Hope springs eternal with Evertonians everywhere but the defeat at Spurs coupled with our exit from the Europa League on Thursday means that effectively this season is over. Despite the defeat of Chelsea and the wonderful win over Man United last Saturday this has been a poor season for Everton.
The Lescott saga holed the team below the waterline before the season began. In the long term the sale of Lescott may well prove a positive in that the money has been used to improve the squad overall but the opening day defeat by Arsenal was a portent of things to come. Two defeats by Liverpool and defeats at Hull, Burnley, Fulham and Bolton have made for a disappointing League campaign.
The cup competitions have also been disappointing. No surprise that Spurs beat us in the League Cup but to go out to a poor Sporting Lisbon side when we had ample opportunity to bury them at home and worse still to go out to Birmingham City in the FA Cup makes for a really mediocre season.
The reasons for our poor season are easy to understand. The Lescott saga and the late arrival of players to boost the squad; a crippling injury list with four significant injuries to key players Arteta, Neville, Jagielka and Yakubu, and a whole host of other injuries to players in the squad (Pienaar, Anichebe, Yobo, Distin, Cahill, Rodwell, Fellaini, Gosling and Hibbert).
The net effect of having so many players out injured has meant that as one group returned from injury another group took to the treatment table. Whilst fellow Toffeewebbers have bemoaned the team tactics and blamed everyone from the manager and Blue Bill to the perennial whipping boys Osman and Hibbert for the mediocrity of our season it is important to remember that there are some positives to be taken. Johnny Heitinga has emerged as a top class central defender who is comfortable on the ball.
Seamus Coleman looks like he will make it from the Irish League to the Premiership as a marauding right back. Rodwell has continued his progress, impressing now in an attacking midfield role. Donovan has generally impressed as a speedy and intelligent loanee. Best of all Saha has recaptured some of his best form and scored an impressive total of goals as well as signing for a further two years and Fellaini has begun to prove he is a top class midfield player, the envy of clubs above us.
Off the pitch, the final laying to rest of Destination Kirkby, whatever you think of the project, has led to less dissonance amongst the fans and a rallying cry for the upgrading of Goodison has emerged. The other positives to take from this season are away from Goodison.
The top four teams for various reasons have shown signs of vulnerability off and on the pitch. Their capacity to reinvest in their squads is questionable given the global downturn in economics generally. The emergence of a fifth club in Manchester City with the resources to change the cartel of the Champions League threatens the stability of all the squads above them. The pips are beginning to squeak.
The sad decline and implosion at Portsmouth is a salutary lesson for all clubs attempting to buy short term success. Also there appears to be an emerging divide between the top and the bottom half of the table and it is becoming harder for clubs coming up from the Championship to survive in the Premier League for more than a season. My main point however is to question our goals for next season.
Given that it looks as if we will not qualify for the Europa League at this point, that we are reasonably well staffed when everyone is fit and a reasonable off season is achieved with no major departures and some modest progress, what should we expect from next season?
I for one expect a really big attack on the Premier League title (i.e. not fourth place). I expect with our squad an improvement in results against the teams above us, especially Liverpool. I also expect no slip ups against the promoted teams or teams from approximately 12th place downwards. No more Hull or Burnley embarrassments, we have far too much quality to lose to these teams.
I also expect a decent cup campaign if we are not in Europe. We have been fortunate in our cup draws in recent years and have squandered big opportunities losing to the likes of Birmingham and Oldham at home, it simply is not acceptable for a club with our resources to throw away these opportunities.
Season 2010-11 will be the defining season also for the Kenwright/Moyes era. They have built a strong professional squad and significantly improved on our overall standing in the Premier League. The quality of football has improved and there is an enviable and productive Youth set-up in place.
Overall, despite some notable failures, our movement in the transfer market has been positive, which is more than you can say for a lot of clubs. I am positive about Kenwright and Moyes in general without canonizing either of them but it is now time to kick on and recapture the imagination and rekindle the massive potential of our club and fanbase. I and many other Evertonians will be looking forward to no excuses next season.
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1 Posted 02/03/2010 at 05:07:45
We’ve got five games coming that will possibly reap a 100% points return. Then we’ll see if its all over.
2 Posted 02/03/2010 at 05:07:33
I just hope that we have a proper and decent pre-season, as the previous two have been nothing short of shambolic and as a result affected the start to the season drastically.
Also keeping hold of key players (e.g. Pienaar) and keeping them fit is vital, in which hopefully I think we are over our injury jinx for the time being.
I like the fact that you pointed out that we should target finishing 1st, never mind 4th - because as proved against Chelsea and Man Utd, we are more than a match for anyone when we put our heads to it; it’s just "putting our heads to it" in every fucking game though, not just a select few.
