Phil Jagielka missed the game against Southampton with a hamstring injury, while Barry and Howard are suspended. Roberto Martinez was forced to make a number of changes, with Antolin Alcaraz finally getting his debut, half-way through the season, after he joined Everton form Wigan back in the summer. Leighton Baines also returns after his broken toe has finally healed. Naismith and Osman start with Joel Robles making his first league start also. Kevin Mirallas was on the bench, and Everton nemesis Mark Clattenburg officiating back at Goodison Park for the first time is six years.

It was a pretty slow and somewhat scrappy start for The Blues, until Barkley went on a trademark run through the middle, exchanged with Coleman and had the first hopeful shot on the Southampton goal. Alcaraz also showed some bright forward intent but Southampton were not quite ready to roll over.

Nothing much seemed to be happening until the ball was moved across to Coleman, who gets past Ward-Crowse, into the Southampton area, and he lashed another excellent goal home from a pretty narrow angle, high into the far top corner of the net. That's just what we like to see! Brilliant stuff from Seamus!

But Southampton were really making a game of it, with some very smart exchanges and lively movement that almost caught Everton out but for the intervention of Osman, sweeping up across the back.

Lukaku won the first corner, trying to get past Lovren, Baines swinging a good one to the far post but Davis plucked it out of the air. At the other end, Lallana looked to have played in Lambert with a clever backheel but it was adjudged to be offside (albeit marginally).

Lukaku was doing a lot more work up front, trying to both make and get some decent service but it just wasn't happening for the big Belgian, despite plenty of effort. More good play got Coleman free down the right again but he overplayed his final touch under pressure. Lukaku was then played in well but could not centre the ball for Oviedo in acres of space.

But Lallana did brilliantly to juggle the ball away from three Everton defenders only to drag his shot thankfully wide. Cork was next to have a poke for The Saints, well over. The game was very competitive, and Oviedo did well to win a free-kick wide left that Baines swung in very well but a Lovren got to it just ahead of McCarthy. A strange incident followed Distin clearing the ball into Lallana's face from close range just before the break.

Southampton were first to show after the break, Shaw running through and playing a dangerous ball in for Lallana to finish but for a crucial intervention from McCarthy. Everton were having trouble getting the ball under control against Southampton's high-tempo pressing game, that threatened to be more successful. Oviedo went in a little too hard on Chambers, yellow card.

Nervy moments at the back threatened to undo Everton as The Saints looked closer to scoring until good work by Oviedo and a great ball in to Barkley seemed goalbound but screwed just wide of the Southampton goal. Oviedo was replaced by Pienaar on the hour.

Cork was booked for a foul on Barkley, the Lallana got a right talking to for arguing with Clattenburg. Tremendous competition for the ball in midfield at times, with Southampton making things very difficult, and Everton unable to really generate any momentum in terms of passing. Lambert was booked for a silly little ball toss at McCarthy.

More really tentative stuff on a Saints corner, Robles, dropping the ball as Lallana pressed again, Everton looking uncomfortable at the back and if anything holding on to a very slender-looking lead as they just could not get a foothold in the game. The long-threatened equalizer finally came, Ramirez, lashing one in from distance, right through the arms of Robles and into the back of the Gwladys Street net. Mirallas replaced Osman with 20 mins left to recovery the lead.

But a sweeping move moments later Pienaar playing forward to McCarthy, the neatest of delicate first-time flicks into the path of Lukaku who smashed it home with glee. Lukaku tried to repeat the effort a couple more times without success.

Southampton were not giving up the fight, and kept Everton pinned back for long periods. A long ball up looked to have created a chance for Lukaku again but he could not beat Davis, and Baines lashed over off the corner, with 3 mins for the Blues to hang on as Southampton surged forward again. But the Blues hung on in the end for a very vital if slightly unconvincing win — fully understandable in the difficult circumstances!

Scorers: Coleman (9'), Lukaku (74'); Ramirez (71')

Everton: Robles; Baines, Alcaraz, Distin, Coleman; McCarthy Y:76', Barkley, Oviedo Y:51' (71' Pienaar), Osman (c) (74' Mirallas); Naismith, Lukaku. Subs not Used: Springthorpe, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jelavic, Stones.

Southampton: K.Davis, Lovren, Fonte, Lambert Y:65', S.Davis, Rodriguez, Ward-Prowse (83' Gallagher), Cork Y:62' (66' Ramirez), Lallana, Chambers (88' Clyne), Shaw. Subs not Used: Gazzaniga, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Reed.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

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Robin Cannon
841 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:28:35
Excellent win. Couple of players out, and against a Southampton side that really impressed me. Nice to see Lukaku get back on the score sheet, too.
Ross Edwards
842 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:28:38
Good win, great win. With the backbone of the team missing, that was an excellent performance. We will get Barry and Howard back soon and carry on from there. Well done Roberto and the boys.

Good to see Lukaku back in the goals, especially after the article I wrote about his goal drought, let's hope he goes on a run now.

Nice to see the boys got a win for Paul Ferry, hope you enjoyed the match, Paul.

Mark Frere
843 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:25:04
Get in there! A great team effort from a much under-strength Everton side. So many top individual performances out there, Lukaku had a superb game, coleman as well. McCarthy did a fantastic job today - held it all together in the middle of the park, set up the goal - my man of the match.

Barkley was just class as always lately.

37 points at the half way point is an amazing achievement. More of same second half of the season please. And here's hoping for a few fresh faces in January. COYB.

Kunal Desai
844 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:32:37
Didn't play well, but still ground out 3 points, funny how we played so well in the second half against Sunderland and never got anything. 10 wins at the half way stage. Another 10 wins should get us CL footy, job half done in my opinion. Now over to you BK, time to help RM and bring in some players in January if we are to mount a serious challenge for top 4. Don't let the fans down yet again!
Barry Lambert
845 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:28:30
A visibly nervous performance on the back of the previous debacle. We missed Barry but 3 massive points. Back on track. Let's go and give Stoke a good hiding. Keep the faith.
Kevin Rowlands
847 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:32:03
Good win against a very good young team, thought Alcaraz was excellent considering it was his first game in how many months? Robles also impressed me, he's a much more imposing figure than Howard, McCarthy was outstanding again.

On the negative side, Baines looked very match rusty and I hate to beat a dead horse but Osman should be nowhere near the starting line up anymore; he's only good enough for the occasional sub appearance when we're two- or three-nil up with 10 minutes left.

Rich Williams
848 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:36:41
Southampton excellent. Great 3 pts with a weakened team. Roble's is dodgy right nowand may struggle at Stoke (not sure if Howard is back?) although I do think he has potential. Thought Alcaraz did fine and showed he can be an adequate 3rd option at the back. We certainly missed Barry and were out-possessed by a team for the first time in a long time. McCarthy was outstanding and man of the match for me. The boy Shaw for them was brilliant, Baines' heir apparent for England.
Veselin Petrov
849 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:31:27
From psychological point of view, a perfect boost for the New Year! Until the very end, I was not sure if we could hold the win. Full credit to our opponents as well.

I also think Naismith was very good today, which really gives me hope he could be used more from now on. Oh, and Lukaku finally smashing his long awaited one. Smiling again!

Dennis Ng
850 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:33:35
Is he the one with Ramirez' shirt?

Great game and a close one. Touches are a bit off, thought they can get better. Southampton not allowing much space for sure so the bad touches were glaring. Robles have to make that save, long distance, right at GK. Otherwise a great game for him too. Definitely got away with Alcaraz handball. Wished Lukaku took all the chances he got, at least 3 good ones and banked 1, but he played an awesome all round game today.

Linda Morrison
851 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:36:17
Well what a relief. I couldn't believe that Jags was out as well as Howard. The Birdman settled in well with Distin, just as well as Jags is out for about 4 weeks and we will have Howard and Barry back next game.

