Everton 0 - 1 FK Krasnodar
It's rare that a manager gets an opportunity to run the rule over so many players pressing claims for the first team but Everton's impressive record over the first five games in the Europa League group phase afforded Roberto Martinez such a luxury in the dead rubber against Krasnodar. at Goodison this evening
The match may have been meaningless in the context of Group H – the Toffees had aleady qualified as group winners; Krasnodar were playing to avoid finishing with the wooden spoon – but it was a valuable exercise for Martinez who used the occasion to introduce four of his young players to the senior team, hand another first-team opportunity to Tyias Browning, Conor McAleny and Luke Garbutt, and provide both Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo the final stepping stone to rehabilitation from long-term injury.
Everton narrowly lost the game, a rain-soaked affair that ended the Blues' unbeaten run in the competition but the boss will hopefully have gleaned plenty from what he saw, not only about youngsters like Ryan Ledson and Kieran Dowell, but some of his more experienced players as well.
Christian Atsu was hoping to be among those players demonstrating that they have enough to be in the frame for the first team on a regular basis but the 22 year-old's evening was ruined after just six minutes when he pulled up with a hamstring injury chasing a loose ball over the touchline. It removed what might have been a valuable attacking outlet on the right flank but it offered 17 year-old Dowell 80 minutes' playing time against a decent Krasnodar side who had fielded nine of the 11 players who played in the reverse fixture in October.
In the absence of his direct running, though, emerged Kone and Garbutt, the two standout performers of the evening. The Ivorian has spent 14 months out of action – more if you consider that he was barely fit for his first few outings as an Everton player last year – but he looked sharp, hungry and anything but a player who has been out so long. With better luck, or a less attentive display from Andrei Sinitsyn, he might have scored his first goal for the Blues but the Russian 'keeper was equal to the three shots he put on target.
Garbutt, meanwhile, did everything he could to enhance his reputation as the next Leighton Baines, going so far as to eclipse his mentor's set-piece delivery with a series of dangerous crosses from dead-ball situations, the first of which almost put Evertpon ahead but Anton Alcaraz's header dropped inches the wrong side of the post. The 21 year-old's willingness to run at the opposition defence, combined witn some tidy ball skills and an eye for a dangerous pass made him head and shoulders the pick of the younger players on show.
As Martinez noted after the game, the other youngsters didn't really settle until the second half against a Krasnodar team who were willing to knock the ball about nicely in midfield before looking to pick out a probing ball behind their hosts' defence. And it was from one such ball that Ricardo Laborde caught Pienaar flat-footed, stealing into the space vacated by Alcaraz and Gareth Barry – the two centre-halves who had been drawn over to the right flank – before advancing on Joel Robles in goal.
The Spaniard had done well to close the angle and deny Wanderson earlier in half when the Brazilian's fierce shot flew through his gloves and hit him full in the face and he initially looked to have forced Laborde into an impossible position on this occasion, too. Bizarrely, though, he wandered into no-man's land, presumably to cut off a cross, and left the goal gaping behind him, a gift that the Colombian grabbed by tucking the ball home.
Everton had their moments in trying to equalise before half time, Garbutt's exicting run winning a corner from which Alcaraz headed over under pressure from a defender, McAleny dragging an effort wide from 20 yards and Pienaar finishing another good move involving Garbutt with a powerful shot that Sinitsyn pushed away from goal.
Though initially penned into their own half by Krasnodar and saved from a wider deficit by Robles' save from Laborde in the early part of the second half, Everton's experimental side – Ledson, in particular – grew in stature as the match progressed and an excellent swivel and shot from Kone was batted away by the 'keeper. Ragnar Sigurdsson then effected a well-time sliding block in front of his goal to charge down Dowell's shot after the teenager had been threaded in beautifully by the lively Oviedo.
Apart from a scintiallating run by Kone and a low cross-cum-shot from Garbutt, however, Everton failed to test Sinitsyn unduly in the closing stages while more poor positional play by Robles should have paved the way for Marat Izmailov to make it 2-0 but he fired wide and Mauricio Pereyra also scuffed a shot passed the goal when well placed.
It's always disappointing to lose but the focus was all on the performance of some of the Blues' fringe players and, whether they performed well or not, the knowledge Martinez gained will have been important. In that sense, Robles, with two highly worrying lapses in judgement, will be the most disappointed because he did not give a good account of himself at a time when many supporters feel that competition is needed for Tim Howard.
