Samuel Eto'o failed a late fitness test on a groin complaint
Centre-back John Stones came in for Sylvain Distin (who was injured in training on Friday) to partner Phil Jagielka at the back, with the rest of the team unchanged. Romelu Lukaku was declared fit but Samuel Eto'o and Steven Pienaar did not make the squad. Osman was on the bench alongside Muhamed Besic and Christian Atsu.
Everton kicked off and played keepball at the back until the second minute when Naismith surged forward but the move looked lost until Olsson played a terrible clearance straight to Lukaku who, with a lot to do, curled a beautiful shot from the edge of the area beyond Foster and just inside the post. Great Start!
Everton continued to develop their passing game but did not take control effectively, with too many aerial balls, allowing the home side to finally see more of the ball, with Berahino getting a chance that needed a deflection to take it over Howard's bar. From the corner, it almost went in off Baines after 12 mins.
Despite the brilliant (if highly fortuitous) start, Everton looked less than impressive as the game developed and looking more and more vulnerable in defence, allowing West Brom more and more possession, while failing to build the kind of moves that offered real penetration.
Barry went in a little strong on Gardner, giving away a distant free-kick, Gardner firing over. An unneeded late challenge by Jagielka on Berahino then gave away a more dangerous free-kick in the Dee, Gardner picking up a yellow when questioning the 10 yards for the wall, which successfully blocked Gardner's rocket as Everton had to defend the corner.
Everton's much criticized defence was made to look very amateurish when Jagielka's header caused chaos and Brunt's fierce shot was deflected into the side-netting. A series of WBA corners ensued, with some silliness from Stones, who could have been called for a penalty if the ref had been watching him. It was as if the home side sensed all the defensive weaknesses Everton fans have discussed at length in the last two weeks since conceding six to Chelsea.
Everton finally relieved the pressure but McGeady's poor cross was chicken-feed for Foster, and the Blues were under pressure again. But more solid passing play finally allowed Mirallas to have a good strike at goal, his shot flying a foot over the WBA bar.
One brilliant forward pass by Barry should have led to more as he picked out Lukaku perfectly but again, the big man's first touch showed too much of the ball too the defender and any chance evaporated. Other than this, both sides were playing some dreadful alehouse football with too many horrible aimless hoofs forward, and head-tennis sessions. Naismith tangled with Olsson but the referee took a lenient view.
Lukaku did better with a ball he chested down, controlled, advanced and shot but the curl was not there this time as a rather disappointing first half of poor football came to a close, summed up by dreadful mis-handling of a corner by Howard.
After a poor start to the second half, Lukaku did really well to advance and shoot, forcing Foster to parry with Naismith following up for a tap-in that he amazingly blazed high over the bar! McCarthy was booked for a nothing sliding tackle... bizarre. But it did precede a good spell of Everton possession, if not really yielding even a half-chance
A couple more WBA corners saw a veritable wrestling match in the 6-yard box, with players dragging each other down, but Anthony Taylor was unconcerned. Mirallas went on a great run and passed the ball straight to a defender, summing up the astounding paucity of the game. Howard had to be alert to stop Ideye getting a sniff on a superb cross from Wisdom that beat the close attention of Baines.
There was a little more adventurism after the hour mark as Naismith surged forward but was tackled, then West Brom countered and Dorrans lashed a shot over after Barry gifted him the ball, and sure enough, it presaged the second goal for Everton, Mirallas firing in low and hard, the bounce presumably deceiving Ben Foster, who allowed the ball under his body and into the net for a rather soft and somewhat undeserved goal.
Lukaku was withdrawn, replaced by Osman with 20-odd minutes left. McGeady had a nice run and shot... wide or slightly deflected as the Blues finally started to look more comfortable on the ball. Could they retain concentration and focus for the required 15 minutes? McGeady kept trying his hand at shooting but it wouldn't go in for him. Mirallas jinked inside and went for glory but shot over again.
At the other end, it looked like Berahino would have an easy shot on goal but for an absolutely brilliant intervention by Stones. Then an Osman shot won Everton's first corner when it was deflected, then parried away from the top corner by Foster. Howard then had to save a low clip from Gardner.
Into the final 10 minutes and all the attention was on Everton's back line, with Jagielka (who apparently cannot head the ball) heading away a good looking cross, and Coleman giving the ball away dangerously, then a clearance ricocheting back off Barry for WBA's ninth corner. A real mixed bag.