In respect of the above mentioned however, let’s kick on for the rest of this season with that sort of mentality, as all the games (besides Villa and Man City away) are definately winnable, and 4th place isn’t impossible.
Onwards and upwards COYB
3 Posted 02/03/2010 at 05:23:11
4 Posted 02/03/2010 at 06:52:11
* The top 3 teams qualify for the next season’s UEFA Champions League group stage.
* The 4th placed team qualifies for the UEFA Champions League 4th Qualifying Round.
* The 5th placed team qualifies for the UEFA Europa League 4th Qualifying Round.
* If the FA Cup winner or the League Cup winner finishes in positions 1-5 the 6th placed team qualifies for the UEFA Europa League 4th Qualifying Round (FA Cup) or 3rd Qualifying Round (League Cup).
* If both the FA Cup and League Cup winners finish in positions 1-5 the 7th placed team qualifies for the UEFA Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round.
I think we still have a realistic chance of finishing 6th-7th. So lets wait and see what happens, Not sure if the intertoto is still on the go but that might also be a way into Europe.
5 Posted 02/03/2010 at 07:16:31
You think we can go from 5th - 7th place (at best) to winning the league? I must have misunderstood.
People slate me for being too optimistic about Everton’s chances, but you’ve gone to the next level.
6 Posted 02/03/2010 at 07:32:07
You can guarantee Liverpool will hammer sufficient nails into their own coffin.
To get anywhere close to 4th next season Moyes must sign a right midfielder similar to Donovan and a new quality striker. Without those, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance of finishing above 7th.
I also have to agree that this season is far from over.
7 Posted 02/03/2010 at 07:59:07
We do not have a star player on our books... we have some talented individuals like Arteta, Saha and Heitinga but the majority of our team are workers of no more than average premier league standard. We do have patches of really good football as against Man Utd and Chelsea but we do not outclass the lesser teams in the league.
We struggle against teams that we should realistically beat out of sight.
That is why all talk of premier titles are ’pie in the sky’ as we do not have either the money or the status to attract top players.
Our best product for many years was sold to Man Utd for two reasons: Rooney wanted to win caps and medals and the other reason was to bail our club out financially.
At the time our best player was sold, he was the only monetary asset we had and the rest of the team together at that time would not have brought in as much cash... now Rodwell is the emerging star but the big difference is, we now have better players at the club and perhaps the boy will stay so long as we show some signs of ambition.
I think we still need at least two or three more squad members including one big name to whet the fans appetite....
8 Posted 02/03/2010 at 08:37:14
As Evertonians, who would you want to finish 4th, if it’s not to be us? Of course, the gut reaction is anybody but the Shite, in which case it’s one of Citeh, Spurs or Villa.
Personally I would like to see City get it as the possible transformation in fortunes, fiscal and otherwise, of a successful Chumps League campaign for either Spurs or Villa can only be detrimental to ourselves. City on the other hand already have the money to buy whomever they want, so a CL campaign isn’t going to make much difference to them.
9 Posted 02/03/2010 at 08:36:33
We have the games but a huge gap (7 points) to make up.
That will necesitate DM to be brave and give the likes of Coleman etc a run in the team.
If he doesnt make it over a number of games we need to add a quality RB to the shopping list.
I really feel that letting Neil go was a huge mistake and could have made the difference given his emerging partnership with Heitiga that was coincidental with our best football..
10 Posted 02/03/2010 at 08:43:32
I believe Everton have a better squad than Liverpool (Torres, Reina and possibly Gerrard apart, but the emergence of Fellaini may or may not threaten him).
There was a real chance to fuck Liverpool up, good style, in the two Derby games and shut that buffoon Benitez up for good, but no, Everton revert to type as the biggest chokers in the division and we go home as usual with our tail between our legs and give them a massive ego boost.
My opinion of Mr Moyes has not changed, he is an honest man who stands up for the club and its supporters, but the 2nd half against Spurs is how we should be playing for 90 mins in ALL games, we can and often do beat the best on our day and we need to realise this, let the likes of Arteta, Pienaar, Fellaini etc play, make the oposition worry about us.
Benitez was terrified of losing the Anfield game and set out to stop Everton playing, targetting our two best players and we fell for it as did the referee.
I hope now to the end of the season we see Coleman at least given an extended run out, Bales annihilation of our right side on Sunday was a repeat of the Cup Final nightmare, just with different names.
11 Posted 02/03/2010 at 09:34:43
Have to say I’ve lost the faith big time and will need some pursuading to renew my ST this summer.
12 Posted 02/03/2010 at 09:36:07
13 Posted 02/03/2010 at 10:40:34
14 Posted 02/03/2010 at 10:47:33
I hope we do get a summer of little activity. Besides a transfer or replacement for Donovan we have the squad. If we can get them fit and ready for the new season then we will do very well.
