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An Old-Time FIFA Run - Everton

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Over the next few months I'm going to take one club and try my best to turn them into a dominant force in the game both in the league and competitions. With any luck the Champions League will have our name embedded in its surface a few times over. A favourite game of mine in my youth was FIFA. Having recently stumbled across my hidden collection of games it caught my eye and also gave me an idea. Despite the game being flawed in more ways than not the career mode provided me with hours of entertainment, thus driving me to start this.

My team has been decided by a random number generator. Must have been Cannabis on the other end as that team is none other than Everton.

To get a feel I'm starting on an older version of the game, namely FIFA 14. Also because I can't afford to get the latest version. This way I can also craft the squad with familiar players and hopefully make some better judgements of where this is going.

Without further ado here we go. The trawl begins.

Edited by Cure

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Role the clocks back. It's the 2013/2014 Premier League Season.

I intend to achieve a fairly reasonable first season at the club; a formidable run in the domestic competitions and a challenge for the Europa League places. Home-grown talent and consistent new prospects coming through the academy is something I aim to achieve in the long-run. Whatever is left following the summer window goes into building up a scouting network. With an initial £11 million to spend on players we start with less in the banks than Fulham and even Stoke. Swansea aren't far off.

With a few alterations of the formation and players this is the starting Everton team. It's relatively well-rounded and overall I'm happy. As always change is needed.

 

Howard

Baines   -   Jagielka   -   Heitinga   -   Coleman

Mirallas   -   Fellaini   -   Gibson

Barkley

Jelavić   -   Koné

 

Settling with a relatively safe 4-3-1-2 for now. In previous seasons with other teams I preferably settled with 4-1-2-1-2 and, should things turn bad initially, this could become the default. Scouring through the bench and reserves without playing a single game surplus players are already noticeable. To raise funds to inject into the academy this will be invaluable. Also going up for sale are Fellaini, Jelavić and Koné from the first team as I believe more suitable players are required in their positions plus the former should have a high return to reinvest. From the bench I'm hoping to clear the substitute keeper Joel away in place of a more experienced keeper. Howard is relatively old and could get injured and in order to challenge effectively I need someone with more weight behind them between the posts. Also going is Distin as he's surplus to my requirements and I don't like him as is Steven Pienaar.

My next post will encompass the results of our first friendlies, transfer developments and any alterations or findings in trying out the players on offer.

Edited by Cure

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An update on the progress with Everton.

Interest had been shown in Fellaini by numerous clubs but the right offer came from Arsenal in a very tasty £13.5m package. Jelavić secured a move away from Goodison Park with West Ham being his destination of choice for £3.5m. Shortly after the third game Koné secured a season-long loan to Werder Bremen. The unused striker Vellois also went away for the season to Fulham. Smaller players were sold on quickly by teams in the lower leagues. I've realised the board are stingy and won't grant large amounts of funds from transfers which is a shame but something I'll have to work around. I've been enquiring into a few players such as Qunicy Promes, Kevin Strootman and Darijo Srna. A couple of potentially game-changing signings are also in the works. I'll be sure to announce them if and when they come through. I attempted to sign Dries Mertens but unfortunately he's unavailable.

The friendlies were relatively well-played. I can't complain with most of the results. Weaknesses were definitely exposed. One player in particular proved his worth and will be my team captain: Leon Osman.

 

Game 1: Everton 1-2 Montpellier (h) (28/07/2013)
Mirallas '15 (pen, h)
Mounier '20, '88 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Mirallas, Fellaini, Gibson, Barkley, Jelavić, Koné.

For my first game I used the same team as in the above post. An embarrassing loss given that the team played well aside from Fellaini, who lost possession often and failing to impress. We led early through a penalty taken coolly by Mirallas but soon conceded to an Anthony Mounier counter. In the dying minutes of the game a very solid Mounier slotted home again with a finesse shot outside of the box. The team definitely needs changing for the next tie to avoid this sort of thing happening regularly.

 

Game 2: Juventus 2-2 Everton (a) (01/08/2013)
Coleman '73 (h) Naismith '82 (h)
Vidal '3 (a) Jagielka '45 (og, a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Oviedo, Naismith, Fellaini, Osman, Barkley, Anichebe, Koné.

To concede to Juventus in the early moments of the game following a relatively weak run from Arturo Vidal marked a real challenge. Following a number of consecutive dives and saves from Tim Howard a deflection from Oviedo landed in the feet of Jagielka who promptly moved forwards, tripping over the goalkeeper and nudging the rolling ball over the line with his head in stoppage time. Had Jakielka not intervened it would have rolled and been caught by the approaching defenders. The team fought back in resilience and goals from Coleman and Naismith saw us retreive a crucial draw. The stronger members of the team are starting to show themselves. A new transfer target has emerged in Asamoah. He performed very well for Juve and would strengthen the team quite a lot.

 

Game 3: Reims 1-2 Everton (a) (05/08/2013)
Barkley '28 (h) Koné '55 (h)
Ghilas '73 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Hibbert, Alcaraz, Baines, Mirallas, Gibson, Osman, Barkely, Anichebe, Koné.

Another fair show from the team and a deserved win. Prior to this game Barkley's efforts had been questionable but he scored and set up Koné for a tap-dash sprint to laughable challenges by the Reims defence. They pulled one back in the second half but on the whole looked a shadow of our players by the end. A pleasing victory and one which gives me confidence in light of the start of the season.

Edited by Cure

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The league has begun. An interesting set of fixtures in Norwich away and West Brom at home to start us off. Both fixtures were vastly different in terms of quality and perhaps suggest what not to try.

 

Game 4: Norwich 3-1 Everton (a) (17/08/2013)                                                                                      Anichebe '86 (h)                                                                                                                                                 Tettey '24 (a) Elmander '55, '70 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Alcaraz, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Gueye, Barkley, Anichebe, McAleny.

Shambolic performance all around. With regulars Mirallas and Gibson injured and a certain new signing yet to make his way over the team looked incomplete before the start. Some sitters were missed and the defenders were mauled by Beechio and Elmander. The team shot three times and scored three times. An Anichebe goal failed to take us anywhere and given results elsewhere we're spending our first week hovering above the relegation spots.


Game 5: Everton 2-0 West Brom (h) (25/08/2013)
Lukaku '2 (h) Anichebe '48 (h)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Gibson, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

Making their debut in this game the presence of Promes and Lukaku lit the team on fire. West Brom looked like we did in the previous game. The new signings capitalised on the opportunities and with the help of Osman in particular the two strikers were able to slot home and bring back the well-deserved three points. West Brom have just been purchased by investors so I'm expecting our next fiixture to be tough should they spend well in the remainder of the window and beyond. They just snapped up Pablo Zabaleta and Mauro Icardi so could easily have a good run this season.

Edited by Cure

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Another update from the Everton boardroom.
Transfer deadline day is now over. Overall the window was prosperous, bringing in new players and seeing more go in the opposite direction. Deals for Kevin Strootman, Dries Mertens, Geoffrey Kondognia, Jordi Alba and Joel Matip were all unsuccessful. Asamoah proved too expensive with Juventus asking for £24m minimum.

Multiple bids came in for players I currently have no interest in selling. Teams from the Bundesliga showed an interest in Heitinga with Wolfsburg willing to pay up to £8m for him. West Brom came calling for Jagielka and were persistent. After the mishap in the friendly against Juventus and mediocre performances in the others I considered it but passed. Arsenal attempted to sign Tim Howard as did Fulham. Leighton Baines could easily have switched to Barcelona but for what he's worth to the team finding a replacement of the same quality would drain my funds. Against my intentions Steven Pienaar remains at the club due to the bids from Schalke, Wolfsburg and Liverpool of all places being too low. One prospect I did find at one of these clubs was Leon Goretzka. At eighteen years old and with great potential he could crucial in the future of a successful Everton. Depending on our form with the new midfielders he could be the main target in January.

 

Overall the squad looks stronger and will hopefully deliver some good results to set the ball rolling.

 

IN
Carlo Cudicini (LA Galaxy - Free) Earlier I stated a back-up keeper with experience would be better than the current option of Joel. Bring forward the ageing yet free Cudicini. Hopefully he's strong enough to fend off threats should anythin hold back Howard.
Qunicy Promes (Twente - £2.2m) Young and fast. After one game it's clear this was a steal.
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea - £9m) Recommended and approved. Were Chelsea really going to use him? Probably not and if so not often enough.
Souleymane Diawara (Marseille - £400k) Experienced back-up for defence in case of an injury.
Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace - £2.6m) Whilst searching for wingers I stumbled across him. Having proven himself strong over the years I feel that at this early stage Bolasie can bring something to us.
Yaya Banana (Sochaux - £900k) A cheap young defender who could hopefully get some action.

