Burnley 1 - 3 Everton
Samuel Eto'o scored nine times for Chelsea last season but not one of those goals came away from home. Today, he came within an inch of scoring a hat-trick on the road in only his fifth start for Everton as Roberto Martinez's side shrugged off any notions of another European hangover with a hard-fought and well-deserved win over Burnley.
If the 33 year-old looked a little ordinary in a cagey performance overall from the Blues in Lille, he rose above the fray at Turf Moor to stamp his class on proceedings with some fine footwork and terrific goals at either end of the game. Romelu Lukaku, his younger protege, also made amends for a dreadful mistake that gifted the Clarets a 20th-minute equaliser by scoring his fourth of the season to restore the lead nine minutes later.
It was an advantage they refused to surrender this time, signalling perhaps a more determined and miserly attitude than the start of the season when points were dropped by late lapses. Indeed, the Toffees had established a sure grip on the contest going into the last quarter of an hour and looked on course for victory even before Eto'o made sure with lovely curling striker four minutes from the end.
That was thanks to another relentless performance in central midfield from James McCarthy and Gareth Barry and, later, to a greater attacking impetus from Everton once Steven Pienaar had replaced Leon Osman and Leighton Baines began to bomb forward with more abandon.
Burnley were seeking their first victory since their return to the top flight but they'd barely had time to settle before Eto'o put the visitors into the lead. His powerful header in off the underside of the bar capped a wonderful, crisp passing move, the like and adventure of which was entirely absent from their display in Lille on Thursday.
Eto'o started it in his own half with a pass to Steven Naismith, was on hand in the middle of it to collect Lukaku's lay-off and hand the ball off to Barry and, by the time Osman had joined the sequence wide the left, Baines had made a trademark run on the overlap from where his crossed was met beautifully on the run by the former Cameroon captain. It was Everton at their free-flowing best and it got them off to the perfect start.
Sean Dyche's side have struggled for goals this season – indeed, before today, Naismith had scored as many on his own as their entire team – and it showed in the early going as they failed to translate their energy all over the pitch into clear-cut chances. Ex-Blue Lucas Jutkiewicz hooked a poor shot wide, McCarthy and Naismith put themselves in the way to charge down shots from distance, and Eto'o headed a corner awkwardly over his own bar as the home side tried to respond.
They were handed an equaliser on a plate by Lukaku, though, with 19 minutes on the clock. The Belgian somehow knocked a back-pass presumably intended for Phil Jagielka straight to Jutkiewicz who spotted the defence-splitting run of Danny Ings to play his strike partner in against Tim Howard. He easily side-stepped the American and slotted into the empty goal. Everton's Law – a striker enduring a goal drought will inevitably score against us – continues to hold true.
Lukaku responded the only way he could, really – by wiping out Ings' goal with one of his own at the other end. Again, he was a vital part of the build-up, chesting down Naismith's flick-on, laying the ball off to Eto'o and then collecting a second pass by the Scot before rolling his marker and shooting right-footed. His first effort was blocked by Steven Ward but he had the presence of mind to dig out a second shot from the rebound that lifted the ball over the defender near the line and goalkeeper Tom Heaton to find the far corner. His passionate reaction was laden with a sense of redemption.
Everton were back in the driving seat but, with Burnley diligently pressing and harrying, they weren't ever really allowed to dictate the game they wanted to. Antolin Alcaraz, restored to the starting XI after sitting out the Europa League game in France, looked a little less assured than he did on home turf last weekend against Aston Villa and allowed himself to be muscled off the ball by Jutkiewicz but, thankfully, the striker blazed wide. And an uncharacteristic mix-up between Jagielka and Barry almost let Ings in but Alcaraz snuffed out the danger.
At the other end, meanwhile, Naismith looped a header from Osman's cross onto the crossbar with Seamus Coleman perhaps better placed behind him as the Toffees threatened to extend their lead before half time.
The feeling that Everton could again be the architects of their own downfall at any moment carried over into the second half, with Alcaraz badly mis-judging an aerial ball in front of his own goal and Ings unable to capitalise as it bounced off the Paraguayan's knee.
At the same time, though, the longer the match went on, the greater control Martinez's men appeared to exert and a great run by Coleman set McCarthy up for a rare shot on goal but his effort hit a defender and as cleared. Two more patient passing moves yielded low shots on target from Eto'o that didn't unduly concern Heaton before Lukaku was withdrawn after 63 minutes in favour of Ross Barkley.
