Martinez basks in dramatic win on Tyneside

by | 26/12/2015  111 Comments  [Jump to last]

Roberto Martinez says that today's victory over Newcastle was just reward for his team's overall performance and evidence of the lessons from recent weeks being learned by his charges.

Tom Cleverley popped up in the third minute of stoppage time to steer a header off Rob Elliot's punched clearance past the defenders on the line to hand Everton a last-gasp win over the Magpies, their first in five games in the Premier League.

It's a brilliant feeling. I knew as soon as I headed it that it could be going in.

Tom Cleverley

It was rough on the goalkeeper who had kept the Blues at bay with a series of saves but Cleverley's first goal in Everton colours ensured that the travelling Evertonians went home happy a year after tasting bitter defeat on this ground.

While the midfielder's intervention saved Martinez from another frustrating draw, the Catalan reflected on what the result meant rather than his team's failure to press home their superiority earlier in the game. Everton's early dominance had largely been supressed by the final quarter of the contest, which was evenly balanced as the players tired from a heavy pitch, but one of Martinez's free-transfer acquisitions came up trumps.

"Tom has great experience in controlling the moment, the manager said of the match-winner. "Hes been given unfair treatment over the last three years but I know him well and the way he has been performing for our football club thats him back to his best.

Hes an English talent that goes further than just being someone who can do everything. Hes outstanding at what he does.

"We deserved that final kick in terms of getting the three points," Martinez continuted. "This result is an accumulation of lessons we have learnt and thats very pleasing as a manager looking at your players wanting to take responsibility and get better.

"I felt very satisfied with the way we were performing throughout the game. In football, you have to take your chances but the way we controlled the game was very pleasing.

"We started extremely well and dominated the first 20 minutes. Elliot in goal was outstanding. Ive reviewed some of the game and we had five clear-cut opportunities to have that away from home was impressive but, more than ever, it was about getting through the period home teams always get.

Cleverley, meanwhile, was thrilled with his first Everton goal, one that might not have been as spectacular as the one he once scored as a Manchester United player but it could be huge in its importance.

"It's a brilliant feeling," the 25-year-old beamed. " I knew as soon as I headed it that it could be going in.

"Luckily it did and I'm thankful because I think we deserved the win."


Reader Comments (111)

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 26/12/2015 at 21:23:27
A last minute goal = Lessons learned? I am just not sure about this manager at the minute. He has got us playing some great football at times, going forward, but we don't look very strong defensively.

Everton though, have definitely got something, let's hope this last minute goal, helps us to push on.

Jack Plant
2 Posted 26/12/2015 at 21:46:04
I thought that was a pretty good performance but we could easily have drawn or even lost that game. The decision to bring Barkley off was baffling. I hope our luck holds and we can achieve something this season but we desperately need to string a few wins together.
Mike Hayes
3 Posted 26/12/2015 at 21:46:31
Think it was more of listening to the fans and not being bloody stubborn and making necessary changes
Brian Williams
4 Posted 26/12/2015 at 21:54:40
Cloud cuckoo land!
John Keating
6 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:12:48
Still serious issues that need addressed sooner rather than later.

If we don't finish teams off when we are on top and leave games as open as we do we will lose more than we win.

Good viewing for the neutral but shite for us

Anthony Tully
8 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:17:10
If we all stop for a minute take a deep breath. I know we are Everton and we want to win every game but Arsenal get beat, Man Utd cannot buy a win, Chelsea are in a right mess, Villa are even worse – I could go on. Not one team has put together a run – even Man City with all their millions are scrapping through.

So hopefully, with our bit of luck tonight, are luck is about change and we go on a good run. But I think for all the shouting about Mirallas, what did he do tonight? But I hope Naismith is injured and not on his way out.

Nick Armitage
9 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:18:25
Utter bollocks. That was a phenomenally ineffective performance. If Martinez is happy with that then he isn't the man to lead this club forward.
Brent Stephens
10 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:25:50
Utter bollocks, that was a good performance, good result. Well done Roberto.
Andy Meighan
11 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:26:12
"Tom has great expierence in controlling the moment." — What the hell does that mean? Can somebody please tell me. The man talks so much shit its untrue.

Cleverley to me is an ordinary player, nothing more, nothing less. Yes, we've got a break today. But it could have gone either way. Still that said its a win and a clean sheet and thats not something weve said lately.

But I for one won't be getting carried away — there've been too many false dawns under this manager for me.

Paul Mackie
12 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:30:53
Tony #1 - Given how many games we've lost late on or where we plain haven't turned up for the second half, I'd say that yes, we probably have learned some lessons.

I didn't think we were amazing today, but I'll take 1-0 playing mostly entertaining football - especially since we were denied a clear penalty in the first half. I thought Barkley was poor today and Mirallas showed why he's been a sub all season.

Don Alexander
13 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:32:45
At last we got a win. Martinez talks bollocks - period. Relying on a 93rd minute goal to beat a team now back in the bottom three should give him cause for concern. I just wonder if he spouts the same shite at Finch Farm? If he does I can figure how it goes down with experienced players. We all know who they are because he refuses to play them or gets rid. After Kiev last year when Ozzie, Seamus and Bainesy said they'd decided to play the "old Everton way" we saved ourselves from the chance of relegation. Buzz and Eto'o never featured after strong rumours they'd tried to take a lead in the dressing room and Mirallas this season may be in the same boat, even if I didn't agree he had any right to take over taking penalties. Leadership in the dressing room and on the pitch is what we seem to be way short of this season, as most of us have said.
Frank McGregor
14 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:34:52
Roberto, Should review the Southampton versus Arsenal game over and over again this week end and see how Arsenal were demolished by fast ruthless counter attacking with his squad of players and hopefully adopted the same tactics to beat Stoke on Monday otherwise we will have another frustrating draw.
Colin Glassar
15 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:37:40
The same team that recently beat the Liverpool and Spurs? Bizarre and, bollocks!!
Doug Harris
16 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:41:16
Lets face it, today we played a really shite team in Newcastle and struggled to score all game.

Great to get the 3 points against 3rd from bottom, in fact great to get 3 points, first time since when?

Not knocking our win which really should have been a foregone conclusion.

1 game off half way through the season, no way am I convinced as of today that we will be anywhere higher in the league come May...

Raymond Fox
17 Posted 26/12/2015 at 22:57:08
I hope some on here don't work on quality control, because nothing would every get through!

Or maybe a new career as critic of some sort, you'd never be stuck for something to say.

There were 10 Premier League games today – only one away team managed a win.

