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Newcastle: Not a match report!

By Michael Kidd :  06/10/2008 :  Comments (18) :

This is not a match report ? people interested in how things happened have numerous other sources to do that (and most would have watched anyway). This is a set of comments on certain aspects of the match (which I watched on TV) that might spark some interesting discussion.

1. First forty minutes: there was really only one team in it, despite the frantic goalmouth scramble that saw Baines save with his chest. With a bit more composure, we could have been three (or more) up by half-time and the Toon would have been well and truly out of it.

2. Taylor?s goal: many fans have been pointing the finger at Moyes and he ought certainly to put his hand up in respect of certain aspects of our current predicament, but how can a manager legislate for this kind of incident? Yakubu tried a fancy little flick (with his head or chest ? wasn?t clear), leaving Pienaar stranded and Jeremi with acres of space and time to put in a great cross. However good the cross might have been, it seemed that our defence was asleep. Hibbert completely lost his man (Taylor) and am I being unreasonable when I suggest that Howard ought to have got to the ball, seeing as it was only just past the far post when it was headed in? This was clearly the turning-point of the game because it significantly chipped into the confidence that the earlier part of the game had fostered.

3. Duff?s goal: Once again, how can a manager prepare for this? Defence goes to sleep again, and even if Taylor did spring the offside trap, surely the defenders in the box should have been able to do something about the cross? I don?t buy the idea that our defence has lost its confidence because of Carsley?s absence ? I think Carsley is a great loss, but, as an ex-defender, in my experience a defensive midfielder makes a big difference when opponents are coming straight at you, but doesn?t really make a big difference when the threat comes from the flanks. I admit that he might have played an important organising role, but, for goodness? sake, our defenders are all internationals (apart from Hibbert). Do they really need to have their hands held?

4. Attacking threat: While it was good to see Moyes start with two up front, Saha was a complete waste of space. I am sure it was just a bad day ? he is a classy player who probably needs more game time to get up to speed. It was obvious that he was not up to scratch, which makes it puzzling as to why Moyes didn?t replace him earlier. I thought we played some pretty reasonable football in patches yesterday ? it certainly wasn?t all hoofball, but there was probably a bit too much of that. One major disappointment, though, was the crossing. There were several occasions when one of our players had some space and time to get in a decent cross and either put it too close to Given or yards past the goal. Arteta?s dead ball delivery was, once again, frustrating.

5. Confidence: I think that, in the Premiership, one of the main factors that determines whether a team is top ten or struggling near the bottom is self-belief and confidence. Moyes has a major responsibility for this and, at the moment, he is failing this test. Whatever Phil Neville and others may say, the lack of signings and failure to sign a contract must have had an impact in the dressing room and this, I think, made it incumbent on Moyes to go the extra mile to gee up the players. His demeanour at the moment, however, is far from encouraging. Once Newcastle went 2-2 yesterday, you could sense that we were completely deflated. Once (if?) this is sorted out, we will start climbing the table.

6. The ?mix? of the team: if one looks at the Everton squad, leaving aside the size of the squad, we have a decent set of individual players. I don?t think that we have the right mix, though. I think Fellaini will be an adequate signing, but for 15 million, I think we were entitled to get someone who would make more of an impact. I don?t think we needed someone like Fellaini, who is not going to open up defences. Whatever the reasons for the transfer debacle, Fellaini appeared to be a panic buy, almost aimed at assuaging the fans? fears more than constituting a useful addition to the squad. One of the attributes that our team is lacking is pace. I have seen several games this year where teams like Hull, Wigan and even the Toon yesterday, are able to break up opponents? attacks and counter at pace. We are far more laboured, and I don?t think this is down to lack of skill and vision, but because we lack speed-merchants. Another thought that occurs to me is that Cahill, despite his goalscoring threat and apparent talismanic properties, is very difficult to fit into a 4-4-2 formation. He is not a great passer or defensive midfielder, and a four-man midfield, if you include at least Arteta and Pienaar as well, will be deficient in the defensive side of things.

A lot more questions than answers here, but the answers to the questions are what Moyes gets paid for!

Reader Comments

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Joe Rourke
1   Posted 06/10/2008 at 15:33:54

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Selective replies only

2. Carsley?s is missing from the equation here. Geremi would not have had so much time and space with Carsley baring down on him. The spaces to manipulate in attack in football are the spaces between midfield and a flat back four and the space between the full backs and centrebacks - think of where Gerrard, Bergkamp, Henry, Ronadlo or Rooney play/played. Carsley was the filler for us here. The defenders don?t have the ?nous?/ability to cover for his critical absence.

