Blues squander a fine lead at the death

McGeady scored an excellent opening goal on 20 mins, but Leicester came right back with a soft goal off a corner. A nice build-up before the break saw Naismith sweep home a lovely shot to give Everton the lead. But Everton struggled more and more in the second half and gave up a soft equalizer. But Everton tired visibly in a poor second half and allowed the home side back in near the end, squandering two vital points,

Record signing Romelu Lukaku leads the line at Leicester

Everton kicked off Roberto Martinez's second season at Leicester with Ross Barkley ruled out but Romelu Lukaku named to lead the line; Mirallas, Besic, Atsu, Coleman and Osman on the bench. Everton fan David Nugent starting for Leicester.

Pienaar was bright as Everton retained possession from the kick-off and with a free-kick that came to nothing. The good possession continued until the forward third, where passes didn't hold up so well but it was all Everton, although with no penetration in the first 5 mins.

Leicester saw more of the ball in the next 5 mins, Everton's passing less accurate than might be desired, Naismith bursting into the Leicester area, but his cutback not reaching Lukaku. Everton were starting to build more effectively, using the flanks well, and Pienaar seemed to have a chance for a shot that he spurned.

Leicester got a free-kick down by the corner flag and won a corner as Howard tipped the ball behind, Knockaert firing well wide from the corner. Some better play from Everton won their first corner, as Delap challenged Pienaar. The ball pinged around, out to Baines, who fired in back to Distin off Schmiechel, and McGeady composed himself, then clipped a fantastic shot over everyone and in off the far post. less than a foot below the angle, for a brilliant opening goal.

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But less than a minute later, Leicester were level, scoring from a corner, Ulloa lashing home as Distin failed to make any ground, his clearance hitting the player in the 6-yard box and falling nicely for him to drive .

Everton were having to work hard after the goal struggled to create much until after the half-hour, when a couple of corners resulted from better play, McGeady's shot blocked away by Morgan in the crowded Leicester area.

Better build-up play from Everton saw McGeady have another pop from a more central position but this one flew over the bar. Naismith was the next to fire one in but it was just a few inches wide. Some lovely movement, starting with Lukaku coming back to collect the ball on the half-way line, and getting the ball out to Pienaar who then found Baines, a nice cross to the penalty spot was swept home off the underside of the bar by Steven Naismith.

Leicester came out the stronger after the break but it was fairly competitive stuff as Everton looked to hold on to and, if possible, build on their lead. They were starting to stroke the ball around with confidence, with Leicester refusing to lie down.

McCarthy went down heavily on a challenge and seemed to have seriously damaged his knee ligaments. McCarthy slowly hobbled off after a lengthy spell of treatment, but hobbled back on as Leicester sub Schlupp beat Jones hands down but smacked his shoot wildly high, miles over the Everton bar with Howard to beat.

Lukaku's first touch was still poor at times, as Everton lacked the fluidity that they threatened to impose on the home side at times in the first half. Lukaku looked to take the ball past Moore, who handled it, but it was too far form goal for a red card.

McCarthy had to foul Mahrez, whose free-kick was deflected wide, the corner well overhit. Going the other way, Lukaku looked pretty rusty at times, as he made poor use of good balls played in to him, the Blues looking tired while Martinez delayed any changes into the last 15 mins, as McGeady made a horrible giveaway to a player 3 yards in front of him and Barry had to cynically block Mahrez.

Pienaar replaced by Mirallas. Then Jagileka went down after being caught by a high boot and Coleman then replaced McGeady. But some really soft defending gifted an equalizer to Leicester after Stones and Jagielka could not clear the ball which fell nicely to Wood, Everton playing a massive price for increasing laxity as they failed to carry through their first-half superiority.

Everton got a corner but Mirallas put his attempt in the side netting. Then Mirallas tried to play in Naismith as Everton finally woke up, pressing much better. More spirited attacking that had been absent for much of the half say Baines cross well but Lukaku seemed unable to lift his body, the ball hitting his head an bouncing off high over the bar.

A poor result because Everton squandered two points here against a limited Leicester City side, and very disappointing loss of two vital points.

Leicester City: Schmeichel; De Laet, Moore (Y:69'), Morgan, Konchesky; Mahrez, King, Drinkwater (39' Hammond); Knockaert (64' Schlupp), Nugent, Ulloa (78' Wood).
Subs: Hamer, Hopper, Taylor-Fletcher, Wasilewski.

Everton: Howard; Stones, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; McGeady (85' Coleman), Naismith, Pienaar (81' Mirallas); Lukaku.
Subs: Robles, Besic, Atsu, Osman, Alcaraz.

Scorers: Ulloa (22'), Wood (87'); McGeady (20'), Naismith (45').
Referee: Mike Jones

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Reader Comments (97)

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Jim Potter
1 Posted 16/08/2014 at 15:36:15
Great goal by Aidan. Terrible defending for their equalizer.


