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Moment of Madness!

By Santosh Benjamin :  23/12/2007 :  Comments (49) :
I thought for ages about what to name this article... looked up various languages and the synonym for "hard luck" but decided that it was a moment of madness rather than hard luck that lost us what would have been a momentous match.

I was shocked when the team sheets were displayed and I noticed that Arteta was missing... also saw Hibbert at right back and Neville in midfield!!! To be honest, I actually had little hope for us at that point but that changed once the game started.

The initial exchanges were mostly United but we settled in well... Howard Webb started handing out cards like Santa Claus at a department store... most deserved... and Hibbert was a lucky lad when he escaped a red card when he made a rash tackle on Evra as United threatened to break.

Just when I thought that we were steady, Ronaldo pulls out a moment of brilliance and opens the scoring. I was hoping that it wouldn't be one-way traffic from there and just then Cahill pops up with a great header from a Pienaar cross to equalise.

United always looked dangerous when they attacked but we were resilient at the back and went into the break with it all tied up. United started the second half with even more attacking intent and we held out for long periods with the ball mainly stuck in our own half. They made the changes as they pressed for the win which would keep them close to the Gunners in the league. Howard saved well on many occasions and we looked like we were headed for a hard earned draw... especially after Mad Dog came on to replace the tired loooking Yak.

Then, in a moment of fatigue/madness, Pienaar leaves a trailing leg and Giggs accepts the gift and trips over it inside the box... stone-walled penalty which sadly Ronaldo puts away with ease to send the Mancs fans wild.

I have to say over the years, I have feared the Mancs more than any other since we seem to accept defeat to them before the game has even started but today, even without San Mikel, we fought hard and nearly continued our great run... but "nearly" is all we will remember this match for.

I loved the fact that Rooney didn't score and his tantrums were ignored by Webb... also loved how we showed tremendous mettle to stave off an attacking United side. This is my assessment of Moyes and the lads:

  • Moyes: Probably should have started Gravesen in midfield instead of Neville but otherwise tried his best with the resources at hand. He has to motivate the troups for the next few games.
  • Lescott: Did well for the most part..except one instance when he headed back to the middle allowing a clear shot on goal.
  • Yobo: Had a great game again and was strong against a strong United strike force. We will miss him in Jan/Feb.
  • Jagielka: Made a few mistakes early on but settled in well later on.
  • Hibbert: Reminded me how nice it was to not to have seen him for ages in the league. I hope I don't see him again for ages; lucky not to have been sent off.
  • Carsley: Did well breaking up plays from United but had no creative outlet next to him with Neville close by.
  • Neville: Not a midfielder... not a midfielder... gave the ball up to his old team-mates repeatedly and hoofed the ball up on other occasions. Defended well but out of place; get him back into the right back slot.
  • Pienaar: I don't have it in me to give him too much grief coz he will get it anyways and he himself will feel like shit for his lazy challenge in an otherwise great game; he will bounce back from it.
  • Cahill: Played hard today; the goal was great work for little Tim. Even after that, he was all over the place and got a card for his troubles. I was scared he would get sent off by the end; lucky he was subbed. Yakubu: Looked a bit jaded by the second half and not to mention his anger at being subbed... but he will bounce back ? quality always shines through.
  • Johnson: Worked his socks off and did well as a winger with Arteta missing...
  • Gravesen: looked good when he came on; played hard, got in some tackles, kept possesion well, needs to start the next game if Arteta is still unwell.
  • Anichebe: Was not on for enough for me to comment.
Overall, I am proud of the way that we playedn and hope we can bounce back against the Trotters with a good win... COYB

Reader Comments

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Tony Marks
1   Posted 23/12/2007 at 15:35:43

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Why was Hibbert lucky not to get a red? He clearly won the ball in the tackle and was very hard done by to get a free kick against him never mind a card.
Nick Flack
2   Posted 23/12/2007 at 15:55:53

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I hope we can all rise above the obvious and not give Peinaar any stick. We dig in as a team, fight as a team and have this season played at times liquid football as a team.

From the manager down to 1 to 11 we still aren?t up to the level of the top four.

But if we stick together, as a team, we will get there, as a team.


