Roberto Martinez made some interesting choices, starting both young stars Barkley and Deulofeu for the first time, while resting Mirallas, with McCarthy forced to sit this one out on his 5th yellow card of the season. Leon Osman made his 300th senior start for Everton, and scored the first goal inside 20 mins with an elegant curler after neat footwork. Everton were shockingly poor after the break and Fulham equalized off a strange penalty, but Coleman thankfully smashed home after great work by Lukaku and Pienaar. Then Barry nodded one in from close range, followed by an excellent low strike from Mirallas and suddenly it was an excellent result.

Everton were soon on the attack, Deulofeu's cross going behind for the first corner from Pienaar that was cleared and led to a period of extended Fulham possession that went nowhere.It then took a while for Everton to go forward again, Oviedo delaying his cross.

Barry intercepted well to get a second corner that Deulofeu played short but they again chose to play the ball around the Fulham area rather than cross it in early. Jagielka came close on the third corner, the ball evading Osman running in. It was the 15th minute before Fulham got into Everton's area and won their first corner, played too deep and out.

A nice piece of passing brought a wonderful goal from Osman, after Oviedo and Pienaar combined well to feed him on the D. Excellent control and shifting the ball on to his left foot, making space to curl the ball inside the post, a lovely goal.

Everton started to click into gear, some great threatening play, Lukaku coming very close on the fourth Everton corner from Pienaar, forced behind at the post by Stekelburger.

Deulofeu was well involved with a lot of fine play down the right and occasionally through the middle but his final ball wasn't coming off. A faster move saw Coleman pressing in and firing low, forcing another good save.

Bright play from Deulofeu set Lukaku off but the ball was touched away from him as he seemed certain to score. More brilliant play, Pienaar laying it back for Barkley who wanted more time, Osman, firing just wide on the half-cleared ball. But Osman gave the ball away and Fulham came close to equalizing without troubling Howard.

A great run from the back by Barkley but his final pass anticipated Deulofeu coming in and the Spaniard had stopped his run. Deulofeu then whipped in a fantastic near-post delivery just ahead of Lukaku. More corners followed, Osman's hook blocked behind.

Osman picked out Deulofeu with a wonderful crossfield pass but Deulofeu soon had three on him and could not escape as a hugely dominant Everton closed in on the break with plenty of possession.

Ossman getting in Jagielka's way, allowed Parker to fire in on Howard for Fulham's first shot on goal, well saved. But Fulham would not lie doen, Sidwell lashing a firec shot in that Howard could only parry, Kacaniklic lashing the rebound over an open goal.

Some really shoddy play from both of the youngsters causing good positions to be squandered cheaply as Everton looked to allow over-confidence to become their downfall as they failed to get a grip on the second half, gifting Fulham a path back into the game.

But good work by Deulofeu won the first corner of the second half, and the ball came out to Oviedo but his first-time shot was blocked away as Everton struggled to reimpose their first-half dominance, Berbatov seemingly certain to score on a deep cross at the far post that went into the side netting.

Deulofeu pulled up with a hamstring injury that did not look at all good, and he was carried off, out potentially for the rest of teh year, replaced by Mirallas. This was his big chance to really show what he could do, given a full game, but he had shown some really poor decision-making at times.

Then a nothing clash in the corner of the Everton area, Kacaniklic jumping into Barry and going down... penalty given. Berbatov converted from the spot. Something like that had been on the cards since the break.

Everton tried and tried to get going again but things were just not going right at key moments all over the field, with Fulham sensing their opportunity.

But better pressure off a free-kick and some excellent play got Pienaar to the byeline, his low cross pushed out toward Coleman who followed up to lash home and restore the lead.

A real tussle ensued, with Fulham not prepared to give up the 3 points that easily, and they continued to make things difficult for the Blues. But Everton did themselves few favours, not pushing forward on the break, then making some horrendous passes to cede possession.

But a good ball in from Distin caused havoc for Fulham at the far post as Lukaku and Barry combined for the defender to power his header past Stekelenburg from close range, perhaps bouncing up off Lukaku's hand.

A huge sigh of relief, and a much more respectable-looking scoreline... perhaps a little flattering off a poor second-half performance; Stones replaced Pienaar just before full time. Ovideo wanted to do it all himself after Senderos upended Mirallas.

Then, into injury time, and Osman played a nice ball fro Mirallas to run onto and he drove low and hard, beating Skelenburg at the near post to give the Blues a very respectable scoreline and an excellent result to keep them plugging away in 5th place.

Scorers: Osman (18'), Coleman (73′), Barry (84′), Mirallas (90′); Berbatov (pen:67')

Everton: Howard, Oviedo, Distin, Jagielka (c), Coleman, Barry, Osman, Pienaar Y:74' (88' Stones), Barkley, Deulofeu (64' Mirallas), Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Joel, Alcaraz, Heitinga, Naismith, Jelavic.

Fulham: Stekelenburg; Riether, Senderos Y:89', Hughes, Riise; Parker, Sidwell, Karagounis (78' Bent); Dejagah Y:70' (83' Duff) , Berbatov, Kacaniklic (69' Kasami).
Subs not Used: Ruiz, Stockdale, Richardson, Zverotic.

Attendance: 33,796
Referee: Anthony Taylor

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Mark Frere
351 Posted 14/12/2013 at 16:54:22
Obviously delighted with the 3 points but the display was was poor, desperately poor! Everything I feared performance wise came true today, the passing was dreadful, our drive and determination was nowhere to be seen.

