Wenger masterclass outfoxes clueless Martinez

Goodison Park has been a fortress time and again over the years and to win only four at Goodison Park this season, with an abysmal EIGHT defeats is just woeful, especially with the players we have.

Paul Traill 19/03/2016 22comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 2 Arsenal

I was dreaming with my idea to set off at 11.15am for the early kick off game. Picking up Ste in Prenton before heading through the tunnel. Once on the other side we were met with bustling traffic as we edged towards Goodison Park. We just about found a space before heading on to The Brick where we met a somewhat smug Gary and Sue who had thought ahead and arrived a lot sooner, so much sooner in fact that they managed to find a table in the busy boozer.

With just enough time to sling a beer or two down our necks we got the team news and Muhammed Besic replacing the suspended Gareth Barry being the only change was welcomed by all. Not that we'd have noticed mind you as all talk was about next month's trip to Wembley. To say everyone is excited is quite the understatement!

If we are to be successful when we get to Wembley we will, of course, have to play incrementally better than today's appalling display against an Arsenal side who simply wanted it a lot more than we did.

I suppose we did OK for about two minutes and Seamus Coleman almost got us ahead straight away when an early Leighton Baines corner, which was rubbish, somehow found it's way to Coleman at the near post who had to snatch at it quickly and could only prod the ball onto the outside of the post and away. Less than a minute later Danny Welbeck hinted at the problems he was to cause us throughout the half when he managed to wriggle himself into the penalty area and also struck the outside of the post.

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This was sadly all we saw from Everton. Arsenal on the other hand really seized the initiative, Arsene Wenger getting his tactics absolutely spot on, especially in the first half. He knew Martinez will have wanted to play it out from the back, so he just didn't let us, instead putting three forwards on the pitch and pushing up and suffocating our half. We didn't have a clue what to do and it was no shock when a rampant Arsenal scored when Danny Welbeck was played in, bat the offside, rounded Joel Robles and slotted in. Arsenal ahead early on and thoroughly deserved.

With only seven minute on the clock you hoped a fightback would be on the cards but this just didn't happen. We really couldn't string a couple of passes together and just couldn't get out of our own half. A bit of pragmatism from Roberto Martinez would have helped, as on the few occasions in the first half that we did manage to penetrate the Arsenal half, we didn't do too bad. We surely should have gone more direct, even if temporarily but this is crazy talk for Martinez, and Wenger knew this, his team playing their game plan to perfection. Ours? Totally lost at sea, and we were punished on the counter attack by Alex Iwobi who slotted through the legs of the hesitant Joel Robles to put Arsenal two goals ahead just before the break.

The chat at half time was, as you would expect, all about who should be changed. At 0-2 down we had to go for it and felt the introduction of Niasse would be a bit of a no brainer and that a bit of Gerard Deulofeu magic might just unpick Arsenal. We were therefore staggered, flummoxed and disappointed to see John Stones on for Muhammed Besic as the only substitution at the break. Yes, that's right, 0-2 down so we bring off a midfielder and put on another defender. I guess the purpose of this was to stretch Arsenal more and get forward with the full back. This worked in that they got forward, but it meant that in doing so only an isolated Romelu Lukaku remained in the penalty area whilst Arsenal, with job done at one end, packed their team with defenders to nullify our attack.

The game ticked on and we were crying out, literally crying out, for a striker to come on (we had two of them on the bench) but neither of them were even instructed to do as much as warm up. When Martinez did eventually make his magic 70th minute substitution he brought on Gerard Deulofeu for Ross Barkley. I genuinely haven't a clue what system we were playing in that final 20 minutes and I'm not sure the players did either. Martinez didn't even bother using his third substitution. I just give up. I wish he would too.

Shuffling away at full time Ste and I bemoaned yet another home defeat. Goodison Park has been a fortress time and again over the years and to win only four at Goodison Park this season, with an abysmal EIGHT defeats is just woeful, especially with the players we have.

You assume that Farhad Moshiri won't allow another season like this next term.

