A cold night at the Boleyn Ground, a loss in cruel circumstances, but a performance to warm the heart.
I wrote about the despair I and many others felt on our visit to St Mary's about the abject performance that day, but last night was a different “kettle of fish”. I felt proud to be an Evertonian; proud of the team and proud of our magnificent supporters, who once again came in their thousands to support the team.
After “welcoming you to the asylum” only a short time ago, I am happy to report the patient is rapidly improving and has been released from his straight jacket. From the very start the white shirts of Everton were on the attack and up for the game. If anyone suggests that there is disunity in the dressing room, this performance well and truly put paid to any such talk.
Growing up, the FA cup was the pinnacle for a supporter, and I can remember when three, four or occasionally five replays were needed, but last night was electric, and brought the romance back to the cup. Still, in my view the best knockout competition in the world, and hoping for our sixth win soon.
Everton showed true grit and determination. Their never-say-die attitude when down to 10 men was well and truly beyond the call of duty. Indeed, both teams deserved another game, but for the best display of attacking football with only 10 men was a privilege and honour to watch. Actually, Everton deserved to win but unfortunately it was not to be.
We learned quiet a few things during this game.
Robles confounded the cynics and critics by having a outstanding game. The fact that he missed a penalty should be forgiven, and his display between the sticks was outstanding. Three of his saves were world class, and the clearing out of the penalty area with one cross was great to see. As you know, I was of the mind that a new experienced goalkeeper is required but he has shown over the last few weeks he should stay and become our keeper for many years to come. While a new signing may still be required, I would much more prefer him in goal than Howard, whom we should cash in on this year while his stock is still high in America.
Stones must play every game. Leaving aside his one mistake, he gave a faultless performance. He his also bringing out the best out of Jagielka who I thought had his best game of the season. Stones is a class act and must be kept hold of.
Mirallas is a puzzle to me. Somehow he makes the impossible look easy and the easy look impossible, but his performance when came on was truly sublime. Last night his play with Lukaku was has good has it gets. I thought it previously and now I am convinced that playing him with or behind Lukaku is the way forward. He tends to make mistakes when playing the defensive part of midfield, but let him have a free role has he did last night and he his a player to reckoned with.
Regarding Lukaku, at last we seem to have found a way to bring out the best in him, and though I was starting to doubt he price tag it may well look cheap in a few years time. He and Mirallas working in tandem could be a powerful force going forward.
Before I wrote this final section, I watched a recording of the game – ah the magic of Tivo box. Being at a game sometimes is deceptive so I watched the game again this morning. At this point I should issue a health warning. While many may agree with one aspect I am about to say, others will surely not. Well, I've lived a long time and been insulted by professionals, and no doubt I shall be so again
McGeady. You might has well pick me as play McGeady. I searched in vain for anything positive to say about him, but alas no, I could not, It is to painful to write about the number of failings he has. It is best summarised by saying we were a better side without him with only ten men. We may as well just kick the ball out of play than give it to him. He should not play again.
Barkley. I know you will say he his the next Messiah, and just play him in the right position, etc. I have the feeling after watching a replay of the game that while having all the tools for the job, he has no idea how to play the game. The game just passes him by. He seems to be puzzled by what is happening around him. He was truly shocking yesterday, and it is right to say we were a better side without him too.
I noticed that the England manager was in the crowd. If he saw what I saw then he will be having great doubts about a future England role for the young midfielder. If someone is daft enough to offer silly money for him, take it; I think he will begin to struggle for a place in Everton's side in the future.
Sorry to finish on a downer, perhaps I should not have been so hard on him. I respect fully those who champion his cause, and I have never wanted to be wrong about something as much I do about him.
Hey, we all have different opinions, and passion, but that what makes us come back for more.
Reader Comments (10)
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1 Posted 14/01/2015 at 19:50:34
I think, like a few people on here, Ross needs taking out of the team until he sorts himself out, he is not doing himself or Everton any good at the moment, hopefully he will get his game sorted out watching from the bench.
IÂm glad you got home safe, you and the rest of the supporters at West Ham were absolutely brilliant, well done.
2 Posted 14/01/2015 at 19:57:18
Thanks for a Great report I couldnt get there so its good to get a first hand account.
totally agree about stones and Robles, their performances ( despite the odd mistake ) were fantastic.
I cant argue with your apraisal of Barkley here either, but I still expect big things from him
Well done to you and everyone else who got down there, I felt so proud of our fans last night
Geads ? . . as Tony Soprano would say "warrya gonna
3 Posted 14/01/2015 at 20:00:58
I gave up reading at that stage. I remember Gerrard being dropped by Houillier as a youngster because of his inconsistency as a young 20 year old.
IÂm not for one minute suggesting that Barkley will turn out to be half as good, but God forbid, donÂt bracket him as on the same level as McGeady.
So far, I can recall EvertonianÂs writing off Naismith, Coleman (runs up blind alleys), McCarthy (not worth the money), and now youÂre suggesting we take the money and run with Barkley?
4 Posted 14/01/2015 at 19:48:19
Mirallas is also our best wide player, Pienaar seems to be on the slide, McGeady is an inferior Mirallas & Atsu is an ineffective McGeady.
I also believe Barclay will come good - yes heÂs having a mare at the moment, but like Mirallas heÂs got all the tools and I hope Martinez can get him to use them properly.
As you say its all about opinions.
5 Posted 14/01/2015 at 20:42:51
I agree with what you say about Barkley. He reminds me of Rugby league players when they make their debuts in Union. They kind of know what they should do but have no idea how to implement it. The damning thing is that Ross has played about 40-50 games in professional football and he doesn't seem to understand the sport. He has the ability but something is seriously amiss and it's frustrating to watch him amble around like rainman every time he loses the ball.
6 Posted 14/01/2015 at 22:40:21
I thought he looked rubbish when he was warming up for his debut, he hasn't let me down since.
He does seem to be lacking some confidence, you can see he has some skill, he reminds me of Naismith in his first year although he was being played out of position on the wing. McGeady needs to find his feet and get some confidence quickly.
Barkley is still work in progress I'm afraid, I think we need to keep hold of him although 㿞-60M would be tempting, he will mature and come good.
It was an amazing game Tuesday night, could of gone either way. Great to see Lukaku running at defenders and glancing past them like Henry. Mirallas we need to keep but I suspect he may be looking for CL football next year, he will be a massive loss.
Big improvement from the last few games where most of us we at the point of despair.
7 Posted 15/01/2015 at 11:04:26
A legacy of his leg break? Perhaps that's why he doesn't tackle back.
8 Posted 15/01/2015 at 15:37:54
9 Posted 15/01/2015 at 16:29:57
Barkley should be sold IMO as well. He simply doesn't look to have a 'football brain' on him at all. He has ability but 9 times out of 10 he just flails around not knowing what the hell to do next. Then he runs into someone, or falls over. His end product is seriously lacking. OK he can shoot with both feet, run past a man once in a while, but again, most of the time he misses or runs into traffic. I'd flog him because he's nothing more than a luxury in our team.
Stones is class - that's all you need to say. He also makes Jagielka play better too. They're a great partnership.
Joel is going to become a very good keeper, make no mistake. Anyone giving him a hard time doesn't know anything about goal keeping. He's big, strong, quick, great shot stopper (one low down at Newcastle was immense) and will command his area more as he plays more.
We were better with 10 men the other night - by miles.
10 Posted 15/01/2015 at 16:36:45
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