From my seat: Man Utd (A)

Overall it was an unspectacular game that I am sure I was not alone in thinking that with a bit more of a joined up team effort we could have got the points with a bit to spare. We have the players to do it as we have witnessed it on a few occasions but never with a consistency that should get the rewards. Game after game we wonder which Everton will turn up. Game after game we seem semi prepared for a loss. And we all end up where we started Game after game we ask what the manager is doing about it.

Ken Buckley 03/04/2016 75comments  |  Jump to last
Manchester United 1 - 0 Everton

A trip down the East Lancs to Old Trafford always has us wondering if this is the game where we show we can match them and come away with a win. We hope we have left our knives behind and gone with the correct armoury to contest a gun fight. The pre- game chat centred on the Lukaku interviews in Belgium and rather than berate the lad for disrespecting our club most thought he was probably ill advised to do it when he did but quite understandable considering the progress of the club since he joined on loan.

It was a good debate and before I knew it we had lost not only Lukaku but Stones, Barkley and Deulofeu as well as the fans assembled were in no doubt our present manager would only continue the backward trend. Although this view is gaining momentum today the Blue Army was not letting it show as it sung and chanted and had a good rehearsal of Wembley songs as support for the players was on show.

We had a big fanfare to laud Sir Bobby Charlton who had a stand named in his honour. His achievements in 60 years of being involved with the club were read out and warmly received.

We won the toss and changed ends and Man Utd kicked off. After just 10 mins I asked my mate if he had any idea who was playing where? We had eleven on the field and only the keeper and our two centre-backs looked have a position. Players were popping up all over the place in what was either a masterful tactical ploy or no one knew exactly what to do except run about a lot and at pace. Man Utd were looking no better and the game settled into a series of attacks from both teams that bothered defences very little.

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Early on Barkley got on the ball and moved forward but instead of shooting he spread the ball wide to Deulofeu who came inside at pace beating two men but then ran into a further four and that chance was gone. Then Barkley disappeared from the game for a while. Stones was faring better than most as he seems to have had a few lessons in defending that carries minimum risk. In one piece of play he beat his man with a neat turn and strode out of defence with the ball, looked up, and delivered a peach of a pass but alas to a Red shirt. United then came close when the speedy Martial cut in from the right and his shot just missed the far post. 20 minutes gone and although the game was dull you could at least say it was even.

We gained a free kick in a good position for a Baines who swung it in but hit a defender and we got a corner. Baines took to the back post where Lukaku was lurking, he headed it back across goal, beat everyone so goal kick to Utd who went down the other end and gained a corner. The ball came into the box and from the melee Stones strode out and fed a fine ball to Lennon now popping up on the left and he fed Lukaku, his first touch was not of the required standard and he lost the ball and Utd had another spell at attacking our goal but with Jags and Stones solid we sort of scrambled the ball clear but with no one up it kept coming back into our box until thankfully one of their players headed hopelessly wide. For the last ten minutes of the half Utd were well on top but we kept them out with some great blocks from Jags and one superb sliding tackle from Stones and consequent clearance kept us level until the whistle.

Half-time: 0-0. It was quite an even half but our team looked as though it had been put together for a testimonial game. Some decent individual stuff but where oh where was the teamwork.

Second half and Man Utd made a sub we were as we started and we started as we had finished the first half so I wasn’t filled with too much hope yet the start of this half was when I thought we played our best stuff of the match. A little bit of joined up stuff crept in after we had realised that booting the ball directly at the lonesome unsupported Lukaku was only ever going to surrender possession. Baines linked with Jags and sent a grass cutter into the feet of Lukaku in the box, in one movement he turned and shot but alas the ball was diverted for a corner by the desperate lunge of his marker. Close that was.

Then after the corner was cleared Coleman at last found a decent pass and fed Deulofeu and he was off like a rat up a drainpipe only to be wrestled down By Blind who got no more than a telling off. It was a good squeal from Geri though. From the free kick Baines got a corner which he took and got another one that he swung in well that was poorly dealt with but Coleman following up hit a hard shot but it never had a chance of getting through all the bodies in the box. We did have a loud handball shout though as the ball seemed to hit a defenders arm, the Ref who was Mr Marriner, contemptuously waved the protestations away.

The game meandered on and became quite open as both teams had good reason to get a result albeit for differing reasons. The Utd manager made tweaks to his teams approach by the introduction of subs yet our man was unmoving on that front. This paid off for them after the 50min mark when the move of the day saw a long diagonal ball of some 60 yards found a Utd man who controlled it first time with aplomb fed it inside to a player who back heeled it into the path of his team mate who crossed across goal and at the far post Coleman seemed to completely miss the ball leaving Martial the simple task of hitting off the sprawling Robles and into the net. Somehow we just knew that it was going to be yet another loss for us. This thought was compounded just minutes later when Deulofeu put in a great corner that our captain showed grit and fight in losing his man and firing in a superb header that beat the keeper all ends up but not the crossbar. Wouldn’t you just know it?

I wondered about a sub for us as we reached the hour mark as we may as well go two up top or even three and go for it as we looked toothless as it was. At that moment Mirallas was sent on but alas it was like for like as Deulofeu went off.

Barkley was just flitting in and out of the game and each time I noticed him he always seemed to be about 5yds either side of the halfway line and rarely running at their back line. Surely he should be up behind Rom as the Belgian was on starvation rations and we are 1-0 down plus the fact Utd were looking no better than us.

Mirallas was bringing a bit of help with some sharp play but it was always breaking down in their box through a myriad of reasons that most could be traced back to poor first control of the ball. One of these Mirallas inspired moves at last saw Barkley surge to the left of the penalty area but his well hit cross merely cleared everyone and went for a throw in on the opposite flank.

The game petered out with both sides having spells of attacking and both sides were guilty of failing to even look like capitalising on some reasonable approach work. To be fair you could highlight nearly moments like if Lukaku had been more aware of a Coleman cross, If Jags could have got more power and height from a corner kick, if Lukaku and Cleverly could have got shots off after bursting through but it was all IF. We were though trying to stage a grandstand finish with play fashioned by the players on the park.

