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The Toughest Route?

By Keith Glazzard :  10/10/2007 :  Comments (7) :
In the brief press coverage of the Uefa Cup draw today ? we all want to know more about the lad from Hawarden's hernia, I know ? I noticed that our new boy at the Guardian, Andy Hunter, slipped in that we had "arguably the toughest route of the English clubs".

Along with just about everyone else, I can't judge many Greek or Estonian teams. But I do know that anyone with a Sun journalist mentality of blaming England or whoever for not thrashing foreigners we've ner heard of should be shot.

So, what does this "tough route" mean? What we do know is that all the clubs in the draw were ranked according to their "coefficient" based on their five-year record and that of their national association. So, Everton have a score of 24.6. On the same rating, who are we playing against? Add up the other 4 scores, divide by 4, and you get 45.2.

Now do the same for Bolton. They start at 32.6 and their opposition average at 33.3. Tottenham start at 40.6 and their four opponents average at 23.3.

Whether from well informed European knowledge, or a well-judged scan of the stats, Andy Hunter has a good point, and I thank him for making it. To add a bit of misery, our group's score is as low as it is because Larissa had only 8.4 to contribute, and, as we know, they dispatched Mark Hughes's Blackburn. Which is where we should move away from the numbers to the flesh and blood. Everton can beat, or lose to any team in our group. As can Bolton or THFC.

The way I look at it, David Moyes has a well defined task ahead of him. The resources of our club can be used to progress to the next stage. Players available/injured and the like, but referees decisions for me, will be important.

But this applies to Bolton and Spurs too. Braga and an 'unknown' Greek team are no rollovers. The mighty Spurs (who did they score 6 against? ? anyone remember?) look down at a top Israeli team and Getafe ? nowhere a few years ago, taking on the might of La Liga now.

No doubt it will be tough, but not because of the stats. At long last we went away and came back winners. It can be done. It will be done.

Reader Comments

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Kathy Connors
1   Posted 11/10/2007 at 17:08:01

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I read in a national tabloid yesterday that we have the easiest group of the three repesentatives in the uefa cup, that Bolton will get a hiding in bavaria, and spurs will find it hard going to repeat their feats in Anderlecht, because some Belgian with elephantine memory is hell bent on revenge for some final defeat while i was watching ghostbusters at the local cinema.
But as i understand it, no home and away basis this time round, probably some uefa muppet shortening games in preparation for next summers euro finals in austria. With the four games we have it is feasible that we can progress into the advanced stages and take it from there. If yakubu and johnson can pull their fingers out or by the same token if we can cut our losses and find someone else in January we really could be going places. Quite literally.
Bluebutnotbitter
2   Posted 11/10/2007 at 17:16:32

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I’ve just looked at the offical sites of AZ Alkmaar and St Petersburg. If DM needs his team to be incentivised then he should let them read the quotes about Everton:

AZ Alkmaar (Martens) "Everton are a big club but do not field a quality side!"

St Petersburg (Dick Advocaat) "I would like to mark AZ Alkmaar as the main contender for qualifying...the other three clubs are not that strong!"

Now bring it on!!!!
Tony Marsh
3   Posted 11/10/2007 at 17:55:00

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Moyes should get a print out of Dick Advotwats comments and pin them on the dressing room doors of both teams on the night of the game.The trouble with Moyes is though he probably will agree with Dick
and tell anyone who will listen what a top side Petersburg are.Its what he normally does before games.
Barry Bragg
4   Posted 11/10/2007 at 19:05:07

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I could be wrong but I think your calcs are a bit out. The average coefficient of the other 4 teams in our group is 32 ish.

AZ ALKMAR 63
ST pETERSBURG 39
NURNBERG 15
lLARISSA 9




We should be able to do enough to get out of the group though.
Keith Glazzard
5   Posted 11/10/2007 at 20:10:55

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Quite right Barry B. Perhaps it was my paranoia in these matters that didn’t make me go over the sums again. I’m still amazed that we didn’t get Villarreal. But then again, older and wiser? That might have been fine.

Hope we enjoy (is that the right word?) the campaign.

C Jay
6   Posted 14/10/2007 at 18:57:03

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It amazes me that David Moyes’ name getz dragged in2 nearly every ’Topic’ statin how bad he is, uses wrong tactics, signed duff players etc etc etc, if only we were the manager hey maybe we would do a better job (Doubt it tho).

Now I am no DM lover or hater just a True Blue who wants to see Everton play good football and be where we belong playing (and if poss beatin) against the ’Eliite teams’ in England & Europe but at present if we are all honest we have not got a squad capable of doing so on a regular basis.

Yes DM has the nac of pickin da wrong team / system / subs on occassions BUT slowly & surely we are headin in the right direction - regualr in the top 10, challenging for Europe (where we should be) and with a bit more investment & shrewd signings why not top 4 & Champions League & then the league !!

If DM yielded the results at Everton that sum of u crave he would be (a) A Saint & (b) Hired by one of the top 4 clubs or national teams in the world.
Reality is he hasn’t & we are for the use of the phrase ’Stuck with him’ and in my opinion that isn’t bad for the club.

Going back to the original topic with the teams we have drawn there is no reason we can not get through and make the Semi finals - Me, I’d love us to win this and the Premier League but alas I think I will have to keep on dreaming for a few years more.

john curran
7   Posted 18/10/2007 at 20:49:29

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Despite the quotes above all four teams should be beatable. With the exception of Nurnberg, they all play in substandard leagues compared to the Premiership. Nurnberg are second bottom of the Bundesleague and really should concentrate on survival not the UEFA cup. If we can’t qualify from this league then we are not a good team end of, we should be looking forward to the next stage not trying to say teams are a threat (they shouldnt be). Instead of looking at the Guardian or the tabloids buy a copy of World Soccer and find out more about european leagues.Most are crap. We are not, We will qualify.

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