 

OUT
Apostolos Vellios (Fulham - Loan) Could be used in the future.
Arouna Koné (Werder Bremen - Loan) I'd intended to sell him on prior to the pre-season friendlies but after proving his worth and showing consistently good performances I decided a loan would be better.
Hallam Hope (Kilmarnock - £180k) Nothing to add here.
John Lundstram (Patrick Thistle - £80k) Nothing to add here.
John Stones (Millwall - Loan) Doesn't have a place near the first team right now nor does he fill me with much confidence. Championship football will build him up.
Marouane Fellaini (Arsenal - £13.5m) Utter shite in the first two friendlies. Manchester United came calling initially but were unprepared to pay up. Arsenal came in with a bid far greater than his value and off he went. These funds were immediately reinvested and spent on Lukaku and Promes.
Mayage Gueye (Southampton - Loan) I want to see more of him next season but for now at least Gueye needs more first-team football than he'd get if he stayed.
Nikica Jelavić (West Ham - £3.5m) Became surplus to requirements amidst the arrival of Lukaku.
Tyias Browning (Stevenage - £50k) Nothing to add here.

Edited by Cure

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September 2013. The team is looking fairly different to the one I started with. Still suited to the 4-3-1-2 formation and with changes to the team in every game a definitive line-up is starting to emerge. Our run in the League Cup started relatively well with weak yet surprisingly pushy opponents. New signings Bolasie and Promes have been outstanding whilst Yaya Banana has been solid. Diawara's experience has formed a formidable partnership with club veteran Jagielka who, despite his place in the team, appears to be struggling to keep up with my other options. Following the January transfer window I expect to produce a team roster although this probably won't include stats at least for the first season with Everton. Despite the new signings we remain relatively unchanged and aren't firing often enough to break our way into the top spots. Still early days but there's clearly room for improvement.


Game 6: Everton 1-0 Crewe Alexandra (h) (03/09/2013) (League Cup Second Round)
Promes '27 (h)

Team: Cudicini, Hibbert, Banana, Diawara, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Gibson, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

A perfect opportunity to rest some key players and introduce players for their club debut. Of the debutants Diawara looked solid as did Cudicini. In comparison Banana looked out of place, hopefully not a sign that he was a bad signing for us. Crewe had few chances but could easily have taken this into extra time. From a lower league side they did remarkably well and a draw would've been reasonable. All in all an unremarkable effort from Quincy Promes gave us the lead following which fuck all happened to say the least.

 

Game 7: Everton 0-1 Chelsea (h) (15/09/2013)
Willian '44 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Diawara, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku.

An expected loss although the way the defence held off the likes of Ramires and Oscar was commendable. Osman is a fine captain and a rock in midfield, fully deserving of his place in the starting eleven. Barkley was noticeably awful and in many way reminded me of the midfielders in the friendly game against Reims à la weak. A couple of strong attempts came from Bolasie but overall nothing materialised and the better side emerged with the win.

 

Game 8: Cardiff 1-1 Everton (a) (18/09/2013)
Lukaku '38 (h)                                                                                                                                                     Hélder Barbosa '21 (a)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Banana, Alcaraz, Oviedo, Mirallas, Gibson, Osman, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku.

A solid yet unremarkable performance. Alcaraz failed to impress having conceeded an early goal to - shortly before Lukaku fired home with a close-range tap past their new signing Lukasz Fabianski. Overall the defence felt relatively weak. Barkley again failed to shine and is very much in danger of losing his place to Promes on a regular basis.

 

Game 9: West Ham 0-0 Everton (a) (21/09/2013)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Alcaraz, Diawara, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Gibson, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

Aside from the scoreline this game was anything but uneventful. Promes was unlucky to not score having fired a thirty-yard screamer past Adrián only to be called offside shortly after. Gibson and Anichebe also had numerous chances with both firing slightly wide. In the most unfortunate twist so far this campaign the in-form Modibo Maïga, a striker who I considered signing in the summer, caused injury to both Diawara and Coleman, both suffering from ligament damage. They'll be on the sidelines for at least a month. To add insult to injury Alcaraz fouled our former striker Jelavić a few yards from goal resulting in a red card and an unsuccessful penalty attempt from Mark Noble duly saved by Howard. This means the defence is now restricted to a handful of players. Luckily our next game should be an easy win on paper.

 

Game 10: Blackpool 1-2 Everton (a) (24/09/2013) (League Cup Third Round)
Bolasie '66 (h) Lukaku '90 (pen, h)
Chopra '77 (a)

Team: Cudicini, Hibbert, Banana, Heitinga, Oviedo, Pienaar, Naismith, Osman, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku.

A nice win sending us further along in our first domestic competition. Pienaar put in a nice performance but probably won't become a regular starter. After a third chance Barkley still failed to make an impact. The most poignant moment of the game came when a disgusting slide following a corner deservedly saw a red card for Cathcart but injured Heitinga, perhaps our most reliable defender, very badly. Post-match I found a broken leg means the Dutchman is out of the picture for four months. An awful waste. Our opponents in the Round of 16 are Wigan so I'd expect a win there too.

 

Game 11: Everton 2-1 Newcastle (h) (28/09/2013)
Anichebe '47 (h) Baines '50 (h)
Cabaye '88 (a)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Banana, Oviedo, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Gibson, Promes, Bolasie, Anichebe.

A win but an eye-opener nonetheless. The defence was noticeably constrained with few players to incorporate into the back four. Banana came into his own at last but the star player was Bolasie, yet again proving to be a steal from Crystal Palace. The goals were deserved and the late conception of a Cabaye effort shouldn't cause us too much trouble in the table.

 

------------------------------------------------------------
The results were fairly unspectacular and nothing to write home about. Already I'm considering cashing in on Jagielka to an unsuspecting team as he's valued around £5m as of now. Barkley would benefit from going out on loan as he's not been great.

With some remaining funds from the transfer window I've hired three scouts and sent them across Europe to find players for the academy. Given our current situation at the back and my goal of incorporating new young prospects into the club this seems like the ideal time to begin operations. Any interesting developments in the Everton Academy will be reported as will any promotions.

Edited by Cure

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Just a quick update before the next games.

Subject to the latest injuries I've crafted a strong and dependable Everton side. With a few adjustments in places this will likely become the regular Starting XI for this season. Following the win at Newcastle I changed the formation from 4-3-1-2 to a reliable 3-5-2. The team, subject to the recent injuries, will look like this until January in the majority of our upcoming games. Hopefully we can build upon our last win and go on a good run in the league.

 

Howard

Baines  -   Banana   -   Hibbert

Gibson   -   Osman

Bolasie      -      Mirallas

Promes

Anichebe   -   Lukaku

Edited by Cure

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18 minutes ago, Bluebird Hewitt said:

Yaya Banana's not a real player surely? xD

The player is down as Yaya Banana. A quick search reveals he's actually called Banana Yaya. I don't know which is worse. He's been capped by Cameroon a couple of times in real life but yes he's real.

He's been decent in my team and for just shy of a million I'm not complaining. He'll be a regular feature in the team for a while as I've got four defenders out for a while. Luckily I'll have Coleman and Diawara back sooner than I'd expected so it shouldn't be too bad. I have two games in the next three weeks of game-time so that's plenty of time for them to recover.

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The October fixtures are in this latest update. Some very pleasing displays from the team especially in the latter game against City. We've looked very strong and our goalscoring ability seems to have increased. These reports are fairly long as so much happened in the games. The scores have pushed us up to in the league.

 

Game 12: Everton 3-1 Hull (h) (03/10/2013)
Baines '31 (h) Osman '35 (pen, h) Lukaku '72 (h)
Jagielka '58 (og, a)

Team: Cudicini, Hibbert, Banana, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Bolasie, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

A convincing win saw the team above feature with the exception of Tim Howard, resting for the next fixture. Baines brought us up and a coolly taken penalty by captain Osman set us up for a comfortable win. Now a sporadic starter, Jagielka had previously been in poor form but now he just looks stale. This is the reason he wasn't make starts for the team. To add insult to injure he cost us a clean sheet by heading a harmless corner into the net past Cudicini instead of clearing it. His newly-acquired torn groin injury doesn't help our crisis in defence but we should manage to cope without him. He may be on his way out of Everton sooner than expected. Lukaku sweetened the deal and proved his worth by taking out a few aerial threats set to land at the feet of their top goalscorer Aaron Hunt.

 

Game 13: Man City 3-5 Everton (a) (06/10/2013)
Lukaku '22 (h) Bolasie '32 (h) Gibson '60 (h) Mirallas '62 (h) Hibbert '65 (h)
Lewandowski '19 (a) Kolarov '36 (a) Dzeko '59 (a)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Banana, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Bolasie, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

The most impressive outing so far this season. An expected draw or loss turned into an eight-goal thriller with eight different goalscorers. Their new signing and dominant force in the league Lewandowski headed home before Lukaku skilled his way past Clichy and broke away from Hart to equalise. Proving to be an aerial threat Bolasie brought us ahead before a free-kick courtesy of a Mirallas foul found its way in. Dzeko converted but an immediate counter saw Gibson, Mirallas and of all people Tony Hibbert slot home from various angles to gain a notorious win against the team at the top. This formation appears to be more suited to this current team and with some tweaking keeping the three defenders at the back a inning combination could emerge. Results like this are crucial to attain the high finish we need. Even if we make the Europa League it's a start. I aim to take us higher still and reckon we could stay where we are of go slightly higher by the time the first season comes to a close.

