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Season Over ? Discuss

By Anthony Newell :  16/03/2008 :  Comments (19) :
Moyes has come on leaps and bounds, there is no doubt, but he still has a propensity for tactical fucks up like today and when he makes them, as he did in the FA Cup against Oldham and Carling Cup and Uefa Cup first legs against Chelsea and Fiorentina respectively, then criticism of him is well and truly justified.

The lack of any attacking threat on the bench today was inexcusable and I would have preferred a half-cut VDM than 4 bloody defenders. West Ham blooded a youngster Sears yesterday and came up trumps - couldn't we have put one of our young prospects on the bench and given them a chance? Having said that, I couldn't even tell you where the likes of Scott Spencer, Lutziewicz, Vidarsson have buggered off too. What is the point of all this young talent if they get nowhere near first team action?

I said earlier in the day that taking Pienaar off was the death knell on any attacking threat and I was right. You just knew that McBride would be the scorer as well ? typical. Lescott up front at the end smacked of desperation, no options left. It was apparent however that Fulham seemed more up for the fight and seemed to 'out-Everton' Everton with a greater energy

It's been a good season that showed plenty of potential for silverware but make no mistake it is over now and we had just better make sure we try and hang on to fifth place. As sad as it is to say, I fear the worst at Anfied and can see Torres well and truly bursting an already punctured bubble.

I for one would be grateful for another Uefa Cup place as qualifying for the Champions League (unless it triggered a huge injection of cash to upgrade on players like Neville) would be a step too far. Although we are clearly getting there, our playing squad is just not up to going head to head with the likes of Bayern and PSV never mind the Champions League usual suspects.

The whole club from top to bottom must look to kick on at the end of this season and that means a number of things for Board and Manager alike:

  • make the harsh decisions and move on players like Neville in favour of the more technically gifted (or merely someone who can pass);
  • bring in investment to facilitate the improvement we need in our central midfield (sorry but Osman, Neville or Carsley in the engine room... you're definitely having a laugh);
  • question whether we can accommodate the likes of Johnson and Cahill in the same side and, if not, cash in on one of them;
  • bring in a top foreign technical assistant for Moyes ? we just need a fresh set of ideas on things or just someone to say to Davey at times: 'Hang on, what the fuck are you doing?'
As they say, when the centre of power rests solely in one place it's not always healthy and being challenged is a good thing.

The strange thing about last Wednesday night was that when we got to 2-0 we seemed to tail off in our desire and determination to get the job finished. Let's hope that doesn't apply to the remainder of our season.

Reader Comments

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Liam Reilly
1   Posted 16/03/2008 at 22:35:03

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A complete over reaction.
We are going to lose sometime and the players had an off day. Similarily, the RS will drop points over the next few games also.
There are 15 teams in the league that would happily swap their current position for ours and most of them would happily swap ther manager.
If you cant be satisfed about Wednesday's performance then you really need a reality check.
Some folk are just never satisfied.
James Davies
2   Posted 16/03/2008 at 22:37:03

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That was little melodramatic but there is still a good deal of truth in your post. I think there needs to be some answers to these questions.

Why were there four defenders on the bench?
Why did Moyes sub off the most determined, industrious player who looked mostly likely to produce an assist or goal?
Why Phil Neville? Just why?

I think your criticism of Osman and Carsley was a bit harsh as they have both proved useful on many occasions this season. But it is sensible to concede that neither deserve to be first choice in a Premiership team looking to challenge the top four.

As for Moyes... when he’s on we finish 4th, tonk teams like Tottenham, Portsmouth and Man City and get into Europe. When he’s off I have to witness one of the shittest displays against a rubbish and out of form team, and his bungling tactics and insane bench.

On one final note, if I see Howard hoof it upfield to the opposition one more time I think I’ll cry. I don’t blame Howard as I’m sure he’s instructed to do this but why routinely give away possession in this manner? Is Moyes saying he doesn’t have any faith in his defence and midfield being able to move the ball forward on the ground? Then sack them.
Neil Pearse
3   Posted 16/03/2008 at 22:52:17

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Maybe Moyes made a big motivational fuck-up, but what was the tactical fuck-up today? I don’t get it.

He had defenders on the bench because he had no attackers to put there (3 out of 5 were injured, 4 after 20 minutes). You think untried young reserves would have cracked a determined and fighting Fulham? Come on! If VDM and Gravesen can’t get near the team, I suspect that means that Moyes sees them every day of the week and doesn’t believe they can hack it.

