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Everton vs Chelsea

by | 29/08/2014  Comments (97)  jump
Match Preview

It speaks to the rapidity with which he has solidified Everton as genuine top-four threat that it was only a year ago when the jury was still very much out on Roberto Martinez's fledgeling tenure in the Goodison Park "hotseat".

The first three matches in the 2013-14 campaign had yielded just two goals and three points against teams that would all finish in the bottom four come May as the players adapted to the new possession-based playing style mandated by the Spaniard.

On the back of some dramatic transfer deadline-day business two weeks earlier, Everton went into their first meeting of the season with Chelsea still searching for their first victory and it is under similar circumstances for the Blues that Jose Mourinho's side come to town this weekend.

The timing of this fixture may be slightly different, particularly with regard to the transfer deadline and the strength of the squad, but the Blues come into this game in similar need of a victory over Chelsea to ignite their season after successive draws.

This time, the bulk of the manager's transfer business is already done but, as was the case last year, Martinez's preparations for the Londoners' visit are hampered by injuries to key players. Steven Pienaar, an absentee from this match last year due to injury, is ruled out with a groin problem, Ross Barkley remains sidelined with a knee injury, and Romelu Lukaku is a doubt with a toe injury.

Lukaku is expected to play, though, just as he did for 75 minutes last week against Arsenal, at least until he could continue no longer. He is in line to face his old team, Chelsea, for the first time since leaving Stamford Bridge last month to become Everton's record signing — he was ineligible to face them during his loan spell with the Blues last season but was unveiled to Blues supporters on the field at Goodison prior to the match against his parent club.

Lukaku's impact on Everton's season would begin the following week at Upton Park but it was a Steven Naismith header, a crucial defensive intervention by debutant Gareth Barry, and a resolute performance across the team that earned a vital 1-0 victory over Chelsea that day last September and Martinez will be hoping for a similarly transformative result this time around.

As if Lukaku's reunion with Chelsea wasn't intriguing enough, Saturday's match might also see new Everton signing Samuel Eto'o make his debut against his former club and he, too, might feel like he has a point to prove to Mourinho. The Cameroon star made his Premier League debut at Goodison Park in this fixture last year and, were it not for that brilliant block by Barry, would have opened his account with a goal that might have changed the eventual result.

Though Eto'o is very keen to be involved this weekend, Martinez has cautioned that he may not be ready to play until after the international break. The 33-year-old's last competitive match was in his country's narrow defeat to Mexico at the World Cup before he succumbed to a knee injury but he may be fit enough for a late cameo off the substitute's bench. If so, he would fill the vacancy on the bench created by Christian Atsu who cannot play against his full-time employers.

Pienaar's injury means Martinez will have to make at least one change to the team that started against Arsenal last weekend. Leon Osman came on to replace the South African after just 9 minutes of that game and he is the most likely choice to make his first start of the season, although Aiden McGeady and Darron Gibson (unlikely given his lack of match fitness) are other alternative options, as is a central trio of Barry, James McCarthy and Muhamed Besic in a 4-3-3 formation.

Chelsea, for their part, could be without their own big-money summer signing in the form of Diego Costa. Though a headline-grabbing red-top assertion that he would be out for three months has largely been discredited, fears that the Spanish international will have to be rested because of a hamstring strain until after the international break don't appear to be mind-games or diversion tactics from Mourinho. (The striker had hamstring issues at the end of last season and limped out of the Champions League final after a mere 10 minutes as a result.)

That would leave the Chelsea boss, who has seen his side beat both newly-promoted Burnley and Leicester fairly comfortably so far, with Didier Drogba as his main option up front after Fernando Torres was loaned to Milan. But Martinez will be focusing on his own charges and, hopefully impressing on them both the need to keep things tight at the back but also to drive home an advantage at the other end when they have it.

Two draws that felt like defeats against Leicester City and Arsenal have seen four vital points frittered away already and increased the sense of urgency around the need to chalk up that first victory. A repeat of last season and another three points against Chelsea would certainly be a great time to get it.

Kick off: 5:30pm BST
Referee: Jon Moss

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports


Reader Comments (97)

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Eugene Kearney
1 Posted 29/08/2014 at 06:47:34
Oh, how we need to get our season underway tomorrow with a victory.

I hope both Lukaku and Eto'o manage 45 minutes each, with Naissy in behind.

We'll have to close Chelski down and contain them, though...that could be a little tough, but not impossible.

2 - 1 for me.

Jim Jones
2 Posted 29/08/2014 at 07:01:19
How about starting EtoÂ’o, Lukaku and Nessi ?

(Eto’o — from Messi to Nessi!)

Kunal Desai
3 Posted 29/08/2014 at 07:11:49
Lukaku equalises and is withdrawn around the 70 minute mark. Eto'o replaces him and nets the winner. The script is written right? Hope these boys shove it down Mourinho's throat.
Derek Knox
4 Posted 29/08/2014 at 06:59:47
Very accurate report Lyndon, thanks for that, and reminding us, just how far we have come in the last twelve months.

I think many are temporarily forgetful of that fact, and I include myself in that by the way, but having been starved of such positivity and success for such a long period of time, it's easy to see why.

While we ' enjoyed ' relative safety, under OFM, it was also all too often tinged with mediocrity, without any realistic chance (apart from the odd result against the so-called elite) of dining at the top table.

