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One flew into the Ram's net!

By Santosh Benjamin :  06/04/2008 :  Comments (12) :
Over the past month, I have really seen our standard of football drop drastically. A combination of injuries, fatigue and indifference has resulted in a real fight to just hold onto 5th place. The losses to Fulham and Liverpool were tough to stomach... to say the least.

I was telling my family that I was hoping for a good number of goals from us to boost our confidence and get a better goal difference. I was happy when the team news was announced and I saw AJ starting with Vic on the bench. Hibbert out too... only sad thing was Pienaar was out replaced by Manny.

We started brightly (as did the weather!) but Derby soon showed that they were ready to play positive football. Hossam Ghaly in midfield was all over the place and was taking good shots on goal too. Arteta's dead ball deliveries were woeful as they have been recently... most often not even clearing the first man. Yakubu had an easy chance (to put it mildly!) from a Baines cross but somehow contrived to send it over the bar. AJ was looking lively too but as the first half drew to a close, I was worried that we weren't up by a few goals and the game was there for the taking.

The second half started much better for us(not in terms of weather coz the sun disappeared and gave way to hail... this is April, mind you!). With better distribution. Manny was getting much more involved too. Just before the hour mark, Manny made a sublime pass to Ossie on the edge of the box which Ossie controlled well before driving it powerfully past Carroll to finally put us ahead. I thought that we would press on from there but we seemed to go into a shell after that, although Ossie did come close with another effort.

Yakubu came off (smiling, unlike Pip last week!) with Vic coming on. I was shocked to see Manny come off and Jags come into midfield... was Manny hurt/tired? No other reason for that change otheriwse I think. Valente came on for Arteta at the end and did well defensively and with a good cross too at the other end. Derby had a great chance to equalise when Villa was in on goal with just Howard to beat and failed to make it count.(lucky for us!).

All in all I was very relieved to hear the final whistle blow. Lacklustre football from us again today and we were lucky it was only Derby we were playing. Hope to have Pienaar back for the Birmingham game next week coz that will be a tough game. We should start with the same squad if he isn't available... can we at least see a young striker on the bench instead of the never to be used again Gravesen?!

Only 3 points behind the RS still though and although it looks unlikely with our recent form. Hope keeps us going as Everton fans!

The team assessment is as follows:

Howard: Dont like his long punts down the field...he should pass to one of his defenders from time to time...good save at the end though.

Neville: Was not terrible today although his passing still leaves me disgusted at times..defended pretty well.

Lescott: Prefer him at centre back...did well

Yobo: Solid at the back...wish he wouldnt dribble around so much in the middle of the field.

Baines: My Man of the Match..defended well but more importantly was a constant threat ont he left wing..put in some great crosses..like the one that Yakubu bumbled!

Carsley: Pretty solid but passing wasnt as good as he is capable of.

Arteta: What's happening to his damn groin coz he can't cross for his life these days.

Ossie: Great goal..has great technique with shots from that range...

Fernandes: Did well in the 2nd half but was sadly taken off. Great pass to send Ossie through on goal..also stung Carroll's hands with a couple of good shots from range.

Yakubu: Feed the Yak and he will score(most of the time)..shoulda had atleast one goal today.

Johnson: Great to have him back... did well i feel.

Subs: Vic: Looked knackered... lost some weight hasn't he with his stomach bug!

Jags: Not good in midfield...

Valente: Actually was on for a short time but did well at both ends.

Hoping that Arsenal can finally step up and put Liverpool out of the CL this week... but if they let them through Ii can see the bloody bastards going all the way again this year!!! Hope we can keep up our winning ways. Idont mind if we win ugly... as long as we keep winning... COYB

Reader Comments

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David Barks
1   Posted 06/04/2008 at 19:51:24

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What a superb pass by Fernandes. That’s why he should be playing, because no matter how many tackles Carsley puts in, he will never make that pass. And don’t you think that just maybe our midfielders don’t bother making those runs because they know that when the likes of Carsley and Neville our in the center they know they have no chance of receiving the ball. All that ends up happening is the player makes the run, the pass is woeful and the man who made the run now has to sprint back to try and stop the counter attack. And we wonder why so many players have picked up fatigue injuries like groin strains. Fernandes also had a couple of good solid shots on goal, far better than Carsley’s predictable shot into the stands. I’m sick of the commentary saying Fernandes isn’t good enough because he gets caught in possession sometimes. The reason it happens is because he’s waiting for someone to make a move but nobody does. The defense know this and just crowd him out, knowing he won’t have an option to pass it to. But I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am that we finished the game with 7 defensive players on the pitch against Derby. At least we finally went with a left back at left back and our two central defenders in central defense. I just don’t know what else to say about this team at the moment. And yes, Arteta needs to be relieved of his set piece duties for a while. Can we just end the season now, this isn’t even fun to watch anymore.
Robbie Muldoon
2   Posted 06/04/2008 at 21:12:41

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Pissed off with a number of things today.