He could have substituted any of the midfield, and Pienaar looked as shagged as any. Sending Lescott upfront was desperate (and I hope we never see it again, as I am sure does Moyes) - but what is your alternative?

Moyes may be faulted for having too small a squad, and then not sufficiently motivating the players he sent out on the pitch (although shagged out players are shagged out players). But I don’t see what else he could have done tactically.
Jay Harris
4   Posted 16/03/2008 at 23:08:01

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I think the original plan was to have Anichebe on the bench but apparently he hurt his hip in the warm up.
That would have given us Aj Yak and Vic as options but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Rather than worrying about the attcking options I would ask where the hell the right side of midfield and defense was for their goal and why 3 central defenders couldnt clear the cross.
I was also looking for Arteta to step up today but instead he stepped down.
Bad day at the office.
It is now imperative we really get behind the team and not start dropping our heads.
Dutch Schaffaer
5   Posted 16/03/2008 at 23:26:57

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I personally think Moyes was absolutely correct in taking off Pienaar. He was awful against Fulham.

Pienaar looked very tired, not his usual self at all. I lost count of the number of times Pienaar gave the ball away.

Moyes made the right choice taking Pienaar off. Unfortunately the bench lacked attacking options, due to Anichebe failing an on the field fitness test.

Baines for Pienaar was a fair substitution considering how awful Pienaar was playing. Baines at least does get forward when he can.

It was a bad performance today. Maybe it was the lack of options on the bench, maybe it was a Euro hangover, maybe it was Everton’s 40 year Craven Cottage curse.

We lost a game dont overreact.
Ric Wallace
6   Posted 16/03/2008 at 23:35:46

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What a load of garbage. Stop spouting what comes into your head first onto this site.

Thinking objectively, the team looked tired today and weren’t up for the tempo of the match that Fulham looked to set.

Having said that, bar a flukey goal, Fulham offered absolutely nothing going forward and on another day where a similar situation occurs (I.E. SUNDERLAND) we put away our only chance.

It’s swings and roundabouts, and i’m sure Moyes and the whole club knows that there can’t be anymore excuses for us ever looking as tired as that for the rest of the season.

I think Moyes btw did make the right move in taking Pienaar off, he had looked one of the most tired players after a stunning performance on Wednesday, and Baines himself looked pretty assured as a LM and then a LB.
Paul Lenehan
7   Posted 16/03/2008 at 23:53:52

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The point of having all this young talent is to farm them out on loan for them to gain experience so that in a few years time they will be ready for the first team. At this stage they are not ready for the first team. Moyes has never been afraid to blood youngsters so if he has decided that they're not ready then I think I will take his judgment over someone who writes a post on a fan site. Moyes works with AvdM and Grav everyday so again I'm going to back his judgement.
Tony Williams
8   Posted 16/03/2008 at 23:57:53

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I don?t see how we can have a go at Moyes tactics on this game. We had 30 mins prior to the kick off 3 strikers, two in double figures and one close to it.

Within the space of 40/50 minutes we were down to one fit striker, there is no accounting for that.

As Dutch states Piennar was awful today, he was goosed and his miraculous bendy leg was no doubt a factor in his seemigly lack of pace.

Our midfield was too defensive and but for one flick of Yobo?s head, they were never going to score, they got us on a break away where most of the lads were shot and jogging back from our attack down the right.

Yak needed help and Piennar, I feel was the 50/50 choice between him and Osman, as they both became invisible in the second half.

The season is far from over as the RS next 5 games are ManUre, Us and Le Arse 3 times in just over a week, so they are in for a tough times, whereas we will be playing West Ham and Derby.

We could be above them by 3 points (fingers and everthing else crossed) but it is far from over
Anthony Newell
9   Posted 17/03/2008 at 00:00:56

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Isn’t a fans site about expressing opinions and saying what you feel, see and comes into your head from what you observe on the pitch? Christ, if you spent hours and hours pontificating you could excuse away the crock of shit that was served up today in any manner you liked. I’m not bothered if you disagree with me but take exception to being told to refrain from posting. Just because I’m not an ’expert’
it should not preclude me from posting on here [I thought we’d been through all this shit once before Ed?]

