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Everton buoyed by Alcaraz's early return

by | 05/12/2014  Comments (43)  jump
Antolin Alcaraz will be available for selection this weekend after making a rapid recovery from a shoulder dislocation.

The Paraguayan was forced off with the injury half an hour into last month's draw at Swansea City but, after initial fears that he may need surgery were allayed, he returned to training ahead of schedule.

"Antolin Alcaraz has been progressing really well and will also be available from this weekend," Roberto Martinez told the media at his pre-match press conference today.

"[He] did not need surgery, he has trained really well and he is back around a week ahead of schedule,"

While Alcaraz will boost the numbers available to the manager, he said that he will almost certainly be without Steven Naismith, James McCarthy and Darron Gibson for the trip to Manchester City tomorrow.

Gibson suffered a setback on his return from a long-term knee injury playing for the Republic of Ireland in the middle of November while Naismith and McCarthy are both nursing hamstring strains.  

Reader Comments (43)

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Rahul Sreekumar
1 Posted 05/12/2014 at 16:30:49
Will Oviedo be in the squad?
Tony J Williams
2 Posted 05/12/2014 at 16:32:50
I imagine he will be straight in....God help us
John Keating
3 Posted 05/12/2014 at 16:43:21
Tony, youÂ’re right.

ItÂ’s the much vaunted "rotation policy". One training session and youÂ’re in!

Steavey Buckley
4 Posted 05/12/2014 at 16:48:55
Gibson owes Everton fans his early retirement from playing for the Republic of Ireland, because he always gets injured playing for them, who should also acknowledge, as he comes towards his late 20Â’s, no club will keep on giving him premier league salary to him, to secure his and his familyÂ’s financial security, because he canÂ’t stay away from the treatment table and canÂ’t perform properly as well on the on the field, after he has recovered from a latest latest injury of his.
Tom R Owen
5 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:04:33
I feel really buoyed by this news
Steve Barr
6 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:06:18
Can anyone recommend a good pub walking distance from CityÂ’s ground for tomorrowÂ’s game? Never been there so appreciate direction on a decent away fans pub?


Phil Walling
7 Posted 05/12/2014 at 16:57:05
More than likely to replace Distin who seems to have been labelled the bete noire of WednesdayÂ’s debacle. Improvement ? Only maybe.

The Â’big missesÂ’ will be McCarthy and Naismith who although by no means everybodyÂ’s favourite seems to make us tick up front.

If ever Ross had the opportunity to celebrate his 21st in style this is it. A fine performance - and a goal - would be the ideal way to mark his Â’coming of age. COYB !

Paul Andrews
8 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:07:21
If heÂ’s fit he plays. Simple as that really.

Distin has been a great defender for us but canÂ’t play midweek and weekend anymore, he looks shattered.

Dave Williams
9 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:04:32
Spot on Steavey. Looked a decent player for a while but clearly so injury prone his wages would be better spent elsewhere.

Alcaraz is a good player if the rest of the defence is performing ok. Our problems at the back stem from too many defenders performing below par (Distin, Baines and Coleman way below their best not to mention Howard)and far too many passes given away to the opposition in dangerous areas.

Graham Mockford
10 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:08:58
Steve Barr

Having lived in Manchester for 15 years I would be struggling to recommend anywhere very close to the ground.

Your best bet is find a pub in town.Best place is the Northern Quarter where there are loads of decent pubs. Or my favourite place if you fancy a cracking pint is the Marble Arch on Rochdale Road, about a 20 minute brisk walk to the ground.

Steve Barr
11 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:20:01
Thanks Graham...Should have asked in my earlier email. Any decent parking near that pub? We should have plenty of time to walk given the 5.30pm KO.


Tom Edwards
12 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:33:10
Whoopee fucking doo! What joyous news. It will be him getting torn a new cack hole instead of Distin. I am otherwise occupied with family visiting on Saturday, so I wonÂ’t be able to watch the match. Think it will be a blessing!
Ray Roche
13 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:41:59
Tom, IÂ’ll be behind my sofa with a bottle of red going "la la la" with my fingers in my ears in case She Who Must Be Obeyed letÂ’s it slip how many weÂ’ve let in.. youÂ’re more than welcome to join me. Not yer family, though, I guess youÂ’re looking to avoid them as well.
James Martin
14 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:46:22
Great news,any game I donÂ’t have to watch Distin in the better. Of course its not his fault that someone keeps picking a 37 year old to play three games a week. If someone can explain the logic behind a half fit Alcarazbeing less of a risk than Browning iÂ’d love to knkw.
Ken Buckley
15 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:33:44
Alcaraz in at centre back is not certain as he is only nominated for the squad and I donÂ’t think his inclusion or not in the starting line up will detirmine the outcome. Our fate will depend on the players who take to the pitch being able to deliver the Martinez way in its purist form for 90 odd mins. If successful in that task it will be some game. I wish them well.
Colin Glassar
16 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:54:51
IÂ’d throw Galloway in. His big toes are fitter than both Distin and Alcaraz put together.
Dave Lynch
17 Posted 05/12/2014 at 17:52:17
Oh my fucking god!

