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Editors' Blog

Occasional thoughts from the ToffeeWeb Editors

EvertonTV for free

This story caught my eye on the Official Everton Website:

A Change Is Coming
So EvertonTV, which was bringing in around £40/year from each subscriber, is to become free for registered subscribers.

But here's the kicker: live games (ie, pre-season friendlies and maybe some reserves games) are to become pay-per-view.

I'm assuming this ranks as a sensible marketing move... but I'm no genius in that area. Are you more likely to watch and pay for individual games at say £4.99 (I'm guessing)...? Or would you happily shell out £40 each year and use it as and when...?

I've been in that latter category since it was a made available. But I guess there may not be too many like me. And I have been using it less and less.

Now what would I do if they provided guaranteed HD quality video of senior games through the season as pay-per-view? Is that perhaps where we are headed? (I'm thinking primarily of the overseas market here...) Or will the clubs make less individually than they do from the current foreign TV deal?
Michael Kenrick     Posted 02/06/2011 at    Comments (19)

Magnificent Seventh

David Moyes finally starts Jermaine Beckford in place of the hugely ineffective Victor Anichebe.  Heitinga also preferred alongside Rodwell, but no Phil Neville, out with a mouth infection. No other surprises for the last game of the season, apart from Cahill on the bench; Bilyaletdinov is suspended.

It was a slow start to the game in the Goodison sunshine until Osman released Rodwell who went on a great run down the right and won a corner that Jagielka headed onto the bar. Then Beckford did well to turn the ball away from his defender, but clipped his shot high and wide.

A fantastic free-kick delivery from Baines could have been better used by Rodwell, who seem surprised it reached him in a very threatening position. But it was Chelsea who mounted a half-decent attack at the other end.  Coleman did brilliantly to get behind the Chelsea defence, but just could not pull the trigger before Cole blocked his shot.

Then it was Osman's turn to break into the area but he was sandwiched and then fouled; however, the howls ofor a penalty were obstinately ignored, Peter Walton deciding that Alex got the ball away from Osman fairly.  But Everton were playing well and taking the game to Chelsea, Baines and Jagielka playing a lovely one-two but the final ball did not reach Rodwell.

Chelsea looked to cut too easily through the Everton defence and set up Anelka but Distin blocked his shot brilliantly. Heitinga then clattered Essien and earned a yellow card on 25 mins. Essien then blatantly dived under attention from Arteta to earn a free-kick off Walton and the full ire of the Goodison faithful.

After a good spell, Everton were squandering possession too easily by passing directly to their opponents, and almost inviting Chelsea to come forward. But Arteta did win a free-kick when Mikel tripped him from behind.  After discussions, Arteta fed Baines laterally but the Player of the Season, struck it very poorly.

Beckford then got free on the left and ran in brilliantly and looked to shoot with Osman and Coleman very well placed but his effort ended up horribly off-target across the face of goal and totally wasted. On half-time, Anelka got hold of one from distance and tested Howard not once but twice. 

Second half and Everton attacking the Gwladys Street.  Coleman almost immediately got a yellow for walking into Cole. Coleman then won a very dangerous free-kick that Arteta clipped off the top of the wall, no real danger from Arteta's corner.  Coleman won another free-kick and it looked like some nice football down the left but the nove broke down when the ball went through Arteta's legs. 

Baines was the next yellow card, for sliding in on Maluda, and then ironic cheers for Alex getting carded for a foul on Beckford as the temperature of the game rose significantly.  Coleaman dived in too aggressively on Malouda who writhed around in agony  again, and the Chelsea players saw their chance to go after Coleman, getting the referee to produce his second yellow and red for Coleman. 

Goodison was livid, but it seemed to inspire the insipid and cheating Chelsea players ,more, Terry, firing in a vicious shot off Howard's post.  Beckford did very well to collect a forward ball away from Alex and advance on Cech but his shot was straight at Cech, who had advanced off his line. Everton put together a lovely move but Rodwell spoilt it with a very poor shot off target.  A classic Beckford moment, out wide, with a man to beat, he just loses the ball!

Another good moved really looked to threaten but Osman could not beat the second man. Arteta's corners were better but still no clear chances  Arteta ten got a gift off a clearance but Arteta's drive was inches wide.  Alex then blocked Beckford with his arms on the half-way line.  Yellow Card? No chance... "The referee's a shithouse!" rang out. 

Baines delivered a great ball to the far post where Osman was coming in a little too late.  Distin powered Arteta's corner over the angle.  Hibbert barged Cole a little unnecessarily and drew more pressure that eventually saw the ball in the net off Terry, but the Chelsea scorer was thankfully flagged offside.

Everton's purple patch looked to have passed as Chelsea increased the intensity of their attacks, and piled forward, but Beckford incredibly picked up the ball off one such attack deep in the Everton half and went on the most unbelievable run, fortunate on a couple of occasions especially at the end when he somehow bundled the ball through three defenders and was free to advance on Cech, he took his time and clipped it over Cech, who got a solid hand to it, but the ball arched up beautifully and fell just inside the far post for a most excellent goal from the much maligned and enigmatically frustrating League One striker.  Everton Striker (Cost £0)  1; Chelsea Strikers (Cost £100Ms) ? Nill!!!

With 12 mins to go, Anichebe replaced Beckford, the goalscorer receiving a glowing accolade from all but the Chelsea fans as he walked off, his spirit and determination the perfect foil for the cheating diving snarky millions that Chelsea and their ref represented.

Chelsea prodded and probed, while Everton tried their hand at counter-attacking football, Heitinga releasing Anichebe down the left.  But Big Vic chose to hold the ball up and wait for the Everton Calvary, then planted a pointless cross in well way from everyone.  Tim Cahill came on for Captain Arteta  on 90 mins,  presumably a cameo so he could receive adulation from the crowd as Everton's top scorer this season, with 4 nervy minutes of added time to play. 

The highlight of added time was the pathetic figure of Fernando Torres, lashing out at Heitinga and picking up a yellow card, much to the amusement of the crowd, who were in increasingly bouyant mood as the whistle approached

Everton finished the game confident of securing a Magnificent Seventh place in the Premier League, the manager and players strolling around the Goodison pitch nonchalantly on their Lap of Appreciation.

 


Michael Kenrick     Posted 22/05/2011 at    Comments (96)

Young Guns triumph as Reds falter

What could be better than having the "highly regarded" Young Reds balked at their own gaff, on the last day of the season, by a team they just whopped 4-0 two days earlier? That has handed FA Premier Youth League Group C to long-time leaders, Everton.

Unfortunately, they have not "won the League", as the useless Official Site proclaims ? they have only won the Northwestern Group ? still, plenty of bragging rights, especially over their local red rivals, who the beat 4-0 a few weeks back, so that was really the key game of the season.

They now go on to play in the national play-offs, the first semi-final is at FInch Farm on Monday against Aston Villa. Fulham and Sunderland meet in the other semi-final.

Some of you may know that we try to keep a full record of Everton Academy matches played each season, teamsheets, scorers, and match reports gleaned from wherever I can find them. They are all arranged here, in one file for those who are interested, and I've added an appearances table too.

Well done, lads: two more wins and you really will be League Champions!

Michael Kenrick     Posted 06/05/2011 at    Comments (8)

Job Done by Battling Blues

Slightly better news for Everton on the injury front, with Jack Rodwell named on the bench, returning early from yet another injury, along with Seamus Coleman, also passing a late fitness test David Moyes did not let that prevent the team picking itself from the 11 seniors available, unchanged from last week.

Everton started well and Beckford really should have scored from a glorious early chance but his first-time shot was lacking as the Blues then spent the first five minutes camped outside Blackburn's penalty area. Osman was again dominant as the Blues' best playmaker with a great cross that was sadly away from everyone and too close to the Blackburn goal.  Jagielka got the ball in a lot of space but could not pull the trigger.

Blackburn finally attacked and won a corner in the 12th minutes but Heitinga defended it effectively, but he started limping, clutching his hamstring and yet was able to thwart another attack.  He could not continue and Rodwell got to return much earlier than David Moyes would have liked (otherwise, he would surly have started the game).

From more Blackburn pressure, it seemed to be a good move that saw Bily lay on a great through ball for Beckford but his first touch was all wrong and his bright running into space was completely wasted.  It became a more even if frustratingly bitty midfield game although Magaye Gueye was getting involved with some nice touches down the left, one move giving Bily half a chance but instead of a rocket, he passed it back to Robinson.

Nixon got the first yellow card for persistent fouling of Osman, but Baines followed him for a mistimed tackle on Jones.   Neville was aggressive in challenging Dunn and nearly followed Baines.  Everton did win a corner but nothing came of it until Phil Neville got a chance to score another but he didn't get it right this time.

Blackburn had weathered the early storm and settled into closing Everton down with the lazy floated crosses from both Everton flanks being easily repelled by the giants in the Blackburn defence, any quality on the final ball noticeably absent, allowing the visitors to mount increasingly threatening attacks, while Everton retreated more into their shell, with Osman denied spaced and getting crowded out all too easily.

Osman switched to the right and got a chance to run at the Blackburn defence but his final shot was very poor and what had started so promisingly for the Blues fizzled into a poor half that yielded nothing, although they had mustered six shots to none from Blackburn.

