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Our very own Play-off

Comments (41)

It`s always been a criticism of David Moyes ?both here and at Preston ? that his teams never do well in vital `one-off` matches. Certainly his Championship Play-Off record didn`t bear inspection and most of us have have reason to think he brought the blight to our Goodison.

Well, Aston Villa`s recent resurgence and in particular their thrashing today of their Birmingham neighbours sets up what is almost certain to be a play-off of our own for the spare Uefa Cup spot at Goodison next Sunday.

Win the game and whatever happens against Newcastle and Arsenal I`m sure we`ve `done it`! Lose and the dream is over and so many questions will be raised about our manager`s capabilities. Make no mistake, how he prepares, selects and organises his team will determine not only Everton`s but his own future in the game.

High stakes indeed. Is the Moyesiah up to it?
Harry Meek, Worcester     Posted 20/04/2008 at 14:04:15

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John Hunter
1   Posted 20/04/2008 at 14:37:56

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This is the first time I sent in a comment but I find it very frustrating watching us fall away. Why aren’t Villa tired after at the end of the season. 11 goals in two ganes have blown away our goal difference advantage. Come on boys , Sunday is MASSIVE
Colin Hughes
2   Posted 20/04/2008 at 14:36:06

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What is worse for us is Villa will probably take a point given they have a better goal difference than us and they know that we will in all probability lose at Arsenal. They can have it in their own hands when they host Wigan the same day. If they set up to defend and play on the break I honestly don,t think we have the creativity (or a manager who is willing to throw caution to the wind when we have to win) to beat them.
Harj Badial
3   Posted 20/04/2008 at 14:37:04

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It's true - DM's record isn?t that great but still we should back him 100% - he has made drastic improvements.... c'mon guys, DM hasn?t had any sort of real funds to compete with the so called big 3!!!

I don't think we can get a better manager should we want to replace him. Plus he is still very young in terms of management experience, yet he has taken us to our best years in premiership, so stick with him ? that's my opinion.

We need to beat Villa and draw Vs Arsenal at least ? I?m confident we can beat Newcastle so Im optimistic, and Arteta should be back along with Osman. COYB.
Villa will be our cup final..... we can and will do it.
Alan Hunter
4   Posted 20/04/2008 at 15:39:28

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A win would effectively see Villa off but I?d be none too happy with just a point because I see nothing coming from our other two games. So much depends on the tactics Moyes employs. I think we should go for it from the start and not sit back and let them come on to us.
Andrew Cunningham
5   Posted 20/04/2008 at 14:07:27

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Everton are not fifth by accident, All of a sudden we are afraid of Villa. WHY? After nine days rest... let's nail them! Please Davey don't go for the smash and grab . Lets do these guys and show them who is boss..

I remember Norwich used to flog us even when we were good. 5-3 at Carrow Road rings a bell... I also remember some prick from Norwich saying "How could a team that costs so much play so bad?"

Kunal Desai
6   Posted 20/04/2008 at 16:30:06

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I wish I could be so optimistic but unfortunately I think we will finish 7th, both Villa and Newcastle have picked up of late and i think we?ll struggle against both on our current form. 62 points it is for me which would represent progress.
James McGlone
7   Posted 20/04/2008 at 16:42:58

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Harry, that could possibly be true, but then again - he’s never been at a club where he’s had the money to compete with the best in his division - therefore he’s never had the players that have the quality to turn these matches. I’d say he’s helped create 2 of those players at Everton - Cahill & Arteta, one of which is a write-off for the rest of the season and the other has been carrying niggling injuries since November.
Harry Meek
8   Posted 20/04/2008 at 16:48:51

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See your point, James; but by that reckoning no manager ?without money?should EVER beat one who has - and we know some do. And it?s only NOW that we?re talking about Villa being ?among the best in the division?. I believe that success in ?one-offs? has a lot to do with the mindset you convey to the players. Anyway, let's just hope St David can get it right!!!!!
Simon Templeman
9   Posted 20/04/2008 at 16:59:44

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John Hunter,
Aston Villa are not tired because they have played 15 games (count them!) less than us. Europe and the League Cup have caught up with our minute squad. I hope the "powers" in charge realise this and amend their budget accordingly. I still believe 5th is ours if we try hard enough. COYB!!
Den Masters
10   Posted 20/04/2008 at 17:16:43

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Moyes has at least 5 young players in his senior squad who could have been used to alleviate strain on the ?regulars?like Neville and Carsley who are totally knackered. Unlike Sven at City who has introduced seven this season, Moyes chooses not to use them. Why are they in the squad if they are so far away from a first team run-out even as subs? The answer is that he is an over-cautious manager who will never win prizes!
Chris Keightley
11   Posted 20/04/2008 at 18:05:53

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7th it is for me because we have a over-cautious bottler of a manager, whose record against any in the top eight is appalling, who clearly is losing the dressing room, and is frankly a shite manager who at best should manage Wigan!! Now there will be those who say progress is being made, sure Fiorentina aside!! We bottled it against chelsea in a Semis... Whoooa ? not a final, people! We're knocked out of the famous FA cup by League One strugglers Oldham FFS, and we're beaten twice comfortably by Liverpool in two derbies!!!

