Baines starts and Lukaku fires in a hat-trick

by | 26/07/2015  60 Comments  [Jump to last]
Hearts 1 - 3 Everton

The big man scores a hat-trick... but misses at least another hat-trick of guilt-edged chances

Everton took on Scottish League (not Premier League) Champions Hearts this afternoon in their fourth pre-season match, this time under the watchful eye of Goodison and Tynecastle legend, Alex Young.

Leighton Baines returns after being injured late last season, and is joined by Bryan Oviedo on the Everton bench with Pienaar the latest to contract a hamstring injury in training.

Live coverage is available to subscribers via Everton's pre-season TV service. At ToffeeWeb, our Live Forum will also be open.

Joel Robles was apparently selected in goal, but Tim Howard actually started in goal. In front of him, Baines joins Phil Jagielka and John Stones with Seamus Coleman at the back.

Martinez looks to have gone for a 4-2-2-2 formation against Hearts, with Gareth Barry and James McCarthy in midfield flanked by Kevin Mirallas and Leon Osman, with Arouna Kone joining Romelu Lukaku up front.

Subs include: Kieran Dowell, Matthew Pennington, Antonee Robinson, Tyias Browning and Ryan Ledson join senior Tom Cleverley, Ross Barkley, Steven Naismith and Conor McAleny.

The game started with Everton moving the ball around reasonably well. Everton won the first corner, Mirallas swinging in a nice one from the right. Hearts won their first after 7 minutes and Paterson converted with a simple header, towering above a gaggle of three Everton defenders.

Hearts won a second corner on a good attack down the right but this was defended away. But poor passing, especially from Barry, conceded Everton possession again as Hearts massed their defence to create the kind of brick wall this Everton side have such difficulty in breaking down.

Some better football from Mirallas and Baines set up Osman for one of his classic weak daisy-cutters scuffed well off target.

A good attack saw Coleman cross well and Lukaku headed goalward but saved, only for Barry to shoot goalward and see it blocked on the line, deemed a penalty... somewhat dubious but Lukaku converted stutter-style from the spot inside 20 mins.

A good move saw Kone get behind the Hearts defence but he was ruled offside. Baines swung in a dangerous free-kick that almost caught out Alexander in the Hearts goal. Baines delivered a good corner in from the left and Osman should have done better with a free header.

Everton were getting forward well but it wasn't clicking in the final ball until Lukaku whacked in the second goal with his left foot, driven in off a nice setup from Coleman. Lukaku came close to his hattrick with a lovely left-foot strike that just curled over the angle.

Lukaku was gifted the ball by Hearts in the middle and laid on a nice ball for Mirallas but his clip past the goalie also went past the far post. Everton were looking much stronger and more confident at the break and should have been more than one goal ahead.

After the break, Cleverley replaced McCarthy and Mirallas was tripped by McHattie as he entered the Hearts area and Lukaku took the chance to seal his hat-trick from the spot.

Everton attacked with vigour, Kone scampering down the right and setting up Lukaku but his shot was lackadaisical at best. A number of times, Lukaku was fed with excellent service but made the wrong decision at the crucial moment and the advantage created by that excellent service was squandered by the Big Rom.

Cleverly was playing an impressive role in the middle, one superb forward pass picking out the toes of Romelu Lukaku but he did not follow through with a strike. Oviedo was understandably rusty when he came on for Baines. Kone was particularly lively in setting up Lukaku again who fluffed his lines yet again. Stones decided to come up and play centre-forward, with Lukaku crossing in for him at one point.

A slew of substitutions disrupted the tempo of the game, with most of the senior Everton players getting a run-out, and just one of the youngsters, Kieran Dowell making a token appearance for the last few minutes.

Hearts: Alexander (77' Hamilton); Paterson, McHattie, McGhee, Ozturk, Rossi (69' Smith), Walker, Gomis (67' Anderson), Sow (65' Reilly), (78' McKirdy) (78' Nicholson).
Subs: King, Oliver, Buchanan.

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines (64' Oviedo); Barry, McCarthy (46' Cleverley); Mirallas (83' Dowell), Osman; Kone (78' Barkley), Lukaku (77' Naismith).
Subs: Robles. Browning, McAleny, Robinson, Pennington, Ledson.

