SC Paderborn 3 - 1 EvertonEverton's pre-season preparations came to a close this afternoon with their third defeat of the summer, this time against Bundesliga newcomers SC Paderborn.
Chris Long scored a wonderful goal to put Everton ahead in the first half but Tim Howard conceded a penalty to hand the Germans an equaliser through Moritz Stoppelkamp.
Marvin Duksch and Daniel Bruckner added two more in the second half for the hosts who looked sharper and better organised overall.
Roberto Martinez had already ruled out Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas and raised the possibility that neither player will be risked in next weekend's Premier League opener when the team is expected to hit the ground running as the real business of a highly-anticipated season starts.
Muhamed Besic made his first start in an Everton jersey, however, after two substitute appearances since he arrived from Ferencvaros while Academy product Long got a chance to show what he can do in Everton's sparse-looking attack. The Everton line-up was:
Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Baines; Besic, Barry; McGeady (87' Hope), Pienaar (59' Naismith), Barkley (46' Osman); Long (79' McCarthy).
Subs not Used: Robles, Distin, Stones, Garbutt, McAleny, Duffy.
The game had a lively start, Everton defending an early free-kick before Besic was yellow-carded in just the 3rd minute after one of his trademark sliding tackles was judged to have been a little too strong.
There was a long break after a bizarre incident where a Paderborn defender injured his keeper who had run out of his area and collided with him, Chris Long trying to profit but having the ref whistle for a non- existent foul.
A nice move down the left, started by a good Besic pass out to Baines, ended in fine fashion with Chris Long collecting a good ball, spinning with consummate skill, and stroking a superb shot high over the keeper and into the far top corner of the Paderborn goal.
But SC Paderborn went up the other end and won a questionable penalty when Howard came out to the left edge of his area and produced the second sliding tackle of the game to draw the ref's ire, Stoppelkamp sending Howard the wrong way to even things up after 15 mins.
The rest of the first half was somewhat uneventful, the Blues still looking a little lacklustre, with Besic having to watch his step. Osman replaced Barkley for the second half.
Naismith replaced Pienaar just before the hour-mark as Everton continued to lose possession a little too easily, with few players performing to their ability. Paderborn rotated out eight of their players soon after, and then scored a second goal when a badly sliced shot turned into a good cross that evaded Alcaraz, allowing Duksch to move behind the line and nod the ball past Howard for a rather soft-looking goal.
McGeady was looking lively and made some good movement toward goal but his shot was a little too like so many last season — just off target. Everton did apply some good pressure but SC Paderborn surged back and a shot was parried out to Bruckner who slotted it back past Howard with ease to make it 3-1 for the home side.
James McCarthy replaced Chris Long with around 12 minutes left as Naismith almost created a goalscoring chance. Osman then came close with a nice chip that just drifted away from the far post.
Hallum Hope came on near the end but hardly got a touch as Everton's pre-season fizzled out to a rather disappointing end, with another defeat... but it's really all about gaining fitness and sharpness for next weekend's big opener at Leicester.
Reader Comments (101)
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1 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:18:38
Correct me if I’m wrong here but didn’t Belgium’s participation at the World Cup end something like a month ago?
I wouldn’t mind but Mirallas and Lukaku only really played a bit part anyhow so someone might need to explain to me quite why after a good 3 week rest both Kev and Rom shouldn’t have been involved in the Celta Vigo friendly and certainly today’s in Germany?
I’m not being funny but footballers are way too overprotected.
The players at the World Cup should never ever really be tired.
That was the kind of occasion that as a player sheer excitement and euphoria should carry you through a summer.
Tiredness is the kind of thing that your everyday man or woman feels trying to get up at the crack of dawn and support a family on a daily basis, not play a few games in a beautiful country like Brazil at a World Cup, then have a 4 week rest when the tournament ends..
2 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:30:31
That is all I can think of because they are training and have travelled to Paderborn with the squad, all hopefully will be alright on the night / day it is worrying all the same !
3 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:34:43
4 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:35:45
Now please forgive me because I donÂt know the precise terms etc.
Regardless of this, it does seem that Rom and Kev should be free to play again by now. Tim Howards WC campaign ended shortly before Kev & Rom and he has already played again for Everton.
