Gibson dazzles in comeback

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Stu Forster/Getty ImagesDavid Moyes had plenty of reason to celebrate Everton's stunning win

Sunday's last-gasp 2-1 victory over Spurs means Everton have gained 14 points from losing positions, a feat only the two Manchester clubs can better. Never knowingly beaten, the spirit and desire within this current Everton squad is priceless.

From David Moyes' little jaunt onto the pitch to Nikica Jelavic's celebration with the fans, it was obvious much this win meant. After a number of morale-sapping draws, Sunday could prove the perfect tonic as the hectic festive period approaches.

Aside from the comeback, the most pleasing aspect was the identity of the scorers. Heavily criticised in recent weeks, Steven Pienaar and Jelavic silenced their critics with the decisive goals. Too often starved of the service he craves, Jelavic worked tirelessly and, when the chance finally came, he showed tremendous composure to secure the three points.

- Stoppage-time goals stun Spurs

Mocked by the Spurs fans during the match, Pienaar showed his importance with a brilliant equaliser. Starting just five league games in his time at Spurs, it never worked out for Pienaar at White Hart Lane. Thankfully, since his return to Everton, the South African has been a revelation with many key contributions. Also, on a more statistical tangent, Pienaar’s goal was Everton’s 1,000th in the Premier League.

Jelavic and Pienaar will grab the headlines but one player stood above the rest. Stretching his unbeaten run to 33 league games, Darron Gibson bossed the midfield and was involved in the winning goal. Displaying an extensive passing range, this was Gibson at his best. Demanding possession and strong in the tackle, the midfielder produced his best performance since his cut-price January move.

Improving the team with assured tackling and sound positional sense, Gibson provides much-needed cover for the defence. Not just a water carrier, Gibson also acts as the offensive platform with the Ireland man starting numerous attacks. At £250,000, he is fantastic value for money and rapidly becoming one of Moyes' best signings.

Gibson is one of Moyes' best bargains but another also had a strong impact on proceedings. Costing even less than Gibson, Apostolos Vellios entered the action with 10 minutes remaining. Assisting the winner, albeit fortuitously, Vellios won a number of flick-ons and the young striker looks better with each appearance.

Everton were the better side but the cutting edge was repeatedly lacking, especially when Kevin Mirallas went off injured. Fortunately, his withdrawal appeared precautionary rather than serious but Everton look a worse team without him. However, in Steven Naismith, Everton have a different but useful option. While not as direct as Mirallas, Naismith was involved in the equaliser and improved on recent performances.

Tottenham will feel sick at having surrendered the lead but their goal was fortuitous and arguably against the run of play. Deflecting off Sylvain Distin, the effort from Clint Dempsey looped over the stranded Tim Howard. After the late fightback, this win stretches the unbeaten home run to 13 matches with an impressive 32 goals scored by Everton in those games.

The pandemonium in the stands highlighted the significance of this win. Beating a potential European rival, Everton ended their run of draws and this could prove the turning point in the season. Although slightly cliché, there is usually a moment that defines a team’s season or sparks it into life; this could be that moment.

**Gibson went off injured at 0-0 during the West Brom defeat.

ESPN Conversations