What The Papers Say - 4 November
A look at Everton's coverage across today's papers
David Moyes, the Everton manager, said on Friday that he would willingly pay to watch his team, such was the attractive nature of their play. For the opening 45 minutes at Craven Cottage, he would have been demanding a refund – his players were extremely poor – but he got his money's worth in the second half as Everton hit back to draw with Fulham thanks to two goals from Marouane Fellaini.
But they could have and should have won as they led 2-1 – and missed a host of chances – until the final minute when Fulham equalised. Sascha Riether crossed from the right, Dimitar Berbatov made a hash of his shot and Steve Sidwell, a substitute, prodded home at the far post.
Moyes had been irritated, after the 2-2 derby draw with Liverpool last weekend, by the claims of Steven Gerrard that Everton were little more than a "long-ball" team similar to Stoke City. Though the Liverpool captain later retracted his comments, Moyes remained irked.
He would have been even more irritated by his team's painfully laborious first-half display. Everton dominated for large periods, mostly through the industry of Steven Pienaar, but failed to find any penetration. So rigid and smothering was the Fulham defence that the goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was barely troubled.
Fulham fought as if they had something precious to hang on to, which they had – a seventh-minute lead. Phil Neville fouled Berbatov and, from Bryan Ruiz's curling free-kick, Tim Howard appeared to have made a fine save. But the ball cannoned off a post, off his shoulder and into the net for an own goal.
In response, Everton huffed and puffed and got nowhere ... until approaching half-time. Nikica Jelavic nodded weakly at a Leighton Baines cross, a Phil Jagielka shot deflected off Chris Baird and fizzed narrowly wide, and Jelavic drove over from Baird's poor backpass.
At least – and at last – Moyes enjoyed value for money early in the second half, with Jagielka glancing a header wide from Baines's free-kick and, soon after, Fellaini drawing Everton level. Seamus Coleman released Kevin Mirallas and his cross from the right was powerfully turned in by Fellaini.
Howard produced a good save to deny Berbatov from close range but Everton's superiority grew, with Jelavic, Mirallas and Leon Osman all having efforts on goal, albeit mostly wayward. But Fellaini struck again in the 72nd minute, controlling Jagielka's huge punt – yes, a long ball – before beating Schwarzer with a fierce shot.
Everton moved back into the top four, but manager David Moyes was left to rue a host of wasted opportunities. Fulham salvaged an unlikely point thanks to Steve Sidwell’s last-minute effort, condemning the Toffees to a fourth consecutive draw.
By the time Sidwell pounced to convert Sascha Riether’s low cross, Everton should have had the game sewn up. The visitors dominated, recovering from Tim Howard’s early own goal to take a deserved lead via a pair of second-half Marouane Fellaini strikes. Chance after chance came their way, but Everton were never able to finish off their opponents.
“I can’t believe that we’ve only got a draw out of that, it’s quite incredible,” Moyes said. “We were incredibly wasteful in front of goal. We were terrific at times, but we couldn’t get the goals, and I’m frustrated because if we want to try and hang on to the boys at the top we need to try and win the games when they come along.”
Late goals have been a regular occurrence in the Cottagers’ fixtures this season. Often, though, it is Martin Jol’s side who have been conceding them, so it made a nice change for Jol to be able to celebrate a late strike that extended his team’s unbeaten run to four games, although he was mindful of where they could have been had they not been so sloppy.
“Remember the goal against Man City after 87 minutes, then away against Southampton and last week against Reading we lost two points. We were very close to being in the top four.”
It was perhaps little surprise that Fulham took the lead – it is now five league games in a row that Moyes’s men have conceded the opening goal. Their powers of recovery have meant they have lost none of those, however.
There was a touch of fortune about Fulham’s opener, as Howard failed to get enough on Bryan Ruiz’s free-kick, palming the ball against the post, only for it to rebound off him into the net.
The goal was Fulham’s 500th in the Premier League, but from then on it was all Everton. Mark Schwarzer saved from Fellaini, while Nikica Jelavic, who Moyes described as “off colour”, bounced a header over from close range.
