VIEW FROM THE BLUE
Everton 1 - 1 Norwich City
Everton rescued a draw from another hauntingly familiar situation in front of their increasingly frustrated home supporters, but a frantically-earned point against newly-promoted Norwich City will do little to dispel the gloom at Goodison Park.
The Blues were heading for a third successive defeat and their fifth on home turf until Royston Drenthe, a player who should have been on the pitch a lot earlier than the 72nd minute, drove into the box and Leon Osman clipped his scuffed shot past John Ruddy. It was no more than Everton deserved for the amount of possession they enjoyed and their shot and corner count, but David Moyes's attacking problems remain the focus for a team that slipped to 14th in the Premier League on the back of two more points dropped.
The sense of deja vu that prevailed among Evertonians at half time was no doubt palpable. Once again they had seen their team start fairly brightly and dominate possession but then fail to make the breakthrough before falling behind to the opposition's first real attack.
With Magaye Gueye somewhat surprisingly handed his first League start wide on the left ? one of the biggest criticisms of Moyes has been his refusal to try some of his lesser-known players in an effort to find the right combination to start creating goalscoring chances ? there was a slighty different dynamic down the Everton left but it remained the Blues' primary avenue of attack for much of the game.
Indeed, it was Leighton Baines' low cross that Tim Cahll touched into the path of Marouane Fellaini in the seventh minute but the Belgian couldn't react quickly enough to dig his shot over John Ruddy. Two minutes later, lovely work by Gueye ended with the French forward releasing Baines to the byline with a perfectly-weighted through-ball but his cross was knocked behind for the first of what would be 13 unproductive corners for the home side.
The game was only 12 minutes old, though, when Everton came so close to opening the scoring. A nice interchange between Louis Saha and Gueye saw the former feed Osman who brought the ball onto his left foot and curled one towards the far corner but Martin got a crucial head to it and guided it behind for a corner.
A dfirect free kick from 25 yards presented John Heitinga with another opportunity to try and deny the physics of a solid defensive wall but when Norwich failed to clear after the ball had predictably cannoned off a defender, Saha crossed invitingly to Cahill but he scuffed his shot with Fellaini in too close attendance.
As usual, the Blues' early momentum began to stall midway through the first half and Norwich, playing with two strikers according to Paul Lambert's attack-is-the-best-form-of-defence approach, began to settle themselves.
And with 27 minutes on the clock, Morison played the ball to Grant Holt on the corner of Everton's six-yard box where the big striker held off Heitinga, dragged the ball onto his left foot and squeezed a shot across Tim Howard and in off the far post. 1-0 to the away side... plus ca change.
A brief flurry at the other end saw Saha try one shot that was charged down and a second a minute later that slid an inch the wrong side Ruddy's right-hand post but Everton would go into the interval behind once again and with plenty for Moyes to think about.
Gueye's enterprising start had faded away and Osman was regularly drifting all the way onto the left flank, presumably to compensate for the French forward's desire to move inside and supplement the strikers. That created the usual over-reliance on the left flank and plenty of space for Tony Hibbert on the right but without the ability to beat a man, he was left with the pass inside or the deep cross.
The second half was nine minutes old when Everton managed, for the first time, to carve their way through the centre of the visitors' defence on the back of a nice move that saw Saha play a one-two with Gueye and then stay on his feet as he was fouled on the edge of the penalty area. With the advantage played by referee Lee Probert, Saha laid the ball on to Osman who cracked a left-footed effort goalwards that Ruddy parried away well for another corner.
Osman would then refuse to repay the favour when he found space to charge charge towards the area, choosing instead to drive an awful shot well wide of the target before Gueye fired an equally poor free kick attempt into the defensive wall.
In between, Holt might have doubled Norwich's advantage when he stole in behind Hibbert to connect with a deep cross by Martin from the right but, thankfully, his looping header drifted a foot wide of the far post.
The hour mark brought the first change in personnel from Moyes when removed the ineffective Cagill in favour of Denis Stracqualursi. As has been the case for most of the season, the Australian just didn't appear to be firing on half his cylinders let alone all of them. He barely won anything in the air and his contribution up front was minimal so it was the right move to introduce the commanding presence of Stracqualursi.
And the Argentine striker was involved within seconds of coming on, flicking a header on into the area that Saha did brilliantly to get a foot to but Ruddy was again in the right place to stop his shot with a one-handed, point-blank save.
