Everton complete what has been a mixed festive programme with a tricky-looking home game against high-flying Tottenham Hotspur in the main Sunday match-up.
Just as he did a year ago, Roberto Martinez begins 2016 under a degree of pressure but this time, far from struggling to find solutions at the attacking end of his team, it's mostly the Toffees' defensive and goalkeeping woes that have ensured they will kick off the New Year in cut adrift in the bottom half of the table – albeit only five points off fifth position.
Having played all of last season's top eight in the first 10 games, Everton's recent nine-match stretch since October was expected to provide them the opportunity to rack up points and propel themselves into the reckoning for the top four but they managed just three wins against the current bottom three.
Starting with tomorrow's opponents, Tottenham Hotspur, Martinez's side now enter a busy part of the fixture list against a host of top sides searching for the keys to solidity at the back and a collective mentality to start grinding out wins. Under Mauricio Pochettino, the North Londoners appear to have found the blend of consistency, solidity and potency that has eluded Everton and they came into the weekend in fourth place, just four points off the top of the Premier League.
The Argentine has overseen a steady improvement in his outfit's performances since the two teams met in a goalless draw at White Hart Lane at the end of August, a game that Everton might have won were they in the same goalscoring groove as they are at the moment, and they are being mentioned as possible title contenders.
Spurs's situation is one that will nag at Evertonians who feel it could easily be the Blues in this unpredictable season but the congested nature of the top half means that the opportunity is still there if they can finally put together a run of victories in a campaign where they have so failed to win two League games in succession.
Coming into the end-of-year programme, Martinez was trumpeting the imminent return of a number of his players that he hoped would get him close to full strength to start 2016 but a setback for James McCarthy who, it would appear, was rushed back too soon to face Stoke on Monday, and an injury to Tom Cleverley in the same game means he will be forced into changes for this one.
McCarthy is definitely ruled out, with rumours suggesting he won't play again until February, while Cleverley will be a doubt with an Achilles problem and that could provide an opportunity for Muhamed Besic or Darron Gibson to make a rare start in central midfield alongside Gareth Barry.
Further back, while Joel Robles will surely get the nod as the "cup 'keeper" against Manchester City in the semi-final first leg on Wednesday, there has been nothing to suggest from the manager's comments that Tim Howard's position is under threat despite his erratic form so it will probably be as-you-were between the posts. Leighton Baines is expected to return at left back, meanwhile, after being rested against Stoke.
Most eyes might have been on the centre-back pairing, however, where it was hoped Phil Jagielka would make his long-awaited return from the knee ligament injury he sustained in October. The captain's experience and comparatively stronger defensive organisation has been missed, particularly in recent weeks but it's unlikely he will be declared fit enough to come back into the side, and Ramiro Funes Mori should continue in his stead for one more game at least.
In the attacking third, Arouna Kone and Kevin Mirallas will probably vie for one starting berth while Gerard Deulofeu and Aaron Lennon will be in the frame for the other.
With Harry Kane back in the kind of form that made him the surprise goalscoring package of last season, Erik Lamela showing the kind of consistency that has eluded Mirallas, for example, and the likes of Tom Carroll and Dele Alli probing precociously from midfield – Spurs will be without Mousa Dembele who has a groin injury – this will be a stern test for Everton's fragile back line.
If they can shore things up and take a more mature approach to what will be a difficult game, then they obviously have the firepower to make the difference at the other end. A defeat would represent a body blow to a team already short on confidence at the moment; a win would be a massive boost to morale, not only for the Capital One Cup tie but the rest of the tough month ahead.Kick-off: 4pm
Referee: Michael Oliver
Predicted line-up: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Besic, Barkley, Deulofeu, Kone, Lukaku
Full details: ToffeeWeb Match Report
Reader Comments (116)
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1 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:20:38
Let's pray he's learnt his lesson... Hang on, where have I heard that before?
2 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:23:13
3 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:33:00
4 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:39:28
Prove me wrong, Blues.
6 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:47:12
Our only hope is that the Americans aren't put off by their due diligence and buy Uncle Bill out. They're a leap in the dark but the alternative is gradual decline...
