Maybe we should protest every week? Forget talk of a team being distracted by big bad Evertonians wanting better for their club, the Everton players showed what was going on above their heads,did not affect what was going on inside.
And instead gave with a focussed, composed and outright quality performance at an unsuspecting Southampton.
How good was this? We reversed the clock back to 2013/14 and pulled out a performance right out of the Martinez vintage catalogue.
The perceived lack of width in the team was exposed as a myth as the blues counter attacked their way to a thoroughly deserving 3-0 triumph over the Saints. Our first victory at St Marys since 2002.
This was a complete away performance as you could have hoped for. A reassuring comprehensive victory that removed the dark clouds hanging over the club and replaced it with sunshine. Quite simply, it was great to feel great about our club once again. And it was great to look forward to Match of the Day again.
This result doesn’t solve our long-term problems, but it has watered the mouth for the future. If only we could get it right at boardroom level, were failure has to be replaced with ambition, this glimpse of what the real Everton FC is all about, can become the norm.
That’s where the excitement lays, eleven players working in unison and we look like a great side. Even more pleasing, given the plethora of lethargic slow-paced performances, that we witnessed a vibrant, purposeful and confident Everton, tear Southampton a new one on a ground that has been a graveyard for us in recent years.
Lukaku in particular epitomised the Everton spirit. Determined and with no lack of quality, he was an absolute beast on the pitch, and an absolute gentleman off it. Personally apologising to a lady in the crowd he struck with a powerful shot during the warm up. Lukaku getting warm applause from the saints fans for the gesture.
A barnstorming run in the sixth minute showed Lukaku at his rampaging best before getting pulled down by Taggert on the edge of the 18 yard box. A free kick could so easily have been a penalty.
Barkley’s resultant effort deflected wide for a corner as the blues looked to take the initiative. Kone also forcing a corner as he looked to add to his opening day goal against Watford.
Southampton came back and Pelle went close with a header from Tadic’s searching cross, before the much maligned Howard, in keeping with his composed performance, pulled of a great save to deflect Mane’s well struck goal-bound shot past the far post for a corner. A vital block and credit to Howard.
I’m truly not a fan of his but there was no drama, no fuss about the American’s performance. It was another welcome plus point on a day of pluses for the blues.
Following the resultant corner, Southampton were made to pay for not taking their chances as the blues took advantage of the home side over committing to score a goal right out of the counter attack text-book.
Barkley bringing the ball out following a clearance, he fed Kone down the right who burst forward. Showing his confidence and more signs that his and Lukaku’s partnership is developing, Kone put in an inch perfect cross for Big Rom to rise and head home. Sending the ball back from where it came from to give the blues a well deserved lead.
What followed was so refreshing to see. No sitting back and inviting the home side onto us, the blues purposefully went in search of that crucial second goal. Coleman finding himself in space in the six yard box, only to see his cross beaten behind by Stekelenburg for another blues corner.
Then came a great opportunity to put the game to bed. Everton once again committing men forward in numbers, as Lukaku picked out Barkley in acres of space on the edge of the box. He really ought to have scored but shot too close to Stekelenburg.
Tom Cleverley followed up on the rebound only to send his shot wide. A golden chance missed and one I thought would ultimately cost us in the match.
Thankfully this wasn’t to be as the blues counter attacked menacingly again. Barkley surged forward before picking out Lukaku with a beautifully weighted pass straight into the path of the onrushing Belgian. Lukaku swept home clinically to put the blues into a two goal lead.
Amazingly Lukaku’s first brace for Everton since the 3-3 derby draw in November 2013.
A terrific goal and a sight for sore eyes for every Evertonian. None more so than the magnificent travelling support who once again showed up in huge numbers despite the distance and early kick off combination.
The second half saw Southampton come out with a higher tempo to their game. Coleman mis-controlled to present Pelle with a rare sight of goal, but while the Italian turned well he could only shoot straight at Howard.
