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From My Seat: WBA (A)

By Ken Buckley   ::  02/09/2012 Players and fans full of confidence head to the Hawthorns. The weather could not have been better but there was a point that should have been remembered. Our record there is poor 4 wins in 23 games suggesting this is indeed a bit of a bogey ground for us. The longer the game went on this thought kept entering the mind...

We started full of confidence and well in control forcing the Baggies on to the back foot and letting us come on and depend on a breakaway.

From quite early on, you could see that our silky passing was getting us to the final third with ease but there seemed little sign of ‘killer pass’ or indeed a semblance of cutting edge. I think a lot of us thought it may be just a matter of time before we click but that thought was dispelled just after the 15 min mark when Gibson – in no more a strenuous act than passing the ball out wide right he went to the turf – was led off and that was his day over; after Hibbert coming on at right back and Neville going into midfield so was ours. We never seemed to really recover from that and although we were on top until the break we never really looked convincing.

We had a couple of headers from Jelavic to ‘Ooh and Aah’ about and one very close effort from Fellaini who met a deep right wing cross and did the right thing in heading it back across the keeper but just over the bar with the keeper well rooted to the spot.

Having most of the play is one thing but being sloppy and giving the ball away on the opponents' 18-yd line and allowing a quick break was rammed home when Ridgewell galloped forward, put a great cross in, and Long rattled the bar with force. We had been warned but the warning was not heeded and after another defensive mix up Morrisson was in one-on-one and we were grateful to Tim Howard for making a great one-handed stop and then falling on the ball in the resultant scramble.

Half-time and we were perplexed at our performance as so many players seemed just not ‘At it’ – especially in crucial areas of attack and defence. A worrying time!

The second half again started well for the Blues but our frailty was demonstrated early on in the piece when Baines took a touch before shooting when well placed in the box and allowed his effort to be deflected for a corner; I wondered why he didn’t shoot first time. Then Jelavic fed Fellaini who with nice control left his marker and from a good position in the box dragged his effort wide and I have to say it was with little conviction. It was a real chance that the Belgian has been despatching so far this season.

It was frustrating for all and fair play to our manager he did try to inject something different by swopping Naismith with Mirallas on the hour mark. It almost worked as he got a pass from our most consistent player on an inconsistent day, Osman, then went forward at pace to the by-line and put in a low cross that found Fellaini at the far post. It seemed nailed on, he swung a boot, did it get a bobble? Because the upshot was that from a very presentable opportunity he did in fact find the legendary ‘Row Z’ – hell you just knew this ain't our day.

Wouldn’t you just know it – almost straight away, their sub Odemwingie raced away down the left leaving Hibbert in his wake and Jags out of position and crossed low for Long to get his foot on the ball before Distin – 1-0 down and to be honest at that moment I just knew ‘Game Over’.

Now we looked even flatter than before, Osman did try to pull a few strings and play people in but everything just seemed to break down. Fellaini seemed to lose all concentration as he embarked on run-ins with the rookie Ref Moss but there was always going to be one winner and he duly got himself booked. Neville also started to sail close to the wind with daft tackles and he got a very unnecessary yellow and was hooked in favour of Big Vic. This on the face of it put a more attacking slant on our side but unfortunately it never materialised.

It was from a comical episode that emphasised our frailty both up front and at the back as Fellaini got his legs in a mess just inside their box and eventually played a ball so badly to Baines that he had to stretch and toe poke it to Osman with no real direction which led to Osman being robbed and they set off down field and from a great strike Howard did well to tip over the bar. From the corner, Howard seemed to be pinned in by a WBA forward, a big centre back was left unmarked so, when the floundering keeper flapped and missed, the unmarked defender headed home – as did a good number of the faithful. If it was not 'game over' before it was now.

Final whistle and I wouldn’t say the fans were very angry; it seemed to more bemusement after a display like that on the back of our previous displays.