3. Answer = Yes generally. Lescott is the only one who dosen?t but he needs to mature as he is still mentally on holiday.

6. Fellaini. Why did Moyes pay £15million for someone he now describes as a ?boy? and makes excuses for post match? We had a boy in there at the start of the campaign. Can £15 million not buy you some experience instead of a ?boy?. Can we afford to wait for the guy to mature (aka the Manure and Nani) and take the hit if he doesn?t? I don?t think so.

On point to add. Castillo should be in the team! And what happened to Vaughan?

Joeynkoo Ludden
2   Posted 06/10/2008 at 15:57:00

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"Once again, how can a manager prepare for this? Defence goes to sleep again"

! What exactly is Moyes’s role at the club if its not making sure this doesnt happen...
Richard Harris
3   Posted 06/10/2008 at 16:10:34

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15 goals conceded in the first 7 league games. That?s worse than any other Premier League team!! But none of that is Moyes fault. When Phil Neville plays in midfield and it clearly isn?t working that?s not Moyes fault either?

Moyes - a man of integrity, a good motivator most of the time, stability and progression in his time as manager but average (at best) on tactics and doesn?t seem to field a team who can kill off a game from a comfortable winning position. Whether we are playing with a lot of confidence or a little we still don?t dominate a game enough when we are in the lead. Something all successful teams do.

But in the spirit of the postive posters, then maybe our season will start against Arsenal (well if Hull can beat them at the Emirates then surely we can!!). If not, then why can?t we get Duncan Ferguson in the dressing room before the Manchester United game to inspire the troops and if we don?t shout loud enough and give full support then we only have ourselves to blame for the defeats :0)

When was the last time that we kept a clean sheet? April 2008 against Derby, who were probably the worst Premier League team to be relegated. The problems have been there for some time but the IMWT mantra keeps the critical appraisal at bay.
If Moyes does sign a new contract then get in some help with the tactics very quickly.....

Steve Callan
4   Posted 06/10/2008 at 18:20:28

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So when things go well, it?s all down to Moyes?s brilliance... but when it goes wrong it?s all down to the players. I think not. If he thinks he?s worth £3.5M a year, he carries the can.
Keith Harrison
5   Posted 06/10/2008 at 19:17:35

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On the showings so far this season:-

I would have Castillo in the team in front of Fellaini every time.

Howard is having a nightmare season - he does not control his box, doesn’t appear to talk to the defense, and may be the reason why the rest of the defense is jittery.

Hibbert has lost his man for three of the last 4 goals conceded. One in Liege, and both on Sunday. Can one of the coaches not pick up on this, or
do we have to wait for Cap’n Pip to return to solve it.

I pointed out last season that Arteta’s delivery was poor. Where does Andy Gray get this bollocks from that he is ’deadly’?? Someone else should be taking the corners or long range free kicks, ’cos Mikky rarely lifts them over the first man.

Ossie is getting over-run more in each game for me. I hope his op sorts it, or he will need replaced. Don’t get me wrong, he has fabulous feet, but in amongst our other midget midfielders, he gets swamped.

This looks like being a long, hard season.
Stephen Stuart
6   Posted 06/10/2008 at 19:51:44

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Keith Harrison says "This looks like being a long, hard season."

I have it on good authority that Richard Dodd thinks that our season hasn?t begun yet - Can we start again please?
Keith Harrison
7   Posted 06/10/2008 at 20:19:36

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I have it on better authority that Tony Marsh thinks we’re f*****d already.
Tony Marsh
8   Posted 06/10/2008 at 20:25:26

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How does a manger prepare for such mistakes, you ask? EASY: off-load the shite like Hibbert who in all honesty should've gone years ago. No, Moyes, in his wisdom, keeps playing the clown so is it any wonder that teams play on this weakness?

It's no coincidence that every team we play seems to pick up on the right back's inability to defend crosses. Every week, Hibbert gets done but you say this is not down to Moyes. FFS, grow a spine. Moyes is a shithouse who doesn't recognise weakness in a player until 3 seasons too late. Hence Shandy Andy still drawing big money at the club.

It's the manager who buys and plays the players. It's the manger's tactics the said players employ so the buck stops with the Manager. If the players we sign and play are crap, it's down to the manager, so please stop arse licking in defence of DM. DM is a joke.

Jim Starling
9   Posted 06/10/2008 at 21:00:09

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Nice enough article but some of the negative comments posted in response are just crap.

Shiity start to the season = let's go Moyes bashing, does it???

Remember what the guy has done for us to date and get some respect.

Tony Marsh - I?ve never heard such shite in all my life pal.
Keith Harrison
10   Posted 06/10/2008 at 22:03:26

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I can?t see any ?Moyes arse-licking? in any posts above mate.

