Having seen Everton more than 15 times last season, and 11 times since December, I now venture into this unknown territory, because there is so much to be said, and my god, so much is being said on these pages at the moment. I felt really terrible last week about the two defeats; unfortunately I think that they will, in effect, have ‘ended’ our season. Don’t get me wrong, I hope and believe that we can still finish 7th – or even achieve a miracle and finish 6th, but I do not find it realistic. Why not?
Well, first of all, there is the ever changing rhythm of the side. We all know about the first half of the season, and, now, just as were looking to go places, out goes Fellaini and Cahill. Donovan – for other reasons – will disappear after the next two matches. Where will this leave the team? Well, if the last month is anything to go by, it will leave us with a loopsided midfield of, admittedly, good players (e.g. Pienaar, Arteta, Rodwell, Cahill, Osman (perhaps with Bily in there somewhere). Why lopsided? Well, first of all, it’s a midfield without a recognized central defensive midfielder and no proper right-sided one either, if Moyes sticks with the Baines/Pienaar partnership.
Moyes will be left – again – to search for the best team out of the ones available, and he’ll have one hell of a challenge to make our right side dangerous. Furthermore, although I am by no means overawed by the teams we play in the run-in, I certainly don’t relish the matches against Hull, Stoke, Wolves etc, not to mention away games against Birmingham, Villa and City. Again, don’t get me wrong; I think that if we had everyone available, we would have a very good chance of a great finish, but Moyes still won’t get the chance to work out what actually IS the best team.
So what now? Give in? No way... let’s give it a right old go, all guns blazing (and I know that he won’t, he doesn’t do things that way), but I do believe that a couple of things will have to change if we are to go out on a high. For the sake of the balance of the team, we have to play with a proper defensive midfielder, IMO, and although Rodwell springs to mind, I would use Heitinga. He can easily play there, he will add some much needed steel, and with teams coming up who will literally be fighting for their lives, we have to play more than ‘5 midgets’! I know that we overcame United that way, but many of the remaining matches will be like warfare, hopefully some of the teams won’t have anything to play for when we meet them.
Finally, even if we do maintain our best form, I still find it hard to believe that two of the top 7 will slip up to such a degree that we can overtake them, and it will surely take wins at Birmingham and Villa to ensure 6th, and I am sorry, at the present time I just cannot see us finishing the season that strong. I too am looking forward to next season, but I won’t be making any rash predictions until the transfer window has closed and we know what kind of a squad we have.
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1 Posted 05/03/2010 at 11:44:23
I assume 5th and 6th guarantees Europe .... not sure about the next 1 or 2 positions.
Based on last season 7th got Fulham into Europe.
I agree with Carsten that finishing in the top 7 is going to be tough .... not so much because we need the other teams to slip-up (some will, that’s inevitable but to what extent ... ?) but because we are so damned unpredictable ..... I just don’t understand how we beat Chelsea and Utd but lose so badly to Sporting and then to Spurs .... I expected at least a tie in both of those games ..... if we were consistently at our best then I’d say top six is "possible" but, whatever happens we really can’t afford to drop any points .... at least if we beat the likes of Brum, Villa, Fulham etc it does take points away form those above. Knowing Everton we’ll beat them but lose to Hull and Wolves!!!
2 Posted 05/03/2010 at 12:25:51
Martin, Man United’s victory in the Carling Cup makes 6th a European place, for 7th to become one the FA Cup finalists both need to finish in the top 6. This makes it very unlikely that we’ll finish 7th and be in Europe given that Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City are all out of the FA Cup.
3 Posted 05/03/2010 at 12:32:53
4 Posted 05/03/2010 at 12:55:24
5 Posted 05/03/2010 at 12:56:13
We pretty much need Chelsea to get to the final, then whichever one of Tottenham or Villa gets there (anyone else is useless for us) needs to also finish above us to shift the place down. That’s exactly what happened for Fulham last season as we were the losing cup finalists, and technically qualified for Europe by two different routes.
If say, Portsmouth got to the final and lost it, they’d still be in Europe, not us. Maybe they’d go bust, or not be allowed to play because of their finances, and we’d come 7th and get the spot.
Clutching at straws there maybe...
6 Posted 05/03/2010 at 14:02:35
The remaining games may prove crucial to that partnership becomming fruitful for next season.
At the moment, it looks like where going to have to fight for 8th. If we do get it, we would finnish best of the rest (going by Skys insistance of a pack of 4th - 7th emerging) again.
It may just be me, but we should be at the head of the pack chasing the Sky 4, not settling for ’best of the rest’.
7 Posted 05/03/2010 at 15:02:12
Regardless of whether we’re in Europe next season I think it would be awesome if we could buck the most recent trend and actually have all of our players fit from the start AND have a good pre-season and come out fighting from the get-go for next season.
8 Posted 05/03/2010 at 18:18:27
Problem is with the eratic play, 21 points may not happen. It should.... but who knows.
If they hit form here at the end they’ll finish top 7.
We should begin to close the gap rapidly, but it might be too little too late.
Hull, Birmingham, Bolton, Wolves, West Ham, Villa, Blackburn, Fulham (at home thank God), Stoke, Portsmouth and I think City left. Come on man, that’s gotta be 21 points! Easiest run in in the entire League.
Screw it. 11 straight, 33 points, finish on 71, and Champions League. Why not?
9 Posted 05/03/2010 at 21:49:45
10 Posted 07/03/2010 at 06:01:26
Saying that didn’t see us winning against Chelski or Manure and losing against Lisbon or Spurs, so sometimes predictions aren’t worth a fuck.
11 Posted 07/03/2010 at 06:20:07
Now I read that Ancelotti is after Donovan and Gosling is also pondering his future so we MUST give real assurances to our present squad.
Ruddy has been performing very well at Motherwell and Celtic are now after him for a miserable 300,000 pounds. He will probably go where he is wanted as now we supposedly have Mucha on his way here.
I really hope we can at least finish 8th but Europe is no big deal as we dont do much challenging when we get into that competition.
I would prefer us to concentrate on the league position and really try to win the FA cup which is a realistic goal.
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