A frightening insight into life without Lukaku

Despite a few uncomfortable moments from Bournemouth, we got over the line with three points. We've survived!

Paul Traill 01/05/2016 65comments  |  Jump to last

Despite doing the driving for our doomed trip to Wembley last weekend, Ste generously offered to drive to the game again. We were in the noticeably quieter than usual pub in good time, meeting Gary and Sue. It was a strange atmosphere in the pub with nobody sure of what sort of atmosphere to expect from the game given all the talk of protest and supporter unrest throughout the week.

With Lukaku out of form of late I was hoping Oumar Niasse was to be given an opportunity and was pleased to see he was in ther starting XI. As too was Matthew Pennington, recalled from his loan spell at Walsall and playing centre back alongside John Stones with Mohammed Besic continuing to deputise at right back. As was publicised on Friday, Tim Howard took place in goal for the penultimate occasion at Goodison Park.

It was a nice sunny day and Goodison Park looked splendid, and all the better with the Bournemouth supporters packing into their full allocation. A touching tribute to the Hillsborough families was made before we got under way. Such was the sun I was relieved I remembered my shades.

It was a generally poor start to a generally poor game from both teams with neither team really taking any early initiative when, out of nothing, Tom Cleverley seized the initiative, moving the ball quickly onto his left foot and quickly hitting a low drive past the diving Boruc. Everton ahead.

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As is Everton, or at least Roberto Martinez' Everton, the lead didn't last long. Only two minutes in fact when a shove on Pennington by Callum Wilson went unpunished and Marc Pugh eventually stroked the ball in with acres of space. Our players protested in vein about the shove but having seen it since, I can't say I was too disappointed with the referees decision. He was generally letting these things go throughout the game and was pretty consistent in letting the game flow. Regardless, Everton had instantly been pegged back.

With little else happening on the pitch, we wondered what would happen off it with the crowd and the answer is - not a lot. The plane flying with the message MARTINEZ TIME TO GO NSNO was applauded by many, though the timing of the plane wasn't the best as it circled around Goodison Park pretty much on half time. I wonder what reaction this may have stirred on about 55 minutes as Everton laboured.

With Oumar Niasse perfectly demonstrating why he hasn't been involved, it took the introduction of Romalu Lukaku to stir some life into the team. His introduction meant that we now at least had a focal point to our attack. A player who could hold the ball up and bring other players into play. From what I've seen so far you could never use Niasse as a lone striker. He might, maybe, do OK with someone to work off, or perhaps running direct from the wing, but certainly not a lone striker. Absolutely not. As Ste pointed out at the time, you wonder what situation we'll be in should we not sufficiently replace Lukaku if and when he departs Everton.

The winning goal provided some cheer not least because it was a splendid finish by our popular left-back Leighton Baines. Following good work by Aaron Lennon who's cut across the box was just behind Tom Cleverley, the ball ran through for Leighton Baines who drilled high into the net. It was a classy celebration from Baines also, barely breaking into a smile given the tough situation we currently find ourselves in. It was Leighton Baines first goal of the season, and his first from open play since he netted against West Bromwich Albion in January 2013.

Other reasons to smile? Well, though we scoffed somewhat upon his half time introduction it was pleasing to see Tony Hibbert back on the pitch following his injury torment. He made a few of his trademark tackles and did have an effort deflected on goal though alas it seems his elusive goal will never materialise.

Otherwise the performance of Matthew Pennington was a joy to watch. His style of play reminds me a little of Phil Jagielka. Maybe he's learnt a lot from our skipper. He certainly seems to make the grade, and I question why we spent heavily on a certain Ramiro Funes Mori when we have Pennington, Browning and Galloway all at the club and ready to contribute. He certainly reads the game better than Funes Mori from a defensive point of view in my opinion. The introduction of Kieran Dowell was also pleasing, though it would have been nice to see what he can do for longer than just the three minutes he was allowed. Anyhow, despite a few uncomfortable moments from Bournemouth, we got over the line with three points. We've survived!

At full time Ste and I waited on a little longer than usual to see if anything happened by way of protest, and not far to our left in the Lower Gwladys some banners were unveiled with a few chants of "Roberto Martinez, get out of our club". With not a great deal seemingly going on we left the stadium, and it was only later on when we were in the car listening to Radio Merseyside that we heard that 100+ supporters were still in there, protesting peacefully, but with Everton drowning out their voices with loud music over the tannoy.

I am ashamed by Everton for this. By my estimate the fans protesting collectively spend about £50,000 per year just on season tickets alone. That's not even guestimating merchandise, away games, cup games, match programmes and food and drink inside the ground. If there were over 100 fans there, then this price goes north. To take their voices away is disgraceful of Everton. The banners were not offensive and nor were the chants. Whatever your opinion, and lets face it we have good reason to be unhappy with the club, you have a right to protest and Everton should apologise for their behaviour towards them supporters...or customers as they may see them.