Our squad is paper thin and we need reinforcements to ensure we stay in touch for Europe.It would be a shame to see all the hard work undone because we don't have enough fit players.

Martinez gave them a target of 70 points which I thought was a lot but they are over half way to it now.

Tommy Coleman
852 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:40:40
Phew! That was though.

Got to make a couple of January signings to stay in the title race.

Well done Blues!

Paul Paxton
853 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:40:39
Important win today. Probably the best team we've seen at Goodison this season. Harried and pressed us all game.

Great to see Lukaku on the scoresheet, hopefully he can push on and start scoring for fun again. McCarthy definitely MotM. Bring on Stoke.

Andy Osborne
854 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:43:03
Same stage last season we had 4 fewer points and 4 fewer goal difference. Not bad considering the stupid defeat against Sunderland.
Phil Friedman
855 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:47:03
Many bash Howard, but if he was in there it would have been a clean sheet. Great win.
Ajay Gopal
856 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:36:44
Nice win, if a bit nerve-wracking in the end. I agree – McCarthy man of the match – in the final analysis he was the difference between the two sides. What a fantastic flick from the outside of his foot to set up Lukaku for the goal, and what a great finish!

Osman was too light-weight for the pressing game of Southampton; Barry would never have allowed that shot from Ramirez. But, a really poor effort from Robles.

Alcaraz was outstanding – a cool head and you would have never thought that he was playing his first competitive game in a long, long time. The hard working Naismith was just what was needed in the middle against the pressing game of Southampton. The number of headers he wins for a man of his stature is amazing.

But, full credit to Southampton – what a hard-working team they are! And no real super-stars. They will do well under Pochettino.

I wonder after such a hard-fought match, if there is any gas in the tank for players like Distin, McCarthy, Coleman.

Come on you (Chelsea) Blues! Beat the other side, that will complete my Sunday!

Darryl Ritchie
857 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:49:12
Nearly safe!!! Not going down this season!
Dennis Ng
858 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:47:20
70 points is pretty much 4-5th place, maybe even 2-3rd given the weird results in all directions this year. Same UCL target as BK said RM gave himself that got him the job. I would expect nothing less from RM expectation wise. It will be hard given our squad but we'll try no doubt!
Dennis Ng
859 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:47:20
Dup
Mark Frere
860 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:44:51
Kevin (847)

It's funny how we all see things differently. Robles didn't fill me with any confidence today, he should have saved the shot for their goal, it should've been a routine save. I thought Osman did okay today, not one of our best players but was very steady.

I agree with you on Alcaraz – very good steady display.

Dennis Ng
861 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:53:46
btw, just came across my mind. NOW, we have the monkey off our back!
Andy Osborne
862 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:52:03
Darryl, ha ha. I suppose that the difference between the last few seasons and this one. Alcaraz played very well, I thought. Robles is not as good as Howard but is one for the future. McCarthy was steady but I thought we missed Barry. Coleman is the best full back in hone country right now.
Bill Gall
863 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:35:47
Good performance, even if it was scrappy at times. Southampton are no easy pushovers.

Well BK, your new manager has done his part in the first half of the season by getting the team in a solid position for a place in Europe. You and your board have now got to do your part to ensure that the manager is given every opportunity to break through that mythical glass ceiling by fully supporting him with no excuses.

Kevin Rowlands
864 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:49:24
Phil, Howard was in goal against Sunderland and guess what, no clean sheet, I wonder why? btw one of his most glaring weaknesses his whole Everton career has been stopping shots from long range so i'm not so sure he would have saved that, Robles is 14 years younger than him and much more imposing, he is our future not TH, except for maybe the goal he was very assured.
Mike Oates
865 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:57:13
Great result if not performance. Martinez should have learnt that Alcaraz can cover for Jags, Robles not yet ready, Oviedo can play wide left and we are desperate for another striker and wide right winger.

Slightly worried that we are down to bare bones particularly if we lose a centre half but Martinez has faith in young Stones.

Dennis Ng
866 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:04:58
It's pretty much back to the same debate, one mistake in one game. It's hard to tell and I would prefer to see him in more games. I've seen that type of shot beaten other GKs before so I wouldn't say its that bad. I think its a bit soft for sure. GK is a difficult position to be in. The only times people talk about you is when you let in a soft goal OR an amazing game where you keep a clean sheet. More game time will be the only way for us to be sure.

I think we have cover for defence in general because of our midfield covering for them.. We can play a bit lighter than past seasons because of that if forced to. We definitely need a striker and a midfield, preferably right sided. I would think we need a defensive mid as well just in case for more Barry/McCarthy downtime. As the commentators said, defensive mids get so little credit for their hard work.

Conn Prosser
867 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:55:19
Very important win – another masterstroke from Martinez.

Great to see Lukaku look so threatening. Osman armband was a great touch by Roberto, though I don't feel comfortable with Leon starting. But it sent a message that said, "You won't be dropped for fucking up, so play without fear." I'm glad we have Robles in the squad, though I prefer Howard in the team. And finally, Alcaraz gets a game, and didn't he do well? Very impressed.

Depth of the squad really showed today, or at least Martinez's ability to make the squad appear deep. I didn't quite understand Oviedo's substitution, did he take a knock? Jimmy Mac and Barks were immense today. Happy New Year, Blues.

Ian Bennett
868 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:19:56
You can see why The Saints are doing well, they gave us a really tough game. Valuable 3 points no doubt. Great play by McCarthy for the second, I would like to see more of that.

Reinforcements in January are a must. Up the Blues.

Steavey Buckley
869 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:18:01
Everton at times today were second best to Southampton in contested 50/50 balls. Could be down to Barry not playing. I do believe if Everton can find a pacey striker alongside Lukaku, more goals will come. At times, Lukaku spent too much time looking for the ball and making runs down the channels; while surrounded by more than one defender, instead of being in around the box. Yet, surprisingly, Everton could have won 4-1 if Barkley and Lukaku had taken their chances when inside the penalty area in front of goal.
Chris James
870 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:10:03
Wading in on the Robles debate, my view is that he's a very promising number two who has done well apart from that one shot today, which did take a deflection but he should have at least got a hand to. It's often said that goalkeepers are only remembered for their mistakes and I think it would be harsh on the lad if he was judged on that one mistake.
That said, I personally think Howard has been excellent this season and will deservedly come straight back in against Stoke.

Generally speaking I think our defence has been immense this season, especially considering the total change in approach (i.e having to pass across the back and having players charging forward ahead of them far more rather than KITAP1) - we're one of the meanest in the league and look strong almost regardless of personnel changes (Oviedo in for Baines, Alcaraz for Jags, etc). There's genuine depth too with Stones, Heitinga and even Hibbert as back up to Baines/Oviedo Jags/Alcaraz/Distin and Coleman and the likes of Duffy and Garbutt waiting for their chance in the wings.

That said, IF Gibson and Deleafou were fit our midfield isn't too bad either, so it's really up top we need to concentrate next month. With Jelly on his way and assuming Kone's not coming back any time soon, I'd hope for 2 arrivals (at least one permanent and maybe one loan) to give us some options and take weight off Lukaku's shoulders for the second half.

Terry Maher
871 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:27:13
Brilliant result today.

Lukaku looking good... Coleman Man of the match.

Well done, Blues... let's keep it up!

Paul Mackie
872 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:28:12
I thought we played well today but Southampton deserved their goal. Up until then in the second half we'd been extremely sloppy and didn't seem to wake up until they scored. How many times this season have we responded immediately? It seems like quite a few to me.

Potential banana skin avoided though and another very winnable game next. Not sure whether I want Chelsea to win today or whether a point to them and the RS would benefit us more come May.

