Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

From My Seat: Swansea (H)

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Three points and a clean sheet for the first time at home this season sees the Blues send the faithful into Christmas on a positive note.

A game that never really came alive was nevertheless enthralling in as much that the Blues had most of the attacking threat without making much of it leaving many a fan wondering if this would be the game that Swansea finally got an away win. As things turned out they lived up to their billing of a Pass, Pass, Pass side without really looking dangerous where it matters. With our record of goal scoring at home being abysmal a knife edge situation arose where there should have been no need. The absolute need for points from both teams ensured a fascinating if not convincing displays.

For the first half hour or so it was at best drab and at worst frustrating as the Blues looked quite the superior side until that last third syndrome kicked in time after time. At the end of that half hour Coleman who it must be said looked poor was replaced by Gueye and the way Coleman left the field suggested he had not recovered from his thigh strain. Should he have started?.

With no disrespect to Coleman but the change brought an instant lifting of the Blues performance and we all but laid siege to the visitor?s goal. Heitinga and Saha misdirected headers and missed the target. Then Gueye hit a Baines pass with venom that the keeper did well to parry but only back to Gueye who hit again goalwards only for a Swansea defender to block away amid frantic appeals for handball in the area from players and fans, the ref our own Mr Friend didn?t live up to his name and waved away appeals. To end the half Drenthe hit a free kick well but over the bar. We had a few of these and no matter who took them they all seemed to close to goal to get the ball up and down to have any chance of a score and it left me wondering why we do not ever try something inventive rather than ?Get the crowd hopeful then put it over the bar? which is what happens on most occasions.

The second half started and low and behold we got a free kick which Neville took quickly and fed Osman through but the surprise of it saw him only able to toe poke toward the keeper. We kept up our momentum and had Swansea rocking but in truth you could not see a goal coming from anywhere, everything was floundering in the last third.

On the hour mark we forced a couple of corners the first of which Drenthe took and hammered it over everyone and out on the far side. Then we forced another and I thought give it to someone else but no Royston took it this time a pearler that saw Osman rise and hammer a header home much to the delight of all assembled of a Blue persuasion. From then on it was dig in time and get what you can on the break. Swansea kept passing and we kept picking them off near the 18yd line and breaking if we could. On 75mins the manager sent on Stracqualursi for Saha and he ran about a lot and didn?t get very far and on one occasion got put through on goal but seemed to have no idea on how to finish.

10mins to go and Cahill replaced Drenthe which I thought was a good move as Drenthe was becoming more than erratic. Swansea did create one gilt edged chance from good build up down the right and Graham met the cross with a powerful header but luckily for us straight at Howard when a yard either side would have resulted in 1-1. We saw out the rest of the game including 3added mins and ?If yer know yer ?Istory? at last rang out after a home game.

M.o.t.M ? Osman just shading from Fellaini.

Overall the three points were everything but I thought in spells we played some decent stuff but we do seem to have an aversion to that final third. Hard to put your finger on because we build up quite well but the problem was highlighted in the first half when a ball was put across the box from a breakaway and not a Blue shirt had got in to contest it much to the displeasure of the faithful who didn?t hold back their concern. Again we won the shots on target count easily and the corner count was all ours but tangible reward was non-existent. Drenthe is becoming a favourite as witnessed by his ovation as he was subbed. You sure as hell don?t know what to expect. Stracqualursi? Not in a month of Sundays for me. Can?t see him staying.

Much talk tonight re the Rodwell press stories. Some for selling some not. My view is the club will do what they do regardless of fans feelings. One thing strikes me though. If we sell in Jan then any takeover is pie in the sky and finances have to come first but if we have no outgoing action of players such as Rodwell or Barkley then who knows. Fringe players moved on and maybe just a couple of additions (though don?t expect star names) plus the Donovan loan hopefully will see us kick on in the second half of the season. Personally I can?t see anything better than mid table but I am open to being surprised.

A good night out, a good three points that will do me over the festive days until it is time to lock horns with the Wearsiders in their industrial estate, who compiles these fixtures?

To anyone who reads this may I wish you and yours all the very best for Christmas. Have a Gud Un.

UP THE BLUES


Ken Buckley, Buckley     Posted 22/12/2011 at 00:51:04

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Dave Owen
1   Posted 22/12/2011 at 08:44:48

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Excellent report as ever Ken and I agree Ozzie was my motm too, even if he hadn't of scored.
A merry Christmas to you and your family sir.
Peter Bourke
2   Posted 22/12/2011 at 08:58:48

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Yep, you just about nailed it Ken. The only thing is the jury is still out on Denis for me. I wouldn't write him off just yet. Give him a few more opportunities before making a final call on him I say. Lets face it he isn't any worse than what we cuerently have in the striking stocks.
Felli MOM for me just in front of Ossie for me and also Johnny looks class in his correct position, please don't drop him DM.
Merry Christmas to all Evertonians.
Mark Murphy
3   Posted 22/12/2011 at 08:59:34

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Great report thanks but Ossie shaded it from Fellaini?
I thought Felaini was poor! He either passed sideways or to one of theirs and a couple of promisiing attacks broke down because he didnt deliver the right, and to my eyes obvious, through ball!
Not a great performance but Drenthe and Guaye gave me reasons to be optimistic.
Tony J Williams
4   Posted 22/12/2011 at 09:11:19

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Man of the match for me was Stracq, simply for trying to head a ball that was on the floor. He got us laughing.

