From My Seat: Stoke City (A)

Overall a decent day out with a result that ensures both fans and players have a spring in their step for the WBA game. From the last three games we have scored nine goals, none against, without Howard or Stones. Can anything be read into that?

Ken Buckley 06/02/2016 103comments  |  Jump to last
Stoke City 0 - 3 Everton

Stoke away is never a fixture to look forward to for an Evertonian; I believe our last success there was 2008. Still, we go in hope if not in expectation... yet if you take our last two games throwing up 3-0 wins with what looked like a departure from the tippy-tappy play across the back five – until panic sets in or we give up a goal for a more pragmatic "take no chances" and "work your socks off" approach, then today may not be so daunting.

After being searched, we were allowed entry and the weather looked like it might play a part as wind seemed to swirl around with rain akin to a monsoon season. You could see pools forming here and there. Stoke kicked off and we had the wind and played away from the faithful; at times it was hard to see and not just because everyone stands. We were in our all-Blue outfits and were looking to make a fast start; we got our first corner in the first 5 mins but nothing came of it then Stoke went down the other end and forced their first corner and theirs was worse than ours.

We settled quickly and were playing at a good tempo with every player looking to be involved, either going forward or covering back. We were harrying and tackling anything that moved which seemed to be unsettling Stoke and this paid off around the 10-minute mark when we put together a super move. Barkley had a ball come to him and in one movement backheeled it into the path of Oviedo who had Cleverly racing past him and Oviedo released a peach of a superbly weighted ball for Cleverly to race forward and look to go around the keeper but the said keeper brought him down leaving the ref to make a very easy penalty decision.

Lukaku took the spot-kick and hammered it down the middle; faithful go wild; players didn't overly celebrate so off we went again. A blue smoke bomb was cleared from the pitch. After the searches, you would wonder where it could have been hidden, the mind boggles...

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We continued in our defence and attack mode as a team with all the players playing a part in covering each other and giving the player on the ball two or three options. Given the conditions, it was good to watch. On or near the half-hour we got a reward when Cleverly again ran on goal but was beaten by a Stoke sliding defender but won a corner which he took himself. He arced it in and from my seat I saw a figure in Blue come across the area and head home. It turned out to be Coleman and both players and fans celebrated accordingly.

Ah, the dreaded two-goal lead came to mind... but the way we were playing filled me with hope and I have to say we were making Stoke look quite ordinary which was a few notches up from the game at our place. Half-time was beckoning as the clock ticked just past 40 mins and I don't think I was the only one almost praying we don't let them get one back when we got down the left with the outstanding Oviedo but Stoke smothered that move.

One of their players passed the ball back across his own back four only for the quicksilver Lennon to intercept the ball and off like a robber's dog toward goal and keeper. With keeper approaching he gave a master class in one-on-one finishing leaving the keeper to do no more than turn and fish the ball out of the net. Big celebrations and then the chanting and singing erupted.

We had a few injuries in that half with Barry and McCarthy needing treatment on the field but thankfully both recovered. I dread to think how we would fare if both of them were missing so 5 mins were added as Stoke broke down their left and did get a shot in but Joel gathered comfortably and we played out the rest of the time in relative comfort.

Half-time: 0-3. At the start of play, that would have seemed an unlikely scoreline but everyone was very happy with it.

Second half and no subs so the injured must be mended which was a relief. The first 10 minutes or so we seemed under the cosh but, with some good teamwork all over the pitch, we slowly regained our superiority. We saw an Oviedo inspired raid down the left taken over by Barkley who with power and finesse got himself in on goal but unfortunately his finish was not as good as his approach play and shot into side netting.

Some minutes later Barkley again showed his progress with a slight of foot that allowed him to cross right on to Lukaku's noddle but the big man powered it straight at the keeper who got his hands up quickly enough to divert the ball onto the bar and out and cleared.

Next, Lennon, who was having some game, went past two defenders as if they were not there and from wide pulled the ball back for Lukaku to hit except he didn't. Gilt edged chance that. Still, every time we came forward now we looked like scoring yet contrived not to. The game continued in this vein of they attacked us, we defended as a team with Funes Mori and Oviedo prominent in one attack by Stoke that saw Joel do well with a push out. We attacked and Barkley and Lukaku team up to cut through the Stoke defence like a knife through butter with the latter seeing McCarthy steaming toward the box fed him in and the Irishman hit a power drive that missed by inches – should have scored really.

As I watched the game tick by, I got to thinking about our new way of playing and Leicester City came to mind. They work like hell for each other, take few chances at the back, and attack swiftly with just the right number of bodies getting forward at pace and, if the move breaks down, they regroup at alarming speed. To me, that is the right sort of "joined-up footy".

Fifteen minutes to go and the manager swops Lukaku for Kone, which seemed a sensible move even though his first touch was a one-on-one with the keeper and he matched our first choice striker by hitting the keeper's leg. Perhaps both of them could get Lennon to give them some tips. Time was ticking down as more chances came and went and we repelled their attacks with minimum fuss. The faithful were happy with this and broke into song urging our manager to 'Give us a dance'. He ignored that...

We had time for Jags to hit a slow back pass that he just about got away with and a Stoke sub Ireland hit high over the bar. Four minutes to go and Mirallas replaces Barkley. Then Osman for McCarthy with the Stoke fans disappearing like a 'Dynamo' Illusion. Osman's first touch is a good one and sets up a move, Mirallas cuts in from the right looking dangerous but falls over, Oviedo hits one high and wide while at the other end Joel gathers a headed attempt with some aplomb and to finish off Kone does well going past two men to the bye-line but his pull-back is just behind Mirallas. Shame that. Full time and all wet windswept and happy.

MotM: Choose whoever you want; no-one could argue with you but I was delighted with the performance of Oviedo. I just hope he can have a run injury free.

Overall a decent day out with a result that ensures both fans and players have a spring in their step for the WBA game. From the last three games we have scored nine goals, none against, without Howard or Stones. Can anything be read into that? I think not as I prefer to think it's the change in style that is suiting the players we have and it would be nice if we could stick with it for a while and see where it takes us as we know where our previous style was taking us.

I don't think our present manager is likely to be jettisoned any time soon after being allowed to spend £15.5M on Niasse. Be far better if he is really learning and keeps this run going. Another win next Sat and a run without too many injuries and who knows where we can be celebrating. See you Saturday for another traditional 3:00pm KO!!


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Reader Comments (103)

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Andy Crooks
1 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:24:46
Great stuff as usual, Ken. Not that long ago I was calling for your comments on how long Martinez could be tolerated. Amazing what a couple of wins could do. We aren't that hard to please. Effort and, well... effort, wiil nearly do.
Andy Peers
2 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:29:11
Robles seems to have a lot more passion for the game than Howard, which I believe influences confidence at the back.

I also can’t remember any recent cock ups by him and that’s all I can remember with Howard.

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:31:37
Didn’t see the match, joined in the Live Forum, most were more than happy reporting and listening to others report,

Martinez seems to be listening to the bad media slagging he has been getting and there seemed to be a change in tempo and a more balanced team which has helped, hope this continues.

Is this the earliest you have put a report in Ken? A good one as usual anyway. thanks.

