Here we go – Here we go – Here we go. It’s a long time since I have heard that chant but it rung out last night.
We received the team on mobile devices and most were happy but wondered if the rotation of the middle three would work. As it turned out, it did... and in spades.
From the kick-off, Newcastle came at us like whirling dervishes and minutes of mayhem took place as we tried to make sense of the onslaught. Coleman blocked one. Howard parried one. Someone got one off the line as we desperately tried to relieve pressure then McCarthy blocked one. Then we did break via Barkley and Deulofeu. The move came to nothing but it did turn their back line and then the game settled but we were letting their front two get to our back two a little too easily and it took a good few minutes for us to sort it. But, when we did, the pattern for the night was set. End-to-end but we were starting to look sharper and our passing crisper.
We forced corners, one of which was long to Barry at the far post but his shot hit a defender, while another saw a Distin header go to the keeper. Osman, Barkley and Deulofeu were now starting to cause trouble with interchanging positions and finding some decent passes. Deulofeu was more than a handful for the Newcastle left back.
Just before the 20-min mark, Osman with the deftest of passes played Big Rom in and he took it on and shot but the keeper did well to get an outstretched leg and foot to it. "It's coming," I thought... but I was glad I kept the thought to myself as Newcastle broke on goal but for the speedy Coleman getting back and getting his foot in front of Cisse’s shot and diverting it out for a corner.
Now this turned out to be a good bit of work by Coleman as, when the corner was delivered, Stones got a headed clearance that had a bit of distance and bounce. Deulofeu risked a boot in the bonce as he moved the ball to Barkley. What happened next was a delight for just anyone who loves footy. Barkley set off at pace from his own half with two defenders trailing in his wake and three Everton players, Coleman, Lukaku, Deulofeu and himself haring on at different angles to offer themselves for a pass.
This took some defenders away and, as Ross got in the box, he veered left, causing Coloccini to fall over, and then planted a left-foot hammer drive into the roof of the net. Oh the celebrations, oh the chanting Allez’s you bet. What a goal! The way that panned out took me back to schoolboy matches where you had one lad bigger and better than all the rest and you would give him the ball and he would go through the opposition and always scored.
It must have been catching as, in no time at all, Deulofeu was at it by becoming the wizard of the wing and outwitting his would-be marker with tricks and flips but unfortunately he tried it at too much pace and ran the ball out.
The half wore on with end-to-end stuff and if anything the hosts were having more of the ball but Everton had more of the class and our breaks looked likelier than theirs. As the clock ticked to half-time, Howard tipped a Tiote blast over and our defenders hunted in packs to snuff out dangerous-looking moves.
Stones went in bravely, defending a set-piece ball into the box, clashed heads, and had to go off for treatment but soon returned with a head bandage that took many back to Terry Butcher for England. No surrender and all that. I heard later he had 10 stitches in the gash – wow! He must have been a bit groggy because, in the minutes to the half-time whistle he made his three major mistakes of the match but, thanks to other players and a bit of luck, we went in one-up.
Scores from the other two games were discussed and we hoped the players heard of them as well because it meant we had all to play for.
Second half kicked off to quite a roar from the faithful as they came swarming toward us. Deulofeu started as he finished the first half and was leaving his marker for dead but, if anything, he was too quick for himself at times and not taking the care needed to pick out attackers who had made runs for him; however, he was causing centre backs to have jitters on whether to go out to him or keep tight on Barkley and Big Rom.
Osman was revelling in the space that this afforded and was always in position to receive the ball and dictate play. From one such episode, less than ten mins in, he spotted Deulofeu free on the right and arrowed a ball out to him, the Spaniard did what he does by picking the ball up at pace and accelerating (all thoughts and doubts about his hammy extinguished). This time, he was more controlled when he got to the by-line and hit a pass to the near post which coincided with Big Rom’s run to that post with the outcome being the ball planted firmly into the roof of the net. How we needed that second goal could be gauged by the nature of all celebrations.
The game now went into that phase that is prevalent in modern top-class footy: two-goal lead, soak it up and look for fast breaks – and boy did we have some speed merchants who could prosper from that scenario. They say that a two-goal lead is a very dangerous scoreline as one back for the opposition can change the game's momentum instantly; most of us must have remembered this as we did have to survive some hairy-looking moments that had people shuffling nervously.
However, we were covering well as a team and to the end we allowed Newcastle no more than three definite chances that I counted. Osman lost out to the muscular Tiote who strode on and hit a powerful one from distance which Howard did well to turn over. Cisse got a good header in which Howard diving to his right in spectacular fashion pawed it away. Ben Arfa had come on as a sub (never good news for us as his spectacular goal a few seasons ago broke many hearts) and he nearly had us paying a price again when he got in the box seemingly hemmed in by Coleman and Barry but somehow wormed his way past them and put a ball across goal that seemed no more than a tap-in for Anita but, with Baines throwing himself at ball and man, he put it wide and hung his head.
