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COLUMNIST JIM HOURIGAN

Today Sums It Up

By Jim Hourigan :  06/02/2010 :  Comments (33) :
First of all, let me say that I think the loss of Fellaini against Liverpool was more of a blow to us than their sending off. However, that can't be used as an excuse and I think once again we saw the same issues that many of us have identified countless times before.

1. Moyes has no idea how to win a game, his whole tactical nous is based on defending and looking to nick a goal from a set piece or similar.

2. He continually bottles all the big matches because he can't see any other way to play. Always cautious, always defensive, never takes risks or gambles.

3. When he is asked questions tactically by any of the Sky four he loses out. It can be no coincidence that we have not beaten any of these teams away for 10 years, 8 of which are under his tenure. I'm pretty sure there isn't another team in the Premier League with such a poor record.

4. Loyalty is taken to extremes to such an extent that nobody is ever surprised at his selections. He never shows initiative or imagination and sticks to the same system and players whenever they are available.

5. Once we go behind, we are so predictable: more long balls to Cahill and whoever else he throws on up front.

Today was the day to show his tactical ability. They withdrew Gerrard and left one up front, yet we stuck with 4 at the back... could you imagine Ferguson or Wenger doing that? He is so locked in to one style of play and one set of tactics that he can't see anything different and it's clear from the way the players performed today, they do not have a clue themselves what to do when we are asked questions.

Everybody on the TV, particularly Sky, sings his praises because he doesn't rock the boat for the so-called big 4. Nobody sees him as a future manager of any of these clubs so they can talk positively about him because it's actually totally irrelevant. Until such time as he picks teams and plays in a way that threatens them, he is just 'doing a great job at Everton' — well that's not good enough for me.

Today hurts so much, not just because of the result but more because of the way we played. We deserved absolutely nothing and got nothing against one of the poorest Red Shite sides in years. Did anyone actually think we would score? Did anyone see anything decent?

I'm sick and tired of watching absolute garbage; we played great against City but how bad was Birmingham, Sunderland and Wigan? Football and Moyes should not be used in the same sentence!!!

Reader Comments

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Lynn Thorne
1   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:07:46

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Whilst I agree with not deserving anything from today - why oh why did we choose today to stop playing football and hoof it up again?!
I disagree with your first point.. We got a deserved draw against Chelsea and scored 3 goals. We also took the game to Arsenal and should have won - bar 2 deflected goals!.
Gutted about today - they were little better than us and we blew it
John Andrews
2   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:11:41

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Harsh but fair Jim.
Russ Quinlan
3   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:12:05

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Sorry mate but although i do agree Moyes still has a lot to learn, I put todays garbage purely at the players feet. Nobody looked interested except Felli and once he went off that was it, all the midfield bite had gone.
So many bad performances today I don’t see how Moyes could have made any difference, even the playes coming on didn’t perform except for Yaks one shot tipped over. Bad decisions on the park (WHY WHY WHY didn’t Vic shoot !!!) cannot be made better from the bench.
Just seems this lot blow either hot or cold and usually against the RS its cold, even with a man short.
Brian Waring
4   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:23:02

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Russ, Moyes could have made a difference, he could have gone gone for it when they went down to 10 men.
Chris Butler
5   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:24:15

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Totally agree, the goal was an absolute joke. We don’t have the belief to beat these teams. I don’t think there was one person that believed that we could win the cup final in May.

Totally agree on the tactics point. Personally, I would've started with Anichebe depsite his injury as at least he would test Carragher. When we went to 4-4-2, we looked dangerous.

Cahill yet again did nothing. Liverpool only looked dangerous from set-pieces; other than that, they didn’t look dangerous. We’re not going to get a better chance to beat Liverpool. A team without any decent striker and down to 10 men.

Ajay Gopal
6   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:34:32

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Russ, a manager can always use that excuse - "it is the players on the pitch, not me"!! Why was Anichebe even on the pitch? What has Moyes got against James Vaughan? He actually was starting to look half decent (he has scored 2 goals this season in maybe 5/6 starts). I am 100% positive that Vaughan under an attack-minded coach will do much better. James, just go away from Everton for your own good!

Having said that, there were some poor performances — I would like to point out Neville, Osman (whom the game seemed to complete pass, once Fella was off) & Pienaar.

