We assembled as usual in our Walton ale house full of optimism until the team was texted through and many a pint suffered a mid-swig gulp as it revealed our acute problem due to injuries as well as many a guess of who might play where. I nearly got it right except I had Jags and Heitinga swopped – still the players on the pitch should be enough we thought as we made our way up Spellow lane to the game. Right away there was a feeling of a ‘touch of apprehension’ as the walk up was quiet and only snatches of hushed conversation reflecting on team set out and possible dire outcomes.
I picked up my proey which today was a retro in the style of the seventies with a free ‘Pink Echo’ in the style of the era thrown in.
Both copies were reflecting the April 13th 1974 Goodison Park game v Norwich. Our team that day was Lawson, Darracott, Seargeant, Clements, Kenyon, Hurst, Bernard, Buckley, Lyons, Latchford, and Telfer. And our sub was Jones. We won 4-1 with goals from Buckley, Telfer, Latchford and Lyons 27,967 faithful turned up to witness it. If you were around in those days when you got home from the match you could have watched the likes of ‘Dr Who’, ‘Dixon of Dock Green’, ‘On tour with the Osmonds’ and the film that night was ‘Morning Departure’ starring John Mills and Richard Attenborough. Followed by ‘Match of the day’ featuring Ipswich (1) Liverpool (1) if you were still up after that then ‘That’s Life’ and ‘Sergeant Bilko’ followed.
Back to the present and in keeping with the 70s theme after an adult ‘Toffee Lady’ had distributed her wares we set of in our quest to gain three points. We made a good start with some joined up stuff along with some stuttering stuff as we sought understanding within our ranks. Distin hit a long but accurate one to Naismith who found Osman with a set up pass but his effort although well curled went wide.
We kept pressing and while we kept the ball on the deck and good movement we looked half decent and it was no surprise that on the 12 min mark we got a breakthrough courtesy of two of our newer acquisitions, Hitzlsperger lofted one down the left into the path of Oviedo who showed speed and nous as he cut in and found Naismith who hammered the ball into the roof of the net. Cheers but not wild ones such was the apparent doubt in fans minds regarding our predicament on the line up front. Norwich haven’t conceded many goals lately so maybe – just maybe we could go on and prosper.
For half an hour we dominated and sure fire joined up stuff had Norwich rocking and sort of half chances came until after a fine move Baines forced Ruddy into vital save low down to his left. For the last 15 mins of the half we went off the boil and when Holt started out-muscling our defenders a bit of apprehension set in allowing Holt to flash a shot wide and then force a corner that we did not defend properly and were glad to see a free header go wide. Half-tome came with us still one up and our best hope seemed to lie with the managers words of wisdom in the dressing room as a glance toward the bench saw little or nothing that could dramatically change anything already on the pitch.
The second half was hard to sit through as we were offering little and you could see Norwich growing in stature and belief even if you didn’t want to admit it.
We were at sixes and sevens, first when Howard sort of scrambled across his line to keep out a free kick and then got right lucky when he was late off the line and just managed to flap away as Holt looked favourite.
Hell it was all Norwich now and Holt was running riot and he set up Snodgrass I think and but for a Hettinga clearance from the line we would have been all square then Howard seemed to go the wrong way as a goalbound header came in but he recovered and did well to keep it out. We did have bits and pieces of long enough possession to worry them none more than Baines who had an excellent slalom of a run that saw him through and forced Ruddy into a sprawling save. The same player after many shenanigans fired a free kick just over.
Osman was doing his best to both provider and Mr quick feet in and around the box. We were getting nowhere and the viewing was anything but easy as almost all assembled would be grateful to say ‘Never mind the quality’ ‘Feel the win’.
It was now a case of could we hold on to this precarious lead as the clock ticked down. Should the manager make subs especially as Pienaar and Jelavic were right off the boil but a look at the bench told you any move would be a gamble. I agreed with the manager, we were in the lead leave it alone.
It almost worked until with every fan and the manager with Fulham on the mind saw Baines give away a stupid free kick as we entered the 90th minute, it was stupid only in the sense that we had a ref who interpreted contact as he and only he saw fit. Baines contact was minimal but he should have known better as he had 90 mins of this most irritating ref. to suss him. He wasn’t biased just poor.
Free kick it was though... Garrido took in regulation fashion to the back post where the big centre back Bassong headed goalwards, at that moment I lost exactly what happened as the ball seemed to hit the bar with Howard still rooted to the line but flapping and the ball seemed to hit the bar come down with Holt charging it over the line. A right mess but the Ref signalled goal. I will look to see that again in slow motion such was the surprise of it. Final whistle and dejection was the order of the afternoon as the result was greeted as a loss rather than perhaps as a point toward safety.
