From My Seat: Tottenham (H)

Our 15th home defeat this season and, looking at the players we have got, you have to wonder why. Today Spurs made us look ordinary.

Ken Buckley 24/05/2015 32comments  |  Jump to last

The last game of the season sees us take on Spurs. We gather in the Room of Nonsense and it soon becomes clear that most in attendance are here because that is what we do. The game was briefly touched on with most thinking that, with nothing to play for except pride, Everton may well play well within themselves... and with Spurs needing a win for Europa direct qualification, they would be the hungrier team and be likely winners. As it would turn out, we were close to the mark.

The walk up was a breezy affair but the sun was breaking through, much to the delight of those queuing at Fat Van, Blue Dragon et al. Walking down Goodison Road, you needed to watch your footfall as the mounted police had been about and horse droppings were in abundance and, due to the police budget being cut, toilet rolls had been withdrawn.

In for Z-Cars and entry of the gladiators who received a very good reception with Distin getting the loudest cheer as his name was called amongst those on the bench.

Spurs won the toss, we kicked off and a tepid Blue 94 minutes began. From the off Spurs looked the side with something to play for and although in many ways were playing a similar type of game to us they were quicker in thought and passing and looked dangerous when their build up didnt falter on entering the final third. Some rocky moments were endured by those playing and those watching. Just before the twenty minute mark Galloway lost his man in similar fashion to the goal we conceded at WHU last week allowing Lamela to hit a fierce one across Howard and, but for a great diving reflex save that parried the ball and in one movement, our stopper was sprawling to claim the ball. A real good save was that.

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I hoped we would heed the warning. Spurs were attacking allot down their right as if targeting home debutant Galloway but the lad responded well and could be classed as steady. Barkley who had been giving the ball away by what looked like lack of concentration did find a beaut of a through pass that put Mirallas through one on one. Kev is normally mustard at these yet he chooses today to make a right pigs ear of it and produce little more than a back-pass. He did try to atone soon after when in the box he produced a bit of ball juggling that culminated in a fierce shot that alas was always rising and went a little high.

However with 25 minutes gone our one-time loanee Dier got down the right and flashed a cross in that caused us to be Kaned by the man of the moment Harry Kane. He got in front of Jags and a mere glance left our keeper helpless. An excellent precise finish that pundits always say the ball had all the pace the glance was enough. Strange feeling though that the goal did not seem to come as any surprise to the Bluenoses assembled.

Spurs now took charge of the game and it was obvious from the stands that they were more like the home side than the home side. Barkley, after a couple of early bits of classy link up play, went into a period of being unable to do anything right. Was it lack of concentration or carelessness? Or was just that he cant multitask? I dont know but the upshot was he became more of a hindrance to the midfield than a help.

I felt it was such a shame as the lad has been built up to such an extent that expectation is turning to pity. Somewhere in there is a damn good footballer and now he needs someone to help him realise it. Just before the break we did have a breakaway and Mirallas just wide of the goal spotted the keeper away from his line and produced a delightful curler that beat the keeper but just evaded the far post. Hard luck that.

H/T 0-1

In the break we had the youth team of 1965 presented as they were the first team from our club to win it. The standout player who came through was Jimmy Husband. It must be a big step up from youth team to first team as his teammates in that side were excellent yet none hit the big time. Also for our entertainment we had a hit the crossbar challenge and one lad succeeded and immediately raced arm aloft to the corner flag and did the Cahill.

Second half, and as many expected Barkley was withdrawn and Besic took over. He got quite a cheer as he joined the fray. We started with a quicker tempo; perhaps the manager had reminded the players that the full house crowd pay the same ticket price as the first game of the season. Besic was soon in the action and got forward and shot but it was powder puff to be honest.

In that first twenty minutes we did look a lot better than the previous half. Osman had a turn and a flick up to produce a good volley that missed and the ever improving Galloway made a determined run into the box , burst through two defenders but the keeper dived out and just thwarted him. Many of us enjoyed the youngsters growing confidence. Garbutt watching from the bench must have realised that signing a new contract might just give him many more bench days.

