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Everton vs Swansea City

by | 31/10/2014  Comments (67)  jump
Match Preview

Everton may have made an inauspicious start to 2014-15 but with a quarter of the campaign gone, they're satisfactorily positioned four points off the top four with improving form, key players returning from injury and some of their rivals from last season's top seven teams struggling to find form.

As the top flight's only unbeaten side and already holding a six-point lead over reigning Champions, Manchester City, Chelsea have emerged as the overwhelming favourites for the title but it's the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham whom the Blues will have in their sights as they look to put together a string of victories that would propel them into the reckoning for the top four.

Expected but nonetheless important wins over Aston Villa and Burnley have lifted Roberto Martinez's team into the top half of the table for the first time since the opening day and they have the chance to make it three League wins on the bounce as Swansea City come to town.

Everton's long-standing historical domination of the Swans may have been broken in the Capital One Cup in September when the Welsh club beat the Toffees for the first time in history, but the League record remains intact — indeed, our 18-match unbeaten run over Swansea is a top-flight record.

History may be on Martinez's side as he takes on his old club but he will be able to take nothing for granted against Gary Monk's men who will start the day two points and three places better off, having made an impressive start to the season. They've only one won of their last six in the League, though, and have been showing signs of vulnerability in recent weeks which will hopefully bode well for Everton whose form has been improving.

With no cup distractions in midweek, Martinez can remain faithful to the side that started the 3-1 win at Turf Moor, although the apparent recurrence of Romelu Lukaku's toe problem may give the him pause when it comes to naming his starting XI. The Belgian has continued to train, his manager explained in his pre-match press conference that he doesn't foresee the complaint being a big issue and it may be a case of him starting and then coming off in the second half as he did last week.

If that is the case, the remaining question marks might be over which two start out of Samuel Eto'o, Ross Barkley, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman. Eto'o had a superb outing against Burnley playing in the withdrawn role behind the front two, scoring two goals as Barkley started on the bench, while Osman played 82 minutes before making way for Pienaar. Perhaps with Lille's visit to L4 on Thursday in mind, Martinez might rotate the South African in and experiment with Barkley in the three up front with Lukaku and Eto'o and Naismith sitting out.

It's a nice selection dilemma to have and you feel that if the Blues can carry through their performances from the last two games, they should have enough to win. That's even allowing for the goalscoring form of Wilfried Bony — his two goals against Leicester last weekend took his tally to four in three games — who will need to be watched closely by the expected defensive pairing of Antolin Alcaraz and Phil Jagielka, while the defensive midfield axis of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy will need to shackle Gylfi Sigurdsson who has a penchant for assists and a knack for scoring goals from midfield.

Kick off: 3pm GMT
Referee: Kevin Friend

Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports


Reader Comments (67)

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Christopher Wallace
1 Posted 31/10/2014 at 17:48:35
I quite like watching Swansea play, good team.

WeÂ’ve a great record against them and they tend to struggle away from home. 3 points is a must here - every game is important, and we need to keep the momentum going.

2-0 Lukaku and Baines

Paul Andrews
2 Posted 31/10/2014 at 17:56:06
A good test for the much-maligned centre-halves tomorrow. Bony is a handful against any back four.

Hopefully we can impose ourselves on them and get an early goal, then go on to get 3 points

Wayne Smyth
4 Posted 31/10/2014 at 18:01:01
I think IÂ’d certainly like to see more of Besic. Its nearly November and heÂ’s only made a handful of appearances so far and has generally looks very good whenever heÂ’s played.

I wonder whether a 4-3-3 would work, with Lukaku and EtoÂ’o up front, Barkley in behind and McCarthy, Besic and Barry able to dominate the midfield?

Normally I think playing with wingers suits us, but without Mirallas, I donÂ’t think we have the quality there. We do have quality centrally, all through midfield and forward lines.

Kieran Riding
5 Posted 31/10/2014 at 18:05:40
Wayne, IÂ’d love to see that side.
Christopher Wallace
7 Posted 31/10/2014 at 18:11:27
Not a bad shout, Wayne, but weÂ’d be relying on Baines and Coleman for width.

Swans set up with one up top and have a few dangerous wingers (Montero, Dyer, Routledge) who could exploit any space left.

That being said, your formation would give them plenty to think about.

IÂ’d prefer Barkley in front of Barry and McCarthy, with Naisy in the hole. I think that is an area to be exploited tomorrow, and Barkley and Naismith can inter-change and prove very hard to pick up.

