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Monday Morning Musings

By Paul McGlone :  02/03/2009 :  Comments (23) :
Looking at the weekends results and Everton generally, this season seems to have boiled down to a series of ?what ifs? (Arteta, Yak, our start etc)

However, the what if?s don?t stop there,

- What if we beat Middlesbrough, we?re going to Wembley...
- What if Villa continue their recent faltering...
- What if Arsenal continue to do what they are doing...

I think it is still a huge outside chance, but we could still challenge for fourth. It is crucial that we do not lose at Villa Park. Villa have to play United and Liverpool still, Arsenal have to play United, Chelsea and Liverpool. For a season that I am thinking we have been hard done by, we are still fighting away.

We have been desperately unlucky with injuries this season, started with in hindsight poor planning (Moyes contract should have been sorted earlier, and if we wanted Fellaini we should have moved earlier, 2 games v Liverpool shouldn?t have to convince if the player has been properly scouted) and yet we are still in with a shout. I think the team and Moyes need to be commended for this. The spirit is second to none.

I don?t think we are going to see the quality of play that mid November to Feb we had been used to seeing, but Saturday gave me some hope, Pienaar looked like he wanted to be the creative force if not fit, even Ossie looked decent. Arteta is the stand out performer in these types of games as he is head and shoulders above the general dross (Donk etc) we have to play Villa and Chelsea away, apart from that we should be able to grind results and hopefully play some decent stuff with confidence flowing.

I think we are getting a squad together slowly and surely. On Saturday I would expect Gosling, Jo , Castillo the only players who will be not be in a starting XI next year, doubt Jo and Segundo will even be here. With Arteta, the Yak, Rodwell, Vaughan missing all likely to challenge, Saha an impact sub if fit, Vic on the bench, Lescott in for Yobo we are getting there. The defence has adequate cover, midfield cant cope losing Arteta and Cahill, and had we not had such chronic striking injuries, we probably have just about enough cover up top, however can we rely on Saha and Vaughan not getting injured? We need another creative midfield, this guy Mouthinho seems to want a move, and another striker this summer.

I have always liked Tiny Tim, but never really appreciated what he brings to the team. His midfield play is not always the best, but I think he has to be Moyes best buy and possibly one of Everton?s best signings ever. For the £1.5m we paid for him, he has been here 4 or 5 years and scored plenty, typical Aussie (competitive) and a good pro, he is vital to what we do, and you just get the impression he is vital in the dressing room.

Other thoughts today have been, why is everyone so critical of Fellaini, he?s still young and learning. The Hull game he was regarded our best player, got booked and now everyone is complaining about him. The yellows are frustrating me, but give the boy till next season to properly judge (a full pre season etc).

Please no more Van der Meyde to start calls, he has been woeful for us, he is a substitute at best and others deserve their chance ahead of him, 3 years of a nice wage, the guy frustrates me.

Player of the season? Neville or Jagielka..... I think our captain has had his best season for us, would be a perfect ending to him see the FA Cup...

What if....

Reader Comments

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Brian Baker
1   Posted 02/03/2009 at 15:22:36

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I don’t think we should take anything for granted, even 6th place, but we would have to go really pear shaped to lose 6th.

As we all would be happy with 6th, and an FA Cup semi-final appearance at Wembley, then anything else would be a huge bonus.

Lets just take it one game at a time.
Nick Entwistle
2   Posted 02/03/2009 at 15:28:36

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Brian, why would anyone be happy with 6th? Bored of 6th or 5th, its like pressing our noses up against the sweet shop window and watching Rooney shovel his fat ass full of bon bons and chocolate mice. Let me in, I want my quarter of sherbert lemons!
Jason Broome
3   Posted 02/03/2009 at 15:35:33

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Nice post!

First we have to beat Blackburn. Anything less is a wasted opportunity. That won’t be easy!

Villa looked tired at the back. Exiting the Uefa cup might do them a favour.

Midfield is our priority. Niko Krancjar is a must followed by Moutinho. Can we afford them both? Doubt it. We also need to target free players and loan signings at the earliest opportunity.

Last summer?s credit crunch fiasco could happen again. Optimism in small doses is key to a sane mind come September.