Spurs had weathered our brief revival and were now passing the ball about with the air of a team that knew they had drawn our sting and the game was theirs to play-out. Ole- Ole rang out from the noisy band of Spurs fans as their players went from side to side with so many passes that it got tedious and another form of fun was found by the Blue fans as the Premier League scores were going across the bottom of the big screen and one result above all was keeping spirits high. Stoke 1-0 brought a little cheer but after 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 the cheers were sizeable then an AHH as 5-1 showed to be shortly followed by a raucous guff ore at 6-1. Tonight was not to be wasted after all.

As the clock ticked down Spurs were in control and knew it. Twice they had good chances and twice a last ditch diving block diverted the shots for corners. Jags and Stones at least seemed at least a little bit up for it. The final whistle would be a relief to all assembled I imagined as Spurs showed us how a good pass and move team could play at a level that includes patience and incisiveness.

Everton were getting fed up of chasing shadows and put a few tasty tackles in, especially Naismith who was on for Mirallas. Spurs responded and our ref Mr Moss dished out yellow cards. Spurs won that as well 2-1. We did try to muster a last Hurrah but with poor crosses we were making it hard for ourselves. Stones did get his head to one but he could not get the contact required. With six minutes plus added to go Distin replaced Galloway to a fine reception. Also the faithful let Galloway know that they appreciated his efforts. Distin got cheered for anything he did, making a pass, winning a header, and getting a high looping cross in. When that happens you just know your team has had a bad day. At last the final whistle.

M.o.t.M. Stones

Sadly that was our 15th home defeat this season and looking at the players we have got you have to wonder why. Today Spurs made us look ordinary and I know a lot of fans were saying it was because our lads were already on the beach with towels laid out. It may be a bit of that but I find it hard to swallow. The more I have watched our efforts this season only leads me to the conclusion something is wrong somewhere. We just dont look joined up in thought and deed. Still I will have to leave that to Chairman and manager and hope they sort something for next season.

Hope you all enjoy the summer. Dont bother with Everton transfer rumours until a scarf or shirt is waved.


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Reader Comments (32)

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Dick Fearon
1 Posted 25/05/2015 at 07:50:28
Thanks Ken, another season has disapeared into the mists of time and once again we are left pick over the bones of what could/should have been. IMHO not one player has improved over last season. The only matter of interest to be decided is who of Rodgers and Martinez will be the first to get the order of the boot.
My guess is Brenda.
I would have said Roberto but retaining our premiership Place would be rated a success in the eyes of Kenwright and his shady board.
Peter Mills
2 Posted 25/05/2015 at 08:20:53
Thanks, as ever, Ken. I enjoy your reports, even when I am just looking for confirmation of "is that what I saw?". We rarely disagree, but you manage to retain a bit more positivity and tolerance than I do!
Matt Traynor
3 Posted 25/05/2015 at 08:58:04
Thanks Ken for your sterling efforts during the season. Always an enjoyable read, with the room of nonsense build up, the fat van etc.

One query: "Sadly that was our 15th home defeat this season"
Have we really been that bad?!?

Sam Hoare
4 Posted 25/05/2015 at 08:33:04
Our 15th home defeat? That can’t be right surely.

Talk about a fitting end to the season. One goal down early on and yet only one shot on target and zero fight on display.

Interesting to compare us to Tottenham, a team that we were ahead of last season. Apart from the managerial difference and enough has filled these pages about Martinez without requiringing me to add I think alot of the difference this season comes down to two players from either team. Lukaku and Barkley vs Kane and Eriksen.

Whereas Kane offers constant movement, enthusiasm and intelligence Lukaku often struggles just to control the ball and does not make the intelligent runs into space that might garner him more opportunities. Likewise and even more markedly not only does Eriksen pass quickly and intelligently embarrassing Barkley in all assist/key pass stats this season but he works extremely hard and also demolishes him in most defensive stats, winning the ball back and covering more ground.

Lukaku has a decent goals return (though 10 goals in 35 Premiership games a few of which were pens is mediocre) and will be our first choice striker next season unless an unmerited enormous bid comes in from somewhere. Barkley on the other hand has had a stinker of a season. He loses the ball frequently and even when he doesn’t provides nowhere near enough in terms of goals and assists or even shots on goal and key passes. He will have to do considerably better next year or should not be in the first team.

