Wednesday was a tough night. I arrived home five minutes before kick off to discover ptp, my usual feed, unavailable and spent until half time fiddling around trying to get pictures over just sound interspersed with updates from BBC and others tweets.
Unfortunately I managed to witness the second half. It wasn’t pretty despite having opportunities to force Tim Howard into making two excellent saves and Crouch putting a fierce shot over the bar after a fabulous run.
I taped the sky 50 minute highlights and wished that’s all I saw. That game looked well matched with Everton just about shading it. I can’t speak for the first half but I thought we were second best by a fair distance in the second from seeing all of the action but not according to Sky.
We passed poorly and conceded possession cheaply all half and some of our players had bad nights. When Gomes dealt badly with a pass back early in the half it did nothing to lighten my mood so I was pleased when he managed to hold onto the ball when Coleman was through and became undecided on a shot or cross.
Coleman is rapidly showing us all what a good player he is. Other work colleagues have commented upon his ability when their respective clubs have come up against him. He put Ekotto to the sword during the second half leaving him for dead for pace and also exposing him out of possession on a couple of occasions.
Benny had a bad night of that there is little doubt but Alan Hansen’s mauling of him was totally contradictory of David Moyes assessment “one of the best left backs in the league.” Whilst that might be a little exaggerated Hansen tore into him suggesting him to be awful and the weak link in the Spurs side. That’s unfair.
Benny has been one of best players in a number of games this season and whilst he can scare you with the confidence he has to take on the last man he has certainly not been a consistent liability. If opponents are to attack our defence it will be our full backs that they target because of the quality of the centre backs but most weeks he has dealt with his job very well.
Benny was not the only player to suffer a bad night. I did not think JJ looked too impressive in what I saw and when Bale had to be withdrawn Kranjcar produced a third awful display. This time he was on his favoured left side and not out right where Harry has recently revealed “he hates playing” so it should have been set up for him. Apart from one cleanly hit volley which cannoned off a defender I saw nothing to convince me that he deserves a run in the team. Hopefully 90 minutes against Charlton will perk him up.
So having gone down to a Saha shot in 3 minutes we were able to claw our way back into the game when Peter Crouch provided an assist to allow Van Der Vaart to head through Howard as he fell backwards. We should have gone in ahead at the break after Saha gave up the ball to Bale and he broke through and placed the ball exactly where Crouch ordered for him to put it away. Unfortunately he had drifted into an offside position so the goal was chalked off.
In the second half having struggled to hold Everton Van Der Vaart generated two chances, the first a guided shot from the edge of the box which Howard turned away with a full length dive and the second an instant snapshot from Modric’s cut back which Howard stood up to.
In between Hutton deflected a sharp strike from Saha out for a corner and Dawson was able to block a Yakubu shot that would have put the game to bed. The second Everton goal saw Saha pushed across the box but he got the ball onto his stronger left foot and sent a rasping shot that Gomes was only able to parry. Coleman following in headed home a deserved goal for a very good performance.
So the run is over. The good Everton turned up and we were overcome. To be fair it had been coming and too many of the team ran out of steam after the previous three wins. Should we have played like Manchester City in an effort to secure a point? I don’t think so as it is not our style but the way we conceded the ball in the second half that I saw was unacceptable if we are to mount a real challenge on the title.
It wasn’t all bad. Van Der Vaart did have another good performance and Modric was busy. Our biggest concern is that our next Premier League match is at home to the unbeaten Manchester United and the guile of Mr Ferguson. We need a win for Chelsea cannot continue like this for much longer and their loss gave us the chance we take advantage.
Had Crouch’s goal been as it should then maybe we would have won. He didn’t, we didn’t and we have to get back to winning ways once more in this year that finishes in 1.