Ossie was poor in the first half, as the game seemed to pass him by and I bet you Cahill was chomping at the bit to get on.

Loads of crosses that he thrives on and no lazy fecker on the end of them when they were put in.

Fellaini was my real man of the match. so confident with the ball and rarely loses it.
Dave Roberts
5   Posted 22/12/2011 at 09:57:41

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Fellaini was by far the man of the match. A few misplaced passes near the end as he tired but he broke their play up time and time again and got us the ball so often he was the reason we had so much possession. He very rarely loses the ball too. As for passing sideways, most of the time he has to, most of the time they all have to. because apart from Baines (when he can) nobody makes worthwhile forward runs!

The main problem last night was, once again, tortuously slow build up and nobody running into space when we had the ball. There was one incident in the second half when Fellaini threw up his arms in disgust when looking for a player to pass to, everyone was marked and nobody was moving!!!

A young kid behind me (about 12) was going purple in the face at that point. If he can see the problem why can't the manager? It happens time and time again.

Pass and move....pass and move....it's not complicated FFS.
Tom Winek
6   Posted 22/12/2011 at 10:06:36

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I thought Guaye was a poor man's Drenthe to be honest. Fellaini was solid which is just as well as our defence looks shaky whenever put under the slightest pressure. My aim this season is to scrape another 25 points and hopefully see a bit more of Barkley. My expectations are pretty low.
Colin Malone
7   Posted 22/12/2011 at 10:31:18

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Gueye is getting better and better, just give the lad games. I also think he compliments felli. Well done Gueye.
Hope that was not a farewell when he went to the street end after the match.
Anthony Millington
8   Posted 22/12/2011 at 11:12:43

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Made up that we won, anything below 4 points at home to the three promoted clubs would have been disasterous! I'm disappointed though that Vellios has been sacrificed all of a sudden. He's done much more to merit a place in the team than Saha and certainly Straqualasi (who I don't rate at all). I'm also pleased to see Gueye being given a bit more of a chance, because he is a more genuine wide midfielder than the likes of Coleman, Osman, Bily or whoever else we've had playing outwide and he has a bit more pace.
Phil Bellis
9   Posted 22/12/2011 at 11:23:28

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Dave
"Pass and move.." that's what us moaners and whingers have been saying for ages but we keep getting told modern football at this level is all about money and billionaire "investors"
Bollocks innit?
Phil Brown
10   Posted 22/12/2011 at 12:27:17

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Barkley's the man to sort out the invention in the final third. Having watched him recently at Crystal Palace that's where he does his best work (and will go on to be a brilliant player). Him behind Vellios for the last thirty minutes of every game with Denis and Osman for the first 60 mins.
James Stewart
11   Posted 22/12/2011 at 15:54:16

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Motm was Drenthe by a county mile and closely followed by Fellaini. Osman was missing for long periods of the game. Drenthe created everything positive we did for most of the match and we reverted to type once he went off.
Adam Fenlon
12   Posted 22/12/2011 at 16:00:20

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Bout time Saha put in a shift surely! He's contributed nothing for a while now!
Paul Hughes
13   Posted 22/12/2011 at 16:05:13

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Were Stracq and Brett Angell separated at birth?
Luke O'Farrell
14   Posted 22/12/2011 at 18:25:04

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#3 Mark

You say Fellaini was poor:

Most touches of the ball - 91

Most passes - 71

Pass Completion - 86%

Interceptions - 4

Tackles - 6 (won 5)

50/50s - 13 (won 11)

Aerial Challenges - 3 (won 3)

Seized possession in the midfield - 10 times - highest amount

Not bad for a poor game..
Paul Gladwell
15   Posted 22/12/2011 at 18:35:22

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Fellaini poor! The lad had a great game and was always looking to pass forward not side ways and was not getting much help from Neville who like jags looked an accident waiting to happen as well as some stupid challenges.
David Hallwood
16   Posted 22/12/2011 at 19:25:08

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Just to say Merry Christmas & thanks for the match reports over the year Ken, better than any match report in the papers.
Mike Oates
17   Posted 22/12/2011 at 22:13:53

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Keep up the good work Ken , and why isn't this posted as a Column not a mail
Ian Smitham
18   Posted 22/12/2011 at 22:43:21

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Ken, as always a well written and well thought out report. Read Luke's contribution also, I assume you are not related as he also writes an excellent report.

Thanks for the season to date and I look forward to future reports, probably more than going to the games themselves.

I wrote on the TW report that it was good to see a choice of MOM last night, a few good contributions, and though there were some good claims, afterwards I thought Fella was the man and having seen Lukes' stats above I gues that anyone who was there will appreciate his contribution.

Thanks again and Merry Christmas
Gavin McGarvey
19   Posted 22/12/2011 at 22:38:22

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Thanks for the match report ken. Excellent as always
Keith Davies
20   Posted 23/12/2011 at 11:06:38

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Excellent report, Ken. Ossie was MotM also. Have a great Xmas. Up the Blues.
Jon Cox
21   Posted 23/12/2011 at 22:26:11

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Jesus, mid table mediocrity when does it end?

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