The Belgian striker struck dread into Evertonian hearts in the first leg last week when he pulled up limping heavily after scoring what could prove to be a crucial goal in the tie.
He was substituted shortly afterwards amid fears he might miss the trip to the Etihad his coming Wednesday but the manager expects Lukaku to have shaken the problem off by midweek.
Martinez also suggested there was better news regarding Seamus Coleman who also came off against City with an injury. The Irishman could return in the home game against Swansea City on the 24th, week earlier than the immediate prognosis that was offered on his strained calf.
Furthermore, Martinez indicated that Tim Howard will return in goal on Wednesday after sitting out he back-to-back cup ties in which Joel Robles kept goal for his fifth and sixth victories of the season.
Reader Comments (78)
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1 Posted 11/01/2016 at 08:37:42
That means put Robles in and not Howard, soft lad.
2 Posted 11/01/2016 at 08:49:49
3 Posted 11/01/2016 at 09:40:58
4 Posted 11/01/2016 at 09:49:44
Play Robles, not Tim, please!!!!
5 Posted 11/01/2016 at 10:06:13
6 Posted 11/01/2016 at 10:11:45
7 Posted 11/01/2016 at 10:51:47
As for Howard going straight back in; there is no defense to that decision. Robles should ask for a transfer, because from what we've seen he deserves a run and could do o a good job as a number 1.
8 Posted 11/01/2016 at 10:59:54
9 Posted 11/01/2016 at 11:48:22
10 Posted 11/01/2016 at 12:01:15
If there is competition for all places, as he has indicated, then Robles must have done badly at the cup games to be removed. Is this what he thinks?
If not, then what he has said about competition is complete rubbish.
11 Posted 11/01/2016 at 12:30:51
12 Posted 11/01/2016 at 12:34:42
13 Posted 11/01/2016 at 12:38:33
14 Posted 11/01/2016 at 12:44:21
15 Posted 11/01/2016 at 12:55:27
I suspect that Martinez will drop Howard only after this season.
The only thing we can change is whether we will boo Howard and put him under further pressure. He won't be dropped this season and he won't play well under boo-ing.
And I reckon it will affect the other players morale as well, especially the defence.
Again, what I would suggest would seem as if we have to accommodate the players. While I can understand this seemingly "ridiculous" notion, I would rather do that, if it can help players perform better. Because ultimately, what we want is for the team to succeed.
16 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:01:39
17 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:08:57
I just hope that nobody is rushed back too quickly as we have a lot of important games this month.
Those who live by the sword.....
18 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:09:28
We all know Robles is the Cup keeper and has never replaced Howard in the league unless he was injured.
20 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:21:10
As a physio and a manager he hasn't a freaking clue about either and acts like he just wings it at every interview. Why no media pundits or sports writers question him, in my opinion, is because we aren't the Sky Four or RedShite darlings.
21 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:29:14
With all due respect Mike - stop talking thru' your anus.
His view on the game may differ from yours and many others but what level of football would you feel competent in managing/playing in.
I look forward to reading your next load of drivel.
22 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:35:37
OK, we lost more than we should but at times this season we have played better football from an Everton team than I have seen in my lifetime. And yes I am old enough to remember the glory days of the 80's.
Personally I don't think we are too far away from something special and whilst we might not agree with everything Martinez does, we also don't have the benefit of being there day to day to know the player's state of mind.
Would I play Robles? Damn right I would but I think in this instance it wouldn't surprise me if the manager's hand has been forced because Howard is an American World Cup hero and so has brought recognition to the club from the US. Rightly or wrongly, that could be it.
Would I play Mirallas ahead of Kone, absolutely but I can't profess to know either of them personally or see how committed either is to EFC.
But I'm willing to back RM like so many others did for the depressing days of Moyes.
23 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:39:12
While Robles has not played a 'blinder', I do not think he has performed poorly.
Didn't the same thing happen last season or the one before? Robles kept a few clean sheets and got dropped. I think he kept more clean sheets in that one month period than Howard did that whole season. (Some stato may prove my recollection wrong...)
I still maintain he is not the answer to our goalkeeping situation. Robles is not good enough but at least worthy of the opportunity during Howard's slump in form.
24 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:42:41
25 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:43:40
Mirallas, on the other hand, may have more natural ability, but he has proved himself to be rather selfish. A more difficult personality to manage. Add to this the occasional media leak and regular speculation about his future and you see why old Arouna gets the nod.
26 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:45:38
27 Posted 11/01/2016 at 13:58:57
28 Posted 11/01/2016 at 14:05:11
I didn't see any of the game on Saturday but how did Robles do? Struggled to even get commentary on Saturday but from what I heard, he didn't have much to do.
