Everton 2014-15: Not In The Face! (this time with Europa)

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ninjacornelius

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Knocked out of the Capital One Cup 3-0 to Swansea. Good riddance.

In happier news, Bryan Oviedo started the match. It was his first senior team exposure since breaking his leg in January. Too bad he plays the one position in the back four that Everton hasn't had to worry about yet this season.
 

ninjacornelius

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Highly entertaining Derby. Given that Liverpool looked consistently more dangerous, I can't complain with the result. The defense was night and day compared to Palace: Jagielka looked the best he has all season even before the wondergoal, Stones appears to have permanently replaced Distin, and Howard was back to his old self.
 
But because Everton can't have nice things, Mirallas' injury looks like it may sideline him for a while. McGeady was decent as a substitute, but none of the Naismith-Lukaku-Eto'o-McGeady combo looks like an obvious replacement on the left.. If Pienaar is fit next week, maybe we'll see a 4-3-2-1 with Naismith and McGeady behind Lukaku/Eto'o. If Pienaar's still out, who the hell knows?
 

mgoblue2

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Love you Jags. Oviedo would be an option as well. Browning looked good, maybe we can use him in Russia and save Coleman for the league game, think it's United.
 

ninjacornelius

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Media reports are that Mirallas will be out 4-6 weeks. It's a shame, because he's looked great so far this season. And for a player whose game is based so much on pace, it may be a while longer before he's 100% again.
 
Still, this isn't the worst possible time for an injury. The schedule through November 23: Man United (A) Aston Villa (H), Burnley (A), Swansea (H), Sunderland (A), West Ham (H). Those are some winnable fixtures. There are also two Europa League matches mixed in (Krasnador away, Lille home), but 4 points from those should put is in great shape.
 

mgoblue2

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Nice news about fans that went to Krasnodar getting free tickets to Lille. That game was poorly played at times and it's lucky that now they have an experienced guy like Eto'o to snatch a point here and there.

All to play for Sunday. Both teams need a win and Pienaar will be back in the lineup. Coleman and McCarthy will be game time decisions.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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mgoblue2 said:
Nice news about fans that went to Krasnodar getting free tickets to Lille. That game was poorly played at times and it's lucky that now they have an experienced guy like Eto'o to snatch a point here and there.

All to play for Sunday. Both teams need a win and Pienaar will be back in the lineup. Coleman and McCarthy will be game time decisions.
I've caught about half of your last two matches (against Krasnodar and Liverpool) and I have to say....John Stones is really, really good. I didn't see the hype when watching him earlier in the year - I think he might have been playing out of position at full back in at least one of those games I watched - but the light clearly turned on at some point recently. His positioning and reading of the game for a center back his age is superb, he has the physical tools (maybe not exceptional but certainly good enough), and he's very composed on the ball and can really pick a pass. Jagielka and Eto'o might have been the heroes, but I don't think you're in a position to snatch a point late in either of those game without Stones.
 

ninjacornelius

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mgoblue2 said:
All to play for Sunday. Both teams need a win and Pienaar will be back in the lineup. Coleman and McCarthy will be game time decisions.
 
I'm glad that Pienaar will be back, but the drop from Coleman to Hibbert/Browning is pretty vast.  If Coleman can't go, I'd like Browning to start to see what the youngster can do. Hibbert's a known quantity at this point, and I have little confidence that he can either slow down United's attack or provide the kind of offensive threat that Coleman can. Browning's raw, but he's got pace and potential. As for McCarthy, I guess maybe Besic to start and Gibson as a sub?
 
Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
I've caught about half of your last two matches (against Krasnodar and Liverpool) and I have to say....John Stones is really, really good. I didn't see the hype when watching him earlier in the year - I think he might have been playing out of position at full back in at least one of those games I watched - but the light clearly turned on at some point recently. His positioning and reading of the game for a center back his age is superb, he has the physical tools (maybe not exceptional but certainly good enough), and he's very composed on the ball and can really pick a pass. Jagielka and Eto'o might have been the heroes, but I don't think you're in a position to snatch a point late in either of those game without Stones.
 
Stones has been my MVP of the season so far. You're right that he's had to play RB a couple of times, which he's really not very good at, but at his natural CB position he's a stud and he pairs with Jagielka really well. Everton's defense has been a dumpster fire this season, but it's worth mentioning that when they've had their optimal back line on the pitch (Baines-Jags-Stones-Coleman) they've only conceded 1 goal.
 

mgoblue2

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Stones will probably be the next great English center back. He has very good positioning and midfielder worthy technique with the ball, only problem is he can't play right back. Hopefully Coleman is back, Hibbert playing in midweek may mean Roberto gives the start to Browning.
 

