Marouane Fellaini must find a new way of playing because he has become a marked man, claims Leon Osman.
Fellaini was targeted by West Brom, sometimes fairly and other times not, to stop him bossing the game like he did in Everton’s wins over Manchester United and Aston Villa.
The Belgium midfielder was subjected to sledging, a few rough challenges and boos from the home fans whenever he touched the ball.
It all worked in knocking him off his stride as he missed Everton’s best chance at 0-0 and Osman claims he and his team-mates need to counter this kind of unwanted attention.
“When you are as effective as he is, teams are going to find a way to stop you,” said the midfielder. “That’s up to him and us as a team to find ways around that.
“People are going to try and stop him playing and being effective for us.
“On other occasions we have been OK with that and found ways around that, playing in different parts of the field, but apart from the opening half an hour, we couldn’t really operate.”
Osman claims Everton should not be too down at seeing their perfect start end.
“We’ve hit the ground running, which is good for us, two wins out of three, so we will try and take the positives from this and not dwell on this one,” he said.
GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has warned Darron Gibson to make up his mind about his international future.
The Everton midfielder had made himself unavailable for the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier with Kazakhstan on Friday.
Trapattoni was ready to start with Everton midfielder Gibson.
But he is still angry at not getting off the bench at Euro 2012 and did not join the squad. Trapattoni said: “In the past we were frightened about missing players, but now we already have a squad.
“He explained to me that he was disappointed.
“I understood but I said to him this is a time for a new opportunity.”
A free school run by Everton football club is one of 55 to open their doors for the first time this week.
The government-funded Everton in the Community Free School will be run by the Goodison Park club's charity and provide education and sports tuition for 120 14 to 19 year-olds.
The club was the only Premier League football club to be granted the funds to open a free school. It will join 55 new schools which are to welcome pupils this week - twice as many compared with last year. Education Secretary Michael Gove said he hoped the new schools would be "equally successful" as the 24 which launched last September.
Mr Gove said: "Every child should have the choice to go to an excellent local school. These new schools have been set up by idealistic people who are determined to give parents the kind of choice that only the rich can currently afford.
"The first 24 free schools are enormously popular and I expect this second wave to be equally successful."
But he has faced criticism after some free schools slated to open this week failed over the summer, including the One in a Million free school in Bradford, which abandoned its plans for 2012 last week.
Liam Nolan, executive head teacher of Perry Beeches II, Birmingham, said: "This is a fabulous opportunity for us to expand our brand of success into a new community and to work with a new group of young people in the heart of Birmingham. This is one of the beauties of Free Schools, that the very best schools can extend their outstanding practice."
Marina Gutierrez, chair of the Bilingual Primary School Trust, Brighton, said: "I am delighted that this project has now become a reality and that Brighton & Hove's children will have bilingualism as an educational choice."
But speaking yesterday on the Sky News Murnaghan programme, shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "Some of the free schools opening are fully subscribed, they will be brilliant, successful schools and I wish them well. A number of local authorities have recognised the only way to get money from this Government for a new school is to have a free school.
"You've innovative teachers and headteachers opening free schools - I applaud all of that.
"But the problem we have got is the Government puts all of its eggs in the basket of free schools, so when they fail it is a waste of public money.
"The programme is not being tailored to those parts of the country that most need additional school places."
The list of 55 free schools opening this week including primary and secondary schools, establishments which cater for pupils through their schooling, and two schools which cater for pupils to the age of 19.
Twelve have been set up by teachers, 19 by parent or community groups, nine by charities and 13 are set up by existing education providers. Two existing independent schools will join the state sector as free schools.
The Department of Education said 25 of the 55 schools are located in the most deprived 25 per cent of communities in the country and 33 are in areas where there is need for more school places.
DAVID MOYES admitted he was frustrated with Everton FC’s lack of cutting edge as they suffered their first defeat of the season with a 2-0 loss at West Bromwich Albion.
