Injuries to midfield duo add to Blues' woe

29/12/2015  48 Comments  [Jump to last]
Roberto Martinez has fresh injury concerns over James McCarthy and Tom Cleverley after both players were forced out of yesterday's defeat to Stoke.

McCarthy suffered what his manager described as "a flare-up" of the groin injury he sustained at Bournemouth, a complaint that was initially reported as such but was also said to be a hip strain, and had to be withdrawn after just 26 minutes.

He was replaced by Cleverley, the match-winner from the game against Newcastle who was one of four changes made from Boxing Day, and the former Aston Villa man registered an impressive assist for Everton's second goal before substituted himself in the 65th minute with an Achilles problem.

To lose Tom Cleverley through injury and to get a reaction, a flare up from James McCarthy is a real negative, Martinez said. It was a blow to lose James so early. We felt we needed an extra energy and you saw that with his impact in with the assist for the first goal.

Tom then felt his Achilles tendon and we will have to assess it. He tried to stay on as long as he could. He played the pass for Romelu Lukaku for the second goal but he had to come off. He made a really big impact when he came on and he was playing a massive role.  

Reader Comments (48)

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Helen Mallon
1 Posted 29/12/2015 at 07:38:33
I'm afraid you have to go, Roberto. I have been your biggest fan but no more. Yesterday was one game too far.

Starting Macca was a no no when you had a fit Besic. Not having Lennon or Mirallas on the bench was disgraceful, and to not close the game out at 3-2, criminal... just criminal.

Go now give the job to Duncan or Stubbs and get Unsie as defensive coach – anything but your philosophy. We have the best team in decades that should be up there in the top 4 but sadly you are not good enough to gel them together.
Jim Bennings
3 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:01:15
Just when we need all the player's fit with this fixture list coming up!

Cleverley has impressed me lately, he'll be a big big loss, he offers something McCarthy doesn't in terms of going forward.

Besic will come in but Besic next to Barry offers little in the way of production, it just puts greater weight on Barkley and Deulofeu.

Gibson cant be trusted to play a sustained period of games without breaking down with something.

How I'd love to make a move in January for Bojan, what a player!

Ian Jones
4 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:02:30
Helen. You certainly have been one of Martinez's supporters so to read that you now think he should go is a surprise! I imagine there will be some on here who will wonder why it took you so long to form your opinion.

I also have supported him, up to a point. But whilst players at clubs also have to be responsible for the way they play the game, quite clearly Martinez does not know how to defend anywhere on the pitch. I would quite happily see him go. Nice guy , admire his principles, but unless he changes his methods, he will not succeed at the top of his profession, which is a shame for him.

Though not sure of your choice of replacements.

Some Toffee webbers have said Mark Hughes. Doing a decent job but why would he leave Stoke. With all the TV money coming in, he can achieve what he wants there.

We have missed out over the years for well-stated reasons, so it seems a pity to be potentially be missing out again, and not take the opportunity of a great squad of players

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:05:09
Anyone ever find out the problem with Mirallas and Lennon??

I find it unbelievable that both were carrying knocks to make them miss the entire squad yesterday, we heard nothing after the Newcastle match about any injuries!

If they were not injured how on earth Martinez can just leaving both out is beyond me, especially after they starred in the win on Boxing Day.

Ian McDowell
6 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:08:09
I agree, Jim. I was slightly surprised that both weren't starting but shocked to find them both on the bench.

The introduction of Naismith baffled me yesterday. I thought Besic or Gibson would've been the better call at that period of the game.

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:11:46
I said 12 months ago after we were destroyed by Hull on New Year's Day that the man to replace Martinez was Mark Hughes but was shouted down by those who believe all the media talk of the hell in going to face Hughes and his cloggers on a rainy day in Stoke!

Well, I guess yesterday and the football his team plays now has totally banished those media myths; they played fantastic football at times and he's assembled a squad of talented men, but also has kept the physical side... in other words he's started getting the balance perfect.

Martinez still shows little sign of ever setting up the team to win enough matches at Premier League level.

