New-look Blues hold on for a vital win

After a fine first half ended goalless, Everton went ahead off a fortuitous penalty that was converted via the post and Given's head.

Michael Kenrick 27/08/2016 175comments  |  Jump to last

Romelu Lukaku makes his first Premier League start of the season
Everton 1 - 0 Stoke City

Ashley Williams and Yannick Bolasie make their full home Premier League debuts and Romelu Lukaku makes his first league start of 2016-17.

Koeman reverts to a back four with Funes Mori and Deulofeu are on the bench but James McCarthy is out injured, along with Seamus Coleman. Stoke started with plenty of kick and rush, head tennis, and some physicality but Barkley got the ball down and immediately attacked down the right.

Blues were trying to build attacks but perhaps with too much patience and intricacy, Stoke effectively snuffing out the early moves until Mirallas cut inside and fired in low, forcing an early save from Given.

Holgate did well to prevent an acrobatic strike form Crouch. Mirallas did well to dispossess Barkley but he wong the ball back with an arm in the face and Barkley stupidly pulled back his man in frustration, drawing a needless yellow card inside 10 mins. Stoke had a pop at goal through Arnautovic but it flew over.

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Stoke settled into the game a little better than the home side, Bardlsey taking another long-range pop, wide of Stekelenburg's goal, while Everton's efforts to get Bolasie on the ball were being well thwarted. Williams was called for a pullback, but Gueye did well to win the ball and play in Mirallas who had strayed well offside.

Another Blues foul -- Everton were giving away far too many silly free-kicks, invoking unnecessary pressure -- until Lukaku somehow bamboozled Shawcross and his shot beat Given but was not clever enough to beat the defender who cleared off the line. Stoke responded through Imbula who seemed to be in with a sight of goal, but hesitated and Barry was in sharply to dispossess him. < /p>

Everton almost scored from a corner taken short that Mirallas then crossed in for Williams to head beyond Given but it was hooked away inches in front of the goalline by the gangly leg of Peter Crouch.

Gueye saw space and immediately swung in a great cross to Barkley at the far post, Shawcross heading the cutback strongly at his keeper. The Blues were applying a lot more pressure now, but the intricate passing to create a set-up was difficult under the tight Stoke marking.

Lukaku turned his man well and advanced but overplayed his dribbling, losing the ball, as the Blues sought an opening. Barkley set Lukaku away and he did so well to get to the Stoke goal area but his cutback was intercepted. It was end-to-end, Barkley then setting up Mirallas who dug out a fantastic shot that was unfortunately straight at Shay Given.

Some great Everton pressure won a corner but first man Whelan headed it away too easily. Bolasie and Mirallas swapped sides to change things a little but Stoke were putting up stern resistance.

Bolasie and then Barkley seem to have had glimpses for a shot but both chose to pass. Barkley tried to dig out shots from a corner but there seemed to be 15 defenders blocking them away. The Blues continued to drive forward, Barry to Holgate and a tremendous Deulofeu-type cross from young Mason that evaded the incoming Barkley.

Everton were pressing hard, trying everything, but Stoke broke away and Bolasie may have caught Arnautovic on the ankle -- he eventually hobbled off, and then came back on after treatment. Bolasie went on a run down the left and won a rather soft free kick off a Bardsley challenge. Barkley's free-kick was headed out perhaps too easily by Bardsley.

Lukaku appeared to have space in the Stoke area and could have played in Barkley but spurned the chance. Mirallas then tried an audacious overhead kick that ran well wide as a fine half of really competitive football, full of vim and vigour, came to an ed goalless.

It took a few minutes to get things moving in the second half, Barkley eventually dancing into the area, holdng the ball well, spinning and firing across the face of goal, despite two we;ll-placed attackers.

Lukaku soun away and selfishly shot (blocked) with Mirallas wide open on his left. Holgate then heaed forward for a perfect chance for Lukaku but somehwo he was thwarted and could not pull the trgger. From the cprner, Bardsley was called for a trip on Willimas running in... Penalty! It was taken well by Baines, brilliantly saved by Given, onto the post, and then in off the back of his head! Very lucky in the end, but just reward for some fine Everton intent.

Stekelenburg was out sharply to punch a free-kick away as Stoke looked to respond, a little too aggressively as Pieters ws booked for a late tackle on Holgate. Arnautovic somehow got free and danced away from Stekelnburg only to have his shot deflected up onto the bar, and then away by Baines... a very close shave.

A strange call from the linesman saw a non-contact intervention by Bardley on Bolasie rewarded bizarrely with a Stoke free-kick. A better attack on the hour, won another corner that Mirallas curled in well enough but Crouch was dominant.

Lukaku was released by Gueye but his mazey run was tracked by Cameroon who won the ball off him. Bolasie then picked out Barkley who this time took the shot quickly but Given was well placed to save at the stretch.

Boyhood Evertonian John Walters replaced former Liverpudlian Peter Crouch as Stoke pressed the Blues hard to get back into the game. Koeman responded by switching in Kone for Mirallas, who had been flagging. But Before that, another Stoke corner was repelled by a firm Barkley header.

Great touches from Bolasie in attack and Williams in defence underlined the impact of changes made by Koeman since his arrival to rescue Everton from the Madness of Martinez. Kone saw a chance for a shot, firing in low for Given to save.

The Blues were giving Stoke a little too much space and failing to press forward effectively when in possession, giving cause for some concern from the crowd on top of their slender one-goal lead. Stekelenburg did very well to cut out an excellent cross from Pieters. At the other end, Barkley go for once got ahead of Shawcross but could not beat Given one on one, a superb save by the keeper.

At the other end, a tremendous chance for Walters that he totally fluffed after being picked out perfectly by Arnautovic. Two more changes by Mark Hughes (Bojan on for Imbula and Ramadan on for Diouf) were the final throw of the dice by Sparky who did not want to lose this close and compelling contest. Barry set up Bolasie who curled the ball a yard wide when he really should have scored.

Into the last 10 minutes and with Barkley tiring, Ramior Funes Mori replaced him... Koeman looking to see the game out after trying everything to get that much-needed second goal. Stoke smelt blood, piling into the Everton area, and it needed smart work form Williams to clear the ball away.

Stekelenburg was alert again to waft away another dangerous Pieters cross, while Tom Davies was readied to replace Bolasie. Kone did superbly to keep the ball in play then drive inside but his shot was high over the bar.

Into 4 minutes of added time and the pressure from Stoke City was unrelenting. Stekelenburg was commanding in claiming the ball, while Funes Mori did well to win a free kick and relive some pressure. Holgate tried to slalom through into the Stoke are and was tackled poorly by Joe Allen, Baines lining up the kick and curling it over the wall but well within range for Given to punch away.

It was pretty much the final action, with the Everton fans finally bursting into voice, celebrating a superbly managed exhibition of top-flight football, a vital, vital win that would have been unthinkable last season.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Williams, Jagielka, Baines, Gueye, Barry [Y:88'], Barkley (82' Funes Mori) [Y:8'], Bolasie (88' Davies), Mirallas (70' Kone), Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Robles, Oviedo, Lennon, Deulofeu.

Stoke City: Given, Bardsley, Pieters [Y:57'], Shawcross, Wollscheid, Whelan, Allen, Imbula (72' Bojan), Arnautovic, Diouf (72' Ramadan), Crouch (65' Walters).
Subs not Used: Haugaard, Muniesa, Adam, Ngoy.

Referee: Michael Oliver

Attendance: 39,581

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Reader Comments (175)

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Dean Adams
1 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:09:44
Good prediction ed!!
Stephen Brown
2 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:13:59
Is McCarthy injured or are sale rumours true? He's not on the bench.
Gareth Clark
3 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:17:29
McCarthy has a knock, same as Cleverley.
Colin Metcalfe
4 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:17:38
Funes Mori dropped to the bench! Automatic choice for Argentina the second best team in the world but can't get into Everton first eleven, hmmmm.
Chris Gould
5 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:27:11
Very exciting lineup. I think that's our best 11 (apart from Coleman).
Jags and Williams could become the most solid CB partnership in the prem.
David Milner
6 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:28:09
Looks the ideal lineup, nice to see NO Gibson-Cleverley-McCarthy on the bench even if they are carrying slight knocks. Lets hope all 3 are going before Thursday.
James Morgan
7 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:30:38
David #6, if all three go I hope we've got replacements lined up cause we would be woefully short in midfield!
Chris Gould
8 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:33:46
A couple of dodgy websites claim that McCarthy asked to leave during a meeting yesterday.

I would be happy if we used him as bait to get Sissoko or Kone.

Daniel Lawrence
9 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:35:59
Shite bench
Fran Mitchell
11 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:41:26
Looking at the bench, you see the obvious need for 3 players. None of Kone, Oviedo nor Lennon are at the standard we need. I suspect Oviedo will remain back up for now however.

Lennon would be a good buy for the likes of Hull. Kone, well, considering Hull only have 14 players .

