From My Seat: Sunderland (H)

After Tuesday this was a much better performance and although there were some excellent bits other bits need working on especially in the back four.

Ken Buckley 01/11/2015 17comments  |  Jump to last

A misty morning in L4 saw us assemble and chew over Tuesday's game and the outcome of that was that Robles could be unlucky to lose his place today. Also the fact that eight changes were made to the team we did well to sneak into the next round via good fortune and good penalty taking. A win is a win and into the next round we go.

The team was beamed to electronic devices and we noted that Howard had been relieved of some pressure by Barry being named captain. Oviedo was including in the starting line-up and many were surprised that after his stint on Tuesday he wasnt a sub to allow for gradual integration considering the severity and length of his injury time out. As it turned out the Room of Nonsense members had a point. We then joined 36,000 odd on the walk up and as usual the route was awash with Blue and white with just a hint of Red and White stripes.

The sound of Z-Cars heralded the gladiators who received a great ovation, so no fan hangover from Tuesday. A minute's silence was observed as part of the club's Everton Remembers for those with Everton connections who fell in WW1. There is a good article on this by Pete Jones of the EFC heritage society in todays match day magazine (Proey) I must say it was observed faultlessly.

We kicked off toward the Park End and the early sparring was taking place when we got quite a shock and some good luck when on just 4 minutes Sunderland broke and with some good football got the right wingback into our box and his shot hit the post and came out to be cleared in scrambled fashion. I was really glad that didnt go in as the timing coincided with the minute that was set aside to have applause for our dear departed hero who began his great career with the blues in that No4 shirt. It was thunderous and the players just seemed to knock the ball about until is subsided.

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On with the action and Sunderland get a free kick that was put in high and Howard ran out to catch and receive plenty of cheers. We were playing some neat one touch quick stuff but anywhere near the business end a poor touch seemed to allow the visitors to intercept and break. Barkley tried to alter this by running at them with the ball and they did back off him but as got a sight of goal his shot was wayward. He was next involved when he tried a crossfield ball that only found their wingback and he set off like a robbers dog directly at our keeper who proved his shot stopping abilities by deflecting the ball away with his feet but within minutes Adam Johnson was in our box, shot and hit the same post in almost the same place but we cleared the rebound. I turned to my mate and said sometimes its not you day and by the look of it this is not Sunderlands. They could have been at least 2 or maybe 3 up.

On 20 minutes we rubbed salt into their wounds when Kone who had started brightly with pace and purpose got one over the top for Deulofeu to run on to and into their area. He drew the keeper sashayed inside him and as two tackles came in rolled the ball home and received hero worship such were the celebrations. It wasnt a super finish but they all count and it was the Blues in the lead. Barry had now got a grip of the midfield and along with the engine that is McCarthy were pulling strings. Barry repeated the Kone ball over the top for Deulofeu to run onto but this time defenders were quicker to get near him so he crossed bur a resultant shot was wide.

With Barry leading by example we were gaining the upper hand when, wouldnt you know it, another Hammy came along and it just had to be that man Oviedo who copped it, as if that man has not had enough. As he was led away and Galloway readied my mind went back to the room of nonsense when we pondered whether his return was a little too soon after Tuesdays long stint.

We were bemoaning some tippy-tappy at the back leading nowhere when the half was up and suddenly a super session of joined up footy took place at some controlled pace at the end of which Kone did a one two with Lukaku on edge of box and the big Ivorian thundered a left foot shot that left the keeper wondering where it had gone, we knew, it was the net. Oh the joy, the chants and the songs. 2-0 up and seemingly coasting. More good luck for us and bad luck for them was when we saw Cattermole coming off injured and before he had chance to leave any of our lads Cattermoled He was replaced by Jack Rodwell who got a great reception from the faithful.

With Barry in dominant mood and McCarthy covering every blade of grass they were allowing expansive short and long passing to break out trying to open them up for another goal but always just breaking down either to a wayward pass or scuffed shot at the end of moves. It all looked too easy but just before the break Fletcher got clear and hit one luckily straight at Howard but it made me think for gods sake dont let them get anything before half time but hell, right on 45 minutes Mori dived in where he shouldnt and allowed a bouncing ball to come across toward Stones but that evergreen predator Defoe reacted twice as quickly as our rookie centre back and found the top corner. We only had time to tap the ball from the centre spot when our Ref Mr Marriner blew up. A bit of a downer that.

