The South African has slipped under the radar somewhat this season but has been quietly effective. The game against Fulham was his best so far, two assists, and centre stage in some of our best play suggests that Pienaar is getting somewhere near his levels of a couple of years ago. As a player that never relied on pace there’s a good chance he can be with the club and playing top level football for the next two or three years at least.
Goals from everywhere
Despite no goals from Romelu Lukaku recently there have been plenty of goals from throughout the team. There were four different scorers on Saturday, Leon Osman, Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas, and most surprisingly Gareth Barryweighed in with his second of the season. With Bryan Oviedo, Gerard Deulofeu, chipping in with a couple each so far we’re not reliant on our new giant Belgian to keep us going.
Mentality is everything
There’s been much talk recently about Robert Martinez and his seemingly endless positivity, I questioned last week how that would work when things got a little tough. Well for a good ten minutes on Saturday they did get a little tough, Fulham were pressing, the team were wobbling slightly, but that belief that all good teams have, and that Martinez has instilled, came to the fore as we ran out comfortable winners in the end. Isn’t there an irony that we seem to have swapped more than just our manager with Manchester United?
The underrated England international is having a bit of a stop start season, but his importance to the team was underlined again at the weekend with the opening goal and a solid overall performance. His 88.3% pass success rate for the season so far is excellent, and his work in two or three positions for the team so far hasn’t gone unnoticed. If anything, and despite his England caps and hundreds of Premier League appearances, Osman has underachieved in his career to a certain point. His left footed strike against The Cottagers showed all that is good about him, quick feet, two footed, great awareness of space, and a great technique, why then are there so many at Goodison who are unconvinced? That old devil consistency, maybe?
For all the cooing over Ross Barkley’s form this season, there’s one, rather major, thing missing. An assist. For all his good work in midfield and his link play with Lukaku and the wide players, Barkley hasn’t set up a goal yet. Who has? Well Kevin Mirallas leads the way with five assists, surprisingly Gareth Barry has three (as well as his two goals), Phil Jagielka, James McCarthy, even non-passing Deulofeu and non-playing Nikica Jelavic have one each.
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