Unfortunately, as the Goodison faithful has now come to expect, the game passed Everton by. I'll take a look at three things I wanted to highlight after the defeat.
A Cup manager?
As the games in the league have passed us by in last two seasons, it's becoming more and more apparent that the Premier League is clearly not Roberto Martinez' priority. In fact, I'd go as far to say it barely even contends in the Spaniard's mind, with the dizzy heights of a potential Capital One Cup or FA Cup run.
We sat and witnessed our side in a European competition last season and then return to watch shambolic performances in the league the following weekend. At the time Roberto placed the blame with "fatigue" and "a lack of recovery time". Most people were at the point of breaking at the end of last season having witnessed our demise in the league, but accepted that maybe fatigue did play a part and were willing to see what Martinez could provide the team with this season.
Well, what has he provided? In actual fact what he has done is replaced the Europa League run from the top of his priority, subbing it instead for a run in either of the domestic cup competitions. Our league position is exactly the same at this moment in time as it was at this point last season. Regardless of the manager's clearly backward priorities, a Premier League position such as the one we have witnessed for the last two seasons, should not be deemed acceptable by fans and board members alike.
Another example is clearly his reign at Wigan Athletic, where he had them fighting for survival four seasons straight, before completely throwing away any league survival opportunities in favor of lifting the FA Cup. Again, not acceptable.
As much as it will mean to our club to finally win a trophy, should we actually lift the FA Cup in May, I've seen more than enough of Roberto Martinez and his lack of interest in ultimately the biggest prize in domestic football.
Muhamed Besic was replaced at half time, but honestly, that could have been any other man in our team. The players never really got to the pace of the game during the 90 minutes. James McCarthy struggled massively and as did Ross Barkley who has had some bad games recently. Tom Cleverley was victim of playing out of position against a smart team who nullified any threat he had, Ramiro Funes Mori was arguably at fault for both goals and Phil Jagielka too looked lost on occasions. A stark and frankly scary crash back down to earth from our previous weekend high.
Numerous times through the game we witnessed our players chasing the ball and not proactively reading the game. At times we gave them far too much respect as we have with a few other teams this season, we also gave them the ball through weak attempts at passes. All round it was extremely sloppy.
You could mention Gareth Barry's name as reason for the result, as Roberto attempted in his post-match press conference, but then admitting a 34 year old is everything your team rely on is a bit frightening isn't it? Martinez is out of his depth and his tactics before and during games such as this in the Premier League only highlight that fact. But, yes, yesterday the players could have done a lot more to give themselves an opportunity to win the game.
Head to head with Arsenal
Playing Arsenal in the past has usually been our stumbling block under both David Moyes and Roberto Martinez. However, having looked at our last 3 meetings in the league, at Goodison Park, with the Gunners, it almost signifies the slow decline we've all witness since Roberto's first season. In the 2013/14 season (Roberto's first season at Everton) we ran out 2-0 winners against Arsenal at home, almost beating them at their own counter attacking game on the day. Last season 2014/15, we drew 2-2 having been the better side for large parts of the match. Finally, this season we were beaten 2-0 having not even entertained a possible victory or for that matter a draw.
Reality must come soon for the newly elected Everton board before Martinez, the man after the cups, turns us back into a team of the dark days.