You've Got Me Singing the Blues

Everton twice come from behind to beat West Ham on the back of two stunning free kicks by Leighton Baines and Romelu Lukaku's first goal for the club

Lyndon Lloyd 21/09/2013 43comments  |  Jump to last

Is there anything that can match the elation of turning a game on its head and winning it in the last 10 minutes? Add in a first away victory for Roberto Martinez, two audacious, sublime, Sheedy-esque free kicks by Leighton Baines, a debut goal for Romelu Lukaku, and Everton sitting pretty as the only team left unbeaten in the Premier League, and you have a pretty fantastic day to be an Evertonian.

Having put a fairly pedestrian first-half performance behind them Martinez apparently let his players know in no uncertain terms that their display in the first 45 minutes fell well below expectations the Blues were looking a decent bet to complete a come-from-behind victory after Baines had swept a brilliant free kick past Jussi Jaaskeleinen to make it 1-1 with just over an hour played.

But then James McCarthy, a half-time replacement for Steven Naismith, tripped Kevin Nolan in the Everton box, Mark Noble buried the resulting penalty and it felt like another post-scalp let-down was on the cards after last weekend's morale-boosting win over Chelsea.

Few could have anticipated the drama that was to follow once the clock had ticked past the 80-minute mark, though, as first Baines and then Lukaku flipped the tables on the Hammers and catapulted the Blues into fifth place in the table for the time being.

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It's hard to understate how transformed Everton were as an attacking force after the interval. As expected Martinez had rewarded the team that started against Chelsea and, in particular, the Nikica Jelavic-Naismith combination that had combined for the winning goal last Saturday with an unchanged starting XI but for long periods the first half was reminiscent of the goalless draws against West Brom and Cardiff. The Blues had plenty of attractive possession but were crafting very little in the final third in front of an organised defence that had clearly been told to get men behind the ball and prevent the opposition from playing through them.

Kevin Mirallas had the one genuine effort on goal in the 6th minute when he cut in from the right and whipped in an excellent shot that Jaaskeleinen did well to parry away but otherwise, for all their effort, Everton had little to show for their superiority.

Sam Allardyce's West Ham hadn't scored in their previous three games and they needed a huge slice of fortune to break that sequence midway through the half when Ravel Morrison's shot took a wicked deflection off Sylvain Distin and past the helpless Tim Howard to make it 1-0.

Importantly, Martinez responded boldly and decisively at half time, replacing Jelavic with Lukaku and Naismith with McCarthy and the Blues immediately looked a diiferent prospect. With his first meaningful contribution, the Belgian striker had played in his international teammate, Mirallas, who took the ball past the 'keeper on the edge of the area but, unfortunately, was forced too far wide and his under-hit centre gave Ross Barkley too much to do.

The new line-up had barely got into its stride, though, when Leon Osman pulled up with what looked to be a thigh injury just five minutes into the second half and he was forced off, to be replaced by Bryan Oviedo. The Costa Rican tucked into the left flank ahead of Baines and Mirallas swapped to the right where is often more effective.

The equaliser would come but only after the Hammers had survived an impressive, sustained spell of pressure from the visitors on the hour mark. Lukaku started it with a terrific ball to Barkley but, not for the first time since his barnstorming strike against Norwich on the opening day, the teenager elected not to shoot from 20 yards when the goal opened up in front of him. Everton kept the ball and the move ended with Baines pinging a cross agonisingly above Mirallas' leap and out to the far side.

Barkley was at the centre of the action a minute later, though, when James Collins scythed him down in full flight just outside the penalty area. It was ideal Baines territory you just never know with Mirallas standing over the ball as well and, right on cue, he swept a brilliant free kick beyond Jaaskeleinen's hands and into top left corner of the goal. 1-1 and you sensed that West Ham's resistance had been broken.

Though a Baines cross almost surprised Jaaskeleinen at his near post when it flicked off a defender and the Finn parried it behind for a corner, the Hammers weren't without their moments. Mohamed Diame headed a decent chance wide from a corner while some worryingly poor distribution at times from Jagielka was going unpunished.

