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What Have We Learned?

By Sean McKenna :  25/01/2009 :  Comments (46) :
It's 3:00pm; I've just got home from work, find my mum on the sofa watching some Sunday gardening programme!! After a few quite words in her ear, the channel was swiftly changed to Sentanta, team line-ups soon pop up and to my horror I find Castillo on the field! I say 'horror' because the lad hasn't played in a very long time... yet here he is in probably the biggest game of our season to date, marking one of the best midfielders in the world (pains me to say say but it's true).

Just about kick-off time, the nerves start jangling until half of Norway burst into the rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone only to be drowned out by the sound of 6,000 mad Everton fans singing IF YOU KNOW YOUR HISTORY!! That's me all pumped up, wishing I was there.

So off we go... must have lost the toss again as we play to the Kop end. We start off as usual in a negative fashion, 10 men behind the ball while Liverpool stroke it about the park under no pressure at all.

After the first 10 to 20 minutes, I thought "Damm, take that Castillo lad off, he's not doing much, doesn't look sharp and is well off the pace,"... but then again what did we expect from a lad that's only played a handfull of games for us this season!! I would much rather had seen Gosling or Rodwell starting in his place.

We start hoofing balls up to the frontline with Tiny Tim battling away but getting nowhere; then, bang out of the blue ? corner... Lescott, GOAL!!! Let's start doing that stupid dance in front of the TV we do when Everton score... but who cares?? we're one-up at Anfield!!

Second half starts, my thoughts were we've played rubbish but we're winning.. but only ten minutes in, HE does it again. We can't say it wasnt comming, a low drive at the near post which normally the excellent Howard would have saved with his eyes closed, let it slip under his body!! In other words, it was a shocker.

So 1-1, we are still in it, yet we keep pumping the ball long, which was really pissing me off!! It just kept coming back and back and the longer the game went on, you just knew they were gonna score... but they didn't! It finished 1-1 and now we have a chance for revenge after our 2-0 defeat at Goodison earlier this season.

So what have we learned? That david moyes has got the most spirited bunch of players at the club I have ever seen: the work ethic, the passion, the desire, the never-say-die attitude, the commitment, and probably the greatest fans in the world!! But I have to say this: I'm still not happy ? not at the result ? the overall performance was rubbish, I mean really rubbish!! We never strung more than 4 passes together the whole game!! Never looked a threat in open play.

I know we are missing players but that's no excuse that a club the size of Everton can't play half-decent football! I would just love us for someday go and watch Everton dominate a match and watch the redshite chase shadows for 20 minute spells in the game, but it's never gona happen is it??

Maybe I'm being a bit negative after this good result, but why can't we go to Anfield and say, "Fuck it we have lots of injures but, by fuck, we are going to give you a game of your lives," and try to win the tie ? not just go there and play for a draw...

I would also like to say how great were the back 4 tonight?? Fucking excellent!! Jags and Lescott next England centre backs!! COYB

Reader Comments

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Neil Pearse
1   Posted 25/01/2009 at 22:16:43

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Sean - read ’Pluses and Minuses’ thread. Then rejoin Reality.
Mike Oates
2   Posted 25/01/2009 at 22:23:44

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Just wrote this as an article but thought it would be better as comment to this article.

Whilst it was undoubtedly a magnificent rearguard performance and result today, it did show how far behind we are in actually challenging the Top 4 and maybe even 5 with Aston Villa.

Moyes has a defence (Hibbert, Neville, Jags, Yobo, Lescott, Baines) which would grace any Top 4 team and I?m sure if there was ever a sniff that particularly Jags, Lescott or Yobo were available, then the Arsenal and Aston Villa would be in like a shot.

The real issue is our midfield ? it just can't compete on a regular basis with the Top 4. We can compete and win with the rest of the Premier League pack and to some extent we nearly gave Villa a drubbing at Goodison ? but we didn?t! We can raise our game at times and take on the Top 4 but it does depend on some big crunch moments ? the Terry sending off, the Neville tackle on Ronaldo, both which turned the games for us with a huge amount of player and supporter passion pushing us on.

We just can't take on the Top 4 and absolutely dominate from the off, we don?t create many opportunities, we don?t play at a pace and style that suits us ? it really is an absolute slog with hopefully a set piece goal.

I raise Aston Villa as a team who have made a better stride than us, they have taken 4 points off Arsenal this season and have pushed both Liverpool and United at their ground (both draws) but creating numerous opportunities if you look at the stats.

In fact have you noticed how rarely we score from open play. Since our 3 open play goals vs West Ham in early Nov we have scored 13 Premiership goals, 11 from set pieces, 2 from open play (Gosling, Fellaini, both off-side by the way)

We are so reliant on Arteta and to some extent Fellaini that we can just about cope with one missing but we have NO spare player who can fill in and dictate, compete in the game. Cahill is a one-off player who as we all know is best just off a lone forward and as we all know tends to get lost in the true midfield role. Pienaar is neat and tidy who can create in the ?easier games? and can muck in when the going is tough but again he cannot get in and dictate.

I?m afraid Osman is even worse in the big games ? he just goes missing and never ever contributes to getting control. Yet again against the lesser opposition he can really play a part and is a reasonable goalscrorer. Castillo showed today he?ll never make it at Everton. We do have some young lads coming through for possible midfield slots but if and when they?ll make it will be at least 2 years from now.

