Everton 3 - 1 QPR
A Monday night trip out in the rain to Goodison saw us not quite in serious Christmas cheer territory as many wondered if QPR could break their dismal away record of no points so far against a Blues side who have not been at their best for some time and who have gained only two wins at home so far this season.. which isn’t going down well with those from the grassy knoll. The walk up was wet but as the temple that is Goodison hove into view bathed in white light the nerves and goose bumps took over.
The team, as announced by our resident microphone, man saw Naismith welcomed back with feeling by a less-than capacity crowd. With the standard of opposition on a wet Monday night and with Christmas almost upon us it was, I suppose, only to be expected.
Off we went and for the first fifteen minutes I have nothing to tell you as we played it about to no particular pattern and got nowhere and QPR didn’t seem to bother either. Then on 17 minutes we had a shot, straight at the keeper but nonethe less a shot. I can be precise about the time because it was so welcome and as it hit the keepers glove I looked immediately at the clock on our revamped big screen. Such excitement couldn’t last and didn’t and the locals were rather upset at the method of play that seemed designed to get us nowhere and were showing some loud dissatisfaction.
On we trundled toward the half-hour mark with the only move of note was when Barkley played Naismith in down the left with an astute pass. The newly fit Scot put in a cross that the darting Lukaku just failed to make up the necessary ground for and the ball flashed across goal and the chance was gone. On the half hour with the travelling fans singing Are we playing in a library', Barkley got on the ball near half way and ran on goal and from some 25 yards hit a left footer that left the keeper flailing and the top corner of the net seriously troubled. Such was the magnitude of run and shot the crowd reaction was more of a very loud gasp than full blown cheering but the joy was there for all to see and hear.
Now it was time for many to wonder and discuss whether this was another lead that might be lost, such is the feeling amongst the faithful considering our results so far. More pedestrian play took place with only Besic, Naismith and Barkley looking to quicken the pace and move in a forward direction; this passing back and across without actually playing out was testing many a fan's patience and when we gained a free kick near half way and played it back to the keeper via two other touches almost lit the blue touch paper. The players stuck to their game plan no matter the crowd reaction and were rewarded just before the break when we gained a free kick for a foul on the busy Naismith. Mirallas took and hit it well and via a very big deflection the ball entered the net to be greeted by a roar of relief and a rendition for the only time in the game of ‘Allez – Allez Oh’. That goal did liven us a little, I thought, and almost on the whistle McGeady flashed an attempted curler wide and not by much.
The half time chat was short. 2-0 up against a very poor looking side without playing very well ourselves. We werw then entertained by the ‘Blue Nose Brass Band’, a nine piece outfit accompanying two young ladies who were singing ‘All Together Now’ whilst a whole host of young blue noses performed a sort of keep-fit exercise dance routine. Their team work was better than our first half show and they got a good ovation. It was all part of ‘Blue Crimbo Day’ and even Dixie was suitably dressed for the occasion.
Second half started without a lot of spark with both teams cancelling one another out until from a defensive situation Mirallas was set free and raced away into the QPR box only to have a coming together with ex-Blue Richard Dunne and go down. It looked too soft to ever be given as a pen so the ref took no action.
Everton continued with this slow build up play until some vocal unrest from the crowd had them quickening the pace and on 50 odd minutes Lukaku hurried Green into a very poor clearance which was seized upon by Mirallas. Although the crowd urged him to shoot with the keeper still away from his post he instead linked with McGeady who raced to the by-line and crossed invitingly and the ever willing, ever running Naismith headed goal ward. In a desperate attempt to clear the ball from my seat it looked like a QPR head that got the final touch; no matter who it was, it was 3-0 and surely game over.
Well it seemed like the players thought it was over as they got sloppy and looked to be letting QPR back into the game, the fans wanted another goal not some, at times, kamikaze passing at the back.
The visitors gave us some scares as a shot went over when well-placed and some good runs out wide that could have brought a goal for them with better and cooler finishing. Besic was having his best game so far and put in a lot of running, closing down and ferocious tackles one of which brought him acclaim when he powered into a tackle and took man and ball and all perfectly legal, If there is one thing the Goodison crowd likes it is an all-out trier.
