With this being the second 5:30pm Saturday kick-off at Goodison Park on the spin, we were again in the pub mighty earlier to catch a 3pm game... Manchester City vs Stoke City the match shown – and what a shock that was!! Nobody expected that result, for sure.

Many will have expected a Chelsea win – though not in a nine-goal thriller. Scoring three at home and losing is rather criminal and, with 10 goals conceded already this season, it's certainly a real problem for Roberto Martinez. How he handles that with three competitions to play in and some big, big fixtures to come in September will be fascinating. With Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin at the back, we kept nine of of our 15 Premier League clean sheets last season... so perhaps a Spanish Inquisition is required to get to the bottom of this.

With plenty of beer down our necks, we went on to a raucous Goodison Park. Everton attacking the Park End in the first half with McGeady in for the injured Pienaar the only change to the team which drew with Arsenal last weekend.. Chelsea looking pretty smart all in yellow. It looks like something of a 'Fantasy Football' team, the Chelsea line up: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Ramiers and Costa. What a team... and with players like Schurrle, Drogba, Mikel and Cech on the bench, we were in for quite a challenge.

So a difficult challenge made extra tough by conceding a goal within 40 seconds of the start... and then seemingly Mission Impossible when we found ourselves 0-2 down after only three minutes. What a disaster. The movement of Costa seemed to surprise our centre-backs so early in the game, and then a rare goal from Ivanovic made it worse. The Serb slightly offside when he scored but we got away with one last week so no complaints from me... Apart from that, I wish we'd have had the linesman on the other side of the pitch instead – he just couldn't help himself from sticking his flag in the air at every opportunity.

Having said all that, it is a good thing we had the other linesman as a blind man would have spotted Tim Howard was well outside his penalty area when he gathered a ball at the feet of Costa. A very lucky break for Everton. I shudder to think what would have happened with Robles in goal, Everton a man down, and that defence against a rampant Jose Mourinho's Chelsea with about 70 minutes to play. Never mind nine goals – it might have been 0-9 with that scenario.

Still, though we struggled, Everton eventually rallied and got into them a bit more. The crowd responded to this and urged Everton forward; on the stroke of half-time, we grabbed one back giving us a lifeline in the match. A Coleman cross was headed in nicely by Kevin Mirallas to make it 1-2. Prior to this, Distin had put the ball in the net though it was chalked off for offside. Going into the second-half despite a woeful start, it was very much game on.

I'd already headed downstairs for a half-time pint and had to see Mirallas's header on one of the screens. All the half-time chatter was about our European fixtures and people's plans and journeys. Some great trips ahead for thousands of Evertonians over the next few months...

Had we not have nabbed one back before the break, you wonder if there've been a few changes at the break. Most downstairs wanted to see Stones on to try and distribute the ball better than what the other two were managing... and maybe to defend a bit better, more to the point. However, with Mirallas scoring on the stroke of half-time, we stayed as we were.

What materialised was quite some encounter... as good a game as you'll wish to see, in fact – apart from Everton finishing the wrong side of the scoreline, of course. Though one extreme positive was the performance of Samuel Eto'o. He illuminated Goodison Park with his fantastic movement, desire for the ball, quality on it, and link-up play. He always shows for the ball and I really look forward to watching him play this season and next. A quite brilliant player and I fell in love with his ability straight away. I was so sceptical when we signed him, though I am delighted to be wrong... smart header too, by the way.

That aside, there was plenty more to get excited about on the pitch, not least five goals in a crazy 11 minutes just at the beginning of the final quarter of the game. Seamus Coleman was mighty unfortunate to divert the ball into his own net from a Hazard shot. Coleman and Costa had been barging into each other which lead to a bit of a square up between a few of the players, Costa giving Coleman stick following the own goal seemed to upset Tim Howard who went after Costa. Luckily the referee chose to only book Howard... who was lucky to still be on the pitch in any event of course.

McGeady, who did precious little else all game, pretty much straight from the restart realised space ahead of him and ran into it. Naismith had also made a clever unchecked run to the right hand side of the penalty area. McGeady found him perfectly, Naismith finished perfectly and almost immediately it was 2-3 in this crazy game which was still nowhere near finished.