Martin Mason
4 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:39:22
Robles was rubbish, just a couple of easy saves that's all.
Peter Murray
5 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:44:21
Great prose again, Ken. Love the use of the vivid present tense. You write, in the best sense, like a Victorian novelist – "slight of foot"(from "sleight of hand"?),"like a robber’s dog", "noddle".

Pity you are luke warm about Roberto at the end.

Which raises the question – what happened to this so-called poll in which apparently nearly every TW contributor wanted Roberto out ASAP?
Ryan Holroyd
6 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:55:56
"Robles was rubbish."

Ok, not sure where to start on that comment.
Steve Hogan
7 Posted 06/02/2016 at 21:59:15
Martin (4)
Would you like to 'expand' on your 'Robles is rubbish' one liner? Which part or parts of Robles game do you think is rubbish, his distribution, his shot stopping, his coming out for crosses?

Are you just trying to provoke a response or was that a genuine attempt at sensible debate, or are you just upset that Tim Howard could be finally on his way out?

Genuinely interested.

Andy Crooks
8 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:06:46
Spot on, Martin, all Robles did was, well, his job. Do you think Martinez will drop him? If Tim Howard returns to the side I will not be resonsible for my actions.

In fact, I suspect that some on this site will think, "Fuck, who would've thought that team selection, for Everton of all teams, would have driven a man to do THAT?!?!?"
Peter Laing
10 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:10:19
Steve, I think in kind of quite a perverse way, that's Martin's attempt at a sense of humour.
John O'Brien
11 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:18:52
Just a quick thought on the 2nd goal from Coleman. I've never ever seen Seamus sent up on an attacking set piece.
As a season ticket holder for many many years and having seen countless games involving Coleman, normally he's the one who always stays at home.
Jay Harris
12 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:22:21
The introduction of Robles has helped tighten the defence and, as with his loan period, Lennon's work rate and energy has rubbed off on the others.

Pleased that the obstinate one has finally listened and changed tactics and personnel.

Thank you, Jason Derulo.

Nick Oakley
13 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:22:39
Sad that all those negative moaners can’t have another field day. It’s ironic that virtually all neutral commentators think Martinez is doing a good job and needs time – so let's all of us fans, me included, stop over-reacting after each poor result and let’s start looking at the bigger picture.

For the first time for thirty long years we have the potential to do something special in the next few years. Martinez is solely to thank for this optimism. Let’s make sure we don’t drive him away and the great youngsters with him.

John Daley
14 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:37:23
"It's ironic that virtually all neutral commentators think Martinez is doing a good job and needs time"

Leaving aside the fact that the claim isn't quite true (Martinez has actually been coming in for some belated stick from both journos and ex-pro's recently), how is it in any way ironic?

Trevor Peers
15 Posted 06/02/2016 at 22:40:30
Nick #13 No such thing as a negative moaner. Only different points of view, Roberto had a similar run of wins about this time last season, it’s a personality trait that marks you out as an optimist or as pessimist. It’s in your DNA.

Gloating, is a pretty base reaction to a few wins and totally misses the point, that we’re all genuinely concerned about our progress.

If you think you’ve gained some moral victory because of the last few results, you're a fool, because there’s still a lot wrong with the club.

Of course we were all overjoyed by today’s win but show some humility, it’s not the beginning of a golden era, just 1 good result.

Geoff Freeman
16 Posted 06/02/2016 at 23:49:55
Ken, A fine report thank you.
Svein-Roger Jensen
17 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:12:46
I think Lennon has made a vast improvement to the teams 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.

Tony Cheek
18 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:13:19
Good write-up, Ken.

For the first time in ages, I had to miss the game. I was really pissing people off because I was following the game on my mobile.... Fuck 'em I say!

Felt like I had watched the game after reading this. Thanks!

Peter Murray
19 Posted 06/02/2016 at 00:21:04
Just finished watching "Match of the Day". Totally Stoke-orientated. Everton won because Shawcross was absent. Then piss-taking over Roberto’s dancing. They even introduced (is this for the first time ever?) extraneous film which produced the usual guffawing from "Creep Round The Money Clubs" Shearer and "What I Am Doing Here" Wright?

The bias is now getting out of hand. I thought it had reached its peak when Shearer openly said, on MotD, at the time of Chelsea’s gross tracking of Stones,bthat Stones should go to Chelsea, thus getting away with sticking his thick-as-pigshit nose into another club’s affairs.

The metropolis-based media has always been slanted to the London clubs. Media City in Manchester ditto. But tonight was on another level.

Spurs won 1-0 at home to Watford and get a lavish,nfawning analysis. We win 3-0 away at Stoke and get dismissed.

The real issue – what do we do about it?

Ciaran Duff
20 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:35:56
Didn’t see the game but it sounds like RM’s tactics were spot on. The thing is that many supporters have been asking for this for a while. If he can learn and get the best out of the team then we could have a great future.

I know a lot of people have noted the absence of Howard and Stones. I am wondering how significant the absence of Deulofeu is. Fantastic talent going forward but it may be that defensively he leaves more open? Thoughts?

Jon Withey
21 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:08:33
Del has gone off the boil, reckon he just needs a break - Stones also.
Svein-Roger Jensen
22 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:29:07
Lennon is on fire at the moment. Really we should have scored a lot more but 3-0 at the Britannia is good going for anybody.
Mike Gaynes
23 Posted 07/02/2016 at 01:36:42
Jay #12: "The introduction of Robles has helped tighten the defence..."

Really? Just by his mere presence? Joel hasn't had to make a play yet. Amazing you give him the credit over another reserve who has actually done the work, and done it brilliantly.

I say the introduction of OVIEDO has helped tighten the defence. Love Bainesy, but he doesn't pressure crosses or tackle in the open anymore. Baby dominated Shaqiri (the guy who blew us off) so completely that the little twat was subbed off.

I'll hold off on kowtowing to Robles until he needs to come up big. Baby's the big plus right now.

Saegaran Kana
25 Posted 07/02/2016 at 02:50:51
Oviedo - great choice sir
Peter Barry
26 Posted 07/02/2016 at 03:18:35
You can always count on the American TW’ers to rush to the defense of the STARTLED STARFISH, can’t you, Mike Gaynes.
Paul Ferry
27 Posted 07/02/2016 at 03:33:53
Correct Mike - 23 - Oveido tightens the defense. Count the times he cleared the ball out of the area. And he can still be found 5 yards ahead of Ross by their box waiting for the pass.

Tough this. A changing of the guard is going to happen this year. Tough because I love Leighton on and off the pitch. There comes a time and it is fast approaching when picking an older player repeatedly holds back progress. Because of Oveido and Garbutt the left back berth is under that microscope now and I'm not unhappy that the manager has made the bold choice to drop Baines.

It's like losing a best friend but the writing is on the walland I for one would not be surprised if Leighton left this summer but I believe it will be summer 2017.

Mike mate is your hesitation over Howard down to your admirable love for USA football?

Howard is finished MG. Famous last words!

My hunch is that Robles will finish out the season now and rightly so. Did I hear this correctly: EFC 10 clean sheets this season; 9 with Joel between the sticks?

Steve Brown
28 Posted 07/02/2016 at 04:36:10
Mike I think the point Ken was making was that Howard's poor form has left the defence nervous. Nothing undermines defensive cohension more than lack of trust in the keeper, as it influences their decision-making.

