From my seat: Southampton (A)

Four points from two games; so we are two better off than this stage last season. It was heartening the way we played today but of course to get where we would like to be we will need today’s attitude and level on a consistent basis. If we do get the two players and of the class that the manager is talking about, then our outlook for the season will surely seem brighter.

Ken Buckley 15/08/2015 38comments  |  Jump to last

Southampton 0 - 3 Everton

Its a long way from St Domingo to St Mary's, and with protest in the air... but, after a very good display and a comprehensive victory, it does not seem as far homeward bound.

The team selection reached us via electronic means and it was noticeable that we were wingless wonders. Well, if Alf Ramsey could win the World Cup with that approach, then I was sure we could beat Southampton away for the first time since Carsley and the Gravedigger starred and Watson got the winner.

Everton kicked off in our new green strip on a lovely sunny day but quickly gave the ball away and Soton attacked; Howard had to be sharp in the save. They attacked again and this time Jags made a great interception and strode forward and found Lukaku on the left touchline. The big Belgian set off at an alarming pace and firstly completely out-ran and out-muscled his first opponent and headed directly toward the box only to be brought down from behind. Penalty!!! yelled the faithful; 'No' said the ref, it was on the edge of the box, so a free kick it was.

Barkley took it but clipped the top of the wall and it was deflected for a corner which caused a spate of attacking but, after two corners, it sort of petered out. However, no moaning and groaning as I think most of us were delighted with the strength, pace and power shown by Lukaku which, although there was no end product, set the tone for our excellent display and changed the mood of those assembled markedly.

We started to grow in confidence and Jags built on that with a tremendous block tackle that stopped a dangerous move in its tracks. We next had a move of joined-up stuff that saw us keep the ball for quite a spell and move it forward a lot whilst we looked for that chink in their armour to deliver the killer pass; alas it did get cleared eventually but I must say a passage of play worth witnessing.

Around 20 mins in, I noted that we had not done so much keep ball at the back today... when Coleman was caught messing about at the back, resulting in Mane taking the ball right into the heart of our box for a free shot that Howard did really well to get a foot to and send out for a corner. They had tall players to send into the box so many a Blue heart was in mouth but, as the corner was delivered, out strode Barkley with the ball and found Kone further forward; he set off to the right of goal and looped one in to find his partner who rose like a swan and headed the ball beyond the keeper to nestle into the top corner -- cue wild celebrations... and to think we scored from their corner, happy days!

"Shall we sing a song for you?" the Blue fans belted out, which was great to hear as it is usually the away fans singing that to us at Goodison Park.

The half-hour mark arrives and Kone and Lukaku combine well down the right-hand side and Lukaku picked out Barkley all on his own less than 12 yards out, "So go on, son, fill yer boots," we thought... but he got it wrong and merely passed the ball back to the keeper, most unlike Ross, as he was to demonstrate later in the game.

The first half wore on with us keeping a good shape for defending and looking to break with quick counters that certainly gave the Saints food for thought. The clock showed half-time and 3 added minutes and I was grateful to go in one up when, from more good defensive work, Barkley strode forward with the ball and made one of his surging runs with Lukaku running off him; as he neared their box, he measured a pass of exquisite weight to the feet of Lukaku who, from about 18 yards, slotted home. A peach of a goal that was royally celebrated by all of a Blue persuasion.

Added time almost up and to go in two-up was utopia on a ground where we get very little, especially not goals, so we just needed to see it out, lads. But it wouldnt be Everton without giving us a scare and we got it when Barkley fouled and gave away a free kick and got booked. Breath was held but the kick was met by Howards fists and cleared and the half-time whistle duly went.

The half-time chat was in complete contrast to last Saturday, with most upbeat and remarking how well we had handled a tough away fixture so far.

Second half and the Greens made no changes while, as we suspected, words had been said in the Saints dressing room; they started at a fair pace with intent as their sub Romeu went right through McCarthy and got yellow. I have seen red flashed for less.

Saints pressed and won a corner, then another... thus ensuring good defending with concentration was definitely called for as a goal for them early on could well have changed the game. I found myself thinking "We need a good 25 mins here to take a bit of sting out of them." We achieved this with some excellent defending and breaking with pace when we could.

