VIEW FROM THE BLUE:: 22/04/2012
Manchester United 4 - 4 Everton
It came eight days late but Everton found resilience, belief and goals to rescue a match that twice looked beyond them and stun Manchester United with a late salvo in a thrilling draw at Old Trafford that opened the door for Manchester City in the chase for the Premier League title.
Having recovered from Nikica Jelavic's opener, Sir Alex Ferguson's side looked to have seen off the Blues' challenge as they led 3-1 and then 4-2 in the second half, but a rare display of indefatigability by David Moyes's men on this ground saw them claw back the deficit in superb fashion.
Following the semi-final defeat by Liverpool at Wembley eight days ago, all Evertonians wanted was to see their team go to the home of the Champions and have a go and they weren't disappointed. Indeed, having seen their side make a strong start and take a 33rd-minute lead, few of the traveling faithful would have been too disappointed with the players had Everton lost as United responded to going behind in typically strong manner.
Instead, though, the Blue contingent was treated to a stirring late flourish by their heroes, one that yielded two goals in three minutes and secured a well-deserved point in dramatic style.
Despite being hampered by the absence of Leighton Baines through injury, the Blues showed their intent from the first whistle, controlling the game for the first 10 minutes and creating a couple of openimgs to unsettle the home defence.
Leon Osman dropped a header the wrong side of the post in the second minute, Jelavic had his first sight of goal after five when he was released into space by Osman but his shot from 18 yards was comfortabley saved by David de Gea, and Osman dragged an effort across goal when Jelavic was better placed.
Predictably, United didn't stay subdued for long and they gradually began to assert themselves with Nani offering some warnings of the trouble he would later cause by twice cutting inside and trying shots from the left side of the area, one that flew wide and one that Tim Howard gathered before Paul Scholes screwed a typical long-range effort a yard wide.
The sides were fairly evenly matched for much of the first half, though, with both defences having to get bodies in the way to block goalbound efforts; Phil Jagielka's lunge saving Marouane Fellainis blushes after the Belgian had been robbed of the ball in midfield and Jonny Evans charging down Osman's shot after Darron Gibson has narrowly missed with a fine left-footer from 25 yards.
With 12 minutes left of the first half, though, Everton shocked the home fans by taking the lead. A nice passing move down the right flank ended with the ball at Tony Hibbert's feet and when Jelavic leapt to meet the full back's deep cross, his header looped back across goal, over De Gea and crept inside the far post. 1-0 and another goal for the free-scoring Croatian who took his tally for Everton to six.
United almost equalised immediately, though, after John Heitinga had been forced into conceding a corner. Howard's punch fell to Scholes on the edge of the area and two or three deflections on his low shot threatened to wrongfoot the 'keeper but he was able to smother it after sufficient pace had been taken off the ball.
The hosts got the breakthrough their increasing dominance promised, though, with four minutes to go before half time. Nani was again allowed too much space on the left and, after cutting inside Hibbert and moving into the space vacated by Steven Pienaar, the winger whipped a cross into the six-yard box where Wayne Rooney connected to head past Howard ahead of Phil Neville.
United finished the half the stronger side but Osman wasted an excellent opening with a powder-puff shot when he again had options to his left, while Sylvain Distin picked up a harsh booking in stoppage time for a foul on Antonio Valencia.
By the time the 20th minute of the second half rolled around, a very deep sense of deja vu hung over proceedings. United had turned the game on its head in the 57th minute when, after the Everton defence failed to get the ball clear, Danny Welbeck wrong-footed Heitinga before sweeping a superb shot into the top corner beyond Howard's despairing dive.
Four minutes later, the Blues were sliced open again by a quick triangle passing interchange between Michael Carrick, Welbeck and Nani that played the Portuguese in one-on-one with Howard and his deft flick over the stranded' keeper made it 3-1.
And when Moyes responded by throwing on James McFadden for the increasingly ineffective Osman ? he never looked the same after a clash of heads earlier in the game ? you sensed the game was up and Moyes knew it.