I would have liked to see the manager show some understanding of our position and try something, anything that just might have aided the player’s mind-set and confidence but he just seemed to stand there and let them get on with it without his help. We sometimes laugh at the antics of certain managers but at least the players know they care as much as them. Do you know I think he made it worse when he sent on Niasse for Barkley at the death only for our £13.5 million pound man merely impersonate a footballer. That may be a bit harsh but it was how I was feeling when I jotted it down.

The whistle went and yet again we come off the ground feeling low after yet another loss.

MotM: Jagielka or Stones for me

Overall it was an unspectacular game that I am sure I was not alone in thinking that with a bit more of a joined up team effort we could have got the points with a bit to spare. We have the players to do it as we have witnessed it on a few occasions but never with a consistency that should get the rewards. Game after game we wonder which Everton will turn up. Game after game we seem semi prepared for a loss. And we all end up where we started Game after game we ask what the manager is doing about it.

The manager has stated we can shop at Harrods now but the real question for the board is. -. Whichever players he gets can he make a joined up team out of them as so far you have to say this is not happening with what he has now.

It is easy for us fans to say he must go but with the words coming out of Goodison it seems he is here for a while yet but surely the decline over three seasons cannot be just brushed under the carpet especially when some of his players now seem to have itchy feet. Three seasons seems a reasonable length of time to see progress or not and at least convene a board meeting to look into our prospects by leaving things as they are or indeed looking for a clear out and head hunt someone who can meet the ambition of our new board and take advantage of player investment.

With the chance of a cup final in the offing it is sad to be talking like this but cup win or not if we stay as we are then any players we get that show real progression will be cherry picked so that they can fulfil their ambitions and we will forever be playing catch up from a middle of the table position being billed as the best nursery in the Premier League.

Still maybe a miracle is on the horizon and we will be FA Cup holders and back in Europe with a joined up consistent team. Here’s hoping.


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Reader Comments (75)

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:01:39
Ken, Bertie Wooster could afford to shop at Harrods, but left to his own devices he would dress in a pair of tartan trousers, spats, a striped shirt and a paisley cravat.

Jim Bennings
2 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:08:32

Sick To Death Of This Team.

For anyone curious what those initials may have stood for.

Derek Williams
3 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:11:07
Very good Peter, though you forgot to add that Bertie had Jeeves to sort things out for him. El Bob has got Graeme Jones, more Gussie Finknottle than Jeeves I'm sorry to say. Pip pip
Mike Oates
4 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:17:09
I thought the players today had no idea of what they were supposed to do. Barkley looked lost playing deep, Lennon looked lost playing as the man off Lukaku, and Deulofeu looked like he'd had enough after 70 mins and was just glad to get off the pitch. He can clearly cross a ball, demonstrated he can take free kicks etc yet not once was he allowed to do so today except the corner he took and Jagielka headed against the bar.

Baines and Coleman hardly ever made forward runs, leaving Lukaku completely non-serviced, isolated and when this happens he just gives up.

Jagielka and Stones the only two today that played well, the rest need a real shake up. Desperately missing Barry!

Ste Doran
5 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:30:21
We played like a team without a manager.

Niasse played like a man without a brain.

Steve Hogan
6 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:34:08
I sat just behind Elstone and Woods in the Directors box at Old Trafford today. No sign of Moshiri or Kenwright I'm afraid.

We looked hapless and hopeless at the same time. Can't recall ANY shots on goal in the first half, we're just sailing into obscurity with this guy in charge. Once again, his team selection was simply bizarre, Lennon playing the No 10 role, just behind Lukaku. Result, Lennon looked like a player who arrived on a 'free' from Tottenham... wait, hang on.

Equally bizarre was the substitution of Deulofeu shortly after half-time; not one of Gerry's greatest games, but the only player actually getting at the United back four and putting in some decent crosses.

The players must truly despair at what is happening at the club, and further proof that, the longer Martinez stays, the more damage he is doing.

In essence, we were absolutely 'lifeless' today, four losses from the last five games tells it's own story; thank God we have enough points on the board to probably keep us out the relegation dogfight at the bottom.

Is there anybody out there who still believes he is the man to take us forward?

Brian Williams
7 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:46:41
In a!
Les Martin
8 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:48:49
Ken, I agree that Lukaku was so isolated, surely we have to have a player within 10 yards of him at all time to offer support. I would have thought that it would be the option to get Ross in that role? Totally baffling...
Dick Fearon
9 Posted 03/04/2016 at 22:49:38
We keep hearing about Everton's fabulous youth team players yet apparently none of 'em is worthy of a place in this team of lazy-arsed losers. Martinez waffles that those so-called youngsters need be excused for making mistakes.

Meanwhile, United used a half-dozen teenagers and each of them showed more work ethic and had real influence on the game.

Dick Fearon
10 Posted 03/04/2016 at 23:22:44
There used to be a time when passbacks to the keeper were roundly booed by both sets of fans. This seems to be a core and regular principle of Martinez tactics.

The countless mind-numbing number of times two backs and the keeper indulged in this mostly negative piss-taking begs the question of what in hell's name were the other eight outfield players doing? Why did none of those lazy-arsed losers make themselves available for an 'out ball'?

Ian Riley
11 Posted 03/04/2016 at 00:05:12
Mr Martinez is going nowhere. Mr Kenwright is the Chairman and he will decide who goes and who stays. If he believes in Roberto, then we all must trust his judgement.

Next season will be very different. Mr Martinez will have a Plan B. Championship, here we come!!!

Paul Holmes
12 Posted 04/04/2016 at 00:31:53
Everybody can't be wrong... the fans, the media, Sky Sports, ex -players, ToffeeWeb, etc. We are a 12th-place mediocre Premier League team with a rubbish manager that has a CV of winning a cup and getting his team relegated in the same season!!!

Klopp won the Bundesliga... even Ranieri won Serie A... so it's easy to identify the problem, Mr Moshiri.