But if anyone insists, Peinaar?s drag and cross is just as worthy of a mention as his odd tackling...
joe mcparland
3   Posted 23/12/2007 at 15:57:20

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I agree with Tony, Hibbert was unlucky to get booked. I thought that we actually missed Ossie more than Mikel in this game and this was proved when we brought on Gravesen. Although he passes it well he has no energy and no defensive capabilities,
Nick Toye
4   Posted 23/12/2007 at 16:07:51

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Some of the comments on the Grand Old Team forum (for which I am banned from), about Pienaar are outrageous.

Some are saying don?t sign him!
Some are saying he doesn?t deserve any wages, this coming from a member who I thought was above such comments.

How about if someone misses an open goal to save them from defeat, would that person not deserve any wages?

Terrible, really really poor.

Pienaar has been better than Arteta this season, he has really been the driving force behind our run.

I expect Super Mod would have looked for a Pienaar sacking from that one, but that?s the disgraceful comments you can find over there.

We were unlucky, we have now lost by the odd goal to two 4 sides, both to pens too. Testament to how far we come, and I will always support you Blues, despite everything.
EJ Smyth
5   Posted 23/12/2007 at 16:16:36

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I was expecting back lashes on pienaar, but i am pleasantly surprised that there were words of encouragement for him.

Pienaar was by far our best midfield player today. he defended well, and was our mst creative spark in midfield. ok, so he made tt mistake, but he will learn from it. i think it was more of fatigue creeping in. he has played all our games, including the last uefa game.

well done blues, for almost getting there. we?ll do it the next time... hopefully in the fa cup, making it sweeter.....
James Byrne
6   Posted 23/12/2007 at 16:29:02

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Everton didn’t do a great deal wrong today and the character shown throughout the game by the majority of our players was superb.

Hibbert clearly won the ball and I mentioned previously that the ref gave united almost everything, all the little annoying things like throw-ins, I lost count on how many times the Yak & AJ where fouled and nothing given.

100% penalty and a stupid mistake by Pienaar, but he will get over it and so will the team; this kid has been our best player this season so he well deserves one mistake. Lets get behind him and the team for the Bolton game and hopefully see the start of another lengthy unbeaten run.

James Elworthy
7   Posted 23/12/2007 at 16:42:46

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Neville had had a good run at fullback and played well, today he proved beyond all doubt he is not a midfielder, did he think he was still playing for Utd the number of red shirts he found with his passes.
The front runners were starved off service without Arteta and Osman. I thought McFadden might of been an option at the end as he runs at players and also has a knack of scoring out of nothing.
Shame we defended resolutely only for a midfielder to give away a needless penalty at the end.
Henk van Veen
8   Posted 23/12/2007 at 16:38:20

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Whilst Everton well deserved a point,Moyes team selection was baffling.Disrupting the entire defence to move Neville into a position everyone in England knows he is not cut out for was the first mistake and including Johnson as a winger instead of Mcfadden compounded the felony.
Whilst I admire what he has done to improve Everton,the manager still shows his obstinancy over certain issues and only makes the job harder for himself as a consquence.
In education terms he must be regarded as ’ a slow learner’.
Mark Creevy
9   Posted 23/12/2007 at 16:53:42

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Maybe Neville was moved up purely to let Hibbert mark Ronaldo? I thought Hibbert did well today. His distribution continues to be piss-poor, but I felt he won more than most would against Ronaldo. He lacks composure, but he can’t half tackle. I just hope he gets a little run of games to build his confidence and improve his decision making. Didn’t look too bad against Alkmarr either, in my opinion.

Honorable mention for Marblehead Johnson, who chased and harried evey ball like a bleedin’ Jack Russell. Even when things aren’t going his way, he’s still such an unbelieveibly hard worker for the team. His pace probably gave him the nod over McFadden today.
Roy Kroft
10   Posted 23/12/2007 at 16:54:06

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Sadly, Nick Toye, the outrageous comments you highlight are fairly typical of some people on this board. Kne jerk reaction to what was a very positive performance from Everton, probably the most confident and comfortable we have looked at Old Trafford for a long time.

I said to some mates straight after the game, I wouldn’t like to be Pienaar in that dressing room! He will feel bad enough about what he’s done, but for all those slating him remember it was his pinpoint cross that led to Cahill’s equaliser.

