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Blues stifle Lille to remain unbeaten in Europe

by | 23/10/2014  Comments (93)  jump
LOSC Lille 0 - 0 Everton

Everton maintained their unbeaten record in the Europa League with a second successive away draw, this time grinding out a goalless encounter with Lille at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Roberto Martinez made five changes from the team that beat Aston Villa at the weekend, with Muhamed Besic, Tony Hibbert, Samuel Eto'o, Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin coming in for James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman, Romelu Lukaku, Leon Osman and Antolin Alcaraz and it was in defence where the Blues excelled on a night of few chances.

The French side committed to a high line and pressing game early on and profited from slack passing from Everton's midfield to regularly feed Divock Origi. The Liverpool loanee was largely well-marshalled by the Blues' back line, though, and it was Idrissa Gueye who came closer than anyone to breaking the deadlock when he raked a shot off the outside of the post with 25 minutes gone.

Everton's best chance of the first half might have come from great work by Eto'o along the byline but his attempted cross was deflected away from any of the lurking blue jerseys and Aiden McGeady would have the Toffees' only shot on target before the break, a tame first-time effort from the angle.

The second half followed much the same pattern as had the first but Everton began to grow into the contest and increased their share of the ball without really threatening their hosts apart from when Eto'o despatched a free kick into the arms of Victor Enyeama.

It was the introduction of Lukaku for Steven Pienaar just past the hour mark that almost paid dividends for Martinez, though. The Belgian's impact was almost instantaneous as he collected the ball and slipped it through to McGeady in the Lille area. A defender's touch took much of the pace off the ball but the Irishman got his shot away only to be foiled by Enyeama who got enough on it to stop it sliding underneath him and into the empty net.

A couple of promising openings were wasted by the Blues as the game opened up a little more in the final quarter of an hour as McGeady failed to find Lukaku open in the middle and Hibbert hesitated in the box with a shot on in front him. The defender was excellent in his more natural surroundings in defence, though, and he made a terrific interception to keep substitute Ryan Mendes at bay before Eto'o curled a shot inches wide in the dying minutes.

The draw keeps Everton top of Group H by a point after Wolfsburg's 4-2 win in Krasnodar and on course for the knockout phase if they can win their home fixtures.

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports

Reader Comments (93)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:26:57
Good, solid performance IMO.
David Flanagan
2 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:27:22
Decent point. Defensively good but too disjointed in attack. Lukaku made a difference but McGeady continues to frustrate.
Brent Stephens
3 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:29:19
Lille presented some danger going forward, so IÂ’m not unhappy with that result, away from home. Very sound performance by Barry - ready to be thrown out by some recently. And Jags now has a couple of very strong performances under his belt, with his confidence probably well restored.

OK, it didnÂ’t get me overly excited but top of our group, having played away twice.

Trevor Lynes
4 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:30:57
I was dismayed when I saw our oldest Everton team starting the match with Hibbert, Distin and EtoÂ’o joining Barry. However, the defence played well. Distin and Jags looked back to their solid best and they needed to be as our attack was really impotent.

Lille did not look a great side and I am pretty confident that we can beat them at Goodison.

The pitch looked pretty poor and seemed to affect us more than them.

Jay Harris
5 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:36:25
Thought we were very poor with no cohesion at all. Very disappointed once again with the team selection and line up. Pienaar obviously is nowhere near fit and McGeady continues to look a very average player.

I do not understand why Ossie and Naismith were left at home especially with Barkley and Pienaar just coming back from injury.

Once again, I criticise RM for putting luxury forwards on at the expense of midfield where we should be winning and retaining the ball. I would have played Barry, Besic and McCarthy in this game giving Barkley free licence to roam.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:40:31
Defending very good, attacking absolutely depressing.
Denis Richardson
7 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:32:47
Good point away from home after a pretty poor game of football with very few clear chances created by either side. However, would have taken a point, clean sheet and no injuries before the kick off so job done.

On a side note, Roberto really likes to make his subs late! Would have brought Atsu on for McGeady earlier and really not sure what the point was of subbing McCarthy on for about 4 seconds - guess the last one was maybe to wind the clock down but it was hardly worth it given the game was done.

Onto Burnley and the likes of Coleman, Naismith and McCarthy will be 100% fresh and Lukaku not far behind. Will be interesting to see if Alcaraz comes back, thought he would have played today and Distin on Sunday.

Jackie Barry
8 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:47:39
Good away point. I understand people's frustrations but our manager is thinking of the long road ahead, that's his job after all. Our return to Europe has been slow but a lot of exciting games lie ahead both in this competition and the EPL.
Mike Keating
9 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:43:45
Defence played well and Howard had nothing to do but we gave the ball away throughout the game and Barclay was one of the chief culprits. Pienaar and McGeady were poor and a good job they can't shoot.

I'm just glad I never forked out 𧷤 to travel to watch that cack over there. Hope there are no repercussions from yesterday.

At least we never went down 3-0 and that's about the best you can say about this boring game.

Graham Mockford
10 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:49:15
Jay Harris, An away point in this league format is gold. A couple of home wins and we win the group.

I've criticised Roberto in the past for being too idealistic in the past, I didn't see that tonight. He set up really tight and an away point is a great result.