Phil Walling
5 Posted 25/05/2015 at 09:24:19
Thanks, Ken for all your excellent reports throughout the season. As, because of spending time abroad, Goodison will see very little of me next season ( and nothing as long as RM is in post !) I shall be relying very much on your reportage in the future -so don’t retire on me, will you ?

As for the game, Besic for Barkley when we were one down ? What was there to protect that needed THREE defensive midfielders ? Or has our man visions of McCarthy making his future in an advanced role? Yet another player the genius will fuck up, surely ?

I suspect most of us will spend the summer dreading the signing of more ’no hopers’ in the mode of Alcaraz, Kone and McGeady although if substantial funds are provided to this clown of a manager, Blue Bill will again demonstrate his appalling judgement. What a state to be in !

Happy holidays to all !

Ian Bennett
6 Posted 25/05/2015 at 09:54:02
Murdo @27’

Who us going to buy Baines? Why would we sell him?

Dennis Stevens
7 Posted 25/05/2015 at 10:04:31
Thanks for yet another excellent report Ken. At least you’ve got a couple of months to rekindle your enthusiasm for next season, enjoy the break!
Steve Hogan
8 Posted 25/05/2015 at 10:13:10
The majority of pundits know where the problems are and have been pretty evident all season. We have a distinct lack of real quality and pace in the final third, and despite several permutations by the manager, all have failed to produce a solution.

Lukaku plays in an isolated role most of the time, and looks a shadow of the player we had on loan.

Martinez displayed a massive error of judgement with Barkley earlier on in the season when the player was crying out to be taken out of the side.

Instead he picked him week after week until the crowd saw him as the scapegoat and gradually destroyed whatever confidence he had left.

He now looks nothing like the player who scored the ’wonder’ goals against Man City and Newcastle Utd a short time ago, instead looking for the ’safe’ pass all the time.

Thanks Roberto.

I do wonder whether Martinez has the awareness to recognise these glaring faults he has, or whether next season will be ’my way or nothing else’.

Creativity is perhaps the biggest issue that needs to be addressed, and we need to look further afield than the Wigan postcodes in bringing the right players in.

I dread the thought of another Kone, Alcaraz et al being our stellar signings of the summer.

We say it every season, but the summer transfer window activity will make or break next season.

Don’t hold your breath!!

Philip Yensen
9 Posted 25/05/2015 at 10:18:16
Why not Garbutt and Galloway as the new left side partnership and throw in Oviedo, nice trio to support, push and play together. The right could be Coleman, Browning and Mirallas. Put Naismith alongside Lukaku. McCarthy, Besic or A N Other centre mid. Finally a centre half and keeper to put Jags, Stones and Howerd under pressure.

Finally a new manager who can kick arses but not fuck about making changes for the sake of it. Finally, finally 5 passes instead of 15 or 10 out of 15 passes going forwards not square or back. Oh, stay at Goodison Park.

Laurie Hartley
10 Posted 25/05/2015 at 11:08:56
Thanks Ken for another witty report.

"Something is wrong somewhere". I can just imagine you scratching your head, grimacing then sighing – because that’s what I have been doing for most of the season.

The euphoria of how we gave Arsenal a football lesson at the Emirates last season is now just a beautiful memory. Where to from here? I just don’t know.

The club needs a leader, with a vision and a team on and off the field to deliver it.

Perhaps the thing that worries me most about this season is the effect it has had on the fans. A large percentage of us seem to have gone from anger to anxiety to apathy. I certainly have.

One thing I do know, for the good of the club we all have to rediscover our passion during the close season.

On a personal level, that is going to be a huge challenge but no doubt the hope will get the better of me before the season starts.

Thanks again Ken for your reports during the season – from a grateful antipodean Evertonian.

Julie Naybour
11 Posted 25/05/2015 at 11:18:36
After recovering from watching the depressingly poor performance yesterday, I now feel it may have been a blessing to have lost this game!! Had we won, there may have been a temptation to consider we are on the up again, having completed a reasonably good run of form in the final half of the season – a feeling that this blip was nothing more than second season syndrome and all would be right again come August.

I suspect that finishing on a false high would have papered over the cracks. Maybe – just maybe – this will avoid any delusional feel-good factor and the view that we do not need a completely new strategy, at least two or three key new players, an improved fitness regime, and an improved pre-season, (the latter being the easiest to achieve given last year debacle).