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mgoblue2 said:
Stones will probably be the next great English center back. He has very good positioning and midfielder worthy technique with the ball, only problem is he can't play right back. Hopefully Coleman is back, Hibbert playing in midweek may mean Roberto gives the start to Browning.
 
It's the best thing about Roberto - he doesn't seem to get fixated on jamming a round peg into a square hole; he just moves down the depth chart. Stones is good in the center, bad outside so Stones plays in the middle and Browning gets the call to backstop Coleman and Hibbert. 
 

ninjacornelius

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Ugh. Really not looking forward to seeing Sylvain Distin again.
 
Hopefully Barkley is back within the next couple of matches, because this team is woeful right now.
 

ninjacornelius

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Rumors are floating around that Distin hasn't been training for the past week, either of his own accord or because he's been banned. With Stones potentially out for a while, that'd leave Everton with two healthy CBs: Jags and Antolin fucking Alcaraz.
 

mgoblue2

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Besic plays CB, Browning could do it too in a pinch. Has Shane Duffy been loaned out?

Edit: piss off Shane Duffy
 

ninjacornelius

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I'm on my phone so don't have a link handy, but Martinez confirmed that Stones will require surgery on his ankle and will be out 10-14 weeks. The sheer number of injuries is approaching Arsenal level, but the quality of players currently out is something I honestly can't remember seeing: Barkley, Mirallas, Stones, Coleman, McCarthy... that's five of the seven best players on the team. Add Pienaar (who reinjured his leg) and Oviedo (who needs a screw removed from his surgically repaired leg) and this team is well and truly fucked right now.
 

allaboutthesox

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Barkley is back in training and Distin should be back in the line up after the International Break Martinez has stated recently.  While that is good news, it is still frustrating to see the team suffer so many injuries and only further adds to the misery of this weak start by Everton.  However, I am not that concerned to be quite honest with you.  I think that it gives players like Besic, Browning, Gibson (for how long till he is hurt again), and Atsu a chance to play and learn how Martinez runs his system.  This squad can handle these injuries and I fully expect a midseason push back towards the top.  It may even turn out beneficial for Everton that when some of the injured players come back and get back into form they may indeed be "fresh".  However, Martinez has to be very judicious in how he handles the remaining players as there are still Europa group games to be played.
 
Quick Hits:
 
1.  Move Lukaku back to the center.  (Yes Naismith scores goals, but Lukaku is more of a danger to opposing defenses when he is centrally located.)
2.  Everton need to get back to the basics of their possession game.  As of lately they seem to be possessing the ball less ( 51% Manchester United, 54% Krasnador, 54% Liverpool) and starting to play too many long balls or long passes.  I believe Everton was a top-3 team in possession.  The possession game sets up their offense.
3.  Play Browing more as he is young and physical in his play.  He is ready to play in the Premiership.
 

ninjacornelius

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An impressive game all around. Jagielka's confidence is sky high right now, and he's playing like it. Barry bossed the entire midfield. Baines and Coleman are so much fun to watch. And yes, Antolin Alcaraz put in a hell of a shift.
 
And then there was the return of Ross Barkley. I watched the match with a friend who's just getting into the sport and knew nothing about Everton. About a half hour in he turned to me and said "is that Channing Tatum looking guy the best player on the field?" Yes he is, pal. Yes he is.
 

jaba

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As a new Everton fan as of this season, I'm wondering how excited to get about watching Ross Barkley. Is it inevitable that he's moving on to a bigger club in the next couple windows?
 

ninjacornelius

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mhdousa said:
As a new Everton fan as of this season, I'm wondering how excited to get about watching Ross Barkley. Is it inevitable that he's moving on to a bigger club in the next couple windows?
 
Inevitable? No. Likely? I think it depends on a lot of factors. Can Everton stick in Europe for the next couple of years? Does Barkley believe in the club's long-term plan? Does he like playing for Martinez? Does he have deep-rooted loyalties from being brought up in Everton's academy? And from the club's perspective, what do they feel is his long-term value?
 
