Everton in urgent need for points have to travel to the Britannia Stadium to meet an inform Stoke side and, considering our last victory there was in 2008, then the omens were not good. None of this put off the travelling faithful as a full contingent was present and in good voice.
The game was to be a scrappy affair with the Blues looking decidedly edgy. Gibson and Naismith started along with Lennon and although we started with some intent it was 15 minutes before we had a chance when Garbutt slid one to Gibson on the edge but he didn’t really get hold of it and the ball went tamely to the keeper. Just after this Stoke were forced into a change when their centre back went off with what must have been a pull or strain but we saw no benefit as Stoke just carried on in their normal manner.
The Blues had a good twenty-five minute spell playing more of a cup tie game than any possession stuff but that final third is a real bogey area for us, always nearly but never striking. Howard had his first touch on 25 minutes and that was from a back pass so many of us thought that maybe we could at last fashion a win.
But then Stoke had a spell and Moses strode forward and hit a screamer, luckily straight at Howard, but the keeper only had time to get his fists to it and send it back out. We then had a bout of handbags between Naismith and Bardsley which Garbutt foolishly joined in by pushing Bardsley, but Clattenberg, our Ref for tonight, just warned Naismith and Bardsley and issued no yellows.
Straight from this incident Stoke had a throw in and Adam fired a cross-field pass across goal and Moses unmarked in the box powered a header home. Great to see if you were a Stoke fan but very hard to take for a Blue. We looked all at sea defensively and our lively start had been in vain. We slowly got ourselves more together and started to press again but Stoke are well-drilled and getting in behind them was looking difficult but we tried and indeed finished the half strong.
Garbutt and Coleman had good runs and crosses that were cut out and Lennon had a shot saved by the sprawling keeper. Two minutes added and Coleman has a cross headed away and then the Irishman gained a corner and Barry had a header that was weak and straight to the keeper as the whistle sounded. Not the best of halves for us but we did show more endeavour than of late... but, oh, that final third. There must be an invisible brick wall there.
H/T and the chat was of being drawn into a relegation battle as no one seems to know where the next point might come from.
Second half started and from the off the upping of the tempo was evident. Lukaku was put in on goal from the left channel but his attempted curler just missed the far post and must have deflected off his marker as we got a corner, which again came to nought. Our pressing was laudable but we just could not fashion a clear chance despite Naismith covering every blade of grass to try to get us going.
He got a bit too enthusiastic and got booked for accumulation. The Stoke players certainly knew he was about and he was geeing up our players but again and again we floundered on the rocks that were the Stoke defence.
On the hour mark our manager decided to try a change to see if that would help and Osman and Kone replaced Barry and Lennon. Barry had been booked in the first half and now is not available for the Newcastle and QPR games. They made a big initial difference with Osman feeding Kone who had a blast that caused the keeper to bat away, then Osman’s quick feet got him in the box but yet again the Stoke defence crowded him out. The faithful are the twelfth man, though, and were roaring trying to suck one in.
70 minutes came up and it had been almost all Everton but we just can’t seem to click in that box. And with a very well-drilled Stoke defence it was all frustrating especially when a move did break down Stoke were ever ready to counter quickly and with us pushed on some hairy moments were noted.
Time seemed to be flying by and we just couldn’t fashion the move to get us at least a direct shot on goal. Osman was making quite a difference in terms of getting us in the box but always the excellent defending of Stoke created the illusion that they had more players on the field than us.
Our need was great and our players were trying everything they know, philosophy had gone out of the window now and we seemed to be making it up as we went. Into the last ten minutes and Stoke were now having a good spell as we seemed tired which caused more frustration both on and off the pitch as we couldn’t get the ball off them to attack ourselves.
The manager played his last card and subbed the tireless and non-stop Naismith with Mirallas and we all crossed fingers and hope for a Kev special but it was all Stoke now and we cracked as a tired Lukaku booted the ball high but the wrong way. That put our defence under pressure in a two-on-two break and the Stoke man from the right channel beat our keeper but the ball hit the post. In keeping with our misfortune at the moment it rebounded to his team mate Diouf who tapped home.