Agree with you about Oviedo and would add Stones to the mix. We have been far better defensively with Stones, Howard and Baines on the sidelines.

Mike Gaynes
30 Posted 07/02/2016 at 05:20:09
Steve, I think Ken actually argued the opposite in his article, crediting the change in style for the improved defense rather than the absence of Howard and Stones. He may have a point, and certainly Svein-Roger and Ciaran have a point about Lennon's defensive ability vs. Geri's.

It was Jay who made the point about Robles, and I think it's fiction. None of us has any idea in the world whether "Howard's poor form has left the defence nervous" because none of us has actually spoken with them. Having been around professional athletes for about half of my life, I don't believe for a minute that veteran pros get nervous and play differently depending on who's in goal.

Besides, as the emergency keeper on some of my teams over the years, I found my defenders actually played harder because they knew I was crap. Threw themselves in front of a lot more shots. Fear is a great motivator.

Harold Matthews
31 Posted 07/02/2016 at 05:34:05
Nice one Mike. Your boy did well. Personally, I think they all did well, including big Joel who swept up the scraps without fuss in terrible conditions.

Very enjoyable report Ken. We fielded a team of great character who played to the script and won the day. A real professional performance against a useful Stoke side strengthened by recent signings. Okay, they won't be up to speed just yet but we did a fine job nevertheless.

Upcoming matches against the Baggies and Bournemouth will present us with a completely different set of problems and it will be interesting to see how we plan to deal with them.

Rahman Talib
32 Posted 07/02/2016 at 06:16:23
We went eyeball to eyeball with Hughes and he blinked.
Ernie Baywood
33 Posted 07/02/2016 at 06:17:30
One thing that seems to be consistent with Martinez, is that when he rests players he seems to really give them a rest rather than just a game out. It seems to make sense to give people a good break and the replacements actually get the chance to capitalise through a run of games.

Del's time will come again. He's an exceptional talent, just that he can't go more than 60 minutes. I wonder if he's out while he builds up a base of stamina. Overtrain and then release onto an unsuspecting league?

Today's performance was top drawer. We still seem a better team without the majority of the ball. It's been true all season.

Tactical or fluke? Don't care. My overall view on Roberto's suitability for us won't be influenced by just a couple of games.

Phil Walling
34 Posted 07/02/2016 at 07:30:08
The test will come when all are fit and RM has the luxury of choice and rotation.

He will never change his sacred philosophy and the old style will return as soon as he feels it safe to do so. This is a replica of 14/15 when the season was saved by a run of six games in which he relied on the players to call the shots.

Pity really because if he wasn't such a ' style fanatic'/control freak,' he could be a decent manager. But come what may, he's ours for a long time yet !

Martin Mason
35 Posted 07/02/2016 at 07:53:41
Steve@7, sorry, it was meant to be a very tongue in cheek TW style comment of the type reserved for somebody who's played brilliantly. Joel was magnificent yesterday as were all of the team.
Nigel Munford
36 Posted 07/02/2016 at 08:33:59
Thank you Ken, almost like being there, excellent performance, only watched it on catch up but looked pretty one sided, and I loved the 'robbers dog' comparison, made me chuckle, but seriously Aaron Lennon is turning into a very good signing.
Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:07:26
Nigel, Lennon is not turning into a very good signing; he was a very good signing, it’s just now he is getting games after being criminally underused by Martinez, with the ridiculous excuse he didn’t have a proper pre-season training with Spurs, despite the fact in the few games he played he always looked fitter and more full of energy than most Everton players.

He has always looked fitter and gives the team the energy and desire that quite a few of the bigger names lack and play in a sleepwalk fashion.

Brian Mahoney
38 Posted 07/02/2016 at 09:34:11
I always dread going to Stoke – not just because we never seem to do well there but you're always stuck in the car park for the best part of an hour. This time, I wasn’t that bothered as I had just seen one of our best perfomances of the season against a team that had already beaten the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City with ease on home soil.

It's a blessing in disguise that both Howard and Stones got injured as the defence looks so solid now and it's big decision-making time next week for Roberto. I really cannot see Howard getting back into that team now – even though we have another "rubbish"!!!! goalkeeper between the sticks. There was even a new chant, pro-Robles and anti-Howard.
Brent Stephens
39 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:27:28
Lennon, was the right pick for those heavy, blustery conditions. Great cover for Seamus. Great presence all over the pitch. That was the right sorted. And the left sorted with Oviedo superb at LB and going forward, with Cleverley providing cover on the left as necessary. A tight two in the middle with Macca and Barry. That all left little threat for the defence to cope with but they did well when necessary.

Rom, Ross. Great stuff.

And Row Z when required.

Anto Byrne
41 Posted 07/02/2016 at 10:55:49
Robles was absolute rubbish. He barely kept a clean sheet. He was guilty of annoying Mark Hughes with irresponsible time-wasting. I don't like the way he cajoled other players or the way he hugged Barry. I thought he looked very dodgy with crosses and high balls into the area, failing to spill any.

Now what really was annoying was his shot stopping ability and that he really should have done a lot better with even though it was wet and windy and those brutes from Stoke were really quite physical.

Yes Joel was absolutely rubbish. Maybe he can improve a bit as he plays more games.
Ernie Baywood
42 Posted 07/02/2016 at 11:38:42
We're getting sucked into the cycle of "he's great/he's shit" again. Lennon is playing really well at the moment, but he's shown himself to be limited in the past.

There are very few who have consistent brilliance. The rest have 'form'. Judge them on what you see in them over a decent period and enjoy the high points.

We were crying out for Del to replace Lennon. It gave us a boost in creativity. If Del plays well and then Lennon hits form just as Del starts to struggle, then you'd have to give Martinez some credit? Even more so if Del starts lighting up the league again when he eventually forces his way back in.

If only Mirallas could stay fit to take his chance...

Alan Bodell
43 Posted 07/02/2016 at 12:31:02
John O'B.,"11, point well made about Seamus in their box for a corner and yes, he is nearly always on our half-way line waiting to stop any breaks and I wonder if this will be a new approach.
David Hallwood
44 Posted 07/02/2016 at 13:10:48
In this most inconsistent of seasons, there are only 2 constants, Ken's reports and TWebbers bemoaning no clean sheets, because if there's anytg
David Hallwood
45 Posted 07/02/2016 at 13:23:05
Smartphones don't cha just luv 'em...I'll continue. If there's one thing that the last 3 games have proved; keep a clean sheet and we win.

If you rewind the goals against this season what is the ratio of great attacking play to piss poor defence? 5:1? 6;1? Or even more. Therefore if we can add clean sheets or even concededing 1 to our game, I don't fear anyone.

We've got the derby in which we will do the usual freeze, despite this being the worst RS side I've seen (I say that every year mind) the mancs at OT and Leicester away. The arse at home, but there's no reason why we can't have a storming end to the season.

36 points up for grabs the season starts here.

Dave Abrahams
46 Posted 07/02/2016 at 14:24:20
Earnie (42) you say there are very few who have consistent brilliance, Ernie there has never been a player who had consistent brilliance. There have been quite a few who where consistently good,like Tony Kay and Ian Callaghan, who did it over a much longer period, Aarron Lennon has never had a good run since he came to Everton but he never lets the side down and he works for every minute he is on the field.

