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We're gonna have to do it without the Big Fella!

By Paul Traill :  11/01/2009 :  Comments (0) :
I opted to drive for this one and parked up about 1:30pm. After a quick flutter at the bookies (I went for Everton win 2-0 Osman first goal, Ste - Lescott first goal, Gary - Osman last goal… none of which came in) we were in the packed Spellow for a few cheeky beers. I think it was a compound of it being freezing outside and several away fans in the pub which made it so busy. We watched the West Midlands derby in there as Aston Villa spawned a narrow 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion leaving them nine points above us going into today’s game… we had to win this one.

Earlier in the week I felt Moyes would definitely leave Fellaini out of this one, though having read his pre-match press conference musings it seemed certain Fellaini would play. Being one booking away from missing both derbies, would it be worth the risk? After the game we’re still none the wiser if it was or not as he scored the opening goal with a cute header from a peach of a cross from Leighton Baines, though having just seen it on Goals On Sunday he was clearly offside. Tough luck on Hull City.

We’d gone unchanged from our last Premier League encounter with Sunderland whilst Hull City had Nicky Barmby in their ranks, an amazing 8½ years since he left Everton. It's unbelievable that this is his first game back at Goodison… apparently time isn’t such a great healer after all!

The referee was completely clueless. I think it’s the same guy who screwed us against Aston Villa so I guess it shouldn’t have been much of a surprise. The first free kick he gave against Fellaini was a nothing foul. The second one, a trip, was innocuous enough I guess and was rightly called as a foul but the referee then saw fit enough to make this Fellaini’s final warning and from then on in you felt the referee was determined to spoil it for Marouane. I’m not surprised at all.

Clearly a lot of referees are on one big power trip and I’m sure Martin Atkinson knew he had an opportunity to rule Fellaini out of the two derbies with Liverpool. Of course the referees have a responsibility to look after the Sky Four as much as possible; also and he probably felt Liverpool have a better chance against us if we don’t have our record signing on the pitch too, so I’m sure this was taken into account. All this despite completely overlooking Kamil Zayatte pole-axing the big Belgian, and only issuing a yellow card to the hopeless Paul McShane when he kicked out at Fellaini late on.

It’s the ridiculous inconsistency which puzzles me, as if the referee was to book every player for what Fellaini did today we’d have no players left on the pitch in no time at all. The third booking was simply ridiculous and any serious referee with any idea of the rules would surely know Fellaini should not be booked for jumping in the air and sidefooting a volley off to another player.

Back to the match and though Hull possess an admiral work rate, they simply didn’t offer enough to provide any serious goal threat throughout. Everton wrapped up the game just before half time when they capitalised on a strong period of possession to breach Hull’s net for the second time. A shove on Cahill resulted in a free kick around 25/30 yards out. Arteta swaggered up to it purposefully and confidently as Hull City anxiously built their wall. Arteta struck it hard and true, straight past the wall and into the top corner, leaving Boaz Myhill with no chance at all.

The second half was all really about the ridiculous booking of Fellaini. That was made early doors and after that there was a lot of frustration from the home crowd, all of which was aimed at Atkinson’s incompetence. He also similarly booked Cahill for practically nothing and only chose to do so once Myhill had a go at Cahill. All of this overshadowed a good professional second half performance by Everton who had Hull City at arms length throughout. The only chance of note was when Osman half-volleyed wide late on… that would’ve made Gary’s day!

I just hope to God we get fairer treatment in the two upcoming derbies…though I certainly won’t be holding my breath.

Player Ratings

Howard: Very competent with crosses but had little to do otherwise. 7

Baines: Got forward well and set up the first goal of course. 7

Lescott: Looking very comfortable again now. 7

Jagielka: Commanding as ever. 7

Hibbert: Fine. 7

Neville: Probably shades my man of the match with an excellent workman-like performance in the middle. 8

Arteta: Splendid goal. He’s certainly looking the part in the centre. I hope he can do it against Gerrard and Mascerano in the next couple of games. 8

Pienaar: Fantastic work rate throughout but there’s more to come from our Bafana Bafana boy. 7

Osman: Had a good industrious game on the wing. Shame he didn’t pop up with the first goal! 7

Fellaini: Can’t and won’t criticise him for the booking but will praise him for a good steady game and a well-taken, albeit offside, goal which put us on our way. I’ve no doubt he will be missed in both the derbies. 7

Cahill: I think he enjoys it up front. Certainly puts the shift in. 7

Subs: Anichebe (for Cahill): Put himself about well. 7

Rodwell (for Arteta): Not on long, can’t judge.

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