Section: Everton

Premiership: Everton sign Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon on loan

Everton have signed Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon on loan until the end of the Premier League season.

The 27-year-old England international has scored 30 goals in 365 games for Spurs since his 2005 switch from Leeds United.

He has only made nine Premier League appearances this season, with another eight in cup competitions.

Hull, Stoke and QPR all wanted Lennon on transfer deadline day too but he turned them down in favour of Everton.

Lennon has won 21 caps for England, but has not represented his country since a 2-1 friendly win over Brazil in February 2013.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Everton 0-0 West Brom

Kevin Mirallas’ penalty miss costs Everton in goalless draw

Forward Kevin Mirallas’ missed penalty cost Everton the chance of a first win in eight matches — but what was more galling for home fans was the fact he took it in the first place.

Whoever made the decision a minute before half-time needed to take a long hard look at themselves considering spot-kick regular Leighton Baines had previously scored 15 out of 16.

Mirallas’ withdrawal at the interval of the goalless draw at home to West Brom merely posed more questions as speculation continues to link the Belgium international, who has 18 months remaining on his contract, with a move away.

Manager Roberto Martinez admitted in the wake of the forward’s impressive display in last week’s FA Cup exit at West Ham that the club had to satisfy the Belgian’s ambitions for him to commit to a new contract, but considering his injury record the 27-year-old may have to consider if he still owes the Toffees something.

A week is a long time in football and, after leaving the Upton Park pitch to rave reviews, Mirallas left Goodison under something of a cloud.

That a missed penalty, and the whys and wherefores of who should have taken the kick, was the main talking point spoke volumes about the quality on show.

Everton knew West Brom would be tough to break down under new manager Tony Pulis and so it should have come as no surprise to see the visitors employ a 4-5-1 formation with Saido Berahino, with six goals in three matches, posted wide left to curtail full-back Seamus Coleman’s forward runs.

Pulis came for — and left with — a point which extended his unbeaten run since taking over to three matches, although one of those was against non-league Gateshead in the FA Cup.

His first task on replacing Alan Irvine was to make the Baggies difficult to beat — something of a trademark for the experienced manager — and he has done that with no goals conceded on his short reign.

The draw took them three points clear of the relegation zone and has given them a platform on which to build.

Everton are only a point ahead, having taken just two points from a possible 18, and the chorus of boos when Martinez replaced midfielder Muhamed Besic, comfortably their best player, with striker Arouna Kone late on and also at full-time was an indicator of how frustrated the locals are.

The football has not been anywhere near what they expect after some brilliant performances last season and, while it has not all been their own fault, they have to turn things around.

Martinez has officially complained about a lack of decisions going Everton’s way and referee Mike Oliver’s leniency in allowing James Morrison and particularly Craig Gardner to get away with hard and late challenges on Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley respectively did not help the manager’s early mood.

In truth there was little else for Oliver or indeed anyone else to get too agitated about until the final minute of the half, with Mirallas’ free-kick comfortably held by goalkeeper Ben Foster and Joel Robles saving from Gardner’s offside half-volley.

It appeared the mediocrity would be broken in the 44th minute when former Toffee Joleon Lescott handled Romelu Lescott’s chest trap, but Mirallas — so deadly from 20-plus yards but apparently much less so from 12 — hit the foot of a post and the ball spun behind.

The half-time video message from Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone, urging the crowd to generate some atmosphere as filming took place for Rocky spin-off movie Creed, was an optimistic one considering what had gone before but, somewhat fittingly, Everton did show a bit more appetite for a fight.

It was without Mirallas, however, who did not appear for the second half.

Ross Barkley, Lukaku and Besic (twice) all had shots deflected behind but Foster barely had a save to make.

The same was true of his counterpart Robles, but West Brom’s priorities lie elsewhere.

Read more at ESPN

FA Cup: West Ham 2-2 Everton

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian scored the winning penalty as his side beat Everton in a thrilling FA Cup tie

Enner Valencia put the hosts ahead when he collected Andy Carroll’s pass and shot past away goalkeeper Joel Robles.

Everton had Aiden McGeady sent off for two bookable offences, but equalised with Kevin Mirallas’s free-kick.

Romelu Lukaku put the Toffees in front after Mirallas’s fine run, but Carlton Cole’s close-range finish took the game to penalties, where West Ham won 9-8.

After it finished 2-2 at the end of extra-time in an amazing match, the third-round replay went to a shootout.

Everton’s Steven Naismith had his penalty saved and Stewart Downing had a chance to win it for the hosts, but Robles saved his effort.