Two nil down, very little time left so we needed the finest five minutes we have ever had but really we all knew that was it and game over. Fans had been leaving in a steady stream and now it was almost a flood. Many of us stuck it out but we had to witness Stoke playing keep ball and their fans dishing out the ‘Ole’s’ to accompany them. Our lads got R.As from us.
4 minutes added went up but all we had from that was Walters felling McCarthy on the edge. Garbutt took it and brought a flying save from the keeper for a corner that came to nought. All over bar the shouting then and the whistle brought to an end another game that provided no points toward the 40. On leaving the ground you could not just feel or sense the despondency but touch it.
M.o.t.M. – I will give it to Naismith for non-stop work rate and endeavour.
Overall a frustrating game that did provide a more intense display but without ever looking as though we had the opponents on the rack or create any real goal bound efforts. We can’t carry on losing and drawing games without paying a penalty. I imagine many a Blue will tonight applaud the results in the other matches far more than their own team. How have we come to this? Still ten games to go and ... what?
For my part I believe we have good players and I will support them but I have to rely on our present manager and his staff to lift them and get them playing to their strengths in a way that suits them and they are happy with. It can be sorted, so good luck to all. Kiev next, then the grind begins starting with the Magpies. We always beat them at home... don’t we?
I wonder if fans will now hang on before renewing season tickets. My bet is they will until we are safe.
UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (53)
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1 Posted 05/03/2015 at 02:08:06
2 Posted 05/03/2015 at 02:10:50
3 Posted 05/03/2015 at 04:31:24
As for always beating Newcastle at Goodison Park, we never lost to Swansea before this season. And was it something like 48 years since Stoke did a double over us? And I think that Hull broke some record also against us. Teams are setting up to stiffle us. Records are being broken against us. Players who never score, are scoring against us. Bloody depressing.
Goodison Park is no longer a fortress. It is no longer a ground for teams to fear. So god knows what will happen in our remaining home games. ’Cause I sure as hell don’t.
4 Posted 05/03/2015 at 04:59:09
Good report, Ken, as usual. Was depressing staying up into the wee hours to watch that.
5 Posted 05/03/2015 at 06:06:10
"The visitors neither battled like a David Moyes team nor passed like a Roberto MartÃ‚ÂÃƒÂnez one, with the result that Stoke, who keep things relatively simple and know what they are good at, saw them off with surprisingly few alarms."
A lack of attacking intent and a general lack of belief is what the Ã‚MartÃ‚ÂÃƒÂnezÃ‚ philosophy has created. I wish he would go but now is not the time, unfortunately, for attracting a new coach. I have defended the right of Blues fans to criticise. The passion that makes Goodison Park a bear pit at times is the passion that leads us fans to feel frustration and hurt, particularly this season as a high quality squad has descended too rapidly toward the trap door.
The hurt is now deafening but I believe we have to realise that our current plight has reached a critical position and the home game against Newcastle must be a time to roar the blues towards premier league survival. Once the game has finished we can resort to sharing our views but for the 90 + minutes the barcodes should wish they were back on the Toon. COYB
6 Posted 05/03/2015 at 06:28:31
7 Posted 05/03/2015 at 07:59:51
If a few more showed the drive and energy then we might not be in that position, who will replace his energy Barkley? Osman?
They may be better on the ball (not Barkley this season) but they will not win the headers and do the chasing.
8 Posted 05/03/2015 at 07:53:04
Despite all his ridiculous and endless bullshitting to the media he has not offered a scintilla of apology or any kind of explanation for that pre-season debacle.
Early on this season it was clear that other managers plus most supporters had identified weaknesses in his boring and pathetic tactics. Despite that this idiot could not or would not accept that fact.
He has tried to respond to the predicament his catalogue of errors by cutting down on the stupid and useless ticka-tacka between the backs and keeper. The players heads have been so messed up by this charlatan it will take a stiff broom to clear the cobwebs.
To preserve our premier league place we cannot afford any delay.That is why I asked.
Has he gone yet?
10 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:46:15
11 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:53:44
One small incident last night highlighted how ludicrous the Martinez ’pass at all costs’ philosophy sometimes is. Howard takes a goalkick on the left hand side of the goal, rolls it to Jagielka on the edge of the box who is immediately closed down, so plays it with his left foot back to Howard who then is closed down and has to clear it hastily with his left foot. Any fool can work out that that is pointless.
