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Blues Reap Bad Harvest from Barren Summer

By Lyndon Lloyd :  25/08/2009 :  Comments (14) :

Match Report: Burnley 1-0 Everton

You reap what you sow, they say, and for the second season running, Everton appear to have severely — and, perhaps, irreparably — undermined their season before it had even begun. The failure to address key areas of the team either decimated by injury or obviously in need of improvement over the summer has directly translated into back-to-back defeats in the first two games of the campaign, the first time the Blues have lost their opening two fixtures since the advent of the Premier League.

Things might — and probably would given the fact that the home team looked to be tiring after putting in a relentlessly dogged shift of harrying and closing down their supposedly superior visitors — have turned out differently had Louis Saha not screwed a 75th-minute penalty wide of the right-hand post but ultimately David Moyes's side suffered from poor execution in the final third and could have few complaints about the result.

Having beaten the Champions, Manchester United at Turf Moor in midweek, newly-promoted Burnley, back in the top flight for the first time since 1976, came into this game with their tails up and they flew out of the traps determined to put Everton's makeshift defence under pressure from the first whistle.

With Joleon Lescott on the verge of completing his £23m move to Manchester City, Moyes was again left with no option but to play Phil Neville in central defence with Joseph Yobo and the weaknesses were exposed after just 34 seconds when Robbie Blake swung in a dangerous cross from the Burnley left and Paterson powered a header that smacked off the face of Tim Howard's crossbar. Fletcher picked up the rebound and fired left-footed, only for Howard to make a one-handed stop to deny him.

The Blues were given another fright shortly afterward when Wade Elliott was allowed to cross from the Burnley right to pick out Paterson between Joseph Yobo and Tony Hibbert but he spurned the gilt-edged chance when he could only glance a header beyond the far post.

Then, with Everton consistently giving up possession with loose passes and completely unprofitable long balls towards Saha and Marouane Fellaini, Burnley got free down the left again with consummate ease but, thankfully, Fletcher volleyed wide of goal.

As is often the case when things aren't coming together from open play, the Blues looked more threatening from set-pieces and after he wasted a decent free-kick opportunity, Jack Rodwell connected with a corner from the left but headed straight at the goalkeeper.

A minute later came Everton's best move of the game so far when Fellaini screwed a perfectly-weighted throughball down the right touchline to meet the Hibbert's run on the overlap. The fullback whipped a teasing cross across the Burnley area and it just eluded Saha as he threw himself at the ball at the back post.

11 minutes before the break, though, the Clarets made the crucial breakthrough and it again came from a cross from the left. Blake was again the supplier and though Elliott mis-kicked in front of Howard's goal, Fletcher was again quickest to pick up the loose ball. He laid it back to Elliott who took the time to look up and then curl a shot off Neville's out-stretched leg and into the top corner. 1-0 and no more than the home side had deserved for doing everything right in the first half.

After a truly shocking half that betrayed a team struggling for confidence and cohesion, Everton could only have got better in the second, but they took another quarter of an hour after the restart to finally get into another gear.

And on the hour mark, Tim Cahill, up to then anonymous except for chasing shadows in front of the Blues' back four, was allowed to advance unheeded into the Burnley area and set himself for a raking left-footer that was carried agonisingly wide by a deflection of a defender.

Though the visitors were now dominating possession, the Clarets showed they were still dangerous when, after 63 minutes, Bikey laid the ball off for Alexander whose low drive took two deflections before sitting up in front of McCann with his back to goal. He cleverly hooked a shot over his shoulder that looked for an instant to be looping over Howard but the American acrobatically palmed it over the crossbar.

With 25 minutes on the clock and Everton looking no closer to grabbing a goal, Moyes pulled his unproductive record signing, Fellaini, off and threw Jo up front with Saha. The difference that both the Brazilian and the formation change was almost instantaneous — suddenly the Burnley defence had two mobile strikers with which to contend.

And within 10 minutes, the Blues's chance to equaliser was laid on a plate by referee Phil Dowd. Hibbert, who had been growing with confidence as the game wore on, got involved in a promising attack by taking the ball off Saha's toe and charging into the area with all the menace of a striker. As the defender came across, though, he tumbled to the turf in a manner that screamed penalty. Television replays would later cast doubt on the amount of contact made but the official had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.

Saha stepped up confidently enough but, trying no doubt to tuck his shot as close inside the post as he could, he fired wide of Jensen's left-hand post to howls of joy from the home faithful who had seen United also miss from the spot on their way to a 1-0 defeat in midweek.

