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The changing face...

By James Boden :  11/02/2010 :  Comments (35) :

So there we have it. Finally, our hoodoo against Chelsea is over. Moyes has finally defeated them. It was a long time coming and certainly produced some painful moments along the way. Hopefully this proves to be a pivotal moment.

Of course as we know, despite this historic win, the press still had to nit-pick, preferring to blame John Terry’s mistakes rather than the fact that we played at a high tempo and ultimately deserved to win. All these excuses and bullshit. I don’t recall any excuses being made when Chelsea beat our reserves in the Cup Final. Of course we should all expect this by now. They choose not to ever give credit where it’s due.

To say this win was unexpected would be an understatement... and what a pleasant surprise it was, especially on the back of what was an appalling performance against The Shite. This performance was everything that was not. It was almost as though it took that atrocity to give us this.

Now I am sure I was not the only person who was pissed off with David Moyes at the end of that game. There I was thinking once again he showed us up when it mattered. The worst Liverpool side for years had done the double over us and this was a total humiliation. As far as I was concerned, not only would we never go to the next level with him but he would take us backwards again. His tactics have certainly been questionable many times and the quality of football at times has been abysmal.

However, against Chelsea he was positive in the way we set out and it paid off. So, for that, credit where it’s due. Hopefully, now he has finally beaten Chelsea, this will give him the incentive to beat the top sides more often and finally get an away win against one of them.

Now I must admit I have questioned Moyes before but, like him or not (and, for the record, I am not his biggest fan), there can be no denying that the club has made significant strides under him. And, although we all would have swapped this for winning at Anfield, in the long run, this might turn out to be for the best. This was his Achilles heel and it is now confined to the history books for all time.

Of course, the big question is: How do we build on this? Well, as far as I am concerned, a top 8 finish is the least we should be expecting from this season. And of course to win the Europa Cup. And really, it isn’t out of reach. What is also vitally important is to sign Landon Donovan on a permanent basis. His introduction has improved the team greatly and commercially, this would be a great move by the club. To miss out would be an absolute crime.

The thing that I have noticed is that the top clubs are not the force they once were. It seems, slowly but surely, they are being pegged back into the real world. From taking every trophy season-in, season-out to starting to slip up. One only has to look at how open the league has been this year. Chelsea and United are losing more games than previously imaginable.

Even Arsenal, who previously could only be undone by physical play, are now in a position where teams can outplay them and I don’t just mean Chelsea or United as we testified to that several weeks back. It is obvious that the big guns are slowly crumbling, as shown by the fact that we and Villa took 4 points off Chelsea and United respectively. It shows that, by taking the game to these teams they can crack. Why fear them anymore?

And given that most clubs have become very touchy about whom and how they spend their money then this could potentially play into our hands. For all we know, one day Bill Kenwright may be proven to be right. I never thought I would utter those words but it is not so inconceivable now. Let us hope this is a sign of things to come.

Reader Comments

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Timothy Sebastian
1   Posted 12/02/2010 at 04:59:40

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"However, against Chelsea he was positive in the way we set out and it paid off."

James — I do take issue with this comment you made. I am convinced that Moyes did not set out to play Chelsea differently from Liverpool. I am sure for both games, he told the players to go out and win it.

Let me put it this way, if the result in the Chelsea game went the other way, say they won by 3-0, what would you and others say? Likely, something like how "could Moyes have started with Osman when he did so badly against Liverpool". Or, "couldn’t Moyes see that Coleman should have replaced Neville". Or maybe something like "it was foolhardy to play Arteta when he was not fully fit". Or "why start with only one striker instead of 2".

These are the common refrains whenever we lose. If we’ve learnt anything from the Chelsea game, it’s that Moyes is fairly consistent with his team selection and his team instructions. The real variable is how the team executes these instructions, and whether the other side lets Everton play the game Moyes wants them to play. This idea of Moyes sending teams out to hold out for a draw is, in my mind, a fallacy.

Mike McLean
2   Posted 12/02/2010 at 07:01:57

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Timothy, I think that there is a considerable weight of evidence against your view.
Gareth Humphreys
3   Posted 12/02/2010 at 08:03:47

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Mike, on the contrary — I think there is even more weight to support what Tim is saying. Just see the knee kerk reactions on here from the bi-polar blues depending solely on the result.

