COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
Team was texted through and no Drenthe in sight but replaced by Rodwell and the subs bench showed Victor was back.
That first half was one of those that has fans saying things like ?This has got 0-0 written all over it?. It seemed like a contest between two teams determined not to lose at any cost which rendered any entertainment value at a premium. There was sporadic forays forward by both teams and the Blues seemed more enterprising than the hosts.
However on 15mins the first real chance of the match came for the hosts en Brunt put in a cross that Long headed over but Howard seemed to have it covered anyway. Heitinga again in mid-field produced a fine tackle to halt a good and dangerous run into the box. The first real threat from the Blues came when Osman took a corner that Saha and the keeper challenged for and the keeper could only flap it down and the lurking Rodwell shot with power but his effort was blocked by someone in a packed area.
The Blues looked to be getting on top now but without that cutting edge that can unlock packed defences. Baines was raiding with pace and purpose and was unlucky when after taking a corner that was not cleared properly he regained the ball and raced into the box and had a fierce shot blocked. Then from a Baines free kick the ball screwed across the area to the unmarked Saha but his attempt was woeful and the ball screwed well wide when the Saha of yesteryear would have registered. The half then sort of meandered to the whistle with only a Jags shot being screwed wide from another Baines cross and Rodwell heading a good chance wide from a Baines corner. The half had also been notable for how quiet it was in there you could hear orders from the bench from time to time.
The second half started with more tempo especially from the home side and just minutes in Odemwingie seemed to bisect Jags and Distin and get onto a long through ball and with just Howard to beat he whacked it well over Then the same player and then Brunt both fired wide as we were pushed back. The manager noted this and responded on the hour mark and within the space of about just 5mins THREE subs had been made. Gueye, Stracqualursi and Anichebe replaced Rodwell Neville and Saha. Tactical subs but I think in Rodwell?s case it was to not aggravate his hamstring after a lay off.
For the first time the faithful woke up and started to roar and sing and shout. Gueye responded with some direct runs and one crisp shot that the keeper saved low down at his post. Big Vic and Denis closed down quickly and ran the channels causing unrest in a defence when none had been there before. They were causing the fans to roar them on which must have been music to Vic?s ears as he is usually getting ?down the banks?.
The clock was ticking down and we were attacking more and more but just could not find a way through. Then just before the board went up Osman with some delightful control and quick feet left three defenders out of the game and fed a delicious curved pass to Hibbert who had strode forward and offered for the pass. His cross was deep to the far post but it was a WBA head that got to it first but could only direct the ball back into the six yard box and into a plethora of players, first to react was Big Vic who appeared from nowhere, swivelled 180 degrees and planted the ball into the net. Oh the joy, thousands jumped up as one and fans and players were ecstatic. All the chants and songs came now, ?Kopites are Gobshites? was heard as was ?Davys? song.
We saw out the remaining time plus three added mins and celebrated all over again at the whistle. Players turned up and threw their ?Old Gold? shirts into the first rows causing mini tug o war battles to ensue. What had started out as anything but a decent day out was ended by scenes reminiscent of winning something. I guess it is just great when you win and the raking over the coals can wait for another time.
MotM ? Baines who I thought shaded it from Distin who also had a very good game . Baines for me was the creator and the player who injected pace in the final third and all from left back. Also a mention for the manager today who I thought got most things right especially the subs and their timing.
Overall nothing to write home about but the introduction of the three subs showed how a crowd can be brought to life and become something of a ?twelfth? man.
Without being anything special they all tried and fought and ran and didn?t give up which immediately transmitted to the faithful who woke as though being prodded with a red hot poker from a hangover stupor. The answer to rousing Goodison from library status is in there. Today I was sad to see the performance of Saha. I remember him in his pomp and his current display?s are far from that which I find quite sad and it?s hard to see him regaining that form of yesterday.
Games come thick and fast so it?s back to Goodison Wednesday and play Bolton. Landon will be available and if he plays from the start lets hope he his the Landon we remember from last time. A game coming this quick leaves fans hoping for good news on the injury front and the strongest team possible available.
From today it looked like it was only Rodwell who may be a doubt but Cahill took some knocks and one mistimed header seemed to leave him dazed but we will find out soon enough.
See you Wednesday and may 2012 be kind to you and yours.
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 01/01/2012 at 22:06:59
Happy New year.
For a self exiled blue who gets home as often as Saha scores, your reports are a god send.
Keep up the good work.
2 Posted 02/01/2012 at 00:20:25
I think Hibbert is a close second to Baines for MotM
3 Posted 02/01/2012 at 00:47:15
Re your Saha comment - yep, I think Father Time has left his calling card and his legs have gone and taken his confidence along for the ride. He seems to be labouring to do the simplest of things and that half volley he tried that he cocked up spectacularly was indicative of a player well out of form.
