Walcott and Coleman inspire Blues to much-needed victory

Wednesday, 31 January, 2018 54comments  |  Jump to most recent
Everton 2 - 1 Leicester City

Seamus Coleman made a triumphant return from a shattered broken leg 10 months ago to put on a stellar 90-minute performance
Everton FC

Everton inflicted Leicester's first defeat for the year and registered a first win in 2018 of their own thanks to a brace by Theo Walcott.

The Blues' new £20m signing scored twice in the first half as Everton sparked into life following another lacklustre opening but profligacy by Oumar Niasse in front of goal at one end and a rash lapse by Wayne Rooney at the other combined to leave Sam Allardyce's side hanging on in the closing stages.

Niasse missed a sitter and then squandered a gilt-edged chance to make it 3-0 either side of Walcott's second but it was the penalty that Rooney conceded with 20 minutes to go that condemned the hitherto bouyant Goodison crowd to a nail-biting finale in which the Foxes twice struck the woodwork and had a shot cleared off the line.

Though Walcott grabbed the limelight with the all-important goals, the evening belonged to Seamus Coleman who made a triumphant return from a shattered broken leg 10 months ago to put in a stellar 90-minute performance.

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Allardyce made six alterations to the starting XI that started against West Bromwich Albion 10 days ago, dropping his other new signing, Cenk Tosun, to the bench in favour of Niasse, going against his stated opinion that Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson can't play in the same team by selecting them both in midfield, reinstating Tom Davies and Michael Keane, and handing Coleman a place despite the Irishman having only played 58 minutes for the Under-23s.

The changes appeared to have little effect on the performance in the early stages, however, with Everton lacking in both cohesion and direction and overly reliant on high and direct balls aimed at Niasse up front. They managed a rare shot on target early on when Walcott forced Kasper Schmeichel to push a bouncing shot wide but the tale of the first quarter of the contest was one of the home side's weakness defending set-pieces.

Harry Maguire lost Cuco Martina as a corner from the Leicester left was swung in but the Foxes' defender put a free header over the bar while Wilfred Ndidi came within inches of converting from a short corner routine but saw his header come back off the crossbar.

Everton began to settle, however, and when Martina pressured Ben Chilwell and the ball broke to Sigurdsson wide on the right, the Icelandic international cut it back to meet the run of Walcott who tucked a first-time shot inside the post to make it 1-0 with 24 minutes gone.

Niasse should have doubled the lead 12 minutes later, though. Sigurdsson popped up near the byline on the right-hand flank again after good work by Walcott and when his low centre was cleared by Daniel Amartey straight to Niasse, the striker had most of the goal to aim at but he shanked embarrassingly wide.

Walcott led the way again just two minutes later. Keane contested for Rooney's flighted ball into the box and his looping header fell invitingly for the former Arsenal forward who volleyed it back across Schmeichel and into the far corner.

2-0, the Blues were flying and when Leicester botched the subsequent restart, Niasse pounced on the loose ball but was let down by a heavy touch that carried it through to the goalkeeper when a one-on-one showdown would otherwise have been on with the Senegalese player in the clear.

Unfortunately, Everton's momentum did not carry through to the second half which became a much more even affair, even if the Blues, with Coleman, Davies and Walcott dangerous on the counter-attack, were still carrying the greater attacking threat.

Indeed, while his early touches betrayed a bit of rust, Coleman quickly settled back in like he had never been out and seemed to exhibit more intelligence and creativity than before his injury. He teased a number of crafty balls over the head of the fullback in front of him to open up chances, one of which Walcott dragged across goal on the hour mark in search of his hat-trick.

10 minutes later, the Irish skipper raced down the right on the overlap with another fitness-defying raid to collect Walcott's pass but his cross was too close to Schmeichel.

Though definitely in what was often a physical game played in soaking wet conditions, Leicester had largely struggled to make inroads into Everton's defence, with Keane and Jagielka forming a solid partnership at the back. No doubt hampered by the absence of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy had been non-existent as a threat for 70 minutes but he was gifted the chance to affect the game by Rooney.

The veteran was seen by referee Chris Kavanagh to have pulled Ndidi back in the box and Vardy sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way from the resulting spot kick to cut Everton's lead in half.