Everton soaked up any pressure and once again showed their menace on the break. The impressive Tom Cleverley set Lukaku away down the right hand side, but his cross evaded both Kone and Barkley as the blues looked to finish it.
Then something happened that showed how quickly fortunes change in football. Arouna Kone, booed ONTO to the pitch against Watford a week ago, was given a rousing reception from the travelling blues as he was replaced by Steven Naismith with ten minutes remaining.
The Ivorian striker is finally looking a lot more comfortable in an Everton shirt, and while I remain convinced we need to sign another striker to challenge or partner Lukaku this season, I truly hope it works out for Kone and he proves a lot of fans wrong. All good if it means competition for places as we seek to make a positive impact on the top 6 this season.
Progress and protests
If we protest every week and it has the same impact as this on the side, maybe we can make it number 10, or maybe I’m getting into the realms of fantasy!! God knows there’s enough at that at boardroom level. I just can’t resist I know.
Southampton briefly threatened through Mane, who brought out another good save from Howard,. The American getting a firm right hand onto Mane’s stinging drive from outside the box. The expected saints onslaught simply never came.
Everton’s excellent pressing and not letting the home side settle a constant feature of this outstanding performance.
The blues put the icing on the cake with five minutes left. Following yet another trademark break, Coleman combined neatly with Lukaku before finding Barkley in space on the edge of the box. Barkley took one touch before curling a beauty past the despairing Stekelenburg to round off a magnificent afternoon’s work for the Toffees.
I was pleased for Martinez here. He’s had us pulling our hair out for so long now, and it was great to see him get his mojo back with a tactical masterclass executed perfectly by a hungry, vibrant Everton.
How good could we be if we add the right quality in the coming weeks? Over to you board.
After the disappointment of the opening day draw at home to Watford, this result puts us back on track and has injected the rarest of things into the Evertonians bloodstream, positivity.
Let’s hope it acts as a springboard for a great season. No question, statements have got to be made in the transfer market now. The qualities shown at Southampton deserves to be supplemented with some extra quality coming through the doors at Everton.
The whole team deserves praise for me, Stones/Jags magnificent, Cleverley continued to impress with Barkley, Kone and Lukaku proving more than a handful for the Saints. All very encouraging.
We’ve shown we have the players to make a difference but we’ve always lacked depth. If we can pull a few rabbits out of the hat, while far from ideal, it might just give us some vital momentum.
The club can lift the fans and team by bringing in some genuine quality before the window slams shut.
Off the pitch, the Plane protest has grabbed some welcome media attention. A lot of people, especially on social media called the plane protest embarrassing. Not for me, in fact far from it.
I’m over the moon that after 16 years of constant and damaging mistakes at boardroom level, with more bull than the first half hour of Liar Liar, the fans are finally making a stand against what is for me, the worst board in our history.
What is embarrassing is sitting back and doing nothing. This is Everton Football Club, we have to do something about it and there’s nothing embarrassing or cringe worthy about wanting better for your club. Quite simply it should be applauded not ridiculed.
I for one hope it continues and we get some answers from this far too quiet chairman and board on their plans for our club in the future.
The time for change is now.
Supporting your team and opposing boardroom ineptitude was never more perfectly demonstrated here. We can do both. On the pitch we appear to be getting our act together, it’s high time we did it off the pitch too.
Next up is Man City. Imagine signing 3-4 quality players this week, then beating the Mancs. Too much to ask?
Allow me a moment of optimism. even I’m officially sick of being negative about EFC. Let’s hope days like this become the norm. The fight for boardroom change is to ensure it does.
“We’ve found it tough to come here in recent years, but I thought the performance today was outstanding in every department.” Roberto Martinez
Hope and optimism has returned to the Goodison faithful, let us hope the department synonymous with failure finally delivers this window and gives Martinez and his team the chance to progress.
We’re truly not asking much.