The day looked good when Howard and Arteta came running out of the tunnel to the familar tune of "Z-Cars" and I could sense that this would be a good day wit our 2 best players returning into the squad. But the sight of Neville and Jagielka in the centre of the park was disappointing again, though you could counter that there simply weren't any alternatives with Cahill and Gravesen out.
Indeed Boro should have taken the lead within 5 minutes when Jagielka and Neville fell asleep and Boateng was free in the box, only to miss when it seemed easier to score. Credit to Pienaar for tracking back, and that wasn't the only good thing he did all day.
And Boro were punished when a terrific corner by Arteta presented the Yak with a chance at the near post and the confusion was enough to present Lescott with his 4 goal of the season. Excellent finish by Lescott considering the circumstances and Everton were flying. But the defence was strangely shaky, and Boro had another gilt edged opportunity when Gary O'Neill somehow contrived to place his shot with precision rather than power, leaving Howard with a routine save.
A few moments later a mistake by Baines gave Young a chance to put the ball in which the Korean Dong Gook smashed his header against the bar.
As usual we were second off the blocks in the second half and Pienaar gave us the lead after some excellent hold up play by Faddy and a terrific pinpoint pass by Arteta. 2-0 and it was all over when Mido came off for Craddock and Wheater became a striker as Boro opted to become like Everton ala Duncan Ferguson days.
Arteta was simply brilliant and he was the architect of all of Everton's moves in the first half, holding the ball well, passing it around, creating chances and giving the Boro defense fits. He had one mouth watering cross over which really deserved a goal if not for a deflection off Taylor.
Stubbs was at his usual steady best, against the physical pairing of Mido and Dong Gook, with the formerlooking like a neat player and perhaps someone we should have considered signing. Apart from his hotheadedness, he was a handful in the air, got his teammates involved, and showed great technical ability with a volley flying just wide in the second half.
Hibbert had his best game of the season against Downing, who to me is grossly overrated for a player who always goes to the outside. That being said, Hibbert had an outstanding game and put in 2 great crosses as well.
Faddy won the ball in the air a few times, and when he lost the ball with his frustrating dribbles, he charged back like a man possessed. I've never been a fan of him but full credit to him for his great performance yesterday. He kept things simple, had a trademark cut in and shoot chance, and held the ball well when he should have and passed it when he needed to. Hopefully he can produce more especially this Thursday.
For the negatives, Yakubu was almost non-existent, and really should have added to his tally when he headed Baines cross over the bar. He looked more like Yobo in defense then. Jagielka was absolutely terrible and was caught in posession or placed a poor pass at least 5 times.
The good thing was that we saw some neat passing and I've never seen us passing the ball on the floor for more then 10 times and it happened a few times yesterday. When Arteta is playing, we really look like a terrific outfit. Can't wait for Cahill or Gravesen to come back.
Surprise of the day: Van der Meyde on the bench. Was really looking forward to him coming on, and perhaps Moyes should have given him 5 minutes or so, but we all know about Moyes's management.
Really worried about his disciplinarian, no-nonsense approach. Beattie's interview in The Guardian worries me, as well as Rooney's book. Just a little afraid our stars may not be able to handle his tough ways on the players, so fingers crossed.
Looking ahead to Thursday!
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 01/10/2007 at 16:29:21
2 Posted 01/10/2007 at 17:56:50
A solid report
3 Posted 01/10/2007 at 18:30:42
I’m sure some negative rants will follow but you summed it up pretty well. Not fantastic, but a good win all the same.
I too think Downing is over-rated, but Hibbert did his job well. Apart from his positioning on a couple of occasions he was steady and reliable.
I hope people take note of your statement regarding the centre of our midfield. Nobody wants Neville and Jags in the middle, but who else was there? Neville and Jags, Neville and Cars, Cars and Jags? It doesn’t matter, not one of the three can pass a ball so you have to make do until Tommy and Timmy are back. Too many people banging on about the lack of passing ability in the middle! WE KNOW! What do you suggest as a solution?
We were never going to hammer them. Some fans have had a go at the team but after a week like last week, it was no shock that we were edgy. Even the crowd were quieter than usual.
Back on track, let’s hope we keep moving in the right direction.
4 Posted 01/10/2007 at 22:18:17
I think we should have put Arteta in the middle to partner either Neville or Carsley.
Let Jagielka play right midfield since he is a natural right player.
This is all considering our lack of midfield due to injuries of course.
No matter what people say abt Hibbert yesterday, the guy is not fit to play Right Back. It’s neville’s position and he could support Jagielka with his overlapping.
Carsley is a natural center holding defender. USE HIM, GODDAMMIT.
Why do we keep playing Hibbert, that’s what i am wondering about.
Arteta should be moved back to the middle.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Column articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.