Well, we kept the home form going with a decent performance (though dull in the early second half) against a fairly weak Everton side. You can read all the details of the game elsewhere as usual, but I’d like to pick out one player for a special mention: Tomas Gravesen.
It’s not often that opposition players get picked out for good reasons (except Henry, purely because he’s bloody amazing). Gravesen, though, has shown sportsmanship above and beyond compared to far too many Premiership players this season, and a work rate to match.
Last season, he put in a red-card challenge on Bernard at Goodison, but got away with it. In his defense, both he and manager were trying like mad to get the home team to kick the ball out of play so that Bernard could get treatment. Referee Neale Barry, however, knew better and waved play on until Everton got a penalty. I seem to recall that he even let the penalty be taken before allowing Bernard treatment. But Gravesen held back and didn’t take ay part in the build-up of play after his tackle. He knew he’d done something wrong and didn’t want to take advantage of it.
On to today’s match, then. Gravesen was all over the pitch. Up front, in defence, mucking in in midfield – much like a bulkier, balder Dyer. One moment that stood out, though, was when he was on the receiving end of a crunching challenge from Bramble. Titus won the ball, Gravesen flew through the air and crashed down on his shoulder.
Many other players would have taken the opportunity to roll around, clutch their shin or in some other way try to halt play. Not Gravesen, Back on his feet within seconds and trying to win possession back. Quality, and more like the football we used to see before the bloody Europeans infested out leagues 20 or so years ago.
For every skillful and hard-working player, there’s one who’ll fall to the ground if anyone so much as breathes near them. Everton should be proud to count Gravesen as firmly not in that camp.