Everton were firmly in control by the time ticked on to the 70-minute mark with an astonishing 70% of the possession but potential disaster struck when Jagielka tried to shepherd the ball over the byline but was robbed by Mladen Petric. He fed the ball back to Nolan who surged into the area, neatly turned inside McCarthy who couldn't avoid catching his trailing leg and referee Lee Mason had little choice but to point to the spot. Noble did the rest and Allardyce must have been anticipating a first win since the opening day of the season.

Noble went from Hammers hero to villain 10 minutes later, though, when, in an almost carbon copy of the incident that led to Everton's first goal, the midfielder chopped down Barkley as he sped into space outside the area setting up another direct free kick opportunity for Baines. Having been booked for pulling Mirallas back earlier in the half, Noble was shown a second yellow card and was ordered off for an early bath.

To be honest, you half expected Mirallas to take his opportunity at this point but with all the impudence and precision of Kevin Sheedy in his prime, Baines picked his spot with a curling effort that bounced off the right-hand post and into the net to send the army of traveling Blues into rapture to the right of the goal. Jaaskeleinen, rooted to the spot, could only watch.

Two minutes later and, incredibly, Everton were in front for the first time in the game. Mirallas did brilliantly to engineer space for a cross from the right, one that picked out Lukaku who met with his head and steered it past the keeper. Unfortunately, he made contact with O'Brien's head as well leaving both players prone on the turf and Lukaku, especially, in an unconscious heap. He would remark after the game that he'd had to be informed by the club's medic that he had scored the goal so it was somewhat surprising to see him not only return to the field to see out the remainder of the match but to also twice go close to killing the game off in injury time: once when he rampaged through and just hesitated too long allowing Winston Reid to close him down as he bore down on goal; and then when Mirallas ended a quick counter-attack in acres of space in the area but he couldn't find the striker with a square pass.

Seven minutes of injury time should have been a nail-biting nightmare as the Hammers chased the game but with Everton's ability to keep hold of the ball these days, they passed largely without incident at their end. Mirallas exhibited some delightful footwork as he danced along the touchline teasing defenders down by the corner flag and Seamus Coleman followed suit, winding the clock down to a magnificent result, one that could prove just as important as last week's over Chelsea in terms of the team's self-belief.

While it's still too early to get carried away, there was so much to admire and from which to draw real optimism, firstly, in the way that Martinez responded to a lethergic first-half display and, secondly, in how dangerous the Blues looked with Lukaku on the field. So much more than a physical presence, the Belgian showed a deftness of touch, an awareness of his teammates' position and, crucially, the ability to play them in with the right kind of pass, that make him an all-round threat in the way that, sadly, Jelavic is not. Then of course, there is his aerial prowess displayed so effectively with the winning goal.

It's fair to say that without him, Everton wouldn't have won this game and without Baines' breath-taking dead-ball ability from 25 yards they wouldn't have been in a position to. He was a pest to West Ham in the second half with his movement and passing interchanges in the final third but he struck them two devastating blows with two efforts on goal, neither of which Jaaskeleinen had a prayer of stopping.

Praise should also be reserved for the more unsung heroes of a valuable away victory, not least Gareth Barry who pulled strings in midfield and broke up a couple of dangerous moments with his own awarenes and tigerish determination to protect the back four. Sylvain Distin and Seamus Coleman also stood tall when required at the back as Jagielka occasionally slipped from his normally high standards. Osman was quietly effective in midfield before he went off, McCarthy was energetic and competent, but clumsy in giving away the penalty, while Oviedo provided pace down the left flank to give the home defence one more thing to worry about.

The important thing now for Martinez is to ensure that the momentum is carried through to the midweek League Cup game at Fulham and then to the Newcastle game under the Goodison lights at the end of the month. Both opponents will be reeling from poor results and, hopefully, will be ripe for the taking. Two wins from those matches to close out the month would really strengthen the belief that the Blues could really be a force this season under the new man.

