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Southampton (A) Sat 20 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

What The Papers Say - 12 October

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

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

Daily Mail

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini does not believe his knee injury is serious and is targeting a swift return to action.
 
The Belgium international sustained the problem in last weekend's 2-2 draw at Wigan but it was not picked up until 48 hours later.

His injury was scanned while he was in Belgium and the results were sent back to the club's Finch Farm training ground for Everton's medical staff to assess.

Fellaini was withdrawn from World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Scotland and will return to Merseyside on Monday for treatment.

'I am currently suffering from a knee injury: fortunately it is not too serious but I will have to miss the two games with Belgium,' he told Everton's website.

'I am hoping to be back playing for Everton as soon as possible.

'I am extremely disappointed and I now have to rest in order to get back to full fitness so I can help the team with some important games coming up.'
 
Everton travel to bottom club QPR a week on Saturday before hosting Liverpool in the Merseyside derby the following weekend.

 The Independent

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini does not believe his knee injury is serious and is targeting a swift return to action.

The Belgium international sustained the problem in last weekend's 2-2 draw at Wigan but it was not picked up until 48 hours later.
 
His injury was scanned while he was in Belgium and the results were sent back to the club's Finch Farm training ground for Everton's medical staff to assess.
 
Fellaini was withdrawn from World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Scotland and will return to Merseyside on Monday for treatment.
 
"I am currently suffering from a knee injury: fortunately it is not too serious but I will have to miss the two games with Belgium," he told evertonfc.com.
 
"I am hoping to be back playing for Everton as soon as possible.

"I am extremely disappointed and I now have to rest in order to get back to full fitness so I can help the team with some important games coming up."
 
Everton travel to bottom club QPR a week on Saturday before hosting Liverpool in the Merseyside derby the following weekend.
 
The Echo

MAROUANE FELLAINI has played down the severity of the knee injury which has cast doubt over his availability for the Merseyside derby.
 
The midfielder is staying positive and targeting a swift return to action after sustaining the problem in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Wigan.
 
Initially the small tear in between the muscle and tendon of the 24-year-old’s knee was not discovered, but he reported discomfort 48 hours later when he had departed for international duty with Belgium.
 
It was quickly scanned in Brussels and the results were sent back to Finch Farm training for Everton’s medical staff to assess.
 
Fellaini was withdrawn from World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Scotland and will return to Merseyside on Monday for treatment.
 
He said: ‘I am currently suffering from a knee injury: fortunately it is not too serious but I will have to miss the two games with Belgium.
 
“I am hoping to be back playing for Everton as soon as possible.
 
“I am extremely disappointed and I now have to rest in order to get back to full fitness so I can help the team with some important games coming up.”
 
Everton travel to bottom club QPR a week on Saturday before hosting Liverpool in the Merseyside derby the following weekend.
 
Meanwhile, Everton have given a trial to experienced former Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger after he was released by Italian champions Juventus at the end of last season.
 
Currently a free agent, the shot-stopper has played for clubs in the Austrian, Spanish, Italian and English top divisions in his long career, also picking up 33 international caps for Austria.
 
The 35-year-old was picked up by Juventus in 2008, serving as cover for Gianluigi Buffon over the past four seasons, following spells with Espanyol, Torino, Bologna, Sienna, Salzburg and Udinese since leaving Arsenal.
 
David Moyes only has two goalkeepers in his first team squad at present, meaning the Austrian could be appointed second or third choice keeper in a similar short-term deal to the one signed by Marcus Hahnemann last season

The Echo

His manager described him as ‘extraordinary’. The EPL Index this week called him ‘phenomenal’. And Everton fans have labelled him their player of the season – year after year after year. DAVID PRENTICE looks at the stats behind the star
 
ONLY two Premier League players have created more than 18 chances in the opening six weeks of the 2012/13 season.
 
One is, perhaps predictably, a Spanish winger who plays for a free-flowing, attack-minded Arsenal team – the extravagantly gifted Santi Cazorla.
 
