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Painful Night At Ewood

By Tony Marsh :  05/03/2009 :  Comments (65) :
So Arteta is out for the season and a solution is needed to maintain the great run we have been on since late last year. I know... let's revert back to Hoofball and play like we did at the start of the season when things were going so well.... Who thinks this shit up because it sure doesn't work?

I can't believe the way we played last night. It was horrible and standing in the away section, freezing my nuts off, I thought the missus has got it right. Emmerdale, Eastenders, Holly-fucking Oaks etc seemed a better choice for an evening's entertainment than this crap.

Why has Moyes started this idiotic idea of breaking up the best central defensive unit in the Premier League ? Lescott and Jagielka ? because his right back is out injured? What a fucking scandal. The whole balance of the side has been cocked up to accommodate Yobo... WHY? Jags looks lost at RB and is wasted there.

If your right back gets injured, find a solution to it... but whatever you do, don't start breaking up the solid foundations that was making this team what it has been for months now. It's just plain CRAZY!!! If Joey Yobo can play when unfit then why can't Lars Jacobsen??? Would Sir Alex break up Ferdinand and Vidic if he didn't have to? Would he Shite.

The ultra poor showing from some of our lot last night got me thinking. Certain things I don't like or have never liked seeing on a football pitch are: Alan Ball in an Arsenal kit; Howard Kendall in a Blackburn kit; Big Duncan Ferguson in a Newcastle kit; and Leon Osman in an Everton kit. I am sorry but Osman is shite and has been for years. Last night was a perfect example of how crap this lad is and it doesnt matter where he plays, out wide or in the middle, the outcome is the same. He gets steamrolled out of matches.

Osman might have quick feet, some of you say he has, but so has Lionel Blair and I don't want him running our midfield either. Division 1 is Osman's level ? not where he is now... and he should be sent packing as soon as possible.

As for that arse-licking twat Allardyce, I can't believe he was being touted for the England manager's job not so long ago. His team are the worst I have seen in many along year and I hope they go down. Fat Sam is so out of touch with football in the year 2009, having him run a football club is a bit like having that crappy 1970s pop group Showaddy Waddy performing at the MTV awards. Crepe-soled suedies, Teddyboy suits, Brylcream and Brut aftershave is what Sam's team are all about. Years behind the times... and they will never make a comeback once they are gone.

The run-in now appears as though it will take the form of so many other of our run-ins in recent years. Gruelling fights to the death with the direct route being taken. Route One will be the order of the day and necks will be sore.

The promise and belief of early January is now dissolving quicker than an Alka Seltzer tablet in a whino's belly. What the fuck has happened to us in just two weeks?? Surely we can't throw it all away yet again can we?

If we stick to what we are good at, which is staying solid at the back and trying to play proper footy farther down the pitch, then we will be alright. If we take the other road, which is tinkering with a settled side and playing Hoofball, we are Fucked. In fact, I don't think we can beat Boro on Sunday playing the way we did at Blackburn.

Solutions:Neville RB and Yobo dropped. Osman dropped in favour of Gosling... or even AvdM is worth a pop at this rate. Saha starts with Cahill playing off him. Rodwell, Pienaar, Fellaini making up the rest of midfield. Lescott and Jags back where they belong. Happy days all round. COYBs

Reader Comments

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Kurt Knight
1   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:05:02

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I often see the guys pick at you for negativeness but this is a match that deserved it. We all want more because they have given us a good turn on a horrible start to the season. I fear the rest of the year is clinch and hold as I don’t think we have anyone close to being able to hold steady on the ball and pass to the right spot. It takes more than fancy footwork, it takes brains.
JL Slap
2   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:10:20

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Tony I hate your posts, in recent times you have made some of the most contraversial & pesimistic claims.

But......your spot on with this mate. Especially concerning the breaking up of Jags & Lescott, I was disgusted by Moyes for doing that just to accomodate Yobo. I can only assume that he has done it for some kind of loyalty to the player or JY has been in his ear, either way it was a cowards way out, I am a Moyes fan but I wont blindly support everyone of his decisions and that is one of the worst of his tenure.

I am also in agreeance you views on Osman, not in the extreme. But I feel at best he is a squad player, cover, no more.

And we know the reason the performances have dipped, simply Arteta forces the main hoofballers (jags, Joey, Hbbo, Nev etc) to giv him the ball and proves that by doing this, we can retain posession and start attacks. It has to be up to the midfield to make the same demands. Baines isnt that much of a hoofer and the main reason for that is that Pienaar always wants the ball in front of him wheras Neville, Osman etc do not! Simple as........

Time for a few players to stand up & be counted.

P.S - Cant believe I am agreeing so wholheartedly with Marshy?? ha ha
chris mccullough
3   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:09:50

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I hope Moyes takes note of your solutions Tony. Agree 100%. Great article.
Mike Oates
4   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:07:25

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Tony, whilst I totally agree with you re splitting Jags and Lescott, the real problem Moyes faces is loosing Neville from centre midfield (I thought I?d never say that 9 months ago) and then how to fill the right back slot. As for centre midfield, he clearly hasn?t got faith in Fellaini?s form or fitness, Pienaar and Osman?s physical ability to play centre midfield, Castillo is not up to it, and Rodwell is just too young to play the lead role. Therefore he has to play Neville there ? he has no other choice at the moment.

At right back, he can't play Neville for the above reasons, he also clearly doesn?t trust Jacobsen (which can only be from training sessions) and Yobo can't play there ? therefore no choice again but to use Jags, which is where he got initial international recognition, when he was with Sheffield United.

As for hoofball, well I?m actually sure that they are not sent out to play it, but it?s the easy choice when you haven?t got anybody willing to take responsibility to get hold of the ball from our defenders and make things happen. None of the above midfielders mentioned have got that temperament (maybe Neville has, but not the ability) to dictate our play. I do believe Fellaini might just might have it in the future but at the moment he must be top of the ?what the hell I?m I doing here? pile. He gets switched positions every game, gets booked every game, and is struggling coming to terms with the pace of the Premier League.

