Everton 1-1 Blackburn Rovers
Everton started this game poorly. Blackburn looked assured, imaginative, and driven. It came as a surprise then that it was the home side that opened the scoring on 26 minutes. Marouane Fellaini’s close range header was palmed away by Paul Robisnosn straight back to the Belgian who somehow scrambled it to Cahill with a combination of midriff and hand and the Australian scored from close range with ease. You’d think scoring would raise morale and tempo, but instead it sent us into a catatonic state. Everton then proceeded to look this gift horse in the mouth for the rest of the game, inviting pressure until Goodwillie deservedly equalised for Blackburn.
This mass stupor was galling, especially with a grinning Yakubu looking down from the stands.
Our problems were many and varied. Fellaini looked ragged and sluggish. I barely noticed Darron Gibson on his home debut. Landon Donovan was below par spurning a good chance from an excellent Cahill reverse pass. Saha was again a footballing mute, sitting pretty at the top of our formation and occasionally sprinting for no discernible reason. Howard was at fault for their goal, and should have comfortably grabbed Pedersen’s free kick that led to their goal. Anichebe doesn’t like playing on the left and thinks his dislike for being out of position gives him carte blanche to flounce around like Harry Enfield’s Kevin. Those aren’t muscles on Anichebe’s shoulders, they are massive chips.
It is far less easy to extract positives from this game. Shane Duffy and John Heitinga looked good at the back with the Dutchman calm and assured. The Irishman meanwhile defended well and hit the crossbar towards the end. Duffy’s passing statistics were admittedly horrific, but in his defence someone had to take on Jagielka’s mantle of larupping the ball into far flung parts of the pitch. Additionally, Tim Cahill’s goal will hopefully signal a return to
Royston Drenthe came on for Saha in the second half. There is much confusion about whether he did well, but his direct running and speed are surely worth it even with his occasional bizarre mistakes and laziness.
We didn’t look like a team that is papering over the cracks or one that has had little money spend, we simply looked devoid of passion – for 90 minutes we were a team that had formaldehyde in its veins.
A blue Blue on Twitter complained that we couldn’t even beat a team whose manager the fans hate. For a lot of blues, we’re turning into that team too. An FA Cup fixture against free scoring Fulham looms next. Goodison expects.