How we continue, after last season, to keep shipping the same goals is beyond me.

Jim Bennings
8 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:14:07
For the record, no, its highly unlikely now that Hughes would leave Stoke for us, unless something really positive regarding a takeover happened.
Chris Williams
9 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:25:35
Like you, Helen, I have reluctantly decided enough is enough with this so-called philosophy. That and the constant repeating of the same mistakes, picking the same players, playing the same formation, despite all the evidence that it is not working for all to see.

We had a tough opening 10 games from which we gleaned 13 points. By common consent, the next 10 games looked less challenging, and now, 9 games in, we have got...13 points, with a home game with Spurs to come.

There have been some surprise packages this season, like Leicester, Watford and even Stoke, but who does not believe that points have been wilfully thrown away against Bournemouth, Norwich, Palace, Leicester, and now Stoke.

Football seems to have changed this season with home advantage being more or less lost in the Premier League. There have been nearly as many away wins as home wins across the piece, so when you factor in the draws the home advantage has vanished.

This may be because the majority of teams now play on the break, so both teams are playing like away teams. What is important in this type of game is not to concede first, which is one of our major failures, time after time.

I heard Wenger talking about how he had noticed that for the first time teams were winning games consistently when they had had significantly less possession and that possession was becoming less important. It is certainly true in our experience, and maybe confirms the point that playing on the break now dominates the tactics, which means getting a lead and then holding on to it. Another of our major failings.

Maybe all this is looking to deeply at this time of the morning and maybe it is as simple as a poor goalkeeper who makes errors and can't organise his defence, which is lacking experience currently, or picking Kone repeatedly when he is spent after an hour.

Helen is right that this seems to be the best squad we've seen for many years and it is undeniable that it is not being set up to capitalise on its strengths, in this season where there are possibly 2 places available in the top 4, which makes the frustration all the greater.

That is the fault of the manager whatever the underlying causes.

Richard Lyons
10 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:28:26
Jim, you're right - nothing is going to change until we get new owners - unless, God forbid, we are sucked into a relegation battle... and even then any change in manager would come to late to save us.
Phil Sammon
11 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:36:34
I'm all for sacking Martinez, but if we appoint Mark Hughes I'll be absolutely devastated. Enormously arrogant tit with a largely terrible career as a manager.
Guy Hastings
12 Posted 29/12/2015 at 08:59:17
I'm with Phil regarding Hughes. Looks nailed on, then.
Michael Polley
13 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:02:08
I agree with all the above posts. RM philosophy is not working. Everyone can see it except him.Our defence is awful, and something needs to be done to stop this rot. I watched the game yesterday, and I just knew when we went 3-2 up we wouldn't hold on. Yes, Glattenburg should never referee another game at Goodison again ( I do think he has a thing against us), but the problems run deeper here. I feel so sorry for Lukaku, the guy is a prolific goal scorer, but he still ends up on the losing side. I fear we may lose him in the summer in which case we will be a relegation side next season.

We have a great bunch of young talented players, but it is leaderless, and the manager is clueless. If we are taken over maybe that will change the dynamic of the club, but on the pitch things need to change quickly, or the potential of these players will be lost from us for ever. I 'm afraid we're probably stuck with Martinez for now, but if things don't improve he needs to go by the summer. Who do we get in ? Good question !
I'm dreading the summer transfer window !!!!

Alexander O'Brien
14 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:10:58
Jim, for the record Mirallas and Lennon were not injured and left out due to there 'efforts' on Saturday and didn't want the pair burnt out by playing two games in three days. Begs the question then if that's his reasoning, why play Half the team 48 hours later. Lennon and Mirallas have hardly played this season and would have been fresh enough for Stoke in my eyes. He's basically talking shite and I've had enough of him. I've backed him immensely and he's down some good things with his attacking brand of football and signed some class players but we're in the bottom half and enough is enough.
Jim Bennings
15 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:28:09
It's insane isn't it?

How can two player's who are in desperate need of more football not be fit enough for even a selection on the substitute bench after playing less than 90 minutes 48 hours earlier, Christ, we don't play again until Sunday at 4pm.

