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Toffees Tame The Wolves

By Luke O'Farrell & Daniel Broderick :  09/04/2011 :  Comments (10) :
The team picked itself as Coleman was unavailable. Gueye was making his first Premier League start and lining up on the left initially, although he moved behind Beckford after 15 mins. The bench picked itself, with Victor fit again to take his place. The first 25 mins were appalling. Thankfully we improved. The next 20 mins saw us bag 3 goals and in all honesty it could have been more. Beckford, Gueye and Bily all had good chances as the game went on. The second half was played out like a training game almost; Wolves never looked like getting back into it and we had done the hard part.

Match Report by Daniel Broderick:

Well, that was an unexpected treat and the perfect pick-me-up after a day at the races. After a shaky opening, with a string of first team players missing, a scoreline of 3-0 to the mighty Blues could not have been predicted. Never discount Everton to amaze though, and somewhat against the run of play on 21 minutes a glorious cross from Leon Osman, my MotM, found Jermaine Beckford, and the striker planted his header into the net for a 1-0 lead.

After this point, it was one way traffic as the blues found a foothold in the game and, but for a fine save from a Beckford header and Magaye Gueye unable to find the net when clean through on goal, the scoreline could have been far more convincing.

Thankfully, those two chances not leading to goals did not matter though, as arguably the best 6 minute-period of Everton's season began on 39 minutes. This started with a Phil Neville wonder-goal complete with a Tim Cahill corner flag celebration (there is a sentence many thought not possible) and ended with a scorching strike from Bilyaletdinov on the stroke of half time. That was the icing on the cake and sent Evertonians into dreamland, and a 3-0 half-time lead at the so-called fortress that is Molineux.

The second half was fairly boring in comparison to the drama of the first half, with Everton looking comfortable. The notable things of the half were a Beckford spat with Moyes after being subbed, some decent Howard saves, and the chance to see Vellios and Forshaw get a run out.

Overall, the performance was one of the best Everton displays all season, and it makes you wonder what really could be achieved if we were not so inconsistent. Onwards and upwards, Everton.

Player Ratings by Luke O'Farrell

Howard: Was a spectator for the most part, could still do with commanding that box a bit more. Alert to make two decent saves in the second half. 6

Hibbert: Thought he defended well against Jarvis made him look ordinary at times. He pulled off a very good block in the first half when Wolves were on top. 7

Jagielka: At times he was a bit too eager to hoof it but defended very well throughout; looks comfortable alongside Distin. 7

Distin: Must have a headache after that performance; won everything in the air. Has been fantastic this season; another colossal display. 8

Baines: Didn?t have that much to do defensively and was rather quiet going forward. Steady if unspectacular. Thankfully the players in front did the job and was his forward threat was not missed that much. 6

Gueye: Was moved around a bit as he tried to get into the game. Quite unlucky with his one chance through the middle, I thought. He seems more suited to a central role at the moment, as he seems a bit too slack in the tracking back department. 6

Neville: Scored his customary one every 3 seasons goal; took it extremely well with the aid of a slight deflection. Chased and hassled their midfield well and lead by example. 7

Heitinga: Thought that was probably the best he has played in the midfield ?enforcer? role for quite some time. Actually closed people down, got in his fair share of tackles; without bottling any and used the ball relatively well. 7

Bily: What a hit that was; in the central position he is a threat, as I said after the Villa game. Showed some good touches and seemed to drift around the midfield. Looked much sharper and brighter; hopefully the goal is a confidence booster. 7

Osman: A close second to Distin for man of the match. Did some good defending in our box when required; also put in a quality cross for the first goal and another great ball in for Beckford?s other chance. Looks like a different player from the one I used to chastise week in week out. 8

Beckford: Lead the line well, probably the best he has played in the lone striker role to date. Took his goal well, could have had another one. He scared their backline with his pace and was full of running. 7

Subs:

Vellios: Put a good shift in and hassled their back 4 well when he came on. Only rarely had once half-chance, but Victor?s cross was just behind him and Bily made a meal of the follow up. 6

Anichebe: Seemed a bit lost on the left hand side. Just looks so disinterested at times. Didn?t really have any sort of impact on the game, seemed to pass him buy. 5

Forshaw: Nice to see another Academy player be given a debut.He barely touched the ball although tracked back well to help Hibbert towards the end. N/A

Moyes: Glad to see him put Bily on the right, looks much better there than the left hand side. He needs to tell the players to stop hitting kick-off long; surrendering the ball contributed to their good start. Glad to see him leave Beckford up for corners; at long last he did it, let?s hope it lasts. Subbed early for a change; made a nice refreshing change. Now he needs to carry this mind set through to when we have everyone back; sub early and leave one up on corners. 8

Overall a hard-earned professional away performance with two quality strikes to liven up the game. Everyone contributed today; glad to see even when Baines doesn?t raid forward all game we can still pose a threat.

Still been a poor season but hopefully we can have a good finish so it's not all doom and gloom come the summer.

Onwards and upwards, I hope.

Reader Comments

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Chris Ashton
1   Posted 09/04/2011 at 20:10:49

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The odds on a 3-0 win with Beckford scoring first were 110-1. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

On a sidenote, Paul Merson had us losing 2-1 today, and he thought Liverpool's injuries were worse than ours!