McAleny, meanwhile, will also feel like he let himself down a bit, repeatedly hanging into the ball rather than picking out a promising run from a teammate or selecting the wrong option in foward positions. Dowell, operating behind Kone, largely struggled to get into a patchy game but was unfortunate not to open his account when foiled by that last-ditch Sigurdsson tackle. Long and Jones, in particular, weren't really on the field for long enough to make much of an impression, although the former's nifty move on the touchline to draw a late foul and yellow card for Sigurdsson set up a free-kick opportunity for Garbutt that Kone headed narrowly over.
On the plus side, while he looked more impressive in his cameos at Anfield and Old Trafford, Browning put in a decent shift at right back and Ledson recorded 100% pass accuracy in the second half as he settled into his customary defensive-midfield role in front of the back four. It was Garbutt, a fortnight on from his excellent outing in Wolfsburg, who stole the show, though, magnifying the question mark over whether Everton will be able to retain a player who is blossoming into regular first-team material but, just seven months from the end of his contract, is second in line behind Baines for the first-choice left-back slot.
Reader Comments (54)
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1 Posted 12/12/2014 at 02:10:27
2 Posted 12/12/2014 at 02:05:33
HeÃ‚s surely desperate for first team football and despite impressing when heÃ‚s played is he going to boot a just-turned-30 Baines out the first XI? Tough call for Martinez.
3 Posted 12/12/2014 at 03:40:41
4 Posted 12/12/2014 at 06:50:34
5 Posted 12/12/2014 at 07:14:16
6 Posted 12/12/2014 at 08:56:17
I totally agree about McAleny. You can see heÃ‚s destined for a lower level. Probably one of those kids that looked a world beater when he was younger, beating everyone on the opposition team but now, when required to do the obvious thing, in the flow of the game Ã‚â€“ like play in a team member in a better position Ã‚â€“ he holds onto the ball and thus takes the wrong option. If you canÃ‚t suss that out at 21, youÃ‚re destined for the long haul at a lower level.
7 Posted 12/12/2014 at 09:46:09
I say ironic because the 21-year-old was brought up primarily in Leeds Utd's academy and cost Everton 𧼐,000 when signed 4 years ago. Finding his progress barred here, when Luke is free to move on in the summer, there will be no lack of admirers and he will make some other club (and England?) a fine full-back for many years.
As with the last time such a Euro situation occurred, I fear that Brentford beckons for most of the other kids on view but full credit to them for effort.
Please, Roberto, can we have a goalie for Xmas?
8 Posted 12/12/2014 at 10:09:36
1. Luke Garbutt has a future at Everton
2. Kone could offer us something if he can stay fit
3. McAleny is too greedy and too eager to impress
4. Robles isn't good enough and should be moved on
5. Pienaar is well past it and should be moved on
9 Posted 12/12/2014 at 10:05:17
Kone and Pienaar look ready for the subs bench. Oviedo is still not quite match fit. The rest (Garbutt aside) are still works in progress.
As Ratty or Les (not sure which) pointed out, it's difficult to assess players when there was such wholesale changes, I was always a better player when there was better players around me.
10 Posted 12/12/2014 at 10:15:38
The other worrying point is RM had watched Robles at Wigan for a couple of seasons but still signed him. I don't think I have ever seen a more inept keeper wear the Everton keepers jersey. I shudder to think what will happen if Howard gets injured and if we don't sign another keeper in January.
11 Posted 12/12/2014 at 10:25:19
He isn't playing in the first team and to be fair not many other teams would even know he exists, as such.
There are 6 months left on his contract and we have no idea if a new one has been offered or if there is one waiting to be put together.
Before the Lance-Corporal Joneses amongst you start having palpitations... maybe we should wait to see how it pans out before hand wringing and crying how we lost him in the summer.
12 Posted 12/12/2014 at 10:31:41
13 Posted 12/12/2014 at 10:48:49
14 Posted 12/12/2014 at 10:54:10
Or maybe do what Moyes did with Coleman and play Garbutt on the left wing to get him some game time? Ã‚â€“ either way, though, he needs to start playing.
15 Posted 12/12/2014 at 10:49:20
Thank you, Uncle Dave!
16 Posted 12/12/2014 at 12:24:47
Kone was head and shoulders above the others and was left to battle against three and sometimes four defenders. Browning is much too slow for full back and got a pasting in that position along with Gethin Jones against Sunderland Under-21s.
I was not in the least impressed with any of the others who all seem miles away from pushing for the first team. Old Osman is much better than any on show. I am disappointed with our youngsters; only Stones and Garbutt have shown real class. Other clubs are producing good youngsters but we still have players like McAleny who is actually older than Lukaku but still not anywhere near ready.
