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Superb Jags just gets better & better
by Peter Bottomley

Tottenham Hotspur 1 (van der Vart 20) – EVERTON 1 (Baines 17)

Judging by the over-confident predictions coming across the blogosphere and from the twitterati you would have thought that Spurs only had to turn up on Saturday to claim the three points. In the event we had to give them a goal to keep them in the game.  A Tim Howard flap, across the line of the ball, showed once again that our American ‘keeper is not infallible. We suspect Tim has never played cricket, but he may have played baseball. Batting, or hitting, or as on Saturday, attempting to punch, ACROSS the trajectory of a ball, is hugely dangerous…..just ask Kevin Pietersen.

Though Baines scored with a stunning free kick (memo to Mikel; let Leighton take a few) and his general play was excellent, our man of the match was Phil Jagielka. In defence relentlessly sniffing out trouble and good going forward; on one occasion in the second half he broke down the right wing, turned Modric inside out, before casually finding another blue shirt. He fired narrowly over the Liverpool goal a week ago Sunday and is getting into some very progressive positions; not long before he finds the net we think. Whisper it quietly, no shout it from the treetops; City did us a huge favour, they paid £23 mln for our second best defender!

Talking of defenders is there a better right back in the country than Phil Neville. His performance in the derby was superb – Cole hardly saw the ball – and again at White Hart Lane he pacified the skilful, fast and physically strong Gareth Bale. Time for an England recall?

So now we know: The newspaper inspired rumours, going back for a year or more, that Harry Redknapp wants Steven Pienaar are tripe. As we heard from ‘Arry post match; he has Bale and Lennon as his wide men, can’t even get the hugely talented Nico Kranjcar on the pitch, so “what on earth would I do with an Ashley Young” (or Steven Pienaar). With the clock winding down on Pienaar’s Everton contract, and him legally free to open negotiations with potential suitors from January the hierarchy at Goodison need to piss, or get off the pot. It’s clear where the sticking point on the contract negotiations is: Mikel Arteta, who won a new 5-year contract in the summer, is 28 years-old, in fact just eleven days younger than Pienaar. We suspect that Pienaar, not unreasonably, wants parity with Arteta. Unfortunately for him Mikel has become an iconic figure at Goodison, while great player that he is, Steven has not. We feel that Moyes and Kenwright need to show some pragmatism here and compromise. Pienaar never hides, has a wonderful partnership with Baines and is an automatic choice when fit. Goodison knows a player when she sees one, lets not lose him.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Hutton, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Pavlyuchenko 69), Palacios (Sandro 46), Modric, Bale; van der Vart; Crouch. Unused subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Jenas, Kranjcar, Keane

EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Heitinga (Hibbert 79); Coleman (Beckford 84), Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov, Cahill; Yakubu (Saha 63). Unused subs: Mucha, Gueye, Duffy, Baxter

Referee: M Jones

Gate: 35,967




Written by Peter Bottomley

Blogs for Everton site Dixie's60. First game at Goodison: 5 Nov 1960, EFC 1 - WBA 1...hooked ever since Follow me on Twitter: Follow me on Twitter: @dixies60pete

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