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Reader Comments (43)

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Milos Milenkovic
1 Posted 22/09/2013 at 01:26:14
Great report Lyndon. More than 9 hours later I am still under tension... So, so happy. I guess it's the way in which we conceded second goal that totally brought emotions and disappointment to the highest negative level and than in space of couple of minutes two brilliant goals to change the mood in other direction. The best left back in the world is playing for Everton and the best Chelsea striker is playing for Everton.

Only thing that I saw differently is Gareth Barry, I think he was not playing well and his reaction before McCarthy conceded penalty was also poor. However, this team is full of excellent players and I hope there is desire among them to make this season a memorable one.

Bob Parrington
2 Posted 22/09/2013 at 02:23:22
Great report Lyndon. my eldest son and I stayed up here in Adelaide to watch the game on Foxtel. What a difference having a target man (Lukaku), who can win the ball, hold the play and either lay back a simple pass to one of the on-coming midfielders or play a deft through pass to cut open a defence.

After the stale performance of the first half the second was scintillating.

Derek Knox
3 Posted 22/09/2013 at 02:33:51
Good report and read Lyndon. It was almost a game of two totally contrasting halves, in all fairness to Roberto, he did stick with the finishing side against Chelsea.

I don't think Jela can have any complaints if he doesn't see much action for the games ahead. I like Jela, but enough is enough, Lukaku, did more in his first ten minutes than Jela has done all season. Similar can be said for Osman and Naismith, however they will remain good squad players, and their commitment cannot be questioned.

It will be interesting to see how many, if any, changes are made for the Cup game on Tuesday, and hope it is taken as seriously as any Prem. game. Like I mentioned on another thread, this is the one Cup we have never won, and is a route to Europe, but hopefully we will qualify by merit also.

I thought Gareth Barry was not as prominent as last week, but did just about enough, Mirallas played his best game to date, and is possibly our MoM, Ross continues to improve both in confidence and performance. I also thought Jags was below par today and Seamus was quieter than normal without doing anything wrong.

Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 22/09/2013 at 02:55:38
Fantastic win. Had me cheering like a little kid. A few observations:

Leighton Baines is just plain genius. His left foot is like Stephen Hawkings brain.

RM got a lot of stick on the live forum for starting the wrong lineup. Sorry, but when you beat Chelsea, the three guys who made the goal deserve to start. That said, as far as Im concerned Lukaku became the starting striker with his first touch. That turn was sensational and created an immediate chance. And his goal was pure Braveheart.

I love Barkleys commitment to attacking defenders when hes on the ball. We saw the downside in the first half when he forced himself into at least four turnovers... but in the second he brilliantly drew the fouls that set up both of Baines free kicks.

Jags blunder was the worst moment I have ever seen him have in an Everton uniform. Not only did he use bad judgement and get out-worked by Petric, but he just stayed stretched out on the grass and watched after it happened, like a lazy seal on the beach. Ive never seen him give up on a play before, and I never want to see it again. Not that RM will do it, but if I were the manager, Jags would lose his place and the armband for the next game.

When Oviedo came on, our offense improved instantly. He works beautifully with Bainesy and opens up the side for him to operate in a way Mirallas does not. And Oviedo never misses a pass. Im biased, because Ive seen him play so much in World Cup qualifying and I think hes an outstanding player. But I was really glad to see him get the call when Osman went down, and I think he was a major contributor. With Pienaar and now Osman injured, Im expecting to see Oviedo start next week with Mirallas on the right.

Kevin Freaney
5 Posted 22/09/2013 at 03:16:48
Martinez really impressed me today and showed exactly why we are well rid of Moyes. He played an unchanged side, granted I was far from happy that Osman and Jelavic kept their places, especially with Lukaku available, but a winning side is a winning side so fair enough.

But that's where Martinez and Moyes differ. Martinez saw it wasn't working and made the changes as soon as. No waiting, no hanging about as Moyes usually did, just made the changes and the game turned.

