Mudhutter Interview All About Roberto Martinez

martinezcover

Wow, Roberto Martinez, who saw that one coming? The longest courtship since Ross and Rachel is over and the sizzling Spaniard is the new Everton manager. Once Bill Kenwright stops buying him cardigans because ‘I don’t know, I just thought they would suit you’, he will get cracking and at the very least give Evertonians something different to bicker about. So, for the inside scoop on all things ‘Bob’, we spoke to the second most sophisticated man in Wigan, Martin ‘Jimmy’ Tarbuck, from the sensational Mudhutter and This Northern Soul.

Get on it.

The most telling question – were you sad to see the back of Roberto Martinez?

Yes. He’s taken us to a level beyond that of any previous manager and given us the sort of memories that we never dreamed possible. Beating all the top clubs, coming out on top in heart attack inducing end of season relegation six-pointers and of course landing us with our first major trophy. There’s the small matter of relegation and record drubbings but we’ll gloss over that.

He’s raised our profile as a club immensely and only ever spoke positively of us, something which can’t be said about his predecessors, Paul Jewell and Steve Bruce, and also transformed our passing game and our backroom mentality. Because of his affinity to the club he is the closest thing we have to being a local legend and quite rightly was voted as the club cult hero even before he came back and became manager. Winning the FA Cup just put the top hat on it.

I actually thought he may have stayed if he gone down but not if we had stayed up. There were talks of him demanding a sizeable transfer kitty off Dave Whelan to get us back up and a significant training ground investment before he went. Again, if true he only goes up in my estimation – wanting to screw the old chap for a few bob for a legacy that will benefit Wigan Athletic for a long time after he’s gone. But if may just be mythology and he was always on his way.

Either way, I’d prefer to remember him as the man who kept us up for three years and won the FA Cup than the bloke who took us down and jumped ship. Maybe he’ll return to retire in thirty years for a third spell at the club to help us get out of the Arriva Trains league?

Why is he so highly rated by seemingly everyone in football?

Give me a dreamy visionary over a turgid taskmaster any day.

I suppose he’s the antidote to the Tony Pulis’s of this world, the only time Roberto ever wears a cap is when he’s strolling down the harbour at St Jean Cap Ferrat and the sun starts burning through his hairline.

Being a nice man can seemingly get you very far so it seems. He is intensely knowledgeable about the game, has devout principles about the way it should be played and has an amazing sincerity and honesty about him. I saw him last Thursday at Wrightington in a corridor when he was off to meet Whelan the first time and for a while I didn’t let on as a little experiment and he called out to me. We’ve met a few times but he didn’t need to do that. I couldn’t resist one last photo, whopper that I am. But again, nothing is too much trouble for him.

But surely Johnny Englander can do all this? Isn’t it just the continental effect? Maybe so but you can’t hoodwink people within football and it seems to be the press not football people who question his credentials. He’s certainly got that enigma about him which means that no-one is quite sure. I’d like to think that this Everton job lark may resolve matters either way about his undoubted genius / emperors’ new clothes effect but you may find that your fans quickly draw up battle lines and within months are scrapping like cat and dog over him.

On the other hand, some Wigan fans never seemed convinced – why?

I’ve tried to plot this out in my head many times looking for correlations but which side of the fence you fall seems to have no pattern to it, it simply comes down to playing style.

I think it’s evident already which side of the fence I’m on but the view is that it’s a results business and his results have been terrible. His defence has been terrible. His win percentage has been terrible. And we are slow to go forward with very often no end product, just excessive passing.

Some fans would just prefer a more gung ho approach and the divide is so fierce that the internet is full of slanging matches and snidey indirect name calling between the two factions. Sad really that people I’ve known for years will start taking a pop at anything I or anyone writes in support of him and over on Facebook it’s “fuck off and good riddance” from some of my less than eloquent chums. It’s such a divisive matter and it seems the goodwill of the FA Cup hasn’t lasted long.

The anti-Bob view insist that we should have been further up the table with the resources we’ve got and he didn’t help himself by the way we finished the season before last. It had “top ten finish” written all over it this year in flashing neon lights and he more or less promised it.

Promised something unachievable you say? Hmmm.