MotM – Hard to find but I would go for Osman. Overall what can you say? We promised much and delivered little. Players who usually stand out for us all off form at the same time. The injury to Gibson disrupted us more than it ever should, leaving me to hope that the last-minute loan signing from (yet again) Belgium can hit the ground running and live up the accolade from Vincent Kompany. (I wonder how you pronounce his name, let alone master spelling it???) You could justifiably question the manager when on Gibson’s injury he didn’t just drop Fellaini back and send Mirallas into the Fellaini role but hindsight is a great thing.

What next? Well it’s probably best to put today down to just one of those things that happen at times in every season, and turn up and watch us gain three more points v Newcastle in a fortnight.

Enjoy your international break.
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Dennis Stevens
215 Posted 02/09/2012 at 15:08:03
Thanks for the report Ken, it's the next best thing to being there!
Sam Hoare
217 Posted 02/09/2012 at 15:04:12
Balanced report as ever ken. Good work.
Paul Ferry
223 Posted 02/09/2012 at 15:31:39
So so disappointing. No need for jerking knees at this point though. But some thoughts for what it's worth:

(1) Central defence. Absolutely shocking today, that 1st goal ought to be shown to all aspiring 12- or 13-year-old defenders about how not to defend – Hibbo caught out, Jags (well, marooned), Distin wrong-sided (again). Why oh why is Johnny not starting? I know he makes gaffs now and then, but to state the blind bleedingly fucking obvious, so do the chumps at the back today, and at least Johnny can play the ball out of defence.

(2) Goalie, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Howard drives me nuts, goalies cannot afford a 50% success ratio, he was like a straggling gormless tit for the 2nd goal (but, by the way, the baggie was only allowed to shoot for the (great) save for the corner coz Distin backed off and then put his leg in the air like a pert ballerina when the Baggie shot). I seriously don't know what to do. We have no better option. We need a top-drawer alternative, Brummy boy or whoever, has to be a #1 priority for the next window.

(3) The service for Mirallas when he came on was piss poor. His first touch and movement was just the injection we needed and should have led to a goal. But the next 30 mins? Baines, listen, you don't need to run past Mirallas with the ball all the time, he is perfectly capable of doing these things for himself. Pass it LB, okay?

(4) Neville. Fuck me, he should never ever ever ever never ever ever never ever play in centre-mid for us ever again. I can't take any more of it: his gormless wandering like the proverbial headless chicken, his neat and tidy little passes that get us fucking nowhere, his ballooning balls (so to speak) that end up in a throw-in for our smiling opponents.

(5) Right-back. Something has to happen here, because neither Neville or Hibbert are good enough all round. Both bring something to this position, but neither is a complete right back. Answer? Fuck knows. Moyes seems happy and clearly disagrees with me and he, after all, is the expert. Work on Coleman's clear defensive lack of nous? Possibly. Can Garbutt play right side? With the goalie, right-back, I feel, is our major sore point now that we have left-back cover.

(6) I'm sorry, time to call time on Osman. How on earth peeps thought he had a good game today is beyond me (one thing I disagree about you with KB, but I also note that others have said the same thing, so did I miss something?), and I don't base this on a single game, but handful of seasons where admittedly there have been some very good things but not enough, too lightweight, maddening.

(7) Time to call time on the biggest lumbering load of arrogant shite that I have seen at The Old Lady over the last decade or so, Victor fucking Anichebe., Ship him. There is now no need to have this shameful championship player on our bench any longer. Sell the camel to Stoke in January, the mutants and living dead there will welcome him with open flesh dripping arms.

(8) With the smart window dealing we no longer need to have Osman starting, Neville in centre-mid, or Anichebe sitting like a right good proper Prem player on our bench. Nice work Davey, nice work. Shrewd dealing, professional and proper scouting and dealing. Well done fella.