You may accuse me of being unadventurous but unlike many Evertonians, although I loved the Bayern game at home, I was away in Munich for the 0-0. We went to not get beat, we were the better side. It was a great great performance. Probably Ratcliffe's greatest performance in a Blue shirt.

Phil Brown
11 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:54:34
Denis #7 Team selection makes absolute sense as Distin was up against the speed merchant tonight and Alcaraz should play against Burnley.
Brian Harrison
12 Posted 23/10/2014 at 21:04:43
I thought that apart from a brief spell in the second half, we were more content to try and keep possession than try and get a goal. Yes, our defence played well and limited them to very little, but I thought if we had gone out with a slightly different mind set we could have taken all 3 points.

I don't expect us to play an open game in an away tie but I would have liked to see us play with a bit more ambition, I mean this was Lille not Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Sandra Bowen
13 Posted 23/10/2014 at 21:19:30
Decent point, I guess... but a rather dull game, I thought. McGeady is bloody awful; some good skills now and again but on the whole, well, he's actually just a bit shit.

Pienaar struggles to pass the ball any further than 5 yards – anything out of this range is either hit too soft or too hard... it's been driving me mad for years now. Such simple passes sometimes and I can never understand why he can't do it.

Jagielka looks like he's back on form. Barry and Besic pretty solid. Hibbert had a very good game, he even looks more comfortable on the ball now and if only he could have scored with his chance... not sure Lille could have coped with the celebrations though!

Top of the group and another clean sheet so I guess we take the positives and hopefully get a decent run on the go.

Peter Z Jones
14 Posted 23/10/2014 at 21:35:33
Good result. Boring as hell.
Lee Simpson
15 Posted 23/10/2014 at 21:32:47
Good point. Job done away from home. Another clean sheet and we didn't look like conceding. Puts us in a fantastic position: 4 points will get us through and we still have 2 home games. Very professional performance which could have been even better If we'd have picked the right pass out in the final third.

I fully expect a comfortable win at Burnley on Sunday. One of them games I would have been worried about under Moyes but I think we will be fine on Sunday. Yes, we have had a difficult start to the season but in most games we have performed quite well; every error has resulted in conceding a goal.

The one thing that has gone our way is that all of our rivals (top four competitors) have dropped points where you wouldn't expect them to. We have only won 2 of our first 8 games yet we are still only 4 points off the top 4.

In my opinion, there are two Champions League places up for grabs as Chelsea win win the title with ease and Man City will finish 2nd. My glass is ¾ full!!!

Simon Smith
16 Posted 23/10/2014 at 21:44:52
Good to see Jags actually play well for the first time since that dirty Uruguayan rodent got away from him.

I agree with comments about McGeady and Pienaar. I keep waiting for McGeady to pull something out the bag as a lot of well respected football guys rave about him.

How noticeable is it when Coleman doesn't play though!!! Worrying if he was to ever go!

Colin Grierson
17 Posted 23/10/2014 at 21:27:21
I was quite pleased with both the line-up and how we performed. It was a job well done regardless of how good people think Lille are. We have to rotate the squad if we are to avoid fatigue and/or injuries to key players. We just need to qualify for the latter stages and that's when I expect to see us go for it. Any criticism of this performance or the manager's approach is misguided IMO.

McGeady frustrated with his wastefulness as did Barkley. However, another game under the belt for Ross is useful. I thought Barry and Besic did well and Eto'o showed touches of quality. Lukaku made a positive difference and Hibbert was assured at the back. If only he would have pulled the trigger when he had the chance. Shoot Hibbo, shoot!

Mike Childs
18 Posted 23/10/2014 at 21:54:41
Lots of positives from this game. The play of Hibbo and Jags. Barkley getting more game fitness. The rest for Coleman, Jimmy Mac, Alcaraz, Ossie and Naisy. The point to keep us atop the group. We didn't have to worry about Howard because he never got tested.

There are some down sides but they have been pointed out ad nauseum so they don't need to be repeated.

Jay Harris
19 Posted 23/10/2014 at 22:16:45

Last time I checked with the doctor, I as not "off my rocker" but given the poor opposition tonight I think you might be if you think that was a decent performance.

Yes, a point is not the end of the world but do you think any top manager with ambitions in Europe would have set up his side to play like that?

It seems to me that Roberto in Year 2 has become very cautious and not the "Sin miedo" we saw last year.

The ball was constantly given away, putting us on the backfoot, and a better team would have beaten us handsomely.

Eric Owen
20 Posted 23/10/2014 at 22:47:25

Here is a video of the tear gas incident. This is on Canadian internet.

Paul Ferry
21 Posted 23/10/2014 at 22:39:37
Good post by Mocky (#10) bringing a little realism into the ring.

Jay (#19) – Lille were not ’poor opposition’ at all and I for one was hiding behind the sofa with some of their attacking play in the 1st half. They were battering us for a while and then we settled more and got into our stride. Like you, I had deep reservations about the starting eleven – Alcaraz should have started; Coleman too – but I’ll hold my hands up and give RM a light pat on the back (dead light though).

We looked more comfy as the game went on and there was only one team looking like nicking it at the end.

So, yes, a little drab and dry for my liking at times, but in hindsight – glorious hindsight – I think Bobby got it right tonight. My hunch is that most of us on here would have taken a draw early doors as they piled it on (and probably before kick off) and that is what we got!

