Victor: Baines Is Set-Piece King
Striker says his team-mate is the Premier League's best.
Victor Anichebe believes in Leighton Baines Everton possess the Premier League’s most lethal set-piece specialist.
Nigerian Anichebe stepped off the bench to net his fifth goal of the season as the Blues came from behind to record a 2-1 win at St James’ Park on Wednesday.
Yet it was Baines’ stunning free-kick equaliser that stole the show in the North East, the latest in a growing collection of fine dead-ball strikes by the Kirkby-born left-back.
Two seasons ago, the England man won Everton’s goal of the season for a stunning FA Cup free-kick against Chelsea, while last term a pinpoint curler at Swansea again saw him shortlisted for the Club’s annual prize.
Perhaps most impressive, however, is the fact Baines has never missed from the penalty spot in his Premier League career.
And, asked if his teammate is the best around, Anichebe told evertontv: “It would be very hard to find someone [better]. He's definitely up there and he's a great plus for the team.
“I haven't seen a better free-kick. I was sitting on the bench and I saw him about to take it from 35 yards or whatever and I didn’t think he was going to hit it. I was shouting on the bench [for him not to].
“It was an unbelievable free-kick, but that just shows how good he is. He is unbelievable, every game he is consistent. I don't see him playing badly.”
Having replaced Steven Naismith just before the hour mark, Anichebe took just two minutes to make an impact at St James’, cutting in front of Italian Davide Santon to slot past Tim Krul.
It wasn’t the first time the 24-year-old has proved an effective weapon off the bench and the striker revealed his latest contribution went exactly according to plan.
“The gaffer just said try to stay with David Santon, try to get forward as much as I could and get across the front post to score,” he said. “That's what I did.
“It was a great ball by Jela; even though he didn't score today, without the ball there's no goal. I thanked him as soon as I came in.
“It was just a good performance and I think it was the right result in the end. We dominated the first half and even towards the end. As soon as we stopped the long balls coming in, we were pretty comfortable.
“They hit the post and had some chances, but as a whole we were the better side. We passed it better and we were away from home. It was a great result, a great team performance and the fans too were great today.”