Ironically we are only producing defenders, eg, Garbutt and Stones in the present bunch. Barkley seems to be waiting for ever to realize his potential (whatever that is). I was hoping to see a midfielder or attacking player that had real potential but I was disappointed.
17 Posted 12/12/2014 at 12:43:31
18 Posted 12/12/2014 at 12:46:21
19 Posted 12/12/2014 at 14:45:24
20 Posted 12/12/2014 at 14:32:57
IÃ‚m pretty sure he will be looking for a team that can offer him regular first team football which he needs at his age for his continued development. In 3 to 4 years time he should be fighting with Luke Shaw for the England left back squad but that wonÃ‚t happen if heÃ‚s warming the bench at Everton. This may be one that slips away.
21 Posted 12/12/2014 at 14:49:44
I think he tried to do too much every time he got the ball, and alas didnÃ‚t show his true potential. I think the bigger the club the harder it is for youngsters to get their break, mainly because the manager is under pressure to get results as well as the fans so neither are prepared to allow the youngsters to learn in the first team.
22 Posted 12/12/2014 at 14:50:22
Ledson showed real flashes and has plenty of time to development and learn his game. Dowell was hard to assess because he wasnÃ‚t played in his normal position but again needs more time in the first team over the next 18 months.
I think with young players unless they have exceptional pace or are built like a bull (eg, Stirling, Walcott or a young Rooney), then they can struggle to impress at a young age.
23 Posted 12/12/2014 at 15:01:42
Stirling and Walcott built like bulls?
25 Posted 12/12/2014 at 14:57:57
I would also emphasise that some of the other kids are only 17 so this was a massive game for them and they still have some years to develop, unlike Robles who needs to spend some time watching videos of goalkeeping basics.
I'd also like to mention Pienaar who I thought put a lot of energy and endeavour in which has been missing from the first team since he has been out.
26 Posted 12/12/2014 at 15:07:57
On the right, you could have Coleman, Macca and Mirallas. Not as fluid but just as scary.
27 Posted 12/12/2014 at 15:16:53
28 Posted 12/12/2014 at 15:29:45
Ledson showed some promise last night and Browning decent but McAleny disappointing for me.
Kone’s performance was encouraging and it didn’t look like he was pulling out of any challenges.
29 Posted 12/12/2014 at 18:04:23
Last night's team was thrown together and any plan to win the game was less important than giving crocks and youngsters a run out and giving the first team a rest. Hence a lack of flowing football and a lack of penetration but it was clear to see that Garbutt is ready and in my view should play instead of the currently below par Baines.
Kone looked good and will hopefully show the people on this site how wrong they have been to poke fun at his absence. Ledson looks like he will make it especially when playing in the first team with decent players around him.
Priority has to be a decent keeper for the first team and probably a decent understudy as well.
30 Posted 12/12/2014 at 18:07:19
31 Posted 12/12/2014 at 19:06:09
Anyway, with Baines and Oviedo for LB we are well covered there. I wouldn't mind using him as a makeweight to address positions we need to address.
32 Posted 12/12/2014 at 19:19:14
Perhaps this could be the Bainnar Mk II? As a three, they would be tough to defend against, plus they can all pass and move. I'm sure Martinez must be thinking about how he can make it work.
Regarding Kone, well I was really surprised. I thought he'd come back all timid, trying to avoid an injury. To be honest, he looked better than before he was injured: a real man on a mission. I don't think he'll be happy just making up the numbers on the subs bench.
Pleased with Pienaar coming back from injury. Sloppy play for their goal, but he's on his way back and he's an important player for us. If he can get back to his top game, then he can be the difference in terms of us winning matches.
33 Posted 12/12/2014 at 20:59:35
34 Posted 12/12/2014 at 22:31:14
35 Posted 13/12/2014 at 08:30:52
Pienaar is getting some stick here but I thought that he really got stuck in for an hour, worked hard and helped the kids. He also hit a cracking shot which is something of a rarity these days!
Garbutt needs to start at left-back and Baines shuffled over to midfield. Perfect time with Barry out, and Macca injured.
36 Posted 13/12/2014 at 12:01:30
RM has talked of using Baines as defensive mid (he compared him to Lahm at the time) in the past Ã‚â€“ maybe this would be the way to accommodate both him and Garbutt in team.
I thought Kone was brilliant on Thursday in the circumstances; I'm looking forward to seeing this unfairly maligned player shut the (far too many) doubters up!!
