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A Maturing Everton

By Sean Lloyd :  19/01/2009 :  Comments (21) :
Everton did themselves justice today. Who would have believed this was near enough the same team to face Liverpool so early in the season at Goodison Park? The change in attitude and commitment was there for all to see tonight. I must admit I was a little dubious about the selection Moyes had come up with for this one. (To be fair I suppose he couldn't jostle much quite clearly!) Anichebe wasn't the first name on my lips when I thought of the teamsheet, I thought he'd make the bench at best. With the game so important to both teams, I understood why we took to the field the way we did; however, Anichebe on the wing was something I wasn't looking forward to! More about that later!

So, the game kicks off and we hold our own for pretty much the entire first period against a Liverpool side boasting the 'cutting edge' of Kuyt, Keane, Torres and Captain Underpants... a clear statement by the Spanish Waiter that he was looking for a straight and quick kill in this one. Things didn't look to be panning out much how he planned as we came to half-time (barring a Torres miss) and the game held out to be pretty stagnant and a stop/start affair. This suited Everton down to the ground, we had a mentality about us that said, win or draw, it'll be a win for at least one objective ? Keeping the Mancs in the driving seat!

The first half seemed to be a very pedestrian affair, most players seemed to be one or two seconds off the pace and it was pleasing to see just how often Liverpool were getting sloppy at the back and losing focus with fairly little pressure applied to them. We did in spells try and keep the ball on the deck with things looking promising, and the first half in my opinion was a pretty even affair. No-one shone out on either side so the result was evident.

The second period started with much more pace and fire than that of the first; Benitez must have had a few words to pass out to them... maybe even throwing some of those stones he'd passed earlier this week at a side clearly off the pace. Perhaps Fergie's mindgames had started to toy with Liverpool?

Benitez fielded a side with a wealth of attacking potential but with very little end product; this must be a serious concern for a team who still believe and hope they will be in and around there come the end of the season. Again Captain Underpants came to the rescue with one of his text book angled shots, the defence had virtually fallen asleep and came scurrying across to meet him. Too late. Perhaps all this wouldn't have happened if Anichiebe had stayed on his feet rather than blatantly and lazily seeking a penalty for his efforts down the other end?

Anichebe tormented me for most of the night, barring his 30sec shot on goal. He let others do his work in and around the wing, was clumsy and erroneous in possession and often found wanting rather than doing or making anything for himself. I know he played out of position, but that didn't stop Cahill who never gave up the cause throughout the game.

Benitez in my opinion made a slight mistake bringing Torres off when he did, maybe he realised it now. Immediately after leaving the field, it was as if a burst of life had been placed into Arteta. The man was seeking the ball out, venturing over in the dying minutes and why? Because we were no longer fearing Torres's pace on the backline. It only took him 3 minutes to make something of himself; it's a shame we didn't allow him to get more involved earlier on ? God knows what he may have conjured up. A draw was a fair result I think, neither side possessed a commanding edge about them, which would see them through. Everton have to be pleased that they are beginning to build a solid buffer in that 6th place position. Liverpool on the otherhand will be kicking themselves, which makes it all the more sweeter.

Did anyone see Keane's reaction to his substitution. It went along the lines of "You've got to be fucking kidding me..." I feel sorry for the lad, at £20 mil and being played directly opposite to what his clear talent allows ? is it any wonder Liverpool may crumble in the next few weeks? Take nothing away from Everton, though, the great thing was, their heads never dropped. The game never descended into a scrappy affair after going a goal down late on. Everton are clearly turning a corner and it couldn't have come at a better time.

On a side note, well done to Mr Webb, he was not intimidated by the game today like so many others before him. The game was handled well and in the spirit of things, much more reasoning came from him. Mr Webb knew the context of the game afterall and had this in mind rather than brandishing card after card like some of his colleagues. The great thing about the game was Mr Webb always remained on top of it, saw things very well and kept it to a respectable level that saw the game end on a positive note rather than being soured or ended by the 60 minute marks by the mentioning of no-name(s)...

Well played today, boys; we were clearly a patched-up version of what may have taken to the field in different circumstances but we handled ourselves well! More of the same spirit please! COYB!

