I work in Manchester and anticipating plenty of Liverpool-bound traffic, sneaked out of work a little early and managed to avoid all the traffic. I was around Goodison Park at roughly 6:15pm. It was nice driving along Couny Road and seeing so many blue shirts about…a nice buzz of excitement around the ground.
I parked up, got my chippy and made for the pub to catch up with Gary and Sue… Simon and Stu also in attendance… Ste joining us a little later. It was so warm both in and out of the pub we made the most of the nice weather and stood outside whilst catching up on our respective summers. It was a real good feeling pre-game and though you daren’t quite believe it just yet, you sensed tonight could be another of those special Goodison Park nights.
Making our way to the ground and we heard Kevin Mirallas being introduced to the crowd; we were a little too late to see him, though we were into the ground and in our new seats nicely in time for kick off. The atmosphere was rocking and Everton even managed to win the toss, attacking the Park End in the first half.
Jelavic spearheaded the attack wih Fellaini supporting. Jagielka was given the nod to partner Distin in defence in what was largely the same side which finished against Newcastle United last season. Manchester United had problems defensively and Michael Carrick had to partner Vidic at the back with Valencia filling in at right back. Both sets of fans were noisy and vibrant as Andre Marriner got proceedings under way.
Everton began much the livelier of the two sides, though on the counter attack Distin had to be at his sharpest to get across quickly and snuff out the danger from Nani on the left hand side… Sylvain tackling the Portuguese and Nani going ballistic at the linesman as he expected a corner, even if the ball did clearly come back off Nani.
Nani did have a drive from roughly 20 yards out which inched past the post. Rooney had two chances, one he snatched at and hit straight at Howard, the other a free kick which Howard tipped around the post. Scholes hit one from distance which was comfortable from Howard and Welbeck had a few bites at a few chances, Jagielka cleared one off the line from Cleverley and Howard saved from Kagawa.
Whilst that may all sound a lot, that was the overall sum of Manchester United’s chances throughout. They were still typical Manchester United however. Passing the ball around crisply and patiently and then out of nowhere – bang they speed it up and hit you hard. At times we were hanging in there but the players stood up to the challenge and deserved the victory. To say the crowd were the Twelfth Man is something of an understatement as the crowd willed Everton home.
As for chances – well Everton had plenty also. Fellaini hit the post in the first half after waltzing through Man Utd’s patched up defence and in the second half Osman also struck the woodwork with a dazzling half volley which he was unlucky to see come back off the underside of the bar. He was just as unlucky first half also when another half volley was tremendously saved by De Gea. Pienaar was also twice denied by the Spaniard with plucky efforts at goal and Baines deflected free kick was also majestically saved… you sensed it might not be Everton’s day as all these chances went begging, until the big man stepped up…
A great run by Pienaar pulled three Man Utd players in his direction and he managed to win a corner. Gibson (who had put in several good corners all evening) planted an outswinger into the box, Fellaini got the run on his marker and headed into the corner to put Everton in the driving seat.
It wasn’t just his goal but his all round play which brought back great memories of Big Dunc against Manchester United. I’m referring to one game in particular when Big Dunc put in the performance possibly of his life, bullying Rio Ferdinand and Manchester United into submission with a classic performance topped off with a trademark headed goal. Fellaini tonight was similar. Covering tremendous amounts of ground… bullying Carrick and Vidic out of the game, getting on the end of things, being an absolute menace… and then topping it all off with a 1-0 win to sink Manchester United. A truly excellent performance by Marouane.
If truth be told, having said all that, his performance dipped a fair bit in the last 20 minutes as he gave away several silly free kicks. Manchester United’s pressure grew and grew whilst Everton dropped deeper and deeper. Fortunately Jagielka was in exceptional form at the back and United weren’t to be allowed through… the crowd willing Everton home and such was the loud chorus of whistles from the crowd, Marriner just had no choice but to blow up once the allotted four minutes of added time were up.
