Yakubu back on track to give Moyes reason to hope
Everton 1 Stoke City 0
Monday 01 November 2010
When david Moyes spoke of "wanting the old 'Yak' back" after the Nigerian striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni scored his first Premier League goal in more than six months on Saturday, it may have sounded like a throwaway remark. Yet in some ways it could be a lament.
Moyes is the country's most respected manager – three times he has won the League Managers Association's manager of the year – yet he has still to lift a trophy with his team. It is not hard to work out why.
In nine seasons at Everton, Moyes has only once had a consistent, goal-scoring forward. And that was Yakubu, for one season only. It is not for want of trying. On the bench on Saturday sat Louis Saha, talented but injury-prone, and Jermaine Beckford, yet to show he can graduate from League One.
Yakubu, bought for £11.25m from Middlesbrough in 2007, looked like he had cracked it. The Nigerian's first season yielded 21 goals, the highest tally by an Everton forward since Peter Beardsley, 16 years previously. Then, in November 2008, Yakubu ruptured an Achilles. It cost him 10 months out and he still does not look the player he was; last season, his goals tally was just five.
But, in the 67th minute on Saturday, Moyes spied more than just a glimmer of hope. Yakubu, rediscovering all his old power, dispossessed Abdoulaye Faye in the Stoke penalty area and laid the ball off perfectly for Tim Cahill to shoot. When the Australian's drive hit a post, Yakubu's reactions were instant: he controlled the ball, took a step to the left and hit it cleanly into the roof of the net.
"We have the makings of a very good side, but if we are going to have a real chance we need someone who can get us 15 goals a season," Moyes said.
He may have just found that man.
Man of the match Jagielka
Possession Everton 65% Stoke 35%.
Shots on target Everton 10 Stoke 1.
Referee L Probert (Wiltshire)
Att 35,513 Match rating 6/10
Latest in Sport
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Bayern Munich 'training camp' to supply refugees with food, footballs and German lessons
Anthony Martial: Manchester United's new signing received Patrice Evra's boots as a kid
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up