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Season 2011-12

A Touch of Spanish Magic

By Luke O'Farrell   ::  25/08/2011
 32 Comments (Last)

The team showed 5 changes from the QPR defeat with Distin rested, allowing Heitinga to move to centre back with Fellaini filling the gap in made his 250th Everton start at right back. Arteta and Anichebe were the two other changes. That midfield. Mucha was given a start in-goal, Hibbert meant 6 survivors from Saturday with Barkley given another chance to impress. The League 1 visitors had ex-Everton goalkeeper Steve Simonsen in-goal.

There was more determination and drive in Everton?s play as they were positive and pressurised the visitors from the off. The lack of a natural wide man in midfield was actually a blessing; the players interchanged positions and the movement was more fluent. Within 5 minutes, Fellaini and Barkley had both had attempts from distance; neither troubled Simonsen.

After 10 minutes, the first signs of the players clicking into gear became clear. Baines, Osman and Arteta linked up well down the left resulting in Arteta having a shot blocked. A short while later Anichebe produced a smart turn and shot that drifted wide. Barkley tried again from distance and Fellaini also fired wide after good work from Arteta.

Arteta was starting to grow in confidence and become more and more involved. Around the 15 minutes had elapsed when Sheffield United had their first real effort of note. A training ground move resulted in Maguire firing a free kick high into the Gwladys Street.

A Hibbert cross found its way to Arteta on the back post but he could only fire into the side netting; his reaction told us he should have done better. Barkley had another effort from distance after some good build up play; his shot didn?t trouble the target. From the resulting goal kick, United took the lead. Simonsen?s punt was badly misjudged by Jagielka and Quinn raced into the hole in the back line to square for Cresswell who applied the finish. The fans got behind the team as they acknowledged that it was an individual error and the team had played well to that point.

Everton were level within two minutes, putting the fan?s nerves to bed. Rodwell and Arteta played a neat one-two down the left and Rodwell advanced into the area. Simonsen saved his low effort but the ball rebounded off Cresswell into the net. Cresswell had gone from hero to villain within 120 seconds.

With 10 minutes till the interval, Everton took the lead. Osman broke forward from the halfway line and played the ball to Barkley. The youngster?s cross-shot was heading wide until Anichebe steered it into the Park End net. Barkley was heavily involved in Everton?s third on the stroke of half-time. Barkley drifted in from the right with a well-timed tackle stopping him; the ball fell to Arteta who guided the ball into the corner past Simonsen. The finish was perfect and highlighted the class Arteta possesses.

Half time came and it was clear the players seemed much more focused and alert; granted the opposition was weaker but they were taking nothing for granted. Barkley, Fellaini and Arteta had all been prominent in the first half and Heitinga had looked very composed at centre back.

Just after the break, Quinn, easily the visitor?s best player; tested Mucha from distance but the Slovakian got down well to save. Barkley and Osman stung Simonsen?s fingers; Barkley?s effort had his effort beaten away and Osman's shot was well held. Good work from Arteta resulted in a chance that Anichebe put wide of the far post.

Saha came on for Rodwell with 25 minutes left. Good build up involving Arteta and Anichebe resulted in a cut back that Osman drove off the right hand post with Simonsen well beaten. The introduction of Baxter and Neville was to follow, in place of Barkley and Osman.

Maguire forced Mucha into a good save in 89th minute with a well struck 30-yarder and in stoppage time Anichebe missed a chance to make it 4-1; dithering on the ball and allowing the defender to recover with a well-timed tackle.

The players were much more focused and committed than on Saturday. The midfield looks much more threatening with Arteta and Fellaini present; the Spaniard, in particular, was very impressive and everything he did was a class above. Rodwell also performed better in a central role; although he was outperformed by the 4 players around him.

