Steven Pienaar starts on the bench against Aston Villa
Ross Barkley was a surprise starter alongside Coleman and McCarthy, all hopefully fit enough to put in a shift against Aston Villa, who were without Fabian Delph but Benteke returned for his first game since March. A strong-looking bench for Everton but without the commanding figure of Sylvain Distin.
The game started in bright October sunshine, Everton kicking off toward the Park End with slow possession and passing across the back, probing down the left until Osman was adjudged to have handled. Naismith showed some good desire to get the ball back when lost, and Osman did get a shot in that was blocked, Barkley's afters a little rusty. Better movement down the right ended with an overhit cross from Naismith.
Barkley was chopped down in what looked to be a heavy foul as he surged forward on an excellent Lukaku lay-off, but he could only fire the ball deep into the wall as Richardson's was shown the yellow card. Baines then picked out Lukaku with a peach of a ball that the big man tried to take on his shoulder as Everton were attacking with more life and pace, as was required.
Villa's first counter-attack saw Howard punch out as Agbonlahor and Benteke tried to combine. Cleverly was next to shoot low and hard at Howard, with Everton then winning a corner that Barkley created a wonderful shot from nothing, and another corner, taken short, saw Baines cross in a perfectly placed ball that Phil Jagielka did very well to head home from close range under pressure — just what the Blues needed!
The Blues tried to build on their lead but the flow was interrupted by an injury to Baker who was replaced by Clark. Hutton put in a good curling shot that flew wide of Howard's post. While Lukaku moved out to the wing and lost the ball after Naismith stole a shot off him and drove it well wide.
Some good football from Villa put Everton under pressure, Alcaraz making a vital headed interception to deny Benteke. Everton looked much more determined going forward, with Baines playing some tremendous passes that were let down by poor work from Osman. Villa then really ran at Everton and it needed good work covering by McCarthy but the corner caused havoc as the ball bounced high and needed punching by Howard.
Patient build-up play almost broke for Osman who wanted an extra touch before the ball was fizzed in with much more vim and vigour, Coleman forcing a good save off Guzman and Baines crossing well but just behind Naismith, and the chance was gone. After an interminable spell of backwards and sideways tikka-takka, Barkley threaded the needle to Osman but the response of those 'clever feet' was sadly lacking, possession lost again.
Everton went further ahead soon after the break in their first real attack down the left as McCarthy got Barkley moving and he played the ball over to Lukaku who had a lot top do but dug out a firm shot that Guzan seemed to have covered but the ball spun off his elbow and behind him, over the line.
Villa changed their tactics, coming out to pressure the Blues passing across the back, and it gave more space for the sharper forward ball. Osman was given a chance wide left and he ran in to a good position only to fire his shot straight at Guzan, when a far better shot was warranted. Pienaar replaced Barkley on 65 mins.
Pienaar clipped up a very clever ball for Naismith and it looked like he was only denied by a foul, his determined running. Lukaku was till not 100% but doing what he could to get into the game, winning a good free-kick on the corner of the penalty area that Lukaku slugged straight into the wall.
Naismith was a little too strong, bringing down Cissokho and earning a booking, as the Villians pushed hard to get back in the match, putting Howard under some pressure. Lukaku was till coming deep to get ball, but his feed out to Pienaar was overhit, much to the big man's frustration.
A quick free-kick from Osman, Baines danced down to the bye-line and crossed in a flash for Coleman to clip home a very nice goal that would surely seal this as a contest. But Howard had to be smart himself to block a shot from Agbonlahor. Eto'o came on for the last few minutes in place of Naismith.
A good solid performance by the Blues, fully deserving of the 3-0 scoreline, as they had played with more intent to get the ball forward, with few players squandering possession cheaply — and a very welcome clean sheet with a very competent performance by Antolin Alcaraz in for John Stones. The first home win of the season, and the first win at Goodison Park since they defeated Manchester United back in April.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; Barkley (65' Pienaar), Naismith [Y:72'] (87' Eto'o), Osman; Lukaku (91' Gibson).
Subs not Used: Robles, Hibbert, Besic, McGeady.
Aston Villa: Guzan; Hutton, Vlaar, Baker (26' Clark), Cissokho; N'Zogbia (63' Weimann), Cleverley, Westwood, Richardson [Y:14']; Agbonlahor [Y:36'], Benteke (81' Cole).
Subs not Used: Given, Bent, Sanchez, Lowton.
