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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Moyes Got It Wrong

By Paul Traill :  15/08/2010 :  Comments (16) :
After much dithering we decided to head to Ewood at around 11.30am. Just as we were getting going Gary caught Ste and I off guard with ?Can I be an arse and go and check my grill?. It took Ste and I a minute or two to comprehend what he meant until he explained he had a nagging doubt at the back of is mind that he?d left the grill on. Needless to say when we went back he hadn?t and we were eventually on the way.

Listening to Five Live on the drive down it sounded as though Joe Hart was keeping Spurs at bay, and so this proved once we?d parked up and gotten into the pub for the half time highlights with the young keeper instrumental in ensuring a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane. Onto our game and we got the team news in the pub and no big surprises from David Moyes. Fellaini was perhaps the only slight surprise given his general lack of game time but otherwise it was as you were, with Arteta pulling the strings, Cahill just off Saha, Pienaar combining with Baines on the left and Osman on the right hand side. We were sat in the lower tear tucked away on the far left hand side. Before the game there was a nice tribute to Jack Walker to commemorate the decade since his passing. Phil Dowd was the referee. We ?attacked? towards the Jack Walker stand in the first half.

Blackburn got into the swing of things quite early as Everton seemed to struggle to find their rhythm. Regardless we did restrict the hosts to very few opportunities before we giftwrapped one for them?Tim Howard coming to the edge of his box to claim a routine ball, catching it before somehow letting it squirm from his grasp to present a reasonable opportunity for Kalanic which he finished smartly. I could watch that goal over and over and still not understand how Howard spilled the ball. Anyhow we had plenty of time to make amends for that one.

Plenty of time we had though productivity was at a minimum. We did have a little dizzy spell of attacking before our half time pint but that was more or less it. First Arteta looked to have scored for a moment with a free kick though it was headed out for a corner by a Blackburn player. From the resulting corner a header goalwards was cleared and a little later Saha wriggled and drove goalwards though the defenders block took the sting out of the ball and it trickled through harmlessly for Paul Robinson. At half time we trailed though all felt we would battle our way back into the game for a point, with Ste optimistically predicting a 3-1 win.

Well that was never going to happen with Everton?s second half display. For the vast majority of the second period we were completely devoid of any attacking threat. David Moyes substitutions did little to buck this trend, indeed the players named on the substitutes bench was the main contribution to our downfall in my opinion. Now I?m not much of a Moyes critic whatsoever, though I feel he got things rather wrong tis time. Hindsight it a wonderful thing of course and it?s easy to say this now but I have the following observations about Moyes tactics on the day:

Fellaini starting ? I guess the big Belgian started the game pretty well though went missing as it rolled on. I think we?d have been much better off with Heitinga snapping away at things myself.

Yakubu not on the bench ? Sounds as though he?s leaving but Christ we might as well use him whilst he?s here. I can understand Moyes wanting to get Beckford into the swing of things but Yakubu certainly would have been a useful player to introduce into the game, particularly as we got more and more desperate late on. I don?t see what harm it would have done to have him on the bench anyway instead of say, Hibbert. Heitinga could have slotted in at right back no problems if necessary.

Coleman not on the bench ? Rodwell?s introduction did little if anything to impact on the game. We had a lot of possession down the right hand side though Neville?s delivery was generally pretty poor. I reckon Coleman would have been useful driving forward towards the end.

Mucha; Coleman; Fellaini; Rodwell; Bilyaletdinov; Beckford; Yakubu would have fetched better results I think?though just my opinion of course.

In the last five minutes or so we did finally begin to throw a few things together but it was all too little too late really. We had a spot of pinball in the penalty area though failed to force the ball home in one instance, though the only real chance of any note came in the dying minutes when Jagielka fired in an effort from distance which Robinson slapped out. Rodwell got on the end of the rebound with an overhead kick though failed to get enough purchase on it and Robinson comfortably gobbled up the rebound. You knew the game was up when Beckford scuffed tamely wide from distance shortly after.

At full time we attempted a quick pint to let the traffic flow past though the service at the crowded pub was so shockingly inept we decided to disband it and just get in the car and got ourselves back pretty quickly.

Well that?s the first defeat out of the way and we had to go and giftwrap it. Nevertheless we got exactly what we deserved from this one and we all know we need vast improvements (and better tactics) if we?re serious about challenging the top four this season.

Player ratings:
Howard: Made a shocking gaff and looked very nervy after this. I hope this doesn?t play on his mind for to long. 4
Baines: Fine. Carried on where he left off really. 6
Distan: Defended OK though distribution was poor. 6
Jagielka: Fine if not spectacular. Came closest to scoring I guess also. 6
Neville: Fine though distribution not the best. 6
Fellaini: Started the game well but faded as the game went on. 6
Arteta: Probably just about the best of a bad bunch. Was heavily marshaled throughout though continued to probe albeit to no overall end product. 7
Pienaar: Only really got going in the last 20 minutes or so. Was rather solemn otherwise. 6
Osman: Never really got going and was subbed on the hour mark. 5
Cahill: Never really got going. Probably didn?t help his cause having to play out on the right wing for a while though to accommodate Beckford. 5
Saha: Started quite brightly though faded quite badly towards the end before subbed. 5

Substitutes:
Beckford (for Osman): Oh dear. Offered nothing whatsoever. Not a good debut at all. In his defence he had minimal service but will need to vastly improve. 4
Bilyaletdinov (for Saha): At least got himself into the game. Definitely the pick of the subs. I can see him starting next week in place of Osman. 7
Rodwell (for Fellaini): Struggled to make an impact. Slightly unlucky with that overhead volley. 6

Reader Comments

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Christopher Arellano
1   Posted 15/08/2010 at 17:20:51

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Thanks, Paul.