The mention of your name was a light-hearted riposte to Richard Dodd?s being mentioned.

I do wish though that you would consider your responses more carefully, and say what you mean instead of sitting on the fence.
Aiden Doyle
11   Posted 06/10/2008 at 22:43:23

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To be fair to Moyes, he had identified the right back position as one of the team’s weak links. Too bad the bugger he brought in got crocked before he’d kicked a ball for us.
Dick Fearon
12   Posted 06/10/2008 at 23:47:46

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Others imply that we have at least 4 midfielders who cannot tackle or defend. Silly me for thinking that tackling and defensive duties are the most important part of a midfielders role. Following the reasoning of others, it would appear that we play with at least six attackers. As far fetched as that sounds it could explain why our backs are forced to play long balls high above a vacant midfield. Now that I have exposed the cause of our problems the solution is easy. We must immediately sign a few hard tackling proper midfielders and get rid of our underweight, none defensive none scoring weaklings.
Derek Thomas
13   Posted 07/10/2008 at 05:55:37

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Richard Harris: for a £17mill contract he shouldn?t NEED help with tactics.

But if he does then I can help.

Defend from the front.

Don?t give the ball away. (tip. most weeks we are playing in some sort of blue)

Pass, move, support.

Remember the 3G?s...Get it, Give it, Go
Rob Beel
14   Posted 07/10/2008 at 09:54:44

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Pienaar was at fault for the 2nd goal, he went with his runner, Taylor, then stopped and he carried on!!!!!

Carsley has gone... get over it.
Paul Tran
15   Posted 07/10/2008 at 11:32:56

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The reason why some of us are blaming the ’management’ (Moyes and Kenwright) is that they are the people charged with finding investment, targeting players and selling them the concept of playing for this club. They are then responsible for coaching, leading and motivating the players.

I supported this year’s constant offloading of players on the grounds that our management had replacements in mind. We’ve since endured countless excuses about our inability to effectively strengthen the squad.

I keep reading on this website that we have a ’fantastic’ chairman and the ’best young manager’ in the game. With all this and finishing 6th and 5th in the last two years, I can’t believe how much we’re struggling to bring players to the club.

We’re currently going through a period where for some reason, we’re just playing badly and look rudderless and leaderless on the pitch. This happens repeatedly under Moyes.

By all means criticise players for poor performance. Let’s not forget the real reason - a management that is unable to find funds, find players and bring genuine leadership to this great club.

The current management has done some good for the club and has taken things forward. We won’t sustain our progress by running the place like Arkwright’s corner shop.

G-g-g-get me a t-t-t-taxi, G-g-granville!
Liam Loftus
16   Posted 07/10/2008 at 10:07:53

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There?s one thing that I don?t think is been highlighted enough. Iv herd people having ago at all individuals for the 2 goals but the man who?s fault it was again was Tony Hibbert ? on the responses I only notice Tony Marsh really highlighting him.

Now, lets get a few things straight, this player is simply an embarrassment to Everton football club. I think everyone has concluded he cant pass cross or even really kick a ball but there?s been this overwhelming myth that?s he?s a ?solid defender?. Now, lets look at the last 2 games. 4 goals conceded. One that wasn?t a pen and the other 3 were Hibberts man so no matter what the build up, if its ?your man? who scores as a defender its your fault, how difficult is that concept to understand? He also gets ripped week in week out, even getting megged in Liege. Really solid defender.

Yes, every time I do get on his back a lot but is it not obvious why? Its so frustrating to watch when you know he?s literally stealing a living
Richard Harris
17   Posted 07/10/2008 at 14:14:12

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Derek Thomas wrote " Richard Harris: for a 17mill contract he shouldn?t NEED help with tactics".
Agreed with you, Derek. Was being ironic for the IMWT mantra brigade :0) But if it seems likely that Moyes will sign and he won’t have a tactical revelation then he’ll need help from somewhere. Although your tactics sound right and I’m sure that you would work for much less than Steve Round is getting !!
Colin Grierson
18   Posted 07/10/2008 at 15:35:00

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Having watched every game twice on my cable tv in Bangkok, I have to conclude that we are the worst team I have set eyes upon in the Premier League this season. I have seen Tottenham play this season by the way! Worryingly we have played the three newly promoted sides, all of whom were the better side against us and desreved at least a draw but in every case IMO we deserved to lose.

This is worrying considering that Moyes is set to sign on the dorred line. He?s a nice fellar DM, great integrity, down to earth; the problem is he hasn?t got a jar of glue about football! 4-5-1 has been found out and he has nothing else up his sleeve!

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