3-1 EVERTON – TWEET: Goodison all a-song as the game closes
• Donovan fades down the stretch….missed in the box…but as ESPN said (and so does TSG), “It was not an easy chance”
• Moyes outmanages Sir Alex. Ferguson introduces Scholes and Obertan and Everton counters by going with youth…and more importantly speed…proves to be the difference down the stretch.
• Wayne Rooney played a “contained” game…some poor service to him…the only thing consistent today offensively after the 1st half was Gary Neville’s service.
• While Howard’s corner defenders were average to below average, Heitinga and Distin manned capably in the middle…Distin looking younger than his 30 years.
91st min: David Moyes has sent an assistant to look for Landon…oops he’s still on the pitch…Van Dar Saar joins the outfield as Everton were about to break…convincing day for the Toffees.
90th min: It’s youngsters day! Jack Rodwell GOAL. The first EPL goal for the 18-year-old Rodwell as his pace takes him right passed Johnny Evans on an Arteta service, 3-1 …put it in the books.
89th min: Everton proving up to the challenge as the fouls start to rack up.
87th min: This is where Howard makes his money…Rooney attempting a free kick from above the 18 and directly in the center….England vs. US and Rooney fires wide …Howard was beaten…(I know didn’t want to write that but it’s true)…Howard saved by Rooney’s poor placement…another U-2o player (Jack Rodwell) introduced for Pienaar.
86th min: Rooney draws a foul; Leon Osman is bestowed a yellow on the play.
85th min: Distin clears for the 324th time as Dan Gosling breaks for Everton and knocks into the left corner where Saha pulls up the attack…Everton goes around the horn with it as they waste time….
83rd min: Service from the side coming from Michael Carrick…the ball knocked far and wide of Donovan’s noggin…..the Toffees absorbing pressure as Wayne Rooney lines up a corner in his Shrek boots…ultra green…..Carrick knocks the Rooney service off Distin who’s been everywhere for Moyes’ squad today….
80th min: Michael Owen enters for Valencia as Sir Alex turns up the heat. He can’t be pleased with his team’s play right now…Leighton Baines has improved his defense here in the 2n half…
The Ginger Ninja Sr. moving the ball well for Manchester United as they begin to press.
78th min: Donovan’s gone quiet here as the chants RAIN down at Goodison…Manchester United’s going to bring it here to try and squeak a draw out here with about 15 minutes left.
76th min: Gosling GOAL! 2-1 on a Pienaar service.
74th min: And we’re into the home stretch here and both teams seems to be pushing for the points…Pienaar earns his yellow card…Plymouth Argyle alum Gosling makes another run in the box (impressive thus far from the 20-year old)….
73rd min: Donovan disposses a befuddled Obertan and quick serves a ball to Gosling that springs wide off the youngster’s head.
70th min: David Moyes introduces energizer bunny Dan Gosling for the Russian Bily…why is it that Russians always lack fitness (see: Arshavin)
67th min: Phil Neville with blatant foul…he didn’t even try to camouflage that one…he needs to take a seat…Scholes goes to work, but needs moer time to get in sync…Arteta makes a run against Evra, but his service is non-Gary-Neville-like.
66th min: I can’t stand Gary Neville, but he’s serving it up like Federer and Man United are getting close.
65th min: Scholes and Obertan to come on…my guess is Sir Alex is guessing Man United can find joy by moving the ball quicker (Scholesy expertise) against a tiring Everton defense in the middle of the pitch…off go Berbatov (Scholes) and Park (Obertan).
64th min: Yellow to the Spaniard Arteta as Park was about to make a run.
61st min: Park saves a Neville service and Rooney…WOW…uses the outside of his foot for a cheeky shot on goal that goes off the bar….Rooney’s ceiling keeps moving higher.
61st min: The game is crawling with momentum slowly swinging in Man United’s favor….Everton searching for how to unlock the Devils 2nd half offense….Saha dances outside has nothing and launches a missile up into the crowd…no worries for the Man United defense.
58th min: Rooney getting frustrated at his service and his counterparts…yells after he is dispossessed as he didn’t have a pass…Rooney is drifting further and further back for the Red Devils…this is good for the Blue devils….