Reader Comments

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Jamie Crowley
1   Posted 20/01/2009 at 02:39:18

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I thought this was a fantastic result, and we played with true grit and spirit.

Vic did bug the hell out of me though. He shows flashes of such talent ? so strong on the ball. But he seems to fall into lapses of complacency and downright laziness. And how the hell does a guy his size go to ground so easily? It?s embarrasing and lacks class completely. I was screaming for Gosling. VIc?s gotta learn to give 100% 100% of the time!

And if he throws his arms up one more time begging for a penalty when a feather could have put him to the ground I?m gonna throw a beer bottle through the TV. I swear that boy needs to come state-side and spend some time with me playing hockey. Boy?s gotta toughen the fuck up!

But enough of that ? we played very, very well and deserved the point. I love Cahill. That man is EXACTLY what you want out of your athlete in any sport on the globe. He?s an absolute gem.

KILL THE RS ON SUNDAY!!! We will win. It?s God?s day, and He won?t stand the Devil beating the forces of Good!

Edwin Cole
2   Posted 20/01/2009 at 02:55:37

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Well done, Everton.

With regard to the Jagielka-Torres penalty claim, from an objective viewpoint, it was clearly a legitimate penalty claim by the redshites.

However, anyone noticed Robbie Keane falling over after being (legally) shoulder-barged by Arteta? I presume his tumbling diverted Howard Webb?s attention and therefore we got lucky. Nonetheless, the redshites have only got themselves to blame for such wanton diving.

On another note, to single out the non-performers, Osman and Neville were surprisingly below-par. Perhaps Moyes might do well to consider replacing Osman with Gosling for the FA Cup tie.
Steve Carter
3   Posted 20/01/2009 at 02:46:19

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Generally agree with all that, Sean. Yes, well done, Mr Webb - although I though Stevie P’s was not a booking, but that mistake was kinda cancelled out because, his embellishments notwithstanding, Torres should have had a penalty. Vic frustrated me for much of the first half or so of the game - primarily because he just wouldn’t come back to help when we were under the pump and needed all hands, particularly in the first 10 mins of the second half. On the other hand, I actually thought his size and lumbering frame was a handful for them on the wing (particularly in the later stages of the second half) and him being out there was something that they did not factor into their game plan and, consequently, did gave some confusion to the enemy. Give Moyes some credit for that surprise. Baines got my MOM, and Hibbert just cut off their left flank. If only DM can impose an every second zen and, despite our limited resources, we could be right up there with them. What did their goal come out of? Answer: Absolutely nothing - Us forgetting about the next second ahead, being distracted into whining over a non-penalty decision and the Shite seizing that momentary lapse in concentration.
Chris Jones (Wakefield)
4   Posted 20/01/2009 at 02:59:07

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Interesting to see Moyes benefited from NOT changing things after going a goal down ? we kept our shape and discipline, and the margin to a solitary goal, whilst Benitez perhaps erred taking off Torres when they were a goal up. When the RS faced a five minute scramble to rescue the points they?d squandered, they?d only got Kuyt to aim at, having taken off Keane and Torres.

Who says "dithering" doesn?t pay?! ;o)
Alan Rycroft
5   Posted 20/01/2009 at 06:38:01

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Got to agree with you Steve it was a Zen night! And Tim Cahill in sports terms is the enlightened one. That guy has the spirit of ten men and never gives in even with the odds against.

I think folk are being harsh on Anichebe considering millions worth strikers like Keane couldn?t didn?t do anything all night. Victor made some excellent crosses one to Tim Cahill?s head perfect, and put in a great effort and showed some real skill at times. Wasn?t it the Vic that turned Benayoun and got us the free kick that got us the goal?

I watched the game in Dubai surrounded by Reds of course who were complacently saying how many they will score in the first fifteen ? it was priceless the crestfallen look on their faces when master Tim did the deed!

I think too it was Brit spirit and tenacity ? old style footie you used to see a lot on these islands, I realized the Red sheets are almost totally foreign mercenaries. I think only two English players which I think is disgraceful if you playing in the damn country.

I actually thought Liverpool were not better than us and lacked cohesion and spirit. I think the manure will have them limb form limb! But of course they remain very difficult to beat and the Cup game we have to win, so an even greater challenge there. For me it felt like a win last night it was great. Well done to Mr Moeyesiah and all the lads. Savouring it while it lasts.

