Feb 212015

Will Roberto Martinez mix things up?

Everton vs Crystal Palace at Goodison Park pictured Everton's Christian Atsu challenged by Damien Delaney. Photo by Colin Lane Everton vs Crystal Palace at Goodison Park pictured Everton’s Christian Atsu challenged by Damien Delaney. Photo by Colin Lane LONDON, ENGLAND – Wednesday, February 11, 2015: Everton’s Aaron Lennon in action against Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic during the Premiership match at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After such a convincing display in Switzerland, will Everton FC manager Roberto Martinez be tempted to keep things the same?

Muhamed Besic will presumably come in for the suspended Gareth Barry while left-back Bryan Oviedo went off injured to be replaced by Luke Garbutt but regular first choice Leighton Baines could be fit again.

Given his hat-trick heroics in Bern you’d expect Romelu Lukaku to be a shoo in up front but the Blues boss might want to shake things up among his attacking midfielders as there have been a few European hangovers in Sunday matches this season.

Kevin Mirallas might benefit from a breather after quiet night at the Stade de Suisse so Aaron Lennon who is ineligible for Europa League games could be set for his first start in an Everton shirt on the wing.

Maybe Christian Atsu buoyed by his exploits at the Africa Cup of Nations and a late substitute against Young Boys could come into the reckoning for what would be only his second Premier League start?

Can Everton find some home comfort?

Everton FC v QPR in the Barclays Premier League at Goodison Park. Ross Barkley celebrates his goal after makes it 1-0 for Everton.

The natives have been getting restless at Goodison Park of late and understandably so.

Everton haven’t won at home since they beat QPR 3-1 nine weeks and the Hoops lose to everyone away from Loftus Road.

The Blues last Premier League victory on their own turf before that came against West Ham on November 22 – a full three months ago.

Since then there has been the Boxing Day defeat to Stoke followed by draws with West Ham in the FA Cup, Manchester City, West Brom and Liverpool with the last two being dour goalless stalemates.

Goodison was a fortress for Martinez’s men last season and they need to make it so again – and fast – if they’re to climb their way back up into the top half of the Premier League table where a team of their talents should be.

Everton launched their ‘We do not choose, we are chosen’ campaign for 2015/16 season tickets (Click to find tickets) this week but they can’t take blind loyalty for granted from their supporters.

Will Romelu Lukaku keep the fans onside?

Romelu Lukaku throws his shirt to the Everton fans after the final game of the season at Hull Romelu Lukaku throws his shirt to the Everton fans after the final game of the season at Hull

The man for whom the Blues smashed their transfer record to bring to the club last summer makes his first appearance at Goodison Park since his “I just want to grow as a player and eventually arrive at a top club again” remarks that caused great insult to so many of the Evertonians who adore him,

Lukaku is a highly-intelligent and generally thoughtful young man so fans will hope he was just showing the naïvety of a 21-year-old with such comments.

Desperate to find a consistent centre-forward for so long, Blues fans have taken the Belgian to their hearts after he made his switch from Chelsea a ‘permanent’ one and he now owes them some loyalty back.

Having followed up his all-advised quote with his best performance of the season to plunder a hat-trick against Young Boys, Lukaku has quickly played his way back into his adoring public’s good books but they’ll now be expecting the £28million striker to produce plenty more displays like that, especially against the likes of Leicester.


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