8 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:53:01
But tomorrow is another day so let's put the negativity away and get behind the blues. I'll be delighted by any type of win, but against Spurs it will be even better because of their delusional supporters who seem to think that they're a big team.
A scrappy 1-0 to bring the New Year in.
9 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:04:38
11 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:09:17
It won't make a jot of difference as I believe Spurs will win this with ease. He'll tell us after the game he had to rotate the side with one eye on Wednesday night.
12 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:10:25
My team would be:
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas;
A one-nil win to the blues would be most welcome.
13 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:10:45
Still, every game is 11 v 11 so no reason why we can't beat anybody at home. Win and we are 6 points off 4th. Strange season.
14 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:15:51
If he is to start against Man City during the week, surely he needs a bit of game time.
16 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:30:24
If Cleverley is unfit, it's a clear chance for Besic to come good.
It galled me to see Cech get Arsenal all 3 points today but I guess Robles will have to wait for midweek for his chance.
My favoured team:
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway;
Cleverley (Besic), Barry;
Lennon (Deulofeu second half), Barkley, Baines;
17 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:33:27
18 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:38:15
Realistically, we will do well to get a draw. The big lads Dier and Alderweireld , are dangerous from set-pieces, and with our confidence at the back shot to pieces, it is a certainty that they will score.
I have been delusional enough to get my hopes up too many times this season, only to have them crushed by our bullshit-spouting manager, and his under-rehearsed defence. His odd team selections and bafflingly late subs have reduced my optimism and leave me clutching to the hope of a draw at best, but I think Spurs will win 1-3.
19 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:39:15
So basically what I'm saying is we are so easy to score against and I really believe we will have to score 3 or 4 to win tomorrow because while Spurs are hardly prolific they won't have to work that hard to score 2 or 3 against us he can put out what side he wants. But it won't alter the deficiencies in defence or between the posts. I'll be shocked if we win, I really will.
20 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:54:42
This is not the game to play more defensively. Spurs will score. We need to go all out to outscore them. I'd rather we had a right go and lost 3-4 in a thriller than lose 0-1 in a bore of a game.
Paul Merson reckons we are very close to clicking, and that when we do we'll go on a very successful run. I'm inclined to agree.
21 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:21:26
If we don't win this, we are not many points off a relegation battle is what worries me; another draw or defeat is not good enough.
I am concerned Martinez will have his eye on Wednesday's match with Man City and could be thinking that a win on Wednesday night would be more important and beneficial to the club long term. I say this because of his comments earlier this week that Spurs are capable of winning the Premier League what a great group of players Pochettino has assembled, how good they are as a team, and on and on... possibly true... but hang on a minute. It is not really what I want to hear from an Everton manager. Didn't we used to hear this quite a bit from our former manager, the white flag up before a ball is kicked?!?
Are Spurs a decent side? Yes, they are. Are Everton capable of beating them? Yes, we are.
A victory over Spurs will set "our group" up nicely for the semi-final match; whereas, dare I say it, another home defeat will be disaster for Everton. So a big performance is required from all concerned tomorrow at Goodison we have to win this one.
22 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:32:55
23 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:39:34
Yes, he's had his injuries... but it's criminal that Cleverley gets the nod more than this guy. And, yes, if any other TWers want to disagree, then go for it.
24 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:42:14
It's straight out of the Boring Replies to Boring Questions at Boring Press Conferences book.
25 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:44:00
My worry with Roberto is that he really is totally unable to digest the fact that Everton are one of the biggest clubs in England, hence his repeated attempts to big up the opposition, which would have been normal when he was at Wigan.
For me, it is not good enough for Everton and is the first sign of weakness that other teams repeatedly exploit, week after week.
26 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:05:35
How wrong can you be.
I remember last season. A lot of us who wanted this clown out said that we'll give him till Christmas 2015.
We'' Christmas 2015 has been and gone. Are we anyway shape or form further forward? NO!
Do we look like we're going to stop shipping goals like the Titanic loved salt? NO!
Do I want this ex Wigan, UCL wannabe, Barca in his dreams out and away from the club I've loved for over 50 years?
27 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:07:23
Spurs will NOT win the league, even with all the goings on this year. Yes I am aware he says positive things about the opposition al lot of the time.
Respect for fellow managers is one thing; confidence in your own ability and that of the team you manage is quite another.