Minik Hansen
8 Posted 31/10/2014 at 18:26:43
With GibsonÂ’s minor injury, there might be a slight bigger chance to see Besic play, whom I also miss to watch, though McCarthy and Barry are doing a good job. Either itÂ’s fine, but IÂ’ll be glad to see Besic on the pitch.
Kieran Riding
9 Posted 31/10/2014 at 18:33:46
Minik, Gibbo doesnÂ’t have Â’minorÂ’ or for that fact Â’majorÂ’ injuries. He just has Â’injuriesÂ’.
Iain Love
10 Posted 31/10/2014 at 18:59:09
Start with Lukaku and Eto'o, play Barkley behind them. That, alongside our full backs, is a serious attacking force and would make up for us missing Mirallas.
Mike Childs
11 Posted 31/10/2014 at 19:08:10
Cautiously optimistic for this match. If Lukaku has a niggle, I'd rather see him start the match on the bench and come in as a second half game changer. I like Besic too but can't see him starting before our dynamic duo. For me:

Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Osman, Naismith and Eto'o.

I won't worry if Alcaraz starts instead of Distin but feel Distin is a better fit for the physical Bony. If Oviedo or Lukaku are healthy, than either one for Leon.

Kevin Tully
12 Posted 31/10/2014 at 19:18:35
I would like to see Alcaraz given a run partnering Jagieka. It's not easy just stepping into that position after a long lay off, but we need a steady partnership there until Stones can get fit again. Distin can fill in for the Europa games.

Linda Morrison
13 Posted 31/10/2014 at 19:36:04
What is the issue with Romelu's toe? I thought this was sorted.

On a positive note, I would like to say that Everton, even though they do our heads in at times, honour loyal players while LFC look as if they are not even going to give SG a 1-year contract.

Pretty grim I know he always scores against us but he at times kept that team going. No price on loyalty then.

ps: I see in the Echo, Distin and Osman are likely to get new contracts in January. Thought that would send a few of you off!

Mark Frere
14 Posted 31/10/2014 at 19:27:16
I personally, wouldn't mess about with our tried and tested formation, especially as we're on a decent run of form. I would change our wide men from the Burnley game though. Osman and Naismith are ineffective out wide and I would drop both to the bench. I don't want to pick on Naismith because I admire his work-rate and ability to find space and score goals... but he lacks the technical ability compared with the rest of our forward thinking players. So, for me, Naismith should always be sub when all our players are fit.

I would play:

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Alcaraz Baines
McCarthy Barry
Astu Barkley Pienaar
Lukaku

I think Eto'o and Besic will be starting on Thursday.

Darren Hind
16 Posted 31/10/2014 at 19:53:39
I think we have enough fire power to trouble anybody when we're playing well.

It's the central defensive partnership I'll be taking a keen interest in... Surely Alcaraz and Jags tomorrow?

We need to start racking up a few clean sheets. Clean sheets win prizes.

Gavin Ramejkis
17 Posted 31/10/2014 at 21:16:12
Bony will cause the defence problems as will the useless No Friend of Everton in charge of the game.
Ian McDowell
18 Posted 31/10/2014 at 21:20:54
God... Kevin Friend in charge tomorrow. One of the most inept refs in the Prem. Still it will be a tough game and I like Gary Monk for speaking his mind about Stoke.

I found Mark Hughes's comments totally embarrassing. Let's see what happens when a player dives v Stoke.

Jay Harris
19 Posted 31/10/2014 at 21:39:15
I would like to see us play a diamond formation in midfield with Barry playing behind Besic and McCarthy with Barkley at the head just behind Eto'o and Lukaku with Naismith to come on second half for one of those two.

Will Jones
20 Posted 31/10/2014 at 22:05:30
Eto'o is a class above the average footballer, as discussed in previous threads, but you need to look after your crown jewels!! We need to look after him and play him when the important games come up, not Swansea. We need him in Europe. I, for one, want to do well in Europe because we cannot win the Premier League, sod coming 4th.
Darryl Ritchie
21 Posted 31/10/2014 at 22:08:39
With our back 4 finally rounding back into form, I don’t think we should mess too much with them. Swansea is a good club, they play football that is pleasing to the eye, but they are not a particularly fast club (with the possible exception of Dyer). Jags and either Distin or Alcaraz would be fine for me.

Midfield of McCarthy, Barry, and whoever RM thinks is in form.