We really need to be up for these routine home games and I'm afraid we wasn't today.

Our players need a good bollocking from Bobby.

Sorry to be so negative but I believe Martinez has set the marker much higher than the shite we served up today.

Paul Mackie
352 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:05:32
We were very poor today. But when you can say we played poor and we still won 4-1 then I don't think there'll be any Evertonians crying themselves to sleep tonight...
Steve Brown
353 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:06:01
Sounds strange to complain after three second half goals, but the display after the break was appalling. Only Ross did himself justice, while Osman and Pienaar started well then went to shit.

Deulofeu has done his hamstring so we won't see him for 4-8 weeks.

Sam Fitzsimmons
355 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:06:59
One reason we were poor today — no James McCarthy!
Mark Taylor
356 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:05:55
I guess that's what it looks like when the Martinez method misfires. At 1-1, Fulham looked by far the likely winners. But you take what you can get and we were probably still worth the win over the whole game.

No new things learnt, just a re-inforcement of things we (mostly) know: we need defensive midfield back up because Ross is only half the player there compared to his advanced position; the passing out from the back can get very scary when teams press us and we lack a bit of confidence; Seamus gets in some great positions but needs to learn how to cross the ball; we still don't seem to have found a way to feed Lukaku and he in turn is far worse holding the ball up than he should be; Howard doesn't command his 6 yard box very well.

That said, I don't think we should overact about a poor second half any more than we should get ahead of ourselves over a few very good performances. And we have closed the gap on the leaders to just 4 points!

Wayne Smyth
357 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:07:39
Its all relative. Yes we were poor for some of the match, but we were missing McCarthy’s energy and were up against a highly experienced and combative Fulham fighting for their new coach and their Premier League survival. Sidwell and Parker are two very decent midfielders and we were always going to struggle to win the battle in that area.

I thought that game highlighted Osman’s abilities and frailties quite clearly. Superb technique on the edge of the box to get us the lead, but was too easily barged off the ball at other times. His general play was pretty decent though.

Barkley was excellent, as were all our defenders, especially the full backs. Bit disappointed with Lukaku though and I was expecting Jelly to make an appearance for the last 10 or 15 minutes.

Shame to see Deulofeu go off; we’ll certainly miss his abilities. Hopefully he’ll not be out too long.

Mark Taylor
359 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:15:34
And I thought some on this forum might enjoy the following quote from Martin Keown on BBC Sport

"Great movement from Everton, and a great spirit. That's what they've got to display if they want to get into the Champions League. A word for David Moyes here though - he has left those players and the systems in place for Roberto Martinez."

Paul Mackie
361 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:18:59
He left some of the players Mark, but the system is all Martinez.
Mick Davies
362 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:17:29
Last 4 games, 10 points, 10 goals to 2. Well below par, missing a key player, lost a creative attacking goalscorer to injury but still won 4-1!!! Can't really argue with the way things are going but roll on Super Mac return; Barry scored, but deffo missed his mate today. Top 4 now, reds to lose or draw tomorrow then we stay there COYB
Steve Guy
364 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:21:56
Media picking up crumbs trying to give Moyes credit for Everton this season. Pathetic and increasingly irrelevant. Half the players in that side wouldn't even have been playing if Moyes still in charge.
Ross Edwards
365 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:23:58
Very harsh from some of you. We scored 4 goals, we had 60% possession, and yet we have people complaining.

The mark of a great side is one that takes their chances when not at their best, and we did that.

David Heaton
366 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:12:49
Disappointed with that display, the score flatters Everton. Good job Howard is playing out of his skin; sorry to see Deulofeu injured and as for Osman, scored a terrific goal then just gets pushed over and loses the ball time after time – just not strong enough in that midfield position.

Thank God for Barry who never stopped running and put 100% effort into It and very unlucky to have a penalty awarded against him. Ross and Coleman were good as usual... just the midfield that lacked drive and pace; Osman I'm afraid was to blame. He plays a bit like a schoolboy running after the ball.

I can't complain about the final score and we do seem to get the points these days; under Moyes, he would have put defenders on and tried to hold it to 1-0 and ended up with a draw.

Well done, Robbie; onwards and upwards! COYB

Adolf Ng
367 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:26:27
McCarthy, welcome back to the team next week...
James Lauwervine
368 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:21:58
Yes, it was a flattering scoreline for us but I give credit to Fulham who pressed and harried us to fuck in the second half. They'll stay up for sure.

The Keown quote is pure bollocks. What about the Championship winning team that Ferguson left that Moyes has turned into a bag of shite? No mention of that. And what about Lukaku, Barry, Deulofeu and a totally different playing system? Moyes may have been a shrewd buyer but there is no doubt that Martinez has transformed the whole team. To give Moyes the credit for it is ridiculous and shows what a fucking idiot Keown is. He doesn't like us by the way, I know that for a fact but can't be arsed explaining.

Roll on the blue boys!

Steve Brown
373 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:36:33
James 369, if you have some football intel about that donkey, do tell?
David Donnellan
375 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:37:48
I know it's a well used cliche, but "it is the sign of a good side that can win whilst playing below par". Not just win, but win 4-1! I don't think similar would have happened under the previous regime.

As for Keown, he is very wrong about us playing OFM's systems with OFM's players. It just shows how much of an eye he has kept on Everton this season, lazy punditry! However, he did say that Everton could top the league based on our consistency and the inconsistency of other teams around us.

