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Messing With the Big Boys

By Tony Marsh :  30/12/2007 :  Comments (45) :
Since the Mark Clattenburg Derby game I must admit that I have been really pleased with the way Moyes and the lads have gone about things. I liked the way we suddenly transformed our playing style and became more of a footballing side rather than a side of cloggers.

I enjoyed the unbeaten run we went on regardless of the quality of the oppostion and the European adventure has been first class. So what's gone wrong in the past few weeks?

Well for a kick off all the old frailties Moyes has shown in the past seem to resurface whenever we play any of the so called big 4 sides. Basically we shit our kecks when ever we play these teams and allow them to take the piss. We don't play with the cocky swagger we show against the lesser sides because Moyes shows the likes of Man Utd and Arsenal too much respect. End of story.

Man Utd were there for the taking last week [if there is such a thing] and Moyes decides with 30 minutes to go to try and defend the point. Suicide tactics born out of fear. You need look no further than West Ham yesterday to see United are not playing that well at the moment.

Then there is yesterday's game against an Arsenal side who have struggled all season away from home. We play Yakubu as a lone striker and pack the midfield. WHY? Arsenal are a good side but again they have also been off the boil lately and were missing many key players. So why show them so much respect?

All Moyes did with playing the one man up front was to turn Yakubu in to winger crossing the ball in to an empty goalmouth. Yakubu should be in the goalmouth not running the channels through out the entire game. He reminded me of James Beattie when he was here. Every man and his dog knows Yakubu is a goalscorer and not player you isolate out on the wings. It's pathetic to nullify your main striker in this manner.

IMHO our best starting eleven is as good as Liverpool's all day long and they are seen as 4th-best team in the league. You don't see Gerrard and Co shitting themselves whenever they play the teams above them in the table do you? They go all out and attack and try to play their normal game in these matches. It's a winners' mentality that they have and one that Moyes needs to learn pretty sharpish.

It's ok beating the likes of Sunderland, Derby County, Bolton and Larrisa and thinking we are on the verge of something special when in reality we are as far away from the big 4 as ever. One point from a possible fifteen against the big 4 this season only serves to prove my point.

We need to show less respect and more confidence when we play the big boys or we may as well pack it now. I only hope that Moyes doesnt start bigging up Chelsea ahead of the semi final games coming up. Chelsea are no great shakes at the moment and DM should be telling the world what a great side we are and how we fancy our chances. Fuck all this fear and respect Bulshit.

It's been a decent season by our usual standards yet the worry I have now is that we have over-achieved and all these games we have coming up will take there toll. The January window could help us out if we get the right players in but do we have any cash to spend? We still need a proper ball-winning midfielder and another proven goalscorer with the Yak going missing for 2 months.

Personally I would sell AJ to West Ham for £15 million if they still want him and try to get Darren Bent on the cheap from Spurs. I know Bent has struggled this season but he is a far better finisher than AJ and could slot in for the Yak no problem. Bent would guarantee goals, something AJ can't do.

Anyway, all the best for the New Year and let's drink to a prosperous one for the Blues.

Reader Comments

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Paul Columb
1   Posted 30/12/2007 at 19:47:33

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Agree to a point Tony but I think the confidence it takes to come out and truely go for all 3 points and actually believe you’ll get them has been building. Other than the return of Cahill, which in my mind has been key and an increased focus on playing through midfield while allowing a striker to play his role as, well, a striker, not much else has changed. And confidence seem to be on the rise but not quite where it needs to be to compete for top 4 spaces. On another note; my satisfaction for our performance on Saturday took one huge nosedive when three of our players did just that. The actions of Neville, Arteta and the Yak are inexcusible in a blue shirt and give us absolutely no room to bitch about Fabergas’ oscar winning oh I just had my face battered to my arse’ role. COYB and here’s to a real Europe cup run. Happy new year all.........
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
2   Posted 30/12/2007 at 19:39:59

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In seasons gone by I’d be inclined to agree with you, Tony, but I don’t actually think we’ve shown the top four all that much respect this time around.

Playing Yakubu as the lone striker proved very effective during that 13-match unbeaten run so it’s hardly surprising that Moyes has tried to stick with it. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of that 4-1-4-1 system is predicated on the fitness of the five midfielders who make it work: Carsley, Arteta, Osman, Pienaar and Cahill. Take any of those out and there is no one — apart from Mr Injury-prone himself, Tommy G. — of similar attacking inclination or speed of thought to fill in.

While we may not have looked like beating any of them, we could just as easily have earned creditable draws in all of the matches against the top four we’ve played so far. United beat us at Goodison with a late headed goal off a poorly-defended corner and needed Pienaar’s howler to win at Old Trafford.

Were it not for Clattenburg, we’d have had a point against Liverpool and but for horrendous defensive errors yesterday, we’d have been good value for a draw against Arsenal.

