(Almost) Solid Blues defence wins out

Everton withstood a barrage of shots to win a very entertaining Europa League opener.

Roberto Martinez named a strong unchanged team for the first venture into the Europa League. Samuel Eto'o, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar are fit but Sylvain Distin is ruled out again with a dead leg as the Blues look to get their European campaign off to a flyer against arguably their toughest opponents in Group H.

Wolfsburg kicked off but Everton quickly adopted their calm passing game and took a few minutes before moving forward down the right until Stones gave the ball away and the visitors were kick to counter, firing over Howard's goal from an offside position. The Blues then tried down the left but with similar result, Mirallas giving away the first free-kick.

Blues passing started to show signs of weakness, with a series of wayward passes ceding possession, too much of the play taking place in the Everton half as Wolfsburg won the first corner, bundled away at the near post. De Bryne's shot was blocked as Everton struggled to impose themselves, a tough competitive game developing.

More lively Everton play finally got the Blues forward and Lukaku won the first corner, swung in. And in the next attack, the ball was bundled home off Naismith after Baines had made a great run into the area. The ball was blocked by Rodrigez and bounced in off the keeper.

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There was then a pause as Benaglio went off for attention to his lip. When he came back, Wolfsburg put up determined move and Howard had to be alert to block the shot away. At the other end, a great move and a cutback to McGeady saw his fierce shot hit a defender's heel.

Coleman got forward well and crossed deep and inviting, but over Lukaku's head. Naismith got a run into the area but was sandwiched: no foul, said the ref. Wolfsburg attacked with pace, Olic a constant threat to the Everton right, getting to the byeline and cutting back from De Bryune, Howard saving the shot.

Lukaku took a tremendous free-kick that beat the wall and curved away from Benaglio but not enough to evade his diving block. Then more Everton attacking and another Everton goal, just before the break Lukaku plain in Mirallas, whose shot came off the keeper and Baines was there to prod a cross off the turf to the far post where Coleman crouched to head in with ease.

From the restart, Konche brought down McGeady just outside the box but Luca Bantii awards Everton a penalty that Leighton Baines executed with supreme confidence, hammered hard and low, sending Benaglio the wrong way. 3-0.

Jagielka took a hard shot on the head before Howard made a solid pair of saves to prevent Wolfsburg who were determined to claw back the goal differential, Naismith gave away a dangerous free-kick that Rodriguez fired in superbly, forcing a brilliant one-handed parry away by Howard. Substitute Hunt almost bundled one home but Stones did enough to put him off and Howard saved again.

A promising move down the left was spoilt by a poor cross from Mirallas as the game ebbed and flowed, Everton dealing with some very tricky football from the German side, as Bendtner came on and Wolfsburg resorted to potshots from outside the area that were blocked away by the Blues.

Coleman played a nice ball to McGeady who had a great chance to show his winger skills... but not his crossing skills as he blasted it far too hard and wayward. At the other end, Howard again hard to stand firm against another fierce shot but could only watch as an excellent free-kick curled just outside his left-hand post. Eto'o then replaced Lukaku.

Another lively move saw a header from Olic saved by Howard as Wolfsburg continued to press the home side back, but with no end product. Meanwhile, a sweeping move created brilliantly by Eto'o ended with McGeady again fluffing his lines by missing the target. At the other end, after a horrible Barry giveaway on the half-way line, Howard made a tremendous fingertip save to touch the ball inches past the post.

Gibson replaced Naismith for the final 10 mins, and moved nicely to shoot, Benaglio saving low to his right. McCarthy then shot over the bar. Coleman clashed heads with Olic and came off worst as the time ticked away. Mirallas was allowed to run through and finish expertly after looking marginally offside on a brilliant ball from Eto'o, making it four before Osman replaced Coleman to play out the match.

But there was more helter-skelter action with Wolfsburg still forcing the Blues back, McCarthy making a very strong interception. Then another dangerous free-kick given away outside the area, whipped in well by Rodriguez and finally in off the post as the final act.

Job done for the Blues with an impressive scoreline to top Group H after one round of Europa League games, with the defence almost holding firm against a barrage of shots from the Germans.

Scorers: Benaglio (og:15′), Coleman (45'), Baines (pen:46'), Mirallas (89'); Rodriguez (90+4')

Everton: Howard; Coleman (89' Osman), Stones, Jagielka, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Mirallas [Y:72'], McGeady; Naismith [Y:54'] (82' Gibson); Lukaku (69' Eto'o).
Subs not Used: Robles, Alcaraz, Besic, Atsu.

