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Reflecting on a missed chance

By Graham Holliday :  23/01/2008 :  Comments (9) :

We missed our chance. But why?

I have to admit that Chelsea played us well. You will remember that when we were without Arteta/Pienaar earlier in the season we didn't have that source of invention to open teams up. So, with Pienaar missing, Chelsea focussed on stopping Arteta - and did so successfully. Every time he got the ball wide he was closed down immediately by the full back, with the winger steaming back to double up on him. As a result, Mikel was forced to crossing balls into players that just aren't going to beat the likes of Carvalho & Alex in the air.

I'm a Leon Osman fan, but I do think he's similar to Tim Cahill... not in his style of play, but more that he is a central midfielder that is only at his most effective playing in a 5 man midfield. He certainly isn't a winger, which is where he is being deployed in Pienaar's absence. He doesn't have the pace or ingenuity to beat a man in the way that Schillo or Arteta do.

So where to go from here? We needn't overreact. We still have the makings of a good side. But Moyes needs to find an effective replacement for Pienaar and Arteta when one of them is out. Fernandes will help in the creativity stakes, but I maintain we need another player capable of getting the ball out wide, beating a player and looking to play a killer ball.

Additionally, people on this site have commented on how Neville is a better right-back than Hibbert because of his distribution. I'm not convinced. For me, they're very similar in that position. Good defensively, but far too much hoofball. Hibbert's been a great servant for the club, but I'm not convinced signing him until 2012 is the kind of forward-thinking we need.

Onwards and upwards though fellow blues - we're still in the Uefa Cup, above Liverpool in the league and on course for a CL spot at present! COYB!

Reader Comments

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Neil Pearse
1   Posted 24/01/2008 at 01:16:55

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Rubbish. There are three teams in the UK at the moment clearly better than Everton - Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. That is it. There is a Top Three. Unfortunately we are not in it yet. End of.
Stu Green
2   Posted 24/01/2008 at 01:22:37

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It was a cup match, and cups are NOT exclusively won by the big 3. Today was not our day. End of.
Phil Jones
3   Posted 24/01/2008 at 01:21:51

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It?s not true that Hibbo is the better wing, he?s not. Neville is decent there, and showed plenty of endeavor tonight, but... it was men against boys out there. Money buys you quality, but not heartthere was some heart out there tonight, but not the quality. Arteta did not release the ball quickly enough, but to be fair, all his outlets were closed down. I think dumping Fernandes in right away was the wrong move, but who else did we have there, really. Hell of a game to come into for your first start back in the squad. I?m pretty gutted, I thought it was there to take, but Cech is simply the best keeper on the planet, and their back four was ironclad, no way through for. I feel we are only another season away from a major cup final, though. Maybe this time next year we?ll be smiling at the end of two legs, but maybe this cup came one year too early. I feel sick, though.
Rob Paterson
4   Posted 24/01/2008 at 01:00:55

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Chelsea were better and deserved to win. It is I am afraid as simple that. They defended magnificently and made life very difficult for our ball playing midfielders. The goal was one of the best I have seen at Goodison for some time. Needless to say, the fault finders are already at work. This week they can’t blame DM for picking the wrong team because it’s the one we wanted to see- so let’s blame him for not changing the team earlier. And do what ? Bring on Victor ( a bright but still very raw youngster) against those central defenders ? For whom ? Our midfield was already showing sgins of the strain before Carsley went off. The best chances we had were coming from some training ground dead ball work on the ground and bringing Victor on earlier would have just given way to yet more ’hoof ball’ . Everybody will be feeling down tonight but in the morning I hope the mood will be more positive. No one can be fairly blamed for the defeat tonight. It had nothing to do with team selection or substitution. We just lost to a better team. Get over it.
Mick Gillian
5   Posted 24/01/2008 at 02:33:52

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I have to disagree with the posts above, it is just too easy to say Chelsea were the better side, maybe I watched a different game tonight but Everton were the better side, fair play to Chelsea but there goal was a mistake from Valente. Watch the game again, lads: we dominated but had no edge at all, Chelsea sat back and hit us on the break, but they were never the dominant side tonight, get real.
Brian Williams
6   Posted 24/01/2008 at 04:08:53

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We had to be at our very best tonight to beat a well organised, quality Chelsea side who had a gameplan shaped by the result in the first leg.

We weren’t ! (at our very best) and while nobody can question our endeavour and heart we just weren’t quite good enough to beat them, ...but there’s no shame in that.

We’ve come a long way in a relatively short space of time. Are we disappointed? of course we are. Should we be totally downhearted and dissillusoned? No way.

Chelsea are one of three teams (and three teams only) in the Premiership who are better than us...being able to make that statement and not be laughed off the site is real progress and something I, for one, feel well pleased with, and it makes the defeat just that little bit easier to handle.

Graham Holliday
7   Posted 24/01/2008 at 08:43:21

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Neil - I never claimed we were better than Chelsea, or any other of the top 3. We lost to a better side, so my article was written to look at what needs doing next to bridge that gap. It was obvious that Chelsea were playing a bit lopsided defensively because they knew the threat of Neville & Arteta was greater than that of Valente & Osman.

As for Hibbert being better than Neville - I never said that. The point was that neither is good enough at retaining the ball. We gave Chelsea the ball far too often from lumping the ball long, and Hibbert and Neville are both culprits from right-back.

Chris Briddon
8   Posted 24/01/2008 at 09:02:07

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Stu - I think if you look at the last 5 years or so you will realise that cups are generally won by the big 4.

Everton are the last non big 4 side to win the FA cup and with the exception of Boro they have reasonable monopoly on the League cup as well. When the likes or Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and sometimes Liverpool want to take it seriously, the invariably win it!
Chelsea’s squad allows them to field a weakened team but still with 5 or 6 players (at least) that would fit into most premiership eams without any trouble.

It was an under strength Chelsea side but I bet you could take almost any one of their players last night, swap it for one of ours and it would make us a better team.
Peter Roberts
9   Posted 24/01/2008 at 11:46:59

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Let?s face reality here. The Chelsea squad last night would break the top 6, easy. They are that good. Against top 6 sides we struggle to get results - I think we?ve won 1 and drawn 1 in 7 games against top 6 sides. We were unlucky against a top quality side and I think we did ourselves proud. It was probably too much to ask but we gave it a good go. We still have the UEFA Cup to look forward to and a realistic shot at a Champions League spot.

So let?s not get too downhearted, and let?s make it another cracking atmosphere against Spurs next week.

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