Thoughts on Lille Game

I’m going to keep the normal Obstructed View reflections for the Premier League, but it’s worth a quick few words about the excellent win against Lille

Leon-Osman-532431

There was a strange atmosphere at Goodison last night. The Old Lady under lights, a game we had to win, in Europe, and you’d expect the place to be buzzing, but even the Fan Zone was quiet! Whether it was insipid opposition, or whether were completely in control, only a minibus full of oppo supporters, we only rarely raised the decibel level, and that was when we scored, or when Rom was given offside in the second half – wrongly as we all knew (those of us with a great (??) view from the Upper Gwladys!). It may just be, and it’s been observed before, that our style under Martinez is more watchful and deliberate, and less up and at ’em than it might have been if it were a Moyes night out; or perhaps we knew it was going to happen, and it was just a matter of when we’d score. Like, ahem, Swansea.

Never mind, weak atmosphere and 3 points is better than a real bear pit and a 1-1 draw.

McCarthy was once more the stand out player, but he had a bit more competition than Saturday. He is like a wasp at the later simmer picnic. No matter how many times opposition players try to swat him away, he reappears, nibbling at their metaphorical jam sandwiches, disturbing everyone’s peace and tranquility and forcing them to do things they’d rather not – like give the ball away (we’ve lost the picnic analogy now). He was just fantastic, and his return to form is as welcome as the resulting defensive tightening up.

Osman marked his contract extension with a solid display and was pretty influential and strong (never thought I’d type that) as well as notching up an impressive finish. And Naismith was so much better than Saturday, running everywhere and closing down from attack, working so hard he’s probably played himself out of contention for Sunday other than from the bench. Expect Eto’o to replace him, and Barkley to replace Osman who will have his feet up on, as well as his bum, the bench. Great team goal with an excellent Naisy finish too.

And a word for Hibbert. One mention from the twitterati said that he was hardly noticed, so that must have meant he wasn’t that involved. Far from it, along with McGeady, they snuffed out any threat Lille could muster from that flank, and given that in Origi they have a rather fleet-footed player (who doesn’t look Premiership level to me), and Hibbert is now, like me, the wrong side of 50, he did remarkably well. His clearing header from under his own bar was exceptional. That had Sandy Brown OG written all over it (if you’re too young to remember that, google it, and watch from behind the sofa).

Bring on the Germans. Insert your inappropriate war references from this point forward….

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