Paul Ferry
376 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:46:51
We will not win the league - dream-time - but 3rd/4th is looking more likely with each passing week and we have a great string of games coming up, could well be 2nd come 1 January 2014.
Brian Waring
377 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:42:04
Mark (#351) I've just mentioned it on the forum, but we've just had 3 games in 10 days, a 1-0 win away to the Mancs, 1-1 away to Arsenal and we were the better team, and 4-1 today without playing that great, can't argue with that.

Also, 1 defeat in 16 games, in 4th place, above the Shite, and only 4pts behind Arsenal. We have the joint best defensive record in the prem, only Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and the Shite have scored more goals than us.

Amit Vithlani
378 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:43:47
Sign of a good team that we can win when not at our best. Some of the older players – Barry, Peanuts and Jags – looked leggy, having expended huge effort in the last two games. Distin on the other hand is STILL an incredible athlete, and played very well. I think he has 2-3 years still left in him. Give him that contract.

Pleased we are in the top 4 and looking down on the Shite and Spurs, even if it is only for 24 hours.

David Donnellan
379 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:49:47
It would be a nice dream though Paul, wouldn't it? I don't really think we can win it to be honest, but my belief is growing under this new manager & the results we have been picking up lately. I haven't felt this optimistic about Everton for a long time.
Brian Denton
381 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:52:11
Just back. A bit of 'after the Lord Mayor's Parade' about it, but we got the result. We missed McCarthy, and had a very poor 25 mins in the second half when the defence looked comical at times. But positives - getting 4 goals when not at your best can't be knocked, and Pienaar was enthusiastic and interested. I'm so glad he's back for us.

Ossie took his goal beautifully, by the way......

Mark Taylor
386 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:57:07
Paul359

I am more supportive of Moyes' record here than some on here, but you're right, that comment did make me smile, if systems means playing style. We've had one of the more dramatic changes in tactics that I've seen anywhere.

Michael Kenrick
387 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:54:01
I think it's only realism to call a flat shovel-like thing a spade.

At times, our football promised to scintillate again but things weren't quite working and we all hoped it would just be a matter of time... instead, some of the passing simply got worse to the point of being horrific, and we came awfully close to going behind.

I just cannot understand this need to sweep things under the carpet while focusing only on 'the positives'. What exactly does that achieve? Getting better means recognizing the mistakes being made and taking steps to reduce them. I very much hope this is part of the plan going forward!

Barry Rathbone
389 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:32:10
Keown and all ex pros comment only to feather their nest, while Moyes is at Utd he might be useful for a job when the telly work dries up.

Ray Wilkins was the same excusing Moyes left right and centre on the radio in the week it's just ridiculously self serving you could almost hear him printing his cv off as he grovelled.

When Utd wise up he'll be forgotten as he returns north to manage Falkirk, the fact Moyes couldn't get this form out of these players drifts through their empty skulls like mist over a becalmed sea.

Jeff Gwilliams
390 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:02:21
Keown does not like us because of the crap he got when he played for us
Phil Walling
392 Posted 14/12/2013 at 17:56:19
I'll put up with a few bad performances as long as we finish up winning 4-1 !

Just surprised at how people are so obsessed with Moyes that they find a reason to mention him in every post.

Fuck him, he has his own worries!

Paul Ferry
393 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:08:44
I'm with your Brother David - 375 - this season has a sort of '83/'84 season feel about it!
Paul Ferry
394 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:11:34
Phil - 392 - you did it too mate! Stop it!
Patrick Murphy
395 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:06:36
I actually think that today's performance might do Everton some good, we played ok in the first half but that opening 20-25 minutes of the second period was abysmal. It was as if we thought this has been easy and it would continue to be so for the entire match. Kudos for getting the win, but we cannot afford to switch-off for extended periods of any game against any opposition. We could so easily have paid the ultimate price and if we want to achieve real success we have to be on it for the entire game as has been the case for the last few matches.

I'm sure privately RM will have a few harsh words with a few of his players, but equally he will be pleased that they managed to up the tempo and get the win. It's a shame for Del Boy, but unless he learns to look up and find a cross or pick a pass, I can't really see him being the top star, many think that he will become.

Good 3 points, but plenty of areas to work on in the coming week, which is a good sign, because if the team can attain the heights that they are capable of in the majority of remaining games we could have a very special season.

Jeff Gwilliams
396 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:11:49
It's a measure of how far we have come this season that we are all a bit disappointed in the way we won 4-1.
Steve Brown
397 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:09:01
Give Fulham a bit of credit, they pressed and harried us really hard for the first 30 mins of the second half and we simply couldn’t deal with it. Hopefully that was a hangover from 3 tough games, but we cannot allow the likes of Sidwell Parker and Karagounis to dominate possession like that.

Steve Brown
398 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:14:11
But we won, so stuff it. We will play a lot better than that next week at Swansea, guaranteed.
Jeff Gwilliams
399 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:14:11
Steve (#397),

Absolutely, second half they were right in there. Scott Parker was all set to sign for us before he went to Newcastle (to win things and get $80k a week from Souness) but he is still one of the most honest hard-working guys in the game.

Andy Walker
400 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:14:51
At 1-1 it was very dodgy then a great goal settled us. We were terrible at times in 2nd but came through it.

Phil 392 I completely agree with you regarding the obsession of some about non-blues problems, bizarre. Why they are bothered beats me.

Paul Mackie
401 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:15:47
Looking forward to Swansea. It'll be a nice open game which is where we excel!
Mick Davies
402 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:10:50
The older lads have got a break now until Sunday week, and Super Mac will return to stiffen up the defensive unit in midfield, where he was sorely missed today.

