A Crossroads Has Been Reached

Clearly something major must change to alter the course of the path Everton currently find themselves on

 

A crossroads reached

A Crossroads Has Been Reached

By @markthablue

I always check the first tweet I release to gauge my true gut reaction to a result and performance like this, and sadly after months of giving him the benefit of the doubt, this was one stinking performance too many.

My gut feeling is, and it’s miserable to say, maybe it’s time for Roberto to go?

I know my all too raw anger writing this may cloud some judgement but this Everton side has not performed anywhere near the level of last season for so long now. It’s clear something major has to change to alter the course of the path we are currently heading on.

I’m equally angry at the board but this will seem knee jerk as quite rightly fans will not be able to see past what is happening on the pitch.

We are being poorly managed and the players seem to have little or no stomach for the fight we are now embroiled in.

For me the years of mismanagement at the top has culminated in a desperately over aged squad –  just look at the subs bench last night – highlighting the urgent need for reinforcements in this window. Inevitably, there seems to be little sign of this happening.

I do acknowledge my anger and frustration with whats going on at our club, but I say it’s now time for the manager to be backed or sacked.

We can’t continue in this current form and something has to change or we will live to regret it.

A Crossroads has been reached.

We struggled against a West Brom side with no desire to attack us. They parked the bus as expected but they needn’t have bothered. So laboured was our attacking they could have parked a robin reliant and it would have done the job.

Such a disappointment after two performances at home to City and away against West Ham as it seemed the team was getting back to something like its best. This was a depressing return to what had gone before this season.

We barely fashioned any clear-cut chances despite Barkley and Mirallas starting in their favoured roles. Players in their preferred positions quite simply not performing when we desperately needed it.

Mirallas called Foster into action after seven minutes but his shot was tame, low and telegraphed from 25 yards.  Foster also saved comfortably from a Mirallas free kick after Baines had been fouled.

Our most dangerous outlet at times was the fantastic John Stones. The young defender showing the spirit we so badly need as he took the fight to the static RV that was West Brom. Stones’ marauding runs down the right wing begs the question; just what is wrong with Seamus Coleman?

He is not the same player and while his drop in form has largely gone unnoticed this season, it is yet another aspect of our play that dazzled last season has gone missing in this.

Stones was majestic and mature. Both in defence and in bringing the ball out. One run seeing a great ball whipped in to the six yard box with not one of our attack minded forwards gambling on what would have been a certain tap in.

Stones was my man of the match by a country mile

Then a moment that could have changed the whole feeling of the occasion.

Michael Oliver awarded Everton a 44th minute penalty after Lescott had clearly handled in the area. Leighton  Baines was then happy to be talked out of his role as penalty taker in a frankly ridiculous exchange, and then watched on as Mirallas and his ego smashed the ball past the right hand post –  Neil McDonald style – to round off a miserable first half with a deflating missed opportunity

Writing this at the end of the game, I’m petrified. You’d think a man my age would know better but when I think back to the horror seasons of 93-94 and 97-98, we at least had characters back then. Dave Watson, Gary Speed etc.

The worrying thing is we have precious little character in the current team. Perfectly highlighted by the absolutely scandalous scenario of seeing Kevin Mirallas talk regular penalty taker Leighton Baines out of a crucial spot kick on the stroke of half time.

Who the hell does Mirallas think he is? But even worse, why isn’t Baines telling him where to go and asserting some authority for once? This side continues to show it has very little if any backbone.

Half time came and all I’ll say about Rocky coming on the big screen is that I went down for a pint to avoid it.

It is publicity stunts like this that make me feel were getting laughed at. We’re in massive relegation trouble and it seems the board are more interested in pulling the wool over our eyes with this circus than actually going out and helping push the club on.

Mirallas didn’t make the second half and, I’m sorry Roberto, but I’m just not buying Mirallas was injured. It is sometimes better to speak the truth. We’re not stupid and Naismith’s reaction to Mirallas taking the penalty left the clear impression all would not be right in the dressing room at half time.

