Oct 202014

Gareth Barry has saluted Everton FC’s very own “assist machine.”

Leighton Baines was credited with two more goal-making crosses in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat of Aston Villa, taking his tally for the season to seven in just 10 appearances.

Five have come in the Premier League, a figure that only Cesc Fabregas, Dusan Tadic – who augmented his tally with four in Saturday’s 8-0 rout of Sunderland – and Gylfi Sigurdsson can top.

Afterwards Barry, whose covering work allows Baines and Seamus Coleman to get forward so damagingly, said: “I’ve just mentioned to him, he’s an assist machine, isn’t he?

Seamus Coleman celebrates his goal against Villa with Leighton Baines Seamus Coleman celebrates his goal against Villa with Leighton Baines  

“He just gets in the right position, pops in the cross and when Seamus is getting on the other end it just shows you the way we want to play. Attacking full-backs, one full-back assisting the other is fantastic.”

While Baines crossed from the right for Phil Jagielka and from the left for Coleman, the other goal was created by Ross Barkley in his first appearance of the season.

“Having Ross Barkley back was a massive lift,” added Barry. “You heard the crowd when they mentioned his name. There’s not many players around like Ross who can get in space and turn and drive at teams. If you’re defending against Ross Barkley you know you’re in for a tough afternoon.”

And Barry hopes that with Barkley back in the side and Baines in such sparkling form the Blues can continue to build on Saturday’s important victory.

“We know it’s been an indifferent start but at the same time we’ve played well and we haven’t panicked,” he said.

“We know if we get a positive result like today we have the squad to kick on.

“Hopefully this is the start of a good run.”

ASSISTER ACT – Leighton Baines’ assists so far:

ONE v Chelsea: Baines’ free-kick from the left channel picked out Samuel Eto’o who headed a debut goal.

TWO v West Brom: A slide rule pass from the left flank for Kevin Mirallas to fire under Ben Foster. Earlier in the same match Baines’ cross was half-cleared by Olsson for Lukaku to score. What his manager might call a pre-assist.

THREE v Wolfsburg: Not for the first time this season Baines crossed from the left, for his full-back partner to convert dashing in from the right, Seamus Coleman heading the ball home. Baines should have had the assist for the opener, too, but after he crossed for Steven Naismith to bundle home those kill joys at UEFA ruled an own goal.

FOUR v Krasnodar: A wonderfully delivered cross, this time from the right, picked out Samuel Eto’s clever run to earn Everton a draw in Russia.

FIVE v Manchester United: Arguably Baines’ best assist yet. A stunning cross from deep on the left carved open United’s defence and the flying Scotsman, Steve Naismith, did the rest.

SIX v Aston Villa: All left foot? Baines checked back onto his lesser-used right peg to clip in another damaging cross which Phil Jagielka bulleted over the line.

SEVEN v Aston Villa: Back on more familiar territory, Baines reacted quickest to Leon Osman’s quickly taken free-kick to ping over a cross for Seamus Coleman to convert, for the second time this season.

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