I prefer to look at the positives:- the players will know they have been unlucky and if they respond in the same way to the sense of injustice that they did after the derby, we won’t do too badly.

Yobo and in particular Jagielka, were absoloutly magnificent today, the latter putting in his best performance in a blue shirt. The midfield did well (including Johnson in a deeper role) and both full backs stifled Utd’s width superbly.

Let’s get up, dust ourselves down and take it out on Bolton and Arsenal.

Come on you Christmas Blues!
Anthony Newell
11   Posted 23/12/2007 at 16:55:23

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I would have suggested the title for your article to be ’a spot of xmas indigestion’ as that’s what I was going to post if i could have been arsed

As such, I’m pig sick that we self-imploded right at the death but all credit for Moyes in plumping for Johnson to assist Yak and trying to freshen things up in the form of Gravesen in the second half. My only critiscism was Neville back in midfield with his usual wayward passing. The amount of times I counted stray passes just giving them back possession and therefore inviting pressure was ridiculous. I’m sorry but it’s players in their best position for me and I would have preferred Gravesen right from the start in place of Arteta

I just didn’t think Everton did enough attacking wise to justify three points but not getting a draw due to a moment of madness is a sickener. Having said that I did think Hibbert could have easily been sent off for that rash challenge early on. That’s not the first moment of madness we have seen from him this season and I wonder I really do...

Lets put this behind as quickly as possible
Gavin Ramejkis
12   Posted 23/12/2007 at 17:31:28

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I for one won’t be giving Pienaar any stick, yes it was a mistake and a bad one but if he was perfect he wouldn’t exist - ALL PLAYERS MAKE MISTAKES. We just hope they aren’t the type to give away the game, unfortunately his mistake today lost the game, get over it and move on, would still sign him tomorrow as his positives far outway one mistake today.
Guy Hastings
13   Posted 23/12/2007 at 17:16:33

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If Hibbo?s tackle was worth a yellow so was O?Shea?s hip job on Tiny Tim. Five-a-side ?moment of madness? from Stevie P but these things happen. His cross for Cahill?s goal was terrific. Anyone giving him stick should have their head stuck up their arse until the local proctologist gets back from his Xmas break.
Dave Wilson
14   Posted 23/12/2007 at 17:33:18

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in 84 we lost a final against Rs AT Main Rd i was gutted, I mean gutted, but travelled back from Manchester knowing, at last we’ve got our team. one that can compete with the very best. had that feeling again today
Peinaar is quality, forget his error today, trust me, he’ll pay us back in spades
disgusted with the way an ex Evertonian once again tried to rile us after both Manure goals, no class
Anthony Newell
15   Posted 23/12/2007 at 17:46:01

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Jeez, I didn’t know there was a medical person specialising in the removal of things from people arses

On a related matter I would suggest that Phil Neville stops trying to be some sort of fucking ambassador for relations between Man U and himself. As correctlly pointed above out he was talking to the ref to dissuade him from booking Man U players. Well i’m sorry mate, but the way the cooky has crumbled for us vis-a-vis refereeing decisions we need everything we can get so get with the fucking plan mate. ps I could have done better than that shot you ballooned over - a disgrace! I’d better stop at this point as I feel the Wolf Blass is fully kickng in
Anthony Newell
16   Posted 23/12/2007 at 17:56:22

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Dave, with regard to Shrek I found myself screaming at Lescott to kick his fucking head off!
Ricardo Humphries
17   Posted 23/12/2007 at 17:55:57

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Santosh, I think you?ve summed up things pretty accurate.

Does anyone know we had 10 Everton players on the field against 12 Man U players? Neville fucked up in midfield and why against Man U he had to play such a shit game i will never know! Pienaar lost his cool in the closing minutes, all players do at times, let?s put this behind us and move on. Lucky for Stevie P his form off late was to brilliant to keep that against him. (We do have to keep in mind that he created the Cahill goal) Not a good display in midfield I would say, but let learn and move on!