Both substitutes, Barkley and Pienaar, would be involved in the quick exhange of passes that would lead to Everton's third goal. The former gathered a Baines throw-in from the left, picked up a return pass from Barry, flicked it on to Pienaar and when he, in turn, fed Eto'o 25 yards from goal, the striker took one touch, looked up and then bent an unstoppable shot around the 'keeper. A wonderful strike from a player who looks like he is ready to play a more substantial role in the Blues' season now that he has bedded in and built up his match sharpness.
The hat-trick he almost claimed in stoppage time after Ings had wasted a gilt-edged chance to put Burnley back into the contest, would not have flattered him. Alive to an underhit back-pass, he nipped in to intercept it, rounded Heaton but his shot rolled agonisingly off the base of the post from a tight angle and across the goal line before the grateful 'keeper gathered it.
There have been some post-game mutterings that this wasn't an inspired display by Everton but Burnley made life very difficult for them for much of the game and, ultimately, this was a victory under-pinned by solid defensive work and secured by superior quality in the final third.
It bodes well that a potential pitfall on a ground where the club hadn't tasted victory since the 1970s was avoided and three vital points were claimed away from home. They lift the Blues back into the top half of the table for the first time since the opening day and mean they remain four points off the top four with all of the other teams that finished in the top seven last season continuing to drop points.
Reader Comments (53)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 26/10/2014 at 23:38:46
I'm not delusional. We could and should have made a better start. However, the World Cup, multiple injuries and a tough opening fixture list made that good start very difficult. We are still undoubtedly one of the leading contenders for CL. Be happy and look forward to a better few months ahead. COYB.
2 Posted 26/10/2014 at 23:38:35
Without Mirallas we lack any pace up front so need to keep the passing game short and quick like for our second goal. ThatÃ‚s my reasoning for EtoÃ‚o and Naismith. I felt we are starting to think we win games on style and forgetting itÃ‚s all about scoring, to much arsing about at times like when it cost us for their goal. Baines was outstanding, what an intelligent player he is. He would suit Brazil more than England.
3 Posted 26/10/2014 at 23:49:24
Lille and today could have turned out very differently and then the site would have gone ballistic but gently pointing out some of the areas of concern are justified and merited. IÃ‚ll take the points from any game in any manner but would hope to see good results that match good performances on a regular basis.
4 Posted 27/10/2014 at 00:35:58
One of the best strikers of the last decade is at our club and influencing young players. And, he still looks like a class player.
5 Posted 27/10/2014 at 01:09:11
6 Posted 27/10/2014 at 04:23:57
Eto'o looked a much better player than Lukaku yesterday. And having seen Lukaku live for the first time at the Villa game last week I can understand the criticism he gets on this site. He really does not do enough off the ball, and too many moves break down when he receives the ball. Eto'o on the other hand has fantastic feet. I can see a few games on the bench for young Rom.
7 Posted 27/10/2014 at 07:41:55
8 Posted 27/10/2014 at 08:10:27
9 Posted 27/10/2014 at 08:29:35
10 Posted 27/10/2014 at 12:41:24
11 Posted 27/10/2014 at 12:34:23
But 'if' is the most pointless word in sport. What matters is what did happen. Both results were good.
An away draw maintaining top spot in the group with two upcoming home matches, an away win at a struggling side desperate for points. Burnley could afford to play aggressively, they have nothing to lose especially after going behind so early in the game.
I thought the performance was average, but mainly due to Burnley's high energy pressing. They picked up a lot of loose balls in midfield, but generally didn't look threatening in the final 3rd. Rom and Sam did the business when required and we are back on our way up the table.
12 Posted 27/10/2014 at 12:31:57
13 Posted 27/10/2014 at 12:54:48
14 Posted 27/10/2014 at 13:10:21
I guess that in the more challenging fixtures, Samuel will feature as no more than a late replacement for our record signing. If only that signing had half the older guy's talent we might get in with a shout.
15 Posted 27/10/2014 at 13:07:29
We had already demonstrated that we could be clinical, to quote Sean Dyche, so why did we waste so much possession going sideways and backwards? A two- or three-goal lead was there for the taking. Instead it was nailbitingly frustrating.
16 Posted 27/10/2014 at 13:23:01
In terms of Eto'o's performance yesterday, you would have him starting every game. A work colleague told me yesterday that Eto'o is well known for having a huge ego. If that's they case then feed into it while he's playing well.
We had three recognised strikers on the pitch yesterday from the start, Lukaku, Eto'o and Naismith. When was the last time that happened? Eto'o and Naismith were great. Get Lukaku to play it simple for now and who knows, it could be the start of us banging in the goals.