H/T 2-1 from a half we started half asleep and ended well on top until that 45th minute. During the break we had a junior age group presented showing us the trophy they had one in a prestigious completion. Unfortunately they were chased off by a water sprinkler that seemed to have a mind of its own. Next we had a presentation of flowers to the family of Howard Kendall and as you can imagine the reception they got was of the royal true blue variety.

We started the second half with purpose suggesting things had been said in the dressing room. Barkley got on the ball, spotted a killer pass for Deulofeu to run onto but he put too much boot into his pass leaving the jet heeled one with no chance of catching it. It was a shame that as just five minutes in the inevitable happened when from being 2-0 up and looking good we are pegged back to 2-2 and to make things worse it was from a cross that was no more than regulation across the box but Howard stayed rooted to the spot and Fletcher was in front of Mori and he headed down passed a flat footed Howard. It was another of those crosses that he seems unable to deal with but I was mightily pleased when no booing or catcalling was loud enough to be heard as that can only make him worse and if Roberto is intent on playing him no matter what then we dont want him any worse.

We now had to start all over again and our first dangerous effort was when Deulofeu got himself clear of his marker and headed for the box. His shirt was pulled a bit but he got away but instead of going on goal and maybe shooting he threw himself to the ground, the ref just signalled get up but instead he waved his arms about like a petulant child then sprang up and gave the lino a mouthful, the lino told the ref and Deulofeu got a yellow card. What a plonker! However within minutes he started to make amends when on the 55min mark he got a cross in that allowed Lukaku to stoop and conquer. Well I thought he had anyway and so did the game announcer but since I have learned it was an own goal but no matter still we lead 3-2.

Just 5 minutes later and Lukaku gets a legit one. Deulofeu again the provider when a measured ball put Lukaku on his way and the big man took it up to the keeper went passed him as if he was not there and rolled home. Cue pandemonium and the Rom song well sung as the beaming Belgian took the plaudits. Just two minutes later and from a Sunderland attack Barkley gets on the ball and feeds McCarthy who sped forward to the edge of their box fed Kone who with a shimmy to his left hammered home another left footer. 5-2 Hell that was 3goals in about five minutes. Were we that good or were they that badwho cares?

It was party time now. On 65 minutes Mirallas replaces Deulofeu who comes of quite slowly milking all the adulation he was getting as it spilled down from the stands. Mirallas started as he meant to go on, where he was a little below par in effort and thought on Tuesday he was full of vim and vigour today. If only he could be consistent as I think he is one of our most dangerous forwards when in the mood. With an unassailable lead we put on a show of joined up footy with series of passing movements each containing many passes The crowd were lapping it up as Mirallas got to the by-line with a fine run but his cross had no takers. We were now spending time in trying to get Kone in to enable him to take the ball home. In between Mirallas was certainly wanting a goal and the nearest he came was when he just failed to round the keeper before being crowded out.

Would we see a hat trick? Well the clock was ticking and we just could not get the Ivorian in. Then with 15 minutes to go Lukaku got on the ball midway between half way and goal. He used his power, strength and determination to shrug off all-comers and on reaching the box produced the king of a cross with the outside of his trusty left boot and there was Aruona with the perfect powerful header that left the keeper with little to do but find the ball in the net and fish it out. 6-2 I will type that again 6-2 I never knew our scoreboard went beyond 3. What a feeling, what a celebration with mates or strangers. There is something about being in Goodison on these occasions, something that will draw you back as you will want to feel it again even if it takes time and at times looks impossible.

Before the end Osman came on for Lukaku who took the slow walk off to take in the adulation shown toward him. Sunderland put a sub on for Fletcher in Watmore who looked more than handy when he tuned Stones inside out but before Watmore could perform a set up the Chelsea target got back and slid the ball out for a corner. I do believe that was there first corner. At the other end Mirallas had come over to the right and twisting and turning at pace made room for a shot which he hit sweetly with right hand side but it curled a gnats whisker the wrong side of the post. Just as we were winding down Watmore had a shot cum chip that Howard dealt with. With Barry calming things down the added time was spent and whistle blew 6-2 will do. If yer know yer Istery was belted out and it was a treat to wait just a little while and watch Arouna walk off with the ball. There walks one proud man I thought.

MotM Arouna Kone

After Tuesday this was a much better performance and although there were some excellent bits other bits need working on especially in the back four. It was a good job we had Barry and McCarthy to help out both physically and verbally. The big plus for me today was to see two big lads in Lukaku and Kone getting to grips with the hard stuff and producing a display of understanding between the two of them that has not been there before. If they can both keep fit and well what a bonus for us and a nightmare for opponents.