Their view is Steve Bruce left him with a mid-table Premier League side and he’s turned us into relegation fodder. The Martinez defence mechanism in me quickly points out that team had Emile Heskey, Wilson Palacios, Antonio Valencia and Lee Cattermole sold from it and was also relegation fodder post January – a 4-0 humping at Goodison sticks out somewhat. Also, the wage bill has reduced by 20% from then in a period when wages have generally increased by 65%. If Martinez had the same wage bill last year as Bruce had then it would be £70m, not £35m.

All facts – the reason Martinez has struggled is because the tide of money has continued to swing against us.

But then the facts are also that he presided over record defeats, some embarrassing capitulations, and results are what matters in football. Maybe not to us fanzine-type bohemians but I suppose we accept we’re in a minority.

“If he’d have been anyone else he’d have been sacked after that 9-1 defeat at Spurs” is a pretty compelling argument as well. But hey, I found it surreally amusing sat in Wood Green Labour club, an “I was there” type moment, well till the sixth went in.

The consistency argument is also valid. He doesn’t do regular 7/10 performances. There’ll be a few 4s and then he’ll throw in a mind blowing 10/10 when you least expect it.

And the final criticism is that he’s taken us down and then buggered off without putting it right- said by many people who wanted to see the back of him anyway. Again, I do concur with this somewhat.

And indeed that is the whole Roberto Martinez effect summed up in a microcosm: wins the FA Cup on Saturday, gets relegated on the Tuesday.

Like David Moyes being linked with Baines and Fellaini, the press have lazily got Martinez linked with almost every present Wigan player – are there any you suspect he will be back for?

Again, we have a section of fans who seem to be getting outraged about this on a daily basis and turning against him even more because of it. However, as you say it seems to be those two bob gossip websites picking any number between one to five players out of a player and constructing a few bad paragraphs around it. I’ve less of a problem with it. Some of our players might want to leave because their cosseted careers are short and they want Premier League football.

I’d much rather they went to Everton than festering away at one of the usual mid-table wage packet fatteners who pick off our out of contract players (Sunderland, Villa, West Ham, etc). I’m still quite fond of the way Leighton Baines’s career has gone; there’s a right way and a wrong way to leave and he definitely moved for the better. And at least he won’t be able to twat in a penalty against us next year, the floppy haired gobshite.

Four or five might be starting to take the piss mind you but there’s no harm in one or two and Antolin Alcaraz is a free agent anyway, so you can have him right away.

Obviously, I’d prefer it if we retained all our players, or maybe if you took Gary Caldwell and Mauro Boselli off our hands, but I suspect the latter is not going to happen.

To answer your question seriously, James McCarthy is the pick of the bunch but I’d be disappointed if he went for less than £12m given the form and maturity he’s shown the last few months – or I could even say double that if we’re using the Henderson-Torres Scale and I’m not sure whether you can afford that. Whelan’s not getting any younger and I’m not sure he’s keen on this cash in instalment type repayment plans.

The others have all made noises about wanting to stay and Aroune Kone in particular would blow the Championship away – but he’s nearly 30 so may want a quick return and will be a target for many Prem clubs. The rumour about Michael Laudrup seems to be around his board not backing him with the money required to meet Kone’s exit clause but that might again be a spurious stitching together of two pieces of similar-smelling bullshit.

I really hope you don’t sign Callum McManaman as I’d just like to see more of him. He’ll move on at some point but I’d love to get another year or two out of him. We get shit for not having any English players but as soon as we do get a decent one, some fucker signs them and we’re back to having those England Youth bell ends on our case.

The Champions League comment that Bill Kenwright attributed to him seems ambitious – do you see him being a success at Everton?

I can see how it could go very well and I can see how it would go very badly. His problem at Wigan from day one is that he never had time to build the way he wanted to, nor sign the players he wanted to play the way he wanted and he was trying to implement it at the highest level, plus he was having to sell his best players every year. And people look surprised that it takes us a few months to get going. At Everton he is inheriting a team of top half performers and Martinez probably has the ability to get them to do things that Moyes wasn’t interested in. Plus he will probably sign a few players that will tweak your playing style into something more like the way he likes to play the game.

That may go brilliantly or it may go badly. His defensive record has been highlighted as a major flaw but it’s all about the personnel. A fit Alcaraz and Ivan Ramis all last year and we would not have gone down. A clearly unfit Caldwell and, well, you saw the rest.

He is a meticulous manager, a keen student of the game but talks frequently of players being the right character. He spends all week setting things up and once the whitewash is crossed he gives the players responsibility. You can see, what with some footballers not exactly being Eggheads contestants how that can go horribly wrong but he doesn’t turn good defenders into bad defenders, he just leaves the decision making to them, so again the right characters are less likely to get it wrong. This will either give you a warm glow or make you shudder depending on your view of Everton’s back four or soon to be back three.

