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Leicester City vs Everton

by | 15/08/2014  Comments (108)  jump
Match Preview

Will he or won't he?

At the height of Everton's ultimately frustrated Champions League chase last season, every match felt like a cup final, awaited with stomach-knotting anticipation and expectation as the Blues tussled with Arsenal down the home straight of the 2013-14 Premier League campaign, only to falter, crucially, on one regretful evening in April against Crystal Palace.

Though they're still largely being dismissed by the majority of the media, Roberto Martinez's team start the 2014-15 season very much in the mix for the fight for a place in the top four from the outset and that means there is, potentially, so much riding on every fixture.

Of course, as Arsene Wenger's Gunners proved last season, it's possible to shrug off an unthinkably bad curtain-raiser to a campaign, power through the inevitable calls from supporters that it's the end of the world, and spend a fair few weeks as the pace-setters for the League title. Bad starts can be overcome but, with the disappointment of last term still so fresh in the mind, a poor points return from Everton's three August fixtures will inevitably get the inquests started and dampen optimism for what promises to be a long season.

Though Arsenal and Chelsea loom before the end of the month, it's the opening-day clash at King Power Stadium — or Filbert Way, as some of the more traditional Foxes fans prefer to call it — that is the first focus as Everton meet Leicester City for the first time in a decade. The last time Everton played on this ground, Duncan Ferguson grabbed some retribution for a second yellow card with his infamous choke on Stefan Freund, Wayne Rooney scored his penultimate goal in a Blue shirt, and future Goodison striker Marcus Bent scored an injury time equaliser in a 1-1 draw between two teams that would finish side-by-side in the final League table, Everton 17th and Leicester relegated in 18th. This time, of course, Ferguson will be in the dugout with different responsibilities as Martinez's side go in search of three points that would get the ball rolling in perfect fashion.

Ordinarily, the start of the season is when the manager would expect to field something close to his best starting XI but an injury concern remains over Seamus Coleman and uncertainty continues over the readiness of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas following their belated return to training after the World Cup. That has kept supporters and opposition manager, Kevin Nigel Pearson, guessing as to which team will line up for Everton on Saturday.

Caution over Coleman, with that double-header against two of last season's top four at Goodison Park to follow, is understandable and it would not be surprising if the Irishman was held back from action for another week. The Belgian duo, on the other hand, are expected to play some part after getting 45 minutes of action in a behind-closed-doors friendly earlier in the week — whether as starters or off the bench is unknown. Newcomer Christian Atsu is another likely substitute following his arrival on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

Should Coleman not make it, veteran Tony Hibbert, who hasn't seen much action over the past couple of seasons and whose defensive propensities make him feel somewhat anachronistic in Roberto's swashbuckling new world, will get the nod on the opposite side of the back four and in front of Tim Howard. The possibility exists that the manager will go for a back three that would enable him to deploy all three of Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and John Stones or use Stones at right back but Hibbert is the most likely option. In that case, the smart money would be on a central defensive pairing of Jagielka and Distin, with Gareth Barry and James McCarthy taking up their familiar positions in defensive midfield.

The forward areas really depend on the availability of Lukaku and Mirallas. If they both start, Ross Barkley and Steven Pienaar would likely round out the side; if not, Steven Naismith and Leon Osman would be in contention to play in what would, on paper, be a less explosive line-up.

Whichever team Martinez selects, a win — an away win at that — would be priceless to set the tone before those back-to-back home games, particularly as Everton will be going into this opener short of full strength. Grinding out victories by wringing the most out of the squad is going to be key to the Blues' season and there's no better time to start doing that than from the first match.

Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Mike Jones

A group of Blues will gather at the garden of remembrance outside Leicester's ground at ~2pm before the match to honour the memory of Bernard Murphy. It's the first time Everton have played Leicester away since he was tragically killed outside the stadium in 2004.

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports

Reader Comments (108)

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David Ellis
1 Posted 15/08/2014 at 07:38:56
Spot on, Lyndon – excellent summary. I confess to being ridiculously excited but it could all be so disappointing. Nothing actually turns on the first match of course (the 1984-85 campaign started with a home defeat to Tottenham), but it would be so good to win this one.
WT Looi
2 Posted 15/08/2014 at 07:46:38
Thanks for the preview, interesting what line-up RM will choose for this one, perhaps with an eye on the next two games. I'd start with our XI for most of last season, with either Romelu or Kevin and leave the other one on the bench, as we look so much more dangerous with one of them in the side. Stones over Hibbert at RB for me, though I'm not sure what kind of message that sends to Hibbo.

Btw it's Nigel Pearson (not Kevin), the former Wednesday player.

Peter Bell
3 Posted 15/08/2014 at 08:05:28
Who cares what sign that sends to Hibbo. He is lucky to have been given a two-year contract. Let him ask for a transfer and see who comes in for him
Kevin Fitzsimons
4 Posted 15/08/2014 at 08:09:11
I can't wait, although it probably be a midnight radio commentary for me down here in Brisbane. But I know I can rely on the TWers to keep the Matchday Forum flowing with all the action.

COYB 3 pts to get the annual 'Hope' meter up to full throttle and dreams of long overdue Silver!!!!

Mike Allison
5 Posted 15/08/2014 at 08:07:27
Yeah you've over-Kevined there Lyndon, you might want to change it to Nigel.

I disagree about right back, I just can't imagine Martinez picking Hibbert over Stones. He's basically got three players (Stones, Jagielka, Distin) who he wants to pick for two positions, if Coleman is out it gives him the perfect opportunity to select all three.