However, the Spanish goalkeeper then hit the crossbar with his attempt before Adrian threw off his goalkeeping gloves and calmly converted the 20th penalty to set up a fourth-round tie with Bristol City.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Everton 1-1 Man City

Manchester City lost ground to Chelsea in the title race as Everton came from behind to earn a fully-deserved point.

Fernandinho’s scrambled goal – as Everton appealed in vain for offside – with 16 minutes left looked to have condemned Roberto Martinez’s side to their fifth successive league defeat.

Everton, however, built on their midweek improvement against West Ham United in the FA Cup third round and merited the point they were given when Steven Naismith’s glancing header put them level within four minutes of City’s opener.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini will be disappointed at a result that saw Chelsea regain a two-point lead at the top after their win against Newcastle United – but he can have no complaints about the final outcome.

Everton’s players have been questioned, as has their belief in Martinez’s passing approach, after their recent dismal run but there was plenty of spirit on display here – exemplified by the outstanding Romelu Lukaku, who gave Manchester City’s £30m defender Eliaquim Mangala a torrid time.

City were without Yaya Toure, on Africa Cup Of Nations duty, while Vincent Kompany was on the bench, along with fit-again Sergio Aguero, and their presence was sorely missed against an Everton side that looked more rejuvenated and confident as the game progressed.

Everton’s fans were angry at a second-half goal from Phil Jagielka being ruled out for offside and were complaining about offside and a possible handball in the build-up to Fernandinho’s goal, but the rousing reception Martinez’s players received at the final whistle showed Goodison Park’s appreciation for a much more resolute display.

Lukaku revealed after the draw with West Ham United that the players had approached Martinez with a suggestion to occasionally adopt a more direct approach.

And yet it was Everton’s tendency to over-play ponderously in defence that placed them in most danger in a first half City dominated without demonstrating the required cutting edge.

Goalkeeper Joel Robles was fortunate to get away with a poor clearance when he was played into trouble by John Stones while Jesus Navas failed to hit the target after Mo Besic’s risky pass bounced off Jagielka.

Lukaku clearly had the weapons to trouble City’s defence when he got the right service, as he proved just before half-time when he outpaced Mangala only to be blocked by Joe Hart. Seamus Coleman then picked up the loose ball and rattled the bar from 25 yards.

The striker left Mangala trailing again just after half-time to bring another fine save from Hart as Everton finally played to Lukaku’s strengths in the hope of making the breakthrough.

City’s failure to break the deadlock saw Pellegrini send on Aguero for Stevan Jovetic after 66 minutes, the Argentine returning for the first time since suffering a knee injury against Everton in early December.

The goal finally came after 74 minutes when, as Everton appealed for offside, Fernandinho’s effort squeezed past Coleman on the line from David Silva’s cross-shot.

Everton responded swiftly and were level inside four minutes, Naismith beating Hart to Leighton Baines’s free-kick to score with a glancing header.

Read more at BBC Sport

FA Cup: Everton 1-1 West Ham

Romelu Lukaku earns replay for Everton against West Ham with late leveller.

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku’s added-time equaliser in the FA Cup tie against West Ham eased some of the mounting pressure on his manager Roberto Martinez.

The Belgium striker’s smart turn and finish – his fourth goal in as many matches for the Toffees against the Hammers – earned a 1-1 draw and at the very least postponed another inquest into what is going wrong at Goodison Park.

Lukaku’s first in seven matches ended a four-game losing streak and ensured they live to fight another day in the competition after James Collins’ 56th-minute header had exposed the Toffees’ defensive Achilles heel – only QPR have conceded more in the Premier League this season.

West Ham were on the verge of their first victory in 15 attempts since 2007 against their perennial bogey side.

Everton’s current figures do not make for much better reading. They have won just once in the last 10 matches and their last clean sheet came against Europa League opponents Wolfsburg in late November immediately prior to their current slump.

The goal was the least Lukaku, in his first start in three matches, deserved.

It looked like the rest had done him some good as he twice forced Adrian to fumble shots, the West Ham goalkeeper recovering once to deny Kevin Mirallas on the rebound and then being bailed out by Winston Reid.

The Belgium striker also rolled an effort wide of the far post after he was picked out in the inside-left channel by an eye-of-the-needle pass from Ross Barkley, who appeared to lurch from brilliant to dreadful and back again in the first half.

Lukaku has been criticised for not playing like a B£28million striker but he was offering plenty to the team, with his brilliant ball over the top picking out Steven Naismith, who shot from such a narrow angle it beat Adrian but eventually rolled out for a throw.

Seamus Coleman, who just failed to connect at the far post, and Mirallas both had efforts before Barkley showed the best and worst bits of his game as a 60-yard drive at the West Ham defence ended with him passing tamely into the path of Reid as he tried to pick out Lukaku.

