It doesn't matter how much things change, it seems that the Blue's
ability to embarrass us is likely to be very hard to remove.
2-0 down at home against one of the worst teams to ever
"grace" the Premiership after only 45 minutes and we
were lucky it was only that bad !
Deane is a "Never-Was" but we managed to make him look
quality. Gerrard obviously helped their cause but hopefully
Moyes will have learned a lot about what dank grey torpor has been
seeping through the club for so long in those first 45. And if
it's just that Gerrard must be sold in the summer then I will accept
the loss of 2 points.
As always, we look for plus points; the fight and spirit shown in
the 2nd half does provide that. Moyes's strength in sending
them out "same again, you got us into this mess" and
then his willingness to make substitutions when there is long enough
for them to make a difference bodes well.
The performance of Nick Chadwick
("Johnny-on-the-spot"?) was excellent. Surely that
will be enough to hold off the challenge of Campbell for a starting
role against Southampton. Our first visit to St Mary's.
Southampton have little to play for other than pride. The
club has little money and you don't expect Strachan to make many
staff changes during the summer so the team may have a touch of
"end of season-itis" about them.
They have quality players Wayne Bridge is making a mark at
international level and I for one would be surprised to see him at
Southampton next August; Pahars the Latvian Michael Owen, has
pace in abundance and on a good day is a quality finisher; James
Beattie complements Pahars well and does look like he could operate
for a better team; Svensson a very underrated player who pulls
the strings for them.
They deserve their place in mid-table but, if we beat them, we go
I am a touch concerned. Weir is starting to look tired and
Berti Vogts is doing us no favours by making him play every minute
of every Scotland game. Stubbs's level has dropped a touch and
we really need those two at their best for us to function well.
Gravesen will surely start but with Gemmill alongside him we
still lack creativity, surely Linderoth should be given a run?
Blomqvist should be back and Moyes seems to have faith in
Alexandersson; if they play then Radzinski and Chadwick can expect
to have a degree of quality service.
Any result is possible. We battered them at Goodison
(although there was a bad 20 minutes in the 1st half) by stepping up
the pace and having the midfield drive at them.
If the effort of the 2nd half against Leicester is replicated, 3
points are there for the taking. Radzinski desperately needs
another goal and a full debut goal from Chadwick would not surprise
A 2-1 win is my prediction. A win for us and a loss for
Fulham would put us in a very strong position for the InterToto Cup
but let's see how the results do go before we discuss the pro's and
con's of that...
Watson strike keeps hopes of
Top 10 finish alive
by Lyndon Lloyd
Everton banished the mathematical question mark over their
Premiership future and have a top-10 finish in sight after grinding
out a 1-0 win in their first match at Southampton's St Mary's
stadium. Steve Watson scored the only goal with a
well-executed finish four minutes before the interval as the Blues
notched their third away win of the season and completed the double
over the Saints.
With Duncan Ferguson suspended for his moment of madness against
Bolton, Kevin Campbell made a rare start up front alongside full
debutant Nick Chadwick, who had scored twice in three substitute
appearances under David Moyes. Lee Carsley also returned to
the starting line-up, playing in an unfamiliar role wide right of
Scott Gemmill, Thomas Gravesen and David Unsworth. Paul
Gerrard retained the goalkeeper's jersey, but after last weekend's
performance against Leicester, that could only have been due to the
hip injury Steve Simonsen sustained playing for the reserves
Sadly for Chadwick, his first full appearance lasted just 24
minutes of a turgid first half, during which both sides squandered
possession like a Conference side and struggled embarrassingly to
create anything resembling a chance. However, the visitors
were the more enterprising and organised and 12 minutes after having
a goal-bound shot well-saved by Paul Jones, Chadwick was flattened
by said Saints 'keeper and had to be stretchered off with what
appeared to be a bad ankle injury.
Youth star Wayne Rooney had been warming up for most of the first
period, but it was Thomas Radzinski and wisely so who came
on to replace Chadwick. While the injection of pace was
welcome, Moyes's side were largely unable to provide the front two
sufficient service to cause some damage.
Then, on 41 minutes, Jo Tessem's wayward backpass went straight
to Campbell who noted Steve Watson's surging run into the area, fed
the defender with a perfectly weighted pass, and the Geordie clipped
the ball over the on-rushing Jones to give Everton the lead. A
very composed striker's finish of the like, no doubt, Walter Smith
hoped he would deliver when he played him up front during the
striker crisis back in December.
For the home side, only Marian Pahars threatened, once from a
James Beattie knockdown that Gerrard did just enough to clear and,
right on half time, when the Latvian seized on a mistake by
Alessandro Pistone but ballooned his effort from the angle high and
Despite the fact that Campbell pulled up just before the break
with what looked like a neck strain, Everton made no changes in
personnel at half time. There was, however, a noticeable
improvement in the style of play. While David Weir and Alan
Stubbs were cleaning up Southampton's increasing attacks at the
back, the Blues grew in confidence going forward themselves, often
feeding Radzinski down the channels where he wreaked havoc with the
Saints' jittery rearguard.
The Canadian striker's electric pace nearly yielded a goal on 53
minutes when he received a pass from Gemmill, played a one-two with
Campbell before sneaking around the back of Paul Williams to fire a
shot that was well-saved by Jones for a corner. It was a rare
moment of incisive football because, while Moyes's side were the
better attacking outfit of the two, Campbell still looked a shadow
of his former self; his first touch seems to desert him and he runs
increasingly down blind alleys but perhaps he was a little
To be honest, for a team that started the day in 11th,
Southampton were woeful and never looked like scoring. The home
crowd were left baying at referee Halsey when he rightly turned down
Pahars' penalty appeal and booked the Latvian for diving while
Pistone did appear to obstruct him, Pahars' swan dive was obviously
designed to earn a spot-kick.
