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Second Best — And Not For the First Time!

By David Booth :  06/02/2010 :  Comments (22) :
Well, well, well... what a surprise. Not.

Seemingly everything in our favour beforehand and even more so when Nick the Greek got sent off — so what do we do: produce another Birmingham performance.

That was inexcusably poor today and I'm getting tired of us just rolling over like this virtually every time we play Liverpool.

How can a team of ugly misfits swat us like a dozy fly?

And let's not blame Moyes or Kenwright for once. That was the players' fault. Have they no collective intelligence?

Losing Fellaini was a blow, but even the worry that our back four might be exposed didn't materialise and ultimately the lack of protection didn't matter.

What did mater was that Liverpool stepped up a gear and scrapped for every ball. Everton, meanwhile, looked like they'd turned up for a pre-season friendly against Rochdale.

Pienaar has been off his game for a few matches, and it really showed today when we needed him to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Saha combined a general appearance of disinterest with poor control and lack of movement.

Osman was completely anonymous.

But perhaps the main disappointment was Neville, who although he didn't put a foot wrong, just isn't a threat down the right. That, in turn, significantly lessens Donovan's threat.

The combined result was an overall lack of cohesion. A team of lacklustre individuals running up against a wall of determined opponents who wanted the ball more. Much more.

Only Heitinga earned his money today. He looks so assured in everything he does.

The game itself was a crashing bore — but was clearly there for the taking. Sadly, our players didn't have the wit, or the will, to seize the opportunity.

So once again our inability to realise our potential in a derby match manifests itself. I wonder if the players feel it anything as bad as we do?

It really, really mattered today and they let us down.

Reader Comments

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Michael Jennings
1   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:16:44

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Spot on with everything except you forgot to mention that Distin isn’t happy unless he’s wellying the ball to anyone
Pete Gunby
2   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:09:04

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You’re right. Baines and Pienaar gave us nothing down the left and Neville reduces our right to a one man show. Without Fellaini the Reds dominated the middle. Why don’t we widen the pitch against ten men? Why don’t we make them work more? Why can’t we create more than 1 shot.
I can’t critisize Osman-didn’t know he played today. Moyes never has had a plan ’B’ why do we expect one now.
Brian Waring
3   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:27:45

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Pete, the points you make would mean Moyes having to use tactical nous, and Moyes and tactics don’t go together.
Robert Daniels
4   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:35:18

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David, you say "let's not blame Moyes for once" then say Neville carries no threat down our right side, and your right!

We can all see that, except Moyes, and he plays him there instead of Coleman.

Does anyone know were Rodwell was today?

Jay Harris
5   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:31:55

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Teams have worked out that our only threat is down the left amd Pienaar was "knocked" out of the game in the first minute by Carragher and after that it was boys against men especially when the big fella went off.

I hate to say it but "the dogs of war" we definitely ain't. We seem to have no stomach for a physical pressing game anymore.

More importantly, today illustrated that we can't keep a clean sheet and can't score goals.

Not a recipe for a European place — let alone 4th!!
Brian Hill
6   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:43:50

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Let’s have no more nonsense about how good/great/reliable Tim Howard is. His performance today would embarrass a Sunday league player. We created nothing, nor did they, Howard may as well have thrown the ball into his own net.
Andy Morden
7   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:51:32

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Actually, I think the complaints that we don’t have the stomach for a physical fight are way off the mark, Jay. We are usually well up for the battle. We just lost it today.

Today was indeed a game for us to show our fighting qualities, but I think we needed more composure on the ball. The Shite were set up for the battle and the tactic of shoving on two muscular forwards at the end played into their hands. Especially when we didn’t use the width and get in behind them to supply crosses.

We got out-battled, but we weren’t out-witted. No, our failings were of our own; we made it easy for them. No variation in our play, no penetration.

Sean Condon
8   Posted 06/02/2010 at 18:04:44

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Maybe this isn’t the most tasteful time to remind people that I was absolutely slaughtered on these pages two years ago for daring to suggest that Tim Howard was a terrible goalkeeper.

