Everton 6 - 3 Bournemouth
If it would appear hard to know where to start picking apart a mad game like this one, perhaps the best place would be to simply acknowledge a brilliant performance from Romelu Lukaku and a personal haul that leaves him as the current top scorer in the Premier League.
Watching the debates rage on these pages about the Belgian this season has been simultaneously amusing, bemusing and, when you see calls for the club to cash in on their greatest asset, dismaying. Evertonians waited almost three decades for a reliable, consistent striker capable of scoring 20-plus goals in a season and now Goodison Park is graced by one of the best in the modern game. Still, some supporters prefer to get hung up his attitude and work-rate when his goals return speaks very simply and loudly for itself.
On his day, Lukaku is unplayable and after having precious little bearing on the proceedings at Stoke in midweek, he was in that familiar “beast” mode today — bullish, clinical, spectacular, unstoppable. From the quick-fire build-up play involving Morgan Schneiderin and a one-two with James McCarthy to the curling finish that bent majestically around Artur Boruc’s despairing dive, his first goal of four very different strikes on the day was a thing of pure beauty.
Goals two and four demonstrated his opportunism and lethality; his third and, arguably, most important was a deft volley following an equally impressive disguised pass to Seamus Coleman whose pitching-wedge centre it was that he guided past the hapless Bournemouth goalkeeper to make it 4-2.
Just for good measure, he created the second goal for McCarthy almost out of nothing, with quick feet, strength and awareness along the byline, underscoring his peerless tally of Premier League goals in which he has been directly involved.
On any other day, Ross Barkley would probably be the one hogging the headlines. He, too, had had a night to largely forget in the Potteries on Wednesday evening but against the Cherries today he delivered his most complete performance of the season. Diligent in his pressing, tenacious in his tackling, purposeful, creative and incisive on the ball, and both clinical and impudent with the coup de grâce that made it 6-3 in second-half stoppage time, the 23-year-old was excellent and a close runner-up behind Lukaku for for man of the match.
Everton’s was an attacking display that was breathtaking at times but there were nagging frustrations with the team’s overall showing, particularly on the defensive side and the way the Blues dropped off for long periods and allowed the visitors to run the game. And by the 70-minute mark, memories of the 3-3 debacle at the Vitality Stadium in November 2015 were flooding back as the visitors rallied back to 3-2.
Haunting thoughts of the home defeats to Leicester, Stoke and West Ham last season weren’t too far behind but whereas many would bet that that Everton team under Roberto Martinez would have given up the lead this afternoon, under Koeman they are a different proposition… even if some of the defending by Ramiro Funes Mori and Ashley Williams looked like it belonged in the previous regime.
Credit to Koeman, however, for making some tactical adjustments in the final half hour to help steer the course of the game back in his team’s direction. His line-up when it was announced before kick-off had certainly raised eyebrows and there can’t have been many who were happy to see McCarthy vault over both Tom Davies and Idrissa Gueye into a starting role, especially given that Gareth Barry had also been recalled.
McCarthy, in particular, more than justified his selection though, playing as the more advanced of a three-man central midfield unit that was rounded by Schneiderlin until the Irishman was withdrawn on the hour mark in favour of Davies. It was he who collected the Frenchman’s interception and exchanged passes with Lukaku to play him in with the outside of the boot before the striker cut across the edge of the box and fired home the opening goal with just 30 seconds on the watch.
And, after another full debutant, Ademola Lookman, had wrong-footed Harry Arter with quick feet but dragged a shot across goal, the same pair combined for the second goal. Lukaku took Barkley’s pass to the byline, wriggled between two black-and-red shirts and cut the ball back where McCarthy’s stabbed shot came back to him off a defender and bobbled past Boruc off his shin. Fortunate, yes, but more than deserved.
The third goal was a gift from Simon Francis but the finish from Lukaku was no less clinical for of it. The defender’s pass across his own box was into no-man’s land between his goalkeeper and Steve Cook and Lukaku intercepted it easily before clipping a shot confidently over Boruc and into the net.
