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 Venue: The Valley, London Premiership  Saturday 8 April 2006; 3:00pm
    Half Time: 0-0
 Attendance: 26,954 Fixture 33 Referee: Peter Walton

Match Summary

Mikel Arteta: starts this week after last weekend's abortive cameo

With an opportunity to exercise some youthful changes to his side in an effort to add a bit of new life and fresh thinking, David Moyes predictably resorts to the old faithfuls: Wright in goal, Neville at left-back as Captain; Carsley getting his first game of the season; Weir and Ferguson on the bench.

But the good news for all Evertonians is the sight of Mikel Arteta starting the game after getting in a decent week of training.  Let's hope he's back up to his own superb standard on the basis of the last two games, he is the vital spark who makes Everton tick and gives them any hope of securing victory.

This is a massive mid-table six-pointer, with a distant possibility of European football at stake; Charlton drop Darren Bent but Marcus Bent starts for them.  A lively start in the spring sunshine, with both teams showing early intent for the first 5 or 10 mins.  But after 20 mins, Arteta had hardly had a kick an indication that Everton were not playing well, allowing Charlton to put them under some increasing pressure as the game proceeded. 

But Everton rode that particular storm and both teams entered a phase were their systems effectively neutralized each other and were unable to create much in the way of attacking football.  On the half-hour, it looked like Cahill might get a chance but it faded away.

A Richard Wright moment nearly saw Everton go behind, a nothing ball bouncing high over him, and forcing a desperate scramble to stop it going over the line.  That turned out to be almost exciting moment of a pretty awful first half.  But, just before the break, a lovely flick on from McFadden set up Beattie from 30 yards whose ferocious volley produced a brilliant save from Thomas Myhre.

Soon after the restart, Cahill had a speculative volley fly over the bar, as Everton looked a little more up for it.  Bothroyd had a pop for Charlton but his distant shot was wide. 

McFadden latter got in on goal but shot into the side-netting when he should have fired across the 'keeper.  Hibbert got the first card for sliding in on Thomas. Finally, the game came to life as first Carsley had a shot but could not beat Myhre, and at the other end Rommedahl could not convert as Stubbs cleared off the line.  Arteta's shot was redirected narrowly wide by Osman. 

Some good play, mostly involving Arteta led to an Everton corner.  Rommedahl did the same down the other end, as Ferguson came on for Beattie(!!!).  As the game dragged on, Davies replaced Osman.  Cahill had to clear from under the bar as Bent played in a strong ball that Wright could only flap at.

In the final minutes, Arteta managed to set up Carsley but his shot was cleared.  Ambrose had a shot at Wright.  McFadden got a yellow after Sorondo made a meal of it, but jumped up after the card was shown.  Nice.  Ferguson finally tried something, but his shot screwed wide. And that was it.  Everton's first goalless draw in 53 games.

A point in London, away from home, good outcome, yes.  But the game was there to be won; with a little bit more desire from Everton, they could have got all three points.   But never mind: David Moyes told everyone this morning that the Everton players had nothing to prove.  And so they didn't bother. 

Despite loads more blather in the press form the players this week, and all that inspiring talk of making a late run for Europe, the now-traditional end-of-season whimper under Moyes is in full force.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

With the late charge for a Uefa Cup place having apparently stalled, the chances of Everton participating in Europe next season are becoming slimmer by the week.

Certainly, the cession of two points to Sunderland last weekend did not help matters, but with Blackburn Rovers —currently the highest-placed English club to have applied for the Intertoto Cup — nine points away in 6th position, it was always going to be a tall order.

Of course, nothing is yet out of the question and there are plenty of points for which to play, starting with this Saturday's trip to The Valley to play Charlton Athletic, the side lying a point and a place behind us in the Premiership.

It will mark the first appearance against Everton for Marcus Bent since his departure for Southeast London in January for £2.5M.  He could line up alongside his namesake Darren as the Addicks go in search of revenge for their 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park earlier in the season.

After failing to be passed sufficiently fit to start against Sunderland, Mikel Arteta is expected to be named in the starting line-up this time around where his creativity and drive have been sorely missed in the last two games.

At the back, David Moyes again has to choose between Alan Stubbs, David Weir and Joseph Yobo after the Nigerian — the subject of many column inches this week because of the unsigned contract that has been left sitting on the table — started only his second game since returning from African Nations Cup duty.

In midfield, Simon Davies's inauspicious return will likely make him the one to make way for Areta while James McFadden's run of scoring form should see him retain his striking partnership with James Beattie.

This has not been a kind fixture to Everton in recent years — they haven't won in their last four visits to Charlton — and with Alan Curbishley's team looking to halt their own slide into the bottom half and always capable for scoring goals, this weekend's meeting doesn't promise to be any easier.

Time for another confident and enterprising performance to silence the murmurs of discontent that have been re-emerging since the draw with Sunderland...

