Everton 2014-15: Not In The Face! (this time with Europa)

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soxfan121

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Grantland's Mike L. Goodman wrote an interesting piece about the 3-man backline, using ManU & LvG as the prime example. But to contrast it, he also looks at the back three as employed by Pep Guardiola and Roberto Martinez. The LvG stuff is both ManU-centric and throughly covered elsewhere. The Guardiola system is also covered extensively. But Martinez...not as much. 
 
Pep Guardiola’s back three operated completely differently from LvG’s. During his last season at Barcelona, Guardiola often experimented with a back three, often featuring full-back Dani Alves. And, in one of the odder football comparisons of all time, that’s similar to how Roberto Martínez operated at Wigan, before he moved to Everton. He used a handful of players you’d traditionally think of as full-backs or wingers as part of a three-man defensive line. Guys like Emmerson Boyce, Maynor Figueroa, and even Jean Beausejour started, nominally, as center backs. On the surface, this seemed insane.
The reasoning behind it, however, was and is surprisingly sound. Possession football, especially in the last several years, is predicated in part on having full-backs join the attack. As the full-backs push up the field, the two center backs split extremely wide and a midfielder drops between them. (Think Steven Gerrard, right before that moment.) In effect, many possession teams were morphing into a three-back squad anyway when they had the ball, but that three was made up of a midfielder flanked by two center backs, a formation known by its more traditional name, “three guys being forced to play out of position.” A back three comprised of at least one (and sometimes two) full-backs solves that problem. The wide defensive areas are patrolled by speedier full-backs, and a traditional center back sits in the middle.
It’s not hard to imagine Guardiola implementing a similar system with left back David Alaba as part of a back three at Bayern Munich. If you run that system, you better have the ball all the damn time, because you simply won’t have the physicality to deal with defending deep in your own territory otherwise. That’s part of why Wigan struggled so much defensively under Martínez. They were one of the only bottom-half teams to consistently control possession, but when they lost the ball, they conceded quickly and often. It made for entertaining soccer and won them an unexpected FA Cup, but ultimately the magic ran out.
Martínez has yet to break out the formula with Everton, but the team has a host of attacking wing talent now, and a couple of good young hybrid defenders like John Stones and Muhamed Besic (who played in the midfield for his country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but featured at both center back and right back for his club in Hungary). Everton eventually playing a back three wouldn’t be at all surprising.
 
 

mgoblue2

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Well Stones should get on the field as much as possible if not for ability as much as to slide into Distin's spot when he retires. He's thirty freaking seven. Goodman and Phillips are quite the duo for soccer writing on G'land.
 

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According to the daily mail Everton have indeed agreed to a deal to sign Christian Atsu to year long loan deal.  This is another fantastic pick up for Everton as it adds very solid young player to our ranks.  With Everton playing more games this year he [Atsu] will get his opportunities to play as that was a concern of Chelsea's.  Now what is interesting is it seems that some of the bigger clubs seem to want to loan their players to Everton now (Atsu, Lukaku, Barry, Deulofeu).  I am thinking that this has more to do with Martinez and how players (especially young players) actually get to play and how said players tend to develop.
 
I should be thinking top four this year, but based on how much stronger the teams ahead of us have gotten, it may be even tougher or unrealistic to expect a similar, if not better season than last.  But steady appearances in the Europa League isn't a bad thing either.  If the development of Everton as a squad and its young players continues it will be interesting to see if Martinez doesn't move onto a bigger club in the next year or two.  This season should be very interesting and I think Lukaku choosing Everton will have a bigger impact that just the matches on the field.  I think it gives confidence to the squad as a whole.  Everton will be a very dangerous team this year.
 

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Atsu is in. It's nice, and they'll need him, but as is obvious, they still need another attacking player to play either striker (Kev can) or one of the front three. The first eleven can play as well as anyone that isn't City or Chelsea, but the key will be getting lucky with injuries and the emergence of the youth players to avoid having to play Distin or Osman three times a week. Do I think the top four is a possibility? Yes, and hopefully United will struggle to implement the LVG stuff and 'Pool will find life more difficult without the 30 goals from Suarez and trying to bed a bunch of first team type players in at the start. Spurs will be up there too, so a nice start would ease fears. Seven points from the first three games would look nice.
 

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
Barkley is apparently out 6-8 weeks with some kind of leg injury.
 