I think that Moyes’s talk of breaking into the top 4 was premature but it at least showed the kind of "we’re a great side and fancy our chances" ambition you’re asking for above, Tony. We’re perhaps a Baines-esque right back, a central midfielder and a pacey winger away from having that good a team but, as you say, we’re close.

Robbie Shields
3   Posted 30/12/2007 at 20:11:00

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Tony, fair points and I fully agree we must STOP showing the top 4 teams respect. We need to get amongst em from the off, rattle their cage and go for it. Far lesser teams have done this and got success already this year. If we go with a negative attitude to Chelsea in the Cup I’ll be utterly pissed off and we’d be chucking away a great opportunity. The 6-7000 fans going won’t be expecting us to role over. We must fight from the off against these teams and not give them a minutes peace, if we do then I’ll be off to Wembley for the first time in 13 years to watch the mighty blues.
Dave Lynch
4   Posted 30/12/2007 at 20:14:08

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I have every respect for your opinions and have had over the years.
But i have to disagree with Bent as a replacement for Yak.
IMHO, he is another Vassel. Has had one blinding season and then drops back into mediocrity.
He has not cut it at Spurs or for England for that matter ( Then again who has).
Would go for a swap with AJ for Ashton.
Declan Brown
5   Posted 30/12/2007 at 20:26:50

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Tony, just like Ken Buckley, I think you?re the man, and I always look forward to reading your and Ken?s brilliant articles when they?re posted, because they are so damn honest and straight from the heart, I totally respect that.

But i have to take you up on the following points. Liverpool don?t go for the kill against the "Big 3". Their record is pretty poor too:

1. Under Rafa in 21 games against Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea, they?ve won 4, drawn 3 and lost 14. They lose 2 out of every 3 games!!!
2. They average less than a goal a game scored in these 21 games.
3. Under Rafa they have failed to score against Man Utd in the Premier League, and that?s after SEVEN games home and away.
4. They haven?t scored at Stamford Bridge under Rafa in the Premier League yet.
5. To my knowledge they haven?t beaten Arsenal away yet under Rafa too, they?ve been hammered by the Gunners at Highbury / Ashburton a few times.

But a well written article. Keep them coming, they?re always a good read despite what others say!!!

Mick Simo
6   Posted 30/12/2007 at 20:20:52

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I was in the same opinion about this respect thing, but then had a think about it and listened to a few interviews with Moyes and Cahill, I remember Tim saying we fear nobody. Then I asked myself this, is it respect or is it that them teams are just better than us. We beat Arsenal last season and stuffed the shite, took a decent point from Chelsea so this respect thing dont cut with me anymore, I just think they know how to win more games than us over the course of a season simple as that, if we want to compete we need more quality in the squad and then hope one of the other 4 slip up and we can make some big money.
Dave Jeanrenaud
7   Posted 30/12/2007 at 20:37:54

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Manchester United at Old Trafford is not a match in which any side chooses to go and attack. This is for the simple reason that you are liable to get murdered. I thought we played very well in that match despite missing Arteta and Osman and we were only denied a point by Pienaar?s lack of discipline.

Yesterday I saw an Everton side outplay Arsenal for 45 minutes. We imploded in the second half due to basic defensive errors.

You can jump on Moyes?s back at every opportunity if you like but it is not for me. I am just thankful that for the first time in twenty years i see an Everton side that can compete with the big boys and is clearly going places. For that I am thankful to one man and that is the wonderful David Moyes.

Sixth in the league, Uefa group winners and semi of the Carling Cup to look forward to. I will take that thank you very much.

Rob Hollis
8   Posted 30/12/2007 at 20:43:18

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?I worry we have over-achieved.?

This is a very different Everton team than in previous seasons. There is much more to come.

Tony, that is one of the most miserable articles I have ever read. Did you have a hangover when writing?
John Martin
9   Posted 30/12/2007 at 20:48:53

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I think this was a very good article, the only points I would make are that we cant really say it was negative to only play one striker as we have been doing that since Cahill came back into the side and we have been successfull with it. Also I do agree we sometimes show to much respect to the top 4 sides but with good reason they are all better than us as results show. So it's understandable especially away at Utd, not at home like West Ham, were that late in the game you play defensive ? almost every other team in the country would do the same.
Brian Waring
10   Posted 30/12/2007 at 21:13:39

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I think one of our problems against the so called big 4,is that when we are on top (like Arsenal 1st half yesterday) we don’t capitalize on all the possesion we have.And the top 4 will punish you for it.
Eric Hardman
11   Posted 30/12/2007 at 21:06:17

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Moyes is, has always been, a loser. Still at the bottom of the learning curve after five seasons of failure. Tony Marsh used to call it right and suddenly defected. Now perhaps he?s back on message.