I know some will call for heads to roll i.e. Martinez and / or Kenwright but that’s not going to happen. I am not optimistic but prepared to give our manager another season – at least until Christmas – to see if a new campaign without European distraction, can turn things around.

The only glimmer of hope is that, in regards to Distin, RM did bow to pressure. He obviously listened to someone and changed his mind. Does that mean he is more open than we feared? Let's hope so and here’s to a successful transfer season.

Dave Abrahams
12 Posted 25/05/2015 at 11:26:54
Echoing every one else, thanks for your very good reports over the season, it’s remarkable how you never lose your patience with the players and manager – your tongue must be full of bites!

Have a good summer and maybe next season your reports will be full of remarkable victories as we storm up the table, erm, not if Bobby is still in charge.

Steavey Buckley
13 Posted 25/05/2015 at 12:42:14
Martinez just does not like width. He prefers Everton to play down the middle, unfortunately there is no Xavi or Iniesta at their best to play there for Everton, there is only Barkley, Osman and Naismith.
Brian Dagnall
14 Posted 25/05/2015 at 13:01:06
Why is it Ken that your report each week and the consequent comments from Blue supporters seems to strike me as pretty much what I feel myself? Are we of similar ages, I wonder? Other threads on ToffeeWeb seem to contain wildly excessive criticisms of the team when we lose, and when we win, wildly effusive congratulation as well. Personally, I thought we were equally bad against West Ham managing a 2-1 win last week, as we were yesterday with a 1-0 loss.

We are all critical of one thing or another at our club (me included by the way) but I really do take exception to the suggestion that our players lack motivation, passion or desire. It is easy to make these suggestions when we lose. The guys give their best I feel sure every game, but like you I think "there is something wrong" in the culture of the team. I blame individual players when they give the ball away, can’t control an easy pass and so on, but to suggest they don’t care is nonsense ..... in my view.

A poor season for sure. But even so I will miss your weekly words of wisdom for the next 2.5 months. I will visit the room of nonsense one day .... that is my ambition. God, what will I do every Saturday over the summer?

Amit Vithlani
15 Posted 25/05/2015 at 13:09:07
Ken and Dick Fearon, I think you sum up perfectly what many who have been following the club over decades feel. Yet another missed opportunity to kick on from the platform of a 5th-place finish. Our board have played their part in strangling the ambitions of the supporters, of that there can be no doubt. But the manager too has blown away any aspirations that we had at the end of last season that we would break into the top 4 quite soon. It really is the hope that kills you.

I am resigned to another season of mediocrity as the consensus seems to be that Martinez will stay, and there appears little hope of a huge amount of investment flowing our way anytime soon. What is worrying is looking at the revenue figures for the season, we are on a par this season with the likes of Stoke and Swansea and therefore unless Martinez starts to get the squad playing to its full potential, we are in danger of falling into a spiral. Continued under performance in the league will lead to lower revenue, translates into a lower wage and transfer budget, translates into a reduction in squad quality, translates to lower performance....etc.

I sincerely hope that sometime over the summer, Martinez will wake up from his stupor and rediscover the fast, direct style (mixed with short passing at the right times) which has brought us so much success in the recent past.

Harold Matthews
16 Posted 25/05/2015 at 12:31:58
Very good report as usual, Ken, but Kane didn’t get in front of Jags for the goal. The whole thing was quite a farce. After a cross was cleared Kane slipped onto the deck and our back four stepped out in a rehearsed high line. Almost immediately, a powerful uncontested diagonal cross was hit from the permanently vacant hole on our left hand side and it went over Jag’s head to young Mr Kane who had just got himself back in an onside position.

Yes, we should have done better but everyone was caught by surprise, including Kane, but the ball whizzed into his path and he said thank you very much. If he had not slipped over in the earlier exchange the goal may never have happened. Everton luck.

That aside, we were pretty dire throughout. A bunch of clueless strangers in blue. Mirallas, of all people, fluffing a simple chance. It was not easy to watch.

Things went from bad to worse when Naismith came on and started tackling people with his fists and mouth. Holy smoke, that’s all we need.

A big plus for Galloway who recovered well after being caught out for not using his right foot. I also liked the look of Besic. This lad could be quite useful.