29 Posted 11/01/2016 at 14:06:37
Do we therefore go for our strongest team and put Rom straight back in or do we leave him out and give him a longer period of recovery before the second leg against Man City? The way things are on here, Roberto will be damned if he plays him, and damned if he doesn't.
30 Posted 11/01/2016 at 14:06:55
The question therefore is, if you don't have an adequate replacement for Tim Howard, unless you intend to sell him, what's the best thing to do for Howard's form/confidence.
The manager obviously believes that dropping him will bury him and we will be stuck with a 'keeper, in Robles, who he knows isn't up to Howard's standard.
We only see Robles for the very odd 90 minutes and we know that anyone can look mustard for the odd 90 minutes but the manager and the rest of the squad see both 'keepers every day and they all know who the better 'keeper is let's at least credit the manager, who is an intelligent man, with this.
Given all the above, what does this constant barrage of anti-Howard or anti-Martinez sentiment achieve for us as supporters or Everton Football Club? At best it puts added pressure on our manager and at worst it hands an advantage to our opponents by undermining our goalkeeper, the manager and by virtue the rest of the team.
Get behind Howard!
31 Posted 11/01/2016 at 14:21:18
Truth is, Howard has been poor for a while; if you think playing Howard because our manager thinks he's the better keeper, then you have certainly been watching a different Everton to the one I have been watching.
You cannot justify bringing the guy back in, our defence has looked a lot more comfortable in the last two games, Robles has taken his chance.
In two weeks time, Robles will again be brought back in for the Man City cup game why not play him on Wednesday where he could at least be ready to know what to expect and experience the atmosphere?
Absolutely crazy to not play Robles on Wednesday.
32 Posted 11/01/2016 at 14:36:57
Playing him regardless of form is wrong; he knows he's playing every Premier League game no matter how good or bad he plays.
People on here will back any player... but you cannot have players whose form has dipped to be picked every week. There is only so many games you can support a player, Howard has turned my hair grey and aged me 10 years on his performances this season.
33 Posted 11/01/2016 at 14:54:33
I know Evertonians are usually loyal fans and will not boo our own players, but Martinez is really pushing us now.
Howard has been woeful for 18 months now and needs to be dropped and made to earn his place.
34 Posted 11/01/2016 at 15:00:17
36 Posted 11/01/2016 at 15:28:40
37 Posted 11/01/2016 at 16:02:18
I'd forgotten how down I got by regular challenges for Top 6 and frequent European qualification, clean sheets and actually turning up to Goodison and seeing us win.
Far more uplifting and not at all depressing to see the team all pile forward like an Under 8's team, have a keeper who has been finished for the past two seasons and still strolls back into the side without question, and have a world class striker who scores for fun and still we get beaten and languish in the bottom half of the table.
38 Posted 11/01/2016 at 16:20:47
39 Posted 11/01/2016 at 16:55:14
40 Posted 11/01/2016 at 17:08:01
In all honesty, I don't know many better shot-stoppers in the Premier League. I doubt we'd have been in a different position if we had David De Gea in goal. The main concern I have is Tim Howard's failure to control the area for dead-ball kicks. That said, coming for crosses in crowded areas is always risky, the risks being reduced if you have confidence in the defenders in front of you and you know what they will do and how they'll do it.
In turn, the defenders need to be equally comfortable with the keeper and with their fellow defenders. We have looked anything but that for much of this season, unsurprising given the patched up defence we have had to put out most weeks.
It would be at least sensible if posters were to wait to see how the whole defence operates when we are at full strength. Now I know that all teams have to operate with injuries but it is one thing slotting a replacement into a settled defence and something totally different when we have the situation we have faced with defenders all season.
Changing goalkeepers will not solve these problems.
41 Posted 11/01/2016 at 17:34:40
That isn't to say he wasn't good once upon a time. He was. But that time has long gone.
42 Posted 11/01/2016 at 17:47:22
Relatives tell me that once he put Robles in for Wigan's run to Wembley. Al Absi, who had been first choice all season, never got a look-in in league matches.
So my guess is that he either made Tim a promise that he would remain his No 1 come what may or that the World Cup hero is so highly rewarded that he is undroppable.
Of course, it may just be that he regards Howard as the safer keeper!
43 Posted 11/01/2016 at 17:51:21
44 Posted 11/01/2016 at 17:58:06
45 Posted 11/01/2016 at 18:14:38
It's Robles who's now earned the shirt but Martinez will seemingly stick with TH, and by doing so prove to anyone who can read that "competition for places" has no more significance to him than so many of the other things most of us complain about, like organising a defence for instance.
