COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
After beating the top side and entertaining so many Blues, even the manager joined in and expressed his new-found belief and confidence as we went to bottom side Wigan. But instead of going at it as we had v City, we went all tippy tappy and paid a price of two points.
The team as announced showed changes from a successful night v City. Distin returned and replaced Hibbert who moved sideways and replaced Neville and the prodigal son replaced Drenthe. Was that the right thing to do after our super night v City? Well the man who is payed a fortune to decide these things thought it was.
From the off, I thought we were to deliberate in our build up which in turn gave Wigan time to regroup. Pienaar proved this beyond doubt when he beat three men in impressive fashion but he took so long in making the pass to La Traca that the Argentine was left offside by a simple walk forward by Wigan defenders.
Not a lot was happening despite some good work by Fellaini who won his fair share of ball and was always available to receive the ball. He played both Donovan and Pienaar in down both flanks but resultant play was mostly stifled as players took too long on the ball and we got nowhere. Wigan took heart and gave us a fright when a long ball found Di Santo who was through but thwarted by the feet of Howard.
As the half was meandering toward the whistle we did have one good move of pace that saw Baines race to the by line and pull a delightful ball back for Gibson. We all held our breath, last week?s hero, the man with the reputation for having dynamite in his boots this time hit it unconvincingly high and wide.
H/T and most of the chat was about how we looked a pale shadow of our swashbuckling selves from the last two matches but most thought we could still sort it second half and it was unanimous that the new lad Jelavic should be introduced.
There was a change at the start of the second half but it was Neville replacing Cahill who I presume must have been injured. It does make you think though, a full back who can play mid-field on for the second striker. It would be nice if sometimes a manager could let us fans in on the secret of such manoeuvres. We played ok but much in the vein of the first half, slow, but we did get the ball wide and Donovan and Pienaar looked to make things happen but there was just no ?get up and go? about it all.
With the number of travelling Blues in attendance and the sparcity of Wigan fans it was akin to a home match and the travelling faithful upped the ante and on the hour mark a tremendous reception was heard as our new striker Jelavic replaced La Traca who in truth had looked no more than a real trier. He was soon in the action as the impressive Hibbert got forward yet again and put in a decent cross which our new man stepped over with the intention of leaving Fellaini with a tap in, unfortunately there was a Wigan player between the two of them and a promising raid was lost.
Fellaini was now orchestrating most things and Pienaar and Baines were trying to replicate the moves of a season gone by but each time it seemed too much time was taken before a decisive pass could be mustered. We were on top and Wigan were looking less and less a danger that is until Neville and Howard took a hand in proceedings or in Howard?s case he did not put a hand to proceedings.
On 75mins Wigan?s new man Beausejour crossed hard and low, Neville swung a boot at it and diverted the ball at Howard who somehow allowed a ball that admittedly changed course as it hit the turf to go past him and into the net. Players and fans alike were stunned. I expect many an excuse will be offered but from my seat that ball was well within the reach of a hand that could and should have at least pushed the ball away from goal as it was he looked most un-coordinated. As good a keeper as Howard mostly is, he does seem to have these moments of madness in him.
1-0 down and stalemate on the bench until some five minutes had passed when a flurry of activity took place, the upshot being that on 80mins Big Vic replaced Hibbert with Neville going to right-back. If he wasn?t considered good enough to start there why not just swap him with Vic? However the sub was fruitful for the manager as with just a couple of minutes of coming on Big Vic was in the right place after an initial corner from the right taken by Baines was not the best but it was returned to him and his second effort was much better and on the money to be headed majestically home by our super-sub.
The half came to an end and even with 5mins of injury time neither side could capitalise on breaks.
MotM --- Fellaini.
Overall a wet and cold day out and nowhere near as enjoyable as last Tuesday but a chance to see our new recruits. It is far too early to judge any of them but my take today was that Gibson has a lot of sharpening up to do, Jelavic was as you would expect in his first game a bit lost and bemused and Pienaar was as he left us, full of enterprise and a keen eye for link up play yet as I remember him last time never the type to burst into the box and be right involved at the sharp end. Still Baines seemed pleased to have him back as he had quite a few gallops to the by-line. Was it just me or where we too preoccupied that now we have options within the squad we started the tippy tappy stuff with no cutting edge in favour of the get up and go of our previous two games? I am sure there is a very good team waiting to click but on today?s evidence they must incorporate a much greater tempo to the play.
Chelsea next and despite their wealth I believe we have a team to tame them at a noisy Goodison. I just hope for a team that believes that, and gives it a right go at the right tempo. Wouldn?t it be great to beat the two teams bankrolled by bottomless money pit benefactors in consecutive home games. I will see you there to find out.
