After much deliberation and with the time ticking on towards 1pm Ste decided to nip over in the car. It was nice to also be in the company of Gary, Sue and Simon pre-match as we all congregated in the pub for the first time this 2014. We caught most of the enthralling Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester City match…the hosts showing just what upsets can occur in the FA Cup competition and giving us a reminder that Everton had to be on their guard this afternoon…or so we thought.
With Everton’s quality form this season showing no signs of diminishing and with the game clearly of no priority to Harry Redknapp the match became something of a stroll for the team in Royal Blue and the only surprise at full time was that Everton hadn’t scored more than the four…that and Joey Barton’s flamboyant hairstyle I suppose.
We were a little jolted as we got to our seats with the news that the match was delayed by 10 minutes. We couldn’t understand why as everyone appeared to be in the stadium and ready for kick off though traffic congestion was the official reason. Anyhow it gave us time to enjoy a nice video on the big screen of our triumph’s both past and present before Howard Webb led the teams onto the field. Quite a few changes to the team for Everton though we kept our shape.
Robles, Oviedo, Osman, Naismith and Jelavic (despite being linked with QPR overnight) all into the team. Alcaraz and Stones continued in central defence. There were quite a few recognizable players in the team for QPR with several of the team having featured previously in the Premier League. It was a shame to see Andy Johnson and Richard Dunne only made the substitutes bench amidst several apparent changes to the QPR line-up with the match of no priority of theirs.
We attacked towards the Park End in the first half and though perhaps a little jittery in the opening couple of minutes it took Everton no time at all to exert authority on proceedings. McCarthy and Barry excellent at stopping QPR in the midfield and creating attacks…Coleman and Oviedo instrumental on the flanks, Barkley and Osman the creative force in midfield and Jelavic hungry for goals up front. This set the tone for the match and we could have scored a couple of goals before Barkley stroked home from inside the penalty area to put Everton one ahead.
Just before half time Jelavic doubled our advantage and effectively killed the tie with an excellent strike from just outside the penalty area as Everton’s quality shined. You felt QPR were playing within themselves given they had some decent players out there but that they failed to produce a shot on target throughout probably tells its own story.
Into the second half and Martinez resisted the urge to make changes at the break, in fact waiting until the 82nd minute and when Everton were 4-0 ahead before disrupting things. Our third, and Jelavic’s second, came when he stabbed home from short-range to bullet in a good Oviedo centre…Assou-Ekotto ball watching as the Croat finished. Jelavic indeed had his opportunity to completely rid himself of his scoreless frustrations which have plagued him for pretty much the last year when he was given the chance to take a penalty after brave, feisty and determined play from Bryan Oviedo won Everton a penalty.
You fancied Jelavic to score but he tried to be clever, chipping the penalty goalwards (like ‘Panenka’) after sending Cesar the wrong way but he got too much under it and the ball came back off the crossbar and QPR cleared. You sympathized a little with Jelavic but he really shouldn’t have tried to be so coy…he spent pretty much the rest of the match apologizing to Cesar probably as his effort was a little disrespectful.
It mattered not to the scoreline however as it must have been less than a minute later when Seamus Coleman, who really is having a terrific season, scored his sixth of the season in some style, smashing home from the edge of the penalty area to the delight of the Gwladys Street.
4-0 was how it finished. Naismith and Jelavic both came close to making it five though were denied by Clint Hill’s acrobatic goal line defending.
Before full time we had cameo’s from Blues past and departing. Andy Johnson took to the field to great applause and duly spent most of his time on the pitch offside. John Heitinga replaced Gareth Barry for the final seven minutes and kept things tidy as Everton passed out the closing minutes. On full time John Heitinga went to all four sides of the ground to acknowledge the supporters. Even at my 31 years I get a little sad when I see players say their goodbye’s…particularly if they have been at the club and performed well for a reasonable period of time…good luck to Heitinga. I wish him well.
So Everton quite effortlessly into the hat for the 4th Round and Oldham at home would do nicely. Without getting too carried away you feel the team this year is capable of a very real stab at bringing home the FA Cup come May.
Robles: Had practically nothing to do. Kicking a little wayward if you really want me to be critical. 6
Oviedo: Excellent from Oviedo who’s done brilliantly to play his way in and give Martinez something of a selection headache…if not to replace Baines there may be opportunities for him on the flanks. Certainly one of the (many) success stories of this season. One assist and won a penalty today. Not a bad afternoon’s work at all. 8
Alcaraz: Very impressive. You’d think he’d been at the club for years. Speaks volumes that Jagielka may struggle to regain his place when he returns from injury. Very solid and composed. 8
Stones: Also very impressive. Shows great maturity for such a young player and reads the game very well. 8
Coleman: Excellent as he has been all season. Scored a belter and was a constant menace down the right hand side. 8
Barry: Kept things ticking along nicely. 6
McCarthy: Had a solid, enterprising game. Has found a great level of consistency. 7
Barkley: Started on the wing I think and had a good first half. His second half however, was simply exquisite. Time and time again he ran at the QPR defence and they had no answer to him. On another day he would have scored some wonder goals today. What a player we have here. My Man of the Match. 9
Naismith: Busy as always and kept on going. 6
Osman: Was useful. Captained the side and was tricky for QPR to deal with, especially in the first half. 6
Jelavic: Looked hungry as he has done his last few appearances off the bench and deserved his goals. It’s a shame he couldn’t grab his hat-trick. I’d be reluctant to sell him right now. You have to respect he may desire to leave to get into the Croatia World Cup squad but unless we have someone better to bring in I don’t see the use in selling him, especially now he has grabbed a couple of goals. Will be interesting to see what happens to him this window. 8
Hibbert (for Coleman): Great to see him take to the field again. He and Coleman could not be further apart in terms of attacking ability however. 6
Heitinga (for Barry): Kept things ticking over nicely in what his likely his farewell appearance. 6
Mirallas (for Barkley): Got quite involved in his short time on the pitch. 6
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000 Posted 05/01/2014 at 00:51:37
010 Posted 05/01/2014 at 03:04:11
052 Posted 05/01/2014 at 10:15:40
Couldn't believe that pen.
Still pleased for him though. I think we should keep him unless we have a better striker coming in.
Lukaku hasn't been great recently and I would like to see how Jelavic would perform in this side. I know he's looked awful at times but I still think there is a good player in there somewhere.
Liverpool in the next round for me please.
082 Posted 05/01/2014 at 10:56:54
100 Posted 05/01/2014 at 13:26:27
My take is let Moyes take Baines and bring Garbutt back from Colchester...
145 Posted 05/01/2014 at 15:09:11
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