Another not match fit player who will have Aguero, Nasri (i hate that little twat) and the rest of Citehs pacy frontline running at him.

In the words of Private Fraser. "Were doooooomed, all dooooomed I tell ya."

James Morgan
18 Posted 05/12/2014 at 18:07:58
Luckily IÂ’ll be on the works do so wonÂ’t see Alcaraz/Distin torn a new one by Aguero. Nor will I have the pain of seeing that bearded div in goal let another howler in.

IÂ’ll just pretend this fixture never happened actually. In fact I may do that for the whole PL season.

Ant Summers
19 Posted 05/12/2014 at 18:28:56
I have seen enough of him to know he ainÂ’t the answer. If he starts, have a few bob on Man City getting a penalty.

A very average centre-half, give Ty Browning a go, at least he wonÂ’t get done for pace.

Tony Marsh
21 Posted 05/12/2014 at 18:35:53
All those horrible years of sitting through games during the Moyes era with clenched fists clenched teeth and curled up toes... I suffered but carried on regardless, half-bored to death, half contemplating death as an option. Now it's getting to the stage were I just don't want to go through it anymore.

I stayed away on Wednesday night and I won't watch tomorrow night. Whats going on? Are we really that bad or is football slowly losing its appeal? I thought Martinez was going to be the one but, just like Moyes, he is turning in to a false prophet. Fucking Chrimbo ruined again by my football team, FFS.

Will Firstbrook
22 Posted 05/12/2014 at 18:49:02
The only one who would be celebrating this news is Distin.

Though Alcaraz has my sympathies if he's thrown into this mixer. If Saturday's match unfolds as many expect, he certainly cannot be held accountable for a poor showing considering his complete lack of playing time.

Deary me, I'm already making excuses for them – watched too many of Bobby's post-match interviews, I imagine...

Nick Entwistle
23 Posted 05/12/2014 at 18:52:29
Re: Gibson. Doesn't being injured on national duty mean his salary is paid by the IFA? Keep sending him to play Cyprus etc and we save good money!

I think though his family's future is secure enough by now. If League 1 players can pull in 㿀k pw then he must be doing alright.

Ian McDowell
24 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:01:07
I'd prefer to see Hibbert at CB tmr than either of Alcaraz and Distin.
John Voigt
25 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:01:14
It's December. Lots of fixtures. Everton need cover. Distin can't play twice a week for a month.

What the Blue really need is Stones to be available ahead of schedule.

It's a long season, but the number of under-performing Everton players due to World Cup hangovers (Howard), injury (Barkley, Stones, Mirallas, Lukaku's toe, Coleman, McCarthy, Barry, Naismith, Oveido, Kone) have made a promising season a mediocre season at best.

Throw in the fact that Martinez is forced to play (or chooses to play) players like Tony Hibbert out of position and you have an 11th-place team.

I'm not blaming Martinez. His summer purchases of Lukaku, Eto'o and Besic were wise and I'm not one for buying 6-10 players over any summer transfer period (Spurs and Liverpool have proved once again how that's not a formula for success).

Chelsea, with a big squad, roll out virtually the same team every week and nobody plays out of position. At Everton, the squad changes almost every game with new injury concerns. I'm most concerned coming into the packed holiday period that Everton don't have enough impact players coming off the bench. I figure the only game Atsu will start will be the dead rubber Europa League game.

Linda Morrison
26 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:17:15
Well I am thinking this folks: Replace Howard with Robles. I think that Howard is ready fore the MSL.

If Oviedo is fit drop Baines. Leave out Barry and play Osman and Besic in midfield. Drop Distin and put Hibbert in.

We need to be honest with ourselves, a point will be a miracle!

Christopher Wallace
27 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:22:04
Someone needs to crock Aguero early... almost worth a red card.
Paul Andrews
28 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:28:59
High intensity game required from us. Play the fittest players at all costs.

Barry not fit; Distin not fit... both should be left out.

Dennis Stevens
29 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:31:35
Maybe we'll see both Distin & Alcaraz if Martinez goes for 3 at the back.
Sean Kelly
30 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:38:44
Linda, I agree with you but I don't think the phenomenal smiley one will go that route. He has his favourites...
Max Murphy
31 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:25:05
"Everton buoyed by Alcaraz's early return ...". Lyndon, is this some kind of a joke headline?