That triggered the inevitably nervy conclusion as the home side threatened to fall to pieces under renewed pressure from the visitors. They were saved by the woodwork in the 77th minute, however, as substitute Kalechi Iheanacho watched a deflected effort bounce off the bar before he rapped the rebound off the post.

Two minutes after that, Everton's back line threatened to buckle again when Chilwell's cross skidded through to Matty James but his shot was hacked out of the goalmouth to safety by Martina. And Pickford then flapped badly at successive crosses towards his six-yard box but escaped when Vardy curled well wide of his goal.

Allardyce turned belatedly to his bench with 10 minutes left to withdraw the increasingly ragged Rooney in favour of Morgan Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. And it was the young striker's presence that prompted Schmeichel into miscuing a punch of his own straight to Walcott but his shot from 25 yards was blocked on the line.

The resulting corner was swung right under Schmeichel's bar and his first clear again lacked distance but Keane spurned the chance to put the game to bed with a disappointing header. And Coleman missed a chance to cap a brilliant personal display with a goal in stoppage time but he opted to shoot with his right foot instead of his left and drove well wide after he had cut in from the flank.

Everton were able to see the game out, however, to collect three vital points that move them eight points clear of the relegation zone and just three wins shy of the 40-point mark that usually guarantees safety.

Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb match page

Reader Comments (54)

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Gerry Ring
1 Posted 01/02/2018 at 07:45:46
Typified what's been missing all season. Pride in the jersey and never-say-die attitude for the fans. It's no coincidence that our demise coincided with Coleman's injury. He is the benchmark for the others and won't accept mediocrity from his teammates. Welcome back Seamus, now it's time to take the Captain's armband, you deserve it!
John G Davies
2 Posted 01/02/2018 at 08:00:01
I love this kid and everything he stands for.
Jack Convery
3 Posted 01/02/2018 at 08:13:38
Gerry says it all.
Steve Cotton
4 Posted 01/02/2018 at 08:27:44
Credit also to Gana who tackled everything and Keane looked much better on the left... Martina also made good contribution. Rooney drove the midfield but gave it away cheaply a few times and pen was stupid.. also Davies put in a good shift
Rob Dolby
5 Posted 01/02/2018 at 08:36:47
It was probably our best team performance of the season. Everyone put a shift in, we closed them down in their own half more and should have put the game to bed before half time.

I am not saying it wasn't a pen but how many pens would be given in a game if the ref spotted every tug or pull. It gave them an undeserved chance to get back into the game.

Who drops out for Mangala?

Kunal Desai
6 Posted 01/02/2018 at 08:42:27
I liked the link up between Coleman and Walcott and even with Sigurdsson.
Next season we need to get in a creative midfielder and move Rooney on reduce his role to a sub.
Brian Williams
7 Posted 01/02/2018 at 08:43:19
.....................................And no sign of any attendance drop-off either!
Chris Gould
8 Posted 01/02/2018 at 09:12:40
An inspirational performance from Coleman which seemed to lift the team. How could any player fail to be motivated by the sight of Coleman putting in such a powerful performance?

Lyndon, let's give Martina the praise the guy deserves. Firstly, Martina didn't just pressurise Chilwell, he tackled him and created the opportunity for Sig to assist Walcott. And the shot that was 'hacked to safety' was blocked by Martina. That was 2 huge contributions in a very solid performance.
The kid gets so much abuse that he deserves to get recognition when he plays well.

I hope the physios are working on Coleman 24/7 until Saturday, but every muscle in his body will be aching this morning. With a fit Coleman, our right side looks deadly.

Tony Everan
9 Posted 01/02/2018 at 09:40:02
The win, Seamus, Walcott, Team spirit. This game is a turning point.

I agree with Kunal about Rooney, he is still class but sometimes a liability in midfield. As a squad / substitute player he can still serve the team long term.

Feeling more confident now than at any stage this season. Mangala will strengthen our defence, and Walcott will offer pace and threat away from home.

The Arsenal match could be interesting.

Tony Waring
10 Posted 01/02/2018 at 09:45:20
And talking of penalties a Leicester defender clearly manhandled Rooney and pushed him to the turf in their penalty area nothing given !
David Hallwood
11 Posted 01/02/2018 at 09:46:53
I must admit I was one of ‘they’re rushing Séamus back too early’ brigade. But In my own defence, in all the years I’ve been watching football I’ve never seen a player come back from a horrific injury and slot back like he’s never been away-match fitness? What’s that.

