Fellaini Does A Big Dunc!

Everton v Manchester United

Paul Traill 21/08/2012 28comments  |  Jump to last
A little belated for the season start and, having witnessed everyone else perform over the weekend, we finally had a chance to watch Everton play in our evening kick off against the almost-champions.

I work in Manchester and anticipating plenty of Liverpool-bound traffic, sneaked out of work a little early and managed to avoid all the traffic. I was around Goodison Park at roughly 6:15pm. It was nice driving along Couny Road and seeing so many blue shirts abouta nice buzz of excitement around the ground.

I parked up, got my chippy and made for the pub to catch up with Gary and Sue Simon and Stu also in attendance Ste joining us a little later. It was so warm both in and out of the pub we made the most of the nice weather and stood outside whilst catching up on our respective summers. It was a real good feeling pre-game and though you darent quite believe it just yet, you sensed tonight could be another of those special Goodison Park nights.

Making our way to the ground and we heard Kevin Mirallas being introduced to the crowd; we were a little too late to see him, though we were into the ground and in our new seats nicely in time for kick off. The atmosphere was rocking and Everton even managed to win the toss, attacking the Park End in the first half.

Jelavic spearheaded the attack wih Fellaini supporting. Jagielka was given the nod to partner Distin in defence in what was largely the same side which finished against Newcastle United last season. Manchester United had problems defensively and Michael Carrick had to partner Vidic at the back with Valencia filling in at right back. Both sets of fans were noisy and vibrant as Andre Marriner got proceedings under way.

Everton began much the livelier of the two sides, though on the counter attack Distin had to be at his sharpest to get across quickly and snuff out the danger from Nani on the left hand side Sylvain tackling the Portuguese and Nani going ballistic at the linesman as he expected a corner, even if the ball did clearly come back off Nani.

Nani did have a drive from roughly 20 yards out which inched past the post. Rooney had two chances, one he snatched at and hit straight at Howard, the other a free kick which Howard tipped around the post. Scholes hit one from distance which was comfortable from Howard and Welbeck had a few bites at a few chances, Jagielka cleared one off the line from Cleverley and Howard saved from Kagawa.

Whilst that may all sound a lot, that was the overall sum of Manchester Uniteds chances throughout. They were still typical Manchester United however. Passing the ball around crisply and patiently and then out of nowhere bang they speed it up and hit you hard. At times we were hanging in there but the players stood up to the challenge and deserved the victory. To say the crowd were the Twelfth Man is something of an understatement as the crowd willed Everton home.

As for chances well Everton had plenty also. Fellaini hit the post in the first half after waltzing through Man Utds patched up defence and in the second half Osman also struck the woodwork with a dazzling half volley which he was unlucky to see come back off the underside of the bar. He was just as unlucky first half also when another half volley was tremendously saved by De Gea. Pienaar was also twice denied by the Spaniard with plucky efforts at goal and Baines deflected free kick was also majestically saved you sensed it might not be Evertons day as all these chances went begging, until the big man stepped up

A great run by Pienaar pulled three Man Utd players in his direction and he managed to win a corner. Gibson (who had put in several good corners all evening) planted an outswinger into the box, Fellaini got the run on his marker and headed into the corner to put Everton in the driving seat.

It wasnt just his goal but his all round play which brought back great memories of Big Dunc against Manchester United. Im referring to one game in particular when Big Dunc put in the performance possibly of his life, bullying Rio Ferdinand and Manchester United into submission with a classic performance topped off with a trademark headed goal. Fellaini tonight was similar. Covering tremendous amounts of ground bullying Carrick and Vidic out of the game, getting on the end of things, being an absolute menace and then topping it all off with a 1-0 win to sink Manchester United. A truly excellent performance by Marouane.

If truth be told, having said all that, his performance dipped a fair bit in the last 20 minutes as he gave away several silly free kicks. Manchester Uniteds pressure grew and grew whilst Everton dropped deeper and deeper. Fortunately Jagielka was in exceptional form at the back and United werent to be allowed through the crowd willing Everton home and such was the loud chorus of whistles from the crowd, Marriner just had no choice but to blow up once the allotted four minutes of added time were up.