The decision not to consider signing a back-up right-back and focus on including Duffy and Browning in pre-season seems to suggest that Stones will be considered for that position as well.

All in all, I feel we'll finish this game with a stronger team than we start it with, which is never a bad thing.

Kieran Fitzgerald
6 Posted 15/08/2014 at 08:11:10
The football is back tomorrow and there is a match preview on ToffeeWeb. Bloody great feeling when I opened up ToffeeWeb and saw the review!!

I would be comfortable with Hibbert in the team. He showed enough signs under Moyes that the offensive side of his game was developing. That can only have improved under Martinez. While no Coleman, I think that with the midfield we have now, he will offer enough going forward. Also, I think that very little will get past him unless the player involved has lightening speed.

Derek Knox
7 Posted 15/08/2014 at 08:29:42
Peter Bell (#3),

I couldn't agree with you more on all three statements there, I would never though, dispute where his loyalty lies, but as defensive cover he is a liability.

He ventures into the opponents half thinking that he can emulate the brilliant Seamus Coleman, only to be vulnerable to the counter attack, where a gaping hole is exposed, and others get pulled out of position to cover for him. Thus creating another space to be exploited by the opposition.

I have no doubt this will invite a barrage, from his supporters, but I am just saying what I believe, from my observations over the years.

We are all, entitled to our opinions, whether that goes against the grain on occasions, is a matter of conjecture, after all it is healthy to have differing trains of thought, otherwise we would be robotic.

Kelvin Thomas
8 Posted 15/08/2014 at 08:47:51
First of all, good luck you Roberto for the Premier League 2014-15 season.

It's important do everything we can to get the 3 points at Leicester. I agree with Mike about the right back situation. Let Seamus fully recover. Replace him with Stones all day.

Roberto will start with McCarthy and Barry in midfield. Forward positions depend on how much time Rom and Kev will be given. Seeing as Rom scored twice in a closed-door friendly this week, I'd start with him.


Steve Barnes
9 Posted 15/08/2014 at 09:06:01
Let's hope that we don't let the PL newbies go for it and sneak a 1-0 over us. The newly promoted teams always seem to come out of the blocks and catch the more established teams off-guard. No banana skins round here please! Nice, safe, easy 4-0 to the toffees will do for me....
Joe Clitherow
10 Posted 15/08/2014 at 09:13:26
Filbert Street
Ian McDowell
11 Posted 15/08/2014 at 09:17:14
Could it be 3 at the back if Coleman is fit? Especially if Mirallas doesn't play.
David Ellis
12 Posted 15/08/2014 at 09:43:05
Derek #7 - don't think Hibbo is a defensive liability. If any player charges forward they will by definition leave a gap behind them and it is up to team mates to cover the hole. The problem with Hibbo is that he is somewhat inept at going forward so gets caught in possession or gives the ball away, hence inviting the counter attack... OK now I see that is exactly what you were saying! But as a pure defender he is pretty good.

Not sure that Stones is the answer at right back either – but would like to see him tried out there as he is the one we need to develop long term (as a CB) and the more PL playing time he gets the better/.

James Stewart
13 Posted 15/08/2014 at 10:12:19
The point that Hibbert is a great defender yet limited going forward is so clichéd, it's really rather boring and almost an urban myth! It's simply not true.

Hibbert once was a capable defender but I'm talking before the Chelsea FA Cup Final. He has lost a lot of pace and now has no recovery left in him. The game has also moved on and it's harsh but true that he is a liability at both ends now.

James Stewart
14 Posted 15/08/2014 at 10:17:13
I would like to see a back three of Stones, Jagielka & Distin, with Coleman and Baines as wingbacks. That would also allow Besic, Barry and McCarthy to all start.
Derek Knox
15 Posted 15/08/2014 at 10:28:06
Joe (#10)

Nuts? :-)

Dan Brierley
16 Posted 15/08/2014 at 10:28:41
I can fully understand people's frustration with Hibbert's attacking limitations. But blaming him for leaving gaps is absolute rubbish. So Coleman doesn't leave gaps when he goes forward?

I thought James McCarthy was lauded for allowing full backs to charge down the wing? I still stand by the fact that Hibbert is a better out-and-out defender than Baines or Coleman. But on the ball he is the weakest player in the side.

Max Wilson
17 Posted 15/08/2014 at 10:34:04
If you were Nigel Pearson, you'd be telling your lads "Here's your chance – they will never be weaker, several key players not playing at all, others on the bench, several on the field no better than you and with confidence low after a terrible run-in to their season. Three points in the bag lads, let's go for it!".

And you have to say it does sound convincing.

Paul Baker
18 Posted 15/08/2014 at 10:20:11
Jerome Boateng (645), Thomas Muller (681), Philipp Lahm (690), Toni Kroos (690) all played three or even four times more minutes than Mirallas (223) and Lukaku (175) at the World Cup. All four started the final thus played eight days longer as well. Yet Pep Guardiola (Bayern coach) somehow managed to start the recent DFB-Superpokal match vs Borussia Dortmund (two days ago) with the first two and introduced Lahm just after half-time. Toni Kroos also started Real Madrid's Uefa Supercup match v. Sevilla (which took place three days ago). So if anyone asks me why is Mirallas and Rom treated like they were made of glass? – I have no idea.