In terms of the defence, Jagielka looked shaky and has been at fault for both goals this season. Distin performed well against QPR and Heitinga did so tonight. With the Dutchman at centre back, the team build from the back and keep possession better. Two passes to Hibbert and Barkley were particularly impressive. Based on the two games so far; Heitinga and Distin will feel hard done by if they don?t start at Ewood Park.

Barkley played well yet has things to learn. He often made the wrong choice but this will improve with experience and the match time will only help his development.

Another plus point was Tony Hibbert. Solid in defence and constantly getting forward, he gave the right side of the team a much stronger feel. His crossing improved and he took one pass on the run, past their full back, in a particularly impressive manner.

Mucha was impressive in what he did; commanding his area and dealing with the attempts on target. Most impressive was his distribution; refusing to punt the ball aimlessly. He continually ordered the centre backs to move into space so he could pass the ball out. Over the 90 minutes, he only hit one long ball. This resulted in better ball retention and we looked better for it; Howard would do well to copy this.

The team and tactics from tonight are needed for Saturday?s trip to Blackburn. Overall, it was a much improved performance, with key players wanting the ball and taking responsibility. Arteta and Fellaini showed their class and got some much-needed game time, Barkley proved that he can do a job on the right whilst Hibbert made a very good case for being first choice.

Next up Blackburn; should the Everton of tonight turn up then it could be a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon.

Ratings: Mucha 7, Hibbert 8, Jagielka 6, Heitinga 7, Baines 7, Barkley 7, Fellaini 8, Rodwell 7, *Arteta 8*, Osman 7, Anichebe 7

Reader Comments

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Jamie Sweet
1   Posted 25/08/2011 at 05:53:14

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Cheers Luke, nice report... although I have to say that unlike you, I don't hope that this is the team or the tactics for the game at Ewood.

We disposed of a League One side, but Anichebe as a lone striker is hardly going to have The Rovers quaking in their boots!
Andy Codling
2   Posted 25/08/2011 at 07:40:01

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Anichebe has found his level!!!
Sam Hoare
3   Posted 25/08/2011 at 08:09:11

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Come on Andy! I know big Vic is no Messi but he did alright last night and got a goal.

Chance are that we won't be bringing anyone in so might as well back what we have.
Dave Wilson
4   Posted 25/08/2011 at 09:13:43

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The Vic bashing goes unabated.

Vic didn't play on Saturday, we lost.

Injury prevented him playing in all those early season defeats and draws in the first part of last season.

He may not be Messi but we lose far less with him than we do without him, that's a fact. Yet still he`s singled out.
Robert Pedder
5   Posted 25/08/2011 at 09:55:40

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A pretty problem-free win in a cup Moyes has never had much luck in. Still, his decisions baffle me. 3-1 up, game going nowhere and he throws a striker on.
James Boden
6   Posted 25/08/2011 at 10:48:34

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Dave Wilson once again to the rescue of Victor Anichebe. Dave just admit it you really are the Chairman of his fan club. Your defense of him has reached no limits.

Please enlighten us all as to what makes him such a special case and then perhaps I and/or everyone else can reply with why they dislike him.

Laurie Hartley
7   Posted 25/08/2011 at 11:33:14

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I am limited to watching Everton games on Foxtel in Australia, however Luke's report has convinced me of five things I have been chewing over for some time:

Start Heitinga and Distin as our centre back pairing.
Sell Jags ("Sorry son but that's football)
Start Hibbert at right whenever he is available
Give Phil Neville a coaching position.
Give Fellaini the Captains armband.

About Anichebe ? What Nolan did to him was disgrace and the lad is finding his way back from that. I will always remember the way he stood up to O'Hare who is also a thug of some note. Victor Anichebe has tremendous physical strength and if I was an opposition centre back I'd rather be looking after Beckford than Victor on any Saturday afternoon. This lad will come good.
Luke O'Farrell
8   Posted 25/08/2011 at 12:04:54

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I know many won't not agree but if, and we should, line up with that midfield on Saturday then I'd go for Victor up front.