Although Lukaku was hardly seeing the ball, his channel runs were occupying two defenders and when Kone and Barkley surged we looked good and Saints fearful. In Stones and Jags, we had rocks protected well by all our outfield players to such an extent that, although Saints seemed forever in our box, Howard was rarely being called upon.

Barkley surged twice and twice he went down on the edge and twice the Ref merely told him to get up when a Blue army behind the goal was adamant he was wrong.

Time moved on and we were performing well enough for prayer beads to be put away as Lukaku tangled with Fonte and had a handbag exchange right in front of our fans. I did hope the Saints man did not understand scouse as he may have needed a toilet break. The Ref had a word with both and both seemed pals again.

We passed the 70-minute mark and were looking more relaxed as a good portion of the sting had been pulled from the hosts. We had some more joined-up stuff and forced a corner which brought another corner but we let ourselves down with that one as we tried to work it from the flag and got caught offside. More work at Finch farm on that one, lads.

In our next attack, we got a tad over-confident and gave the ball away and the Saints set off at pace goalwards, forcing McCarthy to halt their effort by taking a yellow for the team. McCarthy then took one himself and the Saint Davis was booked. Saints fans leaving now but some were stopped in their tracks as Mane hit a rocket that Howard dived and pushed for a corner. It was a good height for him, as the pundits say... but they all need saving. The corner was cleared with ease.

On 80 minutes, Kone was replaced by Naismith and given a great send off; by hell, that was different to the noise he got when he came on last week! About 4 minutes later, we gain a corner and "Everton, Everton" tumbles down the terraces. The ball is regained by Lukaku who appears to go on a powerful mazy dribble that takes on the whole defence. The ball is worked across the box to find the lurking Barkley and, with a sublime one touch and shot, the net was troubled and the whole place exploded: Game Over!

Browning came on for Galloway, who had a good game but is still learning; I am sure this lad can come through. Also Deulofeu got his second Everton debut when replacing Lukaku, who got a hell of a Thank You from the hoards. 4 minutes added which soon passed and, at the final whistle, we are singing in the sunshine as the players came over and a love-in took place. Ahh... what a difference a week in football makes!

MotM The Entire Team

Four points from two games; so we are two better off than this stage last season. It was heartening the way we played today but of course to get where we would like to be we will need todays attitude and level on a consistent basis. If we do get the two players and of the class that the manager is talking about, then our outlook for the season will surely seem brighter.

I hope todays display can get the home crowd back onside and who knows... a result from City is certainly possible and the Sunday roast will be complete. After watching today's Southampton display, I believe there is one important thing Everton FC can learn from them: Dont sell your best players!

A good day all round and I wonder, could a goal-fest beat a pro-test?

UP THE BLUES

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Reader Comments (38)

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John Clarke
1 Posted 16/08/2015 at 02:39:33
Thanks Ken, I really enjoy your match reviews. I live in Australia and although I see some of the games on tv, your reports are great. I got back to Liverpool last year and saw us beat Wolfsburg, lose to Palace and beat Villa. Two out of three not bad!! Hope we all have a good season and my mate in Liverpool, who has had a season ticket for donkey's years.
Matt Traynor
2 Posted 16/08/2015 at 02:43:40
Good report, Ken.

I’ve thought this for a while, and I know I’m not alone, but we seem to be more comfortable playing on the break against some of the better organised teams. When we’ve got results against the likes of Man Utd (home and away in Roberto’s 1st season, home 2nd), Arsenal (home and away 1st season) etc, it’s been through sitting back and breaking at pace. Reminds me of Nottingham Forest under Clough.

When we fanny about with the ball and pass it around from the back, invariably ceding possession, we often come unstuck, particularly against teams we’d expect to dominate.

Hopefully we’ll see a similar set up against Man City, as we surely won’t try to dictate the game against them. We still need to determine our best approach against the supposed lesser lights, particularly at home.

But great game, great result, and well done to the group for staging the protest. Whether you agree or disagree, at least they’ve gone the peaceful route, unlike other clubs who took more direct action. (Think City fans turning up at the hospital where their Chairman was dying.)