Oviedo replaced Mirallas and with it went the only semblance of pace in the team. It was painfully obvious how the game was going to pan out. With everything yet again played far too central it’s nights like this you can say we truly miss the impact Deulofeu had on our attacking play.

We couldn’t stretch a predictably well-drilled Baggies outfit under the even more predictable Tony Pulis. It would have taken a moment of magic or a mistake for us to take the lead. Or even better, our normal penalty taker standing his ground.

Lukaku got the Gwladys Street up in a rare moment of excitement as a lung busting run at the heart of the West Brom defence saw his shot blocked by Lescott. With Barry tripped on the edge of the box shortly after, a presentable opening arrived with a free kick 20 yards out but Ross Barkley disappointingly fired his free kick into the wall.

Onto The highly strung issue of Ross Barkley. He needs to be dropped – this is now abundantly clear – his body language is poor, he’s not putting his foot in and he is too scared to try anything. Choosing safety first and slowing down our already pedestrian attacking it’s clear he needs taking out of the first team.

What I cannot accept is the utterly disgusting abuse he got all game. There were fans booing him just for receiving the ball.

I’m not trying to defend Barkley here but this unmerciful slagging him off is achieving what exactly?

We will probably end up selling him and a lot of fans will have gotten their wish. It seems with each game the poisonous atmosphere around Goodison Park is becoming ever more toxic .

I understand and recognise that he has been woeful and lazy in his play but it is down to Martinez to drop Barkley. He hasn’t and its doing nothing but crush what little confidence he has – and yes, before I get a bombardment, I fully agree that Barkley isn’t helping with his can’t be arsed attitude and a penchant for pulling out of tackles.

However, the situation needs addressing urgently or we could be seeing a player with supreme talent walking out of the door.

The blues best moment of the match came on 76 minutes as Lukaku lifted his shot over the bar following a flowing move involving the aforementioned Barkley and Naismith.

A sense of inevitability felt at half time turned into reality as the ball sailed harmlessly wide.

Arouna Kone came on with just over ten minutes left in a moment that for me truly turned the majority of our fans against Roberto.

*Taking off Besic was a joke. Alongside John Stones he was clearly one of our best players and it simply made no sense to keep the tiring Barry and the empty shell that is currently Ross Barkley on the pitch.

Besic enjoyed another fine performance but can’t finish a game for Everton to save his life. Lord knows what it’s doing for the player’s confidence.

*Everton later revealed Besic was carrying a ‘knock’ – whether it was the same kind of ‘knock’ suffered by Kevin Mirallas is as yet unclear [Ed.]

No siege was coming as we engaged exclusively in foreplay for the next eleven minutes in a hugely disappointing end to the match. The frustration turned into anger with the final whistle being blown after 4 minutes of injury time.

So we failed to win in yet another must win game and with a two week break upon us, thanks to being knocked out of the FA Cup, it at least gives us time to think.

But what does the future hold for us? Where do we go from here? I personally don’t think Roberto Martinez is handling the situation at all well.

I’m scared about our prospects this season. We need a minimum five league wins and have to do everything in our power to get them but for the first time I don’t feel Roberto is the man to do it. And that saddens me.

An approach last season that changed the fans mentality and had the vast majority dreaming again has been replaced with a nightmare vision of the Walter Smith days. To all those not born untill after 1998, welcome to your first relegation battle.

I just hope your hairline survives better than mine.

“We’re going to go away this week, get some warm weather training and try to reset ourselves for the second half of the season.” Roberto Martinez

Time to turn the heat up on these players if your staying Roberto – if only to rediscover a fraction of what we had last season.

Our Premier League lives depend on it

Sin Miedo

Mark Ellis

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Follow Mark Ellis On Twitter

 

Mark Ellis

34 year old Evertonian, BU Supporter, blogger, loving Roberto, busy with my beautiful son Kai who has made me & my fiancee Lyndsay's life complete.

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