Personally, I'd be surprised if he moves next summer. I think he's more valuable to Everton at this point in his career than the price that any other big club would be willing to pay. The club's finances seem to be in order, so they shouldn't be under pressure to sell before Barkley reaches his maximum value. That being said, his current contract runs until 2018, and I would be shocked if he isn't moved before then. Luckily, if his career trajectory continues as it has, Everton could be looking at getting ridiculous money for him: how desperate would a team like Man City be for a 24 year old superstar who qualifies as a homegrown player?
 
Of course, Barkley could always want to get paid sooner rather than later and demand a transfer, which would make reading the tea leaves moot.
 

Arroyo Con Frijoles

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I'm likely to be in England for work next month, and I'm going to do what I can to swing that trip through Liverpool and catch the match against West Ham.  Having never been to Goodison (or any other stadium in England), where should I focus on sitting?  I've half-assed followed Everton since Joe-Max Moore went there from the Revs, now much more thanks to NBC, but this would be my first time seeing them in person.
 

mgoblue2

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Arroyo Con Frijoles said:
I'm likely to be in England for work next month, and I'm going to do what I can to swing that trip through Liverpool and catch the match against West Ham.  Having never been to Goodison (or any other stadium in England), where should I focus on sitting?  I've half-assed followed Everton since Joe-Max Moore went there from the Revs, now much more thanks to NBC, but this would be my first time seeing them in person.
Depends. If you want to sing and be serious the Gwladys is for you, a family version of the Gwladys is the Park End on the other side. There are a TON of obstructed view seats so be careful of sitting further back in the lower sections.
 

mgoblue2

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Real lack of creativity or edge against Swansea, who conceded a lot of the ball (at least for the way they play) and tried to counter. Barkley looked alright but Naismith had a bad day passing the ball. McGeady had his best game since Leicester but was still woeful, and Alcaraz's injury opens the door for Distin, who had been out of the 18 the last two league matches. Besic looked good after he came on, but my main gripe from this game was set pieces. Martinez seemingly never works on them and the delivery yesterday was horrible, I can't remember a single shot on target resulting directly from an attacking free kick or corner. What's more, there were 17 shots yesterday from Everton but only 3 on target. Hopefully the league form can improve lately, it seems as though Roberto is prioritizing the Europa League but once the CL teams parachute down it could be tough to make a deep run. Lille at home on Thursday, Sunderland away on Sunday lunchtime.
 

ninjacornelius

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The offensive gameplan was really odd -- Barkley-Naismith-McGeady and Eto'o up top seems OK on paper, but they all looked out of sorts. Barkley kept trying to force his way into the center from the left, leaving him occupying the same space as Naismith a lot of the time. McGeady kept pushing way out to the right touch line when he got the ball, forcing Coleman to make overlapping runs to McGeady's left into the box and being easily picked up by a defender. Eto'o had no idea where a service might come from, so he mostly hung out on the edge of the 18 yard box looking befuddled. And Naismith just had a lousy day all around.
 
There are reports that Mirallas might be back after the next international break, which should give the offense a) an alternate scoring threat and b) a more definite shape. Mirallas-Barkley-Naismith behind Lukaku/Eto'o would put everyone in a more natural position (except for Naismith, who's best in the middle but would still be better on the right than McGeady).
 

OCST

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Very nice against Lille.  Controlled throughout.  Can see things improving, esp. in the back.
 

mgoblue2

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Well thank goodness for Leighton Baines. Both center midfielders were hurt, you can't play Eto'o/Barkley/Lukaku together, and they need Mirallas back. Oh and Howard can't organize a wall.
 

mgoblue2

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Very happy with the EL draw considering there was the possibility of playing a Roma or Sevilla so early on.

Besic, McCarthy and Barkley are an excellent spine in the middle, it's hard to drop Naismith so it'll be interesting to see how to fit Lukaku, Naismith, Mirallas, and those three once McCarthy is healthy. Stones coming back should be a boost too. All in all, the league form could be better but a win at Saints could pick up the morale at Goodison and the fan base as well.

Edit: a left winger like Perisic or Volland wouldn't go amiss either.
 
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pfffffffffft.  
 
doesn't seem like Everton are going to have to worry about the stretched squad / extra schedule that comes with European soccer next year!
 

ninjacornelius

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As soon as I saw the lineup, I knew that Everton was doomed. The team has four players (Naismith, Eto'o, Lukaku, and Barkley) who only excel when playing in the middle. So what does Martinez do, as he's done time and again this season? He starts all of them, forcing two of them out wide and out of position which causes the entire offense to grind to a complete fucking halt. There was absolutely no composure or creativity in the final third.
 