The visitors were not without their chances with Stewart Downing, who drifted effectively across the pitch, forcing Joel Robles to tip over and Morgan Amalfitano firing wide.

Everton’s opportunities began to dry up in the second half as, for all Lukaku’s good early play, the side were lacking runners to get beyond him.

The visitors sensed their chance and after defender Carl Jenkinson had driven through the left of Everton’s defence, only to be denied by a good, low near-post save by Robles, they took the lead.

Sylvain Distin, whose scalp did just enough to divert wide Downing’s drive, was partly to blame after losing Collins at the resulting corner but the Wales defender was still allowed to get between Naismith and Muhamed Besic to head in at the near post.

Robles, deputising for the injured Tim Howard with his own position under threat, reacted well to tip over Enner Valencia’s header while Lukaku’s own header was ruled out at the other end as he had climbed all over Aaron Cresswell to get to the ball.

Martinez had labelled the match as the most important of their season so the significance of Lukaku pouncing on Bryan Oviedo’s cross late on could not be underestimated.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Newcastle 3-2 Everton

Newcastle recorded their first league win in four games as they beat out-of-form Everton at St James’ Park.

It was the Toffees’ fourth league loss in five matches, although they made the ideal start when Arouna Kone fired in.

Papiss Cisse swept home to level from Mike Williamson’s pull-back, before Ayoze Perez drove in from 18 yards.

Jack Colback then pounced on Ross Barkley’s mistake to poke home the third before Kevin Mirallas set up a tense finale with a clipped finish.

That is now only one league victory in seven for Everton and their third successive defeat. Bar the win over QPR, this month has been one to forget for manager Roberto Martinez.

The Spaniard’s second season in charge of the Toffees has so far failed to match the high standards of the first, with the side 16 points worse off than they were at this stage last term.

Everton have problems all over the pitch. Only the Hoops have conceded more goals than them, while in attack the goals are not flowing. Striker Romelu Lukaku was a success last season while on loan, but since becoming a £28m permanent signing he has failed to rediscover that form.

The Belgian was demoted to the bench in one of seven changes made to the first XI by Martinez, with Kone and Samuel Eto’o starting.

And Kone, who was making his full debut for the visitors having missed 18 months with injury, repaid his manager’s faith in him with his first goal for the club after just five minutes. The Ivory Coast striker drifted past his markers to convert from close range from Seamus Coleman’s cross.

That was the 12th goal the Magpies had conceded in the last four league outings and at that stage the signs looked worrying for Alan Pardew’s faltering side.

But the Newcastle manager has a potent duo up front – Cisse and Perez. It was the Senegal international who pulled the scores level shortly before the break, when he was in the right position to drive in after defender Williamson salvaged a ball that looked like it was going out of the play.

Perez – a revelation since his £1.5m move from Tenerife – then put Newcastle into the lead when he wriggled past his markers on the edge of the area before drilling a shot through the legs of Coleman and past keeper Joel Robles.

With a spring in their steps, the Magpies added a third when Colback scored his first goal for his boyhood club after Barkley’s attempted clearance from Daryl Janmaat fell at the midfielder’s feet.

Mirallas gave the visitors hope when he raced forward before placing his shot past Jak Alnwick, but Newcastle held on.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Everton 3-1 QPR

Everton ended a run of four games without a win as Queens Park Rangers endured another miserable away day.

Rangers have yet to pick up a single point away from home this season and never looked likely to end that sequence at Goodison Park once Ross Barkley put Everton on the way to a 3-1 victory in the 33rd minute.

The midfielder netted his first goal of the season in spectacular fashion and Kevin Mirallas made it two before half-time, with Steven Naismith adding a third eight minutes after the break.

Everton sat back and allowed QPR to come at them, but Bobby Zamora’s tap-in 10 minutes from time was too little, too late.

It was just a third home win of the season for Everton, who climb above Liverpool into 10th place in the Premier League table.

QPR’s cause was not helped by leading scorer Charlie Austin being suspended following his red card against Burnley, while defender Steven Caulker was also out after suffering a head injury at a team lunch last weekend.

For Everton, Naismith returned after a hamstring injury and there was the welcome presence of John Stones and Arouna Kone on the bench following their spells on the sidelines.

Boss Roberto Martinez also brought Barkley back into the starting line-up and, in an Everton side that looked to have lost confidence, he stood out from the start.

In the 12th minute, the 21-year-old played a fine ball over the top for Naismith, and the Scot’s cross was just ahead of Romelu Lukaku.