If John Terry had cleared the ball and Anelka put away his chance David Moyes would have been called all the bastards under the sun despite the above 2 instances not actually involving Everton players.

Go Figure. It's called the bigger picture and some people don’t see it.

Mike McLean
4   Posted 12/02/2010 at 09:25:29

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Qutie. Couldn’t agree more. Depends how big the picture should be, really. Take one result and make it the sole point of reference — which is what many do — and you do end up with bipolar reactions. So, should it be two? Ten? Fifty?

I’d say that over eight years, with honourable exceptions, Everton have played a species of football which has been negative, dreary, and spasmodically successful. There seems to be some hint that things might be turning the corner in terms of good football but it’s far too early to say.

As both the OP and you say, or infer, if Moyes is responsible for the good, then assuredly he is also responsible for the bad.
Lee Hind
5   Posted 12/02/2010 at 09:53:59

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Mike, you seem to be making two different points here.

In your first post you appear to advocate the point of view that Moyes sends his teams out to draw as you disagree with T Sebastian...

Utter tosh - I would stop watching the game if I thought my team was being sent out to draw games. Every footballer wants to win, it’s inherent in them.

Then you make a great point about our general standard of football over the last 8 years which hasn’t been great but has been "spasmodically successful".

Just struck me as really odd that you can make one point that was so far from real and one so true in 2 posts....I love fan opinions :0)
James Boden
6   Posted 12/02/2010 at 10:22:47

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What about if Saha had of scored the penalty? Or the one he hit straight at Cech? How comes no-one has commented on what I said about the top teams not being forces they once were? Or is it that that is immaterial because no-one may say a bad word about Moyes. I mean for Pete's sake this article actually praises him yet still I get criticised because it is not fully in support for him.
James Boden
7   Posted 12/02/2010 at 10:25:33

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I do agree with what you are saying Mike and that is my point. Moyes's supporters are quick to rush on and tell us how great he is when something goes right but if it goes pear-shaped they always have an excuse for him. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways and, even though I have admitted to not being overly fond of him, I thought I would give credit where it’s due. How hard would it be for a supporter of him to give him slack when it’s due?
Sam Morrison
8   Posted 12/02/2010 at 10:41:17

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James, you’ve had four people post so far, give it time.

For what it’s worth I agree that the Sky four aren’t looking as imposing as they once were. I also agree that Moyes doesn’t send out a team to draw and the devil is in the detail in some games — we can dwell on the ’what-if’s till the cows come home but it’s Moyes's and the players' jobs to minimise these events by controlling the game when they can, taking chances when they can, and stopping the opposition playing whenever they’re not doing the aforementioned.

I think it’s a misconception that generally pro-Moyes posters won’t accept criticism of him — even Richard Dodd was unimpressed with the derby. No-one’s ever said he’s perfect, and the reaction at the weekend was understandable. But to be (generally) pro-Moyes is to be constantly labelled an ’apologist’ among other things and it doesn’t exactly set a platform for reasoned debate. Basically, if threads start out in that tone they will usually descend into people disagreeing with each other in increasingly sarcastic ways.
James Boden
9   Posted 12/02/2010 at 10:59:20

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I understand where you are coming from, Sam; however, it has happened so many times before where Moyes was questioned for being negative by several posters and then there were those who came on to defend him and at times some of the language used was quite harsh considering it was only our opinion of our manager.

We have had problems before where it has come across as many considering Moyes to be untouchable. I agree that Moyes deserves great credit but he also deserves criticism at failing us when it matters most. However, as I pointed out, his achilles heel of beating Chelsea is finally over and that may serve us very well in the long run — particularly when you consider that the top clubs are starting to be brought back to earth and cannot spend out of their means any more.

Sam Morrison
10   Posted 12/02/2010 at 12:04:06

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James, I hope you’re right about Chelsea. I’m afraid I still disagree about your perception of Moyes’s support — I don’t recall ever reading a claim that he is untouchable.