But Everton were back in the contest within four minutes of the Scot's introduction and Hibbert was again the provider. The defender looked up and delivered a pin-point cross to Fellaini in the box and he steered a well-taken volley past De Gea to make it 3-2.
A nice passing move barely a minute later gave Pienaar the chance to level things but his right-foot shot was saved and, having dared to kick the hornet's nest once more, the Blues were stung again a minute after that. Again, the defence was carved wide open as Welbeck sold a dummy to Heitinga and rolled the Dutchman to collect a pass from Rooney and, with Jagielka drawn across to cover, the striker squared it to Rooney to side-foot home to make it 4-2.
That looked to be that. Jelavic sliced disappointingly into the side-netting and McFadden had a shot charged down but there few hints from Everton of what was to come in the final 10 minutes. Indeed, it was United who nearly put the game to bed with nine minutes left when Patrice Evra rattled the woodwork with a back-post header.
With nothing to lose, though, Everton kept probing forward and Neville dropped a teasing ball into the opposition area that Rio Ferdinand and Evans between them could only clear back across their own box and Jelavic pounced with a low shot on the half-volley into the corner. 4-3 with seven minutes to go and the seemingly impossible was on.
Moyes switched Distin for Tim Cahill and the Australian was involved in the build up that led to the dramatic equaliser two minutes later. Pienaar back-heeled to the substitute wide on the left and, after collecting Cahill's pass, Neville feigned a cross and fed Fellaini inside the box instead. The Belgian turned back to wrongfoot Evans and squared it to Pienaar who converted first time from close range. 4-4 and United were dumbfounded.
Jelavic sliced one last chance high and wide from distance, Evans nodded over following a corner and Howard acrobatically tipped Ferdinand's rocket over the bar deep into stoppage time to preserve the hard-won point.
This was exactly what every Evertonian has been begging for from their manager and team in this fixture for years. With United pressing on towards a 20th Premier League crown, no one really expected the Blues to win this game but the never-say-die attitude shown by Moyes's boys on a ground that has held so much misery for them over the duration of his tenure was a pleasure to see.
Special credit goes to Fellaini who was tremendous in the "Cahill" role behind Jelavic and though Pienaar blew a little hot and cold, he never stopped working and deserved to score the final equaliser that sets the cat among the pigeons at the summit of the Premier League.
Gibson too had one of his best displays in the centre alongside a feisty Neville as both returned to their former stomping ground. And, of course, Jelavic was again the man on the spot up front, grabbing two predator's goals to further his reputation as one of Moyes's best ever signings.
The result keeps the Blues' momentum going as they seek to cement seventh place which they retained thanks to Liverpool's home defeat to West Bromwich Albion. Both results and Everton's performance in a game that could well have over-awed them will probably cause a few more rueful glances back to last Saturday but a little pride was restored today, no question about it.
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543 Posted 22/04/2012 at 18:55:29
I thought Neville was very poor... personally at fault for 2 goals.
545 Posted 22/04/2012 at 18:59:40
547 Posted 22/04/2012 at 19:00:15
The rest of the team were a lot better though and it showed that we can more than cope without Cahill on the pitch. I'm happy today but it should highlight to DM that there's changes he needs to make to re-coup money for the club and get and keep players.
549 Posted 22/04/2012 at 19:02:50
Also Hibbert - two pearler crosses... two great goals (if anyone ever tells me that Hibbert can't cross again I'll laugh in their face)
Unsung hero to me was Gibson - looked the part.
550 Posted 22/04/2012 at 19:05:17
As for "kicked the hornet's nest"... well, we may well be capable of throwing a few stones at the nest, and then running away for cover when they come flying out after you (Wembley).
But if we really do want to kick it in and have a go.. its surely clear now.. that this team is better on the offensive rather than pinching it.. the talent is there and we have a hell of a finisher.
4 goals away at Old Trafford... Blackpool will be demanding Moyes next! (wink..)