Muhamed Besic was given a couple more minutes at the end in his painfully drawn-out bedding in process, McGeady making way. The best move of the game ensued down the left and deserved a goal from Osman, who's powerful shot was batted away by Foster after a great backheel flick from the unselfish Mirallas. Howard earned his win-bonus with a trademark point-blank stop to deny Berahino in stoppage time.
The game ended in a great away win for Everton, two goals from their strikers, three points, a clean sheet, no embarrassing defensive lapses punished... but a poor performance overall. Still... play bad and win. You can't ask for more.
Scorers: Lukaku (3'), Mirallas (66').
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Wisdom [Y:90'], Olsson, Dawson, Pocognoli, Morrison, Gardner [Y:25'], Brunt (70' Blanco), Dorrans, Berahino, Ideye (70' Samaras).
Subs: Daniels, Baird, Yacob, Gamboa, McAuley.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Baines; Barry, McCarthy [Y:53']; Mirallas, Naismith [Y:81'], McGeady (88' Besic [Y:91']); Lukaku (67' Osman).
Subs: Robles, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Gibson, Atsu.
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Reader Comments (99)
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1 Posted 13/09/2014 at 14:11:36
2 Posted 13/09/2014 at 14:27:08
Still, we are strong enough to win today.
90 minutes of high energy play today please. No fitness excuses from now on!
3 Posted 13/09/2014 at 14:41:37
4 Posted 13/09/2014 at 15:02:29
5 Posted 13/09/2014 at 15:03:24
6 Posted 13/09/2014 at 15:15:21
Mirallas have one of his "typical away days" not looking alive at all so far.
Been a strange game, began well but have started letting them get in the game due to sloppy play.
The wide players havenÂt been in it yet.
At least we have Atsu on the bench if we need him.
CanÂt help feel we will only not win this If we make it hard for ourselves, West Brom are there for the taking its just whether we can take them.
7 Posted 13/09/2014 at 15:24:40
Why arenÂt we dominating possession like we used to?
Mirallas needs to pull his finger out a bit here, a lot is expected if him in these games.
8 Posted 13/09/2014 at 15:45:54
Very edgy at the back. Jagielka canÂt buy an aerial challenge, causing havoc!
Lets start the second half with impetous for a change!
We have to score a second!
9 Posted 13/09/2014 at 15:55:48
At least Naismith is winning the majority of the headers and battling for the ball back in MF but him apart I wouldnÂt give anyone else more than a 5 out 10 for the first half.
I wish we would go for more against a defensively frail West Brom instead of sitting back on a narrow lead.
10 Posted 13/09/2014 at 15:55:39
11 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:04:59
We are better than West Brom but at the minute we are keeping their hopes in this game alive through some sloppy play and concentration lapses.
If we donÂt win this game, like last season, then it will feel just as galling because itÂs obvious to see we have several gears to go up but your asking yourself why arenÂt we reaching them??
IÂm disappointed with the wide players today and Baines and Coleman look nervy of attacking today.
12 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:18:01
He is making Andre Wisdom look like bloody Cafu.
Why does Kev just totally go missing some weeks and look worse than shite?
DonÂt get me wrong Â— heÂs a matchwinner on his day but he doesnÂt have enough "days".
13 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:23:06
What a howler!!!!
That will do.
See what happens when you just actually SHOOT rather than pass sideways?
14 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:26:27
15 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:52:10
16 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:52:34
Very happy with that.
17 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:53:27
18 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:58:46
19 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:59:26
Kept a clean sheet but I think we would have today whoever was in the defence. For once the international break came at the right time for us.
A very good confidence builder with all the games coming up.
Any idea what is wrong with Distin?
Any idea at all what is the Barkley situation? It seems to have gone very quiet on that front!
20 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:52:43
We do need a centre-back who will fight for and win those high balls but also has the passing skills to fit into MartinezÂs system. If Stones can grow physically and learn to dominate in the air, then we are on the right track.
21 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:01:31
22 Posted 13/09/2014 at 16:56:15
23 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:09:14
Distin got injured in the last training session yesterday. Barkley is approx halfway through his rehab, 6 weeks from a runout maybe,
We were pretty average today, loads of players off their game... luckily there where more Baggies off theirs!
24 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:12:26
Yet, apparently, there was "Nothing fortuitous about the first goal." What would you have said if Jagielka had played that ball to the opposition's star striker, Kunal?
ps: Where wuz Lescott and Anichebe? I kinda missed them...