Come on: top of the group; nice goal difference; two homes games to come. Another hunch: a draw in Germany and we end up top; two wins at home and we end up top!

A good night all round on the pitch and I hope that anyone involved in the trouble off it is okay.

Jamie Crowley
22 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:11:40
Eric (20) -

Who's the dumbass chucking his beer at the riot police?

Blue or not, that's the stupidest thing I've seen. If there's trouble and you're in a foreign country, here's a fucking brilliant idea:

Don't stir up trouble and end up hog-tied with a bunch of foreigners contemplating what's the best way to make you miserable. Sit your ass down, grab a beer, and relax. Don't throw the damn beer at RIOT POLICE stupid!

Jesus... Dude's pissing in my gene pool.

Paul Ferry
23 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:11:46

Â’English soccer fans clash with police in the French city of Lille, ahead of a Europa League match between Lille and EvertonÂ’.

I saw I think one knob - brave this - picking up a can or something and lobbing it in the general direction of the French Fuzz.

And then I saw some elderly folk complaining to said Fuzz.

After this, some geezer in a retro Â’84 shirt is holding a blue flare up in the air.

Some riot, that! These news rooms will do anything for anything at times.

Mike Green
24 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:16:51
Jamie (#22) – you're absolutely right but what the fuck are Riot Police doing smashing tear gas all over the show (and rubber bullets.....?), when there clearly isn't a riot?

The lads acting stupidly (and one of his mates should pull him away from it) but does it look unprovoked to you? Maybe they're called riot police because they're damn good at starting them.

Paul (#21) – I agree with every word, all things considered a point away from home will do nicely.

Eddie Dunn
25 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:12:51
We are all relieved at gaining a valuable away point, staying top of the group. However, Roberto, before kick-off said that they wanted to put on a performance for the phenomenal support out there.

It reminded me of the game in Russia, where we were too negative and had to change tack and chase the game with time running out. If Lille had scored, it would have been the same scenario.

We looked so much better with Lukaku on, so why leave it so late? We were getting deeper and deeper, with no outlet. Check Wolfsburg's 4-2 win in Krasnodar. We made them look decent.

This group is far from over, but we will only progress if we play our best team. Glad I didn't pay good money to watch that dross live.

On a lighter note, good on Hibbo, Jags, Barry, Baines and Besic, our stand-out players tonight.

Jamie Crowley
26 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:41:46
Mike -

Don't disagree - seems that the law is out for trouble to be sure. Not sure why but reading all the press it seems that the police were prepared for mayhem when none actually existed.

And if you're even remotely aware of that...

Don't chuck a beer at them for Chrissakes!

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Jay Rollinson
27 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:37:10
McGeady was the one big disappointment for me tonight. I really want to like him as a player, he has pace and the ability to run at defenders so, on paper, he seems exactly what we need. However, he just doesn't seem to have any natural instinct about what to do on the pitch though.

The two biggest chances created tonight were both blown by him. A one-on-one he should have lifted over the keeper but poked weakly at his legs, and a sumptuous through ball from Barkley that McGeady only had to lay first time into Lukaku's path. He hesitated, looked up, before rolling it into no man's land, behind Lukaku and way too far in front of Eto'o who was following in.

When chances are at a premium like in the game tonight they need to be pounced on if you want to take the points.

Paul Ferry
28 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:27:20
Eddie (#25): Â’However, Roberto, before kick off said that they wanted to put on a performance for the phenomenal support out thereÂ’.

OK a little cheeky perhaps but canÂ’t a Â’performanceÂ’ also include a very good defensive performance?

interesting, then, that your crop of Â’stand out playersÂ’ were defensive players for the most part.

A very good defensive display once we weathered the early storm, I thought.

I was one of the more vocal Jags bashers in late summer and early autumn and with good reason in my view at any rate. but credit where credit is due, he has really looked liked getting back to somewhere near his best these last three games or so.

But I would prefer to see Alcaraz next to him on Sunday. IÂ’m not sure if Distin is becoming one of our Thursday players but his games are numbered now I think. And Burnley are not exactly blessed with pace.

Oh, and lest I forget, thumbs up to Hibbo! heÂ’s being nudged towards the door but after a shaky start some of his basic defensive intelligence was turning the years back - and he should have scored, first-time lad, take it first-time!

Sunday? Howard - Browning - Jags - Alcaraz - Baines - Macca - Besic - Coleman - Oveido (if fit)/Pienaar (I suppose, if not) - Ross - EtoÂ’o (was impressed with him tonight)

Phil Rodgers
29 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:43:59
Two words: Tony Hibbert
Mike Green
30 Posted 23/10/2014 at 23:49:34
Yes Jamie, I wouldn't, you wouldn't, but in a crowd of '000's of lads under the influence there will be plenty who will react and the coppers know it and love nothing more than a kick off on double time - and know because it's English fans they have carte blanche to do what they like and they'll never get the rap, they never do.

As soon as you get a small disturbance you get confusion, people choose between flight or fight and all hell breaks loose unless it's well policed. But - you are right, the lad needs his head read, and it probably is red all over by now.

Harold Matthews
31 Posted 24/10/2014 at 00:01:48
Yes, McGeady has all the ability in the world but his brain can't keep up with his feet. Very frustrating but he'll have his moments. Tonight he was chasing shadows against an exceptional left back with pace, agility and a great left foot.