VfL Wolfsburg: Benaglio, Jung, Knoche [Y:46'], Naldo, Rodriguez, Gustavo (77' Guilavogui), Malanda (46' Hunt), De Bruyne, Arnold, Caligiuri (61' Bendtner), Olic.
Subs not Used: Grun, Schafer, Klose, Klich.

Referee: Ref: Luca Banti
Attendance: ???

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Reader Comments (95)

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Paul Dark
1 Posted 18/09/2014 at 19:32:21
Pleased that Howard plays, sorry that the hideously over-rated McGeady is in. I would’ve liked to see Atsu and Besic.

Can’t wait for ko (in all senses!)


Gary Poole
2 Posted 18/09/2014 at 19:46:17
Right decision to play the full strength team. This will be tough tonight. Can’t wait for it to start!
Phil Sammon
3 Posted 18/09/2014 at 20:05:26
How is he over-rated Paul?

If you can’t see that he has talent then you must be blind. He needs to apply it better and more consistently... which he has done this season. What’s your problem?

Zahir Jaffer
4 Posted 18/09/2014 at 20:30:11
McGeady’s had a shit game so far — 35 min mark.
Brian Abbott
5 Posted 18/09/2014 at 20:59:09
Got to keep this tight. Sure we’ve got too much for the green fellers...
Zahir Jaffer
6 Posted 18/09/2014 at 21:09:30
Baines tucks it away beautifully to secure all 3 points.
Peter Jamieson
7 Posted 18/09/2014 at 21:40:26
Howard is having a fantastic game.

McGeady is having a very poor game, he should be taken off. followed by Naismith, before he’s sent off.

Peter Jamieson
8 Posted 18/09/2014 at 21:54:29
Eto’o: Class act.

He just oozes class.

Stephen Brown
9 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:03:35
Howard and even Jagielka much improved. Good win.
Stephen Brown
11 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:04:55
Don’t care if Eto’o is 52 – he looks a class act.
Jack Plant
12 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:09:40
What a game, I’ll take a few more of those this season!
Mike Hughes
15 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:11:33
As one of my tee shirts states (with Muhammad Ali’s image on it), "What’s Our Name? Everton."

Now Europe knows what England knows ......
Fear the Blues.

You can run. But you can’t hide

Zahir Jaffer
16 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:15:44
It was a fairly even game and at the end. It was the keepers who made the difference.
Kelvin Thomas
17 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:14:41
Commentary made me laugh tonight. Sounded as if they wanted Wolfsburg to win. If Spurs would have beaten Wolfsburg 4-1, they’d be all over them!
John Paul McGurk
18 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:17:52
Great win, though we seemed to give them so many chances...
Michael Polley
19 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:14:47
Good win. Our defence held firm. Although Tim will be disappointed not keeping a clean sheet.
Peter Cummings
20 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:06:09
If ever a score flattered this had to be it, two ’gifts’ and a dodgy pen plus some great ’keeping made the score respectable, but unfair, to a very skillful footballing side whose passing was immaculate. The Mirallas goal was good enough to win any game and Eto’o showed real class.

Roberto really must get a grip on our passing and losing possession which was highlighted by the visitors time and again; a good result but with a lot of luck.

Colin Glassar
21 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:21:06
Very clinical performance. Made up for the lads, long may it continue.
Graham Mockford
22 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:29:20
I watched the game in Istanbul with a few locals. Interesting to get their perspective but to a man they think Tim Howard is great. He was tonight.
Jeremy Robbins
23 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:23:56
McGeady, the new ToffeeWebber Osman haha, great performance tonight and amazed at the negativity around an amazing 4-1 win, yes they had chances, but we defended well and took ours, as has happened against us many a time!

Very much looking forward to seeing the boys next week at Swansea albeit I expect a fully changed side....... COYB’s

Anto Byrne
24 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:07:22
Wolfsburg had 23 shots on goal and 16 on target compared to the 8 on target for the Blues means we have some work to do at the back. I will take 4-1 and the confidence it brings but I’m not going overboard until this defence is sorted out. Better teams will punish us and with Man Utd and the RS coming up I want to see a lot of improvement.

I think we know there are 3-4 players still miles away from the form that is required to be a top 4 side. On a more positive note, what about Eto’o and the return of Gibson – they both performed well. It was interesting to see Martinez get into the players for lumping long balls and losing possession. Next up: Palace.

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:30:32
Goodison Park has seen 18 goals, in the first 3 competitive matches this season. Thought the tickets were overpriced tonight, but we certainly can’t argue that we are not getting value for our money!
Mike Allison
26 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:34:30
Strachan made the key point very nicely on ITV, Wolfsburg looked great when the game was gone, the pressure was off and they had nothing to lose. When it mattered, early on, Everton did the business. Howard made a lot of saves but only two of them were difficult.