Andy vd Meyde has been frustrating but we need all hands on deck. We have at the most 14 games with only Vaughan set to comeback so (even as a substitute) if you pay him play him!
Jason Broome
4   Posted 02/03/2009 at 15:36:17

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Nick Entwistle - LOL... Comedy!
Guy Hastings
5   Posted 02/03/2009 at 15:38:08

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O me of little faith, perhaps, but I?m not convinced we?ll come away with three points at Rovers. They?re a roughhouse lot and I can see a red or two being flourished before the game is out.
Sam Morrison
6   Posted 02/03/2009 at 15:53:20

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Is Krancjar really that good? I?ve never seen him boss a game the way Arteta can.
Clyde McPhat
7   Posted 02/03/2009 at 16:59:22

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Exiting the FA Cup was supposed to make Villa stronger in the UEFA Cup...Exiting the UEFA Cup was supposed to make Villa stronger in the league....2-0 on Stoke at home with less than 10 remaining....Half the ground was empty....As someone mentioned on this site a couple of weeks ago, Villa has hit the Fiorentina Wall, the same wall that crushed us last year.

No let down against Rovers. Just keep winning.
Andy Crooks
8   Posted 02/03/2009 at 18:10:58

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Paul, an excellent article.Things could be so much different, I reckon we are abut six points less than where we should be. The next week is vital for the club. Two wins and I believe there will be a big six and we will be challenging to be a big club again. At he moment I think that Man U are the only outstanding club in the league. Saturday will be a landmark in the future of our club.
Iain Love
9   Posted 02/03/2009 at 18:04:20

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Clyde, like that ? I was getting a bit sick of all that Villa great, O?Neill saviour crap, I do think they?re a decent side but typical media hype pisses me off.

Jags player of the season, no offense Arteta but Jags does it whatever the opposition, even when he fucked up against Villa he came back and if anything played better. Torres must have nightmares about him and that flick on the line against WBA was pure class... even better, he made sure he won't get picked for England again ? clever, very clever. Just no more free kicks eh ? leave them to Baines for now.

Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
10   Posted 02/03/2009 at 18:17:56

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I think one Tim Cahill would be far more deserving of player of the season than Phil Neville. For me it’s between Jagielka or Cahill.
Paul Daly
11   Posted 02/03/2009 at 19:05:33

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We really need to wait ’til the end of the season until we hand out Player of the Year awards- maybe to someone who capped a great season with a commanding winning cup final appearance.

As for over hauling the teams above us, why not? They are faltering we are persevering...we need to be bold and optimistic and aim as high as we can. And don’t leave our lovable neighbors out of the mix either- I think they are in freefall.
Robbie Muldoon
12   Posted 02/03/2009 at 19:45:45

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I took a glance at the remaining fixtures the other day... there is huge potential for Villa and Arsenal to drop a significant amount of points from now til the end of the season.
The fixture run in is kinder to us than Arse and Villa.

As long as we win when they do, and capitalise on the weekends they drop points we are still in with a shout - albeit an outside one.
Jay Harris
13   Posted 02/03/2009 at 21:08:22

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We shouldn't overlook Leighton Baines who, IMO, has not put a foot wrong since breaking into the side.

For me, it?s between Jags, Cahill and Baines.
Nick Wood
14   Posted 02/03/2009 at 21:15:02

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Can player of the season be split?

If we didn?t have Cahill we certainly wouldn?t have won quite a number of our games (ie against Liverpool plus a number of 1-0 victories)

Without Arteta we wouldn?t have had the opportunity for those goals to be scored

Without Jagielka we would have had a lot more draws/losses. The way he shut down Torres in the derby games was impeccable.

On the topic of what if?

What if we beat Newcastle last week? (We would be level with Arsenal)

What if we beat Arsenal a few weeks back rather than letting them get that very late goal?

You can keep asking all these questions but at the moment all that matters is the games we have to go. To all those people saying Villa could fail, we?re 7 points off which is doable, but we?re only 8 points ahead of West Ham in 7th and 8 points behind Villa so 6th isn?t in the bag yet.
Lee Rogers
15   Posted 02/03/2009 at 22:57:04

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I think some of the teams we have to play are fighting for relegation so some of our players will get kicked ? teams like Blackburn on Wednesday and Stoke.
John Sweeney
16   Posted 02/03/2009 at 23:10:14

