Knives are sharpening for Roberto

Three home wins all season and only six overall wins tells it's own story. Time and time again we shoot ourselves in the foot. Time and time again we let ourselves down.

Paul Traill 24/01/2016 56comments  |  Jump to last

"Shit, it's busy!" observed Ste as we drove along our usual parking street. We instead had to settle for a place around the corner. It was busy everywhere on the streets and on the roads around Goodison Park, yet the pub was strangely quiet as Gary, Sue, Ste and myself made some tentative travel arrangements for Manchester City on Wednesday evening.

We were all reasonably happy with the team news, though surprised to see Phil Jagielka not at least named amongst the substitutes.

We all rushed off from the pub pretty quickly and looking at my watch I was wondering what the rush was for... until I realised my watch had stopped. As it turned out we weren't far from missing kick off. Just a smattering of supporters making the trip for Swansea City in a decent Goodison Park crowd.

Swansea got into the game much quicker than we did and were in amongst us from the off. I got the impression they had done their homework on us and their players seemed to have a good understanding of ours. We struggled to get to grips with them early on but you hoped that when Muhamed Besic surged forward from the halfway line and struck a great effort against the post, that we may begin swinging the pendulum our way. As it happened, and such is our luck, the Bosnian actually injured his hamstring striking the ball and had to be replaced by Tom Cleverley. He's now out of the Manchester City game on Wednesday and will also likely be missing for the foreseeable future.

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Everything went downhill from here. We somehow got ourselves into a ridiculous muddle at the back when Gareth Barry played the ball to John Stones who hesitated before playing the ball back to Tim Howard. That hesitation proved crucial as our goalkeeper was unaware that Ayew had ran in to close him down. Howard steadied himself for the big hoof upfield but only realised Ayew was there when it was too late. He then clattered Ayew as he went to kick and Anthony Taylor had no option but to point to the penalty spot. Tim Howard, with all his experience, perhaps should have anticipated he would be put under pressure in that situation, but the hesitated pass from Stones was really poor and is more to blame for me. Regardless, Gylfi Sigurosson converted the penalty expertly and Everton fell behind early on. Anthony Taylor also played his part - failing to spot a rather clear foul on Bryan Oviedo up near the half way line in the build up to the goal but Everton made a real mess of it themselves.

You hoped this would give Everton the proverbial kick up the backside but what followed was mayhem throughout and we looked as though we'd never played with each other before. Our equaliser was thoroughly undeserved but it was a relief, albeit a temporary one, to be level. I thought Gareth Barry had flicked the ball in himself but it has gone down as an own goal from Jack Cork. Swansea will be kicking themselves for not putting a man on the post though it mattered not for them as just eight minutes later they were back ahead when Ayew's drive took a huge deflection from Stones, giving Tim Howard no chance and the ball ended up in the net. Kevin Mirallas had also been substituted amidst the madness and that's another one out of the trip to the Etihad on Wednesday. We limped to half time and the boos weren't quite as deafening as I anticipated they would be at the whistle after a turgid first half display.

Better it got and though it wasn't for lack of trying from Everton we couldn't quite find a way through, though Lucasz Fabianski was criminally untested with just two shots on target to tend all afternoon, and neither of them were especially difficult - Deulofeu's first half distance effort barely even reaching the goal. Romelu Lukaku, who doesn't quite seem up to the form he was in prior to the injury he picked up against Manchester City...I doubt he's actually fit to play at the moment in fact, tried to flick his header into the corner and couldn't make enough contact on the ball, resulting in a comfortable save from Fabianski. He probably would have gotten more luck had he have headed the ball the other side of the net - the way he was facing. It was from a Ross Barkley cross by the way, who's performance was much more akin to those from last season. Unfortunately.

Swansea survived a pretty compelling handball shout - the players reactions speak volumes and you tend to get them as the home team. Well, I imagine most teams do. We are yet to have a league penalty this season. The only team not to in fact. Swansea also survived three splendid balls across the six yard box from Deulofeu which nobody had the intelligence to gamble and throw themselves in there to get on the end of. Oh for a Tim Cahill these days... or even a Naismith.

The worst miss however, and it would have been comical if not for the situation we are in, was the outrageous miss with the last kick of the game from substitute Seamus Coleman who managed to hook the ball way over the crossbar on the volley with an open goal from what must have only been about two yards out. As bad a miss as you will witness. He'd missed a great chance earlier with mind-boggling indecision but this one was plain awful. Another one who can't be fit to play surely?

So yes, we should have grabbed at least a draw from this but it would only be papering over the cracks. Three home wins all season and only six overall wins tells it's own story. Time and time again we shoot ourselves in the foot. Time and time again we let ourselves down. We listened to the BBC Radio Merseyside phone in on the way home, and the knives are now really sharpening for Martinez now. Failure to do the business at the Etihad on Wednesday and he'll be under real pressure.

It looks bleak for our boss, it has to be said.

