Deulofeu and Naismith lead the attack while Romelu Lukaku returns but joins Ross Barkley on the bench for Everton against West Ham United. Jagielka is out with John Stones preferred as his replacement over Antolin Alcaraz. Also on the bench for the first time: Tyias Browning, a graduate of the Everton Academy.

Everton kicked off in the sunshine and held the ball well in midfield to craft the first penetration of the West Ham penalty area but it would not run for Naismith. The second attack saw Baines swing in a great ball that Osman flicked on and Naismith almost got a follow-on header that glanced wide.

Stones needed to do well defending against Cole after giving the ball away as Everton built again with plenty of purpose but little pace. Barry took a poke from distance but his effort was well wide. The players seemed to know more forward speed was required but this resulted in a couple of overhit balls that were counterproductive to the possession ethos.

The first corner came on 10 mins and didn't look that bad but West Ham swept up the filed and it needed Deulofeu to play defender and deny Nolan a golden chance to give West Ham a corner. Deulofeu then went on a solo run but crucially overplayed one touch and the hope of something from a quick counter was gone,

McCarthy and Nolan went in hard for a 50/50 ball, McCarthy coming off worst and requiring treatment. Pienaar was next to 'shoot' although it looked more like a feeble pass in the end as Everton were trying to vary their slow and ponderous possession play to gain entry to the packed West Ham area.

Deulofeu was still a little rusty, giving the ball away and that saw West Ham finally play a part after 85% possession stats for the toothless Blues who were struggling to find a way through to Adrian's goal. Naismith finally got in and tried to force his shot home at the near post but Adrian patted it behind. Two corners came to nothing then Deulofeu again lost possession to Nolan.

A better move saw Baines get closer but close attention on Deulofeu prevented the shot. Stones looked to release the Spaniard down the right but McCartney had the measure of him as Allardyce somewhat surprisingly changed out Cole for Carroll with less than 30 mins played and Nolan put pressure on Howard in close. Tomkins saw yellow for a lunge in on Osman. Taylor fired well wide for the Hammers.

A patch of really scrappy play in midfield saw West Ham attack dangerously, the ball driven low across the Everton area. But at the other end, a Ronaldoesque Deulofeu won another corner, poorly taken by Baines. A more open move with Pienaar won another corner left that was swung out for Barry, but he could not head it anywhere near the target.

Deulofeu did better to get a low cross in on Adrian, then he tried to do it all himself, beating four men and firing just inches wide as he seemed to be getting into his stride. Carroll injured himself somehow in a headed challenge, leading on McCarthy with his arm that incensed the Goodison faithful. Pienaar and Osman tried some fast interchange play that was a complete failure as the Everton crowd became increasingly frustrated with proceedings.

As the break approached, Everton pushed with more intention, Osman having a shot blocked. West Ham got a free-kick for a Stones challenge that won a corner after Demel clearly pushed Baines. Not a happy Blue crowd at the break...

Would Martinez make a change at the break. A resounding No. But it was a rip-roaring start to the second half, West Ham testing Howard's aerial skills at the far post. then a swift move down the left saw Pienaar hitting the post, and the rebound to Deulofeu should have been hammered home but he just passed it into Adrian's hands. At the other end, West Ham came very close to the opening goal.

Pienaar was floored by Demel and Deulofeu swung in the free-kick. Baines and Pienaar combined better after a soft penalty claim by Pienaar, but the South Africa's shot was this time well off target.At the other end, the ball came off Stones and Carroll lashed a ferocious shot that almost caught Howard napping as he parried it over for a corner. Some West Ham pressure ensued, Nolan having a shot deflected just wide of the far post. The Blues had to defend a couple of testing corners as Lukaku readied himself with the hour-mark approaching.

Some cute play by Deulofeu forced a corner with Lukaku replacing Osman before it was swung in, over the big man's head, but the corner had curled behind the line. Lukaku won the next Everton corner, taken short, Deulofeu trying to curl it in to the far corner.