551 Posted 22/04/2012 at 19:15:41
561 Posted 22/04/2012 at 19:34:13
563 Posted 22/04/2012 at 19:38:51
I thought Neville had a really good game in the middle and was instrumental in keeping their centre midfiled quiet.
579 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:03:20
When most of the fans on the live forum had given up and written the team off, good old Neville was trying to inspire them and he got his richly deserved rewards.
581 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:07:22
582 Posted 22/04/2012 at 19:55:42
I was concerned beforehand that Neville as a replacement would have been a tough matchup given Valencias pace. I think the manager wanted Nevilles leadership out there and with Fellaini , one of the first names on the team sheet, the rest of the starting 11 almost picked itself. Compared to Skrytel and Carragher , Evans and Ferdinand were easy pickings for Felli in the air. That was a big difference from the semi. We were able to impose ourselves physically up top .
Johnny H has definitely had better games.
586 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:11:07
Roy Hodgson for England :)
589 Posted 22/04/2012 at 19:57:18
Phil Neville proved (if ever it was in doubt) that he is 100% an Evertonian when he is wearing our jersey. I know he is a United fan off the pitch,but the way he was scowling when we were getting beat,the way he went flying into Ferdinand and someone else (I can't remember who!),and the way he was galvanising the team was great to see. He might have been at fault for one of the goals,but he made up for it with what I said earlier. What a captain.
Compare him to Evra. Instead of getting his team to slow the game down when they were winning 4-2,he was trying diving headers in our 6 yard box.
It was great to see an Everton team really have a good go at a top team away from home!
592 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:09:02
I thought Neville played well,all things considered.
I posted yesterday that I wasn't too bothered about the result but I wanted to see some passion and belief. We definitely got that.
This was all we've wanted when we go to Old Trafford. Some fight and intent.
It made a nice change to see us attacking from all areas of the pitch rather than just down the left flank. Maybe we have been too reliant on Baines and teams expect our right flank to be toothless? Well, Tony Hibbert certainly changed that today. Two excellent crosses.
Some of the goals today were truely superb. That header from Jelavic was quite brilliant. I put a quid on him to score a brace at 25/1. I wish I'd put more on now.
This doesn't excuse last week, in fact it makes even harder to understand but lets be positive. We are still above the RS and we scored four at Old Trafford. We should have put six past the Victims at Wembley and we would if we'd played like we did today. Sorry, I couldn't help that last bit.
And only God knows what the neighbours must have thought when we scored that fourth. Well done Blues.
605 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:32:02
608 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:36:28
v Man U - Pienaar
I believe he makes all the difference in our holding and passing game and provides the consistent target for our play. please, if no-one else is affordable get him back in a blue shirt
614 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:36:49
Great heart today. I just hope, hope and hope again that we don't have to sell to buy in the summer. The loss of key players will hurt us big time..... we have no strength in depth.
Peanuts reckons god is great... but Fellaini is way better!
617 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:38:09
Neville was outstanding today; some of his tackling was immense and he led like the true skipper he is. He gets kicked from pillar to post but does he complain or moan? Does he hell... just brushes down and gets on with it.
I know his limitations, like most blues, but I thought he was great today, driving us on when trailing by two goals twice. So come on, boys, credit where credit is due, hey? Special mention to Hibbo as well: two great crosses for the goals.
620 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:46:15
622 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:47:53
Also says he's looking at Management when he's happy with his coaching skills, now there's a though !!
624 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:52:34
Absolutely great performance today against a terrible ref.
626 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:56:40
627 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:56:43
Come on TW... One of you interweb guru's must find a link ????
637 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:56:43
Everton are definitely the most difficult team to play against as they are Jekyll and Hyde... today, they were unrecognisable from the team that never showed up in the game versus Liverpool. Man Utd must have been a banker in most bets and we definitely answered Lescott's plea to do Man City a favour.
After Fergies churlish comments following the game, I hope City beat them for the title. Fergie reckoned that all their goals were great and ours were soft ones due to defensive errors... what a load of very sour grapes!!!