Gerard Carey
19 Posted 26/12/2015 at 23:16:26
Glad we got the points today, but still think our manager is in cloud cuckoo land. Of course we all have to admit that we can see the golden thread that makes the kings new clothes!!!!. So upwards and onwards, everything is ok!!!!!
Gordon Roberts
20 Posted 26/12/2015 at 23:17:43
Well said Roberto, let's get behind our manager. COYB.
Ian Jones
21 Posted 26/12/2015 at 23:27:07
We won one-nil. Away from home. Already one more win than last Christmas and New year. Also the first game we have won this season by only scoring one goal. So a few things to celebrate.

We beat Southampton three-nil. Arsenal beat us. Southampton beat Arsenal four-nil. Crazy season.
Tony Hill
22 Posted 26/12/2015 at 23:27:30
Besic back. He's going to be the main man for this side in my view. Nasty, talented, young enough to build his career with us. Get him in and keep him in Roberto; he's the dirty dog of war, but with Everton class on top, that we've been missing.

He'll make bad errors sometimes and he'll get sent off as well, but he's made of steel. It's frightening just to look at him.

Tony Farrell
23 Posted 26/12/2015 at 23:39:39
A win away from home, totally dominate most of the game, several good goal chances... Come on Blues, we played well and deserved the win. If that was Man City Arsenal or the red shite the media would be crowing, what a professional performance... but no, the commentators say a game in which Everton didn't deserve the win... horse shit.

Okay, still shakey at the back I'm not Howard's biggest fan but he came off his line and looked comfortable; Barry (again not a big fan) was outstanding.

Players coming back a clean sheet – is this the turnaround or am I talking shit? A tough month ahead, let's finish the year with a win against a very difficult Stoke side.

Craig Heywood
24 Posted 26/12/2015 at 23:51:56
Baffles me how people complain about a 1-0 win. Newcastle have beaten Liverpool and Spurs in recent weeks. We played some nice football and I agree the winning margins are fine.

However the same applies to games against Norwich, Bournemouth and palace. Let's get behind the team and kick in into January for league and cup games. COYB!!

Keith Monaghan
25 Posted 26/12/2015 at 00:08:58
The only thing baffling about the decision to bring Barkley off was it was should have been avoided by not starting him.
Andy Crooks
26 Posted 27/12/2015 at 00:21:11
If we get Baines and Pienaar fit for one last go, and Jagielka back and fit, we are capable of going on a run that could take us to the top four. We are very near to being a top side.
Kase Chow
27 Posted 27/12/2015 at 00:25:31
Keith #17: Barkley was excellent today. What game were you watching?!

We played some superb football in the first 20 mins and it was a shame we didn't score during that period

They definitely should've scored with their header but that's our good fortune. We really need to a) stop crosses and b) deal with them better

Cleverly is so much better than McCarthy – he tries to play forward's rather than sideways. Our better performances have coincided with McCarthy being out of the team: our attacks are quicker and more incisive

Mirallas did okay but nothing to stake a first team spot – what has happened to him?

Don #8... who is Buzz? (Distin?)

Did anyone notice it was Ossie that won the ball for our counter attack that led to our goal? Great pass out too.

Rom should have hit it earlier: needs to practice his right foot more.

Overall, very very pleased to have won. This season has shown us there's no easy games in the EPL so a win is to be savoured.


Phil Roberts
28 Posted 27/12/2015 at 00:28:10
Top 4 - you are having a laugh. You will need 70 points for top 4 - so that is 44 points from 20 games. That is a rate of 84 in a season. Not a hope.

We are only 4 better than last season and we are half way through. If we get over 60 points I'll take that as a success. (And so will Bobby and Bill.)

Paul Hewitt
29 Posted 27/12/2015 at 00:35:59
Phil@ 20. This squad is capable of top 4. But won't make it due to bad management.
Mark Harris
30 Posted 27/12/2015 at 00:57:40
Were people watching the same game? The last 4 weeks we've been playing better footy than I've seen for a long time. Granted we've leaked a few but Mori looked solid today and general play was good.

We won playing ok away against a team on the up. Get a grip. Bobby is doing a good job.
Phil Sammon
31 Posted 27/12/2015 at 01:03:29
I'm baffled at some of the reviews on the game. Yes, we played well for the first 20 mins, we also failed to score and put very little pressure on their keeper.

I could take the positives if this was a one-off display, but it's been like this game after game. A period of great football that soon descends into a walking-paced training session. We are frighteningly fragile at the back. Set pieces and crosses being the two most obvious areas. Week on week, the clear problems are never addressed.

Delighted we got the points... but one bungled header in the 94th minute and -

"He's an English talent that goes further than just being someone who can do everything."

I actually really like Cleverley... but what the fuck is the guy talking about??? His praise is so frequent and OTT, you just can't take anything the man says seriously.

John Raftery
32 Posted 27/12/2015 at 01:14:46
Elliot made very good saves from Mirallas, Lukaku (twice) and Funes Mori. The game was played in tough conditions in which the home team struggled to create anything apart from two headers in the second half, the second of which produced a great save from Tim Howard. Most games are decided by narrow margins and it was great to see us for the first time this season win a tight game at the death. As we made our way down the many steps of the Leazes End last night nobody was moaning and it was great to hear happy voices singing the full repertoire of songs. Makes it all worthwhile!
Mark Andersson
33 Posted 27/12/2015 at 01:16:51
Top 4 this season is up for grabs the way the crazy results are going. Sadly though we are to inconsistent to be in with a shout.

Martines is as deluded as some of his fans. Come May I don't think we will have improved much, which will be a sackable offence considering the players at his disposal.

Happy to eat humble pie if we have a vast improvement for the 2nd half of the season.

See you on the dark side Roberto.

Karl Masters
34 Posted 27/12/2015 at 02:01:57
Phil Sammon - agree with every word, other than I thought Cleverley showed great skill controlling that header from just flying over the bar.

A win is a win, but Roberto needs to tone down the OTT adjectives and adverbs. It's toe curling at times.

Finally, I think Barkley came off to accommodate Ossie, and with another tough physical battle less than 48 hours away using the squad and keeping Barkley fresh makes a lot of sense. Stoke have had an extra 5 hours recovery time, and small margins are proving very important this season.

David Edwards
35 Posted 27/12/2015 at 02:16:21
A struggle to make our first half dominance reflect in goals - another drop in effort in the second half - and a very late bonus at the end. Come on, folks - the same old stuff but we scrapped 3 points off a very poor team. Sorry if I don't genuflect to your genius, Roberto! Mediocrities of the World unite! We are better than this!
Bill Gall
36 Posted 27/12/2015 at 02:45:12
Similar performance from some of our previous games with total dominance in the first half, were we should have put a low scoring team with little chance of getting back into the game. Second half we allowed them back into the game but this time our keeper kept us in with a couple of good saves ,and that gave us a chance that resulted in 3pts with a goal from Cleverly.