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Reader Comments (132)
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1 Posted 18/10/2014 at 14:11:36
No central defender on the bench, I thought Distin was fit? And if not surely Browning should be in squad for cover.
Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Osman and Naismith all looks very narrow, no width.
I hope RM gets the result we all want because he has left himself wide open for criticism with that selection.
2 Posted 18/10/2014 at 14:26:24
3 Posted 18/10/2014 at 14:35:47
4 Posted 18/10/2014 at 14:43:34
I think itÂs a good side, definitely capable of beating Villa. Just hope they perform this time!!
5 Posted 18/10/2014 at 14:41:48
6 Posted 18/10/2014 at 15:02:15
High tempo a must today, Villa are more than able to cope with a slow build up and will break quickly. Villa have lost the last three, letÂs not give them any belief. COYB.
7 Posted 18/10/2014 at 15:19:38
8 Posted 18/10/2014 at 15:54:56
The only thing I donÂt like is Lukaku starting; EtoÂo is a much better option.
9 Posted 18/10/2014 at 16:54:21
Alcaraz had an excellent game at the back, good on the ball and some really good defensive work.
McCarthy and Barry had their best game of the season together.
Lukaku looked a different player after he got his goal, his touch and passing after it was excellent.
Naismith brilliant again and Barkley looked incredibly sharp for someone back from injury.
No Injuries, a clean sheet, Happy days...
10 Posted 18/10/2014 at 16:53:09
All of you twats on here who continually gave Alcaraz a hard time - hang your head in shame! He was excellent today same as he was in other games last season. People are so quick to judge.
11 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:03:13
Good result! We should kick on with a decent run now. It makes a nice change to look forward to watching MotD again tonight..COYB
12 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:05:59
IÂm very pleased for Lukaku as I knew he would come good providing he got service.
Table looks a lot healthier now.
Anyone any idea what is going on with Distin. I thought he was fit and that Roberto had quoshed all those rumours about a fall out?
13 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:02:54
14 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:07:57
16 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:10:42
Glad to see Lukaku get a goal, will give his confidence a good boost. Also good performance by Alcaraz as well. All in all a good win.
Can rest up and look forward to the Lille game.
17 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:13:07
18 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:13:13
19 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:19:28
I donÂt think heÂs a bad player, Mark. I just think he needs to do what he did today in a run of games and IÂd wage a bet that would be the general opinion of most, as heÂs unproven with all the time heÂs been out injured.
20 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:26:21
Off we go!
21 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:28:09
22 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:10:49
23 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:28:10
Ross was superb, by the way, seeing as it was his first start after so long out. Even those people who kept claiming heÂs overrated (or was "carried" by his teammates as one idiot on here said) last season must realise now how important he is to the way this Everton team try to play.
Weekends are so much better after a win!
24 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:28:15
25 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:17:55
I think Gavin summed it up when he says that most of the Everton fans who have been on his back are the ones that watch us on Match of the Day every week and listen to the idiots who analyse those games.
Linda, I think we wonÂt be seeing too much of Distin again and donÂt think itÂs a fallout between the two. I just think that Roberto realises heÂs finished and will probably only use him out of necessity. I would guess that Browning may even be ahead of him in the pecking order.
26 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:41:34
27 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:55:32
28 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:50:36
I think a fully fit Alcaraz will be a good addition to the squad and he had good home match against Saints and an away game at Stoke partnering Stones. Even still, I think most people are going to judge him on those two games (RS & Saints away) because heÂs only played a handful of other games cos heÂs a perpetual sick note.
29 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:00:09
That being said, he was OK today. Hope he can keep it up.
30 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:06:11
31 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:05:56
Onwards and upwards you Blue Boys. What doom and gloom???
32 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:10:58
It will be interesting to see how much he rotates, if any, for Lille away which is big match in terms of our Europa interests. Today showed what our first XI (-ish) can do when rested and fit(-ish) but not sure we have the squad depth to match.
33 Posted 18/10/2014 at 17:54:04
Bainsey was my MotM and great to see Seamus back doing what he does best, weÂve been missing his class. Onwards and upwards!
34 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:13:00
Check out ConorÂs post (25). Alcaraz is a classy player and if he stays fit, will be a really good defender for us, especially now StonseyÂs out till after New Year.
35 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:13:30
I loved our third goal. Full back crosses for the other full back to score. Great football and shows you donÂt have to have wingers.
Naismith was fantastic again (as were others) but Baines was my MotM. A proper football brain that lad.
