Everton FanZoner Warren Doyle reflects on a memorable away victory over Manchester United, and hails the feel-good factor surrounding the club.
The sight of Bryan Oviedo slotting a left-foot strike into the Manchester United net in front of the thousands of jubilant Evertonians will live long in the memory.
The Costa Rican international, who scored his second goal in as many games, provided the winning goal which gave Everton their first win at Old Trafford for 21 years.
As mentioned, the scenes in the away end were wild. The travelling fans who, it's fair to say, were in confident mood prior to the clash with the reigning champions, let out a ferocious outpouring of emotion in celebrating the goal.
To see Everton go down so meekly at Old Trafford in previous years and for so often never having the quality to beat Manchester United on their own turf, the reaction from us Evertonians was understandable.
I was in the away end on the night and, for me personally - as a child of the 90s who had witnessed numerous defeats in away games at United - this win felt very special. Growing up as a young Blue, you knew that when facing Manchester United - who had players down the years like Cantona, Keane, Scholes, Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo - you had slim to no chance of winning.
Of course, we have beaten them at Goodison a few times, especially more recently, but the achievement of going to Old Trafford and getting the three points after 21 long years is a great one. I had written in a previous blog that the one game this season I would love us to win was at United away and thankfully that hope finally came true.
The reasons for the win came firstly from an excellent team performance. The bravery, confidence and, at times, outright nerve of Everton in attack, matched with resolute and composed defending all helped. There are surely not many better midfield partnerships than James McCarthy and Gareth Barry, who dominated United's midfield throughout. Romelu Lukaku gave Nemanja Vidic a torrid time and Phil Jagielka reminded everyone just what a superb defender he is.
Even goalscorer Oviedo - who has the almost impossible task of trying to better Leighton Baines in the left-back pecking order - gave a mature performance and provided the memorable goal. He is an example of what a team player is and his professionalism is to be admired. This is a player who has never once moaned or complained about not getting regular game time. We sometimes give players criticism in this country for not acting as we would like them to. Oviedo can in no way be accused of this behaviour and when he was required, he stepped up. He has cult-hero status with fans now and rightly so.
The second reason for our win was down to our manager. Roberto Martinez is at present helping to create the most positive feeling amongst Evertonians in a generation. The whole club is performing and moving as one. As far as the playing side of it, he wants his teams to attack and go for victory with a style that befits the School of Science. His approach won us the game.
We can only judge him on the games we have played this season so far, but we have something really special going on at Everton currently. I am always cautious to predict success. I don't like declaring that we are "going to do this" or "win that", but with Roberto, we have a man who at the moment looks like he is developing an Everton team full of belief, quality and, more importantly, the ability to win big games.
We could of course be brought right back down to earth with defeat at current pacesetters Arsenal. We are under no illusions at how difficult a game this will be. We do know however that we will be going to the Emirates trying to win and having the correct mentality. Arsene Wenger will no doubt be aware of the threat Everton will pose to his team and will act on that accordingly. It is set up for a fantastic game and fans of both sides can look forward to the clash. Whatever happens against Arsenal though, rather than fearing top teams, we now look forward to it.
Everton will look back on a fantastic week of victories and performances - it's certainly very enjoyable watching Everton at present. It's an exciting and incredible feeling to know that the club is very much as one at the moment. Maybe the feeling is exaggerated and we are still on that crest of a wave after a great result, but I certainly make no apologies for feeling like this, nor would the other Evertonians out there. We as fans now share the mentality that something special could happen and surely that can only be a good thing? We have the faith and belief and it looks as though the club does too.
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