Referee: Billy Collum

Attendance: 10,439

 

Reader Comments (60)

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John Hughes
1 Posted 26/07/2015 at 14:38:24
Let's see some young strikers instead of Kone!
Stewart Lowe
3 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:14:12
Just watching Hearts v Everton game live. 16 minutes gone, Hearts 1-0 up and I am bored already. No pace, no intensity and no imagination. It's not down to Martinez not choosing the right players and it's not down to this only being a friendly. We need to learn to go at teams from the off with pace.
James Stewart
4 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:24:03
Change our name to Hamstring FC!
Stewart Lowe
5 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:25:18
This season will determine whether Martinez's first season was only down to the new Manager syndrome that most clubs have when appointing a new manager. Mediocrity in this season and I think Martinez will be gone at the end of the season. I would have said by January but Everton are a good club and don't do that to our managers.
Jim Bennings
6 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:30:40
Yet another HEADER conceded!!

Just like last season and the season before this will continue to be our Achilles Heel.

Sadly despite a whole summer to try and rectify this problem that has been obvious to every man, woman, boy, girl and their dogs and cats, we still have not solved it.

Jay Woods
7 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:46:30
"Scottish Champions"? That would be Celtic.
Phil Hoyle
8 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:49:11
From the first half the defending for the goal was awful but apart from that we have totally dominated. Need to be more clinical in front of goal. We are getting the ball wide and also getting behind them really well but we need to be better in front of goal. The final ball is also pretty awful at times.

Overall, I think we are doing okay. I would like us to take this as an opportunity to really put a team to the sword.

Jay Harris
11 Posted 26/07/2015 at 15:54:46
Quite pleased with the Mirallas - Coleman combination and Jags, Baines and Ossie seem up for it.

Kone does not stand out even at this level and Barry's passing has been poor.

Still concerned about defending in midfield where we consistently stand off the opposition.

Phil Hoyle
13 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:05:53
Jay - agree with your comments on Barry. Very poor!
Stewart Lowe
14 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:05:16
Hearts v Everton is like Rochdale v Barcelona. Hearts is a very poor team that has only made it back up to the top flight because the Scottish Championship contenders were so poor and that includes Rangers.

Teams like Watford, Swansea and Leicester are teams that we are supposed to beat but I see them coming at us and I see more of the same from last season.

Phil Hoyle
15 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:42:19
2nd half nearly over. Dominated totally but should have scored 6 or 7. So many clear cut chances. If we don't improve in front of goal we will be off the pace again. Reminds me of the home Leicester game last year when we were the better side but should have been out of site but we ended up scraping a 2-2.

I do feel positive about the size and quality of the squad.

Charlie Burnett
16 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:47:13
One good thing about that game is I see Kone got his hair dyed and for a few seconds I thought Demba Ba was up front with Lukaku....
Brian Porter
17 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:46:52
3-1, hat-trick for Rom, but two were pens, and he showed us again how to waste good chances in front of goal. I still don't have confidence in him as penalty taker and sincerely believe Baines should reclaim the job.

Some positives, but not enough to get excited about. The Scottish Championship (not the Scottish Premier League) which Hearts won last year is mostly comprised of part-timers so nothing really to write home about. We should have really taken Hearts apart in the second half but again wasted opportunities to do so.

These pre-season games are the time to show we can do things like that without mercy or we are looking at a struggle again this coming season.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:50:58
How did Howard play if Robles was selected?
Phil Hoyle
19 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:59:29
Brian - great summary. I really feel the one of the key differences between us and the "top" sides is that we are not lethal enough in front of goal.

Trevor Lynes
20 Posted 26/07/2015 at 16:57:38
Buying Van Dijk from Celtic will solve our poor defence against corners. He is 6'-3" and really strong in the air. He is also 24 years old and has great potential.

We need a Number 10 to keep providing ammunition plus another striker in case Lukaku gets injured. Kone is still not likely to score goals and that is the main job for a striker.

Phil Hoyle
21 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:05:00
@Dave #13

Howard played the whole game....

Michael Kenrick
22 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:00:35
That wasn't a bad run-out considering this is pre-season still. At least we were moving the ball forward with pace and found a way to break them down (as we should do) when it looked like they would effectively park the bus.

The quality and decision-making in and around the penalty area are still a big concern, however, and the lack of service to Lukaku... er, No. Actually, Lukaku had the ball played to him plenty of times and he should have had two hat-tricks, which again is a real worry, as our ability to convert remains unconvincing at best.

