Grinding it Out
Sunday 1st March 2015
Travelling up to London this morning, I knew Everton were beatable. I also knew if I was fan of today’s visitors I would see this as a really good time to be taking us on. Not because I lack confidence in our team but as a natural reaction to our very disappointing midweek outing today was always going to be tough.
The atmosphere inside the ground was always going to be a bit ‘flat’. It shouldn’t be. But it was. Getting the game out of the way with a win was on the agenda. And anything less would have been considered a total and utter disaster.
We certainly wasn’t at our often free flowing best today. The performance in the first half an hour in fact, matched the atmosphere in the stadium. Then we enjoyed a ten minute spell where for the first time in the match we seriously put Everton under pressure, culminating in Olly’s fine strike.
We all wanted to take the lead of course but I think we were all delighted when it was the big man up top who broke the deadlock. He had a ‘mare in front of goal in the week, there is no other way to describe it. But the last thing we wanted was him to lose confidence and today hopefully goes some way to preventing that from happening.
One up at half time then and I think we just about deserved it.
Our visitors enjoyed a lot of possession this afternoon and the 2nd half was no different. We defended well however, our shape in particular looking solid for the most part.
The crucial point in the game for me came in a five minute spell midway through the half when David Ospina made two good saves from Everton’s only clear cut openings of the afternoon. It kept that lead intact and provided that springboard to go on and grab those all important three points.
Off the pitch you could really sense our supporters could see our team were working immensely hard and seriously digging in a game where we looked a little jaded I felt, especially going forward.
Tommy Rosicky’s fresh legs were introduced at the perfect moment too and after a superb pass from Mesut, his strike doubled our lead and pretty much made sure the points were in the bag.
Not our greatest performance admittedly but we certainly kept that all important shape very well, defended competently, worked extremely hard and dug in. Keeping that clean sheet is so so crucial right now as we look like we can score in any game. Today was a fine example.
I don’t tend to get too involved with other teams results and how we want them to go unless they crucially and directly effect us. Whatever happened this weekend we are in amongst an extremely tight race for the Champions League spots. That includes being only 4 points off second of course.
West London plays host next as we head to the home of the Hoops on Wednesday night.
In the away end known for its grossly overpriced restricted views, let’s make some noise.
Come on you mighty reds!