It's never us

It was truly gutting and the team didn't deserve that. Everton out. "It's never us" said Ste at full time. I couldn't put it better. We never fluke these things. We never fluke anything.

Paul Traill 24/04/2016 56comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 2 Manchester United
Whilst our mind-numbing Premier League season has flitted away over the last month or so we have spent a fair bit of time pre-game in the pub discussing our trip to Wembley. Ste mooted a departure time of 6am which, though no problem for an insomniac like myself (I actually awoke at 2am and was unable to get back to sleep!), I found a bit strange given the game wasn't to kick off until 5:15pm.

This proved to be a master-stroke from Ste however as, upon arriving at Stanmore station a little after 9:30am, there were very few spaces available in the car park. Had we have set off at around 8am like I would have suggested, there is no way we would have gotten a parking space there and would have had to figure something else out. The drive down was a breeze too and we arrived in what felt like no time at all. Gary and Sue in the back seats, and joined by Rob, a Manchester United supporter who lives just around the corner from me who was at a bit of a loose end with regards to travel.

Arriving at about 10am we saw little point going straight to Wembley, so stayed on the train a little longer, getting off at Baker Street. Coming out of the station I said, "What we need is a Weatherspoons. Somewhere to get some breakfast and a beer" and turning right as we walked out in all it's glory was The Metropolitan Bar, a Weatherspoons. In we went, getting a good table and it was a comfortable travellers rest for us for a few hours where we could relax with Everton and Manchester United supporters enjoying the morning and early afternoon. My sister, who lives in London, joined us for a little while, as too did a London-based Irish Evertonian Leslie, who I have gotten to know via ToffeeWeb.

At around 1pm, we went on to Wembley, deciding on The Torch to enjoy the afternoon outside amongst loads and loads of fellow Evertonians. We bumped into some of the fella's who sit next to us in the Gwladys Street and a few other mates from home. It was a fantastic party atmosphere with everyone in great spirits and blue flares going off time and again. When the smoke on one of them had evaporated it was launched in the air, landing directly in Sue's drink which was just hilarious. Ian, a friend of Gary's who lives in Brighton, though unable to get a ticket for the game, also joined us. Even Michael Ball was there chatting with the fans and posing for photos. It was a great time, really good fun before we walked down Wembley Way for the main event. Gary and Sue even bumped into Derek Mountfield and Pat van den Hauwe as they neared Wembley Stadium.

We'd since seen the team news in the pub and we were made up that Gary's inkling that Phil Jagielka would make the team was correct. He partnered John Stones in defence with Mohammed Besic drafted in to right back to replace Bryan Oviedo after the latter's personal hell in Wednesday's Merseyside derby. With Gareth Barry unavailable, Darron Gibson was sensibly drafted in to the middle alongside James McCarthy with Aaron Lennon and Tom Cleverley (I'd have gone with Kevin Mirallas myself) on the flanks with Ross Barkley supporting Romelu Lukaku in attack. Tony Hibbert provided additional cover from the substitutes bench. Ex-Blues Wayne Rooney and Marouanne Fellaini featured for Manchester United as did the promising youngster Marcus Rashford. Anthony Taylor officiated.

Though a poor display in the first half, Romelu Lukaku will have been very disappointed with his first touch with two first-half opportunities both of which he really should have done better with. One I think was going wide before Wayne Rooney cleared just short of the goal line though it was difficult to tell what was happening out there in the sun. At the other end, Jesse Lingard forced Joel Robles into a good save.

Both sets of supporters were vocally getting behind their team though Manchester United began to get a stranglehold on the game and had us under quite severe pressure as we approached the break. As is the way with Everton lately the pressure told and Marcus Rashford did well to slip in Marouanne Fellaini who smashed the ball past Joel Robles to put Manchester United into a deserved lead at the break.

At the break, amongst the crowd people were squabbling with each other whilst a couple of the guys in front of us were so drunk they were literally falling over. There seemed to be very few stewards about also. In the dressing room, a big half-time was required from Roberto Martinez and it could be his last.

In fairness to Roberto Martinez, he did get an excellent reaction from his players in the second half. We did what we haven't done for some time now and really had a go at Manchester United with Ross Barkley and Aaron Lennon particularly instrumental with driving us on. The Evertonians, desperate for long-awaited success, reacted and got behind the team.

It was Ross Barkley who was allegedly felled in the penalty box by Tim Fosu-Mensah to give Everton a gilt-edged opportunity from the penalty spot. The penalty award looked a tad generous to me but we certainly weren't complaining. I noticed Lukaku call for the ball immediately, though Sue saw him take the ball from Leighton Baines. Up stepped Lukaku and, just as he did with his last penalty against West Ham United, the Belgian changed his run-up, making it perhaps more obvious were he was going to put the ball and David de Gea saved well down to his right hand side to huge applause from the Manchester United supporters. The eventual follow up shot was also saved by the Manchester United goalkeeper.

