Today is the third day of the rest of Everton’s season

Last weekend, I speculated that Everton’s strong second half performance against Manchester United would trigger a run of quality play and good results. So far, I’m half right.

Since the Man U match, we have defeated modest Bolton (away) and Fulham (home), both by the score of 1-0. So the results are fine. But the play has been mediocre, and it took very late goals that didn’t really look like they were coming to secure both wins.

On the plus side, we kept a clean sheet (a shut-out) in both matches, our first two of the year, though the opposition hit a few posts. Manager David Moyes was able to shore up the defense in part by shifting Leon Osman, an attacking midfielder and the team’s slightest player, into a defensive role — the one the more burly Lee Carsley filled so ably in past years. Leave it to Moyes to pull the right string.

The two wins have moved us all the way from 16th place to 7th, pending the outcome of Manchester City’s match tomorrow. So it’s unlikely that we’ll have to worry about relegation. But we’ll need to improve the play if we hope to qualify for European competititon again next year.

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