The Fickleness of a Football Fan by DeppoLOL
All football fans are fickle, it’s just the way it’s always been. We can hate a player one minute, they can score a goal the next, and instantly we love them again. This however, can swing both ways. Two players who exemplify this, are our very own Victor Anichebe and John Heitinga.
Firstly, Heitinga. Our player of the season last term, he was a constant fixture in our defensive line, and along with Sylvain Distin, the pair proved to be a solid pairing; the Dutchman receiving the player of the season, and the Frenchman taking the player’s player of the season. This season however has been a completely different story. Whilst Distin has remained an automatic pick for our defensive line, his pace and power proving irreplaceable on limited funds, Heitinga has been shifted to the bench in place of Jagielka.
In the 11/12 season, Everton’s goals against record was only bettered by the two Manchester clubs, who finished in 1st and 2nd place. We conceded 1.05 goals a game, compared to this season’s 1.2 per game. Of the games this season that Heitinga has started, we have conceded 1.35 goals per game with him in our defence, compared to that of 1.2 from when Jagielka starts. This doesn’t look like a massive difference, but it seems a lot of the goals conceded when Heitinga plays are directly his fault. As shown in the last 2 games, of which all 4 goals we’ve conceded, he’s played a large part in.
It’s hard to see what’s so different compared to last season, it could be any of several reasons. It could possibly be a confidence thing, having been dropped for our first game of the season, has his head dropped and it’s caused his poor performances, or could it be that he doesn’t want to play for us anymore for that reason, and his heart isn’t truly in it? Maybe he’s just simply been found out by other teams. He seems to have a lot of trouble against more powerful attackers proved this season against players such as Benteke, Lukaku and Koné. One thing I like about him, is his honesty. When he plays badly, he will tweet an apology. Simple, and maybe an act; but it’s more than any other of our players do when they put in a poor performance.
On the other hand, we have a player who has been somewhat of a scapegoat throughout his career at Everton; Anichebe.
Anichebe is a player who seems never to really have met his potential, he has been riddled with injuries since breaking into the first team, and at times we looked as though we were finally going to give up and ship him off to the highest bidder. Moyes however, appears to have seen something different. Whilst fans have cried out to play other youth players over him such as Vellios and James Vaughan whilst he was here, he has always stuck with Anichebe, which finally seems to be paying off. Possibly why he’s the manager, and we’re sitting at home pretending to be on the computer.
Last season, Anichebe managed to bag 6 goals from 8 starts and 9 appearances off the bench. Whilst it may not sound spectacular, he had one of the highest goals per minute ratio in the league, yet even when he was scoring, he never really seemed to celebrate; appearing to be in a sulk because he wasn’t starting. Many of our fans, including myself rarely gave him praise because he seemed disinterested and as though he didn’t really care whether we won or lost if he wasn’t starting. Whereas this season, he has put in 100% in pretty much every game he has played in, which really does go a long way with our fans. You only have to take a look at how much everyone took to Straqualursi for his short stay.
Not only is he now putting in the effort, he seems to have been working hard at his game, improving several aspects including his first touch, teamwork and finishing abilities. Maybe now, we’re finally beginning to see in him what Moyes has seen all along. And it’s exciting to think, that he may not have peaked yet and there’s still more to come from him. The pay-off is there to see, having managed 5 goals and 5 assists so far this season, in only 11 starts with 6 off the bench.
Both players started off at opposite ends of the popularity spectrum, and their fortunes have both vastly changed over the last year or so. It’s easy to forget that Heitinga is a world cup finalist and our player of the year. And it’s sometimes difficult to forgive and forget a player’s past performances, but try to remember form is temporary, class is permanant. Here’s to hoping that Heitinga regains his form of last season, and that Anichebe continues as he is. Onwards and upwards.