With McGeady doing brilliantly for the goal, it was a bit surprising to see him substituted, though Eto'o needed to be introduced somehow. It's a shame he didn't get his chance before Chelsea grabbed their 4th goal, particularly as Matic's goal went in via a colossal deflection. Had Eto'o scored to make it 3-3, it would have brought the house down. One chance for Eto'o before Matic scored and it might well have been 3-3 at that point. He did score with his first touch after all.

Regardless, at 3-4 the pendulum swung back to Chelsea in no time at all when lazy defending eventually allowed Ramires to sneak into the box and finish well past Howard. That was 3-5 and, though Mirallas volleyed against the post following a dazzling move, you sensed the game was now up. Oh, but there was still time yet for a moment of comedy (from the neutrals' point of view at least).

If Samuel Eto'o showed just what to do with your first touch, Besic did quite the opposite. Actually I can't think of a more ridiculous first touch for a club I've ever seen by any player. Quite what he was trying to do with a crazy backheel like that, nobody knows. Distin and Jagielka had been through hell all evening and didn't need that. Mikel still had work to do mind and did well to slip the ball in to Costa who feigned a shot to put Distin out of the equation before slotting past the helpless Howard. 3-6. How ridiculous.

There was time for one more moment of class from Eto'o. With Gary Cahill seriously and unnecessarily wasting time in injury time (they were three goals ahead after all) by lying down to receive treatment from injury, Samuel Eto'o had seen enough and went over to help Cahill to his feet. He got up sharp enough (and sheepish enough) when confronted by Eto'o who then tried to drag him off the pitch behind the goal rather than let him waste time trotting off on the side of the pitch. Needless to say Cahill was fine when he was waved back on moments later but I love the class and professionalism of Samuel Eto'o. What a player we have there. Let's enjoy it this season and next.

So... a bizarre match at Goodison Park and no wins yet this campaign. It's stating the obvious but, if we sort out that defence, we'll be OK – and I'm sure we will. No reason at all to push the panic button just yet. Moreover, that scoreline might represent the kick up the backside the back line require.

Player Ratings:

Howard: I'm not sure how much he could have done about most of them goals but he really should have been sent off which would have cost us big time. 5

Baines: I think he missed Pienaar a bit going forward as he was pretty much running into a brick wall against Ivanovic all afternoon. Kept trying though. Played in some uncharacteristically poor set-pieces in the last 10 minutes. 6

Distin: It's quite sad when a player heads into the winter of his career and you see signs of weakness in their game. He seems to have lost that pace of his a little bit and at 36 you wonder how long he has at the top. It's particularly sad when it's a player who's served you well and who you admire. I hope we see an improvement in Distin's game this season. Would be a shame to see him go out on a low ebb, but if changes have to be made then Martinez has to do it. Interesting dilemma he has here. I'd give him and Jagielka a few more games to get it right yet, though with games coming thick and fast next month there'll definitely be changes at the back and chances for Stones and Alcaraz to stake their claims. 5

Jagielka: Horribly exposed on several occasions and, like Distin, must be worrying about his place in the team. Will be interesting to see what team is sent out for our next game at West Brom. 5

Coleman: Caught out a few times in defence but did do well getting forward. 6

Barry: I thought he was one of the few who stood up to the task early in the game but, as the game ebbed on, his passing got worse and he also went missing. Like most, not at his best throughout. 5

McCarthy: Also poor. Too much seemed to go past him. I don't understand why Martinez is always so reluctant to disrupt McCarthy and Barry in midfield, particularly when we are chasing games and need something more dynamic in attack. 5

McGeady: He worked hard but didn't produce any real quality... not until the 69th minute at least when he rampaged forward and slipped in Naismith for our second goal. That must have gotten his confidence up a bit... and then he was substituted. Crazy. 5

Mirallas: Seems very much a big-game player. Worked hard, scored a great header, and was unlucky not to add another. Hope he can really kick on after the international break. We'll need him at his best in our busy September period. 7