I do agree that criticism is often merited and justified, however. But I’d also say that if people want to defend the Moyes's reign in general in defence of criticism after a negative result that’s a reasonable call - I know Michael might disagree but I really don’t see anything terribly wrong with that.

The debate then tends to turn to Moyes in general, and that’s where it becomes all about differing perspectives on the same facts. There’s unfortunately no definitive resolution there!

Sam Morrison
11   Posted 12/02/2010 at 12:11:19

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In case it’s not clear, I agree you should be able to criticise on here without being pilloried for it. Equally, one should be able to make a case in answer to that criticism, and so on, without either side resorting to the name-calling etc.
Colin Southern
12   Posted 12/02/2010 at 12:28:52

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I think the point being that gets most supporters who read this site generally percieved it as having a negative stance on Moyes. If the team does well this seems to be in-spite of Moyes.

Sometimes I splutter with rage at some of the absolute shite written. Yes, our record isn’t great against the top four, and the reason is that we are NOT a top four team, and this is purely because we haven't got their resources. We’re getting closer each season but generally if they’ve got one player who costs the same amount as your whole team then the odds are always going to be stacked against you.

My own personal bugbear with ToffeeWeb is that our motto ’Nil Satis’ is often used as a negative, and to score points against Moyes and this team, which irritates the hell out of me. Why would a manager send a team out to lose? Players aren't robots, somedays they’ll be off form, and others they’ll play out of their skins. This is what used to make the game so exciting, you could never quite know what the outcome would be. Just look at the derby, I thought we’d batter the Shite but it was not too be.

It's frustrating that poeple often forget all the turgid football we’ve played since the EPL started. With the exception of the Joe Royle years, we were an absolute joke, especially during Walter's spell... it was that bad I’d lost interest altogether after the Boro game. That's when I really knew how bad things were, knowing that we’d never challenge at the top again, and that we were a complete mess.

I think Moyes has given us some hope of once again challenging and most importantly given us our pride back.
Tony Williams
13   Posted 12/02/2010 at 13:25:46

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Colin, my personal bugbear is when posters come on after a poor game only and then jump into a tirade of bashing their peticular hated player or the manager, yet when we are doing alright they are no-where to be seen.

Most of us "apologists" are here all the time and get involved in conversations when we have stunk the place out like on Saturday; however, I do believe that most "apologists" take everything into consideration and not just the last game. For instance, the start of the season we were gash but we knew why, the injuries (however, some like to dispel the injuries as irrelevant) and lo and behold when our players start coming back we start winning.

We lost to the Shite in November after outplaying them and were unbeaten in the league until we played them again but after that game it seems Moyes was a bottler and should be sacked, go figure?

We "apologists" wait and see how the season maps out, not resort to the Newcastle view of getting new managers every few months.

I have stated on many occassions that I believe we are an average team that plays well from time to time yet the people who scream the loudest against Moyes are the ones telling us how bad our players are and then inexplicably blaming Moyes for not making these apparently poor players beat the superstar filled teams above us. I simply just don’t get it... then again I am obviously thick as I am an "apologist" and don’t understand how football works!!
Colin Southern
14   Posted 12/02/2010 at 13:36:33

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Tony, I couldn’t have said it better myself, although I do think we have a better than average team.

I think we know the top teams have the top players, so our players will always struggle individually. This is where Everton's strength lies in that we use a strong work ethic to make up for the shortfall in ability.

Likwise, I do look at the Shite team at the moment and think we’re better or at least on the same level. There’s not many of their players who’d walk into our team and I think this demonstrates that we are above average.
Tony Williams
15   Posted 12/02/2010 at 13:54:01

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To be honest, this was the first year in many when I wasn’t scared about the Anfield Derby, I am usually terrified. I can understand the initial explosion of posts, as it was raw but its the ones three days later still calling for Moyes to be sacked.