Pienaar and Barkley are struggling for fitness and it showed. The rest played very well in a match that was never going to be easy. Unlike many, I didn't find it boring but these no-contact Europa officials make life difficult for Premier League sides.

Brian Cleveland
32 Posted 24/10/2014 at 05:02:29
Agreed Harold, that ref frustrated the hell out of me blowing up every time someone got breathed on (and sometimes when they weren't!). He broke up the rhythm more than either team could have done.

That said, I couldn't get very enthusiastic anyway. I like chess, but when I want to watch chess I'll look out for Kasparov. I want to see football and that includes passion and excitement, I want to be on the edge of my seat, jumping up and down, screaming at them... and so far this season I haven't seen that.

Even against Villa, although it was an easy win... it didn't have me jumping up and down like I have in the past. Sometimes I just want us to go forward and quickly... this permanent crab football has got me tearing my hair out, when I'm not falling asleep.... I want to be excited and entertained, and that is just not happening at present...

Andy Mack
33 Posted 24/10/2014 at 06:41:53
Happy enough with a point away, but Pienaar isn't fit enough to play at the moment, and its detrimental to Baines, also his silly flopping for free kicks is becoming really irritating. McGeady… oh dear. No sponsor kit looked good though.
Fraser Auld
34 Posted 24/10/2014 at 06:40:02
A good result, that was no easy away game and leaves us well placed with two home games to come.

I actually enjoyed watching it. Obviously I would prefer to watch a display of free flowing attacking football that results in us smashing 5 past the French but that wasn't the way the game panned out and we showed a very good performance at the other side of the game. We were no pushovers.

Good teams can grind out results and I was pleased to see the lads really put in a shift and get a well earned point. I also think it will be a good performance in terms of squad morale, going into the trenches like that and coming out with a result breeds spirit and togetherness.

Special mention to Jags who, after displaying genuinely worrying form for a while now, was a colossus at the heart of the defence.

Re team selection, I don't get all the - why didn't Lukaku start, where was Colemen etc... I thought Gibson might have started for Barry but other than that it was predictable, not sure what the fuss is about. I agree it might not have been our strongest team but it was never going to be, we have a league game on Sunday early afternoon. Anyway, the team fielded wasn't exactly shite, Bobby's right to use the squad and the players have to step up.

Kevin Tully
35 Posted 24/10/2014 at 07:49:29 of the group and odds on to qualify...rested key players for the Premier league. Clearly terrible.
Christopher Kelly
36 Posted 24/10/2014 at 07:51:44
Roberto Martinez is a great tournament coach. I've said it before and it's jus fact. Better than a league coach...

Tonight he got it spot on excels for Barkley. Barkley is too risky a proposition and he looked terrible all night.

We're in good hands hear. Ugly as sin but perfectly played.

( I'm not really understanding what RM is trying to do. Way too much space between defense in midfield when we had the ball on the counters. School kid stuff.)

Neil Pickering
39 Posted 24/10/2014 at 08:32:46
Absolutely made up with this. The game was an absolute stinker but IÂ’m happy because it shows we can actually now play a different way rather then having to win a game 4-3. I actually hope to see more of these types of performances away to the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal etc rather than going there and playing like it’s the last 10 mins of a game that we are trailing.

A bit of pragmatism at times never did even the best sides any harm. I’m made up if Martinez is adding this string to his bow.

Jay Rollinson
40 Posted 24/10/2014 at 08:31:54
Christopher Kelly,

That seems a very muddled post, complete with a totally contradictory last paragraph when read with what came before it. Night on the ale perhaps?

As for Barkley's performance being 'terrible all night'? He was the only one in the side who looked likely to create anything. He certainly played better than any of the other players tasked with getting forward: Pienaar, McGeadey, or Eto'o. The ball he played to send McGeady through was class. He's also done incredibly well just to come back from injury so far ahead of schedule, so 2 games in 5 days was always going to be a big ask for him.

James Morgan
41 Posted 24/10/2014 at 08:37:08
Christopher Kelly, Roberto didn't do too bad last season with a record points total and fifth placed finish for someone who isn't a "league coach", whatever that means.
Andrew Ellams
42 Posted 24/10/2014 at 08:38:52
Completely toothless up front tonight until Lukaku came on, and we desperately missed NaiamithÂ’s industry around the box. EtoÂ’o was not impressive. That aside, a good point.

As for the local police, they are fucked if Galatasaray or Lazio come to town

Phil Walling
43 Posted 24/10/2014 at 08:45:32
Jay, Barkley's passing was dreadful all night. I love him to bits but he was far from his best last night. We never seemed to attack with intent and there was a plethara of negative passing just for the sake of it. I suppose it took up time and counted the clock down towards the draw !
Jay Rollinson
44 Posted 24/10/2014 at 08:57:10

Never suggested he was anywhere near his best or that his passing was paticularly great. Just that he offered more than the other advanced players on the night (which, admittedly, isn't saying much) and he was the only one looking to make things happen. For me, that doesn't warrant him being labelled 'terrible' or 'too risky a proposition' to play as Christopher claimed.