It's not very often you hear a manager of the top 4 to 6 teams "bigging up" Everton as you put it, certainly not as much as Martinez does there is a reason for that. Martinez does his "bigging up" about how good Everton are / were after the match and unfortunately lately it is a hard luck story or something or someone to blame, but never him.
That needs to stop and he has to "manage" better just like he says the team have to "manage" how to control a match from a winning situation. Mirallas has to start tomorrow in my eyes.
28 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:08:13
Jim (#11), no matter how shit Howard is, and he is really shit in my view, Martinez will not drop him because Roberto is his own man. Yes the man who destroyed Wigan, but his own man who will not budge an inch.
If Tim Howard is the best goalkeeper at Everton then, fucking hell, I am lost for words.
29 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:19:30
It is time Robles got his run in the Prem, but cannot see it happening.
Squeaky bum time tomorrow, I fear.
30 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:21:15
31 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:28:48
32 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:39:23
He probably earns around £3 million a year!! He would walk away with big bucks if BK got rid of him and there are no doubt other club chairmen, either here or on the continent, who would be stupid enough to listen to his "I can get you into the Champions League" bullshit...
Nah, RM is under no pressure at all; he just likes the sound of his own voice talking bullshit, bullshit and more bullshit.
33 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:39:39
We've heard all the excuses for recent failures but this is a good squad who should be well capable of getting into the top half dozen (at least) by May.
Of course it will largely depend on Romelu keeping fit and well and I am sure work will have been put into tightening up the defence (won't it ?).
I've targeted another 38 points from the 57 to be played for. I am confident three less will remain to be won by this time tomorrow.
34 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:40:23
Our only hope is that Naismith starts and he winds the Spurs lads up, as he did when he came on at Spurs back in August.
35 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:46:21
Where is it written that whoever we play are so good that we won't be able to match them on the pitch? Or, if we are playing a better team, we can't raise our game? I know, I know we have only beaten bottom-half-of-the-table teams, we concede for fun etc... all of which is true but, when the next game kicks off, we have to hope that we will win it; otherwise, there is little point in following the Blues.
36 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:57:44
On the subject of RM, if he had not have gotten the EFC job, where would he be managing now? He'd won the FA Cup but also got relegated.
In my opinion, we are the only 'big 7' club that would have given him a second glance. Which means he's mid-table at best and probably why we are where we are.
Rebound positivity has just kicked in. We'll win tomorrow 6-5. Neutrals from as far afield as Carlisle and Tunbridge Wells will be singing our praises.
37 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:57:47
Every single match we play, I want us to win, but whatever our manager says and does is all relevant in my opinion.
Tomorrow is a huge game for us, one that could be a launch pad to a decent run. I would like Martinez coming out and saying stuff like that, but of course if he did he invites pressure and more scrutiny to himself and his position, so just like he says we play wonderful football (and we have done) he needs to say it like it is sometimes.
38 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:00:20
He has lost the fans and only a matter of a few horrendous games away from losing the dressing room as well. I hope we right the ship before that because things could get worse should a new owner come when we're in relegation form.
39 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:02:03
Jagielka (if fit)
40 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:09:33
Jagielka / Stones
41 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:11:44
I would love you to right with Robles! If Jags was fit, I would drop Stones actually. Lennon, I'm not a fan in general, but he might just play out of his skin tomorrow if he gets a nod.
I think we need Barkley in there also.
42 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:16:11
As for the game, really looking forward to it. In fact looking forward to second half of season and hole we fair better. Fingers crossed we can get Jags back for Carling Cup, particularly away game and buy some good players this month.
43 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:22:32
I also think we should approach with a little bit more caution tomorrow because these are in form and have strong defenders so we cannot afford to go behind.
If we control the ball I beleive we will win however if we approach this like we have the last 3 gamea we will get beat.
44 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:24:57
That's why I put "big 7" in inverted commas. And this season "big 4" which is referred to in some media - doesn't exist either.
However, my point was regarding calibre of manager. The top echelons of the league (or those who aspire to it) would never / rarely countenance a manager with RM's track record and history.
45 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:26:32
Robles, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Besic, Barkley, Deulofeu, Lennon, Lukaku.
