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Another hurdle cleared!

By Santosh  Benjamin :  02/03/2008 :  Comments (7) :
I know that there is more to this Everton team than just the Yak but the presence of a genuine goalscorer after years is paying rich dividends. It was sad to see that Arteta was missing the game with his injury ? I really hope that he gets better soon coz we need him really badly in the run-in to the end of the season. Moyes thus named an unchanged team after the Man City game. A look at the bench showed 3 quality strikers.

The game started literally with a bang. Pompey kicked off but, under pressure from the Yak within seconds of the start, they committed a foul just outside their own area. Pienaar whipped the ball in... not the greatest delivery you will see but it was helped on by Yobo and the Yak pounced on the ball and headed past a furious James... what a start!

We bossed the possession after that and the passing on display between Pienaar, Lescott, Cahill, Ossie and the Yak was sublime at times. A wonder series of passes ended up with Pienaar breaking free on the left and whipping the ball in... sadly just a bit far ahead of Cahill who came sliding in. Another series of passes ended with Pienaar shooting wide... Ossie and Neville also shot from the edge of the area as the half wore on. Pompey didnt look like they were going to make much of an impression until a cross from the right by Glen Johnson was grazed in by Defoe as the defence and keeper stood stunned... I think Howard coulda done better. So we went into the half on par.

The second half started with Pompey having more ball possession and chances. Pompey, who played very narrow in the first half, were using the wide areas better. Moyes decided just after the hour mark to make the change with Hibbert coming off to make way for Johnson... and we reverted to a 4-4-2.

Johnson who was recovering from the flu was full of running from the get-go and seemed to spark the lads. Cahill started a play and then came into the box late as Pienaar delivered a great cross from the left... headed home gloriously by TIm. His celebration was slightly different... which he later explained as a tribute to his brother who was jailed for six years a few months ago.

James made sure he stayed in the limelight as he came out on the left to clear the ball but sliced the clearance. As Ossie tried to cross into the box, James stood tall and headed it behind for a corner.

Johnson then made a long cross-field pass to the Yak which went over Campbell's head. Yak latched onto it, gave himself a few yards of space and unleashed what could only be called a rocket (by the cameraman behind the goal).

The Yak was taken off probably with Fiorentina in mind midweek and Anichebe came on. Baines also came on in the dying minutes for Pienaar (who had been booked earlier). As the final whistle went, the crowd erupted and the players and coaching staff showed what the win meant to them as they congratulated each other.

Player assessment:

Howard: Should have done better with the goal conceded but generally was not troubled much today.

Hibbert: Had a good game overall but did get a bit of a run around by Hreidersson in the second half.

Jags: Looked solid for the most part again.

Yobo: Wondering whether his name means Rock Solid in some language...

Lescott: Good in defense and while bombing forward on the left wing.

Carsley: Will be missed in the Sunderland game; great tackles, passing and passion.

Neville: Can't pass but is playing better in midfield than earlier in the season; his rightful place is at right back.

Ossie: Should have done better with his shots but his passing was great.

Pienaar: His absence was really felt... his passing skills are a joy to watch.

Cahill: Looked pretty sick in the post-match interview... and sad about his brother... but on the pitch put it behind him and did what he does best ? heads the ball into the goal.

Yakubu: Holding up the ball much better than earlier in the season... his finishing as never in doubt but hope he doesn't put on too much weight while being fed for goals!!!

Johnson: Brilliant as always: hard work, unning and passing... we need him.

So another hurdle crossed and the Uefa Cup game up next as we play a quality side in good form. Fiorentina just beat Juve in the league tonight. Hope we have Arteta back for that game...

Sunderland in the league next weekend ? let's just keep winning and leave the rest out of our minds. Wouldn't mind if Inter somehow knocked the RS outta the CL this week.

Moyes's interview showed how focussed him and team are as he played down talks about his own contract saying the team shouldn't be distracted. People are standing up and finally taking notice of our wonderful bunch of talented, spirited we see on Tv and the internet ? hard not to with our performances.

Liverpool won 3-1 at the Reebok, and we won 3-1 too, so we stay 4th for now (I do hope the Hammers beat them in the spare game). Onwards and upwards! COYB!!!

Reader Comments

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Martin Cutler
1   Posted 02/03/2008 at 22:18:27

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The RS always were and continue to be the real threat for the 4th spot...........Villa too.

If West Ham can beat the RS (I don’t think they will) that would definitely help, or even a draw would help.

Over the last weeks I didn’t think Man City, Portsmouth, Blackburn etc would be a threat to us for 4th.....however the RS and Villa could pip us to it. The Villa friend of mine ironically doesn’t want 4th...he doesn’t think they’re ready for the Champions League....of course we all know that Everton are!!!!

Quick point on Yakubu: he actually makes it look easy!! His second goal today was just brilliant to watch (and Cahill’s header for that matter).

Rob Jones
2   Posted 02/03/2008 at 22:35:22

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Yeah that?s a good point about Villa not being ready for 4th they?d probably do what we did in 2005, I know we should only really talk about Everton but I think if we?re gonna send LFC down further Villa would need to take over from us in UEFA next season then they?d probably be more of a threat than Liverpool after a run in Europe. Let?s just hope that we establish ourselves as a CL club next season and don?t need to worry about the clubs in 5th or 6th!
Brian Garside
3   Posted 02/03/2008 at 23:09:51

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Check the fixture list. Liverpool still to visit Man Utd amnd Aprsenal, plus Spurs at home. They have a harder program than we do.
Just wait for CL rule change....
John Ferguson
4   Posted 02/03/2008 at 23:04:12

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Good positive post Santosh..2 great results and 6 points collected against teams chasing European positions this week. With Moysie at the helm to keep the team's feet on the ground, these results give us a great platform to build on a very exciting run of fixtures during March. These could have a pivotal say on our final league position and our progression in the Uefa Cup...
Jay Harris
5   Posted 03/03/2008 at 01:56:24

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I think the most important thing is we?ve now put daylight (5 points, same games) between ourselves and Villa. The RS will continue to count on luck and referees but will still trip over themselves trying to catch up. Everton are on the up!!
Øystein Lemvik
6   Posted 03/03/2008 at 08:03:24

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Have to disagree slightly about Howard - I don’t think he could do much better, as he only have a split second to react - after all, if Defoe got a slightly different touch, he’d had to dive to his left... terribly difficult to react when you have no idea which side of you the ball’s going to come.

Otherwise, great read!
Greg Doyle
7   Posted 03/03/2008 at 10:00:53

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With all this positivity I’m surprised Toffeeweb hasn’t crashed!!
Quick, someone slag off Moyes!
Great to see us doing so well. This was a massive week for us and I am absolutely delighted to log on and not find an "I told you so" article from some horrible negative Red in disguise. Great stuff!

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