What The Papers Say - Jan 6

by Matthew Judge

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.



Who needs the fizz of Becks when you can enjoy the Oranje Boom of Rafael van der Vaart and the glittering Gold Label of Louis Saha?

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp insisted last night that David Beckham will add lustre to his squad, and his Everton counterpart David Moyes also wanted the England star, before being beaten to the punch.

But both teams served up such an intoxicating brew at Goodison that it is hard to see how even Goldenballs could have bettered it.

Becks may be the darling of the glossy mags, but on the pitch he would be hard pressed to match the profile of Dutch master Van der Vaart, who produced a larger than life display that confirmed his status as one of the true showmen of the Premier League.

But it was the magic of Saha that ultimately won the game, as he scored a stunning opener, then created the winner in the dying minutes to justify his outrageous gold-coloured hairstyle.

Van der Vaart could so easily have trumped the Everton striker himself, with a goal of his own and then a simply glorious strike just before the home side's winner, but he was denied by the world-class reflexes of Tim Howard.

But that would have been cruel on Everton, who produced a pulsating display, inspired by Saha's early strike, which culminated in a second-half barrage that eventually saw the visitors crack.

They had been denied by the excellence of Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes, but with 15 minutes remaining, after a fine run and shot by Saha was again beaten out by the Brazilian, youngster Seamus Coleman raced in to convert the rebound.

It was no more than the Blues and their targetman Saha deserved.

He belied his quite baffling lack of goals over the previous 11 months by finding the net from 20 yards with a radar-guided shot that showed his class and had boss Moyes purring.

"Everybody knows that is what Saha is capable of," said Moyes. "Anyone who has worked with him or played with him will tell you he's a fantastic talent, and can produce that sort of thing. He is a matchwinner, and that is what he did."

Incredibly, Saha hadn't scored since last February in the league, but he could easily have had a hat-trick here, and his performance outshone even the genius of Van der Vaart and the electric pace of Coleman.

Tottenham were irresistible in the first half, with the Dutchman running the show, and it was no surprise when Van der Vaart equalised Saha's early strike after he ghosted onto a knockdown from Peter Crouch to head home on 12 minutes.

Spurs should have led by the break, but Crouch criminally ran offside when presented with a simple tap-in, and Everton's compelling second half display left them pointless, and their manager admitting that he would desperately love Beckham's experience in those situations.

"I think we could do with Beckham, to be honest/ He has a lot to offer, and I've made it clear we would like him, but it's up to the chairman, and I'm not sure how close it is," said Redknapp.

"He would keep the ball for us. I think Beckham would get it out of his feet if Crouchy is playing, and deliver the ball. We showed with our goal that when we get the ball in we are dangerous with Crouchy up there, and David would be the perfect foil for him."

Even without Beckham's precise delivery, both sides created enough chances to have produced a rugby score, with Van der Vaart going agonisingly close with some exquisite skill, and both Jermaine Beckford and Coleman missing gilt-edged chances before the young Irishman got a reward for his incredible pace and energy with the winner.



If Harry Redknapp had any doubt as to whether David Beckham was worth signing, he will have found all the proof he needed in 90 breathless, frenetic minutes at Goodison Park. Everton edged Tottenham in a traditional Premier League slugfest. What a difference a cool head on calm shoulders, a wizened winner of football matches, might have made.

True, Beckham might have struggled with the pace. His body may not be up to the breakneck speed of the league he left behind. But his calm, his composure would have been valuable as Redknapp’s side tried to control their energetic hosts, and his leadership might even have stymied David Moyes’s team’s rousing crescendo, capped by Seamus Coleman’s winning goal.

Moyes has searched high and low for a solution to the chronic shortage of goals which has sabotaged his side’s season. He has employed Tim Cahill — absent for a month thanks to the Asia Cup — in an advanced role; he has even considered employing the likes of Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini in unfamiliar attacking positions.

The answer, perhaps, was clear all along. Everton’s strikers do not have the quality. What Moyes needed in such circumstances was quantity: out went the 4-5-1, in came a 4-4-2, the overripe Louis Saha partnering the still-green Jermaine Beckford.

It paid dividends immediately. Saha, without a goal in the league this term, picked up the ball 25 yards out, slightly to the left of the Spurs penalty area. The Frenchman span round, looked up and fizzed a right-footed shot low past Heurelho Gomes. He almost looked like he had been scoring goals all of his life.

