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Is joined-up stuff the only way?

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How about this for a hypothesis: When playing against lower order teams, do we use standards that are higher than is really necessary? Take the Southampton game for example.

It seemed to me that our players spent a lot of time and energy keeping possession around the midfield areas. Our lone striker could be seen flogging himself on runs into ‘dead areas’ just to keep going what Ken Buckley calls ‘Joined-Up’ stuff.

Managers of lower order sides are in survival mode and points – not pretty play – is their priority. Their teams put up token resistance in the midfield knowing that we always look for that extra pass. Meanwhile, they have every spare man packing their defensive third. Hence, further need for our lone striker to seek space out wide.

Of the few times they attack, they avoid the midfield by lobbing the ball to one-on-one situations in our back line. Our success against higher order sides is down to the fact that they are prepared to match us man for man across the entire field.

Basically what I am suggesting is, instead of gradually dropping our standards against the likes of Southampton, we should start at their level – and then, if necessary, we could introduce some of our more cultured players.

Dick Fearon, West Australia     Posted 23/01/2013 at 12:14:22

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Nick Armitage
997 Posted 23/01/2013 at 14:45:54
Had we dropped our standards any lower versus Southampton, we would have been three down at the break and would never have gotten even a nil-nil from the game.
Tony Marsh
000 Posted 23/01/2013 at 15:12:38
Monday night was shocking beyond belief. Our passing is a joke. One-touch football seems alien to our players. It is coached out of them. Moyes has not changed or taught anything new in 10 years. Regardless of the players we have at our disposal, Moyes plays the same way. Apart from the odd decent game, we revert back to what Moyes knows best.

Those 90 minutes at St Marys were a disgrace to Everton FC. The performance of the woefully inept Osman was the worst by an Everton player I have ever seen. It's the same every week with him as well.

We need a change at the top with some fresh impetus otherwise we are doomed to this shite for ever. Please don't say there's no-one else out there. I mean just ask Swansea or Watford or Swindon etc etc etc...

This can't be allowed to go on. Forget the Champions League... there's no point with Moyes in charge. Moyes is tactically castrated and lacks the winning mentality to succeed. No other top manager would start a Premier League match with Neville and Osman in center Midfield would they? Surely not.

Give Moyes money and a new squad but what would he do with it? He only knows one thing. I dread going to Bolton at the weekend but even worse the Redshite closing in on us playing attractive football and scoring for fun. The derby at Anfield will be a hoot in a few weeks, won't it?

Moyes fuck off now, Please.

Tom Bowers
002 Posted 23/01/2013 at 15:26:19
Everton certainly looked shaky in the first half giving Soton far too much room to attack the back line when even Baines got caught out of position several times.

Soton's strength and determination was superior to Everton's slow tippy-tappy midfield play and quite clearly Everton are substandard in that department.

They had better improve against Bolton, a similar team to Soton.

Jon Ferguson
004 Posted 23/01/2013 at 15:32:13
We hoofed at every opportunity in the first half and looked awful, tried to pass and try less long balls in the second and looked much improved.

No matter who we are playing, we should be keeping the ball on the ground, playing out from the back and trying to carve out opportunities. A few direct passes / long balls once in a while to mix things up is fine, but giving up trying to pla football against weaker opposition is a ridiculous idea to me.

Plus, our striker should be in the middle sniffing out opportunities and leave out wide for the wingers and full backs to exploit.

Sam Hoare
005 Posted 23/01/2013 at 15:36:42
Tony Marsh. Swindon??!! That's classic stuff.
Tony J Williams
007 Posted 23/01/2013 at 15:40:13
Welcome back Marshy.....
"It is coached out of them" - Brilliant.

Dick, your post would have been better after the Swansea game, where we at least tried to play footy, Southampton was a farce, looked like 11 strangers out there.

Jags and Distin (not as much) hoofed the ball nearly all night. We did not try and out pass them on Monday.

Tony Marsh
008 Posted 23/01/2013 at 15:41:53
Sam, I would take Di Canio tomorrow — he is a WINNER!!! What Di Canio has done at Swindon is a miracle. They play better stuff than us as well. Zola at Watford, even Poyet at Brighton.

Tell you what: let's just stick with Dinosaur Dave for another century eh? You haven't a clue lad. You're one of the "Osman is a cracking little player with great feet" brigade. That says it all.

Ben Jones
011 Posted 23/01/2013 at 15:50:30
For god sake Marshy!