12 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:55:07
13 Posted 05/03/2015 at 08:47:39
I feel Sherwood is the antithesis of Roberto and that although he does blow a gasket sometimes, his honesty as a manager is visceral, and I think you will see Villa going one way, and us in the reverse direction under this "snake oil salesman" manager.
I do not see how he is going to turn this desperate lack of form and confidence around, as our good, experienced pros in that dressing room must know that RM’s tactics are redundant, the results speak for themselves.
Thanks for the report Ken. I was at the corresponding fixture last season (New Year’s Day 2014?) and all I can remember is coming away cold, wet and miserable, and that was when we were playing well!
The only consolation to take is that six of our remaining games are at home, if the players can lift themselves for the run in, there is a chance that with the Goodison crowd behind them, we can eke out maybe nine points from those six games. We will get little or nothing away from home, not even at QPR on current form.
14 Posted 05/03/2015 at 09:17:39
I heard a comment from a Stoke fan on the radio saying he didn’t realise how bad Everton were and why was Lukaku always coming back for the ball when he should be running on to it which ultimately resulted in their second goal. I hate going to Stoke anyway and, on yet another dire display, it looks like I won’t be going there next season as we’ll be in a different division.
15 Posted 05/03/2015 at 09:52:56
16 Posted 05/03/2015 at 10:22:13
Look at Lukaku, he gets fucking zero service, he has three defensive midfielders sat miles away from him and as a result the fans are on his back. Watch the difference in him when he gets a ball to run onto, sadly he gets one of these once a game if he’s lucky.
I don’t think there is any point on sacking RM just now, we will stay up just because there are at least three shitter teams than us. Rethink in the Summer is needed though.
17 Posted 05/03/2015 at 10:00:24
Chris Dover #7.
Chris please, Naismith is shit. End of. He has no pace and no football brain. He fucks up so many passes, either by hitting it to long or to short or best still, just straight to an opposition player. Yeah great, he wins the occasional header but where the fuck does the header go to, usually straight to the opposition or out of play.
The Championship is full of players who give their all and continually run about just sticking the boot in or being a pain in the arse. For me, that’s where Naismith belongs.
Last night Lukaku was getting marked by at least 2 sometimes 3 defenders, the boy needed help and that is what Naismith should’ve be doing. So what the fuck was he doing helping out our 3 midfielders? What is he doing fighting for the ball on our corner flag when he should be up top, either giving Lukaku options or at least sticking the boot into a Stoke defender or two.
No doubt about it, the boy is shite and he does a good job of fooling people just by covering every blade of grass or sticking his head or boot where it probably shouldn’t be going. You know what, at the end of day Naismith does what his manager does best, talks a lot, but gives you absolutely fuck all.
18 Posted 05/03/2015 at 10:38:58
Have to agree in the main with Mike Gwyer, perhaps not as strongly, even though I do applaud the lad’s effort which other, I’d say better, players would well for us to adopt.
But 10 headless chickens and a poor goalkeeper will not be good enough to stay up. Just check out all the teams who actually get relegated and look at the reasons why? First up is Lack of Quality, even though the effort is there, and probably a dodgy goalie.
19 Posted 05/03/2015 at 10:42:47
You have to wonder when the players come out at the start of the game and see that massive support why they don’t run until they drop, but I suppose a lot of them are not wedded to the club like us. I hope you get better performances to report on in future games but if Bobby is still in charge I doubt it.
20 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:35:46
A win anywhere will calm the nerves - let’s just hope the lads don’t leave it too late !
21 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:46:28
22 Posted 05/03/2015 at 11:50:02
I’ve said this on every thread my concern is the rate we are concedIng-stoke 3 shots on target, 2 goals,arsenal 4 shots on target,2 goals. I remember a time when teams would have to batter us before we’d concede;now it’s just too easy.
Quite why we’ve gone from the best defence to one of the worst with the same players can only be down to the management. For instance the first arsenal goal from a corner with no one on the posts-schoolboy stuff. Stoke’s 1st;player allowed to cross with no pressure on the ball so he could pick his spot.
If these games were an aberration, you could excuse it, but this is happening in game after game; it’s just too easy to score against us.