I agree with everything you say above David, except for one thing: it is time for Moyes to go. If this club is ever going to challenge for any kind of real honour (sorry, one Cup Final in which we didn’t show up doesn’t count for much), it will have to be under a much more tactically astute manager.

Moyes out now!
Shane Corcoran
9   Posted 06/02/2010 at 18:07:56

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Agree with pretty much everything so far. Neville was like his brother used to be — walking up to the right midfielder and giving it to him. First he wouldn’t cross, then he couldn’t.

I’ve always thought Howard dodgy but shouldn’t Neville have marked Kuyt goal-side? Compare Reina to Howard sweeping behind his back four also. Ngog’s half-chance first half v Saha’s run through from Osman’s ball typify it.

I’m not sure Saha touched the ball with his foot first half and he’s another who has been poor lately IMO. A thoroughly depressing afternoon.

Brian Lloyd
10   Posted 06/02/2010 at 17:52:38

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We were poor in many areas today but your comments about Neville are spot on. I admire the guy for his professional attitude but every time the ball came to him today it was like the day the earth stood still.

The advantage when playing 10 men is gained by moving the opposition around the pitch by playing quick incisive football. Time and time again we allowed them to file back and re-organise their defences before resorting to the time-honoured hoofball.

Andy Morden
11   Posted 06/02/2010 at 18:32:08

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Re: Howard. I posted this earlier in the live forum straight after the game. Just wondered how valid you thought my assesment of their goal and our faults are?


Also, the goal; What the hell was Howard and the rest of the defence up to? Defence — no-one took responsibility and attacked the ball. Howard: too busy trying to make space by wrestling with Kuyt. If he had just concentrated on the ball he would have a) had more chance of getting to it b) had more of a chance of getting the free kick for an infringement against Kuyt. By pushing him first he lost the right of appeal for being fouled and also arguably allowed the chance of a penalty shout. Poor.
Jay Harris
12   Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:05:38

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Andy you’re spot on with Howard.I could see even before the corner came in he was absolutely bottling it and ready to look for the ref to do him a favour.

As regards the physical side we also bottled that with Birmingham.

We may have spiritual fight but not physical toughness. We needed Dunc and the dogs of war today and all we got was damp squibs.

So much for all the pre match talking.
John McLoughlin
13   Posted 06/02/2010 at 21:52:43

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The poster of this article is correct, There were no surprises today. There rarely is for Moyes’ Everton. Most fans have accepted we’ll never win anything with him in charge because we’ll probably never get relegated. We’ve surrendered today to the worst Liverpool team in years and they still were too good for us. No doubt in a few weeks we’ll say Howard is better than Reina, Heitinga better than Carragher. Pienaar better than Kuyt etc etc as we always do. But the reuslts show differently they deliver we bottle it. Until we sign players with pace, power, flair and ambition we’ll never challenge the top 4. Even such a bad Rs team is much better than ours
Andrew Brophy
14   Posted 06/02/2010 at 21:36:00

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I’ve had a few drinks but also time to think. Shouda been in me cab workin tonight but I just couldn’t face the idea of pickin those twats up. Woulda headed for the nearest wall and taken them out with me.

What were we doing??? A criminal lack of intelligence, no sense of urgency, an unbelievable lack of self belief, a scary inferiority complex.

It was like the cup final all over again, Suddenly presented with an unexpected advantage, we didn’t know what to do with it and, disturbingly, played as though we were scared of it.

Point to this, point to that - we can talk all day about a ref who seemed to think it was his job to even things up, but we gave him too many opportunities to do so.

i believe that today showed that we are still hamstrung by the circumstances we have found ourselves in for too long. Playing safe and holding what we’ve got has become so ingrained in our mentality that we just don’t seem to be able to step up through the gears and be ruthless when we are dealt a good hand, however we find ourselves with it.

I’m not gonna criticise the team for trying, for the most part, to get the ball down and play on the deck. but what’s the point of givin it to Arteta and then just standing and watching without giving him options?

