Man Utd 2 – 1 Everton: More Questions Than Answers

Everything that could go wrong this campaign has. Second season syndrome has hit big style with the equivalent of a witches hex currently residing at Goodison Park

Man Utd 2 - 1 Everton

Man Utd 2 – 1 Everton: More Questions Than Answers In Old Trafford Defeat

By @Markthablue

A missed penalty here, a questionable refereeing decision there. World class finger tip saves on one hand and dubious decision making on the other. It’s the small factors in a game that are causing Everton huge problems this season.

Not to mention a growing list of injuries to Key players. The latest being an agonisingly late injury to John Stones adding to a star-studded cast on the treatment table with Messrs Coleman, Mirallas, McCarthy and Barkley sidelined.

Yes amazingly and entirely within the context of this season, all of our best players are currently unavailable.

One win from seven and a defence as watertight as Bill Kenwright’s shoes in the days of the boys pen means our irritating start to the season has turned into a worrying concern. With another defeat that leaves us hovering above the relegation zone in a frankly shocking start to our league campaign.

The sight of our best defender going off on the stretcher will have done nothing for receding hair lines and collective blood pressure amongst Evertonians. An overwhelming sense that something disturbing has happened behind the scenes since last season will not go away.

Senior players have got to take more responsibility, the feeling sorry for ourselves look just isn’t cutting it currently.

We just don’t have the squad depth to cope with this level of injuries and in truth not many clubs would get over missing four key players but other clubs are digging out results and it’s clear with one league win to speak off, it’s not just key players that are missing at Goodison Park.

The spirit synonymous with past Everton sides under Martinez seems to have deserted us. The whole team seems to be playing with fear, we sense we are going to concede in every game we play and its effecting everybody.

It’s a problem that simply has to be addressed. Yes we played OK at Old Trafford but only after going a goal behind. Why are we only ever performing from a negative position?

Draws at Krasnodar and Liverpool, from losing positions, gave hope that we were turning the corner but the old defensive issues which have dogged us in such a debilitating fashion since an awful pre-season were present here again.

The whole teams defensive confidence has vanished, although in the same breath the back five performed a lot better than what has gone before this season, it was with a sense of inevitability that United took the lead on 27 minutes.

Everton started the game with composure on the ball if not with any real threat going forward but fell behind with Di Maria latching onto Mata’s neat lay off to finish clinically past Howard. 1-0 United.

We were struggling to get anything going in attack, a combination of lack of support, poor service and Lukaku’s own hugely frustrating inability to keep hold of the ball meant for a largely impotent first half. It looked Walter Smith esq frankly.

Lukaku’s body language was poor too. Looking uninterested at times and in a sulk like state as Everton struggled to get up ahead of steam. Evertonians will accept a poor run of form but when you combine an obvious lack of effort, it becomes unacceptable. Lukaku has got to start making an impression that his talent and not his price tag demands.

When will big Rom sort this side of his game out? Surely it’s not asking too much for a professional footballer, price tag aside, to control a football and link up play. On balance, he wasn’t helped by his supporting cast with McGeady showing for every good game he has, there’s a poor one around the corner.

I remain to be convinced with McGeady. He has bags of ability but he just hasn’t performed anywhere near as consistently as he ought to. His performance was the opposite of his incisive and penetrating play in Russia. McGeady seems incapable of stringing a run of consistent performances together which of course slots in beautifully with the rest of the teams inability this season.

As half time approached we began to express ourselves more but why we couldn’t have started like this is a mystery. Lukaku was finally starting to impose himself on United’s centre back newcomers Paddy McNair and Rojo.

His aerial presence was finally winning him a few battles and he blazed over disappointingly having broke through. Not making excuses for Lukaku who for me had an unforgivable attitude problem going on but he is clearly missing Ross Barkley hugely. He’s not the only one.

Ross is our X Factor, we need him back as soon as possible if we are to turn this poor start to the season around. For all the negativity I remain convinced our form will turn dramatically when we have Barkley and Coleman back. The sooner the better.

Our golden chance arrived on the stroke of half time with Kevin Friend pointing to the spot after a foul by Luke Shaw on Tony Hibbert. A move that demonstrated our far too infrequent threat going forward.