Admittedly our games thus far have both mirrored each other, good starts and leads, which have been frittered away by a combination of, poorly timed and incorrect substitutions, lack of fitness and concentration to see them out, and throw in a few schoolboy error/circus defending.

I feel tomorrow should lift the squad for several reasons, the signing of Samuel Eto'o, especially against his former club, the same could be said of Romelu Lukaku, and for the similar reason, that they have something to prove. Although how much game time each gets will have to be seen.

The squad genuinely realise they have underperformed in both games, and have the opportunity to rectify that, with the luxury of a consecutive home tie to make amends. They are after all, playing, what many consider to be the serious contenders, with Man. City to be Champions Elect.

I just hope that Roberto picks the right combination this time, and uses his substitutions correctly too. If ever there was a right time to play Chelski (Costa out) this could be it, but they have some very capable players in all areas, and mistakes will be punished, given half a chance.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 29/08/2014 at 07:54:25
I just want us to get that first victory out of the way.

With no game for another fortnight thanks to the International break, then it's going to be frustrating as we have already blown two victories.

The saying at the start of each season is get your first home and away win out of the way ASAP.

It will be interesting to see how our players react after putting so much running and effort in last weekend only to gain a draw from the jaws of victory, especially against one of the big clubs and what was one of our main rivals last term.

It will be a big bonus to see no Diego Costa but we have to be wary of other quality players and for me the biggest fear will be every time Chelsea get a setpiece, with regular scorers like Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic coming forward it would be no surprise if we were punished more that way than open play.

What can be said.

Lets get Goodison rocking again, let's start the game in a frantic fashion like we did last week, let Chelsea know exactly where they are and then please Everton, no more silly goals conceded tomorrow.

If we fail to beat Chelsea a quick glance at the forthcoming fixtures and you'd think we MUST take six points from West Brom away and Palace at home, the kind of matches that we fumbled so often last year..

After that it's trips to Anfield and Old Trafford followed by another International break until October 18.

Wins need to start being registered.

Phil Walling
6 Posted 29/08/2014 at 08:17:47
With the now seemingly acknowledged inadequate pr-season, we may have to wait until after the International break to see our team at its best.

Definitely without Pins and with doubts surrounding the health of both Lukaku and Etoo, it may be down to Naismith and Osman to provide the threat against Chelsea.

Enough said.

Tony Graham
7 Posted 29/08/2014 at 08:22:52
If we start frantic, and get one up, it’s odds on we’ll tire, sit back, invite pressure, hand the initiative to them, and concede the points. Focus on retaining the ball, staying tight at the back and hit ’em on the break. We need a disciplined display by all... or they will overcome us.
Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 29/08/2014 at 08:02:27
Got the makings of an absolute cracker, this game, so letÂ’s hope weÂ’re not disappointed. I think midfield will be crucial tomorrow and really hope that McCarthy can get under FabregasÂ’s skin.

I worry about Drogba in the air, but now feel that we have got enough to really worry Chelsea in return. I really look forward to watching this fast emerging Everton (IMO) and the football they now play. I feel that, once the manager gets over his bad patch, then we could be in for a memorable season and hope that it starts tomorrow!

Andy Meighan
9 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:05:00
What IÂ’ve seen of Costa during the last few months heÂ’s come to prominence hardly fills me with terror. He looks a bit ponderous to me, so IÂ’m not too bothered wether he plays or not. I think the game is going to won in midfield and itÂ’s imperative we get a grip of Fabregas, Hazard etc.

I’d bring Besic in and drop Osman – lovely little footballer, great feet etc, but looks at times likes he’s towing a caravan and lacks the required pace. Jagielka needs to be replaced with Stones as he’s an accident waiting to happen; his reading of situations and his distribution are appalling.

As much as I like Martinez, his loyalty to said players is starting to grate with me now – although I know he’ll start with them. Chelsea have only played two of the promoted sides so far and this is their biggest test. We’ve got a decent record against them at home, apart from two seasons ago, and I see no reason why that can’t continue.

Mike Keating
10 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:06:22
After two losses at the start of 1984 we went to Chelsea and won. This sparked a season no one will ever forget.
Mystic Mike
Max Wilson
11 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:32:04
After 4 dropped points, we simply want a CLEAN SHEET ! plus our losses made up for and a big welcome at Goodison for E-twinkle-toe .
Jim Bennings
12 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:39:55
Our form at Goodison in the main last season and the year before has been rock solid but over the last four matches, from the tail ending last season we have let it slip quite a bit.

Losses to Crystal Palace, Man City and the inability to snuff out Arsenal with 7 minutes remaining on Saturday, we need to get back to what we do best at home and that's winning.

The same worries remain tomorrow for me.

Defensively I am asking the same questions I do every week nowadays " can we stop leaking goals from setpieces or high crosses into our box"

I seemed to be having the same argument all year and until we start looking convincing defending them then the worries will continue.
Every time a corner, free-kick or high cross comes in its like someone has thrown a ready to explode hand grenade in there, such us the panic and melee with Jagielka and Distin.

Then there is our lack of options wide tomorrow.

Can McGeady start doing it consistently?
Can Mirallas? And is he even fit?

There's no Pienaar or Atsu so the options are going to be limited.