A truly inspirational performance from Séamus, who is up there with the irreplaceables. Great things to come from him and Theo.

Btw nobody should be having a go at Martina, he’s stuck to his task manfully and is even getting better. It’s the DoF that’s boilin me ‘ead. The comments about the shortcomings of DoF could be published in hardback so it is not worth rambling on about it, save to say they get a Spinal Tap 11 for complete ineptitude.

Brian Harrison
12 Posted 01/02/2018 at 09:54:27
I thought the first 70 minutes was a big improvement on our last few home performances, but all the frailties came back when Rooney gave away a needless penalty. I feared that Allardyce had made the same mistake as he did with Bolasie in bringing Coleman back to early. How wrong I was it was like he had never been away. He is in my opinion the best right back in the premiership and you can see his link up play with Walcott was great and will only get better.

Maybe the improvement was only playing 1 holding midfield player, also we defended 10 yards higher up the pitch than we have been doing. I have been critical of Michael Keane but for me that was his best game since he arrived at Goodison, looks like the player we bought from Burnley. Niasse as we all know has more rough edges than a 50p coin and should have put the game to bed with 2 excellent chances. But he never gives up and chases everything. I guess Tosun must be concerned after 10 days training with the team a man the manager doesnt fancy takes his place. Then just to make him feel worse Allardyce brought on DCL for the last 10 minutes instead of him.

Despite being very grateful for the 3 points and the improved performance I am still baffled by Allardyces decisions. Only a week or so ago he stated I cant play Rooney and Sigurdsson in the same team, but starts both last night. He seems reluctant to play his £27 million striker he bought just over a week ago. Brings Tom Davies back into the starting line up, but hasnt started him for a few games. I think the penny has dropped that Bolasie is not yet ready to start games. Keane again has been left out for a few weeks andis brought back alongside Jagielka. These constant changes cant be good for the players or team morale, seems the manager is no nearer knowing his best 11.

Also I read on the way home from the game that Allardyce said that agents of 5 of the squad for last nights game had contacted him to try and arrange loans for their players. Now why did Allardyce think that information needed to be in the public domain, and I think it just shows that many of his squad are looking elsewhere probably as they don'tlike Allardyces style of play or management.

So while delighted with the result it throws up more questions than answers.

Marco Conficoni
13 Posted 01/02/2018 at 09:58:25
please, Rooney on the bench, Sigurdsson in the middle
Shane Corcoran
14 Posted 01/02/2018 at 10:01:34
Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman says the reception he received from the Everton fans will live long in his memory after a man-of-the-match performance against Leicester in his first game for ten months.

Coleman had featured in an U23s game for the Toffees last week as he stepped up his recovery from a broken leg suffered against Wales back in March and was thrown in at the deep end for the 2-1 Premier League win over the Foxes at Goodison Park.

He told Ocean FM: afterwards: "It's great to get the kit on and be out there.

"I had to blank out a little bit of the reception I got because I needed to focus fully on the job at hand.

"Now that the game is done I can appreciate the response I got from the fans. It's a night I won't forget."

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
15 Posted 01/02/2018 at 10:03:47
Lyndon, I love this idea of saved by the bar.

So the ball is sneaking into the top part of the goal and the crossbar thought I am an Everton crossbar and suddenly I'll drop down 3" so the ball will hit me and not go into the net.

Yes, it is a popular jornalistic phrase but it is utter carp. It was not saved by the bar it was going a little bit over the goal, was not going to be a goal but struck the net support. We were not fortunate it was an inaccurate shot.

Sorry just a little wind up but life is happy this morning. Possible 1 win from safety, 35 points is guaranteed.

Ray Robinson
16 Posted 01/02/2018 at 10:11:09
Must agree with David #11. I was amazed at how Coleman slotted back in and how he lasted the full 90 minutes. In fact I thought it was a ridiculous decision by Allardyce - but it proved that sometimes the management really do know best.

Coleman's spirit was epitomised by the potential injury threatening tackle he made in the last minute - with no fear for his own protection. Not only that but be then sprinted with the ball the whole length of the pitch into the opposition box. It's players like Seamus that make me realise that all is not lost what sometimes appears to be a world of uncaring mercenaries.

Martin Reppion
17 Posted 01/02/2018 at 10:15:43
Some good balanced comments on here. What happened to the usual rants?

