That boy Ronaldo showed nerves of steel to send United up, and within a point of leaders Arsenal. For our most fortuitous of wins, we have to thank the Portuguese lad – and Steven Pienaar’s moment of indiscretion – as a resolute Everton team made a result look highly unlikely, till that point.
We dominated possession and had loads of chances, but it looked like one of those days, where even if one were to be presented with a mile wide goal one would miss. For all the possession, we never really looked like scoring.
Fergie decided to start tinkering with the squad keeping the festive fixture list in mind. So he dropped Hargreaves and Rio from the line-up. It was later made known that they hadn’t quite recovered from the knocks picked up from the Liverpool game.
Whatever be the reason, it was clear from yesterday how much we actually missed the pair. Rio’s reassuring presence would not have allowed a midget like Cahill rise so high to head home the equaliser. Granted, Simpson was partly responsible for allowing Pienaar to get the cross in, in the first place.
I was really excited to see how Simmo would do in his first league start of the season. Pity he couldn’t further his reputation on this evidence. Nonetheless, I do hope Fergie keeps faith in the full back and lets him develop. He does have the ability to bomb forward, but his inexperience puts undue pressure on the other defenders as he gets caught out up the field.
Today we certainly missed the bite of Hargreaves in midfield. Carrick was not very assuring, while Anderson seemed over anxious to impress, at times. However, he is starting to make more runs forward with the ball, and that is a good sign of his confidence.
Props should be given to Everton’s midfield, which, despite being depleted, had enough in its reserves to make a match of it.
I thought, Giggs had a good game. He made a few very good runs, and some excellent passes. There was one instance where he hit a perfect long ball to Rooney, over the defence, and Everton had Lescott to thank as Rooney’s chip was cleared off the line.
For all Tomasz Kuszczak’s qualities — he is agile and is a good shot stopper — he still appears extremely dodgy. I had mentioned this several times earlier, but his deficiencies were there for all to see yesterday. He doesn’t command the area enough and his kicking was shocking. With Rio returning, one wouldn’t expect him to be doing too much work against the likes of Sunderland and Birmingham. Ben Foster’s return would make the goalkeeping situation rather interesting next season.
At the end of the day though, it had to be Ronaldo, our saviour. His first goal was superb, making room for himself before hitting a curling ball with his left foot. Howard could do nothing. And in the dying minutes, we know how difficult such situations can be for anyone — as Robbie Keane so expertly demonstrated it the other day against the Arse — he showed superb composure to tuck the ball away from the spot to take his tally to 16 from 16 games. Now isn’t that some tally! At this rate he could dare to take a punt of scoring even 50 goals this season with Fergie! And the gaffer would be well advised to stay away from it.
SAF had only glowing words for the boy, in his post match comments:
The boy [Ronaldo] really has got everything and we’re expecting goals from him all the time. I don’t think he ever made a mistake – he was absolutely perfect, it was a marvellous performance from him.
And you can read more of his post match comments here.
With this win, it must be said that our toughest fixture of the busy Christmas schedule is out of the way and we must ideally pick maximum points from the rest and hope for a slip up from the Gooners.
I may or may not blog tomorrow. I also expect it to be a rather slow news day. So, in any case, here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
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