I was made up and proud with the performance that got us to 2-0 last Wednesday but equally pissed off that the effort was a waste given our impotent showing in the first leg. Today was a total fucking waste in the same way the Carling Cup and UEFA was - fact. Too many people are happy with just ’filing’ away another wasted opportunity. I’m not, I want success and don’t want to see the remainder of the season rapidly go down the pan, sorry about that
Michael Kenrick
10   Posted 17/03/2008 at 01:07:30

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Well said, Anthony. This "you?re not an expert, I?ll trust Moyes thank you very much" is just ridiculous twaddle. As I said on another thread, if you want to engage in the discussion, do so constructively. Otherwise, please don?t bother as your insight clearly adds nothing to the discussion. (I?ve almost got Mr Williams trained to talking about the topic and not his arrogaant dismisal of all countrary viewpoints...)

I agree that those whose mission it is to excuse today?s performance are setting the bar far too low. If Everton FC is ever to really amount to something again in the world of football, we need to do two things: (1) beat shite like Fullham at their gaffe. And (2) learn how to take fucking penalties.

Ciaran Duff
11   Posted 17/03/2008 at 01:09:46

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Its always good to have a long hard look at yourself and while I agree with some of your points (Euro coach being one), I think the fact that all of this criticism is being linked to the defeat is what is annoying some people.
We’ve had a good season so far. We need to keep improving incrementally. Moyes has said that it may take another 5 years to compete with the top 3.
Just to put yesterdays game in perspective, in the last 2 weeks:-
Arsenal drew with Wigan 0-0 and Boro 1-1(at home!).
Manure, scraped a 1-0 against friggin DERBY and lost to Portsmouth in the cup at home!
Chelski lost to Barnsley in the cup and (like us) scraped by Sunderland.
These teams are all potential UCL winners! No team, even the top 3, is infallible. Every team has bad days. Ours have been a lot less this year. Let’s pick it back up, beat the Hammers and hope Utd smack the RS.
Colin Grierson
12   Posted 17/03/2008 at 10:25:09

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Season still going I say.

Granted its a tall order to overcome the RS even though they do have some tough games coming up (let’s hope the derby proves to be one of them).

I’m not going to get carried away on the wave of pride that was last Wednesday but likewise I’m not going to get carried of on the wave of depression that is Monday.

I think its important that Moyes is asked questions. Whether he is aware of comments made on this site I doubt, but you never know. I trust Moyes even though I cant understand why Neville owns a pair of fuckin boots let alone captains us.

Lets see what the next few months brings before we call time on this season and then go shopping in the summer.

Revenge in the derby would be sweet. They’ve got to lose 4th spot now and they’ve hit some form but the end of the season brings the odd strange result.
Chris Stewart
13   Posted 17/03/2008 at 11:14:45

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Well at least the result has given the boo boys something to type!!

It certainly was a poor performance and worthy of criticism but lets give is all a little perspective.

The paper thin squad was highlighted today and certainly confirms that if we are to push on a number of fronts next season we need cover in key areas.

Too many players yesterday were under par; ozzie looked like the wind would blow him over; arteta looked like he didnt want the weather ruffling his coiffered barnet; peanut looked fucked; yobo had another one of his wobbles and Neville still cant pass to a blue shirt.

Jags and Yak looked solid again but cant do it all when he rest dont step up the mark.

Disappointing yes; end of the world, no.

3 points against West Ham on Saturday is now a must.

Damian Killikelly
14   Posted 17/03/2008 at 13:02:25

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Dont agree with your perspective on things as follows:

When a team loses it doesnt mean that it is necessarily a tactical fuck up by the manager - Sunday the team just looked flat and suspect that would have been the case regardless of formation. The thing about punching above your weight is it takes it out of you after a while and isnt going to be sustainable every week. We were just plain poor yesterday - it happens - wish it didnt

Re a youngster on the bench - would have agreed with you as the bench was obviously unbalanced but I hear that we would have had Anichebe if not for a warm up injury - not a lot you can do in those cases

Re death knell to attacking hopes with Pienaar off - thought we looked no better no worse post substitutions - it had 0-0 written all over it after first few minutes - unfortunately they sneaked one

Disagree that 4th is over - still think its possible (but no longer probable). They are just as capable of a poor result especially if they get injuries. The derby is winnable - especially if Torres or Gerrard are out.

Also think there is lots to play for as 5th isnt in the bag yet and there is also the chance to measure ourselves against Chelsea, Arsenal and RS

Do you not think that the club looks to kick on every season - may not happen at the speed you want or the exact decisions that you would make but I’m sure that all of the things that you suggest will be considered along with many others. You dont just get rid of people because they are not the most technically gifted. There are plenty of average technical players with league winners medals (Richardson at two clubs, Power, Harper and more recently the likes of Sherwood and indeed Phil Neville at the Mancs) - its about balance.