My only frustration is how long it is taking Martinez to make substitutions this season, along with the fact that we’ve missed opportunities to acclimatise Atsu and Besic. Any substitution after 80 mins is basically a waste of time, and two of our new signings must have about half an hour between them in five games this season.

Tommy Campbell
27 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:35:19
I saw glimpses of quality from McGeady, he just needs to find confidence and nail down the role that he is going to play for us. Trying to do a bit too much of everything and not doing it well enough at the moment.

Eto’o looked finished to me 2 years ago when I saw him playing for Anzhi and his spell at Chelsea didn’t convince me otherwise either. But he’s looked really sharp so far in his brief appearances for us and I’m hoping he’ll be more of a Beardsley than a Gascoigne for us.

Graham Mockford
28 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:34:58
Peter Cummings, a lucky 4-1 win?

We defended better than they did, our keeper played better than theirs did and we took our chances better than they did.

Other than that, we were as lucky as fuck.

Trevor Lynes
29 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:32:47
To put it in a nutshell, we beat a very good team tonight and played really well in doing it. We closed down brilliantly and took every chance that came our way.

I reckon Wolfsburg would trouble any team in the competition. Their passing was excellent and Howard had to be right on form. Jags and Stones were excellent and both full backs played really well. The defensive midfield had their best game of the season.

Mirallas and to a lesser extent Naismith both were thorns in the side of Wolfsburg. Lukaku took a brilliant free kick, linked up well and won every header.

My MotM was fractionally Baines, but it was a real team effort with no weaknesses. Anything less and it would have been Wolfsburg’s game.

Danny Kewley
30 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:29:53
Tend to agree with Reidy and Strachs on this one – all the Everton lads ran for each other and never stopped!

By the way, that includes McGeady who seems to be improving all the time – just like Naisey has!

Nice to see RM in good form!


Stephen Bird
31 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:38:12
The entertainment we have served up in our first five games of the season has been phenomenal!! 13 goals for, 11 against, 24 goals in 5 games.

OK defensively we look vulnerable but Jags is showing signs of rehabilitation, Stones goes from strength to strength. The squad to me looks strong and deep, what is there not to love??

Dave Williams
32 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:35:41
Great win and no-one mentioning fitness levels which I thought looked very good tonight. Eto’o absolute class as was Stones.

Well done, boys and pat on the back for Roberto for a well planned performance – great stuff!

Denis Richardson
33 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:24:11
Can’t complain with the result at all although the scoreline does not reflect the game accurately.... still its a good start to the campaign.

We were battered a bit in the second half, really don’t know how we won that game 4-1, but I’ll take it.

Hopefully Coleman’s injury isn’t too bad - looks a doubt for Sunday thought so I guess its Stones at RB and Distin back at CB.

Gavin Johnson
35 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:33:39
You can’t pick too much fault with a 4-1 scoreline. I’d have liked to have seen earlier substitutions once we went 3 up. I think it’d given the likes of Atsu and Besic some playing time with the game safe. I think some players relaxed and sat back too much after the 3rd and earlier substitutions would have given us more impetus to keep the pace up.

Eto’o was absolutely class! You can see why he’s got all the accolades in his career with his close control and weighted passes. It’s a pleasure to see a world class player in the blue shirt.

Paul Burns
36 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:41:08
That’s NOT the way to play in Europe though. I hated Moyes’s tactics in Europe, basically trot around at a slow pace and hope to get the ball back. I thought our new style would be more suited but it’s got to be played at a faster pace with more carrying the ball through the midfield at speed.

We badly lack a midfield General and playmaker and consequently end up going from side to side ad nauseam. Better teams will destroy us in Europe if we don’t play with more intensity.

James Richard
37 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:47:25
Can’t complain winning 4-1 against Wolfsburg. However they had 28 shots against our 12, 12 of theirs on target against our 6. Against better opposition this would have been a different scoreline.

Chuffed with the win but the performance left many questions. Not sure how McGeady starts his game has no discipline at all and he’s not much better going forward. All-in-all, happy with 3pts and I’m sure the performances will improve.

Mike Hughes
38 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:52:20
Mike #26
"Any substitution after 80 mins is basically a waste of time"
Er......wasn’t that the purpose of the substitutions anyway at that time?

As I stated a few days ago on another thread, I think it was important to have stability tonight – and get a positive result.

I’m sure it’ll be more likely Atsu and Besic will get a run out against Swansea.

James Hill
39 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:50:05
McGeady played well as he has in most of the games, which is why he still playing.

