There are many causes to the terrible start we have had, and the whole club has to take collective responsibility for that. Everyone, from chairman, to CEO, to manager, to players has failed to learn from their mistakes, and it has cost us.
However, I think we are nearly there. Many people have dismissed the injury situation as a mere inconvenience, a fact of life that we should be able to contend with. Perhaps those with that view should take a look at the amount of coverage our lovable red friends' injury crisis is receiving.
For the Villa game, we started without SIX of last season's regular first team, and another two first-team squad players, all due to illness and injury. Four of the team are new this season. One is working his way back from serious injury. They had pretty much a full strength side, and have beaten Chelsea and Liverpool already this season. And yet we competed. We weren't great, but we were a damn sight better than the horror show in Lisbon.
So why do I think we are nearly there? Well I witnessed the difference four players made to the side, so it gives me a great deal of confidence to think we have another eight to come. Before anybody starts, I don't think we're gonna suddenly go on a long winning run.
I don't expect us to beat Benfica tomorrow, and I certainly don't fancy us at Old Trafford. But Hull away is 3 weeks today, and I would expect 4 or 5 of those 8 to be available to us by then. With us facing a challenging fixture list thereafter, it will give us an opportunity to get closer to where we want to be.
Despite such a poor start, we are only 7 points from 4th, with a game in hand on several teams above us. That's not to disguise the fact that we are 14th in the league, because being 14th in the league is a disgrace. It simply highlights that there is still hope in a season where many seem to have given up.
Goodison was a bit special on Saturday. We didn't see great football, nor great goals. But most of us in the crowd saw a marked difference, and we responded. Like I said, I think we're nearly there.
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 04/11/2009 at 09:59:30
More disturbingly I see that Man City have been linked with Jack Rodwell and 'may bid in January' but 'might wait until Summer instead' (various organs). The similarity here to the long courtship of Lescott is spooky, as it started about this time last year with similarly worded comments filtering through the media.
Obviously with Rodwell's undoubted talent (albeit still to mature) we have to expect other clubs to be interested, but if I'm right (but hopefully paranoid!) City seem to be developing a method by which they unsettle players to the point where a transfer becomes inevitable. It wasn't only Lescott who agitated for a move to City after a similarly prolonged and very public saga (Barry for one).
They still seem to be unique with this strategy and I hope it remains that way; it's clever but also devious, as, of course it's only press speculation isn't it?
2 Posted 04/11/2009 at 16:24:20
3 Posted 04/11/2009 at 16:17:13
I think the point here is that we may well have coped much better if all our transfer activity had been conducted earlier in the transfer window, which would have been a wise move knowing we had key players out with long-term injuries. This would have enabled the new players to get up to speed with the rest of the squad in terms of fitness, tactics & familiarity with the rest of the squad & each other — oh, yes & eligibility for Europa League! In theory we are still putting out a decent first XI for most matches, but in reality half of the players are still getting up to speed.
So you may well be proved right, but it may well have as much to all the changes being assimilated into the squad as it has to do with players returning from injury.
4 Posted 04/11/2009 at 16:33:31
5 Posted 04/11/2009 at 17:05:01
I don't get all the fuss that is being made over a 1-1 draw at home to Villa. I thought both sides where terrible on the day but, as you all keep rightly pointing out, we finished above Villa for the past two seasons and now a draw at home is being hailed as success?
I know we won't be relegated and I also know a top 6 finish is already dead and buried... so I ask you again: Nearly Where?
6 Posted 04/11/2009 at 17:59:47
There is still hope of winning a trophy and finishing high up the table. We have a similar total of points to last season when we finished 5th and reached a cup final and we are not that far behind 4th place.
7 Posted 04/11/2009 at 18:32:30
8 Posted 04/11/2009 at 19:00:14
To be honest, I am more worried about Kirkby at the minute; I won’t be happy until that nightmare goes away.