This manager really is so so hard to fathom, he really has baffled me over the last 18 months with some of the jargon he's spoke and the decisions he's made.

As I said yesterday, how long do we continue to tolerate this?

If, or should I say, when, we get knocked out by Manchester City in the Semi 's the season is over, forget top 6 finishes or winning the FA Cup, the season is all about getting 40/43 points before the end of March to ensure safety, much like last season it will fizzle out into one of false promise and false hope.

Jim Bennings
16 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:37:15
Actually, we are only on 26 points at this moment in time, I'd probably be a bit shocked to reach 43 points before April.

Looking at the fixtures in January it's hard to see us getting beyond the 30 point mark going into February.

We'll do rather well to get more than 47/48 points this season, it's enough to stave off relegation but nowhere near enough to be where we want to be.

I reckon 6 more wins if we are lucky and maybe 3 or 4 draws thrown in.

Alexander O'Brien
17 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:40:01
Jim, I'm the most optimistic of optimists and always have been but I've completely given up. I really thought after Saturday's last gasp win we'd turned a corner but now I think I'll just put a bet to see how many goals we'll leak instead of net!

Lose to Man City and he's a dead man walking but will continue to keep his job as apparently we give managers time. Would this be tolerated at Liverpool or Spurs?
Neil Gribbin
18 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:48:08
Alexander, this would not be tolerated anywhere. We are a disgrace. The board is a joke, the manager is a clown, and we as fans need to look at ourselves. We laugh at the other lot, but at least they show they aren't happy. We wagfle to each other in pubs. Time to show our anger to the fraud. Enough is enough
Chris Gould
19 Posted 29/12/2015 at 10:08:04
I do understand some of the negativity towards RM. However, many have mentioned this as being our finest squad in a very long time. RM has to be given credit for those that he has brought into the squad, and for others that have stayed because of him.
Lukaku is here because of Martinez, as is Deulofeu, McCarthy, Cleverley. These are players that could have gone elsewhere but wanted to play for RM.
Barkley is played every week and has been allowed to grow and improve as a player, regardless of form and mistakes, because RM believes in him and youth. Stones is still here because RM fought to keep him.
A lot of people are concerned that we will lose these players if we keep RM. I think it's the opposite. I think many are here because of him and want to play for him. The players are clearly enjoying playing alongside each other and there is a great team spirit. Lose RM and you could lose all of that.
I would rather keep Martinez and bring in a defensive coach who could help him with his inadequacies. He has to first accept that he doesn't have the answers to our defensive problems, and that could be the main stumbling block.
No manager is perfect. They all have their negatives. I believe RM's can be resolved. Last season I wanted rid of him. Now I think we need to show patience...and enjoy the ride.
Clive Rogers
24 Posted 29/12/2015 at 10:52:39
We will miss them. Barry had a very poor game yesterday especially defending. Stoke were going past him like he wasn't there. His pace has gone.
Christy Ring
26 Posted 29/12/2015 at 11:39:53
Martinez is clueless.
1) Mirallas and Lennon, 2 fringe players rested, because they played 48 hrs earlier?. Lukaku has played every game.
2) When Cleverly had to come off (midfielder), was Besic or Gibson, not a natural replacement. Naismith is a striker, so where was he and Kone playing??
3) When we went 3-2 ahead, was it not the perfect time to shore up the midfield, instead of Kone standing and looking around.
4) Will Howard and Kone be dropped?. Noooo
He has learned nothing from getting Wigan relegated.
Brian Harrison
28 Posted 29/12/2015 at 11:59:51
Clive 19

Dont know where you watched the game, but from my seat Barry was excellent yet again. His reading of a game is outstanding, he broke up more of Stokes attacks than any other player. I think the draw against Bournemouth has really caused a lot of doubts in our players minds. To have surrendered a 2 goal lead with 10 minutes left and then to regain the lead with seconds left and still not see out the win. I believe that game has sowed massive doubts in the players minds, we looked more vulnerable to a goal after we went in front than at any other point in the game yesterday.
Most top flight managers after fighting back twice to go in front with 15 minutes left would have gone 4-5-1. But not RM he kept us playing the same way, and instead of replacing Cleverley with either Besic or Gibson, he brings on another forward. To accommodate this he drops Barkley into midfield, a lad who detests making any sort of challenge. Is it any wonder with this muddled thinking why we keep throwing games away.