Derek Knox
13 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:10:10
Jim#12

With you entirely mate, trouble is, neither the players or Roberto, ever read TW comments.

Perhaps they should, because a lot of valid remarks and suggestions are made.

Mike #10

Don't think Colin Glasstrodamus will be too happy to know there is another TW Mystic vying for the slot. :-)

Jack Plant
14 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:28:15
You are our feeder club!
You are our feeder club!
Mike Childs
15 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:15:13
The time has come to change our pair of CBs. Best case scenario with Jags and Distin is another draw. Time to start Stones and if Duffy isn't ready for the starting XI then put Besic back there. I am tired of the continued mistakes. I'd even accept a loss tomorrow if we change out these two as I would consider it a positive move towards the future.
Mark Andersson
16 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:25:29
Not convinced we will get anything from this game. Even if we are winning with 10 minutes to go, the past two games will have everyone feeling anxcious, I'm happy with a point, and a good performance and kick on from there.
Jim Bennings
17 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:52:04
It's a good point about changing our defence partnerships and the point will become even more valid if we keep leaking the same kind oh goals on what seems a weekly basis.

Its no point bugging up John Stones just to let him rot on the bench give or take a few cup outings.
Stones played in our best run of firm last season during that 7 match winning streak so really if anybody should have retained his place it should have been Stones on merit, his displays last season were that of a young Rio Ferdinand.

I think the whole nation, even the England set up now has Jagielka as one of "the faces"

The fact he keeps getting in the England squad ahead of players similar or better like Shawcross, Curtis Davies or James Tomkins.

We need to start letting Stones progress now and eventually we need a experienced blood and guts stopper next to him.
I always liked Steven Taylor at Newcastle but he's had too many injuries now.

We should be looking at the likes of Shawcross, Robert Huth, James Tomkins, Curtis Davies or Villa's Ron Vlaar as our next defensive signing.

Stones is the calm ball playing centre back, we don't need another like that, we need a "I will put my head in anywhere and win that bloody ball at all costs" type.

Dave Watson and Alan Stubbs where are you now?

Amit Vithlani
18 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:13:41
Draw for me. Chelsea are a much better side than last season and in Fabregas have an absolutely brilliant player, even if Costa is not there.

We are, however, a top quality side. I expect to see Johnny Stones get a start and a 4-3-3 system, with Mirallas and Naisy flanking Lulu. Besic to make his bow (perhaps he was being kept fresh for this game) to shadow Fabregas.

Coleman and Baines will play a vital role. 1-1. COYB.

Harold Matthews
19 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:56:31
A point would give us a slightly better start than last year when the first 3 games were against rubbish opposition.

Well remember this fixture last year when they missed sitter after sitter for the first hour including two by Schurrle immediately after the break when he left Baines for dead and caused Jose to go into convulsions. How we turned things round was quite astonishing. With Barkley leading the charge, we got a grip and scared them to death.

Denis Richardson
20 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:29:24
3 points and all will be forgiven re the first two draws. 5 points from the first three is a solid, if not fantastic, start and would set us up well.

Really thing the Eto'o signing will give the whole club a lift and the players will be itching to get on. Batter them in the first 30 mins and hope the CBs don't fuck up again.

3-1 Everton, Eto'o (of course) and Rom 2.

COYB!!!

Sam Hoare
21 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:26:24
Not feeling good about this one. Not only do they possess some terrific wide players in Hazard and Schurrle (?) and creative players in Fabregas and Oscar but they have some serious physical presence in Cahill, Terry, Matic, Costa, Ivanovic and potentially Drogba....i fear set pieces may again be our undoing.

Would probably take a draw though really we need a victory to kickstart our ponderous commencement of the season.

Amit Vithlani
22 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:32:18
Jim 17. I think we already have a CB with the "I will stick my face where it hurts" make-up. Duffy. Now that would be brave, making 2 young CB's our first choice pairing. Much rather see him than Alcaraz (past it), Sylvain (thoughts on retirement) and Jags (totally out of form).
Stephen Brown
23 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:32:48
Jim - I agree with your point but I’ve got to take exception with Robert Huth. I’m sure We’d be competing with Tamworth, Grimsby and Scunthorpe for his signing !
Paul Smith
24 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:21:08
I would definitely start besic alongside j Mac and Barry as a middle 3 for a bit more soliditity, with Naismith and Mirallas just behind Lukaku in a 4,3,2,1 formation. I would even consider playing 3,5,2 with stones coming in as a 3rd center back if Lukaku can't make it with Naismith an Mirallas up top but besic must start for me otherwise could see us getting overun in midfield.
A lot could depend on whether Costa starts for them as if he doesn't they will be stuck with ladyboy or an ageing Drogba whose not as mobile as he used to be and dare I say it the type of striker our center backs like to play against.
Derek Knox
25 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:40:11
Sky Sports have previewed the game (Paul Merson) and have predicted us to lose 1-2, so while I know you will all be surprised that SS don't fancy us, we usually perform best as underdogs.

COYB

James Stewart
26 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:51:15
HereÂ’s hoping Martinez gets his tactics right and subs. He’s been woefully wrong with the latter so far this season.
Tony J Williams
27 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:46:54
Feel that Chelsea will be battling with Citteh for the title this year.

Defensive minded Maureen has bought a cracker with Fabregas and they simply look so strong as a unit.

I fear for us on Saturday evening, I seriously do.

