We're doomed! Don't panic! We're doomed! ...

By Nick Entwistle  ::  27/11/2012 Reaching the top 4 was a potential target at the start of the season. We all know how the results failed to mirror performances and soon enough when victories turned into draws the team were dismissed outright as top 4 contenders. Ludicrously, even when the dropped points at Fulham took us from 5th and into 4th.

The notion being that failure to see out games rendered Everton impotent to the qualities required to be considered top 4 material. But how top 4 material is defined nowadays is due a rethink. The insurmountable superiority leaving Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool out of reach has been blown away. If this ‘top’ is knowing which teams will finish the highest, only with the order in doubt, then we no longer have the top 4, merely a top 2.

Wegner is under the usual Gooner criticisms, Villas Boas not endearing himself at the Lane, Rafa… hahahahahaha… HAHAHAHAHAHA… at the Bridge… and likewise Moyes has his detractors in the Blue half. Quality, such as we showed in ’05, is not necessarily required for a top 4 position this season.

The form guide shows our competitors for 3rd and 4th are currently no great shakes either (not sure why 6 games became industry standard to reflect form over say 5 or 7, but 6 it is):

3rd WBA – 12 pts
4th Chelsea – 6 pts
5th Everton – 7 pts
6th Arsenal – 8 pts
7th Spurs – 6 pts
~
11th Liverpool – 10 pts

It would appear whoever finishes 3rd and 4th this season will not be because they are ‘top 4 material’, but because they are the tallest of dwarfs.

We have three tough games to come. Despite only two losses all season and a history of Moyes working wonders in such a run of fixtures, the white flag has been raised high by many supporters.

We have Arsenal under floodlights tomorrow. Bring it on. Man City at the weekend? Our record is solid. And then Spurs the following week – not concerned.

I usually write a optimistic post this time of season to give balance to the anti-Moyes grumbling away... didn’t think I’d have to when sitting 5th though.

Players are coming back. The football remains easy on the eye. It all looks good. Bummer if we miss out on 4th to bloody West Brom though. Cheeky upstarts.

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Edward Simpson
513 Posted 27/11/2012 at 17:29:00
Glad to see some optimism as all this pessimism is starting to make me sick.

We are 5th, yes, we could be higher but we are not. And like you said, we have players coming back at the right time, every team struggles for consistency but we are a team that doesn't lose often because we do graft out results.

We do need to improve our defence though; I've been surprised at how we've let in some of those goals recently. But one good result will make a huge difference, it always does.

Patrick Murphy
524 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:07:57
Everton will never be a top club according to Mr Wenger, I'm not sure why he would think that we can never get the investment of other big clubs, but he seems convinced as he shows on this Video:

http://www.footytube.com/video/everton-will-never-be-a-top-club-wenger-144755?ref=lchan_vidgrid

So it's another vote for Mr Kenwright then.

Sam Hoare
529 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:11:32
Arsenal (h), Man City (a), Tottenham (h), Stoke (a) — A tough run without doubt. Come away with 8 or more points and we'll be looking handy, I would say around 4th/5th.
Ian Bennett
530 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:18:43
Wegner isn't going to say everton can challenge with £2.50 is he.

The arsenal fans were sold the dream that moving to the emirates would be a one way ticket to trophy riches.

No trophies, sky high season tickets, and still selling their best players. Getting beat tomorrow will add to his pressure.

Patrick Murphy
535 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:25:05
Ian, he wasn't on about challenging at this moment in time; he said that Everton would NEVER get the investment required to make a substantive challenge to the other teams.
Ian Bennett
540 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:31:21
And what are they challenging for? 4th I make it at best.
David Price
565 Posted 27/11/2012 at 19:41:31
Good shout Nick, all to play for.
COYB
Andy Crooks
576 Posted 27/11/2012 at 20:33:24
Edward (#513), it seems to me that the main difference this season is that teams are actually grinding out results against us. I still believe that there is a certain lack of confidence about us, a feeling that a draw against any side in the division is not a disaster.

Therefore I believe that the grumblers are right. David Moyes has built a good side that play good football and when we fail to beat Norwich we should not say it's fine we're still 5th but we should be fucking angry. That is a compliment to David Moyes.

James Flynn
588 Posted 27/11/2012 at 21:30:32
The thing is how a team for years "championed" for punching above its weight (fairly), becomes a title contender.

To me this is our predicament. If finishing 6th/7th and accepting the accolades for doing so is the norm (and it is), what's the motivation for doing better?

