Was Steve Bruce really that good?

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Last Season

If we break down last seasons results into four sections showing the results for games 1-10, 11-19, 20-28 and 29-38 they are quite revealing.


Games 1-10

So even with the likes of Zaki, Heskey, Valencia, Palacios and Cattermole in the side we still struggled to gain points.  So Zaki’s goals from open play had very little impact on our results or during the rest of the season because after the 18th October all his goals were from penalties. So perhaps it did take time for the new players to get used to one another.


3 Hull City W 5-0 – Ricketts 5og; Valencia 13; Zaki 63,81; Heskey 68
1 Sunderland D 1-1 – Zaki 78
1 Tottenham Hotspur D 0-0 
3 Manchester City W 2-1 – Valencia 16; Zaki 34p

8 points after 10 games


Games 11-19

This was by far our most productive part of the season as we gained 20 points.  What is interesting to note is that, if Zaki’s penalties are excluded, the goals were scored by other players not just the main striking pair.

3 Portsmouth W 2-1 – Zaki 45p; Heskey 90
1 Stoke City D 0-0  
1 Newcastle United D 2-2 – Taylor, R 3; Bramble 89
3 Everton W 1-0 – Camara 51
3 West Bromwich Albion W 2-1 – Camara 61; Boyce 87
3 Blackburn Rovers W 3-0 – Heskey 10; Valencia 12; Cattermole 77
3 Newcastle United W 2-1 – Taylor, R 29; Zaki 73p
3 Bolton Wanderers W 1-0 – Zaki 44p

28 Points after 19 games


Games 20-28

Excluding the Figueroa goal against Spurs only the goals from the January signings gained us any points. It was understandable why we sold Heskey and Palacios but Camara and Taylor had both chipped in with goals yet they were allowed to leave during the January window.  I’m not saying this was the reason for the drop in goals but perhaps it was to do with the fact there were too many changes. Also during this period Valencia was injured during the Man City away game and was out for two games then Bruce brought him back too early and he missed a further two games even then it took him a few games to regain his form.

3 Tottenham Hotspur W 1-0 – Figueroa 90
1 Liverpool D 1-1 – Mido 83p
1 Aston Villa D 0-0 
1 Fulham D 0-0
1 Middlesbrough D 0-0
3 Sunderland W 2-1 – Watson 12; N’Zogbia 45

38 Points after 29 games


Games 29-38

During this period we had the Bruce v Zaki saga also Cattermole got himself suspended for four games after a rash tackle on Parker during the West Ham game.  Also during this period Bruce was hinting that he couldn’t motivate the players, this was hardly surprising since they probably knew he was leaving.  Again only the January signings gained us any points.

3 Hull City W 1-0 – Watson 84
1 Bolton Wanderers D 0-0
3 Portsmouth W 1-0 – Rodallega 26

45 Points after 38 games


People can draw their own conclusions but strip away the Rickett’s own goal and the five penalties and it is apparent we didn’t score enough goals from open play. In central midfield Cattermole, Palacios and Brown only scored one goal between them.


So what’s the purpose of this Blog?

The purpose of reviewing last season is presented in order that we can look at this season with a sense of perspective.


After four games Bruce had 4 points and with a bit of luck at Goodison Park Martinez would have achieved the same result against Everton.


So is Martinez correct in overhauling the non-scoring central midfield and replacing them with different players?  Only time will tell but given last season’s results it took at least 10 games before the team really started to gel.


There is also an argument that he should be looking to other players to get our goals rather than being reliant on strikers because last season our most productive period occurred when other players started chipping in with goals.


So I’ll nail my colours firmly to the mast because, unlike some of the chronic depressive Mystic Meg doom merchants envisage, I believe Roberto Martinez will do a lot better than these relegation minded cynics seem to think.  Consequently I will be giving him and the team my full support through the entire season not jumping ship or making rash predictions when the going gets rough.


I have very little time for incessant moaners because irrespective of what they write about our manager or the team it is very unlikely anything will change in the coming months.  They forget it is not how a team starts a season that counts it’s where it finishes in May that really matters.

So if you hear some one singing ‘There’s only one Bobby Martinez’ that’s me.


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