For me last night was a stepping stone. Rooney playing in a free role. Dropping deep to be alongside Gana when they had the ball. coming forward to create when we had it. Definitely his best role. Martina and Keane must have silenced some of the boo boys. Keane's header set up a goal and Martina was solid with the one outstanding block.
Walcott also laid to rest any doubts, and many had been expressed. I've been mocked for years for having him top of my shopping list.

But the new signing at Right Back was the highlight. If anyone is critical of the two wasted balls at the end of two lung busting runs in the second half they can sod off back under a rock. Seamus was unbelievable in his effort, his speed and his commitment. We have waited all season for someone or something to lift this place. He did it in the most gutsy 90 minutes I've ever witnessed. Hands up anyone who thought he'd play the whole match? Didn't think so.

Yes we got nervy at the end. That's the way this year has gone. But with Tosun kept fresh for Saturday (I assume) and Holgate and Kenny amongst those getting time to reflect on their development (for good reasons), I drove back over the Pennines last night in as positive mood as I've done for a while.

Shane Corcoran
18 Posted 01/02/2018 at 10:25:48
Phil #15, I agree with your pedanticism.

Also, saying a player "could've had a hat-trick tonight", as many say, is nonsense when the player didn't have one goal, never mind two. The chances to score the second wouldn't have arisen as they did, had an initial goal been scored.

Just spotted the Coleman banner. Well done whoever was responsible.

Jamie Evans
19 Posted 01/02/2018 at 11:12:29
Brian 7, there was by my seat. How much of that was due to the weather through I'm not sure.

Walcott will rightly receive a lot of plaudits but honourable mentions last night for Keane and Martina.

As for Seamus Coleman.


Words almost fail me but I'll give it a go.

We are proud to have you as 1 of our own and you really had absolutely no right to give us a performance like that.

Very, very memorable.

Brian Williams
20 Posted 01/02/2018 at 11:20:45
Jamie (#19).

I meant a drop off of any significance mate to be honest, as was forecast by somebody or other on here.

Over 38k there last night and anyone who decided not to go because of the weather will be gutted I reckon because it was worth it if only for one incident and that was when Seamie bombed down that right wing around the 92 minutes mark like he'd been out for one game with a cold.
Outstanding man!

John Clowes
21 Posted 01/02/2018 at 11:48:52
I'm hoping that with Coleman back, last night's result can be a catalyst for our season now. Seemed that having him back on the pitch inspired the team.

I'm just hoping we don't put too much pressure on the lad, especially after such a horror of an injury. I wouldn't be surprised if he is rested for this weekend's game.

Tony Hill
22 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:05:09
Martin (#17), you do not exaggerate about Coleman's performance. It was a great and soul-lifting thing to witness and I shall not forget it. I think it was Coleman's best ever for us, and one of the best for Everton by any player in my time of wacthing. Incredible in the context.

Let's hope it proves to be an inspirational moment for the club and team - it had that feel to it.

John Clowes
23 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:11:41
Following on from a previous comment about Allardyce mentioning about enquiries for five players from the squad, I wonder who the five were? I'm assuming Schneiderlin was one but who else? Niasse maybe? Maybe Davies or Calvert-Lewin?
Steve Ferns
24 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:17:59
Coleman did a lap of honour after the game. Never seen that for a bog standard game before. But he deserved it. And it meant so much to him, and to us.

One other thing, can we do something about our player chants?

Rooney, Rooney!
Oumar, Ourmar!
Theo, Theo!

I see a pattern and a lack of imagination and makes us look like morons. Surely, on last night's performance he deserves a decent chant.

Davies gave a much better performance, trying to force things, and boy did he run some miles.

John G Davies
25 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:19:21
Brian 21 it was forecast. And they were wrong.
Ian Burns
26 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:27:09
Last night on the live forum, I was critical of the line up and was even more critical of Allardyce bringing back Seamus far too early.

Humble pie for lunch is tasting very nice, just adding a little cream thinking of Seamus' outstanding performance.

Anthony Hawkins
27 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:30:16
The whole team's performance was much better than I've seen most of the season. The midfield still needs attention despite a stronger back four and striking unit.

Leicester consistently made passes that completely cut out the Everton midfield without challenge – that has to stop.

One step at a time!!

Martin Reppion
28 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:49:51
Steve (#24). You're right about some of the songs. The Seamus song ringing out last night is up there with the Mikel Arteta and Peter Reid efforts of days gone.

