A summer of sunny optimism, bright expectation and clear blue confidence have truely been rained on. Gone is the talk of dark horse title challenges and muscling in on the established order, replaced by talk of rubbing shoulders with the wrong crowd at the wrong end of the table. Talk again too of the dreaded 'R' word, the word on the lips of a few of the Goodison faithful after another disappointing performance from their team. Talk of relegation is a little pre-mature but it is entirely justified to call what has been served up by the Blues so far has been relegation form.
So much had been pinned to the last fixture before kick off after what was chalked off as an unlucky start had supposedly ended with the spirited fightback against Man Utd a week previous. A home match against a newly promoted Newcastle team was exactly what David Moyes's men needed in order to use as a springboard to finally kick their season into life and start trying to catch their would-be rivals in the league.
Newcastle however hadn't read the script and Everton didn't play their part with any kind of committment or passion. Apologists will once again bemoan bad luck and that if two late chances had been converted then a bad day at the office could have been salvaged. That in of itself though is testament to the sorry state Everton were in at the weekend, against a newly promoted team it took until the 90th minute to produce an opportunity of note.
A moment of individual brilliance from Hatem Ben Arfa is what separated the teams to the untrained eye but the real difference was far greater from the first minute until the last.
The Blues were out-fought, out-thought and eventually out-done by their opponants as they were figuratively blown off the stage.
How was it that a central midfield trio of Marouane Fellaini, John Heitinga and Mikel Arteta were entirely bossed by a classless double act of Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan? An engine room which could boast such vision, craft, guile and steel was easily dismantled by the much reviled pair and at no debt to fortune either.
Fingers can be pointed across the Board to find blame for the lacklustre performance but ultimately, blame must find it's way to Director of production, one David Moyes. Even the most avid supporter of the Scot would struggle to argue against the suggestion that the rod for his back is entirely of his own making after this game. The basics have been forgotten and all of the Gaffer's long term tactical aches and pains have gone no way to being remedied.
In order to rescue the club's season from becoming another fruitless chase of the teams ahead of them a few glaringly simple things need to be put right quickly. Things that the majority of supporters could have told you well before a ball was kicked this campaign. Some blunt and perhaps harsh realisations needs to take place and some bad habits of a lifetime need to be bucked by the Glaswegian.
First of all the favouritism that exists within the squad needs to end, it is now such a problem that it is costing the team points.
Leon Osman is a fine central midfielder he is no wide player and when he is having such a game that not a single touch he has falls right, he should be taken off. If Moyes could turn around and say there is no other option than little Leon then that would be fair enough but that is not the case. Unleashing the exciting talent of Seamus Coleman in an advanced role or playing young Magaye Gueye to stretch teams - at least until Victor Anichebe is healthy again - is now a bare faced necessity in order to effect change. This is without mentioning the £10 million enigma Diniyar Bilyaletdinov who is currently warming the bench while his thunderous left foot goes unused.
Sylvain Distin didn't endear himself to the Gwladys Street against Newcastle when after force feeding them a platter of dirge for the second week running, he tried to rile them into support for the team. Had Johnny Heitinga or Mikel Arteta tried this it may have worked but when a player who is playing as bad as Distin is at the minute tries to get a response from the crowd, it can have quite the opposite effect. Since early summer the supporters have been crying out for Heitinga and Phil Jagielka to be used as a centre back partnership but at this point in play, it has become the obvious switch to make. The big Frenchman has effectively played himself out of the team over the last two games.
David Moyes must finally also realise that he has to work with his players and use them to their strengths, not attempt to shoehorn them into working to his own strengths. How long will it be before he accepts that Yakubu will not chase hopeless long balls and Jermaine Beckford will not score with his back to the goal? Neither striker operate in that way and their troubles in front of goal will continue for as long as they are played the way they have been. If you want the best out of either striker then they must be used properly.
Yakubu is the best striker at the club at making the current formation work with his intelligent link up play and strength on the ball. On top of that the Nigerian also has the handy knack of scoring when the ball falls at his feet in the penalty area. Jermaine Beckford is a different animal entirely and has suffered some unfair criticism in his fledgling Everton career. If he were so fortunate as to have a partner to play off - at least at home to lesser teams - or given quality through balls to run at, we may start seeing the best of him. It is unfair to expect the hitman to score goals when he's constantly being dragged deep or asked to hold the ball up while facing the wrong end of the pitch.