Upfront we have Yakubu ? that?s it folks. Saha is proving he is truly injury prone, as is Vaughan and Anichebe just doesn?t do it ? he just can't get and keep the ball, is too easily knocked off the ball and is also proving injury prone.

What we see is a team who to Moyes?s credit has huge heart and guts which against the lesser teams can dig in, win the contests, and then play the football and go on to win, but again from set pieces. We can virtually guarantee 6th place which is a huge step forward from where we where, BUT lads we can't yet play against any Top 4 side and really really believe we are going to win by playing good open football on the deck creating chances ? we are at least 3 players short of this.

Whatever has been said on the website that Liverpool loosing Gerrard would destroy them is totally wrong; yes, he would be sorely missed, particularly his goals, but if you just look at what the Top 4/5 have in midfield, it shows were we are lacking:
Man Utd ? Scholes, Ronaldo, Carrick, Nani, Anderson, Giggs, Hargreaves, Park, Fletcher;
Chelsea ? Lampard, Ballack, Essien, Mikel, J Cole, Deco, Kalou, Malouda;
Liverpool ? Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso, Riera, Benayaoun, Kuyt, Babel, Lucas;
Arsenal ? Fabregas, Nasri, Denilson, Diaby, Rosicky, Walcott, Eboue, Ramsay;
Aston Villa ? Sidwell, Barry, Young, Milner, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Garner;

Everton ? Arteta, Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Cahill? Neville? Gosling?

Moyes and Everton are doing a great job but we can't expect for us to ?take Liverpool back to Goodison and stuff them?, ?we could finish 3 or 4th this season? as a number of Toffeweb posts are saying this week. We can all pray and hope that we do grind out some incredible results and maybe we can beat the Pool etc but we don?t have the squad depth to do it week-in, and week-out.

As I said before, to me we are at least 3 quality players short; to say that we can strive for a CL place ? I hope as we all do I?m wrong but if I am it will be done with the same ?Dogs of War? spirit and will be done with ?SET-PIECES?.

Peter Bourke
3   Posted 25/01/2009 at 22:19:59

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All we?ve learned from this is that some of our fans are simply living in a land of make believe!!

It is amazing that you Sean, like Mr Kenrick seem to know what the coach tells the players before the game. Apparently he said go out and get a draw did he?? Well that must have been a blow that we scored first and led for a long period of the game. Lucky Tim Howard followed DM instructions and ensured we got a draw.

Also the players apparently said... "We've got lots of injuries but I think we should go out and get a draw, I?m not up for the game of my life tonight".

What a load of absolute dribble. Of course they wanted to win and have the game of their lives, Sean.
The utter garbage that some of our fans come out with is breathtaking.

Michael Kenrick
4   Posted 25/01/2009 at 22:44:56

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Peter, stop being silly with this, please.

We are reflecting what other people have said as the explanation for our negative play under Moyes. They claim that you can’t afford to take the risk of passing to a fellow Blue when the first option is hoof it or just get rid. They say this happens because the team must maintain its defensive shape ready for the next attack... which comes because the ball is given away so cheaply. Some even claim Moyes instructs the players thus... which I am sorely tempted to believe.

What I am reluctantly convinced of is that the players are trained predominantly (perhaps exclusively) to defend. So, when they have the ball, and should be going forward with it, or at least retaining possession, ? they have no idea how to do it!!! Foremost in their minds is "retaining our shape"... it’s been drummed into them no doubt through weeks of training, at the obvious expensive of what people want to call free-flowing football.

To me, it’s just basic football. Since there are so many who claim my football knowledge is lacking in this respect, perhaps they could provide a more believable footballing explanation of why we play as we do when we have possession.
Conway Finn
5   Posted 25/01/2009 at 22:47:33

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Well I thought this was a decent post, am I missing something, or is Peter B being a bit harsh on the OP?
Ped Pearl
6   Posted 25/01/2009 at 22:54:11

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Everyone makes a good point here. Our shortcomings are there for all to see. Maybe Castillo needs a few more games though.

Midfield of Arteta, Fellaini, Cahill, Neville, Pienaar, Osman... they are good players. BUT I would really like to see Moyes give VDM a real go now. He still has the ability. He was only on for 15 minutes but when he came on against Boro he was a breath of fresh air... simply - he used his pace to burst down the lines and put in some fantastic crosses. I just don't understand why he doesn't give him a go ? especially with Cahill and Fellaini on the field.

We need a fit striker and a tough-tackling midfielder so we are not relying on Neville. Other than that, we are hoping to steer clear of any long-term midfield injuries. If we do that I really CAN see us finishing the season on a high. We are a lot closer to consistently breaking the top 4 than we have been in a long time ? and with the way Moyes has the players playing for each other and the shirt, anything is possible.

Brendan McLaughlin
7   Posted 25/01/2009 at 23:04:05

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Well this is where I really have a difficulty with the ?Roy of the Rovers? mob. I mean, do you really think that before kick-off Jagielka says to Moyes ?Do you want me to hit a sixty yard defence splitting pass & drop it on Pienaar's toe? And of course Moyes says ? FFS, of course not, just hoof the fucking thing?. Let's face it, part of a manager?s job is to know the strengths & weaknesses of his team. He?s gone to Anfield two matches in a row & not lost? let's cut him some slack.
Neil Pearse
8   Posted 25/01/2009 at 23:19:21

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Michael, I think you are right about what Moyes is doing but are living in some unrealistic fantasy land.

OF COURSE Moyes sends the team out on a day like today primarily to defend. He’s not crazy. We have no strikers, our two most creative midfielders are off, and we are playing at full strength one of the most expensively assembled teams in the world. Doh!

