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Not the Blue Day We Were All Hoping For

By Dave Cooper :  31/05/2009 :  Comments (9) :

Getting up at 5am and waiting for 5 hours to kick off time (we are 5 hours behind in Canada) wasn?t much of a struggle as I hadn?t slept very much anyway. Memories flooded back of when the BBC would do the same build up many moons ago and thoughts of Temple, Trebilcock, Sharp, Gray and Rideout all came back. It was great to listen to my heroes of the past and watch the old footage.

But this was only really the filler until 10am and at 10:00 and 25 seconds I was jumping and screaming, so much that my wife thought something was wrong!! A great Saha moment and goal, a fleeting glimpse of what a great finisher he was but might never be again. Doesn?t time pass slowly when you want 89 minutes to fly by? I looked at my watch and it still only said 10:10!!!

But then scoring so early seemed to become a curse as Everton did what every manager, player and fan knows they shouldn?t do?.sit back and allow the opposition to dominate them which Chelksi eventually did after being shocked out of their expensive boots for 5 minutes. But what worried me was that even if we had not scored would the game have started like this?.our Blues only picking up morsels of possession and then giving them away. Say what you like about the grey goose but he is not one of best tactical managers in the world for nothing and he had worked out our Blues strengths and weaknesses and knew that we had no plan B (except hoof it long..which we continually did in the first half).

So Cole pushed so far up on Baines and Pienaar that they ended defending him rather than attacking him (except for those first 25 seconds) and that was that. The goose had also worked out that Osman was not tracking back to help Hibbert cover Malouda who actually played like an old fashioned left winger. Hibbert got dragged into the centre and Malouda was left free, not just for their first goal but several times before. Yes Hibbert got booked early and was worried about getting too close. On TV it was clear that this was how Chelksi was going to attack us. Maybe Moyes and Round at ground level and a long way from the action could not see it as clearly but Osman had to play much deeper and look after Malouda which he did not. Unfortunately it was only going to be a matter of time before the game was level?which it was after 20 minutes as Drogba beat Lescott to a Malouda cross.

Just a thought at this point?.is Lescott as good as everyone and myself think he is? When we tied Chelsea 0-0 immediately after Jags? injury, it was Yobo who marked Drogba out of the match. Today Drogba seemed to move towards Lescott who is not the same physical presence as Joey especially in the air. The goose had also worked out that if Howard could not get the ball wide especially to Pienaar the only alternative apart from hoofing it was to roll it to Joey which he seemed to do a lot of the time. Now we all know that Joey is very good at some things but distribution from the back is not one of them, hence another outlet negated.

Well half time came not soon enough, with the concern that if we didn?t do something different we would not score another goal and the best we could hope for was 1-1, extra time and penalties. Moyes did the only thing and Jacobsen replaced Hibbo. Tough on Hibbo but the final is no place for sentiment. Maybe this will be enough for DM not to release Jacobsen or even better find a tall, fast, young, strong right full back. Strangely for the first 15 minutes Chelski kind of went to sleep. Malouda was no longer the point of the attack even with Jacobsen doing nothing more than getting closer and Osman playing deeper.

We even started knocking the ball about and started to look like the team we know and then out of fucking nowhere, Lampard, who had hardly got a meaningful touch all game, slips, gets up and shoots past Howard. Obscured or not by Lescott, could Howard have done more?.? would big Nev have got it? ?sorry unfair comparison.

I can?t remember if Louis? header was after the 2nd goal but it was a great chance as Cech looked a worried man throughout the whole match. The last 20 minutes were neither here nor there. Substitutions were made to no effect. We could not get the ball and hold onto it. No last minute heroics. We were going to lose 2-1 or even 3-1 if Malouda?s shot had counted.

Yes, like everyone I guess I was very disappointed but was I gutted? It?s hard to be gutted when a team does as much as it can to be successful. Yes, some players could have played better but Chelski did not allow them to do that. The heat must have been oppressive, 40+ C, and given that on a normal day we spend an awful lot of a match without the ball, it became physically impossible to play without the ball. Players like Pienaar and Osman who seem to be able to run forever were knackered at 60 minutes.

So how good were/are we? Not as good as we could have been... but how good were/are Chelski? In the past due to Abramovich etc I have never given them time of day but there was clearly great respect of Everton by Hiddink and his players. This was a Chelsea that should have beaten Barcelona, who in turn embarrassed Man Utd. A team that can replace Essien with Ballack. A team that on 3 occasions this season we have pushed them to the limit.

Watching all our injuries in very nice suits hobbling around Wembley, I wondered how good would Chelsea have been with their spine ripped out. Yes, Mikel and Jags were really missed. Seeing Arteta passing the ball at Wembley and Jags making a last ditch cover to stop Lampard?.

Anyway the worse thing is now waiting 9 weeks until we get another match to get this one out of the system.

So congrats to the Blues and congrats to David Moyes and Bill Kenwright!
Have a happy summer!

Reader Comments

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Martin Downey
1   Posted 31/05/2009 at 20:47:24

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I think your analysis is spot on, Dave. And it?s good to know that Evertonians abroad are as passionate and dedicated as you are.

But the unfortunate conclusion about yesterday?s game is that, unless they had an off day and we performed to our utmost, there was only going to be one outcome.

The heat was a huge factor (freakishly hot for May in the UK). A team that makes the ball do the work, instead of the body, is always going to out-Duracell the one that grafts.

And we all know that Duracell are the most expensive batteries!
Mike Oates
2   Posted 31/05/2009 at 22:05:13

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Just a few corrections - Cole is Chelsea?s left back and is on the opposite side to Baines and Pienaar.