Player ratings:

Robles: Seemed a bit hesitant with the second goal and I can't even imagine the flak Tim Howard would have gotten for conceding them goals. Occasionally he distributed well but otherwise it was poor. He really isn't convincing me at all. 5

Baines: One of few players to really leave the field with any credit. Kept going and was full of effort. 7

Jagielka: Struggled with the pace and strength of Wellbeck and couldn't do anything to influence the game in the second half. 5

Funes Mori: Made a few good tackles but his distribution was awful at times. 5

Coleman: My man of the match. Along with Leighton Baines and perhaps Aaron Lennon, he was one of few that didn't deserve to be on the losing team today. 8

Besic: Really poor, didn't contribute and was hauled off at half time. 4

McCarthy: With Gareth Barry suspended more responsibility was required from McCarthy though we didn't get it. He ran around a lot and tried to make a few tackles but we needed more going forward from him and it didn't happen. 5

Cleverley: Worked quite hard with little end product. 6

Barkley: A bit in and out of the game but really shouldn't have been substituted...not for a winger at least. 6

Lennon: Worked hard second half but couldn't turn the game around. 7

Lukaku: Was so isolated it was ridiculous. 6

Stones: Perhaps the pick of the centre backs as he at least tried to make a positive impact in the second half. 6

Deulofeu: Couldn't work his magic. Difficult when there's nobody in the penalty area mind. 6

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Reader Comments (22)

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Tony Hill
1 Posted 19/03/2016 at 19:28:01
I am a massive fan of Barkley but he was dreadful today and he looks lost at the moment. He's done well to make his game more solid this season but if ever there was a player at Everton who would benefit from proper management it's Ross.
Andy Crooks
2 Posted 19/03/2016 at 19:57:59
Paul, good stuff as usual. Do you believe it is time for Martinez to go?
Paul Traill
3 Posted 19/03/2016 at 20:10:13
Andy (#2),

I’d use the time between now and the end of the season to identify and source the right successor. At the end of the season, yes, I think he should be shown the door... FA Cup or not.

John Austin
4 Posted 19/03/2016 at 20:58:23
I agree Paul. The cup is irrelevant in the context of Martinez's future. He has to go regardless. Not that I think we will win it anyway!
Len Gowing
5 Posted 19/03/2016 at 21:38:01
I am at a loss as to what to comment here.

Our Under-10s team played a man down from the start this morning but, with determination, won our game through sheer effort. We then dashed to Goodison Park from Widnes when our match finished at 12:30 to be served with this offering.

We have had lows this season, West Ham pretty much the bottom of the barrel, but today’s serving was abysmal. 4 games got us to the FA Cup semi-final, 3 of the wins on route were against inferior competition – so what? The table doesn’t lie, luck doesn’t come into it.

Who remembers us going a whole calendar year unbeaten at home, save a Boxing Day calamity against Sunderland 2 years ago? That impregnable fortress has gone; unless something changes pretty soon, there is only one direction we will be heading.

Ian Glassey
6 Posted 19/03/2016 at 21:45:45
Sorry, Paul, but I do not know what Barkley brings to the team. Yes, he scores the odd cracker but does little else. I hate to say it but, at 22 years of age, Gerrard was running games for the Red Shite.

Today was one of our worst home performances – and there have been many this season. Martinez Out...

Andrew Clare
7 Posted 19/03/2016 at 22:05:20
At this level, it’s all about motivation and tactical awareness. In other words, the manager's department. The players are all highly skilled top professionals. The person that makes the difference is the manager.

It is absolutely essential to get the right manager. We haven’t had a good one for years now. Martinez is just not good enough.

Today’s performance was embarrassing. Arsenal looked in a different league to us – not because their players are better but because we had no fire, no spirit – in other words, a complete lack of motivation. Which a good manager gets from his players, week-in & week-out.

Barry Stevens
8 Posted 19/03/2016 at 22:23:40
Martinez out!!!
Derek Thomas
10 Posted 20/03/2016 at 02:30:11
Paul, did you hear any rumours that the new guy had been Identified, but can't start until the end of the season?...which could, thank god, rule out Moyes...If we lose the Semi??...they wouldn't...would they? nah, Bill might, but I don't think Mr Moshiri would.

Phil Walling
11 Posted 20/03/2016 at 02:55:42
Dreaded Vote of Confidence due anytime now, methinks!

Bill ’What a manager’ Kenwright may be getting a call from Moshiri, eh ?

Kerry Frahm
12 Posted 20/03/2016 at 04:29:40
Living in Australia, it’s hard to compare myself to the supporters who travel by whatever means possible to sit in a stadium and watch this current farce. I set my alarm for 2am Sunday morning to watch the 3pm Saturday games and dutifully sit up with my coffee watching live streaming on my laptop.

So last night’s 11:45pm kick off was easier to do until the football started.

Stagnant and devoid of ideas through the middle. Fullbacks bombing forward to try make something happen. Not a hint of instruction or assistance from the bench. Even Robles, whom I despaired over originally but have slowly started warming to, was plain poor.

Arsenal came prepared with an obvious gameplan and our players and manager couldn’t do a thing about it. It had me slamming my pillow against the bedhead in frustration!