A special mention to the referee — he should be ashamed of his performance in the 2nd half. Never gave a foul against L’pool, but blew the whistle every time the wind blew the RS players down. Disgraceful behaviour from the Liverpool players, and after the Pienaar sending off, I have never hated a player as much as I hate Gerrard right now.
Charles King
7   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:37:22

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Russ

Have to say if the manager can’t influence the mindset that has the players blowing hot and cold, what’s he doing? This is the Moyes conundrum — he can spot a player, he just doesn’t seem to know what to do with them, particularly going forward.

Jim, well said.

Ajay Gopal
8   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:42:36

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Oh, and I missed out Howard from the list of "poor performances". It was lame flapping at the ball which resulted in the goal, when any half decent keeper would have collected it comfortably. Sorry to say this, but Reina is 10x the keeper that Howard is.
Brian Waring
9   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:46:14

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Ajay, while the ref had a bad 2nd half, at the end of the day, Pienaar could and should have had a straight red; Baines was pulling on the arm of Kuyt in the penalty box (we got a pen for the same thing against City, but got away with it today); the Fellaini incident, when they showed you it in slow motion, Fellaini stamps down on the lads ankle... it was a terrible challenge by the big man; also the one where he follows through with his knee into Kuyt's head.

The ref is an easy target, but we got away with a fair few decisions today.

Jay Harris
10   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:39:28

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I thought Carragher set the tone when he "walloped" Pienaar in the first minute.

We were actually scared of them and ended up playing their game instead of going at their massed defence in a creative way.

But the biggest let down for me was their goal which was pathetic by Howard.
Ollie Taylor
11   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:50:39

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This might sound daft, but I think we lost the game at right back today. After Krygiakos was sent, Liverpool pulled everyone back and either played a long ball up to Ngog, to either try a win a foot race with Distin/Heitinga, or hold up the ball and draw a foul.

So we’ve then got an additional man in midfield and three extra at the back. Our main outlet was down the left with the Pienaar/Baines axis. But with Mascherano switching to a fully defensive right back with the defensive winger Kuyt in front, they were frustrated most of the time unless either Arteta or Cahill moved out of position to help.

Now, this left Donovan on the right. Some may say he had a bad game. I don’t. He was just doubled marked for most of the game. He showed on a couple of runs to the byline what his pace could do. But because of either Rodriguez tracking back and doubling up or Agger doubling up on Insua, he too was played out of the game.

This wouldn’t have happened if we’d had a right back as attacking as Baines on the right. If we’d had a Coleman to bomb down the wing, Donovan could’ve really got into the game. Neville can’t be blamed... Dani Alves he ain’t. His diagonal balls up to Cahill were all he really had on.

But because our play was so unbalanced towards the left, our extra man was negated. He was wary of going over the byline because of the attacks of a winger who everyone forgot was even in the game. Once they had the goal there was nothing that was gonna change this.

Could be said Moyes didn’t want to try a relatively green wingback in that cauldron. But the lads 6 foot +. He’s a battler, as we saw in the Spurs game, and he would’ve been up against a player in Rodriguez who, as any follower of La Liga wil testify, is laughable shite and also relatively untried.

To me, that’s the decision that could’ve changed the game, and the kind of decision, as much as I hate to say it, that Moyes can’t make.
Gerry Western
12   Posted 06/02/2010 at 18:08:25

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It was clear from the outset they were looking to kick Fellaini out of the game. What he needed was someone else alongside him in the middle of the park prepared to put their foot in. Osman, I’m afraid deserted him, no surprise there.

We had absolutely no service down the right which was unfortunate as Donovan looked on fire but just about anyone could see that apart from Neville. The 10 men had no trouble closing us down, they simply concentrated their efforts on defending against Piennar and Baines. When Donovan did get an opportunity, he really did open them up, if only Neville had got forward it would have been a different game.