Taking for granted that Baines would step up and slot home to put us back level at half time, that level of confidence was ridiculed as Baines saw his poor effort saved by De Gea. There was no conviction at all in Baines penalty, quite simply a moment that summed up our season.

Baines soon made amends for his miss by setting up a deserved equalizer for the ever consistent Steven Naismith, who along with Stones, has been one of our few bright sparks this season.

Naismith scored his 4th league goal of the season with a sharp header from Baines excellent pick out. His goal was classic Tim Cahill for me, arriving late into the box to finish clinically past De Gea to draw the blues level.

Everton’s modest improvement was almost cemented by taking the lead. Jagielka’s near post header diverting Baines corner towards goal only to see Falcao hack the goal-bound header off the line. ,A rare thing with Everton nearly scoring form a corner matched by the even rarer sight of Falcao clearing decisively from his own goal line.

Still far too much nice football from Everton and not enough aggression on the ball. Crab like passing that Vinny Samways would have been proud of was a feature. The confidence in the team is such that we are far too easy to play against this season. It’s a problem that shows no signs of abating.

And just when we were sensing three points at Old Trafford for the second season running, normal service was resumed as Falcao showed the predatory instincts that £350,000 a week gets you. Showing alertness to deflect Di Maria’s scuffed cross past the onrushing Tim Howard.

Intensely frustrating that the buildup to the goal was all of our own making. How many times have we said that this season. Had Tim Howard played the percentages and found the stands with his clearance we could have been reflecting on a creditable draw but where’s the consolation  in that.

Howard should for all the world have kicked the ball out but with misplaced arrogance, with no doubt Martinez instructions around playing from the back no matter what, ringing in his ears, his clearance went straight to Rafael when it should have gone to a tourist in the stands. Rafael played it inside to Valencia who fed Di Maria before Falcao sealed our fate.

If that was classic Falcao then what happened in the build up to the winning goal was classic Everton. Such a shame as the back five had looked reasonably solid if unspectacular up until this point.

Man Utd 2 - 1 Everton: Howard's moment of madness led to United's winning goal.

Martinez’s obsession with building foundations on quicksand is not helping us cure this mother of all hangovers. A certain abandonment of principles might be in order as we look to turn this season around. In the meantime the search for defensive solidity goes on and on and on and on….

To our credit we carried the fight manfully to United as we pressed for an equalize. The footballing equivalent of the Alamo was unleashed on United’s back line with David De Gea having to make world-class saves from the blues two substitutes, Osman and Oviedo. Gareth Barry also going close as we desperately sought out an equalizer.

This level of intensity served up to serve a level of frustration that we couldn’t play like this earlier. So purposeful to finish, so timid to start, the to-do list for Martinez is getting longer by the minute. Huge improvement is needed.

A second blues equalizer was not forthcoming and the full-time whistle blew. Sending United into the Champions League places and us towards the relegation zone.

Leaving us facing yet another international break stewing in our own juices. At least the break should at the very least give us an opportunity to get some of our key players back.

Roberto has got to address what is going on and take responsibilit. No more positive spinning, tell it how it is because the Evertonians are not stupid. If you’re telling us everything is great then the concern is that we are not seeking to resolve this malaise currently sweeping through the squad.

I have full faith in Roberto. It’s being tested currently but with Barkley and Coleman back soon the hope is the 2013/14 Everton will not be far away. The wish to see us put just one defensive performance in shouldn’t be an unreasonable request. Senior players have got to stand up.

With no game until Villa on the 18th October, we have a fortnight to get our belief back. The season simply can’t continue along this path because the elephant  in the room suggests we are in danger of limiting our ambitions to escaping a relegation battle.

Get it sorted blues, these Monday mornings are getting darker and darker with no blame attached to the time of year

“We wanted to get a positive result and you look at the chances created, David de Gea pulled out a world-class save at the end of the game.” Roberto Martinez

The last ten minutes at Old Trafford needs to be the level for the next ten games. With our early season hopes currently all set for an early write off, it’s time to be brave Everton.

Our season demands 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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