The final and arguably biggest sticking point about how Moyes sets his team up is the lack of composure in defence. Across the back four - something Heitinga's style would go some way to solving - there exists a deep rooted lack of awareness and invention when in possession which is leading to bad football. Neither of the current centre backs have any idea how to bring the ball out of defence and are far too eager to resort to aimless punts up the field. Something which both Jagielka and Distin couldn't grasp onto against Newcastle was that Tim Cahill was not on the pitch and if the Aussie isn't there, their punts have little to no chance sticking.
This is by far the manager's deepest flaw as it has been a trait of his teams for years now to resort to such negative and poor tactics when unable to conjure up anything more creative. If he could at least rectify these food and drink problems then he could start to redeem himself in the eyes of many supporters who's faith in him has began to creak. Some serious changes need to be made before the few games and the man in charge needs to take a hard look in the mirror.
The Scot was quoted after Saturday's game as saying he'd have booed his team's performance along with the supporters. The irony that was lost on the Everton boss was that the majority of the supporters weren't venting their frustrations at the team, but at his negative and predictable management.
No longer can anyone at the club fall back on the excuses that injuries to the squad and bad luck have hamstrung our potential to be successful. That luxury has long gone and now is time for the Blues to put up or shut up. Having brought us so far from where we were, don't let us down now Mr. Moyes.
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1 Posted 20/09/2010 at 15:22:16
2 Posted 20/09/2010 at 15:32:14
3 Posted 20/09/2010 at 16:03:40
I was thinking with Cahill out injured here was a great chance to try and mix things up with the squad as I feel the 4-5-1 formation is generally suited well for when Cahill is in the side. So, with the inforced injury I thought here we go lets mix it up and try something new while we can. No, what we got: same old formation; and same old "we have a point, let's hold on to it" mentality.
After 15 minutes on Saturday you could see the formation and the tactics employed were not working we were clueless going forward and Newcastle had settled and looked very comfortable knowing like we all know that Moyes wouldnt change anything until at least half-time or we were a goal down.
Then we concede and the changes happen, even Moyes couldn't leave any changes this time until the 75 minute so at half-time the changes were made and to be honest they were a disgrace. Trailing at home to Newcastle and instead of taking off Osman who was awful down the right he leaves him on and takes of Hibbert who wasn't playing badly and puts Coleman on, now I know people have been calling for him to play but to take off Hibbert who was playing well and leave Osman on was a poor decision and I couldn't believe it.
Then to take a striker off for a striker was the last straw we needed to take the game by the scruff of the neck and shake it up but we got nothing of the sort, I feel sorry for Beckford right now he plays alone upfront with little or know support then gets dragged off after 45 minutes though no fault of his own.
Then the tactics for the 2nd half was to push Fellaini up and launch it, what the fuck type of tactics is that? Newcastle must have thought they were still a division lower with the standard we were playing. Moyes was nothing short of disgracful on Saturday and needs to look at himself and his tactics and team selections asap otherwise we will continue to stink the place out.
Also, while in rant mode, Arteta should not be captain, its like the England cricket team syndrome of the give the armband to the most talented player it doesnt work he should just be allowed to play, end of. Give the armband to somebody else ? I would even have Neville back in the side so he can have it.
My fingers are crossed this season it can't get any worse but, with a potential giant killing looming on Tuesday, I am not confident. The big players need to stand up and be counted now and Jags that means you as you have been complete shite since England came a calling. Anyway I have had enough; Everton are pissing me off but not as much as Moyes is right now. So sort it out, you negative fucker ? or we are staring down the barrel this season without a fucking clue.
4 Posted 20/09/2010 at 16:13:37
The gulf between the weaker sides in this division no longer looks that much, and I began thinking, "Could we lose to West Brom away?" Yes, we could; "Are we likely to win at Fulham?" Maybe not; "Have we got goals in us?" Not till January, maybe.
I wanted to find something to tell me this feeling is not like the early 90s we have a better squad we are too good to be in a relegation scrap but the honest answer is ....
5 Posted 20/09/2010 at 16:24:16
Nothing has changed - so it shouldn't even be a surprise that we are where we are. Truth is we lost momentum when Donovan left. Moyes has had a whole summer to address the obvious deficiencies and appears to have done nothing - unless we're counting on Gueye coming through.