The best case scenario is that he will simply carry on the good work of Moyes, you Evertonians will love him and demonstrate patience when it doesn’t quite come off and reap the rewards when it does. To know whether he will be a success I need to know what you expect. Would you settle for finishing 11th instead of 6th if you got to a cup final for example? In all honesty my opinion is that Everton have massively overachieved with the financial constraints you have and Martinez is presumably a good fit because he is perceived capable of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, or a rayon bumbag at least.

So for that reason to maintain that top six level is a big ask. But as he says, what is football without dreams? And if it goes well, he has a pretty handy set of players, one or two key acquisitions and a decent home crowd behind him it could generate the right kind of momentum. My worst nightmare is that he turns into the patsy that takes you down the table and simply cannot maintain your positions of the last few years, it’s not inconceivable, but he’s backing himself I suppose and I’m certainly wishing him and yourselves all the best.

How good was the FA Cup?

Oh. It was OK.

Well actually I don’t mean that, I just don’t want to rub it in. It was fucking brilliant. Obviously the result at your place was a stunning performance which would have put paid to many teams and I think most of your fans graciously acknowledged that. But you know when there’s a little man in your head with a mallet bashing that dreamy part of your brain every time it pipes up and gets carried away? Well right up until Watson’s ginger bonce glanced one over Joe Hart, looking less than smug for once, that little man was bashing away with gay abandon.

I was dreaming but I just didn’t think it possible.

All day I was telling myself “there is no way we can win this game” citing City’s embarrassment of riches and comparative strength. Not meaning to be defeatist and after all, we are shamefully responsible for all this “BELIEVE” nonsense that now appears to have transcended from football to other sports and is now probably being spouted on corporate team building events. Basically it was such a huge thing for a club like ours, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. The comedown however will take some time.

People might say that the big clubs don’t take it too seriously but with the exception of Portsmouth, it’s been won by the top eight or so clubs every single year since the Crazy Gang also upset the odds. It’s some achievement. It’s given us a memory to cling on to forever and it’s shook up the town to the extent that even the staunchest rugby fans have had to doff their gravy-stained caps at us. For a few days at least and then they reverted to laughing at us getting relegated.

We didn’t get lucky either, we did it with absolute class on and off the pitch and it has quite possibly changed our football club forever.

Genuinely, how do you feel at the prospect of the Championship after so many seasons in the ‘best league in the world’?

Intrigued and excited. It’s like we’ve just split up with our wife who we’ve been terrified of leaving but we’re not sure really loved us anyway as she treated us like a doormat and are about to dip our toes into the singles market again. It’s going to be cheap, dirty, exciting, occasionally tinged with regret and the potential to go downhill rapidly but maybe the change of scenery is just what we need to become ourselves again (another Martinez favourite).

It isn’t much fun winning three home games all season and travelling away, paying through the nose to sit in some sterile bowl. Of course that might be the case next season as well but there’s lot of unknowns in there. The water cooler banter merchants have been giving it “Enjoy your trip to Yeovil – LOL”. And you know what, I’m going to bloody love it – LOL.

Along with a host of local derbies, seaside away jaunts at Brighton and Bournemouth, new grounds at Donny and Sheffield Wednesday (for me personally) and locking horns with big clubs such as Leeds, Forest, Derby, et al. Plus we get to go Millwall, which me and my chums embrace with masochistic tendencies. Admit it, you’re jealous aren’t you?

See, I’ve not even mentioned the football. Some of our “Premier League only” fans dummies might go and we may see a drop in crowds post-relegation but I think we’ve got a core that is as good as it gets and will embrace the future wherever it might lie. Those who pragmatically understand our place as a club, basically a council estate scruff who won the lottery and is now trying to raid those Icelandic banks for those misadvised investments to keep the party going for another year or two. It might not seem that way in our soulless ground but we’ve a lot of heart for the future and some great fans, fans who get the culture, do great community work and fund raising, look after one another and are the antidote to the norm in Wigan, which is to support the rugby and United and yes [adopts Apprentice candidate voice] I like to think Mudhutter plays it’s part in that.

A lot depends as ever on old broken leg.

