Roberto and his subs

Playing against a West Brom team performing poorly at home, what could go wrong? "This is Everton" I said... "We always mess things up just when things are looking rosy". And so it proved.

Paul Traill 14/02/2016 73comments  |  Jump to last
"Shift over there" I said. I was commenting on a fella getting out of his booth at the Mersey Tunnel entrance with his bag in hand, at the end of his shift. "I can't, that's the fast tag only lane" replied Ste until we realised our mis-communication and tittered. That was about as fun as the day got.

Having said that, it was a good little catch-up with Gary and Sue in the pub whilst we watched Manchester United lose again, this time to lowly Sunderland. We were buoyant in the pub following our three 3-0 wins, Gary super-optimistic we could now go on some sort of run and shoot up the table. With fifth-placed Manchester United losing, a win would have put us only three points behind them with a greater goal difference. And playing against a West Brom team performing poorly at home, what could go wrong? "This is Everton" I reminded him. "We always mess things up just when things are looking rosy". And so it proved.

Sensibly, Roberto Martinez stayed with the same team that performed so well at Stoke City last weekend. Rondon and Berahino both began for the Baggies who were pretty well supported by their travelling fans despite their poor form. West Brom won the coin toss and so we attacked the Gwladys Street in the first half. The hopeless Michael Oliver refereed, though are there any Premier League referees who aren't hopeless?

Everton were excellent in the first half and it was quite incredible that we went in at the break a goal down. West Brom winning a corner out of nothing and a simple ball into the box was looped over to the back post by the head of Olsson and chested in on the goal line by Rondon. It was really poor defending with seemingly everybody ball watching and it was just too easy for West Brom. It doesn't matter who's in goal, it's the way we defend as a unit which costs us.

We will live to rue our missed opportunities in the first half. Ross Barkley hit the post; Tom Cleverley looped a cross onto the post; Ben Foster tipped a deflected Aaron Lennon shot over the crossbar; and a header from Funes Mori was blocked just short of the goal line. They were the chances which got away. It was like Groundhog Day watching Ben Foster take his time with goal-kicks over and over again.

As the clock ticked towards half-time and Everton failed to put any of their chances in the back of the net, you felt that West Brom would re-group and solidify at the break and so it proved as, in the second half, Everton just couldn't find a way through a stubborn and organised West Brom team. So, with no obvious route to goal, we had to make changes and this is where the crowd were in disbelief with pretty much all of Roberto's substitutions.

Arouna Kone on the left is never popular with the fans, but particularly so when you have Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar available... not to mention Gerard Deulofeu. Taking off your biggest threat in the game is not popular with the fans either, and they certainly let Roberto Martinez know what they thought of Lennon being replaced. And finally, the introduction of Leon Osman for James McCarthy wasn't what was required for this game.

For my money, which probably isn't worth a lot, I'd have taken off James McCarthy and moved Tom Cleverley inside since he's much more dynamic than McCarthy, and given Pienaar a chance on the left. I'd probably have hooked Oviedo also to give Baines a chance to work with Pienaar as we know they can offer a lot of variety on that side. If we were still chasing later in the game, I'd have looked at introducing Kone, or perhaps Mirallas as a striker alongside Lukaku and go 4-4-2.

It seems that Martinez won't change his formation whatever the circumstance. The opportunities we've wasted this season are beyond silly now. Somehow we're still only six points behind Manchester United in 5th so there is still a glimmer in the league, but I don't think Martinez is able to get this team playing with anywhere near enough consistency. We have to give it everything in the FA Cup now.

As a side-note, I see Roberto has complained about West Brom using "every trick in the book" to run the clock down. Well I wish somebody would show Roberto this book. It could have come in handy in quite a few games already this season!

Player Ratings

Robles: Was pretty helpless with the goal. Nothing else to do otherwise. 6

Oviedo: Did OK. Perhaps quality of cross let him down when in attacking positions but his general play was fine. I'd still play Baines ahead of him though. 6

Funes Mori: Did OK, a tad unlucky not to score. 6

Jagielka: Tried as hard as anyone else to force the game for us. Was alive and alert to the counter attack with Rondon. 7

Coleman: Though he got forward plenty, he didn't do enough in attacking areas. 6

Barry: Man of the Match for me. As nearly always this season, he was the one showing all the leadership out there. The yellow card he received was scandalous. 7

McCarthy: Did his defensive work fine but we needed more from him in attacking areas. Not just first time sideways or backwards passing. 5

Cleverley: Was doing OK, I can't understand why he was subbed when he could have been moved inside. 6

Lennon: Had a good game and was by far our best attacker. His substitution was baffling, though not really surprising. Ste called that he was going to do it long before he did. He's having quite the renaissance is Aaron Lennon. Long may it continue. 7

Barkley: Guilty of missing two, maybe three of Everton's best chances. His two off-target efforts in the second half were particularly poor, but at least he was getting into the positions I suppose. 6

Lukaku: Not at his best. Seemed a bit starved of service and you would often find him outside the penalty areas in the corners chasing the ball. I can see his frustration but he's no use to us out there. Needs to be in the penalty area ready to take chances. Hopefully his form will come back. 6

Kone (for Cleverley): The striker who won't shoot. A frustrating display from Kone. 5

Deulofeu (for Lennon): Didn't make an impact in what was an unpopular substitution. 5

Osman (for McCarthy): Was tough for him but he tried his best to force something from the game. 6

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Reader Comments (73)

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David Greenwood
1 Posted 14/02/2016 at 15:21:05
Absolutely correct about him not changing his formation.

