I had to ponder a lot before I wrote my last article but this time I had no such worries as both Phils ? Neville and Jagielka ? had great games for us.
I was thrilled to see our line-up for the game with the return of Mikel, Neville at RB and Gravesen starting the game coz I think that's the ideal team 'til Ossie gets back (or we buy a midfielder in the January transfer window).
It was always going to be a physical game coz as we know that's how Bolton play... and that was evident from the first whistle, although Bolton clearly started the game better than us. We then settled in well and ploughed forward, wave after wave ending in a scuffed shot or a timely Bolton tackle. We went into the break unlucky to not be ahead when a perfectly good goal from the Yak was ruled offside (claiming that Tiny Tim was obstructing the keeper's view).
We came back after the break and the Yak set up Tim after just 30 seconds but his shot was saved. Then from the ensuing corner, Lescott scuffed a shot from about 6 yards out. We were constantly on the attack but the final ball was lacking. Then, out of nowhere popped our first goal: a gentle ball floated into the box by Neville from the right wing made its way into the goal while Jaaskeleinen was pre-occupied riding on Tim's back. Both Neville and Cahill claimed the goal (maybe if he had Campo's mop of hair it woulda grazed it on its way into the goal!) but Neville took the plaudits eventually... for which, sadly, the crowd started booing Neville from that point on till the end of the game.
Gravesen was felled on the edge of the box but Rob Styles (who was having a good game for once) decided to play advantage, whereupon Lescott whipped the ball in from the left and Tim was there to score a good goal and run to box the corner flag as always.
We held on for the clean sheet and the win inspite of some sustained Bolton pressure at the end of the game. I was hoping we could have scored more goals but against a tough (literally) Bolton side we did well to get this result following the heartbreaker against the Mancs at the weekend. By the way, did anyone else feel that Joe Royle was being a bit unfair to us at times? ? eg: "Arteta goes down a bit too easily" ... "Rob Styles looked like he blew the whistle and then played advantage" ... I love Royle but was sad to hear stuff like that from him.
This is what I thought of Moyes and the lads:
Moyes: Great team selection for once... maybe could have brought on AJ a bit earlier.
Howard: Flapped at one today too, but made some good saves to redeem himself. On his way to being an Everton legend.
Neville: Captain? Yes; Hard tackler? Yes; Bad passer? Yes; Goal scorer? "Not in your wildest dreams" is what anyone in their right mind would have said but miracles do happen close to Christmas and that for me was one of them.
Yobo: Clean game as always... his speed and dominance in the air will be sorely missed come January.
Jagielka: He is coming on by leaps and bounds; was quiet yet solid at the back ? my Man of the Match
Lescott: Cleared one off the line, made innumerable runs down the left wing to assist Pienaar, and set up the second goal brilliantly! A close second for Man of the Match.
Carsley: Hard as nails. Broke up all the balls through the midfield and passed well too. Had a few cracks on goals too (? yes, he had witnessed the Neville miracle and was hoping to join in!)
Pienaar: Responded well after his mistake against the Mancs. Worked hard and looked lively except for that backpass at the end... bet he was praying they didn't score from the corner!
Gravesen: Think he did very well considering he has been written off by many of us in here. Passing was good and had a couple of decent shots on goal which were blocked. Amazingly played peacemaker during a Diouf versus Cahill spat!
Cahill: Great goals which keep coming from the little maestro. Gave his all...and a little more too to Diouf.
Arteta: Left the Bolton team knock-kneed with his slick ball control and passing but needs to do much better from set pieces.
Yakubu: Decent game. Ball control wasn't great at all times. Set-up Cahill for a great chance and it was nice to see him happy when he came off this time.
Hibbert: Each moment with him on the field is scary.
Johnson: Looked good and tried passing to the Yak and was unlucky not to get fed by Cahill when well placed.
Vaughan: On for too little time... but noticed what looked like a shiner on his left eye? Anyone know how that happened?
