David Moyes enters his 10th year as Everton manager with the return of his first opponents, Fulham. Everton have an impressive 100% home record against Fulham in the Premier League... but wins remain at a distinct premium and what little creative spark there was in this current squad has been cut out with the loss of Mikel Arteta to a hamstring injury. Fellaini, the enigmatic midfield defensive rock, is also missing for the rest of the season, but Tim Cahill returns after hopefully recovering from pushing his body beyond the limits to play for Australia in the Asia Cup ? an unneeded effort that has denied Everton meaningful service from their leading scorer for the best part of three months!!! Will we see the real Tim Cahill step up into the void today?
Or will it finally be the day Magaye Gueye gets his league debut? The "secret weapon" appears on the bench after apparently recovering form an injury. Andy Johnson returns to Goodison, playing upfront for Fulham, managed by Mark Hughes, once of this parish.
A Neville long throw won the first Everton corner, taken well by Baines. Cahill was next to pump one in from the left wing, Everton starting toward the Gwladys Street. Johnson's first effort was to overrun the byeline. After a dozen or more throw-ins down the left, in the first 6 mins, play was finally switched to the right and it eventually fell to Osman wide left of the area but his hurried shot was hopeless.
Hibbert blocked Dempsey well for a corner to two to Fulham, Dembele pushing Howard over. At the other end, Baines tried a rather hopeful volley. Osman's technique let him down badly when he failed to control a very opportune knockdown but neither side were doing much beyond resolute defence, with Neville gifting Johnson a free-kick on 14 mins that Murphy planted on Dempsey's head, thankfully directed well away from the Everton goal.
Cahill won a corner but it did not get past Johnson, the first defender; Johnson then returned the honour, and Hibbert won a nice duel to dispossess Murphy. But a quarter gone and the game was as shapeless, formless, and downright boring as we have come to expect, the Goodison crowd understandably quiet until Saha won Everton's third corner and almost the first chance for a shot on goal that just would not come.
Everton's fourth corner was delivered very well by Osman but diverted away from the waiting Saha. Cahill won Everton's fifth after good work by Osman and it resulted in a Saha header that was bundled off the line. A great Baines cross was tamely headed to the keeper by Rodwell.
Rodwell had a shot blocked in the next attack on the half-hour, and it seemed nothing of note would happen before half-time, but Baines switched a ball back to Osman instead of looping in yet another cross and it inspired Osman to pick out Coleman at the far post with a peach of a cross and he planted his header fair and square beyond Schwarzer for a worthy opening goal that would hopefully energize what was in danger of becoming a turgid mid-table end-of-season display.
The next attack and Coleman was fouled but Baines drilled it off the wall as Johnson blatantly infringed the 10-yard rule with no punishment from the ref. Dempsey might have done better at the other end but Distin did enough to put him off as half-time was signalled.
Rodwell woke up a little and went on a fairly impressive run, winning a free-kick that Baines touched a foot or two to Saha who lashed it into the bottom corner, hopefully wrapping this one up after less than 5 mins of the second half. Everton finally relaxed a little, Coleman going on a run but mistiming his cutback, Baines getting in his run but Haggeland defending it away. Osman booked for silly shirt-tugging that led to a few potshots by Fulham.
Coleman was really having fun, running at Fulham and shooting, forcing a save from Schwarzer. But at the other end, the Everton defence parted for Dempsey to put Fulham right back in the game.
Hibbert was next in the book for a studs-up challenge, and Cahill, who had done remarkably little, was then replaced buy Heitinga as Everton looked to hang on to what had been thought was a comfortable lead.
After a dreadful spell where Everton could not lift themselves above the level of dross, Bily finally replaced the almost completely invisible Rodwell. Coleman went on another run but it was Keystone Cops as he ran into Osman in the Fulham area and collapsed in a heap.
With 10 mins left, from a bizarre corner, Osman delivered a great ball for Jagielka to head just inside the post but Salcido was there on the post again to head it away. Distin did well to contain AJ, who was then replaced by Gudjohnsonen.
A free header for Zamora was thankfully squandered as the click ticked on and the Blues appeared to have weathered the storm. Saha seemed to land a little heavily and nay have done his ankle in. The stretcher came on, as did Beckford.