It's not working so I will try more of the same with different people.

Not only that, but I'll take off players that are playing well and try poorer players in their positions.

Unfortunately bobby does not have a boss, answers to no one and is under no pressure what so ever from inside the club.

Mike Powell
2 Posted 14/02/2016 at 15:57:12
Unbelievable subs... Why oh why take Lennon off who was causing them all types off trouble?

Why not change the formation, which obviously wasn’t working??

Why bring Kone and Osman on when we needed Mirallas on???

I am still baffled... the man as not got a clue.

Danny O'Neill
3 Posted 14/02/2016 at 17:14:47
Said it on Ken’s post, the obsession with Kone is becoming tiresome. Forget any personal opinion or slant on him as an individual, this is tactics.

Now I caveat I’m away at present so wasn’t there and didn’t see it; however, knowing how Pulis sets up and courtesy of BBC stats and heat map of West Brom’s positional coverage, as in they were pretty much camped in a compact area between the centre circle and their 18-yard box for long periods, surely we needed to stretch the pitch.

So, bring on a player who naturally drifts into the middle and subsequently encourages play to go central. Straight into Pulis’ hands and game plan. End of scratched record!

Steve Jones
4 Posted 14/02/2016 at 17:19:21
WBA set up to frustrate us, everyone knew they would play this way so why didn't Martinez set up differently from the off? He never changes our set up or style, we are the easiest team in the Premier League to prepare for if the plan is to park the bus. We do well against teams who want to play or if we get an early goal so the opposition have to get back into the game.

Martinez's unwillingness to be flexible has cost us dearly so many times this season in the form of defeats and draws. Personally I would have set up with only one of McCarthy or Barry with Cleverley alongside and two out and out wingers.

There was no benefit in bringing any of our subs on, I can see slightly the logic with Kone to support Lukaku but he should have been up top not shoved on the left. Mirallas really should have been given at least 20 mins as he offers pace and trickery that neither Kone or Osman do. To have the whole ground booing when he took Lennon off tells its own story.

Niasse for 20 mins would have offered something different too, to pay £13.5m and not even put him on the bench for the last 2 games he's been available is bizarre to say the least.

Mike Berry
5 Posted 14/02/2016 at 17:32:45
Lennon again mom for me. Giving him the hook was crazy. Baines and Oviedo down the left hand side would have been worth a punt. Taxi for manager and his defence coach?
Roman Sidey
6 Posted 14/02/2016 at 17:54:40
Perhaps Lennon was tiring which is understandable as he has put in more effort than probably any Premier League player over the past few weeks, and Gerry is still a very good player able to set up some goals.

What is more baffling about bringing Kone on is that, not only is he slow and shite, he is actually not very good at reading where crosses are landing. So many times the cross was rebounded by a defender or goalie and Kone was left in front of a drifting ball and not even trying to move back toward the ball. Someone said on that forum that he is the worst number 9 the club has had, and, on current form, you’d be hard pressed to disagree. The guy is a waste of money, and any manager who persists with such an ineffective striker is obviously corrupt, or just plain stupid.

All this while Mirallas – a very good attacking player – sits on the bench. You just know Kev would be champing at the bit to try and show the Belgium selectors what he can do in the summer.

Finally, Paul, whilst I agree with most of your assessment, calling for the Baines-Pienaar combo to dig us out of trouble is just living in the past. The last time I saw them playing together is hopefully the last time I will see them playing together at Everton.

Len Gowing
7 Posted 14/02/2016 at 18:20:10
Mirallas was warming up in front of us before the 3rd sub and obviously got the nod that he wasn't going to be involved, he threw his gloves at RM's feet as he went back to warming the bench. I don't usually slate our own players but Kone should never be allowed near a blue shirt again.

We have won 4 games at home all season and we've already lost more at home than the whole of last season which people thought disastrous at the time. Where do we go from here?

Peter Knight
8 Posted 14/02/2016 at 19:07:48
Do you think Niasse is injured or is very poor in training? He must be fit as Lokomotive had two games at the beginning of February and a Europa League game coming up so He must have been in training... plus two weeks with us training.
Declan Campbell
9 Posted 14/02/2016 at 19:09:41
Steven Jones, Niasse was not available for the Stoke game, clearance not through. I do agree with you but if he had have changed the line-up, everyone would say "Do not change a winning team!"

Roman Sidey, there have been worse forwards at Everton, believe me... and just out of interest, pal, what have you got against Baines? Most of your posts involve slating him.

Mark Boulle
10 Posted 14/02/2016 at 19:25:42
This might smack a bit of sour grapes...but I don't care!

I hate Tony Pulis and his frigging anti-football so much. I know it's down to our manager and our players to find a way through all out defence, and goodness knows I'm as hacked off with another feeble home defeat and terrible subs as everyone else, but...

...the way Pulis sends teams out on the premier league should be actively discouraged. I can't immediately think how you solve it or stop it, but there must be some sort of bonus point scheme, like in rugby or cricket, perhaps involving number of shots on target (there have been many games this season where the dinosaur Pulis' team have had none) that could be devised to hurt teams and managers who set up actively to avoid playing any kind of football at all...perhaps

Ideas on a ToffeeWeb sized postcard...

Philip Yensen
11 Posted 14/02/2016 at 19:44:52
Don’t blame opposing managers for our short comings. They won the 3 points because of commitment, heart and graft – something we lack in abundance. Our player seem to accept the manager's plan and, if it goes wrong, it’s not their fault.