You might not have noticed, but we let a goal in on Monday because we got stretched up the field and, yes, ’lost our defensive shape’, and we nearly let another one in today to Kuyt because of the same. I think we can safely assume that if we played as you are demanding we would have got slaughtered.

Finally, there is actually plenty of evidence that the team under Moyes can and does play much more flowing football when we are closer to full strength and are not playing obviously stronger teams on their own ground.

If Moyes played the way you wanted we would be Newcastle under Keegan or Spurs under Ardiles. We would not be sixth in the league and we would not still be in the FA Cup.
Danny O'Neill
9   Posted 25/01/2009 at 23:24:52

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Yes, we were up against it tonight... and yes, they had most of the possession. To be honest though, for the first time in many a derby, I didn?t feel threatened. Lost of possession by Liverpool but no real cutting edge. We done a good job. Yes it was defensive, yes in the eyes of Michael we "didn?t have a go", but to be frank, with the players available, that was never going to happen.

Look at the facts, we didn?t have the following available: Fellaini, Arteta, Yakubu, Yobo. Not mentioning anyone else that is 4 key and arguably first team players. A scratch team has just churned out (yes it was churned) a very good result against what was effectively the strongest team that a club challenging for the English Premier League and European Champion?s League could put out on their own patch. Credit where credit?s due.

Michael, no-one is saying you lack knowledge of football, but please tell me where you learnt and more importantly played. Had we gone gung-ho against the team they had out tonight with the team we had, we quite simply would have been embarrassed. Credit to the manager ? an absolutely tremendous display from the boys, in particular the defence. Jagielka was a star ? were he playing for one of the Sky 4 or perhaps Villa, he would be a dead cert for England.

Alan Kirwin
10   Posted 25/01/2009 at 23:25:55

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Mike Oates

I have some sympathy in relation to our performance, passing etc today. But you have gone well over the mark with this false analysis.

Villa may have taken 4 pts off Arsenal and drawn at Anfield etc. They have done so, in the main, through smash & grab football that has the get-out of 2 very fast forwards. Villa have been comprehensively outplayed almost every week for the past 2 months. They have benefitted from 5 own goals, 5 penalties and 3 gifts. It started with their steal at Goodison. Even West Brom played Villa off the pitch (at Villa) and only lost to a freak own goal.

So sure, room for improvement and not really acceptable to sit that far back with one upfront. But let?s be fair, in the past 2 months we have regained much of our best form of last season and played some of the best football seen under Moyes? reign. It might be directly linked to having no forwards available, but it?s true regardless. Everton are a better footballing team than Aston Villa. If we had their luck we?d be 2nd or top.

I also find performances like today hard to take. But it was all about the result & I can get over it if we quickly return to our good shape & style of recent weeks. We have also given Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool a run for their money this season, often without key players. So you?re also wrong on that score.
Gerry Western
11   Posted 25/01/2009 at 23:14:59

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I have to say I?m not quite sure what kind of performance was expected today given the circumstances. We have no experienced strikers added to this we were missing two hugely influential midfielders. We were relying on Neville, who is not a midfield player; Osman, who I think most would agree is not a Premier League player; Castillo, who?s barely kicked a ball all season... which pretty much left us with one quality player in the midfield, that being Pienaar. Is it any wonder we were overrun?

Personally, I didn?t expect us to achieve much more than a draw. Now it's back to Goodison hopefully with Arteta, Fellaini and Saha restored; it's game on and I fully expect us to dump them out of the cup ? it will be a very different Everton, I suspect. With Fellaini restored there is no way they will dictate proceedings in the middle of the park.

It was without doubt a rearguard action; to be honest I never expected anything else. What I have seen today was a team who truly believed they could not be beaten and, but for a goalkeeping error, they would have won.

Danny O'Neill
12   Posted 25/01/2009 at 23:43:24

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Good shout. Just one thing, let's not be too hard on Tim. Although he was at fault for the goal, the world class save he made from Gerrard 2 minutes late sort of cancels it out in my opinion.
Joe Johnson
13   Posted 26/01/2009 at 00:06:48

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You are missing the point, Felliani will be back for the home game, sent off in 25 minutes and we get stuffed 4-1

Save your critisms of Moyes until then, personally i think he does a fantastic job. We have players other teams would give their left arm to have, but Moyes convinces them to stay ? how? He gets us results when, if we were managed by Allardyce or even Rednapp, we would be bottom 3 material each year.

Keep you comments coming, but each year Moyes produces a better league position than the team should ever be near.
Kurt Knight
14   Posted 25/01/2009 at 23:56:32

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All points well taken. The defense stands with the best club out there, the rest of the lot is either out of position or asked to play beyond their means. BUT, with that said, we took to a draw TWICE in a row in their own living room. And that is Everton pride.
Derek Thomas
15   Posted 26/01/2009 at 00:28:25

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The whole point is, you can?t have it both ways, well not on our budget...

You can be a boxer or a fighter, the top top ones are both, the others, who like us (cue mixed metaphors) are lacking in a full measure of both, will get found out by the true champions.

We, by default are fighters, contenders, a good yard stick to measure your up and coming pretenders, but lacking the top end skill to trouble the very best.... UNLESS...

A) We get in a lucky punch (Cooper vs Clay I).

B) They have an off day and aren?t up for it (Buster Douglas vs Tyson)

As the professors on History Today say....