QPR had arguably made the brighter start, with Matt Phillips guiding a tricky volley just over the bar and Junior Hoilett shooting straight at Tim Howard.

The home fans let their disgruntlement be known but there were signs of the sort of play Goodison Park has become accustomed to in the 26th minute when Coleman broke down the right and crossed for Naismith, whose shot was inadvertently blocked by Lukaku.

And seven minutes later the hosts took the lead through a moment of individual brilliance.

Barkley picked up the ball by the half way line and drove forward before unleashing a shot that arrowed into the top corner via a slight deflection off Mauricio Isla.

If there was an element of luck about that one, there was a lot more about Everton’s second 10 minutes later.

Joey Barton gave away a free kick for catching Naismith with his elbow and Mirallas’ shot spun off the head of Eduardo Vargas and beyond Rob Green.

Vargas had enough time to get a deliberate touch but he could not have directed the ball into a worse position as far as his team and keeper were concerned.

Everton’s tails were well and truly up and they almost managed a third before half-time but this time Aiden McGeady’s curling effort was just past the far post.

The opening moments of the second half saw Mirallas appeal for a penalty after Richard Dunne put his arm across the forward, but any real contact appeared minimal and referee Neil Swarbrick was not convinced.

The hosts remained well on top, though, and got their third in the 53rd minute after Green and Dunne had both made a mess of trying to clear the ball.

Mirallas played in McGeady on the right and his cross found Naismith in yards of space to head the ball in despite the efforts of Nedum Onuoha and Dunne on the line.

QPR boss Harry Redknapp introduced Zamora and, with Everton looking like they thought the job was done, Rangers enjoyed a decent spell.

Leroy Fer and Jordon Mutch shot over but they got the goal they deserved in the 80th minute when Howard could only parry Mutch’s shot straight to Zamora, who netted his first of the season.

The home fans were becoming frustrated again, and the game had a sour end for Everton when Mirallas was carried off after a poor tackle from Mutch.

The Belgian’s ankle appeared to buckle and he was replaced by Kone, making his first league appearance for more than a year.

The Ivorian almost set up Samuel Eto’o for a fourth but his shot hit the far post deep into injury time.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Man City 1-0 Everton

City win – but concerns for Aguero

An injury to star striker Sergio Aguero cast a shadow over champions Manchester City’s laboured but vital 1-0 win over Everton.

Yaya Toure struck a first-half penalty as City cut Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to three points but the immediate concern was for top scorer Aguero.

The Argentinian appeared in tears after hurting his knee in the second minute of what proved a dull contest at the Etihad Stadium, giving City a major Champions League fitness scare.

City travel to Roma for their decisive final group game on Wednesday.

They are already without Toure for the trip due to suspension while two other key players, Vincent Kompany and David Silva, require fitness tests.

An injury to Aguero, who has already scored 19 goals this season, is the last thing they needed.

He went down clutching his knee after a challenge by Muhamed Besic and his lack of movement immediately suggested a serious problem.

He limped halfway round the field and headed down the tunnel, leaving City anxiously awaiting news of his condition.

Edin Dzeko, back on the bench after a calf injury, initially seemed the man to take his place but manager Manuel Pellegrini opted to give youngster Jose Pozo a chance in the lone front role.

The intention had been for Aguero to operate ahead of a five-man midfield, which featured the returning Fernando in place of Fernandinho, who did not even make the bench. Eliaquim Mangala also came back from suspension into a defence which was still missing influential captain Kompany.

The loss of Aguero dampened the atmosphere and City were flat. Mangala and Fernando were both booked for jumping into challenges with high feet, on Samuel Eto’o and Gareth Barry respectively, as the contest lacked any fluency.

It was not until the 20th minute that City first seriously threatened but Toure dragged a shot well wide.

The picture changed soon after when referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot after a coming together between James Milner and Phil Jagielka in the area.

Milner went down but quickly got up and did not appear to be looking for a penalty, but Marriner felt he had been impeded.

Toure did not argue and rifled home the spot-kick.

Despite that, the goal did not provide the spark the game perhaps needed as a spectacle.

Chances were few and far between, although Samir Nasri created a good opportunity with a nice turn – only for Sylvain Distin to get his head in the way.

At the other end Kevin Mirallas had a volley deflected wide as he latched on to a Pablo Zabaleta clearance.

City had another injury scare when Toure hurt his knee, also after being challenged by Besic, but he soon ran it off.

Pozo had a glorious chance to double the hosts’ lead early in the second half after fine work by Milner down the left. The 18-year-old Spaniard looked certain to score as he was picked out by the England international in front of goal but Tim Howard, sent the wrong way, somehow saved with his feet.

