I would just like to touch on a fantastic gesture from Everton. The club kindly invited the family of the late and great Alan Ball who represented both clubs during his playing career along to mark the occasion and be welcomed on to the pitch at half time. He was my Fathers idol and one of a kind.
Is Europe a possibility?
There has been a frustrated and long-standing assumption among Evertonians that if this team could just begin a season in the form with which they reliably finish one, a regular place in European competition would be attainable; possibly more. After my points following the midweek game against Leeds United, Moyes brought back the big guns as expected and it was business as usual.
However Everton fell behind against Southampton in the same manner they did in midweek. A goal inside 5 minutes as new signing Ramirez silenced the home crowd with a header from a set corner. It was no surprise to me. Southampton are playing similar to Norwich last season and Blackpool before them; play with no fear, get at teams and score plenty of goals. The only problem with this is they are always going to concede a plenty. Exciting to watch? Yes, but a dangerous game to play nevertheless in the Premier League.
Everton are a different side to those that have been before under David Moyes, though. Points are no longer simply ground out. They out-think opponents, press high, and excite spectators. Their achievements are marked by the fact that even Southampton outspent them by a considerable amount in the summer.
Yet Southampton soon conceded and simply couldn’t handle Everton. This side can now turn it on at the drop of a hat. Baines and Pienaar overlapping on the left, the marauding runs and trickery of Kevin Mirallas and the outlet of Fellaini and Jelavic are simply a joy to watch.
Mirallas crossing to Jelavic on 24 minutes forcing a save from Gazziniga and it was down to Leon Osman to fire into the roof of the net to make it 1-1.
Mirallas was involved again with the second goal, playing a superb ball through to Jelavic who finished clinically with an angled shot into the corner of the net.
Whilst Southampton look superb going forward, they look lower league material with their defending. They ship too many goals and Everton hadn’t finished with them yet.
A great run by the impressive Seamus Coleman crossed superbly to Jelavic who somehow managed to get the ball on target and score, in a very similar manner he did against Manchester United at Old Trafford last season.
There could and should have been a lot more goals from Everton but the score stayed 3-1 going into half time.
I was at this fixture in 1996 when we hit Southampton for 7 that day and I was expecting a similar score line going into the second half, but It wasn’t to be.
Both sides had chances to add to the score line but in honesty, the second half was only a shadow of what we witnessed before the break and the match finished 3-1.
Top four & John Barnes’ compliments
It’s fantastic to hear the Goodison faithful chanting, “We’re gonna win the league”, obviously said with tongue in cheek and witness what Moyes is calling “great theatre”. I firmly believe we have to look at the possibility of going for the top 4 and why not?
Moyes is spot on with his comments this week. First priority, secure our league status. Then look at how many points we can accumulate and aim for a European spot. Even he though will surely look at the creativity and conviction within this squad and wonder; if he manages to keep them all fit just how far they can go?
It was interesting reading and article from John Barnes this week. He thinks realistically Liverpool should be aiming for a top 8 finish and is confident they will also finish above Everton.
Just where does he think Everton will finish in the league then? I’d rather people would concentrate on their own clubs but I will take it as a compliment Everton are getting talked about and people are worried about us.
There’s an air of excitement around Goodison this season and with a run of games coming up that we will be expected to win we shall see if we can keep up with the ‘usual suspects’.
The future is bright. The future is Royal Blue!