 

 

With more of the same after the break, Blackburn's first shot finally came from Dunn and was thankfully off target.  At the other end, Gueye played in Osman but his shot was horribly high.  But Gueye was gaining in confidence and he ended up shooting himself, just over.  Then from a Gueye corner, Baines fired in just wide as the Blues suddenly attacked with more intent and purpose.  Bily was next but his shot came off Jones for a corner./

Gueye took it short this time and Osman drilled the ball through a crowd whence it deflected off Samba and in at the far post to finally give Everton the lead they desperately needed.  Gueye then got a great ball from Osman and should have returned the favour but drove his shot into the side netting. 

Everton nemesis Jason Roberts came on for Santa Cruz after the hour mark. For the home side, Baines was linking well with Gueye but Moyes decided the young Frenchman would come off, to a very good Goodison cheer for his sterling efforts, Coleman coming on and immediately running the length of the Blackburn half to shoot on sight.

Things got a little feisty with 20 mins left and Rochina's name went onto Kevin Friend's yellow card. Blackburn came scarily close to breaking through when Distin made a horrible mistake but they could not follow through and Everton attacked again through Baines, Jones diving in on Coleman for a clear penalty.  Leighton Baines had to wait while Beckford got involved needlessly on the edge of the area, but he finally powered it home from the spot to finally given Everton a firm lead.

Everton looked to play a little football but Blackburn were not inclined to back down as a silly mix up in the Everton defence between Jagielka and Baines set it up for Pedersen from 8 yards and incredibly he fluffed it.

Bily laid in a beautiful through-ball that seemed perfect for Beckford to collect at his feet but Emerton denied him on the edge of the area with 10 mins left as Rochina was replaced by Benjani, the final change for Blackburn. 

Everton tried to play it forward in a prominsing move but Bily was disappointingly blocked by Salgado when he should have passed to Coleman. 

Beckford was really not having a good game, showing all his faults and failings as a Premier League player, with none of his goalscoring qualities on show today, and he was finally pulled off, but that would give Apostolos Vellios again only 5 mins of first-team football. 

Baines set up Osman in space for a glorious chance to make it three from the edge of the area but his first-time shot was technically atrocious.   A good cross from Hibbert was met at the far post by Vellios but not headed cleanly and Robinson palmed the bouncing ball past the post.  Rodwell had to foul to halt a Blackburn breakaway and got a yellow card for his troubles.

Poor defending allowed Emerton to get a shot in near the end that Howard needed to save. In the end, it was job well done by the injury-decimated Blues in a potentially tricky fixture against relegation strugglers who had set Everton's season off to such a poor start all those months ago.  


Michael Kenrick     Posted 16/04/2011 at    Comments (63)

Watch yer gob, la

I'm personally astounded by the sentence David Sibson has received. The confirmation of a three-year ban and £300 fine seems way out of proportion to me. And this surely has massive implications for not only what spectators at the game are allowed to say by way of critique, but also what fans may say when writing to sites such as this.

While I accept that what he admitted to was mildly offensive, calling a French player French and having that labeled as 'racist' must be seriously concerning to most people. I can't help wondering if the fact that Louis Saha is a black man of French origin has contributed to the astounding racist element that was entered into in the complaint and upheld by the judge.

And what does this now mean for your average Joe spectator who witnesses poor football or lack of effort from any player of (presumably) non-English origin? Are they to hold back their frustration for fear of inflicting offensive and racially aggravated abuse?!? Simply astounding.

Michael Kenrick     Posted 25/03/2011 at 15:11:53   Comments (150)

Job done... just about

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    Comments (64)

Newcastle (A): Jekyll & Hyde

With the enforced absences of Fellaini and Cahill, the poor form and lack of product from Coleman and Bilyaletdinov, David Moyes has had to rethink... or more like revisit formations of old, with Hibbert getting a start after many weeks on the bench, and Neville playing in midfield alongside or more probably behind the increasingly disappointing Rodwell, whose development seems to be going backwards. Beckford starts upfront with Saha, as long he is is there on time...

No sign of contract traitor and Everton deserter, Dan Gosling in the ranks of the home side.  Since making his dream move to Newcastle last summer after Everton failed to offer him a written contract, he has played all of 1 minute for the first team, but that twat Nolan starts for the Barcodes, with Anichebe ? the plaintiff in a lawsuit settled out of court for a substantial sum this week for potential lost earnings resulting from injuries caused by the Newcastle player's disgusting tackle in this fixture two years ago ? is on the bench for Everton.   

Neville took a bad knock in the ribs in the first minute, but little to note other than injuries in the first 10 minutes, Saha getting an arm in his face.  A deep free-kick on the left was played wide right by Neville where Osman floated in an inviting cross that was too high for Rodwell. A great run and shot by Arteta forced a save and was a welcome sight of action after 17 mins and Osman should have done better from a superb corner by Baines(?).

Everton had a good sequence of attacking play, Saha crossing to Beckford, who deflected the cross away from Osman, and nothing came of it as Rodwell shot wide from outside the area.. But Newcastle's first real attack, Williamson getting the ball across the face of goal thanks to a poor parry by Howard that fell nicely for Best one yard out. A very poor goal to concede after a reasonably promising start.

Hibbert came through Gutierez from behind, clipping his ankle,  and earned himself a yellow card. Newcastle were now bouyed and looked to take control.  But inside 10 mins the tables were turned as Everton as first Osman equalized off an excellent return ball from Arteta, then less than 5 mins later, after Arteta was fouled, a nice ball in from a Baines free-kick (that perhaps the goalie should have claimed) was converted perfectly by Jagielka, to put the Blues 2-1 ahead at the break. 

Howard did well to hold on to an Amiobe shot after thee break but a few minutes later, Neville pulled up and went down clutching his thigh, clearly having done his hamstring.  Johnny Heitinga came on in his place. Beckford got close to goal thanks to good work by Arteta and Osman, his shot high enough from an acute angle to be palmed fractionally past the far post.

Arteta did really well to set up Saha for a golden chance with a header but Louis put it well over the bar as Everton were finding plenty of space to run at the Newcastle defence. For once, Howard rolled the ball out quickly from the next Newcastle attack and Rodwell fed the ball to Beckford but the lad sometimes looks simply hopeless with hold-up play, passing the ball directly to a Newcastle player.  Hibbert gave away a free kick that led to a period of pressure, Howard grasping the resulting corner confidently at the near post.

A nice move though saw Rodwell play up a nice balltat Saha headed down for Beckford but his snapshot was straight at  Harper with the entire goal at his mercy.  At the other end, Howard needed to save a long distance Tiote daisy-cutter. The next Newcastle attack looked destined to score until Hibbert intervened with a firm tackle on Gutierez while some handbags went on between Osman and Tiote off the ball, arguing about a throw-in.

It had become an open and lively game with a fair measure of feistiness to spice things up, as Moyes once again looked to the questionable figure of Victor Anichebe to secure the victory, to tremendous jeers, no doubt for daring to sue that astard Nolan.  He replaced Beckford.

Newcastke sliced through the Everton defence, only for Baines to clip the ball brilliantly off Nolan's toes, and the ball was soon up the other end for a weak Anichebe cross-cum-shot that Saha could have converted with ease if he had kept running.

Everton's lead looked increasingly fragile with each Newcastle attack, but a great break from Osman saw Arteta cross fractionally in front of Saha who could not convert the open gapping goal.  Anichebe and Nolan then went  at it after Anichebe needlessly bumped into the Newcastle player and he reacted, pushing Anichebe to the floor.  Both players went in onto Howard Webb's yellow card.

More increasingly desperate defending from Everton saw a vital interception by Distin save an almost certain goal, which seemed to come when Best headed home but he scored by pushing Jagielka down: good call by Webb, who gave the foul.

The Barcodes  were doing their best to get Hibbert sent off after a nothing collision with Gutierrez.  Anichebe got in a great cross to Saha, well placed, and he swung at his volley with what seemed to be perfect timing but it cannoned just wide of Harper's goal. 

10 mins left, and Everton holding on by their fingernails, despite numerous chances that could have easily made it 3-1, 4-1 or 5-1 to the Blues.  But Heitinga, of course, blocked Nolan needlessly, then Baines blocked Gutierrez right in the D and he got a yellow.  From this very dangerous position,  Best lashed it  through the wall but it got caught under Nolan's feet right in front of Howard and was incredibly cleared away.

With 5 mins left, Osman was replaced by Coleman, and Everton advanced again, waiting time on a throw-in then Anichebe winning a good free-kick out wide that Baines fired in but Heitinga was called for a foul. But Everton looked to push ahead again, with more good work from Anichebe , crossing for Coleman at the far post but Harper denied him. 

Gutierrez was reduced to a hobble as Everton clung on for dear life, seemingly determine not to score that third goal that would kill off these nasty Barcodes with 5 added minutes prolonging the fear and trepidation. It was backs to the wall but Anichebe relieved the pressure, only to harmlessly put the ball behind from a very dangerous position.  Another Anichebe chance should have led to that goal but Arteta's shot was blocked and then Coleman decide to waste time in the coner but again put the ball harmlessly behind for a goal kick that put Everton under yet more pressure.

From that. they broke again, the ball finally coming to Coleman in the right channel but he shot straight at Harper. Finally it was over, a great win form an entertaining end-to-end ding dong encounter, and a fantastic response to the dreadful Reading game, but Everton really, really need to score more goals!!!


Michael Kenrick     Posted 05/03/2011 at    Comments (76)

Reading (H): Goodbye Wembley Stadium...

Well, that was simply shocking. I put a summary in the Match Report file, for what it's worth, but I think I'll leave the scorn-pouring to others this time...