Andrew Ellams
45 Posted 24/10/2014 at 09:14:46
I think Barkley was stifled by the complete lack of movement of anybody around him. EtoÂ’o had concrete boots on last night, Pienaar is way short of match fitness still and McGeady just into going to cut it.

But considering our stringest attacking line up would probably be Lukaku, Miralles, Naismith and a 100% fit Ross Barkley then I am starting to become a bit more confident about the season ahead

Trevor Lynes
46 Posted 24/10/2014 at 09:17:38
I honestly believe that we missed Osman coming off the bench as he does have a bit of guile in his play. Apart from Pienaar who struggled to make an impact last night, who did we have to cover a forward midfield player?

Taking Gibson, Besic, Barry and McCarthy showed a defensive attitude IMO. Barkley and Pienaar were the only two attacking midfielders in the group and neither of them played well.

At least one of Naismith and Osman should have travelled to provide some spark if we went behind. If either had been available from the bench, I feel sure we would have scored a goal.

Paul Mackie
47 Posted 24/10/2014 at 09:25:23
Top of the group with 2 home games still to play, some important players rested and a clean sheet.

It wasn't pretty but you'll get no complaints from me about last night (except for the ref, he was shite).

Christopher Wallace
48 Posted 24/10/2014 at 09:45:14
Lille don’t score or concede many and they imposed themselves on the game, resulting in a drab affair.

They have captions league pedigree and won the French double a few years ago, so not as bad as some are making out.

They had one of the best defences in Europe last season. I though Kjaer was immense - he also done a great job against Ronaldo last week - we should seriously consider signing him.

Phil Walling
49 Posted 24/10/2014 at 09:54:33
I said last night that I'd be surprised if Jags and Sylvan hadn't done enough to be re-instated as our central pairing. Unfair on Alcaraz ? Maybe.
Jack Plant
50 Posted 24/10/2014 at 10:20:07
Phil 43, I think he was far from his best but he had two superb passes to create two of our best attacks of the game, apraying the ball out to Mcgeedy in acres of space on the right (who was then unable to find anyone with his cross) and slipping in Lukaku on the left to cross for McGeedy. Granted two great passes do not make a performance but his passing certainly wasn't 'dreadful all night'
Liam Reilly
51 Posted 24/10/2014 at 10:16:27
A professional performance for me. It always looked like we could go up a gear if required but it wasn't necessary.

With the exception or the Bayern's or Madrid's, there are few teams that go gung ho away in Europe and with our recent European record, we've certainly no right to go to Lille and demand 3 points.

Still on course to top the group will do for me..

Karl Parsons
52 Posted 24/10/2014 at 10:21:39
Top of the league at the half way stage. In what we all said was a tough one. 2 home games next. That puts us in control of it. And if we win it our European seeding will improve and our opposition in the next stages will be easier. Positives all round.
Chris Fisher
53 Posted 24/10/2014 at 10:35:21
Yes have to agree McGeady was shit last night. I have defended him quite a bit this season because I think he has been quite decent in some games and got abuse for no reason but last night he was crap. Especially after being put through by a great ball by Barkley and having Lukaku and Eto'o to aim for and litreally just passing straight to their defender. Piss poor that from a pro footballer. If that was for my sunday team I would of got absloutley hammered.
Chris Fisher
54 Posted 24/10/2014 at 10:40:27
Also I could see yesterday why Roberto has dropped Distin recently.
Brian Harrison
55 Posted 24/10/2014 at 11:14:05
I don't think anybody can argue that our results in the Europa league have been as good as we could have expected. But I want to go to the game and feel excited, and I am afraid this season has not given me that feeling. Maybe the Chelsea game was the only game were I thought we played some good football.
RM says attacking football is in his DNA but his style is about as exciting as watching the Walter Smith sides, boring and unadventurous. So please RM can we see a bit more of an attacking style, you got us to 5th last year maybe you need to remind the players that they can go out kill teams off instead of waiting till the last 10 minutes of a game.
Michael Polley
56 Posted 24/10/2014 at 11:51:21
Not pretty,but job done !!!
Nick Wall
57 Posted 24/10/2014 at 12:18:16
#56 Brian, you're a hard man to please ! I've been to 5 games at Goodison this season and seen Everton score 14 goals against some strong opposition. When was the last time that Everton were scoring so freely ? For most of us the main concern has been the number of goals going in the other net, which is why it's been so encouraging to see Jags's return to form, and despite all the bluster about attacking football being in his DNA, some real evidence that Martinez is tactically astute and willing to change his tactics to fit the situation and get the job done, even if that doesn't always mean playing pretty football.
James Newcombe
58 Posted 24/10/2014 at 12:33:46
If the Premier League becomes much more like European football – players throwing themselves to the ground all the time, with referees actually acknowledging most of them, resulting in a stop-start cheating sport – I'll be done with football.

Look where Lukaku would have been through at the end, and the defender who miscontrolled the ball dived to the floor. Absolutely pathetic. Besic shouldn't have been booked either.

Brian Harrison
59 Posted 24/10/2014 at 12:40:02
Nick (#58)

I can't argue with the amount of goals that we have scored this season, it's just the style of play I sometimes find hard to like. I think we have some very talented players who are more than capable of taking the game to the opposition, but too often for me we take an age to get the ball into the opponent's half were we can really hurt them.

