Barkley’s Replacement

    With Barkley likely to miss near 6 weeks to injury, it seems like Leon Osman is a shoe in to start all our games in the near future. Should this be the case though? I don’t think so.

    Are we right to question Roberto? The man in charge has only lost 2 games all season.  Are we not mere mortals to him at this current time? Well, I think not. As good as Martinez has been, I think many Evertonians, including myself, can see that Osman is the weakest link in the side. Us Evertonians have got things right in the past, we wanted to see Barkley much earlier than we got to, the same goes with Oviedo. We can see when substitutions should be made and fortunately Martinez has seen this as clear as the fans this season, which wasn’t the case at times under the last regime in charge.

    For me, Osman slows our play down massively. The constant two touch and play doesn’t work in our system of keeping the ball and looking to break teams down. His legs have gone also. There was a time in the Norwich game where a player that was 10 yards behind him beat Ossie to the ball. Ok, I may have exaggerated that last bit but it seemed like it. Anyway, this isn’t a slagging off post so I’ll move on, I just think we can see better alternatives.

    There are some options. From the squad that featured against Norwich, Oviedo could play ahead of Baines, Pienaar could be moved central and we wouldn’t lose the link up play between them as Pienaar would be given a free-role, much like Barkley has. If the linkup play isn’t working, Kevin Mirallas could be moved central behind his mate Lukaku, much where he has played anyway recently, if you see the two team influence sheets below from the last two games. Pienaar could then be moved right, or maybe even Oviedo. The man that has impressed us all over the last month showed that he isn’t afraid to shoot and rightly so. If he could cut in from the right and unleash his left foot it might just make teams think twice about covering Coleman down the wing.

    efcncfcEverton influence sheet V Norwich

    efcscfcEverton V Stoke influence sheet showing continuing trend of Mirallas as a second striker

    As we saw on Saturday, we have signed Aiden McGeady and this is just another option to our wide areas meaning Mirallas or Pienaar could be played centrally. We are meant to be in the market for other players, and if they come in this week it will only add to the team line up decisions for Martinez.

    Hopefully we might see changes, but I doubt it. The gaffer seems a big fan of Osman, starting him when he can and using him as a sub when he can’t. There could be more to him than an untrained eye knows. We’ll have to see if there are any changes now we have more options but if there aren’t we have to trust our manager but more importantly back Osman, he can only give his all for the side, which is one thing you can’t fault him on. It seems Osman has become the new scapegoat and the victim of the Goodison Groaners, hopefully he can turn that round in the coming weeks.

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    1. It seems your personal dislike of Ossie is clouding your judgement. To say that many Evertonians think the same way is pure guesswork, most of my matchgoing mates think differently. Martinez has already extolled the virtue of what he calls a thinking footballer and to totally disregard his value is foolish. Ossie is a fantastic passer of the ball and his ability to find players in space is as good as any in the squad. You also forget his fantastic close control in tight spaces. Yes, he is not the quickest around and his finishing could be better, but he is as valuable to this squad as anyone else.I don’t know what you were watching on Saturday, but it’s clear that Everton’s stranglehold on the game diminished after he (and Pienaar) went off) I’m not naive enough to think he is a certain starter in Barkley’s absence, but his game changing cameos against Villa and Stoke show what a vital and influential player he is. I suggest you show a bit more of a balanced view when analysing anyone in a blue shirt in future articles

    2. Ossie has been a great footballer for the blues but for me his first touch is generally poor, lost any pace he had and gets knocked off it too easily. Great squad player with the odd start when required for me

    3. Against the Baggies we might see a back 3,with 5 in midfield so that all the above would be otiose. I was surprised at the bench selected for Norwich, but I suppose Magaye and Apostolos deserve something,unless that was just a version of the shop window.But,that aside Mr Martinez seems to know what is needed to get the job done.I think I trust him more than any internet/lounge bar expert.


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