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Season 2011-12
COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From my seat: Man Utd (H)

By Ken Buckley   ::  29/10/2011
 20 Comments (Last)
The games come thick and fast and this month was the month from hell considering that out of 5 games 4 were against big spenders and just 1 against a team that make up the rest that we want to be best of.

Today saw us entertain Man U who were coming off the back of a 1-6 reverse which should have seen us go at them with vim and vigour from the off but even considering that Sir Alex played a team not to lose rather than their usual attacking flair game we gave them far too much respect and paid a heavy price.

The line up saw the expected omission of Neville, Cahill and Drenthe but no Distin was a puzzler. Jags and Osman returned and Howard replaced Mucha. The attendance of just under 36,000 was down on this fixture from previous years.

We started well and within the first minute Coleman charged past Evra and shot unfortunately straight at the keeper and with muted force. It was a good chance it has to be said. United responded and Howard saved from Park.

Rooney, back on home soil, was afforded a reasonable reception except for one particular section of the Street end who were unforgiving. However it seemed water off a ducks back to him and but for the Ref. closing him down on the edge of the box he may well have made us pay for sloppy marking rather than poking it wide.

Then just before the 20min mark the out of sorts Baines sliced an intended pass or was it a clearance and allowed our players to be caught out of position and an Evra cross went to the back post that Baines was supposed to mark but due to his error was nowhere and Hernandez tapped home despite Jags best efforts to get across to him.

Just a little later we had quite a scary moment when Jags attempted a back header to Howard which did not have the required pace and a race ensued, Howard from his line and Welbeck from the edge of the box. Fortunately Howard won by a whisker and it remained 0-1.

It was then our turn, Osman in going past Vidic with excellent skill was upended near the edge of the box and from the free kick taken by Saha hit the wall. The ball came out to mid-field who worked it back in to Osman who tested De Gea. Just a few minutes later Rodwell strode forward after grabbing possession but hit his shot wide.

We were now pressing well but everything seemed fine in build up terms but the final third seemed once again a no go area. Fellaini was instrumental in almost all of our meaningful build up and just before the interval he was upended some 25yds out by a poor challenge by Fletcher. Many a ref would have booked him but hey this is Man U we are playing. Baines who was having a poor game stepped up and almost made up for his penalty miss on Wednesday night when he hit the bar full on with the keeper beaten. We didn?t let it phase us and just up to the break Saha had a couple of efforts that were at best powder puff.

H/T and the chat was of should changes be made and who for who considering our bench was best described as desperate. The manager decided to rest Bilyaletdinov who had has usual done some good things and some poor things and send on the overhyped Barkley.

The second half really belonged to the Blues but again it was that last third that let us down. We seem to be lacking a central midfield player who can surge and find a pass plus a striker who can put himself about and know how to finish. Yes I know this is old news but it still causes frustration to all associated with the club. Perhaps ?The Daisy Cutter? will be right and we can say Tata to our penalty box woes. United as you would expect had some forays forward and early on some close passing got Welbeck in but he lost control and was crowded out.

We attacked and Rodwell got forward and his left foot screamer that the keeper dived to save and it seemed to me he was lucky to have his face behind his hands. United did do some attacking but none of it was coming to anything and Howard was almost redundant since his early save. We continued to press forward but that final third was problematic as no matter who we put in seemed to lack the control or guile to either get in a decent cross or find a telling pass with Coleman and Baines being particularly out of sorts. Barkley unfortunately was unimpressive except for two or three long crossfield ball that found their target but Utd were happy to let that happen all day as it was always in front of them.

Before the end Utd had another chance when Welbeck got on the end of a good break but Howard was equal to his effort and palm away. We had a few penalty shouts especially for holding Fellaini but the Ref. Mr Halsey was having none of that despite venom from the faithful and outstretched arms from players. Rooney went down injured after a clash with Fellaini and as he lay prostrate the unforgiving section of the street end chanted ?Let him die??a bit harsh I thought.

We were pressing without looking likely to salvage something as we went into 6mins of time added which included when the liner on the Main Stand side in trying an intricate movement of waving his flag for offside as he ran toward the corner flag whilst slipping, doing the splits and receiving treatment for a hurt back. Fourth official Dowd took over.