(9) Reasons to be cheerful (part-1). No matter what happened to today in baggie-land (fuck Smethwick is one shitbag of a dump) this squad is still very promising and for the first time in years, with the right sort of managerial decision-making and wheeling and dealing, there is creativity and flare nearly everywhere.

(10) Reasons to be cheerful (part-2). A few spots are changing on Davey's leopard skin. Yes, Pete Barry, today was at times a little uncomfortably like last October, but no need to jerk knees and the hammering words after the final whistle were well, quite frankly, silly. Two weeks worth of work for all concerned and then we will again play the next May 8th placed barcodes off the park.

If Davey does not make the most of the raw materials he has in his hands now, I will be the first to jump down his throat. But tell me, I doubt that there is not a single ToffeeWebber who would not have settled on Aug-19 for six points our of nine.

We will be fine, methinks, but let's wait and see, and if need be, criticize if the time comes. That first sub was worrying for me, but at least he got Kevin on at 60 and that mightn't well have happened in last year's bleak early winter.

A nice string of winnable games ahead of us. I think that we will be in the top four come say October-1.

COYB

John Hall
227 Posted 02/09/2012 at 15:46:05
At least we're doing better than the 'noisy neighbours'. Arsenal fans really rubbed salt into them by calling them 'the Spurs of Merseyside'... Ouch! But so true! COYB
James Stewart
248 Posted 02/09/2012 at 17:39:22
Good report. Tactics were wrong for this one and hopefully he has learned something from it.
Ajay Gopal
253 Posted 02/09/2012 at 18:09:20
The most disappointing aspect was to hear Moyes comments after the match - that we should have settled for a 0-0 draw in the 2nd half (or words to that affect). Certainly not the attitude for a team aiming for the Top 4.
Sam Hoare
254 Posted 02/09/2012 at 18:10:54
Well we are 5th equal and liverpool in relegation zone. I'll take that.
Jim Knightley
256 Posted 02/09/2012 at 18:13:48
Ajay...re-listen to the comment...He said he went for the win (bringing Mirallas on) and referred to that as a possible error retrospectively...his tactics were clearly to win.

The reality is that West Brom are a very good team, and have an incredible home run going. We cant win every game, and our players are not United/City/Chelsea quality. But, if Fellaini had taken his chance, maybe we would be joint top currently. However, 6 points from United at home and two tricky away games, is pretty great going. Now we've got a good run, and need to try and be in the top four/five by the end of October.

Paul McGinty
259 Posted 02/09/2012 at 18:15:16
Ajay , I interpreted the managers comments to mean, if I had known we were going to get beat by a counterattack and set piece, if I had decided to set the team up to sit back, I really doubt WBA would have scored and we get the point. Basically he took some pressure off the players. So I think your conclusion is a real stretch.
Ian Bennett
262 Posted 02/09/2012 at 18:18:55
Great read, Ken, keep up the excellent work.
Peter Webster
267 Posted 02/09/2012 at 19:36:37
For me the problems started when Gibson went off. I think Moyes made a mistake putting Neville in midfield and leaving Screech up front. WBA had worked out how to combat the long balls to him and yet we continued with that tactic.

Still, he made an early sub with the new boy and if @fro's shot had gone in it might have been a different story.

Peter Webster
268 Posted 02/09/2012 at 19:43:52
..and for the new lad's name I'm going for something like
" oh, did yeh? Offo -ee?

Quo for short.

Gareth Fieldstead
288 Posted 02/09/2012 at 20:43:31
The Gibson injury, Fellaini, Peinnar, Jelavic and Baines all having poor games. Hibbert shouldn't be anywhere near the first team and poor finishes. There was absolutely nothing between the sides except the couple of chances they had they took, we didn't. The season we stormed the league in 85 we got beat there so it is a bogey ground. Can I ask again, why are some of our fans still obsessed with Liverpool?
Steve Cotton
293 Posted 02/09/2012 at 20:56:19
It should not have gone unnoticed by our fans that in the first ten minutes a couple of their lads went right thru the back of Pienaar on a couple of occasions as they realised he made things tick and tried to stop him the gold old fashioned Tommy 'shithouse' Smith way. On each occasion the ref either let play go or didn't even speak to the offender so giving him carte blanche to do it again. Also the game has obviously passed now but if we had got the correct penalty decision and Fellaini had not missed a sitter, things would be rosey in L4.