3-0 up with less than half an hour gone and you could have forgiven some among the home faithful if their minds started wandering to the last time Everton racked up a rugby score in the Premier League. There was a creeping complacency about the Blues for the next 30 to 40 minutes’ play, however, of the kind that has persisted through three different managers and perhaps explains why it’s 10 years since Everton last destroyed a team by a six-goal margin. Successive Toffees teams have tended to take their foot off the pedal rather than really go for the jugular and that was the case today, particularly in the second half.
Koeman’s side went close to extending their lead either side of half time when Boruc beat away a strong Coleman shot and Barkley’s similarly powerful drive was deflected just past the post but there was a building sense, as the game ticked towards the hour mark, that the next goal was going to come from Bournemouth.
Jack Wilshere’s shot that deflected behind off Ashley Williams had provided a warning sign two minutes after the break and it was the Arsenal loanee who split Everton’s centre-backs in the 59th minute with a rapier pass that Josh King helped past the exposed Joel Robles.
Back at the Park End two minutes later, McCarthy again popped up in space to latch into Barkley’s pass but after checking back onto his right foot, the Ireland international’s shot lacked power and Boruc saved with his foot and Lookman lashed the follow-up into the side netting.
And when Robles got a glove on another King shot after he had sprung the offside trap down the Cherries’ left attacking channel, the striker grabbed his second from the resulting corner. Andrew Surman and Ryan Fraser combined down their right and the latter’s low driven cross was prodded in on the stretch by King.
Koeman’s response was immediate. Kevin Mirallas was thrown on in place of Lookman whose precociously dazzling footwork and daring had been a delight at 3-0 but his comparative lack of experience on the defensive side made him surplus to requirements now that the game needed to be shut down.
But it wasn’t until Mason Holgate replaced Barry with 10 minutes to go and the Blues transitioned into a back five with the kind of tactical shift that was missing in the last two seasons under Martinez that the tide turned back in their favour. Prior to that, Marc Pugh had smashed a shot across the face of Robles’ goal from the angle and the Spanish ‘keeper had had to make a fine save diving to his right to push away Arter’s shot to preserve the slender advantage.
Having survived that wobble, endured the mounting unease in the stands, and seized the initiative back with the help of Davies's intensity in midfield, Everton went on to break the contest open again with some wonderful attacking football. And once again the end of the move was all down to Lukaku as he completed a brilliant hat-trick in the 83rd minute.
The 23-year-old wrong-footed substitute Brad Smith with a reverse pass to Coleman and then advanced to the edge of the six-yard box to steer home a left-foot volley from the Irishman’s cross.
A minute later, he added a fourth as the ball fell to him near the centre circle and he touched it on to Barkley. He in turn delivered a terrific back-heeled pass into Lukaku’s path and, after surging between two defenders and holding both off, he picked his spot past Boruc to bury the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
Bournemouth’s spirit was unshaken though and they would strike back again the final minute of the regulation 90. Arter and sub Benik Afobe played a one-two through a cluster of blue shirts and after Robles had charged down the former’s shot and it had bounced back off Arter seemingly over the goal line, he was able to bundle it over the line to make it 5-3.
The Cherries were still going for more goals in the fourth minute of stoppage time but in doing so they were picked off one final time as Funes Mori sent Barkley away with a raking forward pass that drew Boruc well out of his box. The Blues’ No.8 knocked it past him nonchalantly and, with the empty net gaping in front of him, he had time to spread his arms wide in celebration (perhaps with retribution for the winner that was taken away from him by Junior Stanislas at Dean Court 16 months ago on his mind) before slotting it home.
Koeman acknowledged after the game that he was concerned how much his team sat back at 3-0 up and invited Bournemouth back into the game. But he couldn’t hide his admiration at the quality of the goals or his satisfaction at the effect his tactical tinkering had had the desired effect on the result.
That in itself is further evidence of the progress that is being made under the Dutchman’s stewardship — a year ago, few would have bet against Bournemouth completing their comeback and sending Blues fans away chuntering about defensive collapses and the team’s frail mentality after throwing away a seemingly unassailable lead.
After the draw at Stoke, the three points were paramount but plenty of confidence will be gleaned from the impressive way in which Everton were able to put their foot back on the accelerator and power their way back to a three-goal lead. Seven games unbeaten and a 100% start to 2017 at home in the Premier League shows that the Toffees under Koeman are gathering momentum at just the right time to capitalise on any slip-ups by the teams above them.
