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Reality Check

By Mike Oates :  12/11/2007 :  Comments (15) :
Right... first and foremost, let's get off Cloud 9. Whilst I?m as happy as anyone we?ve won 5 out of 6 games and there is a massive improvement to boot, let?s not forget whom we?ve played. To remind you all:

Larissa - lost 4 out of 5 Greek league games, and pointless in Uefa Cup Group A

Derby - bottom of league and conceded 31 goals, 5 at home to West Ham

Luton - 3rd from bottom in Div 1

Birmingham - lost 5 out of last 6

Nurnberg - lost 6 out of last 7 league games and 3rd from bottom of league.

Chelsea ? last minute equaliser after barely escaping our own half for 90 mins.

Other than Chelsea, who we struggled with, all the rest aren?t exactly another stripe on your arm teams. They basically are poor teams who are struggling at the moment. We didn?t crush any of them as one would expect if we are trying to convince ourselves that we will become a big 5 team soon.

We are undoubtedly playing better football than for some considerable years, we have a much better squad than we?ve had since the mid-80s but really if we believe all the hype flying around we should be dominating / thrashing teams of this nature rather than winning in last 10 mins, or in extra time.

We are getting better but the proof I believe is in the month of December when we will be facing Portsmouth, West Ham twice, Zenit (Russian Champs) and AZ (seasoned Europeans) and finally Man Utd and the Arsenal. Let's reflect in January after we?ve taken this lot on ? and whether (!!!) we managed to get our elusive top quality midfield maestro to take us to the next level ? which just maybe be a consistent 5th or 6th for now.

For now, just let's enjoy us winning, by any means again.

Reader Comments

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Kevin Campbell
1   Posted 13/11/2007 at 05:04:26

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Would you have taken losses and draws for all the above games?
David Barks
2   Posted 13/11/2007 at 05:06:05

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If we had drawn a few of those game or lost one you’d be on here saying something about how we’re not improving and something needs to change. But we win those games and draw at Chelsea 1-1, with no Arteta, Baines, Vaughan or AJ and we’re suppose to keep our heads. Zenit St. Petersburg are Russian champs and they struggled to beat Larissa, with the final score being 3-2 I believe and having to come from behind twice. We can only play who is on our schedule and we beat them all except Chelsea. And yes we may have had a bit of luck in that game but everyone has luck. Blackburn had two shots go off the crossbar against United but still lost 2-0, but you won’t hear anyone saying how lucky United were. We also could have had a second goal against Chelsea if Pienaar didn’t somehow miss his kick right in front of goal. If we were not getting results we’d be miserable, so lets enjoy the shit out of it when we get a good run of results.
Kevin Campbell
3   Posted 13/11/2007 at 06:11:09

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David, agree with you completely.

It doesn?t matter who we play, be it top teams or bottom teams or teams out of form. The fact of the matter is we won 5 and drew 1. That?s a good result no matter what.

Just enjoy the "zone" that we are in now. Do not complain or compare. It just feels so good to be an Evertonian now. Even when we don?t do well, it still feels good to be an Evertonian.
Ian Headen
4   Posted 13/11/2007 at 09:11:14

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Larrisa knocked Blackburn out of the Uefa Cup, Birmingham drew with the shite 0-0 at Anfield... except for Derby, there is no easy games, they all need winning.
Stan Sheppard
5   Posted 13/11/2007 at 10:08:22

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Before I start I just want to say, Mike, I know what you?re getting at but I?m afraid I?m with the rest of the guys on this one. A bit more of a positive ?reality check? would have been more applicable. We hear plenty of the negative when things are going bad and I think it?s important to reflect positively when things go well.

Yes, the quality of the opposition wasn?t outstanding, but we weren?t exactly coming of a great run of results ourselves. Indeed many people on this site had again asked questions of Moyse and players such as Pip, Hibbo and Jags.

Lets not wait until January to reflect. Lets reflect now and then again in January. Before we played Larissa we?d lost 4 of our last 5 league games and we were struggling to field a midfield. The Luton game, in which we played a slightly weakened team, was hailed as a potential giant killing as they had already dispatched Sunderland and Charlton from the competition. Birmingham are no pushovers, Derby had drawn with Portsmouth, Bolton and beaten Newcastle at home. Nuremburg, who have conceded the same at home as 2nd placed Werder Bremen (who beat them 1-0 before we played them), still had to be put away. They were still a capable side and showed this by beating Frankfurt 5-1 at home 2 weeks before we played them. Finally, Chelsea. A team on the up, playing free flowing football that hadn?t conceded a goal in 8 hours of league football and haven?t been beaten at home for over 2 years. We went, minus Arteta, with a game plan to defend. We created a bit, they created a lot more. We rode our luck and we scored a great goal.

Since the derby we?ve won 5 and drew 1 in all competitions. The return of Cahill and the 4-5-1 have been instrumental. There is no doubt we need to keep this up and try to kick on up the league table.
Mike Oates
6   Posted 13/11/2007 at 11:15:10

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To All

Whilst I agree with the majority of what’s been written the purpose of my article was to get all Evertonians to realise that times are good,- (and yes I’d rather win at any time than loose or draw - KC). We are still on the way up at last, playing decent football, having better players, BUT lets walk before we run and take stock that we need to nail that 5 or 6th place and that means beating the likes of Portsmouth,AV,Blackburn and unfortunately now Man City.Once we’ve nailed that we can start to dream about the 3-4th places and hopefully Champs League football .