I don’t know what we’re going to do about Lukaku and Barkley.

Derek Thomas
17 Posted 25/05/2015 at 14:10:42
Thanks again Ken, you tell it like it is.

Martinez has had 1 good and 1 bad season. He had better pull something out of the hat in the window AND hit the ground running in August.

Michael Winstanley
18 Posted 25/05/2015 at 14:20:30
Thanks for all your reports this season, Ken, you bring a balanced view, week-in & week-out.

’Something is wrong’; for me, it’s the pair in the middle of the park. See the difference in our play when Gibson was fit, a player who can see and execute the forward pass.

Paul McGinty
19 Posted 25/05/2015 at 16:19:28
Thanks for the report of the game. Being USA-based, this was only my second game in attendance; every other being "enjoyed" on NBC.

Over the 90+ minutes, Tottenham looked like a balanced, incisive, footballing team... we didn’t. He did Barkley a favour taking him out since he looked like a kid bereft of confidence... some of his errors in the first half were cringeworthy.

The game passed Lukaku by. Only in my opinion Stones and to a lesser extent Jags performed to anything like standard with an honorable mention to Galloway and Besic for the second half showings. Distin's 10 minutes demonstrated that he is by no means shot and could have played some part in the second half of the season... probably the best balanced back three we could have, in the 3-5-2 we reverted too at the death.

The ease with which Tottenham passed around us even in the second half showed the gulf on this day. The players play, but Martinez owns that performance in the same way Brenda owns the RS defeat.

His words about second half improvement, both of the season and this game, don’t mask, for me, a piss-poor performance by the manager this season... someone needs to tell him his public statements aggravate at least this member of the fanbase, because the reality of the situation we find ourselves in is far different than the rosy picture he paints. Onwards and upwards for next season... here's hoping for a bounce back.

Ray Atherton
20 Posted 25/05/2015 at 16:14:44
Ken, I enjoyed all your articles throughout this trying season.

You mentioned Jimmy Husband (1965 FA Youth Cup winner) as breaking into the first team squad, as the only one to progress. I am sure John Hurst also made it, as I think he made his debut at Stamford Bridge when we got tonked about 5-1.

The Chelsea team was a very good side then: Venables, McCreadie, Osgood, Cooke, Chopper Harris etc...

Have a good holiday, Ken. COYB.

Christopher Timmins
22 Posted 25/05/2015 at 17:26:07
Ken, thanks for all the articles during the course of the season. You are a gift to all of us who can’t make it to the games.

You always call things mid way through the season and this season was no different. Our final position, just outside the top 10, was fitting and reflective of the performances put in during the season. The table does not lie over 38 games.

I don’t think there is much reason to believe that our fortunes will improve in the short to medium term. The present Chairman has been given more than enough time to improve things and a club with Everton’s tradition should never go so long without a trophy.

Jim Bennings
23 Posted 25/05/2015 at 17:22:59
What can we say no the dust has settled on what has been a truly appalling Premier League? That was an embarrassing way to sign off in front of the fans yesterday, a totally and utterly inept, lazy horrible display.

I felt like I was watching a training session that simply involved just Tottenham. It was men against boys. The most damning stat though is that how many times have I sat in the Gwladys Street End this season and witnessed such bog standard dross.
I can accept not winning as long as they look like they want to at least break sweat and show some pride in the blue shirt, but this season has just been a total sick joke!

Apart from the Manchester United home match you can possibly count maybe three at best out of the entire 19 home matches where we actually looked interested and gave a damn.

Way too many visiting teams have had an easy ride at Goodison this season, that was piss easy for Spurs yesterday just like it was for Sunderland a few weeks ago.

I don’t know how on earth anything is going to change with Martinez and his Subbuteo style of play next season. It won’t matter who we sign, the style will be the same, no movement anywhere on the park, just static statues walking, and passing the ball aimlessly at the back conceding numerous self inflicted goals as a result of unnecessary risks.

Nothing is going to change.

Jim Bennings
24 Posted 25/05/2015 at 18:00:16
A brief glance in the recent record book I noted than in Moyes last 7 season’s we ended our final home game stretching back to the 2006-07 season.

