The ‘narrative’ of this season has generally been all about Everton playing well but not killing teams off and paying the consequences with monotonous regularity. This FA Cup quarter-final certainly represented a deviation from the usual script then.
This was just old-school, common or garden shite.
With Darron Gibson dropped to the bench – presumably to try and rest him given the injury he’s carrying – Phil Neville started in central midfield and that fact more or less sums up what went wrong. His contribution at full-back is dubious, but in the middle of the park he is absolutely crap. He certainly wouldn’t get in Wigan’s team for a start.
Half an hour in, and only a minute after Maynor Figueroa had opened the scoring with a header from a corner, Neville displayed his trademark lack of awareness, telegraphed his responsibility-shifting square ball across midfield and allowed Callum McManaman to break free and comfortably slot past Jan Mucha.
Shaun Maloney had already struck a post before all this, so no one could say it hadn’t been coming. Everton’s lack of drive and half-hearted attempts at putting pressure on their opponents just begged the visitors to start knocking the ball around, which they did well.
With the home supporters shell-shocked and Steven Pienaar trying to urge his teammates to calm down and try and get hold of the ball, Wigan killed the game off with a third goal, only three and a half minutes after scoring the first. Jordi Gomez swept home a shot from the edge of the box and Everton’s season was more or less ended. Seriously, what remains now apart from getting twatted at Anfield?
The atmosphere was understandably poisonous for the remainder of the game. The fightback never looked on and the second half saw the unedifying spectacle of Marouane Fellaini having a go at the crowd before storming off down the tunnel after he was substituted. He’s been coasting since January and it came to a head as he continued to swan about while we were getting bladdered by a side that has a very realistic chance of getting relegated this season.
Nothing was more of a certainty than Wigan drawing Millwall or Blackburn Rovers in the semi-final, just to add insult to injury, and we also have the prospect of a home game against Manchester City next Saturday. Great.
The remainder of the season is going to be tortuous now, with the crowd utterly pre-menstrual and the players and manager getting loads of grief – ‘the full Anichebe’ as it’s known in the trade – over every mishap, no matter how minor. After that on Saturday though, can you blame people for getting annoyed?
The idea was that David Moyes was going to sign off with a trophy, or a day out to Wembley at the very least, but instead his last season in charge will be remembered as one of bitter disappointment.
Some people would argue that’s quite fitting.