Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community
hucknallowl

No sticky toffee on Merseyside? An Everton story...

Recommended Posts

EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB - A NEW ERA

This is the first time I've wrote anything like this so before we start I'd like to point out a few things.

When I start a save I like to play as realistic as possible by creating an alter-ego with a profile and previous experience that's relevant to the side I choose to manage.

In this save I've decided to go a step further and delete Roberto Martinez from the database and recreate a profile using the same name, age, nationality and playing experience. Along with this I've also made a few other changes such as Moyes, Ferguson, Mourinho, Ancelotti and Blanc.

Unfortunately I forgot totally about Pellegrini, therefore Mancini is still in charge at Manchester City.

No transfers have been added and the game is being played from the 13.3 update. I've also unticked the first transfer window.

MARTINEZ IS THE MAN!

"Sky Sports can confirm that Roberto Martinez has agreed to become the new Everton manager having signed an initial one-year deal at Goodison Park. Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright revealed that the 39-year old Spaniard was his first choice to replace the outgoing David Moyes and is delighted that a deal has been reached with both Martinez and his previous club Wigan. Martinez' first game will be a friendly on July 16th against Austrian part-timers ASK Baumgarten, in what will be part of a two game tour."
"It is a fantastic moment for me, Everton are a huge club with a rich history and fantastic support, It was a wrench to say goodbye to everyone at Wigan but the opportunity to manage a club like Everton doesn't come around often and the enthusiasm the Chairman showed in wanting to bring me here made the decision easy. I've had a wonderful time at Wigan but this is a special chapter in my career and I'm extremely excited about the future."

"Joining us in the Sky Sports studio now we have former Everton manager Joe Royle. First of all Joe, Roberto Martinez, a good appointment by Bill Kenwright and the board?"
"I think it is yes, he's a popular manager, very grounded, knows his stuff tactically and I'm sure the fans will really take to him."
"Replacing David Moyes will be a big task, after all he's kept Everton competitive for a decade on limited resources, how quickly will Martinez be expected to get things right by the board and the fans?"
"I don't think the Chairman would have brought him in if he didn't believe he could make an impact straight away. Obviously there will be changes but looking at the squad and how Roberto Martinez wants his team to play I think he's got a fantastic bunch to work with."
"Where do you think Everton will finish this season?"

"I think they might surprise a few people providing they get off to a decent start, obviously the likes of Baines and Fellaini are crucial, and I'm sure they'll be other clubs sniffing around those two, but if they can keep them at the club then I think European qualification is a realistic objective."

Everton begin their pre-season preparations with a two game tour of Austria, followed by a further two games in America, a friendly in Bilbao before rounding off proceedings at Fleetwood, ten days before the opening league game at Fulham...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MONDAY JULY 16TH 2012 - ASK BAUMGARTEN v EVERTON

"The players are in good spirits, they've trained well and were all looking forward to getting out on the pitch and playing football again. Pre-season isn't about results, its more a case of fitness, team bonding and working on things tactically."
"Everton were in action tonight as they took on Austrian part-timers ASK Baumgarten. It wasn't quite the start new manager Roberto Martinez would have been expecting though as his new team laboured to a 1-1 draw. Martinez had Sylvain Distin to thank following his 72nd minute equaliser that helped save the Spaniard's blushes to some degree. Everton's next action is in three days time when they face Kapfenberger."
"We'll play worse and win and to be honest I'm not attaching anything to the result tonight. They were up for it and it was a good run-out for the boys. We'll get fitter and stronger as the weeks go on."

ASK Baumgarten 1-1 Everton (Auer 11 / Distin 72)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Baines, Pienaar, Miralles, Jelavic

subs: Oviedo, Gibson, Naismith, Barkley

THURSDAY JULY 19TH 2012 - KAPFENBERGER v EVERTON

"Everton played the second of two games in Austria this evening and recorded a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Kevin Miralles and Victor Anichebe. The result was marred though as Thomas Hitzlsperger had to be withdrawn following a nasty clash of heads."
"Tonight we played well, the extra fitness levels showed and overall I'm pleased with what we did out there. Thomas will be OK, he's gone to the hospital as a precautionary measure but our doctor is happy with him."

Kapfenberger 1-2 Everton (Radi 46 / Miralles 16, Anichebe 73)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Stones, Hitzlsperger, Fellaini, Baines, Pienaar, Miralles, Jelavic

subs: Duffy, Barkley, Gibson, Neville, Anichebe

So the Austrian tour comes to an end, a steady if unspectacular showing but signs of promise nonetheless. Next the team travel to the United States with games against D.C United and New England Revolution...

WEDNESDAY JULY 25TH 2012 - D.C UNITED v EVERTON

"I'm delighted with that, we played some lovely stuff out there and the players enjoyed themselves. We've told them to play without fear and tonight they've been fantastic. Victor certainly hasn't harmed his chances with that showing. The kid has always had potential, it's up to him now to deliver consistently."
"Everton cruised to a 3-0 win in Washington thanks to a hat-trick from Victor Anichebe, two of the goals came within the last five minutes but the result was never really in doubt as Roberto Martinez' men dominated throughout. Next up for them is a trip to New England on Saturday."

D.C United 0-3 Everton (Anichebe 25, 85, 90+2)

Mucha, Duffy, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Neville, Oviedo, Naismith, Barkley, Anichebe

subs: Baines, Gibson, Miralles

SATURDAY JULY 28TH 2012 - NEW ENGLAND REVS v EVERTON

"Everton completed their pre-season tour of America with a drab 0-0 draw against New England Revolution earlier today. Chances were few and far between in Foxboro, although Roberto Martinez played down the performance, stating his team are getting fitter and stronger with every game."
"I've always said that results don't matter in pre-season, yes it's always good to win and to win well, but the real aim is making sure everyone is ready for August 18th. The players are happy, they've bought into what we want to do and were pleased with our progress. We move on to Bilbao, in what will be a good test for us."

New England Revs 0-0 Everton

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Baines, Pienaar, Miralles, Jelavic

subs: Gibson

The team flew back into Britain the following day to continue their preparations at the Finch Farm training complex ahead of the short trip to Northern Spain and the game against Manuel Bielsa's Athletic Bilbao. It was during the forthcoming week that the Toffees suffered the first of a series of injury blows...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TUESDAY JULY 31ST 2012

"BBC Radio Merseyside are this afternoon reporting that Everton's Dutch centre-back Johnny Heitinga has suffered a back strain during training this morning, we'll have more on this when we speak to Roberto Martinez on air this evening at 6pm...."
"Good evening Roberto, first of all, any news on Johnny Heitinga?"
"Johnny's strained his back this morning and is in some considerable pain, were hoping it's not too serious but we won't know until Thursday when the bruising goes down and we can assess him properly."
"What's the worst case scenario we'd be looking at?"
"The physio is optimistic the scan wont show anything too severe, so hopefully, in normal cases, which we hope it is, then we'd be looking at around four weeks."
"Does that mean a possible opportunity for Shane Duffy to stake a claim for a start?"
"There will always be opportunities for the younger players, Shane has done well far us so far, as has Jon Stones, so yes, why not? If they continue to listen, learn and improve then I'm always prepared to give the young lads a chance."