Know what I mean, Harry??
Christine Foster
16   Posted 26/01/2009 at 01:36:23

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Given the lack of key players in a threadbare squad, getting them back to Goodison was a good result.

It wasn?t pretty as we defended far too deep, gave them possesion and let them come at us. Our only threat was ever likely to come from set pieces, which where precious few. Which makes sense if you have no intention of playing in their half...

Given all of that, the defense was brilliant and save for a lapse at his near post by the normally brilliant Howard, who did redeem himself later, we would have gone into the next round and left the RS totally demoralised for the rest of the season.

I do agree (and have always said so) that I believe Moyes sticks to what he knows best, defending. The work ethic is centred around stopping the other team from scoring. It wasn?t just today (which I do believe was justified) but on numerous other occasions when substitutes are called for or forwards replaced by midfielders or defenders. AVDM was on the bench today when Vic A went down, a straight forward replacement you would think? No... and whilst I like Dan Gosling, it left us without any attacking pace or outlet.
Thats a mini-example I know, but Moyes'S biggest critiscism is that he fails to grasp any initiatives going forward and always falls on the defensive side of his nature.

I do believe that this causes the strikers in the squad a number of issues too, with many being played out of position, running channels and helping at the back. Moyes has a centre-half's brain, not an attacker's one.

So, all that said, the lads did really well to bring them back to GP, I am looking forward to finally seeing the RS off this season!
Jamie Crowley
17   Posted 26/01/2009 at 01:41:29

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I agree we hoofed constantly. And yes, it was frustrating to watch. Castillo couldn?t connect with people 5 yards away from him, but....

People often say Moyes lacks football knowledge and strategic thinking. I just finished watching the replay here in the States. It seems clearly evident, watching this a second time, that Moyes thought STRATEGICALLY. With arguably his best 2 midfielders out, and one of them (Arteta) who I don?t think anyone would argue is the field general, the boys were told to get the ball instantaneously out of trouble if need be and focus on not conceding.

Is this NOT the best approach missing Arteta and Fellaini? Especially knowing with a replay to come they will be back in the side?

Watch a replay and focus on what they were accomplishing. We defended like a tank, got a replay at Goodison when we?ll be (hopefully) full strength with our 2 best midfielders back in the side. That is forethought, and excellent approach to a dire situation, and strategically sound.

The RS never really threatened, except for a fantastic play by the lady boy who put it perfectly and brilliantly to a streaking Stevie G (go figure) for a VERY soft goal against Howard.

I think the boys did exactly what they were supposed to today. I thought we out-played them last week, and we?ll do it again with a full strength side on the replay.

This was premediated, ugly, and got us to where we need to be. Then again I may be totally wrong, our manager lacks guts and vision, and we were damn lucky. But I?ll take the former and not the latter, thank you very much.

Anthony Dyer
18   Posted 26/01/2009 at 02:18:53

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We have learned that the Everton players have the guts and determination required to compete at the highest level. We have learned that the defence should not be altered until or unless of suspensions / injuries. We have learned that Rafa has no class or respect for us (which in my opinion is far worse than chanting fans in providing fuel for the moronic element to behave badly, perhaps Merseyside Police should have a word with him!)

We have learned that some Blues supporters are happiest when we are preventing the enemy from winning rather than cheering the Blues on to victory. We have learned that many of our supporters buy into the media hype of LFC, they are not world-class, they are not even realistic contenders for the title. They have drawn 5 out of their last 8 matches!

We have learned that our need for a striker is paramount (regardless of the financial situation); we cannot keep pulling rabbits out of the hat in these big games without having a goal threat of our own. Despite today?s draw, the replay will be no easier and perhaps it may be even more difficult.

Today, Rafa and his henchmen could smell blood and they went for it, they know that beating us would probably end our season; us beating them does not I?m afraid end theirs.

Now I know that many won?t remember the Imre Varadi derby match of 1981, but we had a fairly ordinary side and they ended up as European Cup winners. But even in that game, Everton caused them problems because we had a goal threat rather than outstanding defenders.

Jamie Crowley
19   Posted 26/01/2009 at 02:39:18

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We have learned that some Blues supporters are happiest when we are preventing the enemy from winning rather than cheering the Blues onto victory.

Anthony ? Anyone who does that is moronic and not a supporter.

Recognizing what we had in front of us, achieving a draw back to Goodison, and getting 2 of our best players for that draw back in the side.... that?s fine with me and should be fine with any level-headed human with some degree of foresight.

When butt-cut scored, I chucked my water bottle (no beer that early in the morning for me...) across the room and my oldest son said he distinctly heard all 13 of the "dirty words" come out of my mouth.

No one wants simply a draw ? we want to win. But under the circumstances we approached the game logically, and the result is not a bad one.

Let them kick it around the perimeter for 90 minutes and feel they dominated.

Draw... no, we?ll win in 10 days time.
Art Jones
20   Posted 26/01/2009 at 03:07:06

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Make no mistake, when the news filtered back to Beneathus that Mikel was out, he must have been rubbing his hands with glee. Against his natural principles, he put out his strongest possible team with the sole intention of steamrollering us into submission for 60 mins, then taking off Torres, Gerrard and another, looking forward to the post match interview where he could tell all and sundry how much of a fluke Monday?s result was ...

Instead, our magnificent defence put paid to his plans, the crap about he never sends teams out to defend is a bit "misleading" as many an away European leg has been played in such fashion! We achieved a good result considering the circumstances, that should never be knocked, least of all by Evertonians. We even had to resort to opening the ?Baby Gate? for the last 20 mins!