36 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:13:27
37 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:20:28
38 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:16:30
Baines gave a display of passing/crossing today which would be hard to beat. I noticed in the last England game that he was stamping his authority more than usual and then it occurred to me that, since the departure of the former captain, the England players actually pass the ball to him now. Funny that.
39 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:24:06
40 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:19:08
I hear people slating some of our performances this season but for me that game was easily our worst performance under Roberto as we were second best throughout. I think it's more Antolin's injury record that has annoyed most fans more than his performances but, for a squad player, he is very reliable and, if he stays fit, I think he will prove his worth.
41 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:19:04
I thought Macca was just stunning today and I don't think it's just coincidental with Ross being back in the team. He takes the pressure off them and they in turn have more time to be creative themselves, as well as doing their defensive duties.
Naisy was also outstanding, not only in the amount of effective chasing that he did but his intelligent and selfless running was superb and, as usual, his challenging for headers was excellent as well.
This sounds picky but I think Ossie was a passenger for a fair bit of the time. The game seemed to pass him by for long periods but nevertheless, he kept on going. It was great to see Pienaar back as well. I think Bainsey is far more effective going forward with Steven is playing. Then hopefully it won't be too long before Bryan is back fully fit and we'll be moving up the table towards the right end.
It really is great to see that our small squad is nearing it's full strength. I just hope the gods have said we've had more than our fair share of injuries this season.
42 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:42:04
Really good to see McGeady as an unused sub. Him not being in the team made us stronger.
Let's build on this mid week!
43 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:39:40
44 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:42:30
And my apologies if you thought that my post to Jim Lloyd was a slight against your knowledge of Everton. It was no such kind. I just found it humorous that Jim referred to your post like your opinion is more valid than Steve's own view and he would change his assessment by reading your post.
Can't believe I'm even getting involved in such hyperbole. We won today FFS! COYB
45 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:43:57
I disagree about Ossie. I thought everyone had a least a 7/10 today with Baines, Barkley and Jags being the standout performers.
However, picking Ossie ahead of McGeady gave us much better shape and therefore harder to get at. What he does is he tucks into midfield and gives us an extra body in midfield. He also moves the ball quickly and his distribution was good all afternoon.
McGeady to me is a luxury player who does not give enough defensively. However that being said, today's side is for me currently our strongest starting eleven with Alcaraz and Ossie giving way for Stones and Mirallas when fit.
46 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:47:40
Very satisfying result. 3 points, a confidence-boost. Very sound games from Baines, McCarthy, Naismith (man of the season so far, for me). Nice to see Jags back to a more assured performance,with Alcaraz also assured, and a very good hour from the returning Ross.
47 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:52:37
How refreshing it was to see two central Everton defenders so physically dominant in the air especially.
Alcaraz for the record played well at Stoke on New Year's Day in harsh weather conditions also and with the then inexperienced John Stones partnering him.
The Birdman is by no means the worst player I have seen in a blue shirt, he's had horrendous luck with injuries.
48 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:58:10
West Ham (h)
Injuries coming back, players getting sharper...
49 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:52:58
For me. McCarthy needs to do more. One or two brilliant tackles a game doesn't make up for some uninspiring passing. Just want to see him get on it and drive forward a bit more with some aggression especially when Barry is covering for him. Nit picking really though in what was a decent performance.
50 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:03:02
It mainly annoys me because I know he is capable of more. Someone needs to drill it into him that when he gets the ball in space his first instinct should be to drive forward or to play that incisive pass. Not just to retain. He can do that when he is being pressed by all means but not always as a first instinct. Otherwise we lose so much potential momentum in the middle.
Anyway, like I said, I like McCarthy and today is a great day to be an Everton fan. Just an observation.
51 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:06:19
Personally, I always see the Prem as our major objective so today's bench Â– other than Robles Â– would see action in France. But I have a feeling Roberto fancies winning the Europa League and will thus have other ideas.
52 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:58:21
Maybe he is coming to the end of his career but one stat emphasizes the sheer professionalism of the man: he is the longest serving foreign player in the premier league.
Today was a good result against a decent Villa side. Everyone played well and Baines stood out with his running and distribution throughout the match. Let's hope the corner has been turned and let's try not to castigate individual players. After all, it is a team game!