 

Game 14: Aston Villa 0-6 Everton (a) (26/10/2013)
Anichebe '9, '27 (h) Bolasie '48 (pen, h) Osman '55 (h) Hibbert '60 (h) Mirallas '81 (h)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Diawara, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Bolasie, Promes, Lukaku, Anichebe.

A cakewalk proving why Villa are glued to the bottom of the table as of this game. N'Zogbia was a joke and Bannan seemed to be the only player working for them. Having signed Ruddy from Norwich shortly after our loss to them at the start of the season they've conceded goal after goal. An early Anichebe brace secured the win and everything else was a bonus. Hibbert scored yet again this time with a finesse shot from outside of the box. He is proving to be a very valuable asset to the club both defensively and when on the counter.

 

Game 15: Everton 2-0 Wigan (h) (29/10/2013) (League Cup Round Of 16)
Lukaku '5 (h) Oviedo '68 (h)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Banana, Baines, Osman, Oviedo, Naismith, Bolasie, Barkley, Lukaku, Anichebe.

In our fifth straight win our defence looked convincing as did the midfielder. Even Barkley managed to contribute through setting up Oviedo after his shot ricocheted from the crossbar. Aside from that another consistent performance from Lukaku and Anichebe has increased my faith in this team. We don't need as much work in the next transfer window as I'd thought.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

October has been our best month so far. It's easy to say that this early in but it really has been impressive. Considering a month ago we were having a relatively poor start to make it to fourth in the league and winning by comfortable margins I can say I'm more than happy with the current situation. With regards to the academy there have been relatively few findings so far with none being particularly great. Current investments stand at just over £4.5m which means we have just under £2m in our January fund. The sales of Pienaar, Jagielka and Distin should make room for more new entrants. In the next few months I expect to see a couple of prospects coming through into the team roster. The team roster will be submitted following the end of the January transfer window as previously promised.

Edited by Cure

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A special match report of our first major derby with rivals Liverpool at Goodison Park.

 

Game 16: Everton 4-2 Liverpool (h) (02/11/2013)                                                                                  Jagielka '29 (h) Lukaku '43 (h) Bolasie '72, '81 (h)                                                                                           Agger '58 (a) Benzema '86 (a, pen)

Everton XI: Cudicini, Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Mirallas, Pienaar, Promes, Lukaku, Bolasie.

Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Agger, Shawcross, Höwedes, Rami, Lucas Lieva, Reus, Henderson, Gerrard, Benzema, Suárez.


A firm victory and morale-boosting game the Everton team are currently looking very strong. Prior to the start of the fixture Liverpool had moved into first in a top six separated by just two points. Early on in the game Carlo Cudicini, in place of the sidelined Howard, saved a Gerrard penalty conceded by a careless foul by Kevin Mirallas. Numerous attempts by the Liverpool midfield to close in on goal were stopped by the defiant duo of Naismith and Osman before a run down the flank from Bolasie ended in a strike deflected by Mignolet for a corner. With sporadic starter Pienaar delivering the ball Phil Jagielka head the ball past the keeper to give us the lead. Following a yellow card to Shawcross for a foul on Lukaku he scored a screamer of a free kick. Prior to the end of the first half a successful attempt on goal by Suárez was ruled offside by the linesman allowing us to enter the second half feeling confident.

 

An untimely tackle from Benedikt Höwedes caught the heel of Quincy Promes ruling him ineligible for the upcoming fixture against Tottenham. A change in formation to 4-3-1-2 saw Diawara come from the bench to bolster the defence but despite this the defiant Daniel Agger tapped the ball under Cudicini after a respectable push forward by the opposition. Attempts on goal by Suárez and Reus nearly drew Liverpool level and for some time this looked likely. Arguably our star player at the moment, Bolasie received the ball from a ricocheted effort by Lukaku and volleyed over Mignolet to secure a safe lead. Less than ten minutes later Bolasie converted a set-piece from the edge of the box and with the help of the rest of team nearly secured the first hat-trick of any Everton player this season. With four goals in the last four games he is likely to be the team's top goalscorer by the end of the campaign. In the dying minutes a foul by Naismith saw the first of two red cards in the game and resulted in Benzema slotting a penalty down the centre. In stoppage time Jagielka performed a slide tackle on the side of Suárez, injuring him and earning a suspension for the next game. The final whistle blew and we won in a closely contested game. Saying we won deservedly would sound big-headed. They were the better team in terms of gameplay and we were lucky to come away with what we did.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

With losses at seventh-place West Brom, eighth-place Southampton and ninth-place Arsenal the top six is eight points adrift from the rest of the pack. Although few league games have been played if it continues this way we have all but qualified for the Europa League. Liverpool are now in fifth and we sit in third place due to goal difference behind the two Manchester clubs. Overall the players shone and further enforced my belief that we can make it into Europe with ease.

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The latest fixtures are in. We currently reside in fifth place between Tottenham and Liverpool. Following the change in formation halfway through our fixture against Liverpool the next game saw a return of the 3-5-2 under which we'd been fairly successful. We seem to have returned to mediocracy and I'm really considering recalling Vellios from his loan spell at Fulham to bolster my attacking options.

 

Game 17: Everton 0-0 Tottenham (h) (09/11/2013)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Banana, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Bolasie, Barkley, Anichebe, Lukaku.

A goalless draw against Spurs is better than it sounds. A game of many bookings. Of the eleven players who started six received yellow cards and Banana saw red having accumulated two. It was a case of digging our heels into the ground and playing defensively and with caution. We had few shots and when we did Vertonghen or Walker would quickly feed it back down the wings to strong attackers. Had it not been for the offside flag we'd have lost twice over. After a break on the sidelines recovering for a damaged tailbone injury Barkley is looking a lot strong. I'm really starting to question Banana as he struggled to make runs and completely failed to hold the opposition back in this game and didn't make a great impression during his last appearance either.

 

Game 18: Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton (a) (12/11/2013)
Bolasie '74 (h)
Jagielka '11 (og, a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Naismith, Bolasie, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

In all honestly why is Jagielka always in the wrong place during set-pieces? An early own goal by the defender placed Palace ahead and we struggled to find our footing. A point was salvaged thanks to their former player Bolasie who scored from close range, this time with an overhead bicycle kick. Should have been a win against a side who have struggled to maintain a consistent form and are lingering just above the relegation zone. Howard is injured for two weeks which doesn't affect us at all due to a change in our schedule as a result of the League Cup. We're set to face Scunthorpe for those interested.

 

Game 19: Everton 1-0 Stoke (h) (30/11/2013)
Barkley '51 (pen, h)

Team: Cudicini, Coleman, Diawara, Oviedo, Naismith, Gibson, Pienaar, Osman, Barkley, Anichebe, McAleny.

It took a penalty from Ross Barkley to bring this mediocre tie to fruition. Fielding some of the players who don't get many chances from the few options I have it's clear why some haven't been called up more often. Pienaar was awful and Oviedo saw a straight red for absolutely destroying Cameron Jerome whilst McAleny put in a performance which would suit Arsenal's current playing style perfectly. We were lucky Stoke didn't pull through or we could have lost momentum at the top and risked losing momentum. More options are needed at the club for us to consistently push forward.

Edited by Cure

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December provided some decent shows and an upset. Our form has been imporving and now our defenders have started coming back we should really step up and maintain our pursuit of the title. The teams are still only seperated by a few points so winning is crucial. We can't afford to lose ground now.

 

Game 20: Everton 2-0 Scunthorpe (h) (03/12/2013) (League Cup Quarter Final)

Lukaku '50 (h) Alcaraz '56 (h)

Team: Cudicini, Alcaraz, Banana, Oviedo, Naismith, Osman, Mirallas, Bolasie, Barkley, Promes, Lukaku.

A simple win over a fairly solid team. Despite the differences in quality Scunthorpe pushed hard and winning wasn't as easy as the scoreline suggests. An out-of-position Promes weaved through the Irons' defence before back-heeling to Lukaku to gift us the lead before a corner kick met Alcaraz who nodded the ball into the net to secure the win. Two goals see us through to the semi-finals where we face Arsenal. It should he easy but I wouldn't put money on it considering they've knocked out Chelsea.

 

Game 21: Man United 2-3 Everton (a) (06/12/2013)

Lukaku '2, '35, '75 (h)

Evra '42 (a) Rooney '69 (pen, a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Diawara, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Promes, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku.

Our first hat-trick of the season came from Romelu Lukaku to earn us a great win against our main contenders for the title. An Evra header went in and a Rooney penalty weren't enough to deprive us of a well-fought battle. Two assists from Bolasie and a Mirallas one-two led to some amazing touches from Lukaku. We dominated and deservedly came away with the win.

 

Game 22: Everton 3-2 Fulham (h) (14/12/2013)

Bolasie '29 (h) Gibson '49 (h) Lukaku '66 (h)

Vellios '6, '83 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Gibson, Barkley, Promes, Bolasie, Lukaku.

A trip to Fulham provided us with insight into the future of our attacking line-up. Since joining our opponents on a season-long loan Vellios has been in the top ten scorers since September. Here he added another two to his name, walking past Osman and through the defence to scored early and again later with a clean finesse shot. We fought back valiantly. Bolasie opened the scoring through a free-kick conceded at the expense of Anichebe picking up an injury through which became ineligible for the tie at the Emirates. Further goals by Gibson and Lukaku made Fulham retract and despite an attempt to push forward at the end couldn't do enough. Three points well earned.