46 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:28:19
The priority now should be to find the staff to sort out the defence.
An immediate and obvious change should be Howard, he is finished at this level.
Martinez is in a fortunate position because EFC is currently going nowhere. He is under no pressure to win anything, all he has to do is to avoid relegation battles.
47 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:36:58
48 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:44:13
49 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:49:38
51 Posted 02/01/2016 at 20:58:58
Our record against them is abysmal recently probably due to Pochettino vs Martinez factor only usually ending one way. They are too well drilled, high pressing and fit for us.
The irony is though on paper we have a better team. Oh, what a good manager does for you!
52 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:16:53
Maybe we would be able to do the same if out players weren't exhausted having to play 85 minutes before the first sub is made. I'm looking at Kone especially here.
53 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:22:10
54 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:31:43
We know they can play. Just need to see them stand up and be counted now. Season's on the line - put your bodies on the line.
55 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:42:36
Everyone knows his starting 11 will be and how we will play, and Spurs will be no different. I hate going against my team but I'm really not looking forward to the future until Bullshitter Bob is gone.
56 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:04:11
Lennon against his old club with something to prove with Deulofeu on with 25 minutes to go (or vice-versa). Deulofeu is not a 90-minute player for me.
57 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:14:22
If however he plays with the wingers from, Lennon, Deulofeu and Mirallas, any two of them to start then bringing one on as a substitute, plays Besic with Barry then we have a chance.
Remember though that Spurs have only lost two league matches and have conceded less goals than any other team in the Premier League, so it won't be easy but it can be done.
58 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:19:08
A draw could be considered a success. That's how bad things are now at Goodison Park. Just have to wait 'till next season to see if things can get much better. Hope to be proven wrong though.
59 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:25:49
Barkley or Mirallas
60 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:32:28
I don't dislike Ross but I don't think he fits into the style of play we as fans want. If Ross is to play then put him next to Barry, McCarthy or Besic as a centre mid because he gives no protection to our defenders as a left sided forward and if he kone, Lukaku and Deulofeu don't help out; that's four players not defending.
61 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:34:09
62 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:40:16
It's like a weight being lifted. I will watch the remaining games and actually enjoy the experience. The cups are a different matter. I expect results there!
Against the Spurs, we will be better at he back, and lose a little going forward.
63 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:47:34
RM seems to be winging it and hoping the offence will carry the team through but without a tighter midfield control and better concentration by the back four then things will remain the same.
Since the Bournemouth result, he has apparently done little to correct the weaknesses and they are leaking goals.
Thank God Ossie will be back against Dagenham!!!
64 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:16:35
Eventually, the monkey worked it out...
It's got to be frustrating for Martinez that he can set a team up to score but not defend. Sooner or later, will he stop getting shock after shock and actually work it out????
65 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:24:08
With disarming frankness, Martinez accepts most of these charges.
"As Everton manager, I take responsibility; we have to be a winning team," he says.
"We should be winning games and winning titles, not just looking to compete and hope for a win. Winning is in this clubÃ¢Â€Â™s DNA and it has been too long since we won a title. We have the talent at this club: we are not quite the finished article yet, otherwise we would be top of the league, but we have to try to win something in the next five months."Â
66 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:26:38
After recent poor form and diminished expectations it would be very Everton like to win tomorrow. Can't see it though.
67 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:27:28
Funny enough, their strikers should suit Stones more than the quick fast tricksters of Leicester and Stoke. For me, our boy has been a massive weak link. Dawdling on the ball, no urgency, passing to the opposition, hesitant in the air, losing his man and woefully slow. A strange loss of form from a normally top class player. Definitely never looked fully recovered from his bad leg injury and suffered a big dip in confidence. We need him back to his best and I'm expecting a much improved performance tomorrow. Come on Stonesie boy.
Mo Besic was probably being saved for the Cup game but injuries to McCarthy and Cleverley might see him in the starting line-up. Way off the pace and looking a bit lost in his sub role against Newcastle, he's more suited to this role than the attack minded ex United lad. Let's hope his leg holds up.
Barkley and our attackers will be tightly marked by big heavy mobsters who put the boot in and referee Oliver will need to stamp his authority early on.
