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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Wolves (H): Points dropped... again

By Paul Traill :  19/10/2009 :  Comments (5) :

After a few beers in the pub, we were into Goodison and in our seats just in time for Z-Cars… it's funny how we always seem to time it just right.

Following his wisdom teeth operation, Fellaini could only make the bench for this one and so Heitinga, Rodwell and Cahill made up the midfield with Osman and Bilyaletdinov on the flanks. Yobo came back into defense to partner Distin with Hibbert continuing at right back. For Wolves, Kevin Doyle led the line in attack with Segundo Castillo gaining a good reception from the crowd as Wolves' No 35 took his place on the bench.

It was a mediocre start to the game which rather played into Wolves’ hands as the visitors game was all about stopping us from playing. Resultantly, Everton got hesitant and therefore Wolves became more confident as the half wore on and were certainly very good value for going in level at the break.

Despite this, things could have been so much different had Cahill not have missed what can only be described as a sitter. The ball broke back to the Aussie with most of the goal to aim at though he contrived to sidefoot the ball well over the bar when he really oughta have scored.

Louis Saha was also guilty of missing a great chance by his standards when he headed over the bar when practically unmarked from a Bilyaletdinov corner. This didn’t take anything away from the ineptitude of our performance though and the team were rightly booed off at half-time.

Something had to change at the break and I was backing the introduction of Fellaini to replace the completely anonymous Johnny Heitinga in the midfield as the Dutchman had been simply awful. Well Heitinga was removed from the midfield but placed into right-back with Yakubu entering the fray as Everton went two up-front. I thought it was hard on Hibbert who’d done nothing wrong at right back.

Regardless, Everton improved. Not that significantly but we certainly created more in the second half and looked like scoring a lot more. One of the Wolves defenders somehow almost scored for us when he tried to overhead volley a ball clear, only to overhead volley it into his face though fortunately for he the ball went behind from a corner.

Louis Saha also had two good chances, one which he headed down and Hennessey tipped over the bar and another when he set himself and tried to clip it into the corner only for Hennessey to claw it round the post, and Yakubu also had a good opening which he drove across goal and wide with his left foot. As too did Bilyaletdinov who took a ball down beautifully but then should have done better with his drive that went straight into the onrushing Welsh keeper. We weren’t playing that well but with those chances we certainly should have taken the lead in this one long before Wolves edged in front.

Just after Cahill had tried his luck on the half-volley from the edge of the box, the ball was played forward long by Wolves. Somehow, and I really don’t know how, everybody missed it and all of a sudden Doyle was through on goal with only Howard to beat and the Irishman tucked the ball home comfortably. It was so frustrating. All those chances and we switch off for one moment and get punished.

Thankfully, Everton had enough character about them to keep on going and force a draw. The introduction of Fellaini certainly helped that and you had to wonder why he wasn’t given longer in the game. It was actually the other substitute Jo who helped salvage the draw. Good work by Cahill as he fed Jo with a good pass, nice running by the Brazilian who got down the line and played a good ball into the box for Bilyaletdinov to finish smartly for his first Everton goal. It was just in front of me and he looked well made up with it.

We still had time on the clock and you hoped Everton could push on from here in what was to be an incident-packed last few minutes. Kevin Doyle spurned a good opportunity down at the other end before some giant Austrian got sent off for Wolves for running into Tim Howard when he gathered the ball.

Following this there was still time for one last chance when Castillo fouled Baines giving Everton a free kick about 25 yards out. Leighton Baines stepped up and smashed the ball narrowly wide of the post. Though this would have been very hard on Wolves you have to admit.

Full time and a nagging sense of two points dropped really. Though we didn’t play well, we certainly had the chances and should have finished Wolves off. It was a similar story to the Stoke City game a few weeks ago in that we gifted the opposition a hopelessly simple goal and if you’re doing that you’re always going to struggle to win games.

Next up, three tough away games within the space of six days. If we come out of that with a European win, a Premiership win and progression to the next round of the Carling Cup I’ll be mighty surprised but also mighty optimistic our season will be back on track before our next home encounter against Aston Villa.

