Today we finally saw a fairly complete game from Everton from the first time since October. In addition we had a striker sighting in the form of Louis Saha and Jermaine Beckford also put together an impressive game until he was subbed off.
With the departure of Tim Cahill for the month, Everton's main question was who would score goals, and today Seamus Coleman and Louis Saha responded in a positive fashion. Saha had a beautiful strike from just outside the box in the 3rd minute, and he helped out on the second goal when his blistering shot forced Gomes to parry right at Coleman who was able to head the ball home. An important thing about Saha's performance was that he looked dangerous the entire game, and had an absolute laser of a volley that was deflected from a certain goal by Hutton.
Additionally Jermaine Beckford got his first start since September, and although he did not put any real chances on goal, he did have some excellent hold up play and did well to feed Saha during the build up to the second goal. One thing this game did show is that Beckford may have much more potential for Everton if Moyes is willing to use 2 strikers and gives Beckford another striker he can link up well with.
The final highlight of the Spurs match was the amount of possession Everton was able to have throughout this game. This was a huge contrast from the Manchester City game where even before Anichebe got sent off Everton were willing to concede possession for almost 70 minutes of that game. This time around ball movement was much better, and in the second half Everton seemed to have much more consistent possession than Spurs did, and certainly did deserve to win which is nice to see.
Thankfully this time around the bad was fairly small and some of it may be nitpicky, but the one player that has been consistently bad this season has been Pienaar. For whatever reason, maybe it is fatigue from the World Cup, or maybe his head is already with the next team he will be playing with, but Pienaar once again turned in a poor outing with a lot of passes that were shockingly off the mark. The one positive from his play is that although Pienaar has been losing the ball a lot, he does work to get the ball back by running all over the pitch, but a player of his quality should be doing better with his passing
The second player on this list arrives here in part because of a slight mistake on his part this game, but also from a lower level of from than he is capable of, and that is the Everton number one keeper, Tim Howard. Now while I have always been a huge fan of Howard's, this season his form has been lower than Evertonian's have come to expect. While Tim has certainly had some excellent saves this season, two of which he made against Spurs to help preserve the win, he has also had a lot of small mistakes in his mechanics, which have led to a few goals that in previous seasons he would not normally give up. An example of this was today where before the ball was even heading towards goal, Howard was already falling over. Had Howard been able to stand up tall as the ball was headed, he probably would have been able to prevent the goal. Hopefully Tim's form will return to a much higher level for the stretch run.
Next up for Everton is an FA Cup Third Round match against Scunthorpe at 10 am, the question will be what side gets run out for this match, especially with the second Merseyside Derby of the season being played on the following Sunday and the number of fixtures the squad has played in over the past 2 weeks. Currently we sit 11th in table on goal differential, so until next time COYB!