To not win when you’re 2-0 up with just twelve minutes to go is very careless indeed. When you’ve then been given the football equivalent of a Get Out Of Jail Free Card in the shape of a last minute penalty, to not win is bordering upon the criminal.
If you were just presented with the scoreline, then you would think that a 2-2 draw with Everton is hardly a disaster, but when you consider that their defence was completely made up of full backs and the nature of the second half, then it’s hardly surprising that we’re all feeling as if this is two points dropped.
After a first half in which we were the better side, but failed to take the lead, we finally got the goal we wanted when Lennon put in a beautiful cross for Defoe to convert. It was another great game for Lennon and he’s started to routinely put in the type of crosses that a season or two were beyond him.
Crouch came close to making it 2-0, before Dawson doubled our lead with a great header. Everton were guilty of some very poor marking, but full marks to Dawson for getting down so low to head home his second goal in successive games.
2-0 should have meant that the game was over, but we spurned further chances to put the game beyond doubt, before Everton got back into the game through Saha.
Saha’s goal was a poor one to concede, as Bale really should have done better and prevented the cross getting in by Coleman.
Bale has been given a lot of stick, as the confusion in the box that lead to Everton’s equaliser, also came about from a cross from the right flank. However, we should remember that Assou Ekotto was also having problems in the first half and was eventually substituted.
Neither full back played well, but they are not helped by the fact that the system we play sees Kranjcar drifting into the centre, which leaves them exposed. The fact that Kranjcar or Modric have to drift infield is not just because they are not natural left sided players, but also because we only have two players in central midfield and generally come up against teams playing three there, with just one up front.
When they got back to 2-1, Everton sensed blood and really went on the attack. As I said, Bale was culpable for the equaliser, but he wasn’t the only player at fault and we still should have cleared our lines long before Cahill stooped to make it 2-2.
Having lost such a lead, you’ve got to make the most of any opportunities you have to regain your advantage and they don’t come much more gilt-edged than an injury time penalty.
Despite the fact that Defoe is in lethal form at the moment, I wasn’t very confident about him taking that penalty. He’s missed vital ones before when the pressure has been on (West Ham away springs to mind) and his effort was really poor.
With Villa, City and Arsenal all winning, we really needed a victory as well, to put the pressure on before our next two home games. Instead we’ve remained in fourth place and can just thank our lucky stars that Liverpool dropped points as well.
Away draws at the likes of Villa and Everton aren’t bad results and it says something for our progress as a team that we are disappointed at not having won both games. You do get the feeling though that these results and others like the home defeat to Stoke, will come back to haunt us at the end of the season. You don’t get given a Champions League place on the basis of all the games that you ‘should have’ won.