Paul Williams
6   Posted 20/01/2009 at 08:49:10

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Got to say that I think some people are being a bit harsh on Vic. I was the first to come out and say WTF when his name was read out, but I soon had my words shoved down my throat when he unleashed from 25 yards two minutes in and then produced a wonderful cross from the right for Cahill, who was then harshly denied by a great save from Reina.
He was a thorn in their side all night. Won every ball in the air and was a general nucance for them when he had the ball. He was a bit lazy in not tracking back, but we have come to expect it from him, maybe Moyes told him not to?
One final thing. Tim Cahill = Priceless
Paul Williams
7   Posted 20/01/2009 at 08:49:10

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Got to say that I think some people are being a bit harsh on Vic. I was the first to come out and say WTF when his name was read out, but I soon had my words shoved down my throat when he unleashed from 25 yards two minutes in and then produced a wonderful cross from the right for Cahill, who was then harshly denied by a great save from Reina.
He was a thorn in their side all night. Won every ball in the air and was a general nucance for them when he had the ball. He was a bit lazy in not tracking back, but we have come to expect it from him, maybe Moyes told him not to?
One final thing. Tim Cahill = Priceless
Nick Heady
8   Posted 20/01/2009 at 09:00:33

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Thought we were excellent last night.Anichebe was playing upfront on his own and must of been told to not come back to deep when we were under pressure.Whenever we get all men back when we do win the ball we have no outlet so the ball just comes back.The only downside to last nights performance was Osman.Jags was outstanding again,Artetas free kicks have impreoved 100%.Cahill-Legend.
Mike Oates
9   Posted 20/01/2009 at 09:18:15

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I thought it was a great performance from the lads last night. They tried to play football at every opportunity and to me espicially 1st half I thought we outplayed Liverpool.

Jags was immense as he has been all season and for the life of me I cant see why he isnt being picked for the England squad. Lescott and the rest of the defence weren’t that far behind him.

The only two slight negatives were Ossie and Anichebe. Ossie comes into his own when we are on top of a team and looking for a way to unlock defences, he hasn’t got the ability to get into a game when its tight and your looking to win tackles, getting people to hold the ball up ....

Anichebe is an enigma - I have had a pop at him 3 times this season for his laziness , his constant moaning, his dropping to the deck at every opportunity. He’s like a spoilt child, BUT I thought there were glimpses last night of what’s in him if he really wants to show it. The difficulty is getting him to do it all of the time.
Steve Dunne
10   Posted 20/01/2009 at 10:58:42

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I thought Jags & Baines were very good whilst Ossie was poor. I also thought that Howard Webb had a great game and stood up to the pressure that their crowd puts referees under. I was actualy shouting for Moyes to at least make a token change to try and force an outcome. What do I know.
Richard Harris
11   Posted 20/01/2009 at 11:07:03

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Chris Jones wrote "Interesting to see Moyes benefited from NOT changing things after going a goal down ? we kept our shape and discipline. Who says "dithering" doesn?t pay?! ;o)"
That’s due to a lack of choice as unless there were injuries no-one on our bench would have been a match saver when we were a goal down at Anfield !!
EJ Ruane
12   Posted 20/01/2009 at 11:13:49

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Fantastic result and (under the present circumstances) performance. With all our injuries, we?ve performed really well recently and the much-mentioned ?team spirit? is obviously very real. I wonder if last night?s opponents would fare half as well with a similar injury crisis.

Actually, that?s bollocks, I don?t wonder. No Gerrard and no Torres and they?re Blackburn.
Kase Chow
13   Posted 20/01/2009 at 10:44:00

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I’ve said it on other threads and I’ll say it on this one that Big Vic was excellent for us yesterday.

He held the ball up, won headers and even looked a goal threat on occasion. Added to that he helped out at the back and was involved in the goal.

If Heskey had had that sort of peformance, people would be saying how well he had done against a mean defence. Instead it was a 20 year old that’s still inexperienced and still had the physical strength and will and desire not to give up.