I think we overdo the possession game, just like Arsenal who in most games have the lions share of possession but, despite this, they lose quite a few games. So, while possession of the ball is important, it is not the be-all of winning football matches, and we seem overly preoccupied with keeping the ball instead of wanting to play a more attacking style.

Sam Hoare
60 Posted 24/10/2014 at 12:42:38
Shame we couldn't sneak a winner in second half but a pretty decent away performance and I'll be disappointed if we don't best Lille at Goodison.

Agree with others about Hibbert unbalancing us as an attacking team. This system relies in adventurous full backs for width and Hibbert just doesn't put any fear into the opposition that he might beat a man and whip in a cross.

Worst game McGeady has had for us. I thought Atsu looked better in his cameo.

Tony J Williams
61 Posted 24/10/2014 at 13:01:42
"Look where Lukaku would have been through at the end, and the defender who miscontrolled the ball dived to the floor. Absolutely pathetic. Besic shouldn't have been booked either."

Amen James, that dive was farcical and the Besic booking was a joke.

Both players going for the ball with their feet up but Besic beat him to it. Also the Eto'o foul was a joke too, he was pulling his foot away and what made it worse was that the defender didn't even appeal for a foul because he knew he wasn't touched.

Andrew Ellams
62 Posted 24/10/2014 at 13:16:15
The referee was appalling last night. Very petty and, on a couple of occasions when he did attempt to play advantage, there was little or no advantage there.
Harold Matthews
63 Posted 24/10/2014 at 12:56:00
Yes, Sam, Atsu looked fit, strong and very promising. In previous games he looked a bit lost and confused. Let's hope he has adjusted to the change of environment and continues to progress.

I thought Hibbo played well all things considered. McCarthy was not there to help out and McGeady was being demolished by their rampaging, athletic left back, No 23 Souare, who was as fast as lightning and crossed ball after ball all night. Even Coleman would have had trouble getting forward.

Ben Jones
64 Posted 24/10/2014 at 13:34:45
Come on, clutching at straws with Atsu isn't it?

He came on for 15 minutes and didn't have time to do anything.

Harold Matthews
65 Posted 24/10/2014 at 14:06:14
Ben. Dead right mate. Of course it's clutching at straws. Fingers crossed, toes crossed. The lot.
Colin Malone
66 Posted 24/10/2014 at 12:45:51
Jags back to his best. Pienaar back to his frustrating self.

I don't know why, when we have to defend corners, we don't leave a speed merchant like McGeady up top, instead of no-one at all.

Brian Cleveland
67 Posted 24/10/2014 at 15:18:01
Brian 56, almost looks like you took the words from my earlier post, must be something in the name... totally agree. I want to be excited.

We have scored some goals, but it's not just that. I am not being entertained. I also thought that the Chelsea game was one of our better games in terms of the football we played and entertainment value, shame we decided to start from 2 down!

Whilst not every game is going to be pretty (and effective!), I'm finding we're looking for excuses for a dreary game far too often.

Christopher Wallace
68 Posted 24/10/2014 at 15:19:33
Everton are the 3rd highest scorers in the EPL and have conceded the most. Our games have produced more goals than anyone in the league.

You can aim a lot of criticism at the team but to call them "boring" says more about the critic than actual events.

Lille are boring and they were able to impose that on their own turf, and the result suited us. We will beat them at home.

Most exciting Everton team in my lifetime is compared to the Walter Smith era - some people are just weird. Okay, so the team have stopped shipping goals in the last 2 games, and have ground out a draw in Russia and away to one of the tightest defences in Europe.

Bore off.

Christopher Wallace
69 Posted 24/10/2014 at 15:28:54
Agreed Andrew

The ref was awful for both teams - any hint of contact or a player going to ground resulted in a foul.

Although the game was tedious, both teams were up for a scrap and we could’ve had a far better game with a better ref.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
70 Posted 24/10/2014 at 15:32:40
A bit lazy there, Christopher (#68), saying we "have conceded the most."

Have you looked at the current Premier League Table?

Christopher Kelly
71 Posted 24/10/2014 at 15:45:23
Jay Rollinson did you watch the match? Not sure you did. Barkley after 2 months out should never have started 2 matches in a row. He looked out of ideas. Agree he did create a couple of good moments but maybe go back and watch again as he continuously gave up possession and understandably looked a shell of what he can do...

James, I guess you're forgetting that RM won the FA Cup but also got relegated.

Christopher Kelly
72 Posted 24/10/2014 at 15:52:21
For a manager such as Martinez who seems to ease players back in the fold (see Oviedo, Gibson) a bit hypocritical to start the team's "best player" according to Lukaku, 5 days apart after a serious knee injury.
Andrew Ellams
73 Posted 24/10/2014 at 16:13:30
Christopher, Oviedo and Gibson were out for 7 and 12 months respectively. Their back-to-fitness regime is bound to be much more gradual.
Jack Cross
74 Posted 24/10/2014 at 15:53:20
The problem was the blues were loosing the ball to easily. Were Lille seemed quite comfortable on the ball. Not a bad side. But we werenÂ’t under any major threat at any time really. The Liverpool player looked useful but whether he will look as good at Liverpool is anyoneÂ’s guess.

I thought our defence played well. Hibbert, Distin and Jags.

We only seemed to be any threat when Lukaku came on and that didnÂ’t amount to much. Better control of the ball second half. But a draw was probably fair result.