As for gifts, I must have missed Christmas this year. Paul Burns, this was not a bad team and there wont be many better in the Europa League. This was a good team and we beat them well.

Fantastic return to Europe well done the lads.

And by the way last time I looked the role of the keeper was to make saves we we be happier if he let them in.

Phil Walling
40 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:56:43
"A crap 4-1 win" somebody said in the pub – a view others seem to share here.

For fuck’s sake, a 4-1 win is a great result by any standard. Howard was great and nobody let us down.

Good team selection and late substitutions.

Fuck me, I’m being positive for once!!!

Jay Harris
41 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:54:32
We were playing one of the top German sides and went deservedly 3-0 up.

We then took our foot off the gas and played containment where they had no pressure on them cos the game was already lost.

Superb performances from Naismith, Bainesy and Howard with SuperKev not far behind.

Still have a question mark over McGeady at this level though.

Great and Important result, COYB.

Paul Johnson
43 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:57:30
John Stones MotM. Distin has been a great player for us but I wouldn’t drop Stones for him.
Mike Hughes
44 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:02:46
Phil ...... what are you drinking tonight?
Mike Hughes
46 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:03:44
What struck me tonight was the desire and work ethic of the team.

I never suspected we’d get a result like that against what I thought was a class side. Thought it would be tight.

Some room for improvement still but tonight is no night for moaning.

Everyone played well and Tim Howard was immense.
...... and Eto’o is an Evertonian.

I’d love Eto’o to score a last minute winner at the kop end in a couple of weeks. Gerrard slips on the half way line, dispossessed, Eto’o 35 yard chip over their keeper’s head. Back page photos of open-mouthed and despairing rs as the ball hits the back of the net.

Jon Ferguson
47 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:02:51
McGeady played well, he wasn’t outstanding, but he’ll get an assist for getting the (dubious) penalty; with a bit of luck he may have had even more influence. Prior to today, this season he had scored one, one assist and one key pass. On top of that he scored another for Ireland. That’s not bad from four games.

Today has given us a great platform to go and win the group. 3 wins and 2 draws should be enough. Fortress Goodison would be great!

Peter Mills
48 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:04:20
Just in from the match, I went alone tonight as a few of the lads are saving a few quid, so I haven’t discussed the game with anyone. I tuned in here to get some opinions, the negative ones have really surprised me.

This was an impressive Everton performance against a very decent side. We had the game won by the 47th minute then eased off, sensibly, as we have a game on Sunday. What more can you ask for? There were some excellent displays from Howard, Coleman, Naismith, and Eto’o.

Ian McDowell
49 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:14:17
Just back from the game and very pleased. Whilst not a great performance a 4-1 win is very pleasing. Agree that when you go 3/4 down its easier to play as the pressure is off.

MotM McCarthy full of energy and never gave anything up.

Disappointment: Lukaku — Poor first touch and too static.

Jamie Sweet
50 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:00:59
Quite happy for us to sit back a bit and concede a few long range shots when we’re 3-0 up.

Thoroughly professional performance.

Great to be back in Europe.

Well done boys!

Andy Crooks
51 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:05:41
I thought we started lacking in belief but then played some superb high tempo football in the first half. However, I was anxious throughout the second half as our movement slowed and made it increasingly difficult for the defence to play the ball out. Had one of their chances gone in round the hour mark it would have been a nail-biting finish.

The effort from every player was excellent, Stones will be some player and we have now got some pace and class. Finally, and this is a serious question for those who know a bit about coaching. Is a good first touch natural or can it be taught? I thought Lukaku did fine but with a better first touch he will be a super star. A great result against a good side but Tim Howard deserved a clean sheet.

Bill Gall
52 Posted 18/09/2014 at 22:58:45
This is their first European game under Mr Martinez and playing European teams in this competition is not like playing in the 90 mph Premier League,

This is a learning experience for both the Manager and the team and to run out 4-1 winners with one of the favorites in the division is an excellent result no matter how it is achieved.

I am quite sure both the Manager and the team will review the video from the game and discuss were they believe they can improve for future games. We have been crying out for years to get a good run in Europe so let’s get behind the Manager and team 100%.

Paul Mackie
53 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:12:34
We needed to hit the ground running tonight and we did exactly that. The penalty was what I would describe as ’soft’ but the other goals were fine. Top of our group, no new injuries and Lille dropped 2 points.

Darren Fellows
54 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:00:51
How anyone can be negative about tonight’s game is beyond me. It wasn’t perfect as I’m sure RM is aware but we won 4-1 FFS. We were 4-0 up with seconds to go!! We’ve become such a parody of negativity and pragmatism (at best) its not funny any more. Why can’t we stick out chests out and be proud of Everton? For fucks sake!