Reader Comments (51)
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1 Posted 05/02/2017 at 08:09:45
To compare him to Latchford is ludicrous. He has pace, strength, ball control and scores with both feet. The fans who run him down are laughable. :)
If Barkley can continue in the same vein we will not need a new play maker. Unfortunately consistency needs to be over a series of matches and that has been lacking. If he could just score double figures a season then he could join big Rom as a genuine star player.
Lookman can adequately fill the gap on the left and in the first half Baines seemed pleased to have him playing with skill ahead of him. Perhaps this link can be developed.
Gueye needs to be shoe-horned into this midfield somewhere and the defence is much better playing three across the back. We do need a big, commanding centre-back though to win the physical duels and combat the high ball.
Congrats too from Bournemouth for the way they rocked us out of our complacency. They play excellent football and attacked fearlessly. At the moment, we are not good enough to see games out with aplomb. We need to play with intensity throughout the midfield and defence to allow the fans to relax and enjoy games over the full 90 minutes without heart stopping moments.
Great report and accurate description of a wonderful game (for the neutral). Lukaku must be kept for next season as he is our talisman without a doubt. Keep this kid happy and smiling. :)
2 Posted 05/02/2017 at 08:26:05
Thinking back to the days of the talented, but severely injury-prone, Louis Saha; the athlete Marcus Bent; and indeed what looked like a promising but eventually fading Jelavic with worse inbetween (Anichebe, Beattie, et al) it's amazing to think that WE are the envy of 17-18 Premier League teams for having Lukaku. Who knows, with the young talent around him he may stay especially if we maintain this momentum 'til the end of the season.
Let's enjoy hunting down the 'top six', my blood boils whenever the graphic is shown and now leaves us off in seventh even though we are only two points behind Man Utd.
3 Posted 05/02/2017 at 09:20:01
Joking aside, 4 great finishes from Rom. His touch and his hold-up play is improving in every game. He is a baby for the position so is still learning the art of the centre forward the other side of the game that is required.
His age will allow him to add that side to his game. He can keep working in training under the tutelage of this manager and only get better.
4 Posted 05/02/2017 at 09:35:37
Dirk Kuyt ran around a lot, Emile Heskey held the ball up well, would we want players like that instead of a predator like Lukaku? He is 23 and his record is up there with the best of them. His work rate, first touch and hold up play is slowly but surely improving with each season. In another couple of years I reckon he will be in the "world class" bracket and most likely not with us.
Would he look out of place at Real Madrid instead of Benzema with Ronaldo and Bale giving him service? I don't think so.
Anyway, great attacking performance, less so defensively. Ross was superb and Joel looks like he could be our long term number one, hard to blame him for the goals. Hopefully Man Utd get turned over by Leicester City and we keep on winning and we can be a member of that illustrious "top six", though typically the media would then turn it in to a "top seven" or "top five".
5 Posted 05/02/2017 at 09:43:29
Still drooling over Lukaku's performance but again he'll have bad ones and we must accept this. Since Drogba, I've not seen a forward so unplayable when he's on his game.
Eden Hazard was also unbelievable yesterday.
6 Posted 05/02/2017 at 09:46:30
I feel he will want to leave; it happens all the time. But we should be putting a line in the sand when that happens £80 million or higher. No ifs or buts. Cash!
We can bring in two top-notch strikers for that. Or team up Kone with Niasse... I'll get me coat!
7 Posted 05/02/2017 at 10:27:55
But credit where it's due. He does seem to have been in the mood and at his best today. Linking up play, bringing others into the game. Hope it continues. If he played like that most weeks, then why would any club consider selling him...
I have only seen highlights on MotD so not in as good a position to comment as those who saw the match live at Goodison. I will see the full 90 mins on Sky later. But I think Alan Shearer suggested that Romelu is getting there... which is what John @ 3 and James @ 4 suggest.
Rom is a still a work in progress. It'll probably be another 2 years before he's anywhere near the finished article. It would be great if we were able to give him an environment which meant he felt compelled to stay.
8 Posted 05/02/2017 at 10:44:11
A telling statistic. He has either scored or assisted 47 of our last 99 Premier League goals.
9 Posted 05/02/2017 at 11:09:49
I think I went through the full range of emotions yesterday at the game. Delight for a very good first half, then despair as we sat back and let Bournemouth back into the game. Then excited at restoring our 3-goal cushion.
