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Efficiency

By James Boden :  04/05/2009 :  Comments (11) :
That is what our performance at Sunderland was ? efficient. It wasn?t a performance to set the world alight but it was certainly good enough to win.

It was also a nice change. Too many times in previous years if we were playing a team who were struggling against relegation, we would fold like a pack of cards. West Brom, West Ham, Fulham, and even Portsmouth back in March. All were pathetic to say the least.

You could argue all you want with the ?they are fighting relegation so it is going to be tough? ? but they aren?t battling against relegation for a positive reason, it?s because the team is shite. That is why it was good to something much better at Sunderland. Despite their obvious need for points to stay clear of relegation we showed them up for what they really are - SHIT!

We controlled the game from start to finish and with the exception of Pienaar (who I thought was superb) we hardly broke sweat. Unlike the previous 4 games I had mentioned above, we showed our superior quality. It was like men against boys. They were clueless while we showed them how to take things easy. We weren?t threatened at all and that was very pleasing indeed.

It was a reflection of our improvement in quality of football this season. This European style of football has slowly but surely replaced that old crap that was Route One. We have shown that we can play some attractive football and not look out of place in possession of the ball. It seems Moyes may have realised this and let?s hope hoof ball has officially been confined to the history books at Goodison Park.

This victory has surely cemented a 3rd out of 4 year top 6 finishes. However, I do not think we will finish 5th. Sorry for the pessimism but, aside from our recent history showing how poor we end a season, Villa also have an easier run in than us. I am writing this as they have just seen off Hull and gone back above us into 5th.

Their run in is Fulham and Middlesbrough away before playing Newcastle at home on the final day. Our remaining fixtures are Tottenham and West Ham at home before finishing away at Fulham on the final day. Out of their 3, Fulham are playing for a European position while the remaining 2 could be games with nothing writing on them if the latter 2 have been relegated by then. Whilst our final 3 are against 3 teams who are battling for Europe while in a positive vein of form.

We have a poor home record against Spurs in recent years, West Ham are bound to owe us a victory at some point given our record against them and especially the nature of our recent wins against them and Fulham away is a bogey ground. With that being said, runs eventually come to an end so perhaps that is 6 points there. Should that be the case then it will leave us on 62 points. Even if that is the case I will be surprised if Villa gets less than 5 points there. But stranger things have happened.

However, I think this is a dilemma for Moyes. Do we push hard for 5th and risk injury or suspension or do we take things carefully and prepare for the Cup Final. I can understand why he would want to keep the momentum going but the importance of the FA Cup Final should not be underestimated.

Simply put the final is the most important game Everton Football Club have had in 11 years since that final day survival against Coventry. It is that important. Given our luck with injuries Moyes will have to watching very carefully and must surely have one eye on the final. When we play Fulham on the final day, I for one would hope Moyes gives a run out to several kids to save the main players for the Final.

Now previously I have been very critical of Moyes. The fact that we hadn?t won a trophy in his first 6 years in charge didn?t settle well with yours truly. Add to the fact that the football was usually comparable to watching paint dry and questionable tactics ? not to mention several cup humiliations, whether it was in Europe or domestically ? got me to the conclusion that he just wasn?t good enough.

And especially when he signed that new 5-year contract, I was worried that it was the beginning of the end. But I will hold my hand up and give credit where it?s due. In what has perhaps been his most difficult season as Everton manager, it could also be his most successful.

We are one game away from long awaited success. I honestly believe this game could define the direction we take of the next few years. If what we hope does happen then maybe perhaps Moyes will become less cautious and really believe that we can take on almost any team in the league and that reaching 4th place really is possible. But if we do win the FA Cup should 4th place really be the ambition of next season?

As silly as this might sound, it should be to try and be to win the league. Yes, that is a mad thought... sure. But if we win The FA Cup this season, it will have been on the back of the hardest run ever, plus our improvement since early winter would surely provide great encouragement.

We have to aim high and winning the Cup this season would surely rank up there with one of the greatest cup wins ever. Defensively we have been sound for months now for the majority of the time so who knows. Performances like the one on Sunday shows that we do have that efficiency in us. Add to that we played very well at Stamford Bridge several weeks back despite having half a team out.

Sure, the press don?t give us praise but big deal. The fact that they were slating our matches against United and Chelsea was pleasing too me. It shows that we must be doing something right. We have lost the spine of our team, 3 out of our 4 main players. Could any other team in the League have coped with this? Certainly not any of the Sky 4 ? they would have bemoaned their bad luck and how everything is so unfair on them.

That we have coped with all these problems is a credit to the unity that Moyes has created. When it comes to togetherness, there isn?t a better team in the land. And hopefully that will help us win The FA Cup on May 30th.

Reader Comments

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David Chait
1   Posted 05/05/2009 at 07:47:55

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I agree with what you say.... but I won’t yet say Moyes has given up route 1. But this was the reason we kept messing up against poor sides. Playing Route 1 lowered our level of quality to theirs and meant we were no better on the pitch.