Undeterred, Everton at least kept at it in their search for the elusive leveller and when Cahill slid a perfectly-weighted ball down the channel for Pienaar and he bent a similarly impressive pass around the back of the defence to Jo, it looked as though a terrific chance had opened up. Unfortunately, the striker's second touch was too heavy and it meant he had to check back behind the recovering defence and when he did finally shoot, his effort was blocked.

Saha then smashed a bullet of a shot a whisker wide from 20 yards and Rodwell tried to side-foot home with Jensen stranded too far out of his six-yard box but again a claret shirt was in the way and ricocheted behind.

Apart from a couple of late corners and another wasted direct free-kick in injury time, that was pretty much it from a visibly deflated Everton side.

It was a performance that perfectly illustrated how broken is the right side of Moyes's team. Sadly, by the time Hibbert had magically transformed into the attacking fullback we never knew he was, the damage had already been done. Burnley found it all too easy to profit down their left and, again, going forward Osman displayed his usual, frustrating erraticism.

Indeed, Ossie should probably have been withdrawn with 10 minutes left to give Dan Gosling, so often a catalyst from the sub's bench, a chance to create something decisive. Moyes, however, refused to play any more of his cards.

Everton may well bring in new players before the transfer window closes — to be frank, they absolutely have to bring in at least the four that Moyes says he is looking for — but for the second season running, the delay will almost certainly have cost them a crack at the Champions League. Quite how such a situation has been allowed to happen is as mystifying as the apathy that seems to permeate the supporters who seem caught between and growing anger and their loyalty to the Bill Kenwright board.

Moyes will, of course, take it one game at a time, the next being the second leg against Sigma Olomouc, though it's the trip to unpredictable Wigan Athletic that most eyes will be on as Everton look for their first Premier League points of the campaign.

Reader Comments

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David Johnson
1   Posted 25/08/2009 at 07:49:09

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No wonder the Dark Side call us "Bitter Blues". The bitterness expressed by you and many is sad. Love him or hate him but please stop writing Moyes. It drips of bitterness and sarcasm. Its David or Davey Moyes. Treat him with some respect. We are all sad with how things have gone over the summer months and with the two premier league defeats but remember we are Everton, we are owned by one of our own. Not an Arab or a Russian or two Yanks who one day will move on and leave behind a club with a wages bill that cannot be maintained . Just look at Leeds and learn . Be proud , respectful and be grateful that we were chosen.
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
2   Posted 25/08/2009 at 08:14:24

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David, please. I’m guessing you don’t come here often, much less take the time to read my weekly reports because I write them in the style of a newspaper journalist and have done for all of the 13 years I’ve been running this site.

In the same way I don’t refer to Peanuts, Joey, Bainsey, Tiny Tim or Vaughney in my reports (Oh, OK, I referred to "Ossie" above, once), it has nothing whatsoever to do with my opinions of "Davey" Moyes — the irony, of course, being that I am very much pro-Moyes and have been for a long time.
Stan Sheppard
3   Posted 25/08/2009 at 08:16:05

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David, I understand what you are saying and I know now is a time for standing tall and backing the team but do you think this should be done with blind disregard for what has transpired this summer and indeed last summer

Lyndon, like a lot of fans, is probably frustrated by the lack of activity in strengthening the squad and with the piss poor start to the season. Yes it is only two games but the nature of the defeats and the performances given have been well below what we expect. The squad has not been added to but has instead been depleted and the Joleon Lescott episode has gone on far too long.

Coming up to the cup final Bill Kenwright was commenting on this and that and telling everyone how much of a blue he is, what have we heard since? Apart from he was the man who got us the best deal possible for Lescott? Yeah right. OK hes better than Johnson etc etc.

David Moyes has done a great job to get us back and competing but he got the deal he wanted last summer and he is responsible for the playing squad. Being respectful and chosen is all well and good, but how about a bit of honesty and respect for the fans for a change?
Chad Schofield
4   Posted 25/08/2009 at 11:01:45

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I fail to see how questioning David Moyes’ tactics, pedestrian in-game changes including turning to the bench to change games is "bitter".