When it comes to the match XI anyway: Howard, Bainsey, Distin, Jags, Barry, McCarthy, Ross are certainty. Coleman should be replaced by Stones who by a mile is better than Hibbo (the lad actually never suited Martinez's system at all, hasn't he?). Mirallas or Lukaku must start, without either we're absolutely toothless. If the former does, I'm afraid Naisy will lead the line. If the latter starts, I reckon it could be a chance for Atsu to start. Osman or Pienaar to complete the line-up and off we go.

A win is an absolute must, regardless of will it be 3-4 or 0-1. The game must set a right frame of mind for the next two home fixtures v. Chelsea and Arsenal, from which at least two points are required.

George McKane
19 Posted 15/08/2014 at 11:06:19
Max – I guess that's a joke comment.

Its Leicester City – and Nigel Pearson – maybe he will say "This is Everton, a great team with an excellent tactical manager, tremendous supporters with a fantastic history and even if some of their players are not fully fit and on the bench they are still miles ahead of us... let's try and keep the score down."

Up The Blues. Cosmic grooves all the way.

Denis Richardson
20 Posted 15/08/2014 at 10:23:28
If both Rom and Mirallas are not capable 90 mins, I would certainly still start with at least one of them, knowing that the other is on the bench if needed.

We're better at defending a lead rather than trying to chase the game so would aim to start with as strong a side as possible and be leading by half time. Out of the two I would start with Rom as he'd give their defence more to think about. Mirallas' pace would be useful in the second half when they're tiring (assuming he doesn't start).

Still think this is all mind games and both Rom and Mirallas will start with Atsu on the bench. Barkley and Pienaar to make up the other two slots. Even if they both tire after 60 mins, we have the likes of Atsu and Naismith on the bench – also Leicester players won't be 100% match fit and will tire as well.

At the end of the day, starting XI doesn't matter as long as we come home with 3 points – scrappy 1-0 win off Hibbo's backside will do me.

Drew O'Neall
21 Posted 15/08/2014 at 10:59:24
Don't worry, Max, we'll batter them.
Sam Hoare
22 Posted 15/08/2014 at 11:22:35
Hibbert used to be limited going forward but ultra reliable defensively. Sadly i'm not so sure of the latter. He was beaten time and time again in pre season.

If we are playing four at the back and Coleman is out then surely it has to be Stones.

Have a horrible feeling we will get a frustrating 1-1 draw tomorrow, with us dominating posession and chances but giving up a lucky goal or calamtious error and then struggling to get an equaliser till late on. Hopefull we come away with all 3 points but pre-season has slightly eroded my confidence.

Assuming the Belgians are fit enough and Coleman is not risked, I reckon:

Stones Jagielka Distin Baines
McCarthy Barry
Mirallas Barkley Besic

Derek Knox
23 Posted 15/08/2014 at 11:37:13
Sam# 22

I would like to think that your projected line up is pretty much the one that starts, but somehow I don't think it will be. I can't see both Rom and Kev starting from the outset, because of so little involvement with pre-season, however, I hope I am wrong.

The same can be said but in a different context for Seamus, he has not played because of injury and has no pre-season apart from first half at Tranmere where he sustained the injury in the first place.

Personally, depending on the line-up as mentioned, I do not think this is an easy fixture, even with our full strength eleven. These are no mugs, and vastly improved since they were last in the Prem, and I think they have a good manager in Nigel Pearson.

There are no easy games in the Prem. especially away, and these newly promoted teams seem traditionally to fare quite well in the first few games, presumably painting a blank canvas, as a message to perennial Prem. top teams, that they have arrived and their promotion was no fluke.

Dan Hollingworth
24 Posted 15/08/2014 at 11:46:54
Stones is not an RB! Hibbo there for me every day!

I personally think Mirallas, Rom will play.

Myself I am going for:

Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines
McCarthy, Barry,
Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar

Gerry Quinn
25 Posted 15/08/2014 at 11:52:46
I know that it is probably not a done thing to mention the Bluekipper website, Michael and Lyndon, but if you can please leave this link up, it would be read and appreciated by all ToffeeWebbers - those who are new to the family and those of us oldies who will remember this terrible incident when a truly great Everton fan, Bernard Murphy, was tragically killed in a freak accident on his way to the Leicester v Everton match in March 2004.

Summed up beautifully at the end by Ian McDonald....

BERNARD MURPHY R.I.P. Born an Evertonian died an Evertonian.

Shane Corcoran
27 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:11:58
Let me formally announce that I have joined the "Sky hate us" brigade following their look at the lineups for the top 5 in the PL.

You guessed it, United and Spurs have leapfrogged us into fifth over the summer.

Patrick Murphy was right all along.

Tony J Williams
28 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:12:26
Stones's last game at right back was a farce. He was having a torrid time and looked dejected.

You know what to you are getting with Hibbert, a good workman like performance with a "None Shall Pass" mentality.

As Dan suggests above, Hibbo is probably our best defender... tragic at going forward, albeit he has improved.

Love the fact that posters are suggesting that Hibbo leaves a gap... when he is not there! ... ermmm, duh!

Tony J Williams
29 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:18:13
Also, for the game, of course it's going to be a draw.

It always is, I still remember the Maik Taylor time wasting days, fecker should have been booked for time wasting in the warm up, let alone the 90 minutes.