53 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:12:03
54 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:58:45
Some of our play is so laboriously slow, and on the two occasions when we actually moved things quickly, we scored 2 goals: (1) McCarthy winning the ball in midfield, one quick forward pass to Barkley, first time to Lukaku, quick shot... goal. Then (2) a quickly taken FORWARD free-kick... goal.
Also, who is instigating our constant 11 men back for corners? Martinez was not doing this Moyes tactic early last season, but slowly it has become the norm again, to the extent with 4 minutes to go and 3-0 up we are pulling everyone back for corners. I mean, what use are Pienaar, Osman etc in our box for corners, admittedly they are not much use for a quick breakaway either but at least it would keep 4 of the opposition out of our box!
55 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:11:06
I like Besic for that. He tackled someone got the ball, and in the space of a few yards beat three men and sent a brilliant pass to McGeady on the other side of the pitch. If it had been Captain Whinger from over the park, it would have had the press raving about our great England Captain (as was).
As long as he keeps off the backpasses!
56 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:11:09
Back four looked solid, with Baines, Coleman looking great at full back. It was a poor Villa side, although can't wait to kick on now. Still think McCarthy has more to offer if he had quicker legs next to him.
57 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:16:42
58 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:09:48
Alcaraz had a superb game. He's so comfortable on the ball.
There was a period around the 34th or so minute (?) where we knocked the ball around probing for an opportunity where we looked fantastic.
A great game. Continue on, beat the teams we should the next 3 games, and fly up that table.
59 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:56:38
Injuries to key players in last few games cost us dearly. If we can stay injury free, we can really press on now...
60 Posted 18/10/2014 at 18:55:52
All the passing in front of the opposition's defence is pointless with Lukaku as the focal point. To play that way you need quick thinking, quick footed, tricky forwards. I think Rom is at his best when the ball is played behind so he is running at goal. I thought Lukaku had a better game today and just hope, with Barkley being back, today's game can be the catalyst for our season.
Special mention to Steven Naismith putting a great shift out on the wing, hard work doesn't go unnoticed by the Everton crowd!
61 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:17:34
62 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:30:29
63 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:15:38
64 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:31:54
Anyway, I thought Pienaar showed us the future today: 30 minute cameos towards the end of games... he was excellent for those 30 minutes and helped take the game away from Villa. By the same token, Ossie should be used similarly either for the first part of a game or the latter. Besic should have come on for him today again, for the last half hour.
65 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:30:35
Lukaku makes a number of good runs and our central midfielders don't look to find him enough. Still, a good all-round performance and we looked like our old selves. Great to see Barkley back who seemed to give confidence to the whole team.
66 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:43:17
67 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:42:27
68 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:48:36
Alcaraz looked a lot more composed than Distin does playing the fannying around stuff, so if weÂre going to continue with this slow, slow, quickish, slow, slow stuff (which we obviously will), than Alcaraz will be the best option.
69 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:35:44
In fact, he has all too often been blamed for mistakes committed by others. I well remember him stepping up to play Aguero offside but Stones failed to step up with him. When the ball hit the net, Alcaraz was deemed to be the baddie.
70 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:41:45
71 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:56:24
Hopefully we'll be saying the same about Kone soon enough but I'm not too confident on that one... As for Distin, I think his Everton career is close to coming to an end,
72 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:10:47
The movement of Naismith, Osman, Barkley, and Pienaar allowed the space for the fullbacks with McCarthy and Barry dropping in. Like Total Football, la!
73 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:52:04
I think our whole team is in a process of changing our style and I don't think it's going to come overnight. It seems to me, we have to learn to keep the ball by passing it around. Some of our players couldn't pass wind never mind give a decent pass.
I put Jagielka as my example as I thought he was a poor passer of the ball. I look at him now and he's improved a lot, although my heart's occasionally still in my mouth when he has the ball in deep defence and ponders what to do with it.
I see our team retaining possession and sometimes it is a painfully slow business watching them building up an attack. I think, though, that as the players become more confident, the ball will be passed around quicker and quicker.
Baines and Pienaar are brilliant at quick one-twos and Ross is naturally comfortable joining in, and so is McCarthy on occasions. He plays safety first but I think he'll also quicken up his thinking for a counter-attack but, if he doesn't turn into a Captain Whinger, I'll be pleased as punch to see him in our midfield for years to come.
It's a style of play that Arsenal have had for years and they've had time to develop it. Nevertheless, when they came to Goodison, last year and this, and when we went down there, it was us who looked the passing team, not them.