Sad about our young Spanish maestro getting injured, any news at all about how long he's going to be out? Unfortunate, just as he was adapting to the rigours of the Prem, and settling into the side.

Stuart Eaton
403 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:14:49
Its great to see feedback from everyone moaning about a 4 1 win and shows how far we have moved on. Under Moyes, that would have been a draw.
A great 3 points from our worst performance of the season. We are getting a winning mentality which we haven't had for a long time.
Brian Waring
405 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:21:45
It may have already been posted, but has anyone seen this from the club:
Phil Walling
407 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:20:10
I'm looking forward to that Swansea game, too, Paul. I had Laudrup down as our ideal manager when the vacancy arose although I've belatedly signed up to Roberto's Way.

Whilst the tactical battle will tell us who is top dog, I do think we have the better players.

Jackie Barry
408 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:23:39
I don't think it is sweeping under the carpet Michael at all, I think it is just realising that we wont play every games the same way week in week out. Winning when playing not to our best is a good sign, the top team don't always play well but win. Liverpool for example have been playing some awful stuff in all honesty and have been winning big. I'm not happy with today's performance but when taking into account what has happened over the last 10-days then yes I am more than happy.
Peter Bell
409 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:21:50
Paul Ferry,392, do you mean 84/85 season not 83/84.
Xmas 84 we were just behind the pack going into the festive period, having not won it for 14 years everyone was saying no chance. If my memory serves me right, we hit top spot over the Xmas period and no one caught us again all season.
We have won today 4 -1 without playing well, under the previous manager we would have had to turn in a top, top performance for a result like this
Jackie Barry
410 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:32:23
Anyone know what happened to BK? He seems to have gone into hiding.
Julian Wait
411 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:29:41
Sidwell is a decent player, a poor man’s McCarthy of sorts, but he’d be an OK addition to our squad to replace Osman as a DM cover/rotation. He’s the sort of player to get you through those tricky away games and early League Cup rounds, and be a backup when needed. He’s no Kevin Richardson mind ...
Barry Rathbone
412 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:28:38
Brian, thanks for that mate you can tell who the karaoke kings are!! brilliant stuff.
Brian Denton
413 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:34:05
Peter (409) After that Chelsea game at Xmas 84, I still thought we could do it, although losing that game was a downer. Our next defeat in the League didn't come until after we'd won the Title.......
Patrick Murphy
415 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:40:21
Everton should also ask the FA not to appoint Mr Taylor for any more of their games for a good while, whilst you could say he let the game flow there were a good deal of Fulham tackles that should have resulted in free-kicks and when the Greek lad bundled Coleman over in the first half he should have seen yellow. I had completely forgotten that it was Taylor who refused to award Everton a Penalty at Cardiff yet a less obvious foul in our area today resulted in him pointing to the spot without hesitation.
Wayne Smyth
416 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:32:16
Michael has a point in terms of the way we switched off having gone a goal up. It was something we've been guilty of for many years; usually because of an inferiority complex. Fulham were always going have a good spell. As Martinez said in his post match interview, their goal was a wake up call for our players, we started to play and got 3 more goals.

If I'm honest I'm not worried at all about that blip. I think Martinez has enough about him that he realises that taking our foot off the pedal when 1 up is not something he should tolerate. We should remember this is very much a work in progress for him; he's had a short period in which to put his mark on the side and limited opportunity to assess our squad and bring his own players in.

4-1, another win, 4th in the table after 16 games, 4 points off the top spot and there are no complaints from me. I think he's doing a first class job.

Dave Roberts
417 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:26:29
This was always going to be a very tough game today. Everything was set up to make it so. I have been nervous about it for a few days. We had a resurgent Fulham under new management who have shown a marked improvement of late who are now fighting for their prem. survival and to impress their new boss. On our side we offered a scalp. An Everton team looking very good and one which people are beginning to notice but who nevertheless set out to take points from away games recently from which we don't often get anythin and succeeded...job done. Now we had a humdrum game that we were 'destined' to win. Oh Yeah!

On top of that pressure we were without the best defensive midfielder in the prem at the moment and had to replace him with Osman which meant we would have to change our game fundamentally.

It did go that way for a while but in the end the end class came to the fore and when it came to taking chances we did and that is what the game is all about. Nobody can play blinding footy every game but winning teams always win when they are not at their best and that is what we are beginning to do.

If that had been the shite or manure beating Fulham today it would have been described as as a masterclass in how to trounce teams even when you don't play well. Because it's us I have already heard it described by a Sky pundit as flattering..

Well....fuck 'em...it was 4-1 and I'll take that thank you very much!

Ross Kerry
418 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:40:22
Top 4, it was in the bag from deadline day.

But now the title, surely not?

Brent Stephens
419 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:43:52
Wayne #357 "Barkley was excellent, as were all our defenders,"

Distin?! A truly horrible game from him!

Kevin Tully
420 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:36:22
Strange day - the atmosphere inside the ground was non-existent, like an early kick off. The fact Fulham had about 150 in their end never helped either. They really do need to fuck off to the Championship with support like that.

Barry is our new Peter Reid, simple passes, but just brings a calming influence to the whole side. So many misplaced passes from others, but it's unfair to single anyone out after another 4 goal haul at home, leave that to the Mancs.

No dressing this one up, we were very average, but the individual talent in this side can step up another gear when required.

Happy tonight when I look at the table. I know it's probably been near to a generation since we have been 4 points off the top of the table at this time of year. Hopefully that will put things into a little bit of perspective!