Two days later the results were back, Heitinga had suffered a back strain and could expect to be out of action for around four weeks. A blow for Martinez' preparations but a chance for Shane Duffy...

SATURDAY AUGUST 4TH 2012 - ATHLETIC BILBAO v EVERTON

"Coming back to Spain is always special, I've lived in England a while now but as they say "There is no place like home!." I'm looking forward to this game, Athletic are a quality side and we'll have to be at our best."
"Everton played out a 1-1 draw in Bilbao this evening, there was late drama as both goals were scored inside the last 10 minutes. Alvaro Pena scored what looked like being the winner in the 82nd minute but Leon Osman levelled for Everton in the last minute of the game."
"That was a good game and a good performance against a very good side. There wasn't many chances at either end but the football on show was excellent. The players are showing me all the right signs, they're listening and learning, which as a manager is all you can ask for. We wont get carried away but I firmly believe that were getting close to where I'd like us in terms of understanding on the pitch. Shane Duffy was excellent, he's grasped the opportunity tonight and Ive told him that he's set the standard now, it's up to him..."

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Everton (Pena 82 / Osman 90)

Howard, Jagielka, Duffy, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Baines, Pienaar, Miralles, Jelavic

subs: Gibson

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 8TH 2012 - FLEETWOOD v EVERTON

"We'll take the victory of course, but at times we weren't as fluent as what I'd like, but that's what these games do,they give you the opportunity to work on things without the added pressure. We'll have a day or two now in which we'll relax, then we'll get ourselves ready for the Fulham game."

"Everton rounded their pre-season fixtures with a 1-0 victory at Fleetwood this evening courtesy of a late Steven Naismith penalty. The game also saw a return to action for Thomas Hitzlsperger who'd been out with a head injury following the nasty clash during the game against Austrian oufit Kapfenberger.

Fleetwood Town 0-1 Everton (Naismith pen 85)

Mucha, Jagielka, Duffy, Distin, Coleman, Hitzlsperger, Fellaini, Oviedo, Naismith, Barkley, Anichebe

subs: Stone, Neville, Osman

All in all a solid enough pre-season campaign for the new manager and with everything now geared up towards the coming season the fans have shown their loyalty to the club once more as it's announced that just over 26,000 season tickets have been sold. A sure sign that Evertonians are happy with the appointment of Roberto Martinez...

Away from the club though, sections of the media are reporting that one the clubs biggest names could be set for a January exit from Goodison Park...

"David Moyes looks set for his first collision course with his old club as reports are emerging that he wants to take Maroune Fellaini to Old Trafford. The 24-year old Belgian international has been a revalation since Moyes first brought him to Goodison Park from Standard Liege in 2008. Everton are adament that Fellaini is not for sale and Roberto Martinez has told Sky Sports that Chairman Bill Kenwright has assured him that he's under no pressure to sell".
"Maroune isn't for sale, it's as simple as that. We hear stories every day but no one has come to us with anything concrete. We have big ambitions here and in order to achieve those ambitions we need our best players with us. The Chairman tells me I'm under no pressure to sell anyone and we wont be selling Maroune Fellaini."

The first of many difficult questions, and to compound a tricky week before the start of the Premier League season there is further injury woe as both captain Steven Pienaar along with Fellaini sustain inuries whilst on international duty...

"Everton have been dealt a double injury whammy ahead of Saturday's opener at Fulham with both Steven Pienaar and Maroune Fellaini picking up injuries representing their countries. Fellaini limped out of Belgium's friendly with New Zealand with what has been described as a dead leg, and now looks certain to miss Everton's opening game. Pienaar, who had recently been appointed as the new club captain by Roberto Martinez was stretchered off with a torn hamstring during South Africa's clash with the DR Congo."
"Yes, it's a big blow for us, Maroune isn't too serious but Saturday is too early for him. Steven though will be out for a while. Were bitterly dissappointed to lose him but these things happen and we have to deal with it."

So the scene was set, pre-season was done and dusted and Roberto Martinez was about to embark on his journey as manager of one of England's biggest clubs. Moderate success at Wigan is all good and well, but the responsibility of managing a team such as Everton and the pressure it naturally brings is a big step in terms of expectation. The signs were good though and despite losing his captain for three months before a ball had even been kicked, spirits were high within the squad...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The media suite at Goodison Park was packed ahead of Roberto Martinez' final press conference before the new season...

"Roberto, Marouane Fellaini, any truth in the rumours of him wanting away in January?"
"You tell me, the press seems to know everything that happens these days! I've spoken to Marouane and the conversation was positive, make of that what you will."
"Does the club need to sell in order to bring in new players?"
"The Chairman hasn't told me anything to suggest we have to do that. We all want to make this club successful, to achieve that it's vital we hold onto our best players."
"Fulham away, how do you rate your chances?"
"Fulham are a good side but then so are we. The players are confident of gaining a positive result tomorrow, they're certainly looking forward to the game as we all are here."

"You've had a bit of bad luck with Johnny Heitinga and Steven Pienaar both suffering from injuries, how big a loss are they?"
"Obviously they're both quality players and are important to us, but everyone in the squad knows they've the opportunity if they work hard. I want to encourage those players and keep their minds focused and ready to play when needed. There is some good quality amongst this squad, granted the depth isn't as much as I'd ideally like at the moment, but what we do have available is good players in every area."

SATURDAY AUGUST 18TH 2012 - FULHAM v EVERTON

"I can't be too downbeat as it's a point away from home and it means were up and running, but there is a slight unhappiness that we haven't closed the game out as I felt we were full value for a 1-0. The players deserve credit, we passed the ball well and we got into some dangerous positions."
"Everton had to settle for a point at Craven Cottage this afternoon. The visitors in Roberto Martinez' first competitve game in charge had taken the lead with a Seamus Coleman goal seven minutes after the break, but a 78th minute equaliser courtesy of Chris Baird denied Martinez an opening day victory."

Fulham 1-1 Everton (Baird 78 / Coleman 52)

Howard, Duffy, Jagielka, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Gibson, Baines, Miralles, Naismith, Jelavic

subs: Barkley

It was later revealed that Leon Osman had suffered a groin strain and was expected to be out for three weeks, the blow was softened somewhat though with the news that Marouane Fellaini was expected to be fit an available for first home game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur. Elsewhere, the draw for the Second Round of the Capital One Cup had been made, Everton would travel to South London to face Championship side Charlton on August 28th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first home game of the season was drawing closer, Tottenham were the visitors and the anticipation was building ahead of what would be a good test for Martinez. Marouane Fellaini was indeed declared fit, a huge boost considering the loss of Leon Osman and the longer term absentee Steven Pienaar. The media gathered once again to quiz Martinez ahead of what was sure to be a special day...

