Five things we learnt from the draw with Watford

1. Two holding midfield players is too many against all but the top six. Roberto got it tactically wrong in the first half. Watford were content to sit back and frustrate Everton, looking to catch the Blues on the brake. In this scenario we do not need both Barry and McCarthy to play in the holding midfield role. 


If we are going to play both then McCarthy should be free to push forward and get between the opposition midfield and back four. This is especially true when Leighton Baines isn’t playing, as the need to cover the attacking runs from left back are greatly diminished.  

2. We need to start games with a greater tempo. Our pedestrian play in the opening stages allowed Watford to grow in confidence and enable the Hornets to gain a foothold in the game. Roberto was able to get the message across at half time, with the Blues playing with significantly more urgency. Somehow he needs to ensure we start all games in this way and not simply as a reaction to going a goal behind or receiving a half time dressing down. 

“In the first half, we clearly weren’t at the tempo and intensity Watford had…We saw in that first half one team in pre-season mode and another in a competitive mode.” Roberto Martinez

3. John Stones is boss but he still has plenty to learn. Watford’s second goal was clear evidence that John Stones is far from the finished article. The England international was composed for much of the afternoon but his attempts to prevent Watford from going 2-1 in front were not befitting a £30m defender. Stones threw himself to the floor in an attempt to block a shot that failed to arrive. If Stones had remained on his feet the Watford forward doesn’t get a clean shot at Tim Howard.


4. Ross Barkley isn’t a number 10, but he could be brilliant alongside McCarthy in an orthodox midfield role. Ross Barkley is a player with vast potential, but he is only going to recognise that potential by operating in a more conventional midfield role. The 90 minutes on Saturday epitomised this perfectly with Ross struggling until he was moved back alongside McCarthy in the Blues midfield. Ross is considerably better when he has the game in front of him, picking the ball up and driving forward. Far too often in the number 10 role he receives the ball with his back to the goal and is crowded out by opposition defenders/midfielders.

5. Evertonians love to boo. Moans, groans, Booing and protest banners! Looks like we have all taken a lesson or two from our Kopite friends. Booing at half time on the opening day of the season!!! Moans and groans as Kone entered the pitch!!! (Well done Arouna Kone, the Ivorian rose above the angst amongst the crowd and fired home the equaliser his cameo performance richly deserved). And finally protest banners flying over Goodison? I think you need a greater mandate than 100-200 Evertonians to get any credence for a protest against the board! 


18 thoughts on “Five things we learnt from the draw with Watford

  1. I agree with most you say and the protests are simply stupid and missing the point
    My opinion yesterday is that we have too many average players and I still don’t know why but I wish Mirallas would have gone
    We really need an”Arteta” type because we have little creativity and playing Rom with his back to goal is a joke -except for the lay off to Kone ,who I thought did well

    1. Mirallas will still play an important role for Everton. I firmly believe his signing was crucial for the season ahead. He scored 11 goals last season and no one else apart from Lukaku is capable of scoring that many in a season

    1. I think you’ll find it’s their right. And anyway, Daniel was simply giving his opinion, hence saying ‘I think’. So he has every right to give his opinion that it lacks credence.

      Good balanced article.

    2. Everyone is entitled to protest, in my opinion flying planes over Goodison which will focus attention away from the pitch is not the way to go, especially when so few are publicly in agreement

    3. Just as it is our right to be dismayed and even scornful of such behaviour. I’ve been an Everton fan for 50 years and one of the aspects I’ve been proud of is that our fans have generally been amongst the most respectful and intelligent. I’m very frustrated with RMs approach and gave grave doubts about his ability as a man manager or a tactician. That said piling pressure on players at home like some did on t he first day of the season is a very shabby way of behaving as a so called fan. It’s a mindless yobbo approach which I hope other loyal Everton fans will speak up against too

  2. Sorry I wholeheartedly disagree , the boos are there as us evertonians have suffered long enough . 20 years of mismanagement at boardroom level and zero has changed from last season , the boos were acknowledging the same insepid tactics and lack of ambition by the board . 17mins into a new league season and the discontent was already there , it tells it’s own story
    if you can’t see that it’s time to get your head out of the sand
    I’m Thoroughly board of being an evertonian at the moment

    1. The first half performance was frustrating but the supporters showing their discontent is not going to help the performance improve. We need to encourage and support and the improvement will come.

  3. Sky TV had an advert about the “hope” every fan has for a new season . I would normally add excitement to that as well.
    Instead I have fear and trepidation , we have a manager who won’t divert from his flawed philosophy and lives in another universe and a boardroom who are fleecing the club and have dragged us into mediocrity oir fan base have almost got used to and accepted that mediocrity . It breaks my heart . I am worried the building discontent will effect the season whereby we end up in a really serious position . Something has to give

  4. Don’t worry. “the Watford forward” who left £30m-rated John Stones on his backside scored 17 goals in three months last season. He’s simply a very good player.

    But I don’t expect many at Everton to be aware of that, seeing as the author doesn’t seem to know his name, even after the event.

    1. Don’t worry Jay, we know all about Odion Ighalo, he is one of the many players Watford took from their parent club Udinese?!?

  5. I understand what you are trying to say Daniel but I believe you may be missing the point
    how else are 39500 evertonians going to express their disappointment at the pathetic tactics and crap management on show and also the frustration at the lack of investment and constant failures of our inept board ?
    The simple answer is to boo , unfortunately that may be perceived as booing our players but it isn’t , it’s booing the manager and the board and specifically Kenwright

  6. We are not booing the players we are booing everything else . How else can so many people get their message across .
    time to get the head out of the sand mate

  7. We had a very poor 1st half , booed off at half time then played a lot better 2nd half,so it did work. I myself would never boo a player In an Everton shirt but I’d boo that manager and chairman.

  8. I don’t believe the booing was aimed at the board, but at the manager and players who frankly had not earned their wages. I’m not one for calling for managers to be sacked, but after 30 minutes I’d concluded that RM has nothing more to offer our club. I’m normally an optimist; right now I’m concerned that we’ll be in a battle come March.

What do you think? Why not post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s