Everton vs Chelsea

by | 10/09/2015  177 Comments  [Jump to last]
Match Preview

Bryan Oviedo is a doubt with a knee injury

With the preoccupation with and distraction of the transfer window now out of the way and the first international break behind them, Everton resume Premier League action in the televised lunchtime kick-off against Chelsea on Saturday hoping to add to Jose Mourinho's early-season problems.

While Manchester City, the club they deposed as Champions in May, are off to a perfect start with four wins in four, the Londoners sit in 13th place coming into the weekend having won just once so far, that a 3-2 victory at West Bromwich Albion three weeks ago. While they will have had a fortnight to mull over their home defeat to Crystal Palace in their last outing, Roberto Martinez will be hoping to prey on any lingering doubts and instability within the Chelsea camp.

The visit of the current title holders to Goodison Park for the first time since that dramatic 6-3 goalfest in August last year will, of course, be added extra spice by the John Stones affair, a dimension to the contest that will be impossible to ignore given Mourinho's relentless but ultimately futile pursuit of Everton's young defender. Goodison Park will be vibrating to the strains of a certain Beatles adaptation one Martinez jokingly said he sings in the shower in his pre-match press conference and BT Sport's presenters, pundits and commentators will surely make hay of a saga that will almost certainly resume closer to the opening of the January window.

Obiviously, the importance from the Blues' perspective is that Stones himself is able to maintain his focus in the manner in which he has largely been able to so far, particularly since news broke that he handed in a transfer request prior to the cup tie at Barnsley. The 21-year-old will likely need all of his precocious composure to rise above it all and keep his attention on the task at hand.

Martinez, meanwhile, will hopefully have spent the last two weeks formulating his plan to beat Chelsea for the second time since he took the Goodison hot seat. His hard-earned 1-0 triumph over Mourinho's men almost two years ago to the day marked his first win as Everton boss and there is no question that he would welcome a repeat of that result after losing home and away to them last season.

The Catalan's challenge will be to draw a more enterprising performance from his players than was the case against City on 23rd August. The creative attacking midfield presence that Blues fans were pining for before the transfer deadline never materliased so it will be up to the manager to experiment with his flair players to find the right ingredients in forward areas to create chances and score goals. In their last two Premier League games, Everton have managed just four shots on target and, predictably, scored no goals.

As the team's second-highest goalscorer last season and one of the standout performers in pre-season, Kevin Mirallas is seen by supporters as the obvious foil for Romelu Lukaku but he has made just one League start so far, with Arouna Kone getting the nod as a withdrawn second striker following his important contributions against Watford and Southampton in the first two games. Gerard Deulofeu, meanwhile, has only been given 11 minutes of action in the Premier League since he signed permanently over the summer but, like Mirallas, he showed how effective he can be in the 5-3 win at Barnsley in the Capital One Cup last month.

Martinez has shown a propensity for conservatism since his record-breaking first season in charge of Everton, though, and the presence of Aaron Lennon offers him an option that may be a compromise when it comes to creativity and star quality but combines width with industry. Though he lacks match sharpness he has been in full training since the start of pre-season and it would not be a surprise to see the deadline-day signing from Spurs named in the starting XI this weekend, perhaps with Kone switching to the left to replace the injured Tom Cleverley.

In midfield, James McCarthy is expected to be fit despite carrying a minor knee injury when he linked up with the Republic of Ireland for their two Euro2016 qualifiers. The 24-year-old played against Georgia this week and, like Seamus Coleman, should be cleared for selection to face Chelsea.

Bryan Oviedo is a bigger doubt, however, with the player set to undergo a late fitness test on his own knee complaint. Galloway has been sidelined since being forced off just before half time against Manchester City, while Oviedo played both games at left back in his absence but then withdrew from Costa Rica's squad over the international break. Martinez says that Oviedo will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness for Saturday but with Galloway fully fit he might not need to call on Ramiro Funes Mori who is on stand-by to make his debut if needed.

By his new manager's own admission, the Argentine will need some time to adapt to the physicality and pace of the Premier League which would make his selection against Chelsea something of a risk and there is something to be said for deploying the vastly more experienced Gareth Barry as an emergency left back instead.

As was the case before the City match, this is the kind of fixture in which Everton need to start making a statement if they have ambitions of challenging in the top five or six places this season. The game against Manuel Pellegrini's side was disconcertingly lacking in passion and fire and it's hoped that the edge to proceedings that the Stones situation will bring from the home crowd will create the kind of "bear pit" atmosphere which has helped carry the Blues to stirring victories over teams like this in the past.

With Thibault Courtois likely to be absent again through injury and Chelsea looking suspect at the back so far this season, there are vulnerabilities to exploit in the Champions' back line. If Martinez can inspire some energy, drive and attacking intent into his charges, the opportunity is there to achieve an important, morale-boosting victory.

Kick off: 12.45pm
Referee: Andre Marriner
Predicted Line-up: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway, Barry, McCarthy, Lennon, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku

Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Report

Reader Comments (177)

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Helen Mallon
1 Posted 10/09/2015 at 19:04:32
I mentioned on another post, if we are to get anything from this game Martinez has to deploy Besic if not banned, to man Mark Hazard. He is Chelsea's best player. If he's not got the ball he can't hurt us.
Jay Harris
2 Posted 10/09/2015 at 19:13:05
Pretty good summing up as usual Lyndon.

I would prefer not to go 3 at the back because Chelsea have a way op finding space on the wings and unless we are desperate I would not play Barry LB because he is liable to be roasted for pace and is a liability in the penalty area.

I would go 4-3-3 in this one hoping that Galloway or Oviedo are fit and then play McCarthy Besic Barry with Lukaku flanked by Lennon and Mirallas.

Bring Delofeu and Barkley on second half when they are tired..

Stephen Brown
4 Posted 10/09/2015 at 19:21:23
A win in this game sets us up really well! A loss and our start looks very average with tough games to come.

Come on blues make my weekend!

Eugene Kearney
5 Posted 10/09/2015 at 19:37:40
Come on lads......get in there and kick some ass.

We need to WIN this to get ourselves going properly....not another draw....beat the b#st#rds !!!!

Alan Bodell
6 Posted 10/09/2015 at 19:47:28
Helen #1, you know your stuff, Besic can take out any player after what he did with Messi and Hazard is their key to unlock us.
I want him to play for that reason alone at the expense of Barry or Jimmy Mac.
Glen Garrett
7 Posted 10/09/2015 at 19:50:31
I think that the team that should start should be as follows:

Coleman Stones Jagielka Oviedo
Deulofeu Barkley McCarthy Mirallas

This lot together & Everton can win with plenty attacking options all round the field & defending together as a team.

Andrew Presly
8 Posted 10/09/2015 at 20:09:03
Rest unassured: Besic won't start this one.
James Stewart
9 Posted 10/09/2015 at 20:09:23
I really hope that isn't the team that plays.

Coleman Stones Jagielka Barry
McCarthy Besic
Lennon Barkley Mirallas

Barry isn't going to offer much offensively but he would be a steady option at LB and we will need his height against the Chelsea bullies. Not the game for a half fit Galloway or Oviedo.

Mirallas and Lennon will offer plenty of speed on the counter and Deulofeu can come on once either starts to tire.

Craig Mills
10 Posted 10/09/2015 at 20:16:40
Big big game that Chelsea cannot afford to lose, they've looked nothing short of average so far this season and if Bobby gets his tactics right, we could make this a really uncomfortable afternoon for Mourinho's allstars.

Crystal Palace played it brilliant in their last game, they let Chelsea come into them and simply hit them on the counter, Mourinho must win at Goodison as they are falling way behind City already, they will have to attack, we should be patient and hit on the break like we did at Southampton. If we do all the pressing, they will pick through our defence with ease with the quality they have.

I'll take a snatch and grab 1 - 0 to the Toffee's !!

Doug Harris
11 Posted 10/09/2015 at 20:17:41
Besic is a liability and Chelsea will play to that. Personally his temperament has to be questioned and the manager in my opinion has reasoned it out: he needs to control himself. As much as I like the lad, sorry he is a red card waiting to happen.

By the way, I don't know what the answer is. He is a cracking player but the refs in the game now are looking for him.

Gerard Carey
12 Posted 10/09/2015 at 20:43:22
Would be brilliant to get 3 points here. Depends on RM getting his act together and play like we did against the saints.
Rob Halligan
13 Posted 10/09/2015 at 20:54:15
Why should Besic be suspended for this match? Sending offs in international matches has no affect on a players availability for domestic matches. So Besic is available for this weekend.
Paul Mackie
14 Posted 10/09/2015 at 21:33:43
Remember how after the Lescott saga we had a few years of consistently beating City at home? Yeah I hope that happens again here but with Chelsea. If Martinez hasn't got everyone fired up then there's no hope for him.
Jim Bennings
15 Posted 10/09/2015 at 21:39:36
My team talk before the game??


I'd seriously just show them all the soundbites that has come from Chelsea and it's deluded support base this past few months.

We need to WIN, our home form has been shite for too long!

Brent Stephens
16 Posted 10/09/2015 at 21:40:33
Tight at the back (not Galloway). Fast ball to Kone and Lukaku, long ball if necessary. Hit them on the break.
Jay Harris
17 Posted 10/09/2015 at 21:55:03
How dare they suggest we are a small club.

We will fight them on the beaches etc etc.