One more win and we can get shut of Martinez. Leave some of our shite players to stew in the reserves and build for next season. We need a boss with bolllocks, a firm hand and a presence on the line to give the lazy arseholes who want to sulk instead of grafting a good fucking bollocking.

Wake the fuckers up you are playing for Everton Football Club! – the greatest football club ever... maybe not the most successful, but the best.

Clive Rogers
12 Posted 14/02/2016 at 20:00:41
Kone was dreadful and Osman clearly completely finished, playing at half pace.

Oviedo is a decent stand in, but nowhere near the class of Baines. There was no attacking threat from him at all down the left, usually cutting inside and playing the ball back. His free kicks were poor before he was stopped from taking them.

Trevor Lynes
13 Posted 14/02/2016 at 20:45:11
It is an absolute no brainer !

When we need a goal we MUST bring on MIrallas as the first sub !

None of the subs brought on are goal scorers.

Henrik Lyngsie
14 Posted 14/02/2016 at 21:41:53
I have never subscribed to this never change a winning team. I would have played Baines from the beginning. Oviedo has been good in the last two matches but Baines is just better. And we knew we needed someone who could find space against WBA. And in particular when you get behind.
Then I agree with OP that it should have been McCarthy who should have been subbed first. Pienaar would have been a good one if he is in form. He can find space against a team like WBA and cleverly could have moved into the central position.
If he wanted to play Delboy I would have taken out Coleman and played Lennon as the full back.
And if he wanted to play Kone he should have played next to Lukaku and Barkkey further back.
I thought it was depressing to watch McCarthy, Coleman and Oviedo trying to open a compact defense. Pulis was clearly happy to see these three so much on the ball. I don't think they would be the right players to find space.
Worst thing is that WBA played exactly as expected. Biggest surprise was that they only started time wasting after 15 minutes.
Steve Jones
15 Posted 14/02/2016 at 21:59:24
Declan Campbell #9 - Martinez stated that Niasse got his visa in time for Stoke but said he needed more time to get up to speed, also confirmed here in the Echo:

Niasse should have at least been on the bench for both games as he offers something different, we're told he has raw pace and power do you not think that would have given West Brom something different to think about?

As I said everyone knew how Pulis would set WBA up, good managers adapt teams, formations and styles of play before games or at the very least once your team is losing. We never change anything which makes us very easy to play against if the plan is to sit back and defend.

To lose 6 times at home as in the main teams sit back, hit you on the break or via set pieces and still not change anything shows naivety, stupidity and arrogance.

Steavey Buckley
16 Posted 14/02/2016 at 22:13:57
Martinez picking the right subs. when things are not going well on the field is his biggest achilles heel. Most Everton fans actually call it right. That is not a healthy position Everton are in, when the manager cannot get the substitutions right when they are needed.

On Saturday, Everton needed to inject more pace upfront to deal with a WBA defence that had dug in, as though they had dug some trench from WW1 to repel invaders.

So instead of turning to Mirallas and Deulofeu to do the very important thing that was needed, to run out defenders, create some pace, get free kicks a penalty even a goal by putting pressure on, Martinez turns to Kone and Osman even though he puts on Deulofeu but takes off Lennon, Everton's best attacker.

WBA must have been made up to see back the back end of Lennon and see Kone replacing him with Osman not far behind to join him.

Managers who are bold with substitutes to force a win, no matter how unlikely, will always get the support of their fans. Managers who put the shutters up to keep hold of the 3 points as the clock is running down will also get the support of their fans. I wish Martinez would take note.

Roman Sidey
17 Posted 14/02/2016 at 22:44:27
Declan, I've only followed Everton since 2002 so luckily I haven't witnessed many strikers nearly as bad as Kone. Straq was a bit of a joke but wasn't played so insistently as our Ivorian. Beattie at least managed to lead the line pretty much on his own for a season and a half and Beckford was a bloke playing above his grade and at least put away some very important goals. The thing that makes Kone worse than the lot is the fact that after his first season and a half where he didn't kick a ball, the club still kept hold of him and the manager still feels he is good enough to play for a team dreaming of Champions League football. Seriously, this bloke would be out of his depth in the A League or MLS, and at 33-34, what is the point?

As for my constant berating of Baines, to be fair I do it mostly as a trope - "Oh, here's Roman with his Baines hatred again" - but also, I don't think he is anywhere near as good as he should be anymore, and have never really been a fan of him as a defender. Yes, his set play used to be good, and he did share a good partnership with Pienaar for a few seasons, but that is all over now. His dead ball has been horrendous for the better part of three years now (tell me the last 5 corners of his we scored from), maybe even four, and for a player that has been at the club as long as he has, his leadership is almost non-existent. Shy? Bollocks; he is paid a king's ransom for a hobby.

phillip warrington
18 Posted 14/02/2016 at 23:18:24
For the life of me, I cannot understand Martinez or the board at the moment. I thought they were changing when they basically swapped Naismith for Niasse. Unforgettably Osman, Howard and Pienaar have been great servants for Everton FC but they have come to the end of the careers if Everton want to be challenging for Europe.

Kone was at one stage a good player but age and injuries have put an end to that. So why does the manager keep playing these players and not say Mirallas and Deulofeu or Lennon on the wings with Niasse and Lukaku up front?

Danny O'Neill
19 Posted 14/02/2016 at 23:38:11
Mark (@10), I concur. Dreadful manager who promotes a style of non-football that is simply awful.

Phillip (@11), I don't think it's a case of blaming other managers for our own short fallings, you're right, the search for that starts at home.

However, it's a fair comment. I get the "results based business", however it speaks volumes for the state of English football when the likes of Pulis and Allardyce by virtue of the fact they are plying their trade at the highest level of our game are considered amongst the best we have to offer.