All those posters who said Jagielka wasn?t Prem standard were right but suddenly they got carried away by a couple of half decent performances. We all agreed that Neville shouldn?t play in midfield so where does Moyes play him? We all agreed that Hibbert is useless so why does Moyes put him in the team? Even Arteta was a disgrace yesterday, just like Pienaar at OT.

We?re going nowhere with Moyes. Tony Marsh is right about Yakubu. Moyes seems to have a thing about playing strikers as wingers, Yakubu, AJ, Beattie, McFadden all expected to run about near the corner flag and eventually they all fail. I?ll change my view when we beat any half-decent team. Till then all the optimism in the world won?t change the facts.

The top 4?s there for the taking this year and Moyes has blown it.

Jay Campbell
12   Posted 30/12/2007 at 21:28:23

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New additions are needed; end of story
Art Greeth
13   Posted 30/12/2007 at 21:24:39

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There has been a good few similar articles and posts to this one in the last 24 hours and from my perspective, we have a number of individuals who are ignoring the facts and trying to shoehorn their rapidly dating, stereotypical - and mistaken - characterisation of David Moyes and the football EFC is currently producing.

1) whilst I accept we have always been a hard-working team under Moyes, we have never (IMO) been a "side of cloggers" as TM describes us.

2) NOTHING has "gone wrong in the past few weeks". In the span of a single WEEK we have lost to the best two teams in the country, NOT because we couldn’t cut it or because "we shit our kecks" against them. Any truly discerning fan will recognize that we more than held our own at Manu and over the duration of the 90 minutes against the Arse we were the better FOOTBALLING side (and how many teams playing against Wegner’s Arsenal over the years can claim that..?. We lost both games to grotesque individual errors. We did NOT "allow them to take the piss". And very much against Arsenal we DID play "with the cocky swagger we show against the lesser sides".

3) The likes of Man Utd and Arsenal are NEVER just "there for the taking"... and TM himself acknowledges as much himself by adding in brackets after that ridiculous claim [if there is such a thing].

4) "Arsenal have struggled all season away from home". Of course they have - five wins, four draws and a single defeat on the road and the only other away defeat - indeed, the only other defeat all season for them, was away to Sevilha, the UEFA cup holders.

5) "We play Yakubu as a lone striker and pack the midfield. WHY?" Because it has brought us 12 wins and two draws and only two defeats in the last 16 games, not to mention a shedload of goals for both the Yak and the team.

5) "You don’t see Gerrard and Co shitting themselves whenever they play the teams above them in the table do you?" The poo’s form against the other three of the so-called Top 4 has already been very well described in an earlier post in this thread. Add to that their pitiful home performance against United two weeks ago and TM’s observation looks nonsense.

6) Still on the poo (for some reason...) "They go all out and attack and try to play their normal game in these matches. It’s a winners’ mentality that they have and one that Moyes needs to learn pretty sharpish". And just what did the team do for the first 45 minutes against the Arse yesterday? It was an extremely potent mix of the in-your-face battling qualities that has long been a basic requirement of Moyes’ Everton teams, together with quick, incisive, one-touch football to which Arsenal had no answer.

7) The "one point from a possible fifteen against the big 4 this season" is indeed a poor return, but that can also serve as a springboard, an inspiration for the players and manager to make them truly appreciate what they have to aspire to to crack that clique.

8) "I only hope that Moyes doesnt start bigging up Chelsea ahead of the semi final games". As ever, from what I have heard from DM this season is honesty, integrity and respect for both his own players and the opposition. Quite clearly in recent weeks he has been raising the bar and challenging his team to do better, instilling in them the self-belief that he evidently has: that EFC belongs at the top table in English (and hopefully eventually, European...) football.

9) Concession at last from TM - "It’s been a decent season by our usual standards"... ehrm... does this mean that we are over-achieving, or that your criticism of DM in the past were TOO over-critical, because in truth we have been cack now some some 10-15 years...?

10) Ah! Here’s TM’s answer: "the worry I have now is that we have over-achieved and all these games we have coming up will take there toll". So... DM is damned for not keeping us in cup competitions (previous seasons)... and damned for "over-achieving" and giving us too many games to cope with. Go figure.

In other posts today, I have read that we played "horrible football" and "hoofball" against the Arse yesterday... well, if what I saw yesterday is horrible hoofball from Everton, give me more of it. Because I tell ya... we gave the Gooners a real scare yesterday and there is more - a LOT more - to come from this Everton team yet.

January signings could help and clearly the midfield cover needs to be addressed, but such is my faith in DM and EFC at the moment, I would perfectly understand if - as in previous years - he holds his nerve and doesn’t get sucked in big time to the manic January sales.
mick Mc
14   Posted 30/12/2007 at 22:08:27

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Eric have you got red hair by any chance, old ginger nut. You just don’t talk sense, everything you quote can be blown out of the water, your points can be torn to shreads by an 11 year old, basically your argument holds no water.
Alex Baker
15   Posted 30/12/2007 at 22:09:22

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Bit pessimistic don’t you think Eric? Forget cup half empty, the way you talk it’s like we haven’t even seen a cup! But by the end of the season...
Jarrod Prosser
16   Posted 30/12/2007 at 22:33:27

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TM - once again, well thought out & eloquently written. But i can’t fully agee with you.