Phil Walling
13 Posted 04/04/2016 at 00:44:48
Passing back to the goalie is now probably the option most favoured by defenders these days. Both teams were at it today and what was infuriating was the keepers just wellying it – usually straight to the opposition.

As far as Everton's long term record is concerned, the two season figures show only 21 wins from 68 games – a win rate of 30.88%. Hardly good enough to claim a philosophical success.

Anthony Dwyer
14 Posted 04/04/2016 at 00:46:04
Tactics wise, Roberto stinks.

Formation wise, Roberto stinks.

Substitution wise, Roberto stinks.

What the fuck do the owners and board see in this clueless man?

Even his talking to the press after the game stinks of raw shit. What does he need to do to be sacked?

In the past two years we have played 69 league games, with an average league position of 10th to 11th.

How clear is it that the fans have had enough, and the players are not performing for the manager!

Time for a change now.

Jack Cross
15 Posted 04/04/2016 at 00:56:10
It's got to the point were myself and the mates after the match spent more time talking about Leister.

We've said everything there is to say over the last two seasons. Just can't be arsed now. The shite we're expected to endure just sucks the life out of you.

He's still coming out with the same tripe. There was only a bar between us getting a result. Nothing about short passes not reaching the target, or the over hit shots or the hoof up the pitch, hoping for the best.

I'm dreading the derby game, I can see us getting fucked, with this hapless bunch of lazy pricks.

Michael Long
16 Posted 04/04/2016 at 02:14:53
Simple as, Martinez has to go, cup or no cup. He is a utter liability, can't motivate players and his style of football is just a joke. Any other team in the league would get rid of him right now, but no nice Everton are there to bend over and take it.

Worst Man Utd were probably going to face at Old Trafford and yet still poor at every level. Make things when your own captain comes out at the end of the game and says to a question 'how do you change things around?' Jagielka (EFC captain) ' I don't know' puts the cherry on top of just how much this team is capitulating.

Big summer, major changes.

Rob Hooton
17 Posted 04/04/2016 at 03:28:14
For the first time in my 30 odd years of supporting Everton, I feel the same as our current players and manager – couldn't give a fuck any more. Heartbroken doesn't come close.

Thanks as always, Ken, the exasperation from the most eloquent of fans is starting to show...

Peter Barry
18 Posted 04/04/2016 at 04:21:08
At one point in the game, Baines lost the ball in a tackle and just shrugged his shoulders and WALKED away. That for me typifies Martinez's Everton and Baines's current form too. Why Oviedo is not the #1 left back, I just do not know.
Robert Johnson
19 Posted 04/04/2016 at 05:13:20
We have a manager who doesn't know what he wants or what he's doing, it's as simple as that. Take today's game for instance:

1. He talks about playing from the back, building the attack from the back – yet what did we see today? As soon as we had possession, we were lumping hopeful balls up to Lukaku! It was clearly evident that we had practiced it this whole week. Okay, I get it that he tried to isolate Blind and create more one v one with him and Lukaku. But when after half an hour it was clear as daylight that this tactic won't work, we still persisted on this direct approach. Why? Can't the manager see it? He may have tried to isolate Blind but what happened instead was it was Lukaku who became isolated! Master tactician!

2. Then we saw Deulofeu was having a field day against Rojo. Why didn't we try the same on the other wing? Why didn't we unleash rapid Lennon against a not-so-rapid Darmian? Instead he kept on playing Lennon in a position where he doesn't have the tactical awareness or skill set to have an impact on the game.

3. Barkley has been somewhat a revelation this season playing in the No 10 position. What did our master tactician do? Drop him deep! And even after half an hour, when every man and his dog could see Barkley was not only struggling to have an impact on the game but also getting caught in possession in dangerous positions, he didn't change Barkley's role. Tactical genius!
Alan J Thompson
20 Posted 04/04/2016 at 05:53:09
Ken, you have Stones as a possible MotM and on the ball he does look good and when the keeper has the ball he makes himself available but did you not think he should have done more to cut out the cross that led to the goal. While Coleman also should have done more with it he seemed surprised that Stones just let it go by.

Add to that Robles sliding on his knees which seems to be rife in the Premier League. Are keepers coached to do this rather than staying on their feet or diving as it seems to me this minimizes manoeuvrability.

McCarthy again got to the ground on time and got changed but other than running on seemed to do absolutely nothing, again, and I find it difficult to see why he is never substituted particularly when we are chasing the game. Why take off players capable of doing something extraordinary instead of this waste of space.
Paul Andrews
21 Posted 04/04/2016 at 06:40:58
Alan, I have pointed out on numerous occasions the mistakes Stones makes in basic defending. There was none of that yesterday, took no chances and concentration and positioning 100%.

The tackle was as good as you will see. He showed the other side of his game with the ball to Coleman late on. Everton's best player by a mile, IMO

John Steadman
22 Posted 04/04/2016 at 07:11:39
Yet another game where the team are devoid of ideas, where Roberto (was going to say Manager, but he clearly is not) stands on the touchline as impassive as ever, no Plan B.

Several players having a go at each other, looks like a team in disarray with major problems.

When we lose Lukaku in the summer, after one golden season, we will be fighting relegation.


James Byrne
23 Posted 04/04/2016 at 07:56:17
In all my time as a lifelong Evertonian have I ever been so depressed under a Manager as bad as this. I know we might have had worse Managers than Martinez but it's the way he's almost destroyed the confidence of some of our core talent.

Before the game I watched Leicester get a really important win against the saints – two sides full of energy and desire and a privilege to watch.

Then we had to watch two sides totally devoid of any ideas; fuck me how bad are Man United!

There has to be a petition started to get this idiot out of our great club before he does any further damage and we start to lose our best players. This nonsense has got to end!

Keith Hall
24 Posted 04/04/2016 at 08:27:41
Ken is right. Martinez stands like a wooden Indian at pitchside all game. What is the point of his "backroom staff"?

