Truly remarkable!!!

An extraordinary afternoon at Goodison Park. Though Romelu Lukaku rightly gets all the plaudits for his exceptional efforts in front of goal, it was nice to see Ross Barkley have the final say on the game. Ross had an excellent game, this characterising his form since the turn of the year and you have to expect that an England recall must be on the cards if he can keep up this form.

Paul Traill 05/02/2017 46comments  |  Jump to last

Gaz kindly drove and we were in the pub nice and early to watch Arsenal, predictably, crumble at Stamford Bridge. It was good fun in the pub. A few Bournemouth supporters were milling around and I couldn't help but hear a few American/Canadian (apologies, I can't tell the difference) within earshot. I've noticed this a few times now this season and it's fantastic to have a rich base of support travelling over the Atlantic for Everton games. Long may it continue.

After the tough game at Stoke City, Ronald Koeman decided to shuffle his pack a little, pulling the young lads Tom Davies and Mason Holgate out, as well as Kevin Mirallas. This equated to a midfield three of Morgan Schneiderlin, James McCarthy and Gareth Barry, with Ross Barkley and Ademola Lookman both operating mainly from the flanks to support Romalu Lukaku. A first start in a blue shirt for Ademola by the way. Ex-blue Dan Gosling and Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere both featured for the visitors who were well-backed by their supporters.

After two succesive blanks I fancied Romalu Lukaku to get on the scoresheet, though I certainly didn't expect him to do this so quickly...nor did I anticipate he to do so four times! It was the perfect start to the game and great play at such an early stage of the match. Schneiderlin's ball in to Lukaku was nicely touched back to McCarthy who returned the pass to Lukaku, who didn't hesitate in smashing the ball into the corner of the net past Artur Borac. A dream start to the game after only 30 seconds.

We continued to threaten and were well on top. Our creative players Ross Barkley and Ademola Lookman both in their groove and enjoying themselves. It was great play by Romalu however which doubled our lead when he got free down the right hand side of the penalty area and cut the ball back for James McCarthy whose first effort was blocked but he got lucky with the ball ricocheting back and bouncing in of himself for his first goal of the season. Shortly after, 2-0 became 3-0 when Simon Francis played a dreadful pass into his own penalty area, directly to Romalu Lukaku who reacted quickly and finished intelligently, clipping the ball over the advancing Artur Borac. One of the lads got a bit excited thinking it would get to 5-0 before half time. As it transpired, we almost needed a five goal cushion such was the spirited fightback from the Cherries after the break.

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The visitors, as you knew they would, began the second half strongly, but we felt the storm had been weathered and that we may be able to see the game out comfortably. Goals change games of course and the impressive Joshua King began the comeback when he got behind our defence and finished coolly past Robles. It certainly wasn't time to panic then, however panic soon set in some 10 minutes later when King again got on the scoersheet, this time stretching to turn in a Ryan Fraser centre. 3-2 and the players were stunned. Us supporters? Very nervous. Very nervous indeed. You actually expected us to "do an Everton" and blow the game. Bournemouth twice came close, both with good efforts from distance. Joel Robles couldn't keep a lid on his frustrations and received a yellow card for booting the ball as hard as he could high into the Upper Gwladys Street. We really were on tenterhooks though you knew that if we could get one more goal we would probably have enough to finish them off. Thankfully, on 83 minutes Romalu Lukaku helped us breathe a big sigh of relief with a very well taken goal. His pass out to Seamus Coleman was perfectly measured, his volleyed finish back across the keeper also perfect as our brilliant Belgian completed his hattrick and, finally, finished Bournemouth off.

Except we weren't quite finished. Neither team were in fact as we still had three goals to come. Romalu Lukaku's fourth goal arrived just a minute later when he chased through an exquisite backheal from Ross Barkley and slotted past the goalkeeper, this time with his right foot, to make it 5-2. Goodison Park erupted as Lukaku wheeled away towards the corner flag at the Park End. Word got around that Hull City were leading Liverpool 2-0 much to everyone's palpable glee. "I've never felt more like singing the blues, when Everton win and Liverpool lose..." echoed around the stadium several times. We were all the more jubilant when we heard that our cast off striker Oumar Niasse had scored Hull City's second goal. Meanwhile on the pitch Harry Arter scrambled in Bournemouth's third goal, much to Joel Robles and Ramiro Funes Mori's dismay as the ball had gone out of play before he put it into the net.

