For the first time in five years Everton have won their opening game of the season, and against Manchester United of all teams. A superb performance by the Blues showed the visitors just how tough a place Goodison Park can be when the crowd get behind the team, and the way Evertonís transfer window has played out so far, the fans have every reason to get behind them.
After bringing in three new players before the start of the campaign, something of a rarity for Everton Football Club, morale was high on Monday night around the ground. You could feel the positive energy inside the stadium. The players looked confident, they had the fans' backing and the managerís 100% belief in them. And even a Manchester United squad featuring their latest bank-busting signing couldnít dampen their spirits or break their nerve.
Marouane Fellaini scored the only goal of the game in what turned out to be a fantastic Man of the Match performance by the Belgian. He won every ball and controlled the tempo of the game for the vast majority. He was big, he used his strength and guile, and showed how indispensible he is to the Toffees.
United, with a few centre backs short, turned to Michael Carrick, who didnít have a bad game but in fairness he was up against someone on top form. A goal was the icing on the cake for Fellaini who looked delighted to have scored, a reassuring nod to all Evertonianís who have in the recent past questioned his commitment to Everton Football Club.
Phil Jagielka too gave an inspiring performance, as did Tony Hibbert, but the whole team tonight did their job. They attacked when they could, they defended admirably against, let us not forget, the most successful team in England, and theyíve taken the first step in breaking the curse that haunts the beginning of every season for the Blues.
However, we canít get carried away. The last 20 minutes was a glimpse into the Everton we all know and love/hate. The players were showing their fatigue, Moyes was delaying his substitutions, and the game of ďhoofĒ was back. The final third of the game was played in Evertonís half but, despite this, Howard hardly had anything to do all game. On the other hand, David De Gea had a great game and showed signs of why Ferguson has stood by his man. He pulled off a few fine saves off Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar and was arguably Man Utdís best player.
Tonight was the first time my friends (United fans) have been to Goodison Park and Iím sure they didnít enjoy the football. But, in true sportsman like fashion, a feeling often generated by the Goodison crowd as it reminds people what Premier League football is all about ó unlike the corporate events held every week at Old Trafford, amongst others ó they held their hands up and said well done. Itís hard to hate Everton because we do it properly. And when we perform like we did tonight, itís magnificent and leaves many people Singing the Blues.
Dan Owens, Posted 20/08/2012 at 23:53:03
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884 Posted 21/08/2012 at 01:20:20
Moyes in the transfer market could again amaze us all. He looks to have improved the team with no net spend. Only Arsenal could hope to say that, yet we have to live like this and credit to the manager for his returning astuteness that brought the past gems in.
I saw Moyes's interview on Sky, he looks more focused and upbeat now than he has been for a long time. The team looks ready to continue the form we finished the season with and nailing Villa away next week will be just as important as this opening-game victory.
Time will tell, but there's a steel with no shortage of skill within this group of players that makes them capable of surprising us all.
891 Posted 21/08/2012 at 02:07:40
897 Posted 21/08/2012 at 02:34:45
899 Posted 21/08/2012 at 02:43:58
900 Posted 21/08/2012 at 02:49:32
Kevin will also be sure to have noted that although his new home ground isn't the best looking or most modern in the league, there really is no place on earth quite like it when it rocks like it did last night!
910 Posted 21/08/2012 at 03:32:22
What a performance by the lads, surely we can build on this and put behind us the slow starts from the past.
Jelouse of all who where at the game, the atmosphere oozed through the tv.
The Yuengling has been flowing, its the only beer I can get with any semblance of flavour.
914 Posted 21/08/2012 at 04:15:28
915 Posted 21/08/2012 at 04:15:49
However I would have drunk dshwater and still felt good after tonight.
925 Posted 21/08/2012 at 07:22:24
Forget where he pllayed, McManaman was a childhood blue!! That's why he is so in love with the blue...
My oh my, Fellaini can really be a top 5 player in this league! What a stud.
926 Posted 21/08/2012 at 07:37:57
Big question for me is wether after that performance anyone can really vindicate playing fellaini anywhere else than the Cahill role? His ability to make the ball stick up front as well as providing knock downs for the likes of Osmans crossbar challenge surely make him a necessity in that role.
If he does continue there then who fills the gap in midfield alongside Gibson? Neville was great last night but not an ideal long term solution. Perhaps ossie or young Ross, but both are prone to losing possession in costly areas. I wouldn't mind seeing pienaar there. He has the mix of tenacity and creativity and was outstanding there for Ajax a few years back. Or perhaps moyes will bring in someone.
For me though the big fella should continue in the hole which actually leaves us a bit short in the middle.
933 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:10:39
Some of the signs are:
- mentions "maybe" penalties
- claims the crowd influenced the referee
- makes silly comments about opposition (e.g. "lumping" the ball)
- fails to mentions the opposition's star by name
- focuses on his team - "we didn't play to VP's strengths" (the fact is that VP was hardly on the pitch, which was WN's fault).