All the great managers had a No 2 who they consulted during the game. How can Martinez do that when he doesn't sit down FFS. It's all down to his arrogance. It's his way or no way.

Get rid now.

John Hammond
25 Posted 04/04/2016 at 09:13:08
I can't see Martinez being sacked this season but surely the board have to be looking for a replacement in the summer. They can throw silly money at a manager at the next level with the promise of transfer funds.

We're going backwards and it's so blatantly obvious and frustrating as hell. We'll draw the Watford game and lose to Palace as they need a win and who better to lie down for 'em!

Dennis Stevens
26 Posted 04/04/2016 at 09:27:12
Thanks for your excellent report, as always, Ken. Sadly, they do make for grim reading of late, but that's no fault of yours.

It seems to me all the pro & anti arguments regarding Martinez are now moot as the one decisive factor now is that the players don't seem committed to his philosophy any longer & once the players stop playing for the manager he's done for.

Perhaps he can win them back with a Cup win & a revitalised approach to the new season, but I can't see it m'self. I do hope the Board are actively looking at possible replacements now, even if they're awaiting the outcome of the Cup campaign before taking any action.

Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 04/04/2016 at 09:33:45
Thanks for your report Ken, as accurate as ever, how you have the patience to write each report with each depressing performance amazes me, you must have some saintly blood in you.

Jagielka was MotM for me, he never gave up throughout the match and captained the team by example, if the others had gave as much effort there might have been a different outcome. Stones was very good as well.

Niall McIlhone
28 Posted 04/04/2016 at 09:43:18
Good report Ken, as ever. As several people have said on here, motivation, organization, fitness and desire all appear to be lacking, and there appears to be evidence of some friction on the pitch now as well. I think it's all the proof that's needed that Roberto is plum out of ideas to turn this around.

That was a United side there for the taking, but we did not want it enough, neither did the manager or coaching staff get the team in the right shape for the challenge. Unforgivable.

Only a result in the derby and a cup win will salvage anything at all from the past two years of misery; even then, changes must happen.

Derek Thomas
29 Posted 04/04/2016 at 09:46:15
We saw off a better side in the Oviedo Game Dec. 2013, then did it again at Goodison. They're slightly worse now...we're off the scale now.

Prior to KO. I was bemoaning the fact that Foxtel Australia didn't have it on... now I'm glad they didn't

Apologies to who ever said it first, but it needs repeating.

Martinez - Lukaku's goals = Relegation.


Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 04/04/2016 at 10:12:40
ToffeeWeb, whilst only representing a percentage of the Everton fan base, seems like it is in agreement, in as much as will ever be likely. Martinez has to go now.

Alan J, you thought Stones, could have done better? Maybe. We all know Coleman, should have done better, but Baines was absolutely shocking for Man Utd's goal as well.

That's three out of the back four who could have done better, but what can we expect, when they are obviously not getting coached as a unit?

Martinez is becoming one of the most unique men I have ever seen in football, a man who can actually quieten the Everton crowd.

Tony Draper
31 Posted 04/04/2016 at 10:23:41
If you don't know where you are going then any map will do.
Dennis Stevens
32 Posted 04/04/2016 at 10:34:13
I'm not too sure how true that is, Derek. Without Lukaku's goals the result of just 6 League matches are altered, leaving us 8 points worse off. This assumes that his replacement wouldn't have scored in any of those games, of course. Of those 6 matches, only one was a victory. Curiously, none of those matches were played in 2016.

Just for the record, the relevant details:
28/9/15 WBA (a) 3-2 [2 goals]
4/10/15 Luvable Reds (h) 1-1 [1goal]
7/11/15 West Ham (a) 1-1 [1 goal]
28/11/15 Bournemouth (a) 3-3 [1goal]
7/15/15 Palace (h) 1-1 [1 goal]
12/12/15 Norwich (a) 1-1 [1 goal]

Arguably, just 7 key goals in the League.

Phil Walling
33 Posted 04/04/2016 at 10:44:37
So marginally still above the bottom three, Dennis although it would be a bit more lively on here!

I'm sure Martinez will have done the same calculation as well as factoring in an expected goals contribution from Niasse as the Belgian's successor.

That should make for a 'comfortable' 15th or so throughout next season. At least the manager will feel in familiar territory!

Andy Meighan
34 Posted 04/04/2016 at 11:07:54
Great report, Ken, and I can see reading between the lines an intelligent and patient man such as yourself is getting thoroughly pissed off with Martinez. I will say this, though: No other board in WORLD football would put up with this they really wouldn't.
Anto Byrne
35 Posted 04/04/2016 at 11:18:47
Must be a decent caretaker manager out there that can instill a sense of urgency, and some passion. Davy Unsworth, anyone?
Dennis Stevens
36 Posted 04/04/2016 at 11:46:11
Who's to say that an alternative striker wouldn't possibly have scored more key goals, Phil? We might even reach the heady heights of the top half of the table! Ultimately, the identity of the personnel on the park doesn't matter if the manager can't get them working effectively as a team & it seems to me that they've stopped playing for him.
Trevor Lynes
37 Posted 04/04/2016 at 12:08:44
Did our scouts watch Niassie before he was signed or was it a desperate last minute signing after missing out on 'real' targets. I cannot get my head around our club always waiting until the transfer window is all but closed before trying to sign someone. How is it that Leicester found Mahrez and Stoke signed Shaquiri? Why did Payet slip past our scouting system.

The whole club needs a big shake up on the way we scout players and do our transfer business. Cleverley is a drone as is McCarthy and Besic. None of them ever score and they just spoil IMO. We have no invention up front and Barkley is over rated.

Did Martinez want Niassie? I have been lucky enough to see Everton win titles and trophies but our management have never created continuation of progress. We have very good seasons but never the conveyor belts of success that other clubs have achieved.

Peter Roberts
38 Posted 04/04/2016 at 13:22:11
Ironically, Trevor, Alli, Shaquiri and Payet were all identified and we were interested but Martinez in the case of Alli and Payet was happy with Barkley...