Player ratings:

Howard: I apportion the blame for Swansea City's first goal to Stones rather than Howard and I felt that otherwise he made one good save and distributed well. Though I don't doubt that a new goalkeeper is required, I don't sit comfortably with the abuse our goalkeeper gets as he has served us well over the years and it's becoming a sad end to what has been a decent Everton career. 7

Baines: Worked hard to get forward and support the attack but his distribution was strangely poor. Combined well with Pienaar at times. 6

Funes Mori: Looked lost at times. It has to be Jagielka plus one of Funes Mori or Stones for me. 5

Stones: There was one period when he strolled forward nonchalantly with the ball with his arms out in a cocky "come on, move will you" action to his team mates. Whilst the movement ahead of he was precious little, it gave me the impression he was sort of asking "how am I supposed to work with you lot?". I doubt this public embarrassment towards his team mates in front of the crowd went down particularly well with any of them. Whilst talented, some of the mistakes he is making, not least today, and the hole's he digs for himself with over-doing it on the ball, suggests he needs to up his game substantially himself. He was awful today and with Jagielka now available again I would leave Stones on the bench on Wednesday. 4

Oviedo: Coped admirably on the wrong side with little protection. Probably shouldn't have been substituted either given that Coleman really didn't seem fit enough to me. 7

Barry: It's almost as if he's the adult showing the kids what to do at times. He is one of the very few who plays with intelligence and consistency. Miles better than anyone else on the park for us this afternoon and most afternoons. My man of the match. 8

Besic: Began very well and was very unfortunate to get himself injured. Will be sorely missed on Wednesday. I hope we can get James McCarthy back onto the pitch by then as we'll have a real problem in the middle if not. 6

Mirallas: Was one of the few who was at least battling to try and force us back into the game and was also unlucky to come off injured. Will also be missed on Wednesday. What a horrible season the lad is having. 7

Deulofeu: He'll be frankly annoyed that none of his team mates got on the end of any of those superb balls he flashed across the penalty area. He did pretty well in attacking areas in the second half. 7

Barkley: One of his poorer games of the season, much more like last season. Just a blip hopefully as he's had a good campaign otherwise. 5

Lukaku: I don't think he's fit. Hopefully we can get him through the Manchester City game and then give him a little rest at Carlisle United. We need him at his best if we are to stand any chance of doing anything this season. He worked quite hard but just didn't seem quite right somehow. 6

Cleverley (for Besic): Didn't contribute an awful lot. 5

Pienaar (for Baines): One of few positives. Nice to see there's life in the old dog yet and it was pleasing to see him reconvene his partnership with Leighton Baines. Would be great if he could remain fit for the rest of the season but I won't hold my breath. 7

Coleman (for Oviedo): Struggled a bit and missed the mother of all sitters. 5

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Reader Comments (56)

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James Marshall
1 Posted 25/01/2016 at 04:17:52
Re your 'cocky John Stones' bit; Seamus Coleman does that about 10 times in every game but nobody pulls him up on it. Baines does it as well.

It has nothing to do with your perceived cockiness.

Jamie Sweet
2 Posted 25/01/2016 at 08:30:14
I thought against Chelsea that it looked like Stones was really starting to believe his own hype. Way too cocky combined with far too many mistakes. A stint on the bench would do him some good I think.

The lack of backup for Lukaku is a massive issue for me. His perceived lack of effort at times is probably because he knows that he will never be given a rest as there is currently nobody else at the club worthy of leading the line.

Seriously, we could find ourselves dragged into a relegation battle if he was suddenly out for the season.

Martin Mason
3 Posted 25/01/2016 at 08:52:30
Class is permanent and Stones is class. What we're seeing now is a loss of form and attitude problem. Please don't add him to the long list of undeserving whipping boys.
Colin Glassar
4 Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:02:35
Spot on, Martin. Stones looks like he’s having a tough time right now but the kid is class. Yesterday, he brought the ball out of defence but there was absolutely no movement in front of him, you could see the frustration in his face.
Dave Pritchard
5 Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:05:15
Martin, I am not wanting to cast anyone as a whipping boy when the team as a unit are not producing but when players are consistently performing poorly, those players should be left out of the team. Stones is the most obvious player that fits that bill at the moment.

For me his head is not right at the moment and this is likely to be from the Chelsea saga back in September. Therefore he needs to be benched until ready to give his best for the team again.

Ray Roche
6 Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:08:57
Lukaku was in need of some support yesterday, but even so, he was way off the pace and didn’t look interested. What great crosses Deulofeu put in. Where was Lukaku for those?

I don’t agree with the marking for Funes Mori or Cleverley either. Funes Mori won some good tackles and got Stones out of trouble a couple of times and Cleverley didn’t hide and certainly put the effort in. Pienaar showed just what we’d missed when he’s been out for so long.