Win at all thanks; although a win would be welcome!!!

Declan Campbell
20 Posted 14/02/2016 at 23:53:05
I have to disagree Roman. Baines is the best left back I have ever seen at Everton, still to me the best at the club by a long way.

Also some great haircuts, cool clobber, listens to proper music, unheard of for most footballers – and Martinez too considering he likes Jason Derulo.

Rob Hooton
21 Posted 15/02/2016 at 00:46:42
Thanks for the report, also wish RM would read the ’every trick in the book’ book as opposed to the ’every trick in the one-trick pony’ book!

I also cannot buy into this tiring player bollocks – you don’t see Leicester’s players needing to be subbed despite running their knackers off week-in & week-out. Our players are obviously not fit for purpose or are just downright fucking idle; either way, you have to blame the manager for this.

Harold Matthews
22 Posted 15/02/2016 at 01:49:42
Can't fault Pulis for his tactics. For most Premier League clubs the biggest prize is avoiding relegation and he knows how to achieve that. Unlike recent managers of the famous Aston Villa who are heading to the Championship.

At Everton we have bigger dreams and a useful but rather lightweight squad. We also have a manager who is afraid to make changes and is completely out of his depth. His safety first substitutions on Saturday were the worst in living memory. We needed two goals but he worried that West Brom might nick another. Our biggest threat left sitting on the bench because he doesn't defend. and refuses to play to the Martinez possession philosophy.

We can't get Pochettino or Koeman but any coach would be better than the one we have right now.

Danny O'Neill
23 Posted 15/02/2016 at 02:25:34
It's that balance isn't it Harold? I'll leave Martinez out of this as this is based on our opinions of the Pulis type of manager.

Do you go out not to lose or do you go out to win? There is a subtle but fundamental difference; as many of us were continuously pointing out under Moyes (although I would not categorise him in the Pulis bracket; cautious yes but not entirely negative and non-football).

Their style of football will only get you so far. Successful teams set up to win. I said I'd leave him out of it, but inevitably I can't! Martinez has the tools, seems to have the intent, but is making tactically poor decisions and not getting the best out of a squad that he part inherited but also has added more quality to.

Anto Byrne
24 Posted 15/02/2016 at 02:35:22
Just reading the headlines. Martinez pulls off a masterstroke to overpower a stubborn Albion defence. The youthful Osman and the effervescent Kone combine with the mercurial talent that is Gerard Deulofeu. These inspired substitutions lay on the service for the big number nine Lukaku who nets three in the last 15 minutes. Goodison was rocking as this team shot up the league table, putting pressure on Man Utd.

Oh wait this is the Beano I’m reading " sigh."
Derek Thomas
25 Posted 15/02/2016 at 07:59:48
Roberto and his subs; There's a minimum of 4 ways you can read that and all 4 deserve their own double page strip in VIZ. Roberto and his quadruple entendres.

Did I see a statement blaming WBA's tactics for our loss.

Playing the same way with different people as the game goes on...well of course, it's the philosophy don'tcha know.

If we're not winning it's not the fault of the just haven't been applying it properly. The cure is - add more philosophy...because the philosophy can't be wrong...I mean, it's the philosophy innit


And thus we stagger to the end of another wasted season.


Christopher Dover
26 Posted 15/02/2016 at 08:50:01
A couple of points on the ref. He let them waste time but what really pissed me off is when they had a throw-in and after time wasting he went up and had a talk to them. When Stones did that, they took the throw off him and awarded it to the opposition.

Second point, the goalkeeper wasted time from kick off, why did he not book him in the first half? The only reason I can assume is if he had he knew he would have to book him again in the second half and send him off, which he was not going to do.

Tony Woods
28 Posted 15/02/2016 at 10:17:51
I think David Greenwood makes a very important point regarding Martinez not put under any pressure. He is treated as Mr Nice Guy by TV pundits, Everton management, other managers and the media in general. This is a complete contrast to the likes of Louis Van Gaal.

Don’t get me wrong – Martinez does appear to be a nice guy but business is business, as they say, and the buck stops with him.

James Marshall
29 Posted 15/02/2016 at 10:36:30
I would have liked to see Mirallas on for McCarthy, with Cleverley moved inside as you say – McCarthy offers so little going forward, and Cleverley can do his job for half-an-hour. Mirallas offers much more movement and guile than Kone which was what we needed at the weekend.

Simple and obvious even for me watching it at home!

Jamie Barlow
30 Posted 15/02/2016 at 10:51:32
I've no problem with the Lennon/Del sub. The other two were baffling.
Andy Meighan
31 Posted 15/02/2016 at 11:01:47

You rightly stated that you would have got Baines involved at the expense of Oviedo. A few sitting around us said the same.

I heard a story yesterday and I don't know if it's true or not but apparently the players had a meeting with Martinez a couple of weeks ago about tactics. Now normally I'm told these meetings last 20 mins to half-an-hour but this one lasted an-hour-and-a-half and allegedly Baines lambasted Martinez and let him know what he thought of his tactics and substitutions.

Since then, Baines hasn't played, whether he's been not fully fit, I don't know... but once again, it seems Martinez is giving him the Distin treatment.

Now I'm not sure if it is true but it's certainly come from a reliable source so I've no need to think the guy is making it up. If it is true, it just shows the measure of the man.

Peter Roberts
33 Posted 15/02/2016 at 11:48:24
Unfortunately we don’t have a striker on the bench to replace Lukaku – which is probably why he has been walking round since the new year like he spend all night on the 31st December drinking Jaeger bombs and hasn’t recovered from the hangover yet.