Barkley owes his managers better performances than we have seen.

The manager, Lukaku, Barkley and Stones can all go – get some money in. Get the right manager and have a team who play for each other and the shirt.

Mike Doyle
39 Posted 04/04/2016 at 13:41:01
Defeated home & away to the weakest Man Utd side in years v speaks volumes.

While the cup is a nice distraction for as long as it lasts, league performance is the yardstick by which ambitious clubs judge themselves – a point made repeatedly (in my lifetime) by the likes of Shankly, Paisley, Clough and SAF.

And how long have we been stuck on 38 points?

Paul Birmingham
40 Posted 04/04/2016 at 13:57:09
A life time of hard times with a few good years, the eternal battle to beat the RS and knowing even when we were on top form, we would conspire to beat ourselves, but having given honest endeavour, I can take. Now it feels like the club has been sterilised and the last molecules of genuine hope have gone. The team play like they can't be bothered and it seems that the rot has turned into perma decay and decline.

The season has been a farce and the damage to what's left of Everton's ranking and esteem, is insurmountable. The club is a business and the business – football industry needs fans, but I think now so many of us are devoid of any hopes, even the semi is looking like a nightmare prospect especially days after playing the RS. Life is good and is what you make of it, but this EFC, have not single ounce of back bone, guts, and have lost sight of their fans. Enough is enough, EFC board needs to take heed before, we disappear into never-never land, and don't come back.

Look at the bosses previous form at his other club, over his reign, and it tells its own "unique" story. The last 2 years has been an ale house pub team tour. I can't see how the Jekyl & Hyde side of this team, could happen again so consistently, but now I can. Who is to blame? There's a lot at stake I hope BK and Moshiri et al, take stock... now, before it is too late.

Tom Bowers
41 Posted 04/04/2016 at 13:58:11
The players were playing to the Manager's orders. When Baines and Coleman used to fly down the wings, Everton were dangerous but now being told to stay back to let Deulofeu and Lennon do the wing work... except Lennon was played out of position and never in the game.

Barkley playing deep is a total waste. His tackling and passing was a mess most of the time. Everton never had an attempt on goal in the first half hour except a weak Rom header despite having most of the possession.

Man Utd realised Everton were toothless and it was just a matter of time before they scored. End of story.

Paul Burns
42 Posted 04/04/2016 at 15:29:35
Barkley's at least a stone overweight and needs a kick up the arse to lose it and reach his potential.

He looks like he's carrying Billy Wright around on his back and I can't believe that none of the club's coaches can see it.

Jeff Armstrong
43 Posted 04/04/2016 at 17:54:07
We wanted Yarmolenko in January for £18 mill, but he wasn't available then because of the Champions League... so we go and blow £13.5 million of that money on an unfit, unproven, YouTube sensation who is not worth a carrot.

The manager needs sacking for that bit of business alone!

Jim Hourigan
44 Posted 04/04/2016 at 18:57:03
By common consent, it's time for Martinez to go, therefore it's time for us, the fans, to show Kenwright, Martinez and the rest our feelings.

Let's have some direct action, I for one will be bringing a card that reads 'Time to Go' and will be holding it aloft at the next match.

Alan Peake
45 Posted 04/04/2016 at 19:18:16
Did anyone notice Niasse's warm up before he came on, he stood by the corner flag in front of the tunnel for a good 10/15 minutes just standing there doing leg stretches. He did wander about 3 yards from the corner flag at one stage, but he only walked and never ran, I think I was watching him more than the game, maybe I'm expecting too much from a new signing, I thought he might show a bit of enthusiasm and desire to impress.

Martinez has got to go, I'm convinced that this man will get us relegated, I just wish the media would pick up on how unpopular he is with the fans, this might make the board sit up and take notice, but I don't think Mr Kenwright is aware of the fans' feelings if the following quote in and old interview is anything to go by.

'I remember Howard Kendall saying to me, "Never read the fanzines". That became, "Never read the letters page in the Echo", then, "Never listen to the phoneins", now, "Never read the internet". And I don't. I daren't, actually.'

Darren Hind
46 Posted 04/04/2016 at 19:44:42
Stones once again made complete mugs of those who claim he can't defend. He is a brilliant defender, but he is capable of more. It looked to me as if the panic merchants have gotten to him.

It was heartbreaking to see him reduced to being a safety-first, pass-the-ball-back, no-nonsense defender. Those types are ten a penny.

A very fine swan indeed and I'm desperately hoping he decides to ignore the percentage-loving dead heads who seem hell bent on trying to turn him into just another ugly duckling.

Jim Marray
47 Posted 04/04/2016 at 21:15:28
Good description of the game.

Lennon ran around a lot and hardly touched the ball all game. In fact for one pass he nearly fell over when it him on the chest.

The reason our passing game still doesn't work is because no-one seems capable of hittimg a person who is actually moving. Every pass seems to be to a man standing still. Man Utd were pretty crap but at least they tried to hit people who were moving forward with some of their passes.

We defend so deep that clearances from the box are always going to come straight back unless we get a lucky tackle in. And Lukaku needs someone who can actually hit a pass to him with a degree of accuracy, most of our wide players apart from Delofeou and occasionally Baines are incapable of doing that. Got a bit fed up watching the ball aimed at the far post and getting nearly as far as the corner flag!!

Martinez should never have been appointed and needs to be replaced no later than mid May. That would give the new manager a chance to assess the players before they all run off to the Euros and decide who will go, who will stay and most importantly of all, who should be brought in come July/August.

Bill Watson
48 Posted 04/04/2016 at 21:24:24
The alarm bells were ringing loud and clear at Old Trafford. Players used out of position, a manager seemingly unable to change anything and after-match comments from Baines and Jagielka that suggested the players have finaly lost belief in the manager.

Everton must act immediately, remove Martinez and appoint a caretaker before terminal damage is done.