Whether Moyes "dithers" in terms of transfers is debatable, but his insistence that he calls the shots over the transfers does beg the question what on earth has he been doing. If he knew he had no money unless Lescott left why turn it into such a protracted mess. Of course most fans realise that the pantomime routine of offers coming in and stating the players not for sale is all part of the process - but if Moyes needed that money then he should have been proposing a bang heads together meeting considerably sooner.

The fact that any players that we may get are now illegible for the Europa Cup is not a good thing. The fact that Neville’s been covering at center back isn’t good. That we have not addressed the right-hand side is ridiculous. These are all things which "Davey Moyes" "The Ginger Fuhrer", etc, supposedly is in charge of. We have youngsters on the bench. If the team are not performing then fucking change things - at very least he’d have an excuse. Watching from the stands or at home is frustrating - watching from the bench because you’re not deemed as good as your esteemed colleagues on display must be infuriating!

As to why Moyes does not have money available (if that was the case) is not his fault. But as with anyone who is employed by the club, fans have a right to critique them if they are not performing their role. Yobo has looked fairly awful and perhaps if we’d had more options that would have been addressed - that’s not bitterness, just simple fact. Moyes has performed miracles at times and has rightly been rewarded with a lucrative contract. He admitted he was as surprised as anyone to our success last season. He and a certain Mr Kenwright we’re highly praised. Had we won the first two league games that probably would have continued, and both failings on and off the pitch ignored and those people who pointed out any problems would probably be labelled as moaners - however we are not there.

As ever some of the more extreme criticism levied at the Everton Team (not just first team but including upto Black and Blue Bill) is over the top. But there have been some terrible performances.

The fact that for the second season on the trot we’ve allowed ourselves to get into this mess is most likely more than one person’s fault, much in the same way that the drubbing by Arsenal and subsequent loss to Burnley wasn’t just solely down to Osman and Hibbert.

Wanting answers and criticising is not bitterness or disloyalty as standing by and not saying anything does not make you anymore a truer fan.

Personally I’ve always found Lyndon’s articles pretty balanced, so perhaps it suggests that those who are prepared to turn the other cheek and show a united front are becoming a minority. One thing is for certain though - I fail to see how calling David Moyes "Moyes" is about as disrespectful! ;)
Alan Clarke
5   Posted 25/08/2009 at 13:05:35

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David, that’s a wind up isn’t it? "Treat him with respect"!!! You’re response is dripping with sarcasm, it’s more deluded than anything even Richard Dodd could write.

As a rule mate don’t ever agree with the RS about us being bitter blues. You show yourself up.
Jason Broome
6   Posted 25/08/2009 at 17:16:37

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Another great summary Lyndon…

Am I alone in thinking that after the Sky money and the Lescott transfer funds are received (around £60 Million) Moyes only gets £15 Million to spend for the fourth season in a row!?

The club has been miming all summer Lyndon, putting names on the official site that they could ill afford.

Obviously ‘the Emperor has no clothes’ to speak of and we have been lulled to rest on a bed of red herrings. And surely the clubs adaptation led us to seriously believe that Naughton and Elm were realistic targets!

But why chase a boy for 4 weeks? Surely if you want someone bad enough you agree a fee and you sign. Billy-no-mates-to-think-ov was recruited in record speed yesterday half way across the world, yet we take 4 weeks to eventually end up venting our frustrations regarding a kid from Sheffield!?

And whatever happened to our lip wristed attempt to lure Cana to Goodison. £5 Million??? “Er… Sorry, we play in the Premier League, the richest League in the world… we can’t afford that!”

No… either the club is being run so poorly that Peter Ridsdale sends his condolences, or the money is in a separate fund for Kirkby. I sincerely hope it’s the latter because the former is unbearable to think of!
Rob Jones
7   Posted 25/08/2009 at 19:00:54

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Here’s hoping our season is as badly undermined as last season. Fifth place and an FA Cup final? Would probably be satisfied by that again to be honest!
Declan Burke
8   Posted 25/08/2009 at 20:03:59

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Sorry if I sound "picky" Jason, but I read somewhere in June that Everton’s share of the Sky funds for finishing fifth last season amounted to £49.5 million. That plus the Lescott money is somewhere in the region of £73 million. Did Sky also release another £20 million to all the clubs a week or so ago?
Alan Clarke
9   Posted 25/08/2009 at 21:17:03

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Add the £30 million Kitbag deal and the £3million Chang deal to that as well Declan.
Alan Clarke
10   Posted 25/08/2009 at 21:18:04

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And minus the wages of Valente, Shandy and Jacobsen.
David Johnson
11   Posted 25/08/2009 at 21:14:30

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You guessed wrong, I’ve been reading Toffeeweb from the early days. If you and some of the other respondents had read my comments the point I was trying to make was I am saddened by the way he is called Moyes. Got it off my chest. Personal opinion, End of!
Jason Broome
12   Posted 25/08/2009 at 22:29:26

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You might be right, Declan.