Ian Bennett
873 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:30:38
I got early to the match today and watched Robles warm up. His handling was a little suspect then.
Mark Tanton
875 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:44:42
It's odd that some people were losing patience with Lukaku after a few games without a goal - he got his first real chance for weeks today and did the business.
Raymond Fox
876 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:23:06
I very much agree Bill 863, we need 2 or 3 decent players in January. that's if we can find them! We ground out a result today, I never thought it would be easy, as they're a good solid side.

Alcaraz is a classy player, he'll pay his way without a doubt. Robles let that shot go under him, but it's a blunder that you see plenty other goalies make, he'll do for me. McCarthy had his usual solid game, what's he valued at now, more than £13m I'll wager.

Good to see 'Big Lu' score again, a confidence booster for the next game.

It's sure tight at the top though!

Conn Prosser
877 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:44:50
Baines on the pitch was good news - at least he's not definitely going.
Si Cooper
878 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:39:12
Ossie was fine in the first half and he can certainly start games against teams that rely more on guile in their midfield than physical intimidation.

What he can't do is impose himself in a physical battle or last much longer than an hour in most games, so it will be up to the manager (and whatever options he has available at a particular time) to decide if and when he gets on the pitch.

I don't think we were ever under the cosh today, though we were definitely chasing shadows at times during the early part of the second half. The Soton players deserve some credit for that, though Mirallas on for Ossie could have happened 10 minutes earlier for me.

Si Cooper
879 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:49:47
Unfortunately Mark (875) that is not odd on this site at all!

Almost any player seems to have their detractors who are ready to pounce at the slightest sniff of weakness.

It probably shouldn't surprise us as everyone is different and has their own opinions and likes or dislikes.

Gavin Ramejkis
880 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:52:42
Back from the game, a solid enough display against a decent Southampton side, another moment of brilliance from the £60k Irish Cafu and a very tidy finish from Lukaku who was desperate for a goal.

Alcaraz didn't look out of place which was good in the absence of Jags, Robles was steady enough and even the Ramirez goal had a look of the Cabaye screamer so not overly upset he didn't manage to save it. Three points keeps us right in the mix and where we need to be going into the New Year.

Mark Frere
881 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:46:59
Paul (872)

I think Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea are the strongest sides in the league and will get into the CL. So, besides hating RS, I think along with Manure they are our closest rivals for a top 4 Spot. I want Manure and RS to be beaten regardless of who they play.

Kunal Desai
882 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:39:01
I'd like Martinez to maybe try and get that bloke from Betis we played in pre-season... was it Cedric? He ripped our defence apart time and time again with his passing.
Jon Ferguson
883 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:50:34
Mark – I'm in the minority that aren't big Lukaku fans. Don't get me wrong, we'd be much worse off without him this season but I think his all round game is lacking; for example, his first touch isn't great. If we did have the £25m+ it would take to sign him, I think we could get better with the money. Delighted he scored today, of course.
Mick Davies
884 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:33:19
Ha, Seamus is in the top 20 scorers ahead of Benteke, Soldado and Torres! What a crazy season we're having
John Malone
886 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:25:20
It is funny how people see a different game I thought we got lucky today very lucky! I thought Southampton out ran and out-battled us and dominated the middle of the park, and just lacked that quality to punish us.

It showed to me how crucial and how good Barry is, and also showed how important Distin is to this team, head and shoulders above today literally.

Not going to go on about the negatives as we got the win and that's what matters. The positives were Seamus Coleman great goal again and lightning quick defensively, Lukaku done nothing apart from bury a well worked chance stemming from a great run and assist by McCarthy.

We definitely need another striker, centre mid cover as poor Ossie's little leg's are gone, and an attacking midfielder, too much is expected from Barkley every game.

Onwards and upwards; Allez, Allez, Allez, Ohhhhhhhh!!

Steve Barr
887 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:54:48
Sloppy performance today. Gave the ball away too often, but credit to Southampon for constant pressure on the ball, forcing plenty of mistakes from us.

In my opinion Osman has been a very good player for Everton. Excellent touch, some great goals, v Man City at home last season for example, and certainly does not deserve the outright slatings he sometimes gets.

The point made above seems accurate to me "Ossie is fine in the against teams that rely more on guile in their midfield than physical intimidation.What he can't do is impose himself in a physical battle or last much longer than an hour in most games".

If you play for Everton, whoever you are, you deserve a basic level of respect. After all it is the season of good cheer!

COYBs

Dennis Ng
889 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:00:42
Coleman is coming up strong. He might be the right sided man we need. I would say we should get either a right mid or right back.
Jackie Barry
890 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:01:37
Yeah it is John because I saw a completely different game to you too.
Jon Withey
891 Posted 29/12/2013 at 16:43:09
You can forgive a young keeper some nerves – De Gea looked dodgy early-on, and Tim Howard is with us for a similar reason. Still it was interesting to see us linked with Readings young keeper today...or is that just media mischief ?

I'd forgotten Alcaraz was in the squad !

I'd be happy if Martinez signed another McCarthy and a striker.

Sam Fitzsimmons
892 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:32:39
Great result given we had a reshuffled first eleven and the quality of the opposition. Robles, totally responsible for their goal. It'll be good to have Howard back.Coleman is an inspiration going forward and solid in defence. Baines you could tell he'd been out for a while, didn't really get into his natural groove. Distin had a couple of heart in the mouth moments but verry much in control. Alcaraz was very solid and showed plenty of signs that he can play a pass. Osman had a really good game, atoned somewhat for his culpability in the Boxing day debacle. McCarthy really pressed his authority and determination all over the pitch, very much the heartbeat of the team today.

Barkley was dominant, creative, at times reflected the growing mercurial nature of this team. Naismith made a useful contribution and offered an option other than Lukaku for the long ball. With Oviedo playing in midfield, he was a little less visible than iin previous games. Lakaku give tireless industry with has great awareness... scored a stunning winner. Mirallas (sub) provided the Saints defense with another thing to think about. Pienaar's understanding with Baines did change the dynamic a bit, but he can over elaborate and expose the left flank.

My MotM has to be McCarthy

Dennis Ng
893 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:05:30
Jon (891), I would say we need another GK just for backup, since Robles would be our young GK. Never write off a GK calamity that hits 2 players. Just look at Chelsea a few years ago.

I would def be happy if we get another McCarthy, and he can be a teenager for all I care as long as the budget allows. We need more players like him but don't require them to immediately step up.

Carl Sanderson
895 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:14:23
McCarthy was MotM today against good opposition, a vast improvement on his performance against Sunderland.

That was our hardest game so far this season; and the goals to win it were belters.

Well done, Blues.

Matt Traynor
896 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:20:16
Good result. I thought Antolin Alcaraz was solid (won't say as a rock...)

Bloody good job too as Jagielka is ruled out for 4 weeks.

Phil Walling
900 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:18:55
Alcaraz looked a very competent replacement for Jags but oh dear, that keeper is a disaster waiting to happen... and it did! Not a patch on Howard or Mucha IMO.

But a good win ground out by a much changed side.

Kevin Tully
904 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:31:02
Just back in, and now going back out apparently!

Alcaraz got us out of jail a few times today, one of the best debuts for many a year - reminds me of Paul Power.

Incredible to see 20 players within 5 yards of each other on the half-way line, two top managers on show there today.

We are at 78 mins in the RS v Chelsea game, we should all want a draw, but feck the dogs!!

