West Bromwich Albion 0 - 2 Everton
Kevin Mirallas completed a Belgian brace when his low shot squirmed under Ben Foster
Roberto Martinez had one enforced change at centre half with John Stones replacing the injured Sylvain Distin but Everton were otherwise unchanged from the team that started against Chelsea a fortnight ago.
That game had seen the Toffees fall behind very early but this time it was Everton who went ahead before the match had had a chance to settle. Jonas Olsson could only despatch Leighton Baines' low cross straight to the feet of Lukaku who curled a beautiful shot around Ben Foster and inside the far post.
The early strike provided the Blues a platform on which they would eventually extend their lead in the second half but they had to withstand increasing pressure from Alan irvine's Baggies as the first period progressed.
Though the home side pressed, Martinez's men were far more effective in closing down the opposition in dangerous areas but West Brom were still able to carve out chances, two of which fell to Saido Berahino and both were deflected away from Tim Howard's goal.
Chris Brunt, meanwhile, had an effort that flew into the side-netting from the angle and two Craig Gardner free kicks failed to find the target.
Everton, meanwhile, found their opponents difficult to break down and Mirallas and Lukaku had the only other chances of note before the break when both flashed shots narrowly off target from around 20 yards out.
Everton appeared to step up a gear after half time and should have doubled their lead when Steven Naismith pounded on the rebound after Foster had saved from Lukaku but the Scot contrived to scoop the ball over the crossbar from six yards out.
The killer second did arrive in the 66th minute, however — albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Not for the first time, Mirallas cut in from the left and unleashed a shot from the edge of the box but this time his daisy-cutter seemed routine for the 'keeper until it squirmed under his body and nestled in the back of the net.
Though they would have a late flurry that needed a superb double-save from Howard, West Brom's spirit was largely broken by the second goal and Everton were unfortunate not to pad the scoreline further.
They surely would have done were it not for Foster who made a terrific one-handed save to push substitute Leon Osman's deflected shot wide before denying the same player three minutes from the end at the end of an impressive, flowing Blues move.
The result means that Roberto Martinez's men picked up their first win of the new campaign at the same stage as last season, a great way to start a hectic run of matches between now and the end of the month.
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Reader Comments (79)
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1 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:27:26
WBA tried very hard and Irvine will keep them in the Premier League.
2 Posted 13/09/2014 at 18:45:36
Glad to get a clean sheet too today away from home.
How did Lukaku play bar that goal?
3 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:01:21
4 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:03:51
Rom played well - though he’s still not 100%. Some good first touches and full of running at times. Wonderful goal.
McGeady was woeful, simply woeful. His passing, tackling and overall contribution are all very minimal. That’s a nice way of putting it.
5 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:06:48
Villa are showing how you play at Mordor: hope we learn something from them when we go there.
6 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:01:23
The enforced change in defence (due to Distin’s injury) was a welcome one for me. IMO Stones should now be looked upon as our first choice centre back with Jags and Distin supplementing him. Playing Jags on the left side was something I’ve wanted to see for a while; If he plays there regularly for England there’s no reason he shouldn’t be asked to do it in a blue shirt!
Looking forward to the Wolfsburg game now..COYB
9 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:25:00
10 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:24:49
We didn’t play well but definitely deserved winners in the end. This win will be the perfect tonic to kick-start our season...
Wolfsburg to look forward to next, a routine 3 points against Crystal Palace next week... and Oviedo and Kone not too far away from returning to first team action. Things are looking up! COYB!
11 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:17:05
Jeff, Lukaku 6/10, I think you’re being a bit harsh there, mate.
12 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:23:21
That being said, as the 2nd half went on, we looked better and it was only a great save from Foster that prevented a third.
Good result but Barry, McCarthy and McGeady all need to up their game.
13 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:23:46
We badly need a creative player in front of Barry and McCarthy, a new Arteta if you like.
Steven Naismith is great in terms of work ethic and nipping in for goals but just sometimes we don’t look like creating much through the midfield and when the wide boys don’t perform well as they didn’t really today, we can look stagnant a bit.
Of course there is Barkley to return but that’s a long way off before he’s anywhere near match sharp, I think your looking after Christmas before Ross finds his real form.
On the plus side it’s a good day, a good away win and clean sheet so let’s hope we really are up and running properly now.
16 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:37:58
The sun was out ... proper footy on the radio from midday (none of that international crap), we eased past the Baggies away from home, ’Pardew Out’ banners and to top it all off Villa stuffed the RS at their place Â– with only 25% possession!!!