He has to be bold now and experiment.
6 Posted 20/09/2010 at 16:32:27
After all,we did once finish 4th playing it that way!!!
7 Posted 20/09/2010 at 16:44:55
8 Posted 20/09/2010 at 17:19:06
Sadly Terry that, in a nutshell, sums up our leader. He just doesn't get it. All the adulation he gets from sources outside Goodison have made him a legend in his own mind. God help us.
9 Posted 20/09/2010 at 17:41:51
Why can't Tim Howad ever save a long shot? The wonder goal by Ben Arfa wouldn't have happened if A) he had been closed down, and B) if when Howard dives he actually moved and didn't pull his arms in until the fucking ball went past him.
Oh, and why are all our fucking goal attempts in injury time, even Blackpool are scoring goals and picking up more fucking points than us... fucking shambles.
10 Posted 20/09/2010 at 18:08:13
11 Posted 20/09/2010 at 18:21:27
The club is a shambles from top to bottom. A second rate, sadly exposed coach and a self-serving, gushing disgrace for a Chairman. I genuinely hope for a win at Fulham even though it will by more time for this failed regime. Right now, I'd settle for safety because, on Saturday's performance, we are a very poor side.
Some time ago, I called for a regime change and was roundly slated. I wish I had been wrong but the league table suggests that either the players or the coach are not good enough. If, as many believe, this is our best squad for years, then there is only one option.
12 Posted 20/09/2010 at 18:34:23
Brian (6): I worried about this on another thread. That Moyes would learn precisely the wrong lessons from this drubbing. Out team cannot play route 1. He has bought a team that likes (to try) to pass. They're only going to be more clueless and discouraged by being asked to "get more physical" and "direct." That means endless stupid long balls to Fellaini to knock down to Yakubu. We tried that for the entire 2nd half on Saturday. No decent team is going to crumble under that approach.
Moyes needs to show some daring. But I fear it is not in his nature. A tough stoic Autumn awaits. Yawn. Where is the joy and passion in that?
13 Posted 20/09/2010 at 18:44:01
14 Posted 20/09/2010 at 18:51:16
Osman is effective when he's played centrally, in the position between the defensive midfielder and the man in hole, the free roaming position where he's allowed to drift and cause havoc.
He can be a wasp of a player when on song but when he isn't he's a lightweight passenger who offers nothing to the team. This is always abundantly clear when he plays on the right of midfield and teams have known to exploit that weakness for a long time now. Most famously in the 2009 FA Cup Final.
Saturday summed up Osman and Moyes for me though, not a single touch came off for Leon and he was causing any attempted move on the ground to break down by constantly losing the ball. He should have been dragged off and Coleman allowed to truly attack the Newcastle left back but it didn't happen. His charm over the manager saw to it that he stayed on the pitch and Coleman forced into playing more conservatively.
15 Posted 20/09/2010 at 19:07:40
Arteta and Pienar must produce proper throughballs for the lad and stop passing square.
Possesion is great but there must be more pace in the passing and movement off the ball... we are capable if we are bolder and stop containing other sides and put them under pressure.
We stood off Newcastle and made them look much better than they actually are... at the moment we completely lack confidence and only Pienaar seems to want to take players on... even Arteta is playing very deep..
16 Posted 20/09/2010 at 21:03:54
17 Posted 20/09/2010 at 21:21:20
When I saw the team before the game at Ewood Park, I could barely breathe.
Suffice to say, the passage of air to my lungs has not improved since!
Part of the problem is that in writing this, I am merely re-iterating what hundreds of fellow Evertonians have already said. But say it again I have to:
What is Distin doing in the team?
Why is Heitinga being played out of position as a result?
Why is Fellaini being played out of position - again as a result?
Why is Coleman still not being included in the team from kick off?
Why is Osman in the side at all? No offence to the guy, who is - AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN NOTHING MORE THAN - a nice, tidy squad player. BUT what on earth does he bring to the team?
Why does Bilyaletdinov not get the nod ahead of him? He may appear as insignificant over 90 minutes, but he can score blinding goals from nothing.
Why is Arteta playing so deep?
Why is Beckford being expected to play in a hold up role? His strength is CLEARLY to run on to a ball and you can see him looking for it all the time.
What is going on with Yakubu?