2006-07...Portsmouth 3-0
2007-08...Newcastle 3-1
2008-09...West Ham 3-1
2009-10...Portsmouth 1-0
2010-11...Chelsea 1-0
2011-12...Newcastle 3-1
2012-13...West Ham 2-0

I thought I struggled recalling the last time I didn’t stick around for the lap of honour. Yesterday was the first time in years I walked out as soon as the final whistle wen. I didn’t boo, I couldn’t be arsed, I was just glad to get out of there.

Anyone here bother staying for the lap of honour?? What was it like? Many left?

Ray Robinson
25 Posted 25/05/2015 at 18:35:51
Thanks Ken for your well written, very balanced reports.

I felt an obligation to remain for the lap of (dis)honour but about half the crowd obviously did not – and who could blame them? It was a thoroughly muted affair. Two things stuck out for me as the players paraded in front of the Park End:

a) Lukaku was in constant conversation with Mirallas and didn’t even look at the crowd, let alone acknowledge it.

b) There was little or no reaction to Martinez as he trailed the players. All seemed reluctant to hurl abuse but none of them felt able to applaud him either.

I left, having renewed, but somewhat apprehensive of what next season has in store.

Dave Brierley
26 Posted 25/05/2015 at 18:56:46
Thanks for all your reports throughout this really poor season Ken. Thoroughly enjoyed all your reports even though the stuff on the pitch has been largely crap. Tell me, do you still spend time in the Room of Nonsense during the close season?

Have a good summer.

Mick Wrende
27 Posted 25/05/2015 at 18:11:14
Totally agree Jim @23 -and you are quite right that nothing will change next season. Kenwright will be quite happy with our finishing position and Martinez has been the same since he went into management.

The biggest scandal to me was spending £28 million on a striker which represented most of our pot and he has turned out to be such a lazy lump who hardly ever looks like scoring. 6 Premier League goals from open play in 35 matches is a pathetic return.

My only hope is that I went into this season with such hope and positivity. Next season I fully expect us to be in the bottom 3 so maybe if we can scrape above that I will be happier. I wouldn't hold my breath though!

Ian Smitham
28 Posted 25/05/2015 at 19:26:31
Ken, another well balanced report. As another said, I feel I see things the same way as you record them.

I know the "fat van" and have queued for hours outside the Blue Dragon. I love you term about where you go for a pre match drink and really feel that you set the scene for your match reports.

I know a certain other person gets flack on here for picking his favourites, rightly so, but I trust that MK and LL include you in the line up for next season. I doubt that there will be much dissent on that one.

Thanks from me Ken and best wishes for the Summer Months. You make me happy when.......

Ken Buckley
29 Posted 25/05/2015 at 20:21:36
Ray 20. You are right I missed out John Hurst. Thats just two that made it.

Dave 26.It seems whenever a gang of Blues meet up the room of nonsense is open.

Tony Dove
30 Posted 25/05/2015 at 22:18:22
Ken. Thanks for your great reports all season. You always bring a sense of balance but it has been a shocking season. I feel Lukaku Coleman and McCarthy in particular have often looked like they would rather be somewhere else.

I said earlier in the season that I would judge Martinez on how he handled Barkley. On that score alone, he needs to go.

Paul McGinty
31 Posted 25/05/2015 at 22:35:26
As to the lap of honor, seemed to me from the Lower Bullens, greatest interaction was between Duncan Ferguson and the crowd. He went over to many who applauded, posed for shots with them.... gave away his shoes and tracksuit top to fans. He ended up way behind the group of players and had to catch up with a nifty sprint across the Street End.
Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 26/05/2015 at 00:24:10
Ken, as a matter of interest is the Room of Nonsense in The Red Brick? If it is, I might call in next season just to buy you a pint.
Barry Jones
34 Posted 27/05/2015 at 18:56:10
Thanks Ken for all the reports. I echo your final thoughts " something is wrong somewhere. We just don't look joined up in thought and deed". As much as I believe in keeping possession of the ball, there has to be some pace, vitality, movement, cut and thrust, call it what you will, in the final third and it has to be decisive.

Martinez said that we dithered on the ball. This is what happens when a team that is used to playing the safe (and boring) option tries to look for something else. If we continue to play 4-2-3-1 (which I like), we need someone like Carrick in the back two and more creativity and pace in the middle three. Then we can also judge Lukaku as to how good he is.

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