Well, what an advert for the ‘EPL’ that was, they said.
And so we said, what the Gordon Ramsey is the EPL?
The world’s most elaborately assembled prog rock tribute band, featuring the quite frankly rather fortuitously named Jeff Llama?
Or a really racist drama group?
Whatever, it was a humdinger, that’s fo’ sho’, with flashback Homer Simpson-haired Mauricio Pocchetino’s Tottingham looking the absolute tits for long periods, especially in the first half when Everton struggled to get a look in and the visitors twice knacked the woodwork with long-range efforts.
But them there tables were turned at a rain-sodden Goodison, and it was the home side who took the lead with a bit of a long ball after enjoying the minimum of possession. Surprise starter Tom Cleverley’s diagonal ball into the box on 22 minutes was cushioned expertly by the head of Romelu Lukaku for even surprisier starter Aaron Lennon to chest down and thrap past Hugo Lloris, a man who for some reason you always picture holding up a skull and declaring ‘Alas poor Yorick’.
Yes you do.
Spurs were really good though, and sort of showed that it is actually possible to pass the ball around nicely without having to go full pelt Buckaroo Banzai. Despite what our very own Catalan Colonel Kurtz would have you believe, it does indeed appear that there is a middle ground; that you can be sensible defensively without going ‘maximum Pulis’.
Right on half time Tottenham got the equaliser they deserved when Delle Ali ghosted past Seamus Coleman and chested down a long ball from the back before striking a volley so thunderous that almost nobody even screamed at Tim Howard to fucking fuck off.
The saucy cheers when the American catches a straightforward ball now – let’s face it, he’s not going to catch any others, right kids! – have become positively arl arse. He’d be better served doing the Phil Neville selective deafness though than all that moody gesticulating.
And he wasn’t the only one indulging in a bit of back an forth with the punters. After his third Cruyff turn on the edge of his six-yard box, John Stones made an ‘It’s cool, I’ve got this’ gesture to the crimson-faced tide of the Park End, which could either be viewed as dead funny (it was) or an absolute disgrace (it wasn’t).
The clues are in the brackets.
The whole ‘incident’ was fuck all, although if you listened to Ian ‘Wrighty’ Wright on 606 afterwards – and let’s be honest, why would you? – the Goodison crowd were all but posting shit through the young defender’s letterbox. Ok, you wouldn’t be surprised if someone actually did that when he was still a ‘fucking rat’ during the last transfer window, but this idea that the lumpen tastes of the Everton faithful are going to destroy his natural talent seems a tad fanciful.
‘He could play for any of the big clubs in this country or abroad,’ stated the gold-toothed gobshite.
And he clearly could, but do you think Jose Mourinho, for instance, would be guffawing and waving his hand with a look of ‘Oh John, you’re a right fucking one, you’ if Stones was taking unnecessary risks at the heart of his defence? Especially one that just conceded seven goals at home to Leicester and Stoke?
These are all rhetorical questions, these.
The game swung in Everton’s favour on the hour when Martinez made a couple of spot on substitutions. Muhamed Besic replaced Arouna Kone – no argument there – and Gerard Deulofeu took over from Lennon, to a bizarre chorus of boos. The ex-Spurs man hasn’t played for ages, had barely touched the ball in the second half and, more to the point, who else was meant to make way?
The Ant Hill Mob’s Mo Besic is clearly one frustrated customer, given that his Everton career has simply never got going, and he took some of that anger out on the visitors, steaming into tackles – properly, not those phoney hard-case type he’s been guilty of in the past – and forced a flying save from Lloris with a brilliant dipping volley that would have sent the gaff off the bleedin’ hook had it gone in.
Lukaku, Deulofeu and the ever-improving Ross Barkley made a series of searing breaks in search of a winner but only final balls overcooked worse than a sitcom Christmas turkey and some last-ditch defending kept the scores level.
Martinez spoke of our ‘defensive intensity’ afterwards, presumably played at colossal velocity, but let’s be honest, we still rode our luck at times in that first half. Besic’s sheer fury improved matters though, and the shape of the team looked better with Cleverley on the left instead of Kone. Ramiro Funes Mori also won a load of crucial challenges – he’s that most British of Argentinian defenders – and on Wednesday we’ll certainly need to continue where we left off in that last half hour if we are to go into the second leg of the Toblerone Trophy with a fighting chance of making it to Wembley.
Elsewhere, we’re still waiting to hear more about those Americans who have suddenly taken an interest in us now we stand to come into some dough. We are henceforth referring to them as the ‘Eminem’s Arl Girl Consortium’.
Possibly related, you never know, some weird American Olympics fella, Dr Peter Vint, has been appointed the Everton Academy Director. Every report about this highlights that the US won loads of medals at the London Games when he was in charge. As opposed to all them other years.
No one has any idea of what him getting the job means. It would be dead funny though if a mysteriously muscular under 16s side pissed their league by 15 points though, Michelle Smith-style.