Three splendid goals from the Blues

A quick break created by a brilliant Barkley back heel set Cleverley off and he won a soft penalty off Butland, Lukaku converting from the spot. This was fooled by a superb header from Coleman off a great Cleverley corner before the half-hour. Lennon the scoreda superb solo goal to put the Blues 3 up at the break.

Michael Kenrick 06/02/2016 260comments  |  Jump to last

Kevin Mirallas: back on the bench after missing three games with a tendon injury
Stoke City 0 - 3 Everton

Everton built on the midweek win over Newcastle with a splendid 3-0 win over Stoke City, Joel Robles keeping another clean sheet in goal.

No visa clearance for new signing Oumar Niasse but Romelu Lukaku was able to play despite coming off at half-time against Newcastle on Wednesday. Mirallas and Deulofeu were on the bench with Tim Howard and John Stones both still out injured.

Stoke kicked off and showed a little more urgency than Everton but Oviedo did get forward and won a corner that Cleverley swung in for Funes Mori, but his header was deflected behind, it should have been for a second corner – not given,

A quick break created by a brilliant backheel from Barkley set a telling move going down the middle with Oviedo playing in Cleverley and he won a soft penalty when he drew the trip off Butland, Lukaku converting from the spot, straight down the middle.

Stoke continued to press the visitors back but Everton's defence stood strong. However, without John Stones, they were having difficulty playing the ball out of defence at times. Shaqiri was always a menace down Everton's left but Oviedo looked to be enjoying the challenge.

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Lukaku was not getting much service from long and mostly wayward balls, but Everton did win another corner that was superbly delivered by Cleverley and superbly headed in by Coleman, runnibg at the ball with purpose and getting ahead of two defenders to direct an excellent finish beyond Butland.

McCarthy went down injured but recovered, then Barry was caught on the elbow by Diouf and went down in some pain. Then, with Barkley off the field having a nose bleed staunched, Lennon was shaply on to a lose cross ball and off to the races, beating Butland Derek Temple fashion, a lovely finish to make it 3-0.

Robles was positioned well to stop a sharp move into the Everton area, as 5 minutes of added time were played out before the break.

A strong challenge by Barkley won the ball deep in the Everton half and the young star went on a great run that ended in a shot into the side netting after a very well-worked one-two exchange with Lukaku that split the Stoke defence asunder..

Some tremendous improvisation from Barkley preceded a fantastic cross laid on a plate for Lukaku to power goalward but a reaction touch from Butland was enough to push the ball up and onto the bar.

Lennon did drilliantly to drive in past two defenders and cut back for Lukaku but the big man leant back rather than attacking the ball and could not convert another golden opportunity.

Everton were required to be diligent in defence, Oviedo and Funes Mori with crucial blocks either side of a fine stop by Robles.

More excellent, if a little hesitant work from Barkley ende with Lukaku setting up McCarthy for a fine drive that really should have been on target. Barkley again danced around three Stoke defenders looking for the strike but taking too long to pull the trigger.

Koné came on and immediately got to run in at Butland with the ball, but the keeper won this one when Koné should really have scored. Then, from the resulting, corner Funes Mori all alone at the far post, headed wide when it seemed easier to bury it into the Stoke net.

Stoke City: Butland; Johnson, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Pieters; Imbula, Whelan; Shaqiri (62' Odemwingie), Afellay (62' Ireland), Arnautovic (75' Joselu); Diouf [Y:59']
Subs not Used: Bardsley, Crouch, Krkic, Haugaard.

Everton:Robles; Oviedo, Funes Mori, Jagielka, Coleman; Barry, McCarthy (90' Osman); Cleverley, Barkley (87' Mirallas), Lennon; Lukaku (75' Kone).
Subs not Used: Stanek, Baines, Deulofeu, Pienaar.

Attendance: 27,733

Referee: Andre Marriner

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Reader Comments (260)

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Max Murphy
1 Posted 06/02/2016 at 14:23:52
We haven't had a draw for a while. Prediction: 7-7
John Paul McGurk
2 Posted 06/02/2016 at 14:24:50
I went for 4-3 Everton
Håvard Sletvold
3 Posted 06/02/2016 at 14:26:12
It is hopefully a good explanation behind, however I wonder why Stoke City have their big signing cleared for this game while we have not received visa clearance for the new boy.
Guy Hastings
4 Posted 06/02/2016 at 14:35:03
Why is Baines sub?
Kevin Turner
5 Posted 06/02/2016 at 14:36:15
Interesting that Baines doesn't start. Just wondering what's going on with Stones. Hamstring I hear but I'm a bit sceptical about that. Same goes for Howard. Tactical injuries. Never mind the 11 on the pitch is what matters. COYB!
Thomas Surgenor
6 Posted 06/02/2016 at 14:52:42
Guy #3
Recovering from a broken toe so not able to play all 90.
Teddy Bertin
8 Posted 06/02/2016 at 15:03:39
Another clean sheet and Stones will struggle to get back in the side. All good by me.
John Graham
9 Posted 06/02/2016 at 15:11:10
Why no visa clearance for Niasse?
Max Murphy
10 Posted 06/02/2016 at 15:23:55
We seemed to have conceded more deflected goals than I can remember. I believe it's because we give the opposition too much space in front of our penalty area. We don't get out quick enough to close down players so they have more room to shoot, and more chances of deflections
Tony Draper
11 Posted 06/02/2016 at 15:25:26
Who is this stool "expert", Oviedo isn a natural Right Back ?

No mate he's a left back being played at LEFT BACK !

Daniel Joseph
12 Posted 06/02/2016 at 15:54:13
Everton's 3rd best record to 100 games Mr Martinez. Just sayin' like
Phil Sammon
13 Posted 06/02/2016 at 15:55:47
Could you say it a bit more clearly, Daniel, because I have no idea what you're on about.
Jeff Armstrong
14 Posted 06/02/2016 at 16:02:39
How well is Lennon playing right now? – just as he did this time last season. He’s making a difference, and here’s me thinking we signed him last August!
Phil Smith
15 Posted 06/02/2016 at 16:06:40
I assume he means that, for his 100 games in charge, Martinez has the third best points record out of all previous Everton managers.
Phil Smith
16 Posted 06/02/2016 at 16:08:38
Whenever I watch EVERTON it is always painful. Decided today to just follow BBC updates and we're cruising. Don't wanna open a link just in case it all goes to shit...
Jeff Armstrong
17 Posted 06/02/2016 at 16:09:08
Tony, the "stool"you refer to is Danny Higginbottom, who actually said Bryan wasn’t a natural left back! Which actually makes him an even bigger stool.

By the way, Cleverley has been excellent in the last game and a half. Let’s keep it tight second half, close the game out, please...

Colin Hughes
18 Posted 06/02/2016 at 16:15:45
Would like to see Delafeou come on for last 25 mins as there is likely to be a lot of open pitch to run at with these pushing up for goals.
David Barks
20 Posted 06/02/2016 at 16:58:57
Much, much more confident display. Robles is just calm in goal. The defense were just clearing the ball and not being risky. Lukaku was holding the ball up nicely. And Lennon does so much hard work for the team.
Teddy Bertin
21 Posted 06/02/2016 at 16:59:31
Had a tenner on Liverpool, Everton and Spurs to all win at 20/1, through a special offer on Paddy Power. Trust the RS to screw me over in the 90th minute. Scum bags. Great win for us though. 3 x 3-0 on the bounce
Tommy Coleman
22 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:00:24
Could have been 7-0. Butland kept it down.

Another clean sheet for Robles.

Christopher Dover
23 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:01:32
Well done to the team, clean sheet and three goals.
Keep it up and faith in you will come back.
Stephen Brown
24 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:04:08
Top 6 and an FA cup would end up as a great season!! Why not? Must keep Robles, Jags and Mori in on current form though!

Match of the day here I come! I haven't said that often of last 2 years!

Tony Hill
25 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:05:49
Now that was impressive. Excellent all round but I thought Lennon and Funes Mori were particularly good. It is essential that we put a run together.
Colin Glassar
26 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:07:56
Great performance by the sound of it. Even the lads on the Live Forum were happy
David Price
27 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:08:22
Come on Mike get the league table updated !!!!!
Darren Hind
28 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:08:50
Lifes fucking brilliant isn't it ?

I'm off to take the my boss Mrs dancin. Enjoy the night guys

Gavin Johnson
29 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:09:34
As Jimmy Greaves used to say - 'It's a funny old game'. We win back-to-back games and we go above the RS and move up to 7th! It was as bad as it got the other week after the City result.

Now it looks like our bad lucks turning and we might go on a little run. I think we've got the makings of a really good side and we play good football. I don't subscribe to the notion the footballs been bad this season.

I just think we're mentally weak but I saw some good things today. We now look like we can score from corners, thanks in part to Funes Mori, who has a goal threat like Lescott and Mountfield. And it looks like we've sorted the GK situation, for this season at least. Joel comes in and we keep 2 clean sheets in as many games. There's a reason for that. The pairing of Jags and Funes Mori also looks stronger so I won't give all the credit to Joel.

Lets hope this is a mini-revival we're on. I'm optimistic we are because I don't think we've got the errors at the back with Howard and Stones having a rest.

Colin Hughes
30 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:09:40
Good win today but could have had six if he had brought on Mirallas or Delafeou instead of waster Kone.Surely once Niasse gets his permit through he has to fuck off Kone to the inept B league or whatever it's called these days.
James Lauwervine
33 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:13:32
Looks like your article did the job Lyndon. Should have been 7-0. Credit to Martinez who got it tactically spot on - 34% possession and we battered them. Take that Hughes you tit. Robles must must must stay in the team! Now for some beer...
Alan Bodell
34 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:13:49
Well that's a change go to Stoke, win and don't get kicked off the park.
Lennon was absolutely superb, Robles looking ever better and all this with Ross hardly in the game from what I saw.
Brian Williams
35 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:14:03
Now thats what you call a "complete performance." To have a go over missed chances or anything else would be petty in my book.
Professional, comfortable, confident...end of.
Colin Glassar
36 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:14:53
I think today just goes to show how much we miss Jags in defence. The FM-JS combo just didn't work, and Flapper didn't help either of them
Ray Roche
37 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:15:25
So much better at the back and we could or should have had 6 or 7 and it wouldn't have flattered us. Great to see arse wipe Hughes tapping his watch when we were taking our time just as they do. It's different now isn't it Mark?
Frank Crewe
38 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:19:12
Just like last season two thirds of the way through and RM finally sees the light. He's picking the right players in the right positions using the right tactics.

Robles in goal, Stones dropped, Lennon out wide. Should have been done weeks ago.

We only want players who are playing for Everton and not for themselves. If Leicester City can do it then so can we.

That's three 3-0 wins on the trot. Long may it continue.

Jamie Barlow
39 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:19:48
Hope so Gavin. It all depends on what Dancin' Shoes does when Howard and Stones are back fit (if they are even injured). He can't put them back in, can he?

There's no excuses for not playing like that every game from now till the end of the season. That didn't look like the sluggish, lazy, unfit Everton I've seen a lot of this season. They looked well up for it and fit.

I love days like today. Even the red shite managed to fuck it up at the death to top it off.

Sue Brown
40 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:20:17
Great game, could've been 5 or 6 nil. Lennon my motm, never stopped working, and scored a cracker as said a la Derek Temple! He deserved it. Oviedo seams to be enjoying his football again, did well. An overall brilliant performance.
Plato Stavrinos
42 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:24:41
Mcarthy is the difference in my opinion..
Chris Leyland
43 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:24:44
For me it is having Lennon start over the Spanish wonder kid coupled with Cleverly also in the team that makes a massive difference as we have two players who put in a shift to complement the defensive midfield duo. It makes us a far more solid outfit
David Price
44 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:26:32
Cleverley seems to give us balance too and the grit. Did not see that coming either. Well played lad..
Paul Hughes
45 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:28:21
Great win today; we played well, it could have been 4 or 5. Robles has to keep his place.
Andy Sommer
46 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:30:15
34% possession and 3-0 win.... hmmm
Geoff Evans
47 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:31:31
Chris 33: Spot on. Two guys who do the ugly work by running selflessly for the team. Ask Jags and the other defenders what they think. Three clean sheets in a row speaks volumes.

Ninety per cent hard work, ten per cent talent.

Colin Battison
49 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:32:22
That was a fantastic win. You can count on one hand how many teams come to Stoke and take away the three points and it was a battering like some have said on here, we could've easily had 6 or 7.

The defence looks so much more composed with Robles in the sticks, and there was no nonsense defending – how many clean sheets is that for Robles now? No way can Stones or Howard get back in the team after recent displays. Is a European place out of the question?
Christy Ring
50 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:35:11
Great performance today, could have scored more only for Butland.
We haven't conceded a goal in our last 3 games, and the reason for this, is we are playing as a unit, with Lennon and Cleverley supporting our full backs. The back four is a lot more confident with Robles in goal, and Oviedo is a lot tighter in defence than Baines.
Clive Rogers
51 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:36:59
Frank 29
Stones has a hamstring injury, not dropped.
Colin Glassar
52 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:39:58
I saw a lot of Cleverley last season in a very poor Villa side (which he helped to keep up) so I'm not surprised he's starting to do the same now for us.
Eddie Dunn
53 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:41:00
Just found out that the Black Cats came back to draw at Anfield, a good day!
Paul Andrews
54 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:45:05
A perfect example of counter attacking football.

Our defence looks a lot more solid without Howard and Stones. 3 games without the above two, 3 clean sheets. Coincidence?

Richard Lyons
55 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:45:12
At last! A result which reflects our performance! Back above the RS - and also above Stoke, Watford, Palace and maybe the Saints as well - up where we belong in other words. Who's next? Surely another 3-0 against the Baggies is on the cards?
Alan Bodell
56 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:45:24
Sue, #31, Derek Temple, my first ever cup final on a black and white tv.
I've just popped a tin in remembrance thanks for that.
Frank Crewe
57 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:49:01
@Clive Rogers Does he really? We'll just have to take RM's word for that. Personally I don't believe it.
Tony Hill
58 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:49:20
We just look tighter and better organised and, as mentioned above, we look fitter. If Lennon keeps playing like this then it's a massive bonus.