Mike Oates
18 Posted 10/09/2015 at 22:23:20
Palace beat them with fast counter-attacking football. We need Deulofeu and Lennon on the pitch otherwise we'll have no pace. We will miss Cleverley big time:

Coleman Stones Jagielka Galloway
McCarthy Barry
Deulofeu Barkley Lennon

And I'm still worried vs Chelsea's midfield, if we get overrun, I can't really see Deulofeu and Barkley getting a grip.

Darryl Ritchie
19 Posted 10/09/2015 at 22:40:18
I'd like to see a 4-1-4-1,

Coleman Stones Jagielka Oviedo
Deulofeu Kone Barkley Mirallas

Barry to play just in front of the CBs, to provide cover and kick start the forwards. Kone because his first touch on the long the ball from Howard is the best in the club. He, not Dom, was the target man last game.

The above line-up should give us defensive cover and a bit spark up front.

Sam Hoare
20 Posted 10/09/2015 at 22:43:51
Chelsea can't be as bad as they have been defensively so far.

Tough team to call but I think if Galloway is fit then his pace will give him the best shot at LB over Barry.

Depending on Lennon's fitness I think we may see him on right wing and Kone on left wing but I hope not as that would suit Ivanovic who I'd rather see Mirallas have a crack at.

Darryl Ritchie
21 Posted 10/09/2015 at 22:44:20
Rom not Dom....doh!
Chris Gould
22 Posted 10/09/2015 at 23:48:40
Daryl, I have concerns about your lineup. 4 midfielders (inc. Kone) who can't and won't defend, and Barry, who is too slow to cover for them. Never going to happen.
Darryl Ritchie
23 Posted 11/09/2015 at 00:06:24
Chris, you got a point there. Lose Barkley, add Jimmy Mac.
Graham Hammond
25 Posted 10/09/2015 at 00:20:33
Hi Chris. Yes, I agree with you, RM will never go with Darryl's line up. He will predictably go with Jimmy Mac despite the fact that on current form he does not warrant selection.

That second goal we conceded against Man City should tell anyone McCarthy is not a top defensive midfielder. We were toothless against City and lacked pace and bite and the ability to take the game to them after half-time.

Darryl's selection is brave, Deulofeu would be very keen to impress and would inject pace as would KM whose goal stats are impressive. Kone has been playing really well of late as has RB, similarly Barry is in a good vein of form too (apart from not being great against Spurs).

We had a right go at Chelsea last year and played well in parts, it was only the form of Howard and McCarthy that lost us the game (along with the very late Besic error).

Laurie Hartley
26 Posted 11/09/2015 at 00:32:49
I think we need Barry's experience in the middle of the park for this one. So for me it would be Galloway or Mori at left back.

Coleman if he is to play a part must have Lennon in front of him. I am hoping we field a team that can play 4-4-2 reverting to 4-3-3 on the break so my team would be:

Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Mori,
Lennon, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley
Mirallas, Lukaku.

I don't think anyone has mentioned it on this thread so far but it will be a real test of character for John Stones – which I think he will rise too.

I hope Goodison is on fire for this one – I have developed a very strong dislike for everything about our opposition this week – including their players.

Ciaran Duff
27 Posted 11/09/2015 at 00:43:15
Emotionally I'm with Jim (#14) but to get some objective perspective I often like to go to the betting sites - money talks etc.
Current W/D/L odds are $4/$3.50/$1.95.

Formation wise, it would be 4-3-3 for me.

Coleman Stones Jagielka (Oviedo/Galloway)
McCarthy, Barkley, Barry
Kone Lukaku Mirallas

Barkley has being playing very well so far from that deep position and should be suited to counter attack. Also, I think that Kone has done ok in recent games and would be good to start. I'd bring on Del Boy later on to shake things up.

Jackie Barry
28 Posted 11/09/2015 at 01:17:00
Coleman Stones Jagielka Oviedo
Deulofeu Barkey Lennon
Kone Lukaku

For me, Mirallas has looked about as useful as dried pritt stick recently. He needs to earn his place back. Lennon will or should be raring to go, and he also tracks back.

Jim Bennings
29 Posted 11/09/2015 at 07:21:53
I will be really hurt and actually quite disgusted with the boys if we put in a limp performance tomorrow.

As someone stated, it's a very similar scenario to the Lescott saga and that really riled David Moyes so much so that every time we played Manchester City it became almost a bigger game to him than the Merseyside derby!! I don't think City hardly beat us again under Moyes once that Lescott situation arose; obviously it's changed since Martinez has been here because the animosity isn't there anymore.

Let's hope Martinez really drives the fact home that we must rub Mourinho's nose into the mud whilst they are on their knees, they have had a bad start and frankly I think they are beatable... well, Crystal Palace proved that.

I want a passionate angry nasty performance from the boys tomorrow, I'll be hurt if I don't see it.

Jim Bennings
30 Posted 11/09/2015 at 07:25:00
Plus we need to start winning some games at Goodison.

We have had two this season, lost our last two at the end of last season and have won just FOUR matches at the Old Lady since mid-December!!

That's not good enough, it's got to start improving.

Eddie Dunn
31 Posted 11/09/2015 at 08:21:35
Barry must stay in midfield, but I would drop McCarthy and get Mirallas in from the start, with Deulofeu coming on for the last half hour. I fear though that we will start with the usual cautious line-up and we will be behind before we throw on our wingers.

This is an important game for us as well as them. At the moment five points from four tough games is OK, but after this home game we travel away twice to the Swans and Baggies. It's a bit like cricket, Boycott always says add two more lost wickets to the scoreline and things don't look so good.

We need to start winning at home, and Martinez needs to put some fire in the bellies of this team. I want them on toast and that ego-maniac/bully of a boss needs his ears perforating with Goodison's hatred.

Trevor Peers
32 Posted 11/09/2015 at 08:22:14
This is a game we need to get right defensively, pack the midfield and hit them hard on the break.

Lennon can be depended on to work hard and break with pace, get it wrong and they will pick us off with thier extra class man for man.

Colin Glassar
34 Posted 11/09/2015 at 08:29:21
Lawro has us down to lose so, I'm feeling a lot more optimistic now.
Phil Sammon
35 Posted 11/09/2015 at 08:30:17
I think what's more important is our mentality. Let them dominate possession and play to our strength: the counter-attack.

So basically the exact opposite of what Martinez will do.

Stuart Mitchell
36 Posted 11/09/2015 at 08:31:49
I think we should go after their slow and creaky defence.

Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Funes Mori
Barkley, Besic
Lennon, Mirallas, Deulofeu

Tons of pace, solid back 4 with Besic adding bite in the DM role, Barkley a bit deeper with space to drive forward.

Sam Hoare
37 Posted 11/09/2015 at 08:49:17
I was curious to read a reasonably written analysis of us from a Chelsea fan site. They talked about how the stats have us down as both creating some of the least shots this season but allowing nearly the most. Essentially we are ropey at defending and attacking which has the ring of truth to me!

I found this section about Martinez and Lukaku to sound familiar despite a faint echo of bitterness:

For a manager renowned and respected as a famously and vocally progressive tactician, Martinez has, in this writer's opinion, usually looked more like a footballing version of Don Quixote than the future Guardiola he is touted as. His attacking ideals have almost always come at the notable expense of defensive solidity and for someone who apparently pores over hours and hours of video footage every day, his team selections make very little sense.

For example, his commitment to dominating possession and keeping the ball on the floor seems not to match up with his single-minded use of Lukaku as a lone striker. Lukaku is, lest we forget, a man whose first touch makes Wayne Rooney's look like Dimitar Berbatov's. It's been hard not to look at Everton's this season and wonder how they've ended up with a team in which each player seems to work best in different styles and systems.

Dave Pritchard
38 Posted 11/09/2015 at 08:58:44
I thought that Oviedo was highly unlikely to play due to injury. Chelsea will see our left side as an area to attack, like City did. Who to play there is a massive decision, both full back and midfield. There are lots of possible combinations.

Maybe Galloway and Lennon or Galloway and Mirallas or Barry and Besic or Barry and Mirallas or Mori and Lennon or Mori and Besic or .....

None of these options fill me with confidence. Maybe we should just keep the ball down our right side for the whole 90 minutes.

Ray Roche
39 Posted 11/09/2015 at 09:10:19
I e-mailed the club on the 5th asking them to play "Can't Buy Me Love" just before Z-Cars to whip up the atmosphere, especially as Mourihno commented on the intimidating atmosphere when we've played them in the past and how it affected their team.

An automated acknowledgement but nothing else. Very surprising, don't you think?

Dave Pritchard
40 Posted 11/09/2015 at 09:26:43
They weren't very intimidated last year. I do hope we make it uncomfortable for them on the pitch tomorrow. They will be low in confidence and if we can get in their faces and score the first goal then I can see us getting the win.
David Booth
41 Posted 11/09/2015 at 10:21:07
How can anyone who saw Deulofeu at Barnsley not have him in the starting line-up - especially at a time when we're crying out for width and a more direct approach?

And likewise, how anyone would prefer Lennon to Mirallas leaves me speechless.

If he starts ahead of him I would feel every sympathy for Mirallas packing his bags. He must be baffled as to why he signed a new contract only to be potentially undermined by such an unnecessary signing.

Give Lukaku those two and Barkley to rush forward with and I'd be happy.