Jim Bennings
28 Posted 29/08/2014 at 12:46:28
I like Duffy too Amit, unfortunately it doesn't look like the guy is fancied at all by Martinez.

If he doesn't give Duffy a run out in the Cups, preferring Alcaraz then you'd have to say it's looking all over in terms of his Everton career.

I said on a post a few days ago, the worrying thing for Duffy is he was actually a part of the first team plans when he was a younger fella between 2009 to 2012 but the last two years instead of pushing on which you'd think would be the natural process, he has drifted further and further away from the first team.

I would like to see more of him, to get some greater judgment of him and see maybe why he's been frozen out but I won't be holding my breath on seeing him again.

Denis Richardson
29 Posted 29/08/2014 at 12:55:01
Maybe a bit early to tinker with formations and three DMs at home may also be a bit ott, but was thinking we could play 433, with Besic in the middle of McCarthy and Barry and Mirralas, Rom and ANother making up the front three -Naismtih re form but maybe Atsu as well.

Would give us a bit of added bite in the middle of the park and the front three would give them something to think about. Eto'o then to come on around 60-70min mark.

Not played this before so may be too early to do so. Can easily change to a 4231 if needed by pushing Besic up a bit or bringing on Osman.

Just a thought

Denis Richardson
30 Posted 29/08/2014 at 13:04:54
Forgot to mention, Besic could be used to mark Febregas whenever they have the ball. He's been their best player the last couple of games.
Milos Milenkovic
31 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:18:25
It was big disappointment the way we lost 4 points from first two games. In both games, we made exactly the same thing, we stop to play in second half. I don't think it was question of fitness (because it was right from the start of the second half) or mistakes by certain players. When I saw that we are passing the ball around, without going forward with desire to score, it was just matter of time before we are going to concede.

It was very poor against Leicester, but to repeat that in the very next game was shocking. We are footballing side now and we can't sit back. We don't know to play defensive or time wasting game. We were punished for that and if we learn from it, not just for the next game, but from now on until the end of the season, it would be good thing for us. Still, it's disappointing that Roberto didn't knew this before half time at Leicester. This team is excellent and they don't need to fear anyone.

Ajay Gopal
32 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:31:57
Denis, Atsu cannot play against Chelsea.

I would go 4-3-3:

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Stones Baines
McCarthy Barry Besic
Naismith Lukaku Mirallas

SUBS: Eto'o for Lukaku after 70', McGeady for Mirallas after 80', and maybe Osman for Besic after 85' if we are comfortably leading, Robles, Gibson, Alcaraz, Distin.

The papers are reporting that Costa and probably Shurrle will not play due to injuries, so they might line up as:

Courtois
Ivanovic Terry Cahill Azpilicueta
Hazard Ramires Willian Osar
Fabregas
Torres

Quite a formidable line-up, but the key would be the midfield. If McCarthy, Barry and Besic can boss over Hazard and company, we could have a very interesting match on our hands.

I think both managers will take a 1-1 draw.

Paul Andrews
33 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:42:16
Ajay,

I agree, that starting eleven would do for me.
We need to get Besic into the side imo.

Norman Merrill
35 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:36:00
Denis I like your confidence, but I don't think you realise who we are playing. If we repeat any of our slip-ups or lapses in concentration, as we have in the last two games, then I fear the worst.

Chelsea will set up not to give anything away, & they have a attacking force equal to Man City. So it's down to us to improve on our last two games, in all departments, and hit the form we know they can. And work for each other.

Jack Plant
36 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:52:34
I agree Ajay, I think we need Besic starting to get in their faces a bit, if they're left to play and dictate the game it could be a very long Saturay afternoon. Having said that even against Burnley they looked shakey at the back so I fancy our chances.
Harold Matthews
37 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:21:40
If Ossie plays he will either be trampled underfoot by the Chelski heavy mob or he will try to do too much and run himself into the ground. Always his own worst enemy, we all know he is better coming on late.

Personally, I haven't a clue how we'll line up but we're beginning to look very lightweight, especially at set pieces, and that includes the keeper.

Denis Richardson
38 Posted 29/08/2014 at 15:43:35
If Costa and Schurrle are out, thats a big plus for us already. Torres' mind'll be on his impending move to Milan. Set pieces will be key, need to try to not foul the liks of Hayard near the box.

Really fancy our chances for some reason (maybe it's just Friday and am off to the pub soon...and its not raining for once.) We've been lucky against Chelsea at home over the last few years, hope it continues.

Forgot Atsu is not allowed to play....hope that doesn't mean Osman starts, as that's already one substitution gone..

Denis Richardson
39 Posted 29/08/2014 at 15:53:53
Just checked, last 5 seasons in the league playing at home, we've beaten Chelsea 4 times (!) and lost once.

There ya go...

Linda Morrison
40 Posted 29/08/2014 at 16:28:28
We need a defence tomorrow that is as tight as a miser's wallet to get something from the game.

I disagree with other posts and replace Jags with Stones, as he is the issue, not Distin. That will not happen though as he is the captain.

If we get a point from a 0-0 tomorrow it will be a start.

Craig Walker
41 Posted 29/08/2014 at 16:51:29
Great report Lyndon as always.

Would love to see Besic given a chance. Please no Osman. I've nothing against the guy and think he's been a great servant to our club but I don't think he has the legs or is quick enough for this level anymore.