MOTM – Osman
Overall a disappointing game on many fronts. Our line up laid bare the point I have been making for sometime — Great first pick team – injury, suspension and loss of form leaves us as witnessed today and indeed at Reading. Fifth in the table indicates a good start to the season and I saw last week on this site an article urging fans to celebrate this and not be negative but I have to report that there is among match going fans little or no negativity but rather a large dollop of frustration that we are not seeing an end product from such good approach play, the inability to cover for such good players like Jelavic and Pienaar while they are obviously, for whatever reason, hopelessly out of form.
We know we are a genuine threat to break into the top four but also we know we just have to rely on there being few if any injuries of any length of time. No suspensions or the loss of form. Now that is a tall order so really all us fans can do is hope, know how near we really are, continue being the twelfth man yet all the time really knowing only a few signings in Jan can help the cause. Is that being negative? – I don’t think so.
Arsenal Wednesday night and as things stand it could be a touch more than difficult but as with all things footy related you just never know so, if we gather, clap Arteta, then welcome them to the bear pit Goodison can become under the lights, it could be quite a night. Fellaini will be back barring training ground mishaps and let's hope he brings a few more with him and we have a night to savour.
It can be many things following the Blues but I am never bored.
UP THE BLUES
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060 Posted 24/11/2012 at 23:48:48
Please Moyes open your eyes. Why is it only you who cannot see when the game is turning, don’t allow the opposition to get the upper hand to punish us every single time.
062 Posted 24/11/2012 at 23:43:44
We desperately need fresh ideas if not fresh legs but sadly we saw the return of the dithering Davey Moyes.
It was also unfortunate that 3 of our best shooting opportunities fell to the bloke who cannot kick a hole in a wet Echo.
069 Posted 25/11/2012 at 00:18:25
Pienaar was rubbish and Naismith is average at best, what has happened to this partnership he and Jella are supposed to have?
Back to mid-table mediocrity by January I fear.
078 Posted 25/11/2012 at 03:49:53
We have a manager who seemingly has an incredible talent in making so-so players stand out and bringing out the best from them. That's it. All the quality of a scout; none the manager... why?
1) Huge blind spot. He can't see what the whole world can see when a game starts shifting or when a player start losing his influence. (He did improve over the years though, I recall it was more dire in the past.)
2) Not a motivator. Week-in, week-out, I'm really tired of complains about lack of depth, lack of funds and differences between the top 4 and us. There's some element of truth, but it's really pathetic to hear it again and again.
3) Tactically inert. Our inability to tactically dissect the opposing team's weakness, referee tendency and how we use him to our advantage, etc.
079 Posted 25/11/2012 at 05:17:05
After watching the Villa - Arsenal game I was left thinking that if Everton had played with half the passion of the Villa players then we would be on 23 pts. I think Moyes needs to take a look at what Managers like Lambert are doing. He trusts his young players and isn't afraid to give a 'veteran' like Bent the hook when he isn't pulling his weight.
I know logic said yesterday that Vellios and Barkley are too young to handle the pressure situation of leading 1-0 at home but with the way Jelavic, Pienaar, Hitz and Osman faded in the second half the equalizer was inevitable and a far more superior team would have beaten us easily...
Gibson, Mirallas and Felli can't come back any sooner and I also hope Hibbert is fit because yesterday we needed someone to push back and only Neville, Hibbert and Gibson have that tackle in them which would have let Norwich know not to mess with us (since the ref as usual provided us no protection...)
080 Posted 25/11/2012 at 06:13:47
Let's face it. We were shit. The referee was a disgrace. But we still deserved the win except for that ridiculous last minute crap defending of a cross.
Disillusioned yet again!
081 Posted 25/11/2012 at 07:32:34
I'm not suggesting he was at fault for us not winning yesterday, merely that this apparent fawning for a journeyman midfielder who 2 years ago almost everyone accepted was a squad player at best, amazes me. Has he suddenly become a better player? how many chances has he missed in the last 2 games alone? Powder puff shooting is his trade mark, no speed to get past anyone so if its not a tight control situation, which I agree he can usually get out of quite well, he rarely offers anything. Whilst I'm not convinced about Hitzleberger, and thought he tired as the game went on, he produced a far greater rang of passes yesterday than Osman will ever be able to produce. Moyes plays the present system to accommodate him and he is just not good enough to warrant that. Miralles, Fellaini, Gibson, Hitzelberger, Piennar / Oviedo across the midfield with Ossie on the bench as backup.
087 Posted 25/11/2012 at 08:59:11
I agree, Hibbert would make a difference if he was fit; sometimes the art of defending is not appreciated enough.
I can't believe Moyes wont go for a keeper soon to replace Howard, I have had enough of him at this stage... I can't believe he got a new contract.
If Barkley didn't get on yeaterday, I fear he hasn't a chance all year. Moyes should have kept him on loan to learn the art of tackling for a while longer.
