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Everton vs Dynamo Kiev: Five Thoughts

Well that was some performance wasn't it. After 38 minutes this was a very different five thoughts.

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In those 39 minutes the famous Goodison Park crowd was really on the turn. A goal down, sideways and backwards passing, and a general lack of urgency or penetration had the crowd groaning and making that restless noise And the pressure got to the players; they started to play it aimlessly long, chose the wrong pass, and were losing confidence in Roberto Martinez's gameplan. Not a good sign for any team or manager. Luckily things changed after the goal but the mood around the Old Lady is not a good one

The first goal

It may well be a cliché but it was born out in this game as Steven Naismith's goal changed everything. The Scottish workhorse is woefully out of form and his passes consistently went awry but that goal showed than even on a bad day, and in a bad run, the blue number 14 is the teams most clinical finisher. Though Naismith's overall performance didn't improve his goal was the turning point, maybe of the season? Here's hoping.

Romelu Lukaku

That's the first time in living memory the big Belgian has been a beast. He almost singlehandedly dominated a very strong Dynamo Kiev back four, and Everton's opening goal showed what Lukaku can achieve when he uses his strength and power and shows a bit of guts. Once again playing the ball in front of him makes him a much better player, Martinez needs to face the fact that Lukaku can't be a link man and hold the ball up but he scares the whatsits out of defenders when he's bearing down on them. Using his physical attributes for the first time in a long time showed what a difference a confident and focused Lukaku makes.

James McCarthy is the most important player

The Irish international is the ultimate destroyer; he's everywhere on the pitch, winning the ball, rarely gives it away. He really sets the tone for the rest of the team, his intensity is catching. If he's with the club next season it'll be astounding and he is the one genuinely irreplaceable player in blue. A word too for Phil Jagielka who put in a performance that matched his tough words this week; a refreshing thing to see.

A game of two halves

Cliches are running rife this week but the Everton of the first 39 minutes summed up all that has been rotten about the team this season; the following 51 minutes were Everton at their 2013/14 peak. What on earth happened then? Energy. Urgency. Intensity. Pace. Power. Belief. Six simple words. It starts with the players and spreads to the crowd. Bring on Newcastle.