5 mins of nervey added time, Beckford did get free but his shot was very poorly executed. And that was pretty much it. Victory snatched from the jaws of an ominously threatening draw. Everton up into the heady heights of 8th place... what could possibly be wrong with that?
Michael Kenrick Posted 19/03/2011 at
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1 Posted 19/03/2011 at 19:30:49
2 Posted 19/03/2011 at 19:38:15
3 Posted 19/03/2011 at 19:54:13
I think much praise should be given to Neville, who looked to be in fine form in midfield today. His distribution was excellent, as well as his constant pace. A great showing from the captain.
4 Posted 19/03/2011 at 19:52:15
Dispite this season being a let-down, we have still been in my eyes very unlucky not to be higher up the table and some of our play has been excellent, maybe not tonight's game but that's how it goes. A win is a win and that's all that matters this stage of the season... just ask old whiskey-nose Ferguson. Coleman & Osman played well... apart from that, nothing special, but will you hear me complaining? Not a chance.
5 Posted 19/03/2011 at 19:57:22
And oh look; that much creamed over manager in Owen Coyle is really showing us what we're missing ? Bolton are ahead of us in the Premier League table alphabetically.
6 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:02:30
7 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:01:19
8 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:13:13
9 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:13:24
10 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:20:04
No idea what to make of that at all. The first goal was a superb and I missed the the 2nd as I went for a pint and was late coming back for kick off!!
After that, it was total defense, which I could understand against the Mancs or even the RS BUT this was Fulham
To be honest I'm just glad of the win.
I'm sure this was meant to be the "breakthrough season"....
11 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:36:09
Some of us want to aim higher.
12 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:47:10
Thank Christ for the win. I had that sinking feeling towards the end with the strange substitutions but good play from Ossie and Coleman.
13 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:39:25
So thanks to Davey for another year of security (even though it`s been uninspiring) and to Blue Bill who, assailed on all sides, has ignored the hate mob and kept his faith in his excellent manager.
14 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:46:57
15 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:51:56
My subs would have been Beckford for Cahill after Saha's goal and Bily for Rodwell, who seems like he doesn't know where he is to play anymore and just ambles around chasing shadows. I think that Beckford coming on earlier might have taken the workload off Saha and might have lessened the chance of his injury. Going to a single striker meant anything coming to him and he had at least two if not three Fulham players all over him.
My final observation is the shite ref who should have booked at least three Fulham players but seemed to forget how to book a player in anything other than a blue shirt.
16 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:56:20
17 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:59:53
18 Posted 19/03/2011 at 20:39:50
There has to be midfield players at the club, who are a better option than putting a centre-half there. I've said it since Moyes became manager, we need a midfield coach.
19 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:20:48
Words fail me, they really do.
At least yer consistent...
20 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:24:25
21 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:23:52
22 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:25:13
23 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:29:24
Because we've been awful all season and yet sit in 8th, 2 points behind Liverpool and certainly much higher in the Premier League than we would be in the net spend table.
'Yeah but we should be in the Champions League' Ha! get real, with our resources we are doing better than we should. Fact.
Also have a look at Tottenham and Arsenal today... see! We are not the only team able to dominate but not find the cutting edge and lose points to teams that we should be beating.
24 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:40:57
Some observations. Ossie has really stepped up his game for us. If injuries offered Jack an opportunity to show his talents and inspire the team, he hasn't really seized that opportunity. I'm sorry but game-in and game-out, I don't see how he is our best prospect in years. Yes, he shows moments of real skill and occasional moments of magic, but generally he is just too anonymous. And as a one-time fan of Bily's, I think it is time to sell him and move on: it just isn't happening. Moyes does not want to play him in the middle (and I understand why due to his defensive frailties) or in the slot and he is ineffective on the wing.
Really pleased to have a win, especially at home.
25 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:38:33
You sum it up perfectly when you say "we've been awful all season". Nothing much beyond that matters because there's been almost nothing to reward the fans who have watched crap performance after crap performance, week-in, week-out.
If we hadn't had been awful all season, we *would* probably be in the Champions League places... exactly where our form from December to March last year suggested we might be on the fewer resources than we had for the first half of this campaign.
The fact that we're 8th and two points behind Liverpool (but that could be ninth place or five points off the horrible horde tomorrow afternoon, don't forget) says more about the supposed quality of the Premier League than it does about us.