James Stewart
7 Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:16:02
Stones is not the problem, he will be a class act under the right manager. He clearly isn't getting the right guidance, even Barcelona don't piss around at the back like we do.
Brent Stephens
9 Posted 25/01/2016 at 09:52:31
1. We’re defensively vulnerable, week after week.

2. The various players we’ve had playing in the back line this season are no slouches and would get a game in most other PL teams.

3. Our defensive weaknesses are down to tactics, which are down to the manager (debates as to whether that goal was down to Stones’s backpass or Howard’s failure to clear are a distraction from the point that the ball should never have still been with Stones to arse around with but should have been safely upfield).

4. The failed tactics are ruining good players – not the other way round.

5. Do not sell those players, who would walk into most other Premier League teams, just to have to assemble another team with the money earned (risks of dud buys; time for new team to gel).

6. Change the manager and therefore the tactics.

7. Change the tune from Z-Cars to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, or the Monty Python Universe Song.

Kunal Desai
10 Posted 25/01/2016 at 10:01:42
Rightly so, the knives should be sharpening for this clown of a manager. The warning signs were there from Southampton away last season.

11 wins in a season and half with these players is a disgusting return. I really do hope the club have the balls to kick him out in the summer.

Amit Vithlani
11 Posted 25/01/2016 at 10:15:07
If it were up to me, he should be gone today. Give Unsy and Duncan one game to manage – the Semi against Citteh. Fire up the lads and send them out to fight and scrap for every ball.

Stick Moyes as an interim manager. His reputation needs mending and we need to revert back to basic football, which he was very good at. Plus he will finally have a chance to win a trophy if we get into a final.

In the summer find someone with the vision to take this club forward. If the takeover is completed (and I read Phil McNulty’s post on this which suggests it is still on) then the new owners may well have the pulling power to attract those who top many people’s list – ie, Ronald Koeman, Eddie Howe, Aitor Karanka.

If the takeover is not complete, perhaps use Moyes to groom a successor, be it Unsy, Duncan or Tim Cahill.

Moyes is not good enough in my eyes to turn us into a top 4 team but he does know what it takes to be a competitive top 7 outfit. Martinez fucked up the foundation he was given and it needs to be re-laid.

Derek Thomas
13 Posted 25/01/2016 at 10:30:23
Amit; Unsworth and / or Duncan or Sheedy Yes until the end of the season at least. But Moyes... nah, been there, done that, took the knife to the gunfight.
Brian Harrison
14 Posted 25/01/2016 at 10:45:59
There was me blaming the manager and some of the players for yesterday's defeat. But RM has suggested that we the match going fans are to blame for causing a nervous atmosphere. Now why would that be the case?

It couldn't possibly be anything to do with the amount of times we have surrendered 2-goal leads, or our ability to over run teams yet still only draw. Surely it can't be our terrible home form that is creating the nervousness.

I see for whatever reason MotD showed tweets from Rio Ferdinand also having a go at the fans, saying he was glad he learnt his trade at West Ham were they allow young players to make mistakes. Obviously reffering to Stones. Well maybe not learning from mistakes is why West Ham have never won the league.

Also it didn't take Ferdinand long to leave for Leeds then Man Utd. This is the same guy who drove home and forgot to take his drug test, despite being told before training they would be testing him. This is the same guy who refused to play for his country. So I don't think we need take any lessons from him.

Jeff Hughes
15 Posted 25/01/2016 at 10:53:51
I agree with Brent #9 – our poor form at home in particular is down to one person – Martinez! His insistence on possession and control puts pressure on our defenders, as does his lack of belief in practice of defensive situations.

Whilst Howard is the worst keeper in the Premier League (and he was as much at fault as Stones for the first yesterday), we should not pour scorn on Howard. He tries his best but he is not good enough and so it is our manager who needs to recognise this and drop him.

As for Stones, he is a class player but his style may sometimes leave him open for the odd mistake. He would benefit from playing alongside a big and powerful defender who attacks the ball, as Ferdinand benefited from being alongside Vidic and there are players of that the around – look at Williams yesterday!

It is Martinez who needs to understand that the best sides do not contain the eleven best footballers but a side that is balanced and one that is prepared to adapt the approach taken depending on the situation being faced. Some of our performances from winning positions have been laughable.

Fran Mitchell
16 Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:20:18
It’s amazing how little pressure Martinez is under from the Media.

1 win in 10 would put any other manager under pressure, never mind for a team that is believed to be good enough to challenge top 4.

Yet the media simply says of under achieving etc. But Martinez is failing. I’ve been in 2 minds for some time, but now I’m certain.

Two winters on the trot we have had woeful form, and the manager it seems is unable to turn it around.

We are luck the bottom 4 is so useless, otherwise relegation could be a serious possibility, which is frankly absurd.

Martinez has to go, final or league cup or not. He is woeful.

Who can replace him? With our team, I’m sure many a manger could be convinced to come here. We need a proven winner, no more young mangers. (Eddie Howe, no.)

