Well, of course not. The players are mostly to blame for not turning up and bottling a must win game. Too many players didn’t show up. Probably Coleman and Barry’s worst game in a Blue shirt. Lukaku was as useless as the last few games and Deulofeu and Barkley were simply non-existent.
However, there were a few issues I have to pick out with Martinez after that game. Firstly, the tactics. It’s obvious what Southampton do. They pack the middle and win that battle, the important battle. We set out with two midfielders and they won nearly every recovery ball on the field. We had played with a central three over in the Newcastle away game and the Arsenal home game, and it worked. Obviously the 1st minute goal meant that it detracted our set up as a counter team, but it was obvious after just 10 minutes that they’d then sit back and hit us on the counter, and we needed to change. We didn’t.
Secondly, Deulofeu. The one time he popped up on the right, he beat his man and whipped it across for Lukaku, who put it over. It was a difficult chance but at least it was a bloody chance. Straight back over to the left for Deulofeu, only to be as non-existent as the other 59 minutes he was on the field in that position.
The substitution of Deulofeu wasn’t right for me either. I think Osman and McGeady substitutions were spot on, they did more in their time than any other player that had occupied the field. However, we needed 2 and if possible, 3 goals. I know he was having an off day, but should we really have taken off an attacking player? Our fullbacks were dreadful and had no forward impact whatsoever, we could have gone to a flat back four or even attempted a 3 at the back.
The last bone I have to pick, but almost certainly not least, with Martinez was how we started. No, not the first half, the second half. We needed 3 goals, we needed to win the game. We HAD to start the second half at a high tempo, show that Southampton side that we were going to come out and fight for the points on offer, considering how poor they were playing. We started like we played in the first, slow, boring, predictable. We were never going to get back into that game, it was clear after the penalty shout.
Now let me get this straight, this is not a post slagging Martinez as Everton manager. Most weeks he’s got it spot on, he’s brought us the record points tally in the Premier League, he’s brought us a double over Manchester United, brought us our pride back and finally some decent football.
Today, he got a lot wrong, but he wasn’t the worst out there. It didn’t help that his gameplan went out of the window after 1 minute. It didn’t help that his players couldn’t do the basics on the football field. It didn’t help that the officials did everything in their power to prevent us getting back in it. Deulofeu was onside, Osman was brought down and it was a penalty. McCarthy was held down and was prevented from reaching the ball, it was a penalty. If only we played in red… Nah, you’re alright, we’re Everton.
Anyway, onto the next one. You never know…