Well done boys for fighting!
Paul Prichard
18   Posted 23/12/2007 at 17:57:01

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I , too, can never understand why so many of us think Phil Neveille is the dog?s bollocks.He is-and as always been- a sloppy,second rate version of his brother who gets by on his name alone.His distribution is shameful for an international -equally as bad as the much maligned Hibbert-and just like that other ?great Evertonian?, Gary Lineker, will forget he ever played for us the moment he moves on.
Neil Pearse
19   Posted 23/12/2007 at 18:38:43

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Agree with most of the views here - the only really stupid decision that Moyes made today was playing Neville in midfield. Playing Hibbert at RB actually made sense given he is a better tackler than Neville (and I thought Hibbert had a decent game defensively).

Playing Neville in midfield NEVER makes any sense. I wish Moyes would get over this - perhaps his major remaining eccentricity. His only excuse is that he presumably judges Gravesen to be too old and unfit to handle an entire match. He might be right. In which case I would even have preferred Jags in mid, with Valente at LB.

Clearly we desperately need another midfielder (or two) in January. Arteta and Osman were sorely missed today, and Pienaar will be sorely missed when he departs (he had another excellent game today, simply made a mistake due to tiredness - he was carrying far too much of the midfield burden today).

Not bringing McFadden on will hopefully hasten his departure and bring some money in. And anyone want to make ’an offer we can’t refuse’ for Neville? Go on Big Sam! Or anyone...
Martin Cutler
20   Posted 23/12/2007 at 19:47:05

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Extremely proud of the lads today....a tie would have been a just result but unfortunately not to point harping on about Pienaar (yes, it was a stupid mistake that cost us the match) but he created the goal we got and is without doubt one of our best players and improving all the time.
Mistakes happen. Look at The Red Shite for example. Chuckle.)
The BIG problem was Neville. Gravesen should have been started instead.

In any event..............after the incredible run we’ve been on at least we’ve lost the game to a very good team.......I’d rather lose to them than say Bolton on Wednesday! And as they are above us it doesn’t hurt us too much in the Prem......especially with Portsmouth, Villa, Blackburn, Newcastle and Man City all dropping points too.........all things considered not the end of the world for long as we (or rather the lads) can put this result behind them and continue where they left off....another unbeaten run coming up wouldn’t hurt at all!

Stephen Jones
21   Posted 23/12/2007 at 20:08:30

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Was I watching same game Hibbert lucky to stay. What planet is he from? Pienaar good game done well overall stupid childish tackle for penalty but he will get over it.
Andrew Foulder
22   Posted 23/12/2007 at 19:46:56

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Frustrating not to get a point today and keep the run going, but I feel proud of the lads today. I thought it showed how far we’ve come considering in previous seasons coming away with a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford would have been seen as getting off lightly.

Thought Moyes got it spot on today, Gravesen showed in midweek that he is unfit and unwilling to undertake defensive duties, and Old Trafford is not the place to be carrying a player. He still has undoubted quality but isnt fit. I think Neville did well supporting Hibbert when he found himself cast out on the wing for periods of the game. Calls to sell him are bizarre, you’ll never find him sherking the workload and although his disribution is poor, he is a solid defender and in my opinion, by far our best right back.

Shame it was Stevie Pienaar who gave away the pen at the end, thought he was our best player today. He has similar characteristics to Arteta in terms of his creative ability and willingness to track back and help out the full backs. Prices of 2 million may be wide of the mark but anything around this price would be a bargain. Since Middlesborough at home he’s probably been our best player and no doubt he’ll bounce back from this - you could see how devestated he was after it happened, which in my eyes is a good sign that he cares about the team and the club.

2 home games coming up now, although tough, I believe they are boh very winnable. Hopefully the Spanish wizard will be back amongst the ranks by then too.

Chin up lads!! COYB!!
Jay Campbell
23   Posted 23/12/2007 at 20:32:23

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Fucking UTD were there 4 the taking today. Ask yourself this would Moyes ever consider playing Jagielka in Midfield again after seeing his performances at centre half??? So why the fuck did he put Neville back in midfield and put that pudding at right back AGAIN. Don’t even dare use the injury excuse for that bad choice he made today. He had better footballers that could have took Arteta’s place in midfield today.
Nick Toye
24   Posted 23/12/2007 at 20:49:58

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@Roy Croft,

Too true, the forum has plumbed the depths in recent months. So I suppose its like being banned from a crap pub. :)

tony gee
25   Posted 23/12/2007 at 21:44:28

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Moyes out...!!

Well I thought I may as well get the ball rolling....