 
Yikes. I just checked Everton's early schedule and it's absolutely brutal. Home for Arsenal and Chelsea, the Derby at Anfield, and then Man U at Old Trafford, all before October 6. 
 

mgoblue2

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ninjacornelius said:
 
 
Yikes. I just checked Everton's early schedule and it's absolutely brutal. Home for Arsenal and Chelsea, the Derby at Anfield, and then Man U at Old Trafford, all before October 6. 
It's not easy, but of those four teams the two tougher teams (on paper) are home games, maybe a win and a couple draws from that? The other three are must wins (Leicester A, West Brom A, Palace H). Barkley being out is a big issue but if Naismith can repeat his form, I'd feel above average but not confident. The most interesting possibility to me is a 4-3-3 with Atsu and Mirallas either side of Lukaku with Besic-Barry-McCarthy in the midfield. Of course Atsu won't start right away but I'd love to see that. Besic looked good enough against Porto, so if he plays I won't worry.
 

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If Stevie Naismith is your anchor for success, you might want to edit your predictions in the other thread.  As a Red, it pains me to say it, but Barkley is a fantastic player and that it a massive blow to your set up.
 

mgoblue2

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OilCanCoulter said:
If Stevie Naismith is your anchor for success, you might want to edit your predictions in the other thread.  As a Red, it pains me to say it, but Barkley is a fantastic player and that it a massive blow to your set up.
I never called Naismith an anchor for success and Barkley isn't out for the season by my calculations. As for actual "analysis"...

He's out for some big games too. The aforementioned four bigger matches will be very different without him, although he hasn't been very productive in big matches (just the one goal against City, I'm sure a couple assists as well). He was hurt last year too, but with Lukaku, Mirallas, and Coleman struggling for fitness by all accounts, there's four of your five best players right there. Those three should be fine for Arsenal but I am concerned about this morning for sure.
 

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The scan was inconclusive, so apparently it could be anywhere up to 5 months. I doubt that, but if he could be out until the new year that means they'll definitely need a new attacking midfielder. Naismith played well today, but can you really trust him there? I say try and go after Holtby.
 

soxfan121

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Interesting hybrid 3-man back line from Martinez; using Stones OR Barry as the third defender while Baines was given total freedom as a traditional wingback on the left, and McGeady played as an out-and-out winger on the right. Barry stayed left and dropped back, making Distin the center and he seemed to struggle with that. When Stones stayed back, Jagielka shifted to the center and he look uncomfortable with it. Stones and Barry looked good most of the game.
 
It was after Coleman was brought on for McGeady and played as more conventional 3-CD that they conceded the tying goal, and it was because Coleman didn't track the 2nd wide player and Stones stuck too far inside (because he'd been told to). 
 
I thought it made them look more dangerous in the attack and that fitness let them down in the second half; Lukaku and Pienaar were gassed by the 60th and ineffective.
 

jaba

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2 weeks: 2 punches in the dick.  
 
I should probably get used to this, right?
 

soxfan121

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Samuel Eto'o signs a 2-year deal.
 
That's a good bit of business for the Toffees. Eto'o is no longer in his prime and can't play every match but he can add experienced depth for Thursday Europa games, saving Lukaku & Naismith some mileage. 
 

mgoblue2

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It's better than trotting out a half injured Arouna Kone if Lukaku goes down. Pienaar also has an ouchie and will be out for the Chelsea match. Shame, he was the best player on the field first half at Leicester.
 

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soxfan121 said:
Samuel Eto'o signs a 2-year deal.
 
That's a good bit of business for the Toffees. Eto'o is no longer in his prime and can't play every match but he can add experienced depth for Thursday Europa games, saving Lukaku & Naismith some mileage. 
 
I do think this was a solid deal, but I think there is more to it than Eto'o having value to the club.  What I think is that Everton would look more towards Welbeck, but when combined with transfer fee and wages, Eto'o was more than likely cheaper.  However, I would choose Eto'o over Naismith more times than not.
 

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mhdousa said:
2 weeks: 2 punches in the dick.  
 
I should probably get used to this, right?
 
No, but as a person who watched Everton start slow last season and not look nearly as good.  I am okay with this start.  I like the fact that Everton is now seen as having dropped points to the likes of Arsenal.  A few years ago, a draw would have been a good result.  Don't get me wrong, I would have liked to get the win, but the fact that Everton is now expecting to win these types of games is progress.  If any team wants to get a win against Everton, they better get it now because once this team gets to full strength (Barkley, Kone, Pienaar, and etc) they will be a very dangerous team.
 