Dennis Ng
905 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:38:02
Can't say I totally disagree about Robles but I think its a bit harsh. I would think 1 game is not enough. Imagine Howard back in the day at manu. Surely the only way to access his ability is to play him more, here or somewhere else.
Peter Mills
907 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:24:51
Decent enough contributions to a winning performance from Osman and Naismith. Surely people can see that genuine professionals like these two make valuable contributions over the course of a season?
Kunal Desai
909 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:54:39
Above the RS going into a happy new year!
Ross Edwards
910 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:54:36
Get in there, Chelsea have won, above the RS at New Year. COYB!
David Starsky
911 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:56:08
ahead of them at start of 2014 - and stay there !!
Jackie Barry
912 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:52:37
And there it is, we cement our place in the top 4 for the end of 2013. Job well done so far Mr Martinez
Mike Hughes
913 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:55:26
Well, well, well ......
So the big boys are occupying the top 4 places going into the new year.
Same old, same old (yawn).

Ross Edwards
914 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:56:31
The RS 3 points off 8th. But typically, to make them happy, they now have an easy run in to bounce back.
Paul Ferry
916 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:13:27
Cheers Ross - Edwards - mate. Lovely seeing the old lady under the lights and a work of art for a pitch. Very impressed by Alcaraz and had Seamus mom and player of the season in waiting. Wouldn't have flexed a muscle if Lu had not come back on for the 2nd half and then he shows why he matters,

Vital to win this and we did just that, the passing for the 2nd aaaaahhhhhhh

Lovely positive vibes at the old lady today knowing that we are on the cusp of something treating thursday as a mere blip and nowhere near full throttle we take care of a good saints team.

Ah final whistle at the bridge, shite in our wake, nice .......

Ho hum 747 to chicago tuesday see you all on here for the flesh-dripping living-dead mutants game

4th eh - smug smile!

Happy new year and all the best for 2014 to us and one and all!!!!!

Off to the Crows now Gerry and Eric!

Paul Ferry
917 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:13:27
Cheers Ross - Edwards - mate. Lovely seeing the old lady under the lights and a work of art for a pitch. Very impressed by Alcaraz and had Seamus mom and player of the season in waiting. Wouldn't have flexed a muscle if Lu had not come back on for the 2nd half and then he shows why he matters,

Vital to win this and we did just that, the passing for the 2nd aaaaahhhhhhh

Lovely positive vibes at the old lady today knowing that we are on the cusp of something treating thursday as a mere blip and nowhere near full throttle we take care of a good saints team.

Ah final whistle at the bridge, shite in our wake, nice .......

Ho hum 747 to chicago tuesday see you all on here for the flesh-dripping living-dead mutants game

4th eh - smug smile!

Happy new year and all the best for 2014 to us and one and all!!!!!

Off to the Crows now Gerry and Eric!

Paul Ferry
918 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:13:27
Cheers Ross - Edwards - mate. Lovely seeing the old lady under the lights and a work of art for a pitch. Very impressed by Alcaraz and had Seamus mom and player of the season in waiting. Wouldn't have flexed a muscle if Lu had not come back on for the 2nd half and then he shows why he matters,

Vital to win this and we did just that, the passing for the 2nd aaaaahhhhhhh

Lovely positive vibes at the old lady today knowing that we are on the cusp of something treating thursday as a mere blip and nowhere near full throttle we take care of a good saints team.

Ah final whistle at the bridge, shite in our wake, nice .......

Ho hum 747 to chicago tuesday see you all on here for the flesh-dripping living-dead mutants game

4th eh - smug smile!

Happy new year and all the best for 2014 to us and one and all!!!!!

Off to the Crows now Gerry and Eric!

Ross Edwards
919 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:58:35
Shame on those on here who predicted when Martinez was appointed that we would be in the bottom 3 at this point.
Mike Hughes
921 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:57:31
I'll be raising a glass or two for Roberto and the lads tonight.
Pity we didn't get that 3 points against Sunderland but you can't win 'em all.
I'm happy we can at least win away at the "Sky 4" clubs unlike others around these parts.
(Snigger).
Ross Edwards
922 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:59:49
Glad you enjoyed it Paul. I suggest you take a good look at the table and smile.

Those smug Kopites who predicted they would be top at New Year are now silent. They are not even top in their own City.

COYB!

Colin Glassar
923 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:02:07
Ross, every game we play these days I think we can win it. This is thanks to Roberto who I never, ever doubted when he was appointed.
Wayne Smyth
924 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:27:42
Carl(895), I thought McCarthy has been close to being our MOTM in most games this season. He's been consistently good and so I've not seen any massive step up in performance today. Was good to see him get forward and create our second goal.

I also agree with John Malone that I thought we were out-played for much of the match. Southampton work really really hard and they have good technical players who play football in the right way.

Good performers for me were Alcaraz, Coleman, McCarthy and Barkley. Wasn't impressed with Lukaku, despite his goal. Naismith works hard and wins more than his fair share of headers, but otherwise he is not of the quality we need. His first thought is always safety first, which is not what you need from a forward. Maybe a bit unfair as he's never been a winger, but I'd preferred to have seen one of our academy players such as Matthew Kennedy given the nod.

Considering we were severely weakened a win is a great result, even at home.

Mike Hughes
925 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:03:42
Ross #922
Just a small point of note (I'm sure it was an honest mistake).

Never dignify kopites with a capital letter.
Just as you wouldn't put a capital G in front of gobshites.

Now for a quick rendition of "Singing The Blues" ...... :)

Patrick Murphy
926 Posted 29/12/2013 at 17:57:55
There were 5 first team players absent from the starting line-up (Howard, Jags, Barry, Pienaar & Mirallas) today FIVE not many times have we been able to miss one regular starter without suffering from it so to get the win was a really great achievement. However, I'm not sure that leaving Peanuts and Mirallas on the bench wasn't too much of a gamble, but we got away with it and gained the three points.

I must admit when the Saints equalised I could only see one team winning but we created a good chance and took it well. Let's hope we can finish the season where we have finished the year.

COYB

Ray Robinson
927 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:06:39
I'm happy with the win, of course, however unconvincing it may have been. At times, today's game seemed more like a Moyes game than a Martinez one. The passing game wasn't quite as well defined and had me pondering just how much we missed Barry just in front of the back four anchoring the triangular passing out of defence. It's a little bit worrying that the absence of one player seemed to impact our style of play so much - or was it Southampton with their high pressing game?
Mike Gaynes
928 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:06:34
Carl (895) and Wayne (924), must disagree a bit on McCarthy. He was up to his usual ballwinning standard and that screaming run and flicked pass to set up Lukaku were sensational, but before that I thought he was really having a poor game on the ball. His passes repeatedly put his teammates in trouble and caused multiple turnovers in the middle of the park. And I don't know what he was thinking on that one free kick.

So I wouldn't rank this performance among his best.

Ross Edwards
929 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:11:06
Apologies Mike.

Did you see Carragher's face then when they cut back to him after the table was shown?

Biased RS.

Mike Hughes
931 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:11:52
Ray #927

I felt the same but, to be fair, we have a relatively small squad size and the number of changes had me worried before kick-off. We were never going to be as fluid today due to that.

The way I look at it, we've dropped points this season when we deserved better so it's about time the opposite happened.

Southampton was always going to be a tough game so just glad of the points tonight and to be looking down on the RS. If the media are talking them up as title contenders then why not us? Then again, who gives a flying one about what the media think?

Kevin McCartney
932 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:05:12
Hmmm, tough game today, just goes to show how thin our team really is of quality, with Stoke (A), QPR (H, FA-C), Norwrich (H), West Brom (A evening) all on paper win able but I think the majority of the team thought that against Sunderland, hope they learnt their lesson, (take nothing for granted, a game isn't won until we score more than the other team and that whistle goes to end the game), and then the big one, Red Shite (A evening) end of Jan 28th, with Jelavic, Heitinga most likely already out the door in Jan, hopefully Naismith to, (god knows why he gets a cameo appearance, or what the hell is in his contract that means we have to put him on the pitch for 5 mins) anyway, 3 mil a peace if that, but hopefully some 'young' new faces for cover, plus I hope Deulofeu is back soon, anyone know his due return date?
John Malone
933 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:17:35
Jackie Barry — would you like to give us your version of events?
Mike Hughes
934 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:17:46
Ross - no need to apologise.

