Toffees on track despite draw

Wednesday 8th May 2013 10:50

Phil Jagielka: Deserves praise for his derby performance

Phil Jagielka: Deserves praise for his derby performance

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Everton FanZoner Warren Doyle looks back positively on Sunday's Merseyside derby despite the Toffees' failure to to pick up three points.

Well there it is - another Merseyside derby passes by and it's another year for Everton without a win at Anfield. Kevin Campbell's winner in 1999 is still the last time an Everton side has come out with an away win in the Derby. The Blues will probably feel that they should of won this latest encounter and but for referee Michael Oliver ruling out a perfectly good Sylvain Distin goal, they would have got that much prized victory.

In truth though, it was a drab and uninspired game. The race to finish in 6th place didn't really get pulses racing and with both clubs having no chance of affecting the top 5, there was little other than local rivalry and pride to play for. Everton only need to equal Liverpool's result in the next set of fixtures to guarantee finishing above them for the second season in a row - something that has not been achieved since the 1930s.

Whilst it is nice finishing higher than your rivals, for many it is certainly no reason for celebration. Everton will look back on this campaign as a season which promised so much, but failed to deliver again. Some may read that last sentence and think, 'You're sixth, you have no money, yet you have some great players and have finished in an excellent position' and they would be right. We have finished well and have had a great season when you take all factors into account. We are one point away from our best ever Premier League points total with two games to spare. Everything points at it being a successful season. It just does not feel like it has been successful.

The Liverpool derby highlighted this more than ever. Ultimately it was just two decent sides contesting for 'Best of the Rest' or as some have sarcastically called it, 'The Sixth Place Shield'. Liverpool have their own problems, but they will spend £20m+ in the summer - Everton on the other hand still don't know who the manager will be and which players will be in or out in time for the 2013/14 season.

As I mentioned, the game itself was a dull affair. From an Everton point of view it showed our problem which has become a recurring theme - a lack of a cutting edge when it matters. We have looked really toothless in the attacking areas. For all Victor Anichebe's endeavour and improvement, he is not that kind of striker with a bit of something extra that will turn a draw into a win. As for Jelavic, it just looks like he has had a complete breakdown in confidence. Goals, or rather a lack of them, have become Everton's Achilles heel once again.

Plus points from the Derby contest came in the form of Fellaini, who gave a good account of himself. Special praise must be reserved for Everton's backline and in particular, Phil Jagielka. The England international has shown recently just how much of a quality centre back he is. He has performed with authority and class alongside Sylvain Distin in ensuring another clean sheet. He is comfortably the most in-form centre-half in England currently. Defensively, you cannot fault Everton at the moment - it's just a shame we cannot consistently match that with ruthless attacking prowess.

It was another Merseyside encounter which came and went in a bit of a blur and whilst it looks as though Everton might go on to record their best Premier League season points wise - helped via the point gained at Anfield, the feeling of wanting more just doesn't seem to escape. A win would have been superb - any win against them is, but the game in truth didn't teach us anything we don't already know.

By Warren Doyle, FanZone's Everton blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @WD1878 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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