The bottom line: we're abysmal to watch right now and no Evertonian should find that acceptable.
26 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:50:48
That pretty much sums it up, Lyndon.
27 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:50:32
28 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:40:57
Some observations. Ossie has really stepped up his game for us. If injuries offered Jack an opportunity to show his talents and inspire the team, he hasn't really seized that opportunity. I'm sorry but game in and game out, I don't see how he is our best prospect in years. Yes, he shows moments of real skill and occasional moments of magic, but generally he is just too anonymous. And as a one-time fan of Bily's, I think it is time to sell him and move on: it just isn't happening. Moyes does not want to play him in the middle (and I understand why due to his defensive frailties) or in the slot and he is ineffective on the wing.
Really pleased to have a win, especially at home.
29 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:31:25
Anyways I just think you're a wind-up merchant. What exactly has Kenwright done to deserve your unswerving support? He is completely out of his depth...
A Premier League football club owner in name only, certainly not in terms of financial clout!!
Moyes is stale and void of ideas... personally I would like to see what O'Niell, with Moyes's salary, and this group of players (including loanees) could do, (still no money though, Martin).
Believe me, it would be no worse, because this group of players have just about proved they can stay in this division. So, with a bit of freshening up from a new manager , I think a wave of optimism might start emitting from us for next season, instead of the feeling of, same old, same old.
30 Posted 19/03/2011 at 21:56:37
Great goal by Coleman but he's a poor footballer really. Literally every time he got the ball he looked like he didn't know what to do with it so he ran into blind alley after blind alley.
Personally, I think we've got to sell to buy in the summer. Just forget about this "strongest squad ever". Let's clear out the shite and spend the money on changing the look of the squad and let the quality players know there's a plan.
31 Posted 19/03/2011 at 22:03:41
32 Posted 19/03/2011 at 22:00:07
33 Posted 19/03/2011 at 22:16:24
I might argue that it is your mentality that is indicative of the great discontent that sits so heavily on many fans shoulders.
We haven't been good this season but have we been any worse than any other teams in and around us? No.
I am very proud of our history and heritage but I do not think that we have a god-given right to believe that we are entitled to compete for the title.
Times have changed. Money talks. We have none. And considering that fact we have done OK this season ? not great by any means... but ok, at a push, and I find it hysterical that some people genuinely seem upset that we have won today because it provides them with less ammunition against the regime (which I'm not necessarily against changing).
Yeah, I'd like better but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the present when we pick up 3 points.
34 Posted 19/03/2011 at 22:26:07
Sam Hoare, you sound like a broken record. The fact that Arsenal and Tottenham both dropped points to crap teams doesn't excuse Everton for dropping points to craps teams as we seem to do it MOST OF THE TIME.
League position, two behind the Shite, all the positives can lick my bell end. The bottom line is, we have played 30 games, are nearly at the end of March, and have won NINE games.
35 Posted 19/03/2011 at 22:39:05
We sit back and invite pressure.
Tactics, Mr Moyes???????
36 Posted 19/03/2011 at 23:17:48
Yes, I think we should be aiming to finish 6th and yes I just don't get what happened against Bolton, Reading or West Brom. But some of you are talking as if we're in a relegation battle or something!!
37 Posted 19/03/2011 at 23:41:04
Coleman 1? right full-back
Neville ? right full-back
Rodwell ? centre-back
Hardly surprising we sit back. Unfortunately, our tactics from now until the end of the season will be more of the same seeing our best midfielders are injured. It is crap but at this stage of the season I will take three points.
I have seen us relegated once in my lifetime and I don't want to repeat the experience... By the way, if United offer us £25M for Rodwell, we would be stupid not to say, "Thank You, Sir Alex!"
38 Posted 20/03/2011 at 00:03:13
In my opinion, the games seem to pass him by without him having had any impact.
39 Posted 19/03/2011 at 23:56:55
I seem to remember Daniel, that is exactly what we did just about every season (bar maybe 2) in the nine years before Moyes.
40 Posted 20/03/2011 at 00:06:37
Moyes's tactics have made those same players mediocre, and I can't help but think that even some of the squad must be thinking of playing not somewhere else exactly, but under someone else, be it at Everton or another club.