The thing with the Shite is that unfortunately their deal with the Devil is yet to be called in yet, even the scummy Money Mancs would be preferable in the 4th spot if only to keep them out, but I fear the Fat Spanish Waiter will live up to his words and spawn them the 4th spot, especially if Pompey get wound up and the other teams above them lose points due to the results being expunged... and wouldn’t you know it, this year we finally beat them at their gaffe too... grrrr!
Andy Morden
16   Posted 12/02/2010 at 14:07:51

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I think I have now just spotted the brand new ToffeeWeb buzzword — "Bi-polar Blues". "Apologists" was in vogue a while back and now we have a new catch all beating stick!
Lee Hind
17   Posted 12/02/2010 at 14:12:17

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Hmmm perhaps I am a "bi-polar blue"? I don’t know..

Let’s see, generally I am in support of Moyes, I think he has done a fine job with limited resource and there is no doubt we are better now than we were.

Equally I am absolutely baffled by some of his decision making both in game and out of it. I’ll never understand why he put Arteta on in the derby — I’ve heard all the arguments for and against, I still don’t agree it was the right thing to do. Off field, I’d love to know what happened with Krøldrup — bizarre.

I know I’m certainly more of a Moyes supporter than the editorial team on TW but less than some of the posters here....

Nope, I still don’t know if I’m a bi-polar blue but I do know I enjoyed Wednesday night and I’m looking forward to the resumption of the Europa League more than I was....
Paul Johnson
18   Posted 12/02/2010 at 15:43:46

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Tony if I have got the wrong end of the stick for your post then I apologise. First off I think we all have to thank Moyes for what he has done for the club after the absolute crap and overall drop in standards we suffered under Walter. This does not mean I have to support him come what may.

I believe his experience, managerial/ tactical capabilty are stretched when playing the self proclaimed big four. (When is someone going to realise, wether you are 2nd or 22nd, you didn't win anything? The CL has killed the competitive nature of the league outside of Manure, Chelski and the Arse, even the shite are happy with CL qualification now...) My problem is with Moyes's unwillingness to take a gamble and prove that he has a team that can challenge for the title. If he does not lose this monkey off his back then we will never see Everton consistently challenge again.

My reasoning is his continual negative 4-5-1. On Saturday we should have come out in the second half all guns blazing 4-4-2 and blown the shite away... but no, we sat back and handed them the initiative.

I am sorry but I support Everton and I was bought up to believe we should fear no-one and if ever there was a team there for the taking it was Saturday. If we had won that game, we would only be 6 points off the shite with a game in hand.

I am sorry but if we can play to the standards set against Chelski then we can do it against anyone in the league and if we do not make that benchmark then the manager reacts and makes changes. This is not the case with Moyes and this crap about the squad not being big does not wash — this is his squad so he is accountable.

I guess the gist of the point is "Thank You, David but if the club wants to move on then reset your bar or move on, mate, because I don't know about anyone else but finishing fifth is not good enough for me."

There is only one prize and I have been lucky enough to see my team lift it twice, I would be over the moon if my boy could see it too.

Sam Morrison
19   Posted 12/02/2010 at 17:02:02

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I think that’s a decent summation of how most of us feel, Paul, in terms of achieving all we can. The grey area is whether, as you imply, it’s definitely Moyes holding us back — no comment! — or other factors. And if we DO change stewardship, are we more likely to move upwards, or go down?

In terms of raising the bar, though — agreed. He and we should. That is the best answer for all.
Tony Williams
20   Posted 12/02/2010 at 17:08:34

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Paul, we are in agreement that people should not just support him come what may, I have never advocated that idea.

However I refuse to call him a "shithouse bottler" on the back of the games when we are not beating the multi million pound teams who have been above us in the league for over 20 years.

You say a negative 4-5-1, yet again look at the teams above us, they utilise the same formation, yet they have the extra special midfielders that slip seamlessly into being forwards also.

I conpletely diagree with going 4-4-2 on Saturday at half time because our only defensive midfielder was off injured and their midfield would have strolled through ours if we did that. With Cahill on the pitch, it is a virtual 4-4-2 anyway. To go 4-4-2, who would you have took off? (Granted, any of them on the pitch wouldn’t have been missed.)
Colin Southern
21   Posted 12/02/2010 at 16:33:14

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Again Paul, you miss the point as well as those who argue about the next level.

The top 4 have all the resources and the best players. Occasionally we can raise our game to their level, but this is difficult nor sustainable over a long season.