25 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:01:33
Chelsea 4-2 Swansea/ Arsenal 2-2 City/ Stoke 0-1 Leicester.
It turns out, which was always on the cards, that we've played 3 pretty decent teams!
26 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:18:17
27 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:16:36
I still think we give the ball away too often up front and Rom is the worst culprit.
Nevertheless a crucial win at one of our less "lucky" grounds so onward and upwards (hopefully).
28 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:18:29
The team were bound to be edgy today after the last 3 outings but a win will give them a boost.
Onwards and upwards.
Now, if the lots of red rubbish can slip up today and tomorrow, I will be a happy camper!
29 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:17:38
30 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:20:40
31 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:17:09
I can't help feeling that at the moment many fans are feeling a little bit glass half-empty? Which is totally understandable given our start.... Got to agree that at least I can sleep peacefully and even buy a paper tomorrow!
32 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:23:49
But that was almost the only sight of goal he got all game, and it was thanks entirely to a horrendous error by the defender. In my book, that constitutes an equally massive slice of luck for us. Aka, "fortuitous".
33 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:25:39
Once Lukaku received the ball he was some distance from goal and executed his strike inch perfect from around 20 yards out. It wasn't a tap in?
34 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:33:17
The goal would not have happened without the gift ball played to feet from Olsson. Yes, Rom had to make the brilliant strike, which was absolutely top drawer, but that does not negate the highly fortuitous "assist" from the West Brom player.
35 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:28:59
Defensive issues still need to be sorted out if we are to become more solid, namely that when a big target man is on, we do not appear to know how to defend long balls.
Looking forward to the Europa League and hopefully seeing the rest of squad in action i.e. Atsu, Eto'o, Besic and returning players such as Kone, Oviedo and Gibson. Not sure that sentiment applies to Robles mind...
36 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:36:03
37 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:36:52
38 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:35:56
Was disappointed in McCarthy again, no incisive passing and lost the ball in key areas. I think Besic made more forward passes in his 10 mins than McCarthy managed all game. Lukaku, Mirallas and McGeady all had patches of good play but were a little inconsistent. I can't quite understand why we didn't see Atsu for 20 mins at the end. With all the games coming up he needs to be bedded in.
39 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:42:16
40 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:47:42
41 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:51:28
42 Posted 13/09/2014 at 17:52:07
44 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:04:34
I still sometimes wonder how much better we'd be with a midfielder in front of Barry and McCarthy who was in the Arteta mould, somebody who can find a killer pass and be that creative technical maestro.
The trouble is our most destructive midfielders are our wide players, and when they don't play that well, as they didn't in the first half or so then we don't see enough of the ball or look like creating through the middle.
That said it's a very satisfactory day, good away win, clean sheet and let's hope we are now up and running.
45 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:08:38
Starting Stones at the beginning was okay but I think Jags is loosing confidence and is not as dominant as last season. The team did not seem balanced to me until late on in the 2nd half.
46 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:14:47
please change the "fortuitous" headline, it gets more embarrassing as the thread continues.
47 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:19:41
48 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:20:21
49 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:18:20
It's nice to know our defending hasn't been poor but we've just been hard done by through fortuitous goals.
Anyway, not a great performance but we got what we needed. A win and a clean sheet.
Good confidence booster.
50 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:23:42
This sort of outcome is what we've been crying out for in just about every away game played over the past ten years, wear them out and batter them, use our strength and possession play to stifle them and when the time comes..... BAM!
Overall I think we looked more like the home side, which is key to success.
Had Ossie put THAT chance away for 3-0 would it have been "two fortuitous goals and one genius goal" and the performance description uplifted from "poor" to "OK"?
Remember Blackburn away in 2011? Now THAT is still seen as a byword for fortuitous and today's performance was like Brazil 1970 compared to said game!
How many times have we been "un-fortunate" away from home over X number of years? More times than I care to remember... it's just football isn't it?
51 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:21:35
It has to be done Â– we'll win nothing by giving goals away, and we do have some goal scorers to help out at the front. More ugly wins please.
52 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:25:40
53 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:27:52
55 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:31:55
Osman at the moment is our best passer and perhaps Besic is best of the others. I have been saying all season that McCarthy is very average so far and he and Barry are not performing well in front of the back four. I would like to see Besic tried in a full game with Barry on the bench in the same way as Stones given a run alongside Jagielka. Distin at his age should be rotating with Jagielka and Stones.
