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COLUMNIST JOHN HOLMES

The Consummate Away Performance

By John Holmes :  15/08/2007 :  Comments (30) :
Everton proved, once more, last night that you can spend £10M, £20M, £30M or in this case £40M but football isn't played by chairmen it's played by players. That's 'players' ? not 'player'. Whether Darren Bent is worth £16M is dubious, but he isn't worth a penny playing in a team that doesn't merit the name. Berbatov is a massive talent but, unless he has a team that plays to his strengths as a unit, he's just one man.

Phil Neville couldn't split a defence with a machete but give him willing runners pulling spaces out all over the place and creating easy passing options in front of him and he can find a ball into the channels. Alan Stubbs is by no means a striker, but get one of his team mates to barge the wall out of the way and he can take his chances on a freekick. None of our midfield can run at the opposition and drive them back but drift it down the wings for Johnson to run on to, follow the ball, and he'll get you into the final third and lay it back for the build-up to begin. Stubbs can't keep pace with Bent but has the willingness of Yobo to swap position and take on the responsibility.

It's about what the team does for each other ? not what the individuals can do on their own.

So, whilst all the pundits talked up Spurs' Champion's League chances in pre-season it's Everton that have again shown how far teamwork, commitment and determination can take you. That said, there was more to last night's performance. Osman and Arteta had the quickest feet on the pitch and constantly terrorised the Spur's fullbacks and at no point did the centre-backs get to grips with Johnson's movement. The defence was as resolute as ever, and, as is ever the case, whenever anyone thought they'd slipped their marker a bald Irishman materialised to bar the way.

It wasn't all sunshine. There were periods when Everton displayed their prodigious ability to give the ball straight to the opposition after winning it back and at times Anichebe resembled a lamppost with the ball simply bouncing off him; some work on holiding it up definitely needed.

However, for a team lambasted for their negativity, it was refreshing to see Hibbert so often beyond Arteta. Apart from a brief period when we were forced back around the 80 minute mark there was none of the sinking deeper and deeper that characterised last season. Whilst Everton were justifiably defensively minded in the second half, Neville performed his role as captain and kept the midfield in the midfield whilst we defended our lead, allowing Arteta and Osman to continue to support Johnson right to the end.

This was exactly what an away performance should be like and Everton richly deserved the three points. With Vaughan, Cahill, Baines, Pineaar and, one hopes, Fernandes all to come, the future looks bright for Everton. The only question is how do you accomodate high-quality individuals such as the above into a team that is functioning like a single organism? For the first time in his Everton career, Moyes has real team selection decisions awaiting him in the near future. The best kind of decisions though!

Reader Comments

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Rick Tarleton
1   Posted 15/08/2007 at 10:04:09

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Like many Evertonians over the past season or so, I've not always been convinced of Neville's value or best position, but I felt that last night he was truly outstanding. His organisation of the midfield, his ability to provide the man who had the ball with an easy pass, his ability to give Arteta space to weave his creative impact and his ability to intercept and make tackles, was the fulcrum that allowed Everton to overwhelm the lightweight Spurs midfield.

Add to that Arteta's creativity, Carsley's defensive work, the solidity of the back four, Howard's competence and the hard running of the front two and we had a very competent performance. Even Osman looked good which is perhaps a little harsh. Let's hope that Newcastle's interest in Neville is just paper talk.

Guy Wilkinson
2   Posted 15/08/2007 at 10:53:42

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Neville is not going to win any total football awards for his pass and move... but he does bring intangibles to the captaincy that help us.

Firstly he brings emotion to the role. Weir used to be generally quiet and sulk off after decisions went against the team or goals were conceded. Neville gets in the faces of the opposition and referees and certainly teammates when necessary. There has certainly been more exhortation and assertiveness to his captaincy, that fosters team spirit and a winning mentality instead of some of the insipid performances of a few years back.

Without wishing to lower ourselves to the bilious ref intimidation that MU used to do so well, I think that our new attitude goes some way to undo the clear anti-EFC reffing that's gone down in recent years. It's called standing up for ourselves.
Ben Davenport
3   Posted 15/08/2007 at 14:18:38

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Dunno about ’single oganism’,John,I swear I had a multiple orgasm when Stubbsy put us 3-1up!COYB!
Tony Bell
4   Posted 15/08/2007 at 14:17:37

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John, i agree wholeheartidly with your post. If a manager wanted to coach a team in how to play away from home, he should just show the tape from last night. As you say, the consumate away performance.

