John Stones is hopeful of returning after picking up a knock to his ankle against Stoke
Everton begin 2015 with a second successive away fixture as they look to end their longest losing sequence thus far under Roberto Martinez's management. The Blues begin the new year just five points above their hosts, Hull, and the relegation zone they're hovering above on goal difference; the increasingly distant promised land of the Champions League is 12 points away.
Before thoughts of getting back into the chase for Europe can be entertained, one that Martinez insists is still alive despite this side's poor form, the immediate focus is finding a win which, should they manage it at the KC Stadium, would be only Everton's sixth of the campaign and their third on the road.
The Catalan has Steven Naismith available again for selection after the Scot served a one-match suspension on Sunday and John Stones spoke to evertontv on Wednesday expressing his hopes of being fit enough to play after taking a knock to his recently-healed ankle.
While Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard had to be withdrawn at half time with injuries of their own, Stones managed to finish the Boxing Day clash with Stoke but joined both players on the sidelines for the defeat at Newcastle. Howard is ruled out until the end of January at the earliest with a torn calf muscle but with just an apparently twisted ankle, the skipper should be back in action a lot sooner, possibly for this trip to Hull.
That would provide a significant boost to the manager who saw his stand-in centre-half partnership breached three times at St James' Park. A restoration of what has become the undisupted first-choice pairing in Jagielka and Stones would go a long way to restoring some confidence at the back as Everton seek some solidity having accumulated the worst defensive record in the top flight bar QPR.
What remains to be seen is how convinced Martinez was by the other he wasn't forced to make for the Newcastle game, most significant of which was moving Leighton Baines forward from his usual spot at fullback and drafting in Luke Garbutt. Both players emerged with more credit than most from an otherwise sorry performance and it would not be surprising to see the manager try the experiment again.
Kevin Mirallas' goalscoring appearance off the bench will almost certainly earn him a recall to the side at the expense of Aiden McGeady after presumably being rested on Sunday but Romelu Lukaku's return is not a foregone conclusion. Arouna Kone's first start in well over year yielded his first goal and he will surely have shown enough to have earned another opportunity to impress.
In midfield, much depends on whether James McCarthy is deemed fit enough to play given his recurrent hamstring problems and, if he is, whether Martinez was sufficiently concerned by Gareth Barry's ponderous and error-strewn display at St James' Park to be moved to take him out of the line-up. Muhamed Besic is waiting in the wings should there be an opening having not featured since the defeat at Southampton 11 days ago.
There is no question that Everton need three points and they need them quickly, preferably against Steve Bruce's relegation-threatened side who will be missing Mohamed Diame and Michael Dawson but could welcome back James Chester after suspension. As the Tigers showed in the reverse fixture a month ago, they are well-organised and can be very difficult to break down and the Blues can expect more of the same high pressing aimed at stifling their forward progress and forcing mistakes as they try to play out from the back.
Once again, this will be an examination of Everton's character and an opportunity for Martinez to follow through on his pledge to eradicate the individual errors that have plagued his team this season. With confidence as fragile as ever, that is going to be tough to do but there could be no better New Year tonic than an away win.
Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Kevin Friend
Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (137)
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1 Posted 01/01/2015 at 00:22:08
Lose to Hull and it's a taxi for Roberto.
2 Posted 01/01/2015 at 00:33:18
3 Posted 01/01/2015 at 00:35:22
I agree Dennis.
4 Posted 01/01/2015 at 00:34:11
We all know it's going to be Jelavic today, so save your fume for West Ham.
5 Posted 01/01/2015 at 00:31:52
Stones Jags Barry
Coleman McCarthy Barkley Besic Garbutt
6 Posted 01/01/2015 at 01:05:43
7 Posted 01/01/2015 at 01:43:54
8 Posted 01/01/2015 at 01:55:22
New formation, more like new manager required. A loss today and then again in the FA Cup and Martinez should be on his way.