He had a load of stick on here before he even joined the club and plenty did not want Everton to sign him, I like Geri and he will come again but Lennon has come in and taken his chance very well, and should continue to stay in the side.

Simon Dutton
47 Posted 07/02/2016 at 15:36:32
I must be really stupid, I watched the game live. Can somebody explain to me what has Martinez changed in his tactics that everyone seems to be taking credit for because they asked for it?

It was very much the same as it has been all season, just different personnel. Unfortunately that doesn’t suit the Martinez Out brigade or the fans that seem to know better than the manager.

John Raftery
48 Posted 07/02/2016 at 15:43:42
Excellent report as always, Ken. I also had Oviedo as MotM. He nullified the threat posed by Shaqiri and set up the play for the first goal. I put our return to clean sheets and winning form mainly down to the return of seasoned professionals notably Jagielka, McCarthy and Lennon.

We had only 34% of the possession yesterday but controlled the game because our players held their positions and worked their socks off. The game demonstrated yet again that a team can control a game without having the ball. West Brom will probably offer a very different, arguably tougher, challenge next week with ten men behind the ball.
Nigel Gregson
49 Posted 07/02/2016 at 15:45:56
Haha... good one, Simon. I haven’t seen the game so can’t really comment, but I’m pretty sure these 3-0s wins aren’t just creating themselves because of the collective Toffeemoan expertise. Suddenly the table and season doesn’t look so bad. Even the redshite with their new hope manager are behind us. Let's see the reactions once we lose again.
Dennis Ng
50 Posted 07/02/2016 at 15:48:26
You're right, tactics not changed except personnel. Let's see how long this lasts.
Harold Matthews
51 Posted 07/02/2016 at 16:45:23
The change of personnel brought a different shape and a different attitude.
Peter Creer
52 Posted 07/02/2016 at 16:53:55
Watched the match live here in Canada and believe that the difference recently has been the collective pressing of the ball. Oviedo and Lennon being the most obvious examples. When you have the inherent talent that this team possesses and that drive to get the ball back or get the ball moving forward, good things will happen. Yesterday's game, not unlike the Southampton game earlier in the season, was won with the pressure and drive.

Robles has had three clean sheets and may not have been the busiest but he has done what is needed when it was needed. The other piece that was different was the dangerous playing with the ball at the back and that can most certainly be attributed to Jags and Funes Mori (and the fact that Stones was missing)

Thinking long term, I wonder if moving Stones into the role that was played by McCarthy yesterday when Barry's legs start giving out. He has the vision and the ball control. That would also have McCarthy playing the more holding role that Barry currently plays.

Finally, let's agree with Ken, a win away at Stoke can only be seen as a positive so let's stop moaning. And as always, thanks to Ken for another great report!

Ray Roche
53 Posted 07/02/2016 at 17:11:52
Yes, Dennis, the personnel HAS changed, and consequently so has the tactics. I also watched the game live and there was less arseing about at the back, if Row Z was required, Row Z is what we got. Funes Mori in particular is not averse to putting the ball there when needed but he can and does bring the ball of of defence on occasions. If we need a long ball for Lukaku to run after we were doing that. Look at the possession stats (I know...stats again!) and you’ll see that we were more than happy to let Stoke have the ball and catch them on the break.

With Howard in the team the defence appear more nervous, something I couldn’t detect yesterday. All in all it was a very good performance and if we’d played like that in some of the drawn games we’d be looking at a CL spot. Maybe Martinez has realised that possession is NOT the be all an end all of football.

Whether Stones, a fantastic prospect but still learning, or Howard walk back into the team when they are fit again is down to Martinez but it would be a retrograde step in my opinion to start changing the side unnecessarily.

William Cartwright
55 Posted 07/02/2016 at 17:28:47
Nick Oakly @ 13) Hear, hear, Nuff said,
Simon Dutton
56 Posted 07/02/2016 at 17:35:50
I am absolutely amazed that everyone is convinced that the tactics have changed, because everyone on here is privvy to this information, it is just not the case.

Lennon is on the right, more defensive than Deulofeu, Cleverley on the left, more defensive than whoever plays out there so the team looks more solid. Jagielka and Funes Mori at the back who are older and more experienced than Stones so know when to hoof and when to do step overs.

I am certain that Martinez is still saying go out and express yourselves, which is his philosophy its just the players are more experienced it has nothing at all to do with the tactics, it's just easier to say that so Martinez can be blamed for our league position and not blame the players.

Ray Roche
57 Posted 07/02/2016 at 18:02:57
Simon, I am absolutely amazed that you can’t see that what you have written amounts to a change of tactics...

You change the personnel, each of whom plays a different sort of game, and this will change the tactics. Lennon is better defensively so that change will alter how the game develops. If it was a like for like change then fair enough, nothing would change. Jagielka and Funes Mori at the back will play a different game to Jagielka and Stones, so, by making that change, you are altering the tactics.

You don’t have to be "privy to this information", you just have to be able to watch a game and appreciate that a change of personnel involves a change of tactics ....

Simon Dutton
58 Posted 07/02/2016 at 18:20:06
Your understanding of tactics and my understanding of tactics are obviously different, we are still playing 4-2-3-1 we are still playing passing football, all these are tactics, a change of personell in those positions who have a different mindset is not a change of tactics.
Ray Roche
59 Posted 07/02/2016 at 18:36:54
OK Simon, look at it this way. If, say, Andy Carroll was playing up front, we'd no doubt play a long ball into the box to play to his strengths and his prowess in the air. So, we replace him with Deulofeu,sit deep and play through balls on the ground. A change of personnel results in a change of tactics, no?
We have changed our players with others with different strengths and play to those strengths.
Sitting deep and allowing possession instead of having 60-70% possession is a change in tactics in my book.

Look, I'm off to my wine cellar to choose a suitable grand cru for dinner....if you respond then you'll have to wait some time for a reply...

Simon Dutton
60 Posted 07/02/2016 at 18:55:26
I agree with your analogy, but that is an extreme example and not what Everton have done. We have replaced a winger with a winger.

The instructions or tactics from the manager will be the same, how the 2 players interpret those instructions to reach the end goal will be different so we play differently but the tactics don't change.

That was why I said tactics haven't changed, the way the players interpret them are different.

Paul Kernot
61 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:08:25
Was that Everton I just watched keep their defensive shape for 90 mins?
Karl Weaver
62 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:09:01
Looking at Lennon's impact recently, I’m just puzzled why we went so long with Kone playing on the left of midfield. Lennon can play as a left winger, and has done many times, so I can only imagine what he must have thought seeing Kone get the nod over him.

I also hope Martinez finds a place for Besic when he recovers, I don’t think we’ve seen him paired up with McCarthy which would be immense and should surely be the first choice for next season.
Brent Stephens
63 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:12:37
Paul, you did indeed see us keep our defensive shape, in part I think because Lennon is able to do such a better defensive job than Geri and for longer - just what Roberto's tactics called for, I guess.
Martin Mason
64 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:14:05
The thing with Lennon is that he has proven himself to be wanting in poor teams which isn’t a bad criticism. It looks as though he is a much better fit into this almost great side of ours. The key thing now is what RM does about it, if Lennon, FM, Robles, Oviedo and Cleverly are dropped as against rested or genuinely rotated it will reflect very badly on him. I thought Cleverly has been very good recently but funnily enough my brother, who is a qualified coach, can’t see what he brings to the table.
Keith Glazzard
65 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:32:00
McCarthy and Cleverley in midfield, with Barry of course is the basis of both defence and attack. I want Besic in there too, but I can’t have everything.