Under Moyes that would have been a 1-0 defeat or a 1-1 draw. Under Martinez it turned into a 3-2 win.

David Pearl
6 Posted 22/09/2013 at 03:23:38
I'm happy for Martinez to have faith in his winning side and leave his tinkering to when he needs it. He needed it today and made the right changes at the right times. Now.. I would like to see how hungry Heitinga is because Jags has looked a bit jaded lately. We have no chance of being able to keep Lukaku - what a player he is going to be.
Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 22/09/2013 at 03:49:28
"Under Moyes that would have been a 1-0 defeat or a 1-1 draw."

Yeah, right. That's how we averaged 16 wins a year for the last five seasons.

You want to be happy that Moyes is gone and Martinez is here, fine. But don't talk idiocy. You have no idea how this game would have come out with Moyes in charge.

Anto Byrne
8 Posted 22/09/2013 at 04:22:43
Forget Moyes, just let us enjoy Roberto and the freedom of expression he instills in this team. 3-2 at WHU is a fine result. Hope we can keep it going and injuries don't hamper the progress.
Shaun Sparke
9 Posted 22/09/2013 at 04:48:05
I have to agree with Mike. If we go back to this same fixture on 8th November 2008. Collinson scored for the Hammers to put them 1 up. We ended up winning 3 -1 and yes Moyes was the manager. I am glad Moyes is no longer with us as we were in danger of becoming Moyes FC. But it really is incredulous and quite churlish to say we would not have won today if Moyes was still at the helm.
Craig Fletcher
10 Posted 22/09/2013 at 05:05:33
I think the truth is somewhere in-between. Under OFM (and given his track record with subs) it's safe to assume the substitutions wouldn't have been as proactive as they were yesterday; and those changes at halftime were the stimulus behind the improved second-half performance. But, agreed Mike and Shaun, it's impossible to then go about predicting comparative outcomes.
Still, what a result. Team selection for Fulham now will be very interesting - I wonder if some of those on the fringes (Stones, Heitinga, Gibson, Kone, Deulofeu, Ovideo) will get a run-out on Tuesday.

Mike Gaynes
11 Posted 22/09/2013 at 05:29:22
Craig, it's more than comparing substitution patterns between the two. We have no way of knowing whether two of the subs, McCarthy and Lukaku, would even have been Everton players had Moyes remained. We have no way of knowing what his transfer targets were... or how today's starting lineup would have looked different with Fellaini, since he was unlikely to leave if Moyes had stayed.

One thing I feel certain about is that Naismith would not have started against either Chelsea or West Ham... Moyes considered him a reserve. And Naismith was the matchwinner against Chelsea and pretty much the worst on the pitch today, so in both cases his participation had a considerable impact.

That's why the whole theoretical comparison idea is so silly.

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 22/09/2013 at 05:38:23
And in answer to your speculation about Tuesday, I'd expect to see all those you mentioned in the starting lineup except possibly Gibson, whose game fitness is so uncertain.
Ajay Gopal
13 Posted 22/09/2013 at 05:39:25
Baines must be so happy he made the right decision to stay at Everton. If he had joined Man U, he would have been made to sit on the bench for 1 year at least.

I am really starting to get excited about our season - I know, we are just 1 loss away from coming back to earth, but I am just so happy today.

Ajay Gopal
14 Posted 22/09/2013 at 06:09:33
Craig, I expect most of the names you mentioned to get an opportunity for the Fulham game. I expect to see:

Robles, Stones, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku

Subs: Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Gibson, Osman, Naismith, Kone

Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 22/09/2013 at 06:33:51
Ajay, I'll bet on Oviedo being in for Baines. And there is no way in hell Lukaku will be allowed to play. He told an interviewer after the game that he had absolutely no memory of the goal. A concussion should keep him out two games at least.
Matt Traynor
16 Posted 22/09/2013 at 06:34:33
Ajay, I hope you are right, but I fear, in the light of Stubbs' utterance last week that we will see Baines go in January. Fair enough, if he wants to, let him. But yesterday should put another couple of million on the asking price. Fuck the fact he'll be 29, as Man U showed when they bought van Persie - quality costs.

