Go on then, those of you that say Gareth Barry is past it, and we should pair up the tyros Bešić and McCarthy, stick you heads above the parapet. I dare you. Never has a player improved his ability by not playing since, well, Joel Robles, than Gareth Barry.
There you go, Bazza, to his mates, was Man of the Match yesterday, and he didn’t even get on the pitch. The 11 that did were so appalling that I had to check that what I’d written about a week ago were in fact as near identical as makes no odds. The expectations seemed to be that Barry’s enforced absence would give Mo a run out in his place, but this was just one of the hopelessly inadequate performances amongst a team that the Manager had said wasn’t without hope of European qualification – I think he even said Champions League, but I nearly choked on my nuts when he said that, and I’m not going to even hint of it as a possibility even if the maths stack up. As the Americans would say, we lose too many, we certainly lose too many at home, “you do the math” (by the way lads, it’s “maths”, just as it’s Mum not Mom, and don’t even get me started on Elevators). It would be nice just to write about it and claim it’s a one-off, but sadly we know this pattern all too well, and whilst few would say that it wasn’t our worst performance this season, few would also be hard-pressed to say it wasn’t typical of our season, and typical of far too many of the attempts at winning a football game this season.
I can’t even bring myself to use phrases like “lacklustre”, or “insipid”, because that implies at least some good amongst the rotten garbage served up yesterday. Moshiri must have been checking his programme to see if it was the same team he watched last week, but we can all tell him that actually although a famous victory last week couldn’t mask an otherwise fairly average performance, and this is what you need to get used to Mr Not-Quite-Chairman-Yet when you watch Everton. Happy Nowruz Mr Moshiri, as you can see, you have a lot of work to do in your hopefully Happy New Year.
I’m not sure I can add much more; I’m not sure that the efforts of the team can give cause to call once more amongst many for Martinez’ head on a plate. It wasn’t him that misplaced pass after pass (at one point, from a new vantage point for me, Top Balcony on the half way line, I had good cause to shout “blue shirt, white shorts, white socks, it’s not that difficult” as yet another attempted pass found only a man in gold/yellow ochre), it wasn’t him that failed to track Sanchez, it wasn’t him that failed to track Iwobi, it wasn’t him that failed to overlap and cross a ball. Tactically, Wenger got everything right (a new one for me, placing a man between our Centre Backs, cutting out the cross field ball, and forcing us forward or back, nearly always resulting in lost possession), and whatever tactics Everton were supposed to be playing, they were certainly not executed.
But the players certainly should have been after that shambles. Metaphorically of course.
And if you’re reading this Everton FC, I’d like my money back please – two tickets at £46 each for that abomination of attempted entertainment, is taking the michael.