Lyndon Lloyd

Blues lack cutting edge at The Valley

It's not often that Everton play out a goalless draw these days — indeed, until this trip to Charlton, they hadn't registered a 0-0 scoreline all season — so it was a little frustrating that this game was there for the taking had Everton had a little more penetration and imagination in the final third.  As testament to how even a game this was, the same could be said for Charlton even though Everton had the greater control over proceedings for long periods.

Mikel Arteta made his much-vaunted return to the starting line-up but, whereas he has been able to dictate things for Everton from the flanks in recent weeks, today he was noticeably less effective.  Without his purposeful running and the space ahead of him to create things, he was relegated to spending long periods on the wings and his customary effectiveness from direct free kicks was also absent.

The Blues started the game with Phil Neville at left back and Lee Carsley in midfield, the Irishman making his first start of the campaign after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.  And for the first 10 minutes it was largely one-way traffic towards the Charlton goal, but without any real end product.

Instead, it was Charlton who almost carved out the first opening but while Kishishev's nicely-weight through-ball found Jason Euell's run, Joseph Yobo was across in a flash to clear with a sliding challenge.

Everton then tested Goodison old boy, Thomas Myhre, for the first time in the 28th minute when Arteta's free kick soared to the back post, forcing the Norwegian to palm the ball behind for a corner.  A minute later, Tim Cahill had a decent shout for a penalty waved away when he appeared to be caught by Chris Perry; it was a fairly innocuous trip but looked from the television replays like a foul nonetheless.

With the game drifting towards half-time, it was time for a classic Richard Wright moment: the calamitous 'keeper badly misjudged an aimless ball forward from Matt Holland; after it had bounced over his head, he had to lumber back to his line in time to bat it behind for a corner.

Then, after Jay Bothroyd had fired high and wide from distance, James Beattie lit up first-half injury time with a stunning strike.  Waiting for the ball to fall in front of him, the Blues' number 8 smashed a half-volley from 25 yards that was dipping under the bar when Myhre tipped it over.  A yard or two either side of the 'keeper and it would almost certainly have been a wonderful goal.

Unfortunately, that little moment of class did not ignite the touch paper for the second period.  It took 16 minutes for the next shot on target from either side and it came from Tony Hibbert who let fly from fully 35 yards out but, again, the shot was straight at the 'keeper.  Three minutes later, James McFadden shot narrowly wide with a left-foot strike before Carsley had two efforts on goal in a minute: on the first occasion he fired into Myhre's arms; on the second Leon Osman tried to divert his side-footer into the corner but could only steer it wide.

For Everton, that was pretty much it.  Duncan Ferguson came on for another pointless gallop and Simon Davies was an equally unproductive replacement for Osman with six minutes left.  Instead, Charlton had the last word when Cahill had to clear from almost on the line after Wright had flapped unconvincingly at a cross.

Again, when compared with the run of form we enjoyed prior to the derby defeat, this was another disappointing performance.  How disappointing depends on whether you're comparing the Everton of today with the Everton that sank to the bottom of the table earlier in the season or the one that finished fourth last season.

Carsley's lack of match sharpness was noticeable, Arteta's lack of influence has already been mentioned and Osman was also subdued.  Ultimately, there was less of the quick passing and movement that characterised those emphatic wins of last month and more of the long passes to find the leaping James Beattie than were really necessary. The fact that the home side really couldn't get it together either means that the Blues probably deserved to edge it by the odd goal but couldn't make the breakthrough.

When all is said and done, though, an away draw in the capital on a ground which is rarely good to us should be viewed as a decent result.

Lyndon Lloyd

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CHARLTON (4-4-2)
  Hreidarsson {c}
  Kishishev (65' Rommedahl)
  Thomas (76' Ambrose)
  Bothroyd (65' Bartlett)
  Subs not used
EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Hibbert 69'
  Neville {c}
  Osman (84' Davies)
  McFadden 89'
  Beattie (78' Ferguson)
Subs not used
  V d Meyde (Suspended)
  Martyn (injured)
  Pistone (unfit)
  Vaughan (injured)
  Li Tie (injured)
  Valente (injured)
  Wilson (on loan)
Premiership Scores
Saturday 8 April 2006
Tottenham 2-1 Man City
Charlton 0-0 Everton
Portsmouth 2-2 Blackburn
Sunderland 0A1 Fulham
Wigan   Birmingham
Sunday 9 April 2006
Aston Villa 0-0 West Brom,
Chelsea 4-1 West Ham
Liverpool 1-0 Bolton
Middlesbro 1-2 Newcastle
Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal
Wednesday 12 April 2006
Portsmouth 1-1 Arsenal
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 82
2 Man Utd 75
3 Liverpool 70
4 Tottenham 58
5 Arsenal 54
6 Blackburn 54
7 Bolton 48
8 Wigan 48
9 West Ham 46
10 Newcastle 45
11 Everton 45
12 Charlton 44
13 Man City 40
14 Middlesbro 40
15 Aston Villa 36
16 Fulham 36
17 Birmingham 29
18 Portsmouth 29
19 West Brom 28
20 Sunderland 11
After 12 Apr 2006


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