Utterly Hopeless.

ps: [Editorial Note] The avalanche of comments may get rearranged a little as I work through them, with the inevitable Moyes Out headliners moving to the "Time to Go" thread.
Michael  Kenrick     Posted 01/03/2011 at    Comments (201)

Sunderland (H): Beckford Brace Buoys Businesslike Blues

Louis Saha was declared fit enough to start along with Jermaine Beckford upfront in what appears to be a potentially attacking formation, but for the inclusion of Osman who gets the call ahead of Bilyaletdinov .  Cahill and Rodwell started on the bench as they are probably not fully fit.  Jagielka is favoured over Heitinga, who was annoyed to have been benched for the Cup replay at Chelsea last week.

It was scrappy stuff in the bright sunshine for the first few minutes, although Gyan did try to beat Everton's offside  Richardson did beat the trap and had a one-on-one with Howard but screwed his shot across goal and well wide.  Finally a better Everton move won the first corner, taken by Arteta that was short to Neville, his cross was poor, put back in by Saha but beyond Fellaini. 

Beckford got into space with the ball at his feet from an excellent set-up by Osman and his deft shot beat the keepper and bounced off Bramble's shin, just inside the Sunderland goal.  Nice start!

Sunderland looked to respond and Howard di well to deal with their attacks.  A bobbling  ball sat up for Beckford again but his control and technique was sadly League 2 level and the chance was gone.  Beckford's movement was keeping Sunderland fully occupied, and he looked to get forward past Mensah but could not get away from Ferdinand.

Mensah came in far too hard on Saha and got a strong word from the ref. Saha looked to break into the Sunderland area but his second touch was poor and he lost the ball. A long ball from Sunderland ended up with a fierce shot by Sessegnon that Tim Howard was alert to and just got enough on it to deflect it onto the underside of the bar and it bounced down in front of the line, a tremendous escape for the Blues.

Everton had to defend on the half-hour and eventually gave away a dangerous free-kick that took an age to execute that was set square to Bardsley and was well blocked, allowing Everton to break but  Saha slipped at the crucial moment when in space on the right and another attack ended lamely.

Another attack looked to be well constructed with Saha advancing and well supported but a sloppy pass from Arteta caught Osman's heel and the whole thing collapsed again.  Fellaini fell heavily, perhaps turning his ankle  and looked to be replaced but the magic spray produced a rapid recovery. 

Everton were struggling to complete attacking moves but did a lot better on a long clearance from Jagielka where Arteta left Ferdinand for dead and scampered forward, a stepover to fool Mensah, then cutting the ball back from the byeline for Beckford to scuff his shot off a defender again but it had enough momentum to bobble just inside the other post for a second Everton goal.

Fellaini could not carry on, and Rodwell came on in his place. Saha appeared to get into space but his shot hit a defender as half-time approached.  He was in a good mood and had another long run at the Sunderland defence but drove his shot wide. 

After the break, Osman got the ball to Beckford who rather lashed his shot off-balance, over the bar. Arteta then challenged and sipossed a Sunderland player in the cntre-circle to gain possession ? when did he last do that? Saha then produced a nice flick-on from a Neville throw-in that set up nicely for Osman to score but instead he put it wide.

Coleman made a good run and fed a great ball to Beckford who was scythed down in the area, but he had strayed fractionally offside. No penalty.  Rodwell had a good run through the middle but Osman's cross was poor. 

On the hour, no more subs, but a lively attack started by Osman again feeding Beckford well, but shots form Saha and Coleman were saved by Mignolet.  Rodwell got a good run in down the left and won a corner from Baines that was punched away.  Bardsley then came through Saha and gave Everton a good free-kick opportunity but Arteta drove it low and hard, denying Baines the chance repeat his Chelsea party trick. 

Beckford was tiring and went off to a good shout from the Goodison crowd after 73 mins, replaced by Tim Cahill. Osman got another chance for glory  but screwed another first-time volley well wide. Coleman tried to score with a fearsome cross that forced a good save from Mignolet. 

Baines had a good run but his cross/shot was too deep.  Saha went off with 8 mins left, Bilyaletdinov replacing him. The best move of the game deserved a goal after interchange from Osman, Baines and Cahill set Bily up but he too volleyed wide. 

Osman, who was to be proclaimed Man of the Match, again was in the thick of it, getting into a great position to score, going wide around the keeper .... but failing yet again as his path to goal was now blocked by two defenders. He will get plaudits for his link-up play, which did set up the first goal, but really he should have delivered far more.

But it was a good solid result for the Blues, and a much-needed home win, a much-needed three points, a much-needed clean sheet, and some much-needed goals from Jermaine Beckford.


Michael  Kenrick     Posted 26/02/2011 at    Comments (146)

Chelsea (A): Penalty path to the Fifth Round

Jermaine Beckford, former Chelsea junior, started the game upfront for Everton, with Osman on in place of Bilyaletdinov as part of the supply system behind him. Jagielka replaced Heitinga.  Baines looked to have an early chance down the left  but overplayed his ball in to Beckford.  Everton had good possession and probed away for the first few minutes until Coleman lost the ball in the middle.  Chelsea got more ball though and Osman helped them out, losing possession easily.

This led to a spell of Chelsea pressure that was repelled and set up another move down the Everton left but that failed to penetrate the Chelsea area. Coleman did well to beat Cole to a good forward ball from Cahill but his cross was poor.  Drogba went down awkwardly on a challenge from Osman and looked to leave the game.

Baines again got a good ball in down the left but Coleman's header for the far post back to his attackers was again poor and a good attacking position was squandered.  But Everton were at least .having a go, limited mostly by their own abailities rather than any great defending by Chelsea. 

Coleman fouled Cole and from the free kick, Jagielka put Howard under tremendous pressure, his header hitting the post and Terry, surprised by the rebound, could only fire high over the bar.  Baines again did brilliantly and served a superb ball in for Beckford but the striker did absolutely nothing with it!

Another good move say Baines cross early to Osman and his ball to Coleman resulted in a shot and Everton's first corner, delivered too high.  From that Chelsea attacked in earnest, Malouda forcing a desperate save from Malouda and Drogba's follow up wizzzed wide.

Everton looked to break and Beckford got the ball in a great position but failed to shot and then got the ball stuck at his feet and had to pass to Coleman who wasted it.  Cheslea attacked and Drogba played in Malouda who had was denied by Howard.  Osman did well to block the header from Ivanovic off the corner.

The game was getting more lively on the half-hour, both sides pressing, and Everton making a decent fist of it but, as ever, not carrying that forward into the goal area. Drodba was finally looking more interested, and fired one over from distance.  Howard punched the resulting corner away well.

Fellaini delivered a couple of good balls from the left, the first for Beckford but his shot was blocked, the second defended away.  Maoluda crunched into Coleman and was the first recipient of a yellow card just before the break. They then got a good free kick wide right that was delivered well by Arteta but defended away.

Ramires looked to have perhaps won a penalty as he pushed the ball past Howard who had rushed out at him but was rather surprisingly booked for simulation!  0-0 at the break.

Neville got called for a foul and Drogba fired in a tricky one that Howard somehow denied Kalou.  At the other end, Ossman tried to lob Cech but he execution was weak. Baines got a yellow for allowing Ramieres to run into him. Some dreadful ball-watchong allowed Chelsea to get a chance and Osman was again the key man to block Maoluda's shot off the corner.

Coleman then got booked for his foul on Ivanovic.  This led to some dangerous Chelsea possession, with Drogba winning a free-kick off Baines but Lampard's free header was thankfully well off target. Beckford got pushed and Baines swung in a good delivery that Osman glanced his header into Cech's hands.  Lampard then gave Arteta a gift but his ball in to Beckford was just behind him and his shot flew over. 

Distin then went in Phil Dowd's book for a lunging tackle and the free-kick led to some anxious moments for Everton ending in a lashed corner that flew over everyone.  The quality of play in the final third was pretty poor from both sides, neither able to produce a real chance for a goal. Coleman looked to run at Chelsea but Beckford patheticly yanked on Ferara's arm, and Dowd blew for the foul as Coleman ran into a roadblock. 

At the other end, Kalou and Ramieres set up Lampard for the chance f teh game but Hovward blocked the certain goal. From the corner, Ivanovic looked to fire home but Howard again came up big with the block. . Ramieres then ran at the Everton defence and fired a daisy cutter just wide.  20 mins to go and the lack of goals suggested extra time or worse would be needed to settle this one.

Tim Cahill, who had not had a great game, was replaced by Bilyaletdinov.  Chelsea had another spell of pressure, Lampard unable to threaten the goal with his shot.  Everton then returned the honour, Coleman finally heading into Cech's hands.

Chelsea threatened again, Lampard firing wide.  Jagielka got an elbow in the face from Drogba, and a facial cut.  Beckford, who had been pretty poor, was replaced by Anichebe with 10 mins left. Bily then whipped in a great ball that should have been converted by Anichebe at the near post, and in the follow-up, Bily should have done a lot better. 

Chelsea looked to score with a Lampard lob but it floated over the bar with the Everton defence in disarray, and they were looking the more dangerous as the final minutes ticked away.  Chelsea truned the screw and it was Everton whoo had to batten down the hatches,  Anichebe got a chance to run and alleviate some pressure, going down easily and winning a soft free kick.

In the follow-up, Everton appeared to have pulled off a fantastic win at the death when Baines fired in a shot that Cech could only parry and Fellaini was there to fire it home... but he was ruled to have been offside when Baines shot. 3 mins of added.  Anichebe won a corner that Drogba headed away and the game went into Extra Time.