Though Romelu Lukaku rightly gets all the plaudits for his exceptional efforts in front of goal, it was nice to see Ross Barkley have the final say on the game. Ross had an excellent game, this characterising his form since the turn of the year and you have to expect that an England recall must be on the cards if he can keep up this form. Ross picked up the ball and ran at goal. Artur Borac came flying out of goal. Ross rounded him effortlessly, then prematurely celebrating before stroking the ball home to compound a quite exhilarating afternoon of football at Goodison Park. You know you've been spoilt when, at the very end of the game, a little bit of me wanted the referee to award a penalty to Bournemouth rather than the free kick they received. Only to add to the drama!

An extraordinary afternoon at Goodison Park then and our impressive 2017 form continues. With two of the league's biggest strugglers coming up in our next two games we have a real opportunity of having an additional six points in the bank by the time we visit White Hart Lane.

Who knows how close that may bring us to the "big six".

Player ratings:

Robles: He got away with a first half dropped catch but otherwise he didn't really put a foot wrong. At 3-2 in fact he appeared to be our only player out there who was keeping his head whilst everyone ahead of him was losing their's. 8

Baines: Did fine. He's playing with consistency. 7

Funes Mori and Ashley WIlliams: They were both led a merry dance as Bournemouth rallied and they need to defend better than that. They both seemed to improve when Mason Holgate joined them to make it a back three. There's certainly room for improvement. 5

Coleman: Not at his best. Good assist for our fourth, and perhaps most important, goal though. 5

Schneiderlin: Looks a fine player. You've got to enjoy watching a player who gets stuck in. Morgan certainly does that. 7

Barry: A bit hit and miss. Did some very good things, but on a good few occassions was a little sloppy with his passing. 6

McCarthy: Got lucky with his goal but was working hard. He seemed to have a role whereas he was asked to press up the pitch and he was full of running before he was substituted on the hour. 6

Barkley: Ross had an excellent game and it was great to see him throwing a few tackles in. He's really gotten his act together lately. I loved his arrogance of celebrating before he scored. Ross had lost a lot of that this last season or two. It's great to see him get it back. 9

Lookman: Had a lively first half but was struggling a bit in the second before he was substituted for Kevin Mirallas. 6

Lukaku: Well you can't ask for more than that. A remarkable performance from Romalu Lukaku. He can be as good as he wants to be. The question, of course, is for how long will be be an Everton player? Are we just to enjoy what we have and build without him, or are we now beginning to match his ambitions and will be able to keep him? Whatever the answer, yesterday's performance was truly exceptional. My man of the match. 10

Davies (for McCarthy): Got involved. 6

Mirallas (for Lookman): Got involved and did pretty well. 6

Holgate (for Barry): Helped settle down a rocky defence. 6

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Reader Comments (46)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:00:51
I've been trying to remember ever seeing a better overall performance by an Everton player. I don't believe I have. This was extraordinary.
Harry Wallace
2 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:07:20
Brilliant performance and great to see the folks from US and Canada watching too. Global fan base is great for our future.
Barry Bragg
3 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:07:40
We might well have lost that game last season. Koeman and the players kept their heads to pull it back from the edge and finish comfortably in the end. This team has much stronger mental fortitude now that we have a strong manager in charge. Great stuff!
Brian Sephton
4 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:14:13
How you can mark Barry and McCarthy the same beggars belief but we all see the game from different angles. I thought Macca had his best game for a long time and enjoyed him being a bit further forward and the way he fooled us all into thinking it was a rebound for his goal!
Clive Rogers
5 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:20:34
Williams was worryingly poor. He looked so very slow. When he was sent clear in the first half, their defender came from five yards behind and went past him like he was stood still.

He was all over the place when they came back into it with two goals. May well need replacing for next season.

