Swansea 1-2 Everton: Stunners see visitors steal points with Barkley’s winner (video)

1 Comment

The first two thirds were forgettable, but stunning blasts from Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley see Everton burgle all three points from Liberty Stadium.

With both teams playing a possession game early, the first 65 minutes could have put some to sleep, but Coleman had a go from distance and rocketed the game awake.

Swansea then equalized just minutes later thanks to a deflection, but a thunderous free kick from Ross Barkley put the visitors into the lead for good.

Everton began the match on the front foot, looking to build from the midfield with lots of passing and possession, but Swansea’s defense proved difficult not only to unlock but even budge.

From the start, both teams settled into possession, and very little was created in the first half.  The ball rarely even found its way into either attacking third, with both teams trying to work from the back up.

The only real opportunity in the first half came as Gerhard Tremmel spilled a catch directly at the feet of a surprised Lukaku, but the big striker whiffed and Tremmel collected safely.

Basically nothing happened in the first 45 minutes, with neither goalkeeper required to do much, if anything.

The second half proved similar, although a few chances came begging.  Fittingly, rain began to fall around the 55th minute, and it saw Coleman weave through the Swansea defense in a Lionel Messi-esque run but it was cut out one defender before he reached the goal.

source: Getty Images
21-year-old Ross Barkley has made a serious case to be brought into the World Cup squad by England.

Finally, a quality attempt on goal came to pass in the 65th minute. Barkley sliced through open space in the Swansea midfield, shook a defender with a touch to his left, and rattled the crossbar off the fingertips of Tremmel.

That was a sign of things to come for Everton, as Coleman minutes later worked some space well outside the 18-yard box, and blasted a thunderbolt past a wrong-footed Tremmel and into the back of the net.  It was a true stunner by the 25-year-old defender for his fourth goal of the season.

The style of play wasn’t changed for either side following the goal, but Swansea would also find something out of nothing for their equalizer just four minutes later.

A cross from Ben Davis floated in, and Dwight Tiendalli didn’t get a clean shot off, but the resulting effort caromed off Brian Oviedo and left Tim Howard no chance. The official word came down as an own-goal on Oviedo, as Tiendalli’s original shot was going a decent way wide.

The final 10 minutes saw some chances as both sides pressed for a winner. Substitute Alvaro Vasquez brought the ball down the right side of the box on his own, but with no support his chip attempt went right into the waiting arms of Howard.

Then it was the youngster’s moment. With Davies having scythed down James McCarthy outside the box, 21-year-old Barkley ripped a strike into the top corner for the winner.

The American keeper had to make a pair of excellent saves in the final few minutes, with Swansea pouring forward, but the Everton defense held well.

The win for Everton means they stay unbeaten in 10 straight, and travel into the top four of the Premier League table jumping Chelsea, who play tomorrow.

Swansea have just two points in their last three matches, and remain in 11th place level with Hull City on points.

GOALS:

Everton – Coleman 66′, Oviedo 70′ (og), Barkley 84′

LINEUPS:

Swansea – Tremmel; Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies; Canas, Shelvey, de Guzman (Pozuelo 86′), Routledge (Lamah 66′), Hernandez; Bony (Vazquez 76′).

Everton – Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Oviedo; Mirallas (Osman 78′), McCarthy, Barry, Pienaar (Naismith 78′), Barkley; Lukaku.

Mourinho: Mkhitaryan “disappeared” during games, got dropped

Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It would appear that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has become the new Luke Shaw, who not so long ago became the new Juan Mata, who had become the new Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Pepe, who all previously become the new Kaka and Mesut Ozil — players previously perceived to be undroppable, only to fall out of favor and be dropped from Mourinho’s side.

[ MORE: Carrick back in training after operation to fix irregular heartbeat ]

Similarly to many of the aforementioned stars of Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid sides of the not-so-distant past, Mourinho recently singled out Mkhitaryan for not working hard enough for the team and failing to meet expectations with his performances.

Mkhitaryan last featured in Man United’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea on Nov. 5, prior to the most recent international break. He played just 62 minutes, to follow an UEFA Champions League appearance of just 45 minutes against Benfica. Mkhitaryan was then absent from the substitute’s bench for a victory over Newcastle United and a defeat to Basel.

[ MORE: Pochettino sees Sanchez as one of world’s best defenders already ]

In Mourinho’s mind, Mkhitaryan hasn’t merited a place in the team — quotes from the Guardian:

“I was not happy with his last performances. I’m not speaking about one or two, I’m speaking about three, four or five. He started the season very well and after that, step by step, he was disappearing. His performance levels in terms of goalscoring and assists, pressing, recovering the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a no. 10, were decreasing.

“That was enough [to drop him] because the others worked to have a chance. Everybody works to have a chance. It’s as simple as that.”