The tempo of the game was a lot better but the number of West Ham bodies in the area thwarted every effort the Blues could devise. Demel fouled Pienaar for another free-kick wide left that was delivered superbly for Distin (not Lukaku!) but his control of he highball was non-existent as it bounced high and wide off his shin.

Much faster attacking though from Everton down the left, but Lukaku playing wide and crossing low... when it should be him in the middle to receive the ball! Perhaps the need for wing play to supply the big man was what Martinez saw as he swapped in McGeady for Deulofeu after Noble fired a shot over with barely 15 mins left.

Carroll was able to lash another shot toward the Everton goal, thankfully wide as the much more open game could not be called. From a questionable call on Baines, West Ham got a free-kick that Noble thankfully wasted as this difficult match entered its final phase looking like it would be West Ham's seventh 0-0 draw of the season.

But the simplest of moves, the easiest of plays, a low cross, a perfect supply ball in from Baines and Wham Bam! Thank you, West Ham!! A very well taken goal by Romelu Lukaku, finally breaking the interminable deadlock.

Finally, Everton could "be themselves" and played with more conviction and determination in the last few minutes. Baines tripped Carroll giving away a free-kick that Downing delivered nicely for Tim Howard to gather, while Lukaku tried to go for glory with a wayward shot well beyond the Hammers goal. A late corner in the dying seconds ended a very important win for the Blues.

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines Y:90'; McCarthy, Barry; Pienaar, Osman (58' Lukaku), Deulofeu (73' McGeady); Naismith (85' Barkley).
Subs not Used: Robles, Hibbert, Browning, Mirallas.

West Ham United: Adrian, McCartney, Nolan, Tomkins Y:30', Jarvis (66' Diamé), Taylor, Noble, Collins, Demel (80' Reid), Downing, C Cole (29' Carroll).
Subs not Used: Jääskeläinen, Armero, Cole, Nocerino.

Referee: Jonathan Moss

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Brian Waring
153 Posted 01/03/2014 at 14:34:39
Linda, you can see why Lukaku is on the bench because he is just coming back from an injury. Also, maybe Martinez thinks Naismith (who is a striker) has earned the right to start the game.
Max Murphy
156 Posted 01/03/2014 at 14:31:29
Linda, you will not feel a twit — we have no chance of one of our CBs scoring. Distin & Jagielka have played 50 games between themselves this season. Total number of goals scored: ZERO!!!
Max Murphy
158 Posted 01/03/2014 at 14:41:44
Linda, you will not feel a right twit, because our Centre Backs don't score goals. Between them, Jagielka and Distin have played a total of 50 League & Cup games this season. Total number of goals: Zero
Brian Waring
159 Posted 01/03/2014 at 14:45:55
Andy Carroll starts on the bench.
Kevin Rowlands
162 Posted 01/03/2014 at 14:51:51
Time for Del boy to really show us if he's this budding superstar that we keep hearing about, anyway if things go tits up in the 1st half it looks like a pretty strong bench today.
Max Wilson
163 Posted 01/03/2014 at 14:55:08
TREPIDATION! That's what my toffee mates are feeling, we are weaker due to Jag's injury and some our talent is still sitting on the bench. Fingers crossed and nails bitten, pass the JD quick!
Shahul Hameed
164 Posted 01/03/2014 at 15:32:23
Still punch-less in final third after 33 min.
Shahul Hameed
165 Posted 01/03/2014 at 15:38:39
Maybe if someone, other than Baines was taking corner-kicks, we would see a goal scored from corner this season.
Dan Parker
166 Posted 01/03/2014 at 15:45:22
Can we bring Big Dunc on please!?
Max Wilson
167 Posted 01/03/2014 at 15:48:05
Half Time: 80% plus possession, 11 shots at goal, only one on target. Delboy has been nearest.