And a week to look forward to as well with a European night under the floodlights of glorious Goodison Park. Then another home game against CP.
Now for a beer and a sing song ...... :)
I never felt more like singing the blues when Everton win and ...... etc.
17 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:43:15
Great win; it’s nice to have that winning feeling again and keeping a clean sheet. Stones can’t be dropped now, even when Distin is back. Can’t wait for Wolfsburg now!
18 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:47:29
Never more felt like singing the blues Â— you know how it goes.
19 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:52:23
20 Posted 13/09/2014 at 19:52:23
Stones looked very good, made one world class challenge and it was great to see a clean sheet and more capable defending than in our first 3 games. Mirallas looked a threat, Lukaku played quite well and certainly in the second half I thought we played quite well and controlled the game.
It was also interesting to see Besic come on and play a more advanced role and I think this is for two reasons. Firstly, it’s been clear since pre-season that Besic has the ability to play in a more attacking role. He has tricks, pace, great feet and confidence. Secondly I suspect that Martinez does not quite trust him in a defensive role after his debut and needs him to get up to speed in areas where if he loses the ball we don’t get hurt too much.
21 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:20:41
22 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:21:36
23 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:37:32
He could be just what’s missing in midfield, as he does find space well and can knock it about accurately. He did pick up a yellow card (seemed a bit harsh to me) so maybe he’s a marked man with the refs!
24 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:57:03
I was expecting a difficult afternoon but apparently they were poor. I think if Irvine stays they could well be staring down the barrel of a dogfight... mind you, theyÂre used to that, arenÂt they?
All-in-all, a beautiful evening considering our beautiful neighboursÂ dismal performance. Now would anyone mind if I opened another bottle of wine? Just to be sociable like...
25 Posted 13/09/2014 at 20:56:29
Kev and Geads improved significantly 2nd half. (Although Geads had a poor first half, he put the effort in and looked fit!). Nais again looked good to me though he did miss a sitter. Onwards and upwards now (though the Baggies were poor).
26 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:18:49
I was praying for that to go in because as soon as it was clear Osman was coming on, there were people calling the manager an idiot.
Although the first half performance was not great, in the second half I thought we did really well and crucially we largely controlled the game in the last 10-15 minutes rather than sit back and invite pressure like in the previous games.
It’s for this reason that I’m quite positive because, despite the negatives, you can clearly see improvements in key areas from our games against Leicester, Chelsea and Arsenal.
27 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:21:56
Second half we were better but, let’s remember, this was West Brom, if we play like this against better teams we’re going to struggle.
29 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:24:37
30 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:28:21
Rom got his first goal of the season, Nais missed a chance that really he could and should have scored from, and If not for Ozzy finding Foster at the end, that move would have been almost a Larrissa goal.
We were not great but a clean sheet, a solid performance from our boys.... We won. job done. could have been 4-0 realistically.
32 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:51:37
33 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:57:24
The only worry I had was that they may have scored too early giving the opposition (playing at home) plenty of time to equalize but the defence held firm which is what we had hoped for.
Hopefully, now with the depth of the squad, they can get past Wolfsburg and still have enough left to take care of business against Palace, setting them up with confidence for the derby match.
34 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:48:42
Spoke to my 14-year-old son who went the game and told him that, for the first time in his 11 years of watching Everton, it must be the first time we have had a team that don’t have to play great to win.
He agreed and said Everton done today what the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd have been doing for years. We had a bit too much for the opposition without ever having to reach top gear!
35 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:04:05
Actually I would like us to have been quicker in getting the ball forward. Breaking quicker and in numbers. But hey, we won two-nil ....
36 Posted 13/09/2014 at 21:42:15
Great to also get the clean sheet. Palace are there for the taking next week, and The RS looked awful earlier.
37 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:01:25
Rom and Kev should start a friendly in-house wager. The player with fewer goals, in all competitions, at seasonÂs end buys the other a beer... or a Porsche...or something. Just to keep it interesting!
38 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:17:24
39 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:12:51
Defence remains hesitant, to put it mildly.
With Barkley and Pienaar back, we will have more solidity and creativity. Oviedo and EtoÂo will provide excellent options. With Atsu (please NOT McGeady) and Coleman running at defences on the right and B&C on the left, we could look forward to some interesting times.