The only way they are going to win this one is to play like a team with a win at all cost attitude, stop passing the ball sideways across their own penalty area, play decisive passes splitting the opposition's defence for our star forward to run on to and beat the last man, confidently lashing it past their goalkeeper and then repeating this feat several times during the match. Basically ignoring how Martinez actually wants the team to play.
My team to do this would be:
Coleman, Stones, Barry, Garbutt,
McCarthy, Barkley, Besic,
Best of luck blues.
9 Posted 01/01/2015 at 01:48:44
On a similar note, our home fans have been letting us down for years! People keep talking about lack of heart and passion in the performances... Good description of our collective support.
Strange, as I've no doubt every blue is as hardcore as they come, it just rarely shines through at GP, unless we're beating United or Pool ffs
10 Posted 01/01/2015 at 02:28:26
11 Posted 01/01/2015 at 02:32:25
12 Posted 01/01/2015 at 02:47:42
14 Posted 01/01/2015 at 06:12:30
15 Posted 01/01/2015 at 07:04:24
A happy New Year (in a way) is in the works.
16 Posted 01/01/2015 at 08:18:28
17 Posted 01/01/2015 at 08:23:13
Losing 3 in a row is a lot more common that we’d like to think, it happened twice in 2011/12, a 3-1 win at Fulham sandwiched in between meant that we lost 6 out of 7. That season we, predictably, finished 7th. It also happened twice in 2009/10.
18 Posted 01/01/2015 at 08:59:48
19 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:01:12
we have no secrets, all managers, clubs, pundits know if you keep the battle in the middle against US, we donÂt have the personnel at centre half and central midfield to cope against 5. The game we need to play today is wide and expansive, hope we do, if it comes down to a scrap...Im not looking forward to 5pm. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL ST DOMINGOÂS
20 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:12:59
21 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:03:33
A spirited performance is required with plenty of energy and pressing of the ball. I reckon we'll get a point. I hope he doesn't start McGeady he's a liability. Lukaku, who has the touch of a BBC light entertainer, could do with watching Kone from the bench. I'd also like to see Barry make way for Mo. I cant see it happening though.
22 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:20:05
23 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:45:55
I just hope the team and performances from here on in, make a happy new change.
24 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:52:13
25 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:46:12
26 Posted 01/01/2015 at 09:48:06
27 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:04:24
28 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:02:58
29 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:03:24
30 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:03:57
31 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:01:51
I'd have Barry just infront of the back four. Thing is, I worry about who in that midfield can play the through ball for Kone & can he pick it up with his back to goal if not ? Kev's a must a class act so far amongst some average performers.
32 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:18:38
33 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:27:42
34 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:28:55
35 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:34:42
If he decides to try this today, we may look something like :-
Robles; Stones, Jagielka, Alcaraz; Coleman, Besic, Baines, Garbutt; Mirallas, Kone, Naismith.
No idea how it would work but can't be much worse that what we've been seeing lately !
36 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:40:18
don't care to predict the result today, just hope things trend towards the positive from now on.
The blue half have had a rough crimbo and we need to smile again.
37 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:45:45
So next two games are make or break for RM in my opinion, lose both and he could be gone quickly and I think the volume of his recent comments means he suspects it. I don't think he will be given time around the Europa because despite all of the wild optimism people have all we have really done is qualify for effectively the same stage as the FAC3 and been completely unconvincing in my opinion.
All that said though, once the whistle goes he has my 100% support for a win (because that's for Everton, not any individual). The bizarre and deluded nature of his recent comments leave me convinced he will fail and is not right for us but I will be more than happy to have a double helping of humble pie. Heart dreads a scrappy Jelavic winner today, head says we must have enough to beat Hull, surely? Which Everton will turn up?
38 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:57:33
I'd put Mirallas up front with Eto. Even Belgium used him as a CF in the world cup. Lukaku can stay on the bench until he can be bothered to break a sweat.
