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Atsu hoping for a chance to impress

by | 09/12/2014  Comments (36)  jump

Christian Atsu is looking to Thursday's match against Krasnodar as an opportunity to stake a claim for greater involvement in Everton's first team if he is selected to start.

The Ghanaian has made only fleeting appearances for the Blues so far this season but is hoping he will be handed some playing time in the Europa League "dead rubber" against the Russian side.

With both teams' Group H fate decided, Roberto Martinez is expected to field a number of his fringe or youth players, with Arouna Kone scheduled to make his first senior start since October last year.

Having made just three starts since arriving on loan from Chelsea, Atsu acknowledges that it is up to him to force his way into the team and says he wants the chance to show Everton fans what he can do.

It's been quite difficult since I came here but I believe things will be okay and go well, Atsu told evertontv. I'm working hard for the team and I believe the fans haven't seen the best of me yet.

I know everything depends on the player. The player has to work hard for the manager to see him and pick him to play. I know how football is and everything depends on me. I'm working hard to get into the team.

I don't know if I will start [on Thursday] but, if I do, I will give my best to the team and fans. I will make sure I will be at my best to help the team win.  

Reader Comments (36)

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Trevor Lynes
1 Posted 09/12/2014 at 19:30:22
It would be nice to see him start and have at least an hour to see what he is capable of. Same goes for Kone and one or two others.
Shaun Laycock
2 Posted 09/12/2014 at 19:44:01

Browning Jags Alcaraz Garbutt
Besic Baines
Atsu Barkley Oviedo

Young keeper, Ledson, Garbutt, Galloway, McAleny, EtoÂ’o, Pienaar

Andrew Hawes
3 Posted 09/12/2014 at 20:33:46
I personally would send him back to Chelsea in January. ThereÂ’s a reason he hasnÂ’t forced his way onto the pitch over the last few months.

By this stage last season, we were all crying out for Del Boy to be in the first 11 because his appearances showed real potential.

We donÂ’t owe Chelsea anything; if heÂ’s not impressing the manager, he should be replaced with another player with more creativity.

Phil Walling
4 Posted 09/12/2014 at 20:31:02
Sensible, balanced line-up, Shaun ! I hope these kids do enough to encourage Roberto to show a little confidence in them as Premier subs, at least.

I'm more interested in seeing our own kids get a break than the manager keeping Maurinho sweet by playing Atsu but we can but wish him well whilst he plays in our shirt.

Ian Bennett
5 Posted 09/12/2014 at 20:48:49
Shaun, similar side from me.





Barry Earley
6 Posted 09/12/2014 at 20:55:38
My prediction:


Hibbert, Browning, Alcaraz, Garbutt,

Atsu, Besic, Baines, Oviedo,

Eto'o, Kone,

Justification for my prediction being that Martinez has already indicated he wants to give the likes of Robles, Browning, Alcaraz, Garbutt, Atsu, Oviedo and Kone a go. That leaves Hibbert, Besic, Baines and Eto'o as my eal guesses. Martinez has taken Baines with him to watch continental games stating he wants to start using him in a midfield role. Hibbert is suited to the defensive role required for whoever sits behind Atsu. Besic needs the games and Eto'o is made for European nights.

Christopher Kelly
7 Posted 09/12/2014 at 22:01:36
How about McAleny starting up front with Kone’?
Colin Glassar
8 Posted 09/12/2014 at 22:15:13
Atsu would impress me if he stops running into people.
Minik Hansen
9 Posted 09/12/2014 at 22:16:29
I think we will wait for some time before we get to see Baines in midfield, though I wish it was on Thursday. Ledson will most likely come in.
James Joseph
10 Posted 09/12/2014 at 22:21:16
Could be right, Barry (6), although I suspect heÂ’ll go for Osman rather than Baines in midfield.
Jimmy-Ã…ge Sørheim
11 Posted 10/12/2014 at 02:25:25
I want an all local side out against Krasnodar, and I want to see Stanek, Oviedo and Kone too.
Jay Harris
12 Posted 10/12/2014 at 03:09:24
Gareth Barry Needs to play as he isn't available for QPR.

I wouldn't throw too many kids in together as it may destroy their confidence if they get tonked.

Maybe Garbutt and Browning and maybe bring Ledson and/or Long in later if the game permits.

Sean Kelly
13 Posted 10/12/2014 at 08:05:10
Atsu must either have pissed Roberto off or be pure shite if he can't get past McGeady into our team with all the injuries we have had. I suspect the latter as he's like a bowling pin knocking into his own team mates.
Mark Nunnen
14 Posted 10/12/2014 at 08:07:10
With Pienaar and Oviedo ruled out so much recently itÂ’s hard to see why he hasnÂ’t been given a chance. Why is he here if we ainÂ’t going to use him?
James Morgan
15 Posted 10/12/2014 at 08:09:47
Hibbert Alcaraz Browning Garbutt
Barry Ledson
Atsu McAleny Oviedo

Give all our best players a chance to refresh and clear any niggling injuries. Barry in there to help the youngsters as he is unavailable for QPR.