Phil Jagielka hit a stinging drive inches wide, before Jelavic lifted the ball over the bar. Everton did finally breach the hosts’ goal 10 minutes after half-time, as Fellaini put away Kevin Mirallas’s cutback.
Fellaini got his second when he outmuscled Aaron Hughes to bring Jagielka’s long ball under control, before lashing a right-foot shot into the bottom corner.
He then twice went close to completing his hat-trick, first being denied by the post, before Schwarzer produced a fine save to keep out his stunning volley.
Steven Naismith should have put the game to bed, but he could not beat Schwarzer. The saves proved to be vital, as Sidwell stole in at the death to earn a point. “We never gave up,” Jol said.
Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise (Dejagah 59); Duff, Baird, Diarra (Petric 76), Kacaniklic (Sidwell 68); Ruiz, Berbatov.
Subs: Stockdale (g), Senderos, Karagounis, Rodallega.
Booked: Riise, Diarra, Baird.
Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines; Mirallas (Naismith 79), Osman, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic (Distin 89).
Subs: Mucha (g), Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Gueye, Duffy.
Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancs).
Quiz question: What have Swansea and Manchester City got in common?
To save you searching, they are the only two visiting teams to have won a Premier League game at Craven Cottage in 2012.
That should have become a list of three yesterday.
But Everton got a close-up look at just why Martin Jol’s team are so tough to beat on their own ground.
They might have needed the help of a post, a host of missed chances, a catalogue of amazing saves by Mark Schwarzer and a scrambled, last-minute goal by substitute Steve Sidwell.
But somehow they clung on to leave Everton wondering just how a win got away – and manager Jol full of justified pride at his side’s determination to keep fighting for their own fans.
Jol said: “This club has always had a good home record. Is it the tight, old-fashioned stadium? I don’t know.
“Before this game we’d conceded only two goals here this season but let in 12 away. That’s quite a big difference.
“I have to be honest – we could have lost by four or five today. But then I still can be pleased at the quality of play at the end, and if my central midfield player arrives at the back post in the last minute that can’t be a bad thing.”
Jol’s team had actually led from the seventh minute when Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was deceived by Bryan Ruiz’s curling free kick.
It was the 500th goal scored by Fulham in the Premier League, but whether Ruiz gets the credit will go to the dubious goals committee.
Howard pushed it onto the inside of the post and it appeared to bounce out and brush the Everton keeper’s back before rolling back across the line.
It was a great start, but it only heralded the Marouane Fellaini show as the giant Belgian with the frizzy hair took over the game.
He bullied Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland with his strength and power and was the focal point for a wave of Everton attacks.
And his strike partner Nikica Jelavic had missed a hatful of chances by the time Fellaini got the equaliser 10 minutes after the break.
For a team labelled “long ball” by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard it was a classic passing goal, with Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas combining on the right before the ball was cut back for Fellaini to sweep it home.
“If you see the football that Everton are playing right now – well I know I’m biased but there is real quality,” said Blues boss David Moyes.
And asked about Gerrard’s comments he said: “Today we played really well. We have the ability to play in different ways. Mind you, I don’t want my centre-backs being the best players. That’s for the midfield men and forwards.”
Ironically it was centre-back Jagielka who set up what should have been the winner with a pass Stoke boss Tony Pulis would have loved.
His long, raking ball was brought down by Fellaini, who then brushed off Hughes and smashed it home. The big Belgian then hit the post and saw Schwarzer make an amazing save.
But in the dying seconds Sascha Riether fired in a cross that went through Dimitar Berbatov’s legs before Sidwell applied the finishing touch.
A draw that will feel like a defeat took Everton up to fourth place in the Premier League yesterday, but they will know that this was a game they could and should have won.
A goal down early on when Tim Howard fumbled a free kick, David Moyes’s side took a while to muster a serious effort on goal. But the second half belonged almost entirely to the men from Merseyside.
Marouane Fellaini was almost unplayable, scoring twice and coming close to a hat-trick on two occasions, but the third goal would not come, and Everton paid the price when Fulham scored another scrappy goal as the clock reached 90 minutes.
“I couldn’t believe we’ve only got a draw out of that,” Moyes said – it was his team’s fourth in succession. “We’ve played really well this season but that one we should have won. We were terrific at times but couldn’t get the goals.
