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Everton 3-0 West Brom


Blues back to winning ways overcoming stubborn Baggies.​

Ronald Koeman, keen to get the Blues back to winning ways, rang the changes in dropping Gana Gueye and Funes Mori and selecting a starting eleven of: Robles, Baines, Jagielka , Williams, Coleman, Schneiderlin, Barry, Barkley, McCarthy, Mirallas and Lukaku.

Tony Pulis, also looking for his Albion side to recover from a home loss to Fat Sams’ Crystal Palace selected: Foster, Dawson, McCauley, Evans, Nyom, Livermore, Fletcher, Yacob, McClean, Robson-Kanu and Chadli.

The man in the middle with the whistle was Graham Scott.

Prior to the teams taking to the field, Everton paid a very special tribute to the one and only Golden Vision, Alex Young. A video tribute was followed by a guest appearance on the pitch by Derek Temple who spoke affectionately about his friendship on and off the field.

It was the returning Jagielka who created the first chance with a long ball that Evans inexplicably headed to Lukaku, but the Albion defence massed quickly to avert the danger for a corner.

The next Everton attack saw Coleman end up on the left flank and he worked the opening for a cross again turned away for a corner.

A super passing move on the quarter hour involving Schneiderlin, Davies, Barkley and Barry saw Lukaku shoot and beat Foster, but also the far post.

More good work from Barkley, who was seeing a lot of the ball, saw shooting opportunities for Mirallas and Davies with the visitors defence working overtime to block both efforts.

A third Blues corner saw Baines swing in a cross that Lukaku just couldn’t get a telling tough on as the Blues continued to have the better of the game, West Brom seemingly happy to time-waste and stifle.

On 36 minutes, Barkley exchanged passes with Mirallas and Schneiderlin, but saw his curling 25-yard effort clear the crossbar.

A rare West Brom foray forward saw Robles dive low to turn a Chadli shot wide, and that proved the spur for the Blues to finally take a deserved lead.

Superb strength and determination from Lukaku worked an opening for Barkley to shoot and when Foster failed to hold it, Kevin Mirallas was on hand to crash home the rebound.

Everton had claims for a penalty turned down after Colemsn went down in the box under a challenge from McClean, but it was merely a delay before the second goal came.

More superb work from Lukaku as he twisted and turned before finding Morgan Schneiderlin for his first goal in a blue shirt.

Half time: 2-0

Funes Mori replaced Baines for the second half and the first meaningful action saw Robles stand firm to parry a Chadli effort as the former Spurs man continued to be the only positive element in a dour Albion side.

The game continued to be predominantly Everton probing to find a way to unlock the smothering midfield and defensive tactics employed by Tony Pulis.

Schneiderlin and Mirallas combined to send Barkley into the box and he twisted and turned before hitting the side netting from a narrow angle.

Gana Gueye replaced Kevin Mirallas on 70 minutes ahead of Lukaku being felled on the edge of the box, but his free kick struck the wall.

West Brom made changes bringing Brunt, Rondon and Morrison on for McClean, Robson-Kanu and Yacob respectively.

Gareth Barry picked up the games first yellow card for pulling back Rondon and the Blues then added a super third on 81 minutes as Ross Barkley chipped a delicious curling cross for Romelu Lukaku to bury his header.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin came on for the final seven minutes, replacing Barry and Dawson drew a yellow for checking the youngster in full flight.

With time ticking down, Everton forged one more chance as a find cross field ball from Barkley picked out Coleman and when he fed Gana Gueye to cut inside and shoot, he was denied by the post.

Full time: 3-0.

Final summary.
As expected, West Brom came to spoil, smother and frustrate and to The credit of Everton, they kept plugging away and got their just desserts. Ross Barkley was a constant threat, probing from midfield with Mirallas adding pace and Davies energy as he was pushed forward.

Picking a man of the match was not easy, but credit to Jags on his return to the side and Williams looked a tad more comfortable alongside the skipper. Romelu Lukaku worked hard to make both the first half goals and his confident header at the end capped a solid if unspectacular display.

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Everton V WBA preview


Back to life, back to reality.

The unbeaten run was good whilst it lasted; really shown that Koeman could turn a bad run around in a big way and rejuvenated our season. We have had a minor setback but let’s be honest; losing away to the second best team in the league is not something to dwell on. We have a great opportunity this weekend to start another unbeaten run and try and close down the teams above us again. 2 months of the season left, let us do something good with the time and not hope the top 4 make the cup final for a good season.

Next up is West Bromwich Albion managed by Mr anti football himself Tony Pulis. To give credit here Pulis has actually done a good job at the Baggies, got them 8th in the league and getting results with some average players. They are only 4 points behind us so they will be viewing this game as a chance to close the gap on us and push for Europe themselves, so no easy task. Worth pointing out their last 5 games mirrors ours as well, although getting beat by palace at the weekend is not quite the same as ours.