Stephen Davies
6 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:24:02
It would be nice to hear some of the thoughts/experiences of the match and their build-up to the game and afterwards from our American & Canadian cousins.
Colin Glassar
7 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:28:09
Talking about American cousins, is Mike Gaynes in town? I'm sure he said he was coming over for the Bournemouth game.

And Williams is a bit of a liability.

James Flynn
8 Posted 05/02/2017 at 16:48:20
4 seasons on, the only time Lukaku has asked to leave was to leave Chelsea and sign with us permanent.

Pay him what he's worth. Why wouldn't he stay?

Alan Bodell
9 Posted 05/02/2017 at 17:01:46
Obviously Lukaku stole the show but it looks like we have a real goalkeeper that just keeps getting better, i'm liking him.
Christy Ring
10 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:05:00
Paul, I disagree with your ratings: Baines gets a 7; McCarthy and Lookman only a 6, and Coleman a 5???
Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 05/02/2017 at 18:37:29
Paul it is all opinions, but McCarthy six, his game was every bit as important as Ross's who got a nine, not complaining about that, but have another look at McCarthy's six.
Jamie Sweet
13 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:18:25
Glad you enjoyed the Barkley celebration too, Paul. For me, it showed a young lad who has finally got his mojo back, which is absolutely fantastic news for us!
David Chait
14 Posted 05/02/2017 at 19:48:34
I called Barkley for player of the season... clearly that was off the mark but I have also come closer than I ever thought I would to thinking he won't "make it".

The way he has been playing these games shows he hasn't given up yet on being a diamond! Kudos to Koeman for driving him hard, without giving up on him (a la Deulofeu)..

Keep it up, fella! Still a long way to go yet!

Martin Mason
15 Posted 05/02/2017 at 20:02:18
I'm so glad for all Everton supporters that we are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel. From 90's penniless relegation fodder to a well financed, professionally run club with a new stadium on the horizon and an ever improving team.

Everton fans are simply the best and deserve this change in fortune. The sleeping giant that was Everton is awake and flexing its muscles and the future looks good. I expect a lot of torture on the way but it wouldn't be Everton without.

Phil Bellis
16 Posted 05/02/2017 at 20:07:00
Ross seems to be benefiting from passing on the role of "next big thing" and having that pressure lifted. He's using his intuitive skills much more with better players around him.
Mike Gaynes
17 Posted 05/02/2017 at 20:22:39
Colin #7, I'll be traversing the pond for the games with Leicester and Burnley on April 8 and 15. Hope to meet you!

Agreed, Williams has proven to be somewhat less than hoped... although watching him gallop off on the wing was a great moment.

And it may seem strange after yesterday's Bournemouth defensive debacle, but I continue to rate Steve Cook as a summer acquisition and possible Williams replacement. I didn't think he was culpable for any of our six goals, and he certainly can't be blamed for the buffoonery around him. I know Koeman would prefer Van Dijk or Keane, but they may not be "gettable".

Mike Galley
18 Posted 05/02/2017 at 21:34:34
Pretty much over the moon about the game yesterday. I'll worry about defensive frailties another day and sink into the luxurious padded quilt of an Everton six-goal game!

The wife's away, I've been drunk since about 19:30 yesterday. More of this please, blues!

Anto Byrne
19 Posted 05/02/2017 at 23:21:52
It's a team game. Overall it's a very good 8 from me. Man of the Match was Niasse. Lol
Peter Gorman
20 Posted 06/02/2017 at 02:57:44
Williams has fallen well below expectations, to be honest, Mike. I personally thought the captain of Swansea and Wales would be more vocal on the pitch but so far there is no evidence of leadership in organising the back four.

Initially it could just have been a desire not to tread on Jag's toes but, even without our captain in the side, Williams isn't leading anyone. Add to that the fact his defending hasn't been great; some badly mistimed lunges going in against Bournemouth as they have been all season really.

David Ellis
21 Posted 06/02/2017 at 09:11:48

If you not sure if someone is American or Canadian just ask them to say a word like "out" or "about". A Canadian will say "ute" or" abute" and then usually add "eh" at end of every other sentence.

Barb Ellis
22 Posted 06/02/2017 at 10:22:22
David (21),

I think also our Canadian friends pronounce house, 'hoose'.

