COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
Another three points to extend our unbeaten run in the Premier League to nine games. Cahill said on Pravda yesterday that we need to win ugly yet the same man won the game majestically.
The Blues started the game with intent and, just minutes in, a fine fast move saw Osman fed by Donovan almost in but he seemed to stumble and scuff his shot... or was he pulled from behind?
For the next 15mins, the Blues piled it on and Pienaar had a good shot deflected for a corner after good work by Saha to set him up. From the corner, Cahill won the header but it just looped to the keeper. Next Neville went down the right and put a first-time pass into Cahill who shot but saw the keeper block his effort.
Wigan then started to get into the game more and looked pacey in attacking moves, Scotland fed in Rodallega one on one with Howard who did really well to charge forward and parry the ball which Heitinga hoofed to safety, a let off. The Blues countered and Saha had a good shot deflect of Cahill and hit a post but the flag was up anyway.
Wigan then had a great chance to go one up when Scotland was put in and his pace took him beyond Neville, who was blowing for tugs, and, from a good position with only Howard to beat, blazed his effort over much to the relief of the masses of Blues assembled. Senderos who was in for Distin deflected one for a corner when danger was threatening. Baines then made good ground down the line and put in a great cross that Saha met well and, but for a great save from the keeper, he would have got his 100th goal in England.
The Blues seemed to have weathered the Wigan purple patch and another good move saw Saha put clear in the box only to be hauled down by their centre-back only for the ref to ignore the claims and totally bemuse Saha and every travelling Evertonian, from my seat it was nailed on. The ref was Mr Probert and he should go to specsavers after that one. Before the break we looked well in command but only for Scotland firing high and wide we may have suffered after a goalmouth skirmish.
Half-time and I did wonder after all the chances missed at both ends would we end up with a goalless draw.
The Blues were out first for the second period and started quickly just a couple of minutes in Pienaar was felled just outside the box and Baines took the kick which the keeper just managed to get down and parry away at the foot of the post. Wigan then had a shout for a penalty that must have been very close as Heitinga seemed to barge the Wigan man but thankfully the ref ruled it was just outside the box, he must have gone to specsavers during the interval.
Wigan then sent on Scharner which caused a groan as he seems to always score against us, it did liven Wigan up and on the hour mark Scharner picked up an Everton clearance but shot over and then some minutes later Wigan put a good move together that set Scharner up again but this time he shot straight at Howard.
Then we scored, Cahill fought off all comers to get to the byline and square for Fellaini to tap home, all hell broke loose until the sight of a linesman with his flag up dampened the proceedings, I would like to see that one again. Not long after,Wigan had a shout for a pen when a free kick was deflected behind by Cahill and his arms were up but the ref said corner.
Into the last minutes and with Big Vic on (for Donovan after 75 mins) was showing his strength and the Blues gained a corner which Baines took, his crosses had been much better today and this one was no exception, the ball arced in, Cahill raced diagonally across the box, rose to a great height and nodded the ball with some power into the net, no flag this time and celebrations were full throttle.
Could we see the game out? Well, we were doing well and attacking again as the board went up showing 4 more yet you just know that they will get another chance; Saha went down injured to be replaced by Vaughan, and in the last minute Wigan hit the bar with the ball flying away from goal. We got it clear the Ref blew up for time and songs and chants from the massed ranks lauded manager and players.
Overall I thought we put in a good afternoon's work considering Wigan’s need for points. Senderos made his debut and didn’t do much wrong, playing simply and getting to know those around him. I thought Heitinga did a great job in helping him through but it’s to early to make any sort of judgment.
I expect MotM to go to Cahill who scored and looked to be back to his best at what he does and his goal was pure Cahill, but I would give it to Fellaini because I thought that, without his display and presence in midfield breaking up Wigan moves and his driving runs and simple passes, we may have had another outcome.
The dreaded month of February to come, I love these games against the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd and Spurs, not to mention derbies and Europa knockout stages, as these are the games that provide our measure of progression and squad testing — bring them on.