I definately think that another up front, and a 4 man midfield would have been a better option on saturday, but the 4-5-1 has worked, so can’t blame Moyes for sticking with it.

As far as results against the big 4:
Against the Mancs this season, we were one bad tackle away from an away draw 3 seconds of not concentrating from a home point, whist in a horrid form slump.

Against the Reds - well, we all know what happened there.

chelski - kind of fortunate, but you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Even a 1-0 loss, though, would have looked a lot better than Man city’s (a supposed equal of ours) 6-0 loss.

Against the Gooners - well a horrid 45 minutes, but we showed that we can play with them in the first 45. but i guess that’s the difference, right now. the top teams cut out performances like that.

We are not a top 4 side as yet. But we can certainly claim with full confidence to be the best side outside the established big 4.

Don’t expect to beat these guys - even at home - with any regularity, probably for another 12 months, as we are not the finished article as yet.

this season, however, we haven’t show the fear that we have previously shown against he big 4 - and that bodes well for our future, and a ’big 5’.
Tony Williams
17   Posted 30/12/2007 at 23:01:47

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I was wondering when Tony and all his fans would show themselves.

Two defeats in a week and just like magic a Tony Marsh thread. You have been very quiet for the last few weeks and a couple of loses by the top two in the league and Moyes’s old frailties are back.

I am glad Art posted his response, as it save me the time to rebuke pretty much all of your digs.

It’s strange that the formation that gave us a great run is now all of a sudden a way to give the other team too much respect.
It is clear that we "shit our kecks" at Old Trafford, I mean what the fook are we doing playing two forwards????

Also why are you comparing us to Liverpool? We are Everton and if you want to use a comparison, use one that helps your argument ( Good post Declan)

I await your next reappearance the next time we lose a match.
Nick Toye
18   Posted 30/12/2007 at 23:50:37

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What a load of crap, your the kind of Evertonian that we don?t need. And if you ever want to discuss it in person I would love to. Seriously, getting pretty annoyed with this constant negative attitude at the end of every defeat.

Hibbert actually played one of his best games in my opinion against Arsenal (first half).

Moyes has got us to the last 32 of Europe and into a Semi final against Spurs. We have narrowly lost contentious games against the top 3 and drew 1-1 away at Chelsea for the 2nd season in a run.
Tony Marsh
19   Posted 31/12/2007 at 00:47:16

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Tony Williams and Art Greeth: we do shit ourselves when we play the big boys so don't kid your selves any different. At Old Trafford last week we wasted a golden chance to take something; we bottled it. Players who for weeks now have looked so composed fell to bits in the final third of the pitch because they can't handle the pressure and Moyes sent out the wrong message with his defence-minded game plan at 1-1.

What happened last season against Man Utd at Goodison: 2-0 up and cruising... They pull one back and we capitulate again and we let their players take the piss out of us. It was the same against Arsenal the other night. Once they equalized we fell apart. How can you defend it when the likes of Bolton, Boro and West Ham have recently beaten these sides?

Back Moyes, if you're that confident in us get your money down when we play Chelsea in the cup...

Keith Harrison
20   Posted 31/12/2007 at 00:54:12

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Merry Christmas Tony,
Take it you have been on the Ale all week mate, as you?ve let your guard slip from your last excellent article.

All anti-Moyes men have complained about hoofball from July onwards. We finally play Arsenal off the park through good football ? at least for the whole of the first half, and some of the second ? and get beat by them playing hoofball, and rank bad defending.

I watched the match on Setanta, which at least gives the opportunity for replays and decent analysis, and we totally outplayed them. They actually said, "It seems like Arsenal are playing in Blue".

An unfortunate result, as was the one at Old Trafford, against the top two teams in the country, if not Europe.

Moyes is going down the right path, and must surely be looking for the midfield additions we need to have a superb all-round team. Hibbert had his best game for us for ages yesterday, and was unlucky to be subbed, but if we are to play Captain Pip, it must be at right back, as his distribution from midfield is appalling.