"We won 4-1, oh no, it was lucky. We’re dead shit really and it won’t last, cos this is Everton and it always fucks up somehow,"

Maybe if this piss fucking poor pervasive attitude stopped and we started looking forward, something good might just happen.

I thought I’d be coming on here to celebrate and I get to read pricks like Peter Cummings giving it we were lucky. WINNING 4-1. Listen lad, if you’ve got fuck all nice to say after a result like then say nothing at all.

Keith Glazzard
65 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:32:55
Not a penalty. But definitely a red card. What would they have taken, given the choice?

Very good defence - Stones the magnificent - and attack to spare. Mirallas is a torpedo, he destroys defences. And I never knew McGeady could run! More to come. And even more on the bench - a good start.

Dave Abrahams
67 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:19:10
I’m happy with the result, not so much the performance. They gave the ball away far too much throughout the match.

Lukaku did very little, his ball control is just not improving at all. I thought he was very poor.

I know he is young but his potential is far less than the fee that was payed for him. He will improve but it will be a long road.

Barry Morrison
68 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:36:37
I just hope Eto’o passes on some of that knowledge to Big Rom. That was a masterclass in first touches and hold up play. Not to mention the passing.

Pure quality.

Nicholas Page
69 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:41:48
We won 4-1. Fucking well done Everton. Next game, let’s fucking hammer the cunts. Get in, we’re Everton.

Kevin Tully
70 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:36:17
When required, we were comfortable, when required we scored. When we took a good Bundesliga side to school, we smacked their arse.

Tony Hill
74 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:45:45
Eto’o is a joy to watch, his touch and awareness are several notches above. Not surprising given that he has played with the very best. McCarthy looked sharp again but would still like to see more from him attacking wise. Very pleasing all round and will build our confidence.
Gerry Quinn
75 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:53:20
Anyone know what the attendance was?
James Martin
78 Posted 18/09/2014 at 23:56:28
Unbelievable. Liverpool scrape past a rubbish Bulgarian outfit thanks to a dodgy pen and all you hear is ’that’s what good teams do, we might go on and win it now, good teams win when not playing well’. We batter a top German side 4-1 and all you hear even from our own fans is ’a lucky 4-1, we can’t play like that in Europe, we got gifted goals, we were flattered and lucky’.

I genuinely think it might be different if you watch the game on tv. At the match at no point did we look in danger, when they had the ball it was all in front of us whereas we looked like we could score at any point. We sat off in the second half but we were three nil up and they were having a free swing. We weathered the storm and scored another. 4-1 in Europe and we barely got out of second gear, I don’t know what some people’s problems are.

Nicholas Page
79 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:01:46
James (78), the only criticism I would have is that the crowd should have been singing the whole second half......but for some reason they just went quiet at 3-0. Odd.

Paul Hewitt
80 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:08:16
29,000 Gerry
Paul Hughes
82 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:13:56
Just got back from the match. Howard didn’t have a shot to save until it was 3-0 and, basically, we declared.

I sit in-line with the 18-yard box - from my seat McGeady was inside the area and had stuffed the defender, who brought him down. Nailed on pen in my opinion.

Trevor Lynes
83 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:00:19
Wolfsburg are a very good team and will have another good season in the Bundesliga. Perhaps other fans have not noticed that a weakened Schalke side drew with Chelsea at Stamford bridge, Borussia destroyed Arsenal and Bayern beat Man City. WE are the only British side to beat a top German team.

We needed to work very hard and take every chance we got to earn the win tonight and it was a first rate TEAM performance. People moan about the new scapegoat McGeady who worked hard all night and even Lukaku gets stick when the lad almost scored with a great free kick, linked up well in midfield and won every header he contested.

My MotM was Baines but I would not argue with other selections as the defensive duo did the best job they have done so far this season. The way the defence played tonight was far better than against Leicester, Arsenal and Chelsea because the whole team put a shift in !

It was a better display than against WBA and if we continue to play to that level we will be very difficult to beat in the Premier League. We now have a real squad of players with plenty of good players waiting in the wings. We have a top bench which is something we have not had for years. Besides the starting eleven we now have cover at a decent level for every position.

Just think that we have Barkley, Pienaar, Oviedo and Kone a couple of weeks away from being able to play. Not including the bench of Gibson, Osman, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Etoo, Atsu etc etc. This is a far cry from a bench containing Vellios, Anichebe, Jelavic, Gueye, Hitzelsperger, Heitinga and McFadden.

