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Groundhog Day

By Stewart Littler :  09/11/2009 :  Comments (40) :
Well, the title says it all. A year ago yesterday, I was at Upton Park to see Everton literally rob West Ham of the points in a game we should never have won. The circumstances may have been different, but the story seems to have been the same yesterday.

We got lucky. No footballing performance to calm the masses at TW Towers. Still plenty to criticise. But we got the much-needed 3 points, and even those who are least optimistic in these desperate times of late need to recognise the following, which are not opinions but facts:

  • We have the same number of points as at this time last season, although admittedly, we are 5 points down on the equivalent fixture list;
  • With regard to the latter part of that first point, we picked up just 3 points from the next 5 fixtures we have coming up in the last campaign. ie, plenty of room to catch up;
  • Anybody who still thinks the injuries we have had shouldn't affect the team are deluded — just look at the effects on teams such as Liverpool, Spurs and Man Utd that injuries have had. Not a single club in the PL has had the amount we have had. Yet they are slowly receding.
There is a possibility we will be down to 5 players missing for the Man Utd game (Arteta, Jagielka, Anichebe, Vaughan, Bilyaletdinov), and I will be the first to admit that a number like this is not enough to compensate for poor performances and results, especially since 4 of these would have been anticipated not to be ready at this stage, and the other is a suspension.

At the same time, I somehow sense a return to the side of Pienaar, Neville and Osman will have a galvanising effect, and whilst I don't fancy us for a win at OT, I do think we have a definite chance of a draw followed by wins over Hull and Liverpool.

In short, it's been a disappointing and desperate start to the 2009-10 season. What we mustn't lose sight of, is that no matter what the most negative of supporters think, the damage has been restricted, and we are still in a position to go on and have a great season. We've been garbage this season and yet we're only 7 points off 4th with a game in hand.

And in unison with that standing in the league, we are still 2nd in our group in the Europa League, and we only have to beat 2 'easy teams'* to make certain of qualification to the knockout phases. We were out of the League Cup this time last year anyway, so when I see people slating a fellow Evertonian simply because he chooses to look on the bright side every once in a while, it does make me wonder exactly who and what I am sat next to every week?

Oh, and another fact that may cheer you up this morning... our top scorer this season already has the same number of goals as last season's top scorers. Arise King Louis!

Reader Comments

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James Power
1   Posted 09/11/2009 at 08:50:43

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Here, here, re King Louis — what a fine striker we have. Things could be looking up regarding the players we have to come back, but I do hope that when we do regain our squad, Moyes plays the ones who are performing and does not persist with those who are not.

To that end, please, is there anything we can do about DM’s favourite player — Tony Hibbert? He had a decent game at centre back yesterday with some nice cleared headers from the D... but, given that he was supposed to be right back, what the hell was going on? I truly despair.

We had Lucas Neil on the bench who is, in my opinion, significantly better than Tony. It's embarrassing the number of times he is shown up in the Premier League. I had thought that the cup final would be the death knell for him, and while I appreciate Malouda can embarrass many right backs, it served more to highlight our Achilles heel to those in the PL who didn’t already know.

Does Tony have some comprimising photos of DM or what? Having said that, the performance from a number of the guys yesterday was very, very bad. Fellaini cannot control the ball with his chest to save his life. This didn’t stop him from trying and giving the ball away a frightening number of times. And his tackling!! sweet Jesus, his tackling was atrocious!

He’s a real conundrum, old Fella, at times it appears he has a really nice touch and strokes the odd pass like there really could be some talent there. At times he has the control and touch of Brett Angell blindfolded.

I’m not sure what is gong on with Distin either because if he steps up as Yobo did yesterday at certain points (mainly to save Distin’s arse) he could really make a difference.

Anyway, hopefully Mick will get the magic sponge working and we’ll have some players back for our annual beating at OT.

Ciarán McGlone
2   Posted 09/11/2009 at 09:24:00

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Ah....at least this time Mr Hibbert has actually done something to make the brickbats slightly relevant...

Of course that ignores the fact that he’s been one of our best players this season...