So, let's sell Gibbo, Kone and Lennon to Hull. Cleverly I'd keep as a decent, versatile back up. McCarthey should only go if we sign a top quality centre mid.

Anthony Flack
12 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:41:26
I do not think the criticisms of McCarthy are all that fair. He is a pretty good player that most Premiership teams would want. I do admit he seems to have failed to spark much excitement amongst the fans.

But the type of role he plays is often not the type to catch the limelight, unlike perhaps Del Boy who is possibly worthy of greater levels of complaint?

Mark Morrissey
13 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:42:33
I just hope that we don't fall foul of the new ruling on holding players at corners. I can see Crouch causing us problems. Perhaps we won't even concede a corner. I think the team selection says a few will be leaving. I hope they end up at Sunderland and we get Kone in return. I'd be happy to see the back of McGeady, Cleverley and Gibson.
Mike Hughes
15 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:57:03
2-0 to The Mighty EFC.

The bench could be stronger as others have pointed out. But Deulofeu and Lennon are potential game-changers in the second half should things need shaking up.

Jay Harris
16 Posted 27/08/2016 at 14:59:52
Good team selection with the Wales captain replacing "Argentina's automatic choice".
Good to see we finally have MF players that can score goals and get forward which is the big weakness of McCarthy.
David Milner
17 Posted 27/08/2016 at 15:25:08
James @7

Hopefully the rumours of Sissoko for McCarthy plus a bit of cash to sweeten the deal are true. For the other 2 read Davies & Dowell.

Be nice to see Munir El Haddadi as a late signing even on a loan deal.

Ciarán McGlone
18 Posted 27/08/2016 at 15:35:09
Bolassie played on the left now. Looks lost on the right.

Good game this.

Ciarán McGlone
19 Posted 27/08/2016 at 15:50:14
Entertaining half of football.

From our perspective Barkley, Bolassie and Lukaku have been poor.

I'd bring on Gerry for Bolassie.. the other we have no decent cover for.

Ciarán McGlone
21 Posted 27/08/2016 at 16:30:16
Very odd sub. Mirallas playing very well.
Fran Mitchell
22 Posted 27/08/2016 at 16:43:00
Mirralas had gone quiet. só far Kone is doing decent
David Milner
23 Posted 27/08/2016 at 16:45:10
Good substitution Barkley off for Funes Mori, it just was not Ross's day.
Phil Sammon
24 Posted 27/08/2016 at 16:55:47

I disagree with pretty much everything you said

Steve Cotton
25 Posted 27/08/2016 at 16:57:52
To be fair Ross had a good game but he is having to supply all the defence splitting balls on his own..
John Wells
26 Posted 27/08/2016 at 16:58:21
We would have drawn or possibly lost that 2-1 last season after running out of steam with 10 to go, great result, winning these will stand to us
Ciarán McGlone
27 Posted 27/08/2016 at 16:59:20
Good for you, Phil.
Michael Kenrick
28 Posted 27/08/2016 at 16:59:22
I think that was a fantastic exhibition of superb game management by Ronald Koeman -- exactly what we have missed for so long under that idiot Martinez.
Chris Watts
29 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:01:13
Didn't watch the game but sounds like the type of game we'd concede at the end last year. Like last week when we came back from 1-0 down. Need a couple of players now to compliment the great start to the season
Lev Vellene
30 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:01:14
Great result! Should still have had more goals, and then I'd be able to feel more sorry for poor Given after doing a very good almost-save on the penalty.
James Watts
31 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:06:08
Happy with the result. Performance was good, and definitely should have more goals. Felt we were lucky a couple of times Stoke didn't equalise.

And how immense is Gana?? On the evidence so far and for the price, for me, one of our best signings we've made in the last 5-10 years.

Get ol' Mr Traffic Kone replaced we're looking in pretty good shape.

Barry Jones
32 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:08:15
All the new signings were really good. Stekelenberg is everything we have been missing in a goalkeeper. Williams got in the way of everything (must improve his passing though). Gueye was magnificent! What a purchase. Bolassie cause problems with his pace and strength.

On the downside, Lukaku looked poor. I feel that we should have sold him while his value was ridiculously inflated. He may be worth half as much or less by the end of the season. His team mates were unhappy with some of his decisions.

Bob Hannigan
33 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:10:04
Kudos to the new Gaffer and his reenergized side. Well done
Barry Jones
35 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:10:34
Did someone say McCarthy asked to leave. Not surprised because he has no chance of edging out Gueye.
Gerry Quinn
36 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:11:15
Rom – sadly too late to get rid of him now; hopefully RK will get better out of him, but I somehow doubt it.

Gueye, Barry and Holgate – brilliant.

Ernie Baywood
37 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:12:38
Couldn't fault too much there. We were on top throughout, moved the ball well and created chances. Contrary to the above, I thought Ross was very bright and carried most of our threat.

Fine lines though. Walters and Arnautovic were inches from making that "New Everton, same as Old Everton".

The need to convert dominance into goals remains.

Stephen Brown
38 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:12:38
Easy to jump on the bandwagon I know but we would have conceded last year! For some reason I was confident we'd see it out!

2nd going into the transfer window and international break! Good times ahead I hope!!

Lev Vellene
40 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:15:41
Barry (#32). I was not disappointed with Lukaku, except for him not scoring. Yes, I know that's his job, but he was on the ball, and he did not have as many ball-bouncing first touches this game, that I could see.

I'm very impressed with Stekelenburg, and Holgate had me cheering most of the time! I'm so glad we kept him, and off-loaded Stones for good money!

I hope those sneering at us bothering to get that 'old' Williams into our team will be able to enjoy the result as well!

Kevin Rowlands
41 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:16:25
Just showed the current league table, 2nd place as it stands, boy does that look good. For anyone continuing to question our transfer window you must be joking, Stekelenburg is showing why we don't need Joe Hart, he's been outstanding.

Williams and Bolasie solid, but in Idrissa Gueye we have found a diamond and for £7 million?? The lad is world class and will be the best bargain of the transfer window by miles.

As for the game we should have won comfortably, rode our luck but have to put teams away. As for my favourite player Lukaku I've taken advice on board and will leave it at no comment for this game and the rest of the season.

Ernie Baywood
42 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:22:26
Yes Lev, Holgate was very good again. Arnautovic didn't enjoy that match up. Good to see him starting to attack more as he gains confidence in the league. That slalom run when he got fouled by Joe Allen showed us that he can take people on with a bit of swagger too. Far more than just a good defender; he's got a bit about him.

For all our praise of Galloway (deserved) when he was in the team, Holgate has shown far more potential in these few games. Interesting decision for Koeman when Seamus is fit.

Mark Frere
43 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:23:14
Good solid performance. I didn't think it was a penalty but I thought we deserved to win the game on balance of play. Got to agree with others re Gana, the lad has been outstanding.

Bolasie was pretty average but he is notorious for being just that - expect more of the same! We might be treated every now and then - well worth £25 million' eh?!?!

Our new goalie looks really solid and Holgate very impressive again. Very happy with our start under Koeman.

Christy Ring
44 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:26:39
Barry 35# Would it not be worth having McCarthy to cover for Gueye, and Barry who hasn't the legs to last 90 min's. I'd gladly sell Cleverley and Gibson, and keep James, who can still do a job for us.
Joe Foster
45 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:32:05
I don't think we held on. I think we had it under control and had a plan. Good times indeed.
Joe Clitherow
47 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:34:39
Good for you Kev!!

Solid was the word I'd use today. Gueye and Holgate the stand outs for me today. Lukaku still not firing but he was very unlucky today - two cleared off the line and hit the post (it looked like anyway from my seat right in line).

Also, Ross not quite hitting the mark today but it's clear someone has been coaching the Martinez crap out of him. Today he was turning and driving forward much quicker as soon as he go0t the ball, after two years of turning backwards, taking an extra touch and shielding, all the while slowing down. That's the Martinez Disease that will take a while to work out of the collective system. But the whole team got forward much quicker and looked much more solid throughout. Fitness is obviously improving also.

And guess what? The crowd responded to the effort and the whole thing kept going as a virtuous circle, as many of us have been saying for a while. It is the job of the team to get the home crowd going and we collectively responded.

My enthusiasm is coming back after two and a half years of having it drained out of me. Very pleased with obvious progress and more to come. We'll come out if the break knowing our squad and we will definitely have some comings and goings this week.

Lev Vellene
48 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:35:59
Christy (#44). I'd like to keep McCarthy if Barry can't play for whatever reason, but I'd like that more if he had an "apprenticeship" with Barry for a year first. What he used to do, is not what we want today, but I think he could become that. But I don't think we can expect him to change enough, or if he can, to wait for that spot to open for him. Sadly!
Kevin Rowlands
49 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:38:09
Christy I agree, Barry looked tired and leggy in the 2nd half, surely we can't expect him at his age to play every game, unless Koeman has got something up his sleeve the next five days keeping McCarthy for coverage for Barry and Gueye is a must.
Sam Hoare
50 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:39:28
Very encouraging game. A sniff of luck perhaps but a well deserved one. From about the 20 minute mark we controlled the game.