So, I am done with the late nights and early wakes for the rest of the season I am afraid. I know some will say that a true supporter wouldn’t desert the team but if it’s the difference between me having a happy Sunday morning or being a cranky bear all day, I’ll take the criticism thanks. The saddest thing I think for me is that I, along with countless other supporters, know that the manager is squarely to blame for the way he has transformed this team, yet the powers that be do not do a single damn thing about it.

I am not even sure if I will get up for the Wembley game. The one and only time I watched Everton live was at the FA Cup Final against Chelsea and we all know how that one finished!
Peter Barry
13 Posted 20/03/2016 at 05:02:18
The only solution if they won't sack him is the Fans demonstrating to FORCE Martinez's resignation.
Craig Mills
14 Posted 20/03/2016 at 07:56:38
Ian @6, Barkley doesn’t have the football intelligence, passion or drive to run a game. He ambles about the pitch continually giving the ball away by making wrong decisions.

I again put this down to the manager; he has built him up to be a superstar, and he isn’t. What some of our players need is a reality check; on yesterday’s showing, half the team looked unfit and can’t be arsed.

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 20/03/2016 at 08:54:10
Paul, "Barkley was a bit in and out" – sorry, Paul I only saw the out parts, no life in the lad at all.

Martinez is not helping the team, he is most definitely not helping Barkley, any other coach wouldn’t tolerate his ambling, non-tackling contribution to every game he plays in.

Besic was very poor, didn’t look fit, mind you none of them did, and had to be withdrawn. I was amazed Barkley came back on for the second half.

Paul Andrews
16 Posted 20/03/2016 at 09:13:30
Dave, me to.

The obvious swap for me was Barkley off and Deulofeu on with a free role behind the forward. Deulofeu doesn’t give you much defensively but neither does Barkley at the moment.

Martinez should have left Lennon wide.

Shane Corcoran
18 Posted 21/03/2016 at 14:56:44
Dave, the irony is that Martinez tolerates Barkely doing nothing defensively and tolerates McCarthy doing nothing offensively.
Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 21/03/2016 at 15:14:16
Some truth in that, Shane, except there is no inclination by Barkley to get involved in any tackling and we have seen that he can tackle. McCarthy is also being used solely, or 90% as a holding player, whereas Barkley has a free role to cover any part of the pitch and makes no attempt to get involved once he loses the ball.
Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 21/03/2016 at 15:20:16
Paul (#16), yes, I think that was what most of us were thinking – a straight swap, Deulofeu for Barkley. When the Spanish kid came on, he just crowded the wing with Coleman who carried on attacking that side of the pitch, leaving Deulofeu mostly like a spare part... but it is all down to the tactics of the manager.
Charlie Gibson
21 Posted 21/03/2016 at 15:24:00
Exactly two years ago, we were 4th in the league and about to outclass Arsenal at home. (Of course it then went tits up.)

I seem to remember Arsenal fans – and the entire media machine – loudly touting Martinez as Wenger’s natural successor at Arsenal.

Two years is a very, very long time in football.

Ian Glassey
22 Posted 21/03/2016 at 15:28:12
Well, I am glad other people can see what little Barkley does; I was beginning to think it was just me. I take enough stick off mates I go the game with who think he is the bees knees.

I also went on another site and said I would sell him in the summer... boy, did I get a hammering for that.

Alan Thompson
23 Posted 22/03/2016 at 05:53:00
With Barkley it is likely that he may produce something out of the ordinary whereas with McCarthy you get nothing; "He ran around a bit and tried to make a few tackles", I didn’t even see him do that, never have. Besic may not have had the greatest first half but at least he tried to get involved and I’d take that over McCarthy any day.

Everton’s main problems seem to be the lack of support or movement to help the man on the ball or to hassle the opposition.

Franny Porter
24 Posted 23/03/2016 at 11:50:19
A few things I noticed.

Why does RM keep edging towards the back three system? We ALWAYS look shite when we do.

The players today did not seem to be trying, they also did not seem to know what fucking formation we were playing at the end.

Robles is shite, Funes Mori has accidents in him all the time, Barkley is far too inconsistent and when it comes to putting a foot or god forbid a head in, he shits out, every time, McCarthy is a headless chicken who flatters to deceive, Baines is either clearly injured or over the hill and finally Cleverley offers absolutely nothing! Perhaps it's a result of being played out of position but I don't think we will ever find out with this clown in charge.

Oh one last thing: I've gone from loving RM, to thinking he's not good enough but still liked him and wanting him to do well... to now starting to dislike him. That's sad.

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