However, I fear we will see the usual Gerrard/Lampard... sorry, Barry/McCarthy axis flogged to death again in the vain hope that if it is perpetually persisted with, it will work. Then Deulofeu and Mirallas on the bench in favour of Kone and Lennon.

If that is the case, I hope we get what we deserve.

Please prove me wrong Roberto.

Ditch your favourites and go for it. Define this season. Don't let it be a carbon copy of the last one.

Dave Pritchard
42 Posted 11/09/2015 at 10:30:48
It is all about opinions, David. Deulofeu was effective as a sub at Barnsley but was also doubled over gasping for breath after some of his runs. He should be getting fitter now but I would still have him on the bench for this one and bring him on as and when we need to change things.

Mirallas on his day is almost unplayable but was pretty ordinary at Spurs. He is a frustrating player and you never quite know what he will bring. Lennon is not as gifted but works much harder. We'll see what Roberto decides as it is his decision that counts.

Ray Roche
43 Posted 11/09/2015 at 10:32:04
David, Martinez has already said that Lennon will be involved so make of that what you will. Start or sub? Jefferson Montero ripped Ivanovic to shreds in the draw with Swansea and Deulofeu is more than capable of doing the same. Width and pace is what we should utilise against Chelsea.
Tony Marsh
44 Posted 11/09/2015 at 10:38:56
I dislike Chelsea so much these days. The twats are nearly up there with the RedShite on a hatred level. I hate it when Chelsea are talked up as a big club which they are not. They are the 3rd club in London with a wealthy owner and shit fans.

The key to this game is playing on Ivanovic and deploying the counter-attack which we do so well. Let's give it too Jose and here's to Stones playing a blinder..

Ed Smith
45 Posted 11/09/2015 at 10:43:51
Has anyone got a link to Roberto saying that quip about singing in the shower?
David Booth
46 Posted 11/09/2015 at 10:52:19
Dave (40), I hear what you say, but in a contest between gifted and grafting, the former wins for me every time.

We are Everton. At home. Not Stoke scrapping for a point last Aston Villa.

This new-found focus of Roberto's on working hard, whilst admirable, is a worrying trend.

And marginalising TWO potential match-winners worries me greatly with the rest of the season stretching ahead of us...

But if he plays them both tomorrow, I will happily eat humble pie.

Charles McCann
47 Posted 11/09/2015 at 10:57:02
Would love to see Barry dropped as I believe he is the single biggest reason we are playing so badly. Hopefully Oviedo passes his late fitness test. team for me to start would be:

Coleman Stones Jagielka Oviedo
Lennon Barkley Besic Mirallas

This game is there for the taking if we defend well as a team and break quickly on the counter attack. Deulofeu and Kone are good options for last 20 minutes or so. A victory tomorrow would really kick-start our season.

Gerard Carey
48 Posted 11/09/2015 at 11:24:00
If we can't be fired up for tomorrow, we never will be. A win would be great to help us kick on. Be great to stuff a Sky 4 team.
Dave Pritchard
49 Posted 11/09/2015 at 11:39:37
Charles, I'm not saying that Barry is great but his performances this year have been better than McCarthy's.
Chris Wilson
50 Posted 11/09/2015 at 11:43:53
The emotions of this game are likely to be very high, and therefore I would avoid starting Besic against a team that are experts in the "gamesmanship" category. And though Besic and McCarthy would provide great legs in the midfield, neither of them are very good at distributing passes, or in maintaining positional discipline. So I think we would lose possession more often with them paired in the midfield. I know folks are down on Barry, but he can get the ball forward or find our wingers on the flanks. Not to mention that he is a bigger player, and we need him to help cover on set pieces.

In both matches at Goodison, Jose had Chelsea pressing up high, trying to force our backline into mistakes. Two years ago, we got through it; last season they tore us apart. In fact, we could easily have been down 2:0 in the first five minutes of the 2013 match which we won 1:0. Whomever our left back is will be targeted relentlessly, and my only worry in playing Mirallas on the left side, is that I don't trust him to provide adequate defensive help for the left back. Lennon would definitely do that, but he's not a natural left-sided player. And I don't like KM on the right side either, because he and Seamus Coleman get into eachother's way, and we definitely need a threat on the right side.

But maybe we should just screw it and put the pace on the pitch. Figure that Jose will have Chelsea attack us because they are desperate for the win, and I could see Jose thinking he needs to put us in our place for not allowing him to have Stones on the cheap. Chelsea will probably feel more comfortable away from home, and believe they can dictate the pace of this game. Plus, by pressing the attack, Jose might figure he can hide his weaknesses in central midfield and central defense, not to mention they'll be missing Courtois now.

We set-up for a counter-attack like we did against Man Utd. Go with Barry and McCarthy at defensive mid, Barkley in an advanced central midfield position so that he can run at Chelsea, then have Lukaku up top, with Mirallas at left mid/wing, and Lennon on the right. Hopefully Lennon and Coleman can handle Hazard. We try to force turnovers at the top of our defensive third, and when we get the ball – we break like the Jamaican 4x100 relay. Bring on Deulofeu for Lennon if necessary, Kone if we need 2 forwards, or Naismith if we want some graft.

The keys for us winning is to protect our left side, limit Chelsea's looks on goal, maintain our defensive shape, and don't get lured into their diving, ref surrounding, "Eleven Babies" bullshit. Ultimately, I feel we will need big games from Lukaku and Barkley if we are to stand a chance.

Dave Abrahams
51 Posted 11/09/2015 at 11:53:23
Chris (47) a lot of good points there, but if Galloway plays, he must have protection in front of him and also to pass to. Mirallis will not defend enough, although, if he plays, he could be the match winner; what an enigma.
Michael Williams
52 Posted 11/09/2015 at 11:53:47
I have a spare ticket in the Paddock if anybody is interested, call 07885738785.

I will have it with me tomorrow at the ground.

Ciaran Duff
53 Posted 11/09/2015 at 12:09:54
Good reasoned post, Chris. Not sure Lennon is ready to start a game though.
John Paul McGurk
54 Posted 11/09/2015 at 12:30:30
Dave (46) I completely agree with Charles. Barry in his first season was good; last season not good. Against Spurs he was terrible. At least James can run and isn't a yellow card waiting to happen.
Tony J Williams
55 Posted 11/09/2015 at 13:20:26
I like Besic and when he first came here he loved trying to move the ball forward quickly. It seems to have been trained out of him now and it's back to the 5-10 to me to you shite.

I would have him in from the start and clatter Hazard and stick on him being a right niggly little bastard, until it looks like he might be getting close to getting his marching orders, then change sides or take him off and the new fella do exactly the same.

I bet he will be chomping at the bit to make up for his fuckwittish start to the Premier League last season.

Kick them all over the pitch, but in a way that cards won't be shown.

Harold Matthews
56 Posted 11/09/2015 at 13:32:50
Tough but interesting game ahead. Both sides are very predictable and will know what to expect. Hopefully Stones has a good game because they will target him. Mourinho rates the lad but knows he still has lots to learn.

Matic v Barkley should be a treat. Ross will be free of Hodgson's reins and will give the big fella plenty to think about. Let's hope the ref gives him more protection than the guy at White Heart Lane where Dier was allowed to murder him for 90 minutes.

Peter Cummings
57 Posted 11/09/2015 at 13:52:09
The big danger to us will be if both Hazard and Costa are on form and we can deal with Ivanovic and Terry from set pieces, Most importantly, Lukaku must be in position to convert chances from crosses coming in from the wings provided by Deulofeu and/or Coleman especially with the news that their goalie is out.

The outcome of the game is hard to predict: a draw would suffice; three points would obviously be better but if we play as we did v City and they play as well as they can we will be in trouble, We can never trust 'officials' these days and Marriner is fond of handing out cards so I won't be surprised if a penalty is given, even a red, by him.

The game starts here (Canada) at 6:30 am so me and the lads will be out of our pits on time to scream for a win, COYB.

Brian Cleveland
58 Posted 11/09/2015 at 14:17:47
If results haven't been good at Goodison it's because the crowd have got on the players' backs early on when things aren't going swimmingly. It's not without reason that it is happening as we're all bored shitless with crab football, and the negativity is more directed at the manager than the players, although the result is that the players get it in the ear when they're on the pitch... so to help the players out they need a bit more moral support. Hopefully with the Stones saga whipping things up to a frenzy the crowd will be more motivated from the start and help our guys along. So those of you going, get those voices into song mode, support our lads and intimidate Chelski, whatever the team selection, even if it's Barry at CF and Lukaku DM!


Frank Crewe
59 Posted 11/09/2015 at 15:20:00
For those who are naming sides that don't have Barry in it are just wishful thinkers. RM always goes for experience.


Coleman Stones Jags Oviedo (if fit)

McCarthy Barry (as always)

Kone Barkley Lennon


Now it may well be that at some point we may see Mirallas, Delboy, even Runes Mori. but I'll be very surprised if they actually start. I'd still like to see Rodrigues on the bench though. Keep Lukaku on his toes.

