Will John Stones come back into the side after Antolin Alcaraz's struggles in Kyiv?
The post-Europa League portion of Everton's season begins this weekend with the trip to West London where Roberto Martinez will be hoping he can lift his disappointed charges to a much-needed victory that would take them one large step closer to Premier League survival.
Defeats for four of the five bottom clubs in the Saturday games means that the Blues come into this encounter with the team currently occupying 19th place sittting six points above the drop zone. A win at Loftus Road would move them to 34 points and, with another eight games to play, easily within reach of banishing fear of relegation.
Having been dumped out a competition they genuinely felt they could win, Everton will be battling the usual European hangover and the potential danger of a lack of drive for this one. Those could be as testing obstacles as any QPR could pose but, with significant revenue at stake with every place they can gain between now and the end of the season, the players need to take their manager's "nine cup finals" mantra to heart.
Martinez will have a similar squad to that he took to Kiev available, with the exception of Gareth Barry who is suspended and Aaron Lennon is eligible to play. Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert, Bryan Oviedo and Kevin Mirallas are ruled out through injury but, with 10 full days of recovery unde rhis belt, John Stones should be fit enough to start and Aiden McGeady will also be closer to full fitness after recovering from a knee injury.
The personnel may be more or less the same but how Martinez chooses to line them up will be key. His experiment with two recognised strikers paid dividends against Newcastle last Sunday but his reversion in Kyiv to the less-balanced that has restricted his side's success in the League faltered on a poor defensive display. So, it remains to be seen how adventurous he feels or whether he falls back on the same formation.
It will also be interesting to see whether he responds to questions over why Antolin Alcaraz was preferred to Stones by restoring the 20 year-old to the first-choice spot he has made his own before he came down with a stomach virus before the first leg against Kyiv.
Rangers, managed by interim boss Chris Ramsey following the departure of Harry Redknapp, were hoping to welcome back Joey Barton following s three-match ban but he has picked up a training-ground injury that could keep him out. Mauricio Isla is fit again, though, following a knee problem.
Though sitting five places and nine points worse off than Everton, QPR have won more home games than the Toffees — five to our four — but all were against teams sitting in the bottom seven of the table. They have run Arsenal and Liverpool very close and held Manchester City to a 2-2 draw and have shown that they can score goals.
But their susceptibility to conceding at the other end means that there should be opportunities to exploit for Romelu Lukaku if Everton can get their attacking machine functioning like it did against the Magpies.
Kick off: 4.00pm
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Full details: ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (78)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 22/03/2015 at 06:09:32
The anger over what happened in Kyiv may not have subsided, but we will all sleep a little easier tonight if the boys can take all three points today.
Martinez has got to relent. If he persist with Howard and Alcaraz he will not only put a huge amount of pressure on the players he will be inviting it on himself.
humility is an essential part of the make up of any great manager. He has to accept when he gets it wrong in order to put it right. . . . Has our boy got it in him ?
2 Posted 22/03/2015 at 06:22:55
Solidarity . . .at least for now
3 Posted 22/03/2015 at 07:25:07
The alarming thing is that Everton don't have to be under any real pressure to concede goals, it's been like that all season and I can't see it being any different today.
QPR will be up for it knowing there's a good chance of catching Sunderland now and from what I have seen, they have put in better performances at Loftus road than their results suggest, they have created chances and won't be shy of putting early balls into our box.
4 Posted 22/03/2015 at 07:24:45
6 Posted 22/03/2015 at 07:48:34
7 Posted 22/03/2015 at 07:40:34
Yes I am pissed off!
8 Posted 22/03/2015 at 07:54:46
Up the Blues.
9 Posted 22/03/2015 at 07:41:44
Just finished work and was looking at heading by train to London town, but you know what. I don't give a fuck, I really don't.
I can't be arsed watching a team selected by that twat, a team that Martinez will still want to play his android copy of Barca football. For me, I know deep down that the mighty QPR will battle hard, as sure as fuck win all the 50-50 balls and will suddenly look like a top 4 team and not a team that are certainties for relegation. Oh, and the bonus for QPR, just wait 5 or 10 minutes for us to fuck up at the back and give them a good chance.
10 Posted 22/03/2015 at 08:09:59
7 wins all season is simply disgusting and all that you'd expect from a newly promoted side like Burnley with no finances.
