Let’s clear up the most important thing, the elephant in the room. How come Chelsea don’t (yet) sing of their young Belgian goalkeeper ‘Are we not men? We are Thibaut!’? Unless of course we missed it among the general hubbub of Saturday’s Premier League ‘clash’.
It was a wild one, that’s for sure, to the extent that it’s hard to know what to take from it. If, say, in the past when watching more functional football you have said, ‘I don’t care if we win, I just want to see us have a go’ then you surely have to look at the positives here. Even at 5-3, when Courtois tipped Kevin Mirallas’s flying Tommy Steele slice onto the post, it still felt as if a draw was a strong possibility.
Indeed, after the disastrous opening minutes, when Chelsea’s personal massager of an attack breached the Everton defence like a big, tempting reporter’s ear, the Toffees absolutely smashed the visitors from pillar to post for the rest of the first half. The amount of energy that required though, to push for a goal while all the time knowing that allowing their massively potent attack could spring for another at any time, took its toll in the second half and eventually the Londoners, led by the impressively dastardly Diego Costa, made their power and all-round ability count.
Ultimately the Blues never really recovered from those first two goals.
The defence took most of the blame – and when you concede six goals at home you certainly deserve plenty – but the lack of pressure on the Chelsea midfielders, as they picked their passes into the box, was of equal concern. Again, maybe that’s because of the energy Everton exerted, pushing forward, but Gareth Barry in particular looked like a spectator during that second half blitz. Let’s be honest, everyone was crying out for Muhamed Besic’s introduction, to give us some ‘legs’. Unfortunately though, when he did make an entrance he forgot to accompany those limbs with a brain. There was still ‘a lot to do’ when the midfielder’s ludicrous back-heel spun loose in his own half but Chelsea, well, a lot to did it, with Costa’s swaggering finish just underlining the level this game was being played at.
Deadline day saw us linked with some loan moves and a series of £8 million deals that gave a clear indication that we probably have about £5 million to spend. Tom Cleverley stayed at Manchester United though, where he wasn’t actually joined by Ryan Shawcross – who appears to have stayed at Stoke City – while that weird-looking Portuguese character, Rolando, may or may not even exist, never mind ‘was on Merseyside with his agent’.
There’s still talk of Cleverley joining January, and while he has become a joke figure at Old Trafford, so was Darron Gibson so it’s better to just hang fire and judge these players yourself.
The strangest deal was the one that saw David Henen, who has presumably been spending his summer afternoons in the Showcase and his evenings in Smokey Mo’s, waiting for his transfer to Everton to be completed, joined Olympiakos for £3 million instead. Before then being loaned to us anyway.
You can only begin to imagine the shenanigans involved in that one – and heaven forbid any journo asks Roberto Martinez for an explanation at the next press conference. They would be there for hours as he sweatily talked around the houses without ever saying what’s gone on.
We did sign Samuel Eto’o though, and as stated previously you probably wouldn’t have been terrified if he had gone elsewhere but, you know, it’s Samuel Eto’o and seeing him in an Everton shirt is undeniably ‘quite cool’. And he scored on his debut, which can’t be bad, although so did that nine foot fella from Monaco as well so we’re not actually sure what our point is there, to be honest.
Anyway, it’s time for this international break which invariably sucks the life out of the start of every season, just as you are getting back in your groove. After that though, we have the prospect of Europe and tales of fleeting mega-bargains on travel and drunken derring do that for years to come you can use to really bore and annoy any of your mates who don’t go.
‘Remember that time when we put the Everton scarf on that rhinoceros and took it on the cable car in Vladivostock? Oh no, you were on lates that week weren’t you. I always forget.’