Player Ratings:

  • Howard: Not a great deal to do but made a couple of decent saves. 6
  • Baines: Got caught out a few times defensively though supported attacks well. So close to scoring at the end. 6
    Distin: OK but went missing for the goal. 6
  • Yobo: OK but went missing for the goal. 6
  • Hibbert: Don’t know why he was subbed. Was looking very comfortable defensively and should have stayed on. So much for being the ‘brickwork’ of the club eh. 7
  • Heitinga: Was simply shocking in midfield in the first half and I’d have taken him off at the interval rather than Hibbert. Didn’t exactly convince in the second half at right back either. 4
  • Rodwell: A bit out of sorts. Was coming too deep in the first half when he probably needed to be a bit further forward and failed to impose himself on the game the way he can do in the second period. 5
  • Cahill: Didn’t have the best of games but never gave up and battled hard, resulting in having a lot to do with Everton’s equalizer. 6
  • Bilyaletdinov: Good game. Needs time but I’m convinced he will become an excellent player. He was delighted with his goal and probably should have gotten one before that. 7
  • Osman: Worked hard but was a bit isolated out on the wing at times before being subbed for Fellaini. 6
  • Saha: Was quite surprised to see him subbed as he looked the most likely to score, even if he did miss three decent chances. 7
  • Yakubu (for Hibbert): Did OK. You feel a sharper Yakubu would have buried that chance but he used the ball well and showed some nice touches. 6
  • Jo (for Saha): Did pretty well and set up the goal. Will get a game or two over the next three games I’m sure. 7
  • Fellaini (for Osman): My man of the Match. Ridiculous given how little time he had on the pitch but he added a touch of class when he got on, using the ball well and causing good nuisance value. The question begs, why wasn’t he given more time? 8

Reader Comments

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Mike Gaynes
1   Posted 19/10/2009 at 16:55:30

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Agree with most of your comments, Paul. I’m going to give Moyes the benefit of the doubt on the two points where you question him, however.

Regarding Fellaini, oral surgery following a lengthy infection is pretty debilitating, and I’d bet he wasn’t fit for more than 30 minutes at best. I think he would have been in the starting lineup otherwise.

And regarding Hibbert being subbed out while he was definitely having an excellent game, Moyes clearly wanted more in the attack, and Heitinga is the better attacker. On his day, he’s the best crosser we have from the right side. Unfortunately, he wasn’t on his day.

We should also give credit where it’s due. Wolves played with confidence and ceaseless intensity, and deserved the away point.

Andy Codling
2   Posted 19/10/2009 at 17:57:36

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Mike, rather than give credit to Wolves, I would say Moyes and his dour shite negative line-up played right into their hands. Wish he would go for the win and let us play decent football, which we have seen on occasions.

You can't even argue that these tactics should be reserved for playing the top four because the stats prove they don't. I'm sick and tired of watching us have every man back to defend corners and then hoof it up the park to the oppositions centre-half.

Peter McHugh
3   Posted 20/10/2009 at 14:22:55

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agree totally about defending corners. We have everybody back which means we are unable to retain possession. And we don’t even have two people on posts - crazy tactics.

A lot of excuses raised for Moyes - clearly he got it wrong with tactics and personnel - I would assume he would admit this
Mike Gaynes
4   Posted 20/10/2009 at 16:14:01

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Andy, what negative line-up? That’s my point -- if Fellaini is only fit for a brief sub appearance, who else did we have to increase the attack? If you start Jo or the Yak up front with Saha, who sits? They just didn’t have anybody who would have made that much of a difference. And please don’t join the cockeyed chorus about Gosling instead of Ozzie. That’s no difference-maker.

Let’s face it, without Pienaar and Arteta, there just isn’t much creativity there. We’ll just have to be patient.
Andy Codling
5   Posted 20/10/2009 at 18:57:52

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Mike , how about Billy, Cahill and Osman with Rodwell sitting and then two up front.
Sorry mate but Im fucking fed up watching utter shite.
Every game is easy to predict our formation and team selection so it must be a fucking doddle for other managers. I agree without Arteta and Piennar there is not much imagination but lets try and win games from the off at home, especially the likes of Stoke and Wolves. Whats the point in hoofing the ball to the likes of Jo ,with his back to the goal and then he gets slagged off because he looks shite. Fuck me Benzema would look shit in our team with Moyes tactics.

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