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allaboutthesox said:
 
I like the fact that Everton is now seen as having dropped points to the likes of Arsenal.  A few years ago, a draw would have been a good result.  Don't get me wrong, I would have liked to get the win, but the fact that Everton is now expecting to win these types of games is progress. 
A draw would still have been considered a good result before the game started.  Only getting a draw when up by 2 goals with less than 10 minutes left is considered dropping 2 points regardless of the teams involved.
 

mgoblue2

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This is a gut punch based on where they're at now. Leicester is unacceptable, Arsenal is a bit more forgiving given the moves they've made but either way it should be 4 points not 2. Hopefully Chelsea only having played bottom half teams thus far they'll be in for a shock. It'll be another good game, it could go either way, but at this point they have to expect a win.
 

mgoblue2

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Wolfsburg, Lille, and Krasnodar. Either 7 or 9 points at home should do, and there'll probably be a loss somewhere in there so let's say 6 or 7 points on the road. All three are teams they should be beating.
 

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Dummy Hoy said:
Anyone know anything about Hallum Hope? He just signed on a loan with Wednesday.
He's stuck in the pecking order at the moment, they have one striker closer to the first team in Conor McAleny (who isn't very close either), don't know much about how he is as a player.
 

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So, I'm not much more than a lurker here on SoSH, but I'm an Everton supporter and I'd love to toss in the occasional post here if I could. With that being said... what do they do with the back line? I know that it's only three weeks in, but If there's one thing that would prevent this team from contending for the top 4, it looks like it could be the Jagielka/Distin partnership at CB. I didn't expect them to have the money in the budget to get Eto'o, so is there any cash left to shore up the defense? And on that note, is Stones really not ready for the starting XI? I can't imagine that he'd be worse than Distin right now.
 

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SoxFanInCali said:
A draw would still have been considered a good result before the game started.  Only getting a draw when up by 2 goals with less than 10 minutes left is considered dropping 2 points regardless of the teams involved.
 
The reference I was making to was to our former Manager David Moyes who tended to play for draws against the bigger clubs.  I understand the technical difference Soxfan.
 
EDIT:  Added the "bigger clubs"
 

soxfan121

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ninjacornelius said:
So, I'm not much more than a lurker here on SoSH, but I'm an Everton supporter and I'd love to toss in the occasional post here if I could. With that being said... what do they do with the back line? I know that it's only three weeks in, but If there's one thing that would prevent this team from contending for the top 4, it looks like it could be the Jagielka/Distin partnership at CB. I didn't expect them to have the money in the budget to get Eto'o, so is there any cash left to shore up the defense? And on that note, is Stones really not ready for the starting XI? I can't imagine that he'd be worse than Distin right now.
 
Post as much as you like - this site needs more Everton fans to balance out the Liverpool contingent. 
 
The answer is a loan. Who? No idea. But Barca or RM might have a B teamer who could use some development time. One of the key advantages to the Martinez Era, IMO, is how other coaches respect and trust him with their prospects.
 

allaboutthesox

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ninjacornelius said:
So, I'm not much more than a lurker here on SoSH, but I'm an Everton supporter and I'd love to toss in the occasional post here if I could. With that being said... what do they do with the back line? I know that it's only three weeks in, but If there's one thing that would prevent this team from contending for the top 4, it looks like it could be the Jagielka/Distin partnership at CB. I didn't expect them to have the money in the budget to get Eto'o, so is there any cash left to shore up the defense? And on that note, is Stones really not ready for the starting XI? I can't imagine that he'd be worse than Distin right now.
 
Stones is ready, but Distin is still ahead of him and able to be more physical with a lot of the strikers.  Jagielka is starting to look old out there with several defensive lapses over the past two games.  I would be more inclined to sit Jagielka and bring in Stones, but Martinez is not going to make that change right now and will show the faith in the players he has selected to get it right.  I do imagine we will see more of Stones in the future as well.
 
As far as the money for Eto'o, he was a free transfer and Everton has sold a lot more of the players over the past couple of years for a decent return (Fellaini £24.5, Arteta £10, Rodwell £12.5, Anichebe @£6.5, and others).  With some of the wages off the books they were able to extend Coleman, Baines, and Barkley.  As well as reinvest some of that money in getting Lukaku and Barry.  I do believe Everton was able to factor in some of the income into the Europa League.  This team had to expand and pick up a solid striker and that is what Eto'o represents. Also, I believe when Moyes left Everton he left them with a surplus of money of £20 million when one takes into account what went out and what came in.
 