So a poor show on and off the pitch from a usually classy club. Many supporters will be asking – when will this nightmare end?

Player ratings:

Howard: Distribution not really up to scratch but he was quite alert in and around his box, albeit with little to do. 6

Baines: My man of the match. He and Hibbert rolled back the years somewhat in the second half with solid tackling and good support in attack, culminating in a well-taken goal from Leighton Baines. 8

Pennington: He did ever so well and it begs the question of - why wasn't he more involved earlier in the campaign? I'm not sure if he was injured or not but moving forward he should be involved a lot more and we should be looking to build our defence around he and Stones. A good performance. Very well done. 8

Stones: Also did well. After a very patchy season he seems to be settling down a bit now and looks more like the good player we know he can be. 7

Besic: Clearly not comfortable at right back and I can't quite fathom why Callum Connolly, after an impressive debut against Southampton, hasn't even made the substitutes bench in any of our games since. I'd have liked to have seen him get another opportunity there instead. 5

Gibson: Had an impressive and busy first half though seemed to tire easily after the break as he struggles for fitness. Glimpses of what he can do these last few games however perhaps suggest he might be worth keeping on for another year. If only we could get him fit he could be a decent player. 6

McCarthy: Covered plenty of ground in the middle. 6

Cleverley: Performed well and scored a good goal. 7

Lennon: Drifted in and out of the game at times but made a key contribution by assisting the winner. 7

Barkley: Laboured at times and would be completely anonymous, and then all of a sudden he would get on the ball and bring others into the game nicely. Needs better coaching and a more defined role in the side as currently I'm not sure he's getting the right instructions of what is expected of him. 6

Niasse: He didn't get involved for about 20 minutes and doesn't strike me as a player who wants the ball a lot. He occasionally showed glimpses of promise and brought others into play but really offered little, if any, end product. The difference from he to even an out of form Romalu Lukaku was palpable. If this summer Roberto Martinez leaves Everton, as I expect he will, and Romalu Lukaku leaves Everton, as I expect he will, then I don't know what the next manager is going to do with Oumar Niasse as from what we have so far seen, he is not the man to lead the line for us in attack, and only a change of system may accommodate him. I hate to write off a player before he's even began, and I really hope I'm incorrect in my appraisal but look out for "EXPENSIVE FLOP" and "BACK OUT ON LOAN TO RUSSIA" in the press this summer. 5

Hibbert (for Besic): It struck me as a waste of a substitution when he came on but credit to Tony, he got involved, made some solid tackles and was always good for the pass. It was great to see him out there again and it was nice to see him get a generous applause from the Gwladys Street at full time. He patted his badge at the fans probably thinking "I might not get another chance to say goodbye". Well done Tony. 7

Lukaku (for Niasse): Though not at his best, he demonstrated to Niasse how to hold the ball up and how to bring others into play and at least showed a desire for the ball. His introduction alone perked Everton and spooked Bournemouth and contributed to our winning goal - we scored it only four minutes after his arrival! 6

Dowell (for Barkley): He really should have been given 10 minutes but I suppose Roberto can't afford another defeat so wanted to get that ensured first. Perhaps he'll get more opportunities over the next three games. 6

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Reader Comments (65)

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Eddie Dunn
1 Posted 02/05/2016 at 07:49:22
Paul , I only watched it on a stream, so didn't have your advantage of seeing off the ball action, but I thought that Niasse showed some good awareness, put Barkley in for a good chance, and tried hard for his 60 mins.
I would have liked to see more of Dowel, perhaps on for a midfielder with 20 to go. I expect the win was all that mattered to Roberto, in his situation.
Given more game time, we will surely see more from him. I didn't think Rom did much when he came on, we were pretty toothless up front.
On your ratings , I had Stones as our best player, with Hibbo a close second in his 45 mins.
Cleverley played well only in patches but made some mistakes along the way and Lennon and Pennington both put in a shift.
I think a win flattered us but it was overdue.
I have to agree that one wonders why we have had to buy a centre half when Pennington, Galloway and Browning are on the books? I also can't see why Besic was again at right back when Connelly did so well there.
The boss does make some funny choices.
Anto Byrne
2 Posted 02/05/2016 at 07:55:28
Barkley was very poor and 6 is very generous; although has skill, he does not have the brain to go with it. He could have put Mo Besic in the middle and dragged his sorry arse off; he offered very little.

Niasse gets a run, takes 20 minutes to find his feet, and then gets subbed. I thought he has good feet and close control, has a bit of pace. He needs games for match fitness and a role in the team. Let's not be to hasty in making judgements just yet.

Tony Hibbert... what can you say? He didn't really put a foot wrong, was tidy and should have scored. Dowell, hard to say as the game was over.

If Chelsea can sack Mourhino after securing the title, why is it we still have Martinez?

Phil Walling
3 Posted 02/05/2016 at 08:35:31
I saw an hour of the game on FSN Sky so I guess about 30 mins of Niasse in action. He wasn't quite as awful as I had come to expect but I strongly believe there is at least a dozen £500K strikers in the Championship who would have done as well !