Hard to choose at motm between Gueye and Holgate.

Lukaku and Bolasie were a bit underwhelming and should have done better with opportunity presented. If I'm honest I wish we'd got Arnautovic who looks to have more end product than Yannick but time will tell.

Great start by RK and the boys and so good to go into the int break on a win!

Jon Withey
51 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:49:25
From the BBC "Allardyce would have been hugely impressed with Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, who produced a man-of-the-match performance.".

David Barks
52 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:50:22
Good controlling of the game. Any time now the chances will start going in, things will fully click. Barkley was unlucky not to get a couple today. Loving seeing Mirallas back in the side and showing what he can do. Once these players gain some chemistry and understanding together we should see some nice attacking football. Still need attacking depth though. It was great to see the Stoke defenders dominated today though, just couldn't get the final ball. Promising.
Phil Sammon
53 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:59:12
Barkley was decent but hugely outshone by Gueye and Holgate. Gueye was everywhere. The guy is such a bag of energy. He's McCarthy's legs with Barry's brain, constantly sniffing danger. £7M??? I reckon that's gonna be up there with Arteta/Cahill/Pienaar type bargains.

Holgate looked unbelievably calm. He's going to be a terrific player.

I thought Bolasie was alright. He gives the full back hell and his delivery is usually good. If there's anyone to be disappointed in today then it's Lukaku.

Lev Vellene
54 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:59:17
One thing that makes me annoyed is that the passes almost always seem to come on the back-foot of the players, so they always stop and then have to look for someone to pass to, most often backwards or sideways. If there is room, at least put it a few yards in front of the player so he can run onto it while his vision is in front of him!
Fran Mitchell
55 Posted 27/08/2016 at 17:59:59
Barkley looks absolute class. A few of his passes were just inches off being gems. He's trying to do the excellent and is getting closer and closer.

Those who watch and say he was poor, I really don't know what game you are watching.

Bolasie got better as the game progressed, and Lukaku did well I think against a very compact and physical Stoke defense. He's not yet at 100%, but he was good.

Gana is class, having such a player really makes a difference. While Holgate is doing great, will he drop a bit like Galloway? Let's hope not.

Williams is a physical defender, and him and Jags looked solid. Stek in goal is calming, he catches everything and when he needs to punch he is great at it. A good shot stopper too. At peak age for a keeper too, could be the bargain buy of the season.

Tom Magill
56 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:00:06
It's great to be a toffee again!
We've got a manager who knows what he's doing,happy days!
Steve Guy
57 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:02:31
Lukaku will come good, just clearing his head after mid summer madness. 20 goal a season striker every year ...

Great to see us converting three points where previously (e.g last years 3-4 fiasco) we would have lost 2 or 3 points !

Tony Hill
58 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:11:59
That's two slightly grubby victories at WBA and today which reflect the defensive improvements Koeman has made. I thought Williams was excellent, as well as Holgate of course who made one tackle on Arnautovic which was perfect in timing and strength and he really is a gem.

All very pleasing and there was some real spice in the Park End too.

James Hughes
59 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:12:01
Tom #56 too much positivity mate. you didn't say great win ..but so 'n' so was shite, this is TW after all
Lev Vellene
60 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:12:40
I just saw the interview with RK on Sky, he really doesn't look comfortable in an interview-situation. Being an introvert myself, that actually makes me like him even more! :P

He's not anything like the sparkling lens-louse that RM was. And RK actually has something of substance to say while he's squirming there! Happy days for me, the results considered, ofc!

Steve Brown
61 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:12:55
Lukaku isn't fit yet. He didn't even have a pre-season. He'll come good - hopefully we will bring in a couple more before the deadline, but McCarthy and Lennon will definitely be staying as squad cover.

As for Gueye, just shows you don't have to spend a fortune to buy an absolute gem.

James Marshall
62 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:15:33
Barry looked leggy? His stats always state otherwise - the guy runs further than most, he just does it a lot slower from minute one!
James Marshall
63 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:28:01
I just read that every single Everton outfield player created at least one chance today - total football.

Also, I just dropped my phone, but luckily Idrissa Gueye was there to pick up the pieces.

Jay Harris
64 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:29:03
Michael totally agree with you re Koeman.

The manager has become our 12th man.

Fran agree with all your points too. Almost everything went through Barkley today
Stek solid as were Jags and Williams and Gueye and Holgate were immense. Great to see Kev back to his best too.

We just need a bit more target practice.

Anton Walsh
65 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:31:44
Sam with the largest head in football was there. Must've been impressed with Holgate. Barkley, not so much.
John Austin
66 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:35:28
I thought Barry was excellent today. Such an intelligent player. Jags/Williams gelled well. Stek and Gueye look class. Ros tried hard and, as a previous post said, it just didn't happen for him today.

We deserved to win but fortunate in the way it happened. We'll take that though. Good move from RK to go to a back 5 to shore the game up. What a difference!

Let's hope the fan in the Park End stand is ok.

Onwards and upwards and well done blues. Still work in progress though.

John Austin
67 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:36:27
Forgot to say. Holgate is an absolute diamond.
Tom Bowers
68 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:37:32
Make no mistake ,this was a really good victory today against a Stoke side you just knew were going to come out fighting after the mauling they took last week.

The Blues felt it early and defended well but eventually started to turn it around and played some very patient stuff against the massed defence. Stoke obviously wanted to steal it but apart from some late desperate attacks didn't deserve anything.

I agree there is a lot more in Everton's play these days and Idris Gueye has to be the best signing in a long while. Barkley is getting back to his best and Holgate continues to shine.

Barry had a great first half but does tire as does Mirallas who put in a great shift. Not sure I want Baines to take future penalties.

Chris Williams
69 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:44:28
Solid and effective. Industrious and energetic. All based on a sound defence with pace on the counter attack.

It's been a long time since you could say this about an Everton team. Seriously, we could have dropped more points in all three games this season under previous management.

It's early days, some catching up to do by some as far as fitness is concerned, and the new team needs to learn and gell together, but you can see what's happening here. There is a plan and it's taking shape before our eyes. The new players are all upgrades on what was there before and I'm sure we will see reinforcements soon.

The crowd clearly responds to what they're seeing. All in all quietly satisfied at the progress so far and looking forward to steady improvement with a few winnable games coming up.

Paul Conway
70 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:49:02
This is fantastic reading all the positives regarding our new signings.

There is only one thing that worries me.: a lot of criticism of Lukaku, as to the subject of whether we should have sold him. But the positives far outweigh the negatives, with Lukaku still to produce what is expected of him, and with Holgate and Gueye showing far more than what was expected of them, we have struck gold!

Gordon White
71 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:54:51
Absolutely delighted. Gueye and Holgate are the Blues brothers. Big Sam was watching. Must have been impressed with Holgate and Barkley. Stekelenburg had a good all round performance and another clean sheet. Who needs Hart?

If we can win, without conceding, even when our forwards are not firing on all cylinders, that's got to be good news. Imagine when they are. We created a lot of chances and looked dangerous going forward against a stoke team that are no mugs.

One last thing. I'm glad referees are starting to crack down on the manhandling of forwards in the box. Teams like Stoke have got away with it for too long. About time.

Gerry Quinn
72 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:56:09
I see Mark Hughes has blamed the referee for picking on his defenders unfairly! Shawcross is now, at long, long last, NOT getting away with all of the holding and shirt tugging – and that is his OWN fault, not any referee's fault.
Lev Vellene
73 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:57:32
Gordon (#71). Just glad they didn't crack down when all we had was being the 'Dogs of War'!
Gordon White
74 Posted 27/08/2016 at 18:59:49
I forgot to say. A big thank you Mr Koeman and Mr Moshiri.

I'm looking forward to Saturdays once again. And the future is really exciting for all Blues. Yes!!

Tom Cuffe
75 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:00:21
What a performance from Holgate, and Gueye, they just mopped up everything. Last season we would have lost 2-1.

Now I know they're still a work in progress, but we look as solid at the back as I can remember for a long time, which can only breed confidence through the team and hopefully make us a bit more potent up front.

Gordon White
76 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:01:17
Lev #73. Absolutely!
Nigel Munford
77 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:02:15
James, re GB, he doesn't have to run fast with his brain.
Ian Burns
78 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:04:45
Weekends are alive again. Koeman obviously needs time but he is making his mark for certain. The difference in Mirallas and Barkley to name just two from last season.

He just needs to get Rom firing (and working) with a couple of additions and on today's evidence, we are most certainly heading in the right direction.

Mike Powell
79 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:08:39
We should've been 4-up, the chances we missed... but we defended much better as we were hanging on at the end .Gordon what do you mean "another clean sheet"? – that was are first in a long time!
Ian Bennett
80 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:17:55
Good functional display, with promise of more when some star players start to click.

The keeper, back 4 looked really secure with excellent protection from Gueye and Barry. A hardworking display from Mirallas and Bolasie. The only gripe is the big man not scoring, and Barkley still making indifferent decisions that frustrate.