Finally, why can everyone see this and David Moyes can't?
Can he not see his passion for favouritism is not working. Indeed, it is to the obvious detriment of the team.
I don't think the players ought to get off scot-free though. Haven't they got the collective intelligence to galvanise and re-organise when they're on the pitch? They're paid rather a lot of money to do that, after all!
I think they still lack that one per cent extra belief to give us the edge we all know we ought to have.
Tottenham are getting it and Man City surely will sometime soon. Sadly, even the Gobshites still have it when it matters (especially against us!).
We have a great team on paper, with admirable strength-in-depth. Time those wearing the shirts on the pitch started to incorporate a bit of swagger and arrogance into the way they play.
Start thinking big boys, or you'll forever be inferior when it really counts.
Most importantly of all: drop your teacher's pets Moysie. Time to stop playing safe - because it's not safe at all.
Get square pegs in square holes. Get Coleman in the team. Give Beckford proper service or some decent support alongside him.
And get us all behind you and the team again...
18 Posted 20/09/2010 at 21:58:48
19 Posted 20/09/2010 at 22:50:46
I wonder now if this is a media spun myth based on the theory that football only started with the invention of the PL in 1992.
Being as we've been consistently pretty poor since that time, does the wider football community perceive Everton to be a small club who should be happy with finishing between 5th-8th every year? Therefore, any manager who manages to acheive that at Everton falls into the category of "great".
On TalkSport this evening there was a brief discussion about Everton and the comment was made "how long does Moyes give it before he leaves Everton?" Again, the perception being that Moyes is doing us a favour simply turning up every morning.
Moyes could probably be excused for thinking he's pretty untouchable at Everton, particularly with Black Bill gushing praise in his direction every five minutes. Therefore, how much introspection and self-criticism does he really do?
The fact that he makes the same mistakes over and over again (players picked out of position, failure to address the glaring right-side weakness, one up front and a def mid against even the weakest opposition at home) suggests that he doesn't do a lot.
For me, he has just about enough credit in the bank to be given time to sort our latest poor start to the season out. But, at the end of Saturday's game I felt real anger towards him, and the team, and I can't remember feeling that way since the Walter Smith days.
The media might think he's doing a great job, and we're lucky to have him, but I'm not sure many of us would agree and surely we can't all be wrong?
20 Posted 20/09/2010 at 23:05:40
Entirely accurate. Throw in a Rosary and you might just bypass Purgatory altogether!
Or we might just be chucked straight into Hell for wasting our valuable time here on Earth watching Everton do the same thing week in, week out. Surely there's a more productive use of God-given time down here on the rock we call home?
21 Posted 21/09/2010 at 01:15:16
Terry #9 - I think that its not really Howards fault on the long shots, in far too many games I see a complete lack of willingness for our defensive midfielders to close players down quickly enough to prevent them having a shot. You watch the game just waiting for someone to have a clear sight at Howards net and have a crack. Bring back a Carsley esque player!!
I know that he looks rubbish sometimes, but when Pip is on the field we have a proper leader and seem to perform much better as a group. Perhaps a deep midfield role for Pip to allow Arteta to move up towards the area where his intuitive passing can open up defenses.
Beckford needs someone playing along side him. He made some great decoy runs on the weekend, but there was no one there to run into the space. His pace makes him look dangerous, but playing against 2 good centre backs on his own means he'll always struggle.
I'd like to see Everton actually attack and run at the opposition (like Ben Arfra did), rather than watching them pass sideways all game waiting for the opposition to get 10 players behind the ball and make it almost impossible to open up and score against.
22 Posted 21/09/2010 at 06:32:19
23 Posted 21/09/2010 at 06:42:36
Damn on me that day!!
24 Posted 21/09/2010 at 07:54:36
Put another way; did Moyes already know at kick off against Newastle that many supporters' hearts sank when reading the line-up? Moyes does a great job at times - but for every great victory there is at least one baffling selection like Saturday's.
25 Posted 21/09/2010 at 08:52:56
Maybe, just maybe, Barton and Nolan are actually good players? (twats, but good players!)
I'm not having a pop here but for so long I have looked at our team sheet and said to myself that on paper, player for player, we are better than the rest.
Perhaps we are just judging our players on the colour of the shirt rather than their actual real ability and worth to a team? ie, They play for us, therefore they are dead good?
