Moyes outwits Rogers in brilliant Blues win
The Blues’ trip to one of the toughest venues in the league took place in the shadow of the impending Sunderland replay. And Swansea were in a great run of form too. A large travelling support and the need to build confidence ahead of Tuesday demanded a good performance.
Moyesy had spoken about eradicating our recent slow starts and seemed to relish the chance to tactically outwit Brendan Rodgers. This meant he resisted the wholesale changes from the derby but gave Johnny a rest by bringing in Jags; Darron Gibson for Fellaini; and Phil Neville in for Drenthe.
First of all there were loads of rumours doing the rounds that Drenthe had been sacked for drinking. Royston is the type of character rumours are made for. He denied it on Twitter and nothing seems to have cropped up to shed any more light on it. Let’s just hope the long trip to Swansea allowed this one to fester and grow.
With Pienaar missing on Tuesday then it could be just a straight swap and so giving him some time off makes sense. Jags back for Johnny meant the 34 year old Distin has played all through this intense run of fixtures. Moyesy must value the left/right footer balance in the centre of defence. To keep his level of performance so high shows fantastic powers of recovery. Maybe he does the Ledley King thing and just plays without training…Gibson and Fellaini was more straightforward.
The Blues started more purposefully than of late and pressed Swansea, not allowing them to settle into their normal game. The Swans are very good at keeping the ball and have outpassed better teams than Everton. They built momentum and had the better of the first half chances. Jags was back to his ‘getting a block in for England’ best on a couple of occasions – showing he had shaken that sluggish derby performance out of his system. The Blues started to pick it up before half time which gave hope going in level.
The second half was nearly all about the Blues, apart from a Swansea break which finished with a Danny Graham header over the bar. Luckily so for the Blues, as Tim Howard was way out of goal – half way to Cardiff. Pienaar was behind a lot of what we did well and was back to linking up superbly with Baines – the Pien will be sorely missed on Tuesday. (Here’s hoping Drenthe has taken Moyesy’s tip on board about not rolling round so much and getting on with it.)
Gibson slotted back in and continued his effective contribution which nearly turned spectacular when he banged a left-footed effort on target from about 30 yards. The type of strike we’ve been looking for since he arrived. He’s a bit of an enigma is Darron. Not just that slightly unusual ‘o’ – he seems to benefit the team – we’re still unbeaten with him in – without looking great. He’s showed more than Jack Rodwell since he’s been here, although that’s hardly pushing the boat out.
Bainesy was bombing forward and this led to the first goal. He was chopped down in a nice central position. Once upon a time it would have been him and Arteta standing over it, now it’s him and Jelavic. Means the keeper has to be on his toes as both are capable of getting them up and over…rather than Arteta’s into the wall numbers. Ooh, he hit that one well against Villa though – the second best free kick of the day. Baines pulled out his ‘Chelsea in the cup’ number and gave Vorm no chance as it went into the top corner.
Pienaar nearly curled one in soon after and then set up Jelavic who did well to get a clear sight of goal but side-footed it wide. Jelly looks like a team player – note his celebration of Bainesy’s goal. The Big Fella coming off the bench was a great tune up for Tuesday and he helped continue our domination. He showed great feet in the box to set up Jelavic – the type of play which sometimes gets stuck amongst his long legs – and pulled it back perfectly for Jelly to slot. Not just a team player the Croat, he also has the look of a cold-eyed striker and showed his passion when he brushed past Fellaini to celebrate. Think there’s more to come from Nikica too.
Big Den and Johnny came on as it became a chance to relax and keep players sharp. El Traca could have had a couple and looked dangerous running into the box.
All in all a thoroughly excellent day for Evertonians. The valleys were ringing out with ‘Never Felt More Like Singin’ The Blues’ all the way home. Let’s hope that other oldie is given a hearty airing on Tuesday…We Shall Not Be Moved….