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Blues complete final pre-season warm-up

by | 09/08/2014  Comments (101)  jump
SC Paderborn 3 - 1 Everton
Everton'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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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:18:38
I don’t mean to keep sounding sceptical here so often but why are Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku not likely to be risked in our opening match at Leicester?

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..

Derek Knox
2 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:30:31
Agree Jim and it is a mystery, unless itÂ’s some sort of smoke screen by Roberto, so up and coming opponents may think they are facing a below strength Everton !

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 !

Matt Garen
3 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:34:43
There is nothing to be sceptical about. They both played top level football for 10 months in a row from August - June. If they came back today and pulled a hamstring everyone would be moaning they came back too soon. The sports scientists will have their programme mapped out down to how much milk they are allowed with their cornflakes.
Tony Draper
4 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:35:45
Jim, I did hear that FIFA regulations require that players involved in the World Cup have a 4 week rest after their participation.

Now please forgive me because I donÂ’t 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.

Jay Harris
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.

Jim Bennings
6 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:50:25
Whatever the reasons it still shouldnÂ’t potentially deny them both from playing in the opening game of the new Premier League season.

It could well be a smokescreen but if it isnÂ’t then IÂ’d 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?

Jim Knightley
7 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:52:42
I remember reading that too Tony. I believe a minimum of 4 weeks holiday is dictated for all footballers. It is not necessarily that surprising as Kompany is also missing this weekendÂ’s match, as are some Brazilians (Luiz is missing for PSG and Fernandinho for City) and I think there are other Belgium players not involved yet (Vertonghen, Vermaelan).

But IÂ’m 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.

Drew Shortis
8 Posted 09/08/2014 at 09:28:39
I can appreciate them not playing today but I would be very surprised if they are not in the team for Leicester, even if just on the bench.
Derek Knox
9 Posted 09/08/2014 at 09:51:43
Jay # 5

I think you will find they did mate and are pictured in a training session on the Paderborn pitch. Try this link :

Peter Mills
10 Posted 09/08/2014 at 10:14:44
IÂ’m happy to go with the manager on this. I came to the conclusion at the end of last season that he knows more about football than I do.

But if I could just have a chat with him about playing the reserve goalie in the FA Cup quarter final......

Conn Prosser
11 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:22:10
Not being ready for the first game seems ridiculous to me. I am intrigued to know if Lukaku will play against Chelsea on the 30th, or if there was some Â’agreementÂ’ that he wouldnÂ’t.

One of these days, IÂ’ll sniff out a conspiracy that is actually true.

Kane Green
12 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:35:07
I saw a bit of the PSG game on telly last night. Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva were most definitely out there on the pitch more than a full week before Everton are due to play.
Both our Belgians barely kicked a ball after the first round.
Denis Richardson
13 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:39:46
Jim, Wenger has already said that none of his German players will play in ArsenalÂ’s first game.

Admittedly they played up to the final but weÂ’re not the only side giving special treatment to the World Cup players.

All will be fine next weekend.

Guy Hastings
14 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:45:41
I think KM and RL will both be on the bench against City, get some playing time, around 30 mins each, ready for the full 90 against Arsenal and Chelsea.
Mike Childs
15 Posted 09/08/2014 at 12:45:09
They need to play the first match against. We cannot take any opponent lightly especially at their place. One only has to look back to CP loss at home last year where he left McCarthy on the bench at the start as well as switching to an all out attacking formation. Hopefully itÂ’s a smokescreen.
Alan Humphreys
16 Posted 09/08/2014 at 14:47:57
WhereÂ’s Browning, would much rather that he got his chance than Hibbo. Only way to know if heÂ’s ready is to give him playing time. We all know what Hibbo can do... get a nosebleed once he passes half way line!
Paul Dark
18 Posted 09/08/2014 at 14:52:53
Osman, Alcaraz and McGeady continue to worry me. They constantly underperform.
Bill Gall
19 Posted 09/08/2014 at 14:46:57
Going on the comments that managers say about players fitness ;(you can get a player fit but it takes games to get him match fit ) does this mean that we will have to wait until after a number of games in the premier for Lukaka and Mirallas to be considered ready for the season.?
Rahul Sreekumar
20 Posted 09/08/2014 at 15:04:09
Besic yellow carded in the opening minutes! I said this before – I see him getting sent off at least once this season.