Spurs, of course, have had no such concerns in front of goal. Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart went into this game with more goals between them than Moyes’s entire squad. A single strike, with 87 minutes to play, was never likely to intimidate Redknapp’s team. Van der Vaart was at the hub of everything Tottenham did. He roamed behind Peter Crouch, dropping deep or racing forward, exchanging passes with Luka Modric, mischief permanently on his mind.

The Dutchman tried one artistic chip which beat Tim Howard and, just, the far post. Everton could not have been surprised, then, when he equalised, heading home after Crouch nodded back an Alan Hutton cross. These two sides bring out the best in each other and that was the pattern for the rest of the game, a spit-and-sawdust affair.

Spurs may be the Premier League’s golden boys, the coming force, but Everton do not recoil in the face of such reputations. They went for their guests, Beckford firing over when well-placed, Coleman denied before and after the break.

Spurs responded in kind. Van der Vaart and Crouch both had efforts correctly ruled out for offside, then the Dutchman sent a scissor-kick spinning over. Even his dead ball delivery was pinpoint. Who needs Beckham, anyway?

The former Ajax player carried the fight almost on his own in the second half, his team-mates wilting after Bale’s withdrawal. Everton grew in confidence, Saha seeing one effort deflected wide and sending another straight down Gomes’s throat. Van der Vaart was denied by Howard from point-blank range.

Even he could not staunch Moyes’s side. Beckford fed Saha, who saw his shot saved by Gomes. Coleman, leaping, steered the rebound home.

Beckham may not have made any difference. It is hard to blame for Redknapp, though, for wanting to find out.



They were talking about a man called David at Goodison Park last night but it was the name Moyes, not Beckham, that was on the Gwladys Street’s lips.

While Tottenham supporters were familiarising themselves with the idea the former England captain might be arriving at White Hart Lane if the cards fall right, Evertonians were lauding their manager for masterminding a victory that has revived their season.

In beating Tottenham, Everton provided a reminder of why Moyes felt at the start of the Barclays Premier League campaign that his side would be in a position to push for the Champions League. Goals from a rejuvenated Louis Saha and Seamus Coleman were the least Everton deserved.

‘I think we are a good team,’ said Moyes. ‘It’s just that we have found it difficult to score. We can play against the best. We have not done well enough and we can’t look too far forward but we all needed to show we could produce something like this.’

Merseyside has rarely proved to be a happy hunting ground for Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp — he has only won once in his last 28 visits to this region — and he was left to lament Spurs’ lack of experience because, with more savvy, they would have won.

No wonder, then, that Redknapp is pursuing a deal to bring Beckham from LA Galaxy on a three-month loan. There is still much work to be done on Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy’s behalf but Redknapp is sure the 35-year-old will make his presence felt.

‘It’s one million per cent not done,’ said Redknapp. ‘I have left it to the chairman. We could do with David’s know-how but it’s out of my hands. If there is a deal to be done, I don’t know.’

As for striker Robbie Keane’s future, Redknapp added: ‘I don’t know what’s happening with Keane, but no way will he be going out on loan again. He can’t go out on loan again, he either goes permanently or he stays.’

So would a marriage of convenience with Beckham work? This Tottenham side, after all, is about lightning pace. Redknapp has fashioned a side that can eviscerate the best in the business with pinball passing and thrilling counter-attacks.

With Gareth Bale on one flank and Aaron Lennon on the other, Redknapp’s flying machines have caused mayhem for any number of teams during this thrilling season. His central midfielders - especially Luka Modric - haven’t been bad, either.

What, then, would Beckham contribute? Even when operating at the peak of his powers, speed was never his most potent weapon and to be asked to step back on to the Premier League helter-skelter after a seven-year hiatus would take the breath away.

But this, remember, is Beckham. Capped by England 115 times, a Champions League winner and a man who can count Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan among his employers, he undoubtedly has the class to slip into Tottenham’s fold.

Most importantly, he has enormous experience and, if Tottenham are going to vindicate Redknapp’s belief that they are credible challengers for the title, having him around for a couple of months would do no harm. On the contrary, it might prove to be a Harry masterstroke.

Whether Tottenham would have won this game with Beckham in their side is open to debate but it was easy to understand why Redknapp was so frustrated that they had thrown three points away after the excellent Rafael van der Vaart had equalised Saha’s opener, latching on to Peter Crouch’s knockdown and powering a shot past the helpless Tim Howard.

‘Everton pressed us well and worked their socks off,’ said Redknapp. ‘We didn’t pass the ball as well in the second half as we had in the first. We started sloppily, which gave the crowd a lift and it spurred them on.’

Redknapp described Crouch’s offside ‘goal’ on the stroke of half-time as ‘farcical’ on the striker’s part and there is little doubt it proved decisive.