This signing is a mystery and the scouts/agents involved want their arses kicking out of the Club. Not the only ones of course !

Zoid Clark
4 Posted 02/05/2016 at 08:50:07
Niasse has had one game of 60 minutes that you're judging off. Your idiotic thought process makes me laugh! How can you judge him off this? He was much better than Lukaku in the game! Lukaku does nothing! No runs in behind, can't hold up a ball, doesn't give a flying fuck!

Niasse played alright, had a few good touches and passes, creates a few chances. Again, Lukaku added nothing, and you give him a higher rating? What game were you watching?

Dowell getting a higher rating than him, and again he didn't do anything - is that based on his potential? Because he didn't have a chance to do much in this game! I hope he gets a chance in the last few to get a decent amount of time in.

Niasse puts in 1000% more effort than Lukaku does, and for me that is a huge plus.

Paul - to be honest with you, your ratings are horrible! Less emotion mate, more watching the game.

Ray Robinson
5 Posted 02/05/2016 at 09:02:42
I know you shouldn't judge a player after a handful of cameo appearances but first impressions of Niasse are that he is a Stracqualursi Mark 2. Lots of effort but not much quality. Even at this early stage, I dread to think what our attack would be like without Lukaku. I hope I'm wrong about Niasse mind you.
Brin Williams
6 Posted 02/05/2016 at 09:07:05
Void 4. Sorry mate but my spell check keeps coming up with (void)
perhaps it's trying to tell me something about your apparent rating of Comrad Niasse.
Craig Mills
7 Posted 02/05/2016 at 09:14:15
Zoid, it's certainly about opinions and you clearly have yours on Niasse, for what it's worth I thinks Pauls's player ratings are usually pretty good and don't think he's too far off the money with this weeks either.
Also let's not forget Niasse was brought in as a striker, a man to score goals, so ultimately that's what I will judge him on.
Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 02/05/2016 at 09:34:13
Thanks for your report Paul, everyone has a different opinion, if I was rating the two strikers on Saturday I would say there wasn't much between the two but I would prefer Niasse for at least trying, Lukaku, apart from the Chelsea cup game, ended his season weeks ago.

I think you were spot on with Pennington who had a very good debut and will learn from Bournemouths goal, also Tony Hibbert who proved the value of a good tackling full back, but I think it is too late to give him another contract.

Phil Williams
9 Posted 02/05/2016 at 09:48:42
Niasse was poor. From my seat in the park end I was watching his runs ( or lack of them ) closely. He just didn't show for the ball. Time and time again there were acres of space, especially on the left flank as Cleverley has a tendency to drift infield so much, and he just stood still in the middle. He did chase back to win the ball on a couple of occasions and to fair to his performance, but god knows how, he is still clearly unfit.
I think Paul's assessment is an accurate reflection and to the contrary of Zoid #4 Lukaku made a huge difference. You don't have to run and run like a hapless chicken to add value ( will someone please tell James " I can't pass forward") McCarthy that.
On a separate note, I have been a big defender of Martinez on this site over the past few months. I too, now believe a change would be for the best, but the point I would like to make on the matter is that I thought the protest was perfect. Support the team when we are playing and protest before and afterwards was bob on.
John Raftery
10 Posted 02/05/2016 at 10:01:44
The club should apologise for drowning everybody's ears with loud music game after game. The noise levels are appalling, as is the so called music.
Paul Andrews
11 Posted 02/05/2016 at 10:08:57
Lukaku? A top goalscorer who doesn't want to play for Everton.

Take the £50 million and offer £20 million for Benteke.

Anthony Dwyer
12 Posted 02/05/2016 at 10:14:17
I was at the game, and I think the above assessment of Niasse is harsh.

Im in the Park End so Niasse was attacking towards us, and although I do agree with the fact he barely touched the ball for 20 minutes, I don't agree he didn't want it.

Niasse moved left and right, making sharp runs every time Gibson picked up the ball from deep. Gibson didn't pick his runs out, instead he chose the easier glory wide ball.

After the first 20 Niasse went searching, clearly noting that no one was getting it to him. This tells me he does want the ball.

Also I don't think it helped Niasse when our own fans shamefully cheered his first few touches, mocking him, not supporting him, there was a clearly distinctive difference.

Niasse grew into the game, he started having a few quality touches here and there, despite Lennon, Barkley and Cleverly playing poorly, therefore providing him with no support or service.

Im not saying Niasse was outstanding by any stretch, but I am saying he done no worse than any other Everton player v Bournemouth.

Id also like to rimind our fans that a lot of you wrote Rom off after his first season dispite his already proven EPL record.

Niasse needs a hat trick of over head kicks to win some of the blues over already, all through no fault of his own.

99% of fans had already made there minds up months ago v West Ham, even though he is only just returning to fitness, 8 weeks later.

