Before I delve into the individual player performances on Saturday, I believe that our manager has to take a large chunk of the blame for the way we went down. Roberto Martinez set us up to allow Southampton onto us and also made a terrible decision in playing one of our best players against QPR, Ross Barkley, on the left wing. I'm still baffled as to how he thought this was a good idea, either for the team or for Barkley himself.
What must Ross be thinking? "I play out of my skin and have an outstanding game in centre midfield, to be shipped out to the left because Martinez doesn't have faith in anyone else other than Mirallas."
Something like that I reckon. I know I certainly would be thinking something along those lines.
Anyway, on to the ratings...
Tim Howard- 5- The American, unfortunately, seems to be in rapid decline. Another woeful performance yesterday. All three of their goals came about from crosses, two of which he could definitely have come out to claim or punch away but on both occasions he was planted to the spot. Tim has this habit when we concede of coming out and shouting and screaming down one of his defenders ears as if to blame it on them, time he stepped up or consider whether he is still good enough for this level.
Seamus Coleman- 5.5- The fullback seems to have forgotten how to get forward and beat his opposing number. Coleman often gets down his wing with ease but then stops, checks himself and comes back inside, instead of continuing his run to the byline and getting in a cross or forcing the defender into giving us a corner. On a few occasions yesterday he was seen far too central and almost getting in the way of the centre backs, though maybe that was a result of Jagielka and Distin being stretched.
Phil Jagielka- 5- Jagielka seems to have fallen back into the way we saw him play earlier in the season, slow on his feet and not judging the runs of forwards around him. Yesterday he made Shane Long look like Lionel Messi! How that's possible i'm not quite sure but we have a habit of turning the not-so-good into world beaters at times. The top and bottom if it for Jags yesterday was that he couldn't keep up with Long and Pelle and ultimately he must improve rapidly.
Sylvain Distin- 5- My first point here will be if John Stones is fit enough to sit on the bench two weeks running, why on the second week is he not fit enough to make a start? Distin is holding onto his place with his fingertips, Stones has to step in against Stoke on Boxing day. It seems Distin has come to that point in his career were he can't play more than 2-3 games without becoming lethargic and off pace.
Leighton Baines- 5.5- Personally I thought Baines tried a lot harder yesterday if that counts for anything. He tried to make things work down his wing, but he had an unnatural winger in front of him, which didn't help either the winger, Barkley, or Baines himself. Also, whoever has stolen Leighton's left foot can you please deliver it to Finch farm before Boxing day and no more will be said about it?! He has struggled to beat the first man with either cross or corner since coming back from injury and that alone was a big part of his game and ours as a team.
Muhamed Besic- 6- You just can't fault the lad's work rate. If trying and effort won you the game, we'd have won without doubt, mainly through this man. Although he didn't have as much impact as he did against QPR, the Bosnian held his position well and he was calm on the ball. It would have been easy for him to have been sent off yesterday, with the game going against us, but he didn't and he certainly had a better performance than his central midfield partner Gareth Barry.
Gareth Barry- 5.5- Barry looks like a different player of late, he keeps getting caught out of position and often watches balls fly over his head and has to give chase. Barry is in the team to give protection to the defence but as it stands at the moment he isn't doing that or a lot else.
Steven Naismith- 6- There wasn't a lot wrong with Naismith's performance he just didn't get the ball enough, mainly because we're to narrow and everything gets played down the middle. Southampton also did a good marking job on Naismith, leaving him stranded him out on the wing and not allowing him to make runs inside.
Samuel Eto'o- 5.5 - Pretty nonexistent yesterday as Eto'o struggled to hold the ball up or create chances. Southampton could see, like most of the fans, he was our sole creator . If you can mark that central attacking midfielder in our side, theres a very good chance you'll stifle Everton's attacking threat.
Ross Barkley- 6 - I felt massively sorry for Ross yesterday. He couldn't have played better in central midfield against QPR. He got all the plaudits from pundits, journalists and fans alike for that and then instead of trying to replicate that again, Martinez decided to almost nullify him by stranding him on the left,somewhere he has never played before. I will fail to understand Roberto's thinking about this particular decision. Ross has been chopped and changed position-wise far too long now, he needs to be given a position he prefers that suits the team and stick to it.
Romelu Lukaku- 5- I almost Typed Yakubu in there! No word of a lie there have been games were I've seen the Yak move more than Lukaku did at St Mary's. I have been a firm believer since we signed him that he will prove his worth, but even me, the most staunch supporter of his, is losing patience with him. Romelu should have been taken off at half time for me and replaced by Arouna Kone. That has nothing to do with the own goal either as that should have been a free kick in our favour. Lukaku was slow, looked uninterested in receiving the ball and only got himself into two potential goalscoring positions all game, that isn't good enough.
Roberto Martinez- 1- and thats a generous 1. Yesterday he set the team up all wrong, allowed a weakened home team to come at us and invited pressure onto ourselves all game. We also played the wrong formation again because, in my opinion, Martinez is too stubborn to try anything else.
He didn't make a substitution at all and that disgusts me. It seems he is either clueless as to how to make an impact with a change or he doesn't trust the players on the bench.
If it's the latter then his comments about not signing anyone in January need to be rethought.