Fair play to Baines though. Consummate professional, and if he does leave, will no doubt get the recognition he deserves in April, unlike someone else at Man U!

I really hope he stays, but I think it's telling that the contract talk has gone quiet. At least RM has time to work on how to replace him.

Dave Powell
17 Posted 22/09/2013 at 06:49:46
What about this as a song for Leighton Baines, the best left back in England, to the tune of Z-Cars:

Leighton Baines, he is our hero,
Leighton Baines, he is the one,
Leighton Baines, he's a blue for ever,
Leighton Baines of Ev-er-ton

i am sure the more creative could fine tune it a bit. possibly the third line could be "He's the best left back in all football".

Before he took the second free-kick yesterday, I was thinking of Kevin Sheedy in the cup tie at Goodison. I was in the Gwladys Street that day. I don't understand why Alan Stubbs would say he wanted to leave.... best kept in house. Very strange, but I loved Leighton's celebration. Far more meaningful than kissing the badge.

Brent Stephens
18 Posted 22/09/2013 at 09:43:22
Oviedo just has to get more game time in opportunities like Fulham. Baines could well be gone in the New Year. Bryan at the moment seems the only possible replacement from within.
Barry Rathbone
19 Posted 22/09/2013 at 10:18:45
Any of the statto boys know the last time we came from behind twice and went on to win either at Goodison OR away?

Really can't remember it happening.

Tamhas Woods
20 Posted 22/09/2013 at 12:11:30
Barry 181 - as follows:

Home - Bolton in December 2004 (W 3-2)
Away - Metalist in October 2007 (W 3-2)

Wayne Smyth
21 Posted 22/09/2013 at 12:32:45
We'd not won in 11 away games previously, so, not only winning away, but coming from behind twice to win it is something exceptional.

I'm glad Lyndon thought Osman was effective. Towards the end he was bullied off the ball no end and lost it about 4 times in quick succession, but for most of the game I thought he did quite well.

I'd also agree with Milos, who thought Barry didn't have a great game. But still, he did okay and it wasn't like we were carrying him which is often the case for Osman or Heitinga. I actually think that Mohammed Diame was just head and shoulders over anyone else in midfield yesterday which is one reason we struggled. He basically ran the show and caused us lots of problems defensively and going forward.

I wouldn't be so sure that Baines will be leaving, either. By Christmas, I'm hoping that our chances of European qualification will be looking as good as or better than OFM, who I still think will struggle under the intense pressure to get into the top 4 and win something.

For the first time since the mid-80s, we actually have real quality in all areas of the pitch, and probably one of the scariest strikers in Europe leading our line. I can see some serious drubbings coming up for some unlucky teams...

Gary Creaney
22 Posted 22/09/2013 at 12:38:16
There were two very pleasing aspects to this game for me:

1) Lukaku after the Chelsea game, the forums were full of "and we still have Lukaku to come in" almost as if he was going to be a guaranteed instant saviour. Well, I don't remember him being as good as that for WBA. Great link up play, players like Barkley and Mirallas must be foaming at the mouth.

2) The apparent purging of players that do not appear to be good enough for the strongest starting 11. Naismith, Ossie and Jelavic should now be behind McCarthy, Oviedo, Lukaku, Deulofeu and probably Kone unless (particularly in Jelavic's case) a serious improvement in form is evident.

Team for Tuesday should include Robles, Stones, Heitinga, Oviedo, Deulofeu and (if fit) Gibson, Pienaar and Kone.

Man, I'm excited.

Nicholas Ryan
23 Posted 22/09/2013 at 13:07:49
Dear 210... I don't know whether to be amazingly impressed or deeply saddened that you have those stats at your fingertips!!
Roger Trenwith
24 Posted 22/09/2013 at 13:24:43
Great result, and West Ham were flattered by their two goals to be honest.