As for the rest of the season, be prepared again for dull, boring, hoofball, 1-0 wins at home from set pieces, 0-0 away or loosing to the Chelsea, Villa?s and most probably Fulham games.

As far as the FA Cup, I suspect we can get past Middlesbrough, but if the other 3 semi-finalists are Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal then lets make the most of our semi-final trip to Wembley, as I suspect we won't get further.

As far as the league, we?ll finish 6th and qualify for Europe. Bearing in mind are disastrous pre-season and start to the campaign I?ll take 6th and a semi. But by god Moyes and Kenwright need to make sure that our pre-season is a good one hopefully with a new second midfield maestro and a pacey winger.
dominic buckley
5   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:27:38

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"What the fuck has happened to us in just two weeks"

We’ve lost arteta and anichibe that’s what. that’s why the footy’s suffering - if Moyes can fix it he will but you can’t expect him to stumble on a magic formula instantly.

I don’t like jags at right back neither and it was gutting watching the attacks break down with him again and again but Moyes sees the players in training - youse don’t. Maybe he decided that Jaccobson’s no good, maybe he thought that returning him just after injury against fat sam’s thugs was a stupid move. Coward’s way out!!! J L slap - have a fcuking word with yourself and a bit more respect for Moyes.

Osman’s been effective for us for years in away games against teams further down the table - he’s a proven prem player, maybe only a squad player but we could do with more like him
El-ray Jackson
6   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:21:13

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Totally agree with you, Moyes picked the same defensive line-up against Newcastle and Jagielke played at right back and he was very shit (Not his fault) You’d think Moyes would have never played him there again after the Newcastle game, but we saw it again yesterday! Moyes is just a fucking pussy whos scared shitless to take a risk. Why wasnt Osman taken off after he performed woefully througout the whole game. We had no attacking threat at all, I know Shandy hasnt been the greatest of players, but would it have been any worse to bring on a player who could have provide some service, after all he couldnt have been worse than Osman on the wings! Some might say Osman is a cracking little player who is blue through and through, the problem is hes too shit and drops to the floor like a sack of shit at every oppertunity. I’m afraid a couple of good goals a season isn’t enough to justify him as a premier league player. He is a McFadden in disguise, but poeple always back him up becuase he is a product of the Everton academy, albeit a very sub-standard one!
Jay Harris
7   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:38:47

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Where is Manny Fernandes when you need him?

In the absense of a central MF player who is comfortable on the ball you need some width and creativity.

Solution = play Jags at RB???

I criticised DM after we drew 0-0 with 10 man Newcastle but last night was another joke.

What have Jacobsen,Gosling and VDM done to not deserve at least 15 minutes on the pitch.

It was obvious we set out to get a draw and no more but this ultra caution may yet cost us 6th place.
Lee Robinson
8   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:26:29

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100% agree with you JL Slap about the hoofball, it would happen most times if it wasn’t for Arteta, he always finds space and looks for the pass. Last night the midfield goes missing too many times and it gives the defenders no option although they don’t need asking twice to hoof it, Lescott is one of the main culprits!! has been all season...
Simon Hughes
9   Posted 05/03/2009 at 16:57:28

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Come on Tony, at least be honest, you absolutely loved it. Cold weather, poor passing, no width, Osman, a 0-0 bore, shocking beer, crap pies and Moyes ignoring your sage advice yet again. I bet you were like a pig in shit.
Kevy Quinn
10   Posted 05/03/2009 at 17:00:55

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Fair play, Tony, for sitting through that rubbish last night and to the rest who went to Ewood Park to watch, because it was painful viewing! Apart from a five minute spell just before half-time when we played well, the rest of the match was bollox! Though the ref didn't help in the second half. On a happier note quarter-final on Sunday... come on to fuck, BLUES!
Stuart Limey
11   Posted 05/03/2009 at 17:19:04

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Totally agree - Hoofball since Yobo came back in. Play a right back not a centre half filling a position. Hoofball is bad enough but we don?t even have a forward good enough at present to hold the Ball up anyhow???
Tony Williams
12   Posted 05/03/2009 at 17:37:07

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He’s back!
Dominic Murphy
13   Posted 05/03/2009 at 17:43:53

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Was this cut and pasted from the last rant?

Give me a break
Alan Crosby
14   Posted 05/03/2009 at 17:41:32

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I think, in Moyes?s defence, that now he has lost his playmaker, he feels hoofball is the most likely way to garner a few points. I don?t like it but I suspect neither does he but he is having to be pragmatic. We have one of the best defences in the Prem and there?s always the chance we can grab a winner from a lucky bounce or a set piece.

We?ll never learn to love it but needs must......

Neil McKinney
15   Posted 05/03/2009 at 17:51:29

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Same shit, different day.

Please don’t disgrace yourselves by calling Moyes a coward. He makes decisions and ultimately has to stand by them which to me is a lot less cowardly than coming on here ranting like you’ve got all the answers. Let’s face it Tony, you’ve had to eat your words on more than one occasion lately.

I agree it was painful, I agree we didn’t play well, but some of you lot really think you have all the answers. So he splits up the defensive partnership and puts Jagielka at RB. Did we concede? Away from Home? How many chances did they have? Shots on target?

I understand the argument that Jags doesn’t give us anything going forward, but the other options were a) play Pip at RB and face the real risk of being overrun in midfield, or b) play Jacobson at RB - a player who has not played at all in the Prem, has just come back from injury, and away at a side who are known for playing rough. I don’t know about you guys, but I would prefer to experiment with new players at home.

It’s all ifs and buts, yet some of you point these issues out as if you know full well it would have worked done your way. Very confident of you and easy when you don’t have to stand by it like Moyes does. Just get back onto FM, winning everything. It’s easy this football management lark.

