By Avenell Dave
They say that a week is a long time in politics – but it’s a hell of a long time in football.
Arsenal showed the same resilience they displayed at Wolves in midweek yesterday at Goodison Park and ground out a win which could have gone either way.
I always get the feeling that with a modicum of investment, Everton could become a top team, but they tend to create and then sell decent young players (and Francis Jeffers) and when fit, can give anyone a game.
Seeing Bacary Sagna score is something of a rarity – the last time it happened he missed the rest of the season and it’s vital our full-backs chip in with more goals and assists.
In the days of Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn, to C@shley and Lauren, we had adventurous full backs who knew how to defend and how to support the wide midfielders. Dixon was even our penalty taker for a while and yet these days teams rightly don’t worry about either of them scoring.
Bringing on Denilson to shore up the midfield may have had as much to do with Alex Song’s new-found adventure than Jack Wilshere’s struggles but even at 2-0 up, given our defensive challenges and Everton’s never-say-die energy, you are never quite comfortable.
But Lukasz Fabianski made some fine saves and while it’s always frustrating not to keep a clean sheet, we did enough to deserve the win.
Has the team turned the corner?
That remains to be seen. Consistency and not giving away cheap goals is something a couple of wins cannot change overnight, but winning games away from home should give us confidence to push on.
I’m still worried about how wasteful Song is with and without the ball. He needs to think like a sweeper rather than a dynamo. He is a water carrier after all and unless things get desperate such as they did against West Ham, that’s how it should stay.
But hopefully Fabianski will keep his place and cut out the mistakes and Johann Djourou is also looking stronger with every game back.
Of course, the results suffered by the Ch*vs and M*nure mean that even just winning at home to Newcastle would have meant we’d now be top of the table, and the fact that the gap is only two points underlines how tight this season could well be.
M*nure were lucky/resolute, whatever you want to call it, against a young Villa team, but as someone pointed out to me recently, we really need them to lose a game. They have played particularly indifferently this season and yet remain unbeaten and that, apart from suggesting that they should be favourites for the title, threatens our Invincibles run, something that strangely hadn’t occurred to me.
Now is the time that they should be dropping points, because when Shrek starts scoring and Valencia returns, they’ll push on no doubt.
We have to put the Scum in their place at the weekend and maintain this mini revival until it becomes an imperious run.
One thing you can say about this team is that they’re hardly predictable!