"Roberto, you've picked up your first point, how confident are you of a good result tomorrow?"
"It will be a tough game. Tottenham are a quality side with some exceptional players, we all know that. But we have belief in our own abilities and the players are ready for the challenge."
"How big a boost is it to have Marouane Fellaini available, especially considering you'll be without Osman and Pienaar?"
"Marouane is a quality player so obviously were delighted he's fit for tomorrow. I can't deny it would have been a huge loss if we'd have been without him for this game."
"The draw for the Capital One Cup sees you travel to Charlton next tuesday, what's your thoughts on that game, squad selection and the competition in general?"
"We'll treat the game as we would any other, personally I value every competition and we'll put out a strong side at Charlton. Tomorrow's game is the priority right now though and team selection for Charlton will be decided upon after the weekend."
"Finally, your first game here as Everton manager, you must be excited a little more than normal?"
"It will be great to see our fans tomorrow. hopefully we can put in a good performance for them. It's a special day for me personally but the result is far more important."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SATURDAY AUGUST 25TH - EVERTON v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

"What a day, I'm so proud right now. The players were fantastic and the fans responded, the noise they created was out of this world! We could and should have won by more, but three points and a clean sheet in the first home game against a side with the quality that Tottenham have is fantastic. The players deserve huge credit today, they played with a passion for the club and that's what were trying to install here. Work hard, train hard, run hard and enjoy what you do."

Everton picked up an impressive three points in Roberto Martinez' first home game this afternoon with goals from Leighton Baines and Nikica Jelavic. Baines also missed a second half penalty whilst Spurs' misery was compounded further when Brazilian Sandro was shown a straight red card in the final minute of the game. The result means Martinez has started the season with four points from the opening two games."

Everton 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur (Baines 12, Jelavic 83)

Howard, Duffy, Jagielka, Distin, Coleman, Gibson, Fellaini, Baines, Miralles, Naismith, Jelavic

subs: Oviedo

A great three points for Everton and the fans left Goodison Park in joyous mood. TV and media pundits were purring over the performance. David Moyes seemingly was already forgotten...

"Everton impressed me today, there's no doubt that it's David Moyes' team but Martinez looks a if he's added that extra panache going forward. If they can keep a settled side they'll be a threat this season." Alan Hanson speaking on MOTD
Everton deserve credit for the way they played, they made it very difficult for our big names to get on the ball. Whilst we didn't perform as well as we can, there's no doubt Everton played a good game. There won't be many sides coming here and going home with three points." Andre Villas-Boas speaking after the game.

Two games, four points. Next up was a trip to The Valley as the Blues turned their attentions towards the Capital One Cup...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TUESDAY AUGUST 28TH 2012 - CHARLTON ATHLETIC v EVERTON (CAPITAL ONE CUP 2ND ROUND)

Everton stumbled their way to victory at Charlton this evening, the game ended 1-1 after extra-time but the Premier League side won the penalty shoot-out 5-4. It had looked as if the game would have been won in normal time as Ross Barkley's strike was the difference going into the third minute of stoppage time, but Addicks French striker Yann Kermogant headed home from close range to force extra time.
"It was a tricky tie and we knew it would be. The team we sent out were more than good enough to win so it's a little disappointing that we had to rely on penalties but the main thing is that we go home as winners, and in cup football that's the only thing that matters."

Charlton Athletic 1-1 Everton (Kermogant 90+2 / Barkley 58) Everton win 5-4 on pens

Mucha, Jagielka, Duffy, Distin, Stones, Gibson, Neville, Oviedo, Barkley, Miralles, Anichebe

subs: Lundstam, Naismith, Velios

With a victory and a place in the third round, all eyes now focused back to the Premier League and the visit of Martinez' former employers Wigan Athletic to Goodison Park. There could be no time for sentiment though as the Toffees were looking to maintain their good start to the season...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"It will be great to see some old friends again, I enjoyed my time at Wigan and had the pleasure of working with some lovely people. I wish them all the very best going forward, apart from their games with us of course!"

There was also good news regarding Leon Osman...

"Leon will start training again next week and we expect him to be ready for selection after the international break."

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 1ST 2012 - EVERTON v WIGAN ATHLETIC

"Everton's good start to the season continued as Roberto Martinez' previous club Wigan were put to the sword at Goodison this afternoon. Nikica Jelavic gave the home side the lead after 5 minutes and when Kevin Mirallas added a second five minutes into the second half the game looked won. Wigan soon replied though through Arouna Kone and it wasn't until seven minutes from time that Everton sealed the three points courtesy of a Sylvain Distin header."
"It was a strange day, coming up against Wigan so soon into the season. I'm pleased with the boys, we got off to a great start and looked well set. Wigan came back well in the second half and caused us some problems but we stayed strong and got our rewards. We won't get carried away though but naturally were more than pleased with the start we've made."

Everton 3-1 Wigan Athletic (Jelavic 5, Mirallas 50, Distin 83, / Kone 55)

Mucha, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Gibson, Fellaini, Baines, Mirallas, Barkley, Jelavic,

subs: Stones, Hitzlsperger, Naismith,

With a more than satisfactory points haul for the new manager going into the international break there was a real feeling around the club that this was just the start of what would be an exciting campaign. All Roberto Martinez could do now was hope and pray that his internationalists would return from playing for their respective countries in good health...

As it turned out, they all did, although there was one injury to report back at the club as Darron Gibson had picked up a groin strain during training and faced three weeks on the sidelines. Leon Osman though was training well and Martinez confirmed he would travel to Queens Park Rangers in a game that was being shown by the television cameras...

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16TH 2012 - QUEENS PARK RANGERS v EVERTON

"Games can be decided by freak incidents, bits of luck or moments of quality. Today we benefited from all of those but that's not taking anything away from the overall performance. To come away, score three goals and go home with a clean sheet is what I'd call clinical. There wasn't much between the teams for large parts of the game but you have to earn the right and the boys showed their metal again today."
"Three goals in five minutes either side of half time gave Everton a third straight win at Loftus Road this afternoon. A tight contest was heading towards the break as a stalemate before Marouane Fellaini found space at the far post to finish off Kevin Mirallas' cross. Two minutes into time added on another teasing cross from Mirallas again caused panic and Rangers defender Stephen Mbia diverted into his own net. Any hopes the home side had of clawing themselves back into the game were dashed two minutes into the second period as Nikica Jelavic beat the often trap to slam home the visitors third."