Our togetherness had been impressive today and any chance Newcastle had was in the main well dealt with and snuffed out. We did however keep breaking at pace and Deulofeu and Barkley causing problems and the work off the ball and general hold-up play from Lukaku was worthy of note.
The excellent Barkley was visibly tiring so the manager sent on Naismith and the fresh legs did liven things up for us. He went in the hole, Deulofeu switched to the left and in that last 10 mins a 'game over' moment was created when Naismith robbed Coloccini and sent Deulofeu scampering down the left and into the box, twisting and turning he was all head up and calm and picked out Big Rom who deftly laid a ball to Osman who took a pace and thundered one into the roof of the net with the excellent keeper Krul beaten all ends up. Ossie and the boys celebrated as did the fans.
All the songs you ever knew were sung with of course "We're gonna win the league" included. We had an ‘ole’ session then final whistle. Geordies left. Scousers sang.
MotM – Eleven in Blue and one in Yellow.
Last night was as good a display as I have seen for a long time. It was a team playing with a purpose in mind. A team working toward a common goal. Looking down on the play, it was a very fluid display with interchanging of positions, players hunting in packs to gain advantage both in attack and defence. Formations were ever changing. 4-3-3. 3-6-1 along with the now familiar 4-2-3-1.
If you could bottle that performance and bring it out each game, who knows what could be achieved. They were all Man of the Match for me but my lasting memory from that game will be the goal and general display from Ross and the ground covering of James as he helped and backed up all over the pitch all night
Fulham away and again three points are vital but again no easy game as they are fighting for Premier League survival and the history of the fixture is proven. We win at home and they win at home. So two major things to overcome. As I said in my last report ‘Twitchy Bum' Time
All together now... "Champions league – We’ll give it a go!"
UP THE BLUES
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379 Posted 27/03/2014 at 07:49:12
When teams sit back then we struggle without ideas so we need teams to go for it, hence our good performances against the top teams who naturally go for it.
394 Posted 27/03/2014 at 10:05:37
396 Posted 27/03/2014 at 10:25:22
Watching it on some link I had was one of those fantastic nights when I just felt after the first 10 mins or so that we were going to win. The movement was great, Osman was on song, Barkley and Deulofeu had the beating of their opponents, McCarthy was winning all key tackles, Stones was playing like a seasoned International centre half he will become, Distin was the captain steering the whole lot(and in my opinion should be given the Captaincy when Jags is out).
I actually thought we looked a much better outfit with Mirallas out. He does give us goals and creates but more often or not he just is too greedy and we lose the ball when we are overcommitted. Martinez's policy of rotating his midfield 3 seems to be working, and even though its a long shot getting 4th is achievable with a following wind. Mind you 4th place is going to cause us a huge amount of disruption with very early qualifying rounds after a World Cup summer. But here's hoping.
402 Posted 27/03/2014 at 11:00:12
414 Posted 27/03/2014 at 12:31:48
I make one more point: this team is considerably better without Mirallas – he has offered nothing this season and I doubt he would be first choice again this season. He seems to have a following at Everton but for the life of me I cannot see why.
I think Roberto has finally realised that he is not all he seems to think he is. His attitude alone stinks and greed as a player in his position is frustrating although I still do not know what he thinks is his best position, I know it is simply as a sub.
447 Posted 27/03/2014 at 14:40:59
Osman was captain but for me Distin has proven to be a real rock you can depend on game after game, and my comment was that Distin led by example once again. The Captaincy when Jags is missing seems to fall on the Scousers in the team Ossie and recently Baines (was Howard captain against Swansea ?) .
Why not give Distin the armband he richly deserves.
509 Posted 27/03/2014 at 19:26:52
512 Posted 27/03/2014 at 20:06:39
658 Posted 28/03/2014 at 13:38:18
I think Martinez knows he doesn't need to make Distin captain to get a captain's performance out of him. He's the same consistent player, week-in & week-out. Allowing the responsibility of captaincy to fall on Ossie or others has raised their game in recent weeks which is great to see.
735 Posted 28/03/2014 at 20:42:45
741 Posted 28/03/2014 at 21:41:02
Though it is sometimes hard to gauge a game on the T.V, it looked an excellent performance by us against Newcastle, bar the first 5 or 10 mins and was gutted not to be there. Still things return to normal on Sunday when I make the trip to Fulham.
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