As for Ross. The manager should order him to stay away from taking corners and freekicks and get his big 6'-2" frame into the box. Deulofeu is far and away the best striker of a football and his recent quick, dipping freekick for the Spanish U21s was awesome.
No excuses against this straightforward Spurs attack. They work hard but are certainly not special.
68 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:31:08
69 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:32:37
70 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:58:09
Oliver (#60), blimey! Did he really say that? Now I have one less reason to hate him other than his ineptitude! Despite this admission, his performance over the next few weeks, whether we can overcome city like some of the pluckier teams, will be key. No trophy and mid-table finish should surely be the curtain on this failed experiment.
71 Posted 02/01/2016 at 00:05:02
We ain't neutrals in Tunbridge Wells mate! Blue, we are.< Meet me for a beer on Weds night and I'll prove to you.
72 Posted 03/01/2016 at 00:10:56
Coaching staff not good enough. Dennis Lawrence as our defensive coach. This guy was a useless defender in his playing days. I rest my case.
73 Posted 03/01/2016 at 00:33:20
People seem keen to compare him to a past player and then point out why he fails to meet the criteria for that player. He should be judged on his own merits just as Gerrard or Cahill were.
He's in our best 11, no doubt about it for me.
74 Posted 03/01/2016 at 01:26:01
People seem to blame him far too easily if you ask me, and he's improved a lot on crosses and commanding his area recently. We need to play deeper and stop attacking like Wigan. We're too gung-ho and getting punished for it every game, yet you all blame the keeper.
Our problem is not Tim Howard, it's our lack of balance in attack/defence that costs us game after game and the reason for that is our kamikaze manager. Yes, we're exciting to watch, and yes we score plenty of goals, but it's at the expense of defensive cover and that's because of the 10 outfield players, not Howard.
75 Posted 03/01/2016 at 01:36:37
Let's stop having a go at Howard. Other players have got off likely when defending. Let's work harder as a team to stop crosses and shots then Howard cannot make so many mistakes.
Strange how Tottenham make few changes and look solid all round the park. Could it be the coaching?? Lucky guess, I supose!!
76 Posted 03/01/2016 at 01:58:46
Hopefully we'll see that tomorrow. Enjoy the game all. No booing please. Make a placard to direct your voices...
77 Posted 03/01/2016 at 04:33:39
We need to win, and build our confidence. We've got Man City on Wednesday. COYB for Christ Sake!! Do it for the fans please!!!!
78 Posted 03/01/2016 at 04:36:59
81 Posted 03/01/2016 at 06:30:44
82 Posted 03/01/2016 at 09:04:48
Totally off topic - but does anyone remember the Cabin Club in Birkenhead? Spent half my time there in the 70's. No live bands there - I think Digby's was the place for that - Deaf School (brilliant), Blockheads et al...
And Everton were very average!
83 Posted 03/01/2016 at 09:24:18
Goalkeeper is a cert, everyone is crying out for someone he commands the box and takes the ball and all. Maybe another more dominant centre half. We have our Rolls Royce but not convinced RFM or PJ are the dominant centre half to play along JS. One more attacking midfielder (proven goal scorer) to play behind/with Lukaku and we team wise we are a match if not better than anything else in this league. We won't win the league because it then becomes about your squad and financially we can't compete to add quality to the bench.
Picking up young talent is where we excel however I did expect more of Martinez with his Spanish contacts. How many Juan Mata's little creative No 10s do you see in La Liga that we hoped would be spotted and given a go with us?
I was a Martinez fan but my frustrations are the same as everyone else's but I do feel we are very close to something special (granted it could all go the other way) and sometimes you need to be careful of what you wish for.
I would give him this season and pray that defensively he turns it around and as a consequence pray that JS, RL & RB et al all see the value of staying with EFC and don't get their heads turned elsewhere. Come on blues make 2016 a good one for the best most loyal and realistic fans in the world.
84 Posted 03/01/2016 at 10:13:41
One thing is for sure, we will have to score a "few" goals if we are to win it so that means Lukaku, Deulofeu, and Barkley must at least start the match. That however presents another dilemna as neither Deulofeu or Barkley can defend.
My solution to that problem would be to play Gibson and Besic either side of Barry in a midfield of three. That would give Dier and his gang something to think about.