With that midfield, we actually have goal threats in the team and I feel Victor is the best suited to the lone striker role; with that midfield behind him.

He held the ball up well and brought others into play and also made some very good runs off the ball. Last minute chance aside, he was very good; admittedly it is only a League 1 team.

Credit were its due though; don't just slate him even when he plays well.
Peter Cummo
9   Posted 25/08/2011 at 12:05:16

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A bit more positive play after saturdays shambles but just wonder if all the big money talk is affecting Jags? he cost us the points v QPR and could have done the same last night, his overall play has been erratic so far, like Luke I agree that Mucha did well, I have never had much faith in Howard especially in his failure to deal with crosses and dominate his area while Mucha did both, think he should be given more first team starts, in the end a very good performance all round, lets hope we can build on it starting at Ewood
Daniel A Johnson
10   Posted 25/08/2011 at 12:22:52

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I think Jags has been told if they make us the right offer you are off son.

Must be distarcting to turn on the TV and keep seeing your name linked to Arsenal all the time.
Adam Luszniak
11   Posted 25/08/2011 at 12:44:30

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Have to admit jags has been the weak link in the back four so far. If we can get more than 15m for him it's deal of the century
James Stewart
12   Posted 25/08/2011 at 12:51:54

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should be Mucha, Heitinga and Distin for Blackburn then. Ha NO Chance Moyes will have his favourites back in and it will be hoof hoof hoof
Ciarán McGlone
13   Posted 25/08/2011 at 10:41:43

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My man Hibbert gets an 8.... It makes the heart flutter!
Michael Kidd
14   Posted 25/08/2011 at 13:14:37

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One of the reports of the QPR game said that Jagielka 'uncharacteristically' gave the ball away. From what I've seen, he gives the ball away more often than not.
Michael Kidd
15   Posted 25/08/2011 at 13:14:37

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One of the reports of the QPR game said that Jagielka 'uncharacteristically' gave the ball away. From what I've seen, he gives the ball away more often than not.
Ian Kearney
16   Posted 25/08/2011 at 13:46:29

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The Vic bashing knocks me sick to be honest, can't be bothered even getting into it with the one eyed anti-Vic mob.

Luke, couldn't agree more about having Johnny at the back instead of Jags, won't happen though unless he is sold.
Dave Wilson
17   Posted 25/08/2011 at 14:49:54

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James Boden

Do you have difficulty understanding English ?

I just gave you the facts: we lose less when Vic starts than we do when he doesn't .

You can either waste your time trying to disprove that or live with it.

I support ALL the local boys, Loved seeing Hibbo, Ossie, Barkley, Jack, Bainsey and Vic in the line up last night. . .but I`ll only be chairman of the fan club if its a paid post.

Vic would be my least favourite out of that lot, but I still really want to see him ram all that shite straight back down his abusers throats.

I`d love it if he does, love it.
James Boden
18   Posted 25/08/2011 at 16:13:51

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Dave Wilson if you truly believe that Vic as you call him has an influence on the team that is anything other than coincidental then quite frankly I would find that laughable.
I believe the reasons many dislike Victor Anichebe is as follows:
Number 1) They believe he is a poor footballer.
Number 2) Thinks his attitude leaves alot to be desired.
Number 3) Do not find him the least bit likeable as a human being- Claiming he was arrested for being 'black' and having his house burgled on no less than 4 occasions because he refused to get curtains and instead displays all his possessions to the public might show just a hint of clear ignorance and unwillingness to learn.

Obviously he is not at fault for the continued support he receives from the manager nor was he the person who handed himself a new contract for doing nothing (although it is worth pointing out that having rejected a contract offer he then received a new improved offer).

The bloke has lived off the back of a couple of substitute performances he made in Europe FOUR years ago. Admittedly he was playing half well before the leg break but if you remember correctly (As you should considering you keep chucking in these FACTS about Anichebe)you would remember that he was DROPPED from our match against Liverpool in the cup replay for an outburst he had the previous day.