I really hope we can find our shape as a team Â– as we did for spells last year Â– when everyone knew where we were.
IÂll be impressed and delighted if we beat Wolfsburg.
40 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:07:41
Also Osman was good coming on, he could had a brace himself if wasnÂt for a Foster looking to redeem himself after that howler.
But the most important thing was a clean sheet included in the win; defence looked much improved and with it we got the little luck big teams always seems to have more of than us.
41 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:10:23
For the first time in many years I am confident in scoring goals home or away with the fire power on and off the pitch. If we can defend as a team then we will win more than lose.
ps: Thank god we won; facing happy West Bromwich Albion fans at work is not a pleasing thought!
42 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:16:03
McGeady looks fitter but he still looks below the standard required in the top half of the Premier League. The occasional flash of genius is followed by an inept pass or being caught in possession. We cannot afford that against the better teams.
43 Posted 13/09/2014 at 22:46:11
44 Posted 13/09/2014 at 23:32:04
I thought Lukaku, goal aside, had a poor first half. Improved in the second along with most of the team then tired. I guess IÂd prefer Lukaku having a slow day than a lower-level player at full fitness... Lukaku will always have the quality to grab a goal.
Overall, a really strange game. Probably not our best performance this season, yet was our most dominant. Defensively shaky yet again but a clean sheet.
Hard to put a negative slant on a 2-0 away win. Hope itÂs the start of something. Mirallas my Man of the Match, by the way.
45 Posted 13/09/2014 at 23:41:37
46 Posted 14/09/2014 at 00:47:14
By laboured, do you mean slow? Barry has always been slow but heÂs one of the best in the league as defensive midfielder, with the emphasis on defensive.
I donÂt know how Barry sitting in would prevent McCarthy from venturing forward. Our two full backs look to get forward at every opportunity, and therefore Barry and/or McCarthy need to be ready to slot in if and when necessary.
Barry was an integral part of the best Everton team in years last season. People constantly knock him for his age and lack of pace.
49 Posted 14/09/2014 at 01:26:34
50 Posted 14/09/2014 at 02:26:39
As already said above, the save from Osman stopped another Larissa type of goal. WouldÂve been a peach.
51 Posted 14/09/2014 at 04:28:26
Also, a clean sheet may help settle some nerves. Jags had a decent game. StonesÂs control of the ball is very useful to the side. McGeady was a disappointment.
52 Posted 14/09/2014 at 04:41:42
Amazed that people have questioned BarryÂs performance Â– Man of the Match easily Â– but not mentioned McCarthy whose poor season continues. McGeady was poor in the first half but he improved a lot in the second half, cutting in and looking dangerous.
I think we should all be satisfied with a professional job well done Â– and with players to come back soon we will be in decent shape for the derby. Talking of which, if anyone wanted to see how you waste 𧴜 million, you only had to watch the Redshite yesterday.
53 Posted 14/09/2014 at 05:56:54
3 points that were needed to get our season moving, clean sheet & confidence built. Happy Days!
Europa next Â– COYB!
Oy yeah & the shite lost, they look clueless & toothless without Sturridge. With Suarez gone for good, a long-term injury to Sturridge & theyÂd really struggle imo.
Ballotelli just doesnÂt look like he can be arsed.
Think theyÂll drop a lot of points at home this season Â– a lot of sides will just take the Chelsea & Villa blueprint & park the bus.
55 Posted 14/09/2014 at 09:14:41
Two defensive midfielders would be Carsley and Yobo playing in there together like we did one year at Anfield, a memory that makes me shudder like a fucking quango.
56 Posted 14/09/2014 at 09:56:13
I hope RM will work with him on the negative side of his game as he's the best two-footed player we have IMHO.
Secondly, I too am looking forward to seeing Atsu and what he brings to the table but I'm wondering are there some on here blindly expecting him to fit in and be a great player? As I said last week, wingers tend to blow hot and cold. I am excited to see his pace, trickery and hopefully goals but let's not build him up for a big fall.
All players have weaknesses, like Barry having poor pace, but that shouldn't stop us seeing all the positives too.
That was a bad miss by Naisy yesterday; had he done that last year, loads would be on his back right away. This year we're more tolerant... Well, so far.
I expect Lukaku to frustrate us in a lot of games but to still score 15+ goals, even with injuries. If Eto'o, Kone and Naisy can get near 10 each, we'll be right up there. Big ask I know.
