Obstructed View – Reflections on the Middlesbrough (A) Game

There is something of an inevitability that a barn-storming game when you score 6 is followed by a scrappy one when you score nothing. Nowt. Rien. Nada.

On a day when it would have been better curled up in front of a log fire with a good book or a Netflix Box Set, Everton failed to break down a resolute ‘Boro side who ‘enjoyed’ an 11th game when they’ve failed to score, a 10th Draw, and a 5th 0-0, so perhaps it was never going to be a goal frenzy a la Bournemouth.

Should we be happy with an away point? No.

I ACCept that Everton aren’t going to win every game, but I EXPect Everton to beat a team like Middlesbrough, especially if we have expectations of finishing as high as possible this term, and if we’re on an upward trajectory on this ‘ Koeman Project’ and need to win games like this as well as beating City at home. We had the chances, not a vast number, but you’d have backed Lukaku to cut inside Gibson, leave Valdes on his bum, and slot in to an empty net; and Lookman had two if not three good chances too, but it looks like he might need a spell at Finishing School whilst he’s on his Not-A-Holiday-But-A-Sort-Of-Winter-Break in Dubai this week, as he should have slotted when one on one with their Big Vic but shot straight at him instead.

The over-reaction on social media to a tame draw was the most predictable thing of the weekend, but a sense of perspective as ever is needed in my view. Am I happy – no, as said before. Am I angry? No, not really. Disappointed? Yes, absolutely. Resigned to results like this after a high the week before? Yes, I support Everton, therefore a silly question. But despite calls for the heads of Mori and Williams, we have shown signs of greater defensive solidity, we have a ‘keeper playing to the best of his potential at the moment, and without doubt deserving his No1 jersey and proving most of us (including me) wrong in the process, we have two full backs who are getting closer to acceptability in defence, and in Schneiderlin, witness the lunge to keep out the electric Traore in the first half, we have an enforcer worthy of the name (Barry would have tripped him and won his 3089th Yellow Card of his career), and in Davies, we have a true PL performer.

It was Davies who was thrown further forward this week, displacing McCarthy from the role, seemingly from the squad as well, and he didn’t quite latch on to two opportunities presented him in the first half, but at least he was in the right spot to receive the passes. Encouraging signs.

It’s a brief review this week, mainly because there was very little to write about, and partly because, well, it’s Monday and this is already late. Let’s see what happens whilst our Boys in Blue/Yellow/Black With Pink Bits sun themselves in the UAE for a week and then return hopefully to barnstorming ways against Sunderland at the Old Lady in just under a fortnight. I want them rested but not lethargic, warmed up but not over cooked, and I want them to just flippin’ well win. (other swear words are available).

Ross Crombie

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