Oh Everton, when will this pre-season hangover pass?
Everton 2 Arsenal 2: Déjà Vu As Tired Blues Gift Arsenal A Point
I think it’s safe to say our hastily arranged pre-season has affected the start to our season, defensively at least. Moreover the disturbing lack of stamina lingers on our performance like an unwanted smell in the
amount of Febreze will shift this.
The thing I detest most about horror shows like the last seven minutes at Goodison Park on Saturday are the constant afterthoughts of frustration you get. We had won the game. Football First and Match of the Day were all set to go. Two goals later and I couldn’t care if I ever saw another game of football.
Admittedly it is pathetic and somewhat childish but it truly does affect your mood. This was up there with the worst feelings supporting our great club.
Baines and Coleman aside we have lost our confidence in defence. Jags has not been the same player since his injury last season and it seems he has lost his physical presence. Now with Distin’s years beginning to catch up with him, it’s clear something has to be done about our centre backs.
Admittedly they were not helped by a jaw dropping lack of fitness in the Everton side resulting in Arsenal forcing us back through our own lack of stamina rather than any outstanding play on their
truly gifted this to Arsenal as the pre-season headache shows no sign of abating.
Collectively at times, it was like watching Richard Wright all over again. Simple balls into the box causing us untold problems and two preventable goals made this point feel like a massive defeat for Evertonians. Our confidence in defending simply has to return for Diego Costa and Co next weekend.
Yet again we looked like a side reaching the end of the season and not a team starting a new one. The sheer volume of games coming up means the necessity for greater quality, now notably in defence, and of course our nagging striker problem, have to be addressed in the next week.
If not we can’t expect much more than a repeat of Groundhog day for our aspirations this season. The glass ceiling demolition project requires more funding.
Yes I see the point that says how far we’ve come – we’re disappointed to only come away with a draw against an Arsenal team boosting the likes of Ozil and Sanchez in its ranks.
But we know we have quality and it shouldnt be a surprise anymore. The surprise is we let a team we had all but beaten on the day back in the game with just seven minutes remaining. We just can’t close games out.
The whole of the second half had an ever-growing sense of inevitability. We were sat so far back there was a queue for the club shop at one point.
The anger truly comes from the fact that for the second game in a row we failed to do ourselves justice. The first half was a joy to watch at times. Arsenal could not get near a free-flowing Everton who were rewarded with two well taken goals from Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith.
Coleman, who had earlier escaped embarrassment with Oxlade-Chamberlain unable to finish from the Irishman’s suicidal clearance back across his own 18 yard box, met Gareth Barry’s perfect cross with power. Szczesny got a hand to it but the power was too great and Everton were a goal
After a frustrated opening Everton now noticeably settled and should have been two up minutes later when Kevin Mirallas ran onto Naismith’s flick only to see his effort go wide. Looking back there was more than a suggestion Mirallas had his heels clipped by Chambers. In any case, the Arsenal defender’s presence was enough to see the Belgian drag his effort off target.
crowd were sensing blood at this point with the atmosphere matching Everton’s tempo.
With Mirallas going close through an excellent free kick, Everton were in the ascendancy and with half time fast approaching we were treated to a goal right out of last seasons 3-0 textbook.
Romelu Lukaku had arrived at the party with pace and power, rolling one and skipping past another Arsenal defender before surging towards goal and feeding Naismith, who, despite looking half a yard offside, finished smartly under the onrushing Szczesny.
The Scot was once again demonstrating the confidence coursing through his veins with a clinical finish giving Everton a seemingly unassailable lead on the stroke of half
Naismith is fast taking on an Andy Gray type significance for this Everton team. Scoring crucial goals and now having become an integral part of our play. If every one of our players would kindly perform at the level he is at this season can still be the one we’d all hoped it would be.
I’m not saying Naismith is our new Andy Gray but his impact on the team is similar in my view. It has been a wondrous turnaround for him and one that thankfully shows no signs of slowing down.
Everton were now in the ascendency but unfortunately we had to go and ruin it by having half time.
The second half was more than disappointing from our point of view as Arsenal grew ever more into the game and that horrible sense of inevitability returning to our play.
The game became more agitated and Arsenals very own Scrappy Doo, the Sunday Supplements darling of English football Jack Wilshire, was lucky to only receive a yellow card for a typically cowardly lunge on the on-rushing Barry.
With Lukaku going off for McGeady 15 minutes from the end, our presence upfront had ended. Rom didn’t have his best game but the threat he presents just by his sheer presence is something we can scarcely do without.
With Arsenal gaining confidence and our midfield now wading through water, we badly needed fresh legs in there. I love Roberto but for me he made a mistake not bringing Besic on.
The game seemed to be crying out for him. We were so short of energy and Besic would have harried and offered more protection to our vulnerable defence but I’m not a football manager. Roberto sees things we don’t and he’ll have had his reasons for bringing McGeady on. Sadly it didn’t help us regain the upper hand.
Arsenal halved the deficit on 83 minutes through Ramsay getting on the end of Cazorla’s cross to put Everton on the edge. Now nothing would stop the
Giroud should have scored but contrived to miss a free header from Cazorla’s corner but the sickener came in the 90th minute from the big striker. Giroud may be much maligned but he made a significant impact as a half time substitute – and it would be the French international who would break Evertonian hearts by beating Distin to head in from close range.
FT: Everton 2 Arsenal 2
The irrational sinking feeling is still with me as I write this. I have this horrible feeling we are already going to regret these dropped points come May.
It’s clear the squad needs help in regards to personnel but from a fans point of view the evident lack of fitness is
is game two not fifty-two!
We can’t have a situation were we have no strikers on the bench. We’re hoping to compete on four fronts and money needs to be spent in the next week to help us realise our dreams thisLukaku deal is not something the Board should hide behind. Time do the right thing!
As always hope returns next week and if ever a win would cement the belief we can achieve great things this season, it would be over Chelsea next Saturday. Mourinho’s men are in the groove following two consecutive victories and the chance they may underestimate us is a real one.
The Goodison crowd will be huge here and three points are essential now. We can’t let our rivals get away from us so lets start again Blues.
Lets make Goodison Park a cauldron – Man Utd 2005 esq – Our team has the quality to beat Chelsea but we have to become more ruthless at the back, be commanding, maintain the drive and the hustle in the middle of the park and with Lukaku hopefully eager to prove a point against Mourinho, we have every chance.
“We ran out of energy and it became a feeling of wanting the game to end. We are not that sort of side that’s not the way we play” Roberto Martinez
Let’s hope it is Chelsea who want the game to end on Saturday with the School of Science finally handing out a 90 Minute lesson.