Seasons greetings to all my fellow blues....

John Martin
26   Posted 23/12/2007 at 21:48:39

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I agree with Andrew Foulder, The critisism of Neville as usual is way over the top. As for Gravesen Andrew is again spot on, He is only useful in cameo roles at the end of games. At the end of the day Utd are better than us we cannot match them for skill so we have to try an alternative, that might sound negative but its a fact and no amount of nil satis nisi optimum quoting will change that sadly.
Paul Columb
27   Posted 23/12/2007 at 22:22:49

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For the most part, good show from the lads today....went to Old Trafford to play football and despite the result I feel really proud of their efforts in the blue shirt. Felt bad for Pienaar giving up the penalty; he was class all ’round today. Felt nervous seeing Hibbert’s name back on the roster and still don’t rate him 1st team; in fact I think he’s a liability. Blue has not, nor is it likely to permiate the veins of Neville and this becomes horribly evident when we play united. Add to that a midfield role know. Wish DM had substituted the Yak a little earlier in the 2nd as he looked knackered and really took up space where work could have been done to apply a little pressure. I have been no fan of DM in the past but have to eat humble’s grand to be an Evertonian of late.
Role on January: out with VDM, Hibbert and Faddy (although the lad’s grand but not with us; let’s cash in while his scotland role is fresh in the minds....we have a quality up from line up with the other 4). In with Pienaar and another quality midfielder (fernandes??). COYB
Gavin Gartside
28   Posted 23/12/2007 at 23:24:50

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Pienaar is an above average who would fit in well with us because he has the right attitude. I would not say that he is world class.

The only thing I dun like about him is that he whines every time he loses the ball!! Instead of whinning, for goodness sake!!! Try to win the ball back!!!
Steve Carter
29   Posted 24/12/2007 at 00:38:58

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I’m still kicking the cat. I’m not with those who are being moderate with Pienaar, or those having (yet another) crack at Tony Hibbert and David Moyes. Two things re Pienaar. First, he cost us a point. Full stop. If we want to be serious top four, we can’t have players who make such errors. Secondly, credit to Ferguson, Pienaar was heavied out of the game by O’Shea in the second half. Others will have taken note. Credit to Moyes. I thought he had his side playing well today, and Ferguson would have considered himself lucky to get all 3. My only criticism was that he did not sub Pienaar in the second half when it was obvious he’d be rendered insignificant. As for Hibbert, leave off will you. I thought you were able to win the ball in this game, and if you did the onus was on your opponent to avoid you. He had a solid game.
Santosh Benjamin
30   Posted 24/12/2007 at 01:00:51

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Firstly,Anthony Newell..i love the idea for the article..shoulda asked you first..thanks.
I am really moved by most of the comments in here.The positive attitude despite the hard fought loss makes me proud to be an Evertonian as usual.The lack of(or minimum) abuse for Pienaar is also nice to see as like mnany of you say..he himself will feel the pain whether we slag him off or not.
We all agree that Neville in midfield just does not work..think it emphasises that we really do need strengthening in midfield...a creative influence to back up Mikel and Pienaar...and also a tough tackling midfielder too.We also need cover at the centre back position with Yobo going and Stubbsy injured.
Its Christmas eve here in India today and i think that i am thrilled that by Christmas we are challenging on many fronts...could not have asked for more overall...i also feel that every year i look back and wonder whether the year was a good one or not...and this one certainly has been.
Lets beat Bolton convincingly now and march on to the Arse and then back to the Carling cup and FA cup games to continue our good form..
So i would like to thank all of you in here who make your views known..whether its positive or negative...there is nothing better as a football fan than being an Evertonian...BLESSED CHTISTMAS TO YOU ALL AND YOUR FAMILIES!!!COYB
David Barks
31   Posted 24/12/2007 at 01:23:57

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Gutted, absolutely gutted. We played so well but for "one moment of madness". I couldn’t believe it when I saw the replay and have no idea what Pienaar could have been thinking. But at least we didn’t lose to a dodgy call. It was a penalty, they deserved it, and in the end they fought hard for a last minute win. Our team played hard, we went there to play football and not just defend. I’m not pleased with a hard performance but a loss, but I am encouraged with the way we played. We battled hard, came back from a goal down at Old Trafford which is never an easy task, and all this without our main play maker in Arteta. Could some of Moyes decisions be questioned, probably. But Hibbert did pretty well today, I’m not so nervous about him in the side but would like that area improved eventually. Neville and Carsley did a great job in closing down the middle of the park, but the poor passing put us under too much pressure. I am encouraged though. We should have had a well earned point but we must now come back with a win against Bolton and in my opinion a win against Arsenal.
Kevin Campbell
32   Posted 24/12/2007 at 03:46:22

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Reading this "particular thread" responses really makes me proud to be a BLUE.

