Okay lads, 2 minutes to go. Just keep it on the corner. No, don’t have a shot… okay, get it back. Don’t flap at it?!? AAARGGHHHH WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
A huge sigh of relief for all involved then as we finally get a win after 8 barren games. Especially for the manager who has taken huge amounts of stick recently for the way we’ve approached games.
For it to be a Ross Barkley misplaced pass and a strong tackle to regain possession is pretty standard for a Goodison crowd who tend to get more motivated to scream their support when they feel that the players actually give a toss. And that’s something that has been in short supply for some time.
I must admit, when I saw the line-up before kick-off I feared the worst. Valencia in and playing on the wing didn’t inspire confidence but he put a really good ‘shift’ in, whilst Ross Barkley followed up his decent cameo against Watford with a better performance than we’ve seen from him in a while. Looks like Lennon is back in favour too as Koeman shuffles his pack and hopes to come up with a first-choice line-up.
It’s not surprised me at all that players haven’t been especially motivated in recent weeks as their manager publicly slates them in his honest Dutch manner. Stating that his players can’t play in the style that he wants them to isn’t exactly what you want to hear I imagine. So what changed last night? A match against a ‘bigger’ team? The fact that it was under the Goodison lights? Either way it was good preparation for the Derby I guess, which is a game that I am viewing with slightly less dread than before.
Ashley Williams had one of those games that have the reporters confused, Did he have a good game or not? On one hand he gave away a free-kick, kicked Gana on the knee and gave away an own goal in the space of 30 seconds. On the other hand he scored the winner. Good old Ozil not wanting to get involved was hilarious as he turned away from the challenge.
Gana was incredible as we’ve seen before, and his recent maimings at the hands of various players in the last couple of weeks seems to strengthen the theory that he’s made of rubber. We were surprised to see Barry dropped but all Gana did was the work of two people. The other player who stood out for me was Seamus Coleman. He seemed to be the one player shouting at others, pushing them forwards and getting involved. For it to be him showing up in the centre forward position to nod in the equaliser showed how much he cared.
The other surprise was the welcome return of James McCarthy, after about 2 years being utter rubbish. His energy and tackling alongside Gana was excellent and it’ll be interesting to see whether the manager returns to using Gareth Barry for the Derby.
The last minute was of course mental. Cech coming up for corners with two minutes to go, chances being cleared off the line, Everton stuffing up the simply task of kicking the ball into an empty net and Barkley booting Sanchez up into the air in the box when trying to clear the ball. All pretty standard stuff.
So where does this leave us? Well we have the match against them on Monday which should be… erm… horrible as normal. Then it’s Leicester away on Boxing Day against a team that seem to only be able to turn it on at home or in the Champions League. Awesome. Getting that three points could be extremely vital as we head into the New Year.