No need to play any of our best available 11 whatsoever.

Jim Bennings
16 Posted 10/12/2014 at 08:35:51
Surely Atsu has to play?!

Atsu and Kone are two players who, if fit, need games, I agree that I can see Atsu going back to Chelsea after the African Cup of Nations (is that seriously still going ahead despite the Ebola threat?)

Browning and Garbutt need to occupy defence with maybe Oviedo getting the second half.

Andy Meighan
17 Posted 10/12/2014 at 09:07:34
The kid isnÂ’t a liar is he? He hasnÂ’t impressed at all and his signing, albeit on loan, has been a massive mistake, hence the amount of game time or lack of it heÂ’s been given.

Oh, and those wishing for Barry to play because he’s suspended for the QPR game need to have a word with themselves. He’s been a liability since he strolled back in the side – slow, ponderous, constantly caught in possession and constantly gives the football away. He actually looks 10 years older than he is, but no doubt he’ll be first name on the sheet next Monday night.

Geoff Evans
18 Posted 10/12/2014 at 10:55:22
Put ourselves in ideal situation to give all the fringe players a run-out.
Geoff Evans
19 Posted 10/12/2014 at 11:02:11
Give the youngsters a go.
Sam Hoare
20 Posted 10/12/2014 at 11:02:48
James, I'd go with that team but I'd play Barkley in the hole. He's not first pick at the moment and needs all the game time he can get to work on his decision making. A no-pressure game like this might be good for him.
Tony J Williams
21 Posted 10/12/2014 at 12:03:29
I wouldn't play Eto'o, he needs a break with the rest of the old timers.
James Morgan
22 Posted 10/12/2014 at 12:42:23

Barry might be off form but he should still play to help the youngsters on. We've qualified top, this is a dead rubber. Osman, Besic, Barkley and McCarthy should all have time to get fit and sharp for QPR and Gibson is still out. There's no-one else to play there.

Trevor Lynes
23 Posted 10/12/2014 at 13:20:19
I would much rather see Barkley play than EtÂ’oo as everyone knows what EtÂ’oo brings to the team but Barkley is still going through a long spell without scoring. Playing with freedom should suit him and I have been waiting too long to see him playing really well throughout a match and not for odd short spells.

His potential has been talked about ad nauseum and so far I have not seen him anywhere near reaching the level that can get the fans off their seats. He is as old as Sterling who looks really good and I just hope (and pray) that he is the real thing and not yet another Frannie Jeffers or Cadamarteri. The fans deserve to see a player from the academy develop into a proper goal scoring inside forward which is what he is supposed to be. He should score between 10 and 15 goals a season, lets face it, Fellaini scored 13 in a season with us.

Naismith has been a better bet so far and Mirallas is another fairly consistent scorer. But our midfield in general do not score often enough and I am including McCarthy in this group. Osman scored on his 400th appearance but he is not a regular scorer.McGeady, Barkley, Besic, McCarthy, Pienaar, Osman and Barry do not contribute enough. Our full backs actually score more often than them. Even Jags has scored a couple.

If the midfielders are scoring they will be taking some of the weight off Lukaku and Mirallas who are our only threat since Naismith got injured.

Phil Walling
24 Posted 10/12/2014 at 14:11:04
I can't see Barkley playing for fear of being branded 'one of the kids'. Martinez is constantly trying to massage Ross's ego although, from what I'm told, he's not the type that needs handling with 'kid gloves'!
Bill Gall
25 Posted 10/12/2014 at 14:30:51
I think we are being a little unfair on Atsu as trying to impress people with only given 15 min in a game where you may only touch the ball 2-3 times is difficult to assess what he may have to offer. The other problem we are comparing him to del boy who was a differant type of player even though he was used on the wing.

Give him a full game and lets see if he is going to be some one to hold on to, if not send him back in January.

Sam Hoare
26 Posted 10/12/2014 at 16:20:01
Martinez has said that Browning, Atsu, Pienaar, Garbutt, Oviedo, Robles and Kone will play. Also two academy players will take part apparently and Alcaraz and McAleny will feature.

I'm going:

Kenny Browning Alcaraz Garbutt
Ledson Barry
Atsu Pienaar Oviedo

Gerry Quinn
27 Posted 10/12/2014 at 16:20:22
Everton have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition and so Martinez will use the game to "experiment"with his line-up.

Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo, who have been sidelined since last season with long-term injuries, are set to start the game with Christian Atsu, Steven Pienaar, Tyias Browning and Luke Garbutt also listed by Martinez.

Understudy goalkeeper Joel Robles will start in goal.

"The game is not just an opportunity for some players but it is a game that should be a celebration because we have one game left and we are top of the group," said Martinez.

"Krasnodar have not got any opportunity to get through (to the knockout stages) and so for us to experiment with the line-up a little bit is important and I don't think that devalues the competition.