In my opinion the quality of the Premier League is extremely poor this season and winning any less than 14 matches out of 38, for a club like Everton is totally unacceptable.
We have won 7 matches all season...ALL SEASON!!!
I'm not sure how that constitutes as a blip.
A blip would be a bad 6 or 7 game spell but this is an entire campaign we are talking about.
Who knows what the team will be is anybody's guess, no doubt he will still go with two defensive midfielders, no Mirallas surely means the best player last week, Aaron Lennon will start.
Its pretty much the same old players who are forever out injured, still missing.
You do question what the point is in holding on to the likes of Pienaar, he's never going to be the force he was, Hibbert hardly features anymore as a sub too.
Like mentioned, you'd like to see a true wholehearted response from them today but I won't be holding my breath.
I'm fully expecting Martinez usual superlatives and soundbites after the match of "phenomenal chances not taken and fine margins bring the difference."
11 Posted 22/03/2015 at 08:23:56
Win this and we're probably safe, only because the others are worse than us. Lose and that will give me sleepless nights for the remainder of the season. The only redeeming factor to a loss is that Billy boy might be forced into action.
14 Posted 22/03/2015 at 08:33:13
I think we will survive but much for the reason you mention, it's because three teams will run out of enough games to make the ground up, we are lucky because if the season was 42 games like it once was, we could have been caught, as it is you'd expect 6 more points, probably from a win and three draws being enough.
It's nothing at all to celebrate though, it's frankly been an appalling season and once it's over its needs filing away and never speaking of again.
The close season is a relatively shorter one than usual due to no international tournament so I'd suggest they use every spare day of it to correct and oversee the overhaul that's badly needed here.
What I don't want to see or hear is them back in pre-season training in early July bigging up the fitness of Gareth Barry or Osman and making out that Besic is the answer to our creative problems because he's scored two goals at Blyth Spartans in a friendly.
The summer has to be one of taking responsibility for mistakes and changes will definitely be needed.
15 Posted 22/03/2015 at 08:43:35
Martinez has killed football with his inane and uninformed pre and post match gibberish while setting a new standard for incompetence through his retarded and infuriating team selections to carry out his narrow, ponderous and crab-like philosophy. Why should we bother when the whole club doesn't?
17 Posted 22/03/2015 at 09:45:11
I think this side would have them:
Coleman Stones Jagielka Baines
Besic Gibson McCarthy
Lennon Lukaku Kone
18 Posted 22/03/2015 at 09:50:35
19 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:00:20
20 Posted 22/03/2015 at 09:57:00
21 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:00:51
22 Posted 22/03/2015 at 09:59:23
I would put Robles and Garbutt in though Sam.
Robles because a/ I think he's better and b/ because we look a better unit with him in .
Garbutt because he's decent and Baines still looks rusty.
23 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:07:27
24 Posted 22/03/2015 at 09:48:33
You and your old teamates had a good understanding of how to play together. You now have to show willing and adapt to new systems that don't seem to pay off.
Players around you are in the wrong positions, and week in, week out you are conceding goals that you never used to.
Training has become more easy, and you have a laugh with the lads, but several teamates are unhappy that they are overlooked, despite others playing poorly.
The Gaffer is unshakable in his determination that his style is the way forward, and you feel like talking to him but know that it will mean the end of your run in the team until you tow the line again.
Most of the lads feel the same and you all try to bend the rules during a game to do things your own way, but have to be careful of the boss's wrath.
The star players are being tapped-up for summer moves and you can see the team becoming weaker in future.
You all know who the best players are and who the favourite are.
You have to keep your mouth shut and try your best, but your confidence is undermined by what you are asked to do.
You may like to run down the wing, but you have been told to stop on halfway and pass inside.
The fans are giving you stick and you can't say anything back, and you are getting increasingly frustrated.
Most of the group want the manager gone, but are trying to do their best on the pitch and until last week you all thought that it was worth persevering for the chance of winning the Europa League.
Now that is gone ,you have to hope that you can get enough points to stay up.
You feel like you are playing with your hands tied behind your back.
Everyone is frustrated and you all wonder what the future holds.
You are in London about to play QPR....They are in the relegation scrap.....will you all have the fight in you to get a result?
25 Posted 22/03/2015 at 09:58:22
The inevitable bottom half finishing place will shave up to £8M off income compared to last season but with a budget set for a 10th place finish, the damage will not be seen as terminal financially.
