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Too Hard for the Hammers to break!

By Santosh Benjamin :  15/12/2007 :  Comments (13) :
I have been an Everton fan for 20 years now... and i'm sure i can't remember a better feeling than right now. It's not just the run we are on but the way we are playing that's got me feeling so happy.

We started with an unchanged team which was what i expected from David Moyes who likes a feeling of stability... and why not when the system is working so well. The early exchanges were promising for us after which the Hammers had a good spell themselves. There were moments of real fear for us:

  • Howard came an uncharacteristically flapped at a ball leaving an open goal
  • Ljungberg was through on goal and only managed to pick out Howard
  • Ashton dinked the ball over Howard and it sailed just over
  • ames Collins snatched at a great chance from a corner
  • Parker headed just over from a good cross
We played good football ourselves when we had the ball, with Pienaar, Carsley, Arteta, Osman and Cahill passing well but finishing poorly. Thought we were getting roughed up a bit with the ref ignoring many a challenge on us. Parker was playing hard and getting way too much applause from the commentators in my opinion.

The opener was part of a great move with Arteta floating the ball to the far post for Cahill who cleverly headed back across the face of goal where the Yak made the best of Robert Green's hesitancy to head in yet another goal. We went into the break buzzing!

The Hammers came out with Camara replacing the ineffective Cole... and later Noble replacing the dangerous Solano. We should have scored when Collins fell asleep and let Ossie in on goal with just Green to beat but Ossie shot over the bar... coulda have put good money on him scoring in that situation most times! Ossie missed again when teed up after a good move.

Our defence and midfield were rock solid in the latter stages when the Hammers threw the kitchen sink at us (and I don't mean the heavily beefed up Dean Ashton!). Then DM makes a change with the energizer bunny AJ coming on and running around like he always does... didnt look like it would come to much as we looked to have survived to hold on to the solitary goal. Then Neville cleared the ball from our half and Upson headed backwards (what is it with these Hammer defenders and their headers this week?) AJ latched onto it and looked up ?saw Green well out ? and scored with ease over him, making DM run along the touchline like I did in my house... although mine had a lot more screaming and singing "We Shall Not Be Moved".

This is what I felt about the gaffer and the lads:

Moyes: Called him the saviour for ages after he took over... now he seems to be something even better.

Howard: Flapped at a cross which was scary but redeemed himself with a few good saves, especially the Ljungberg one.

Neville: Was solid at the back and pretty good going forward too...at RB he deserves to be in the team.

Lescott: Rock is the word that comes to mind... his headers and timely challenges are a joy to watch. He will be a legend for us.

Yobo: Will be sorely missed in January, his speed and composure are improving with each game. Jagielka: Looks much better in defence than he ever did in that atrocious midfield role he had with Phil at the start of the season(Remember those days?). Ossie: Disappointing today; he shoulda scored easily when through on goal. Also missed a few other chances when he was well set-up.

Carsley: Does he have an off-game? I hope not. Strong challenges, great long-range shots, amazing team man.

Arteta: Seems a bit jaded at times but even when not at full flow, he is so dangerous like he showed with the set-up for the first goal.

Pienaar: Improving with every game and was brilliant today, unselfish as always

Cahill: Got fouled a lot today and headed well to get the goal for the Yak. I love his energy, specially when he has the energy to climb on AJ in 2nd half injury time!

Yakubu: The goal fest goes on. He seemed to be tiring at the end and was duly subbed but he is holding up the ball much better these days. Johnson: Levaing? Unhappy? I dont think that's AJ at all which was evident by him almost running onto the pitch when the Yak scored in the Carling Cup game. He is a team man ? good goal!

So we head into our Uefa Cup game with no pressure. I hope we can start with Vaughan and Anichebe or AJ, andmaybe give some of the Academy lads a taste of European football ? Mikky, Yak, Cahill, etc can have a day off. Then head back to the league to face the Mancs. I hope we can get at least a draw from that. Onwards and upwards we go!!COYB

Reader Comments

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Andrew Gaule
1   Posted 15/12/2007 at 20:01:23

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Obviously another great result but against a better team we would have been punished today in a way that West Ham was not able to do. I thought we looked tired and no wonder. We have had a lot of demanding games. I think we should forget about the ’run’ and rest a lot of players for the last UEFA group game this week. Rest them so that they have some energy for the Man Utd game. Jimmy V in attack with Anichebe. Put McFadden into the midfield with A VdM (if he is not too scared of flying). Valente and Hibbert as full backs.
Rest Yak, Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar, Carsley, Neville, Osman, Yobo, Lescott.
Keith Glazzard
2   Posted 15/12/2007 at 21:57:30

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Curbishley accused us of being too physical last Wednesday. Unfortunately, as the man doesn’t know his arse from his elbow, this was untrue (he missed the 10 or more pass move leading to Leon’s goal).