We had a goalmouth scramble that was eventually cleared, Fellaini got himself booked for kicking the odious big headed Jones, we yelled for a pen when sub Gueye fell over (well it was worth a shout) Final Whistle and somehow it was a bit of an anti-climax as it had been one of those games that left you thinking we should have won whilst struggling to identify the missing ingredients. I am glad I am not the manager who tried all sorts throughout the game but I reckon it boiled down to the fact we just don?t have the players in positions that make a big difference.

MotM --- Fellaini (Unfortunately by a mile)
Overall I found it a frustrating game as all through I thought Utd were there to be beat but we just did not seem to have the self-belief and afforded them too much respect.

I also believe Barkley is well overhyped and is struggling to live up to it. To me he plays like a promising 17-year-old and if you were to compare say Rooney and Wilshere at that age there is no comparison so I am with the manager in limiting his appearances because I think there is something to come that will serve the club well but not as a boy wonder.

Of the substitutes today I thought only Vellios did much and he still looks more like an impact sub than a starter but there will come the day when the manager will have to start him due to such a small squad picking up injuries and suspensions.

On today?s showing I really hope the manager, players and staff can persuade Drenthe to cut out the hair-brained stupidity as I am convinced his sheer pace and shooting could well have seen a different outcome today.

Newcastle away next and then one of those most unwelcome international friendly breaks before it?s Wolves at home. We really are going to have to beat those around us this season.
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Michael Kidd
1   Posted 29/10/2011 at 21:42:12

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Thanks Ken for the usual great report. Some comments from my view - not from the seat but on TV from South Africa.

Man U didn't have a shot in anger except the goal and Welbeck's late shot which it would have been quite difficult to score. I don't think Howard had much to do that was difficult.

I thought their goal was down to Heitinga ball-watching. I don't think he was Baines's man. Otherwise I thought Heitinga was decent.

On that point, I thought that most of the team had aceptable games, except for Bilyatedinov, who did more poor than good (wonder if he'll ever come good) and Barkley who was disappointing. I agree that Fellaini was class.

Our shortcomings were (as one of the commentators said) the lack of some guile in the last third (which we don't have - not even on the bench or injured) and the inability (once again) to clear the first man from a set-piece.

I don't thnk Man U were there for the taking - they were always going to be up for it after last week. We could have come out of that game with a point but not because they played particularly badly - I thought we gave a good account of ourselves and were a bit unlucky.
Kevin Sparke
2   Posted 29/10/2011 at 22:47:41

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The amount of possession we had we should have at least got a draw. I counted about 15 goal attempts on and off target by Everton to Manchester United's 6 or 7. Quality is what we need, a decent attacking midfielder today and we'd have given them a game, provided Saha could find his shooting boots.

Good report, Ken.
Jay Shedly
3   Posted 29/10/2011 at 23:15:41

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The reality is that for as long as Moyes sticks with Saha up front then we will have very little in the last third of the park. Saha will deliver one good game in ten which is simply not good enough. He is not mobile, has difficulty holding the ball up and does not lead the line... yet Moyes still plays him. I would use Vellios over Saha every time, if only for his running and leading from the front.
Steavey Buckley
4   Posted 29/10/2011 at 23:14:33

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The Man Utd defense were never put under real pressure even though there were a few chances. Osman's shot on goal lacked any power so too was Coleman's. The biggest problem was Saha not having any support from Osman, who was playing just behind him. It really needed someone to force the pace up front. A big pity that Drenthe had to get himself sent off against Chelsea and missed the game.

Bilyaletdinov is lacking in confidence but might have done better in Osman''s position just behind Saha. The lad has got a decent shot in him. Even Ross could have played behind the lone striker, to give him more freedom and take some of the responsibilty of playing wide on the left.
Anto Byrne
5   Posted 30/10/2011 at 03:15:01

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Utd came and did enough to get the points. They didn't look at all troubled and they played the football with some nice one-twos out of defence down the middle. We rattled the bar and that was it really.

