From My Seat: Swansea (H)

So many good players under-performing and, worse still, showing little fight or intensity. Let’s hope they get it together for Wednesday. Today they were all expensive Fur Coat but no knickers!

Ken Buckley 24/01/2016 31comments  |  Jump to last

Lunch in Walton and a meet up in the Room of Nonsense where we anticipated a steady three points as we warm up for Wednesday night. The team came through and found favour with most, although a rumour had gone around that Robles may be in in place of Howard. He wasnt. The walk up was a procession of fans in good mood anticipating nothing less than a victory against a team in some bother at the wrong end of the table. Snatches of conversations were of where in the league we would be after these three points. I wasnt so cock sure as Swansea were in their first game under a new chief coach and that always gives teams a lift.

In for Z-Cars and the handshake and we start the game attacking the Park End. For a good minute and a half we chased shadows as Swansea played keep-ball and in the main we stood off and let them. Not a good omen I thought. The next half hour was to prove my thinking right as it was the worst spell I can remember for many a year. In the first ten minutes we had one dangerous looking attack which saw a counter attack four on three with Besic leading the charge and Mirallas sprinting to his right and screaming for the ball. Besic ignored him motored on and struck a shot that hit the outside of the post.

The next time I noted Besic he was sitting on the turf. The medics came on and took him off to be replaced by Cleverely. That is a blow to us as he has been out injured a lot and was just starting to look like a player and now another set- back. You have to feel for the lad. Swansea were attacking when they could with Ayew showing well. They also were quick to close us down with fair means or foul as Barkley found out when he was decked. We did get a free kick for that though.

It was painful to watch now and Goodison was like a morgue, eerie in fact. The players needed something. We needed something just to get the match going. What we did get was not altogether to our liking as Stones found himself with the ball at his feet and not much on for a pass to feet, a perfect opportunity for one over the top to give Lukaku and Mirallas a run but no, he dallied and dillied and then hit a slow back pass to Howard which Ayew spotted and was after it like a robber's dog,. Howard started to come, stopped (that was fatal) then came again a touch too late and he met Ayew and sort of kicked him up in the air and our ref. Mr Taylor did not hesitate to point to the spot. Our lads sort of protested but to no avail. Sigurdsson took and almost took the net off. Who was to blame? Well from my seat it was both Stones and Howard plus the dilly-dallying at the back. The faithful were not pleased.

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Everton tried to rally but we were lacklustre. I have seen much more life in a dog's fur. Lukaku did turn well to get a shot in but it bothered the corner flag more than the goal. As the half hour approached Baines at last got a good cross in and Deulofeu hit it hard and low on target but a Swans defender got a block and we got a corner. Cleverley put in a low one and our only decent player Barry made the near-post run and got a flick on it and the ball went in off a post. The roar that usually greets goals for the Blues at Goodison was at best tepid.

The goal was timed at 25 minutes and I thought that might be just what we need to wake up and play but within five minutes things got worse as Mirallas pulled up and had to be replaced by Pienaar. So that is him and Besic out for the City game and much longer probably plus, we had used two subs to injury in the first half hour making it difficult to change much as the manager might have liked.

Could it get any worse? Well, yes it could and did when just four minutes later we failed to halt a Swansea raid and the ball was fed to Ayew who shot with venom, the ball deflected off Stones and whipped past Howard at his near post and, Hey-Ho, we are behind again.

Swansea were now protecting their lead by parking the bus and our efforts to break it down almost always ended in blocks or a misplaced pass. Swansea were taking advantage of this by breaking quickly and stretching us. Where Swansea were quick, incisive and putting a real shift in we looked, I am sorry to report, bereft of ideas and no one except Barry tried to rectify the situation. In fact, it would have been easy to accuse certain players of not really trying such was the lethargy. Half-time was a welcome relief from what we had witnessed.

During the interval we had a young lad George Shaw who has cerebral palsy getting the chance to score a goal at the street end and receive the crowds roar, all this set up by Deulofeu. Everton do some things really, really, well. I bet that little lad and his dad who was with him were made up.

Second half and we did start brighter but not with that intensity that suggests cups have been thrown. We attacked more but were unable to really get at them where it mattered and, indeed, the first chance of the half went to the visitors when, from our move breaking down, Swansea swiftly got down our right and Routledge got into our box and let fly but luckily Howards leg was the saviour.

We then started to get wide and get the ball into the box and with some success at times. Baines and Lukaku exchanged passes, Baines's cross was on the money and Barkley should have scored but didnt and as it turned out it didnt matter as Baines was given offside. However ,our strategy of getting wide and getting crosses in was unsettling Swansea and their keeper was booked for time-wasting at an early hour. Also Barkley was trying to get his surge going but was thwarted on the edge by crowding out or he twisted and turned this way and that but could never find his right moment and eventually ended up being robbed.

