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Tag Archives: FA Cup

On paper, this fixture wouldn’t have aroused much interests in the neutrals. But it was a ‘game of two halves’ going by the game’s most dreaded cliche. It was partly down to Moyesy’s depleted resources with their most influential midfield talisman Arteta injured. It was also down to Borough’s approach particularly in the first half.

With Hibbert not playing, Jagielka played at right-back and it was very evident for the first 30 minutes that he was sort of apprehensive about letting in Downing on the left hand side. For Everton because of the tight midfield game that they play, their best outlets from central defence are Baines, Hibbert and now Fellaini. with Jagielka not playing in an advanced position as Baines was, they found it hard to bring the ball out of defense. Fellaini and Cahill didn’t play too close to eachother in the first half and Fellaini was marked by Wheater pretty effectively.

Neville and Rodwell saw a lot of the ball although Rodwell seemed sort of bewildered with his position. I think Moyesy set out his side with only Neville as the holding midfielder and Rodwell was asked to play a more advanved role along with Pienaar and Osman on either side. But he always was stuck very deep almost playing alongside Neville. Downing was running Jagielka mad and Moyesy clearly told Osman to track back and help Jagielka. Also due to the deep positional play of Neville and the inexperienced Rodwell, Osman had to tuck in from the right to cut down space in the midfield where Arca, Downing and Sanli (dropping back) had a very decent first 45 minutes. Thus, Everton’s shape was changed considerably due to Borough assertive play in the midfield. This was aided by the pace of Aliadiere and Downing on either flank.

And then came the rollicking from Moyesy. Rodwell was taken off and Saha was  introduced after half time.. Cahill was asked to drop into central midfield along side Pienaar and Osman. Tactically now it was 4-1-3-2 (although Fellaini played between Saha and the midfeild three) and Baines was getting forward more. With a bit of help from Borough’s more conservative approach and some high speed closing down, the Toffees now really started putting a lot of pressre on the Borough back four.