Rating the Everton Players in the 2-0 Win Against QPR
Everton put on a professional display to secure their fourth win in five Premier League matches and all but condemn a hapless Queens Park Rangers to Championship football next season.
A rather drab first half was briefly livened up when Darron Gibson's long-range drive deflected in off Clint Hill for the Irishman's first goal of the season.
The strike was certainly fortunate, although Everton then grasped hold of the game after half-time, upping the intensity and deservedly doubling their lead when Victor Anichebe hooked in a Sylvain Distin header.
It was a largely forgettable spectacle, but it crucially provided the Toffees with three more valuable points, enabling them to travel to the Emirates on Tuesday still with a chance of a top-four finish.
Win, and Champions League football becomes a genuine possibility. Lose, and the season is likely to fizzle out for the men in blue.
Here's a look at how Everton's players fared in today's game.
Tim Howard: 7/10
An assured display from Howard, who was secure with his handling and came out to claim or divert most of QPR's deliveries into the box.
In total he made three saves, including an excellent reaction stop at his near post to deny Loic Remy.
Seamus Coleman: 6/10
Coleman was his side's main presence going forward for the first half-hour, although he did not produce his normal quota of end product, finding a man with just one cross and not creating any chances.
He was solid enough at the back, managing to keep Junior Hoilett in check throughout the contest, but it was a less effective performance compared to recent weeks.
Leighton Baines: 7.5/10
At left-back, Baines produced a typically productive display, fashioning out five of his side's 12 chances while proving a constant threat to Nedum Onouha going forward.
Some of his offensive bursts gave Andros Townsend room to exploit the space behind him, but this was generally well covered by Gibson or Distin.
Sylvain Distin: 7/10
After deflecting an early shot wide, that was perhaps easier to hit the target with, Distin made amends by notching up his first assist of the season for Anichebe's goal.
The Frenchman was strong at the back, often out-muscling Remy, and ended the game unbeaten in aerial challenges.
Phil Jagielka: 6.5/10
An effective enough game from Jagielka, who wasn't overly exerted by a QPR side that seemed resigned to their pending relegation.
The England man was perhaps a little too relaxed and sloppy with his passing, but mopped up at the back when needed and was customarily ruthless in ground challenges.
Leon Osman: 6/10
Osman quietly went about his business in midfield, disrupting QPR's breaks with five interceptions, although he struggled to increase his side's overall tempo when in possession.
He was strangely uninvolved with the Toffees' passing game, making just 27 accurate passes, his third lowest contribution of the season, and a curious return against such a defensive opponent.
Darron Gibson: 7/10
For the seventh time in eight games, Gibson was his side's top passer, enforcing his side's approach from midfield and regularly transferring the play with an accurate diagonal pass.
He also made a couple of timely interceptions and deserved his goal, although he certainly benefited from a fortuitous deviation off Hill.
Kevin Mirallas: 6.5/10
It was a scratchy game from Mirallas, who barely featured in the opening exchanges. He was dispossessed a frustrating six times, almost double as much as any other player and was perhaps guilty of trying a little too much.
He still managed to create two chances and almost registered what would have been his third stunning strike in three games, as his rather audacious effort from out wide drew a fine save from Julio Cesar.
Steven Pienaar: 6/10
Pienaar was slightly below par on his return to the side, fractionally off the pace with his timing and anticipation and unusually only created one chance for his side.
He was the only midfielder to pass at below 80 percent accuracy (78 percent) and was especially wayward in the final third, with just 65 percent of his passes finding a man. Everton will need him to be far more in rhythm at the Emirates on Tuesday.
Marouane Fellaini: 6.5/10
Fellaini was another quiet performer in this game, although he was still tidy enough in possession and efficient with his link up play. He was more accurate than any other player with his passing (86 percent) and won several long balls for his side with some exceptional chest-control.
Who was Everton's best player?
Surprisingly, the Belgian was almost irrelevant in the final third, unable to create a chance or unleash a shot, and he also received an extremely harsh booking in the context of the game. In truth, he wasn't needed to be his imperious, all-action best, and Everton will hope he is storing that up for Tuesday.
Victor Anichebe: 8/10
Once again, Anichebe was arguably his side's top performer, rounding off some impressive hold-up play with a goal that his perseverance clearly merited.
He won most physical confrontations against a similarly powerful centre-back, in Chris Samba, and continues to show improvement in all facets of his game.
Nikica Jelavic, Steven Naismith and John Heitinga: n/a
All three players emerged from the bench in the final 10 minutes, providing a breather for Osman, Mirallas and Anichebe, although none had much of a chance to make an impact, touching the ball just seven times between them.
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