Right then, this is only going to be brief.
When Saturday Comes asked us to cover this match for their Game of the Month feature and in all honesty we have little desire to write about it at all, never mind twice.
If the WSC editor was hoping for a wilfully obscure and drab fixture, one that makes up the majority of the Premier League slog, then he got it spot on in terms of the football, but for drama and incident, well, this was proper Peyton Place stuff.
There were two flashpoints in the game, a penalty just before half-time and a substitution with 10 minutes remaining. If Roberto Martinez fails to see out the end of the season at Everton – and that’s a conversation people are going to be having again after this performance – this will be seen as the game where it all went wrong and Kevin Mirallas’ hubris will represent a sort of inverted Kevin Brock moment.
Tony Pulis’s Baggies did exactly what fodder do when they come to Goodison, ignoring the ball and simply filling the space, asking Everton what the fuck they think they are going to do about it. Not much, as it happens. As a result the game was going absolutely nowhere when Romelu Lukaku tried to chest down a cross in the visitors’ box, it struck someone’s hand and the referee pointed to the spot. If that wasn’t what happened then, like, whatever, we’ve not seen any replays or read a report yet.
Mirallas picked up the ball and after a brief but amicable chat with Leighton Baines, placed it on the spot. The tension in the ground was palpable – Baines is a penalty machine and there is already a degree of disgruntlement with Mirallas who, according to the papers, is making the sort of noises that signify ‘quite fancy a move’.
Taking the kick from the laid-back Baines reeked of the sort of Billy Big Bollocks who was almost born to play for Tottenham, and it was perhaps the most Everton thing ever when his penalty glanced off the foot of the post and behind for a goal kick.
To make matters worse, Mirallas was replaced by Bryan Oviedo at half time, with Martinez claiming afterwards that the Belgian was feeling his hamstring – presumably hurt in the 30 seconds between making a massive bellend of himself and Baines and slinking off down the tunnel. Much more likely is that he responded poorly to harsh words at the interval – although his teammates should have made their thoughts clear before he took the kick. Another alternative is that Mirallas simply shit himself at the thought of coming back out and playing in front of the apoplectic supporters.
Neither scenario paints him in a great light. And if is substitution was simply a ‘punishment’ by Martinez, the Everton boss should have withdrawn Baines too, as he was equally culpable in the whole farce.
The thing is though, Martinez doesn’t really seem the punishment type. After a decade of David Moyes’s Victorian dad we now have those hippy parents who don’t believe in restricting the creativity and emotional development of their children. It all sounds great until Social Services turn up and ask why the three-year-old’s nappy is filled with what looks like half a pound of Dundee cake and why the feral lad with the open wound on his head is cuddling a dead rat.
Everton, without Mirallas, were predictably predictable in the second half and never really looked like opening up Joleon Lescott and his cohorts. With 10 minutes remaining Martinez tried to change the game by sending on Aroune Kone. The smiling Spaniard must have regretted it immediately though as he signalled for the Mohammed Besic to come off and the Everton crowd completely lost their shit. The little Bosnian is improving with every game and was one of the few players, along with John Stones, who looked indignant that his team were struggling against such shite. He was certainly contributing more than Ross Barkley who now no longer makes too many mistakes – he just does nothing. Every game seems to happen around him like the fella in the yellow bib you see in the centre of the circle of teammates whenever Sky Sports show a brief clip of Barcelona training.
One observer (our mate) informed us afterwards that Besic had been pointing at his knee and signalling that he wanted to come off. If so, that put’s a slightly different perspective on the change, but the reaction still gives an indication of just where Martinez’s relationship with the home support is at present.
The next home game is the derby, and you wouldn’t be surprised now if our most dangerous player, the hero of Upton Park, is no longer a Toffee by the time the crying-faced, low-browed DJ-danger comes to Goodison to sign off one last time.
Fucking hell, we’ve written loads there. Hopefully WSC can just make the photos a bit bigger to fill the pages.