The new season is almost upon us after, what feels like, the longest summer
ever. Pre-season has been about as eventful as a Colin Firth film. A handful of
youngsters and fringe players have left for pastures new and the only arrival
has been the re-signing of Eric Dier, from Sporting Lisbon, on a season-long
loan. Various fan groups, most notably Evertonians for Change and The People?s
Group, have formed one large coalition that comes under the banner of The Blue
Tonight?s opponents, Villarreal, need no introduction after the 2005 Collina debacle. The most notable players for them were Giuseppe Rossi, formerly of Man United, Borja Valero who was a flop at West Brom and Carlos Marchena, the ex-Spain international. The Boys in Blue lined up in the customary 4-4-1-1 formation, though the personal was slightly different from normal. Howard and the defence were our strongest, as expected. Coleman lined up in his, now, familiar position of right midfield. Fellaini and Rodwell were fit again and handed starts in the centre of the park. Anichebe began in a fairly unusual left wing position with Barkley, our much touted youngster, playing behind Saha.
The game began with Everton almost getting in down the left hand side, although the eventual move came to nothing. Fellaini and Distin looked sharp from the off, and made a crucial interceptions, in Everton territory. Barkley lashed over from just outside the area after a couple of minutes. Neville then hit a ball over the top and Coleman was in behind, however he dawdled in possession and the chance was gone with Saha and Rodwell well placed in the area. Barkley, who looked impressive from the off, played a one-two with Baines but Leighton was offside going for the return. The same pair linked up again, around the 15 minute mark, this time it was Barkley?s turn to stray offside. Around the same time came Villarreal?s first real attempt, after a period where they had started to see more of the ball.
After a foul by Fellaini, Rossi fired a free kick narrowly over the crossbar. Fellaini showcased the good and the bad in the space of 20 seconds; he under hit a pass into midfield and then won the ball back with a great tackle in the area. Rossi again tested Howard, after 20 minutes, playing a one-two on the edge of the area before firing a shot in. Shortly afterwards, Anichebe burst into the area but a poor touch meant the chance was gone. Our Spanish visitors then began to see more of the ball as we dropped deep, seemingly allowing them to have possession.
Nothing much happened over the next 10 minutes or so. Villarreal got on the ball more and we surrendered it all too easily when we got it back. However all their possession was out of the final third, we got behind the ball and looked to counter. Cani fired over, 10 minutes before half time, and the game had fallen well into full pre-season mode. A few minutes later Baines and Saha linked up, with a succession of one-twos, resulting in Saha firing in a low shot that Lopez tipped wide for a corner. Although other players where well placed and a pass may have been the better option. Moyes could be overheard shouting at Saha to ?stay centre forward?, so it?s not just me that Saha infuriates by dropping deep then.
Half time came, 0-0, with Barkley looking our best player. He has performed like a seasoned veteran, not a teenager making his Goodison debut. Fellaini and Distin had also played well for the first 45 and Baines got better as the half wore on. The only major down side was a horrendous Marchena tackle that ended Coleman?s game early; he left on crutches for scans; does not look good for him.
Just after the second half got underway Baines had a great chance to put Everton ahead. A marauding run down the left hand side led to another good one-two with Saha, but as the keeper advanced, Baines seemed to lose his composure and fired straight at Lopez. Villarreal continued to see more of the ball and Rossi was their biggest threat all night; Sir Alex must rue letting him leave. The diminutive Italian had another shot that brought a one-handed save from Howard.
With 25 minutes to go, it was Rossi who broke the deadlock. Distin gave away a foul on the edge of the area; Rossi stood over the ball and after a lay-off, dispatched the ball into the top corner via the post. The shot took a slight nick off Barkley?s leg although Howard seemed beaten anyway. Shortly after this the Spaniards almost had a second; Valero played in Oriol down the Everton right and drew a fine save from Howard. The American keeping the ball out with an outstretched right leg, the rebounding ball was cleared to safety.
Moyes then began to make substitutions which seemed to kill us. I understand giv people game time but not at the expense of the team. Heitinga was brought on and placed CM, he is a fine CB but that is it. Beckford was placed on the left of midfield; he had no impact out there. Neville was then moved to RM after Hibbert had replaced Anichebe. After this raft of substitutions, we had lost our way and Villarreal has us chasing shadows for the remainder of the game.
Hopefully Osman and Arteta are back for the Spurs game, although as of writing, there has been no news on Arteta and how long he?s out for. Barkley was withdrawn after 70 minutes of a performance he can be very proud of, he faded when moved to RM but that is to no reflection on him. He looks quite a prospect yet we know we cannot expect too much too soon. Over the course of the whole game, I would say Baines was our best player with Barkley a close second mainly for his first 45. We created no real chances or opportunities of not in the final 20 minutes as Villarreal gave us a bit of a run around.
The most noticeable aspect about the game was that it is evident that the problems we had last season still remain. We lack pace in key areas and if Arteta, Fellaini and Osman don?t play then we lack creativity and composure in the middle of the park. We will hopefully have a few players back for the Spurs game as we looked ill-equipped, for what lies ahead, on tonight?s evidence. The thing that worries me most is that a couple of injuries or absences leave us with many people out of position and the team has a very disjointed look to it. The main positives to come out of tonight's friendly were the emergence of Barkley, the return of Fellaini and the fact that Baines is still in great form. Roll on next week; hopefully we can keep up our recent good form at the Lane.