Curious.
Alan Kirwin
3   Posted 09/11/2009 at 09:25:24

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It’s all too easy to get depressed Stewart, as you have no doubt weened from following this site. It has been a shocking phase of injuries, I can’t remember anything like it. So, powerful mitigation.

But Moyes does sometimes beg questions through his selections and, more poignantly, the team’s tactics. We have been rendered clueless too many times. It’s almost like our first team (which is good enough to beat almost anyone) can operate almost without much coaching. But if intervention, tactics and adjustment are needed then we often fall short.

I find it hard to balance due to the shocking injury crisis, but it’s a pity that a football, passing, moving ethos doesn’t underpin the whole operation, such that players can be slotted into a pattern and expected to do their job.

Moyes is incredibly conservative, which sounds odd criticism when he plays Rodwell and Gosling. But he will persist with a senior player out of position and not performing (e.g. Cahill) rather than use a young player who’s made for the role. I have so much time for Cahill as a guy and for what he’s given this team over 5 years. But management is about making hard decisions and Moyes, I think, finds that difficult decisions difficult.

Just on the injury front, I think questions need to be asked here also. It’s bordering on the bizarre that all 3 players out with long term knee injuries have all had set backs. And it is particularly galing to hear what’s happening with Anichebe given the way he received his injury from that unreconstructed shithouse Nolan. Every time I see or hear of that scumbag playing I get very angry. Anichebe could very well lose a year of his career through a deliberate assault from that twat. Pity Everton don’t launch a civil case against him.

In summary, see your point. All is not lost and there are/will be reasons to be more cheerful. But it has been hard going and Moyes HAS to buck up himself.
Tony Marsh
4   Posted 09/11/2009 at 09:56:30

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I don't get all this "wait until the injured players are back" business. The only player out injured with any chance of making a proper come back this season is Pienaar. Forget Arteta and Jags — they will not be back untill March/April if at all... and even then, who can say they will be the same players?

Once a player does his cruciate, he is never the same. Name one who has come back better after it?

So I say this: stop deluding yourselves that in a few weeks time we will be firing on all cylinders with a full squad as it won't happen. We go with what we have now and that's it.

The most worrying bit about the season so far is that the injury list is giving some fans a great reason to defend Moyes and his terrible tactics. Why do the injuries to Arteta and Jags make the rest of the team play like a Rugby Union side?

Football basics should not desert players because some of their team mates are injured should they? Look at Man Utd yesterday. Ronaldo, Tevez, gone and Ferdinand and Vidic both out and they still play football on the deck.

It's easy to blame injuries but how about holding the manager to account for his awfull grasp of how football should be played?

Oh and by the way, give Steve Round a ticket back to Boro FFS.

Paul Joy
5   Posted 09/11/2009 at 10:10:49

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Stewart Littler
you state other blues are deluded then you state you fancy a draw at OT and wins over Hull and the RS.

Who is deluded mate?

Our midfield could not string two passes together against a poor Hammers side. Yesterday they could even find their arses if they used both hands — they were shocking. Our defenders resorted to bloody hoofball all afternoon — pointless trying to actually play football with our midfield.

By any chance did you clock Louis Saha’s frequent shaking of his head? I would hazard a guess that he had neck strain from the service he got.

I do not care that we have the same points as last season that is an irrelevance anyway.

A major factor in turning our season and the quality of football we played last year was switching Mikel Arteta into the centre of midfield — we started playing good stuff then. We can’t do that this year can we — but hey don’t forget we have got Leon and Pip to come back in and they will soon have us zipping the ball around like Arsenal won’t they???

The quality of our play is just garbage. Full stop — end of story.

Some people believe football is all about results and we won yesterday so what are you moaning at. For me football is about performance — from good performance comes results but the quality of football is what should come first.

Face facts — we were shit yesterday and the Hammers were not good enough to beat us — but make no mistake, we were shite.

Dave Wilson
6   Posted 09/11/2009 at 10:44:41

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Hang on a sec Paul. I don't agree entirely with Stewarts post but he’s prepared to say he thinks we’ll get 7 points out of the next three games, how is that in anyway deluded?