All season I haven’t seen us outplayed with shots raining down from all angles, and I suppose that’s thank god because the way we’re shipping goals we might have run up some cricket scores against us.
Like you I can’t see where the next win’s coming from.
23 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:10:31
24 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:19:25
The opposition get enough time on the ball now and if the main chaser is removed they will get even more, also who will win the headers? when Howard kicks long do you let Barkley or Lukaku win them? if so we will even less than we do now.
Please do not take me wrong way, the team is play crap and its because RM sets it up that way, and with most want to see him go, just feel that some of the knocking is unfair, my opinion and not agreed with most perhaps but there we go.
Forever hoping for a better result (but not holding my breath)
25 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:27:16
I’m not trying to put you on the spot,Ken, but most on here respect your views.
26 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:46:34
27 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:53:55
This team has bored me into near submission. There’s just nothing about them worth watching.
I could deal with watching a team fighting a relegation battle but this lot can’t even be arsed to do that.
If we stay up it will be a huge let off by the other clubs because if we actually need to fight our way out of trouble then I’d back us to fail.
28 Posted 05/03/2015 at 12:43:00
As has been suggested on other posts, the players clearly have to take some kind of responsibility for the poor, poor effort we have seen all season. The fitness levels for instance, whilst I think everybody agrees that the pre-season shambles lies at the door of the manager, surely a top level professional footballer knows if he cannot last a full 90 minutes then it is up to him to put in the extra work to make sure he does in the future. If I had played in the Leicester/Arsenal games early season, professional pride would make damn sure that I wouldnÃ‚t be chasing shadows in the closing stages of a game for the rest of the season.
However, all this detracts from the fact that it is the manager that sends the players out with a gameplan and from very early on this season, it has been apparent that the players do not like/feel comfortable with this gameplan. Unlike a lot of people, I believe that we have changed our gameplan from last season, in that we do not do anything at pace. Last season, we had a dynamism that teams found hard to live with, we hit teams with such pace and verve that before they knew what was happening, the ball was in the back of the net. This season we have shown nothing like that, everything has been so pedestrian that we may as well telegraph any kind of move we make. Is this down to not being fit enough? Who knows, but whatever the reason, its something we do not do this season.
I also do not buy the argument that ALL season last season, we took teams by surprise. Premier league managers do their homework, and after the first few games, would know what Everton were all about. The problem for other teams was that we did everything with such pace that they had no answer to our attacks... in one respect, MartinezÃ‚s philosophy does work if you do it correctly, only he hasnÃ‚t done anything correctly this season. Preparation, player motivation, picking form players etc has all been sub standard and, for that derelict of duty alone, he should be fired.
This season has felt like EFC are MartinezÃ‚s pet project, that he can tinker and play around with us as though we donÃ‚t matter. Well we do matter. Rightly or wrongly, I expect Everton to win every game, especially at Goodison, and I donÃ‚t think Martinez has appreciated how much expectation there is at Everton. This is not Wigan, Swansea et al where if we get a good result we are happy with a pat on the head, this is Everton, a club with a rich and proud history. Do not forget that we are still the fourth most successful club in England... lets start behaving like one!!
I really hope we get behind the lads against Kiev/Newcastle but also I am an advocate of a demonstration before either game to let the manager/board know how unhappy we really are. We are Everton and under no circumstance should we be in this position...
I feel like crying when I read of some supporters suggesting we should just bow out of the Europa to concentrate on the league... I understand their reasons for saying so but the fact that they are having to say these things in the first place make me nearly want to weep. Again, we are Everton, surely we want to win ANY kind of trophy... is this not the business of football, to win things?
I just hope and pray something happens to turn this around, but am not holding my breath. DidnÃ‚t Kenwright pledge after the last real flirtation with relegation that this must never happen again???? Over to you Bill
Up the blues
29 Posted 05/03/2015 at 14:13:10
30 Posted 05/03/2015 at 14:19:54
31 Posted 05/03/2015 at 14:24:52
Funny that the same defensive lapses time and again are let off because players are young (same mistakes though time and time again) but when those mistakes kill us it is Barry is awful, Baines should sit or move to another position which he will make mistkes at, Jags is past it, Distan is past it, and Howard (better stats last season the De Gea, Cech, and Hart) is now and has always been awful.