The biggest downer for me on Sat was our guys who dived. We don?t want Stevie G Laaa type antics in our club, and I hope Moyes kicks both their arses severely this week, and tells the Yak to stay on his feet.
Geoff Wells
21   Posted 31/12/2007 at 01:34:14

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I was wondering how long it would take for the Moyes haters to come out once we lost a couple. Firstly I thought our forst half performance against Man U was confident, aggressive and full of good football. In the first 10 minutes of the second half we had them on the rack. Yes United then shifted a gear which you would expect given their playing list but had we taken a point, which we deserved perhaps Tony Marsh’s comments would not have been relevant. I have watched the Arsenal game 3 times and I thyought we played excellently without much luck in the first half. Arsenal are the best team in UK as far as I am concerned and the score line flattered them. Its really amazing how hindsight turns the knockers into great football coaches. Coaches and managers have to make decisions in real time and I believe Moyes has got most decisions right. Martin McKeown reckons the present blues outfit is the best for over 20 years and I tend to agree with him. 3 months ago most Moyes knockers didn’t give us a chance to be still in UEFA, semi final of Carling Cup and 6th in Premier Leage playing a greatbrand of football.
So leave off Moyes and the boys hindsight makes everyone a genius at times.
Art Greeth
22   Posted 31/12/2007 at 07:37:49

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As ever with you Tony, whenever the flaws in your argument are exposed you desperately throw together a mixture of your very own slanted opinion with isolated examples of unrelated facts, tell other posters that they are talking bollox, but completely fail to engage in or counter the very legitimate facts and opinions they offer.

This you assume constitutes a knockdown argument on your part. It doesn’t. It merely exposes the shallowness and poverty of your viewpoint.

Happy New Year to Blues everywhere - I’m off for a week and look forward to a prosperous 2008 for our team. There IS something special happening at EFC these days...
Dave Wilson
23   Posted 31/12/2007 at 07:07:03

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you diagnose the illness, but your way off mark with the cause, I dont believe for one minute we fear anyone
When Pienaar made that ridiculous challenge - when we were coasting at OT - that wasnt fear, it was abject stupidity, Jags lost the flight of a 70 yard punt against Arsenal while Lescot wasnt just asleep, he was in a fucken comma, I’m assuming you played yourself at some level, so you know thats not fear either, they both lost concentration, Howard and Yobo ? see Pienaar.
Its not fear we display, we are coming up short on the 100% proffessionalism, the application, the total concentration it takes to get to the top of any sport, if you dont have these qualities, the top boys will find you out, no matter how many other skills you may have
You do of course make some valuable points, Neville in midfield may sometimes earn you one point against the top boys, but he’ll never win you all three, and one up top isnt always the most positive tactic - although the top teams do it against each other all the time, we have got players who belong up there, but unfortunately we are still a work in progress and we have a couple of players who are barely prem standard
Yes my mony is down for the Chelsea semi, coz I believe the class players in our camp want to be considered "top four" and will learn from these two painful defeats
Tony Williams
24   Posted 31/12/2007 at 09:01:15

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Tony, Tony, Tony.

Everyone knows that when the expletives appear in your "argument", the debate is basically over.

Please explain how we have "shit ourselves" against Arsenal in the last three years, 2 home wins, 1 away draw.

See Liverpool for that last season, 4 points from 6 and an extremely unlucky defeat at home this year.

Once again close defeats by Chelsea with 3 wonder goals last year and the year before 1-1 at Goodison, two 1-1 draws at their gaffe the last two seasons and we were robbed the last game of last term.

Man United, well I can see we "shit ourselves" in the close 1-0 and 2-1 defeats, where we were holding our own until unfortunately 2 defensive errors at critical times cost us the game.

To sum up, it is you sir that is talking bollocks.
Martin Doherty
25   Posted 31/12/2007 at 08:44:03

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Firstly, I?d ask you Tony do you go the match or do you base your assessment of the games on the slanted snapshot of them seen on MOTD? If you were at the Arsenal game you?d have seen a first half performance that was full of swagger and poise. We comprehensively OUTPLAYED Arsenal even into the second hallf and that was down to the fact that we play a system that suits our most influential players such as Cahill, Arteta and increasingly Pienaar.

If you play two up top against the better teams they?ll pass it right through you. That we lost 4-1 was mostly due to three basic schoolby errors, tiredness and another poor refereeing performance.

If you?re gonna gripe Tony, gripe about the continued poor standards of refereeing in this country. The best refs we?ve had this season have been in the European games. At least they?re not shackled by the aura of the big four and the media. If anything in this game it was Arsenal that were shitting themselves.The turning point of the game was definitely the Yak?s miss. If he?d have scored, that would have been game over.

Also, I don?t remember showing Liverpool too much respect. Only for a blatantly biassed ref we?d have won that comfortably. Losing to the Champions by the odd goal in two games wasn?t that bad either and we have had some bad luck against Chelsea in recent years, we?re definitely overdue a change of luck against them.

Neil McKinney
26   Posted 31/12/2007 at 09:56:30

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I won’t bother to bash TM anymore as some very eloquent arguments from Art, Tony W etc have clearly covered that area.

When we get beat, or when we let a goal in, of course you can say we should have done this or done that, picked him or dropped him. Sometimes teams get beat because the other team played better. They have stronger squads assembled with more money and yet whenever we lose to them it is something we’ve done wrong rather than being beat by a better team that played better on the day.