Shall I phone up my Granny? She's accurate with a tennis ball!

Linda Morrison
168 Posted 01/03/2014 at 16:22:36
Max maybe we could get your Granny and my gun dog on the pitch as he is very good at heading balls.

I hope this isn't going to be another points lost game.

Shahul Hameed
169 Posted 01/03/2014 at 16:46:06
We may see a clean sheet with Lukaku on scoreboard today.
Max Wilson
170 Posted 01/03/2014 at 16:52:45
Shall we take the lads to Specsavers? 22 shots on goal, only 3 on target! What a relief when Romelu came on, almost made it 2, perhaps he needs some varifoculs. At least this result is two fingers vertical at ex RS Lawrenson's prediction. Overall, I found it frustrating. Would a different selection have produced more goals?
Brian Waring
171 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:08:13
Max I think we played okay; some good football, just when we get in the final third we run out of ideas.
Jim Harrison
172 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:12:07
Won the game against a team that parked the bus. At this stage of the season I couldnt care less how the points come in, as long as they do!!

Shocking ref today. Bought everything Carrol sold him.

Kevin Rowlands
173 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:09:40
Have to say we do play some good stuff; when we get it right in the final third, we will be very good, I think it's a work in progress.

On another note, John Stones, what a prospect and player we have got here — the lad just oozes quality, he's ahead of Barkley at this stage in his career.

Mark Frere
174 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:10:37
I agree Brian, our general play is okay, we just need a bit more imagination when it matters. Definitely need a couple of creative players to play the killer pass.
Shane Corcoran
175 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:15:57
Jim, funnily enough I think had West Ham parked the bus in the second half like they did in the first they'd have gotten at least a point.

The fact that they came out in the second half gave us the space and it meant for a much more attractive game.

Linda Morrison
176 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:17:24
Well folks we can all breathe a little easier tonight and enjoy the fact that our team kept going.

Great goal and good work from Baines.

They will go to the Emirates now in good heart.
Anyone have any idea what is going on with Alan Pardew?

If a fan had done to a player what he did they would find themselves facing the police.

Why did he do it the team were well on top?

Geoff Evans
177 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:27:06
Linda #176

Because he's a stupid cockney twat!

Paul Kelly
178 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:33:27
Make an official complaint to the police, they have to act. Should’ve done it with Ratboy.
Paul Kelly
179 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:41:23
Anyway, good to get a result today. Needed it after the previous few games. Ain’t going to go on about the performance, just glad for three points and we were the only team who deserved it. And why wasn’t Carroll sent off for leading with the elbow, imagine if that was Big Dunc?
Paul Tran
182 Posted 01/03/2014 at 17:56:09
The usual mix of control in the first two thirds and a lack of pace and guile in the last third. I thought the goal was a good example of what Martinez is looking for; moving their defenders around, keeping the ball.... and then a killer pass to a striker who found space and the net.

I'd like to see Lukaku up front with Naismith. I can see at least one of them always finding lots of space in the final third. Lukaku's strength is, well, his strength and Naismith's is working his socks off and finding the net from close range. It may mean we play more of the game in the box rather than around it. Too many of our midfielders lack a combination of pace and strength, especially against the top sides.

With the current squad, I think that's worth looking at. Anything that gets Lukaku looking towards the goal will work best for me.

Colin Glassar
183 Posted 01/03/2014 at 18:02:10
Poor performance, great result. Strange isn't it, we play well and lose, we play badly and win. That's football I guess.
Wayne Smyth
185 Posted 01/03/2014 at 18:08:05
Colin, I didn't think the performance was bad. We played exactly the same as we did against Chelsea and Spurs. Except this time we scored first.
Wayne Smyth
186 Posted 01/03/2014 at 18:08:56
Paul, what was interesting was that for our goal Naismith had pushed forwards and occupied the central defenders, while Lukaku hung back unmarked. I agree that we need to have Lukaku up front with someone, we convert so many more chances when we get enough players in the box.

