Everton 2 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur
With Tim Cahill off to conquer a portion of the world at the Asian Cup in Qatar for the next four to six weeks, David Moyes elected to break up the fledgling Fellaini-Rodwell partnership to make room for two recognized (if misfiring) strikers, Saha and Beckford, with Heitinga selected in his natural position at centre-back for the first time this season, and two of his favourite players ? Hibbert and Osman ? both on the bench, where Gueye returns after a bit of a break.
Some nice early play was spoilt by a poor first touch from Beckford that lost Everton possession and allowed Spurs to mount their first attack, but it was snuffed out and Everton looked to build through the middle again, and their positive approach paid massive dividends in the third minute. Louis Saha stroked home a beautiful ground shot of a simple ball in to him from Baines on the wing, he had time to turn, come inside and shoot unerringly past Gomes with his right foot to open the scoring in excellent fashion, a superb finish from the previously goal-starved Frenchman.
Would Everton build or consolidate? It was a great start, but Spurs then dominated the next 5 mins; Van der Vaart saw a chance and came very close to surprising Howard from distance with what would have been a spectacular strike. Then Crouch easily got over Heitinga and could have exacted revenge off a dangerous deep ball from Van der Vaart.
There was a big shout for a blatant push on Beckford by Hutton as Neville swung in a good cross. At the other end, Everton paused for a foul when Hutton's deep cross came in but Crouch headed into the danger area and Van der Vaart had all the time in the world to power his header past Howard who was already collapsing into the net, a very poor goal to concede.
Fellaini did well to intercept a Tottenham clearance but should have slipped it to Beckford, who was better positioned inside the area as he shot straight at Gomes. Everton put together a promising attack on 17 mins with Neville beating his man and cutting in but Beckford tried to be too clever with a difficult final ball from Saha. Good work at the back by Heitinga dispossessed Bale.
Some lively contact play, a lot involving Neville in feisty mood, was perfect to keep the Everton crowd up and behind the team. Some brilliant work by Coleman should have bought more than a corner, from which a lovely clipped in ground ball by Saha found Beckford with what looked like enough space and time but he scooped it horribly over the bar under pressure from a defender.
The next attack saw some excellent passing that got the ball in to Beckford again but his attempted turn was a little naive and Coleman could not finish the loose ball. Arteta gave away a free-kick that Heitinga headed out for a corner which was delivered dangerously but fractionally overhit by Van der Vaart and thankfully wasted.
Half-a-hour gone and it was an excellent game, fairly evenly balanced, with Everton perhaps looking the brighter and more adventurous going forward, while the Blues defence was generally coping with the renowned Spurs attacking threat. But Everton were slowing he game down too much in possession, although Arteta's snapshot did take a deflection that forced a Gomes save. They looked far better playing the ball on the ground through the middle and down the channels but too many attacks ending in lofted crosses were being easily dealt with by the massed Spurs defence.
A great steal by Coleman allowed Neville to fire in an equally good cross for Beckford but he could not get sufficient height over the ball and it looked like another poor miss as the ball looped over and wide. Arteta committed another poor foul, and Crouch still beat Fellaini to head wide. Pienaar was being almost too clever on occasions, his decisions puzzling his long-time partner Baines as he sought perhaps to impress 'Arry with flicks and backheels that bamboozled his Everton colleagues.
The Blues were giving away possession a little too easily at times, and choosing the daft back-pass for a hoof from Howard far too often instead of building on the ground. The threat from Van der Vaart was always there, a tremendous acrobatic shot from the Dutchman thankfully flying high and wide.
A dreadful giveaway by Saha from another one of those hideous needlessly stupid backward balls saw Spurs take the lead... except that Crouch had incredibly strayed offside and the goal was ruled out. Another Spurs free-kick and Van der Vaart powered his drive just inches over. But surely some huge warnings for the Blues to tighten things up in the second half...
Arteta drew a foul in a central location that he drove in low into the melee to zero effect. A superb piece of football saw Saha slip a driven ball from defence sweetly out to Coleman who ran all the way and then passes it straight into Gomes's hands. Hopeless! Dawson elbowed Coleman in the back of his head but got away with it as the ref was a little too lenient on Spurs' physical attentions.