Brent Stephens
30 Posted 29/12/2015 at 12:16:48
Brian #21, agree, Barry again was excellent. The ground he covered, the tackles he put in, the passes he made. Top man this season, consistently.
Tony Hill
31 Posted 29/12/2015 at 12:34:45
Yes, we obviously had to shore up after we went ahead. In fact, we did neither one thing nor the other. We sat back but had no structure and Barry was left obviously exposed. The lack of balance between defence and attack remains a crippling feature of our play.
Jay Harris
32 Posted 29/12/2015 at 12:57:40
The man is just a total bullshitter.

The statements he makes are inane.

If it has that effect on us no wonder the players are confused.

His managerial record is absolutely abysmal just ask Wigan and Swansea fans what they think of him and you will see exactly the same weaknesses identified.

Promises much but delivers little.

Christy Ring
33 Posted 29/12/2015 at 13:14:35
Brian & Brent, I like Barry but he hasn't the legs to last 90mins. The 3rd goal, we can blame Howard, but Barry lost control of the ball, and gave possession away and they scored from the cross. Against Palace he gave Dann a free header to score.
Without McCarthy, he's totally exposed.
Steavey Buckley
34 Posted 29/12/2015 at 13:26:55
Martinez is a gambler, whose one big gamble is paying off badly. He persists in playing Kone, as an extra attacker (by not playing a left winger) even though he unbalances the side, who now can't score goals to deserve his place or even hit the target. In games he plays at home, Everton have shipped 7 goals, because the opposition know he leaves a gaping gap behind him. When Everton played a more balanced against Newcastle with Mirallas still an imperfect fit, at least the goal tally against was a big fat zero. So balanced sides do work best even though the goal tally for is not as great but infinitely better than shipping in goals a merry for the opposition to be delighted with.
Eddie Dunn
37 Posted 29/12/2015 at 14:50:17
Clive19, Barry may well have tired in the last quarter, but I thought he was one of our best players, and has been all season.
I have to agree with Brian 21, and Brent, and as we lost Macca and Cleverley, why didn't the boss put Besic on?
Kone was really knackered, as was Del, but they both stayed on even though they had stopped tracking back and were both passengers.
The manager is to blame. As soon as we took the 3-2 lead, we lost our concentration and faffed about, with aimless tippy-tappy crap, the panic set in, and we were there for the taking.
Kim Vivian
38 Posted 29/12/2015 at 15:23:16
I know our board of Directors own about 68% of the shares which makes them - in a business context - pretty much answerable only to themselves, (there's us of course (the die hard fan base) and the remaining 32% 'other' shareholders) and I know that Bill is poorly, so he is probably not the person to do it, but as a manager RM is answerable to his board, so surely there must be someone with big enough cojones to get him on the carpet and give him the bollocking he needs.

I am sure he is getting patted on the back for the good he has done and as we know it is a fuck lot harder to be nice than nasty but if only some-one could step up to the mark and stop being fucking nice and just fucking get the point across to him that he is sailing pretty fucking damn close to the wind.

He is a young and relatively 'green' manager, has some good ideas and has done some good, make no mistake...probably more good than bad TBH...and it may just be that he needs help. No one will tell him (the supporters might as well just piss in the wind), I am sure he has been offered it (help that is) and his pride is probably his biggest weakness. By the way, I didn't realise he had brought his defensive coach from Wigan (is that really true? because it beggars belief) when probably he should have been sending him in the opposite direction.

I am not let it be said a Martinez supporter, or hater... but we have him. For better or worse no one can predict. We know his strengths and weaknesses and at the end of the day no other coach is guaranteed to make a success with our or any body else's resources. Reputations are collapsing and being made all over Europe and while it's not exactly a lottery, it is always a big risk.