But I still like the aggression that he brings; heÂ’s the badass of our team... every team needs at least one!

Rahul Sreekumar
21 Posted 09/08/2014 at 15:12:39
Worst referree-ing ever.... That wasnÂ’t even a penalty....Argh!
Mike Powell
23 Posted 09/08/2014 at 17:19:10
IÂ’m not looking forward to the season after what I have seen in pre-season; we have been woeful.

We still need at least three more players; otherwise, itÂ’s going to be a long hard season.

Christopher Kelly
25 Posted 09/08/2014 at 17:30:58
All of the Germans have been playing for their clubs and they played an extra week or two in Brasil then Belgium did... what gives???

Phil Brown
26 Posted 09/08/2014 at 17:36:43
The three Germans at Arsenal are not even returning to training until Monday, 11th August. The players need at least a month off to recover from last season – remember how our key players ran out of steam at Christmas and towards the end of the season – Do we want to do that again?

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.

James Stewart
27 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:02:58
A defence which includes Hibbert and Alcaraz is relegation fodder standard. I truly hope neither see any Premier League action. Another woeful display.
Brian Waring
28 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:04:16
Gary Lineker, Aug 3:

"For all you fans affected by your clubÂ’s pre-season friendly results... they mean nothing, absolutely nothing."

Neil Roberts
29 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:03:07
Yes, pre-season is about fitness but it is also about looking ahead to the season, bringing momentum into the first game. Last year, we did great against Real, Juve etc and went into the season positive. I don’t see how the players can drive positivity with this pre-season – it’s been kack!
Phil Walling
30 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:06:44
Bloody good job they donÂ’t then!

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!

Jay Harris
31 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:05:58
Derek #9, sorry, mate, I must be wrong then.

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.

Ray Atherton
32 Posted 09/08/2014 at 17:54:21
Has this solved the mystery, in which our championship side of 1970 did not live up to expectations in 70-71.

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.

Jamie Crowley
33 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:13:47
I just had a gander at the Premier League Table.

Seems weÂ’re tied for first on zero points. WeÂ’re also tied for 20th on zero points.

IÂ’m not sure if weÂ’ll win the league or get relegated.

Very confusing....

This game means fuck all.

But wait, weÂ’re just not ready for the start of the season! WhereÂ’s my time machine so I can be 100% positive of that silly claim!

Bill Gall
34 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:12:49
Agree with Lineker; results mean nothing; but surely performances mean something and going on pre-season games there are not many players performing up to Premier League standards.
Dave Hall
35 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:15:19
Keeping the wisdom of not over-reacting to friendlies in mind, two lessons that come from this match for me:

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, whoÂ’s 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 weÂ’ll need as the season grinds along.

Derek Knox
36 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:12:21
Brian, I agree with Gary Lineker on that, and it is true the results mean nothing, but the manner in how you achieve those results does!

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 canÂ’t think of any more... did I miss something?

Patrick Murphy
37 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:07:37
Not a pretty watch - particularly the second-half, where there was little sign of that team unity that we have taken for granted in the past. I wouldnÂ’t be surprised if a couple of players are sold in the window if Roberto can find them a club,

Pienaar in particular looks a shadow of his former self and I can see him joining Â’Appy Â’Arry 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 Â’punch 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 IÂ’m 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 doesnÂ’t 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.

Colin Glassar
39 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:18:24
I wonder if all of these poor results, performances and missing players are part of some master plan by Roberto? We have a tough opening schedule and our opponents might already be putting us down as easy pickings. It might be wishful thinking or a Machiavellian plot.
Brian Waring
40 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:24:56
WeÂ’ll be alright lads after we twat Leicester next week.
Steven Higgott
41 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:10:22
Just a thought – didn’t Lukaku say he was training in Belgium when we were trying to sign him and that he wouldn’t be far off fit when he returns?

Kevin, on the other hand, who I thought was Belguim’s best player at the World Cup – they looked dangerous every time he played – 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 donÂ’t 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 – especially at the back, if our confidence goes low, we make silly mistakes.