One decent game? Have you seen us play this season? We've been playing great stuff in the last few months! You even wrote an article about how well we were playing a few months.

I agree our attacking play on Monday was terrible, but it hasn't been like that all the time. A bit hypocritical ey?

Jim Knightley
013 Posted 23/01/2013 at 15:53:49
Tony Marsh, you spout nonsense... Osman's display was the worst you've seen from an Everton player? I can only imagine you've seen about five football matches in your life then, which would account for the utter lack of knowledge which underlines pretty much every post you write.

And if you think Swindon play better football than Everton... well, what is it like up there on cloud-cuckooland?

How do you get through life when you seem to suffer from such extreme sensationalism?

We were shit on Monday — it happens. Southampton, if anyone saw the match a few weeks ago, did exactly the same thing to Arsenal... We were badly outplayed, but I'm not going to be crying rivers yet... We are still 3 points off fourth, have a winnable FA Cup tie, and then WBA & VIlla at home in a row (not sure which order).

And Tony... Liverpool? Every guy on here that cries about Liverpool everytime we have a bad match — what the fuck is wrong with you? Why do we care about them? They are not going to get into the Champions League. We need to care about Arsenal and Spurs, and no-one else atm. Liverpool play well against bottom teams... but they are awful against the top teams — how many top 10 sides have they beaten this season?

Kevin Tully
014 Posted 23/01/2013 at 16:00:53
The one thing that really hurts about that performance on Monday, was the fact there was so much at stake.

A win would have put us within spitting distance of 4th, and we put all the effort in of a meaningless end of season dead rubber. No pace, no showing for the ball, no fucking idea except HOOF!

Forget about tactics or players ability - we looked uninterested and leggy, after an eight day break FFS.

The manager's main role is to motivate his team for games like this, he failed.

Tony Marsh
016 Posted 23/01/2013 at 16:05:15
Jim I will not lower myself by saying what a great Evertonian I am but believe me I have seen enough. My worry is that this season will become a reverse of the past few seasons and we will fall away alarmingly.

The signs are there for all to see. Moyes is looking gormless and doing gormless things once more. Moyes won't drop or pull off his blue-eyed boys no matter what – and that's a worry. Moyes can't change games that are going against us – and that's a worry.

We should've been 4 down at half-time on Monday. That's a worry. The players look stale and disinterested – that's a worry. The tactics are farcical beyond words – and that's a worry... Need I go fucking on?

As for Liverpool, I think we do worry about them; it's all you ever read on here. We are obsessed with them finishing below us. It's all we aim for as fans.

Like it or not, we shit ourselves at the thought of them closing that gap – and you know it's true.

Steavey Buckley
019 Posted 23/01/2013 at 16:17:16
Before the Southampton game, I commented here that there need to be changes in midfield to bring more strength to it, and that Anichbebe should play alongside Jelavic to provide a more physical presence. Oviedo should be brought in as well. Monday's performance proved me right.
John Gee
029 Posted 23/01/2013 at 16:56:08
Nurse! NURSE! Mr Marsh has done a whoopsy again!

Tony, you were trying to convince everyone last season that we'd get relegated. You're a feather on the breeze and your opinions on who should be our new manager when Moyes gets the boot are laughable. Di Canio, the self-confessed facist? Ratboy's best mate, Poyet? Zola, the West Ham legend? Do me a favour! Not one of them holds a candle to DM.

Monday's performance was crap but it's not a mystery. Pienaar had a bad game, Jelavic has lost his mojo (probably temporary), Naismith tried but is limited, Osman found 2 men on him almost everytime he got the ball, and we really miss Gibson. He gives us a midfield balance.

On top of that, Southampton are on their best run of form, have the 'impress the new manager' syndrome, are at home and have Lambert, who was probably thinking that he has the chance to become a starter if he really puts in a shift, which he did.

Back to the OP... Priceless! Now Moyes should stop trying to play attractive attacking football and try to win ugly. If you're reading Mr Moyes, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Jamie Barlow
041 Posted 23/01/2013 at 17:50:28
Moyes can't change games that are going against us?

Haven't we got 20 points this season after going a goal behind?

Patrick Murphy
044 Posted 23/01/2013 at 18:02:24
It's not down to Moyes' when the whole team fail to show up as they did in the first-half,but he could have introduced Anichebe a lot earlier in the game as well. That was the first game since the Derby when we have given the initiative to the opposition and nearly paid a heavier price for it.