Anyway... less about him lets all slate Kone – the player who is bought on the pitch to be Romelus Mr Muscle – he does the jobs Rom hates to do. In doing so, he takes away the option of having a genuinely creative player instead.

Commentators often talk about the "corridor of uncertainty" – there is nothing uncertain about that corridor for me. What is certain about that corridor is that I have seen Lennon and Deulofeu (especially) fizz 20-30 balls in that zone to find our main striker stood flat-footed on the penalty spot with his hands despairingly on his head....

The lad should be on 20+ Premier League goals this season – that is no exaggeration. It seems churlish to criticise him given his return so far, but let's just say that 2 goals in 9 games is very indicative of his effort since the New Year.

I always thought Rom could be the player who, if given an early kick, would turn into the incredible hulk, Olsson and Otamendi have proven that he can be very easily intimidated out of the contest. He is a massively important player for us and he needs to be giving more.

Onto Mirallas – Martinez is starting to look like a childish idiot now. For me, the way to get a goal against that lot would have been a penalty or someone dribbling through and slotting – Mirallas would have been the key man for that.

Chris James
34 Posted 15/02/2016 at 12:33:16
To lose one game is bad-luck, a few games is carelessness, to throw away the points we have through not addressing the familiar problems is basically a fundamental failure in your duty.

Yes we’re a more entertaining team to watch than under Moyes as a rule (although those who think we just played KITAP1 under Davey ignore the attacking wingbacks + direct play of later seasons), but this is a results business and the results frankly are poor. Everyone can see we have a top 6 or better squad in terms of potential and everyone can see we’re throwing the potential away.

Here’s 10 reasons Martinez has to go:

i) Inept substitutions – almost always too late or wrong player;

ii) Persistence with one formation (4-2-3-1) and strategy (possession) regardless of situation;

iii) No discernible plan B or ability to adapt mid-game;

iv) Dismantling of what was previously a fortress defence so that we now have apparent inability to even shut-up shop and see a game out from 2-goal leads;

v) Persistence with players who are out of form or just not good enough (variously Howard, Stones, Barry, Kone) and failure to give a chance to others who could offer something different (Mirallas, Naismith, Niasse);

vi) Persistence with 2 defensive mids regardless of the fact they contribute nothing going forward and no more defensive solidity – we are more leaky than ever at the back;

vii) Obvious failure to concentrate on set-pieces defence or attack;

viii) Alarming lack of fitness and susceptibility to training injuries (both I think are tied to his dogged focus on ball-work over all else);

ix) Home record and overall results/points that’s moving steadily in the wrong direction (our home record is 17th best this year, our form 19th best);

x) Arouna Kone in the starting line up or first sub – so bad I’ve listed him twice.

Pete Edwards
35 Posted 15/02/2016 at 12:55:10
Can’t agree with your comment on McCarthy sideways and backwards, yes he plays those passes (who doesn't?) but he got Lennon in a few times more so in the 1st half with cross-field forward passes.
Harold Matthews
36 Posted 15/02/2016 at 13:32:12
Yes Danny # 23. People usually have the wrong idea about Tony Pulis. He actually does what is necessary.

At the end of November 2013, he joined red hot relegation certainties Crystal Palace. When asked his plan he said that draws were no good. They needed wins. 2 weeks later they beat West Ham 1-0.

In the January window he brought in Joe Ledley, Jason Puncheon, Scott Dann and keeper Wayne Hennessey and Palace went on a run of 5 consecutive victories over Chelsea, Cardiff, Villa, Everton and West Ham.

After finishing 11th with 45 points, Pulis was voted Manager of the year but left Palace by mutual consent in the summer because the board refused to back his transfer plans.

Ray Robinson
37 Posted 15/02/2016 at 16:19:07
Given Martinez's lack of commitment to organisation when it comes to set pieces (i.e. no appointed penalty taker), don't be surprised to see a Messi / Suarez type routine next time that we are awarded a penalty. It may not work but it'll be fun watching the players express themselves. Who needs results when you can be entertaining?
Robin Cannon
39 Posted 15/02/2016 at 17:23:13
@Ray – One of the more irritating things I hear from commentators is when they talk about Ross Barkley almost proudly saying he doesn’t practice free kicks... and yet he’s one of our primary free kick takers. That just epitomises the approach.

Yes, Ross has natural dead ball talent... but that’s not something to be relied on. RM should be demanding that he perfect that talent with practice.

Nick Armitage
41 Posted 15/02/2016 at 18:25:21
People are slating Pulis's anti-football but who got the 3 points? I'd rather play like that and win than play like Brazil and lose.

As for McCarthy, his return has shored up the centre but he moves the ball so slowly and never goes forwards. McCarthy is so one-dimensional and offers absolutely nothing offensively. Lee Carsley did more in attack. Against teams who are parking the bus why do we need 2 defensive midfielders?

Compare McCarthy to Besic. Besic is a livewire, head always up constantly probing forwards and always moving the ball quickly.

I hear Spurs offered big money for McCarthy, we should have cashed in.

Jamie Barlow
42 Posted 15/02/2016 at 19:18:34
"People are slating Pulis's anti-football but who got the 3 points? I'd rather play like that and win than play like Brazil and lose."

We probably all would if we were guaranteed 3 points but it doesn't work like that does it? You wouldn't pay to watch that shite every week, would you. I know I wouldn't.

