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Just A Blip Or....

By Steve  Hogan :  29/12/2007 :  Comments (11) :

Just got back from the match and I feel a little confused. On one hand I thought our first half display against the Gooners was the look of a side who really believe in themselves and were prepared to match their illustrious opponents with guile and more than a little skill.

However, when Neville missed that wonderful chance to make it 2-0 just before half-time, I had a feeling in the back of my mind that it might come back to haunt us.

So, what did we learn at the end of a game that has seen us lose to three of the so called 'top four' sides so far at home?

We're clearly not quite there in some areas of the team. It only takes a couple of injuries to key players to really throw a spanner in the works.

The earlier loss of Cahill in the season and the impending suspension for three games of Arteta, will once again seriously undermine us, and possibly our hopes and inspiration of landing a trophy.

I believe Moyes MUST find at least two midfield additions in January if we are to continue the momentum of the current season.

The second half collapse against Arsenal wasn't just down to the stupid defensive lapses, it was also due to the fact in midfield we were simply unable to keep possesion of the ball long enough to wrest control of the game from Arsenal.

Once again, very poor refereeing at crucial points in the game cost us dearly, I was sitting in the Park End and the second Arsenal goal was clearly handball.

I also saw an ugly side to this Arsenal team in the second half which bordered on blatant cheating and arrogance, from the player who was sent off clearly walking off in his own time, just to antagonise the crowd, the same tactics used subsequently by the rest of the Arsenal subs.

I wondered whether Moyes might have dropped Jagielka to the bench for this game and gone with Hibbert and Valente as the full backs, with Lescott and Yobo as the two centre backs, with Neville in midfield?

Ironically, before the substitution, I felt Hibbert was having one of his more inspired games and could consider himself unlucky to be the player to make way.

I think the next six weeks will largely determine Everton's season and I hope and pray that our main performers can stay injury free as our squad will be utilised and stretched to the absolute limit.

For the record, my own observations on each players performances on the night;

Howard, thought he was at fault for the Arsenal third goal, why didn't he clear into the main stand as Yobo dithered? 5/10

Hibbert, one of his better games, actually made some great crosses into the box and put in some great tackles. 7/10

Yobo, solid game overall, might have done better for the third goal 6/10

Jagielka, I felt he got found out a bit tonight, hesitated fatally when he should have cleared a relatively simple long ball for the first goal, and despite a blatant handball by the Arsenal forward for the second, he still should have done a lot better. 4/10

Lescott, simply oozes class and I thought he had a storming game at left back. 8/10

Arteta, in the first half, gave Everton valuble breathing space and was prepared to take the game to Arsenal, was offered little protection by a weak referee.

Haven't seem MOTD yet so I don't know if the red card was derseved or not 7/10

Carsley, effective in the first half, thought he faded a little in the second. 6/10

Pienaar, bright and breezy, always available to take the ball on the wing, would have liked to see him attack the Arsenal fullbacks more, had a good game overall though 7/10

Cahill, won plenty of the ball in the air against the giant Arsenal defence, him and Yakubu seemed to get in each others way a couple of times. As usual, Johnny on the spot for the goal.

I love his all action style, no matter the opponents. 8/10

Yakubu , great first half, his sheer strength in the box deserved greater reward from those teamates around him. Became a little isolated as Arsenal grew stronger in the second half. 7/10

Sub Johnson, was cruelly clobbered by Bentner from behind which deserved a straight red card alone, again weak refereeing here.

Reader Comments

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Mike Johnson
1   Posted 30/12/2007 at 09:39:58

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Well dude , On TV it was clear that:
1. Neville and Arteta must be the greatest divers on the planet and should get yellows for play acting
2. Arteta thumbed Clichý?s neck already
3. Any blow to the face is a RED CARD offense irrespective of the damage
4, Bendtner hardly injured anyone but was sent off
5, Your defence is SHIT and you know it - so blame yourself
6.. Eduardo is quality while Neville has 2 left feet - so for him to score again -dream on
7. Pienaar was your best player- the South African is magic and skinned Sagna - the best right back in the premiership

Arsenal won wimbledon style - SO WHAT? is that not allowed
Tony Gee
2   Posted 30/12/2007 at 09:43:40

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I was more than happy with the 1st half... Although Aresnal had the "we dont fancy it in the cold and its 3 games in 7 days, look about them..