I agree with Plato Stavrinos about McCarthy too - that man is absolutely vital to our team even though he's had a mixed 12 months or so including, of course, being out injured.

Geoff Evans
59 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:52:54
Oviedo's attitude is class.
Peter Bell
60 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:53:19
Apparently that is the first time since 1937 that we have put three consecutive 3 nil victories together
Paul Thompson
61 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:54:54
Could have been 6-0, possibly should have been except for Butland. We played equally well in both halves - unusual this season. Oviedo and Lennon have good engines and we are closing down sides more. Would have been a great game to bring Niasse on for the last 15 minutes, but Kone did ok (and I'm not a fan).
Joe Foster
62 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:59:17
This is another one of them flashes of how good we can play. Great result.
Colin Malone
63 Posted 06/02/2016 at 17:59:52
To me that was a great Plan B game. Priority was to keep a clean sheet with a couple of route one balls, which were dangerous scoring opportunities. Keep it up, Aaron Lennon, great display in attack and defence.
Rob Hooton
64 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:06:19
Thought Lennon was fantastic again - I said I was underwhelmed by his signing but I am glad to eat my words. Great play all round, Ross is looking more imperious with every game. COYB!!
Frank Wade
65 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:06:21
Great display today. In those conditions we needed grit, work and determination, a brilliant battling performance by the blues.

Off topic I know but, I see Byram is on the bench for the Hammers at Southampton. Broken Promises eh.

Craig Mills
66 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:07:43
3 - 0 at Stoke is a very impressive result and we are starting to see a bit of consistency at last. 3 wins on the spin, looking forward to 4/4 next week
Oliver Molloy
67 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:07:50
Crazy season...
John Malone
69 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:12:40
It's no coincedence that Oviedo is back in the team and we're winning, if you think back to Martinez' impressive first year it conicided with Baines injuring his toe in the derby and Oviedo getting a good run in the team!

The lads work rate and energy is top class and he's a decent player aswel made up for him after his bad injury!

Mark Daley
70 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:16:22
It's just bloody typical of EFC to do this to me when I've reconciled myself to abandoning all hope for another season... And the RS have a draw that seems like a loss and we go above them! Hahaha!!!
Nitesh Kanchan
71 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:17:45
So happy today. Very rare wins for both the teams I support: Everton and Atletico, on the same weekend.
Jeff Armstrong
72 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:19:46
It’s amazing what one or two tinkers have done: the uncertainty of both Howard and Stones has gone, to be replaced by a confident Robles and a proper defender in Jags; the inconsistency of Delefeou for the constant hard working Lennon; Cleverley at left mid instead of Kone who is a central striker – it’s just basic stuff that a lot of people on here where calling for weeks ago.

It proves to Martinez it’s not rocket science, just basic knowledge of what is at your disposal and using it effectively.
Dave Brierley
73 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:24:35
I'm Baines's biggest admirer but it's going to be very hard for him to get back in if Oviedo continues in this form. Stones and Howard have got no chance either. Funny sometimes that the 'second string' do a lot better than the supposedly 'automatic' first choices. Last three matches 3-0 wins. Long may it continue.
Tony Hill
74 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:26:38
It's pleasing to hear Martinez, amid his praise, say that we should have taken the 4 big chances we had in the second half. That is the hard attitude that will make a difference. He's also shown the necessary decisiveness - albeit too late - in dropping Howard and Stones (as I am pretty sure he has).

If he carries on in that vein then he has a chance of redeeming himself and this team. It is also fair for the manager's critics (of whom I am one) to say that the spirit among the players looks fantastic and if you've got that then you're already on the front foot.

I remain unconvinced by our manager and think we have badly wasted this season and last, but this result today is encouraging. I want to see a serious run, though, till the end of this season, and a serious run in the FA Cup, before I can invest any renewed trust in Martinez.

Andy Meighan
75 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:26:50
I like that "Derek Temple style" – how many fans has he won over with his workrate and clever wing pla? He's certainly made me eat humble pie – and getting his reward his selfless work deserves with 3 goals in 3 games.

It's no coincidence, since Howard and Stones have been dropped or injured or whatever, we look more solid defensively. If he brings them back, I swear I'll swing for him...

Great win today; roll on West Brom – I'd have taken 7 points from Newcastle, Stoke and WBA... not now – it should be 9 given the way we've hit form.
Martin Mason
76 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:30:47
impewrious performance from the Blues and for the first time a string of results. Could this be the start?

Great result for Leicester at Citeh.

Brian Wilkinson
77 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:35:32
We can only hope Bobby has finally seen sense and instead of playing players on reputation, starts playing players in form.

Make no no mistakes, this was forced on Bobby with the injuries to Stones and Howard.

Lennon, Barkley, Oviado, Mccarthy making a huge difference, add to that Jags, Mori and Robles, hard to single anyone out.

I reall do believe if Bobby sticks to his selections of late, we will do well, if he brings back Stones and Tim as soon as they are fit, then He will lose most of the fans again, only this time he could be facing the wrath of the Everton crowd as a majority.

Dont change it Bobby, this is what the fans have been asking for, for months, onwards and upwards.

Andy Ellis
78 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:36:02
Great performance, hopefully winning has become a habit again, great to see clean sheets as well. A winning team picks itself, surely no room for favouritism now. I can see a strong end to the season like we've seen before, feeling optimistic again, FA cup maybe, getting carried away now!
Steven Kendrew
79 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:36:49
Today is another lesson to the negative home fans (not everyone but enough to make a difference) being as we play better away from home these days. Don't panic and stay off the players backs for the first hour at least!
You never know, you might just surprise yourselves!
Probably not though. A goal down, a few mistakes or a dull first half hour and you piss your pants....FFS.
Alex Moore
80 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:41:01
I just want to say I called Lukaku playing a week ago. So powerful holding up the ball. I love this team. Btw, wore my Everton jersey that came in the mail the other day. Never gonna stop.
Jay Harris
81 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:42:00
The fans reaction to the performances so far this season seems to have woken the management and players.
Lennon and Robles making a huge difference as is the determination the players are now showing.
Geoff Evans
82 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:46:59
Don't change a winning team.
Phil Walling
83 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:48:18
You've got it in one there, Jay !
Phil Walling
85 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:50:52
Andy, will Tim become our FA Cup goalie now ?
Tony Hill
86 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:53:19
Steven (59), ah yes, the heroic away fans, the only true Evertonians, who have cheered us on to our 4 away victories out of 12 matches. We can expect similar self-righteous bollocks from others after today's result, I fear.

I've been to more away matches than most on here though I don't go as much now, but I've never thought that made my support or opinions superior.

Svein-Roger Jensen
87 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:53:48
Impressed by our team today!!! They've defended better than I'd expect from a Martinez team. Look to have a better shape!!
Svein-Roger Jensen
88 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:54:43
The shite write their own comedy scripts. 2-0 up and bottled it 2-2.
Colin Glassar
89 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:55:13
Go on a run and we can claw back on WHU and the red mancs. 6-5th still isn't beyond us.
Christy Ring
90 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:55:43
We're a lot more solid with McCarthy back, his work rate is immense, he was sorely missed.
Svein-Roger Jensen
91 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:55:50
This is actually embarrassing from City. Easily could be 5 or 6 to Leicester. They've been destroyed today.
Phil Williams
92 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:56:40
I will repeat a post I made on another thread yesterday. This team is going to do something special. It’s development reminds so much of how the '80s turnaround came.

We will finish top 7 this year and top 3 next. We need a top goalkeeper, Yarmolenko or Arnautavic, and a top quality centre-half. All 3 can be funded by the sale of Stones. The lad is class but we would be a better all round team if we cashed in.

Svein-Roger Jensen
93 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:57:07
Leicester are 6 point clear at the top of the league. Stunning performance. Surely they're favourites for the title win now.
Colin Glassar
94 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:57:15
Cleverley was named motm by the BBC.
Svein-Roger Jensen
95 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:58:23
Spurs keep winning. They are heading to 2nd. Don't think there's any way into the Top 4 unless Arsenal give up their 4th place trophy.
Dave Bowen
96 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:58:47
Our luck is definitely changing. No pens all season in the PL, then 3 in about 15 mins play. Haven't seen today's yet but heard it was soft. About time!
Svein-Roger Jensen
97 Posted 06/02/2016 at 18:59:40
That is the stuff of Champions right there. Leicester are making everyone who is writing them off for the league look like fools.
Mike Powell
99 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:01:50
No Howard! no Stones... and a three-nil win. Says it all.
Andy Ellis
100 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:13:35
Phil 64, never thought of that, there goes my optimism, good while it lasted.
Kevin Turner
101 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:14:01
Great win whichever way you look at it. Mind boggling how they did us over at Goodison.

Now put a little run together lads and who knows?
Jon Withey
102 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:18:25
Oviedo is a very decent footballer - we have a crazy amount of decent left backs
Garry Taylor
103 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:19:34
I don't believe it was any coincidence that McCarthy got injured against Bournemouth and went on a horrible run of results. Now he is back, we look a lot more solid, due to his terrific partnership with Barry, and the centre backs aren't being exposed as much.

McCarthy comes in for a lot of stick on here, but sometimes it not obvious what certain players give to a team.

Jon Withey
104 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:22:30
Very impressed with Lennons finishing too.
Drew O'Neall
105 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:23:15
Not many shouts for Martinez out today after his third successive 3-0 victory.

I hope all those FM's who demanded we sign Charlie Austin have watched him stink up St Mary's this evening.

In Martinez we trust.

Ged Simpson
106 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:29:29


Let's march

Get ripped for a plane.

Tell the others they are naïve

Coz we are ..just silly optimists with the same joy when we win as when we were 12.

Martin Mason
107 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:30:25
Great day for you Ged. Could this be it?
John Crawley
108 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:30:56
Great result, he must keep Robles in and start picking people on form not experience! In other words basic football management. If he does that then there's some hope for a good cup run and a strong end of season.
Jon Cox
109 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:31:39
Alan 41, same here mate!

You could say it was "All too beautiful"


Lennon is the new Pienaar. It's just that most people don't know it yet.

Only small but like like Alan Ball a veritable giant.

Barry Jones
110 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:32:16
Were we brilliant or Stoke just diabolical? Or is it somewhere in the middle? Anyway it was a comprehensive win for sure and entertaining at the same time. I agree that we did look solid at the back. Funes Mori is looking like a bargain, but the entire team played well.

So Cleverley was MotM Colin. Well deserved but several others could have been in with a shout too. Lennon springs to mind. You have to admit, this is an entertaining season. Inconsistent, but entertaining.
John Crawley
111 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:33:59
Phil 64 if he wants to have a chance in the cup then he needs to stick with Robles. Howard is done and he should only play if Robles is injured.
Andy Ellis
112 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:39:33
Drew, get a grip lad! One swallow doesn't make a summer an all that. Nobody's calling for his head because we're so made up today but doesn't paper over the cracks or his poor tactics and team selections this season and last. The big test was City at 3-1 up in the tie he failed to see the obvious and made the wrong calls in the second half. Leicester showed us today how to do it. We have good players, should be beating Stoke anyway, can't judge him on this.
Steve Ferns
113 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:40:07
For me the difference has to be James McCarthy I'm not calling him Messi, Zidane or any other great. He's not world class. But what he is, is a very good player. The most essential player for Martinez for his tactics.

I ask you to watch Match of the Day carefully tonight and count how many times you see McCarthy on the left side of the pitch, or Barry on the right, because it will be few for either. Now, think back a few weeks and think how often you saw Barry scrambling all over the pitch tying to plug gaps, and even Besic in his brief nut impressive cameo for the season. There's nothing quite like the solidity the McCarthy Barry axis gives us.
What you'll notice is a box. A rigid 4. Jagielka, Funes (or Funes Mori but never Mori - sorry pet peeve), McCarthy and Barry. This means the opposition have these four to break through virtually every time the move breaks own and so the fullbacks can recover, or other midfielders can get back. It also means Barry and McCarthy are each far more effective as they can patrol their zone and pick up the runners rather than scrambling frantically.

The solidity we have had through McCarthy in the last few games has then given that midfield 3, particularly Barkley the basis to build and stick to doing what they do best. And hasn't Barkley been a man transformed? Unfortunately, Barry cannot go on forever, but Besic looks a player, and if he can develop the discipline to hold the line the same way as McCarthy and Barry, I really think we can push for top 4 next season. All this and Deulofeu was on the bench and the new lad is still to come in.

This is the football that makes me defend Martinez even in the dark times. It's always going to be inconsistent with young players n key positions, but it's worth it in the long run, and maybe it will have to be next season before we can really see the fruits.

I just hope Lukaku is still buying into Martinez' vision, because if we can keep Barkley and him, and add a couple more, then I really do think we can dream the big dreams.

Roman Sidey
114 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:40:39
Still Garbs to come back from Fulham too, Jon.

Great performance. Could have scored more - Kone, what, the actual WTF?!?!?! - but when you go 0-3 up away you soak up that pressure and frustrate the living fuck out of the home fans. Hopefully this sees Stoke slip back whence they came.

My admiration (read: man crush) for Oviedo just keeps growing. It is no coincidence that with him defending and Clev et al taking corners we are more effective than when Baines is in the side. I used to be a huge Baines fan but every match with him is proving he is past his best and every match without him is proving we can cope just fine with that situation.

If these changes stay the same, showing RM has seen his best XI, then credit to him. If he brings his favourites back as soon as they are it then we'll know what his future should be - how many clubs' supporters would be waiting for injuries to see their best side take the field?