Jim Potter
2 Posted 16/08/2014 at 15:38:38
Naismith! 2-1 to us. Cracking goal. Now concentrate at the back!
Tony Doran
3 Posted 16/08/2014 at 15:58:16
No silly fouls and defend like hell, that’s my team talk done.
Philip Mannering
4 Posted 16/08/2014 at 15:56:18
Baines and Pienaar looking fantastic together and incredibly exciting, though final ball not always great. Central defence looks a little shaky, but we must remember it is the first game of the season. A little unfortunate to concede, but not completely unfair.

Enjoying the game from Hong Kong! COYB

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 16/08/2014 at 15:51:16
Are we going to go through the whole season conceding goals from corners, crosses and set pieces again?

How long had this problem dogged Everton for now without us really looking to rectify it.

Never have been and never will be convinced by the partnership of Jagielka and Distin and I’m even less so as they both get older and slower and Jagielka can’t jump even more.

Sue Brown
6 Posted 16/08/2014 at 15:55:38
Need to see a replay but I thought a Leicester player handled in the area just before their goal.. still a poor goal to give away. Cracker from McGeady tho!
Tony J Williams
7 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:53:44
They were fecking shite. Two points dropped
Matthew Roberts
8 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:54:44
Tony Pulis in as set piece coach and we’d be alright.

Disappointing game; we need some points in the next two home games.

Jim Potter
9 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:54:19
Poor second half.

Lukaku looked very unfit. Poor game for him.

Defense looked dodgy.


Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:54:43
Very annoyed by that result. Martinez at fault for not swapping things out earlier, I feel. Three points were ours but we only have one.

Simply not good enough, I’m afraid.

Pete Gunby
11 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:54:14
Where do I start. Lukaku looked like an expensive Anichebe today. We gave the ball away, made no attempt to kill the game off and threw away 2 points against a very poor team. Looked like a Moyes team. Jags and Distin struggled against any ball up the middle or in the air. Massive dissapointment!!!
Kevin Rowlands
12 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:55:09
Usually a big Martinez fan but why oh why did it take him till the 81st minute to make our first substitution, they were running over us in the 2nd half and you could see it coming, the game was screaming out for Besic to be brought on so we could get control of the midfield, 2 points thrown away there, lastly Trevor Francis is a complete twat!
Alan McGuffog
13 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:56:31
Absolutely appalling.

Very good first half and all we did in the second was piss about. No attempts on goal and the equalizer was waiting to happen. It’s two points pissed away. Sort it!

Drew Shortis
14 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:53:03
Déjà  vu! Unfortunately I missed the first half as I was stuck in traffic on the motorway, but it sounds like we played very well. Managed to catch the second half and was not impressed at all.

No chances until the dying minutes. McGeady gave the ball away on several occasions to allow Leicester to hit us on the break and Stones positioning was questionable. Coleman looked fired up. Barry should have been sent off. Lukaku’s first touch still looks very suspect.

I guess an away point against a newly promoted team isn’t the worst result in the world, but this must go down as two points dropped due to a poor second half performance and poor defending. At least watching the two cracking goals on MotD will be some consolation.

Could be worse, for instance losing 1-2 at home to Swansea!

Thomas Surgenor
15 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:57:36
Never seen a more lethargic Everton in the first game of the season.

Only Seamus looked sharp (for the brief spell he was on) and he missed most of pre-season!! What were we doing?

We will need to play better in the next 2 games. However, 37 games left... just starts us on the back foot a little.

Kelvin Thomas
16 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:57:38
Very unlike Martinez to settle for 2-1, especially when they were there for the taking. I put it down to fitness. Many looked out of fuel in the second half.

Two points dropped.

Steven Naismith was very efficient again today.

John Steadman
17 Posted 16/08/2014 at 17:00:28
Said it all last season, Lakaku is lazy, not interested... can we get our money back?

Kenwright, either get the cheque book out or do one!!!!

Tony Doran
18 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:58:57
I was screaming to get Lukaku off for Mirallas. A passenger all game and gave the ball away for their second. So frustrating that RM can’t see this. Why don’t we go for the throat when on top? Just gutted. I hate the footie season.
Danny Kewley
19 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:58:39
Bobby got his tactics all wrong for that totally inept performance in the 2nd half and just dithered and not getting the subs on sharpish!!!!
Terry McLavey
20 Posted 16/08/2014 at 16:58:09
Why are we incapable of keeping a lead !! We did it all pre season ("which didn’t matter") in every match? Except against them ironically, when we didn’t even score!

I’m not convinced by Stones this time around, wasn’t he aware of the player behind him in oceans of space he looked surprised when he saw him there, FFS! They were cheering liked they’d won; I feel like we’ve lost. I’m not looking forward to the next two games to be honest, with that "defence".

Barry Stevens
21 Posted 16/08/2014 at 17:04:30
Blimey. We just drew with a team that haven’t lost at home for 27 games, and are all hyped up for their first game in the premier. We didn’t loose. . Had a look on the forum and some post’s on the match report. Can’t believe some of the reactions. Apparently Robertos time is up, Jags and Distin past it, Stones ovrrated, and Lukaku is a waste of money. Give me strength.

Yes its disapointing but exactly same start as last year and that didn’t turn out to bad did it?

