The team sheet showed one change with Vaughan replacing Baxter, which I thought was a good move as he had looked lively last week at The Hawthornes. Jags continued in midfield with Rodwell, Ossie and Arteta. We started the match brightly but very soon we were on the back foot as the giant Crouch headed on for Defoe who twisted and turned as our defenders watched... only to somehow squeeze a shot past Howard at the near post to put Pompey up in the 12th minute. A few minutes later, Defoe almost scored again from a similar position but thankfully Howard saved well to his right.
We responded pretty well a bit later with good build-up play resulting in the Yak crossing from the left for Arteta to send it goalwards... only for James to dive and knock it onto the post and smother the rebound before Arteta could get another shot in. Another flowing move resulted in a Vaughan knock back which looked to be going in before Kaboul (yes,the same useless twit who we saw at Spurs last year, now looking much better!) cleared the ball.
Just as I thought we may be able to draw level before half-time, we were pegged back even further by their second goal. A neat give-and-go between Johnson and Defoe resulted in Johnson being one-on-one with Howard and he cooly slotted it past him with a finish that the other Johnson (Andy) woulda been proud of. Our midfield looked in tatters with Jags doing his usual - "I'm a defender, I can't pass" routine and Neville from defence hoofing the ball into the stands/the opposition. Half-time now and not much hope on the horizon.
As the second half started, we were immediately thrown a lifeline when Ref Halsey awarded a penalty when Vaughan was brought down. Arteta and the Yak had a debate about who would take the kick and much to my disappointment, the Yak stepped up, stuttered and tapped it to the right of James at a comfortable height for the Pompey keeper to be the hero yet again.
There were a few more forays forward but Moyes then substituted Anichebe in for Vaughan ? presumably as Vaughan fully fit yet. As the game went on, the final nail was hammered into our coffin when a flowing move from Pompey resulted in a backheel to Defoe on the edge of the box. He chipped it over Howard onto the crossbar and although it looked to have already crossed the line, it bounced back out but the "stick insect" reacted first to head home for their 3rd goal.
Baxter came on for an injured Ossie (don't worry about losing another midfielder, we have plenty of defenders who can fill in there!) but failed to make an impact as we were well and truly outclassed by a well functioning Pompey team.
My biggest worry at the end of the game is that Moyes has had enough and will walk away from the shambles that this club seems to be in right now. Unless we sign a couple of world-class midfielders and maybe a striker too in the next 2 days, I'd say that we will out of all the cups (thanks to the Blackburn match by the way, for starting the cup losses for this year!) and fighting with the promoted sides to avoid relegation. We need to get Moutinho and also maybe M'Bia and possibly Obinna too.
- Howard: Could not have done much about any of the goals coz his defence left him woefully exposed.
- Neville: Better going forward today, to be honest but still far from an ideal right back..bring on Jacobsen.
- Yobo: Was not is usual rock solid self.
- Lescott: Was far from his usual self
- Baines: Put in a few good crosses throughout the game but was eaten defensively way too easily for my liking.
- Jagielka: 2 words..Centre back....woeful in midfield
- Rodwell: Better than when i first saw him but not who i want to see starting in midfield for us,yet.
- Osman: Passed well but too lightweight.
- Arteta: Hardly saw the ball for long periods of time...poor free kick at the end...shoulda wrestled the Yak for the ball to take the penalty!
- Vaughan: Looked sharp but is a bit away from full fitness.
- Yakubu: What was the stuttering in the run-up to the penalty... other than that he actually worked very hard and almost looked like a left sided winger coz he played so deep due to the lack of service for him from midfield.
- Baxter and Anichebe (subs): No impact in my opinion
Sad sad days as an Everton fan for me, and for many others I know.
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1 Posted 30/08/2008 at 22:22:14
We need a massive injection of quality players, 3 in so far and Moyesy wanted 6 or 7?! Still a bit to go then. Personally I don't want to write this season off as a relegation battle already but it's definitely a legitimate concern... When skies are grey? They are right now!!
2 Posted 31/08/2008 at 07:17:22
I think if we can sort out the midfield, we will be fighting with the likes of Villa, Spurs, Portsmouth, City, Newcastle, etc.
We have already added Castillo, and the Obinna fellow (hopefully). Surely, if we can add 2 more (Moutiniho, please!), we will be as competitive as last year.
These are still early days, Santosh, be optimistic !
3 Posted 01/09/2008 at 00:51:27