The problem is we donÂ’t seem to be much threat up front as if were setting out for a draw. We will have to do a lot better attacking wise at home. But were on top of group and surely we can only get better.

I got a good feeling about us going far in this competition.

Sam Hoare
75 Posted 24/10/2014 at 16:12:30
It was surprising to me that Barkley played so long after his injury. He looked knackered at the end and I can only guess that Martnez has no plans to play him vs Burnley, which concerns me a little.

Still no injury re-occurrence and he will be better for the game time.

Hopefully we have enough this weekend with a fresh Coleman and Mccarthy, Naismith and dare I say Osman plus a semi-rested Lukaku.

Wonder who will get the nod out of Distin and Alcaraz. I hope the latter as he is much better with the ball and I don't think Burnely have great pace up front...

Christopher Wallace
76 Posted 24/10/2014 at 16:13:48
Apologies Michael, I made that observation after last Saturday’s game, and didn’t think QPR could possibly concede 3 against the RS!!

Hardly detracts from the point I was making though...

Michael Kenrick
77 Posted 24/10/2014 at 16:22:22
No problem. You're not the only one to say it either.

Regarding your point, I think the 'boring' adjectives apply to the way we played on Thursday night – not the season as a whole. You have to be a real lover of technical football to not feel a little deflated that we failed to take the game to Lille when we could.

But Roberto seems to have stemmed the concession of goals against in the last two games (two clean sheets on the trot!) so maybe the dreaded 'pragmatism' (eauugh!) some have missed has been instilled to give us the more solid defensive base on which to build.

And with that, as we know only too well, comes boring football going forward. I don't really know why this should be the case, but keeping shape and being ready to defend when you inevitably lose possession must be at the core of it, I guess. This must inhibit the adventurism needed in attack to really get us off our seats.

(Although how many of us were up screaming at that instant Hibbo got the ball with a clear sight of goal?!!)

Christopher Wallace
78 Posted 24/10/2014 at 16:30:46
Don’t get me wrong, last night was a horrible game to watch, and our display was very lacklustre.

Lille have only conceded 33 goals in their last 48 league games, so they obviously know how to defend. Simon Kjaer hardly gave Ronaldo a sniff for 95 mins last week and he was pretty impressive last night.

"RM says attacking football is in his DNA but his style is about as exciting as watching the Walter Smith sides, boring and unadventurous."

Above is the comment I took exception to. This is a general statement, not one aimed at last night’s game.

Tony J Williams
80 Posted 24/10/2014 at 16:42:50
Interesting hearing Bobby mentioning the pitch.

It did look like it cut up very easily and many seemed to have difficulties controlling the ball, especially Eto'o, who we all know isn't a shite player.

Saying that, can't blame the pitch for the wayward McGeady passes, truly awful last night.

Paul Burns
81 Posted 24/10/2014 at 18:21:04
Lillie didnÂ’t have to defend last night as we rarely pushed anyone forward. This might be alright in a two-legged knockout game but in the league format its dismal and can easily lead to losing a game that was obviously winnable from the first whistle.

Lillie had a corner a minute into injury time and there would have been no time to come back and weÂ’d have been kicking ourselves at our lack of forward endeavour.

ThereÂ’s an old saying in football along the lines of "dare to lose to win" and I think we were dicing with the exact opposite.

Colin Glassar
82 Posted 24/10/2014 at 18:45:39
Some of the above comments just show our lack of nouse in European football. Most 'experienced' football fans will say that a point away from home is a decent result but not Evertonians. We want to blow everyone away 4-5 nil playing samba style football. It doesn't work that way, the days of battering so called smaller teams (and Lille are not in that category) are well and truly over. Get used to it or face even more frustration.
Christopher Wallace
83 Posted 24/10/2014 at 19:13:40
Paul 81

I disagree. Lille needed a win, a draw kept us top of the group, so it is just fine in the league format. In fact, I’d be less happy with a 0-0 away in the knockout format, for obvious reasons.

Also, being a good defensive team entails more than just repelling attacks. Keeping the ball, scrapping for everything, limiting space, controlling midfield, and much more all contribute to a solid, stingy team.

We may have made it easy but people are seriously underestimating Lille as a TEAM

Derek Knox
85 Posted 24/10/2014 at 19:49:32
Hello Colin#82

Thank God for a bit of sense!

We all know that last night's performance wasn't really what we wanted, but as they say "It takes two to Tango"

They did not, and could not lose, otherwise the only door they would be looking at was the exit!

I am happy we are still leading the group, but the next two home games, have GOT to count!

Paul Hewitt
86 Posted 24/10/2014 at 20:00:37
Last night was not the best performance in the world but it was a good point. Win our two home games and we win the group.
Christopher Kelly
87 Posted 24/10/2014 at 20:42:46
Andrew, I totally agree and certainly not the best examples. However, the comment I think is correct and there are better examples out there. To me it's dangerous to play a newly fit player two matches on 5 days rest. I think most of us can agree on that.

RM said it himself today in a post. Puzzling why'd he'd risk him.

Paul Hewitt
88 Posted 24/10/2014 at 20:50:21
DonÂ’t expect Barkley to start Sunday.
Christopher Wallace
89 Posted 24/10/2014 at 20:56:37

I know how "scientific" football, injuries, etc has become but Barkley is a refreshing old school type... "Have boots, will play".