Injuries or no injuries isnt that the sort of tally we should be looking for? Let's have your prediction and time will tell who is the deluded one.

We went to Upton park without our most skilful players, confidence was on the floor, and we still came away with a very good win against an ever improving West Ham,

Barca we weren't, but to say we were shite, is err... shite.
Tony Williams
7   Posted 09/11/2009 at 13:13:58

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"The quality of our play is just garbage. Full stop - end of story."

You forgot to add the word fact in capital letters, that means it is definitely the truth and no-one can refute it.
Mike Gwyer
8   Posted 09/11/2009 at 13:43:18

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Its like watching tennis reading the agro thats goes on at TW.

However, it does amaze me how anyone disagrees that EFC played utter shite yesterday. We won, so what. The bottom half of the Prem is like tossing a coin — win some, lose some.

However, to say that we will take 7 points from ManU, Hull (both away) and the RS at GP is seriously hopeful. ManU will tonk us, as they have the players to break down our 10-0-1 formation. Hull... well, that's the bottom-half-of-the-Prem, toss-a-coin match. Then the RS at home, they are not quite capable of breaking down the 10-0-1 formation so odds on for a draw.

I want to be as hopeful but really Saturday after Saturday watching this defensive shite is too much. Please, just look at our results when we have played a footy side.
Paul Joy
9   Posted 09/11/2009 at 15:54:21

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Tony Williams, you normally have a sensible opinion to share.

I do not do things like FACT. I leave Fact rantings to that fella across the park. You can disagree with me putting "Full stop. End of story" if you wish but my opinion is that we were garbage yesterday. Now if you disagree with that statement please back it up with your usual reasoned argument.

Dave Wilson, if we play like we did yesterday then I shudder to think what Man U will do to us but I believe we will lose there. Even with a fully fit team with Arteta, Jagielka, Pienaar, Neville, Bily etc and even if we were on top form — which we are not — we would probably get beat there.

Now can anyone tell me in all honesty that we will beat Hull and Liverpool too.? The best we could hope for being realistic would be 6 pts from 9. But I just don’t see that at the moment. I think 3 pts is what we will get. Just my humble opinion but you asked.

Yes we were without our most skilful players but that does not excuse those who did play yesterday from their inept hoofball.

Dennis Stevens
10   Posted 09/11/2009 at 16:58:44

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Stewart, of course the injuries affect the team, but many of the injuries are fairly long-term and were known about before the start of the season, as was Manchester City’s interest in Lescott. The transfer deals could have been sorted out earlier and the new players would be fitter, better settled into the squad — and eligible for Europe!

For most matches, Moyes has been able to name a decent first XI, but they aren’t performing effectively as a team because the new players are just finding their feet as the season progresses. So, instead of alleviating a known problem, Moyes and the Board are guilty of exacerbating it, at least in the short-term.

I don’t think that the return of Jagielka & Arteta will be the great turning point of our season some hope it will be. More significant will be the contribution of Moyes's new signings as they establish themselves in the team and become fully effective.

Tony Waverleas
11   Posted 09/11/2009 at 17:24:06

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“Even with a fully fit team with Arteta, Jagielka, Pienaar, Neville, Bily etc and even if we were on top form — which we are not — we would probably get beat (at Old Trafford)”.


Interesting comment by one of our fans, isn’t it?

Wonder what the reaction on this place would be if David Moyes came out with something even vaguely resembling that. Because if you believe half of what gets posted on here it’s actually David Moyes who’s the gutless, throw-his-hand-in, negative merchant.

Like I say, interesting.
Paul Gladwell
12   Posted 09/11/2009 at 19:24:17

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Quite right Tony W, when have you seen Arteta,Pienaar or The Yak do anything against Utd or any of the other big sides?

The only man who ever does and he does every season is Cahill the man who is getting wellied from pillor to post because he is not doing a Davie Thomas on the wing. He has been pushed aside of the position he is the best in the league at.