"Joel Robles will play in goal. We're going to have Christian Atsu, Steven Pienaar, Arouna Kone, Bryan Oviedo, Tyias Browning and Luke Garbutt playing."

Martinez has also said that defender Antolin Alcaraz, on his way back from injury, will feature in the game as will Conor McAleny.

The Blues boss confirmed that two members of the Everton Academy will also play a part in the tie with Krasnodar but the manager would not name them.

"We are going to have a couple of our youngsters which is really, really exciting,"he said.

"We don't want to name them yet but it is really exciting to show another two diamonds of our development system."

I wonder who those two diamonds are? Where is Harold Matthews when you need him?

Andrew Ellams
28 Posted 10/12/2014 at 16:26:46
Garbutt, Oviedo and Pienaar? Are they all starting? Interesting to see how he will fit them into a system. Garbutt and Oviedo on the left and Pienaar central maybe with Atsu on the right?
Paul Andrews
29 Posted 10/12/2014 at 16:29:47

If I was asked to put my last ٟ on a player who will progress to the first team squad I would go for Kieran Dowell.

Only just turned 17 so it may not be his time just yet.

Colin Williams
30 Posted 10/12/2014 at 16:58:06
The two youth lads I believe will be Kenny and Ledson. Whoever plays, itÂ’s a pleasure to watch our young talented players perform. (C cut them some slack!) This experience will create a feelgood factor amongst the younger lads and hopefully they will start believing they have a chance to break through!!... Put it this way, they couldÂ’nt do any worse!
Mark Taylor
31 Posted 10/12/2014 at 17:25:51
I'm less bothered about who plays, but I want Martinez to use this game to try a new system. I think the current one has been found out.

We all know the plan. Lots of passing round at the back , allegedly probing and putting the opponents defence off balance and a glacially slow movement to the front. We also know the counter. Teams put 3 high up the field to harry our defenders who daren't knock it long and often end up losing the ball. Meanwhile our opponents play a highish defensive line and crowd midfield leading to more passing back. Anything that does happen to get through higher up the pitch will, more often than not, get passed back anyway, such is the lack of offensive intent.

Brenda's another fan of this system and anyone who watched the match last night will see how easy it is to counter. Frankly Basel played Liverpool off the park and looked far, far more incisive and dynamic and had Liverpool looking like headless chickens at the back.

I don't buy the data that's driving this. Possession does not win football matches if it's not actionable possession, where you can actually play an offensive pass or movement. I believe that you could instead look at other data that demonstrated the ever reducing odds of actually scoring, the more passes you have in the move. The position is worsened by the fact our most likely offensive move, using our full backs high up the pitch, has been somewhat neutered by Coleman and Oviedo being injured and Baines being out of sorts. Then you just get left with the downside of having two fairly ponderous central midfielders and virtually no dynamism through the middle. On the occassion when Mirallas and Coleman don't play and Barkley is off his game, we barely have any cutting edge at all.

I watched the youth champions league football after the CL game, Atletico against Juve. The latter were pursuing tactics similar to ours. Atletico something akin to their senior team- press the ball high up, then defend in numbers and look to break quickly and directly. Juve had plenty of the ball but did little with it in the final third against a well set defence. Atletico scored twice where mistakes passing around at the back led to an opening, which were very quickly exploited- no fannying around, ball into the net within seconds- and once from a fast breakaway, coasting to a 3-0 win.

Barca may just about be able to play the Martinez way, but they have better players, better first touch and better movement and can just about make it work. But even then, Bayern crushed them last year with a game built around fast offence.

There may be occasions when playing or switching to (attempted) possession domination can work but the problem is, it's seems like it's all we have and we are rapidly becoming a one trick pony that is easy to figure out and counter.

Rant over...

Paul Andrews
32 Posted 10/12/2014 at 18:43:06
Sam @ 20

Great point re Barkley.

Denis Richardson
33 Posted 10/12/2014 at 18:32:50
Game is a comlete dead rubber. I wouldn't have a single senior player in the starting 11 with an eye on QPR.

We don't want to lose at home but the likes of Garbutt, Browning, Oviedo, Kone, Atsu and Hibbo should have enough to get a result. Even with Robles in goal.

I'd play Browning and Alcaraz at CB and see how they cope. Maybe give Barkley 60 mins between Atsu and Oviedo to give him a confidence boosting run out and hopefully a goal. Kone up front.

Only issue is DM. Besic and Ledson? Ossie and Barry should sit out.

Tony J Williams
34 Posted 12/12/2014 at 17:14:14
That didn't go to plan did it?
Ian McDowell
35 Posted 12/12/2014 at 21:12:51
Shame about his injury. I really thought we had got a decent player and had high hopes for him. Guess we may never see him play in the blue of Everton again.
Christopher Kelly
37 Posted 13/12/2014 at 09:47:10
Mark Taylor - I like what you’re saying. But Bayern beat Barça 2 years ago. Pep had them playing a better version of what we do and they got throttled by Real who sat back and countered at pace....

Great post.

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