I remember Wembley 95 (Twice). All the Mancs sang was a long rave about a player who wasn't even on the field (Serving a long ban). In the August we taunted the Blackburn lot for not only having one song, but only one word: Shearer.

Some of the best songs these days start in the lower leagues (Griggs on Fire). Perhaps the smaller crowds mean you get heard more easily.

It may just be that nobody can think of a word that rhymes with Sigurdsson. And I'll campaign for an Ivor Novello award for anyone who can do something catchy with Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Steve Ferns
29 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:54:10
Someone should be able to come up with something for Calvert-Lewin easily.

Lewin rhymes with flew in. The goals flew in? the ball flew in?

Roger Helm
30 Posted 01/02/2018 at 12:59:01
I agree with Shane and Phil – a shot which hits the bar is the same as one that grazes the bar or one that narrowly misses – it is a shot off target.

Also I get irritated when a player hits a strong shot that misses and the brainless commentator says "He's hit that almost too well!" No he hasn't!

Jim Harrison
31 Posted 01/02/2018 at 15:26:59
Anthony (#27),

The problem of our midfield getting easily bypassed is one I have noted for some years now. Often teams seem to cut right through our centre.

Jay Harris
32 Posted 01/02/2018 at 15:32:46
No doubt Seamus and Walcott deserved all the plaudits but I have to give some credit to Sam Allardyce for setting the team up and drilling them in training. He has taken dogs abuse on here and accused of being a "park the bus" "hoofball" manager.

Well I think nobody could dispute the team and tactics were far from that last night.

Credit to all the management and players for the best performance in a long time against a side who have only conceded one goal in 2018 and not lost in 6 games.

John Clowes
33 Posted 01/02/2018 at 15:39:09
I also think you have to give him credit for playing Coleman as well. Seeing him on the pitch wouldn't have given a boost to just the fans, but to the players on the pitch too. I thought it was a crazy decision to play him but I'm enjoying eating this humble pie right now!
Andy Tudge
34 Posted 01/02/2018 at 15:43:29
Seamus – that was a performance that underlines his character, quality and sheer class.

Heart of a lion and balls of steel for that challenge at the end – nothing more to say really.

Tommy Carter
35 Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:00:10
I was truly gutted for Seamus for the injury he suffered, he was well and truly done by a fellow professional and he really did not deserve that.

Seamus is wholehearted, committed and aggressive without any malice to him. He recognises that this helps him to maximise his ability and that makes him a true professional. A true professional. He is one of very few winners that we have in this squad. And by that I mean he has a remarkable temperament and attitude. His loyalty to our club may be at the sacrifice of personal achievement, because he would have been from 2013 – present, an outstanding addition to any squad in the world.

Last night reminded me of his appearance against Spurs at home. It may have even been his first game for the club. He came off the bench in a game that looked lost to us and as the players looked like they didn't quite believe they could come from behind and outdo this Spurs side. Well those players followed in an amazing display of guts, determination and skill from Seamus. It was one of the best impact substitutions I think I've ever seen at Everton.

From thereon he took time to settle, with a season on the right hand side of midfield where he struggled to impose himself. It wasn't until 2012-13 that Moyes trusted him to perform at Right Back and he settled into that role very well, becoming arguably the best right back in the country from 2013 onwards.

What a guy!!!

Dave Roberts
36 Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:27:49
I can't say much more than has already been said above. This guy must be the greatest ever bargain in the history of football but even more importantly he typifies what every supporter of any football club has reason to expect of their club's players total honesty, endeavour and fucking guts.

The main reason why players often fail to return to their previous form after such injuries is psychological and this is quite reasonable. Feeling the bones of your leg break cannot be easy and it must be terrifying to think it could happen again. But this lad just went out there as if he had never been away and got stuck in. Despite being one of the best right-backs around for years who could have performed for just about any club, this lad (at least to my knowledge) has never angled for a move, never decided he's too good for Everton, never said he would like to play for a club that could give him Champions League Football or allowed his mother to consult a Voodoo shayman to help decide his future. In other words, never mind as a player, but as a man this lad is head and shoulders above some of the 'stars' we have parted company with in recent years.