Andrew Rimmer
22 Posted 16/08/2014 at 17:58:14
28 Million for a bollard!
Andrew Presly
23 Posted 16/08/2014 at 17:56:57
They love 5th - 7th place this lot. Absolutely love it! Well done all, you’ll get it.
WT Looi
24 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:01:55
Jags is really struggling for form, way below par and always hesitant and passive rather than taking control. Lost count of the number of errors he made today. Noticed too that Mirallas and McGeady lost the ball too casually in advanced positions, inviting Leicester to counter with power and pace. Pienaar offered more joint up play when he was on the pitch. All in all, a wasted opportunity when we were well in control most of the game. Still, not a bad result against a team that was always up for it.
Phil Walling
25 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:04:44
I suspect the low intensity approach adopted in pre-season is the reason for the second-half fade. My view is that Roberto has focussed on the extra demands required by the Europa League and has set the lads to peak around November. Of course, it could be too late by then but I am persuaded by my fellow TWers that the man knows what he’s doing.

We’re still capable of reaping 5 points from our first three matches. Let’s get those over before reaching for the shotgun!

Keith Glazzard
26 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:10:29
I would normally trust Roberto with substitutions, but at about 65 mins today I was worried. Besic had to be introduced, Mirallas earlier, and maybe Atsu - something to pin them back, possibly to put it to bed at 3-1.

There was no reason I could see to take Pienaar off (he could yet turn out to be the playmaker we need) but Barry and McGeady had lost it by then.

Sid Logan
27 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:13:23
It’s not rocket science. I would have thought that, when players are looking tired, the answer is to bring on fresh players who are likely to make a difference. Coleman was the right decision but could have been earlier.

Besic and Atsu would definitely have been the right thing to do. Surely 15 - 20 mins is not going to emotionally damage them and may have well turned 1 point in to 3. Why do we invariably not have a determination to put the game to bed until the opposition equalises and there we have 10 minutes of frantic effort which may or may not lead to a goal.

It was ever thus!

Jim Bennings
28 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:03:17
We need a commanding centre half, I have said for years that both Jagielka and Distin have been great servants but we know by now their limitations.

Do we concede the highest number if goals from crosses and set pieces in the league?

Perhaps we should have tried getting Wilfried Bony for 20 million and holding a good few million back for a man beast central defender, a leader, a shouter, a captain..

We saw at the World Cup that they do exist and we also saw at the World Cup Jagielka's limitations.

Who knows if Stones is the commander at the back or maybe he's too quiet yet, who knows if Duffy given his height would win more in the air, but we need to start looking at options because the same things that dogged us and stalled our last month of last season when we could have tied Champions League football up will come right back this season.

If you can't stop average teams scoring then how do you stop Arsenal and Chelsea?

Dave Richman
29 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:17:28
Kevin Rowlands #12: Completely agree mate. Trevor Francis so obviously dislikes Everton it's quite embarrassing..... First class knob.
Dick Brady
30 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:28:28
Jagielka had a bad World Cup, was made a scapegoat by the press and has probably seen his International career end. At least its doubtful he'll ever be first choice for England again.

So its no wonder his confidence is shot and he's struggling for form. He needs to be supported by the fans and Roberto. He'll come good again once he recovers from his World Cup dream turning into a nightmare.

Colin Malone
31 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:38:49
Its a marathon not a sprint.
Stones ball watching again.
Osman should have replaced Naismith.
Besic should have replaced Barry soon after he was booked.
Baines my man of the match.
Again its a marathon, not a sprint.
Chris Wilson
32 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:06:44
I think we really miss Coleman in the side. He brings pace on the back, and adds an extra dimension in attack. He balances us out with a threat on both flanks. WE become too predictable when he is not on the field, and teams can clamp down on our attacks from the left and the center. I don't think Stones can play right back in the way Roberto needs and I KNOW Hibbert can't do it. This might be an area to address.

Al Reddish
33 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:41:06
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "It is a bit of a mixed feeling because we knew it was going to be a difficult fixture against a team with promotion and a good feel about them.

"We were a little bit soft in the way we conceded the first goal and then when we got the second goal we were a little relaxed and it was a bit too easy. Overall, disappointed that I feel we threw two points away.

"The first half display we were always on the front foot, causing problems. In the second half we did the same without a penetrating edge. I'm sure that for Leicester it will feel like a victory and for us a defeat, but it is a start."

Al Reddish
34 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:41:54
Colin I agree with all that. Also, Hibbert might not be everybody's cup of tea, but he is a right back. Stones certainly isn't, especially when you have someone like McGeady in front of you who rarely helps out at the back.
Michael Kenrick
35 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:43:35
At least Roberto is calling it as we all seem to have seen it, and not spouting meaningless "let's look for the positives" bullshit. I cannot fault that at all.
Dick Brady
36 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:38:09
I think its worth remembering that Everton were always going to be less defensively organised under Roberto Martinez.

Under David Moyes we were very solid at he back and one of our strengths was always defending a slender lead. But we were all getting a bit bored by that type of football and we all wanted more attacking football that Roberto has delivered.

