The team electronically appeared on ‘phone screens and it looked like it was designed for us, first and foremost, not to lose... but capable of grabbing one and seeing it out. In fact, as the game progressed, the team did much more than that... and subjected Man Utd to an examination that proved even a club as rich as them cannot afford to have injuries to key players when visiting the Goodison Park cauldron and expect to conquer, with talented players played out of position as well as some of their old guard looking jaded.
From the off, it was clear we were up for it and determined (for the first time in five seasons) to start with a win, and play well enough to suggest that – with a fair wind and a little luck on the injury front – we can challenge higher than sixth.
First half was dominated by the Blues in terms of chances, their defence being scared witless by the magnificent Fellaini. If his fellow countryman that we have just signed is anywhere near as effective, then we are in for some season. The Man Utd 'keeper, De Gea, kept them in it throughout with some acrobatic saves that brought rich applause, firstly by turning over a Pienaar header and then sprawling to turn away another effort from the same player.
I would imagine Utd had most ball possession but did little with it compared to the Blues in terms of threat; a terrific effort from Osman looked nailed on until the keeper did a brilliant parody of Tom Daly as he soared to thwart and then flew again to claw away a Baines free kick that looked destined for the top corner.
Utd did have the odd effort and Rooney put in two shots that were little more than back-passes; the England man Welbeck shot wide under pressure from Jags, and then the Utd mob had the cheek to ask for a penalty — even ‘Team Sky’ favouring ref Atkinson had to turn that shout down! That was the game until half-time: we made the chances, their keeper did well, they passed neatly without getting anywhere... and most thought we were a little unlucky not to be ahead at the break.
No changes as the second period began and again it was the Blues in the ascendency; in no time at all, Fellaini was tormenting them again with skill, power and aggression: he headed a ball down to Osman who this time left the keeper for dead but the ball cannoned off the bar and was ushered clear; no wonder Ossie sank to the deck and beat the turf whilst bemoaning his luck.
Utd rallied a little but it was passing of the backward and square variety that was never going to hurt us... whereas we attacked with less finesse but far more purpose — and, just before the hour mark, it paid off.
We won a corner,
BainesGibson took, Fellaini rose, Carrick wilted under the pressure of the big man, and the ball was dispatched into the net past players on the goal line, and Goodison Park erupted — the celebrations both on and off the pitch were something to behold.
Guess what happened next? Yep, we went deep and challenged Man Utd to break us down. They nearly did five or six minutes later when Cleverley had one cleared off the line by the impressive Jags. Then Fergie hooked Welbeck and introduced £24 million man, Van Persie. Luckily he didn’t show anything like his Arsenal form and merely looked a very expensive corner taking expert.
Still we did little more than defend and the crowd were getting fidgety; one or two players were looking tired, the words ‘fresh legs’ were heard louder and louder... On 80 mins, the workaholic Osman was replaced by Coleman and it was soon clear that his instructions from the manager were to tackle anything that moved, including waste paper, and the lad didn’t let him down.
Into the last quarter of an hour and it was time for the proper defenders to shine with Hibbert leading the way, ably supported by quality work from Jags, Distin and Baines.
With the crowd bellowing out the Moyes tribute song, Fergie threw Young and Anderson on in place of Nani and Cleverley but to little advantage as the Blues were determined to hold on.
The board went up: 4 extra ‘Fergie time’ minutes. Jelavic went down and needed treatment for what looked like a ‘Hammy’ and Naismith took his place. Squeaky bum time as the clock clicked down and a nice touch from the manager with just a minute left when he replaced Fellaini with Heitinga for the big Belgian to receive a tremendous ovation.
The ref seemed to be stretching the 4 added minutes and whistles as loud as thunderclaps cascaded from all sides... Eventually he relented after Everton had cleared a corner and the celebrations began. The DJ did not need to put the ‘istory record on the crowd belted it out in full.
Amidst all of this, I caught sight of Distin prone in our penalty area and after attention he was led away with what looked like a brace on his leg. So, what with both Distin and Jelavic in the wars, it will be an anxious time for both fans and medics. Another disappointing thing at the end was the sight of Heitinga seeming to hurl his shirt at the floor by the dugout; still, it is nice to know he cares.
MotM – Fellaini, with a special mention for Hibbert who when the real defending was needed he was excellent The walk back to the ale house was a pleasure listening to snatches of conversations that truly appreciated our night's work, the word Fellaini was prominent as were the words ‘I will be glad when this transfer window closes’.
Overall, I thought it a good honest display from a squad that were determined to make a decent start to the season for once... so now the trick is to keep it going and next week’s trip to Villa Park will no doubt throw more light on our readiness to push onward and upward.
On a side-note, is it just me or does our Wayne still have a soft spot for us because he never seems anywhere near as effective against us as he does against other teams?
