One: Gerard Deulofeu is still magic, you know!!! The Spaniard’s introduction, along with Ross Barkley, was instrumental in turning round Everton’s fortunes after a disastrous first half display. The former Barcelona player tormented the Barnsley backline, using his electric speed and turn of pace to crucify the full backs on both wings. He played a huge role in three of Everton’s five goals, playing the final ball for both Naismith and the own goal to ensure the Blues take their place in round three.
On this performance alone, Deulofeu deserves to start Saturday’s match against Spurs, Roberto Martinez will however need to assess his compatriot’s fitness to ensure he is ready to play two games in less than a week after his pre-season injury troubles.
“He was outstanding when he came on,” said Martinez of Deulofeu after the eventual 5-3 triumph. “His pace, penetration and ability in one-v-one situations was something that inspired our second-half performance.
Two: First half performance should signal the end of one or two Everton careers. The opening 45 minutes was totally unacceptable. There was barely a single player able to hold their heads up high as they trooped past the watching Evertonians and down the tunnel after a torrid opening half. Personally I do not like single out individuals and open them to vitriol, however there were performances that were not befitting of the famous Everton shirt and one or two did very little to show that they have any long term future as first team players at Everton. It is not for the want of trying but unfortunately there are a couple of players who are not up to the standard expected by Everton and it will be best for everyone if their future is away from Goodison Park.
Three: Everton and Roberto Martinez care about the Capital One Cup. It is one of football’s great anomalies and certainly one of Everton’s. How is it possible that one of this country’s most successful football clubs have never won the League Cup! There have obviously been a close call or two, with Blues finishing runners up in 77 and 84, but finally there appears to be a determination to put that unwanted record right. Roberto Martinez said as much in his end of season interview with the fansites and last night provided further evidence of the Spaniards desire.
It would have been very easy for Everton and Roberto Martinez to accept defeat last night, especially at 2-0 down, however the scowl the manager wore throughout the first half told its own story and the Blues re-emerged in the second half with a purpose and a resolve to undo the damage of the opening 45 minutes. There is obviously a long way to go in the competition and the Blues face another tricky away tie against lower league opposition, this time Championship side Reading, however if Everton continue to show the same fortitude and Roberto Martinez picks a strong starting XI then the Blues have every right to dream of a possible Wembley final in February.
Four: Romelu is proving excellent value for money. He maybe the clubs record signing and his £28m fee was a huge outlay for Everton, but the Belgium bagged his 39th and 40th competitive goals for Everton last night to prove that even at such a high transfer fee, the former Chelsea man is proving to be an excellent purchase for the Blues. His man of the match award came as a bit of a surprise, but with two goals and more than a hand in a couple more, Lukaku once fairly unstoppable as Everton came roaring back into the game. There are still times when he doesn’t appear interested and he was guilty of this in the first half, however when he is on his game there is not a better centre forward in the Premier League. And let’s not forget, he is only 22 years old!
Five: John Stones is still not for sale. It would appear that Everton are prepared to stand toe to toe with Chelsea and rebuff any interested in John Stones. Roberto Martinez was adamant after the game; the former Barnsley man is going nowhere. The transfer request will be rejected and as far as the Blues manager is concerned any future bid from Chelsea is a waste of time.
Asked if Stones’ request had been rejected, Martinez said:
“Not yet. Today was a match day and that’s a priority. We will reject it in the morning and get on with our business.”
“The situation with John is very clear,” he said. “We care about him, we will protect him and give him everything we can to allow him to enjoy his football. During this tough period, we are going to be there for him.
“We have great ambition, great desire and great plans for John.
“We’ve got to a point now, in life and in football, where money can’t buy everything. That’s going to be a very strong statement from Everton; we want to be a winning side, and clearly John is a big part of the future.