 

Game 23: Arsenal 2-2 Everton (a) (18/12/2013)

Lukaku '30 (h) Diawara '89 (h)

Flamini '18 (a) Walcott '25 (a)

Team: Howard, Alcaraz, Diawara, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Barkley, Promes, Bolasie, Lukaku.

Sitting in a lowly tenth with Bendtner and Fellaini at the heart of their team Arsenal looked like easy opponents to beat. Unfortunately we could only salvage a draw. Two early goals from a multitude of shots exhausted a valiant Tim Howard who defied any further advances from the Arsenal strike-force. The in-form Lukaku slotted home twice in three minutes following which nothing notable happened. Leighton Baines had received too many yellow cards in recent games which resulted in a three-match ban bringing forth the desperate Oviedo for the next game.

 

Game 24: Swansea 2-0 Everton (a) (22/12/2013)

Lita '77 (pen, a) Banana '86 (og, a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Banana, Oviedo, Naismith, Osman, Bolasie, Barkley, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

An embarrassing loss to a relatively easy opponent. With Stekelenburg in their goal I'd expected us to slot home a couple of time. Despite paying a million for him in just the summer Banana looks like he's served his time here. A late Leroy Lita penalty fired into the top-right corner of the goal following a mistimed dive from Howard. A deflection from a Britton strike hit Banana and hurtled into the goal. Anichebe and Promes looked unthreatening and for the first time the dependable Osman struggle to hold onto the ball. Our possession stat for this game was just 28% and only two shots on goal were on-target, highlighting just how tragic this loss is. Fortunately we stayed in the top four.

 

Game 25: Everton 4-2 Sunderland (h) (26/12/2013)

Osman '6 (h) Brown '22 (og, h) Promes '51 (h) Lukaku '60 (h)

Dossena '45 (a) Fletcher '49 (a)

Team: Cudicini, Coleman, Diawara, Jagielka, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Bolasie, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

A very easy win marred by two weak attempts. Having submitted requests for game-time I decided the veteran Cudicini should have precedence over Howard in this polar fixture: at this point Sunderland sit in the relegation zone with Hull and Villa. Costing us our clean sheet the keeper missed a tap-in by Dossena and dived the wrong way at a close-range low ball from Fletcher. A fast response by Promes and Lukaku rectified the tie and a holding back three refused to give way. I'll be sticking with Howard from now on.

 

Game 26: Everton 3-0 Southampton (h) (28/12/2013)

Bolasie '24, '39 (h) Heitinga '71 (h)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Oviedo, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Bolasie, Barkley, Lukaku, Anichebe.

A comfortable win against a Southampton side pushing their way up the table. Having beaten Swansea in their previous game this was a proving ground that we were just unlucky. An earlier than anticipated recovery from John Heitinga made a noticeable difference in defence, him alone recovering the ball from deep inside our half and recovering possession. In light of his recovery the out-of-place Banana may be best suited elsewhere. Heitinga also scored our third goal cementing him as an essential asset in our line-up once again. Bolasie lit up the field with his flair for goal and ensured Southampton had no route of return. Coleman looked noticeably restless as did Mirallas, increasing my fears both will push for a move away very soon.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Coming into the January transfer window we sit in an unbelievable second behind just Man United. The top six is very tight but as it stands we're guaranteed a place in one of the European competitions next season. Apparently the Everton fans want Jack Wilshire. The way Arsenal are going right now he could be a bargain but the truth is we don't need him. If we can secure a loan deal for the out-of-favour Asamoah from Juventus - I remember being very impressed with his performance against us in our friendly - the midfield would be even stronger for the rest of the season. Wilshire is still an option for us in this early stage but if the asking price is too high he's completely off the radar.

Sylvian Distin has announced he is retiring at the end of the season and therefore I'm unable to sell him. At only 35 and rated highly despite no game-time for being shit he could have fetched around £2m which would have helped us bring young blood into the team. Joel has expressed his discontent and has handed in a transfer as has Coleman. Coleman was offered a new contract with a wage of £65k per week but has recently rejected this stating he wishes to leave in the next window. If he does go this will be a huge blow to the defence which could also be without the mixed bag Banana. The surplus to requirements Steven Pienaar still has very high morale despite playing which I put down to his unbelievable £75k per week wages draining the club. Hopefully he can go through the door. Unless a lucrative offer comes in for another player it's unlikely we'll be selling many players. We'll have to see what happens next month. There's definetely enough to bring in new players especially if we sell those we don't need. As it should soon stand we have £6m to spend. The board are very strict.

Alongside the transfer window our scouts return their depth findings on the players they found. An update is sure to come at some point amidst the chaos that will be January.

Feel free to offer me recommendations via PM by the end of the day.

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17 minutes ago, Cannabis said:

Still can't get over how Banana has turned out to be a real name xD. Beating United was a great result and despite the poor one against Swansea you seem to be racking up the points, a good January transfer window will set you up nicely for the rest of the season. 

Banana might be a great laugh but I might have misjudged him. He's not a consistent defender and ranges from good to absolutely abysmal. He made the Scunthorpe strikers look like Messi and Ronaldo and conceded the penalty and own goal in our loss to Swansea. If I sell him I'll do a segment looking on where Banana is at and how he's doing there. Should be a laugh.

It will indeed. The next update is coming shortly. You'd be surprised at how long it takes to write. This is taking a fair portion of my free time. At this rate we should be entering the 2014/2015 season in the Europa League at least. You'll start to see where we could be heading in this window in say ten minutes.

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It's official. Steven Pienaar has left us. The destination? None other than Arsenal. They must have been impressed with Fellaini and our performances this season as more offers for Lukaku and the restless Coleman were met with rejection. They're stirring so to speak. Coleman is now pushing harder for a move away from the club and West Brom have came calling. They're also still after Jagielka and are now pursuing the signature of Heitinga who only returned a couple of weeks ago. The German teams really seem to want a piece of Tim Howard with Mainz, Hoffenheim, Kaiserslautern and even Bayern Munich vying for his signature so far. Letting him leave now would be borderline suicidal.

Elsewhere a contract has been signed with Samuel Eto'o and he is now an Everton player. Unfortunately he's not available for the remainder of the season due to still being bound to Chelsea. To buy him outright would have cost £7m which is absurd when he won't cost a penny if we wait. Another striker on the radar is Obafemi Martins, currently at Seattle Sounders. I have tabs on a few wingers to partner Bolasie should I adopt a new formation and also to increase our available options. Jack Wilshire is an absolute rip-off and would cost £12m. Considering he's been awful on the pitch this season it wouldn't be worth it even if he was free. New additions to the team through the academy haven't came through as no one looks ready. Asamoah coming in on loan is still something that interests me.

This next update also contains our last two fixtures. Both wins with a final appearance before we get down to business in the transfer window.

 

Game 27: Stoke 1-3 Everton (a) (01/01/2014)

Mirallas '41 (h) Promes '50 (h) Bolasie '52 (h)

Crouch '3 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Diawara, Heitinga, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Barkley, Promes, Bolasie, Lukaku.

The team we played in this fixture was by far the worst we've came across. Maybe the players were too busy bingeing and forgot to train. Stoke were extremely lucky to convert an early opportunity through the towering Peter Crouch. Two goals from Bolasie were ruled offside, Promes missed a penalty and the referee blew for a foul just as a Lukaku shot crossed the line. Aside from this the goals that went in without a problem were simple. Not even a challenge but a challenge to find things to say about it.

 

Game 28: Everton 2-0 Norwich (h) (05/01/2014)

Donovan '86 (og, h) Lukaku '89 (h)

Team: Howard, Oviedo, Jagielka, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Mirallas, Pienaar, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

Revenge is a dish best served cold and at Goodison Park that's exactly what our opponents were. Having suffered a humiliating 3-1 loss to them in the opening game of the season a win in our meeting at Goodison was essential. It took a kate goal by Landon Donovan to kick us off. A quick response by Lukaku made up for our previous woes. The Canaries are currently at the bottom of the table with just one win from the whole season. Luckily we didn't give them another. They need all the luck they can get.

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16 hours ago, Spike said:

Resign Saha.

Very good shout but unfortunately it seems he's gone into retirement. I can't find him anywhere. A quick search online shows that Saha ended his career just before this season started. Was supposed to join an Indian side but called time instead. It's a shame not just because Saha would have been a great player to have in team but also for the fans. Imagine where Cannabis would be when we play Blackpool.

We either need a new striker or a change in formation to have just one at the front...

Edited by Cure

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In the latest turn of events in the transfer window we loaned in the young winger Florian Thauvin with a lot of potential from Lille instead of outright coughing up £9m. Also arriving is an 18-year-old Maximilian Meyer from Schalke. He cost £1.3m and so far has proven to be worth it. No further sales have been made and it's looking very likely none will. Arsenal are the only team persistently offering ludicrous sums.

 

Game 29: Everton 5-0 Bristol City (h) (11/01/2014) (FA Cup Third Round)

Gibson '25 (h) Thauvin '52, '87 (h) Bolasie '74 (h) Promes '90 (h

Team: Cudicini, Duffy, Heitinga, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Thauvin, Promes, Bolasie, Anichebe, Lukaku.