We were now intent on playing the game out and each pass back to either keeper or centre back or full back was greeted most unfavourably and around my seat at least some very derogatory comments. On 73 minutes the manager swopped McGeady for Pienaar and I have to say the South African did not have one of his better outings. Then just four minutes later Eto’o was introduced for Lukaku who had a quiet game, not a lot of service, yes, but not a lot of power and punch either.
While Eto’o was settling in and with just ten to go we went and shipped another goal at home when Mutch fired one in that Howard could only parry and Zamora tapped home for his first goal of the season. Then that man Mutch ruined Mirallas’s night when a crude tackle left the Belgian to be stretchered off with an ankle injury, not another one out for weeks—let’s hope not.
As he went off Kone came on as the board said 4mins added. I have to say I enjoyed those four minutes more than the rest of the game. Kone and Eto’o struck up a good relationship and looked like a combination that could do damage for us. Both looked experienced and knew exactly what to do as they linked and first Eto’o took a pass and side-footed past the keeper but hit the base of the post and then from a Barkley cross Kone did what Lukaku doesn’t do and got across to the near post and just missed the connection. On the whistle I thought ‘Don’t write Kone off yet’
M.o.t.M – Take your pick between Besic, Barkley or Naismith.
Overall not the best of displays to watch and I heard many a comment about how our style of play is boring and that is after a 3-1 win. I must admit I am a big fan of playing out from the back but what I see from us is messing about at the back until it becomes inevitable the keeper has to kick long and possession is lost. There is a big difference between the two.
Still Southampton next and a 3-00pm KO. We could do with a win there and go into Boxing Day tails up and playing flowing footy.
Have a great Christmas and may you get all you have wished for. All the Best.
UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (37)
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1 Posted 16/12/2014 at 05:36:51
They must be under orders not to play it forward long as sometimes that seemed to be the better option.
2 Posted 16/12/2014 at 06:58:17
3 Posted 16/12/2014 at 07:33:36
4 Posted 16/12/2014 at 08:51:05
How on earth he wasn't replaced around the 60 minute mark is a mystery that only the manager can answer. I can only assume it would be because it would not do his confidence any good but whilst he knows where the goal is the rest of his contribution does not amount to too much.
In yet another forgettable performance, there was some good news in the performance of Besic. Apart from a couple of misplaced passes he was far and away the stand out performer.
Naismith's energy is also a welcome return as is his eye for goal.
5 Posted 16/12/2014 at 08:54:14
6 Posted 16/12/2014 at 09:14:50
IĂ‚ve got to say, the service to Lukaku was abysmal, he must look at Jags and Distin knocking it about at the back and think, "Just get it up here to me so I can have a shot!"
7 Posted 16/12/2014 at 09:56:07
If we were down to 12 fit men and there were 2 places left to fill, between Bernie Wright, Straq and Big Vic, I know who would be on the bench.
Lukaku; with all due respect to him, he isn't being used as he should, but with Royle, Sharp and Ferguson involved in the Club he must be able to pick up a few hints... can't or won't??
It's hard for those outside to say if the Coach has lost the dressing room and I'm not saying he has. But He will be soon know if he loses the crowd.
I know they say you shouldn't have joined if you can't take a joke. It will soon be fuck this for a game of soldiers, this is not what we signed up for.
It may be that Roberto will and should be given a full 3 season, but at the end of year 2 we should be able to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Warsaw or Wembley would be an ideal place to pull the rabbit out of the hat, if not well the clock is ticking.
8 Posted 16/12/2014 at 10:18:43
MotM and new favourite player is Besic. First player to bring some genuine nastiness to the side for quite some time.
9 Posted 16/12/2014 at 11:22:10
Barkley MotM for me but Besic was superb, gave all he had, great energy, great tackles, especially a couple on Barton, and used the ball well and, when possible, positively. Lucky not be booked though for a needless foul on the edge of their box in the last minute Ă‚â€“ cut that out and he can be great. Naismith not far behind those two; for me, whatever he lacks in skill he makes up for with his energy and intelligence.
10 Posted 16/12/2014 at 11:35:44
I will agree that we need to move the ball out from the back faster and John Stones (when he shortly returns) does that quite well.
