What The Papers Say - 22 January
A round-up of the day's paper talk.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
MARK HUGHES looks set to miss out on Nedum Onuoha with the Manchester City defender favouring a move to Everton.
New QPR boss Hughes was willing to pay £60,000 a week to lure Onuoha to West London. But the 26-year-old wants to stay in the North West and Everton manager David Moyes hopes that will work in his favour.
Moyes wanted a central defender and defensive central midfielder during this transfer window, and has already taken Darron Gibson from Manchester United. Landing Onuhua, who can operate anywhere across the back line but predominantly in the centre, would complete a good window for the Everton gaffer.
Hughes, meanwhile, hopes to land Chelsea defender Alex later this week, although the chances of Blackburn's Chris Samba joining Rangers are slim.
The cruel hand of fate has slapped Blackburn in the face a few times this season - but at least they managed to hit back this time.
Steve Kean and his club have taken a few blows this season in their fight for survival and looked doomed to another tale of woe after a controversial Everton goal.
It is not often Marouane Fellaini and Thierry Henry get mentioned in the same breath, but they did when the big Belgian sneakily used a forearm to set up Tim Cahill's strike.
The ball was smuggled sideways by Fellaini in the way Henry perfected for France against the Republic of Ireland a few years ago and Cahill did the rest.
Keeper Paul Robinson appealed immediately and chased referee Mark Halsey, although the officials were blameless because the sleight of hand was unseen.
Aussie international Cahill was not objecting as he celebrated his first goal in 13 months, with his team-mates also unaware that Fellaini's felony had played a part.
The goal could have flattened Rovers but Karma was almost instant and Cahill ironically played a part in their point-saver in equally bizarre circumstances.
Morten Gamst Pedersen's hoisted free-kick was missed by Tim Howard and Steven Nzonzi, and when Cahill tried to hack off the line he managed only to smash a clearance into David Goodwillie, who bundled the ball in from close range.
Rovers deserved at least a point for they were the better of two average teams.
Kean, who left out transfer-seeking sulker Chris Samba, said: "We are delighted because we felt Everton scored against the run of play anyway. We saw the arm used from the bench but it was hard for the ref. He was not in a great position."
Everton boss David Moyes admitted it was a hand-ball but felt the equaliser should have been ruled out on two counts. He said: "I thought there was an offside and a foul as well."
But the Toffees chief added: "I think we were fortunate to get a point. Blackburn had the better of the first half and we were lucky to be 1-0 ahead.
"We needed our better players to really pull through for us and make things happen. We just needed a bit more in every department."
Everton are lucky they have a cushion above the relegation zone because they look desperately short in key areas and are hard to watch.
Louis Saha is not suited to a lone target-man role while young Victor Anichebe struggles to impress the doubters among the fans.
Everton could hardly believe the break they got for the first goal and Cahill might even have had a second with a towering header from Leighton Baines's cross that Robinson saved low at his post.
Despite the boost, the second half belonged to Blackburn who had more of the ball but lacked the threat that Everton old boy Yakubu - still banned - would have posed.
Everton nearly snatched a late win when Shane Duffy lumbered forward and clipped the bar with a header from a Baines free-kick, but that would only have papered over their cracks.
Sub Mauro Formica almost made matters worse for the Merseysiders at the death with a lovely turn and flicked shot that went inches wide of despairing Howard's goal.
The Argentinian did even better to scrape a Fellaini header off the line in injury-time as Blackburn held on grimly, and deservedly, for a much-needed point.
Kean plans to keep Samba and explained his omission by saying: "I thought it was best he wasn't involved.
"We are not trying to get teams to bid against each other. We want to keep him. It's that simple."
EVERTON boss David Moyes could be forced to sell another big name at the end of the season, despite cashing in on Mikel Arteta last summer.
Spanish midfielder Arteta moved on deadline day in the last window and the £10million Everton banked from Arsenal provided much-needed funds.
It helped finance new deals for midfielder Marouane Fellaini and hot young property Ross Barkley, as well as covering the wages of free transfer signing James McFadden.
The cash also paid for the loan deals of LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan and Real Madrid's Dutchman Royston Drenthe.
But to keep their head above water and finance any new transfer business, Moyes knows he is faced with having to sell again, unless the club is taken over by wealthy new owners.