All in all a good day's work. The Arse next which will be a tough game to say the least, but we live in eternal hope these days as Everton fans so onwards and upwards. COYB
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1 Posted 27/12/2007 at 02:53:43
After Phil Neville scored his goal, the crowd was playfully shouting "Shoot!" every time he got the ball, not "Boo!" Also, I listened to the game on TV, as well, and thought Joe Royle was fair and called it the way he saw it. He wasn’t picking on Everton. He just is "old school" in accepting a rougher form of play with more physical contact and doesn’t believe referees shouldn’t call penalties too easily.
I’m really excited every time I see the Toffees play and they should be proud of their focused, team-oriented style of play. They’ve really come into their own and this is going to be a season to remember.
Come on You Blues!
2 Posted 27/12/2007 at 03:04:12
3 Posted 27/12/2007 at 03:25:26
4 Posted 27/12/2007 at 03:42:06
5 Posted 27/12/2007 at 10:02:56
6 Posted 27/12/2007 at 11:22:55
Why would we do that?
Yak had a very good game, he was marked by a couple of players each time the ball came anywhere near him and his holding of the ball and lay off play was excellent. The first few mins of the second half he wriggled his was out of some close attention by Bolton defenders to lay on some lovely passes. He may not have scored but he worked his socks off holding up the ball when needed.
7 Posted 27/12/2007 at 11:24:56
What does play at the back of my mind is the central defense leadership. Thinking ahead, when Yobo goes, who is going to take up that leadership? Does Lescott have the ability? Will Jagielka do it? I think it will be a massive opportunity and learning experience where we will see both Lescott and Jags come on in leaps and bounds as they will have to develop their games even further so hopefully Lescott will become even more dominant in the CB role and Jags more confident - which can only be a good thing for Everton!!
8 Posted 27/12/2007 at 11:37:01
9 Posted 27/12/2007 at 13:44:42
10 Posted 27/12/2007 at 15:11:42
the sooner he fucks off the better , this guys got no team spirit.
11 Posted 27/12/2007 at 15:45:35
Secondly, id like to say that i have nothing but respect for Joe Royle..didnt mean to be rude..was just airing my view...
Now we set our sights on the former league leaders(drew 0-0 with Pompey and lost the top spot to the Mancs)..it will be a really tough game coz im sure threy didnt like the goalless draw...doesnt fit into their "beautiful football" mould.Lets keep doing what we do best...play as a team with confidence and belief....COYB
P.S:Thanks to Micheal,Lue,Ajay and others who wrote such wonderful replies wishing my family and me for Christmas...we were deeply touched!
12 Posted 27/12/2007 at 16:28:38
13 Posted 27/12/2007 at 18:23:36
14 Posted 27/12/2007 at 18:43:54
Gravesen came screaming out to the sideline because he injured his knee, which is why they then substituted for him. He obviously wants to be playing regularly and doesn’t want to injure his knee further and then be on the injured list any longer.
Let’s just hope the injury isn’t too severe and that we see more of him over the next three or four weeks.
15 Posted 27/12/2007 at 19:25:51
By the way where was Sammy Lee sat when he was watching the match and who was he sat with. ??
16 Posted 27/12/2007 at 21:21:16
The atmosphere after Phil scored was very festive, perhaps because he scores as often as Santa comes down the chimney.
Paul Whitehouse, I couldnt make a strong case for Grav’s footballing skills these days but I would argue the toss with regard to his team spirit. He also lifts the crowd, okay not all the crowd because some clearly don’t like him but during the warm up and during the game he is one of the few players who will acknowledge us mere mortals watching from the terraces.
Naturally, his performance on the field is more important than his interaction and chumminess with the fans but he certainly knows how to lift the crowd and create an atmosphere. That can only work in our favour.
17 Posted 28/12/2007 at 00:31:02
18 Posted 28/12/2007 at 01:25:35
19 Posted 28/12/2007 at 10:53:29
He didnt score v Bolton but if you look at how he held off defenders, kept the ball and then was able to distribute it superbly, he’s a different player to the rather chunky chappie that arrived a few months ago. THAT Yakubu looked like another version of BT but the NEW Yak is a hard working goal machine - and I just love him!
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