I thought we got cocky last week and fluffed chances at 2-0 thinking we had it in the bag. Chelsea I feel will be more ruthless and I can't see us getting into a position where we can afford to be profligate in front of goal.

Very nervous about this one. A defeat would put a bit of pressure on Martinez for possibly the first time in his tenure.

COYB

David Harrison
42 Posted 29/08/2014 at 17:01:53
Jim & Amit, Duffy transferred to Blackburn so obviously not fancied by RM
Ray Roche
44 Posted 29/08/2014 at 17:57:44
Costa is fit, according to ITV. Passed a fitness test today, PM.
Nick Entwistle
45 Posted 29/08/2014 at 18:07:35
What? I just transferred him out of my fantasy team! Fuck sake.

Erm... not that I wanted him to score tomorrow.

David Greenwood
46 Posted 29/08/2014 at 18:54:27
A draw would be a good result tomorrow. Chelsea will be horrible, cynical, dead jammy and helpfully refereed.
Almost certainly a goal from a set piece prove our undoing.
Having said that we can still do this and this will be one fixture that Mourinho will be glad to see the back of.
Lets get in about them and do this.

Dan Murphy
47 Posted 29/08/2014 at 20:24:00
First time I’ve been on here, just joined this evening and I have to say, why has it taken me so long to find you all! Cracking comments off the back of a wicked article by Lyndon. Okay, enough smoke blowing!

I’d go along fully with Jim Bennings #17 post. We have a serious need to rethink our CB’s. We’ve developed a hell of a lot these last 13 months becoming very much a progressive, fluid and creative football team, so very different in our approach since the side we were under good old Moyes. But, IMO, our real challenge this season – Distin and Jags. Last year we played our very best defensive football during Jags absence in the final stage of the season. I’ve got only love for Phil but he’s not of the same quality in his position as that of the rest of the squad we’ve built and continue to build. I watched him in the World Cup and in our first 2 games so far this season and he’s just not good enough. I agree john stones should absolutely be placed before him. His movement with and without the ball reflects the level and quality expected from a player in that position a team like the one Everton are rapidly becoming demands.

Then there’s Distin, solid whilst possessing that moment of madness (we all know what I’m talking about) that I don’t think he’d ever loose even if he played into his 60s. Again another player of an Everton era that’s now passed. He’s aged and will forever be loved but needs to be moved out quick style. Together those two for me are the only reason I have my heart in my mouth when watching us play these days.

That brings me onto another great post, Amit #18 – Besic! Enough said, good call pal! After seeing the way he man marked Lionel Messi out of the game in the World Cup, put him in that position and do the same to Cesc tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be truly inspired if that’s exactly why Martinez has really used him so far??! Always planning to bust Besic out against Chelski and do exactly that. Besic for Distin, and Stones for Jags.

I don’t think this window will see the arrival of any new valued CB. We’ve spent up, but the list of potentials you mentioned Amit are exactly the type of player needed to replace Distin long term and we have Stones already for Jags. We just need to make the change. That aside, we have the best team I’ve ever known in my life as a toffee and I’m 35. Perhaps the Everton team of the early 80’s would say otherwise, but I truly believe this squad can do the unthinkable and achieve real greatness really soon.

Eto’o is an inspired acquisition and when you consider the likes of Besic, Barkley, Stones, Coleman, Lukaku, Mirallas, McCarthy, Baines, and a fit Gibson, they’re a level of players that any side in top flight football would unquestionably make space for in their starting XI.

So, to wrap up my first ever ToffeeWeb post, prediction time;

Everton 3
Chelsea 2

Don’t care who scores but I reckon we’ll come alive tomorrow against that lot and stay alive for to get all 3 points this time. 3rd time lucky so far this season and it’ll mark the start of one hell of a run! Bit carried away there but strangers things happen at sea someone once said!

COYB!!!

Dan

John Malone
48 Posted 29/08/2014 at 21:17:20
McGeady, Mirallas and Lukaku have got to produce. Barry, Naismith and McCarthy canÂ’t be expected to do all the fetching and carrying and end up with a repeat of the last 20 mins against Arsenal.

Hopefully weÂ’ll get see Besic and EtoÂ’o at some point tommorrow, preferably when were three up and shutting up shop.

Like the Arsenal game, heart says win, head says very hard game could go either way depending on how we set up and how well certain players perform.

Mark Taylor
49 Posted 29/08/2014 at 21:37:39
I like the idea of 4-3-3 (or at times, 4-5-1), with Besic in with Barry and Jmac in the middle 3.

This will only work if the full backs have a licence to bomb forward and given Oscar and Hazard are not exactly assidious at tacking back, I can see this having a lot of potential for us.

For the front 3, I hope we have one of either Eto'o or Lukaku fully fit- either will do. Then Mirallas and Naismith on either flank. From the little we've seen, superkev seems to finally have got the idea of supporting his full back, so I think he can be trusted in that role.

If we start with Ossie and/or McGeady, I will have a bad feeling about the outcome, though there might be an impact role for either later on.

Chelsea have some good players but if Costa and Schurrle are out, it's as good a time as any to play them.

Kevin Tully
50 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:09:11
Nearly every Blue I speak to is screaming for Besic to start, or to come off the bench to close a game out.