Fans are now wanting to see Atsu and Besic play full games as they could well be match winners of the future. We have emptied out the deadwood although Jelavic did have a good impact for a while and replaced it with exciting players who can lift the fans.Mirallas is unplayable some games and Naismith works his socks off.Big Rom will score goals and progress into being a striker worth big money with Eto’o’s influence.

I was apprehensive before the match as I knew Wolfsburg were good. We beat a really good side tonight and they will show their worth in future games. We did better than Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City so enjoy it!

Sam Hoare
84 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:10:19
Sounded like our goal was under siege at times but Wolfsburg were always likely to have a purple patch as they have some very handy players.

I still feel that our possession football seems to go to pot a b it when pressed high up the pitch and am not sure that the player’s passing is quite as good as it might be but ultimately the results is all that matter and its been a good Everton week so far. 3 points vs Palace would make it a corker!

Lyndon Lloyd
86 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:26:46
No, it wasn’t really, Sam (84). They had a go in the second half when we were giving the ball away too much and the crowd quietened down when it seemed like we weren’t going to be entertained with more goals but were just better than they were at the back.

Stones was brilliant, in my opinion, and Howard was unfortunate to have his clean sheet ruined by an unstoppable free kick. No, it wasn’t a fantastic performance by us but it was good – and certainly good enough.

I’ll take a 4-1 win over a top Bundesliga team any day of the week!

Pete Fordham
87 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:17:00
Enjoyed watching the game on TV. First European football game for 5 years, and generally we looked hungry for attack, pressed hard whenever we could, defended better than any other recent game; not much to worry about really, except perhaps for Lukaku looking a bit slow and his first touch poor by some way in comparison to Eto’o.

When Baines passes to Coleman across their 6-yard box to make a goal, you just know we are pressing them hard!! The best result from any English team in Europe this week.

We seemed a bit like we wanted the game to end once it reached 3-0, we didn’t park the bus or attack as well. I’m just grateful that Howard is such a great shot stopper: hardly any spilled saves for anyone to pounce on. We were very very good.

Mike Green
88 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:25:32
All in all, back in Europe, 4-1. Nails led the charge and oooooooo the class do Eto’o is something else. Quietly Ecstatic.

COYB (not an E’c abv)

Gerry Quinn
89 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:30:49
Agreed Lyndon. However, I was a nervous wreck, even when 3-0 up, but then Wolfsburg are not an "average" team. Apart from Jags slowing down the play, Lukaku has to improve that first touch - far, far too much giving them possession straight back - can’t believe how poor he is at holding it up. RM was 15 minutes behind me in subbing him!
Denis Richardson
90 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:04:12
Of course we’re all happy with the result, over the moon myself. However, the score line IS flattering, how can it not be when a side play at GP, have 27 shots, 13 on target and loose 4-1? Just because we go up 3-0 after 47 minutes shouldn’t mean we shift down to first gear, even neutral, with a whole half to play. Even Martinez himself said in his post match interview that the score line didn’t reflect a game ’between two decent teams’.

The team will get better and we’ll learn to kill things off better and not give the opposition a sniff of getting back. In this case, the final score line was great but I dread to think what would have happened had they got one back early in the 2nd half - its well known that its hard to shift back up a gear once you’ve taken you’re foot off the gas in a game and relaxing with a half to go was too early. (We tried to sit back on our 2-0 lead against Arsenal and look how that turned out...different team/league but not too dissimilar situation imo)

If I were to nit-pick, I would also say Martinez should have made subs earlier with the Sunday game in mind. 3-0 up after 47 mins and yet the first sub is after 69 mins, second 81 mins, third in injury time? What about getting the likes of Besic, Gibbo, Atsu, Osman on the pitch a bit earlier to keep the intensity up and rest a few legs at the same time?

All in all was a great result but a few things to work on. We can all agree to at least enjoy the result and be glad we’ve started with 3 points but I’m not going to start thinking of cup finals just yet - long way to go.

Onto Palace.

Jim Knightley
91 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:34:48
Defensively we were a real concern: We should not be allowing a visiting team that much space around the box. We only conceded 1 goal because of Howard, and because of poor finishing. But, essentially, we scored 4, and destroyed Wolfsburg in the process.

That we did that with Lukaku still short of his best illustrates our attacking potential. Indeed, our deadly finishing reminded me of many a great performance by top European sides, and demonstrates that we have the attacking ability to tear teams apart.

Our defence has looked below-par this season, but we have a great unit, and it will improve. 0-2 against West Brom, and 4-1 against Wolfsburg = a dream weak. That we can pick stuff to moan about after defeating one of the best teams in the competition 4-1 illustrates the potential of this side.

