Everton rounded off an encouraging week with a convincing win at Turf Moor to send the Blues into the top half and get Evertonians firmly believing things are slowly but surely coming together for Roberto Martinez’ men this season.
Burnley 1 Everton 3 – Samuel Sprinkles The Gold Dust As Blues Keep Momentum Going
Before the game I thought there are no excuses here, Burnley are one of the worst teams in the division if not the worst and forget Europa exertions, we simply had to get the three points.
Everton did not disappoint. Expectations met on the result with aspects of our performance suggesting we are getting stronger give hope that we can now go on a run and achieve the impossible; gain success in the Europa and our league campaign.
It was a game with a lot of positives, yes there are still issues regarding our tendency to drop off and encourage our opponents on to us, combined with a self destruct capacity that seems to have moved in permanently since pre-season, but overall the overwhelming feeling from this result is the Blues are slowly becoming the force of last season. And just at the right time.
Momentum is vital for us to help us get through a plethora of games as we approach the next international break. Everton’s quality will have to match the quantity of the games coming up if we are to enter the Christmas period with hopes and dreams intact.
There was none more dreamlike than Samuel Eto’o who on Sunday was simply wonderful. Replacing Ross Barkley in the number 10 role Eto’o rolled back the years in a memorable showing which was right out of the top drawer. His work rate was impressive but it was his touch, positional play, dictation of the play and prowess in front of goal that had Evertonians drooling.
While Burnley were being schooled by the African, Romelu Lukaku also received a private lesson in forward play. As the irresistible Eto’o provided a masterclass.
How wonderful to see such a world-class talent in the Blue of Everton. Eto’o was eye candy out there, lighting up the dreary Turf Moor ground with some outstanding play and starting with an early strike to give the Blues the perfect start.
Everton had started the game with intent and our enterprise rewarded in the fourth minute with Eto’o involved in the move that saw the ever attacking Baines released down the left.
The master of assists provided an inch perfect cross for the onrushing Eto’o, who showing determination to get into the box and timing his run to perfection, met Baines’ centre with a thumping header. Smashing it past ‘boyhood Liverpool’ fan Heaton off the underside of the bar to send the Blues into the lead.
To be fair, Burnley responded positively and drew level on 20 minutes, but yet again we gifted our opponents a way back in. This deeply frustrating pattern of the season is still persisting even in times of improvement.
Lukaku – whose first touch needs, shall we say, a little work – highlighted the dangerous side of his deficiencies; with Baines already bombing on Big Rom’s ridiculously poor lay off went straight to Jutkiewicz who fed Ings to simply round Howard and slot the Claret’s level. Sending the Blues fans into more head scratching at just why we continually do this to ourselves.
It feels like all our opponents who have scored against us this season have not had to work hard for it. We have been the ultimate ‘jelly of the month club’ in conceding goals – for those who haven’t watched National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation, much to Chevy Chases ire, it was the gift that kept on giving the whole year round – much like our penchant for conceding.
Burnley’s confidence, born out of our own generosity was now growing as Scott Arfield fired wide as the Blues threatened to undo their promising start to the game in a frustrating period following Eto’os opener.
Everton suddenly remembered who they were playing and began to grow back into the game. Soon after a glorious 24 pass move – School of Science stuff – saw Naismith break forward at pace combining with Eto’o impressively before feeding Lukaku on the edge of the 18 yard box.
The Belgian made amends for his previous error with a scuffed shot that found its way into the bottom right hand corner to give Everton the lead. Great for Lukaku who is now at least starting to score goals without playing well this season.
Possibly harsh but Big Rom has yet to put in a convincing display this campaign but the goals are starting to flow and I just hope the performances will now click into gear for our record signing.
Being surrounded by players of the quality of Eto’o and Barkley, it is surely a matter of time before Lukaku steps up to the plate and delivers what we know he is capable off.
Naismith almost added a third for the blues on the stroke of half time with a header that looked like it was in slow motion, hitting the crossbar as Everton looked to finish Burnley off.
After the break Everton slipped down the gears into neutral. I’ll be honest that I was feeling increasingly annoyed as the half wore on. We tend to rest on one goal leads and this season has shown we simply haven’t been able to do that.
The Blues were playing like we were 3 or 4 goals up although on balance, with my own personal paranoia put to one side, we were not having a problem dealing with an extremely limited Burnley side.
The hosts are surely destined for the championship this season with Sean Dyche’s men who barely failed to test Howard in the second half, looking very much like the Premier League will swallow them whole before May is out.
Despite our malaise we had impressive performers throughout the game; Gareth Barry and James McCarthy were impressive with Barry giving his usual assured, composed display.
McCarthy would surely have got man of the match if it weren’t for Eto’o’s worldie showing. The Irishman the equivalent of a lawnmower covering every blade of grass in a display of seemingly endless energy.
Leighton Baines was also excellent. Back to his best in an encouraging display it is aspects such as this that give encouragement Everton are truly on their way back. Things are starting to click.
With Ross Barkley easing his way back in and Mirallas on his way back from injury, we look a mouth-watering prospect and despite some creases that remain to be ironed out, the future for this Everton side is starting to feel exciting once more.
As Howard got his deck chair out, Everton threatened once more through Baines whose devilish free kick forced Heaton into evasive action. Heaton was also called into service with a good save from Naismith whose lung bursting run into the box deserved a goal.
Everton finally wrapped up the points five minutes from time with a goal that summed up Samuel Eto’o’s performance. Collecting Pienaar’s pass 25 yards out, Eto’o with zero backlift, bent an absolute beauty into the top right hand corner.
Such was the quality of Eto’o’s strike, the Evertonians behind the goal were celebrating before it had flown past Heaton. Quite simply a dream of a hit to round of a dream of a performance from our über cool African.
Burnley threatened to make it interesting as Ings, who in all honesty who should have scored after going clean through on Howard, blasted over with the goalposts looming large.
The agony came soon after when Eto’o, who deserved a hat trick, seized onto a terrible back pass from Trippier and rounded Heaton only to see his strike rebound off the woodwork and across the goal line with the Evertonians ready to explode.
The final whistle came soon after and while this routine win looks exactly that, the feeling is slowly building that this Everton side can better last season’s achievements, especially with the mercurial Barkley coming back into the fold.
With players such as Naismith and Coleman improving by the week, combined with the experience and promise of Eto’o and Lukaku upfront, the other sides around us should be worried.
This team is capable of going on a great run and we just need to iron out our annoying self destruct tendencies and look to kill teams off quicker. Let’s hope the ruthlessness becomes ever more a feature of our performances this season.
Just cut out the gifts Everton. No more generosity in conceding ridiculous goals. Charity begins at home and the minute we stamp that out, I believe this team will have a formidable look to it.
So 100 goals in 57 games under Roberto Martinez with Harry Catterick the only manager to beat that record (in 47 games) highlights that Everton under Roberto play with the hand brake off. To be fair, we have looked class going forward for the majority of the season, if only we could top up the break fluid defensively.
The improving Alcaraz and Jagielka who again looked solid here offer hope that the void left by John Stones injury can be filled as we seek to push on in a crucial period with Europa and Premier League games coming thick and fast.
“What Samuel Eto’o brings is incredible experience but with that is also a great hunger. He is a terrific example to have around. He is a clinical finisher. He knows how to hurt any back four.” Roberto Martinez
If Everton as a unit can reach the level of Eto’o’s individual performance today it is not just back fours who will be hurting. But the top 4.
The School of Science is on its way back!