Tell the full backs not to cross the halfway line and keep bringing Lukaku back to defend corners.
My starting 11 would be 4321
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines
Gibson, Barry, Besic
I really hope we win this - I never have liked Spurs much.
One thing I don't want to see is them bullying us.
Up the Blues - Grrrrh!
85 Posted 03/01/2016 at 10:29:06
I was at the return fixture in August when Danny Rose near crippled one of ours (might have been Cleverley). He wasn't even booked for the catastrophic lunge and we were all gobsmacked.
I feel confident about this one even with our shaky defence. Big win for the blues coming up.
87 Posted 03/01/2016 at 10:46:49
88 Posted 03/01/2016 at 10:55:57
89 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:01:36
Also, this second-rate manager has to go. We have one of the best squads in the Premier League.
Cast your mind back to the Stoke game. We were 3-2 up and Cleverley gets injured, what does our pratt of a manager do? Puts on a centre-forward instead of a defending midfielder in Besic. By the way, West Brom beat Stoke yesterday...
90 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:02:22
91 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:05:16
92 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:07:57
I feel that Martinez has already got his excuses lined up, then again a miracle may happen and we actually win the game.
93 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:11:20
I'd like to see Mirallas get a decent run out because he may try and use this game as a bit of a shop window.
Anyway, I'm bustin' for a win today (as always of course). 6 of the guys I work with are Spurs fans all wind-up merchants, including the boss, who I have a regular wager with, and I need to get some winnings back! But there are a couple of Arse fans too so they will be rooting for us.
I do think we will do it today (so hopefully that's not the kiss of death then).
Get in there, you Blues!!
94 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:11:51
The Thomas Frost is a bit further up opposite the McDonald's on Walton Road (if it hasn't gone; it's been a while since I drank there). Slightly better!!
As for the game, I fancy Tottenham to nick it, unfortunately, 2-0.
96 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:15:22
Exactly the sort of weather where you should take a pop on sight and give the elements a chance.
Cue Mirallas... he's not slow to shoot. Kone...? Don't get me started.
97 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:21:44
If we lose, the pressure on him, and his job, will ratchet up another notch; we'll see if he has paid any attention to our defensive woes this afternoon.
Spurs are a decent outfit and will be hungry for the win; will the Blues though?
98 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:23:38
Got to change keeper; Besic in for more energy and bite; same reason for Naismith. Also, in defensive plays,Naismith will be on Alli because Barkley will just let him go past him. Scrappy 2-1
99 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:32:07
100 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:34:03
I hope I'm wrong, but ffs, its' every match now. If you don't include Lukaku and at times Barkley, McCarthy, Barry, Stones and Deulofeu, we have been utter crap for a month+ now.
101 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:40:30
We'll need to shape better than the away match when they were without Eriksen, Howard played a blinder, Cleverley got cut in half and we only managed two shots on target.
I well remember that game. Chadli was on their left wing and Seamus stood off him all afternoon. Let him do as he liked. I was livid. Barkley was completely shut off and the big fella up front got no service.
This time we're at home and scoring goals. How many we need to score is anyone's guess but we're due a win and the defence can only improve. Let's hope it's our day.
102 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:46:33
Having said that, he's been prepared to give a chance to kids from the lower echelons of the British game although he seems to have a pension for defenders. Strangely.
Personally, I'm more focussed on what happens now rather than the long term future as time is running out for me and I've had enough of 'jam tomorrow'. We've got some very good players at the moment and it's time for this manager to show he is capable of deploying them to maximum effect. Starting today.
103 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:52:42
And to make matters worse, it's serial bogey team Tottenham who I can count on one hand the amount of times I can recall beating them at Goodison Park this past 20 years.
It's hard to see any real change today.
104 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:53:46
It is sad to see the demise if Tim Howard, this season and last. I contend he has been a good keeper/servant for Everton but he appears to be fearful of injury at the age he is, and he is clearly avoiding risk, such as his reluctance to barge out to collect crosses. Robles may not be the answer, but we have to try something?
105 Posted 03/01/2016 at 12:26:00
surely someone in the team will do some bollocking. We have been too nice and gentlemanly. Sorry for the language.
