A big three points

What a great way to finish a game and the players should be buzzing as we head to the Britannia on Saturday. A win there and who knows, maybe we could salvage something from the league this season yet.

Paul Traill 04/02/2016 33comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 0 Newcastle United
EGiven some of the rubbish we have endured in this campaign, plus the several midweek matches, earlier in the week, attending this match felt like more of a chore; however, as I neared the end of a frustrating day in the office, I was really looking forward to our game against the Magpies. You just can't beat the lure of Goodison Park.

It was nice to see the guys in the pub, all of us glued to our phones around an hour before kick-off to see if it was true. Was Tim Howard out of the game? Indeed he was... Joel Robles selected with Howard apparently injured. The back four was as you were from our win at Carlisle, with Barry and Lukaku returning to the team in place of Steven Pienaar and Arouna Kone.

Thankfully the horrendous wind and rain had died down as we walked from the pub to the ground. We headed to our seats in time for Z-Cars, the teams switched ends so Everton attacked the Gwladys Street in the first half, and attack we did in the opening flurry of activity, Everton nearly opening the scoring when Tom Cleverley's drive from the edge of the penalty area was palmed away by Elliot.

An injury to Romelu Lukaku, from a knee in the back, seemed to stunt our progress in the game. Our main striker, who I'm not sure is fit anyway, struggled through the rest of the half before he was withdrawn for Arouna Kone. Thankfully Everton had done enough to ensure we were ahead at the break when Aaron Lennon spun and shot from around the edge of the penalty area. I think it was a total hit-and-hope, which wrong-footed the goalkeeper, but we'll all take that slice of luck and it was nice to go in at the break a goal to the good with the Geordies silenced and the visitors not threatening... much.

Given the opportunities we passed up after the break, I was mightily relieved when Newcastle United failed to score once we'd gotten ourselves into our usual muddle and chaos reigned. Newcastle United should have been long since put to bed when Phil Jagielka volleyed the ball at full pelt into the chest of Coleman, winding the Irishman. This led to a corner which Newcastle United nearly put into the net. Newcastle United gained in confidence from this and you know you've been let off the hook when their striker (Mitrovic) puts wide a sitter and looks around in hope for the offside flag afterwards. We also got a favourable bounce between Jagielka and Mitrovic following a long ball from Jonjo Shelvey.

It was a nervy period born from familiar failure to convert opportunities when on top in a game. Aaron Lennon and Arouna Kone both missed good chances in quick succession, and we three times found the woodwork as we pummelled Newcastle United in the opening period of the second half but failed to put the ball into the back of the net.

We eventually settled down, solidified and managed to see out the last 10 minutes of the game with more composure. We got amongst them more and kept possession better as we saw the game out, even settling the game in the 88th minute when Lennon nipped in ahead of Rlando Aarons and was fouled by the Jamaican. It was very similar to the penalty Lennon won against Newcastle United in the same fixture last season. With no Romelu Lukaku or even Leighton Baines on the pitch, Ross Barkley stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to settle the match.

Everton, and more so Ross Barkley, weren't finished yet and we put more gloss on the scoreline with the last kick of the game. Quite why Jamal Lascelles bothered to bring down Ross Barkley when he was through on goal that late in the game I don't know — it's not as if the result was in doubt, and with Mbemba and Dummett both coming off injured in the game already, he will have cost himself an opportunity in their next game — a relegation scrap with West Bromwich Albion. Still, not our problem, and I fancied Ross to do something fanciful with his penalty — though a Penenka I did not expect.

What a great way to finish a game and the players should be buzzing as we head to the Britannia on Saturday. A win there and who knows, maybe we could salvage something from the league this season yet.

Player ratings:

Robles: I hope he gets a run of games now as we just won't know if he's going to be good enough or not unless he does. Judging on tonight's showing, although a clean sheet, I'm far from convinced. He didn't come for any crosses and at one point a defender headed it pretty much out of his hands such was his reluctance to let him deal with it. I also noticed, and I don't know if this was a tactical decision to counter Newcastle's tactic of pressing us up the pitch, but the defenders ran up the pitch quick whenever he had the ball to stem the amount of short distribution. We've seen previously that Robles CAN be good and he has all the attributes of a great goalkeeper, but does he have the confidence? We'll only know if he's given games. 5
Oviedo: A little weak sometimes but he did pretty well and got forward well in support of attacks. 6
Funes Mori: The pick of the two centre backs for me. Plenty of no-nonsense defending when it was required and he made some good tackles. 7
Jagielka: Still perhaps edging back to match fitness as some of his play was questionable, but he did make some good headed clearances. 6
Coleman: Also looking as though he's struggling for fitness but the minutes will do him good. 5
Barry: Got around the pitch and made some important tackles and interceptions, especially in the second half when we were under pressure. 7
McCarthy: James McCarthy will never get you a lot of goals or assists but his work rate and ability to fill holes defensively should not be understated. We'll always lose fewer games with McCarthy in the team, I'm sure of that. 7
Cleverley: Had a busy, industrious and impressive game on the left hand side. Should stay in the team for the Stoke City game. 7
Lennon: My Man of the match. A goal and a penalty won, following on from a goal and an assist at Carlisle United. Has to stay in the team for now. An excellent effort. 8
Barkley: A threat throughout and was unlucky not to score earlier in the game when his long range effort was superbly saved by Elliot. Hopefully he'll be bang up for it at Stoke City on Saturday following his brace. 8
Lukaku: With Oumar Niasse now with us, maybe a few weeks rest for Lukaku wouldn't be the worst thing as he struggles for fitness. That knee in the back seemed to cause him a lot of angst. 5