Stones Jags Barry
Coleman Besic Macca Baines
39 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:05:22
I'd take Ian bennett's team. Need a win so we don't lose pace with Stoke. Ha.
40 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:07:43
Hope for 3 points and a good performance today. Besic in for Barry please.
41 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:07:33
Going to be an interesting 2015. I'm looking forward to today's game May that feeling last.
42 Posted 01/01/2015 at 10:42:07
No idea about today, lets hope we get the three points.
43 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:29:53
44 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:39:28
But FFS please Everton, three points today.
45 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:20:41
If they are available I would go for:
Coleman Stones Jagielka Baines
Mirallas McCarthy Barry Barkley Garbutt
It would leave Eto'o, Naismith and Kone on the bench, along with cover at centre half.
It's going to be a tight game and I'd like to see us play with some width and have ideas about how to change things if things don't go our way, e.g. withdraw Barry and bring on Naismith to make a 4 4 2 etc... All the games are big now we've drifted into trouble. Hope Martinez has what it takes to turn things round and get the players performing now they've started to come under pressure.
46 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:13:09
Although any victory will be welcome, a 3 or 4 goal thrashing will do so much to lift spirits and boost confidence.
That's what Martinez needs to push... Send them out saying that nothing short of thrashing Hull will do.. Do it for your club, your fans and the people who stay loyal to you despite what you have offered up recently.
For the kids who are so nervous and excited at going today and watching YOU!
For the girl who goes with her fella and loves to see the thrill on his face when you win.
For the 84 year old lifelong blue who has seen so much in his life and worked his fingers to the bone to raise his family and allow him the small priveledges in life such as watching you.
For the fan who sets off at 9.00 am travelling 100's of miles just to see you.
For me, who other than the 84 year old has been part of those scenarios.
Heart, intensity, willingness to win, commitment and pride. That's all we ask.
47 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:52:40
Hopefully Barry will be benched today, I think more than anyone he has been our worst player of late.
Would like to see Lukaku and Kone both play to see how that works out and stick with Garbutt and Baines on the left.
Happy New Year to all blues, here's hoping for a fresh start today...
48 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:55:05
I would like to know what you were drinking last night mate, 3-0 away, that must have been some hallucinatory beverage.
Hope you're right though all the same, as we need to arrest the slump, before it gains momentum.
49 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:56:54
50 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:59:12
51 Posted 01/01/2015 at 11:56:00
52 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:00:08
Coleman Stones Jagielka Baines
Mirallas McCarthy Barkley Besic
Creativity and cover in midfield.
53 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:15:28
54 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:21:43
Which means we'll probably get turned over today!
55 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:25:14
56 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:20:15
57 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:26:32
58 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:28:30
59 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:30:47
If Martinez can make the best use of this transfer window and bring in a good goalie, a pacy right winger who can deliver a final ball and a strong centre half I'd have good reason to think we could turn our season around and finish the season well, only time will tell!
60 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:23:58
My version based on players who will scrap and be comfortable playing possession at the back:
Coleman Stones Barry Garbutt
Mirallas Besic Barkley McCarthy Baines
That said I can see so many reasons to play another team and in another way - I guess that's what Roberto gets paid for.
We must go out and fight for 90 minutes with determination - something we've not done for a long time now. Watching Sky over Christmas it struck me how Man Ure players celebrate goals so much more passionately than us at the moment - hate to say it but we need some of their spirit!
61 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:17:12
I agree with those who would like to see Barry benched today. He is too slow and offers little to the team attacking wise.
I'm probably in the minority here but i'd prefer Alcaraz to partner Stones. Jags ain't comfortable enough in possession and his passing is terrible.
Hopefully Garbutt retains his position.
Team for me would be
Coleman Stones Alcaraz Garbutt
Mirallas McCarthy Barkley Besic Baines
62 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:33:34
63 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:39:24
WIZIWIG has closed as of midnight last night.
ANY links/sources for todays game, much appreciated
64 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:45:51
Recommend Chrome users apply Adblocker
65 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:47:20
You just know it will happen, then again I couldn't back the winner in a one horsed race so will probably jinx him, which is my cunning plan...