17 Posted 27/10/2014 at 13:29:43
18 Posted 27/10/2014 at 13:13:53
Yes, he made a bad play on Sunday and everyone started to highlite it, but how many top experienced players still make the odd mistake? He scored and his reaction showed how disappointed he was in making the mistake and the relief he had in putting the team back in front.
19 Posted 27/10/2014 at 14:26:10
Bill, surely being able to control a simple pass is a basic skill you should have mastered by the age of 12, let along at 21. Lukaku will have come through an academy system somewhere. Surely he has had the coaching as a youngster to learn the basics. It is nothing about your transfer fee. As a professional footballer, Lukaku should have this skill in place at this stage.
20 Posted 27/10/2014 at 15:04:05
Jagielka and Baines were our best in defence and barry was better than McCarthy.
Barkley started off very poorly and Baines looked much better attack wise after Pienaar came on. I certainly did not think that Barkley played better than Lukaku and both players need to learn how to take up good positions, hold the ball and pass crisply.
Both of these youngsters have immense potential but are slowly progressing and are still not the finished products. LetÃ‚s hope that Lukaku regains his confidence and starts to run at opponents because he has the strength to make a big impact.
21 Posted 27/10/2014 at 15:22:29
What about his build, could that have anything to do with his touch of the ball? You know sort of muscle bound, mobility wise? Like some people are heavy-handed and think their gently patting you on the back, but to the person it's heavy-handed.
I had a mate (Ted) who was quite a good footballer. Great header of the ball, great shot, but he was heavy-footed when it came to touch control. He used to say it was down to his build. But I never really knew what he meant to be truthful.
I've never heard of Lukaku mentioning he as a problem with his touch, has anyone else?
22 Posted 27/10/2014 at 15:46:19
I also think Lukaku is trying too hard now as his confidence took a hit at the World Cup. He needs to relax more and improve his running off the ball and general ball control. I do though remain concerned about his lack of heading ability for such a big lad.
23 Posted 27/10/2014 at 15:51:04
24 Posted 27/10/2014 at 16:44:41
25 Posted 27/10/2014 at 17:00:59
1 Sergio AgÃƒÂ¼ero 9
1 Diego Costa 9
3 Saido Berahino 7
4 Diafra Sakho 6
4 Graziano PellÃƒÂ¨. 6
6 Leonardo Ulloa 5
6 Alexis SÃ nchez 5
8 Papiss CissÃƒÂ© 4
8 Mohamed DiamÃƒÂ© 4
8 Romelu Lukaku 4
8 Steven Naismith 4
8 Nikica Jelavic 4
8 Wilfried Bony 4
26 Posted 27/10/2014 at 17:10:50
Romelu was a one in two striker the season before last.
Romelu was a one in two striker last season
Romelu is a one in two striker this season.
27 Posted 27/10/2014 at 17:06:02
I have had my fill of watching Everton strikers work hard, running the channels, and generally being too tired to score when they eventually do get a chance.
I wish they all had an awful first touch, but guaranteed 15 League goals a season!
28 Posted 27/10/2014 at 16:57:58
Eto,o is class, we should expect what he brings. He showed us this the first time her arrived on the park- a headed goal. Now we are looking like a dangerous team to play lets see what we do against better opposition. Villa and Burnley were'nt much cop really, come on, lets be honest.
29 Posted 27/10/2014 at 17:12:31
Barkley looked off the pace a bit, as did both Osman and Naismith Ã‚â€“ neither of whom started in Lille during the week. No excuses.
Could Eto’o be our season’s saviour?
30 Posted 27/10/2014 at 17:14:24
Swansea won't be a walk over but I fancy our chances at home to get 3 points, which should see us jump up to 7th in the table after 10 games and just a couple of points off CL, with Sunderland away next up.
Trying not to start day dreaming but we could win the next 3 games giving us a run of 5 straight wins, we'd probably be in the CL places before the spurs game if we managed that - and Mirallas should be back in time for spurs!
One game at a time......hope Lukaku's toe finally gets better at some point!
31 Posted 27/10/2014 at 17:20:41
32 Posted 27/10/2014 at 17:25:57
In terms of a complete footballer, Lukaku is losing somewhat in the comparison. He doesn't have the footballing brain of Eto'o, nor his silky touch. One would hope Lukaku can learn the former from his strike partner but realistically, if you don't have a good touch at 21, you never will.
I disagree with those posters who seem to think this shortcoming should not be identified or that somehow it can be fixed. I agree with those posters who say we need to play more to his strengths, and that he has indeed got other strengths, not least to hit the back of the net, even with quite scurfy shots.