We're doing okay. You can see Barry opening up and spraying the passes around but he's a decade older; hopefully JM will improve this part of his game.
74 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:14:08
75 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:11:23
Traditionally a team's attacking strength comes down their right side, and one of Jag's strengths is reading a game. Perhaps that is where he ought to be, rather than clearing up at the back where he has spent most of his career?
76 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:07:05
Jags and Howard have caused us just as many problems this season through their own errors, yet their form has improved. Distin will get games and I'm sure he'll play well; especially if we have most of our players fit around him.
As for McCarthy slowing down our play, it's funny, I was watching Naismith today thinking the same thing a few times. Naismith does work incredibly hard for the team, but out on the wing where he played today, I find he is very ineffectual. The guy comes alive near the box and makes very intelligent runs, but I think he is barely half the player when he's played deeper.
I thought Barkley and Coleman were the difference today. We look so much better when they play because they give us directness, pace and a genuine goal threat from different areas. Watching Barkley today it was like it was his 10th game in a row; I couldn't believe that this was the guy's first competitive game since last season. Absolutely unbelievable.
77 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:19:59
Barkley in my opinion is world class; it always feels better when you read he's available, the most intimidating player for the opposition since young Rooney.
Hats off to Jagielka: the perfect response to recent criticism. Baines and Coleman Â– what an attacking force... and Big Rom getting a goal just in time for Europe and upcoming league games, I'm hoping he's found himself again!
Let's enjoy a Saturday night, guys, excellent result. COYB
78 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:45:10
79 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:57:29
Coleman is so fundamental to help we play. Not many better full backs in world football.
IÂm sure with our better players coming back into the team we will soon motor up the table and the people desperate for Everton and in particular Roberto will soon shut up.
80 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:55:39
81 Posted 18/10/2014 at 21:04:46
82 Posted 18/10/2014 at 21:00:15
Baines may have been MotM but, for the attitude the team showed today I'd be tempted to give it to Barkley.
Poor Ossie just can't buy a goal. What a great football IQ. Too bad his pace and strength have weakened cause he's always in the right place.
83 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:49:44
It looked like Martinez's style to perfection: composed possession football (I know many find it boring), patiently waiting for an opening, three quick attacks, three goals and Goodnight Vienna.
If it was Barcelona, we would all be saying they are geniuses.
84 Posted 18/10/2014 at 21:05:51
85 Posted 18/10/2014 at 20:25:28
What a difference Barkley makes. For the hyperbolic comments on Roberto's hyperbole, one thing he said was dead on, "a diamond of English football"Â. How we missed him.
86 Posted 18/10/2014 at 21:21:05
87 Posted 18/10/2014 at 21:06:01
Ironically enough, he remained a top player longer than Lescott as well, who has done nothing for 2 years.
88 Posted 18/10/2014 at 21:34:11
89 Posted 18/10/2014 at 21:33:46
Having Barkley back was huge.
Lukaku played more centrally than he had for quite some time. I'm OK with playing him wide right but he's not going to score as much out there. Nice to see him in and around the 18 yard box today and was glad he got on the score sheet.
Jags has already scored twice this season. Hope he chips in a few more.
The run of games not playing the big money teams is a real opportunity. I hope Everton bag a ton of points in the next 6 outings.
90 Posted 18/10/2014 at 19:16:56
Regarding Alcaraz Â– I’d just say he looks a classy player there’s no doubt about that, my main concern about him is he seems to be seriously lacking in pace. Good reading of the game can make up for this but in something I don’t like to have in a centre-back.
53 Alex & 54 Jeff
I agree re McCarthy Â– he should be sat in front of the back four breaking the play up and giving it off, it’s his strength.
McCarthy when operating as a natural midfielder slows the game down no end, I commented on this and the shear frustration of the amount of times he passed back or sideways slowing the game down when there were opportunities to break forward quickly Â– after the derby match.
Either he or Barry should take up that position the other two positions should go to Besic and Barkley who offer far more all around and going forward, especially Barkley.
91 Posted 18/10/2014 at 21:42:14
Hope PhilÂs right about the manager and the Europa League. Us fans always think we can win a trophy, but itÂs a long time since we had a man in charge who thought this way too.
Now looking forward to watching The Blues in France, along with at least another 10,000 Toffees. it will show the players what we actually think of Cup Competitions, and also show the manager that heÂs made the right choice if Mr Walling is correct about Roberto for once!