As far as the game today.  Today's game was what some would call in the gaming world "a gear check".  You know, the types of games where you know you have a chance to win, but sometimes you know that despite your best efforts you don't have enough to win at the moment.  Do I think Everton could have won this game, sure.  However, one cannot expect to give up two goals in 3.5 minutes and expect to win a game against another team in the EPL, much less a team of the caliber of Chelsea™.  I was very happy with the fight and toughness displayed by Everton and the game was a tremendous game to watch.
 
I didn't care much for the antics of Diego Costa, but I imagine he will learn about how physical the EPL is as a league and adjust accordingly.  The stunt that he pulled towards Coleman after the fifth goal that caused Howard to come out and grab him is something that he [Costa] will have to stop.  Chelsea is a very good team and they are firing on all cylinders right now and I look forward to playing them again after a game like this.
 

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soxfan121 said:
 
Post as much as you like - this site needs more Everton fans to balance out the Liverpool contingent. 
 
The answer is a loan. Who? No idea. But Barca or RM might have a B teamer who could use some development time. One of the key advantages to the Martinez Era, IMO, is how other coaches respect and trust him with their prospects.
 
QFT.  Deulofeu and Lukaku are prime examples of this.  Martinez does a good job in developing players and showing confidence in them and I think that Martinez is the only reason Lukaku is at Everton.  Now, if we can integrate Atsu into the fold and steal him next season.......lol.
 

soxfan121

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allaboutthesox said:
I didn't care much for the antics of Diego Costa, but I imagine he will learn about how physical the EPL is as a league and adjust accordingly.  The stunt that he pulled towards Coleman after the fifth goal that caused Howard to come out and grab him is something that he [Costa] will have to stop.  Chelsea is a very good team and they are firing on all cylinders right now and I look forward to playing them again after a game like this.
 
Good post AATS. I'd rather discuss this here than in the PR echo chamber that is the Chelsea thread. (that guy...geez)
 
I think Costa went way too far by getting near Coleman after the goal, which was clearly a continuation of their scrap near the sidelines minutes earlier. But Howard is REALLY lucky to not have earned a red for his reaction to Costa and his near head butt on Azpillicueta. On top of the red he should have earned in the first for handling the ball outside the box...well, not Timmy's best day. 
 
However, as a fan of both teams (soccer polygamist), I have to say that Costa's performance was the kind of stuff that makes a fan love him and opposing fans hate him. He's a wicked competitive dude. I've not been a soccer fan long enough to know a reference but Pedro Martinez is my go-to example around these parts. 
 
And as the game ended, I saw Costa and Howard meet, shake hands, hug and exchange apologies. Almost immediately. The heat of the moment (and that game was HOT in lots of sense of the term) can lead a super-competitive guy right up to the edge. Both Costa and Howard were right there today. Which is why I greatly enjoyed seeing them exchange polite, sporting words after the match. Like the handshake line in hockey*, I find the jersey exchange to be one of those uniquely awesome things about soccer. NFL and NBA guys mingle after games (baseball before, which is kinda weird when you think about it) but it is of a distinctly different flavor than in soccer. Especially considering the language differences. 
 
Costa looks like a crazy talent in all senses of that term. He is physical, skilled, composed with the ball at his feet and smart off the ball. And watching him, I now know why Lukaku agitated to go (back) to Everton. He saw Costa up close in practice and knew he wasn't that good yet. And he wouldn't get the run outs he needs to be that good (and I think he can be) playing 2nd fiddle to a guy who played 90+ intense minutes despite reports of an injury that might keep him out. Lukaku was mighty impressive today, as well he should have been. The Dark Lord was watching and I think even he came away wondering if he should have sold Lukaku to a legit rival (for top of the table, not traditional). 
 
* Obligatory
 

jaba

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A few observations from someone who had never before watched an Everton game but decided to jump on the Blues bandwagon before the season.
 
1) I feel like Lukaku's dribbling is a major issue. I'm not expecting him to be Leo Messi, but it seems like at least 3-4 solid chances have ended because he gets tangled up in his own feet or puts an awkward touch on the ball.
 
2) Men in Blazers quoted Martinez as saying Stones could be the best CB in the EPL. How many do Distin-Jags have to give up before he gets a shot?
 
