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(Mis)fitting debut as the Blues cruise!

By Santosh Benjamin :  07/02/2009 :  Comments (0) :
I watched in wonder today as an Everton team played some of the best passing football in a long time. Expecting fatigue to be a major factor in this game after a series of draining matches, I was pleased to see the lads start the game looking hungry.

The injuries to the Big Fella and little Peanuts meant that Gosling got a rare start and the City "Misfit" Jo started up top for us after his Deadline Day loan transfer. Bolton have always been a tough team to beat and with our usual brand of football, we have often found them hard to break down. Not so today as the first move of the day ended up with Baines on the left who put in a peach of a cross which Cahill met and missed from about two yards out WITH Jaaskelainen beaten.

Bolton's front two of Davies and Makukula were always going to a handful for our defence and they tried to make their presence felt with balls into them. These were dealt with easily by Lescott and Jags. In the Bolton half, the ball was played to Jo a few times and the way he held the ball up and headed it onwards for others made me optimistic about his role for us.

Ossie for once looked a bit better and Gosling seemed to be gaining more confidence although his first touch let him down a few times. Referee Walton refused to ruin the game with needless cards and so the game had a lovely flow to it. ( "like we were watching Brazil play" - Jimmy Crack)

A move on the right culminated in Gosling crossing it into the box where Jo met but failed to control the ball and sent his shot well over the bar. His constant acknowledgment of the quality of service to him was nice to see. Bolton had few clear-cut chances. Muamba shot from distance but didn't really trouble Howard in goal. Howard was kept busy by back passes from his own defenders in fact.

A header on by Cahill at the centre circle found Jo heading towards the Bolton goal with two defenders in hot pursuit. Sadly he ran out of steam and had his shot charged down. Lescott and Arteta had shots too in due course. Then as we seemed to be going to the break without scoring, Jo got the ball in the box and as he was challenged by Andy O'Brien, he went down (bit easily, but not unfairly!) and the ref had no doubt but to point to the spot.

Arteta stepped up and slotted past Jaaskeleinen. One up at half time when we should have been up by at least three. After the break, we came out looking just as good and the beautiful football continued. A ball was played into to Jo, just inside the Bolton box; he controlled it, turned and slotted it under a diving Jaaskelainen to make his scoring debut for us. The joy on his face was clearly evident and I realised how much it must have meant to him as the lads made him feel really welcome with their celebrations.

Another move resulted in a corner that Arteta tapped to Baines who whipped it in from the right over all the players in the six-yard box except Gosling who crept in at the far post, unmarked and somehow managed not to score with the goal at his mercy.

Bolton then had a good spell of possession as they looked to put some pressure on us. Some of the guys looked a little tired as the game went on. Moyes then made the change with Rodwell coming on for Cahill. He got a standing ovation and deserves it every time for what he brings to our club.

We continued to press but looked to be content with a rare two-goal cushion as the game drew to a close. Yobo came on for Baines (who had another great game!) and AvdM came on for Arteta (wronged by the Spanish coach, yet again!).

Just as I thought that the scoreline would be unchanged, Gosling attempted to play the ball into the box from the right and it hit Mark Davies's arm and the ref surprisingly pointed to the spot in the second minute of injury time. With Arteta gone, Jo stepped up and smashed it past Jaaskelainen, who guessed correctly for the second time in the game. 3-0 and i started to feel a little strange coz that's not a standard scoreline for us...

My heart rate stayed at a much lower level today (except for the times when Jo scored!). Great performance and the joy on the manager's face was very evident. Hope Fellaini is back for the Villa Cup game next weekend. I'm a bit wary of Villa as they seem to have made a pact with the devil this season (like Liverpool does every year!).

I still keep seeing that Gosling goal in my dreams and am loving it more and more. The Liverpool fans that emerged into the sun after the loss claimed they lost as they find it tough against teams that play "scrappily". If they wanted something else, maybe their lads can join the ballet, as they seem so good and dancing and falling!

Player performances:

Howard: Kept awake by his defenders mostly with their back passes.

Hibbert: Have I called him Immense before? He was that today... well done Hibbo.

Jags and Lescott: I have clubbed them together since that's how they should be for the rest of the season. Brilliant pairing.

Baines: Very nice to see him get a run of games and show us what he is capable off. Great crosses and improving defensively too.

Neville: Did the dirty work and didn't get booked. Good enough for me.

Osman: Better than against Liverpool but still not happy with him starting if we had better options.

Arteta: Was pulling the strings in midfield today. Looked like a puppeteer... It's criminal how they can deny him a place in the Spanish squad.

Gosling: Improving with each game although he'd be sad that he didn't score today. Needs a hairstyle like Fellaini/Pienaar/Ossie/Jo

Cahill: This man outjumps so may taller players, it's unreal. Hope to God he doesn't get injured playing for Oz. All the best to him and the Oz team for that from me.

Jo: Dream Debut? I think it was better than that. Great control, a cool head and with some more match fitness, will be a real handful for teams we are yet to play. My man of the match today. Well done. Prove the doubters wrong every time you play for us, Jo.

Subs: Rodwell: Not much time on the ball.

Yobo: Good header from a corner but has to resign himself to a place on the bench I'm afraid. Van der Meyde: A few cameos for us before the end of the season. Maybe the winning goal/assist against the Devillains in the cup...

All in all, I couldn't have asked for more from Moyes and the lads. Onwards and upwards, COYB

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