It is easy to berate and I am as guilty of that as the next man but if he could just be made to see the light then we could be on the cusp of good things. Time has run out and it needs sorting now ... this season if the heart of the squad is not going to get ripped out.

Please Roberto, open your fucking eyes and ears, listen, and above all act. I know that everyone on here would be delighted to eat a good slice of humble pie.

And please Directors - grow those cojones.

Kim Vivian
39 Posted 29/12/2015 at 15:26:13
Pardon my language, by the way.
Barry Pearce
40 Posted 29/12/2015 at 15:29:36
To not have Lennon or Mirallas on the bench, if they were not injured. Just shows you what a fool Martinez is.
Saying they played 48 hours ago, and yet he leaves kone on for 90 minutes is a joke.
Something more going on here I think.
Phil Smith
41 Posted 29/12/2015 at 15:48:41
Chris (18), I'm of the same opinion. Martinez has almost got a team together capable of doing something and that is why it angers people more. I never felt like we could win anything under Moyes. I don't feel the same under this management.

I also don't think we can be consistent enough to challenge in the league and we'd be a good cup team at best. I'd take that for now. This season is totally frustrating, however, but we do have a young side and are, I feel, a couple of experienced quality players (a real midfield leader and a top keeper, but seriously who though?) away from a real top 4 team.
Martin O'Sullivan
42 Posted 29/12/2015 at 16:08:22
I wonder how long it will be before the "Martinez out" protests ramp it up a couple of notches. It's not how we do things but seriously if you shout loud enough people at the top have to listen... I don't like it and in an ideal world RM would sort his life out and turn it around, but to be honest I can't see it happening.

We have some tough games coming up and if the board are sensible they would only give him the first two weeks of January and get someone lined up because it's not changing. But who's the manager waiting for a top job and ready to walk straight in, and we know Blue Bill would marry him if he could!!!! Moyes!! So we are Stuck between a rock and a hard place!!! But to be honest RM and his staff are seriously out of their depth with us.

As for his team selection, formation and tactics I'm done with moaning about it, he has got to go and we are crying out for a change of any sort!!

Christy Ring
43 Posted 29/12/2015 at 16:10:47
Phil #31, Martinez inherited the nucleus of a good team from Moyes. But Moyes had a Shiite team in the bottom 4, when he took over from Smith.

If BK had given him money, and allowed to spend 㿈m on a striker (Lukaku class), I think we'd be looking up not down. I'm not saying I want him back, but he picked a team with shape.

Phil Smith
44 Posted 29/12/2015 at 16:45:27
Aye and I believe he's built on that to create an exciting side. Most of the good parts of the team these days are not Moyes players. Out with captain Pip and in with hot & cold Gerry Def. I'd still prefare high scoring losses over 1-0 drab deafeats, of which there were plenty under o.f.m.
Harold Matthews
45 Posted 29/12/2015 at 16:51:59
Yes, with Jags in for Stones and a fit McCarthy and Cleverley, we'd have a pretty strong first XI. Unfortunately, the latter two have rejoined the injury list and the situation is quite serious.

Besic didn't look anywhere near ready against Newcastle. Mind or body. Osman is just a bit player these days. Connolly could do a job but is very young. Naismith is not a halfback. Gibbo is good with the ball but lacks pace and general mobility. Maybe Baines next to Barry with Galloway behind him. All in all, a complete mess as it stands but one or two may have recovered by Sunday afternoon. We'll see.

Graham Mockford
46 Posted 29/12/2015 at 16:56:38

You would play Funes Mori ahead of Stones??

Ray Roche
47 Posted 29/12/2015 at 17:02:16
Harold, Graham, I have said before that I would be quite happy to play Stones next to Barry ahead of Jags and Mori. He can play the ball out, can see a forward pass, although after yesterday's debacle you might not think so, and would let the two centre backs deal with the defending. Mori came out and won some powerful headers yesterday, something that Stones doesn't always appear to have in his locker. I think Baines ahead of Galloway is overdue as well. It'd give us width and Galloway protection, getting forward doesn't look that natural to him in my opinion.
Steve Brown
48 Posted 29/12/2015 at 17:07:07
I would definitely play Funes Mori ahead of Stones at the moment. A natural left centre-back who is decent in the air, good on the ball and he allows Jags to take his natural position.