But that added attacking flair has come at a cost and we are now starting to see the defensive frailties which have developed.

We can't have it both ways. Moyes gave us a solid and organised team which could grind out results but repeatedly failed against bigger teams.

Martinez has changed us into a more attacking side that enjoys dominating possession. Under Martinez we are more likely to beat teams like Chelsea, Arsenal and hopefully Liverpool but we are also more likely to concede silly goals and draw (and occaisionally lose) games against poorer sides.

Personally I'll take a few results like today's if it means we play attacking football and beat Top 4 sides.

Kevin Tully
37 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:35:12
First half was a good 7/10 performance and we should have had at least three. Second half was baffling, we looked clueless going forward, and we seemed to be sitting on the 2-1 lead.

I don't like to criticise managers with the benefit of hindsight, but it was clear to every one of us we needed more creativity that second half. Poor call Roberto, we were crying out for sub's from the 60 minute mark.

I knew it would be tough today, but we should have taken all three points. As usual, it looks like we will need a few games before the majority find their form. I thought Naismith deserved MOTM.

Dean Adams
38 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:47:27
Michael 35

If he saw it as we did he could have made the changes to improve things, we could not. He is to blame for a lacklustre performance, although if offered before kick-off many would have taken a point away from home.

Peter Mills
40 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:41:11
A really poor return of a single point when 3 should have been wrapped up. It's great to score a pretty goal after 20 minutes of domination, but not much good if you then negate it by conceding one via 20 seconds of chaos from a corner.

And I'm afraid bringing Coleman on was tantamount to the dreaded "bring on an extra centre back to defend the lead" as practised by David Moyes - Coleman came on, disappeared, Stones had been drawn towards the middle as 3rd centre back and the guy scored from where the right back should have been. Pretty basic stuff.

Kieran Fitzgerald
41 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:48:47
There was absolutely no energy or pace to us in the second half. I was surprised because our second goal could not have come at a better time. I agree with Sid that Besic and Atsu with twenty minutes left would have been the changes to make.

Some positives for me were that I thought Naismith played very well and I'm delighted be scored. I would agree with Kevin that he was motm. Hopefully a sign of things to come. Coleman coming on, while a baffling substitution when may Besic would have been a better option, meant that Coleman must be fit enough to start next week.

Brian Denton
42 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:52:06
How the hell do you get that sort of injury in training, ffs???
Dick Brady
43 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:50:52
Let's be honest it was a lacklustre performance following a lacklustre pre-season.

We were lethargic and lacklustre in nearly all the games pre-season and had some awful results.

Did you all expect us to suddenly snap out of it today? Form doesn't change that quickly. It's going to take time to improve.

I don't necessarily think Roberto got the tactics or substitutes wrong today. I do however feel he got the pre-season wrong and we paid the price for that today.

Harold Matthews
44 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:00:50
Great first half. Terrible second. They got their subs right. We didn't. Too many tired legs. McGeady wasn't doing much late on but he wasn't the worst. He took him off because he always takes him off. Lukaku and Stones were well below par. The lad has a lot to learn about positioning and is too slow over the first 3 yards. Their 2nd goal was a replica of an earlier miss but we didn't learn.

Leicester are probably the poorest side we will meet this season and we blew it. Too many players were off the pace and Roberto made strange decisions.

James Stewart
45 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:50:47
Tactics were poor from RM I’m afraid...he got this one all wrong. Doesn’t seem to have learnt anything from the start of last season, which is worrying. Why didn’t Besic come on when we were crying out for fresh legs?!
Peter Mills
47 Posted 16/08/2014 at 18:54:07
Dick#36 - there is no reason why adopting a more attacking philosophy should mean our defenders can't do their jobs.
Kevin Tully
48 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:02:59
Can people please forget about pre-season? Look at Man Utd, 7-0 wins, won the tournament they were in against top European sides, and then got beat at home today by one of the favourites for relegation. It means Jack shit!
Al Reddish
49 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:20:49
I agree pre season doesn't mean much if used as an exercise for fitness levels against quality opposition. We never got either judging by how the players wilted today.
Paul Dark
50 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:22:02
Personally, I thought McGeady was poor - and should never have started. He certainly should've come off much much earlier.
Mike Hughes
51 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:18:28
Colin #31 - it's 38 sprints, not a marathon IMHO.
(Plus cup games of course) :)

That was 2 points dropped today and I seriously hope we don't have a 'marathon' outlook on the season. I thought we'd left the percentage / glass ceiling stuff behind with the previous regime.

The Barkley injury was a blow but, going in 2-1 up at half-time should have seen us approach the game differently in the second half with smarter substitutions a bit earlier.

Being positive, at least we've stopped the pre-season rot and are in our usual position above Man Utd in the RM era.

Sid Logan
52 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:20:06
The bottom line is we have to show more determination to win this type of game! Roberto has to combine his natural relaxed manner with a gritty determination to win.

We all know he wants to win but I sometimes wonder whether the players should be more aware of his determination to win fear his wrath more if they don't. I suspect they don't at the moment.