With little happening after the restart, Moyes made an odd switch, taking Osman off and replacing him with Heitinga. Drogba tried to chip Howard but overhit it. Everton worked a chance for Heitinga to shoot but it was blocked.  Jagielka did well to shepherd Drogba away from goal at the expense of a corner.  Everton produced another labored attack that broke down and Chelsea broke, winning a corner from which Lampard fired wide.

A poor bit of defending saw Distin and Baines allowing Anelka to cross for Lampard who needed a second attempt to fire the ball in past Howard for what must surely be the winner just before the break in Extra Time. 

Moyes's Boys looked bereft of ideas in the second 15 mins, Heitinga making a horribly loose pass and Neville delivering a poor cross, Baines hoofing it to a fouling/offside Fellaini, Arteta squandering a wasteful forward pass then committing a silly foul out of frustration and earning a yellow card, Distin hoofing from the back into empty space, when they did get possession. The moribund tactic was clearly Route One: hoof it up to the makeshift forwards, Fellaini and Jagielka, with Anichebe all but invisible. Chelsea did their best to sit on their hard-earned lead and play out the clock.

As the minutes ticked away, it looked like Everton would go out with a wimper after a stout but ultimately weak performance in front of goal. But, with barely a minute remaining in Extra Time, Ivanovic gave away a free kick by fouling Jagielka as he went for one of those big hoofs from the back.  It was an excellent position for a late and dramatic free-kick, front and centre... and literally in the last minute of Extra Time, Leighton Baines stroked it exquisitely just inside the post in front of the 6,000 Evertonians to rescue the tie and put Everton right back in it, with penalties now looming.  Essien had a shot that Howard fumbled a little just before the whistle and penalties it was...

Penalty Shoot-Out:

  • Lampard scored high; Baines's shot was saved by Cech  ? 1-0;
  • Drogba sent Howard the wrong way; Jagielka sent Cech the wrong way ? 2-1;
  • Anelka's shot was palmed away by Howard; Arteta lashed his high into the net ? 2-2;
  • Essien also lashed his home; Heitinga smacked his just inside the post past a diving Cech ? 3-3;
  • Cole skied it beautifully high and wide!!!; Neville smacked home the winner in fine style ? 3-4

A great result from a poor game were neither side really impressed.  But winning is all that matters in the FA Cup. One footnote was the deliberate collision Johnny Heitinga engineered with Ashley Cole as the Everton player walked back to the centre-circle after scoring his spot kick.  Cole was bemused and puzzled but it seemed to do the trick, as the Chelsea player blazed their vital last spot-kick well wide of the goal!

Everton surely now have a golden chance to proceed with a home tie against Reading a week on Tuesday in the Fifth Round.


Michael  Kenrick     Posted 19/02/2011 at    Comments (109)

Bolton (A): Reebok Horror Show

David Moyes appears to be convinced that Jermaine Beckford is best used as a super-sub, with Anichebe surprisingly getting the start in his place as the lone striker upfront in place of the injured Saha.  Tim Cahill returns finally after his Asian Cup sojourn in Qatar, just in time to replace Jack Rodwell, who got injured playing for England U-21s midweek.

It was fairly disjointed kick-and-rush stuff from both sides early on, with some strongish tackles breaking things up. Bolton did advance well, Cahill giving them the first corner, headed wide, then but Heitinga made a key intervention to deny Kevin Davies.  Another Bolton corner was farcically overhit.

When Everton did get the ball, the ploy of aerial crosses to the lone Anichebe looked futle and Bolton were on the attack again, getting a free-kick for a nothing collision where Robinson fell over out wide that ended up in the Everton net off Heitinga's arm from Cahill's glancing header, with less than 10 mins gone.  It looked far too easy a goal to give away.

Elamander was booked for scything down Baines but Arteta's delivery was shockingly poor. Anichebe was starting to win the odd lofted ball but the second ball was going nowhere.  And on the ground, his style seemed to repel rather than attract the the ball to his feet, defenders always getting theirs in first.

But a fantastic ball in from Baines was taken completely wrong by Cahill, who got into the perfect position but incredibly tried ot control the high ball with his foot rather than executing a trademark header that would have been a nailed on goal for him.  Shocking decision.. Better Everton pressure followed from  a free-kick, a Baines shot being blocked, and a poor cross defended behind for a corner that was poorly executed by Arteta.

Everton were getting forward but a good driven cross just bounced back off the hulk of Anichebe.  A through ball seemed to set Anichebe free but Knight accelerated and stuck his foot in just as Anichebe belatedly pulled the trigger.  Both players collapsed but Anichebe, was up after some attention, though Knight's game was up, despite the attempted denial to waste time and allow his sub, Wheater to be made ready. Baines's corner meanwhile was delivered straight to the head of the first defender.

Bolton were strong and physical in denying Everton space, but in possession, they collapsed lie paper tigers at the slightest touch, and Everton were struggling to play with any rhythm or cohesion.  Bily looked to release Anichebe but the timing was wrong amd he had moved offside. 

Heitinga got sucked in to a clear Sturridge dive and earned a dangerous free-kick that Taylor drove low and Howard saved easily. Bily got himself into acres of space centrally but had no idea what to do as Anichebe' could not get free in front of him, a classic cameo of the difficulty Everton were having to make anything of this visually unappealing spectacle.

Everton tried the longer ball and Cahill 's header down for Anichebe was just too far in front of him. Bily got called for a foul that was curled in well but Howard punched it .  A better move finally saw Arteta put in a shot but it was not good enough. At the other end, Fellaini again made an awful giveaway and Bolton had another corner that Anichebe headed away.  Mark Davies's shot was deflected for another corner. 

A great breakaway from the corner by Everton suddenly opened up with Arteta crossing and Bily clipping a great ball out for Coleman but his touch was poor and Wheater steamrollered him easily.  Fellaini then put in an inviting ball for Coleman to attack but it was just too close to the keeper, who slid the ball out of his area on the greasy turf.

It had been a horrible half for Everton, who where perhaps unjustly a goal down and being outmarked and perhaps outwitted by a difficult Bolton side.

No changes after half-time... and there were no appreciable change in the pattern of play, Everton still struggling to get any freedom  from the tight shackles of Bolton. Fellaini sucked in by another Sturridge dive that won a dangerous free-kick but the wall did it's job. 

Everton got a free-kick and the looping delivery that led to a corner and a spell of Everton pressure around and in the Bolton area but the ball never broke to anyone in a shooting position, and it was horribly s crappy formless stuff.  Moyes decided, 5 mins ahead of schedule, that it was time to prep a double-switch but he was beaten to it by Owen Coyle. Lee on for Taylor.

Anichebe used his strength to finally win a good free-kick off Wheater that Baines curled in well but no-one went for it.  Cometh the hour... Osman and Beckford on for Bily and Coleman. Cahill, surprisingly left on, turned and shot over from the edge of the area. Osman put in a good cross, but it was defended away as nothing seemed to be working for the Blues...

And just to underline things, Everton failed to clear a free-kick that eventually came to the cheating Sturridge, who lashed it past Howard with 25 mins remaining. Just horrible.

Osman was lively in a forward role, but his link play just wasn't working, and was not helped by a useless free-kick lobbed up by Heitinga straight to the goalkeeper.  Osman tried to cross from a difficult position and again, the goalie collected far too easily. Anichebe had been poor all game and was looking increasingly poor, worse than a passenger. 

15 mins left and this was possibly the most rubbish display imaginable from Everton, epitomised by the utterly useless Anichebe.  Fellaini looked to release Beckford into space but the ball went straight through his legs... just horrible horrible stuff.

Anichebe was fouled by Robinson and Anichebe was finally removed, allowing Jose Baxter to come on.  More aerial balls into the Bolton area coming to nothing amidst plenty of tugging and shoving. At the other end, it looked like Bolton's third but Sturridge was wrongly deemed to have allowed the ball to cross the byeline before his very clever backheel was smacked into the Everton net by Davies.

Baxter was lively and he had a shot that was going wide touched around,.  From the corner, he tried to lash in a first-time volley that went horribly wide, while later at the other end, a Davies strike curled wide of Howard and just wide of the post before Baxter played in Sturridge who so nearly did make it three for a horrible Bolton side. 

In many ways this summed up an awful day in a very wet and miserable office for the relegation-bound Blues.


Michael Kenrick     Posted 13/02/2011 at    Comments (193)

Attack, Attack, Attack Attack Attack

Everton 2 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur

With Tim Cahill off to conquer a portion of the world at the Asian Cup in Qatar for the next four to six weeks, David Moyes elected to break up the fledgling Fellaini-Rodwell partnership to make room for two recognized (if misfiring) strikers, Saha and Beckford, with Heitinga selected in his natural position at centre-back for the first time this season, and two of his favourite players ? Hibbert and Osman ? both on the bench, where Gueye returns after a bit of a break.

Some nice early play was spoilt by a poor first touch from Beckford that lost Everton possession and allowed Spurs to mount their first attack, but it was snuffed out and Everton looked to build through the middle again, and their positive approach paid massive dividends in the third minute. Louis Saha stroked home a beautiful ground shot of a simple ball in to him from Baines on the wing, he had time to turn, come inside and shoot unerringly past Gomes with his right foot to open the scoring in excellent fashion, a superb finish from the previously goal-starved Frenchman.

