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Everton 2 - 0 Boro

By Dutch Schaffaer :  01/10/2007 :  Comments (0) :
Personally I thought the performance was pretty decent. Boro were clearly up for a challenge and could have scored a couple of goals easily but as the game went on Everton looked more solid and confident and even knocked the ball about quite nicely at times.

Tim Howard: Made a couple of good saves early on when Boro had their chances. As the game wore on Howard grew in stature and the defence looked more solid. Missed him while he was injured. Great to see him back. Rating: 7

Tony Hibbert: Had a battle with Stuart Downing but came out on top. Had a decent game. Defended well, got forward whenever he could and even put in one peach of a cross which deserved a better header from Pienaar. When he plays like this he deserves his place in the team. Rating: 7

Leighton Baines: This was probably his quietest Everton performance so far. Attempted to get forward but never looked on top of his game and made a few 'Hibbert' style miss-passes. Did the job at the back although got caught out a couple of times and had to rely on Lescott to cover. Has a big Everton future but a little of the pace in this match. Rating: 6

Alan Stubbs: The vertran defender may not be as good as Yobo or Lescott but for some reason he makes them play better. Yobo and Lescott are great defenders but when they play together its not quite as good as it should be. Stubbs has a calming influence which seems to make his partner play better. Still has a big part to play this season. Rating: 7

Joleon Lescott: Our top goalscorer and main threat in front of goal did the business again. There was also one great moment at the back when he used his pace to catch an attacking Boro player and then just muscled him off the ball. Rating: 8

Phil Neville: The usual stuff from our Captain. Worked hard, made some important challenges, inspired the team when he could, gave the ball away at times, couple of weak long range shots and in general had an ok game. Rating: 6

Phil Jagielka: Pretty much exactly the same as Neville. Jagielka still hasn't found his place in the team and still looks like a player trying to settle. Had a decent enough game but not sure Centre Midfield will be his permanent postion, especially when Graveson and Cahill return. Rating: 6

Mikel Arteta: How we have missed him over the last few games. Even before he got injured Arteta loss a bit of form and that resulted in poor Man Utd performance. When he plays well so do Everton. This was one of his better days. Running at players, creating space for himself and a terrific pass for Pienaar's goal. Man-of-the-match. Rating: 9

Steven Pienaar: Just like Jagielka still looks like he needs to settle into the team. Wanted the ball and surprised me with his work ethic. Still like to see him use his pace more to get behind defenders. Took his goal well. Rating: 7

Yakubu: Missed a sitter of a header which should have seen him score against his old club. Holding the ball better but seems to be lacking pace and any power in his shooting. Had a reasonable game but miles away from being an £11 million pound striker. Rating: 6

James McFadden: Did enough to suggest AJ may find himself on the bench for awhile. Has good feet and seems to have improved his ability to keep the ball and make smart decisions. With a few more games in the starting side he could settle and become the striker we thought we had signed 4 years ago.

David Moyes: Made some brave decisions, Yobo on the bench, Jagielka preferred over Carsley and most of them worked. Was great to see Everton play some nice pass and move football at times. Moyes will admit that in the first half Boro were unlucky not to score but his half time talk must have worked because in the second half Boro were limited to a single chance. Moyes also made a good substitution to bring on Yobo and kill off any chance of a late comeback. Rating: 7

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