Was there another team? Not really. Bristol managed no shots on goal throughout the ninety minutes. I also realised we've got Shane Duffy tucked away which is better late than never considering he was very consistent. Heitinga is out for a month with a broken metatarsal which is great considering he only just came back. Osman also picked up a bruised leg making him unavailable for the next game. He was our only player to have started every game but now sits out for two fixtures. We may miss him.

 

Game 30: Arsenal 2-1 Everton (a) (15/01/2014) (League Cup Semi Final First Leg)

Meyer '15 (h)

Cazorla '30 (a) Ramsey '78 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Alcaraz, Oviedo, Naismith, Gibson, Thauvin, Promes, Meyer, Bolasie, Anichebe.

Straight into another cup game most of the players from the last game were too exhausted to participate therefore necessitating a major change in the line-up. Making his club debut Maximilian Meyer opened scoring with a clear shot angled perfectly from a corner kick. After that it all went downhill for us. Cazorla and Ramsey slipped through and took Howard out. Fellaini looked awful and couldn't keep the ball whilst Pienaar seemed to settle very quickly. Should Coleman get his way he'll be there too. They seem to have wanted a lot of our players and a recent approach for Anichebe proves that they can't get enough of the blue. Hopefully we can salvage this in our next meeting.

 

Game 31: West Brom 0-1 Everton (a) (18/01/2014)

Hibbert '62 (h)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Coleman, Alcaraz, Gibson, Oviedo, Mirallas, Bolasie, Meyer, Promes, Lukaku.

Tony Hibbert is a legend. Performing an unintentional run up the right flank Lukaku passed to him and a few short passes resulted in a close-range tap from the veteran. Considering their new-found wealth West Brom were reasonably poor. Icardi failed to make a start but they came close a couple of times through Benteke. Luckiest three points of the season so far.

 

Game 32: Everton 2-0 Crystal Palace (h) (26/01/2014)

Promes '19 (h) Mirallas '89 (pen, h)

Team: Howard, Oviedo, Hibbert, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Mirallas, Promes, Barkley, Lukaku, Thauvin.

As I haven't submitted a league table I'll add a little context to this game. Crystal Palace are at the bottom of the relegation zone and despite just being past the half-way mark they're looking like a side destined for the Championship. In all honesty they played like a side from the Conference North. Having seized Bolasie in the summer and with many players leaving them since the start of January their replacements have looked out of place. An early attempt by Jordan Ferri, signed from Olympique Lyon, immediately fell to Oviedo who played the ball through the midfield before meeting Promes who chipped the ball over Speroni. A late penalty conceded by Lescott found its way in thanks to Kevin Mirallas. A convincing victory and one which coulsn't have ended any other way.

Edited by Cure

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A special match report of our crucial tie with Arsenal at Goodison Park. One word I will add just before I begin: I'll do these for games I feel are important. Of course every match isn't insignificant but occasionally certain fixtures warrant a bit more than the last.

 

Game 33: Everton 3-2 Arsenal (h) (29/01/2014) (League Cup Semi Final Second Leg)

Promes '8 (h) Bolasie '48, '77 (h)

Pienaar '61 (a) Banana '89 (og, a)

Everton XI: Howard, Diawara, Banana, Jagielka, Naismith, Osman, Mirallas, Promes, Thauvin, Bolasie, Lukaku.

Arsenal XI: Szczęsny, Abate, Gibbs, Mangala, Criscito, Walcott, Özil, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar, Bendtner.

 

So far this season our two encounters with the Gunners have been fairly unspectacular from both sides. This game started well for us, a misplaced pass finding loanee Thauvin and then on-fire Quincy Promes. In perhaps the best move of any player I've seen this season his shot from nearly the half-way line hurtled into the air before flying over an out-of-reach Szczęsny into the bottom left corner. Absolutely flawless. Our next attempt resulted in another goal, this time from Bolasie from a corner kick. In a harsh twist Steven Pienaar received a penalty and slotted straight between Howard's legs to bring the aggregate score back to a tie. Another Bolasie touch bounced from his head following a forceful kick from Lukaku all but sealing a crushing defeat upon our opponents. The mistake-of-the-season buy in the form of Yaya Banana back-heeled the ball into the net in the dying minutes of the game instead of clearing an opportunity from Theo Walcott. Regardless of this late mishap I was very happy with our win. Predicting extra-time we were looking ready to carry on and take the match ball.

 

There was only one problem. The away goals rule applied. Our hopes of holding the League Cup were well and truly gone. I feel cheated out of this one. We fought valiantly. It's a shit coincidence that Pienaar, a player who paled in comparison to the other midfielders on offer here, has so far fired on all cylinders for this club. Fellaini still looks awful so maybe it literally is just a coincidence. As for our exit I place the blame on Banana, who once again is proving to have been an awful signing. His own-goal cost us dearly and the final, which is being played against Watford, would have been very entertaining and would more like that not have seen us win our first piece of silverware. Phil Jagielka, our top (own-goal) scorer, has started being more reliable on the pitch and it's a shame I can't offer him more opportunities. It might be too late to get him out in this window but he's unlikely to feature for a long time if at all. I'm genuinely displeased with his efforts and on my part this was a waste of money.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Just a quick update on the status of the Everton academy. We currently have ten fine young players approaching maturity. Although I won't believe all will make the cut one in particular in currently shining above the rest. His name is Nicholas Solly. At 17-years-old he obviously lacks the experience but given some more time under the watchful eye of the academy and the staff he should be ready to make the leap up by either the end of this season or the start of the next. Another notable mention is a goalkeeper by the name of Matthew Holness. The 16-year-old Englishman is currently expressing a keen eye for the ball and his diving stats are incredible; in actual fact they're greater than those of our current No. 1 Tim Howard. As I said at the start of this campaign bringing young blood through the team is the key to growing into true title contenders pushing for the top. This could be the start of something magical for the club and I'm welcoming these new beginnings.

The next post will summarise this transfer window. It's not been too busy so don't expect a mass of names and information. Our next fixture is in the FA Cup against Burton Albion. The way the domestic competitions are going I'm preparing for yet more upset.

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The January transfer window round-up.

We'll start with the sales. Conor McAleny, having made a couple of appearances throughout the whole campaign, went away on the cheap and I can't say he'll be missed. The main move away was evidently Steven Pienaar who has helped Arsenal climb back up the table. The money we gained from his sale very nearly went into a major deadline day signing but as you'll see later we weren't as successful as I'd hoped. Continued offers from West Brom came in for Jagielka and interest in injury-prone Heitinga is coming in from all over the world, with Seoul FC one of the many vying for his signature. I'm sure he'll come back fighting so we'll hold on to him for a while longer. Cagliari came in for Lukaku with a ludicrous £21m bid and Crystal Palace tried to regain the services of Bolasie as well as Tim Howard, who has also gained an exception amount of offers. Steven Naismith was on the radar of Watford throughout the period and Anichebe nearly put pen to paper for Osasuna.

In terms of signings a contract with Samuel Eto'o securing his signature was signed. Anyone would think Chelsea had hoards of money at their disposal to replace him. A target from summer, Florian Thauvin, has been signed on loan as I want to test him. There's a buy-out clause for if we want to keep him and given his few performances so far we may well take Lille up on their offer. Meyer also came in and offers back-up to Promes. Should he get fewer opportunities than I'd expect him to he'll go out on loan next season. We just missed out on Obafemi Martins having spent the whole window pursuing his signature. In the end the Sounders were too persistent and an attempt to throw Banana into the deal at the last minute didn't improve our negotiations. Furhter attempts to sign Leon Goretzka from Schalke were also fruitless as were Jack Wilshire was going to cost far too much and his stats for this season are absolutely shocking. Overall we did fairly well but still lack force at the front of the field.

 

IN

Florian Thauvin (loan from Lille) A young winger who I hope can form a partnership with Bolasie during his few months with us. I still believe he might be a little to expensive to take on in the summer.

Maximilian Meyer (£1.3m from Schalke) Very young and recommended by my scout as an exciting prospect with masses of potential.

Samuel Eto'o (Free at contract end (Chelsea)) A recommendation just before I started by none other than @Cannabis who costs nothing so long as we wait until the end of the season. With few strikers in our current roster we may struggle to be diverse but should manage especially with Lukaku

 

OUT

Conor McAleny (Barnsley - £250k) Was quite frankly poor in his sporadic appearances. No room for development here and Barnsley can offer him more than I ever could.

Steven Pienaar (Arsenal - £3.1m) Surplus to requirements and not a player I actively wanted to use. His sale leaves more space for exciting academy prospects later on in the season.