Would Everton build or consolidate? It was a great start, but Spurs then dominated the next 5 mins; Van der Vaart saw a chance and came very close to surprising Howard from distance with what would have been a spectacular strike. Then Crouch easily got over Heitinga and could have exacted revenge off a dangerous deep ball from Van der Vaart.

There was a big shout for a blatant push on Beckford by Hutton as Neville swung in a good cross. At the other end, Everton paused for a foul when Hutton's deep cross came in but Crouch headed into the danger area and Van der Vaart had all the time in the world to power his header past Howard who was already collapsing into the net, a very poor goal to concede.

Fellaini did well to intercept a Tottenham clearance but should have slipped it to Beckford, who was better positioned inside the area as he shot straight at Gomes. Everton put together a promising attack on 17 mins with Neville beating his man and cutting in but Beckford tried to be too clever with a difficult final ball from Saha. Good work at the back by Heitinga dispossessed Bale.

Some lively contact play, a lot involving Neville in feisty mood, was perfect to keep the Everton crowd up and behind the team. Some brilliant work by Coleman should have bought more than a corner, from which a lovely clipped in ground ball by Saha found Beckford with what looked like enough space and time but he scooped it horribly over the bar under pressure from a defender.

The next attack saw some excellent passing that got the ball in to Beckford again but his attempted turn was a little naive and Coleman could not finish the loose ball. Arteta gave away a free-kick that Heitinga headed out for a corner which was delivered dangerously but fractionally overhit by Van der Vaart and thankfully wasted.

Half-a-hour gone and it was an excellent game, fairly evenly balanced, with Everton perhaps looking the brighter and more adventurous going forward, while the Blues defence was generally coping with the renowned Spurs attacking threat. But Everton were slowing he game down too much in possession, although Arteta's snapshot did take a deflection that forced a Gomes save. They looked far better playing the ball on the ground through the middle and down the channels but too many attacks ending in lofted crosses were being easily dealt with by the massed Spurs defence.

A great steal by Coleman allowed Neville to fire in an equally good cross for Beckford but he could not get sufficient height over the ball and it looked like another poor miss as the ball looped over and wide. Arteta committed another poor foul, and Crouch still beat Fellaini to head wide. Pienaar was being almost too clever on occasions, his decisions puzzling his long-time partner Baines as he sought perhaps to impress 'Arry with flicks and backheels that bamboozled his Everton colleagues.

The Blues were giving away possession a little too easily at times, and choosing the daft back-pass for a hoof from Howard far too often instead of building on the ground. The threat from Van der Vaart was always there, a tremendous acrobatic shot from the Dutchman thankfully flying high and wide.

A dreadful giveaway by Saha from another one of those hideous needlessly stupid backward balls saw Spurs take the lead... except that Crouch had incredibly strayed offside and the goal was ruled out. Another Spurs free-kick and Van der Vaart powered his drive just inches over. But surely some huge warnings for the Blues to tighten things up in the second half...

Arteta drew a foul in a central location that he drove in low into the melee to zero effect. A superb piece of football saw Saha slip a driven ball from defence sweetly out to Coleman who ran all the way and then passes it straight into Gomes's hands. Hopeless! Dawson elbowed Coleman in the back of his head but got away with it as the ref was a little too lenient on Spurs' physical attentions.

Beckford again showed his naiveté who a headed ball in from Coleman as he looked for a non-existent foul rather than using his strength and body position to beat the defender. Bale then ran at Neville who stopped him and went in the book for his troubles, given Van der Vaart anther opportunity that he drove wide to the far post for a corner off Distin. Bale went off with a back problem, to be replaced by Niko Kranjcar

Howard defended the corner but having all 11 back meant that the ball was returned from half-way with interest for another Spurs attack. An hour gone and Everton still pushing but Van der Vaart somehow beat Distin and really tested Howard. At the other end, a perfect cross from Coleman was met on the volley by Saha about his drive was clipped away from goal off Hutton.

Coleman again got ahead to the line but his cut back was too close to Gomes. He then got another chance after great work by Fellaini but curled his shot high and wide. Fellaini then brilliantly fed a through-ball to Saha but he moved the ball onto his right foot and drove over.

With so much attacking verve but no end product since the early goal, the script was beginning to look ominously familiar, Everton having played their best football of the season. Jenas gave away another central free-kick but Baines delivered it too low. A wonderful win on the wing by Fellaini was totally wasted as Arteta had no idea what to do with it and another glorious chance to pressure Spurs was wasted.

Spurs snapped up another chance but he drove straight at Gomes when more guile was needed. After almost 30 mins of sustained Everton attacking, Heitinga gave away a dangerous free-kick that Kranjcar swung in and Saha defended. Spurs then waltzed into the are down the Everton left and Van der Vaart looked certain to score but Howard pulled off an excellent close-range stop.

Crouch was allowed to run a long way with the ball and his high shot needed saving by Howard. Worrying play off the corner looked liked shooting practice for the Spurs team as they took turns in firing and Everton defence blocked solidly. But, after a long spell of Everton dominance, the impetus was swinging back to Spurs as Moyes started his 5-minute sideline lecture of Yakubu.

But before he could come on, Beckford with an excellent touch set in Saha for a good run and a really fierce shot that Gomes could only punch into the ground where it bounced up perfectly for Seamus Coleman to head home confidently and give Everton a more than fully deserved lead. Yakubu then replaced Beckford. for the last 15 mins, and then Keane replaced Lennon.

With a secure lead to sit on Everton stopped building on the ground when in possession and instead resorted to some horrible hoofed clearances, tempting Spurs to do their worst. But the onslaught was punctuated by occasional better spells of joined-up football although lacking the conviction that was there earlier. Time for a couple of subs: first Osman on for Pienaar, who picked up a knock, in the 87th minute, followed by Rodwell coming of Saha and a moment of appreciation from the buoyant Goodison crowd.

Could Everton hold on for their first win at Goodison Park since October? Time ticked on, but it was nail-biting stuff when the white shirts had possession as 4 minutes were added on. Everton kept getting good possession and should have dome more with it, Fellaini releasing Yakubu for a run in on the Spurs goal but the tame effort was nothing short of pathetic. Osman had a poke that Gomes handled comfortably.

Assou-Ekoto shoulder barged Neville off the ball, quite fairly, said the officials, as the screams for the final whistle rang around Goodison and Crouch flattened Osman. A final free-kick and that was it. An excellent win, playing much more positive, adventurous, attacking football with most players in their correct positions ? and no Tim Cahill. Hmmmm...


Michael  Kenrick     Posted 05/01/2011 at    Comments (71)

Let's keep it civil, please.

The "Independent" tag in the descriptive subtitle of this website was a deliberate move made years ago when others around used the odd term "unofficial". Some will remember it took years for the 'Official' Everton Website to become anything like worthy of the name... during which time we helped fill the void.

We knew we were here for the long term, our primary mission morphing over time from the original endeavour ? to provide some basic Everton presence and electronic record on the then embryonic interweb. Now, the stats and facts available on this website take a back seat to providing an unparalleled forum for independent viewpoints about Everton Football Club.

Despite fallacious claims to the contrary, we generally post what we receive... and we "encourage" input from all points of the Everton compass ? be it favourable or unfavorable to the current management and leadership of the club. Hence the "independent" tag. But being independent does not have to mean we encourage mindless abuse.

So to the point of this ramble: I don't like to see Evertonians using this website as a means for telling people at the Club to "fuck off" ? especially people they've probably never met... and they would mortified at the prospect of telling them that face-to-face. No matter how bad the performances on the field, or how cringeworthy the latest utterances of the Chairman, there is to my mind no excuse for using the web to tell the Chairman, Manager, or any player to "fuck off".

These last few weeks, it's become something of a catch-phrase for those who can't come up with anything even a little more intelligent... and as of now, I'm calling a stop to it. No doubt there's plenty to be concerned about, but finishing your diatribes with that expletive is classless and crass.

No more, alright?

Thank you.


Michael Kenrick     Posted 05/01/2011 at    Comments (67)

New Year... Same Old Same Old

David Moyes reverts to a more conventional line-up for Cahill's final game before the talismanic Assuie and his amazing goalscoring expertise departs to Qatar for the Asian Cup. Heitinga is stilll out injured but Jagielka retuned after missing the West Ham game.

Everton looked to play yheir passing game from the off and Saha got a nice kick as he advanced into the area, a clear foul but no penalty! Delap's first long throw was competently handled by Howard. on 5 mins, Everton broke with something of a counter-attack Saha scampering forward and feeding Coleman, whose cross won the first corner. Baines picked out Saha with a good delivery but the ball careened off Jones's shoulder for a... goal kick!

Cahill did well to collect the ball on his chest, turn, run and feed Pienaar who shot straight at Begovic. His long clearnace was taken well by Fuller who shot wide when he might have caused Everton some serious trouble. The first yellow card went to Collins after only 12 mins for a lunge on Coleman advanceing down the right wing.

Cahill was peanalized for a shove in the back but a good delivery was looped over and out by Fuller. 15 mins and the battlelines for a tight midfield struggle were being effectively drawn, wing play resulting in plenty of throw-ins prventing muuchh forward progress. Arteta took Everton's second corner, from the left, straight to the first defender.

Coleman won the third corner, delivered superbly by Baines from the right but it evaded Cahill, however, the loopoing cross back in from Coleman was met at the far post by Distin and Fellaini looked to clip the ball out of the keeper's hands but it would not go in the net. Stoke were probing to some effect and a good run in by Etherington, beating Coleman and Neville, was finished very well by Kenwyn Jones, beating Howard hands down.

