It feels great to once again sit here and be proud and pleased with the way we performed after a game. Honestly, after the Hull game I couldn't see a light at the end of the potentially long tunnel, but Saturday we got a glimpse of it! Now we have to grab it and head on into it and not let it get away. We've shown we can fight with the best in the league, we've shown some real courage by dragging ourselves into some kind of shape and most of all we've shown our ability we have as a team. Saturday was arguably our best performance in the league so far this season.
Joel Robles- 6.5- We're starting to see a better side of Joel of late. He has gone from the hapless, panicking and uncertain stand-in 'keeper to glimpsing a little of what we saw from him whilst in his last season at Wigan. Robles controlled his area a lot better, he ordered the defence around and helped settle things down when needed. There were a couple of crucial saves he made which certain contributed to our momentum during the game. Is he good enough to be our permanent first choice 'keeper? I'm unsure, but probably not for the next season or so until he is a little more experienced.
Seamus Coleman- 6.5- Slowly but surely getting back to some kind of good form. I think we have seen signs of him becoming more confident and taking responsibility for our attack down the right, in some respects he's been forced to do so. He made a few driving runs at the City defence yesterday and linked up better with the right forward in front of him. We also seen Coleman doing his trademark runs where he takes it along the byline in the penalty area forcing the defence to make a challenge, something we've been missing.
Phil Jagielka- 5.5- I still get the impression Jagielka is in need of some rest. His first touch is woeful and his distribution isn't much better, I just feel he isn't exactly setting the standards just at the moment.. He makes up for that a little with his tackling. Hopefully he'll come good like a few other members of the squad are starting to.
John Stones- 7- It's massively refreshing to have the star of our defence back. John just runs the show, he's as natural as they come and barely makes a mistake. On Saturday I felt he did a lot of covering for Jagielka and did that and his own game well. Another potential future captain in our side. Hopefully, we can keep him clear of injury now until the end of the season.
Leighton Baines- 6.5- A better, improved performance by Baines. Being honest he needed it because he should now have both Oviedo and Garbutt chomping at his heels to get his position in the squad. I felt he looked like he was conscious of his performances of late and looked as though he had something to play for, which is something the team have been needing for a while. Hopefully he can continue his runs and better deliveries as we saw in patches on Saturday.
Gareth Barry- 5.5- In my opinion he didn't do a great deal. I've had time to think about what is going wrong with Barry and I've compared videos of him from last season to this. One thing I've noticed this season is he sells himself far too easily on the halfway line. In response he should either commit a foul and potentially take a booking or win the ball; instead players get past him allowing the opposition to have a run at our defence. He is right in trying to stop a counter and getting into the tackle but his judgement needs to be better. We can't afford to allow teams space on the counter attacks because Barry can't control or close the situation.
Muhamed Besic- 9- The most passionate player of the pitch and that's just the start. Mo adds fight and resilience in midfield, he gives us a drive and he has the ability to play a cutting pass forward. What a player he is starting to become. As I mentioned with Stones, Besic has the ability to be a future captain of our club and has the bit of Thomas Gravesen in him.
Ross Barkley- 6- Not a great deal wrong with Barkely's performance, however, his decision making is starting to hold him back. These winding runs he makes beating 2-3 players are brilliant and something not many players can replicate, but, It's what he does when he gets to the final stages of that run. Often you'll see him try and take another man on and lose the ball often in a great position. Instead what he should do is lift his head up and look to play a pass wide. The amount of times on Saturday we had a man on the wing, open and in space, and the ball wasn't played to him was criminal. I think it's the smallest of changes that will work massively in Ross' favour.
Aiden McGeady- 6- McGeady has been branded 'not good enough' by myself and plenty of other fans this season and it is not unfair to say that. I compare his performance on Saturday to that of Joel's, better than his usual performance but maybe not good enough to have a consistent run in the team. One thing I really liked about McGeady though was his work rate, he got up and down his wing brilliantly and helped bridge that gap between full back and winger.
Steven Naismith- 8.9- It was a tough choice to choose our man of the match between Naismith and Besic. As I've said for the majority of the season on these articles, Naismith's commitment and consistency has been unrivalled by any player in our team, he has carried us through a bad spell. On Saturday he gave everything, he joined up with central midfielders and wingers alike and got the goal he fully deserved. Hopefully he can keep these performances up until the rest of team can get near his form.
Romelu Lukaku- 8- Outstanding work rate yet again from Rom. I'm unsure what clicked between his performance at Hull to West Ham on Tuesday and Saturday's performance, but it's making the world of difference to his game and our game as a team. He has found confidence from somewhere and has rediscovered his ability to drive at the defence. He deserved a goal on Saturday.
Kevin Mirallas- Sub- I'm not going to criticise the decision to leave Mirallas on the bench because it turned out to be ok. However, Kev made and impact in that short 10 minute spell he was on the field. He drew the fouls that lead to the free kick that got our goal. The same team but Mirallas starting over McGeady against West Ham will give us all we need to come away with a win.
Everton finally looked like they were back in business on Saturday. The fans got behind the players and stayed patient, the players made a more direct brand of football and played less sideways passes and the manager made the right decisions and looks to be turning things around. I'm still waiting for a win because as it stands we're still in the bottom half of the league, but one victory and we should be able to push up the league again. Play as we did against Man.City on Saturday and we'll make it difficult for any team to beat us between now and the end of the season.