3) I *love* Leighton Baines. Can someone make a tape of how he plays and send it to Fabian Johnson? 
 
 One question: I thought this team was fantastically entertaining today, despite the loss. How much of that is them and Martinez's tactics, and how much was because Chelsea was sitting back when up by 2 goals?
 
edit: Wikipedia needs to be updated regarding Baines's national team career
 

mgoblue2

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Lukaku is still hurt it seems, but I'm seeing lots of positives. He overran the ball a couple times to stop the attack so getting that ironed out would be nice, he'll probably get a goal in one of the next two (WBA A, Palace H - now must wins) and from there he can be the player hoped for.

McCarthy had quite a few mistakes and was generally off his game, odd for him. That didn't help the defense, who were caught out by an offside goal, a bad backpass from Mo, and a deflection from Coleman. That's three goals there. Howard could do better on a couple but he also made a couple of other saves so he was probably average all in all. Alderweireld and Nastasic are the names being thrown around, which are two good players if nothing else. Both Distin and Jagielka had their stretches of poor play, so it's hard to say who to take out. My feeling is that Jagielka is just going through a rough patch of form, so maybe Stones can hop in and settle things. Either way, look at it like this:

City: Mangala
Liverpool: Lovren, Moreno
Chelsea: Courtois, Luis
Arsenal: Chambers, Debuchy
Everton:

It's nice having a striker like Rom, but if there's any money it must go to the defense.
 

allaboutthesox

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mgoblue2 said:
Lukaku is still hurt it seems, but I'm seeing lots of positives. He overran the ball a couple times to stop the attack so getting that ironed out would be nice, he'll probably get a goal in one of the next two (WBA A, Palace H - now must wins) and from there he can be the player hoped for.

McCarthy had quite a few mistakes and was generally off his game, odd for him. That didn't help the defense, who were caught out by an offside goal, a bad backpass from Mo, and a deflection from Coleman. That's three goals there. Howard could do better on a couple but he also made a couple of other saves so he was probably average all in all. Alderweireld and Nastasic are the names being thrown around, which are two good players if nothing else. Both Distin and Jagielka had their stretches of poor play, so it's hard to say who to take out. My feeling is that Jagielka is just going through a rough patch of form, so maybe Stones can hop in and settle things. Either way, look at it like this:

City: Mangala
Liverpool: Lovren, Moreno
Chelsea: Courtois, Luis
Arsenal: Chambers, Debuchy
Everton:

It's nice having a striker like Rom, but if there's any money it must go to the defense.
 
I would assume we bring in another CB at least before the deadline is up.  However, Martinez himself said that he is now focused on the team he has in place now.  If that is indeed the case, then he is really hanging his hat on Stones, Jagielka, and Distin playing a lot of minutes this year in the CB spot.  Oviedo should be back soon and is capable of spelling Baines at times.
 
A few observations from today:
 
1.  McGeady is getting a lot of time and I think that is a good thing, but he tends to over dribble at times when he should just take the first step past the man and cross the ball.
2.  I feel bad for Besic.  To have your first touch set up a goal to the opposite team has to be a terrible feeling.
3.  Eto'o looked very good and threatening in his limited time.  I wonder if at some point Martinez may experiment with Eto'o starting in the spot occupied by Naismith.
4.  Naismith, although he scored, just doesn't impress me all that much.  He seems to get bullied off the ball a bit and doesn't link up very well with Lukaku.
5.  Everton must win the next two games to show others (as well as themselves) that last year wasn't a fluke and they are legitimate top four contenders.
 
 
Everton is a very good team and I am actually encouraged by what I saw today and I think Martinez can build off of this game.  However, he has to make sure there isn't a hangover effect going into the next two games.  This team needs to absolutely dominate in the next games to restore some of their confidence in themselves.
 

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allaboutthesox said:
2.  I feel bad for Besic.  To have your first touch set up a goal to the opposite team has to be a terrible feeling.
I haven't seen a mistake in midfield that sets up a goal for Chelsea that bad in months.
 
I disagree about Naismith. He's not Barkley, he doesn't have the technical ability and strength, but he has scored a goal a game. Can't disagree with that.
 

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DLew On Roids said:
You're saying that was the old Evertonian in Gerrard finally coming out? :)

 
Stupidly, I'm gonna cling to the belief that Martinez isn't "found out" and instead just set up the wrong way defensively against a very good Chelsea side. This will mean another blowout at Anfield.
 