Howard 6, Neville 6, Jagielka 7, Distin 7, Baines 8, Coleman 6, Rodwell 5, Fellaini 7, Anichebe 5, Barkley 7, Saha 6
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1 Posted 06/08/2011 at 04:18:07
For me a suprising line up - mianly that Vic A is given yet another start!? Screech, Rodders & Young Ross start in the middle.
Now I will be honest, with 2 Evertonians under 3 to put to bed on my own I missed the first 17 minutes.
However, for the remaining 28 minutes I have to be honest I am worried. Yet again there is no cuting edge in the fina 3rd, far too many long balls to the opposition.
Villarreal looked so much more composed on the ball, happy to keep the ball, pass to feet even in the depths of thie own half.
We looked devoid of ideas, and although at times we moved the ball sideways and backlwards with some nice passing ? this is not going to win a game.
Vic A looks as poor as ever, lost, lacking any real skill or pace ? and for a big lad yet again easy to shake off the ball.
Coleman looks like he has picked up a nasty knock and Cahill has come on.
So there it is... only 45 minutes to go till we KO the new season at Spurs - and Hawy sat in the stands must be thinking he can bag the first 3 points with ease.
Moyes is lacking any ideas with regarding systems and personel. Granted, no Arteta, but come on ? we could all have picked the first 11 with Mucha, Howard, Hibbert, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barkley Coleman, Osman, Heitinga, Vellios, Anichebe Saha, Cahill, Beckford Bilyaletdinov, Gueye, Rodwell.
2 Posted 06/08/2011 at 07:08:12
Possibly playing players in their best / proper positions. No Arteta [,where was Osman ?] so put Bily in the centre , Coleman goes off after a fucking terrible tackle that has no place in a friendly, so where was Gueye [ i thought he was a winger ? ] .Then ffs after going a goal down and looking like not scoring Hibbert coming on and moving Neville, NEVILLE!!!!!!!! to right mid .
After that 2nd half performance i would have taken Â£10mill for Jags [ piss poor distribution ] and got N'Zogbia in , or use Pienaar and Vaughans wages to bring Barton in and play him right mid [where he plays for the barcodes] .
Thought the Spaniards where a very good team.
3 Posted 06/08/2011 at 08:54:53
There just does not seem to be any real structure to our team and I'm always left wondering where the creativity is going to come from. Exactly the same system and players as last year but without Arteta and Osman (end of season Osman) we dont have anything.
WTF is Gueye, who is supposed to be a left winger. WTF is Anichebe doing a) on the left wing, b) in the starting 11??
On this performance Spurs will tear us a new arsehole next week and the only hope is another backs to wall performance trying to nick a point!
Take the 12-13m from Arsenal and get some pace and creativity into the side. JH is a f'ing centre back not a CM!!
4 Posted 06/08/2011 at 09:33:05
What I thought though, is that he had a good first 20mins, but after that he faded, and the game passed him by.
For me, I don't think he is ready to be thrown in at the deep end, he should be given the odd 20 - 30 mins in games to get him used to the pace, and the difference in quality that he was used to.
This lad looks a gem,
5 Posted 06/08/2011 at 09:41:05
All in all same old same old too many similar players not enough nounse to break a good team down
6 Posted 06/08/2011 at 09:54:57
Felli needs to get back into the from he can produce, even if it is in the "shop window" pending amove to another club (if it's true).
I think we will do well this season, top 10 finish, higher if we get all players back and are kept fit, Louey, Felli, Arteta.
Is the Yak staying?
7 Posted 06/08/2011 at 09:35:26
However, as everyone has pointed out so far, we have the same problems we have had for 3 years, and that is mainly from the fact we have had to name the same team for 3 years, bar a couple of kids coming through.
Second half was shit and Neville should never play right wing. Poor decision from Moyes.As is playing Heitinga in centre mid. I am surprised this game wasn't used to put his first team out and get them playing together before the big kick off next week. Give it to Bily or Gueye. Yak looked lazy, Cahill did nothing and Beckford's first touch is terrible, though he does put himself about and chased everything.
This team will do nothing unless we get some pace and creativity injected in it.........but we have all been saying that for far too long.
One other thing I noticed was the fact that Tim Cahill was still the predominant name on the fans backs. Good that he is that well thought of, but sad that the biggest idol is someone in his thirties that has been with us a long time. It would have been nice to see new names on backs and fans getting excited about a new signing or two. Nothing against Tim who is a great player but points lost for Bill and his 'investment!'
8 Posted 06/08/2011 at 11:07:31
9 Posted 06/08/2011 at 14:17:54
10 Posted 06/08/2011 at 15:36:03
11 Posted 06/08/2011 at 21:19:27
12 Posted 07/08/2011 at 15:41:06
13 Posted 08/08/2011 at 08:11:28
Give me strength
14 Posted 08/08/2011 at 11:53:27
15 Posted 09/08/2011 at 07:12:36
When did you get your A license?
16 Posted 09/08/2011 at 20:58:36
17 Posted 21/08/2011 at 00:20:41
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