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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.

Liverpool Echo

SYLVAIN DISTIN hailed Everton’s character in coming back to secure a point during their 2-2 draw at Wigan – and insisted they can’t expect to blow every opponent away with non-stop attacking football.

The defender (left) helped shore up his side’s defence after replacing John Heitinga at half time at the DW Stadium, and was adamant that the result was enough to keep momentum going heading into the international break.

He said: “One point was good in the end. We came here with a good tactical approach but things worked for them in the first half.

“We showed our character though and got a point eventually which is what mattered. Maybe we feel frustrated because we’re getting used to winning games, but we’re not going to win every single game until the end of the season. A draw away from home at a place like the DW Stadium is OK. It was similar to West Brom in a way but we learned from our mistakes.”

The result saw Everton slide one place back to third in the Premier League table, above West Bromwich Albion on goal difference while Manchester United’s win took them down to fourth but the 34-year-old said patience will be key in the Blues’ aim to qualify for European football next season.

He said: “We didn’t come here to try and just attack outright all the time and score with every attack without regard for them.

“We can’t play outright attacking every game – sometimes it’s not possible.”

“Sometimes it’s the opposition, sometimes it’s your own form.

“It takes a lot of energy to play the football we like to and we don’t have a massive squad to rotate.

“We just have to adapt. Because of the results we’ve had so far teams now are going to come and wait for us and we have to find a different way to play."

Liverpool Echo

DAVID MOYES was less than impressed by the performance of the match officials in Everton’s 2-2 draw at Wigan.

The Latics’ opening goal was scored by Arouna Kone from an offside position, Nikica Jelavic was denied a penalty and Marouane Fellaini was booked by Kevin Friend (right) for alleged use of an elbow in the first half.

The Blues boss actually called for the giant Belgian to be given more protection from officials.

“I think Fellaini needs more protection,” he added. “He was two foot above Figueroa (in the incident for which he was cautioned) and anyone who has played the game knows you need to use your arms to get elevation.

“The only thing that Figueroa could have headed was his arm and his hand and it was his hand.

“I can’t understand why, in their penalty box when we have a corner kick, what Fellaini would be doing to the Wigan players? Why would he be trying to foul? He is just standing there and they are standing on his toes.

“I think Roberto Martinez has done a good job over the last few days of making sure that the referees gave them what was required.

“We found that really hard today to play against Wigan and then we also found it hard the way the decisions went today.

“The first goal is offside, definitely. Half a yard offside.

“And the linesman’s nowhere in line with the ball because I’ve had a look. He’s three or four yards behind the ball, not in line.

“Jelavic is a penalty kick, so I think we’ve had a really rough day with the decisions today.

“What we got we earned ourselves.

“The penalty we got was actually a double penalty kick because it’s a foul on Victor Anichebe and it’s also one on Kevin Mirallas. I think we’ve had a tough day today to get something out of the game.”

Moyes, though, has no plans to take his gripes to referees’ chief Mike Riley.

“The linesman should see it. It is up to them,” he added.

“Yes we can approach Mike Riley and I am sure others do, but Mike Riley has to look at the people who are working for him and whether they are doing well enough.”

Liverpool Echo

LEIGHTON BAINES believes Everton can head into the international break with their heads held high – after his late penalty prevented a frustrating fortnight’s wait until Premier League action resumes.

The England defender maintained his impressive record from the spot – he has converted his last nine penalties – to secure Everton a point at the DW stadium, and said it meant he can depart for England duty feeling content, even if the Blues had plenty to do to make amends for a poor first half display.

He said: “I thought we had to improve. We knew that at half time, if we were going to get anything you had to perform better. We weren’t quite up to the standards we set ourselves and we did that, we did improve.

“We kept pushing and trying to get that goal. I thought we were the better side in the second half and we deserved our point in the end.

“It’s definitely better than the last time we met up (for an England game) because we (Everton) lost going into the international break. Then you just want to play again when you do that.

“We’d have liked to have won because we’ve been in good form and we feel capable of winning games but it’s certainly a better feeling than going away with a loss.”

David Moyes described Baines as extraordinary after the game on Saturday, but the humble defender insisted his crucial penalty was part of a concerted fight-back.

“I don’t know about extraordinary but in the second half it sort of freed me up and with Sylvain coming on it changed the game. It freed me up to feel more confident and sort of try and drive us forward a little bit.

“And obviously having Steven in front of you as well – Steven at one side, Sylvan the other, you definitely feel good when you’ve got players like that around you.

“I think the way their system is set up with the wing backs, the onus is probably on you to try and take the team forward a little bit, so that’s what I tried to do.

“As I say, we have a good combination with Steven there and Ossie likes to come over, who’s a great footballer as well.

“We get in those litle pockets and try to make things happen.”