37 Posted 13/12/2014 at 16:09:37
38 Posted 13/12/2014 at 17:52:16
The Garbutt situation is nothing about the club giving him a new contract but more the lack of opportunity of gaining a regular spot. I would be amazed if Baines will ever make a smooth transition to defensive mid as this is just another of this manager's daft ideas. To me, Leighton is nowhere near the player he was under Roberto's tutelage and the stats bear that out. But he's still our best left-back.
Of course, the same could be said of a number of our players where premature old age is the excuse. Whilst Moyes was hailed as the ruination of good strikers, this bloke shares the virus around as I can't think of a single player who is better since his appointment.
39 Posted 13/12/2014 at 18:19:46
I do agree with you that Robles will never ever make the grade in the PL, he lacks positional sense and has next to no confidence. Whatever happens between now and the end of January on the pitch, we need a new keeper as a back-up for Howard. It would be very remiss of the manager and the club not to address this problem asap. I'm still backing Tim but only having only one decent keeper is a recipe for trouble.
40 Posted 13/12/2014 at 18:21:41
On the positive side, his passing is excellent and I think his tackling has improved. Give him a try in midfield and let Garbutt have a run.
41 Posted 13/12/2014 at 18:21:09
As for David Lawson, the less said the better. I think third cousin removed, Nigella, would've performed better than that useless clown.
43 Posted 13/12/2014 at 18:57:41
Thinking further afield than Everton, the worst I ever saw was Jim Herriott of Birmingham City whose 60s bloomers deserved a TV series of their own!
44 Posted 14/12/2014 at 04:07:33
45 Posted 14/12/2014 at 09:08:06
The Pienaar incident before the goal on Thursday was a good example of why. In that situation where Pienaar was incorrectly telling Garbutt where to position himself, Baines would've probably ignored it or not even been offered the advice in the first place.
It's essentially what Moyes did with Coleman in the early years. I think having played RW Coleman now appreciates what Mirallas or whoever is playing in front of him wants, which is one of the reasons he's such a quality full back.
46 Posted 14/12/2014 at 15:50:02
Howard is not good enough. Robles is clearly not good enough. Both need replacing in January.
Kone looked pretty sharp to me. With something to prove, he will come in handy for the rest of the season. I hope people judge him on what he does rather than who signed him from where.
As for the 'kids', they need more game time. If we're going to fart about mid-table, I'd rather see a young team build and grow rather than old men like Pienaar stagnate. Please, please please stop droning on about the Pienaar of old Ã‚â€“ he's gone.
47 Posted 14/12/2014 at 16:00:22
48 Posted 14/12/2014 at 16:04:50
49 Posted 14/12/2014 at 16:33:15
We had a really good and strong team with the best centre forward in the country but lacked a dominant keeper. Put Southall in that team and we would have won the league that season when Latch scored 30 league goals.
Phil Ã‚â€“ it's all about opinions but I had season tickets in the days of Dai Davies and Dave Lawson and they were equally as bad. Neither had a clue with crosses and Dai looked like he had a broom stuck to his back such was his inflexibility. Lawson had no shoulders and drooped Ã‚â€“ physically he just wasn't up to it. I have been amazed over the years at our inability to groom a young keeper and quite why Southall was never engaged to coach our keepers is beyond me.
51 Posted 14/12/2014 at 22:54:55
"Browning is much too slow" Not much down for the rest of our squad then!! Browning is the fastest player on our books.
52 Posted 16/12/2014 at 16:10:51
On the subject of bad goalkeepers; doesn't anyone remember Jim McDonagh? I think we signed him from Bolton and he was first choice for his only season here, somewhere around the mid 1970s.
Another useless goalie was the Scandinavian one whose name escapes me. He nearly got us relegated with his clanger, in the closing minutes, against Coventry in 1998.
Best goalie who never really established himself was Jim Arnold, who initially kept Southall out of the team. Jim was excellent but well into his 30s when we signed him.
53 Posted 16/12/2014 at 16:50:02
Paul Tran @46.
I was the first supporter to get in the Stretford End that night and that buffoon Lawson ruined my night.
He did the same two weeks later at Maine Road when he came running off his line and got chipped by McDermott from the edge of the box. I was in the Kippax that day and could see what was going to happen from where I was stood.
As for big Nev being a coach, I think he could fall into the category of great players not necessarily being great managers. I think his communication skillls would need a bit of work.
54 Posted 16/12/2014 at 16:56:35
His name was Thomas Myrhe, possibly wrong spelling, he wore contact lenses; he replaced Southall as goalkeeper.
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