The full-time whistle was met with tremendous applause from the Everton faithful which spilled out onto the streets everyone in good form and good voice as we made our way home. The only downer being the closure of the Birkenhead Tunnel meaning a longer than usual journey home though I think Id have settled for that pre-game.

So, for the first time since God knows when, Everton have gotten off to a winning start, toppling Manchester United in doing so Let's hope we can keep the run going for this Saturdays Bank Holiday clash at Villa Park.

Well done Everton! A terrific performance.

Player Ratings:

Howard: Despite a lot of pressure from Man United as the game wore on, he was rather untroubled throughout though was there when he was needed. 7

Baines: It seemed like more of his work was about defence than attack though he acquitted himself well. Unlucky with that first half free kick. 6

Distin: Good and solid. Quite typical really. 7

Jagielka: My Man of the Match. He made so many tackles, headers and clearances and was in the way of everything. Ratcliffe-esque in my opinion. Certainly justified his selection. 9

Hibbert: Excellent from Hibbert. Made some solid tackles and was much more effective than Ive seen him for some time going forward. I think his testimonial has done him good. Maybe he feels the crowd are now more on his side. 8

Neville: Some silly moments but did a lot of running and kept the lads going. 6

Gibson: Had a good game. Kept the ball generally well and played some fantastic set-pieces (with one crucial one of course). Looks very settled. 7

Pienaar: Not quite at his most effective but certainly put the work in. Will be fine. 7

Osman: I thought Osman had an excellent 70 minutes before tiring prior to substitution. He was lively, pressed well and was twice very unlucky not to score. Not a foregone conclusion that Mirallas will walk straight into the team at all... 8

Fellaini: Just fantastic. I was a little disappointed with some of his silly fouls once we went ahead but generally its nigh on impossible to criticize him after a performance like that, topped off with the goal of course. As seasons go on, its going to be harder and harder to keep hold of him I think. 9

Jelavic: It occurred to me at Malaga the other week that he looked a little off the pace and I thought that was again the case tonight. For the last 20 minutes in this one he offered practically nothing at all. Still, we know what hes capable of and Im sure hell get better, hopefully beginning at Villa Park. 5

Coleman (for Osman): Did well at his feverish best down the flank as Eveton really needed an outlet to counter attack. 6

Naismith (for Jelavic): Was very lively and busy in the short time he had on the field. 7

Heitinga (for Fellaini): Filled a few holes in the short time he had. 6

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Reader Comments (28)

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Jamie Sweet
1 Posted 21/08/2012 at 02:29:28
It was Big Dunc in a wig! Great stuff! Great night!
John Gorham
2 Posted 21/08/2012 at 03:00:27
I agree about Jelavic he seem a bit off...
Jamie Barlow
3 Posted 21/08/2012 at 03:36:01
Duncan has definitely had a word.

A bit unfair with Fellaini and his silly tackles. He looked exhausted, and rightly so. He never stopped.

Man of the match by a mile.

Ernie Baywood
4 Posted 21/08/2012 at 05:14:31
Fella's performance was about the most dominant I've seen in the Premier League. I'd give him a 10.
Tony Cheek
5 Posted 21/08/2012 at 05:23:29
Good read as usual Paul, must have missed Neville`s silly moments. Not my fave but thougt he was great last night. Wrote on the forum last night that I would like to see blues start a game one day without Hibbo, Osman and Nev. Felt a right twat afterwards! Thought all three were brill. Great start for us , hope we do bogie team Villa next game!
Paul Olsen
6 Posted 21/08/2012 at 06:57:51
Although some many did great last night, not awarding the big hair with the MOM seems a bit silly. He was truly outstanding!

Jags DID do great though, that save off the line saved my day. As did those sescond half crunching tackles from Hibbert.

Most happy about the great team effort, we really linked up nicely for most of the game and performed a perfectly executed tactical game against a team wholl surely once again be one of the top 2 teams this season.

Jim Harrison
7 Posted 21/08/2012 at 06:05:59
Have to second that Tony, although it would be nice to see less of Neville! All of them played well.
Though the decision was vindicated, thought it funny that Jonny started on the bench. He really seems to get pissed about being a sub, cant see him hanging around if he is viewed as second choice.
Dave Williams
8 Posted 21/08/2012 at 07:51:07
Agree that Felli looked shattered which explained the late fouls but what an outstanding performance from him!

