After a less than impressive performance at Home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, Everton needed something huge to put their season back on track. Sure enough, next on the fixture list was the game we’ve all had in the back of our minds this season. The return of Moyes, the return of Neville, the return of Fellaini, the opportunity to do the league double over Manchester United for the first time in 44 years. Arsenal’s convincing win at Hull earlier on in the day put even more pressure on the importance of this match. It’s fair to say the boys didn’t disappoint.
Tim Howard – 7 A solid performance from the American after the club announced in the week that he will be an Everton player till 2018. In truth Man United only managed an embarrassing 2 shots on target for Howard to deal with, one of them coming in the last 5 minutes. However he did well to deny Rooney from close range and keep his 14th clean sheet of the season. Interestingly Everton have the 2nd most Clean Sheets this season only bettered by Chelsea.
Leighton Baines – 8 What a player he has been this season showing great leadership and calmness in the big games once again. Touched the ball more than any Everton player on the pitch (87 touches), with a respectable 87% pass accuracy he is backing up Martinez’ case for possibly playing him in Midfield next season. This season he’s managed the 2nd most Key passes in the team and his accurate crossing is bettered by no one in the side. Leighton was hugely impressive defensively with 10 effective clearances (Most by any Everton player in one game this season), 5 Interceptions (Most on the pitch) and 4 Tackles. Lets also not forget his cool finish from the Penalty spot, does this man have any nerves? Baines is the only player in premier league history to have taken plus of 10 penalties and score 100% of them. Long may it continue.
John Stones – 7 Filling in for Phil Jagielka everyone had their doubts about the ability of this unexperienced Centre Back from Barnsley. John got home after a long day on Sunday and emptied his pockets: keys, wallet, Wayne Rooney, phone. In all seriousness he had a great game with 7 effective clearences, 2 shots blocked (Most on the pitch) and 1 interception. The stand out Stat for this season being that he has the most successful dribbles for any centre back in the Premier League, having only started 13 games. How ironic that a Martinez type player was signed by the manager in the opposition dugout, whose instructions for a centre back would always be to “get rid of the ball”.
Sylvain Distin – 6 After getting abuse in the week for his performance against Crystal Palace everyone was hoping the 36 year old would concentrate not on the opinions of one Everton fan but on the task at hand today. He played reasonably well with 7 effective clearences, 2 interceptions and 3 tackles before being substituted at half time because of a possible hamstring injury.
Seamus Coleman – 9 (Man of the Match) I don’t think you will see me giving many match ratings of 10 because i believe its next to impossible to have a perfect game. Seamus Coleman was very close to getting that ‘mythical’ score this week. The fullback was immense on that right wing accumulating 5 Key passes (Most on the pitch), 3 dribbles (most on the pitch), 93% pass accuracy (Highest on the pitch), 2 accurate crosses, 2 shots and 1 assist. Those figures speak for themselves, an all round fantastic performance from an all round fantastic player. 60 grand? Cheers Moyes.
Gareth Barry – 8 On what could be his last game at Goodison Park, Barry had another fine game in Everton blue.
His contribution this season has been invaluable both offensively and defensively. Managing once again to lead the team in passes (50) with a 88% pass accuracy and connecting with all 10 of his long balls as well as 4 tackles, 3 interceptions and 3 effective clearences. Barry(2018) only falls behind Yaya Toure(2179) in the league leaders for accurate passes this Premier league season.
James McCarthy – 7 71% of the Earth is covered by water, the rest is covered by James McCarthy. Its a well known fact in the Everton community that McCarthy has become an instant sensation. Martinez’s decision to leave him out against Crystal Palace probably cost us the game in my opinion, I am sure Bobby has learnt that McCarthy with one leg should still start every game. 4 tackles, 2 interceptions, 79% pass accuracy and 7 accurate long balls. To be honest i’ve noticed this season that statistics don’t do the midfielder any justice at all, you have to watch him every week to understand his undeniable ability.
Kevin Mirallas – 8 A great quote from my old man whilst watching the game on Sunday: “Mirallas is actually shite you know, all he does is score goals… and get assists”. This is very true of Super Kev this season, when he can be bothered he’s one of the best wingers in the league. Currently Everton’s 2nd Top Goalscorer (8 goals) and the 7th highest assist maker in the Premier league (8 assists). 3 key passes on Sunday, 3 accurate crosses, 2 shots, 2 successful dribbles and 1 goal. His goal was superbly taken from a tough angle after a sublime pass from Seamus Coleman. Those two are part of a combination that is making opposition teams fear the right side of Everton’s attack rather than the traditional left side this season.
Steven Naismith – 6 Ill hold my hand up as someone who didn’t want Naismith anywhere near the starting line up early on in the season. After missing out at on a start at Palace I was almost relieved to see the Scot’s name on that team sheet against United. He managed 4 shots (1 on target) and 2 key passes, but in truth he squandered a few early chances in this game and was quiet for long spells.
Ross Barkley – 5
Perhaps a quite harsh match rating for the only Everton player to be nominated for PFA end of season awards in the last 3 years. A worrying 74% pass accuracy with 3 of his 6 long balls going astray left Barkley coming off very frustrated after 70 minutes. To be fair to the youngster he seemed to be playing on the left side of midfield which he isn’t used too. Its a learning curve for Ross this season and games like this will benefit him in the long run.
Romelu Lukaku – 6 Lukaku has seemed a out of form these past few games not really getting involved in the match and can be frustrating to watch at times. His touch against Man United was not good enough, often bouncing off him. He only connected with 50% of his passes and managed just 1 shot on target from 5 attempts on goal. However all was redeemed when he managed to win Everton the penalty for the first goal after a good strike from the young Belgian was handled by Phil Jones.
Antolin Alcaraz – 7 Losing Sylvain Distin at half time seemed like a huge blow to the side and i was sceptical Alcaraz could hold his own in this game. He seemed very comfortable on the ball with an 85% pass accuracy and a pair of accurate long balls. The statistic that impressed me the most from Alcaraz’s game was that he won all 4 of his aerial duels, 2 of them coming in the Man United penalty area. It has been a massive problem for Everton this season that no one looks willing to attack corners. Alcaraz came on and showed great strength and leaping ability, claiming a header on target from a Baines corner.
Leon Osman – 5
Osman didn’t really have sufficient time to have an impact on the game coming on with half an hour to go, Martinez obviously telling him to play defensively. Its great for Martinez to have that experience to come on and help see out the game.
Aiden McGeady – 5
1 minute played, 0 touches. Hard to give a player with those Statistics anymore than a base rate of 5. McGeady is an exciting prospect though who has experience in Europe. This will be needed next season given that we are all but guaranteed European football in 2014 after the full 3 points were picked up on Sunday.
Overall Team Rating – 7.0
Great performance from the lads that puts our quest for Champions League qualification right back on track. Next game vs Southampton away will be a tough one but if they perform like they did this weekend I have no doubt we can pick up all 3 points.
1)1st for Everything – It is the first time in Man United’s existence that all their major North West rivals (Man City, Liverpool and Everton) have completed the double over them in one season.
2)20 wins – Everton have managed 20 wins in a league season for the first time since 1986/87 when we were last Champions.
3)42 years – Leighton Baines‘ penalty was the first scored in the league from the spot vs United for 42 years. The last one was scored by Joe Royle in September 1972.