Given Deulofeu and McGeady are available for the right wing role, I'd put Mirallas up there to play off Lukaku.

Noel Early
187 Posted 01/03/2014 at 18:10:10
It was a poor performance overall, we really lacked in final third for long spells... but thankfully 3 points. It showed the value of a good striker.

Looking forward, I noticed we have Cardiff, Swansea and Fulham before we host Arsenal. The Gunners have Spurs and Chelsea away... could we dare to dream again?

Mark Tanton
188 Posted 01/03/2014 at 18:21:21
So the ball goes into the box and we score a goal. Surprise surprise!

What we have learned today:

A) Two forwards create more space and chances.

B) Pienaar is incredibly slow and acts as a drag on every attack. He checks back, stops, walks and passes it back. Or he passes it ambitiously but poorly out of play.

Geoff Evans
189 Posted 01/03/2014 at 18:12:31
Good result today, against in-form team, bench looked strong, wish we played with two-up and were more adventurous though.

Need more up front to bother big boys. Still welcome three points.

Andy Walker
191 Posted 01/03/2014 at 18:38:46
It would have cost about £50m to buy just 3 players on our bench today so please no more excuses that we have a thin squad and need to spend tens of millions. We need to get the tactics and style of play right, which is still work in progress.

At least Martinez didn't bring on McGreaddy for Pienaar today which fucked us up at Spurs and Chelsea, hopefully he's learnt a lesson.

Raymond Fox
201 Posted 01/03/2014 at 18:31:59
They came to frustrate us, & they certainly did that, we were creating very little & we didn't seem to know how to break them down.

It did open up in the second half somewhat when they started to fancy their chances more, plus the pace of the game increased making for more openings.

The game changer was undoubtedly Lukaku coming on; we looked a threat from then on. I think it illustrates again how players with that bit of extra quality can make a decent team into a good one.

We are just 1 or 2 short of a top 4 team. I've been critical of Stones recently, but I thought he had an excellent game today.

Kevin Rowlands
203 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:09:41
Seriously Colin, we played badly? We totally dominated the game, had 75% possession, played some really good stuff, created more chances today than we have in a while and don't forget this was against a team in very good form. Good performance and great result is a more accurate description I think.
Tahir Abdullah
204 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:24:15
Pienaar should be left out of the first 11 for the rest of the season; find a squad member who can slot in on the left wing and who can also link up with Leighton such that we maintain at least 35% of our teams possesion via the left.
Patrick Murphy
206 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:26:50
The only thing wrong with Roberto's Everton is that they are below Liverpool and some people just can't accept it. As Kevin says, we played a team unbeaten for five PL matches and high on confidence while we are suffering a bit of a crisis in confidence but we gave them the run around for most of the game.

I think that we are going to have to accept that the neighbours are where they are and there's nothing we can do about it. But in 1906 and 1966 Everton won the FA Cup and Liverpool won the League – do we go on about the Dark Side winning the title in those seasons? No, we cherish the Blues winning the FA Cup.

It will be a bigger ask due to Arsenal's defeat today but we are good enough to get to the Semi-Final and I hope we do because the alternative is frightening with people ready to pounce on every error or poor performance as if we have been Man Utd for the last 20 years.

Patrick Murphy
207 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:34:58
You really want to drop Pienaar, the main focus for any decent play in and around the area who works his socks off, who never hides, who gets kicked to pieces nearly every game???

Well, I really am speechless.