106 Posted 03/01/2016 at 12:26:11
107 Posted 03/01/2016 at 12:28:23
I've always disliked them. Their fans are the Kopites of the south and I'm desperate for a win.
I'd play Besic and Lennon today and maybe even Naismith at some stage just to upset them.
I really don't get this "we can't/won't win" mentality... of course we can win and, if we stay focused for the 90, we will win.
108 Posted 03/01/2016 at 12:30:13
On a few occasions last season when the shape went and we were shipping goals all over that Martinez went into a very boring deep shape three defensive mid strung across midfield and the plan seemed to be to not concede at all, the Goodison derby springs to mind. It actually appeared that, holy fuck, we had been working on shape and organisation!
At the beginning of this season we appeared to have some shape and organisation but the total lack of responsibility and discipline has kicked in, again, and we are currently a shambles.
I would much prefer it if we got some shape, sat deep & played on the counter. If we do what we've been doing lately we will get beat easy, Spurs are a talented side that are much better drilled and organised than us and we will just get had off if we do.
109 Posted 03/01/2016 at 12:34:10
However, our Christmas Tree has been taken down and removed from the room for this match now as I need l to be able to hide behind that bloody couch!
110 Posted 03/01/2016 at 12:45:51
I pick Spurs.
111 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:01:14
You don't hear us whining to the media or any aul arse that would listen!!!! BUT thanks for yesterday, Hammers!!
112 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:03:32
We have injuries to key midfielders also, added to the fact they are in form whilst we are not and will likely have one eye on the semi-final on Wednesday.
I can only see one winner of this game. Remember, Everton don't do wins against the grain.
113 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:05:19
To quote Keegan, I'd luv it, I'd luv it if we worked it to them... COYB
114 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:34:38
ps: Screw the media!
115 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:39:20
116 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:42:02
Never mind caution, We should go for their jugular, attack, attack but at a higher pace than the flimsy build-up play we usually put together. Don't give them time to think. We have no problem scoring against anyone.
Teams that are in-form can be over-confident and I think that will be their down-side today. I fancy us to beat them.
But not if we start pissing around with the ball, playing triangles at the back. Spurs aren't a team that you want to invite into your own backyard. So we must go for them from the first minute.
Let's make Goodison somewhere to fear once more.
117 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:51:02
As much as I'd like to see Everton win, I just don't think they have what it takes with the way Tottenham Hotspur are playing. Remember, Everton can't defend for toffee.
118 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:59:44
I have gone for 5-4-1 formation with Deulofeu, Kone & Barkley coming on to chase the game and Gibson Osman Naismith to close game out if winning.
119 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:00:15
For those who think the game will follow our usual pattern at home and end in a draw, 28/11 is available.
A very close market indeed. The Blues have my shilling as always.
120 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:01:27
Who thought Man City were good when they beat us 3-2 at Goodison the season before? Liverpool actually won 13 or 14 matches out of 15, that very same season.
This season is even madder, with everyone beating everyone, if you take Everton out the equation. Fuckin hell... if we would have got the results our performances warranted over the last six weeks, we would be thinking we could win the league ourselves.
The EPL, is very short on quality at the minute, and going forward we are a match for anyone. Sort out this defence of ours and we could have a great 2016.
Happy New Year, to every Evertonian; let's hope we are all in a happy mood tonight!!!
121 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:06:50
122 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:29:49
123 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:36:40
124 Posted 03/01/2016 at 15:02:03
We have the right team (almost) but the wrong manager; our neighbours have the wrong team but the right manager.
I still believe, if we give Robles a chance, also bring in a keeper and a second striker, we would have a squad capable of causing damage... if only our manager could grow a pair, pick players in form, and sort out how to defend> You have the players, Bobby... ffs, go for a Plan B.
125 Posted 03/01/2016 at 15:08:50
I don't think there's a shortage of quality but there isn't a stand-out team, and the quality is spread around. Look at Stoke: they've got a front 3 that 3-4 seasons ago they couldn't have afforded, and of course the likes of Bojan wouldn't have given Stoke house room.
Personally, I think the EPL is all the better for it; who knows if we stop playing like an Under-11 team, we may get in the mix... oops! Positive vibes only before kick-off.
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