The full-time whistle was met with tremendous applause from the Everton faithful which spilled out onto the streets… everyone in good form and good voice as we made our way home. The only downer being the closure of the Birkenhead Tunnel meaning a longer than usual journey home… though I think I’d have settled for that pre-game.
So, for the first time since God knows when, Everton have gotten off to a winning start, toppling Manchester United in doing so… Let's hope we can keep the run going for this Saturday’s Bank Holiday clash at Villa Park.
Well done Everton! A terrific performance.
Howard: Despite a lot of pressure from Man United as the game wore on, he was rather untroubled throughout though was there when he was needed. 7
Baines: It seemed like more of his work was about defence than attack though he acquitted himself well. Unlucky with that first half free kick. 6
Distin: Good and solid. Quite typical really. 7
Jagielka: My Man of the Match. He made so many tackles, headers and clearances and was in the way of everything. Ratcliffe-esque in my opinion. Certainly justified his selection. 9
Hibbert: Excellent from Hibbert. Made some solid tackles and was much more effective than I’ve seen him for some time going forward. I think his testimonial has done him good. Maybe he feels the crowd are now more on his side. 8
Neville: Some silly moments but did a lot of running and kept the lads going. 6
Gibson: Had a good game. Kept the ball generally well and played some fantastic set-pieces (with one crucial one of course). Looks very settled. 7
Pienaar: Not quite at his most effective but certainly put the work in. Will be fine. 7
Osman: I thought Osman had an excellent 70 minutes before tiring prior to substitution. He was lively, pressed well and was twice very unlucky not to score. Not a foregone conclusion that Mirallas will walk straight into the team at all... 8
Fellaini: Just fantastic. I was a little disappointed with some of his silly fouls once we went ahead but generally it’s nigh on impossible to criticize him after a performance like that, topped off with the goal of course. As seasons go on, it’s going to be harder and harder to keep hold of him I think. 9
Jelavic: It occurred to me at Malaga the other week that he looked a little off the pace and I thought that was again the case tonight. For the last 20 minutes in this one he offered practically nothing at all. Still, we know what he’s capable of and I’m sure he’ll get better, hopefully beginning at Villa Park. 5
Coleman (for Osman): Did well at his feverish best down the flank as Eveton really needed an outlet to counter attack. 6
Naismith (for Jelavic): Was very lively and busy in the short time he had on the field. 7
Heitinga (for Fellaini): Filled a few holes in the short time he had. 6
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896 Posted 21/08/2012 at 02:29:28
902 Posted 21/08/2012 at 03:00:27
911 Posted 21/08/2012 at 03:36:01
A bit unfair with Fellaini and his silly tackles. He looked exhausted, and rightly so. He never stopped.
Man of the match by a mile.
916 Posted 21/08/2012 at 05:14:31
917 Posted 21/08/2012 at 05:23:29
923 Posted 21/08/2012 at 06:57:51
Jags DID do great though, that save off the line saved my day. As did those sescond half crunching tackles from Hibbert.
Most happy about the great team effort, we really linked up nicely for most of the game and performed a perfectly executed tactical game against a team who´ll surely once again be one of the top 2 teams this season.
924 Posted 21/08/2012 at 06:05:59
Though the decision was vindicated, thought it funny that Jonny started on the bench. He really seems to get pissed about being a sub, cant see him hanging around if he is viewed as second choice.
930 Posted 21/08/2012 at 07:51:07
Great team selection by putting the ex-Man Utd players in centre midfield as both rose to the occasion. What a buy Gibson was at £500k!
Anyone willing to say how well the board have supported Moyes this summer?
932 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:05:46
941 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:21:54
I too didn't see any "silly" moments from Nev and thought he was superb. And I'd say Ossie was well off the pace for the first 30 minutes. He took his two chances superbly and was desperately unlucky not to cash in on either one, but I think he rates a 6 and no more.
944 Posted 21/08/2012 at 07:59:43
I thought Distin was also awesome last night. Made a few last ditch tackles in the first half and won almost everything that came his way in the air. Big man definiately MOM.