Brian Porter
60 Posted 11/09/2015 at 16:00:48
No Kone, please. He's not done enough to justify starting against the champions, ffs. Play Mirallas and Lennon from the start and hit them with pace, then introduce Del Boy at half-time to run the legs off 'em.
Dave Pritchard
61 Posted 11/09/2015 at 16:11:20
Kone has been one of our better players this season so must be in contention to start.
Mike Gaynes
62 Posted 11/09/2015 at 16:17:40
Any lineup that includes Besic is a no-go for me... I love his effort and ferocity, but aside from the risk of bad fouls in bad locations, the man creates absolutely nothing going forward and turns the ball over when he tries. And losing the ball to Chelski in the middle of the field is a very good way to find yourself picking it out of your net ten seconds later.

Frank (#56) is right... no way Roberto sits Barry for a game like this, much as many of us would like to see it.

And just noting the irony... who would have guessed just a couple months ago that what looked like our deepest position would turn out to be our biggest worry? We had FOUR left backs... now having to contemplate the possibility of an "emergency" Barry there. Crazy.

Brian Harrison
63 Posted 11/09/2015 at 16:29:45
I am not sure which side RM will select but if the last couple of games are anything to go by, he will have Lukaku up front with Kone on the right and either Mirallas,Lennon or Deulofeu on the left. When you have a centre forward who is so inept in the basics of keeping control of the ball, it makes the game very hard. His movement is shocking and for such a big man he is easily out muscled. You would think with 3 very pacy wingers we would be looking to hit teams on the break using there pace. But by the time the back 4 have passed it between themselves the opposition are back in position making a quick break impossible.
I hope that I am wrong and that we play a fast attacking game, seeing Chelsea aren't blessed with a lot of pace at the back. But I fear it will be passionless possession football which constantly breaks down round the opposition box without a shot fired in anger.
James Stewart
65 Posted 11/09/2015 at 17:07:39
@59 Don't buy that at all. We improved last season with Besic in the side. His passing is a damn sight more forward thinking than McCarthy who offers virtually nothing in the opposition half and not much defensively either on present form.

I hope Barkley has another good game he has really stepped it up this season all credit to the lad.

Tony George
66 Posted 11/09/2015 at 17:08:02
I've no doubt that Frank @ 56 has nailed Roberto's pick for tomorrow. I hope that Oviedo will be fit for action as he's becoming a bit Gibsonesque. Otherwise Galloway or the new guy.

Tactics will be interesting as Chelsea do look a bit more vulnerable this season and I'm sure Jose will want to steal the limelight from his team.

PS. Good to be debating football again instead of bloody Kenwright !

Brent Stephens
67 Posted 11/09/2015 at 17:36:58
Oviedo doubtful apparently.
Brent Stephens
68 Posted 11/09/2015 at 17:40:18
Fat fingers. Meant to say as Oviedo is doubtful, Galloway may well get the call if fit but I'd be wary of playing him.
David Greenwood
69 Posted 11/09/2015 at 18:06:53
Let the boys off the leash Bobby. Give us a performance like Arsenal at home from a couple of seasons back. They are very fragile all over the pitch and on the side lines at the moment, what an opportunity.
James Marshall
70 Posted 11/09/2015 at 18:08:44
Has anyone else noticed we have the same points after 4 games as we did last season? I hope that's not a bad omen.

I have a feeling tomorrow will be a cagey, tight, potentially incendiary affair with chances at a premium. A one-goal-game or 1-1 I reckon.

Possibly a game decided on a penalty or free kick. I can't see it being anything like the 6-3 game.

We need a cracking atmosphere, poisonous as far as the visitors are concerned would be ideal. Make the Old Lady a bear-pit for the afternoon and give em hell from minute 1.

Really wish I could be there tomorrow, and despite feeling like shit with a cold I'll be shouting from 6000 miles away and I really would love to see us turn them over.

Mike Gaynes
71 Posted 11/09/2015 at 18:45:55
James #61, you've obviously seen a different Besic. The one I've been watching hasn't a clue in the offensive third of the field. Aside from having scored exactly one goal in his entire adult life (155 senior appearances), he has a grand total of three shots on target in an Everton shirt and has zero assists as far as I know. In fact, I've never once heard anyone use the phrase "great ball from Besic!" Not once.

Yes, Besic is a sensational ballwinner, but "forward thinking"? Sorry, but Hibbo is a better passer and even Tim Howard has a better strike rate.

Andy Crooks
72 Posted 11/09/2015 at 19:20:44
Tomorrow we can really hurt Chelsea. We can almost kill their title challenge. We can have their chav fans calling for the head of their toddler coach. I have not wanted us to win a game so much in years. We can define our season and fuck them over. It is down to Martinez.

He can select a side to run them ragged and give it a go or, he can display the timid shite that is his hallmark. I expect us to be up for this more than any game in years. This is it for the coach, motivate, inspire, attack and get Goodison alight. This is it. We can't beat the money consistantly but we can do now and again, tomorrow we must.

Darryl Ritchie
73 Posted 11/09/2015 at 19:32:15
A win tomorrow is the result I'm hoping for, but if it doesn't happen, I would much prefer a 4-3 barnstormer to 1-0 yawner. Win or lose, I hope we take it to them and provide a bit entertainment.

Mind you a 1-0 boring win is a completely different kettle of fish.

Darryl Ritchie
74 Posted 11/09/2015 at 19:44:13
And a 3-0 win, just might get their manager fired...wouldn't that be sweet!
David Greenwood
76 Posted 11/09/2015 at 19:46:33
Has happened before in recent history Darryl. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
Frank Crewe
77 Posted 11/09/2015 at 20:14:09
We had all this build up before the Citeh game. Look how that turned out. They'll be up for it. Lose and anything more than an outside chance of retaining their title will be gone. Win, especially if Citeh don't, and they'll be right back in the running so it's not going to be easy.

As far as I'm concerned a win by any score will be great and a draw will be more than acceptable.

Eddie Dunn
78 Posted 11/09/2015 at 22:18:03
Mike (#67), come on, remember away at Paderborn? Besic was taking the game to them, passing rather well. He has got it in his locker, but Roberto has hidden the key.

What is going on? Mirallas must be wondering why they wanted him to stay, and Deulofeu must be desperate to continue his Barnsley form. Now we have Lennon also contesting for the wing places, but of the three, Martinez is most likely to plumb for Lennon because of his ability to work hard and cover his full back.

I hope Martinez is proactive and tries to win the game from the off. I don't want us fiddling about as the game drifts away, with one of the fliers getting 6 mins at the end, after Naismith replaces Kone!

Tim Wardrop
79 Posted 11/09/2015 at 22:28:04
Always amazes me when I see people put their teams out and they don't include Mirallas (I'm including Bobby's ACTUAL teams that he's playing). He's one of our best players and should play every week, when fit.
David Booth
80 Posted 11/09/2015 at 22:48:10
Eddie (73): great minds think alike.

If we develop into a team where Naismith, Lennon, Kone and Barry/McCarthy are the first names on the teamsheet, it's time for Robertotogogo.

Tony Dove
81 Posted 11/09/2015 at 23:02:35
We did not get one yellow card in the Man City game. If that is repeated tomorrow the result will be the same.
Jon Cox
82 Posted 11/09/2015 at 23:58:28
Peter Cummings, your Everton house is my Everton house. You wanna watch Everton, Get your arse over to Engerland.

You are welcome at my house FOC. If you've never seen EFC then let me help.

I love geezers from other countries that have never seen EFC live and i'll do anything to adress
that balance. Breakfast of course is Sausage Toast, poached egg (and don't forget black pudding)

3-1 if that guy called our manager has his head right, i.e. he goes for wingers... But then,

I love fairytales......


Andy Crooks
83 Posted 12/09/2015 at 00:13:55
Good stuff, Jon.
Dave Southword
85 Posted 12/09/2015 at 01:28:19
I'd like to see Mori with Mirallas in front. Nothing fancy from Ramiro, just cover your position and give the ball to Kev. Don't expect it back.

If he goes with Galloway, then Lennon in front to help provide cover. Ditto Barry at left back.

Mike Gaynes
86 Posted 12/09/2015 at 02:58:12
Eddie #73 and Tim #74, definitely agree on Mirallas... not sure we can make the same call on Geri starting based on 11 minutes, but I'd love to see more of him. It'll surely be Lennon to start, however.

Eddie, I hope Roberto buried that locker key. In concrete. I assume he got tired of seeing the counterattacks that resulted from Besic trying penetrating passes that he simply lacks the skill to pull off. I think the lad has a great future with us if he sticks to simply winning the ball and then giving it off to someone who knows what to do with it.

Brian Wilkinson
87 Posted 12/09/2015 at 05:01:27
An early goal by Everton and the old lady will shake to its foundations,

Get that early goal, we have a chance, Everton need the fans to be in full voice.

Joses teamtalk will be, be patient, force Everton into mistakes, silence the Everton fans, frustrate them, then take control of the game,

If our fans are in top voice and get right behind the team, I fancy every Everton player to raise their game and come away with three points.

Colin Glassar
88 Posted 12/09/2015 at 08:54:09
I can see this being a scrappy, ill-tempered 1-1 draw with both managers seeing red.
Jim Bennings
89 Posted 12/09/2015 at 09:15:42
It's also very important to put in a solid 90 minutes of football, just having a good 45 minutes won't be enough to beat Chelsea or any top team, as we found against Manchester City.
Dave Abrahams
90 Posted 12/09/2015 at 09:28:45
I keep hearing the calls for Mirallas; yes, he can be a matchwinner seven or eight times a season. He can also play, like he did at Spurs the other week, 20 times a season, useless; never cares if he plays or not.