Everton continued to have the better opportunities, notably when
Watson barrelled his way across the by-line and seeing a deflected
cross palmed away well by Jones, and when David Unsworth tested the
'keeper with a swirling free kick that was also touched behind for a
With the clock running down and the home fans venting their
spleen at the referee, Campbell had one last effort when he muscled
two defenders into a near-catastrophic error on the six yard line
but poked the ball the wrong side of the post.
While this was hardly a tidy display by Everton, it does further
emphasise the transformation that the team has undergone under David
Moyes. Whereas under Walter Smith the team would probably have
tried to cling desperately to the slender 1-0 advantage in the
second half, under the new manager they asserted control and went
for more goals.
It is pleasing to see that, although there is plenty of work to
be done, the Blues look well-placed to finish comfortably mid-table
and have the opportunity at least to end up in the top half of the
table come the end of the season.
Bring on the InterToto
by Jonathan Martin
"Well Boys, Term's nearly over; you've done your exams and
just about got the pass mark. It's the last week of term so
I've decided to let you bring some games in and play amongst
Do you remember those weeks at school? Well, end of
term-itis was definitely present, at least for the first half
yesterday. Southampton were showing off their nice new
classroom (very "nice" if you know what I mean
Nice in the sense of uniform, dull, uninteresting and functional!).
Headmaster Strachan was strutting up and down the touchline,
having apoplectic fits when decisions didn't go his way.
Meanwhile, the new head of department, Mr D Moyes, showed lots of
good organisational skills, good imagination in his choice of pupils
for his new class and the kids seem to like him too....
OK, enough of the analogy... down to business. I quite like
going to Southampton, mainly because its only about 80 miles away
from me. I was doubly keen to go as it was the first chance to
see St Mary's.
And first impressions are ok there's a Park & Ride from
the motorway on the outskirts of the city which was free and
reasonably efficient. We found a half-decent pub just across
the railway line (the King Alfred, I think), linked to the ground by
a new footbridge, meaning you can finish your pint and be in the
ground within about 5 minutes. And it was a lovely warm spring
afternoon. Shame to ruin it...
And then we got into the ground. Very functional: the
toilets were aplenty; you could get food and drink relatively
easily; the seats were roomy... But then you looked around...
you realised that its really not a very interesting stadium at all.
Sure its 100 times better than the Dell (but that's not saying
much is it!). Everything is straight lines. All
four sides look the same... Which is the main stand? Which is
the Southampton end? Which is the away bit (well obviously the
bit I was sat in but you get my drift)?
I can't see people eulogising about having spent a great evening
at St Mary's in the way they talk about, say the majesty of the San
Siro or the Nou Camp. Maybe that's unfair Southampton
probably didn't set out with such lofty ambitions but to end up with
this... Bill, I hope you were there and took note the
stadium part of this ground is everything Kings Dock mustn't be.
Let's have some variety, lets have some idiosyncracies, lets have
some features please....
Oh, nearly forgot the match. This was such a drab game.
For once I agree with one of Strachan's ramblings that the
players should get together and refund the money people paid to
watch it! From memory, Gerrard didn't have a serious save to
make, Jones at the other end saved 3. It was that sort of
Strangely, Moyes put out what looked on paper a very Smith-like
side. Normal-ish defence, very workmanlike midfield, Campbell
and Chadwick up front. The most pleasing things were (a)
Chadwick getting a start; (b) Pettinger getting a place on the
bench, in for the injured Simonsen; and (c) Rooney!
Can you imagine dear old Walter sticking a 16-year-old with
hardly a reserve appearance behind him on the bench??? Never
in a month of Sundays (or maybe once every Preston Guild...).
The crowd loved it. Every time he came down near the
Evertonians, they all chanted his name. The poor lad must have
been wetting himself.
As it turned out, he didn't get onto the pitch but he'll be
on by the end of the season. Chadwick only lasted about 25
mins before being stretchered off which leaves only 3
eligible/fit strikers in the club Rooney, Radzinski &
Campbell err... make that 2½!
We were average, Southampton were worse. The game was
forgettable. Here's my end-of term report...
- Gerrard - He has no future in the club. He's
totally lost his confidence, helped not a jot by the antics of
the Evertonians. Every thing he does is either greeted by
boos when he does something wrong or sarcastic cheers when he
does something right. How to make someone really feel at
home eh? Best fans in the land? I don't think so...
When was the last time you heard the Red Noses taking the piss
out of one of their players???
- Watson - Average
- Weir - Class
- Stubbs - Good trier
- Pistone - The second class act
- Carsley - Journeyman
- Gravesen - Completing the triumvirate of class players
- Gemmill - Another good trier, somewhere between Watson
and the gang of three
- Unsworth - Every club should have one. He's not class,
he's not a journeyman - he's most definitely somewhere in the
middle. But he'd be in my team every week.
- Campbell - Long past it
- Chadwick - Looks good but too early to tell
- Radzinski - Class? He can't even spell it.
So, in summary Moyes has a lot of thinking to do this summer.
Defensively we're looking pretty solid. Put Hibbert in in
place of Watson and it looks good. Midfield we desperately
need some inspiration. Gravesen must stay, Gemmill should
stay, Unsie shouldn't have to play there.
Up front is where the problems arise. I've got no time for
Ferguson these days. Campbell is gone; Radzinski should be on
his way, which leaves no experience whatsoever. The summer
months are going to be a major test of Moyes ability to find players
of quality and the Board's ability to find the bottom of their
Bring on the InterToto...