Tactically, Moyes had no idea, moving Donavan inside when he was having a blinding game out wide? It should have been Coleman on for Neville and that really would have made a difference.
Art Tosh
13   Posted 06/02/2010 at 18:18:06

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Nonsense. Typical yo-yo commentary - the players didn’t perform, you can’t blame single out Moyes for a poor player performance any more than making him the only one to get praise when we played Man City off the park.
Gerry Western
14   Posted 06/02/2010 at 18:12:08

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Brian, If you really want to dissect the ref’s performance you could equally add to that list: Reina pulling Distin’s shirt inside the box — a penalty by the laws of the game. Add to that the situation involving Anichebe who was booked for pushing Agger when in fact he’d initially been pushed by both Agger and Mascherano. On that basis Agger should have been booked and Mascherano already on a yellow should have received a red.
Brian Waring
15   Posted 06/02/2010 at 18:30:26

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Gerry, I was just pointing out to Ajay, that we had some critical decisions go our way. I wasn’t trying to dissect the ref's performance.
Gerry Western
16   Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:14:17

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Brian, apologies if it sounded like a criticism, it wasn’t meant to. I do however believe the opposition came into this one determined to kick us off the park. If the referee had acted more swiftly and decisively the game may well have played out differently.
Trevor Lynes
17   Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:24:38

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I have read all of the comments and agree with those that have said ’we did not do enough to win the game’.
They had 10 men for an hour and we still created nothing..The chance that Cahill missed in the first half was caused by Mascherano heading the ball directly to him...OUR players created nothing !! Fellaini was having a decent game until his injury but really our passing was ’TURGID’ with no cutting edge at all...Liverpool looked more dangerous on the break and passed the ball quicker than we did...Ngog won foul after foul and we fell for it everytime..it took the pressure off them time and again..I really thought that we had a great chance of beating Liverpool today especially after they went down to ten men and Im so baffled by the absence of passion in the second half. Brian waring is correct in his comments regarding decisions and the fans who cannot see his point should take off their ’BLUE’glasses..We just were not good enough !!
Andy Morden
18   Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:31:53

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It isn’t just this game that Neville has looked gahs at right back. I was wincing at the Sunderland game each time the ball came to him and he took a leaden touch and fucked up out momentum / hoofed it pointlessly. It is no secret who our main outlets are, or the way we inevitably use them. I actually think he can play better and he is still feeling his way back after injury, but he will never be Cafu. The dilemma is what to do with Pip? Limited a player as he undoubtedly is, I still can’t see a better captain for the team. Cahill might have the attitude and passion, but I suspect that a lot was taken from his game having to worry about the team. Notice how Cahill’s form has improved without the armband?
Jay Harris
19   Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:02:08

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Andy,
Heitiga would make a much better captain and lead by example something that seems beyond Neville now.

At least Ferguson had the balls to tell him his star was on the wane.

We also need more competition for Howard who has no bottle in the big games.
Colin Potter
20   Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:14:55

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How anybody can play Anichebe before James Vaughanis unbelievable. If I was he I would be in his office tomorrow asking for a transfer, moyes is bloody clueless!!
Andy Morden
21   Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:34:49

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Jay, nice point about Heitinga. He does seem to have the necessary nous about him. But, a lot thought that about Cahill and he struggled in the role. Heitinga is a necomer to the league (and the squad) so perhaps not the best time to pitch him in? Perhaps give it another season or so? Neville was not our captain immediatley, I would suggest in the Moyes regime you have to earn it. Personally I don’t think that is a bad philosophy. One thing Moyes IS good at it knitting team unity. I think dumping Neville straight off for a newcomer would cause problems in terms of spirit and the vision Moyes has. Much as it perhaps seems illogical to play a limited trier, it does actually contribute to the greater good. Weirdly. Slow evolution, I think?
Derek Thomas
22   Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:59:09

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Lynn; we scored 3 Vs Chelsea, wrong, we were gifted 3.

Russ; Moyes has a lot to learn, Well you learn by your mistakes, Moyes keeps making the mistakes but never seems to learn from them.

Jim, whoever said it up the thread had the right of it ... HARSH BUT FAIR.

Not so much out fought as out thought.

In the first 30 secs Carras body check on Pienaar, classic unsettling play. It was a win win for the rs 1) take out Pienaar for good if you are lucky 2 hardly no risk of a red or even a yellow so early.

Neville; what ever so called intangibles he may or may not bring at least Hibbo trys to go down the outside now and again.