Let's give the team a present and support them. At no point in the game last night did I hear the roar of the Old Lady. I was shouting from Canada but you probably couldn't hear me!
11 Posted 16/12/2014 at 11:55:42
12 Posted 16/12/2014 at 12:20:31
I share your views on the passing game - I like to see the team keep it on the ground but the defence seem to have missed the point which is surely to move it through midfield - not keep it until you are in trouble.
13 Posted 16/12/2014 at 12:03:52
Sure, the team is not playing anywhere near what they are capable of, but we got to be patient Ă‚â€“ plus there have been mitigating circumstances Ă‚â€“ injuries, players under performing, extra games due to Europa,etc.
I for one will try to enjoy the season as it unfolds Ă‚â€“ there will be ups and downs, but I believe in this manager and this team of players. A lot to play for still!
14 Posted 16/12/2014 at 12:31:48
For 30 mins I wanted to gouge my eyes out at the complete lack of intensity and tempo. It took a moment of individual skill to put us in front and that seems to be what we need to get going. This is not a team but a collection of individuals at the moment.
15 Posted 16/12/2014 at 12:47:53
The other thing which annoys me is his body language. I would not enjoy playing with him because he constantly blames others when things don't go his way: his arms go up in frustration and he berates teammates. Then he sulks and trudges slowly back into the game. If he is as driven to be the best as the media would have us believe, then he could start with these two aspects of his game.
16 Posted 16/12/2014 at 12:38:27
Barkley and Besic were great in central midfield together, and Naismith was very influential. Playing Barkley deeper, especially in home games, is something we should do more often.
Still, issues remain over the back-line. Especially the quartet of Howard, Jagielka and Distin. There seems a mistake in them each game, which lately has been leading to a goal. Not good enough.
One noticeable stat I read after the Spurs game was; 38% of Everton's goals conceded in the PL already have came from an individual error. Only 15% came from individual errors in 13/14 season. And further to that, Everton lead the way with 8 individual mistakes leading directly to a goal. We had only 6 in 38 games last season. A huge difference.
The sooner we can get Stones fit, the better for me.
Seamus and Leighton haven't been hitting the heights of last season either. I think a large part is down to the fact that teams have sussed them out, and double up on them both to stop the threat.
And Lukaku appears to be getting a lot of stick. The way I see it is, give him chances and he'll score. He's getting very little service. He has to come deep to get the ball, and what can a striker do with his back turned to goal? We need to start playing more towards Lukaku's strengths. Playing balls in front of him, and getting him in positions were he's running at players.
One positive though was Kone and Eto'o towards the end. They looked really good together. Hopefully Kone can stay fit now and become a real player for us.
I would be very willing to give Garbutt a go, maybe in a left attacking midfield role. He would really supply Lukaku.
Hopefully now we can build on this and win on Saturday. It's been a disappointing season so far, but we've got to start looking forward now. Players are coming back from injury, and are finding form. We have a decent run of games before the EL kicks in again, and we really want to find ourselves in that race for 4th come February.
We, the fans, really need to find our voice. Goodison sounded like a county cricket match last night, and has done for far too long. The boo-ing was ridiculous and embarrassing from those fans who thought necessary. It will not help the players one bit. I think it's a real big issue which fan groups and local media outlets should discuss openly.
But onto Saturday. Southampton are there for the taking. Need to get at them early. COYB.
17 Posted 16/12/2014 at 13:17:21
18 Posted 16/12/2014 at 14:05:15
19 Posted 16/12/2014 at 14:46:39
I'm all for possession football but it has to have a purpose. Only the great Barcelona at their peak, with a unique combination of world class players, managed to perfect the style that we're trying to mimic with far less gifted individuals. Senor Martinez has to realise that we're too slow, deliberate and predictable. We need to "mix it" more!
20 Posted 16/12/2014 at 14:37:41
Lukaku never once got the ball facing goal and it is patently obvious he is not a target man. Kone is a more fully rounded striker and would have messed Dunne about more. I would like to see Kone up front with Lukaku in the absence of Mirallas if he injury costs him a few games. Kone could be the perfect foil for Lukaku as he can pick a pass and is clever in his movement off the ball. He could well create the space for Barkley, Naismith and Lukaku.