Of course against the Arse we self destructed a bit, but these thingshappen to every team over the season, even the mighty big 4. You want perfection? No such thing in football!

Mr Hardman there is no point responding to you as you make no considered arguments, just talk negative shite. However, I would still prefer to debate with you guys anyday, rather than the plastic gooners that infected this site over that last couple of days!

Jay Campbell
27   Posted 31/12/2007 at 10:37:53

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Tony Williams we don’t know how to react to a setback against these side’s. Our head’s seem to go down to easy.
Brian Richardson
28   Posted 31/12/2007 at 11:00:09

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What a ridiculous article. What is it, Tony, that compels you to write such nonsense? Is it a slightly sheepish attempt to defend the abuse you used to hurl at David Moyes?

If Pienaar hadn’t done the unthinkable against Utd, we would have earned a very impressive draw. And, in case you missed the match, we played Arsenal off the park on the 29th, but gave them 4 goals thanks to shocking individual errors. That does not point to a team showing Arsenal too much respect. It points to a very, very accomplished footballing side who made some silly errors.

Of course, an astute footballing brain like yours does not need to take lessons from the likes of Arsene Wenger, but the Arsenal manager happens to believe that Everton outplayed Arsenal on the day. He believes that Everton won all of the key battles. Moyes, who has demonstrated his true class this season, has pointed out that Everton played all the good football and deserved much more from the game.

I really cannot fathom how that performance exposes anything other than stupid errors. We have lost 2 and drawn 1 of our last 16 games, and played some of the best football the Premier League has seen this season. We have an excited young squad who are working tirelessly for each other, we have an astute manager who is winning plaudits from every angle, we are seriously challenging for the Carling Cup and are in the knock-out stages of the UEFA Cup, we are 6th in the Premier League and are playing some sensational football.

There will doubtlessly by knock-backs along the way - every team has them - but you should really be enjoying what is happening to our club.
Brendan McLaughlin
29   Posted 31/12/2007 at 10:49:52

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Coming home from the pub after I watched the Arsenal match I consoled myself with the thought - "Two defeats in recent games. Well, at least I should have the consolation of reading a Tony Marsh article pretty shortly"

And right on cue Tony has delivered. Its good to see the "anti-Moyes brigade" reduced to grasping at straws such as "can’t to it against the Top 4" or "haven’t beaten a team above us yet"
As for the Tony’s "Top 4" argument - see Tony Williams excellent rebuttal above. The battle for hearts and minds is almost won!
Nick Smith
30   Posted 31/12/2007 at 12:35:33

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We didn?t show any respect to Chelsea at the Bridge and went at them as much as you can for 90 mins. We didn?t show Liverpool any respect and got nothing in part due to the referee?s incompetence. We didn?t show Arsenal any respect, outplayed them for 45 minutes with a system that has served Moyes and the team well for many previous weeks. We imploded defensively in the second half.

Our squad is the best I?ve seen in years of watching and I now go to games expecting to compete and win. The difference between us and the very top table is a couple more top quality players in the middle. It?s taken Moyes several years to get this squad together. Add a Manny Fernandes-type quality footballer and we?ll make further strides forward.
David London
31   Posted 31/12/2007 at 14:32:42

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Tony Marsh seems to care about EFC.However he only seems to post when we lose or there is an issue that could have been handled better.We don’t need to be attacted by others we do it ourselves.Please enjoy the good performances, that gives your criticisms more credence.
Robert Carney
32   Posted 31/12/2007 at 14:38:08

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Tony, after your last peice which took the debate down memory lane I honestly thought you were coming on board the Moyes wagon. I have said for nearly two years now we are just around the corner from something very special.

I still beleive it. I will bet any shite fan we will win the Premeirship before them.They are no near now than five years ago. We are.

It is still good to have debate, Art and Tony win this one hands down. TM get back on the nostalgic trip of the eighties then wake up to the bright future that awaits us on the playing field.

Happy New Year to Evertonians all around the globe.

Predictions for 2008, Everton to reach finals of the eufa and fa cups.

Lee Spargo
33   Posted 31/12/2007 at 15:48:44

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This is ridiculous.

’shit our keks and alow them to take the piss’ - Really? I thought we were brilliant against both Arsenal and Manchester United, especially in each of the first halves.

’Moyes tried to defend a point at United for 30 mins’ - I dont think so! When you haven’t got the ball, you have to try to defend. It’s common sense. United were turning the screw and we had to get men behind the ball so as you dont concede. It would have worked too, but for a moment of madness from Pienaar.

’Moyes played Yakubu alone upfront and packed the midfield. WHY?’ - Well that’s because it’s our most effective formation. We played that way wqhen we finished 4th a few years back, and that’s how we’ve played (with the odd exception) over our 14 game unbeaten run this year. We also outplayed Arsenal for 45 mins that way.