57 Posted 14/09/2014 at 10:18:14
Jees, a clean sheet at last. How was Stones?
58 Posted 14/09/2014 at 10:46:31
59 Posted 14/09/2014 at 10:50:56
Hopefully when Barkley's back he can change all that by just skinning whoever's pressing him and going on to score a wonder goal.
60 Posted 14/09/2014 at 10:52:53
61 Posted 14/09/2014 at 10:42:39
John Stones has earned his start after this game, those long legs capable of last ditch tackles and blocks will prove priceless compared to the sluggish Jagielka's performances so far. Naismith's miss was truly shocking and could have cost us dear but luckily Scott Carson was in his usual charitable mood.
We're off on the board now, although the two games against top quality opposition in Arsenal and Chelsea showed some great positives, I think (as well as the negatives), and we should all be looking forward to when Eto'o and Ross Barkley slot into that starting 11 because we are a force to be reckoned with. Come on You Blues!
62 Posted 14/09/2014 at 10:59:00
Jack, I mentioned that point in the live forum. Howard was forced to kick from his hands in the first half due to their pressing.
I suppose he needs to improve his kicking or we're relying on the opposition tiring.
63 Posted 14/09/2014 at 11:09:56
64 Posted 14/09/2014 at 11:02:36
I think we are in for a long season of indifferent results, so before you get too excited by the Red Shite results, we are nowhere near where we would like to be.
65 Posted 14/09/2014 at 11:20:03
66 Posted 14/09/2014 at 12:41:12
Clubs are picking up on how poor he deals with crosses from wide areas, it’s hard to believe how weak he has become in this basic skill for goalkeepers.
The only decent saves he had to make came right at the end of the game, and them shots were straight at him. He is a massive liability to the team on crosses from wide. Way past his sell-by date!
67 Posted 14/09/2014 at 14:40:51
68 Posted 14/09/2014 at 16:05:25
A lot more work required but it's the result that only mattered. We will have to play so much better defensively in the next few games to get more points on the board.
69 Posted 14/09/2014 at 17:06:30
70 Posted 14/09/2014 at 16:57:45
Put us on the back-foot, clutter the flanks as much as possible, keep our possession to a minimum and lots of teams will have a chance against us. That is exactly what Alan Irvine and WBA tried to do and for most of the first half we absorbed the pressure and tried to hit them on the break. It got a lot easier in the second half as they (inevitably) tired and the result went our way due to a clinical finish, a stroke of luck and some resolute defending. Not overly pretty at times but the job got done.
Tony Abrahams (56), are you classing Gareth Barry as an attacking midfielder by natural inclination or within the scope of his role for Everton? A defensive midfielder's role goes beyond defending all the time (as does that of defenders!) but when you are primarily expected to break up opposition attacks and provide a screen a short distance in front of the back-line then you are a defensive midfielder. We specifically need two of them because both our full backs are now expected to support the attacks from the opposite side of the pitch rather than just when the play is on their flank. Linking play between the defenders and the attackers is a natural consequence of your position in the team structure, unless you want to bypass the middle of the park all the time (which we don't because it increases our avenues of attack).
Gareth Barry seems more eager to receive the ball from the defenders and prompt the attacking play but I doubt that is a particular duty he is given rather than both DM's being expected to share the work according to what is on at the time. McCarthy is of course doing the lion's share of break-neck recovery running simply because Barry lacks the pace, but it does seem at times that McCarthy is overly keen to pass the ball neutrally or negatively rather than positively. A good example would be the pass he played backwards that set up the late chances for Berahino (I think) and Samaras, when he did have options to play the ball forwards.
71 Posted 14/09/2014 at 18:26:56
72 Posted 14/09/2014 at 18:08:55
Gareth Barry seems more eager because that's his job, just like McCarthy doesn't play forward enough, because his job is to retain possession and make sure he has covered everyone else.
If you don't think it's their particular duty because they are both defensive midfielders, I disagree, Simon, because I would have someone a lot more mobile than Barry if their primary role was to defend.
73 Posted 14/09/2014 at 18:41:51
I thought Lukaku's shot (with his weaker right foot) was pure class. I don't care how the chance occurred. His touch was impressive before scoring and the shot was pure class.
John Stones in my opinion had a very good game. There were around 10 corners to defend and he appeared to be man-marking Olsson who came up from defense on corners. I thought Stones really battled Olsson well (and it was very physical).