Even so, some of the comments, and especially the dire projections for the new season, are tiring at best. The season hasn't even begun and there seems to be a rush to write it off already. Any chance you could just sit on your hands rather than cluttering up the threads with these unwanted prophecies?

Dominic Tonge
23 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:06:45
You can watch our pre-season games online. Just Google 'eplsite'. Not peer guardian or other download required, English commentary, oh and free with no sign up required. My mate got me onto it.
Phil Hoyle
24 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:11:39
Michael - fully supporting your comments. We need to go into the season positively. We have a crap run of fixtures in the first 10 games but if we can get a few good results who knows what can happen!?!

Getting rid of Martinez is NOT the answer.

Tom Bowers
25 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:23:56
A win is a win even though pre-season against soft opposition but the main thing is fitness. Hopefully this will not be the starting eleven RM has in mind for the Watford game but if it is then we are in trouble.

Hopefully Cleverly replaces Osman and Kone is replaced by Naismith or someone else?

Yes, I do believe so of the other youngsters should have been given some time but they will probably play against Leeds.

Dave Abrahams
26 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:27:39
Phil, (18) I know what you mean when you say we have a crap load of fixtures early in the season,.

I'd say we have a great set of fixtures in which we can show that we will hopefully have a much better season than the last one.

Paul Thompson
27 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:26:32
I was at the game. Surprised at how poor Hearts were. Having said that, as an exile up here I've seen a lot of pre-seasons against Scottish teams and this was one of the best performances.

We moved the ball well, plenty of width, Coleman and Baines looked sharp. As noted by others, we missed a hatful of relatively straightforward chances in open play. I was a little surprised that McAleny wasn't brought on, or Barkley brought on earlier.

Raymond Fox
28 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:15:38
I think some will find something to moan about if we won both the FA Cup and the League.

I thought we looked sharp, the opposition wasn't great but apart from Osman who struggled somewhat, I thought we played well, on another day we could have had 6 or 7.

Their goal was a bit soft though, its not like he wasn't marked, there were four defenders in front of him but as usual they couldn't get off the ground!

Oh, and lay off Kone, he's not half bad, he had a decent game.

Graham Mockford
29 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:35:22
Brian #12

I was surprised when Leighton stopped taking penalties given his outstanding record but to be fair to Rom he has scored seven out of seven including friendly games, so I not quite sure what he needs to do to gain your confidence.

Phil Hoyle
30 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:40:31
@Dave #20

That is the positivity we need! My natural pessimism came to the fore there but the sentiment was meant to be a positive one.

Chris Wilson
31 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:30:43
Seriously, it seems like there are folks on these boards that are actually hoping that we lose just so they can say, "I was right about (fill in the blank)."

I share Everton's opening schedule with my Chelsea, Man Utd, and Arsenal friends and they all react the same which is something along the lines of, "Dear God, who did you guys piss off?"

We're gonna need to be positive and supportive of the boys in these first 10; especially since some of the key ones are at home. We already look light years better than at the same time last season.

Phil Hoyle
32 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:42:44
@Raymond #22

I also though Kone did ok today. I have not seen much of him but I thought he looked reasonable.

Phil Hoyle
33 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:44:27
Pleased to see positives comments on here. We all want to win the league but realistically, where we are today, that is never going to happen.

Qualifying for the Champions League would be like winning the league for me. Without huge investment, we are where we are.

To be honest I am not sure I want us to sell out. When we won the league in the '80s, we earned it with hard work. With the exception of Man Utd and Arsenal, what other team has not bought their success? (And please don't say Blackburn.)

Trevor Peers
34 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:41:00
Kone looks more comfortable in midfield, I can't remember him having a single shot. On the plus side, Lukaku always plays better with him in the team.
Gavin Johnson
35 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:50:25
I would have liked to have seen at least another goal from open play, considering our domination, particularly in the 2nd half.

I didn't recognise Kone at first, minus the blonde hair... He's not the answer! When he went down in the 2nd half, holding his knee I thought... "Here we go again!" At least if he was crocked again, Martinez would be forced to bring a striker in.

We need to bring in a quality striker like Austin or Pato, just for another option. Tbh, I would have liked to have seen Conor McAleny or Chris Long play today. In the case of McAleny, while he won't make the grade at Goodison, he would have offered more than Kone this afternoon.

Phil Hoyle
36 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:11:04
I am glad Martinez played Kone with Lukaku. I thought he did okay personally. My biggest crticism is Lukaku should have had 6. Still only 21, I know... but he really needs to start being more assured in front of goal. Let's hope he is getting his misses out of his system before the real games start.