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 16/08/2015 at 03:38:29
Another literary triumph from Ken to go with the triumph at St Mary’s.

I checked in briefly with the Live Forum this morning and saw this pregame comment:

"Our football sucks. Our tactics are boring and our good players are injured. Is there any reason for optimism?"

To that poster and those he spoke for... I hope you found your banquet of crow very, very tasty.

Phil Sammon
4 Posted 16/08/2015 at 03:53:57
Mike 3

Whoever posted that has probably gone a bit far...but can anyone really argue with the sentiment?

Yesterday's performance was terrific, but it came out of nowhere. We have all longed to see us play with that sort of pace and incisiveness...and Martinez has seemingly discouraged it. In fact, on several occasions now he has said that he will not change his methodical possession-based tactics.

Martinez deserves a lot of credit for this performance, but as one of his critics I actually feel vindicated and my face; egg-free. I just pray he learns from this. We absolutely played to our strengths today and it really was a joy to watch.

Well done Roberto
Well done the team
Well done the travelling fans
More of the same please...

Matt Traynor
5 Posted 16/08/2015 at 04:28:58
Phil #4 I think that’s fair comment.

Even under OFM, at times the football was dire, but occasionally the team would seemingly cut loose and play incisive attacking football. I’m sure Moyes’ wanted more of that, but they weren’t up to it on a consistent basis.

We saw two years ago this lot can do it (it’s largely the same team, with the 3 loanees from that season now F/T, albeit in Barry’s case 2 years older!)

Yet even in RM’s first season an annoying amount of goals conceded were from our own fuck ups with the passing from the back. It’s fine to play a pass more than 5 yards - if you can’t manage that you shouldn’t be on the pitch.

Slippy at Mordor made a career of long balls, except they were "long passes" because it was the RS.

Yesterday we mixed it up. Okay Soton had chances - most teams will in any given game - but we took most of ours and I didn’t think 3-0 flattered us.

Craig Fletcher
6 Posted 16/08/2015 at 06:26:30
As always Ken, great article. Thanks for the read.

Yes Matt, it was definitely noticeable that we mixed it up yesterday. What also was noticeable was that Lukaku was winning more headers from those long balls than usual, which helped to bring Kone and Barkley into the game.

Ajay Gopal
7 Posted 16/08/2015 at 06:41:44
Mike (3), there were much worse comments on the match preview thread. I can recall 2 here:
One poster wanted Everton to lose so that Martinez would be sacked and Bielsa would be appointed manager!
Another predicted (hoped) that Everton would be on 4-5 points by the end of November and Martinez would be sacked.

Reading that thread was one of the most depressing experiences for me on TW. I wonder if these are real Everton fans? I haven't bothered reading the other thread after yesterday's result, but I can guarantee that these same worthies would be full of self important comments like "this is what we have been asking from Martinez", "the players seem to have dumped Roberto's philosophy and played the style they are more comfortable with"... etc, etc. Do these so called fans think that Martinez is stupid, that he achieved an FA Cup win, a 5th place finish with the highest points tally by fluke?

Rant over ...

Before the game, I had a strange feeling that Everton would thump Southampton, and so it proved (maybe just my seething psyche hoping that the MOB would get egg on their faces!). Lukaku was at his best 'bullying' mood and both he and Barkley really seem to enjoy playing alongside Kone, who is an intelligent footballer. Barry protected the back 4 well, but Cleverly and McCarthy were strangely subdued I thought. If both of them get a bit more dynamic in their play, we could have 1 heck of a football team.

The statistics of our forward 3 reads like this:

Kone: 1 goal, 2 assists
Lukaku: 2 goals, 2 assists
Barkley: 2 goals, 1assist

I have always believed that if we can keep the team that Martinez is building intact, and we get reasonably lucky with injuries, we will have a good season ahead.

Derek Thomas
8 Posted 16/08/2015 at 07:03:47
Not many spotted that one coming, no back ground of opinion along the lines of, ’we’re due to give some one a right pasting’.

So fair play to the manager and players, you couldn’t fault any one

On the strength of this, Roberto, the court will place you under Probation, to be reviewed weekly - conditions as described by Ken above.