9 Posted 04/11/2009 at 20:41:55
10 Posted 05/11/2009 at 07:55:39
We don’t have the ability in the middle to pass out of the problem so we hit balls in to areas and play the percentage game. Jo is Bret Angell's love child — I’m convinced of it, unless we can covert early chances we run out of stream and become very predictable.
Just getting Phil Neville back will help us a lot add peanuts to that then we have a chance of scoring goals. COYB... fingers crossed for tonight and Sunday, if we don’t get all three points on Sunday we will be sucked down and that worries me a lot.
11 Posted 05/11/2009 at 09:33:32
Who are these playmakers?
And why are you mentioning players we apparently nearly got... not only does it defeat your implied point that we are adequate in that department... it’s also absolutely irrelevant!
12 Posted 05/11/2009 at 09:45:23
How about Arteta and Pienaar?
13 Posted 05/11/2009 at 10:24:35
Yes, Arteta is a playmaker... and he’s our only one... that’s being the point being made.
14 Posted 05/11/2009 at 12:18:38
15 Posted 05/11/2009 at 13:19:56
"I know we won’t be relegated and I also know a top 6 finish is already dead and buried... " A few weeks ago we were deffinitely heading for a relegation fight according to Marshy. Please also explain why a top 6 place is dead in the water? Are we playing for less points than other other teams around us???
It is not "dead" until we cannot mathmatically reach 6th, the same as last year when the papers were saying it was a shoo-in that Villa would finiah in the top 4, then they would definitely finish 5th... you know what happens with over the top confidence with predictions?
I do agree though that there is nothing to be excited about lately.
16 Posted 05/11/2009 at 13:40:36
I am optimistic and thought, contrary to most, we played very well against Villa but Yak hasn’t quite got his eye in for goal and we keep making basic errors at the back. These will be eradicated with a more settled and experienced team.
We have more quality players than last season and I agree with the post that there is cause for optimism and I think come Feb/March if we are still in the Europa and FA Cups, then we’ll do well.
17 Posted 05/11/2009 at 13:50:41
What is your deffenition of a playmaker?
The players who I would consider to be playmakers are; Arteta, Fellaini, Bily, Rodwell potentially and Osmen, although a very poor playmaker.
18 Posted 05/11/2009 at 14:54:16
19 Posted 05/11/2009 at 15:10:05
Yes, please join the dots...
The implication being that a team clearly needs more than one playmaker...
My definition of a playmaker is a creative central midfielder who is competent at both breaking up play and dictating, controlling and facilitating the passage of play to the more attacking players...
In my opinion there is something of an overlap with both the defensive midfielder and a attacking midfielder...and the overlap with a box to box is also evident
In a 451 there may not be as much need to have the defensive competency - but it never does any harm at all..
20 Posted 05/11/2009 at 15:29:26
21 Posted 05/11/2009 at 15:47:31
22 Posted 05/11/2009 at 16:35:35
How does that criteria mean they are hard to find?
How much did Krancjar go for again...after waiting around all summer on a transfer?
I don’t remember saying we didn’t have one, do you?
What I said was that we needed one. Join the dots.
23 Posted 05/11/2009 at 16:40:44
24 Posted 05/11/2009 at 16:50:25
Maybe you should stop being presumptious...and making an unreasonable inference beyond what’s put in front of you..
25 Posted 05/11/2009 at 16:57:15
26 Posted 05/11/2009 at 17:08:22
I don’t accept your assertion that there are few of these players about at all....and I don’t accept your presumption that players don’t want to come either...it’s simply supposition.
If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. We pay peanuts...
oh, and I in no way blame Moyes for that situation...well, I do in a way - his obsession with utility players seems to get in the way of the specialised players we need..
But the majority of teh fault belongs with those that back him...and the miserable way they fail in that aspect.
27 Posted 05/11/2009 at 18:17:29
The truth is we dont know all the details but perhaps Moyes was right to be cautious. I personaly did not rate him very highly and felt he would have been a waste, yes there were glimses of real quality but too few to pay the amount they wanted, i think he would have been as frustraiting as Babbel for Liverpool.