Beckford again showed his naiveté who a headed ball in from Coleman as he looked for a non-existent foul rather than using his strength and body position to beat the defender. Bale then ran at Neville who stopped him and went in the book for his troubles, given Van der Vaart anther opportunity that he drove wide to the far post for a corner off Distin. Bale went off with a back problem, to be replaced by Niko Kranjcar
Howard defended the corner but having all 11 back meant that the ball was returned from half-way with interest for another Spurs attack. An hour gone and Everton still pushing but Van der Vaart somehow beat Distin and really tested Howard. At the other end, a perfect cross from Coleman was met on the volley by Saha about his drive was clipped away from goal off Hutton.
Coleman again got ahead to the line but his cut back was too close to Gomes. He then got another chance after great work by Fellaini but curled his shot high and wide. Fellaini then brilliantly fed a through-ball to Saha but he moved the ball onto his right foot and drove over.
With so much attacking verve but no end product since the early goal, the script was beginning to look ominously familiar, Everton having played their best football of the season. Jenas gave away another central free-kick but Baines delivered it too low. A wonderful win on the wing by Fellaini was totally wasted as Arteta had no idea what to do with it and another glorious chance to pressure Spurs was wasted.
Spurs snapped up another chance but he drove straight at Gomes when more guile was needed. After almost 30 mins of sustained Everton attacking, Heitinga gave away a dangerous free-kick that Kranjcar swung in and Saha defended. Spurs then waltzed into the are down the Everton left and Van der Vaart looked certain to score but Howard pulled off an excellent close-range stop.
Crouch was allowed to run a long way with the ball and his high shot needed saving by Howard. Worrying play off the corner looked liked shooting practice for the Spurs team as they took turns in firing and Everton defence blocked solidly. But, after a long spell of Everton dominance, the impetus was swinging back to Spurs as Moyes started his 5-minute sideline lecture of Yakubu.
But before he could come on, Beckford with an excellent touch set in Saha for a good run and a really fierce shot that Gomes could only punch into the ground where it bounced up perfectly for Seamus Coleman to head home confidently and give Everton a more than fully deserved lead. Yakubu then replaced Beckford. for the last 15 mins, and then Keane replaced Lennon.
With a secure lead to sit on Everton stopped building on the ground when in possession and instead resorted to some horrible hoofed clearances, tempting Spurs to do their worst. But the onslaught was punctuated by occasional better spells of joined-up football although lacking the conviction that was there earlier. Time for a couple of subs: first Osman on for Pienaar, who picked up a knock, in the 87th minute, followed by Rodwell coming of Saha and a moment of appreciation from the buoyant Goodison crowd.
Could Everton hold on for their first win at Goodison Park since October? Time ticked on, but it was nail-biting stuff when the white shirts had possession as 4 minutes were added on. Everton kept getting good possession and should have dome more with it, Fellaini releasing Yakubu for a run in on the Spurs goal but the tame effort was nothing short of pathetic. Osman had a poke that Gomes handled comfortably.
Assou-Ekoto shoulder barged Neville off the ball, quite fairly, said the officials, as the screams for the final whistle rang around Goodison and Crouch flattened Osman. A final free-kick and that was it. An excellent win, playing much more positive, adventurous, attacking football with most players in their correct positions ? and no Tim Cahill. Hmmmm...
Michael Kenrick Posted 05/01/2011 at
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1 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:05:01
2 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:04:02
I thought Screech was fantastic tonite, and the shite lost n'all. Weyhey!
Sorry, can't make a coherent sentence yet. Made up. Well done blues.
3 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:04:49
Moyes grows some balls and we play like a team with a purpose.
We battered them tonight, no question. Good movement, good passing and little evidence of the long hoof ball so favoured in the past couple of weeks.
That's all we've asked for and knew we where capable of.
Not rocket science is it ?
More of the same please, sensible substitutions as well.
4 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:07:15
5 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:06:22
Just shows you what can happen with 2 strikers and a better balanced team!
It made a world of difference taking the game to the other team and having a twin threat, Spurs are a good side and Everton were well worth the win.
Moyes is a stubborn man and playing two up front must have needed a few broken fingers to write that team sheet, but it was worth it.
Saha looked a million miles better, as did Beckford, Arteta and even Coleman crossed with his right foot!!
The team looked better balanced and happier. Individuals who haven;t performed this year did. Long may it continue!