Great result though, could we catch the enemy after all?
Dave Southon
2   Posted 09/04/2011 at 20:20:42

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My first away game of the season and I thoroughly enjoyed it ? even the first 20 minutes when we defended like our lives depended on it.

I must add though that Gueye reminded me of Danny Cadamarteri; early days so hopefully, given time, he will develop into a much better player than Danny.

Bily still looks shocking but has a knack of scoring screamers; still not good enough at this level.

Beckford looking more and more like a Premier League striker and looks a great bit of business.

Although we won, I do feel the scoreline flattered us and I only hope we didn't use our goals up with some tough games coming up.
Mike Bates
3   Posted 09/04/2011 at 20:29:22

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Chris, I got it at 150-1. Today was a good day.
Alan Clarke
4   Posted 10/04/2011 at 09:45:58

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I think one of the reasons this team is doing well compared to when we've had a fully fit squad is that opposition managers don't know how to prepare. Earlier in the season, other teams knew we'd play 4-5-1, same old same old. Cahill as an attacking midfielder etc.

We had another brief run of form when Moyes switched to 4-4-2 for a few games and we smashed Spurs. The unpredictability factor helped us, managers were expecting us to play 4-5-1.

Now, with a patched-up side and players like Magaye in the team and Osman in the 'hole', teams don't know what to expect. They don't know who to mark, which players need to be kept on their wrong foot, which runs to expect from our players and how we set up to defend.

Please learn from it, Moyes ? keep things fresh and make it difficult for opposing managers to work out how we play.
Tony J Williams
5   Posted 10/04/2011 at 13:10:32

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Sounds good Alan but that can also lead to squad instability and moaning players, just ask Foolier when he was doing his squad rotation thing at the Shite.
Alan Clarke
6   Posted 10/04/2011 at 13:41:30

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I suppose you're right Tony but it has been a major criticism of Moyes, the fact he has not plan B. Moyes has his tried and trusted favourites who know they'll get picked no matter what.

We played well with 4-4-2 this season and yesterday was as good as we've been all season with a patched up side. It shows Moyes does have plan B and even C. Also on yesterday's showing there is more competition for places than most of us thought. Moyes just needs to be a bit braver and shouldn't be scared to make changes when he does have a fully fit squad.
Tony J Williams
7   Posted 10/04/2011 at 15:32:39

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The problem Moyes faces Alan is that he probably has a very good starting XI and maybe 2/3 others that could realistically force their way in. So it's not surprising that Moyes doesn't change it often and then we get predictable and teams know how to play against us.

Our biggest issue we have is that we do not have 4 decent enough midfielders to be happy with a 4-4-2, we have a 5 into 4 situation and that's why we consistently play 4-5-1.

If we have better midfielders we could change it up and be less predictable but we don't and we certainly can't afford them without selling one of our better midfielders ? vicious circle if ever there was one.
David Price
8   Posted 10/04/2011 at 18:19:01

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Bloody weird game this football. After 20 mins it was potentially Bolton away all over again. Then Osman steps up, who was doing my head in with his constant bickering with Phil Dowd, suddenly rediscovered his recent form and puts in a beautiful cross for Beckford to finish.
From then on it was a different team. Beckford looking good for a hat trick, Osman cutting through the Wolves midfield and Bily showing international class with that finish. Surely Bily must play behind Beckford, Osman out wide on the left with Coleman if fit back on the right.

Gueye, i feel has a long way to go and looked totally lost. Forshaw and Vellios on the other hand look to be proper footballers. Cameo performances, I know... but after watching footy for 40 years you tend to get an instinct and these lads will serve us well.

As another post mentioned, Heitinga and Neville would not get a look in past Arteta and Fellaini, yet the basics these two put in, actually gave more freedom for Bily and Osman, not so much Gueye, to attack knowing the defensive set up behind them was solid.

Special mention to the back 5 for the first 20 minutes. Top drawer performances, Distin won everything and Hibbert put in a display that was defensive solidity at it's best. Howard, also back to his best.

Bigger tests to follow with 3 of the last 6 games against sides in the top four. Moyes seems to be doing what he does best by getting his best out of a small group of players and battling to the end. Where does it leave us for next season, who knows? But for now, it's nice to get some pride back into the shirt.

Luke O'Farrell
9   Posted 10/04/2011 at 19:41:29

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Forshaw is probably most like Osman, out of the current players. Same sort of stature, not particularly quick but neat and tidy on the ball.

I don't think Gueye or Moyes know his best postion; he did look lost at times on Saturday. I thought he was a tad unlucky with his chance though.

I would also like to see Bily in the more central role.

I'm ot to fussed about the Beckford/Moyes spat; at least it proves he cares... I wish more players had the same desire.

We just need to somehow learn how to have a good start to next season somehow.
Patrick Pulis
10   Posted 11/04/2011 at 20:19:23

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Couldn't agree more about Distin in this match. He looked like a fish jumping up a waterfall every time a ball was put in the box. Massive display of defending on his part. Might need to take some painkillers after the headache he must have.

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