West Brom only have one Injury concern ahead of the game, Matty Phillips out at the minute but due back by the weekend so pretty much their strongest 11 can play. They will go into the game with Livermore as their star player at the minute, McCauley has played every minute of the league so far which isn’t bad for a 37 year old, And Rondon their top scorer with 7 goals alongside McCauley himself.

As for Everton, No new injuries again this week. Calvert-Lewen could well be moved back into the squad this weekend after injury but besides from that expect a similar line up as before. Lukaku is now our record premier league goal scorer with 61 goals so far this season, not bad for a player who is lazy and has a poor first touch. Along with this new contract being signed this week, could we be seeing him get to 100 next season with us? I would like to hope so anyway, worth every penny his new contract will pay him.

So an easy three points this weekend or an anti football 90 minutes like last season? West Brom’s form comes from being at home so we can hope they turn up lost and we can outclass them in the middle of the park. I would hope Davies plays with Gueye and Schneiderin and we look to stretch their back 4 with pace rather than look to fight them. A win will move us 7 clear of 8th and hopefully 3 closer to someone above us. It is time to start a new unbeaten run Blue Boys, let’s make it happen this weekend.

And if you know your History!

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FANS EMAILS: Junior Blues – Freddie Cowin


FROM: Trevor Collins
SUBJECT: Junior Blues

This is Freddie Cowin. He’s just 8 months old. This is his favourite pre-match song warming up for the game! He absolutely loves it we have to play it at half time and after the game too definitely born a blue (thanks would love it to be shared)

The only thing that will stop him crying……. @RomeluLukaku9 @grandoldteam thanking whoever made this.

— Bryan Cowin (@brycowin) March 7, 2017

The post FANS EMAILS: Junior Blues – Freddie Cowin appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Reports: Lukaku agrees new five year deal


Romelu Lukaku has agreed a new five year deal at Everton with “all terms legally agreed between all representatives” according to Jim White on talkSPORT.

Jim White: “Lukaku will put pen to paper this week, it’s all legally agreed, it’s all done. It just needs to be signed off”.

Romelu Lukaku set to pen five-year deal at Everton. More on @talkSPORT

— Jim White (@JimWhite) March 7, 2017

Romelu Lukaku set to sign a new five-year deal at Everton this week. TalkSport claim contract talks finally concluded #EFC

— Richard Buxton (@RichardBuxton_) March 7, 2017

More to follow.

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The post Reports: Lukaku agrees new five year deal appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

“The best talents are interested in Everton”


Steve Walsh reckons Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman are helping Everton attract football’s best young talent.

Walsh: “Ademola’s the future, he’s come in and done well but he’s still got a lot of development to do. But putting him and Tom Davies in the first team sends out the right signals and really does help when it comes to attracting more young players to your football club.

“Even the best talents are interested in Everton. You get a pathway through to the first team which you might not get with another club.

“I think if you can buy those players and integrate them with your own youngsters of quality then it’s a potent mix. It gives you that energy and vitality.

“Then you put your Gana in there, Rom, Ross, Ash. Morgan Schneiderlin – I mean, you look at Morgan and think, ‘he’s a real player who can advance you as a club, no question’.”

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UEFA Competitions – time for a rethink?


UEFA currently operates just two major club competitions – the rather inaccurately named Champions League and the Europa League – with a marked difference in the way they are perceived.

Back in the day, the European Cup was the competition for national champions; the European Cup Winners Cup was the (correctly-named) competition for national cup winners; and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was the third competition for teams that did well and finished high, but didn’t win a physical trophy.

These days, the emphasis is massively inclined – both in terms of media perception and financial rewards – towards qualification to the inaccurately named Champions League with the Europa League belittled and qualification for still sneered at in some quarters, and this despite increased prize monies being available.

Add to that the myth, particularly here in the UK, that teams cannot cope with Thursday night EL games and the next domestic game being on the Sunday, and you have a competition that will continue to struggle to get close to the status that the current Champions League enjoys.

Even winning the worlds most prestigious national cup competition, the FA Cup, has been denigrated by clubs fielding second string teams because the prizes prize is ‘only’ qualification to the Europa League, managers feeling the extra effort in achieving top four and the Champions League to be better.

It is – financially – but for true footie fans, seeing your team captain lift a trophy and parade it around Wembley and then again at your next home game, far outweighs pure financial matters.

I want the euphoria, the joy, the hugging of the bloke/fan next to me, the sheer pleasure of celebrating a tangible success – a trophy.

Footie fans want trophies for their clubs, not just finance.

The fourth place trophy doesn’t exist and therefore shouldn’t be bandied around as a Holy Grail of football.

Looking on the UEFA website, it states there are currently 55 member countries/states from the big boys of Spain, Germany, England etc right the way down to the minnows of Gibraltar and Andorra.