At the end of the game I was disappointed that TH had gifted them that goal, for a team that had so much possession they posed very little threat and the performances of Jags + Joleon was as good a defensive display as I?ve seen from anybody for years.

I really think some of you should be giving the team and manager credit where it?s due ? not AGREEING with that twisted bitter excuse of a ?manager? across the park!

Pete Clark
21   Posted 26/01/2009 at 03:44:25

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Great gutsy display again from a team in blue. A lot of the points made are very true and I hope BK is reading some of them.

Why does he persist with this silly ground move when, if there is any money in the pot, he should help David Moyes build on this foundation that is there? I know Arteta was out but we need that extra strength all around to truly tackle these gobshites from across the park and make a push for glory.

If DM is not given any funds or gets in no players to back us up, then with a couple of injuries we will slip off the pace at the top, out of the cup and all the hard work done by the players yesterday will be undone.

Martin Cutler
22   Posted 26/01/2009 at 07:16:28

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I’m absolutely fucking speechless!

What a bunch of NEGATIVE comments (not all of the above but quite a few for sure!).

If you have posted a negative comment above you equally know that we have a number of injuries, you also know that the club has fuck-all money in the pot, you also know that DM does NOT tell his players to just lump the ball up the fucking field to the first available (in this case) RED SHITE player.

You also know that with a threadbare squad, no money, a ton of what would appear to be bias press and referee’ing etc., etc ... that DM and OUR lads in blue have done a fantastic job......WAKE UP PEOPLE ....DM has done a fantastic job with what he has at his disposal!!!

The team we played today was a solid member of the so-called, media favourite TOP FOUR full strength....not one problem with injury, ready to play, absolute #1 favourite to win in this game (and last Monday too) ... HOWEVER they didn’t.


Because our boys in blue played their fucking hearts out.....yes are defense is probably the best in the land (there I’ve said’s now TRUE!!!!), we have no midfield to speak of, we may not play the most sparkling / entertaining footie, our two star players we’re missing today (do all the negative types skip over that point????) .... I expect Kenrick to be negative and have a go at any post that cheers on the lads but this constant doom and fucking gloom does my bloody head in.

What did you all think ... we were going to go out there and beat them 5-0? Yeah, right....nice idea but unless Gerrard and Torres break a leg it ain’t gonna happen! (By the way, I purposely pick on those two because I firmly believe without those two we wouldn’t have a problem playing them no matter which one of our players were injured!!).

We now have a chance to play them at home, with Arteta and Fellaini present, without Castillo and with a few more blue fans screaming their hearts out.

Can you imagine how "they" feel.....every fucking Red Shite player, staff member, coach, fan, bias ref/media person must be dreading the thought of a replay at is up to the lads to finish it on the 4th. Whether they do or they don’t, the lads have performed brilliantly in the last two fact they have been brilliant since we lost to Lucky Villa.

Tony Anetts
23   Posted 26/01/2009 at 07:17:40

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I live in Sydney Australia and the game was on Setanta at 3am here. My 17-year-old daughter and I put our Everton shirts on and I laid an Everton scarf across the top of the TV as I felt we would need its magical power ? and how right I was.

I did a run around the room when Lescott scored and tried to do a flip/roll over the back of the couch onto the couch ? succeeding only in smashing my back on the couch frame and then doing my best Anichebe ?I?ve been shot put me out of my misery? impersonation. It?s sad to say that this was actually my highlight, for the rest of the morning?s spectacle was crap.

Like all of you I absolutely love Everton but I do wish we would play football a little more often. We play some terrible football sometimes and today was one of those sometimes. We lack the faith in our individual footballing ability to make and then control a basic pass. I watched Doncaster do this against Villa and Cardiff do this against Arsenal. The TV pundits refer to them as ?footballing sides?!

While I thought that the team defence was fabulous and the overall team effort outstanding, I was saddened by our lack of basic footballing ability as a team. Defending is but a part of the game ? it should lead at a point/on occasion to build up and, heaven forbid, attacking. Today defending was all there was. I felt like I was watching a Premier League team play a Blue Square team ? honestly ? and I didn?t like it. I was happy with the result, just not the obvious gulf in football ability between the two sets of players.

Noting that we only had two (Arteta and Fellaini) out of our total of ten midfielders (Arteta, Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Cahill, Neville, Castillo, Rodwell, Gosling, AVM), out, we should have more capacity to play than we demonstrated ? sometimes it?s as if we believe that we have no footballing ability and therefore we play to specification.

That said, I?ll be up for the next game, and the one after that, etc..., for I have no choice as a lifelong Evertonian. Thank God I brainwashed the kids early so that they are now beyond footballing redemption.

Colin Moore
24   Posted 26/01/2009 at 08:45:31

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Who was it who said,?Football is about much more than pretty balls to feet? ? and proved it last evening ?
But please don?t make excuses for our ?lack of numbers?, the Moyesiah has hed SEVEN years to bring them in and failed to do so. The money spent on Fellaini should have been used to purchase THREE players not blown on a ?promising hulk? who will miss more games than he ever plays in.
Paul Joy
25   Posted 26/01/2009 at 09:59:14

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Colin Moore, your comments about Fellaini are inaccurate and laughable: "promising hulk who will miss more than he plays" ? FYI he has played 18 and missed 3. He is far more than promising ? he is a growing influence and a very real goal threat.