The Premier League and television money are separate, therefore the television money is £22.8M; and the Premier League prize money depends on our final placing in the league which was 5th again last season, but might be different this year.

The 2007-08 season saw a 5th place finish earn Everton a total of £42.1 Million in Premier League revenue ( Forgive me as I’m unsure whether there was an increase in prize money for the 2008-09 season.

Therefore the FA Cup 2009 brought in £3,275,000 total prize money, UEFA Cup qualification (not worth considering) and a similar League finish last season must have brought the £42.1 Million figure up slightly.

The transfer of Joleon Lescott £23 Million, minus the (15%) £3,450,000 owed to Wolves leaves the club with a £19,550,000 windfall.

Minus the poultry £15 Million for transfers this season (as I doubt Moyes will buy 2 centre-backs in 7 days) and the €15M spent on Fellaini last season, Mr Kenwright will have the ‘Princely’ sum of £31,925,000 to work with.

Therefore Bill Kenwright has £31,925,000 since the start of the 2008-09 season until the close of the first 2009-10 transfer window to payback any unwanted loans and pull this club up by its financial ‘boot straps.’

Therefore talk of the club being in debt or skint should now be quashed (but something tells me that won’t happen) because we must have been in some heavy financial debt if we only managed to redeem £26k in profits at the close of our last financial year.

Note: this does not include the £3M per annum Kitbag deal, or the £2.6M per annum Chang sponsorship deal.

The up-coming Annual Report is going to provide much needed answers regarding our financial management and the possible internal investment of our share of the Kirkby project!

Editor's note: Jason (and everyone else): for the last fucking time... Fellaini cost (supposedly) €15M, or £12.9M in real money — NOT £15M!!!! I have adjusted your figures accordingly... and "poultry"... that's fowl! — It's "paltry", FFS people!!!!

Timmy Mongiat
13   Posted 26/08/2009 at 14:21:46

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Prize money for the league positions INCLUDES Sky television money. Please don’t try to work out our finances in such simplistic terms. There are so so many costs that are not considered, from rights, to interest payments, to loan deal payments, to compensation payments, to transfer instalments. 49% of our value is debt (Forbes source) so don’t think our finances are rosy, because they are not.

In comparison terms, even Lliverpool, whose finances were well documented, only have 59% of debt as value. We’ve also been in the worse recession in some time, and whilst total spending will reach the £400m mark for the Premier League (still less then last two seasons), if net spending is taken into account for the Premier League as a whole, the figure is minuscule.

David, the use of "Moyes" does not infer anything. Most journalists will use the full name and then just the surname for a piece, that’s a fact. Absolutely ridiculous comment.

The situation we’ve again found ourself in this summer is very disappointing. However, the state of the economy and knock on effects with regards to refinancing should not be ignored and it should be noted that Manchester United have sold Ronaldo and lost Tevez, Arsenal have lost Adebayor and Toure, Liverpool have lost Alonso, Villa have lost Barry and Laursen to retirement and have not replaced. We are not alone in a lack of incoming activity.

And whilst the Lescott debacle has knocked us for 6, there’s no reason we still can’t go on to have another very good season. We’ve strengthened our team with the signing of Bilyaletdinov, Distin will likely be arriving (although the possible takeover of Portsmouth in the next couple of days could affect that) and I would imagine we will see at least two more players, probably three.

Whilst losing Lescott is a blow, he is not worth anywhere near £23M and we can profit from that deal in a similar manner to the way we profited from the Rooney deal. And it should be noted that in the 2004-05 season, we lost Rooney in the summer (and a host of others) and were comprehensively beaten by Arsenal at home in the first game of the season, yet we managed to turn things round to good effect. :-)

Jason Broome
14   Posted 26/08/2009 at 15:34:11

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Timmy your right. There are a lot more hidden costs not included in a very simplistic run through. The more knowledge on this subject the better in my opinion, but we should still anticipate a huge rise in profits from last year...

And to the Editor... Poultry??? I really should know better now shouldn’t I. Thanks for the correction.

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