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Season 2011-12

Window Shopping Pays Dividends

By Luke O'Farrell   ::  01/04/2012
 14 Comments (»Last)
Everton recorded a third successive 2 - 0 win without getting out of second gear. The Everton defence will not have an easier 90 minutes all season with Tim Howard a spectator for the most part. Goodison Park has seen two victorious West Brom teams since 1957; Roy Hodgson's current crop never looked like making it three.

Everton made a fast start with Osman and Gibson going close early on. The home side were dominating proceedings early on without actually creating much. David Moyes? side seemed to be running out of idea when they took the lead. After a smart turn, and a neat one-two with Jelavic, Osman?s tame effort took a wicked deflection to give Everton the lead.

West Brom began to wake up and Paul Scharner forced Tim Howard into his only save from inside the area. Chris Brunt fired the follow-up into his own player and Everton survived. Marouane Fellaini had a stinging effort palmed around the post as Everton looked to extend their lead. At the other end, a great Leighton Baines block prevented Scharner from putting West Brom on level terms. Pienaar fired wide for Everton as the clock began to reach the 45-minute mark.

Fellaini fired wide, Jelavic headed straight at Foster and Jelavic fired a free kick over as Everton looked to put the game to bed. Keith Andrews blazed over as the visitors struggled with James Morrison's absence. One farcical second half moment summed up West Brom as Foster and Odemwingie squared up to each other after an Everton corner.

Everton extended their lead, just before the 70-minute mark, thanks to Victor Anichebe. A driving Pienaar run created space and he fed Anichebe who fired in from 20 yards via the right hand post. West Brom almost pulled a goal back within seconds of Everton going two ahead. Shane Long found space in the area, after showing good pace, but his effort flew wide of the near post.

After brilliant work by Jelavic, Pienaar missed a great chance to kill the game. The South African's effort was too close to Foster who saved well. Fortune and Odemwingie wasted openings as West Brom?s day to forget continued. Everton tried to walk in a third but Jelavic?s effort lacked the necessary power. The missed chance mattered little as Everton saw the game out with ease to celebrate a routine win.

Steven Pienaar marked a first class performance with an assist and a 92% pass completion rate (67 / 73). Pienaar is such an intelligent footballer, his partnership with Baines is top draw; he improves Everton?s style of play tenfold. David Moyes' first business in the summer needs to be a permanent deal for the South African playmaker.

Darron Gibson continues to impress with his passing range and unsung work in midfield. His discipline and presence in front of the back four is bringing the best out of Fellaini. Fellaini can push forward and be more influential with Gibson behind him plugging any gaps. The ex-Manchester United midfielder is proving to be Everton's lucky charm; Gibson is unbeaten in 10 Everton appearances. Overall, Gibson is unbeaten in his last 23 Premier League games.

Nikica Jelavic teed up Osman for the first and brilliantly set up Pienaar's chance late on. The Croatian has added another dimension to Everton's attack with his movement and ability. Jelavic offers a goal threat; something Everton have lacked for years. However, Jelavic's also offers brilliant link up play; he is able to create and score.

Fellaini battled well but appeared frustrated at times; his class still shines through though. Tim Cahill offered little, often slowing attacks down when they needed speeding up and he seems out of sorts. Since his goals dried up, it is not always clear to see what Cahill brings to the side. Should Ross Barkley develop as expected, he must surely challenge for Cahill's place within the year.

Playing exactly 11 years after his début, Tony Hibbert had his best game in weeks. The imperious John Heitinga is proving an adequate leader in Phil Neville?s absence. Phil Jagielka slotted into the back four with ease whilst Baines continually shows his class. Leon Osman showed flashes of quality but struggled once picking up a knock. His half time withdrawal was precautionary not serious.

Everton are reaping the rewards of a productive January transfer window. August - December saw Everton produce their customary slow start with an appalling transfer window making matters worse. January onwards is seeing the usual upturn in fortunes with the new players having an impact.

Until Everton can tackle their slow starts, they will remain firmly pressed against the glass ceiling of the Top 8. The past week has given Evertonians a glimpse; finding that level of performance regularly is the hard part.