Saha epitomized the striker none-scoring problem, fluffing a lovely Cahill knock-down from the restart, when he depapartely must have started. On the next Everton attack, Baines had space to cross with uneering accuracy to where Cahill was lurking at the far post but the Aussie did not get the angle right and missed what for him was a nailed-on header for the equalizer.

Stoke, heads up, were running at Everton with more confidence after the goal and Neville gave them an unnecessary free-kick, central, that could have been a lot more dangerous. Then an incident with a yellow for Begovicic who crunched Saha just outside the area, apparently NOT a clear goalscoring opportunity ? it really could have been red. It all helped to spice up the game but Arteta's free-kick on the edge of the area smacked predicatably into Jones in the Stoke wall.

Distin put Everton under needless pressure with an overhit backpass as Stoke looked to punish their visitors, but Coleman won another excellent chance for Baines at the other corner of the Stoke area but it was just too hard for Fellaini and Distin at the far post.

Baines went in rather hard on Shawcross but escaped a possible yellow card. Saha running into the Stoke area tried to beat three men and collapsed in a heap as Everton looked to apply pressure before the break. A free-kick wide left was put into the danger area this time by Arteta. Baines down the inside right channel then got the ball out to Coleman and his briillinat low cross in front of goal was just begging for a finish that never came.

In the added minute before half-time, Saha and Pienaar constructed a good forward move, Pienaar's shot clipping off a defender's foot and looping up just over the bar onto the roof of the net with Begovic stranded. Was it going to be another one of those games where the Blues just can't get the ball into the back of the net?

No changes, of course, after the break, Artea getting crunched by a clumsy Whitehad challenge that earned him a yellow card. He then fould Baines in what should also have been yellow, and another guilt-edged free-kick ffor th Blues that Baines delivereed onto Saha's head but Higginbottom got in his way effectively. Pienaar then got a chance off the corner to volley a dropping ball at the goal but skewed it horribly out of play. A poor ref decision looses Everton another lear corner.

Arteta got involved in play downn the right but his awful cross was simply shocking as Everton looked to press but showed noo guile. Stoke meanwhile seemed to have the measure of Cahill, defensders collapsing drammaically at the slightest touch and easily winning Mariner's sympathy.

Stoke won a soft fee kick when Fellaini backed into Fuller and Everton were pinned back a lttle too easily. But Everton did break and Coleman was cut down by Delap, but again only a yellow for Delap. The free kick taken short was total rubbish as Arteta was bloked easily by the advancing defender.

59 mins gone, and Pulis made his first change, Tuncay on for Pennant. Cahill then got booked as he came off wort in another aerial challenge for absolutly nothing, much to the pleasure of teh Stoke crowd. 5 more minutes of touchiline instructions from Moyes for Osman and Anichebe on the sidelines before a double switch, during which a weird crabwise dribble by Saha summed up the paucity of Everton's challenge, Neville and Arteta coming off .. will 4-4-2 be the answer? (And why not from the beginning of the game???)

Osman got away with a clumsy challenge and little changed until a soft goal was scored... by Stoke. Jones loped a ball up that Fuller challenged Jagielka, the ball coming off the Everton defender and into the net. Oh dear, now 2-0 down, immediatley after Moye's game-changing subs.

Baines got a chance from yet another dangerous free-kick and made a good fist of it, flying barely over with Begovic rooted. But 2-0 down and Everton struggling to do what the game is supposed to be all about ? score! Fuller was so nearly gifted a third from a poor Distin back-header, but Howard did enough and Whitehad volleyed over from the corner.

With the game going nowhere and 15 mins to rescue something, decisive action was the order of the day from Manager Moyes: another 5-minute discourse on the lost art of Everton attacking football delivered on the sidelines to this time Jermaine Beckford while Pulis switched Whelan on for Etherington, and the final masterstroke from the Moyesiah: Beckford on for Saha in the 80th minute.

Some intricate Blues passing through the middle ran into a brick wall fo red-&-white stripped shirts, forcing Cahill to lash at it but his shot was predicatbly blocked and from that Stoke looked to get a third but overran things. Distin did well to contain Jones down the Everton left but in possession, Everton simply did not seem to have any meaningfiul ideas. With 5 mins left, the final change was made as Fuller came off for Wilkinson, and nearly embarrased Fellaini as Stoke sensed victory was close.

More huff and puff from the Blues in possession went absolutely nowhere, as the players themselves seemed to admit the game was up. Bereft of ideas, incapable of scoring or even creating meaningful clear-cut chances, this was yet another sad reflection on the increasingly moribund Moyes era.

New Year ? Same Old Same Old.


Michael Kenrick     Posted 01/01/2011 at    Comments (91)

Score goals, win games

Forced to make changes, with Pienaar and Heitinga injured, David Moyes picked Coleman and Osman (his 200th Everton game) on the flanks and the big surprise ? Victor Anichebe starting as the lone striker up-front. Saha thankfully did not start but was one of four strikers on the bench, with Yakubu, Beckford and Vaughan. For City, no sign of Lescott, Adebyor, or Santa Cruz... Jô on the bench.

If the first few minutes were anything to go by, this game would see Everton chasing shadows with City having almost all the possession. But when they did get possession, an attack down the right, then the left and great cross from Baines was headed on by Anichebe and picked up by Coleman on the byline, who chipped back a training pitch ball for Cahill to nod sweetly just inside the post with less than 4 mins gone.

On 10 mins, Silva was set up all in the clear on the Everton right by Yaya Toure and looked to belt it home but he missed the target completely. City started to press and won their first corner that Howard held comfortably. Cahill needed breif treatment for a head knock, Zabaleta coming off worse and going down the tunnel for a full head bandage job to cover four stiches.

Everton got their second goal in the 19th minute, and a thing of beauty it was. After a lngthy passing movement that started in the Everton penalty area, Anichebe got his first real involvement, interchanging down the left with Baines, then crossing intelligently low to Cahill's feet, while Baines ran in to pick up the gently played return ball that the left back then curled sweetly around Hart and inside the far post with his wrong foot. Lovely!!! Just the sweetest of movement, interpassing, set-up and finish ? a really classic goal of the highest quality.

Kompany was yellow-carded for a poor block on Rodwell as he successfully prevented some good forward movement down the right. Everton were hoping to sit on the lead and settled into a good pattern of relatively calm control at the back but City had other ideaas, forcing mistakes that led to two wrongly called corners and a couple of serious half-chances.

Osman got himself on a laboured breakaway and looked to create a scoring chance on his own but was so weak in the end, it was pathetic, his half-shot clipping off the covering defender's ankle and lamely into Hart's hands. But it was becoming a rarity as Everton's possession led far too often to aimless hoofball clearances

A mad sequence of blocked shots and goalmouth panic on the half-hour was the direct result of such defensive caution, as shot after City shot was blocked away. Anichebe got away down the left and Milner had to foul him.

Fellaini, incredibly yellow-carded for a midfield challenge on Tevez that won the ball but his foot movement looked like too much like a stamp. Cahill then was dispossesd and fouled as he tackled back. A Kolarov free-kick was going to hit the post but Howard fingertipped it wide and from the corner Anichebe was the furthest forward ? in the Everton D! ? his clearance to no-one providing for another attack from City and more blocked shots and misses. Everton very much under the cosh... but so far holding out.

When Everton did break out and give themselves some respite, the annoyance and frustration among the City players was palpable as they struggled to deny Everton the run of the ball up to half-time. Coleman looked to break again but his pass to Rodwell was poor. Jagielka had to be alert when Yaya Toure looked to capitalise.

Mancini bought on Adam Johnson in place of James Milner for the restart. Fellaini again won a challenge with Balotelli, who went down like a wimp. Kolarov picked up and wellied an early clearnace that needed a very good save from Howard as City ramped up their attack. When Everton did go forward, too often it ended abruptly with mindless balls, one lofted by Cahill from the wing to the centre-circle.

Sitting back, standing off, defending deep... another Kolarov shot fizzing just wide. Osman was the next to bash Zabaletta as the tempo of the game was successfully being strangled by the cold calm Everton defence, epitomized by a great piece of defensive work by Distin. Anichebe chased a lost ball and crashed into Hart for an unavoidable yellow card. Everton's failing in possession, though remainded all too evident, with Rodwell trying to sell a dummy that was far too easily picked off.... and another spell of intense pressure / defending practice ensued.

Osman got called for a silly high foot on Ballatelli; from the kick, Kolarov drove pooly into the Everton wall and just as Anichebe was about to be subbed by Saha, he divided in again on Balottili ? second yellow card, and red. Ridiculous. Everton down to 10 men for the last 30 mins. Okay... 4-4-1-0... backs to the wall!

City continued to press but much the same pattern as against 11 men with lots of blocks and long-distance prods. Distin was solid as a rock. City screams for handball against Jagielka when the ball clipped off his hip... And more rabid screams again when Silva smashed he ball into Neville's arm from 5 yards. Barry then came closest, skimming the top of the bar.

With 20 mins left, Balotelli looked to have got behind the Everton defence but slipped and missed. Then, all the blocking went wrong when Yaya Toure fired across goal and the ball clipped off Jagielka's shin and into the net for an own goal. A few more attacks and shots as Moyes lectured Bilyaletdinov before switching him in for Osman.

Johnson fired just over after Moyes bought Saha on for Coleman... a strange one, that. City looked to have equalized when a long ball by Toure released Balotelli who beat Howard but not the post and then fought with Howard who stopped a certain goal in the follow-up shot from Tevez going in.