 

Edited by Cure

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Everton+14+15+crest+h.jpg

Everton FC

Squad Roster

1st February 2014

 

Goalkeepers

Carlo Cudicini

Tim Howard

Joel

 

Defenders

Antolín Alcaraz

Leighton Baines

Yaya Banana

Séamus Coleman

Souleymane Diawara

Sylvian Distin

Shane Duffy

John Heitinga

Tony Hibbert

Phil Jagielka

Brian Oviedo

John Stones (on loan at Millwall)

 

Midfielders

Ross Barkley (on loan at Leicester)

Darren Gibson

Magaye Gueye (on loan at Southampton)

Francisco Júnior

Maximilian Meyer

Kevin Mirallas

Steven Naismith

Leon Osman (C)

Quincy Promes

 

Forwards

Victor Anichebe

Yannick Bolasie

Samuel Eto'o (available at contract end)

Arouna Koné (on loan at Werder Bremen)

Romelu Lukaku

Florian Thauvin (on loan from Lille)

Apostolos Vellios (on loan at Fulham)

 

Roster updates will now be common following each transfer window. Apologies one wasn't provided in August. I was pretty much the same as this one without the new signings and departures from the Everton team during January. From here on in we're in the clear. We'll chant it and chant it again.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

We'll Throw Them All In The Mersey

Edited by Cure

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Following our few additions to the team and with a need for some change the 3-5-2 has been dropped in favour of a return to four at the back under 4-3-2-1. With our limited options up front a core midfield balanced on the side and able to push towards goal is our best bet for obtaining the high finish we deserve. We can also slip wingers into the LM and RM positions as has been done with Yannick Bolasie. Unless we slip up or draw a lot we should finish within the two Europa League places at least. Whilst this wouldn't be the end of the world and would ease us nicely into the continental scene it would be nice to see us in the Champions League.

 

Howard

Coleman   -   Diawara   -   Jagielka   -   Baines

Mirallas      -      Osman      -      Bolasie

Promes         -         Meyer

Lukaku

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February 2014. Having not gained a move away Séamus Coleman has now done a complete u-turn and deciding to stay faithful. Our games were a mixed bag to say the least, our team looking increasingly inconsistent as the month progressed. It'll take a while to get used to the new formation and it would've really helped had the deal with Martins been a complete success.

 

Game 34: Everton 5-0 Burton Albion (h) (01/02/2014) (FA Cup Fourth Round)

Meyer '22 (h) Jagielka '29 (h) Lukaku '41, '50 (pen), '80 (h)

Team: Cudicini, Coleman, Diawara, Oviedo, Jagielka, Mirallas, Osman, Bolasie, Promes, Thauvin, Lukaku.

As anticipated this was quite literally a cakewalk. By the time Burton managed to push forwards we were five goals better-off. I chose to field a strong team to avoid upset in this competition following our late exit from the League Cup in the previous match. Romelu Lukaku secured his second hat-trick of the season through the help of a penalty conceded by their goalkeeper. Overall I've been very happy with his performances so far and a new contract might be on the cards to push away the prospect of playing for another team. January saw a significant spike of interest in many of our players and Lukaku was their main target. As for this game our target was to win and we did by a landslide.

 

Game 35: Everton 1-1 Aston Villa (h) (16/02/2014)

Jagielka '56 (h)

Bacuna '78 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Duffy, Oviedo, Mirallas, Osman, Gibson, Promes, Meyer, Lukaku.

In a match only salvaged by a tame touch-in by Jagielka we were lucky to salvaged anything. Despite being against a team battling to stay in the top flight we were made a mockery of. Villa walked all over us and it was an uphill struggle to bring it back. For the first time this season we didn't deserve the victory but a draw was well fought for and definitely deserved.

 

Game 36: Liverpool 1-0 Everton (a) (18/02/2014)

Reus '7 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Diawara, Jagielka, Duffy, Mirallas, Osman, Bolasie, Promes, Thauvin, Anichebe.

Not even close to the quality of our previous meeting. An early effort by Marco Reus slipped past Howard with ease and we failed to push forward. Diawara and Osman showed their age and were slow to move in on the ball. The defence proved reliable as ever. No matter how hard we tried to drag the score back to a draw Anichebe was lacking and was exploited for his weakness by the defence. A difficult tie and one which should spur us on to win our next few games.

 

Game 37: Sunderland 0-2 Everton (a) (23/02/2014) (FA Cup Fifth Round)

Bolasie '26 (h) Thauvin '42 (h)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Bolasie, Meyer, Promes, Lukaku.

A fine strike by Bolasie gave us footing and a curved ball direct from a Thauvin corner were the only sources of Sunderland were weak throughout somewhat due to their sale of many attackers to teams in the Bundesliga. Heitinga made a prolonged appearance following his recent bout of injuries. Although he's by far our strongest option in the middle right now his lack of health is a cause for concern. Baines also returned having been booked so many times the risk of fielding him at this stage has been too great: both had little impact on the game. If this proved anything it's that we really need to focus on bringing up players, again my emphasis on the academy.

 

Game 38: Chelsea 3-0 Everton (a) (26/02/2014)

Hazard '34 (a), Aubameyang '66 (a) Kagawa '87 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Hibbert, Oviedo, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Gibson, Promes, Bolasie, Lukaku.

Difficult and a complete failure on the pitch. Howard seemed very vulnerable and wasn't helped by the back four. Their firepower was on a whole other level, Aubameyang breaking through the defence quicker than a knife through hot butter and Hazard firing on all cylinders. Bolasie missed a penalty early on just before we conceded the first goal and a Lukaku effort went in but was declared offside. The amount of money they have shows with the likes of Ivanović and Ramos bolstering their back line and stopping us from having many shots. We weren't too bad but compared to Chelsea the current line-up is far off the mark. A change is needed. Fresh blood should feature next match.

 

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Spurs have fallen back into sixth and we currently sit in fifth just a point behind our rivals Liverpool. Our remaining fixtures suggest we could maintain this position but given how we perform against the weaker sides sixth or in the worst case seventh would be more reasonable. Given how clustered the top half has become, with West Brom now only four points away from the Lilywhites, we could well and truly be destined to join Arsenal in a state of mid-table mediocracy. We look and quite frankly feel tired and with thirteen games left until the end of the season the promotion of young blood into our team is on the horizon. For midfield two players are ready to enter the team, namely Harrison Hills and the aforementioned starlet Nicholas Solly, but with some very tough fixtures ahead their chances to appear may be limited.

Edited by Cure

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Exciting announcement for me at least. The moment is upon the team and the future has started. With Harrison Hills successfully making the transition to the first team you can now expect to see academy player seeping through the cracks and into the team. A debut seemed like the most reasonable course of action and that's what he got. In which game who knows - you will when you read what happened in our latest fixtures. March has so far proven to be bitter. With one match left before we enter the penultimate month of the season we're really starting to slip up.

 

Game 39: Everton 2-1 West Ham (h) (01/03/2014)

Oviedo '20 (h) Mirallas '67 (h)

Jelavić '33 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Jagielka, Oviedo, Mirallas, Osman, Bolasie, Meyer, Promes, Lukaku.

Relatively decent fixture. It was nice to see our former striker Nikita Jelavić has settled into the Hammers' team. His goal against us was pretty decent but cancelled out by a Kevin Mirallas penalty. Something appeared to be wrong with Heitinga throughout this game, limping to the ball and unable to run at the strikers. His form has declined following his injuries and through no fault of his own he may be forced to become a sporadic first team player.

 

Game 40: Tottenham 0-0 Everton (a) (07/03/2014)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Alcaraz, Heitinga, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Gibson, Promes, Thauvin, Lukaku.

Much like our previous tie with Tottenham this was an uneventful goalless bore. Yet again Heitinga has picked up an injury, this time a fractured leg which rules him out for the rest of the season. Alcaraz is also worse for wear but should be back in time for out next meeting with that other North London club whom I'm starting to dislike more and more throughout this season. Harry Kane looked in fine form but why he found himself partnered with Emmanuel Adebayor is beyond me. This draw has placed a lot of strain on us to win these next few ties and depending on results elsewhere in the coming weeks we may well be finishing below those all-important European spots.

 

Game 41: Newcastle 2-1 Everton (a) (09/03/2014)

Duffy '76 (h)

Anichebe '5 (og, a) Llorente '39 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Hibbert, Banana, Duffy, Oviedo, Osman, Gibson, Meyer, Promes, Anichebe.

There's a genuine reason Victor Anichebe has been slipping down the pecking order. Not only did he fire just one shot on-target but it was into his own net and cost us a vital point in our challenge for the all-important fourth Champions League spot. A Newcastle side burdened with injuries left right and centre managed to limp over the finish line and snaffle three points right under our noses. Shane Duffy put in the performance of the season and showed resilience and perseverance in his advances, extending from right at the back to tapping the ball to the wingers to shooting with great accuracy. If anything came from the loss it's our discovery of an unbelievable talent already waiting in line to the throne. Pure class and future captain material.

 

Game 42: Fulham 0-1 Everton (a) (12/03/2014)

Lukaku '89 (h)

Team: Cudicini, Coleman, Jagielka, Duffy, Baines, Gibson, Hills, Osman, Meyer, Bolasie, Lukaku.

As straightforward a game as one could hope for but also a milestone. A former academy player, for the first time, has entered the first team and performed exceptionally well. Hills managed to assist Lukaku right at the end to secure the three points. The goal was unbelievable, an overhead bicycle kick from twenty yards out or more. A stunner and a contender for best goal of the season. Fulham were strong themselves with Vellios showing why he could be of value to us in the future. Nothing more to add other than we are now fourth in the league but only by a hair.