I thought this might have killed Everton but, on the contrary, the players somehow seemed more inspired, more determined. Gerard Deulofeu replaced Aaron Lennon. I'd have liked to have seen two wingers on the pitch though in any event, the substitution was an effective one as it was the Spaniard's low centre which was diverted past David de Gea by Chris Smalling. Everton level. Evertonians erupted. Manchester United on the backfoot.

Sadly we couldn't finish them off. A beautiful delivery from Leighton Baines deserved better but was headed wide on the dive by Romelu Lukaku whilst Phil Jagielka and John Stones were at their defiant best at the other end to keep out Manchester United. Phil Jagielka showed remarkable courage and determination to get himself through the game and he will be in bits today, both physically and emotionally.

As we neared stoppage time Jagielka went down injured and you worried he may not be able to continue though he dragged himself up. Heartbreakingly it was to be our undoing as in the 93rd minute, with all supporters anticipating extra time, Ander Herrera got the better of James McCarthy and poked the ball through for Anthony Martial. I think if Phil Jagielka was not nursing such a painful injury he may have been able to fling himself across the box in time to get a goal-preventing block in, but that he couldn't do and Anthony Martial finished to the jubilation of the Manchester United supporters... and the shock and despair of us Evertonians.

It was truly gutting and the team didn't deserve that. Kevin Mirallas was introduced in vain to desperately salvage the draw but it couldn't be done. Everton out. "It's never us" said Ste at full time. I couldn't put it better. We never fluke these things. We never fluke anything.

I felt a bit devastated for some of the players at full time. For Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert and Tim Howard, though they didn't get on the pitch, it represents their last chance of winning anything at Everton. Likewise probably for Darron Gibson. I thought it would have been a good opportunity for Roberto Martinez to come onto the pitch and applaud the fans as he may not get another chance to do so.

We trudged off dejectedly and it seemed to take an eternity to get to Wembley Park Station though once we did get to the car and reconvened we were out of Stanmore and on the road home pretty quickly. In discussion on the way back, the majority of us felt that now is the time to call time on Roberto as three years is enough time and we've gone backwards and not won anything. Manuel Pellegrini would be the obvious choice for me given he's won things, knows the Premier League, lives in the Northwest, is available and carries himself with dignity, but if the board can go out and find a Mauricio Pochettino or a Ronald Koeman à la Southampton I won't be complaining.

The journey home was grim and we couldn't thank Ste enough for driving us there and back. We were going well until we hit the horrendous roadworks on the M6. What genius thought it a good idea to leave it down to one lane with so much traffic coming that way I just don't know. Especially as there were no trains available thanks to the late kick-off. It was quite appalling really and the idea of getting last orders in the pub had long, long since evaporated when I was finally dropped off at home come 2am.

So thanks for your efforts, Roberto. A genuinely nice man and I wish him well elsewhere, but that's enough for me.

Onwards and upwards Evertonians. The good times will come back and when they do, you'll look back, and you wouldn't change a thing.

Player ratings:

Robles: After initial doubts he's impressed me incredibly these last six games or so and I feel we may have a number one after all without the need to go out and spend big on a new one, even if we do of course require back up. You always felt he needed a run of games to show what he can do, and now he's starting to show it. 8

Baines: Did well at both ends of the pitch. One of his better performances of the season. 7

Jagielka: A colossal effort from Jagielka and I was gutted for him more than anyone else I think given how he'd pulled himself through the pain-barrier to get through the game. 8

Stones: Also did well. He and Jagielka represents our best two at the back and their performances together in the early part of the season hint at what could have been achieved had they both remained fit for the season. If only... 7

Besic: Well he's not a right back, lets be clear about that but he did his best and didn't let us down. 6

Gibson: Not bad. Struggling for fitness a little bit but gave it a good go against his old club. He'll likely be moving on in the summer and I hope he can find some fitness. At 28 years old he should still have a lot to offer in the game. 6

McCarthy: Will be disappointed to have lost out to Hererra for the second goal and he was all at sea in the first half though he did well for the most part of the second half as Everton notched it up a few gears. 6

Cleverley: Busy throughout though I'd like to have seen us go for it and swap him for Kevin Mirallas on the flank to try and force the win. 6

Lennon: Was contributing before substituted though
Deulofeu was a good introduction as it proved. 7

Barkley: I thought he was excellent at driving us forward as we chased the game though others tell me he should have been taken off as he was becoming a bit of a passenger. I didn't see it that way and though this probably won't be popular, I felt he was our best player out there. My Man of the Match. 8

Lukaku: Will awake frustrated and disappointed as he missed the opportunities, all very presentable ones including a penalty, to win the game for us. Not a good day to have an off day though he has been off colour for some time now. 5

Deulofeu (for Lennon): Made a difference and created the goal. 7

Mirallas (for Gibson): Not on long enough to judge.