Yes we should have played better but we have lost after being the better team for most of the game before today, so maybe we deserve the win and who knows it may change our season around.. But before getting to exited remember who we were playing.

Dan Parker
37 Posted 27/12/2015 at 03:40:05
Not spectacular but a more consistent overall performance over two halves. Substitutes used to good effect for once.
Michael Williams
38 Posted 27/12/2015 at 03:41:32
The hate, and I mean to use the word hate, for RM is amazing and depressing. One team won away from home this week. One.

If Newcastle's goalie was just average it would have been 3-0. If the ref gave us the deserved pen it would have been 4-0.

Newcastle had two chances all game - just two.

Yeah it was a win against a bottom three team so no one is asking anyone to celebrate like it's New Years Eve but can't anyone here just enjoy a win instead of ripping and hating all the time.

Phil Davies
39 Posted 27/12/2015 at 04:06:38
The one thing which I found glaringly obvious was the complete lack of any attacking movement, too many times players were just standing around waiting for the ball instead of making runs.

There's so much talent in this squad it's unbelievable, I just feel they're being let down by poor coaching decisions. Who's teaching Lukaku how to shoot? Because if it's Dunc, let's be honest he was hardly prolific and I wouldn't have considered him good with the ball at his feet.

Lukaku should have scored at least 6 in the last 3 games there was that many chances but poor finishing has left him with 2. The fact corners aren't even being worked on is appalling and clearly indicates why we can't defend crosses and why we hardly score from our own set pieces.

Phil Sammon
40 Posted 27/12/2015 at 04:08:57
Michael (#27),

You ask us to tone down our emotions, Michael, well what about the man at the helm?

My review is that is that we played well for a patch in the first half, poorly for most of the rest of the game, and came out of the game on top thanks to a rare bit of good fortune and a good finish from Cleverley.

Martinez's review was that we have 'learned lessons' over the last six fixtures and he's very satisfied with the performance.

He thinks 92 minutes of the same stuff we've seen all season counts as 'lesson learned' simply because we finally came out on top due to a last minute goal? He's the one who needs to tone it down.

We are still not putting games to bed when we have the opportunity. We still dilly dally around the box with no idea how to make possession count. We still look terrified every time a ball is tossed into the box.

I could take scrappy 1-0 wins all day long...but don't tell me what we saw yesterday was progress.

Jimmy-Ã…ge Sørheim
41 Posted 27/12/2015 at 05:12:33
The tippy tappy pass style, does not suit this team.

We are AFRAID to shoot when space opens up and frankly, I am fed up with it.

Matt Traynor
42 Posted 27/12/2015 at 05:37:47
Personally, I care not whether RM stays or goes. What would concern me would be who would replace him. I see a lot of opinion in favour of bringing OFM back. Like he's the answer... The only way I'd have him back is as a defensive coach, maybe put his ego back in the box for a while - dream on. If he did come back, that'd be me done with Goodison till he, and our current custodians are gone. In RM's first season - the "decent" one, I realised he spouted utter shite, and couldn't bear to listen to his interviews. He comes across as a Management Consultant, happy to tell the audience what he thinks they want to hear, and take the money.

On to the game yesterday, and taking Michael's point in #29, I was grateful for the change in fortune. Too many times in the past, it would've been us conceding that last minute goal. Fortunately at St James' Park the fans are up in the Gods, so no chance of a pitch invasion!

Stoke on Monday won't be easy.

Gordon Roberts
43 Posted 27/12/2015 at 05:56:24
Assuming we are able to keep the neucleus of the squad together, we are probably four quality players short of being able to compete for a top 6 position. Stones, Lukaku, Barkley and Deulofeu will make less mistakes in 12 months and next season will probably define our managers destiny.

Martinez subscribes to management practices and beliefs that are very rare; he absolutely trusts his players and his positive attitude will eventually be reflected in team performances, but only if he is given time to embed that culture.

He has empowered his players to go out and express themselves, unfortunately, as we have seen with Mourinho, and maybe Louis van Gaal, the contribution from the media and the supporters, has a negative effect on that development.
Brian Porter
44 Posted 27/12/2015 at 06:19:41
I watched the game half expecting to see us shoot ourselves in the foot (again) so I was pleasantly surprised that for once there were no glaring errors at the back and even Tim tried to come out and collect high balls on a couple of occasions.

Let's not take away the fact it was an exciting game to watch considering the conditions and a win is a win is a win. A few on here a couple of weeks ago were saying a few scrappy 1-0 wins would satisfy them and when we get one they're still not happy. Our heads didn't go down in the second half as usual and the lads ground out a win when most of us had already settled for the draw. I agree that Lukaku who is doing well could do even better with mire shooting practice, especially with his right foot, which consistently lets him down.

At long last, RM made his substitutions early enough for them to make a difference and it was significant that Ozzie played the pass the began the attack that led to our goal. He may be 34 but he still has the intelligence to pick out a killer pass if used sparingly as he was last night.

All in all I came away happy and would be happy with another scrappy 1-0 win against Stoke and everyone else this season if the points keep coming in. I do agree that RM needs to shut up with the incomprehensible rhetoric that nobody can make sense of. If you can't use plain English Roberto, say nowt!
Nitesh Kanchan
45 Posted 27/12/2015 at 06:31:33
Should have been 4 or 5 goals to 2, but as usual not a another goalscorer other than Lukaku. Even Lukaku himself can't score a brace. So many chances but no end product.

Defence totally out of position on their counterattacks. There was no shape in the defence when they countered. There were 2 or 3 times on their counter where they had players at the back post all alone when our center backs went to cover the fullbacks position. A better ball there and they would have scored.

Kone and Naismith can leave and we need a better striker to partner Lukaku who can score in January window. One of the full backs need to stay back to keep the shape with a midfielder covering the other side when the full back goes front.

Gotta win against Stoke now. And get an intimidating atmosphere against Spurs for the battle for 4th spot. COYB

James Marshall
46 Posted 27/12/2015 at 07:02:18
I thought we played really well, in tough away conditions against a team that could easily have beaten us based on recent results they've had.

It seems to me that everyone on here thinks they're an expert, when in fact we just have an opinion - nothing more.

Every team in the PL has the ability to best each other this year. An away win and dominant performance and people are still moaning.

I was delighted with the performance and the win away from home.

Ajay Gopal
47 Posted 27/12/2015 at 08:04:56
I am just amazed at the negativity spouted by some on here. Some people can never be pleased. I smile when I imagine the comments on here if it had been Howard who had pushed the ball out and the opponents had got a goal in from that – he would have been absolutely slaughtered!
I thought Everton played some brilliant football in the 1st half and generally dominated the match – bar a few patches in the 2nd half. A solid performance from everyone except Mirallas who tended to leave Baines badly exposed on the left.