5 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:40:50
I think you will find they didnt travel with the squad.
Roberto is quoted as saying they have a fitness program to go through and the game would interfere with that.
6 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:50:25
It could well be a smokescreen but if it isnÂt then IÂd be interested to see if players who participated in the World Cup final play for their clubs next weekend.
Of course nobody wants them to pull a hamstring but in all honesty, that can happen to any player at any given time.
We want all of our players fully fit and Kev and Rom are two of our most vital, I just think they ought to have had some warm-up football either at Prenton Park or today, even 45 minutes, if they are not ready for the Leicester, will they be ready for the Arsenal game with no football under their belt?
7 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:52:42
But IÂm also a little surprised. I suppose it illustrates that the fitness demands for footballers are far higher than realised. I expect they will make it off the bench for Leicester at least.
8 Posted 09/08/2014 at 09:28:39
9 Posted 09/08/2014 at 09:51:43
I think you will find they did mate and are pictured in a training session on the Paderborn pitch. Try this link : .evertonfc.com/news/archive/2014/08/08/Martinez-excited-by-german-finale
10 Posted 09/08/2014 at 10:14:44
But if I could just have a chat with him about playing the reserve goalie in the FA Cup quarter final......
11 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:22:10
One of these days, IÂll sniff out a conspiracy that is actually true.
12 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:35:07
Both our Belgians barely kicked a ball after the first round.
13 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:39:46
Admittedly they played up to the final but weÂre not the only side giving special treatment to the World Cup players.
All will be fine next weekend.
14 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:45:41
15 Posted 09/08/2014 at 12:45:09
16 Posted 09/08/2014 at 14:47:57
18 Posted 09/08/2014 at 14:52:53
19 Posted 09/08/2014 at 14:46:57
20 Posted 09/08/2014 at 15:04:09
But I still like the aggression that he brings; heÂs the badass of our team... every team needs at least one!
21 Posted 09/08/2014 at 15:12:39
23 Posted 09/08/2014 at 17:19:10
We still need at least three more players; otherwise, itÂs going to be a long hard season.
25 Posted 09/08/2014 at 17:30:58
26 Posted 09/08/2014 at 17:36:43
Some of the Man United and Liverpool players will pay the price for lack of rest although they have far larger squads than ours and will cope with it better.
27 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:02:58
28 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:04:16
"For all you fans affected by your clubÂs pre-season friendly results... they mean nothing, absolutely nothing."
29 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:03:07
30 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:06:44
The most disorganised, half-soaked approach to a season I can ever remember.
And to think I spent 㾻 for the pain of watching it. Just hope the mugs who went to Thailand and Germany enjoyed a good social experience!
31 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:05:58
Roberto actually is quoted as saying he was leaving them home to get three extra training sessions which would be more beneficial than playing in a game.
32 Posted 09/08/2014 at 17:54:21
The World Cup year in Mexico, when we had Bally, Tommy Wright, Keith Newton and our captain the great Brian Labone playing at that altitude, and with heat similar to Brazil.
Arsenal won the double 70-71... I cannot recollect many Gunners turning out in that World Cup tournament.
33 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:13:47
Seems weÂre tied for first on zero points. WeÂre also tied for 20th on zero points.
IÂm not sure if weÂll win the league or get relegated.
This game means fuck all.
But wait, weÂre just not ready for the start of the season! WhereÂs my time machine so I can be 100% positive of that silly claim!
34 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:12:49
35 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:15:19
1) Lukaku changes everything for us at the attacking end, and the relatively toothless preseason displays remind me of our impotent midseason swoon last year with Naismith leading the line. Nothing against Naismith of course, whoÂs a good little chihuahua with a nose for goal, but he needs Big Rom knocking em down up front to see real chances for himself or link up play in attacking midfield.
2) Alcaraz is, simply put, not a Premier League center-half at this point in his career and even though the price was right at the time (zero), Toffees everywhere should hope that Roberto gives a think to giving Galloway a crack as a 4th centre-half instead of Antolin Alcaraz, which weÂll need as the season grinds along.
36 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:12:21
I was always under the impression that as you played the pre-season fixtures, the team, gradually improved and sharpened their match fitness and team play!