Martinez bought Niasse, he's also fucked him, I for one am rooting for him to turn it around.

Jeff Armstrong
13 Posted 02/05/2016 at 10:29:52
Paul, your comments are spot on regarding Pennington, Niasse, Connolly, and especially that Barkley needs coaching – he's overweight, he's allowed not to tackle, not to harry or chase, and he seems quite happy to be that player. He needs a good arse kicking from a proper coach because at the rate he is going he will never be the player he should be.

Anthony Dwyer
14 Posted 02/05/2016 at 10:35:24
Id also like to add that although Cleverly scored an Lennon assisted, they both done very little apart from give the ball away.

Both deserved no more than the 6 Ross got, as although he was poor, he also got an assist.

Niasse was also a 6 IMO, simply for effort and the fact it was his first ever start in the EPL.

Zoid Clark
15 Posted 02/05/2016 at 10:47:55
I agree with Anthony #12 - spot on mate!

I think Niasse wasn't outstanding, but he wasn't any worse than Lukaku has been in a long time.

Craig #7: "Zoid, it's certainly about opinions and you clearly have yours on Niasse" - you've got it wrong mate, I don't have an opinion on Niasse, simply because I haven't had enough time to judge him as a player, and he hasn't had enough time to prove himself.

How can you say he is shit off one 60 minute performance and a few 5 minute cameos?? That is a little naive, to say the least.

So many Everton supporters on here are so pessimistic😔

Give the man a chance & support the players!


Craig Harrison
16 Posted 02/05/2016 at 10:51:10
Is it Lukaku, niasse, kone etc not being arsed or making runs in behind and showing for balls. Or is it our managers tactics of how he wants the lone striker to lay? Seems to me if every striker we have pretty much plays the same way or gets sold the. It's probably the manager asking them to play a certain way. Lukaku in season 1 and for west brok made plenty of runs. Niasse in Russia and playing internationally runs the channels Constantly. Seems the only common trend is our hopefully soon to be former manager
Zoid Clark
17 Posted 02/05/2016 at 10:52:31
Phil #9:

"Niasse was poor. From my seat in the park end I was watching his runs ( or lack of them ) closely"

"Lukaku made a huge difference. You don't have to run and run like a hapless chicken to add value"

A bit contradictory...

What exactly did Lukaku do, other than walk and throw his hands up every now and then??

Derek Thomas
18 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:01:42
If we play the same way next season NEITHER of them looked like they would score the goals required to keep us up, based on Sat.
Rob Dolby
19 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:05:58
Niasse looks like the Afican version of The firecracker that is Denis Stracqualursi.
Showed a lot of effort for 60 mins too early to judge if he has the quality or not to make it in the prem.
Hibbo cameo should embarrass some people, he blocked shots, crosses and got a few slide tackle in. Maybe he can take over from that impostor that is Dennis Lawrence.
Dave Williams
20 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:12:45
I'm in the " give Niasse a chance" camp. He is clearly a player who needs good service as he is unlikely to dribble his way in on goal but given the ball in space to use his power and pace and who knows??

Rom was heavily criticised before becoming valued at £65m. Joe Royle was ripped to bits in his early days by some fans who sat near to me in the goodison road stand. Niasse worked hard and should be given a decent chance- if ultimately he doesn't make the grade then have a go at the guy who recommended that we should spend £13 m on him- all the player can do is give his best and from what I saw yesterday he did that.

Laurie Hartley
21 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:23:42
I am not going to write Niasse of yet - I think he needs more games.

There were a few things I noticed during his hour on the pitch.

One of his first touches was to push the ball out to our left wing - then he took off straight away for the back post. I am old fashioned so I like that.

On at least three occasions he came back from the edge of their box to tackle one of there players and regain possession.

He tried to play Barkley in on at least three occasions - they look like they could form a partnership.

The ball doesn't seem to bounce off him.

I like the way he moves across the pitch - he is built for speed and may be very good on the break.

Let's give him a go.

Christopher Timmins
22 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:29:20
With regards to Niasse, I am in the give the guy a chance camp. Not easy to judge a player coming into a team who are on the floor.

The club needs to be very careful or it will create a wedge between itself and the fans. Those who protested on Saturday did so in a dignified manner, there was no running on to the pitch or attacking members of management or playing staff.

Are we no longer "The peoples club" Bill?

James Marshall
23 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:37:47
I wasn't at the game, so can only go by what I saw watching online - Niasse looked decent twice, and the rest of the time he looked like a Sunday league striker.

As I say, this may not be a true reflection of his performance due to the medium I watched on.

Has he gone yet?

Mike Hughes
24 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:41:14
Christopher #22

Don't 'give the guy a chance' type players cost a lot less than £13m?

Sean Randles
25 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:41:28
I realise everyone is looking for a stick to beat Roberto with but picking on Niasse is very unfair. He showed some good touches. Judge him after 6 or 8 games.
Phil Williams
26 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:49:13
Hi Zoid #17

He did two critical things.