It is scandalous that we are paying relatively good wages to many in the squad and a lot of them don't look as if they have seen a football since they were ten year olds. This doesn't of course just apply to Everton, but it makes you wonder what PL teams do in training if they do any at all.

All these managers with their notebooks and charts, get up my nose, the game is a very simple one, you control the ball, you pass the ball to one of your own and if you get a chance have a shot at goal. You try and win your personal battle with your opponent and if enough of the team does that you'll probably end up winning the game. Use stats and data for fitness and physical development by all means, but keep the actual game as simple as possible, honestly you would think that some of the managers were planning a NASA mission.

Sam Hoare
050 Posted 23/01/2013 at 18:22:42
Tony Marsh, how is Di Canio a winner? What has he won with Swindon? They aren't even winning league one. He may prove to be a great manager in time but to suggest that he could do a better job than one of the longest lasting and most respected managers in the premier league is, to be frank, nonsense.

And yes, I think Osman on his day (which he's had a fair few of this season) is a cracking little player with quick feet. He's not perfect and has bad days like Monday which i'll criticise him for but on the whole I think he's done a great job for us this season. I think anyone who reads TW knows you disagree.

Kevin Hudson
052 Posted 23/01/2013 at 18:36:42
Jeez Marshy,

Back-to-back 0-0 draws and it's Armageddon....again.

Oh, and can I assume that Laudrup has now officially become this season's Lambert,Holloway, Martinez or Rodgers, etc..?

(Nb: the latest hasty, knee-jerk, flavour of the month, newest media darling, 'genius').

Andy Crooks
056 Posted 23/01/2013 at 18:57:06
Monday night was disappointing because it was perhaps the only game this season for which no excuse could be offered. It was a flashback to the dark days of David Moyes which was disturbing. The demeanour, tactics and set-up of the team was not we've had this season.

Either the squad can't sustain the form over a whole season,which is possible, or the contract dithering is starting to take effect, It happened before.

Dean Adams
057 Posted 23/01/2013 at 19:00:14
Tony Marsh 016 - for someone who has no authority to do or achieve anything for EFC, you seem to do a lot of worrying. You are possibly the one person on this site who lacks faith in our club, manager and players. Get a grip fella, just enjoy the good games when they come. Rest of the time, why not just dream!!!
David Cornmell
060 Posted 23/01/2013 at 19:27:46
Interesting. I've written about this before as well. That we've got 20 points after trailing is remarkable... how many have we got with a fucken lead?

From Chelsea to Reading the same story – we can chase a game, actually look better doing so. But when the tables are turned, when teams are playing a high line, pressuring us, lifting the tempo - we go to fucken bits.

With a new mystery man coming in, it was fairly obvious Soton's players were going to treat the Monday night game like a job interview and show the new gaffer what they could do.

They played us off the fucken park in the first half – perhaps were even guilty of a little over enthusiasm, a bit more composure and they would have been out of sight after 45 minutes. It was the proverbial "we didn't want the half to end" deal.

Soton's new gaffers translator probably fucked things a bit at the break by telling them they were doing great – providing reassurance to guys who were playing so well because they were so insecure!

We have won games late – like Sunderland or Spurs or Newcastle because we were chasing and had to try to win. We have dropped points because this team simply cannot play at its own game – which is pressure, competing for the ball, and working its nuts off.

This seasons Blues would be the first team I've seen who play better a goal down than a goal up. Fact.

David Cornmell
061 Posted 23/01/2013 at 19:39:09
And yeah Tony....thats at least partially down to Moyes.
Trevor Lynes
062 Posted 23/01/2013 at 19:37:38
Just thought I should mention the fact that JIMMY PAYNE who played for both Liverpool and Everton in the mid 50's and earlier passed away.

I actually saw him play when at both clubs and he was a master dribbler and scored quite a few in a career dogged by injury.
He was nicknamed the Merseyside Matthews.

Just thought I should mention this as a change to the arguments among some regular article writers on the site...above !

Incidently he was from Bootle

James Martin
071 Posted 23/01/2013 at 20:36:10
What is annoying is that despite the protests of some people on here we don't even play the longball game well. Everyone needs to vary their tactics unless you're Barcelona.

The free-flowing football doesn't work against everyone. It's so disappointing though that when we do go long ball, the long balls are inaccurate, no-one challenges for them, and even if they do win a flick on not one person ever anticipates and takes a chance on it.