I guess the only nagging feeling i have at the back of my mind is whether we will be able to break down teams at home that set themselves up like we do. Will we have the craft and guile that Spurs lacked?

We cannot play with Neville and Carsley in the middle against Blackburn, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see the same team against Reading.

I shall look forward to being at Goodison and seeing what team Moyesie puts out at home to Blackburn a week on Saturday and who knows, maybe we’ll have a certain talented Portuguese kid and a brick shit house Nigerian striker chomping at the bit to make a name for themselves in the famous royal blue jersey.
Sean Dylan
5   Posted 15/08/2007 at 11:16:55

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What a fucking game that was... But I'm interested to know whether I am alone in thinking our Tone shouldn't be our starting right-back?

I was at the game last night and I'm aware that Moyes likes to make players force their way into the team and all but for me he's simply not a good enough footballer. It pains me to see Jagielka on the bench when he's a far more astute and competent full-back ? both technically, athletically and when asked to go forward too.

The boys were great last night but for me Hibbo gave Berbatov far too much space and it was only the skiddy surface that saved his blushes a few times.

Dan Sedlak
6   Posted 15/08/2007 at 11:24:47

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Just a few comments on last night's brilliant performance and teamwork. Everyone accepts Ossie and Mikel were brilliant but what stuck out was the communication between the likes of Carsley, Neville and Yobo. When Lescott lost his man for their goal, Joey was consoling him while they celebrated. He is maturing and is ever more consistent and displaying real leadership. When Hibbo got caught out a few times mid first half Carsley went over a few times and had words.

Neville is Moyes's manager on the pitch - £4M from Newcastle is a good deal for his ability but nor his leadership. No deal. What is great is that when new players get signed (hopefully one or two more this month) this team must really help them settle. If you aren't as committed or need some help the boys will let you know soon enough. It all bodes well!

Phil Grayston
7   Posted 15/08/2007 at 10:48:49

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Great to see the Blues perform so well on live Spanish TV last night. The kopite presence over here is getting uncomfortable so it was reassuring to see Arteta and the boys putting us on the map again. One remark by the Spanish commentary team stuck in my mind, though: "It seems like Carsley and Neville aren't there but my God they are."

I think the effectiveness of Carsley's contribution is obvious to everyone but I often read ToffeeWeb contributors questioning our captain's worth. My own guess is that he offers us the sort of intangible quality that unfortunately becomes apparent when it's gone. We need to bring Fernandes in to lend Arteta creative support in midfield, but if this requires off-loading somebody to help finance the deal, I hope Neville isn't the one to go; the presence of his absence might be glaring.

Gerion
8   Posted 15/08/2007 at 14:19:57

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Spot on, my first thoughts after the match were about our teamwork, I saw them on the pitch as a UNIT, with Spurs "stars" fading. Go on, Toffees!
Baloo
9   Posted 15/08/2007 at 14:38:42

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Nice to see that none of the lads have been booked yet.

Unlike Spurs - 3 yellows
Villa - 4
Shite - 2
City - 4
Chelsea - 2
Fulham - 5
Blackburn - 4
Middlesboro - 3
Reading 2 and 1 red
Tony Hawkins
10   Posted 15/08/2007 at 14:41:36

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A few weeks ago I posted about potential selection problems and this is one of the areas raised.

When new players are brought in WHO MAKES WAY?

Fernandes simply can not be left on the bench yet Neville is the Captain - so is Carsley the make weight? If Carsley makes way does that mean Neville becomes our defensive midfielder? But Carsley is better...



...Will Osman make way for Cahill despite his current run of form? What about Pienaar? Where does he fit in?

1) Osman, Neville, Carsley, Arteta

2) Pienaar, Neville, Fernandez, Arteta

3) Arteta, Neville, Cahill, Fernandez

4)???

It’s a good problem to have!!!
John Holmes
11   Posted 15/08/2007 at 15:15:29

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I was vaguely envisioning a five-man midfield of Pineaar, Cahill, Fernandes and Arteta with Carsley playing as the anchorman.
ronan mcg
12   Posted 15/08/2007 at 15:49:18

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tony hawkins; to answer your question jagielka will be defensive mid, carsley is too old to play many games (but useful to have particularly for tough away games), neville as captain should be on pitch but cant pass so right back is best position (hibbert is at fault for most chances the opposition create), while arteta fernandes and osman/piennar make up the rest of midfield. With baines back soon lescott can go centre back, unfortunately stubbsy, like carsley, is just too old to be first choice.
barry bragg
13   Posted 15/08/2007 at 16:13:46