Naismith: If everybody put the same shift in as he does, we'd be having no problems at all. As ever, he was completely tireless and unselfish throughout and put in quality display. Three goals in three games already this season and forget about Player of the Month – we could well be looking at Player of the Season. I can't credit him enough for the way he's transformed himself at Everton. My Man of the Match. 8

Lukaku: Did OK but, as is often the case, I find myself feeling underwhelmed by his efforts and think he can do a lot more... and, as our £28M record signing, we really need more from him. Take Eto'o for example. He's had no pre-season, also went to Brazil and came in straight after signing and looked excellent. I hope he can learn from Eto'o as we'll really need more from Lukaku throughout the season. 6

Eto'o: I just loved watching him and am excited to see more. If you'd have told me a couple of years ago we were to sign Samuel Eto'o, I'd have laughed in your face; and when we did sign him, earlier this week, I thought we were getting a bit of a has-been. I was taken aback by his quality yesterday and hope his quality and enthusiasm can rub off on some of the others. It's great that he has retired from international football also... a good opportunity for him to settle in a bit more with our next game now a fortnight away. 8

Besic: I've never seen anything on a football pitch quite so stupid in my life as that first ridiculous back-heel. Can only be upwards from that I suppose. 3

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Julian Wait
1 Posted 31/08/2014 at 21:13:30
I had to leave the room after the Besic back heel. I couldn't bare to watch any more. As you say, the only way is up from here ...
Paul Ferry
2 Posted 31/08/2014 at 23:51:52
Paul there are numbers below 5 mate to differentiate a little more:

Howard 4
Coleman 7
Jagielka 2
Distin 3
Baines 5
Barry 5
McCarthy 5
McGeady 5
Mirallas 7
Naismith 8
Lukaku 4

How you can give Besic a mark when he came on at 88 mins beggars belief. You usually donÂ’t give players marks for these very short stints. And I donÂ’t know how old you are, but of BesicÂ’s backheel was the most stupid thing youÂ’ve seen on a footie pitch – by a player – then you have been lucky leading a sheltered life mate!

Nigel Gregson
3 Posted 01/09/2014 at 00:04:25
Paul McGeady also put in a peach of a pass for the header for first goal. 5 is a tad bit harsh for the creator of two of our three goals no ?

The second goal, while scored by Nais, actually had two creators. Lukaku diverted two defenders by his run creating space for Nais to run into, and McGeady putting in that peach of a pass in front of Nais - who deservedly gets an 8, but the other two get 6 and 5 ?

Si Cooper
4 Posted 01/09/2014 at 00:28:30
Nigel, unfortunately a lot of off the ball graft goes unnoticed / unappreciated. To be fair, can be hard to spot at the game and a live match recording and the benefit of rewinding the action at your own leisure is not always an option.

I like the passion of the reports from match-goers, but I tend to rely only on what I can view for myself when making a judgement on a performance.

Ant Dwyer
5 Posted 01/09/2014 at 00:27:44
One person who you failed to mark out of ten was Martinez; IÂ’d give him a 2 at best. He started with a crazy team and even crazier tactics. IÂ’d love to hear why he thought Barry and McCarthy would be able to cope alone in the centre of the park up against Fabregas, Matic and Ramires especially as itÂ’s clear Willian will not be hugging a flank so he almost makes it four through the middle. I can not for the life of me understand how he thought it okay to have four forwards all game, leaving Mirallas, McGeady and Naismith up alongside Lukaku.

I canÂ’t understand why, after we managed to claw ourselves back into the game for the third time, he refused to change any of our problem areas for fresher legs off the bench. I simply canÂ’t do anything but say he got it all massively massively wrong again.

When I put Â’againÂ’ – thatÂ’s because I feel he is to blame for every point dropped so far this season – and please do not read this and feel I am a fool who hates Martinez as I certainly do not. I have a season ticket with my dad and my son and I enjoy the football under Roberto, but when the man in charge cannot seem to see tired flagging footballers right infront of his eyes, I have to call it.

Against Leicester in our first game, it was clear many players had run their race by the hour mark but, for some reason, Roberto persisted on leaving most of these players to run on empty for far too long, resulting in us blowing two important points. In the game versus Arsenal, Martinez had his gameplan spot-on until he made the wrong changes, putting on two lightweight attacking players when it was clear that, with little over 10 mins remaining, we had to tighten up and take our well-earned points.