To be honest, I have had enough of David Moyes and have never been his biggest fan. Sometimes things get stale and need freshening up. 1 win in 6 is not good enough, is it?
James Broderick
6   Posted 30/10/2011 at 09:23:27

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Hi Anto, comment 5, I agree five from six isn't good but take into account who those games were against. I think it's not right to EXPECT to get something from those games against City, Utd and Chelsea... the derby game was different. Who would you want to replace Moyes?
Ray Roche
7   Posted 30/10/2011 at 09:28:50

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I'd like to see Vellios given more playing time. If not a start, then bring him on with more than the usual 10 minute cameo.

I'd also like to see Barkley play behind the front player and Marvin Gaye given more time. He can cross a ball, or so I heard it on the grapevine, and, given Vellios's height and ability in the air, he could form a usefull pairing with Drenthe providing width on the other side.

I'd also like Moyes to go at teams like United from the off instead of shitting himself in the "technical area"... (What a stupid description that is.."technical area". Who thinks these phrases up?) We could and should have had at least a point yesterday and, with a bit more aggression and courage from the man in the technical area, we would have.
Andy Corrie
8   Posted 30/10/2011 at 09:53:09

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Without meaning to sound like a broken record, I think we've got a half-decent squad. It just needs Moyes to take some risks and play the newbies; he can always keep on the bench and bring on at half time (or the 85th minute as he does currently when we're already 3-0 down), the current lazy ineffective guard, if it's not working.

Why don't you Moyes, what the hell is wrong with starting Drenthe and Vellios?
Toby Smith
9   Posted 30/10/2011 at 10:08:06

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We didn't deserve to lose... simple as that really. From my seat in the Park End: excusing a very poor 20 minutes in the first half, when we didn't close them down, we played well.

As soon as we got about them, we were the better side. Rodwell's effort in the first half was a direct result of making it difficult for them. Under pressure they were poor, but we didn't really take advantage.

I think we have to be realistic, the best we'll do is Top 10 and after a horrible run of games, we'll pick up points in the next two months. 9 games (3 against the best teams and a terrible decision in the derby) mean that we'll be comfortably top half.

We all know the problems that continue to make us miserable and until a takeover, we will have to make do and mend. I am not Moyes's biggest fan but we are competitive and we make it difficult for the top sides. You only need to look at City's results and performances to realise that we gave a very good account of ourselves at The Etihad.

Hey, I hate losing as much as anyone, probably less than than my 14- & 12-year-old boys, but it's in my blood, I will be in my seat until the end! Anyone who deserts is a traitor!

COYB....... Keep believing, you've no choice and stop the ridiculous criticism on this site......... especially if you can't even be bothered to go to the game. Unless you live in Australia, South Africa or some far flung country, you should be at Goodison, and if you're UK-based and you can't be arsed to go to the game, then STFU.

BLUE FOREVER.
Tony Doran
10   Posted 30/10/2011 at 10:30:26

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Bit harsh to blame baines for thier goal. Maybe the clearence could have been better but he was left marking 2 and he had to try to split them. johnny boy could have marked up when the cross came in.. I'd give hieghtinga a go at right back find a place for cahill, Ossy needs a rest and Feli must step up his game.
Derek Thomas
11   Posted 30/10/2011 at 10:04:31

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Kevin #2 we do have a decent attacking midfield player but he didn't come on until half time and was stuck out on the wing when he did come on.

I noticed that he kept drifting in to the middle, always a sign of where they are naturally at home.

He was one of the few who looked up and tried to play a pass.

On playing people out of position... you can do it for a short time but only with players who are on form and confident enough to make a decent fist of it.

But if you have players who are struggling and put them in a strange position. They don't, having not played there much have the basis grounding and experience in say... fullbacking to do the simple things that they learned ( hopefully ) when they were juniors.

As to the result, a struggling out of form Untd still had enough to contain our Huffing and Puffing effort.

But seem to me to be repeating the Busby United of the early 70s which saw them fail to replace the Laws Crerands Charltons ( Keane, Giggs, Ronaldo ) etc with Grenhoffs etc... Busby ( SAF ) retired and was replaced by an in house McGuinness who tried to crack the whip on all and sundry including Best ( Rooney ? ) who was busy keeping them in the 1st Div on his own, until he had enough and spewed it. which led to relegation.