 

Game 43: Arsenal 2-1 Everton (a) (15/03/2014) (FA Cup Quarter Final)

Bolasie '52 (h)

Abate '56 (a) Anichebe '90 (og, a)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Bolasie, Promes, Anichebe, Lukaku.

I hate playing against this team. In a cruel twist of fate yet again Anichebe cost us but this time it was our only realistic hope of silverware. He'll be lucky to ever pull our shirt on again following his dive. The safe head of cult-hero Hibbert went to clear the last-minute corner before striker went in and put the ball past an unsuspecting Tim Howard. Anyone would think he'd partake in pre-match bumming with Pienaar and Fellaini in the showers before going onto the pitch with us because he wouldn't touch them instead handing them the ball on a silver platter. I'm genuinely cross. A positive to take away from this game was Bolasie who as ever proved to have a keen eye for the goal. Aside from that this was unimpressive and a shameful loss. For those interested our next opponents would have been Cardiff. Extremely infuriating. The final was pretty much in our hands but now we can only watch.

 

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With us out of the FA Cup no thanks to Arsenal our only chance at a trophy this season is the title. Although not impossible we have three difficult ties coming up. The two Manchester teams make up two of our last three games and Arsenal, although currently in ninth, who have caused us so much trouble this season and have genuinely pissed me off. They haven't even been good yet they managed to walk away with the League Cup with no problems against a comparatively shit side vying for promotion from the Championship. It really isn't fair.

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Game 44: Everton 1-1 Swansea (h) (18/03/2014)

Meyer '9 (h)

Dyer '58 (a)

Team: Cudicini, Hibbert, Duffy, Oviedo, Baines, Osman, Gibson, Bolasie, Promes, Meyer, Lukaku.

For a team aiming to finish high in the table this is not the sort of score we were looking for. A draw against a team who this season lacked form and structure is at this late stage a joke. I can't fault the players but they were all very reluctant to push forward. Were we in a firm winning position both in the match and on the table this defensive tactic would have been ideal but when we need to step things up aiming solely for the win is vital. Dyer's goal was skilful and he glided his way to goal but if anything that shows the defence is a bit too ropey.

 

Game 45: Everton 1-1 Arsenal (h) (07/04/2014)

Lukaku '75 (h)

Walcott '11 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Hibbert, Duffy, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Thauvin, Meyer, Bolasie, Lukaku.

These games against Arsenal are starting to grate. Having played them four times in such close proximity to one-another isn't ideal at all. The team have hit a rut and seem to be on a goal drought. They went forward through their captain Walcott and Lukaku managed to pull us through again although the comeback came far too late to capitalise on their growing weakness. Osman looks sluggish in midfield whilst Baines didn't manage to clear the ball which culminated in the Gunners' early lead. Yet another game to be placed on the learning curve for next season.

 

Game 46: Sunderland 2-1 Everton (a) (12/04/2014)

Mirallas '25 (h)

Fletcher '29, '32 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Banana, Jagielka, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Thauvin, Promes, Bolasie, Lukaku.

Unbelievably unfortunate on our part and I take full blame. Steven Fletcher was on-form for them and managed to put past two in four minutes following which we were dreadful. Banana is out with an injury following a stupid challenge on an unthreatening attempt to come forward by Sebastian Larsson. He's out for a month at least thereby ruling him out in the remaining five matches in this season. With any hope he'll be gone by the end of the summer. A shambles of a player suited for a shambles of a match.

 

Game 47: Everton 1-0 Cardiff (h) (16/04/2014)

Hills '26 (h)

Team: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Diawara, Duffy, Naismith, Osman, Hills, Promes, Meyer, Lukaku.

Tiki-taka football at its finest. A quick strike-force coupled with a psychically sound defence may well be the winning strategy for us if Hills is anything to go by. Slotting the ball in after a short ground pass from Promes he fired into the net to score the first goal of his professional career. Cardiff are looking relegated at this stage unless they get lucky. Their team is looking fairly sound and played well. I'd fell sorry for them but we need points too.

 

Game 48: Southampton 0-0 Everton (a) (26/04/2014)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Diawara, Oviedo, Duffy, Mirallas, Osman, Gibson, Barkley, Bolasie, Lukaku.

Goalless draws prove nothing for the team. In this instance we were deservedly held by a dominant side. The team is well and truly knackered and running very low on energy: if we make it to the end of the season we'll be lucky with how slow players like Diawara have become. Shortly before the game I realised we haven't fielded Barkley for exactly three months following our win at Crystal Palace in January. He failed to have an impact. Howard is injured after being hit by a tackle but doesn't miss our next crucial tie as he's only out for three days. Nothing else to take away here.

 

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With the latest results the likelihood of Champions League football next season is marginal. We sit eight points adrift from fourth place and our opponents in the next game, Manchester City, are the team who occupy that spot. The Europa League is more than like our fate which is still pretty good. We'll have a better chance at winning that.

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Game 49: Everton 1-2 Man City (h) (04/05/2014)

Promes '45 (h)

Agüero '18, '37 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Alcaraz, Jagielka, Oviedo, Mirallas, Osman, Bolasie, Thauvin, Promes, Lukaku.

The definitive loss in our season has arguably been that of top European football. I very much doubt we'd have succeeded there just now with the likes of Barcelona and Bayern our likely opponents and we're not strong enough to have a fighting chance of going right through to the end. An Agüero brace secured the win for our opponents and while Promes denied them a clean sheet we lost all the same. Osman was injured by Lewandowski and is out for the rest of the season. He very nearly had a perfect record. The captaincy goes over to Howard for the last two games.

 

Game 50: Everton 0-0 Man United (h) (07/05/2014)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Diawara, Alcaraz, Duffy, Mirallas, Gibson, Thauvin, Promes, Bolasie, Lukaku.

We're albeit finished for this season and find ourselves firmly stuck in sixth. Although not an awful start to the tenure by any means our failure to win any silverware is somewhat disappointing but sets a benchmark on which we can improve next season. United looked just as rugged as we do and didn't even field a striker. They didn't look threatening and just passed the ball around the middle for ninety minutes. We weren't much better but where we made a run they were quick to hunt us down. Also we're not going ahead with the Thauvin deal. In the few chances I've given him he's not really contributed to gameplay and is definitely not worth the millions he would cost.

 

Game 51: Hull 0-4 Everton (a) (11/05/2014)

Promes '6 (h) Solly '40, '79 (h) Bolasie '62 (h)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Hibbert, Jagielka, Baines, Hills, Gibson, Bolasie, Promes, Solly, Lukaku.

Making his official club debut former academy player Nicholas Solly, a midfielder with great potential, managed to get onto the scoresheet twice with a pacy sprint down the centre of the pitch. Although beaten to his debut by Hills I feel Solly may go further from what little I've seen of the two. We saw our opponents back down to the Championship while asserting ourselves as a force to be reckoned with next season should everything start going into plan. This is just the first piece of the jigsaw.

 

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Our first season is now officially over. There's not much more to say. It's been a fairly long haul. We've had a fair to decent run. I'll do a full round-up of the campaign later including the winners of the main competitions. Keep watching. It shouldn't take too long.

Vellios is outright refusing to sign a new contract deal unless he becomes a crucial first team player. I don't see him in that way right now and feel we can bring players up from the academy of the same quality or better. As Solly proved in the final game against Hull the academy is key in the future of the club. I hope to adopt a few new names into the squad roster over the course of next season. In say five years time I'd expect most of our players to be academy graduates should they reach the excellent standard of our two featured prospects.

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slide%20Everton%203.jpg

2013/2014 Season

Premier League: 6th

MANCHESTER CITY

FA Cup: Quarter Finals

TOTTENHAM

League Cup: Semi Finals

ARSENAL

Europa League: Not Applicable

BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Champions League: Not Applicable

BARCELONA

 

This season can only be described as difficult. Early setbacks to the defence restricted us whilst we were plagued with some piss-poor decisions that ultimately cost us our chances of success. The horrendous performances of Yaya Banana and later Victor Anichebe cost us vital points and accolades. Own goals seemed to be our forte with nearly ten being scored when every single game we played is taken into account. That's an appaling figure considering a couple of the players who gave them away scored less goals for us. It was also the highest in the league ahead of Hull who netted six. It's still terrible that it even happened. Results like losses to Sunderland and Newcastle were embarassing considering how much they have struggled to keep going whilst draws against mid-table teams like Swansea again rubbed salt into the wounds of our depleting squad. To improve we need more options across all areas of the field. The academy aside some more experience is needed to bring us up to speed. Early on in the season when the top half was clustered we sat in the top four for a couple of months without challenge. We played straight no-nonsense football and got the results we needed. As for what went well... we made spectacular signings in the form of Bolasie and Lukaku with honorable mentions to Meyer and Promes. Souleymane Diawara also put in a good few showstopper performances before bowing out. He should still be with us next season but has the option to retire should he wish. Our performances were widely consistent and even though we exited the domestic trophies we still went far and had good runs. We'll push for one better next season. No more nonsense next time around: more funds are needed and hopefully the board can help us to inject some solid cash into strengthening all over. I'll be sure to set solid goals in all competitions. Although we don't neccesarily need to win everything we should really push to get as high as we possible can.