Yobo was at fault for both goals. Drogba was in the inside-left position being marked by Yobo, the ball was then sent wide to Malouda and Yobo lost his man as he ball-watched. It was too late for Lescott to get close to him.

Yobo was actually the player closest to Lampard when he received the ball and for some unknown reason backed off him,and gave Lampard time to fall over and still get a shot in.
Dave Cooper
3   Posted 31/05/2009 at 22:40:04

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Thanks for the corrections Mike. I usually watch the games again before writing anything but i didn’t feel like it, so had to rely on my aging memory!!! Don’t know why I thought Cole had marked out Baines and Pienaar. Still think Lescott could have done more for the first goal though. We all see it differenty.
Simon Kirwan
4   Posted 31/05/2009 at 23:13:15

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I don't understand why people are blaming Lescott or Yobo. Evidently Tony Hibbert's fault, he was about 10 yards away from Malouda in "no-man's land". Osman did a little better being 5 yards away and making a half-hearted effort to block the cross. Shambolic defending from the pair. Yes, Lescott and Yobo may have dealt with it better but, hey, just shows we missed Jags and Lescott's understanding.
Tim Wardrop
5   Posted 01/06/2009 at 07:58:58

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Yobo at fault for both of the goals?!!?!?!?!?!?! Unbelievable what some people come up with on here. I don’t care whether Yobo was marking Drogba in the build up to the goal the fact is that Drogba held his run and drifted towards the far post - into Lescott’s territory - to make his run. It’s not up to Yobo to follow him, it’s up to Lescott to pick him up - this is how centre backs work, especially against one man up front.

Don’t want to blame Roger too much, but the fact is that if he had attacked the ball rather than waiting for it he would have got there ahead of Drogba.

Sorry, but how anyone can blame Yobo (or anyone for that matter) for the second is beyond me. The most critical you can possibly get would be to say that Neville shouldn’t have dived in, but if Lampard had hit the shot with his right and Neville had been trailing in his wake people would have blamed him for not getting tight enough.

Absolutely ridiculous.
Andy Ellams
6   Posted 01/06/2009 at 13:20:29

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Before I get the reprisals for being a Moyes basher etc. surely there is a good chance (we will obviously never know for sure) that Lampard would not have got near the ball for his goal if Cahill and Fellaini had not been tampered with and swapped around. Cahill seemed inconspicuous for the whole game, but then so did Lampard until Tim was moved out of his territory.
Tony Cheek
7   Posted 01/06/2009 at 15:02:58

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Well, it came and went and we lost... good first half, terrible second; no guts, no quality shown after the break. Our hopelessly weak right side was our Achilles heel, and Chelsea knew that and done something about it. I found myself hoping for a free kick outside the Chelsea area as our only chance of an equaliser..... Bainsey is as good as Arteta there (be good next year when they are both fit, keeper's nightmare). I think Felli should have done better with Peanut's throughball in the first half and also think Timmy should have done better with Lampard's shot.

But frustrated at our lack of push in the last third. OK, overall it's been a good season, considering the start we got off to... but what now?

Are we going to continue with Hibbert and Osman next year? I feel that their time is up, sad as it sounds, especially where Hibbert is concerned ? home grown talent and all that, but we now must move on.

Looking forward to Mikel, Yak and Jags return, but also have a feeling that one of our good`uns will be poached by the big money clubs... think we would be naive to think they are not under scrutiny after some or the performances this year... if thats going to happen then better sooner than later. No dithering this year, it cost us a top four place this season.

Anyway, haven't enjoyed a season as much for quite a few years, we are on our way!!!

Kathy Connors
8   Posted 02/06/2009 at 14:10:07

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A most frustrating afternoon.

Could not get a ticket, so after much indecision, decided to watch the match unfold as it was played on television. Was going to attend, but a return trip from Swansea and the unbearable heat and congestion of the day made me opt for staying at home and just letting everything fall as it may.

I could not believe it as we went ahead after 25 seconds, took a bit of time for it to sink it, and Fellaini I think had a chance to double the advantage but in the end class and experience told and on the day, the better side did win.

It’s been long overdue since we saw Everton in a cup final, and sadly 1995 was not to be duplicated, but to only lose by one goal to one of the best five sides in all Europe, I think was not such a bad outcome, even if it did end in tears.

The world seemed to stop rotating at the final whistle, that moment when you realise that it’s all over, all the hard work, and teams beat and the ending product was no silverware to show for it.

Obviously wanted to win, but the best side did win, Hibbert had a poor game, and for me, Neville was the star performer for the side, it can only be a matter of time before he actually does lift some trophy for the team. Without the omission of other star names we may well have took the cup back to Liverpool, but let’s reflect on what’s been a more than impressive season. :)
Alan Rycroft
9   Posted 03/06/2009 at 12:48:34

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Yes, a brave effort from the True Blues. But I am really saddened at the loss after such a great run, what a let down! I wasn?t very excited though before the game as I know we almost cannot beat Chelsea and they rarely concede a goal, must have the best defence in the world! Even Barca only just beat them and easily finished off Manure ? so it was resigning to the inevitable to lose.

But still it hurt i went off to the toilet in the Bahrain pub where I watched the game before the end and couldn?t bear to see the smiling cocky cockney Lampards and assorted foreign mercenaries etc. doing there dance yet again. It has me thinking if I can really be bothered to follow footie very much, the game is sown up and way way over-hyped and over-paid it?s obscene ? and Chleski the most obscene of all! Idols of the people not even true footballing minor gods! I guess I will watch the Everton games next season when I can but this is not the game I loved in my youth.

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