If he plays like he cares, he's very good; too often he plays like he couldn't be bothered.

John Raftery
91 Posted 12/09/2015 at 09:44:23
Ray - 36. I think you can rest assured Can't Buy Me Love will be played just before the teams come out.
Alan Bodell
92 Posted 12/09/2015 at 10:42:57
John, if it is played anytime then Maureen will appeal to the FA for a charge against us and if it is played then Ray... take a bow son, take a bow.

Got to beat these no-mark come-latelys....COYB.

Barry McNally
93 Posted 12/09/2015 at 10:58:36
I'll eat my hat if they play Can't Buy Me Love!
Martin O'Sullivan
94 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:08:10
Right. A match after the international break. At home. Against the Champions.

Not a disastrous start to the season. Chelsea are struggling to gain form. Stones plays against the team he was prevented from joining. Can't you feel the excitement? The exhiliration? The tension? No, neither can I...

The atmosphere's flat throughout the club: owners(?), management, squad, match-going fans, internet warriors. We're a club in the doldrums.

Dave Pritchard
95 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:12:43
Barry, no need for the club to play it. The fans will do it for them. Hope that then leads on to massive support for the team throughout the game which should mainly be just that - support for the team not vitriol against the opposition. I'll have no problem with a 'you're getting sacked in the morning' when we're 3-0 up with 5 minutes to go though.
Eric Myles
96 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:13:52
John #85, in the immortal words of that ex-redshite, I would love it, just love it, if they did that.
David Greenwood
97 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:21:59
Goodison will be rocking. You can guarantee that Maureen will have told his players to kill the atmosphere. The first tackle, challenge, even Blue near one of them will lead to the Chav kidding on he is injured and about a minute and a half wasted on a non existent injury.
Martin Mason
98 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:38:30
I desperately hope that we can pull of a result or at least give the level of performance that can give us hope. I hope I'm wrong with my predictions too but I think we'll lose a tight game based on if they are going to come good after a series of bad performances then it will probably be against us.
Adam Luszniak
99 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:42:06
For me, this game hinges on Lukaku, as do most games. He is the one player we can't afford to have misfiring because he's the one most likely to score. Games like Southampton it seems like he has excellent touch, control and power to turn and drive through defenders.

Then again, sometimes the ball bounces off him and we concede possession. More than any other player in the team Lukaku is the one we need on form today. Chelsea will not be shit all season and the international break has taken the pressure off slightly. My team would be:

Coleman Stones Jagielka Oviedo
McCarthy Barkley Barry
Deulofeu Lukaku Mirallas

The advantages I see in this formation are that we are playing with two defensive midfielders to offer protection to the back four, with Ross sat deep in between them. Ross seems to perform better with space to drive in to in front of him. We have two wide players who should be instructed to stick to the touch line and make space for Lukaku in the middle. Best of all, if we can break, and there should be opportunities to do so against Chelsea, then we can have Barkley and the front 3 tearing forward at their defence.

The other thing I think will be key to this game is pressing. It's something we don't really employ to good effect. Chelsea must neve be allowed to settle. The atmosphere will hopefully help in this. For me that's why we need Deulofeu and Mirallas on because I don't think high energy pressing is part of Kone's game, despite his other decent qualities which have become apparent this season.

James Morgan
100 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:50:29
No wingers! Martinez has shit his pants. What a wuss.
Neil Wood
101 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:51:23
What's the line up James?
Ian Robert
102 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:52:58
Back 4 with Galloway, Barry, Besic, McCarthy. Barkley... Kone and Lukaku.
Neil Wood
103 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:54:43
Swop Kone for Del surely!!! FFs .

Oh well here goes....

Please Do it today boys.

Kunal Desai
104 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:54:54
3 defensive midfielders?! Fuck me.
James Morgan
105 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:54:58
Talk about compact. No width at all against full backs that are on poor form. Don't get it.
Ciaran Duff
106 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:55:36
Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Galloway, Besic, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley, Lukaku, Kone.


Neil Wood
107 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:56:10
Have faith, James!!!!
Adam Luszniak
108 Posted 12/09/2015 at 11:59:13
Looks like 433?
Neil Wood
109 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:00:11
You see, I don't actually mind it so much; however.... I desperately want to see Deulofeu or Mirallas brought on whilst there's still time, and a scoreline to enable them to be effective.

If his plan is keeping it right for 60 minutes and then bringing them on with 30 to go, I can live with that.

What angers me is seeing Deulofeu waiting to come on at 83 minutes.... Pointless

Ian McDowell
110 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:00:22
It looks like a similar system we employed at Stamford Bridge last season when we played well only to lose late on.
David Greenwood
111 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:02:19
Besic is there to man mark Hazard. He will be all over him.
Ben Jones
112 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:02:59
I think Barkley might be the central striker, with Lukaku on the right and Kone in the left.

Bit like how we beat Arsenal last year when Naismith was the central striker.

If so, I like the look of the team, I'll be less convinced if Barkley is playing on one of the wings.

Paul Graney
113 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:03:28
So let's get this right: all teams that's played against Chelsea this season have been positive and got rewarded and at the moment they are vulnerable So what does Martinez do? Picks 3 defensive midfielders with no width whatsoever. Very negative team which looks like we're playing for a draw; very disappointing.
David Chait
114 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:06:26
So between Barkley, Kone and Lukaku.. They have to beat Chelsea. The rest of the team are there to defend.
Ciaran Duff
115 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:06:49
Maybe Barry to give more cover on the left for Galloway?
Agree with Neil. If it's to keep it tight and then bring on Del/Kev later then not too bad.
Dean Adams
116 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:08:44
Prepare to win Bobby, not this crappy 'stop them playing' shit that you seem to be fixated on. Bullshit lineup again, no width and no attacking intent. Oh well, prove me wrong, if you can!!!
Karl Jones
117 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:09:53
Left side is really weak. We'll do well to get anything out of this today. Also, no width despite having four wingers. What's that all about?
Alan Ross
119 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:13:19
Looks like the full-backs will be in for a busy day. Nothing on the flanks to halt Chelsea's raids. I would have expected this away not at Goodison. A side to concede possession as far as I am concerned. The one occasion when the Goodison cauldron would have come into effect with Chelsea's shenanigans over the summer but I fear the lack of possession will reverse this. Lets hope Howard is at his best.
Rahul Sreekumar
121 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:14:05
Other than Funes Mori, there is no other defender on the bench today.
Mark Tanton
122 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:14:25
Glad to see Besic in, I think he might add some much needed urgency and bite. He has a tendency to snap at his limited first chances though, so I hope he can be composed.
Ciaran Duff
123 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:16:35
Hope someone takes Besic's chewing gum off him before he plays.
David Hallwood
124 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:16:52
Obviously Besic's on to follow hazard to the toilet he should've done that with Silva. But obviously we ain't going for all out attack.


David Booth
125 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:17:26
What sort of fucking team is that??????

No Mirallas, who must regard re-signing as THE biggest mistake of his professional career.

No Deulofeu. What does he have to do after Barnsley?

THREE defensive midfielders.

And now the new Barry/McCarthy try, try and try again principle... and keep on trying until it works again with Kone alongside Lukaku. That, in itself, is fine - but where the fuck is the supply coming from???

Not normally prone to swearing, but this is TOO much.

And if he brings Lennon and Naismith on, I will fervently join those who have had enough of him.

Anthony Jones
126 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:18:49
Wingers all on the bench. We have no width whatsoever, against 2 top wingers. Coleman and Galloway won't get out of our half. Cowardly line up. Gutted.
Nick Entwistle
127 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:20:42
He was a Cleverley away from a Walter Smith line-up.
David Booth
129 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:23:02
Three wingers on the bench and not one in the team.

Never mind, I'll push Kone and Barkley out wide...

Brilliant Martinez.

Clearly, last season WAS the indicator of what sort of manager you really are.

Clueless, cautious, shithouse team today, from a clueless, cautious, shithouse manager.

Adam Luszniak
130 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:23:33
Interesting line up. Has Martinez got something up his sleeve?
Anish Dosani
131 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:23:58
What kind of pathetic line up is that! They'll destroy us with their pace our wide.

One of our defensive centre mids will at least get a yellow card or worse trying to contain their pace

Mr Brown shoes lost again, dick he has.

Milos Milenkovic
132 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:24:10
We haven't scored in last two games, created almost zero chances and new plan is to play with 3 defensive midfielders. I really hope that we go down 0:3 before half time. Playing with Barry-McCarthy is awful and to add to that Besic means you should never ever manage Everton Football Club.
Liam Reilly
133 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:24:48
How many fucking wingers in our squad and None of them start.

Mirallas should be starting this game. Koine can t play on the right.

Richard Reeves
134 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:26:55
What a fantastic day this is turning out to be, it's probably to much to ask for a win but a draw would do me, come on Corbyn!... ahem.. I mean Everton.
Neil Monaghan
136 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:31:38
Team selection doesn't make sense, unless it's a 4-3-1-2 formation, but knowing our Bob, it'll be Kone and Barkley out wide. COYB's let's be lucky today.........
Santosh Benjamin
139 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:36:25
Just when I thought that Roberto couldnt get worse with his team selection, he proves me wrong. 3 defensive midfielders and no wingers? Kone selected over the 3 wiingers... defensive line up is an understatement... even Osman out wide on the left would have been tolerable....just when Barkley was looking good in his best role behind the striker.
Neil Monaghan
142 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:39:21
I think it is a 4-3-1-2 formation, Barkley playing behind the two strikers and width coming from full backs.
Chris James
143 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:41:14
Besic, Barry and McCarthy + no wingers in the starting line up = Martinez out for me.