Hard to argue with:
#1 A road win
#2 Lukaku scoring
#3 Stones playing (and playing well)
#4 The 1st clean sheet of the season
74 Posted 14/09/2014 at 19:41:14
75 Posted 14/09/2014 at 19:52:52
77 Posted 14/09/2014 at 22:18:00
78 Posted 14/09/2014 at 22:25:30
79 Posted 14/09/2014 at 23:53:32
It is perhaps more fluid than having three central defenders and relies on the judgement of both Barry and McCarthy to make it work. An understanding between the two DMs is essential and it is no surprise that they tend to play to their strengths, but I have yet to see any indication that only one has permission to venture forward whenever they judge the time is right.
It is my opinion, however, that James McCarthy is simply a lot less inclined to trust his attacking ability / instincts because there have been occasions that I have witnessed when he could easily have made a more incisive pass than the one he opted for, or when he has apparently chosen not to really commit himself to attacks. I do not see what we gain in those situations by giving McCarthy a very limited role that he must adhere to. He does let himself go at times but not enough for my liking and it really does appear that he is making those decisions on the spot.
On the subject of mobility, it is Barry's obvious flaw and I have pondered on this forum whether he is potentially expendable when dealing with strong, mobile attacking teams, as long as either McCarthy / Besic can match his nous / reading of a game. It is also the potential stumbling block for Darron Gibson fitting seamlessly into the manager's preferred system.
80 Posted 15/09/2014 at 07:42:35
81 Posted 15/09/2014 at 09:48:25
The lads were nervous, I thought, even after that first wonder goal. We defended deep for long periods. We should have been two up but Naismith missed that sitter. Meanwhile, McGeady added very little in the first half but came to life in the second Â– no doubt after words from RM. Mirallas's goal was a bit lucky, Foster was too slow.
We are missing some of our best players, I think that is obvious, and when they re-appear we will play with more cohesion. Meanwhile Howards's fantastic late double save shows us he isn't quite over the top yet.
82 Posted 15/09/2014 at 11:05:13
Yes, it was exactly like that....
Although well done for tying two different TW threads together.
Maybe instead of voting, they should just have a game of togger, Salmond and Darling the two captains. The BBC as the referee (so as to give Salmond something to blame a defeat on). There could be plenty of hooliganism on the sidelines as well, to appeal to the non-sporting viewer.
Whatever. The only thing I'm looking forward to is to see the turnout, and how many actually got off their arses and voted. Hopefully it'll be a better turnout than most local and government elections, given the amount of media space it's taken up.
Umm back to Everton. So Amanda Holden in the new kit eh... with red nail varnish. Tsk.
83 Posted 15/09/2014 at 11:02:21
We will still be in that top 7 but need to work hard to make sure we are not bottom of that group. Liverpool have lost twice now, not sure what I make of Arsenal. Spurs are inconsistent and Man Utd had an easy win against one of the poorest Premier League performances I have seen so the jury is out on them too.
84 Posted 15/09/2014 at 13:08:56
If Eto'o is fit, I think he will start instead of Lukaku along with a couple of other changes.
86 Posted 15/09/2014 at 18:18:58
You’re assessment of Barry only applies to when we are in possession. If that were the case for 100% of the game, Barry is unlikely to get on the pitch.
Yes, for a team playing out from the back, then Barry has to drop deep and pick the ball up and look to get us moving forward.
However, he is there to be goal side of the ball and read what is going on in front of him. He positions himself well, and covers the full backs when possible. He is there to provide solidity, and most importantly, to win the ball back and break up play.
Therefore, I consider him a DM. If you prefer holding midfielder, that’s fine also.
87 Posted 15/09/2014 at 19:55:56
When Rom scored v WBA and didn't celebrate, how did you feel? I actually thought "What a pro and respectful bloke." I only ask because that Adrian Durham on TalkSport was wittering on about how daft it was that he didn't celebrate the goal.
88 Posted 15/09/2014 at 20:19:43
It’s a personal choice but I think it is a reflection on the player - the fact that he was respectful and gracious are good things in my opinion.
To be honest, as long as he doesn’t get sent off, and is immediately thinking about getting another goal, I really don’t care how he reacts to scoring.
89 Posted 15/09/2014 at 20:26:37
He won't have to worry about it next season, as he won't be playing against that shower, unless we draw them in the cup.
90 Posted 16/09/2014 at 04:43:57
And I respect Rom for it, not my cup of tea though.
Durham is a Class A twat, enough said.
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