Raymond Fox
209 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:29:46
A little off topic I know.... What we don't want next season, is to be playing in that dreadful Europa Cup or whatever its called. We look to be in grave danger of doing just that though, it would balls up our next season's PL challenge for a certainty!
Andy Walker
210 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:37:18
Completely agree with you Patrick on Pienaar: nearly all our attacks today came down the left. He's played well in the last 3 matches and worked his socks off today as well as created loads.
Steve Guy
211 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:35:18
I think it shows a lot of respect that, increasingly teams we play are looking to park the bus and look to get a goal if they can on the break. This is a team on the up. If the Dear Leader can be forced to match the increasing expectation that has increasing momentum, we can look forward with confidence. Beat Arsenal and avoid City in the Semis and it could still be great this season too.
Tahir Abdullah
212 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:37:20
Patrick, great reaction; my post was tongue-in-cheek and intended to be read between the lines. I agree with you 100% and it is heartening to see that some at least appreciate the value that Pienaar brings. He works his socks off, never hides (is always very visible and involved) and as a consequence can become an easy target for picking on when the fickle few need a fall guy to vent toward.
Patrick Murphy
215 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:49:24
Cheers Tahir 2 you got me going with that one! What is it 2 defeats in 36 games at Goodison and we still can't enjoy it. I know there are some things that go against our nature in the style of play but I am convinced that RM will turn us into a really good side once he gets the players to fully believe in themselves – that part is up to the individual player. I also believe that somebody will take a real hiding between now and the end of the season if everything clicks.
David Greenwood
217 Posted 01/03/2014 at 19:55:24
Patrick @215, let's hope it's City in the Cup final...
Jon Cox
221 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:01:02
Did I detect the tiniest bit of swagger after we scored?

What a shame the goal came so late on. I think had the goal come ten minutes into the second half we could have buried WHU.

Let's hope we gain the momentum for the Arsenal game that we had prior to Christmas.

Vinny Garstrokes
224 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:09:26
Shahul Hameed #169

Good call mate !!

Raymond Fox
229 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:26:24
I thought Alcaraz is now fit!

He wasn't in the squad, & young Browning was?

Not sure what to make of that!

Craig Fletcher
230 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:21:05
Raymond (209) I really can't agree with you there.

If we can't get into Champions League this season, then absolutely I want Everton in some form of European football. As for the argument that it will impact on our PL campaign for next year, history suggests it won't necessarily – 2007/08 saw us playing some of our best football under Moyes, we achieved our highest ever league points tally under him (65), while also playing in Europe.

Yes the Europa League will increase our playing commitments, but it also will give us the opportunity to blood fringe players in our team. I can see the likes of McAleny, Lundstram, and Browning being given game time in Europa League games next season, which can only help their playing development. After all, Coleman as an example first made his appearance in an Everton shirt in a Europa League game.

Any European competition also will help us attract better players to our club, there will be increased revenue for the club (revenue which admittedly pales in comparison to the riches of the Champions Club), and finally, it's an opportunity for us to win a competition, which would also mean entry for the following season's Champions League!

Si Cooper
235 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:10:55
Andy Walker – still banging on about the manager supposedly throwing it all away with his substitutions last week. Thought you might have realised that you are in a tiny minority on that one.

McGeady has done very little wrong when he has been brought on and Pienaar can't be expected to play 90 minutes in every game if you want to get the best out of him.

Drop the McGready shit as well. Mocking our own players really isn't as big and clever as you think it is.

Which three players on our bench could have cost us £50 million? Mirallas was £6 million and Barkley is our own product (and still finding his feet). Both Lukaku and Mirallas are first team regulars anyway, and Barkley is pretty much there as well (his value only having shot up because of his time on the pitch this season) so their bench duties are more likely to be due to injury / form problems rather than simple choice. We are not flush with expensive players if that is what you are trying to make out.

Anyone know why Mirallas wasn't used at all today? Not 100%, his turn for rotation, or fallen from favour?

Ian Hams
238 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:53:14
Just a thought but Pienaar seems to have lost his speed and stamina but his work rate is undoubted and we do play better with him in the team..... So why not try him in the middle with Aiden and super Kev on the wings? If I remember correctly, he used to be an automatic pick there for his national side.
Raymond Fox
240 Posted 01/03/2014 at 20:52:12
Fair enough Craig, but I think evidence shows that participation in the Europa League seriously affects clubs with smallish squads in the same year's Premier League competition!