The game was marred by a laughable refereeing display by Leicestershire official Kevin Friend, who showed Baines a baffling yellow card in the second half, and the left-back was unimpressed.

“I got a bit annoyed at that to be honest,” he said.

“I felt it was a non-tackle, I just tried to get out of the way if anything.

“I spoke to the lad who went down, I said ‘I’ve not touched you’, and he’s half apologetic, getting up and saying ‘I’m sorry’.

“You turn round and the ref’s booking you. It’s one of them.

“They have a tough job, the referees. I thought he had a bit of a tough time today. I asked him what he’d booked me for, he said persistent fouls. I asked him if he could name me another foul tackle I’d made throughout the whole game.

“We had a few penalty shouts as well and eventually we get one. Fortunately enough, we score it.”

Liverpool Echo

WHEN David Moyes was asked how his current Everton team compares to the side which finished fourth in 2005, he admitted there were many differences but one quality remains in abundance – spirit.

Indeed the Blues boss was quick to emphasise that resilience and camaraderie are in the DNA of the club, and when all else faltered at times at the DW Stadium on Saturday it was those priceless fighting qualities which saw a point gained.

Perhaps the current personnel are less likely to grind out 1-0 victories like the Everton of Carsley, Cahill and Gravesen who shook up the Premier League back then, but they proved by their resurgence against Wigan that they have the main hallmarks of a side which can achieve something.

Everton’s football so far this term has been so enthralling at times that expectations have surged. The travelling army of Toffees who arrived en masse in Lancashire on Saturday expected victory, and expected to be entertained too.

But if this was a reality check of sorts, it was preferable to the frustrating reverse at the Hawthorns earlier in the season when West Brom punctured some of the optimism that had been generated after that memorable start.

Roberto Martinez’s Wigan have not clung on to top flight survival for so long by rolling over and allowing sides to play them off the park at home. Manchester United were toppled at the DW last season, and in the long run this draw could look like a valuable result.

No doubt it was infuriating in light of the inept official Kevin Friend who allowed Arouna Kone’s opening goal for the hosts to stand, despite it being offside, and missed a creditable penalty claim for the visitors when Nikica Jelavic was felled.

Nevertheless Everton should have dealt with their opening setback better.

Impish Latics midfielder James Maloney tied Seamus Coleman in knots before crossing for the Kone to nod a close range header into the net, as the linesman was perhaps wondering what to have for his tea.

Another week, another rude awakening for Moyes’ men – even if they rapidly made amends. The imperious Steven Pienaar sliced a shot to the far post and Jelavic did what he does best, heading home to restore parity.

With neither side achieving much rhythm, Wigan seemed understandably nervy whenever Everton worked the ball out to their left flank and Maloney earned himself a booking for a rash foul on Leighton Baines.

Nevertheless, Kone was becoming a thorn in Everton’s side, and John Heitinga – who seemed off the pace – struggled to contain the powerful forward.

Wigan defender Gary Caldwell lofted a pass into space, Kone beat Everton’s Dutch defender for pace and then waited for his team-mates to catch up before providing a pass to Franco Di Santo who lifted his shot into the roof of the net.

Buoyed by their lead Wigan began to assert a degree of dominance, and Di Santo forced Tim Howard into a smart diving save.

They continued to frustrate Everton and pour forward, but when the Blues managed to stabilise themselves they at least showed flashes of their quality. Leon Osman jinked into the area and worked the ball onto his left foot to force a brilliant one-handed save from Ali Al Habsi with a shot which seemed destined for the corner of the goal.

And Kevin Mirallas gave the hosts a headache by drifting into the centre and shooting from range.

But the most potent threat continued to be the Bainaar phenomenon, and the pair combined wonderfully on the edge of the area just before the break as Baines hit the post with the keeper beaten.

It certainly helped provided a more focused attacking approach, with the pair combining well to give Osman a crack at goal, although the midfielder’s effort was off target.

Everton should have been back in the game within five minutes of the re-start as Baines and Pienaar combined fluidly once again for the England man to cut it back for Mirallas who seemed perfectly poised to slot but wastefully shot over.

Instead of capitalising on their rapid re-start, the visitors allowed themselves to get dragged into a war of attrition and gave Friend opportunities to dish out a string of cards to Baines, for having the temerity to try and avoid fouling James McCarthy, and Jelavic.

At least Sylvain Distin – who replaced Heitinga at half-time – helped to largely nullify Kone with his power and pace leaving some to wonder why he hadn’t started in the first place.

Even so it was Wigan who might have scored again, and only a timely intervention from Phil Jagielka stopped Kone from bagging a brace.

At least Everton’s trusty channel of brilliance continued to rise above the mediocrity elsewhere, as Wigan seemed as unable to cope with Baines and Pienaar as most sides. Yet there was a growing suspicion it was not to be Everton’s day.