41 Posted 20/03/2011 at 00:22:30
42 Posted 20/03/2011 at 00:23:05
As I said a while back, I still reckon we need another 2 pts to be sure ? but I am now seeing quite a lot of daylight.
Yes it is sad that we have to celebrate this landmark of 40 pts ? and it does reflect our awful current state ? but I think we need to be very realistic this year, and hope the summer brings about real change. I also don't fancy seeing this fixture in 2020 with the same people in charge and the trophy cabinet with even more dust!
43 Posted 20/03/2011 at 00:26:58
'Sam Hoare, it's that mentality that is preventing any pressure from forming against the current regime.'
Eh? Is TW now a vehicle to dislodge the "current regime" then?
Disgraceful comment from a co-editor I highly respect.
44 Posted 20/03/2011 at 01:05:38
The club is being run into the ground by the current custodians of the club... pretty much to the point where my fear of the devil I don't know is being surpassed by the fear of the devil I do.
I'm less convinced that Kenwright is really pulling the strings at Everton and increasingly of the opinion that someone has him by the short and curlies.
I'm also highly troubled by the increasing attempts to silence any dissent against said regime, be it fan sites or the local press. The more they try to muzzle the opposition, the more it appears there is to hide.
45 Posted 20/03/2011 at 02:49:31
With Arteta out, Cahill and Neville back, I just knew the formation would be all kinds of weird, with players out of position. I was predicting another scrappy 1-1 or 0-0 draw.
In saying that, I am pleased to find out that we won and, although it doesn't sound like it was the most pleasing game to watch, I am now really dirty on myself for not staying up.
Gonna have to watch the highlights on evertonTV now, a not-very-good online tv channel that I continue to pay for because I'm a sucker.
46 Posted 20/03/2011 at 03:48:22
In contrast, I'd dig in on the following players: Baines, Fellaini, and Arteta. Rodwell is a luxury item whose contribution just doesn't merit holding onto at any cost. I'm not saying Jack is not a talent and I really like his attitude. And I think he may well blossom in another venue, but we are flat broke and we need a left midfield player and strikers not a holding midfielder who occasionally scores spectacular goals.
47 Posted 20/03/2011 at 03:25:03
48 Posted 20/03/2011 at 08:08:24
The difference is I'm trying to play a happy song.
Negativity seems to permeate your every post on here. It must be exhausting. Or maybe i'ts cathartic. Either way, I hope it works for you.
49 Posted 20/03/2011 at 09:25:57
After the Bolton game, I genuinely feared for our EPL status and I'd have taken 3 wins and a draw from our next 4 games any time ? and I'm guessing so would everybody else. The manner in which we got them points I didn't give a flying fook.
So here we are now, 40 points on the board, most of our important players crocked, and the end of the season can't come quick enough for me. All the calls for settling for mediocrity are tiresome. We can't compete with the big boys, or even the little boys on the spending front anymore but we compete where it matters, on the pitch. Yes, we've been dropping points teams we should have battered but show me a team in the Premier League who's fans aren't saying the same this season.
We have been crap at times and the football served up this season has been rubbish. Re-new or don't renew, it's up to yourselves. I haven't been able to afford to go the match for years since my little girl came along. I'm babbling. All I care about in this very unstable time is Everton having a seat at the top table. It's a the pinnacle of football in my opinion, and we are, by hook or by crook, still in there.
I don't want to watch us playing Dagenham and Redbridge in a half full dilapidated stadium with a different manager every couple of years. I want to watch us taking on the giants with a manager I know and trust. I just wish Bill would put up or go because, if nothing changes, we are gone next season. Of that I have no doubt.
50 Posted 20/03/2011 at 10:17:07
Not really sure the football has been as rubbish as some people suggest. We have scored 40 goals from 30 games, and have apparantly been a playing "pretty football with little penetration".
Remember that normally, you get a handful of penalties over the course of the season, so 40 goals non-penalties from 30 games is a very decent haul from a midtable side.
We've conceded too many silly goals. And the offside flag on Beckford against Wigan could cost us Europe.
51 Posted 20/03/2011 at 10:46:23
First half of the season, we played good passing football without the finishing touch or final ball, ie, we were Arsenal without a Fabregas to play the perfectly weighted incisive pass and without the Van Persie to apply the quality finish.
I still believe, given a couple more years, Moyes can push us on like he has done before into a better team than we are now with a bit of nous that he seems to possess in the transfer market.