One of the bonuses of not having Sky is I don't get to see scumbags like Carragher.

I'm just waiting for whatever shite Stevie G Lar comes out with ahead of the derby match - particularly if we're still ahead of them. There's usually some bitter and demeaning comment from that lowlife.

Ray Robinson
935 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:18:18
Mike #931, I agree with your comment on the size of the squad. I'm guess I'm concerned that a single player can seemingly impact the whole template on which the new style is based. If you look at the really great sides, the style of play is fixed and individual players slot in and out of the team without disrupting the way the team plays. Barry is so crucial to our new way of playing, it's slightly worrying given that a) he's on loan b) likely to get suspended c) getting on a bit.
Gavin Ramejkis
936 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:18:07
You really couldn't make it up if you tried, anyone else listening to the local radio commentary on the RS vs Chavski game, now if this sort of shit had come from Jimmy Case you'd write it off as he is a clueless head the ball, but I shit you not his co-commentator claimed that the difference with Everton getting a result over the RS was that we were able to make so many changes today because of our squad and the RS squad doesn't have that sort of depth or quality because of a lack of spending - I almost choked laughing, what fucking planet do these delusional everyone else's fault gobshites really come from?

Now they are playing half decent sides let's see them slide back where they belong.

Gavin Ramejkis
937 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:18:07
You really couldn't make it up if you tried, anyone else listening to the local radio commentary on the RS vs Chavski game, now if this sort of shit had come from Jimmy Case you'd write it off as he is a clueless head the ball, but I shit you not his co-commentator claimed that the difference with Everton getting a result over the RS was that we were able to make so many changes today because of our squad and the RS squad doesn't have that sort of depth or quality because of a lack of spending - I almost choked laughing, what fucking planet do these delusional everyone else's fault gobshites really come from?

Now they are playing half decent sides let's see them slide back where they belong.

Ross Edwards
939 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:23:36
They'll probably complain about the fact we have 4 loanees, which isn't fair, an advantage to us, blah blah, Suarez is the best player in the history of the game, he's never dived, yadda yadda, unfair reputation, and all that crap no doubt Mike.

Hate the lot of 'em.

Mark Taylor
940 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:10:33
Hard fought it is a good way of putting it- Southampton probably deserved a point today. Their pressing game put us in a lot of discomfort at the back and saw more long balls hit than usual; perhaps explaining why Lukaku seemed more into the game than normal.

Aside from the win, the positives were McCarthy and Seamus doing their usual excellent stuff, Ross impressing when he was playing as forward midfielder (he's wasted when pushed further back) and Alcaraz making a promising start.

The negatives; Robles does not convince at this point, Baines looked very rusty and slow while Naismith does as Naismith is- runs around a lot, wins more than his share of headers but not much else. There was a classic moment in the second half when he actually had a one on one but instead of trying to make something happen, he crabbed sideways and backwards. You just know that, for all his shortcomings, Mirallas (or Delboy) would have instinctively tried to attack.

I'm another not entirely taken by Lukaku. He's a reasonably proficient goalscorer but his play otherwise is not that of a £25m striker and I'm not convinced he fits that well into RM's usual system.

Still, can't grumble with where we stand at the end of 2013.

Patrick Murphy
942 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:27:39
Gavin that does seem a strange thing for them to say and added to KD's praise of their frugality this season and I wonder if they may have to sell before they buy perhaps a fun loving rat is not going to be there in February after all. Three of our changes were enforced rather than due to rotation. Anyway who cares what they think let's hope we can continue to put the pressure on by winning more games.
Ross Edwards
943 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:27:26
RS next 5 fixtures Our next 5

Hull (H) Stoke (A)
Stoke (A) Norwich (H)
A Villa (H) West Brom (A)
Everton (H) RS (A)
WBA (A) A Villa (H)

Typically, they get 2 easy games to come, Hull and Stoke, just to make up for the 2 defeats they've suffered. I still think we'll be above them come derby day.

Mike Hughes
944 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:24:19
Ray #935 - Agreed. But credit to RM for getting him in. Clearly he knows the type and quality required. We might even get him permanently because a pro like that probably has another 3-4 seasons in him. He probably looks after himself, doesn't drink etc.I don't think it was just Barry's absence today - as significant as that was. I think the number of changes like that against a quality side was always going to be a challenge. Just glad we came though.

Gavin #937 - Jimmy "Shithouse" Case (to give him his full name) is a neanderthal. How the hell he gets a commentary / punditry role is beyond me. I'm sure there must be a scar on his forehead where he was lobotomised. He has all the right words - just not necessarily in the right order. I can't listen for long when he's on. He talks out of his arse. Then again he's a red.

Mike Hughes
945 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:33:16
Ross - I hate them as well. But I can't help laughing at them. Why oh why are they so bitter?
Brin Williams
946 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:33:07
Don't write off Robles - I think he will prove many wrong - a good replacement for Howard in due course.

Patrick Murphy
947 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:35:11
Ross please no more information on the other lot if I was interested and I'm not I can look it up.
Ross Edwards
948 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:35:50
I think it is because Evertonians are special, we know the game, we love the game, we live the game, we are born Evertonians and die as Evertonians, whereas many people from Norway or Essex "claim" to be lifelong RS fans when they've probably never seen Anfield before or know who Bill Shankly is.

That's what separates them from us in my view. They're glory hunters, all of them.

Brin Williams
949 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:36:53
Had to miss today's match due to a bad bout of the Mirallarse's!!

However I shall look forward with great delight to watch MOTD tonight and listen to those biased twats make excuses and squirm.

Ho ho Fucking ho. !!

Andy Cobham
950 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:33:02
Great result today with so many changes to the team. Especially happy that Lukaku has ended his short goal drought and nearly added another immediately after scoring (Me: "It'll take a miracle for him to score from there..." Cue him beating three men and whistling one just over the bar!).

Good on James McCarthy too, on Boxing Day pre the game whilst kicking in, one of his shots whacked a young lady right in the face. He showed concern at the time, but at the final whistle today he headed straight for the spot on Gwladys St to try and find her and as she wasn't there today handed his shirt to a bloke who said he knew her and would get it to her (really hope that happens too). Nice touch, James.

Brin Williams
951 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:40:44
Glory hunters? Where's the glory in that?
Paul Ferry
952 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:37:18
Rubbish Mike Gaynes - 928 - just like your earlier shoddy comments on Nuts that were correctly panned; McCarthy 'before [his pass for the 2nd goal] I thought he was really having a poor game on the ball. His passes repeatedly put his teammates in trouble and caused multiple turnovers in the middle of the park. And I don't know what he was thinking on that one free kick'

Did you actually watch the match or go to it as I did? So all those life-long Evertonians ahead of you on this thread are what wrong for praising McCarthy today? No. Piss poor judgment and footie nous; only Alcaraz and Coleman were better than McCarthy today and I would not be surprised at all if someone comes on here and say hey Ferry you fool McCarthy was better than one or both of those lads.

Footie nous, to be learned and earned down through the years.

Paul Ferry
953 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:44:52
Hope you feel better soon Brian mate - 949.
Andy Cobham
954 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:43:06
Just to add to the RS post mortem (how apt!) Looked they were hard done by.... Bloody great!!! The more they suffer some real hard luck and shite decisions the better as far as I'm concerned... Give em summat rot moan about ....and boy do they like moaning!
Mark Taylor
955 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:35:19
Gavin, did Case really complain about a lack of spending. He must be brain dead. In the last window, Liverpool spent £28m net. We spent minus £12m. So they spent £40m more than us. In one window.

