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Everton Turning Things Around... Again

Sunday 19th February 2012
A second half of the season revival yet again appears to be on the cards for Everton much akin to the last few seasons. The difference this time is that the revival at the beginning of 2012 has been sparked by a very satisfying transfer window with the arrivals of Darron Gibson, Nikica Jelavic, and loanees Landon Donovan and Steven Pienaar; in contrast with the struggles of previous seasons to bring any new faces in through the door, let alone permanent signings. Arguably this has provided the catalyst for an FA Cup run that has taken the club to the quarter-finals and two excellent league victories over Manchester City and Chelsea.

Despite the initial question marks raised by Evertonians over the signing of Darron Gibson, the former Manchester United man is proving to be a shrewd piece of business. He does the simple things well; passing the ball to a blue shirt and hard in the tackle, arguably bringing the best out of midfield partner Marouane Fellaini in recent weeks by loosening the shackles on him and allowing him to impose himself more upon the game. The winning goal against Manchester City was undoubtedly the standout moment but forging a strong partnership with Fellaini could be vital in lifting Everton towards the Europa League places.

The energetic Landon Donovan has yet again proved to be an effective capture for David Moyes and Evertonians would love to bring the American to the club on a permanent basis. The flu prevented Donovan from saying goodbye to the Goodison faithful on Saturday against Blackpool but the return from injury of Seamus Coleman and the outstanding performance from Royston Drenthe have given hope that the gap left by Donovan can be filled effectively. Before injury Coleman had become ineffective on the right of midfield, often looking tired but hopefully he can now return fresh and able to make the impact that he made during his first seasons in the first-team. This may be important for Everton as Drenthe, despite being a menace to the opposition going forward, can at times be a bit of a liability defensively losing the ball in dangerous positions and should perhaps be considered more of an impact player than a regular starter.

Arguably the most pleasing sight for Evertonians is the form of Denis Stracqualursi. Although not the most pleasing on the eye, he puts in a real shift; closing down opponents and chasing after every ball. There were signs during the Blackpool game that his link up play is beginning to improve in laying the ball off and spreading play out wide but the most important thing is that he is now scoring goals with 3 in the last 5 games. The old-fashioned centre forward style of his play has warmed him to the hearts of the fans of a club famous for its No. 9s, and if he can continue this form he could prove to be a solution to Everton's early season striking problems.
George Gibson

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