My only concern is that the players gave their all and I don't know if they would have enough in their tanks to play Stoke on Monday. I suspect Martinez will rest Lukaku, Barry, and possibly Coleman (who ran himself ragged) and drop Mirallas. Wouldn't be surprised to see a team like this:

Galloway, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
Lennon, Besic, Cleverley;
Deulofeu, Kone, Barkley.

Subs: Robles, Coleman, Osman, Barry, Naismith, Mirallas, Lukaku

or even go 3-4-3:

Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway;
Lennon, Besic, Cleverley, Baines;
Deulofeu, Kone, Barkley.

Joe Foster
48 Posted 27/12/2015 at 08:32:38
RM you certainly know how to talk a load of bollocks.
Phil Sammon
49 Posted 27/12/2015 at 08:38:05

If you anticipate Galloway at right-back, Lennon in centre-mid and both Barry and Lukaku on the bench then I'd very respectfully suggest that you don't know what you're talking about.

Neil Pickering
50 Posted 27/12/2015 at 08:38:49
More proof if it be needed that under this manager we will always be defensively suspect. He just doesn't feel it's that important to drill a back 4.

Last night's game was like groundhog day. All the possession, but nearly got picked off by a really poor side. Any ball that went into the box regardless of quality we struggled with. I know Stones is going to be a great but right now he needs Jags back, as in my opinion he makes Stones look good. He does all the nasty stuff and organises us. Funes Mori has done OK, but he is not the answer for me. He's not physically strong enough.

Get Jags back fit and watch us tighten up. Oh I forgot about Howard; he's crap and causes our back 4 to cope with almost every ball in the box because he doesn't command at all. He's a bottom half of the table keeper at best.

Trevor Peers
51 Posted 27/12/2015 at 08:50:27
Great to win, especially in the last minutes of the game. That said for all our possession of the football, we still could just as easily of lost that game.

This is now becoming a feature of Everton under Roberto, you just can't approach any game with any kind of confidence of a win, we're just as likely to lose as win any match we're involved in, is that a sign of progress? I don't think so.

The manager's gushing praise of Cleverley for his smart late header, sums up our manager. At times his praise is somewhat deluded, as is his belief in his managerial ability. Playing pretty football just isn't enough to win most matches I'm afraid.

Chris Gould
52 Posted 27/12/2015 at 08:57:42
Well said, James 42, some of the comments on here are more ridiculous than Roberto's very best hyperbole.

We had 20 attempts, 9 on target. They had half the attempts and 1 on target. We were away from home against a team who were gaining in confidence after recent results.

This is an incredibly competitive league. Every team is capable of beating anyone. When you win away from home and keep a clean sheet... enjoy it.

Eddie Tully
53 Posted 27/12/2015 at 08:59:24
Lady Luck finally paid us a visit! We fully deserved the win and had to work extremely hard for it. Did anybody see Big Rom collapse at the final whistle?

Wonderful to get a clean sheet, even Tim looked more in command of his 6 yard box! Also, Roberto has learnt somewhat, as he has now brought Lukaku back to defend corners (our Achilles heel).

Cleverly and Barkley both had decent games, although the armchair managers on here would never see that!

Hopefully we can kick on now and beat Stoke, it won't be easy but at least we can go into the game with some confidence.

Ajay Gopal
54 Posted 27/12/2015 at 09:02:54
Phil (45), in my eyes Lukaku, Barry and Coleman were totally goosed having put in the effort they did over 90 minutes on a rain soaked pitch. Keeping in mind that the Stoke match will come less than 48 hours after yesterday's game, I suspect that Martinez will ring in a few changes.

Hibbert has been used in the LB role, so why not Galloway at RB? He is fresh from having signed a new contract and would be raring to go and do a job at whatever role he is asked to play. Or RM could shift Stones to RB (which he regularly used to play for England and Everton last season) and put Funes Mori and Galloway as the CB pairing.

About Barry and Lukaku, I think you will agree that they need a small rest and RM has repeatedly said that the squad is strong enough to rotate, and I think that is why he rested Kone yesterday and brought in Basic to see if he was ready for the full 90 minutes. Anyway, this is my opinion only.
Phil Sammon
55 Posted 27/12/2015 at 09:15:00

I agree that certain players could use a rest. Coleman in particular looked absolutely exhausted... and that was after about 60 minutes.

I don't think Galloway would make a great right-back to be honest... but my point was more that Martinez would sooner play a knackered Coleman, Barry and Lukaku than bring in a fresh face.

Gavin McGarvey
58 Posted 27/12/2015 at 09:41:03
Watching the game, I was struck by how much pressure the players have managed to put themselves under by failing to beat teams who weren't exactly fantastic at Goodison. This meant we had to win, or continue our slide towards the bottom half of the table.

The relief when Cleverly scored from both the players and the manager showed this. Lets be honest we were lucky. We had some decent chances but so did they, and although we dominated significant periods, considering the performance of their goalkeeper and defenders of Newcastle, a draw would hardly have been an injustice.

Personally I don't buy that this was a great performance. If you looked at our forward play in the second half it was very static. In this respect, I felt Duelofeu was a breath of fresh air. Even if he made mistakes, it was in trying to actually hurt the opposition and he took the responsibility the others couldn't face.

As for lessons learnt, we'll see. I do think we weren't quite so lacksadaisical as we have been recently, and gave the opposition a bit more respect. Also we kept playing to the whistle, which was a nice change.

Still we've got a chance now against Stoke, to put in a decent performance and start to rebuild the confidence we've lost. Fingers crossed we do. COYB

Dominic Tonge
59 Posted 27/12/2015 at 10:12:51
Wow did we need that. On a heavy pitch, away from home, and not forgetting that the players travelled to Newcastle on the day to accommodate a bit of festive charity work, we went and won. We also kept a clean sheet.

Yes, Newcastle had chances... but I am chuffed. I would take that every away game to be fair. I get on here and sound off when we roll over, so credit where it's due. Cheers boys, belated crimbo gift. Now to beat Stoke.
Eddie Dunn
60 Posted 27/12/2015 at 10:15:52
The way I saw the game was like this: We dominated in the early phase and looked in complete control but, as the half wore on, and we didn't make the breakthrough, our tempo slowed.

The ref denied us a pen and we slowly allowed Newcastle to get into the game; our fitness diminished, the game got more open, and either team could have won it in the closing stages.

For me, Mirallas should have stayed on as, with Deulofeu on the other wing, we could have stretched them more. It was a lucky win in the end, as I thought that the game had been allowed to drift for too long before the subs were made. It seemed like our late rally was going to be too late.