Looking to the remaining fixtures, the next four matches (not counting the rescheduled Anfield match as I don't know when that will be) SHOULD bring us four wins, and until the end of the season, I can only seriously expect Arsenal, Man Utd, RS and Leicester giving us any grief, and the OT and Anfield matches are, as much as I hate this phrase, there for the taking.

Oh, and Kone is shit.

Colin Glassar
115 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:42:48
An incredibly infuriating season Barry. Non-performances against Swansea, man utd, rs. Throwing away two points against Bournemouth, Norwich, Chelsea etc... No luck against Palace who we battered. That's at least 10 points just in those games. Imagine where we could be now?
Raymond Fox
116 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:46:15
Well that's a cracker, the credit is not down to Martinez, its the knockers who have told him how to do it!
How did I know that would bob up.

Too many knee jerk reactions to disappointments methinks, if theres any chance of keeping this squad together next year we'll be knocking on the top 4 door loudly.

Andy Ellis
117 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:52:00
Raymond 84, how is Nevernever land these days?
Stephen Brown
118 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:52:55
It's so true that this is most frustrating season ever! I'm not really big on what ifs but this is different win 3/4 of those rediculous draws and we would be right up there!

Even though we have scored 9 goals in last 3 games much more pleasing for me is 0 goals conceded. Do I dare to say some lessons being learnt? A winnable game in 5th round of FA cup and then hopefully a good run to the final?

I had written off the season but I'm starting to believe again! I know I should know better but I can't help it!

Brent Stephens
119 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:54:34
Andy 80, get a grip. We showed today how it's done, no need to have watched Leicester, I watched our lads.
Barry Jones
120 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:56:17
I totally agree Colin it has been infuriating and I haven't been a happy camper at times (ask my wife). But, it has been incredibly entertaining for the neutral. Lucky neutral !!
Mike Hayes
121 Posted 06/02/2016 at 19:56:55
Howard & Stones out – 3 clean sheets and 9 goals... take the hint, Martinez
Chris Gould
122 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:00:17
Funny how people are highlighting different individuals as being the reason we are playing better. It isn't down to any one player. It's all about balance, and playing defenders that can defend.
Andy Ellis
123 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:01:20
Brent, yeah showed how to do it v Stoke, not the same. Made up today and who knows confidence could be the difference for the FA Cup but my gripe was with the fella saying In Martinez we trust, long way to go before he deserves that backing.
Brent Stephens
124 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:02:32
Ok, Andy. Get that, mate.
Stephen Brown
125 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:04:53
Chris #89 and picking players in form has helped too! Not just favourites!
Jay Harris
128 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:22:16
Hopefully the stubborn one has learned to listen and the change in tactics and personnel will continue.

However a word of caution we have been here before.

Raymond Fox
129 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:23:01
Andy that's your opinion, 2 wins in a row and we are back in contention, that's how close we've been all along!

It seems sometimes that some are more concerned with being proved right about RM.
If we have a poor performance up they bob again, while if we win they are not around!

Mark Gardiner
130 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:26:49
Whilst this was a wonderful win some of the people saying that this proves that those of us who attack Martinez are wrong is ridiculous.

Let's be clear about this. Stones and Howard have been responsible for a great deal of oour defensive problems this season and they should have been dropped or "rested" a while ago.

The manager has only changed the team to include Robles and the centre back pairing of Jagielka and Funes Mori because those changes have been forced upon him. Do any of us have any doubt that had Howard been fit he would have come straight back into the side after the Carlisle game?

A wonderful win today and three 3-0 victories in a row is wonderful but let's stick with reality. The manager picks his favourites until he is forced to pick other players no matter how badly his favourites play. It shouldn't have taken almost two seasons of dreadful calamity defending, increasing fan anger, media speculation about his future and injuries for the manager to play the best team that we have available.

Which other premiership team has to go through those things before changes are made for the benefit of the team and the club?

Roman Sidey
131 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:27:56
Chris, if it is all down to balance, which I also believe it is, how can individual players not make a difference?
John Raftery
132 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:30:02
Steve 81 You are spot on about McCarthy. He is the key to our defensive play. The fact that he has been injured in each of the past two winters goes a long way to explaining our mid season disappointments in both campaigns. It helps though when you have a winger like Lennon working his socks off and still posing a threat to the opposition. The Stoke defenders who faced him will be receiving treatment for twisted blood this evening. Both he and Cleverley have given the team a more solid look in the past week. Robles looked competent but had very little to do today and that is to the credit of the players in front of him. Let's hope we can keep this team on the pitch and that they keep up this level of performance.
Steve Jenkins
133 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:31:08
Great result and great performance!

Two 3-0 wins in a row in the league, who'd have thought it.

Men behind the ball and the pressing intensity was noticeably better (but can still come up a few notches), as was the far less messing around at the back and players just putting their foot through it.

The game management has been far better in the last two games.

Lennon, Barkley, and Cleverly were the stand outs from the last two games, Mori also played v well today.

Consistent performances like this are the key, far too often we think we've turned the corner, only for the next game - to be back to lacking intensity and standing off and giving the opposition all the space and time in the world to do damage.

The last two performances are encouraging, but my feet are remaining firmly on the ground, we need to prove this isn't just a flash in the pan.

Up to 7th, confident, we really need to kick on now and prove that we have learnt lessons re defending and game management and see how far we can get up the table.

John Jones
134 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:31:23
When a players in form keep playing him, seems so simple doesnt it.

Lennon, Oviedo, Joel and Cleverley have really taken their chances. We now have games at a good regular pace so there need not be to much chopping and changing. Top 6 is wide open and if we can keep a fairly consistent team on the pitch then we have every chance of making Europe.

To think we have a bew signing to throw into the mix too and in the space of a week thinks are looking up!

I wouldnt take anything less than a top 8 finish now, I don't think that with maybe another good cup run would be disastrous.

Colin Hughes
135 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:33:05
Raymond #94 in contention for what? Have you checked the current premier league title odds on oddschecker ? We are currently best price 2500/1 for the title which is 15th biggest odds in the list of 20 premier league sides.In laymans terms the bookies think we will finish 15th this season . Leicester are now 15/8 favs for the title.
Jon Withey
136 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:34:04
On a negative, there were still a couple of dumb back-passes that could have made the day less enjoyable.
Steve Jenkins
137 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:36:50
Robles has stay in the side, how many clean sheets have we has with him there. I know that isn't purely down to him bug I just feel far more confident when he's in goal.

Howard ' s been a great servant but it's time for him to move on at the end of the season. If he has the slightest bit of self awareness he'll realise that the fans no longer trust him or want him as their goalkeeper.

Time to go whilst he can still be remembered fondly for the service he's given rather than the last season or two.

Tony Hill
138 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:37:34
Raymond (94), you seriously think that after two wins, we are back in contention and that all those who have lamented this season's obvious failure are fools? Dear God, no wonder we have grown used to mediocrity as a club.
Dave Abrahams
139 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:37:56
Chris Leyland(33) and Chris Gould(89) I agree with you both entirely, it's all about the balance of the team, players playing in a position that comes naturally to them, no square pegs in round holes, plus the team playing with energy and commitment for ninety minutes, sounds like they enjoyed playing today, if they continue to play like that it makes not a scrap of difference if it is at Goodison Park or anywhere else.

I think Martinez is starting to listen and change for once, he's been getting a bit of a hammering in the media including the local press, not before time, and maybe decided to change his stance.

Congratulations to the Liverpool fans today, seriously, having a go at their Directors for raising prices, all fans all over the country should take this call up until clubs start to play the game with us fans, fuck the players they have had more than their fair share, give us fans a taste of what the players have had for far too long.

Alan Bodell
140 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:40:09
Jon # 77, Over seas of green, what's that mean? Marriot and just re-watched Derek Temple giving me my earliest massive thrill and this time in colour.

Great day today and it’s weird how a few weeks can change a view of a season.

Eddie Dunn
141 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:40:11
The acid test for Roberto will be when Stones, and Howard are fit again. I am delighted with our last few games, but our new found effectiveness is due to our leader picking the boys that many of us have been calling for for ages.

Last season during our bad run, Lennon suddenly showed all and sundry the way, with his tireless running and industry. Now we see Oviedo, Cleverley, McCarthy, and Lennon working hard for the team, closing down space and marking tightly. This makes life a lot easier for the centre halves and the keeper.

Balance is restored with Coleman back in at right back and Oviedo at left. Mori’s left foot and Jag’s right with the Macca/Barry axis restored. Cleverley is a valiant worker on the left, with the intelligence to switch with Barkley or Lennon when appropriate. Even Kone replaced Rom and slotted into the system seamlessly.

Will the boss keep the lads in on merit? Or will we all be brought back down to planet Martinez with the Usual Suspects restored to their plinths when the Baggies come to town?

Andy Ellis
142 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:45:45
Raymond 94, we won and I am around! There will obviously be less critical posts of the manager today but it doesn't distract from his obvious failings in my opinion. Anyway fantastic result, so lets just enjoy it!
Jon Withey
143 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:47:57
To be honest, the players have made Martinez choice regarding Stones and Howard pretty easy - there's no point in rushing them back and they might as well come back for the Bournemouth match.
Grant Rorrison
144 Posted 06/02/2016 at 20:53:33
I thought Lennon was excellent today. Can't believe there are people that think he’s technically inferior to our other wingers. Great footballing brain, uses the ball well, etc. Added to his recognised traits of working hard and having great pace, he should be starting every week for me.

If Martinez starts picking people on merit like Lennon, Robles, Oviedo, etc, he may go a long a way in winning over all bar his most ardent critics and we should start climbing the table pretty quickly.

Gordon Roberts
145 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:01:13
Steve Ferns #81.

Spot on with your observations re James McCarthy, an integral part of this team. Many have eulogised fondly about Besic recently. 2 or 3 good matches tells us he has potential, but still a long way off being the player who Martinez hopes will replace Barry.

John Daley
146 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:11:56
"Too many knee jerk reactions to disappointments methinks, if theres any chance of keeping this squad together next year we'll be knocking on the top 4 door loudly."

Raymond, it works both ways. The first sign of a few clouds clearing and some people are already stripping off and shouting that we're in for a tropical heatwave.

Andy Crooks
147 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:12:34
I bow to no one in my disdain for Roberto Martinez. However, this was a fine performance from the players today AND a very fine performance from our coach. I am some way from eating humble pie, but, I have a pal who is a butcher and I have asked him to source me a decent helping just in case it is required.

Andy Crooks
148 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:18:30
Good point, John, I hate reasonable responses being called knee jerk. What would the response be if I called the comments today as a knee jerk reaction to a rare victory?
Brian Wilkinson
149 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:24:20
Raymond@92, so its not down to fans opinions, its down to Martinez picking the team, sorry Ray his hand was forced with injuries to Howard and Stones, do you really believe Bobby would have dropped those two players if not injured.

Lets see what happens when both are fit before you give Bobby the freedom of the city.

Laurie Hartley
150 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:25:25
I haven't watched the game yet but what a great result. Well done to the players and the manager for picking them.

Perhaps the most significant thing about the team selection for me was the fact that he started Oviedo ahead of Baines. In my view that was the correct call.

Brian Wilkinson
152 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:28:24
If Bobby sticks to this formula and sticking with a winning team, he gets all the support he deserves, please Bobby, don't undo the shoots of recovery, by bring in players out of form, and dropping players who have earned selection for the next game.
Dave Pritchard
153 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:29:32
Great win but we are not suddenly going to win the Cup and get top 5 just because of two good wins. Is it just coincidence that we score 9 and none against once Howard and Stones are injured. Time will tell. For now though will enjoy MOTD tonight.
Mike Hughes
154 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:39:27
John Daley #128

Well said. I couldn't agree more on that point. One swallow and all that.
While I'm chuffed (well, relieved) with the recent mini-revival (particularly the clean sheets) I wonder if it's been more luck than judgement with respect to the TH and JS situation?

Here we are again with two thirds of the season gone and we show some signs of life (albeit against poor opposition).

We should be a lot higher in this of all seasons.
I hope Leicester go on to win the title - they deserve it and might go some way to dispelling the half-myth of the financial glass ceiling.

Mike Hughes
155 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:57:46
Raymond Fox #116:

Perhaps it's just coincidence but I often get a 'weird logic' warning when you post.

For example:
"if there's any chance of keeping this squad together next year we'll be knocking on the top 4 door loudly."

So why aren't we knocking on it loudly this year then when the squad is together? I don't suppose that could be RM's fault, could it?

Looking to the future, the fact that there is any doubt in keeping it together couldn't possibly be down to RM either I suppose?

Andrew Presly
156 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:17:14
Wish people wouldn't bracket the absence of Stones and Howard together when lauding this win.

John Stones is going to be a world class player and captain of England for many years. He's obviously been through a bad patch like any young player does after a such meteoric rise but will come good again very soon, here or elsewhere.

To refer to him in the same manner as that oaf in goal is ludicrous and a complete insult. Talk about short memories. Howard on the other hand should never play for this team again and if Martinez, who I otherwise back, picks him he should be fired for professional negligence.

Colin Glassar
157 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:30:03
Andrew, some people wouldn’t recognise class if it smacked them in the face. Stones will probably leave in the summer then all you will hear on here will be the drops of crocodile tears?
Frank Thomas
158 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:33:49
First, apologies to Lennon – I thought he was a bad purchase but the effort he has shown recently shows he can play really; well he has just been used badly.

When Ranieri took over Leicester he really had no idea about his defence. He changed the players a few times in the first 7 weeks WWDDWDL and since then has not changed the ’starting line up’ of the defence except for injury or suspension and look where they are.

So, Mr Martinez, have faith in the current defenders and don’t ’rest’ them – all it does is lose cohesion and understanding between players.

Finally, good news is that Mr Martinez’s managerial win rate is about 40% this would suggest at least 7 more wins in the next 13 games. If you look at who we have left to play, we could win a lot more than that.