Firstly he gave the back 4 and midfield the confidence to play a longish ball forward to him and subsequently held it up well and brought others into the game. Whilst Niasse was on the field I don't think we retained possession once from any such pass.
The second thing he did was work the left channel well. This allowed Baines to get far further forward and join in the attacks. It gave us so much more balance and as such helped create some space on the right which we subsequently exploited for the goal.
I'm not slagging off Niasse per se , I'm just commenting that his performance was poor. He may well be a decent impact sub next year if he learns and improves his fitness. He doesn't look like a £13m player and to be fair to him, he didn't set the price tag either. Lukaku is a monster and is physically not built to chase and harry for 90 mins al la Vardy, Long. We will regret the day he leaves.

Paul Tran
27 Posted 02/05/2016 at 11:56:39
I suspect that like the majority of our players, Niasse will look better under a new manager that gives them a proper preseason and makes it clear what they're meant to be doing. I'll wait until then before judging him.

I'd echo Phil's point about getting a Championship striker for the fraction of the price. January signings are about immediate impact, especially when they're a replacement.

Pennington looked good, as if he'd benefitted from playing elsewhere. At a time when we've had injuries and are drifting in midtable, why haven't these young players been given a proper run? At least Martinez could then talk about giving a young team some experience!

Aidy Dews
28 Posted 02/05/2016 at 12:05:01
"A frightening insight into life without Lukaku...", what's to worry about?! Yes, the lad has got us a lot of goals and where would we be without him?!

But come the summer, IF he goes, then so be it. Get me a new manager, a winner that can bring in a striker or 2 and also some goals and creativity to midfield and have us up the top challenging for the European spots, and that will do me. I'd rather have that than have a team with Lukaku that languishes in the bottom half of the table any day!

He's a good goal scorer, an handful on his day (which are few and far between, and when he fancies it), but generally has a footballer I don't rate him all that much.

I'm certain a new manager, the right manager, would find the right replacement, get other, better players into the team to make us better has an whole and have us sharing the goals out and covering the loss of Lukaku's and adding more and having us do better, which is what we all want.

So please people, stop shitting yourselves at the proposition of losing Lukaku!

Steavey Buckley
29 Posted 02/05/2016 at 12:16:29
Replacing a player, like for like, is very important, if Lukaku does decide to go, a 20 a season goalscorer is needed. Felliani is the perfect example of not being replaced properly; that is why Everton are not higher up the league. Not only did Fellaini score 1 goal in every 3 games, he could dominate both penalty areas. McCarthy has not been able to do, all of that, that is where a glaring weakness is, not replacing a player, like for like, in Fellaini's particular case.
Brian Williams
30 Posted 02/05/2016 at 12:18:37
I have to say I was one of those who had written Niasse off already. I'd heard rumours, allegedly from Finch Farm, that he was a complete donkey.
While he didn't set the world alight on Saturday (who did?) I saw a few touches, a couple of quickfire passes, that told me I was wrong and the lad obviously has something.
Whether he ever lives up to his £13.5m pricetag remains to be seen, but he showed on Saturday he's not without a certain amount of skill.
Let's be honest the guy who replaced him looked no better and we paid £28m for him......and before someone jumps on me saying "look at the goals he's scored over the season" I would say Let's look at Niasse over a season as well because you could pick games in isolation where Lukaku's looked like a complete donkey as well!
James Stewart
31 Posted 02/05/2016 at 12:34:53
I think the criticism of Niasse in this game was harsh, he did ok and it was his first match so way too early to pass judgement. He was certainly no worse than Kone. Mourinho wanted to sign him so there must be something to his game.
Ray Roche
32 Posted 02/05/2016 at 12:44:26
I think that the Niasse problem is largely down to the crap Martinez has spouted almost daily regarding his fitness etc.
"Not yet ready" but ready enough to run about for Senegal, not helped by the fact that he's been here three months and us still apparently not more than 50%-60% fit, which is either because he is the poorest trainer in the history of the game or our training methods are prehistoric. Answers on a post card....
"Problem with his wrist" but Vardy has worn a wrist strapping for months.
No, he doesn't look the real deal to me in the short cameo's that we've seen from him but the time to judge him is after a few more games. You never know, he might be another Brett Angel.
Ian Riley
33 Posted 02/05/2016 at 13:29:10
I think that, much as watching Lukaku is causing more grey hairs to appear, his goals have kept us away from the bottom three. The games we have led by his goals and not won are solely down to the manager.

The special one at Chelsea was a genius at getting the lead and shutting up shop. Chelsea would be up by 2-0 after 30 minutes and that was it.

If Lukaku goes and Martinez stays, I fear for our Premier League status. He does not understand the art of defending. Training is designed to work on set-pieces and drills. The past two seasons have shown a complete lack of respect to defending as a team.

A slow tempo appears to go against Lukaku. He is isolated up front and looks frustrated. Interesting summer coming up.

