The Toffee’s victory against Newcastle United saw a rare sight of which many of the Everton faithful welcomed with open arms: a Premier League start for Joel Robles.
The Spanish keeper had not seen himself start a league game since early January 2015 but a training injury to regular starter Tim Howard meant it was his time to shine. Joel has started only 9 games this campaign, the majority being domestic cup games, but out of those 9 appearances the blues have found themselves taking home full reward in 8 of them. I’m not going to pretend last nights win was particularly hard-earned as the visitors were only able to register 3 shots on target. However, an awkward shot from Newcastle striker Perez forced Robles into performing a splendid save to keep his team in front.
Even though it was a game of few chances for the Magpie’s, there seemed to be a well worked sense of communication between the Everton defense which I believe they have been lacking as of late. The 25 year old keeper was constantly dishing out directions to his players and it was refreshing to see that he wasn’t afraid to give his teammates stick if they made silly mistakes.
When Joel first joined from Athletico Madrid in 2013, there was definitely a nervousness around him whenever he was between the sticks but as his passion and work-rate began to show, Evertonians really started to back the young Spaniard and a new level of confidence was found in him. I’m not saying that last nights performance was solely down to the introduction of Robles but the replacement of both Howard and John Stones, who have arguably been weak links in recent weeks, gave the team a strong spine which is a fundamental component to any successful side.
Confidence oozed from the Toffees last
night and it was perfectly summed up in Ross Barkley’s cheeky Panenka penalty which ensured his team took all three points. There is almost no doubt Howard will be back in the team as soon as he is fit but as it is looking increasingly likely this is Tim’s last season with us, due to strong links moving him to the MLS in January, it may be time for Robles to start taking more responsibility in Premier League games as a period of transition.
From what I’ve seen recently, Everton perform better with these changes, so why fix something that isn’t broke? Only time will tell what Martinez chooses to do but hopefully the blue’s can continue to build upon last night and start climbing the table.
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