Queens Park Rangers 0-3 Everton (Fellaini 44, Mbia og 45+2, Jelavic 47)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Fellaini, Neville, Baines, Barkley, Mirallas, Jelavic,

subs: Osman, Hitzlsperger, Anichebe,

It was now three straight victories in the league for the Toffees and next up was a home game against the champions, a game in which Everton could really lay down a sign of intent. In football though, and especially in the demanding league that is the Barclays Premier League there is always something else to discuss, again it was to be more speculation involving a certain Belgian international, only this time the attention was reported to be coming from oil rich owners in France's capital...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"News just in from France now, and Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has admitted he's a big admirer of Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini and that he believes the Belgian international would be a "great" signing for any major side.

Blanc wouldn't be drawn as to whether the super rich French side would be making a January move for the player, but did admit that "some big deals will be concluded". Everton recently stated that Fellaini "wasn't for sale" but SKY Sports News understands the clubs board would consider offers upwards of £25M."

Having to face further questions about the future of one of your star players is hardly ideal preparation the day before the champions arrive in town, but that's exactly the situation Roberto Martinez found himself in 24 hours before his team faced Manchester City...

"The situation regarding Marouane Fellaini, any truth in the rumour that the club would be prepared to sell?"
"The Chairman has given me his word, we won't be selling Maerouane Fellaini, or any other key player in January."
"Does that mean sales could happen at the end of the season?"
"Every club makes transfers during the summer, we'll be no different, but as I've already stated, our key players are not for sale!"
"What's your thoughts on tomorrow's game? Any fresh injury news to speak of?"
"Were looking forward to the game. It will be a good test as Manchester City are the current champions and have quality all over the pitch. We'll certainly have to be on our game but were in good form so I guess they will be saying the same. Injury wise, apart from Steven Pienaar and Darron Gibson everyone's fine. Steven is progressing nicely though."

Martinez was indeed correct as over in Manchester Roberto Mancini spoke with high regard of the Spaniard and his team...

"Everton were already a good side but Roberto has got them playing with more freedom. He's an excellent coach and I respect him. It will be big test for us on Saturday that's for certain."

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 22ND 2012 - EVERTON v MANCHESTER CITY

"Today was our biggest test to date and to come away with another three points is a great feeling. We knew it would be a tough game and even at 2-0 it still wasn't job done. City threw everything at us in that last 20 minutes but overll we deserved the win. It's early days still and it's vital we don't get ahead of ourselves. Wins breed confidence but's it's important that everyone remains grounded, but yes, tonight I'm delighted."
"Everton extended their winning run to four games and still have yet to taste defeat under Roberto Martinez after beating Manchester City 2-1 at Goodison Park. Former Toffee Joleon Lescott put through his own net after 20 minutes and Johnny Heitinga was left free in the box to head home a second just before the hour. City finally woke up and despite dominating the last 20 minutes could only manage a solitary Scott Sinclair strike two minutes from time. Everton now sit proudly at the top of the Premier League with what can only be described as a dream start for Roberto Martinez."

Everton 2-1 Manchester City (Lescott og 20, Heitinga 58 / Sinclair 88)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Fellaini, Neville, Baines, Naismith, Barkey, Jelavic,

subs: Oviedo, Osman, Mirallas,

All dreams come to an end though, a fact that was hammered home three days later as the team travelled to South Wales for the Capital One Cup third round clash with Cardiff City...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 25TH - CARDIFF CITY v EVERTON (CAPITAL ONE CUP THIRD ROUND)

"Everton's unbeaten start to the season came to an end in spectacular fashion as they were dumped out of the Capital One Cup at Cardiff this evening. Roberto Martinez will be ruing the decision to name Leighton Baines and Nikica Jelavic on the bench whilst resting Marouane Fellaini completely. Leon Osman made his first start since returning from injury but was powerless to stop a rampant home side who took the lead midway through the first half through Peter Whittingham. The visitors went further behind just before the hour when Fillip Kiss struck and Ben Turner put the icing on the cake 13 minutes from time with a close range header."
"To say i'm disappointed is an understatement. We made changes to keep everyone fresh but those who came in have enough quality to warrant their selection. Unfortunately tonight no one played anywhere near the levels expected. It's been a hugely disappointing night but if it's told the players anything, it's the fact that football is a great game when your winning, but the reaction to a defeat is when a manager finds out more about his players. The players know they haven't performed but no one is hiding."

Cardiff City 3-0 Everton (Whittingham 22, Kiss 59, Turner 77)

Mucha, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Stones, Osman, Hitzlsperger, Oviedo, Barkley, Mirallas, Anichebe

subs: Baines, Naismith, Jelavic

How would the side react to that first loss of the season? The answer would come four days later with a trip to The Hawthorns and a clash with West Bromwich Albion. One player who wouldn't be involved was Darron Gibson who was still short on fitness having returning to full training the following day. The only positive from the defeat at Cardiff was a first start for Leon Osman since the opening day of the season. Osman, who has spent his entire career with his hometown club personifies the traditional Everton spirit and Martinez was glad to have him back...

"Leon is a model professional and a joy to work with. I've always admired him as a footballer and since I've got to know him on a personal level I admire him as a man."

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 29TH - WEST BROMWICH ALBION v EVERTON

"As a manager you'll always be content with a clean sheet, especially away from home, but from an attacking point of view I thought we were sluggish and lacking penetration. I can't be too harsh though as we showed solidity and made ourselves difficult to break down, which after Tuesday night was a huge improvement. It keeps us unbeaten in the league so we'll settle for that right now."
"Roberto Martinez is still to taste defeat as Everton boss in the Premier League following his sides goalless draw at West Brom, In a game which neither side took full control and defences were firmly on top a stalemate was a fair result."

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Everton

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Baines, Barkley, Naismith, Jelavic

subs: Hitzlsperger, Mirallas, Anichebe

Martinez had got the reaction he wanted to a certain degree at least and hopefully the Cardiff debacle was nothing more than a blip. The team now had one more game before the second international break of the season, but along with preparing for the visit of Sunderland there was a surprise announcement, which with hindsight would have spared Martinez from losing his captain for three months had Steven Pienaar decided to call time on his international career a few months previous. The news though was still good for his club if not his country...

It was also a week when unsurprisingly the future of Marouane Fellaini was again questioned. This time though it was reported by the press that Paris Saint-Germain had made an official offer for the influential Belgian. The fee involved was believed to be around £20M. It was certainly a lively media conference the day before the Sunderland game...