Deulofeu was having a little purple patch and speeding passed his men usually from a well-placed pass from Barry and delivering some excellent hard and fast crosses the fact that we did not capitalise on this period has me baffled. As anyone who follows the Blues on a regular basis can tell you the type of cross that he puts in with some 95% accuracy yet the players he trains and plays with seem not to have the fans' knowledge as no one closes on the goal line as he delivers. Today I am convinced we could have scored three if they had half the knowledge of the fans. Makes you wonder what they do in training.

The clock was ticking down at what seemed a fast rate of knots and the manager used the last available sub by swapping Oviedo with Coleman. Oviedo got a good send-off but in truth he had not had his greatest game. The best efforts we had were from Baines corners and also a loud shout of Penalty from the street end but the ref waved that awa,y plus no player made the claim. Barry was tirelessly prompting but the edge of the box was our downfall as we seemed to run out of ideas there and Lukaku looking disinterested as we failed to get a ball to his feet going forward and, to make matters worse, when he at last got one he tamely put it wide.

Ten to go and Barkley got a cross in that Lukaku got to but could only loop it to the keeper. Then Stones, who had a day to forget, did come forward and deliver a superb through pass to Coleman who sped in on goal then scuffed a shot that went past the far post. I have seen him do much better with those sorts of chances.

Three minutes extra added and one more chance occurred when from a corner Stones headed across goal to the far post where Coleman was lurking unmarked. A tap in, GOAL was in the throat but that is where it died as he somehow hoisted it over the bar with the last kick of the game.

MotM Barry

Coming out of the ground was a bit like leaving a funeral. Sombre faces heading into the dusk and many wondering if we will get near City on Wednesday. The manager was getting some stick, mainly due to the lessons we are supposed to be learning are not being learned and too many games are throwing up the same mistakes.

I wondered if it was the semi-final on too many minds that caused that football calamity today. So many good players under-performing and, worse still, showing little fight or intensity. I think fans can take a defeat if the players have given their all but todays offering is only likely to cause rancour.

We have our manager and other managers lauding our players with some being in high demand for high money. I hope the players realise that even if it is Barcelona next stop they should represent their club with respect and put in the shifts of skill and endeavour and not believe their own hype. Fans pay lots of money to follow and support them and deserve of their best.

Lets hope they get it together for Wednesday. Today they were all expensive Fur Coat but no knickers!

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Reader Comments (31)

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Paul Ferry
1 Posted 25/01/2016 at 03:45:34
A wordsmith! Utterly priceless!

'Howard started to come, stopped (that was fatal) then came again a touch too late and he met Ayew and sort of kicked him up in the air and our ref. Mr Taylor did not hesitate to point to the spot'

I love the 'sort of' and 'our ref' in this. This is writing 'for the masses' at its best. We are so lucky. The description of the incident is modestly perfect; the 'that was fatal' is therefore like an exocet hitting home.

These reports need to be archived.

Wesley Coles
2 Posted 25/01/2016 at 04:02:25
Makes a change to us playing well and losing/drawing.I certainly hope players had one eye on the City game and can make amends. Lukaku had a nightmare and Cleverley seemed to be drifting away from centre midfield where he was needed.
Christopher Timmins
3 Posted 25/01/2016 at 06:53:37
Ken, on a different thread I mentioned pre match the City game and its possible impact on the performance. Resting Jags confirmed to me that the manager wanted him for the game that might save his season.

On yesterday's performance, it was as bad as it gets. Howard is just like Distin last year, just one year to many and the central defence is Jags plus one.

Besic and Mirallas were big losses yesterday and will be missed on Wednesday.

We can't make top 4, we are very unlikely to make a top 7 spot so Wednesday is a massive game.

If we lose on Wednesday and someone comes in with £50 million for Stones before next Monday, let him go! Give the manager until the end of the season to turn things around and if he fails then he should pay the price. However, I have major preference for a new owner to select his replacement if it comes to it. The banner at Southampton got it right "Bill & Co it's time to go".

Rob Hooton
4 Posted 25/01/2016 at 06:54:15
Thanks as always Ken, must have been difficult to raise the energy to write that without throwing a few expletives in for good measure!

One of the most disheartening performances I have seen in a long, long time – the players need a rocket up them. There was such little energy shown by the team and I think you’ve got it spot on where the players believe the hype around them. They will never be top drawer without busting a gut every week a la (dare I say it) Suarez and other top class players who run themselves silly every match.