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Moyes doesn’t tend to change a winning team so don’t expect to see the new boys any time soon. They will have to wait and take their chance when it comes and if that means we have a £20m bench so be it. The season is long enough and everyone will be needed at some point. Poss he will have to rest stubbs and carsley when we have to start uefa cup games followed closely by league games which will give the others a chance as will the carling cup.
Enjoy the Silence
14   Posted 15/08/2007 at 16:27:13

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I have just found out last nights result. some 19 hours after the final whistle. What a great result. two consecutive wins at white hart lane. who would have thought after 20 years without a win there its 2 in a row. As someone before pointed out its nice to visit these pages with the stadium debate pushed aside for the time being. Lets concentrate on doing what we are doing and continue getting results where pundits and others say we will fall by the wayside. i hope by the end of the season we can achieve something of note and spit back in the faces of all the doubters who say our once great club will achieve nothing but a mid table finish. I remember my first game was an FA CUP semi final in 1966 against manchester united. i was unable to see the harvey goal as I was at the other end of the stadium (bolton old ground). The subsequent final as they say is history. I dont feel that that period (1966-70) will ever be repeated or indeed the golden harvest of 1984/85 for the forseeable future. A trophy every two or three years is the best we can hope for at the time being. And for all the young(ish) people that want to berate my opinions i have been attending Everton games since most ofyou were itches in your dads trousers. I like to think that Moyes is the best manager this club has seen since Catterick. (Sorry but I was never a fan of Howard even if his first time around was one of the stellar periods of the clubs history.) Lets keep with the good results and to hell with the mid table finish or even uefa cup place. lets all pull our weight and go for something that is realistically within our capabilities. to anyone who says a european cup berth is pie in the sky I said that myself three years ago. Onwards and upwards Evertonians.
barry bragg
15   Posted 15/08/2007 at 16:13:46

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Moyes doesn’t tend to change a winning team so don’t expect to see the new boys any time soon. They will have to wait and take their chance when it comes and if that means we have a £20m bench so be it. The season is long enough and everyone will be needed at some point. Poss he will have to rest stubbs and carsley when we have to start uefa cup games followed closely by league games which will give the others a chance as will the carling cup.
Daniel Greenwood
16   Posted 15/08/2007 at 16:49:59

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I’d have to say the team selections that are including Fernandes and Yakubu should be put on hold, we haven’t signed either of them yet, and it looks a bit off if we are to complete any deals. But what an advert for Everton Football Club under David Moyes.

Did anyone register the sheer disappointment in the Sky Sports studio after the game, and at half time the assured belief that there would be ’more goals’? Basically that we would lose.

An astute performance.

"It seems like Carsley and Neville aren’t there but my God they are." - a magnificent quote, could not put it better into words.
willo
17   Posted 15/08/2007 at 17:08:22

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great all round performance last night lads but in answer to ?enjoy the silence?, a fair appraisal mate. Everton are playing as a team,a multiracial team,lets not forget about kicking racism out of football
Matty
18   Posted 15/08/2007 at 18:08:14

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Willo,

Were you outside the church about half two on Saturday? That Willo? Either way, good lad for pullin’ him over his racist comment. I was just about to myself. No need now. OK shows over, move along.
willo
19   Posted 15/08/2007 at 20:12:27

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no matty,different willo
terrymarsbar
20   Posted 15/08/2007 at 21:11:43

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OMG...nearly 24 hours since our fantastic performance..and still no comment or posts from taht golden trio of Tony marsh,Brian Waring,and of course G,ramejkis(spelling?)....obviously a case of " If you cant slag the team off, then shut the fuck up"
COYB
Steve Ryan
21   Posted 15/08/2007 at 23:35:29

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Enjoy The Silence, to suggest that Moyes is a better manager than Howard Kendall is ludicrous.....you are joking surely. How can anyone possibly justify this view?
Steve Williams
22   Posted 15/08/2007 at 23:32:46

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I know this sounds ridiculus, but ... was anyone else actually disappointed that we didn’t score more goals given the chances we created?

Please understand, I’m not moaning in the slightest, it was a truly memorable performance - or perhaps its a sign of how far we’ve come and what are expectations are.

