Let’s start this post with some definitions of the title of this post. I am sure you will know where I am going with this soon enough.
Having no knowledge, understanding, or ability.
Dead or apparently dead. Devoid of living things.
Lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible
Starting With Clueless
Let’s start with Clueless. Lee Mason. Two decisions with in the space of 3 or 4 minutes of each other ultimately decided the result of yesterdays game. First, Leighton Baines was breaking through the Stoke backline, clear of any other defender than Jon Walters. The Stoke defender then pulled Baines back and checked his run. The referee correctly blew for a free kick and everyone (even Walters team mates) expected to see a red card. Nope yellow. Despite being clear through on goal, without a sniff of a covering defender the ref had decided it was not a goal scoring opportunity. Knob.
We didn’t have to wait much longer for the next mistake. Mirallas failed to beat the wall, for a change, and the ball broke to Bojan who sprinted with James McCarthey from his own half. McCarthey tracked him all the way but waited until in our box to make an sort of attempt to challenge. Bojan went down. Penalty.
Now cast your mind back a few weeks to the Etihad when Barkley received significantly more contact in the middle or the park and was yellow carded for diving? Consistency that.
Despite some knob in the stands shining a green laser in Bojan’s eye as he stepped up he put it right in the bottom corner.
The game was was pretty much over from there really.
Goodison this season has been like a cemetery, no positive atmosphere at all. It seems the only noise that does come is groans or boos. Now, I know that the results, and indeed performances this season haven’t been great, but I think back to the Royle, Walker and Smith days and we were awful, yet Goodison was always roaring. The proverbial 12th man, and I am sure it kept us up some years.
The style of football Martinez likes to play with slow build up from the back etc. doesn’t really help, but getting on the players backs does more harm than good in my opinion. A roar from the crowd after a great move, or hard tackles can make the players rise above a style imposed by the manager and encourages them to do more of the same. That being said, the manager and the players are not blameless here either. The Goodison crowd is not the only thing that is lifeless, our play is at present too. Having a style of play is one thing, having no plan B when it’s obviously not working is entirely another. There is nothing wrong with a more direct ball into the front 4 at times. We have players capable of holding it up and bringing players into the game. It also stretches the play as yesterday any time either Barkley, Naismith, Mirallas or Lukaku got the ball the Stoke defence had time to get 3 players around the player with the ball. Not many players in the world can do much with that level of attention every time they have the ball.
Playing a passing game is one thing but the way teams like Barcelona play it is to have players constantly moving to find space. Our play is static and horizontal at best, and tie that in with some woeful passing and awful crossing and it’s not hard to see why we are easy to play against at the moment.
This ties in with having no real plan B. Two of the changes yesterday were forced through injuries to Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka but the one tactical change the manager made was also incorrect in my opinion.
Samuel Eto’o has been good at times this year, but what he brought from the bench was always going to be more of the same of what we already had on the pitch, and indeed pretty much the same personnel that was booed a few weeks ago, with Eto’o, Naismith and Barkley all very similar.
For me the correct option would have been Kone, with two up top. That way we could go a little more direct and put some real pressure on the Stoke back 4. With the pace of Kone tied with the power of Lukaku Stoke would have been overloaded, with the presence of Mirallas and Barkley also a threat. The withdrawal of McCarthey was correct though as he had his worst game in an Everton shirt, and looked like he had been rushed back too soon.
I seem to be writing the same thing every week at the moment. The team needs balance, an input of pace in the middle and up front. The build up play is too slow and predictable. How we approach the next few games is going to define our season, but now is not the time to start questioning the manager. Things could be much, much worse, and have been in recent years to let’s all get behind the team when they return to Goodison for the FA Cup 3rd Round in January!
Come On You Blues!
Solo El Mejor!