"Here we are again Roberto, I'm sure you know what the first question is about!"
"To be honest it's getting a little tiresome now. I know you guys have jobs to do, but so do we here."
"Is there any truth surrounding the alleged PSG bid?
"
"If there is then it's not something I'm aware of, and I can assure you that I speak to the chairman quite a lot"
"Laurent Blanc has made no secret of the fact he'd love Fellaini at PSG. Is there any comment from you on that?"
"Well if I'm being totally honest with you then I'd say most of the top clubs in Europe would love Marouane in their team. The fact though, is, he's under contract with Everton and we are saying he's not for sale."
"Not even if the price is right?"
"You tell me what the right price is?"
"£20M if the reports in France are to be believed."
"£20M isn't the right price though, he's worth more than that to this football club."
"So if someone came in with something far higher it could happen?"
"Not according to the chairman!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That must take some work to push out. Kudos to you hucknallowl, makes for easier follow for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SATURDAY OCTOBER 6TH - EVERTON v SUNDERLAND

"Today without doubt was our most complete performance so far. We played at a high tempo, passed the ball with without trying to do too much. We got into some great positions and the only negative is that we didn't score more. This is the level of performance were striving for on a consistent basis."
"Everton made light work of Sunderland this afternoon as they cruised to a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park. In a game which the home side dominated from start to finish goals from Steven Naismith and Leighton Baines either side of half time maintained Roberto Martinez' unbeaten start to the league campaign and second in the table overall."

Everton 2-0 Sunderland (Naismith 40, Baines 55)

Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Mirallas, Naismith, Jelavic

subs: Oviedo, Gibson, Anichebe

It was revealed after the game that long-serving full back Tony Hibbert had agreed to join Championship side Leicester Ciy on a month's loan. Hibbert hadn't been a part of Martinez' plans thus far and speculation over his future at the club had increased. Martinez did though praise the experienced defender for his attitude...

"Tony's attitude has been fantastic, of course like anyone he wants to play games but at the moment in time Seamus Coleman has the shirt and fits into the system were building better. That's not to say that Tony Hibbert doesn't have a part to play here as his experience and attitude is a huge benefit to the younger players. The loan move gives him the opportunity to play some first team football and hopefully come back here fitter and stronger."

The good start had continued into October and surely no Everton fan could have realistically have expected their side to be going into the second international break of the season second in the table to David Moyes' Manchester United? There was now a break before the team travelled to Southampton, but in that time more, yes more speculation regarding Marouane Fellaini emerged, this time Martinez had to come out and deny a bust-up with his star man...

"Reports are emerging this evening that Everton manager Roberto Martinez has been locked in showdown talks with Marouane Fellaini over the Belgian international's future at the club. SKY Sports news are led to believe that the 24-year old is indeed looking to move away from the club in the January transfer window. Both Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, we are told are preparing offers, although it is believed that Manchester City are also set to join the race for Fellaini. A move to United would probably be the most likely destination, if indeed a bid was made. Fellaini of course would of course link up with the man who first brought him to England, David Moyes."

When quizzed by the press, Martinez was coy about the matter...

Marouane has spoken with me, he's naturally ambitious and wants to achieve many things in the game. He's never told me he wants to leave, but like any other top player he's asked me questions about where the club sees itself in one, two, five years time. To say we have fallen out though isn't true."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The perils of top flight Football management, something Martinez was all too aware of, and if results were to go by, had adapted to well.

In the build up to the Southampton trip Martinez announced that young midfield prospect Gethin Jones had signed professional forms with the club. This was a youngster Martinez had high hopes for and fitted into the clubs idea of keeping their young talents and slowly introducing them to first team football, as had been seen with the emergence of Ross Barkley and Shane Duffy and a fleeting first team appearance for England Under-20 international John Lundstram.

Martinez also took out the time to praise the form of left-back Leighton Baines. The England international had been instrumental in the sides excellent start to the season with both goals and assists. It was his consistency though impressed the manager the most...

"Leighton is a top top player. He chips in with goals and has been involved in creating many more for us. He's consistent and you know exactly what to expect from him, which is proof of how good he is. The best players always produce, and even in games in which they don't stand out they never let you down. It's a joy to have him in the side nd I know he's very happy here."

SUNDAY OCTOBER 21ST - SOUTHAMPTON v EVERTON

"Everton's unbeaten start to the Premier League goes on as Nikica Jelavic scored the only goal of the game at St Marys as Southampton were the latest side to suffer at the hands of the high flying Toffees. The Croatian international has now struck four times this season. The visitors were made to work hard for the victory though as the Saints pressed strongly in the second half in search of an equaliser."
"A very very good day for us. It was a close game and on another day Southampton may have got something out of it, but today we did just enough, we got the goal, defended well and showed a steely determination not to conceed. Against Sunderland we were fantastic to watch, today was a different type of game but the reward is just the same.

Southampton 0-1 Everton (Jelavic 39)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Baines, Mirallas, Naismith. Jelavic,

subs: Neville, Gibson, Barkley

How long could this form continue was anyone's guess, but one thing for certain was that the fans were enjoying themselves and whilst talk of a title challenge may be slightly premature one could forgive Evertonians for the new sense of optimism. The games were coming thick and fast and the next fixture was another trip south, this time to East London where West Ham United lay in wait...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MONDAY OCTOBER 29TH - WEST HAM UNITED v EVERTON

"Everton had Leighton Baines to thank as they preserved their unbeaten start to the season which now stretches to nine games. Matt Jarvis' 4th minute strike had looked to be enough for the Hammers until Baines strike 8 minutes from time. A draw was a fair result though in a game which the home side had the better of the first half with Everton slowly edging themselves back into the game in the second period. The main talking point though is the injury sustained by Marouane Fellaini who had to stretchered off having fallen badly on his arm"
"Marouane doesn't look in great shape, he's landed on his arm and it looks like a fracture, we'll have to wait for the results of the x-ray. We had a lot of possession but at times I thought we tried to over do things. In the second half we told the players to be a little bit more direct and try to get their defenders facing their own goal. Leighton's goal was a great strike but that's what we've come to expect from him now. Nine games unbeaten is a great start, it's important that we maintain the standards we've set ourselves."

West Ham United 1-1 Everton (Jarvis 4 / Baines 82)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Baines. Mirallas, Naismith, Jelavic,

subs: Gibson, Barkley,

Everton now sat second in the table, four points behind David Moyes' Manchester United. The injury to Fellaini though was a huge blow with the club confirming the following day that he had indeed fractured his arm and would be out of action for at least 5 weeks, and with 11 games in the next two months, which after the visit of Stoke saw fixtures against Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United the return of Steven Pienaar was needed more than ever if the side were to continue the fantastic start to the season...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 3RD 2012 - EVERTON v STOKE CITY

Everton won comfortably against Stoke City at Goodison this afternoon to preserve their unbeaten start to the season. The home side dominated possession throughout against a dogged Stoke side and goals in each half from Sylvain Distin and Nikica Jelavic mean Roberto Martinez' team still have a 100% record at Goodison Park.

It was comfortable enough in the end although Stoke made themselves hard to break down. I think we fell into the trap of trying to over play in the first half an hour and everything we did was infront of them. When we started to play into space and spread the play is when we opened them up. The goals came at vital times, Nikica's showed excellent composure, the boy is a class act.

