Baines rescues point in bruising encounter

By Paul Traill 04/12/2016  20 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Everton 1 - 1 Manchester United

Our boiler broke two weeks ago and, despite two visits and parts being ordered from the boiler engineer, we are still without heat and hot water during a particularly cold time of the year. Just to ensure I had a shower today, I jogged to my parents house with Katja following in the car with my clothes and belongings for the day. Once I was showered at my parents, Ste picked me up and on we went to Goodison Park. We were in the pub with plenty of time, Liverpool already 2-0 ahead before we even arrived.

The pub swelled with supporters with most glued to the TV screens as Bournemouth launched quite an astonishing comeback against our loveable neighbours. At 3-1, you couldn't see a way back for The Cherries but fair play to them for persevering, and when they went 4-3 ahead in injury time, the pub erupted, Ste and I, like many others, jumping for joy and hugging as they grabbed the winner. A very impressive comeback indeed, ensuring we were onward to Goodison Park in good spirits.

None of us really expected a victory over Manchester United and before the game I'd personally have taken the draw. Ross Barkley, Phil Jagielka and Aaron Lennon were the three to make way from our meek display at Southampton last weekend, with Ramiro Funes Mori, Kevin Mirallas and Tom Cleverley all in the team; Mirallas lining up in a more central attacking position with Tom Cleverley on the wing.

Manchester United were without the suspended Wayne Rooney, though did boast Zlatan Ibrahimovic, P aul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst their formidable line up. Michael Oliver officiated and got the game under way only after a minute's silence in respect of those who passed away during the Chapecoense plane crash.

The atmosphere was tasty early doors but was soon flattened as events on the pitch, or there lack of, ensured there was little to get too excited about as both teams seemed to cancel each other out. Martin Stekelenburg did make one good save though the flag had already been raised by the linesman against Anthony Martial.

It may even have been Ronald Koeman's game plan to contain Manchester United for a long period of the game before going for the kill later on. We'll never know I suppose as a piece of brilliance by Zlatan Ibrahimovic just three minutes before half-time ensured that Manchester United went in at the break a goal ahead.

It was a wonderful Zlatan-esque finish by the Swede though our Dutch goalkeeper was very culpable as he dashed out and presented an open goal, with Ibraimovic requiring no second invitations to loft the ball into the goal...the ball hitting the crossbar and then the post and then sneaking over the line before it was cleared by Funes Mori with the ball "millimetres over the line" according to a Manchester United fan via text message.

Though disappointing to be behind at the break you at least knew Everton would be forced to give it a go after the break. Marcus Rojo was apparantly a lucky boy to remain on the pitch for the second half after also following a two-footed lunge on Idrissa Gueye.

It took time before we clicked into gear in the second half and things could have been very different had Ander Herrera found the net rather than the bar with a presentable volley. Otherwise however, opportunities alone, particularly as we surged late in the game, would suggest we deserved our draw.

Earlier in the half, Kevin Mirallas, one of very few players out there who gave it a good go, came close when he burst into the penalty area and forced a decent save from David de Gea. The big Spaniard was forced into more action as the end closed in while Everton rallied for the equaliser. He saved from Idrissa Gueye's distance drive, from substitute Mason Holgate's looping header, and, albeit more easily, from Enner Valencia's downward header.

That was before Leighton Baines finally secured a point for Everton from the penalty spot when ex-Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, only just on the field as a substitute, clumsily fouled Idrissa Gueye. De Gea guessed right, literally, but Baines' penalty was too good and Everton were level with just a minute of normal time remaining. It was great to see Kevin Mirallas grab the ball immediately after the penalty was awarded and throw it straight to Leighton Baines.

Goodison Park was rocking again by this point and the players had their tails up. On another day we may have snatched a late, late winner in the five minutes of stoppage time. The closest we came was probably when Baines struck with a surprise shot inside the penalty area but De Gea was able to beat it away. At full-time we had to be pleased with a point given it looked so bleak earlier in the game. Hopefully that is the spark we need to re-ignite our faltering campaign. A win at Watford next weekend would be a timely opportunity to prove this.