Why not eject some realism into your article? For example, "Everton aim to keep inevitable defeat by City to a minimum of 6 goals..."

Peter Murray
32 Posted 05/12/2014 at 19:25:20

Are you seriously suggesting we would benefit going down to 10 men?

The anti-Distin stuff is getting ridiculous. The emphasis has changed since the start of the season – then it was anti-Jags.

The one defender I would have in against Man City is Distin. HeÂ’s big, strong, fast, good in the air and not to be messed with. Okay, he has made some mistakes but who in the current team hasnÂ’t?

I actually think that we can come away with 3 points from this game. Our problems are nothing to with formations, subs, age, tactics... I feel it is more to do with the mental approach of focus and decision-making. The best teams are working with renowned sports psychologists. Time to step up on this one?

James Marshall
33 Posted 05/12/2014 at 20:12:30
Who would you prefer to see Aguero have on toast? Distin or Alcaraz? Well since Distin had a full roasting midweek, I think it must be Antolin's turn!

Colin Glassar
34 Posted 05/12/2014 at 20:13:41
I can see tomorrow's game being closer than many expect. Our record against Man City is decent and we were unlucky to lose at Goodison Park last season, even though many were hoping for a City victory to piss off our neighbours.
Franny Porter
35 Posted 05/12/2014 at 20:15:30
I honestly don't know who would be worse, Distin or Alcaraz. Sylvain Distinsuddenly looks very old and Antolin Alcaraz just looks very shit.

Oh well, at least we're buoyed by Kone's return on Thursday. I wish it could be Christmas every day.

Frank Crewe
36 Posted 05/12/2014 at 20:12:44
Another "miraculous" recovery. Just like Kone who's been "recovering" since October. Or Barry who has looked totally "recovered" in our last two games. Then there's Oviedo with his loose screws. Gibson who'll definitely "recover" just before his contract runs out. What about Kevin "45 minutes" Mirallas? What's the betting McCarthy makes a miraculous recovery any day now.

Has RM become so desperate that he will pick half fit players. They weren't fit at the start of the season and they're not fit now.

Tom Edwards
37 Posted 05/12/2014 at 21:35:19
Ray Roche (13). Thanks for the invite mate! You don't know how much I am really tempted to join you but I had better do my duty. The family are making a 200-mile round trip to see me in exile here in Yorkshire, so I had better be in. I can only hope our good match follows bad match format continues and we actually give Shiteh a run for their money. Dreams eh!
Harold Matthews
38 Posted 05/12/2014 at 22:29:52
Give it your best shot lads. COYB.
Paul Dark
39 Posted 05/12/2014 at 23:14:00
Like McGeady, Alcaraz will be found out pretty quickly and at our cost. I hope I'm wrong.

I don't have a good feeling about tomorrow. I'm not enjoying Roberto's decisions at the moment – I feel he's getting it wrong a bit.

Still ... let's hope against hope against Citeh


Paul Dark
40 Posted 05/12/2014 at 23:16:10
ps: I would keep Distin in.
Daniel Joseph
41 Posted 05/12/2014 at 23:16:36
Distin or Alcaraz v City. It's a difficult one.


Ciaran Duff
42 Posted 06/12/2014 at 07:44:37
Not sure whether he is ready for City but from what I recall Alcaraz was playing pretty well before his injury.
Something else which needs to be called out is that Baines and Coleman have definitely been under par recently too.
Jim Hourigan
44 Posted 06/12/2014 at 11:05:52
Too easy to blame the defence. How to stop Everton? Sit on the full backs, let the centre half have the ball and see if any midfielders show. If they do, they play a 10-yd return pass and we're back to Square One.

Possession football will work if the midfield show and then take the ball forward, committing the opposition to come out; otherwise, they sit back, wait for the bad ball / mistake, then pounce. With no McCarthy and dare I say Naismith, there is little or no energy in the rest to receive the ball and take it forward.

Mirallas wants to run with it or run on to it (McGeady also), Osman plays tippy tappy with no pace, Eto'o wants the ball played into him, Barry and Besic are defensive cover. Pienaar is about the only one we have who looks for a ball and then turns and faces / runs at the opposition. Barkley is still learning the game and doesn't yet know where to go to receive the ball and then when to run at them; he's learning but not yet the finished article.

Jagielka and Distin look poor as a result and the two full backs cannot get forward. Too many times our midfield are standing still and not looking for space. Hazard, Oscar, Cazolla, Sanchez, Nasri, Villa, De Maria, Rooney are always on the move looking for space – our midfield want the back four to somehow create it for them – and they can't .

Steavey Buckley
46 Posted 06/12/2014 at 14:26:46
Nick Entwistle: Gibson can have his salary paid by Fifa when he is injured on international duty, but he is not the same player as when Moyes bought him from Man Utd due to injury.

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