It was great to catch up with Leslie, a London based Evertonian from the Emerald Isle, who decided that with Everton back in Europe he couldn't miss out on the opportunity to catch Everton play European football under the Goodison floodlights. He met the rest of us for a few pre-match ales in the pub... a few Lille were also in the pub enjoying a few drinks pre-match.
We got the team news and it was good to see Distin returning. Barring further injury woe he should now have quite a run in the team with Stones and Alcaraz out for the foreseeable future. Otherwise Hibbert, Osman and Lukaku came into the team for Coleman, Barkley and Eto'o. Walking on to the ground you could really feel that cold snap in the air as we head into winter. We arrived in good time for all the pre-game Europa League fanfare. Just what is that Europa League anthem anyway? Regardless, the Dutch referee got us under way, just a small pocket of Lille supporters in the away section though they sure made themselves heard.
Everton began impressively and took the game to Lille straight from kick off though after a giddy five minute spell Lille soon settled and were beginning to enjoy a spell of possession and even the creation of a half chance or two. The game then almost became lifeless and for that reason as much as anything else it was a relief when Leon Osman, who signed a new contract just today of course, steadied himself and half-volleyed into the net following a McGeady cross. It was well finished by Osman and was just what Everton needed as up until then we didn't seem to have much thrust in the final third at all.
The game rolled along as Lukaku and Naismith imposed themselves on the game. We doubled our money just before half time when Aiden McGeady's corner was headed in by captain Phil Jagielka. If he keeps this up Jagielka will end up with a goal haul similar to Joleon Lescott's 10 goals of the 2007-08 season...was that really six or seven years ago? Where does it all go?
The referee blew his whistle bang on half time and Everton went into the break very much in the driving seat. Lille had it all to do and didn't do any of it in the second half. Moreover it was Everton who continued to look the more likely to score with Lukaku playing the menace throughout. It was a good battle he had with Kjaer and it was pleasing to see the Belgian come out on top and really look like that awesome player we had at times last season. I really hope these are the signs of a new start for Lukaku now.
It was easily his most impressive performance of the season and he looked hungry and motivated. Perhaps his toe injury has cleared up, who knows, but this was much more like it and the only shame was that he didn't manage to get on the scoresheet. He did have a role to play in the goal of the night however when he brilliantly played a ball into the channel for Baines who threaded the ball across the box for Naismith. The Scot took a nice touch and steadied himself before planting the ball past Enyeama. Everton three goals to the good...Lille would rather have called it a night there and then.
A great night for Everton and though there's still work to be done we have to fancy our chances of qualifying from the group. A point at Wolfsburg will guarantee qualification, though should we lose it may still be all to play for...I certainly wouldn't want to go into the last game against Krasnodar with work still to do.
Somehow I fancy a cracker of a match in Germany.
Howard: Made a few saves in the first half though very much untroubled after the break. 6
Baines: Made a few loose passes but got up and down the pitch well all night. Good ball across the box for Naismith's goal. 6
Distin: Most importantly he was solid defensively. He might not be match sharp and perhaps body fatigue is catching up with Sylvain but there's certainly no lack of effort there from the Frenchman. Distribution sloppy at times though this is not too surprising given that he's been out of the team. 6
Jagielka: Goal number three for the season for Jagielka. He's flying high on confidence at the moment. Long may it continue. 7
Hibbert: Fine defensively, poor offensively. We all know the drill with Hibbert by now but he never lets us down. 7
Barry: Had a good, solid game before being forced off with injury following a nasty 50-50 collision. I'd say he's the heartbeat of our team and we can ill-afford to lose him to injury. Fingers crossed he can play on Sunday...if not hopefully the international break can benefit him. 7
McCarthy: The odd soft foul or miss-placed pass aside he once again covered a mountain of work out there. His defensive efforts really can not be understated. On plenty of occasions now this season he's rescued our defense. A real rock for us. 7
Osman: Did OK on the wing given it's not really his natural position. Took his goal well. Drifted in and out of the game in the second half but great to see there's life in the old dog yet. 6
McGeady: Two assists and caused them problems. He will always frustrate, that's a given but he at least takes on players. Will be interesting to see if he retains his place for the trip to the Stadium of Light on Sunday. 7
Naismith: Usual tireless endeavor from Steven and he got his rewards with a well taken goal. 7
Lukaku: My man of the match. Looked much more like it. I won't count my chickens just yet, but I really hope this is where Lukaku can turn the corner. Play like that every game and I'll be very happy indeed. 8
Atsu (for McGeady): Obviously you want to give every player as much off a chance as possible and maybe we were a little spoilt with Deulofeu but so far it's hard to get enthused about Atsu. I hope he can improve as he's shown us very, very little so far. 5
Gibson (for Barry): Seemed to stroll through the game really as Lille had given up by then. Has a calming influence on the play. 6
Besic (for McCarthy): Not on long, difficult to judge.