1) The 2 biggest positives of today was Baines and Fernandes... THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLAYING LAST WEEK MOYES

2) Arteta's dead ball ability. Someone take them off him please.

3) The lads didnt look as though they were chasing 4th. They look like they are thinking of their hols already to me.
Sean Condon
3   Posted 07/04/2008 at 01:56:17

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Unless we find a second wind, and quick, this wonderful campaign looks like it?s coming to a limp end with us grimly struggling to hold fifth place. Then again, maybe Manny is coming good. David, you are spot on about that pass, MF is probably the only man in our side who will ever make that pass. What a difference an inspired Fernandes could make in the next few weeks.
COYB!!!
Jason Lam
4   Posted 07/04/2008 at 02:37:46

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Maybe the number of games (Carling, UEFA) and injuries are catching up with us. Baines and Manny were definitely ’fresher’ than the other boys.

Good pass by Manny, we need AJ on the end of those too.
Stephen Stuart
5   Posted 07/04/2008 at 04:42:51

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All this talk of the ?lads being tired after a hard season? is plain rubbish. They get paid a handsome amount and it is their livelihood. This tailing off at the end of the season happens every year with Moyes's teams. Maybe that?s where the answer lies to this conundrum!!
Ciarán McGlone
6   Posted 07/04/2008 at 10:40:55

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Yesterdays match was terrible to watch. I have no idea how we?ve managed to finish so high up the league in the last couple of seasons playing consistently atrocious football...

We give the ball away too easily, avoid passing it and generally capitulate to teams we should be hammering.

After the fiorentina home game I was hoping that we would show that kind of committment in the remaining league games....it?s now clear that that game was the exception rather than the rule...
Damian Wilde
7   Posted 07/04/2008 at 12:08:30

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I thought Ossie played well, especially when he was put in the middle. He’s not that great on the wing, but plays well in the middle. To all those people who slag him off, leave him alone, he’s a great little player!
Steve Pendleton
8   Posted 07/04/2008 at 12:38:32

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Easy to play and look half decent against a relegated team Damian. Still have my reservations about Osman being too lightweight, which I think is his only real deficiency. Against the bigger bodies seems to get knocked off the ball to easily.

Moyes needs to look into a steroid program if he seeks to build a midfield around him ;)
Paul Lenehan
9   Posted 07/04/2008 at 12:48:47

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A pretty poor performance to say the least. The positives are when you are in a slump as we were (and it could be argued still are) it is vital to get a win to end the streak. That done we can go to Birmingham knowing we can start another winning sequence. We are not playing well so its time for the Artetas and Yaks of this team to stand up and drag us out the shite. We have a week off, our first win in a month and by saturday evening we could be level on points with Liverpool. There is still a lot to play for. COYB!
Seamus Murphy
10   Posted 07/04/2008 at 13:09:09

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Why is Gravesen even put on the bench anymore? He’s clearly not gonna play him
Tony Williams
11   Posted 07/04/2008 at 13:14:08

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Have I missed something here?

There seems to be a few comments on posts today saying that it’s Moyes’ fault that we are playing so poorly of late, give me strength!!

I notice Oh My Rants hasn’t posted yet, maybe he will later saying how Moyes disgraced us with his "cowardly" display by having 7 defenders on at the end.....of a win, ugly but a win all the same.

I hate it when we play relegated teams, as they having nothing to play for but more importantly nothing to fear. They seem to try little flicks that they wouldn’t do if they were still fighting for their lives and they play more relaxed,

These types of games are always hard and they fact that we are playing awful didn’t help, however 3 points are 3 points, so at this moment in time, that’ll do for me.
Dominic Duerden
12   Posted 07/04/2008 at 20:22:00

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I?m glad Pienaar wasn?t fit, he needs a rest. He has been playing absolutely crap since he came back from AFCON.

Manny will come good, he must be bought straight away and with a good pre season will be a brilliant player for us..

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