Colin Glassar
42 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:31:22
RVP is also being rested and is doubtful for the first Man U game. You really should start believing a bit more in the boss.
Mark Griffiths
43 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:31:32
Colin 39 - I was thinking the same!
Phil Davies
44 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:22:55
Completely lacked any technical ability or creativity throughout each game, without Coleman, Lukaku and Mirallas we really look like an average team. We need another 4 maybe 5 players that can affect a game rather than players like Naismith, McCarthy and McGeady who are just going to run about a lot.
Sid Logan
45 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:42:52
Our pre-season performances have not been convincing. At time we look like a team whoÂ’ve brought in 7 new players who have yet to gel.

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 thereÂ’s 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!

IÂ’m sure Roberto knows this because he demonstrated it superbly against Arsenal (3-0) last season. We just need to see it more often.

Paul Thompson
46 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:13:15
If these matches donÂ’t matter or tell us nothing, or the answer to every query is Â’trust the managerÂ’, why even invite discussion on the site? It may well be that it has little or no bearing on the start of the season. But pre-season performances have been dismal - building neither confidence or competence. Today, only Baines and Besic came out with any real credit. As noted elsewhere, without Lukaku, Coleman and Mirallas, we look very ordinary.
Geoff Harrison
47 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:04:33
We have to trust Martinez, I understand that. We have to trust that for some valid reason, Hibbert and McGeady had to play throughout the entire pre-season, and Naismith through most of it. I understand that and trust they were the best available options. But this is the worst pre-season (in terms of performance) in my memory.

I trust it will get better. I canÂ’t help but worry.

Bill Gall
48 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:15:10
As we are continually reminded the pre-season games are just for preparing for the seasons start. The thing that makes me nervous is our opposition today were described as to be sharper and more organized than Everton and this should have been the other way round as we start our season next weekend yet the German league does not start until 22 August.
Sam Hoare
49 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:14:14
I know itÂ’s only preseason but we really have looked very poor indeed. Every team bar Tranmere perhaps have looked fitter and sharper than us and weÂ’ve only played one really decent side!!

Last season we started slowly and IÂ’m 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.

Michael Winstanley
50 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:14:43
I enjoyed the game. I thought Long scored a cracker after some nice build up play and then Howard gave away penalty. We kept the ball well and tried to find Baines and Pienaar as much as possible as Hibbert isnÂ’t Coleman.

Ze Germans attacked whenever they had the ball and caused us a few problems but I felt we could have upÂ’d our game if we wanted.

Second half showed what most have said, we look toothless in attack, we didnÂ’t 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 donÂ’t 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, weÂ’re 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.

Harold Matthews
51 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:04:46
DonÂ’t get all this boring criticism of Hibbo, McGeady and Alcaraz. Does this mean the others played well, or even fairly well? If so, then I must have been watching the wrong match. There were players out there doing an awful lot less than the three usual scapegoats. Two or three hardly got out of a walk.
Karl Jones
52 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:20:46
For me, the worst signs of impending difficulties at the start of the season, is the ease with which the opposition have dissected the defence. ThatÂ’s before you get to the sloppiness at the back, which has cost us goals. Apart from Seamus, its been an experienced back four most of the time, but they play like strangers.

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.

Peter Z Jones
53 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:13:04
IÂ’m convinced our winless preseason is a ploy to create maximum frustration in the team, leading to the release of this frustration and subsequent battering of Leicester City in the first game.

And now for some negativity unfairly directed at 2 scapegoatsÂ….

Hibbert is crap. Worst player on either side in every game IÂ’ve watched. HeÂ’s 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. NaismithÂ’s 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 didnÂ’t even muster a shot on target. I canÂ’t wait until Kone shuts everybody up and keeps this guy firmly planted on the bench. Other than that, IÂ’m ok.