Newcastle showed against us how effective the occasional long ball can be but, as bad as we were against Southampton at the passing game, our long ball game is truly the worst I've ever seen.

Dick Fearon
081 Posted 23/01/2013 at 20:38:35
I thought you lot would come on here to shoot holes in my theory but those of you who tried have merely confirmed it.
Southampton were made to look good because our lot fiddled around and wasted time trying to play the joined up stuff.
What makes it worse for us is when our fancy stuff breaks down we do not have anyone in the midfield fast enough to to sprint back help the back line.
I still maintain we should play a simpler more direct and quicker style against bottom half sides yet hold in reserve the finesse needed to up the ante.

I could use the Arsenal v W Ham game as an example or dare I say, the RS v Norwich.
In both those games the 'better' side tried without success to play their opponents off the park. It took what evertonians call hoofs from deep in defence to crack them wide open.

David Cornmell
084 Posted 23/01/2013 at 21:33:28
Is this the Arsenal Hammers game were the Hammers are losing 5-1 as I type?
Ian Bennett
086 Posted 23/01/2013 at 21:34:35
David 60 - the answer is 18 points...
Patrick Murphy
088 Posted 23/01/2013 at 21:34:40
Dick I can't say I agree with you more often than not when we played the ball from front to back at Southampton we either failed to win it or when we did win it we never got to the second ball, every time this happened there was a 20-30 yard gap for their midfielders to run into with our defenders scurrying back towards our goal.

Everton are a much better team when they play the ball around and work angles for themselves it only falls down when we get in and around the penalty area. No more hoof ball please regardless of who we're playing unless we're losing in the last few minutes of a game.

David Cornmell
089 Posted 23/01/2013 at 21:41:06
With two scoreless draws Ian, the answer is 16 points.
Patrick Murphy
090 Posted 23/01/2013 at 21:41:59
Sorry that should have been back to front.
Ian Bennett
092 Posted 23/01/2013 at 21:51:31
Steavey Buckley
108 Posted 23/01/2013 at 21:36:01
When I see Neville, Osman and Naismith in midfield, I am far from being inspired. But I bet the opposition is happy. That just leaves Baines/Pienaar to care of. Jelavic? Just turned into another AJ, Beattie and Yakubu at their worst. 4th Spot? Arsenal have just given West Ham a good beating moving closer to the 5th spot.
Drew O'Neall
113 Posted 23/01/2013 at 23:31:51
No Dick, we went long far too often during the Southampton game and played in to the hands of a team who were very fit, well drilled and physical.

I think the opposite of what you are saying is true, we should 'mix it up', as appears to be the parlance, against the better teams who struggle against the long ball.. Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea have all struggled against us and others.

Edward Simpson
123 Posted 24/01/2013 at 00:49:04
It was a really crap performance from the Toffees the other night but the knee jerking from some people is quite ridiculous.

My observations- firstly, the way we set up was wrong in my opinion.

Playing Naismith on the right always seems very pointless, he plays off the striker, he is not a winger. Games like these, Fellaini needs to come back into the middle of the park, we looked much more in control when that happened.

Playing Anichebe is a must, even if people have this perception of him being an impact sub. I see a huge improvement to his game, that being confidence. He is running at defenders and is excellent when he has his back turned to goal, we need to see more of him at the start of games. Osman, who has looked fantastic recently really switched off at times, if being closed down by two players you need to just pass the ball. There were 2 or 3 times in the game where he didn't do that, and showed his old form.

Jelavic is stranded very often at times, running aimlessly, and catching long balls to then be swarmed by 3 opposition players, he needs support, he is the lone striker.

Baines and Pienaar looked off, but they often complicate play when faced with good right sided defensive players.

Neville did show though that he can play at RB if needed meaning that we can put someone else in CM. He may be limited but looked ok defensively when Coleman came off.
I would agree that we need to limit the amount of long balls up to players, but Fellaini got away with it 9 times out of 10 because there was no one who could match him.

We did look very lethargic on Monday, but there is no need to panic. Mirallas will give us some more width and pace, something that we've missed and Gibson should be back by the WBA game.

Finally, Moyes isn't inept tactically in my opinion, he makes bad choices sometimes and he makes good ones at times also. You can't always get it right every week especially when you're playing a different team with a different philosophy and players.