He does have areas of his game he needs to improve on. But essentially he has the ability to be far better than mediocre ? and 3 £5 million players would have been just that in today's market. It would have just added numbers, not class. You should wait before passing such ill-thought-out judgements on Fellaini.

Art Jones
26   Posted 26/01/2009 at 10:40:50

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Yes Colin, why oh why didn?t he buy Darren Bent, Robbie Keane and David Bentley? Was it ?cos they cost £53m and are shite???
Sean Mckenna
27   Posted 26/01/2009 at 11:58:43

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People, you are missing a major point here!! So most of the comments above suggest that when we have a full squad we would roll over Liverpool at Goodison?? That we will out-pass them with fast-flowing football?? Wake up please!!

Stats from yesterday: possession 74% Liverpool, 26% Everton!! And you say we didn't go there and play for a draw?? One shot on target from a corner?? We parked the bus in front of goal!! As for AvdM, Moyes doesn't do flair players, does he?

Phil Bellis
28   Posted 26/01/2009 at 12:03:14

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Once Satan has finished his flirtation with Villa and returned full-time to LFC, they will be found out. We are a better team then them; if our defenders had stuck it in Row Z a couple of times when we played them, the table would look different. Sometimes, even the more skillful teams have to defend as a unit; I remember the 66 FA Cup Semi-Final against Man Utd and facing Leeds in 68 without Bally ? wasn?t pretty but we got the results.
Mick O'Hara
29   Posted 26/01/2009 at 13:51:29

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While I am as happy as everybody else at our reargard yesterday, can I just put an air of reality into the situation please? I refer to our recent form at GP against our neighbours for the past few years. What the fuck will they do to us when we have to leave our own half and try and score from open play?
Damian Wilde
30   Posted 26/01/2009 at 13:57:28

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I agree with Neil Pearse, excellent post. Good to see a ?balanced? view.
Pete Clark
31   Posted 26/01/2009 at 13:53:13

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I do not know if DM would have us playing decent footy if he was given loads of cash but he must be given something at least to strengthen. As good as it feels to not be beaten by those shite from across the park, the fact is that we will have to accept this kind of result as our success for the season unless DM is given more support from BK. If he has got money to push for this balls up in Kirkby, then DM must demand a little more from his boss.

I find it hard to swallow when almost every single club is in the market for players except us at a time when a couple of decent signings could help us get the edge over the shite and co. I just hope we don?t get an injury to Jags or Lescott.

Paul Joy
32   Posted 26/01/2009 at 15:24:55

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Sean McKenna, spare us all the stats, mate, they mean sweet FA. Only 1 stat matters in football, not possession, not corners, not yellow cards etc etc etc. Fact ? goals is what counts.

The RS have been saying how they battered us. I saw them have the ball and pass it side to side to side and back again without hurting us and getting too close ? even the smallest centre back in world football, Mascherano was forced into shooting. They just did not hurt us did they? On the other hand, we scored when we had the chance. Fair play to us for that.

Yes it would be great to have played as well as we did in the league game last Monday but we did not have the same players on the pitch and that affected us badly. So we didn?t roll over and let them tickle our tummies like at Goodison in September ? we fought as hard as we could on the pitch and came away still on equal terms. Given the respective resources that is an achievement alone. We also sang and cheered our team as long and loud as we could and I for 1 left Anfield happy to be having another go at them.

VDM !!!!??? Are you having a laugh ? flair player. Is that a youth culture term for a cocktail I don?t know? It is only because our squad is paper thin that VDM gets anywhere near the bench now we have 7 subs. David Moyes quite rightly will give 2 youth players a go before him. Who wouldn?t ? It is nothing to do with flair more about a human waste of space who has taken the piss out of EFC and us the fans all too often.

Get real, mate.

Sebastian Balseca
33   Posted 26/01/2009 at 15:52:36

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Hi Everyone, To the couple people that want Castillo out. I think it is best that you look at some tapes of Castillo?s performances in his National teem. Check out Poland vs Ecuador in Germany 2006. He is one of the best in the world in his position. Give him minutes, and he?ll respond. Even if you bench Ronaldo for a year, he?ll have a hard time finding his true level again. And don?t forget, his first game in a long time was face to face with Gerard.
Damian Kelly
34   Posted 26/01/2009 at 16:33:18

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Sebastian, I hope you are right re Castillo but fear the worst. I can understand him being off the pace and the game bypassing him but the worrying thing was the number of times he gave the ball away ? especially when making short passes and missing his target by a fair way ? on a couple of occasions when he had a bit of time as well. I don't see that lack of match fitness should make you incapable of passing the ball accurately. I thought both Gosling and Rodwell showed more promise in their few minutes on the pitch and neither of them have been getting much match time either.

Mind you Hibbert at right back, Neville in midfield both playing well ? so miracles can happen.
Sebastian Balseca
35   Posted 26/01/2009 at 17:12:20

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Yes, true he really missed a lot. But honestly I watch all his games. (I am Ecuadorian, I like to follow all the players.) Valencia at Wigan is doing incredible. Caicedo at City isn?t getting much chance, and Castillo is really the best Ecuador has in that position. Solid, our defense sees 50% of the opposing teams attacks, thanks to him. I really hope he gets a couple more shots at it, I can tell Everton Fans are understanding that he hasn?t played. They deserve the best. Let's hope he shows his full potential.
Timmy Mongiat
36   Posted 26/01/2009 at 17:43:10

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Seriously, how can there be yet more negativity? We had it after the Hull game last week when half the people seemed to think we were doomed against Liverpool because Fellaini was suspended and now, despite securing two away draws against Liverpool there?s still people complaining! I don?t know whether it's idocacy, or some misplaced ideals about where we should be.