I thought Moyes read the game to perfection today and I had to pinch myself when he put on a double forward substitution.
Stracular prince of darkness didn't look too bad today either.
4 Posted 02/01/2012 at 00:29:22
The substitutions, apart from being very necessary, were very interesting. Moyes very rarely - almost never - does something like that, especially so "early" in the game (by his standards). Vic and Denis gave us so much more power up front, and Cahill went back to do what he does best, play in midfield and harry the opposition. Neville has his qualities, but we don't need him there and Heitinga looked more comfortable in front of the back 4 today.
Speaking of which, have I started to pick up the media referring to the 'Everton back 4'? And that includes Hibbo of course. Ossie's pass to him was a game changer - top class, followed by a very good cross.
So let's hope the Saha/Cahill attack strategy will fade away. The New Year may see Drenthe and Donovan piercing defences to feed a combination of Denis, Vic or Apostolos.
Or Moyes may go back to business as usual. And I'm afraid that's the percentage bet. Hope I'm wrong.
5 Posted 02/01/2012 at 03:24:25
is this a joke? The cross from Hibbert, under no pressure went to TWO defenders. It's only because Scharner fucked up that we got a chance of a goal. Hibbert gave the ball away with seconds to go and we got away with it because WBA are actually worse than us in an attacking sense. Please watch the dope and his - non existent - positional play. A typical Moyes player, no sense but does what he's told, even if it's detrimental to the cause
6 Posted 02/01/2012 at 03:40:53
7 Posted 02/01/2012 at 03:50:02
8 Posted 02/01/2012 at 05:26:45
9 Posted 02/01/2012 at 07:28:30
10 Posted 02/01/2012 at 08:30:46
And Hibbert was solid defensively throughout the game.
On another note, the Argentine dude reminds me of Lucifer...
11 Posted 02/01/2012 at 08:41:29
Rahman @10 - Vic was at the near post - the cross was there for Geuye to run in on, which he didn't.
12 Posted 02/01/2012 at 08:49:41
13 Posted 02/01/2012 at 08:54:15
His crossing may not be perfect, but it is a hell of a lot better than it was and he is starting to give us a definite attacking option down the right that has been lacking in recent years. Paired with Donovan or Drenthe he will continue to grow.
Maybe people should actually watch Hibbo instead of just writing the same stuff as last season.
14 Posted 02/01/2012 at 10:18:37
15 Posted 02/01/2012 at 11:26:58
Any one know how Cahill got 90 mins? He was as bad as Saha...
16 Posted 02/01/2012 at 11:28:09
Seasons felicitations to Lyndon, Paul, Michael, Ken and all contributors that make this a 'must go to' site.
17 Posted 02/01/2012 at 12:41:44
18 Posted 02/01/2012 at 13:01:39
19 Posted 02/01/2012 at 13:12:15
20 Posted 02/01/2012 at 13:18:40
He does a job, ultimately not always very well. For every great last ditch tackle, there is a freekick given away in a dangerous area, a misplaced pass and a penalty given away. I'd much rather see Coleman in there so he can actually continue to grow.
21 Posted 02/01/2012 at 13:18:22
Happy New Year.
Didn't catch the game yesterday but the result was fantastic. Anichebe...who'd have thought it?!?!!!
Onwards and upwards!
22 Posted 02/01/2012 at 13:27:41
23 Posted 02/01/2012 at 13:39:35
Everton supporters pay good money to go & watch a game, at least when the 3 subs came on they got entertainment.
24 Posted 02/01/2012 at 13:46:49
Yesterday's weren't to a man but it was in a dangerous area, which is why West Brom's defence was all over the place trying to clear it.
Hibbert was shite at one point and he's still not a great footballer but he does a good job for us.
25 Posted 02/01/2012 at 14:02:48
Coleman isn't the right answer to our prayers, neither is Drenthe or Gueye as they will inevitably turn inside.
We badly need a combo of an overlapping fullback and an outside right who can go either way, preferably at speed, so that we don't have to rely so havily on Baines. This won't solve all our problems, but it will go a long way to improving us as a team, all in my opinion of course.
26 Posted 02/01/2012 at 14:07:44
27 Posted 02/01/2012 at 14:38:27
28 Posted 02/01/2012 at 14:39:25
The intended target being Gueye statuted himself, by the way, for no apparent reason.
I think it's just too much to ask anyone to cross the ball DIRECTLY to the intended target.
Hence the term "CROSS" is used and not "DIRECT PASS".
29 Posted 02/01/2012 at 14:42:56
I got one question for you guys:
"which Hibbert have you guys been watching all these years"?