From what I have witnessed (I have seen all of the games, btw). we have gotten steadily worse! The defence looks like they have never played together before, Hibbert should never have been given a new contract, and furthermore should never play for us again, even in an emergency!
The attacks were few and far between, the only positives, if you could call them that, Luke Garbutt (who is now injured), Chris Long scored a marvellous goal, and Mo Besic is almost a shoe-in for a start! I canÂt think of any more... did I miss something?
37 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:07:37
Pienaar in particular looks a shadow of his former self and I can see him joining ÂAppy ÂArry before the month is out - pure speculation on my part by the way.
I hope there is no discontent among the squad as we rely on a cohesive dressing room to enable us to Âpunch above our weightÂ in the coming season.
Besic I like and worry about in equal measure - he has talent but he is also quick into the tackle and a little over-enthusiastic and he can lose the ball in bad areas but IÂm sure he will get better as the season continues. Hibbert cannot play in the Premier League a substitute at best as his positional sense or lack of it along with his lack of pace could cost valuable points.
We are still crying out for a leader out there on the pitch as there are too few players cajoling each other - I only noticed Baines having a go at Alcaraz in the whole game - everybody else seemed to be doing their own thing without any regard to the team play and not showing the anger at misplaced passes etc that you would expect from professional footballers - albeit in a pre-season friendly.
Somehow Everton have to return from Leicester City with all three points and the performance doesnÂt really matter, a point may be acceptable but a loss whilst always a possibility would start jangling the nerves of even the most optimistic Evertonians, particularly if the performance is as lack-lustre as the pre-season performances have been.
39 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:18:24
40 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:24:56
41 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:10:22
Kevin, on the other hand, who I thought was BelguimÂs best player at the World Cup Â– they looked dangerous every time he played Â– so I can see him maybe on the bench for the Leicester game as we do have wingers.
But we are in need of a striker. I donÂt think that, if Romelu Lukaku got injured, we have the quality in Naismith or Long that would win us games.
I am a bit worried about are first six games which are hard games that, if we got off to a bad start, and being in Europe with the tests that brings, heads might go down. I know our players thrive on confidence but Â– especially at the back, if our confidence goes low, we make silly mistakes.
42 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:31:22
43 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:31:32
44 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:22:55
45 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:42:52
However my main criticism is one that I maintained for periods of last season. It is that keeping possession obviously is a desirable aim and thereÂs an acceptance, I think, by supporters that in defence and for most of the time in midfield we pass at a what might best be described at a measured pace.
However it is the speed at which we pass - when we switch from defence to attack - that concerns me. We too often appear to attack at the same pace with which we have moved the ball around in defence and midfield.
The result, more often than not, is that by the time we arrive in the final third we facing 4 banks of 4 or 3 banks of 3 or whatever! In other words such is the pace of our attack that the opposition defence is invariably set up to deal with us. Unless we can learn that a measured base when retaining possession is ok but when we switch to attack our passing has to be fast and crisp!
IÂm sure Roberto knows this because he demonstrated it superbly against Arsenal (3-0) last season. We just need to see it more often.
46 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:13:15
47 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:04:33
I trust it will get better. I canÂt help but worry.
48 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:15:10
49 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:14:14
Last season we started slowly and IÂm worried we will see the same again. The thought of Hibbert starting the season at RB is a bit terrifying, not sure why Browning did not get a half as surely his athleticism alone makes him a better contender.
50 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:14:43
Ze Germans attacked whenever they had the ball and caused us a few problems but I felt we could have upÂd our game if we wanted.
Second half showed what most have said, we look toothless in attack, we didnÂt create. They scored a fluke second and Howard was at fault again for the third, he should have pushed the ball away from the goal instead of out into the path of the opposition.
Besic looks very good. Nice to see Jags have a good game although sadly I donÂt see Hibbert as the answer. Up front and out wide we lacked any real creative threat, McGeady looks decent but no end product as yet.
But the signs are there, weÂre playing in the same manner we did last season so I expect us to be ready next Saturday and do a thoroughly professional job and get three points.
Trust in Roberto.
51 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:04:46
52 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:20:46
Hibbert without doubt has lost a yard of pace and will be caught out next season, so I think we need someone who can cover there for Coleman.