West Ham next and no reason to fear them, however I would hope that Roberto knows they have Andy Carrol and might put a bit more emphasis on the defending of set pieces down Finch Farm way this coming week in their training sessions. Bilic will have had us watched today.


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Reader Comments (17)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 02/11/2015 at 00:13:06
Everton's best first touch isn't Kone or Barkley or even Deulofeu.

It's Ken's eyewitness report afterwards.



Andrew James
2 Posted 02/11/2015 at 00:17:57
Great review Ken, thanks.

Hopefully this will kick start our season as we've not been poor nor good, just unpredictable. Man Utd at home was poor, should have done Swansea away and the RS at home.

But awesome at Saints, with Chelsea, West Brom and today.

Need a winning run now!

Anthony Dwyer
3 Posted 02/11/2015 at 00:27:04
I can’t help but feel a starting team with Lukaku and Barkley joined by two out of three of Kone, Deulofeu and Mirallas will cause any team a headache.

I can’t help but notice we get so much more from Lukaku when Kone is on the pitch with him. He’s happy and plays with a smile on his face but at the same time, he becomes an absolute beast, it’s almost as though he feels he’s actually got back-up.

Without Kone, we seem to have a huge gap between Rom and the rest of the team. Kone definitely bridges that gap and seems to open up space up top for Rom as well as space in the middle of the park for Ross.

Deulofeu offers genuine width and although he can go missing at times, his deliveries are unbelievable and will cause hassle to any defence.

Lennon, Naismith, Osman and whoever else are best used in the cup competitions against weakened opposition or as players off the bench, as they are too far behind the lads mentioned above.

Victor Jones
4 Posted 01/11/2015 at 00:32:47
Very good report. You can almost smell the atmosphere. Love your build up to games, it takes me back to when I was a regular at Goodison Park. The 1970s and the 80s. I only manage a few games a season nowadays. And your match report was also very good. Thank you.

Now to the game. We need to keep Kone fit as Lukaku seems to play better when Kone is around; they seem happy playing together. Look at the goal celebrations, magic!

Kone's goals are a very welcome contribution. If Kone was Lukaku’s age, then we would have another £28 million striker on our hands. Who do we play instead of Kone and Lukaku? A huffy Mirallas and a hit-and-miss Naismith? Yes, Lukaku can also be hit and miss but, on his day, he is unplayable.

Deulofeu also needs to feature more. I don’t care if he never tracks back as that is what the RB and DMFs are there for. The lad scored and assisted today, that does for me.

Barkley also does not need to get stuck in; he is not Tim Cahill or Roy Keane. But he does need to control games better, to start using his undoubted skill to spray forward passes all over the park. He needs to drive forward at all times, and to shoot at every opportunity. He needs to score more goals.

We offer very little down the left, and as Pienaar (I fear) is finished, we have no other player of that calibre. Miralles (again) and Lennon are not the answers. Kone is not a winger, nor is Naismith.

Here’s a thought... how about Baines (when fit) playing in a left-sided midfield position, in front of a left-back, most likely Galloway? Baines marauding down the wing and the left-back covering. Ovedio or Cleverley can also play that position.

We have a very good 18 to 20 players to choose from but no great cover at goalkeeper or as I have said centre-forward. That can be fixed in January... who am I kidding?

Coleman needs to start tackling. As does Stones. The other two defenders (Funes Mori and Galloway) played far better. But we have good cover in defence. I trust all the youngsters, even that young lad Hibbert, to do a stand-in job. And we have Gibson, Besic and Cleverley; surely these players will feature soon.

Great result today. A lot of winnable games coming up over the next few months and a league cup semifinal place beckons. Why not? We were utter rubbish this time last season; surely Martinez has learnt from that... I hope so.

Victor Jones
5 Posted 02/11/2015 at 01:26:05
Good to see our DMFs get forward a few times today. Barry had a dig, and McCarthy was involved in one of Kone's goals, albeit against a poor team, and albeit they cannot play like that for 90 minutes. But they can get forward, and they did today.

When we break quickly, we need our midfield to back up the forwards. Notice that, on a day when we scored six, Lukaku was not isolated, nor was Kone.

I hope that lessons have been learnt, but I half expect Martinez to ring the changes for next week. It would not be the first time that he changed a winning team, would it?

Laurie Hartley
6 Posted 02/11/2015 at 01:26:43
"Oh the joy, the chants, and the songs" - you've done it again Ken.
Tamhas Woods
7 Posted 02/11/2015 at 01:59:36
Last time we won a Prem game 6-2?