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Reader Comments (56)

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Clive Rogers
1 Posted 24/04/2016 at 16:28:54
Barkley was dreadful, looked sluggish and overweight. Besic was left trailing for both goals, Martial far too good and pacy for him. McCarthy and Lennon were hardly in the game. Agree with the other ratings.
Neal Kernohan
2 Posted 24/04/2016 at 16:34:36
Why is our best penalty taker Baines not taking bloody penalties?
Steve Cotton
3 Posted 24/04/2016 at 16:50:26
Barkley MotM?? He was completely ineffective and has lost his turn of pace... it also looks like he is developing Kim Kardashian's arse.
Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 24/04/2016 at 16:52:54
Paul, I don't think your very long day yesterday has done a lot for your judgement. If you find another Evertonian who thought Ross was our best player, I'd be amazed...

And you thought it was a good time for Martinez to come on and show his appreciation of the Everton fans?!? Really, Paul, with all his faults, I very much doubt being a masochist is one of them.

Anyway, thanks for your report and I'm glad you got home safe and sound.

David Cornmell
5 Posted 24/04/2016 at 17:29:56
Appreciate the review. Speaks volumes that we're still awaiting Buckleys account of the derby.
James Joseph
6 Posted 24/04/2016 at 17:36:08
Always enjoy your reports, Paul, but don't agree with Ross as MoM. Thought he had a stinker apart from a brief spell in the 2nd half although it was good to see him showing a bit of aggression when he was fouled by Herreira. Having said that the Mail on Sunday agree with you giving him 8 out of 10 - a 5 from me.

Despite missing a couple of golden chances I thought Cleverley had one of his better games and was one of the few to show for the ball and look positive during that woeful first half.

Says it all for me about Martinez's reign when one injury to a full-back (Coleman) and one suspension result in a midfield player having to fill in at right-back, a nowhere near fit Jagielka having to start, and a never fit Darron Gibson having to turn out for just his 4th appearance. Add to that Hibbitt on the bench alongside a lad who'd had to be recalled from loan at Walsall. Can't think of that happening at any other Premier league club

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 24/04/2016 at 17:40:26
Very kind with your ratings Paul.

I thought Baines, Barkley, Lukaku, Cleverley, Besic were all awful yesterday, McCarthy ineffective, Stones one of his better games, and Jagielka made one crucial decision to rush out of the back line which cost us the match allowing Martial the space, that blotted a solid game from him.

Darryl Ritchie
8 Posted 24/04/2016 at 17:44:44
I think Barkley's spending too much time in the weight room. He's put on muscle, but muscle weighs a lot, and he's looking bulky and slow lately.
Dave Brierley
9 Posted 24/04/2016 at 18:01:32
Good report Paul. Funny how many of us see things differently. Robles very good with Stones and Jags giving 100%. Bainsey was good but should have taken the spot kick. Cleverley had one of his better games and if Gibson could stay fit he could be a class act.
The rest were pretty mediocre although Gerry looked sharp when he came on. I think Barkley is carrying an injury, he appeared to be limping for long spells and for a man not normally known for his work-rate it did little for his contribution.
If there were medals for supporters, ours would get the winners every time.

Lee Courtliff
10 Posted 24/04/2016 at 18:07:44
I too found myself stranded on the M6, bloody ridiculous! It was nearly 4am when I got home!

I've watched the match back again this morning and we really were unlucky! I can't think of many other teams who have a 25 goal striker who is coveted by the worlds richest clubs, deciding to save his worst performance for the biggest game of his career?

He never misses that many chances in one game without scoring at least once!

Only us. Btw, Clev is a much better player than I gave him credit for.

Jim Bennings
11 Posted 24/04/2016 at 18:12:08
Barkley isn't carrying an injury, he's been playing the same way since November, he has put on too much weight, is no longer quick and he still offers no goal threat on a consistent basis and hasn't done since well before Christmas.

Gibson cant be relied upon so that's not even up for discussion.

Baines is so one footed it's unbelievable and he's still never looked close to being the player he once was when he and Pienaar struck up that fantastic partnership, but agreed he needs to get back to penalty duties and start acting like a leader and senior player, should have demanded that ball from Lukaku yesterday

Cleverley is so so out of place on the left, it's just what Moyes did with Osman, square peg in a round hole and offers limited threat.