I thought it was encouraging that although baines and pienaar didnt really sparkle down the left the rest of the team didnt suffer. Early days, but very encouraging going forward.
946 Posted 21/08/2012 at 08:29:42
959 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:13:21
961 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:31:58
972 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:51:58
It's also worth noting that the presence of Jelavic meant Man U's defence didn't want to step out to pick up Fellaini and he was the reason Man U didn't want to play their usual high line. I think Jelavic deserves more credit than a 5 and played an important role in last night's win.
975 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:59:58
977 Posted 21/08/2012 at 09:46:11
The biggest worry for me is how far Jelavic is from his best shape from last season. It might take a month or two to get him there, but Naismith can take the burden for him until then. Naismith looks a lot fresher then Jelavic, I also hope Mirallas can hit the ground running, we still struggle to find that perfect striker in my view.
Jelavic can not be expected to be on form all season long, so it will be important that Mirallas and Naismith do the job when they get the chance.
The game against Villa will be very different then this, we will have more clear-cut chances to score, but Pienaar, Baines and Gibson must step up a lot if we are to win against them. Felli can only do so much, he needs the rest of the team to step up as well.
After watching the game, I feel that both Everton and Man Utd were below 100% and that makes me a bit sad, it does take a little away from the joy of winning against them. This game could have gone either way if Ferguson had gone with RVP from the start.
Still, nothing better then winning the first game of the season against Man Utd.
How do I feel about the Villa game? It all depends on Mirallas and Naismith playing or not.
986 Posted 21/08/2012 at 10:29:58
A sample neutral view from the BBC comments...
"All credit to Everton though. They don't have superstars, they have REAL players that work together and play together, in the spirit football should be played, and that's coming from a Gooner who loves pretty football."
024 Posted 21/08/2012 at 12:27:09
044 Posted 21/08/2012 at 13:58:25
078 Posted 21/08/2012 at 15:58:22
For me Fellaini was MOM easily. Everytime the ball came to him it was controlled beautifully with his chest and laid off, and in the air won everything. Sometimes in the past he's let smaller guys beat him in the air, but last night he was really fired up and gave everything. Don't think the criticism of him giving away silly free kicks towards the end was justified, he was absolutely all in, nothing left to give. I felt perhaps he should have been substituted 5 - 10 minutes earlier, but given his effectiveness last night perhaps DM felt it was better to leave him on a bit longer because United just didn't know what to do with him.
Hibbert put in some great well timed tackles (as always), why do some people really not like him? I don't understand that one.
Jags and Distin looked pretty solid ´nuff said.
Jelavic occupied their defence well and moved around leaving space for others. Anyone heard whether he just had a bit of cramp or did he get injured?
Had me worried when defending so deep. Whenever we cleared the ball there was nobody to either pick it up or harass the guy on the ball.
What are the thoughts of others? Right decision? Whilst I was bricking it at times towards the end, they really didn't create anything clear cut, apart from the one off the line by Jags. Before that when we were defending higher up the pitch they did break through a few times and needed a saving tackle, which fortunately was always well timed last night.
Anyway, well done lads, now keep the same attitude against Villa, don't relax!
206 Posted 22/08/2012 at 07:57:33
208 Posted 22/08/2012 at 08:04:35
229 Posted 22/08/2012 at 10:40:32
290 Posted 22/08/2012 at 15:18:35
What I'm looking forward to is where Moyes plays Mirallas. My 'gut' says it will be wide right but I'd like to see him in the Cahill position just off Jelavic although where would that leave Naismith?
299 Posted 22/08/2012 at 16:13:37
386 Posted 22/08/2012 at 19:12:45
Ipso Facto the boy is gonna stay!
674 Posted 23/08/2012 at 20:17:58
Fellaini is great on his head and in the air and has been so for awhile.
So if he ever can make his passing abilities increase, then he'll can become a very great player. He do miss a lot of passes.
Not to brqag off my self, but back in the days even I had better passes then what he can show for...but I was probably the slowest wingeback you guys ever saw hehe.
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