“It’s quite incredible, but give Fulham credit, they kept at it. The keeper made some saves but we were incredibly wasteful in front of goal. We were terrific at times but we just couldn’t get the goals. To win away in the Premier League is really difficult. We made it look as if we would win that one comfortably but we haven’t. That’s disappointing – we just didn’t finish it off.”
Everton started as they meant to go on, Leon Osman twice having shots blocked on the edge of Fulham’s penalty area in the first four minutes, but when he conceded a free kick for a foul on Dimitar Berbatov a similar distance from his own goal after six minutes, his team went behind.
Bryan Ruiz’s free kick beat the wall and curled towards the net but Howard, diving to his left, appeared to have it covered. Yet instead of catching the ball or palming it aside, the goalkeeper flapped it against the inside of the post and it rebounded off his shoulder and in.
Fulham looked as though they would try to press home their advantage as Damien Duff tested Howard on the break, but before long Everton were pressing them back. To some extent that worked against the visitors, who were confronted with a white and black wall, but even so, Seamus Coleman wriggled through to draw a save from Mark Schwarzer after 37 minutes, Phil Jagielka hit a low shot that was deflected wide and Nikica Jelavic wasted a good chance when Chris Baird’s ill-judged backpass fell into his path.
“Early in the season Jelavic was fully firing and I think he is just a little off-colour at as far as his goals go at the moment,” Moyes said.
Everton must have thought their luck was still out early in the second half as Fellaini failed to make contact with the ball at the far post when Jagielka flicked on Leighton Baines’s free kick. But it brought the Everton fans behind the goal to life and Fellaini made amends after 55 minutes when Kevin Mirallas, just onside, took Coleman’s pass down the right and laid the ball back for the Belgian to hit home from six yards.
Fulham tried to reply when Berbatov anticipated John Arne Riise’s pass and drew a save from Howard, but it was a brief respite from what was now an Everton onslaught, and Jelavic’s shot from Fellaini’s clever pass was only deflected wide by Sascha Riether’s well-timed tackle.
Moyes’s men were disproving the suggestion made a week ago by the Liverpool captain that Everton were a long-ball team, but their second goal, ironically, was pure route one. Jagielka, 10 yards inside his own half, hoisted the ball to the edge of the Fulham penalty area, where Fellaini, in an unanswerable combination of power and technique, held off Aaron Hughes to chest the ball down and hit a first-time shot on the turn low past Schwarzer’s right hand and into the corner of the net.
The hat-trick beckoned, and it almost came with an angled shot from the left that looped up off Brede Hangeland and rebounded from the post. Steven Naismith, the substitute, smacked the loose ball towards the net but Baird was on hand to kick clear. Then Fellaini hit a volley on the turn that Schwarzer palmed aside at full stretch.
But although Fulham have given away 12 points this season from winning positions, they are also resilient. And instead of celebrating victory, Everton were left to rue their misses as Riether crossed low, Berbatov – of all people – fluffed his shot, and Steve Sidwell appeared at the far post to punish the visitors.
Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, admitted: “It doesn’t mean anything in football if you don’t score the goals. They dominated us and all we could do was try to be positive. They are a very good footballing team. They are a settled team and know exactly what to do.
“Normally we are a good team, but I couldn’t see that today. Although we took the lead I still felt they were stronger.
“Our wingers had to play as fullbacks. Fellaini was more like a striker than a midfield player. But I can’t remember giving away a lead and losing and I was very happy to keep that statistic going.
The only positive thing I can say is that we never gave up.”
Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise (Dejagah, 59); Duff, Diarra (Petric, 76), Baird, Kacaniklic (Sidwell, 67); Ruiz; Berbatov.
Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines; Mirallas (Naismith, 80), Osman, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic (Distin, 89).
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
Man of the match: Fellaini (Everton)
Match rating: 7/10
A very nice, and expensive, part of London is Fulham but on this evidence, anyone contemplating a move there might worry about the crime rate.
For this was sheer theft. Everton dominated the game but left the back door unlocked and allowed Fulham to pinch two goals against the run of play and an unmerited point.