Based on form it is the only decision, which means RM wont do it. Otherwise, who would Howard possibly still be in the team?

Eddie Dunn
49 Posted 29/12/2015 at 17:19:54
f we had more choice at centre back, then perhaps Stones could be given a rest, as his form has dipped badly. However with Alcaraz and Distin going, and only Funes Mori coming in, we are short of cover. Browning is still injured, and Jags not ready yet. it's just short of a crisis, like the left back situation was recently.
Now it seems like our midfield is under strain, but imagine what shit we would be in if Lukaku got crocked, as this guy had been magnificent for us, and carried us all season.
Dave Pritchard
50 Posted 29/12/2015 at 17:20:13
Clive 19, you saw a different game to me. Barry did lose possession leading up to the pen but otherwise he had a very good game and has been having an excellent season. Once the subs were made he was left holding the fort in defensive midfield.
Clive Rogers
51 Posted 29/12/2015 at 18:11:53
Dave, he was at fault for another goal also when he failed to get a tackle in. His passing game is still OK, but other aspects of his game have gone. He has not scored a goal for two years, assists are a thing of the past, he turns like the Titanic and gets very few tackles in nowadays. Dreading watching him against Spurs.
Dave Pritchard
53 Posted 29/12/2015 at 18:25:56
Clive, you are in a minority on this thread re Barry. Doesn't make you wrong of course. It was very clear to me that he had virtually no support in midfield late in the game once Naismith, Kone and Del were on.
Terry White
54 Posted 29/12/2015 at 18:37:33
Kim #28 & 29, don't apologise for your choice of language - don't use it in the first place.
Clive Rogers
55 Posted 29/12/2015 at 18:39:04
Dave, I was appalled how slow he was yesterday. Stoke players were just running past him. He had a very poor game IMO. I'm not denying he has had better games earlier in the season. This season he has averaged 2.9 tackles per game, but I don't remember any yesterday. He is on his last legs IMO.
Harold Matthews
56 Posted 29/12/2015 at 20:09:13
Yes Graham, as Ray and Steve point out, Funes Mori is a natural left CB and stronger in the air. His stupendous header from their keeper's punt led to our third goal and he's always brave at set pieces.

Stones is struggling with lack of pace right now, is waving and pointing instead of getting on with his own game. I've never been a big fan of his defensive work but hope he regains the form which drew rave reviews and a whopping price tag.

Dave Lawley
57 Posted 29/12/2015 at 22:46:21
Bring young Joe williams in to the squad to cover.
Anto Byrne
58 Posted 30/12/2015 at 03:14:56
At one point in the game Lukaku was back defending and made a terrific tackle to a serious threat. He has suddenly become the complete player and his price tag is rising with every game. Had our four strikers done their defensive duties it may have been a different story. Stoke are a good side having just dealt with Man U.

The keeper has to go and I would be playing 5 across the back to shore up the defense. Maybe 2016 will see a change in fortunes as we definitely need something to change. The redshite have no problem getting rid when its not working. Look at Chelsea and the rumblings at Man U.

I would have Jose here in a shot so he can prove he can cut it without the luxury of megabucks.
Geoff Williams
59 Posted 30/12/2015 at 12:33:20
I cannot take anyone who criticises Barry seriously. He has been head and shoulders better than any other player this season with exception of Lukaku.

I believe Martinez has much to answer for:
The obvious failure to work on set pieces particularly corners - attacking and defensive, the way he sets up his teams and his poor use of substitutes.

I can no longer watch Martinez give an interview. He talks a great deal but says nothing. If Martinez is to stay as manager then changes in his coaching staff need to be made. We are close to the point where we should be looking to avoid relegation not a top 4 position and that is a terrible .

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