Incidentally, what a bottler Lee Mason is, not giving Janmaat a second yellow, and reducing them to 10 men.

Brian Williams
61 Posted 27/12/2015 at 10:23:43
The games has certainly polarized opinion on here.

One thing that really pissed me off though is that there was one move in particular in the first half (best move of the game) which started just inside our half and was fired across the six yard box in a matter of four passes I think. Michael Owen on BT Sport said that with just the final touch that would have been a contender for goal of the month... any guess what's coming next??

MotD didn't even show it!

Terry Murray
63 Posted 27/12/2015 at 10:49:17
We had the rub of the green for once. Is this the "Oxford" moment?
Brian Baker
64 Posted 27/12/2015 at 11:30:01
I think the goal by Cleverly yesterday is going to turn our season round.

You could see how pumped the players were after it was scored, I would liken it to that famous 'Season changing' tackle by Phil Neville a few years ago.

The fact it was scored so late made it that more gratifying, after a game with 20 shots on goal and the lions share of possession.


Sam Barrett
65 Posted 27/12/2015 at 11:54:12
Typical Everton, typically downcast and weird reaction from Evertonians and typically strange reaction from TWebbers! We were the best team and MOM was their keeper. We should have had a pen. We've outplayed Bmth, Palace and Norwich recently and only got draws. We may have been fortunate to get the goal in the end but over 90 mins I think we deserved it. Enjoy the win and enjoy the 3 points. We're not a million miles away from being a top 4 team.
Andy Walker
66 Posted 27/12/2015 at 12:11:51
I think there's a lot of fans who can see the inadequacies of our team and are realistic enough to see that a last minute goal doesn't cover them up, although it was a fantastic feeling to win that way.

The fact remains that Newcastle had the best chance of the match and if it had been taken we would probably have lost, and certainly not have won.

Martinez again said in his MOTD interview that it was a 'complete performance'. The last time he used these words? Yep, after beating Villa. Subsequently, complacency set in and it took 5 mores games before we saw a league win. Doesn't the man learn from his mistakes?

Jim Bennings
67 Posted 27/12/2015 at 12:18:21
I think we just really need to enjoy yesterday's win to be honest.

It would have felt truly galling to have ended that game with another draw or worse defeat.

It was not perfect no, our defence still looks very very fragile aerially, but I'm not arsed today, it's a 1-0 win away from home, I'd happily settle for five or six more of those between now and the end of the season.

Think Cleverley is actually offering more to the team than McCarthy, who I love as a player but I imagine if that chance had fell to Macca he'd have tried taking that down and passing up the chance.
Cleverley seems more attack minded and goes well next to Barry.

Thought Lennon grew more stronger as the game went on after a slow start, which due to a lack of football is expected.
I'd give Lennon the Spurs game next Sunday too, as you'd imagine he will be eager to impress.

All in all it was a frustrating game but a win is a win and we need more wins, I couldn't have stood another draw to be honest.

Tomorrow will be a totally different type of challenge against a extremely well drilled Stoke team, space and area to manoeuvre will be much more limited tomorrow , plus they have very hardworking skillful player's like Arnautovic, Bojan, then there's Shaqiri.

A very difficult game on the horizon.

Peter Gorman
68 Posted 27/12/2015 at 12:19:57
Is this our 'Oxford moment' - are we going to be asking that after every win from now on?

I thought Sunderland was our Oxford moment, or was it Aston Villa? What a silly comparison. I would rather we have no such moment by not actually being in such a sorry state in the first place.

Raymond Fox
69 Posted 27/12/2015 at 12:31:25
Michaels post 35 says it all for me.

We as a side are appreciated more in the media than a number of fans on here, we won didn't we, we were the best team, were we not.
Danny Murphy who is the best panellist by a mile for me, thought fit to give us plenty of praise for recent performances, and he's not on his own.

Come on guys, Martinez and the team cant seem to do right for you regardless of if we win or lose.

Dave Lynch
70 Posted 27/12/2015 at 12:44:37
It's not the attacking play of passing that's the problem, it's the stupid way we at times defend.

Our back 4 fail to pick up men arriving into the box and on several occasions Stones and Mori totally switched off altogether.

Glad of the win but we have to start concentrating for 90 at the Bach or we will keep conceding stupid goals.

Dave Lynch
71 Posted 27/12/2015 at 12:47:40
Back, not the German composer.
Terence Leong
74 Posted 27/12/2015 at 13:53:00
I think there are a lot of valid pointers expressed by "different camps" here; on the one hand, being the only away team that won this week, the precious 3 points we got, and us getting it at the death, will only bode well for the team morale.

On the other hand, the fact that we haven't been able to turn our early dominance in the games with goals to kill off the other team, and then allowing ourselves the nervy moments, are still glaring.

The fact is, I think that our players will have recognized that.
The bigger question and concern is if the staff and the players have the know-how to remedy this.

While not absolving the manager of their responsibility to coach, once the players step out on the field, it's up to them to execute and take charge of the game, and respond accordingly.

Colin Glassar
75 Posted 27/12/2015 at 13:59:52
Spot on Jim B. On another thread I'm calling for a Christmas truce similar to the 1914 one on the western front. All this bitching and scratching is very un-christmassy.
Martin Jamieson
76 Posted 27/12/2015 at 14:10:48
Having read all these comments I feel compelled to say 3 things:
  1. Why doesn't anyone on here ever give our manager a bit if slack for the fact that he is speaking in a language that is not his mother tongue. Yes he might over-use adjectives like 'incredible' but so would we if we had to address the media in Catalan or Spanish! Give him a break, he's trying his best.
  2. The match was frustrating because we couldn't convert chances but the feeling at the end was fabulous. We've had shit luck recently and I hope this is a sign of a positive change that we deserve.
  3. Cleverley's header was very very good and was as spectacular and brilliantly played as Jagielka's awesome last minute equalizer in the derby last year. Also promising to see a great on target header from Funes-Mori earlier in the game. Newcastle blocked what seemed like a million efforts from us.

I say well done players and manager on an awful pitch away from home... made my Boxing Day! COYB!

Dave Abrahams
77 Posted 27/12/2015 at 14:37:27
I hope Mr. Martinez has learned we need another proven striker in the January transfer window, Lukaku can't do it on his own, and he has missed quite a few good chances in the last few games.

Made up with the last minute win, but lots have'nt learned the lessons after the Sunderland and Villa victories, both those teams were very,very poor as were Newcastle, Villa drew with them last week, let's wait and see if we can beat Stoke and Spurs before we go overboard with praise.

Des Farren
78 Posted 27/12/2015 at 15:04:41
I think with Martinez the team is a work in progress.
He wants to play the game in a certain way,not necessarily like Leicester at 100mph in spite of how good that looks.
We are getting there,I hope,but only the most biased could deny that the football that we play is attractive.Just not yet effective enough but I feel individual players could hold up their hands on that score.
I,for one,think he deserves credit for yesterday's result.