Tommy Coleman
422 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:41:22
Great result from a decent performance. We shouldn't be too worried about how our levels dropped for 30 Minster. The important thing is that we have the quality to produce a goal at any moment.

We could be top by the new year!

Vinny Garstrokes
423 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:45:16
On the subject of pundits - I watched the Citeh Arse game at lunchtime and by the end of the game was convinced that Michael Owen had been employed by Joe Harts people to pick up on the slightest error that Pantilimon made and then get the camera straight on to Hart in the dugout. A good game for the almost neutral but Owen is embarassing.
Al Reddish
425 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:47:39
Well I am utterly pissed off!
I had 8p left in my Paddypower account and 'for a laugh' decided to put it on us being 1 - 0 up at HT and to win 4 - 1, The odds.............90/1. Should have put a fiver on it. At least I am £7.20 up.
Patrick Murphy
426 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:48:01
I think Dave Roberts has the reason for the quietness at the ground Kevin, we have all known how the team can shoot itself in the foot on occasion, and today because it was Fulham, many of us were worried that having beaten the OT hoodoo, Fulham would come and end their Goodison hoodoo and spoil all the good work, but fortunately they didn't. At least Boxing Day is usually a boisterous atmosphere which can only help the team.
Paul Ferry
427 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:46:28
Good shout Pete - 409 - but I did mean 83/84 thinking that we might be a good bet for the cup this season and we might just be title contenders next season.
Eugene Ruane
428 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:27:47
It was strange at times today.

Put simply, too many of them weren't concentrating and one or two seemed to get (for want of a better word) 'bored' keeping the ball.

Too often balls were unthinkingly played to...nobody and Howard gave it the welly (ie; gave away possession) far too often for my liking when he could have just rolled or passed it out.

That said, an off day that brings a 4-1 win (and me my second correct score winning bet in two games) I can live with.

And as bad as things got at times, there WAS some very good stuff played over the 90 mins.

I think they have shown they have the ability/skill to play a fast passing and pressing game but they really need to work on their concentration - that for me was the problem today.

As for their pen, looked soft from where I was but that was at the other end of the park (was it a pen?)

Thought Barry and Coleman were excellent, Howard again came up with the goods when needed, just a shame about Deulofeu.

Mike T Jones
429 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:46:28
Listen to the Evertonian on 606 now. Great contribution
Paul Ferry
430 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:56:00
Spot on Mike - 429 - he's great.
Mark Tanton
432 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:54:40
It was always going to be hard to live up to expectations today against a team playing better under a new manager, and after two very intense exhausting away games - but we won. The side of a good team. Osman scored, yes, but he still went missing again in my opinion.
Ross Kerry
433 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:51:24
Complaining about the performance following a 4-1 win!
I think we should start doing that once we are recognised as the best team in the land. Until then can we just enjoy the fact that we can beat a team easily even on the slide after two huge games.
Mark Taylor
434 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:49:46
Vinny423
Owen is a pretty poor choice for that; I can't be the only person who falls asleep after he's said about three words....
Ian Bennett
436 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:58:37
Hope Del isn't out too long. If he is on the sidelines, the team should spend a hell of a lot of time on him. He's a phenomenal player, although his final ball has a hell of lot of work.

I thought Coleman was superb. His level of performance is very impressive in recent times. My MOTM again. A secure right back for many years ahead. Brilliant.

Patrick Murphy
437 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:58:20
Ross I don't think any of us are complaining, if we have played well and have failed to win, we should recognise it, likewise if we haven't been at our best - what we are capable of - and manage to win there is nothing wrong in stating it. Perfection isn't obtained by having a 'This will do us' attitude but by striving for the very best performance. The more often we play well the more often we will win football matches, if we manage to do so whilst not playing well then fantastic - I'll take it, but I'd prefer to see us do things in style.

We can only become the 'best team in the land' by performing well in most matches.

Chris Corn
438 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:58:46
Hahaha..dispatched dross again, like the so called big teams and people are moaning...Viva Martinez..Viva la revolution !!
Chris Corn
439 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:58:46
Hahaha..dispatched dross again, like the so called big teams and people are moaning...Viva Martinez..Viva la revolution !!
Dave Roberts
440 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:01:17
Sorry saw it a bit late. What was the Evertonian saying on 606?
Mark Boulle
442 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:08:34
Indeed, well said to Paul on 606 just now. I've been holding on in the queue of callers to get on there for ages, hoping to add my thoughts on national radio soon! But the Beeb probably won't have me - one EFC fan is more than enough for them, after all there's West Ham, West Brom and bloody Derby County to discuss...!
Eugene Ruane
443 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:05:45
We're also going to have to accept that coaches of other sides will look at what we're doing and come up with plans to attempt to neutralise us.

(don't think that's what happened today but...)

Kevin Rowlands
445 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:09:42
Damn, RM has confirmed Del Boy has a hamstring tear and will be out till the final third of the season, so it looks like we wont be seeing him again till Feb/March, expect the McGeady rumors to really take off now, after this I can see it happening.
Mark Boulle
446 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:12:58
I'll be on in a moment apparently.
Paul Ferry
447 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:12:33
Dave - 440 - he was just giving a very sensible account of where we are and why we are there in I thought a real smart and savvy way, taking no shit, although Savage is on an EFC love-fest right now, scolding Fletcher for saying that we will end up 6th.

Loving this ten-year-old on 606 right now aguero is better than sewer-rat coz he doesn't bite people!!!!