Oviedo is another who could do a good job in defensive midfield. Plus young Garbutt is not far away from playing left back if Baines is unfit. I cannot wait to see Kone on the bench and Pienaar available along with Gibson and of course Barkley.COYB
56 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:44:05
Still, if we can win without being at our best and whilst missing various decent players then I'll take that.
If we are lucky enough not to pick up further major injuries then we have a good squad for a few competitions.
57 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:44:08
1) A poor cross in by Baines should have been routine for Olsson but he played it straight to Lukaku. Little credit can be given to Everton players for creating the ensuing opportunity, which was down to a horrendous error by the defender. I would argue that, without this component, the goal would not have happened. In my view, that aspect of the goal was highly fortuitous. After that, it was executed with brilliant skill by Lukaku.
2) A nice ball in to Mirallas was fired hard and low, on target. Foster saw it all the way and looked to have it covered, but it squirmed under his body. Most would say that is a goalkeeping error. I would argue that, without this component, the goal would not have happened. For Everton, the outcome was therefore highly fortuitous as the ball ended up in the back of the net.
So... we profit from two defensive errors, but we need to shoot on target to score. Both goals required tremendous skill, but also massive slices of luck Â— just compare with the best move of the match, that did not lead to a goal for Ossie. He was "unlucky" not to score... but it required an excellent save from Foster to stop him. No defensive errors, but no goal either.
It's called football.
58 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:45:35
If we were "fortuitous" then I want MK to tell me so. That's his job. I don't want a deoderised report.
I cant wait to see Football First tonght, a win is a win and if we've had the rub of the green then even better, about time.
59 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:58:20
The second, not so much.
60 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:59:38
61 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:03:21
Give me "lucky generals" or gilt-edged chances on a plate Â— Napoleon (I think).
62 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:05:41
63 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:12:33
If he just told it how it was, even I would be happy, but I've learned to distrust those who see all their geese as swans!
But well done the lads!
64 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:15:50
Nowhere in my report do I say, suggest or insinuate that we did not 'deserve' the win Â— that's entirely in your head. WBA were not that great; we were marginally better than them... but not by much.
We did not play particularly well. And we got lucky with the two goals that won us the game. That's all.
ps: Nice defeat for the Redshite!!! Well done, Villa.
65 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:21:48
66 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:23:15
67 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:22:15
A busy schedule coming up and we will need all the squad firing on all cylinders!!
A good day all round with the Redshite going down to Villa. :-)
68 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:26:51
69 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:28:10
Bullshit doesn't baffle ALL our brains!
70 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:37:24
72 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:24:50
73 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:22:16
Players are rated and written off for their consistency or lack thereof. Jonas Olsson isn't exactly a tower of strength in defense. He makes errors a lot more than a top notch defender on a great team. That's why he plays for West Brom. Their fans were jeering him with every wayward pass because they are sick of him being crap.
Same logic applies to Foster. If he was a better goalkeeper, he'd have made the save. But he isn't. That's why they'll be in another relegation battle this year. Their players make errors like that more frequently than teams in the top half of the table. Nothing lucky about it.
74 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:58:52
75 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:40:44
76 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:52:20
In Mirallas's case, he took a genuine, if slightly weak, shot on goal, so while it was a bit of a shit attempt at a save, I wouldn't (personally) describe that as fortuitous either.
Phil (#69), I also find Martinez's style of talking to the press not always to my liking, but I keep more than 99% of my attention for what happens on the pitch. For all I care, he can make goat noises provided we pick up 3 points. I suspect he is more critical of the players behind closed doors, if they have not played well.
In any case, having endured OFM for so long, making confidence-inducing public remarks like 'Coleman sometimes looks like a 㿨k player', or 'Mirallas isn't good enough to play for us', I think I can just about cope with Martinez's positive outlook. If I was a player, I know which manager I'd try harder for; the one that didn't publicly humiliate me.
77 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:25:44
You think Distin really did get injured? Or was the 'injury' just an excuse to help Distin save face because he was dropped in favour of a teenager.
78 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:25:36
79 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:16:40
80 Posted 14/09/2014 at 01:08:28
81 Posted 14/09/2014 at 01:18:27
82 Posted 14/09/2014 at 01:31:25
Fortuitous, lucky, play poorly and win, whatever... 29 more of these please in the league and another 29 in the various cups.