And then...

Our Center halves left their brains in the dressing room at half time.. obviously thought the hard work had been done, and that 3 points were already bagged..!

When equaliser went in, it needed a rocket from both the touchline and the captain to get us back on track, but typical Moyes And Neville just had a look of resignation about them...

One thing is for sure, Sir Alex Ferguson or Gary Neville would never have accepted such a disgraceful start to a second half... Perhaps Phill and David would do well to look at their footballing "icons"....

Neil McKinney
3   Posted 30/12/2007 at 10:44:06

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Hi Steve. Pretty good evaluation of the match for me.

Mike Johnson ? Fuck off and find an Arsenal site, what?s the matter with you! All that money and so called support and you have to come on our site to make your point! Piss off to

The lads need to take encouragement from the 1st half and put the 2nd half down to experience.

Tony Williams
4   Posted 30/12/2007 at 11:43:54

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Oh dear we have an Arsenal pet to laugh at. He must be boardering on the redshite mentality in that he has to go on opponents web sites and try and look good, especially with his geeky star wars name...Doh!!

Steve the fact that the 3 of the 4 goals came from long punts pretty much negates your dig at the midfield, they were bypassed and the defence just weren?t awake to them. Probably as they didn?t expect that from Arsenal but if it works it works.

"typical Moyes And Neville just had a look of resignation about them"................ I simply have no words for this!!!!!
Steve Hogan
5   Posted 30/12/2007 at 12:06:31

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Tony Williams, your last paragraph, think you should check your reading the correct article mate, I didn’t write those comments about Moyes or Neville and the ’look of resignation’?
Tony Williams
6   Posted 30/12/2007 at 12:38:31

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I know you didn’t Steve, that is why I started a new paragraph
Jay Campbell
7   Posted 30/12/2007 at 13:45:11

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Some Everton fans need to open their eyes a little bit. Did we make their goalie make 1 save in the whole of the 2nd half??
John Schrempft
8   Posted 30/12/2007 at 13:50:03

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Just a couple of points:
How ironic that we should be beaten by the hoofball which many have no use for. No, I?m not advocating us using it so often either. We seem to be less effective using it than say the gunners.
Arsenal were outplayed in the first half and used fouls and niggling tactics to get back into the game.
Pity though that Neville, Arteta and Yakubu had to resort to blatant diving, which didn?t help our cause. They don?t need to do that. After all the commentator on German TV said that Everton
are one of the fairest sides in the Premier League

When, oh when are we going to see the rule:
Surrounding the Ref at every controversial decision is getting out of hand.

I imagine Moyes will be playing a video pretty often over the next few days. "How to defend hoofballs"

Anyway, Everton were excellent in the first half so the potential is really there to move on upwards.
Matt Compton
9   Posted 30/12/2007 at 14:54:13

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Here’s my perspective on the goals we conceded:

Goal 1

I thought our defence was slow getting out anyway. Jagielka made a right pig ears of the header and then Lescott was backing off when he should have attacked Eduardo.

Goal 2
Handball by Eduardo helped him big time, so I can’t even blame Jagielka for the skill thereafter.

Goal 3
What a mess. I think it has to be Howard’s fault, why the hell did he run out like that? He should have offered Yobo the back pass on his line! I actually think he may have made a shout as well.

Goal 4
They just let this happen.
Matt Compton
10   Posted 30/12/2007 at 15:08:56

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To add to my previous post. I also think Howard was awful on the 1st two goals. Is it me or whenever it’s one v one do you always favour the attacker when against Howard?
Chris Matty
11   Posted 30/12/2007 at 19:17:22

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I reckon we played some pretty good football in the first half and although we struggled to keep hold of the ball at times in the second, at least we kept trying to play, to pass and move. The improvement is imense and may it continue.

One area where Arsenal were better than us, however, was in shooting. Their goals (except the 3rd) were strong, clinical, finishes on target and giving the keeper little chance. Too often we shot over the top or straight at the keeper. Granted Eduardo and Rosicky may have had more space to shoot but if that is the case it is only because we gave it to them. We need to be able to take the chances more when we ge them.

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