Let’s get a top manager, even if it means breaking the wage budget... A manager that the players will respect and listen to. A manger that will change this team.

Kunal Desai
17 Posted 25/01/2016 at 11:30:41
One man who is free right now is another Roberto. Roberto Di Matteo. I'd take him any day over Martinez. CL winner with Chelsea, was unfairly sacked by WBA.
Linda Morrison
18 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:15:33
I agree with Kunal, that he would be a great choice even if only till the end of the season. I wanted Martinez to succeed but he is at present turning a team that should be in the top 4 into rubbish. He doesn’t fill me with any confidence and this is like last season all over again.

I honestly thought with the team we had we could give the title a go, ho wrong I was. Gary Monk from Swansea was sacked with a better record than Martinez.

My concern is with BK really ill nothing will happen. The CEO must sack Martinez if we go out of the two cups

Tony J Williams
19 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:23:55
It's 60/40 I think for the manager and players.

Stones will have in his mind his manager's be all and end all possession instructions but the fucking great big galoot shouldn't dummy a pass to Howard, turn away and then turn right back to him and pass it when the keeper is moving back to his line. The majority of that goal lies with Stones but his mind is full of that dickhead Linda Blair alike on the touchline probably screaming, "possession, possession, possession".

Sick and tired of leaving Goodison feeling like shit and my wife getting the brunt of my bad moods.

Thank God I'm not renewing so my daughter may see a happier side to her dad every weekend from August onwards.

Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:29:04
Tony, I’m sure you said that last year AS WELL!!
Dean Peamum
21 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:33:45
The knives are out for Roberto from no-one but an ever-growing section of the fans who can plainly see that the best crop of players at the club in 20 years or more are under-performing due to his tactics, misplaced loyalty to out-of-form senior players and mismanagement. I would guess that BK and the board probably think he's doing a great job.

Sadly, no-one at the club seems to give a toss about the fans. Just a few weeks ago, in an interview, Tim Howard basically told the fans to shut up as they didn't know what they were talking about. Two home games ago, John Stones told them to calm down after he thought he was Johan Cruyff in our penalty area. To be fair, he very kindly proved the fans were right yesterday when he farted about like a show pony before giving Howard a delayed back pass and thus gifting Swansea their first goal.

Week after week, after the latest embarrassing debacle a player is rolled out by the club to say we need to do this or that better, but then we still do it as before with no change evident. The stats don't lie, we used to be a regular top six side – last season we finished 11th and this season could be even lower.

Goodison used to be a fortress with regular wins over the top four sides but not anymore, we’re now losing regularly at home to Leicester, Stoke and Swansea. We're Wigan in disguise.

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:36:22
Linda (#18) – the CEO should sack him if he wins both of the cups.
James Stewart
23 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:40:55
Jesus, Roberto Di Matteo, the Birmingham manager, Eddie Howe, blues sure know how to dream.....

Why not put in a call and see if Malky Mackay is still interested?

We should have some self respect as a club and as Evertonian fans to not tolerate the current malaise and aim higher.

Why not Pellegrini? He's settled in the Northwest, won titles here and will be out of a job imminently. Mancini would be another one with the same credentials. A lot of city fans still rate him and thought him harshly dismissed. We have some top players who most managers would jump at the chance to work with, why settle for less?

Jamie Barlow
24 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:51:59
Can’t agree with your mark for Oviedo. Even a half-fit Coleman looked five times better. He’s well out of his depth on the right.

Carl Taylor
25 Posted 25/01/2016 at 12:57:56
Knives should be out for; Tim Howard – More at fault for the penalty by waiting on his heels for the ball to come to him, and the deflection for the 2nd didn’t change the direction, just the trajectory. Stand up and if it hits you in the face, it stings but it's a save!!

Martinez – I so wanted him to succeed, mainly because I was bored of Moyes’ plucky little Everton attitude. Great squad, not getting results, its the manager. Get rid and we could do worse than bringing Moyes back to manage this squad.

The knives should not be out for Stones, Coleman or any other players, as they are following Martinez’s instructions. Not all defenders should be ’footballers’, Mountfield, Watson, even the OAP Gough all knew their job and it wasn’t building attacks in the opposition’s half.

I'm so fed up after yesterday and dreading an embarrassing Wednesday night. I pray to whoever will listen we get another nil-nil and Stoke stuff the devil's team!!

Denis Richardson
26 Posted 25/01/2016 at 13:21:19
Knives should have already been sharp from last season but there where many wanting to give him more time (first 10 games were hard, give him till Xmas, we’re so close to something special etc). Seems the penny is finally dropping for the masses.

RM has one huge talent and that is the gift of the gab. He’d make a fantastic snake oil salesman. Only issue with being a good bullshitter is that you don’t last long in any one place. Eventually people see through the bullshit and realise there’s nothing of substance there....