Looking at the team and bench selected tonight, it does look stronger than previously... but I would love to see another maybe 2 or 3 half-decent players in and just maybe we could start to believe.
A great night out – see you at Villa!!!
UP THE BLUES
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
905 Posted 21/08/2012 at 02:56:32
Can't believe the comments from SAF and the hoofball comments. I thought we played some nice joined up stuff and surely we can play possession football when we go one up? The last 20 mins was a concern and a Jags goal-line clearance didn't justify the tactic although the means was the result so relatively happy.
906 Posted 21/08/2012 at 03:13:37
Just to echo what you wrote: I watched the highlights on the OS, and Rooney didn't seem to me to be giving his all when the chances were presented to him. Still a Blue, then.
Or perhaps the mighty Singaporean bookies bought him off on this one. (Full disclosure: I am Singaporean, but not a bookie.)
921 Posted 21/08/2012 at 06:45:12
When the team was announced I thought it was on the negative side. However, we did play some nice stuff most if not all of which went through the big man.
The last twenty minutes would have to be a worry, surely the best way to defend a lead is by keeping the ball not just dropping off. Still a good start to a long season.
922 Posted 21/08/2012 at 06:47:12
Also envious cos as a long term exiled Scouser living in SE Asia I haven't attended many games over the last few years but remember fondly those barmy early season evenings and the 'crack'. Great performance from the boys.
Laughing at the variety of Fellaini superlatives on the net today, I'm a huge fan. Where's £32m come from, not surprised but who ? I imagine the line of suitors must be like the queue of co-stars at Annabelle Chong II.
Great report (as always), didn't see the Heitinga nonsense on the broadcast this end... Pity, great player sadly who seems to be a bit too highly strung for his own good. I hope it gets sorted without further fuss.
927 Posted 21/08/2012 at 07:47:17
Best game I've been to in a long, long time
928 Posted 21/08/2012 at 07:45:06
But Moyes will always be true to himself and insist any new player have a bedding in period on the bench first. I wonder if that forms part of his discussions "So Kevin for the first season you'll get a couple run ons because well Osman was here first"
I'm more than happy to be proved wrong, I thought we dominated them.
934 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:04:19
I watched the game at lunchtime in the US, and I'm still awake at midnight... adrenaline still pumping. I too was nonplussed by the lineup, and I too was dazzled by what turned out to be Moyes' genius. His most controversial choices -- Jags and Distin instead of Heitinga, Pip in the middle with Hibbert at RB, and most of all Fellaini up front -- turned out brilliantly. It was Felli's best game ever.
Two quibbles... Moyes waited too long to sub Osman and Jelavic, who were struggling by minute 70, and Baines was poor for much of the game, passing inaccurately and getting caught up too often. Distin bailed him out on two memorable occasions.
And Ken, I wouldn't worry about the "injuries"... on ESPN, Distin and Jelavic (as well as Pienaar) seemed to be suffering only from cramp, which is not unusual in the first game of the season.
One more glass of rum and I might be able to sleep. But I doubt it. COYB!!!!!!!
936 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:18:59
If the 'new player' you're referring to was Naismith then he was on the bench for good reason. When players have serious injuries you ease them back into the game.
Anyway, Osman played well, what's with all the bitterness?
937 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:16:06
938 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:23:38
942 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:23:21
The Japanese lad had a beautiful game for United as did Scholes.
Happy days indeed.
945 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:27:57
oh.. and I have no bitterness..I chose Osman because he was on the wing, his least effective position.. but he did well. I admitted he made the right call.
966 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:31:32
And, I thought I would never say this - but thank god we have Hibbert on our side. 2 tackles that won us goal kicks towards the end really helped us run down the clock.
Pienaar was poor and wasted many openings and was responsible for giving away possession to ManU on many occassions. Baines was poor defensively, but he did deliver that beautiful free kick.
Neville had a superb game and so did Gibson defensively although his shooting left a lot to be desired.
All in all, a great result but these are early days. Moyes needs to build a squad of 17-18 solid players and success for us will depend heavily on how well he rotates the squad.
And, Ken, yes I do agree - Rooney looked strangely subdued. Whether it was because he was playing his boyhood club or some other reason, I don't know.
984 Posted 21/08/2012 at 10:18:54
987 Posted 21/08/2012 at 10:36:59
Agree, carrying too much bulk. Looked fat until Anderson came on.
992 Posted 21/08/2012 at 10:43:09
90% of the season it's an armchair ride at ManU he can't go past people and saunters about waiting for one of the bagful of scoring opportunities they create.
In real games like last night he vanishes everytime.
Wouldn't be surprised if he's shipped out this year, I know utd fans are pissed off with him.
