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Manchester City (1) Vs Everton(2) – Capital One Cup – Semi Final 2nd Leg

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capital

Christ alive. Before reading this be warned i’m not sure where it’s going. Whether i’ll slate the manager. Whether i’ll work out what is going on in John Stones’ head. Whether Tim Howard is a footballer or not. Or if we’ll get through here. Swansea was toxic. We got nothing. We deserved nothing. It’s gone now though and can’t be changed. What can be changed is everything going forward.

Hey, anyone remember the last time we were 2-1 going into a second leg?

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Oh for god’s sake. We got smashed to absolute pieces in Kiev didn’t we?! Who is that number 10 by the way? Looks tasty. Leave it mate. OK.

That couldn’t happen again could it? I mean Antolin Alcatraz is sunning himself in Las Palmas or some such these days so he won’t be here to pretend defend for 90 minutes. Christian Atsu (hahahaha) won’t be on the pitch. Mind you, the amount of injuries we are picking up them two might just get a call up on loan obviously. I miss Everloan FC. They were boss.

So yeah, I have a real fear this could happen again. And Sunday’s ‘performance’ did not help this one iota. We all know what does Roberto Martinez do to sort it out. The exact same thing he always does. Nowt. Zip. Nada. Nil. Nothing. The same players who finished today, bar the American, will be involved. Robles will be in nets at least. But everyone else should have a point to prove. They play for Everton. They should start showing it.

The league season truly looks over. We sit 12th. Bloody 12th. With the likes of Stoke, South-bloody-hampton, and Watford ahead of us. Not to mention Leicester-bloody-City about to win the lot. Just what is going on? Struggling to cope here.

But wait. There may be light at the end of the horrendous, crap filled, tunnel….

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We’re 2-1 up at half time in a semi final of a cup we are always awful in. We are a draw and a win away from winning something silver, that’s a trophy to the under 30’s who have never seen us win something. We are a draw away from Wembley. Everton do Wembley well. We need to be there more often.

We drew 0-0 at the Etihad just the other week. It can be done. West Ham, did to City what we should be more than capable of doing again. Oh it can be done.

The manager piped up after the game on Sunday about how the players find it hard to play at Goodison. Well, Mr M, we ain’t playing at Goodison on Wednesday so that excuse just won’t do sir. The crowd is turning, and not just the 24 year olds in the Lower G. This is the biggest game of his managerial career, in fact he was a sh*te player, so the biggest game of his life. Nobody cares that he won the cup with Wigan. Nobody cares. It means diddly squat to Evertonians. This is the biggest. Do it, and do it right, and you might just win a few blues back.

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I said my piece on Man City in the first leg preview. Spoilt little rich kids who don’t know how lucky they are. Why them? Still makes no sense. Makes even less sense when you realise the Sheikh Mansour or whatever his name is wanted to buy Newcastle first. How does that make City fans feel? He preferred Newcastle to you.

Mind you, imagine the Geordies with that money. So many horses to punch, so little time.

City skanked a draw at Upton Park on the weekend. I watched it but didn’t pay that much attention to who played or how they played. Sergio Aguero is so good mate. Yaya Toure is weird mate. Joe Hart won’t be playing mate……or will he? I wonder. Fingers crosses Willy is in nets. Ha. Willy.

The rest of the line up should be similar to the first leg. Vincent Kompany is still out, thank the lord, Sterling will run about like Velma from Scooby Doo, De Bruyne will looks great for a bit, Fabian Delph will wonder how he ended up there. You all know Manchester City.

Oh, by the way i’d like to apologise for Jesus Navas scoring in the first leg. I’ve spent all the time since he joined City slating him. He’s a myth. So he punished me in the first leg with an away goal. Let’s hope it’s not a vital one. Nah, we always score.

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Everton, oh Everton. Robles in nets. As he should be. Forever, or until we get a proper keeper. I miss a proper goalkeeper. I miss Neville Southall, I miss Nigel Martyn, heck I miss Jan Mucha a bit the mad weirdo. I’m not mentioned the American by name. He doesn’t deserve it.