Baines is an Everton hero for me, but great to see Bryan fit and well. Him and Tom remind me of Leighton and Steven at their best, and that was up to Holy Trinity standards. We have a great squad, please use them well Roberto.

Ernie Baywood
66 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:38:45
I see both sides of Cleverly, Martin. The last two games he's been very good, snapping into tackles and calm on the ball. Other times he's looked a bit limited - consistently average.

Some players will look better in good team performances rather than being the cause of good performances. The art of management is figuring out who or what actually improves our team performance.

I still think getting Baines/Oviedo and Coleman on the pitch is key for us. We never look the same threat without two attacking full backs.

Brian Harrison
67 Posted 07/02/2016 at 20:54:32
A good win yesterday, to follow up our midweek win against Newcastle, just a pity we seem to be running into form when it looks like a Champions League spot has gone.

When you think that as well as the team played yesterday, we have Stones, Baines, Mirallas and Deulofeu in reserve. With this squad we should have been thinking top 6 minimum and possibly even top 4.

So, while the last couple of results have been pleasing, I can't help but think we have blown a great chance.

Paul Tran
68 Posted 07/02/2016 at 21:19:00
Big difference tactically was that Lennon can track back, can last longer and has the maturity Geri currently lacks. He also allows Coleman to get forward, which increases our options. A fit Oviedo gives us some extra bite; I'm not sure whether Baines is really fit yet.

I'm not sure he changed the tactics per se, he picked a balanced team with in-form players who had a better idea of what they were doing and were physically able to do do the job.

I did like the way we looked determined to keep a clean sheet.

A good week. We need to keep it up before we start getting excited.

Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 07/02/2016 at 21:38:37
Simon I never watched the match, but I’ve watched most games we have played lately. We have stopped playing a center forward out wide, and it’s paying dividends, like most of us thought it would

Osman or Cleverley, won’t go past players, but they keep the ball, and even more importantly, they keep their shape. It might be a coincidence? but when Kone came on for Deulofeu, at Man City, we lost our balance, our shape, and our game plan. Stones was left exposed, and we missed out on a trip to Wembley.

Everton are too easy to play against, is what everyone has been saying for way too long, and this has surely been because, both Barkley and Kone, have been playing wide left. Only they don’t stay wide, or even left, they go inside to try and help Lukaku. Not to bad when we have the ball, but absolutely criminal from a defensive point of view.

Gerard Carey
70 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:01:27
A great report, Ken. Another 3-0 win, let's keep it going. Barring injuries, same team against West Brom. It's not all about possession, it's about scoring goals and keeping the pressure on the other team, which we did very well yesterday.

I'm made up for Oviedo, I love his attitude.
Jay Harris
71 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:16:13
If you cant see the change in tactics you are watching a different game than the rest of us.

Let me remind you

In the last 3 games:

No more tippy tappy shite at the back.

Punts up the field or row Z when the defenders are under pressure.

The opposition are being closed down and not being allowed acres of space.

MF are linking up better.

We are not obsessed with possession for possession sake and therefore moving the ball up the pitch quicker.

All of those things are changes in philosophy and tactics that supporters and pundits have been crying out for all season.

They are not just down to personnel changes.

Also for those knocking Bainesy the lad has been carrying a knock for weeks and at his best is the best LB on the books. Oviedo had a great game but lets see if he can maintain it and remain uninjured before we start giving Bainesys spot away.

Dennis Ng
72 Posted 07/02/2016 at 22:18:17
Ray, I can see the personnel dictating tactics and game flow but what bugs me is, why only now? Lennon's been around for a long time now and we've been missing the pressing throughout the season. I concur that RM must have felt that fire under his butt and changed instructions as well.

I just find it weird that the better defending came only now with personnel changes, but that given newcastle and stoke are in a rut, we won't get tested till West Ham and Arsenal, so did we improve or that we just got easier games against out of form teams?

I want to see how this team fares against the contenders and how flexible RM can be when his whole team is fit. I am sure we'll be much better than where we were before, I just don't feel as confident they can dictate play and shape as well as the past 2 games.

Steven Jones
73 Posted 07/02/2016 at 23:01:29
Well done Ken ... great report ...

Think RM should be judged on the bigger picture, transforming the quality of the squad, the assets and the reputation for attractive football that brings in the talent which want to play for Everton right now.

As the squad is young and as the new style of football beds in and as the squad gets stronger, fitter and each one has to compete for a place then the performances and the results will pick up.

It is not so much the tactics that the results have been negative, think it has been individual blunders, numbers of injuries and some dodgy refereeing.

Think RM needs to grasp the GK issue - his one mistake for me this season.

Ray Roche
74 Posted 07/02/2016 at 23:01:49
Dennis '72,

" Why only now" is down to the intransigence of the manager. Despite some posters on here disagreeing, the majority of fans have wanted to see changes in both personnel and tactics all season but Martinez has stubbornly refused to act. It's been clear to many that when Lennon, who accepts defensive responsibilities, plays Coleman has more freedom to forage forward and with a fit again Oviedo or Baines doing the same we look a better team. True, Newcastle are no great side but have been playing a little better until they played us. Stoke also, but is it JUST them playing badly or us making them look bad. Whatever, we can only beat what's in front of us. And we did, handsomely.


We may have replaced a winger with a winger but if you can't spot the difference in styles between Lennon and Deulofeu.....
Jay Harris #70 says it so much better than I can. Or need to.

Simon Dutton
75 Posted 07/02/2016 at 23:34:42
It seems that I am arguing for the sake of it but I honestly am not.

If we take Jay #71 and look at what he has put I still don't see it as a change in tactics. No more tippy tappy shite at the back, I think you will agree that both Jagielka and Mori don't have the ability to do that, I do agree though it is better but maybe instead of a change of tactics they are more aware than Stones when to do it and when not to do it. This is down to experience. Punts upfield, see above. Opposition being closed down, I agree that this is better and I would suggest that this is down to Cleverley on the left and Lennon on the right and McCarthy back to fitness.

This is what Martinez has been after, but at the beginning of the season Delefeuo was starting and became most creative player with assists but defensively not as good and can only last about 60 minutes at the time Martinez was okay with this but recently performances havent been as good so Lennon has been brought in.

I believe that he gives the same instuctions to Lennon as he did Delofeuo but he knows that Lennon will get back and defend better and can last longer, again a change of personel but not the tactics.
Midfield linking up better I think is down to the players playing there are more comfortable on the ball ie Cleverley or Osman as opposed to Kone, I think if Pienaar was in there we would be just as solid. Again not tactics.

The one thing I would say is the back 4 look alot more comfortable and relaxed with Robles behind them as opposed to Howard and hopefully that remains the case for the rest of the season. The one thing we seem to agree on is that something had to happen and hopefully whatever it is, it continues for the rest of the season.