Trevor Thompson
54 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:37:07
ItÂ’s like running tests on a car. You need to run through a few to see what the problem(s) may be. I think RM will have looked at the pre-season as a whole and worked out what we are having trouble with. Personally, when things are going well you donÂ’t necessarily see where there are cracks in the system.
Sue Brown
55 Posted 09/08/2014 at 18:55:27
Some posts here are saying the same as after our other friendlies. Ok not inspiring results but these games are surely to rotate the squad and see abilities and different formations to deal with the wide range of opponents weÂ’ll be facing this season both domestically and in Europe.
Roberto knows his stuff and what to expect against most teams, so now is the time to see what heÂ’s got to play with tactically and experiment.
We still havenÂ’t seen his first 11 play together, either because of rest or injury, so IÂ’m 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.
LetÂ’s just keep the faith eh
Dave Abrahams
56 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:42:00
That wasn’t a warm-up game – no-one broke sweat, no energy spent, no- one seemed to care. That was just totally unacceptable from a professional team; there was no pride – just a "couldn’t give a fuck" attitude.

If they get beat while having a go, fair enough... but they didnÂ’t 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.

Brent Stephens
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 itÂ’s 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. IÂ’m sure Roberto will be shouting, in scouse accent, "carm down, carm down" when needed.

Sue Brown
58 Posted 09/08/2014 at 20:15:12
Exactly Brent!
Raymond Fox
59 Posted 09/08/2014 at 19:47:09
Here we go again...

Dave (#35) – 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. I’m not saying he’s great, he’s 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 defenderÂ’s primary job is to defend, but we badly need more creativity from the back as well as the midfield.

Dave Hall
60 Posted 09/08/2014 at 20:39:50
Raymond (#59),

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 donÂ’t have confidence in. It takes a skilled and composed player to find the open man out of the back under pressure, but heÂ’s 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 — in today’s case leading to opposing goals — is pretty apparent to me.

Distin and Stones have got to be first choice going into Leicester for me. Disagree?

Tom Evans
61 Posted 09/08/2014 at 20:53:20
I sincerely hope that the pic of Roberto that accompanies this thread, was not taken today.

To me, it shows the face of a man who is troubled with what he is seeing.

Gareth Ashman
62 Posted 09/08/2014 at 21:30:12
I canÂ’t get my head around Rom & Kev not getting any game minutes in as yet.

I just thought IÂ’d have a little look on ChelseaÂ’s website (forgive me) to see if Hazard has been featuring in their friendly games. Basically, heÂ’s 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 canÂ’t see Chelsea playing anything other than a full team for their first game, albeit against Burnley away.

IÂ’m not wishing the time away, but we all know that the season will be over before we know it. I for one donÂ’t 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.

Trevor Thompson
63 Posted 09/08/2014 at 21:58:59
Gareth,#62, I think Chelsea have a bigger squad than us and so therefore Mourinho can afford to play his main players knowing that Chelsea would have to have a major injury crisis in order for them to struggle. Us, on the other hand, canÂ’t afford to lose our best players so quickly as we have a lack of depth.
Andrew Hawes
64 Posted 09/08/2014 at 21:56:25
You canÂ’t go into a new season full of confidence without winning a pre-season game. Full stop. ThereÂ’s no point with these idiotic comments about results, etc donÂ’t matter at this stage.

Everyone and there dog can see weÂ’re miles off the pace and lacking any kind of intensity or creativity. Our only saving grace is maybe Leicester wonÂ’t 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!

Zaid Omar
65 Posted 09/08/2014 at 22:52:09
Leicester are unbeaten in pre season and high on confidence.. They beat Werder Bremen at home today and look very difficult to break down. Anyone thinking next week is a walk in the park is mistaken .. Leicester will be up for it and to be honest after seeing our displays over the past week, canÂ’t see us getting the 3 points
Si Cooper
66 Posted 09/08/2014 at 22:21:13
A ropey performance filled with a worrying number of relatively unforced errors.

High points were Chris LongÂ’s excellent goal, BesicÂ’s alround contribution and some flashes of creativity from Baines and McGeady.

Alcaraz did little wrong, Pienaar and Barry didnÂ’t 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.

Ian Riley
67 Posted 09/08/2014 at 22:44:55
I know pre-season games are about fitness, but form must be an issue. The manager must be working on formations and performances that come from that. I donÂ’t see any positives from these games, leaking goals and "canÂ’t be arsed" mentality must leave the manager with more questions than answers.