The other is an Everton full-back.

Leighton Baines enjoyed outstanding 2010/11 and 2011/12 campaigns, but his performances so far this term are putting even those stellar displays in the shade.
 
Whatever categories you look at, Baines is one of the Premier League’s most valuable players.
 
The Blues defender actually heads the league’s ‘chances created’ charts, his 28 opportunities four more than Cazorla. And according to WhoScored.com, Baines is actually second across all the major European leagues, behind Wesley Sneijder of Inter Milan.

But it is not just bombing on and raining crosses in which confirms Leighton Baines’ value to Everton and England.
 
His defensive stats are robust.
 
The England left-back has a perfect 12 out of 12 winning tackles ratio this term.
 
If Ashley Cole is considered to be the standard bearer for world class left-backs – and regardless of people’s perceptions of Cashley’s personality, few would query his footballing class – Baines doesn’t just compare favourably with the Chelsea defender, he blows him out of the water.
 
Each player has completed 630 minutes of top flight football this term – and defensively there isn’t much to separate them.
 
But going forward Baines’ performances are significantly better. Ashley Cole scored his first goal for two years against Stoke City last month, while other missed chances give him a conversion rate of just 17%.
 
Baines has scored two – one from open play – with a 50% chance conversion rate, and only the width of a goalpost at Wigan Athletic prevented him improving that statistic.
 
Baines attempts three times as many crosses and while he concedes as few fouls as Cole, he draws in fouls upon himself more than twice as often as Cole.
 
Baines has been less efficient winning duels, winning 25 out of 46 (54%) of his ground duels and three out of six aerial duels (50%).
 
But it is not his ability to win a duel that keeps his name in David Moyes’ squad sheet, it is his remarkable contribution with the ball at his feet.
 
The 27-year-old has completed 271/322 (84%) of all passes and 16/26 long balls. He has made an incredible 66 final-third entries and has sent over 59 crosses, connecting with 41% (24/59).
 
Baines is highly efficient with the ball in his own end, completing 92/102 passes in the defensive half, and he is also proficient in the final third – completing 110/142 final-third passes.
 
The England international is clearly a unique player.
 
He routinely finishes in the Top 10 among all Premier League players in chances created — having finished eighth with 77 in 2009-10, ninth with 74 in 2010-11 and 11th with 67 in 2011-12 — while few other defenders manage to finish within the top 40.

And Baines is not a recent phenomenon.
 
He has been outperforming the excellent Cole for more than two seasons now.
 
Both players record impressive statistics in every category.
 
But over the past two seasons, Baines has been better in almost every division.
 
And that’s not a sign of Cole’s star on the wane – after all, he is still an integral part of the European champions and the current Premier League leaders, and so far this season has seen only four players make more tackles than him. It’s more a pointer to just how good Everton’s left-back is.
 
Defensively, Baines won a greater percentage of aerial duels, more tackles and more interceptions.
 
Of course it could be argued that Baines gets more opportunity to show off his defensive prowess at Everton, but he does so spectacularly.
 
The most striking revelation is the ‘dribbled past’ category.
 
Cole was dribbled past 67 times over this two-year stretch, a slightly below average return given figures posted by Patrice Evra (52) and Gael Clichy (48) record.

But the fact that Baines halves Cole’s tally, with a stingy 34, highlights just how sturdy his technique is when matched up one-on-one against the best in the top flight.
 
He may be renowned for his attacking prowess, but Leighton Baines can defend, too.
 
Going forward, though, is undoubtedly his forte.
 
Cole passes more in a team which often dominates possession in matches, but Baines triumphs in every other category, by a considerable margin.
 
He dribbles more, he crosses more, creates more chances and scores more goals.
 
And never having fired a tweet or an air-pistol in anger, has never given his manager an ounce of trouble.
 
Leighton Baines clearly lives up to his description as an ‘extraordinary phenomenon’.
 
