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The Mail Bag

Hope triumphs over experience - yet again.

Comments (9)

The issue with Moyes tactics against Arsenal ? and against just about every heavyweight opponent in fact ? is that the methods we had to use to get where we are today, snapping at a Champions League place, are not the methods we need to use to take the next step forward, actually securing a Champions league place. That?s why the word ?progress? sounds so empty when it?s used after a game like Sunday?s.

The gap between 5th and 4th is a big one, not just in terms of points but in terms of approach. We have to be more positive in our approach. I can?t think of a single example of the kind of negative, unambitious, tentative approach actually working for us against a team playing in the top four. Inevitably they wear us down or we make an error and they capitalize.

I firmly believe a weakened Arsenal could have been taken on Sunday if we had shown more willingness to open up. We will never move forward unless we are willing to go into games like this determined to score. Can it be that David Moyes isn?t aware of this? If he doesn?t believe his creative players and his strikers can penetrate the defenses of the top four teams then he should get new ones. If he does, he should take the handcuffs off them.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool     Posted 05/05/2008 at 19:30:24

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Jack Johnson
1   Posted 06/05/2008 at 00:02:49

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Fair point but I think its a bit harsh. Without Yak, Arteta and Cahill we’re missing our three most attacking players and if anything I thought the system we played yesterday was spot on, the problem was with AJ specifically, and Ossie being asked to play a more attacking role - which he’s not as comfortable playing in. We defended very well I thought, our midfield tries to pass the ball and were well organised - the problem was in the final third. In my opinion Everton have moved on and AJ has not moved on with us, if we get offered money for him this summer we should take it. Yak’s done great but I reckon he’d thrive in a side that played with a creative striker just behind him. I’m not gonna bring names into the equation, that’s for Moyesey to sort out, but that and a right back is what we’re missing and I bloody hope that’s what Moyesey is thinking too!
Adam Doyle
2   Posted 06/05/2008 at 00:52:07

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I read the Daily Mirror Mania supplement today. They said Moyes was the villain of the match because his tactics tried to stifle the game. Stifle the game (need to repeat this).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t stifling the game result in a 0-0 result (as horrible and bland as it would be to watch). And wouldn’t a 0-0 draw result in a point for Everton. And wouldn’t a point for Everton guarantee UEFA Cup?

I can’t understand a lot of people who believe that playing attacking football will automatically win the game. Moyes tried what he had to do at Arsenal, get a point, and he was 13 minutes short of this goal.
Jason Lam
3   Posted 06/05/2008 at 08:31:22

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1. He can’t afford the target players to do the job against the big 4

2. Defense is part of football

The Daily Mirror and a lot of football viewers these days are victims of the modern information age, where ’I want everything now’. I need to be entertained whenever I turn on the telly. I can’t believe the ’show’ on Sky is so boring! I want free flow attacking football with loads-a-goals. After which I’ll be on the Playstation, movies, Internet, karaoke. I’m so busy. you know I ain’t got no time, and defo no time for shit football.

These people that need to be entertained should rent Rocky, or Aliens vs. Predator. Football is not scripted entertainment, and it so happens Everton needed a point to secure ’UEFA Cup’ football, something sky4 viewers have probably not heard of nor care.

Games ending in 6-4? Where were the defenses? The Special One was right about these type of football - pathetic amateurs.
Dave Whitwell
4   Posted 06/05/2008 at 08:58:19

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Would agree that in many games you are correct, hes tactics have let us down. I always cringe when I see Neville & Carsley in the middle, although I must admit the last couple of games I though Neville has played pretty well.

However I think this was a game where he actually got it right, this was about getting the job done and securing the point even if it was a crap 0-0, just a shame that we didn’t hold on.

