I have to say that after today, I would happily sit somewhere even more obstructed than where I was in the Upper Gwladys. The guy behind me (yes you in UG, K165) was unrelenting in his downbeat and negative perspective, an opinion that didn’t even reach the heights of glass half empty, probably because he couldn’t find a glass that he liked. Or anything that he liked.
Of course, the headlines were ready after Retro Day at The Old Lady – were we going to be like the team of the mid 80s, or the early 90s? So as we tended to the latter more than the former for large parts of the game, Moaning Minnie behind me had plenty to focus on. In truth, not our best, but 3 points, and we are still 6th as I write.
In the first 10 minutes, we were unplayable. Lukaku a real handful, a slightly fortuitous goal as the keeper seemed to have no idea where it was, and some pretty play in all parts of the pitch. But then what went wrong? Misplaced passes a plenty, a reluctance to play the simple ball, and not first to the tackle, an Everton that bore little resemblance to what we’ve seen this season so far. Hull sensed this and moved forward with more menace and eventually a good move gave their disciplined performance what it deserved. I was impressed with Hull today.
What did we learn about Everton? We certainly learnt that Ginger Jim is going to be a hell of a player for us. McCarthy was unquestionably the best player on the pitch, he was everywhere, reminding me – dare I even type this – of Alan Ball. He was that good. Ok, maybe my perspective was affected by the inconsistent performers around him, but he clocked up a lot of miles, tackled well, passed well, got the ball off Barry or the back 4 to move things up the pitch, and tackled back when he occasionally lost it. I was dead impressed. Given that I could never remember who the good one was at Wigan, McCarthy or McArthur, he made it quite clear today.
Mention too for Mirallas, in probably his best game for us this season. He looked great going forward, which is what we mainly pay him for, but also tracked back on either left or right, whichever wing he was on. And Seamus didn’t have a brilliant game, but pretty good.
We learnt that Distin doesn’t know what to do with the ball at his feet if allowed to get in to the last third, no real surprise, but slightly more surprising was the number of times he gave the ball away, or fired a 90mph mid-air back pass at Timbo.
We learnt that Kone needs a bit more game time, with one glaring miss, and one he perhaps could have buried, but scarred by his last attempt at evading the keeper, his shot was too close to Mr McGregor (without any rabbits I noticed today…..only fathers who read BP to their kids will have a clue what I’m talking about). We learnt that Naismith still can’t pass.
We learnt that even when he has an average game, Baines is still the best in the business. Now he’s got his best mate back, I can’t wait to see out left and right attacks over the next few weeks.
Now, we move on to Aston Villa. Their pace and 4-3-3 might prove more of a problem than Hull, so definitely we’ll need to be on top of our game. I’m hopeful rather than falsely confident. Perhaps too much of K165 rubbed off on me today.