Just watching Sky's Sunday Supplement where Martinez generally gets support 'because he's a nice bloke to interview' but one pundit saying'he is turning into Wigan.'
Well, there's a surprise !
27 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:18:37
It would be interesting to poll all of the regular T.W contributors from recent seasons to see how many still have an interest. More and more of the regular names seem to be disappearing from the comments section of articles and posts.
29 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:24:07
Thus we shall see more McGeadys, Atsus and, dare I say it, Alcarazes. All we can hope is that there will be one or two McCarthys and Lukakus (when he can be arsed) mixed in with them !
30 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:29:49
Most of these pundits and I listened to Alvin Martin the other day all support Martinez but funnily enough don't support Everton!!! They all supported Lambert and Poyet too until they were rightly kicked out.
Why don't they actually challenge this Buffoon. When he talks about what EFC have learned, why don't they ask what he has learned. Ask him about his record.
One Evertonian said on Talksport, it is like you have the best ingredients and cannot make a decent cake. You don't carry on regardless, you sack the cook.
Kenwright if you really love Everton, then end this nightmare immediately, give this joke of a manager his P45 after the QPR game. I think we know what the result will be come 5pm. Now BK do something about it. NOW
33 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:43:52
But he doesn't. Alcarez was playing centre forward at one point, and as the commentator pointed out he didn't actually know where he was playing in the end. The lad ACTUALLY PLAYED the whole game.
This sums up Martinez.....he defies logic, and when he has the chance to do something about it his arrogance gets in the way. He let's favouritism and dogma influence his decision making.
Carry on mate doing this, but please do it at another club.
34 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:58:30
Plus ShÃ© BÃº is beginning to become gentrified and the Walky was deemed a blip on the landscape. Its being turned into something, I just don't know what.
The underground club, I think its still there. In the bogs is it? Never went.
35 Posted 22/03/2015 at 10:55:38
Same here mate. He's done what Walker, Smith and even TGT nearly did, but ultimately didn't and that is making us blues not give a hoots and want to watch our beloved team.
Don't want to even talk about it with anyone as it makes my blood boil every time I think about the fact that he's still in charge and we are stuck with him.
Hi-de-Hi or Escape to the Country at 4 o'clock for me.
36 Posted 22/03/2015 at 11:23:13
The plain painful fact is at we haven't got a centre half who is actually good and commanding in the air.
Stones is a fine footballer but he quite slight for a central defender and he's not the type that's going to bully big bustling forwards.
Jagielka is about the best available but even he lacks three or four inches that would make a world of difference. The one vital thing with Jagielka is he always looked better when he had a fine physical specimen next to him such as Lescott or Distin in his prime.
Now whoever plays there we are too easily bullied.
37 Posted 22/03/2015 at 11:28:43
I was just listening to Pardew Â– not somebody I particularly like, but he was being congratulated on how he had turned around Crystal Palace and how many goals they scored from set pieces. He said they spend hours on set pieces, and he said "Don’t just think it’s the bottom clubs that work hard at set pieces;" he said most of his losses to Arsenal at Newcastle were from set pieces.
Funny how our manager and his assistant told Osman its a waste of time working on set pieces. Pity he doesn’t seem to work on the defensive shape of his team; if he had, we might not have conceded some shocking goals this season.
38 Posted 22/03/2015 at 11:46:35
We do have a center half who can do all of those things, Distin. At least I think we still do although no one has seen him for over half the season.
I am truly starting to think that our "injured" players are only injured becaue Martinez says so and needs to keep them out of the discussion as to why he won't have to explain not playing them over lesser players that he has brought in.
39 Posted 22/03/2015 at 11:56:06
RM has some serious cleaning out to do this summer.
40 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:01:07
Our manager hasn't got a clue about formation, shape of a team, work ethic, set piece scoring or defending, mixing up play, crossing the ball, playing with width, stretching opposition with players making runs, nothing. He thinks he's Guardiola and we're Barcelona. We're not, he's a charlatan who I fell for last season, despite being angry at the initial appointment and sadly it's all coming home to roost just as half of us said it would. I'm sad to be proven right at this point in time.
I still don't think we'll go down because we have 8 games to go and we'll win a couple. Also the teams below us are shit, and we have a much better goal difference which is akin to an extra point (everyone seems to ignore this fact).