Also, it must have been great for both Davies and Holgate that they were chosen above Gueye in coming on to calm us down and change back to a back 3. This will give them both great confidence and shows them how highly Koeman rates them both. There was also some sublime pieces of skill from Lookman, he is only going to get better but he is getting a taste of Premier League football.
I don't think it would be unfair to say under last season's manager we probably would have ended up drawing or losing that game. But Koeman was not afraid to change personal or style to achieve the win. He is slowly but surely changing the mentality of this squad, where mediocrity is no longer tolerated no matter whether you are a youngster making your way in the game or a very seasoned player.
I am sure in the summer competition for places will be increased with new arrivals. I think if someone had said to me 3 months ago that Koeman would bring on Davies and Holgate in front of Gana Gueye, I would not have believed it. So, if Gana Gueye can't be guaranteed a place after they way he has played this season, then it says volumes of how this squad is improving.
10 Posted 05/02/2017 at 11:14:18
However, after much thought I have decided the best goal must go to NIASSE. Absolutely priceless!!
11 Posted 05/02/2017 at 11:23:59
It would seem that, every time he has a good game, his supporters will come out and lambast the doubters... and every time he has a poor game. his detractors will be out in force. shouting down those who have called him top class.
It would seem to me that both sides of the house have a powerful argument. Generally when that happens, at least in my experience, more and more people move to the middle. The most frequently asked question I hear from blues congregating before a match is "Who will we see today, the beast or the pussy cat?" or words along those lines...
My arl fella once told me "You will never see the perfect performance". He's been right for about half a century... but that changed yesterday. I must confess I missed his first goal at the ground. I committed the cardinal sin of not being in my seat at kick-off, but I saw everything else and I left the ground asking myself did he do anything wrong in the entire ninety? Now, having watched it twice on the box. I think his performance warranted a 10/10. I don't see what other score you could give him.
That's 16 Premier League goals this season, enough (you would have thought) to make him universally loved and admired, but He isn't. Next time he has a bad game, you already know he will be slaughtered and those calling him 'top class' will be ridiculed. Why is that?
His supporters will point to his goals and some sterling performances as proof of his pedigree... difficult to argue, by the time the whistle went yesterday the Bournemouth players were absolutely terrified that fourth goal proved that. Two defenders were favourites to win it but they simply froze as he powered between them to finish.
So what is it then? Why do so many not rate him as highly? And why did none of the big boys come in for him before the window closed a few days ago? That's four transfer windows in a row where they have turned their noses up.
Lukaku has scored 9 of his 16 goals in three games, which mean he has scored just 7 in the other 19, his detractors will point to the games where he hasn't scored (12). They will label him a flat-track bully... but how can that be true? He's scored against all of the top clubs in recent games, which proves he can do it against the best.
I'm reminded of that kids' nursery rhyme about the little girl who had a little curl. When Lukaku is good, he is very very good, but when he is bad, he is shocking.
Why? ... beats the fuck out of me!!
12 Posted 05/02/2017 at 11:27:19
It was probably as near to perfection as any striker could get, in fact I'd go as far as to say it WAS the perfect performance.
Those who questioned his lack of control at times, his poor first touch, sometimes his apparent disinterest, they WEREN'T wrong at the time and at times I've had a go at him for those very things but yesterday we saw exactly the player he can be and it was wonderful to watch.
There will, undoubtedly, be weeks when he gets slagged again (by me included) when he looks like he can't be arsed, when we struggle in a game and his first touch lets him down... but he showed yesterday that, when he's up for it, and when the moves work and the team plays joined up football then there really is no stopping him.
I don't think ANY player can perform that way EVERY week but the more he does it the more valuable he is for us, whichever way you look at it. I just hope it's valuable in the sense, not in monetary terms, but in that he takes us to the top four next season... or maybe if all the stars align, THIS season!
Dreaming? You fucking better believe I'm dreaming, that's what supporting Everton is all about!
13 Posted 05/02/2017 at 11:57:30
If Rom can just keep improving. But we do need cover for him. And maybe Lookman can provide it?? A big ask.
14 Posted 05/02/2017 at 12:37:23
He is improving his touch, he is improving his hold-up play. A baby in the position with the best to come.
