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Everton at Sunderland: Player Ratings

After a brilliant team performance against Lille on Thursday, the Blues travelled to Sunderland to take on the Mackems.

Gareth Copley

The positives from Lille on Thursday may have been quelled somewhat by a stubborn Sunderland side. I hate to be to critical after a good all-round showing recently, however, after yesterday's stumble I feel Roberto Martinez and his team need to find that tough balance between a successful Thursday night in the Europa League to a successful Sunday afternoon in the Premier League. Everton have 1 win, 1 draw and 2 losses so far after midweek European adventures.

Tim Howard- 7 - Tim made some important saves again in yesterday's game. The American's performance wasn't to far away from that of Thursday's performance, however he did conceed on this occasion and I do feel his positioning for the free kick was wrong. He gave himself far to much ground to cover on onside of his goal.

Seamus Coleman- 8 - It was refreshing to see Seamus back, he got forward again on Sunday and created the opportunity for our penalty. Nothing against Tony Hibbert as I think he has been fantastic of late, but Coleman has a brilliant balance of getting forward but being able to get back as well. Another good showing against Sunderland.

Sylvain Distin- 7 - I thought Distin had a fairly quiet game and didn't really show many wrong doings. I would say Distin has solidified his place, for now, back in the side through some part default, with Alcaraz and Stones unavailable, but also by a bit of hard work. I do, however, feel his positioning could have been better on Sunday, he seemed to sit deeper then the defensive line at times.

Phil Jagielka- 7.5 - A fair performance from the captain. Dominated in the air on most occasions in defence and helped Darron Gibson settle in when he came on. The only small criticism I could have is that he allowed the defence to become to bunched at times, if you look at the build up to their free kick that got them the goal, you'll see our 3 defenders backing off but all within half a meter of each other on the edge of the box.

Leighton Baines- 7- I'll be honest, I do think Baines looked tired on Sunday and a couple of times was seen niggling at the heels of players. Now thats could be seen as a negative towards Martinez for not resting. Having said that, Baines is one of our main players and on the whole he performed well. His late tackle on Will Buckley gave away the free kick that led to Sunderland's goal.

Aiden McGeady- 7.5- After being critical of McGeady for his performance on Thursday, I thought he had a better game on Sunday. He got forward down his wing with confidence and cause Sunderland a few problems. Aiden also had a couple of shots that had Costel Pantilimon scrambling in the Sunderland goal.

Gareth Barry- Injury - Barry left the field having played less than 10 minutes. The tackle that ended his game was nothing less than a stamp by Jordi Gomez that, in my opinion, has to receive punishment from the independent review panel.

James McCarthy- 8.5 - another really solid performance from arguably our most important player. He worked hard all day long on Sunday and created a couple of decent opportunities going forward. There is now a rumour that McCarthy picked up an injury that could leave us without him for 2-3 weeks. If that's the case then his replacement has an awful lot to make up for.

Ross Barkley- 7.5 - Ross had a decent game and his injection of pace and skill from the left hand side was refreshing. As I say he started from a left wing position which isn't something I'd look at continuing, but it did have an effect in parts.

Samuel Eto'o- 7 - A fairly quiet game from Eto'o, didn't really have that much to do but did relieve a lot of pressure from Lukaku. He is a brilliant link to have between the midfield and the striker.

Romelu Lukaku- 7 - I think Rom is starting to find himself in better positions on the ball, but I do still believe he plays better with a Steven Naismith or Kevin Mirallas on the pitch. Lukaku had a couple of opportunities, none better than when Wes Brown made the mistake in passing the ball softly in the direction of his goalkeeper, only for Lukaku to get on the end of it and go one-on-one with Pantilimon in the Sunderland goal. Not for the first time though his first touch could have been better and instead of trying to take it around the keeper, he should have fired at goal.

Darron Gibson -7 - Gibson was brought on as Barry's replacement barely 10 minutes into the game. I felt Gibson had a good game considering this was his first full match since his return from injury.

Steven Naismith and Leon Osman also appeared for Everton as late substitutes in the game.

A game I think we should definitely have come away from with 3 points. We just didn't do enough in larger parts of the game to take the lead.