As with anything, nothing's all bad or all good, but on balance I think we would be better off not in it.

We beg to differ I suppose!

Patrick Murphy
242 Posted 01/03/2014 at 21:17:20
Si hopefully it was to give KM a wake-up call that he is not an automatic choice and if it was let's hope that he will try and prove the manger wrong next Saturday.
Jim Knightley
244 Posted 01/03/2014 at 21:19:08
I don't think anyone can really argue that Europa league football does not affect teams who participate in it... Even discounting the mental and physical affects of the extra games, playing Thursday and then Sunday simply do not leave enough time to properly prepare for the Premier League matches. It also becomes more problematic when lots of travel is involved.

That said, I'm inclined to say that Champ League football is not really a genuine possibility without a buyer anyway. So why not go for the Europa League? There is no reason we cant get into the last 16, and when there, we are a few knockout ties from a Champions League place anyway.

The win was good, and warranted today. We were not brilliant but did enough, and managed to get ease Lukaku back in, and give Barkley and Mirallas more of a rest. Stones scares the hell of me though when he plays. He is simply not ready imo, and the lack of a steady third choice cb could cost us dear.

I also think the Arsenal result was just as important for us today in terms of the upcoming FA cup tie. The pressure will be on them next weekend, because the season which promised so much is now petering out. If we score first, the crowd will get restless, and based on our visit earlier than the season, a result is a real possibility.

Brin Williams
246 Posted 01/03/2014 at 21:12:35
I have a theory that 'brilliant' people do not always fulfil their goals or come out on top. 'Brilliant' people know they are 'brilliant' and feel that they have to do little more and sometimes even less to 'get there'.

Whereas, the 'not so brilliant' people will look up and see the 'brilliant' people up there in front of them and they will try, with their limited skills, to emulate or even surpass those with 'brilliant' skills.

I have seen this time after time in real life and I saw an excellent example of it today at Goodison Park where a player with moderate skill used those skills to the optimum and chased, harried and in general played his guts out for the common good.

Twelve months ago, if I had said this, everyone would have laughed, but today that mediocre player was 'brilliant'...

Good on ya, Steven (Naismith)!

Tom Bowers
260 Posted 01/03/2014 at 22:37:14
Whilst I am all for experimenting with the line-up, I can't for the life of me understand why some players are put on the bench and others start when they are sub-par themselves.

Most discerning fans on this site agree Osman is no longer good enough to start a game but frequently does. He, along with Pienaar, tries hard but neither have the pace nor directness to trouble many defences these days. Delboy has great skill and quite a bit of pace but I still think another game or two coming off the bench would have been appropriate.

It was obvious that Lukaku wasn't quite ready for 90 mins and that's why he was on the bench but Barkley should have started. I liken the Barkley situation to that of Rooney many years ago when Moyes was playing flip-flop with him despite the fact he was better than anyone else at the time and this led to discontent.

I am sure Ross knows how good he is, and this is born out by the fact he is in the England squad, so why is his ability left on the bench Robbie?

Everton where 9 minutes away from another poor result and the blame would have been squarely at Robbie's feet but they squeaked it out. There has to be a big improvement for the next game and hopefully Robbie gets his act together by then.

Tony Abrahams
261 Posted 01/03/2014 at 21:14:46
I would like to see McCarthy in the holding role with Barkley and Pienaar playing ahead of him, with Baines and Coleman combining with either of our three wide players and Lukaku up top. That one change would IMO make us a much more attack-minded team.

I agree that Pienaar's final ball is sometimes the wrong option but also think he makes us play. Remember the last time he played in that role last Xmas and Chelsea couldn't get near him for an hour until he tired?