I saw his expression on Thursday when he got moved over to the right, he looked fed up and can you blame him? The fans are getting on his back as he is getting asked to do a job he is not cut out to do. It's going to get interesting when Pienaar, Bily and Osman are back, on who will make way.

Alasdair Mackay
13   Posted 09/11/2009 at 21:55:54

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"Many of the injuries are fairly long-term and were known about before the start of the season" - complete rubbish!

We knew about Yakubu, Anichebe, Jags and Arteta. That’s four. Two weeks ago we had an injury list with 11 players on it. (Yobo, Jagielka, Baines, Neville, Bilyaletdinov, Pienaar, Arteta, Osman, Yakubu, Vaughan, Anichebe). Fellaini and Cahill have not been 100% fit this season either. The remaining three long-term absentees have also suffered set-backs this week.

I can not remember an unluckier spell at Everton in terms of injuries and it is having an effect on performances. I don’t want to use it as an excuse for performances, but it is true. It is not about the quality of what is missing, it is a question of quantity. In every game we have played in the last month to six weeks the players have tired in the last 20 minutes. It was the same yesterday.

We will climb the table and performances will improve. Our fully fit squad is excellent and, I think 3 players away from being competitve against anyone. (a quick striker and back up for both Arteta and Baines).
Dennis Stevens
14   Posted 09/11/2009 at 22:28:06

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I’d have to say, Alasdair, that it’s your response that’s complete rubbish, seeing as you miss everything other than to be pedantic about what constitutes "many".

Whether you consider "many" to be 4 or 7, or even 10 is beside the point. It’s inconceivable that Moyes would have brought in 8 or 10 players in the last transfer window — even if resources were available to do so, nobody would expect Moyes to predict how much worse our injury problems would become.

The problem is not so much the number of players we have signed, as the timing of our transfer activity. It’s no wonder some of the players tire late in the game as some of them didn’t join the club until the season was underway —"It's a massive confidence booster," Gosling told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"We've struggled in recent games and we need to get back up the table. Hopefully, we'll just carry on now and get a few more wins under our belt."

And, of course, this has a knock-on effect on the other players who have to work harder to try & cover for their team-mates. Unfortunately, we will be well through the season by the time all the new players are completely bedded into the squad & performing at their best — perhaps we’ll be nicely set up for another Cup run this season!

Stewart Littler
15   Posted 10/11/2009 at 01:44:35

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Tony - van Nistelrooy. My post also stated that having 4 or 5 players out (which we are likely, as you correctly point out, to have until probably March) is no excuse for poor performances. Having as many as 13 (for the first Benfica game) is.

Paul — no, I think I stated we have a definite chance. With the 3 players I mentioned back in the side. If I was asked to predict, I would predict 4 — a win at Hull and draw against the RS.
Ciarán McGlone
16   Posted 10/11/2009 at 09:24:06

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In my opinion...at no stage have we had anymore than 4 first team players out...

They were all of course important players...but my god, this excuse is wearing thin...The replacements are highly played premiership professionals - and mostly internationals...to justify their innability to make a string of passes, close down the opposition or find space - on the basis of other players being injured...is bollocks.
Alan Kirwin
17   Posted 10/11/2009 at 09:38:36

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How many players out at once?

Arteta, Jagielka, Pienaar, Neville, Yakubu, Osman, Hibbert, Bilyaletdinov. Then players like Anichebe & Vaughan would be on the bench instead of 17-year-olds.

And it isn;t just the number of players out, which is certainly not 4, but the quality and importance of them to a team and squad of our size.

If this mitigation is wearing thin then it says more about the impatience of some fans than the reality of the situation.

Let’s make a comparison or three:

Take Gerrard, Torres, Mascherano & Carragher out of Liverpool. And....oh yes, they can’t win a game.

Take Drogba, Lampard, Terry and Ballack out of Chelsea. Would they suffer?

Take Fabregas, Vermaelen, Van Persie and Diaby out of Arsenal. Would they suffer?