Everton's third substitution was a surprise, Jagielka going off for Hibbert, presumably due to injury, with 10 desperate minutes of more bus-parking. Balotelli finally went off, and Everton played some rare football in City's half, as Jô came on. But it didn't last long as City came back, Hibbert blocking and Kolarov trying a scoring shot from an impossible angle.

A better move from City looked to have beaten the Everton defence but Hibbert got his hip in the way of a clip from Tevez that was goalbound. Que more rabid poenalty screams from the poor Mancs. A feirce long-range shot from Yaya Toure was incredibly touched around the post by Howard's fingertips. Another corner, Howard needing to produce a solid stop from Silva.

Jô looked threatening but he was offside as the clock finally ticked to 90 mins, with Rodwell and Neville taking it down into the corner and Barry losing his rag over a throw-in call. Three throw-ins later and Neville finally gave it away with the board showing 4 mins of added time.

Another City attack, a clssic Tevez move inside, a blistering shot... and an absolutely fabulous save by Howard to keep the lead into the 93rd minute. Excellent work by Disiin, bringing he ball out of defence, cut down by Yaya Toure, yellow card. More fun and games in the last minute, Bily off on a run, Toure took him out: second yellow and red.

Final whistle, fabulous result. Well played, Blues.

 


Michael Kenrick     Posted 20/12/2010 at    Comments (56)

Let the game commence!

So, a huge game tonight against the nouveau riche upstarts from Eastlands. The game will go ahead despite temperatures dropping to -15C in Manchester overnight. Will we see the first Everton snood (or have we done that already)?

How is David Moyes going to approach this match? Will he come up with something different on the pitch, or will the same gameplan be employed, since it has been working a little better away from home, despite producing only one win so far?

In his pre-match conference he seems to have conceded a lot of ground already, and does not give the strong impression that he has the confidence and inspiration needed to see an Everton victory.

But the incredible contingent of fans who follow Everton to every away game and provide such tremendous support will be shouting for them of course and getting right behind the boys in... pink.

And the eyes of the football-mad nation largely starved of action so far this weekend will be on them tonight ? along with that worldwide TV audience which helps to pay the grossly obscene wages these stars receive.

Let the game commence!
Michael Kenrick     Posted 20/12/2010 at    Comments (35)

Same Old, Same Old

It was pretty much the same old story of Everton's poor season so far....

Everton returned to Goodison Park hopefully brimming with confidence and a burning intent to build on a promising second-half performance at Chelsea last Saturday. Mikel Arteta served the second of his three-match suspension while there were fitness doubts over Pienaar, Heitinga and the Saha. This should have meant Moyes would be forced to allow the Fellaini-Rodwell partnership to continue, with Yakubu or Beckford (but surely not both!) starting up front?

But no... Saha was declared fit, and astoundingly given a starting place. Pienaar was also declared fit so it was the same team that played so poorly in the first half at Chelsea. Cahill looked to have a great chance in the first minute but could not put his foot through it from a position well outside the 6-yard area. Cahill then won a free-kick that was well delivered by Baines toward Fellaini and the Blues eventually got their first corner that was also delivered well and ended with Coleman firing over from distance.

A great cross from Pienaar after good work from Baines was just fractionally ahead of Saha's strecthing header. Neville's first involvemnt was a poor challenge that gave away a dangerous free-kick and a booking in the 6th minute! N'Zogbia could not beat the Everton wall. Wigan won another corner that ended with Rodallega getting his head on a cross but putting it wide. Baines again swung in a brilliant free-kick that was perfectly placed onto Fellaini's head but he got it completely wrong and missed a clear chance to open the scoring.

Baines was controlling the Everton play, and Saha should have done better on a deep cross to the far post. Wigan looked to press and N'Zogbia got in a very dangerous ball from the byeline right across the Everton 6-yard box that was not converted. Everton were struggling by 20 mins to impose any kind of shape on the game, Cahill's niggles were not escaping the attention of referee Michael Oliver.

Cleverly was causing Everton problems down the right and Pienaar's ankle-tap saw him earn the second yellow card from an overly fussy referee. Some shocking touches from the Blues players Fellaini, Coleman, and Saha brought anxious jeers from the Everton crowd who were getting noticabley frustrated with what they were watching. When Everton did get some worthwhile possession, they overplayed it. A chance did come though, a header from Rodwell that was very unfortunately intercepted on it's way into the net.

Some better pressure from Everton still lacked the final ball as intricate plays seemed destined to fail through close attantion from their Wigan counterparts. Pienaar and Baines though suffered a rare lack of understanding at crucial moments. Poor examples of Everton caught in possession with no idea what to do with the ball when in good advanced positions were particularly frustrating. Fellaini got a great ball across the face of goal but just a few feet too far ahead of the lunging Cahill. Thomas and Pienaar clashed briefly after going for the same ball.

More stuttering Everton pressure around the Wigan area just before half-time should have lead to at least one shot on goal but didn't, summing up the frustration of another very unappealing half of football at Goodison Park.

Saha was allowed to continue after the break, Everton winning an early corner that came to nothing. Then a brilliant run from Coleman, but the ball in to Cahill was poor and Cahill was offside. Pienaar then had a good poke on a nice pass from Saha but it was saved by Al Habsi. Everton won more corners then Jagielka was in on a Baines ball but the keeper saved it. Pienaar and Cahill repeated the move with the same result. More intricate play saw Saha flick the ball back into Cahill's path but the Aussie couldn't get a clean shot and drove it wide.

10 minutes of sustained Everton pressure came to nothing and it was Wigan's turn to threaten. Then Saha got his half-chnace with a great throughball that was perhaps too direct from Pienaar and when he finally did shoot, it was straight at the keeper. Then a crucial moment in the game: a cross from Saha that Cahill headed brilliantly but only onto the post... Coleman scampering through but screwed up his shot/cross, quickly followed by a chance for Pienaar that he drove over.. chance after chance after chance... but still no score. The hour mark and Moyes, right on cue, in his incredible predictability, subbed Saha for Beckford.

Coleman again put in a great run but the cross was too high and away from everyone as Wigan were rocking on their heels. But the substitution of anything spoilt Everton's greatly improved rhythym and the game looked to sink back into its scrappy first-half pattern. The troublesome Thomas was removed by Martinez in favour of McArthur, to save a second yellow.

Beckford then typified the Everton problem, winning a Jagielka hoof in a good forward position but having only six Wigan players and no Everton players anywhere near him.

Pienaar walked off, with Victor Anichebe coming on to a chorus of boos, having refused a lucrative new Everrton contract, according to the Daily Mail. Another wonderful set-up, Baines clipping it in to Fellaini whose header was easily saved by Al Habsi. A good forward move followed and Beckford got behind the Wigan defence but was adjudged to have made his run a fraction too soon (an incredibly marginal decision that should have gone in his favour) and his nice finish was called back for offside.

Jagielka was called upon to prevent an almost certain goal from Diame as spaces opened up in teh Everrton defence. Rodiellga got a shot off that Howard saved comfortably as the minutes relentlessly ticked away and the game remained maddeningly scoreless. Anichebe woon a free-kick out wide that Baines swung in and agains Fellaini had a heading opportunity. Beckford then had another effort on target but it lacked any meaningful pace.

After something of a lull, Everton got forward again and Rodwell drove a shot from outside the area a foot wide of the post. Another forward play was spoilt by Anichebe's poor touch that should have played in Beckford but went straight out of play. Play was broken up for a while with some silly Wigan injury, and after it, Beckford finally beat the offside trap but could not control the ball. 5 mins left and dangerous corners from Wigan were very worrying, Cahill hacking the ball uselessly upfield when more cultured play was called for.

By the end, Beckford was finally getting into the game, but his limited footballing qualiities were his main enemy, increasing the debate that he should be given more than 30 mins of game time to learn how to play the more experienced Premier League defenders. Coleman got fouled wide right earning Figueroa a yellow card but nothing came of the kick and Wigan made their most dangerous attack of the game, fouling Coleman in the build-up as Howard saved a certain goal on the 90.

Five minutes of added time, but Everton's powder-puff attacking prowess was prettty much spent, Beckford repeatedly offside, while Wigan sniffed the chance to grab a winner but N'Zogbia got himself booked for dissent. That was finally it. Same old, same old... Seven painful games without a win since Moyes was proclaimed Manger of the Month...

Depending on your perspective, this was a valiant effort, foiled by a stalwart defensive performance from Wigan... or it was the usual pile of predictable frustrating rubbish from a throughly impotent Everton side that couldn't score in a brothel. I'm going with the latter, and another painful example of the manager's increasing inability to get things right on the day with what he said himself are the best set of players he has had in his long long stint at Goodison Park.


Michael Kenrick     Posted 11/12/2010 at    Comments (118)

We shoulda won, yet again!

Some predictable changes from Moyes, after last week's horror result at home to West Brom. Jagielka was declared fit so Heitinga was the one to step down as Fellaini and Rodwell were paired in midfield, with Coleman back in. But he started with Saha alone upfront, and Cahill in the hole behind him, with Anichebe, Beckford and Yakubu on the bench ? along with Osman, returning from injury.

Despite a blocked Distin hoof after the kick-off, Saha got an early chance that he powered tward teh near post but Cech got down well to it, and then Pienaar won a free-kick that Baines curled in to Cech's hands. Another somewhat ragged attack quickly developed .but Baines wellied his shot over when open on the left. Early possession for Neville was poor as he did not know what to do with the ball and Rodwell was no help.