Until then... to the second season. Hopefully we can find some sort of solidarity there.

Edited by Cure

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The 2014/2015 season is looming and the team is looking amazing. With the arrival of Samuel Eto'o from Chelsea on a free for a three-year contract the team is already looking better and with more new faces set to appear we can move on from the woes of the first season and absolutely dominate our opponents. Carlo Cudicini and Sylvian Distin both retired at the end of last season and Apostolos Vellios decided to move on. Souleymane Diawara also decided to call it a day which is a shame as there were plans for him to feature more this season. In light of this we secured the signature of former Arsenal stalwart Manuel Almunia on a season-long loan before he too goes into retirement. Our formation remains unchanged from the 4-3-2-1 we used when we finished the last campaign until the transfer window is over in order to adapt to our newest signings when they come in.

Potential signings so far include Obafemi Martins who we missed out on just at the end of the last January window, Schalke's Leon Goretzka who earned a mentioned when Meyer was signed back in January, Davy Klaassen of Ajax, Daniele Rugani of Juventus and the clinical well-balanced Lille striker Nolan Roux. It's still early days and as things progress clearer judgements will emerge. The only player so far attracting noticeable interest has been Phil Jagielka from the persistent West Brom. Their offers are steadily increasing each time and they're also eyeing up John Heitinga as are Real Sociedad.

Four new academy players have arrived in the first team. Each has featured at least once. Eyes on goalkeeper Matthew Holness who I mentioned last season as very promising and a potential successor to Howard, the swift Dutch centre-man Menno Hersi with a killer touch as I found out in his friendly fixture, all-round midfielder Aaron Morris and a striker in Steven Grimes. Hopefully some defenders will start seeping through the cracks as the season goes on. As for now the season awaits with a tricky start at White Hart Lane. The friendly fixtures were very successful and put us in very good stead for a very good season. Hopefully silverware is on the cards.

 

Game 52: Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Everton (a) (27/07/2014)

Meyer '78 (h)

Sokratis '43 (a)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Hibbert, Duffy, Baines, Mirallas, Morris, Hills, Meyer, Promes, Lukaku.

A remarkable draw full of twists and turns. Despite the rather bland scoreline so much happened. Quincy Promes has picked up a nasty ACL injury which has put him out for at least six months following a slide tackle from Sokratis. The defender later went on to score against us in a well-fought battle with Hibbert and Duffy. A couple of dodgy fouls worked in our favour as Meyer slotted in a free-kick from outside the penalty area. There were too many chances from both sides and any of them could have found the net. Some excellent goalkeeper from Tim Howard should raise the eyes of many clubs in the league. If he keeps that up there's no way he'll drop. I have a horrible feeling he might he in his last season as he's questioning it. Man of the match was Duffy, his solidarity in the defence and meaty yet clean tackling style admirable. A thrilling fixture against the Europa League champions.

 

Game 53: Everton 4-0 Sochaux (h) (31/07/2014)

Solly '16 (h) Bolasie '38 (h) Grimes '70 (pen, h) Barkley '90 (h)

Team: Almunia, Coleman, Oviedo, Duffy, Stones, Mirallas, Gibson, Bolasie, Barkley, Solly, Grimes.

The team we signed Banana splat from just under a year ago were about up to his standard. A quick glance at the table shows they were outright relegated from their league last season. They played football like amateurs and the scoreline doesn't do that justice. A volley from Solly bounded over the keeper and subsequent efforts by Bolasie and Barkley bombed straight down the middle. The academy graduate Steven Grimes netted a penalty after being fouled badly by two of their players at once. Stones looked good following his return from his loan spell at Millwall. It's a shame we didn't get to see this last season as we'd have been saved and a million or so better off. All in all this was a sound victory but one we'll forget pretty quickly.

 

Game 54: Atlético Madrid 2-3 Everton (a) (04/08/2014)

Hersi '6, '27 (h) Eto'o '57 (h)

Koke '33 (a) Gabi '45 (a)

Team: Holness, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Oviedo, Naismith, Osman, Gueye, Hersi, Barkley, Eto'o.

An unexpected victory which solidified my belief in nearly all of the players in this Everton team. Menno Hersi could well be the equivalent of the future Lionel Messi. He made some killer touches and maintained his high work-rate throughout, assisting the veteran Eto'o in turning a draw into a win. Magaye Gueye also shone alongside the older Osman and Naismith and looked and felt a league above them. Atléti scored some brilliant goals which deserve a mention If anything this game somewhat fulfilled my prophercy that the youth of Everton and its academy are the way forth in paving success.

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Three games into the league we sit in second place. Although this doesn't put anything into perspective at this early stage it gives us an incentive to push. We've also yet to concede a single goal which is better than any other team in the league. Only the current champions Man City sit above us on goal difference. Our first defender from the academy, the Mexican centre-back Antonio Fuentes, has been promoted and featured in our thrashing if Wisła Kraków. We just missed out on signing a Belgian keeper by the name of Senne Demos to the academy to Real Madrid. He had huge potential and could be one of the future stars in Europe. Our academy keeper Holness is growing steadily and could still go out on loan. We've had very little interest in him so far which is a shame. Interest is hotting up in Tim Howard from all corners of the world and now the Koreans want him but we're resiliant and need him more. New signings to feature so far have been Manuel Almunia and Nolan Roux. We're still mid-way through three negotiations and hopefully they'll be secured by the end of deadline day. There shall be a full low-down of the transfer window very soon.

 

Game 55: Everton 1-0 Chelsea (h) (16/08/2014)

Roux '73 (h)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Stones, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Hills, Solly, Bolasie, Roux.

Our first victory of the season showed just how strong we could become. Despite scoring once we dominated, the defence led by Coleman pushing Chelsea back constantly whilst Howard was indomitable when they slipped a chance through. Chelsea didn't look weak by any means but our team looked fresh and very much the strong team. To compare the many millions Chelsea spent in this window on Sergio Ramos and Neymar to a team which give or take a couple of players was fully inherited or home-grown in the past year wouldn't be unfair. You can't buy wins.

 

Game 56: Everton 6-0 Wisła Kraków (h) (21/08/2014) (Europa League Final Qualifying Round First Leg)

Lukaku '26, '34, '82 (h) Promes '54 (h) Duffy '67 (h) Solly '79 (h)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Duffy, Oviedo, Baines, Naismith, Hills, Solly, Promes, Meyer, Lukaku.

The scoreline doesn't put into perspective how difficult our opponents were to take down. Wisła fought valiantly but in the process took out Lukaku who goes out for a month with a torn hip flexor. The goals came thick and fast with Solly further cementing himself as a reliable option to turn to. Quincy Promes has been the target of numerous other clubs in the past month and was questionable when compared to Meyer despite getting his name on the scoresheet through a rebound of a Lukaku shot. Other than being a more direct route to solidify our place in the Europa League competition this was more like a friendly. We still have another game to play against them in Poland so that shall be treated similarly.

 

Game 57: Brighton 0-3 Everton (a) (24/08/2014)

Roux '39 (h) Hersi '47 (pen, h) Osman '69 (h)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Hibbert, Stones, Baines, Osman, Hills, Hersi, Promes, Roux, Eto'o.

The newly-promoted Brighton have adjusted so little since their arrival just a few months ago. It showed, especially in their defence. Their only solace was in Phil Bardsley who put in a frankly poor performance for them, conceeding the second goal and getting sent off later on in the game. Hersi once again proved his talent and ability to convert. I still believe that given the right attitude and if played appropriately he could soon be on the radar of greatness. Roux has so far proven to have been a valuable investment and could well give hat-trick hero Lukaku a run for his money in the long-run. A secure win which puts us in a good place at this very early stage.

 

Game 58: Wisła Krakow 0-2 Everton (a) (28/08/2014) (Europa League Final Qualifying Round Second Leg)

Mirallas '3 (h) Meyer '50 (h)

Team: Almunia, Hibbert, Fuentes, Oviedo, Stones, Mirallas, Osman, Morris, Promes, Meyer, Grimes.

More of a testimonial to our huge win at home. Other than the early break via Mirallas and a free kick from Meyer there really isn't anything more to add.

 

Game 59: Everton 1-0 Arsenal (h) (30/08/2014)

Stones '81 (h)

Team: Howard, Coleman, Duffy, Stones, Baines, Osman, Gibson, Bolasie, Solly, Roux, Eto'o.

A beautiful victory for us against a team I grew to dislike last season based on how many matches we had to grind to get draws against them. I don't know what Millwall did to John Stones but whatever it was must have shook him as he's on point. Always a keen eye in the box where corners are concerned a ball from Solly met his head and slipped through the gloves of Szczęsny. An interesting observation was the lack of Marouane Fellaini who appears to have been sold on. A quick search of the transfer market shows he's gone off to Juventus. Gibson has picked up a broken arm and is unavailable for over two months whilst Baines has a torn groin and needs a couple of weeks on the bench to recover. An easier match than that at Chelsea and Brighton but in terms of pushing forward we found it difficult to get anyone other than Eto'o and Roux through without a challenge.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

The transfer window has proved to be an absolute whirlwind. I'll address it in a separate post shortly.

Edited by Cure

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