Believe you me there couldnt be a happier fan than me at the moment but I’ve had 50 years of Everton and I think the days of suddenly moving from mid-table to Champs (mid 80’s) overnight have gone and its going to be one hell of a journey to crack into that Top 4 ON A REGULAR BASIS.
Chris Briddon
7   Posted 13/11/2007 at 13:05:24

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But the fact remains that these are gamaes that you still have to win, and on many occasions, us and other teams haven?t doen that.

Whatever you say about Brum & Derby, they are both Premier League sides and capable of taking points of most teams in the division especially at home.

the fact that we managed to win these games with a degree of comfort (ok not agaisnt Brum but for most of the game it was comfortable) & Even Larissa & Nuremburg, we never really looked under any threat from eithor of these teams (baring the odd self-inflicted moment).

5 wins & a draw in 6 games is an achievement, and whilst not being the end product, it is a sure sign of progress.

There aren;t many teams who string 5 wins together in all competitions at any level never mind the Prem & UEFA cup level.
Gez Frinton
8   Posted 13/11/2007 at 13:54:30

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The point is that we hadn?t won four on the bounce for ages.

We have improved. We wouldn?t have beaten Luton, Birmingham, Derby and Nuremburg on the bounce in previous years.

There?s is more quality in the side now, why not enjoy it.

Realistically we are still a long way behind Arsenal, Manu and Chelsea but the gap has closed.

The gap has widened between us and the poorer teams. The trend is promising, enjoy it.
Tom Mallows
9   Posted 13/11/2007 at 14:00:39

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What you also have to consider is the amount of games we have played in a short space of time. There was a fear that we would give it our all in our midweek UEFA Cup games and struggle in the league the following weekend. We have had consistant results across 3 competitions the past few weeks. Playing 3 games in a week is something all the top teams have to do and the fact that our squad has adapted and coped with the extra games bodes well for the rest of the season.
Clyde McPhatter
10   Posted 13/11/2007 at 15:07:11

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December is going to be a difficult month no doubt, with fixtures piling up and our best player sometimes not suiting up...no knock on Mikel, but he does get touched up a bit.

We have two Europe matches, the League Cup plus the Christmas matches. Except for the usual suspects and Pompey, who has better form than us at the moment? Villa looked average in the Derby, City hasn?t been setting anyone on fire lately, and Rovers, while good, aren?t the best side.

I like our chances to be in a solid European position come the 3rd Round of the FA Cup.
Steve Lyth
11   Posted 13/11/2007 at 15:55:20

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The reality of the situation is we have won them, so for lets go with the flow, the whole balance of the team looks better and we are no longer getting mugged.
Happy days indeed, lets hope we avoid injuries to key players and Moyes continues to be fairly imaginitive.
Neil McKinney
12   Posted 13/11/2007 at 18:13:48

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Just to underline what everybody but Mr Oates has said, there’s plenty of negativity on this site and some is justified, but as strange as it may seem I don’t support Everton so I can wallow in depression and "realism".

FFS if I can’t be over the moon when we’ve had form like our recent showing, then when the fuck can I! There are many posts on this site that tell people what they can and can’t feel or say, it’s all bollox. Live it up now while you can. I hope this form will turn into great achievement, but if it doesn’t, at least I’ll have enjoyed this bit!!

Fans should be allowed to be fanatical, surely that’s what it’s all about? I’m expected to slag my team off when they are below par and then expected to stifle my joy when they are on form. Fuck that!

I may have developed a small inferiority complex over my years as an Evertonian, mainly due to a complete lack of anything to shout about (save one FA Cup) in the last 15 years, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to force myself to be realistic/pessimistic just because some cobbled together stats suggest that the achievement so far isn’t all that.

COYB!!
Lue Glover
13   Posted 13/11/2007 at 19:41:50

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I think I might swear in a minute. I understand where you’re coming from but for goodness sake can we please just enjoy the bloody moment. It’s like scoffing a bar of Dairy Milk and some skinny bitch next to me says ’a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’. I know I’ve got a backside the size of Lancashire and I suffer the consequences but at least I enjoyed the chocolate when I had it!
Chill boys, chill.
Rob Hollis
14   Posted 13/11/2007 at 23:25:24

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But we won when usually there would be a draw or two in there. We know central midfield is preventing the next level (unless Tommy gets back how he was.) But we are seeing some signs and we now have quite a lot of players who can score a goal when needed.

There have been spells when I have watched and been quite proud to support them rather than just stubborn. Anyway lets see what happens.
Mike Oates
15   Posted 14/11/2007 at 17:41:30

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Sorry all - I now realise should be more extreme when I write to satisfy those who think I’m negative
Instead of Everton are playing well - should be Everton are playing great
Instead of Moyes is doing a good job - should be Moyes is doing an excellent job.
Instead of Everton have a better squad should be Everton is the best squad.

If you think I’m negative confirms to me that you are living on Cloud 9 and my article absolutely rings true.

The real positive comment is that any articles written her entice such good, strong responses that it does highlight that Everton fans are unique and passionate - well done all

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