Fulham at home so that is 3 points in the bag then as history would dictate. We all met up and over a pint discussing all things Blue it appeared most were unanimous that even victory today meant little in terms of achieving a 'Euro' something and another season full of maybe, almost or nearly. The subject of Suarez was raised time and again but I must admit apart from the fact it happened to them I care little. It is their problem to deal with.
However whatever is discussed by the ex-players, media etc. the thing that saddened me more than anything was to read in a newspaper that during game between UNDER 8s a child had bitten another and doing a Suarez was offered by way of explanation. Every Pro in the land should heed that.
The sun shone, there was a nip in the air as the wind blew up from the Mersey as we approached the ground and along Goodison road it was sort of busy yet quiet. The fat van and Blue Dragon no more than ticking over, the Cafe quiet and the Winslow shut and not a sellers cry to be heard, no WASAG, Blue Blood or Speak from the harbour and it sort of set the scene for a less than convincing display that was yet to unfold.
The proey today was a tribute to the 1963 lads who won us something, hell only the league title. Many have passed on but their names were fondly saluted and then the survivors were paraded during half time. Alex Young, Tony Kay, Derek Temple, Billy Bingham and Mick Meagan. I saluted them and hoped they had a good day after treading the hallowed turf on which they made their names, names that will never be forgotten.
Z-Cars and the game commenced and with the league appointing mearly a championship ref in Mr Moss they knew something as the game would unfold into little more than and end of season game with neither team showing much appetite.
Do you know this was our 5th straight home win and 4th without conceding, who said 'To little to late'?
In the first 15 mins we had Anichebe have a shot of sorts that posed no danger but a header from Fellaini caused the keeper to save well. Berbatov almost connected from a Ruiz cross, that was close. 15Mins and some right good joined up stuff saw Osman play in Coleman who dashed to the by-line and pulled one back for Pienaar to slot beyond the keeper. A fair cheer but not euphoric as a sense of 'Europe out the window' sort of pervaded and for the rest of the game that feeling persisted as players from both sides seemed content just to fulfil the fixture. I may do them a disservice but that was the feeling from many around me.
We continued in a positive vein but any ability to get a second goal seemed beyond us. Many a move knocked on the door but that vital clinical pass or finish in the last third was absent. Time and again we got as far as the opponents 18yd line only for a misplaced pass to thwart us, at times I wonder if our medical people check players for colour blindness as their ability to distinguish between Blue and White was on today's evidence questionable.
The half wound down with some good approach play yet to the observer Fulham's goal seemed in little danger. But wait, Mirallas hit one that seemed destined for the far corner but the keeper did well to push it away. We were on top alright but with our inability to finish good moves the danger of a Fulham break coming to something was always with us.
H/T and I stayed upstairs to applaud the magnificent survivors of 63' Ahh the memories of a mere pup and the realisation that if the likes of Young and Kay were in todays line-up this would have been one hell of a different game.
Second half and not a lot changed except maybe we were a little more hesitant than in the first half. Yes we put some moves together but with no end product and from time to time Fulham had dangerous looking forays forward.
We were sloppy in our passing and when that spread to Jags at the back the crowd found a voice that said 'Buck up your ideas'
We got to near 70 mins and the manager finally put Jelavic out of his misery and replaced him with Barkley. Now I thought this is just the half paced game that the lad can shine in but it was not to be.
Mirallas was having a poor game but from time to time came to life and threatened to either create something or hit a special and I think the manager kept him on for what he might do rather than what he was doing.
Coleman was getting forward as much as he could and in one run was felled just shy of the box. The free kick came to naught as Osman had his effort put away for a corner which produced nothing. Our man Mirallas went on a mazy run but fell over when he was surrounded, he didn't get his free kick and rightly so yet within minutes the Belgian was hitting a screamer that the keeper did well to palm away. Good save that.
Fellaini was putting in a good shift box to box and without being outstanding he was at least keeping us moving and offering himself both front and back in an attempt to support others who really were not having the best of games against a team who seemed to have their minds in a faraway sunny clime.