An insult to the words one dimensional.
Andy Morden
23   Posted 06/02/2010 at 21:38:17

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Derek, I really don’t disagree with what you say about Neville at the moment - his play is one dimensional and that you can see / measure. But, we do know to our benefit that the intangibles are important. Our 4th placed finish was, in my opinion, to do with the intangibles. In play we were shocking quite frequently. But something drove us on. We could see it in some repsects, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. If that makes sense? And this is why I have some sympathy for Moyes, like a lot of things in life being successful in a task that includes a team of individuals working for each other is as much planning and getting lucky with that ’spark’. And I for one don’t think I can answer the conundrum. Footie (and life) eh?
John McLoughlin
24   Posted 06/02/2010 at 21:42:22

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We had no fight today, or any creativity. Moyes could have changed this but that goes against his safety 1st approach. Almost any other manager would have tekn off a defender in the last 20 mins against a team down to 10 men and only hitting on the break. We have no width and the reason goes back to the summer, we all cried out for a pacey winger and we got another jack of all trades master of none who is slow. Moyes is a good manager for us as long as bullshit billy is in charge and we have no money and we accept we will never win anything. If we ever get money or the fans remember we were once challengers Moyes will never deliver a trophy. In big games he almost always comes up short due to a lack fo adventure. last week Arsenal started brightly against united so Ferguson switched Carrick and Scholes and then united dominated. Can you imagine moyes doing that. Last years cup final with Chelsea destroying us down our right in the 1st half . did Moyes contemplate switching Nevile and Osman to give Hibbert some protection ? No because the only changes he makes is like for like. Even last week v Wigan. at nil nil in a terrible game we took a striker off for a striker. Once Cahill missed today i knew we would not score, we create hardly any chances so when one goes missing like that you know we will be punished. We win games from free kicks or corners thats all
Dick Fearon
25   Posted 06/02/2010 at 22:37:40

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Jim, you summed up Moyes pretty well and I agree with everything in your post.

For years I have said the same things only to be howled down by those who presume to know better. Probably the same ones who think Osman is fantastic.

I wondered what planet Moyes is on when he said we played OK and were unlucky to lose. He also said because we conceded 3 or 4 corners so early in the second half one was bound to go in. He offered no explanation or criticism as to how or why that was allowed to happen.
The RS for most of the time had only one player in our half of the field and he was relatively inexperienced.
This game was proof, if any was still needed that we are in desperate need of someone on our coaching staff who is not an ex centre back.
I was writhing in my seat as our back four passed the ball sideways then back then forward then sideways then back ad nauseum. This was while they were under no pressure whatever.
Why oh why does Moyes wait until we are on the ropes before trying to change the flow of the game. Too often those changes come too late and as in this game they are the wrong ones.
Dare I say that much maligned Rafa showed himself to be a far better tactician and an all round better coach.
Still an all, David is still learning eh?
David Thomas
26   Posted 06/02/2010 at 22:49:03

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David Moyes has done a steady job at everton but he just does not seem to have any real tactical nous. Year in year out in games were the trusted one up front game plan is not working he never has a plan b. We seem to always just stick to the plan of keeping it tight at the back and trying to nick one at the other end and if this is not working with ten minutes left start launching the ball into the opposition box.
Andy Crooks
27   Posted 07/02/2010 at 01:12:54

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Time for a change. Does anyone believe that David Moyes will ever win anything at Everton? His time has passed and we should stop being grateful for being in the Premier. There is, and there has been another way. There is life after Moyes. Stop eulogising a man who has won nothing and has produced some truly awful football.

You know without him we might actually not get relegated. We might play some football. We might not go to Old Trafford happy to get away without a hiding. There might be a squad where certain players are not undroppable and were "let's nick a goal and see what happens" is not the sum of our tactics.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

Danny Burke
28   Posted 07/02/2010 at 01:09:13

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"Lynn; we scored 3 Vs Chelsea, wrong, we were gifted 3."

So they didn’t count then? The shite were gifted a goal today but I don’t hear them complaining.

The most disappointing thing today was the lack of any real spark or cutting edge, and just the overall sense of not taking a golden chance to do them at thier place. The plan just seemed to be give the ball to mikel and wait for him to do somthing great, or lump it long. While he is capable of that you need others to make runs and move to be able to create chances for them.