Kevin Rowlands
34 Posted 02/05/2016 at 13:58:22
Rom Lukaku is quite simply one of the most over rated footballers to wear an Everton shirt ever imho. Notice I said 'footballer', decent goal scorer yes, but that's it, his all round game is fucking atrocious, couple of decent signings in the summer we'll be fine without him. Anyone who thinks he's worth or wants to give us 50/60 million quid for him needs a serious psychological evaluation.
Eddie Dunn
35 Posted 02/05/2016 at 14:07:05
If we didn't know that Lukaku had scored all of those goals, and we had only seen his last 5 games, I think most of us would be saying "£28 million, you must be joking".
If, next season, Niasse pops in 10 goals, I will be happy if (like Aidy says) the other players start chipping in with a few goals, so we aren't so dependent on one man, the team will improve.
Martinez was happy to ship out Naismith and has hardly played MIrallas, who was on the bench again on Saturday.
Where does he think the goals are going to come from?
Niasse, is not Lukaku, and perhaps isn't suited to playing the lone striker role, but he may be just the ticket, running the channels, he needs games.

We won the Title the year after we sold Lineker. We didn't miss his 30 goals ,as everyone chipped-in.

Chris Jones [Burton]
36 Posted 02/05/2016 at 14:32:53
I'm definitely in the give the lad (Niasse) a chance brigade. FFS you can't judge a player on 79 minutes, which is all he has had to date.

But if you do want to judge a player on a snapshot... when Cleverley opened the scoring for us, where was Oumar? Perfectly placed, in a yard of space, on the six-yard line bearing down on the keeper, ready to snaffle-up a second chance if one was offered. In other words, he was exactly where you'd expect to see an efficient striker who was doing his job.

Please don't just beat him because you're fed up with RM.

Phil Walling
37 Posted 02/05/2016 at 15:23:19
'Soccer is a game of opinions' and whoever coined that phrase must be grateful to ToffeeWeb for proving its veracity !

But a week on the naughty step must be the reward for whoever it was who compared Niasse's full debut with that of Joe Royle at Blackpool in 1966.

Yes, Joe got some stick early in the game but those of us who were there know that was very much aimed at Catterick for dropping the legendary Alex Young . How dare he !

Joe was 16 and cost nowt. By the time he left us eight years later (still two years younger than the £13.5M is now )he had scored 119 goals in 273 appearances !

For all the talk of 'opinions', that was a fatuous comparison, indeed !

Craig Mills
38 Posted 02/05/2016 at 15:36:11
Zoid, I didn't say Niasse was poor, I said I will judge him on how many goals he scores. You would expect a 13.5m player to show some signs of quality, maybe not so in his first decent run out for the club, but hopefully pretty soon.
Andy Meighan
39 Posted 02/05/2016 at 15:52:26
I find your headline strange and insulting. This is a man who has publicly stated he doesn't want to play for our club, a man who has downed tools since Christmas and, what is it, 2 league goals from open play since January? Yet you seem to insinuate we would be lost without him.

Now, I'm not saying Niasse could be the answer but he did no worse or better than your hero. I'll tell you this, Paul, and I've said it many times before – watch how many of the big clubs he craves come in for him when the window opens. Not many I suspect and I doubt if we would get the asking price for the overrated, self confessed great striker.

At the Swansea game I was nearly assaulted for airing my views on Lukaku. Do you know one of them lads actually apologised to me at the Bournemouth game and told me I was right all along? That gave me no pleasure at all but I will say this – he can be replaced easily. I just hope this clown Martinez is not around to spend that fee on his replacement
Stephen Ashton
40 Posted 02/05/2016 at 18:25:23
Paul couldn't agree less. Lukaku is a thief, his attitude is shameful. He played well against Chelsea but probably just to prove a point. He has his own agenda and it does not include EFC. If he was as good as he thinks he is we would be in a cup final. At least Niasse looked interested.

Ray #5 Our attack without Lukaku would look no different, in fact it may be a little more lively. Kone might not be very good but at least he has nuisance value. Morgan and Huth will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of a nice quiet evening next Saturday.

Aidy Dews
41 Posted 02/05/2016 at 20:50:10
All I'll say is look at Spurs! They sold Bale and the best bit of business after that they did was not get in the players that they did (some of them are top drawer btw!), but get Pochettino in!

There were already some good players at Spurs and the ones that came in from the Bale money were good but struggled at first but they got Pochettino in and he's turned them right around over 2 years, brought some good, young players in and got the best out of the others and Spurs are a force these days!

Whose to say a top manager can't come in and work wonders with us?!