Reader Comments (37)
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1 Posted 07/11/2014 at 01:15:13
I think big Rom was given the ball more tonight than in the previous few weeks where he seems to be making run after run without being fed the ball. When you sign a big strong young striker, you should try to fire it into him more often and work around him.
Granted his touch isn’t always the best but he’s strong and eager enough to win it back and make things happen.
Anyway, a fine performance all round.
2 Posted 07/11/2014 at 01:38:05
I watched the game tonight from the Park End with my 8-year old son so I had the chance to analyse certain player performances, with particular attention to Lukaku.
First of all, my own MotM was Jags Â– I thought he was outstanding tonight and he demonstrated that his form is returning and his leadership as a captain is getting stronger. Not only did he score but he covered the whole defensive areas with authority all night.
Okay... to the point of Romelu Lukaku Â– in a snapshot, I thought he was fucking awful tonight and I’m quite surprised to see so many fans come out and say he played so well; I know he was unlucky to have been called off-side in the game on a number of occasions, but his first touch, his ability to win headers and chase down lost balls was overall below par. During the game, and especially in the first half, his first touch in the opposite end resulted in us on the receiving end of a counter-attack from such sloppy play.
I’m staggered to see how Lukaku’s ball control ability is so poor and I wonder when he will find his own personal mojo! Don’t get me wrong Â– I’m an Evertonian but I feel Lukaku is far too over-rated!
3 Posted 07/11/2014 at 03:45:43
Would you swap him for Flopetelli from the RS?
Get a grip, ffs.
4 Posted 07/11/2014 at 08:10:54
5 Posted 07/11/2014 at 08:17:09
6 Posted 07/11/2014 at 08:30:29
7 Posted 07/11/2014 at 08:43:11
At 6’ 3" / 13 stone he’s never going to zip around the pitch like 5’ 10" / 11 stone Naismith. They’re completely different players and Rom did more than enough for the cause last night, if anything he did too much and should’ve been hanging around in front of goal a bit more rather than tracking back, working the channels etc. for which he would’ve got some real stick for.
His best game so far this season and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
8 Posted 07/11/2014 at 08:45:27
Martinez is constantly warning of the pressure of expectation placed on Lukaku - in part, he is guilty in creating this through the fee paid. I’m afraid this refelcted the market value of a striker capable of scoring 15-20 goals a season which is almost certainly where he’ll end up this year. Worth bearing in mind that he is only four months older than Berahino who was called into the England squad yesterday with a fanfare after breaking into a WBA team that Lukaku graced with style two seasons ago.
9 Posted 07/11/2014 at 08:59:40
For the OP 7 for McCarthy is a bit mean, he was awesome last night.
10 Posted 07/11/2014 at 09:07:11
11 Posted 07/11/2014 at 08:58:41
Lille where poor but we did what was needed and we put 3 past them, not to mention an offside goal that wasn’t off and 2 great saves from their keeper.
MOTM Jags , Mcarthy , Naismith or Lukaku any of them could have a shout.
12 Posted 07/11/2014 at 09:30:36
Hibbert (who had an OK game) 7;
Baines Â– a pathetic 6.
I give up.
13 Posted 07/11/2014 at 09:41:47
If people are expecting him to run around and have a world class touch itÂs not gonna happen. He has pace, strength, can link up play fine and he is awesome running at goal. When the team is playing better he will shine, last night he was sharp and hopefully he gets the goals at the weekend.
Final thought: J.Beattie, A. Johnson and Yakubu cost around 28m collectively.
14 Posted 07/11/2014 at 11:25:54
Jags or McCarthy for my MotM. Both worked very hard and passed the ball very well. Excellent from them both.