We’ve half a chance with the right manager, parachute payments and not getting raided for players too heavily but given the upheaval and a European campaign (sorry. not rubbing it in again) it might be a bit too much to ask to go back up straightaway. Mid table mediocrity would do me fine but then I think we will lose more players. Hey, it’s football and evolution and we get on with it.

Everton 0 Wigan Athletic 3

martinez_moyes

Right then.

The ‘narrative’ of this season has generally been all about Everton playing well but not killing teams off and paying the consequences with monotonous regularity. This FA Cup quarter-final certainly represented a deviation from the usual script then.

This was just old-school, common or garden shite.

With Darron Gibson dropped to the bench – presumably to try and rest him given the injury he’s carrying – Phil Neville started in central midfield and that fact more or less sums up what went wrong. His contribution at full-back is dubious, but in the middle of the park he is absolutely crap. He certainly wouldn’t get in Wigan’s team for a start.

Half an hour in, and only a minute after Maynor Figueroa had opened the scoring with a header from a corner, Neville displayed his trademark lack of awareness, telegraphed his responsibility-shifting square ball across midfield and allowed Callum McManaman to break free and comfortably slot past Jan Mucha.

Shaun Maloney had already struck a post before all this, so no one could say it hadn’t been coming. Everton’s lack of drive and half-hearted attempts at putting pressure on their opponents just begged the visitors to start knocking the ball around, which they did well.

With the home supporters shell-shocked and Steven Pienaar trying to urge his teammates to calm down and try and get hold of the ball, Wigan killed the game off with a third goal, only three and a half minutes after scoring the first. Jordi Gomez swept home a shot from the edge of the box and Everton’s season was more or less ended. Seriously, what remains now apart from getting twatted at Anfield?

The atmosphere was understandably poisonous for the remainder of the game. The fightback never looked on and the second half saw the unedifying spectacle of Marouane Fellaini having a go at the crowd before storming off down the tunnel after he was substituted. He’s been coasting since January and it came to a head as he continued to swan about while we were getting bladdered by a side that has a very realistic chance of getting relegated this season.

Nothing was more of a certainty than Wigan drawing Millwall or Blackburn Rovers in the semi-final, just to add insult to injury, and we also have the prospect of a home game against Manchester City next Saturday. Great.

The remainder of the season is going to be tortuous now, with the crowd utterly pre-menstrual and the players and manager getting loads of grief  – ‘the full Anichebe’ as it’s known in the trade – over every mishap, no matter how minor. After that on Saturday though, can you blame people for getting annoyed?

The idea was that David Moyes was going to sign off with a trophy, or a day out to Wembley at the very least, but instead his last season in charge will be remembered as one of bitter disappointment.

Some people would argue that’s quite fitting.

10 Wigan And Chelsea Things And That

Lawro goes feral

Come on, it’s that boss bit between Christmas and New Year when you would rather be watching World’s Strongest Man or feature-length Futurama’s than going online to read about football. Therefore the Wigan match report and the Chelsea preview are being condensed here.

1. Darron Gibson’s red card picked up against West Ham has been rescinded. Can you rescind anything except cards in football? When does anyone else use that word?

Anyway, it was sensibly overturned and Gibson – one of the real revelations of the Everton nuddy calendar apparently, along with Leon Osman – faces no ban. That would be great news if it wasn’t for the fact that he hurt his thigh while attempting what them football freestylers call a ‘blammer’ against Wigan. Thomas Hitzlsperger showed him how it should be done when he almost broke the bar from long distance in the same game, but the German still looks a bit ‘off the pace’ and you fear for him trying to cope with the energy and skill in Chelsea’s midfield.

2. Wigan don’t look like a relegation team. Twice we’ve played them this season and on both occasions they have been really competitive. Roberto Martinez has built his most physically robust side and they are certainly not the pushovers they were in the past. They will run all day too and caused Everton quite a few problems, especially in the second half.

That appetite for hard work is what could very well set them apart from the rest of the relegation-threatened sides when push inevitably comes to shove.

3. That was a penalty. You can argue the toss all the day about Shaun Maloney making a meal of going over Osman’s dangling leg, but if it had been the other way around not one Evertonian would have said the referee was correct to wave play on. In fact, if it had been an Everton player the crowd would have screamed as one and Lee Mason would almost certainly have given it.

We go mad when these things go against us so it’s only fair to hold your hand up when a little bit of good fortune, i.e. minty refereeing, goes our way. That said, Aroune Kone’s consolation goal had more than a touch of Central Park about it.