Bobby Thomas
79 Posted 27/12/2015 at 15:14:39
Don't really see what's changed. It was a performance very much in keeping with those produced recently.

Newcastle aren't much, they've improved however. They defended deep and attempted to stifle & hit us on the break. They missed one great chance & we didn't really look capable of dealing with crosses or long straight balls inot the box. This is the norm. We also played some good stuff & should have probably put the game to bed earlier. Again, the norm recently.

I pay little attention to what the manager says as mostly its not for our ears but the players. I also think most of it is nonsense. We've conceded 15 at home and will probably need at least 3 to win against Stoke.

Chris Corn
80 Posted 27/12/2015 at 16:17:53
Dave, 67, like the way you cherry picked Newcastle draw with Villa but failed to mention victories against Liverpool and Spurs. I suppose it fits your argument though.
Mike Powell
81 Posted 27/12/2015 at 16:28:12
Newcastle are not 3rd from bottom for nothing, so scraping a one-nil win against a very poor side is nothing to get excited over.
Colin Glassar
82 Posted 27/12/2015 at 16:32:10
God reading the comments on here is why I'm addicted to TW. It's like being at a Schizophrenics Anonymous meeting.

Tom: We were shite!
Dick: We were fantastic!
Harry: I thought we were great but our tippy tappy football is doing my head in.
Tom: You're right of course Dick
Dick: So are you Tom.
Harry: I thought Andy Gray was a fucking disgrace yesterday. Catterick out!!!

Nurse: Come on Mr W, time to take your pills.

Brent Stephens
83 Posted 27/12/2015 at 16:33:57
Much better performance against Newcastle. Played with pace and directness. That's what made it a great game to watch. None of the passing around at the back or slow build-up. More of the same please.
Mike Gaynes
84 Posted 27/12/2015 at 17:23:07
Yes, we can all look longingly at the points we've left on the table, and at the lofty perches of Leicester and Palace, and hold our heads.

But you know what?

If some oracle of the future had written on August 1 that we would get past Boxing Day with the fifth best goal differential in the league... better than Chelsea, better than ManU, better than the RS... every single one of us would have said HELL YES, WE'LL TAKE THAT! (Of course we'd have dismissed said oracle as an utter crackpot for showing us Leicester on top, but what the hell.)

The very last thing a young team and a young manager learn to do is win games late and lock them down. Make no mistake, this is a young team with a young manager that hasn't learned that knack yet... but they will learn.

I love what Roberto is building here.. still a work in progress, no doubt, and a major problem still to be addressed (every high ball into our box is a heart attack waiting to happen), but the progress is obvious and the excitement will follow.

Rahman Talib
85 Posted 27/12/2015 at 17:27:08
Two things:

1) Robles In, Howard Out.

2) Stop with the extra touches. Pull the damn trigger once the chance present itself. Lukaku would've had three if it wouldn't for his extra touches.

Paul Tran
86 Posted 27/12/2015 at 17:47:00
Actually Dave, I'll only go overboard when we win a trophy, or batter Liverpool. But I will reserve the right to praise a good performance and criticise a poor one. Or does it have to be either hysterical praise or relentless condemnation?
Eric Holland
87 Posted 27/12/2015 at 17:49:41
Why should professional footballers in the prime of life need a rest for fu*** sake? they get paid £60,000 a week and cant play 3 games of football in 1 week!!!
I work in the building game and we work 12 hour days on the run up to Christmas in all weathers for a fraction of what these primadonnas get paid.
It makes you laugh sometimes.
Andy Walker
88 Posted 27/12/2015 at 17:58:21
Mike 73, the progress in attacking play is there to see, but so is the regression in defensive play. The overall result in terms on league position, is certainly no better than Moyes and currently worse.

That's the point any manager can set his team up to attack at the expense of defensive stability, but most don't as they want to try and win matches and defensively weak teams never consistently win. We have fullbacks playing as wingers and as soon as we lose the ball we are wide open, this is just one example of the Martinez 'philosophy'.

The skill of a top manager is to combine attacking style with a strong defence. Martinez has never demonstrated an ability to do this in the EPL, just the opposite in fact.

Andy Crooks
89 Posted 27/12/2015 at 18:19:59
Colin Glassar, as a man who knows a thing or two have you heard anything about what could happen in the window? I feel that Naismith would be a great signing for Sunderland but I would be in two minds about him leaving.
Tony Abrahams
90 Posted 27/12/2015 at 18:25:24
Paul 10, that is what is wrong with too many people on this site at times. We have learned because we have scored a last minute winner, but what if the Newcastle player hadn't missed a sitter and we would have lost?

You can only say a team has learned if they start to do things on a consistent basis, like you can surely only judge if Miralles is no better than a sub, if he has a spell in the team.

We won, people are happy, win on a consistent basis and people will be very happy I also thought we deserved to win, as we did against Palace, Norwich and Bournmouth, but I would never say lessons have been learned just yet though, until we prove it regularly.

Tony Abrahams
91 Posted 27/12/2015 at 18:43:44
Andy 76, I agree with you about our defensive frailties, so I was absolutely amazed to read we have just lost the least number of away games in this calendar year, for over 100 years.

Was it Alex Ferguson who said football, bloody hell?

Nick Waters
92 Posted 27/12/2015 at 18:57:12
Andy @ 76, I think the 2013-14 season is strong evidence to challenge your final paragraph. Also, I doubt if in the current, or at least recent, financial climate, Everton have any claim to be in possession of a 'top manager', no matter how much we as fans feel we deserve one.
What I felt was of interest after Cleverly's winner was the team and bench, including Martinez, celebrating together. Certainly Cleverly's first instinct was to share his joy with his manager, and I enjoyed that.

I for one am prepared to be patient with the current squad and set up. Twelve to eighteen months ago this site was in agreement about the aging squad and how the transition would be difficult. Big if, I know, but if they are all or mostly here next season then their experiences this season will definitely result in lessons learned, and I believe a decent challenge for honours.
We'll all see one way or another.

Dave Abrahams
93 Posted 27/12/2015 at 18:59:03
Andy (77) there is a small whisper, a very small whisper that Leon Osman is going on loan to Hibernian, if it is true the slower pace of the Scottish Championship may suit Ossie, and he will link up with Alan Stubbs, plus he will be coming off the wage bill.
Dave Abrahams
94 Posted 27/12/2015 at 19:04:34
Paul (74) I think most of Everton's last few games have been a mixture of good and bad, so why not tell it like it is, you can't beat the truth.
Mark Taylor
95 Posted 27/12/2015 at 19:29:27
I think Martinez's comments demonstrate why some people have a negative view of him

We deserved the result for sure, and sometime we haven't had that in previous matches. We play some excellent football. That in good part is down to our manager.