92 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:19:24
It may well be a load of old tripe, but feck me, if you find yourselves 2 up in a European final, there won't many blues screaming to 'give it long.'
All I ask, is understanding? (Bob asked, me special like)
93 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:28:35
Surely a 3-0 wins any side a 7/10?
94 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:37:54
95 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:44:48
A hard-earned 3 points which was deserved, would have preferred Besic over Osman myself against the carthorse thuggery of Villa and Eto'o should have had more than the last five minutes.
96 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:47:21
97 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:43:51
I think there is a lot to be said in some games for a single holding midfielder (Barry or McCarthy) and Besic and Barkley playing further forward.
One reason Lukaku is not that effective is that he's usually operating too far from support. Two holding mids are often not necessary against teams who defend deep and Besic and Barkley seem to both be able to play a much more attacking role and support the striker.
I think both McCarthy and Barry did well today. Hopefully McCarthy will add more to his game as the results improve. It's difficult to judge the guy when team confidence has been low and we've had really bad injuries to deal with.
98 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:52:07
99 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:53:50
100 Posted 18/10/2014 at 22:32:02
101 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:14:52
102 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:07:33
Barkley looked like he hadn't been out at all and the whole team just seemed to slot together seamlessly (which is what you would hope for from professionals, but don't often get).
We looked very comfortable against a Villa side who appear to have peaked in the first three or four games of the season. Fingers crossed for no fresh injuries and quick recoveries for those out and we can kick on from here.
103 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:01:19
I have advocated for weeks that the setup with McGeady, Eto'o, Lukaku and Naismith was too forward bias and left us weak in midfield so I felt much better to see the midfield beefed up today.
IMO we have enough wide play coming from Baines and Coleman. We do not need luxury players such as McGeady or Atsu unless we are chasing a game when they can be brought on as subs towards the end of a game.
Great performance by all the lads lets hope we keep the momentum going.
104 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:39:51
Martinez screwed up that night, pushing our defence too far upfield, then expecting them to chase back with a dodgy knee Â– not just Alcaraz but I'm pretty sure Jags had to have an injection as well. Stones was thrown into the lion's den that night.
Fair play to Alcaraz that night, he didn't cry off or say "I'm shagged," Â– he played through the pain barrier and gave it a shot. But, like I say, Alcaraz when fully fit is a decent defender and brilliant at reading the game. Give the lad a chance and stop crucifying a player who was clearly unfit.
105 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:55:36
106 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:51:02
I also think that Alcaraz could do the holding midfield role as pace is not a big priority in that position. He is comfortable on the ball and with more games I am sure his distribution would be a big asset. Perhaps he could rotate with Barry and help McCarthy to practice his distribution forward.
I also see Besic and Oviedo being valuable as the season progresses as Osman and Pienaar tire towards the end of games. Rotation will definitely be needed in midfield. Osman is still our most intelligent midfield player.
107 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:41:08
It's a great result. I missed the game but caught up with the goals. Looks more like last year now. Of course, against a mediocre team rather than a title contender but still a good start.
Hope they keep on improving from here. On the part of resting players against Lille, I definitely hope we rest some of the lads who had been recovering from injuries.
108 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:56:42
109 Posted 18/10/2014 at 23:57:40
When Roberto came into the job, he identified Coleman and Baines as our two greatest assets going forward, both of whom were susceptible defensively, so he devised the current system to get the most out of them and bought Barry and McCarthy to protect them and give them the licence to both bomb forward as we've seen today for the third goal. McCarthy fulfils the function the manager asks so we cannot blame the player for implementing Roberto's wishes. If only one holds then both full backs would not be able to bomb on like they do.
One poster suggested Gerrard as a template for McCarthy but have you seen how many goals Liverpool have shipped since he went to the holding role Â– nearly twice as many as the season before yet 7 centre halves have got the blame for his shortcomings.
I would suggest a more appropriate role model would be Schweinsteiger as primarily his job is one of responsibility yet he seems to always know when to slow the game down and when a more insightful ball is necessary.
110 Posted 19/10/2014 at 01:19:03
I can see it now. It's hard to define but he just looks special.
Confident, comfortable... I just can't define it, but special.
111 Posted 19/10/2014 at 01:37:34
112 Posted 19/10/2014 at 01:22:49
113 Posted 19/10/2014 at 08:44:56
Our Kids a Red and from day one he's raved about Barkley ("England need to build the team around him for the next 10 years" etc) whereas I've kept the jury out to an extent.