Nigel Gregson
30 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:20:46
I'm not sure why anyone has considered the possibility of Mo Besic at Right back. He's played there before in Hungary and certainly has the drive to both move forward and defend aggressively. This could be one of the games to ease him into that role.
Harold Matthews
31 Posted 15/08/2014 at 11:53:53
Sam. I like that line-up with Jags and McCarthy covering Stones and Barry and Distin covering Baines.The young ex Barnsley boy will have learnt a lot pre-season, after a few dodgy moments. Unfortunately, he does tend to play in the casual manner of his famous penalty which doesn't work in the Premier League where a touch of the Coleman urgency would not go amiss.

I think he'll go with Pienaar's experience to start with but, like you, I'd love to see Besic doing his stuff higher up the pitch. Not sure about Mirallis. Love his pace and ability but if he doesn't feel 100%, he'll rule himself out. The lad is always checking his body for aches and pains.

Mike Powell
32 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:18:02
I for one hope Hibbo does not start, he is past his sell-by date. You must be having a laugh if you think he is a better defender than Baines and Coleman. Did you watch him pre-season? He as gone backwards.

Anyway, in Roberto we trust. COYB – let's start season with a win.

Derek Knox
33 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:39:09
Harold# 32

I allude to your post regarding Mirallas, "The lad is always checking his body for aches and pains."

I'm sure between the two of us, we could provide him with plenty, should he be short in that department.

Kevin Tully
34 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:34:13
I'm with Tony on this – I cannot see past a draw here.

Regarding all this Sky 6 nonsense, there is absolutely no way their 'chosen ones' will finish in the top 6 places in the Premier League. Imagine the odds you could get predicting that? One or two will have a poor season, even Chelsea finished 5th the season after winning the Champions League.

How are Liverpool going to replace Suarez? Lambert and Sturridge won't be able to match his contribution of 31 goals together, and Arsenal ALWAYS falter. Spurs won't finish above us, we are better.

It's all to play for, and remember, you can never pick the first six horses in a 20-horse race, no matter what the form-book says!

I predict we will finish 4th, with Liverpool and Spurs having poor seasons. Rodgers will be exposed as the bullshitter he is, because a player he never bought has left. Great.

Richard Lyons
35 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:45:20
Max #17 – my thoughts entirely. I can't help feeling downbeat after our truly crappy pre-season. And according to my calculations we've spent a small fortune to end up with a net gain of one player so far.

So, I think I need to read a few more comments like Drew #21 to fend off the Black Dog... COY TWers – cheer me up!

Craig Walker
36 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:59:04
So, here we go again. The excitement and nerves usually start for me as soon as I read the game preview on TW.

This time last season we didn't really know what to expect from our new manager. This season is completely different. The team and manager set such a high standard last year and there is a genuine optimism amongst the fans that we could be on the verge of something great. A defeat tomorrow could leave us all a bit dispirited with two very tough games to come.

I would like to see Besic feature and am not too sure about Hibbert at this level anymore.

Really hope we can have a great season and build on the momentum from last season. My head tells me though that the Europa League will take a lot out of us and we'll be around 7th or 8th unless we can get some more good players in before the deadline.

Kevin Tully
37 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:59:08
Richard - although the number of players hasn't changed significantly, the squad has. On-loan players don't give as much to the cause as permanent signings, quotes from Gareth Barry himself.

Lukaku will be better, so will Barkley, McGeady, McCarthy, Stones and Mirallas. We have Atsu and Besic – Liverpool would have paid 㿊m for those two!

It's all good, and to top it all off, we have the best young and progressive manager in the League.

Jagielka said the bar has been raised this season because of the signings – I want to know why it wasn't set as high when that miserable bastard was in charge? Now imagine his gurning mug still predicting 40 points 'and see where we go from there'... That alone should make you smile.

Denis Richardson
38 Posted 15/08/2014 at 13:05:54
Richard 36, bit harsh on the net gain of one player part. Causally overlooking that Barry and rom are now permanent and we have 6 seriously quality young first team players all signed up on long term contracts.

We have ensured we have a quality core of players who will be here for at least a few seasons (unless we get massive bids - every player has a price etc).

If fit we have the best permanent first 14-15 players we have had in about 20 odd years.

Rome wasn't built in a day mate....give the gaffer some credit.

Terence Leong
39 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:57:01
Yes, I thought it was Filbert Street : )

Martinez might go for a three at the back, with Baines and McGeady playing the wings/wingback positions.

That can give a 3-man midfield to fit in Barry, McCarthy and Gibson/Besic.

That might give place for Barkley to play just behind Lukaku / Naismith.

Jackie Barry
40 Posted 15/08/2014 at 13:29:11
With Coleman declared fit, I can see him playing. Yes, he has been out for pre-season but he will have been training and won’t have been eating pies.
Barry Stevens
41 Posted 15/08/2014 at 13:15:42
There seems to be a misconception that Stones’s only ever game at right back was the Anfield derby. The truth is he played for Barnsley in this position and also made his England U21 debut there as well. When he was signed by us, he was touted as a right back with the potential to move long term at centre half.

Hibbert has been a loyal servant to the cause, but I fear the last 2 years of no game time has caught up with him. At his peak, I would say he had the best application I’ve seen in my lifetime of the sliding tackle of an Everton player, but now should only be used in cup games vs lower league opposition.

As for tomorrow’s game, I think we will win quite comfortably. The gulf between Championship and Premier League is vast. Plus they have a few injury worries of their own. Their keeper is vastly overrated and their defence has the likes of Matt Upson. I can’t think of one player in the squad that would get near our matchday 18.

