The sun shone, the t shirts got an airing, the barbecues came out, and a lazy Sunday afternoon ambling around by the Thames relaxed everyone.
Anyway, enough of Everton, what did I get up to?
In truth, the first half only lacked our back 6 torching a few burgers to resemble a lazy and lethargic day of rest, but all other aspects seemed to apply. Our desire to take one more touch and invite the closing down spread to the whole side, and frankly I couldn’t believe how complacent we all seemed. If we’d taken the game to Fulham, pushed them back, and a couple of goals had ensued, only then would it have been time to crack open a tinny and relax.
Thankfully, the second half was a largely different story, even though the old first half habits returned to let them back in. The TV pundits rightly gave Naismith the man of the match award, his urgency and running in to spaces giving the Fulham defence plenty extra to think about. He has always been the fans’ favourite (most fans) for his effort, but today, and not for the first time, he changed the game. I don’t know if Barkley’s calf will be ready for next Sunday, but if not, Naisy proved that, whilst clearly not being a like for like replacement, he adds something to the teams with his darts and runs, rarely if ever straying offside too. That might challenge Mertersacker and chums more than just a lone (loan? Geddit?) Lukaku.
Deulofeu once more took a direct route and once more proved he needs to get his final decisions better. There’s no point prancing over the ball like a Lippizaner horse if your runners have run past you – they invariably don’t get in to the 6 yard box because they don’t know when it’s coming in, and they risk offside. We need to run at defences, and I’ve said as much for weeks, but the timing and accuracy of the final ball needs to improve. What fabulous rW talent to be able to work with – we are talking about Deulofeu here, not Madar. Gerry will be fabulous once the coaches channel his obvious talent rather than crush it.
Fulham, Cardiff and Swansea have all proved tough nuts to crack, and you can bet Pulis will have been taking copious notes today on how to get a result against us. I wonder if we’ll fare better against the teams fighting to win the title rather than those trying to avoid the drop.
Onwards to Goodison. No BBQs allowed next week.