His recent absence and the impact on his return has proved me wrong - he's the real deal, a powerhouse of a footballer.
And as for Coleman - hats off to David Moyes for signing the best right back on the Premier League.
What a difference two players can make, all of a sudden I feel like we can take on anybody.
114 Posted 19/10/2014 at 08:44:14
But we all know that The German is also very classy when moving the ball forward and this is the side of the game McCarthy really needs to develop to become a great player.
115 Posted 19/10/2014 at 10:08:41
Just a bit of a side note, I was pretty impressed with Cleverley's performance for them, he seemed very box to box with some decent passing and I had no idea he was capable. Is it worth getting him on a free for next season?
116 Posted 19/10/2014 at 10:18:21
Steve, I agree with your sentiments about the midfield.
I think there is a lot to be said in some games for a single holding midfielder (Barry or McCarthy) and Besic and Barkley playing further forward.
One reason Lukaku is not that effective is that he’s usually operating too far from support. Two holding mids are often not necessary against teams who defend deep and Besic and Barkley seem to both be able to play a much more attacking role and support the striker.
I think both McCarthy and Barry did well today. Hopefully McCarthy will add more to his game as the results improve. It’s difficult to judge the guy when team confidence has been low and we’ve had really bad injuries to deal with.
Wayne, Agree with your comment that the majority of the time, two holding midfielders aren’t necessary and in a lot of games will be quite detrimental to our attack.
That’s why, for me, the majority of the time we should start with one of McCarthy/Barry sitting, with Besic and Barkley box to box midfielders that have a far more all around game, and bring energy, pace and dynamism to the midfield.
Besic will track back when required and Barkley will obviously be more attacking, I just feel our game is very pedestrian when both Barry and McCarthy are operating as CM’s.
I’m not knocking McCarthy Â– I think he’s an excellent player and he had a great game yesterday (I’ve now seen it), the tracking back and tackle he made and winning the ball off and given it to Barkley who supplied Lukaku was textbook McCarthy.
Where we struggle, and he does, is if he’s being asked to play as a CM. He’s brilliant at what he does, one of the best in the Prem League, but his game is limited atm otherwise.
He doesn’t have link up play and can’t dictate the way a Besic does, or have a diagonal ball in his locker like crease head.
He gives it simple sideways or back the majority of the time and if he is a CM and not a DM then it’s detrimental to us going forward to attack and exploit because it slows our game down and the opportunity to break is lost.
One of the major issues at the beginning of the season was playing two DMs who weren’t playing as DMs but as CMs.
Offering us v little creatively going forward and they weren’t protecting the back four either, Roberto’s hand was forced largely by injuries but still it was glaringly obvious to anyone that understands football.
I also agree after watching yesterday’s game that Lukaku was not getting the attacking supply required, this was highlighted yesterday with Barkley coming back.
He was (Barkley) outstanding and seemed to be the catalyst that gave everybody else a noticeable lift in their game.
117 Posted 19/10/2014 at 12:34:03
An incisive post, I agree with everything youÂve written.
Lukaku definitely needs a forward running midfielder that plays to his strengths. Once that happens regularly, weÂll see payback on the 㿈M.
118 Posted 19/10/2014 at 15:19:56
Baines was unbelievable. Probably his best game in 2 years. His passing was crisp and sharp with great vision and awareness. He was undoubtedly helped by Barks and the combination with Lukaku will reap dividends for years to come assuming we can keep hold of Barks.
I think we need to put a strong team out against Lille and keep the form going. There is a big contingent of blue support travelling and Lille are a good side. It will be a real boost to beat them on their turf. I would rest Lukaku as he does not look fully fit and give the wily Eto'o a go.
119 Posted 19/10/2014 at 15:32:57
The difference when Ross plays is that the joined-up play that is a trademark of RM has a direction and purpose and is incisive. This purpose has been lacking this season compared to early-mid season last term when we were at our best, in my view.
I thought Jags looked more solid; the Liverpool goal might well have galvanised him. Although I'm a severe critic of Alcaraz he was solid yesterday, principally because he kept things very simple. Barry and McCarthy were reasonably protective of the back four (though I would like them to become more so).
As ever, Baines and Coleman were magnificent going forward, but they still allow crosses very generously in my view, in our own half. I really would like to see them defend a little wider.
I agree with some posters that we need to think about one defensive midfielder if we are to become more mobile going forward and provide Rom with support. Some call him lazy here, but he runs a lot and can hold up the ball and is often a little isolated. His first touch is baffling, I agree.