Everton 2-0 Stoke City (Distin 33, Jelavic 67)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Gibson, Baines, Mirallas, Naismith, Jelavic

subs: Hitzlsperger, Barkley, Anichebe

During the week Tony Hibbert returned from his loan spell at Leicester, the right back had made 5 appearances for the Foxes. There was also a reserve team appearance for Steven Pienaar as the South African continued with his comeback by playing the full 90 minutes against Norwich. The toffees were to suffer a blow though as it was revealed that Phil Neville would miss the next six weeks with a sports hernia. Whilst not being a regular starter Neville offered experience. It was a loss without question.

There was now a run of fixtures which included the visits of Arsenal and Chelsea to Goodison Park and trips to Anfield and Old Trafford. Did Everton have the staying power under Martinez? The next month would offer big clues...

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10TH 2012 - EVERTON v ARSENAL

It's the best time to score without doubt! We would have settled for a point against a good side who caused us problems, but to snatch a victory at the death was a sweet moment. The players worked their socks off and got their just rewards.
Everton's 100% home record goes on with a dramatic injury time goal from Nikica Jelavic seeing off Arsenal. The Gunners had taken the lead in the first half through Laurent Koscielny before Jelavic once again showed his quality with a well taken equaliser midway through the second period. It looked as if that would be the end of the scoring until Jelavic was the quickest to react to a loose ball in the box in the third minute of stoppage time to send Goodison Park into raptures.

Everton 2-1 Arsenal (Jelavic 66, 90+3 / Koscielny 20)

Howard, Duffy, Jagielka, Distin, Coleman, Heitinga, Osman, Gibson, Baines, Naismith, Jelavic

subs: Barkley, Hitzlsperger, Mirallas

Another home game, another three points. The season was turning into something special for every Evertonian. The side were still unbeaten and headed to Anfield the following Sunday.

Nikica Jelavic's stock was rising, the Croatian international who David Moyes had brought to the club from Rangers for £5M was the spearhead of the Everton attack and a popular figure amongst the supporters. It wasn't just the Everton fans who appreciated his talents though...

I think he's a top player, he leads the line superbly, he's got strength and holds the ball up well, he gets into the channels and draws central defenders across and of course he knows where the net is.

I'm surprised he's not mentioned in the same sentence as Baines and Fellaini when it comes to key players. If he keeeps up his current form though I'd expect a serious interest from some of the big clubs. Alan Shearer talking on MOTD.

Could Jelavic keep on scoring the goals? Could Everton maintain their unbelievable start to the season? All the attention was now on the next game, the Merseyside derby at Anfield. With results working out as they had done so far during the weekend, Everton knew a victory at the home of their greatest rivals would temporarily at least, put them on the top of the Premier League.

The scene was set for what would prove to be a typical derby game with goals, drama and late tackles...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 18TH 2012 - LIVERPOOL v EVERTON

Everton's unbeaten start to the season finally came to an end as they threw away a two goal lead in a bad tempered Merseyside derby at Anfield. The game also saw two penalties, ten bookings and a red card for Leon Osman.

Few could have predicted what was to happen as the game looked all but over after only 6 minutes with the visitors charging out of the blocks with goals from Kevin Mirallas after just 18 seconds and a second from Nikica Jelavic five minutes later.

Liverpool fought back strongly and finally got their reward when Steven Gerrard netted in first half stoppage time.

The second half started in the same way as the first ended and Gerrard scored his second of the game, this time from the penalty spot. By now it was one way traffic and when Luis Suarez was up ended for a second penalty the home side had the chance to complete a fantastic comeback. Tim Howard was the hero though as he guessed correctly to save Gerrard's penalty.

Liverpool kept up the pressure and when Leon Osman was dismissed for a late challenge it looked like it would be a mmatter of time before the third goal arrived, and it did when Suarez found space to rifle past Howard.

I'm not happy, we got ourselves into a fantastic position so early on in the game but for some reason the players seemed to think it was job done and they switched off, I find that hard to take as it's not something we've done before.

Liverpool gave us so many problems and we lost our shape and discipline and I can't have any complaints about Leon's sending off, it was a poor tackle and there was only one outcome.

We can't let this affect what has been a brilliant start to the season. There are some very big games coming up and we have to get today out of our system as soon as possible.

I'm upset the most for our supporters, it's been a bad day for the club.

Liverpool 3-2 Everton (Gerrard 45+1, 50(pen), Suarez 74 / Mirallas 1, Jelavic 6)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Gibson, Baines, Mirallas, Naismith, Jelavic

subs: Hitzlsperger, Oviedo

The unbeaten run was finally over, the question now was how would the team react? The answer would come in spectacular fashion six days later when Chelsea visited Goodison Park...

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 24TH 2012 - EVERTON v CHELSEA

The second half was a joy to watch, we were devastating in our attacking play and every time we broke we had an effort on goal.

At half time we told the players we were happy but that we could give them more problems if we were a little braver and got people forward earlier. The players responded and the result didn't flatter us at all.

After last week it was vital we got something from today and the players more than made amends for Liverpool. A fantastic day for everyone involved with Everton Football Club!

Everton blew Chelsea away with four second half goals on their way to an amazing 5-0 victory of Jose Mourinho's team.

In a tight opening 45 minutes Kevin Mirallas neat finish just before the break was the only difference, but as Chelsea pushed for an equaliser in the second half the home side opened the visitors up at will.

Nikica Jelavic doubled the lead on 61, Sylvain Distin headed home a second ten minutes later, Thomas Hitzlsperger fired home his first for the club on 85 and Seamus Coleman rounded off a special day in the last minute following a lovely move which carved Chelsea open yet again.

Everton 5-0 Chelsea (Mirallas 41, Jelavic 61, Distin 71, Hitzlsperger 85, Coleman 90)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Hitzlsperger, Gibson, Baines, Naismith, Mirallas, Jelavic

subs: Oviedo, Barkley, Anichebe

The perfect response from Martinez' men and it was clear to see that this squad did have the staying power, the commitment and the skill to compete with the biggest clubs in the land. The next game was only four days later as former manager David Moyes welcomed his old side to Old Trafford. Moyes, like Martinez had made a great start in his new job, albeit the expectations being somewhat higher.

Moyes has always, and always will be, a manager who respects his opponent, as was evident as he took the time to praise the impact Roberto Martinez had had on Everton...

Roberto is a great guy, a good coach and well respected among all the managers in the Premier League. I'm so happy he's started life at Everton so well as it's a club I'll always hold dear and a city I have fond memories of. The supporters are fantastic and they deserve success.

The players are great pro's and they've got a fantastic man in charge. Bill Kenwright asked for my advice when he was choosing my replacement and I knew Roberto would be a great choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 28TH 2012 - MANCHESTER UNITED v EVERTON

They are the best team in the country, they close you down, they keep the possession and they overload you when they attack. It's never nice to lose but sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say we were beaten by a far superior side.

I can't fault the players effort, we just couldn't compete with United this evening. We will learn from this and we will come back as we have done when asked the question before.