I doubt if we have spent £28m net since the start of the Premier League.

Gavin Ramejkis
960 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:05:04
Mark it wasn't Case it was his co-commentator, if it was Case I wouldn't be surprised as Mike said above he is a complete arse. Just reading the BBC post game comments on the Chavski match and it seems yet again the spawn were denied a few pen shouts, dodgy bastards deserve nothing, hopefully less after Brenda having a dig after the Man City game too.

Ross, I wouldn't write Hull off as an easy game for them, they aren't a bad side and look to have worked out how to score now too.

Phil Walling
962 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:09:31
Bryn, I wrote off Robles after seeing his poor performances pre-season. We have half a dozen better back-up keepers in recent years and today was typical of the level of his keeping. Generally poor!
Chris James
964 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:15:47
Great result and nice to be looking down on Liverpool of course, but even though I'm a glass half full kinda chap usually, I can't help thinking we should be talking more about the 2 point gap in our title race than edging above those vying for 4th! ;-)

Wonder how long it'll take me to get over the Sunderland game? (To be honest, I've just about recovered from the terrible performance away to Palace - this is the problem of raising expectations Mr Martinez, long may it continue, hopefully with our trip to the Potteries in a couple of days).

Brent Stephens
965 Posted 29/12/2013 at 18:50:30
A good Southampton side. A ground-out win. 4th place. Great.

Another gain is how calm Alcaraz looks. A typical Roberto player.

Great goal from Coleman and a good performance. Barks was in and out as was Lukaku. I suppose as were a few others eg Osman, Mirallas, Mais (great in the air, Douglas Bader on the ground). But Macca solid again.

Roberto gives Osman the armband - what a touch - our manager has so many qualities.

Ajay #856 "Osman was too light-weight for the pressing game of Southampton; Barry would never have allowed that shot from Ramirez." It was Macca who lost his man.

Brian Harrison
966 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:09:25
Hats off to the boys today, without Barry, Jags and Howard and Pienaar and Mirallas on the bench this was a tough ask today. I thought that Southampton were very good certainly the fittest side I have seen in a long time, I think in the second half they practically won every second ball and fully deserved their equaliser. But while I feared another couple of points being dropped RM brings on Pienaar for Oviedo at the time I thought Oviedo unlucky to be subbed but RM was vindicated when Pienaar found McCarthy with a great pass who in turn found Lukaku who finished off a great move.

There is no doubt that in the modern game you have to rotate players especially at this time of the season, so I suppose we can expect more changes for the Stoke and QPR games. But if we are to compete at the top end of the league then our squad players will have to put in a shift.

Brent Stephens
967 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:28:18
*Nais, Mais, whatever. Still Douglas Bader on the ground.
Mark Tanton
968 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:27:29
Southampton are a good team, and we did well to beat them today with injuries and suspensions. We've done well in a tough period; Sunderland aside, we've come through Christmas stongly and heading into a crucial transfer window with what is hopefully an opportunity to offload some more players Martinez doesn't fancy (he must surely find some of the things Naismith does purely offensive) and bring some more in.
Raymond Fox
974 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:28:28
Phil you should know better by now than to bring Senor Martinez's judgement into question.
He'll cut the mustard, more playing time would help, he must be as rusty as my gate!
Ryan Holroyd
977 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:56:31
Nice one Phil. Writing someone off after a few games. You were probably one of the muppets who wrote Martinez off after the first three games of the season. Not sure why everyone judges people after 5 mins. Strange.
Jamie Barlow
978 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:35:29
Gavin, the best thing about the penalty shouts for the shite were that they both should have been given and they were both on the sewer rat himself. Great stuff.

Today's game was probably the hardest of our season so far In my opinion. 3 of our back 5 had changed as well as our rock in centre midfield. If any team was going to put us under huge pressure, it was going to be Southampton with their great pressing game. I was pretty impressed with Southampton today. Good team.

Robles looks a bit dodgy but he has plenty of time. Alcaraz looks cool as fuck and is probably our best ball player from the back. Baines looked rusty. Lukaku looked lazy and a yard behind everyone else. McCarthy is tireless. Naismith gives his all and wins everything in the air but that isn't enough.

Motm - Coleman. The lad just gets better and better. Love him.

My one moan is the time it took Martinez to change things. I think everyone could see Southampton were getting on top and it was only a matter of time before they scored. That doesn't mean I hate him and want him sacked - Ross.

Carl Sanderson
982 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:57:25
Mike Gaynes,

I thought McCarthy really took responsibility today, which he did not do against Sunderland.

He showed well, demanded the ball, used it well and put his foot in. His run beyond the Southampton defence was perfectly timed and his pass to Lukaku excellent.

The contrast with the previous game was stark.

Noel Early
983 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:00:09
Great win against a good side that probably deserved a point. Good to see Baines back in the side, even if he did look sluggish at times. Alcaraz was outstanding along with Distin. The two Irish lads would be my Men of the Match — what a revelation Coleman has become this season.

Injuries are beginning to mount now, Jags and Deulofeu especially are huge losses. Lukaku looks to be running on empty; I'd consider starting Mirallas up front against Stoke to give the big man a rest. If he gets injured, we are in serious trouble. Hopefully we can push on for 4th spot now, great opportunity...

Noel Early
984 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:00:09
Great win against a good side that probably deserved a point, Good to see Baines back in the side even if he did look sluggish at times.Alcarez was outstanding along with Distin. The two Irish lads would be my men of the match, what a revelation Coleman has become this season.

Injuries are beginning to mount now, Jags and Delefeou especially are huge losses.Lukaku looks to be running on empty id sonsider starting Mirallas up front against Stoke to give the big man a rest.If he gets injured we are in serious trouble.Hopefully we can push on for fourth spot now, great opportunity..

Dave Roberts
985 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:12:08
I'm in the Coleman as MotM camp, just. So much so that, in view of his recent performances, if the Great God of Footy came to Roberto in a dream tonight and said to him, '"Sorry but you have to sell one of your two first-choice fullbacks." — I wonder which one would he choose?

The best left-back in the country who is 30 and who can see the other side of the hill or the best right-back in the country who is little more than a kid who hasn't reached the summit yet?

Tough one.

David Pearl
986 Posted 29/12/2013 at 19:49:24
Easy now Paul Tiger Ferry!
Footie nous... actually its funny how little some people know about the game, views on players, formations, intricacy's etc. If you grow up playing 2 hours a day, every day from childhood it helps but still doesn't mean anything. Some of the coaches I had as a kid and even later as a young adult training, you wonder how they actually got their positions being ever so slow to change and stuck in their mindsets. I'd still rather have Mike Gaynes as manager than Sam Allardyce.
Dave Williams
987 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:03:28
Watching the pundits on Sky after the Chelsea win I was amazed at how all three totally overlooked us when talking about who will finish in the top 4.

Having won at OT,beaten Chelsea, outplayed Arsenal and only lost twice all season their desire to see the so called big boys in the top 4 rather than acknowledge us as a genuine contender is disgraceful.

Great result today and let's not forget the absence of Gibson around whom our passing game was to be based before his injury.

And lay off Ossie everyone- not the greatest player to pull on an Everton shirt but gives it all he's got,contributes more often than not and in my book if they give it everything they deserve our respect.