Great team selection by putting the ex-Man Utd players in centre midfield as both rose to the occasion. What a buy Gibson was at 500k!

Anyone willing to say how well the board have supported Moyes this summer?
Paul Gladwell
9 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:05:46
Jim, I was not happy Moyes picked Neville but it was a good job he knows better than me, as he had a cracking game, the little fella Utd bought from Dortmund was drifting everywhere looking for the killer pass and Neville did a great job on him, he looked the only decent Utd player to me.
Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:21:54
Paul, I'd knock off a point apiece from Baines and Pienaar and give them to Distin... thought Baines had a subpar game with some inaccurate passing and getting caught up a couple of times, requiring Distin to save his ass, and Pienaar clearly got tired in the second half.

I too didn't see any "silly" moments from Nev and thought he was superb. And I'd say Ossie was well off the pace for the first 30 minutes. He took his two chances superbly and was desperately unlucky not to cash in on either one, but I think he rates a 6 and no more.

Stan Sheppard
11 Posted 21/08/2012 at 07:59:43
Great match report. Cheers.

I thought Distin was also awesome last night. Made a few last ditch tackles in the first half and won almost everything that came his way in the air. Big man definiately MOM.

I thought it was encouraging that although baines and pienaar didnt really sparkle down the left the rest of the team didnt suffer. Early days, but very encouraging going forward.

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:29:42
Jamie Sweet, all due respect to Big Dunc, he never played a game like that in his life. Felli was winning tackles at his own 18 in between all his heroics up front. Love Dunc, but this kid is special.
Duncan McDine
13 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:13:21
I agree with the ratings but surely Fellaini was man of the match... I am seriously in love with him in a totally non-Benderlike fashion, honest.
Sam Morrison
14 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:31:58
Mike, I don't think Jamie was being as literal as all that. But I take your point. I was said to see Jack go but boy was I happy it wasn't Marouane.
Alan Clarke
15 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:51:58
Bit harsh on Jelavic. Fellaini should have squared to him instead of shooting from a tight angle when he hit the post in the first half. Jelavic would have had another easy 1 touch finish. He also took up good positions when Pienaar hit some awful shots in the first half. Had Pienaar had a bit more composure and squared to him, again, I think Jelavic would have been in the goals.

It's also worth noting that the presence of Jelavic meant Man U's defence didn't want to step out to pick up Fellaini and he was the reason Man U didn't want to play their usual high line. I think Jelavic deserves more credit than a 5 and played an important role in last night's win.

Jim Knightley
16 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:59:58
Yeah Jelavic's movement is understated...he was causing Carrick and Vidic alot of issues, and it's good to see that he works hard, and can cause problems, even when not involved in scoring or chance creation (unlike the Yak). I think Naismith should have come on slightly earlier that's all, because Jelavic was struggling a bit, and hasn't really caught up on fitness yet. (Which is not surprising given the Euros).
Jimmy Srheim
17 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:46:11
Dunc was a striker, Felli is not. Jelavic, Baines, Pienaar and Gibson look far from being 100% fit, the whole team looked dead after 75 minutes. Jags, Distin and Felli were the only ones up to it.

The biggest worry for me is how far Jelavic is from his best shape from last season. It might take a month or two to get him there, but Naismith can take the burden for him until then. Naismith looks a lot fresher then Jelavic, I also hope Mirallas can hit the ground running, we still struggle to find that perfect striker in my view.

Jelavic can not be expected to be on form all season long, so it will be important that Mirallas and Naismith do the job when they get the chance.

The game against Villa will be very different then this, we will have more clear-cut chances to score, but Pienaar, Baines and Gibson must step up a lot if we are to win against them. Felli can only do so much, he needs the rest of the team to step up as well.

After watching the game, I feel that both Everton and Man Utd were below 100% and that makes me a bit sad, it does take a little away from the joy of winning against them. This game could have gone either way if Ferguson had gone with RVP from the start.

Still, nothing better then winning the first game of the season against Man Utd.

How do I feel about the Villa game? It all depends on Mirallas and Naismith playing or not.

Phil Bellis
18 Posted 21/08/2012 at 10:29:58
Big Joe once described Duncan in cricketing terms as "unplayable". Fellaini showed us last night what that meant. Fantastic performance and atmosphere in a proper football stadium ("Woodison", my arse).