Believe me I for one would love in an ideal world to see our entire line up to be made of Scousers however the bottom line is that is purely a fantasy and really unless they are any good they have no business in the team local or not.

I too hopes that one day Anichebe makes me eat my words however to be quite blunt I am very confident that will never happen.

P.S. Before you inevitably bring Hibbert into the equation I would like to point out that I rate his defensive ability very highly.
Amit Vithlani
19   Posted 25/08/2011 at 16:47:32

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Dave Wilson to be fair Vic has had some truly appalling performances last season. Millwall and Bolton last season spring to mind, where he was mind numbingly poor.

Against Man City last season he looked like a world beater for 50 minutes and then got himself sent off for a reckless challenge.

There has been a change in his attitude this season - certainly in pre season he looked alot fitter and much sharper and against DC Utd he was a handful.

Long may his Damascene conversion continue.
Dave Wilson
20   Posted 25/08/2011 at 18:18:20

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James Boden

Sorry but I`m not really intersted in your opinion, I didn't ask you for it, so I`m not sure why you keep addressing me.

Jangle all you want about a player's private life but please leave me out.

I only replied to your first post because you addressed it to me. I just gave you the facts.

They`re irrefutable.
James Boden
21   Posted 25/08/2011 at 19:18:42

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Dave Wilson

If you're going to take the attitude where 'only my opinion counts' then quite frankly you're better off leaving Toffeeweb quite frankly.
Don't get me wrong there are times when we all say ridiculous and totally nonsensical things but for petesake we are expressing our opinions or must you be consulted first rather it's acceptable to have an opinion that differs from yours?

Dave Wilson
22   Posted 25/08/2011 at 19:26:02

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James Boden

Say whatever you want, its a free country. I just dont want you adresssing shite I`m not interested in to me.

The minute you start gossiping like an arl woman about a players private life. I`m out.
James Boden
23   Posted 25/08/2011 at 19:31:27

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Dave Wilson

I must admit to laughing at the 'arl women' remark, it was probably the funniest thing I have read on Toffeeweb in several weeks so I will at least credit you on that.
Jamie Sweet
24   Posted 25/08/2011 at 21:38:48

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Dave Wilson... We also win every time Vic gets sent off. This is a fact. It is irrefutable blah blah blah...

You know very well that you can find a statistics to help you make any point you would like to make... and the one you have chosen still does not make him a good player, just like the one I chose does not make it a positive thing for a player to get sent off.

Trust me, I would love nothing more than to see Victor become a success at Everton. He appears to possess all the necessary attributes to become a decent player, and I haven't completely given up on him.

However, I refuse to ignore the utterly dismal displays I have seen (which to date, imo, outnumber any half decent games he's had).

If you think he is doing his best then fair enough. I personally believe he could do much better and think he would do well do adopt a better attitude.

I have never "bashed" Hibbert or Osman for example as I believe they always give 110% for the club. I wish I could say the same for Vic but I can't. Until that changes, I reserve my right to give him a bit of negative press, which is just as valid as your right to defend the lad.
Ciarán McGlone
25   Posted 25/08/2011 at 23:27:48

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There goes a lesson on the dangers of not knowing the difference between causation and correlation.
Laurie Hartley
26   Posted 26/08/2011 at 03:16:32

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Ciaran, I'm going to look that up on Wikepedia.
Dave Wilson
27   Posted 26/08/2011 at 06:46:21

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Jamie Sweet

If ever a players has suffered from people spouting misleading facts its Anichebe.

he only has to be named on the bench when some bright spark will come on and say "he`s only scored X in Y games" . They will totally ignore that fact that most of his appearances have been as a very late sub and that in 90% of the games he has played since his injury he has been employed wide on the right.