Player ratings:

Stekelenburg: After half a dozen games or so I was delighted with Maarten Stekelenburg but he is error-prone and maddeningly inconsistent. I wouldn't really like to rely on Joel Robles either so after an encouraging start from Maarten, I'm now, alas, of the decision that this is a problem position again and one that needs fixing. 5

Baines: He was fairly quiet for a lot of the game but, like the rest of them, seemed to kick into life as we pressed for the equaliser late on. 6

Williams: He's doing OK but doesn't quite seem to be the commanding centre back we thought we had signed. 6

Funes Mori: Though Phil Jagielka probably deserved to be dropped after a number of poor performances this season, Ramiro Funes Mori isn't the answer. Despite his best efforts, he really can't defend. 5

Coleman: Was doing OK until he was forced off injured. That'll be him out for a little while I assume. 6

Barry: It wasn't for lack of trying but this wasn't one of Barry's better games. His passing at times was particularly sloppy. Credit to him though, he never hid and kept on going. 5

Gueye: Another brilliant display by Idrissa Gueye, this one perhaps his best yet. Though he has shown his strength in tackling and breaking up the play plenty of times this season, this was certainly the most dynamic, yet combative I've seen him play for us yet. My man of the match. 8

Bolasie: Had a woeful game before coming off injured. Effort was there but he really didn't get into the game at all. 4

Cleverley: Struggled on the flank but tried. Certainly didn't deserve the ironic cheers on his departure when he was substituted. 5

Mirallas: One of only a few who showed up throughout. He was full of effort and this perhaps rubbed off on his colleagues when we finally got going late in the game. Should surely remain in the team. 7

Lukaku: He was very isolated and cut a frustrated figure up top. He was living off scraps and not a lot went for him, bur he did at least battle, perhaps more than I've seen him do so for some time. He's got to be due a goal now, hopefully he can get on the goal trail next week. 6

Deulofeu (for Cleverley): Not exactly at his best but he did cause a few problems. 6

Holgate (for Coleman): It's great to know that Mason is more than capable of coping in Coelman's absence. He did very well and won't let anyone down these next few weeks if, as expected, he is required. 7

Valencia (for Bolasie): Maybe it's time to start him in a few games? His pace and energy up front would cause most teams problems I would have thought. 7


Reader Comments (20)

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Danny Broderick
1 Posted 05/12/2016 at 01:23:35
I agree with most of your ratings Paul. I would have given Gueye a '9' though, and possibly even a '10'. I thought he was outstanding, he protected the back 4 all game and won our pen. His passing was good, and he had a few good shots also.

One player I just can't decide on is Funes Mori. He is certainly unorthodox, but I honestly never know if he has had a good game or a bad game. He seems to get in bad positions, then when your heart is in your mouth, he saves the day with a slide tackle! I thought we defended well today though as a unit, so I would have awarded the defenders higher marks also.

David Tennant
2 Posted 05/12/2016 at 01:47:59
I actually thought Funes Mori did okay. He was good in the air, something we've missed recently, and recovered well with one particular last-ditch tackle against Herrera (I think) standing out. One or two dodgy moments in possession (I do remember him passing it to Ibrahimovic) aside, he did fine and was actually ushering Ibrahimovic away from the goal until Stekelenberg conspired to open up another avenue to the net for them to score.
Jim Hardin
4 Posted 05/12/2016 at 03:45:18
Good read as always. Thank you, Paul. However, Funes Mori a 5? He battled Zlatan and was better than Williams, for whom he was forced to cover a couple of times and was far better than the goalkeeper who received the same rating.

I can only wonder at the pass that Stek gets from most posters who would literally have slaughtered our goalkeeper from last season for even one of this season's miSteks. At this point, Robles cannot do worse, so play him and build his value to sell him on.

Still, a point is a point and we are halfway to safety.