Ratings:

Howard 7 Hibbert 7 Jagielka 7 Heitinga 7 Baines 8 Osman 7 Fellaini 7 Gibson 8 Pienaar 9* Cahill 6 Jelavic 7

Subs: Gueye 6 Anichebe 7 McFadden N/A

Reader Comments

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James Stewart
264   Posted 01/04/2012 at 18:03:39

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Gibson MOTM for me. Pienaar played well but no way motm. Far too wasteful in the final third as always.
Luke O'Farrell
288   Posted 01/04/2012 at 19:21:01

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Apart from his missed chance, Pienaar was anything but wasteful. Passing in the final third was 39 / 43 (93%); the best of any Everton player. He created Victor's goal and other chances as well. He was involved in everything that was good about the performance. If he was wasteful, I'd hate to see what the others would be described as.
Andrew James
300   Posted 01/04/2012 at 20:39:59

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Having only seen the highlights, I was impressed by Big Vic's finish. He's quietly building up a half decent goals return this season especially as he's barely played. He's not the lone front man but he can do a job behind the main striker.

He gets a lot of stick so credit where credit is due.
Eugene Ruane
370   Posted 02/04/2012 at 09:37:36

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Agree Andrew it WAS a great finish.

However his response to scoring it appeared (to me) a little..um..confusing.

Was that 'joy' he was expressing by not smiling and looking a little hurt?

Moyes (on 'Bill & Dave's Sunday Love-In'), when the subject of Victor came up, while complimentary about the finish, appeared to hint at there being a problem with his application.

If I've interpreted this wrong, apologies to Victor and keep doing what you're doing.

(nb: if there IS something to it, stop being such a tart, apply yourself and fucking well get on with it).
Mike Manchester
371   Posted 02/04/2012 at 09:49:39

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Don't know if anyone agrees but i thought Gibson was helping out Hibbo loads, he was not giving him the ball under pressure, knowing that tony is shit on the ball, prefering to clear it himself than let hibbo ufck it up. V. Impressed with Gibson. Also as it has been said hes bringing the best out of felli aswell. He's willing to try to pass the ball forwards. half a mill to replace Mikel at 10mill!!!! Brilliant business moyes. IMWT.
Jamie Barlow
380   Posted 02/04/2012 at 11:10:20

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I can't remember Vic ever looking happy when he scores.
It always seems to be a "fuck you" to anyone who has given him stick.
Andrew Ellams
384   Posted 02/04/2012 at 11:43:10

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The who cares response to scoring a goal seems to be a new fad creeping into the game. I think Balotelli started it off.
Andrew Gilbert
389   Posted 02/04/2012 at 12:14:02

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If Vic reads the grief he gets on here then his reaction doesn't surprise me. Even wealthy footballers need a little love sometimes.

The abuse he gets can be sickening sometimes.
Mark Murphy
394   Posted 02/04/2012 at 12:22:20

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Booing ANY player when he comes on for us is disgraceful!
Ive just posted on the other thread but I would do more than sulk at anyone who booed me if I scored for the Blues!
Vic will one day play against us and I bet he will do f'cking cartwheels in front of the street end when he scores!
And good luck to him!
Shocking!
Adam Luszniak
397   Posted 02/04/2012 at 12:32:29

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Anyone remember Anichebe's celebration the last time he scored against the baggies? It was pure emotion. Vic doesn't seem the kind of guy to buy into some ballotelli-esque fad. Probably a reaction to being boo'd by his own fans. I was a bit surprised at that considering he's our joint top goalscorer.
Kev Johnson
398   Posted 02/04/2012 at 12:39:48

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Agreed, Anichebe is a right strop-bucket when he scores.

Funny thing is, in interviews he comes across as a nice guy, very modest and not at all sulky or arsey.

Obviously, he hates the super-sub tag, but when he's started games he's been disappointing so what does he expect? Sell him, I say. I'd rather we had someone a bit niftier.
Andy Meighan
402   Posted 02/04/2012 at 13:03:59

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Anichebe will never score against us in front of the Street End unless it's for a Championship side in one of the cups, because no Premier League side would have him. He's had plenty of opportunities and hasn't delivered. That's why he gets the stick he does. So don't be expecting any cartwheels in the near future...
Sam Hoare
403   Posted 02/04/2012 at 13:04:55

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What price do you think Pienaar is worth bringing back. Given our scarce resources and his age i would be loathe to go higher than the 2.5m we sold him for.

Good times at the moment but can't help thinking that if Jelavic went down then we'd be back where we started. He has given us what we have lacked for 2 seasons now which is a little creativity and edge in the final third.
Mark Murphy
430   Posted 02/04/2012 at 15:16:41

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Anichebe this season has 4 goals (is he our top scorer?) from 9 games. I dont think any of those games were full 90 minutes off the top of my head but I may be wrong?
Given that he was out a year due to that yard dog Nolan I personally dont think he's been given a fair shout by our fans.
As I said, I'm not a big fan but 4 from 9 isnt shite!
Tim Cahill gets a fraction of the stick but hasnt got anything like 4 from 9!
thiis season, of course.

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