6 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:10:04
Also take note note that there were strikers on the pitch!
On another notem, great performance, especially in the 2nd half. At last we actually try to play positive football and what a surprise, we get a good result.
Manager - please take note and stick with it.
7 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:08:00
Beckford's not quite there yet, but he's getting there and should take most of the credit for the winning goal.
Heitinga also did reasonably ok and INHO having a centre back NOT hoofing, but passing the ball out of defence contributed greatly to our victory.
4-4-2 with no Jags and Cahill, and the entire team performs better. Coincidence? No chance,
8 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:11:56
9 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:13:19
10 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:18:28
I've just given our Buster a few extra dog treats.
Celebrations all round !
11 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:10:10
12 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:18:26
Once again it shoves this "Lack of resources" bollocks where the sun don't shine... Everton can do it... if only Moyes would BELIEVE in them instead of all this over-cautious shite he's generated this season.
I'd better stop while still feeling somewhat positive!
13 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:14:23
Therefore, tonight may well be a catalyst for long-term change. I still think he would benefit from more attack-minded colleagues.
In my opinion Arteta played well
tonight. Unfortunatley for him, he is judged by his own standards by many fans.
I wish I could have been at Goodison tonight. It was a good game.
14 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:24:23
Brilliant performance, and great passion commitment and workrate. Typified by Seamus Coleman for me, who just ran for everything and put some great balls into the box.
Saha had his best game in ages too- looked liberated by having a strike partner, the big Fella also great in the second half. Shame that Beckford can't show a bit more composure in front of goal- hopefully that will come in time.
We've had some decent results against the bigger teams this season, but that was the first time we really outplayed one for me.
15 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:33:42
I think you're spot on there!
Moyes needs concrete events to change his mind, he seems almost incapable of acting proactively.
16 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:19:50
Two strikers and we could use BOTH sides of the pitch.
Very chuffed with Coleman - hope any efforts by coaches to get rid of his 'rough edges' don't result in him becoming another Gary Jones (a 70's Everton winger who had all the..um...'winging' coached out of him).
Anyway, if it's any consolation to Spurs fans, here's Frank Mclintock, chewing gum in his sleep on the tube (Piccadilly line).
Up the toffees!!
17 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:40:54
Coleman- brilliant today. Thought he might be levelling off a bit recently, but he's kicked onto another level today.
Love the clip!
18 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:44:52
19 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:45:44
At times, the movement was that good, it looked like we had more than 11 players on the pitch.
I just hope, that when we play the shite, Moyes goes with the same line - up, because if he does, there is only one winner. The thing is though, I still get this nagging feeling, that he will show the shite too much respect.
20 Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:46:19
Good to have a win at long last.
21 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:01:53
Though I agree too that it would have been pretty hard to leave out TC given that he's by far our top scorer this season.
22 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:04:55
I've watched his performances very closely and in recent games he's been pleading with other team members to give him the ball to his feet however, more often than not, they have chosen to play it back inside and out to the left. When he has broken forward with pace no one has gone with him and he's had to check his runs and bear down on the goal on his own. I think you'll find those are the reasons why he has not been delivering crosses into the box. Tonight his pace was matched by that of Beckford and it troubled Spurs all night.
Fellaini totally dominated the middle of the park and was giant among men. Hetinga gave us the confidence to play it out from the back. Arteta although not anywhere near his best at least looked like he was trying tonight.
For me the deciding factor tonight was that we were attacking the opposition down both flanks and that made a huge difference. It seems we've finally woken up to the fact we have an outlet on the right and it paid huge dividends tonight.
Fantastic result, at last, we set out to win a game rather than adopt a safety first approach.
23 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:08:54
24 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:08:58
25 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:15:01
Please, please stick with this team Moyes
26 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:19:10
27 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:35:51
28 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:35:37
A few more performances like this, with this formation, and it will be very interesting to see what DM does when Cahill is available again.
I love Timmy, but having two out and out strikers on the field just makes the team a more potent attacking force and far more enjoyable to watch. I thought Beckford and Saha looked very good together pre-season, and it could yet be a successful combination for us.
Great win anyway after a bloody miserable start to the new year. Here's to a new dawn and not another false one!
29 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:48:50
Good result, but our next two matches are cup finals, and I predict the result of same will go a long way to shaping whats left of our season so lets hope we can perform as we have tonight.
