Everton 1 Bolton Wanderers 0: Moyes claims Arteta has the class to be Spain's gain

Click to follow
The Independent Football

After admitting that it takes only a handful of injuries to leave his squad looking threadbare, you might have thought David Moyes would have been keen to keep his more influential players away from the risks that come with international duty.

Yet having championed the England cause of striker Andrew Johnson, the Everton manager seems keen to emphasise what Spain are missing by ignoring the talents of Mikel Arteta, whose ability to fashion chances for others and the brilliant finish he applied to one of his own were the factors to which Moyes attributed this win.

The 24-year-old from San Sebastian represented his country at Under-21 level but did not impress senior coach Luis Aragones enough to go to last summer's World Cup, nor has he figured yet in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Nevertheless, Moyes believes an opportunity should exist for his player. "I've said before that I am surprised Mikel has not had a mention," he said. "Spain clearly have some fantastic players to pick from but as a team they have not done so well lately and I think Mikel deserves an opportunity."

The more often he puts his name on the score sheet, Moyes emphasised, the better his chances of being noticed. "I've told him that goals should be a big part of his game," he said. "He has a great finish with either foot and I try to encourage him to try for goal."

The 60th-minute decider came just as Bolton, no better than Everton in a tepid opening half, were threatening to take the upper hand. As the home side broke rapidly after a corner, Arteta received the ball inside the Bolton half, went past two defenders in shifting it on to his left foot and beat Jussi Jaaskelainen with a rising drive into the top corner.

It capped a performance that brought Everton only a second Premiership win in nine matches and relief for Moyes after the long-term injury to Tim Cahill, whose ability to score had been helping to nullify the effects of Johnson's current drought. However, they are struggling with the strains currently being placed on a small squad.

"We don't really have that many injuries," Moyes said. "But losing Tim in addition to Tony Hibbert, Gary Naysmith and Alessandro Pistone leaves us stretched because we are short on numbers."

For Sam Allardyce, whose Bolton team has slipped from third to sixth after gaining only one point out of 12, a shortage of goals is a growing worry. While Allardyce's claim that Bolton had "controlled the game from start to finish" was disputed by Moyes, there were chances for Idan Tal, El Hadji Diouf, Ivan Campo and Nicolas Anelka - still goalless for Bolton in the Premiership - that yielded nothing.

"It probably is getting Nicolas down," Allardyce said. "All strikers get a bit agitated and worried if they are not getting goals but as a team we have failed to punish the opposition for three games in a row now and it is looking more than a blip."

Goal: Arteta (60) 1-0.

Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Yobo, Stubbs, Lescott, Valente; Arteta, Carsley, Neville, Osman; Beattie (Anichebe, 76), Johnson. Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Weir, Van der Meyde, Vaughan.

Bolton Wanderers (4-3-2-1): Jaaskelainen; Hunt, Ben Haim, Meite, Pedersen; Tal, Speed (Faye, 90), Campo (Stelios, 83); Davies (Vaz Te, 90), Diouf; Anelka. Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Fortune.

Referee: U Rennie (South Yorkshire).

Booked: Everton Neville, Anichebe, Johnson.

Man of the match: Arteta.

Attendance: 34,417.