Further more you must cease and desist from all association with any person, Ideas or utterances of a Phenomenal or Philosophical nature. To this end a restraining order will be thus placed. You must carry with you at all times a 10 foot pole to check that you do not get too near to any of these obvious dangers to your future Employment.

It is the feeling of this court that you are on very thin ice and that it will deal harshly with any deviation from these conditions.

John Jones
9 Posted 16/08/2015 at 09:16:11
Great review of the game, Ken.

I caught the last 30 minutes as I had a pretty mad night. As the game came on, I shouted to my Missus, "WE are fucking 2-0 up!!!"

I watch the last 30 minutes of game and then re-watched it. My massive hangover didn’t feel that bad.

I think I have said here that I was worried that we could be bottom by November 1st on 1 point; well, I am happy to eat my words.

The 4-1-4-1 system was a masterstroke. With the energy of McCarthy and Cleverley pressing much higher up the pitch, it was so much better. Barry then being able to just step in and disrupt play.

Hitting Kone rather than Lukaku is better, plus it allows variation in play as then we can hit the long ball over the top. Does anyone else think that both Barkley and Lukaku look more confident when Kone is playing with them?

All-in-all, a great result against a good side. Now that is a nice thing to say on a Sunday Morning. Also I think my Missus is happy because I am in a good mood for a change on a Sunday Morning.

Eric Myles
10 Posted 16/08/2015 at 09:34:37
Good report Ken, I couldn’t watch the match here in Ho Chi Minh City but got up at 4am to catch our 5 mins of highlights on MotD.

I wouldn’t have said Barkley "merely passed the ball back to the keeper" -- he struck the shot straight at the keeper but so well he couldn’t control it and it rebounded off him with McCarthy unable to put his header on target.

A much better team display all round but how much of it due to the open opposition and will we be able to break down more defensive teams?

Christopher Timmins
11 Posted 16/08/2015 at 10:04:01
Fantastic day for all blue supporters.

Now let's push on from this!

Mike Iddon
12 Posted 16/08/2015 at 10:11:00
Breathtaking arrogance from some posters in that they feel vindicated with the performance; is that why they are all football managers then rather than blokes with an opinion?
Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 16/08/2015 at 10:16:12
Haven’t read none of this yet, but it’s a message for Ken, and everyone else who travelled to Southampton yesterday.

I got a message off my 15-year-old son, who got himself out of bed at 5 AM yesterday morning to go the game.

"IT'S WHAT YOU LIVE FOR" is all it said. It makes me want to start travelling again!

Steve Cotton
14 Posted 16/08/2015 at 10:22:56
I think the influence of Cleverley is telling more than we realise too. Great addition to the team.
Jim Harrison
15 Posted 16/08/2015 at 10:24:01
Matt Traynor (#5), I agree with you, mate, but can you explain why only Barry is 2 years older than he was 2 years ago? The other two have been stuck in some parallel universe where time runs at a different rate?
Matt Traynor
16 Posted 16/08/2015 at 10:26:06
Jim #15 sorry, I should've been more clear - the 2 years older seems to be more noticeable in Barry's case, at least in the writings of some posters, despite him consistently being MotM in others' eyes.

Personally I don't think he's lost a yard of pace, as he never had it to begin with.

