Not very good would be a one phrase synopsis. But as I have a bit more time, this being the Saudi version of Friday night and Saudi being a dry country..... I'll go into a bit more detail.
For the first 10 minutes I was on the edge of my seat. It wasn't composed, attractive football, but it was pretty exciting. The next 15 saw the edge of my seat turning to laid on the sofa.
Then an abysmal refereeing decision in our favour saw them down to 10 and us with the simple task of knocking a penalty in. At the risk of being branded un-Evertonian or not a real fan, I was a bit gutted that the decision was made, which was clearly wrong. I've been looking forward to watching this game for a week (there really isn't much to do here!) and the ref ruined the spectacle within 30 minutes. At least I was hoping to take some comfort from a relatively easy last 60....... wrong!
Once that penalty was missed and Carsely hit the post, there was little to enjoy after that. They were playing better football, even with 10 men and Moyes really seemed to be happy to play out the draw....
Had we been struggling against a full 11 players, I would have been happy enough to play for the draw, knowing it meant another 3 games in Europe. But against a 10-man side who clearly weren't incredibly talented (although our lot did their best to make it appear so), we should have been going for top spot and an easier (fingers crossed) draw in the next round.
It would appear that Moyes' defensiveness in this game is vindicated. 9 points out of 9 is more than the most optomistic and ardent Everton fan would have dreamed of.
So there we go, a second poor performance on the trot and second good result. If getting results when you play badly is the sign of a successful team, the 'big 4' had better be looking over their shoulder!!
9 games unbeaten is no mean feat and I won't take that away from Moyes, but I was really hoping that he would have given it a go tonight and tried to change things. It was clear that our midfield was completely out of the game. And before people get on at the defense for bypassing the midfield, how many times did you see more than one midfielder offering an option?
This was a game crying out for Gravesen. Zenit had no qualms about getting forward because we weren't worrying them one bit at the back. Gravesen would have got in the middle, demanded the ball and given them something to worry about. Instead, we had an enourmous empty space in the middle of Goodison Park. Maybe the rumours about Gravesen not being up to it any more are true?!
Anyway, for those who haven't got bored and stopped reading, as a side comment.... I wrote in the mailbag a while back about the run that we've just started in December being the acid test. That the fact that we keep going and score so often in the last 10 minutes was a very positive thing. It seems I was right.... also, we're going in to what must be the toughest period of the season unbeaten in 9. I don't expect that run to be intact at the end of the month, but we're in as good a position as we could have hoped for 9 matches ago.
I'll shut up now.
Come on you Blues!!!!
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 05/12/2007 at 23:17:21
It's hard to break teams down when you're doing all the pressing (just look at how long their goalkeeper took on every goal kick) but we did in the end. They really only troubled us on the break. They are the Russian Champions give Everton a bit of credit for beating them. If you read every other sports site you'd think we got twated and that just wasn't the case.
2 Posted 05/12/2007 at 23:16:35
3 Posted 05/12/2007 at 23:22:05
I dont think Graveson is cutting the mustard training in Finch Farm, otherwise he would be playing.
As it turns out Moyes made the right decision bringing on the lively Anichebe for the flattering to deceive McFadden, and perserveered with the little Aussie diamond Cahill even though he was having a bit of a quiet one.
Man of the match for me was Lescott closely followed by Lee Carsley.
Anyway, on we go with teh unbeaten run and we kept a clean sheet again, lets keep up the good work and we should be sitting pretty come new year.
4 Posted 05/12/2007 at 23:28:48
"I was really hoping that he would have given it a go tonight and tried to change things"........"It would appear that Moyes? defensiveness in this game is vindicated."
Moyes went with two up front as well as cahill in central midfield, is that not having a go?! I would argue that was one of the most attacking teams we have fielded this season.
"But against a 10-man side who clearly weren?t incredibly talented"
Anyone with a decent opinion can see that Zenit have bucket loads of talent. Arshavin is a quality player and its no suprise all the big clubs are chasing him. It would not suprise me at all to see this team doing well in the Champs League next year.
Your quite right to shut up now.
5 Posted 05/12/2007 at 23:43:14
A sop to the fans here I guess for fucking up on Fernandes!
6 Posted 05/12/2007 at 23:56:28
7 Posted 06/12/2007 at 02:34:07
as the boy in the 70’s milk advert said EXXXXSACTTLY,
Liverpool, who are dey? I will take this result and wait for the RS to fail, phnarr, phnarr.
8 Posted 06/12/2007 at 07:39:23
Let’s give Zenit some credit - after all they have just won the Russian League - so it was always going to be a very tough match.
And let’s give our own team some credit as well - we are top of the group and we are through to the knock out stages.I am sure David Moyes and the team wanted to make up for the disappointments in Europe of 2 seasons ago. I think that they have gone a long way to doing that already
It’s a different type of football in these European Competitions, we have done well so far and the lads deserve a great deal of credit for what they achieved so far. I think your criticism is out of order.