53 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:13:04
And now for some negativity unfairly directed at 2 scapegoatsÂ….
Hibbert is crap. Worst player on either side in every game IÂve watched. HeÂs so old and decrepit that he has to give his man 5 yards of space to stay in front of him. And defending was his calling card. Hang emÂ up man. Get a job in the front office. The dream is over. NaismithÂs first and second touch has been so bad that not only did he not score on 4 separate occasions after getting in behind the defense this pre-season, he didnÂt even muster a shot on target. I canÂt wait until Kone shuts everybody up and keeps this guy firmly planted on the bench. Other than that, IÂm ok.
54 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:37:07
55 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:55:27
Roberto knows his stuff and what to expect against most teams, so now is the time to see what heÂs got to play with tactically and experiment.
We still havenÂt seen his first 11 play together, either because of rest or injury, so IÂm inclined to not panic just yet and try to see some positives (the Martinez effect??)
Besic has to be the first positive, but I hope Roberto has a word about his tackles. I also think he could bring out the best in McGeady, there were a few times today he saw the space to put McGeady through with a well placed pass.
I see McGeady still not the 100% but he is working harder.
LetÂs just keep the faith eh
56 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:42:00
If they get beat while having a go, fair enough... but they didnÂt have any real heart or bottle. I felt sorry for all the fans who went to Germany to watch that utter rubbish. They were shameful.
57 Posted 09/08/2014 at 20:03:21
Many times last season we had possession and passing around at a slow pace but seldom quick, incisive passing to break the gain line. I can see Besic already starting to bring that to us. As you say, seeing the opportunity to put McGeady in for example. And itÂs not only a case of being able to see the pass but execute it quickly - Besic has such fast feet that he can do this.
As for his tackles, the positive is the steel he is adding to midfield. IÂm sure Roberto will be shouting, in scouse accent, "carm down, carm down" when needed.
58 Posted 09/08/2014 at 20:15:12
59 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:47:09
Dave (#35) Â– care to tell me what Alcaraz did wrong today, the only criticism of him I can remember is he maybe over hit a pass and it could have been to Baines who then lost the ball. IÂm not saying heÂs great, heÂs average okay, but he made the most passes forward of the defenders.
The centre-back that worries me is our captain Jags; he is beginning to look like he will never get to grips with the passing game that the manager wants us to play. Okay a defenderÂs primary job is to defend, but we badly need more creativity from the back as well as the midfield.
60 Posted 09/08/2014 at 20:39:50
I agree that Alcaraz works hard to pass out of the back instead of hoof it forward (ahem, Jags), but like you said, his actual ability and results on that front is what I donÂt have confidence in. It takes a skilled and composed player to find the open man out of the back under pressure, but heÂs neither anymore.
Defense and particularly the back two have been so reliable for us for so long that the nervy passing and turnovers out of the back Â— in todayÂs case leading to opposing goals Â— is pretty apparent to me.
Distin and Stones have got to be first choice going into Leicester for me. Disagree?
61 Posted 09/08/2014 at 20:53:20
To me, it shows the face of a man who is troubled with what he is seeing.
62 Posted 09/08/2014 at 21:30:12
I just thought IÂd have a little look on ChelseaÂs website (forgive me) to see if Hazard has been featuring in their friendly games. Basically, heÂs played a part in the past three. Courtois has played in two of them. Now, if my memory serves me right, they certainly played bigger roles and more minutes for Belgium in the World Cup. I canÂt see Chelsea playing anything other than a full team for their first game, albeit against Burnley away.
IÂm not wishing the time away, but we all know that the season will be over before we know it. I for one donÂt want to reflect back on 1 or 3 points dropped at the end of a close-fought season to see if that would have made a difference to a Euro place.
63 Posted 09/08/2014 at 21:58:59
64 Posted 09/08/2014 at 21:56:25
Everyone and there dog can see weÂre miles off the pace and lacking any kind of intensity or creativity. Our only saving grace is maybe Leicester wonÂt be as much as a test as the teams to follow.
And our Belgians will return from an over extended break!? A good start this season is so important!
