Kevin Mirallas gives Everton instant return and glimpse of potential
Everton 5 Leyton Orient 0
Thursday 30 August 2012
Let's talk about Kevin – Kevin Mirallas, to be exact, Everton's big summer capture and one, on this showing, who could be the added creative joker David Moyes needs in his locker to challenge for European qualification.
In truth, this exciting debut – where he massacred a frail Leyton Orient defensive unit – was a waste. Given a choice, the manager must surely have preferred the new import to have burst on to the Premier League scene with panache in abundance at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday rather than a Capital One Cup tie against inferior opposition.
"We knew all about his intelligence and scoring prowess and that's why he was one of the top scorers last season," assistant manager, Steve Round, said, before admitting Mirallas is "a little way off" full fitness. "We've seen potential that may be there, and we need to realise that."
Moyes clearly sees this competition as a realistic opportunity to bring the first silverware to the club since 1995. In a brief pre-match encounter with Bill Kenwright, the chairman was prompted that this was a strong starting XI. "Well, the reserves lost 5-1 [against West Ham] so he couldn't play them," he said. A fair point, they did not want to leave anything to chance.
A £5.3m acquisition from Olympiakos, Mirallas was charged with drifting into unmarkable pockets of space between the Orient back four and midfield. Although not everything he tried came off, the Belgian's impact was fairly immediate. Sixteen minutes in he was found all alone by Steven Naismith before accurately striking across the body of goalkeeper Jamie Jones to give Everton the lead.
Mirallas proved moments later that he could do no wrong as a poorly-executed near-post flick fortunately found its way to Leon Osman to guide into the top corner. If it wasn't over as a contest then, it certainly was once Mirallas wriggled into space and unleashed a drive that skipped through Jones. The goalkeeper, a former Everton trainee, will not have enjoyed his return to Merseyside.
The occasion had got to the 23-year-old, the nerves were jangling. Even more so when Victor Anichebe utilised the slippery surface to power one underneath him for a fourth before half-time.
Magaye Gueye's thunderous volley completed the scoring while Phil Neville suffered a tight hamstring late on, leaving 10 men following a triple substitution at the break.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Mucha; Coleman, Jagielka (Garbutt, h-t), Heitinga, Baines (Duffy, h-t); Neville, Osman (Barkley, h-t); Gueye, Mirallas, Naismith; Anichebe. Substitutes not used Howard, Jelavic, Distin, Vellios.
Leyton Orient (4-5-1): Jones; James (McSweeney, 47), Chorley, Clarke, Sawyer; Cox, Griffith (Rowlands, 56), Baudry, Odubajo (Cook, 74), Smith; Lisbie. Substitutes not used Allsop, Symes, Brunt, Mooney.
Referee R East (Wiltshire).
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