Mickey Blue Eyes
Most of us look forward to most games these days. But there are exceptions. Stoke City home or away are the two that you can do without. Fans of clubs everywhere say the same thing, that they would rather cut their toe nails with a chainsaw than watch Stoke on a good day. It goes without saying that Stoke on a bad day are well nigh ineffable. Last Saturday was one of their bad days. After witnessing a match like that you fondly ponder the possibilities of tarmac-laying as a replacement hobby. It reminds you too of a long ago crack by a friend that Stoke is Leicester covered with soot. And, yes, I know all of this is terribly unkind and an outrageous generalisation, but I am in that kind of mood. After all, it was the kind of bad game that gives bad games a bad reputation. Moreover, Goodison was in one of its sombre moods.
For me, Stoke are summed up by their hulking centre back, Robert Huth - the name somehow seems appropriate - and their only real weapon, Rory Delap's long throw. Huth is their best player and a long throw is usually a lottery of a tactic, which is why, presumably, Delap finds himself on the bench more often than not. They never change......numbers back, look for the odd break, and hope Tuncay manages to get in a shot or two. Christ, I'd rather study the technology of paint.
This is not to say the game didn't have its bright moments. The problem is, the brightest moment just about sums it up: our goal. A Tim Cahill shot from the edge of the box came back off the base of their left hand post, the Yak battled for it our right side of the goal area, their defender tried to trap it with his shins held together (a technique I have never seen work in over 50 years of playing and then watching the game), it rebounded straight to the Yak again and he sent it home high with left-footed interest from a difficult angle. It was our first out-and-out striker's goal this season.
For Us, we at least kept some shape and passing form for long periods, as the possession stats inevitably demonstrate. We even had a stroke of overdue luck when a "goal" was disallowed during Stoke's one short-lived period of the missionary position.
Me, I'm just glad that one's out of the way. Roll on Winter.