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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

A Comprehensive Spanking...

By Paul Traill :  31/12/2008 :  Comments (0) :
Late! Late Late! As I got to Hamilton Square stuck behind some ditherer, though just made the train as the doors slid shut. Thankfully I bumped into an old mate on the train who was also going the game and we debated if Everton's 4-6-0 formation would work today against Sunderland. We both though it would.

He went to The Albany. I strolled on to The Spellow as per usual meeting Gary with Ste to follow. After a few ciders we were on the way, with Everton's only change being Leon Osman in, with the apparently impressive Dan Gosling dropping to the bench. Looking at the Sunderland line-up, they looked pretty cack.

We lost the toss again. Rob Styles was the ref. Everton started well, straight at it. We made the breakthrough when Arteta spanked a free kick straight into the top corner! Well, at least that's how I saw it through my blinkered specs. As it turned out the wall simply evaporated and the free kick flew in past the chanceless keeper.

It was 2-0 through another Arteta free kick. This time he smacked it into the wall but, credit to him, was quick with the follow up, whacking it back at goal and, via a deflection, into the net. Get in there! We celebrated with a half-time pint!

Sunderland tried changing it at half time, swapping some no-mark for another no-mark. It didn't work as Everton's midfield simply bossed the second half. Arteta and Neville were simply fantastic. Arteta just has to stay in the middle now as he's clearly more comfortable there. The only chance from the visitors came from a fantastic Steed Malbranque dribble and shot which was well held by Howard.

Everton wrapped it all up when substitute Dan Gosling got on the end of a cross from the left-hand side, finishing smartly into the corner of the net with a quick finish. It was great to see all the players mob the young lad when he scored. That was game over.

Cudos to Jutkiewicz for an impressive cameo. An emphatic performance by Everton. We then left and stayed out in town for a ruddy good night. Bring on Macclesfield Town!

Player Ratings:

Howard: Not a lot to do but made a decent save when he needed to. He's certainly back to normal now. 7

Baines: Got up and down the flank quite well but played within himself a bit I felt. Its good to know we can rely on him when others are crocked. 6

Lescott: Just fine but whether he likes it or not is better at left back. 6

Jagielka: A very commanding display from Jags. Very Stubbsish. 8

Hibbert: Got forward well. Seems a lot more confident bombing forward than he used to. 7

Neville: Had a storming game. He's had a storming season if you ask me. Ran Arteta very close to Man of the Match I think. 9

Arteta: The complete display. Two goals and was simply everywhere. He loves it in the middle... hopefully. 10

Fellaini: Had a very industries game and, low and behold, didn't get booked. 8

Osman: Didn't look quite fit to me but did alright. 6

Pienaar: Not the best of performances but certainly put the work in. 6

Cahill: Put a shift in. Was often chasing back and didn't realise he had to stay up front but did a good job all in all. I guess we probably should've put Big Vic on sooner in hindsight. 6

Subs: Anichebe (for Fellaini): Did alright. 6

Gosling (for Osman): Looks the business to me. He's a very lively young lad and got his goal of course. 6

Jutkiewicz (for Cahill): I think he looked boss. He played a lovely ball as soon as he came on which kinda won me over. 7

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