Now dreading Wednesday...

Laurie Hartley
5 Posted 25/01/2016 at 08:05:58
Thanks for the report Ken.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:07:12
You told it just like it was, Ken, as usual, we are being drained of any hope by this manager and his methods, the very slow starts are killing the atmosphere and any enthusiasm the crowd begins with is slowly muted by the apathy of a lot of the players.

Thanks for mentioning the young boy George, at least he can take some moments from this game, a lovely couple of minutes for us fans to remember as well. The game will be quickly forgotten except for the anger it generated..., is this the middle part of the end of Martinez’s time at Goodison?

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:16:42
I am also with the majority in that Wednesday night has to be the pinnacle of where we are going under Martinez. I don’t expect anything but a resounding defeat this time, I expect the manager will blame everything from luck, young players learning and making mistakes and probably he’ll come up with the old sticky grass one again soon.

We really have learned nothing from last season, nothing from this season and he’s unlikely to ever change. The same problems that started showing in the latter part of his first season continued into last and have fostered into this, with the attack being better the time around, largely though down to the form of Lukaku and Deulofeu.

Once Lukaku hits a barren spell or Gerry pulls up with the classic trademark Everton Hamstring Club, that’s probably when goals will start drying up.

Once we go out on Wednesday night, it’s season over, apart from trying to get 40 points before the end of March to stave off any late relegation worry.

Another season like last, stick with this management it will be another summer like last, nothing worked on, nothing learned, just more of the same, minus the 15-20 goals that Lukaku gave us this season.

Paul Kennedy
8 Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:45:43
Great report. I wonder when Roberto said he would get us into the Champions League if he was misunderstood and he meant the Championship!!

I also think its time we stopped giving Stones the benefit of the doubt; he is costing us games. I really hope he matures and becomes the Beckenbauer he thinks he is. I think we should cash in.

It is no secret that Swansea central defenders took Lukaku out of the game, as they did against Watford. So give me some boring central defenders who just clear it instead of cocking it up in our box.

Was yesterday a showcase to sell our players? Why Play Oviedo out of position? Did our super tactical Manager really believe we were just going to roll them over with the power of our forwards? Lukaku needs to learn how to hold a ball up.

I have mixed feelings for Wednesday night. I really think we are closer to the relegation fight than we thought around Christmas. Draws are not enough!!!

John Raftery
9 Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:13:22
Gareth Barry has been a model of consistency all season. He is head and shoulders above the rest of the squad at the moment especially since Lukaku has gone off the boil. We keep reading that this is the best squad we have had since 1985. Well, on this season’s form, they are not even the best since 2005.

In fact the 2007-08 team of Arteta, Cahill and the younger Osman, Pienaar and Howard were much superior. They played as a team making their ability count during the crucial moments of games. It is hardly a coincidence that Lukaku has lost form since Kone was dropped. Romelu needs to stop putting his head in his hands when he misses chances and concentrate on putting his head, or any legitimate part of his anatomy, on the end of crosses.

The lack of collective effort and focus yesterday was quite alarming as was the way two players pulled up with injuries in the first half hour. Bearing in mind they had a full week plus one day to prepare for this game raises serious questions about what they have been doing, or not doing, at Finch Farm.

Wednesday’s second leg is now an opportunity for the players to redeem themselves. The atmosphere will be better and whoever is playing I expect they will put in a shift for the 7,292 travelling supporters. Whether or not that will be enough we can only wait and see.

Graham Mockford
10 Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:24:49
The substitution of Oviedo for Coleman was Martinez's tactical inflexibility in a microcosm.

He had decided before the game that Coleman would play 30 minutes in preparation for the City game on Wednesday. Despite the fact we had already used two substitutes, being 2-1 down and having attacking alternatives on the bench he replaced his right back anyway.

He is a classic example of a big picture thinker who doesn't grasp the detail, doesn't want to get his hands dirty in the messy stuff. Ultimately this is why he is doomed to fail.

Kevin Elliott
11 Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:30:07
"I have seen more life in a dog's fur."

Brilliant Ken. Good job we have you to put a little sunshine in our lives.

Fran Mitchell
12 Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:32:37
Lukaku looks knackered. Added to the fact he must be utterly demoralised, I can't remember a striker having such a great run of form and it resulting in so few points.

Hopefully we can get a draw on Wednesday, but either way, Martinez has to go.

He is incapable of turning round poor form, this is the second winter on the trot. And worst of all are his excuses, And I expect he is very much the same in training and in his mind,

He will not accept criticism, ergo, he will not change.

