A leading London bookmaker refused a £20,000 bet on David Moyes to be the next Tottenham manager on Friday night, in the belief that it was a "done deal". The disappointed punter could well turn his attention to the Chelsea succession after Saturday's events at Goodison, which saw André Villas-Boas told by his own fans: "You don't know what you're doing," and taunted with "You're getting sacked in the morning" by the gleeful home crowd.
We are all probably getting a little bit ahead of ourselves here. There is no vacancy at White Hart Lane for Moyes to take just yet although, in the event of Harry Redknapp replacing Fabio Capello with England, Moyes would become odds-on favourite. Similarly, sources indicated that, despite his recent presence at the training ground, Roman Abramovich is not yet ready to dispense with his young manager. It goes without saying, however, that this most impatient of owners is getting an itchy trigger finger now that Chelsea have dropped out of the Champions League places, after taking three points from their past four games.
Villas-Boas said the vocal criticism was "part of the job", adding: "That was our worst performance of the season. We're sitting fifth in the league and that's not good enough."
Moyes is an acknowledged master of the alchemist's art, turning cheap base material into gold year after year, and no manager is more deserving of a chance with a bigger, wealthier club.
As Villas-Boas pointed out, Everton's success here, like their improvement generally, was the product of the club's latest signings, Steven Pienaar, Landon Donovan and Denis Stracqualursi. All three are only on loan, which is a frustration to Moyes, who said: "Landon is going back [to LA Galaxy] after next week. We haven't got the financial resources others have, so we look to them to get a few results while they are here to get some momentum going." There are no such constraints at Tottenham.
Pienaar, back at Goodison on loan from Spurs, was the man of the match, scoring the all-important first goal in the fifth minute and troubling Chelsea throughout. He struggled to make an impact with Tottenham, but Moyes said: "It was as if he'd never been away. Sometimes clubs suit players and I think that's the case here."
The second goal came from Stracqualursi, borrowed for the rest of the season, from Tigres of Argentina, where he was leading scorer in the league last year.
The early lead that had Everton's confidence coursing came when José Bosingwa's throw-in was headed on by Pienaar, producing a joust for possession between Frank Lampard and Tim Cahill. From their tussle, the ball fell obligingly for the South African to thump the ball into the roof of the net, left-footed, from eight yards. Without John Terry, who was nursing a knee injury, the Chelsea defence had a soft centre, with David Luiz again resembling a midfielder playing out of position. Why Gary Cahill remained rooted to the bench is anybody's guess. Answers on a postcard to Disgusted of Siberia.
Chelsea's efforts were undermined by Fernando Torres's clear lack of confidence, which now borders on the embarrassing. With one opportunity he headed over, with another he ran straight into Marouane Fellaini, appealing almost pathetically for a penalty. At half-time, with no apparent reason he berated the referee, Mike Jones, who had the last word by booking him in the second half for a succession of fouls born of frustration.
With no sign of the goal they needed, Chelsea withdrew Michael Essien and sent on an extra attacker, Florent Malouda – to the high-decibel disapproval of the visiting contingent. They were even more disgruntled two minutes later when Donovan played in Stracqualursi, whose finish was good enough to beat Petr Cech, despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to the ball.
Everton were indebted to Tim Howard for a late save from Romelu Lukaku, but a goal would have flattered Chelsea. Unbeaten in their past six, it is the scouse Blues who are looking good.