We were in a horrible situation 12 months ago, with the R word being banded about. It took the senior players then to tell RM to stuff it and play more direct to get us out of trouble. 12 months later, we’re sill in a horrible situation, only not quite as bad (however, no Europa League to use as an excuse this time). So what now? The players need to go mutiny again? I can’t imagine the dressing room is too happy a place right now.

Have sad it a million times, it does not matter how good you are going forward, you simply don’t win many matches with a leaky defense and our manager just does not do defense. Most of our back line is made up of seasoned internationals but its about as safe as a fart in a net. We’ve gone from having one of the best defenses to one of the worst in just 18 months, with pretty much the same players. I am pretty sure Baines and Stones must be a bit nervous about making the England squad for the Euros – if you were Hodgson, would you pick either of them right now?

It’s a results business at the end of the day and I cannot imagine starting next season with Stones and Lukaku in the squad. They’ll be off in the summer if RM is still in charge (maybe others too: Coleman & Mirallas). Only chance of getting them to stay is to bring in a quality manager. West Ham, Southampton (twice) even Leicester have managed to bring in managers who don’t cost the earth but have proven experience (both playing and managing) at the top level. Players want to play for winners at the end of the day. Bullshit only lasts for so long.

I will give credit to RM for one thing, his bullshit was what got the young players to the club in the first place. Now we need someone decent to make the bollocks come true.

Simon Dutton
27 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:00:34
I do wonder whether any of our supporters have actually ever played football!! It’s alright saying it’s Martinez’s tactics but at the end of the day as a player you still have to be intelligent enough to know that you have to go against what you are being told occasionally and just put the ball in Row Z or knock the ball long. Problem is the players don't want to take that responsibility, they know they wont lose their jobs.

If we had a centre-forward that busts a gut to get in the box every time the ball went wide yesterday, he would have had several easy chances. That's not the manager saying "Rom, you take your time and get in the box when you’re ready" – that's players not taking responsibility.

When Stones was bringing the ball out from the back, there was no movement by anyone in front of him to get into space to receive the ball; again, that’s not the manager saying "Everybody stand still so you are easy to mark" – that’s the players not taking responsibility.

As I say, it's easy to blame the manager and his tactics, but the players are on the pitch playing and they need to be intelligent enough and responsible for the performances on the pitch.

Rob Halligan
28 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:02:16
Tony Williams. #19. Hilarious, mate, reminds me of the Coral advert when the fan repeatedly screams "Put it in the goal, put it in the goal, put it in the goal" as he is pointing towards the goal.
Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:31:29
Simon, I’m sure most people who post on TW have played football. After watching the Stones/ Howard incident again, I think you're correct and the players should know when to kick it into Row Z, or when to just go long. Do you not think if Howard plays on the front foot, he can’t knock that short back pass long?

Agree with you about Lukaku not attacking the ball enough. But for a team that was losing to one of the bottom teams at home, do you think the tactics were right to find Lukaku, isolated so many times?

Football when I played it was usually about winning. This happened more when players took responsibility (agreed), but it doesn’t half work better when everyone knows their job.

You have said it yourself though Simon. Does it really matter if a player takes responsibility under this present regime? Because being really organised, doesn’t seem to be part of the plan.

Clive Rogers
30 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:31:38
Martinez is paying the price for some bad decisions in the summer. One was giving Hibbert a new contract when he was never going to play.

We now have no cover for Coleman. Oviedo looked most uncomfortable and was at fault for the second goal when he left acres of space down the left.

Another bizarre decision was to tell Garbutt he lacked experience at 22, and would be loaned out, then start picking an 18-year-old with no experience at all. We have had problems all season down the left. Surely Garbutt could have done a job there, or allowed Baines to move upfield.

Jamie Crowley
31 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:42:07
We deserved to lose, but...

How did the ref not see the handball in the middle of the pitch and it ended up in the back of our net 5 seconds later?

How did the ref not call a PK for a 100% handball against Seamus in the box in the second half?

Is anyone going to get on the end of one of Delo's sublime crosses anytime soon?

I said this last week... Why does John Stones continually fart around with the ball deep in our own end and hurt us? It's not Roberto's instruction as you can clock time with a sundial when Stones gets possession at times.

Felt like I was watching a bad game of basketball there was so much handling!

Shane Corcoran
32 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:46:01
Jamie, the referee may have been blindside of the handball incident but I honestly don't know what warrants a handball in soccer any more.

The rules are so vague. I guess you can only base it on what other refs have given.

The commentators always say how close the person is to the ball and whether they could have moved their hand out of the way but I haven't a clue.

Jamie Crowley
33 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:57:45
Shane - I actually ref. Kids games admittedly but I have the bullshit Level 8 license here in the States.

Distance is a factor, but the main one is, "is the arm in a "natural position" when the ball strikes it?" That’s actually secondary to "was it intentional" but stick with me.