I agree that Moyes could & should have adapted better, not least of all in how we actually play (which seems wholly reliant on who’s available). I’m not happy with this either. But please, resist taking the piss about the impact of this unprecedented injury list on our small squad and tight team. As Lee Dixon rightly observed, with a full team we can give anyone a good game. That’s precisely the point.
Tony Waverleas
18   Posted 10/11/2009 at 10:46:49

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We have an horrendous injury list which includes a top-class defender, one of our most creative and industrious midfielders as well as the player who’s arguably the heartbeat of this side.

The knock-on effect of that is youngsters playing too often and new players not being allowed to integrate properly, ie. slowly but surely.

Sorry if some people read that as an excuse that’s wearing thin but it happens to be a fact.

Only a barmpot/masochist would tell you we are anything other than grim to watch right now but there are valid reasons for that. And if anyone feels they can offer practical advice as to how David Moyes can make us saucy & exciting to watch in the interim (other than just offering sage words like, well, it’s up to the manager to sort it out because he should, etc) then please don’t hesitate to get in touch pronto with Finch Farm.

Oh, and don’t forget to post all correspondence on here for everyone else to enjoy.
Ciarán McGlone
19   Posted 10/11/2009 at 11:03:06

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4 first team players out at once...
Alasdair Mackay
20   Posted 10/11/2009 at 11:41:12

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Alan Kirwin - couldn’t agree more!
Tony Williams
21   Posted 10/11/2009 at 12:22:52

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Ciaran,
Arteta, Neville (even though you don’t consider him, he is still a first teamer with Moyes), Pienaar, Jagielka, Yobo, Saha and Baines out when played Bate away, a little more than 4 that mate.
Ciarán McGlone
22   Posted 10/11/2009 at 12:37:17

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That was one game Tony.

Be serious.
Simon Kirwan
23   Posted 10/11/2009 at 13:02:46

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Are you serious Ciaran?

Take a look at United, they lose their best player and are half the team they where last year.

Liverpool have crumbled with there two best players out.

Newcastle got relegated when they had an injury list the size of ours...

We lose our 4 best players and 6 first teamers and you say its an excuse wearing thin?

oh dear...

Ciarán McGlone
24   Posted 10/11/2009 at 13:26:45

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What are you ’oh dearing’ about...

I implied a very simple question...why are our injuries being used as an excuse for highly paid professionals not being able to kick the ball to a fellow professional, find space or close down an opposing player...I can accept that our level of creativity will not be as high with most of our only creative players out - but I certainly can’t accept that this can be used as a valid reason for excusing the lack of basics..

Once you can answwer that question, then you can claim the right to use the phrase ’oh dear’ with any relevance to my naivety..

And if you could do it without wholesale reference to other teams..that would be nice..
Stewart Littler
25   Posted 10/11/2009 at 13:44:07

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Ciaran, your point is a very valid one - any footballer playing in the Premier League should be able to do the basics, of which passing the ball is one. However, your point re 4 first teamers isn’t - over the last 7 games, we have been missing Jags, Arteta, Pienaar, Neville & Osman, who whether you like it or not, have all been classed as first teamers for the last 18 months. On top of that, we have had the likes of Heitinga, Neill, Yobo, Baines and Saha missing for a few games here and there, at least 3 of these are also first teamers.

If someone in my team is playing poorly, they are dropped, and the same goes for pretty much any team. However, Moyes has not been able to make any decisions like this (and it will be interesting to see what he does when he has even 16-18 to pick from) meaning players keep their place in the side regardless. This will not keep them on their toes and performing to the highest standards - it should, given the amount they are paid, but that’s human nature for you.
Ciarán McGlone
26   Posted 10/11/2009 at 14:25:32

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Stewart...I guess the definition of ’first team’ is where we depart..

My definition is the best eleven players depending on the opposition...Neville andf Osman do not figure in any circumstance...and in my opinion Jags wouldn’t improve the first team significantly any moe than Yobo...

