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Good season ? yes; great season ? could have been

By Stefan Tosev :  12/05/2008 :  Comments (7) :
The season is over and all the opinions will be split between what a season this has been and what a season this could have been. There were 4 distinguished periods in it ? until the derby; from the derby to Carling cup semi; from it to Fiorentina game; and the run-in.

We had an indifferent start with some good wins (Spurs) and awful performances ? Kharkiv (home); Reading; Villa; with a close loss to Man Utd setting the tune against Sky4 for the rest of the season. However, a great away victory at Metalist put us trough to the group stages of Uefa Cup and set up the derby. Say whatever you want but in my eyes it was Clattenburg 2 Everton 1 ? biased, incompetent and corrupt, take your pick.

The Toffees used the injustice as a stimulant and went to one of the best unbeaten runs this decade, playing some great stuff and scoring great goals along the way, winning every single Uefa Cup group game, reaching the semi-finals of Carling Cup and climbing the table. We lost our unbeaten run to United and Arsenal, although we were on par with Man Utd and even outplayed Arsenal, individual errors cost us dearly.

We managed to bow out of FA Cup at home to Oldham resting some key players for the Carling Cup semi-final against Chelsea. That was the first time this season that I thought we blew it. Yes, we were without Arteta but with Mikel sent off and Yakubu scoring the game was balanced firmly in our favour, instead of pushing for the killer and taking advantage to GP, we let Chelsea of the hook, being happy with a draw and ended with nothing. DM should learn to kill teams when he smells blood. We were taught defensive lesson in the return leg and out of the Cup but in my eyes we lost it at the Bridge.

After that we went on another great unbeaten run in the EPL and Uefa Cup, winning almost every game and the team was playing with maturity and class, yet at the time we were getting less and less refereeing decisions in our favour with number of blatant penalty appeals turned down and disallowed goals. We marched towards 4-th spot in EPL and a showdown with Italy CL contenders Fiorentina.

Injuries were taking their toll and Everton went to Florence with injury problems but a confident if uninspiring outfit; however, late goals contributed to a 2-0 loss and mountain to climb. The second leg at GP was the best Everton team performance I have seen, we played Fiorentina out of the park, we wiped the floor with them and still it wasn?t enough, with penalties proving again our Achilles heel. This game proved to be our downfall for the rest of the season.

The physical and psychological consequences of the long campaign and Fiorentina game were evident in the run-in. Everton were hit by injury and confidence crisis, losing precious points in the race for 4-th spot and eventually putting even a European place in jeopardy. Nevertheless we managed to cross the finish line and secure a third European campaign in 4 years ? for the first time in our EPL history.

The slump after Fiorentina was down to the lack of depth in our squad and the injuries of our key players. Arsenal's challenge faded after their FA cup loss for the same reasons, when Chelsea were missing Cech, Terry, Drogba they were struggling as well, not to mention MU ? which are an average team without Rooney, according to some fans, yet when we are playing Neveille and Crasley as CM and missing Arteta, Cahill, Osman and half fit Pienaar, who has to be withdrawn around hour mark, to cope with its an excuse ? go figure it out.

So well done blues or? I don?t know why but I have the feeling that this season can be classified as what could have been as well. We lost to Chelsea because of our inability to kill games and it?s the only time I can fault David Moyes of not going for a win when the chance was there. The Fiorentina tie was decided by penalties and we could and should have won with more than 2-0 in the second leg based on the performance but again we missed something ? maybe it's luck, maybe it's maturity... who knows.

What?s next? Well it's evident that we need more depth in the squad and it's imperative we get a bit of bite and flair in the centre of the park. Sad to say but AJ and Victor are also not up for it, so maybe a new forward. Nevertheless, the most important signing has to be tying Moyes to a new long term contract and giving him funds to compete in the market.

Reader Comments

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Lewis Abbott
1   Posted 12/05/2008 at 14:31:30

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I agree with you about the Chelsea game at the bridge. I was there and I was totaly gutted. People around me were saying "we?ll have em at Goodison" but to be fair we should have ?had em? there and then

Hopefully Moyes learns from this

Good season in the end... we need at least five players though. I also agree that one of the three strikers (AJ, Vic, and Vaughan) should be sold to raise funds for another top class striker

Also Manny... yes or no?
Jay Harris
2   Posted 12/05/2008 at 14:53:54

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On the issue of Manny I would have to say sign him NOW. He has class in abundance and gets us playing it on the floor never failing to come looking for the ball. I also think once he?s settled in he? ll be another 10-goals-a-season player with the power and accuracy of his shooting.
John Hall
3   Posted 12/05/2008 at 15:04:35

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Manny is a must. Class to spare and a pure footballer.
Please don?t miss out this time DM.
Colin Grierson
4   Posted 12/05/2008 at 15:15:21

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A sensible article Stefan. I agree about Big Vic but I’m still not sure that we havent played AJ in the wrong role. He used to be a ’fox in the box’ player, but we use him as a channel chaser. He’d be worth 30 mill if he could score goals with the service he’s had.

As for Manny, you can see he’s got class and when he’s settled in to the team I think he’ll show it more regularly. He’s one of those players who needs the crowd to love him for him to become great I reckon.
Connor Rohrer
5   Posted 12/05/2008 at 15:21:26

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Moyes on Fernandes:

David Moyes has praised Manuel Fernandes’ improvement as the season has gone on, and has said he will assess the creative Portugese midfielder’s situation more in the next week.

?Fernandes has been much improved, he passed the ball well at Arsenal and did the same again today,? said the Everton manager. ?Like last year, he?s got better as time has gone on. We?re going to assess his situation in the next week or so. I have got a few ideas which I?m thinking about.?

A definate yes for me and Moyes seems to have certain ideas involving Fernandes. He’s a quality player and Moyes has alot to work with if we get him permanantly. Excellent passing range, technically gifted and skillful, strong on the ball and decent pace to go with it.

Only things he really needs to work on are his work rate and defensive abilities. Moyes is class at improving players in these areas.

I agree with Jay Harris he could have the ability to get goals from midfield. He’s nearly scored in every games he’s played in since he came back from injury. The power he gets in his shots is excellent for his size.

A must buy in my opinion. We won’t attract much better in my opinion.
Michael Hunt
6   Posted 12/05/2008 at 15:28:01

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Very good article. I’m not sure we’ve ever suffered as much at the hands of officials in one season before.
The RS got the other side of the coin, as usual: shows we should have finished above them in a CL slot.
John Maxwell
7   Posted 12/05/2008 at 15:42:36

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I would describe this season as "progression".

Most analysts, pundits describe as is "great" but most of us who have witnessed it from pitchside would call it differently. Theres definitely been some highs this season and equally some lows, but after near heart failure in the 2nd leg against Metalist, Uefa Cup progression has seen the team develop and confidence grow.

The Uefa Cup can't be underestimated ? all the teams who finished above us this season all learnt their European trade in this competition and all the experience it brings is priceless to our path to the Champions League.

Now I hope this summer will see us signing the players we need. £40M I don't think we will get, but realistically with around £20-25M we can buy a couple of midfield players and a bit more quality we desperately need.

I was hoping for so much this season but I?m content with what we did compared to what I've witnessed the past 18 seasons or so. I?m off to Oz this summer, but will still be watching the blues from a far with the same passion.

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