AS bad as Everton were at Southampton, it’s given me further belief their challenge for a top-four place can last the duration.
I’ve seen David Moyes’s side quite a few times this season, and that was easily their worst performance.
Everton didn’t quite know what to expect from Southampton following the shock sacking of Nigel Adkins. And what they got was a first-half runaround, the visitors lucky not to be behind at the break.
The Goodison side were better in the second half but they still struggled to pass the ball. And for once, the defence, midfield and attack looked like they were separate units.
But if you can play that badly and don’t lose, you must be doing something right. Those are the kind of results that can make the difference over the course of a season.
The return of Kevin Mirallas was a major bonus. Judging by his run-out at St Mary’s, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Belgian start at Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup on Saturday.
It might be the time to take Nikica Jelavic out of the firing line. He needs a rest. Jelavic works hard enough, plays for the team and is still getting into positions, but you can see he is now thinking about things whereas last season it was instinctive.
That happens to strikers.
How you come through it is important and Mirallas being given a first-team run might be the answer. Jelavic should sit out a few games and then come again. That’s why you need competition for places.
Not for the first time, Victor Anichebe made a big impression from the bench. However, I’m not sure whether Moyes totally trusts playing Anichebe as a lone striker.
Anichebe, though, has definitely looked more like the player we know he can be during the last few months.
Moyes will look to find a way to have Anichebe in the team. He is big, strong and a handful, but also has mobility and pace as well. There aren’t many like him in the Premier League.