Just follow the Jelavic Road... although we need a big change-out for next season as a few of our ageing players are reaching the end of the road.
648 Posted 22/04/2012 at 20:57:58
At 4-2, yes thats we have scored 2 there, I felt that we were comfortable on the ball, and the crowd seemed to be a bit twitchy, at 4-3 I imagined and at 4-4 I really did not want the game to end.
I live 12 miles from the theatre of many nightmares, was in a pub full of their fans and how good it was.
Yesterday, I sat in a pub and only then did it really hit me about last week, I was there with our glorious fans, but yesterday, a week on I realised how our hope and maybe pride had been set back. Today, and when I go in work tommorrow I will have that pride back and something whatever it is I will have to go on supporting the blues through thick or thin in the hope that one day....
653 Posted 22/04/2012 at 21:15:49
659 Posted 22/04/2012 at 21:17:18
Man U away not just any old game, and he looked as good as anyone on show.
Talking of which, Lyndon, scores on the doors???
665 Posted 22/04/2012 at 21:28:44
682 Posted 22/04/2012 at 22:33:07
You can give him the ball at neck height and he will hold of his man(and possibly smack him in the face too), control it, and find a teammate.
When he does all that in the opposition penalty box, and the teammate is Jelavic, then you've got something.
686 Posted 22/04/2012 at 22:50:47
Duncan could have been reading the yellow pages and I would have watched it all..
Man love ? Yeah.. I fucking love Duncan Ferguson..
Drenthe.. you think your some kind of big time charlie ? Two bob ..
Get your 'badges' Dunc... you and King Kenny standing off in the technical area would be worth the admission fee on its own..
710 Posted 22/04/2012 at 21:24:08
722 Posted 23/04/2012 at 02:09:35
"Follow the Jelavic Road,
Follow the Jelavic Road,
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the Jelavic Road!"
741 Posted 23/04/2012 at 06:08:56
His main contribution: he's good at putting the ball with acres of space for Hibbert to cross from.
He's good at drawing the fullbacks and then nip the ball to Hibbert for Hibbert to cross with relative ease.
Jamie Mac is the man on the right for me.
765 Posted 23/04/2012 at 09:50:23
786 Posted 23/04/2012 at 10:51:51
Several year ago - 2002 I think it must have been, we lost a night game 3 0 at Old Trafford having played really well until capitulating in the last 15 minutes. Fergies comments at the time were "Everton are the best side we've played all season", which just goes to show he's happy to hand out praise when his side's superiority isn't threatened
So I guess we should take heart that we've at last managed to rattle the old b###tard!
Finally is it possible that after the Wembley charade, Moyes might perhaps have grown a pair? Judging by yesterday he may just have. COYB
816 Posted 23/04/2012 at 13:11:58
I would say that I am more pro than anti Moyes. I think he has done a great job at the club and we would find it very hard to replace him. Still, I do find his cautious nature frustrating at times.
Being honest, I thought we were gone at 2-1 and def at 3-1. To my mind, at that time Moyes was too slow in reacting with a sub. I was thinking he should have taken off Neville, put Felli back in his normal deeper position and bring on Barkley to have a go. I still think it was a logical strategy but obviously hindsight would say I am wrong. Neville contributed to 2 goals, Felli was great up top and McFadden did well when he came on. So what do I know.
817 Posted 23/04/2012 at 13:09:39
821 Posted 23/04/2012 at 13:25:09
I dont usually need an excuse to get on Neville's back,I just dont see what he brings to the team and hardly ever has a good game.Yesterday though he played well,acually finding a blue shirt with every pass and unbelievably a throught ball to Fellaini for Pienaar's goal.
921 Posted 23/04/2012 at 19:21:51
929 Posted 23/04/2012 at 19:38:22
932 Posted 23/04/2012 at 19:44:41
Like i've said in a earlier post you can place blame on someone for every goal if you really want to but it is very hard to get everything right all of the time and although I think we could have done a little bit better I dont blame anyone.