Kone (for Lukaku): His work rate was fine but sometimes his decision-making and composure in front of goal is just maddening. 6

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Reader Comments (33)

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Jay Harris
1 Posted 04/02/2016 at 05:02:57
Paul, I really enjoy reading your match reports but your player ratings never seem to gel with me.

I thought Lukaku was far more effective than Kone and Kone blew two very good chances but you gave him more than Lukaku.

I think you were also unfair with Robles who had a reasonable game and kept a clean sheet (a rarity at GP this season).

Coleman and Oviedo were everywhere up and down the pitch much more so than McCarthy who I thought struggled a bit tonight and Cleverly didnt particularly shine either.

Last point I thought Jags was his usual efficient self and the only defensive lapse came from Mori who completely lost Mitavic for their one and only golden chance.

As they say it’s a game of opinions.

Mike Gaynes
2 Posted 04/02/2016 at 07:34:34
Wow, Paul, I'm not sure which Funes Mori you saw... but the one I saw was wearing number 25, and he was the worst on the pitch. Repeatedly lost his mark, multiple turnovers on passes out of the back, and that swing-and-a-miss in the area... oh my.

Also, it wasn't us who "three times found the woodwork"... it was Elliott with three brilliant saves ONTO the woodwork from Barkley, Shelvey and Cleverley. Worth mentioning.

Otherwise, you're right on the button IMO.

Gary Drain
4 Posted 04/02/2016 at 09:51:03
How many pints did you have in that pub before the match!?

Jagielka was far better than Funes Mori who gifted the ball a few time on the edge of his own area! Robles had nothing to do and what he did do looked ok. His distribution is far better than Howard's to start with!

Also, I thought Coleman had a really good game. Attacking more than he has of late and he snuffed out the threat from Townsend from the start.

I always enjoy you reports but maybe no Jaegers before the match next time! :)

Paul Kelly
5 Posted 04/02/2016 at 12:19:41
Funny how we all see the game differently, oh well, Barkley was immense, quality performance, was a little aggrieved that non of team ever anticipate the ball across the six yard box, so blatantly obvious the other week when Del put in several crosses and nobody was even close to getting to Ross' little jink, run and cross that deserved a finish.

But more importantly no report without a mention of Ste, Sue and Gaz, shameful, it's just not the same I'm afraid without them being mentioned Paul, consider this a warning.

Liam Wilson
6 Posted 04/02/2016 at 13:20:12
Yes, Paul we need to know what Ste, Sue and Gaz had in the pub beforehand. Always sets the tone in the same way Ken's amusing description of what happens in The Room of Nonsense before home games.

Good review. Would also echo that Jags and Coleman had very good games. One small criticism Paul – can you say "got" instead of "gotten" please....unless you are American, then it's understandable.

Michael Polley
7 Posted 04/02/2016 at 13:37:12
Much needed 3 points. Now let’s build on it. Stoke will be more testing for us.

Hope Lukaku is fit, as Kone is crap. Maybe Niasse will get a run out, although I hear he lacks match fitness.

COYB another 3 points in the bag please.
Mike McLoughlin
8 Posted 04/02/2016 at 16:18:58
Hi, Paul, great article. I agree with your assessment of Funes Mori, except for the fact he made a couple of poor clearances and was asleep when the Newcastle attacker managed to get of a shot off but saved by Robles.

I was pleased to see Barkley getting stuck in on occasions in the first half, but sadly reverted to type in second half. I actually thought Oviedo was one of our best players on the night.

Robles In goal feels much safer. His distribution is better too. But have a horrible feeling The phenomenal one will bring Howard back in. The defence intone entire looked much more stable without Stones who has had a poor month.

Lennon was superb I thought and my MotM. A good 3 points gained so bring on Stoke lets get our revenge.