Eddie Dunn
37 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:13:59
It was good to see two up top. Kone had a good game and showed surprising pace down the right wing late on and put in a good cross. I can't help thinking that a goal or two would improve him another 10%.

Cleverley is a tidy and intelligent player, and will add much-needed creativity to us. Great to see Baines back and even a cameo from our Bryan.

The team look a lot fitter than this time last season; let's hope we carry on like this and hit the ground running when Watford come to town.

Tom Dodds
39 Posted 26/07/2015 at 17:42:45
Like in skiing, you can focus and train on the nursery slopes which can be effective and helpful when taking on the more difficult ones...

[If you catch my drift.]

Sam Hoare
40 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:09:39
It seems the kids are getting less time than they have done in previous seasons. Maybe it's good to give the seniors more time together but then if McAleny etc don't get a decent chance to fit in now then when will they.

Good result though and glad to hear we are looking sharper than in previous pre-seasons.

Bill Farmer
41 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:15:42
Roberto talking on Sky about how good it's been "to have a chance to study our younger players," I have to say I didn't see many of them in action today but perhaps he was talking about what went on at Southport yesterday.

As far as today's game is concerned, I thought it was a good run out, as was the friendly at Swindon. The challenge facing RM and the boys is to take these performances into matches involving teams of far higher quality.

I want to be positive but am I allowed to question whether we have the quality and guile to match the early season opponents mentioned above?

Jay Harris
42 Posted 26/07/2015 at 18:42:14
Good second half, much improved Kone. Not sure if it was down to Hearts tiring or us growing in confidence but I'm sure we'll take it either way.

I haven't heard much or seen much of the kid Dowell but he seemed to do okay when he came on. Anybody know a bit more about him?

MotM for me was a toss-up between Mirallas and Ossie.

Amit Vithlani
43 Posted 26/07/2015 at 19:08:37
Difficult balancing act blooding youngsters whilst getting first-teamers fit. Given the first 10 games are so tough, I suspect the strategy this summer is to rack up game time for key players. However, I hope Conor McAleny gets more game time.
Stephen O'Donnell
47 Posted 26/07/2015 at 19:46:54
I thought the Toffees looked fit and sharp. It was really men v boys out there. Each and everyone I thought played well...

Anyone else notice Stonesy waving at the end? I hope he is not going anywhere...

Dave Williams
48 Posted 26/07/2015 at 19:55:49
Jay -- Dowell is rated as one of our best prospects. I didn't see the game but echo what Michael says above -- this is pre-season and the time to shake off some rust and get match sharp, not an occasion to go flat out and win at all costs.

If Lukaku scores 3 per game and misses several sitters to boot in every game this season I will settle for it. These games are different to watch for us because there is nothing riding on them so imagine how the players must feel. Not easy to be as mentally tuned in as when the season starts but it sounds like we are coming along fine to me.

We should all take note of what Ross said the other day about how he lost confidence last season and really get behind the boys this time out. Screaming abuse usually has a detrimental effect on a player and Ross (and others) need encouragement. Cleverley took abuse at Man Utd and failed to develop -- a new start here and he is looking a damn good player.

Let's give them all a chance!!

Paul Jeronovich
49 Posted 26/07/2015 at 20:25:13
Pre-season is about fitness. That has to go down as a good workout so hopefully the next couple games with give Lukaku more sharpness the fitter he gets. Best striker we've had for a while.
Dave Ganley
51 Posted 26/07/2015 at 20:20:09
To be honest, Phil (#27), in a perfect world, we would all like to build a team like we did in the '80s and win the title/cup that way. However, that world has long gone and to have any sustained success, having an open cheque book is the only way. Look at Manchester United now, since they failed to get into European places after Moyes, they have spent somewhere in the region of £250M to get back into the big time and Arsenal are starting to buy £40M players too. That's where we are at now, I'm afraid. If we ever have any pretensions of hitting the big time again, then selling out is a must.

As far as today's game goes, a decent run-out against a very poor team. We won, got another 90 minutes under our belt and, whisper it quietly but, actually created chances.

I am of the opinion that the first 10 games of the season are a blessing rather than a curse. It should mean that we have to hit the ground running from the first whistle and having hard games should help us rather than hinder.