Go for it Davey, and good night.
30 Posted 06/01/2011 at 00:15:40
Asking the lads for their MotM and got four different answers ? Felli, Seamus, Cap'n Pip and Saha.
That tells you all about tonight's match. The effort was there from the off. I think it finally sunk in we were in the shit.
Bring on the RS ? they will be shitting themselves. Fucking brilliant!!!!
31 Posted 06/01/2011 at 00:20:41
I'd like to think Moyes has taken onboard the fan's comments on forums like Toffeeweb - but whatever prompted this change of spirit, tactics etc. I'm a happier bunny tonight.
Still too early to signal a summer - remember the Man City false dawn - but anything that gets us closer to 40 points is worth getting a warm feeling about.
We asked for a change - and if Moyes can now engineer it himself - then that's fine - but it's about bloody time the status quo got shaken - let's keep it up now!!!
32 Posted 06/01/2011 at 00:00:53
I still think Pienaar will be with us next season.
33 Posted 06/01/2011 at 00:28:16
What a wierd season, the managers of the red shite, Chelsea and Villa might all get the boot within the next week or so.
34 Posted 06/01/2011 at 00:30:27
Coleman obviously fancies himself against attacking teams like Spurs, and he showed it in bundles tonight, but for a change at last! It was hard to pick out a bad player for us, great game, great result and hopefully a springboard?
35 Posted 05/01/2011 at 23:03:58
And Comment (12) - You're sounding like my dad. "Hit it"!!!!
36 Posted 06/01/2011 at 00:48:50
37 Posted 06/01/2011 at 00:30:00
Moyes maybe didn't "grow a pair" but he had to have discovered a couple of small pebbles in his shorts minimally.
He could have stuck 4-5-1 and:
1. put Felliani in the Cahill slot
2. put Bily in the Cahill slot
He didn't. He went 4-4-2 and played everyone in their proper positions - thank God.
I would have bet the house, wife, and kids he was going to do the #1 above. I prayed he'd do the #2. Never in my wildest dreams did I think he'd go 4-4-2, play Beckford and Saha together (!), start Heitinga at CB(!), keep Felliani where he belongs without Cahill there (!), keep Osman off the wing and out of the starting lineup(!), et al...
The sun is out.
38 Posted 06/01/2011 at 01:38:32
Seriously, people need to start ignoring the simplistic labels that we attach to players and study what they?re actually doing on the pitch.
39 Posted 06/01/2011 at 01:44:02
40 Posted 06/01/2011 at 01:31:50
Great win today and I happen to hate Spurs since I am old enough to remember our 10-4 thrashing and the RS comments at school. However, I am still not convinced that Moyes is a believer in 4-4-2 and I will only be won over when we see a string of games like this one which by the way I did not have the pleasure of viewing since bloody DirecTV did not show it in Florida.
41 Posted 06/01/2011 at 02:14:20
42 Posted 06/01/2011 at 02:23:39
The difference being we looked threatening and like an actual team. 2 strikers makes all the difference. I actually thought Beckford played really well and he caused them problems all night with his pace. His finishing is clearly wayward but you could tell they were scared of his pace which opened up space for others.
More of the same please! A revert back to 4-5-1 now would be criminal.
Only downside was the hopeless Yak coming on.
43 Posted 06/01/2011 at 02:30:23
44 Posted 06/01/2011 at 03:35:54
Moyes, see what a little of positive action can achieve? Looks like our favourite Australian is going to have to work hard to get his place back in the team!! COYB!!!!!
45 Posted 06/01/2011 at 03:40:57
Wish we could play Spurs every week.. bring on the RS!!
46 Posted 06/01/2011 at 04:33:27
Aiden, we played with two recognised strikers working together up front, last time we play WHU with an attacking midfielder only. The difference was clear for all to see.
On a separate note many including myself, have been advocating that some of the team should pack their bags. Based on form to date this season it was a logical call, last night the same players showed what they can do ( once more) perhaps if we saw more of the positiveness and attacking play as we did last night, many of us (including myself) would not be calling for changes.
So Jekyll and Hyde resides in Goodison. But play in this vein and you will have our continued support, once again, well done guys!
