Southampton 0-0 Everton
Everton and Southampton produced a turgid affair in front of the Sky cameras as the game ended in disappointing nil-nil draw.
On this evidence, Everton appear a long way off a team capable of challenging for a place in next seasons Champions League. The lineup was scattered with poor performances. Everton were sloppy in possession, wasteful in front of goal and lacking concentration at the back. Tim Howard and Victor Anichebe were the only two who could hold their heads up at the end of the match, with the American goalkeeper keeping Everton in the game during a first half that was as bad as any in the Moyes era. Anichebe was a breath of fresh air in the second half and with his performances improving week in, week out, he is beginning to force his way into a regular place in the starting lineup.
The main positive on the night however, was the return to the match day squad of Kevin Mirallas. Everton’s right hand side has been particularly unimpressive since the Belgium suffered repetitive injury problems and in a 20 minute cameo, the Belgium highlighted what the Blues have been missing. His ability to go past a play, his raw pace and his eye for goal are unique within this Everton squad and Everton’s results have suffered without the summer signing in the squad. If Moyes can keep Mirallas fit, then Everton will continue to win enough games to secure European Football, whether that is the Champions League is beginning to look doubtful.
The curious tale of Nikica Jelavic was again highlighted at St Mary’s. The Croat is certainly out of sorts and lacking in confidence. When Anichebe superbly pulled the ball across into Jelavic’s path, Evertonians across the globe must have been expecting the net to bulge. However, rather than the customary first time finish, Jelavic miss-kicked and got the ball trapped between his feet. The goals will certainly return. Jelavic is far too good a player for them not too, however, his confidence is at an all time low in an Everton shirt, and Moyes must re-invigorate Everton’s threat in front of goal. With Anichebe improving week in, week out, maybe the time has come to give Jelavic a rest and the threat of competition never did anyone any harm.