Swindon Town on 15th January 1994 I believe. Mike Walker's first game in charge....

Curiously it was the exact same order of goals that day as well. 2-0 Everton, 2-2 and then 6-2!

Matt Traynor
8 Posted 02/11/2015 at 02:30:51
Great report as ever Ken, and the first time in a while I've been more interested in your musings on the match, rather than the tales from the Room of Nonsense. You (and Paul Traill's reports) give an overall sense of the routine - and too often in recent years that's what it's felt like. But for expats like me, and I'm sure those overseas supporters who are yet to make their pilgrimage, I read these reports before I read the mainstream media ones.

The game itself was end-to-end. Even at 2-2 the live forum seemed to have a few doubters predicting Sunderland would take it, but we found the extra gear and put it away.

Agree that with a hat-trick, Kone gets MotM but Barry was immense. As his powers wane, I'm sure we'll struggle to replace what he brings. He has his limitations (mainly due to advancing age IMO) but I get the feeling some supporters just don't see what he brings to the team.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 02/11/2015 at 08:23:54
One of the most bizarre games I’ve ever witnessed at Goodison. Never in a million years did I see a 6-2 victory for Everton at half-time, you could argue that Sunderland did us a massive favour by scoring their equaliser so early in the second half, it was the wake-up call we needed and rather than hold on at 2-1 until the 75th-80th minute and then be hit by a late sucker punch, we had enough time to hit back.

What did we learn from yesterday?

1) It makes a world of difference and I’ve always said so, having TWO strikers on the pitch working in tandem and Lukaku works at his best when Arouna Kone is on the pitch!

2) We still can’t defend, and I’m not naive enough to ignore the fact that Sunderland could quite easily have had six goals themselves. Our defence, maybe it will always be this way under Martinez, was and is horrific. At times it begs the question of why we bother being so stubborn over keeping a central defender when a £38 million was on the table for him when he’s part of a defence that leaks goals anyway!

All-in-all, a good entertaining game at Goodison for a change though and nice to actually see us go to town on an opponent with a goal glut rather than sit back!

That said, we need 7 points from the next 3 games otherwise we won’t be building any momentum up.

Trevor Lynes
10 Posted 02/11/2015 at 08:36:13
Great report of a fantastic, though entirely unexpected result. Why, oh why are we so slow out of the blocks ? We could and should have been at least one goal behind before our defenders got a grip on the match. I am just glad that Whatmore did not play from the beginning. This kid is a talent and is well worth a punt if he comes available.

So happy for Kone who is certainly a fine foil for big Rom. Also nice to see Mirallas come on and play a nice cameo, he should be the automatic rotator with Deulofeu as he carries a goal threat. I actually thought that we really missed Jagielka and Baines at the back as we were really naïve defensively.

When Jags is fully fit I would like to see three centre backs used against certain opposition as we need to be stronger at set pieces. The defensive midfielders played much better yesterday and actually tried to create attacks which has been missing in recent weeks.

All in all, a very strange game in many ways, we must start quicker against better opponents as needing to chase games gets the crowd on the players backs. Luckily we were never behind in the match and soon got back in front after the Sunderland equalizer. Barkley remains an enigma IMO and sometimes he wastes time with sideways and backwards passing although when he runs at defences he can cause havoc. Kone must start alongside Lukaku as Rom obviously enjoys playing with a partner. Let us hope that Deulofeu stays positive and cuts out his stupid diving as it was really embarrassing. Some of his play showed how much we have missed a real wide man but he also needs to up his work rate when he is without the ball.

Paul Mackie
11 Posted 02/11/2015 at 10:58:37
I think you’re being a bit harsh on Stones there, Jim. He’s a young lad who’s still learning and our back line keeps changing every game. I’m sure things will improve once he and Funes Mori get a bit of a partnership going whilst Jags is out.

I agree completely about Lukaku being better with Kone in the team though. A front three of those two plus Deulofeu or Mirallas is pretty potent and I love watching the little passes they put together in the opponent's box.

Jim Bennings
12 Posted 02/11/2015 at 11:27:33

I know, reading my post again it does seem a tad harsh on John Stones who I really like both as a person and player.

It wasn’t really a jibe at Stones but more of an overall assessment of the problems in defence that have existed under Martinez regardless of who plays there and arguably it’s the fullbacks responsibility to meet crosses more often especially knowing our weakness with any ball into the six-yard box!

