@markthablue’s View: No oil painting of a performance but chase for Champions League continues
[quote]To put it in gentleman’s terms if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi.” [/quote]
Ugly Win Could Not Be More Beautiful
Writing this with my nerves just about settled after a nail-biting, ugly win against doomed Sunderland, I can now begin to appreciate what a phenomenal run we are on. The timing perfect for Champions League qualification.
Sunderland tried their hardest and made it extremely awkward for us on Saturday but as all great teams do, easily the biggest lesson we have learned in recent weeks, is to win ugly.
And this was ugly. We were the ultimate wing-man, looking sluggish and lacking in intensity, Everton were never out of the game but at times, we looked plain awful. Thankfully form is temporary and class is permanent.
My passion for Everton is not conducive to a balanced reaction when watching us play but there were instances of play, particularly in the second half that was causing me a personal meltdown. We seemingly invited Sunderland on us for large periods and looked bereft of pace at times.
Fantastic performances at Chelsea and Tottenham brought zero points, I know what I prefer. The players are firmly in the winning habit,we have won 19 games out of 33 in Martinez debut season, attaining 66 points (A prem record for us) playing the best football a generation has ever seen.
The School of Science wasn’t quite there on Saturday but even the best have off days. The fact remains we picked up 3 massive points. I truly believe the players will seize the moment now. With a tough game against Crystal Palace on Wednesday we need Goodison to be off its foundations. Let’s grab this golden opportunity with both hands blues.
Everton are at the gates of Champions League football and now is the time blues. Let’s raise the roof and make it a bear-pit under the lights on Wednesday night.
What a fantastic season this has been but truly our season starts now.
Coming off the back of a wonderful performance against Arsenal I had high hopes we could continue our ruthless streak but to Sunderland’s credit they played with passion and made life very difficult for us. Compounded by our own sheer Everton-ness, if you know what I mean.
It was a strange performance, in the first half we enjoyed plenty of possession and had a great chance with Naismith, demonstrating the confidence flowing through his veins, impressively spinning away from Brown only to lose his composure and blast over from 8 yards.
Everton had an almighty scare when Borini seized onto Baines inadvertent pass back, to round Howard and set an angled shot towards goal. Thankfully the ever impressive Stones was on hand to keep the score on level terms.
The first half ended with the thinking we just needed to up our quality in the second half for us to prevail. Not much to get excited about but the performance of Gareth Barry. He was absolute world-class. Sounds over the top I know but he was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. Combining positional awareness with class on the ball. It still amazes me Man City deemed him surplus to requirements.
Manchester City’s loss has most definitely become Everton’s gain.
Sunderland started the second half as they ended the first, in the ascendency. Applying pressure through a goalmouth scramble before causing more premature hair loss with Ki Sung-Yueng heading wide from Adam Johnson’s devil of a ball in. Somehow the scoreline remaining at 0-0.
Naismith showed great strikers instinct to back off a bouncing ball to leave the error-prone Mannone deal with it. He was presented with a tough chance, and was unlucky to see his volley sail just wide of an unguarded net.
With Deulofeu a constant threat down the right, admittedly with some poor decision-making, Everton remained in the hunt for three points and with the quality of our play steadily improving, we were rewarded with a huge slice of fortune.
Alonso, who had endured a torrid examination against Deulofeu, could do nothing to prevent another surging run by the young Spaniard. He could only watch on as Wes Brown deflected Deulofeu’s cross into his own net. Mannone was again caught out of position and Everton were a goal up. 1-0. Relief.
Sunderland pressed forward, with my nerves now shot to pieces as every long ball from Sunderland’s defence seemingly found its way into our six yard box with consummate ease. Thankfully the closest Sunderland came to levelling it up were long-range efforts from Ki and Wickham. Both of which were kept out by Howard.
Full time and the frustrations at some of the aspects of our performance were instantly forgotten. We had won for the 7th time in a row! At the most crucial stage of the season.
That Mr Moyes is what you call a magnificent seven.
Great sides win ugly and the scent of Champions League football is now wafting firmly up the nostrils.
To quote Ian Holloway: [quote]To put it in gentleman’s terms if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi.” [/quote]
This summed our performance up for me.
Truly fantastic that we’ve climbed into fourth in April. Martinez has timed this to perfection. I write every week about my love and sheer appreciation for what our Catalan perfectionist has done for us. Yet every week he keeps impressing, adapting our team to find ways of winning, to be able to put on style against Arsenal and grit against Sunderland within a week shows you the flexibility of our team is perfect.
This is a time to embrace blues. If we didn’t know it already, special times are here. Seven straight wins to go above Arsenal with the lovely thought that were not even in 4th having played loads of games more. We’re level with Arsenal, five games to play and we’ve been better than them. This is no fluke.
A magic era is upon us; qualifying for the Champions League is the tip of the iceberg under the Ice-cool Catalan.
Wednesday is a huge game – they all our now – and we need that famous passion from the best supporters in the business to nudge us closer to the finishing line.
Palace represent another tough challenge however if we are at our best, as shown this season, then very few teams can live with us.
I’m Hoping Wednesday will be like United in 2005. If West Ham can take something from Arsenal, a win for us would see clear daylight between our rivals as we enter the final four games of a thrilling season.
A truly magnificent achievement and given this was our season in ‘transition,’ the potential for next season is mouth-watering.
I have said all season that this has had the feel of 1983-84; the calm before the storm. Much to the media’s disgust we are challenging the established top order with class and style. It’s never felt so great to be so unpopular.
It’s insane how we were praised – more accurately patronized – when we weren’t harming anyone above the glass ceiling. Plucky Everton this, best of the rest that; now we are seeing the hatred flow as we challenge the top four. I love it.
[quote]The history of the Club with the School of Science and the Holy Trinity – that way of playing has been a real advantage to me” Roberto Martinez [/quote]
Oh Mr Martinez, why did we have to wait so long for you?