Sunday 16 August 2009
What storm? Lodging it up one's critics derrieres
As usual I got things horribly wrong. An expected battle turned into a veritable stroll in the park, a lot of credit must go to Arsene and the players for dismantling a very decent Everton side so comprehensively. We saw pretty much the eleven we expected, Diaby's injury resulted in Denilson's start, while the tough decision was which two of three to start out of RVP/Eduardo and Bendtner. RVP and Bendtner got the nod, it's such a luxury to have a player as good as Eduardo on the bench, very sensible of Arsene not to rush him back to a starting spot straight away.
We had the edge early on, competitive in the fifty fifty challenges, something that frequently hadn't happened last season. As the half wore on we looked the more and more likely to win it. The first goal came after some excellent trickery and strength from Bendtner on the right flank, he fed Cesc who teed up Denilson, the powerful curler that hugged the top corner of the net was simply sublime, awesome hit and one nil.
The next couple of goals both came from free kicks, Everton were losing the midfield battle, second to everything, and this meant that they were giving away sloppy free kicks with their late lunges. Vermaelen powered an excellent back stick header past Howard for the second goal, and Gallas rose unmarked for the third. The Everton defence in all truth was all over the place, obviously this must have something to do with the want away Lescott and absent Jagielka, but the fact that Everton were under siege because they were losing the midfield battle was also rather salient.
The fourth goal came early in the second half when Cesc neatly finished off a classic counter attacking move, Arshavin had strongly held onto possession in the midfield, he then fed RVP who slotted in Cesc who did the rest. Cesc scored a solo fifth, fed by Almunia from a long throw, he ran unchallenged and fired home hard and low from near the edge of the box, appalling defending from Everton again. The sixth was a simple tap in, a slightly bungled Arshavin shot bobbled off the post and left Eduardo with a simple finish, a lot of credit must go to the striker for his instinct and hunger to be in the right place at the right time. It's the kind of chance that Adebayor would not have been anyway near last season, probably sitting down on the penalty spot waiting for the silver service like the lazy moron he is.
Overall a spot on performance and just what we needed. I've included Sky's promotional 'top four' photo as a motivational aid and maybe Arsene should put this poster up in the changing room in order to sput us on to the title. I know Everton were not at their best and inevitably this is the thing that the media will focus on, but in my opinion it was as much, if not more, about how good we were yesterday. It is early days and I don't want to get carried away, but we showed some signs that we have learnt a lot from last season's failure.
Vermaelen was outstanding at the back, he is a competitive and combative centre back who does not roll over for anyone, he lead the line well and our defence looked solid as a unit for once, catching Everton offside on several occasions with a well rehearsed stepping up. Song was as solid as a rock, hoovering up the loose bits in the midfield and protecting the defence well. Denilson put in a very good showing, doing a bit of everything well, while Cesc delivered playing in his proper position. Arshavin was quiet but he is like a sniper, hiding in the shadows and always ready to deliver a lethal hammer blow. Bendtner and RVP worked hard for the team as well as doing what they do best in attacking areas. Ramsey came on late and impressed. We looked like a proper team again. If we can maintain this kind of teamwork and work ethic then you never know what might happen come May, I hope we can ram that Sky picture up Andy Gray's obnoxious derriere.