Peter Fearon
5 Posted 05/12/2016 at 03:58:19
I like Funes Mori but if he had not eased up thinking that chip was going in he could have reached it before he went over the line. As it was, he was only a second late... but it was a second he had already wasted.
Eamonn Long
6 Posted 05/12/2016 at 04:46:41
I thought Funes Mori had played well too. There were some iffy passes alright, but he's got the speed to get himself (and others) out of trouble and showed it today at times.
Peter Barry
7 Posted 05/12/2016 at 04:57:22
The best that can be said about the game last night is HOW PREDICTABLE.
David Pearl
8 Posted 05/12/2016 at 06:20:48
Yeah, for the most part I agree with your ratings Paul. I was going to start with a story about my oven but deleted that bit.

Also I absolutely can't stand to hear ironically cheering a player that's being substituted. He has played only a handful of games. Same with Funes Mori. <>It's hard to come new into a team low on confidence and struggling to implement the managers instructions. Cleverley, I thought, was trying too hard. And that at least merited applause. Mirallas also put in a shift for once. He's been shit all season.

However all 3 were lacking that bit of magic to add to the effort. The players were obviously instructed to push high onto the Man Utd backline. Unfortunately this meant that it created a straight line of 4 players with none of them dropping deep to collect the ball; movement creates openings etc. Is that 2 games straight no shots for Lukaku? Koeman, I hope you know what you want... Other than more running.

Holgate again was very impressive. Deulofeu really looks uncomfortable. Barry made a few misplaced passes but improved. Baines has nobody to link with so he isn't getting into positions to cross from and with the space needed. Gana had his best game for a while too.

Valencia deserves a start now. Let's see what he can do. Stek??? Hmm. One on one, great keeper. long reach but no authority when he claims the ball. And as we have seen against Burnley and Man Utd he can just make bizarre decisions which makes everyone quickly forget the points he has actually saved us. However Robles deserves a shot again.

Awful stat, that's only the second time this season we have out-ran our opponents. Wtf? Koeman has some job on his hands.

Finally!! Yes finally, it was great to see Goodison rise again. I've missed that.

Christopher Timmins
10 Posted 05/12/2016 at 12:59:12
Paul, a great read as always. However, the events leading up to the game were more entertaining than the game itself.

The one positive I took from the game was the willingness of the team to keep going even when things were not going well.

Steve Hogan
11 Posted 05/12/2016 at 14:01:39
I too, don't like to hear ironic cheers when an Everton player is being subbed, Paul, but Cleverley stunk the place out the whole afternoon; I think a five was a generous mark.

How he warrants a starting place over Barkley in the manager's eyes is remarkable. Without Barkley in the side yesterday (as frustrating as he can be), we had no-one to carry any threat forward to Man Utd, particularly in the first half.

Still, it's all about opinions.

Matt Williams
12 Posted 05/12/2016 at 14:12:17
I can't agree with your rating of Cleverley. 5 is exceedingly generous for one the poorest individual performances I've seen in recent years, even by his own low standards. He makes McCarthy look like Zidane.
John Charles
13 Posted 05/12/2016 at 14:46:44
I thought Funes Mori was okay and at least as good as Williams who seems absolutely clueless in possession and not the rock we thought.

Cheering a player off is a bit weird but Cleverly was atrocious. As was Bolasie.

It would be good to see Koeman go for a 4-4-2 with Valencia supporting Lukaku but somehow I don't think it will happen.

Geoff Evans
14 Posted 05/12/2016 at 15:43:30
To cheer the substitution of one of our own was unforgivable.

Whoever you are, you're a disgrace.

Otto Sani
15 Posted 05/12/2016 at 15:50:28
Our boiler broke down today. €300 for a two-hour job + €200 for the parts. And the bastard told me he will have to come back, because he could not get it done properly.

Cleverly should leave in January and he probably will. Barkley seems to have way too much on his shoulders. I refuse to believe that he just ain't good enough. Could he play as a striker with Lukaku in 4-4-2? Has he ever played as a striker?

Then again, I refused to believe that the boiler would need maintenance every single year.