Roberto always talks about players enjoying their football which of course they should. I just wonder whether the teams (or for that matter individuals) ever go on to break through the barrier if the both the carrot and the stick are not employed.

With Roberto I have always had this fear that it's all carrot and no stick! Nothing he's ever said has altered my opinion of this. I've always thought that a manager like Roberto who adopted a little of the fear elements of Catterick or the less 'nanny' approach of Shankly would be a great combination for success!

Then again maybe it's not in out destiny! That's just how I feel tonight!

Dean Adams
53 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:38:16
Harold Matthews 44

How do you think that Leicester are probably the poorest side in the league? They were light years ahead of Burnley who were a far better team than the misfits at QPR. Also I believe that there are several sides who stayed up last season who will look very poor this year. Not wanting to dissagree with you old fella, but I think you have been a tad hasty with your decision making there, which I must say is unlike you!! As for Stones, I got last season that you don't rate the lad. He has room for improvement but has the hallmarks of a seriously good player.

Dick Brady
54 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:41:18
I agree that preseason games are worthless in terms of results but they are absolutely vital in terms of building up fitness.

We didn't have enough preseason games to begin with and in none of them did they players look anywhere near fit.

So we finished preseason looking lethargic and lacklustre and surprise surprise we started the first game of the season looking lethargic and lacklustre.

The truth is a couple more preseason games could have led to a little more fitness and maybe a win or two would have had the players in a more positive frame of mind.

A lethargic, lacklustre and winless preseason is not the most positive way to start a season.

Dave Lynch
55 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:46:03
I know it was pre-arranged but I think him being in Brazil and not with the team did not help.

I honestly thought before the start of the season we would not perform to the standards we did last season and nothing I have seen pre-season or today has changed my mind.

Gutted about Ross...

Steve Cotton
56 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:41:41
Can I please just add that Trevor Francis is a nobhead. He didn't credit us for anything and wanted our players booked at every opportunity. He obviously has a strong dislike for us; if anyone meets him at Goodison Park this season, please let him know in no uncertain terms that we all think he is a twat!!.

As a side issue, why wasn't their back man sent off for handling to stop Lukaku having a free run on goal? Or the lad booked who stood on McCarthy?? Or a yellow for the completely dangerous play by the lad who kicked Jagielka in the head???

Colin Glassar
57 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:57:19
I've got a feeling things just might start to click in the next game. The commentators were saying that arsenal were looking a bit leggy in the second half as well. Onwards and upwards fellow blues, it's the first game of the season not the last.
Si Mar
58 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:53:54
I left work and saw the final 5 minutes of the first half, seen a great goal and couldn't wait for the second to begin. What then followed was at best 'pretty poor'.

Is it acceptable to have a 21-year-old forward who isn't meant to be injured that far off the pace of the game?!! So what if he went to the World Cup, he hardly played!!

That second half was totally abysmal, we have had worse starts but I thought Leicester were very poor and were gifted a very stupid equaliser.

I'm sure Roberto will come out with his 'positives' but second half the only one I saw was James McCarthy not getting seriously injured!

Colin Glassar
59 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:01:44
Steve Cotton, add Jamie redknapp and carra to that. During the arsenal-palace game they mentioned creasehead more times than they mentioned any of the players actually playing in the game e.g. Steven Gerrard would've done his, I remember Steven Gerrard.... Steven Gerrard against xyz team did this etc, etc, etc.... It's fucking embarrassing as it sounds like they are both in love with him.
Tom Flower
60 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:04:52
Steve, I couldn’t agree with you more about Trevor Francis. The guy is a tool of note. His commentary was so biased. On the one hand, he was criticising us for not playing with good possession yet, on the other hand, he was urging Leicester to play hoofball because it was their only chance of scoring. He’s a fucking moron.
Colin Malone
61 Posted 16/08/2014 at 19:43:03
Mike (#51),

I agree: two points lost, but there's something called match fitness, and you cannot get that with friendlies or running or sprinting around a training complex. As all we football players know [even me], it takes four plus games to get your match fitness.

Si Mar
62 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:14:30
Multi millionaire footballers with access to the best sports science, nutrition, personal conditioning and fitness plans, 6 weeks of pre-season including ball work and friendlies, I think we just have to face facts that it was a bad day at the office and second half we were fucking woeful!!

If its gonna takes us 4 games to get into the swing of things, I take it there ain't much hope in the next 2 home games?!!!

Ray Robinson
63 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:19:56
Just back from the game. Haven't read all the thread but we were either a) not match fit and faded second half or b) complacent and thought that 2-1 was enough and therefore didn't chase the third or c) combination of both the preceding.

Defensively we looked poor but then we've started poorly the last two seasons and then gone onto be rock solid, so I'm not unduly worried on that score. Pienaar had a good game but slows the pace down too much. We play good football, hold the ball well but build up too deliberately - we have to learn to play slick and hit on the break.

Most certainly, two points dropped.