Dave Roberts
988 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:25:39
I'd rather have my missus as manager than Sam Allardyce so Mike Gaynes shouldn't think he has been forgiven!
Patrick Murphy
989 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:44:43
Dave #987 I don't mind if they continue to ignore us, as it leaves the team with something to prove and if they can rediscover their swagger in the second-half of the season then we may be able to prove them wrong, but a lot will depend on how this window is managed and how the squad looks on 1st February.
Mike Butler
991 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:54:52
Paul Ferry I think you were rather harsh in your comments to Mike Gaynes. So much is just simply a matter of opinion and how you see the game on the day. I note that Lyndon Lloyd in his match report states "James McCarthy had arguably his worst game since joining from Wigan in terms of his defensive midfield responsibilities and distribution" I assume you will be giving Lyndon some stick along the same lines as you gave Mike?
Colin Wainwright
994 Posted 29/12/2013 at 21:08:31
Haven't read the above but got to say that Southampton are the best team to visit our place this season. By a country fuckin' mile. Three points may be three points, but that feels good today.
Tony Draper
002 Posted 29/12/2013 at 21:24:11
Lukaku was a different beast after his goal

Something was clearly amiss with him and progressively so these last few weeks, but that arrogant dribble through their defence in seeking a second goal ?
FFS that alone was worth the ticket money

Colemans run & goal !

Alcaraz was bloody good after such a long layoff, I know he is a proper footballing CH but maybe we all saw today why he was an early priority (and for FREE) for RM

And though he's not a huge favourite, Naismith won a staggering amount of headers AGAIN, I just love his sheer determination, he never quits and for that he can not be faulted

McCarthy, well he does cover a hell of a lot of ground and that touch that set up Lukaku.......... he knew bloody well that RL's mini drought was over the second he put him in. McCarthy's transfer fee looks better value by the week, and so much more to come

So we enter are ready to stride in to 2014 in he top 4
Roberto, you're doing just bloody fine mate

Dave Williams
006 Posted 29/12/2013 at 21:50:47
Patrick (#989) you hit the nail on the head — we need to rediscover our swagger which I think has been missing in the last few games, possibly since Gerard injured himself.

Such a shame that Kev seems unable to find his form; until Gerard is fit again, we may struggle for inspiration unless Ross is able to maintain his form. The transfer window could give us a huge boost if RM and BK can repeat their heroics from the summer.

That said we have had a tremendous start to the season and there is no reason why we can't keep it going.

Jon Cox
017 Posted 29/12/2013 at 20:54:08
Back from the game an hour ago and I just read all the comments.

Firstly, the negatives: We, didn’t close down in their first third of the field... er, at all. It was woeful. Their whole game was based on the fact that we allowed them to create and keep possession from the half-way line to our first third of the pitch. Not good.

Secondly, what was it today about not winning that 50/50 or second ball? Not sure how this works really. Is it a fate thing or is it just poor play from us? In the end, it was a well scrapped out victory and all the best teams... etc etc.

Not sure but I may stand alone on this but I had massive confidence in Robles. I was sat in the Upper Bullens near the corner flag close to the Gwladys Street; when a corner for them happened, you could see the positioning of our GK. No problem whatsoever — which says to me that this guy is probably better than Tim Howard on set pieces. And that my fellow blues is a great pet to have at your side. Make no mistake; this guy will be good for us. The more games he gets, the better he’ll get.

Overall, we deserved to win this game. Why? Because we put the ball in the net more than they did. And, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

Roman Sidey
050 Posted 29/12/2013 at 23:46:31
Have to agree with John Malone on the other thread mostly. We were lucky to get the three points, but good teams seem to have good luck, and we are a good team.

Today actually taught a lot about the team and the players that make it up.

For starters, Osman obviously does a lot around the squad off the pitch, as that's the only reason I can see that warrants him having the armband. I don't think he should have even been in the squad today after his boxing day shambles, yet he was captain.

Naismith, as hard as he works, is nowhere near good enough to be associated with the team if their top four ambition is genuine.

Coleman is a gun, and, as already said by many, one of our best players this season. Obviously I wouldn't want him to be sold, but I'd be interested to know how other clubs may value him come January or July. My guess, at this point he'd be worth as much as Baines due to his age. Although it won't be long before he's just worth more because he's better.

Baines - he has his work cut out for him in the next six months. His form wasn't great before the injury, and a good performance will be needed to let people know today wasn't just rust. I think Shaw was much better than him today, and Gibbs is also no slouch these days.

All in all, once again a sign of a good side when you can win when not the better side, so I'm feeling pretty confident going into the second half of the season already in the top four.

Si Cooper
051 Posted 30/12/2013 at 02:32:48
"a sign of a good side when you can win when not the better side"

Roman, I think you actually mean the sign of a good side is when you win even when you do not play your best. Winning when you are outplayed is the sign of a lucky side.

We were not simply 'lucky' today, ergo we were not actually outplayed. Possession isn't everything and that was the only way Southampton were actually superior to us today. We created the better chances and converted more of them as well.

Southampton played well but did not unreservedly deserve anything from that game. People are taking 'being good winners' to ridiculous lengths.

Jon Cox
052 Posted 30/12/2013 at 02:50:27
Si, somehow I think you’re agreeing, ie, 017!
Roman Sidey
058 Posted 30/12/2013 at 03:32:33
That is what I meant sorry, Cooper (sorry for the surname, but every time I type your first name my fucking phone changes it to "is").

By lucky, l meant we had some horrendous passes and touches that went straight to Soton, especially in the second half, that didn't get punished like they may have against other teams at or near the top.

I'm not trying to be a good winner, I crow like the best of them, especially as though a lot of my mates are redshite supporters. As well as the Saints are playing, I do think we should be annihilating teams like that. What I do concede though is that there are some players in our team that are lucky to be part of a team as good as we are this season.

Kevin Rowlands
059 Posted 30/12/2013 at 04:11:18
Phil Walling, who are the backup keepers we have had that are better than Robles then? Given the fact that it was the lad's first Premier League, start he looked more than okay...

Aren't you the same person that claimed RM was a disaster waiting to happen, if we sign Wigan players we're going to get relegated etc etc?

Well, guess what, pal, we have a fantastic manager, a potential young superstar in McCarthy, an excellent FREE agent CB in Alcaraz, a young keeper with huge potential, and yes, I think Kone will come good, so how come your predictions were so off the mark then, Phil?

Dennis Ng
060 Posted 30/12/2013 at 04:33:08
Kevin, my point exactly to jumping the gun on 1 performance. I would say that is a horrible goal he let in, no doubt the class of the goal, but save-able. I am still cautious on other ex-Wigan players but McCarthy is awesome. Alcaraz looks good. Kone is the huge question mark because of his injury. Then again, we're not using the Wigan team, we're adding their best players to complement us. I would say Phil is far too pessimistic on that approach. However, beware of raised expectations. Next season will be the real test for RM in terms of holding the team together. Remember Jol getting axed after tripping over his own raised bar. I would back RM even if we finish midtable next year.

Can't wait for Jan window to open. What are the rules to loan players? I bet we can get some more youngsters from Barca or even Bayern! Add a few perm players at low cost and we should have a decent depth to make a title run.

Jackie Barry
063 Posted 30/12/2013 at 04:44:00
Ok John, to put it briefly, for all of Southampton's possession they did not really cause any damage to us. You pass the ball about all you want but if you don't do anything with it and don't get an end product out of it you won't win games. Our side was affected by injuries and suspensions today, along with Martinez giving key players a rest. In the end we scored two decisive goals that their keeper had no chance with and their goal was possibly something ours should have dealt with. I didn't actually ever feel that nervous about them scoring and their goal came out of nowhere. I feel we deserved to win and luck had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Dennis Ng
065 Posted 30/12/2013 at 05:00:00
Adding to Jackie's argument, I believe you create your own luck. And our players make the incisive passes that matter. There are no easy games in EPL, or any ever. Even the ones that you romp goals all over, you risk injury to amateurs. So really, we should put the performance into perspective, take the hype out and correct the negatives while we still can. I think there are some negatives but not enough to warrant any huge reaction over. Touches were bad in batches, one comment pointed to McCarthy, perhaps, since he's the rock in the middle and his vision and partnership to RB and the forwards need to be better. Robles one soft goal nearly undid all the positive I and some others have for him but really, he's young, first game and looks to me more of a short range expert. He definitely needs to buckle up on the mistakes but surely, there are better use of our time looking to improve in other areas than GK. I read one link to a young GK, perhaps a good idea but not a priority. def/mid and a forward, then later in the pipeline, GK. if we get the kid for no effort or money, sure! why worry now when Howard is back next game. plus our defence does good cover for that! relax!
Kevin Rowlands
067 Posted 30/12/2013 at 05:11:20
My advice, don't listen to the Wallings and Enthwhistles of this forum because if you do/did, we would now be in a relegation battle, have the worst defensive record in the league(we have the best), and pining for OFM to be back in charge(we aren't). Robles will prove to be a very good piece of business and be a fine goalkeeper for us, he's our future.
Dennis Ng
068 Posted 30/12/2013 at 05:49:36
Agreed. I admit I share their concerns, but not to their level.