We had all of the signs here. He must have felt really spanked.
939 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:18:59
Tony 933 - too true, shows Fergie up for what he is, a down right horrible bastard. On the bright side he'll be giving his players some shit today :D
947 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:25:46
12 months ago everyone was screaming to get him in and to be honest I think he can do a job in the engine room alongside Gibson.
I would use Mirallas on the right Pienaar on the left and Felli up top with Jelavic. I know we have Naismith but its a squad game, we will have injuries and suspensions so having Naismith to play behind or left or right is invaluable.
I also believe that Niang wont sign now as Milan are interested and he was a plan B if we didnt get Mirallas.
On the brighter side I can see Big Victor moving to Wigan before the window closes, but no idea who he will bring in.
Finally the right back position, we have Hibbert who played well again last night, Phil Neville and Jonny Heitinga who can play there, plus Coleman who I prefer a an impact sub 15 to 20 minutes to go.
Just thoughts, and going back to Charlie Adam, 5 million worth it we havent had a nasty bastard since Big Dunc and before that Peter Reid
952 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:48:23
955 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:56:28
Felli had a great game and Gary Neville was full of praise for both him and every other player in blue. All the defence were fantastic and it was hard to single any of them out for special mention. Ossie did tire and I'm still not sure of Gibson. Pienaar also faded a bit towards the end.
I liked Jelavic's attitude all through and he was not given much protection by the officials, he could be a great foil for Felli if the big fella can keep his form and stays away from injury.
Our squad is still very small and some positions do not have top cover... But if we have a season without too many injuries then I am optimistic. It will be good to see how Mirallas does but I hope it does not mean leaving Jelavic on the bench!! If he is played wide right then he may make up for missing Donovan.
The player I'm really interested in seeing is Naismith. Perhaps he will be the midfielder we need and save buying the likes of Adam... I hope so!
962 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:15:07
964 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:34:34
However, having said that, he is a bit shit, isn't he...
980 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:59:35
The most pleasing thing about last night was that we looked similar to the team that finished the season. I know that's an obvious statement considering it was the same team in terms of personel but what I mean is every time the new season starts we look a completely different side. Usually Howard drops a clanger, Jagielka takes 5 games to get his positioning right, Neville plays wayward passes all game, Osman has absolutely no touch and Hibbert's hoofing / crossing is unbearable. Instead, we looked solid, fitter than our opposition, and everyone's touch was there (even Neville's!). We normally bemoan the end of the season because we've finished so strongly and last night looked like last season hadn't ended. Hopefully we'll pick up where we left off.
982 Posted 21/08/2012 at 10:19:57
983 Posted 21/08/2012 at 10:13:28
Yes Distain & Jags ( and the rest) were excellent in the last twenty minutes but they had to be cos once we scored we never mustered another meaningful attack... even the commentator made reference to '..Everton not making any attempt to get forward..'
Prior to the goal we went at Utd and created numerous chances and could have desrvedly scored more than once but after we scored not another shot.... I just hope this doesn't be come the trend as normal....nick one and defend a 1 goal lead.
I know i'll get some stick for this post but anyone who doesn't believe me just watch the game again....I'm sure many of you have it Sky + 'd.
Please Moyesie no more nick one and sit back....last night ( and several performances last season proved) we are a far better team when we ATTACK !!
985 Posted 21/08/2012 at 10:25:31
I was convinced it was going to be a repeat of the semi-final against the RS but thankfully we got away with it this time. That said though, with a little more luck and were it not for De Gea we could have been 3 or 4 in front by that point.
The real test is going to be against Villa now to see if we can keep this going. I can't wait to hear all the pundits on MotD write us off and for us to just keep on winning.
000 Posted 21/08/2012 at 11:20:27
008 Posted 21/08/2012 at 11:36:48
Let's face it the first half is probably as good as you are going to see for a performance against United. Unlike the semi-final when we 'created' only one chance for Jelavic, we created at least 7 or 8 good chances and forced De Gea into numerous very good saves. We could have easily been 2 or 3 up.
When Osman hit the bar I thought it was going to be one of those nights, fortunately the goal came from the corner. No-one is going to maintain that sort of intensity for 90 minutes against United; United aren't going to play that badly for 90 minutes. There was always going to be a period when we had to defend (like every team has to do against the top teams).
Chelsea and Liverpool have won champions leagues on doing very little but defending. It's part of the game as well as attacking, anyone thinking that we'd not have a period of defense against a team with Rooney, RVP, Valencia, Nani, Kagawa, and Scholes, is living in a bit of a dream world.
011 Posted 21/08/2012 at 11:51:05
018 Posted 21/08/2012 at 12:16:27
035 Posted 21/08/2012 at 13:18:59
037 Posted 21/08/2012 at 13:31:59
And Felliani was world class last night, simple as that.
As for new players, I agree we need another center mid as Neville should only play there against the top teams. I'd like to see Huddlestone instead of Adam Ė better pass-range, stronger in the tackle, and much better than Neville.