I guess we’ll simply agree to differ..
Stewart Littler
27   Posted 10/11/2009 at 15:02:08

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Fair do’s and I even agree myself over Neville and Osman (they’ve been classed by Moyes as first teamers, and he picks the team was kind of my point), but you gotta be kidding re Jags?
Ciarán McGlone
28   Posted 10/11/2009 at 15:13:57

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Jags is a strange one for me...on his day he’s clearly a very good defender...But people seem to overlook that he makes a lot of mistakes...and he actually hoofs the ball more than any of our other defenders..

For some reason these deficiencies get relegated to the ....’so what, he’s jags’ dustbin...

If we had a fully fit midfield...of Arteta, Pienaar, Rodwell, Fellaini and Billy (obviously yours might differ) then to be honest I don’t think replacing Yobo with Jags makes that much of a difference..
Tony Williams
29   Posted 10/11/2009 at 16:02:22

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"In my opinion...at no stage have we had anymore than 4 first team players out..."

I give you one instance of the Bate game, but your response is that it’s only one game so be serious? so that "at no stage" doesn’t include European games then? Can you be more specific next time then !
Alan Kirwin
30   Posted 10/11/2009 at 17:36:16

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Tony, the Romans sketch all over again from Life of Brian.

OK, so apart from that one, and that one, and erm that one, when did we have more than 4 first teamers out at once? Hmm, let me think...

The Benfica game just last week, when we had Arteta, Jagielka, Pienaar, Neville, Saha, Osman, Anichebe and Vaughan injured, with Heitinga and Neill unavailable.

So that makes 8 of the first team squad injured and 2 unavailable, total 10. Of the injured, 6 are usually regarded as first teamers or first choicers and 2 would have been important subsititutes instead of the 17-year-olds.

So that’s 2 games when we had rather more than 4 first teamers unavailable. How many examples do you think we need before Mr MCGlone withdraws his "at no stage..." nonsense?

And last point on Yobo/Jags:

The idea that there is negligible difference between the defending of these two is risible. Jags’ distribution does leave a bit to be desired. His defending however usually does not. I can just about accept dodgy distribution from a guy who saves us goals every game. I’m not interested in a ball playing central defender who can’t defend. Yobo makes mistakes every game.

For an example, take another look at West Ham’s goal on Sunday. In so doing, ignore the fuckwit (can’t remember who it was) who blamed Hibbert for the goal because he "lost his man" What? !!! and watch Yobo’s positioning, reading and reaction as the goal unfolds. Sorry, but Hibbert almost got Yobo out of jail when he had no right to. Yobo was shocking. Hibbert had no right to get anywhere near the ball, yet he almost saved the goal.

Yobo is a liability, Jagielka is usually an insurance policy. I’ll take great defending over distirbution from the back.
Ciarán McGlone
31   Posted 10/11/2009 at 18:35:10

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’The Benfica game just last week, when we had Arteta, Jagielka, Pienaar, Neville, Saha, Osman, Anichebe and Vaughan injured, with Heitinga and Neill unavailable.’
-------------------------

I count 4 first team players out in the above list...for my definition of first team - see above..

I know you’ve inserted the word ’squad’ for your own insursance..but that doesn’t change the point I was making...Neither does it explain why premiership footballers can’t pass the ball, find space or close down...simply because some of our better players are injured..

Ciarán McGlone
32   Posted 10/11/2009 at 18:38:31

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Oh and you prove my Jags point perfectly... his numerous blunders including passing to opposing players on the edge of our box, ducking under a ball going into the net...and other various indescretions...seem to be miraculously forgotten...

He’s certainly a better defender than Yobo...but it’s not by much, and to suggest he’s not susceptible to blunders is just ignoring the ones he committed last season...

Absence makes the heart grow fonder I guess...
Chris Butler
33   Posted 10/11/2009 at 19:13:50

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Hopefully there will be some beachballs at the derby game.
Simon Kirwan
34   Posted 10/11/2009 at 18:54:31

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Why are our injuries being used as an excuse for highly paid professionals not being able to kick the ball to a fellow professional?

Our injuries are not being used an excuse for there inability to pass to a fellow professional, they are being used to highlight the severe disruption our frail squad has endured and is therefore important to recognise the significance they have had and are still having. I refer to other clubs to try to help you understand that, hey! decimate the core of your sqaud and throw in a few teenagers and WHAM! Say goodbye to any teamspirit, morale, cohesion and decent football.