The first handball the player for Swansea had his arm extended and elevated. In no way a "natural position". Same should have been said for the Seamus incident.

I was flabbergasted when Kevin Kilbane doing commentary here in the States said the Seamus incident wasn’t a handball. Both incidences, the defender made himself "bigger" to stop the ball. That’s 100% handball every time.

The one in the first half was horrific because it clearly stopped an attacking opportunity going the other way and should have been blown up immediately.

And, we were guilty of like 2-3 handballs that went uncalled.

Terrible refs yesterday and for The Chelsea game. It’s like Ref 101 and they ignore it or miss it completely.

Denis Richardson
35 Posted 25/01/2016 at 14:59:44
Simon 27, I get what you’re saying but people are not necessarily talking about single incidents of ’player error’. The whole of this season so far as been a slow car crash. If the same players are the ones constantly making mistakes or ’not taking responsibility’ as you call it, then why does the gaffer keep picking them?
  • Howard has been shite for ages but is still No 1;
  • Stones has been making mistakes all season and hasn’t seemed right since the chelsea incident but is still one of the first names on the team sheet;
  • We have 3-4 LBs and 1 RB (Hibbo doesn’t count);
  • We start EVERY game with 1 GK, 4 Defenders and 2 CDMs, i.e. 7 defensive players and yet still ship goals for fun... but we don’t change tactics/set up.;
  • We still don’t have a proper LM;
  • We have no proper back up for Lukaku;
  • We can’t ever play for 90mins (only one half at a time);
  • We don’t ever up our game until we’re a goal down;
  • Our team looks knackered on the hour mark, every game;
All the above the fault of the players or the manager? How does the same defence go from one of the best to one of the worst in 18 months? Only change was in manager after all – players fault or tactics/set up?

The players should also accept they haven’t been at their game but it’s the managers main job to motivate/manage them and sort it out if its not happening on the pitch. Dropping none performing favourites might also be a good idea.

Some players have already said the training regime is suspect under Martinez, fitness wise and he spends bugger all time practising set pieces and defense – surprise surprise, we ship a ton of goals.

End of the day the manager has to accept the praise and the blame. He picks the players after all.

Denis Richardson
36 Posted 25/01/2016 at 15:08:51
On a different note, why exactly did we sign Lennon?

He’s made just 6 league appearances out of 23. That’s £1M per league game so far. He doesn’t even seem to be good enough to cover at RB given Oviedo is playing there!

Shane Corcoran
37 Posted 25/01/2016 at 15:10:11
Jamie, #33, I'm not sure it was an unnatural position.

When you're moving/walking/running I think it's unrealistic to think that your hands would be down by your side (which is what I assume you believe to be a natural position).

Furthermore, to give a free/penalty for the likes of Coleman's incident yesterday would seem to me to be an invitation for the attacking player to intentionally kick the ball against the defender's hand to win the award.

Then again, FIFA seem to get off on the fact that there are so many contentious decisions so having the rules so vague seems to suit them.

Jay Harris
38 Posted 25/01/2016 at 15:57:17
two absolutely spot on posts.

This bullshitter is not even good enough for the championship.

Since he took over:

1. We have stopped closing down thus allowing the opposition acres of space to play around us.

2. Not done anything to address the weaknesses in the squad - GK, LM ,cover at RB , cover at CF.

3. Stopped doing defensive drills

4. Encouraged players to make mistakes without consequence

5. Changed fitness routines for the worse.

6. Introduced a formation and tactics that went out with the Ark and are being found out constantly.

7. Been treated to the most insane post match reviews.

He cannot go quick enough for me despite the Capital cup second leg.


James Byrne
39 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:09:55
The taxi for Martinez left months ago for me..................

We really are total shite under this fucking phony of a manager.

Jamie Crowley
40 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:21:41
Shane -

His arm was extended from his body, above his shoulder.

Unnatural position / made himself bigger to stop the path of the ball. PK every time - for me at least.

And you're 100% spot on regarding the vagaries of the laws of the game. The laws of the game are written in such a vague manner and do not cover SO MUCH of SO MANY specific instances that could occur! You rely on what the instructors tell you is the "proper call". It's a joke. And FIFA cover themselves by giving the ref dictatorial power over the game. Whatever the ref says is final.

Quick example of how backwards referring is, at least here and I'm sure it's not far off in England / the UK / Ireland.

My most recent test I took around Christmas for my annual recertification had this question:

From a corner can a goal be scored in either net?

Well yes. But hang on... stupidest question ever why bother asking it to the entry level referee (ergo a hell of a lot of young teenagers looking to AR U10 games and under).

So they want you to know the answer to - IF the man taking a corner calls everyone into the box, including his goal keeper, then inexplicably HAMMERS the ball minimally 100 yards into his OWN GOAL should the goal stand?

What... the... fuck?

Geniuses write these tests, and all the while we had a ref at Chelsea last week who didn't know the "foreign object" ruling and allowed a goal to stand a few years ago after hitting a fucking beach ball and deflecting into goal!!