Man of the match goes to Holgate. Good turn of pace and composure, he did really well against their main danger threat Arnautovic.

Mccarthy not on the bench, but injured and possibly needing an op will put an end to his £15-20m move I guess.

Rick Tarleton
81 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:21:11
We beat the bottom of the league one-nil at home from a missed penalty. I'll take it. Funes Mori is the one natural left-sided central defender, he plays for possibly the best international defensive team in the world. Got me thinking....
Lev Vellene
82 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:32:31
Funes Mori did well, but as previously mentioned here, he needs to be more open to just knock it out, whether that be Row Z or forwards past the half-way line.

We MAY get a good attack going by holding onto the ball, but versus a team like Stoke, not enough time for that. So I hope we can retain him, but also only if he can vary his playing style as necessary. He did good this time around as a sub, though!

Colin Glassar
83 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:32:40
Very professional performance, unfortunately the international break comes at a bad time for continuity.
Brent Stephens
84 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:35:36
Looks like we might be losing the new lad, Gueye (Gana) for good. Serious Fraud Office are investigating Everton for "stealing" him from Villa. Early days, but every game so far the lad just runs and runs. And tackles and tackles. And passes and passes. And... wait till he gets a few goals as well. Over the moon with this lad. Barry magnificent alongside him.

And Holgate. Consummate professional of tender years. To say that we haven't missed Coleman is a great tribute to the lad (defensively solid and confident going forward) and is no sleight at all on Coleman.

Williams is slotting in nicely. I feel he's not very comfortable on the ball or passing long, same as Jags, but he'll do for me.

Ross and Rom were curate's eggs today. Ross shows so much skill in taking the ball, shielding it and beating a man, but just fell short a few times on his passing and decision-making. Rom had decent game, control reasonably good and strong on the ball, but again into a few cul-de-sacs. They'll both come good, I hope.

Coo, man!

Tim Wardrop
85 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:41:02
Why do people want to let McCarthy go? Just because he can't get in the team at the moment and wasn't that great second half of last season (nor was anyone by the way).

McCarthy will be an important squad player at least for us.

On to today's game – Ross is an absolute gem. He's so close to being a really top player it's untrue. Just got to hope that it all clicks properly (and he stays loyal to the club!)

Nicholas Ryan
86 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:45:23
Stekelenburg is rock-solid. He looks like a Rolls-Royce, even at Premier League level. He's got 50-odd caps for Holland; played in a World Cup final; he's in the CURRENT Dutch squad [announced on Thursday].

What ON EARTH was he doing in Fulham reserves?!!

Darren Dennett
87 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:46:08
Just got back from game...after a few... thoughts!!!

We're still lacking that killer pace up front. Rom did look half interested and I'm sure this boy needs a goal to settle him down. Ross is fucking clueless in the last third, his head must explode whenever he gets near any real positives towards goal... needs help!

Holgate, Gana, Barry and our captain Jags were fantastic for me. It was a dirty win but that's wot good sides do.

Don Alexander
88 Posted 27/08/2016 at 19:47:35
Third match, 7 points whilst some of the squad have yet to hit peak fitness, and recognisable football endeavour after two years of dross. What's not to like?
Phil Walling
89 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:10:27
No access to the game this afternoon but summarising posts on TW, it seems like all the new signings pass muster except Bolassie who may not be an improvement on what we had. We are told Romelu continues to disappoint.

Good to see RK has already solved the GK problem. But from Fulham Reserves? And Gueye continues to get rave reviews even though recruited from a relegated side.

8 points from 4 games will set the standard to challenge for the Euro spots and long may it continue!

Mike T Jones
90 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:15:06
Rick Tarleton. Bottom of the League? Come on. 3 games in . And they weren't bottom at kick off. If anyone can't see a better Everton this season than we have had for a while before, then I'm flabbergasted!
Darren Hind
91 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:22:44
Predicted pre-season (to howls of derision) that Holgate would ease out Funes Mori, didn't think it would be after two games.

Only last week one genius was claiming Koeman would not play Jags Williams and Mason as he would put up with three "hoofing it".

The Kids a proper footballer, The sort I love to see in a blue shirt. Lets hope the panic merchants don't all jump on his case when he hits an inevitable sticky path.

Gana - fantastic, incredible energy
Stekelenburg - who Knew ?
Barkley and Mirallas - new lease of life
Bolasie - exciting
Williams and Jags - focused and determined
Baines - looks like he may be rediscovering his Mojo

This was a good performance against a far better Stoke team than I expected.

We just need Lukaku to start firing on all cylinders and perhaps sign a couple more and we could be in for a very interesting season.

Ciarán McGlone
93 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:27:51
Overall, a very entertaining match. Both sides played decent football.

Bolassie did improve in the second half and Gana was superb. But Lukaku was atrocious... Summed up by one passage of play in the second half when he gave the ball away with a sloppy pass, then held his arms out as if it was someone else fault. He'll score goals, but I'd love to see us get a ball playing striker.

Plaudits for Barry and Mirallas as well today... And as Michael says above, Koeman for closing out the game.

Martin Mason
94 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:29:22
I really envy the RS for having picked up Couthino so cheaply but what a buy Gueye has proven to be too. It's really heady days just now, let's hope it isn't a false dawn.

I'm also worried about Lukaku, all strikers hit a sticky patch but Rom just seems to have lost it. If we had alternatives it'd be good to rest him.

Mark Frere
95 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:32:42
Darren, surely it's Williams who has eased Funes Mori out of the team? Funes Mori plays left centre-back... the position that Williams is now playing. Holgate is right-footed... and plays right-back or on the right of a back 3 if RK chooses to play 3 at the back.
Dave Abrahams
96 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:36:25
Phil (89) Bolasie was pretty decent except for his shots on goal, they were dreadful as they were against Yoevil on Tuesday night, not one of them anywhere the target.

Apart from the shots his general game wasn't bad, give him time.

Lev Vellene
97 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:38:08
Brent #84: Why, how?

Edit: Gana Gueye, for those not reading it originally.

Phil Walling
98 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:38:30
Martin, what do you make of press stories that indicate Moshiri has kept Rom here by doubling his money?

Personally, I can't believe he's that daft... Moshiri that is!

Tony Hill
99 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:39:24
Bad news that the fan taken ill in the Park End this afternoon has died. RIP, one of our own.
Gerry Quinn
100 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:40:29
An Everton fan has died after collapsing during the Premier League side's 1-0 win against Stoke City.

The Toffees said the 51-year-old passed away shortly after being rushed to Aintree Hospital on Saturday afternoon.

The man was sitting in the Sir Philip Carter Park Stand at Goodison Park when he became unwell around 15 minutes into the second half of the game. He was given CPR by police officers, an off-duty doctor and paramedics before the ambulance arrived.

Everton said it was "deeply saddened" in a statement posted on the club website.

It said: "The thoughts and prayers of everybody at the football club are with his family and friends."

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as well – so sad, doing something he loved doing.

Brent Stephens
101 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:41:02
Lev - not sure what you're asking. Why what? If you mean the bit about the Serious Fraud Office - that's a wee joke.
Darren Hind
102 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:42:03
Mark, don't be silly.

Be very very assured that if Holgate was injured Funes Mori would have played.

Mason is an even better centre-back than he is right-back but as the better footballer of the four he is more capable of adapting to different positions. Funes Mori did not play because Koeman went for talent over experience.

Lev Vellene
103 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:47:06
Ahh, don't DO that. If we knew each other I'd still be smacking you! Well, especially if... ;D

Our more grumpy posters will/could have infected me to the point that I expect the worst... :) This time it was just an excessive amount of victory pints that turned my reader either off, or too sensitive!

Phew! Don't do that... :P

Brent Stephens
104 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:49:38
Sorry, Lev! I'll be happy to take the smack!
Tony Hill
105 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:53:51
Darren, it will be interesting to see where he eventually settles, Holgate. His positional sense and timing are superb for a 19-year-old – I bet Koeman can't wait to develop him and Holgate could not be working for a better manager. The lad also has the priceless gift of natural confidence and seems a bright soul if you've ever seen him interviewed.
Gordon White
106 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:54:34
Mike # 79. You're right mate. Spot the obvious mistake! I just got carried away because I was so chuffed.

Last season, this would have been a 1-1 draw or even a loss. Will engage brain before typing next time!! Lol.

Lev Vellene
107 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:54:50
Brent, you are already forgiven, as the rest of your post made a lot of sense anyway! :)

Apart from the 'coo', that is. One character I longed to kill in the Baldur's Gate 2 game, I guess... Or is that a real expression somewhere??? Then I'll just want slow pain for him from now on... :D

Aidy Dews
108 Posted 27/08/2016 at 20:56:17
Positive start to the season, plenty of positives from today and the team is starting to take shape. I feel we definitely need a striker that's gonna keep Lukaku on his toes and push him and be able to come in and do the job as well has at the minute he's got no competition. That genuine competition will hopefully push him and get the best out of him on a more consistent basis.