Jim Hardin
9 Posted 04/02/2016 at 19:48:54

I have got offended at your comment. Now that just does not sound right to me. I am American and have gotten worse criticism over grammar (now that sounds better in my head).

Mike #8, Halftime stats for Robles on NBC Sports. 0 saves, 15 touches, no successful long throws and only 2 successful goal kicks. How do you guys measure distribution over there?

Dave Williams
11 Posted 04/02/2016 at 20:06:01
Robles was fine and plays a good ball from feet to the half way line.

I too thought Oviedo was one of the best on the pitch and looked something like he was before his horrific injury.

Cleverley very underrated and Coleman was decent too.

Good report Paul.

Jamie Sweet
12 Posted 04/02/2016 at 20:42:33
Maybe not his best game in a Blue shirt, but my word, is Funes Mori a step up from Antolin Alcaraz as our 3rd Centre Back!

Where does Lennon's performance leave Deulofeu? 60th-minute impact sub for me. Could do all sorts of damage to a tiring fullback, plus he can't last 90 minutes anyway.

Rick Tarleton
13 Posted 05/02/2016 at 10:42:58
We're fantastic against Villa, Newcastle, Carlisle, but it's all those games we draw when we should win. Our goal difference tells you we can destroy weak opposition when we're on top. It's the games against teams who can defend that are the problem.
Harold Matthews
14 Posted 05/02/2016 at 15:09:41
I liked that team on Wednesday. With McCarthy and Cleverley either side of Barry we managed to keep the Geordie lads pretty quiet.
Graham Mockford
15 Posted 05/02/2016 at 15:25:50
Harold #14

Been repeating ad nauseum for months. Play a solid three and play Ross as part of a front three. Makes us a lot more compact and allows the lad to do what he does best.

I think Barry, McCarthy and Besic solves much of our defensive fragility.

Graham Mockford
16 Posted 05/02/2016 at 15:39:17
Jim #9

We don't measure distribution, we watch the game and form an opinion. It's worked for me for 50 years.

The trouble with stats is many of them don't tell the whole story. For instance I was looking at the Sqwaka passing stats that has the no.1 midfield player this year as Fabregas with Kevin De Bruyne in 59th place.

It places too much emphasis on the quantative and too little on the qualitive. Also some of the stats are just an opinion. Take you good friend Tim Howard, who apparently has not made an error this season. Now if you believe that...... Apologies you do!

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 05/02/2016 at 16:06:47
Jim (9) I know you watch the games on TV so you might not have seen when Everton got a corner and they were still only one goal ahead with about 15-20 minutes to go, Everton had one man back, Robles came over 15 yards outside his penalty area and screamed at that man Oviedo to get more men back, Oviedo shouted at McCarthy who had a quick look around and shouted at Cleverley to come back with him in case of a breakaway from the corner.

Not only was Robles organising the defence it proved there was no plan to defend from any resulting attack from the opposition, your man Howard does most of his shouting when the ball goes out of play for a goal kick.

Brent Stephens
18 Posted 05/02/2016 at 16:54:48
Yes, Dave, the paying public all around me were impressed with all the shouting Robles did, not only geeing our guys up but also helping us to keep shape, as you say.
Jim Hardin
19 Posted 05/02/2016 at 23:17:10
Thanks for not answering my question. The comment was showing distribution stats not other things since the point contested was his distribution being very good, although not phenomenal.
Darren Hind
20 Posted 06/02/2016 at 00:24:18
"How do you guys measure distribution over there ?"

Well Jim we generally start by ignoring stats spouted by American soccer channels.

"No successful long throws"? Did you get your channels mixed up? He's a Goalie, not a quarter back

Tony Rio
21 Posted 06/02/2016 at 01:44:36
Jim, stats are OK but don't read too much into them. I believe it was one of your guys who said "there are lies, dam lies...then statistics'. Don't let anyone on here try and patronise you because you can't get to games live, but to be fair, you get a better feel for the nuances when you are at the match. Hope you get to see us live soon mate. Best wishes
Tony Rio
22 Posted 06/02/2016 at 01:51:15
Darren - can you be any more patronising? Cheap shot at jim
Hugh Jenkins
23 Posted 06/02/2016 at 04:40:58
Jim (#9). Languages develop over time and change over the years to meet new challenges and encompass new words.
Don't therefore let anyone tell you you are wrong (nor that you are right) in the use of various words and phrases in different contexts, as neither is true.
However, we are all aware that there are distinct differences in English as spoken in the UK and as spoken in other parts of the English speaking world.
Consequently, you might like to know that in the UK we would not say "I have got offended", we would say " I have been offended", or "I am offended".
The word "gotton", does however appear in the OED and is derived from "Middle English", and is a perfectly acceptable past participle of "get".
Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 06/02/2016 at 09:43:33
Jim(19) I've told you before I'm honestly not the least bit interested in stats, American or Brittish, I always trust the evidence of my own eyes.