We need a new manager, simple as. An interim manager for the short term, maybe from with but personally I'd like we go for experience.

Anton Garvey
13 Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:49:10
Why play a left back at right back? Cleverly played in between Baines and Peanut messing them up at times, Barkley's too deep. The manager us full of waffle. Go and get a top man, enough is enough.
Peter Roberts
14 Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:52:48
Fran why would Lukaku be knackered as you put it? He looks laboured but to me that is "him" and his lazy ways. Was he tired at 7 minutes where he just lets a Swansea defender walk past him with the ball (see twitter, its pretty much gone viral).

Lukaku plays when Lukaku wants to play, its as simple as that. His performance yesterday was a disgrace. 4 or 5 times, Deulofeu put in world class crosses which split the defence and the keeper and zipped across the 6-yard box.... what was Rom doing? Looking like he was running in quick sand by the penalty spot. It was as deceitful a performance I have seen. At a time when the fans needed a player who can make a difference to put in a shift, he just downed tools.

Alan Shearer would have scored 4 or 5 goals for us yesterday – we can look to blame Martinez as much as we want but frankly we were gutless up front and between Stones and Lukaku, I do not think I have seen two young players whose egos have gotten so out of control. If they don't want to play for us, then they can go.

Dave Pritchard
15 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:00:26
Graham, I think Martinez deserves a lot of flak but criticising his use of Coleman as a sub should not be regarded as an error as he should have scored twice to win us the game.

Peter, re Lukaku, he has not looked good the last 3 games with yesterday’s showing his poorest for some time. However, the previous 10 to 15 games he has been excellent... so it's harsh to slag him off too much at this time.

Graham Mockford
16 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:10:13

That is not the point I’m making. It is irrelevant what Coleman did. What I am saying is that he went in to the game with a plan to give Coleman a run out and did so regardless of the match situation.

That’s how he does things.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:20:37
Post #10 off Graham nails it. But, even then, Martinez still gets himself wrong too often. Besic goes from not playing at all, to playing every game (quite right). But if Jagielka needed a rest, on medical grounds, (saving him for Wednesday night), then surely Besic is equally influential at the minute.

If you have an inconsistent manager, you will surely have an inconsistent team. Will he ever get rid of his contradictions??

Peter Roberts
18 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:22:54
Dave, I can accept loss of form, fatigue or whatever. Yesterday Lukaku was a disgrace – absolutely zero effort, he did not want to know in the slightest. When your goalscorer does that – what impact do you think it has to the rest of the team?

For me I’m at the stage where I actually think that Martinez may have to go, pride before a fall and all that. He is too reluctant to address the errors of his ways – I don’t doubt that he sees them, he is pig headed like Moyes was.

Pity, the bloke could be a great manager, but for me he lacks humility and allows his pride to get the better of his judgement,

Dave Pritchard
19 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:44:06
Fair enough, Graham. Just wondering how you know that Martinez’s pre-match plan was to give Coleman a run out. Maybe he was just there in case Oviedo broke down again. I don’t know one way or the other.
Fran Mitchell
20 Posted 25/01/2016 at 13:47:33
In terms of Lukaku’s performance, maybe it is his attitude. Yet, when I’m at work, and I work my ass off and it comes to naught, then I eventually say ’why bother’. Yesterday, the entire team was woeful; when a player or two plays badly then that’s down to the player, when the whole team plays that way (except for two 30-something internationals) then the problem is with the manager.

Also, Lukaku knows he is going to play every game, no matter how much rest he needs. I imagine he’s thinking of ’where next’, and why wouldn't he? There is no reason he should be ’loyal’ to us. He’s Belgian – zero connection to the club, widely regarded as one of the best striking talents around, and languishing in mid-table... heading downwards. I very much imagine he’s not too eager to injure himself.

Not that I defend that, but this is what happens with the best players. Their motivation isn’t fan’s praise and worship; their motivation is silverware and challenging at the top. The reason we are not challenging at the top is not Lukaku’s fault, he has 15 goals in 19 games. We are not at the top because of one man: that is Martinez.

Lukaku will likely end the season with 25 goals, this will be enough for him on a personal level to make a move to PSG, Man Utd or Bayern this summer.

Martinez, on the other hand, is destined to work for Sky or BBC.

Robert Workman
21 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:16:17
Evertontv have given Barkley MotM! Unbelievable! He was largely invisible for most of the game – in my opinion, one of his poorest.

Our best players were Barry (as always), Deulofeu (on another day he would have had 3 assists for his crosses) and Pienaar (very pleasing performance, showing he has something still to offer).