You can't make this shit up. It's priceless!

Will Firstbrook
41 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:23:41
The team is too damn casual moving the ball about out our half. More specifically away from our box! A team that is supposedly playing scared or nervous does not fanny around with the ball at such a pedestrian pace. Usually the opposite behavior occurs.

I don't have a problem with playing the ball out from the back but the teams that do it well don't piss about with the ball so close to the danger areas. I am not advocating for a route one approach but the ball needs to transition quickly from the back line to the midfield else you are inviting far too much pressure on the defense to avoid making a mistake (that for us this year often end up in the back of our net). That, in my opinion, is the main source of the so-called fear and nervousness rife throughout the squad. Not the home fan reaction as El Bob would have everyone believe. The fan reaction is a natural reaction to witnessing the same result week after week of stubbornly persisting with a style of play that our players are either not capable or not comfortable playing.

I am firmly of the belief now that the current manager is unable and unwilling to adjust or deviate from his tactical philosophies. In one way, you have to admire him for that. However, at the end of the day this is a results-based business. Some very good managers have been sacked overseeing squads performing far better than our current lot. But then again, those sackings were often made by owners/boards who actually had some ambition to progress.

Tough being a Blue these days.

Tony Doran
42 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:24:06
All the flack must be sent to the top and that is Kenwright and the board. The buck stops with them as they have not invested a blow on a rag man’s trumpet. If they had and RM still failed then it would be his fault.

I don’t have the nohow to start a campaign to get the board out but I would certainly be a good follower. It needs action and now we need more than planes flying overhead. (No disrespect to those who organised that, btw.)

Shane Corcoran
43 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:34:08
Jamie, very funny. So can you score an own goal from a corner then?
Tom Bowers
44 Posted 25/01/2016 at 16:50:44
The manager picks the team and lays out the strategy. Sure you cannot legislate for the occasional blunder but it is the overall defensive side of the team not just the keeper and the back four.

I have seen every game this season and quite honestly on every occasion the opposition moves forward, Everton look vulnerable. All teams have caught on to this aspect now, knowing of Everton’s shakiness and it’s hardly surprising why the goals have been flowing in against them.

It would need a miracle to keep City from scoring the one goal they need on Wednesday and I am not so sure about keeping Carlisle out in the cup game. Roberto has not been able to change things no matter what and his after match comments are just inane.

How can the players and the fans have any confidence in him. Is this not the right time to make the change?

Tony Abrahams
45 Posted 25/01/2016 at 17:02:48
I didn’t think it was a penalty either, Shane, but I would be willing to bet a lot of money that a certain Mr Anthony Taylor will give a penalty for a similar occurrence in the not to distant future. He has never given Everton a decent decision in all his time refereeing us, but he’s given a lot against us.

Barry Jones
46 Posted 25/01/2016 at 18:42:16
Hand ball is probably the most interpreted rule in the book. Firstly, let me make something very clear, there is absolutely NO reference to "unnatural position" in the rule book. In fact, it even says almost the opposite in that "the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement." It does say however that it must be a deliberate act of the hand moving towards the ball, not the other way around.

Also, there is no "handball rule" per say. It is a sub-section of Law 12, fouls and misconduct.

The ruling is below for all of you would-be refs.


Handling the ball:

Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into consideration:

– the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)

– the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)

– the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement

– touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.) counts as an infringement

– hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard, etc.) counts as an infringement.

Jamie Crowley
47 Posted 25/01/2016 at 19:07:13
What Barry said – I didn’t have time to look it up.

But they definitely tell you over here in the mandatory courses you take that handball parameters are intent, "natural" position, making yourself "bigger" etc...

And therein lies the vagaries of the Laws of the Game.

And yes Shane to my knowledge (check me on this Barry) you can, if you posses no brains and a nuclear foot, score an OG from a corner. It’s a direct free kick not indirect, ergo it can go into the goal directly and count.

But the question is still asinine.

Jon Cox
48 Posted 25/01/2016 at 20:04:48
Talking of a new manager,

I would certainly NOT think in any way that it was...

Beneath us!

Barry Jones
49 Posted 25/01/2016 at 20:04:59
Jamie, I know that refs and very often TV pundits talk about that unnatural hand/arm position, but it is clearly not in the rules of the game. I have several referee friends and this is one rule we occasionally debate over a few beers.

I do like the ruling in that is states that there must be a deliberate attempt to block the ball, it must be hand to ball, not ball to hand. I find that this is often overlooked in the game these days, even by top class officials, who seem to go for the unnatural position interpretation.

Colin Glassar
50 Posted 25/01/2016 at 20:07:33
Is Roberto our own Edward Smith? I hope not.
Guy Hastings
51 Posted 25/01/2016 at 20:25:33
Shane 43, you can score at either end but the corner taker is not allowed to take two consecutive touches of the ball. Given how crap we are at corners, and were so nder Moyes, too, I'd be tempted to just kick it off for a goal kick and take the 50-50 when the keeper hoofs it upfield.