David Moyes enjoyed a victory in his first game against Everton since swapping Merseyside for Manchester during the summer.

Shinji Kagawa scored both goals inside the first 17 minutes as United remain unbeaten and Moyes' incredible start to life at Old Trafford continues.

Manchester United 2-0 Everton (Kagawa 10,17)

Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Heitinga, Osman, Gibson, Mirallas, Naismith, Jelavic

subs: Barkley, Anichebe

The second defeat of the league campaign for Everton but Roberto Martinez was a realist and knew that whilst his team were more often than not good enough to compete on any given day, they weren't (as yet) good enough to sustain a title challenge over a 38-game season.

For Martinez it was a work in progress, a slow evolution, a framework that would be adhered to, tweaked and strengthened over time.

Steven Pienaar was a key part of that plan and Martinez revealed he would be fit to face Aston Villa at Goodison on Saturday. The South African had yet to play competitively this season.

There was also speculation that Tony Hibbert was attracting the interest of Stoke City. Hibbert had been with the club since his youth but had found himself playing reserve team football since Martinez' arrival, and to that effect looked increasingly likely that his time was finally up on Merseyside.

There were also reports eminating in Holland that winger Nacer Chadli was on Martinez' radar. The 23-year Belgian was having an excellent season with FC Twente under the coaching of Steve McClaren but was out of contract during the summer. When quizzed about a possible move the Everton boss neither admitted or denied an interest in Chadli, although it was widely accepted the player would the type of signing the club would be interested in, young but experienced, relatively low key but good enough to fit straight into the squad.

The FA Cup third round draw was also made, Everton were to face fellow Premier League opposition in the shape of Fulham with the tie to be played at Craven Cottage at the turn of the new year.

Next up though was Aston Villa at Goodison, could the Toffees maintain their perfect home record or would mid-table Villa spring a surprise...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SUNDAY DECEMBER 2ND 2012 - EVERTON v ASTON VILLA

Everton had Leighton Baines to thank as his last minute penalty salvaged a point as mid-table Villa battled hard for a point at Goodison Park.

Villa had started the brighter and took the lead on 14 minutes through Christian Benteke and looked good value to take all three points as the home side struggled to break down a dogged Villa. That was until Baines late drama from the spot.

The result means Everton lose their 100% home record but there was positives to take in the shape of Steven Pienaar's first game of the season and a return for Marouane Fellaini.

We got away with that today as in all honesty it was a poor performance.

Villa came with a good game plan and we didn't assert ourselves as we have done in previous games here. It was great to see Steven back in first team action though along with Marouane and hopefully that will inspire the rest of the team.

There is no cause for panic, the players have been brilliant so far and I have full faith in them.

Everton 1-1 Aston Villa (Baines 90 pen / Benteke 14)

Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Coleman, Osman, Fellaini, Baines, Pienaar, Mirallas, Jelavic

subs: Naismith

So the perfect start at Goodison Park was over and it was now a case of starting over again with the opportunity coming in the next game when Reading would be the Goodison Park opposition.

The Villa game also saw ex-manager David Moyes in the stands sparking fresh speculation over a move for Marouane Fellaini, Moyes when asked responded by saying "I was here as a guest of the Chairman". Whether Moyes had another agenda is anyone's guess, Fellaini had become box office attraction and the club knew that sooner or later a serious offer would be coming their way.

The Nacer Chadli situation was still interesting the press, especially when Martinez was questioned about the subject...

He is a player we've been watching. He's at a good age and has gone under the radar somewhat slightly.

We know we can't compete with Manchester United's or Chelsea's so we have to look in different places sometimes. The Dutch league has some very good young players and Nacer Chadli is part of that, he's also appeared for his country and the reports we've had have all been positive.

Will we make a move for him? Well we have lots of targets and nothing is certain with anyone at this moment. We are always looking for ways to improve, as is every club.

If Everton wanted to sign Chadli they'd face stiff opposition though, that's if FC Twente's coach Steve McClaren had anything to do with the issue...

I don't appreciate anyone coming out and speaking publicly about any of our players. Maybe words have been taken out of context, but if Everton or anyone else for that matter wants to sign one of our players then they talk to us first. It's clearly a move to unsettle a player who is contracted to us until June 2013.

I'm a little disappointed if truth be told and I would have expected from Everton to be honest.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 8TH 2012 - EVERTON v READING

We decided to change our shape and try something a bit different and in an attacking sense we looked a lot sharper.

Defensively there were a few moments that I wasn't impressed with and that's something we'll look closely at. We have to be happy overall though, we got back to winning ways and scored four good goals.

Everton got back to winning ways as Reading were beaten 4-2 at Goodison this afternoon.

Marouane Fellaini gave the hosts the perfect start with a goal inside the opening minute but Reading responded on 20 minutes with an Alex Pearce header.

Five minutes later Kevin Mirallas put Everton back in front and Ross Barkley's first senior goal six minutes before half time looked to have put the game out of the visitors reach, but when Adam Le Fondre pulled a goal bck midway through the second half it was game on.

The play then raged from end to end and it wasn't until the second minute of stoppage that the game was finally put out of the visitors reached, Kevin Mirallas popping up to score his second of the game and Everton's fourth.

Everton 4-2 Reading (Fellaini 1, Mirallas 25, 90+2, Barkley 39 / Pearce 20, Le Fondre 65)

Mucha, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Fellaini, Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar, Jelavic

subs: Gibson, Naismith

A victory to get things back on track, a special day for Ross Barkley and more game time for Steven Pienaar.

Things were tight in the league but Martinez had guided the team firmly towards being serious Champions League contenders.

The games were coming thick and fast, next up was a trip to Newcastle and whatever the outcome it was an exciting time to be an Everton supporter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SATURDAY DECEMBER 15TH 2012 - NEWCASTLE UNITED v EVERTON

Marouane Fellaini scored an injury time winner as Everton claimed all three points on Tyneside this afternoon.

In an even game where chances fell at both ends, it looked increasingly likely that both sides woud have to settle for a point until Fellaini rose highest to head home Steven Pienaar's corner.

I'm delighted to get all three points. There wasn't much between the sides but I was happy with our general play and thought we went about our responsibilities in a very professional way.

It's not always about pretty football, sometimes you have to grind out the points and today we did just that. The players can be more than happy with their efforts.

Newcastle United 0-1 Everton (Fellaini 90+1)

Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Fellaini, Barkley, Mirallas, Pienaar, Jelavic

subs: Heitinga, Naismith

A good three points for Everton and they would be on the road again the following weekend with a trip to East Anglia to face lowly Norwich City.

It was to be an afternoon of both highs and lows...

SATURDAY DECEMBER 22ND 2012 - NORWICH CITY v EVERTON

The first half was as good a performance I've had had from a team in all my time as a manager. We simply blew them away, the passing and movement was a joy to watch and we could have had more goals.

