Everton 0 West Brom 0 match report: Roberto Martinez wins approval after old bonds are frayed
Both Manchester United targets Baines and Fellaini feature for the Toffees
Sunday 25 August 2013
The Gwladys Street End roared in approval at the first glimpse of their new manager Roberto Martinez, but you sense the latest remarks from his predecessor were the key reasons for such vehement support throughout this frustrating stalemate.
Everton’s football was tidy at times but a goalless draw with a dogged West Bromwich team, after a draw at Norwich last week, hardly represents a blistering start for the Spaniard.
Yet in dismissively rebuffing the ‘derisory and insulting’ £28m approach from David Moyes for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, Everton and Martinez provided fans with a satisfactorily dismissive reaction to Manchester United’s attempt to prise away the key duo.
Moyes’ hypocrisy in insisting he would have recommended both leave to further their careers – given his anger at Manchester City’s pursuit of Joleon Lescott a few summers ago – and his startlingly low valuation of the pair has sadly tarnished the 11-year bond established between the Scot and Evertonians.
Martinez provided a loaded response to Moyes’ comments after the match. “It [United’s bid] has been a bit of a farce,” he said. “When you put in a bid below what the other team spent, you expect it to be rejected. My feeling is you should never talk about players who belong to other teams. We would be a bit more respectful than that.”
Everton had by far the better of a turgid opening period and a frantic second half, but were unable to find the final touch to give Martinez a perfect Goodison start. If the heads of Baines and Fellaini, who both started here, have been turned by United’s interest, neither showed it.
Admittedly both were largely peripheral figures, but the Belgian once more displayed his knack of finding space in crowded penalty areas when Phil Jagielka’s cross-field ball found him six yards out with eight minutes left. His prodded shot rebounded agonisingly off the far post.
A point at Goodison constitutes a good return for Albion, but with Nicolas Anelka’s future unclear following the death of his agent, finding someone to replace Romelu Lukaku’s 17 Premier League goals last season poses a stark problem for Steve Clarke.
“Nicolas had been injured anyway so our preparation was not too disrupted and there’s been no change [to his situation] that I’m aware of,” said Clarke.
“It would be nice to bring one or two more players, but I think the group we have showed today that we already have a strong Premier League team.”
Kevin Mirallas seemed to spark Everton into life just after the half hour, Ben Foster tipping over a rasping effort over from the Belgian. Nikica Jelavic agonisingly missed his kick from six yards soon after, before industrious full-back Seamus Coleman intelligently cut inside and nearly beat Foster at his near post.
Everton’s tempo was markedly raised in the second half, with Fellaini denied at point-blank range by Foster after Ross Barkley’s initial shot had been saved.
With the game more stretched, James Morrison tested Tim Howard – who first came to the Premier League 10 years ago this month – with a firm shot after a one-two with Shane Long.
Albion lost Foster to an ankle injury late on but their substitute goalkeeper Luke Daniels kept Everton at bay, while Fellaini hit the post and had a header cleared off the line.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman; Osman, Fellaini; Mirallas (Naismith, 72), Barkley, Pienaar; Jelavic (Koné, 72).
West Brom (4-4-2): Foster (Daniels, 78); Olsson, Ridgewell, McAuley, Jones; Mulumbu, Morrison, Dorrans, Yacob; Long (Brunt, 81), Rosenberg (Vydra, 66).
Referee: Roger East
Man of the match: Miralles (Everton)
Match rating: 6/10
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile