Everton: Sticky spell for the Toffees but are the fans still happy?
Everton have won only one game in nine but they are still in the mix for a Champions League place. Here Squarefootball's Everton reporter David Rubin explains why he remains a happy Toffee.
I am a moderately happy Everton supporter. I am not delighted, not sad or devastated, just moderately happy. Why is that? Well a simple glance at the league table and you can see that we are sixth and only three points off third.
So, considering we have avoided our usual shocking starts, you may ask why am I not delighted? Well, that's because if I am being perfectly honest, we should be much higher up in the table. We have dropped points against an average Arsenal, a struggling QPR, a faltering Fulham, a resurgent Norwich and Wigan. You could even go as far as to say that we should have beaten Liverpool.
So, why are you not depressed about that? Well I am not too upset because during that frustrating period we didn’t have a full squad. Mirallas was consistently injured every second week, Fellaini was suspended for a while, Hibbert was out and most importantly so was Darron Gibson.
At the weekend I was not the only spectator impressed by Gibson’s influence in Everton’s midfield. He was responsible for fishing the ball out of the back and then hitting beautiful long passes all across the field to try to spread out our play. Even the little pieces of skill that he showed, like when he bamboozled three City players and passed it out wide for Hibbert to cross, were all done to perfection.
Back when Phil Neville was deputising for the injury plagued Gibson, he received a lot of criticism for apparently doing a ‘bad job’ in the centre of midfield. The problem was he wasn't really doing such a bad job, it's just that us as supporters are so used to a high quality central midfielder in Gibson who can do anything, while Neville is very much more one dimensional.
When Kevin Mirallas first got injured Steven Naismith sat in for him. I am a big fan of Naismith because I feel that he is very much similar to Steven Pienaar on the other flank. The problem is that neither really have pace so we may have flashy passing and nice vision out wide but we don't really have good pace to break the opposition's defensive line. That's at least when Kevin Mirallas is injured. So when Bryan Oviedo came on against Norwich and did ever so well, I was absolutely delighted. He worked extremely hard, had very good pace, a good work ethic and finally a good eye for a pass (as the through ball to Naismith showed).
So all in all, there's still plenty of reasons to be happy with David Moyes and Everton this season. Of course if we had turned those draws into wins then we'd be right in the mix for the title, but let's just concentrate on qualifying for the Champions League.
Calling all Everton fans: What are your views on the Toffees this season? Have you been impressed or slightly annoyed? Can Everton rediscover their winning touch? How confident are you of finishing in the top four? Whatever your views we'd love to hear from you.