This season has been screwed by injuries and that is all there is to say really, apart from a more positive outlook to games.
It is a team game and a good team of good individuals will be fine against an all star collective without the right attitude. I don’t see much money swilling about this summer for anybody. The league is starting to level out I think.
15 Posted 02/03/2010 at 12:58:56
I love your expectations ie "Attack " the Premier League. The thing is... does our sainted leader know the meaning of the word?
16 Posted 02/03/2010 at 16:06:39
17 Posted 02/03/2010 at 16:21:40
18 Posted 03/03/2010 at 01:23:53
The loss on Sunday was a terrible blow but fatal? Only if you want to lie down.
Clubs above us all have difficult games to come and three of them will be embroiled in energy sapping cup competitions.
Of course it's a long shot, but Everton have got most of their encounters with the heavyweights out of the way and I believe we will win more points than any team between now and and the end of the season.
Let's concentrate on doing that and see where it takes us.
19 Posted 03/03/2010 at 01:47:33
20 Posted 03/03/2010 at 05:09:12
My point is to discuss expectations for next season. I had a real feeling when we beat the Mancs that we were on the verge of something special if we could get the squad fully fit for a new Premier League campaign. I really do feel that, if we could get the whole squad fit, have a good pre-season for once (Brian Noble is right - the last two have been awful) and get our heads right for August rather than November, we could give ourselves a fighting chance of something next year.
I do think that some of the Sky Four clubs will try and unsettle us and have already heard some more than unsavoury rumours (Pienaar to Liverpool? Rodwell to the Mancs? Fellaini to Chelsea?). This is the time for Moyes and Kenwright to seize their opportunity and prove all the moaners wrong — that they have been building incrementally towards a crack at the Premier League and the Champions League.
Fletcher apart Man Utd have not produced a footballer of their own for 10 years and Scholes, Giggs, Van der Saar, Neville, Anderson, Ferdinand and Vidic present them with a lot of imponderables. The Terry saga has undermined the whole Chelsea project as will the ongoing Ashley Cole divorce affair.
Liverpool are close to turmoil and Arsenal are, in my opinion, not much better placed than we are on the pitch. Many of their players have been promising for a long time. The mix at all of these clubs is not right at the moment. Confidence, stability, harmony and a little luck could take us in 2010-11 to a really big season. COYB.
21 Posted 03/03/2010 at 06:38:03
Is this groundhog year?
Since we finished fourth, every year has garnered this expectation... Kenwright has failed to deliver and Moyes has delivered in patches...
Next year will no doubt be the same as ever... summer of discontent followed by last-minute spend of borrowed £10 mill on a player who takes a year to settle.
We’ll have decent patches throughout the season where we’ll play good football but we’ll still manage to get beat by Stoke/Sunderland/ [some other mediocre team].... People will blame our poor displays on Cahill being missing [even though he’s been poor for two years] and Dave will still be moaning about contributors giving an honest appraisal of Osman and Neville.
Same old, same...
22 Posted 03/03/2010 at 06:57:33
This season we’ve shown glimses of what we’re capable of, the challenge for next season is to achieve this form consistently - no more ifs, buts and maybes...
Agree 100% with Anthony Hawkins, we desperately need a quality right winger and a striker and injury free we can match anyone. We also need to blood Coleman for his growth into the team next season.
Coleman - Heitinga - Jagielka - Baines
New RW - Fellaini - Arteta - Pienaar
Saha - New Str
With Bily, Cahill, Neville, Rodwell, Distin, Yobo, Yak, Osman, Hibbert, as cover / flexibility.
I think this would give anyone a game providing we fill two positions above in the summer — one of which (RW) we were all crying out for this summer — look at the difference Donovan has made.
So, where is the next Andrei Kanchelskis?
Let's go out to win all our remaining games, one by one, and let the league table tell us what sort of season we had at the end.
23 Posted 03/03/2010 at 08:26:01
If people believe we are suddenly going to have our signings wrapped up at the beginning of summer, then yes, it will be same old in this regard as clearly, we have no investment... as always.
24 Posted 03/03/2010 at 08:46:02
I, like you, do not look forward to our Summers. It was very revealing earlier this year when Moyes was interviewed on the BBC by Gabby Logan and she said you’ve got this far by having a net spend of £3m a year since being in post. To have the quality of player we have now at the club with that budget is frankly a miracle.
I’m not holding my breath for new signings, I’ve learnt that one the hard way, I’ll settle for a fully fit squad and no Lescott episodes. It will be hard to get Donovan back, the young German/Croat Marin looks a tasty alternative.