If Barkley starts, he should start in the middle of the pitch, either as the #10 or as a central midfielder like he did against QPR. He should never, under any circumstances, play on the wing. If that sends Naismith to the bench, so be it. Either Eto'o or Lukaku should start, but not both and certainly not on the wing either. Pienaar is old and mediocre and McGeady is slightly less old and mediocre, but at least they're actual wingers. Neither of them even came on as a substitution, which is flabbergasting.
 
Everton just got embarrassed by a team that hadn't won in a month and was missing half of their starting XI. It's absolutely inexcusable. Yes, the injuries (especially to Mirallas) are hurting the team, but Martinez' lineups in response to these injuries is hurting them far, far worse.
 

mgoblue2

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Inexcusable both on the touch line and field. Hate to say it after such a good season last year but Barry doesn't deserve to start any game for a while. Stones was back and is probably the best ball playing defender in the squad but instead playing Distin who can't make a forward pass to save his life is beyond me. Not making a sub is similarly interesting, and I'd rather play Aiden MFing McGeady on the wings than put Barkley or Eto'o there. Barkley is probably better served back in central midfield while Naismith plays off of Rom, who didn't suck today. Barry and Baines were also dreadful for the third goal.
 

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Everton has continued its continous poor run of form as of late.  From watching todays game it appeared that in an effort to get back to ball possesion and passing more.  They passed the ball too much at times when they should have been shooting.  There was an opportunity for Barry to literally run into the ball and it would have been a goal and he tried to cross back across the mouth of the goal.  From the very direction the ball just came from.  Everton is suffering from a lack of confidence in front of the net right now and it showed with the various missed shots today.
 
Everton is in some luck as their schedule over the next few games is easy (if anything is easy for them now) and it may give them a chance to get back into form.  If I am Roberto Martinez I begin to get these team focused on trying to win the Europa League as I believe this years winner gets automatic entry into the Champions League.  The Europa League may be the only chance Everton has of getting this season to be a success.  I would be happy with a top 6 finish at this point right now.  I still think that Everton is headed in the right direction and have hit a bit of a doldrum, but Martinez has to navigate this very carefully.
 
In a side note, it appears Mirallas is pulling a Fellaini now.  He (Mirallas) has made statements about wanting to play Champions League football and wants to be with Everton but........LINk
 
Here is a quote:
 
 
He said: “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I want to play in the Champions League. Ideally I will do so with Everton.  But if that doesn’t appear possible we will have to look at the situation.  Let’s see how Everton react if we fail to qualify, and the same applies to myself. Discussions about a new contract have been going on since the summer. It is normal for them to take time."
 
If Mirallas can stay healthy and finish strong, Everton may/should look to sell high on him.
 

allaboutthesox

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Everton lose their 5th in a row and this is somewhat of a concern as some of the teams we have played are teams we should beat.  The next few games are as follows: West Ham, Manchester City, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Livercrap, and Chelsea.  Everton better find a way to find to break this slump or it could be a very brutal two months.
 
Not that this will happen, but I have to wonder if Everton should get relegated what the view of him as a manager would be.  I mean, we would be talking about a manager, who in the span of 3 years managed a team into relegation.  Just something to think about.  I think Everton will break this funk that they are in and finish the season strong.  I just can't really point a finger as to what is going on right now.  I think Martinez is still the man for the job, but I can't imagine how the stress level is rising at Goodison Park right now.
 

ninjacornelius

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Ahem, Everton's only lost four in a row, thank you very much. 13th place, 8 points out of 9th. Jesus.
 
But hey, the transfer window always breeds optimism. We're only two keepers, a CB, a CM, and two wingers away from turning this season around!
 

mgoblue2

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Finally this team shows some balls. Win against West Brom and there might finally be some optimism around.
 

OCST

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Mirallas just missed a penalty at 43'.  Wide.  Not even on frame.
 
Scoreless draw at the half.
 
To West Brom. At home.
 
Pffffft.
 

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To be fair this was going to be a tough tie on paper. Pullis came for a point. West Brom were well organised in terms of acheiving that aim. They defended deep, there wasn't much space for Everton to create and they are low on confidence and not playing great stuff going forwards. So with that in mind...I'm not shocked at the result. But missing a pen is kind of unforgiveable given where they are in their season...struggling. However if they had scored the pen there's everychance WEst Brom would have got an equaliser cos Everton do leak goals. SO i guess a clean sheet ain't bad, but then again West Brom showed very little going forward. I really like Martinez, most folk do, but I dunno, something ain't right.
 

mgoblue2

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One win in 13. Who was that win against, you ask? QPR.