Hopefully all the idiotic calls for Besic to fill in defence will also now end once and for all, the guy is a relatively competent defensive midfielder nothing more.

Dave Abrahams
12 Posted 24/04/2016 at 18:21:00
Jim, Baines had the ball and was walking towards the spot when he let Lukaku take it off him, Jagielka then had a word with Baines instead of getting the ball off Lukaku and giving it to Baines.

But these decisions should all be made before the game.

Steve Cox
13 Posted 24/04/2016 at 19:08:54
Love the Kim Kardashian comment reference Ross' arse, priceless but unfortunately true. You would have thought a local lad and lifelong blue would have sweated blood but he didn't looked bothered and unfit. He may well have lost his chance for the Euros as he's produced very little second half of the season.
Lee Gorre
14 Posted 24/04/2016 at 19:29:19
Agree with you Dave, it should all be sorted pre-match. Although I saw Baines with the ball I didn't see Jagielka go over, that being the case it is a major blot on what was a display full of character and commitment from him, something that shouldn't really be applauded but should just be expected... but there you go, these days.

Hopefully it is all academic now with a new manager coming in, but if not the senior players really need to step up and sort things out on the pitch if it's not off it.

Dave Ganley
15 Posted 24/04/2016 at 19:32:55
Good report Paul and pretty much summed up my day really...although that must have been a hell of a queue on the way home to get home at 2am. We broke down on M1 and had to get road rescue to get us and the car home by 3am.

Must disagree about Barkley though. Unfit, lazy, overweight and just stood in no mans land for most of the game. Pretty much lost or made the wrong pass when he did go forward and missed opportunity to shoot when he should.

I've been saying this for months now but I can't wait for a decent manager to get hold of him to get rid of all these awful habits he has developed under Martinez. A shadow of the player he could be and he may as well not have been there in light of such little effort he put in.

Frank Fitzsimmons
16 Posted 24/04/2016 at 20:05:33
Enough has been said about the game and the future of Martinez, but I would just like to say how great our fans were throughout the match. The roar from the blue end had me in tears. I've not heard that sound since my last Wembley visit on that glorious day in '66 when we beat Sheffield Wednesday. Made me proud to be a Blue.

Managers and players come and go, but True Blues live forever. Well done, boys, you're the best .... NSNO

Mike Powell
17 Posted 24/04/2016 at 20:58:10
I agree, I thought Barkley was our MotM – he was the only one who took people on. I don't know what game you we're all watching. Most off the others were just average although Joel Robles was okay.
John Croft
18 Posted 24/04/2016 at 21:01:09
I thought Barkley had a poor game and hope our new manager (it's got to happen very soon) will help him fulfil his potential.

Cleverley's second-half performance I think warranted a 7 as at least he influences the game going forward, unlike McCarthy who gets worse with every game.

I hope Koeman comes in and uses his credentials to keep Stones and make him the world class centre-half we know he can be as he won't indulge his mistakes like Bobby Brown Shoes has...

Andy Meighan
19 Posted 24/04/2016 at 22:02:26
You feel sorry for Howard, Osman and Hibbert...?!?! Well, sorry, but I couldn't give a flying one about them. In all their years of playing, they've been richly rewarded... while us long-suffering souls have just been let down time after miserable time.

I feel sorry for my 13-year-old son, and his mates, and others just a bit older, and lads in their 20s who have seen nothing at all but heartache. At least the likes of myself have seen title- and cup-winning sides. The way I feel at the moment, I doubt if I'll ever see another trophy while this current board of amateurs runs our club.

So please, Paul, save your sympathy for those who watch us week-in & week-out, and spend hard-earned money – not multi-millionaire players, regardless of service and allegiance to the club.

Jeff Armstrong
20 Posted 24/04/2016 at 22:16:35
I agree about the M6 debacle. We got home 1:45am but that was by coach, didn't get out of the Wembley car park till 8:30 pm. I think Ste needs to have a word with himself regarding putting his foot down, ignoring speed limits, and generally breaking the law; away trips with him at the wheel must be a drag...

Anyways to the game, all I think Barkley needs is a decent manager – one who gets him to track back, put a tackle in now and then, release the ball sooner, you know I think it's called a coach! Martinez is ruining him.

Besic was average at best, Connolly should've played against the RS and then been ready for yesterday; again, bad management.

Beyond that, he played the strongest team available, but then forgot to coach them. No cohesion in the first half, just sleepwalking to defeat really, as if putting out a team was the only thing he could concentrate on for two days; no game plan or tactics.

Second half, players just said "Fuck him and his philosophy, let's play football," and they almost pulled it off... DESPITE the manager.

He's got to go. Kenwright needs to do his duty if he really is an Evertonian.

