Fans of Everton may not have been optimistic looking at their fixture list a fortnight ago and seeing that they had to face two of the Premier League’s in-form sides on the bounce. David Moyes’ side have not experienced the best start to the season. The Scot has seen his squad hit by injury after injury and his side will not have been looking forward to the prospect of facing the free-scoring Tottenham and Chelsea in the space of six days, however, Moyes side not only came away from the two games undefeated, but also with two excellent fight backs to build upon. So is the tide finally turning for the Toffees?
Tottenham had recently hit 9 past the woeful Wigan Athletic and the Goodison Park faithful would have feared the worst when Jermaine Defoe and Michael Dawson put Harry Redknapp’s side two goals up with just half hour remaining eleven days ago. However, Moyes’ side produced the kind of spark that can re-ignite a side’s season with the youngster Seamus Coleman and in form Louis Saha leading a spirited Everton fight back as the Toffee’s salvaged a point in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
There will have been a sense of déjà vu last weekend when Didier Drogba and Nicholas Anelka put Chelsea in the driving seat at Stamford Bridge after Saha had opened the scoring yet once again Moyes rallied his troops and they fought back twice against the title favourites, scoring three goals against a side who had not conceded a league goal at home since the opening day of the season.
It is worth adding that Everton did have lady luck on their side during these games. Jermaine Defoe missed a last minute penalty at Goodison Park and Louis Saha will be feeling very fortunate about the manner in which he scored both of his goals against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, however it is no more than the Merseysiders have deserved. Everton’s treatment room has been the busiest place at Goodison Park and they have often deserved more from games this season. For a side to leave Stamford Bridge with a result they will have had to have a bit of luck as well as having performed well and despite being a Chelsea fan myself I do not begrudge Everton their point; it was fully deserved.
Moyes’ men have also recently qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League, another positive to take from a successful fortnight. They face BATE Borisov tonight having already secured their place in the next round yet Moyes will be looking for his men to continue their impressive form so they can go into the Christmas run of fixtures with the utmost confidence. They have a run of very winnable fixtures over Christmas with home matches against Birmingham and Burnley including a trip to the Stadium of Light. Everton will need to take all the form they can into the busy festive period as their injury hit squad is likely to be stretched by several games in the space of a few days. They can however take heart from the loan signing of American international Landon Donovan who will be a valuable boost to the Toffee’s resources.
The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and the margins of success and failure are very thin. Everton’s season can easily be turned by a run of successful results and Moyes will definitely have highlighted the following few weeks as key to his sides season. Whilst Champions League qualification may be out of the picture for Everton this year, there is no reason that they still cannot experience a successful campaign but they need to take these recent performances and use them to ignite their season.
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