Nigel Gregson
76 Posted 07/02/2016 at 00:32:18
Simon - might I add a few more observations: for a change we were awarded penalties !!! three of them !!!!

For those saying that it wasn't possessions for possessions sake, newsflash. We have been playing low possession counterattack all season. And guess what, we played a lot of it last season too. We have been playing that way away from home forever.

Our defense away from home is actually 4th best in the premier league !!! (Sttato link: At home our defense is 20th (i.e. the worst) in premier league while our attack at home is the 2nd best in the premier league (attack away from home is 4th best in PL).

So why are we so rubbish at home ? Why aren't we playing better ? Could it have something to do with the type of support we are receiving at home ? abuse hurled at young players making individual mistakes? Silent Goodison which doesn't like 'boring' football (this boring brand has resulted in the highest number of goals scored at a home venue in all of PL this year incidentally) ?

Harold Matthews
77 Posted 08/02/2016 at 03:50:22
Martin. If your brother is actually a qualified coach, which I seriously doubt, he should know what every player brings to the table. Judging by previous posts I suspect your "brother" is you.
John Daley
78 Posted 08/02/2016 at 06:26:15
Ouch, Harold. Thanks for the first laugh of the day.
Phil Walling
79 Posted 08/02/2016 at 07:46:55
Nigel, perhaps if seat prices were increased to ( just say) 77 pounds, the problem would be solved as only non critical supporters like your goodself would attend !

Phil Williams
80 Posted 08/02/2016 at 07:55:01
Interesting article on Sky Sports shows a comparison of the table after 25 games this season vs last season. Leicester have the biggest point improvement (36), no surprise to see that.

Any idea who is second best? Yes, it’s us. We are 8 points better off and playing some fantastic attacking football. Progress or regression? I suppose the answer to that depends on whether you base it on last season, or the season before, or the goals scored, or trophies won, or which camp you have become established in,or indeed any other measurement that you wish to apply.

I enjoy watching this team and believe we have some great times just around the corner with Martinez still at the helm.

Nigel Gregson
81 Posted 08/02/2016 at 08:49:16
Phil - the problem I have with that argument is that everyone pays to watch. We do just like the opposition fans do. Perhaps if the opposition had Barkley and Stones in their team they might treat them differently ?
Phil Walling
82 Posted 08/02/2016 at 09:08:50
When all else fails, blame the fans, eh ?
Mike Powell
83 Posted 08/02/2016 at 09:11:56
Great display! I just hope Martinez sticks with that team and doesn’t put his favourites back in as soon as they are fit. Don't change a winning side .
Graham Mockford
84 Posted 08/02/2016 at 09:36:14

It is fairly simple why we have been poorer at GP this year. We have been to gung ho in our shape and tactics making us vulnerable to counter attack. We have also made too many individual errors.

When you only win 4 out of 13 games and ship goals at an alarming rate it is no surprise the crowd have been edgy and have vented their frustration at times.

Of course there is a bit of chicken and egg. The players are not immune to hearing the crowd reaction. But it's fairly simple, start playing better and the crowd follows.

Paul Mackie
85 Posted 08/02/2016 at 09:37:52
I don't think anyone would claim that our appalling home defensive record is entirely down to the crowd, but it's also naive to think that the actions of some 'supporters' isn't having an effect on the team.
Phil Walling
86 Posted 08/02/2016 at 09:59:59
Good, Paul. Perhaps that's why we've won the last three games !
Dennis Ng
87 Posted 08/02/2016 at 10:06:26
So what changed the crowd from the past 2 years to this year? More shitty game management?
Nigel Munford
88 Posted 08/02/2016 at 11:23:05
Dave #37 Totally agree about your comments regarding Lennon and lazy posting on my part. I've always liked Lennon when he was at Spurs and yes, criminally underused when he arrived 2nd time given what he showed in his loan spell with us. If Niasse has a similar work ethic then it could become infectious.
Tony Abrahams
89 Posted 08/02/2016 at 11:55:32
Simon we all see what we want to see, and I also agree that we would be equally as solid with Pienaar playing wide left.

Simon do you think if Lennon, would have went on at City in the cup instead of Kone, that Stones wouldn't have got so exposed?

My own opinion was that change, changed everything. Shape, balance, and a lack of pace to counter attack, even changed our game plan. This at a time when we were just over twenty minutes from a cup final, we decided to open up the pitch for city

If you can't see that the change in personnel hasn't altered tactics, then why does our left side have a much better defensive shape at the minute?

Phil Walling says it won't last, and with the introduction of Niasse, I wouldn't bet against him. Only time will tell.

Ged Simpson
90 Posted 08/02/2016 at 12:05:39
46 goals this season. Only 2 clubs have more 47.

Well that is great to see.

I know there will be a rush to quote goals against but I am 55 going on 15 and love seeing our goals !

Jack Cross
91 Posted 08/02/2016 at 15:27:00
I wouldn't get to carried away. Three wins, but three piss poor teams.

I think Robles, as done ok, but not much competition when we have Howard as first choice. And he would have to be an improvement on him.

Lets see how Robles, gets on with better opposition and shots coming in from all angles. If he keeps is place, that is.

Lennon, Iv'e always rated him. And was over the moon when we bought him. He as a lot more to is him game other than speed. He's not greedy and as a good eye when to pass to someone in a better scoring position. He should keep his place, but who knows with RM.

West brom, on paper a walk over. But any Pulis team, you know there could always be a shock instore. Lets hope not.

Steavey Buckley
92 Posted 08/02/2016 at 15:46:06
The quality is there in the squad. It was picking the right players for the right positions that have created a better team.
Dave Ganley
93 Posted 08/02/2016 at 16:07:57
Ken great report as ever, really enjoy them.

First of all, I was pleasantly surprised by the result as Stoke. We have an awful record there and a 3 0 win, regardless of how well Stoke are playing is a good result.

However, like others, I would caution against the "having turned the corner" rhetoric. We can only beat what is put in front of us but wins over Carlisle, a very poor Newcastle team and Stoke shouldn't erase all the awful performances we have witnessed this season. It was only a couple of weeks ago that we were comprehensively hammered at City in the one game that really mattered after being 3 1 up. I would like to believe this is the start of an upturn in fortunes, but we have been down this road before last season when a few wins masked all the major problems we had. Lets see if we can continue this till the end of the season before getting excited.

As a side issue, Nigel #76, we have been awful at home for nigh on 2 years now. Evertonians are a patient bunch but what we have witnessed over the last couple of years has finally worn us down to the point whereby the atmosphere is ridiculously bad. The style of football has been dull, unexciting, tepid in the extreme which is why we are at the point at which we are. Creating an atmosphere at a ground is a two way thing. The supporters can only create an atmosphere for so long when the football on offer is not exciting. When Martinez first took over, the atmosphere at the ground was fine, but slowly over the last 2 and half seasons, that has been eroded to the point whereby the opposition fans regularly take the piss, and to blame the supporters when the style of football has created this atmosphere is ridiculous in the extreme.

Martin Mason
94 Posted 08/02/2016 at 16:18:16
Harold@77, one of the most stupid comments I've read on here and a very poor grip of the English language to boot.

His view on Cleverly isn't shared by me, I think that he's been exceptional in recent games.

Paul Kossoff
95 Posted 08/02/2016 at 16:25:38
John 11, Coleman always stays at home?