Paul Ferry
448 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:16:01
IM WAITING MARK!!!!!!!
Paul Ferry
449 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:16:44
HERE'S MARK!
Peter Bell
450 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:14:38
Typical of our luck, how come the next Derby comes round so quick, next month. All the RS supporters I know were fearing Delboy at Anfield, now he is out until February.
Paul Ferry
451 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:18:08
That Evertonian on 606 right now is a goodun
Paul Ferry
452 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:19:26
That Evertonian on 606 sounds posh but is talking 100 per cent sense.
Paul Ferry
453 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:21:14
Good work agent Mark!
David Greenwood
454 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:20:57
Well said Mark
Brian Denton
455 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:21:09
I know some good posh Blues.......
Paul Ferry
456 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:21:40
Interesting too that there was no fight-back when Mark said that Moyes held us back. I was expecting Savage or the other fella to hit right back and sing Moyes to the heavens, didn't happen, and that is significant .......
Paul Ferry
457 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:22:53
Horrible, horrible, horrible news about Gerry. It slightly takes the shine off how I feel right now. Hope this doesn't affect the possibility of him staying in 2014-2015 - i.e. Barca saying English footie is too fast and physical ..... Have a hunch however that as with Leighton the gaffer will take this in is stride and pick up a couple in the window and use this horrible news as an opportunity to develop ...

Jesus, the creepy voice on the bloke on 606 right now, chilling, flesh dripping .....

Mark Boulle
458 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:23:09
Cheers lads, afraid I'm London born and bred so can't claim the Liverpool accent :) But I'm 31 now and latched onto Everton aged 7, still fighting the good fight down South to get others to understand!
Brian Denton
460 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:26:55
You played a good one, Mark. Any Blue is a good Blue - no matter where from !
Paul Ferry
461 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:28:13
Great stuff Mark you came across great with great points.
Paul Ferry
462 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:30:49
Exactly Brian!
Brian Waring
463 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:29:29
My other half has just text me (she is out in London drinking with her mates) and said Stevie laaaa has just walked into the bar with security guards round him.
Mike T Jones
464 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:33:14
Nice contribution Mark. That's two eloquent Blues on 606 tonight. Great PR for the fanbase
Paul Ferry
467 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:36:10
You know what you need to do Brian, issue the order, it makes sense
Gavin McGarvey
469 Posted 14/12/2013 at 18:48:31
Missed the match due to Xmas shopping. Switched on the radio on the way back to hear Mirallas putting the fourth in. Logged on here expecting a joyfest, but alas all was apparently not well. Still at least I can have a look at motd to see how bad we were in safety of knowing we at least got the result. Bit gutted that Deulofeu is out now as I feel he is a crucial player if we really are going to press for a CL place. Still maybe it's an opportunity for rm to bring a youngster onto the bench for a few games and maybe give them a shot.
Vinny Garstrokes
471 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:36:45
Dont wait for 606 get on with Stan on TS!
Brian Waring
473 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:42:22
She's a bit mouthy when she's had a few jars Paul, also she's a Man U fan, so I can see her saying something if she get's near him.
Brian Waring
475 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:42:52
Gavin we were okay 1st half, could have been 3 up, Fulham came out 2nd half and had a go, we were a bit ragged, sloppy at the back, simple passes not finding their man. Overall though we deserved to win the game.
Mark Boulle
476 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:44:36
And, predictably, on came the Blue saying that Martinez couldn't have achieved what he already has without the work of Moyes! There's always one!

I thought Darren Fletcher's point that RM hasn't had to touch the defence (apart from passing the ball out from the back) in terms of personnel, allowing him to focus on midfield and attack, was a fair one though.

Mark Taylor
477 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:32:10
On Delboy, it is too early to judge how long he will be out. Won't get scan results for a while and how it's torn, as well as the grade will determine this. Could be back playing in 4 weeks, more likely 6-8 weeks. If this was Gibson, I'd say 12 weeks or more, but my hunch is it will be sooner with Delboy.
Paul Ferry
478 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:50:53
Cant wait for the Sunday papers Brian - 473 - mate!
Paul Ferry
479 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:52:01
But the way that Bobby plays the wing-backs now is radically different Mark mate - 476.
Sam Hoare
481 Posted 14/12/2013 at 20:00:09
Sorry to miss you on 909 mark! Sounds like you made some good points if Ferry is in accordance.

Great result today. Really need some squad bolstering in Jan with injuries beginning to bite.

David Price
484 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:42:37
Best not to go overboard after today, however the first half display was excellent and all that was missing was goals. Some of the link-up play and passing was sublime. There was a point when Ross and El Kid just played the ball between themselves for 30 seconds or so whilst the Fulham players couldn't get near. Oviedo probably needs to whip the cross in first time on occasion. As the half went on, we became our own worst enemy by over passing at the back.

A shocking decision for the penalty actually showed us how the team reacts to adversity with a pulsating last 20 minutes. The fans responded as well as the team and the directness and pace introduced to our play put Fulham to the sword.

Agree not the purist game of football from us today, but when it really mattered the team showed real class and determination to get the job done.

Philip Bunting
488 Posted 14/12/2013 at 20:04:14
Sorry, I am an Evertonian, always have been. I Expect to win the league, always have and don't give a fuck about any other team, money or not. Over the years, no matter what side we have put out I always expect 3 points...Believe....its part of our history.