Today? It's got a draw written all over it for me.
41 Posted 22/03/2015 at 11:59:29
42 Posted 22/03/2015 at 11:52:54
It's will only be possible to win by playing two up top, so the team selection will be crucial. Ross showed in Kiev some of the rich potential he has and I could finally see why the richer teams are willing to pay so much for him. But at Everton we need to be winning games before we see the best of him.
43 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:19:00
Apart from Distin who else could they be referring to? I can't see the likes of Hibbo or Jags being muck-stirrers Â– and Mirallas is hardly old, is he?
44 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:13:33
I am trying to organise a stag do and think I vaguely remember 3 of us (including the poor sod getting married) buying a bottle of whisky for 𧴵 at 3am (after the barman had calculated how many shots he could get out of it) at a bar called the "Blue Iguana" near Chelsea FC and another Aussie/kiwi/SA friendly but grim haunt called "the redback" in Acton... I hope those dives are still in business?!
45 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:23:13
If and when we reach safety, he should pick all the promising youngsters: Stones, Garbutt, Browning and Besic should be the first names on the team sheet every time. I know he won't though, he'll continue to pick Barry, Baines etc.
46 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:26:10
Of course, BK will be reluctant to see the back of those players and that is where 'the special relationship' may break down.
Could get interesting, methinks!
47 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:27:17
Only player pressure from our big players may make Kenwright think about it. Martinez will have 10 games or thereabouts to show everyone this season was a blip.
48 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:35:22
49 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:47:47
50 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:54:27
51 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:07:31
I fully expect to see Howard,Baines & Alcaraz because he knows best.
Some posters mentioned Alcaratz performance on Thursday. Bad day at the office for sure, but the defending in front of him was schoolboy; even worse when you consider that we were defending a lead.
Like everyone else including the team , I can't be arsed watching or listening to it. I don't think I can take another "and QPR lump an alehouse ball into the box, Alcaraz has missed it!! It's come off Coleman's back, Howard's done a star jump, and it's been put on the neck by the man returning from injury who hasn't scored in the league since the First World War"
I didn't go to see 50 shades of grey because I don't like to see people getting whipped and humiliated, why watch Everton these days?
52 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:03:03
The only reason we beat a poor Newcastle side was because they had one foot on the beach and had no recognised centre-forward. As Jim (#14) said, we wonÂt keep ourselves up, itÂll be three of the other sides below us thatÂll do that.
I see QPR have lost their last 4 home games. Well look whoÂs rolling up just in time...
53 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:13:13
54 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:13:35
55 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:16:08
56 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:16:10
Back came the reply, Certainly, sir, but you will need to stake 𧾦 to win ٟ.
I resisted the bet !
57 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:16:31
Trevor, you should write a book. How I sussed out Martinez, sounds like a good title.
58 Posted 22/03/2015 at 12:48:38
Ok, so here we all go again. Another must win game. Another chance to put daylight between ourselves and the bottom teams. What Everton team will turn up? I half expect Ken Dodd to be drafted into defence. Paul McCartney to be in midfield, and the tea lady to be stuck out on the wing. Who knows what team Martinez will pick. Who the fook knows? We might try and bore QPR into submission with our brain dead passing game Who knows?
Ok. Treat my first comments with TIC, (tongue in cheek). We need to win this game. Gibson and Osman (if fit ), need to come back in. Play just one defensive midfielder. Play Mirallas (if fit), up front with Lukaku. If not fit, then play Kone or Naismith up front. Play Stones in defence. Let Lennon have a free role to inter change on the wings, with instructions to run forward at all times. Bring Barkley on in the second half. At least have a bloody go. This is only QPR. No more tame shite , like we saw over Christmas. Have a bloody go.
Last comment, have been reading that a number of supporters are willing to give Martinez about ten games next season, to see how he does. Not me. No way. Ten games into next season with our footballing genius, will most likely find us that far behind in the league, that we will be pushing hard to get into 14th place. And we will of course, be knocked out of the League Cup. You see ,Martinez only does one competition per season. He's a frekin genius. Anyway, COYBs.
59 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:21:44
Coleman and Mirallas will be the only big losses. Would hope to get a minimum of 20m for the former and 10m for the latter (assuming we take the option to extend his contract).