I have to be honest... This is perhaps the first time I have read about 99% response that is totally positive... things like... "We fight as a team... we lose as a team".... And not giving Pienaar any stick cause he has been brilliant and that he deserved to have "one mistake"... and about the team played "well" and stuff....

I?m wanna cry!!... I think we are finally realising that we have to be united...

Mike Jones
33   Posted 24/12/2007 at 05:07:47

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OK, Neville is not the answer in midfield, but ANYBODY who suggests Tommy is the man to step up they are sorely mistaken.
The finger of blame will fall on Pienaar for the silly trip, but nobody mentiones Tommy standing around on the edge of the box not putting in a challenge before the ball was played to Giggs.
He is NO LONGER a premier league player (was he ever?) and is only here because (for whatever reason) Fernandes did not sign.
We went to OT, contained then pretty well for the whole game and nobody could complain if we came away with a hard earned point. 9 points from our next three games will see us well in touch with the teams above us.
David Jerman
34   Posted 24/12/2007 at 06:38:59

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I’m not coming on to criticise Pienaar - although it was an horrenous error. My point is this - is that the first sign of our success in cup competitions affecting our league that Pienaar has played a LOT of football, league cup and UEFA on Thursday, from a man who didn’t play much last season. That challenge smacked of tiredness. Just a thought. COYB
jimmy hoffa
35   Posted 24/12/2007 at 08:22:35

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I think Stevie Pieenar was just plain tired. He didn’t pull his leg because he thot Ryan wasn’t gonna go there.

But Ryan did, and the rest is just history
John Andrews
36   Posted 24/12/2007 at 09:29:45

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Well that’s it then. Neville should be sold immediately to anybody who wants him and Pienaar should be thankful that Moyes has no alternative other than to play him EVERY game.
It is about time some of the folks on here grew up !
In my humble opinion Neville should have been at right back. Full stop. Pienaar has been absolutely superb for us so I cannot find it in me to criticise him for one silly mistake. And how many games has he played in the last two/three weeks ?
I believe that Gravesen should have started the game but I also believe he would not have lasted the pace and we could have brought somebody on for the last half hour. Before anybody asks who I would have brought on then the answer is simple. We could have brought on the mighty McUseless in the vain hope that he would, finally, produce something !
Neil McKinney
37   Posted 24/12/2007 at 08:57:21

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Most of you seem to echo my thoughts, with the usual few plastic Capellos who reckon they have all the answers.

It is clear to me that there is an issue with Graveson. Moyes refuses to start him and there must be a good reason for that. With that said, Neville into midfield was a reluctant but necessary shuffle.

The lads did well and eventually we lost a tight game to a side who’s midfield and forward line is probably worth more than our squad. Silly mistake from Pienaar, we’ve all made them. It did suggest that he was tired and he will feel rotten about it, but I for one will not hold it against him. Someone above said he cost us a point and maybe on the face of it he did, but he was instrumental in everything we did attacking wise, so without him it probably would have been 3-0. He works tirelessly for the team defensively as well, so to pinpoint this one error as the reason we lost is harsh.

I think the choice to field Johnson instead of McFadden (as someone rubbished above) was also correct. Away at Old Trafford you need pace and work ethic.. Johnson or McFaddon? No contest IMO, Johnson gets the nod every time.

All in all a very disappointing result, but an encouraging performance. Manure have dispatched a few sides with ease this season, scoring 4 or more, so the fact that they found us a tougher nut to crack is promising. Especially witout Arteta and Ossie.

We must now turn it round against Bolton to prove that we have improved.