How did you expect us to play, considering the fact we are lacking our three best strikers, the best player we have and Fellaini. Liverpool pack the midfield and our lone striker will get isolated considering the lack of players and therefore we aren't going to have massive possession or create loads of chances. How do you think Liverpool would have played if they?d gone to Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford without Gerrard, Alonso, Torres, Keane and Kuyt? How do you think Villa would fair at a top four team without Young, Barry, Carew and Agbonlahor? To be honest, considering our injury problems, I didn't have any expectations and to go there and get another draw was incredible.

Every time I look at this site I get irritated by the unrealistic ideas of some and the lack of praise that we should be given. Under Moyes we have a net spending in 7 seasons of £35M, (£5M a year). With that he has taken us from relegation material to a solid top six team every year. Compare our spending to Liverpool or Chelsea, or Man U or Villa, Tottenham, Man City, Sunderland etc... It?s nowhere near.

And Colin, with respect to your comments about Fellaini, they're an absolute joke and shows your utter ignorance of him as a player. How exactly is he going to miss more games than he plays? And do you think buying three average players rather than one of the best young players in the world is the way to progress?

With respect to Castillo, he was brought in as a squad player, he will in my eyes never make is as a Prem player. To use his performances for Ecuador as a benchmark of his ability in the Prem is unrealistic. It?s a completely different style of play, he isn't quick enough or a good enough passer of the ball to make it the Prem. Plenty of players are successful in internation football but fail in the Prem (Healy, Morientes etc). I understand he hasn't played much but there?s reasons for that and in reality he can never fill Carsley?s boots.

One more thing, Andy van der Meyde for our first team? Maybe six years ago but he won't get near it now for good reason. As soon as his contract is finished he will be gone and anyone who thinks otherwise needs their head tested.
Sebastian Balseca
37   Posted 26/01/2009 at 18:09:51

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Hey Timmy, what can I say? I guess only time can tell. But I think he has what it takes. Good luck.
Kase Chow
38   Posted 26/01/2009 at 18:50:14

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Chaps, like it or hate it but the truth is that, until DM is given more money, we will veer between playing football and hoofball depending on players available. Remember that our BEST players weren?t available. With all due respect it wasn?t Hibbert, Osman, VDM and Castillo that were missing: it was our top goal scorer, record signing and best midfielder out. In those cucumstances it was always gonna be tough to play good football.

Now whether you think DM should have bought 3 average players or 1 top class midfielder is the whole point. In an ideal world he would have bought Fellaini AND increased the squad size meaning we go to Anfield and compete properly. BUT unless he?s given the money to increase quality AND quantity then of course we have to make compromises and that can often mean hoofball.

DM has worked wonders with what he?s been given and that should be celebrated not cursed. Well done lads now let?s put play and beat the shite next week.

Jimmy Rimmer
39   Posted 26/01/2009 at 23:52:11

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The people labelled as negative on this site suffer from a condition known as "Unrealistic Ambition Disorder" (UAD). It isn?t their fault ? they have just simply lost touch with reality.

Whilst every single Evertonian has dreams of building a huge collection of trophies in the 21st Century; Challenging for the league title every year, winning at least one cup per season, European Cup finals... Those suffering from UAD find it difficult to separate this dream from reality.

Having "Nil Satis Nisi Optimum" on our shirt does not give us a free pass to perfection. It is a great sentiment and something to strive towards but sadly in the modern game where money talks ? it isn?t instantly achievable.

Michael Kenrick accused me of not wanting to win trophies due to the fact I appear to be happy with the current state of affairs at the club. What bullshit! Of course I would give my right arm (hell I?d give all four limbs) for some silverware to arrive at Goodison.

However, what I don?t want is to be playing League two football (ask any Leeds supporter) which is what could easily have happened if it weren?t for David Moyes. To create the squad that he has on the budget he has been given is something to be proud of. He bought Lescott when others were buying Titus Bramble. He bought Cahill when others were buying Hayden Mullins. You get my drift...

No he didn?t get us playing like Barcelona at Anfield with a midfield including Neville Castillo and Anichebe ? but he did get us what mattered ? a result!

I believe better things are yet to come from my beloved Everton over the coming years, but it will probably take a rather large injection of cash if it is to be done some time soon.

For now « yes I am happy with finishing in the top 6 on a regular basis (Tottenham / Man City / Newcastle fans dream of THIS acheivement) and yes I am happy with going over to Anfield and really putting the shits up the RS!

Every night when I close my eyes I will dream of a return to the glory days ? but in the cold light of day when reality is restored ? I will be proud of where our club is now and the great manager who has got us there!
Michael Kenrick
40   Posted 27/01/2009 at 08:03:56

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Jimmy, I’ve got to agree with Tony Marsh ? it’s the acceptance of 6th place in your so-called "reality" that helps to ensure the club will not ascend to anything better.
Kase Chow
41   Posted 27/01/2009 at 08:41:57

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With all due respect, if you read ALL of Jimmy?s post, you?ll realise he?s ?happy? with 6th place at the moment.

He?s factoring in the fact we have no money which means we need to decide between 3 average players or 1 potential superstar (please see my post earlier) and also that in certain cases it appears we have to sell to buy (do you not think having the option of AJ right now would be a God send? BUT no, we only got the Fellaini money once AJ was sold for a profit).