James Marshall
43 Posted 15/02/2016 at 19:33:20
We used to pay to watch similar shite every week, and people complained about that as well!
Nick Armitage
44 Posted 15/02/2016 at 20:52:36
Correct, we got a decade of it under Moyes and I’d have him back over Martinez tomorrow. He’d have that team higher up the league, so would Pulis, Pardew and all the other shite out there.

We are in the top 20 richest clubs in world football, the fact we have such a two bit second rate manager speaks volumes for the club. #MartinezOut

Roman Sidey
45 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:00:25
Fair enough, Declan. I haven't followed for long enough to say who our best ever left back is/was. I do know that Baines was kept out of the position by a centre-half in Lescott for the better part of a season or two.

Outstanding musical and fashion sense aside, ever since Pienaar became a sick-note/bit-part player, Baines has been adequate at best.

For the record, I prefer Oviedo's haircut to Baines', but I'm not British.

Anyway, let's end on something we both probably agree on: Martinez out!

Andy Crooks
46 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:00:57
Nick Armitage # 41, I agree. We are liked, admired and patronised at the moment. I would like us to be feared and detested. Also, I howled for Moyes to go for many years but he is, in my view, vastly superior to relegation Roberto. Not much praise though,as I would prefer anyone with a coaching badge to the nonentity we have now.
James Marshall
47 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:17:10
Relegation? Give it a rest. We won't go anywhere near relegation. We had this shit last season and it never even came close.

Moving on - if you all want Martinez out, who do you want in? Serious contenders only....

Nick Armitage
48 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:36:30
Mark Hughes, Roberto DiMatteo, Lucien Favre. I am sure there are other candidates out there. Hopefully the new owners have already been looking.
Jamie Barlow
49 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:38:55
A semi final, still in the other cup and could still get in Europe. He's going nowhere.
Patrick Murphy
50 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:45:09
James it doesn't matter who we name it's not up to us as supporters to identify the next Everton manager it's up to the board and if they are happy with Roberto, we can do little about it. It's that old argument about Capitalism being imperfect but what system would be used to replace it, we won't know until something different is tried.

If Season ticket sales suffer, you can bet your life the board of directors will contemplate Roberto's future, but with the influx of TV money even that might not force a change.

Relegation is not in my lexicon for this season but only because we managed to beat most of those teams below us and not because we are a top side, we are currently 11 points clear of the bottom three thanks in the main to the six points we took off Newcastle. Half of our wins have come against the three sides that occupy the relegation places.

Colin Glassar
51 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:48:02
Sanchez Flores, James. Not only for what he's done with Watford but also for his work in Spain. He would keep our attacking style but he'd also tighten up the defence.

But as Jamie said, Martinez is going nowhere. There's no one at the club who could sack him.

Patrick Murphy
52 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:50:10
Jamie (49) I assume you mean Mark Hughes, however, Stoke were beaten in the FA Cup by Palace in the previous round.
Jamie Barlow
53 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:52:24
Nah, I mean our very own Bobby.
Patrick Murphy
54 Posted 15/02/2016 at 21:59:06
Ah, right – got you Jamie, I still don't understand how Roberto is still in a job, given that the only home victories have come against the 3 teams currently occupying the relegation places and a Chelsea team who were in disarray when we played them earlier in the season.
Joe Clitherow
55 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:08:50
A semi final by dint of beating the mighty Barnsley, Reading, Middlesbrough and Norwich on pens, still in the FA Cup by way of beating the very mighty Dagenham & Redbridge and Carlisle, and anyone thinking we will qualify for Europe is an even bigger fantasist than Roberto Martinez.

Not a great deal to crow about.

But I hope we win the Cup, qualify for Europe and then sack Martinez straight away because that will be all of his luck for the next ten years.

Andy Crooks
56 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:13:57
James Marshall, do think that for the huge salary we pay relegation Roberto we could not get better? Do you honestly think that the man who relegated Wigan and fucked off to a job he was never fit for is worth defending? Is it our job to find a successor?

He is, in my view utterly inept, insipid, uninspiring, fumbling, bumbling, tacticly clueless, spineless, bewildered and out of his depth beyond measure. Who would replace him? Absoulutely fucking anyone with a coaching badge and a pulse. In fact, forget the coaching badge.

John Daley
57 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:14:43

It's only fairly recently that questions have begun to be asked of Martinez by people beyond the Everton fan base. The perception of the not-really-arsed public at large and the footballing press was that he'd been doing a generally sound job and had revolutionised our playing style. About 90% of his press since becoming Everton manager has still been praise up to this point, despite the fact results have been pish for the last two seasons.

There simply hasn't been large enough numbers banging on about it for Bill to even begin to get a twitchy arse and start questioning Roberto's position.

Jamie Barlow
58 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:18:22
I think he’s doing half of his job okay. We’re shit at the back but good going forward and we’re shit at home but half-decent away.

There’s still a lot of games to play yet. He isn’t going to get the sack this season so we’ll just have to see what happens. It all depends on what comes next.

Will he sort out what’s bad or will what’s bad sort him out? I still think if he’s given more time, he’ll make us a top team.

Grant Rorrison
59 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:20:46
Not in the Martinez Out camp personally. But, if he does leave, I would give the job to Lucien Favre, Unai Emery or Mark Hughes, should any of them be interested.

John Daley
60 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:28:35
Shit at the back but good in attack? Get the words to that song changed, Jamie.

The 'Shit at the back, totally reliant on Lukaku in attack' remix is probably the more realistic version though.

Jack Convery
61 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:29:03
The only difference between us and Spurs – Our Overrated Tactical Genius of a Manager – Substitutions he’s clueless as Saturday proved beyond doubt.

