Baines hails strength in depth

  • Last Updated: September 24 2012, 8:23 BST

Leighton Baines believes the current Everton side is the best he has played in.

Leighton Baines: One game at a time

The England left-back has played a part in the Goodison Park club's excellent start to the Barclays Premier League campaign, which continued with a superb performance in the 3-0 win at Swansea.

Goals from Victor Anichebe, Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini gave David Moyes' men the spoils and increased hopes among the Toffees' faithful that they may be capable of challenging for Champions League qualification.

Team Score Team
Swansea 0 - 3 Everton
Everton 2 - 2 Newcastle
West Brom 2 - 0 Everton
Everton 5 - 0 Leyton Or
A Villa 1 - 3 Everton
Everton 1 - 0 Man Utd

Baines is in his sixth season with Everton, having joined from Wigan in 2007, and has seen the club go through some difficult times on and off the field.

But Moyes now has a squad with a depth perhaps lacking in recent seasons; their victory in south Wales came without the injured Nikica Jelavic, Darron Gibson and Tony Hibbert, while Steven Naismith and Sylvain Distin had to settle for places on the bench.

Baines said: "I think this is as good an Everton side as I have played in. The last time we were at this level was when we went on to reach the FA Cup final (in 2009).

"We had a really strong squad then. Then it got broken up after that and I think it is only now that we are back to that level.

Position Player Score
1 Chelsea 13
2 Man Utd 12
3 Everton 10
4 West Brom 10
5 Arsenal 9
6 Fulham 9

"We are a good team with good players sitting on the bench. That is going to be key as the season goes on.

"We have seen it when things have got a bit thin in terms of numbers and we have been forced to play young lads. Now we can call on experienced and seasoned professionals who would be playing in most teams. Victor's performance highlights that."

But the full-back insists the players and management at the Merseyside club are keeping their feet firmly on the ground, although he acknowledges bucking their reputation as slow starters has given Everton a chance of challenging near the top of the table come May.

"We have to take each game as it comes, so to speak, and see where we end up," he said.

"Our aim and target was to get a decent start and I think we have just about done that now. It is about taking that up to Christmas and staying at the top end of the table because over the years we have always done well after Christmas.

"It's not a given but we have given ourselves a decent chance."

The dominant manner of Everton's win took the wind out of Swansea's sails after an encouraging start to life under Michael Laudrup.

They racked up eight goals in their wins against QPR and West Ham, but they have conceded five and scored none in losses to Aston Villa and the Toffees.

Laudrup said: "You always have to be concerned when you concede goals or you don't score. It's a combination.

"The most important thing we can learn from this game, and what we have to talk about, is why we had to wait 30 minutes to come into the game, which we knew would be very difficult.

"That should be the main concern for us all from this game."

  • Manchester United's two goalscorers celebrate during a 2-1 victory over Liverpool
  • A Manchester United shirt bearing words supporting the Hillsborough families' fight for justice
  • Liverpool fans pay their own tribute inside Anfield
  • A banner displaying the names of the 96 fans who died at Hillsborough
  • Sir Bobby Charlton presents a boquet of flowers to Ian Rush
  • Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra shake hands before the game
  • Nani tries to get away from Martin Kelly
  • Brendan Rodgers looks on from the bench
  • Jonny Evans comes off second best in a committed challenge with Jonjo Shelvey
  • Shelvey gets his marching orders
  • Steven Gerrard breaks the deadlock for the home side
  • Gerrard points skywards as he celebrates his goal
  • At the other end, Pepe Reina celebrates Gerrard's goal
  • Rafael curls home a fine goal to level things up
  • Before Robin van Persie nets from the penalty spot to give United all three points
  • Van Persie celebrates success from the spot at Anfield
  • Dejection for Rodgers as Liverpool let it slip
  • Chris Hughton is back on familiar territory as Norwich visit Newcastle
  • Demba Ba marks his return to the side by breaking the deadlock
  • Ba celebrates his goal
  • Papiss Cisse squanders a penalty - but one goal was enough for Newcastle
  • A minute's applause following the death of two policewomen before Manchester City's clash with Arsenal at the Etihad
  • Laurent Koscielny and Edin Dzeko in aerial battle
  • Joleon Lescott heads Manchester City in the lead
  • Lescott is mobbed after hitting the net
  • Koscielny drills home a late leveller for Arsenal
  • Koscielny slides in delight after his equaliser
  • Bobby Zamora is mobbed after giving QPR the lead at former side Tottenham
  • But an own goal and a quickfire Jermain Defoe strike won Spurs the points
The best pictures from Sunday's action in the Barclays Premier League, including Liverpool v Manchester United.