At the back, probably be Coleman, Baines, Jagielka (no I don’t know why he was rested either) and either Stones or Funes Mori. For me it would be Funes Mori. John Stones is boss. We all know he is. In a few years time he will Beckenbauring out of defence like no other on world football, but right now he looks like he has no idea. No idea if he should just hoof it, no idea if he should Cruyff it away, no idea if he should pass to the keeper or not. For me, take him out of the firing line for a game or two. Just to give his brain a rest. So, Martinez will probably start him.

In the middle Barry obviously. Besic died again on Sunday, which was a real shame, so does Tom Tom Clevs play there? He doesn’t really convince me, especially in a game where we don’t have to score. Well not straight away anyway. HOLD UP. James McCarthy. My old adversary! Get him in. Is he even fit? No idea. Play him anyway.

Wings, Gerard Deuofeu will look to continue his assist fest 2015/2016, and putting in the most sexual of crosses for nobody to get on the end of. On the other side. Lennon? Maybe. Cleverly? Could be. Mirallas? Nah dead mate. Arouna Kone? Of course it will be.

Lukaku up top. Obviously. Even though he looks absolutely cream crackered, there is literally nobody else. He’s going to play every single game this season. Poor kid.

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And that’s the lot. It’s Everton in the semi final here blues. No matter what you currently think of the manager, the team, the American, that is a fact. Not only that we have a goal head start. And it’s not in the freezing cold capital of the Ukraine either. Things are looking up already. From being sure we were going to Kiev this up at the start of this preview, to now believing we might just do it at the end of the preview. Everton do that to you. It doesn’t take much to change our minds.

It might not feel like it, but we can do this. We can. And then for the first time since 1984 a League Cup Final at Wembley can see us in it.

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We need this.

The post Manchester City (1) Vs Everton(2) – Capital One Cup – Semi Final 2nd Leg appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Martinez: Everton players fear Goodison Crowd

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Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez reckons his Everton players play with doubt and fear at Goodison Park and has suggested “we need to make it comfortable for our players”.

Everton have only won three games at home all season, and when asked about their defensive mishaps against Swansea, he replied: “It happens at home more than anywhere else. I don’t think we have that sort of doubt and fear [away from home].

“We’re a team who knows exactly what it is doing. We’ve got really good individuals with fantastic character who care about what they do but our defensive record at home this season is not good enough.

“It doesn’t go along with what we are as a team and doesn’t go along with what we produce away from home. It’s clearly something we need to work on.

“We have six games left at home and they’re vital games for us. We need to make it comfortable for our players. We need to make sure we find a way to perform at Goodison.”

The post Martinez: Everton players fear Goodison Crowd appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Everton v Swansea

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Bob Latchford

You got over it yet? Tough one to take that.

Late conceded goals, getting done over by the FA and Chelsea go together like John Terry, obnoxiousness and hopefully very soon: really bad AIDS.

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No there’s point in talking about the late goal John, you’re absolutely right, but let’s talk instead of your parents who are utter pondlife which would come as no surprise to anyone who has took any note of your career. A career where you had to highjack lifting the European Cup because you were suspended & egotistical, but mostly because you slipped like Gerrard when you had your chance a few years earlier. We’ll remember you well. Find heroin and bankruptcy real soon please.

Better now, so let’s move on.

Swansea then? Absolutely not, all the chitter chatter has been about Martinez – the tan shoed messiah/Catalan clown** and where Everton are right at this moment.

** delete as applicable

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It’s hard to grasp the whole Martinez thing at the moment, for example I’m generally in the “give him time as this could be sound’ camp but there’s more than a handful in the “he’s making the same mistakes and we need to change him” so who am I to say who is right or wrong or how to think or feel?

There’s obviously credit in being massively frustrated with him as demonstrated by the numbers complaining. I get the frustration at throwing away leads and particularly so late on, it punches you in the gut with the impact I imagine a former day Tyson would induce. I also get the derision at his persistence with Howard and also the utter wham he chats to the press.

