Dose of Quality keeps Champions League heart beating

Everton v Swansea

Everton recorded there 15th league victory of the season with a patchy win over a determined Swansea to keep alive hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season


[quote]Everton can frustrate and delight in equal measure but there was an element of shock at just how bad we were first half.[/quote]

It was our 8th home win in a row as we once again entertain the possibility of qualifying for the champions league.

Lets be honest, Everton were poor but after performances at Chelsea and Spurs light years away from this yielded zero points, it was refreshing to see such a lethargic display rewarded with 3 points.

Everton’s quality for 20 minutes after the break was all that was needed to end Swansea’s ambitions of a first ever win at Goodison Park.

Swansea controlled large parts of the game, especially in the first half. Everton had started well and deserved the lead through a Leighton Baines penalty as Ross Barkley was tripped by Chico after some delightful probing play from Barkley seizing onto a John Stones crossfield pass.

Leighton Baines, fast developing a Le-Tissier esq record from the penalty spot duly dispatched to make it 12/12 for the ruthless left-back. However, this was as good as it got in a first half dominated by Everton’s lethargy and Swansea’s ‘A’ game.

The impressive Bony levelled soon after from a Rangel cross, it was all Swansea deserved but what of Bony; Id love to see this guy at Goodison Park next season. He has really looked a player since Christmas and I’ve no doubt he would make a fantastic impact at Goodison.

Everton v Swansea: Lukaku v Bony

I’m not sure if Roberto specialises in hairdryer treatments but the players must have been spoken too at half time, the first half was unbelievable for me although it’s not accurate to say I didn’t see it coming .

Everton can frustrate and delight in equal measure but there was an element of shock at just how bad we were first half.

Second half started and Everton were instantly better, much sharper to the ball and noticeably hungrier.

Lukaku in 10 seconds showed the beauty and the beast of his overall game; leaving the ball behind when surging towards goal, Lukaku recovered to find Mirallas on the wing. The Belgian winger’s terrific ball in was met by the on rushing Lukaku who showing his predatory instincts, stabbed the ball home past the exposed Vorm.

The type of goal we simply don’t see enough of at Goodison in my opinion.

It’s amazing how we can look so ragged and yet so dangerous in the same game. This highlighted Martinez’s in-game management, getting into the players at half-time we came out with marked intent and our purple patch continued with the rarest of sights at Goodison; a headed goal from a corner.

Albeit a stooped header after some shocking marking from the Swans, Ross Barkley capped a promising display with a deserved goal to give Everton breathing space in a match that had threatened to pass us by.

Swansea couldn’t live with us during this period, so frustrating that we cant do this over a longer period. Our threat is there for all to see and this team should be scoring a lot more goals than it is. Mirallas had an indifferent game but still registered 2 assists.

Everton still couldn’t relax and Howard made some crucial saves from Bony and Hernandez as Swansea pressed. Thankfully Ashley Williams’ late header came too late for a Swansea comeback and the 3 points were ours.

We have played much better than this and got nothing so maybe some Karma was at work for us as Swansea created numerous chances against. We need Jags back as quickly as possible; the defence looks like conceding every game currently.

There is no question the levels have dropped since Christmas with the lack of any centre-midfield additions in January hampering Everton v Swansea line-upsus badly.

Barry and McCarthy left wide open spaces in between them and the defence, while it is their job to keep the back door shut, have simply been relied upon too heavily. A fit Darron Gibson or an addition from the transfer market would have helped this situation.

We have to use this victory as a catalyst now. Arsenal look to be on the ropes and if the players don’t fancy the Europa league, then it’s time to show it. Starting at Newcastle on Tuesday. The Champions League dream has not given up on us yet.

As we hunt an improbable Champions League place we need our players to realise how good they are, the arrogance we have shown in patches at the start of the season and at times on Saturday needs to return.

We don’t realise our quality often enough.

Newcastle were on the end of such arrogance during a breathtaking first half at Goodison earlier in the season.

We can beat Newcastle, in fact, we must beat Newcastle and in turn send a message out to Arsenal that we are coming for them. How great would it be to be in touch with Arsenal when Wenger’s men come to Goodison in a few weeks!

We have massive games coming up; we could do with the players training to the Rocky IV soundtrack now to get us fired up for our own personal Ivan Drago; Champions League qualification.

Letting my imagination run amok there but for want of a better description, some of our players needed a rocket up there collective backsides in that first half on Saturday. It was baffling to watch such a lifeless display at times.

We can’t lose focus like this again as we can still make this a hugely memorable season but we must want it,with every inch of our fibre. The Champions League is sick of Wenger’s long coat. I’m sure it would appreciate some brown shoes instead.

Time for the Everton players to go for it and leave nothing left on the pitch in the pursuit of happiness.

“At this stage of the season it’s about winning football matches and using all your experiences from during the season to get the small margins that matter,” said Roberto Martinez.

If we continue to win in the manner of Saturdays triumph, then I’ll settle for us being poor until May.

Three points are however vital on Tuesday if we are to continue our Champions League fight.

Lets hope the top table of European Football has to make room for a new guest.

The Greatest football club on earth!

Sin Miedo

Mark Ellis

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Mark Ellis

34 year old Evertonian, BU Supporter, blogger, loving Roberto, busy with my beautiful son Kai who has made me & my fiancee Lyndsay's life complete.

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