15 Posted 05/02/2017 at 14:13:23
Consistency is the key but how we all love performances like yesterday and I for one loved Barkley's arms raised before slotting home.
18 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:23:54
19 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:41:47
Haven't watched the game.. hope it gets a repeat showing on DSTV in Africa..
20 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:52:54
Let's see more of this beast and not the ballet dancer and we'll have an enjoyable run-in that 2 months back looked unlikely.
21 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:57:42
22 Posted 05/02/2017 at 17:35:45
Now I'm a fan of Lukaku, I like strikers who score goals. He's great in an open game because there's more space for him to run into and more space for the midfielders to find him early enough. It's the tight games against the bus-parkers/top-notch defenders that let him down. He has to find a way of being more effective in those games maybe it would help if his runs were spotted quicker. My view is that he needs to toughen up mentally in those games, rather than drift out of them.
I've always said he'd look better in an energetic, pacy team and I hope I'm proved right in the next three months. In the meantime, he scores goals. Let's cherish that and be ready with another, because if/when he sorts his head out, he'll excel consistently in these big games and may be tempted away.
23 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:02:54
Now I've always supported the lad and have tried to explain his dry spells (poor service mainly) but even I've been pissed off with his "bigger club" and "unfinished business" hints.
As good as he is, and he's going to get a lot better, if fans don't think his heart is in it, they simply won't warm to him.
Ross, on the other hand, is one of us and you'll have to literally drag him out of Goodison Park.
24 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:16:27
It' game on as far as your bet's concerned. I like to see a happy blue and I like to see a miserable bookie... love it when one results in the other.
Still rooting for you!
28 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:21:36
30 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:26:09
On the way back, discussion was rife and then turned to the fact that "that Jimmy Greaves" is a lazy bastard! He didn't do anything to help Spurs!"
The response was short and sharp, " Yeh, he did nothing but score both goals!"
End of discussion. Goal scorers are worth their weight in goals and not sweat!
31 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:31:17
You just gave a balanced and fair description of Lukaku's situation, but with Koeman you appear so very anti? To the extent that you rarely give him credit for anything. If something good happens, it's down to the player, or Koeman has simply stumbled onto the solution by accident?
For what it's worth, even though we've had a couple of minor squabbles, I value your opinion but I feel that you have backed yourself into a corner with Koeman, refusing to acknowledge any positive effect he has had on the club. This is hard to fathom given our recent form and improvement. Yes, there are mistakes, but you must accept that certain players have improved under him?
I think Koeman will be our manager for at least the remainder of his contract. It would probably be more enjoyable for you if you at least tried to acknowledge some improvement under Koeman or indeed find something about the man that you can relate to or respect. I know that deep down, begrudgingly, you see something?
In saying that, this is a thread about Lukaku and not Koeman, so feel free to hold that thought.
32 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:37:55
He was typically full of energy and passion but was furthest forward on many occasions and was passing FORWARD more often than not!
33 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:46:09
The form table,
Last 6 matches (total)
GP W D L GF GA GD Pts 2.5+
1 Everton 6 4 2 0 17 6 +11 14 67%
2 Tottenham 6 4 2 0 13 3 +10 14 50%
3 Chelsea 6 4 1 1 13 6 +7 13 50%
4 West Brom 6 4 1 1 9 7 +2 13 50%
5 Man Utd 6 3 3 0 9 4 +5 12 33%
6 Arsenal 6 3 1 2 13 9 +4 10 83%
7 Man City 6 3 1 2 10 9 +1 10 83%
8 Burnley 6 3 0 3 9 7 +2 9 67%
9 W. Ham Utd 6 3 0 3 9 9 0 9 67%
10 Swansea 6 3 0 3 8 13 -5 9 100%
11 Stoke City 6 2 2 2 9 8 +1 8 33%
12 Hull City 6 2 2 2 8 8 0 8 50%
13 Watford 6 2 2 2 7 10 -3 8 67%
14 Liverpool 6 1 3 2 7 9 -2 6 33%
15 Sunderland 6 1 2 3 8 11 -3 5 67%
16 Bournemth 6 1 2 3 12 16 -4 5 83%
17 Leicester 6 1 1 4 1 9 -8 4 33%
18 Mid'brough 6 0 3 3 3 7 -4 3 33%
19 Southampton 6 1 0 5 6 11 -5 3 83%
20 Cry Palace 6 1 0 5 3 12 -9 3 50%
Happiness is a shape made out of Blue...