We need to get through the group (we took a massive step tonight) and then the lottery of the knockout can begin. We can beat any team at Goodison, and we need to make these European nights a consistent feature.

Andy Crooks
92 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:45:41
John Stones is like a quick, tall Bobby Moore. I know I championed Shane Duffy, but Stones tonight was confident, measured, cool and strong. He seems to have listened to the coach and got it into his head that WE PASS. Scary at times but what a show!
Alan Humphreys
93 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:56:17
Thought we were a touch lucky in that 4-1 flattered us.

The passing style is great when it has an end product and at times tonight it was sublime going forward but at the back, well Jagielka gives me heart murmurs. So many times he takes the easy pass which ends up as a hospital pass yet when he has to defend he was great. Stones was my MotM a totally composed performance.

Jamie Barlow
94 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:36:10
All the lads rose to the occasion tonight. Good performances all round (even the new Ossie) and some of the attacking play was a joy to watch. I won’t pick a man of the match but Mirallas has been different class this season. Seems to have a totally different attitude regarding work rate and it’s paying off for him.

Full of confidence now. 3 more points on Sunday and hopefully see some new faces on Tuesday at Swansea.

How cool is John Stones? This lad is going to be some player. He plays like he’s been doing it for 10 years.

Si Cooper
95 Posted 19/09/2014 at 00:56:20
Some brilliant attacking play and a ton of hard work by every player. Plenty to improve but a lot to be happy about as well.

They went for it by taking one of their defensive midfielders (Malanda) off at half time and committing men forward. Back-fired when they messed up spraying it across the back for the penalty (the main contact was torso to torso and dragging down on McGeady’s arm which continued into the box), and at 3 nil we were happy to sit back and defend with occasional breaks when we looked very liable to add to our score. A bit nervy, but it all worked out okay in the end.

A bit surprised by the reluctance to make more changes earlier than we did (again) - not sure when Besic and Atsu are going to be considered safe enough to help close out a game.

Eto’o is a revelation to me. A fantastic option to give Lukaku 20 minutes off each game; let the young lad run the defenders all over the place and then the old head comes on and exploits all the weaknesses caused by tired legs. I honestly hadn’t realised how good his work ethic and vision were. Thought he was more of a poacher / fox in the box, but he is prepared to battle for the ball and play lovely passes to the runners. Adds another dimension to our attacking play.

Stephen Brown
97 Posted 19/09/2014 at 05:38:29
With all the new contracts flying about (even Hibbo) I think we better get Kevin Mirallas tied down. Frustrating on times yes ! But a vital player for us !
James Hill
98 Posted 19/09/2014 at 06:17:02
Denis Richardson, I couldn’t agree with you more. Totally deserved 4-1. Like you say, just opinions.
Anthony Hughes
99 Posted 19/09/2014 at 07:36:12
Got to agree with all the comments on Eto’o. Absolutely brilliant and even at this stage of his career he is everything Lukaku should aspire to be like.
Eugene Ruane
100 Posted 19/09/2014 at 08:17:42
Denis Richardson (90) - Agree with every word.
Raymond Fox
101 Posted 19/09/2014 at 08:57:20
Quite what some fans expect off our side is beyond me!

How many of our team would get into a Man City, Chelsea or Man Utd team? The team ran themselves into the ground last night but some are still not satisfied.

Like I say, to expect us to perform like Barcelona or the above teams with the quality that we have in the squad is frankly not realistic.

We know It wasn’t a perfect performance, there never is an error free performance from any team. There needs to be criticism, but it gets out of proportion on here too many times.

Tony J Williams
102 Posted 19/09/2014 at 10:34:48
Just back from the game... (Only messing – not too sure why match goers need to tell ToffeeWeb that.)

Scoreline flattered us but we didn’t look like losing at any time last night.

First half we were simply just too slow at the start. I thought it was a plan from Martinez to conserve energy, as it was roasting just sitting in the stands.

Great result and the highlight of the night was someone shouting at the Scottish bagpiper at the end of Gwladys Street.

"Bloody foreigners, coming to England taking our jobs!"

Thomas Surgenor
103 Posted 19/09/2014 at 10:28:57
One of my favourite past times is golf. In golf there is a saying "there’s no pictures on a scorecard!"

I don’t care how we got there, it’s the result that counts. Let the record books show that Everton beat a very strong German side 4-1 at home.