65 Posted 09/08/2014 at 22:52:09
66 Posted 09/08/2014 at 22:21:13
High points were Chris LongÂs excellent goal, BesicÂs alround contribution and some flashes of creativity from Baines and McGeady.
Alcaraz did little wrong, Pienaar and Barry didnÂt really appear to be on the same wavelength as their team-mates, and Hibbo is now a long way behind Seamus in terms of being able to consistently support his winger on the right flank. Tim Howard made one horrendous mistake for the penalty, charging out and flinging himself roughly in the direction of the ball when the player was going nowhere and already shadowed by Baines.
It was worrying how Paderborn players were able to run half the length of the pitch with the ball at times, and we were hugely vulnerable to the counter-attack when we got even a little ambitious in attack.
I was really surprised we used so few players in this game and expected McCarthy and Gibson to come on at half-time. I am assuming all those who were available but not used are being wrapped in cotton wool for the game against Leicester.
67 Posted 09/08/2014 at 22:44:55
ItÂs to late to moan regarding these games. A new season is upon us and expectation that again we win the league, gain a Champions League place or lift a cup. This is the best squad for quality in my lifetime supporting Everton and, yes, I canÂt wait!
Please remember: itÂs not the football that kills you Â— itÂs the hope something good will happen!
68 Posted 09/08/2014 at 23:20:38
First half I thought we were ok. Pienaar and Baines working some nice positions and keeping the ball well. I can tell you before a ball is kicked who will be criticised on here, but Pienaar actually played well. His first touch was exceptional and he was our main creative presence.
Second half they changed their entire team and over ran us. CanÂt blame the players too much for that and have to assume there is method in BobbyÂs approach in making largely the same team continue.
McGeady - another who it is popular to slate - was livelier than most in the second half
Only player who I thought deserved criticism was Ross. Seemed to be swanning around and trying his party pieces which consistently went straight to the opposition. WasnÂt surprised to see him dragged at half time and, while performance isnÂt everything at this stage, I hope he got a bollocking for his shit attitude.
And on the Belgians. Bobby is well qualified to make these calls to give them tailored training rather than games. WeÂll just have to judge them on the league season.
69 Posted 09/08/2014 at 23:39:38
70 Posted 09/08/2014 at 23:54:02
GB almost seemed unsure of his role at times with the ulta-confident Besic looking to do everything though he settled more in the second half. Too much stuff went back to Howard (who pointlessly hoofed loads in the vicinity of our bemused forwards) when there were only marginally more risky balls to midfielders in space, and I felt the senior players should have been more demanding in getting on the ball and making things happen.
71 Posted 10/08/2014 at 00:25:50
Cant see him swapping many shirts on the pitch this season
72 Posted 10/08/2014 at 00:57:57
73 Posted 10/08/2014 at 01:08:08
We have a strong 11 when all are fit but our back up isnÂt too hot at all. Coleman out, Hibbo in, Barkley out Ossie in, Mirallas out McGeady in and Rom out Naismith in. ItÂs gonna be a hard season if we donÂt find a way of gaining some momentum in the Europa league without 5/6 main players having to play at all times.
I must say IÂve seen all the talk of ÂdonÂt worry pre season means nothingÂ but, come on, who imagined a winless pre season?!
74 Posted 10/08/2014 at 00:45:55
Tony Hibbert has been a stalwart for our club since he was a kid and now he is in the twilight of his career you want to ship him out. No thought given to his years of service or what words of wisdom he might be able to impart to the youngsters.
Very short-sighted, but a sign of the times perhaps.
75 Posted 10/08/2014 at 01:43:50
So, was it a case of them playing us out of the park? Was it bad refereeing ? Was it 3 individual blunders ? What exactly happened today? Is this going to be the level of finishing next week against Leciester (or indeed whenever LukakuÂs not playing?). Is this going to be this seasons level of defending?
Remember last season, even while playing a brand new formation and style against teams like Juve, Real etc. (and without Lukaku) , we did all right compared to this yearÂs pre season
76 Posted 10/08/2014 at 02:30:48
Have to disagree with you and agree with Derek Knox.
Fed up with all these fans wanting the local lad to come good.
Fact is, he is, and always was, a poor player.
