Everton v. Chelsea: A Fitting FinishBy: Brian | May 23rd, 2011
After 38 league games, 6 cup games, and untold stories about finances and player transfers, the Toffees managed to close out their season with a common theme from the entire season. Once again Everton was able to put the screws to a more expensive and arguably more talented side as they came out 1-0 winners against Chelsea. Out of the 12 games Everton played against sides that finished above them, they recorded at least one point against each team, for an excellent total of19 points. Jermaine Beckford was the goal scorer once again, and Leighton Baines may be asked to return his goal of the season trophy of the field before chipping Cech to send the Goodison faithful into celebration. For a video of the goal and more observations check below.
In his first season in the EPL, Jermaine Beckford reached 10 goals for the season. Most Evertonians have a divided opinion of the former Leeds striker, and I know I have been critical of him earlier in the season, but no one can deny that Beckford has had an excellent season for a player who this time last year was playing in League One. Although Beckford still needs to improve his finishing, he missed too many open chances this season, he certainly excelled in an impact substitute role where his pace and strength caused a lot of difficulties for the opposing defense. Hopefully Louis Saha will be able to remain healthy for a longer period next season, because it would be very interesting to see a partnership between the two form in a classic 4-4-2, similar to what the team played in January to great success. For those of you that haven’t seen the goal, or want to bask in its gloriousness once more, just click play and enjoy.
Seamus Coleman had no business getting sent off for a second yellow card. This was the classic case of the tackle looking much more serious than it really was, plus a bunch of Chelsea players deploying some despicable Barcelona like tactics by surrounding the ref. If you look at the video, Coleman executes a proper slide tackle to the front of the Chelsea player, and his cleats hit the ball square on, the problem is that his foot then rolls over the ball and into the players shin, which causes him to fall as though felled by an ax. I could understand if the ref decides it is a foul, but worthy of a second yellow is just plain crazy. Of note here is how the ref was not even reaching for a card until the Chelsea players surrounded him, at which point he then reached into his pocket. But in the end justice was served as Everton managed to score despite being down to 10 men.
The best part of this game was that it was the first time in a while that the team took the game to their opponent for pretty much the entire 90 minutes. One thing that Everton has been justly criticized for has been the very up and down play of the squad over the course of the game. On Sunday the squad decided to dominate the game for a good 75-80 minutes, far more than they normally do. Even in games that Everton has won convincingly, they often struggle for close to an entire half before managing to put a goal or two in to secure a comfortable lead. This inconsistency has been compounded by an inability to score, which leads to dropped points. If the Toffees can come to play for an entire 90 minutes, then there is no reason why they won’t be in the hunt for a Champions League berth at the end of the season.
Although this is the final game of the season, both the Everton Offside and Royal Blue Mersey will be here every day through the summer to give you our thoughts on this past season, look ahead to the new season, and maybe we will have some transfer news here and there to sprinkle in. Check back here tomorrow for a tactical look at the Chelsea game, and then on Wednesday we will begin taking an in depth look at this past season, as well as a few changes on the horizon. It hasn’t always been fun this season, but it sure has been exciting and until next time, COYB!