ItÂ’s 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 canÂ’t wait!

Please remember: it’s not the football that kills you — it’s the hope something good will happen!

Ernie Baywood
68 Posted 09/08/2014 at 23:20:38
Again an overreaction on here.

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. CanÂ’t blame the players too much for that and have to assume there is method in BobbyÂ’s 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. WasnÂ’t surprised to see him dragged at half time and, while performance isnÂ’t 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. WeÂ’ll just have to judge them on the league season.

Kev Johnson
69 Posted 09/08/2014 at 23:39:38
Fair summary, Si. IÂ’d beg to differ on Pienaar, though. To me, he was doing the right things, but doing them badly. He looked as rusty as fuck, but I could see what he was aiming at, which to me is a good sign. WhatÂ’s more, that bit of ingenuity around the penalty area that he can provide is something weÂ’re going to need. I wonder if people are writing him off prematurely?
Si Cooper
70 Posted 09/08/2014 at 23:54:02
For me Kev, Pienaar just didnÂ’t seem to be offering himself as an outlet often enough and he passed the buck to someone else to do the creative bit far too often. One stand-out occasion was when he was fed the ball about 3 yards in their box with no-one near him. His first choice was to shuttle it in the direction of Baines (woefully under-hit) who was static on the side-line, presumably to cross it back into the box it had just been in. On other occasions his intentions may have been right but the delivery was sloppy.

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.

Peter Bell
71 Posted 10/08/2014 at 00:25:50
Did anyone else other than me notice the amount of timber when Pienaar lifted his shirt when substituted. Clearly not fit or in peek condition.
Cant see him swapping many shirts on the pitch this season
Ernie Baywood
72 Posted 10/08/2014 at 00:57:57
I noticed that Peter. HeÂ’s been in a good paddock over the break. Though donÂ’t think heÂ’s ever been particularly lean.
Ant Dwyer
73 Posted 10/08/2014 at 01:08:08
What the hell is going on? IÂ’ve got a terrible feeling that the likes of McGeady, Hibbert and Naismith are being found out for what they truly are, and they may not be the only ones.

We have a strong 11 when all are fit but our back up isnÂ’t too hot at all. Coleman out, Hibbo in, Barkley out Ossie in, Mirallas out McGeady in and Rom out Naismith in. ItÂ’s gonna be a hard season if we donÂ’t 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 IÂ’ve seen all the talk of Â’donÂ’t worry pre season means nothingÂ’ but, come on, who imagined a winless pre season?!

Mark Halliday
74 Posted 10/08/2014 at 00:45:55
Derek Knox #36, the comment about Hibbo was out of order.

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.

Nigel Gregson
75 Posted 10/08/2014 at 01:43:50
I didnÂ’t see the game, but find it interesting the number of comments from people suggesting that Â’we did no wrong todayÂ’ - em we got thumped 3-1, we did two things wrong, we didnÂ’t put the ball in the back of the net enough times and we allowed them to put the ball behind our net too often for my liking.

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 LukakuÂ’s 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 yearÂ’s pre season

Peter Bell
76 Posted 10/08/2014 at 02:30:48
Mark@ 74
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.
James Flynn
77 Posted 10/08/2014 at 03:10:04
Thank God, the pre-season is over.


Ernie Baywood
78 Posted 10/08/2014 at 03:54:24
Nigel thatÂ’s just far too simplistic. If you didnÂ’t see the Real Betis game last year you presumably would be confident upon seeing the win. Yet that was a worse performance than anything weÂ’ve managed this year.

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 couldnÂ’t give a flying shite whether people feel let down by performances or results in pre season - if itÂ’s benefiting our actual season then thatÂ’s good enough for me.

