Everton 4 - 0 Manchester CityAlarms set early for a Sky bonanza featuring Liverpool v Manchester with Everton hosting Man City and being the early k.o. The lengths broadcasters will go to hype up the viewing figures without ever stopping to think how it might inconvenience fans always gets to me. It doesn’t affect me to any degree but those long distance fans I feel for. It was a dull dank day with drizzle and showers as we convened and as there is no good or bad time for a pint it was ordered and juniors were dispatched to Makie D’s for breakfast fayre.
Not many had much hope for us after witnessing that cup exit but with the delivery of the teams and the sight of our two new men on the bench spirits were raised. The walk up was quiet mainly due to January weather but the fan zone and all the eateries were well populated.
The teams entered the arena and captain Gareth Barry and today’s mascot Bradley Lowery the little Sunderland fan who is terminally ill was carried on by Romeu Lukaku. Everton had helped to get treatment. He carried out his duties well and a message of thanks from his parents was put up on the big screen and got a grand round of applause. He then scampered off to join in a kick about with some other youngsters and it was heart-warming to see him so full of it and lively. Everton do this stuff so well.
The game started on the whistle of today’s ref Mr Clattenberg who is not unknown to us. The first actions were mainly City pressing forward with Everton looking not to give them an edge. Right away you could see that words had been said over the week as we were quick into the tackle and looking to break at speed when we could. Our first scare came when from a City clearance Aguero was found out left and he sent a good pass for De Bruyne to head for the dead ball line and cross for the speedy Sterling to find himself unmarked in centre of the goal. Breath was held as the worst was feared but as he took a touch Robles slid out and blocked just as Baines slid in from the other side and between the two of them the threat was no more plus no interference from the ref much to City’s chagrin. Du Bruyne found Sterling down the left and the ex-red found Silva free in the six yard box with just Joel to beat, we feared the worst but Joel was out fast and blocked Silva’s effort but the ball squirmed loose and before Silva could get a shot the defence were back and Williams got a good clearing hoof to it. It was noticeable we were operating at a much quicker pace this week and our pressing of the man on the ball was admirable to the extent that City were now less of a threat whilst we were more of a threat.
Everton were ever ready to press forward as they moved the ball with pace and with some 15mins to the break Tom Davies picked up the ball on half way and strode forth and released a peach of a pass to Mirallas who took it on at pace down the right, looked up and fed a perfect cross to Rom’s feet and the big Belgian hit a left footer that left the keeper flat footed and the net bulging to the sound of a Goodison Roar. We were in front and deserved it as we had weathered their early threat and had now hit back.
We had one more scare before the break when from a City cross Davies did a defensive header that only found Sterling just outside the area and his shot although powerful was a tad too high. That man Davies was to the fore again when he headed a looping header off our line, some record that made one and saved one in short order.
Many said the same thing in that a second goal to us would be handy as we were sure Pep would have given them a Pep talk.
The second half started and within a minute, to our astonishment and glee we doubled our lead when the ball bounced of Rom and went loose but Barry was quick to go in hard and win it and prod it forward to Ross who ran at their defence and had them backing away before feeding Mirallas who took it to the right of the keeper before firing it back across him and into the street onion bag. Cue mayhem. Then a loud – very loud chant of ‘Who are yer’ ‘Who are yer’ directed at the once rowdy away end.
We now settled into a Koeman trade mark tactic by playing deep but breaking with pace when we could and the shift put in by all the players in really pushing themselves bodes well for the future. Imagine that with consistency and a large dose of the camaraderie shown today. City were no longer getting behind us and although they had the lion’s share of the ball it was all played out in front of us which is always a good sign that with no lapses in concentration the goal will stay intact and that is how the half went on. We did have a couple of raids that had them scurrying. On the hour Pep sacrificed Zabaleta in favour of Ieanacho to try to get more threat in his teams attack, it didn’t work,
We were looking decent now and the atmosphere a bit more relaxed so much so that the manager decided to give Schneiderlin his debut in place of Mirallas. Both players got good applause as they crossed.80 mins arrived and Tom Davies still full of running raced with the ball from his own half and on nearing the area played a ball into Rom who miscued it to Barkley who saw Davies who had fallen over get up again and feed him in. he took the ball up to the keeper and then with a cheeky dink left keeper grounded and ball netted. His first Everton first team goal and boy did we all celebrate with everyone’s man of the match.
All the songs and chants now. Stonesy, Stonesy what’s the score was well belted out. That was game over and probably Man City’s title hopes. Four mins of added time and the manager felt easy enough to give our latest ‘one for the future’ his debut. Our young man Lookman looked as though he had just left school but boy what a debut as Stones fired a clearance that hit Coleman and the ball bounced loose in the box and Lookman pounced, controlled it and then slammed it between keeper’s legs and home. A boy’s entrance to the game and a man’s finish to the game. He looks a Gud UN that one.
Final whistle and the rendition of ‘If yer know yer ‘Istory’ was deafening. In that second half the bear pit was back at Goodison.
MotM – Tom Davies
On the walk back someone said it was raining – I never noticed I wondered today whilst watching if this was the style Koeman is seeking. It looked to me like you need some very fit and fast players to chivvy and harry all game and if we can keep the clinical finishing going who knows where it could take us. Although Davies was MotM today I wonder where he will stand in the pecking order when Schneiderlin is match fit and Gana is back from ACN? Still a nice problem to have for the manager I reckon.
Looking at our fixture list if we can put games together like today then seventh should be ours or even better if anyone above us collapses. So still something to play for. See you soon.
UP THE BLUES
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