For me, were still lacking a serious creative spark in the final third, that player who sees early runs and picks the passes, puts players in on goal. I like Barkley in general but he's not the answer to our No 10 problem. In time, he will make a good CM where he will play from a deeper start point and see the game ahead of him and be able to burst into the spaces has opposed to being there with his back to goal already and not being has effective imo.

With Williams in the backline alongside Jags we look solid and organised at the back. Stekelenburg is doing well in goal but even though he's started well, I still think we need a top No 1. Hart would of been good but obviously Koeman doesn't rate him. Maybe he's got another keeper in mind, maybe the one he wanted wasn't available this summer? Although he says he does want a third keeper to add competition.

Gueye and Barry seems to work and there's a great balance between the two and with the back four and those two screening we do seem more solid back there.

If Koeman gets it right in the final days of the market and adds the right quality in the required positions, then we can definitely build on the positive start we've had, especially with the next round of fixtures coming up, we could gain momentum and confidence and go on to have a very good season!

Mark Frere
109 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:00:04
Darren, let's say if Coleman is available and Williams is injured, who would RK go with to Partner Jags? I'm pretty confident RK would choose Funes Mori.

Holgate doesn't look to have the stature of a CB - remember how easily he was beaten in the air by Lamela for Spurs to equalize?

However, I think he looks like terrific RB who is capable of doing a job on the right of a 3-man defence. It's still early days for the lad though.

Gordon White
110 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:03:27
All our thoughts are with the family and friends of the gentleman who tragically passed away at the game. It puts things in perspective.

Rest in peace.

Tony Hill
111 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:03:54
Mark, Holgate is taller than both Koeman and Baresi. Absurd comparisons, of course, but he could indeed be a central defender if he develops in the right way.
Gordon White
112 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:03:56
Aidy #108. I think you summed it up very well.
Ed Wallis
113 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:07:30
I want to make a few positive points about Bolasie, He did grow into the game as it went on with attacking play that we all want to see but will take time to adjust to the club and RK's demands. (Pardew's influence on players is just as bad as Martinez's.)

What he did bring to team is that he gave others space as he had 2 or 3 Stoke players on him as soon as he received the ball, I thought his off-the-ball work, covering and tracking back was a big plus and that what makes a difference in this team ethic our manager is bringing to our great club,

Cannot not mention Gueye he was awesome. When he signed, Everton got loads of negative vibes from us the fans ; this guy is a good reason to trust this team and they will bring us success.

Darren Hind
114 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:08:56

You clearly haven't seen him before this season. He is a center half and a very good one

We have just paid £9m for Williams at 32, he is going to play. so is Jags, This was a clear cut choice between Holgate and Funes Mori.

Funes Mori was rag-dolled on a regular basis last season (three times in five minutes against West Ham). He was desperately poor at West Brom and I said before today's game that would have alarmed Koeman. It clearly did. It was 3 from 4 and Funes Mori was number 4.

Funes Mori will need two injuries to get a Premier League start.

Martin Mason
115 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:09:12

I believe that what Rom has shown he can do is indicative of how he can play consistently if we get everything right in how we play. That is, he's a very good player who is having a bad patch of, er, getting on for a season now.

I don't believe Moshiri is daft and that, if the club believe that Rom is worth keeping by any means, then who am I to say they're wrong? It can also be that they want to send a message to everybody inside and outside of the club that we will fight to keep quality players.

i believe that Rom is quality and that he will come good; we're a team in transition after the one man footballing disaster area that was Martinez and nowhere near the final product but as we get towards it I hope that Rom will become the world class striker that I believe that he is.

I'm worried about him at the moment Phil, only a top level striker can score goals like the one against Chelsea in the Cup last season yet he missed one today that my Mum would have scored.

Paul Conway
116 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:11:13
We could also be helped by the International break. If, for example, we get a couple of players next week, they will have time to bed in and be available for the next Premier League match. If this is the case, we could be getting back the luck that has deserted us for so long.

With the own goal today, the new players hitting the ground running, the unearthing of 2 real gems in Holgate and Gueye, Mirallas being rejuvenated...

Andy Crooks
117 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:13:27
Darren, what were the chances of us getting Stones and selling him at a huge profit and having the excellent Holgate ready to step in? Add the promising Galloway and it seems to me we have struck gold.

Mark Frere
118 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:15:45
Tony, he looks like a RB (a very good one) to me. He might well bulk up quite a bit as he gets older and add more qualities to play CB... but I certainly don't think he's ready yet as Darren is suggesting.
Martin Mason
119 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:16:57
I believe that Ramiro Funes Mori was a very decent buy for what we paid for him but will never meet the standard that we need to have a defense worthy of getting us into the Champions League positions. Holgate on the other hand has the potential to be the very best and must be played for him to achieve his massive potential.

We have to have players in every position at the back who can play the ball out rather than throw away possession by hoofing it or having the ball taken off them. That is why Guardiola bought Stones and wants Hart out; if we want to aspire to be of the best then we have to have the same mentality.

Darren Hind
120 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:21:10
Indeed Andy.

I posted several times that I was desperate to see a Stones/Holgate Partnership. I don't subscribe to the theory that you can't have two footballers at the heart of your defence.

Stones is gone; my interest in his development went with him. They will both make an awful lot of mistakes before they reach their peak, but I reckon they are a nailed-on future England partnership.

Colin Malone
121 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:31:08
The understanding between Ross Barkley and Lukaku is zero. With the latter not prepared to move into channels. Lazy twat.
John Austin
123 Posted 27/08/2016 at 21:37:26
Gordon @ 110. Well said. Tragic. According to reports he was only 51. We all go to the game expecting to walk out again. Sadly he didn't. RIP.
Peter Lee
124 Posted 27/08/2016 at 22:05:57
The back seven were organised and solid. Baines had his best game from a defensive point of view in years, Holgate continues to impress, Stekelenburg gave confidence to the CBs who grew into the game. Barry and Gueye were all that you could ask for in their positions though Gueye tired in the last 20.

The front 4 were miserably poor, to a man, with Mirallas at least working hard; fair play to him.

What has Lennon got to do to get a start?

Darren Dennett
125 Posted 27/08/2016 at 22:13:32
Prayers and thoughts to the guy who died today watching his beloved Everton.

Thinking of you, kidda. God bless you. It has been tough but hope you look down on us all with all your your spirit and enthusiasm.

So sorry. My heart my soul. Once a Blue...
Ray Roche
126 Posted 27/08/2016 at 22:14:47
Just seen the report regarding the tragic death of the Everton fan in the Park End. I'm sure all Blue Boys will be saddened by his passing. RIP.
Lev Vellene
128 Posted 27/08/2016 at 22:28:24
C'mon Michael, you can still grumble even if you initiated this thread. There must be negatives we peasants didn't see... :)
Lev Vellene
129 Posted 27/08/2016 at 22:32:01
Oh, Ray, that one is horrible. Just heard it from your posting! I'm so sorry for all concerned, when we all just wax on about the efc performance!
Christine Foster
130 Posted 27/08/2016 at 22:55:02
Sitting in the Main Stand for the first time since I returned from living down under, I sat and drank in the atmosphere and despaired that my obstructed view was due to having a pillar obscuring totally the view of the goal (I never did see the penalty go in). But I have to say I sat and just smiled for two hours...

It was a joy to watch; the Blues are not the finished article by a long way, but it was the pragmatic use of substitutes, the game plan of the manager and the sparkling first half performance of Mirallas.

The new boys look good buys, I prefer Funes Mori to Williams but that's personal preference.. There feels a genuine cause for optimism around the place. And personally I felt so at home, at last... once more.

Sad to see the passing of a fan though, my condolences to all the family. (Everyone on the main stand applauded respectfully for the gentleman showing much genuine warmth.) God Bless.

Andrew Wayne
131 Posted 27/08/2016 at 23:04:28
Just read about the fellow Blue who passed away. We saw the activity in the Park End and thought it was some nonsense kicking off. Deepest condolences to the family, 51 is no age. Lost my Dad at 53 and I am now at that age myself. Make the most of it Blues it's later than you think.
Bill Gienapp
132 Posted 27/08/2016 at 23:11:29
Not the prettiest win, but a great win nonetheless. As many have said, there's no way we get three points out of that match last season. Should have killed the game off (as was the case with West Brom), but being forced to dig in and see out a win defensively will only help the team in the long run.

I remain extremely high on Bolasie. I think consistency will always be an issue with him, but you can see the unique qualities he brings to the table, specifically his pace, power and dribbling. Put some real sting in that shot that just missed wide near the end too.

Felt extremely reassuring going into the game's final stretch, knowing we have the benefit of a war horse like Ashley Williams anchoring the defensive line.

Holgate (dear autocorrect – please stop changing to "Colgate") was superb yet again. I don't advocate dropping Coleman, but it seems almost criminal if RK can't find a way to keep him in the starting XI after this self-assured start.