The down side is the loss of Nikica and Steven (Naismith), hopefully the damage won't be too serious with either of them but we will have to wait and see. It does tarnish the result somewhat but these things happen in football.

Everton are second in the Premier League at Christmas following a comprehensive 4-0 victory at Carrow Road.

All the goals came in the first half as the visitors proved simply too much for a struggling City side.

Ross Barkley opened the scoring on 9 minutes, Kevin Mirallas doubled the lead 9 minutes later and two goals in the final five minutes of the half from Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic put the stamp on a first class first half showing from Roberto Martinez' men.

The result was marred though as Jelavic and Steven Naismith had to be taken off injured, Jelavic with what looked like a blow to the ribs and Naismith a sprained ankle.

Norwich City 0-4 Everton (Barkley 9, Mirallas 18, Jelavic 40, Fellaini 45)

Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osan, Fellaini, Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar, Jelavic

subs: Gibson, Naismith, Anichebe

Jelavic had indeed suffered bruised ribs and Martinez confirmed he would almost certainly miss the busy festive period. Naismith had sprained an ankle which would keep him out for longer.

It was a blow for the side, especially with a busy period of fixtures coming up.

Meanwhile Martinez publicly praised the form of right winger Kevin Mirallas, the Belgian international had been in good form of late, a fact that hadn't gone unnoticed with the manager...

Kevin is in good form at the moment, he's an excellent player and has the ability to give any defence problems. It's important that he maintains his form as he's a key part of the squad.

He's also a great lad to work with, he's always smiling and joking in training and he enjoys his football.

Mirallas wasn't the only member of the squad earning praise, in Central America Bryan Oviedo was starring for Costa Rica as they reached the final of the Copa Centroamericana. Oviedo had featured for the Toffees briefly and had the problem of competing for a place with Leighton Baines. He was though a solid member of the squad and a player Martinez knew could be relied on when needed.

As everyone opened up their Christmas presents the best gift for any Evertonian was surely the fact that the team were in second place, five points behind Manchester United, two ahead of both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal and more importantly for the fans, five ahead of Liverpool.

Next up was Swansea City at Goodison on Boxing Day...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 26TH 2012 - EVERTON v SWANSEA CITY

Everton made it five games unbeaten as a 25th minute strike from Kevin Mirallas was enough to defeat Swansea City.

It was a game in which the home side controlled and should have had sealed long before the end, but a failure to convert more chances it made for a nervy finish as the visitors grew in confidence and pushed for an equalising goal.

We could have made things a lot less nervy but I'm happy with the win.

The goal was a result of some lovely football and Kevin took the chance superbly.

This result is for the supporters, they've been superb to me since I arrived here and I dedicate today to them, Happy Christmas everyone!

Everton 1-0 Swansea City (Mirallas 25)

Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Fellaini, Coleman, Barkley, Pienaar, Mirallas

subs: Anichebe, Hitzlsperger, Gibson

The next game was only three days later, a tough trip to London to take on Tottenham Hotspur, who no doubt would be looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat they suffered at Goodison in August.

Off the pitch it was revealed that Assistant Manager Steve Round had turned down an approach from Championship outfit Millwall to take over the vacant Manager's role.

It was a huge relief for Martinez as Round had quickly become a trusty aide and good friend. Round was also a figure who was hugely popular among the players.

Meanwhile there was further speculation over in Holland regarding the future of Nacer Chadli. It was believed that Kevin Mirallas, a big friend of Chadli was hoping his fellow Belgium team mate would join up with him at Goodison.

It was a story that would rumble on, and one that wouldn't be decided until the end of the transfer window...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SATURDAY DECEMBER 29TH 2012 - TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v EVERTON

I'm feeling very unhappy this evening, it was a poor performance all round. We gave them far too much respect and we didn't perform anywhere near the levels expected.

We can't dwell on it and we have the chance to put it right on Wednesday, but today's been hugely disappointing for everyone.

Spurs hammered Everton 4-1 in the game between fourth and second at White Hart Lane.

Jan Vertonghen gave the hosts a 2nd minute lead and 20 minutes later it was two as Jermain Defoe was allowed far too much time in the box.

It was Defoe again just before the hour and Everton and it looked as if Spurs would be racking up a huge win, Victor Anichebe pulled a goal back though four minutes later to give the visitors a slight glimmer of hope.

Any hope didn't last long though, seven minutes to be precise before Younes Kaboul scored the host's fourth.

There were also knocks picked up by Marouane Fellaini and Darron Gibson which according to Roberto Martinez leaves both doubtful for Wednesday's home game with Fulham.

Tottenham Hotpur 4-1 Everton (Vertonghen 2, Defoe 21,58, Kaboul 69 / Anichebe 62)

Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Fellaini, Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar, Anichebe

subs: Gibson, Hitzlsperger

A poor day all round for Everton and Martinez had three days to pick the side up ahead of the next game.

The result also meant the Toffees would end the calendar year in third place, which at the start of the season would have been hard to believe for any Evertonian let alone Martinez, but after a great start expectations were now higher and that was something the Spaniard was well aware of.

There were reports claiming that Martinez was on the trail of Juventus midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini although these claims were quickly rebuffed, The 27-year as Martinez stated was "Out of our price range"

As the new year began there was an offer making it's way towards the Manager's table, Sunderland wanted Tony Hibbert, Everton wanted £1M, could a deal be agreed? It was obvious that Hibbert wasn't a part of the plans going forward and the full back himself had accepted a move away would be in the best interests of everyone.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 2ND 2013 - EVERTON v FULHAM

Everton beat Fulham 2-0 in the first of a double header between the clubs.

The win was a huge boost for Manager Roberto Martinez following the 4-1 mauling at Spurs on Saturday.

First half strikes from Phil Neville and Victor Anichebe proved to be enough although Fulham refused to lie down and offered plenty of problems at the other end.

It was a good way to respond, Fulham played their part and it was a well earned three points for us.

The players once again have shown the right character following a poor performance and that's a great strength to have. We'll keep taking things game by game and I'm the sure the second half the season will be as much a roller coaster as the first was.

Everton 2-0 Fulham (Neville 10, Anichebe 27)

Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Hitzlsperger, Neville, Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar, Anichebe

subs: Stones, Garbutt

The game against Fulham also saw a first team debut for left back Luke Garbutt. The 17-year entered the play during the second half, another of Everton's high hopes for the future.

It was an old hand though who was the subject of some special praise from Martinez. Phil Neville, more than twice Garbutt's age had seen all and done all, but the Manager was still quick to recognize the former captain's contribution...

Phil is a fantastic guy, his professionalism shines through and he's a great influence for the younger lads in the squad.

He knows he's not at a stage in his career whereby he'll start every game but when he does play he never lets you down. It was great to see him score against Fulham and the reaction to the goal summed up how much he means to us all.

Neville would again be called upon three days later as Fulham were the opposition again, this time in the FA Cup at Craven Cottage...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...