I cannot name another manager pound for pound who could achieve what Moyes has done here. And likewise, it was only that short spell during the 80s that we thought we could beat anyone, so I disagree with where you are coming from.

I think what we are trying to get across is that Moyes has raised expectations but has hit a financial ceiling. They only way up is to sell and improve on what we’ve got or get a new owner. To expect us to go out beat everyone and challenge for the title is unrealistic.

I too would love my son to see us up there again - but alas I think the best we can hope for is one of the cups for the time being.
Richard Dodd
22   Posted 12/02/2010 at 17:32:35

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Moyes is now close to deity in my book. His record at Everton is unsurpassed in the Premier era and he has now broken his last hoodoo. I can not see him doing anything but remain as our manager until retirement beckons him.

We are in the presence of true grateness.

Colin Southern
23   Posted 12/02/2010 at 17:45:29

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Typical richard Dodd post. LOL!

Yes, I’d love to agree and yes I do like Moyes as he’s given us our pride back.
Dennis Stevens
24   Posted 12/02/2010 at 19:03:07

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Crikey, Richard — after that post, I fear for your health if Moyes should actually succeed in leading the club to some silverware — you may well spontaneously combust!
Jon Cox
25   Posted 12/02/2010 at 18:58:24

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I have a feeling, I'm not sure why, but I think after the Chelsea game there will be a fundamental psycological shift in the thinking and the attitude of the players. This, if I am correct, will be apparent in the game against Lisbon and more importantly against Man U sometime later.

I am not a Moyes apologist nor am I a Moyes hater. But the age old question is, if he was sacked tomorrow who would take his place? I actually think if sacked there would be a walk-out from at least 75% of the first team.

Many people talk about "turning a corner" and I think that is a valid assumption. The victory over Chelsea on Wednesday is not only to do with a corner (well it was for king Louis) but more like turning the M6.

Like I say, watch specifically for the attitude in the next two games... this will without doubt put all of us into the mind of a really good and savvy (although you are never to old to learn, as in phone calls to sir Alex) manager.
David Hallwood
26   Posted 12/02/2010 at 20:18:14

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There is still an infuriating tendancy to hold onto a lead at all costs, and the last 10-15 minutes instead of seeing a game out, it's backs to wall and defending so deep the players could be sitting in the front row.
Roger Domal
27   Posted 12/02/2010 at 22:02:30

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I was talking to a mate of mine who is a huge Chelsea supporter and he was very worried before the match. He thought that after the derby defeat, Moyes was not going to let them play as badly as they had against the RS. He said, with Anelka on a bad run at the moment, they would have to rely on Drogba to carry them, and he did, but our work rate was better in the midfield, and especially with our center backs.

Think about this: Where would we be without Moyes getting Distin, Johnny, Bily (not so much!!) and now Donovan. Moyes, you detractors have to admit, has a nose for VALUE, and in this day and age of the bankrupt club, that is something to be said!

Tactically, he still drives me absolutely crazy. A poster before mentioned coming out int he 2nd half with 4-4-2 against the 10 men RS. I thought on Wednesday we were absolutely out of gas in the last 15 minutes and we didn't make the necessary subs until almost too late. But, the value on the pitch was there. I wish we were playing this weekend.
Paul Johnson
28   Posted 12/02/2010 at 22:04:44

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Colin, I beg to differ. Maybe you have swallowed all the rhetoric about the next level but I have not. Tell me now is Frank Lampard a more complete player than Mikey? My answer would be NO.

And let's be honest here, John Terry, for all his boss shagging techniques, is no better a centre half than the Jags, so what makes these players so great? My answer is a manager.

Before Sky ruled the waves, Brian Clough turned Larry Lloyd into a European Cup winner. Ron Saunders found a boy called Peter Withe and he won a European Cup... and for god's sake, Tommy Smith did the same thanks to Bob Paisley.

It all boils down to the man in charge who has to create that winning mentality. I am sorry but I have seen enough of Davey now to think that he is happy to settle for second best. As we all know — only the best is good enough.