Tony Abrahams
159 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:34:42
Good point Mike, but if the players are enjoying their football this might make them want to stay a bit longer.

A squad without Besic, Stones and the new player, and a bench that sounded really strong. The starting eleven, playing with balance were three up by half time, and everyone seems happy.

If it's all about learning, then I hope our manager keeps learning, but it's not hard to realize that the most important ingredient is balance.

Swapping Delaufoe, for Kone, instead of Lennon, possibly cost us a place at wembley last week, but if it's true Martinez is learning, then better things should surely follow, and is the reason so many have been so frustrated this season.

Paul Olsen
160 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:37:13

No he won't. If he sticks with it and loses, it will be just as bad again. That's just the way it works in here.

Mike T Jones
161 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:37:20
Watching Leicester is like watching Everton in 84-85.
Tony Hill
162 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:38:45
Stones has been poor for a while and we are, for the moment, better without him. He has been directly responsible for a number of important goals against us. How do we do this very promising young player any favours – or, more importantly, do the team any favours – by pretending that he’s better than he is and that he doesn’t need to take a breath to develop his defensive skills?

If he leaves in summer because he thinks he will do better elsewhere then that is his call and I hope he fulfils his obvious potential. I’m not sure why Everton fans should then have cause to realise the error of their ways.

Danny O'Neill
163 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:46:10
Colin & Andrew; well said reference Stones. As I've said on other threads, this young team has the potential to deliver something special. The trick is our ability to be patient with them (because they will make mistakes along the way) and whether, challenged with the pull of market forces in the modern game, we can keep them together long enough for them to realise the clear potential. I think the players believe something otherwise lets face it, we'd have lost some by now.

On Howard; I'm with the majority, he needs replacing but I'm uncomfortable with what I consider disrespectful behaviour being demonstrated to a loyal servant to the club.

I'm enjoying this team just about more than they frustrate me....a joy to watch when in flow!!

Tom Bowers
164 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:46:58
The team showed a big improvement today as all the players did their part. No coincidence that McCarthy’s return plus the better play of Cleverly and Lennon is a big factor.

Getting the two goal lead when they did posed the big question: could they hold on to it at least till half-time and not only did they do that but Lennon put the seal on it whilst Barkley was off the field.

Should have scored a few more but who cares as long as the defence showed some resilience. Three games without conceding is a big step forward but let’s see how things pan out the rest of this month before saying they have turned the corner.

James Flynn
165 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:27:49
Stones is a sad-sack as a CB. Funes-Mori, fresh from Uruguay, is already better; from fucking Uruguay.

Snap the hand, wrist, and forearm off the club comes in for what Chelsea did last season.

Now here's where I give him full credit for being Tops: a Conjurer.

Somehow, as lousy as he is at his position, (not just lately, but since Roberto inserted him), several of us, somehow, think he'll be a great.

Hand, wrist, forearm and insist on paying the medical bills. Let the chumps who pay for him deal with the consequences.

John Pickles
166 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:33:02
I see John Stones is the new whipping boy for those who love a scapegoat. Already the 'experts' are pointing out his attitude problem. No doubt it's only a matter of time before one or two turn to personal abuse.

Of course, it could just be down to a young player still learning his trade, having periods where his form dips....

Jay Harris
167 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:35:01
I don't think the change in results is just down to the Stones/Howard change although Robles definitely makes me feel more comfortable when we are under threat.

I think the obstinate one has felt the pressure from all and sundry and there has been a sea change in tactics and attitude by the players too.

No longer are we standing off the opposition and giving them acres of space.

No longer are we second best to the second balls.

No longer are we playing tippy-tappy shite along the back 4.

No longer are we afraid to hoof it when under pressure.

Lennon has also helped as he did when on loan by setting an example with his workrate and determination.

Roll on West Brom and message to Roberto. Go to Jason Derulo’s next concert and do not change back to the "polite" football philosophy.

Jamie Crowley
168 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:36:26
I said last week we had a host of winnable games and could climb the table.

West Brom
West Ham

Keep this up and when we play Arsenal on the 19th of March we could be much closer to them then some people think possible...

It's the fucking hope that kills ya.

Cliche - one game at a time. Far too many false dawns to get too excited but hope springs eternal - again for me at any rate.

Don Alexander
169 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:43:10
Great that we’ve won two in a row in the league. Martinez needs to prove from now to the end of the season that he has learned HIS lessons. Two points per game on average will show me he has, as Rom very much inferred in post-match interview (but that would still exasperate me personally because of what will, for the talent in our squad, still be a major, CL qualifying "could’ve been" season).

The lessons amount to him realising that his endless tippy-tappy possession means sod all if you don’t regularly win (we and Leicester today won with about 33% possession, proving Martinez has delivered bollocks so far) and that he needs to pay attention EVERY day to some of the scribes on this site!
Steve Durham
170 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:53:54
Basic facts, it is not a coincidence that the absence of Stones has seen us look far, far more solid - not just defensively but as a unit. Selling Barkley or Lukaku – both players of a similar age to Stones – and already showing unbelieveable talent – would be a major dent in achieving the potential of this squad.

Just my opinion, but I don’t think losing Stones – a good centre half but with questionable positional sense and a hugely inflated opinion of his own ability – would be the disaster some think it would be - especially with £50M+ and Funes-Mori who I think is a better player.

Stones may yet reach his potential but what is that potential? And how many years away is that? And how many more mistakes do we have to suffer (8 since Christmas!) while he struts around thinking he’s Beckenbauer and his peers (Barkley, Lukaku, Geri) get more and more disillusioned we can’t defend for toffee.

For me he’s the next in the line of overhyped young English players who will be a solid defender but not the next England captain we are led to believe. If £50M is on offer in the summer, I’d bite their hands off. It reminds me so much of when Citeh paid a fortune for Lescott saying they had bought the best defender in the country whilst we all knew he wasn’t even the best defender at Everton.
Don Alexander
171 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:58:16
In answer to his critics on this and various other posts, John Stones has the talent to be an England great. Whether or not it's in central defence or elsewhere is irrelevant. The lad has monumental "front" as he showed yonks ago when chipping the Juve keeper to win a match three years ago with a penalty in a pre-season ( see

You do that sort of thing when you're young, talented and, yes, arrogant.

Talent, arrogance....... and hard work (are you listening John?) are what makes the greats great.

I really hope he stays, develops his know-how, and wins trophies with us.

He is special.

John Daley
172 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:59:54

Where to start? If the use of 'sad sack' wasn't a shooting offence in and of itself, then following up with the Jimmy Savillesque, 70's school yard term 'tops' takes it..err...over the top (and not in a 'so shit it's actually quite enjoyable if you relax your mind and just go with the meffiness' kind of way, like...say...Sly Stallone earning the love and respect of his estranged son via the heart-warming power of pro arm wrestling in the movie of the same name).

So, now Stones isn't just in a moment of poor form? He's absolutely fucking useless and has been consistently so ever since he first came into the team? So 'lousy' that only 'chumps' would consider him worth significant coin? I know you menstruate from the mouth on occasion but that's got to be one of the more foolish things you've ever come out with.

Still, at least you've got the inside scoop on the secret location where Funes Mori was really fired out of his mothers minge. Uruguay huh? Who knew?

Andy Crooks
173 Posted 06/02/2016 at 00:06:12
John. # 166, I hope you are wrong. I know a bit about fan sites and there is always a whipping boy. Stones, like Barkley, will make errors but will, like Barkley, be a special player. We are lucky to have them.

Thomas Surgenor
174 Posted 06/02/2016 at 00:08:03
For me the difference is passion. The true test will be if the lads can keep it up. Seamus normally stays back on the half way line at corners, most likely due to his pace to keep up with any counters.
However, he got the chance to go forward and score one for his new born baby. I just feel he really "wanted" that goal more than most weeks. It was his desire that got him it.

If we can keep our players motivated we will do well.

I do think that passion is a big part to play. While Barkley was great again today, I always wish he had that passionate competitive fiery edge that the likes of creasehead had. Lennon, Besic, Deulofeu, Oviedo, Funes Mori, Robles et al, all have it. It’s what we’ve been missing, that hunger... And it's why I feel our recent performances have improved.

I just hope now that they’ve got their opportunity and have suitably impressed that they don’t loose that determination.

Svein-Roger Jensen
175 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:10:17
I thought last week we were nothing special but today was a strong performance. We’ve been cheated against Chelsea and cheated against Citeh so screw the refs. If we can get on a good run,we might be able to catch up a Europa League place, who knows.
Svein-Roger Jensen
176 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:13:53
I think Lennon has made a vast improvement to the team's overall performance. Let’s hope he keeps his place against West Brom. He works hard when not on the ball, which I think a few others might take note.

I’d like to see us close other players down more and press further up the pitch as we are very much a defend and counter team at the moment.

James Marshall
177 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:14:27
Jags is back, Stones is out and Robles is in that the difference? Personally I think it's much more than that. Teamwork, defending as a unit from front to back and closing down the opposition is what is making the difference for me.

I've been crying out for us to defend from the front all season, and with Lennon, Cleverley and Macca in the team we seem to do that a lot better - it's infectious and even Ross is making an effort to tackle more. As a result our defence isn't left wide open, chasing back all the time as we're closing down a lot more, and generally working much harder without the ball.

Robles looks assured and is earning his place in the team - changing of the guard as far as the keeper goes? There's no reason to drop him at this point, even when Howard is fit and I'd leave him in if I was the manager (as I think everyone would!).

To temper it slightly - we played Carlisle in the cup, a terrible Newcastle team and a Stoke team who's form isn't good either. We have WBA next who are also not exactly lighting up the league right now - a great chance to climb the league, and it's also worth noting we're above the RS as well.

Tom Roberts
178 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:14:34
John Stones WILL go on to be England captain for years. If he chooses to leave Everton to further his career then I, for one, would wish him well. He strikes me as a very well grounded young man.

If he was to leave Everton to escape the abuse from OUR fans then that would be criminal. Funes Mori is doing okay and I think will get better with more experience of the Premier League but to suggest he is a better player than John Stones is almost libelous.

We have won 3 games this week and it almost seems that Roberto has cottoned on to a balanced formation? 34% possession and a 3-0 win that could easily have been 7 or 8. I will take that all day, Roberto.

Looking forward to the team selections in the next couple of games with great interest. Lessons learned? I sincerely hope so..
John Daley
179 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:21:51
"Stones - a hugely inflated opinion of his own ability.."

See, this is the sort of thing that winds me up.

Show me the first shred of evidence that Stones ego is running wild? Has he recently been spotted riding around on a jet ski spouting Kenny Powersisms or something? Has he given any interviews banging on about how good he is and what he's going to go on and achieve in the game? Nah, the only bigging up of the boy has ever come from the mouths of others. His own manager being the biggest booster of them all.

Ahh, wait on, I forgot the dead give away that demonstrates beyond a doubt that he's dissapeared up his own arsehole. A hand gesture saying he had the situation under control after a few anxious groans at Goodison! To make out an instinctive narked reaction, in the heat of the moment, is a sure indicator of someone having a swollen opinion of themselves is overly sensitive speculation mixed with a soupcon of shite.

From the way people have so readily downgraded their opinion on Stones since that one moment, you would think there were legions of Everton fans unable to sleep that night through pure unadulterated fume at a player having the temerity to say 'keep your fucking hair on'.

If he'd have turned round with a big shit kicking grin, and give it a big Jimmy Krankie style two thumbs up instead, would everyone be saying "Cor, he's a cracking lad that Stonesy. Right wee cheeky chappie and modest as they come"?

James Marshall
180 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:35:33
John Stones is the best young centre half in world football.

There, I said it.

Graham Mockford
181 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:46:51
Colin Hughes #135

Firstly I suspect you are just plain wrong. There is no chance that bookies have 14 other sides ahead of us to win the league. We are 8th, the only sides below us that any bookie would mark us up to finish below are Chelsea and Liverpool. To boot most bookies wouldn't even give odds because it isn't going to happen.

Secondly I know you have trouble enjoying the moment. Your immediate reaction to a third consecutive 3-0 win in #30 was to complain we didn't score more and have a little rant about Kone. So just for you I will give you a stake free bet in the hope of raising your spirits. I will give £500 to a charity of your choice should we finish 15th or worse.

Graham Mockford
182 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:53:18
John Daley #172

Take a bow, son

Already my favourite post of 2016.

Steve Durham
183 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:54:49
John Daley - you are so far off the mark its almost funny. Almost. You try to paint a picture that anyone criticising Stones is a chest-thumping ignoramus. Everton fans are a little more savvy than you seem to be giving them credit for and tend to back up their opinions (for this is what they are).

So, if you care to study the footballing nature of his performances of late – the finer, more subtle things he has ’added’ to his game – this arrogance and inflated opinion of his own ability is clear to see.

Cling to your belief that opinion on Stones changed because of his altercation with the fans all you like, but you are wrong, so very wrong! Ever since he wasn’t allowed to leave (and his resulting public sulk) there have been occasions where his demeanour on the pitch has been disgraceful, his performances shocking, and his mistakes have often been the result of him believing he can do things he can’t at the cost of the team. That’s why supporters got upset at his Beckenbauer antics and his response to them was borne of an "I know what I’m doing" arrogance....the same arrogance which has cost us 8 goals. He didn’t learn. Arrogance. Seriously John, if you haven’t seen a huge change in his attitude and demeanour on the pitch then either you don’t attend games or you’re suffering the same blinded loyalty affliction once the reserve of our manager.

For what it's worth, I think in time he will be a top player but let us be honest, the writing has been on the wall since August and he has done little, if anything to show us it means something to be at this football club – rather he does everything to show us how good he is. Big difference.

James Flynn
186 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:02:31
John (172) - You can find a place "where to start" and end wherever you like. No position you take will make this make-believe, wonder-kid better.

Stones is not a great player, prospect, one for the future, young and developing, or any other description you and others have applied to him. He IS a player pretty good with the ball at his feet. Then what?

