It doesn’t get more obstructed than being sat at home in Nottingham watching the game live on a dodgy live stream that freezes every now and then, and you realise that the boys on Sky are about a minute ahead of you! So, if I missed something, I’m sure those actually at OT will correct me!
I am speechless. A strange thing to say and then prove that’s total cobblers because here I am speaking, or rather writing. My heart is pumping and sleep does not beckon, which is a bit of an issue given my early start tomorrow. Of course we’ve won, and that in itself is a cause for celebration, but it was how we played, and how we deserved to win that makes me so happy, makes me so proud. Every now and then there is a giant killing and a lower division side beat United, yes even at Old Trafford – remember York City? But those are often achieved due to United playing a below strength side, or the opposition playing way out of their skin, or both.
But not this victory. I am so proud because the belief running through our Blues was obvious from the start, we took the game to United, and we never looked overawed. But for poor decision-making, a poor last pass, or a poor finish when 1 on 1, we could easily have scored more than the excellent strike from Oviedo-baby, whose precision in to the net was only out-done by the precision of his side parting (I didn’t know you could get partings like that any more, but it bet we’ll see a few at GP over the next few months). Ok, I’m not so blue-eyed blinkered that I didn’t notice Howard had to make a couple of excellent saves, that Welbeck hit the bar, and that for 20 minutes in the second half United were on top and it looked inevitable that they’d score. And of course, no RVP.
But we have key players out too, and rather than worry about who wasn’t on the pitch, we should focus on the 28 that did. And the two managers as well, but more of them in a moment.
I thought Rooney was excellent, I even think Fellaini had one of his best games for MU, often breaking up play, and Giggs showed occasional class mixed with extraordinary lapses. But other than that, did anyone stand out for them? Do we even care? They looked like a side that might well finish where they are at the moment, and one of the key reasons for that is that other sides will see how we played them, and realise that they ain’t no great shakes at the moment.
Everton will deserve plaudits from the press in the morning. Somehow I suspect that what we will read is how poor United were, than how superb we were. There was no sign of any inferiority complex, no sign of being intimidated, no sign of the jitters when United had their period of second half dominance. We showed confidence that we had every right to be there, every right to win the game, every right to play the ball about like – well, like a Champion’s League team quite honestly.
I’m struggling to pick out individuals from a team performance like that. Still, I’ll have a go!
Jags and Buzz solid as rocks at the back, Oviedo showed unbelievable defensive qualities (the like we’ve not seen before on his cameos) as well as going forward, and Seamus was up and down so much that he made the Grand Old Duke of York look like a model of consistency.
Barry was special tonight, McCarthy just as good as he has been all season bar his opening games as a Sub before he’d got the hang of playing the Everton way. Could this lad just be on his way to becoming an Everton great? I think so, and at the moment, £13m looks like a bargain (are you reading this Mr Whelan???). He was everywhere, closing down, winning back, even supporting the attacks outside their area. He was a mix of Cars, Bracey-lad and actually rather like Ball, and there doesn’t come praise higher than that. But I’d also say that he had licence to play like that because of how Barry backed him up – almost like the Dad saying you go off and play lad, I’ll look after the stuff here.
Barkley? Mmm….I love how he wanted the ball, I love how he linked up play, but just those couple of occasions when he ran through a non-existent United midfield, and his decision-making let him down at the last. It is almost as though he has all the voices in his head – pass it lad, shoot more, play in others, hold it up more, etc, etc. I think he needs to play on instinct – it may let him down occasionally, but I think as gets older, he’ll get better and better as the decision-making will be ingrained and he won’t have to think about it at all.
Pienaar had another good game to build on his excellence at the weekend, and he appears to be back on form. Mirallas was quite quiet I thought, but lots of good touches and the right level of support for the defence, plus a couple of stinging shots, one hitting the post. Big Rom kept an ageing and rather ponderous Vidic busy all night, and by the end the Serb looked shell-shocked. That isn’t to disguise that Romelu was a bit Teflon in his touches tonight, but hey ho, 8 Goals. Nuff said.
Deulofeu could have scored. Should have scored. And that’s not the first time 1 on 1s have come and gone. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have seen his goals on Facetube or whatever it’s called, and he scored a scary number of 1 on 1s for Barca B. It will come, it will come. I’d rather have that problem than him not getting in to those situations in the first place!
Our former manager (thanks for providing the platform) looked as shell-shocked at the end as his big central defender, and he has some serious rebuilding to do, but he can keep his mittens off our lovely boy Baines, notwithstanding Bryan’s outstanding performance in his place.
But special praise for Roberto tonight. He has been relentless in his positivity from the first moment he stepped over the Everton threshold. He constantly talks up his players, he creates an upbeat atmosphere, and ensures self belief runs throughout the side. And cheering people up is one thing, but what great tactics too. Well done Roberto.
Final note belongs to the BBC – what an astonishing set of highlights. Everton were on the rack according to what I’ve just seen.
But we know different don’t we?