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COLUMNIST KEVIN SPARKE

West Brom — Football's 'Upside-Down' Cake

By Kevin Sparke :  01/03/2009 :  Comments (0) :
Watching Saturday’s game I couldn’t helped but be impressed with the intricate interchanges, the fluid way that defence was turned into attack, the way that long and short range passes nearly always found a man and the wealth of chances on goal — well done West Brom, you’re playing football the way the game is meant to be played and I hope you stay up.

Now, for all their passing finesse and good footballing credentials West Bromwich Albion find themselves almost consigned to a long drop to Championship oblivion, when if there was any justice in the game they’d be looking at playing Inter Milan or Barcelona for Champions League glory. This isn’t going to ever happen but it leads to interesting observations about our club and the nature of the football we normally play.

For the last six seasons the type of football that Everton have played has quite often been dour and at times it’s been really dire. True, we’ve had flashes of inspiration in short periods, but our default mode seems to be nervousness in possession and short of ideas when moving the ball forward; with the loss of Arteta from the middle we seem to be quickly reverting back to that style of play.

Now, I’m a Moyes supporter, an apologist if you like. I see Moyes’ management as the difference between Everton’s natural position in the top half of the Premier League table and the middle of the Championship. I believe he’s a defensive coaching genius; he has air of class about him, particularly in his dealings with the press and normally he has an eye for a bargain in transfer dealings, particularly from the Championship. But, I have to admit that after 6 years at the helm his sides take very little to knock their confidence from retaining possession with good accurate and crisp passing and they seem to very quickly lose faith in the midfield area of the pitch, with the inevitable consequence of the appearance of the dreaded hoof-ball. I’m forced to question why is this?

Now, we've not exactly been passed over by the 'injury fairy' and have a patched up look about us... but don't the players all train together, they should be able to find a man with short passing more often than not? I used to put our sometimes erratic performance in possession down to lack of quality players and have cited the gulf between the spending power of the ‘big four’ plus Spurs, Newcastle and Villa as the reason we hardly ever play exciting attacking passing football — but if Tony Mowbray can get a team costing less than 10 million to play attractive passing football… why can’t David Moyes?

We won on Saturday, we won with two moments of class finishing and very poor defending from the opposition but make no mistake about it we won despite our failure in the aesthetic football department and not because of it.

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