I think most of us automatically dismissed the Stekelenburg signing because he'd been toiling in relative obscurity for Fulham, but I have to ask – what the heck was going on there? He's been pure class – and it's not like he doesn't have a World Cup Final on his resume.

Barry Jones
133 Posted 27/08/2016 at 23:13:52
Peter I wouldn't say that the front four were atrocious but I get your drift. They didn't seem to function well together. I think that the two wide men, Bolasie and Mirallas showed promise.

Most coaches would agree that the spine of a team, the central axis, is critical for success. The defensive part of the spine was excellent today, but the attacking part of the spine in Ross and Rom looked very wobbly.

How anyone can say Ross was man of the match is beyond me. He and Lukaku were the weakest players out there. All too often they gave the ball away needlessly and made poor decisions when in possession.

Someone else on this thread mentioned it, but Rom always throws his arms up in the air when he screws up, as if blaming someone else. Both of these players, in critical spots in the spine of the team, have to up their games. I think Koeman is fully aware of this. It will be interesting to see if any new signings come in before the end of the month and also to see what position Deulofeu ends up occupying the most.

Mark Frere
134 Posted 27/08/2016 at 23:29:00
I see they had one massive wankfest over Kante on MOTD... and Gana didn't even get a mention for his equally impressive display. Fuck em, we don't need the world to know how good our Gana is!
Jim Hardin
135 Posted 27/08/2016 at 23:29:34

I must wonder if Funes Mori ran over your cat or some other equally heinous act? Funes Mori is not a right back. He isn't a right centre-half by position. How is Holgate, at right fullback, a replacement for our left centre-half?

I know that some Englishmen think that we over here don't understand the game, but neither Williams nor Jags were playing right fullback today were they? When has Funes Mori ever played that position for Everton? Are you suggesting RK was confused over the basic positions of defensive players in soccer?

Tony Hill
136 Posted 27/08/2016 at 23:30:29
Suggestions now strong Brahimi is coming. If this guy arrives then we're going to be serious this season. Mind you, I thought Niasse was going to be the man when he arrived.
Chris Gould
137 Posted 27/08/2016 at 00:00:45
Darren, your logic is confusing.

Holgate has come in for Coleman. Williams has taken Funes Mori's place. When Coleman returns, Holgate will drop to the bench and Williams will continue to keep Funes Mori out. Holgate hasn't displaced Funes Mori.

I agree that he is an exceptional talent, but you seem to be twisting the facts to suit your prediction.

Chris Gould
138 Posted 28/08/2016 at 00:04:54
Barry had more touches than any other player on the pitch, and more positive contributions than any other player.

Gana is getting the plaudits while Barry is quietly going about his business and being exceptional. The two are forming a top-class partnership.

Mick Davies
139 Posted 27/08/2016 at 00:27:37
Darren @ 91' I can imagine what you were like at school: "Please Sir, he said this and she said that" but getting all the tittle tattle wrong.

I really hope you enjoyed Everton winning while you're consulting your dossier of TW comments, trying to prove that you were right over some historic point; most of us have other things going on in our lives, but well done, teacher may give you a gold star...

Eugene Ruane
140 Posted 28/08/2016 at 00:35:24
Thought Gueye was MotM (subjective of course but imo, he's been our best player in every game so far this season).

Thought Holgate was (again) terrific.

But apart from the pen, the biggest thrill for me (I stood and applauded, as did the feller behind me) came in the first half.

Not a shot, or a save, or an overhead-kick, or a mazy dribble.

We were defending a throw and suddenly we could hear (and see) Williams screaming instructions at everyone around him.

All around me loved it and were giving it 'Fucking hear that? Great! You tell 'em lad!'

Okay, he's not Bobby Moore but it's going to be a lot harder for our defenders to switch off with this lad in the side.

Thought he had a good game too.

Mick Davies
141 Posted 28/08/2016 at 01:06:17
Jim @ 15, you DO understand the game more than some other 'experts'. With Coleman injured, and now his deputy McCarthy also out, it was natural that Holgate would be deployed there. Funes Mori is a left sided CD so to most of us, it's obvious he wouldn't be played there.

I'd also like to express my sadness over the untimely death of a fellow Blue. He's passed away at the home of his beloved club, as did the great Dixie; their souls are forever with Everton.

Jon Cox
142 Posted 27/08/2016 at 01:21:03
Apart from the fact that Barkley was Rubbish today, i.e. hasn't got a footy brain whatsoever...

Very sad to hear about the Evertonian passing into the next dimension.

A bit envious really in a strange metaphysical way. What I'm trying to say is, if you were going to die, what's the best place would you say where you would like to score your last goal?

Mine would defo be L4.

At least I'd get in the ground for free,

For all eternity...

Jon Cox
143 Posted 28/08/2016 at 01:52:13
Andy, good shout about Stones. I fear a re-run will happen with Rom.

Yeovil have offered £70 and the suits are mulling it over.

An interesting season has started and the one constant is that the media are still a bunch of shite!

Off to bed now and to listen to two Owls chatting to each other.

Everton third in the table Owls hooting.


Phil Sammon
144 Posted 28/08/2016 at 03:22:31
Eugene 140

You're right about Williams. Every time the camera was on him he was yelling and pointing. Something that our defence has missed since the days of Dave Watson.

I always thought Williams was a bit of a gobshite to be honest. But he's bloody great to have on your team.

Stekelenburg is also very vocal which can only serve to reassure the defence.

BBC giving Barkley MotM was a joke. He was ok.
Gueye was the stand-out player by a mile.

Darren Dennett
145 Posted 28/08/2016 at 04:27:41
What a superb start to the season. I could not be happier. 7 points on the board looking strong and full of confidence. Yet that's not good enough for some. We all have opinions on who should do this or who should do that. WE are NOT the experts, regardless of who plays where or who does what.

The points we play for are what bring the side together. Unity, solidarity, and belief is what wins games. I don't care if Holgate plays up front and Rom plays at the back if RK thinks that's what it would take to get the points in the bag. We have won ugly today, all the lads have done what is needed to get the points.

There are gonna be some players who are not at it on the day but the others make up for that with togetherness and SOLIDARITY. Teamwork is the winner. Koeman has said it will take 2 years to get the side he wants to compete at the top level so give it some understanding.
Darren Hind
146 Posted 28/08/2016 at 05:30:31
Mick Davies

I forgot it was you who shouted people down with the "historic" (last week) point, that Koeman would not play Holgate, Jags and Williams together because he wouldn't want "three of them hoofing it". Why not be pleased that the guy you thought was a hoof merchant has proved you wrong ?

Jim Hardin

Let me try to explain the situation to you.

Holgate is a center half, he came as a center half, every time I saw him play for the younger sides he played center half. He started the pre-season at centre-half. he was part of a back three against Spurs, just as he did against West Brom.

Now whether Macca was withdrawn so early last week because he was injured or because he was having a Weston isn't 100% clear, what is clear is that Koeman switched to two at the back and it was "The footballer" who he asked to play out on the right. He could have turned to Jags who has lots of experience playing right back, but he had obviously seen something in Young Mason... understand?

Koeman is known for liking three at the back he could easily have gone with Funes Mori, Jags and Williams. He chose not to. do you understand that bit? He chose not to. If he wanted to get Funes Mori into a back four, he could have asked his captain to play right back and put him next to Williams... but he chose not to.

Koeman is no mug, he was always going to play his captain, and after paying £9m for a 32-year-old, he has to play him. He was faced with a very clear decision: Holgate, or Funes Mori – and those who scoffed at the idea that young Mason would replace the Argentine are just going to have to admit they were wrong.

I don't expect those living overseas to know much about Holgate, but just because he has been terrific over 130 minutes on the right, they should not be in a rush to pigeon hole him. This kid is two-footed and can play anywhere across the back four.

Oh, by the way, Jim, I have nothing against Funes Mori, but I don't buy the ridiculous theory that because he plays for Argentina he is top class. They may well have world class players but Funes Mori has very average competition for his central defender's role.

I prefer my defenders to be footballers too... That's all.

Amit Vithlani
147 Posted 28/08/2016 at 08:12:33
Pleased with the result, although RK's assessment that we should have done better in the final third of the pitch / got the second goal was true enough. Walters lack of anticipation denied Stoke an undeserved equaliser, but had we been more composed we should have been 2 up.

I thought Holgate had a very sound game. Defensively he dealt with Crouch well enough as Stoke did a Wimbledon, targetting our full backs with long diagonals.

Going forward, he had Mirallas and Bolasie infront of him so did not overlap, but on one occassion put in a beaut of a cross which a fox-in-the-box type of front man would have tapped in. I really liked what I saw from him.

The Jags-Williams partnership looked solid enough, and both are dangerous customers on set pieces in the oppo's box.

Bolasie looked erratic but he does bring a hugely important attribute. He travels with the ball and can relieve pressure at key moments.

Rom was strong and mentally fired up. With abit of luck and sharpness he will start banging them in. I do think we desperately need cover upfront as Kone does not look like anything except a cameo/bit part act.