That will go down well with me especially if the rs fail to gain a place in CL again and go further backwards.
Toby Smith
12   Posted 30/10/2011 at 10:40:43

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Felli needs to step up his game? He was the best player on the pitch......
David Holroyd
13   Posted 30/10/2011 at 11:07:44

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To get anything out of Saha, he needs someone up along side him. Far too many times, he is out up front on his own with no support. We moved the ball nicely until the final third but that's when we run out of ideas. If we have any money to spend in January, we need to find someone who can find the killer pass.
James Broderick
14   Posted 30/10/2011 at 12:44:20

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The lad who said Moyes should start Drenthe and Vellios, he did start Drenthe in the cup and after that display I think it would be fair to assume that he would have started again if not for suspension. As for Vellios, how did he do from the start against Chelsea?
Andrew Cunningham
15   Posted 30/10/2011 at 13:01:23

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We are getting beaten by better teams.

No ifs, no buts ? just cold hard facts.
Jim Knightley
16   Posted 30/10/2011 at 13:08:12

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It's so laughable how pretty much all the squadees or youngsters that have half impressed are thrust forward into potential first teams after defeats....

Vellios is not a better striker than Saha... He looks decent from the bench, but is 19 and inexperienced. A lot of players look good from the bench because they come on against tiring legs and are statistically more likely to be involved in goals in the last 15 mins, than in any other relevant portion within the game.

Barkley has looked good at points, and poor at points. He is still too young to be considered for a regular spot, and is doing well to just being in the squad. Gueye looks promising, but again how is better than who we are using?

We lost 5 of the last 6 because we played 5 teams with better first teams, squads and confidence (we won't mention financial capability). We dealt with Manchester United about as well as anyone has this season (baring the one obvious example to the contray) and should have got something against Liverpool and played admirably against Chelski twice and City.

We lost because we are not as good, there are no hidden gems on bench that will change that, or genius managers ready to take over from Moyes. I for one am happy with recent performances as they suggest we will win a fair amount against the clubs outside the top six.
Martin Mason
17   Posted 30/10/2011 at 13:09:47

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Good analysis, Ken, although I think you are too harsh on Barkley. I also disagree about Jones who was United's best player and is possibly the best defender in the UK at the moment. A hard ask for a 17-year-old to do well against him.

Overall I think Everton did well and were never negative. United are a very good team and we just don't have the resources to compete with them now. I thought Fellaini was incredible apart from his stupid booking and that Rodwell continues to develop well.

Fault for the goal? 100% Heitinga. He crouched and watched the ball go over him to Hernandez.
Ian Bennett
18   Posted 30/10/2011 at 13:52:26

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We lack a goal threat which is putting pressure on the defence not to make a mistake ? which is some ask with Distin, Jags and Heitinga far from being top notch at the moment.

We need to play Vellios upfront with Saha, it's simple as that. I am struggling to see what Leon offers behind the striker, particularly against quality teams like United. Jonny Evans is woeful and I would have fancied Saha or Vellios to make a mug of him.

Oh well... Newcastle next week within no Felli, and injuries mounting...
Ray Roche
19   Posted 30/10/2011 at 17:05:41

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Jim@16
"Vellios is not a better striker than Saha... He looks decent from the bench, but is 19 and inexperienced."
Correct,he's not a BETTER striker than Saha but he isn't as injury prone, better in the air, more interested and he'll never get experience sat on his backside on the bench. Play him from the start WITH Saha and let him learn from him as well as taking some pressure off Saha.At one point in yesterday's match Saha just stood on his own in the centre circle with his hands on his hips, the movement at times was woefull.
Anto Byrne
20   Posted 31/10/2011 at 04:55:45

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Who would I replace DAVID MOYES with?
Well someone who wants play football with a bit of passion and a desire to win would be a start. All too often we have seen a negative team go out and hope to nick one and hang on for a win. Is this what we want? Its not what i want from an everton team. I know its hard to compete without the money the rich clubs have but watching this team play is worse than watching paint dry. roll on the barcodes eh?

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