Good report, Paul, by the way.

Eddie Dunn
22 Posted 24/04/2016 at 22:34:02
Thanks Paul, for an interesting insight on that big day.

On your ratings, I have to say that Barkley was poor for most of the game, but did put a few good touches in towards the end. I thought Cleverley did well, hitting first time passes and showing a bit of fight.

Like many others, I can't see why Besic was played at right back. He was exposed continuously, so why wasn't Connolly given the role?

I thought that Lukaku really battled well, winning balls from two or three defenders at times, it was just his clumsiness that let him down. He went up for a header and skied it, and seemed to blame Besic, who was coming in behind him, in a better position. Besic didn't bump Rom till after his poor header had whizzed over the bar, but Rom took out his frustration on the innocent Mo.

The knackered Jags seemed to stumble as Martial and Herrera engineered the late goal. It was an all too typical scene, in the last seconds.

Stones was my MotM , but I wonder just what might now happen over the summer, will we see him and Rom in the blue next season?

Garry Corgan
23 Posted 24/04/2016 at 22:41:53
Barkley stunk the place out yesterday. He was truly, truly appalling. I spent a good portion of the game watching him and very little he did came off. Losing the ball in possession, misplaced passes and no effort to press the ball or make tackles.
Ray Roche
24 Posted 24/04/2016 at 23:12:08
Funny, in the Sunday Times Barkley was MotM yet he gets loads of stick on here...
Anthony Dwyer
25 Posted 24/04/2016 at 23:49:56
Agree to an extent Ray, Ross is the first player our fans look to blame for any performance, usually along with Rom or Stones.

In my opinion, only Stones played to his full potential in the semi, but it does infuriate me that we try to drag our best players down at any given chance.

Anto Byrne
26 Posted 24/04/2016 at 23:58:32
Barkley at best a 4/10 for that performance. At 22 and with all his skill he should be a leader on the pitch playing by example. He chooses not to, defensively he offers nothing and he is quite happy to watch the likes of Rooney and Fellaini dictate the show. In 93 minutes, not one tackle, no pressing or harassing opposition players. Far too many simple sideways or short passes and never making an attempt to get it back when given away cheaply.

On the penalty decision, it would have been seen as a foul outside the box so for the media to say it wasn't a penalty is ludicrous.

Two players stood up in the second half and for me it was Stones and Cleverley, they were instrumental in getting the team fired up. Was this a Martinez directive or player power? All I see is Martinez taking credit for it.

As for Lukaku and the penalty miss, this is just bad team management. If Baines is the designated penalty taker then allowing anyone else to take it is reckless. If Baines misses, so be it... but with his record and how he takes them, you would back him to score every time. These things are what separates the really good managers from the likes of a Martinez.

Alan J Thompson
27 Posted 25/04/2016 at 03:54:24
I don't know what you base your ratings on but Lennon 7 and McCarthy 6, who I don't recall touching the ball that many times, were far inferior to Gibson. Even Cleverley left McCarthy for dead.
Bernard Yeo
28 Posted 25/04/2016 at 04:02:53
I don't know what the papers are saying about Barkley, the match I watched, someone obviously has to reset his education about what a midfielder does. I really don't like what Martinez does with him. He does not track back, letting balls go past him so easily.

When the going gets tough, we need "tougher" midfielders or at least one that links play much better, and not lose the ball so easily. Just take a look at Bojan, or Payet. It's so hard to get the ball from them because it's either already with another team mate, or they already made space for themselves to take the ball forward.

He is also predictable with his right leg, I think the opposing team has absolutely no problem ensuring he's in their back-pocket.

Paul Ward
29 Posted 25/04/2016 at 05:15:49
Garry Corgan (#23) You are spot on about Barkley, he was rubbish. I don't know what it is about Ross, but he is so often rated by what he might have done and not by what he actually did. I want to see him fulfill his great potential but I doubt he ever will.

He has started so many games irrespective of how poor some of his performances have been. Surely our next manager will expect more than potential and idleness.

Garry Corgan
30 Posted 25/04/2016 at 05:36:19
Ray 24 and Anthony 25 - I'm not keen on the insinuation that Ross is 'first player I'm blaming.' I call it as I see it, though any person or media outlet calling him the Man of the Match is seriously deluded.

I was at the match so was able to see what he was doing, and where he was, when he didn't have the ball and he really was just as bad without it as he was with it.

The only Everton player who came close to being as bad as Barkley yesterday was Aaron Lennon. Again, nothing he tried came off. Poor decision making and so many misplaced simple five yard passes. What I will say for Lennon is that, particularly in the first half, he was one of the few players to put in a shift.