Steve Sidwell's last-gasp equaliser left David Moyes frowning and frustrated, even though the point, Everton's fourth in a row as part of seven games unbeaten, took his team into the top four.
'I can't believe we have only got a draw out of that,' said the Everton manager. 'It was incredible. Their goalkeeper has saved them and we were incredibly wasteful in front of goal.'
Steven Gerrard had suggested, before backtracking, that Everton resembled Stoke, the Premier League's power team, after the Merseyside derby last weekend, and you saw what he meant as Fellaini bullied his way to a Route One second goal, but there was much variation to their play too.
'I thought we played some terrific football at times today,' added Moyes.
'We looked as sharp as any of the top teams but if we want to hang in with the big boys, we have got to win games like this.'
Fulham were a shadow of the bright side that has also started so well this season, having won three of their four previous home games.
Their early lead seemed only to breed complacency. It came when Phil Neville clipped Dimitar Berbatov's ankle some 25 yards out and Ruiz stepped up to curl an excellent left-footed shot over the wall.
Goalkeeper Howard got two hands to it but could only push it on to the post, from where it rebounded off him into the net.
That was about that from Fulham in the first half as the combativity of Everton's centrals midfield of Phil Neville and Leon Osman put to shame the idling dilettante that was Ruiz.
The only surprise was that it took Everton until 10 minutes into the second half to score. Seamus Coleman sent Kevin Mirallas away down the right and his cut-back was met firmly by Fellaini at the near post, the ball cannoning off Brede Hangeland into the net.
Fulham manger Martin Jol sent on Sidwell to stiffen Fulham's midfield but within minutes, Everton were ahead.
Phil Jagielka launched a long, high ball forward and Fellaini outmuscled Aaron Hughes before drilling home a low shot. Fellaini, almost unplayable at times, should have had a hat-trick to secure the game, hitting a post and seeing a fierce volley turned aside by Schwarzer.
Then came Sidwell's late steal. Sascha Riether crossed low from the right, Berbatov miskicked in front of goal and the substitute arrived at the far post to turn the ball home.
Jol said: 'They dominated us. They are a good footballing side, physically stronger than us.'
IF anyone from the Crown Prosecution Service had been in the crowd they would have done Fulham for daylight robbery.
Steve Sidwell’s dramatic late equaliser was the nearest thing to a footballing smash-and-grab felony you’ll see all season.
Poor David Moyes. The Everton manager had watched his impressive side run the show virtually all afternoon only to be robbed of the three points they deserved 30 seconds from time.
Even the most partisan Fulham fan would have had to concede it looked nothing less than criminal.
There was plenty for Moyes to admire about his side’s display but this one was definitely bittersweet for the Toffees.
“I can’t believe it,” the Everton boss said. “We were terrific at times, but I am frustrated because if we want to hang on to the teams at the top we have to be winning these games.
“We looked a very good team today, but we were incredibly wasteful in front of goal and made a big mistake for their last goal.
"We were terrific at times, but I am frustrated because if we want to hang on to the teams at the top we have to be winning these game.
“At the moment, though, I think Everton look as good as any of the top teams. But it is hard to win any Premier League games away from home and we really should have won this one,” he added.
You can say that again, even though Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz briefly turned on the style after just seven minutes.
Berbatov, in that languid way of his, was cutting a path through the Everton defence before Phil Neville unceremoniously halted his progress.
Ruiz’s resultant free-kick will go down as an own-goal because Everton keeper Tim Howard helped the ball into the net off the post. But there was no denying the Costa Rican’s magical part in it.
If there had been any justice, Everton should have been home and dry before the break, such was their dominance.
Picking the ball out of the net was the hardest work Howard had to do in the first half. Mark Schwarzer, on the other hand, made crucial saves from Steven Pienaar and Seamus Coleman, besides having to deal with a string of corners.
Phil Jagielka and Nikica Jelavic also went close as lucky Fulham lived decidedly dangerously. But whatever Martin Jol said to his players at half-time didn’t work, Marouane Fellaini missing a sitter for Everton minutes after the restart.
I swear my granny could have put the ball into an empty net, but somehow the Belgian uncharacteristically missed it.