So, why can’t UEFA revert back to two of the original – correctly named competitions – and a revised Europa League?

Surely UEFA could structure a true Champions League of just the 55 member countries annual league champions?

Surely UEFA could re-instate a European Cup Winners Cup for all the senior domestic cup competitions winners – FA and League Cup – and their European equivalents?

If the FAs of the other countries don’t have or operate two senior domestic cup competitions like we do here in England and Scotland, then that should not – if there are two different winning clubs – prevent both from entering the ECWC. In the same vein, if one club wins both, then only they, not the runners-up qualify.

And surely, UEFA could make the Europa League the competition for the teams that finish second, third and maybe even fourth – the numbers for this competition would need to be regulated, probably by the co-efficient calculations that currently determine how many non champion clubs go into the current Champions League.

The European Cup and Cup Winners Cup need to have their integrity ring-fenced, and by that I mean no runners-up gain entry, only league champions and cup competition winners.

Back in the day, the hierarchy of European trophies was always and understandably European Cup, ECWC and ICFC, but the differentiation in status was, in my opinion, nothing like as marked as the differentiation between the current Champions League and Europa League.

I am also of the opinion that once a club is eliminated from its UEFA competition, there should be no second bite of the cherry as currently exists with Champions League clubs then going into the Europa League – it’s a nonsense, plain and simple.

Once you’re eliminated, you’re eliminated and you return to domestic competition to try and qualify for the next season.

Somehow, I doubt that UEFA would ever consider anything along the lines I’ve suggested and I’ll state why…

I think that the inaccurately named Champions League is the competition that UEFA are really interested in hosting. I genuinely think the current Europa League – whilst receiving increased revenues and offering increase rewards – will always be considered very much a second tier competition.

I feel that unless the current UEFA competitions are revised, then ultimately, the current Champions League will end up as the mechanism whereby UEFA constitutes a European League aimed purely and solely at the current so-called ‘Big Four’ or elite clubs in the major countries.

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The post UEFA Competitions – time for a rethink? appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

JD partner with Matchroom Boxing in first partnership of its kind


Leading sports fashion retailer JD has partnered with the UK’s number one boxing promoters company, Matchroom Boxing. The partnership will see JD become Matchroom Boxing’s Official Retail Partner in the first long-term deal of its kind for the fight night promoters.

.@JDsportsfashion partner with Matchroom Boxing in first partnership of its kind.

— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) March 2, 2017

JD will receive significant in-ring and ringside branding for what will be a historic year for British boxing including David Haye v Tony Bellew, Anthony Crolla v Jorge Linares II and the most anticipated bout of the year when the undefeated IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua MBE defends his world title against former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko­­­.

The partnership launched ahead of Thursday’s Haye-Bellew fight press conference, in an event expected to produce fireworks from both parties. The Undisputed King of Trainers will host live events with Matchroom fighters to celebrate the partnership across the UK and Ireland. Follow JD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

In addition, JD will play a big part in the promotion of Matchroom’s stable of Olympic fighters including Lawrence Okolie, Joe Cordina, Josh Kelly and Katie Taylor. Matchroom’s NXTGEN series will also feature heavily in the partnership, with JD showcasing future world champions and their fights live on the retailer’s channels.

Matchroom’s fighters will also feature in JD’s Undisputed show, giving viewers behind the scenes access to some of the biggest names in boxing.

The partnership was negotiated by global sports marketing agency SportQuake, who will also activate all boxing campaigns. SportQuake provides brands with a unique end to end 360 degree insight, planning, buying and full activation service. The sports marketing agency will work with JD and Matchroom Boxing to create bespoke content and campaigns, giving fans of the sport a new way to keep up-to-date with the biggest fighters in the business.

CEO and Founder of SportQuake Matt House said: “We are delighted to partner up with JD and Matchroom Boxing on a long-term basis at such an exciting time for British boxing. We love working with Eddie and his team and look forward to developing amazing campaigns together that delight fight fans.”

JD Group Marketing Director Stephen White said: “We are excited to have agreed this long-term partnership with Matchroom Boxing ahead of the biggest year for British boxing to date. What Eddie and his team have achieved over the past five years by putting boxing back centre stage in the UK has been brilliant for us at JD and all fight fans. As the undisputed leaders in our field, we love working with like-minded people. We want to build on our work together and commit to this long-term partnership to support and drive Eddie’s vision for boxing and give our customers what they want.”

Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn, said: “I am delighted that Matchroom Boxing has joined forces with JD – a company that have been partners of ours through the recent explosion of British boxing. JD have continually supported our events and our fighters, and it’s great to be able to plan a future with a retail giant like JD. Their social media content is outstanding and they will help us drive the profile of our fighters both online and in through stores. JD share our passion for the sport of boxing and this ground-breaking deal forms a relationship that will benefit everyone.”

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