1 good GK coach, plus Robles playing time with us or loan elsewhere will give us an excellent selection of GKs. Side note, add a backup, one with closer to Howard's age and experience. Brad Friedel maybe? Or is he retired?

McCarthy's poor touches will be in check when Barry returns but he's one player I hope we see faster progress on since that would be the centerpiece of his role. Holding and spreading the ball after he takes them away from the opponent. Not sure what sort of coaching they have available for that but I hope RM has something! Another thought, why can't Baines play this position?

Mid, we need more crossers and wide vision passers. We have Pienaar, Barkley and the 2 rioting wingbacks but they should mix an occassional cross or deep ball into RL range. That should be our priority before we splash on a new forward.

These are my wishlist for the transfer window for now.

Eric Myles
069 Posted 30/12/2013 at 06:14:46
Denis, as Friedel is Howard''s rival for the US team starting spot I doubt he'd want to sit on a bench behind him.
Mike Gaynes
071 Posted 30/12/2013 at 06:35:00
Eric... Friedel isn't Howard's rival anymore... he retired from international competition some years back. Howard's USA backup is Brad Guzan of Villa.
Roman Sidey
074 Posted 30/12/2013 at 06:49:54
BF is simply on a superannuation job at Spurs anyway, knowing he's getting paid to only play if Lloris is unable to. As a 40 year old foreigner, he'd probably be preferring the bench in London to a bench further north.
Jim Harrison
075 Posted 30/12/2013 at 06:22:46
Didn't watch the match as on holiday in Thailand and only place on the beach with the football had the arse match and the tinterweb connection completely gash, but reading the reports I gauge that it wasn't the best performance but job done?

One thing I find funny....... write off Robles for one iffy game, assume the "birdman" is the next coming after one match? Hopefully it was just a blip for the young GK and a sign of things to come from the CB

I also think Paul Ferry could do with pulling it in a touch regards Mike Gayness. Plenty of posters on here differ in their opinions, not cool to go after a bloke on a personal basis. Plenty of us don't make it to matches for various reasons (I myself live in Asia and only spend a couple of week in July in the UK) should we all defer to others who do go? I have read, and experienced first hand at Goodison some of the most ill-informed opinions regarding football.

Matt Traynor
077 Posted 30/12/2013 at 07:30:12
Jim #075, Paul F seems to have a dislike of anything Mike Gaynes says. I'm not sure of the origin, or how long it has been going on for, but I noticed it a while back on the Live forum. Some people snipe at each other from time-to-time based on one or the other's entrenched views, etc, but it seems to be personal now. If Mike said the earth was round, Paul would argue with him on it. Fair enough, but try to keep the public sniping entertaining for the rest of us?
Jim Harrison
082 Posted 30/12/2013 at 07:44:33
Matt, yeah. Banter yes, debate yes, sniping? Leave that to the redshite (No capital R!!!)
Sam Hoare
087 Posted 30/12/2013 at 08:48:12
Didn't get to watch due to work but great result.

Sounds like Alcaraz was very solid which is superb news as he will get lots of playing time in the next month.

Time for the board to back Martinez in the transfer market. I'd like to see Jelavic and heitinga out with a striker, winger and holding midfielder coming in. In an ideal world perhaps tom ince, will Hughes and that Belgian kid batsuyashi(?!).

Paul Ferry
096 Posted 30/12/2013 at 09:26:41
Good and fair point Mike Butler - 991 - and I'm happy to do so as on this score I do think that Lyndon is wrong - as it seems do a fair number on here. Lyndon aint the footie pope but I do have a lot more respect for the intelligence and experience that goes into his opinions than say Gaynsey.
Paul Ferry
097 Posted 30/12/2013 at 09:32:20
To wit Mike and Mike from the other thread - Ernie Baywood
072 - Not a mention yet of McCarthy? I thought he was outstanding. One dodgy pass all day and he made amends by winning the ball back. He was everywhere - I'm loving watching him play.

McCarthy was terrific yesterday and is level pegging with Seamus for player of the season so far for me.

Brent Stephens
105 Posted 30/12/2013 at 10:41:23
Matt, Jim. With you on that. There's also an unwritten protocol on TW of not referring to somebody just by their surname. Or maybe Stephens is being too sensitive on behalf of others.
Brian Denton
107 Posted 30/12/2013 at 10:50:03
Brent, this surname thing seems to be quite widespread now. Classic FM routinely refer to Nigel Kennedy as 'Kennedy' and the intro to MOTD2 told us that we'd be hearing the views of 'Shearer' and 'Kilbane'. All very odd. I assume it's just a fad.
George McKane
114 Posted 30/12/2013 at 11:03:48
I was at the game yesterday. Had a pint before hand at The Dark House and also stayed out talking and discussing game until after 10:00, as we do for every game.

The general consensus among our large group of Evertonians was:

- it was expected to be a difficult game once we saw the team sheet
- almost everyone thought it was a good game between two good footballing teams - personally I enjoyed the football played very much
- most people agreed that McCarthy, Seamus Coleman and Ross Barclay were the "best players" with many stating MotM to be Coleman because of his goal but also thought McCarthy was outstanding
- Alcaraz looked comfortable and good on the ball
- Joel looked like a safe goalie
- Lukaku looked poor until his goal seemed to revitalise him
- Naismith worked tremendously hard and threw himself around well
- Oviedo looked good wide and forward
- an excellent three points.

The later result just added a bit of icing to our Blue Christmas Cake.

Up The Blues — looking forward to a great 2014.

Brent Stephens
118 Posted 30/12/2013 at 11:23:52
Brain, in that case you can refer to me as Stephens when coupled with Kilbane! Stephens and Kilbane - has a ring to it. But please don't couple me with Shearer.
Brent Stephens
120 Posted 30/12/2013 at 11:29:30
*Brian! Fuck me. I can't even get a first name right.
Brian Denton
146 Posted 30/12/2013 at 13:27:06
Brent, don't worry - if I had a quid for every time that typo had happened (especially on birthday and Christmas cards) I'd be a rich man....
Darren Hind
179 Posted 30/12/2013 at 14:33:35
I just read Lyndon’s report and I have to say that, IMO, he (and Mike Gaynes) have called it spot on regarding McCarthy.

He was off the pace for long periods, getting nowhere near the mobile saints midfielders and, when he did get possession, his passing was erratic. Everyone around me was asking what was "up with him".

The general consensus seemed to be that he was missing his partner and, with The Saints pressing in numbers, he was being overrun at times.

That said, I think this guy is a genuine winner; the game was heading for a draw (just as it was at Swansea) ... and, just as at Swansea, McCarthy wasn’t settling for it; another lung-bursting run and we’re ahead.

Two late determined runs in these games have turned 2 points into 6 and who knows, maybe this winning mentality may be the difference between Thursday night and Wednesday night footie next season.

MotM ? No chance. Winner? Fucking right he’s a winner.

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