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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
 Friday 7 August 2009; 8:00pm
Saha (16'), Osman (24')
Half Time: 2-0
  Luque (49')
Attendance: 20,854
Friendly 7
Referee: Howard Webb
The final match of what has been a rather uninspiring... no, let's call it utterly frustrating pre-season campaign, overshadowed by the constant uncertainty regarding Joleon Lescott and the tempting forces form Eastlands.  How much of a role, I wonder, has all that nonsense played in unsettling the team and contributing to the poor attitude David Moyes cited in critiquing his players' performance at Blackpool?  How well is the famous team spirit standing up?

It's unlikely we'll get an answer to that question tonight, but it is the final chance for what passes as match practice before we finally get serious in just eight days time, with the visit of Arsenal in the first real game of the season.  Everton have been resolute regarding Lescott, and he is expected to turn out for the Blues tonight, having missed the last two games with a hip injury.

While it may be reassuring to still see Lescott in a Royal Blue shirt, the player we have perhaps missed the most (at least of those not chronically crocked) is Steven Pienaar.  What little scope remains for creativity in the rump of Moyes's squad tends to lie at the feet of the tricky South African, but he too has been nursing injury.

Then there's Marouane Fellaini, who's problems last season were put down to joining the team so late and missing out on pre-season.  Well, he's had a pretty tough summer it turns out, with some sort of viral Wire in the Blood that has seen him lose far too much weight, probably negating any perceived benefit pre-season training may have provided him.

Then there's Louis Saha, perhaps the only player we have who can strike the ball properly, but he's suffering from asthma attacks...

As for Hibbert and Osman... are they STILL carrying injuries? And are these STILL trotted out as valid excuses for their continually limited performances?  Shouldn't Leon have had some sort of operation this summer to fix whatever is wrong with him?

Deary me... it all sounds so bleak.  But unfortunately there is very little to shout about as we head for the big kick-off.  And Goodison is supposedly sold out for tonght's pre-season friendly?!? That'll be the day!

Michael Kenrick

Match Report

A nicely lively well-contested game, some excellent play from many players, Pienaar especially.  Golas from Saha and Osman lit up the first half but Malaga hit back


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EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Cahill (85' Wallace)
  Fellaini (58' Gosling)
  Pienaar (72' Baxter)
  Saha (76' Vaughan)
  Subs not used
  Arteta (injured)
  Jagielka (injured)
  Anichebe (injured)
  Yobo (injured?)
  J (injured)

MALAGA (4-4-2)
  Weligton (76' M Torres)
  X Torres (46' Forestieri)
  Baha 69'(56' Pablo)
  Valdo (71' Edino)
  Ramos (70' Juanito)
  Omar (46' Stepanof)
  Mtiliga (46' Fernando)
  Benachoir (75' Gonzalez)
  Gaspar (70' Gamez)
  Luque (71' Portillo)
  Subs not used


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