I was disappointed that we couldn’t close the gap further, and yes it was a great opportunity, but that doesn’t make it easy. We all go on about what a great player Arteta is, yet some seem to think we shouldn’t miss him! WHAT?

The performance was poor and even facing Boro we will need a lot more to get to the semis. Over recent years teams battling relegation have often reached the latter stages of the domestic cups, so we must not take them lightly. However, after the horror of losing Arteta, I’m actually quite pleased at getting 5 points from 1 home and 2 away games. Not pretty granted, but still moving in the right direction for me.

Liam Reilly
16   Posted 05/03/2009 at 18:09:41

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A couple of poor games lads and it’s not pretty but we’re not losing.

Have to agree with Tony regarding Osman though, who was a complete non entity last night. Jo was useless also, can’t hold the ball up and dreadfull first touch.

On the positive side, Saha looks lively again and must start on Sunday with Jo cup-tied, (thankfully). Cahill in behind him, a midfield without Osman and Lescott & Jags back in the centre.

We live and hope.
Simon Dixon
17   Posted 05/03/2009 at 18:19:40

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Another cleen sheet; not been beaten for fucking months; In the quarters of the FA Cup... You won't be happy until we are relagated and then you can put on your post, "I told you so". Miserable Twat. Look on the bright side for fuck's sake.
John Martin
18   Posted 05/03/2009 at 18:27:55

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Osman on the right hand side is a waste of time, he’s a decent prem player but only in the centre and not against the top sides. He doesnt stay out wide due to lack of pace so we have no outlet on the right. For Sunday Gosling should start on the right and move Osman into the middle with Rodwell sitting deeper and Neville at RB, Jags & Lescott are our best pairing in the middle and must stay there. As for last night we were awful we may have lost Arteta but these players are paid well to play football not just hoof it aimlessly.
Colin Malone
19   Posted 05/03/2009 at 18:28:16

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Playing two defensive midfielders, Neville and Rodwell,which left a big hole in front of them, which in turn leave a wide gap between Osman on one wing and Peanut on the other.

Drop Rodwell, put either pienaar or Osman in front of the defensive midfielder with Gosling on the wing. I'd even try Gosling in the middle, with he's forward runs and shots on goal from outside the box.
Robbie Muldoon
20   Posted 05/03/2009 at 19:06:42

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If Tony Marsh, a lad who is standing in the stands watching the match can realise how we should have been set up last night, why can?t £65k-a-week Moyes?

Is he scared of Yobo putting in a transfer request in the summer due to a lack of first team football, so he takes every possible opportunity to give him a start!??

Don?t break up Jags and Lescott! Consistency, consistency, Moyes, you muppet!
Nick Marsh
21   Posted 05/03/2009 at 19:47:18

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Robbie Muldoon, no offence but I would take Moyes over T Marsh anyday. T Marsh gave up on our season after aboout 5 games I think!

While I would not pick Jags for right back, I think we should remember that the player himself was very happy to play there for England when he first got called up, I seem to remember his debut going rather well.

"Consistency, consistency, Moyes, you muppet!" To be fair, Moyes has consistently baffled us with his selections and he has consistently made our team difficult to beat; last night was no exception, so why the fuss? 2 bad games and 4 pts!!!

Chris Jones
22   Posted 05/03/2009 at 20:05:45

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Yawn Tony Yawn...

Change the record lad. Last night’s game was crap but the pitch was a nightmare and we did try to play when we could but Allardyce squeezed an already narrow pitch.

Wish you were in charge you make it all sound so easy.

Roll on Sunday - COYB!
Terry Hayes
23   Posted 05/03/2009 at 19:57:05

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Colin, er, have you seen Gosling's shots from outside the box?
Dave Wilson
24   Posted 05/03/2009 at 19:51:43

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Another post that?ll get everyman and his dog naming the team to face Boro.
No doubt no one will name Yobo, but he?ll play... and many people will name AVDM and he won't.
Tony Marsh
25   Posted 05/03/2009 at 20:21:07

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Regardless of where we are now, 6th place in the league and FA Cup semi-final, it could easily have been so much better. I have to admit that Moyes has turned the season around since the horrible early start but whose fault was the bad start? Well it wasn't mine...

It's the simple things that Moyes seems to overlook that more times than not cost us. The Lescott - Jagz situation is one thing, the poor use of the subs at Newcastle who were down to 10 men another. Even the subs last night had me scratching my head. Rodwell taken off Osman left on??? Cahill pushed deeper; ADVM and Gosling left on the bench; Osman left on the pitch??? Jo given way too long when obviously struggling etc etc etc. Exactly the same at St James Park 2 weeks ago.

Villa are slipping, Arsenal are treading water and we are making no in-roads. As I said, it's not all bad but it could be way better that's all.
Alan Kirwin
26   Posted 05/03/2009 at 20:31:40

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Totally agree with that analysis Tony. Odd thing is, Yobo played at RB for Nigeria several times. Splitting up Jags & Lescott is utter madness.

As for the rest of your proposed team, no real argument. I think he’s keeping Neville in midfield due to loss of Arteta and lack of character/spunk with others.

Problem last night, and Newcastle, was being too stretched too many times and asking far too much of the forwards due to midfield going missing. We need to put together a midfield that can work in concert to compensate for loss of the main man.

Personally I ’d consider opting for a 3-5-2 if Hibbert is unfit, with Jobo joining the 2 centre backs and Gosling/AVDM, Fellaini, Neville, Pienaar, Baines.

Last 2 away games were definitely there for taking, so 4 pts lost. Had we held on against Arsenal for another 30 seconds too then we’d be a point behind Villa. We’ve fallen on to the back foot in those 2 games & especially in midfield. Moyes HAS to re-connect the team. Arteta is irreplaceable, so we need to think outside the box. To me that say maybe 3-5-2 to give us an extra man in the middle (where it matters).