Well done lad
Jack Kemp
14   Posted 20/01/2009 at 11:31:22

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Me and my brother went to the game last night and the performance epitimised team spirit. I want to make a quick point about the fans, who were fantastic! We sang for the whole 90 minutes (and beyond) and got right behind the team after gerrard scored. The famous anfield atmosphere was pathetic! Its a shame we lost our concentration for their goal because they were there for the taking last night. In my opinion the whole team gave everything and in some cases more (cahill and jags). I just hope moyes keeps playing baines because him and pienaar are just beginning to develop an understanding down the left. It was a great night that felt like a victory I just hope there is something left in the tank for sunday. COYB
Howard Don
15   Posted 20/01/2009 at 12:58:42

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Good article and a great result, but a little harsh on Vic I think.
Alasdair Mackay
16   Posted 20/01/2009 at 16:25:05

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I’m happy enough with the result, but we have played better than that recently. Our passing was not as sharp as it has been and we gave Gerrard a tiny bit too much space for their goal. Of course I am nitpicking, but, I can’t help feeling that if we were one or two little things away from a victory last night.

I expected to see Vic and thought he was very good. I thought that Ossie couldn’t get into the game because he kept swapping with Vic, right wing to supporting Tim. If you swap positions throughout a game like that you have to make sure you impose yourself on the game every time you move. Vic did this really well last night, but Ossie didn’t for some reason!?

As I said I am satisified with the result, but not jumping for joy. It means we have to beat Arsenal at Goodison if we are serious about challenging for 4th spot. I don’t think them or Villa are any better than us.If we get a good result on Sunday it should give us the necessary confidence. Based on last night we should be looking to win a Anfield, not nick a draw!
Bob Turner
17   Posted 20/01/2009 at 17:27:51

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"No Gerrard and no Torres and they?re Blackburn. " - brilliant!!
Keith Glazzard
18   Posted 20/01/2009 at 18:12:04

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The ref looked like he wanted to avoid any controversy - partly perhaps because of this own recently - and Keane’s dive gave him the excuse not to give Torres a penalty. And because of that he ’evened it up’ with Vic’s tumble.

I watched it streamed (from China?) and had 5Live on as the deplorable kopshite Green wasn’t commentating (are our complaints getting through?). Pat Nevin gave us good credit for allo we did, as did the BBC staff, and in today’s papers I have seen, did the sports press.
charlie norton
19   Posted 20/01/2009 at 20:28:02

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It allmakes you think realy if moyes had 40mil for players we could do quite well for the rest of the season
But its all a pipe dream.
Well done lads and good luck on Sunday. Hopefully Gosling gets a shout instead of Ossie and we could be on the way to the 5th round.
COYB
Jamie Crowley
20   Posted 20/01/2009 at 22:34:09

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The analysis of Vic - possibly not tracking back by instruction - and Ossie - swapping with Vic postionally - are exactly why I love this site. Excellent analysis and something to ponder. Vic did frustrate me but these are points well taken.
Insight and alternative theories are always appreciated and well taken.
TY all.
COYB, and let’s take the RS down.
James Boden
21   Posted 21/01/2009 at 14:10:12

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It was a nice suprise they we were positive Monday night. Jagielka played very well as is expected but Anichebe was the big suprise for me. I thought he roasted Hypia. Maybe they could have had a penalty when Torres was through on goal, but we had a shout too when Anichebe was nudged over in the box. And it was typical that the twats would break up and score with a goal by Captain Courageous (my god hes such a hero!) And the 2 faced Gobshites who apparantly see this game as an undervalue to United were celebrating like theyd won the European Cup.

I thought then that was it. It had gone. The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of us. but we fought on and got a well deserved point. Typical Cahill coming up trumps again, and i would like to say Ii think hes been done a tremendous job since he moved up front. Hibbert also played well, as did Baines. And Howard hardly had to make a save.

And funny how The Shite have over the years moaned at us for our supposedly defensively minded tactics against them. Well what about taking off 2 Forwards to preserve their 1-0 lead. The Great Liverpool Football Club surely not! They've riden their luck all season and maybe now they?ve met their match. They are clearly what we call them Shite. They are there for the taking Sunday, if ever theres a time to beat them its then. Monday has given me a bit of faith. Maybe just maybe the tide is beginning to turn, but Sunday will prove whether or not we can hang with the big boys.

Oh I forget to say one thing "RAFA?S CRACKING UP"
COYB FTRS



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