Saying that, too many had off games and only Osman and Mirallas produced the goods.

John Ford
297 Posted 02/09/2012 at 21:02:49
Aye Gareth, its curious. The inferiority complex held by some in relation to the reds needs to be purged.
Jim Knightley
306 Posted 02/09/2012 at 21:24:11
Yeah the Liverpool inferiority thing is strange...

Last season, people on here stated they'd rather us finish below Liverpool but win both derbies... the same feeling affects Spurs fans, and most obviously, Redknapp. He played far more attacking against Arsenal than other teams, he should have lost the home game, and the manner of the away defeat may have started the decline which cost Spurs 3rd place and Harry his job.

Rivalry is fun, and part of football though, and with respect to Liverpool, components of their club, their spending and last season's racism scandal has made them a target for abuse — from Everton fans and others. I think it springs from them being more successful than us for a few seasons but, maybe now they are on the decline, it will lessen.
Jay Harris
310 Posted 02/09/2012 at 21:45:40
I felt the whole team was flat especially Felli who West Brom isolated very effectively.

The energy shown in our first two fixtures was sadly lacking.

Maybe Moyes being missing on transfer duty for a couple of days meant we werent prepared well enough but whatever it was our running off the ball and hold up play was poor.

I also noted we reverted to too many long balls surrendering possession.

Peter Webster
311 Posted 02/09/2012 at 21:38:35
Not sure it's inferiority. Half my family are reds and I was brought up kind of thinking a unhealthy obsession with and delight in laughing at them at every opportunity was part of being an Evertonian. They're the yin to our yang, Darth Vader to our Kenobi. Their horribleness is in direct proportion to our honour and dignity.

The Athenian dramatists used the city of Thebes to explore the darkness of the human condition. The Shite are our Thebes, the mutant sibling we keep in the attic.
Mike Corcoran
319 Posted 02/09/2012 at 22:08:50
Jeez, Greek drama, Peter! Transfer deadline day was a Shakespearean tragedy for Liverpool though! Fulham as the witches, alas poor Clint....dean....yossi...he knew them well. Am not obsessed but had to laugh as they took off Sahin to bring on the game saving Shelvey today......and people are moaning about the Gibson substation?
Mike Corcoran
320 Posted 02/09/2012 at 22:25:19
Substation....ha...effin iPad auto correct!
Peter Webster
324 Posted 02/09/2012 at 22:28:13
Well to be fair we did seem to run out of energy once he went off.
Christopher Timmins
382 Posted 03/09/2012 at 11:23:20
Ken

Thanks for the report, a very dissapointing day at the office. It has got to be said that the manager is cautious by nature and the changes that were made when Gibson came off demonstrate same. Neville is either playing right back or he is not on the team. The problem on the right side of mid field still exists and for all the negative comment on this site Coleman gives the side balance and much needed energy when he plays there.

Chris Fisher
391 Posted 03/09/2012 at 11:38:24
I will not enjoy the international break, I could not care less about what England do.

I was just getting back in to the Premier League again, it's the 3rd of September just after pay day and I won't get to watch Everton again until 17th September!? A week before pay day!! Fucking joke!! Fuck off England!
James Flynn
494 Posted 03/09/2012 at 21:35:23
These games happen to everyone. An obvious pen not called and Fella's miss.

2 weeks off, get everyone healthy again, new lads bedded in (And Moyes in full attendance at training). Start a new streak of well-played games.

Last few weeks have been good ones for us. Can't have everything.

COYB!

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