I'm not in the Martinez Out camp mainly because there is no alternative. But this sucks a lot and there is no other way to explain it. Mirallas may be out the door, Barry has incriminating photos of everyone at the club, and the fans have turned on Barkley to the point where the most talented player on the team is scared to run five yards with the ball. Dire times.
 

PedroSpecialK

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I didn't understand Beić coming off for Koné when Barry was still out there and not doing a whole lot.

The Goodison faithful seemed rather peeved by the change as well
 

OCST

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Hold Chelsea to a standstill at Stamford Bridge, fighting uphill all the way.
 
Give up a goal at 89'.
 
Lose.
 
Fuck, man.
 

mgoblue2

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Gareth Barry may have jump started the season by having to miss the next two games. Worst thing Martinez has done as manager, signing him to a 3 year deal. And that includes continuing to play Ross Barkley on the wing.
 

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Barry was very good last season- I thought it was a solid move. He's been hot garbage most of the times I've seen him this year.
 
Barkley on the outside is criminal.
 

mgoblue2

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Gareth Barry actually playing well was the biggest shock of that match. And their goal would have been saved by Robles so I'm happy with the performance.
 

allaboutthesox

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Dummy Hoy said:
Barry was very good last season- I thought it was a solid move. He's been hot garbage most of the times I've seen him this year.
 
Barkley on the outside is criminal.
 
Barry was a very shrewd acquisition last season, but the 3 year deal was terrible.  And what only makes it look worse is that Besic is finding his feet in the BPL and now has to "sit" behind Barry.  As far as the match yesterday, I didn't see much of it so I cannot comment on the positioning of Howard and their goal, but from some of the replays I have seen, I am not sure anyone would have gotten that.  I am not sold on Joel (Robles) as the heir apparent, but he has definitely improved.  The question is, how long will he (Robles) wait to become the number 1 keeper.  Howard is there until 2018 and has stated he doesn't have any intention of leaving Everton.
 
Everton have an interesting schedule over the last 13 games of the season.  They will play eight teams that are in the top 10 of EPL (as of the date of this post), but three of those teams are within seven points of Everton (Stoke, Newcastle, and Swansea).  They will face two of those teams over the next four matches.  Everton will not make the Europa League this season so domestically they should be just looking to finish as high into the table as possible.  Their sole focus should be to advance as far as possible into the Europa League (hopefully win as they guarantees a CL spot for next year) to generate more revenue for this summer's transfer market.  To finish strong this year would be a very good thing going into year three of Martinez's tenure.
 

mgoblue2

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Gibson continues to progress after finally recovering, Lukaku is still scoring, and Europe at least has given us something to smile about. Not signing up Luke Garbutt would be criminal at the end of the season, he's ready to start for this team and Baines could be moved into a Lahm type role to accommodate him. Letting Garbutt walk for free is the worst case scenario.
 

allaboutthesox

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mgoblue2 said:
*looks up promotion candidates in League One*
 
I am fairly certain that I said we wouldn't get relegated earlier in the thread.  However, we are only 6 points clear of relegation and only 1 win in the last 12 BPL matches.  Wouldn't it be funny to see Everton win the Europa League but get relegated?  Almost like what Martinez did at Wigan. He won a trophy in the same year his team gets relegated.  I honestly don't think we will get relegated, but the heat under Martinez has to be immense right now.  I know it is only year two and I am more than willing to be patient, but this year Martinez has made several tactical errors (Barkley and Lukaku out wide sometimes) and it seems like he is over analyzing everything.
 
It doesn't make any sense to not have Lenon and Mirallas on the field at the same time.  Martinez seems content to not use the full width of the field and although Everton seems to win the possession game. But, if it doesn't lead to attacking the goal then what is the purpose of the possession.  IF, and I mean it is a big IF, Everton get relegated Martinez is gone, period.  Also, I almost would feel as if it would force there to be a fire sale at Everton with the likes of Coleman, Baines, Barkley, Lukaku, Mirallas, and others likely to leave the club.  It would be absolutely disasterous.  Let's not hope that happens and Everton can play well in the Europa League with games coming up against Kiev.
 
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