What we do know is that he's a CB who's terrible at playing his position. Deny that.

Funes-Mori is already better than him, while still having his own problems adjusting to the league from playing in Uruguay.

It's a peculiar thing that a player who delivers so little is spoken of in superlatives. You're not alone in that. As I said, a conjurer.

Snap off: fingers, wrists, arms, and legs of the first club comes in for "Chelsea" money. Let that club's supporters talk about his "potential", "Maldini", "Beckenbauer", or whatever else about him, while Roberto is spending the money to actually improve the team.

We won't miss Stones.

Graham Mockford
187 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:11:16
James #186

That's the trouble with these South Americans, they all look the same.

Steve Durham
188 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:19:22
James Flynn @ 186 - absolutely spot on, Sir.

I cannot think of one occasion watching John Stones this season where I have acknowledged 'that is why he is worth £50m'. More often than not I've left wondering 'am I missing something here?'.

Terrible positional sense, throws his arse on the floor every time opposition players go to strike the ball in our penalty area, gives away soft penalty claims with daft challenges ....but hey he can dribble out of defence like Beckenbauer – and sometimes gets away with it.

As for John Daley – well, I guess it's cool to challenge the EFC neanderthal brigade intent on bringing down one of our young gems.

I'll stick to what I have seen. A player who has singlehandedly cost us goals and points this season because of stupid, basic errors. Tell me, how many goals has Funes Mori cost us so far?

£50m??? Yes please. I would gladly wish the boy all the luck in the world but give me a Dave Watson or a Kevin Ratcliffe every time over a John Stones.

Svein-Roger Jensen
189 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:25:55
A very pleasing victory down at the Potters which we normally struggle with. I didn’t think much of them today but we did everything right and no mistakes, or at least not ones that cost us.

Another clean sheet without Tim Howard in goal will have fans foaming at the mouth

John Daley
191 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:40:31
"Everton fans are a little more savvy than you seem to be giving them credit for and tend to back up their opinions"

So, why haven't you then? I asked for one shred of evidence that Stones has an overinflated opinion of his own ability. Your answer: well...err...he's put in some shit performances since the summer hasn't he and he's made some mistakes that have cost us goals. Like that cuts right to the core of his psyche? Anyone who has ever had anything to do with the lad reports back that he's as level headed a young player as they've come across. Of course, they don't get to sit in your comfy, specially kitted out seat at Goodison complete with great big fuck off Professor X style Cerebro helmet that drops down over your bonce and enables you burrow deep into the darkest corners of men's minds, do they?

Ever thought that the situation with Stones might not be something so simple as a young player wilting under the glare of continual media speculation or struggling to find his best form? Why must his performances on the pitch be perceived as reflections of his ego run rampant?

You've got no insight at all as to what Stones thinks of himself or how he regards his own ability. Which was the entire point I was making. Nothing at all to do with swatting away general criticism of his recent performances.

Perhaps he plays a certain way because it's all he knows or it's how his manager actually prefers him to play? Now, if he was under orders from the top to 'just twat it John' and, in defiance of these defensive instructions, he continued trying to dance his way out of danger, then you might be able to read into such actions attitudinal issues. However, seen as though such words are less likely to roll off Martinez's tongue as "set piece practice starts in five minutes", then I'd say he's been playing exactly as he's been sent out on the pitch to do.

John Daley
192 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:48:15
"Funes Mori is already better than him, while still having his own problems adjusting to the league from playing in Uruguay."

James, I have to spell it out?

Dennis Ng
193 Posted 07/02/2016 at 02:18:46
Steve, £50m in RM’s hands won’t give you a Watson or Ratcliffe.

Funes Mori is a good acquisition that actually was supposed to play similar to Stones. Events dictate that Jags, the old guard, and Funes Mori has to play more Row Z from now on to help save RM’s job, and it worked for 2 games. 2!!! Just because we beat Stoke doesn’t mean the others below us will roll over. It’s the most open league in the whole world.

I savor a win like everyone else but let’s not get too excited. We’re not in a giant killing spree like Leicester, may they win the title, but it is now far better than what we had in the previous 12 games. But make no mistake, team selection, style tactics, all RM’s job. If we win out and get into UCL, kudos to him for being able to turn it around.

I do not, for one bit, think that Stones and Howard played the way they did despite of RM. No, RM told them to and allowed them to. The praises, if you recall, came from RM. Not Stones himself. I said in earlier threads that at any rate, we’ll not get £50m for Stones at this rate, so why should we keep carrying that valuation around when we’re winning without him. That money is gone. What we can hope for is a good run with or without Stones, get into UCL and use the TV money, among other income, to shore up our defenses, like with a defensive coach.

Paul Ward
194 Posted 07/02/2016 at 02:20:39
I accept we are likely to lose Stones this summer and an inflated price on his head may be a good deal for the club. Stones's current injury or resting has coincided with 3 victories, so he should not walk straight back in the team.

On the other hand to see a crazy hurtful rant by James Flynn 165 & 186 about the lad is ridiculous.
Jay Wood
195 Posted 07/02/2016 at 02:28:33
This thread contains a wide range of suggestions as to why we have suddenly put together 3 consecutive 3-0 wins, based on the presence or absence of any number of players.

May I suggest... you are ALL right!

Football is a team game. Yes, a team may be considerably advantaged if it contains one (or more) particularly gifted players, but – as Leicester are clearly demonstrating this season and most brutally in the demolition job they performed on Citteh today - a well drilled, disciplined and determined team can often out oerform a more illustrious side which, on paper, contains far more talented individuals.

By accident or design, or possibly a mixture of both, Roberto fielded the same starting XI in the last 2 games which has looked more balanced - solid in defence and potent in attack - playing effectively as a single unit, rather than several disjointed parts.

That XI contains players who have been missing through injury, or have been given a chance due to injuries to others. Some of those players would not make the club’s best XI in a supporters’ poll, but they are hungry and driven to retain their place and as a result are playing as well as anyone.

We as supporters should be encouraged by this - that we do have quality back up that can still get us results. Equally, the management should learn we can chop and change the side for the better, rather than persist with a closed unchanging core of players.

Genuine competition for places (and a selection policy which ’rests’ poorly performing players and rewards determined, good trainers with a starting place) results in a positive upward spiral as players understand they need to play and train well to retain their place, or risk losing it to a more determined player.

That said, today is the 1st time in 10 months we have won back to back PL games. Let’s hope this winning run can be extended. It is still far too premature to claim a corner has been turned, that the manager or his team have been vindicated and all is well at Everton. The team has, in the main, underperformed this season and the results simply have not been good enough.

Oh! And with regard to John Stones, his presumed super inflated ego and claims that Ramiro is a better player and CB than John, I have this to say.

There is no evidence – either on the pitch or in his public utterances – that JS has "a hugely inflated opinion of his own ability." On the contrary, he displays a quiet intelligence, modesty and gratitude for all the game has given him, not to mention the considerable charity work he does in the city.

I really like Ramiro, but if it was possible to post a bet I’d put down good money on a punt that in 10-15 years time football supporters globally will be very aware of who John Stones is and his talent whilst Funes Mori, by contrast, whilst popular, will largely only be known by the supporters of teams he has played for.

Darren Hind
196 Posted 07/02/2016 at 02:50:21
John Daley.

You are right of course, but that isn’t just a mild breeze you are pissing against.

Stones recent dip in form can be attributed to several reasons. He is a baby by center half standards and still has more to learn than he knows at this stage. He has been played out of position... and his head must be wrecked when he reads every day that all the top coaches in the world (the "chumps") are trying to sign him.

"Am I missing something here?" Yes, Steve, you are. You are missing the development of one of the best defenders this country has produced and you are missing it because you are hankering for the days when "proper" center halves could find Row Z in their sleep.

Anto Byrne
198 Posted 07/02/2016 at 04:25:52
Time to get off John Stone's back and appreciate this wonderful talent.
Paul Andrews
199 Posted 07/02/2016 at 07:06:34

I have no idea of the character and personality of John Stones. He seems a decent lad listening to interviews.

In my opinion he has a lot to learn re basic defending. You are taught when you are a 12-year-old defender to stay goal-side of your man; John has not done that on numerous occasions. He lets his man make simple, straight runs off him, he has little awareness of space around him when we are defending.

I really hope he goes on to be a top class defender,he is far from that at the moment. A defender’s priority is to defend; if they can play to the ability of Stones, that is a bonus. John can play with the ability of a very good midfielder; at the moment, that is taking priority for some and his defending is a bonus.

Christopher Dover
200 Posted 07/02/2016 at 08:24:24
Arrogant or confidence in his own ability?
John Stones is calm on the ball. But when he gets it short from Howard and then stands and waits to be tackled just outside the penalty area, it’s asking for trouble, which has come when the ball is lost and goals conceded.

RM in giving him the continued freedom to do this in my opinion is also to blame. RM continually says they are learning but when you you make the SAME mistake over and over is it any wonder the fans lose patience.

I said going to the Newcastle game hoping for a good result but having doubts, we won but hand on heart how many were very nervous up to the late second goal that we would give a win away again?

We won with a good score, Stoke are not easy to beat at their place so I give Everton the praise for making Stoke look poor, an excellent team win.

So now onward and upward keeping the same team effort with no lack of skill to put a run together, changing the team when injury or form dips not just for the sake of it.

Peter Roberts
201 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:04:27
A great performance, solid professional performances all over the pitch.

Seems to be a John Stones love/hate thing going on... to me, the lad needed grounding, far too much media attention on him and he was trying to play up to a reputation. He has plenty of potential but for me is as far if not further away from being world class than Ross Barkley is.

The reaction to any Stones criticism is a bit of a joke. I mean seriously do we have a thing where certain players are immune from criticism and the much maligned manager gets it instead?

Stones has got too big for his boots IMO, the whole "Calm down" against Spurs and glaring at fans on other occassions for daring to shout "Get rid" when he is putting himself in trouble. Throw in the odd bit of finger pointing at team mates when he makes a mistake and he is giving the impression that he thinks he’s too good for us. To finish off, him walking off the pitch smiling and having a laugh with Fabregas just seconds after having a win stolen, then lets say "questionable attitude" is fair.

What got him plaudits in the first place was his ability to read a game... not his dribbling skills. He’s a defender. FFS people stop saying "enjoy him" like his ball dribbling at the back is essential to us scoring goals. It’s no more like playing FA singles in an 11 a side game.

I’m not being critical of the lad, I just think he needs to give his head a wobble, watch how Funes Mori is mixing ball playing and defending. He can become world class but at this moment if he observes the discipline of less talented players like Cleverley, Lennon, McCarthy, Barry then he will go far.

Pleased that Martinez seems to be open to change. This is what we want from a manager. It may not please those who want him gone. For me, it shows he is not as stubborn and arrogant as many believe.

Kim Vivian
202 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:06:54
Jay Wood - a good post at 195 there. Agree with all of that.
Kim Vivian
203 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:10:17
Not being critical? I wouldn't like to be on the wrong end when you are being critical, Peter.
Steve Pugh
204 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:15:07
What does it say when the people who call Stones crap don't even know where Funes Mori comes from?
Les Martin
205 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:15:57
A great run of results (bar the Man City game) and at the right time of the season. It's never easy at Stoke, they were poor because we were so good!

A lot of comments on Stones on this thread and everyone knows his potential. I get the feeling from watching him that he doesn't want to be here and that the transfer speculation has affected him. He's ar too laconic this season, and an unforced period out of the first team will help him re focus.

I have no doubt in my mind that the playing of two relatively young centre halves was a tough task in the Prem; with Jags back, it shows you need an older head at the back to lead and direct matters.

Stones will be a gem but is not in the Jags class yet! But in him he has a great role model. He must learn one important thing: to "defend", track back, cut out the cross and the man – then he will be the player we all dreamed he could be.

Amit Vithlani
206 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:24:56
Stones is a gem but I believe he will leave in the summer. I say this because I believe we will sell him as soon as we receive a bid matching our asking price. We could not sell in August because Funes Mori had just arrived and was an unknown quantity.

Stones is also out of sorts at present and his form has been poor. Can’t say I know the reason but he really struggled against Swansea. He needs a few games to rest and come back refreshed. It is better for him, the team and his transfer value if he sits it out for a couple of weeks.

Hopefully the team will sustain its run and a re-introduction into the side will be in easier circumstances.

Graham Mockford
207 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:43:20
Peter Roberts #201

A incisive searing critique of Stones 'questionable attitude'

Surely not the same Peter Roberts who displayed his undoubted ability to assess the qualities of a footballer player who said just four months ago about Lukaku

"His ability as a footballer is very poor. I don’t think I’ve seen a player with such a poor touch, he can’t jump, his runs lack intelligence for this level, and his right foot has absolutely no sense of direction – it’s his swinger."

Or even the same Peter Roberts who followed that corker up with

"Stones and Barkley are going to world class levels. Rom is going to be remembered like a "could have been" unless his attitude changes."

Darren and Jay both sum it up nicely. A very talented player, still with plenty to learn who has had a poor run of form. In the very same way Barkley and Lukaku did but appear to have carried on developing, like good young players do.

Mike Berry
208 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:44:34
Amazing what not playing a Dracula in goal. Wide midfielders who tackle back does.

I have a nasty feeling he will change the team for West Brom.
Mike Gwyer
209 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:45:41

You can take a lot of good from going to Stoke and winning 3 nil. For one, not many teams score from dead ball kicks into their penalty area, it’s almost a given that one of their giants will clear the ball. However, the primary point for me was that we sustained continued pressure throughout the whole 90 minutes, we could've scored 5, 6 or even 7 goals. Yeah, we gave Stoke a right slap.

So, John Stones, it seems that everything has been said in previous posts. But seriously, we are all blues and yes, some do seem to wear blue tinted glasses but I would imagine that most of us can spot a decent footballer. For me, watching John Stones play football is an absolute privilege.