We have limited options, everyone knows that, but every team have off days even against lower sides. We are 3 points off 4th, in a good position, if we can bounce back I'm sure all the moaning will disappear for at least another game.

Derek Thomas
129 Posted 24/01/2013 at 07:28:48
Dick I have some sympathy for your point. We ( Moyes ) can't adapt. It was always going to be like a Cuptie for Southampton. for all the reasons mentioned above.

Take boxing for football, there are boxers and there are fighters. When one fights the other, whoever is not 100% at their speciality usually looses.

We used to be fighters who, on the odd occasion could box a little, then we went to being boxers who could fight a bit, Vs Southampton we did neither.

Top 4 or even 3rd challengers should be able to do both. All the truely Great teams can ' fight for the right to party '

The Moyes joined up football method ( aka look I CAN do it, giz a job, any job, I can do that job ) has and is suffering 2nd season syndrome ( just like Jelli )

The sad fact is we peaked on the 1st game of the season and have tapered off ever since.

And to all who quote the 2nd half of the season form increase as our salvation, 2 things,it was only good compared to the 1st half season's shite and just coz it happened for the last 5(?) season doesn't mean it will for a 6th season.

I'm not actually going as far as getting the MOB uniform from the back of the wardrobe where it has languished for a year, and I won't even send it to the drycleaners because the main problem is at Board Room level.

There is a good chance Moyes will say,sod this for a game of solders, I'm floggin a dead horse here.

Richard Tarleton
170 Posted 24/01/2013 at 10:57:39
At times against Bradford City, Villa tried to outplay Bradford with what you are calling joined up football, at times they resorted to hoofball. They lost and over two legs it's rare for the lower division team to win. In other words on occasions, poorer teams beat better teams that's why we all love football and all sports. Against Southampton, particularly first half, Everton were simply poor. I'm not sure the second half was a lot better, but we did occasionally threaten.We were more competitive in winning the ball and threatened on the break, but to be honest, if you play this badly you have to win. Winning one nil when playing crap is how the top four teams show their quality.
Tony J Williams
173 Posted 24/01/2013 at 11:06:14
And unfortunately Richard, that is why we will not finish in the top four any time soon. Our players are consistent enough, Moyes substitutions are usually too late, we haven't enough better quality players to sustain an assault to break into the top 4.

We never will until money is spent on good enough players all over the pitch.

Dick Fearon
177 Posted 24/01/2013 at 11:15:40
There must be a reason why our standards rise and fall depending on the quality of the opposition. I offered an answer to that conundrum only for it to be ridiculed.

About the best anyone could come up with was 'the team had an off day.'
Nobody thinks it strange that most of our 'off' days are against lower order sides.

Kev Johnson
180 Posted 24/01/2013 at 11:33:57
Dick - our off days tend to be against lower order sides because they - as a general rule - don't come at us, they stifle us, and we don't possess the wit and ingenuity to break them down. Whereas the better teams come at us, allowing us to play.

Admittedly, Southampton were an exception to this, I think. I didn't see much of the game but I gather they came at us from the off. So why we played so badly is a bit of a mystery. But it's not a mystery in the majority of games against the weaker teams, especially at home.

It's an important question, though, and worth asking.

Ben Jones
195 Posted 24/01/2013 at 12:23:41
Kev is spot on Dick, isn't that obvious?

And just to add to that point, its not just been happening to us. Look at Chelsea, before Arsenal, they hadn't won for 5 games at home. Their attacking players are immense, Mata, Hazard, Oscar, all class, flair players, and on their day, can break any team down.

Kev Johnson
202 Posted 24/01/2013 at 12:47:24
To totally simplify things, we were rubbish because:

a) the Baines and Pienaar axis had an off day;

b) in the absence of that we need Coleman and Mirallas to do the business, but the former went off injured and the latter is just coming back after a long lay off;

c) our Hit Man more of a Shit Man at the moment; I dare say Jelavic will come good again but he's really stuggling at the moment.

All of the other problem areas would not have been decisive, in my opinion, if the above three things had been working as normal. Osman, Neville, Jags, etc could all have played below-par but if the 5 named players had been "on it" then we would have won.

I know, I know - too many "ifs"! But on TW we do tend to overcomplicate things sometimes. We talk like if one or two things are wrong then everything is wrong! That's not really the case.