Lukaku and Naisy up front.

2-0 blues.

Ian Bennett
22 Posted 31/10/2014 at 22:45:46
Give them a good hiding:-

Howard
Coleman
Baines
Jagielka
Alcaraz

McCarthy
Barry

Pienaar
Eto'o
Barkley

Lukaku

Brian Hennessy
23 Posted 31/10/2014 at 22:48:18
It will be interesting to compare Lukaku v Bony....

I can see us taking all 3 points, fingers crossed.

Trevor Lynes
24 Posted 31/10/2014 at 23:03:34
Pienaar should start to get the most out of Baines with Osman on the bench. I think Naismith and Barkley should play with Osman to come on for Barkley if needed. However, I think that Martinez will start with McGeady to provide wide players on both wings.

It will be very interesting to see the bench as that will indicate the available strength of the side. I hope that Oviedo and Besic both make the bench along with Osman. Those two can inject a little youth and pace to the team.

Paul Dark
25 Posted 31/10/2014 at 23:14:27
Trevor: Pienaar should also start ahead of Osman also because he's a miles better player.

3-1 to us. Let's pray McGeady does not feature.

Hope Besic does.

John Crook
27 Posted 31/10/2014 at 23:34:44
Hopefully all out attack

Howard; Coleman, Alcaraz, Jagielka, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; Naismith, Eto'o, Barkley; Lukaku.
Subs: Robles, Distin, McGeady, Osman, Pienaar, Besic, Hibbert.

Harold Matthews
28 Posted 31/10/2014 at 23:38:39
Sorry, Paul, but I think your lad McGeady might feature. He usually does when the opposition have pacey wingers.

After returning from Rio, Martinez noted that possession football teams were disrupted by high intensity, all action opposition, and that's the way he'd probably like to go against Swansea. A keeper plus 10 guys who will work their socks off for the team. I can think of about seven but then I get stuck.

John Malone
29 Posted 01/11/2014 at 00:05:36
I'll be interested to see how Alcaraz performs up against the strength of Bony and Williams tomorrow.

Tough game... could go right to the wire.

Michael Penley
30 Posted 01/11/2014 at 00:11:48
Harold - I can't imagine McGeady disrupting a church sermon, let alone Swansea. High intensity yes, but even a headless chicken is high intensity. I can not see him being effective on Saturday. I do think he has a role to play somewhere and somehow, but I'll be damned if I know what it is. I suspect Roberto feels the same, given his decreasing role since starting every game at the beginning of the season.
Michael Penley
31 Posted 01/11/2014 at 00:18:30
If we want to disrupt, we shouldn't need specialist players to do it. We just need to get in their faces and close them down early, and less of this 'holding off' approach. Besic seems to be good at that and Jags too. Ossie and Pienaar not so much.
Spragg Johnson
32 Posted 01/11/2014 at 00:23:26
Howard
Coleman. Jagielka. Alcaraz. Baines.
Besic. McCarthy. Barry.
Naismith. Barkley. Pienaar.
Lukaku.

Subs: Robles, Hibbert, Distin, Atsu, McGeady, Eto'o, Osman.

Sam Hoare
33 Posted 01/11/2014 at 00:41:32
I just hope that Eto'o starts in the hole. Perhaps him and Barkley could both play them interchanging.

Unlikely I know but how about we go 4-3-2-1 with Coleman and Baines providing the width as ever:

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Alcaraz Baines
McCarthy Barry Besic
Eto'o Barkley
Lukaku.

Mark Andersson
34 Posted 01/11/2014 at 01:03:22
Good report, as I know nothing about team formations, I just hope it's a good game and a win.

Think it will be close with plenty of goals.

James Stewart
35 Posted 01/11/2014 at 01:39:41
@14 Atsu?! That is a typo, right?

The ref is a cause for concern. Always screws us. We need to win this go strong.

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Browning Baines
McCarthy Barry
Barkley Naismith Pienaar
Eto'o.

Christopher Wallace
36 Posted 01/11/2014 at 02:15:11
Sam

That line-up looks quality but there’s no way Martinez is leaving out Naisy. Very effective in the EPL this year and, contrary to popular opinion on TW, I thought he had a very good game last week.

Naisy in for Besic, swap his role with Barkley.

Christopher Wallace
37 Posted 01/11/2014 at 02:22:33
Spragg

I think Pienaar still has a lot to offer the team, just not in the wide role. He no longer has the legs to help his full back and still be effective going forward.

