Everton played Hull City this evening at Goodison Park looking to move back above the teams that leapfrogged them on Tuesday night.
What a game of two halves this was!
Howard, Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Bešić, Barry, Mirallas, Barkley, Osman, Lukaku
Everton subs: Robles, Hibbert, Garbutt, Pienaar, Atsu, McGeady, Eto’o
McGregor, Elmohamady, Rosenior, Chester, Dawson, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler, Diame, Quinn, Jelavic
Subs: Jakupovic, Bruce, Davies, Robertson, Brady, Aluko, Sagbo
Hull perhaps started the brighter of the two teams, pressing Everton high up the pitch. They seemed to take a leaf out of Spurs book from the weekend, but lack the quality to really make it pay.
After the first 10 minutes the Blues really started to kick up a gear with Mirallas and Lukaku in particular looking dangerous. The improvement in Lukaku since the return of Barkley and Mirallas has been incredible.
Another bright spark from the first half was the performance of Muhamed Bešić, with a commanding, calm and skilful half.
The Blues looked constantly dangerous with Mirallas, Lukaku and Osman going close before the deadlock was broken.
The only goal of the half was scored by Lukaku after he himself won the ball in the air flicking on to Kevin Mirallas who drove down the right wing before putting in a teasing low ball around the penalty spot. Lukaku slid in to score his 7th goal of the season on 34 minutes.
The rest of the half was seen out with a few other half chances for the Blues but ultimately ended 1-0 to Everton.
Well I never managed to make it to the game tonight so wrote my first half of this post at half time. Hence the cheery attitude.
Fair play to Hull they came out the better of the two teams again, and I expected as per the first half that to die away and Everton to impose their obvious gap in quality.
It never, we never.
I summed this up on Facebook straight after the game as the worst Everton half of football since the Walter Smith era. Perhaps I might have been a little harsh, there were some shockers under Moyes too but this draw felt like a defeat.
First onto the facts.
the half started with Everton passing around the back leading to Barry almost being caught out. We then had a good passage of play from Everton leading to a cheeky attempt from Mirallas which drifted over.
Lukaku then shot high and wide with options is the box, notably Coleman at the back post. This was on 56 minutes. For the rest of the game we barely managed an attack of note, never mind a shot at goal.
The goal came from the restart after the previous Everton attack. The ball was lumped up to Sone Aluko who had come on as an early second half sub, he slowed Distin then left him on his backside, comfortably sliding the ball past Howard for 1-1. What followed was almost constant Everton mistakes followed by Hull pressure.
I am not sure a single player came out of the second half with any positive. Almost to a man they made both individual and team errors.
Barkley had one of his worst games for Everton, Bešić faded and was withdrawn for McGeady. Mirallas faded to be replaced by Pienaar. All the changes seem to do was make things more disjointed.
For me the game was summed up in the 96th minute. We finally forced a corner through some attacking pressure. 30 seconds to go, Barkley takes a corner from the right and hits the first defender. Game over.
A 1-1 draw that feels like a 6-0 loss.
Things must improve if we are not to be embarrassed at City.
Fair play to Hull though, probably deserved a win.