Stoke-ing the rivalry

Date published: Friday 9th November 2012 11:45

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Toffees got well and truly under their neighbour’s skin

Compared to both Stoke and Barcelona in a matter of days, Everton’s style of football has been a topic of much discussion lately. Whilst some comments directed at us have been very complimentary, others have been, to put it mildly, not very well received. I am of course referring to the words spoken by Martin Jol and Steven Gerrard respectively.

Gerrard likened our football to that of Stoke’s style after the 2-2 draw in the Merseyside Derby. I’m not one of those fans who obsesses about stats, but afterwards his criticism made him look a bit silly, with the facts proving that Liverpool played more long balls and made less passes than Everton.

To be fair to Gerrard, he later retracted his comments and claimed he was frustrated with how the game ended – I can understand that, his team did have a perfectly good goal ruled out and he did run and slide on his knees right in front of the Liverpool fans which again made him look a bit silly.

There was some fury amongst Everton fans regarding his comments and petty squabbles between both sets of fans started about which team on Merseyside was better. Both sides can have claims, we are still without a trophy under Moyes and even though Liverpool won a trophy last season and spent a huge amount of money, we still finished above them, so fans on both sides have reason to argue the case for their club.

For me there was an underlying theme and more important issue brought up from Gerrard’s comments. Simply put, we got under their skin. It wasn’t about who was the better team on the day, but Gerrard and Liverpool now know that we are as good as them which could be proven come the end of the season. Simply put, I have never known a Liverpool captain in my lifetime to feel he has to publicly state that “Liverpool are better than Everton”. He and Liverpool are rattled by us and I don’t think that has ever happened before in the 20 years I have supported Everton.


Martin Jol on the other hand couldn’t believe what his Fulham side got away with in yet another 2-2 draw. I regarded that match as our best performance this season. I can’t recall too many times an away team has gone to Fulham and absolutely dominated from start to finish.

Craven Cottage has always been a difficult place to visit, but Everton tore Jol’s side apart without getting the victory. The style of football produced by the Blues was an absolute joy to watch. Fellaini showed his class yet again and Mirallas turned in another promising performance. The frustration is that we couldn’t turn this excellent display into 3 points – conceding silly goals yet again.

If you had offered me the fourth place we sit in now at the start of the season, I would of been ecstatic by that. Evertonians will tell you we should be in an even better position and that we have probably deserved to be. I hope these recent draws do not come back to haunt us, but we should keep positive with the excellent football on display and the very good league position.

With Sunderland, Reading, Norwich and Arsenal coming up in the next 4 games, Moyes and the squad will certainly look to get between 9-12 points. After what I have witnessed lately, we are more than capable of that. It could of course go very differently, but if we could get that, we stand a great chance of going into the December and Christmas games in a very good position.

As always, it is over to Everton and whether we play more like Stoke or Barcelona, if the points build up and we remain a force in the Premier League, us Evertonians will be looking forward with great hope. It could go wrong but just maybe this season, it could all work out. You never know.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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