That means losing one of left-back Baines, 27, or 29-year-old centre-half Jagielka is a scenario Moyes may have to accept. And Everton know that they would be vulnerable to any big offer for midfield star Rodwell, despite the 20-year-old signing a five-year deal in 2010.
The Everton manager, David Moyes, conceded that his side had taken the lead with a goal that should not have stood, but insisted that Blackburn's equaliser was no more legal. His demeanour more or less summed up a match that entertained in fits and starts but ended with Everton being booed off by their supporters.
"We were fortunate to get a point," Moyes said. "We were certainly fortunate to go one-nil up. Today we needed our better players to make things happen for us: we needed more in every department."
Everton started brightly enough with Landon Donovan and Victor Anichebe given licence to roam wide of Louis Saha, and Darron Gibson and Marouane Fellaini holding the fort further back. They might have taken the lead as early as the third minute, when Donovan's cross left Anichebe with a short to-do list; unfortunately volleying the ball in to the ground and over the bar was not on it.
By the time Everton did go in front, however, Blackburn could have scored several times over. In the opening quarter of an hour Junior Hoillett set up David Dunn, whose shot Tim Howard saved with his feet; Scott Dann's header was headed away from under the bar by Leighton Baines via the post; and Dunn had a tidy strike correctly disallowed for offside.
It was Blackburn's characteristically rum luck that in the 24th minute their goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, would parry Fellaini's header straight back to him, the referee would fail to spot Fellaini handling it, and Tim Cahill, who had not scored for more than a year, would tap the ball over the line.
"We're disappointed because we felt that Everton scored against the run of play," said the Rovers manager, Steve Kean. "It was hard for the referee because he's not in a great position [to see the handball]."
Although Donovan threatened once or twice before half-time - Radosav Petrovic picking up a booking to prevent the LA Galaxy loanee making the most of a quick throw from Howard - Dunn had another shot hit the post for Blackburn.
"I said to the lads at half-time that we didn't really need to change too much, because we were dictating play," Kean said.
When David Goodwillie set the scores level in the 72nd minute, it was a fair reflection of Blackburn's efforts. Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick somehow evaded Howard - Moyes said replays showed Steven Nzonzi hindered the goalkeeper, and was offside - and when Cahill went to clear it, he could only punt the ball straight to Goodwillie, who walked the ball over the line.
Moyes had already swapped Royston Drenthe for the ineffective Saha and added Apostolos Vellios to the mix for the final 10 minutes; at this point, the home crowd would not tolerate a backward pass and play swept up and down the pitch like the wind.
The Everton defender Shane Duffy headed on to the bar before the Blackburn substitute Mauro Formica tried to scoop the ball over Howard, missing the goal by inches. In added time Formica blocked Fellaini's shot on the line and Denis Stracqualursi saw his attempt to turn the rebound home saved by Robinson before Petrovic cleared.
Blackburn will argue they were due the touch of fortune that gave them a potentially crucial point.
By David Moyes' own admission, his Everton team were lucky to leave Ewood Park with all three points earlier this season and it seemed Blackburn were to be cruelly denied here.
They twice struck the frame of Everton's goal and went behind to a controversial goal in a first half that heaped more pressure on Blackburn manager Steve Kean.
As Tim Cahill turned away in joy and relief after scoring for the first time in 13 months, Blackburn appealed in vain that Marouan Fellaini had handled to create the opportunity for the Australian.
But then Cahill's attempted clearance in the second was blocked and bundled over the line by David Goodwillie to present Blackburn with a point.
Blackburn had to withstand a frantic final flourish by Everton, but they produced much of the limited quality and imagination in this match.
David Dunn rolled back the years with a demonstration of his midfield guile and vision, while Junior Hoilett was a constant menace.
Everton, seeking only a fourth home League win of the season, embarked on the task with an injury-weakened team and fragile confidence.
Blackburn were again without their brooding captain, Chris Samba, as well as suspended top scorer Yakubu, the former Everton player, yet bolstered by their 10-man victory over Fulham the previous week.
That optimism was almost pricked when Phil Neville, celebrating his 35th birthday, set up a chance for Victor Anichebe, who bounced his effort over the bar.
Blackburn responded with craft and purpose. Junior Hoilett danced past two defenders before finding David Dunn and Tim Howard had to stretch out a leg to deny the midfield player.
Everton survived again as Leighton Baines, with a little help from a post, managed to repel central defender Scott Dann's header.