Hopefully we might see whether Browning could offer an option at RB in the last 8 games. Mirallas will be harder to replace in some ways as his goals and assist returns are pretty decent.
60 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:16:21
I felt a bit numb the days after the shambolic display in Kiev and could not bring myself to post anything or even read the papers; however, life goes on and I guess we just have to write this season off and rebuild for season 15-16.
As for Martinez, all the good work he achieved last year has been undone and he has made a complete hash this season by making some of the strangest decisions I have ever witnessed at EFC. I think he has lost part of the dressing room and he has certainly lost a majority of the fans and I hope he does the decent thing and steps down at the end of the season.
As for today I will stick my neck out and say 2-1 to the blues!
61 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:21:46
Can Martinez get most of these players back on side? Doubtful. Drop your commitment levels by even 5% in this League, and you will be punished. Not one of our first team players has had an above average season, that's tells me all I need to know.
For that reason alone, Bobby has to go.
62 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:27:08
63 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:29:34
Remember who the chairman is, he may have given the manager a large amount last season but he will not make the same mistake twice
64 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:43:27
God knows what automatons he will sign as he seeks to transform Everton into Barcelona Lite !
65 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:55:16
He has confused and demotivated top quality players, cleared out what was considered top notch backroom staff, done away with all of Moyes’s fitness and training regimes and imposed the "Wigan" way on our football club.
66 Posted 22/03/2015 at 13:43:36
Anyhow, problem solved, lets get rid of Martinez, (no surprise there). Lets bring in a top class manager( don't ask me who, that's not my job). Let the new manager sell his brand of football to the players. And they all declare undying loyalty to Everton FC. Problem solved. Just the deadwood leave. And top class additions to the squad come in. oh sorry folks, getting carried away here. BK has no vision for Everton. Players will go, when they still have a value. Martinez will stay, as everyone is worried about his payoff, (ignoring the bigger picture). And my worry is who will Martinez bring in. Cause I wouldn't trust him to do our shopping at Tesco's. Never mind anything else.
For me its a new manager we need. And a new coaching set up. A new focus. A complete clear out of the deadwood. A new Everton. A new vision. (admittedly difficult with BK in control).
And yes , a few of the youngsters could step up, should players leave. But would you trust Martinez to play them, after his treatment of Robles, Garbutt and Besic.
67 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:12:11
68 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:21:13
69 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:22:46
Team on a terrible run, smashed in Europe with a manager who's lost the plot!
70 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:20:12
But, as Victor says above, the damage that a Martinez Summer could inflict on Everton FC may never be recoverable.
We're fooked -good and proper !
71 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:29:42
72 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:30:27
73 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:33:48
74 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:16:51
On current form,we would be lucky to get half that figure-if of course he wants to leave and we want to sell!
Mirallas will fetch around 7 - 8 million, because he is so injury prone.
McGeady would be around 2million as would Barry.
Howard, I just don't know what we would get,same applies to Alcaraz,Pinnear,Gibson,Hibbert,Kone, and others.
Big job on for the Everton manager and board come the end of this season.
75 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:32:34
77 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:41:44
78 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:22:35
Ok. Here goes, I'm sticking my neck out. Heres hoping that our defence tightens up today(although I expect us to concede). Lets hope for a clean sheet. QPR are not a good team. They defend as bad as we do. So heres hoping that Martinez has worked that out (cause I don't know anymore with him). Lets go at them right from the start. Try a few shots from distance. Get the ball up quickly to Lukaku. And pass forward. Not backwards. All common sense, I know. But nothing has been straight forward this season. The only philosophy now should be winning football matches. 3-1 or 2-1 to Everton. COYBs.
79 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:50:24
80 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:54:56
81 Posted 22/03/2015 at 15:02:24
82 Posted 22/03/2015 at 14:59:52
83 Posted 22/03/2015 at 15:08:54
84 Posted 22/03/2015 at 15:08:05
Serious though, here's hoping that Everton are positive today. Make things happen. And not just hope that something happens.
85 Posted 22/03/2015 at 15:14:09
Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Gibson, McCarthy, Osman, Lennon, Kone, Lukaku.
86 Posted 22/03/2015 at 15:14:14
Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Osman, Gibson, McCarthy, Lennon, Kone, Lukaku.
87 Posted 22/03/2015 at 15:45:58
Like the country, those night's were crass, but a lot of fun.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.