Everton 2 Leicester 2: Blues Rescue Deflating Point as Howard Fluffs Again

Must Win… Didn’t.

A poisonous league campaign showed no signs of an antidote with yet another deflating home result. This time to the worst team in the league.

No excuses about Europa, no more hard luck stories. This was poor.

 

Everton 2 Leicester 2: Blues Rescue Deflating Point as Howard Fluffs Again

Everton 2 Leicester 2: Blues Rescue Deflating Point as Howard Fluffs Again

By @markthablue

This was another in a long line of poor performances in a worrying league campaign. To paraphrase David Moyes, it’s a season ‘I hope we get out alive from.’

Like it or not we are going to have to fight to stay up.

It’s so deflating to be talking in these terms barely 72 hours after a much-needed shot in the arm in Bern. But Everton, as much as they looked best of friends in Switzerland, yet again for long periods looked like complete strangers on home soil.

The manager and players must take full responsibility for one of the most miserable seasons on record with the relegation zone still hanging around like a fart in an elevator.

The decision to reinstate Tim Howard, despite Joel building his and the defences confidence with three straight clean sheets is now a negligent one from Roberto.

It’s a decision that could see us relegated. Howard is a total liability. Worse still, his demeanor suggests an arrogance around him.

He knows he can do what he likes – cost us points, make howlers, go for long walks in no mans land – whatever, there’s no consequence. He’s has carte-blanche to carry on and Martinez is playing roulette with our relegation fears by insisting he is our number one goalkeeper.

If only Belgium had spanked the USA in the world cup, this clown may well be nowhere near our first team.

He is not the only problem of course, but how the hell can Martinez have such faith in a goalkeeper who has cost us umpteen points this season?

I feel so angry about this, along with the amazing level drop off we’ve had from senior players. Okay, he came back from injury, but Leighton Baines also had another poor game. He seems to have escaped most of the criticism this season, but I thought he looked a shell of a player he was against Leicester.

In one instance, were a Leicester player just took the ball off him without so much as tackle, Baines showed no fight. He looks lost and we need more if we’re to stay in this league.

I also thought McCarthy was off the pace today. He did grow more into the game as it wore on and we all know Lukaku had a poor game, missing chance after chance. The hat trick in midweek clearly doing nothing for his confidence.

At the very least the Belgian didn’t go missing. He was always showing and looking to probe, but there is no defence for his overall showing. Is it truly beyond Roberto’s imagination to try two up front?

To carry on the positive nature of my report, Naismith and Barkley do not work in there together. It hasn’t worked all season long. They get in each others way, and when you have full backs staying put instead of bombing on adding to the lethargy, then it truly is a recipe for disaster. I’m amazed Roberto, such an avid studier of the game, can’t see this.

All season we seem to have suffered with a collective lack of backbone. Oh for a Gary Speed or Dave Watson in this team. We have zero character and it’s a real concern going into what looks a dogfight to get out of this season in one piece.

Why is Martinez picking players regardless of form? It’s doing nothing for the morale of players such as Joel who have been dropped for no reason.

A last-minute equalizer would usually bring at least a modicum of relief but not now. We needed to win. I felt anger at the final whistle, nothing new there some might say, but I make no excuses. This is now a very worrying time to be an Evertonian.

Leicester City, who looked appalling at Aston Villa only a week ago, were encouraged and made to look half decent with a nervy blues showing. Only we can win 4-1 away from home and look totally devoid of any belief less than three days later. It just defies logic what is going on.

The blues were sluggish and dozy in the first half. We had returned to our Premier league malaise in no time at all. Where was the energetic no fear approach from Everton so evident in Bern?

We were back to the diddery-doddery nervous Everton who look like we can’t put one foot in front of the other in the Premier League, while we were moonwalking on a Thursday night in the Europa.

Jekyll may well win us the Europa, but Mr Hyde is taking us into the championship. Please blues, stop taking the potion, we need the points.

The fast start we all craved didn’t materialise, Ross Barkley firing a free kick over that was greeted with a response from the crowd as if he’d revealed a liverpool shirt under his blues top. A drab first half saw Lukaku and Barkley blaze over when well placed.

Leicester, looking to make a disappointing first half even worse, nearly took the lead on the stroke on half time. John Stones with a terrific block, deflecting Schlupp’s goal bound effort over the bar in spectacular fashion.

Let’s have it right, we need to support our team in its hour of need, but it’s incredibly testing when fans are seeing the same things week in week out. The fear of relegation not going away is adding to the tension and this is evidently transmitting itself onto the pitch.

Performances have not been good enough all season long in the league, off-hand I can’t think of one single 90 minute performance from the blues, and frustration has understandably moved on to the Goodison Park terraces.