Attacks broke down, passes started going astray and Friend’s refereeing became laughable. He afforded little protection to Marouane Fellaini, although the Belgian showed his worrying tendency to let his concentration waiver when opponents get in his face, like Caldwell was doing effectively.

But the Leicestershire official could not fail to do the right thing when Wigan finally cracked. He could have awarded two penalties when Pienaar slipped a pass into the area. Caldwell appeared to foul Victor Anichebe, but Maynor Figeouroa’s foul on Mirallas was blatant, and Baines kept his cool to give Everton a lifeline.

Moyes had said before the game that he was mellowing. Maybe – but the murderous look he shot the referee at the final whistle suggested some things don’t change, just like his side’s spirit. Baines summed it up in the last second – sprinting flat out to keep a ball in play and trying to mount one last-ditch attack.

With that sort of desire throughout the team, Everton could still repeat the heroics of eight years ago.

Daily Express (new)

ASHLEY COLE is expected to be formally charged by the Football Association in the next 24 hours as the governing body launch their investigation into his obscene Twitter rant.

The FA’s governance department will today open a probe into the Chelsea defender’s x-rated comments which came after his integrity was questioned by the Independent Regulatory Commission that oversaw John Terry’s racism case.

Cole branded the FA “a bunch of t***s” in a controversial tweet, later deleted, which is likely to incur a misconduct charge.

There is no set sanction for the offence, but if the charge is upheld then the left-back is likely to face a fine rather than a ban as in the case of Rio Ferdinand, who was fined £45,000 for endorsing a Tweet in which Cole was called a “choc-ice” during the toxic fall-out from Terry’s racism trial.

Cole – who faces a club fine of up to two weeks’ wages from Chelsea – is also likely to be made to wait to win his 100th cap, with England coach Roy Hodgson poised to rest him for the World Cup qualifier with minnows San Marino at Wembley on Friday.

That would mean Cole collecting his 99th cap against Poland a week tomorrow and, with Hodgson indicating that he will use an experimental squad in November’s friendly with Sweden, it could be next February before he reaches the milestone at the showpiece friendly with Brazil.

Leighton Baines, outstanding in Everton’s draw with Wigan on Saturday, will deputise for Cole.

Daily Mirror

Leighton Baines finished his interview outside the press room at the DW to head for the players’ lounge. After a few steps, he was stopped by a Wigan steward, who ­redirected him back the way he had come.

It was the only time Baines put a foot wrong all afternoon in the 2-2 draw with Wigan. David Moyes described his ­performance as “excellent” and “extraordinary” after he dictated ­Everton’s play from what is supposed to be football’s hinterland at left-back.

Wigan skipper Gary ­Caldwell agreed. “Without a doubt, he’s the best left-back in the league,” he said.

“He’s up and down all game, he provides great quality in an attacking sense and gets back and provides cover for his defenders.

“He’s the one player in their team you would target. When you look at their team and the left-back is their most attacking player, that shows you he must be doing ­something right.

“He’s also in the England team. He played the last game when Ashley Cole was out and he’s pushing for that place again.”

We will see on Friday night when England play San Marino if Roy Hodgson agrees and the Baines bandwagon has gained momentum because of Ashley’s Cole’s twitter attack on the FA.

Baines was embarrassed by all this praise and highlighted Sylvain Distin’s introduction at half-time for John Heitinga, run ragged by Arouna Kone, and Steven Pienaar’s contribution to his display.

His partnership with Pienaar on Everton’s left flank is telepathic and several times he sliced Wigan open playing one-twos with the South African. He hit a post from one such foray and demonstrated his superb attitude in sprinting the length of the Wigan half in the dying seconds, chasing a lost cause.

Beneath his modest exterior, Baines could not be more confident as he teams up with England today and he says he feels at home in the Three Lions set-up.

“I’ve felt that way for a while,” he said. “I’ve been in and around squads for a while and started the last few games as well, which helps. I feel comfortable in the squad. Hopefully I can keep playing well for Everton and keep getting called up.”

Baines’ only regret is he is not reporting for international duty on the back of another Everton win.

However, Moyes’ side showed plenty of character to come back twice and 12 months ago might have lost this game.

After Kone headed Wigan in front from an offside position on 10 minutes, Everton hit back within 70 seconds through Nikica Jelavic. Kone turned provider midway through the half for Franco Di Santo to smash home his sixth league goal in his last 11 appearances.

Everton’s search for an equaliser paid off three minutes from time when Kevin Mirallas was brought down by Maynor Figueroa and Baines made it nine successful penalties out of nine in the Premier League.

Up to that moment, Kone looked like being Wigan’s match winner. Caldwell credits him with giving them a new dimension up front with his pace and power.

“In years gone by we’ve not had that physical presence,” said the Scotland centre-back. “He really gives us that.