Then thereÂ’s the latest game were Roberto thought it best to go all out attack versus a team full of world class attacking players with a team which has looked to have the softest centre IÂ’ve seen us have in many a year. Between Barry, Distin and Jagielka, we have too many out-of-form players on the pitch.

For me, JagIelka needs removing from the limelight for a month or so and we have to play Stones. Furthermore, Barry has to be given time out too... if not, McCarthy is going to have a heart attack or something as heÂ’s left to do the running of two men.

Bring in Besic or even Osman and letÂ’s see how we shape up then; itÂ’s quite obvious that, after 3 games and 10 goals conceded, something has to change and fast.

Joe O'Brien
6 Posted 01/09/2014 at 00:39:44
I think Besic's 1st unofficial debut in pre-season went to his head, where he had IMO the best 1st 3 touches ever in a football match. They were class, unlike yesterday's which were awful. It'll be a big wakeup to him which will only make him better
Dave Cook
7 Posted 01/09/2014 at 00:55:30
Was at the match up at the back of Lower Bullens (tickets were bought for me so can't complain too much but good lord is it a terrible place to sit) and I said as soon as Besic was warming up. "Get ready lad, you're about to see some skill."

10 seconds later and I didn't speak for the rest of the game. I just hope my new Polish friends believe in sarcasm.

Andy Crooks
8 Posted 01/09/2014 at 00:58:15
Paul, good piece. Must disagree with your rating of Tim Howard. In my view he was utterly woeful. As bad a goal keeping show as I've seen for a long time. If he is better than Robles then we need a new goalkeeper today.
Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 01/09/2014 at 05:17:06
Oh for gosh sakes... Andy, you must still be in your throes of grief over Duffy's departure. How in the world were any of those Howard's fault? He MIGHT have stopped the one through his legs, but the others... no chance for any keeper. Plus he stood up superbly for his teammate, and Costa went out of his way to apologize after the game. Howard is class.
Craig Fletcher
10 Posted 01/09/2014 at 06:28:26
To be fair Mike (9) Howard didn’t cover himself in glory on Saturday. Could have done better much with the first goal; and then eight minutes in he was lucky to stay on the pitch after handling outside the area.

However, I loved seeing him have go at Costa and sticking up for his mate. Class. I only wish he went all Duncan Ferguson on his ass instead.

Mike Childs
11 Posted 01/09/2014 at 14:00:09
I felt Howard was at fault for the own goal as well. He setup against the post and instead of staying there he dove forward in anticipation and opened up the space it went through. This is my biggest gripe with his keeping – he always anticipates and dives where he thinks the ball is heading instead of standing tall and moving late.

He's in desperate need of competition for his spot.

Last season he was excellent as his motivation was a new contract; we need something to motivate him again and Robles isn't it.

Les Fitzpatrick
12 Posted 01/09/2014 at 16:24:24
OMG! ... Just got back in country from working in Canada.
Sat down and watched the game against Chelski that my daughter taped for me......

I think Bill needs to get a grip of ALL the ex-Wigan pie-eaters and tell them that performance is NOT acceptable.

Swanning off to the World Cup at the expense of your employerÂ’s pre-season is NOT ACCEPTABLE... This is not Wigan... for godÂ’s sake, get a grip or ship out – thatÂ’s what my boss would say to me.

Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 01/09/2014 at 17:48:07
Mike (11), you're rolling on four flat tires today with your comments. Howard's at fault for an OG deflected four yards away? He's not motivated? He needs to stand up straight and move SLOWER?! Really?

I'd say those clunkers and your apparent belief (other thread) that Naismith doesn't have "fire in the belly" bespeak either a bad hangover from Saturday or a really poor grasp of the game.

Martin Mason
14 Posted 01/09/2014 at 20:35:03
ThereÂ’s an alternative to buying new defenders and that is playing to our strengths, being patient. We were never going to steamroller Chelsea with waves of attacking football. ThereÂ’s a middle ground between MoyesÂ’s KITAN1 and RMÂ’s sometimes suicidal tactics that he often displayed at Wigan.