Scott Mongomery
42 Posted 15/08/2014 at 13:41:40
Whats the odds on a 1-0 win to Everton with Hibbo scoring the winner?
Harold Matthews
43 Posted 15/08/2014 at 13:37:10
Derek. Agreed. We will monitor his progress to what he considers to be a healthy enough state to perform at his best.
Zahir Jaffer
44 Posted 15/08/2014 at 13:32:10
IÂ’m worried, really really worried that we might be outplayed by a side that we know nothing about. IÂ’d take a draw tomorrow and win the massive two games after that.

Also, we are a striker and a defender away from competing for the title. Which means Champions League is easily achievable with a little bit of luck.

Derek Knox
45 Posted 15/08/2014 at 13:50:52
Thanks Harold!

I still think Hibbo as a RB is about as much use as a Stannah Stairlift in a ground floor flat.

Ed Fitzgerald
46 Posted 15/08/2014 at 14:00:00

Don’t know if this will cheer you up but Terry Venables speaking on TalkSport has just tipped us to finish 4th to much gasps from the presenters. He said that our manager was more important than any signings?

Time will tell but for once I hope we get out the blocks fast.

Gavin Ramejkis
47 Posted 15/08/2014 at 13:58:17
Shame #28, it’s nothing new, those twats at Sky didn’t even mention us the year we finished 4th.
Zahir Jaffer
48 Posted 15/08/2014 at 14:03:52
I canÂ’t control all the jubilation flowing through my veins! ItÂ’s been 8 years since I started supporting Everton, always loved an underdog, and now weÂ’ve got a squad strong enough to put any team in the world back into their mamaÂ’s womb!

This is how the tableÂ’s going to pan out come may:
1. Everton
2. Chelsea
3. Man City
4. Arsenal
5. Spurs
6. Man Utd
7. Liverpool

I CanÂ’t even give a damn on what those pompous pundits have to say. TheyÂ’re just appeasing the public since those clubs have a larger fan base and massive funds to feed their condescending mouths. I couldnÂ’t care less though, because deep inside they even know, weÂ’re going to take that title by storm!

WT Looi
49 Posted 15/08/2014 at 14:14:39
Their old ground Filbert Street has been demolished. Leicester’s stadium has been Walkers Stadium since then, now known as King Power Stadium after the naming rights were transferred to the new owners. But it’s referred to as Filbert Way, its address. Like Ashburton Grove/Emirates.
WT Looi
50 Posted 15/08/2014 at 14:24:21
About Hibbo, he may have a place in OFM’s rigid 4-4-2 set-up but the way we played last season, with both full-backs in very advanced positions upfield, doesn’t quite fit him I’m afraid. The full-backs in this system offer great movement and penetration, also offering an additional goal threat as many of Coleman’s goals as well as Oviedo’s winner at OT proved.

For all his strengths, attacking movement and goal threat are not what I associate with Hibbo. Moreover, he is very limited and conservative in his passing, which I fear will slow down our rhythm in ball retention. There’s only one Hibbo, but I’m afraid in this team he’s a back-up defensive option.

Tony J Williams
51 Posted 15/08/2014 at 14:44:48
"There’s only one Hibbo, but I’m afraid in this team he’s a back-up defensive option."

Yep — and that’s what he will be tomorrow if Coleman doesn’t play.

Mark Boulle
52 Posted 15/08/2014 at 14:31:10
On the subject of the media still failing to give us the recognition we deserve, has anybody seen this on BBC Sport?

Transfers of the summer so far. Callum Chambers, a raw, untested centre back is on there. Frank Lampard, a has-been on loan to Man City for 6 months is on there, Enner Valencia to West Ham is on there for heaven’s sake! But any mention of Lukaku or Besic – not a cat in hell’s chance. If it wasn’t so ridiculous it would make me really, really angry!

Derek Knox
53 Posted 15/08/2014 at 15:08:22
Mark (#53)

It doesn’t surprise me one bit mate, we have never been the media darlings, and furthermore, I don’t think we ever will, but without sounding like the fox and the sour grapes, I’d prefer it that way.

You say they never mentioned either Rom or Mo, fine, they soon will, when they start taking the Prem by storm.

Somehow those sour grapes will become a lot sweeter!

Tom Bowers
54 Posted 15/08/2014 at 15:10:57
Sorry, but Everton need to look to the future and Hibbo has been a back number for some seasons now, as well as Osman. Sure, they can still perform but not good enough for this level.

Everton have to step up this season and the younger lads are the ones to go to. Stones has to play at right back and with his extra inches will assist Jags and Distin for those set pieces front and back.

Essential to get a result at Leicester so it is imperative to start the game in a positive manner and not let the Foxes get anything cheaply with slack defensive play.

Bob Hannigan
55 Posted 15/08/2014 at 15:20:06
The match tomorrow is on live in the USA on NBCSN — not just NBC Extratime.
Tony J Williams
56 Posted 15/08/2014 at 16:12:10
"... as well as Osman. Sure, they can still perform but not good enough for this level"

What does that even mean? The player mentioned was pretty much an ever present, game wise, last season for us.

He’s part of the reason why we were chasing the Top 4 spot last season and the season before. Clearly he is good enough for this level, Martinez certainly seems to think so too.

Ray Robinson
57 Posted 15/08/2014 at 16:17:36
Tony @52. Let’s hope Coleman is fit tomorrow but, if he isn’t, I still can’t see Hibbo stepping in. My guess is that Stones / Jags would cover right back. Hibbo was past it as a PL player two seasons ago. Anyway, let’s hope we don’t find out.
Lyndon Lloyd
58 Posted 15/08/2014 at 16:20:02
Happy to leave the BK link up, Gerry (26). Ian has asked me to re-post a link to his tribute like I did on Twitter earlier in the week which I have now done above.