A minute later and Saha was denied again. Following a terrific stretching interception by Hibbert in the middle of his own half, Heitinga launched the ball forward, Ruddy could only punch as far as Saha but though the Frenchman connected well with a half-volley, his shot cannoned of Martin and behind.
The Blues again seemed to be running out of ideas when Drenthe was belatedly introduced and the difference was pronounced and immediate. The Dutchman had one surging run foiled almost as soon as he came on but his second was decisive eight minutes later as he burst past his marker and into the box before scuffing a shot that Ruddy would surely had saved had Osman not had time to steer it past him with a deft touch.
It was "game on" now as the crowd roared in anticipation of the Blues turning the game on its head in the last ten minutes. Drenthe stung Ruddy's palms with a fizzing shot from the angle that the 'keeper parried and the same player almost won it for Everton four minutes later with a crashing, swerving drive that Ruddy managed to get one arm to and deflect the ball wide of his goal.
In a frenetic close it was a case of so near and yet so far for the Blues as Hibbert had a bobbled left-footed shot saved, Stracqualursi spurned a chance when put in by Osman but he just couldn't dig the ball out from under his feet and late substitute Conor McAleny also had a shot smothered by Ruddy.
So, and all-too familiar scenario at Goodison, with the one silver lining that Everton managed to get a goal and salvage a point from a game they really needed to win. In what will be a similar game next against Swansea, Moyes must look to what worked this afternoon and what threatened to work? in particular the introduction of Drenthe and the two-pronged strike-force of Stracqualursi and Saha ? and find the courage to deploy a more attacking formation.
With the bottom half of the table so compressed and teams down there showing signs of life, it's imperative that the Blues get points on the board quickly and not merely hope that the arrival of Landon Donovan in January will provide the shot in the arm to avoid a relegation dogfight.
Player Ratings: Howard 6, Hibbert
67, Jagielka 7, Heitinga 7, Baines 7, Neville 6, Fellaini 6, Osman 7*, Gueye 6 (Drenthe 7), Cahill 5 (Stracqualursi 7), Saha 7
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1 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:35:50
2 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:36:02
3 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:38:29
Right... but he didn't :)
4 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:38:45
That's my ratings.
5 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:35:59
Never mind... youth got its chance again: McAlney got 4 minutes, Barkley got none, Rodwell got none... but Moyes supporters will tell you they are not ready yet ? but Saha and Cahill are! Lol again.
The ground is emptying fast. The Preston job is vacant ? that's where Moyes belongs, send him back now, wrap him up in a parcel and post the sod back. Lets hope we can hold Swansea to a draw as well ? then we can all have a nice Christmas courtesy of David Moyes.
6 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:39:36
I thought the defense played very well today although they only had to contend with one shot on target... that went in. I felt that Feli should have been where neville played, and ideally Drenthe from the start but assume he wasn't fit enough to (ignoring the bust up rumours).
Just wish we had that someone who could spark life into the last 18 yards of the pitch.
7 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:55:09
Hibbert - 5
Jagielka - 4
Heitinga - 7
Baines - 5
Neville - 2
Fellaini - 6
Osman - 7
Gueye - 4
Cahill - 2
Saha - 5
Drenthe - 8
Straq - 6
Macca - not enough time
8 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:56:01
"but Moyes supporters will tell you they are not ready yet "
9 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:59:57
10 Posted 17/12/2011 at 20:04:12
Mine would be:
Howard - 6 - nothing to do.
Hibbert - 7 - solid.
Jagielka - 6 not commanding enough.
Heitinga - 4 (his defending for their goal was an embarrassment). Poor.
Baines - 7 good as ever going forward.
Neville - 5 - Crap as ever, gave the ball away.
Osman - 7- Busy but still no final ball.
Gueye - 6 - Started well but faded. Poor corners.
Cahill - 3 - Terrible, did nothing well.
Fellaini - 6 - sublime to shockingly clumsy.
Saha - 6 - Lively but poor finishes.
Drenthe - 8 - Class act. The difference with him in the team is night and day! Won't be an Everton player next year. Too good.
Strac - 7 - Won more headers and knock-ons than Saha & Cahill combined.
11 Posted 17/12/2011 at 19:40:50
When teams come to Goodison, they pack their area and make life hard for us. Their 'keepers always seeem to play the game of their lives, as Ruddy did today.