Barry Pearce
23 Posted 06/02/2017 at 10:26:41
I believe Koeman knows centre of defence is our weakest link, and I think the players that never came in, in January, one of those was definitely a centre back. They were the players he spoke about not being available.

I agree about Williams; not impressed with him at all.

Steavey Buckley
24 Posted 06/02/2017 at 10:47:55
The worrying part of Everton's performance last Saturday was Bournemouth being able to dominate the midfield in the second half. In Everton's next game against Middlesborough away, Gueye must come back into the side to help close down the opposition and take the ball off them.
John Hughes
25 Posted 06/02/2017 at 11:03:38
I agree, Steavey. I was trying to work out what happened but the gap in the middle of the park was unbelievable. In the end, I put it down to our defenders not being able to deal with the Bournemouth players on the edge of our box and, as a consequence, one or two of our players running deeper to assist. I'm sure Koeman took it on board!

On the matter of Williams; like a lot of Blues, I was chuffed when we signed him for all the reasons mentioned above. Yes, he has been disappointing overall but to be honest, watching the game on Saturday it occurs to me that Funes Mori is the real problem. He gets out of position so often up the pitch and that must be a nightmare for the bloke partnering him. If Jags is fit then, in my opinion, he should play in the game against Boro'.

Steavey Buckley
26 Posted 06/02/2017 at 11:23:58
John, of course Williams and Funes Mori looked uncertain at the back, but the midfield should have closed Bournemouth down before they reached Everton's last line of defence. Instead, the Everton midfield stood off, allowed Bournemouth to keep the ball and pass it around. It's was as though Everton were playing Barcelona.
Paul Conway
27 Posted 06/02/2017 at 12:09:00
IMHO, apart from Coleman, none of our defenders would walk into a top four team. Williams is starting to show his age and is not the proposition he was before he came in.

As for Funes Mori, I thought he would Mature into a rock-solid defender, genre Vincent Kompany, circa, 2009-14. He seems to be struggling, doesn't look comfortable on the ball, and often appears to be quite 'donkey-ish'.

Dan Egerton
28 Posted 06/02/2017 at 15:26:45
Coleman's been probably our most consistent player in the last five years. I cant go as low as a 6.
Gerry Quinn
29 Posted 06/02/2017 at 15:36:07
Off track a bit, but Tom Davies is up with a few big names for the January Player of the Month award. Let's vote him into 1st place...

To vote, visit:

Geoff Trenner
30 Posted 06/02/2017 at 16:00:54
Voted Gerry, our Tom is ahead at present with Dele Alli close behind.
Brent Stephens
32 Posted 06/02/2017 at 16:10:20
Just voted.

Mr Ed – is it worth a separate thread for voting Player of the Month?

James Hughes
33 Posted 06/02/2017 at 16:13:24
When we bought Ashley, my initial reaction was "Great, a no-nonsense defender", but at times he is just a nonsense centre-half.

He keeps playing so deep, we end up having to hoof it up to Rom just to get out of our own box. I am beginning to think Robles and him are "close friends" as he seems determined to play as close as possible to his own goal... :P

Eddie Dunn
34 Posted 06/02/2017 at 16:32:13
I have to disagree with your opinion of Baines. For me he has been far too conservative in his play. I could understand that when he played all those months with his ankle problem, but his reluctance to go on the outside to the bye-line is puzzling.

Perhaps he is under instructions not to, but he has lost a yard of pace when the best practitioners at wing back these days are flying down the flanks. Coleman manages to do it on the right, and many of our goals stem from his efforts. So 7 is very generous.

Brian Williams
35 Posted 06/02/2017 at 17:30:58
Gerry (#29).

Tom's well ahead, mate! Now how may times can I vote using some aliases????

Jeff Armstrong
36 Posted 06/02/2017 at 17:31:34
This hoof ball from the likes of Williams is not helped by Ronald's insistence on having EVERYONE back for corners and deep free kicks, even when cruising 3-0 at home.

I mean what does, say, Lookman offer from a defensive point of view at corners? His place should be on the halfway line occupying 2 or 3 defenders who are now in our box.