Stephen Jones
22 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:09:52
Robert (21) spot on that is how I saw it , the only worrying thing for me was Gerry blowing for tugs and bent over like a sunday league player ?? what is that all about ?
Ray Robinson
23 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:26:39
Stephen (#22) – that’s why I can’t go along with those who reckon that Deulofeu had a good game – he didn’t. He played well (very well) in patches but stood out on the right, uninvolved and behind the play for some considerable part of the game. That’s why for me he is still a bit-part player – no matter how good he can be.
Martin Mason
24 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:54:38
I have no problem with Barkley being MotM as he had a very good game in a poor team display. The problem is when he was headless chicken he was being seen to do something but badly. He doesn’t do the chicken thing now and people think he’s doing nothing as a result.

I thought Deulofeu was poor for long periods but those four crosses really made up for it.

Sam Bull
25 Posted 25/01/2016 at 18:05:53
Graham (10) I agree, and made a similar comment in the live forum, strange sub. Yes, Coleman should've scored, but it could be argued that Oviedo wouldn’t've missed from a yard with his left foot!

Lukaku has been lazy since he joined, he doesn’t close down anyone, but the entire team doesn’t close down, we don’t really press – even outside our own box.

Danny Broderick
26 Posted 25/01/2016 at 19:14:04
Barkley Man of the Match?!

Come off it. No end product yet again. He's a show pony. Can anyone every remember him completely bossing a game/running the show, whatever you call it?

Brian Dagnall
27 Posted 25/01/2016 at 19:16:38
Thanks Ken, I love these reports, you are a master of the understatement. If you feel any anger, which I doubt, you hide it extremely well.

Could you run a tutorial for our manager? He speaks volumes, but conveys little of practical use. His latest outburst says the team are frightened of playing at Goodison. The guy will say any old nonsense to try to disguise the fact that the team HE COACHES make schoolboy errors. It's not Goodison's fault, not your fault Ken, maybe it's all my fault?

When I watch naturally gifted players looking ponderous on the ball (Barkley and Stones as obvious examples) then I tend to conclude they are being asked to play in a style which is alien to their natural inclinations. Yeah, must be Goodison's fault.

Martin Mason
28 Posted 25/01/2016 at 19:17:42
Yes Danny, he did a very good job yesterday in a woeful team and his success rate and work rate were very high.

He's a regular in Everton's team and also in the England line up and highly rated by anyone in the country who knows anything about football.

Russell Smith
29 Posted 25/01/2016 at 21:34:51
As others have said Lakaku has gone right off the boil in the last 3 games and yesterday he looked totally disinterested, but so did most of the others.

Why do we not press high up the pitch like most teams do to us (as Barcelona do)? I have had the pleasure of watching the Holy Trinity team at their best, I watched Kendall develop the team in the mid-eighties. Both teams played beautiful flowing football, but both played it in the opposition's half and never across our own 18 yd line, and both teams worked their socks off every game.

This team could do with watching videos of those teams, they didn’t freeze at Goodison, they knew how to get the crowd up and rocking. The game may be quicker now but the same basic things that made great teams previously still make great teams.....hard work, everyone putting their foot in, and closing down the opposition starting from the centre forward, and attacking and defending as a team.

All the midfield players need to chase and tackle, Barkley for all his talent does not do this, Delboy cannot last more than 60 minutes, the defence needs to defend first and finesse second, Stones has progressively done this in reverse and now gets caught on the ball regularly in the final 18yds. Great talent but are they also the problem?
Jamie Sweet
30 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:49:33
Peter Roberts #14. I've just seen that clip of Lukaku on 7 minutes.

Sorry, but that is simply not acceptable in an Everton shirt.

The reason may be that he knows he will never be given a rest as there is nobody else who can play his position (which is an utterly ridiculous situation in itself), so he feels he needs to conserve energy... but that is taking "lazy fucker" to a whole new level!

Graham Mockford
31 Posted 26/01/2016 at 09:28:45
You have to laugh. A player who has been outstanding this season, scored more goals in all competitions than any player in the country,scored more goals in a calendar year than anyone for 30 years and the boo boys are out.

I appreciate people are pissed off, Peter Roberts has lots of form slagging off Lukaku and obviously has had not much chance recently so he is filling his boots.

I was tild when suggesting people were wrong about Lukaku that to expect when he has a bad game to get some back. Good insight but I will say what I said at the time. The lad is a top quality striker, calling him lazy ( and I don't hear any other single player accused of the same) is bollocks especially considering he has played every single minute of every single league game and every Capital Cup game.

The fundamental issue to our current results is the manager and the manager alone. No system,no willingness to take tough decisions, no shape, no flexibity ...... no fucking clue.

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