A welcome return for Leighton Baines was the main thing come 2 o’clock. Him, Jagielka, Keane and Coleman made up the ageing yet very experienced back 4 and should be the back 4 for the remaining fixtures of the season. Cool and calm on the ball, all with bags of quality (yes Jagielka included) and 3 out of the 4 know exactly what it’s like to play for Everton, so maybe, they’ll show a little bit more passion than the rest of them have done for the past month or so. Tosun earned himself his second consecutive start and Davy Klaassen was on the bench and everyone was made up. Not a Cuco Martina or Morgan Schneiderlin in sight. Is right. In fact, lash Idrissa Gueye in that starting 11 instead of Davies and there’s the team you should be starting with every week.
For the first time in a long time I can safely say that we actually played 2 decent halves. I know, mad init. We started the game brightly with plenty of possession and a bit of flare from our attacking players. It was also quite refreshing to see the two centre halves carrying the ball forward instead of just twatting it up the pitch. Bolasie was heavily involved throughout the first half, showing trickery, pace and confidence, alongside some god awful finishing, the worst when he volleyed wide from about 3 yards out from a corner. Still though, at least we were creating chances. But it was taking those chances that was the problem and the longer the half went on, the more it made every single Everton fan inside the ground feel that it was gonna be another one of them games; create loads of chances, have loads of possession and end up getting beat thanks to a Glenn Murray header on 77 minutes. Chances were rare for the visitors but Murray stung the palms of Pickford midway through the first half as he unleashed a powerful a shot, giving our defence a warning. Goalless at half time but a positive half in terms of possession and chances created.
The second half started pretty much how the first half ended, unlike last week at Burnley when they all turned into a bunch of shithouses. Our pressure finally paid off on the hour when Bolasie, who was as involved in the second half as the first, was given loads of space and dinked a delicious cross towards the back post and was met by the run of Theo Walcott, who looked to have volleyed in his 3rd goal for the blues but was actually volleyed in by the Brighton defender. A much needed goal and a huge sigh of relief.
It was 2-0 15 minutes later when Baines and Tosun linked up like Baines and Pienaar used to as the pair tore through the Brighton defence with quick passing, resulting in Tosun in space on the edge of the box and he absolutely lashed one in off the bar. 2 in 2 for the Turkish international and I’m made up it’s all starting to piece together for him now after Allardyce made him feel like a bag of shite.
Knockaert was then sent off when he went in two footed on Baines after the latter booted the ball in his face to earn a throw in 30 seconds before. Fantastic shithousery from the coolest footballer ever to grace the earth. Coleman gave the Brighton winger an earful as he was trudging off the pitch, probably because of his experience last year. I doubt a French fella would be able to understand Seamus Coleman’s Irish accent but yeno.
We got a penalty in the last few minutes when Calvert-Lewin did brilliantly to get round his defender who subsequently barged him over. Rooney picked the ball up which pissed everyone off because Leighton Baines who I can only recall ever missing 1 penalty was on the pitch. Rooney had missed about 3 this season. “Why’s Baines not on it?” and much to everyone’s amazement, Rooney missed the penalty. In fairness it was a boss save but a player of his calibre should not be missing from 12 yards out. Never mind though, a much needed 3 points were in the bag and I could go home happy for the first time in a long time.
Baines, Jagielka, Tosun and Sigurdsson were all sound yesterday and that back 4 needs to be the permanent back 4, at least until we’re safe. Stoke away next week so don’t expect anything from that one, yeno cos we’ve only won 5 away games since the start of last season. Stoke are shit as well so surely we can at least try and win.
Not long until we can put this absolute holocaust of a season behind us, get rid of gravy nonce and start looking upwards and surely more positively into next season.