Who? Well, I believe Joe Royle is already on the staff at Finch Farm.
Paul Andrews
49 Posted 04/04/2016 at 21:33:26
I don't know. Perhaps if John had done a Cruyff turn in his six yard box, dropped his shoulder and tried unsuccessfully to throw the centre forward a dummy, lost his man as he has done on numerous occasions and been part of a back four that conceded 3 goals he would have shown us how good he really is.

Jim Hardin
50 Posted 04/04/2016 at 22:06:39

Mugs of his critics? Do you mean the goal that was scored as he stood watching? He was just already in the penalty area when the diagonal ball was played down to the wing. As the player went deeper to the end line, Stones got inside the 6 and stopped. He stood there and didn't adjust to the depth of the likely cross. He wasn't marking anyone at all.

Plus, instead of being sideways or facing out (he had time to move), he was facing his own goalkeeper. When the cross for the goal came through, it damn near hit his foot, but he wasn't in a position to touch it because he could only have put it forward and into his own goal.

It looked like Coleman was surprised that Stones let it through and reacted too late to the run of the goal scorer. Admittedly, Coleman shouldn't have relied solely on Stones to defend (ever) and should have sealed the run but Stones was not marking anyone, just standing in space with no Man Utd player near him.

As for Robles, well it hit his foot before going in. Nuff said, new keeper please.

Darren Hind
51 Posted 05/04/2016 at 06:43:34

I laughed long and hard when you blamed Stones for Shaquiri`s goal at GP earlier in the season. To blame him for the goal at Old Trafford is even funnier.

Robles wasn't at fault either, a ball hit at pace down by his feet is almost impossible for any goalkeeper to adjust to. especially when it comes from the opposite direction of the cross . .at least he didn't run into the back of his own net.. or do a star jump.

New Goalkeeper? very possibly, but such is the overwhelming relief of getting rid of the old one, the current one will get away with murder... I think the general feeling is, he has to be an improvement – hardly a ringing endorsement, but that's where we are.

Instead of stretching all credibility to blame your usual targets – again – why not, just this once, call it as it is? If Seamus doesn't have a momentary lapse of reason... we don't concede.

Make a promise to yourself to start calling it as it was, rather than as you wanted it to be...Two very different things, mate.

Alan J Thompson
54 Posted 05/04/2016 at 07:22:04
Darren, you must be easily amused. I agree with Jim Hardin, Stones could and should have done a lot more than just watch the ball go past.

This does not excuse Coleman's lack of effort but to say Stones could have done nothing is ignoring what's in front of you.

Brent Stephens
55 Posted 05/04/2016 at 07:53:49
Coleman's positioning woeful, as that of Stones (as Jim says, as a defender you never want to be facing your goal as a cross comes in).
Jim Bennings
56 Posted 05/04/2016 at 08:19:37
Seamus Coleman has probably had two really good seasons in the six he's been here with us as a first team member.

Tony Abrahams
57 Posted 05/04/2016 at 08:32:17
I thought Baines was the real culprit for United's goal. He could have easily stepped up and caught Mata, offside, but chose to defend at least five yards deeper than everyone else.

I could have maybe understood this, if it was Martial who was receiving the pass, but not Mata, who was one of the slowest players on the pitch.

Although it was a fast counter attack, Everton, never, ever, set up as a defensive unit, which definitely equates to NO CHEMISTRY.

Playing left back for Everton, must be really hard to do in most games though, because never mind chemistry, you just don't even get any help.

Geoff Williams
58 Posted 05/04/2016 at 12:20:30
I don't agree with the venom directed at the players but I do question the preparation of the players for games by the manager and coaching team. I think both Barkley and Deulofeu lack stamina and Besic looked heavy during his pedestrian performance against Arsenal.

Team selection and tactics are a concern. Rarely do our substitutions have a positive affect on a game. Both Utd and Chelsea have had poor seasons but they have introduced teenagers into their teams. They are gaining valuable experience so why can't we do something similar even if it's only coming off the bench for 20 minutes or so.

Why are Osman, Kone always subs when they have very little impact when they come on. Why is Niasase there when he clearly isn't up to scratch at the moment.

I can't see Martinez achieving anything at Everton and I worry about the future of the club with him in charge.

Jim Hardin
59 Posted 05/04/2016 at 16:48:15

Watch the goal from about five seconds before the cross is played down by the wide player and note where Stones is and how little he actually does. Do it in slow motion if actual speed distorts your view or you cannot comprehend things at a normal pace. Stones had all day to get in position and didn't. He was not marking anyone and had no immediate threat. If he stops the ball, Coleman can do cartwheels and not have to worry.

Explain why, in your expert opinion, it makes sense to let the ball go past you as an unmarked defender all the way to your back post to another defender when bad things can happen. I have two reasons. One, the backside defender calls for it or two, the center back is not in position. Guess which one this was Darren? Why Darren is Stones that close to his own goal line and goalie if he isn't going to be in position? It takes both Stones out of being able to defend the cross and takes Robles out of being able to dive to stop the cross as Stones is in the way.

As for the keeper, seriously, you think Robles has done well? Fine, but the ball was not drilled with pace and it hit him in the foot. Say what you will about Howard's skills he would have, in my opinion, been able to keep it out. I was however, commenting on the need for a new keeper overall, as Robles is woeful and has not improved the position, your comments to the contrary. However, you continue to be stuck on your anti-Howard rants. Seriously, did he run over your dog or something?

BTW, Darren, I didn't absolve Coleman of all blame as he let the man cut in front of him. More importantly, he relied upon Stones to actually defend like a center back instead of a midfielder.

Darren Hind
60 Posted 05/04/2016 at 19:02:28
I've heard it all now.

That ball was fizzed across the box. Not only was it fizzed across, it went through McCarthy's legs on the way. NOT ONLY does the ball go through McCarthy's legs... it takes a little nick on his heel and changes direction of the ball. If Stones puts a foot out, it ends up in his own net.

Barkley stands with a gormless look on his face making no attempt to close down the initial ball. its hit 60-70 yards over Baines head and he still doesn't get there. Jagielka is nowhere near close enough to his man, McCarthy initially sleepwalks his way back then is forced into a desperate lunge when the ball goes through his legs and Seamus... well I'll tell you what, listen to what Seamus says about it.