However, if I may play Devil's Advocate for a moment:

1. Watching the MotD highlights, Barkley was lucky to still be on the pitch when he won that free kick. OK it looks worse in slo-mo, but that yellow he got could so easily have been a red.
2. This time next year yesterday's goalscorers will probably not be Everton players.

Still, let's enjoy it while it lasts, eh? COYB!

Phil Sammon
25 Posted 22/09/2013 at 13:55:39
The ref made the right call on Barkley's challenge. It was not a stamp or anything malicious. He was trying to shield the ball and put his foot down with zero weight behind it. It did look dodgy though so fair play to the ref for not being too rash. Mason had a good game actually.

And Roger...cheer up mate.

James Morgan
26 Posted 22/09/2013 at 14:35:14
Isn't it great to see us still going for goals in the dying minutes of the game when in the past we would sit back and invite pressure. Our possession play is fantastic and will only get better.
Tom Bowers
27 Posted 22/09/2013 at 14:47:12
Upton Park has been a lucky ground for the Blues in recent years. This result applied 2 seasons ago when coming from behind they won with a Louis Saha goal. Pity they can't play there more often.

So many good things about yesterday but a few not so good. The starting eleven I suppose mainly due to some players having a hand in the goal against Chelski but one would hope that RM is quickly sorting out his best starting eleven.

It may take a few more games due to the recent injuries but the whole squad suddenly looks a lot stronger with equally good players coming off the bench to do a job. It would be nice to see Alcaraz become available as the central defence seems to have more holes than usual and may need shaking up..

Let's hope whatever team plays against Fulham wins and makes it a hat-trick of London scalps.

Barry Rathbone
28 Posted 22/09/2013 at 15:08:35
Tamhas Woods 210, many thanks sir.
Tamhas Woods
29 Posted 22/09/2013 at 15:31:38
Yay! What do I win?
Darren Hind
30 Posted 22/09/2013 at 15:03:58
I was hoping to log on today and be the first to use the term Sheedy-esque. You were miles ahead of me Lyndon.

Great result. Struggled in the first half, but once the Beast was released it was terrific entertainment.

West Ham are a tough nut to crack these days, Big Sam has them well drilled, dirty bastards too. Not many will score twice there let alone three

Mike Gaynes 129 - you are pissing against the wind mate, some people are so obsessed with the past, they can't enjoy the present. The fact that we have come from behind to win at the Boleyn several times in recent years seems lost on them. Leave them to their bitterness and enjoy the here and now.

Harold Matthews
31 Posted 22/09/2013 at 15:05:39
Great result. I certainly liked the team we ended up with but Jags needs to get his act together. Since wearing the armband his eyes and mind seem to be on the position of team-mates rather than concentrating on his own game.

Their second goal was a strange one. After the Jags cock-up McCarthy didn't bother to challenge Petric because he obviously thought the ball had gone out of play. Nolan then completely bamboozled Gareth Barry who tackled thin air and left us totally exposed. Caught unawares, McCarthy flew in too close and wiley old Nolan said "Thank you very much" and went down like a sack of spuds. What a farce. A goal to forget in a hurry.

Never mind. All's well that ends well....and it did. Being a Blue is great but it's not always easy.

Paul Gladwell
32 Posted 22/09/2013 at 16:13:34
I thought Osman was garbage, if we are going to play from the back we need our two centre mids to be picking the ball up and looking forward and alls Osman appeared to do was pass it back to the centre halves time and time again, admittedly the movement ahead of him was not much but his days are numbered now for a player I have liked.
Tony McNulty
33 Posted 22/09/2013 at 16:27:40
Baines was Sheedy against Ipswich at home all those years ago ... although that day only one of the goals counted.
Mike Gaynes
34 Posted 22/09/2013 at 16:49:21
Our former manager and midfielder aren't doing too well today.

Toure just scored off a corner to give City a 2-0 lead. The defender who lost his mark and left Toure alone three yards out was some Fella with big hair.