Interceptions (2012/13): 13 for Cole, 12 for Baines
 
Duels won: 61% Cole, 50.9% Baines
 
Aerial duels won: 44.4% Cole, 50% Baines
 
Tackles attempted: 24 (79% won) for Cole, 12 (100% won) for Baines
 
Clearances: 12 for Cole, 14 for Baines
 
Blocks: 2 for Cole, 1 for Baines
 
Passing accuracy (2012/13): Cole 92%, Baines 84%
 
Passes per 90 minutes: Cole 48, Baines 54.
 
Crossing overall: 14 crosses attempted by Cole (7% success rate), 46 attempted by Baines (26% success rate)
 
Chances created: 5 created by Cole with 1 assist, 28 for Baines with 2 assists
 
Discipline: 5 fouls won and 5 conceded for Cole, 12 fouls won and 5 conceded for Baines

The Echo

LEIGHTON BAINES admits competition for a place in the England team has been driving him on this season.
 
The 27-year-old was in Roy Hodgson’s starting line-up in their previous outing against Ukraine at Wembley last month.
 
But with Chelsea’s Ashley Cole, the established choice on the left of defence, back in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, Baines knows he has a fight to retain his place.
 
“I’ve been trying to keep my form up at club level between the two international breaks,” he said.
 
“The competition for places is just the way it is. It’s something you just have to accept.
 
“You respect the players in the squad and the other players who are in your position that much that you know you may not play.
 
“All you can always do is do the best you can for your club and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

The Echo

SEAMUS COLEMAN will help the Republic of Ireland enter a brave new world against Germany tonight.
 
The Everton man will make his first competitive start for Giovanni Trapattoni's side as they take on the Euro 2012 semi-finalists in Dublin.
 
Coleman, 24, has been selected at right-back after impressing there for Everton in the Premier League, and will form part of a new look team for the Irish who will start a competitive match without either Shay Given or Damien Duff, who have retired, or Richard Dunne and 54-goal striker Robbie Keane for the first time in 13 years.
 
The skipper joined an injury list which has claimed five members of what is widely considered to be Trapattoni’s strongest team.

But the Italian is ready to respond with a bold 4-3-3 formation which is set-up to make the most of Coleman’s attacking potential.
 
“We know that (Steven) Kelly is more defensive, and Coleman likes to attack,” said assistant boss Marco Tardelli.
 
“We know Coleman has done well in the Premier League. Now he is starting to play at the back. We know he is a good player.”
 
Ireland may be primed to play a more fluid brand of attacking football in their daunting Group C encounter but Trapattoni admitted he would be happy simply not to lose.
 
“I will be proud if we can win or draw because I have studied particularly what Germany have tried to do, and we must do what we can to contain them.
 
“They have the quality of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez, Mario Gotze, Lukas Podolski – unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of player.
 
“But we have our qualities and with our qualities, we can confront Germany.
 
“I am proud of this team. We have achieved very important results with our quality, with our attitude. That’s what we can be proud of.”
 
It felt like something of a watershed moment as Trapattoni announced his team, which did not include the names of any of the quartet of senior men who have been the backbone of Ireland’s team for over a decade.
 
There could be a significant shift too in terms of system, with the manager turning to a 4-3-3 formation.
 
But Trapattoni isn’t ready yet to completely abandon his tried and trusted formula. “We can change, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. I have to be sure that the system is available and that I can change immediately if I need to,” he added.
 
“I can’t wait until we concede a goal. After, it is very difficult. I have to put out a team that can change after 30 minutes if necessary.”
 
The sensible money is on Trapattoni starting with 4-3-3 after he and Tardelli have spent the last few days talking about the possibility of using a third central midfielder to man-mark Ozil.
 
But asked if he would try to do that, he said: “I think it’s impossible. I was a player and I marked famous players – Pele, Eusebio, Johan Cruyff – but there are players it is impossible to mark. Ozil is a player who is very difficult to mark.”

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