It’s worth taking a step back for a moment and pondering things with a wider scope though. What do we judge Martinez against? Where we believe Everton should be? In that case we’re in for disappointment as I don’t envisage us winning leagues until there’s the finances at the club to enhance this means, hence a long time is 1987. Finishing fourth? We sneaked it once in a quarter of a century and it wasn’t sustainable.

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Do we compare Martinez against other managers? To be fair let’s disregard Smith, Royle, Walker and Kendall’s mark II for the sake of fairness and for a point that I’m sure quite what it is. Royle apart we we’ve not achieved much. Moyes brought stability to the club in positioning but to temper that didn’t win anything. What was Moyes criticised for? Being too defensive and at times some mechanical football (some ace footie in the latter years is often forgot mind). Also talking down Everton’s ambitions (glass ceiling, getting to 40 points) and ability to compete at the top. If you remember he was also criticised heavily for not giving youth a chance. And very much criticised for never truly going at the opposition and instead being over prudent.

So compare Martinez against that. Do you think we have purposely gone for the polar opposite of all those supposed weaknesses or do you think that as a fan base we have a tendency to exaggerate circumstance and polarise our opinion into an overly defined camp?

Martinez.jpg

Our biggest asset at present is considered to be our young players, the longer they stay at Everton the more chance we have of something good happening. Do you think Stones, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Barkley and McCarthy would hang around Everton too long if Martinez was jibbed off? There’s no easy solution like starting again with a new manager who will change personnel again and revise every facet of the way the club operates down from the how the promising youth teams are set up. Hoping the find the one that sweeps us off our feet until happy ever after. Like Villa have been doing for years, or Newcastle or Spurs.

In the interest of fairness you can also assess Martinez by looking at the data, and the most recent data shows six wins in over twenty games is a statistic that needs to be improved in the remaining games of the season.

There’s just no budging me from the fence so pipe down.

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Anyway, the main point is relax a little, we’ve been going nowhere fast for a long time and in amongst the smorgasbord of emotions that this manager and his players bring there is quite probably a path to us becoming better and for the model to be sustainable. If that doesn’t worked then he’ll be gone in good time and we’ll have achieved similar to what we have in twenty years.

Onto Swansea then. Didn’t they win the League Cup recently and then finish above us and we had Swansea fans on the occasionally ace forum attached to this site saying that they had overtaken us now? How things change and so quickly with it too. I’ve seen shouts for Monk as a future top level manager and now he’s been jibbed off by a club he gave long and loyal service to. There’s that boom bust cycle so prevalent in the Premier League right now and it seldom delivers any sort of success that can be sustained.

Sadly, for the partisan of you out there, I don’t mind Swansea and the South Walean people so I can’t be readily cruel to them. They’re sound enough and friendly to scouse accents in that part of the world which is more you can say for many places in England for example. Apart from when you play down there in the late seventies or early eighties, so I’ve been told.

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No one does insular quite like Wales and I’m not talking about the country of 2.9 million people being collectively insular, I’m talking insularity all over the show. If you’re from the North, or the South and particularly from the mouth breathing sister botherers in the West. It’s localised to cities, and towns, and even down to villages. Small communities which are hostile to outsiders and ready for a good ol’ fashioned ruck when appropriate alcohol has been consumed or on the rugby pitch.

So as an outsider it’s enjoyable to visit Wales and marvel in this. A night out is usually some sort of drama with either a mass falling out or cheap seduction of womenfolk, whom are uncomplicatedly smutty and fantastic for it.

In many ways Wales is a throwback to simpler times and Swansea is a hub down there as a crappy city but unpretentious and usually good fun to experience, for a while at least. And you can’t blame them for their excitement getting out of there and visiting a city like Liverpool, that the Welsh themselves helped build, and seeing modern vices such as escalators, helicopters, non fast food restaurants and bottles of rum other than Navy or Lambs. And we welcome them to the challenge of seducing one of our local women that don’t give out at mere eye contact or purchasing of a drink. If only like, you’ve got a lot of work do first before they even go near it, boyo.