Incidentally I didn't think Barkley was so bad when he came on, apart from his first 3 touches. In contrast to Luakaku, he is clearly comfortable on the ball and I think he could be an interesting foil to Eto'o.
33 Posted 27/10/2014 at 18:47:23
Although he is labelled an outstanding prospect by club and country, we must be careful to judge him by the standards of our other central midfielders such as McCarthy and Barry whilst always realising he has but a smidgeon of either's match experience.
Forget all this talk of the New Gazza or Rooney. He is what he is Ã‚â€“ an exceptionally talented and powerful player whose progress has been stunted by injury. We all wish him well and must grant him our patience.
34 Posted 27/10/2014 at 19:21:37
35 Posted 27/10/2014 at 19:24:39
He also said the difference between him and the bighead at Chelsea is that he is prepared to spend the time building our team and the Chelsea manager would prefer to buy ready made champions. You don't build a winning team like that, folks!
I think we should play Distin on Saturday he can clear the headers better than Alacarz.
We are doing well and our young players are learninig as they go.
36 Posted 27/10/2014 at 19:39:07
37 Posted 27/10/2014 at 19:34:42
I've often wondered what the likes of Mourhino would achieve for Everton in a Kenwright economy!
38 Posted 27/10/2014 at 19:49:21
39 Posted 27/10/2014 at 19:49:35
40 Posted 27/10/2014 at 19:46:30
At the moment, Lukaku looks unfit, Barkley, Oviedo, Coleman and Alcaraz are coming back from injury. Let's remember that before we dish out the stick.
41 Posted 27/10/2014 at 22:15:04
Yes, I agree with you: Lukaku must've come through a training academy somewhere and you would think that controlling a pass should be a basic skill at age 12. In my time, I have seen a number of 12-year-olds with sublime skills controlling a pass and glided past opponents but, by the time they are 20, they are back in amateur football having not made the grade.
Watching the Man Utd v Chelsea game on Sunday, I noticed that Drogba on a number of occasions was unable to control the ball passed to him but he did what he was paid to do and that was to score and he was considered one of the top forwards in his prime.
The point I was trying to make about Lukaku was he is still only 21 and learning; like someone else commented, it does not matter if he cannot control a ball from a pass at this time as long as he puts it in the back of the net.
We are lucky to have a manager who is able to recognize the potential in Lukaku and a number of young players in the club, who will expect mistakes but will not crticsize them, and will give them a chance to prove him wrong; we as supporters should back them 100%.
We have managed to get Blue Bill to provide financial support (he is still crying in his morning tea) and the future looks good. On Sunday we were fortunate to see what a great player from the the past looks like and hopefully what a great player in the future we have in an Everton shirt.
We may in the future be able to buy a complete all round player like a Messi or Renaldo but at the moment we can just dream and get behind the players we have.
43 Posted 28/10/2014 at 14:48:34
44 Posted 28/10/2014 at 20:23:26
Talk's cheap, it seems.
45 Posted 28/10/2014 at 20:33:10
46 Posted 28/10/2014 at 20:34:41
Also got to love the use of "we're still waiting" like Martinez has been here for eons instead of just 18 months. He should have an entire production line of prodigious young talent bearing fruit by now shouldn't he? The shirker.
Do you live your life in dog years or something Phil?
47 Posted 28/10/2014 at 20:43:33
48 Posted 28/10/2014 at 20:47:01
49 Posted 28/10/2014 at 20:52:06
51 Posted 28/10/2014 at 23:30:46
52 Posted 29/10/2014 at 00:01:08
In my opinion, Roberto will wait a little longer to bring younger players in than some would like Ã‚â€“ but he knows that it will be difficult to replace some of the experienced players in the next 6-12 months as that will cost more than a few quid, which means he then will have to rely upon those youngsters to fill in for more experienced players. If RM is here at the start of the 2015-16 season, I expect a fair few 'younger' players to be in the first team pool on a regular basis.
What I have noticed in the past 12-18 months is the quality of some or our goals Ã‚â€“ not something that we as a club have been renowned for over the years Ã‚â€“ but, even during the early part of this campaign, we could have our own Goal of the Season competition and would be hard-pressed to pick the winner. Of course that doesn't mean we are on the way to success but it does show that the players are confident in their own ability, even if they don't display it as often as we would like.
53 Posted 29/10/2014 at 12:59:44
Of the purchased players, Henen and Galloway have yet to emerge but Stones has been a revelation. Still a kid and a long way from being the finished article, he looks to have a bright future in an Everton shirt.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.