Wednesday was agonising, Sunday was frustrating. IMO overall the season has been really enjoyable and fully expect to enjoy a few more weekends before the end of the season. Had reached the point where genuinely didnt think that we would ever challenge for honours again. Now have hope that we can win things in the near future - who knows, even the league again at some point.
Steve Jones
15   Posted 17/03/2008 at 13:42:42

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January we were still fighting on four fronts, we shouldn?t have let McFadden go (inconsistent yes but he would have given us an option we no longer have at the club) and we should have brought in a few more players. Granted we?ve been unlucky with Fernandes?s injury but we should brought in at least 1 other midfielder (What happened to Vogel?) and a striker.

To step up the club must invest, they should have learned from our last european excusrsion, you have to speculate to accumulate. We?ll never crack the big four or be capable of competing in the champions league until we hava a bigger squad of proven players.

I think we all knew we would lose on sunday and I?m as dissappointed as anyone but can?t really blame Moyes or the players. We should have been able to swap out at least 4 or 5 players and our squad has to allow us to do that even if we have 5 or 6 injuries as well.
Phil Hamer
16   Posted 17/03/2008 at 14:41:58

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Anthony, you’re no different to Tony Marsh. Its like you’ve both got personality disorders. After a terrific run picking up 23 points in 9 games, and all the other glorious performances we’ve seen recently, I did think ’surely no-one will throw their toys out the pram if we lose one now !’. But sure enough, here you are telling us we need to sell half the players, bring in a foreign coach cos Moyes isn’t capable of running the team himself, and change the club from top to bottom !! After one defeat !! Get a grip.

I shouldn’t even be replying to this tripe, if we ignore them maybe they’ll shut up.
Ian Ankers
17   Posted 18/03/2008 at 21:23:20

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Again I find myself saying the same things.......

I agree with the odd comment or two Anthony, but a massive overreaction I think!

Can I ask....How did you feel about Everton three weeks and Yes just 3 games ago before the away Fiorentina game? I?d be interested to know?

Come on guys...this is football. You will lose games, there will be off days...thats just the way it is. Barnsley beat Chelsea.... so Michael, will they too amount to nothing until they learn to "beat shite like Barnsley at their gaffe" Rediculous...I hope that was a joke from the TW editor! This is not an excuse, its a fact and to start slating Everton now after two poor recent results is just knee jerk. Fulham was a disapointment, no doubt about that, but realy, honestly and truthfully now: Can You really not see that we are progressing nicely? I really cannot for the life of me see why Evertonians can be anything but happy with our season thus far? I could rant on and on about this, but its been done so many times. its just another case of glass half empty v glass half full brigade!
Michael Kenrick
18   Posted 18/03/2008 at 23:50:31

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Ian, you just don’t get it and you never will. You can watch us play like shite and be conent to say "Nah... doens’t matter; we’re a lot futther on than we were 6 years ago, we’re 5th, we got to the semis of the Carling Cup... blah blah blah...." To me, all that means nothing on the day of the game.

For me, there’s only one thing that matters on the day of the game. it’s all about how we play; it’s about how the manager sets up the team and changes the play to win the game. That, I am absolutely 100% convinced, is the view and approach taken by team and manager. That is my apporach too.

All this shite about "progress" and "doing quite nicely" means absloutely nothing if you don’t go out and perform to the best of your ability in the current game. That is what football is about -- not all of this other shite. Not how much money you have, not who you might bring in in the summer, not what the results of the next 8 games are going to be, not who Liverpool are playing next... all utterly irrelevant shite. -- It’s how you use the players you have now. How you get them to play football. That should be our prime focus during the season. It is mine.
Tony Williams
19   Posted 19/03/2008 at 01:04:38

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"Ian, you just don?t get it and you never will"

Bit harsh isn?t it?

I understand what you are trying to say but people are getting tired of being lambasted for offering possible reasons why we get beat in certain games.

We can win them all, just ask ManUre, Le Arse, Chavski and Liverpoo, especially the last two against Barnsley.

It is entirely possible that the Fulham game was a culmination of fatigue injuries and psychological meltdown. we hear the dodgy soundbites fom the players saying how they will bounce back but a game like the Fiorintina game must of took a hell of a lot out of them.

We have been advised that several players are playing on with niggling injuries.

All this adds to why we win some games and lose others.

I want to see us win every game easily and with style but it is not going to happen, I am a realist not an apologist (which is a bit of a condescending phrase) and I know we are not good enough ....yet and perhaps we may never be again but I will enjoy the good parts of the season and not over react after the first defeat of the calender year.

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