Yet another penalty farce
Roberto Martinez needs to get a grip on the penalty situation as it is now bordering on farcical. At best it is simply the mild chaos caused by weak leadership, at worst it reflects a lack of discipline and players thinking for themselves instead of the team. The choice of penalty taker appears to be some weird case of "scorer stays on", unless the most recent scorer – on this occasion Romelu Lukaku – is on the bench, in which case it’s a penalty free-for-all like we saw on Saturday. I can’t believe Leighton Baines has totally lost confidence in his abilities after one miss from 16 attempts, so its time he stood up for himself a bit more. He is one of the more quieter members of the group but if his manager isn’t going to stand up for him he should speak up for himself and demand responsibility at spot kicks, before it costs us dear.
Mirallas' future needs to be sorted
Kevin Mirallas has perked up in recent days, declaring his desire to finish the season on a high and insisting he is happy to stay at Everton. He didn’t say he definitely wasn’t leaving though, in that ambiguous I-will-go-if-I-get-the-right-offer kind of way, so don’t count on him being in a blue shirt come September 1. He showed glimpses of what he is capable of on Saturday, particularly in the first half. He was also lucky to stay on the pitch after a ugly rake of his studs down George Boyd’s shin after the break. He remains a complex character who we need to keep and that Roberto Martinez needs to get the best out of.
Lennon pushing for permanent move
If Mirallas’ recent behaviour has got the supporters’ backs up, Aaron Lennon’s attitude and performance has been the polar opposite. Everyone loves a guy who runs around a lot and the diminutive winger’s energy is certainly infectious. The allegation levelled against him in the past is his lack of end product, but on Saturday looked a genuine threat. He ran at the heart of the Burnley defence to win the early penalty and also set up James McCarthy for the best chance of the second half. He’s building a genuine case for a permanent transfer.
Kone continues to struggle
Kone is an honest hardworking player but his recent displays in the absence of Lukaku suggest he simply isn’t good enough at this level. I thought he did a decent job at Wigan and was ready to give him a chance when he made the move to Goodison. His early performances were woeful, however, something perhaps forgotten in the 14 months he spent on the sidelines with a serious knee injury. That injury seems to have taken its toll as he has looked off the pace despite having a regular run on the side in recent weeks. Lukaku is by far and away our number one striker but decent back-up is needed to take the pressure of the 21-year-old Belgian. From what we’ve seen of Kone, it looks like he doesn’t measure up to that brief
Is the recovery real?
After harbouring genuine fears of a relegation battle at the start of March Everton have suddenly gone on their best run of the season to drag the top 10 within sight again. Four wins from five have also helped the Toffees pierce that ‘magical’ 40 point, though in reality Premier League safety is often achieved with less. The bizarre thing is that they don’t seem to be playing much better than earlier in the season. Throughout the campaign they have played well in short bursts but have haven’t been able to sustain it over the 90 minutes. What’s perhaps key over their recent run is the fact they have scored first each time, while the form of Phil Jagielka, John Stones and (dare I say it) Gareth Barry means we look much more likely to keep it tight at the back than we did earlier in the campaign.