Peter Barry
17 Posted 16/08/2015 at 10:28:06
A great win, especially coming by the margin it did, but everyone must admit it was an unexpected result. I was particularly pleased to see Kone come good. Let's hope it's not a flash in the pan and he can produce this form consistently and avoid injury. But let's not get carried away just yet; after all, ’one swallow does not a summer make’.
Dave Williams
19 Posted 16/08/2015 at 11:31:13
Ajay - I agree with everything you say but thought McCarthy and Cleverly were tremendous as they ran everywhere at pace and chased everything down all day.
Great display but a word or two about the much maligned Kone. Never before have I seen a man slagged off so much when he has been too badly injured to show his best. He now looks like a class player and it could be that having an experienced man up front will help the still very young Lukaku and Barkley. Certainly pretty much everything ball stuck to Kone yesterday and if he can sustain this form he will be a tremendous asset. Yesterday he looked like the player who destroyed us in the quarter final - I am so pleased for him.
One swallow ....etc but lets take pleasure in a great start!
Jeff Hughes
20 Posted 16/08/2015 at 12:08:29
Thanks Ken for a great report and as someone who has only had the benefit of seeing MOTD I am left wondering where that result came from. No doubt from the brief analysis on MOTD that the fast paced counter attacking style suited us and brought a fantastic result. It leaves me even more certain that Everton's difficulties lie not in personnel and that much of the discussion around individuals is missing the point. Our difficulties lie in the fact that when we decide to play slow patient football we cannot get through or behind teams and we create little danger to opponents. I hope Martinez can continue to deploy this style away from home but it does leave us with questions at home if the opponents decide to sit and wait. I still think it is possible to counter at home at pace if players have the freedom to make runs and play quick forward passes. It may leave us exposed on occasion if attacks break down but we must have our defenders/McCarthy/Barry alert to dangers and quick to stifle opposition breaks and that requires them to move up the pitch as we attack. I would expect City to come at us and this will give us some chances in the next game but we must , must, must be brave enough to change the pace of play, with players making runs from deep and quick to up the tempo in spells during the game. After me feeling less excited about the start of a season than for many a year, yesterday's result has whetted my appetite once more. COYB
Mike Childs
21 Posted 16/08/2015 at 13:12:59
"Put the prayer beads away" These gems of wit Ken are simply beautiful and why I look forward to your reports every week. Plus these gems are intertwined with an excellent unbiased report. Thank You and thanks to Michael and Lyndon for sharing your thoughts with us.

Definitely one who didn't see this coming. More of the same please.

Alan Thompson
22 Posted 16/08/2015 at 13:41:56
For me, Kone was MotM for the way he held the ball up which released Barkley who put in a performance with greater effort that saw him provide the link play of an old fashioned wing half/inside forward that has been missing which, to my mind, has made us look pedestrian in passing along the backline. I am also of the opinion that this is why Baines & Coleman had not been getting forward as this would have left only Stones, Jags & Howard to pass it between themselves. That also brought Lukaku into the game facing their goal more often which I think best suits him.

Any Faults? I thought too often Galloway was caught with 2 or 3 men on his wing with little support which Soton used poorly and in all they seemed quite poor relying too much on a big centre forward. I would also liked to have seen us with a genuine left footed winger taking on their full back. But winning 3-0 away speaks for itself.

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 16/08/2015 at 14:40:32
Well summed up report Ken, as usual. I'm made up for yourself and all the fans who had to travel at such early hours.

Ken, the only player you never mentioned was Cleverley. In a great team effort, he was as good as anyone. I understand scorers will always get the most attention but Cleverley deserved at least a nod.

A lovely day for us Blues and I hope it is the start of a run of good performances by the Toffees.

John Raftery
24 Posted 16/08/2015 at 17:55:27
Spot on report and a great day. It is easier though to play the way we did yesterday when the opposition are not sitting as deep as Watford did last week.

There have only been 4 home wins in the first 19 matches of this season’s Premier League which suggests we are not alone in finding home fixtures difficult. Playing away from home in front of a couple of thousand vocal fans provides a more positive environment for players to perform in than stepping out at Goodison in front of 36,000 silent, if not hostile patrons.

We will go into the Man City game as underdogs so I expect the crowd will get behind the team from the start. They will need to.

Keith Glazzard
25 Posted 16/08/2015 at 19:00:23
Another word for Tom Cleverley - it was like we had two Jimmy Macs at times, and that can't be bad. Plus look at Coleman's skill and work getting the ball to Ross for the third. Much more of that, the whole thing, tempo, intent, and we have to improve on last season, surely.
City on Sunday, a tall order. But at least we aren't playing in Uzbekistan on Thursday.
Jay Harris
26 Posted 16/08/2015 at 20:51:54
Enjoyable report as always Ken.

I thought the big difference was how we set up with only Barry as deep lying Defensive mid and McCarthy pushed further forward in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

That allied to a greater intensity and determination gave us the edge.

Also the addition of a second attack minded player in Kone took some of the pressure off Lukaku who I thought had his best game in a blue shirt.