Why three clean sheets in a row?? Confidence, maybe, or just the quality of the teams we have played (but Stoke away is no gimme); fuck knows, but it would seem that RM and his stack of coaches have spotted some of the issues that we have been watching for the past few months. Changes had to be made and they were; No Baines, No Howard, No Deulofeu, No Stones & McCarthy is back on the pitch.

Now it will really be interesting to see who RM plays when the "injuries" have cleared up.

Peter Roberts
210 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:51:29
Kim I'm not being critical, I'm being balanced. I said he can become a top player, he needs to sort his head out.

It's absolutely fine to say negative things about players, even those players deemed destined for massive things.... after all they will never be as big as Everton Football Club.

It's funny isn't it. Kone can come on the pitch, 100% pass completion, forces good save from keeper, sets Mirallas up for a sitter and some fans slate him. John Stones plays like a hungover Joseph Yobo recently and it's not his fault because he's "world class".

That's the bit that bothers me. Players get judged by reputation not performance.

Paul Hewitt
211 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:51:49
Why is it wrong to point out Stones's mistakes? The lad clearly is a good player, and will go on to be a great one. But he has cost us points in recent weeks.

When he first came in the team everyone was saying what a great player he was. So I see no reason why fans can’t point out when he does makes mistakes.
Peter Roberts
212 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:04:41
Graham Mockford – that is exactly who I am...

You must see what irritates me. It’s the fan-boy mentality of fans; apparently Rom and Stones were world class before being world class.

I do think Stones will be world class, as will Barkley. I think Rom will continue to frustrate and amaze unless he can rid himself of his "Hmmm, can’t really be bothered today"... what did you think of him in the 3 games prior to yesterday? Personally I thought he went back in time to the games where he wasn’t bothered.

You see, these players who we are "so lucky to have" will continue to believe they are better than what they are whilst there are fans so star-struck that they indulge them their arrogance.

Nah, maybe you are right, for players deemed future world class let’s just stay in awe of them and not get critical, even when they deserve it. After all that’s why we had Naismith, and we have Kone, Osman and Co. If all else fails, it’s the manager's fault.

Brent Stephens
213 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:13:01
John Daley - not only funny but on the money for me in your demolition of some views on here.
James Marshall
214 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:35:29
It seems that some people would rather have a Shawcross type defender than a cultured youngster like Stones. You only have to look at their examples of who they’d rather have (Ratcliffe/Watson) to see their mindset.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but I do think there’s a real distinction to be made regarding John Stones versus your examples.

He has more ability than any centre half we’ve had probably ever – and I mean that – ever. Football supporters are very set in their ways (in the main) and when a cultured individual like Stones comes along, it makes certain people feel very uneasy. It’s also a British disease – the media build him up, and all of a sudden even his own people turn on him (how dare he/who does he think he is? etc) even when the player himself has not really done very much to suggest he’s a bighead (aside from an ill-advised transfer request).

The kid has been put under huge amounts of pressure from us (supporters), our manager and the media, not to mention being heralded as the next big thing by people like Gerard Pique (one of his peers, and I will guarantee you, someone he looks up to massively for obvious reasons), yet as soon as his form dips people are on his case. The incident when he gestured to supporters? Good for him I say – footballers take stick from 40,000+ people every week... yet, when they react, you all start crying about it? Get a grip!

I like footballers with balls, the ability and balls to try things – doing Cruyff turns in your own 6-yard box? Fill your boots son and I’ll applaud you when it comes off with a big smile on my face, not berate you for it! Seriously, I’ll never get my head entirely round why supporters get so high & mighty about the things footballers do in – let's not forget – the blink of an eye with barely any forethought. Have you ever played football? Do you think everything is pre-planned? Or do you perhaps think that what players do happens instinctively?

I love John Stones, the way he plays, and the things he tries to do with his ability and I for one will be sad when he leaves but I won’t blame him or lay into him for it. I’ll wish him the very best of luck when he takes his arrogance and ability to wherever he chooses to showcase it. Top players need arrogance – it’s what makes them top players. If you want to carry on with run-o-the-mill players who don’t show arrogance, then it’s a good job you don’t support a successful team.

Colin Glassar
215 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:51:57
Wow, some of the vitriolic bile aimed at John Stones on here, by 2-3 posters, is astounding. Stones is made out to be some fifth columnist sent to destroy our season. Some evil, Machiavellian schemer whose sole aim is to cause mayhem within the ranks etc....

I often wonder, after reading some of the garbage on here, who are the real fifth columnists? A young lad who is learning his trade or some of the wankers on here who's only contribution is to attack, without respite, EVERYTHING about the club from the manager to the players. Win, lose or draw the same fucking negative shite week after week by the holier than thou crew. Getting a fucking grip will yez.

Peter Roberts
216 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:51:59
I'll be the first to stand up and applaud Stones and hail him as the new Beckenbauer when he doesn't let in goals through ball watching, go to ground and give needless penalties away and tell fans to pipe down when they are justifiably concerned about him dribbling in the box in the 9th minute.

It's funny, the fans who take issue with Martinez "performance ahead of points" mentality actually see time think it's ok to see a young lad gamble with the ball.

There seems to be an extremely pretentious attitude around this ball playing cultured centre half and anyone who doesn't get it is a footballing neanderthal... forgive me for stating the obvious, but defending is about stopping the opposition scoring. Not every cultured footballer is some sort of artist who is sacrificing goals in the sake of his "art"...

Geoff Evans
217 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:53:57
Arrogance is fine if you can back it up. Let' see if Citeh are still interested when Pep takes over.
James Marshall
218 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:57:16
Peter - I think I said there's nothing wrong with wanting standard issue centre halves in your team. Personally, and this is just for me, I'm not trying to tell anyone what to think, but personally I like having players who try things and take risks - football is entertainment after all.

Some people lose this minds when players make mistakes - pardon them for being human beings with different was of doing things.

Some people would rather have the same players we have 30 yeas ago - I quite enjoy the modern day version, that's all. I also like that we play out from the back, and don't just hoof the ball back to the opposition - that actually doesn't work either by the way!

Graham Mockford
219 Posted 07/02/2016 at 11:14:37
Peter #212

I try to avoid describing players as world class as it is a pretty meaningless cliche bandied around wily nily.

You characterise some supporters as 'fanboys', a bit American for my tastes. However you appear to be in that other camp who are best described as 'owl arses'. There are a few who sit around me who seem to get their enjoyment from constantly whinging about players.

You know ' fucking Osman your shite', 'Jesus Christ Barkley lad pass the fucking thing', but whatever floats your boat. You pay your money, fill your boots.

I do think however you wouldn't spot a good player if one bit you on the arse. We have three of the best young players in the country. But players who are still developing and improving. It's actually to Martinez's credit he has persevered when all three have at times had dips in form.

As for Naismith and Kone, if you are serious about breaking into a top 4 I would say they aren't quite good enough. Ossie is a different case, a distinguished Evertonian now reaching the end of his career, but give me him again 10 years younger and I'd snap your hand off.

Finally saw Yobo many times and he was a good player for us, never saw him play drunk though.

Philip Yensen
220 Posted 07/02/2016 at 11:32:31
34% possession 3 - 0 win.

We’ve had 60%-70% and got nothing because of negative possession football. When we have possession and attack, we can be lethal.

I watched Leicester yesterday, they all get behind the ball and when they attack wow they are lethal – so are we (Kone excepted).
Chris Owens
221 Posted 07/02/2016 at 11:35:54
Accepting that a young player will make mistakes is one thing, but to have the manager's backing to carry on making the same mistakes is just crazy.
Peter Roberts
222 Posted 07/02/2016 at 11:41:05
Hmm interesting Graham... you clearly know nothing about how I judge a good footballer. More to the point how I would know a good footballer.

I certainly don't subscribe to the Oliver Holt mentality of jumping on band wagons and creating a media hype. Example being poor Tom Cleverley. A lad so nearly destroyed by fans in the way you describe fans who love a moan. I for the record don't moan at players at the ground, so there's one you got wrong for starters. I for one was made up when we signed Cleverley, who in my opinion will play his way into the England team... I was also delighted when we signed Gareth Barry and McCarthy. So no, I don't need my football spoon fed to me.

I look for the fundamentals in football, players being able to control a ball, pass a ball, win challenges, show intelligence, after that I will look at the extras. Some much touted players neglect the fundamentals yet are praised for their FIFA esque attributes. I don't do that.

You do strike me as a man who reads NME and buys his obscure albums based on the odd favourable review. Personally I buy what makes my ears prick up. Pretty much how I view my football.

Final point this isn't about being a clever dick and saying "I said this first" - it's about getting the best for Everton by getting the players performing to their potential. That means every player is accountable for what they do. Even the golden boys.

Paul Andrews
223 Posted 07/02/2016 at 11:43:27
At this moment in time, John Stones is a defender who can’t defend very well.

It’s not personal.

Ernie Baywood
224 Posted 07/02/2016 at 11:45:44
I'm fine with Stones making mistakes trying to do the right thing. It's part of developing as a player and brave leadership from Roberto to back him. I'm sure we could easily turn Stones into a decent run-of-the-mill defender but there's a long term greater good here.

I don't agree with having him do the wrong things. Playing it from the back is fine but Cruyff turns near your six yard box isn't right. It's those things that need immediate action and it's the coaching team's job to get that message across.

James Marshall
225 Posted 07/02/2016 at 11:53:32
He can do Cruyff turns all day long if he likes - did anything bad happen when he did? No, so he was right and every whinging supporter was wrong.
Ernie Baywood
227 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:02:17
Peter, it seems to me that you're craving consistency and dependability over brilliance.

You're not happy with Rom's consistency? This season he'll be our top league goalscorer since Lineker 30 years ago!

We've had plenty of sides with the fundamental basics. Of course you can't neglect them but if you focus on mastering the basics the best you'll ever be is, erm, basic.

I wouldn't mind seeing us trying to be a bit more special than that and we've got a few players right now who fit the bill.

Brent Stephens
228 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:06:43
Colin #215 "some of the wankers on here who's only contribution is to attack, without respite, EVERYTHING about the club from the manager to the players. Win, lose or draw the same fucking negative shite week after week by the holier than thou crew."

Far from getting annoyed about that, I actually think it's quite hilarious. I have a wee bet about who will slate player x or y first on TW during a game (you know the favourites to be hated). Others can make a few mistakes and nowt said; hated player makes first mistake (which often is just to be picked!) and the bile spews.

Sean Kelly
229 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:18:35
Having read through some of the posts above I fucking despair. Those of you on here slagging off Stones at every opportunity are talking utter bollocks. Yes they lad makes some mistake but don't suggest on here he is on some sort of mission to boost his ego to that of Beckenbaur status. Hes not Beckenbaur.. not yet anyway. But maybe some on here want to see him achieve that status at another club... fucking idiots.
We have a fantastic young talent at our club that will develop into a top top CB. Let the lad grow. If as hoped the lad comes back into the team shortly and get back to his normal game the same people will be on here telling the club not to sell him. Oh the fickle mind of some.
For those of you wanting us to take the fingers hands and whatever off anyone offering the same as Chelsea let me remind you of one thing. Stones doesn't set the price and if someone does come in with a huge offer this club like most others will accept. Its business. T that stage I'm sure the gobshites will move onto someone else like Barkley or Lukaku for your next rant.
I may be wrong but I don't think anyone on here is either his shrink and occupy the dark regions of the lads head.
I despair sometimes at some on here and wonder
(1) what world you are living in
or worse
(2) are you redshite in disguise

Whats been said above by John, Colin and James makes perfect sense to me.

Danny O'Neill
230 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:23:19
Sean Kelly....I concur! (likewise John, Colin, James). Give the lad some space. He's a long way off the finished article yet and won't be there for many a year yet. Scratched record time, but centre backs mature at a later stage than other positions. Too many seem to be expecting a 21 year old to be playing with the experience of Jagielka.

The closest thing I've seen to Alan, I'm not a red, but Hansen was the best mix of footballing centre back I've seen (too young to witness Beckenbauer) and Stones reminds me of him a lot.

Peter Roberts
231 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:24:52
Brent... absolutely spot on.

Funny isn't it. The perennial critics of the whipping boys get agitated when one of their glory boys get justifiable criticism... hilarious.

It's as though they are worried the players may log on and review fans thoughts of them.

James Marshall
232 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:33:50
John Stones is far too arrogant to use the Internet, Peter.
Andrew Clare
233 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:44:51
Sean #229,
Totally agree with you. I would also like to add that I would rather have the players we have rather than the huge transfer fees they would command. They are irreplaceable in my mind. I am talking about Barkley, Stones and Lukaku.
I am astonished by the amount of stick dished out on here towards them. They are all very young and deserve our patience.
Graham Mockford
234 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:45:37

Well the evidence has been there on your judgement of a footballer.

I refer you to what you said about Rom just four months ago, you know the bit about him being a 'very poor footballer' etc etc. Your opinion on John Stones is equally off the mark.

You mention Barry, McCarthy and Cleverley as examples of players you like, as it happens me too. In fact they would be my first choice midfield three. But all three are experienced fully matured players. They are also the water carriers, essential in any good team but not the players who will make your pulse race or get you on the edge of your seat.

It appears to me you are quite conservative in your footballing tastes, preferring the predictable over the unpredictable. Tried and tested over potential. You were and still are wrong about Lukaku and you will be about John Stones.

i think the last time I read the NME there was a review of 'The Queen is Dead' but you are right I like a little obscurity and novelty in my music selection. Just been revisiting some of my Prog rock collection. So let me stick on something by King Crimson and you can play your Dire Straits CD.

James Hughes
235 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:48:23
I can't understand some people on here at all. We get a 3rd consecutive victory all 3-0 margins and we are looking a bit more organised BUT we attack John Stones.