Ronald has done it all season and the number of times we clear it and we lose the ball is really getting on my tits. We should be looking to break with the pace of Lookman, instead it comes straight back at us.
Mike Berry
37 Posted 06/02/2017 at 20:35:13
We look more secure with a three at the back, or at least until we sign a top class centre-back in the summer.
Keith Monaghan
38 Posted 06/02/2017 at 22:39:27
Jeff @ 36:-

I tend to partly agree with your

"This hoof ball from the likes of Williams is not helped by Ronald's insistence on having EVERYONE back for corners and deep free kicks, even when cruising 3-0 at home."

But in my view that tactic has been part of our DNA for years – Moyes did it throughout his tenure, and I think but am not so sure that the Smith/Knox regime did it before him. Leaving a couple of pacey players up near the half-way line would cause the opposition to keep at least 3 back.

I also don't understand why having so many back, we don't defend the back post.

Liam Reilly
39 Posted 07/02/2017 at 11:56:40
I read somewhere, Keith, that the statistics for conceding from corners decrease dramatically when having all 11 players back.

Doesn't really make much sense to me as there is no outlay; but what do I know?

Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 07/02/2017 at 11:58:12
Jeff (#36) and Keith (#38) – very good points. Where I sit in the Upper Bullens, there are lots of comments about all the players coming back to defend the corners; everyone is against it. When the corner is cleared, it comes straight back, putting the opposition in possession. I've never seen the sense in this strategy.
Gerry Quinn
41 Posted 07/02/2017 at 13:05:00
Well done, Tom Davies for winning your awards brilliant, thoroughly deserved, lad

Gerry Quinn
42 Posted 07/02/2017 at 13:05:50
...and, of course, you ToffeeWebbers for your votes :)
Kevin O'Regan
43 Posted 07/02/2017 at 14:44:01
Indeed it was an amazing game – congrats to the lads to get out of the 3-2 mess they got into. Obviously won't be doing that too often, and so we need to consider:

● We're only in 1 competition meaning the lads get plenty of rest in comparison to most teams... ie. more depth needed.

● We need a much better defence and leadership in there. Time to invest big.

● Enjoy Rom while we can – but others need to chip in with more goals.. especially from midfield and set pieces.

● We need to be able to manage different systems and not just rely on fast breaks as many teams will just drop back and wall us out.

● Team spirit and confidence is vital (sorry for stating the obvious) – that tends to keep the best players loyal a bit longer.

● Continue to trust youth and you will be rewarded. Nice mix we got now of energy, motivation and experience.

Dan Egerton
44 Posted 07/02/2017 at 15:43:45
I've seen Lookman put in some Holgate-style tackles actually. Also one great 2nd ball style tackle in the game vs Man City.
Geoff Williams
45 Posted 07/02/2017 at 18:07:09
No one believed me when I said after he'd signed that Williams wasn't good enough. His distribution has always been poor. At Swansea he simply passed the ball to a midfielder who would drop deep to collect the ball, they did the rest.

At 6'-)" he's always struggled against players good in the air. He is now slow and heavy and has difficulty coping with fast and tricky players.

Ray Robinson
46 Posted 07/02/2017 at 18:23:43
Williams is a decent defender when defending deep. However, when asked to play a higher line, he is slow to cover the space behind him. He clearly isn't comfortable with the ball at his feet and isn't the tallest of defenders.

He tries to make up for lack of height by placing his hands over the opposing player's shoulders, thereby preventing the opponent from getting off the ground. It's a tactic that frequently draws a foul in the opposition's penalty box when he's attacking but which in our own box, so far, fortunately, hasn't resulted in a penalty being awarded against us.

For all his faults and perceived "decline", Jags is a much better all round defender, in my opinion.

Andy Crooks
47 Posted 07/02/2017 at 00:00:46
Mike Galley, I really like liked that post, "luxurious padded quilt" wife stuff. You made me laugh.
Liam Wilson
48 Posted 08/02/2017 at 15:51:16
Nice one, Paul lad. Great report as always and only one "gotten" this time. ;-))

I agree, Coleman not at his best, but forgiven as he has been inspirational recently.

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