995 Posted 21/08/2012 at 11:09:28
996 Posted 21/08/2012 at 11:12:48
999 Posted 21/08/2012 at 11:15:17
Fergie's post-match comments were laughable, as ever. We may have defended a little too deep after the goal, but we certainly weren't hoofing it all night.
Goodison under floodlights is something special.
002 Posted 21/08/2012 at 11:26:40
Decision to pick Jags over Heitinga?
Ferguson belittling Everton with long ball jibes?
014 Posted 21/08/2012 at 12:06:51
One more thing, Vidic proper bottled it by picking Jelavic as his man. Jesus Carrick must not have been impressed with that choice.
042 Posted 21/08/2012 at 13:46:08
KITAP1? - It might of been 1-0 but this was a million miles from that. More shots, better quality of chances etc etc
4-5-1? as long as it's fluid it's a winning formation
Neville midfieler? - No, not even last night can dissuade me from the opinion that he belongs at RB or on the bench. Given Hibbo's performance last night, it's on the bench.
Decision to pick Jags over Heitinga? - odd at first glance, justified by the result. I dearly hope Jonny doesn't throw his toys because of it....
Ferguson belittling Everton with long ball jibes? - you KNOW you've got it right when Sir Alex resorts to blatant bollocks in his post match interview :)
048 Posted 21/08/2012 at 14:07:37
Our bench by comparison cost less than Berbatov never mind Van Persie and the rest.
We have the smallest, cheapest squad with very limited cover for more than one position. UTD's manager (as usual) took defeat with very poor grace.
He was out managed tactically and was lucky to get away with just a goal defeat.
We hit the bar and post whilst De Gea was their best player and kept them in the game.
I'm so proud of the example that we set to Naismith and Marallas, I just hope that the new acquisitions live up to our expectations.
Im afraid that Sir Alex let down his team with his 'hoof ball' comments which were in total contrast to the praise that one of his former players Gary Neville heaped on us as a team and Fellaini in particular.
If Felli continues in the vein he showed last night, he will cause problems to every other teams defence in the premier this season.
Shame on you Fergie :(
053 Posted 21/08/2012 at 13:56:02
I came in mid-way thru the 09-10 season, so almost all of you have seen more of us in the Moyes era. Maybe it's just prejudice, but in my time watching, Moyes appears to out-manage Ferguson pretty easily.
058 Posted 21/08/2012 at 14:32:43
Since 2009/10 Season:
Ferguson - 1 x Prem title, 2 x Runners-Up, 1 x Champions League Runners-Up, 1 League Cup.
Moyes - 1 seasons participation in Europa League, never finished in top 6. No trophy finals.
060 Posted 21/08/2012 at 14:57:33
Comparative budgets for that comparative success? I think not.
064 Posted 21/08/2012 at 15:17:52
069 Posted 21/08/2012 at 15:40:27
070 Posted 21/08/2012 at 15:26:33
Old whiskey nose’s comments about “hoof ball” tactics are way out of order, what a Joker! Next he’ll be saying Fatman & Robin are world-class strikers. Hmmmmm!
079 Posted 21/08/2012 at 16:24:17
080 Posted 21/08/2012 at 16:35:40
It simply cannot be argued with certainty that the game was won because of the line-up, for all we know a different line-up and we may have won 2-0.
BUT….make no mistake this was a great result regardless of how the game turned out i.e retreating for the last 20 mins or more. There is a certain way to beat the top teams and going gung-ho at them is not it. It has to be a balance between caution and attacking intent. We went at them hard for 60 minutes and deservedly lead and after a combination of us retreating and united pushing it was backs against the wall. How else could we have expected this match to go and still get the same result, given the quality of the opposition?
I have most definitely come around to the idea of contenting myself that Hibbert is worthy of his place now. No doubt he can defend so if we maybe put something with real attacking quality in front of him Mirallas maybe then the right side has good balance.
082 Posted 21/08/2012 at 16:13:02
The brother and I have been trying to work out - when was the last time a night at the Old Lady was as good as that? Some great European occasions in the last ten years for sure, but do we have to go back to the 80's for such a great team display?
No more can be said about Fellaini - perfect 10 will do it. And 10 more heroes - not grafters, skilled, intelligent footballers who can graft. And that includes Hibbo! His defending in the last 20 minutes was done with his brain as much as his body.
A mention for Gibson - an injury scare who was always there, covering, intercepting, winning and moving the ball about to keep them running all over the place. We could defend against them because, actually, they were as knackered as we were. And they were chasing the game, not us.
I'll bet Kevin Mirallas was watching thinking 'good decision Kev - but better get out and run round the block a few times tomorrow morning!'.
084 Posted 21/08/2012 at 16:39:38
Reference the team selection. We don't see the players training during the week so the only person who knows who fit and who's not is DM.