Jamie Carroll
278 Posted 02/03/2014 at 00:08:08
Any European football should be embraced as this can only further develop and improve the Everton squad. lt would be fantastic to get to the knockout stages of the Europa League and play a Champions League team and really test the players’ abilities.
Geoff Evans
279 Posted 02/03/2014 at 00:04:58
Brin (#246)

Good comment about Nais. Whatever his shortcomings are, effort has never been one of them.

Has been asked to play in different roles and never complained. He is the perfect foil for any strike partner, shame we don't play with two up.

His commitment and effort alone deserves more respect than it gets.

Jim Knightley
285 Posted 02/03/2014 at 01:18:33
Tom.. do you really think getting in the England squad validates your subjective judgement of a player? All I would say to that one is: Tom Cleverley.

I think Barkley has great potential, but he has been very poor since coming back from injury, and imo, is very over-rated. He makes some great runs, and troubles defenders, but he creates nowhere near enough, nor scores enough, for his position, and shoots far too often. Rooney was miles ahead of him in terms of impact and ability, in a lesser team, when breaking through.

Kevin Tully
288 Posted 02/03/2014 at 01:48:15
Jim K is the most honest posters on TWeb, he says it how it is despite being one of OFM's biggest supporters.

However, judging Barkley is foolish, he is one the finest talents to come out of Goodison Park. Watch him next season.

Tahir Abdullah
293 Posted 02/03/2014 at 03:38:36
Ian @238, good suggestion. You are quite right that Pienaar's best (and natural) position is CAM; he has only ever played in this role for South Africa and he has played there for all his non-EPL clubs (I recall seeing him start in this role in 1999 for Ajax Cape Town academy). He can also play a bit deeper in front of the defense (ask Patrick Vieira, Ajax vs Arsenal Feb 2003 about Pienaar's abilities there).

The fact that he has converted to left wing by OFM and has done so well there for EFC is for me testament to the hard work, versatility and bags of natural talent of the guy.

Tahir Abdullah
295 Posted 02/03/2014 at 03:54:37
Jim K @285, another great post (Tom Cleverley indeed). I would also agree with your assessment of Barkley to date as well; very far from the finished product and next season might yet be too soon for him to fulfill his raw potential....
Harold Matthews
299 Posted 02/03/2014 at 06:19:41
Andy W. It was Deulofeu and Barkley who continually lost the ball against Spurs. Not McGeady. Get off his back. These lads are gradually finding their feet and will improve with more game time. Pienaar had to go off. He was knackered.
Amit Vithlani
300 Posted 02/03/2014 at 06:41:37
Pleased with the win. Hopefully the goal for Big Rom will set him on another streak.

I thought Ossie did ok and Peanuts and Baines provided threat down the left. That understanding is very important and was the source of today's goal. Coleman needs to find a similar foil and when he does we will be back to our best.

A word on Barks. I know we live in a world of media hype but some of the comments and expectations are beyond belief.

The boy suffered a very serious leg break which took a big period of development away from him. At his peak form he suffers another injury and was probably brought back too soon. He still has a lot to learn but his basic talent is undeniable. Two good feet, an eye for goal, strength and pace when running at defenders.

Looking forward to his development and hoping that BK does not cash in on him anytime soon.

Eric Myles
311 Posted 02/03/2014 at 09:49:14
"Lukaku returns with a striker's goal"

I think there were many occassions where we could have had had a strikers goal from other players but they all decided to take an extra touch instead of shooting.

The difference with Lukaku is that he just put the ball in the net with the first touch

Bob Parrington
598 Posted 04/03/2014 at 07:52:13
Hey Michael,
Have you thought about being more direct and factual with your reports? :) Did you recall it all or did you watch a recording afterwards 'cos it was bleeding' good. Thanks!

Linda #152 was somewhat doubtful about RM playing Stones. Personally, I think he played a cracker and is much more a CD than RB. The lad looks cool and composed and hardly puts a pass out of place ........ seldom looks to do a Jags goofball. A good prospect for us. Well done Mr M.

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