Now that sounds dangerous!
Steve Williams
23   Posted 15/08/2007 at 23:50:02

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Correction:

That should be ’our’ not ’are’. Bad typist. Shit, how I hate bad grammar!
Joel Grates
24   Posted 15/08/2007 at 23:57:32

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I know exactly what you mean Steve, I was very content, and would have bit your hand off before the match for 3-1, but in a wierd sort of way I was a little disappointed AJ didn’t convert any of his chances, but I’m sure he’ll find the back of the net soon! Hopefully this saturday...
george brooks
25   Posted 15/08/2007 at 23:38:49

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terrymarsbar,you have to appreciate marshy’s point of view,he love’s the club like me and you,he has his view’s,so do we,we might think he’s negative now and then,but i bet he was there with the rest of us,sittin in a tree against wimbledon,willing to give up anything for the right result,we love them,we hate them,but we will ALWAY’S support them.
P.S.Marshy’s an evertonian like me and you,so you shut the fuck up
Terrymarsbars
26   Posted 16/08/2007 at 11:29:43

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George Brooks...
I dont know if read "Marshys" latest verbal diatribe in which he had the audacity to tell us how (being such a great evertonian) he nor his children would be going to watch us should we move to Kirkby..and that those of us who do are "traitors"..but aside from his loyalty????
I weas merely pointing out that the aforementioned..ONLY..have negative comments,they never post after a great result or performance,they constantly slate the team, the maNAGER AND TGE BOARD IN THE FAINT HOPE THAT ONE OF their worthless piece of shit posts will come up with anything remotely accurate in the hope that one day(not yet here) when they may be able to smugly turn round and say "I told you so".!!
I for one can say that i lok forward to the day I can go to a game , be that in Kirkby ,Speke or the middle of a roundabout,,and not have to be within ear shot of the shite that streams from their lips...Yes we are all allowed our opinion,,but these guys never stop.

Its Moyes out or Kenwright out..or we Hoofed it..but no constructive alternatives...just jabber..moaning for moanings sake..
Boring , pointless, nasty ,childish..moronic garbage..
And I can now add you to my"DICKHEAD "list as this column was about the team, the result..and the effect on us.the supporters..and I wont use the word fan..because I am a SUPPORTER.!
And the team I support are doing great so far ..so lets tell them..lets all tell them..lets make them feel 10 ft tall and give them the belief that we want tghem all to play well..not just the ones we like..no more "oh god Osmans shite , why is he picking Osman"?..etc etc..then being gutted when it turns out he aint really shite and you look like a tit for saying so..

There is and never has been any need for the vitriol directed at some players , the manager or the board(or the SUPPORTERS)..it is just nasty..like the people who post that sort ofcrap on here.

And if they and theres dont go the game..well good riddance
James Power
27   Posted 16/08/2007 at 13:25:54

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Steve W and Joel - I agree. I have moved South to London in 1998 and now Tunbridge Wells (2 months) and have been to WHL (in the Spurs end!)each year (except last year when I was away on biz!) and we have never looked like winning. I have endured pastings and some draws and lots of stick from the Spurs guys I have gone with.
Tuesday however, felt different. I sensed possibility in every attack and as grateful as I am, I really though we could have slotted a few more in. There were times when we had the ball in the last third with three of ours and threeof theirs and the right pass or run would have opened things up to an almost certain goal. This is when you think ’if only’ !!

I did also watch the game thinking that a side with a bit more talent would have scored a hatful and Jol could be out the door.

Anyway, I am delighted with the result and I know at least 7 or 8 Spurs fans, so coming to work the next day was a treat!!

ps - I like Moyes but the Howard Kendall (the 80s brain not the 90s babysitter) is the greatest ever - come on enjoy the silence - just because you didnt like HK - we cannot deny his (somewhat curtailed by events well known) achievements.
John Welsby
28   Posted 16/08/2007 at 12:28:03

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Hear Hear Terrymarsbars


Well said and spot on.

George Brooks you were a bit unnecessarily harsh - did you understand what Terry was saying

But aside from petty squabbles - brilliant victory - it?s given me that feel good factor and I even look forward to work so I can talk footie, check out the match reports and GLOAT to other fans

COYB!!!
robert carney
29   Posted 16/08/2007 at 19:36:26

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Great result we all agree, I would rather the manager pick the team looking at some of the comments here. Phil Neville is one of those unsung heroes who you rarely notice until he is not playing. Surely no-one can doubt his leadership quality’s

Terrymarsbar, you talk as much shite as anyone else on these forums. Look back over the last month, then look in the mirror and see how red your face looks.
terrymarsbar
30   Posted 16/08/2007 at 22:03:00

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Robert Carney:
would you care to elaborate..or do you consider my support for the team and positivity something to be embarassed about..?

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