I admit to being his biggest critic but he did put a MOTM performance in yesterday and it rubbed off on the rest of the team.

Means we are now looking forward to City with some expectation rather than depression.

COYB.

Martin Mason
27 Posted 16/08/2015 at 21:10:19
City were devastating today but I feel we can give them a good game.
Tony Abrahams
28 Posted 16/08/2015 at 21:19:29
Martin, I hope your right for once mate :-)
Peter Creer
29 Posted 16/08/2015 at 21:27:51
A great game. The difference for me is the way that Kone is providing the support for Lukaku. It was not until Kone came on in the first game that Lukaku started to have an impact. Martinez saw that and found a way to get Kone on from the start and he willingly and effectively pushed forward on the counter attack and the two played great together.

It was a team effort, however, Kone was my MotM.

COYB!

Tim Greeley
31 Posted 16/08/2015 at 02:01:07
Ken this was one of your best works of prose yet. I'm sure the out-of-nowhere heroic effort and result on the field has nothing to do with that! God stuff again and hell yeah Toffees!!

The Toxic Avengers look becomes Everton. Do we continue to "Go Green" until it ceases to work??

Nahhhhhh. Bring it on City.

Abhishek Saha
32 Posted 17/08/2015 at 03:31:16
Great result!!!
Dick Fearon
33 Posted 17/08/2015 at 04:26:27
Kone often rotated the striking role with Lukaku and created a twin-pronged outlet for our defenders.

Against City, whether or not Kone starts, we should not afford the Mancs too much respect. They and other so-called ’top five" would give their right arm to have some of our players.

Up Boys and at em’.

Phil Walling
34 Posted 17/08/2015 at 05:40:08
More of the same will begin to restore the faith that most Evertonians had in Roberto until last season’s shambles.

However, there’s not much chance he will leave well alone for the Manc game as his desire to keep all the squad happy will prevail.

All we can hope is that the Tinkerman is the one at Leicester not Goodison this season.

Abhishek Saha
35 Posted 17/08/2015 at 11:07:19
I wonder... where does this leave Mirallas, Deulofeu, Osman and Naismith?

If we play two upfront (which we should) and two as holding midfielders (which Bobby Brown would), then that leaves places for two between Kone/Lukaku and Barry/McCarthy. We have six presently fit players who can play in these two positions. We had Cleverley and Barkley filling them on the weekend and we still have Mirallas, Deulofeu, Osman and Naismith.

Harold Matthews
36 Posted 17/08/2015 at 13:28:21
Mike G. Repeating a post from the live forum is not really fair. It's the nearest thing to being at the match and we all have a laugh and scream all sorts of insane rubbish. The serious stuff is saved for later or the next day.
Anto Byrne
37 Posted 17/08/2015 at 15:21:20
Other sides are not going to play as open as Soton. Players like Mirallas and Deulofeu have the pace to unlock these stubborn locked defences we will encounter. There will be horses for courses and we do have players like Ossie and Pienaar to offer something different. Maybe we will get a playmaker.
Mike Gaynes
38 Posted 17/08/2015 at 19:55:00
Harold, of course you're right... I just got a special chuckle out of that particular poster going on as he did (he wrote six or seven posts in a similar vein) and then vanishing completely as Everton came out roaring.

I don't play on the Forum anymore, but I do enjoy reading it during the game... and I'm always grateful for you and your notes of sanity!

Abhishek Saha
39 Posted 18/08/2015 at 02:07:49
Anto, yeah...agree with what you said!!
Harold Matthews
40 Posted 18/08/2015 at 08:01:52
Yes Anto / Abhishek. City opened up Chelsea with 2 fast wide wingers. Unfortunately, Martinez only plays wide and quick down the right. Mirallis, Cleverley, Pienaar or whoever is on the left, cut inside onto their stronger right foot. No-one hugs the left wing like Sterling did the other day. In fact, the only lads on the books who could manage that job would be Oviedo and McGeady who is comfortable on both wings.

If the great Arsenal manager George Graham took charge of Everton for the City game he would select Deulofeu for the right wing spot. He would then order him to stay high and wide and not track back. Graham always used this tactic to offset an attacking fullback like Kolarov.


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