When allowed to show quality, well we have it to show. I believe our team is at the stage where only significant money can improve a very valuable squad. So one or 2 newbies a year is all we need.
James Boden
2   Posted 05/05/2009 at 09:01:59

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Believe me, David, I will not be suprised if hoofball returns which is why I said I hoped it would be confined to the history books. However, in times of panic, Moyes has reverted back to the old formula.

As you said playing route 1 tactics gave teams indications that we were hoping for a win against them. Against the likes of Sunderland that should not be the case, which is why I found Sunday to be a refreshing change. I agree that we show our quality when allowed to show it.

Paul Niklas
3   Posted 05/05/2009 at 09:04:40

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Despite our superb season to date and that 5th is what we have to achieve or we have gone backwards and win the cup.

We tend to go long ball unfortunately from Jags and Yobo who are both very poor distributors of the ball to midfield and this I think is the reason they do it because Moyes prefers them to go long rather than short and put us under more pressure.

It's something they both have to dramatically improve upon.
Eric Myles
4   Posted 05/05/2009 at 07:52:42

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I reckon it?ll be all down to where our next 2 points come from as that?s what we need to make certain of 6th place. After that then Moyes MAY consider giving up 5th place in order to rest players for the Final. Unless of course Villa slip up.
Dan McKie
5   Posted 05/05/2009 at 11:58:40

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Villa have a tough run-in and are in awful form (the only other team in as bad form were Hull who they narrowly beat)! I believe 7 points from the last 3 games is realistic. The team will have the buzz back after Sunday.

Saturday is a big game because Spurs are capable of giving most teams a game on their day, but we should edge it at home. West Ham still have a lot of injuries and again we have home advantage, and Fulham is usually tricky for Everton but you?d hope we would be good for a draw!

I believe that with Villa having Fulham and Boro away for their next to games, that 5th could be sewn up before our Fulham game! COYB!!

Roger Osborne
6   Posted 05/05/2009 at 22:29:33

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Not much time, so I’ll be quick.

Sitting here in an Everton shirt, going to Wembley, no ticket, pleased with the weekend result, team are back, hats off to Moyes, gone are the days of last day relegation battles, no Liverpool to win the European Cup, and we have the only realistic chance of Merseyside winning a trophy.

Won’t be easy, but we can beat this Chelsea team, and on the day I will look back in time to the Wimbledon game and think just how did we escape that day and how far we have come and how long we have waited for a chance of success. COYB
Alan Kirwin
7   Posted 06/05/2009 at 09:22:19

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Our last game is Fulham away. Enough said. In fact all 3 games are tough, and when you factor in our injuries and the small distraction in 3 weeks time, it?s looking difficult for 5th.

On this season?s evidence I believe we deserve 5th ahead of Villa. I posted on here countless times when they were 3rd & even 2nd at one time, pointing out that they are a one-trick pony that will run out of steam and luck. And they did.

If we beat Tottenham and Villa lose at Fulham then we have the initiative, just. But their last 2 games are Middlesbrough & Newcastle whilst ours are West Ham & Fulham. We always lose 1-0 at Fulham.

In all honesty I think it?s 6th this season. Given everything that?s happened, that for me is a great achievement. If we get 5th I will be delighted, but surprised.
Tony Williams
8   Posted 06/05/2009 at 10:06:08

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I like your sentiment about pushing for the league but Portsmouth won the cup last year (after disposing of ManUre in the semis) and look what has happened to them this season.

I would give my left testicle for this Cup on the 30th but if we win it I don?t expect us to suddenly start challenging for the league and no doubt if we don?t get top 4-6 after a cup win we may have fans screaming for Moyes?s head.... again!
James Boden
9   Posted 07/05/2009 at 09:38:17

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Yes I can understand that, Tony, about Pompey but here a few things to look at:-

1) They lost their manager early on in the season who had gotten them to the position they were.

2) They had quite the easy run in the Cup (ok they beat United which you cannot argue with) but even then they rode their luck beyond all belief. The other games were all against lower division teams.

Us on the other hand have had possibly the hardest run in history and even against the best teams we didn?t look too fazed. I honestly believe winning the FA Cup could be the start of perhaps something special. This final will prove what Moyes is all about. Whether or not them 7 years were worth it. We shall see come the end of May.

Wayne Brooks
10   Posted 07/05/2009 at 17:07:06

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You say you used to question Moyes tactics including the European Cup games... Are you are aware of the tactical brilliance required to get a relegation battling team into Europe without spending big money and then constantly keep them there?

I am at least glad you are starting to see what the rest of the country has been seeing for years now. Roll on Wembley and victory and silverware and with it surely the last excuse for people to slate the manager that has given us 6th, 5th and 4th finishes without spending anything like the money it takes to do just that.

If Moyes hadn?t stepped in we would probably be in the Championship or lower by now.

Graeme Alder
11   Posted 07/05/2009 at 20:03:06

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Totally agree with Wayne. I can?t take anyone who questions Moyes seriously. Even if we hadn?t reached this season?s FA Cup Final, what he has done for our club is, given the resources he has to operate with, frankly astounding.


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