Everton squeaked past Newcastle today at Goodison Park by a final score of 1-0. The first half, when the game was still 0-0, was much better than the second. Surprising for an Allardyce team, I know. Anyway. I like winning, it’s fun!
- Credit where it is due - Morgan Schneiderlin was excellent today, putting in perhaps his best performance of the season both defensively and with his ball distribution. It was a good thing, too, because Wayne Rooney was terrible. Unfortunately, the lanky Frenchman picked up a knock in the second half and was replaced by Tom Davies.
- Also taking up residence in the good game department: Theo Walcott, who was better today than at any point since his first few Everton performances. Well taken goal, and well deserved on the night.
- Speaking of Walcott’s goal, it was rather satisfying to see Jordan Pickford turn and celebrate the marker while facing the traveling Newcastle fans, particularly after the goalkeeper was berated every time he took a touch tonight. Well played.
- I realize the games don’t matter, but that could be even more reason for Sam Allardyce TO PLEASE STOP PLAYING WAYNE ROONEY. The 32 year old isn’t a midfielder. He isn’t much of anything anymore. On a night when Gueye and Schneiderlin were on song, Rooney stuck out like a sore thumb, and not in a good way.
- Everton’s performance was generally encouraging - particularly in terms of possession - but once again after taking a lead, the Blues dropped deeper and deeper, inviting Newcastle pressure and risking conceding an equalizer. That’s no way to play, and particularly not at Goodison Park, in a match where the fans are desperate to see any sort of invention or creative play.
- It was a particularly frustrating night for Cenk Tosun, who received precious little service despite the Blues dominating the ball in midfield for long stretches of the game. He was replaced late on by Oumar Niasse after hardly having a chance to make an impact.
- Farhad Moshiri was in attendance tonight, and hopefully he was not deceived by the final score and result. Everton did the bare minimum. Nothing more. Allardyce football, if you will.
Our long national nightmare is nearly over. Press on.