But he made amends soon afterwards with a cracking equaliser, set up by Kevin Mirallas.
Berbatov threatened to make a mockery of all that had gone before, forcing Howard to make his first real save of the game. But then normal service was resumed, with Everton totally in charge.
Mirallas (twice) and Jelavic both went close as the visitors laid siege to Schwarzer’s goal with pressure that just had to pay off.
And after 72 minutes it did.
Fellaini was Fulham’s destroyer again, taking a long ball on his chest before turning on a sixpence to fire home hard and low. Great stuff.
There should have been more, but amazingly it was Fulham who pinched a point right at the death.
Substitute Sidwell was allowed to force home Sascha Riether’s last desperate cross and you really could have cried for Moyes and co.
Even Mr Jol had to concede ‘defeat’ graciously afterwards.
“Everton are a very good team and they dominated us today,” he said.
“The only real positive thing I can say is that we never gave up. And don’t forget, we could have been in the top four if we had won a couple of those games we have drawn.”
LET’S put one myth to bed — Everton do not play like Stoke.
Marouane Fellaini’s second goal may have come from the type of punt Steven Gerrard said was the Toffees’ trademark in his post-Merseyside derby jibe.
But David Moyes’ visitors dominated at Craven Cottage like no other team has done this term. And it was not via route one.
Fellaini’s second-half brace looked like winning it for Everton, who could have had a hatful if Nikica Jelavic had been on form.
But after Tim Howard’s early own goal, Steve Sidwell nipped in with a last-minute leveller to steal a point for the hosts.
A fourth draw on the spin left Moyes quite rightly scratching his head.
The Everton boss said: “I can’t believe we’ve only got a draw.
“We were incredibly wasteful in front of goal. I think Jelavic is a little bit off colour as far as his goals go at the moment.
“I’m really frustrated because if I want to hang on to the boys at the top, I need to try to win the games when they come along.
“Today you would have to go away and say that Everton look as smart as any other side.
“We just didn’t finish the job off and we should have done.”
Fulham made a cracking start when Dimitar Berbatov’s trickery drew a Phil Neville foul and Bryan Ruiz curled his 25-yard free-kick in off Howard.
The Costa Rican will feel aggrieved to have such a fine strike chalked off his tally.
But Howard deserved an own goal by his name for a feeble attempted save that saw him palm the ball on to a post before it cannoned in off his shoulder.
Toffees could have got back on terms when Fellaini struck a tame shot straight at Mark Schwarzer. Then Leighton Baines swung one into Jelavic only for the Croatian to bury his free header into the deck and over.
Jelavic again could have levelled before the break but this time his attempted dink over the Fulham stopper was far too high.
But Everton continued to press in the second half and were well worth their equaliser when it eventually came. Coleman slipped in Kevin Mirallas and he pulled it back to fellow Belgian Fellaini, who powered home a shot from eight yards out.
Berbatov immediately forced Howard into a fine save with a stinging drive on the turn.
But it was all Everton and they deservedly took the lead when Jagielka punted a long ball forward for Fellaini, who chested it down, muscled off Hughes and fired in his fifth of the campaign.
Fellaini nearly had a hat-trick when his deflected strike hit a post before sub Steven Naismith’s follow-up was cleared off the line. And Fellaini then forced Schwarzer into another save with a powerful volley.
But, from nowhere, sub Sidwell nipped in past Coleman to tuck home Sascha Riether’s cross after Berbatov had missed the ball.
The last-gasp equaliser means Martin Jol’s side have still lost only two home games in 2012.
Jol said: “I can’t remember the last time we gave away a lead and lost, so I was very happy to keep that statistic going.”
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise (Dejagah 59), Duff, Diarra (Petric 76), Baird, Kacaniklic (Sidwell 68),Ruiz, Berbatov. Subs not used: Stockdale, Senderos, Karagounis, Rodallega. Booked: Riise, Diarra, Baird.
Goals: Howard 7 og, Sidwell 90.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Mirallas (Naismith 79), Osman, Neville, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic (Distin 89). Subs not used: Mucha, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Gueye, Duffy. Booked: Osman.
Goals: Fellaini 55, 72.
Ref: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).