Saw one "learned commentator" on another Everton site give Howard a five, not because he did anything wrong, but because two goals were scored yet gave the defenders and players responsible for the lapses leading to the goals equal or higher ratings. Even the article writer here indicated Howard got beaten on the second goal. This is not a save situation, it is a make the player miss situation. Howard did the only thing he could do and came out trying to hurry the shot and to take away as much of the goal as is possible to try to make the shot go wide (wait I know Robles would have saved it all) which he did off the post. At that point, it is a defenderÃ‚s job to clear it.
I would love Lukaku, Pienaar, Osman, Jags, Howard, Mirallas, Distan, and Gibbo (yes he was being dismissed as injured excess baggage by fans) to leave and then they can play Garbutt, Besic, Naismith, Robles, McCarthy, Lennon, Kone, Browning, Atsu and Coleman and whoever else and watch the points roll out. But hey they can pass backwards and sideways per RM, and they run and give effort so they must be good.
32 Posted 05/03/2015 at 16:50:43
I don’t think we are playing that badly, certainly not to the low of Walter Smiths final weeks or even some of the Moyes era. it was not all good stuff under Moyes and a lot of fans forget the yo yo times under him.
The problem is we are drawing too many games, I am still shocked that many fans now want Martinez sacked. Granted a lot of fans didnt want him in the first place so they are all coming out of the woodwork now. I still expect us to stay up rather comfortably as I don’t expect the bottom 3 to get to 40 points. Our run in has at least 4 wins and a few more draws which will make us safe.
Looking on social media a lot of fans are saying go for Dunc or a Royle/Dunc combination. Considering our form seems to have nosedived since Dunc took up his role on the coaching team I don’t see the logic in that.
I personally back Martinez and will give him the chance to redeem our fortunes next season. I expect a much tougher pr-season and a few of the older players to be shipped out. That is what I hope anyway.
Now is the time to back the manager and the team unless there is a real feeling of he has lost the dressing room which does not seem to be the case to me.
33 Posted 05/03/2015 at 17:12:03
But the one thing that David Moyes was above all else was pragmatic, sometimes to our frustration but often it was the correct way at a wobbly part of the season or during a bad run.
His mantra was lose a game but don't dare lose the next one and preferably win the next one, it didn't always transpire that way but it was a clear and easy message for everybody to understand..
I'm not sure you can describe our recent run as an unfortunate run of games or that we have met the form teams at the wrong time, we have played Hull twice, WBA, Leicester and Palace during this period and won just once we also travelled to Southampton and Newcastle when both were mis-firing and failed to grab a point, not to mention playing a West Ham team who are also having a pretty poor 2015 and we failed to beat them although our performance at their place was a stand out one in relation to everything else we have witnessed domestically this year.
When you hear the manager saying the same things at Goodison as he was saying at Wigan two-three-four season's ago it rings alarm bells as the two clubs are very different and the talent pool is vastly different but the manager never seems to live in the now, it's either what will be done in the future or what has happened in the past, that isn't good enough for me.
Given that Everton will survive this season, just, my fears for next season are not calmed by Roberto and his methods and I also have to admit to worries about his ability in the transfer market all in all I don't see this particular man as a suitable manager for Everton at this stage of his career, I don't know who will be, but my head and heart says it isn't Roberto.
34 Posted 05/03/2015 at 17:20:52
Yes Matthew, things ARE as bad as the keyboard warriors would have you believe. Why do you only mention the defeats to Chelski, the Arse and Stoke when we have lost SEVEN of our last 12 games and SEVEN of our eight last away games? It is 2 1/2 months since we won at home in the league.
Here is the full record of our last 12 games:
P 12 W 1 D 4 L 7 F 6 A 17 GD -11 Pts 7
A single defeat in any of our 6 pointer games against Villa, QPR or Burnley could well tip the balance against us.
Our plight is that precarious.
35 Posted 05/03/2015 at 17:42:04
Your observation that he's always banging on about the past or how amazing we're going to be in the future makes resonates with me. Surely underneath he knows how bad we've been this season or is he in that much denial and delusion ?
The first part of change is accepting where your reality, warts and all. Then and only then, can you truly affect change and address the real issues. I fear the cloak of denial is too thick to shake off.