Martin Mason
52 Posted 25/01/2016 at 20:52:30
Very interesting now that ref’s are not giving penalties as default and I really like it as it will force divers to stay on their feet. It will then leave the obvious penalties like Howard’s on Sunday.

One outstanding issue though is this last tackler thing which totally ruined the Arsenal vs Chelsea match when Mertesacker was sent off. Why is a foul from the last defender any different from a foul by any other player?

Totally ruined a game for many people who spent money to see the game and totally unacceptable on the whim of a ref.

Martin Mason
53 Posted 25/01/2016 at 21:02:43
Or could I say that soccer needs the 3rd referee, a referral system so that players can challenge a decision under certain circumstances and a citing system so that players can get redress against other players and officials that fuck up.

The key Arsenal - Chelsea game was ruined by a bad decision and tens of thousands of working class people robbed of good money spent to watch a fair game. Sending off should be banned for anything other than violence.

Jamie Crowley
54 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:16:15
Barry – I actually like the "making yourself bigger" type of approach.

It is really, really a judgment call. In this instance my opinion is it has to be a handball. It was, admittedly, much more ball to hand than hand to ball. But the defender purposely extends that arm outwards from his body so there’s more "surface area" in order to potentially stop a threatening ball into the box.

These guys do this on purpose – seen it 1000 times – to try to get away with blocking the ball and making it look like it’s part of a "natural" motion. They know what they’re doing and are looking to gain an advantage in any and every aspect. So to me making yourself "bigger" is actually intentionally stopping the ball with your hand. The goal is to stop the cross / shot. By moving your arm out from your body you’re intentionally stopping the ball with said arm should the ball strike it... It’s not like running along with your arms down or at the sides and the ball hits you.

When you extend your leg to stop a cross I can see someone’s arm coming out a bit. But when that arm is raised to shoulder level and extended out?

I dunno.

Martin – last defender = stopping a goal scoring opportunity = straight red. That’s it. That one’s very clear except... You’re supposed to take distance from the goal into account as well.

Don’t get mad at the ref for that – get mad at the idiot player for doing it.

David Greenwood
55 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:22:28
Jamie @54, totally correct.

His arms are out to stop the ball going past him.

And before anyone says where else could his arms be, look at Ivanovich at Chelsea. Always has his hands tucked behind his back in those situations, so it can be done.

Jamie Crowley
56 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:28:39
I wish I had a still shot of it (Coleman's cross)... the guy's arms are up at shoulder level parallel to the ground. He's intentionally putting his arm out to stop the cross.

Has to be a handball.

Happy someone agrees David!

Colin Glassar
57 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:46:11
The next three games will determine Martinez's future.
Ian Smitham
58 Posted 25/01/2016 at 23:12:29
Guys, just trying to help out here. Regards Handball and Law 12, noting there are no rules in Association Football governed by the LOAF as it is called, Laws of Association Football.

Anyway, it has interpretations and regards Law 12, the guidance is to consider 4 aspects. Proximity, Movement, Unnatural position and whether the body is made bigger by the action of the apparent offender. Ball to hand will likely only be for small spaces and the Unnatural piece is an interpretation as to whether the offender has his offending part of body (arm/hand) in a natural position. Your hand stuck out or up or whatever is likely to be unnatural.

Like Offside, handball is not an offence in its own right, the offence is deliberate handball, and the guidance above was explained to me in a meeting of Stockport Referees Society by football league ref, Micheal Salisbury.

Martin, regards the Arsenal,player, the offence is referred to as a DOGSO. The key is the definition of Denying Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity. I believe the key is "Obvious" I.e at the level the player is playing at, is it obvious? Costa through on goal on a perfect pitch with no other defenders likely to be able to cover is different than say me through on goal on a park pitch in muddy March. That said, I thought that the defender in this case did not make much if any contact and also suspect the covering defender may have got there. "Last man" is not an offence.

Infuriating as it may be, the Laws state that the decisions are based on the opinion of the referee, who is a trained professional, whose fitness is monitored daily, who is formally assessed by qualified assessor at every game.

While debate on here and watching the telephone is great, I do feel that anyone earning money from the game, players and especially pundits should be qualified as a ref, with some sort of annual accreditation, they earn enough from the game, so that at least when they speak or comment, we know they do so from a basis of fact from which we may all learn from.

Hope this helps, best, Ian

Barry Jones
59 Posted 25/01/2016 at 23:34:16
"The next three games will determine Martinez's future".

Do you think so Colin? I would indeed like to think so too, but Kenwright is just as stubborn as Martinez when it comes to decision making. I can't see anything happening before the end of the season. Right now we are not relegation threatened (although we could be soon) and that is normally when the firing squad is wheeled out.

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