UP THE BLUES
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520 Posted 04/02/2012 at 22:40:30
544 Posted 05/02/2012 at 00:19:23
But without watching the game I could have written a match report quite similair because you knew Moyes would revert to type. The man and his tactics are moronic and I can't wait for him to be replaced. And no, I won't be singing his name ? even if he flukes the cup!!
548 Posted 05/02/2012 at 00:27:58
That begs the question, was Moyes and the players content to let the game meander along while it was 0-0.
Did we have to go a goal behind before the whips started to crack.
In our wildest dreams could we envisage scoring more than two goals against any premiership team. Moyes would park the bus if we went just one goal in front.
The man is a loser with a losers mentality who considers a 1-1 draw against a relegation candidate as being some kind of success.
551 Posted 05/02/2012 at 00:26:36
Wigan played against us like we played against City and for me deserved a few more yellows than they got - Fellaini rugby tackled from behind and judged to have fouled, good grief! - but where was our commitment? Certainly not to attack them.
Its a very strange league this one, and although bottom Wigan FC is no basket case their players and manager deserved a good measure of respect. But Moyes gave them too much, wanted a clean sheet and set us up to get that. Something of a flook spoiled the plan and - hey presto, what do you know - we upped the tempo and scored a goal. If only, if only pressing the opposition was built into the game plan - not for 90 minutes, but as part of a strategy.
All not lost in the end, and we have some very good players available for the coming games. I just hope the management knows how to use them.
553 Posted 05/02/2012 at 00:54:56
558 Posted 05/02/2012 at 01:53:32
Every player who wears the royal blue shirt must feel it because they emulate the same through style of play ans their sense of urgency, It was like watching a completely different team against Wigan compared to the win against City! there are the questions of fatigue after that match and the pitch being good enough for an egg shaped ball only but there was still something lacking commonly known as Impetus, that is down to the management only.
I know we aren't the richest club but mediocrity isn't a quality in any professional outfit! I noticed a reporter asked Moyes after the Wigan game, "did you lose hope before the Fulham and City games" that to me echoed something important in that if you look really closely or have a vested intrest you will see all is not well and there is Negativity in the way the Club is Run at all levels! Mediocraty! At best...
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
563 Posted 05/02/2012 at 02:25:59
564 Posted 05/02/2012 at 03:12:01
The game today was played in bad conditions against a team that didn't want to lose. Why didn't Moyes play Drenthe? Because based on his "being good versus being crap" ratio, he is due a really bad game after playing well against City. To me, Drenthe is just a poor man's Regi Blinker and not someone I want to see the team sign on a permanent basis.
Him apart, Gibson to me is like the new Stephen Hughes in that he has been at a so-called big club for ages without quite establishing himself. We sign him and hope for the best, but as he showed today, he is the kind of guy who has 4 or 5 terrible misses for every on-target shot. Why did Moyes sign him? Because he cost about a third of what Peter Beagrie cost back in 1989.
As for the Croatian? His debut reminded me of James Beattie's: slow, pensive, lumbering and ineffective. Some people have high hopes for him since he is a "big money signing" but again, let's put in in perspective: He cost less than Nick Barmby did about 15 years ago and he cost one tenth what Chelsea spent on Torres. More to the point, he cost about the same amount that we just raised by selling Bily and we know that Bily was rubbish so forgive me for not getting too excited about the new lad.
Accept it folks, if you sell 3 good players for every one mediocre player that you sign, then you are going to have a rubbish team. Dour Davie is doing well to keep us mid-table.
565 Posted 05/02/2012 at 03:35:15
I remember back in the 60s/70s, Leeds Utd had a keeper called Gary Sprake who made the same sort of mistakes as Howard. The RS used to sing 'Careless Hands" whenever they met. The singer/comedian Des O'Connor (is he still alive?) a Liverpudlian and rabid RS supporter, just like Jimmy Tarbuck and Cilla Black, sang the song.
572 Posted 05/02/2012 at 08:06:40
Drenthe or Jelavic should have been the choice, certainly not Neville. But what, have two strikers on the field at the same time? Not the Moyes way. Pushing Fellaini up front weakens the midfield with Neville there.
I despair of Moyes's negative tactics.
618 Posted 05/02/2012 at 10:25:20
I see the Stracq as yet another Vaughan... bags of energy with no real ability except in the air. I'm afraid that if the Stracq is preferred to Vellios then we are still in dire straits for a striker.
The win against Man City was solely due to tremendous effort and we stopped city from playing. The goal was a surprise bonus. I really yearn for the time when we used to beat teams easily and played entertaining football while doing it....it seems so long ago now!!
Football is supposedly an entertainment so it's no wonder our games are kept to a minimum on TV.