Chelsea's first decent attack came from a stupid Saha giveaway in midfield. Fellaini was just as bad on the next move, as Everton were completely failing to put a nervy Chelsea side under pressure until Pienaar lofted a ball up for Saha. But Chelsea finally got a grip of their passing after about 8 mins, and Everton's chance for an early strike was gone.

Chelsea started to push a very negative Everton side, Rodwell losing possession poorly and surrendering the first corner as the game became solidly encamped in the Everton half. Howard lost the ball and it needed a vital hack from Jagielka. Everton did win a few deep throw-ins that took forever and went nowhere.

A Route One ball to Saha could have been taken better but he lost control of it. Malouda then retaliated with a kick and a shove on Neville after his poor tackle and it was only the excessively generous sportsmanship of Neville that prevented a deserved caution or worse for the Chelsea player. On Chelsea's fourth corner, they hit the bar and failed to score from a series of chances. Neville then got booked cheaply after running in to Drogba ? a shocking piece of refereeing.

Chelsea were really not very good but Everton were giving them far too much space and respect. A good run by Coleman showed some better spirit but the ball never got through to Saha. A better move through the middle let Rodwell take a shot from distance but it was always rising. Drogba then did the splits and collapsed in a heap, possibly tearing a groin muscle.

Saha put Ivanovic under pressure and won a throw-in that finally came to Coleman after much laboured crab-passing, his shot was more like a hard cross but Cahill could not turn it in. At the other end, Kalou went close with a looping header, and Everton were lucky when more good movement by Anelka was judged offside.

Then a really typical piece of Everton play saw them finally go behind as Neville dithered pathetically as he had no outlets and then he produced the stupidest of backpasses that Anelka pushed past Howard, who then had no option but to block Anelka's path; penalty but only a yellow because Anelka ran into Howard...  so it shouldn't really have been a penalty... and perhaps Distin was back to cover... but it was just desserts for such awful play by Everton when in possession in their own half. Drogba fired home from the spot with ease.

A shockingly poor first half from both sides in truth, and of course an opportunity to go at Chelsea totally squandered by Moyes and his maddening "keep it tight" mentality.

Everton got a little bit of better possession after half-time and from a foul on Saha, a better sequence saw Rodwell pull his shot wide after a great ball in from Pienaar caused havoc. But it was all lacking real conviction. Coleman was having a difficult game down the right, with little going right for him, and Rodwell was yet to stamp any kind of authority on the game.

Come the hour, come the substitutions: Beckford on for Saha... 35 mins in so for him this week! But forced on Moyes by an injury to Saha. Beckford's first attempt was a total joke from the half-way line. At the other end, Chelsea finally started playing a bit, Drogba turning but mishittting a chance at Tim Howard.

Better play set Baines off down the left and a superb cross was met well by Rodwell but his stretching heade hit the post abd bounced along the line. Better forward play and a brilliant crossfield ball to Baines, from the cross, Coleman headed straight at Cech when the pullback was a better choice. Everton had finally woken up, and won a corner that Baines took from the right, but Jagielka's brilliant near-post flick was just high and wide.

Chelsea were on the back foot, but Ferreira came on for Bosingwa, and possession swung their way after a much better spell from Everton... sadly with still no end product. Everton defended competently enough against a generally poor Chelsea. A good move saw Pienaar feed the ball in for a chance on Cech, and Cahill's studs caught Cech just above the eye, leading to an excessive reaction by Terry and Co, and a yellow cards for Cahill, Terry and Coleman..

Ramires replaced Anelka after a 5-minute spell of treatment on the field for Cech, Pienaar swung in a soft ball that Beckford tried to clip past Cech. At the other end, Chelsea should have scored when Ferreira danced behind Pienaar and squared well for Cole who missed the ball and was then taken out by Coleman, leading to silly screams for a non-penalty. Malouda also had a shot that Howard saved.

Chelsea were applying a lot of pressure as they now felt they could get the second goal, Everton with all 11 back for cornes, unable to break when they did get the ball. But a determined attack down the left saw Baines scamper forward and cross deep for Cahill to head it back to the far post where Jermaine Beckford could not miss, powering in a great header to equalize.

Bily came on for Pienaar and Mikel came on for Sturridge. Would Everton go on to press their clear advantage now? Fellaini got into a position and took a shot that was poor. 7 added minutes gave both sides a chance to go for the win. Coleman won a good free-kick but Baines delivered it too close to Cech and Jagielka had to foul Malouda, getting Everton's fourth yellow card of the game.

Cahill won another free kick for the Vanillas as they sought to pressurize the home side with the minutes ticking away. Fellaini did brilliantly to fire across goal but no-one could make the vital final touch; Beckford again did well to turn but his shot was absolutely pathetic.

Everton attacked again, and Fellaini looked to nod the ball to Beckford but incredibly he put it the other way. Bily struggled with the ball under his feet, but he put in another great cross that was defended away. Chelsea attacked and Howard momentarily dropped the ball just before the whistle finally went, a stirring finish to what had been at times an awful game. But why oh why didn't Everton win this one???


Michael Kenrick     Posted 04/12/2010 at    Comments (131)

Moyes knows he needs a trophy

I thought this interesting interview with David Moyes hits a number of the frequently divisive topics discussed on this site and is worthy of further discussion in the thread that follows below ? The Editor

David Moyes fears he will be a footnote in Everton?s history if they don?t lift a trophy during his time at Goodison Park.

The Toffees boss also claimed Wayne Rooney?s wonder goal against Arsenal was a pivotal moment in his eight-year spell at the club.

Moyes, who took over from Walter Smith in March 2002 and helped steer the club to Premier League safety, said: ?I don?t think I could be remembered for anything at the moment, because I haven?t won anything.

?I don?t have a cup in front of me. I see Howard Kendall and Joe Royle around the place and both were great managers who brought trophies to Everton.

?Hopefully the period under me has been an improvement for the club - not just the team, but the whole structure.

?I think people look at Everton and think: ?There?s a good club who haven?t spent a great deal of money in a difficult time.? Hopefully they say the manager has done it with a bit of humility and dignity, but what I want more than anything is to lift one of those silver things.?

Everton?s last trophy was the 1-0 win over Manchester United in the 1995 FA Cup under Royle, and Moyes believes two players in the current squad are the key to future success.

In Tim Cahill, the manager believes he has the man to help him see through his obsession with winning the elusive silverware.

Moyes said: ?I knew Tim would be very important to us in both boxes. When he made his debut against Manchester United, he gave people the belief maybe he will work for us and to be honest he gave me the belief as well.?

And the Scot claims Phil Neville is one of his most important signings because of his influence on and off the pitch.

He said: ?He has been inspirational with the way he speaks to players and has prevented a number of red cards, just through talking to players on the pitch.

?When I met Phil, I knew right away that he was for me and I think Phil realised then that I was probably for him because he needed someone who was going to say: ?You are going to have to work even harder and I can?t guarantee you?re even going to get into the side.?

?I think it was because of that Phil saw Everton as a challenge and he took it on and he has been an outstanding player for us. He greets any players who come in and makes them feel welcome and he cracks the funnies. He?s not only a really good captain, he?s a good social convener around the club as well.?

When Moyes looks back on his decade at the club, he believes the goal by a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney that ended Arsenal?s 30-match unbeaten run in his first full season in charge was a defining moment.

?One of my biggest memories was when Wayne scored the goal against Arsenal," he said. ?I remember the saying: ?Remember the name, remember the boy.? But for me it was when we got back in the dressing room it was the first time I really heard the Goodison crowd, because they wouldn?t leave.

?I could hear them singing on the terraces and down the streets and it made me realise something different had happened.

?We had hit a nerve and what we had to do was beat the big teams. That season we also beat Liverpool 3-0 when Andy Johnson got the goals and that was great as well.

?You have to remember how far we had to come just to catch Liverpool. We were coming from a trillion, billion years behind them to catch them, so beating them was very special.

?I remember being in the dressing room on the last day of the season and we had won and were waiting for the Liverpool result to come through.

?They lost and we qualified for the Champions League and that was a brilliant feeling ? although the lowest point of my career came in the Champions League qualifying round when we lost Dinamo Bucharest.?

Despite Everton's struggles this season ? they lie 16th with 16 points from 15 games ? Moyes refuses to blame a lack of finance.

He said: ?I find you have to win ? even at Everton, with what we?ve got, we have to believe we are the best, and I do.

?I want to make us the best that I can but disappointments come in football and it comes with all football clubs. We are going to have plenty because we are not quite at the top.

?I knew when I arrived there weren?t going to be big finances at Everton, as the club needed a period of stability.

?We have managed to loosen the restraints a little but I have always wanted to keep the best players: 'Let me build a team, keep the best players, give them the best I can, prepare them the best I can and make them feel good.'

?We have spent a little bit, but our spending has been quite tight and relatively small compared to that of the Premier League.?

Despite the limits imposed by his budget, Moyes has managed to keep Everton at the top end of the Premier League, qualifying for Europe four times during his eight years at the helm.

Yet he still believes he can achieve his ambitions at Everton.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum ? Nothing but the best is good enough.

It is not just a motto to Moyes but the philosophy driving him towards lifting his first trophy at Everton.


Michael Kenrick     Posted 03/12/2010 at    Comments (37)

Limp fightback not good enough

Says it all really. Thoroughly depressing. I wrote a summary for anyone interested, it's in the Match Report file.
Michael Kenrick     Posted 14/11/2010 at    Comments (80)

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