Chew on this – The only Players at Spurs I would have to replace members of our 1st XI our Lloris, Dembele, Delli Alli and Eriksen. Our Full backs our better than theirs – Jags and Stones would be great under Pochettino, we have better wide players, Lukaku at his best (I reckon he’s carrying an injury at present) is better than Kane. Barry is better than Dier. It's the Manager pure and simple – we have a top 4 squad with a bottom half of the table manager. Our best players will be off in the Summer.

Kone should not appear again this season as he’s got his contract extension and is now on his hols. Let's see Niasse v Bournemouth .

Trevor Peers
62 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:33:02
It’s the fans who attend GP who are being treated like shite, those who attend religiously every home game and are having to endure defeat after defeat, and I’ve been to quite a few this season.

How anyone can defend him is truly shameful. Accepting third rate management is the Tranmere way... Has it come to that?

Bill Gall
63 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:35:35
Jamie How much is more time? Last year, it was "Give him till Easter"; this year, "Asses him after the first ten games"; after that "See how we are at Christmas". Now, with 12 games left, it's still give him more time, and this is all after his reluctance to change his, we will score more goals than the opposition attitude.

He is going to get more time without anybody asking for it as the Chairman will never admit he made a mistake in hiring him, but do not expect us to improve. We are a mid table team with a manager who has poor game management skills.

Jamie Barlow
64 Posted 15/02/2016 at 22:47:35
Well he is our striker John. That’s what he’s there for. Even without Lukaku's goals, we’ve scored equal or more than 9 other teams and only 3 less than Man Utd.

You could also probably say the same about Leicester with Vardy and Mahrez, Kane with Spurs, Aguero with City and so on. It would be nice to see the percentages of goals these players score for their clubs but I can’t be arsed.

Bill, it wasn’t me who kept saying give him till so on and so on.

Jamie Crowley
65 Posted 15/02/2016 at 23:10:21
Where's the Roberto who put Rom on the wing and put Naismith up top against Arsenal? That brown-shoe, fuck you swagger?

I want the sin miedo Roberto back. I want something that shows he's thinking and not just trotting out the 4-2-3-1. I want bold substitutions looking to not only win a game but turn the game on it's head, win or lose.

The subs on Saturday were just dreadful.

I think if Roberto doesn't find his swagger soon, he'll be off. And that's a shame because one thing he's really, really good at is building a team that makes you think, "we might just have something here."

Grant Rorrison
66 Posted 15/02/2016 at 23:23:15
Jamie 65. Yep, his subs were shit on Saturday and if anything he seems to have become more conservative and Moyes-like in his approach to the game.

Why not keep Lennon (who was having a good game) on and play two wingers? Why not bring on Mirallas and push Barkley back into midfield in place of a defensive midfielder?

Why bring on Kone when everyone knows that he just slows play down, does nothing but give the ball away 9 times out of 10 and his only noteworthy contribution is chasing back to retrieve it when he does?

Why bring on a 30 whatever year old has been who was shite even when he was 'good' as a last throw of the dice when he has Mirallas and even Pienaar sitting on the bench? Much better game-changers.


James Marshall
67 Posted 15/02/2016 at 23:33:41

I'm not asking anyone to choose a manager, I'm just curious. Everyone has a view on every fine detail of Everton, and the current manager - I'm just curious as to who you think would be a suitable replacement.

So far that's Mark Hughes and Sanchez Florez.....both of whom are already in Premier League management positions - so they aren't really sensible options since they're not available.

What's Di Matteo up to at the moment? Favre is a good shout, although didn't he bottle it when Borussia Moenchengladbach when on a losing streak and resigned?

Alan Humphreys
68 Posted 15/02/2016 at 23:45:11
I’ve always us Evertonians to be a savvy bunch, who know our football BUT I'm now starting to doubt that thanks to Mike Berry (#5).

You actually think we have a defensive coach?!?!

Our ’manager’ is at best an offensive coach to use the American vernacular. What he needs is the guy above him, the head coach who oversees both offense/defense.

And as for the special teams coach on corners...

The Superbowl and possibility of American owners seems to have affected me!

Colin Glassar
69 Posted 15/02/2016 at 23:53:08
Jamie 65, that’s what I’ve been asking myself for ages. Where’s the manager who played two at the back, with Barry dropping deep, and Seamus and Leighton bombing down the wings?

He’s become very conservative, despite all our attacking play this season, in his tactics and substitutions. Where’s the guy who humiliated OFM in the FA Cup with Wigan (and again at OT)? Where’s the guy who outfoxed Wenger at Goodison? Or even more recently, the guy who took Koeman to the cleaners at St Mary’s?

Could the real Roberto Martinez stand up please? Or, is this the real Roberto Martinez?

Anthony Dwyer
70 Posted 16/02/2016 at 00:28:12
Colin I think Roberto has a few decent ideas, he is bright enough to out fox most on his day .

He has proved it at times, and although a fair bit of it is probably luck, it can't all be.

For me the problem is this, Martinez sees a plan of action in his head, and if everything falls into place it looks great.

The problem is though, in football we have many things that can change a game, like a player who isn't the best having a worldly of a game, a lucky goal, a bad desicion from an official and so on. This is when soft lad Roberto shows his true stupidity, and his lack of creative leadership, because he simply does not have any plan B.

Everyone knows this, every blues fan, and ever opposition manager. As soon as that mistake is made we are screwed.

If we play a good side who come to have ago, and we take the lead, we can make teams look stupid. If Roberto pushed the players we could have had a few crazy wins, possibly double figures. Roberto does not though, he's more concerned with keeping the ball.