I’ve also posted details of the fan meet-up before the game in the garden of remembrance outside the ground.

Linda Morrison
59 Posted 15/08/2014 at 16:35:05
Another very good preview from Lyndon.

Maybe I’ve spent too many frustrating years with our club but I think this will be an up-and-down season for us as Roberto begins to turn the raw talent of our young players into star quality. I think we will finish at least in the top half and win a cup.

Any news on us getting another striker yet? If Romelu gets injured, we are in deep trouble!

Richard Lyons
60 Posted 15/08/2014 at 17:01:42
Thanks everyone... Nearly 100% positive vibes (apart from my Private Frazer doom & gloom) so you’ve successfully cheered me up. We’ll thrash ’em!
Peter Z Jones
61 Posted 15/08/2014 at 17:12:30
Nigel 31. You just blew my mind. Completely forgot about that possibility.
David Hallwood
62 Posted 15/08/2014 at 17:19:22
I wonder if Bobby will experiment with three at the back because Everton have the players to pull the system off.
Mike Childs
63 Posted 15/08/2014 at 16:58:14
Nigel (31) I also raised the possibility of Besic to cover for Seamus in another post the other day. Personally though I think if Seamus isn’t ready that RM will go to a back 3. Besic, Barry and McCarthy should be able to cover the rest of the field.

I’m hoping like everyone else that RM is playing mind games with Lukaku and Mirallas themselves to test their desire to be out there not Leicester.

Charles Brewer
64 Posted 15/08/2014 at 16:25:50
Mark @52, if that’s really the best of the transfer market, I think Everton are a nailed-on certainty to win the Premier League!

So Luke Shaw’s main skill is grabbing shirts in the penalty area, Lallana can do feeble miskicks, and I think we’re all fairly sure there’s nothing in the tank for the ancient ex-Chelsea players.

Then people I really feel sorry for are the Southampton supporters, when they play Liverpool they are going to really confused about what to sing, because all their old chants will be for opposition players.

In fact, Everton have probably got one of the most settled squads in the top half dozen, and this could really pay off in the manager’s second season.

Jamie Barlow
65 Posted 15/08/2014 at 18:18:49
Anyone heard what’s wrong with Barkley? Rumour has it, he’s out for 2 months. Only on Twitter though.
Richard Murray
66 Posted 15/08/2014 at 18:47:05

Confirmed by Greg O’Keefe now... Will undergo scan ASAP but sounds like it could be a couple or months...


Kevin Rowlands
67 Posted 15/08/2014 at 18:48:08
Bollocks, WTF does it always seem to happen to us, guess it’s going to give some of the other lads a chance to step up, pissed off and we haven’t even kicked a ball yet!
Harold Matthews
68 Posted 15/08/2014 at 18:51:17
Kevin. What other lads ??
Al Reddish
69 Posted 15/08/2014 at 18:52:10
6 weeks out they are saying. Naismith behind the beast?
Kevin Rowlands
70 Posted 15/08/2014 at 18:53:30
Harold, I’m guessing McAleny, Besic, Long?

I know.... clutching at straws again. Bollocks!

Kevin Rowlands
72 Posted 15/08/2014 at 18:59:30
O’keefe is claiming Besic will now start tomorrow in Barkley’s place..
Harold Matthews
73 Posted 15/08/2014 at 19:01:19
Wearing a supportive brace.
Matthew Roberts
74 Posted 15/08/2014 at 19:01:44
Very depressed hearing that news, but itÂ’s not the end of the world, maybe a good chance to throw Besic into the deep end and see what hes got about him. Still should be too strong for the Foxes.

All we can definitely say is that its going to be a show, because the Everton boys are there! Keep the faith, COYB.

Si Cooper
75 Posted 15/08/2014 at 19:02:31
It is reported that the injury could have potentially been much worse which suggests an overly competitive challenge rather than a pull or twist from simply running about.

I am a little surprised contact is involved in their training the day before a game. Hope Mo Besic isn’t one of those players who is unable to hold back in any circumstances.

Kunal Desai
76 Posted 15/08/2014 at 19:08:09
I think this is where we are now missing an arteta in his early days. Someone who can pull the strings in midfield and can pick a pass. Big blow Barkley being out all the more important to get in a playmaker before that window closes.
Harold Matthews
77 Posted 15/08/2014 at 19:16:01
Sounds like his knee.
Phil Walling
79 Posted 15/08/2014 at 20:33:54
At least it gives us an excuse for not winning the league!
Harold Matthews
80 Posted 15/08/2014 at 21:06:48
Well Phil. To win the league we would probably need to score 100 goals.
John Littler
81 Posted 15/08/2014 at 21:18:09
Anybody know any pubs in Wigan / Skem area that’ll be showing tomorrow’s game?
Derek Knox
83 Posted 15/08/2014 at 22:58:31
John# 83

I don’t know about the pubs in Wigan mate, but now the American channels NBC Sports, and maybe some others are covering the game. I have always found wiziwig good for giving the links and then you can choose which ones etc. but be careful and don’t press any download prompts but it can infect your PC. Just wait for the ads to go (20 secs) then press to make full screen.