56th min: Donovan played up the left side and dribbles into traffic…at least he’s constantly attacking…ball played into Howard’s kitchen…Everton’s defense needs to go harder to the ball…Darren Fletcher is playing much better than we did against Milan.
54th min: Rooney…what can you say…he’s got a complete game and playing with so much confidence now…a pleasure to watch as he knocks in a perfect service that Berbatov narrowly misses.
51st min: Oh wow…Rooney controls excellent in the box, drops off to Fletcher who loads up on CRACKER of a shot that just misses low and wide.
50th min: Everton threatening to start the half…have to give credit to Moyes his troops are ready (and hopefully able)….
49th min: Donovan playing against Neville attempts reception of service and pulls a Heath Pearce and handles the ball down to his feet.
47th min: Pienaar wins a “home side” free kick right beyond the 18 and in striking distance…going to be Baines or Arteta…Baines…yikes…a big shank…Baines offense matching his defense today.
46th min: Tweet – A shot of Everton great Howard Kendall by ESPN…a member of the “Holy Trinity” in the 60’s I believe…nice work ESPN.
Have another scotch Tommy Smyth or maybe I should to enjoy your humor.
1-1 at the half. Moyes’s troops have been surprisingly resilient in the face of missing two central players. More:
• Valencia is busting up Baines beyond Donovan on the right side…Baines is not making a great case to get into the WC sqaud for the Three Lions.
• Donovan, again playing on the left, is playing confidently after looking tentative in the derby two weeks ago.
• Howard’s sprint to the top of the box saved a sure Rooney goal. Rooney has had trouble picking his spots, but also Manchester United have done so well down the right flank that Rooney hasn’t been the focal point.
• Mikel Arteta playing well…still on the comeback road he hasn’t tried to do too much. He’s made simple passes to Bily, Pienaar, and Landon to let those guys create.
44th min: If you’re scoring Phil Neville at home, the line looks like this: 1 goal saving tackle, 2 poor service attempts, 2 poor giveaways, 1 Lurch looking haircut….it’s not pretty all around PN.
43rd min: Berbatov, fresh off his easy netter, is being to cute with the ball now….time for Wayne-O to get in his face and tell him to cut it out.
39th min: Just as I compliment Brown and Evans they both have miscues…Evans attempts clearance, but pops it up in the box…Landy makes a play on the ball but Van Der Saar grabs it….Lando and Van Dar Saar exchange pleasantries with Donovan asking which coffee shops to check out next month in Amsterdam.
38th min: Donovan’s passing is on today, picture perfect…oh no…ball dribble overs on a poor Brown touch…Landon’s not ready and decides to Sol Campbell the ball to Van Der Saar…who of course is allowed to pick it up.
37th min: Donovan finding the ball, likely he didn’t do in the Liverpool game…Arteta gives to the statue of Phil Neville who creatively does nothing with the ball…a little sloppy play right now…Everton trying to make sense of the Manchester United defense…a good showing for the second string of Evans an Brown in the middle thus far for Sir Alex.
33rd min: Beyond the through pass Rooney’s having trouble getting off…Berbatov tries a poor heal pass…feeling his oats now….
32nd min: We wish we said it….great line from ESPN commentator: “A conveyor belt of corners for Man United now.” Spot on!
29th min: Pace has slowed now…wait a giveaway by yes…Phil Neville…you’re killing us Peety (Remember the Titans)….Distin comes over to save for a corner…a pertube Howard says thank you.
24th min: Anyone lamenting Howard’s propensity to “come out” now?…Rooney is played through likes it’s a 1st grade game with only the goalie to beat. Howard forces wide and Gary Neville’s younger half comes back in in the nick of time to disrupt a Rooney take…c’mon Neville you got to be there earlier.
24th min: Free kick in a dangerous space to Everton…Van Der Saar is calibrating the wall…Everton takes it and man of the match for United Berbatov blocks it with the hand blocking his Bulvgarian jewels…that was fun to write…
23rd min: Donovan takes a corner from the right…ball gets knocked back out to him and then over to Phil Neville who promptly decides to sky it to his brother…what a pleasant play…
22nd min: 1-1 as Everton are invigorated….Valencia has been busting up Man United right side though….