As for the ratings, I thought both Hibbert and Baines were brilliant, Saha showed more urgency than for weeks, Jags and Heitinga were solid at the back, and Ossie was everywhere, the buildup play was vastly improved, and when Drenthe and Stracqualirsi arrived, things really looked up.
All-in-all, 'the boys done good' and and I for one could see some light at the end of the tunnel, especially with Rodwell and Donny on the move back.
Keep the faith you lot, and a Merry Christmas to yis all, from Canada.
12 Posted 17/12/2011 at 20:18:48
As for the inaccuracies, I'm not one of these that will say people are wrong because I disagree with their statement, just think arguments should be balanced and contain fact as well as opinion. Saying that Rodwell hasn't been given a chance is incorrect and therefore, in my eyes, completely detracts from the overall statement.
You can't just make stuff up to make your point. I think there is too much of that going on on this site. I rarely post as statements like that wind me up. But everyone is entitled to their opinion.
"He says he is pleased with a draw at home against Norwich, sums it all up"... he was pleased we got a point because we battered a team for 90 minutes and went behind to their only shot on target. It didn't look like it was going to go our way no matter what we did. I would have taken a point with 15 minutes to go.
"The man is clueless, negative, boring and tactically inept but there are people on this website that think he has done wonders? " I think the "What has Moyes ever done for us?" path has been well trod on this site.
... as has the "if Moyes left what would happen" argument.
13 Posted 17/12/2011 at 20:29:17
14 Posted 17/12/2011 at 20:28:22
15 Posted 17/12/2011 at 20:25:57
With more games under he,s belt, will be a great asset.
Saha 10, Why?. Ok he,s not the greatest grafter, but even now, he,s class. Please note, Messi, Gerd Muller, Lineaker ould not score under Moyes.
PS. just watched Martinez, wigan side, possession, possession, possession. In my opinion a manager for the future.
16 Posted 17/12/2011 at 20:32:31
17 Posted 17/12/2011 at 20:41:01
In my opinion Moyes has huge faults, but he is massively handicapped by what he has to deal with. He has my support and - based on today's game - we could have easily won that game. I don't think Moyes was to blame for us drawing. He wasn't to blame for the goal. He wasn't to blame for the final ball that should have been of a higher quality.
I think he was wrong to play Cahill. I think he should have played Feli in the role Neville played. But then who would come in? I assume Drethe wasn't fit to start. Rodwell wasn't fit to start.
I think all Evertonians are united in wanting new owners and a cash injection - but I think they are massively divided in how that happens.
18 Posted 17/12/2011 at 21:03:47
To not pick up 6 points from Norwich and Swansea would be a fucking crime. We probably have a wage bill bigger than the pair of them put together. I am simply sick of Moyes. He has lost it as far as I'm concerned. Picking the dreadful Cahill every week is astonishing.
19 Posted 17/12/2011 at 21:20:14
Let's face facts, this is a tough league, where Chelsea struggle at Wigan, Spurs lose out to Stoke, etc. etc. an we got no money! Moyesy is not the problem, money is!
20 Posted 17/12/2011 at 21:17:08
I can't "win" now; I hope Doddy's right and it's 20 points but how shameful is that tally for Everton Football Club?
Besides everything else we're lacking, we're also out of luck - which is an extra worry as well as a big factor in determining the relegation sides
I hope to God there's three worse teams than us come May
21 Posted 17/12/2011 at 21:53:18
January looms large. Moyes needs to do something special with his new years crumbs.
22 Posted 17/12/2011 at 22:16:05
How on earth can anyone hope for a positive result against any Premier League opposition when we are scraping the barrel every week? Neville and Cahill would hardly be on the bench of a bottom six club and now we are having the niggly injuries which are inevitable at this time of year and the players who are being praised are on loan, using us as a shop window.
We have a very small, poor squad of players that we actually have on contract.
I am not a great fan of DM for his negativity but I can understand why he is so cautious... his aim is to keep us in the Premier League with no real transfer budget and so far he has done what is asked of him and in fact finished in the top 8 pretty consistently, despite playing dreadful football to watch. I reckon he has surprised BK and enabled him to avoid disaster and relegation.
However, we are in decline and thats why we have to trot out Jags on pain killers, Hibbo, Neville and Cahill because we don't seem to have replacements.
If Baines gets injured, the whole rotten edifice will crumble!!!
23 Posted 17/12/2011 at 23:08:26
24 Posted 17/12/2011 at 23:11:50
25 Posted 18/12/2011 at 00:46:12
My assessment of Hibbert is usually viewed in the context of what he does both defensively and offensively and seeing as he often offers little going forward, it's hard to mark him highly.