Depending on connection it can sometimes freeze, just refresh, and go again. I know it’s not ideal, but better than nothing, also time delays mean you can’t use radio commentary. Hope that helps.

James Flynn
84 Posted 16/08/2014 at 00:24:09
Regarding the season next, here’s a fun one from DeadSpin:’t-your-clubs-year-the-2014-2015-premier-league-1622068080

Now, they did the standard "Top 5" we’ve already heard. Everton 6th, even though the article tears Man Utd, at 5th, a new one.

If you’re not going to the link, here’s what they say about our Club:

"Everton were always a defensive, gritty, overachieving side under manager David Moyes, and when he moved to Manchester United along with midfielder Marouane Fellaini, there was a question of how good this team would be under new manager Roberto Martinez. They turned out to be pretty fucking good.

Everton had the third-best defense in the league last year, all while playing one of the most exciting styles in the league. Behind their strong back four is American hero Tim Howard, and their outside backs, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman, also contribute on offense as well. They’re all back, but what you should be most pumped for is the continued maturation of young Lion Ross Barkley, who when healthy is basically cocaine in white boy form.

Beyond him, Everton are sneaky-stacked going forward. Belgian Romelu Lukaku, on loan at Everton from Chelsea last year, was an absolute stud, and the striker scored 15 goals from 31 matches. He was a lot of the reason Everton pushed for a Champions League finish last year, and this year, Everton pried him from Stamford Bridge for around 㿋 million this season. They also permanently added Gareth Barry on a free transfer, on loan with the Toffees from City last year.

Basically, this team isn’t much changed from last year, and that’s bad news for the rest of the Premier League".

Steavey Buckley
85 Posted 16/08/2014 at 00:38:01
With Barkley injured, Everton’s attacking options for tomorrow’s match look even thinner, even though other areas of the team look quite strong on paper. There is plenty of competition for defensive and midfield positions, but up front is where the main worry is. And it is quite possible that Martinez may start with Pienaar, Osman, Naismith and McGeady.
Pat Finegan
86 Posted 16/08/2014 at 02:16:01
I had a dream a few days ago the we won 2-0. Both goals came in the first half. Lukaku won a penalty.

No further analysis necessary. My prediction is 2-0 to the Toffees.

Danny Kewley
87 Posted 16/08/2014 at 02:54:04
Thank god iÂ’m an athiest, so IÂ’ll just keep uncrossing my fingers knowing fine well the Blues will win tomorrow....... with a bit of luck!


James Flynn
88 Posted 16/08/2014 at 03:23:27

Ross get healthy again.

Game tomorrow, just the same.


Harold Matthews
89 Posted 16/08/2014 at 03:11:55
Danny. "Thank God IÂ’m an athiest." Nice one mate. Love the sense of humour. I prefer to keep my fingers crossed.
Danny Kewley
90 Posted 16/08/2014 at 03:55:13
Cheers Harold...................1-3
Eric Myles
91 Posted 16/08/2014 at 03:57:08
James #14, with Coleman almost certainly out(?) I think weÂ’ll see Baines and Hibbert as the wing backs with Distin, Jagielka and Stones as the back 3.
Harold Matthews
92 Posted 16/08/2014 at 04:16:19
Eric. I know it might be kidology, but in training the other day Gibson, Stones and Naismith were playing against an Everton side wearing black waistcoats. Too quick a clip to get more details.
Ryan Snyder
93 Posted 16/08/2014 at 07:41:04
Its 2:40 AM over here on the East Coast in the United States and I’ve just realized thereÂ’s no chance I can go to sleep tonight. Just way too excited for tomorrow. IÂ’ve just been playing Fifa all night – after hitting the pub, of course – and looking at the odds for all the other games tomorrow. Ill never bet Everton, donÂ’t wanna take the chance on jinxing them.

Anyways, I really hope the pre-season form was just a mirage. It definitely hurts not having Ross, but I faith that Lukaku and Kev will not only play, but play well. I’m thinking RobertoÂ’s talk in the media is just him not trying to show his cards.

A 1-0 win would be ideal. I’d even be OK with a draw in all honesty, but either way, I just canÂ’t wait any longer. Just wish it was kick-off already.

Have fun everyone thatÂ’s headed to Goodison. I’ll be in Dublin two weeks from now to cover an American football game. The fact that I canÂ’t make it to Goodison for the Chelsea match is gonna eat me alive.


David Greenwood
94 Posted 16/08/2014 at 07:43:23
Right, here we go. Everyone ready? Good. Its going to be a long old season but with some silverware to look forward to.

I think we will win this 3-1.

Team for me in a 3-5-2 style is,






Derek Knox
95 Posted 16/08/2014 at 08:03:10
Eric# 93

Hibbert as a wing-back?

Ajay Gopal
98 Posted 16/08/2014 at 09:32:19
Bad, bad news about Ross! Really upsetting...

However, assuming that Martinez does not think that Lukaku and Mirallas are up to speed to last the full 90 minutes, I think he will start with (4-4-1-1)

Stones Jagielka Distin Baines
McGeady McCarthy Barry Pienaar

SUBS: Lukaku, Atsu, Besic, Gibson, Hibbert, Long, Robles

And end the match with (4-3-3):

Stones Jagielka Distin Baines
McCarthy Besic Barry
Atsu Lukaku Naismith

I would be happy to get a 1-1 draw out of this.