Sam Higgins
64 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:36:51
I can understand the frustration. It’s like nothing has changed in 20 years – we were drawing with Leicester then. These games we should be winning, it’s fucking shite and it looks like another same predictable season.
Mike Hughes
65 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:31:36
Colin #61
By that line of argument, it's the same for all teams ... a few games to get match fitness. But it's not just down to fitness. We are an established Premier League team who should have the street smarts to win a game like that.
Gerard Morgan
66 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:33:13
Ready for loads of flack (he had a great World Cup etc) but... Howard is a shit keeper, has been for years. He can stop a shot well as reaction but if he needs to think about anything for more than 2 seconds, he's hopeless. He looked like a pheasant facing a 12-bore for both of their goals today. Our defence is ace but we won't progress until we get a better keeper.
Sam Higgins
67 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:38:52
Ross Barkley – 5 months? Fuck me, what a fuck up.
Ryan Williams
68 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:41:22
Look, Roberto made a key decision by putting Stones at right back. That decision said - we won’t attack much from this side, but we’ll not concede goals today - and it didn’t happen. 2 goals should have been enough. Stones is a good centerback, but he is no threat going forward from a wide position. The point is, that Coleman was out and is one of our best. Lukaku isn’t fit or is rusty, but he’ll be fine, however, he was awful today. Mirallas is also not quite fit, he’ll be back soon. But playing Coleman makes a HUGE difference. Ross being back would be nice, but we sometimes play better without him.

Agreed about waiting too long for subs. Also think Besic subbing in for Barry when he gets gassed is going to make a big difference for us, but cut Roberto a break. He surely can judge when Besic is ready to have a bigger role. Surely he’ll play for Barry in Europa matches.

Still need another striker. Lukaku should not have played 90 today if he wasn’t ready, but we had no option. Not sure HIbbert is a fit in a RM side reliant on FBs attacking wide, so gotta consider a replacement there, too.

But we will be fine.

Matt Traynor
69 Posted 16/08/2014 at 20:51:57
Gerard, #66, you'll get more flack for describing our defence as ace.

They had a collective shitter today.

Paul Dark
70 Posted 16/08/2014 at 21:11:13
RM's high praise of McGeady is a little depressing. I find him a one-trick pony, and not a great trick at that. Atsu must replace HIM and NOT Pienaar.
Nigel Gregson
71 Posted 16/08/2014 at 21:42:27
A few observations and perhaps slightly non conformist opinion here :

1. Lukaku: Sure, he wasn't the marauding beast that we are used to; however, he held up play okay. In fact, he started the move that led to the second goal with a precision cross-field ball to Pienaar. There were clear instructions to that big defender (was it Wes Morgan?) to give extra close attention to the big fella, and the defender did his job well.

2. McGeady: He's great, but for only one half. He really really needs to work on his fitness and stamina. He nearly cost Barry a red card with his silly tired hospital ball in the second half. Bobby should have replaced him instead of Pienaar.

3. Stones: I really think Stones is the fella we need to slate off today. Sorry, lad, that was simply NOT good enough. Especially for the second goal, while Jags went for the man with the ball, Stones needed to cover the pass and not allow a free shot; instead, he stood like Michaelangelo's David. Yes he brings the ball out well from defense, but his primary job is to fucking defend. Learn how to do that first, son.

4. Special shout and fair play to the Leicester lad who didn't go down looking to get Barry a red as he easily could have done (this was while they were still 2-1 down so he had every incentive to do so). Does anyone else remember the incident?

5. Yes, it's a draw; yes, it's two points dropped and that sucks. But I think this Leicester team will get better and adapt to this level far quicker than people are giving them credit for. As someone else mentioned, they were unbeaten at home for 27 games. With this in context, we did okay. During the latter parts of the 1st half, they looked like they had been hit by a World War 2 tank. If we had played like that for another 10 minutes it could have been easily 3 or 4 to us.

Tony Abrahams
72 Posted 16/08/2014 at 21:47:11
Thought Martinez completely contradicted himself today by keeping Lukaku on for the full match. Not fit enough to play 30 mins in a pre-season friendly, but then playing him for the full 90 mins, seven days later, in a much more serious game of football.

We played some very good football, but stopped being a threat in the second half, which is really unexplainable. Everton kept Leicester in the game today by not trying to score a third goal, and this is something that will need to be addressed as the season goes forward, especially when we look so disjointed at the back.

It’s early days and it’s clear we have got a good team — but have we got enough winners in our squad?

Colin Glassar
73 Posted 16/08/2014 at 22:06:22
I've just watched the extended highlights and first of all, we weren't that great in the first half and, secondly, we weren't that bad in the second half.

Nigel, you put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Stones; I'd put the blame on Jags (who was awful) and Distin, to a lesser extent. Both are very experienced pros but both got bullied today and not for the first time. They were second to most balls, they were out jumped and their distribution was poor, plus their leadership qualities nil.

I don't know if it's a confidence thing with Jags but, since his injury last season, he's been below par. It was his concentration and reading of the game that made him a top CB but that's been lacking lately. Distin might just be feeling his age and it might be time to start easing him out of the side as he can't go on forever and he's not going to get any better.