But there is absolutely zero evidence whatsover of any lessons learned from before that would have influenced this scoreline. The goal that saved us from another disappointment was, in truth, rather fortuitous and pretty much all the elements that have set us back before- profligacy in front of goal, periods where we lose concentration, shaky dealing with breakaways- were all still there. I've no problem with managers exploiting their luck- as I say, we deserved to win because of our better football- but best not delude yourself that you have created it with some strange alchemy.

Actually there is one thing to learn going forward. We scored from a set piece. It's a neat and rehearsable way to score a goal, even if our manager seemingly regards them with contempt, maybe only worth half a goal. Maybe we could rehearse them more- offensive and defensive...

Andy Walker
96 Posted 27/12/2015 at 19:40:04
Tony 79, a very good stat! Ultimately as we both know though the stat that counts is our league position. The fact that we haven't lost many away is good, but I suspect we haven't won that many either and there will no doubt be some other stat showing a negative bias to our home form over the same period, otherwise we'd have been right up there.

I think we are close to becoming a really good side, just like we were close under Moyes, but the thing that's missing for me this time (as opposed to under Moyes where is was attack) is defensive strength and I don't have confidence in Martinez to find the answer to our problems at the back.

Paul Tran
98 Posted 27/12/2015 at 19:55:27
Andy, I agree. We're getting close. The missing thing for me is a lack of know-how and nous in the team. For me, Martinez seems to be wary of experienced, established players like this. I interpret 'the right character' as 'someone who won't challenge me'.

So we're going through have to rely on these young players gaining that nous, while Martinez maintains or enhances the team.

Des Farren
99 Posted 27/12/2015 at 20:37:53
Paul@85.Agree there is a lack of know-how and composure.
Last season there seemed to be an unwillingness among the players to play it out of defence leading to many silly mistakes.
That aspect has improved as players become familiar with the system but when the ball is in the air they seem to panic.
I don't know how much of this is down to players/manager.

Aus Shiraz @14.5% however I know all about and would prefer to forget about it!

Damian Nolan
100 Posted 27/12/2015 at 21:09:24
Can we all agree on this at least? Barry has been fantastic this season. Is there anyone better at taking the ball down in one touch and simultaneously shielding it from the opposition meaning that he either keeps it and finds his own player or draws at least a free kick through a clumsy attempt by the opposition to tackle him. It is a real skill honed through practice and application. Further, his fitness levels put Deulofeu and some others to shame despite his greater age. There is much to be critical of but not when it comes to this consummate professional.
Paul Tran
101 Posted 27/12/2015 at 21:27:52
Damien, Barry has been consistently good this season. Apparently only one player has run further than him this season.
He's actually fit this season, which is making a huge difference.

Des, I'd recommend the Aussie Shiraz/Durif combo wines. Top taste, strength and hangover - free!

Joseph Terrence
102 Posted 27/12/2015 at 21:28:28
Agree 100% Damian. Granted, Barry was shockingly poor at times last season - then again, can you name a blue who wasn't - but he has been arguably our best player this year.
He is just an intelligent, tidy player and an extremely under appreciated one at that.
Mike Gaynes
103 Posted 27/12/2015 at 21:59:17
Andy Walker #76: "The skill of a top manager is to combine attacking style with a strong defence."

I'm sorry, sir, but that is a boatload of absolute malarkey.

The skill of a top manager is to WIN GAMES. Some of the greatest managers who ever lived did it with almost no attacking style at all (see Italy at any time in the '70s and 80s). Others have done it with overwhelming attack and style. Still others adjust their styles over the years based on their personnel. There are maybe five on Earth at any one time who consistently meet your standard by combining offensive style with defensive impeccability. I know of none in England right now. Zero. Do you?

If you're saying Roberto isn't at that level, congratulations on a monumental grasp of the obvious. If you're saying that he won't be, you're in equally safe territory, because 98% of managers never get there. But if you're saying that you don't see potential in what Roberto's building, I'm sorry, but your ears are flopping over your eyes.

I loved the way Moyes' teams won, with grit and ferocity and pure pride. But that team had a ceiling. I think this team's ceiling is higher. IF Roberto and his kids can learn to close games the way Moyes' teams did, this side has more depth and more talent to win more than Timmy Cahill and his warrior band ever did. But it's not just Roberto's job... it's the players' responsibility as well.

Colin Glassar
104 Posted 27/12/2015 at 22:19:06
Andy 77, Embolo or Batsuyahi are the main targets if we can sell Nessie and Mcgeady. Of course the money we would get for those two would only cover a down payment for either player (valued around £25m each) but either of them would be a major improvement and would take a heavy load off Lukaku's shoulders. I think Embolo is definitely a possibility in this window.
Andy Walker
105 Posted 27/12/2015 at 22:24:16
Mike, by definition to win games you must have an attacking style, what that style is down to the manager. I remember the Italian national team's style you refer to, it's probably the most extreme example, but their great sides were clinic attacking teams. I actually used to enjoy watching them and seeing them control their opponents and then seemly strike like a ruthless assassin.

I don't care what our style is as long as we win about half the games we play, rather than a third.

Thomas Surgenor
106 Posted 27/12/2015 at 22:36:34
Colin #91
I know you have a bit of previous (the Lukaku deal) but what are you basing this confidence on? I have no reason to doubt but would just be interested in knowing if you've heard anything or if it's just your wish list?
Ps: are we allowed to commit to a large out going while under due diligence?
Tom Harding
107 Posted 27/12/2015 at 22:37:30
I have to say that I find the negativity and bile directed at Martinez to be beyond belief. Granted that the team needs to tighten up defensively but we have (when they are fit) arguably the best two defenders in England in Jags and Stones. Granted also that we need to convert more of our chances and turn draws into points and wins, but we are oh so close to that. What a pleasure it is to say that Everton are playing some of the best football in the league. How long were we invariably dour and dire to watch. Decades! I really believe that this is the best Everton side since 1970 and that we might even win something soon. I don't expect us to win the league but can we really expect that in all fairness?

It seems to me that those people who call Martinez shite and criticise his naivety are the same people who called Moyes's teams shite and criticised his negativity. I for one am more optimistic about Everton than I have felt for years.

Mark Taylor
108 Posted 27/12/2015 at 22:38:30
Colin, £25m for an 18 year old playing in the Swiss league? If we pay that much for such a high risk player we are either mad or have more money than sense.


Jay Harris
109 Posted 27/12/2015 at 22:44:47
I think the first 30 minutes were like Barcelona playing Tranmere.

