I’m not really sure where to go with this article. A lot has been said already in the media and among our own fans, so it’s quite hard to come up with a novel angle for the nightmare that was Everton 3 (and I wish I could just stop there, but….) Chelsea 6. Let’s see where my mindless meandering takes me.
I suppose it’s easy to come out with the obvious, that we deserved to lose, Chelsea played better than any opposition I’ve seen at Goodison in quite a while, but that we also did some great things too.
It isn’t often you score three cracking goals and not win, or at least draw, but Chelsea always seemed at least two goals ahead – well, I guess that’s because that all bar about 10 minutes they always were – and despite some great attacking moves, including threats from that rarest of sources, a set piece, we were woeful at the back. Was it their quality? Was it our lethargy? Was it our lack of organisation? Was it our inability to pick up players coming from deep? The answer is Yes. To all of the above.
Credit Costa for his two goals, but we conceded as well to a full back and to two defensive midfielders. When does that ever happen? Perhaps marauding full backs like ours leave too many gaps that quick passing teams can exploit (dare I mention Liverpool away last season?), so we need the cover back there.
How on earth did Hazard run round a ponderous McCarthy (not a description I ever thought I’d write) without immediate back up?
And why oh why did Jags choose this opposition to have his worst ever game in the Everton Blue? And Sylvan not far behind him (I think there’s a Defender joke in there somewhere, but I’m not in the mood), as our organisation creaked and then all too scarily fell apart such that we were chasing the game before some punters had digested their first bite of scouse pie.
I’m sorry, I’m posing questions with few answers, but thankfully Roberto and his team are paid to sort that lot out not me, and he’s probably got a few others he’s working on as well.
Among such gloom, we mustn’t overlook Steven Naismith who maintained his 100% strike record in Game 3 of the season – another phrase I didn’t expect to be able to write. But I am so glad I can. Once again, his running off the ball was excellent, creating space for him and his team mates, and the finish on Saturday was even more sublime than the one against Arsenal. He took the shot early, outside of the foot, and the keeper was given no chance. Perhaps after a couple of years recovering from the mental scars of his knee injuries, this boy is in the groove and hungry for more. He is very self aware, as the Football Focus interview confirmed, and he’s mature enough and modest enough, not to believe any hype and try to overplay, as perhaps Stones has. Naisy just gets on with what he knows best, and I’m delighted it’s paying off for him.
I thought McGeady had a good game. He gets too much stick from fans when his fancy play leads to a disappointing pass, or trying one more dribble when actually a pass was on. But we had a little Spaniard who did that x100 last season and we indulged him. Perhaps we expect better from a player of Aiden’s experience, but let’s applaud an amazing goal, a wonderful assist, and a hand in another goal (assisting the assister), in a season which is only 270 minutes old. This lad will excite, frustrate, create, score and will be a key part of our team this year. Let’s do what we do best and support him.
And finally Kevin Mirallas. Great goal, great work rate (again) and nearly another great goal that a brilliant Everton move deserved, denied only by Courtois’ finger nails and the paint on the post.
I’ll finish by saying well played Chelsea, you deserved it, and if you play like that all season the League will be yours by Easter.
And if we play like that all season, we’ll not be short of many goal-fests at Goodison or on the road. Thankfully, I’m sure Bobby Brown Shoes is on the case, and we will tighten up that back 6, that same back 6 that had the third best defence in the Prem last year, with only Chelsea and City conceding fewer. Those demanding changes at the back to bring in other error-prone players should just think on that one for a moment.
See you all after the International break, and I’m off to do my holiday laundry.