’The worry that I have now is that we have over-acheived’ - That’s impossible. Besides, we’re 6th now and finished 6th last year. Pretty consistent with where we stand in terms of league placings if you ask me.

’I would sell AJ for £15m and buy Darrent Bent on the cheap’. Bent would cost more than AJ - and he’s not as good. Plus no-body has even made an offer for AJ - so who would you sell him to? - lets not play FM shall we?
Andy Burke
34   Posted 31/12/2007 at 15:51:22

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Get real Tony.

I don’t agree with you at all mate (OK I do with a couple of your points).

To not pay the top 3 or 4 teams enough respect is just suicide! I think that is exactly what happened at the begining of the second half against Arsenal and we lost concentration because of it. The rest is history.

Utd. there for the taking at Old Trafford?? They were not playing that badly and I don’t know if you have noticed but they do defend rather well.

Wrong tactics against Arsenal??? What was the first half all about, which was also a very confident display against one of the best (although i admit not on there best day) sides in the world???

O.K. I have to agree that 1 point from the big four this season is not good enough but we hardly rolled over and died in any of those games. I really believe we are getting much closer to them and the league table reflects this. Please don’t try and put our recent form down to being lucky and playing rubbish opposition.

OK, I also agree with you about AJ and Bent but do you really think we could sign Bent??
Nick Toye
35   Posted 31/12/2007 at 16:06:36

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He’s not exactly banging them in is he, more like he is tripping himself up and putting shots out for throw-ins.

AJ will come good, he’s still scoring, and he will continue to do so when Yaks out.
Charlie Skinley
36   Posted 31/12/2007 at 17:01:53

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Surprise, surprise, two defeats and Tony Marsh appears,

It must of been so frustrating for you during our good 13 game unbeaten run because you certainly have been quiet and this website as been much better for it. So well done to the blue boys for making your new year and enabling you to sign off 2007 with a typically negative load of rubbish.

Moyes tried to play football against Utd and Arsenal and the simple fact is we got punished for poor mistakes.... it happens.

The fact is we are still 6th and above teams who have spent a lot more than us. Oh yeah, not to mention a Semi final and still in the UEFA. Get real Tony and let us enjoy what is so far turning out to be a good season.

Paul Coleman
37   Posted 31/12/2007 at 17:35:18

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I said this after the Man U game. We do have a good a team as anyone in this division. To bridge the gap now we need the players to sort their heads out.
How many times have we lost the lead against the big four?
Man U last season 2-0 up to 4-2 losers. Liverpool this season and then Arsenal. We shit ourselves when we are in the lead. Its asif the players have some kind of catastrophic reality check moment and press a big red self destruct button.
I’d sign a shrink in January to get these players believing the top four are nothing but overrated shite.
Connor Rohrer
38   Posted 31/12/2007 at 23:13:52

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I don’t think we’ve showed the big four to much respect this season at all. I’d actually say we have been a lot more attacking and positive against them. Individual errors have cost us and that sadly happens in Football whether its against Arsenal or Derby.

How did we pack the midfield? We played a 4-4-1-1 formation which suits us best and makes us play more attacking football. I thought it was a bit negative to play Neville and Carsley in there but Moyes didn’t really have that many options. We could have reverted back to 4-4-2 with Cahill dropping alongside Carsley and AJ going alongside Yakubu but that just turns us into the Everton of old. Carsley and Cahill aren’t going to put there foot on the ball so we revert to hitting the channels and Johnson doing his impressive impression of a headless chicken with Yakubu left stranded in no mans land. 4-5-1 is best and we should use it until we find our ball playing central midfielder.

Bringing Gravesen on against Man utd was a positive rather than a negative move and it didn’t cost us the game Pienaar’s error did. Gravesen was sent in there to give us some composure and help us keep the ball and on occasions he did do that. He sent a lovely through ball to AJ down the wing as well as making some intelligent simple passing moves. At the end of the day it was an individual error that beat us not the team shitting the pants or bad tactics.

I think this season has been positive but if things don’t go our way over the Christmas period we could be fucked. Three key players leaving will hurt us bad but one in particular needs replacing with a signing or a revitalized flair player like Van der Meyde or Tommy Gravesen. We can lose Yakubu and Yobo but Pienaar absence will be the worst. The likes of Stubbs and Jagielka are very capable of replacing Yakubu and Vaughan, Johnson and Cahill are capable of filling in for the Yak’s goals but Pienaar’s creativity, intelligence and energy needs replacing. A January signing is needed and it has to be a central midfielder or a wide man.
Mike Price
39   Posted 01/01/2008 at 00:45:43

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Why do so many people try to paint Tony as a miserable twat who hates us doing well? He clearly isn?t, he is a true blue like us all and is fully enjoying our good form and improving style.