I was at the game when he first appeared as a substitute against Spurs. 2-0 down midway through the second half and he changed the game when he came on and we salvaged a point. I remember him having an altercation with Crouch on the Bullens touchline when he reached up on his tiptoes and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck! I remember turning to my mate asking 'who is this kid?' He was raiding up and down the right sending in some lovely crosses from one of which we scored, he completely changed Spurs's shape that night and allowed us to get back in the game. I just love the guy.

Seamus, as far as I'm concerned you are up there with Alan Ball not only in terms of ability but also in terms of your commitment to this Football Club. Thank you. You really are and will forever be...an Everton LEGEND.

Steve Ferns
37 Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:34:25
Can any Irish lads let me know if there's a piece on the radio about Seamus Coleman and where I might be able to listen to it over the internet.

Some fella was interviewing Everton fans before the game and at half time, and he said it would be on local radio where Seamus is from in Donegal.

Terry Farrell
38 Posted 01/02/2018 at 16:49:20
We all love Seamus and what bottle this lad has! No tentative starts bombing forward taking men on and to be able to do it for the full game was truly outstanding. Everyone else put a full shift in and we played some great stuff.

I read the live forum when I got back last night and was disgusted with the negativity before a ball had been kicked! Same at the game – a "glass half-full" merchant near me with a face like a smacked arse.

Ajay Gopal
39 Posted 01/02/2018 at 17:30:22
It feels marvellous to have Séamus back in the team, I honestly did not expect him to make much impact this season, but happy to be wrong!

Rob Dolby (5): “Who drops out for Mangala”. It would be interesting to see Sam try a back 3 of Holgate, Keane and Mangala - young, fast and powerful and they would give us massive presence during set pieces. Coleman and Martina would be bombing up and down the flanks. So, I would drop Davies for Mangala:

Holgate Keane Mangala
Coleman Gueye Rooney Martina
Walcott Tosun

Bring in Davies/Baningime when Rooney is tiring. Niasse, Bolasie, Vlasic, and Calvert-Lewin the striking options from the bench.

Danny O'Neill
40 Posted 01/02/2018 at 17:45:48
I like the sound of a back 3, Ajay, and that is certainly young and powerful, although we can't use the phrase "fast" with Keane!!

That said, with decent, quick cover, at least the lad will have a chance to demonstrate his qualities more than when he was exposed playing alongside Williams and / or Jagielka.

Dave Speed
41 Posted 01/02/2018 at 17:48:56
The only thing that big Sam has said since he's been here that has stood up to scrutiny is, I think, "I'll only be bringing in about 3 players." So what?

Saying that Rooney and Sygi can't play together? Reverse psychology springs to mind. Both played their part in a goal.

Backing Cuco when he has stated that he needs a left back? If Walshie hasn't provided one then what else is he going to do (if Garbutt et al are not up to scratch)?

This site could have destroyed a lesser player than Cuco, and, lo and behold, he had probably his best game last night! Players and confidence, eh?

Danny O'Neill
42 Posted 01/02/2018 at 17:54:14
The most important thing about last night was seeing Seamus back. Everything about it is great.

Firstly, for him as a professional and human being to overcome such a setback in a relatively quick time. Secondly for Everton to have such a character and obvious future captain back in the fold.

Finally, in an era of the self driven, Sky TV fueled, financial motivated player, how refreshing to see a lad just so pleased to be on a field of play that he can burst down the wing in the 94th minute without his mind even giving thought to the the fact his body was probably hanging out of the proverbial!!

Old school mentality with a touch of modern class.

Iain Johnston
43 Posted 01/02/2018 at 18:03:11
Ajay (#39), I'd even try Garbutt at left-midfield rather than Martina.
Mike Powell
44 Posted 01/02/2018 at 18:13:01
Coleman was outstanding. Walcott was very good as well.

We are a much better team without Holgate, Kenny, Calvert-Lewin and Schneiderlin. These four have been holding us back.
Dermot Byrne
45 Posted 01/02/2018 at 18:18:00
In his own words:

“It felt brilliant to be out there. I am delighted to be back and to put the jersey on again. But most importantly, we got the win. That makes it all the better.

“I heard the songs. I did have to switch off from the excitement before the game. I’m so grateful for the reception that I got but I had a job to do and I wanted to make sure I played well.

“But now I can really appreciate it and the support I have had from day one from both Everton and Ireland fans – it is something I will always remember. It was just a very special night.