Landon Donovan's in-swinging corner for Everton asked to be attacked and Shane Duffy, the precocious 20-year-old defender, duly rose to meet it but headed just over.
Donovan's chip towards the six-yard box proved more productive.
Marouane Fellaini appeared to knock the ball on with his arm and Cahill ended his goal drought with a relish shared by his team-mates.
Goalkeeper Paul Robinson led the Blackburn protests, yet referee Mark Halsey was unmoved and Everton had the lead.
Donovan threatened the Blackburn defence again, this time surging into the area before unleashing a drive that was too high to trouble Robinson.
Howard, at the other end, was beaten by Dunn's left foot shot after penetrating approach play by Hoilett and David Goodwillie, only to see the ball strike the post that came to his side's aid earlier.
Robinson reacted smartly to a Cahill header, lunging to his left to gather. Howard had to be equally alert to keep out Morten Gamst Pedersen's viciously delivered corner kick.
Moyes sent on Royston Drenthe to inject new energy into Everton's player and the Dutchman fizzed a dangerous ball across the face of Blackburn's goal.
Once more Blackburn came back and at last their luck changed. Howard, under pressure from Steven Nzonzi, failed to catch the ball, Cahill cleared it off the line but only into the midriff of Goodwillie and back into the net. Everton were unfortunate again when Duffy's glancing header hit the bar.
Moyes conceded: "I think we were fortunate to get a point. Blackburn had the better of the first half. I thought we might have hung on after scoring, but we needed better players to make things happen for us.
"I do think it was handball for our goal, but theirs shouldn't have been allowed either. It was offside and then a foul on the keeper."
Kean maintained justice was served when his side equalised, but sympathised with referee Mark Halsey over the handball decision that got away.
"Everton scored against the run of play but the referee was not in a good position to see Fellaini's arm move the ball off-line," he said. "We didn't have to change too much at half time because we had dominated the play."
STEVE KEAN took charge of Blackburn just days before Tim Cahill last scored for Everton.
At that point in December 2010 neither man knew the hellish year they would face.
For Cahill (above), his crown as one of the Premier League's most prolific goalscoring midfielders slipped as his surprising drought refused to come to an end. For Kean, his rookie tenure as Rovers boss went from bad to worse as a shortage of results brought an overflow of scorn from his own fans.
With the helping hand of Lady Luck, in the guise of Marouane Fellaini's arm, Cahill finally ended his 13 months of misery.
And despite failing to collect the win, even Kean may feel the tide is finally turning for his side.
A home win, with 10 men over Fulham and now a point at Everton. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Even the absence of the suspended leading scorer Yakubu failed to throw them out of kilter here as others took up the task of goal-hunting.
Step forward David Dunn. Three times in the opening 11 minutes Blackburn's talisman got a sight of Tim Howard's goal. On all three occasions he was foiled.
His first shot was too weak to bother Howard, his second blocked and his third, a stinger the American held.
Everton knew their luck was in and, boy, was it in. Even Fellaini must have been waiting to hear the whistle blow as he turned to celebrate Cahill's long-awaited strike after the midfielder clearly handled after his header was saved by Paul Robinson.
Kean said: "I have looked at the goal again and it is hard for the ref because he is not in a good position."
And if that wasn't enough, even the goal frame was conspiring against Rovers. Deflated Blackburn limped to the interval surviving a Leighton Baines free-kick that skimmed past the post and a Cahill header.
Darron Gibson was hardly pulling up trees on his home debut with Radosav Petrovic dominating him in midfield and nearly scoring with a low drive in the 61st minute.
But luck finally swung Rovers' way. Morten Gamst Pedersen's long punt was missed by Howard, under pressure from Steven Nzonzi.
Then a comical pinball moment occurred with the ball hitting Shane Duffy on the head and flying towards Cahill on the line.
He should have headed clear. Instead he chested down and tried to smack the ball to safety.
But Goodwillie closed him down and was rewarded when Cahill's clearance smashed against his shins and rebounded home for the equaliser.
Now Rovers were courting Lady Luck. Robinson brilliantly pushed away Fellaini's header to give Everton a corner with seconds left.
No-one matched Fellaini's jump and only sub Mauro Formica's positioning on the line kept his effort out.
Everton boss David Moyes said: "We were fortunate to get a point."