Christopher Timmins
31 Posted 25/04/2016 at 06:46:03
Paul, thanks for an account of your day at Wembley. Sometimes this season your account of the going to and the coming from games has been better than the games themselves.

After having a chance to reflect on the game over the weekend, I would say Stones was our Man of the Match. Rom is in the team to score goals, he had seven chances to do his job and failed. Over the past 10 years, Baines has been our penalty taker up until the Mirallas (madness) moment last year at Goodison. When Rom missed against West Ham, Baines should have been back on penalties.

Ernie Baywood
32 Posted 25/04/2016 at 06:49:40
Ross is the sort of player who is there to create key moments that win games. The flipside of that is that it is very easy to criticise him if he doesn't contribute a goal or assist as he's not chasing midfielders and defenders around. I'm not even sure what he'd do if he got there but it's definitely not part of our tactics.

Against Man Utd, most of our big opportunities still had Ross involved. He carried most of our threat. He usually does.

A new manager might have different ideas about what Ross should be doing for us, but his career will outlast individual manager appointments so ultimately it's up to him to decide what he wants to be... and where he needs to be for that to happen.

Phil Walling
33 Posted 25/04/2016 at 07:18:19
Player ratings generous to the last, Paul. I just wish I saw games through your eyes!
Christopher Timmins
34 Posted 25/04/2016 at 09:24:45
Paul, forgot to comment on your hope for the new manager, if he is attainable, then Pellegrini should be hired. Has done well with big spending clubs, Madrid and City, and also done well with "The Yellow Submarine" and Malaga. The big issue this summer is who is going to spend our new found wealth and he fits the bill.
Gerard Carey
35 Posted 25/04/2016 at 09:26:34
Paul, just a question for you: The Man Utd fan that travelled with you... what's his take on us?
Ray Roche
36 Posted 25/04/2016 at 09:34:24
Garry Corgan (#30)

Garry, I think you're a bit too touchy.

"I'm not keen on the insinuation that Ross is 'first player I'm blaming.'"

Nowhere have you been mentioned . My remark was about TW in general, not this specific article.

I imagine the Sunday Times journalist also "calls it as he sees it" and he makes a decent living at it, too, so maybe that's an avenue that you may also consider, writing for a national newspaper...;-)

Shame about Lennon, he didn't get much service and fell short of his previous performances. The one who really struggled was Besic, who was repeatedly taken to the cleaners by Martial.

Shane Corcoran
37 Posted 25/04/2016 at 11:53:46
I thought Barkley was woeful but The Irish Daily Mail and now this report both gave him an 8/10.
Ernie Baywood
38 Posted 25/04/2016 at 12:08:37
I thought that, like many of our games this season, you couldn't really pick out the bad performers. No-one was glaringly terrible. We're just collectively underwhelming.

Maybe it's just chemistry...

John Hughes
39 Posted 25/04/2016 at 12:17:29
Shane I wonder if you sit by me on the Lower Gwladys Street. Barkley "is crap" when Everton come out with Z-Cars and when the handshake is taking place is all I get in my ear! If so can you think of something else. Just give him a break. Just saying!
NSNO !!!
Gary Mortimer
40 Posted 25/04/2016 at 12:24:22
For what it's worth, I think Ross (along with everyone else) wasn't great in the first half, but he played significantly better in the second half and got involved a lot more – unlike James McCarthy who offers nothing to the team apart from a few tackles now and again. It seams that McCarthy escapes criticism because he runs around a lot and appears to be trying, even if his contribution with the ball is negligible.

I'm afraid Lukaku's poor finishing was the deciding factor – just not clinical enough. A "Champions League" quality striker would not have fluffed them all, but that's the standard that he's set himself and he came up short.

The performance first half was all Martinez. The second half was down to the players realising that they had nowt to lose.

Tom Bowers
41 Posted 25/04/2016 at 12:31:04
Have to agree with some that Ross is looking like an overweight Gazza these days. We know he has bags of skill but doesn't seem to have the drive he had early in the season which has really affected the output of Rom.

Ross, in recent games has found it difficult to turn quickly and track back after someone, which makes me think he has poor conditioning for a young guy or does he suffer from the Martinez malaise like a few others?

Stephen Ashton
42 Posted 25/04/2016 at 12:52:07
I thought Ross was really hard to score – he was woeful in the first half, my son pointed out after about 15 mins he was pulling for tugs, Carrick just ran past him.

Second half he was different class and I thought drove us on. Maybe being a blue he felt the passion from the terraces more than most.

The score that is wrong is Lukaku – no better than a 3 for me. If he is as good as he thinks he is, he should be doing much better. He was awful, truly dreadful in the first half, his control as bad as it has ever been and he missed 2 gilt edged chances; second half he improved slightly but missed a glorious chance and of course a penalty.