In fairness I wouldn’t go over board with the overall performance as Lille were poor. However, you can only beat what is in front of you. It’s just that I would like to see us put teams away when we are 3 nil up. We should be going for the goals but perhaps Martinez is bit cautious? Also he wants to have a look at other players like Besic and Atsu. The latter doesn’t fill me with too much confidence.
15 Posted 07/11/2014 at 11:55:43
It’s no surprise that, as his injury is healing, his performances have started to improve.
What impressed me more last night was McCarthy’s willingness to get forward, he was almost at the end of McGeady’s cross that led to the Ossie goal.
16 Posted 07/11/2014 at 11:50:45
Really? Lukaku forced a fantastic save within the first minute of the game, and Naismith had a couple of very good chances in the box. I don’t know what game you were watching up to the goal...
Also, on all the Lukaku discussion; so many people seem to forget that HE’S 21. This is a player who is nowhere near his full potential, and he can still be so, so impressive. To put it in perspective, Osman, another performer in last night’s game, didn’t even get his first start for Everton until he was nearly 23, and what a fantastic servant of the club he’s been!
Over the last two Premier League seasons, the only players to have scored more than Lukaku in the Premier League have been Suarez, Van Persie and Aguero. Lukaku has also scored the most league goals of ANY top flight player by the age of 21. Argue with that, James Byrne.
We need to get behind Rom and help him reach his full potential, not criticise him for failing to live up to the ridiculous standard that some have set for the youngster.
Bring on Sunderland.
17 Posted 07/11/2014 at 13:50:05
Given his form recently and the amount paid for him, I think some people are concentrating on the weak side of his game which is clearly documented. To be fair, there has not been too much to shout about. He is clearly not a natural back-to-goal type player but he is being instructed to bring that feature to his game (given the system Bobby employs). Let’s face it, if he can do so (with Big Dunc’s help!), what a player we will eventually have!
He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet last night, as his 2nd chalked off effort was clearly onside by half a yard and slightly better timing would have seen him score the goal chalked off in the first half.
Some of you might be close to giving up on him or saying he’s overrated; only time will tell on that front. Every player will go through a poor patch. In fact, Rom was going through a lean spell before he got injured against the Redshite last season but, once fit, came back banging in the goals again and I’m pretty confident Rom will come back into form again. I still think we should have brought in another playmaking central midfielder as an alternative to Ross. The sort of player who can play Rom in facing goal... but it didn’t happen.
But, so far, his goal statistics for a player of his age have been pretty impressive; I’m certainly willing to give him some time yet before I make up my mind whether we have blown 㿈 mill or whether it has been money well spent.
18 Posted 07/11/2014 at 15:18:45
I loved that! Summed JMac up in one.
19 Posted 07/11/2014 at 18:28:54
20 Posted 07/11/2014 at 18:36:25
Everton has always had its moron element, like most teams, but some of the bile written against some of our players and manager is just.......sad.
21 Posted 07/11/2014 at 19:56:17
His manager has played him when he knew he was injured and often played him out of position.
Not sure any player could shine under those circumstances. Let alone someone so young
22 Posted 07/11/2014 at 22:31:43
23 Posted 08/11/2014 at 03:08:01
I'd say we've done more than okay. Rom has scored what? 20 goals in league play? Posters endlessly bring up the price for Lukaku as if the market value for the BEST STRIKER 21 OR YOUNGER IN THE WORLD is considerably lower or something.
Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez, Aguero, Ibra. All those guys hadn't scored as many professional goals as our man at this point of their careers. What do you want from him? 30 goals a season?
He's admitted to playing hurt, been played out of position, and still scored four times, getting minimal service. If this is Lukaku playing like crap as you say, I fear for our opposition when he actually gets it right.
That's the beauty of having a young player. He can actually improve considerably as time goes on. And I get shit for criticizing Hibbert, a back-up right back in the twilight of his career. But that's ToffeeWeb for you.
24 Posted 08/11/2014 at 05:05:57
25 Posted 08/11/2014 at 06:43:51
26 Posted 08/11/2014 at 07:38:31
This lad will develop into a top class centre-forward.