52 Posted 20/03/2011 at 10:45:02
Mediocre manager, mediocre Chairman and mediocre fans like Doddy who think success is finishing mid-table. Our chairman couldn't even be arsed to turn up to a cup match, choosing to view the Wizard of Oz instead. Shove your renewal up your arse, Kenwright.
53 Posted 20/03/2011 at 11:37:39
54 Posted 20/03/2011 at 12:05:09
55 Posted 20/03/2011 at 12:35:02
Loss of key players is certainly a mitigating factor in the standard of football we are playing. Rodwell was exposed yesterday, and still very much a kid learning his trade. One benefit of the unusually quiet Goodison, was that I heard Moyes frequently telling the players to get forward. He seemed as frustrated as anyone when the players starting sitting back.
The season can't end quick enough for me, yesterday was a very painful game to watch. Full of industry, but very little guile or cutting edge.
56 Posted 20/03/2011 at 12:42:30
Or, if people aren't happy with the way we play, are they saying that our players are actually good enough, but just aren't performing? It's an important distinction.
It's possible I suppose to be more exciting to watch, but no less likely to win. Every time I see Stoke, they seem to be having a right good go at the opposition but obviously their results aren't good. It's only one example but if anyone sees clubs outside of the anointed four who are consistently playing great watchable fare, do say so.
Everton are probably punching their financial weight, but to me this still isn't good enough. I want to see better things happening on the pitch. Like everyone else, I want more.
Equally, based on what other managers have achieved and how other 'comparable' clubs play, there is nothing we can point to as an example. There are no examples in recent times of clubs doing better then we are with similar resources. In fact, quite the opposite. So, rather depressingly, English football is in this rut where clubs find it virtually impossible to raise themselves to the top.
Part of me would have loved Spurs or City to have progressed to where they are solely through good management and teamwork, because we could then have said "Look, it ain't just about the cash, so let's do it." But they didnt. They got cashed up and paid out big time to get better football.
57 Posted 20/03/2011 at 13:40:47
58 Posted 20/03/2011 at 22:57:14
I agree that that is affecting us badly now — i.e. with injuries piling up and squad members shipped out — hence my comments about people accepting it and not blaming the regime for it.
I would say, though, that by the same token, with almost the same squad as the last half of last season, we started this one playing badly and have made it a hallmark of the campaign.
Was Landon Donovan really the difference between a side playing free-flowing passing football and the dross we've been forced to put up with for much of the season?
And how do you explain those rare glimpses of class and attacking abandon the players have shown at times in the last few months? There's just been no consistency at all.
59 Posted 20/03/2011 at 23:35:02
"And how do you explain those rare glimpses of class and attacking abandon the players have shown at times in the last few months? There's just been no consistency at all."
See Arsenal, they play the best football by far in the PL and like us, win fuck all.... It ain't about painting pretty pictures, it's about winning and right now I'll take ugly wins.
60 Posted 21/03/2011 at 00:14:03
On another note, the outlandish claim about Europa football next season, a couple of weeks ago, now looks definitely achievable if we can keep this run going, but we will need to keep the winning mentality up.
It would be ironic if we finished 6th or 7th and claimed the prize of Europe next year, despite a shocking season.
61 Posted 21/03/2011 at 00:26:36
62 Posted 21/03/2011 at 08:09:18
I do miss Yakubu and Vaughan cause those two are my favorites in a rather dull striker team. Who else do we have in front of goal? Saha, the injured one and Beckford the unlucky one... hahaha. It isn't funny really, it is sad cause it tells us that the club has no money to even pay the wages for a full squad.
We all watched the January transfer window but nothing came, many went though; Pienaar went for £3 million and I would have thought that we could at least buy a Championship striker for it, but no, of course that went straight into the expense account.
It is a disaster really and I feel pissed off like nothing ever has when I think that more players will be sold and no money will be spent to replace them. Yobo, Yakubu and Vaughan will all be sold and we will still be without a penny for a quality striker and left midfielder. No wonder people are not renewing their season tickets.
63 Posted 21/03/2011 at 11:38:18
I don't feel 'run into the ground' but if you do then stop moaning and do something about it. I'm not stopping you. Nothing huh? Thought so.
64 Posted 24/03/2011 at 22:21:24
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