21 Posted 16/12/2014 at 15:58:11
22 Posted 16/12/2014 at 17:02:47
Glad to see Besic getting some praise; unlike some on here, I always thought he was a great purchase.
Baines is suffering as a result of Pienaar not playing, unfortunately Pienaar doesn't have long left me thinks. We need to find a player capable of bringing the best out of Baines. Maybe Oviedo can be the man.
I would start Kone next game, hopefully it will give Lukaku a kick up the arse.
Also, Mirallas needs giving the ball a lot more, he works so hard defending and is our best attacking option but needs someone who can supply him. How hard can it be to knock a ball 10 yards along the deck?
23 Posted 16/12/2014 at 20:23:53
I don't believe Roberto peddles his effusive remarks to the players - I'm sure they would laugh at him - but I do wish he would give us mere speccies a little credit for recognising crap when we are subjected to it.
I'm quite sure a continuance of this level of performance will see little improvement in our league position although it will do nothing to make the manager's own position any less tenable. He's here for the long haul so, perhaps, we should all get used to mediocrity and learn to cope with it.
25 Posted 17/12/2014 at 00:48:33
In his particular DM position there is no substitute for experience as Michael Carrick is presently demonstrating at United.
26 Posted 17/12/2014 at 02:04:32
More generally whilst I agree with a lot of the sentiment on here about the mucking about at the back (and the stats Tom gives about goals this has cost us are indeed shocking but also re-assuring as it should be something easy to fix) I do not think you need to be Barca or Spain to play this style well - many lesser teams play like this with some success. I think our core problem is that Distin and Jags are not comfortable enough on the ball, they have done better than I expected in this new style but they are not made for it. Distin will presumably be done at the end of the season and will be replaced by Stones (if not before). Jags has many years left in him and although I think he is a great defender and seems a top lad (and I am proud that he plays for England) I just am unconvinced by his suitability for this role in the style we play. Maybe with Stones alongside him for both club and country they will cover up for each others weaknesses and become a legendary pairing???
The other thing that would help is to have a player like Barkley replace Barry in longer term in the central midfield holding role. This would allow us to move the ball quicker. I don't think he's ready for that yet but I hope this is the way forward.
27 Posted 17/12/2014 at 05:35:55
28 Posted 17/12/2014 at 10:48:54
29 Posted 17/12/2014 at 12:28:12
30 Posted 17/12/2014 at 12:58:19
31 Posted 17/12/2014 at 13:19:07
ItĂ‚s a strange season this season and the next 4 games are all winnable. if we do win these 4, weĂ‚ll be competing for Champions League for the rest of the season as well as having our run in the Europa League (which could well go all the way). Yes, the games coming up are close together but the one thing we have which the teams we are facing donĂ‚t is squad depth, as proven with our youngsters, and 4 top quality strikers (to be fair, Kone has had 2 good outings).
Heads up, still less dire than the shite despite having no American investors.
32 Posted 17/12/2014 at 14:07:31
33 Posted 17/12/2014 at 14:30:46
34 Posted 17/12/2014 at 15:09:53
And Besic doesn't get booked anymore than Barry does!
Lets get back to the oppositions midfielders looking over there shoulders expecting a rattling! I also think Stones has got a bit of the devil in him too. Nais,Coleman and Oviedo are up for it as well. Fuck it,teams do it to us and until you stand up to it ,it will continue.
35 Posted 17/12/2014 at 23:10:50
Totally agree though that Carrick and Mr. David De Gea are the main reasons they have won 6 on the trot. More so than their 250k plus per week players.
36 Posted 18/12/2014 at 17:22:20
I donĂ‚t think we should forget though, that were bobbing along nicely in the Europa and stand a very good chance of progressing past our next opponents. The next Euro games in February so we can now totally focus on climbing up the Prem for a few weeks!
For us to be a serious top 4 side, the board will need to dip into their pockets and come up with some serious money, because to repeat myself again, were short on the quality at the back and in midfield. Then we will stand more chance of playing the attractive football most are calling for.
Trouble is, the class of players we need, donĂ‚t grow on trees and wonĂ‚t come cheap.
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