I’d like to see him tried in a free playmaker role, possibly Europa league. Somewhere he can link up and split defences, without being physically played out of the game.

Jay Harris
38 Posted 01/11/2014 at 03:02:56
Harold
I have to disagree with you again recently.

I wouldn't give McGeady an Echo to read, let alone a starting place.

We need to play our best available 11 as Swansea will not be the pushover Burnley and Villa were.

That said, I think we should get 3 points.

Dan Roberts
39 Posted 01/11/2014 at 06:56:02
I like the look of SpraggÂ’s team (#32) but donÂ’t think weÂ’ll get away with having 12 players on the pitch. Could be worth a try though.
Aidan Wade
40 Posted 01/11/2014 at 07:12:07
Pienaar should play on the wing because whatever about tracking back the opposing full back, Baines is 25% better with Pienaar in front of him, the two are one player in two bodies.

Depending on how bad Rom's toe is, I wouldn't be surprised to see Eto'o used sparingly with Lille coming up, that's when you want to put your CL winners medals on display.

Besic looks good but he's still a little raw for PL, all those needless fouls etc. same as a lot of players in the first season, Felly, Arteta, Pienaar all picked up disproportionate number of bookings in the first season as well. I think he will be continue to be used sparingly with an eye on replacing Barry next season if his legs fade.

Alcaraz has been good recently and he's comfortable on the ball, better distribution than Distin and so a more natural replacement for Stones so I expect he will keep his place. Distin just has to wait a few more matches before Alcaraz is injured anyway!

Last season we won this fixture thanks to 10 minutes after half time despite being the worse team for the other 80 minutes. The maligned Howard was the only reason we took 3 points that day. I hope we continue to see the clinical edge but put in a better shift and don't settle for being second to the breaking ball as it seems we were for much of the match last week.

COYB

Stephen Brown
41 Posted 01/11/2014 at 07:35:31
Spragg (32) good team but if the ref allows us to play with 12 I’m sure the FA may come down on us!
David Greenwood
42 Posted 01/11/2014 at 07:46:30
Almost the same side as last week, with Ross in for Ossie. Other than that I can't see too many changes. Another 3-1 for the mighty Blues.
Harold Matthews
43 Posted 01/11/2014 at 07:03:58
Jay / Mchael P. I'm not saying we should play McGeady. Just pointing out that he is often used against quick wingers like Hazard, Di maria etc. Unfortunately, he's probably one of guys Roberto had on his mind earlier in the week when he told Talksport that we need improvement in certain areas. Despite our good goal tally, I took this to mean the wings and up front where the big fella has struggled with an injury. We shouldn't have needed the genius of Eto'o to get us past Burnley but that's the way it went.and we'll have to up our performance against better teams.

Jay. Yes, we have to go with our strongest side available,......whatever that is.

Colin Glassar
44 Posted 01/11/2014 at 08:03:42
Same side as last week but Ross in for Ossie and mcgeady in for Nessie. My team would be:
Howard
Coleman
Jags
Alcaraz
Baines
Mcgeady
McCarthy
Barry
Pienaar
Eto'o
Lukaku
John Paul McGurk
45 Posted 01/11/2014 at 07:58:00
I would love to see Seamy and Oviedo on the wings with Browning at right-back.
Colin Glassar
46 Posted 01/11/2014 at 08:07:48
Sorry, Barkley in, Eto'o on the bench.
Neil Wood
47 Posted 01/11/2014 at 08:51:29
Morning all,
Colin I don't think you are far off the mark there and I'd probably be in agreement. The only possible change is Alcaraz for Distin maybe??? Worried about Bony running through us but we do have the fastest recorded player in Jags!!!!
I still feel we are lacking a genuine tricky playmaker and hopefully this will be rectified come January.

Barkley to open his goal scoring account today I think.

Swansea are a good good side and on their day can turn anyone over so we need to be right on it from the start today.

I was supposed to be working today so didn't get a ticket and not working now!! Arghh

3 points boys. 3 points.

Derek Knox
48 Posted 01/11/2014 at 08:53:18
Morning to everyone on TW, I feel we HAVE to keep the momentum going here, Swansea are a team which, like any other in the Prem. has got to be treated with respect.

They seem to having mixed fortunes, as far as results have gone, but are capable of beating anyone on their day, hence the need for caution.

Hope to see Sammy produce some more classy play, what a gem we have in him!