Howard had little to do but flapped for the goal, he shouldnt be letting someone get in a header inside his 6 yard box without even fucking having to jump!

Neville, shite marking for the goal and poor throughout!

Heitinga, one of the few to come out of the game with any credit.

Distin, shakey at best and lumps the ball up all the bloody time!

Baines, poor delivery and not up to much today.

Donovan, a few glimpses of a real threat but not enough.

Osman, was he even on the pitch?

Fellaini, I thought he was doing well before he had to go off. (Incidentally, I don't think his challenge was as bad as is made out, foot not high, only caught him cos of the shithouse's two-footed lunge.)

Pienaar, could have gone early on but the second booking was a joke (Gerrard, you cheating bastard). The early challenge had an element of self protection to it, can't blame him, he’s 4ft 10 and 6 stone dripping wet and had been clattered a few times.

Cahill, tried his best but limited service, should have scored but was a difficult chance.

Saha, again limited service, seemed a bit flat footed and not at his best.

Arteta, did little wrong for me but still a bit short of his old self yet.

Yak, did ok, good shot on the turn, should have put Reina under more pressure instead of walking up to him while he played for time.

Anichebe, should have shot first time late on, showed some fight at least with a quality shove on Agger.

As for tactics, it would be too much it seems to go 3 at the back (vs one striker!), move say Neville up or Heitinga, allowing Mikky to get further up the pitch, Ossie off and another striker on to really go at them.

Fucking gutted and now I'm at work and it’s 01:45am and I have until 8am to sulk and think about this shite!

Stephen Ryan
29   Posted 07/02/2010 at 01:17:32

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A few observations from today’s game:
1. Is it just me, but when a team is down to 10 men, isn’t it common sense for the opposition to retain possession and draw the depleted team out by utilising the wings. Can somebody explain therefore why we continually gave the ball away cheaply by pumping 40 yard balls from defence into a cluster of 8 red shirts for the whole of the second half ?
2. Well, Osman has been given a run in his favoured central role and he is still anonymous especially against the top 4 teams. What excuses do you have for him on this occassion?
3. Peinnar was quoted this week that he may welcome a new challenge in Germany or Russia. He is a good player but his end product is often poor. Based on his capitulation yesterday and bearing in mind that he is approaching 29, I would cash in after the World Cup. He is good but not as good as many believe.
4.Distan is a liability and not as good as Yobo. However, Heitinga and Jagielka have to be best pairing.
5. The team nit together much more effectively with Yakubu upront than Saha.
6. Not that we deserved anything yesterday, but if you look very closely Kuyt actually pulled Howard’s shirt a split second before scoring and therefore should have been penalised.
7. Moyes does not have the tactical accumen to win trophies.
Danny Burke
30   Posted 07/02/2010 at 02:17:17

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Clutching at stwas a bit Stephen with number 6, Howard also shoved Kuyt before the goal so you could argue he should be penalised. If anything he shoved him onto the cross and made it easier. I dont think we did enough to win but I also dont think they did either.
Steven Flynn
31   Posted 07/02/2010 at 09:21:02

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Can someone explain why moyes kept 4 defenders on to there one forward? He plays with no width our 2 so called wide midfielders are always playing at least 5 yards in from the touchline,so when the defence or central midfielders are in possesion options are limited.Get some width Moyes you negative bastard
John McLoughlin
32   Posted 07/02/2010 at 15:25:20

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We’ll never have width. Moyes wouldnt sign a player that doesnt track back. So expect a Gary O’Neil type signing rather than a Aarron Lennon style midfielder in. If we actually sign a player during the summer. Pace and power is needed we wont get either. We will settle for someone who can player in 3 positions but isnt great in any of them.
Trevor Lynes
33   Posted 07/02/2010 at 15:53:04

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We need a winger who will run at the defence....a Giggs or Lennon type...we get the ball and lay it back or sideways and never really take anyone on...at least I did notice that Coleman did try to do this on the occasions he has played and every pro footballer will tell you that defenders do not like players who run at them with pace...having possesion is good but..passes need to be made quickly and players off the ball must find space....Rooney is a classic example of running off the ball and he is the main reason why UTD are playing so well...we really lack mobility up front and I would love us to sign a genuine winger and a forward like Doyle or Fuller who are both real handfulls....

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