34 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:01:22
35 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:06:27
As a child I remember this guy. For our American friends he was "awesome".
I remember the one-on-ones with goalkeepers. There must be a compilation of him on YouTube, so, all our younger supporters, check this guy out... amazing!!
36 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:12:10
Unfortunately for him, I feel he has a touch of the Martinez's about him. I think his team's defensive issues were on full show yesterday, which is surprising as he was a very highly rated defender in his day before injury ravaged his career. I know he's been touted as a future boss for us but, at this moment, he's a long way from a big job.
37 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:31:43
He saw that the mindset of the players in the second half was "sit back, don't make a mistake, and the game's won". They stopped pressing the ball especially in midfield, now if you don't put pressure on the player with the ball it allows him to pick passes under no pressure.
So he brought on Davies to put a foot in and to get forward and not sit back, he brought Holgate on which allowed us to go 3 at the back which again allowed us to regain control of the game.
38 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:39:52
Koeman changed the shape and formation 3 times yesterday to counter tactical changes in shape from Howe. I consider Koeman very tactically aware.
40 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:48:13
Koeman has still got to put another eight points on the board before he beats the achievement of a guy who many regard as our worst manager ever. He has already failed to match his cup exploits.
We are advancing as a club off the field, but I feel Koeman is the weakest link. We are talking about a super stadium on the Mersey, but I feel we have been watching Wally Hall Park footy.... Am I wrong? I fucking hope so. But when I listen to people talk about this revolution, I feel embarrassed. To listen to some, you would think we should be booking an open-top bus.
I know yesterday was wonderful fun, but I feel that had more to do with the Bournemouth manager than ours. Eddie Howe (I'm a big fan) has no option but to role the dice... every week. I heard a commentator say his team's last seven games had produced 31 goals. That's now 40 in their last 8.
I may soon relent on one point: Ross Barkley.
When I first saw Barkley play, he was head and shoulders above everyone else pace, power, skill and get this... he tackled anything that moved.
I've worried about Ross. he seemed to have completely lost his combative instinct, he still had the skill, but opposition players clearly loved the easy ride he afforded them. What happened?
I've had endless conversations about him; some believe Martinez was too soft with him, but quite a few people have suggested that the terrible injury he suffered (not long after I had seen him) left a mental scar... Who really knows?
I have heard quite a few on here saying Koeman's "tough love" has turned him around. I don't buy it. I've never heard of tough love expelling demons. I have, however, noted Koeman has taken quite a lot of time out with him. He clearly sees something. I suspect he is using a far more sophisticated method than "tough love".
I'd almost given up with young Ross; I so wanted him to shine. If Koeman gets him playing like he did yesterday, he will have made the first step to making a mug out of me... and, contrary to the opinion of some on here, I would love it.
41 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:52:19
[I never actually saw Greaves playing in the flesh but I thought a Sunday evening argument might be fun.]
43 Posted 05/02/2017 at 20:01:14
44 Posted 05/02/2017 at 20:05:04
I'm more the Franny Lee, Gerd Muller, Alan Clark generation. Great goal poachers who probably wouldn't get a look-in these days.
45 Posted 05/02/2017 at 20:13:46
46 Posted 05/02/2017 at 20:30:50
He was without 3 of his first-choice defenders on Saturday, but their goals-against record is very poor. I prefer the fast aggressive football, Bournemouth play, compared to the slow, measured build-up, preferred by Martinez, but if they keep on conceding goals at their present rate, then Bournemouth are definitely going to get sucked in to a relegation fight.
47 Posted 05/02/2017 at 20:33:28
Sunderland, who are one of the teams favourite to be relegated, beat Palace away 4-0. Yet Everton only managed a hard fought 1-0 victory. But a reinforced Palace with a few new 'faces' beat Bournemouth away 2:0, who came to Goodison and gave Everton a fright in the second half.
Until Everton can find someone else to share the scoring workload with Lukaku, while the defence needs to get tighter at the back, there will be matches until the end of the season when Everton will look second best and get beaten.