26 Posted 18/12/2011 at 10:12:02
If you are happy watching EFC at home then that's okay; I am not. Look at our home record and tell me honestly that Moyes is doing well.
I don't care about no money etc. Any manager can pick two forwards and try to create chances. He leaves his top goalscorer on the bench to play Saha. I think that is wrong, maybe play the two but to drop your leading goalscorer and watch one up front is not what I think EFC should be doing.
31,000 were at the game 9,000 never bothered. The Swansea gate will be even lower. Support Moyes all you want, that's your right, but for me he is a poor manager who will win nothing for EFC. Ten Years of his managership and I am supposed to be excited and happy with a draw at home to the Mighty Norwich!!!!!!!!!
27 Posted 18/12/2011 at 10:33:46
The team and the manager need the fans behind them and that's the first rule of motivation and man-management Phil Rogers (#24). This may be a revelation to some but on here but telling someone they're shit doesn't get the best out of them.
28 Posted 18/12/2011 at 15:42:57
29 Posted 18/12/2011 at 15:54:19
Al: "Joe, that 31,000 is a record low for a Premier League game at Goodison." ? I don't think that's true. There have been a number of lower crowds at Goodison for home games in the Premier League.
30 Posted 18/12/2011 at 16:13:53
31 Posted 18/12/2011 at 18:16:02
Moyes, please shut the fuck up with the humble bullshit, (no-one's buying that reverse psychology gobshite anymore, it just makes you look like a twat), and tell the lads they can win pre-match, and then, just think of it, they may actually start to believe it themselves;
Oh, and by the way, stop playing crocked or non-committed 30 somethings when it's blatantly not working and the WORLD is yelling at you to STOP doing it week in week out
32 Posted 18/12/2011 at 18:55:52
33 Posted 18/12/2011 at 19:12:45
34 Posted 18/12/2011 at 20:55:56
i meant that Goodison Park Holds 40,000 Moyes is supposed to have worked miracles but 9,000 empty seats would not support that. In fact we are hard pressed to get a full house at any time
35 Posted 18/12/2011 at 21:02:25
36 Posted 18/12/2011 at 22:47:52
That said Dracula looks half decent (by Everton standards of course). Roll on January when i'm sure Moyes will have money burning a hole in his pocket.
37 Posted 18/12/2011 at 23:38:28
38 Posted 18/12/2011 at 23:53:12
39 Posted 19/12/2011 at 13:39:21
And before anyone starts arguing that so-and-so is doing better than us this season, have a look at the previous few years where we've been the best side out of those with little or no money to spend.
Having said that a few changes to the starting line up are surely overdue. Cahill to be rested and start Vellios or Straq up front plus Distin back in at centre-back and Drenthe at left-wing.
40 Posted 19/12/2011 at 13:47:57
He said he was happy with the point (because it looked like we were going to get beat) but disappointed that we didn't win.
Just once it would be nice if people read the quote and understaood it for what it meant.
41 Posted 19/12/2011 at 15:01:27
I hate the loan system...it is used to placate fans and in our case to lower the wage bill....we loan out twelve and bring in one or two.
42 Posted 19/12/2011 at 18:13:39
Granted Ossy got in the way of one of them... I think Osman really does come into his own around this time of year! I dont know why!!! but if you look at the last two season when fella has been injured and he come in again, that has been his best performances for the club since we qualified for the Champions League...
God the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! How far away that seems now?
Fella and Cahill well the performances for those two in the last two games speaks volumes...either they have lost faith since our two best midfielders have been sold or they just need a holiday away from Everton, even if its just a few weeks relaxing by the beach! Bainsy is a fantastic player, Tony Hibbo (Not my favourate player) has done brilliant since coming back into the team as well, I like Johnny but prefare Distan...Jags just had an off day... Moyes keeps bringing on the late subs, why cant he ever start with those players? then when we get a decent lead he can go back to defending as long as its not like the days of Billy Bingham, score in the first minute and then try to hang on for the other 89...
Let do a little survey here:
Question: Given our current position in the League,
1.Keep David Moyes
2.Get rid of David Moyes
3.Wait until the season is over
Honest answers, this is about Moyes not Bill Kenright....
YOU CAN YOUR REASON IF YOU WANT..But keep it nice!
43 Posted 19/12/2011 at 18:48:41
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