YET we have people on here blaming Stones for the goal! It's still there on YouTube! It'll take five seconds to check it out...

Alan Thompson,

No I'm not easily amused, but I have to laugh at suggestions that Stones was to blame for that goal... what on earth are you guys watching? You do realise that cross went through somebody's legs AND took a nick too... don't you?

Stones was most right thinking people's Man of the Match, he made some excellent interceptions, passed accurately and he also produced what must be the best tackle made by an Everton player this season... Yet he cost us the match?

I despair...

Jim Hardin
62 Posted 05/04/2016 at 21:01:31
So Darren,

Talk about seeing what you want to see. But if a GK stops ten shots and then stands and watches a ball go past him for a goal, which is the only goal in the game, is he culpable? Hmmm . . . I wonder.

I love your qualifiers that only those who think like you and agree with you can be either knowledgeable, or "right-thinking" or "unique" to use your most inane quaifier on yet another inane post by you.

You don't debate or raise issues, you just state things as right because you think so. As I indicated, watch the play from five seconds before the ball gets played down by the wide man and see where your vaunted center back is and where he finally ends up and how he ends up. So now you wish to blame a ball going through a defender's legs (happens a lot) and taking a newly minted "nick" as confusing your untouchable JS.

Still your blustering response fails to address the issues raised and points made as to why John Stones was so close to his goal line and facing the wrong way thereby taking himself out of doing anything but blocking his goalkeeper from diving and confusing his own defender. Oh wait, as per usual, when the actual facts put paid to your argument, you ignore that and result to generalities and more qualifiers. Fact remains Darren, defending for 89 of 90 minutes does not excuse not defending for one of the 90 does it? Kind of like saying I went out for a drive and did well, except for the one accident I had.

Honestly, I despair.

Andy Crooks
63 Posted 05/04/2016 at 21:31:57
Jim, honest to God are you serious. I have championed Seamus more than anyone on this site and I can say that as a fact. But, that goal was down to utterly shit defending by Seamus Coleman. Whatever went before is not relevant.

John Stones is as good a defender as I have ever seen and we have had some true giants here. He will be better than Bobby Moore, in my view, and that is as good ss it gets.

Darren Hind
64 Posted 06/04/2016 at 03:19:09

If you think using the word unique to describe Stones in today's game is "inane" then back it up, show me another players like him in top class football. If he's not unique, you'll have no trouble.

I'm not "now" claiming the cross went through McCarthy's legs and takes a nick; I always knew it did. I watched the game you see. If you can't see it, I'm sure there is a Specsavers or the equivalent over in the US of A.

Stones's position was textbook, and despite you wanting him to abandon all other dangers and sprint back before the ball was even in the area, he got there at exactly the right time.

Do you actually view and understand these things? Or are you just so hell bent on blaming the same player??? He did not face his own goal until the ball came off McCarthy. He was also very aware of the danger of sticking out a foot. If the ball doesn't take that nick and change direction, he walks away with it.

And by the way, Jim, when I refer to "right thinking" fans I'm talking about every report I read (including on here) every comment I've heard. The overwhelming majority of whom made Stones MotM. I'm talking about people who are taking a fair, impartial view rather than a couple who are desperately trying to back up previous criticism of the boy.

I repeat; No right thinking person would have seen Barkleys disinterest, Baines's error of Judgement, Jagielka not getting anywhere near tight enough, Macca's late reaction and Seamus's dire error and come to the conclusion that Stones was to blame.

By the way Seamus is my favourite player, but the footballing world saw what happened... well the overwhelming majority of us did anyway.

Alan J Thompson
67 Posted 06/04/2016 at 16:14:26
Darren; The last part of my post is missing. In it I stated that there were many mistakes leading to the goal including Stones's and none of them is an excuse for any of the other mistakes.

A good tackle earlier in the game does not absolve him. The question is, how far from him was the ball when it passed him?

Yes, sticking a foot out may have diverted it into his own goal and might just as easily hit it for a corner or a throw in. Fact is he didn't stick a foot out and they did score.

Darren Hind
68 Posted 06/04/2016 at 17:54:08

The ball was deflected... do you know how many goals are scored when a ball goes through a players legs or is deflected? This was both. it does not matter how far away from Stones it was, it was deflected past him.

Knowing Seamus was behind him and had things covered made sticking a foot out the stupid option. Seamus was best placed to clear it. He knows he was, I know he was, just about everyone who saw the game knows he was. There are obviously 2-3 exceptions... but I guess there always is.

Jim Hardin
69 Posted 06/04/2016 at 18:55:37

Your "deflection " excuse is comical. You absolve Stones of any responsibility but fail to see that his poor positioning caused him not to be able to react to the "massive deflection" you must be claiming. Daft is daft Darren.

Just answer the one point you have failed to respond too in your inane responses. Why is Stones facing backwards? What school of thought says that is correct? It is unique, but not correct, Darren. If Stones had been facing towards the ball or away from goal, he could have handled the "deflection." Defenders do it all the time. Well, regular defenders do, maybe the same cannot be said for "unique" ones.

When the broadcasters on radio and even for the English friendlies talk about how the other defenders have to be aware that Stones will make "mistakes." what does that say about his defending? Is this one of those situations?

In this game, I did not absolve either Coleman or Robles (although you did). Obviously, Coleman has a job to do and let the player by him. But, that and others' mistakes does not absolve Stones of poor positioning and therefore poor defending on this particular play.

You can despair or laugh or whatever Darren, but try to stop your hero worship of Stones long enough to try to judge his defending on that play (not what Baines or Jags or someone else did or didn't do). Try to be objective Darren, that would be a first in any of your posts and then you and Stones can be "unique" together.

Darren Hind
70 Posted 06/04/2016 at 19:33:18

It isn't you I despair at, I will always laugh at your take on things. You are simply unable to stick to the facts or understand what you are seeing. why on earth do you feel the need to talk about a "massive" deflection? Do you not understand that a subtle deflection can be far more deceptive? ... silly question.

