COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
It was a game that had a bit of everything. Two penalties, one apiece, both missed. Two red cards, one apiece. Goalkeeping blunders from either side and a good dose of decent end-to-end footy.
The game started in the fashion it would continue through normal time: end-to-end and open. No Premier League caginess in sight and it only took two mins and Chelsea had hit the outside of our post through Lukaku. The Blues hit back when Bilyaletdinov made a rapid move to the by-line and put in a decent pulled back cross for Saha to hit well and force the keeper to sprawl and tip it around the post. Saha had his tale up and just a few minutes later he hit one from distance that the keeper had to push away.
We were going well now with Fellaini in the playmaker role, Rodwell playing further forward and chasing down anything that moved, and then there was Drenthe, what a wild card he is! Great pace to unsettle any defence, King of the misplaced pass, always willing to shoot then going on a dribble with other players yelling for a simple pass. He must be murder to play with at times yet you can see he is something we have been crying out for and if he could just gain that little bit of calm nous we will have a right ?gud un?.
Heitinga was strolling with some aplomb but looked unsure under pressure and so it proved around the half-hour mark when a Chelsea player took him on in the box he brought him down in the box. "Penalty," said the ref; no one complained. Up stepped Anelka and hit it, Mucha dived spectacularly the wrong way and the ball missed the target and went wide. Anelka seems to miss pens against us. The crowd let him know how they felt about his miss.
Then, some ten minutes later, he came and punched away a cross that left many thinking that it was less than convincing they may have been onto something as just after Chelsea had a foray forward and from the edge of the box Kalou tried a chip that went wrong and floated toward our keeper, the crowd were already jeering his effort when it reached Mucha?s hands... What followed seemed to take place in slow motion as first he knocked the ball from right hand to left hand then seemed to throw it into his own net and dive in after it and throw it out. It didn?t fool the liner though who was half way to the half way line indicating an Everton kick-off. Heitinga and Distin went to him and have a word, I hope it was a different word than was being said within my earshot!
We pressed on with Drenthe like a man on fire, Rodwell and Fellaini faring well in the middle of the park and Saha showing for the ball well but we just could not get the all important killer pass. Neville was limping and signalling to the bench to come off as the ref blew for half-time.
Hibbert duly replaced Neville and off we went again, attacking the Chelsea rearguard... but it was the visitors who almost scored as Bilyaletdinov tamely gave the ball away on half-way and Anelka ran through on goal with Mucha coming the other way. Anelka shot, Mucha slid and the ball was blocked away.
It was all Everton now and we were putting Chelsea under ever more pressure which paid off on the hour mark. Cahill headed into the path of the speeding Saha in the box the keeper sent him tumbling and the ref pointed to the spot and then red carded the keeper. Baines grabbed the ball but Chelsea took an eternity in getting Lukaku off andCech on...
At last we were all ready, up came Baines and smashed straight down the middle, straight at Cech who blocked it back to Baines who seemed to hesitate that little bit and Cech blocked his follow up shot into the air and Cahill headed wide.
We had 11 against 10 now and we were making the most of it and Drenthe was in the thick of everything. He took a free kick off Baines in a good position and shaved the crossbar with his effort. Then another run that cried out for a pass but he ran into trouble and the move was gone.
The manager then sent on Coleman and Stracqualursi for Bilyaletdinov and Rodwell. I was a little surprised at the Rodwell sub as I thought he had his best game for some time but I am just a fan not a manager who was proved right with seven to go when Hibbert started a four man move that saw Coleman put in down the right his excellent cross was met by the fast moving Saha and the ball arrowed into the bottom corner leaving Cech helpless. Goodison echoed with the voices of ecstatic fans as well as a pumped up Saha. Tails up and Drenthe and the rest smelt victory.
R R Drenthe (What is the other R for?) smashed a daisy cutter just wide then with just 5 mins left Drenthe took another free kick and it was pin point leaving Stracqualursi with a free header centre of goal. Everyone stood up in unison, he unbelievably headed over, we all sat down again and joined him with head in hands. He should have made himself a hero instead his performance on the night left this fan wondering if Leicester knew more than us?
One last chance: Coleman got to the by-line but his cross was not the best and was put out for a corner which was not that well taken and cleared. Then the board went up: 5 mins added and in that time we had one chance when Saha sent a powerful drive just past the post, it was very close but I thought the keeper did have it covered.
