It's the Hope that Kills You

By Steve Hogan 16/01/2016  0 Comments  [Jump to last]

There's a theme which keeps on repeating itself over and over again this season, and it doesn't show any signs of going away.

How can a team keep continuously shooting itself in the foot when in such a commanding position, and how much is down to the naivety of the young players involved, and how much is due to the DNA of the manager?

It's a question I'm not sure I know the correct answer to.

Without doubt this is the most talented squad I've seen in the last 10 years, and yet we seem fatally flawed at the same time.

2-0 up at Chelsea, why give the home team any glimmer of hope? Because that's what we did in the end, we opened the door and invited them through.

Whilst Jagielka was culpable for the first Chelsea goal in failing to clear, then I'm sorry but Tim Howard came racing out and completely missed the ball. Fine margins, Roberto may say, but the spectre of Tim Howard may come back to haunt the manager at the end of the season.

With Chelsea now pressing for the equaliser, the manager SHOULD have made the first change. Lennon whose contribution whilst on the pitch was minimal all afternoon, was dead on his feet after 55 minutes and should have been subbed much earlier.

Whilst Barkley, who I thought had a great game, was tiring visibly, and still causing the Chelsea defence problems with his direct running, to then sub him for Pienaar was an act of gross indecency.

What was Pienaar meant to do, stop the Chelsea revival from midfield? He's lightweight at best, and hardly played for 18 months, and his best days are behind him. An incredible decision to bring him on at that stage of the game.

It's this crazy indecision by Martinez with regards to team selection and substitutions that drives supporters barmy.

Time after time, match after match, the same old things are happening, and the main reason in my eyes why the manager will ultimately fail is simply because he's failing to heed any lessons from the last five months.

He simply lacks the ruthlessness to succeed at the highest level, and his own imprint and style is manifesting itself in the playing style of the team. He simply does not know how and when to close games down, ugly style.

The incredibly talented players he has at his disposal will soon become fed up with mid-table finishes and no prospect of European football, never mind Champion's League, and perhaps that factor is the most criminal of all as we see them drift away

Finally, I'll save my last comments for the match referee, Mike Jones, a referee of long standing. He falls into the 'Class B' category of Premiership referees – you will never see him referee the blue riband games ie Man United v Liverpool, Chelsea v Arsenal, simply because he lacks the big match persona of a Clattenburg or Mike Dean. He had ample opportunity to bring the game to a close when Everton had once again cleared the ball in the 98th minute, thus allowing additional time for the over-zealous Fumes Mori celebrations.

Instead, he was determined to grant Chelsea every opportunity to grab an equaliser and played a stupid amount of time 'added on' to the 'added on'. A homer, you bet, a coward at best. To cap it all, the goal was blatantly off side to boot

Not a good day, all in all.

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