We DO usually win when Vic gets sent off, but haven't we usually raced into a 2 goal lead by then ? . .of course your right Jamie, stats work both way

I didnt didnt defend Vic, I didnt claim he was Messi and I didnt bring other players into it. nor did I play with stats

I just gave you an irrefutable fact, make of it what you will.

I read posts on here after the QPR game - one from one of the sites most respected contributors - claiming that Anichebe not playing was somehow a silver lining. I could barely believe it.

I swear that in nearly 50 years of watching Everton I dont remember seeing anything as inept as Cahill and Beckford in that game. I actually felt ashamed. Yet people were saying they would rather that then give Vic a chance ? WTF is that about ?

Nobody is getting excited about beating a poor Sheffield team but Vic played, he did OK, he scored and we won . . but still the bile . .it sickening.

I quite simply dont believe these people who claim they want Vic to Ram their words down their throats.

Victor Anichebe may never get amongst the goals, he doesnt even get into the box some matches. When playing up front he is asked to engaged the center backs, its a simple plan, but if it stops the ball coming back with the alarming regularity it did when Cahill and Beckford were doing their lamppost impersonations against QPR.

Vic doesnt bring flair to the team, nor does he bring goals, He may well have a dodgy attitude but every center back who marks him knows he has been in a game, the players around Vic get more time and play better and the ball doesnt come back all day long.

You will always get shocks in football, but "accidents" dont keep reoccurring over the seasons.
Think about that and you`ll realise the dangers of THINKING you know the difference between causation and Correlation
Ciarán McGlone
28   Posted 26/08/2011 at 12:04:48

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I actually am in partial agreement with your stance on Anichebe...

He is probably the best player we have in the team who excels at holding up the ball...a skill which is very sought after in combination with a decent striker, Unfortunately he's had his problems - both attitude and physical - that have hindered his progression. However, I still think he has a lot of potential..but do we have the time, opportunity or manager with the ability to realise that potential?

I'm not so sure..playing him on the wing has been detrimental - and doesn't make use of his major ability.

However throwing 'irrefutable facts' about - which are entirely irrelevant to an assessment of an individual player, only serves to undermine your argument.
Dave Wilson
29   Posted 26/08/2011 at 15:17:57

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"Throwing "irrefutable facts" about only serves to undermine your argument"


I would be inclined to agree with you if we were talking about any other player.

My points were not in defence of Vic nor was I say claiming he is anything more than he is. it was an attempt to prove to people that this guy is not the beginning and end of all our troubles.

I doubt there is a player anywhere in world football who takes this sort of relentless shite from his own fans. Its not something I`ve ever witnessed
IMO It goes way beyond criticism.

Vics abusers - because thats what some of them are - will tell you they would love to see him come good . .what utter bollocks, they`d hate it.

The guy earned some plaudits towards the end of last season and from all accounts he did ok in the USA, he played no part of the QPR debacle and yet he still gets singled out.
Its shameful, its also brainless because it will ultimately destroy his confidence and self belief. Whether people like it or not, he will undoubtedly have to play a big part in our season.
Col Noon
30   Posted 26/08/2011 at 19:18:53

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God you lot are boring with this Anichebe situ. Facts, stats, red cards, "sickening" abuse? A match report has become a full on bore fest. We played a leauge 1 team, beat them and he scored. Leave it at that please. A lot of would be politicians on here ive found over the years. Keep it football please. Thanks
Scott Hamilton
31   Posted 26/08/2011 at 20:09:05

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Moyes should pay Vic a "stay on yer fuckin' feet" bonus!

Stick him on £100 per week but pay him a grand for every 10 mins of a game that he continually stays upright.

Likewise, the Yak should be on a "get yer weight under 15 stone yer fat twat" bonus. For every half a stone he get under he earns 5 grand a week.
Jon Cox
32   Posted 27/08/2011 at 14:03:26

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Might as well pile in. Should we give Arteta an "over the wall" bonus?

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