Moyes can push all he wants. Ownership has been fine with mid-table status quo; as been proven and known. Fingers crossed, our players push beyond that.

Fingers crossed.

Peter Mills
599 Posted 27/11/2012 at 22:15:31
The real emotion is not optimism or pessimism, it is frustration, as we have watched us play many of our opponents off the park, create a billion chances, yet fail to score sufficient goals to win games comfortably and then let daft goals in. We (me included) can complain all we like about the manager but, when all is said and done, the players on the pitch have won us 20 odd points and carelessly dropped 10.

Most of us would have settled to be where we are in the league at this stage of the season. Maybe the best thing would be to do just that, settle for it (we can't change it), and now embark on the second third of the season with a positive attitude based on what we have seen so far.

The manager does not generally exude such an an attitude, and there was clearly a feeling of foreboding in the crowd on Saturday. Let's lead the way under the lights tomorrow and kick on. There is a good place in the league up for grabs and, more importantly for me, an FA Cup to be won.
Bob Parrington
620 Posted 28/11/2012 at 03:15:00
We played like crap against Norwich. Let's face it. But, we're still in fifth spot. Hopefully we've just gone through our bad spot for the season with a few poor results. Ha! Ha! We would have loved to have said this last season, wouldn't we?

Cheeky upstarts WBA (Nick's def.) look good. Mostly, we have been looking good. Just, we've thrown some away and had some piss-poor refereeing decisions. Where WBA seem to be ahead of us is their defensive organisation and the fact that their defenders can actually head the ball. They really do look strong in defence and yet look inspired in attack.

So, what should we do? What we should have done for years. This isn't a new problem. We all know this. Let's hope we can do something about it in the January window. Mr Moyes and BK... are you listening? A tall, strong defender who can win it in the air (doesn't necessarily mean spending a gazillion).

Wins against Arsenal and Spurs, draw against Citteh. Not sure about Stoke as they can just pump in long crosses and have their tall guys take free heading practice. All 3 against Chelsea!!!!!

COYB – Ever the optimist!!!

Jim Harrison
627 Posted 28/11/2012 at 06:36:41
I have the formula! Just get the team to win every game, tell the players not to get injured or suspended, buy the best players in the world for a fraction of their value, Sack Moyes and replace him with someone that knows how to win the league, someone like mmmm, Roberto Martinez.

See! — it's simple.
Kieran Fitzgerald
644 Posted 28/11/2012 at 09:15:50
Peter @599. Frustration has been the overriding emotion by far for me so far this season. It doesn't matter how much I compare the squad, the style of play, the creation of chances or anything else to this time last year and manage to see all the positives. That sense of frustration has just kept eating away at any sense of positivity I think I should be feeling.
Shane Corcoran
655 Posted 28/11/2012 at 10:21:25
Nick, I agree. I called 3rd and 4th as being up for grabs when everyone was drooling over Coach Roman's Blues and I stick by it. What's been disappointing is the amount of extra points we should have taken but I suppose the other contenders may be saying the same.

What actually worries me is the form of some players and the performance of some players. Some posters have suggested that had Naismith laid that sitter on for Jelavic at the weekend then we wouldn't be worried. That's giving TW posters no credit. Had we won I would still have been worried about Pienaar and Jelavic's form as well as the shakiness of our GK and back four.

Still, from looking at the fixture list earlier in the season, this up-coming four matches were always going to be a good way to gauge where the Blues are.
Ged Simpson
659 Posted 28/11/2012 at 10:47:24
December is a key month.

Draws would be OK as they lose points too.

I remain optimistic.

David Price
672 Posted 28/11/2012 at 11:58:12
With a number of sides from 3rd to 8th minimum as serious contenders for Champions League positions, it means there are more teams to take points off each other. Tonight's fixture as a prime example for a starter but not the end no matter what the result ends up.

Whilst West Brom are going well, did we ever get what they got on Saturday at Sunderland with a ridiculous penalty for one-nil, then a howler from the keeper to make it two-nil? I've not seen any offside goals against them yet or goals not given. We must have surely gone through our quota off misfortune from the officials, strip that out and we would be sitting on 28 points and not playing very well last week.

Chelsea is a madhouse, Arsenal settled club but beatable, Spurs a sacking waiting to happen for AVB; West Ham, Newcastle and Liverpool will always be off the pace but good enough to take points off each other. So it's down to who wants it more, get our players back, couple of cute signings in January and cue the strong finish.

Not impossible.

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