Paul Hughes
104 Posted 19/09/2014 at 11:39:56
Tony, when I saw the piper, I thought "bloody hell, Nais was quick, he was only subbed 5 minutes from the end!"
Ray Roche
105 Posted 19/09/2014 at 11:58:25
Tony, just got back from Sainsburys, I’ve seen that piper. He’s not a real piper and those "bagpipes" contain a ginger cat with a string around it’s bollocks.....
Sean Patton
108 Posted 19/09/2014 at 14:15:57
In response to those pointing out that the scoreline flattered Everton, as mentioned on another thread, 6-3 completely flattered Chelsea – they had an own goal and an offside whereas we had an own goal and a fortunate penalty.

It’s swings and roundabouts.

Eugene Ruane
109 Posted 19/09/2014 at 15:22:47
You can’t whack those online translation thingies. This from The Wolfsburg Echo (or whatever it’s called).

"The pitch and breakdown return to Europe – with the first goal against pitch was added, when the ball of Diego Benaglio wobbled in the gate. Of Wolfsburg number 1 and captain had thereupon into the cab, because his contact lens had fallen out. Whether Benaglio is really attributed the gate, decides the UEFA probably not until today. However. We are all disappointed over the achievement, like that Benaglio. The VfL worked in many scenes naively. With the second goal against Robin Knoche played a breakdown passport into the feet of Everton star Romelu Lukaku. Then it became correctly annoying shortly after rekickoff, when ref Luca Banti pointed to the point, although Knoche Evertons Aiden McGeady had brought clearly before the line to case. That was a wrong decision, meant interior defender Knoche disappointed. To the appearance altogether it granted: "We made too many individual errors, which have the opponent punished." Arnold added:"Four things get – we imagined that completely differently." Klaus Allofs was already served to the break. Also after the page change one saw, how the manager short circuited times the eyes and shook the head. "That was not what we can do. That was not what one must deliver, over internationally to exist to be able," like that Allofs, which was correctly sour. Nearly excusing he said still: "Within all crucial ranges that was much too little. The fact that we appeared in such a way as German representatives does pain to me."

I love "EH, THAT IS CORRECTLY FUCKING ANNOYING!" and that the ref ’pointed at the point’


Eugene Ruane
110 Posted 19/09/2014 at 15:29:39
"You’re just a fucking cucumber troop!"

And here’s a narked Wolfsburg ’green’ (?) commenting and sounding very like ’ein taffeevebber’

"So that cannot continue with the VfL. This club disgraces us in all of Europe up to the bones. Becomes time that Winterkorn this alibi coach slings out named Dieter Hecking upright and the Allofs equivalent afterwards.

Hecking possesses nevertheless with the player zero authority. Those dance nevertheless as desired on the nose around.

And then this ready for the scrap heap purchase politics of Mr. Allofs. Bendtner is to put times rather again with its pink plush slip into the sun chair. De Bruyne and Gustafo play at present football, as if they would have testicular cancer. Malanda does not think itself except a few bad passes and Knoche capable of must before the play a Guiness beer have drunk yesterday and thought it would be ne’Cola.

Which teaches the Hecking actually the whole week at the training place, except bad passes, wrong insertions and miserable field goal technology to the players.

Hecking dismiss immediately, even until Sunday after the failure against Vizekusen do not await.
Felix Magath bring back and is good.

If this cucumber troop tears itself on Sunday in the home game against Vizekusen not together and gets three points, then it was for me, for"


Ray Roche
111 Posted 19/09/2014 at 15:34:30
"Felix Magath bring back and is good"...well, he’s available...
Tony J Williams
112 Posted 19/09/2014 at 16:02:19
"...although Knoche, Everton’s Aiden McGeady..."

That’s a little harsh! He didn’t have the best of games but to state he was a Knoche.......well I’m correctly annoyed at that.

Also after the page change one saw, how the manager short circuited times the eyes and shook the head.

Johhny 5 is ALIVEEEEEEEE!!

Mike Allison
113 Posted 19/09/2014 at 16:15:15
Wolfsburg were only any good when the game was over. We were only poor when the game was over.

If our biggest problem this season is losing intensity every time we’re 3-0 up then I think we’ll be alright, especially if we hold out and make it 4-0 anyway.

It reminds me of when Kevin Pietersen was asked if he was worried about his trend of getting out on 158.

Clive Lewis
115 Posted 19/09/2014 at 18:18:01
A great result on paper, however left feeling like it could easily been 4-4. Not convinced that we have turned the corner with our defence. If we play like that against better sides it will be 4-4. We played well going forward though, which was good enough for now.
Clive Lewis
116 Posted 19/09/2014 at 18:26:55
I agree with Mike our defence played better after 94 minutes.
Peter Jones
117 Posted 19/09/2014 at 18:47:58
Hey that’s the first time I’ve even remotely understood what Ruane was saying. To think he was German all along.

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