Moyes would've been crucified for this sort of approach, but he at least earned the right and had a team that could defend.

This is just absolute nonsense.

Victor Jones
144 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:43:10
Our very own brand of "wingless wonders" today. Let's hope that Lukaku can do a Geoff Hurst.
Jackie Barry
145 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:44:48
Problem is Moyes would have done exactly the same thing too, why is it that we have to have spineless managers. Pity.
Chris Wilson
146 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:45:20
Wow. Well, I'm surprised and disappointed. I try to give Roberto the benefit of the doubt on his team selection because I figure that he has information about the boys that we don't. I'm trying to do that with now, but I am not a fan of this team.

He must figure that Chelsea are going to come at us like a bat out of hell, because this looks almost too defensive. I don't like it when there is no natural width or pace. It's almost like he is over-correcting for the 6:3 match from last season.

Nitesh Kanchan
148 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:48:25
We are doomed if they score first.
Chris Wilson
149 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:49:19
Aaaaaand Besic is down. Really?
David Booth
154 Posted 12/09/2015 at 12:54:16
And here comes Naismith.

Welcome to Wigan Lite.

Only one way with this manager and one in which he is well-versed. DOWN!

Chris Williamson
158 Posted 12/09/2015 at 13:04:26
Some of you guys.... Do you wear placards saying "the end is nigh?"
Mike Powell
166 Posted 12/09/2015 at 15:31:04
Come on you mighty blue boys.

David Booth – sort your head out.

Go on, Naismith!

Michael Kenrick
167 Posted 12/09/2015 at 16:33:12
"If we develop into a team where Naismith, Lennon, Kone and Barry/McCarthy are the first names on the teamsheet, it's time for Robertotogogo."

So sick of all the rabid roumor mill nonsense about players we need but have missed out on...

So I love it, I just love it when the players we actaully have on the roster shove it right back up faithless fans who come out with utter crap like this.

All the players you finger, Mr Booth played splendid roles in a fantastic win today. Where would you like your humble pie delivered?

Michael Kenrick
168 Posted 12/09/2015 at 16:39:51
"I really hope that we go down 0:3 before half time."

What a shameful, disgusting post, Milos. I don't understand how any Evertonian could come out with such utter garbage.

Keith Glazzard
169 Posted 12/09/2015 at 17:06:25
Interesting stats today. 40:60 possession, not too good for a home team, but acceptable. Shots, 14:15, but on target - 9:2. Nine on target. Us!! And limiting them to only one more than their good but ... goal speaks volumes. Is Roberto learning?
Solo lo mejor es lo bueno.
0r, in Catalan
No mes el millor es prou bo.
Brent Stephens
170 Posted 12/09/2015 at 17:13:18
Great to run through the early posts here, crap selection etc etc. Come on lads, what say ye now? One of my pre-game posts was full of fear for Galloway - well what an excellent game the lad had. Can't be more pleased for a new prospect. And that Funes Mori - just a few minutes on but such promise.
Aidan Trimble
171 Posted 12/09/2015 at 17:14:02
Some disgraceful comments on here. Some of you clowns need to have a long look at yourselves. Wanting your team to lose just to make a petulant point about the manager is truly pathetic. We bossed that game and Martinez' selections and tactics were completely justified.

If you were half the fans you think you are, you'd be on here now holding your hands up and shovelling humble pie down your miserable throats quicker than you can swallow it.

Somehow I can't see it happening, and that's to your eternal shame.

Jay Harris
172 Posted 12/09/2015 at 17:15:11
Keith it seems the less possession you have the more chance of winning these days.
Mike Gaynes
174 Posted 12/09/2015 at 18:55:04
Michael K... at least Chris James held his hands up and ate the pie on the Forum. Did David Booth do the same?
Dave Arrow
175 Posted 12/09/2015 at 19:51:06
On the Pendalino back from the Game, basking in the glory of the performance and the plaudits in the media.

Then I thought I'd check out TW to see what's being said.

All the bile and negativity is coming from those who don't go the game. I guess that's a blessing of sorts.

Unbelievable comments before a ball had been kicked.

RM got it spot on today. The attitude was good the formation was robust and we didn't buckle under pressure.

Also, can we have a fly by every week. 2 so far, 6 goals and 6 points.

Oliver Molloy
176 Posted 12/09/2015 at 20:16:56
The first thing Steven Naismith did when he came on was let Ivanovic know he was on the pitch in no uncertain terms.

I have said it before and will do so again, if most of our team had the same attitude that Naismith brings when he plays we would win more than we lose, let's put it like that.

John Stones showed today he is pure class and is going to get better which means Everton are in a win win situation. Overall, the team played really well against a side packed with very talented footballers.

There are some idiots (sorry editors) on here who know sweet FA, slagging off the team when the match had hardly begun, slagging off the manager for bringing on Naismith. People saying I hope we are three-nil down at half time, really stupid comments. The same people now trying to make fun of it now, how can you judge anything in 10 minutes? Fucking disgrace you all are.

And to those who thought we were mad not to take 8 million quid from Norwich for Naismith, he rammed that where the sun don't shine didn't he! Well done Naismith, over the moon for you with your hat-trick, good footballer and one decent guy.

Mourinho was classless in defeat and everyone knows it, Jose!

Brent Stephens
177 Posted 12/09/2015 at 20:20:29
Chelsea fans forums a treat to read at the moment. In meltdown about the Classless One.
David Booth
178 Posted 12/09/2015 at 20:30:38
My team won 3-1, so will very happily eat as many portions of humble pie as are put in front of me.

However, despite my (lack of), surprise at you being double quick to be at the head of the queue to serve it up Mr Kenrick, I defy you to honestly say you would have picked Besic, Kone and then Naismith and Lennon before one or both of Deulofeu or Mirallas.

Ironically, two overhead banner flights have co-incided with our two most impressive performances of the season, so long may that apparently inspiring airborne criticism continue.

Perhaps, as a long-standing critic of the 'Kenright regime' then Mr Kenrick, you might care to have a go at those who paid for them too? Hmmmmm, maybe not...

Football is all about opinions and one only has to look at the numerous suggested teams proposed on here before every game to see that a consensus is rarely achieved.

However, I do believe there is a consensus on Martinez' tactics and selection - with his worrying propensity to begin playing favourites under any circumstances and a trend towards 'workaholic' players such as Barry AND McCarthy (counting them as a single entity here), Lennon, Cleverley, Kone (who he employs 'grafting' on the wing) and today's man-of-the-moment, Naismith.

So please allow me to expand and clarify.

First and foremost I am most certainly NOT one of the many habitual whingers, moaners & pessimists on here. Quite the reverse in fact. But please don't go to the trouble of spending hours going back and extracting odd sentences to prove me wrong. We all have a go at times and I have had a few constructive observations on team selection and our apparent psychology this season.

Neither do I want to get into a slanging match with any fellow Evertonian.

I expressed my opinion today and I was proven wrong by the result. It is, and was, nothing personal.

I am, and always have been, an optimist. But I like to think I am a realist too and believe that we currently have the most gifted squad we have had for 30 years, with talent and depth in every single position.

What concerns me, latterly, is that despite all this fabulous raw material at his fingertips, our manager seems to become more cautious and deferential to the opposition with every passing game. Favourites on the team sheet no matter what. A dogged, almost 'damn you' attitude about playing two (or today, three), defensive midfielders. No width. Square pegs consistently in round holes, especially on the flanks. And an increasing preference for graft rather than gift.

If that's the Everton you want, then I do not share your enthusiasm.

I thought we'd get rolled over today and I was wrong. And to compound that, Naismith scored a great hat-trick.

But to some extent, that illustrates my point about playing players in their right positions.

Naismith is a consumate finisher and his enthusiasm, energy, movement, aggression (which clearly unsettles defences) and instinctive goal-scoring ability merits him a place in certain games.

What worries me about him and the others I have also mentioned, is that they are being drafted into the team to be jacks of all trades: scurrying from box to box and with almost a greater focus on defending than attacking. That's not the Everton way is it?

How much more effective would they - and the team - be if they were played strictly in the positions in which they excel?

This season has shown that Lukaku needs more support and Naismith can sometimes provide it - if he's played as an inside forward, not a wing back!

Then there's Kone. He helped us grab a vital equaliser against Watford and was instrumental in our great win at Southampton, but was subsequently dire against Man City and Spurs, when we played him as a winger. Dare I suggest he wasn't any more eye-catching or influential today either?

If we need a winger, then for god's sake, play a winger. We have plenty of them on the books after all? And if we're playing someone else like Cleverley on the other wing too, then play two wingers instead. Stop selecting favourite players just to get them in the team somehow. That is the nub of what I am saying.

So please keep my earlier frustration (and swearing... sorry ladies and children), completely in the context it was intended.

My contention is with the overall strategy Mr Martinez seems to be settling on nowadays, not with my team, or any of my fellow contributors on here and their perfectly entitled opinions.

We got a handsome win today, against a very off-colour Chelsea team.

However, if you think that starting line-up will both sustain and improve us for the next 33 fixtures, I don't agree.