4. It’s no surprise that Victor Anichebe looks better away from home. He’s no world-beater but David Moyes believes in him and so he wears an Everton shirt. Maybe he hasn’t done himself any favours in the past, but the stick he gets is not helping him to play better.

In fact, some of the comments getting screamed at him from the Park End are embarrassing. He would have to be 15 feet tall, run like Usain Bolt and be triplets to get to every punt, cross and clearance he is venomously accused of not challenging for.

5. Rafael Benitez must feel similar at Chelsea, i.e. ‘I know I’m not your first choice but come on, let’s all make the most of it.’ The whole ‘show just how great a Chelsea fan by how much you hate Benitez’ meme just looks odd to everyone else in football.

Managers do what they do for money – it’s their living – and there is only a relatively small pool of roles available. Now, granted, apart from Liverpool and perhaps Valencia, there is probably no ‘cloob’ in the world that would be particularly overjoyed to be getting Benitez and all his massive baggage – literal and metaphorical – but, you know, you would just suck it and see, surely? Especially if he’s only come in on a temporary contract.

A lot of Chelsea supporters now must be experiencing that weird, very modern phenomenon whereby they don’t know how to react to their club’s results. If the team do well it looks good for Benitez, and that makes their entrenched position look weak, and obviously vice versa. It’s like the Manchester United fans who predicted Armageddon under the Glazers and yet keep seeing the team twat all and sundry. What would make them happier, another League title or the chance to stand amidst the rubble saying ‘I told you so’?

6. Everton will miss Marouane Fellaini in this game. Against the better sides the Blues, by necessity, play more directly and having Fellaini as a target makes that more effective. Whatever people think of Benitez as well, you can be sure that his team will be far more committed and physical than the shameful group that came to Goodison last year during the last days of Andre Villas-Boas and were forced to kneel before the might and majesty of Denis Straqualarsi.

7. Steven Naismith is getting better. It’s taking time, but perhaps that’s not surprising given he’s had to cope with such a long time out of football and the step up in the standard of football from the Scottish to the English Premier League.

He looks like he is growing in confidence though and seems reminiscent of someone like Nick Barmby in that he is not particularly outstanding in any one particular area but he does everything well enough, he’s intelligent and he seems willing to work hard.

You can’t really ask much more of a free transfer than that.

8. This is going to be the toughest game we have for a while. Once this one is out of the way there really is no reason why we shouldn’t go on a decent run until we visit Old Trafford in February. That’s not to say we can’t get a decent result there, but in January the toughest tests we face are a trip to Newcastle and the visit of West Bromwich Albion. As we know all too clearly though, we are liable to beat Chelsea and then undo most of the good work by conceding a late equaliser at St. Mary’s or something equally frustrating.

9. Struggling a bit now. Let’s just reflect again then on how ace Osman is. Dead ace is the answer.

10. Finally, the highlight of the Christmas television was Mark Lawrenson getting caught unawares as the Match of the Day camera switched back to him following Gary Lineker’s jibe about his shirt and almost choking on the massive phlegm oyster he had clearly just hawked up.

See photograph above.

Wigan Athletic 2 Everton 2

A lethargic first-half performance and some dubious refereeing meant that Everton had to settle for a point against a Wigan side who were far tougher than their early season form suggested.

An open and incident-packed match encapsulated Everton’s season so far as David Moyes’s men lurched back and forth between periods of sublime attacking football and moments of defensive calamity. They are like a bomb disposal expert with chronic hay fever: for all their patience and intricate skill they are never more than one gust of wind away from the whole thing blowing up in their face.

And presumably leaving them in a tangled wreck like that metaphor.

Aroune Kone, proudly ‘rocking’ – oh aye – the Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man look, along with Franco Di Santo and Shaun Maloney, gave the Everton defence no end of problems. The Ivorian in particular had a lot of joy against Johnny Heitinga, particularly once he realised that the Dutch centre-half runs like he’s got the takings from the penny arcade in his arse pocket.

That said, Koune’s opening goal on 10 minutes owed more to dodgy officiating than anything else. He was clearly offside when heading home at the near post after Seamus Coleman’s slip allowed Maloney the space to cross from the left. Coleman had a poor game throughout – almost nothing came down the Everton right so it was fortunate that Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines were back to their best down the opposite flank. ‘Flank’, seriously, just how easily do these wanky terms become common currency? It’s bad enough reading them; it’s even worse when you sit near some self-appointed Don Howe at the match who calls players ‘the lad’ and uses phrases like ‘two banks of four’ and ‘setting their stall out’ with no sense of self-awareness. They seem to be increasingly common at Goodison.