48 Posted 05/02/2017 at 21:12:59
When he first played for Huddersfield Town as a teenager, he looked as though butter wouldn't melt in his mouth but, once he got on the pitch, he was a handful for the most senior of players with all round qualities, dribbling, passing, tackling and scoring goals, a master craftsman and made the other players in the team. Work as hard as him, you picked one of the best there, Phil.
By the wa,y were you any relation to Frankie Bellis who lived in town, worked on ship repair work, great Evertonian and character?
50 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:17:48
51 Posted 05/02/2017 at 23:07:30
The future is bright – for Everton and England.
54 Posted 06/02/2017 at 04:23:39
If you look at the chances we created, I think it would have been a 4-3 if lucky. Don't get carried away by the 6. Flattered us with our typical lack of creativity. Also the defense was awful. Really need to sign some class players in the summer.
55 Posted 06/02/2017 at 06:41:04
You could easily say we gifted them their second goal. The cross should have been cut out and their third went out of play.
I agree, we still need a couple of quality first-teamers in the summer.
56 Posted 06/02/2017 at 06:48:05
In fact, some of the attacking was so playing to the eye it was reminiscent of early Martinez.
57 Posted 06/02/2017 at 10:15:08
Spurs did it with Harry Kane, and if we want to match them we have to do the same with Lukaku, who is a better player.
58 Posted 06/02/2017 at 12:05:34
I think we need to be mindful of the simplistic labels we put on managers, like 'Honest Ron' and 'tough love'. I saw an interview with Ruud Guillit last summer, where he described Koeman as a nice guy who gets close to his players and wants them to play fast attractive pressing football.
Sure, most Dutch people I know are forthright and they don't tolerate bluffers, but I find them very friendly and easy to get on with, once you know you can't bullshit them. I get the impression Koeman isn't a very articulate man in Dutch, so he's gonna make a few howlers in English interviews (or say little or nothing) and it may have taken a while for him to get his message across to the players.
The only evidence that matters is what we see on the pitch, so in the last couple of months, it's clear things are going the right way. I'll only get excited when I see a long winning run, where we regularly overturn the nasty bus-parkers. Actually I only get really excited when we beat them and see trophies.
He's making good progress. That's it. What he's 'like' and what he 'says' we don't really know and it doesn't really matter, does it?
59 Posted 06/02/2017 at 12:20:34
Your recognition that Barkley is improving under Koeman is a fair and credible assessment. I'm going to take that as a positive thought towards Koeman... even if you haven't completely relented on that point yet. Baby steps....
But I do agree that the recent form, regardless of who is responsible for the upturn, has to continue to the end of the season. I don't expect to win every game, or to always play exciting football, but I expect 100% effort from everyone. There can be no let up!
That's why I'm a fan of Ron as I know he won't settle for anything less. I'm expecting a great finish to the season.
61 Posted 06/02/2017 at 22:02:13
I wonder if it has been noticed that, apart from against Palace, none of them have been from free kicks or penalties? I wonder how that compares with all the other more respected strikers???
62 Posted 07/02/2017 at 12:42:09
If things are going Lukaku's way, he's unplayable; when it's not he sulks when other players score, constantly going on about champions league football every time he's away on International duty.
What some of us would like to see and hear is joining in on team performances and understand it's not all about him, to turn round and say we are moving in the right direction and, with a few more additions, we can challenge for Champions league football with Everton.
Like I say no one doubts his goal scoring, but you just know not a month goes by without the guy wanting to walk into a champions league team.
If he wants to be the best then earn the right and not have it given it to you on a plate, stick with Everton and it will be more rewarding helping that ambition, than joining a team already in it.
That's what Everton fans want, loyalty, commitment, team spirit, carrying on his goal spree, when it's not going to plan then give 110% and bust a gut to put it right, expect that also from his team mates as well.
Yes, he is certainly one of the best strikers around, we can build a team around the guy, he just has to believe, if those promises are not fulfilled in the Summer and we do not bring in those players to take Everton to the next level, then I will be the first to say you deserve better and cannot fault you for wanting away.
Less talk of other clubs; keep doing what you are doing and see what the summer brings that's all we can ask for, we as supporters deserve at least that.
63 Posted 08/02/2017 at 14:31:34
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