36 Posted 05/03/2015 at 17:55:34
37 Posted 05/03/2015 at 17:50:36
Are you implying that fans of our great club who fear that RM is out of his depth and not fit to be manager....are keyboard warriors?
It is meant as a derogatory term and is usually used when someone is acting tough from the safety of their home computer.
I'm not sure why you would apply the term to fellow blues who simply have a different opinion of our manager to you. Your facts don't add up so you throw insults.
38 Posted 05/03/2015 at 17:21:36
A back 3 of Jagielka, Alcaraz and Stones
Garbutt and Coleman as wingbacks
3 midfielders - Barkley, Gibson and McCarthy (NB only one defensive midfielder required as we have 3 centre halves to defend supported by 2 wing backs)
2 strikers - Kone and Lukaku (Lukaku slightly deeper so he doesnÃ‚t get caught offside and can run onto through balls from Gibson and Barkley.)
We need to try something different before we run out of time. Be positive, Roberto! I for one hope you get it right, turn this around and are here for years to come.
39 Posted 05/03/2015 at 18:18:13
40 Posted 05/03/2015 at 18:19:16
"The problem is that we are drawing too many games" Really? Do you honestly think that is the only problem? Is it not the inability to win football matches that is the real problem?
Do you also believe that we will "Stay up comfortably"? WTF are you basing that on? Current form?
And I'm sorry but if you honestly think that our run in has at least 4 wins and a few draws then you are clearly deluded.
If this rant makes me a keyboard warrior then so be it but I've paid good money this season to watch probably the longest run of piss poor football I have ever seen at Goodison and I'm entitled to express my opinion.
Finally please don't ask people to "look at the stats" because in case you haven't noticed they make horrible and desperate reading.
41 Posted 05/03/2015 at 18:30:37
42 Posted 05/03/2015 at 19:54:43
43 Posted 05/03/2015 at 20:02:29
Another worrying aspect is we have played the same stupid formation (if you can call it that) in nearly all the games! Back to basics required: 4-4-2.
44 Posted 05/03/2015 at 20:12:07
But ... each to their own.
45 Posted 05/03/2015 at 21:09:50
What the hell are you on?
We are crap & RM is like a rabbit caught in the headlights!
Point for point, after 28 games, this is our worst season since 1927-28 FFS
The only way we can get this idiot out is quite simple: "DonÃ‚t buy Season Tickets!"
46 Posted 05/03/2015 at 21:29:44
We also miss an in form Pienaar as we now have a punchless left flank which ironically was our most potent strength last season. The board must invest in the squad if we avoid relegation, otherwise we will continue to struggle. Our manager is the fall guy for this failure to invest.
47 Posted 06/03/2015 at 05:01:02
Also we could have been 2 points better off had he taken one of many chances that came along against Leicester. As it is for me he'll never be the great striker he himself thinks he's going to be.
On another note, I'll stick my neck out and say I don't think we'll score another away goal this season so that leaves us the home games to get the required points, and given our dismal home form this season I can't see it happening. What a nightmare.
48 Posted 06/03/2015 at 14:48:00
49 Posted 06/03/2015 at 15:18:05
50 Posted 06/03/2015 at 18:43:10
Lack of investment? RM spent 28 million quid on Lukaku. 13 million on McCarthy, 6 million on Kone, 4.5 million on Besic. That's 51.5 million quid on 4 players. How much more investment can they realistically put up.
Maybe if he spent it better we wouldn't be in this shit.
51 Posted 06/03/2015 at 19:49:49
But a Martinez fan only hears - and trots out the bullshit !
52 Posted 07/03/2015 at 12:31:47
The players sold, more than paid for who we signed and the club pocketed a lot of money. Our squad was not increased in numbers and that is what was required to deal with the heavier fixture list.
53 Posted 07/03/2015 at 15:13:03
But this is not the case with this Everton team. (I use the term loosely.) We are dropping points to every team we face. The desire, fight and sheer bloody guts are missing from some of these overpaid, overhyped prima donnas. We all know who they are, so once we are safe ship them out, make a few astute buys and give some of the young lads their chance.
It might have been the great Jock Stein who said if they are good enough, they’re old enough. Cant possibly be any worse.
Come on, Everton.
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