Just remember;

He's never played in the P.L.

He is only 21 years of age.

He may not be as tactically aware on the pitch as some may think.

We don't know if he is fit enough.

Trust Martinez to put him in when he's ready.

Dan Murphy
51 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:28:41
Kevin #51, you're right in what you say about Besic, we don't know his fitness levels or how mentally prepared he is to play in the EPL, but with that said he is 21, so you've got to think he's fit as a butchers dog - any unreported injuries aside - and he's coming in off the back if a World Cup where he was his countries shining light and literally muzzled the magic Messi so his preparedness or confidence in his ability and his want must be bubbling over. Ultimately though, I agree fully with your closing statement, trust in Roberto. And I do, if he plays him tomorrow it's right, If he doesn't it's right. I'd still love to see him get his chance though wouldn't you?
Mark Frere
52 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:30:03
I like the idea of the 4-3-3 formation immensely, but it does beg the question: will our players be able to adapt to this change? Its not a formation the players have played before; in principal though I love the idea. Naismith must play centrally though... keep him away from wide positions; he's a fish out of water there!
Harold Matthews
53 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:27:19
Mark T. If you've never seen Oscar winning the ball back you must be suffering from blurred vision. It's his forte. The pickpocket-in chief.
Harold Matthews
54 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:27:19
Mark T. If you've never seen Oscar winning the ball back you must be suffering from blurred vision. It's his forte. The pickpocket-in chief.
Kevin Tully
55 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:42:33
He looked good in the friendlies Dan, and I expect he will become a crowd favourite. I expect he will be introduced slowly, sub appearances and Cup games for now.

As you can see from these boards though - a hell of a lot is already expected from the lad.

Kunal Desai
56 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:58:40
Chelsea have agreed an ٦M deal for Remy. thankfully he will play after our game tomorrow.
Dick Fearon
57 Posted 29/08/2014 at 21:52:14
Jags has to make too many desperate last minute tackles for him to be classed as a top centre back. I'll allow there are times when such tackles are needed but in Jags case they are too often.

In my view via TV we lack a natural born team leader. Jags is not it nor can I see any other candidate in our current squad that could fulfil that role. There are a few experienced heads who though good at their particular jobs they lack a few important leadership qualities. That begs the question, what makes a good team leader?

Strangely I suggest the most important quality has little to do with ball skills, it is a kind of charisma that sets them apart from the rest. We have had a lot of inspirational players such as Ball, Young, Hickson, Ferguson, Cahill and many more etc yet not one among them would I rate as a good captain.

On the other hand Peter Farrell would not be named among such a phalanx of legends yet I rate him as our best ever
captain. A stranger to Goodison would instantly recognize Peter as the one who was pulling the strings of the whole team. These days it is quite the opposite particularly when facing corners and free kicks. Stones has the basics of a team leader and a few more years experience under his belt will see him develop in that way.

Andy Finigan
58 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:04:41
Good post Dan. Welcome to our loveable site.
Mike Allison
59 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:10:52
Yeah Mark, Mourinho basically sold Mata because Oscar was so good at winning the ball back in the opposition third, whereas Mata never does it.

It's a big part of the modern game, I don't know how long the pros have been talking about it, but it came to the fore last season. It's one of Lallana's main strengths as well. You win the ball back fairly quickly and very high up the pitch, meaning you can score 'transition' goals frequently, skipping lots of build up play.

You're absolutely right about it being a good time to play them if Costa and Schurrle are out though.

Dan, welcome, glad to have you on board, but please look up what literally means.

Kevin, it's a catch-22 isn't it? How do we know if Besic is ready until he gets a go? If he's good enough for the World Cup and Messi he's worth the last ten minutes against Leicester when McCarthy is knackered and has taken a knock isn't he? Especially when the alternative is making no substitution at all.

Dan Murphy
60 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:18:17
Yeah the pressure for his contribution is already immense, agreed on that point fully mate. He's got his opportunity with the right team and the right manager, and RM isn't afraid to use youth when he decides it's right so watch this space.

What's your gut saying about the game tomorrow then? How you seeing us getting on?

Kevin Tully
61 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:26:02
2-1 - Eto'o with an 86th minute winner. (Or possibly 87th minute, if there is a slight hold up in play.)
Dan Murphy
62 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:40:55
You've said it know mate! I'm gonna have a couple of quid on 2-1 Eto'o to score the winner. And a quid on Eto'o to score in the last five minutes! I reckon we'll turn up tomorrow I really do. Mixed report on Costa's fitness, could with him having a day off like!
Nicholas Ryan
63 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:53:00
It's 0-0 with 30 seconds to go ... A floated cross beats all the defenders, it drops in front of Eto'o in the box ... he trips over his own feet in embarrassing style... miraculously, as he falls the ball hits him on the arse and goes in, wrong-footing the helpless Courtois... the fans go wild .. Jose puts his head in his hands...

Peter Cech points at him, and says: 'Idiot, I told you so...'

Torres points at him and says: 'Idiot I told you so ...'

A rampant Samuel runs over to the dug-out and shouts: 'Idiot, I told you so...'.

A magnanimous RM goes over to Jose and shakes his hand, whispering something in his ear, which the microphones don't catch. Could it have been: 'Idiot .................'. Then I woke up!!