Kiern Moran
38   Posted 24/12/2007 at 09:24:15

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Im sick of the constant sniping of Tony Hibbert, he is a first rate footballer and one of the best tacklers in the side. It is no suprise that Moyles reserves him for the harder games. He gives his all for the club and we should get behind whoever wears our colours. I thought that we looked very good against the Champions at their home ground. One mistake cost us three points. Last season Utd’s first goal might of burried us, not this season we went straight down end and scored. This is a team and squad growing every game. COYB.
John Aldridge
39   Posted 24/12/2007 at 11:38:13

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I watched the game on the tele ... i am no armchair believe me ... i just refuse to set foot in that hell hole of a place and have done since i was escorted out (apparantly for my own safety) from a prawn sarny area when pies and all thrown at us after Frannie Jeffers scored an opener in the 5 - 1 defeat, so never again .... there are times (not often) when i depise that club more than the RS. a ground full of glory hunting, celebrity craving, bandwagon day trippers who conitue to have a chip on their shoulder over scousers ,,,,,

Anyway i am so hacked off that Moyes started the right way in Yak and AJ up front and then tried to shut up shop by bringing on Tommy G for the Yak, they were there for the taking and we should have gone for the 3 points, yes a point would have been a good result but you what the old saying is... go for a point and you will lose ! I would rather lose going for it than sitting back absorbing wave of attacks holding on, they were not that great yesterday and would love to have seen Moyes take off Neville and throw on McFadden and / or Victor and gone for it, we just didnt attack enough in the 2nd half and Moyes (and Neville) seemed intent on wanting a point!

The boys at the back including Hibbert were magnificent yesterday and made me proud but it could of and should of have been so much better if we had gone for 3 points.... COYB
Neil Pearse
40   Posted 24/12/2007 at 13:54:36

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In defence of my willingness to see Neville sold - he is a dreadful midfielder (we all agree), and as a right back is worse defensively than Hibbert, although somewhat better offensively (and Valente, Lescott and Baines are all better than Neville - if they were right footed Neville would not get a look in). As a captain he often goes hiding and does not inspire the team - and Cahill (my choice), Yobo, Lescott and Johnson would all be better captains. And we might get a few million for him now and use it for someone better.

Happy Christmas to all toffees! 2008 may just be special!
Dave Keighley
41   Posted 24/12/2007 at 15:12:15

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I agree with those noting that Pienaar was tiring (not surprising after playing all the mid-week games recently and running his bollocks off). I had not 5 minutes earlier said to my dad that Moyesy needed to sub him, he had disappeared badly from the game. Tired legs = tired mind = costly mistakes.
So yes, that and the baffling decision to start Hibbert back, Neville mid, rather than Neville back, Tommy mid, shows that although Moyesy has been improving with his team selections & subs, he still has a way to go. It does not mean time to get rid of him, or Neville, or Pienaar, or Hibbert. We are still on the learning curve but we are getting there - certainly the best performance skill-wise at OT for many years and this without Arteta.
Dave Wilson
42   Posted 24/12/2007 at 17:20:02

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Not sure if it was picked up on the telly but twice in the minutes leading up to the penalty Lescott burst into the united half looking to win it, one of them times he went racing through the middle, straight for the United jugular but AJ couldnt find him, this guys a class act, he knows he belongs at this level and whilst all our boys were confident we could get a result, he was one player who truely believed we could win, Rome wasnt built in a day, but the growling self belief is evident and if we continue to progress along these lines we soon have 11 players all expecting to win every time they take the field, who would have thought that a few months ago ?
I know we’re all a bit gutted, but we have to view yesterday as a minor setback.
Merry Christmas guys
Lars Eidissen
43   Posted 24/12/2007 at 18:26:03

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Yep, all too predictable - Tony Hibbert gets flack, like we give all our homegrown players.

Imagine the sorely-missed Osman making the same mistake as Pienaar towards the end (after making a mess of two excellent opportunities to catch United on the break earlier too) - this place would be full of venom; "Osman’s just not good enough", "Offload in January, get in another fancy foreigner in Fernandes", "I have had it with Osman now", "I always said Osman was not up to it" etc etc.

In my mind, Steven Pienaar has made a few very good appearances lately, mostly against mediocre opposition. As have most of the team. Osman has scored more goals and also been more consistent from the start of the season, when Pienaar was settling into things and on the bench (of course he can’t be held responsible for that last bit).