COYB

Max Wilson
49 Posted 01/11/2014 at 08:47:39
Right then, some real opposition visiting. Strange to think that a club with a smallish gate, 20 thou,can do quite well. We need to treat this crowd with respect and thus I concur with Ian (22) in his choice of team. Our talented strike team should always be Eto,o and Luke and I'd have LONG on the bench.Thats right! Talent ! These talented guys need good service. I'd have had Strong in my team if he wasnt injured because Swansea play fast flowing footie and we need to have good legs to keep up with them. We'll miss Mirallas to-day. An exciting game coming up.COYB.
Eric Holland
50 Posted 01/11/2014 at 09:07:01
Colin good choice except Mcgeady in for Nessie.
Mcgeady might just make the bench, if he can find it.
Naismith has to start been our best player so far this season, super work rate and knows where the goal is.
Today will show us if we are really back on form as Swansea are a good team
and play some fast attacking football. wont be pushovers like Villa and Burnley.
A close match 2-1 to the blues,
Mike Allison
51 Posted 01/11/2014 at 09:17:15
Atsu looks good to me, just needs playing time. He's certainly not going to improve sitting on the bench, or in fact, in the stands.

I think Pienaar has to start on the left. Baines/Pienaar is still extremely potent and has plenty of legs in it yet. So that's Osman out from the Burnley game. I don't like Naismith shoved out wide, but he deserves to start and with Coleman in the side it works okay, so he can keep his place. This leaves a choice between Barkley and Eto'o (assuming Lukaku is fit). I'd actually start Barkley, as I think he struggles to pick up the pace of the game as a sub whereas Eto'o seems like he'll cope with any role and any situation. He certainly has the experience.

This feels to me like a must-win game psychologically. Make it three league wins on the trot and the idea that we win home games as a matter of routine and the season will finally have started.

Neil Wood
52 Posted 01/11/2014 at 09:27:10
Come on today boys...... Just for fun cos I don't like reading Lawros prediction I have done a Woody's predictions!!!

Mr Glasser, this week I challenge you ??

Everton vs Swansea. 3-1
Palace vs Sunderland. 2-0
Villa vs Spurs. 1-2
Man City vs Man united. 2-2
Newcastle vs Liverpool. 1-3
Arsenal vs Burnley. 6-0
Chelsea vs QPR. 3-0
Hull vs Southampton 1-2
Leicester vs West Brom. 1-1
Stoke vs West Ham. 1-2

Brian Harrison
53 Posted 01/11/2014 at 09:29:21
All Premier League games are tough and this one is no different apart from Chelsea at the moment all teams are capable of beating each other. I hope Naismith is played in the middle were he is much more effective, than being played wide right.

The problem we have is that Lukaku, Eto'o, Barkley and Naismith all operate better in central positions but, in RMs preferred set-up, only two can play in these positions.

So who best to start with and who would be better coming from the bench; over to you, Roberto.

Dave Pritchard
54 Posted 01/11/2014 at 10:04:08
I like Naismith, Barkley and Eto'o but struggle to see how all 3 can play in the same side in their best positions. If Lukaku doesn't play then Samuel can go up front (although probably not his best position these days). Naismith and Barkley are both better behind the striker so are looking to fill the same position. What I don't want is to play people in positions that don't suit them. The balance of the team is quite difficult as our good wide players are our full backs. Glad I don't have to pick the team.
Dave Pritchard
55 Posted 01/11/2014 at 10:13:06
Just read Brian's post (54). So essentially I agree with Brian who is obviously a very intelligent person.
Brian Waring
56 Posted 01/11/2014 at 10:50:11
Will be the same 11, and tactics that started against Burnley.
Neil Wood
57 Posted 01/11/2014 at 11:00:26
I'm not so sure Brian... Barkley not starting?
Rob Newling
58 Posted 01/11/2014 at 10:07:57
If you know your history, you know it means little come kick-off. Quietly confident, but the visitors must surely fancy their chances today?

Improving form, home advantage – yes, but we still have injury (?) / fitness concerns & yet another unfamiliar ground. (After our recent road trips, Goodison Park must be like a new sighting!!) ;-)

Brian Waring
59 Posted 01/11/2014 at 11:16:08
Who gets dropped for Barkley though, Neil?
Ray Roche
60 Posted 01/11/2014 at 11:20:53
Whatever team Martinez picks, I hope he uses the subs bench with some more thought. Pienaar and Osman both struggle to last 90 mins so if both are played then one or both need replacing by the hour mark.