Kevin Freaney
35 Posted 22/09/2013 at 18:51:34
Wow, still defending Moyes, well done guys. How many points did we drop last season by not killing of games? That's my point, Martinez made a change Moyes would never have made and he got three points and no matter how far up Moyes arse you are you have to admit he couldn't have done it.
Phil Sammon
36 Posted 22/09/2013 at 20:43:53
Lyndon talks about it in his match report and one thing that really stood out for me was our football in the closing minutes.

Seven minutes of stoppage time and it was actually quite comfortable viewing. Our calmness and ability to retain possession was very encouraging. You can't help but compare it to how we would have approached the same situation least season...and smile.

John Crawley
37 Posted 22/09/2013 at 21:08:43
Phil - agreed it makes a refreshing change. Although a different class of opposition it was the same in the last minutes of extra time against Stevenage, we just kept the ball and therefore no last minute panicking!
Ian Bennett
38 Posted 22/09/2013 at 21:14:08
Really pleased with the win and the second half showing. Roberto did the right thing in picking the same again which will keep the spirit in the camp. No player can complain if selection is based on form not favourites.

Lukaku upfront will really change the way we play offering something over the top with Mirallas and Barkley will really stretch the play if the opposition squeeze our possession play from the back. Looking forward to the second string throwing their hats in the ring for Fulham.

Alcaraz if fit


Craig Fletcher
39 Posted 22/09/2013 at 21:58:44
Hi Ian;

Useful side but as Mike pointed out earlier; I'm not so sure Lukaku should be rushed back in so quickly. The lad didn't even know he scored; and for example, the IRB (International Rugby Board) has a minimum three week stand-down period for concussion. So we'll see what the club docs say.

I think we may make three or four changes; but the game on Tuesday is a great opportunity for a cup so I'd love for us to not break the momentum too much - first and foremost is to get the win. Fulham away is decent challenge, and like us they would see this game as a chance to win a title, so they'll be well up for it.

Brian Hennessy
40 Posted 22/09/2013 at 22:31:34
Great post Lyndon, the most interesting bit for me is

"Seven minutes of injury time should have been a nail-biting nightmare as the Hammers chased the game but with Everton's ability to keep hold of the ball these days, they passed largely without incident at their end".

Couldn't agree more, also against Chelsea when we went ahead we looked comfortable and time ticks down allot faster when our players are used to passing the ball about. I think under RM we will be very difficult to beat when we get ahead in matches I hope!!!!

Jamie Sweet
41 Posted 22/09/2013 at 22:43:03
I agree about Chelsea Brian... I thought we looked the most likely to score in the last five minutes against them too. For me it shows a complete change of mind-set and one which should reap rewards.

"The opposition can't score if we don't give them the ball".

And although all this constant "DM would / wouldn't have done that or won that" bullshit is getting tiresome already, I am pretty sure the above concept was never really grasped in his 11 years!

What a refreshing change!

Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 22/09/2013 at 23:26:40
No defense necessary, Kevin Freaney... Moyes was a great manager for Everton and I was proud to support him.

That doesn't make me any less delighted at how well Martinez is doing.

It also doesn't prevent me from enjoying the hit-by-a-truck expressions on the faces of Moyes and Pip as they got run over by City this morning. I can admire their accomplishments here and still get a big laugh out of it.

Bill Gall
43 Posted 23/09/2013 at 14:21:41
I do not like to mention Moyes's name anymore but the weekend shows the difference in thinking between him and Roberto Martinez .

Everton struggling in the first half, Martinez takes two players off puts two subs on and changes the game around. And on Sunday, Moyes Utd struggling in the first half, no changes, the game stays the same, more goals against before he changes it.

So far so good; let's get behind the manager even if sometimes the players struggle adapting to the new system.

I wonder what the price is to insure Baines's left leg? Is there any other full back as good at free kicks? Listen to Charlie Nichols on Sky Sports if you are in doubt.

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