Monthly Archives: January 2015

Martinez, Mirallas and Green – The Blues’ midwinter blues

AG“I’m… I’m so in love with you
Whatever you want to do
Is all right with me…
‘Cause you… make me feel so brand new…
And I… want to spend my life with you…

Let me say that since, baby
Since we’ve been together
Ooo…
Loving you forever
Is what I… need…
Let me… be the one you come running to…
I’ll… never be untrue…

Ooo baby…
Let’s, let’s stay together…
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad
Ooooo… Oooo… Yeah…
Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad”

The Reverend Al Green there with a declaration of faith in the spirit of togetherness, something that’s elusive around Goodison Park (and probably Finch Farm too) these days. The grim run of results, Bobby’s bouncy bonhomie falling flat and Kevin Mirallas… Well, when things go against you, they really go against you.

The febrile football punditocracy have had their say on Kev’s show of confidence / show of arrogance, Gary Neville going all in on Sky with…

“If he’s done what I think he’s done, gone against team orders, manager orders, and selfishly taken the ball, it’s one of the most despicable breaches of team orders you can possibly have. You do not do that at any cost.

“Leighton Baines, not the most confrontational type of lad, he’s the type that has probably said: ‘go on then, if you’re confident’.

Mirallas took penalty ahead of normal spot-kick man Baines

“But what usually happens in dressing rooms is your free-kick takers, penalty-takers are usually listed.”

Well you can only call that kind of raise from the seat left of the small blind, but Kev still got the press he must have expected (although Leighton Baines probably didn’t expect a shoeing too – though the Press don’t often miss a chance to kick a nice guy when he’s down).

As for me? Kev’s a confident guy, he’s always backed himself, he’s a winner and winners do that sort of thing (cue Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights). Except it’s not like that – not outside a Will Ferrell vehicle anyway, no matter how well observed. If Kev wanted to take the penalty, the time for sorting that out was on the training ground prepping (yes, prepping) for the match. Whether you have a poignant tribute to a tragically killed mate on a T-shirt, or felt you are on a roll, or just got high on the sheer release a goal would bring to a tense spell, he shouldn’t have done it. He looked like a selfish idiot (his personal comeuppance) but he made team-mates and his manager look weak too and that’s worse than the two points eschewed.  (What could they do – “Bowyer and Dyer” it out on the field, Big Rom and Glasgow Steven battling for Bainesy? No.)

If Kev goes, I shan’t shed any tears. Though he should recognise that Everton made him – I mean, who is top scorer in the Greek League now? I doubt he will though (at least not yet) and, though he’ll probably go to another top, if not top, top team in the summer, he’s unlikely to be indulged running down blind allies and playing hospital passes as he has been at Everton. We’ll miss his pace – but we’re missing pace everywhere right now.

So what of Bobby? Are you with the Talksport shouters who want him out and Duncan Ferguson promoted to add a bit more PASSION!!! (Presumably because elite football matches turn on PASSION and not player technique, managerial organisation or coolness under pressure).

Not me. I’ll give Senor M this season to deal with the reaction to last season. I’ll judge him (and Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku and Tim Howard) in December 2015 when we’ll know about how these men deal with adversity. This season will improve when James McCarthy returns (which might be ideally timed for the Europa League), a player with plenty of mid-80s Peter Reid about him and a huge loss this term. Bobby’s got some work to do on the squad, but he bought McCarthy and secured Muhamed Besic for a song, so he knows what’s needed to defend up the field and he has coaches to get the lads right at corners. Once Premier League safety is secured (and I’m not taking that for granted), I’d like to see lots of the impressive youngsters (like Tyias Browning and Ryan Ledson) being given 60 mins, because, as Southampton have shown, there’s nothing like giving responsibility to encourage responsibility.

(The squad needs to be fitter though, something Bobby M knows a bit about, but ain’t a little knowledge a dangerous thing?)

Lose against Palace away and this mysteriously effective Liverpool at Goodison and Martinez will face the awesome Chelsea machine at Stamford Bridge with a crisis on his hands. And, when you’re in a crisis or in a mid-90s slasher movie, everyone knows that it pays to stay together.

Sing the song Al.

 

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