Kev Johnson
99 Posted 16/08/2014 at 10:18:13
Good luck for the season to all Evertonians. COYB!
Neil Wood
100 Posted 16/08/2014 at 10:12:09
Well itÂ’s back!!! And immediately I get deflated by reading SKY Sports supposedly expert pundits with their continued disregard for anyone outside the sky favourites. Jamie Redknapp, your views continue to annoy me and how someone who spent so much time in the treatment room has suddenly become an "expert". I really hope, more than any of the other 35 years of supporting everton that we break that glass ceiling and shove it in the faces of Redknapp and co...
Anyway, back to US the team and supporters that matter. I predict a 2-0 win today which will hopefully give us a much needed lift going into the Arsenal game. I canÂ’t see past Rom starting up front however... I am hopeful for a bit of a curve ball from Martinez with Long joining him up front and playing off him. Football is often a confidence game and I think a start in the first game of the season will really fire him up and withe RomÂ’s assistance it could prove a master stroke. I canÂ’t genuinely see him taking this risk though so I would suggest that he will start with one up front.
LetÂ’s get behind them today and bear in mind that we achieved three points from the first three games last year!! So 3 today and we are already in front (I know it doesnÂ’t quite work that way!! But hereÂ’s hoping)
Colin Glassar
101 Posted 16/08/2014 at 10:25:55
Neil, I know itÂ’s frustrating but until we get a multi billionaire owner we will never get any respect by the media. Wind back 10 years and the media had three sweethearts (man u, rs and arsenal) thanks to the russki and Arab billions, Chelsea and city are now part of the select, and protected, group.
These are the big, money making clubs for the prem, sky, the media in general etc.... They are the teams the foreign markets want to see. They are the teams who sell the shirts. They are the teams who pull in the mega sponsorship deals. In other words, they are the main moneymakers.
All we can do, in the meantime, is get on with it and ram their smug, bullshit comments down their fucking throats!!! But until we have a rich sugar daddy to bankroll us forget about us having any respect from these gobshites.
Mark Tanton
102 Posted 16/08/2014 at 11:15:46
So assuming we start without Kev Â’n Rom... will it be Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Besic, Barry, McCarthy, Naismith, Long, Pienaar, McGeady....?
Eric Myles
103 Posted 16/08/2014 at 11:28:01
Derek #97, in the Bangkok friendly against Leicester Martinez had Hibbert playing as a wing back on the LEFT (!!) in the second half.
Nick Entwistle
104 Posted 16/08/2014 at 11:35:38
Ian Snowdin on TalkShite now giving lots of anecdotes.

James Morgan
105 Posted 16/08/2014 at 12:01:54
Nick, I listened to that, though itÂ’s hard to listen to any guests whilst Johnny Vaughan insists on interrupting them every five seconds.
Carl Sanderson
106 Posted 16/08/2014 at 11:53:16
Colin 103:

The same reason for the likes of the Daily Telegraph acting as the Anfield house journal. There are legions of clueless, glory-hunting knobheads out there, hanging on every one of Chris Babbacombe delphic utterances.

And thatÂ’s why features such as "Five Signings To Watch Out For" always have one from each of those teams.

Neil Wood
107 Posted 16/08/2014 at 12:11:02
Colin, I canÂ’t find anything to disagree with and you are completely right. But part of me doesnÂ’t want the "sugar daddy" so many have had success with. We need to keep that element of real football and less of the glitz and glamour that goes with the sky favourites. Yes I know itÂ’s a harder route but look at the likes of Athletico last year... It can be done...

I remember Blackburn buying the title many moons ago and that was a big part of what changed football in this country.
Onwards and upwards ....

Sam Morrison
108 Posted 16/08/2014 at 12:22:13
The GuardianÂ’s signings-to-watch-for (I donÂ’t recall their actual article title) had Mo Besic in it - out of four or five players.
Trevor Lynes
109 Posted 16/08/2014 at 13:02:49
I reckon the first two months will determine where we are realistically in the battle for honours. We are playing three of the top teams and have doubts over Barkley, Oviedo and Kone at least. We really cannot afford a serious injury to any more of our first team.

I feel sure that Roberto will buy or loan IN a top striker to supplement our squad and hopefully a real playmaker. At present we cannot cover Lukaku adequately and perhaps Roberto plans to use him against the top three teams we will be playing in our first six games to keep him Â’SAFEÂ’.

Nick Entwistle
110 Posted 16/08/2014 at 13:17:39
James, I think the studio guests just gave up talking in the end.
Jim Potter
111 Posted 16/08/2014 at 13:28:56
Love the positive vibe Zahir #49!

Utd currently 0-1 down - how can we fail to be optimistic?!

Colin Glassar
112 Posted 16/08/2014 at 13:31:57
Neil, Carl, I donÂ’t want a mega billionaire either. IÂ’d just like someone with enough money to be a) able to keep our better players and, b) to give the manager the funds to strengthen the squad each season with quality signings.
IÂ’d hate to have a soulless, money orientated club like the rs or man u who seem more interested in their commercial activities. I like the arsenal model of a club who live within their means and refuse to be ripped of by players or agents. Man city have great owners, IMO, but they are a one off.
We will never get the respect we deserve but who cares? As long as we believe, the rest of them can sod off.
Ernie Baywood
113 Posted 16/08/2014 at 14:11:20
Well this first game just highlights how little pre season form means. IÂ’d were flying werenÂ’t they? Hopefully the same inverse relationship applies to us.


Jim Potter
114 Posted 16/08/2014 at 14:49:13
Pre season matters - my arse. United won all theirs didnÂ’t they?


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