Extra time and it became a different game with neither side wanting to give anything away yet it was the 10 men of Chelsea who had the best chance when Sturridge broke on goal; Distin put on the turbo and caught him, made a great tackle and cleared. Mucha did well to dive and hold a free kick from Luiz.
The second period was only a couple of minutes old when Drenthe joined the 'sawdust for brains' club when he chased a ball out of defence that a Chelsea player got to first but he didn?t put the brakes on and ploughed into him. Having already got one yellow card for nothing more than childish petulance, it was plain stupid to do what he did; he duly got his second yellow and red and off.
10 against 10 and it was a different story. The fact was their 10 were better than our 10 and it showed, first when Anelka was fed by the penalty spot with time to pick his spot but it brought a rather bizarre clearance. The ball hit Baines on the line and bounced onto the post then to Mucha who pushed wide.
With 5 mins to go, we looked out on our feet and Chelsea with a third wind saw Malouda shoot straight at Mucha who could only let it hit him and allow the in-rushing Sturridge to slide home. Fellaini didn?t hide his feelings and gave Mucha ?down the banks? with much arm-waving. We didn?t really deserve that defeat but the truth is we contributed to our own downfall.
MotM ? would have been Drenthe until his stupid antics let us all down... so it's Fellaini.
Overall, a good night out, a good game to watch... if a poor one in terms of the result. There was a good family atmosphere amongst the 23,000 faithful ? mums, dads and children; teenagers with Everton flags waving and no support or detriment to any one was heard ? just discussions regarding the match and how we might line up and fare on Saturday v Man Utd. Another 6-1 drubbing would do me.
Well that?s the end of one road into Europe so now it?s down to the Premier League and FA Cup. We may not be in the best of positions as a club but hell it?s still great to get down to Goodison Park and see how things pan out. You just never know with us.
See you Saturday.
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 28/10/2011 at 00:06:01
Have to admit that I saw only highlights which obviously can be misleading.
The thing that struck me about Everton, compared to Chelsea, was our lack of movement off the ball. Teams like Barca (and Chelsea) do have great players but they also move a lot off the ball and provide the player in possession with lots of options. This allows you to control the game and keep the ball.
Quite a few times, Everton, were forced into mistakes (eg Heitinga), because there was no easy option. Not sure if this is generally how Everton play? If it is then that is down to tactical coaching.
2 Posted 28/10/2011 at 00:06:57
I do think that Moyes is a bit stale and due to his own situation does tend to go into the bunker mentality... In fact, all I ever wanted and maybe a lot of others for all I know, is to play the game like the report says we did... HAVE A GO.
3 Posted 28/10/2011 at 05:45:53
Your report cheered me up quite a bit, thank you. But I still can't get my head around it - surely for us this was a massive game? Win it and we're 2 games from Wembley. Why drop Howard?
4 Posted 28/10/2011 at 07:08:02
I think Moyes's "replacements" were like for like. Mucha is an International goalkeeper who played at last year's World Cup. Plenty of people expected him to play and nobody had an issue beforehand. Lots of smart arses after the game of course.
A lot of people have also being asking for Heitinga to have a run (including me) instead of Jags. He made quite a few mistakes and gave away a penalty last night.
I thought the side put out was pretty good. I'm wondering why Gueye and Barkley are not involved in the squad these days?
5 Posted 28/10/2011 at 12:11:06
Have noticed that responses to your posts usually gets quite a few hits ? maybe most readers seem to sense that this is how it is, can't be arsed or are totally fucked off with all things EFC, Moyes and Kenwright.
After about 20 minutes, I thought the game was there for us to win ? however, when EFC fuck up, the opposition scores. When they fuck up, the ball ends up either in Row Z, hitting the corner flag, the post, the bar or twatting a ball boy ? never in the onion bag. Confidence amongst our players seems to be at a big fat zero.
As sure as night follows day, you seem to sense that Manure just have to turn up and score a goal ? at that point, we may as well all go home. I do not see how we are going to score against that lot ? no matter how many fuck ups they give us.
6 Posted 28/10/2011 at 14:57:20
7 Posted 28/10/2011 at 15:36:12
The extra 'R' in Drenthe's name is for his middle name 'Ricky'.
No idea why he has the R on his shirt however.
8 Posted 29/10/2011 at 22:54:48
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