To an extent, I understand the calling for pessimistic comments to be tempered as the season has not stared yet, however, we should not go overboard either. Last season's nightmare is still raw in everybody's mind and the only two meaningful pre-seasons games have been with Stoke and Arsenal, which were a snoozefest and a bit of a hiding, so I apologise sincerely to all for not having the optimistic outlook that others have at the moment. It's going to take a bit more than a win over Hearts to convince me that we are in much better shape than last season.

John Austin
52 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:08:07
I have been reading these posts every day for years and have been tempted but have never taken the plunge. But reading Phil @ 27 has made me register and get involved.

I agree with you Phil. We have to be realistic. We do not have a line of billionaires waiting to buy us. And we don't want just anybody with money owning EFC. If the right buyer comes along, great, but how likely is that? We have to do it the hard way.

We are not going to win the league under our current circumstances but, if we play to our potential, we can challenge the likes of Liverpool and Man Utd. A big ask but we have done it before.

Being realistic doesn't mean to say we can't be optimistic at the same time. It's certainly a big season for RM -- make or break.
Phil Hoyle
53 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:21:33
Dave -- I fully agree. What I struggle with is having a team like we do today where realistically we don't know what we will get -- hopefully a good season -- against a Man City scenario where a tonne load of mercenaries are shipped in / out and we win some trophy.

At this time I would prefer to build honestly with the hope that we achieve what we really all want... Yes, I am in dreamland... but that is the whole point!

Eddie Dunn
54 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:23:46
Dave, it is true that Hearts were very poor. I wonder about the quality of Scottish football -- this team looked less of a threat than Swindon. Very sad for those north of the wall.

Still, you can only beat what is put in front of you, so keep it up, Blueboys.

I would like to see two up front in the rest of our friendlies, as it obviously helps share the load, and fair play to Kone (who I have bashed as much as anyone), the lad put in a real shift, did well and showed a turn of pace. Perhaps he is now getting properly fit and we may see what Martinez saw in him.

John Malone
55 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:25:48
Trevor (#28),

Great point, mate. Lukaku looks a lot better with another big presence alongside him. The most important thing is Lukaku was getting chances!

John Keating
56 Posted 26/07/2015 at 21:28:44
I was at the game today with about 1,200 other Blues. Great to see Alex before kick off!

I still think our build-up play is slow and laborious. Barry is shocking.

Mirallas definitely MotM. Not only for the excellent work he did when on the ball but his off the-ball movement was particularly good.

Though he was only on for a short while, Naismith caused Hearts lots of problems just outside the area with lay-offs and flicks. The only midfielder we have that thinks of a forward ball before anything else is Darron Gibson who is unfortunately permanently injured; all the rest take the easy option of the square ball.

Martinez will be made up tonight having about 70% possession and hundreds of passes.

We still haven't started practising defending corners and free kicks -- bloody awful!

John Raftery
57 Posted 26/07/2015 at 22:56:39
Kieron Dowell is 17 and from Aughton. An attacking midfielder with an eye for goal he is a very good prospect. He is predominantly left footed but can shoot from distance with either foot. Neat on the ball, he was a regular with the under 21s last season and if he maintains his development could possibly be fast tracked into the first team squad later this season or more likely in 12 months time.
Raymond Fox
58 Posted 26/07/2015 at 23:04:43
John, I agree about Mirallas having a good game, but how you can say Barry was shocking I don't know, our TV commentators were considering him for Man of the Match.

As far as their goal was concerned, he was marked by at least 3 players, do the players have to be told to jump up in the air! As usual they appeared glued to the floor; big Dunc should be able to give them a tip or two.

Jack Cross
59 Posted 26/07/2015 at 23:24:09
Gavin Johnson. What are you going by when you say Conor McAleny, won't make the grade? It was only a couple of weeks ago he got MotM. Now, I know one game doesn't mean he will play like that indefinitely, but hey, let's give the lad a chance. He came through injury and yes he's 23, But I think he's good enough.

I can't make RM, out, he plays him gives him rave reviews and then leaves him on the bench. But there's always a place for Kone, who in my view isn't good enough. But to be fare he didn't play to bad today.

Let's be truthful, these game don't mean anything, they're just a warm up. Because, if they're more than that, we have problems.

Steven Higgott
60 Posted 26/07/2015 at 23:31:17
Well done to the lads for picking themselves up after the thrashing by Arsenal.

I see people are saying its make or break season for RM. I would like to know what every Evertonian would fell the least he would have to do this season for RM to keep his job?