So that’s Wales and we should be glad that we’ve got the Wirral to ask as a useful buffer against it, while the Wirral battles it’s own conscience to decide it’s own identity which is somewhere between Welsh, Cheshire and WOOL. Apart from on holiday when they’re as a scouse as Scotty Road.

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Swansea moved in a weird way this week to replace the caretaker manager they’d recently confirmed would look after them for the rest of the season with an Italian manager called Francesco Guidolin. The more cultured of you – or those, topically, with an aerial that gets S4C in their loft – will know something about him, as it is I know absolutely zip.

As for their Swansea’s players, well there’s a few decent ones who can cause us some grief when we have an Everton moment.

I’ve chatted so much tripe thus far that I’m gonna cut them out as i’m not particularly arsed about them, we should be beating them whoever they put out.

Everton?

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Lukaku has been linked with a 65 million move to Man Utd which is obviously some desperate press cockmuncher trying to get page hits and therefore not true, apart from the bit where Man Utd would probably love him. He’ll be here until summer at least and we need his goals more than the USA needs Donald Trump to be either ruined by a mega scandal or hit by a freak asteroid directly on his swede.

Barkley, somehow, divides opinion but we’ve covered that recently so he’s playing attacking mid whether you like it or not. McCarthy is pushing to be fit but can’t see Besic being dropped for him, although the fall out in the Lower Gwladys would be sensational viewing. Barry should play next to him. Or maybe things will be changed around a bit with one eye on the semi final second leg just three days later? Who knows.

Which leads us nicely on the wider positions, we’ve got some options. Mirallas made me guilty that I’d forgot how ace he can be as he terrorised Chelsea and more than that he put in a real team performance, providing needed cover for the full back position too. I wish more than anything that he could maintain this for at least the rest of the season as we’ll be sound. Deulofeu is probably as close to first pick as you can get out wide and provided yet another assist for our third goal when coming on a sub. We’ve seen a bit more of Aaron Lennon who is very useful to have as an option out wide- same goes for Pienaar of late – and then of course we have Cleverley and Kone who can play out wide, but open to interpretation of how effectively. I’ll leave that to you. That width is a very valuable asset as more teams are sitting deep against us and when we do play one of the top teams we need that pace on the counter to really make a dent against the top defences, I don’t include Chelsea in that.

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Really, really good to see Baines playing very well and back in the team, he’s probably one of the best left backs you’ll ever see for Everton and lest we forget it. We also have some options in the middle and really it comes down to Jagielka and one other, as he’s our captain and the best at stopping the other team from scoring – apart from letting that ball bounce over his head the tit. John Stones is the obvious choice but you know when you get that feeling? I got that feeling with Funes Mori. He’ll never probably be as good as Stones but he’s got Everton anti hero written all over him, with his Argentinian snidery about him and knack of scoring goals. Embracing our excitable lids in the crowd only scores you extra points too. Oviedo played really well at right back but before we get too excited we will have to see if he can maintain it for a run of games, he’s fit to play this apparently.

Can’t even be arsed talking about Tim Howard but it will be a shame that a decent servant of Everton is destined for an acrimonious end to his career at Goodison. I don’t even know if Robles is the answer but I’d like to find out.

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And that’s a wrap. You sure you’re over Chelsea?

Big five games in thirteen days for Everton ahead including two cup ties and three league games where we should pick up points.

Right behind them.

The post Everton v Swansea appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Martinez: “No players will be leaving in January”

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Bill Kenwright and Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez has again insisted that no player will be leaving Everton in January (Excluding Steven Naismith, of course…)

‘Whatever it (speculation) is, it is positive,’ said Martinez. ‘You don’t get it if you are not playing well. It goes hand-in-hand. We want to play Champions League football together. No players will be leaving in January.

‘We won’t bring instability to our squad. We are facing a really, really exciting period. Any talk about players having valuations is a waste of time.’