Dan Murphy
64 Posted 30/08/2014 at 00:22:02
Nicholas have you been smoking the herb this evening? That's the most insane post I've seen on here! Good work, it would be something else if that did happen though!!

Mark Frere
65 Posted 30/08/2014 at 00:37:17
Nicholas, when indulging yourself in LSD, perhaps Toffeweb isn't the most sensible place to visit!
Harold Matthews
66 Posted 30/08/2014 at 01:25:15
Dick. I fully understand the last ditch tackle business but Jags has not received enough credit for his involvement in the Naismith goal. The way he rapidly read the situation, won the ball and slammed it hard and true to Lukaku was defending of a high order.
Gavin Ramejkis
67 Posted 30/08/2014 at 01:40:08
This is going to be a hell of a lot harder game than it was last season, the Chavs have bought a diamond in Fabricarse. If our midfield or defence give their midfield a moment they'll exploit it in a flash. So many players with points to prove after the last two games, I only hope they remember the game is 90 minutes long and not 60.
Pat Finegan
68 Posted 30/08/2014 at 05:08:37
Colin Glassar or "Glasstradamous" has predicted all our transfer business. Wonder if he forecasts results, too.

I dreamt it would be 2-1 with Lukaku winning a penalty so that is, of course, what will happen tomorrow. If it doesn't come to pass, forget this comment and I'll try again next week.

Kelvin Thomas
69 Posted 30/08/2014 at 07:44:06
Howard
Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines
McCarthy Besic Barry
Lukaku Naismith Mirallas
Peter Barnes
70 Posted 30/08/2014 at 07:50:03
Dan.48 You can't surely be comparing this current Everton side with that of the '80s. However, I've got to agree with your assessment of the centre of defense. GK included. They really need to perform this week. Besic is a good call for me. Ossie to come on later. Maybe Gibson also. We have to get him match fit at some point.
Peter Bell
71 Posted 30/08/2014 at 08:24:12
Peter, that's a good shout that; forgot about Gibson, he may be just the player for the last 20 minutes today...
Tony Abrahams
72 Posted 30/08/2014 at 08:16:34
I agree with that, Harold, because Jagielka had a much better game against Arsenal than he did against Leicester. IÂ’m not sure how good of a defensive partner he is, though, because I think that all the central defenders have formed better partnerships with Distin. This might be because Distin kicks with his left foot but IÂ’m not sure.

Man of the Match at Stamford Bridge when he got injured last season, I hope he can play like that again tomorrow. I was fuming with our captain last week when their second goal went in because his timing for the cross was awful. But, when youÂ’re tired, mistakes like this are common and we as a team were shattered.

Derek Knox
73 Posted 30/08/2014 at 08:54:59
Pat (#70),

Today's game will be much like last season's game, where no-one really expected us to win (good, underdog status brings out the best in us) against the free spending Chelski who have again strengthened and bought quality in Fabregas and Costa. I think another workmanlike performance with no mistakes might just work.

I am glad also that you have implicit and unerring faith in your own psychic abilities. :-)

Max Wilson
74 Posted 30/08/2014 at 09:28:37
Shit Shirts (Lawrensen for those who haven't noticed his lack of taste) is predicting we'll lose by a goal. The Beeb describe him as their "expert", rather than an obnoxious, prejudiced old Red fart who doesn't shop on Birkenhead market.

Chelski have just unburdened themselves of Torres so it will be interesting to see who partners Drogba.

I agree with those who have been saying our defence is looking lightweight. I hope to see Stones chosen. I don't want to see McGeady, we have much better players. The lads will be wanting to prove something today. Let's hope they do.

Brian Harrison
75 Posted 30/08/2014 at 10:21:55
Sky are saying that Costa will play, Torres signing for AC Milan today on 2-year loan, so I guess Drogba will be their back up striker. My main worry is set pieces they have a very tall team and we seem vulnerable with crosses into our box.
Derek Knox
76 Posted 30/08/2014 at 10:29:35
Got a sneaky feeling that Mirallas will play an important role today, let's face it he has been due a good performance for some time now.

He will relish the 'limelight' theatre of today's game being just up his street. Although I hope he doesn't try to be too flash, sometimes those step-overs at pace and trickery culminating in a back-heel to Lukaku, look absolutely brilliant but if mistimed and Lukaku, or whoever else is not positioned such, it looks a bit stupid.

I have been reading the thread on the interview with Eto'o (2008) when he was at Barça, and it does make interesting reading, and gives an insight into how he thinks, etc.

I would recommend fellow TW'ers to do the same, and realise what we have got with him.

Mark Griffiths
77 Posted 30/08/2014 at 10:41:50
I have had 3 dreams since the start of the season were we play Chelsea but it is always at the Bridge; we always end up losing by a goal and Chelsea always score 2 goals but we are very unlucky! Although this could be more to do with my EFC subconcious of just falling short when it matters!
Geoff Evans
78 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:07:30
Forget last season, Chelsea are a much better team now, a point would be an achievement, they will have seen last week against Arsenal and fancy getting at our central defenders. Drogba up against Distin with Terry weighing in on set pieces looks a bit ominous. The defence is creaking badly we need a presence and quick.
Harold Matthews
79 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:24:02
True Brian / Geoff. They bring five monsters up for corners and expect to score every time. Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Drogba and Terry. A lethal and terrifying line-up.
MIke McLean
80 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:41:05
Dick @ 58 ... Every word bang on the money for me (except the bit about Peter Farrell – I’m too young to have known him playing).
Steve Jenkins
81 Posted 30/08/2014 at 12:25:00
Hope Besic starts to Ossie, given us more legs and energy in the midfield.