6th 7th 8th because we are getting left behind in the transfer market and I think all the other clubs above us normally, are investing in quality players.

I hate to be negative before a ball is kicked but the truth is that 6th 7th or 8th is were we are and that's the best RM can get us so I think we have to get behind him this season you never know we might win a cup! Or there might be a few freaky results that maybe we might get back into the Europa league for the following season.
Gavin Johnson
61 Posted 26/07/2015 at 00:10:02
Jack - I don't think he will make the grade at Everton. I don't think we should get carried away after one good game against lower league opposition in a friendly. He's nearly 23 and he's not had regular footballer. He had a spell at Cardiff but couldn't make the side.

So on that evidence do you think he's going to become an Everton regular, Jack? I don't, when he can't get a game over Kone. I think McAleny should have been loaned out for a full season last year, and if he doesn't get a full season somewhere this year, he'll move on to a Championship club for a nominal fee.

Jack Cross
62 Posted 27/07/2015 at 00:32:57
Gavin. I just can't fathom what the young lads have to do to get a run in the side. He plays them and then drops them. Now that's going to do wonders for their confidence, isn't it?

Let's be truthful: RM bought Kone, so he as to justify his decision buying him. What does he see that we don't? We can't all be wrong can we?

And yes, Gavin, I rate McAleny. We will see.

Gavin Johnson
63 Posted 27/07/2015 at 00:49:28
I think McAleny's got a lot of potential and horrible luck, Jack. When he signed a new contact last season, I thought we'd have seen him coming off the bench on the odd occasion. But he played one game in a dead rubber fixture in the Europa.

He may as well have gone out on loan for a season to a club like Brentford (Chris Long did okay there). At least he'd have had some competitive football instead of sitting in the U21s.

I hope you're right, Jack. I just think age and circumstance are stacked against him doing anything in an Everton shirt.

Jack Cross
64 Posted 27/07/2015 at 00:59:54
Gavin. You do have point mate. It probably will be make or break for Conor, this season. I just think it's grossly unfair; give him a run, and if he doesn't cut it. I'll be the first to say to you, you were right mate.

If we had an abundance of strikers that were far superior to him, well I maybe would think differently but we don't. So put him in and see what he can do.

Ant Dwyer
65 Posted 27/07/2015 at 01:26:23
Great day for the Blues, Baines back along with oviedo and big Rom back in the goals.
Onwards and upwards.
Mark Andersson
66 Posted 26/07/2015 at 05:33:17
I'm happy to read the positive posts. I also agree that the opening 10 games is a blessing not a curse.

We seem to raise our game against the big boys and they never really like playing us.

I still think no matter what, Martinez's job is safe. He has a ready made excuse: "Sorry, Bill, we have the toughest opening in the history of football and you won't give me any money."

Bill replies: "But there's no more Wigan players left to buy."

Christopher Timmins
67 Posted 27/07/2015 at 07:19:11
One central defender, in not out, a number 10 and a striker as back up to Rom in the next 10 days please. Two of the spots mentioned above were priorities at the end of last season and to date all we have got is a free transfer and another winger.

Oh, good to see the injuries are returning just in time for big kick off, the back room fitness and medical team should take a bow.

I would take 7th place now given another summer of failure in the transfer market.

Dave Ganley
68 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:01:45
Phil (#43), yeah I get your point mate. If, and that is a big if, if we play to our potential and give the cup competitions the respect they deserve, then we could have a good run and maybe, just maybe, go all the way. And yes, that would mean much more than winning something with a tonne load of money. I can do dreamland too.

Steve (#50), I can live with finishing up 6th, 7th or 8th so long as the team gives its all and maximises its capabilities. I am well aware of where we are at and, to be honest, finishing in those places would represent a decent season. What will lose Martinez his job this season is if we witness the same style of football we had last season.

As much as football is all about winning, there has to be a degree of entertainment and that was sorely missing from last season. If Martinez can speed up the team by 100%, be able to play and compete for the full 90 minutes, then he shouldn't go far wrong in my eyes. If not, then his position should become untenable. I can not go through another season of gross underachievement like last year

Steve Carse
69 Posted 28/07/2015 at 13:56:28
Mixed views on Barry on here. Barry must see more of the ball than any other Everton player and I thought he did OK with it on Sunday. For the last half hour he slipped into a back three, in much the role he was given when he first came, and I think he played particularly well there.

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