Colin Glassar
42 Posted 02/05/2016 at 20:52:19
Have to agree Aidy. A manager who will inspire the players might just convince our star players to stay and develop
Sandra Williams
43 Posted 02/05/2016 at 21:05:00
Not sure why Spurs are getting excited being 2 goals up at Chelsea.....they do know Leicester are playing us on saturday?!! The dream is over for this season Spurs.....sorry about that!!
Eddie Dunn
44 Posted 02/05/2016 at 21:39:22
Sandra, now it's 2-1, and I can just see Roberto, desperately engineering the great escape, as we put out our best performance of the season and beat the Foxes, taking the PL race to the final countdown.

We fuck-up the fairytale and Bobby Bollocks keeps his job.

WTF, Spuds win the title, the neutral's choice falter, and we are stuck with the catatonic Catalan for another 12 months!

David Pearl
45 Posted 02/05/2016 at 23:27:25
I suppose someone has already mentioned that we have been playing without Lukaku for the last couple of months. Ready for the Champions League my Niasse!!
Niasse has potential, his best play was off the ball (insert remark here), a few nice touches but really not involved as much as our only striker should be. When Lukaku came on it should of been to support him and not to replace him.
Hibbert - great to see a full back that can tackle.
Still disjointed... it wont be getting any better as the players have lost it. I don't blame Martinez entirely - but why would he bring Wigans backroom staff with him. Really?! Urrgh
One player for certain that wants to see the back of RM would be Mirallas. I like the way Martinez wants to play.. I believe in his philosophy blah blah but the players are either not good enough or don't want to play for him and have felt alienated. Like the fans.
Ray Robinson
46 Posted 02/05/2016 at 23:46:24
Whatever you think of Lukaku - and I personally think he won't cut it at a really top club - you have to admit that, lazy or otherwise, we will struggle to replace a 20+ per season striker. Kone and Niasse may be hard workers but I doubt whether either of them would ever get anywhere near that. Which means that if Lukaku goes, we will probably need to sign two new decent strikers.

The only parallel that I can think of is when Lineker left after his only season. We managed to win the league still but had Sharp, Heath and midfielders contributing goals to make up the shortfall. Where is our current comparable goal-scoring midfield? Barkley? Mirallas? Neither compares favourably with Sheedy or Trevor Steven. No, the future without Lukaku does indeed look frightening at the moment.

Trevor Lynes
47 Posted 03/05/2016 at 01:00:00
Look at the facts boys...Lukaku scores goals and players like Barkley do not !The game is all about scoring goals and stopping opponents from scoring goals.

Lukaku has carried the side all season up front without support.He will bring in double what we spent in getting him and I want to know who will replace him ?There is no one I have seen in our squad who can score regularly.We are absolutely toothless without Rom !!!!

John Daley
48 Posted 03/05/2016 at 01:23:50
"Look at the facts boys...Lukaku scores goals and players like Barkley do not !"

Facts like Barkley being our second top scorer with 12 goals clearly don't count then?

Paul Ferry
49 Posted 03/05/2016 at 05:42:24
Eddie Dunn: If we didn't know that Lukaku had scored all of those goals, and we had only seen his last 5 games, I think most of us would be saying "£28 million, you must be joking".

But, guess what, he DID score all those goals. That easily makes him worth £28 million and if we sold him this summer at age 22 we would make a very handsome profit.

The abuse Lukaku gets on here is ridiculous. Anyone see who charged onto the pitch to celebrate the winner Saturday, literally sprinted, got there before most blues on the pitch?

The criticism on here of Lukaku is more lazy than the people who call him lazy. We will be very fortunate if Lukaku is with us in the third week of August.

Is his rating as a 22-year-old centre-forward higher than Everton's current ratings? YES!!!

Eric Myles
50 Posted 03/05/2016 at 06:48:57
Trevor (#47), the problem is that we are also toothless with him.

But hang on, didn't we used to score goals before Lukaku joined us?

Zoid Clark
51 Posted 03/05/2016 at 10:29:30
Howard 6

Besic 6
Stones 8
Pennington 8
Baines 8.5

McCarthy 6
Gibson 6.5

Lennon 7
Barkley 6
Cleverley 7

Niasse 6.5

Hibbert 8
Lukaku 5
Dowell N/A

Dave Abrahams
52 Posted 03/05/2016 at 11:15:54
Paul (49) no I didn't see who sprinted on to the pitch when Baines scored the winner, who was it?, if you think it was Lukaku it wasn't, the ball went past him for Baines to bang home.
Kevin Gillen
53 Posted 03/05/2016 at 11:48:31
First of all, thanks for your report, Paul. You echo a lot of the comments of Evertonians after the game. The truth is the jury is out on Niasse. We haven't seen enough of him to judge if he can be an effective striker yet and we certainly haven't seen £13.5m quid's worth. I think he will be good away from home, the footage of him in action in Russia on YouTube shows a racehorse good on the counter-attack. He did put a foot in to a tackle once or twice and made a great goalscoring chance for Ross Barkley.

The mood in the ground though was funereal. I really wanted Martinez to succeed as a manager at Everton but we are a shambles at the moment. To turn up in the most important week of our season so seriously depleted is a travesty.