Peter Z Jones
79 Posted 10/08/2014 at 04:33:49
Last pre-season we played 5 teams from their respective countryÂ’s top flight. We drew Juventus, lost to Austria Wien, Real Madrid, and Valencia, and beat Real Betis the last game if IÂ’m not mistaken. This season, albeit against lesser top flight opposition, weÂ’ve drawn Porto, and then lost to Leicester, Celta Vigo, and SC Paderborn. Our performances weÂ’re pretty spotty last year as well. Random bursts of good play followed by long stretches of disjointed passing and poor defending. Reflecting on it all, I donÂ’t see much of a difference this season. Maybe weÂ’ll start this season off with 3 consecutive draws to turn ToffeeWeb into a doom and gloom frenzy!
Peter Barry
80 Posted 10/08/2014 at 05:20:18
So what have we learned from all the pre-season friendlies well we have learned how to LOSE and everyone knows that losing like winning becomes a habit. We have also learned that we have no strength in depth and that our second string players are mediocre at best.

I was feeling optimistic for the new season but now I have lots of doubts. If we donÂ’t get off to a good start my fear is that heads will drop and we could struggle. I really hope I am wrong.

Eddie Dunn
81 Posted 10/08/2014 at 08:07:31
This pre-season reminded me of how mediocre we looked during periods when Distin, Coleman and Lukaku, in particular, were missing. We really do need a good Centre-Half, a Centre-Forward, and a quick Right-Back, to cover these positions.

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!

Harold Matthews
82 Posted 10/08/2014 at 06:54:58
There was one certain thing about this rather peculiar match. We didnÂ’t go over there to compete. It was a late scheduled practice run for Europe with a bit of half pace, safety first leg stretching on the pitch. Barkley was so far from his normal self, he might as well have stayed on the plane. Several players, including Jags, were carrying a few extra pounds and Finch Farm training sessions are about to become painful.

How we will perform against Leicester is anyoneÂ’s 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 Â’em on.

Sam Hoare
83 Posted 10/08/2014 at 08:28:29
I canÂ’t remember such a bad pre-season performance. I watched every game and it was mostly awful.

Does it matter? If we start the season well then it couldnÂ’t 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 soufflé is looking a tad flimsy.

Trevor Lynes
84 Posted 10/08/2014 at 08:27:38
At the moment Lukaku can play whenever he wants as there is no alternative. Kone looked like a pretty short-term injury but God only knows when he will be fit enough to even train properly... and the same goÂ’s for Oviedo. We donÂ’t know how Coleman and Garbutt are and Gibson is another unknown quantity.

Hibbert has had donkey’s years’ experience but now seems to be struggling with positional sense – 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 Â’improvedÂ’ 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.

Harold Matthews
85 Posted 10/08/2014 at 09:14:11
True Sam. IÂ’m trying to be confident but itÂ’s not easy.
James Richard
86 Posted 10/08/2014 at 09:09:52
I just canÂ’t see us getting 3 points next week. They have gone unbeaten pre-season against some good sides and are high in confidence. Our lot look like they have forgotten how to play with each other. A point next week and I will be happy. Terrible IÂ’m saying that about pre-season.
Mark Dunford
87 Posted 10/08/2014 at 10:04:48
A very poor pre-season all round. It seems to have been badly planned and - in the case of the Thai game - driven by commercial needs rather than footballing ones. If going to either Germany or Thailand was a good idea, we should have played more than one fixture and really only gone to one country rather than two.

The first few games of the season are all really tricky and this preparation hasnÂ’t 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 theyÂ’ll all be rusty.

The bigger fixture list for 14/15 means we need a larger squad with more players able to contribute effectively. IÂ’m 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

Denis Richardson
88 Posted 10/08/2014 at 10:21:18
Too many people with too much time on their hands it would seem. Tbh have not watched a single preseason game as they mean nothing - theyÂ’re just an extension of training.

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 - thatÂ’s a pretty tasty front four and the most exciting weÂ’ve had for at least the last 20 odd years! Admittedly the bench wonÂ’t 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 canÂ’t 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.


Brent Stephens
89 Posted 10/08/2014 at 10:40:55
My reading of games and players has to be suspect...

...IÂ’ve 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 IÂ’ve 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 IÂ’m open to be proved wrong but the guy just excites me so much. HeÂ’s the one IÂ’ll be focussing on in our opening games - and I suspect heÂ’ll start against Leicester (ah well, another one for me to get wrong!).

Kev Johnson
90 Posted 10/08/2014 at 10:51:10
I think Besic has drawn favourable reviews, Brent, and some people have raved about him, so I'm not sure what you mean. He looks like a good buy, and has so far exceeded my expectations of him.

