Jan 21, 2015

    'Selfish' Mirallas adds to Everton's woes


    EVERTON forward Kevin Mirallas was involved in a penalty row as the Belgian's missed spot-kick condemned his struggling side to a frustrating 0-0 English Premier League draw against West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

    Mirallas appeared to ignore his teammates when he picked up the ball to take the penalty instead of regular spot-kick expert Leighton Baines, just before half-time at Goodison Park.

    The winger's risky decision backfired as his penalty hit a post. He was then taken off by Everton manager Roberto Martinez moments later, at half-time.

    Mirallas' actions, which came just days after he was linked with a potential move to Tottenham Hotspur or German side Borussia Dortmund, will be interpreted as a selfish attempt to seize the spotlight.

    But more significantly, his miss means Martinez's troubled team are now without a win in their last eight matches in all competitions, and sit only four points above the Premier League relegation zone.

    "For me, Leighton is the No. 1 penalty taker, but at that moment, Mirallas felt really confident and wanted to take it," Martinez said. "I would have been happy for the two players to discuss it. There are a few penalty takers in the squad and the big disappointment is that we missed the penalty, not who took it.

    "He (Mirallas) was not feeling 100 per cent, he felt his hamstring straight after the penalty. That was the reason for the substitution."

    Both Everton and West Brom were sorely lacking a knockout punch in the dour encounter. Unsurprisingly, given their recent struggles, Martinez's men looked short of confidence and when Baines had their first shot, the left-back was unable to get enough power behind it to trouble West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster. A foul on Baines gave Mirallas the chance to try his luck with a free-kick in a dangerous position, but the Belgium international's effort was easily saved by Foster.

    Even when Everton were handed a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the 43rd minute, they still could not take advantage. West Brom's former Everton defender, Joleon Lescott, conceded a clear penalty when he handled after Romelu Lukaku tried to bring the ball down inside the area with his chest.

    Baines had scored 15 of his last 16 penalties, but it was Mirallas who snatched the ball and ignored his teammates' protests, before driving his spot-kick against a post.