Second-half strikes from Shane Long and Gareth McAuley gave Steve Clarke’s side the points at The Hawthorns, as the Blues failed to make it three straight wins to start their Premier League campaign, and slumped to their first league reverse in 13 matches.
And Moyes said he was disappointed by his side’s inability to open up an Albion side that have themselves made a strong start to the season.
“I thought for the first hour we had good control,” said Moyes.
“But we didn’t do well enough in the final third today and that was the reason we didn’t win.
“I’ve got to say West Brom defended really well, they came off the play, allowed us the ball.
“I made a change to try and win the game because I felt we were not doing enough to try to score, and in opening up we conceded a goal from it.
“I probably should have stayed as we were and maybe come away with a 0-0, but I wanted to try and win the game.
“We had enough of the ball to do that, but we hardly crossed it, we hardly passed it and credit to West Brom, they look as though they still had Roy Hodgson’s shape about them at times, and they counter-attacked on us well.”
He added: “They have had a good start and they showed that today.
“It was always going to be a tough game, obviously having two of our three league games away from home is difficult. But six points isn’t a bad return.”
Moyes pointed to a miss by Marouane Fellaini, just minutes before Long’s opener, as the game’s key turning point, and admitted the early loss of Darron Gibson to a thigh injury had played its part in disrupting his side’s rhythm.
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“(Fellaini’s miss) was a key moment because the first goal in the Premier League is vital,” he said.
“If we’d have got that then West Brom would have had to come out, and they hadn’t done so prior to that.
“They’d let us make the play, which we did quite well from the back to the middle, but in the final third we just didn’t produce it, which is not like us because we’ve been doing well recently.
“I thought we played well, and had control in the first half. I think the game changed a little bit when Darron went off. Tony (Hibbert) just didn’t look quite there today, he maybe hadn’t had enough training since his injury either.”
Gibson’s fitness will be assessed at Finch Farm today.
The midfielder had, however, already withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad for their World Cup qualifier with Kazakhstan, after failing to feature under Giovanni Trapattoni at Euro 2012.
“We’d be delighted for him to play for the Republic of Ireland,” said Moyes. “He didn’t play in the Euros, so I think he’s probably disappointed at not being selected.
“I spoke to him a couple of times about it, and I encouraged him to play. He wants to play.
“I think he’s spoken to the manager there, but the club always encourages its players to play for their country.
“I think he will (go back). He’s not played recently, so I’m sure he’s disappointed. But he’ll play for Ireland, I’ve no doubt about that.”
AFTER the brightest of summers, metaphorically speaking of course, a brief rain shower. In the words of those ubiquitous posters though – keep calm and carry on.
Everton’s scorching start to the season was always going to be given a stern test at the Hawthorns, and Steve Clarke’s men did a good job of dousing the wilder fires of optimism which had spread around L4.
Maybe the Gwladys Street won’t sing about winning the league, tongue in cheek though it was, against Newcastle in a fortnight, but neither should anyone be in a rush to write the Toffees off yet.
David Moyes’ men will not be the only side to endure a frustrating afternoon at West Brom this season, against an obdurately well-drilled side that knows how to stifle and clamp-down the assets of its opponents.
And perhaps Everton’s players had stayed up too late watching the transfer deadline day coverage, because they were decidedly off-colour when it came to repeating their heroics against Aston Villa in the Midlands.
While Marouane Fellaini has previously been breath-taking this term, on Saturday he was distinctly average.
The hosts pre-match commentary on the big-screen included asking Baggies fans who they most feared from the opposition and one Brummie glibly replied that if his side could keep Fellaini quiet they had nothing else to fear. On this occasion he was right.
Knocked out of his stride early on by a deliberate targeting job from West Brom, the Belgian was given an equally torrid time by blinkered referee Jon Moss who might as well have pulled on a blue and white striped shirt instead of the alarming red one he sported. Certainly Everton’s talisman was afforded special attention by West Brom, but the best players thrive in such circumstances and find a way to flourish.
