Bingo bango. We’ve only gone and won one.
We’re off the mark, out of the traps, up and running, two’s a crowd and cooking the books.
You have to take the quality of opposition into account when assessing any performance – unless of course you are Manchester United and have spent a trillion pounds to beat Clint Hill – and West Brom are, to be as kind as you can, ‘ordinary’ at best. They occasionally passed the ball competently in a drab first half but very rarely looked like crafting the equaliser they required after only the second minute.
Massive yard-dog Jonas Olsson, under no pressure at all, mishit a clearance straight to Romelu Lukaku on the edge of the penalty area and the Belgian, once he recovered from the initial shock, picked his spot with an exquisite curler that seemed to be heading wide before its ‘shit is that my turning?’ trajectory took it veering across three lanes and inside Ben Foster’s left-hand post. Lukaku, in respect to the Baggies faithful, then hand-wrote apology cards to each and every one of them, including a signed photograph and a £5 Waterstones voucher. Which he didn’t have to do.
According to one season ticket holder, Alan Breadbin: ‘It was a nice gesture but I’ve got a Kindle. I’d rather have had the cash’.
The rest of the half was tripe – they had at best a few half-chances as, like all our opponents, they seemed to find it pretty simple to get centres into our box. Is that fair? Do you reckon that our fullbacks, Leighton Baines in particular, always seem pretty casual about stopping crosses? They never seem to get very tight, instead choosing to stay narrow and invite wide-players to bend the ball around them. Not that it mattered this time, as West Brom are, as stated, pretty last.
In the second half Lukaku recovered from his shame enough to summon another shot on target – this time Foster made a good low save, parrying the ball into the path of Steven Naismith who inexplicably smashed the resultant sitter into the sky. He hasn’t played for them as well, has he?
Before you could say ‘ we could come to regret that’ – well if you have had a stroke or a massive head trauma or something, because it was actually a good few minutes later – the Blues extended their lead. Kevin Mirallas, another one you suspected of having a Laurie Cunningham tattoo up to that point, cut in from the left and hit one of them underwhelming near-post drives he specialises in. Fortunately Foster dived right over it and the game was won with 25 minutes or so left.
A crap back-pass from James McCarthy in injury time saw Tim Howard forced into a good double save but the beard-of-bees-sporting septic managed to preserve a rare clean sheet and so all remained well with the world.
McCarthy’s been linked with a move to all sorts of glamorous destinations – and Manchester United – as his new contract talks have apparently ‘stalled’. Seeing as he is only one year into his original deal though, any potential suitors would have to pay top dollar. Or top, top dollar, even.
In other news, apparently a new 50,000 stadium in Walton Hall Park is due to be announced. Oh joy. There’s nothing more exhilarating than ground moves and the surrounding paranoia. As stated previously, about three hair-brained schemes ago, when we turn up at Goodison and there’s a hand-written note on the door saying ‘WE HAVE MOVED’ and a little diagram with an arrow pointing down the road, only then will we believe it.
Monster trucks and Elton John.