What is SO DIFFICULT for you to understand Michael?

People aren?t in a state of ?happiness? to finish 6th and to never finish higher. People don?t ?LIKE? to go Anfield and play crap football. BUT needs must. Whilst we have no money and consequently no big squad of quality players, we have to make do for the moment.

Now whether we EVER get investment or we have to sell say Lescott for £15M in order to buy 2 very good £7.5M players to bolster the squad I don?t know.

BUT what I DO know (as do all the positive and realistic Evertonians that come on here know), is that while we have no money, we have fewer options than other clubs and this dictates our play at times and also our current aspirations and ambitions.

If your argument hold ANY weight, be brave and name any Premier League manager who has achieved (whilst playing good football) what Moyes has achieved with his net spend. If you can?t, then start being more realistic instead of pointless bleating.
David Grace
42   Posted 27/01/2009 at 08:30:29

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I appreciate everyone has an opinion and is right to get them out in the open, Jimmy I like the term ?UAD? syndrome and it sums up a lot of the shit I hear after the game on the Radio City phone in and then on here.

Pound for Pound we have the best team, we do not have the resources that Villa, Spurs, City, Wigan even, and the top four have.

Yet still we manage to stay above these teams (VIlla aside this season) and play much better football, I wasn't impressed with Villa when they came to GP this season, we defended woefully but they rely heavily on the counter attack and have been very lucky this season with decisions.

However, good luck to them, we?ll look after our own affairs and I like every other Evertonian is dreaming of a Cup Final this season and hopefully Uefa Cup qualification. Now I ask all of you with negative comments, what else do you want with the club obviously not having a pot to piss in?

Now the lack of funding is not DM?s fault, he has assembled a great team from the scraps Kenwright has thrown at him, I've not seen an Everton team play like this for years, nor have I seen a team play with so much pride for the blue shirt and that means a lot to me and every other blue I talk to, those who were at the derby at Anfield will agree it was emotional to see the lads fight a team that should of rolled us over!!!!

Regarding Fellaini, I at the start of the season shared the thought of ?we could have had 3 players for that? but I have been home and away this season and he has grown in stature so much, he has a presence on the game and he is awkward for opponents to deal with, and he is still so young, once he has a year or two under his belt in the Premier League I think he will be immense.

MK we do not accept 6th place, we all have high aspriations, but for christs sake until BK gets some more funding in it is what it is, and every pundit, journalist in the land praises us for our performances & results because it is a squad assembled so cheaply compared to those around us.

So let's all hope for some funding in the summer, because that is our only way forward, until then as Kase says above, we will have to play football when we can and fight against the big teams because that is the only way to get a result!

Kase Chow
43   Posted 27/01/2009 at 09:04:41

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To be fair to you Michael, I KNOW you?re an intelligent bloke, which makes me think you?re just trying to spark debate a la Talk Sport to get people on this site.

Cos there?s no way you?re advocating that we go over to Anfield and try to play them off the park (please tell me who has done this recently and WON? Not even Man Utd have done this).

So well done, I?ve fallen for it as have many others ? you?re a smart bloke
Alan Clarke
44   Posted 27/01/2009 at 09:09:51

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MK, you must realise our lack of resources though? Look at the resources of those above us in the league. We have a starting 11 that can compete against anyone in the league and as you have stated on many occasisons in the past that Everton have shown they can play decent football without having to spend big on players. Therefore you don?t need money to do well in this league.

You seem to think, though, that this theory holds water still when we have injuries. This, however is where we come unstuck. Money matters when you have a tiny squad ravaged by injuries. You cannot expect us to be pushing for top 4 and competing in all the cups with our small squad. That is where money is important and until we have more of it we cannot expect more than a 6th place finish. We can hope for better and hope for better luck with injuries but it is not a lack of ambition on the part of those supporters who accept the reality of our situation.

Paul Joy
45   Posted 27/01/2009 at 22:10:49

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Michael Kenrick, have to agree with the comment made by Kase.
You are turning into 1 of Talksports "let's provoke controversy" presenters.

My continued disagreement with you is your repetitive position over David Moyes ? you are just not objective about him.
In life some people find the positive things to focus on and some prefer to focus on the negative. No prizes for guessing you are negative kind of guy. I am not and nor are the majority of contributors to this excellent website.

I am happy to listen to reasoned points of view even though they don?t share mine. You just don?t do that. I am even happy to read Mr Misery himself Tony Marsh and reply accordingly. (He still talks shite though).

As has been said you are clearly a man of opinion and intelligence and I really do appreciate the job you do with Toffeeweb. But your negativity has become like a dripping tap now. Is it not time to lighten up and take yourself a little less seriously. Agreeing with Tony Marsh indeed.....
Jamie Crowley
46   Posted 28/01/2009 at 02:10:29

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I was just wondering Michael and Tony...

When I get over to the UK it will probably be years from now. 4 sons with one due in May, a complete dislike if not fear of flying, and owning my own business will prevent it happening any time soon. But I will get over the pond. When I do, my first stop - Jesus, Joseph and Mary as my witness, will be Goodison Park.

Michael Kernick and Tony Marsh - when I get there I invite you to join me as we are going to work on those negative dispositions you have.
Free beers on me till you puke, drop, or say uncle.
The invite stands for the next 50 years. I?m true to my word and I mean this in all sincerety. I?ll buy you drinks until we force the negative poo out of you once and for all. :)

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