“When you get the ball to him, he causes defenders a lot of ­problems.”

Just ask Heitinga.

Daily Mirror

David Moyes claims Roberto Martinez nobbled the officials with his moan about Wigan getting no decisions.

Moyes feels Martinez and his Latics side were paid back with interest on Saturday in the 2-2 draw for all the wrong calls they have suffered in recent weeks.

The Everton boss claimed referee Kevin Friend and his assistants John Flynn and Mark Scholes failed to see that Arouna Kone's goal was offside and denied them a couple more penalties.

He also felt they offered Marouane Fellaini, who was booked for catching Maynor Figueroa with his elbow, no protection as Wigan succeeded in rattling the Blues' Belgian star.

"I think Roberto has done a good job over the last few days of making sure that the referees gave them what was required," said an unimpressed Moyes.

"We found it really hard to play against Wigan and we also found it hard because of the way the decisions went.

"I think Fellaini needs more protection. He is just standing there and they are standing on his toes.

"Their first goal was half a yard offside. The linesman should see it and it's up to them."

Moyes claims referees' chief Mike Riley should study the performances of Friend, Flynn and Scholes and decide if they were good enough.

"Yes, we can approach Mike Riley, and I'm sure others do, but Mike Riley has to look at the people who are working for him and whether they are doing well enough," he said.

The Guardian

While one England left-back embarrasses himself when he tweets, another is only mortified when others speak. It is Leighton Baines' natural inclination to downplay his own contribution, so the paeans of praise, from his manager and opponents alike, must have been excruciating to the modest Merseysider.

"Without a doubt, he's the best left-back in the league," said the Wigan Athletic captain Gary Caldwell, ranking Baines above the man he understudies for his country, Ashley Cole. "When the left-back is their most attacking player, that shows you he must be doing something right."

While the controversial Cole's international future is the subject of speculation after the deleted message in which he called the FA "a bunch of twats", Baines represents the diplomatic, dignified antidote. Laughing, he confirmed he does not have a Twitter account: social networking is not his style. Given his instinctive understanding with Steven Pienaar, the pair scarcely need technology to communicate.

If, compared to the controversial Cole, Baines is less likely to draw attention to himself, a tour de force, capped by an expertly taken equaliser from the penalty spot, made him hard to ignore. He has become Everton's headline act and there are footballing reasons, to use the phrase Roy Hodgson deployed about Rio Ferdinand's exclusion from Euro 2012, for arguing he deserves a chance to displace Cole, as is likely for next Friday's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

"Leighton Baines was at the heart of everything we did," said Everton's manager, David Moyes. "I thought he was extraordinary." Baines gave the impression he would rather have been deemed ordinary. "I don't know about that," said the 27-year-old, when informed of his manager's eulogy. He deployed the self-same phrase when asked if he was a rare left-back to run the game, arguing instead that Wigan's wing-back formation gave him an opportunity to get forward. "It freed me up," he said. Liberated, he prospered.

Even if only temporarily, he also lightened Moyes' mood. The trenchant Scot branded Baines's booking "a joke" and was similarly upset that Marouane Fellaini was also cautioned. Standing 6ft 4in – whether or not that includes one of football's most famous hairstyles is not recorded – the concept of the Belgian being bullied seems strange, but Moyes believes even his most intimidating player is picked on. "Fellaini needs more protection," he said.

A sense of injustice was evident. Indeed, rather than the four-goal thriller he had just witnessed, Moyes's mind was occupied by the four points that he believes he has been unfairly denied. Their finest start to a season for eight years could have been so much better but for mistakes in twin 2-2 draws, home to Newcastle and at Wigan.

After Victor Anichebe was deprived of two goals, one a header that clearly crossed the line, against Newcastle, an offside header from Arouna Koné put Wigan into the lead on Saturday. Moyes' ire was directed at the men on the touchlines. "The linesman should see it," he added. "It is up to them." Ceri Richards, three weeks ago, and Mark Scholes, on Saturday, were the errant officials and Moyes, also aggrieved that Nikica Jelavic was not awarded a penalty when fouled by Maynor Figueroa, is considering copying other clubs and confronting the referees' chief.

"We can approach Mike Riley and I am sure others do," he said. "But Mike Riley has to look at the people who are working for him and whether they are doing well enough." Wigan's normally mild-mannered manager Roberto Martínez has been uncharacteristically critical of officials of late, a tactic that Moyes feels reaped dividends. "Roberto has done a good job of making sure that the referees gave them what was required," he added.

Martínez had reverted to his usual, smiling self after the game, admiring Everton's improvement in 2012. "They are a different side," the Spaniard said. "They could easily challenge for a top-four position." And as Moyes knows, with different decisions in two games, they would still be occupying second spot and the closest challengers to Chelsea.

Man of the match Leighton Baines (Everton)

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