83 Posted 14/09/2014 at 05:56:54
It amazes me how the players get so much stick for being human beings, people that make mistakes and don't do every little thing perfectly for you in every second of every game. How dare a player not be in the right position all the time, how dare they make stray passes, or the wrong decision Â– have you ever played the game? Do you ever make mistakes in your job? Maybe sometimes you drop a piece of toast and it lands butter side down. Annoying eh?
84 Posted 14/09/2014 at 09:30:16
The goal by Lukaku, a fantastic stike, was definably "fortuitous".
If an opposing defender rolls a lame duck to you, unmarked, 19 to 20 yards out, that's fortuitous.
Michael got that spot on.
My glass is half full. Clean sheet, 3 points, TYVM.
85 Posted 14/09/2014 at 09:59:41
Bobby thought Albion were 'fantastic'. Really ? Most of us Â– and many of their own Â– thought they were crap. But they still had to be beaten and beaten they were.
Well done, Blues!
86 Posted 14/09/2014 at 10:12:46
87 Posted 14/09/2014 at 06:55:26
I guess you could say we were lucky to come away with a clean sheet after they failed to capitalise on at least four decent chances but who cares. Overall, we were much the better team and anything less than three points would have been daylight robbery.
88 Posted 14/09/2014 at 15:28:05
Fortunate the ball falls to Lukaku, brilliant the way he strikes it.
I was at the game but in with WBA fans. All around me drooled over our confidence and possession game. And went ape poo with some of our challenges Â– interesting in the context of demands for greater hardness from us.
Just looking at the Man Utd line-up Â– wow! And then the bench! Won't be long before they are up there. Man Utd fans shouting for Van Gaal to up his game Â– and Newcastle fans shouting "up yours" to Pardew.
89 Posted 14/09/2014 at 17:49:32
My first away game for eons. I usually read these reports and wonder at how less positive than the general press, Echo and EFC website they often are. Now I will read them and believe them first up.
We were poor. No two ways. No zip; no short sharp effective interpassing; passes that slowed us down not speeded us up; little penetration; loads of small mistakes; a couple of howler passes in defence. Good job we were playing West Brom. I'm not at all sure we've sorted collective defence "issues". Almost looked like we'd stopped trying to play properly.
Hope we pull our finger out and try on Thursday. We're an absolute shedload better that the 90 mins I grimaced through yesterday. At their best we've got a cracking side.
But I have to say Lukaku's goal looks better and better the more I see it!!
90 Posted 14/09/2014 at 18:00:42
91 Posted 14/09/2014 at 18:32:33
Lots of goals are lucky. Deflected shots, in off the post, sloppy goalkeeping, unseen offsides, scrambles in the box, own goals. You take what you can get away with and be glad you won. Maybe next time the opposition will be luckier than us.
92 Posted 14/09/2014 at 18:58:58
3 points and a clean sheet; the season has now started.
93 Posted 14/09/2014 at 18:56:45
Some fans tend to react to the words I choose as part of that description, and that’s fine (it’s all about opinions) but I try to be honest by what I see in terms of match action as the games develop.
Lots of goals have an element of luck, Frank, agreed. I don’t see many people ’moaning’ about ours, though. In this case, it was just a factual aspect linking them on the day Â— as is the point Lyndon chose to emphasize: they were both Made in Belgium.
Of course I was jazzed that we won (do I really need to say that?), but I was disappointed with the way we played at times; everything Gareth says about our play was spot-on and that’s what I was conveying. If that disappointment came through in my report, so be it.
For me, the game as it happens is much, much more than just the result at the end, which it seems some wanted to focus on once we were done. I can understand that Â– but, if that is your perspective, then you may feel less inclined to discuss and chew over stuff that happened in the match.
94 Posted 14/09/2014 at 20:01:07
To describe a world class finish like that as ''fortuitous'' is ridiculous. If Suarez would have scored that goal the media would be hailing him as better than Messi.
95 Posted 14/09/2014 at 21:20:24
96 Posted 14/09/2014 at 21:25:05
97 Posted 15/09/2014 at 23:08:26
How is it negative to point out that for extended periods we had no zip, no short, sharp effective interpassing, little penetration, and loads of small mistakes?
It's not negative, it's true! Doesn't mean people are ready to slit their wrists because we got 3 points.
How does pointing out the obvious and being truthful about a performance and not sugar coating or glossing over areas in need of improvement, despite the 3 points gained, equate to negativity?
99 Posted 18/09/2014 at 00:57:14
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