With fans like you who needs enemies

Richard Farrington
236 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:58:00
Graham (234), are you labelling The Smiths as obscure?
Tony Hill
237 Posted 07/02/2016 at 13:08:57
Like many gifted players, Stones has got ahead of himself precisely because of his natural abilities. He looks superb, he has lovely balance and movement and is capable of cutting through the opposition from defence either with a pass or by gliding past them. He is, therefore, rightly celebrated as one of our finest prospects.

However, he still needs to get his defensive gear together: his heading is relatively weak, his positional awareness is erratic and he needs to toughen up in direct physical contests with opposing strikers.

All of that is entirely to be expected and I hope he stays with us to fulfil himself, though I fear he won't. It's very similar to Barkley last year after his excellent 2013-14. Now we can see Ross tightening up on the basics of ball retention and simple passing while retaining his capacity to do the unexpected and brilliant.

Peter Roberts
238 Posted 07/02/2016 at 13:23:24
Tony this is my point entirely.

Graham, on the contrary I enjoy watching players with flair. I was frustrated with Moyes lack of use of drenthe and other enigmatic players, because we had none.

My point with Lukaku was valid, his touch and footballing ability was poor, it has got a lot better. Thd fact it got better does not mean that he never had thd touch of an elephant, it still rears it's head but all the same he proved that he could improve... despite many saying it wasnt important it clearly was and is.

No one is disputing how good stones can be or is on his day but ffs this doesn't alleviate himself from criticism. He isn't footballing royalty, we don't have to bow down to him. I have seen him have 10/10 games, Chelsea at home as an example. I have also seen him have 4/10 games.

No one is saying stick him in the cellars with bread and water, we are calling out poor performances which indicate his head isn't right... simple as that.

Can we save all this nonsense and create a list of players we can't be critical of.... make it part of the rules.

John Daley
239 Posted 07/02/2016 at 13:38:34
"The perennial critics of the whipping boys get agitated when one of their glory boys get justifiable criticism... hilarious."

Well, you can't get any more 'whipping boy' than someone getting severe backlash when he wasn't even on the pitch to begin with.

Paint those who refuse to reign down righteous wrath on a still wet behind the ears player suffering his first down turn in fortune as 'fan boys', and yourself as some misunderstood conniseur of core 'fundamentals' wrongfully fucked off and condemned as a slack jawed cro-magnon man, if it makes you feel better.

Doesn't change the fact you're making baseless personality judgements that go beyond simply pointing out poor performances on the pitch:

"...these players who we are "so lucky to have" will continue to believe they are better than what they are whilst there are fans so star struck that they indulge them their arrogance."

Go on Dr House, dig a bit deeper with your probing insight and lay bare the 'spoilt bastard centre' at the core of these over paid, primadonna, wide boys.

I'll ask again, where is the actual evidence that Stones (or Barkley and Lukaku if you wish) believes he's better than he is and is adrift on a ship of arrogance sailing straight up his own arse? Don't give me the fact that he prefers to try and take a more measured but sometimes riskier route out of danger, rather than simply smashing it, as a sure sign of anything other than his natural playing style. The very same playing style people were at one point raving about and are now railing against.

I don't have a problem with people finding fault with a players performance, deserved or not. What I do struggle to understand is people taking it a step further and making plucked from thin air presumptions about the inner workings of a players mind, holding said assumption against them and then trying to perpetuate the same self invented myth as the real 'reason' behind every wrong move they make from there on out:

'he's got an inflated ego', 'he thinks he's better than he is', 'he's pissed off his head on his own poncy playing style', 'look at him, strutting around as though he hangs like some John Holmes motherfucker when really he hardly even measures up to Ralph Malph from Happy Days....and that's after he's just finished rubbing one out over Richie's mum'.

It's all bollocks and there's no basis in reality for it other than people getting pissed off at some poor performances, picking someone to point the finger at and then promoting the fact they can see the real problem.

Graham Mockford
240 Posted 07/02/2016 at 13:50:24
Peter Roberts

You are accused of not knowing a good footballer from your arsehole. In your defense you cite Royston Drenthe vs David Moyes Walton 2011.

The Crown rests.

Dave Pritchard
241 Posted 07/02/2016 at 13:52:01
The Stones debate continues. It is a fact that in the last 3 games, without Stones, we have looked solid and not conceded a goal.

Does that mean Stones is crap? No
Does that mean he will go on and be the best centre-half we have seen for many a year, as some seem to state as a fact? No.

Whatever happens with Stones in the future I believe it is wrong for us, as fans, to slag him off. I’ve been disappointed with his form recently but hope that when he returns he will improve. While he is an Everton player we should support him through both good and bad.

Michael Williams
242 Posted 07/02/2016 at 14:09:24
I hope John Stones leaves and and becomes one of the best CBs in history because that is what too many EFC fans here deserve.

Making attacks on your own players’ character without any evidence is wrong, disgusting and counter-productive.

He has tremendous talent but is very young. He’s going through a down spell as any player does – especially young ones. The time away he’s getting now will do him good.

As for people ripping his "hugely inflated sense of own ability" – get a life. Why do so many people in the game say he can be a future England captain – not just RM?

I’ll take the opinions of the experts at Chelsea, those the top level in Spain and ex-players like Rio Ferdinand over people here who rip the character of their own young players.

Peter Roberts
243 Posted 07/02/2016 at 14:23:17
John Daley, wow, quite the Pseudo Intellectual aren’t you? If this was a West Ham forum I would be certain you were Russell Brand.

So I’ll stick to my slack jawed approach if you don’t mind.

Again, I appreciate the beautiful game... I enjoy watching a young player strut his stuff. I also enjoy watching players learn their craft and adapt. So, in saying that, let’s go back to the Europa League game, Stones was dispossessed, gave a way back penalty, red card, lesson learned... well not really but hey he’s just a kid.

Roll on many more top end performances, mixed with some bouts of ball watching and yeah we have a £50m talent, no question.

You see it all got a bit fraught for him when he was losing his head at the end of those games in January. The reaction at the end of the Spurs game should have been a realisation that he needed to be a defender. Not all park enders are boorish idiots with low iqs who want to moan... they want to win games. Hoofing a ball in the 9th minute is good when it’s in your penalty area against a team that presses high.

Stones needs time away, 3 clean sheets, a good partnership between mori and Jags with a big presence in goal. All is good. Not sure why it’s turned into a John Stones thread, that was my point in my first post which was some 100 odd posts down.... but hey ho.

Christy Ring
244 Posted 07/02/2016 at 14:30:22
Stones is now the whipping boy; before him, it was Barkley, and before him, it was Lukaku.

Stones is young and is still learning, but he is one hell of a footballer. Okay, he can dwell on the ball too long, and Howard at times, gave him the ball, instead of kicking it up field. But to say we are a better team with Funes Mori is misleading. We are a more balanced team, because Funes Mori is naturally left-sided, and he and Jagielka are a perfect combination.

Brin Williams
245 Posted 07/02/2016 at 14:50:19
’Stones is now the whipping boy, before him it was Barkley, and before him, it was Lukaku.’

Seems to have worked with Barkley & Lukaku – any chance Stones will benefit?

Raymond Fox
246 Posted 07/02/2016 at 15:08:22
I see I got plenty of stick for my post 116, that’s fair enough.

Colin 135, who mentioned winning the League, we are in contention for top 6, okay I did not say in contention for top 6 my bad, but I don’t think we ever expected to finish top did we? You’ve got your odds of 15th place and 2,500/1 out of the Beeno Colin, the correct odds are 1,000/1 and for us to finish 9th.

Tony 138, same answer I gave to Colin, who ever thought we could finish top. Leicester are completely breaking the mould for a squad on a shoestring since the Premier League started, no ones come remotely close to doing what they are now. Hope they keep it up, but I think they may fall at the final hurdle.

Brian 149, all players make mistakes its when it leads to a goal conceded that it gets highlighted. Most games are decided by very small margins, sometimes they go your way, other times not.
How many results are decided by deflections, officials poor decisions, injuries, plenty.

Colin Glassar
247 Posted 07/02/2016 at 15:18:08
Agree about Funes Mori, Christy. I like the lad and I think he will be a really good defender for Everton but every time he tries to bring the ball out my heart jumps a beat. His passing, and judgement, is poor, he only has one leg and he gets caught out of position quite often.

I'm more than happy to give him the time he needs to really settle down as I understand he never thought he would be playing so regularly. My point being that when we see a young talent we need to show patience as they will make mistakes, they will go through slumps and they will get tired, physically and mentally, and need to be rested. It's part of the modern game, like it or not

Danny O'Neill
248 Posted 07/02/2016 at 15:50:51
Wise words in your finish Colin.

Its always been part of the game. Its just that young players who are thrust into the limelight because they are good enough have much more expectation placed upon them due to the over-analysis created by saturated coverage of football now in comparison to previous generations. Our most successful captain ever, the young Kevin Ratcliffe, emerging from his Everton apprenticeship was allowed to ply his trade and learn his craft only subject to the opinion of the circa 25-35,000 that used to watch him each week plus the local media and occasional attention of Match of the Day. John Stones has the entire global media spotlight scrutinising his every move, energised by a combination of Sky TV, 24hr news, cringingly over-the-top transfer window speculation and a generation of fans who have grown up believing real football actually is as easy as Football Manager 2016 or FIFA 16.

I reiterate, us fans want to have our cake and to eat it; we demand a 21 year old with blatant potential plays with the head and experience of a 32 seasoned centre back. Yes, those who wish are entitled to point out the areas he needs to improve; I am sure this is highlighted on the training ground at Finch Farm also.

I think John Stones aged 28 will be some player. I just hope he is with us then.

Dennis Ng
250 Posted 07/02/2016 at 16:15:27
Michael, I think enough of us deserve to see him succeed with us. Skillset wise, I think he should play DM, been shot down before that he doesn't have bite, which is something he will learn fast on the job.

JS is a strange debate topic. Talent yes, recent performance no. How do perennial UCL teams get through this sort of talent problem? Coach him well and continue to play him whenever possible.

For now, I just hope our team continues to perform like the past 2 games, putting the opposition to bed convincingly (though magpies win wasn't convincing until late). With or without JS, it is still our club. I remain unconvinced by RM's substitutions (and tactics a little) and can only hope he is not a 1 trick pony (playing only 1 tactic). Still good to have back to back wins.

Colin Glassar
251 Posted 07/02/2016 at 16:53:42
Totally agree Danny, patience with young players seems to be in short supply these days. Maybe it was always like that but, like you say, with 24-hour analysis every mistake is highlighted, analysed and talked about endlessly.
Michael Kenrick
252 Posted 07/02/2016 at 17:20:28
Working through the comments on this thread, I was increasingly saddened and maddened to see how many of our fans persist in denigrating the superb player that John Stones is. On the flip side, this post nails it for me:

I love John Stones, the way he plays, and the things he tries to do with his ability, and I for one will be sad when he leaves but I won’t blame him or lay into him for it. I’ll wish him the very best of luck when he takes his arrogance and ability to wherever he chooses to showcase it. Top players need arrogance – it’s what makes them top players. If you want to carry on with run-o-the-mill players who don’t show arrogance, then it’s a good job you don’t support a successful team.

I've been wanting to say something like that all day, James, but you did it far better than I.

John Daley
253 Posted 07/02/2016 at 17:47:43
"John Daley, wow, quite the Pseudo Intellectual aren't you? If this was a West ham forum I would be certain you were Russell Brand."

The first part of the insult may creep a little too close to 'can't be arsed, so I'll play the cop out card' territory, but combining it with comparisons to a smack addled, sex addicted, scurvy ridden, slop-badger with shit hair and a squawkier voice than the little psychic shortarse from Poltergeist who constantly say's "don't go into the light Carol Anne", really really cuts me to the quick. Seriously, I'm shaking with rage here.

It's like i've spent the day in Darcus Howe's shoes:

Peter Roberts
254 Posted 07/02/2016 at 17:53:24
Coco shunter... fair play....
Colin Glassar
256 Posted 07/02/2016 at 18:00:39
Only 6 points off 5th place now. I continue to believe, do you?

David Chait
257 Posted 07/02/2016 at 18:02:43
Just read through this too.. Have avoided getting into the Stones debate as I would probably lose it. James #214 best post this year mate... I haven't seen a defensive talent like this kid as long as I can remember..
Tony Hill
258 Posted 07/02/2016 at 18:16:23
Colin, against all my instinctive pessimism, yes I am starting to hope that we can get top 6 and I am embarrassed to say that I have even speculated wildly about a top 4 chance (absurd of course).

Meanwhile, is there a more horrible sight in football than a Costa and Terry goal celebration?

Colin Glassar
259 Posted 07/02/2016 at 18:25:33
Tony, it's all up to Martinez now. Keep the same in-form players or bring back the regulars who have been substandard recently. It's his call
Gavin Johnson
261 Posted 07/02/2016 at 19:36:13
Just to add my tuppence worth to the Stones debate. I think he’s only matched by Rooney for innate talent from a young Everton player I’ve seen in an Everton shirt. Although Ross could be is in close contention if he keeps up his current form.

People criticising his temperament need to give their heads a wobble. John Stones seems to be extremely well-adjusted and while I can agree with some of the people criticising to an extent. Insofar as he hasn’t been at his best of late and he shouldn’t automatically regain his place after we’ve won 3 in a row. I’m all in favour of players having a level of arrogance in their own ability. I wasn’t one of the fans shouting at the Cruyff turns against Spurs. Only a special player would have the nerve to do that, so I will never criticise.

On the other hand, Rio Ferdinand recently said he was glad he didn’t have to play under such close scrutiny from the home support when he was cutting his teeth at West Ham. To be fair we’re not West Ham United, especially the Yo-Yo West Ham team Ferdinand played in. We’ve got bigger expectations than that. So there has to be balancing act where a young player can make mistakes that don’t impinge on results.

I don’t agree with the posters saying Stones is overrated and the most ridiculous one – Inferring that he is somehow playing badly to orchestrate a move are the same sort of shite we’ve heard from the same posters about Rom and Barkley.