For you to say this excuse is wearing thin just exposes your stunning ignorance to the effects losses have to a team.
Dennis Stevens
35   Posted 10/11/2009 at 20:34:04

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Obviously injuries are disruptive, especially when there are so many, but the level of injuries has not stopped Moyes putting out a decent first XI for most matches, even if the bench looks more like a creche. However, that first XI may have up to 4 new players in it - sometimes 3 of the 4 defenders are new players. Had these players been brought in earlier they would be more up to speed with the rest of the squad as regards fitness, tactics (laugh if you must!) & general familiarity - they would also all have been available for our European matches. Although this wouldn’t mean that our absent players would barely be missed, I’m sure it would mean that we would look more like a team & would be coping much better than we have been.
Ciarán McGlone
36   Posted 10/11/2009 at 21:24:07

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Simon,

If you read this site with any regularity - you’lll realise that our injuries have been used to mitigate the current quality on show.
In fact, i’ll assume you’ve read this thread.

I’ve accepted that morale and confidence, as well as creativity will be affected...under these circumstances.

What i’m asking you to explain is how basic capability is reduced to the proportions of ineptitude we’ve recently seen..

The floor is yours...
Chris Leyland
37   Posted 10/11/2009 at 23:43:35

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Ciaran - you don’t pick the team Moyes does and as such it doesn’t really matter who you think should be considered as first team players. The fact is Moyes regularly selects; Neville, Osman, Arteta, Jags, Piennar and Saha when they are fit. As such, this is 6 first teamers by the manager’s definition, which, let’s face it carries slightly more weight that yours!

That is 54% of the first team who were out for the Benfica game and 45% who have been out for a while this year. Name me another side in the Premier League who have coped successfully with such a high percentage loss?

The floor is yours...
Stewart Littler
38   Posted 11/11/2009 at 02:01:09

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Ciaran, gotta disagree with your assessment of Jags and Yobo. I ain’t disagreeing with your view that he makes mistakes (not lots though), nor that his distribution isn’t the best. But he wasn’t player of the year for nothing last season. With a fully fit squad, he would be the first defender in my team, and I’d bet most Evertonians would say the same.

And as it happens, I would probably swap Rodwell for Neville or Heitinga, only because I think Rodwell is still too young and inexperienced to be first choice in that position. But what a midfield, if only we can see it at some point in the next few months.

Final note, I always read your posts with interest as you usually make comments which seem devoid of any preconceptions, i.e. if Hibbert is good, you say he’s good, if he’s shit, you say he’s shit. So with regard to your comments on how many ’first-team’ players are out injured, you kinda need to stop digging - a first team player is hard to define in the modern game, but most would look at number of starts over, say, the last 12 months. Now, using those criteria, please accept that it’s been more than 4 (and remember that I agreed with your own version of first teamer re Osman & Neville!)
Ciarán McGlone
39   Posted 11/11/2009 at 08:53:06

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’Ciaran - you don’t pick the team Moyes does and as such it doesn’t really matter who you think should be considered as first team players.’
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Of course it matters. It fuels my opinion on this matter...And the last time I checked this was a forum for opinion! What an idiotic comment.


Stewart,

I’m well aware my opinion on Jags will be in the minority (a very small minority)...And even though his blunders were less frequent as the season went on..I simply don’t think Yobo would be under as much pressure with a decent midfield..and therefore the difference would be minimal..

But just for the record, I’d still have jags...I just don’t think his return will have a major impact on the dross we are seeing at the minute..and his tendency to hoof could actually make it worse.

But that’s what this site is all about..opinions.
Ciarán McGlone
40   Posted 11/11/2009 at 09:02:43

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Oh and by the way Stewart — you are completely right about first team players... Especially under Moyes this season... we have no idea who he’d pick as a first eleven if everyone was fit — as he’s not had the opportunity to do so...

So all we’re left with is speculation and opinion... and again, that’s what the site’s about..

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