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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1 Posted 29/08/2014 at 06:47:34
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.
2 Posted 29/08/2014 at 07:01:19
(EtoÂo Â— from Messi to Nessi!)
3 Posted 29/08/2014 at 07:11:49
4 Posted 29/08/2014 at 06:59:47
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.
5 Posted 29/08/2014 at 07:54:25
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.
6 Posted 29/08/2014 at 08:17:47
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.
7 Posted 29/08/2014 at 08:22:52
8 Posted 29/08/2014 at 08:02:27
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!
9 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:05:00
IÂd bring Besic in and drop Osman Â– lovely little footballer, great feet etc, but looks at times likes heÂs towing a caravan and lacks the required pace. Jagielka needs to be replaced with Stones as heÂs 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 Â– although I know heÂll start with them. Chelsea have only played two of the promoted sides so far and this is their biggest test. WeÂve got a decent record against them at home, apart from two seasons ago, and I see no reason why that canÂt continue.
10 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:06:22
11 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:32:04
12 Posted 29/08/2014 at 09:39:55
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.
13 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:10:10
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.
Don't think Colin Glasstrodamus will be too happy to know there is another TW Mystic vying for the slot. :-)
14 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:28:15
You are our feeder club!
15 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:15:13
16 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:25:29
17 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:52:04
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?
18 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:13:41
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.
19 Posted 29/08/2014 at 10:56:31
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.
20 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:29:24
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.
21 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:26:24
Would probably take a draw though really we need a victory to kickstart our ponderous commencement of the season.
22 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:32:18
23 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:32:48
24 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:21:08
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.
25 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:40:11
26 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:51:15
27 Posted 29/08/2014 at 11:46:54
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.
28 Posted 29/08/2014 at 12:46:28
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.
29 Posted 29/08/2014 at 12:55:01
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
30 Posted 29/08/2014 at 13:04:54
31 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:18:25
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.
32 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:31:57
I would go 4-3-3:
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:
Ivanovic Terry Cahill Azpilicueta
Hazard Ramires Willian Osar
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.
33 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:42:16
I agree, that starting eleven would do for me.
We need to get Besic into the side imo.
35 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:36:00
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.
36 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:52:34
37 Posted 29/08/2014 at 14:21:40
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.
38 Posted 29/08/2014 at 15:43:35
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..
39 Posted 29/08/2014 at 15:53:53
There ya go...
40 Posted 29/08/2014 at 16:28:28
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.
41 Posted 29/08/2014 at 16:51:29
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.
42 Posted 29/08/2014 at 17:01:53
44 Posted 29/08/2014 at 17:57:44
45 Posted 29/08/2014 at 18:07:35
Erm... not that I wanted him to score tomorrow.
46 Posted 29/08/2014 at 18:54:27
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.
47 Posted 29/08/2014 at 20:24:00
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 Â– 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 Â– 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;
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!
48 Posted 29/08/2014 at 21:17:20
Hopefully weÂll get see Besic and EtoÂo 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.
49 Posted 29/08/2014 at 21:37:39
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.
50 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:09:11
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.
51 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:28:41
52 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:30:03
53 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:27:19
54 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:27:19
55 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:42:33
As you can see from these boards though - a hell of a lot is already expected from the lad.
56 Posted 29/08/2014 at 22:58:40
57 Posted 29/08/2014 at 21:52:14
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.
58 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:04:41
59 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:10:52
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.
60 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:18:17
What's your gut saying about the game tomorrow then? How you seeing us getting on?
61 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:26:02
62 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:40:55
63 Posted 29/08/2014 at 23:53:00
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!!
64 Posted 30/08/2014 at 00:22:02
65 Posted 30/08/2014 at 00:37:17
66 Posted 30/08/2014 at 01:25:15
67 Posted 30/08/2014 at 01:40:08
68 Posted 30/08/2014 at 05:08:37
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.
69 Posted 30/08/2014 at 07:44:06
Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines
McCarthy Besic Barry
Lukaku Naismith Mirallas
70 Posted 30/08/2014 at 07:50:03
71 Posted 30/08/2014 at 08:24:12
72 Posted 30/08/2014 at 08:16:34
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 youÂre tired, mistakes like this are common and we as a team were shattered.
73 Posted 30/08/2014 at 08:54:59
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. :-)
74 Posted 30/08/2014 at 09:28:37
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.
75 Posted 30/08/2014 at 10:21:55
76 Posted 30/08/2014 at 10:29:35
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 BarÃ§a, 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.
77 Posted 30/08/2014 at 10:41:50
78 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:07:30
79 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:24:02
80 Posted 30/08/2014 at 11:41:05
81 Posted 30/08/2014 at 12:25:00
We can win this - defence has to be a lot better than last week though.
82 Posted 30/08/2014 at 12:26:54
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.
83 Posted 30/08/2014 at 13:35:52
84 Posted 30/08/2014 at 13:47:57
Martinez has his favorites though...
85 Posted 30/08/2014 at 13:51:28
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.
86 Posted 30/08/2014 at 14:19:55
87 Posted 30/08/2014 at 14:17:21
There's only two games gone. He's not exactly the fat bird at booting out time just yet.
88 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:19:58
I think his physical style is what's needed for this one.
89 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:32:13
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.
90 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:30:43
If Coleman and Baines play well, I think we can make it a happy home debut for him.
91 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:48:31
92 Posted 30/08/2014 at 15:53:41
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.
93 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:10:37
94 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:17:26
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.
95 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:12:03
96 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:32:22
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.
97 Posted 30/08/2014 at 16:40:16
Costa starts for Chelsea.
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!
99 Posted 31/08/2014 at 16:02:36
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