As the game last night was not being shown live it is very difficult to give a definitive review but as I followed it on three different live internet streams with “Ball-by-Ball” commentary the game unravelled in a way not seen on Sunday. Hull certainly made more of an attempt – especially after going 1-0 down – and playing a 4-4-2 system posed us more than a few problems. That they scored twice and exposed our defensive frailties on both occasions is somewhat worrying.
Injuries – still no word on whether they are serious or not – to Naughton and Chadli (only on for 9 minutes) put a bit of a dampner on proceedings while Capoue remained on the bench. The omission of Adebayor from the matchday squad was perhaps the most talked about topic on the internet last night – where was he? Why wasn´t he involved? If we want to sell him for the best possible price in 2 months we need him showing what he is capable of – or at the very least that he is fit enough to run around a bit.
Siggy scored a stunning goal – not for the first time this season – to give us a deserved first half lead and we should have scored again before their equaliser, which had elements of farce about it. A ball in behind our defence was actually pulled away from goal by Curtis Davies when it would have been easier for him to score, only for the ball to divert it in off Brad Friedal´s flailing arm.
Both teams had opportunities to score towards the end of normal time with Harry Kane´s effort crashing against the bar on the final whistle the nearest anyone came to breaking the deadlock. Extra time saw Hull score again with Paul McShane rising unopposed to head home a corner, while it took another long range effort from Kane to secure the draw and the penalty shoot out – something we have not been successful in for almost 20 years – which was in itself highly dramatic with us converting no fewer than 8 of 9 attempts.
The reports, as I read them, began to fill up with one name in particular – that of Erik Lamela – who seemed to be getting in on things far more than he has in previous matches, even attempting a few long ranges shots – one of which needed to be well saved by the Hull keeper. It appeared that he was growing in confidence – whether that has ebbed away following his penalty being saved is difficult to tell, but at least we won – setting up an early opportunity to exact revenge on the WetSpam in the quarterfinals in mid December.
But for now we have to get back to Premiership winning and a tricky away fixture at Everton.
These games have a habit of being laden with goals (well more than our usual 1-0 efforts) – with plenty coming in the last few minutes (last season they got two in injury time) so this is likely to be edge of the seat stuff yet again. With four of our regular starting line up – Walker, Vertonghen, Dembele and Paulinho – all playing the full 120 minutes and successfully scoring penalties, it remains to be seen whether any will have any lasting ill effects from last night´s match. The two defenders will play while Sandro is likely to return in place of one of the others. Yesterday´s front four will almost certainly rotate out to be replaced by Townsend, Holtby, Lennon and Soldado.
Everton´s main attacking thrust has for the past few seasons been down the left – in the shape of Leighton Baines – but hopefully coming up against our man of the moment – Andros Townsend – will stunt his progress forward. Being at home and playing a more expansive type of game – under Martinez it is unlikely that Everton will end up parking the bus – it should give us more room to play the type of game we prefer. More space, more time, more chances, more goals – one can only dream.
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