Squeaky bum time.
Martin Handley
27   Posted 05/03/2009 at 20:35:13

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Tony, I said it last week we have the smallest squad available to any club in the Prem and half the lads in that squad last night were either injured or not match fit or just plain fucked!! Look at the amount of high profile games we?ve had lately with basically the same starting 11 and tell me me we?re not performing miracles. It was bound to catch up with us at some point and last night was it.

I went last night as well and had a bad feeling about it, but fair play to the lads that played, they dug in and got a result. So onwards and upwards to Sunday and Boro who I think we?ll do comfortably.

Stuart Downey
28   Posted 05/03/2009 at 21:08:20

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Agree wholeheartedly, Tony. There's so much at stake over these next 4-6 weeks that we have to take maximum points. And we?re capable of doing it.

Plus "dissolving quicker than an Alka Seltzer tablet in a whino?s belly" is a great quote.

Sam Logan
29   Posted 05/03/2009 at 21:07:26

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I totally agree on your criticism of the changes at the back, but as to the midfield and up front I think we need to give Moyes the benefit of the doubt ? he trusts Osman a lot more than the supporters. Moyes has worked miracles most of the year... look, he set us up to draw at worst and hopefully sneak one in; not the beautiful game we all desire but we didnt lose.

Methinks he is resigned to 6th in the league and wants to save our best for the FA Cup run. If we play like this against Boro Sunday I will blow a gasket as well but I think that, on a bad pitch with injuries and inexperience all around, Moyes took a conservative approach and secured a point in what could easily have been a "trap" fixture.

Charles Mills
30   Posted 05/03/2009 at 20:47:17

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Mr. Marsh.

May I express my agreement with you.
I am a fourth generation Evertonian (52 years a season ticket holder) and my children and grand nephews are fifth and sixth generations respectively.
Please forgive my IT ineptness.

The great Everton sides have been built on solid defence:
1939 - Sagar and T. G. Jones
1963 - West/Dunlop and Labone
1970 - West and Labone/Kenyon/ Hurst
1980’s - Southall and Ratcliffe/Mountfield/Watson
The fullbacks speak for themselves - Parker, Wilson, Newton, Brown, Wright, Stevens, Van Den Hawe etc.

The defence we have today is collectively, although not individually, is as good as any of those great defences. Witness the statistics.

As Mr. Marsh implores, please don’t fool around with the Defence. The rest will do as well as it can given the circumstances.

We haven’t got Tommy Lawton, Alex Young, Alan Ball or Graeme Sharp in our side at the moment but we have got a superb manager and some good players so let us all relax and enjoy whatever we achieve.

Please don’t despair. Despite the horrific injuries, this is the best chance we have of success for some time.

Believe me, I’ve been here before and we will achieve again in accordance with our wonderful history.

Kind regards from an old get!

Charles Mills
Sean Patton
31   Posted 05/03/2009 at 20:58:39

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Just a point to people who are pushing for the inclusion of Jacobsen at full back because he is a Danish International.

Castillo is an Ecuadorian international and is not Premiership standard.

Also why does Osman continually get slated while Van der Meyde gets an easy ride. In four years the guy has creamed us for millions we do not have and contributed a few crosses.

Yet he still gets mentioned by countless posters as our potential survivor as if he is going to swagger on and beat the opposition single handed.

He has been eclipsed and shown up by a teenager from Devon who runs more in one match than the Dutchman has in his entire Everton career.
Steve Last
32   Posted 05/03/2009 at 21:27:06

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All these injuries are doing my head in. What is it with our lads? I am sure other Prem sides are not hit as badly as EFC. Are we overtrained or badly prepared? Possibly it could be down to our small squad but I think there must be other reasons.
Tony Carey
33   Posted 05/03/2009 at 21:47:06

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It was barely 2 months ago everybody was screaming to get Neville out of midfield and put Castillo in. It's plainly obvious Moyes knows the strengths of his own players and Castillo wasn?t up to it.

Now everyone is wanting Andy V der M in; he wouldn?t last 10 minutes, let's be real. The same with Gosling; he?s played 2 games on a high and really struggled since ? Newcastle, West Brom ? although he?s young enough to improve.

So what we are left with is tried and trusted players that Moyes is using: Yobo, Neville, Osman etc... Maybe they are squad players... but times like these (no Arteta, Yakubu, Anichebe, Hibbert, Vaughan..) are made for squad players.

James Boden
34   Posted 05/03/2009 at 21:50:17

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As usual I have to agree with Tony. And as for those saying small squad and all these big games, well since we played Spurs at back end of November our furthest was Newcastle the other week. So in that respect we hardly had to worry too much about fatigue. And it was a dreadful reality when Arteta got injured that we were going to collapse. In oh so typical Moyes fashion he reverts back to the ol painful formula of hoofball. The good football started on November 30 at Tottenham but sadly ended on February 22nd at Newcastle. And I can't see when it will return.

As Marsh said it is the small simple things that Moyes costs us. Splitting up your best defensive partnership youve had for Yobo really is baffling, but typical of the bloke. Yobo isnt good enough to warrant breaking up that partnership. And what will happen when all defenders are fit, what then? We know Neville will never be dropped but it seems Yobo sooner or later has to regain his place.

And speaking of untouchables Osman is sure that. What exactly has he done to deserve the status afforded to him. 1 goal in 5 months is hardly ground breaking stuff. And Jo?s debut must have been a fluke cause ever since he?s looked woeful with an incredibly bad touch. While the heart says the cup is ours this year, the head has overrulled it and we will crash out of the cup Sunday and then fall apart. A power struggle to retain 6th spot is what it clearly is. A long hard end to this season is what it's going to be.