I just can't believe how much Naismith has come on; his touch, vision and effort are all to be lauded, and he's one of our most consistent performers bar none. I can hardly believe it.
I thought Osman was weak again, the clever quick free-kick aside. He lost the ball a lot and gave away unnecessary free-kicks. Like McGeady, he has the tendency to give away the ball when we are pouring forward.
Lukaku got stronger as the game went on, no question Â– and Stevie Pienaar was his usual lively self. If Besic can reproduce his international form for us in terms of quiet consistency, he will be a stalwart. I have great hopes for him.
It can all be undone next week at Burnley, but fingers crossed. I'd settle for a draw in France and a win at Turf Moor.
120 Posted 19/10/2014 at 16:13:10
121 Posted 19/10/2014 at 16:33:45
122 Posted 19/10/2014 at 15:46:55
Watch us closely and you will see that at least 80% of our play goes through Gareth Barry. Wonderful footballer, Barry... very cultured, but he hasn't got the pace to play this position without getting exposed defensively.
If McCarthy played alongside Besic, it might free him up a bit to get involved further forward and his role in the team could advance past that of the water carrier?
123 Posted 19/10/2014 at 17:29:11
124 Posted 19/10/2014 at 17:34:15
Over and out.
125 Posted 19/10/2014 at 17:34:41
Paul, I wonder if you are the dope who sits two rows behind me in the St End? You know, the one who hates Osman so much...
I watched Osman closely yesterday and the first mistake resulted in a purple faced lunatic screaming that Osman is "fucking shit" to all and sundry. That was after the 1st mistake, not the 21st. Some people are almost HOPING he'll mess up so that they can vent their spite on him.
Osman had a decent game yesterday and the third goal was due almost entirely to his speed of thought. Let's just save the slagging off until he really stinks the gaff out, eh? Apart from that, you've made a pretty accurate assessment of yesterday's match. Well done...
126 Posted 19/10/2014 at 18:07:46
I certainly don't hope he messes up. I love the team and style of play RM is building. It's my (gentle) opinion that certain players do not belong in the side or squad (four, including Osman). I overstate that, I know - though my post above mentions Osman as part of my personal overall analysis of the game.
No (personal) offence intended to the little maestro ... .
127 Posted 19/10/2014 at 18:26:27
128 Posted 19/10/2014 at 19:41:45
Time will tell hopefully and I would like to see the two of them play together some time alongside Barkley.
129 Posted 19/10/2014 at 19:40:28
I see and understand your point but guess we have agree to disagree on this.
For me it is one or other (McCarthy or Barry) and I would personally go with McCarthy in that position for the reasons you stated re Barry’s pace etc. To have them both, again, for me, its too much sideways and back repeat with them both in the midfield.
Barry is a good player, but for me Besic is a better player that offers more all around; Barry has experience and I don’t see him being dropped as he appears to be a big favourite of Roberto’s whatever anyone else may think (myself included).
130 Posted 19/10/2014 at 20:42:17
For all those worrying about Ross's future with the Blues, I think spending 㿈 million on Lukaku in the summer was a clear statement of intent by the club and by Roberto. Why spend that on a top quality striker at the age of 21 then sell the best midfielder in the UK, of the same age, the season after?
The fact that Ross signed a new long-term contract recently, is also a statement of intent by the player and the club. We may not sit at the top table with the "big money clubs", but due to our academy and coaching expertise, and with Roberto's clear eye for spotting cheap talent, we may well be able to compete with them on the pitch.
I think we are building for the future and believer the Roberto and Blue Bill have sold this vision to the young stars we have in our galaxy. Because of this belief, I have no fear of any of our young stars leaving and think that in two or three years, we will, once again, be knocking on the door of true and sustainable success.
After all, they only have to point to the likes of those who followed the dream Â– and clearly, later regretted it Â– to prove their case.
132 Posted 20/10/2014 at 13:21:19
As for the Barry things above Â– he's a class act, massively underrated and does a great job for the team. He keeps things ticking over, reads the game well and holds his position, which gives us better shape than Besic ever will.
Anyone calling for Besic to start ahead of Barry is entitled to their opinion, but I don't believe that's the right way to go at all. He's a good player too, but Barry has the nouse, is streetwise beyond Besic and holds the team together much better.
Besic might be quicker, and give a bit more going forward but without Barry at the base, we're not the same team at all.
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