46 Posted 11/01/2016 at 19:08:14
48 Posted 11/01/2016 at 19:30:21
50 Posted 11/01/2016 at 19:53:06
Don't recall too much urging to sign him up over the summer. He was so good that Sunderland were beating away other bids from err, not sure.
What do you think about my man point regarding settled defence and settled routines?
53 Posted 11/01/2016 at 20:53:25
I agree with you that Howard remains one of the best shot-stoppers in the Premier League. He has made some vital saves this season including a couple in the victories at Southampton and Newcastle when the games were goalless.
Howard is not alone among current goalkeepers in being reluctant to leave his line. Indeed the majority prefer to stay on their line unless they are 100% confident of at least being able to get a fist to the ball. Blaming him, as many fans do, for every set piece goal we concede is ridiculous. The fact that our defenders need to take more responsibility in crowded six-yard boxes hardly seems to register with many of our following.
As for Robles he has for the most part played well in the last twelve months despite a couple of dodgy moments at Barnsley in the League Cup. There is however no compelling evidence that he would cope any better than Howard in dealing with crosses and set pieces. He is apparently building up his understanding of the English language which may help his communication with those around him.
In any event, the ongoing discussion about the goalkeeping position is rendered academic by the fact Martinez has made his decision about who plays in the league and cup games and is sticking by it. If he was inclined to change his decision he would have done so a few months ago. The two goalkeepers know where they stand and our supporters should get behind each of them when they are playing. The sarcastic cheering from our crowd when Howard catches a long high ball is just disgusting.
54 Posted 11/01/2016 at 20:56:20
Stuart (#22), we do look like we might be on the brink of something special but Martinez is not the man to achieve it.
As regards to this team playing better football than the '80s team, every team in the league are playing better football to watch than they did in the '80s... but today's teams wouldn't stand a hope in hell of beating that great side.
55 Posted 11/01/2016 at 20:59:24
For Martinez to say experience is more important than form, is an unbelievable statement, especially when it's your last line of defence.
I'm disgusted Robles is dropped for the Man City game, he's played well, and should be picked on merit.
56 Posted 11/01/2016 at 21:13:03
57 Posted 11/01/2016 at 21:19:02
58 Posted 11/01/2016 at 21:21:05
The 'compelling evidence' for Robles playing is the fact that when he plays we generally look a lot surer at the back. He concedes fewer goals per game and our win percentage with him in the side is much better.
I don't know what more you can ask of a keeper.
As for Joel still learning the English language... he's been in England for over 4 years now... I think you're clutching at straws there.
59 Posted 11/01/2016 at 21:51:05
60 Posted 11/01/2016 at 22:17:44
I've sat there a few times, and if anything, Robles's communication and calling is clearer than that of Tim Howard.
Granted, Robles had very little to do on Saturday, but watching the warm up closely, it was obvious that Robles has the height and reach advantage over Howard, and in fact, has a much bigger presence all round.
This clearly isn't a major revelation to most Evertonians, but if I were a striker bearing down on goal in a one-on-one situation, I know which keeper I'd feel more confident of scoring against!
61 Posted 11/01/2016 at 23:14:07
Thank you for that lovely visual. I agree Robles should be playing.
But you should know my gag reflex instinctively "went off".
Oh, and please, for yourself if not everyone else...
Go see a doctor. Hopefully that ailment can be cleared up by a professional. Drivel from the anus is not to be trifled with!
62 Posted 11/01/2016 at 00:13:13
If Big Nev prefers Robles that's enough for me, Nev was my hero and I was the school goalie and I would still turn to jelly if I were to meet him now!
Even before Nev said this I think it is plain to see that we concede less goals with Robles in goal, you'd need to be a turnip to deny it (no offence meant Mr Taylor). Whether this is because the defence are more on edge or more confident doesn't matter to me, we concede less goals which is the whole idea of that side of the game.
I really like Martinez and think we're on the cusp of greatness but he is a pillock for this decision. Will still give Howard 100% of my support whilst he is picked though even if it is because he stands in for El Bob in the bedroom or whatever
63 Posted 12/01/2016 at 00:18:22
64 Posted 12/01/2016 at 03:22:39
If you lot are not happy with RM's decision, protest at the ground. Those of you that go, that is.
I bet none of you have been on a picket line, never mind protesting at a match.
If you think Howard is the wrong choice, then show the club you're unhappy with RM's decision. Then something might happen. But I won't hold my breath, because you will be droning on about him on here like usual.
65 Posted 12/01/2016 at 07:05:27
Just a thought, but I suspect Everton have a medical team who, along with the players, make these choices based on actually working with, and speaking to players.
Still, you guys know best eh.