Russell Buckley
35   Posted 05/03/2009 at 22:27:13

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Tony, couldn’t agree more. Breaking up Jags and Lescott is madness. They are up there with Man Utd as the best CB partnership in the league and we put Yobo in just becuase Hibbert is missing.

We lack creativity in midfield so keeping Neville there isn’t going to help. He has been brilliant in midfield but as a defensive partner for Arteta.

Hoofball won’t catch Arsenal. Even if we don’t go higher up the ladder I’d rather see us finish the season playing football.
Robbie Muldoon
36   Posted 05/03/2009 at 22:45:29

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Team for saturday please...

Neville Jags lescott Baines (Made up the lad has cemented his place)
Gosling Rodwell Fellaini Pienaar

Imagine we had a full strengh squad to choose from though...

Hibbert Jagz Lescott Baines
Gosling Rodwell Arteta Pienaar

Arteta and Yakubu are sorely missed, but we still have enough to achieve something this season, especially with the tremendous team spirit you can see.

Andy Maher
37   Posted 05/03/2009 at 22:54:53

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When we are doing well, people like Tony Marsh don't come out and give praise but as soon as we hit a down turn they?re desperate to criticise!!!

Osman could fill in the Arteta role in center-mid, he did well in center-mid last season, he played there last season for a spell when we played some of our best football in years, i.e. Sunderland.

You can't criticise the decision to play jags at right back when the 2 times he's played there this season we?ve kept clean sheets away from home.
Paul Niklas
38   Posted 05/03/2009 at 23:08:07

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Tony, spot on apart from one thing and supported by others in resonse to you.

Rodwell ? you have got to be joking, this kid has not a clue, he was lost again last night, and to me I have seen nothing at all that tells me that this central defender will ever make a midfielder.

Moyes put him in their last night as the potential playmaker in midfield, he did not make one decent pass all night, always our of position and never once dropped back to demand the ball from defence to start a move.

I would be very disappointed if this guy started on Sunday, in fact I would put money on it he won't.

Hope he proves me wrong but I doubt it very much.
Rob Jones
39   Posted 05/03/2009 at 23:10:44

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Were we pants at Blackburn? Yes. But let's face facts, we?re struggling to get 11 fit players on the pitch (I think it?s accepted that Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Rodwell have all played before they should).

We can debate forever whether we agree with every selection, I don?t! But we are currently 6th, after one of the worst starts to a season you could have had. The loss of Arteta has been felt as profoundly as any I can remember ? Southall? Heath? Who else has had as much influence as our favourite Basque? Personally, if we hang on to our current position, we will have done well this season.

Jimmy Rimmer
40   Posted 05/03/2009 at 23:49:24

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I agree with Tony Carey... Many of you were crying out for Castillo to get a game and were baffled why he was left out. Now it is clear. Moyes see’s these guys day in day out and knows what they are individually capable of.

It’s easy being Tony Marsh, harping on with the benefit of hindsight - able to say I told you so when he’s right (it has been known) - and able to disappear when he’s wrong (as in recent weeks).

I’m sorry Tony - reality check for you here and it might come as a shock to you, but Moyes does know more than you. You critisize substitutions all the time, but you don’t know who’s carrying a slight knock, who’s running out of steam etc.

I remember a while ago you saying how you knew Cahill would get injured if he stayed on the pitch (oh - with the benefit of hindsight and seeing him hobble off the pitch). You said that you would "never forgive Moyes" if Timmy had a bad injury and was out for a while.

But he was back the next game and fighting fit... So you were wrong and Moyes wasn’t. He has the benefit of interacting with the players - finding out how they’re feeling physically and you don’t.

Harping on with your "why did he do this" - "why didn’t he do that" nonsense gets very boring every time we don’t win! You do not know everything. You seem to think you do. Stop it!
Anthony Dyer
41   Posted 06/03/2009 at 00:19:13

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Even if we maintain our form of the past 10 - 20 games we will get between 17 - 19 points which would give us a total of between 62 and 64 points.
Villa now have 52 and Arsenal 49 so both would need a maximum of 5 wins to finish above us at the end of the season.
We are very unlikely to win more than 5 times in the remaining games something we last achieved this in 1995-96 .
So sixth is the best we can hope for.

Danny O'Neill
42   Posted 06/03/2009 at 00:45:18

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Agree with the point about central defence-the performances of Jags and Lescott have been the foundations and that should be left alone. Think you?re harsh on Osman as I think he adds creativity and with Arteta gone we lack there. Don?t forget, the lad is still short of match fitness and in fairness has probably been rushed back. You can?t have it both ways-we either try to players on the park who can play or we play the hoof ball you always complain about. Lets be honest, Blackburn are never great to play against and now even worse as Allardyce turns them into his new Bolton. Don?t forget it takes 2 teams to make a football match.
John Andrews
43   Posted 06/03/2009 at 00:41:10

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I watched the game last night and feel as if I have lost two hours of the rest of my life! Osman was particularly poor if not ineffective to boot. I fail to see what Moyes sees in him. Just my opinion...
Jason Lam
44   Posted 06/03/2009 at 01:21:49

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It’s plain obvious to see. We only play one attacking full-back, so instead of Lescott playing in the LB position, the 3 center-backs have simply ’shifted to the right’ to compensate for Baines!

My take on accommodating Yobo is to keep him match fit when the inevitable happens: Jags and Lescott get injured.

Sean Condon
45   Posted 06/03/2009 at 01:30:45

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I agree with you about the cb situation. While we were pretty damn solid at the back last night, Yobo looks like he?s about two touches away from one of his calamitous game-losing errors.

And you are right about Osman. The little fella had a stretch about two months ago when he really looked the business for about six games, but starting with the trio of derby matches (as you correctly predicted) he has just disappeared. His touch would shame an amateur, he telegraphs his every intention and his influence on matches is non-existent. Jesus, we could put Manny Fernandes to good use right about now.