77 Posted 10/08/2014 at 03:10:04
78 Posted 10/08/2014 at 03:54:24
The games raise questions but the answers are along the lines of "we need a forward" or "we need another winger". Well we actually have them and Roberto is choosing to manage their fitness. Personally I couldnÂt give a flying shite whether people feel let down by performances or results in pre season - if itÂs benefiting our actual season then thatÂs good enough for me.
79 Posted 10/08/2014 at 04:33:49
80 Posted 10/08/2014 at 05:20:18
I was feeling optimistic for the new season but now I have lots of doubts. If we donÂt get off to a good start my fear is that heads will drop and we could struggle. I really hope I am wrong.
81 Posted 10/08/2014 at 08:07:31
We all know that Alcaraz is not good enough, gets caught upfield, has no pace to get back, and poor old Hibbo was ordinary in his pomp. Naismith is a real grafter but needs a targetman to play off.
Perhaps Roberto was fairly happy with the lacklustre displays so that it strengthened his hand in asking for a couple more players before the window closes!
82 Posted 10/08/2014 at 06:54:58
How we will perform against Leicester is anyoneÂs guess but we will definitely compete. The rehearsals are over. The main team will be together for the first time since last season and our opponents will face a very different Everton to the one they beat in Thailand. Bring Âem on.
83 Posted 10/08/2014 at 08:28:29
Does it matter? If we start the season well then it couldnÂt matter less. If we start the season badly then you have to say that we have been poorly prepared.
The proof will be in the pudding but at the moment the soufflÃƒÂ© is looking a tad flimsy.
84 Posted 10/08/2014 at 08:27:38
Hibbert has had donkeyÂs yearsÂ experience but now seems to be struggling with positional sense Â– or is that just lack of pace and ability to get up and down the pitch?
Pre-season games are an important part of preparation, not only for fitness levels but also acquiring a winning mentality and confidence. So far, none of the youngsters seem up to it apart from Garbutt and Stones.
I am apprehensive with just a few days to go before we start our ÂimprovedÂ season. I cannot understand why Lukaku and Mirallas are not yet match fit although I think that maybe Roberto is worried that, if either of them sustain an injury, we will be bereft of any strikeforce at all. I am disappointed at the Kone situation and there has been little news regarding Lacina Traore.
We genuinely need a lift and perhaps Atsu is the player to give us that. Other players feed off a genuine direct, attacking winger and I am hoping that Atsu can provide that and give us some impetus.
85 Posted 10/08/2014 at 09:14:11
86 Posted 10/08/2014 at 09:09:52
87 Posted 10/08/2014 at 10:04:48
The first few games of the season are all really tricky and this preparation hasnÂt done much to inspire confidence for the coming weeks. Key players have been missing, most of the World Cup returnees who played seemed to be under par and the players returning from long term injuries have yet to show glimmers of their earlier form. One or two youngsters provided moments of promise. The likelihood is that the missing players will return quickly but theyÂll all be rusty.
The bigger fixture list for 14/15 means we need a larger squad with more players able to contribute effectively. IÂm not convinced this is properly in place, yet there is no denying that the squad is stronger than it was in May. Signing the loan players on permanent contracts and securing key players on long term deals provides a stronger base. Pre season demonstrates that it needs to be supplemented in the coming weeks and the worry is this my be too late
88 Posted 10/08/2014 at 10:21:18
A week to go till the KO, looks like Atsu will be joining up in the next day or two so that give us a great balance. Rom up front with Atsu, Barkley and Mirallas behind as the 3 AMs - thatÂs a pretty tasty front four and the most exciting weÂve had for at least the last 20 odd years! Admittedly the bench wonÂt be too exciting with the likes of Ossie, Pienaar, McGeady and Naismith but they can all do a supporting job when needed.
The first 11 is the strongest I can remember since the mid 90s so we should all be really excited. Personally I canÂt wait for the start and whilst every game is important, it will also take us a couple of games to get everyone match fit (same for every other team).
Keep the faith Blues - I really think we will be lifting a cup of some sort next year. Would be a nice symmetry - exactly 20 years since Rideout scored that goal.