Still, the jury is still out on the lad on my part (though I would sign in January for the paltry £2m fee being touted - it’s well worth the gamble for a top 6 Premiership club if the lad can turn into a long-term regular)..
Gavin Ramejkis
44   Posted 24/12/2007 at 19:20:38

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If there appears to be some major problems with Graveson; his legs gone or fitness, etc then do we have anyone else that could climb into a makeshift midfield role - Bjarni or Da Silva? Neville’s best position is right back and yes Hibbert did well against Ronaldo. We don’t know what goes on at the training ground and what Moyes can or can’t see in his alternatives but if Grav is finished then send him back; the bench places should belong to players more capable of putting in a full shift of need be not ten or twenty mins
Christine Foster
45   Posted 25/12/2007 at 08:04:57

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Its interesting watching the tactics used by Moyes in team selection adn throughout the game. AJ and Yak hardly got the service to make an impression and both players ended up frustrated as the midfield ran out of steam. I have to agree with the comments made by most with respect to Neville, if Moyes was going to strengthen the team in the second half he should have taken Hibbert off and put Neville at full back and Grav in midfield and replaced the two up front
With respect to Graveson and the comment that there must be a reason why he has not started, both he and Carsley play a similar role and his fitness needed work when he came back. Now he has to fight for his place and win it on merit. Good luck to him, I believe in all the matches I have seen him play he has strengthened midfield and improved our overall balance. Not a premiership player? your kidding aren’t you? Grav is class but Moyes has no favorites and thats the way it should be. The team selection is all about balance and tactics. Some 20 mins before the Utd penalty the boys were flagging and instead of trying to hang on we should have been more adventurous and gone after them. Instead we sat back and invited them to attack. In such a bigoted place as old trafford we should know now that every split decision will go united’s way and so it was. Throw ins, free kicks, offsides.. so if we sat back you invite trouble and THATS why they got the breaks. Best form of Defence? Attack wasn’t it?
Alan Newton
46   Posted 25/12/2007 at 17:14:49

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I don’t agree that Hibbert was lucky not to get a red. It was a one footed sliding tackle and he won the ball. However, Hibbert needs replacing and Neville is not the man for the job. He may be club captain and may have good experience to use in the dressing room but use him as a coach then instead of in the field were he constantly causes damage by repeatedly giving the ball away.

I was unfortunate enough to have a ticket in with the Mancs and was subjected to their 90 minutes of sad abuse towards Scousers. They clearly have a real unhealthy dislike for us. Quite ironic when in the next breath they are singing "Rooney" ... daft Manc twats.

When all is said and done, we never get anything at Old Trafford these days and despite the fact we played well enough to earn a point, the main thing for me is that we have clearly made progress and are a team to be feared; a team with confidence; a team with ambition; and hopefully, a team that will be adding some much needed silverware to the Goodison cabinet come the end of the season. COYBB
Tom Davies
47   Posted 25/12/2007 at 18:54:49

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What is wrong with people, Pienaar wasn’t in the wrong, he turned and made an easy mistake, he didn’t try to take Giggs off his feet, Giggs saw his chance and threw himself.

Hibbert was in no wrong either, I thought he showed improvement.
John Carlson
48   Posted 25/12/2007 at 22:14:48

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Pienaar: had a moment pof brain fade. Forgot were he was, simply as that. Dont get me wrong, it was really stupid, but I felt sorry for him. He runs his bollocks off evertygame. He’s a trier plus he has quality - he’s a perfect fit for Everton. Letsa move on and not spoil the lad, he’s been doing outstanding... personally I’d buy him at twice the price come the end of the season.

2.5m total utter bargain. Will be doubly important tomorrow without maybe Mikky and Tim - lets all get behind him - he’s been doing us proud.
Rob Hollis
49   Posted 28/12/2007 at 00:59:46

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Good one. You firstly have a rant at the people who have made comments you imagine and then think Pienaar might be worth gambling a couple of million for.

Pienaar is absolutely superb. If I managed another club and had a choice of Everton players to sign then it would be him or Lescott. At todays prices he is at least worth 8mill of anybodys money. He has vision, can pass, works hard and will tackle. It is no coincidence that Osman has looked twice the player now he has a truly class act to link up with.

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