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Good article, Paul, but it's not just this season we Evertonians think WHAT IF? My whole life, I find myself pondering... What IF? Where Everton are concerned, Here are some I remember:
  • WHAT IF Jimmy Husband had scored in the final moment?s of normal time in the 68 cup final?
  • WHAT IF Catterick had given the 4 players who played in the heat and altitude of Mexico 70 a few more weeks rest at the start of the following season, would we have not seen this team achieve so much more, instead of the disintegration that took 15 years for us to get back to the top?
  • WHAT IF Labone had not been injured in the '71 cup semi, while leading 1-0?
  • WHAT IF Catterick had not sold Alan Ball?
  • WHAT IF We had just paid cash for Latchford, instead of giving Kendall as part of the deal?
  • WHAT IF? we had beaten Carlisle home and away in 74-75 instead of losing 2 games and the title by 3 points? WHAT IF? Clive Thomas did not court attention for himself and had just done his job?
  • WHAT IF Gordon Lee had not got rid of Mckenzie? WHAT IF Brian Kidd had not got sent off in the 80 semi against West Ham when leading 1-0.
  • WHAT IF the ref had given that penalty in the 84 Milk Cup Final.
  • WHAT IF we had played the 85 FA Cup Final before the Cup Winners Cup Final?
  • WHAT IF? nobody died at Heysel?
  • WHAT IF? Kendall had not thought he was going to be the next Barcelona coach, would Lineker have gone?
  • WHAT IF? The wife wasn?t nagging me to put the computer away and have my dinner or she will give me WHAT FOR! I would get everybody depressed. COYB
Tony Doyle
17   Posted 03/03/2009 at 06:19:34

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Iain Love - that flick by Jags on the line at WBA, was that a back pass?
Against the big 4 the outcome may have been different.
Erik Dols
18   Posted 03/03/2009 at 08:13:45

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One game at a time. There is no other way to do it, we are not Manchester Utd who can effectively choose which games to play at full strength and which to play with a lesser team. Well, we could do it, but we would drop points and get kicked out of the cup immediately.

Blackburn on Wednesday first. Last year, we didn?t do that well against them, it would be a big relief to me if we won there. COYB!
Billy Brad
19   Posted 03/03/2009 at 10:25:54

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How can it be a back pass when it didn't go backwards ??????
Barry Sherlock
20   Posted 03/03/2009 at 12:51:23

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At the start of the season I was thinking 5th/6th would be a decent season considering the size and quality of our squad.

But I could have asked myself, what if’s then:
What if Yakubu got injury for the season?
What if we lost Arteta at a crucial stage of the season?
What if we lose Vaughany, Saha, Big Vic, Jacobsen, Valente, Pienaar, Cahill for long spells of injury?
What if we lost alot of our opening home games?
What if we lost to SL in the Uefa Cup?
What if we got battered by the RS without even having a shot at goal?
If all of the above happened, would we be happy with a 5th or 6th place finish? Of course we would. As a team/club we should try to climb as high up the table as we can. As fans we need to try to keep our feet on the ground and our expectations in check.


PS Everton for the cup!!!
Steve Edwards
21   Posted 03/03/2009 at 16:46:57

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I think one or two are a tad over overoptimistic. In case you’ve forgotten, we were bloody awful against West Brom and to put it bluntly we were crap until Arteta went central midfield. Well, he wasn’t there against West Brom and we reverted to crap again. I personally think that any chance we had of making further progress in the league went out of the window with that injury.

Also nobody has mentioned that we still have to go to Fulham! I think it was 1966 the last time we won there. Even when they are playing badly they manage to beat us at Craven Cottage and they are not playing badly, in fact if they win their game in hand, they are seven points behind us. If they beat us, that would put them four points behind us. Its certainly worth watching out for their results between now and the end of the season. I think we should have enough to keep six spot though but its going to be interesting to see how well we play without the little fella. The Blackburn game should tell us all we need to know so I’d save your optimism until after that game.
Derek Thomas
22   Posted 04/03/2009 at 04:32:35

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John Sweeney; The Evertonians Lament and they have the cheek to call us bitter...WE HAVE GOOD FUCKING CAUSE!!


What the far east gambling cartel and Wimbledon didn’t let us win??
Terry May
23   Posted 06/03/2009 at 10:16:47

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Can I say I am not at all pleased about semi-finals being played at Wembley. It takes away the feeling and pride of winning a semi-final at a neutral venue in order to get to a final.

The F.A seem to chop and change the rules as often as they seem fit. When I was growing up all semi-finals would be played at neutral territory, but as of the last fifteen years a number of semi’s have been played at the national stadium much to my displeasure. I am being serious here. Don’t like it one bit.

Before long every bloody round from September onwards will be played at Wembley if the FA cretins have their way, I expect to see Lichfield City and Nuneaton Borough fighting it out at the twin towers on a leafy autumn afternoon.

Finals at wembley only, leave the freaking tampering alone for pete’s sake.

Back to other matters and Villa’s recent decline has been well noted, I think maybe the Uefa cup defeat in Moscow may have had some bearing on matters although O’Neill picked a weakened side for that venture for reasons only he knows. I still expect to see the Midlanders in the shake up for European contention when the end of season honours are handed out.

Some other middle of the road names are creeping around us threateningly, but I can’t see them overtaking us, it looks very much like a top six placing yet again, and after the Indignation of Walter Smith and Mike Walker and their best intentions but ultimate shortcomings, that can’t be a bad thing.

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