The stand out was Gueye. What a marvellous cracker jack of a midfielder. Composure, touch, work rate. Walsh has earned his money on this signing. He was not one I would have gone for despite his stats. His arrival however will mean young Davies will need to bide his time.

Matthew Williams
149 Posted 28/08/2016 at 08:58:04
Funes Mori should play left back, with Baines switching to Barry's position in Midfield. Holgate shouldn't be dropped for Coleman or anyone else at the moment.

Shooting is still piss poor – Ross & Rom will continue to frustrate all season.

We still need REAL quality to push on, but at this moment in time we look okay, with some winnable games to come next. To me we still look better playing away from home.

Chris Gould
150 Posted 28/08/2016 at 10:18:39
Darren, I don't think Jim is saying Holgate is a right back. Nobody has been quick to pigeon hole him. Everyone knows he is a centre-back who is doing a great job at right back.

However, the fact remains that Holgate has not displaced Funes Mori; Williams has. When Coleman returns then more than likely Holgate will drop to the bench alongside Funes Mori.

When Holgate played as part of a back 3 it was with Funes Mori. Funes Mori has now lost his place to Williams. How do you not see that?

Mike Powell
151 Posted 28/08/2016 at 11:13:20
What's all the Barkley bashing?

I thought he was brilliant today.

Hugh Jenkins
152 Posted 28/08/2016 at 11:39:46
Amit (148) - Great analysis.

That was certainly the type of game we would have either drawn or lost over the past two seasons.

RK is delivering everything we have been asking of our managers in recent years.

Reads the game brilliantly, makes changes when he can clearly see they are needed and is not afraid to shut up shop and close the game out, when called for.

We are comfortable going into the international break and, (dare I tempt fate), I think that at last, we are going to have a good season and may well still be challenging for the top 4 come May.

Of course, what happens between now and 11:30 pm on August 31st, will go some way to deciding that.

Les Martin
153 Posted 28/08/2016 at 11:41:47
Gana and Holgate were exceptional today, Barry effectively going about his business.

I have not seen Lukaku and Super Kev run around like this before.

Bolasie is finding his feet but will be devastating when he does.

William and Jags solid in defence along with Baines who also looks better

Barkley? Well, things didn't quite click for him toady and he still cannot do 90 minutes, looked knackered after 75!

Yet all very promising, top tactics from Ronald too.

Martin Mason
154 Posted 28/08/2016 at 12:21:10
The big question will be are we good enough to challenge Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea? Liverpool are a good side too and Arsenal may come into it.

I believe we aren't there yet and that top 6 will be a very good outcome this season.

Stan Schofield
155 Posted 28/08/2016 at 13:39:18
Martin @154: Difficult to answer, but going on overall feeling from the improvements we're seeing, I'd say yes. All those sides have had, and are still having, issues, not easy ones to resolve. Liverpool particularly have big issues, for which it's not clear that Klopp can sort, and he lacks PL experience and pedigree.

Koeman, in my opinion, is up there with the best managers in terms of his technical know-how, discipline, organisation and leadership 'charisma' (meaning players actually want to achieve for him, perhaps aided by his reputation as a player). He's not a showman unlike others, but doesn't need to be, since the substance speaks for him. So that's why I'll answer yes to your question.

Darren Hind
156 Posted 28/08/2016 at 14:14:15

If you don't already understand that either Holgate or Funes Mori were going to be out once Williams was ready, then you will have the rest of the season to come to terms with it. This was a straight choice: Holgate or Funes Mori; one was in and one was out. Funes Mori was in the starting 11 last season; now he isn't. Holgate wasn't; now he is.

Koeman could easily have selected Funes Mori, but he preferred to change the formation he has started the season with and play Holgate instead... do you see? Holgate on the field, Funes Mori on the bench.

Asking if Koeman is confused by the basic position of defensive players in "soccer" is the irony here. It`s like the guy who sweeps the stage for the local amateur dramatics society asking if De Niro could cut it in his league.

Top class FOOTBALL is different, Most top modern managers will not be bound by the rigidity of yesterday's defensive formations. The back 4/3/5 operate as a unit and the reason Koeman chose Holgate over Funes Mori is, he is not only a far superior footballer, but his ability to play anywhere in that defensive unit gives him a fluency the one-dimensional Funes Mori doesn't.

Baring injury, Jagileka and Williams will be shoo-ins for the foreseeable. The choice will often come down to Funes Mori or the youngster. Right now, the youngster is getting the nod.

Chris Gould
157 Posted 28/08/2016 at 15:27:53
Darren, this is a fairly pointless argument/discussion. Of course Williams was going to come straight in. I would have been disappointed if he hadn't. I think the point that a few of us are making is that Williams has displaced Funes Mori. Holgate didn't.

Most likely Holgate will drop to the bench alongside Funes Mori when Coleman returns. Williams will continue in the team in place of Funes Mori.

Not that it really matters. Holgate is an exceptional talent, but I don't think he'll be trusted in a centre back pairing just yet. If Williams or Jags are injured or suspended, I would expect Funes Mori to take the left CB position, not Holgate.

Brian Harrison
158 Posted 28/08/2016 at 15:54:56
Although we were fortunate to get a penalty and had a further slice of luck with it rebounding in off Shay Given, I don't think Stoke could complain about the result.

It's never easy to introduce 2 or 3 new players into a side at once, and they will take time to adjust. But to pick up back-to-back wins in the league while they are adjusting is a big bonus. There were a lot of very good performances yesterday, Gana, Holgate, and Barry catching the eye. I am sure when Lukaku scores he will be fine, but you can see he is anxious at the moment. But all strikers go through spells like this from time to time.

RK reckons we had 18 shots and 9 on target, I can't remember us having that many shots in any game over the last 2 seasons. He has already said it will take 2 years to get the players and the style he wants. But I don't think anyone can grumble over the start he has made, and despite back to back victories he has said the players need to improve. I think they will have to play very well to please our new manager and that's the way it should be, although deep down I am sure he is pleased with the start we have made.

Just a pity just as he is getting the fitness levels up, that we have an International break which I am sure he didn't want. Yes, it's only a start but you can already see the improvement in the fitness of each player in such a short space of time. I guess it will be a long 2 weeks for him and us before we can go again; let's hope the break doesn't hamper us too much.

Arthur Westhead
159 Posted 28/08/2016 at 16:02:09
Chris (150) Spot on.

Darren (156) You are swimming against the tide and are now stranded on a sandbank.
We played a back four 4 with Holgate right back. Williams took Funes Mori position at left centre back.

Brent Stephens
160 Posted 28/08/2016 at 16:10:48
I think Koeman so far has been organising the defence / defenders to suit the opposition and the state of play in a game, not to play the strongest defenders per se. I like that flexibility within games.
Jim Hillier
161 Posted 28/08/2016 at 16:18:24
Don't want to be seen jumping in against McCarthy, who I think is a good player, but Barry looks better alongside Gana to me. They complement each other well. The lad can't go on forever, but I reckon this is going to be a great season for Barry again, back to his best despite those old legs.
Tony Kost
162 Posted 28/08/2016 at 16:29:15
Jim Hillier – I wish I had those "old legs"!

I only saw MotD (it really needs a massive overhaul!) I thought Lukaku was unfortunate not to score; at least he got the chances... hopefully that continues and he will put them away next time.

I remember the fuss when Harry Kane had a lean spell at the beginning of last season – I hope Lukaku has a similar season to what Kane's was then!

RIP to the Bue who passed away yesterday. Very very sad.

Darren Hind
163 Posted 28/08/2016 at 16:54:33

I think the difference between you and me is I watch the game. We did not start the first two games with a back four, we started with a back three and it was changed half way through the West Brom game. Koeman had shown his preferred formation.

After the WBA game, I posted Funes Mori was lamentable and I said before yesterday's game that Koeman would have been alarmed and he would be dropped – he was.

It was universally recognised that Williams was brought in to cover for John Stones. We had three central defenders last season; one has been replaced, another has been usurped.

You Chris and Jim can wriggle all you want to try to deny it, it will only make your argument look even sillier if/when he reverts to three at the back and Funes Mori is still sitting on the bench. I wonder what excuse you will come up with then?

Darren Hind
164 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:02:36
And what all this "left centre-back" lark? Is it an American thing? Do you guys realise how many times central defenders have to cross each other during the course of a game?

What next? A left-sided centre-forward? The clue is in the word "centre".

Brent Stephens
165 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:03:28
I thought we started the Spurs game with Holgate, Jagielks, Funes Mori and Baines, and in front of them we had Gana, Barry and Macca?

Darren Hind
166 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:08:35
So Macca didn't play as right wingback against Spurs?

Dear me... I sometimes wonder what people are watching.

I'm off to watch Songs of Praise.

Andy Crooks
167 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:11:02
It seens to me that Koeman prefers a back three. However, he is a coach who will adapt and switch at any time if required. I took issue with Darren's description of Funes Mori as lamentable, I think it is inaccurate and unfair. I do think, though, that Holgate offers more options. He may need a rest at some stage but until he does I would hope that he will play.