Overall, it was a typical first game of the season for Everton. Still very rusty, lots of cobwebs, but we'll get better. Leicester played like a newly promoted team, full of fight and passion, so it's no big deal (IMO) to come away with a hard-earned point. Next week will be better.

Sam Morrison
74 Posted 16/08/2014 at 23:55:22
Colin I agree Jags looked rusty but other than that – well, it wasn't Goodison Legend stuff from Stones. He is so good on the ball but off it he currently wanders. Match his ball skills with Hibbert's positioning and we've got a player.
Conor Waters
75 Posted 17/08/2014 at 00:06:53
Writing on the wall as per usual. How many times have we seen matches played out like this? I could see their equaliser coming a mile away. Lukaku clearly unfit to the point that he was a hindrance. Stones needs to be fully focused, way too slack in possession and marking.

Considering the sub-standard pre-season, mounting injuries and facing a buoyant team who just romped the Championship, a draw isn't the worst result. But it's just so frustrating how we throw away points...

Nigel Gregson
76 Posted 17/08/2014 at 01:36:45
The Leicester lad who wins my fair play shout in the earlier post was Riyad Mahrez. Later on, he created the play that led to their second –once again, fair play, lad.

On to the Barkley news. We absolutely must get another creative midfielder now. Kagawa or cleverly or someone of that ilk (even if on loan) before the window shuts.

Harold Matthews
77 Posted 17/08/2014 at 01:22:25
Dean. Always think it's a bit dodgy when someone trots out my full name.

TBH, I forgot about Burnley so I might owe Leicester an apology.

As for the lad. I won't be talking much about him this season. He is with us for a long time so I have to hope he goes on to great things.

Dick Fearon
78 Posted 16/08/2014 at 23:44:58
As per some of my previous posts, the Leicester defeat was further proof that we have no-one in the back line with an aura of command. Someone who does his own job and ensures that team mates are doing theirs. In other words, a real captain-like figure.

Jags is good in his role as centre back yet he does not carry an air of confidence and authority that only good captains possess.

What is the point of designated corner-kick takers if far too often they land the ball nowhere near their intended target? I have coached 11-year-olds who regularly deliver better crosses than these highly paid professionals.

Harold Matthews
79 Posted 17/08/2014 at 03:08:01
Dick. Sounds like you’re looking for someone like ironman Ron Vlaar, Villa captain and star World Cup centre back for the Netherlands. A real leader who blocks shots with his face and hairy chest. His display helped Senderos to a higher level against Stoke and was the main reason they came away with 3 points.

As for our corners. You said it all. We never score from corners. Other teams expect to score from corners. I’ll never understand why they are of no interest to Mr Martinez.

Eddie Dunn
80 Posted 17/08/2014 at 07:33:47
Having watched the game, it seems to me that we were dangerous only from the right wing link up from Baines and Pienaar. McGeady was always looking to cut inside from the left wing, on to his left peg to shoot.

Oh how we missed Coleman on the right flank, and without him, we are much diminished both offensively and defensively. In fairness to Stones, his flank was often left open as McGeady was switching wings, and McCarthy was not always covering for him.

Lukaku was slow, and his passing awful, but Naismith is a great example to the whole team. He is fit, his play in and around the box is intelligent, he scored a cracking goal, and he is totally committed.

The defending at set-pieces is going to cost us a place in the top 4. We looked like conceding at every corner!

Harold Matthews
82 Posted 17/08/2014 at 13:38:12
Eddie. You got your wings and feet mixed up early on but the bit about defending set pieces is right on the button. Without a Cahill, Lescott or Jelavic, we are sitting ducks. Lukaku won't get his feet off the ground, Distin is not the force of old and Tornado Tim hates crosses. Our two best headers, Alcaraz and Duffy, have to view things from the bench, whilst the rest of us sit and pray.
Kevin Tully
83 Posted 17/08/2014 at 14:19:41
Dick # 78 - I know we are a little dissapointed, but you do know we never lost that game yesterday, don't you?

In your defence, I could see why you would think that reading the reaction on here.

Michael Penley
84 Posted 17/08/2014 at 14:26:31
I don't think anyone who followed pre-season saw us playing as well as we did first half. We were on fire and full of energy. I had to leave the house at half-time and when I came back, I couldn't believe what was happening. You could see the equaliser coming a mile away.

I have to wonder what Roberto said at half time. Somehow I think it went something like "keep enjoying your football". His comments after the game suggested he knew we were too relaxed but then why didn't he bring on fresh legs?

Eddie Dunn
85 Posted 17/08/2014 at 18:24:27
Oops Harold, that will teach me to post stuff early in the morning! But, I think you get my drift!
Dean Adams
86 Posted 17/08/2014 at 20:55:14
Harold 77

I normally copy and paste people's names, for fear of spelling them wrong and offending, so sorry if you find it a bit dodgy!!

I guessed you were caught up in the moment yesterday. As for the lad, he has a long way to go before he is better than either Jags or Distin at their peak, but unfortunately, so are they now.