I was at Wembley and that is the poorest Man Utd team I have seen since they were relegated. The game was there for the taking and we contrived to blow it. The performance at Anfield three days earlier – shameful. Some of those players would never don the Blue shirt for me again.

Too many cracks in the team for me. The balance is all wrong, we don't play for 90 minutes. We don't attack or defend collectively and we can't press because we have prima donnas who think they are beyond criticism and too big for the club.

I had to agree with my fellow season ticket holder. It's fantastic being an Evertonian, the singing, behaviour and atmosphere at Wembley was inspirational, but the football, the ownership, the management, we deserve better.

Trevor Lynes
54 Posted 03/05/2016 at 12:20:08
Fully agree Paul. Lukaku is head and shoulders better than any other forward we have. Barkley has been waiting to fulfil his apparent potential for season after season and does not score anywhere near often enough.

Mirallas is our only other goal threat but is out of favour so that potential goal threat is nullified. Naismith has gone!!!!!!

Our midfield do not contribute anything apart from spoiling play and none of them score either.... Barry, McCarthy, Besic, Gibson when he is sober, Oviedo, Lennon, Deulofeu and our other striker Kone.

Gibson should have been sacked ages ago and the rest are not worth ONE Lukaku money-wise put together!!

Denis Richardson
55 Posted 03/05/2016 at 12:32:48
Niasse should of course be given a chance given he cost us 13.5m! Whatever the reason is it took Martinez 3 months before giving him a start, we have him now so don't have a choice.

One point I would like to make though is that even IF Niasse turns out to be ok, one thing he will never be is a number 9. As mentioned above he looks like a winger or a second striker. Given that, once (not if) Lukaku goes, we need a new striker anyway.

He needs to start the remaining games to get him up to speed with the prem and Lukaku needs to be on the bench as he's off anyway.

Stephen Ashton
56 Posted 03/05/2016 at 13:28:29
Lukaku may be the best striker we have but he is certainly not irreplaceable. In very recent memory he has missed 3 great chances and a penalty in a semi final costing us a cup final place, missed two one on ones and a penalty against West Ham which cost us 3 points and a chance from 5 yards out at Watford costing us two points. If he had done his job we would be 9th and in the cup final. This is not a problem with poor supply this is just rank bad finishing. He has a % shot on target of 53%, he hits the target only once in every two shots.

By comparison Kane has a 64% hit rate from 30 more shots.

Barkley is only behind Mahrez, Alli and Payet in assists.

You tell me where the problem lies.

Paul Ferry
57 Posted 03/05/2016 at 15:20:37
Dave, sorry don't mean to be petty but Lukaku did... okay, 'sprint' – run onto the pitch to celebrate, mate.
Liam Reilly
58 Posted 03/05/2016 at 15:33:53
Niasse needs a pre-season; then can be judged. Clearly, like the rest of this lot; he's unfit.

Need to learn from from Tottenham. I read an article from Dembele recently that said the players took sometime before buying into Pochettino's philosophy of extra training or gym sessions throughout pre-season and then on demand; but the players are reveling in it now.

Ray Robinson
59 Posted 03/05/2016 at 15:39:57
Stephen #56 - nobody is irreplaceable but who do you think we could get that would score 20+ goals a season? When Man Utd, Arsenal and other top teams are looking for that elusive marksmen, who would we replace him with? I don't even think that changing our style of play would help as there are precious few goals in any other players that we currently have at our disposal? Please let's not pin all our hopes on Niasse!
Dave Abrahams
60 Posted 03/05/2016 at 16:28:24
Paul (57) I must be missing something here Paul, Lukaku had been on the field well before Baines scored the winner, unless you mean the first goal, I don't no where Lukaku was then.
Jim Wilson
61 Posted 03/05/2016 at 20:23:02
If we can start next season without the striker who missed 6 good chances including a penalty he should never have been allowed to take, bring it on. And if he can be replaced by someone who is willing to work hard for the team we will improve no end!
Andrew James
62 Posted 03/05/2016 at 23:08:56
We've sacrificed the goals from Leighton and Seamus. We get nothing from centre-mid. We've not replaced the goals Osman, Naismith, Cahill used to contribute.

Oh and Mirallas doesn't score anymore.

So if Lukaku goes we are going to either completely change how we play or buy a really good striker.

Bob Parrington
63 Posted 04/05/2016 at 00:25:08
I agree with most that Niasse has not been given sufficient opportunity to show what he can do. He showed some decent touches vs Bournemouth but needs some match time.

I'd rather see RM go and see what a new manager can achieve, otherwise we're going nowhere.

Mick Davies
64 Posted 04/05/2016 at 02:47:04
Zoid @ 4 : "Paul - to be honest with you, your ratings are horrible! Less emotion mate, more watching the game"
Zoid @ 51: "Hibbert 8"
It's a funny old game
Zoid Clark
65 Posted 04/05/2016 at 09:35:43
Fuck off Mick, what would you give him?

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