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 – 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?

Derek Knox
91 Posted 10/08/2014 at 11:24:31
Brent #89 & Kev #90

I think a Bob Martins or two, should do the trick. :-)

Brent Stephens
92 Posted 10/08/2014 at 11:43:03
Kev, yes, I know there have been other favourable reviews. Maybe I just expected more of the 'glass half-full' response. And, yes, certainly too early to be sure, but I can't restrain my anticipation. Point taken about the defensive side – I just wonder whether, despite his being trailed as a DM, we've actually found a creative outlet as well.

I'm a boxer – want to make something of it! And don't say "shorts"!

Brent Stephens
93 Posted 10/08/2014 at 11:50:12
Derek, we have our very own Bob Martin (Sin Miedo) - that's enough.
Harold Matthews
95 Posted 10/08/2014 at 15:18:38
Brent. Not sure he'll start but can understand your excitement. He certainly catches the eye and will one day be a very important Everton player. Unfortunately, he's still quite immature and I'm not convinced Roberto will risk him, especially in deeper areas where we cannot afford to be caught in possession.
Brent Stephens
96 Posted 10/08/2014 at 15:53:20
Yes, Harold, apart from his ferocious tackling, the other negative, as you say, is losing possession a few times, in our own third. A few times he's tried to beat 3 at once - sometimes it's come off, other times not.

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.

Tom Bowers
97 Posted 10/08/2014 at 15:49:40
ItÂ’s all very much up in the air, isnÂ’t it? Is the season going to start on a bad note with key players missing and having to rely on the tried and tested failures like Osman, Hibbert and a few others who flatter to deceive? We can only hope at this stage that RM has the matter in hand with something up his sleeve after the poor pre-season performances and the injury omens.

Whilst going all the way to the Far East and not scoring a goal against Leicester wasnÂ’t 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. LetÂ’s hope so.

Michael Kenrick
98 Posted 10/08/2014 at 16:35:08
I must be just as bad, Brent.... I feel the same way about Besic. The boy really looks every inch a footballer. WasnÂ’t it his excellent diagonal pass out to Baines that led to Chris LongÂ’s superb finish?

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.

Brent Stephens
99 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:00:23
Michael, I think you might be right about the build up to the Long goal.

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.

Ben Dyke
100 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:03:44
As Osman wanes, Besic dawns. Ok I mixed metaphors but you get the picture! Looking forward to a mobile player who puts himself about and has a touch of quality in his passing. Will be interested to see if he plays as part of a two man defensive midfield pairing with either Barry or McCarthy, or brought on in a different role.

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.

Harold Matthews
101 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:24:19
Brent. I'm glad Roberto is picking the starting lineup because, right now, I wouldn't have a clue. I don't even know who's fit. Jags and McCarthy were carrying a few extra pounds, Barry was knackered, Seamus is injured, Ossie and Pienaar are not quite there and the Belgium boys have only just arrived back. Not much to laugh about but things are probably better than they appear.

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.

Norman Merrill
102 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:17:05
I agree with many of the points mentioned by fans, but the real fact is the we really will have to start the season as we mean to go on, after a difficult away fixture at Leicester, we have two home games in a week against, two of the best teams in the league.
I'm just hoping that we can field a team capable of doing the club justice, regardless of injuries, & whatever.
Dave Abrahams
103 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:53:11
Whether the team is fit for Leicester or not, weÂ’ll find out on Saturday... I just hope they remember how to pass the ball to one another! They havenÂ’t been able to do it in all the pre-season games.

It has been an utter shambles and if friendlies donÂ’t count, why do we have to pay to get in!?!

Nicholas Page
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.

Rob Halligan
105 Posted 11/08/2014 at 20:26:21
Having gone to Paderborn at the weekend, it has taught me one or two things!!

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.

Wayne Smyth
106 Posted 11/08/2014 at 20:35:29
Rob, I think I'd have Browning out there rather than Hibbert. Hibbert has stood out as being particularly woeful for most of this pre-season and that takes some doing given that everyone but Besic has been poor.

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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