It's only fair enough that people point out it's been a long time coming and that Moyes is finally applying what has been blindingly obvious to some for ages. He still make mistakes though, Hibbert with Neville and Carsley in the same midfield reverts us back to the Smithesque nightmares that I still have. He is a slow learner and is stubborn to a fault at times and if people point that out, it doesn?t mean they don't appreciate the good things he?s doing.

It's debate and opinion.... some are more easily satisfied than others in all areas of life, but don?t attack people for striving to make things better or for not wanting the good that has been done this season to be ultimately thrown away unnecessarily.

Ultimately we all hope for the same thing and will hopefully all rejoice at the same time, in our own individual ways!
David Barks
40   Posted 01/01/2008 at 04:28:22

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I think there is a very simple reason why we struggle to beat the "Big 4", they are better than us. We have closed the gap but they are still better than us. The position we currently occupy is about where we should be given our talent, perhaps 5th when all is said and done with City falling off a bit. We had a point at Old Trafford if not for a stupid challenge by Pienaar. We did take the game to Arsenal and were leading 1-0 at the half, having been the better side. Then we just collapsed defensively and were beaten by that dreaded "hoofball". Against Liverpool we were screwed, no way around that, we are just about equal with them and I could see us coming away with something from Anfield. But most of the time the table doesn’t lie, and we are about where we should be, Arsenal and Man U. switching positions at the top, Chelsea 3rd best but not really in the title hunt, Liverpool 4th best and definitely not contenders, City 5th due to their unbelievable home form and us 6th.
Brendan McLaughlin
41   Posted 01/01/2008 at 10:05:50

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One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine...awh FFS!

Yes of course Mike Price. David Moyes earns a fortune from the game of football & is one of the most respected managers in the premiership but obviously if he listened to experts such as yourself and Tony we would have won the premiership some time back.

Fair enough everyone is entilted to their own opinion and we all want the best for the team but at least be realistic about your opinion and Tonys’ & mine for that matter. We are FANS. Moyes is a MANAGER. Why do you think that is? I mean if I had three apples & I gave Tony one........
Arthur Jones
42   Posted 01/01/2008 at 10:37:08

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I actually predicted a post like this would appear as soon as we get a negative result . I really relish defending my team to opposing fans , they know no better , but when Tony Marsh reverts to type or a post like the one from eric hardman appears I am mystified , get it into your skulls , David Moyes is the best thing to happen to EFC for 20 years , we?re playing good football , scoring lots of goals , still have a chance of 4th place and all this without the megabucks being spent by " the top 4 " and spurs newcastle and city. , and without him we wee heading in the same direction as Forest and Leeds and all this crap of ? he can?t take us any further ? I defy any manager to have gotten close to what he has achieved . The louder the idiots complain then one day he might walk away , then you would have reason to winge , or maybe an unnsuccesful Everton is what you want , a real reason to squeal like a stuck pig
Mike Allison
43   Posted 01/01/2008 at 12:19:21

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Did you see the first half Tony? We battered them. If that’s us shitting our kecks I’d hate to see us when we’re up for it. We play much, much better with the Cahill in support of Yakubu system than with two out and out strikers, so that’s not negative, we’re amongst the highest scorers in the league this year playing like that.

You just can’t help yourself can you?!
Santosh Benjamin
44   Posted 01/01/2008 at 13:23:42

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I was expecting an article from TM after our recent defeats against Man UTD and the Arse..and lo up he pops with his usual brand of support for the club.
There is constructive criticism and there is divisive stuff..and this is surely the latter from TM.I agree that Moyes has made mistakes and so have the lads(evident in the Arse game) but we are headed in the right direction,so i think we should air our views but in a manner that shows that we are still supportive of Moyes and the team.
Dont think that selling AJ is the answer..he is actually playing well and is using the chances that he is afforded.We need to strengthen the midfield and defence in the next month if possible..especially the midfield...lets hope we can get some quality in...onwards and upwards..COYB
Clyde McPhatter
45   Posted 01/01/2008 at 18:12:55

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Darren Bent....hmmm... I can see Spurs cashing in on him right now...30 million down the drain, lets see if we can get half back. Jags missed three headers in the wind and rain and Arsenal punished us. No big deal. We turned around with half a side and went away to Boro and one with AJ and McFadden and an unreal save from Lescott and Howard. We got our points over a tough period. We probably should have had two more but I?m certainly okay with it. Injuries are part of the game, and we don?t have much depth of squad but certainly a lot more than we have had in the past. Can you imagine going to Boro in years past where Kilbane would have been playng on the left back? Or SteveWatson would have been up front? I think we hae done very very well with what we have and as the headline said on the site a couple of days ago...Full Service has Been Restored!

We are alive everywhere. I don?t think an Everton supporter could say that phrase for a number of years.


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