Before anyone hangs, draws and quarters me though, please bear in mind that, like investments, your opinions can go right or wrong on here too.

And that is just mine...

Mike Childs
179 Posted 12/09/2015 at 20:33:04
What a treat to come home after work and watch that match. I'm still awed I think the magic is back. "Money can't buy you Stones". They ought to put it on a record.
Brent Stephens
180 Posted 12/09/2015 at 20:53:56
David #148 "if you think that starting line-up will both sustain and improve us for the next 33 fixtures, I don't agree."

David, I think Roberto picked a side today that was intended to match what Chelsea would bring. Another opposition, another selection perhaps – and perhaps other tactics. And I don't think we saw enough of Besic today to decide how his role was going to pan out today (although in his last few minutes on the pitch he seemed to play the Nais role).

Also thought Kone played much better than you gave credit for. His hold up play was again very good; just what we've been needing.

Milos Milenkovic
181 Posted 12/09/2015 at 21:22:57
Oh Michael, we won and win was brought by the man who was not supposed to be on pitch. I am absolutely honest before and after the game. I think that playing with 3 defensive midfielders is shameful and sign of a team who will never become big. We haven't score a single goal with that formation and we wouldn't again today. I wish attacking, fearless Everton and that is why I wrote that and I stand by it.

Final outcome didn't prove me wrong because the starting line up didn't last long. I am sick of watching Everton for more than 20 years being afraid and defensive minded. That will never bring us any succes if some occasional win against big boys are not considered as trophy. For me it is not and with 3 defensive midfielders you will not see trophy in 100 years.
Dave Southword
182 Posted 12/09/2015 at 21:42:48
Milos, did you watch the game, or did you just look Besic up on Football Manager? Did you see where that "defensive midfielder" got himself injured? Did you see his positions where Chelsea had the ball?

He was playing largely where Naismith did, where Cleverley would have. More legs to aid our tactic of pressing higher up the pitch. Tactics were not significantly changed by the substitution.

Colin Glassar
183 Posted 12/09/2015 at 21:43:49
Milos the problem with you, and your fellow Martinez haters, is that you would be quite happy to see the team lose as long as your personal agenda (the sacking of the manager) is fulfilled.

You say you've 'supported' the team for 20 years well I've supported them for a lot longer than you pal and i've never ever wanted them to fucking lose just so some manager gets the boot!! This, as Michael said, is a fucking moronic statement of the highest (or lowest) order and you sir, should be ashamed of yourself.

Successful managers choose teams, and tactics, to match and overcome the team in front of them. Chelsea are reigning champions and last season their midfield overran almost all of their opponents. Last season at home we went at them and conceded six goals!! Is this what you wanted to see?

You are not alone as other people share the same point of view I.e. it's ok if we lose as long as the fraud/charlatan is sacked. Lose and the snake oil salesman will be out etc.... You are entitled to your opinion(s) but I honestly believe you are in a tiny minority on here and amongst the majority of Evertonians.

Milos Milenkovic
184 Posted 12/09/2015 at 22:33:12
I should be ashamed for wishing to see my team full of potential playing to its strength? For wishing that for once we go full season as team believing that can be (one of) the best in England and not being afraid of anybody? That is my shame?

I may be in tiny minority, but I am 100 % sure that defensive set up will never bring us success and if any manager or his lovers thinks that playing with 3 def. midfielders (after we tried that several times last season with result of 0 goals and 0 points) will bring us trophy, that is "fucking moronic of highest order" as you said, but you can of course express your opinion.

Neil Wood
185 Posted 12/09/2015 at 22:36:26
Milos... You actually admit that you WANTED us to be 3-0 down at half time?!?! Go away, pal, and please don't post on here again. You should be utterly ashamed.
Michael Kenrick
186 Posted 12/09/2015 at 22:42:49
Milos, we'd have a little more respect if you could at least man-up and admit that wishing your team goes down 0:3 before half-time was shameful and disgusting.

Don't give us all the other supposedly mitigating crap, as if we don't all want that. But it's a very poor Evertonian who wishes a losing position on the team, in such a vital game, on such a significant day, as Colin says, purely for your own personal agenda.

Before you reply, please consider Lyndon's recent request for less gratuitous negativity on here and see how well the cap fits.

Milos Milenkovic
187 Posted 12/09/2015 at 23:03:47
Michael, crap, shameful and disgusting is your reaction.

I don't have any personal agenda, actually I find Martinez as a fine person, but I do have "personal agenda" with negative tactics. It doesn't matter who the manager is. I was and always will be big opponent of that.

Mike Iddon
188 Posted 12/09/2015 at 23:18:08
I watched the game on the telly and saw the manager's 4-3-3 as a system to nullify Chelsea and allow for counter-attacks started off by Stones winning the ball in defence and playing Barry into space as a platform to move forward. This certainly accounted for one of the goals.

His replacement of Besic with Naismith was to ensure the team shape didn't get lost; Mirallas or Deulofeu would not have defended as well as Naismith – both reasons they were not in the team at the start.

All positive tactical decisions for a game against the Champions where we won easily. Criticism is due when it doesn't work but some people on this thread need to get their heads out of their arses and give credit where it's due and not spout of shite like "Wigan lite".

Anyone's opinion that we go 0-3 down is not from an Evertonian as far as I'm concerned; you support the fucking team whenever and wherever we play.

Brian Porter
190 Posted 13/09/2015 at 10:33:14
Well David Booth @117, he DID bring on Naismith and Lennon. Do you have anything to say about it now? Happy birthday Steven Naismith!
David Booth
191 Posted 13/09/2015 at 12:26:26
Hi Brian, indeed I have and quite a lot actually. Please see my post-match expansion at #148.
Colin Glassar
192 Posted 13/09/2015 at 12:58:05
Excellent post Mike Iddon.
Michael Kenrick
193 Posted 13/09/2015 at 17:00:45
It's real simple, David Booth. Just man up and say the words:

"I was wrong... completely wrong as it turned out in my calls re bringing on Lennon and Naismith. Maybe I'll actually watch the match next time and see how it develops before foolishly prejudging such outcomes."

Nah... give us 15 more paragraphs instead...

Jamie Barlow
194 Posted 13/09/2015 at 17:03:05
Yeah Mr Booth. If Naismith had a shocker, you'd be quick enough coming on here telling us all how right you were.

Brian Denton
196 Posted 13/09/2015 at 17:20:20
Steven Naismith is a credit to our club, and to football in general. There, I've said it.
Paul Tran
197 Posted 13/09/2015 at 17:32:12
Great performance yesterday, showing that the 'defensive midfielders' and 'winger' arguments are questionable.

What Martinez is doing differently this season is playing a balanced team with players who look like they know what they're meant to be doing.

What the players are doing differently is pressing the opposition, defending better, moving better and making themselves available for a pass.

Like two seasons ago, the 'negative' tactics are producing chances and goals, unlike last season's carousel of peripheral wingers doing nothing in particular.

Now, I'm not convinced that we have the quality of players able to play consistently like yesterday, but if Martinez keeps sending out a committed, energetic and balanced team, he'll get back my enthusiastic support from two seasons ago.

Duncan McDine
198 Posted 13/09/2015 at 17:35:39
MK, some folk could never admit that they're wrong.

I have to eat humble pie myself as I called for Barry to be dropped following his shocking performance at WHL, but Roberto stuck with him and rightly so... He was absolutely brilliant (as he was at Southampton).

Where Everton are concerned, I'm always glad to be proved wrong by players / managers I'd previously criticised.

Chris Wilson
199 Posted 13/09/2015 at 17:50:14
I will gladly have a couple slices of humble pie with a slight dab of shame on top. I was very wary of the Naismith substitution because I didn't think he would fit into the system that Roberto was trying to play (I was also not a fan of Besic starting either, but he looked up for it didn't he?). Nais seems to play better more centrally, and when he and Lukaku are on the pitch against one of the top sides; it usually pushes Lukaku to the wing where he can be neutralized. I've never seen it work outside of the infamous Arsenal 3:0 match, and that was because it was the first time anyone had seen it...including a very shell shocked Arsene Wenger.

I hold my hand up and admit that I thought Naismith should move on earlier this season because I didn't see how he would fit anymore. The Tottenham match reminded me why he was important to us. SN is the only one who will mix it up with defenders; give them a kick, get in their face; not be the nice guy. Plus he's the only one that actually makes those nice little runs in the defensive gaps that drive defenders crazy. Steven played his game yesterday, was full of energy and pissed off that he didn't start, and Chelsea felt his wrath. I'm actually worried now that if he doesn't get more games in that he will want to move elsewhere. Never thought I would say that. My humble apologize to you Mr. Naismith. Thank you.

David Booth
200 Posted 13/09/2015 at 20:42:59
Jamie (163), yes, I most certainly would. And justifiably so - just as you have seen fit to remind me he didn't!
David Booth
201 Posted 13/09/2015 at 21:08:12
Mr Kenrick (162), I freely and happily admitted my prognosis was wrong throughout my post-match piece - as you will see if you have read it.

However, I know you have a particular grudge against me, so not surprising to see you coming back rather gratuitously when I went to great length to qualify, mitigate and explain my anger and frustration.

I was also unaware that there was a word count you would have preferred me to adhere to? Still, kick a man when he's down eh, and then quote Lyndon's request for more sporting behaviour to all and sundry...