It is concerning however that despite total domination (80% possession) we could not convert that to goals.

What is more concerning is that once Newcastle learned they were not going to get a hiding they grew in confidence and spirit and could and should have actually scored with THAT header.

However on the balance of play and chances we deserved that win but for Roberto to come out with that load of bollocks does nobody any favours.

We have a really tough game tomorrow and will need to be up for it.

I am still not sure this man will prepare us correctly.

Tony Abrahams
110 Posted 27/12/2015 at 22:56:08
Andy 84, I was just saying that with me being on the same page as you, could you believe such a stat? Cos I couldn't.

Not always necessarily as concerned about league positions though Andy, because other than his last season, I never really felt that we was either good enough or Moyes was good enough to take us into the top 4. It feels different now though, because although the team is young, it's definitely good enough. My only reservations are with the manager, even though he his responsible for a lot of the good coming out of our present squad. Mad innit?

James Flynn
111 Posted 27/12/2015 at 23:01:38
We're soft at the back. No getting around it.

The need for a big, strong, "understands what he has to do to justify being out there", rough customer or two at the back is required. We're soft.

Whatever Stones' career will be, he's no CB. Going to Chelsea would have him playing the same as with us; Jose or Hiddink. He's no CB.

I understand the "Shawcross" calls, but he's never coming. Unless you want to see Ryan Shawcross bringing the ball out of the back. But someone "like" him is a distinct missing link to this team going forward.

How different is a Roberto defense from Davy's, when we talk about defending crosses and corners; given Ossie's book and Moyes well-known fixation on defending. A difference, certainly. Yet, Moyes had big, strong athletes in Fellaini and Distin coupled with two "no quarter asked or given" bastards in Neville and Cahill.

Roberto doesn't have anything like that quartet. Barry has no problem giving it for sure. Allegedly, McCarthy does too. Allegedly.

We're building to something special? We live in hope. But Roberto's record, Swansea, Wigan, and us, doesn't seem he worry's about defending. Or signing in the job-specific, ugly fucker(s) required in defense.

Andy Walker
112 Posted 27/12/2015 at 23:03:37
Totally agree Tony, it's a mad, unexpected stat! Let's hope we improve our home stats tomorrow.
Helen Mallon
113 Posted 27/12/2015 at 23:16:53
Jesus Christ who are you people on here? He plays Mirallas, we win one-nil, and most still give him stick. Who the bloody hell is out there that will take us forward? Nick Armitage and others please bloody explain.

Someone said he needs to watch the Southampton v Arsenal game... why? We twatted Southampton.

Oh and if you go back through Moyes's management, we were shit at corners then as well. He also loved to play with no attackers, like against West Ham when he put all our strikers on the bench and played Cahill up front. Ahhhh!

Clive Lewis
114 Posted 27/12/2015 at 23:23:35
Well apart from the win, which may galvanise the team on to better things. I cannot day we played well because we still lack the killer pass. It still feels that the players are scared to take a chance. Its still very pedestrian and we could have easily lost. Still fed up with this non existent threat and passing game with no direction. We really need 2 strikers that are a threat we sadly have only one.
Rob Hooton
115 Posted 28/12/2015 at 01:06:38
Although I do think El Bob spouts it like a post curry turn out I still get the feeling that this team is on the cusp of great things and that the players believe in Martinez. I believe in giving them time as long as they DO learn from their mistakes!

Let's hope we get the 3 pts against a very good Stoke team, they have progressed well under Hughes

Derek Thomas
116 Posted 28/12/2015 at 03:47:12
Short version; Moyes was an Ian Buchan for the 21st Century. Martinez is Carey for 2015. We need a Catterick. aka 'The Goldilocks Option.'
Ernie Baywood
117 Posted 28/12/2015 at 05:46:10
Clive #104 It's the balancing act we're trying to get right. Graham Taylor's stats didn't lie - moving it quickly and turning the opposition around will bring goals. But if you constantly give up the ball you'll concede too many.

We've seen the Martinez view on this. He won't play Mirallas and Deulofeu together because, while it will encourage us to create things, we'll give the ball away too much. Even against Newcastle he needed another defensive midfielder before he'd venture to put Mirallas in with Deulofeu. It's also why Ross is being converted into a 'recycler' instead of killer (he's playing it well, mind).

We passed the ball brilliantly against Newcastle but probably didn't create enough chances. When Del came on he gave the ball away constantly until he finally made something for Lukaku. He had a poor game yet created something with about 10 touches of the ball.

The balance is off right now but if we improve Del's decisions then we can be something else.

Harold Matthews
118 Posted 28/12/2015 at 05:52:48
Well, we wanted him to change things and he did. First time I've seen Barry start on the right side of the DM duo. Cleverley taking the left side spot to assist Baines. Mirallis playing the middle up front role with Lukaku. Lennon busy as a bee right and middle, allowing Coleman to advance without fear.

A good attacking performance which deserved more goals but Newcastle blocked shots in fine style and their keeper had a blinder. Lukaku never stopped battling, Barkley kept things moving, Mirallis always looked a threat and Lennon and Coleman created chances.

We still had a big hole on our left side. With Mirallis in the centre and Cleverley not being a natural defender, Janmaat and Sissoko ran Baines ragged and provided crosses which should have been converted. How we will rectify this serious situation I honestly don't know but with Shaquiri on the Stoke right wing we're in for a spot of bother.

As Trevor Francis rightly pointed out, our inability to deal with crosses and long upfield punts is our Achilles Heel. Why does Stones back off when a keepers punt is dropping into the box? Is he leaving it to someone else? This needs sorting.

All in all, absolutely delighted with the three points.and many thanks to captain Gareth Barry. He was tremendous.

Didn't know what to make of Besic who was a mile behind everyone and everything. I'm not criticizing the lad. He'll eventually get up to speed but right now he has some way to go.

A lot of effort was spent and I hope we can recover in time for Tuesday's game. The Belgiums have been known to disappear when asked to turn out twice within a week but, fingers crossed, they now have a different outlook.

Please Ross, chewing gum is not a smart thing to do whilst playing football, nor is spitting all over the turf.

Harold Matthews
119 Posted 28/12/2015 at 08:04:55
Forgot to mention another change we've requested for quite some time now. Lukaku came back to help defend set pieces.
Paul Tran
120 Posted 28/12/2015 at 10:37:02
Tony 101 & James 102 nail it between them for me. Martinez is building a good young team that is 80% there, without convincing me he'll find the other 20%. It will be a good start If he finds a centre half that defends first, then plays it nice second.

There's just too many players in this side who are 70/80% there. Skilful midfielders who can't score or defend well enough, centre backs good on the ball without being anywhere near robust enough. Will these young players develop the nous we need?

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