25 Posted 03/03/2010 at 08:55:49
This last week has convinced me beyond doubt that, behind that not inconsiderate vocabulary of yours, lurks an empty vessel, an individual who quite simply does not understand the game. Somebody who is against everything, for nothing.
Rest assured, I won't waste another moment of my time replying to such Gems as "Ossie’s Shite" "Neville's shite" or other posts that prove you don't see whats really wrong.
Make idiotic claims like "Jags steadied the defence" till you’re blue in the face — even if we did concede 3 in the 28 minutes he was on.
Proclaim "Saha is a genious" to your hearts content, knock yourself out.
Kevin, I believe you are right, a lot of the teams around us have far more players playing in the World Cup than we do, that can only have a detrimental affect on their start, if we can get out of the traps — surely lessons have been learned — I feel next season could see our biggest points haul since HK was in charge...
26 Posted 03/03/2010 at 09:35:28
Remind me how Osman ’shackled’ Moutinho last Thursday!
27 Posted 03/03/2010 at 09:52:05
28 Posted 03/03/2010 at 10:05:39
Please keep up Dave...
Your disingenuous double bind on anything to do with Neville or Osman is becoming laughable...
As for my comment about Jags....are you seriously suggesting that the scoring of the three goals actually proves that we were more dis-organised after Jags came on?
If so, it’s simplistic nonsense...The only thing it proves is that tehy scored three goals...analysing Jags influence is a little more complicated than that. The first goal was a deflection and the third one was scored with the last kick of the game as we piled everybody forward.. hardly enduring evidence of dis-organisation.
Senderos and Distin were like headless chickens before Senderos went off. If you can’t even accept that blindingly obvious observation that you’ve little right to call anyone on their analysis...
29 Posted 03/03/2010 at 10:15:27
I rest my case.
30 Posted 03/03/2010 at 10:28:37
Clearly took you a bit longer to realise it.
31 Posted 03/03/2010 at 11:15:35
32 Posted 04/03/2010 at 05:20:09
33 Posted 04/03/2010 at 09:22:16
One where you think Jags brought order to a defence in the 28 minutes he was on - the 28 minutes when we conceded three goals. And last but not least, one where you believe the first goal was deflected.
None of this happened in everyone elses world, Like i say, you watch, but you neither see nor understand
You might like to start your education by ridding yourself of the belief that last minute goals somehow dont count.
34 Posted 04/03/2010 at 09:35:27
Maybe if you focussed more on the game rather than trying to lip read Moyes...you’d have seen Osman following Moutinho around the pitch from the start...in fact the commentators mentioned it about 15 minutes in...
You might have also witnessed the shambles that was the Distin and Senderos patnership [sic]..
35 Posted 04/03/2010 at 10:05:55
I saw what everyone else saw, I saw Mountinho poping up down our right, down our left and down the center, he was given a free role, Sure you will claim he made a mug of Ossie, because, well thats what you do, the reality is he ran our entire midfield ragged.
I didn't try to lip read Moyse, I merely saw him pull Ossie over and I saw Ossie then go to Mountinho and from that moment he didnt leave his side, what Moyse said to him became blindingly obvious and from that Moment Moutinho’s influence on the game was greatly diminished, whether you like it or not Ossie put the shackles on him. Unfortunately they were a cohesive unit and that merely opened things up to the likes of Mendes, that you then claim Ossie was the mug merely confirms my claim concerning you and your whipping boy mentality.
As for zenderous and Yobo ( hate to point out Distin didnt play ) they were guilty alright, and in the thread the next day I put most of the blame for our abject performance on them , but they were not guilty of the charge you level at them, they were not headless chickens, their sin was far greater.
z+y where guilty of bottling it, they were gulity of selfishness, their refusal to come out of Howards goalmouth may well have given them personal security — nobody was getting behind them — but it was to the detriment of the team, in fairness it may have worked, they may have held out for another 1/2 hour, but they had reintroduced a return to the defend deep and boot it long game so detested by Evertonians.
No blame attached to jags, he was merely trying to do the right thing, but he was doing it at the wrong time, as a unit we were already strung out like a washing line. But to say he came on and somehow organised the back four is quite simply ridiculous.
Constantly claiming Ossie and Neville are shite might help you feel you fit in with the other mugs, but if your looking for the real reasons we were taken apart, there is so much more to it than that... there always is
36 Posted 04/03/2010 at 11:07:41
Dave... You need to get over this obssession with distorting the facts... ’shackled’... brilliant.
By the way, It’s apparent you didn’t read my analysis of that match...
Go back, try again... this whole whipping boy fantasy of yours is hilarious.
Let's be friends.
37 Posted 05/03/2010 at 04:08:50
Have a look at the second goal again...put your glasses on. Deflected.
Then watch the rest of the match... Moutinho fairly runs the game with those shackles on...
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