He never does, and the same for Funes Mori, Stones, Barry, McCarthy and Galloway, they all forget what their jobs are and get caught out of position. They are told by RM, "Do what you want, play with freedom... " — that’s the problem.

Michael Kenrick
96 Posted 08/02/2016 at 16:38:20
Martin (#94) — How about spelling his name a little more... er... ’cleverly’ then?
Laurie Hartley
98 Posted 08/02/2016 at 22:08:10
I think Tony # 69 has hit on why we have looked so good in the last 3 games. With Lennon and Cleverley in the side we have kept our shape whether going forward or defending. They are both seasoned professionals who know how to be in the right place at the right time.

Not only has this taken pressure of the back four but it has enabled Barkley to do whatever comes into his head at the time - which is the way to get the best out of him. Without Lennon and Cleverley in the side this would be a luxury we could not afford. He is a footballing enigma but he has been brilliant recently and if allowed to have the freedom he needs he will get even better.

I wish we could find a similar solution for young Stones because he is a very similar spirit to Barkley and in my opinion has been gifted with an equal measure of talent and physique.

I watched the City v Leicester game last night and couldn't help feeling that Stones could do anything that Toure could do in the middle of the park? Perhaps the manager could give Barry a rest in one of the upcoming games and give the young bloke a try out in that position. If it worked everyone wins.

Nigel Gregson
99 Posted 08/02/2016 at 00:12:43
Phil 82 - Without being so flippantly black and white, if the next young Wayne Rooney who wanted to be a blue, signs up for City, United or Chelsea because he's had enough of the crowd getting on his backside, I wouldn't blame him. We can't play these talented kids the big bucks so their only pull is development opportunities at Goodison. But if the crowd only wants the Kevin Kilbanes and not the Gerard Deulefous, then it will eventually happen.
Dave Ganley
100 Posted 09/02/2016 at 09:59:19
You're talking utter nonsense Nigel. The crowd don't make the young players make the same mistakes over and over again. In fact the crowd have been very patient regarding all the mistakes they have made over the last 2 years. But you get to the point whereby you can't continue to make these mistakes. Goodison Park is not a training ground. Ok you can make the odd mistake, nobody is perfect, but the training ground is where the mistakes should be made. Martinez has not prepared the young players properly for the cauldren of the PL. Can you imagine Mourinho, Fergie, or any other top manager putting up with mistake after mistake leading to countless goals against? No me either. The fact that the players think they have carte blanch to do what they want on the field and have no comeback is exactly the kind of thing that irritates the fans. Telling the supporters to calm down after dribbling around in your area in the 89th minute with the game in the balance is also not on. Again, no top manager would ever put up with that. If Southall was in goal he would have kicked Stones to the Gwladys St and back for that stunt.

If a young blue wants to sign up with Chelski, City or United then do you really think they will be able to get away with the sort of performance they show for us on a regular basis? Absolutely not. You and people like you are the reason that we are in the position that we are. Underperforming, thrashed in the semi when 3 1 up and looking like not winning anything again. Letting the young players get away with murder and not doing their job is not helping them or us in the slightest. Its no coincidence that the team have started performing again when the players have had a bit of a rollicking from the crowd recently. They need to know that all the pissing about with the ball, not tackling or competing for 50/50 balls and not pulling your tripe out for the full 90 minutes is not acceptable for Everton FC.

You insult all Evertonians by suggesting it will be their fault if Stones, Barkley, Lukaku et al leave. Its not the fans fault, it will be the clubs fault for not being able to provide top wages and or not being able to provide medals and trophies. You also insult us suggesting that we would rather have a Kilbane rather than a Deulefou....we know good football. We have seen and rightly lauded the Ratcliffes, Southalls, Steven and Stevens, Sheedy, Bracewell, Sharpy, Rooney etc, we know what good football is and what a good footballer is. We also know when good footballers are underperforming and after 2 years of this we are getting restless. I take it you are happy to let the status quo exist and we shall wallow in mid table mediocrity still never troubling the engravers to put our name on trophy. But thats ok, as long as we don't hurt Johns, Ross's, Roms feelings then all is good. Ffs get a grip.

Simon Dutton
101 Posted 09/02/2016 at 13:15:19

I think you can safely say Mourinho wouldn't have put up with it, but then again the kids wouldn't have been playing as he doesn't pick kids and to be fair to Fergie in the last 5 to 6 years he hasn't brought kids through.

Teams like Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City need instant success so buy players ready now, Everton are not in a financial position to do that so have to buy youngsters and hope they come good, therefore they will make mistakes, fans go on about we should be higher in the league because of the players we have, but it is potential and we should be patient with them.

Perfect example: Deulofeu – 21 years old, great going forward, not so good defending. Bring Lennon into the team, 27 years old, we suddenly look more solid and we are winning. What Lennon does going forward and defending is what he wants Gerard to do but he needs to learn.

The training pitch is not the same as actually playing in a game so, without playing in games, they are not going to make mistakes.

Dave Ganley
102 Posted 09/02/2016 at 14:42:35
Simon, I get that we don’t have the financial clout of Chelsea, City and United and that we have to blood the youngsters but that doesn’t mean we have to accept mistake after mistake with players seemingly not learning. We have been patient with this team for over 2 years now, when do we say enough is enough? When do we say this kid should have learnt by now? Or are you suggesting that we are just a feeder club for the teams mentioned above and we should forgive any and all mistakes that the players make?

I agree that the training pitch is not the same as a proper game but so much can and should be learnt on the training pitch. When to play football, when to clear into row z, when to pass, when to shoot, what options to take when on the break. There is a multitude of tactics that should be rehearsed on the training pitch but which seemingly aren’t. Martinez doesn’t help the young players by saying its ok to make mistakes game after game. There has to come a point whereby the player all but eradicates these mistakes.

I also get that the top clubs want instant success and that means that the players are on shorter leashes than ours in regards to making mistakes, but that also doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate inadequate football. It's an expensive hobby to go week after week and I (maybe foolishly) still harbour dreams that we may win things. I also harbour dreams that we will win on a regular basis. These so-called dreams are never going to be realised by the players making the same mistakes over and over.

If we wish to join the elite then we have to adopt the same standards as them and that means play to our potential week after week. It's not good enough for me or for Everton FC to constantly accommodate players who don’t learn or aren’t prepared to put in the hard yards for my beloved club. Its been 2 years of sloppy play now and we are where we are and it's not good enough. That is why the crowd are so quiet and there is unrest. The excuse of they’re just kids and we should let them do what they want has finally run its course. This team should be delivering now with the players we have.

Look at Lukaku, he has gone away, worked hard at his game and look at how good he is now. The other so-called younger players could do far worse than to follow his lead, then we may start to see this team realise its potential instead of blaming the fans for supposedly stifling the potential. Ridiculous.