Roger Trenwith
16 Posted 05/12/2016 at 15:58:38
Funes Mori had a good game for him, but his problem is maddening inconsistency, not just game to game but sometimes within the same 5 minutes. They guy is not good for my blood pressure.

I agree completely with your comments about Stekelenburg. Koeman has his work cut out sorting this mess out. There's only three players in yesterday's team I see any future for beyond a couple of seasons – Holgate, Gueye and Lukaku – and he will probably be sold in the summer anyway.

47 years an Everton fan and it doesn't get any easier!

Paul Montgomery
17 Posted 05/12/2016 at 16:24:06
Geoff (#14) – we are moving from the post-truth era to the post-support era. Heckle the team, undermine its collective confidence, boo them off at every opportunity, and criticize all players but some (eg, Cleverley) mercilessly. It's not the team's performances that are spoiling my Saturdays, but the negative attitude of a significant number of supporters around me.

These players are top sportsmen, who have got to the top in a highly competitive situation by trying their socks off. Like most sports, football is to a large extent played between the ears. They are trying every week, but confidence is low and being further drained by negativity – poor performances are a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Oh, and as well as Cleverley ,I blame Kenwright, Osman... and that Moshiri better buck his ideas up before the honeymoon is over too.

Franny Porter
18 Posted 05/12/2016 at 16:29:30
The keeper is awful in my opinion but then again I don't rate Robles too highly.

I prefer Funes Mori to Jagielka on current form but the bloke is an accident waiting to happen, he deserves a run though.

Poor Gareth Barry, it looks like time has finally caught with him. The game against Chelsea the other week reminded of when England played Germany in the Euros a few years back and he had Ozil and Khedira tearing him apart whilst he had a turning circle like the 14C. Time to take him out the firing line I think, surely McCarthy or Barkley could do a better job (or Besic in time).

Valencia, I think he's done enough to warrant a start. Whether he's good enough or not remains to be seen but with both him and Lukaku up front that eases the burden on both. I always thought Kone looked "half-decent" when he played in a two.

Steve Hogan
19 Posted 05/12/2016 at 16:46:45
Franny (18), as a regular user of both the 14C and D, I think your comments are in bad taste. They got me home to Croxteth in the late sixties without too much fuss. However, like many of our current players, they did lack pace.

On occasion though, I was forced to get the no 19 bus along the East Lancs Rd and get off at the English Electric factory, now if you ever got that bus route home, you'd have cause to moan.

Eugene Ruane
20 Posted 05/12/2016 at 16:59:26
Franny #18 - Agree with all of that.

I'd also say that a goal for Gana (who seems a shy/quiet/decent lad and imo, is our player of the season so far) would be great.

Supporters seem to like him well enough, but something (er..not sure what) makes me think that a couple of goals from him (or a winner in a big game etc) could be like a vitamin shot for him and all of us.

I think he's a terrific player and believe everyone (mainly him) would benefit hugely from him banging in and celebrating a couple of goals.

At the moment, there's a 'supporting role' feel about him and his performances (to me) should say 'Starring...'

Brian Porter
22 Posted 06/12/2016 at 06:47:32
I too thought Funes Mori did okay and even one of the match commentators made the point that "Everton at least have a defender who can head the ball out of defence, now."

For the goal, he had the situation under control until Stekelenburg had his moment of madness and possibly froze for a vital second from the sheer shock at suddenly seeing his goalkeeper bearing down on him miles out of his box. It wasn't his fault that Stek committed virtual suicide and the blame fir the goal was purely on the keeper's shoulders.

For the rest of the game he virtually had Ibrahamovic in his pocket and the big Swede didn't like it as you could see if you bothered to look at the way he kept staring at Ramiro. A vast improvement on Jagielka and a couple of important blocks and one particularly vital sliding tackle in the box. Needs a run in the team to get his game fully up to scratch but was miles better than a poor Williams too.

Geoff Evans
23 Posted 06/12/2016 at 10:26:37
Funes Mori is one of the players we can build a successful team around.

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