I don?t mean to be such a pessimist, and I think we will win on Sunday, but frankly, I?ll be surprised if we win four of our remaining league fixtures.

Not that I?m giving up, mind you. I just booked my plane ticket and I?ll be at Goodison for the Spurs and Shiteh games in May. The last time I was at Mecca was Xmas ?86. As my granddad said, when I come home Everton win things.

Ciaran Duff
46   Posted 06/03/2009 at 01:20:24

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Saha is obviously not 100% fit with his thigh strain. He?s one of the few creative options we have but Moyes has to be very careful how he uses him so that he?s not out for another extended period. Big risk to start him on Sun I think.

While I agree that Moyes is trying to stick with the tried and trusted players and even if it isn?t pretty we?ll try to nick wins here & there. However, surely it is a good idea to try to give some of the fringe players some game time in the first team and/or reserves. Why wasn?t Shandy Andy brought on for 15 mins v Newcastle? Why have Shandy, Castillo, Jacobsen not played any reserve games recently?

Gary Hughes
47   Posted 06/03/2009 at 01:37:12

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Every time we hit a bump in the road, Moyes reverts to type. There are a number of legitimate excuses for the last three performances, the loss of key players etc. but can anyone really justify performances like last night? We are capable of so much more yet the loss of one player results in seasoned pro?s suddenly losing the abilty to perform the basics of passing & controlling a football.

We are now resigned to playing out our remaining games twatting the ball upfield hoping something might happen instead of seizing the opportunity in front of us & making something happen. As ever Moyes promises so much but once the chips are down we fall apart. The really sad part is that 12 months from now we?ll be having the same arguments.

Daniel Cremin
48   Posted 06/03/2009 at 02:16:59

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Tony what are your solutions? You hate Phil Neville going from memory, we’ve got a frequently crocked 29 year old who’s untested in premiership football and you want to line him up at right back. Come on man.

What’s next build the midfield around Shandy and Jack Rodwell? FFS we have done phenomenally well to cope with what have effectively been season-ending or nearabouts that injuries to Yakubu, Arteta (our most natural playmaker), Anichebe (who adds pace down the right when called upon) and Vaughan who’s an exciting prospect to throw on. We’ve also had not-insubstantial injuries to Pienaar and Osman cropping up throughout the season.

We’ve done fantastically well to build up the away win record we’ve got. We’ve gone some way to restoring Goodison to fortress status and we’ve started to blood the future players that we need as a budget-conscious team have to home grow - Gosling and Rodwell with time can be fantastic players. I’m a fan of Osman, but Gosling has the potential to be a much better player in 5-6 years if he can keep his head and learn from Leon and Tim.

What we need are fans who don’t get on the players backs when they’ve gone out and slugged hard for 95 mintues against a bloody pig-headed, dirty Big Sam team that’s out to do damage and play negative football.

We can’t be expected to play flowing football when we’re missing our best players and our defensive midfield dynamo is Jack Rodwell! We did well all things considered to get a point against a very hard-edged side. Big Sam teams are what the media sometimes try to cast Everton as - an old school, do what it takes to grind out a draw or a lucky win team.

We have a crop of quality players who are highly motivated. We’ll never be a pretty football side like Arsenal or have the luxury of being spoilt for choice between clinical finishers like Berbatov and ’fan favourite’ flair players like Tevez to put out. but we have players like Cahill and when fit again Arteta who’ve got fire in their bellies.

Please try and see the positives with this season. It’s easy to carp from the sides when we don’t play a side off the pitch, but saying Moyes is a coward, is just beneath contempt. He’s been willing to gives Baines a regular staring place, showing he’s not pig-headed like some say, he’s giving Rodwell and Gosling a chance to really show what they can do, and he’s even take the ’gamble’ of letting Shandy Andy back in for cameos.

In short while his team are never going to be greatest attacking football candidates in youtube rankings, Moyes is creative and adaptive. He’s an innovator who doesn’t talk endlessly about his changes. He lets the performances of his players when they beat the likes of Villa and Liverpool speak for him.
Terry Downes
49   Posted 05/03/2009 at 14:04:01

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After last night's poor showing, it might be worth giving Van der Shandy a run in Arteta's place. I'm sure it can't be any worse than what we've seen in the last 2 games? For all his negatives, he must have some ability left, even if he's lost some of his speed.

Failing that, does anyone know why he can't even get on the pitch for more than 10 mins? Moyes is useless with his substitutes. I'm sure unless through injury or going a goal down he would prefer not to use any...

Phil Gregory
50   Posted 06/03/2009 at 07:28:59

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I live down in Devon and have been talking to a few Plymouth fans who told me that Dan Gosling played at right back a few times and did o.k. He and Baines would give us two good attacking fullbacks to take the pressure off our midfield.
Chris James
51   Posted 06/03/2009 at 08:24:15

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Err, looks like my post got a bit mangled there, and one of the mods has taken it off.

Main point was that the thing to castigate Moyes for (if at all) is failure to bring in more creative players as cover. Right now there simply aren?t great options to provide a balanced midfield.
Art Jones
52   Posted 06/03/2009 at 08:35:29

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One of the benefits of being a manager is that you get to see the whole picture, not just the 90 minutes they are on the pitch. If Moyes thinks that this was the best option v Blackburn, ie the team and formation for the occasion he picked and the sustitutions he made then I?d much rather trust that than the bitter wingeing from someone who wouldn?t know where to start when actually doing the job full time! We?d be up shit creek without a paddle if Moyes left, as he?s proved for 7 years, much to the chagrin of some narrow minded fools who fancy themselves as "our saviour" ..... I wonder what rant?s next? Bring back Beattie and AJ?
Terry May
53   Posted 06/03/2009 at 10:40:16

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People bitching and moaning about the game on Wednesday, but let’s not forget this is the opposition that scored three at Goodison back last summer, and put us out the League Cup, so at least we avoided three defeats to this opposition, and Ewood Park is still a tough venue to go to for any team, so cut back on all the negativity, I’d like to remind supporters we have the best chance to reach our first FA cup semi-final since ’95 on Sunday, and from what I saw at White Hart Lane, Southgate and Co’ may not present much of a obstacle, but let’s not tempt fate to say this tie is a done deal.