I have gone through the entire build up and goal, but you cant seem to grasp it. There's no longer any point debating it? I'll leave you alone to wrestle with the subtleties of the game

I'm not joking, I really do smile when you point to the half witted commentators ("Announcers" as you call them) as some sort of evidence that you speak the truth. Nearly everyone else I talk to about the game switches them off and prefers to think for themselves.

Let me put it this way; Every top club in the world has shown a keen interest in Stones. We were offered more money for him than any other player in our history and Evertonians everywhere rejoiced when we turned it down. They even made a song about it. No other defender in the world will cost as much, we will have a queue around the block for his signature if we put him in the window... but you cant see any good in him.

Go figure!

Steve Hogan
72 Posted 06/04/2016 at 22:48:08
The gospel according to Darren Hind:– Stones is 'good', Barkley is 'bad', all other view points are irrelevant.

Alan J Thompson
73 Posted 07/04/2016 at 10:59:03
Darren; I don't take it as a personal affront and nor do I offer my thoughts as an affront to you. We all have our views on many matters and, God willing, we will always be able to engage in each others views on a matter.

However, how other clubs desire to have Stones as one of their players affects the circumstances surrounding the only goal of that game defeats me. He moved to a position that he should have but, when there, didn't do anything to deflect the path of the ball, and I cannot agree that he let it go for Coleman to clear.

If he knew Coleman was there, why did he not know that there was a Man Utd player with him?

As the Frogs say, "Vive la difference!"

Laurie Hartley
74 Posted 07/04/2016 at 11:47:55
John Stones is my favourite current Everton footballer and the one player I would like to see in the team for many years to come.

Having said that, I have watched the replay many times and the only reason I can come up with for him not putting that ball out for a corner is that he was worried he was going to score an own goal.

What a sad state of affairs. Time for the club – by that, I mean the players and fans – to pick themselves up off the canvass and dig deep. We need a win at Watford.

Darren Hind
75 Posted 07/04/2016 at 18:57:08

I too have watched the goal many times and I agree. I say so in post 68.

When my lads were getting to the age when They were taking their footy seriously I decided to take a few coaching courses.

Although no Pep Guardiola myself I met some fantastic coaches. One guy in particular, the late Eric Denner was a respected name in the north west, a humble man, he had worked with some of the games top names and was a fantastic communicator and coach.

He told us that taking responsibility was one of the best thing a defender could do. He also told us that taking a fellow defenders responsibility was always going to end in tears. Its a bit like taking a shot when somebody was in a far better position than you are. Good play is about allowing the guy in the best position to do the job.

Stones clearly decided not to risk sticking a foot out. The ball had come through Macca's legs and had changed direction. he felt it too risky to have a slash at it and having seen it so many times I think he was right.

The suggestion that he didn't know Seamus was there is silly, he had actually taken a look... the suggestion that he should have known Seamus had drifted into a coma is just plain ridiculous .

Every defender in the history of the game could look back with the benefit of hindsight and say he could have done something different after his team had conceded... That does not constitute a mistake.

Alan J Thompson,

Stones being in huge demand has nothing to do with the goal on Saturday – nobody claimed it did. However; when somebody criticises him after every game he plays and never has a good word to say about him, I think pointing out that little fact kinda negates the vitriol. Some would say It makes a mockery of it.

Laurie Hartley
76 Posted 07/04/2016 at 22:59:09
Dave (#75) – thanks for your explanation; I can see the logic in that. Having said that, I would have belted it when I was playing but then again I never made it past the Arrowe Park Hotels Sunday league team.

What I do know is that I love the club. I have only been to Goodison once since I left England in 1973 – the invincibles hammered us 1-4. Nevertheless, like many fellow blues scattered across the globe, the deep bond with Everton, its players and supporters remains unbroken.

Oh for the day when Goodison – the players and fans – are on fire again.

Like I said above, we just have to dig deep at the moment. That is the only way we will get out of this situation. The digging deep will have to start with the players. I saw a glimmer of hope in that respect in the Man Utd game when Phil Jagielka lost his rag with Romalu Lukaku.

We have Barry back next week – a top pro. He could be enough to turn the tide. We have missed him desperately.

Laurie Hartley
77 Posted 08/04/2016 at 03:25:15
Darren # 75 - apologies for getting your name wrong.
Alan J Thompson
78 Posted 08/04/2016 at 09:45:20
Daren (#75); Go back and see my original post (#20). I have a good word for other parts of his game but not for his part in not doing more to stop the goal when he was in a position so to do.

But then you don't let the facts get in the way, something you have in common with Martinez.

Darren Hind
79 Posted 08/04/2016 at 13:51:29
Alan J Thompson @78.

Read the posts, my comments were not directed at you, I can hardly accuse you of criticising Stones after every game when I don't recall ever seeing a post from you before this thread. I only relayed the points out of courtesy in posts 75 because you asked me to explain them in post 73.

Facts? You haven't presented any facts, you merely gave an opinion and I completely disagree with it. That's kinda the point

Vive La Difference

Alan J Thompson
80 Posted 09/04/2016 at 10:27:46
Quite right, Darren. The ball went through somebody's legs then deflected while it was traveling at such a speed he would have deflected it into the net so he left it for Coleman who he knew was behind him without knowing, even though they were attacking, that there was a Man Utd player in the penalty area near Coleman but that doesn't matter anyway as up until then and probably after he'd had a brilliant game.

I think they were the facts you used. What was that badge you got again?

Never mind, it doesn't matter.

Paul Tran
81 Posted 09/04/2016 at 10:55:52
You're right about Barry, Laurie. Our best player this season, best player in Martinez's first season. Very badly treated by Martinez last season, when he played him when unfit and didn't give him a chance to get fit.

I think we miss him because he's at a higher level than any of our other midfielders. Hopefully the Moshiri money will provide the chance to get players of a similar quality.

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