620 Posted 05/02/2012 at 10:46:38
The substitution was wrong because it didn?t improve the shape of the team. Fellaini played well in the first half, tackling and distributing the ball purposefully. Removing him from centre midfield left Gibson who was somewhere between anonymous and woeful the whole game and Neville, who is not effective in that role anymore (if he ever was).
Any positives? Obviously Pienaar, who brought intelligence and direct running and never seemed to have been away. Distin settled back well after an understandably shaky start. And another vital cameo goal from Vic. It?s way too early to making any comments on Jelavic.
Wigan are not a bad team ? they have pace to burn down the flanks. But we could and should have won, as Ken indicates, with more purpose and positive intent.
630 Posted 05/02/2012 at 11:02:07
634 Posted 05/02/2012 at 11:05:32
At that time Leeds were the most universally despised team in the country, nowhere more so than at Goodison, especially after the notorious game in 1964 when all the players were taken off to cool down. Sandy Brown twatted Johnny Giles early on and got the early bath.
Chelsea, under Docherty, whilst they could be an attractive side to watch, were a team of fucking assassins...McCready, Harris et al
Whilst meandering down memory lane I recall kopite mates of mine saying that at half time in the Gary Sprake own goal game the announcer played Careless Hands. Coincidence or inspired ?
644 Posted 05/02/2012 at 11:31:08
Why is it unrealistic to expect our manager, also on a millionaires salary, to earn his keep by motivating his players for the whole game and not only when we go behind.
The very least we should expect from players and manager is that they work to the limit of their ability.
At Wigan it was patently obvious while the scores were level Everton was happy to coast.
There can be only one explanation for this latest in a long list of shocking displays and it lies squarely at Moyes door.
He does not see how slow his team is or what is worse is happy at the way it is.
656 Posted 05/02/2012 at 12:01:24
I am neither pro or anti Moyes, but his all consuming caution is driving me to distraction. Weirdly enough, his approach works well with the top teams because he sets his team out to invite them to attack and then break the play up, and try to nick something. Which is why although we not always successful against the big teams, but it's always a close run thing.
But Wigan FFS, grow a pair of balls and go at them
685 Posted 05/02/2012 at 14:40:38
'can't agree with your comments on the subs. Instead of like for like, by pushing Fellani further forward thereby playing him out of position he caused more disruption to the team than was necessary.
Err...that was my point. 'The substitution was wrong because it didn?t improve the shape of the team'.
688 Posted 05/02/2012 at 14:38:33
Pushing Fellaini up makes no sense as he gets forward in support anyay and is always up for set pieces. And Neville would do a better job in holding midfield than him? What does go through their (meaning Moyes and Round) minds?
Concerning Leeds 1970 ? Mr McGuffog and myself will now join in a rousing chorus (to the tune of The Dambusters March) of:
We all hate Leeds, and Leeds and Leeds and Leeds and Leeds and Leeds and Leeds .. etc
It was the only song that both sets of supporters at a game not involving Leeds could happily sing together. A tyke will tell you it's because they used to win ? which they did. Everyone else, including Clough in his short stay there, will tell you its how they did it.
692 Posted 05/02/2012 at 15:23:59
693 Posted 05/02/2012 at 15:24:31
714 Posted 05/02/2012 at 17:09:09
Moyes with his baffling substitutions just seems to suck all the optimism out of you. Everyone around me was amazed when Neville appeared for Cahill after the break. Just what was the point of it? - It just set out his mindset keep a point and try to nick a goal. It's Wigan, for god's sake!!!
We should have come out all guns blazing in the second half - but our manager showed his true colours again. Instead of building on the City win, we play within ourselves, which we have done for most of the season. Moyes's only interest is getting to 40 points in the most mundane manner.
724 Posted 05/02/2012 at 17:59:23
736 Posted 05/02/2012 at 18:59:26
1. What about the old adage - never change a winning team?
2. If you are going to change it, why not put in the new striker from the start?
3. Did Neville contrbute anything to that game (other than to Wigan)?
4. Why did we start playing only when we went behind?
5. Howard was responsible for a bad cock-up but honestly, that should have been nothing more than a consolation for Wigan.
741 Posted 05/02/2012 at 19:09:37
753 Posted 05/02/2012 at 19:57:06
772 Posted 05/02/2012 at 23:42:59
791 Posted 06/02/2012 at 02:39:56
855 Posted 06/02/2012 at 13:05:35
I believe that Drenthe could have linked well with Pienaar. Pienaar was my MotM. He played just like the Billy Fury song "Like I've never been gone" (golden oldie, bad English!). He also played with a smile on his face. Close behind him would be Heitinga and Fellaini. 2 points dropped as Wigan never looked like scoring themselves - and didn't!
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