According to Santosh, Parker was putting it about today. Is this the same Scott Parker that DM would have signed two years back? Didn’t he take the geordie gold and go north east? Didn’t he head back south when the curse of the bar codes struck him too?

Let’s give him a bit of Christmas charity. If he’d have come to us, he would probably by now have been a good player in a midfield which is the envy of the premier league. You would spit your dummy out of the pram, wouldn’t you?
Ajay Gopal
3   Posted 16/12/2007 at 05:09:29

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Good to read your reports, Santosh ! Nice one again.

It really is great to be a blue now. Even the normally apathetic ESPN/Star commentators/experts are beginning to take notice.

Great performance from the team, I thought (even though Osman & Arteta had off-days in my opinion).

DM should definitely rest the key players for the Alkmaar game.

My team for Alkmaar:

Vaughan, Johnson, Mcfadden, Gravesen, VDM, Neville (holding mid-field), Hibbert, jagielka, Stubbs, Valente, Wessels.

Subs: Anichebe, Lescott, Carsley, Cahill, Turner.


Santosh Benjamin
4   Posted 16/12/2007 at 05:27:29

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Thanks for the encouragement Ajay.Nice to see a fellow Toffee in India with so much passion.I also agree that we should rest mosta the lads for the mid-weekk game.
My team for the UEFA cup game is:
GK:Wessels
RB:HIbbert
CB:Jagielka
CB:Lescott
LB:Valente
RM:McFadden/Kissock
CM:Gravesen
CM:Osman
LM:AvDm
CF:Johnson
CF:Vaughan/Anichebe

Bench:Turner,Vidarsson,Jutkiewitc,Neville,Anichebe/Vaughan
Dave Wilson
5   Posted 16/12/2007 at 07:18:46

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Delivered with great enthusiasm again Santosh, agree with your team for midweek too, although maybe we should give Lescot a breather too, whilst we are beginnig to get noticed for our more flamboyant style, like any team we still have to do the ugly bits and our boys dug deep when they had to, its not just the yak who needs feeding mate, the whole team have a real hunger about them
Jimmy Hoffa
6   Posted 16/12/2007 at 08:57:04

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The turning point of the game was when Timmy made a point blank save.

Without it, I think the result would?ve been really different.

Trust me. That?s why I vote for MotM goes to Tim Howard and not Yakubu.
Jimmy Hoffa
7   Posted 16/12/2007 at 09:00:46

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Biggest flop of the game when Leon Osman missed the entire goal when he had only Green to beat.

Probably due to fatigue
Jimmy Hoffa
8   Posted 16/12/2007 at 09:19:41

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Ever realized that we?re only 7 points behind Arsenal.

In other words, we?re a stone?s throw away from them???
Chris Dawson
9   Posted 16/12/2007 at 10:23:26

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Wenger has stated today that he has never been involved in a premier title chase with four big teams so close on points.

Is this the four big teams that are currently split by Manchester Shitty, and have us breathing down their collective necks?
Ed Casey
10   Posted 16/12/2007 at 11:21:55

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Defo give AJ a game on Weds night.

It was good to see him score after coming off the bench and was a well taken goal even if Green was miles off his line.

I was a bit worried about the lad especially after the first Metalist game and worried that his confidence might not recover. But hes scored twice now in just over a fornight and he could do with a good run out - just don’t partner him with Fad, we saw that didn’t work against Zenit!
James Elworthy
11   Posted 16/12/2007 at 18:52:48

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Turner is out for at least another month so Ruddy would have to be sub goalie Santosh.
Ben Jones
12   Posted 16/12/2007 at 22:48:08

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It doesn’t matter if we lose the game on Thursday... we would still finish top... so my team would be

GK: Wessels
RB: Hibbert
CB: Jagielka
CB: Lescott
LB: Valente
RM: Van Der Meyde
CM: VIdarsson
CM: Gravesen
LM: Osman
FC: Vaughan
FC: Anichebe.

Santosh Benjamin
13   Posted 17/12/2007 at 02:13:31

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Thanks,James...had forgotten about that..sounds like a good team to me...hope Moyes thinks the same way!

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