A cheeky £4 million bid?
046 Posted 21/08/2012 at 13:42:21
Fellaini was class up top but I'd still like him next to Gibson with Naismith behind Jelavic and Pienaar and Mirallas on the wings, then if we need to change things throw the big man up front. There is time to do more business so fingers crossed we can add one or two more and have a real go at top 6.
047 Posted 21/08/2012 at 14:18:10
051 Posted 21/08/2012 at 14:21:14
052 Posted 21/08/2012 at 14:28:01
Watch the footage of him shepherding Rodwell off the pitch when he got sent off against the RS. Massive wa**er.
065 Posted 21/08/2012 at 15:11:27
068 Posted 21/08/2012 at 15:32:38
Nelly, i'd agree with us holding on and defending for the last 25 mins but I think its unfair to say we nicked one. It wasn't as if we scored against the run of play. It was well deserved.
077 Posted 21/08/2012 at 16:16:12
103 Posted 21/08/2012 at 18:21:15
I do think we need another centre mid though. Even if Fella drops back an injury to him or Gibson and we are back with Neville in midfield or Heitinga or worse both of them. Not sure Barkley is ready yet. Think Huddlestone is crocked for life. Someone in the Essien, Tiote mould would be good or a Cabaye/Cleverly type...
107 Posted 21/08/2012 at 18:40:31
I don't think we sat back after scoring either, I just think we had ran our race and the lads were feeling the pace.
I can see us playing many formations this season, and I reckon Moyes has decided to try new tactics with the players we now have.
Great night, and I have still got a headache, as well as being two hours late for work !!
119 Posted 21/08/2012 at 19:00:16
Yes Felli was magnificent last night but suddenly everyone wants to organise the team just to accomodate him there for the rest of the season. That is crazy until we have seen how the team performs with Fellaini more withdrawn and the likes of Naismith or Mirallas playing just behind Jelavic. Who knows, he may be less prominent but maybe the team will perform even better.
I actually thought that the balance of the team looked a little off last night, though it was more than compensated for by the performance of all the players. Overall, and including Mirallas, the team would benefit from another player with pace.
Stuff Charlie Adam, our central midfield is good enough as it is, and bring in another quick and skilful wide man if a suitable one is available.
129 Posted 21/08/2012 at 20:18:57
163 Posted 21/08/2012 at 21:55:34
I didn't realise people thought they way they do about Charlie Adam, I'd been thinking it would be a good signing for us and I'd never noticed him being a particular wanker in amongst all the other Liverpool players. I do though like the point about not giving them any money they might use to strengthen their team.
The only point I really disagreed with was Nelly Verdonghan's as although I can understand your concerns I think James dealt with the point well. And you also have the best name on Toffeeweb.
As for central midfield cover, I think Owen Hargreaves is still on a free. Would you take him? If he agreed to a contract that suited us, like Saha's 'pay-as-you-play' type deal I think it could be a master stroke.
192 Posted 22/08/2012 at 02:35:31
The Villa game will be different with a lone striker deployed and a 5-man midfield and we will be looking at keeping it tight. It will be business as usual and Moyes will be looking not to lose so forget new tactics and attack at all costs. This game will give us an idea of what we can expect this season.
The Man Utd game was a bit like a cup final in the way it was played and we don't want that week-in, week-out because this squad is too small with not enough depth. We don't want to run out of petrol by Xmas. I want to see us maintain a top six spot and then have a spurt at the end for Europe.
On the other hand, I would love to see us win every game and score lots of goals. 2-0 Saturday eh?
226 Posted 22/08/2012 at 10:02:15
Did I mention I don't like him.
262 Posted 22/08/2012 at 14:02:55
Not much sign of the usual nay-sayers on here - funny that. I guess there's no point coming on to slag off Hibbert and Osman when both play their parts in a wonderful victory. I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
264 Posted 22/08/2012 at 14:11:34
271 Posted 22/08/2012 at 14:36:11
We've got the perfect group to play 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1.
Lets be generous and say we played "direct" football on Monday. That style might work against a team with an obvious injury induced weakness but, moving forward, we'll need to retain possession and work the full width of the pitch to break down teams who set out to KITAP1 against us.
Villa away might not be the game to go all out attack but I'd definitely like to see Fellaini back in the centre of midfield to control things - we'll kill him asking him to play that attacking role each week.
544 Posted 23/08/2012 at 10:10:54
I was merely trying to point out that we seemed to defend our box for the remainder of the game from the moment we scored....this has been a common tactic of Moyes over the past couple of seasons (if not longer) which has resulted in us drawing and/or losing games we should probably would have won if we had kept the attacking pressure on...a la the semi v the Shite.
I really hope it is not the tactic he will revert to again this season once we have taken a 1 goal lead....As Monday night proved and games against City & Chelsea last season we are so much better when we attack (or at least try to) for 90 minutes.
That said we totally deserved the 3pts on Monday without a doubt
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