I thought that we had it for a great part of last season. In spells we looked wonderful on Saturday but we lost badly;we need to look at alternative strategies and go back to basics.

This isnÂ’t criticism of RM, I think that he is made for EFC, but we did really badly on Saturday.

Mike Childs
15 Posted 01/09/2014 at 21:02:59
Mike (13) I really don't recall ever slightly Nais as his play the last two years has been very good this year excellent. Yes Howard I do have a negative opinion that I can't deny I have seen him beaten short side more times than I can count.
Yes I'm the first to admit I'm still learning the ins and outs of the game.
Jack Cross
16 Posted 05/09/2014 at 02:33:10
Ant Dwyer. I agree with everything you said there mate, so I won't repeat it.

I was wondering if anyone heard the story about George Graham (tax issue) being approached by Everton but Moyse got job.? talk sport? Anyone hear it? Similar kind of manager very defensive. One difference Moyse won sod all and Graham won I think 8 trophies in 8 seasons. But what a defence he had Seaman, Adams and Keone (I think I'm right..

Raymond Fox
17 Posted 05/09/2014 at 06:24:39
The problem I have is that some posters appear to just parrot others thoughts.
I say appear because I obviously I cant prove that!
You get 2 or 3 giving their honest opinion some correct, some not and then others row in with the 2 to 1 view, because they don't really have an opinion of their own.
So we can end up with a wrong diagnosis that becomes after its been stated a few times more, a fact.

Thats my opinion you might agree or not, I'm amazed how different our views are after watching the same event can be.

Now we all think our opinion is the right one I appreciate that. but its the element of follow my leader that sometimes brands some players poor wrongly.
I'm thinking about Robles and Alcaraz particularly, neither in my opinion deserve all the flak they get.
They have become the whipping boys instead of Naismith and Osman, now Naismith has become a hero!

I hate to think what the criticism of Robles would have been like if he had come out of his box like Howard did against Chelsea!

Jack Cross
18 Posted 05/09/2014 at 19:00:03
Raymond Fox. So are you saying that two people can't have the same view? Sounds like that to me Mate.

I've never slagged off Robles and the only time I criticised Alcaraz was when he headed into his own goal and had a very poor game. The game before, if I'm thinking right, he played really well. I've given the defence some stick but who hasn't. If we're all of that opinion, well we can only give that opinion, can't we Raymond; how is that parroting other people's thoughts?

Raymond Fox
19 Posted 05/09/2014 at 19:20:08
Jack, I wasn't referring to your post, mate.

It's only my opinion in any case, that certain players receive an unfair amount of stick because they make a mistake or two and from then on they don't get a fair press!

Roger Helm
20 Posted 05/09/2014 at 20:30:18
Can anyone remember a worse debut than Besic? I've been a Blue for 40 years and I can't. It could have been worse – it might have happened when we were one up!

Having said that, I think he is a good player and he will be a vital part of our midfield this season. I think Barry and McCarthy were getting a bit complacent.

George McKane
21 Posted 05/09/2014 at 20:42:43
Hi Roger

Like you, I've been a Blue a long time – since 1959.

I remember Kendall's debut at Goodison – terrible! He missed an absolute sitter... but still he certainly even then looked like he had something.

Early days yet.

Up The Blues.

Brian Denton
22 Posted 05/09/2014 at 21:16:52
Roger (20) Glen Keeley's debut (and sole appearance) was not a good one.......
Ray Robinson
23 Posted 05/09/2014 at 21:33:57
George @21, thought I was the only one who remembered that! Wasn't it a ball that he ballooned over the bar from 6 yards at the Gwladys St end? Against Southampton and we lost 1-0.

I seem to remember that I was suffering from terrible toothache that day as a 14-year-old. Funny how things stick in your mind!

Colin Williams
24 Posted 05/09/2014 at 22:51:51
Roger, what are you on about! Besic was on for couple of mins. Do you also blame him for all the other goals?

When Besic made that mistake (get over it), there was still 1/3 of pitch to travel, didn’t you see the comedy of errors in defending from, Jags, Distin and Howard? Now that was painful to watch!!

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