47 Posted 06/01/2011 at 07:40:58
How refreshing to have 2 strikers playing from the start. Yes they had their chances, but I think we deserved to win. I hope that Moyes decides to be more positive and play 2 strikers more often. It seems perfectly simple to me - we have struggled to score all season, we have been playing one upfront - so why not try playing another striker!!! Let's hope that this is the start of Moyes being more adventurous.
About Cahill, I have to disagree with some of the comments - I think that he can play and play well in a 4-4-2 formation. Over the years he has done well for Australia and thay have not always played 4-5-1. He is a very adaptable player and I am sure that he could do well in 4-4-2. There is more to his game than just goalscoring.
48 Posted 06/01/2011 at 09:06:11
I'm made up but, as I've said before, I almost expect us to do well in these games now. It's when we then go and lose to Wigan, Stoke and West Ham that I'm once more disillusioned; so ? with apologies ? I remain a little cynical. Wrongly I hope.
49 Posted 06/01/2011 at 09:15:15
50 Posted 06/01/2011 at 09:51:07
I'm still not enamoured about Heitinga; Jags should be first choice centere back with Distin. Apart from that, the game was the best entertainment so far this season as Spurs played to win and we responded brilliantly. Arteta looked much happier and all the midfield players did well.
The best TEAM performance for ages... I just hope consistency can come with it!!
51 Posted 06/01/2011 at 10:20:58
What was different was the gap between the Spurs defence and midfield, caused by Beckford's pace stretching the game.
If Yak or Saha had played up top, they would have been able to close us up and make it difficult to create chances.
Forget the 4-4-2/4-5-1 debate a bit lads, they're just numbers - it's about how you set a team up to unpick the opposition, create chances and score goals.
52 Posted 06/01/2011 at 10:38:06
53 Posted 06/01/2011 at 11:06:15
54 Posted 06/01/2011 at 11:35:15
55 Posted 06/01/2011 at 08:18:13
Good site. Well done!
56 Posted 06/01/2011 at 12:18:02
I guess theres no pleasing some, 'he can attack... his problem is when he gets there!!' ? and there was me thinking he scored the winner.
57 Posted 06/01/2011 at 13:12:21
58 Posted 06/01/2011 at 13:39:20
Spurs allow teams to play but if we tried that formation against Wet Spam, we probably would have been beaten.
59 Posted 06/01/2011 at 12:51:21
Great to see 4-4-2 and Everton playing well, I hope Moyes gives this formation and team selection a chance as we proved last night that we have the players to play it and play it very well. To be honest I can't see Moyes playing this way away from home but at home would be a start.
Also, it was good to see us produce a performance and get a result without Tim Cahill. I'm not having a go at Cahill ? it's just that I was getting the impression that some fans and probably players where relying on him too much.
Just a quick question about Johnny Heitinga: Does anyone else agree that he brought a calmness to our defence last night?
60 Posted 06/01/2011 at 13:56:27
61 Posted 06/01/2011 at 14:27:42
So when Cahill comes back and he and Saha play the same identical roles will it then be called 4-4-1-1 again? Talk about a placebo effect.
All those people who slated Moyes for dropping the strikers against West Ham and City should now be praising him. Ok we got four points when we MIGHT have gotten six, but Saha couldn't be allowed to continue the way he was playing, and if he did, we would never have won last night. The boot up the arse certainly seems to have worked.
Take a bow on this one Mister Moyes, with the Tiger on his travels, you couldn't have timed it better.
62 Posted 06/01/2011 at 15:25:25
63 Posted 06/01/2011 at 16:03:53
64 Posted 06/01/2011 at 16:07:22
65 Posted 06/01/2011 at 16:22:13
Or maybe the reason he played so well, was because he had another striker playing with him, whose movement of the ball was great, taking defenders out the game, therefore giving Saha more space to work - in???
66 Posted 06/01/2011 at 18:05:47
67 Posted 06/01/2011 at 19:33:27
Before last night, Saha had only started 7 games all season.
68 Posted 06/01/2011 at 22:45:59
Coleman had a great game and took his goal well. Nuff said.
69 Posted 06/01/2011 at 22:52:20
70 Posted 07/01/2011 at 06:55:14
If Moyes is to take the blame for strikers not performing, then surely he deservs the credit when he takes decisive action and gets the required result.
71 Posted 07/01/2011 at 19:21:41
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