gone, maybe for good!

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