“I don’t know if Mkhitaryan will start but, for sure, he will be back in the group. For him to be back to the group, it means that somebody is going to leave the group.”

Davinson delights Pochettino, who predicts “massive” strides

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s still very early days for Davinson Sanchez as a Tottenham Hotspur player, but the early returns are extremely positive as the Colombian center back has featured in 14 of the club’s 17 games in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League this season.

[ MORE: Spurs beat Dortmund again to win group with Real Madrid ]

What’s more encouraging than Sanchez’s initial performances? The 21-year-old’s “massive” room for improvement and the expectation he’ll one day soon be one of the world’s best defenders, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.

After signing for Spurs in August, Sanchez went straight into Pochettino’s starting lineup, slotted in between stalwarts Toby Aldeweireld and Jan Vertonghen, who together last season led the defense with the PL’s best record (26 goals conceded in 38 games), as part of a back-three. Sanchez has taken to Tottenham like a duck to water, in Pochettino’s estimation — quotes from ESPN FC:

“You saw against against Dortmund how many times he was with [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang one-versus-one. How many central defenders can play one-versus-one and escape and go, be tight and press? If you run, I run because I am so confident when running. I think not many center backs in the world can do this.

“Or against Swansea against Tammy Abraham: how many times he was one vs. one and the ball was behind him, he was on the halfway line and running was not a problem? And against Cristiano Ronaldo, too?”

“We expect more from him, but I am so happy with him. He is doing well, very well. He’s only 21 years old, but he shows more maturity [than that], and he’s so aggressive when he’s marking, his concentration [is good] and then with the ball he’s good, but I think he can improve.

“There is massive scope to improve potentially, it’s massive for him. In only a few months, he’s showing he’s doing a fantastic job for us. [He can improve in] every single aspect, tactic, physical condition, technique.

“We need with him one and a half months or two months preseason every day, and then I’m sure he’s going to show a different level. I think he’s one of the best today, but has potential to improve a lot more.

“Because he’s so clever, and he’s very humble, and he’s very open to learn, he’s a player when you tell something his reaction is to be open, and be critical with himself, and that is a massive skill from a player, when he’s so open to improve, and then the conditions he has are amazing to be one of the best center halves in the world.”

To state the completely obvious, Pochettino was wise to utilize Aldeweireld and Vertonghen as training wheels for Sanchez, if you will, upon his arrival. His athleticism and pace make him 1) the ideal complement to a pair of players who read the game so well; and, 2) perfectly positioned to operate as the last-man, emergency defender on the rare occasion either Belgian is breached.

[ MORE: Liverpool host Chelsea in massive top-four clash ]

For the first time all season, Sanchez started out wide in Alderweireld’s absence (hamstring) against Arsenal last weekend, and for the first time since his arrival, he appeared a flawed — which is to say, human — defender. To his credit, Sanchez gave a quality account of himself on the whole, and finished the game much stronger than he’d started.

No one was more aware of this than Pochettino, though, as he slid Eric Dier into Aldeweireld’s spot for Tuesday’s Champions League triumph over Borusia Dortmund, again deploying Sanchez in the middle. With Aldeweireld expected to miss a couple more weeks at minimum, the Tottenham teamsheet should routinely read Vertonghen-Sanchez-Dier from left to right until he returns.

Lille appoint four interim managers to replace Bielsa

Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LILLE, France (AP) A four-man coaching team will take provisional charge of French soccer club Lille in the wake of Marcelo Bielsa’s dismissal.

Lille says Fernando Da Cruz, Joao Sacramento, Benoit Delaval and Franck Mantaux will be in charge of the team until further notice.

Lille announced earlier this week that Bielsa had been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club” following a 3-0 loss at Amiens.

The northern side is in 19th place and next travels Saturday to Montpellier, which has the best defense in the league.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but failed to make the club competitive. After finishing a disappointing 11th last season, Lille hired the coach – affectionately known as El Loco Bielsa (Crazy Bielsa) – with the aim of returning to the Champions League.

Irregular heartbeat the cause of Carrick’s recent absence

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United captain Michael Carrick hasn’t played for his club since Sept. 20, a confounding period of more than two months now, and the reason for the 36-year-old midfielder’s absence has finally come to light: an irregular heartbeat.

[ MORE: Mourinho slams critics (again), gives injury updates ]

The condition, which Carrick announced himself on Friday, was first detected after Man United’s League Cup victory over Burton Albion. He has since undergone a cardiac ablation, a procedure to scar or destroy tissue in your heart that’s allowing incorrect electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Carrick was named the new United captain this summer following the departure of Wayne Rooney. As told in the above statement, he is working toward full fitness and once again being available for selection in Jose Mourinho’s side.

Hooray for modern technology and medicine, which allow otherwise baffling medical conditions to be diagnosed, treated and recovered from in a matter of weeks or months.