Again with Moutinho we dont know all the details of the saga but it seems we just didnt have the amount of money they were asking for.
It is not a presumption that those players i mentioned didnt want to come to Everton, they actually said it. As for ’’if you pay peanuts you get monkeys’’ Are Arteta, piennar and Cahill monkeys?
28 Posted 06/11/2009 at 00:30:26
I would also have liked to seen Fernandes join, I cant speculate on whether it was a case of Moyes messing around or not having the money(Again), but he showed his class in spain before his injury last season and would have been great for us in the more withdraw defensive playmaking role.
Moutinho I think was clearly a player Moyes wanted (as well as many of us) but I think money again played a part, esp as Lisbon were asking for an insane amount. However I would have prefered we would have spent an extra couple of million and got him over fellaini (although physically there could have been an issue given the nature of the premiership).
With respect to hope for this season, I cant see anything higher than seventh position being tangible given the points we’ve dropped, our injury situation and our form. Hopefully we can go on a cup run, I’d still expect us to qualify for the next round of the UEFA cup and in january, when messrs arteta/jags as well as pienaar and neville are back(hopefully back anyway) I’d fancy us to put together a good run in the cup bearing a nightmare draw. Although tbh I’m already thinking about next season and hoping we can go into it with a fit and settled squad and at least start on the same level as our ’rivals’
29 Posted 06/11/2009 at 10:44:22
Moyes was so undecided..that he decided to sign him....I think you’ll find the issue was dithering over the price by our precious board
And, as you’ll well know...during that second period Manny was carrying an injury and was being played out of position as a winger.....
Pienaar plays the Cahill role for South Africa. Not a play maker role.
30 Posted 06/11/2009 at 11:59:05
31 Posted 06/11/2009 at 12:31:57
Maybe if you weren’t confusing an attacking midfielder with the playmaker role - you’d understand my point.
Pienaar plays too far up the pitch for South Africa to be considered a playmaker...
32 Posted 06/11/2009 at 12:42:44
Pompey fans were delighted to see the back of Krancjar. And look at Spurs’s performances since Modric got injured and was replaced with him.
33 Posted 06/11/2009 at 14:02:43
Kranjcar has obvious class and would have been a great signing for us. I was hoping we would get him in the summer but was of the belief that a figure near 6mil would be neccessary, and to see him eventually go for as cheap as he did was a real blow. He hasnt set spurs alight so far but he has done a good job in the games he has played, despite often being in an unfavoured position.
34 Posted 06/11/2009 at 14:50:11
I don’t agree with your assertion any midfield position can be considered a playmaker..
On that basis it’s a bit of a catch-all definition which really loses any meaning at all - other than creative..
For me a playmaker essentially needs to be a depper lying central midfielder with creative passing capability.
I’m struggling to figure out how you are concluding I didn’t watch the confed cup games or the Ireland match (which I was at).
Pienaar played as an central attacking midfielder in all those games...
35 Posted 06/11/2009 at 17:32:23
And to state that a playmaker needs to be in a deeper lying central midfielder and that others who dont play this role cant be playmakers is verging on unbelievable for a football fan. Arguably the two best playmakers last season were Xavi and Iniesta, neither of whom are deep midfielders, especially iniesta. Whilst Kaka, one of the consistently best players in the world, is a playmaker in the attacking sense. Or do you mantain that neither Kaka nor Iniesta are playmakers?
And Zidane, who is generally considered as the best playmaker of recent times was principally an attacking orientated midfield or am not a deeper midfielder. To consider that a playmaker has to be deep in midfield, is to ignore most of the best playmakers that have played the game and completely disregards the ’modern’ number 10 role.
36 Posted 09/11/2009 at 09:21:05
So you think all midfielders are effectively playmakers then...
37 Posted 09/11/2009 at 21:54:26
Great work Ciaran, really great work. On the plus side your stubborn idiocy is amusing.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Fan Articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.