We can win this - defence has to be a lot better than last week though.

COYB.

Derek Knox
82 Posted 30/08/2014 at 12:26:54
Steve#83

I think we are all saying and hoping that too mate, I don't quite get it myself, he acquitted himself admirably on the biggest stage of the lot, and had arguably the best player in the world, restricted for most of the game.

We have seen him play in pre-season, and again was one of the few to impress, although a trifle over-eager in the tackle, (it's a man's game surely) has seemed to be regularly overlooked by the likes of Osman, McGeady, and Uncle Tom Cobley when on the bench.

Whether this is another tactical ploy of Roberto, I doubt it, because had he been involved last week, and arguably the first game against Leicester, I think we would have had the luxury of a maximum 6 points instead of the meagre two we have now.

Brent Stephens
83 Posted 30/08/2014 at 13:35:52
I'm a Besic moll. Been banging on about him since I watched him in pre-season friendlies. I would love him to start today. Osman and we get crucified in mid.
David Chait
84 Posted 30/08/2014 at 13:47:57
I'm with you Brent... I'm going as far to say given a proper run we'll soon see he is our best player.. Bar none..

Martinez has his favorites though...

Derek Knox
85 Posted 30/08/2014 at 13:51:28
Brent#85

Moll?

I will certainly view your posts with a different perspective, after that public admission.

Only joking mate, but maybe if Mo was more of a moll, Roberto (Prettyboy) Martinez would adopt him/her into the Gang.

Brent Stephens
86 Posted 30/08/2014 at 14:19:55
Derek, only of a weekend, mate. Only of a weekend. What do you think I am? Mind you, Mr and Mrs Besic has a certain ring to it. Bit extra lippy today, maybe.

John Daley
87 Posted 30/08/2014 at 14:17:21
Besic...."has seemed to be regularly overlooked"?

There's only two games gone. He's not exactly the fat bird at booting out time just yet.

Jamie Crowley
88 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:19:58
I wanted to see Besic last week. Here hoping he's out there.

I think his physical style is what's needed for this one.

Alex Jones
89 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:32:13
Yeah, Roberto is obviously going to slot Besic in for his Premier League debut against Chelsea from the start... I wonder what planet most of you are on; you know nothing about him and are all screaming for him to play and demanding he drop known quantities to do so.

We need someone who can control possession or we'll be defending all game and will inevitably concede as we did against Arsenal when we gave up possession of the ball. Losing Pienaar is a big loss in this regard but Osman is the only other player we have who can do that and so he should play imo. I don't care if he gets 'pushed off the ball' now and again. We have grocks like McCarthy to run around roughing people up and, whilst fans love that stuff, it doesn't actually contribute to us winning games.

Darren Hind
90 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:30:43
I just told the youngest Grandson he was going, I thought he would explode.

If Coleman and Baines play well, I think we can make it a happy home debut for him.

David Chait
91 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:48:31
I don't expect him to start... But a player with a range if passing like Pirlo, quicker than Robben, can tackle like Kompany and close control like Messi deserves a go surely? Don't know if he can shot yet tbh...
Derek Knox
92 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:53:41
Alex#91

What planet are most of us on?

Well, I think it is the planet of reality mate, you also say we know nothing about him (Besic) well I know it was only a minor competition really, but we all witnessed his display against Messi in the Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina game, plus the subsequent World Cup games. We have also seen him perform in a disappointing pre-season, so have formulated a pretty good opinion, of not only the type of player he is, but envisaging how he could enhance our team.

Mark Tanton
93 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:10:37
Di Maria and Costa have come straight in. Why not Besic?
Steve Jenkins
94 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:17:26
Derek 84

Agreed mate, he looks like a class act to me and has it all, the kind of box to box midfielder we're missing.

The first few touches against Porto said it all to me. Lets hope Roberto feels he's ready for his first start.

Harold Matthews
95 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:12:03
Players like Besic, Stones, Robles etc, who sit on the bench every week and don't even get a run-out with the U21s, cannot possibly perform to a high standard when their turn eventually arrives.
Derek Knox
96 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:32:22
Harold#98

That's true Harold, and like we've mentioned before, the two games thus far, have basically been crying out for our so-called stalwarts of the team, who have been totally overwhelmed and underperforming to boot, to be substituted to rejuvenate and consolidate what looked like three points, evaporated into one.

Denis Richardson
97 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:40:16
Guess 10 out of the starting line up were predictable, will have to wait longer to see Besic in the starting line up.....McGeady starting.

Costa starts for Chelsea.

Linda Morrison
98 Posted 30/08/2014 at 17:00:48

I may be wrong, I often am, but I think,hope, Roberto is going to see how they get on here before making any major changes to the squad that will involve dropping senior players.

I worry about the defence, Jags at times looks in a state of panic when opposition players are about, unlike Barry who at least most of the time seems to know what he needs to do.

This is a much improved Chelsea and I would take a 0-0 here.

Others have had unexpected losses today so maybe we will get an unexpected win!

Alex Jones
99 Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:02:36
Definitely a class act!

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