There are a couple of things I would question though
1) Why play Osman in the middle and Fernandes on the wing?, i’m sure Moyes knows the players better than us, but it just strikes me that Fernandes strength really lies in the middle dictating the flow, I’m not convinced will see the best of him until he plays there!
2) Moyes seems to have a reluctance to make key substitutions early. Firstly he has a natual tendency to replace creative players with defenders late on when holding a position, although is not as eager to risk a defender for a creative player when we are chasing (as O’neill did against us). Secondly is it me or do our subs always seem to be too late to affect anything?

Despite all that, I still think hes a great manager that has done exceptionally without key players for long periods and will be delighted WHEN we get the result next week.
Steve Williams
5   Posted 06/05/2008 at 12:10:48

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I went to Arsenal on Sunday with my son. Everyone (apart from one particular irrational, obnoxious git) were quite happy with the way we approached the game. Certainly the Arsenal supporters we spoke to on the way to the station thought we deserved at least a point and that we had played far more football than most that had gone to the Emirates this season.

To expect us to mix it on a football level away from home with the top teams is totally unrealistic. Yes, Arsenal were missing a few but so were we. In fact if you look at the squads, we were always more likely to miss Arteta and Cahill more than they were going to miss their’s.

Don’t forget we are at least £200m shy of were these other team are. If the whingers want us to compete on an equal footing, let them stump up the £200m first, then they can complain about losing, very unluckily to a 77th minute goal. In the meantime we have to try to bridge the gap in a different way - keeping it tight and hoping to nick something at the other end. To open up against Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea away would be suicide - those teams don’t even do that at their top 4 competitors!

Stop bloody moaning about an unlucky defeat away at Arsenal. If you knew anything about football, you should be moaning about Reading , Fulham and Birmingham away and West Ham at home. That’s where we’ve dropped the points that we should be gaining.
Michael Kenrick
6   Posted 06/05/2008 at 14:33:28

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Steve, we moaned about those games at the time and were told, in no uncertain terms "bad day at the offfice", "It’s just a blip", "you can’t expect us to win all our games", "even the best teams lose to lesser opposition now and again" etc, etc.

So here we are now, one win in EIGHT games, relegation form, having squandered 4th place after holding a 5-point lead over Liverpool, and looking to perhaps squander 5th place and automatic Uefa Cup qualification. That should have been motivation enough to at least play for the win when we had the upper hand in the second half. It wasn’t. We still held back.
Peter Fearon
7   Posted 06/05/2008 at 15:07:22

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This is the old "the surgery went well, but the patient died" mentality. The issue isn;t whether we were 13 minutes away from a point, 45 minutes away or 89. The point is that the result was 100% predictable and inevitable from the kick-off given the line-up and tactics we employed - and will be next time we employ them against a heavyweight team.
Steve Williams
8   Posted 06/05/2008 at 16:36:58

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Michael, Peter,

I understand, I really do, but there is a huge difference between losing to Arsenal away and losing to Fulham away. Therefore they should be greeting with different reactions.

The reaction to losing to Arsenal is way over the top, whereas those that justified a loss to Fulham should be ashamed.

Peter, I guarantee that next time we play Arsenal, Utd or Chelsea away we will really struggle, not because of a lack of ambition, but simply because they have much better players. That won’t resolve itself without a multi-million pound injection and that won’t happen anytime soon.

We all must be realistic.
Jason Lam
9   Posted 07/05/2008 at 02:21:04

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Quality teams such as Arse, Chelsea and Manure will slaughter you on the counter-attack, enticing you having you believe you?re on ?the upper hand?. I?ve lost count how many times Chelsea killed opponents playing this way under Mourinho.

For this game alone, we needed just a friggin point to close off the season. Something to play for as opposed to 10 odd teams in the mid table obscurity. Away from home without the home crowd pressuring us to play attractive footie, to play for the draw was a fair tactic. It was much better football, building on the Villa game. We tried to keep the ball more (probably to waste time in the middle of the park, without any real penetration that would?ve required more bodies up front, honestly speaking).

We just didn?t pull it off.

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