It's immaterial anyway because Stones will be off in the summer unless we have new owners who can match his ambitions. My only worry is that we don’t receive the kind of fee the lad's worth. If we get £50m from Real Madrid, Barca or the Manchester clubs he goes with my blessing.

Dave Abrahams
263 Posted 07/02/2016 at 19:56:04
James (214) good post and I enjoyed it, except the part were you congratulate him on dribbling the ball three times close to the six yard box in his own area, no not having that. Three times he gave an attacking player a chance to rob him of the ball; there is arrogance and and there is foolishness, that was plain daft, and the fact that his manager encourages him to play like that is madness.

I like John Stones, he is a going to be a great player with a top club, wherever he goes no other manager would give him a pat on the back for doing that and would quickly tell him to cut it out.

He will go at the end of the season and good luck to him with the rest of his career, there will be no hard feelings from most of us on here. Unfortunately we just can not compete money wise with top clubs and the wages they can lash out, so go and enjoy the rest of your career wherever it takes you.

Ray Robinson
264 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:19:00
The problem with being creative in your own box is that it actually does not create anything. Yes holding onto possession is to be lauded but football at the highest level is about small margins and minimising unnecessary risk. I'd far rather my players were creative in midfield where goal-scoring opportunities or goals themselves can be fashioned. Some people seem content to bemoan our defensive frailty but at the same time re quite content to encourage Stones with his Cruyff turns in his own box. The two are inherently contradictory!

Stones is undoubtedly one of the best talents that I have seen at his age but he needs to learn when to play conservatively when the situation demands. The fact that his defensive play hasn't been up to scratch recently makes it only logical that Martinez continues with the same personnel for the time being - no matter how good Stones turns out to be eventually.

Andy Crooks
265 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:58:57
John, # 253, that is the best post I have read on here in a long time. I despise Russel Brand but have never been able to put my utter loathing of him into words.You have.

Les Netherwood
266 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:13:34
Three clean sheets in three consecutive games... is it a coincidence that Howard and Stones have not been in the team? Stones has become a liability in the box and Howard has always been a waste of time... so I say get rid of them both... a lot of money for Stones would get us a couple of good defenders who can cope with corners and free kicks, which has been our problem since Sylvain Distin was frozen out by the idiotic Martinez.

Lennon is doing really well and should be in all the time. Deulofeu is a good substitute for 20 minutes at the end of games... he always looks worn out after 20 minutes or so from the start of games.

There is a lot of support for Stones who I think may be better as an attacking midfielder, but will always cause problems in defence. I notice one comment that just because we had kept three clean sheets without him in the team it was wrong to blame him for our poor defensive is poor because when he is in the team our defence is crap. Lets hope we can keep up the improvement and move up the league, and stay in the cup too.
Michael Williams
267 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:22:34
Stones needs to play in front of fans who recognize and encourage young talent and also realize that 21 year-old center backs will make mistakes and have occasional runs of poor form. Youngsters are not ready-made.
Peter Roberts
268 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:23:07
John stones is a good player, he’s going to be a very good player, maybe as good as the club has produced.

People need to stop trying to proclaim him to be some sort of gift that we must not criticise. Sorry but that’s nonsense. I’m more than aware of how difficult it is, I watched Rooney at close quarters, seen him have a run of games that included making Scott Parker look like the proper English prodigy. There was no nonsense interaction with the crowd or anything like that - and he was younger.

I repeat Stones has the makings of a very good player... but seriously between the adulation andtene criticism is probably the sensible balance right now.

Great 3 points, made up with the team performance.

Michael Williams
269 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:31:48
Dennis #250. I agree that Stones could probably play DM and play it well. However, a good ball-playing CB is much more rare and valuable. Think about how many English CBs can carry the ball out of their end. I can't think of one that can play as well with the ball at his feet. He needs time to learn more about playing CB in the best league in the world. Stones is 21, talented and level-headed. It will all come together and I think sooner than it would with the average footballer.
Colin Glassar
270 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:43:41
I accept a lot of the criticism aimed at JS when it comes to over doing it in, or close, to his own area, or even his poor positional play at times - terrible for a 21 year old - even his "calm down" gesture which seems to have insulted a section of our fans. What I can't accept are these baseless allegations that he's "got his head up his arse, that he thinks he's too good for us, that he believes in all the hype surrounding him" etc....

If anyone can show me proof of this I will accept it. Has he tweeted something? Put something on his Facebook page? Given an interview to the media saying he's too good for us? Has a friend or family member spoken of this? Has a team mate let slip that Stonesy wants away or said he needs to move on to be with better players at a bigger club? Anything? Has he done a Berahino? Has he followed in the footsteps of Odemwinge? Has he handed in multiple transfer requests like Rooney and captain creasehead? Has he had a cob on whilst playing for us? Has he refused to play a la Sturridge? Has he been sent to Coventry by his manager?

If any of his detractors can give me an affirmative answer to any of these questions then I'll keep my trap shut and won't defend Stones ever again.

Danny O'Neill
271 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:44:13
I believe Colin...I always do. The season finishes in May!!
Brin Williams
272 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:58:56
There have been many words used to describe John Stones in this thread.
Arrogant is one that I remember, but to me he is, as another described, a defender who is not defending very well at the moment.

It is unfortunate that his 'poor' spell coincided with the team's 'poor' spell and together with Howard (quite rightly) he has been singled out as part of the problem. Both have been dropped and quite rightly so.

When he did his Pirlo penalty I was one that looked on in amazement at his arrogance and in admiration that we had a young man with the courage of his conviction. When he did his Cruyff twirl I nearly shit myself as we were leaking goals and despite his pirouette it could have led to more abuse from the terraces.

I am curious to know how he will react to being 'dropped' - I hope he comes out and shows his detractors what John Stones is really all about and makes whatever position is right for him his own.

Talking about being curious reminds me that it was not curiosity that killed the cat; it was over confidence! That is what I believe young Stones was guilty of over confidence at a time when his form had dropped below what he have become accustomed to.

Come one John, COYB.

Michael Williams
273 Posted 07/02/2016 at 23:25:28
This is the first season this team has played together and they need more time to gel. Only three players who played for David Moyes started the Stoke game. (I am not ripping DM so please let's not start a a debate - I'm just pointing it out).

It's encouraging that RM has started to develop depth in changing over this team. Kone had a tremendous start to to the season and now that Cleverly is back from injury it looks like he can play on the left for a bit. Lennon competes with Delo, Mori at CB and Besic at MF. More quality players need to brought in for sure but when all are healthy selection will be a headache.

Let's keep in perspective who we had starting a lot of games this year:

A 21 year-old RB with two Premier League (PL) appearances before this year.

A 19 year-old LB also with two PL appearances before this year.

A CB with 44 PL appliances before this year.

Another CB with 0 PL appearances. At times at least three of them started the same game.

A 21 year-old RW with 25 PL appearances.

A LW with 17 PL appearances in the two previous years because of injury.

This is the best league in the world. It takes time to put this together and inexperience will cost teams wins. Give this time.

Ernie Baywood
274 Posted 08/02/2016 at 03:55:26
I believe the crux of the issue is that people really believe that there's no place for exceptional individuals at Everton. That they'd be better suited moving on so we can replace them with the types of reliable Average Joes that we're comfortable with at our level. Meanwhile they can develop elsewhere with us pocketing a good fee and we get our consistent top 8 finishes and hard luck stories about not quite having the armoury to break the glass ceiling.

People saying that "you can't keep them once their head's been turned" are basically saying the same thing.

If we, the fans, don't believe can you really blame anyone else for thinking the same? Can you blame our board if they cash in?

Nah, the only excuse for selling Stones or Barkley would be a monstrous fee. And we shouldn't be inviting it, as some on here seem to want.

Great players should be with us. We're a great club. Maybe if we believe it, others will.

Peter Roberts
275 Posted 08/02/2016 at 10:20:12
Ernie - I actually believe the problem is "exceptional" is being used as an excuse for top talent being given carte blanche, when other players get a dogs life no matter what.

The irony is that I believe the most harshly treated player is Ross Barkley - and in my opinion he is the most lavishly talented player we have, including Stones and Deulofeu. He is the player that we need to give complete freedom to express himself as long as he isn't messing around in his own half.

The issue I feel is that like some ugly bloke - we should be happy to have a decent looking girlfriend, and if she treats him like rubbish every now and then - well he should just take it because he won't find many like her. The reality is, the girl may actually respect the bloke if he stands up for himself and show that he is quite prepared to dump her.

Everton has a history of top class footballers - every single one accountable for what they do on the pitch. Whether it be Brett Angel or Dixie Dean a poor performance or stupid mistake should be called out.

From boardroom to the pitch, the club needs the highest standards set right the way through. That doesn't mean protests and booing players - it means people being held accountable for what they "do" and not adjusted because of who they "are".

Its funny - every time I watch "fantasy football" with Paul Merson, an ex pro will always have 2-3 players you just wouldn't expect in their team. To the fans these are "average joes" - to the playing professional they are far more.

So why this 3-0 match thread turned into a John Stones debate well before I added my two cents I don't know. For me Jags and Mori were excellent, along with Cleverley, Lennon and Robles it means we have the likes of Stones, Deulofeu, Mirallas and Howard with plenty to do to get in the team.

Tony Rio
276 Posted 08/02/2016 at 12:24:12
I wrote on here recently that we may just be on the cusp of something great; of course our leaky defence was (or is) the (not at all insignificant!!l) issue. I've been reflecting and trying to look at things in the whole - must be my age, oh for the imediacy of youth! There's not just one thing that's changed over the last couple of games but the coming together (some by chance ) of a multitude of factors I think - hear me out reader. I've never bought into the 'Kevin brock backpass' school of there being one key moment that changed everything. Sure, these moments can be a point on time that one can look at ie before and after, but prior to that there was the granite laid down that ALLOWED the brock moment..... Colin harvey promoted, key signings, Peter rieds and grays charisma, the backing of the chairman and so on. All this came together and if it wasn't a brock backpass we can be dam sure it would have been something else. Is Howards 'injury' the new brock moment? If it is, and applying the same logic as before, then whilst a marker, what has preceded and created the right conditions? Robertos unflinching positivity, demand that we be recognised as championship material (as he says our history demands), insistence on attacking football, allowing youngsters to make mistakes, promotion of ex-blues (ferguson, royle, ebrell, unsworth et al), key signings...? Lukaku said something very telling over the weekend about the team beginning to 'coach' each other. This doesn't mean in place of the manager but means taking ownership and using their individual developing football intelligence. Ask any manager in any walk of life; you want people to manage themselves.... correctly. If we have turned a corner and Evertonians will be looking for that one key moment in 20 or 30 years time (please let it be!) may I get my bagsy in first? It was Howards funeral. The moment that every single one of our playing staff must have realised (if they hadn't already) they are playing for one of, if not THE, finest institution in world football and it was time to take ownership and start 'coaching' each other.
Ernie Baywood
277 Posted 08/02/2016 at 12:57:18
Peter, I won't debate the worth of the hard working, reliable player.. Every team needs them. In fact I think I was a bigger fan of Parkinson than any of our flair players of that time. That's the nature of support - you're drawn to the blokes who act on the pitch how you'd like to think you would in a blue shirt.

But Parkinson isn't the difference between winning the title and not. He's the difference between being solid or being a shambles.

Stones could be the difference do I don't want to see him sold.

Also agree on Barkley... though I'm getting a bit repetitive. He's an exceptional player with the potential to be on completely another level from most of the players we rate highly. It will be a sad day of Rooney proportions if we ever cash in. Maybe even worse?

Ernie Baywood
278 Posted 08/02/2016 at 13:06:08
Tony, I see a lot of leadership theory in Martinez' quotes and actions. I believe he's trying to develop this group of young players to achieve the limits of their potential as players and leaders. He's probably doing a decent job in that regard.

The shame is that great leaders also achieve results, and Martinez seems entirely focused on development.

Maybe it will be jam tomorrow under him and he'll be proven right. He'll certainly stick to his guns, I'll give him that.

Or maybe he'll pay the price and we'll reap the benefits under our next coach.

There's a strong possibility though that he completely misses the opportunity to get the results to hold onto the players he's so focused on improving.

Andrew Ellams
279 Posted 08/02/2016 at 13:22:11
The simple answer to the John Stones issue is name me a great player from any era in any position that hasn't had at least one period in their careers when things just weren't going their way. And a good may of them were probably over 21 and not in the intense media spotlight that these youngsters are now.

And also if you were a 21 year old millionaire already being touted as an all time England great, where would your head be?

Peter Larkin
280 Posted 08/02/2016 at 13:49:32
I think between all the "world class shouts" and the " he is shite shouts" the truth is somewhere in the middle.

The thing with Stones is, he is a defender first end of. Clear your lines mark your player follow runs, basic defending. Problem is he is doing none of the above and that's why he is getting stick.

There's no doubt he is excellent on ball, the best ball playing center back in the league. But, and here's the big thing: He has to defend!!! Of course he is young and will make mistakes, and I applaud Roberto for letting him make mistakes and keep playing him that's how he will learn. A few weeks out will do him good in my view. Will he be a world class defender? I have serious doubts, will he become a world class ball player? Without a doubt. He reminds me of David Luiz.

Phil Walling
281 Posted 08/02/2016 at 14:08:01
Ernie, whether we like it or not, for so long as Everton remains a Grade B club - and only a billionaire can change that - Romelu Lukaku, John Stones and their ilk will be just passing through.

Of course, the new TV wealth should enable us to compete better - that's if wage inflation doesn't go through the roof - but the instant glory seekers and their grasping agents will still not hang around in hope, believe me. Only us fans do that.

No, seismic change in the way our club is perceived in the big wide world will not occur because we happened to string together 3-0 wins on the trot. But if the American billionaire about to buy the Club turns out to be Bill Gates, now that might do it !

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