Colin Southern
29   Posted 13/02/2010 at 14:34:03

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Paul, I see you’ve missed the point again. I don’t want to a pedantic arse like the 'Fat Waiter’. BUT

The fact is that the EPL is a cartel. What have the teams got that makes them hog all the money and the trophies each season?

1. Finance
2. Stability
3. High Profiles

Likwise, just a few points. I only mentioned the "next level" as it's used quite often as weapon against this current Everton set-up. I’ll be honest the term iritates the hell out of me. I deal in economics and its like any other company out there — where is the money coming from to take them to the next level?

Some posters are will also mention other managers from different eras such as Clough etc. This is a load shite. The game has completely changed because in the past the league was wide open and any one of 10 teams could have won it. Not now; the last team outside the top four was Blackburn and even then they used Walkers financial muscle to do this.

So, please stop bending the facts to fit your arguement, as I find this to be astoundingly ignorant. It's bit like the flat earth society on here sometimes.

Whatever arguement you might say about tactics and players etc you can’t win this because of the way the EPL is set up It will always be down to finance. The majority of the teams in it cannot compete with the teams who have got stability and the most finance.
Paul Johnson
30   Posted 13/02/2010 at 16:55:48

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Colin, I don't quite understand what you mean by bending the facts and I am certainly not ignorant. In fact, if anyone is the ignorant party here, it is your good self for being so disrespectful to the achievement of the clubs mentioned in my previous post.

Again, I am amazed at how blinded some people can be to the facts. Prior to Blackburn winning the league, only 7 teams had won the football league in the previous 24 seasons — and out of those teams Notts Forest and Villa were the only teams to win it once. So that leaves 5 teams sharing the league over 22 seasons. The league was not as wide open as you would have us believe.

The crux of my complaint is why should we be so accepting of our position. What would be the point of me following Everton? I believe Everton should set foot on the park to win every game but that is not the case when we continually play 4-5-1 and HOPE to snatch a win.

Why is it that David Moyes, who I previously stated has done fantastic job, be allowed to hide behind this misnomer that you can't win trophies without money? No one is yet to prove this fact to me.

Victor Johnson
31   Posted 13/02/2010 at 21:19:00

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"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". (Isaac Newton)

To that end, the utter disappointment in screwing up at Anfied is equal to the weight of expectation (of a victory) beforehand. It is Moyes and nobody else who has given us that level of expectation. During his tenure he has ’raised the bar’ consistently, and to my mind there is nothing to suggest that he can’t, or won’t, continue that trend.

Remember, he was a novice when he joined us; he is still developing so why not cut him a little slack to mature that bit more. Paul, perhaps your great disappointment is also a reflection of heightened expectation (that Moyes has furnished you with).

My advice is to bide your time a little longer, and think more about where you will take your lad for a pint when we finally do get back to where we all know we belong. Hopefully, he’s closer to 18 than 8.

Stewart Littler
32   Posted 14/02/2010 at 11:14:11

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Paul, actually, it was 8:
Derby - 2, Liverpool - 11, Notts Forest - 1, Villa - 1, Everton - 2, Arsenal - 3, Leeds - 2, Man Utd - 2. A better comparison is the last 18 years of the old 1st division v the first 18 (inc this season) of the Prem.

Last 18 pre Prem - 7 different winners (as above but take 1 each off Derby, Liverpool, Arsenal & Leeds, plus both of Man Utd). In addition, 11 other teams finished 2nd or 3rd during those 18 seasons (Ipswich, QPR, Man Utd, Man City, WBA, Watford, Southampton, Spurs, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Sheff Weds). The same period saw 10 different teams win the FA Cup (Man Utd - 4, Liverpool - 3, Spurs - 3, West Ham - 2, Wimbledon, Coventry, Ipswich, Arsenal, Southampton, Everton - 1) with a further 8 competing in finals in that time, and 11 win the League Cup (Liverpool - 4, Notts Forest - 4, Villa - 2, City, Wolves, Arsenal, Luton, Norwich, Oxford, Sheff Weds, Man Utd - 1) with again a further 8 appearing in finals. 20 different teams won a major domestic trophy in those 18 years.