Paul Ferry
489 Posted 14/12/2013 at 20:10:32
I always listen a 2nd time to 606 Sam (909!) - 481 - it will be available in a couple of hours and the advantage of the replay is that you can shift through the punters and get to the two smart blues on today, including Mark.
Peter Mills
503 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:59:43
I sit at the Park End of the Main Stand, and immediately thought it was a penalty by Barry, but that he had got away with it. It was soft, but appeared to be a challenge that would have been penalised anywhere else on the pitch without anyone complaining.

Some of our passing was dreadful today. Maybe a degree of over-confidence, but hell, what a great problem that is. We also played some excellent football, particularly in the first half. And once we were pulled back to 1-1 there was great composure, and overall we were well worth 3 points.

To me, December 2013 is starting to have the feel of December 1986, when we had several home games and just knew that, no matter what, we would come out on top.

And let's not worry too much about external pressure, the media, Keown. As we establish ourselves as genuine contenders we will be subjected to all kinds of nonsense, from transfer rumours to stories trying to dish out dirt to Mourinho winding up Lukaku. It will be a sign that we are feared, and should be relished as a great compliment.

Raymond Fox
506 Posted 14/12/2013 at 19:56:56
I was expecting a difficult sort of a game today & Fulham provided that for 20 mins of second half, it didn't look a penalty from where I was sat though, seemed harsh. They changed a few things when they came out second half & I think that was the reason we looked poor for that spell.

Shame about Del Boy; I said that things were going too well, we'll miss him of course but he promises a lot in some matches but doesn't deliver. I wouldn't start him in games because he's a passenger when were defending, he also drives Lukaku mad because he never gets a decent pass off him!

I thought Barkley looked class today, he made a few duff passes of course, but what a player he will become. Not bad though is it when you can be off colour & win 4-1 & go 4th in table!

Mike Hughes
514 Posted 14/12/2013 at 20:04:05
I watched the game from the back row of the Top balcony – and, even from there, the criticisms that others have made today are totally valid. People are not being harsh. We were crap at times – especially in the first 20 mins of the second half. Instead of isotonic drinks I think our lads must have downed pie, chips, mushy peas and a couple of pints of Guiness at the break.

Great that we won 4-1 but, as even Martinez stated, the score flattered us. It's fantastic that we are where we are and Martinez has exceeded my expectations so far – long may it continue. But criticism of the play today is totally OK as far as I'm concerned.

To be fair, I did say in pre-season that I was more bothered about getting wins than eye-pleasing possession play and glorious defeat. So, all in all, I'm very happy tonight. 4-1 without Lukaku scoring or contributing too much was nice.

Hopefully another "Singing The Blues" weekend in store.

Peter Mills
525 Posted 14/12/2013 at 21:20:08
On a separate note, I took a 6 year-old-lad (the son of a neighbour) to the game today, so viewed the matchday experience somewhat differently to the norm. We called in at St Luke's, where the great man Mr Kendall kindly posed for a photo with the young man. Then we went down to the Park End and watched a bit of a sing-a-long, saw the kids and a few unsteady adults having a go at the ice skating, and had a look at a couple of blue decorated reindeers.

Inside the ground, the stewards were particularly protective of the youngster, as were the supporters in the Main Stand concourse. And at the end of the match, the "Bring me Sunshine" message was genuine good fun. I have slated the club in the past for its treatment of its customers, but today I was very impressed.

Brian Harrison
527 Posted 14/12/2013 at 21:20:48
Although the performance wasn't great today, getting the 3 points was more important than the performance. I also think that maybe some of our players were mentally tired after 2 very hard away games, I don't think sometimes we appreciate how much concentration it takes playing hard games on the run. This is precisely why the top teams have quality squads that they can rotate, not so much for the fitness side although that is important but just as much for being mentally fresh.

I think during the Christmas period RM will be looking to make changes to keep the squad fresh, as he knows better than all of us who needs a rest as the games come thick and fast.

Brian Waring
540 Posted 14/12/2013 at 22:00:00
Brian "Although the performance wasn't great today, getting the 3 points was more important than the performance. I also think that maybe some of our players were mentally tired after 2 very hard away games" That's bang on mate.

3 games in 10 days with our squad has got to take something out of the players, and they put good shifts in against the Mancs and Arsenal.

Also,I agree we should analyze and criticise performances, but I think today is a game were we could probably hold back.

Jim Lloyd
544 Posted 14/12/2013 at 21:52:02
Well, that was a bloody hard game today.

At times (once or twice in the 1st half and more in the 2nd half) Fulham looked more composed in possession than us, especially when Jagielka and Ossie were playing deep in our half. We didn't pass as well today as we have been doing. In fact some of our play was reminiscent of our first few attempts to try and play the way Roberto wants us to.

I think today we just got a bit complacent and just expected our passes to act like guided missiles and go straight to there target. I think that this caused a bit of a loss of confidence in some of our players. What was working brilliantly for the past month or more; didn't quite come off.

Fulham, to their credit, made a good fist of trying to get in our faces and also play us at our own game. This will be a good lesson for the lads and I'm certain Roberto will be telling them a few home truths over the next few days.

My belief is though, that he will do it in such a way, that the lads will not be feeling like they've been told off by the Headmaster. They'll come out of this even more determined to keep their concentration at all times.

What was brilliant today was, even though passes were going frustratingly amiss, the team kept at it and in the end, showed great spirit to overcome a very decent hardworking side.

I think Michael, that to accentuate the positive is a good thing. I've no doubt that Martinez will be utterly realistic but he always seems to get his point over in a positive way.

If you mean that we ought to take a dash of realism about where we are, in terms of challenging for a top 4 place, them I'm with you.