Yes the potential is there, but we need to learn and apply the lesson - you play for 90 mins each and every game. a great performance against City, or anyone else for that matter, does not allow you to cruise for a few or buy you a few games to go through the motions. How can we go out and steamroller man city and then play with such a lack of tempo against a pretty average Liverpool team that we outplayed at home and were desperately unlucky to lose to?

Why did we make it so easy for them and present tem with braggin ammo that they could barely have dreamed of gettin?

You let us down boys, Badly, disgracefully, shamefully. What are you goin to do about it? Are u gonna fight like hell on Wednesday or sulk?

We may hope for victory, although we don’t necessarily expect it. but you know what we do expect. DO NOT LET US DOWN AGAIN.

Of course I’ll be there.
Andy Morden
15   Posted 06/02/2010 at 22:11:52

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Andrew Brophy I think you hit the nail on the head. I think Mr Kenrick has been saying something very similalr for a while. However, the sentiment is right - we don’t have the nous or experience to take advantage in big games (or as Michael would say, to destroy opposition in ’run of the mill’ games). Now, is this down to the players beig inferior (as Andrew alludes to) or the manager not shuffling his resources well enough (Micheal’s position)?

Andy Crooks
16   Posted 07/02/2010 at 01:00:10

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Another predictable capitulation.Is anyone else sick of being told by non Evertonians how lucky we are to have David Moyes?
Gareth Humphreys
17   Posted 07/02/2010 at 08:23:28

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I’m getting sick of hearing how Moyes has to go.
Take the neighbours out of the equation and I have not spoken to a single other fan from a different club who does not think Moyes is anything other than excellent.
Of course that doesn’t matter on here because despite having his hands tied behind his back in the transfer market for 8 years we demand that he out perform clubs with much bigger budgets. More often than not he has managed to do this and only comes up short against teams who’s debt interest repayments are more than what he has to spend in the transfer market. Whilst dealing with all of the above he has quietly built the best squad we have seen at Everton since the Mid 80’s.
Of course yesterday was dissapointing and guess what folks - you might get a couple more of them before the end of February. But to continually harp on about Moyes, Hibbert, Osman, Neville and the likes is just tiresome.
I understand where the frustration comes from but don’t blame the manager unless you can think of anyone else who could come in and do much a better job on the same budget.
Wake up and smell the coffee.
Gareth Atkinson
18   Posted 07/02/2010 at 11:25:48

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Fair enough Howard flapped at it, but Neville should be experienced enough to get goal side of sloth and get him off the keeper, basic stuff thats fucking unforgivable in a derby match, add to that the spineless 2nd half performance and your fucking asking to get beat
Brian Waring
19   Posted 07/02/2010 at 12:10:13

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Gareth, them fans you mention who think he is excellent, haven’t had put up with the dross we have had to endure over his tenure. Also, did you know that Moyes actually has one of the worst prem records against the so called top 4? To me that doesn’t say he’s just coming up short.
Gareth Humphreys
20   Posted 08/02/2010 at 07:37:16

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Brian, once again you fail miserably to come up with an alterantive. There isn’t one — not because no one would take the job but because there is no one in football than can ring as much out of his players as he can.

Does that dross you you mention include an FA Cup Final, 4-5-5-6 finishes in the league against sides with much much bigger budgets and changing the club from perrenial relegation battlers to top of the pile outside the billionaire backed top 4?

There is not one reason or, dare I say it, Fact that could point to it being time for a change.

Brian Waring
21   Posted 08/02/2010 at 11:58:28

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Gareth, I didn’t say that Moyes should be sacked etc, so why do I need to come up with an alternative?Also, for every plus you praise him for, there are also pleny of negatives as well.
Gareth Humphreys
22   Posted 08/02/2010 at 12:18:39

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Brian if you don’t think he should be sacked then what are you saying? Of course there are plenty of negatives. There are with Alex Ferguson. However, 3 manager of the year awards tell me that the positives far outweigh the negatives.

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