“I found out a couple of days ago from the manager [that I was starting]. I had been preparing for that moment for the last 10 months. The manager said at half-time to give them a nod when I started to fatigue, but I just told him there was no way I was going to get tired.

“He told me to use my head and be sensible but I’d been waiting 10 months so there was no chance I was going to tire - although I did blow up a little bit at the end!”


Chris Corn
46 Posted 01/02/2018 at 18:46:36
He's just class. He is our modern inspiration in the same mould as Cahill.
Si Cooper
47 Posted 01/02/2018 at 19:28:13
Ajay, as much of a trier as he has proved to be, I just can't see Cuco bombing down the left flank. He's simply not going to start getting to the byline and whipping crosses in with his left peg.

It seems harsh on the lad but he is still a square peg in that position and cannot really add anything to our attack on that side.

Dave Abrahams
48 Posted 01/02/2018 at 19:49:26
Mike (#44), I think you got one right out of the four you named.
James Hill
49 Posted 01/02/2018 at 00:01:17
I wonder how is supposed to figure out his best starting 11 if he doesn't make changes. He hasn't had the luxury of a preseason when surprise surprise all coaches make changes to figure out the style of play best suits the available players. This nonsense about constant changes is just getting stupid
Jim Harrison
51 Posted 02/02/2018 at 04:03:35
Mike 44

I would say 3 of those players did a sterling job getting us through a period where we were short on experienced first team players and should be applauded for their effort. The experience will hopefully hasten their development.

On player in the list is a seasoned pro who was bought to have an immediate effect and has so far this season fallen well below the required level.

In a sense you are right. All have been it of the level we need, but bunching all together is a bit harsh

Phil Lewis
52 Posted 02/02/2018 at 10:38:01
Coleman, awesome, amazing. Walcott, wow, fantastic. Martina's performance? Not far behind!

Let's give praise to the lad where it is due. He has come in for so much stick recently, that you would think he was solely responsible for our bad run. He is not a left-back, he is a right-footed player. It is an awful lot to ask of a player to perform on his wrong foot, especially at full-back. And unless you are a naturally two-footed player, you are quickly exposed.

As I have stated here before, back in the day we signed an England International right-back by the name of Keith Newton, a proven class act. Catterick played him at left-back, where he stunk and looked a fraction of what he was capable of. The memory never left me.

Martina is giving his all in a role that doesn't come naturally to him. Certain 'Stars' would refuse to play out of position for fear of looking bad but, give him his due, he has stuck to his task under massive pressure. He must be aware of the crowd on his back before he has even kicked a ball.

I thought he played very well against Leicester and his goalline clearance late on saved the night. So instead of continually slagging him off, let's see some real EFC support please and get behind the lad for once.

John Boon
53 Posted 02/02/2018 at 14:58:47
Completely agree with Phil (52). Seamus and Theo really did steal the show and deserve all the plaudits directed towards. However, Martina did really well against Leicester and his final goal-line clearance saved us two points. I remember Newton and it is far more difficult to have to play on the wrong side for a full back than it is for any other outside player.

Wingers and midfielders regularly switch positions because it often benefits them, and the team, to be able to cut inside. This is not the case with fullbacks. Martina goes about his difficult job doing the best he can and deserves praise when it is due. It is not his fault that our scouting team did such a lousy recruiting job.

I am sure there would be an outcry if Allardyce put Seamus on the left side, although I am sure he would do well almost anywhere on the field.

Peter Gorman
54 Posted 02/02/2018 at 15:11:19
Whenever I see Martina play I get very angry.

Not with Martina himself, he seems to be a quiet, inoffensive man and a solid professional. No, I get angry with Ronald Koeman who thought that he was ever good enough to play for the club.

In fairness to Cuco, as many more charitable TWers point out, it is not his fault he is not very good. And to be even more fair, he is at least not burdened with being not very good but also very expensive too – like certain other flops that arrived under Koeman.

I don't feel the need to curse him nor the need to crow when, like any other dog, he has his day. I just feel mildly anxious to see him leave to be replaced with a player more befitting a team that allegedly aspires to crack the top 4.

Does anybody else remember that? That aspiration? Seems so along ago, may have just been a dream.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
55 Posted 02/02/2018 at 22:00:12
I am surprised that nobody has taken Martina to task for his involvement in the first goal.

If he is supposed to playing left back then what is he doing making tackles near their penalty area on the right. No wonder he can't defend. No discipline

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