Anyway, Everton replied instantly to the first goal. From the kick off Marouane Fellaini made a rare contribution by combining with Pienaar on the edge of the box. The South African slipped and sent a shot looping to the far post – the area that couldn’t be more clearly designated as Nikica Jelavic’s territory if he sprayed it with his heady Balkan musk – and the Croatian beat Ali Al Habsi with a downward header.

That should have been the cue for Everton to take control but they continued to look flaky. Fellaini had a face on him following a flare up with the admittedly unpleasant Gary Caldwell and when not arguing or committing petty fouls he spent most of the first half lazily flicking the ball about instead of getting hold of the fucking thing and doing the basics. When he plays like that you can’t help wondering whether we would actually be any worse off if he did get his big money move and we bought a specialist centre-forward and central midfielder with the proceeds.

Everything good Everton did came through Baines who was unlucky to see a low shot beat Al Habsi and strike the foot of the post following a ‘trademark’ one-two with Pienaar. It’s not really trademarked, that would be legally impractical and almost certainly bad for football as a whole.

Wigan retook the lead on 23 minutes with a goal that from an Everton perspective was more upsetting than seeing your fleeting reflection in the screen of the laptop from that weird angle when you are reclining in bed. Heitinga declined several opportunities to deal with Kone chasing a Wigan clearance down the right and eventually the big centre-forward reached the bye-line and cut the ball back for Di Santo to rifle home from near the penalty spot. Heitinga’s effort was pathetic and he was rightly replaced by Sylvain Distin at half time, but equally someone should have taken responsibility for tracking Di Santo. It’s easy to point the finger at Phil Neville.

Sorry, that’s it. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Point away.

At the other end a dummy by Leon Osman bought him space in the Wigan box but Al Habsi made a brilliant one-handed save from his deflected shot.

Wigan were deservedly ahead at half time then, but thankfully Everton were much better after the break.

Fellaini dropped back and Kevin Mirallas came infield and started to pose problems for the centre of the Wigan defence. The Belgian thought he had scored when he took a ball off the toes of the rampaging Baines and bent a low shot towards the far corner of the goal. Al Habsi again made a great stop.

Referee Kevin Friend, whose internal monologue throughout appeared to run along the lines of ‘Shit, the crowd are appealing for something here, I haven’t got a clue what though, I’m going to look a right ‘nana if I don’t do something, sod it, I’ll give someone a yellow card, that seems like a reasonable compromise’ left the Evertonians incandescent when he turned away appeals for a stonewall penalty after Maynor Figueoroa almost kicked Jelavic’s foot off as the Croatian attempted a volley at goal.

Schemey-looking rat-bastard Caldwell then gave Jelavic a shove in the back which strictly speaking should have been a penalty too, although the Everton striker’s attempt to ‘make sure the referee noticed the infringement’ was not particularly Corinthian in spirit.

Everton continued to apply ‘big team’ pressure though and Wigan eventually succumbed on 87 minutes. As the ball was played into the Wigan box substitute Victor Anichebe was initially fouled by Caldwell, before anyone could react though Mirallas went down – rather fucking cheaply, let’s be honest – in the vicinity of Figueroa and Friend pointed to the spot. It was a penalty, but the referee perhaps didn’t know exactly why he gave it.

Baines, who is increasingly great in just about every way – even the fact he looks more like Jane Wiedlin every week – had the responsibility of securing the point that Everton deserved against a keeper playing well and known for saving spot kicks.

Only a scrunchy mullet and chicken dance would have made the finish seem more efficiently Teutonic.

Time for a big finish?

Hell yeah, from Wigan. Regardless of who partners Phil Jagielka, opponents keep exploiting a yawning gap between the centre-halves and this time it was little Frodo-footed Maloney who got through and thought he had netted an absolute sickener only for his shot to loop up off Coleman and land on the roof of the net.

It finished all square then and it’s customary to come up with some sort of conclusion here where we point out the areas that need to improve. Let’s be honest though, it’s the same every week. Watching this Everton side is mental as they are capable of genius going forward while at the other end the defenders run around like a prison break. It’s entertaining though, and when we were dour but efficient that’s what everyone said they wanted.