Well that wasn’t as straightforward as we probably thought it would be was it?
Swansea strode into town on the back of some good results but, with Everton having such a good record against them that they’d NEVER won against the mighty Toffees in the league I think we were all pretty confident that it would be a similar case as the Villa game. i.e. they would start well, create the odd chance and then we’d simply swat them aside with a couple of goals before clapping them off the pitch for being ‘tryers’ and playing a ‘good style of football’.
Plaudits but no points. That’s the ideal really.
But no. Instead Swansea came to Goodison and played some decent stuff at times and should possibly have had a penalty when the unluckiest defender in world football, Antolin Alcaraz, was slightly lucky for once and got away with a handball in the box that at first looked unclear, and then on replay that evening probably looked nailed on. We’d have been screaming about our luck and the ref if it had gone against us, that’s for sure.
Apart from that there was the odd half-chance for us, but Swansea’s defence stood tall and held firm to keep us at bay unfortunately. Not even the sending off of Jonjo Shelvey eighteen minutes before the end could help us out as the Everton forwards huffed and puffed and generally hoped the goal would come! Overall Swansea were good value for a point though and we shouldn’t complain too much. We may have lost this game earlier in the season for a start!
In terms of our thoughts, opinions and general musings on the game:
The Manager – I’m afraid this was a black mark against Martinez as his substitutions and general tactics were seen to fall short slightly once again. Barkley and Osman were clearly not having the best of games and either of them, if not both, should have come off at half-time to shake things up. As it was the erratic but sometimes brilliant McGeady was the fall guy in a formation that ended up with Eto’o on the left wing for some reason.
The centre-half problem – so, typically, Alcaraz starts to play well again and get a partnership together with Jagielka that we can all feel comfortable with. Then he takes a tumble, puts his shoulder out and is out for ‘a long period of time’ according to Martinez. Should be interesting to see who gets the centre-half gig next Sunday. Distin was always going to be playing against Lille for me, but I wasn’t sure we’d ever see him play for us in the Premier League again. Let’s hope he doesn’t get the crowd on his back and have a strop if things aren’t going his way!
Next up – well firstly we have the small matter of Lille at home, which could be a tight and cagey affair, but also one that is completely winnable. If we can get a decent atmosphere together then I can see us nicking it 1-0. Probably Osman I’d imagine. Pea-roller from the edge of the box, deflected massively into the bottom corner.
Then, Sunderland away. That will be difficult too, ignoring the fact they are in the bottom three and their 8-0 shallacking recently v Southampton. They will be determined to do well against us and they were much-improved against Arsenal who got lucky that Sunderland decided to make some pretty stupid mistakes to gift Sanchez twice.