097 Posted 25/11/2012 at 10:11:35
I didn't see yesterday's game - only MOTD - so I don't know whether he played well yesterday or not. But regardless,Hitzlberger was out of contract 3 months ago with no takers - there's no way he should be in the team ahead of Ossie.
103 Posted 25/11/2012 at 10:42:45
105 Posted 25/11/2012 at 10:53:51
Peanuts is having a shocking run of form - he wasn't quiet (he never hides) but absolutely nothing was coming off for him.
Jelly needs service - he isn't someone to make things happen himself.
We missed Fellaini more than I thought we would.
Howard made some good saves, but should have come and collected that cross at the end - one mistake - but a costly one.
Baines was MoM by a country mile.
Moyes should have put Vellios on far earlier (instead of Jelly) just to give their defenders something to think about - at least he runs around like a blue arsed fly.
108 Posted 25/11/2012 at 11:05:52
Baines, Oviedo or Hitz for me..
109 Posted 25/11/2012 at 11:18:58
Baines was my motm, the guy is truly outstanding at the moment.
110 Posted 25/11/2012 at 11:25:31
£11m! £11m??? On current form they can double that! How much did Glen Johnson cost the RS? How much did Citteh buy Kolorov for?
The media with their lazy "it's Everton - they are skint so they will take peanuts for their best players who are on long contracts!" headlines!
113 Posted 25/11/2012 at 11:42:58
122 Posted 25/11/2012 at 12:23:19
One positive surprise was Oviedo. He looked sharp, and with some more games under his belt I think he'll be more than just a squad player. Quick and with sharp deliveries.
131 Posted 25/11/2012 at 12:51:59
Osman did very little.
Hitz looked for the ball, broke up play and can actually pass the ball more than 5 foot.
137 Posted 25/11/2012 at 13:08:35
From where I was sitting, I have to agree with Ian Bennett. Osman played well in the first half but was less influential in the second. Hitzlsperger looked tidy at times, has a good touch as you would expect from a German international, but he gave the ball away a lot and visibly tired in the last 30 minutes, not unsurprising considering his lengthy lay off.
You won't want to hear this but we missed Phil Neville!
Baines was our best player by a mile but I thought Oviedo was very good and Naismith put a decent shift in other than a terrible pass when clear on goal.
145 Posted 25/11/2012 at 14:02:42
Let's hope Felli Gibbo and Mira are back for the Arsenal game and get Hibbo in at right back. Jelavic needs to be dropped Hietinga sold... any chance off sending Naismith back to Rangers? I will drive him there – he is out off his depth in the Prem... and Hitzlsperger needs to learn to pass to a blue shirt. And Howard... the less said about him, the better he as been poor this season.
Champions League? — you are having a laugh! The sooner we get 40 points, the better; our form over the last six or seven games has been relegation material, and those who say we have only lost two games have a look who we have played...
154 Posted 25/11/2012 at 14:49:02
When teams sit back we can play our football and we look good but to be fair they don't get stuck in. Second half yesterday and last week saw us crumble in the middle of the park. We don't have a player available at the moment who can put his foot on the ball and keep it. Find a blue shirt, take the sting out of the opposition.
Yesterday in the second half we lacked a leader in the middle. The reason I suspect Moyes didn't make any changes because he looked at the bench and didn't fancy any of them to come on and make that difference.
Two things stood out yesterday for me, Naismith had the opportunity to roll the ball to Jeli, would have been 2 - 0 and game over. Howard, when a ball travels 30/40 yards and their player heads it unchallenged from two yards out. How can that be acceptable? I would find a replacement and quick, a keeper who comes and collects everything in his path is what we need. Too often Howard has cost us points. And also I liked Oveido: he has technique and a bit of pace.
One more thing: we need a new centre midfielder, Gibson isn't taking his chance. We can't carry someone who is only fit for a quarter of the season... and whilst I'm at it, can we have Landon back in January please?
There were times yesterday when I saw the long ball to Fellaini, only Fellaini wasn't playing...
171 Posted 25/11/2012 at 17:24:51
Yes, go on explain that nugget..
175 Posted 25/11/2012 at 17:33:20
On a different note. I'm watching the Chelsea Citteh game and the teams on show which cost more than the GDP of a small African country, a fully fit, fully fired-up Everton would give either of them a game – that's how frustrating our bleeding club is.
176 Posted 25/11/2012 at 17:51:57
That is what I think we've missed when teams have pressed us in the second halves. In both recent games I've felt we just needed to keep the ball for 5-10 mins in the second half to take the sting out of opposition and reassert our pattern of play. However, we don't appear to have a player on the pitch who can do that.
I have seen Neville do that this season, which is why I say we missed him.
178 Posted 25/11/2012 at 18:00:14
Norwich upped their game in the second half, to suggest that having Phil Neville on the pitch would've prevented this, is fanciful.
