What was all the fuss for? Did you even doubt them? Shame on you if you did.
This season´s Everton is not the best for a generation but it very well could be in time. Were disappointment hardened over the last few decades – give or take – but there is a very solid and importantly young verve about a team that´s showing signs of finally weathering their shaky part of the season.
Newcastle got a rinsing. I could end this formative match report right there but it wouldn´t be fair to fail to point out some of its content, of which pretty much all of the quality content was belonging to the men wearing royal blue t shirts.
It was a testing start for Everton as Newcastle came out of the blocks like a possessive girlfriend greeting you from a stag weekend in Kavos. Everton sensed their resolve wasn´t it appeared and held firm and eventually they piped down sufficiently for the L4 Azules to get to busy to work.
The first real clear cut chance for Everton came on 18 minutes when Deulofeu fed Osman who played a really instinctive ball through to Lukaku who could only kind the bog eyed Krul´s legs
Worry not though – four minutes later Everton found the lead thanks to a brilliant individual break away goal from Ross Barkley. I don´t doubt you´ve seen this goal and although it was as good a goal as you´ll see this season it wasn´t Maradona-esque as some portions of the media are calling it. In fact that´s a little odd. Everything doesn´t have to be the best or the worst ever ever. But it was ace. And he´s ours. To compound the beautiful moment young Ross celebrated by shushing the various angry Scotsmen remonstrating with him behind the home goal.
The rest of the half ebbed and flowed and at times you were as unsure of its path and destination as a Malaysian national aircraft. Deep down in such games you do have a confidence in your belly where you know Everton would produce the goods, and this was one of those days.
The only notable action of the first half left was the continually impressive John Stones defending a difficult cross tremendously and in the process opening up a nasty gash over his left eye reducing his team to ten men as he left the pitch to get patched up looking like an extreme Steve Foster. Player that though.
Half time – Newcastle 0-1 Everton. Pink Echo style that. What happened to prominent half time scores in print?
The second half saw Newcastle come at Everton as expected. We took the sting out of the game with a second goal very well worked. Osman played a long ball over to the right to find Deulofeu in a ridiculous amount of space, on rushed the Spanish winger down the side of the box where Romelu Lukaku hadn´t so much telegraphed where he wanted the ball as used a halogen laser pen to mark the front post. No matter, the ball was played there and there was nada defender or goalkeeper could do about it. The near post belongs to Lukaku and it was 2-0.
Newcastle´s introduction of Arfa had you wondering why he didn´t start as he started finding space and Newcastle gained heart putting Everton on the back foot. Suddenly Everton looked vunerable for the first time in the game but the defence and midfield were extremely compact and chances were kept to a minimum.
The one chance, and I should really label it gilt edged or fail in my duty of match report, fell to Anita after good work on the left from Arfa pulled the ball back with the goal at his mercy he monged the ball wide, partly due to being shit and partly due to our full back doing some form of jarg body pop to try and block him.
You always felt that Everton could score a break away goal despite the conceding of possession and territory to the black and white bells.
And so it proved. With only a couple of minutes on the clock some nice play from substitute Naismth and Lukaku found the impressive Deulofeu in space on the left. He ran at the full back and then created a category 2 hurricance from his stepovers creating a vortex. That troublesome storm was sufficient to mess us Coloccini´s beautiful locks to such an extent that he was rooted to the spot enabling Deulofeu to by pass the ball to Lukaku who showed great awareness to level the ball to Osman. Heart in the mouth stuff this no? Anyway Osman spanked it into the near corner without a single care in the world. Easy this Everton. Three nil and game over.
I presume this is the part where we ponder a man of the match in the warm afterglow of an Everton win but its too subjective to pick one. Deulofeu, Osman, Barkley, Stones and Coleman all had very good games. Interesting that three of them are twenty years old but as the wise sages of football agree: you win nothing with lids. Osman captained Everton for the thirteenth time in his career, picking up his eleventh win of that sequence. Can we just make him wear an arm band anyway?
We´ve played better this season but we´ve got that polish of a team that can pick up points by going through the gears. That´s twelve points from twelve in the league and a trip to struggling Fulham (nailed on defeat like) to come on the weekend.
I reckon weirdly that the pressure is off us. We´d gave up on a top four finish a few weeks ago and know its tough to battle it out with free spending Spurs and United for the Europa League places but they´re sweating it much more than us.
Its still very doubtful we´ll achieve a top four finish – its true that Wenger and his masses are looking over their shoulder but when every point counts its a big ask to maximise points against Southampton away and Arsenal. Man Utd and City at home when they represent half our remaining fixtures.
But we´ll have a go and three of them are on our home turf. We thought that our last game against Arsenal would be the defining one of our entire season, but it would seem the one in the league could be just as, if not bigger.
An ace Everton doing all manner of good things on the weekend can give benefits that last all week. But an Everton doing similarly good things in midweek too? I´ll have a slice of that.
You know that feeling when you just know Everton are gonna be boss? Yeah, me too.