With the Europa League now out of the way till next year, all attention must be given to moving up the league, and on this showing things might be about to improve.
Having said that, the score line does flatter the Blues somewhat. While Barkley's goal was a wonder strike, the free kick was lucky and the third came from a poor piece of goalkeeping from Rob Green. However, you have to take what you're given and Everton clearly took advantage of what was given to them with this result.
The shining light of this side at the moment is of course Ross Barkley. Playing in that deeper lying role tonight he looked composed and showed a passing side of his game that has so far been a bit absent. Alongside him, Mohamed Besic was absolutely superb and easily the man of the match. Although he's a yellow card magnet, he was ever present in breaking up attacks with some excellently timed tackles and a decent passing range. Credit must also go to Kevin Mirallas who was effective breaking forward and Steven Naismith's work rate and movement continues to impress. Hopefully the Belgian won't be missing for too long following that horrendous Mutch challenge.
Unfortunately, there are still a whole host of negatives that need addressing in this Everton side. After going 3-0 up, the Blues could have gone at QPR and probably bagged a few more goals in the process. Instead, as has been present under Martinez, the side sat back and allowed the visitors back into the game. That leads us onto the QPR goal, where a whole number of people are to blame. Once again Tim Howard has basically assisted a forward for a goal, while Sylvain Distin might as well have not been there for their goal. Both have come in for criticism this season and rightly so. There are now calls for Distin to hang up his boots and some people claiming a speculative bid for Petr Cech should be explored.
Similarly, concerns must be raised about Seamus Coleman's performances as of late. He hasn't looked the same player we've become accustomed to of late. However, class is permanent and it is likely the Irishman will be back to his marauding best sooner rather than later. That idea also applies to Romelu Lukaku, whose struggles are evident but abilities even more so. Time and patience will be needed with the £28m man one suspects.
All in all, a solid win from Everton that sees them move back up the table. There is still plenty to be worked on though. The Blues desperately need to start games quicker rather than passing for the sake of it, while they must also learn to kill off teams when the occasion calls for it. Another win next week against Southampton and we're going in the right direction.
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