Progress??? Where the fuck's the progress!!

Martin Cutler
12   Posted 20/04/2008 at 18:21:05

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Well, next Sunday we MUST WIN, as simple as that. If we don?t then odds are Villa will finish above us.
Portsmouth look to be giving us a chance but Villa are coming on real strong.
The point about Moyes not using the youngsters more often (I?ve made that point myself before now) is a definite failing on Moyes?s part (there I said it....only the 2nd time I think I?ve criticized him) ..... injury?s and the PK game and tiredness are huge factors but it worries me that even with the players we have in the starting line-up we?re not doing better.

For those of you in the States next Sunday's game is being shown LIVE by Fox Soccer Channel.
COYB!!!
Jay Wilson
13   Posted 20/04/2008 at 18:47:09

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I?ll save your contribution Chris Keightley and post it at the end of the season to see how wrong you were. I?ve never heard such defeatist negative nonsense in all my life. Get a grip
Lee Aitch
14   Posted 20/04/2008 at 18:47:00

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With Villa?s astonishing current form and our poor form (currently akin to a relegation side, both in points and style of play) they have got to be favourites for next week?s clash, even though it's at Goodison.
Add to that the fact that with their run-in, they could quite easily mop up 9 points! With a better goal difference than us now that would mean we would need a draw against the Arse(!) and possibly even less likely - a win against a Newcastle side now on top form too.
One point next week may not be enough...
Martin Cutler
15   Posted 20/04/2008 at 18:58:13

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Let?s not forget that the season is based on 38 games, not just the remaining three. Every single point dropped -- whether it?s because of the ref (in some cases very true), or our performance (again, true) or the direction of the wind (probably true, lol) -- it makes no difference.... it?s just very unfortunate we, as a team, suck right now!

Moyes could have done this or that, but to be fair I think the eleven players he puts out (hopefully Arteta and Osman are both fit) need to pick their game up... they need to prove they are worthy of wearing THE BLUE shirt ...... Moyes and not one of the posters on this site wears the shirt (in our heads we do!!) ..... the eleven players have a responsibility to earn their money in the next three games, they?ve done it before now (I?m not implying they can?t do it) but slagging off Moyes or the board won?t do any good whatsoever.

As I?ve said before now as long as we finish 5th, it?s been a fantastic season all things considered. Let's hope the lads earn their money next Sunday!!!

Mike Kennedy
16   Posted 20/04/2008 at 19:12:51

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So let?s say we do lose to Villa next week and it is looking likely on form. No worries we will still qualify for Europe because we have entered the Intertoto. It?ll just mean we will be knackered next Christmas rather than going through to Easter next year. It is all pointless there are 4 teams the rest of us are cannon fodder. Fuck football, the Premier League and the Champions League.
Mike Oates
17   Posted 20/04/2008 at 19:29:25

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It is very simple really we have to beat both Aston Villa and Newcastle as Villa I suspect will pick up at least 4 points or maybe even 6 from Wigan and West Ham. We therefore need 6 points and I dont think we’ll get any from Arsenal.

Can we get the 6 points - ONLY IF Arteta and Osman return firing on all cylinders because quite frankly we wont create a goal or even a chance from the rest of the players.
Unfortunately I think Moyes is quite right that we have the hardest run than any other team capable of the 5th place. I think Pompey might have blown it today and I’m discounting them as the FA Cup will be in the minds from now in.

Do I think we’ll get the 6 points - NO . I think we remain unbeaten in the two fixtures but with both Villa and now !!! Newcastle also firing I think 4 points is all we’ll get at the most and we’ll need help from either Wigan or West Ham.

I still (for the 4th time in comments) cannot believe Moyes has said he wants quality not quantity next season - we clearly need 4 to 5 quality players to even think of targetting 5th - AV,Spurs will mount serious challenges next year.
Asa Clarke
18   Posted 20/04/2008 at 19:41:46

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I think you are all being a bit unfair on Moyes. After all, he only been a manager for 10 years and is still learning his craft. He?s made half-a-dozen great signings and made relegation a thing of the past. Don?t forget every referee in the country is against him and he?s suffered more injuries to players than any manager in the history of the game. Oh,he?s got a crap chairman whose only allowed him to spend £73M in the transfer market although the club is awash with money.
Come on lads, let?s give credit where it?s due!
Simon Hopper
19   Posted 20/04/2008 at 19:55:52

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Beaten twice comfortably by the Shite? I seem to remember at Goodison we had 9 men versus their 12 and lost by a single goal after Gerrard did his usual when someone in the crowd farted...