Simon Dutton
103 Posted 09/02/2016 at 18:41:42
I agree with alot of what you posted, what I would ask is, would you rather watch Robert Huth or John Stones, Gerard Delofeuo or James Milner, Ross Barkley or Gilfy Siggurdson (however you spell it) I know which I prefer and that's why I am willing to give them my support and patience.
Dave Ganley
104 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:19:59
To be honest Simon, of course we would rather have the players we have as opposed to the less talented players you mentioned. However, football is a competetive business and at Everton, we still regard ourselves as a sleeping giant. We have been patient, we have constantly made excuses for the mistakes the players make, but as I said, you do get to the point where the excuses start to sound hollow. I don't place all the blame on the players. The management should shoulder a large portion of blame for sending the players out onto the park under prepared. This is an unforgiving league and mistakes are pounced upon with monotonous regularity. John Stones has found that out to his cost. He messes around at the back, seemingly with the managers approval and most of the opposition now knows that too. He makes mistakes when harrassed (as all opposition now do to him) and he costs us goals.

I'm not picking on John Stones, just using him as an example as to how the same mistake is happening time and again. We have been patient, as I said, for 2 years, but surely if the same thing keeps happening time and again, then the supporters have every right to be bemused by it all. I am not one for sitting in the stands and having a go at a particular player during the game. The treatment of Tim Howard, for example with the ironic cheers when he catches a ball, is completely counter productive and totally unnecessary. He is, after all, an Everton player. However, surely people can understand that when we are not playing well and haven't done consistently for over 2 years, that the atmosphere suffers and that is definitely not the fault of the fans. When we have been subjected to dull to boring football for a considerable amount of time then the players do have a duty to get the fans onside and actually play like they give a damn. When they do that (City at home in first leg) then the fans respond. Its a two way street. We have done our bit for quite some considerable time without it being reciprocated by the players so its quite natural for the fans to switch off. The players, at the moment, are not the phenomenal world beaters that Martinez has built them up to be so there is a lot of hard yards for the players to do to build up the blind adoration from the fans that they so desperately yearn for. Maybe if Martinez hadn't built up the players to superstar status before they were ready then we wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

Nigel Gregson
105 Posted 09/02/2016 at 00:17:29
Dave Ganley - "You and people like you are the reason that we are in the position that we are. Underperforming, thrashed in the semi when 3 1 up and looking like not winning anything again." We are 8th in the league and out of the cups. Is this really that much worse than pre-Martinez ?

Remember those times ? the crowds were much more supportive and we used to play Leon Osman on the right wing and Fellaini or Cahill on their own upfront with Phil Neville's creative brilliance in the midfield, while Barkley floundered on loan at Sheffield and kids like Lukaku and Gerard wouldn't touch us with a 10 foot barge pole.

Perhaps that era was more preferable to folks like you ?

Dave Ganley
106 Posted 10/02/2016 at 09:10:58
Lets not start rewriting history shall we Nigel. We have just sneaked into the top 8 courtesy of 2 half decent wins. Most of the season and last season we have been dire. Moyes, for all his faults against the so called bigger teams, did play entertaining football with Arteta, Baines, Pienaar, Coleman, Mirallas, Cahill etc in the team. We scored plenty of goals and never left the top 8 for his last 7 seasons.

We shall never know if Lukaku would have come to Everton at the time of Moyes, he never had that kind of money given to him. And as to your assertion of Barkley "floundering" at Sheffield United, did you really think he was ready for first team football then? At times he barely looks ready now let alone then. There is a great player itching to get out of Barkley, but letting him get away with not challenging for the ball, not taking on 50/50 tackles, not defending from the front and not learning how and when to pass when on the charge is completely doing him a disservice. He is not a kid anymore, he is in his 4th season of top flight football and should be consistently doing it on a regular basis and, as I say, Martinez letting him and others get away with all the mistakes they want, is not doing them or us any favours at all. If they never get taken to task about these mistakes then they never learn and that shows on the pitch.

And going on about the crowd during Moyes's reign, you either didn't go to the game then or have very dodgy memories but the crowd were very vocal at the time. I can never remember a period that we have now whereby you can hear a pin drop. We had some fantastic atmospheres. The thing is, we may not have had the talent we have now, but the players maximised what they had and the supporters appreciated that. Now players are wasting themselves or not performing for 90 minutes and the crowd don't easily forgive not giving your all for EFC. And before you accuse me of wanting workhorses over talent, that is not true. You can have talented players that work hard. Look at Barcelona and Man United of the late 90s, all brilliant players but never stopped working and they got their rewards for that in titles and trophies. So, you see, there is no excuse for that anymore.

Perhaps the era for "folk like you" was going to watch a pretty Wigan team with a soft underbelly get relegated?

Simon Dutton
107 Posted 10/02/2016 at 13:18:18
I agree with a bit of what you say, but regards Moyes, shouldn’t we be judging him and his style of football on his first 3 seasons, the same as what Martinez is in because for last 7 seasons his team had bedded in, I believe as we don’t know yet but if Martinez can keep the team together he will be more successful than Moyes.

The argument about the money is pretty much a moot point as it is all relative, there is more money in the game now, and more teams can spend big money and players prices are inflated, Fellaini at the time for £15m is now the equivalent to Lukaku at £28m.

As for Barkley this is my biggest bug bear, this season he has scored more and assisted more this season than in all his other Premier League seasons put together, so he is improving. The fans get on his back when he doesn't see a pass or tries to take on one player too many, its easy watching from the stands to say what he should have done, its totally different on the pitch.

The pressure he is put under by the fans, maybe its because he has been at Everton since he was a kid so feels its up to him to make things happen. A couple of weeks ago on the local radio phone in after the match, the wonderful mayor of Liverpool came on asking when Ross was going to be dropped cause he did nothing.

Dave Ganley
108 Posted 12/02/2016 at 10:42:39
Simon, I guess its subjective with Moyes and without wishing to get into a Moyes/Martinez debate, Moyes took over a pretty poor squad battling for survival whereas Martinez took over a good squad that hadn't been out of the top 8 for 7 seasons so to use the first 3 seasons for both is a bit unfair given the quality of the respective squads.

You may be right about Barkley thinking its up to him to make things happen, but surely this is where a good manager should come in and reign him in. This is what I mean about making the same errors again and again. He is not getting the correct coaching in my opinion. I feel he is just being left to his own devices as opposed to analysing the mistakes and trying to eradicate them. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe thats exactly what they do. If they do, then they are not analysing very successfully. As I say, I don't place all the blame at the players doorstep, the manager has to take a huge slice of responsibility for it too. By the way, Joe Anderson should be keeping those kind of views to himself really. I agree Barkley is improving. To be fair he couldn't get much worse than last season, although again, I felt for the lad, he was obviously struggling and the manager wouldn't pull him out of the firing line as he should have done. He is progressing, but is he progressing at a rate befitting his talents? In my opinion, no. If he was coached correctly then he should be leaps and bounds above where he is now. Again, not picking on Barkley, just using him as an example.

All of which brings us back to the original point, which is that the fans aren't responsible for the poor performances at Goodison Park. There is a multitude of reasons why we are poor but to blame the fans, who turn up week after week and sit through mind numbing football and error ridden football then we are entitled to be bemused by it. That doesn't mean that a small minority should pick on certain individuals but it is entirely understandable why the place is like a morgue and it is down to the players and manager to find ways of recapturing the bear pit of an atmosphere from only 3 years ago.

Simon Dutton
109 Posted 12/02/2016 at 23:43:56
I agree entirely, the players and management are completely responsible for the performance on the pitch, its nice to see they are both getting the blame, unlike the start of this thread that was just blaming Martinez.

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