It is a great feeling to actually win! Yesterday we beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park. We all know we have been going through a really tough patch over the last couple of weeks but hopefully yesterdays win will spur the team on to more success as the season goes on.
They say you need a bit of luck in football to be successful and we certainly had lady luck smiling on us at Goodison Park as Mascherano took a long range shot which was deflected into the Everton goal. I am still not sure if Mascherano has been given the goal or it goes down as an own goal, but for the way Mascherano celebrated that goal, I think they should credit it to him.
The turning point of the game must have come when we were one nil up and Everton were putting on the pressure and then Pepe Reina came up with two amazing saves! For me, those saves won us the game. If Everton had leveled it up at 1-1 we may have been in trouble.
Many people do not give Reina the credit he deserves. Yes he has made some mistakes in the past but he has made more telling saves than mistakes during his time at Liverpool. He literally won us the game yesterday but most of the plaudits will go out to the goal scorers, Mascherano and Kuyt.
It is a pity that Reina is only the second choice keeper for Spain. I believe he should be their number as Reina is the best in the business. Not only is his shot stopping brilliant but he can start off an attack with his quick awareness in releasing the ball. I would pick Reina ahead of any other keeper in the game today.
After Reina’s amazing saves yesterday we then went on to seal the game with a goal from Dirk Kuyt. 2-0 and the game was in the bag. I crossed my fingers that the scoreline could remain that way as I was desperate for us to keep a clean sheet.
We have been leaking goals this season and we have conceded the most number of goals in the Premier League from set pieces. What is wrong with our defence?
A lot of people are bringing up the Zonal marking issue again saying that it does not work. But if you recall a ‘goal’ from a corner yesterday that Everton thought they had scored but their player was offside: that showed the benefit of Zonal marking as we do not have players on the posts during corners.
But even as this season has gone, we have not changed tactics in defence as we still play Zonal marking so what has changed from being the best defensive team to being one of the worst if the tactics are the same? The simple answer has to be the personnel we have now. What has changed then? Glen Johnson has come in for Arbeloa, Carra is still there, Agger and / or Skrtel are still there and Insua has now come in ahead of Aurelio and Dossena. So where is the weak link?
Glen Johnson is not the best right back when it comes to defending so could he be the cause? Maybe, he is new to this whole system and as a player he is not too strong defensively. But then again, not too many goals we have conceded have been through his mistakes. On the other hand take a look at Insua. I have been keeping a close eye on him this season and he has made quite a number of costly mistakes. Yes he is still young but he is a full Argentina international now so he has to be the part. My biggest concern with him is that he is just too short. When it comes to defending set pieces he is of not much use to use if the ball is put high in the box (but then again he almost scored with a header yesterday against Everton). His positioning at times has also been questionable. So is Insua the weak link in our defence? I think so.
But with all the problems our back four may have, we still have what I think is the best goalkeeper in the world in Pepe Reina. So if you get past our faulty back four, you still have Reina to deal with.
Maybe Cech and Buffon just edge him in terms of height…but in terms of distribution; one-on-one’s; sweeping; handling and shot-stopping he is by far the best! I wouldn’t swap him for anyone else.