66 Posted 12/01/2016 at 07:06:29
A keeper needs to be cocky, even arrogant. Howard's got that in spades, but no one can fight Father Time. We all get old and no matter how well you try to keep in shape, you can't jump as high, you can't run as fast, the reflexes. Tim has to compensate for his diminishing physical abilities by relying on his considerable experience. He needs to justify RM's faith in him by being perfect on Wednesday. No mistakes, because mistakes by a keeper usually end up in the back of his net. Of course, sometimes there is nothing a keeper can do to stop a shot. I just hope that nothing Howard does, or doesn't do, directly results in a goal.
He will have a lot pressure on him to perform well, I hope he's up for it. If he isn't......
67 Posted 12/01/2016 at 07:43:19
No, I've not been on a picket line... but yes, I have protested a few times, mainly about the current board and lack of investment which has seen us fall from a 'top 5' club to a mid-table mediocre one which didn't even have its FA Cup number mentioned on BBC last night as a 'here are some of the important numbers to watch out for' silly, I know... but it wound me up a little.
Back to the point though it's crossing the line (no pun intended) when you have to protest about a manager making what most fans believe is the wrong decision. He's paid to select the team and we'll have our opinions on who is best for what position, etc, but regarding Tim Howard (who I like, btw, and has done great service for our club) in my opinion and the opinion of many other blues (not just TWers), RM is getting it wrong!
Robles should be given a chance of a run in the first team for all games. I think he gives our defence more confidence.
68 Posted 12/01/2016 at 07:47:59
69 Posted 12/01/2016 at 08:44:58
Personally, I will have a lot of respect for Martinez if he selects Robles if we are in the finals.
70 Posted 12/01/2016 at 12:43:04
71 Posted 12/01/2016 at 13:13:44
If, as now seems likely, he intends to play Howard tomorrow, my rating of Martinez as a man manager will have dropped significantly. It just makes absolutely NO sense, does it Nev?
72 Posted 12/01/2016 at 13:41:26
For me Howard has never been a top keeper, good shot stopper yes, but he has never been good on crosses. I would have liked Moyes to replace him, but he didn't and Martinez hasn't yet.
I believe Howard's frailties have been more exposed the last couple of seasons, with the inclusion of Stones, who doesn't attack crosses and clear them in the same way Jags does when playing on the right side.
I don't think Joel Robles is the long term answer either and is prone to mistakes also.
73 Posted 12/01/2016 at 13:58:38
I know what you're saying. I feel a lot more confident with Robles between the sticks, so I can imagine the players in front of him feel the same. Especially given that we keep more clean sheets when Robles is picked.
74 Posted 12/01/2016 at 14:03:07
Remember a couple of years ago when City dropped the England keeper after a run of bad form? I don't think Pantillimon was any better than Robles but City had the strength to do the necessary. Hart regained his place and is now as strong as ever.
75 Posted 12/01/2016 at 14:14:02
I think the next match will be his 350th league appearance for us. However, it sounded like he may well be there for the rest of the season as his experience is worth more to the manager than form.
Whilst I find Martinez very frustrating, he is still building a fantastic squad, arguably the best squad we have had in 30 years. We will see more after the summer, I suspect, when he has had chance to move on a few old heads, who were of course not his players.
It seems that some players experience is worthless though in his mind, albeit that he never actually says anything. His wife must be a very patient woman.
76 Posted 12/01/2016 at 16:42:43
77 Posted 12/01/2016 at 17:10:42
By modern standards Howard is on the smaller side as far as goalkeepers go as most of the top goalies are giants, at least 6'-5" tall.
79 Posted 12/01/2016 at 17:29:02
Robles also shouts to Funes Mori in Spanish and according to some guy by me he whistles in code whether he whistles in English or Spanish we don't really know.
80 Posted 12/01/2016 at 17:46:22
How tall was Shay Given? Now their was a good goalie.
How many of Everton's previous goalies were 6' 5" plus?
I don't think hight as anything to do with it. If your agile and have a spring in your step and can read whats about to happen, awareness, determination and hunger you'll do just fine.
Tim Cahill, wasn't 6' 5" and tell me how many could out jump him?
All this hight bollocks, is just that.
I'm 6' 4" but I was woeful in goal. On the wing however I was like lightening. Oh those were the days.
81 Posted 12/01/2016 at 21:49:05
82 Posted 12/01/2016 at 21:54:28
83 Posted 12/01/2016 at 22:04:56
From your 'picket line' comment, I assume you played left wing.
84 Posted 12/01/2016 at 22:14:58
Harold Matthews. Did you ever go the Quill club? I use to bevy with Billy Cook, the Everton defender. Or as he was known the threepenny piece kid. Now that's a good story.
85 Posted 12/01/2016 at 22:21:04
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