Absolutely appalling performance for a striker of his supposed quality.

Dean Barton
43 Posted 25/04/2016 at 13:06:08
Barkley wasn't great on Saturday. The feeling I always get from him is underwhelmed. He has all the ability in the world, but he doesn't do enough. In 3 years he's still the kid with potential and that's not good enough. For me he hasn't progressed to the level he should, who's fault that is I don't know.

The reason the fans moan at him is his attitude and body language. He jogs while players get away from him. It's all well and good doing that when you are Ibrahimovic or Yaya Toure but he isn't. If you have a bad game then people will pick at that.

One of our biggest problems as a team is that we carry 2 players up front who aren't interested in doing the graft and that puts us under a lot of pressure and doesn't allow us to press higher up.

Anyway, I thought Stones, Jags, and Cleverley were outstanding.

Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 25/04/2016 at 13:25:58
Ray (#36) everybody sees something different in a game. Regarding Barkley, I thought as usual he didn't do nearly enough. As a boyhood Blue and committed Evertonian, he should be sweating blood more than anyone. He is still strolling around the pitch without even thinking about putting a tackle in or breaking sweat.

He did better in the second half, but he couldn't have been as poor as he was in the first.

By the way, how did you rate him?

Derek Thomas
45 Posted 25/04/2016 at 13:27:27
Daryl #8; To right, quite a few have remarked on his Kardashian Arse' We need to get an AFL fitness coach for both Ross and Rom, to change their over bulked body shape to leaner, stamina receptive shape. They will still be big enough to put themselves about, no wimps in AFL mate, as you know, these guys run about a full sized cricket oval like greyhounds.

But then again the whole fitness regime needs a revamp, you can have all the talent you like, but if you can't get up and down the field to use it...

The case of Israel Folau is and example, went from League to AFL to Union and changed his body mass/shape to suit...well they changed it for him.

Ray Roche
46 Posted 25/04/2016 at 14:21:19
Dave, for his first half performance, which wasn't good by any means, he was a 5 at best. But, if he's allowed to play the game he SHOULD be playing and which he did several times in the second half, picking the ball up running at defences and lifting his head to see a killer pass, he was probably a 7, but only for his second half efforts.

I thought Stones had a decent game, but Besic and McCarthy were woeful.

Stephen Ashton
47 Posted 25/04/2016 at 14:38:59
Dean (#43), I totally agree with your last two paragraphs.

Really interesting that not long after he missed the pen, Lukaku chased down a ball and really got in De Gea's face, it went for a goal kick but the whole end gave him an ovation.

Unfortunately that commitment has been all too rare this season.

Paul Tran
48 Posted 25/04/2016 at 15:25:01
Lukaku scores lots of goals. Barkley makes lots of assists (more than Payet). They're not the problem. The problem up front is the lack of alternative to Lukaku that would kick him up the arse/take the pressure off. The problems in midfield are the lack of balance, the number of players who can do half a job but not a full one and the over-reliance on the excellent, but ageing Barry.

No balance, no shape, players who appear unsure what they're meant to be doing. Why don't these journalists ask Roberto why the same squad could do all this two seasons ago but not now. What has that got to do with 'investment'?

Paul Smith
49 Posted 25/04/2016 at 15:40:14
My ratings as follows:

Robles 7 good game and is getting better more he plays
Besic 5 poor positionally but not a full back
Stones 8 my Man of the Match; very good, especially 2nd half
Jagielka 8 herculean effort on 1 leg
Baines 6 poor 1st half but a lot better 2nd
Lennon 6 his poorest game for a while
Gibson 6 too deep in 1st half but quicker passing is what's needed
McCarthy 6 poor 1st half got better 2nd when pressed higher
Cleverley 6 not seen 1st half better 2nd missed a good chance
Barkley 6 flashes of good but plenty of bad should of been replaced with 20 to go by Mirallas
Lukaku 7 had a great battle with Smalling, had plenty of chances which he would normally taken, touch let him down at important times and didn't fancy him with pen. Thought he worked harder than usual
Deulofeu 7 made good impact when he come on; I think this is his best role until he is fit enough to last 90 mins.

The tactics by ther manager were wrong again, sitting too deep and no pressure on the ball, but what's new? I feel the players took more control 2nd half, pressing a bit and winning ball higher up the pitch and breaking. If we started the match as we finished, we would of won but surely that's the last nail in RM coffin... I hope so. HEARTBREAKING AGAIN.

Dave Abrahams
50 Posted 25/04/2016 at 15:44:02
Ray (46) fair enough, I just think he should naturally want to do more than he does, but I don't know the lad's nature, he certainly isn't being trained properly and a new manager should improve his output and also his game.