With Bale leaving the action in the second half with a back problem, Everton dominated.

Saha was outstanding and, having ended a 25-game barren run in the Premier League that stretched back to February, his blockbuster on 75 minutes was parried by Heurelho Gomes into the path of Coleman, who applied the finishing touch with a diving header.

‘Seamus was outstanding,’ said Moyes. ‘But when you see Louis Saha play like that, you can see why so many people say he has world class ability. I thought it was a really good game and whoever plays Tottenham is going to have to play well to beat them. We did that.’



A PROUD David Moyes paid tribute to his side following victory over Tottenham Hotspur – but insisted one win would not see Everton getting carried away.

A first goal of the season from Louis Saha and a second from Seamus Coleman helped Moyes’ outfit to a 2-1 win on an evening of high energy at Goodison Park.

Dutch play-maker Rafael Van der Vaart had levelled for the visitors but Coleman’s second half header sealed a first win in three matches and moved Everton up to 11th in the Premier League table – above Liverpool on goal difference.

Moyes believes the entire team are deserving of credit for the manner in which they matched the attacking flair of one of the country’s most in-form and dangerous sides.

But the return to the scoresheet of Saha and the buccaneering exploits of Coleman on the right flank drew the highest praise from a delighted manager.

“I was pleased with that,” said Moyes.

“It was a really good game and whoever plays Tottenham this season have to play well to beat them because they are a really good side.

“There was an edge to the players tonight, there was an improvement, vigour and determination. “We made sure we got more balls in the box than in other games. Previously I have been disappointed with the amount of balls we have got into the area. But tonight we were always liable to score.

“Tonight the players and myself really needed to show we can do it and we did. There can be no criticism of the players tonight because they were outstanding in every department.

“I think we are a good team but have found it difficult to score this season. Even tonight we had three or four chances we missed but we managed to get a couple of goals. I think we can play against the best teams but have not shown it against other sides this season.

“But it is difficult to look too far forward because we have not done well enough this season to do so.

“We all know what Louis is capable of and why he is revered by all those who play with him. On his day he can be an unbelievable talent and he has shown that tonight.

“If you are a forward of Louis Saha’s stature and you are not scoring regularly then it is hard. But even if he hadn’t scored tonight then I would still have said he made a fantastic contribution to the game.”

Spurs wide man Bale had a subdued evening by his standards and Moyes believes he was kept in the shade by the experience of right-back Phil Neville.

The Everton captain snuffed out the Welshman’s threat when the side’s met at White Hart Lane in October and the Goodison manager believes Bale was outshone by the home team’s burgeoning talent.

“Gareth Bale should always take the plaudits this season because he is an unbelievable talent,” added Moyes.

“But Phil Neville has done a brilliant job on him again tonight. And if we are going to talk about an out and out winger from this evening then we have to talk about Seamus Coleman. Benoit Assou-Ekotto is one of the best left-backs in the Premier League but Seamus hasn’t half given him a game."



TIM HOWARD insists Everton can flourish even if David Moyes is unable to being in new faces this month.

The Toffees goalkeeper believes last night’s thrilling 2-1 victory over title contenders Spurs proved the Blues have enough quality to thrive regardless of their financial situation, as they rose to 11th in the Premier League.

Howard, who made a string of stops to keep Everton in the lead against Harry Redknapp’s side, said: “I look at the league as a whole and it’s still topsy turvy.

"The results tell you that. The Villas, and Spurs fighting for a foot hold up there are getting odd results.

“You’ve got to be confident in this squad.

"We have all the ability in the world.

"We haven’t hit top form individually or as a team, but it’s no time to panic.

"We need to build on this now and provide more top performances.”

Before the game David Moyes answered questions about his Goodison future, but Howard believes any doubts over the manager’s ability are absurd.

He said: “It’s the way of the world in football at the moment but the players are right behind the manager as we’ve always been. He’s right behind us too and gives us all his backing and faith.

“None of that is going to change. It’s nonsense. The camaraderie here is as strong as ever.

“We’ve been under a lot of pressure. We haven’t played at Goodsion for a while and we owed the fans and ourselves a good performance.

“Everyone knows how good Spurs are, and they came and gave us a good game. But like against Man City, we dug in and got a result against a top team.

Even though we consider ourselves a top team, the table doesn’t say that right now.”

The American knows Everton’s third home win of the season must trigger further victories at Goodison if they are to maintain their climb up the keague.

He said: “We’ve drawn too many games, and even though they keep you ticking over, three points are always more valuable.”

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