On being asked specifically about Kevin Mirallas, Martinez said: “He has always been a very important player, you have those ups and downs. It can stop you from having continuity. It was just a case of making sure he was full fit and last week was his best performance of the season. He looked fresh.

“When Kevin performs in that manner, he is unique and we hope that he carries on in that manner until the end of the season.

The post Martinez: “No players will be leaving in January” appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Martinez: Byram Deal “Wasn’t Right”

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byram

Roberto Martinez has no regrets about Sam Byram joining West Ham and insists a move to Everton wasn’t right for the player, or Everton.

Martinez: “Sam’s situation was one, as in many occasions, we were first to identify a good potential footballer in the Championship,’ said Martinez. ‘We went through the correct procedures and we established a good relationship with Leeds.

“But in the end it wasn’t the right move for Sam and he wasn’t the right player for us with the squad that we have and that was end of the matter, really. I’m pleased that we were at the forefront of identifying a player who has terrific potential but it was not right for both parties.”

Asked if it had anything to do with not being able to promise regular starts, Martinez said: “I haven’t got a crystal ball, but I can always give a correct path for a youngster to fulfil potential their potential as a footballer. But, as you know, the player needs to earn that opportunity to play on the pitch.

“As I say it wasn’t right as a football club to bring a young talent for the sake of it and it was not right for Sam to come to Everton. I don’t think it was a challenge he could embrace.”

The post Martinez: Byram Deal “Wasn’t Right” appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

GrandOldTeam Supporting Alder Hey

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Alder Hey

GrandOldTeam has been online since Feb 2007. Since then, as a community we should be pretty proud to have positively impacted on a lot of lives.

We’re now advocating we use our community to do some good for charity and so, in 2016 we have an official charity. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. You may have read recently that Leighton Baines become a patron of Alder Hey. As a community, we’re hoping to raise £1,878 during the year… Hopefully we can do that and then some! We’re already at £1,176.73!

We’ll be running various activities to encourage donations. Raffles, auctions etc – with entries submitted via our JustGiving page, which is here: https://www.justgiving.com/GrandOldTeam

Thanks Blues, of course – we really appreciate any support.

Cath Harding, Head of Community Fundraising, Alder Hey Children’s Charity: “We’re delighted that Grandoldteam.com have chosen Alder Hey Children’s Charity as their charity of the year. The money raised throughout 2016 will make a huge difference to the lives of the 275,000 children, and their families, treated at Alder Hey every year. Thank you.”

The post GrandOldTeam Supporting Alder Hey appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Make or Break for Martinez

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Roberto Martinez

Liam Seaman reckons “Right now is a real make-or-break moment in Roberto Martinez’s Everton career.” Would you like to submit an article to GrandOldTeam? Give us a shout here.

Make or Break for Martinez

Yesterday, reports were emanating from California about a giant new planet discovered in our own solar system and of further signs of life on Mars (shout out to Bowie) that sent some news outlets into meltdown. After reading for a while, I began considering the implications that these new discoveries would have upon my already palpable levels of existential anguish, and it was at this point that my thoughts obviously turned back to Everton. Following the blues is a thankless task at times isn’t it? They really do make you wonder whether or not it’s all worth it. Alas, we’ve all caught the bug and we’re stuck with it; so let’s have a chat about the glaringly obvious problems that need addressing before someone (probably me) has an aneurysm in the Lower Gwladys.

stoke

As a pre-emptive measure, I must confess that for over a year now, since the defeat at home to Stoke on boxing day 2014 to be exact, I have been firmly rooted in the ‘Martinez out’ camp. So for those of you that won’t hear a word against our esteemed leader, I’d advise that you leave now. My level of distrust towards the manager has grown to such an extent that now not a day goes by when I fail to criticise him in some way when having a chat with a few mates. I’m actually surprised they still want to go for a pint with me before the game. I’ve even refused to sing songs that reference him in any way; a principle that I’ve stuck to (apart from one slip up away at Middlesbrough, but to be fair we drank so much on the way there that I can’t even remember the second half, so that one doesn’t count.)