As for Rooney's first goal and placing blame,Neville wasnt goal side and that was the first thing I was taught but that is being a bit harsh as it was a fantasic cross.
974 Posted 23/04/2012 at 21:21:32
I well remember the times that UTD players actually bullied refs and this was never stopped by officials.
Fergie only ever gives credit to other teams when they have been beaten by UTD,,,,
993 Posted 23/04/2012 at 23:33:41
994 Posted 23/04/2012 at 23:42:27
And, of course, United lost 6-1 at home to City earlier this season.
996 Posted 23/04/2012 at 23:51:06
As a fellow defender, I could not agree more. Too many Andy Gray over-analysts around these days since the advent of Sky Sports and frame-by-frame replay of phases of play. It is instinctive to look for blame but sometimes, you just have to accept that the other team done well.
World class absolute pin point cross and great movement from Rooney. Same for their 4th - the Evertonian in me could slate Heitinga for getting rolled but then the football observer in me sees wonderful movement from a tricky forward who I would not like to mark.
It works both ways as well; I admire Jelavic's knack of taking that simple yard side-step back to buy a yard and sweep the ball in whereas, if it was against us, I would berate the defender for not staying tight. Easy this football thing!!! But please, come on Fergie, we played well and our goals were equally well worked.... or was it poor defending?!!
997 Posted 23/04/2012 at 23:57:40
999 Posted 24/04/2012 at 00:02:56
"There are no such things as accidents - just preventable carelessness"
In a similar light, some pundits would have you believe that there are no such things as good goals - just preventable goals.
Personally, I think both theories are bollocks, as evidence I'd cite Manchester United's attack play which was sublime at times; particularly the Rooney /Wellbeck combination - and we matched it. The Jelavic header came at the end of a wonderful flowing move as did the Felliani goal...
A defence coach will always find away of preventing a goal or blaming an error of judgment, a lapse in concentration or a failure of technique when a goal is scored - but my own belief is sometimes you've just got to hold your hands up and say - 'that was magnificent skill - and there was sod all we could have done to prevent it'
At least 6 of the 8 goals on Sunday fall into that category - and very nice it was too.
042 Posted 24/04/2012 at 09:50:03
145 Posted 24/04/2012 at 17:16:51
And www.evertonresults.com says that, until last Sunday, we had never scored four at OT in a league game.
837 Posted 26/04/2012 at 22:51:43
Also we stuffed them 5-2 at Old Trafford when they were the Busby Babes, Duncan Edwards and all.
Until the Premier League we were more successful than they were with title wins and Liverpool eclipsed them totally!
And it was before foreign players!!
When the playing field was level, Liverpool as a city won more titles than London and Manchester put together... please don't fall into the media hype trap that football stats only began with the formation of the Premier League.
The English league was always the best to watch in Europe long before the influx of foreign mercenaries.
Unfortunately the media is based in Manchester and London so that's why they extol the virtues of those clubs that come from those cities.
138 Posted 28/04/2012 at 01:09:15
229 Posted 28/04/2012 at 12:07:35
684 Posted 30/04/2012 at 14:25:46
Unfortunately, a lot of younger fans are getting brainwashed by Sky TV pundits and believe that we have always been in the shadow of Man Utd etc etc. I have worked all over the Middle East and I'm proud to say that EFC programmes and shirts are being worn in the likes of Sudan, Iraq and Yemen and I have done my own 'brainwashing' excersises.....
Liverpool won its trophies without the influx of foreign players and so did we. Liverpool is still the city with more trophies than Manchester, London and Tyneside put together!!! Beating foreign opposition without foreign players!
692 Posted 30/04/2012 at 15:35:02
I, too, try to bring civilsation to wherever I work, Bournemouth to Bodrum
I recall coming out of Goodison a while back and a 30 something proclaiming "that's Howard got the record, then"
"Record for what?"
"Most clean sheets in a season"
"Eh, what about Gordon West?"
"Oh he was before the Prem"
the mind boggles
I remember in Aug 69 we beat Utd home and way in the space of 6 days, aggregate 5 - 0
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