Remember, Villa have done well in recent weeks with Agbonlahor and Young and Barry playing well - we have no Cahill and Arteta and Pienaar haven’t been fully fit.

We have only been beaten by the top four at Goodison this season and I think we can beat Villa provided our midfield doesn’t consist of both Carsley and Neville.
Robert Carney
20   Posted 20/04/2008 at 19:52:34

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Without reading many of the reply?s above, most of us have known Villa will be the decider. Are we up to it? I am not sure. After watching the last month slip by with some woeful individual performances and not the most spirited of calls from the manager, we will have to wait and see.

One thing in our favour is the ten-day break. If players were genuinly tired they have no excuse next week. Let us hope the injury situation clears somewhat. With news of next seaons signings iminent (Manny Steve and a Brazilian, hopefully) it might just be the tonic we need.
Neil Pearse
21   Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:18:34

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In my opinion the key player for us in the last three games - and especially Villa - is Fernandes. He is not knackered having missed most of the season, he tells us himself that he is approaching his peak fitness, and he has creative talent in abundance.

I believe he and Vaughany saw us through last season. Now is the time, if ever, for Manny to step forward and grab hold of these remaining games for us.
Alan Codd
22   Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:27:22

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Just think all week we are going to have to listen to the likes of Neville spouting shite about raising there game and not letting the season go to waste.
Then he will turn up on Sunday and play like a Sunday leaguer giving possesion away at every opurtunity and conceding stupid free kick s on the 18-yd box,
Shut the fuck up Neville no-one is interested. Do you talking on the pitch.
James Arnold
23   Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:33:55

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I have never heard so much crap, Chris. David Moyes has improved Everton beyond regognition. We are all frustrated at the way we have played and the results we have had over the last few weeks but with the money Moyes has had, everything has to be done slowly and a lot slower than we all want but to say he is a poor manager is rubbish.

There are times when he is too negative and sometimes he goes into games with an inferiority complex but generally he has done well and I am certain that if he left and someone else came in we would drift down the league again. Where do you get the idea that he has lost the dressing room?

Helen Pull
24   Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:51:40

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Now don?t start getting all worried lads, it?s not good for your health.

Also, there?s still plenty of time for a last minute injury or two - just to add some spice. ;)
Jonathan Tasker
25   Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:54:35

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The bookies have us as 8/13 to finish fifth with Villa 9/4; given our recent "collapse" I?m not sure the bookies are right on this but I?m praying they are.

Villa?s goalfest today means that they now have a better goal difference; we simply have to beat them.
John Martin
26   Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:52:37

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I realise we are playing poorly right now but I still think we will beat Villa at home, we will also beat Newcastle. and get 5th, and after watchin ten years of relegation battles I see that as progress in response to an earlier poster.
I wish our fans would be a little bit more positive when its needed, Villa are nothing special.
Liverpool's fans all expect to beat Chelsea this week even though all season its taken that Chelsea are a better side but most Everton fans are all doom and gloom. Lets get behind them we have seen for most of the season our team is the 5th best around. WE WILL BEAT VILLA, COYB
Anthony Newell
27   Posted 20/04/2008 at 22:03:33

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Expect therefore Neville in the engine room once again. Safety first and all that crock of shit
Ciaran Duff
28   Posted 21/04/2008 at 02:10:37

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This one gives me the willies. Just hope that Our Teta or Ossie are available to provide a bit of creativity. Personally, I don’t mind if we don’t go all out and attack. Its ok to absorb some pressure as long as we can create some chances when we get the ball - Chelsea gave us a lesson in that in a few games this season. Thats really what we have been lacking of late, we are just not creating anything. Lets hope the boys in Blue can pull this one out of the bag.
Norman Merrill
29   Posted 21/04/2008 at 07:15:48

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Good shout, Harry, but why would he break the habit of a lifetime?
This is a must win game, as they have a far easier run in. but where are the players coming from, to help our cause?
Dave Whitwell
30   Posted 21/04/2008 at 08:34:12

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This game is definately our biggest of the season, even more so than the Fiorentina game as ignoring Portsmouth its effectively a play off game for Europe. It’s easy for people to be carried away with Villa at the moment as they are in form and scoring plenty of goal, having said that its not so long ago that we were looking unbeatable, at this moment in time with had a better season than them because with secured 3 points more, lets not forget that, right now we are deservedly 5th best in the best league in the world, despite our recent form.

Add to that, that they have played some 15 games less then it shows what a great season we have had. At the minute however like most I am a little nervous more due to our squad than theres, if Arteta & Osman are available with Fernandes hitting full fitness, I think we will win and put 5th place to bed, if they’re not it will be a nail bitting affair probably ending 0-0 or 1-1.