However, whilst my level of pessimism may seem childish, some players in the Everton camp could do with adopting my stance. Jamie Carragher explained it best in a recent interview when he said, “attackers need to believe they are surrounded by geniuses, for even if a winger hasn’t made a cross all game, you still make the run, because this is the time he’s going to put it perfectly on your head. Defenders, on the other hand, have to assume they are surrounded by idiots, because then you are alert to the danger when that twerp of a full-back misses the tackle. Mourinho thought something similar; defenders had to be pessimists. It was the reason he sold David Luiz. Too optimistic, never thought anything could go wrong”.

That would be John Stones’ bio: ever the optimist. Defending isn’t complicated, it’s about balancing risk and reward; and this is something Stones needs to learn before he can step up into the ‘world class’ bracket of defenders. To the disbelief of some onlookers, I launched into a tirade during the Spurs game when he tried to turn Son inside out. Now, I agree that it’s great to watch him exude such confidence in an Everton shirt, but doing Cruyff turns on the edge of your own six yard box with a man on your back doesn’t make you a great defender, it makes you an idiot. Taking enormous risk for next to no reward is a recipe for disaster. It’s all about understanding the balance.

‘Balance’ is a characteristic that has also blighted Roberto Martinez’s managerial track thus far. Well known for extolling the virtues of expansive attacking play, he has seemed incapable of breeding a culture of defensive grit to back it up. The season his Wigan team was relegated they scored 47 goals, the same as Swansea; Swansea finished 9th in the league that season. Twice under Martinez’s supervision Wigan conceded 73 goals, in 2010 when they were the only team in Premier League history to remain in the division with such a poor defensive record, and three years later in 2013, when they were relegated. His idealism is admirable, as is his unwavering dedication to a philosophy of ‘perfect football’; but he has to start understanding that there is a dirty side to the game, where you sometimes just need to hit row Z. For example, if we were 1-0 up against the shite in the final few minutes of a cup final, I’d expect my manager to be screaming to get the ball into the corner, not doing the opposite. I’m not trying to say that we’re anything like Wigan and at risk of relegation by the way; I’m simply trying to show that the defensive resilience of Martinez’s first season (upon which a lot of Blues hang their hopes that he can turn the current plight around) seems to be more a remnant of the Moyes era, rather than Bobby becoming a defensive strategist. The evidence is close to irrefutable now, given that we look set to pass the 50 goals that we conceded last season. Idealism can only get you so far; sometimes you need a bit of pragmatism to get you over the line.

Martinez Wigan Relegation

The topic of game management has been debated recently with Baines and Bobby both seemingly at loggerheads in their views after the Chelsea game. Baines admitted the players need to learn how to control a game better when we take a lead, and Bobby came out saying that the players’ game management shouldn’t be questioned, that instead we should be looking at the referee. In my opinion, officials’ decisions should never be used as an excuse; they’re the last refuge of a desperate man. Mourinho used to do it, even claiming there was a vendetta against his team in order to deflect from below-par performances. We got a lucky break in the City game, and an unlucky one at Chelsea. That happens. We should instead question how we lost a 2-goal lead in the space of 3 minutes, and then how we somehow lost 3 headers on the bounce in our own 18-yard box, leading up to their third goal. If we had defended properly, the linesman wouldn’t have even had a choice to make for the offside call.

Martinez has a lot of support because of the brand of football that he plays, and that is with good reason; Everton are exciting to watch. But he gets an easy ride because of it. People act as if he’s inventing the wheel at Everton; he isn’t, he’s running on a flat. Martin Keown recently gave an interview in which he spoke about Howard Kendall, saying, “Howard’s philosophy was focused on passing. Training was geared to the players having as many touches on the ball as possible”. We’ve had technically-minded coaches before, but Howard Kendall knew the importance of the defensive side of the game to the entire set up. You couldn’t say the same about the current manager whilst keeping a straight face. It’s easy to dismiss defensive frailty as a by-product of an attacking ideology, but that isn’t the case; the best teams, under the right leadership, can do both. We’re massively underperforming with the squad currently at our disposal, and I’ve not seen enough willingness from Roberto Martinez in analysing his own shortcomings, to show blind faith in his ability to continue leading our football club. 22 games in, and we’re yet to beat a team in the top half of the league. I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough, and something has to change.