66 Posted 01/01/2015 at 12:53:56
Not used for a while but may have to if new link supplied by Wizwig doesn't work.
67 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:03:36
68 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:12:48
69 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:22:06
70 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:16:48
Torn between Jags and Alcaraz.
71 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:33:49
72 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:39:36
73 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:46:45
74 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:40:15
Your comments are identical to the ones Kone received for a year? Now he is the best thing since sliced bread after a goal and a couple of games.
Same accusations could be levelled at Kone, Gibson, Alcaraz, Hibbert and Pieanaar this last season or two for that matter.
Your comment doesnÂt really make sense... injuries are injuries. Players sign a contract and are entitled to their wages, injured or not. I personally donÂt have a problem with players injured but working hard to get back Â– look at players like Scott Sinclair sitting in Man CityÂs reserves for years, just lifting his salary??
75 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:24:20
This game is no cakewalk, their fans will be right up for this, so will their players, its a must win game for them, even more than us.
Were away so there's a good chance we'll get stuffed by the ref again. Away games are difficult I don't care who your playing.
Hull missed easy chance after easy chance last week, saving it up for us no doubt!
Our players confidence will be very low, it just has the feel of another defeat to me.
I hope I'm completely wrong, a win would make me very pleased indeed.
PS. The price for us to be relegated is coming down at a rate of knots too on Betfair.
I looked a few days ago it was 60-1, yesterday it was 55-1, today its 38-1!
We have City after Hull, so punters are probably seeing that if we lose today, things will be even more grim.
77 Posted 01/01/2015 at 13:55:35
78 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:02:16
79 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:01:15
80 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:02:47
Atsu still around is also a surprise.
81 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:02:39
82 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:03:27
83 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:05:09
84 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:05:33
85 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:07:12
86 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:05:12
Thank God Besic is playing. He clearly brought Macca back too early. Hope Rom comes on. I have great hopes for him.
87 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:05:40
88 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:01:01
89 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:07:57
90 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:09:37
91 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:08:42
92 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:10:28
93 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:10:45
94 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:11:22
95 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:10:43
96 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:11:32
97 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:11:46
98 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:11:45
99 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:11:49
100 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:12:46
101 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:13:33
102 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:12:18
The formation is so set.
103 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:06:55
Cant say it fills me with joy because at this level, two poor choices can
destroy your chances. We were told Luke would be back at his best in the New Year and here he is, at his best on the bench! Glad to see Oviedo in the offing. If Naismith wastes a good forward pass to-day it will do my head in. And/or fade out of the game.
104 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:15:39
105 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:15:54
106 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:17:21
107 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:14:51
108 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:07:52
109 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:19:17
110 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:17:41
Hull 6-8 Everton.
Defending is sooooooooo 2013
111 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:18:32
112 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:19:47
113 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:20:01
114 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:18:53
115 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:21:12
116 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:22:33
117 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:21:12
118 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:23:51
119 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:22:54
120 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:25:58
121 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:27:06
122 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:27:00
123 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:30:55
124 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:29:35
Out with the Old In with the Old !
King Roberto Canute, stubborn to the last
Has Mr Garbutt blotted his copy book and upset Roberto?
Best of luck Blues, chance for Kone to show his worth
Happy New Year to ALL BLUE NOSES
125 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:31:44
126 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:35:12
127 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:35:14
128 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:36:22
129 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:36:41
130 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:34:49
Heard he has fallen out with RM after complaining about lack of first team and being told he is now third choice. Also he is apparently not the same player since his injury.
131 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:39:04
132 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:36:57
133 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:34:14
134 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:41:40
135 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:44:44
136 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:40:21
Besic can be a problem. His last coach strangled him in the dressing room.
137 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:47:07
138 Posted 01/01/2015 at 14:47:56
139 Posted 01/01/2015 at 15:15:12
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