PS Den Masters are you serious, how far has Sven got playing these youngsters? Moyes probably hasn’t played them because he doesn’t feel there good enough, he has proven with Vaughan & Anichebe if he thinks there good enough they will play.
Alan Codd
31   Posted 21/04/2008 at 08:58:02

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Dave whitwell it says everything if he thinks Anichebe is good enough.
Also he was raving about Osman being a future central midfielder...dont make me laugh, squad player at best
Joe McMahon
32   Posted 21/04/2008 at 08:53:53

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We can’t go ALL attacking on Villa:

1 - We only have one goal scoring striker

2 - We have a very defensive/cautious manager

3 - We will probrably have at least one if not two of Neville/Carsley in Midfield.

4- Aimless Hoofs upfield into the corners for AJ to chase , then not control and waste.

Villa are big, strong and powerfull, they thrashed Brum, we scrapped 1- 1.
Ian Tunny
33   Posted 21/04/2008 at 09:57:03

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Its not a matter of Moyes being up for it its the players, sadly the better ones are injured which is why we are struggling for form. Where as Villa have no big injuries and are on top form.
Jason Lam
34   Posted 21/04/2008 at 10:11:27

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Pull yourselves together lads and lasses, we’ve already blown a hat-trick of pivotal matches in the Carling Semi at Goodison, Florentina at Goodison, and the RS at Anfield. Surely we won’t face another heartache right? About time we got the rub of the green. Yes we all know Moyes is the best since buttered bread and I used to have the Walter Smith nightmare blah blah. Fuck’s sake put that aside for now - this Sunday is HUGE. COYBs.
Jack Randell
35   Posted 21/04/2008 at 11:18:47

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I keep reading what a small first team squad we have.A little research shows that we actually have 25 senior players listed which is one more than the average for all Prem clubs apart from BIg4, Spurs and Newcastle.Villa actually list 23 with one out on loan and Curtis Davies long term injury.By my reckoning they have actually played 13 less games than us so far but I do think its a bit obtuse to be using our Europe exploits as an excuse for the fall-away and at the same time be willing our team to qualify again!
I think the teams are evenly matched and there will be only one goal in it.Just hoping........
Mike Coates
36   Posted 21/04/2008 at 11:28:35

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Will we need to bring in three strikers up front? Go all out for goal scoring opp?? Now that Gosling in contention?

All will we stick defensive with the 4-5-1 or just hope our 4-4-2 wins out in the end?
Stan Wooding
37   Posted 21/04/2008 at 11:29:44

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Who will win the battle of the managers?I’m a Moyse fan but have always had a sneking admiration for O’Neill.I keep hearing Villa always play attacking football so it will be interesting to see if they will risk that approach on Sunday.
Mark Griffiths
38   Posted 21/04/2008 at 11:50:51

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You could see O?Neill knows that it will come down to GD, as with 10 mins left against B?ham and 5-1 up he brought a defender off and put another striker on.

I can see a draw next Sunday and then we will be beaten by Arsenal and I can see Villa winning their game which means unless we hammer the barcodes on the final day by 6 or 7 then I think villa will snatch 5th by winning their game.

If Pompey win the FA Cup and finish 7th and villa are 5th and we are 6th, do we get Uefa??? Or will it be Intertoto???
Vishal Poorundersingh
39   Posted 21/04/2008 at 13:04:11

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Its still monday and i can feel the fear when reading the above posts but what i want is to be positive and i am sure our mighty everton will win heroically against villa.
Joe McMahon
40   Posted 21/04/2008 at 13:42:22

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Guy’s fear not SCOTT SPENCER - Moyes Secret weapon is going to tear Villa apart.

Anthony Gardner is going to be immence in Defence, Nevvile is going to tear through the Villa midfield like a hot knife through butter & spencer to going to thrash a Hatrick!!

Failing this Deadly Andrew Johnson, is going to collect, trap and volley a brace in the final 2 minutes.

Failing all this, Everton are going to Huff & Puff through 90 minites of football and not create one chance through open play. 5"3 midefielders will bow over in the wind, and Andrew Johnson makes the Guiness book or records with the weakest shot in the history of the game.
Steve Ashton
41   Posted 21/04/2008 at 13:13:21

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Don’t forget Villa need the win more than we do. If they loose its over for them, we will just need 1 point from 2 games providing they win both theirs. No matter what the result is we will still have a get out. So there is far more pressure on them than us and we are at home. We need to make NOISE not something there’s been alot of at GP recently.

Agree Fernandes is the key we need a performance from him same as Pompey last season. If he turns it on could be the key to a permanent move for him. We need some big match players to step up to the plate and prove themselves.

6th will get us InterToto no more. Cup final is irrelevant unless Pompey win and finish 6th in which case 7th gets InterToto.

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