It would be a treasue for us to be "last team standing" in the FA cup this year and see Neville lift the trophy, but in all seriousness I fear the closest we will get to see the FA cup this season, is if they have a power cut on Match of the Day, and someone shines a flashlight on Lineker.

Oh dear.
Paul Lally
54   Posted 06/03/2009 at 10:43:20

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Jacobsen was not crocked ? he was fighting fit when he arrived but dislocated his shoulder on international duty with Denmark. He has played in Germany. He has played for Denmark since under-16s so knows how to play right back.

"Untried in the Premier League" is nonsense. He can only get used to the change of pace etc if he does play. Newcastle was the perfect opportunity to give him a go ? then WBA then Blackburn. If he had been given the chance against Newcastle and ? shock, horror ? played well, he would be match fit now.

As said above Sir Alex does not split his centre-halves. We all want a squad and when we have a like for like replacement at right back we do not use him.

I feel sorry for Jacobsen especially with a World Cup coming up. He wants to play and play well, for Everton and to make the national team for what will probably be his last chance at the World Cup ? so the incentive is there. The decision is accomodate Yobo is baffling. In a squad when you are coming back from injury you usually have to wait for your place to become open if the one you are replacing are playing well. Otherwise what is the point ?

If you were in Jacobsen?s shoes you would be insulted and frustrated and have every right to wonder what you are doing at a club that will not even give you a chance, if only for 45 mins. Yobo could have come on at any time over the past 3 games if Jacobsen was not up to the job.

As said, baffling.

Paul Lally
55   Posted 06/03/2009 at 11:46:21

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Roy - I do not think anyone is saying it was not a good point against a typical Allardyce team of bruisers.
And we all appreciate what we have achieved giving the injury crisis but that does not mean we cannot debate certain decisions that were made regarding team selection and how, for the majority of the game, we could not pass the ball to a team mate.
FA Cup quarter final next match, so understandable that the players may have had one eye on Sunday and did not want to get injured etc.
Daniel Cremin
56   Posted 06/03/2009 at 12:00:54

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Paul he played 7 times in total, including late sub-appearences the season before he joined us.

He got released from Nurnberg and FC Copenhagen were hardly snapping at their heels to sign him to a contract even though he trained the whole summer.

I’ve got nowt against him, no great indication that he’s another VDM, but he’s been out for a long time and many players develop long term mental blocks on extended runs in the team after a serious injury. The shoulder was a freak accident maybe, and its a shame for the guy, but I tend to trust Moyes’ appraisal of his players. For all we know he’d been privately as outspoken as he was in public about squad selection - maybe the other defenders don’t want to work with him if he’s whining.

A lot of you don’t like Yobo, and he’s certainly not a Jags or Lescott, but he’s been solid and largely dependable over the years for us. Maybe his career hasn’t lived up to the early promise, but his mistakes are few and far between when looked at over a whole season basis. Lescott by his own admission was making school boy errors at the start of the season. But no one flags them up.

We’d all like Jags back in the centre, but Moyes has to make the judgment as to the players game fittness - both physically AND mentally - if their composure and attitude isn’t right then he’s right to leave them on the bench. That’s what I suspect may be the issue with Lars.
Damian Kelly
57   Posted 06/03/2009 at 12:35:31

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Wednesday was horrible. I generally think Osman gets a raw deal on here but I was really disappointed with him as he generally plays well against the lesser teams - didnt think he showed anything at all.

I actually thought Jags was Ok at right back - got forward a few times and was sharp to react to set up the Pienaar chance. Ideally he would stay in the middle but we arent exactly in ideal times with the level of injuries

I also thought Joey got caught sleeping and on the wrong side of his man on at least 3 occasions - a couple of times he recovered the situation with his pace but against better strikers he could have been punished
Amit Vithlani
58   Posted 06/03/2009 at 12:38:39

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I believe that hoofball will be enough to get us past Boro. We are solid enough at the back and on set-pieces are a threat - provided Alan Wiley isn’t refereeing.

However, a safety-first attitude with 6 defenders and too many players playing out of position is not going to get us any further in the Cup. Defending deep and whacking the ball 40 yards will be meat and drink to messrs Ferdinand, Vidic, Terry, Toure or whoever else makes the semis. All of the likely contenders will also have attacks with enough quality to put us under serious pressure unless we ourselves try and keep the ball further up the field.

In the league, 3 points for a win mean that you will collect as many points winning 1 out of 3 as drawing all 3. Safety-first might keep you unbeaten for the rest of the season but it is unlikely to win you many more points.

I am not asking that we go gung-ho as we don’t have the players, outside the excellent first 11 Moyes has crafted, to do so.

However, I believe playing 6 defenders is also pointless.

With 6th place largely wrapped up (I think we need 4 wins out of the last 10) we have an opportunity to rotate the squad and bring in AvDM, Jacobsen and Castillo, and heck, even Baxter.

We should try and stick to 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 provided in both cases we have proper full backs trying to attack down both sides.

Come on Moyesy, we can afford a few risks. after Sunday, lets abandon safety-first and hoofball and have a proper go for the rest of the season. As for the Boro game, I don’t care how we play, as we should have enough to get past them
Kevin Bracey
59   Posted 06/03/2009 at 13:31:39

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I have to say that the Blackburn game took us back to the dark days earlier in the season. Everyone says it is because Arteta is out BUT Arteta played early in the saeson when we were poor and I seem to remember everyone say drop him. The real problem is playing people out of position - Something Moyes does very well!!