A sample neutral view from the BBC comments...

"All credit to Everton though. They don't have superstars, they have REAL players that work together and play together, in the spirit football should be played, and that's coming from a Gooner who loves pretty football."

Tony Doran
19 Posted 21/08/2012 at 12:27:09
Felli was like a big bad-arse fly squat last night, squatting all the manc flie's that dare enter his zone. Where can I get one of those wigs.
Stan Sheppard
20 Posted 21/08/2012 at 13:58:25
Well said Alan Clarke. Jelavic has come in for a bit of stick, however I agree that it was his selflessness for the team that made space for and allowed others to stand out. I just hope his leg problem at the end was no more than cramp. He took his place in the dugout so he must be ok. Fantastic result and performance from the team/manager.
Brian Cleveland
21 Posted 21/08/2012 at 15:58:22

For me Fellaini was MOM easily. Everytime the ball came to him it was controlled beautifully with his chest and laid off, and in the air won everything. Sometimes in the past he's let smaller guys beat him in the air, but last night he was really fired up and gave everything. Don't think the criticism of him giving away silly free kicks towards the end was justified, he was absolutely all in, nothing left to give. I felt perhaps he should have been substituted 5 - 10 minutes earlier, but given his effectiveness last night perhaps DM felt it was better to leave him on a bit longer because United just didn't know what to do with him.

Hibbert put in some great well timed tackles (as always), why do some people really not like him? I don't understand that one.

Jags and Distin looked pretty solid nuff said.

Jelavic occupied their defence well and moved around leaving space for others. Anyone heard whether he just had a bit of cramp or did he get injured?

Had me worried when defending so deep. Whenever we cleared the ball there was nobody to either pick it up or harass the guy on the ball.

What are the thoughts of others? Right decision? Whilst I was bricking it at times towards the end, they really didn't create anything clear cut, apart from the one off the line by Jags. Before that when we were defending higher up the pitch they did break through a few times and needed a saving tackle, which fortunately was always well timed last night.

Anyway, well done lads, now keep the same attitude against Villa, don't relax!

Martin Mason
22 Posted 22/08/2012 at 07:57:33
The problem is going to be that Everton's new game could become aerial bombardment to Fellaini, defences will cotton on to it and against the best defences it won't work. The result will be Fellaini losing the plot and picking up bans and bookings. I desperately hope that we keep it on the floor as our top policy.
Jim Harrison
23 Posted 22/08/2012 at 08:04:35
Or Martin, it becomes one of our myriad of approches! I don't think it would be wise to try it against Stoke or Bolton (not a worry this season) as their centre backs would probably just smash him all over the park, but for the utd game it was the right decision.
Anthony Flack
24 Posted 22/08/2012 at 10:40:32
I thought Jelly ran his bollocks off at the same time I thought he looked heavy, maybe it was his new hairstyle, he'll score at Villa
Andy Stevens
25 Posted 22/08/2012 at 15:18:35
I'm with you Anthony (#229) as I thought Jelavic looked like he's put a bit of weight on since the Euros. He'll shift that soon enough and be back to his one-touch best!

What I'm looking forward to is where Moyes plays Mirallas. My 'gut' says it will be wide right but I'd like to see him in the Cahill position just off Jelavic although where would that leave Naismith?

Brian Cleveland
26 Posted 22/08/2012 at 16:13:37
Maybe a bit late now, but this was the report from the BBC website yesterday, how nice to see something positive! :-)


Danny Kewley
27 Posted 22/08/2012 at 19:12:45
Have been in blue heaven since Mundy night "and why not " but something has struck me about some of the posts of the last couple of days, some Evertonians are worried that before the Sept 1st window somebody might snap up yer man Fellaini ; fear not compadres ---- it was Fella who talked his mate Kevin into our team !!!!
Ipso Facto the boy is gonna stay!
Bjrn-Ivar Pedersen
28 Posted 23/08/2012 at 20:17:58
I loved that goal, it was like seeing Big Dunc in action.
Fellaini is great on his head and in the air and has been so for awhile.

So if he ever can make his passing abilities increase, then he'll can become a very great player. He do miss a lot of passes.

Not to brqag off my self, but back in the days even I had better passes then what he can show for...but I was probably the slowest wingeback you guys ever saw hehe.

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