Pozo cursed his luck and Pellegrini did not give him much longer to make an impression as he decided Dzeko needed a run-out for the final half-hour.

Eto’o threatened an equaliser as Everton, with Ross Barkley introduced off the bench, tried to force themselves back into the game but his effort was deflected wide.

City sent on Frank Lampard in the hope of finding extra impetus and the veteran midfielder made an instant impact. Lampard picked out Dzeko with a fine crossfield pass and the Bosnian’s nod-down fell nicely for Milner – but he miscued his volley.

As the game went into the last 10 minutes England number one Joe Hart showed why he is poised to sign a lucrative new deal with a fine one-handed save to keep out a powerful Romelu Lukaku volley.

Nasri shot at Howard as the game threatened to open up in the latter stages but City eventually closed it out.

Milner needed treatment after a nasty blow to the head when former team-mate Barry caught him with his arm in the last minute – but there appeared no serious injury.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Everton 1-1 Hull

Hull ended a run of four consecutive league defeats thanks to Sone Aluko’s second-half equaliser at Everton.

Substitute Aluko twisted and turned defender Sylvain Distin before firing a low, angled shot past Tim Howard.

Everton took the lead when Romelu Lukaku fired in his sixth of the season from Kevin Mirallas’ pull-back.

Lukaku also had a late shot blocked by Craig Dawson, while Hull’s ex-Toffees striker Nikica Jelavic headed inches wide.

It was Everton’s central defence – their Achilles this season – that cost them victory against the visitors.

There were signs that it could prove a problem again when Jelavic twice brushed off the attentions of Distin – and it was the French defender who was at fault for the Hull equaliser.

Aluko, a replacement for the injured Mohamed Diame six minutes earlier, surged past the former Newcastle and Portsmouth defender down the left before rifling a low shot beyond the reach of Howard.

Hull then should have gone ahead moments later when Jelavic exploited more poor defending but the Croatia striker headed his effort inches past the keeper’s right-hand post.

It had all begun so well for the home side, who were looking to bounce back following their weekend defeat against Tottenham.

Lukaku was particularly prominent, combining a muscular ability to hold off defenders with a willingness to track back for his side.

But it is his prowess in front of goal which prompted Martinez into making him a permanent signing during the summer, and after a slow start he is starting to prove his worth.

He scored his latest goal – his third in four matches – after combining with Belgium team-mate Mirallas. The winger was in menacing form in the first half and picked out Lukaku, who converted the chance despite being at full stretch.

The £28m striker, who had an early firm effort well held by Allan McGregor, had a shot blocked by Dawson as Everton pushed for a late winner.

That was one of Everton’s few clear-cut efforts on goal after the break though, and despite eight minutes of stoppage time they failed to trouble McGregor again.

Read more at BBC Sport

Europa League: Wolfsburg 0-2 Everton

Everton are through to the Europa League knockout stage as Group H winners after victory at Wolfsburg.

A 1-1 draw in the other group game between Krasnodar and Lille meant the Toffees progressed regardless of the result in Germany.

Three points ensured top spot, however, as Romelu Lukaku powered home before half-time after Wolfsburg’s Ivan Perisic had a goal ruled out.

Kevin Mirallas sealed victory in the second half with a goal on the break.

Everton, four points ahead of Wolfsburg at the top of the group, progress to the last 32 with a game to spare as they look to secure a first European trophy since 1985.

Both sets of players went into the game unaware of the scoreline in the group’s other fixture, which kicked off one hour earlier.

Each side knew, however, that a win would guarantee qualification and that might have played its part in a frenetic start.

Wolfsburg, with eight wins from their last nine games, were immediately on the offensive as Perisic lashed into the side-netting while Aaron Hunt drew a full-stretch save out of Tim Howard.

Sylvain Distin hit the bar with a downward header between those chances but Wolfsburg should have been ahead midway through the half, when Perisic was wrongly ruled offside when he stabbed home from close range.

It was a let-off for Everton, and a crucial one, as they hit Wolfsburg on the break just before half-time.

Distin’s header aside, the visitors had barely threatened in the first 45 minutes but snatched the lead when Lukaku received a pass from Kevin Mirallas, outmuscled two defenders and ran through on goal before finishing calmly.

Knowing that defeat would leave them needing at least a draw in their final game against Lille, Wolfsburg again pressured the Everton defence in the second half.

The hosts were again denied when former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner had a header ruled out for offside, but also Everton looked dangerous on the break – though Aiden McGeady somehow contrived to sidefoot over when presented with an open goal.

However, Everton wrapped up the win with another breakaway goal as Lukaku sent Mirallas away and the forward confidently slotted home.

Read more at BBC Sport