Lets get this straight - Jags is our player of the season, because he is a superb centre back. He is not a rb, or a holding midfielder. The hoofball has started again because Yobo is back!!! He has no composure and lumps it nearly every time. Moyes should not just try to accomodate him.

I also have an issue with slagging off osman. He is probably our most creative player at the moment and therefore should be played in the centre. Arteta was rubbish early season - why? because we played him on the wing!

Finally I pray we don’t sign Jo - He really is a waste of space. Saha, if kept fit could take us all the way to Wembley - COYB!!!!
John Fowles
60   Posted 06/03/2009 at 15:55:33

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Leave Osman alone, pick on someone your own size!!
Timmy Mongiat
61   Posted 06/03/2009 at 16:45:40

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All this moaning about jags playing out of position but since he moved to right back have we conceded a goal? no. And who set up pienar’s attempt from rightback? jags. Who had our second best chance at newcasle from right back? jags. And some people on here are saying sir alex doesnt split his centre halves. Well thats because neither vidic or ferdinand can play right back, but do u know who has and can; Jags. Furthermore its not like Moyes is some confused revolutionary in putting someone who usually plays cb at right. Sir Alex has used evans there, wenger has used toure there and dare I mention it, benetiz has used Carragher there on big occasions. And lets remember it was Moyes who turned jags from DM into a top class CB.

The problem isnt the defence, its the fact that we have been ravaged by injuries to a worse extent than anyone in the prem and have lost our best player and playmaker in arteta. But lets kill the pessimism a little bit, osman and pienarr will create oppurtunities but they’ve only just come back into the side and need a bit of time. Van der Meyde isnt the answer either, if anyone still thinks his prem quality they need there head checking. And Saha will play instead of Jo when fit, Moyes obviously didnt want to risk him considering his lengthy injury lay off from the start against blackburn cons his fitness and the fact that he is the only available striker for our FA cup game. Everyone needs to look at the season as whole, not a couple of games where we havent played well. The fact that we are where we are at the moment considering our summer spending and cons the injuries we’ve had is nothing short of remarkable.

And one last thing, get off Moyes back. His had a 35million net outlay since he took over and in that time has taken us from Material to top six team pushing the established top four. Compare that to all the money our rivals have spent and it doesnt even come near. Teams have drops in form, even the likes of united and chelsea. Doesn’t mean you should rant on with crazy comments made on the spur of the moment. To be honest some of stuff written by some is embarrasing and it would a good idea to consider the money spent by us under Moyes and, in the context of the season, just how many injuries we’ve had this year. Despite that, we are sixth(only 7 off villa with a fair better run in) and in a fa cup quarter final that we will probaly win.
Jamie Crowley
62   Posted 07/03/2009 at 02:06:10

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Tony, I didn?t even read the comments and skipped straight to where I could have my input.

I agree 100%. I was flabbergasted Wednesday. WHY do you seperate Jags and Lescott?? Neville had a few go rounds at RB and looked superlative! WHY is Jags at RB?? It?s seriously mind-boggling! I hope our back 4 on Sunday is Neville, Jags, Lescott, Baines ? why mess with that? Neville and Hibbert are interchangable parts. Yobo into central defense is a tinker and ill-advised when we were a brick wall back there! Ozzy needs out. Gosling in.

Right on the mark Tony, dead on!

Christine Foster
63   Posted 07/03/2009 at 05:06:38

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There are many reasons why players are picked and played out of positions; the obvious are injuries, poor performance or poor attitude. We understand that we have the injuries but to break up what has been a well documented fact of the best centre backs in the league ? that escapes me.

Forgetting the injuries and the numbers we have available, do we honestly believe that the team is told to knock it up to the front man for a lay off? Well... I do. After 10 mins you could see this was the tactic with Yobo, Jags, Neville all by-passing midfield.

I don't believe the loss of Arteta should dictate that we by-pass midfield but that's what's happening. With or without Arteta we have played some great football this season, but we slowly seem to be retreating into the bunker mentality of Hoof. This is a clear directive from Moyes.

If it isn?t, he is tactically inept. Either way, it's wrong. This is exactly why there was so much anger at the beginning of the season. It was the way they had been told to play.

It's one thing having a great defence but it's quite another to set your stall out as if it's the only thing you have.

I agree with Tony on this post: bad night, bad tactics, bad team selection, bad game, bad old days revisited. If you're going to play strikers don?t give them a 20% chance of getting the ball, leave them on their own or make them run the channels...

It does not show pragmatism, it shows a lack of conviction, faith, trust and belief in the players to play. In Moyes we trust?
Timmy Mongiat
64   Posted 07/03/2009 at 14:14:14

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Well, I'm glad there?s only be one article of stupidity since my recent post. How can you complain at Moyes (just been voted Manager of the Month btw) considering everything his done?

0-0 at Blackburn is a good result, especially considering that we were missing so many players. It wasn't easy for us to play football, the conditions weren't great and they were closing down like crazy and our best passers in midfield (save for arteta obviously) have only just come back into the team following injury.

How about trying not to draw conclusions on a couple of games since Arteta has been injured and games where we remained unbeaten. Unrealistic views about this club drawn from past heroics, crazy expectations or just plan stupidity isnt good for this club.

As I?ve said before, Moyes has moved us from a seriously relegation threatened club to a top six team pushing the top four with a net spend of £35million and for doing that he deserves EVERY Everton fan?s trust and support.

Ped Pearl
65   Posted 08/03/2009 at 00:04:58

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Yeh yeh ? what a crappy player to bring in hey... that Yobo is useless. He messed up big style letting in that goal... erm oh hang on wasn?t it a clean sheet again??

I dont think playing Gosling would of done much would it... I mean really he is kid who scored a goal that we will all remember ? but saying he is a better option to Osman is just ridiculous.

One bad game ? while we try to find our feet after the Arteta loss and its both feet full in (nolan style) on Moyes.

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