That’s the challenge for Fellaini, and something Moyes will be keen to impress on him – Everton do not have the luxury of players picking when to shine.
But Fellaini wasn’t the only one to disappoint in the Midlands. Once the hugely influential Darron Gibson had limped off with a thigh strain in the first half, Everton couldn’t cope.
The initial phases had been scrappy from both sides, with neither finding any convincing tempo to their passing, although the Blues had the slight edge thanks to Steven Pienaar’s menacing bursts down the left.
But while at Villa Park Pienaar sizzled, here he was contained and generally marshalled out of the game.
Despite their lacklustre start, Everton might have opened the scoring when Fellaini connected to Hibbert’s deep cross to the far post with a terrific header which just dipped over the bar.
But Clarke’s men were carving out the majority of the compelling chances. First Jonas Olsson out-jumped Sylvain Distin to head James Morrison’s free-kick over the bar.
Then Phil Jagielka’s defensive header dropped to Morrison’s feet 25 yards from goal, but the midfielder took a heavy touch and under pressure from Leighton Baines he made the chance unduly difficult for himself, although it still required an excellent save from Tim Howard to keep him from scoring.
After the break West Brom maintained their growing stranglehold on the game, with Youssouf Mulumbu screwing a shot wide and their two banks of four continuing to prove impenetrable to the Blues.
Again though, Everton were not without chances to nick something. New boy Kevin Mirallas had an almost instant impact as a second-half substitute, when he collected a pass from Leon Osman and burst into the area to flash a low ball across goal. The pass evaded Pienaar but Fellaini was lurking well-placed at the far post only to make a mess of his finish much to the delight of the home fans behind the goal. If anything summed up that it wasn’t Everton’s day it was that howler.
Then Peter Odemwingie scampered down the left and delivered a perfect low cross that evaded Jagielka’s desperate lunge and allowed Long to tap in from close range.
No wonder the Blues once coveted the Irishman before he signed for the Baggies; with his aerial prowess, non-stop work rate and pest-factor in the penalty area, he was reminiscent of Tim Cahill in his prime.
Of course there’s no Cahill to rely on anymore, so Moyes asked Victor Anichebe to go on and try to repeat his New Year’s Day heroics at the same ground, but the Blues lacked sparkle and their self-belief seemed to wilt under West Brom’s growing dominance.
The international break means that Everton have two weeks now to lick their wounds and prove this was just a blip on an otherwise hugely promising start to the season. Repeat their opening game form against Manchester United when Newcastle come to Goodison, and this miserable afternoon will quickly be forgotten.
EVERTON FC and Liverpool FC fans teamed up to take part in the Big Heart 5k in memory of Blues legend Alan Ball.
Former Reds’ player Alan Kennedy and Blues’ striker and manager Joe Royle cheered on enthusiastic runners at the Walton Hall Park run.
This year the Everton fans were left celebrating as an Evertonian won the race for the first time.
Runners wearing blue or red shirts depending on which team they supported put aside their rivalry to raise money for their chosen good causes.
More than 150 took part in the event won by 19-year-old Everton FC fan Ben Costello, from the Wirral.
Ben, who was running for the Chris Salmon Foundation, said: “My grandad was a Blue but I was running for a friend who passed away a couple of years ago when we were in school.
“Football was close to his heart so I’m pleased to do the business for him.”
Joe Royle was delighted to see a Blue shirt cross the finish line first – and with the success of the race.
He said: “When the poeple in Liverpool come together with something like this it’s great.”
Alan Kennedy also praised the event which was set up four years ago in memory of Alan Ball, who died of a heart attack in 2007, aged 61.
He said: “I’m pleased with the way it’s been done.
“A lot of charities will benefit from this and that’s the main focus of both Everton and Liverpool.
After the Big Heart 5k another 500 runners went on to take part in the team 5k event around the park yesterday afternoon.