89 Posted 10/08/2014 at 10:40:55
...IÂve been to / watched the pre-season games just to see what Martinez is trying in terms of players, positions, formations, tactics, not to see us play great and win. And yet each time Besic has played IÂve drooled at what he can bring us (stamina, tackling, possession, passing, speed of thought and feet). And yet I see few people on TW with the same passion for the guy.
I guess IÂm open to be proved wrong but the guy just excites me so much. HeÂs the one IÂll be focussing on in our opening games - and I suspect heÂll start against Leicester (ah well, another one for me to get wrong!).
90 Posted 10/08/2014 at 10:51:10
He definitely needs to be more disciplined in the tackle, though, otherwise we'll find ourselves down to ten men on a regular basis. I dare say he'll strike the right balance in due course, but it might take a few months.
While I agree he looked impressive, his primary responsibilities are to break up opposition attacks and pass out from the back. To be harsh, it could be said that he hasn't really done his job so far, as we've looked vulnerable in the defensive third and unable to pass the ball effectively from back to front. Admittedly, it's not all down to him Â– but his success this term can only be measured by his contribution to the team's success, not whether he shines in random moments.
ps: If I were you, I'd see your GP about the drooling. You're not a bulldog are you?
91 Posted 10/08/2014 at 11:24:31
I think a Bob Martins or two, should do the trick. :-)
92 Posted 10/08/2014 at 11:43:03
I'm a boxer Â– want to make something of it! And don't say "shorts"!
93 Posted 10/08/2014 at 11:50:12
95 Posted 10/08/2014 at 15:18:38
96 Posted 10/08/2014 at 15:53:20
What would be your preferred starting line up next week, Harold? And what XI do you think he'll actually start with?
What you see a place for Besic in a slightly more advanced role? I think he's actually got great creative potential.
97 Posted 10/08/2014 at 15:49:40
Whilst going all the way to the Far East and not scoring a goal against Leicester wasnÂt bad enough, they have scored first in three other games then lost. Ordinarily that would be scary enough but, with the thought that Mirallas and Lukaku may not start next week, we have reason to feel apprehensive.
Perhaps it will all come good on the night. LetÂs hope so.
98 Posted 10/08/2014 at 16:35:08
I think and hope that he really can both break up play (hopefully without too many yellows), and play those forward passes that are so important for us to move the attack forward with some pace.
99 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:00:23
Just watching the Irish Hurling semi-final on Sky Sports - Jeez, they get stuck in - I imagine Besic wouldn't be phased among that lot.
100 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:03:44
Looking forward to see our starting line up against Leicester and whether we will have any big surprises. If Coleman doesnt make it then I hope Stones plays right back and not Hibbert. Hopefully Mirallas and Lukaku will start and Baines and Pienaar get off to a good start together on the left.
I am not sure what us fans can get out of this final warm up game other than more worries about our defence and concerns about our play in the final third! But the real thing will be a lot different in my opinion. Players will have kept something in reserve but go full pelt next weekend.
101 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:24:19
Unlike the pre-season games, we'll not be coming off a heavy training session and much of the sharpness will return. Although it may not seem so, Roberto will be giving this game his full attention and I expect a good performance.
102 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:17:05
I'm just hoping that we can field a team capable of doing the club justice, regardless of injuries, & whatever.
103 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:53:11
It has been an utter shambles and if friendlies donÂt count, why do we have to pay to get in!?!
104 Posted 11/08/2014 at 13:48:01
You should all go and have a read of last years comments. Quite revealing as to the mind-set on here.
105 Posted 11/08/2014 at 20:26:21
Seamus Coleman better be fit ASAP. As good a servant as he has been for the club, I think Tony Hibbert is well past his sell-by date.
We also need another forward ASAP. Whilst Naismith will run and run all day, he is never going to be a regular goalscorer for us.
I've still got my reservations about McGeady, so another wide man is essential. From what I've read, Atsu sounds a done deal.
Sorry to go over the same old same old, but we are now on countdown to the big KO... So hopefully this is going to be a busy week for Roberto.
106 Posted 11/08/2014 at 20:35:29
Browning has generally looked decent and has even been played out of position on the left a few times to give Baines a rest. Along with Garbutt I think he's about the only young player we've seen this pre-season with the quality to get near our first team.
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