How many toon fans would swap Nolan & Barton for Heitinga or Fellaini? (or Bilya?) for example?
Name the players that you think we have that would get into any top four side? Last season I went with:
Now I'm not sure any of them would!
I'm slowly coming around to the idea that I have, for all these years, been biased in my assessment of Everton players. Perhaps some of our best players are just not as good as we think they are and perhaps some of our lesser players are even worse?
Blue tinted specs?
26 Posted 21/09/2010 at 09:31:05
27 Posted 21/09/2010 at 10:25:42
You also see with a lot of managers when they lose the plot, they are constantly tinkering with tactics and formations. How much tinkering did Moyes do on Saturday? Fellaini high up, Arteta deep, Arteta high up, Fellaini deep. Osman on the right then in the middle with Pienaar on the right and Billy on the left. billy then on the right, Pienaar on the left, Osman in the centre. Osman then right, Bily left and PIenaar in the middle. Fellaini then playing right up top. All this fucking about with players reminds me a lot of Walter Smith - we all remember Michael Ball shrugging towards the bench not knowing what the hell he was doing. I imagine a lot of the players are feeling the same right now.
28 Posted 21/09/2010 at 12:38:24
29 Posted 21/09/2010 at 12:42:48
30 Posted 21/09/2010 at 12:49:21
Terry #9 absolutely agree and have been saying for ages that Howard concedes far too many long distance goals.
31 Posted 21/09/2010 at 13:19:50
I have been having the same conversation with mates at the match for the last few years. It seems to me that more often than not if a player has a shot from distance ie anything outside the 18 yard box that is on target, more often than not, it seems to result in a goal.
32 Posted 21/09/2010 at 13:06:37
There was a moment in the game leading upto Newcastle's goal and Fellaini is standing 5 yards from Jags, Jags has the ball. Jags doesn't look to pass it to Fellaini, and Fellaini knows it, so he duly turns round and trotts off up field just as Jags goes to blast. On this occasion he slices over to Wayne Routledge who then feeds it to Hatem Ben Arfa who after skipping left, right left blasts it in the top corner.
I'm standing there think...hang-on, why didn't you try to pass it to Fellaini. The big man isn't up front and Cahill is injured so who was that blast up field for??? Shocking tactics.
Terry McAlister - 100% right, when I heard Moyes say he would have booed also, I thought, "Well you pick the team and play everyone out of position... are you not responsible?? Is Leon Osman responsible for being on the right?? Is Beckford responsible for the booing for being up front by himself?? I don't think they are."
33 Posted 21/09/2010 at 15:09:18
We made Newcastle look much better than they are and, let's face it... Blackpool beat them!! I'm afraid that a lot of our fans overrate our players and it's not just blue specs, it's a guide dog they need.
No-one in our current team apart from Jags maybe Baines and Arteta would get in any of the top four teams. Pienaar would be a squad member at best with the rest being on a par with the lower end of the table sides... That's an honest assessment before the present shambles.
34 Posted 21/09/2010 at 18:36:06
I can see things going wrong on the pitch, I'm nudging my son saying, he needs to change it now before we concede. Dose he change it? No. Then we concede. This is a regular theme, he'll only charge things when we concede. I couldn't believe he took off Hibbert and played Coleman fullback. Coleman then has his hands full trying to stop them scoring again. All game they had looked dangerous down that side. How the fuck was Coleman supposed to get forward without leaving us completely wide open at the back? In the end we were lucky to get away with not conceding again.
David Moyes has his good points as a manager, make no mistake but tactically he's absolutely fucking dreadfull.
35 Posted 21/09/2010 at 21:06:20
36 Posted 22/09/2010 at 04:44:45
Being an apologist, at the start of the season I said to some blue mates that of all David Moyes seasons, this should be the one we judged him on. In the past I felt that rebuilding, playing staff & injuries necessicated the selections & playing style.
However this year I felt Moyes had (bar right winger) completed the team he had been patiently building, the squad was relatively injury free and we could now finally play the football that DM had always wanted to.
It's not looking good so far, but the season is young! I elect to reserve my judgement until the end of the season, but stick by my modus operandi to judge DM based on this campaign.
I know I cannot speak for all apologists, but if this campaign turns out to be a disaster or even mediocre result, I will gladly concede to the DM out brigade - 'You were right'.
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