Brent Stephens
168 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:16:14
I might be wrong but didn't we have a back four against Spurs?
David Barks
169 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:23:50
No we absolutely did not have a back 4. McCarthy was clearly playing as a wingback. We only went to a back 4 when McCarthy was taken off. Enough of this.
Chris Gould
170 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:25:40
Darren, I also watched the games and your logic is skewered.

LCB is the starting position for the CB on the left!!!! Seriously? Yes we started the first 2 games with 3 CB's and both Holgate and Funes Mori started. Therefore Holgate didn't replace Funes Mori.

For the third game, Funes Mori was dropped from the starting lineup and Williams was brought in. Holgate retained his place.

Therefore Williams has come in for Funes Mori. Holgate has not replaced Funes Mori in the starting lineup. That's clear to everyone except you.

Darren Hind
171 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:28:16
Not to Funes Mori it isn't.

He was sitting on the bench as Holgate spent the afternoon sending him further down the pecking order.

Chris Gould
172 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:32:09
Aaaarrghh I give up. You're a total windup. I'm disengaging!

We at least agree that Holgate is an exceptional prospect.

David Barks
173 Posted 28/08/2016 at 17:33:37
From the Spurs match report, on this site:

"Those two absentees required a degree of improvisation from Koeman, with Gerard Deulofeu deployed as the furthest man forward, ably supported by Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley, while James McCarthy was handed a wing-back role to the right of a central trio of Ramiro Funes Mori, Phil Jagielka and debutant Mason Holgate."

Since then, Williams has come in, Holgate has been moved from a center back to a right back while Funes Mori has been dropped. Funes Mori has lost his spot to both players, as Williams is favored to him and Holgate has been preferred at right back.

Arthur Westhead
174 Posted 28/08/2016 at 18:43:41
Darren (163), Your posts to Chris were arrogant and condescending and you now do the same with me. You say the difference between you and me is you watch the game – I take exception to that comment as I have been to 2 home games and watched WBA on screen. So I have watched the games. My interpretation is different to yours.

Holgate played right back, Funes Mori is a centre back. If we had played with a back 3 including Holgate and not Funes Mori, I would not even be discussing the point because he would indeed have replaced Funes Mori. But we didn't and he didn't.

Darren Hind
175 Posted 29/08/2016 at 07:09:55
Oh please don't go down the route of crying foul Arthur. You entered this debate telling me I was stranded on a sandbank.

To me this is very clear. Williams came in and Stones went out and given our situation at the moment I don't think there is any doubt at all that if Holgate was still in the juniors, Jagielka would have played right back while FM and Williams would have minded the shop. agreed ?

But here's the thing. unfortunately for FM, Holgate HAS stepped up and impressed the new boss. We now have four centre backs instead of three. One has been promoted and another has been benched, that is an irrefutable fact.

Koeman must have thought he'd won the lottery when he arrived and saw Holgate's class and composure. He tested the water by playing him in pre season friendlies, performances like the one against Man united's world class attack convinced him to risk his young ball playing centre back against Harry Kane in the seasons opener.. Young Mason has quite simply been a revelation . . Mori hasn't

It is incredibly simplistic and naïve to suggest that simply because Holgate has surprised even his biggest fans with his performances in this different role that he hasn't leap frogged Mori in the pecking order on pure merit.

Four centre backs. One promoted, one benched.

Koeman hasn't just shuffled his hand. He is (at least for now) choosing to play with a different hand

Brian Furey
176 Posted 29/08/2016 at 10:59:43
According to Wiki, In July 2015, Holgate went on trial at Manchester United. Holgate signed a five-year deal to join Premier League side Everton for a reported fee of £2 million.

I wonder did Man Utd not rate him or did he just not fancy it there as he might have had to bide his time a lot longer to make it to the first team?

I think Coleman could find it very tough to get back into the team unless RK plays 3 at the back for certain games with Coleman and Baines wing backs.

No doubt Holgate will make mistakes at some stage and could get dropped but I think Koeman is quite ruthless and so if you're not performing you'll be taken out as I think Geri will find out again as I think he will always be our super sub.

Dan Davies
177 Posted 29/08/2016 at 11:22:44
Regardless of who replaced who, young Holgate on current form deserves his place in the team. Form players should always start in my book.

I will be interested to see what happens with the backline when Coleman is fit again.

Ian Smitham
178 Posted 29/08/2016 at 13:39:33
People have commented on the farce of who was our Penalty taker last season.

At the game on Saturday I noticed Leighton Baines clearly take control and make it clear he was talking it.

People often comment as to his record of taking and scoring from the spot.

Bearing in mind the goal has been counted as an "own goal" does this mean it was a missed penalty?

Tony Kost
179 Posted 29/08/2016 at 14:08:05
Ian 178 - Interesting point. Shay Given is still a very good shot stopper and he was unfortunate in the rebound. Everton did deserve that stroke of luck though. Missed penalty for me – pleased for Baines tho.

As I see it the excellent Holgate is replacing Seamus at the moment. Two good centre backs in Jags and Williams meant no place for Funes Mori. (IMHO of course)

Simon Bates
180 Posted 29/08/2016 at 16:31:10
Darren, when has Funes Mori ever played at right back, in place of Seamus? Not even under RM although it wouldn't have surprised anyone .

Clearly Williams has replaced Stones and Jags is back, after being ably covered by Funes Mori.

Darren Hind
181 Posted 29/08/2016 at 21:03:55
OK Let me make this very very simple. For Holgate to be playing somebody had to get dropped . . .who was it ? He did not have a place to retain until he usurped Funes Mori.

Seamus hasn't played since last season. Holgate was already in.

What is it with this over simplistic view that it has to be a like for like trade? Every week people get dropped for players who can play in more than one, or even a different. Funes Mori may not be able to play right back, but Jagielka has played there on numerous occasions. Koeman decided against that. He decided to play Holgate and drop Funes Mori. Get it?

Holgate and Funes Mori had started side by side for the opening two games. The fact that one was playing out of his skin and the other had been gash is something you guys may want to consider.

Holgate – promoted? Yes. Funes Mori Dropped, axed, benched, replaced, usurped, not chosen, overlooked, ousted...

Damian Wilde
182 Posted 29/08/2016 at 22:24:10
I went to the match on Saturday and it's nice to enjoy match day again. I thought we played well overall and deserved the win. We could have won it 3-0, but could easily have drawn too.

I thought Holgate was MotM, outstanding. Geuye was also brilliant as was Yannick. I thought Ross and Rom were poor.

The one thing we look like lacking? Goals. We need more goals. Good start to the season though, delighted.

Gutted there is an international break, bore off Sam! COYB.

Jim Hardin
183 Posted 29/08/2016 at 22:35:57

I am disappointed, but not surprised, at your gleeful terms applied to Funes Mori being brought off of the bench. What I wonder is why do you take such relish in blasting a player who is starting only his second season with the club, and one whom has been a good player, and seems like a likable person? You are once again focusing on one player and directing all of your bile at an undeserving target.

Before coming back to this article, I fortunately read the article on Harold first and refrained from posting what my fingers were itching to type. Please stop Darren, your point was expressed with your first post, multiple others, including the last one, do you no credit and TW no good.

Darren Hind
184 Posted 30/08/2016 at 07:22:19

I have nothing against Funes Mori, but posters (some of whom scoffed at the suggestion that he would be replaced in the first team by Holgate) have gone to some lengths to deny it. So, in what I thought was going to be my last post on this thread, I used as many terms for somebody being stood down as my fingers could remember to emphasise the point.

I'm minded of a goal Stoke scored at Goodison last season, long pass by Bojan, caught a defender completely unawares (I think it was young Brendan) and Shaqiri was in to fluke a cross into the far corner. You murdered John Stones for it. You murdered John Stones for just about everything, often blaming him for goals he had no part in. Your campaign against John stones was concerted and relentless, often spilling onto threads that had nothing to do with him and was as vindictive as anything I have witnessed on these pages.

I will be delighted if Funes Mori regains his place, because it will mean he has met the challenge and has upped his game. We as a club can only benefit from that. Right now, Everton have better central defenders than Argentina (if only we had their creativity) and young Funes Mori is finding the competition at club level far tougher.

Given the hundreds of posts you registered about John Stones without finding anything positive to say about a boy who was deemed good enough to have been pursued by the world's top coaches, I find your faux outrage and false claim about somebody else directing their "bile" at an "underserving target" embarrassing.

When I logged on this morning, I was forced to race to open a window such was the stench of your hypocrisy.

When Funes Mori has a good game, I will be the first in line to say so... see the difference?

Jim Hardin
185 Posted 30/08/2016 at 12:22:07

My post was directed at your apparent glee expressed in your last sentence which is way over the top. You came across like a small child being handed a Christmas gift and jumping up and down in happiness. Sad that you cannot see the difference between fair commentary and debate versus being mean-spirited.

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