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I've heard 2 different stories behind that picture.  One is that it's actually his cousin Anthony (you may remember him as the guy that missed the penalty for Cardiff to win Liverpool the League Cup a couple years back). The other is that one of his Everton-supporting relatives dressed him up for that picture just to wind his dad up.
 

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SoxFanInCali said:
I've heard 2 different stories behind that picture.  One is that it's actually his cousin Anthony (you may remember him as the guy that missed the penalty for Cardiff to win Liverpool the League Cup a couple years back). The other is that one of his Everton-supporting relatives dressed him up for that picture just to wind his dad up.
I've heard neither, interesting.
 

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[SIZE=13.63636302948px]The defense definitely looked better, but WBA still got too many dangerous crosses into the box, particularly in the first half. I thought that Stones acquitted himself well in place of Distin, but things looked shaky on the left (although how much of that is due to the fact that Mirallas never tracks back to cover Baines is up for debate). [/SIZE]
 
In the midfield, McCarthy seemed to disappear for large stretches this game. I'm going to chalk that up to exhaustion from international duty, but with four matches in nine days starting on Thursday the midfield looks awfully thin. Barkley and Peinaar can't come back soon enough.
 
[SIZE=13.63636302948px]Still, a clean sheet and four straight games with 2+ goals scored are reasons for optimism.[/SIZE]
 

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Walton Hall Park is a go. £150M estimated, no finished design as of yet. They should just name it Walton Hall Park, kinda like West Ham now, and then sell naming rights for as much money as possible.
 

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It was a well-earned result. Wolfsburg was feisty and played a sharp attacking style, but Everton's offense picked their high line apart. In particular, the Germans had no answer for Baines and Coleman bombing up the sides (a goal and two assists between them, plus Baines' converted penalty). I'm surprised that Martinez went with his full starting XI from last Saturday, but I think it was the right choice -- prove that you're taking Europa seriously and worry about the next match (away at Palace) later.
 
That said, the defense is still suspect. Wolfsburg kept finding space, both on the wings behind a backtracking Coleman or Baines and in the midfield between Barry and the CBs. If Howard didn't turn in a Belgium-esque performance, with 12 saves and at least three fantastic stops, the score would have been much closer. I predict that we'll see a lot of 4-3 and 3-2 scorelines this year.
 

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Terrible effort today at home against the worst team in the league. too many defensive lapses. Too much talent and too good a manager to play like this in the league. Frustrating .
 

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Everton gonna Everton. The derby is gonna be really fun for about 6 minutes and then just complete suck.
 

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Aug 18, 2005
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Austin, TX
It's matches like this that really show how thin Everton is compared to the rest of the contenders for the Top 4. Without Coleman and Barkley (and Naismith needing a breather) they were stuck with Stones at RB (which is always a terrible idea) and tired old Leon Osman at center forward. As a result, they couldn't build out of the back and the forward lineup of Atsu-Osman-Lukaku couldn't do anything with the ball despite having 75% of the possession. Apart from Lukaku's early goal, Everton showed zero class on the attacking end.
 
And for all Howard's heroics against Wolfsburg, he was a mountain of suck today. Robles should be in goal against Swansea on Tuesday so Tim can get a break to clear his head.
 

ninjacornelius

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 18, 2005
583
Austin, TX
Actually, on second thought, they should just field the entire reserve squad against Swansea on Tuesday. Bow out of the League Cup and focus on Europa, since that may be the easiest path to CL qualification. You can't give up 13(!) goals in 5 PL games and have any realistic aspirations for the Top 4.
 

mgoblue2

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SoSH Member
Sep 6, 2010
652
ninjacornelius said:
Actually, on second thought, they should just field the entire reserve squad against Swansea on Tuesday. Bow out of the League Cup and focus on Europa, since that may be the easiest path to CL qualification. You can't give up 13(!) goals in 5 PL games and have any realistic aspirations for the Top 4.
It's a good idea especially with a pretty big derby coming up. The kids should be given a chance and now's a good time to work, say, Kone and Hibbert back in.
 

candylandriots

unkempt
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Mar 30, 2004
11,485
Berlin
OilCanShotTupac said:
Terrible effort today at home against the worst team in the league. too many defensive lapses. Too much talent and too good a manager to play like this in the league. Frustrating .
 
I was going to let this go, but can't (see my avatar)...they haven't even played Man U yet :)
 
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