This excuse for a European hangover has to stop in my opinion. They are professional footballers paid to do a job all at peak fitness. There is no excuse for lack of interest however and unfortunately that's what I saw in large parts yesterday. Everton played Tottenham Hotspur off the park for the first 20 minutes before stopping, slowing down, standing off, and finally losing interest. That can't be of a result of tiredness.
I spoke, a couple of weeks ago, about Martinez finding the balance after a midweek game. It appears it is one of few things as a manager he is yet to grasp. Roberto has never coached a side in European football before, so all this is coming new to him, that's the only exception I'll allow from a fans point of view, but it still doesn't take away from the fact we play poorly after a Europa league match. So on with the ratings.
Tim Howard - 6- It sounds funny to say this having conceded two goals, but there wasn't an awful lot for Tim to do but the things he did do, were nothing short of poor. For example Tottenham's first goal was a rebounded shot from a Howard save. Two things about that save is he committed a cardinal sin in goalkeeping terms, as he made the save but pushed it almost straight in front of himself instead of to the side. The second is I felt he could have potential held onto the Harry Kane shot which led to Christian Eriksen's equalizer. He was however in a good position to cover Besic' poor headed back pass 5 minutes towards the end of the first half.
Seamus Coleman- 6.5 - Coleman looked off the boil yesterday and for some reason looked shaky when attacking his wing in front of him. In fact, he shied away from it all game instead look for a pass inside. I think Coleman may still have had a slight injury, but I think its good to get him back in the side. We'll see better from him in the midweek game this week I'm sure.
Phil Jagielka- 6.5 - Consistent is probably the best way of summing the captains performance yesterday. He didn't do anything that set the world alight but I don't think he did much wrong. One thing that was a piece of brilliance was his James McCarthy style, last ditched tackle towards the end of the game when Harry Kane was clean through on goal, that prevented the home side from going 3-1 up.
Sylvain Distin- 5 - Yesterday was the Sylvain Distin of old. Being caught out of position, being caught committed to the wrong ball and the wrong man and not anticipating the runs around him. Distin struggled massively, I will put Tottenham's first goal down to a 50/50 error on Howard's and his part. If you watch the replay you'll be able to see Distin stand off and stand off and stand off Kane as he makes a run towards our box, he then jumps into block a shot that didn't happen, again committing himself, and allowed Kane to get his shot off which of course then lead to Howard's mistake and ultimately the goal. I could really be doing with never seeing Distin play like that again, i'll be honest.
Leighton Baines- 6- I think Leighton could have done with returning against Hull City this Wednesday. I think he, like Coleman and Barry, was still carrying a knock and it hampered him. Leighton struggled to get forward like normal yesterday and bar a couple of good balls into the box, was pretty much out of the game. I’d also like to see him work on beating the first man off a corner.
Muhamed Besic- 7.5- I thought Mo tried hard all game, his distribution was good and he carried the ball forward. He was held back by lack of runs in front of him and poor play around him from the likes of Barry and Barkley. We’ve definitely got a lot more to look forward to from the Bosnian, his performances keep getting better every time he plays.
Gareth Barry- 6- Another player I felt was rushed back to soon. He just didn’t look right and he was caught in possession on the half way line for their second goal. A very unfamiliar performance from Barry, another whom I’m hoping improves for Hull City on Wednesday.
Ross Barkley- 6.5- Ross struggled to get going yesterday, besides his mesmerizing run in the first 20 minutes, he didn’t really do much else that was good. He gave the ball away a lot and held onto it for to long, I hate to be to critical as he needs time to get to where we believe he is capable, but performances like yesterday need to start to disappear and quickly. I know he is capable of better.
Kevin Mirallas- 8.5 – My man of the match by a long way. I still can’t understand Martinez’ decision to take him off, he looked fresh, on his toes and certainly looked a lot less fatigued than some of our other players I’d have taken off instead. He attacked the Tottenham defense with real confidence and they simply couldn’t get hold of him. His goal was something of a world beater and is up there for goal of the month no doubt. Mirallas was one of very few opportunities to score yesterday and our chances of winning went off with him when he was substituted.
Samuel Eto’o- 7- Eto'o had a fairly good game, nothing to shout about but did everything he needed to, I’m happy with his contribution and you can see Lukaku is a lot more confident when Eto’o plays in behind him.
Romelu Lukaku- 7- Again Lukaku didn’t do a lot wrong yesterday, he held the ball up better than he has done before and the goal against Wolfsburg appears to have given him some needed confidence. A couple of times yesterday he had the ball played into feet, which he controlled well, then he found a pass and moved back into the middle for the cross, that’s exactly what we have been crying out for him to improve on and I believe he has so far. One slight criticism was that he allowed himself to be dragged to wider areas to often and left the box vacant.
Leon Osman- Sub- I might sound harsh here but when you put a substitute on he needs to have and impact and unfortunately Osman was none existent in my eyes. Was caught in possession. He was playing in the wrong position, which isn’t his fault, but certainly didn’t aid his game.
Aiden McGeady- Sub- again not much impact from McGeady, I thought he would create a few more chances but he again was slow on the ball. I’d love to see the Aiden McGeady that has this free style of play he gets in the Ireland team, his performance against Scotland for Ireland is exactly what I want to see from him at Everton, but I’m still waiting to see it.
You can see from my rating I believe the issues lay with the defence and the majority of our midfield. I also felt Roberto made the wrong changes yesterday and to only use 2 subs when we are chancing the game is ridiculous. Yes, Christian Atsu Maybe leaving in January but he adds another level of pace to our team which we needed I’d have put him or Pienaar on for the final 15 minutes. Unfortunately Martinez didn’t use his last sub and that damaged us. We need to start seeing a More consistent side if we want to even dream of get a spot in the top 4 or winning the Europa league.