Perhaps, instead of returning to have another dig, it would have been tacit to answer my two specific questions posed directly to you, namely:

i) Can you to honestly say you would have picked Besic, Kone and then Naismith and Lennon before one or both of Deulofeu or Mirallas?

ii) As a long-standing critic of the 'Kenright regime', will you also be wiping the saliva from your lips as you chastise the paymasters of the banner flight for being out of order too? They picked the wrong game too, after all!

Oh, and please be assured that, when you are in any way critical of the manager, team or board before a game and the result inverts your opinion in a similar manner, I will sent a message to addressed to pot, with love from kettle!

To re-iterate therefore, I was wrong in that Naismith scored three goals in a great win against a very poor Chelsea team. I will also add the riders though that I was far from alone in being initially condemnatory about Roberto's team selection.

I might also add that, despite it all clicking against a team who are completely out of sorts, it failed miserably against better teams in City and Spurs. So yesterday is not a panacea.

They were dreadful. We were fortunate and determined. Naismith was fantastic.

Oh, and just in case you missed it again: I was wrong. But play the same team from now and until the end of the season and I wager I will be right just as many times, if not more...

Michael Kenrick
202 Posted 14/09/2015 at 04:35:23
Seems I have upset you a little, David Booth. I just saw a few astounding posts on this thread and you happened to be the source of quite a few of them. Nothing personal.

I'll just remind you of a few of the more tasty ones:

Clueless, cautious, shithouse team today, from a clueless, cautious, shithouse manager. Nice!

Deulofeu and Mirallas on the bench in favour of Kone and Lennon. If that is the case, I hope we get what we deserve. – Nearly as bad as Milos, surely???

How anyone would prefer Lennon to Mirallas leaves me speechless. (I wish!)

What sort of fucking team is that?????? – a winning team, apparently.

And here comes Naismith. Welcome to Wigan Lite. That would be the bloke wot scored the perfect hat-trick – against the Premier League Champions....

Football is all about opinions — perhaps the biggest myth of them all... because, as you surely know already, Football is played on the pitch. It may help you not to forget that, Mr Booth.

Regarding your 'questions', I rarely feel I can prejudge the game based on the line-up Martinez picks. Watching our games has convinced me that predicting the outcome is foolhardy. I find it's best to watch the game and see how things pan out before I start mouthing off.

And the plane... yes, I think the sad thing is the impact probably gets attenuated by the win. I felt that after Southampton; I feel the same after Saturday. It's a lot of money, and it is effective in that the TV cameras make sure it doesn't go unnoticed.

But play the same team from now and until the end of the season... — wow! More incredible predictions! Guess I've never understood the need for this, but it does seem pretty important for quite a few. Me? I'd much rather watch what actually happens on the field, on the day, with the Everton players who are wearing the shirt, rather than getting wrapped up in this FM Fantasy Football prediction crap.

Craig Fletcher
203 Posted 14/09/2015 at 06:47:43
Well done, MK (170) just about the perfect riposte!

A good dollop of humor in there too. If anything this thread should serve as a warning to all those who fire off cynical comments on ToffeeWeb pre-game. We all like to play fantasy football manager in our heads but the simple fact is we aren't the ones who see the players in training, or sit down with analysts leading up to a match who look at the opposition and the way they play.

Simply put, we're not in the know. We have our favourite players, and our preferred starting XI's which is fair enough, but ultimately team selection is the manager's choice, so let's save ourselves please the worst of the vehement, emotional tirades which always seem to spew forth an hour before kick-off when the playing XI's are announced.

If you vent pre-match, you'll run the risk of either eating some serious humble pie if you are wrong, or you may look like a bit of a smug bastard if you then come on post-match wailing that you were proved right.

Either way really you probably won't win yourself friends.

David Booth
204 Posted 14/09/2015 at 18:23:38
Hey Mr Fletcher, I made some comments before a game which I felt very impassioned about and which, I have gone to great lengths to subsequently explain, were not anti-Everton - they were anti the current manager's mindset.

So enough now from you and Mr Kenrick please. I am not a pariah, I am a loyal and long-standing supporter. And I am not going to get any further involved in this increasingly personal point proving.

My comments (the uncharacteristic swearing within which I have apologised for), were nothing more than what you would hear in the pub before a game. And I am sure, not very different to views you yourself will have expressed numerous times as an Evertonian.

We won, which is all that matters. That does not change my opinion that Martinez is sacrificing his wonderful, initial verve in favour of caution and stopping the opposition playing in every game.

As it happens, we got the breaks and beat a VERY under par Chelsea side.

But I stick unswervingly by my view that, if he opts for containment instead of expansion throughout the season, we will end up in a position which befits such tactics, ie: out of contention in mid-table.

Is that the type of reputation and football you wish Everton to be associated with?

I would prefer a starting line-up with match winners in it, such as Mirallas and Deulofeu in particular. Maverick they may be, but that is the essential essence of what they are. And what I think Everton aspire to.

Right now we seem to be obsessed with players who track back. I would rather have players who instinctively push forward.

You and Mr Kenrick, apparently, would not?

However, I would not come back and perpetuate an argument for you having your opinion, so please refrain from doing so when I express mine? I am entitled to it as perfectly as you are. One match does not prove you right or me wrong.

Indeed, as I said earlier, I could cite the games against better teams in Man City and Spurs as examples where it failed miserably. So does that mean I have been right twice and wrong only once? I could justifiably claim so.

I also re-iterate my main question to Mr Kenrick and one which he has now avoided twice: can you to honestly say you would have picked Besic, Kone and then Naismith and Lennon before one or both of Deulofeu or Mirallas?

David Booth
205 Posted 14/09/2015 at 18:59:54
Oh and you have not upset me at all Mr Kenrick. Clearly it is I who have upset you.

The fact you have singled me out for repeated returns proves that is one point I am absolutely right on!

Your assertion that it is nothing personal is wholly disingenuous, as we both well know.

"I just saw a few astounding posts on this thread and you happened to be the source of quite a few of them," you claim.

Wel here's the facts... the vast majority of the 30-odd posts between the team being named and kick-off were critical of the line-up.

Only ONE, Ben (106) was in favour.

At least 20 were, like me, openly critical. So perhaps might wish to also individual replies to each of the following to demonstrate your alleged impartiality:

James (94)
No wingers! Martinez has shit his pants. What a wuss.

Neil (97)
Swop Kone for Del surely!!! FFS.

Kunai (98)
Three defensive midfielders?! Fuck me.

Paul (107)
Very negative team which looks like we're playing for a draw; very disappointing.

David (108)
So between Barkley, Kone and Lukaku, they have to beat Chelsea. The rest of the team are there to defend.

Dean (110)
Prepare to win Bobby, not this crappy 'stop them playing' shit that you seem to be fixated on. Bullshit lineup again, no width and no attacking intent.

Karl (111)
No width despite having four wingers. What's that all about?

Alan (112)
I would have expected this away not at Goodison. A side to concede possession as far as I am concerned.

David (116)
Obviously we ain't going for all out attack. Worry.

Anthony (118)
Wingers all on the bench. We have no width whatsoever. Cowardly line up. Gutted.

Nick (119)
A Cleverley away from a Walter Smith line-up.

Anish (122)
What kind of pathetic line up is that!

Milos (123)
We haven't scored in last two games, created almost zero chances and new plan is to play with three defensive midfielders.

Liam (124)
How many fucking wingers in our squad and None of them start. Mirallas should be starting this game. Kone can't play on the right.

Neil (126)
Team selection doesn't make sense.

Santosh (127)
Just when I thought that Roberto couldn't get worse with his team selection, he proves me wrong.

Chris (129)
Besic, Barry and McCarthy + no wingers in the starting line up = Martinez out for me. Moyes would've been crucified for this sort of approach, but he at least earned the right and had a team that could defend. This is just absolute nonsense.

Victor (130)
Our very own brand of ‘wingless wonders' today.

Jackie (131)
…why is it that we have to have spineless managers.

Chris (132)
I'm surprised and disappointed. I am not a fan of this team.

Ged Simpson
206 Posted 14/09/2015 at 19:15:46
Sort this privately. It is not a matter most of us care about.

Then leave it or be worried it all becomes some silly conspiracy nonsense.

And when you sort it - new start and the rest of us leave it too.


Colin Glassar
207 Posted 14/09/2015 at 19:17:05
David, England won the World Cup without wingers... just saying. Oh, and didn't Chelsea win the Champions League without wingers as well?
David Booth
208 Posted 14/09/2015 at 20:43:25
I know Colin: I watched it as a nipper!

And Ged, I quite agree, I should not have to defend my opinion so comprehensively. But am not going to sit back and be singled-out either for having it!

Michael Kenrick
209 Posted 14/09/2015 at 23:02:30
David, yours just happened to be some of the worst (see my post above). At least you admitted to being wrong, so respect.... although each new monster diatribe tends to negate that admission a little more...

Oh, and in case you missed it, the answer to your question: I'm not the manager, so I don't pick the team. And I rarely feel I can prejudge the game based on the line-up Martinez picks. The outcome of each game is hugely uncertain. Watching our games has convinced me that predicting the outcome is foolhardy. I find it's best to watch the game and see how things pan out before I start mouthing off. Sorry if that's not the answer you want, but that's how I feel about this silliness.

Can we stop now?

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