180 Posted 25/11/2012 at 18:01:09
I agree that Neville has been missed and that is a sad indictment of our transfer policy over recent years. A player of limited ability the wrong side of 30 and he is our most influential voice on the pitch.
Only lazy employees require constant supervision; conscientious employees sort things out for themselves.
184 Posted 25/11/2012 at 18:08:49
Why are we incapable of playing two good halves of football in the same match?
I understand that teams have good and bad spell within matches but we must be more consistent and re-find some of that old fashioned resilience that got us into the Champions League places last time.
188 Posted 25/11/2012 at 18:33:06
191 Posted 25/11/2012 at 18:48:48
193 Posted 25/11/2012 at 18:58:13
The pudding is over-egged in regard to this apparent great skill he has...
195 Posted 25/11/2012 at 19:04:28
201 Posted 25/11/2012 at 19:13:20
I actually agree with and enjoy the comments made, I've made them myself many times but it's plain to see we've missed something in the second halves of games. We looked like a side without direction. But I can't defend him other than say that.
205 Posted 25/11/2012 at 19:43:53
206 Posted 25/11/2012 at 19:32:58
We were missing an 'arl arse'. Someone who would have put Holt in the stand for daring to bully his team mates, someone who's team mates wouldn't have allowed themselves to be bullied in the first place for fear of what the 'arl arse' would have said to them.
208 Posted 25/11/2012 at 19:50:18
209 Posted 25/11/2012 at 19:55:30
With P11 W5 D5 L1
Without P2 W0 D1 L1
212 Posted 25/11/2012 at 20:00:38
You're employing the footballing equivalent of 'god of the gaps'..
Just because we might be missing something doesn't mean its Neville.
In regard to yesterdays second half, I'm inclined to give Norwich some credit for that.
213 Posted 25/11/2012 at 20:04:31
That's not an argument.
215 Posted 25/11/2012 at 20:05:36
The only conclusion I can come to is his leadership. Yesterday we either needed to make changes or keep the ball; we did neither and allowed Norwich back into the game. Second half our midfield was none existent.
I don't know if we really missed Neville but, based on performances and results, he was the missing link.
216 Posted 25/11/2012 at 20:10:34
Just a statement of facts.
Draw your own conclusion.
219 Posted 25/11/2012 at 20:18:57
223 Posted 25/11/2012 at 20:09:31
It did start me thinking whether we do better or worse overall when he plays and I wanted to see more than Graham's few games. A quick google search and I came across the followng website to see if t
About half way down it has the full stats from the 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons showing won, lost drawn when he plays and when he doesn't. It also has the same stats for 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03 when he was at Man Utd. Guess what? In all six of the seasons shown, the team won more when he played than when he didn't. Coincidence or proof? Who knows.
224 Posted 25/11/2012 at 20:29:34
That's your inate anti Phil bias. Our midfield in the second half would have been improved by his presence. Hitz was out on his feet after 60 minutes. I am encouraged by what I've seen but he is not yet capable of 90 minutes.
I saw a team devoid of leadership in the second half, I wonder who could have give us that? And that's not 'finger pointing' as you like to describe it but it is about someone influencing those around him.
I see it, you don't , I guess the next five games might give us a clue.
238 Posted 25/11/2012 at 21:21:00
Do you see where I'm going with this?
243 Posted 25/11/2012 at 21:37:41
Whenever we get into these debates, which seems fairly often I'm always persuaded by the data over the lazy ill informed opinion.
Tony Hibbert has played over 250 premier league games for this club and I've never seen him give less than his all.
Is he the greatest right back in history? Does he have limitations? Has he had bad games?
No, yes and yes but I fucking love him because he gives a shit and I'd always take him over the mercenary puffed up no marks that make up most of the Premier League.
247 Posted 25/11/2012 at 22:01:21
I wouldn't go down the insult route if I was you.. especially whenever you wholly fail to understand basic concepts of empiricism and the difference between correlation and causation.
Not to mention your frequent ability to manufacture an argument that has not been presented.
248 Posted 25/11/2012 at 22:09:02
Empiricism, causation and correlation!
You must be a fucking hoot down the pub at the weekend. Save the pseudo intellectual bollocks for someone who is going to be impressed.
253 Posted 25/11/2012 at 22:31:17
319 Posted 26/11/2012 at 13:56:49
I understand that we had a week subs bench but are they only waiting to replace someone who is injured. Tony Hibbert should have come on after half-time with Phil Kagielka moved inside and with 30 mins to go Barkley should have replaced any one of the midfielders who were tiring.
If David Moyes wants Barkley to get experience, he will not get it on the bench; he did play him in earlier games until he made a mistake and Moyes built his confidence up by reminding everyone he was not ready.
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