Everton might have lost. Your report was a winner.

Looking forward to another season of EFC wins and your reports.
Richard Reeves
2   Posted 15/08/2010 at 17:42:28

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I wish Moyes would play to our own strengths instead of focussing to much on how the other team plays. Obviously part of management is knowing the opposition but I feel that he shows other teams too much respect. We have a good enough squad and should've battered them.
Andy Crooks
3   Posted 15/08/2010 at 17:51:01

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Paul, I don't get to many games. Thank you for going on behalf of many like me.
Joey Brown
4   Posted 15/08/2010 at 18:12:24

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Until the last 20 or so I thought Arteta was pretty poor actually. By his standards at least. The most he could do was pass side ways. Did not look like the club's best paid player of all time.
Andy Peers
5   Posted 15/08/2010 at 19:19:25

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I am not going to blame the loss to Neville and Osman as the whole team was bad but I do emphasise that we have to play our best available 11 on the pitch and that simply did not happen. I know this was the first game and we can be happy we are only 1 point behind Liverpool, Spurs, City and Arsenal but look who they all played compared to us.

Play our strongest 11 at all times or we will be mid-table with the best squad we have had in a long time. The worst part is then we will not be attractive enough for good players to want to join us to improve our team.

David Hodgson
6   Posted 15/08/2010 at 20:09:31

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Agree, a excellent report, Paul. As much as I enjoy Ken's match reports, yours offer a different sort of matchday experience that we all enjoy!

As for the game itself, well, it's just Everton's 'first game of the season' all over ain't it?

As soon as I saw the team, I just had a feeling it was gonna be one of those days. Now don't get me wrong, I am a Moyes fan (as we all are?!!) and I'm not blaming Ossie or Pip in this but like what's been said in other threads ? when oh when are we just gonna pick the best team available to us?!! So frustrating sometimes! Nevertheless, no-one won the league on the first day, onwards and upwards.

Roll on Wolves on Saturday and hope the penny has dropped with Moyes and more importantly the players. NSNO!

Dick Fearon
7   Posted 15/08/2010 at 23:26:40

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Paul, glad to have you back. Can you give the criteria used by your good self and others when awarding points to players. Am I to understand that 5 is the base rate and given for an absolute rubbish effort? Methinks these points are too gentle on millionaires who do not earn their crust.
Tim Brashar
8   Posted 16/08/2010 at 04:53:15

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To focus on a positive from Saturday, for a player just coming back from a serious injury, I thought Fellaini was excellent. He was composed and confident on the ball, had some delicate little swerves and touches to retain possession & create space, picked some good passes working the ball out from the back & won us back possession a couple of times. I love the big guy and was really encouraged by that first showing back. Seems like he will pick up where he left off before injury last season when he was 'the best midfielder in the Premier League'.

I think Felli is the man to play that holding mid role with Heitinga at centre back. Johnny back will greatly improve our distribution from the back. Jags should be instructed to pass every ball sideways to Johnny who can pick our passes forward.
Mike McLean
9   Posted 16/08/2010 at 06:48:55

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Liked the report very much. Agree with the last comment re selections.
Eric Myles
10   Posted 16/08/2010 at 07:07:13

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Tim #7 Fellaini picked some good passes? Those ones direct to the Blackburn players you mean? That's my abiding memory of that game.
Tim Brashar
11   Posted 16/08/2010 at 10:23:03

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I saw it differently and thought Fellaini was intelligent in possession and found Everton players with virtually all of his passes. Struggling to remember him turning the ball over cheaply or being wasteful in possession, as opposed to the hoofs from Jags. As I said, I am a big Fellain fan though so might have been blinded by my 'fro.
Sam Hoare
12   Posted 16/08/2010 at 10:36:02

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Great report.

Re comments i love the idea that Moyes somehow sits there thinking 'yeah, not gonna play our best team this week'...

He obviously see's a hell of alot more than us and if Yak wasn't on the bench its probably because he's either distracted by a transfer somewhere or is looking so immobile in training its not worth it.

We have to trust him to to make the right choices with the (infinitely more detailed) information and view available to him.
Andrew Mackenzie
13   Posted 16/08/2010 at 17:26:28

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Not going to single a player out and a self confessed Moyes fan but can understand frustrations here. Regardless of what 'he' sees in training, I know what 'I' see at the weekend, and it was not our strongest team. As soon as the team was announced the match day forum on hear groaned in tandum and I said to my mate we would be lucky to get a draw, followed by a performance to match. Blackburn did what the do best and we were sucker punched, albeit a little bit gifted.
Andy Crooks
14   Posted 16/08/2010 at 19:29:18

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Good post, Andrew. We try to hold to the belief that what DM sees at training must justify his team selection and tactics. Don' t you just wonder,though.
Bram Oliver
15   Posted 17/08/2010 at 03:50:10

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Jeez Paul Traill. Its incredible how you got it wrong. Were we watching the same game?

Fellaini bestrode the field like a collosus. Hardly a pass gone wrong, covering the field magnificently. He, together with Pienaar, Cahill and Baines were actually our best players on the pitch. In particular Pienaar shone.

Arteta, unfortunately, just had about his worst game for Everton that I can remember.

Either you or I are completely blind.
Bram Oliver
16   Posted 17/08/2010 at 04:10:57

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Btw, losing to Blackburn Rovers, is hardly the end of the world. Last time I checked, they actually had won the Premier league. There is obviously a bit of pride, rightly so, in their ranks.

To denigrate them as kick and run merchants, lowly pond scum, I would suggest needs a reality check. Isnt that what they were calling us not too long ago?

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