We all know the time he missed coming through due to a freak injury. I was pleasantly shocked how quickly he came back from the latest one and its a testament to his character (also see Naisy and what he’s overcome in his career).

Ross is a blue. Last night’s game was his first in Europe – I reckon last night’s game meant more to him than anyone connected with the club.

I expect Ross to start on Sunday and I believe he will play a key role in winning us the game.

Colin Glassar
90 Posted 24/10/2014 at 21:17:38
Cheers Derek, if we have to play conservatively to win this then so be it. I'd rather be bored to death and win something than play the beautiful game and always be the 'nearly men'.

Of course I'd like to win extravagantly but we need to learn to walk before we run.

Harold Matthews
91 Posted 24/10/2014 at 22:46:57
Christopher. Spot on with Barkley. To him, the bench is hell on earth. Watching others kick a ball about tears him apart.
Christopher Kelly
92 Posted 25/10/2014 at 03:07:26
You guys are all correct until he aggravates the injury and is out another month and a half (god forbid). Just 5 days before RM wasn't sure he would even be able to play, let alone play 90.

I as much as the rest want him out there as he's our best player and my favorite to watch. I want him to play EVERY game...

Use common sense and play him for 60 or bring him on for the last 30 whatever. 90 minutes on a shit pitch is asking for trouble. He's had his fair bit of injuries so caution is the best approach for our one and truly world class player.

I personally would've left until the the last 30 when that bit of magic could've been useful.

Christopher Wallace
93 Posted 25/10/2014 at 07:23:01

I know it seems absurd but.... managers don’t always tell the truth in interviews, and for good reason.

For all you know, Ross was raring to go for the United game and Roberto made him wait until after the international break, which seems very plausible to me.

Either way, he came through the Villa game just fine. He might be off the pace and a bit sluggish at times (by his standards) but he’s just as likely (if not more so) to aggravate his injury in training as in a match.

He wanted to play, Roberto wanted him to play, the 10,000+ in Lille and the rest of us at home wanted him to play, so it was pretty much a no-brainer.

Sam Barrett
94 Posted 25/10/2014 at 09:15:39
I just woke up from my recovering sleep after the Lille trip and can't believe some of these comments! Now I know I was drunk at the game and haven't had time to watch the game on TV yet but some of these comments are laughable.

Colin (82) has it spot on. A very good result against a decent European team with a lot more recent European experience than ourselves. Mourinho takes teams away for a draw and gets hailed as a tactical genius, Roberto does it and is criticised as being boring – by his own fans! Dare I say that Roberto got it spot on?

Also, Barkley needs games, we need him back 100% asap, this is another step towards that.

One downside is McGeady. I very rarely criticise Everton players and I have tried to give him the benefit of the doubt but I just don't think he is good enough for us.

Conor McCourt
95 Posted 25/10/2014 at 10:50:04
Paul Ferry – you watched the game three times? Well, all I can say is you need to get out more because it was hard to watch once. I'm not McGeady's biggest fan either but I have followed the lad from when he was 17 as I'm Irish and have always found him to be as talented and as frustrating in equal measures.

If you have seen him this season, he never tracks back but in this game both he and Pienaar were both being more disciplined than usual and were clearly carrying out a team function.

If you had read the point I was making, it was that our defenders were all getting praised and attackers all slated. My view is that our defenders were contributing to poor play going forward by hoofing long balls to our front men so squandering possession and visa versa.

t was a collective which ensured the excellent point, as Roberto was so worried by their pace, he closed down the spaces which on many occasions meant, when he did get forward, it was hard for the attackers to have a lot of options, ie, no Coleman bombing forward and Baines playing deeper than usual.

Tony Abrahams
96 Posted 25/10/2014 at 12:48:07
Some happy, some not so happy, but to make six changes to a team and get a point away from home in Europe isn't bad for me. People say Martinez, isn't pragmatic enough. People say Everton have only got a good starting eleven...

People have got to realise that transformation takes time. Whether the manager achieves his goals is open to debate. But he's trying to make our squad stronger because he knows it's the only way we are ever going to progress. He told us that we're not ready for the Champions League and judging by the standard I think the man is correct.

The Europa League is a good place to start and I think a point away from home whilst keeping a lot of players fresh for the weekend shows the man has a plan. Six changes is too many, we know, but I'm sure it will be a lot different once we qualify for the knockout stages. Let's walk before we run and two clean sheets after our dreadful start defensively, shows progress.

Christopher Kelly
97 Posted 25/10/2014 at 14:23:19
No brainer? Are you sure you meant that? Managers need to manage with their brains and statistics, not a hunch. Hunches make good managers average. Hunches lose managers jobs. I'm sure Ross was RARING to go...

You know what, I personally don't care. A player like him needs to be protected after such a serious injury. We all want him in, me too, but the cool, calm, collected and successful managers, the best managers don't manage off of hunches, they manage off of statistics and what has proven to work. It's virtually the same in all sports.

It's too much of a risk imo to ask a player to play 5 days apart after coming back from a serious injury. It's not like this is Hibbert or Alcaraz, this is the cornerstone of our franchise for the next 10 years. Remember that. We can't mess about with this talent.

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