28 Posted 08/11/2014 at 09:09:02
Back to the game Â– I only saw the highlights, but it is definitely encouraging, ie, we are finding our momentum. Glad to see Jags getting another goal.
I realised that Distin was also up for the corner. Under the previous regime, I don't recall our central defenders going for corners that often. This is not to slam the Moyes regime, but to compliment the Martinez's.
It's good to see our players getting forward, playing football the beautiful way. For so many years, I looked at our games and always wondered why we couldn't put our passes together, and control games. Now, I am glad that we have a management that is determined to do so. Long may it continue, and I am looking forward to winning things again.
29 Posted 08/11/2014 at 09:03:28
Yes, once or twice he tried them first-time lay-offs and silly flicks and did look poor for it, but when he took a touch or two when receiving the ball, got his head up and assessed his option before playing the right ball to a blue shirt, he looked a more classier player for it!
Clearly big Dunc is getting through to Lukaku and he's realising that the simple things can be much more effective than the fancy.
I hope he cracks on from here and plays in that manner for the rest of the season and beyond as he was more effective as an individual and for the team playing the way he did. Due to him actually holding the ball up, the ball stuck for us in the final third which allowed us to keep up the pressure and keep on attacking Lille as opposed to him trying his silly one-touch lay-offs to no-one and momentum in attack breaking down and putting us under pressure. So keep that up, Rom.
As for MotM, was McCarthy for me, Flymo as usual covered every blade of grass. He put in some great tackles and blocks and actually drove us on at times and even got in the box on a few occasions. His all round performance was really good.
I just hope we take that performance into Sunday and don't look too flat like we have done after playing in Europe midweek. We could do with going on a good run of wins and getting ourselves right into the CL mix!
30 Posted 08/11/2014 at 09:33:49
Yes, Dave, The Latch got stick along with many of our players over the years. Peter Reid took a dog's abuse as age caught up with him and, unbelievably, Alex Young was also slated towards the end of his days at Goodison. Is it peculiar to Evertonian's to slag off our own or do all clubs do it?
31 Posted 08/11/2014 at 09:41:59
32 Posted 08/11/2014 at 09:24:55
Lukaku, I think he put himself about more, so there was a slight improvement in his play. I personally can't see him getting his missing touch. He has 2Â¼ Premier League seasons under his belt, so when his, his missing touch going to come? I think you either have it or you don't and he doesn't. But he is there to score goals and he will probably get his usual 15-16 and if so that is job done for him.
I would have given Naismith Man of the Match for his tireless running and what a superb angled goal he took. But hey, how many of us slated Naismith under Moyes? Me included, but he as turned himself around and a pleasure to watch. So maybe Lukaku can do the same. It's for him to prove all us doubters wrong.
33 Posted 08/11/2014 at 10:33:00
Like I said, we've always had a very vocal minority of morons who seem to enjoy ripping our own players apart for any mishap or mistake. This is not a new phenomenon and Lukaku, Ossie and Co certainly aren't the first victims of this senseless behaviour.
34 Posted 08/11/2014 at 10:52:08
Incidentally, as someone has already alluded to on one of ToffeeWeb's threads, "Looking For The Toffees" by Brian Viner is a great chance to revisit some of our excellent players from the 1970s. Like a lot of fans, during the 1960s, '70s and '80s I was still playing football myself and consequently missed games but that book helps give a more balanced view of our team and particularly, Gordon Lee. It is easy to look back with rose-tinted glasses or imagine an era to be even more dour than it was, but under Lee we finished 3rd and 4th and were top scorers in the League. Unfortunately his later efforts had us flirting with relegation and it's those seasons that colour our memories. Good read.
35 Posted 08/11/2014 at 11:37:21
I've stood/sat in every part of Goodison (apart from Park End for some unknown reason) ever since the late '60s. I've seen some of the best players who have ever graced an Everton shirt play in their pomp and believe me, there's always been an element in the crowd who seemed to go just to slag off their own players.
Some Evertonians have always needed a scapegoat to vent their frustrations on. In my day, it was John McLaughlin and Bryan Hamilton nowadays it's Hibbo and, lately, Lukaku.
36 Posted 08/11/2014 at 17:06:44
To give Baines, who kept a clean sheet and had an assist, a 6, would suggest he is being judged by much higher standards than anyone else in that back four.
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