You like Howard and think he is a great goalkeeper, I don't agree with that but is your choice so fair enough.Jim at least give Robles a fair chance, don't criticise for the sake of it. He might not turn out to be the answer we want but please give him a go. Howard has had plenty of chances to be fair, and he is definitely past his best.

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 06/02/2016 at 10:11:50
Jim against Carlisle last week, Robles came 30 yards from his goal-line to calmly head a ball past an on-rushing forward, to an Everton players feet. Aware, alert and calm, it's what every defender wants from his goalkeeper.

In the same game he threw the ball sixty yards to Lennon and put Everton straight on the attack. It was pass of the match for me, but it came from the keepers hands.

You can defend Howard all you want Jim, but it's plain to see that people haven't got any confidence in him anymore on the football pitch. it's life unfortunately, but people only really want you when you can do a job for them, and to MOST Evertonians, Howard is finished at this level.

Darren Hind
26 Posted 06/02/2016 at 10:26:09
I did think about being more patronising Tony@22

I think Jim's desperate attempts to take away any credit Robles deserves for his clean sheet/s warranted it . .but I kinda knew that if I REALLY wanted to ridicule the stats he puts up there. I only had to ask How many UNsuccessful "long throws" and goal kicks Robles did. Jim wont be able to give an accurate answer of course - too busy concentrating on the negative

Spoonfeet (his man) has been scooping/shanking/miscueing for years, sometimes he makes no contact at all !

If you want to talk about cheap shots check out where Jim denies the evidence of his own eyes and claims Robles didnt make a save. ?

The idiotic and inaccurate stats NBC try to inflict upon their audience deserve to be patronised. Attempts to introduce things like "unsuccessful goal kick's" to the beautiful game, should result in a custodial sentence.

"Unsuccessful goal kicks" ? . . .I don't know whether to laugh or cry

Brent Stephens
27 Posted 06/02/2016 at 10:35:56
Darren #20 "'No successful long throws'? Did you get your channels mixed up? He's a Goalie, not a quarter back".

Darren, plenty of keepers (West and others since then, in my time) who got things going quickly by long, accurate throws out as far as the half-way line.

Tony Abrahams
28 Posted 06/02/2016 at 10:51:30
Darren, keep laughing mate, then sit back and relax. Howard taking a goal kick has not been a pretty sight since Martinez, came to the club!
Darren Hind
29 Posted 06/02/2016 at 10:52:03

Once again. You clearly don't get the point.

I go back to Westie setting us off in the sixties. I certainly don't need you to tell me the value of an accurate long throw.

Perhaps (now that you have dived in again) you can explain to me the value of stats that only tell you there wasnt any ?

Its essential for a quarter back to throw a ball and stats are kept, but a Goalie . . . .tell you what, forget it

Brin Williams
30 Posted 06/02/2016 at 11:17:42
Hugh 23 - just a small point but I was taught never to use 'got' - although the word appears in the dictionary - it was not encouraged in the 'Grammar" school that I attended.

Got it? However many Anglo Saxon words that do not appear in dictionaries I use all the time.

Gerry Quinn
31 Posted 06/02/2016 at 11:24:05
...and anyone else get really pissed off when you hear an American Detective say, "What do you got?"
Hugh Jenkins
32 Posted 06/02/2016 at 11:35:05
Brin (#30). I also attended a "Grammar" school. As it was no over 50 years ago since I left, I may well have forgotten much of what I was told. However, I do not recall ever being told / taught, not to use the word "got". What did your school offer as an alternative and in what contexts?
Ray Roche
33 Posted 06/02/2016 at 11:38:45
Hugh, we were also told/taught not to use "got" and the only alternative offered was the blackboard rubber coming at you at warp speed.
It would have killed Howard....
James Morgan
34 Posted 06/02/2016 at 11:42:50
I really hate the Americanism that's crept in over here, ordering in a restaurant etc saying "can I get a..."
It's can I "HAVE"!!!
Hugh Jenkins
35 Posted 06/02/2016 at 12:00:58
Gerry (#31). There are all manner of phrases such as the one you have quoted, that set my teeth on edge. However, as I said in an earlier post, language develops and we have to accept that "American" English is no more that a cousin to our native tongue. Since most of the world that is still coming to grips with "English" does so via the medium of Hollywood movies and American TV series, I'm afraid this sort of phrasing is likely to become the "norm", rather than that which we are used to.

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