Barkley may not be match fit, ditto Coleman, and Besic deserves some game time. Maybe Atsu does, too.Keeping things fresh is getting more important with mid week matches.

Depending on the scoreline, I would also like some younger players getting off the bench. We may need these lads later in the season so give them some experience. One of Moyes's biggest faults was the 80th minute substitution, a move that was usually long overdue.

Chris James
61 Posted 01/11/2014 at 10:55:37
It's a familiar tune but for me I see zero point starting Osman. I think I get why he's in Martinez plans after recent articles in that he probably does help to keep passing volume up (although most are crabways passes).

Howard
Coleman - Jags - Alcaraz - Baines
McCarthy - Barry
Naismith - Barkley - Pienaar
Lukaku

Subs: McGeady, Eto'o, Atsu, Besic, Distin (look to bring some of the first 3 on if we get ahead). In an ideal world I'd start with Mirallas obv on right, or if in-form McGeady.

Graham Mockford
62 Posted 01/11/2014 at 11:56:37
Nine players are more or less certainties. Same back 5 as last week plus Barry, McCarthy, Naismith and Lukaku.

It's then one of Barkley or Eto'o and one of Osman or Pienaar.

I suspect Barkley and Osman which is the same side that started against Villa.

Mike Allison
63 Posted 01/11/2014 at 12:03:49
I agree with Ray (61). Poor substitutions (non-existent or ridiculously late to be more accurate) is my major bug-bear of this season so far.

This is combined with a generally poor use of the squad in general, with some players playing pretty much every minute and others hardly used at all.

Maybe the players being over-used now will get a week or two off, and the ones hardly being used now will come into their own later on. It seems to me like people are going stale on the sidelines though.

Neil Wood
64 Posted 01/11/2014 at 12:28:13
Brian I don't know it's a tough decision. I just feel that Barkley for all his talents is very much a confidence player who needs games and needs to be selected. He needs to feel that he's the best in order for him to perform if that makes sense.

On a separate note, just watched Pelle interviewed on football focus.... Impressive chap with no noticeable ego.... Him and Lukaku next year?

John Voigt
65 Posted 01/11/2014 at 12:36:55
I'd like to see Eto'o and Lukaku in the starting lineup.

Eto'o starting to me is a real need when Mirallas isn't available.

Paul Dark
66 Posted 01/11/2014 at 12:30:04
Harold: I fear you are right. I fear McGeady will start. If Osman and Alcaraz also start, then three of the four players I feel fundamentally mar our squad will be in the 11. All I need now is for Robles to oust Tim, and my nightmare will be complete.

Will RM never listen? :-)

3-1 (Rom 31, Nace 63, Rom 80)

COYB!!

Jackie Barry
67 Posted 01/11/2014 at 13:16:38
Not sure that Alcatraz has marred our defence though, if anything he has steadied it.
Harold Matthews
69 Posted 01/11/2014 at 13:17:25
Paul D, I'm banking on you being very happy with the starting line-up.
Sam Hoare
70 Posted 01/11/2014 at 13:20:57
Paul Dark, who would you play instead of Alcaraz? Surely you must admit that he has been better than Distin so far this year. Certainly with the ball and probably defensively too.

Have been rooting for him this season and still think he has much to offer but I hope Mcgeady is not starting and have to say the same for Ossie. Happy for Ossie to come on with 30 to play but the more tired he gets the more often he loses posession.

I think Etoo showed against Burnley he has the skills and touch to be out playmaker in the hole. He can receive the ball with men around him and keep hold of it. He can pass it, dribble and shoot. So can Barkley on a good day but I think Sam's decision making is definitely superior. The trouble is does that mean moving Barkley and Naismith out wide where they are arguably less effective?

I do think Pienaar and Etoo would work well together and Nais' work rate is needed against posession sides like Swansea. So maybe Barkley comes off the bench?

Stuart O'Malley
71 Posted 01/11/2014 at 14:04:29
Howard Baines Alcaraz Jags Coleman McCarthy Barry McGeady Barkley Nessi Eto....this is the starting team
Will Jones
72 Posted 01/11/2014 at 13:56:19
Perhaps Distin is keeping his best displays until just before his contract runs out. So I reckon Alcaraz will continue for now.

Not sure about playing Atsu so he can 'come into form' as he's not our player is he? It's either now or never for him I think.


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