The players he did pick gave a 100 percent and got the reward of a win
085 Posted 21/08/2012 at 17:00:23
Its on the bbc site if you want to hunt down his exact words.
086 Posted 21/08/2012 at 17:02:38
091 Posted 21/08/2012 at 17:40:24
109 Posted 21/08/2012 at 18:49:17
We have three of the best centre backs in the league. There's a possibility that the club might cash in on Heitinga because he's saleable. But that wouldn't be Moyes' footballing decision. Should Sylvain be injured, having Johnny play instead would be something many a top European club would have no trouble with whatsoever.
And apart from anything else, it looks very much like Baines has simply said no. 110% player for us last night.
113 Posted 21/08/2012 at 18:56:40
114 Posted 21/08/2012 at 18:57:32
I believe that SAF claimed that whoever it was last night was swayed by the home crowd. Don't know where to begin on that one - maybe Scholes' second yellow that was never produced will do.
But I will admit to one instance. When 4 minutes (why?) was looking like 6, I do believe we shamed him into blowing up. Somebody upstairs won't like that.
118 Posted 21/08/2012 at 19:14:10
122 Posted 21/08/2012 at 19:28:36
Moyes needs to shuffle them about as it would be disappointing for the club to get rid of Heitinga because he was pissed off with not getting any game time. He's too good to be regularly sat on our bench but then again we don't want Duffy as our only other CB (cannot see Jags and Distin both going the season without injury).
Its a tricky one for Moyes but that's one of the reasons hes paid 3.65m a year I guess Also we have loads of games so it should be easy (relatively) to shuffle them about.
123 Posted 21/08/2012 at 19:22:23
There weren't many stoppages in either half but I think there was treatment for players in both and the substitions in the second so an extra 2 and 4 minutes respectively seemed reasonable to me. Always seems unfair if you are protecting a one goal lead.
Good shout Gary Creaney (#080) - it should not be heretical to propose different players and formations even after a magnificent win. A lot of people are now wanting squad additions just so we can play Fellaini in the advanced role every week without having the foggiest of how the team could perform with either Naismith or Mirallas there and Felli dropping back.
One game and we are apparently guaranteed of success / or doomed to failure based on where one player plays.
127 Posted 21/08/2012 at 19:48:16
On another point touched on earlier, I see that Rooney still splits opinion. To pinch Ken's catchphrase, from my seat (Park End, Row B, corner flag) I thought that in the pre-game warm-up, Rooney looked fitter and leaner than I'd ever seen him. He also looked frighteningly sharp in this warm-up, in marked contrast to his Everton routine, when I recall he'd just muck about with Unsie the whole time, and smash shots twenty yards over the crossbar to his mates in the Street End !!
130 Posted 21/08/2012 at 20:09:35
But loved seeing Gibson after the final whistle celebrating with the rest of the players in the center of the pitch and singing along with the fans to "If You Know Yer History". Once Everton gets in your blood..........
137 Posted 21/08/2012 at 20:39:04
149 Posted 21/08/2012 at 21:18:53
156 Posted 21/08/2012 at 21:33:50
161 Posted 21/08/2012 at 21:39:54
Ken great to read the report and I think you may well find it a challenge to write a happier one all season.
232 Posted 22/08/2012 at 10:50:51
Were Jelly and Distan injured? I just took it they were playing down the clock, I didn't see anything after the whistle blew too many people jumping up and down infront of me.
Maybe Rooney is just in awe of us, I know if I played against Everton I would be!
359 Posted 22/08/2012 at 18:24:16
382 Posted 22/08/2012 at 19:04:41
He defends as well as any other in the league and I just wish that Distin was a few years younger.
Jags blocks so many shots on goal and Distin won every header.
Heitinga is nowhere near as good as either as a defender and he gets booked more often than both of them put together because he mistimes tackles so often.
If you watch lescott he is exactly the same as Jags and Distin.
He just makes short passes and lets the midfield at City do the long passing.
We do not have City's midfield so sometimes hoof ball is the last resort.
Jagielka and Distin give 100% in every game and until either are injured or lose form then they should be automatic choices.
Hibbert is playing his best football throughout last season since he joined us and defensively he is excellent.
Baines is more attack minded but gets up and down the field really well and was not exposed against Man Utd.
Im just glad that UTD did not play Valencia in his best position.
He is UTD's best winger by far but thats up to SAF ????
Inciderntly, what has happened to NIANG ?
I suppose BK will snap his purse closed now we won our first game and stick the remainder of the Rodwell money in his piggy bank until the fans get restless.
454 Posted 22/08/2012 at 23:39:52
One swallow etc but I would say Moyes won people over with his tactics...you just have to see the pre match comments to see how his line up was questioned (to put it mildly).
If (and it's a fairly big if to be fair) this repeats over the next 10 games, you won't find a card carrying mob member anywhere on this site...
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.