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Pre-season... what the hell?

By Daniel Johnson :  19/08/2009 :  Comments (7) :

For me the horror of that Saturday evening now sits as a permanent memory burnt into my cerebral cortex.

But, Lescott fury aside, it’s the lack of fitness and sharpness both mentally and physically displayed by the players which shocked the most. The players looked tired, unsettled, nervous... and looked like they wanted to be anywhere but in the middle of Goodison Park. We were there for the taking plain and simple. When that first goal went in, our heads dropped and from then it was game over.

As this was the first game of the season, the question must be asked, what the hell happened pre-season this year? Pre-season to me means this:

  • Look to the new season ahead with optimism.
  • Pursue your transfer targets and try and get them in quickly.
  • Get the boys back together and bonding again.
  • Get the first team fit.
  • Get them sharp.
  • Integrate new players (transfer targets) into the team/country and the Everton way of playing.
  • But most of all its about getting the players READY for the Premier League start.

Isn’t that the point of preseason for any football club??

Even Arsène Wenger said Everton appeared “lethargic” and “tired”. With the first home game of the season, he was expecting us to come out and go for Arsenal's throats with fire and thunder but to his surprise that never happened.

Between Moyes and his backroom staff they got something badly wrong this summer. Is the fact that Lescott wants to leave responsible for the malaise that fell over the first team during that match? Lescott is a quality player but he is NOT a superstar. Was it our preseason tour, our training, or our preseason opposition — or even all three, which contributed to that result? Or was it just a fluke?

One can argue that Moyes and his habit of dummy-spitting may be one cause. Our bad start to last season and our early exit from Europe was in my eyes because Moyes was sulking, saying too much to the media and spitting his dummy out. This obviously badly affected the team. This year and again all is clearly not well on planet Moyes.

Sometimes his actions really do leave me scratching my head. We are now in a critical phase of the season for attracting players to our club, so why does Moyes come out with his "avoiding relegation" statement? Hardly the positive signal we want to send out to potential signings... Why not come and out and say it was a blip and we will still be up there fighting at the end of the season?

Due to the fact that Everton as a team always over-achieve, we could easily have a season when we don’t achieve. Subsequently, we are effectively always walking on a knife-edge of success or failure.

Given that our success is based on team spirit, honesty, graft and teamwork, why Moyes appears to be doing his utmost to undermine what makes us great is beyond me. Everton under David Moyes will never be about single individuals so his current stance of holding Lescott at any cost, even to the possible detriment of the team, baffles me.

For David Moyes there are obviously lessons still to be learned.

Reader Comments

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Mick Wrende
1   Posted 20/08/2009 at 14:02:49

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And how does playing Bury, Blackpool, a cobbled up American side and a second rate Spanish team get you match fit and sharp enough to play a team like Arsenal? Does no-one at our club have any idea about fitness?
Alan Clarke
2   Posted 20/08/2009 at 14:21:34

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When’s he ever going to learn though? Moyes’s season starts in September once we’ve played 6 games. That’s when he’s bought his players by and that’s when he’s finally got his players fit.
Col Wills
3   Posted 20/08/2009 at 14:37:57

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Exactly; Arsenal looked much fitter compared to ourselves, They constantly hurried and hassled us into mistake after mistake and caused our defence and midfield to launch desperate balls. Look how Fabregas ran away from both Neville and Fellaini for his goals, and he was running with the ball!

Even watching the games last night, you could see that other teams looked sharp and fit right until the end of the game. We seem to have lapsed into thinking we can out-football teams without the effort when we plainly can’t.

Rupert Sullivan
4   Posted 20/08/2009 at 16:13:56

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Daniel,

Maybe the team are just really annoyed that no-body has been brought in to help them and that they will have to over-achieve again. Maybe the thought of not winning anything is helping to drop morale. Perhaps the thought of Kirkby looms over the dressing room casting a large shadow over their hopes and dreams...
Andy Crooks
5   Posted 20/08/2009 at 17:26:49

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Daniel, every point you make is valid. Are you of the same opinion as me, i.e David Moyes is overpaid and overrated.
Jay Harris
6   Posted 20/08/2009 at 17:34:49

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Andy,
bet you were’nt saying that when you were looking for your cup final tickets.

Moyes is a fine manager and when you look at the crap he has to put up with you might appreciate him a bit more. Nobody at the club puts more time and effort and feeling into our club.

Yes he makes mistakes but so do we all but at least he’s honest sometimes too honest for his own good because he wears his heart on his sleeve and players pick up on that.

The rumour I heard which I do believe to be true is that Lescott was bitching and moaning about not wanting to play and Hibbert threatened to lamp him which is supposed to have happened just before kick off so our famous team spirit went straight out of the window.

My real worry is the players know more than we do so are they also concerned about not getting any reinforcements in like last summer and then being asked to lay their bodies (and careers) on the line for the team.
Kirk McArdle
7   Posted 21/08/2009 at 02:47:46

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Daniel, If you ask any Premier League manager (and I include top 4 managers too) their targets for the season, the first one would be "avoid relegation". Staying in this top division is paramount. Why do so many managers talk about the magical "40 points. Anything more is a bonus"?

Look at Hull last season. By December, they had accumulated 29 points. They finished the season on 35 points and were only saved from relegation from the fact that the Barcodes were / still are in such disarray. (There but for the grace of God!!) A few seasons ago, West Ham were relegated with 43 points.

As much as Saturday's result didn’t surprise me, the score slightly did, it was the performance which I think we will all agree that has hurt the most. Arsenal have the nack/ability to destroy ANY team. They didn't click against Celtic like they did against us. Very good day at the office for them. Very bad day at the office for us. We are not a bad side. We just aren’t. Arteta, and the Yak will help but I feel complete stability will not return until after Jags pulls his Royal jersey back on.
ps:. 1. Refrained from the line "like new players!!!" and
2. Maybe another thread and another time but cannot remember which thread I was reading that mentioned Cahill at some point for captain. That honour should be Jags. Captains should lead from the back. They look forward onto the play. Anyone midfield and forward has to look back in the wrong direction.

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