Kunal Desai
547 Posted 14/12/2013 at 22:01:02
Just back from the game and although a 4-1 scoreline flattered us, personally I thought we did enough to win. Compared to recent performances, notably those against United and Arsenal, the fluidity and passing wasn't quite there today, with numerous passes going astray. At the back Jagielka and Distin continuously passed back to Howard and if not back to Howard then aimless hoofs by both were aimed upfield, an all too resemblance of the Moyes era.

I felt Deulofeu should have come off earlier, he wasn't quite at his best, hopefully he's not kept out too long by the hamstring he's picked up. How times have changed under Martinez, Everton can be below par and yet still pick up 3 points, this game under Moyes would no doubt have been drawn.

ps:- How long did it take those chaps to get the stretcher on? By the time they got to Deulofeu, with the urgency from the crowd, it seemed that they were the ones that needed a lie on it.

Brian Denton
555 Posted 14/12/2013 at 22:45:56
We now have the best defence (joint) in the Premier League. Not bad, considering Roberto's weakness is defence.
Patrick Murphy
565 Posted 14/12/2013 at 23:20:58
Roberto certainly wasn't happy with his players in the second half, there was a close up of him on MotD and his eyes were showing signs of how upset he was at that moment. But as Jim says he will tell the players what he wants in a cool and positive way. Barry impressed today as I thought he looked tired at the end of the Arsenal game, but his distribution is of a high quality and it shows that we need to bolster midfield as there will be times when either he or McCarthy will be absent as was the case today. I would also like to see another centre-forward, but we will probably have to wait until the Summer.

Mick Davies
583 Posted 15/12/2013 at 00:35:44
If this was last season, the talk on here would be of joyous relief at winning 4-1. The expectation levels have risen because we know these lads are much better but without McCarthy, the panic set in at the central defensive area with Osman spending so much time up front. Even Coleman was clearing up in the centre on occasions and if we are to sustain a challenge at the top, we need cover for Mc and Barry.

There were times when we showed our class with slick passing moves and threatened but there was no consistency and once Fulham realised we were wobbly without our CM partnership they exploited it and gave us some scares but to be honest, when we lose a goal these days, it seems like we can go on and score another; that's the belief RM has drilled into the team.

McCarthy has to come straight back in and the only place I can see where Osman would be useful is exactly where Ross plays and in this case, youth comes before experience. 4th place, less defeats than any other club, joint least clean sheets and definitely THE most improved side this season. Winning by 3 goals and not playing at full tilt is the sign of a top side. A run of winnable games and BK getting the bank card out on New Years Day!!! The skies are blue again

Si Cooper
585 Posted 15/12/2013 at 02:02:58
Obviously 45 minutes of highlights from 90 minutes of play can be very misleading judging by some of the comments on here.

Not saying that there wasn't any sloppy or wasteful play, but from what I have just seen on Sky there was only one team that deserved to win and showed the most cohesion and skill for a significant majority of the game.

Expected to see some horror moments and defenders all at sea in possession or when under pressure from the opposition, whereas they looked very composed in what was shown. Sure, Fulham obviously stepped up and threatened at times but then again so did Stoke (who had a number of clear cut chances before we settled it) and yet according to most accounts we battered Stoke whereas people are making it sound like Fulham really ran us close.

All the highlights showed in terms of Fulham chances were a number of snap shots from outside the box, one of which led to a great chance off the rebound, and even the penalty was not from a massively threatening position (Kacaniklic was cute and made sure Barry couldn't avoid the contact).

Our passing was lovely at times and the defenders looked very comfortable on the ball most of the time (did someone really think that Distin was awful?). Lukaku looked lively and linked play well although nothing fell cleanly for him in the danger areas.

Are people being a little picky due to heightened expectations / improved standards or does 45 minutes of highlights simply not enough to give a balanced view?

Si Cooper
589 Posted 15/12/2013 at 02:37:13
Great compliments from Glenn Hoddle (summarizing for Sky) for the team and manager, as well as declaring RM is the best man to develop Ross Barkley due to the way the team is set up and the role he is asked / trusted to play.
Derek Thomas
612 Posted 15/12/2013 at 06:53:35
Not quite 'Get out of Jail' — more like got off on a technicality... us being technically a bit better than Fulham.

But nevermind... when your luck's in, your luck's in: we win 4-1, even after a whole game of miss placed passes.

So if it's a case of play bad and still win, then considering the exertions of the last four games and given Fulham's new manager bounce back, not the end of the world.

Bad Point (apart from the woeful passing): Delboy's hammy; not what we needed, usually 5 or 6 weeks. Our lack of true game changers on the bench, just dropped from one to nil.

Good Point: It has to be said; last season we may not / would not have won this game, especially not 4-1.

Jim Lloyd
626 Posted 15/12/2013 at 10:21:15
To follow Patrick's point, we are short of options of real quality should we face a couple of injuries. James McCarthy's suspension showed us how much of an influence he has in our team and with Deulofeu out for a few weeks, we are short up front as well.

Jamie Crowley
879 Posted 16/12/2013 at 02:47:38
Mark -

I always listen to 606 via podcast and just heard your contribution. You did marvelously.

I also thought it was a fair point re the back 4. But then again the way we employ our back line - spreading the center backs and having Barry drop deep to the middle thus allowing the wingbacks to push much higher up the pitch - is radically different from our previous system.

In fact, the way we play is simply radically different. And that, as well as our current position and general good vibe, is down solely to Martinez and the way he sets our team up.

Great representation on a hell of a big medium Mark. Well done!

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