My opinion is simple, Roberto is CLEARLY WELL OUT OF HIS DEPTH.

And I mean CLEARLY !

Anthony Dwyer
71 Posted 16/02/2016 at 00:30:37
I've re-read my opening on my post, I meant to say 'Roberto is bright enough to out fox SOME on his day'.

Not most.

Jamie Crowley
72 Posted 16/02/2016 at 01:15:21
Anthony -

If, IF, he can learn to "think fluidly" and be "in-game adaptable" he'll be a manager of the highest caliber.

He can build a team - God knows that.

He has set up tactically some games and absolutely nailed it.

But he definitely needs to learn to adjust. Because he's laid more than a few farts this season and last.

And as I said before and Colin reiterated perfectly... he needs to get that brown-shoe-mojo-juju back!

Jamie Crowley
73 Posted 16/02/2016 at 01:22:38
Finally Colin, I've a theory about "where's the real Roberto".

I don't think Roberto even knows. I think he's figuring it out.

Look at the road travelled. Amazing success with swashbuckling, defense be damned football.

That caught up with him, and he was sussed out. Smart opposing managers and whatnot... the league isn't full of idiots. So he transitioned to a more conservative approach.

We still leaked goals and weren't where anyone thought we should be in the table, so now we have a Roberto who's more concerned with keeping the Faithful happy as they and the media cry out for Roberto to mind his defensive duties.

So, we're left with "Vanilla Bobby."

Were I Roberto's advisor, and I am not, I'd tell him to not listen to a soul. I'd tell him to play the type of football HE loves and HE wants his teams to play. Swashbuckling, do-the-whole-village offensive-we'll-score-more-than-you football.

If it doesn't work at least he had a go - hell he's gonna get the axe at the rate he's going currently! What's all this boring, drab, 4-2-3-1 every single second don't mix it up keep it tidy at the back getting Roberto??!!!

A disaffected, unhappy fan base.

No winners...

Anthony Dwyer
74 Posted 16/02/2016 at 01:32:27
Jamie, I can't help but think Roberto is a million miles away from being a top flight manager.

He might be ok at a lower level but its clear that a manager in the top flight of English football needs to be able to adapt his strategy to suit what is happening during the 90 minute duration, unfortunately Roberto can not.

The sooner he is removed from the club the better our chance of kicking on before the inevitable movement of some of our bright young stars.

IMO the prem is the place most top managers want to be, City, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham, Leicester, etc all have managers in place, leaving only Man u and us out of the attractive clubs needing a new manager.

Bayern, Madrid, Athletico, Barca, and Juventus are attractive outside of the prem and are all satisfied with whom they have in charge.

There are loads of good managers about at the minute, Gus Hiddink at Chelsea may move on, Jose has to be on the look out for work, Moyes, Ajax manager De Boer, Koeman (Southampton alowed Poccichino to leave) plus many others could be persuaded to join us if we show a winning mentality when approaching any of them.

Surely having 3 experienced British defenders (jags, Shamus, Bainsey) plus Barry, Miralas and an array of young talent, must be appealing to managers.

Tell them they will not lose stars unless the choose to replace them, back the manger with the huge TV deal money and let's see what can happen.

This may all sound like pie in the sky, but we need to be bold, think big and behave like a too club and a genuine leader may take the riens instead of replacing a Championship manager with a like for like man.

Paul Kossoff
76 Posted 16/02/2016 at 02:14:49
Anthony (#74), Leicester an attractive club, since when? So if Norwich city start playing well in the Premier League next season they are an attractive club.

Bayern Munich happy with the manager? no, he's just told them he,s off to Man City who have told there current manager he will be sacked regardless. Real Madrid sacked Benetez last month and sacked the manager before him. The red shite sacked there manager this season so did West Ham, hardly settled happy clubs.

Three experienced British defenders? have you seen our goals against? Coleman is a Bale wannabe, he was playing bloody centre forward on Saturday, if he was an experienced defender he would have been on the back post heading WBA's goal off the line, rant over.

Anthony Dwyer
77 Posted 17/02/2016 at 00:28:10
Paul (76).

I will explain further.

Leicester City are currently top of the Premier League, is that attractive enough ? (I’m showing them the respect they have earned.) Yes, if after 28 games, Norwich are top, they should be given respect.

Bayern have agreed a deal with one of the world's finest managers in Carlo Ancheloti. Zinadine Zidane has just took over at Madrid, I’m sure they will start next season with him.

The Red Shite have Klopp, West Ham have Bilic, I’d take either of them. I will bet my life on the fact both of them clubs will want them managers next season, hence me claiming they are settled with there current management.

Three experienced British defenders, Baines, Jags, and Shamus all kept many clean sheets under Moyes, all have lots of caps, so yes I’d call them experienced British defenders.

As for your attack on Coleman, I have other blue mates who moan about him, but me personally I wouldn’t swap him for many Premier League right backs. He’s at an age were he can improve, he gives 100% every week, and for me he was at the right end of the pitch most of the game as we needed a goal and Shamus looked more likely than Rom on Saturday.

I can understand your frustration, but at the same time surely you must want the same thing as me..... A new manager.

If we had endless funds, then yes we may change players, but fact is we do not.

Easiest thing for us to do is pay top wages to a top manager who might be able to fix what Roberto has broken.

Tony Heron
78 Posted 17/02/2016 at 10:12:12
Declan #20 Leighton Baines" the best left back I've seen". You obviously wern't as fortunate as me to see the great Ray Wilson.

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