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 31/01/2010 at 01:19:49
2 Posted 31/01/2010 at 01:19:39
I thought Senderos did well, given his lack of game time, and training time. He was gaffe-prone at Arsenal, but I’m sure he’d been there since 17, and we’ve seen enough mistakes down the years from our own defenders to hopefully give him the benefit of the doubt.
He is an established international, and if he does well, and settles, then we can pick him up for next to nothing.
I thought it was a game for scrapping. We had a bit of luck (the throw in prior to the corner should’ve gone to Wigan), but this was the type of game we were getting nothing from a couple of months ago.
Cahill is showing signs of being back to his best, and his run & leap for the goal had the commentators creaming themselves - he pretty much got himself un-marked on the 6-yard line! I know he has his detractors, and they’ll still claim he’s 1-dimensional, but he brings a quality to our game that few in the league can match - as you and others have pointed out.
With the likes of Cahill (wouldn’t get into a Sky team), we have to be the "best of the rest" - budget notwithstanding. Players now must be getting the "vibe" about the Goodison dressing room, despite the rumours of a couple of years back. Whilst we’ll always be vulnerable to predators, and mercenaries, we’re no more so than any other club - ultimately every player has his price. Sadly, it looks like we will be having to cash in one of our stars every season or two until the ownership of the club is resolved.
But in players like Cahill and Arteta, you do get the feeling that the only way they will leave is if they are shown the door.
3 Posted 31/01/2010 at 04:48:25
I thought things didn’t come off for Fellaini today and it is a sign of how important he is to our side at the moment that it made a really big difference.
Personally, I thought Senderos had a poor game and we would have been punished except Wigan are even worse than us at taking chances. I can cite a bunch of times when he was outpaced, poorly cleared, stepped off an approaching player, put his hands behind his back for no obvious reason... I thought he looked well rusty. I understand he needs time to settle. (But we don’t have a lot of time before we play a bunch of teams who will punish any weakness). Btw, I think Heitenga is a brilliantly sly defender: beautifully timed nudges and fouls. Did he really not get a card for a professional foul timed to occur before the threat crossed into the box?
I thought Cahill really earned his goal today.
4 Posted 31/01/2010 at 09:04:47
5 Posted 31/01/2010 at 10:55:13
6 Posted 31/01/2010 at 12:38:36
One last thing, for a manager that allegedly is committed to playing good football, Roberto Martinez has assembled a team that looks like a bouncers convention and were under orders to stop us playing football, with Pineaar singled out for some crude tackles, but it just goes to show that in the Prem you’ve got to win the battles. As ever, Ken, a good report.
7 Posted 31/01/2010 at 13:01:53
Having said that, I was convinced the ref was going to give a penalty for their claim but the linesman said outside the box. Touch and go I’d say, at Goodison we’d have been howling for it.
8 Posted 31/01/2010 at 13:58:13
Baines was excellent all round really, up and down that left flank all game, he’s such an important player for us, especially going forward. My Man of the Match.
Special mention for Osman, who has done well since he’s come back from injury. Not outstanding but more than capable in a central role, and a lot more suited to the position than he is on the wing. He’s given us good balance in there alongside Fellaini.
But whilst I say that, there’s no doubt that he’ll step down once Arteta is ready to come in. That’s the real partnership, Arteta and Fellaini.
9 Posted 31/01/2010 at 16:39:54
However, Fellaini’s "quiet" game without any of the tricks, delivered what must have been a frustrating time for Wigan players.
They had their breaks and Senderos wasn’t always up for it... but once Jags is back, do we actually need him anyway? Won’t Heitinga and Yobo be the ones who squabble for the spare place alongside of Phil?
Make use of him in the same way that players make use of us!
10 Posted 31/01/2010 at 18:17:36
Loved the reference(s) to specsavers... really cracked me up!
11 Posted 31/01/2010 at 19:34:31
12 Posted 01/02/2010 at 00:11:03
13 Posted 01/02/2010 at 17:02:09
Without believing a word, I still had a good feeling throughout that this one would end well. Tim’s leap was delightful, and justice was served.
14 Posted 04/02/2010 at 23:07:07
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