First 18 post Prem - 4 teams have won the league (Man Utd - 11, Arsenal - 3, Chelsea - 2, Blackburn - 1) with this season’s almost certain to go to one of the first 3 of those 4, and 6 on top have finished in the top 3 places (Villa, Norwich, Notts Forest, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle). 6 teams have won the FA Cup (Arsenal - 5, Man Utd, Chelsea - 4, Liverpool - 2, Everton, Portsmouth - 1) with a further 8 competing in finals, though there is certainly a possibility of those figures changing after this season, and 9 win the League Cup (Chelsea, Liverpool - 3, Man Utd, Spurs, Leicester, Villa - 2, Arsenal, Blackburn, Middlesbrough - 1) with a further 6 competing in finals. Those numbers will not change with a Villa – Utd final to come. In total, 11 teams have won a major domestic trophy since the inception of the Prem, with a possible 12 by the end of this season if a new team wins the FA Cup.

All the figures point to a reduction in the number of competing teams by around 50%. There will always be periods where one team dominates, but the stats show there are around half the number of teams in the mix. That certainly makes sense — there were 4 teams who had a realistic chance to win the league this season, and that was more like 7 or 8 pre-Prem.

Whether or not that is due to money can’t really be proved, can it? — you can only use the stats as best you can. IMO, the money really caught hold around the turn of the century, and those stats say the current top 3 won 21 of the 30 trophies on offer in the last decade, with Liverpool winning 4 of the other 9. Just 9 teams won a trophy in the decade, compared to 11 in the 90s, and 14 in the 80s. Those 4 teams are the ones that have the ’money’ (others such as City, Spurs have cash but not CL riches which gives the others such an advantage) and the stats say that based on the last decade, ANY other team has a 16.7% chance of winning a trophy this decade, and we’re just one of a handful of teams hoping it’s us.

As for the 4-5-1 point, why the continued feelings that this is a negative tactic? It’s not even 4-5-1 anyway — Cahill is a forward, not an out and out striker, but certainly not a midfielder. I would rather him partner Saha at this time than the Yak, Anichebe or Vaughan.

The 2 players you mention are better players than the 2 of ours you mention. They are both experienced internationals with a career’s worth of playing at the top level, with and against the best players. Jags and Arteta have the capabilities to be as good, but claiming they are when they have 2 or 3 caps between them is absurd. Until they are able to play at the very top level consistently (CL & internationally) and be consistently very good, they will not develop their full potential.
James Boden
33   Posted 14/02/2010 at 18:33:34

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What not one person seems to have commented on was good play by Saha for our 1st goal. Terry gets blamed for losing his man; however, I am sure that he — as Chelsea’s best header of a ball — would have been told to mark our best header of a ball, Cahill.

As for the 2nd goal, it was again good play from Saha. You see, considering Terry had already mistimed his jump which almost resulted in Saha scoring, King Louis obviously took this in and decided to lay off him, gambling that this would occur again, which it did. And what a finish it was.

Ciarán McGlone
34   Posted 15/02/2010 at 10:11:01

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Gareth Humphreys,

I think most people on this site are clued in enough to call a game as they see it... and perhaps you should be smart enough to appreciate that, without resorting to some disgusting reference to mental illness.
Colin Southern
35   Posted 15/02/2010 at 23:23:19

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Thank you, Stewart. I think that was the point I was making although not as precise as you.

If we look at the trends shown in the data it does back-up what I’ve been saying all along. It wasn’t about the teams who actually won the leagues/cups but who could actually compete and had a chance of winning. It does generally go to the teams with the most finance and Stewart's stats do show a narrowing trend towards the teams with the most finance and stability.

So back to accepting Everton’s current position — well, yes and no! No because I’d like us to be more competitive and have that feeling of invicibiliy once again... and Yes, I’m a realist; I accept that we are no longer one of football’s powerhouses. How can Chelsea, who haven’t even got a quarter of our history, suddenly become one of the best teams in the league? — FINANCE!

I can see only two ways to change our current position, get a sugar daddy or develop players to sell on for higher fees. Then put the money into buying better players who can play the more expansive football we all crave. Obviously we are in the later, so it's gonna be slow and frustrating for us all.

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