Tom Bowers
205 Posted 24/01/2013 at 13:00:43
Possession means nothing unless the end result is something decent in the final third. You can have 60/70% possession in a game and lose 1 - 0 because that possession was in your own half or the middle of the field. The stats mean nothing. The only one that matters is goals.

Everton where passing the ball around great in the early season games and created many opportunities but for a while now it has been sub-par with the lack of strength and control leading to poor passing and giving the ball away cheaply. Neville was guilty of this several time against Soton but wasn't alone.

One cannot expect Neville to be a great in this department but Moyes picks him to be a ball winner only, even though the team suffers. Gibson has been sorely missed and with Mirallas coming back we can only hope Gibbo isn't too far away.

Ray Jacques
209 Posted 24/01/2013 at 13:15:29
Kev 202, at last a sensible post. Monday was awful, especially in the first half and embarrassing to watch. On the bright side, we rescued a point when in past years would have lost the game 1-0 or 2-1. Plus we kept a clean sheet which hasnt happened too often.

Why all the over the top reaction from everyone?? We are currently 5th which is probably as high if not higher than we should expect. Take away the hysteria and we all know we aren't a top four team with the squad at our disposal.

To all those worrying about Liverpool, they have just spent £12 million on a new centre forward (3 goals in three games) and are bidding for further additions. Would you not expect them to be improving and closing the gap whilst we carry on with the usual lack of resource and therefore ability to vary personnel??

Ciarán McGlone
212 Posted 24/01/2013 at 13:47:09
I don't understand this article... there was no joined up stuff on Monday, and we didn't keep possession in the centre.
Andrew Ellams
221 Posted 24/01/2013 at 14:49:30
Dean @ 057, if you think Tony is the only person on here without faith then you probably need to read a few more thread. I for one have no faith that Moyes will ever take us any further forward
Peter Warren
337 Posted 24/01/2013 at 20:04:19
The team is a reflection of the manager. I think we are obsessed about LFC and I recall before the game, Moyes saying we're now favourites and need to prove it. I think our performances reflected the managers optimism.

At present, Moyes is trying to cling on, do tried and trusted, one up front, Neville in midfield, etc. Cautious... and it is reflective in our play.

I would like him to be bold: play Vellios who looks a real talent and give Oviedo a run of games on the right wing.

Anto Byrne
451 Posted 25/01/2013 at 07:24:04
Tony Marsh

Yes, I would love to see a Di Cannio at Everton. I've had enough of boring dour Davy Moyes and the total lack of invention he brings to the side.

Fellaini is not a forward, Jelavic is not a winger and Neville is not a central midfielder. Coleman is not a right back and Jags is the best hoofballer in the country. Where the fuck is that taxi when you need one?

Wayne Smyth
599 Posted 25/01/2013 at 18:00:56
Dick, Southampton played better football than us for most of the match and probably had more possession.

The difference was that they worked harder. The same happened at Leeds, WBA Swansea, and a few other teams we've struggled against. The reverse was true on the first day of the season when we played Man Utd... which was the main reason we won.

The problem is therefore one of motivation. Your post makes the point entirely. You think just because Southampton are a "lower order" team, we should be able to win. We can't....but I suspect looking at how our players strolled around the pitch in that first half, that they believe all they need to do is turn up.

I'm firmly of the belief that at premiership level(and indeed professional football level), there isn't a vast gulf in quality of the players. Take out the top 1% (eg, Messi') and the bottom 1%, and you're left with players who are all technically reasonably sound. The difference is mainly mental. How motivated players are, how confident they are....and of course any tactical influence the manager has.

In short, what the players need is a rocket up their arse BEFORE the game, not at half time when the opposition tails are already up and there is only 45 minutes left to get a result.

Brent Stephens
603 Posted 25/01/2013 at 18:17:59
I'll send one round for you Anto.
Tom Bowers
650 Posted 25/01/2013 at 23:18:14
Working hard is one thing but achieving something at the end of it is what matters. Everton have had many hard grafters over the years but some of them lacked the vision to make something happen because when all said and done they lacked either strength or skill.

Who worked harder than Mike Lyons no matter where he played but he was lacking the class necessary to make a difference to an Everton side that won nothing during his tenure.

Osman is another who just doesn't win the ball often enough in 50/50 situations to make a difference in Everton's midfield and I fear Naismith is a player in the same mould.

Soton showed a lot of mettle especially in the first half when Everton could have been blown away. Gibson is sorely missed and we are crying out for a Gravesen with speed type of player to help the offence.

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