9 Posted 06/12/2007 at 08:31:28
I’m not saying that Zenith weren’t a half decent side, but seriously, they aren’t anything incredibly special. We made them look good tonight, end of.
Michael - I don’t think my criticism is out of order at all. I was purely talking about the performance tonight, which was not up to scratch. Does someone want to argue that point?
What Moyes’ and his team have achieved so far this season is better than I ever hoped, which is mentioned in the article above.
Fair enough, we had an off night, it can happen. What disappointed me, again going back to what I wrote above, was the lack of any attempt to regain control of the midfield and push home our one-man advantage.
10 Posted 06/12/2007 at 09:47:24
Hopefully we will get the missing link in January, until then I am happy with the progress being made and most certainly the results. The football is getting better and I am seeing far less hoofball which is very pleasing.
11 Posted 06/12/2007 at 11:48:07
Think Moyes has learned a thing or two don’t you?
12 Posted 06/12/2007 at 11:52:00
I for one am ecstatic to have got through to the next round, it’s fantastic for the club. Couldn’t give a monkey’s whether the UEFA cup is considered mickey mouse euro cup. It’s great experience for the lads (Moyes included) and we should bask in the light for a little while, christ it’s been some time since we did that.....
13 Posted 06/12/2007 at 11:32:25
We weren’t great last night but most of your observations (as has been pointed out by other posts) were naive or just wrong.
It often happens in games where a team goes down to 10 men. The punished side raise their game and work harder. Everything that is wrong about the English game was shown by Zenit last night when they gave us a lesson in pass & move, ball retention and counter attacking football. Their technique is far superior so to say they are not that good is just ignorant. Russian champions? Must be crap then.
However, Gravesen will solve everything. Do me a favour!
14 Posted 06/12/2007 at 12:07:34
15 Posted 06/12/2007 at 12:19:03
D Graves : I think Moyes has every right to mention the fact that we suffered because of the European Ban. We had one of the best teams in Europe at that time and we had just signed a striker who would top the goalscoring charts in the World Cup.We were not allowed to compete through NO fault of our own.
If we don’t mention it then it gets too easily forgotten.It’s not about being bitter - it’s about reminding people that we had such a great team that was capable of winning the European Cup. Whenever anyone thinks of great English teams in European competition our 1985 team gets little recognition outside of Evertonian circles.
They shouldn’t be forgotten.Our history could have been so different. It’s not about being bitter - just about letting people know that great English teams in Europe are not limited to Man Utd,Liverpool & Arsenal.
16 Posted 06/12/2007 at 13:19:27
17 Posted 06/12/2007 at 13:20:20
I think you?ve also fallen into the trap yourself of great English teams in Europe being limited to LFC, MUFC & Arsenal - aren?t you forgetting Villa & Forest who have actually won the Eurpean Cup.
18 Posted 06/12/2007 at 14:08:42
Maybe its because that is one European ?success? that is conveniently forgotten when the shite blather on about what they have achieved.
19 Posted 06/12/2007 at 16:52:46
I don’t believe that Carsley and Cahill together in the middle of a 4-man midfield is the right balance. One plays too deep and the other too high.... but I guess it mut be naive or wrong to say that they had the better of the midfield even with 10-men.....
Did I ever say they were crap or are you just ignorant? I truly believe that we have better players than them and had we played to our ability last night they should have been well and truly beaten..... especially with 10-men.
20 Posted 07/12/2007 at 15:58:06
Sure, the football isnt setting the world alight right now, but we look like a european outfit who belong there - i?ve seen us knock the ball around better and get stuffed in the past, so whats wrong with making sure the results are right first and foremost, and then developing the football side the more we stay in the competition.
Personally, id rather take a good set of overall performances (wihch i think they?ve been) and still be in the competition, than trying to please the purists and now being out and watching everyone moan that we werent good enough.
Cheer up guys, surely still being in the uefa cup after xmas is a good thing?!
21 Posted 10/12/2007 at 08:50:15
I would feel a bit more charitible towards Liverpool FC if they had at least apologised to the other clubs that were affected by the European Ban.To my knowledge there has been no such apology. I actually feel more sympathy as regards the European Ban towards Norwich City and their fans.They won the League Cup in 1985 and would have been due to compete in European Competition for the first time.
I only limited myself to those clubs due to space - but I could talk at length about how Villa and Forest have never had the media acclaim they should have had. After all in those days you had to actually be Champions to enter the competition.
And before you start - I think the Champions League should be just that - for the Champions.I would have been happy in 2004 -05 with 4th place meaning a UEFA Cup place.
The European Competitions were good enough as they were and were only changed for money and greed not for football reasons
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Column articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.