This leads me on to my final point. Those of us who wish to see the back of Martinez are often (wrongly) criticised for not having any viable alternatives ready to come into the club. I’d like to put that point to rest, to say that there are a number of high-quality managers currently available, (some of whom are even free agents) who do not have ‘relegation with Wigan’ as the final entry on their CV.

  1. Marcelo Bielsa – Known as ‘El Loco’, or ‘The Madman’, for his no-bullshit approach to management. A maverick that inspired a generation of coaches, who Guardiola called the ‘best manager in the world’. During his time with the Argentina and Chile national teams, and with Athletic Bilbao, he played an attractive high-pressure 3-3-3-1 formation. Short and quick passing, and not allowing the opposition any time on the ball, would work very well in England if you could keep him happy.
  1. Walter Mazzarri – known for playing a fast-paced, counter-attacking 3-4-3 formation. Built upon a solid defence, he likes to play quick short passes out of the back to the creative midfielders or wingers. Again, would work well in England with the return of a few teams playing 2 up top.
  1. Jorge Sampaio – Most recently managed the Chilean national side during their impressive showing at the 2014 World Cup. Plays ‘Bielsista’ style football, much like Mauricio Pochettino, having studied under Marcelo Bielsa during his early years. Only a recent free agent, having resigned from Chile in the past couple of days.
  1. Frank Rijkaard – Possible the best known on this list. Been out of management since leaving Saudi Arabia in 2013. Inspired the turn around of fortunes at Barcelona, who arguably wouldn’t be where they are today without him. A big name who some think we would be unable to attract, but if he’s offered the chance to work with some of the most exceptional young talent in Europe, he could be persuaded.
  1. Michael Laudrup – Exceptional player. Did well at Swansea before he lost the dressing room amidst talk of a move to Spurs. Plays a nice 4-3-3-possession game.
  1. Frank De Boer – Only manager on this list that is employed. Currently at Ajax, but has said he would be willing to leave if a move to England opens up. Similar to Laudrup, plays a 4-3-3 system, but focuses on fast counter-attacking rather than possession.

Right now is a real make-or-break moment in Roberto Martinez’s Everton career. He needs to prove that he can learn from past mistakes, if he is ever going to reclaim the confidence that a lot of fans have lost in him. A win against City would go a small way to proving that last season’s shocking second-leg performance against Kyiv was just a one-off. Fail to win, however, and the reality of our position in the bottom half of the table will really hit home. We need to prove to our talented youngsters that Everton is a place where they can actually achieve their dreams. In the next few weeks, Roberto will have to show that he’s the man to help them do so, before one of the men waiting in the wings steps in and does it in his place.

The post Make or Break for Martinez appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Baines: “Our games to wins ratio isn’t good enough”

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Leighton Baines

Leighton Baines reckons Everton haven’t been good enough this season and called on his teammates to take responsibility and improve.

Baines told the ECHO. “We know we are very much capable of winning games but our record, at the moment, would suggest we aren’t doing that enough.

“Our games to wins ratio isn’t good enough for the amount of talent that’s in this squad so, as a collective, we have to take responsibility for it and try and improve and do it as quickly as we can, while we’re still in touching distance of the clubs above us.”

“We’ve thought to ourselves ‘a decent run here and we’re right back in it’ but doing it is another thing.

“There are no easy games in this league and you see everyone beating each other and strange results but we go into the Swansea game at Goodison knowing that if we can string a few results together then we are right back in the mix.

“With two or three wins we can pick a few teams off and get ourselves in a position to have a run at it towards the end of the season.

“We are not winning enough football matches at present to justify being higher up the league but we have got to find way to start.

“Hopefully we can get a positive result in the cup and come out of the next few weeks feeling good about ourselves.”

The post Baines: “Our games to wins ratio isn’t good enough” appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

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