He is definitely a much better player than he is looking at the moment.

Ray Roche
51 Posted 25/04/2016 at 18:13:24
Agreed, Dave, the lack of fitness at Everton is shameful, when you see Leicester running flat out for 90 minutes and we're blowing for tugs after an hour, in Deulofeu's case in particular, you know something's wrong.
And what's the point in bringing Mirallas on with 1 minute to go?
Dave Ganley
52 Posted 25/04/2016 at 18:20:24
To be honest Ross should be making assists as he is the only player in that position. There is precious little other options really. Ross is turning into a luxury player in my opinion. He should be an all action central midfielder... I guess a bit like Stevie Me was when he was Ross's age.

For some reason Ross is allowed to do no tackling, wander round when we don't have the ball in no mans land, never closes down and makes sure he jogs to a player as opposed to really harrying him in a 50/50 challenge. Now maybe these instructions come from Martinez, maybe it's Ross's decision and Martinez lets him get away with it, who knows. What is known is that Ross maybe contributes for perhaps 10 minutes a game, if that. Lukaku doesn't get away with this, Stones neither, why should Ross?

We are just not good enough to carry a luxury player. The position Ross plays is just too important for him to do nothing. Just closing down and being in the defenders face would be a start. At the moment there is just a great big hole where Ross should be and it's letting defenders just glide the ball out without any pressure.

Allied to that, he often tries to overplay and doesn't see the correct ball to play and also has stopped shooting in sight. Ross is not a kid anymore,he has been around the first team for 5 seasons now; he should be maturing now, not regressing and being overweight.

Now I realise its easy to sit in the stands and criticise and I take absolutely no pleasure in saying what I see; however, his lacklustre attitude is why the likes of Deli Alle is streets ahead of him at the moment. He is not putting the effort in and his scoring rate and assists should be so much higher considering he is the sole provider/foil for Lukaku.

I guess we all see things differently but in my opinion Ross hasn't really put it in for a full game for quite some considerable time and Im just desperate for a proper coach to get hold of him and turn him into proper midfielder and not just a player who plays for a brief period of time. He has all the attributes to be a top top player but is being wasted by his lazy demeanour.

Henrik Lyngsie
53 Posted 25/04/2016 at 18:41:30
Dave (#52), I agree with what you are saying regarding Barkley. One thing is that we can not carry a luxury player. But more importantly Barkley is not good enough to be a luxury player who does not tackle, track back or any defensive work at all.

I was watching Mahrez how he puts in some really hard work. If you work as little as Barkley you should be as good as Maradona. And although I like Barkley, he is nowhere near to be of that league.

I frankly don't understand why he is playing like that. I get the feeling it must be so much against his basic instincts just to let Carrick walk past him with the ball.

To compare look at Rooneys instincts. Even in a testimonial Rooney would make a sliding tackle against a 50-year one.

Whether it is down to the fact that Barkley is just like that, if it is the manager who instructs him or he just need a Roy Keane type of captain to get him going I don't know. But Barkley is so frustrating to watch. You think it could be so good if just...

Steve Alderson
54 Posted 25/04/2016 at 23:06:33
Barkleys problem us that hes a numpty. I remember being told a couple of seasons ago before I knew much about him that he's from Woolton and is fucking gormless.

Well I know a bit more now. About his instinctive talent. His great control , good passing and pretty decent shooting. But thick he is and it will always stop him from being the really top class player he's sometimes mistaken for.

Brian Wilkinson
55 Posted 26/04/2016 at 06:28:18
Since Martinezs appointment, we have seen players over rule Baines on free kicks and spot kicks.

Say what you like about Moyes, we never saw players taking the ball off Baines, when he was in charge, very rare we let a lead slip or players breathless after 75 minutes.

Moyes had his favourites, he was also too cautious, relied on has beens rather than youth.

I would not want the guy back, we need to aim higher and more ambitious plans n going for a top manager.

If Moyes was given til the rest of the season, I would take that over another game in charge by Bobby.

Anthony Dwyer
56 Posted 27/04/2016 at 00:38:47
Steve Anderson,

Ross is from Wavertree, not Woolton.

Paul Gascoigne, Diego Maradona, Peter Red, and only God knows how many other top class midfielders were think as shit.

I don't think this is what will stop Ross going to the very top, it's more likely to be that either his talent won't allow it, or his career choices won't.

His career path will be down to more than himself, he has family, friends and an agent who will guide his future to his managers, all of these people will affect Ross career, his IQ won't have shit to do with it.

Nothing personal mate, just a point I felt worth sharing ;-)

Alan J Thompson
57 Posted 27/04/2016 at 10:39:48
Barkley may well be "gormless" but he isn't the one who's just proved it.

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