Funes Mori has looked okay without being spectacular, I’m quietly satisfied with him, hope he’ll get better as time goes on. I was a bit concerned at how he’s lost out on a few headers from these crosses, he lost one on Tuesday night in the last minute which Robles saved the day!

But I don’t think we can just blame defenders, again Fletcher scored from a floated cross, could Howard have charged out and read the danger quicker??

Let’s hope we don’t get punished by Andy Carroll next Saturday because you can bet your bottom dollar the Hammers will be playing on our weaknesses.

I want to focus this week though on a good win and some goals for a change. I think I’m right in saying Lukaku looks a totally different striker when he has men around him supporting him, Kone was always close by looking to link up, unlike the majority of last season when Lukaku cut a totally isolated miserable figure!

I think we are seeing the Arouna Kone from his season at Wigan when he rattled in 13 goals in a struggling side, I said back when we signed him he had something to offer, it’s just been a crying shame the guy has had such rotten luck with the injury that could have finished him but full credit he’s never complained and the hat-trick couldn’t have gone to a more deserving lad.

David Hallwood
13 Posted 02/11/2015 at 12:31:48
Great report as ever, Ken, and I agree with Jim (#9) that it was a bizarre game. About their 1st goal, I’m torn between poor defending or was it just superb attacking play from a player born to score goals.

But onto the John Stones conundrum: for as long as I’ve been watching the game, the complaint about British defenders is that they aren’t comfortable on the ball unlike the European counterparts, and here we have a player that plays in a ’continental’ mode.

The problem is that the EPL does and has never allowed time on the ball and therefore players like Ashley Williams, Shawcross, and dare I say Jagielka flourish in the EPL, whereas players like Stones are not allowed to play their natural game.

That being said, the problem with Stones is that, in the last 4-5 games it’s only the performance of Howard that hasn’t seen the spotlight shone on him because he hasn’t covered himself with glory.

But onto the game: plenty of attacking plus points and it must be remembered that we haven’t had a settled backline all season, with an unfit Coleman (and Stones) and Howard is well... Howard.

WHU will be a stern test, as they’re no pushovers, but they will be more wary of us and especially Lukaku who can’t stop scoring against them. Let’s hope this will kickstart the season and put some points on the board – and a clean sheet boys please.

Steve Davies
14 Posted 02/11/2015 at 14:46:20
A great article Ken. It summed up the mood at GP. The applause for HK on 4 minutes was touching, Sunderland fans deserve credit for joining in.

Kone does bring out the best in Lukaku especially with Deulofeu supplying the crosses... Mr Martinez, please do not not change this winning combination... but I know this will fall on deaf ears. I know that Mr Martinez knows better than the rest of us and has never heard of the maxim ’Don’t change a winning team’.

Apart from having Galloway on from the start and Robles in goal the team should more or less pick itself.

The defense is a worry. Howard is now a liability as he never comes for crosses. The term marking ’touch tight’ seems to have gone out of fashion with our defenders. The best exponent was probably Tony Hibbert. Perhaps he could teach his younger colleagues!

If he can sort out his goalie, tighten up the defense, and stop chopping and changing, you never know... we might have the makings of a good team here!

Vinny Garstrokes
15 Posted 02/11/2015 at 15:11:36
Lukaku — What a cross for Arouna Kone’s 3rd goal... absolutely sublime!
Jake Prendergast
16 Posted 02/11/2015 at 17:56:10
Stones needs to step up. The last few games he has been too tentative. He did not put much of a challenge in for the Norwich goal and should have done better for Defoe’s goal too. I also saw him actually move out of the way of a Sunderland cross from our left which was fired across our goal. He could easily have stopped that one. Luckily, nobody there to meet it which he did not know.

Against a better team on Saturday we would be having the same conversation as the last few weeks; bemoaning defensive fragility. I should be on cloud 9 after a 6-goal outing but am wondering why I feel like we got off lucky.

West Ham have the quality players to put in consistently good crosses and the obvious target in Andy Carroll. I can only hope RM is preparing the team for this.

Harold Matthews
18 Posted 04/11/2015 at 02:48:31
Enjoyed the report Ken, cheers mate.

Yes Jake, our CB situation is pretty desperate. Jags is out of action, Martinez will only trust Browning in the right back position and I'm convinced Stones is still carrying his recent leg injury. He played the whole game at half pace, couldn't accelerate and couldn't jump. If he wasn't dosed up with painkilling injections I'll eat my hat.

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