Rob Halligan
87 Posted 17/08/2014 at 21:11:11
Hope Sylvain isn’t reading this then Dean!!
Sean Kelly
88 Posted 17/08/2014 at 21:28:09
I said it on another post: we need a bollox as a captain, preferably a centreback. We are too nice, too quiet, and we don’t put the fear into anybody. A Kevin Moran type that takes the hits and gives those around him direction and abuse if they don’t follow his lead.

In sure there are other great example but Kevin was that type when he played GAA for club and county. He may not have been a Boobby Moore or Maldini but Jesus he took many a knock for the team and expected others to follow suit.

Clive Lewis
89 Posted 17/08/2014 at 21:24:17
I thought that Mc-give-the-ball-away-Geady should have been subbed earlier second half... Osman should have come on because we desperately needed someone who can actually pass the ball through the gaps. Nothing going on down the right flanks. We needed to switch play, stretch the midfield.

Leicester did well getting players back defending... However, same as last season, seemed like Roberto was counting the passes again: 65% possession and not really one shot at goal second half, says it all really. By the way, if you want to watch again – yes, sad, I know – go to

David Hallwood
90 Posted 17/08/2014 at 21:57:55
Clive Lewis (#90), I was away and I’ve only just seen the highlights from Everton TV, but a major concern so early on the season has got to be the fitness of some players. According to most reports McGeady was dead on his feet 60-65 minute mark, and questions have to be asked why.

He should be used to the pace of the EPL as he’s had half a season to adjust and 8 months to get into shape (and its a long time I’ve seen a footballer so out of condition when he joined us in January). In addition he didn’t have the World Cup distraction.

A Leicester City fan posted on one of the threads that their better level of fitness came to the fore late in the game; if that’s true, why is this? We had most of the possession so in theory they should have been a lot more tired after spending most of the game chasing after the ball.

Let’s hope this won’t be the usual ambling start because it cost us dear last season.

Zahir Jaffer
91 Posted 17/08/2014 at 21:51:43
I’ve been thinking about why Roberto made his subs so very late and why he made those substitutions. They may be slightly appalling, but it seems to make sense, or well to me at least.

Atsu didnt come on because Roberto must have felt that Atsu didn’t know the team well enough and didn’t want to play that wild card. Seems a bit disrespectful too when a loan player who joined just a few days ago, gets subbed in before the diehard Evertonians on the bench.

Besic is being disciplined for injuring our prodigal son. Mirallas wasn’t fit enough and had he come on earlier he may have made a fool out of himself. Osman can’t play on the wings and Naismith was too good to be replaced.

Pienaar seemed burnt out but still looked better than Mirallas. May have subbed him to rest him up for Arsenal. (Mentioned why it happened so late above.)

Lukaku: Well I still can’t figure out why he played the whole game. Is it because we didn’t have any other player to play in his position? Mirallas was used to save up Pienaar’s energy, and Naismith is most effective behind the striker, as we all witnessed.

Clive Lewis
92 Posted 17/08/2014 at 22:13:28
David # 91
Well was Roberto covering the World Cup, I take it we had training sessions during this time. Also, it's not very often a player rips a ligament in training. I take it we practise tackling during training a lot, maybe not to much running. Got a feeling Roberto was not that involved due to World Cup commitments .

Dean Adams
93 Posted 17/08/2014 at 22:25:08
Rob 88

Oops! But it kinda backs up my point, well sort of.

Paul Dark
94 Posted 17/08/2014 at 22:36:00
On the OS, in the interview between Darren and Diamond, Jags is mooted as a prime candidate for MotM. Crikey! Football really is a game of opinions...
Zahir Jaffer
95 Posted 17/08/2014 at 22:27:24
Harold (#79)

Our corner takers put no air into the crosses. Even when our corners are taken, they’re about waist height. That may as well be because we have no-one to soar through the sky and attack the ball with their head. Every club in the PL has at least one guy who posses that aerial threat, may it be from their defence, midfield or upfront. Sadly, we have no-one who can cause that sort of havoc.

Harold Matthews
96 Posted 18/08/2014 at 00:15:40
Sean. Darron Gibson always wears the invisible armband. Woe betide anyone who gives the ball away cheaply and makes him chase back. He tore Baines to shreds in a Villa game for trying to play someone offside instead of putting a tackle in.

Gibbo had to gallop back from the halfway line and was not amused. I don't know whether it's the Irish or the Man Utd bit, but he organises things and nobody dare disagree.

John Daley
97 Posted 18/08/2014 at 00:42:16
"Darron Gibson always wears the invisible armband"

It's just that it's usually overpowered by his semi-transparent sock of incessant sick notes and corporeal crutches.

John Daley
98 Posted 18/08/2014 at 01:15:14
Last time I saw an Everton player actually step up like a captain should, was Baines when he came to Barkley's aid against Arsenal last season and let rip at Arteta.
Harold Matthews
99 Posted 18/08/2014 at 02:45:08
Yes. Bainesy will have a go. I just wish he'd do more of it. It still doesn't alter my view of Gibson's leadership qualities, transparent socks et al.
James Flynn
100 Posted 18/08/2014 at 01:46:45
Harold (97) - Yep. If only we could keep him healthy, Gibson would be the mid-field key and team leader.

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