Being an Evertonian is fun isn’t it? We get to go from high to low in almost the blink of an eye, or the kick of a ball.
In just 4 short days we have gone from the ecstasy of winning the ‘Group of Death’ with a 2-0 win at Wolfsberg, then right back down to earth with a 2-1 reverse at Spurs.
Wolfsberg away was meant to be the trickiest game of the ‘group of death’. What transpired was 90 mins of the home team shooting from mostly outside the box and incisive Blues attacking giving the away team a deserved win.
Things could have been different had the linesman not flagged for offside for what seemed like a valid Wolfsberg goal with the game at 0-0. Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas sealed the victory, which saw impressive performances from Besic and Garbutt amongst others.
The media touted this as a game that both teams were going to lose given their European hangovers. In truth it was quite a decent game to watch, with both team showing attacking intent from the off.
Spurs started the brighter of the two teams but it was Everton who took the lead through Mirallas. Following a freekick the ball finally came back to the feet of Mirallas outside the box to the left of goal. He cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable curler into the top corner of the goal. 1-0 Everton.
From there things got gradually worse. Spurs equalised shortly after the opener through Christian Eriksen after a driving run and shot by Kane. Howard could only weakly parry directly to Eriksen who mis-hit his shot into the ground taking it away from both Barry and Howard. 1-1.
The victory for Spurs was complete on 45+extra mins after Barry was caught on the ball by the tenacious Kane. Kane played in Soldado who scored his first goal in 12 years (or something).
There were few incidents in the second half, although a hand ball in the Spurs box that seemed a clear penalty was not given however it wasn’t to be and Spurs held on for the 2-1 win that they probably deserved.
Comparisons of the Two Games
The two games were contrasting not just in scoreline but also in the way the team played. Against Wolfsberg the team had a great balance, from the back 4, the midfield 5 and Lukaku. With two naturally wide players that complemented each other, Mirallas with speed and skill in attack and McGeady with good attacking and defensive awareness. With this balance although the shots on goal stat was quite high we generally restricted them to long range shots.
Compare this to Sunday, when Barkley was shoe-horned in on the wing again, Barry rushed back due to the absence of James McCarthy, Eto’o looking jaded, Baines looking exposed due to Barkley playing much of the game 30 yards from his wing. We seem to be trying to fit round pegs into square holes at present.
Barry himself was involved in both the Spurs goals, looking like he might have been able to do better with clearing the first and getting caught in possession for the second. He looked like it was maybe a game or so too early, or worse that James McCarthey might cover some of Barry’s weaknesses?
That being said it was our first defeat in 9 games in all competitions, and we haven’t won at ‘The Lane’ in 6 years so perhaps not much of a surprise. 5 points off 4th after the start we had is not bad coming into the Christmas period.