Back from my hols and I finally had some time to write about the Toffees game.
Three games in a week. One away to fearless, nothing-to-lose Watford; one against Guardiola’s Bayerlona; and one against a well-rested, quality Everton side keen to show once more how good they are: and we won them all! What a week for the boys in red and white and what a platform to build on: back with a chance to qualify for the next round in the CL and shared top of the league. The boys have done us proud!
Everton are a good team and play some fine football. They were really up for this and the one thing I worried about was our ability to match their energy and pressing game after the midweek battle of battles with die Lederhosen. However, we matched them in every department and never let them into the game other than by a harsh deflection, and that was the single most important achievement of the game.
Eight more positives from the Everton game:
- The vault of KOGA: Koz and Gabriel are two fearsome ugly beasts you would not like to meet in the dark. Is it me, or is Gabriel making Koz meaner and harder the more these two play together? Everton were really up for this but the vault of KOGA matched the attackers’ energy with ease and their aggressive defending – helped tremendously by the full backs and wall of CoCa – was simply too much for them. Lukaku was in their pockets for almost the entire game, and when the Belgian finally got his chance he fluffed it. I am a big fan of the BFG and he will have a big part to play in our season, but I am warming to the impenetrable vault of KOGA!
- The wall of CoCa – Coq and Cazorla were awesome once again. We will not get many goals from them but together they own the midfield and Santi adds a fine threat going forward. KOGA in defence and CoCa in midfield offered the team two walls that were too much for the Toffees. I like to see more of it!
- Santi and Ozil’s delivery of set-pieces was of a very high standard. With OG, Koz and Gabriel we have a really aggressive aerial threat in the box, and especially Santi delivered some fine corners and free-kicks where it hurt the opponent. It was only a matter of time before we scored from a header; we simply had too much desire to score from our set pieces and Ozil and Cazorla delivered with deadly feeling in their feet.
- Ozil was absolutely brilliant and key in dealing with the aggressive pressing of Everton’s midfielders. He is so calm and quick when he has the ball in tight spaces, always one step ahead of the opponents. I loved the way Giroud pointed where he wanted the ball and Mesut just delivered it on a cushion for him: 1-0 and the Toffees’ defence finally cracked by feather-football. I also loved the defence-splitting ball for Alexis in the first half: it is all so measured and precise with Mesut and he always oozes quality.
- Giroud was fantastic. I watched a few CFs over the weekend – Lukaku, Benteke, Bony, Pelle – and they are all nowhere near as complete as Ollie. The Frenchman nowadays scores regularly, and that is what many will still focus on, but it is his chasing of the opponents, his link-up play, his quick thinking and sharp passing, and his battling with defenders which allows others to join the attack and creates space for them, and nobody does this better than Ollie right now.
- Alexis’ defending was great. Going forward the ball is not falling for him right now, or is he a bit tired when it comes to making the right decisions? But he really helped Monreal a lot on Saturday which eliminated the threat of Coleman going forward to a large extent. Sanchez, even when not at his best, always carries a threat and gives his all, and that makes him a special player for all of us to cherish!
- I loved the way we played in the second half. We took the game to them rather than sitting back on our lead, and we had a number of chances to score the all important third goal. Everton also had a couple of chances to score the equaliser, but overall we deserved to come out as winners. Our attitude played a big part in this.
- Flamini helped significantly in keeping momentum with us to close out the game, and he was close to scoring a goal as well. No doubt he will play on Tuesday, and I cannot wait to see him take the game to the Owls. I love flair and I love steel and passion, and Mathieu delivers the latter two by the buckets. What a bench player to have!
What were your positives?