I think the Hibbert we're talking about has grown into becoming not just a Right Back but a bona fide Wing Back.
He's now a threat the opponent's Left Side and if our midfield would pull what Osman did yesterday, we'd be seeing more of his Wing Back qualities.
Trouble with our guys on the right is that, they always movetto the middle even though there's a tank parked there.
And, after passing sideways to the middle, it always end up in the left side of the field for Baines to clean up the mess. Explains why Baines was emotional yesterday.
What's the point of passing the ball from the right, to the middle, and down to the left when Hibbert can overlap and put in decent crosses from the right?
30 Posted 02/01/2012 at 14:48:17
It's because our guys ALWAYS ignore the overlapping Hibbert.
And the only time Osman decides to use Hibbert's overlapping, we got ourselves a real good goal.
Time and time again I see Hibbert overlapping and time and time again I see him ignored by our guys.
Someone turned on a switch in Osman's head yesterday and hurray we got our goal.
31 Posted 02/01/2012 at 14:53:01
I mean whatever happens to going after the end of the cross and outjumping your opponents for it?
Is this some kind of a new routine I've never heard of?
32 Posted 02/01/2012 at 14:53:29
The reason Hibbert never gets the ball is because he loses it almost every time, unless there is none there too press him.
He is the best right back we have if you leave out Heitinga there are no options but him.
33 Posted 02/01/2012 at 16:35:35
"Stracular - prince of darkness"
Thank you Kevin Sparke.
And he looked much more like a Prem player yesterday. Vic already is a good one and Vellios has all the makings. So the missing millions chasing a goalscorer might not be needed anyway.
The money - and maybe £20 mill for Jack? - would be better spent on a playmaker. By the time we have passed sideways, back to Jags, back to Howard, back up to Jack, to pass sideways, guess what has happened? Oddly enough, the opposition have two rows of four to get through.
The crosses that Baines and, these days, Hibbo provide are always into a very crowded box, nearly always headed away. We need to get forward much more quickly, not from long balls, but from good long passes.
34 Posted 02/01/2012 at 17:35:57
Our problem this year hasn't been poor play by the strikers -- I don't recall a lot of sitters being missed. It's been a total lack of service from the midfield. We haven't had any creative players there in a long time (and please, nobody moan about losing Arteta -- I hadn't seen a penetrating dribble or a killer pass from him in two years before he left).
I think we won't have a real view of the potential of Vellios or Strac, or just how much Saha and Cahill have left in the tank, until we have somebody who can serve them.
35 Posted 02/01/2012 at 17:32:57
I'm sorry mate but when has Hibbert been classed as a wing back? he no longer (ever had?) a great deal of pace, no creativity, passing is average at best and crossing is also average.
I like Hibbert, by the way, he has tenacity, a good tackle and reminds me of an old school right back, but in this team he is static and simply conforms to the kind of negative displays we are now seeing.
I agree that he is a victim of the complete lack of creativity we currently have, but he's been the same player through out, when we had Arteta, he was the same.
He is a squad player and we need better, we can't afford better and i don't think we should be concentrating on right backs as our main transfer targets. No amount of creative football will improve Tony, he can longer grow.
36 Posted 02/01/2012 at 19:00:31
The Saha/Cahill strategy has never produced this.
37 Posted 02/01/2012 at 19:28:59
Steve Harris #19 I have been watching Hibbo for his whole career and this season he is a different player than any other time. His attacking play has improved beyond all recognition. Against WBA Baines mishit a higher proportion of crosses than Hibbo
38 Posted 03/01/2012 at 16:43:22
39 Posted 03/01/2012 at 16:53:43
40 Posted 03/01/2012 at 16:57:54
"lost us games by getting sent of ie the derby", That is one game and we should have had a penalty too if Twattenberg had done his job properly"
"against Newcastle I think it was when he was on a yellow. A skunk had been sent off and the ref was just itching to even it up - minutes later, enter Hibbo and his wild lunge" - What's that got to do with the price of chips? Did he get sent off and I missed it?
41 Posted 03/01/2012 at 17:15:37
42 Posted 03/01/2012 at 17:18:26
A bit harsh Mick, stinker in the cup final apart, I think he is playing fine this season. He cost nothing, probably gets paid less than most and gets on with it.
43 Posted 03/01/2012 at 17:17:35
44 Posted 03/01/2012 at 17:12:57
If he's nopt ready yuet then he shoul;d be out on loan to get experience.
45 Posted 03/01/2012 at 17:47:05
46 Posted 03/01/2012 at 17:57:24
I know this site is all about opinions but you haven't got a clue what you're talking about. He definitely has his faults but you just don't like the lad.
47 Posted 04/01/2012 at 05:22:35
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