19th min: Bilyaletdinov – GOAL! WOW! Knotted up on a pretty lash by the Russian…as Wes Brown screens Van Der Saar…this is an exciting game…I don’t even need more coffee.
17th min: GOAL Berbatov – Howard has no shot…shoddy defense by the home side. Berbatov slams home in the top right corner pocket as Everton’s defense fails to deal with the threat. Figures on Berbatov as I’m, you know, not his biggest fan for his efforts.
13th min: Wes Brown deals with Everton’s first chance, and puts out for the corner. An active Heitinga is pushed in the back by Rooney on the corner, but only seams like a slight push. Van Der Saar wears a fanny pack…I’ve seen it.
11th min: Fletcher has the first shot for Man United and he skies into the cheap seats.
10th min: Everton absorbing over the top pressure from Man United know as Fergie’s troops go right at Moyes’ weakness, central midfield.
9th min: “Derbatov Battles in the Box”….is that an oxymoron…the much maligned striker looking strangely active now that he’s gotten rid of the Betty Boop haircut.
6th min: Donovan pulls a “Seedorf”, clicking the ball of his back heal in a pretty pass to Pienaar who gets fouled….Van Der Daar calmly deals with the free kick and comes running out looking for the distribution in a hurry…but has nothing.
5th min: Mentioned in our column yesterday that Heitinga looks like the guy who crapped the bed in Trainspotting…you know..in case you hadn’t read that piece yet….
5th min: Man Utd wins the first corner and Valencia deposits it right on Heitinga’s head…Everton defending…good to see for a change.
3rd min: Oh wow…this is great…Donovan starts on the left with Moyes immediately attacking Neville’s gimpy knees…to balls played down the left side already…Love it….good call by ESPN to recognize and feature that match-up as well….Soccer in America….
1st min: ESPN loses their audio feed for a second…damn thought I was going to enjoy this one…kidding.
Pre-game: ESPN goes with the Corridor Cam with Berbatov next to Pienaar and Baines he looks likes he’s Jan Koller’s size.
For our full weekend preview, just go here.
Good morning…and welcome to the 10th biggest stadium in England, Goodison Park.
Actually, this preview is coming at you from sun-splashed Divisadero Street in San Francisco. No, not really either….it’s looking might foggy outside, the surf is sure to be a mess and the dog is snoring…loudly.
Excited for this match as we get to see Everton and Lanverton go up against another top tier squad in Manchester United.
First, speaking of United I had the opportunity to rewatch the AC Milan midweek clash. Beyond the assist to Rooney, both Darren Fletcher and Patrice Evra were shockingly horrific…am I the only one who saw that?
We broke down the game in our weekend piece, but I will be clearly focused on what I expect to be Park’s and Evra’s attempt to neutralize Landy and then perhaps Rio.
Meanwhile Mikel Arteta, who’s looked real rusty, is going to need to reclaim the form that had him crushing in 2008.
On Donovan improving viewership and buzz:
TSG had a hypothesis that Landon Donovan’s presence likely increased the ratings for the February 6th derby with Liverpool.
Not the case. That match did a .3….thanks ESPN for getting us the data we couldn’t find.
Seven others matches have done a .3 this year and somewhat incredulously Liverpool has been involved in three of them.
Will the ratings go up for this one now that football is over…we’ll be watching (no pun intended).
Donovan, thank to our friend Google Trends, has likley increased the search queries for the keyword “Everton.” Here take a look.
Ok, now on to the game and your commentary.
We might put in a few comments in here or there, but TSG running commentary man is hanging in Hawaii, surfing himself and winning frisbee tournaments. Ah, the life….congrats Shaun.
DEF: Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines
MID: . Donovan, Osman, Arteta, Bilyaletdinov
Summary: With the absence of Cahill an Fellaini, Moyes decides to use Osman and Arteta in the middle of the pitch. Pienaar moves a little more up the pitch.
G: Van der Sar
DEF: Neville, Brown, Jonathan Evans, Evra
MID: Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Park
STR: Rooney, Berbatov.