The second half saw Leicester pick up where they left off in the first – James forcing a save from Howard who again failed to turn it round the post – indulging himself in his favored method of palming it back out into the six yard box. The blues mightily relieved to see Schlupp put the rebound wide.

A double substitution followed with Gibson and Atsu replacing Barkley and the standard early hook for Mo Besic come rain or shine. The performance of Gibson was the one true positive from Everton’s soul-destroying afternoon.

I also think given time, Coleman and Lennon can be a source of optimism for us once there understanding clicks.

Gibson was probing and took the fight to Leicester by finding his targets with incisive passing. The majority of his passes going forward which helps counter the obsession of knocking it sideways and back. A constant irritating feature of Everton’s play.

The moment that released all the tension came on 57 minutes with Lukaku and Naismith combining to see Naismith’s scuffed effort roll in apologetically past Schwarzer and into the Gwladys Street net. The sense of relief was over bearing.

Leicester reacted by bringing on Vardy and Nugent with urgency the order of the day for Pearson’s men. Everton, with the lead, were expected to go on and put the visitors to bed but when do we ever stick to the script? With the fans finally blowing a sigh of relief….. #EvertonThat happened again.

There is nothing like a classic goalkeeping error to bring a team and supporters back down to earth and Tim Howard, with a personal milestone, his 5000 mistake of an infamous season, saw the blundering American fluff his lines in his six yard box to provide ‘Boyhood Blue’ David Nugent with a tap in to draw the foxes level.

Frustration soon boiled over into anger as Howard’s awful positioning left him stranded and flapping at a cross to allow Vardy to pick out Cambiasso who slotted home to turn Goodison into meltdown.

I stand by this, it is an absolute disgrace that Howard was allowed to replace Robles. Simply no logic or justification in it by Martinez other than favoritism.

Whatever the reason, it’s costing us big time.

The blues upped the tempo and pressed, largely thanks to Gibson’s drive and accurate passing. Lukaku frustrated with a mis-control when played through leaving Goodison’s hairline’s receding faster than memories of last season.

Lukaku once more missing, putting his shot wide, this time from Baines deflected shot across the six yard box.

Everton kept it at and got the equalizer three minutes from time. Atsu, while not setting the world alight, looked more useful in his role behind Lukaku, found space on the left. The Ghanaian’s ball in was headed by the diving Lukaku onto Matthew Upson’s head to send the ball into the Gwladys Street net.

No elation, no relief. We needed more and sadly it never arrived. In fact if anyone was going to score it was Leicester.

Tim Howard AGAIN flapping at a cross and raising blood temperatures across the board. Thankfully we weren’t punished but the scoreline was punishment enough.

Full time arrived and my emotion was one of anger. As a team our performances in the league are massively unacceptable. We are in huge danger now and there’s no downplaying this anymore.

To quote Kryten in Red Dwarf, this result leaves us ‘galloping up diarrhea drive without a saddle.’

I truly wanted to be positive here and I would have been had the blues done the job today.

Up next is Young Boys were no doubt we will cruise through playing football so synonymous with last season before our next trip to the Emirates. We simply have to buck the trend of a poor performance following a Europa jolly. We simply can’t afford it.

Of course I’m being presumptuous over the Young Boys game. I’m confident given what happened in Bern we will see the job through to put us in the last 16.

It feels like we’ve got our priorities wrong. Yes, Europa is important without doubt, but it’s like going on holiday and not paying the bills back home. We’ve got to ensure our safety in the Premier league.

The players have really got to want this, but the manager is making some horrendous decisions.

I’m not convinced they are playing for him but that’s purely a personal view with no shred of evidence. As for the manager, more questions and no answers are making me seriously doubt the guy for the first time since he came in.

He’s lost his mojo, there is no doubt about that. His stubbornness over players and systems has worn thin. Literally having no plan B, given we know how lesser teams are gonna set us against us, makes me question if Roberto truly knows what he’s doing.

It’s gone on all season long. A season, if were talking strictly league performances, I’m sorry I got out of bed for.

A lot of blues are confident we can easily stay up and I admire that. I can’t share that view at this moment. We look devoid of true character and fight. We have quality in the squad, we stayed up with the likes of Gareth Farrelly, John O’Kane and Carl Tiler in the past so we should have no fears. But the threat of relegation is not relenting, it’s increasing as we enter March.

“Once we scored the first goal, I expected us to go on and control the game, but we defended with fear at times and conceded.” Roberto Martinez

Having a goalkeeper who is statistically the worst in the league does that to a defence Roberto.

If we want to stay up, please put Howard and us out of our misery

Con Miedo

Mark Ellis

Follow Mark Ellis On Twitter
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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