The end was in sight and after dominating in most areas except scoring we did up it a little and saw Fellaini hit a cross to the back post into the ground and over when really he could have been expected to score. Then Barkley won a 50/50 and surged on goal, one on one – Go on lad make your name but yet again the skill of conversion from one on one eluded him as it has so many of our players this term.
Still we couldn't be sure of the points as Osman had to take a yellow for the team as felled his man.
We saw out 4mins of added time in cautious fashion when in truth we should have been comfortable and seeing the half out with gay abandon. Final whistle and a half hearted cheer and off we went to our watering holes and instead of dissecting the game we were planning the final games in more of a day out mode rather than anything that might just afford the passports being dusted off.
M.O.tM – Fellaini with a mention for Pienaar who showed improvement.
Only under 35,000 attended today but that figure wasn't helped by the three transit van loads brought by Fulham.
Was it just me or was there really a show of inevitability from the fans attending as the buzz was noticeably missing and the times I heard the phrase 'This is where we will finish' was to my ears a touch disappointing.
This group of players has been assembled well and given us a shout at Europe but that necessary push to build when required is sadly missing. For me – Good canny manager. -- less than capable owners and it shows. Yet the future is in the hands of our owners and no one else so my plea to them is make my ticket renewal worthwhile. Trouble is I think no matter what they do I will keep coming back as long as I can. Anyone else feel like that.
Liverpool next and we haven't won there for some time but as we are ahead of them at the moment I expect a fair bit of bite in that game.
I hope our present players looked at those from 63 and noticed that to achieve what they did even though they may not have been as athletically conditioned as our present lot they were WINNERS. Take that thought to Anfield lads.
UP THE BLUES
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301 Posted 28/04/2013 at 10:10:40
308 Posted 28/04/2013 at 11:06:53
We seem to one of those teams that raises it's game just enough for us to be a little better than the opposing team, never consistent in commitment or style of play... i.e. we seem to aim to deliver just enough to win a game. That's possibly down to self-confidence in our own ability and that comes from the players themselves.
Sure we need more quality players around the park to help rotation, however it's down to players on the park.
How many of us out there work extra shifts, extra jobs or pick ourselves up and take the next step forward when we're hit with an upper cut (redundancy, health etc)?
6 of 9 points would be amazing, 9 would be a cold beer on a hot day after the gym!!!
314 Posted 28/04/2013 at 11:35:56
326 Posted 28/04/2013 at 12:05:00
338 Posted 28/04/2013 at 12:27:12
Someone described Jelavic as a fan who had won a raffle to play in the first team; I accept he is low on confidence but I don't know how many more chances we can give him. When you think that we are still mathematically challenging for a top 4 place without a scoring forward, it is remarkable really.
359 Posted 28/04/2013 at 14:42:21
370 Posted 28/04/2013 at 15:21:56
Man U (71) would still be top
Man City (56) in 3rd place a point behind Arsenal (57).
Spurs (51) lead Chelsea(51) for the remaining CL place
Everton (46) in 6th are ahead of Liverpool (45) by a single point.
Due to the fact that Norwich (26) have taken 12 points off the top 6 teams, they would find themselves 3rd from bottom with Reading (20) and QPR (17) occupying the relegation places. West Ham and Aston Villa have taken the least points off the top 6 teams with 2 points each.
441 Posted 28/04/2013 at 19:24:09
We can get to 68 points, still. Let's get there and see where it lands us.
443 Posted 28/04/2013 at 19:37:04
Meanwhile on planet Earth...
538 Posted 29/04/2013 at 01:18:13
I recorded the Newcastle vs Liverpool game hoping to see Newcastle at least gain a draw. I have never seen such a poor performance by any Prem League team as I witnessed with Newcastle (my wife's a Geordie so I watch them perhaps more than I should). It is incredible that a team of players, so good last season (very few changes) looked so disconnected and nervous. Liverpool weren't that good but easily took advantage of the nervy, uncommitted performance. I know N U were missing Collocini and Krul but nevertheless……………..
There's no reason why we shouldn't beat Liverpool at Anfield but somebody has to wrap Sturridge up!
891 Posted 30/04/2013 at 00:03:30
59+9=68 in my part of the galaxy.
What does it add up to over there with you in the 4th dimension?
041 Posted 30/04/2013 at 15:33:03
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