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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Moyes's Tinkering Costs Everton... Almost

By Paul Traill :  11/11/2010 :  Comments (12) :

Everton 1 -1 Bolton Wanderers

Straight from work for this one. Taking in the delights of the M56, M6 and then M62 before landing in the city centre to pick up Ste, parking up near the ground, grabbing a chippy and meeting up in the pub?I do enjoy the routine of the evening match. Of course they are few and far between this season with no Europa League to play for.

To say we were taken aback by the team news is something of an understatement. Fellaini straight back into the midfield made sense as Heitinga hasn?t laid enough of a claim for the jersey, though taking the Dutchman out of the squad altogether was a surprise. I wonder what?s gone on there? Otherwise, starting with Bilyaletdinov and Saha in place of Coleman and Yakubu smacked on silliness given that Coleman had scored at the weekend and Yakubu has just found a bit of form. Bolton, fresh from a great result at the weekend, began with a muscular strikeforce of Elmander and Davies. Everton attacked the Park End in the first half. Phil Dowd officiated.

Bolton certainly started the better side, getting into our box into the first minute albeit with no end product. The Wanderers did continue to probe and if not for some fantastic tackling by Distan Elmander may have scored.

With Marouane Fellaini pulling the strings in the middle Everton did eventually settle into the game and for a good 15 minutes or so of the first half Everton really pressed Bolton onto the backfoot though failed to make the most of quite a few reasonable openings with confidence more so than ability seemingly the main bugbear.

For the most part of the second half Everton continued to force pressure onto Bolton but despite umpteen corners just couldn?t put the ball home. Better set-piece delivery wouldn?t have gone amiss mind. Just too many corners failed to clear the first man and defending wasn?t as difficult as it should have been for Bolton. We did have a period of real ascendancy around the 65 minute mark but couldn?t take advantage. Once Bolton weathered this they were able to create a few opportunities of their own, Howard making a great save from a Holden header from a corner, and then Taylor clipping the crossbar with his header from another corner.

Still Everton maintained an element of control in the game though were punished when Jagielka carelessly gave the ball away and it was seized by Holden. He played a good ball out to the left hand side for Taylor who crossed for Klasnic to score with ease. Everton now had it all to do.

Hostility lit up the Goodison atmosphere as Everton squirmed to find opportunities, Moyes' last role of the dice was a double change with Neville and Saha (to a few boos) making way for Yakubu and Beckford. Everton?s task was made all the more difficult when Fellaini was red carded following a tangle with Paul Robinson. You knew the giant Belgian was going to be given his marching orders, and he did as well, staying down and feigning injury in hope that Dowd would change his mind. He didn?t. Game over?you kinda felt.

Everton continued to try and play but Bolton were good and disciplined and kept bodies behind the ball. The game seemed to be up when Bolton were wasting time in the corner flag. We won a free kick and eventually (after WAY too much pricking around from Howard and I think Distin) got the ball forward. We got a throw which Cahill took quick and received a return pass from Coleman. With little if anything on Cahill played a hopeful ball into the box left-footed. It looked to have ran away from everyone but Baines wasn?t giving it up and raced after the ball to win it back from Lee. Baines played it to Beckford who held off a defender, swiveled and lofted a lovely curling ball over Jaaskelainen and into the net. Get in! With practically the last kick of the game.

So two points dropped or one rescued? I guess it depends which way you look at it but to score more goals you need better deliveries into the box than we did tonight. Oh, and less unnecessary tinkering with the team please Mr. Moyes.

Player Ratings:
Howard: Looked very nervy and hesitant with coming off his line though was fairly helpless with the goal. 5
Baines: My man of the match. Probed all game, was solid in defense and had a big impact on the winning goal. 9
Distin: Solid. More so than Jagielka. 8
Jagielka: Made a mistake for the goal and struggled a little in the aerial battles with the giant Bolton strikers. 5
Neville: Solid though not the best with distribution. 6
Fellaini: Was pulling the strings before going missing in the game for the second period and then eventually seeing red. A three match ban awaits. Let himself and his teammates down ultimately. 5
Arteta: Nowhere near at his best. Set peace delivery nowhere near up to scratch. 5
Pienaar: Was lively and always showed for the ball. Looked more likely than anyone else to probe a goal tonight. 7
Bilyaletdinov: Lacking confidence really but ceetainly wasn?t the worst player out there. 6
Cahill: Not his best game but never gave in and kept on going as-ever. 6
Saha: Was missing when we needed some inspiration in the second half. Needs to improve. 5

Substitutes:
Coleman (for Bilyaletdinov): Was looking as though he was going to be just the introduction we needed but the goal and then the red card changed things. Regardless he kept on going and isn?t afraid to take the ball. 6
Yakubu (for Neville): Put himself about I suppose. 6
Beckford (for Saha): Looked a bit lost and then?what a goal. Let's hope he can kick on from here. 7

Reader Comments

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Brian Wilson
1   Posted 11/11/2010 at 00:42:02

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Can't understand why Yakubu was dropped for Le Sicknote or why Bily preferred over Coleman. Bily looks and plays as if he should be at home doing homework.

I think most gave disappointing performances ? exceptions being Pienaar, Distin, Baines and Neville. Fellaini was OK-ish for first game back but has got to get a grip of his temperament.

Worryingly Arteta looks to have lost the art of hitting a dead ball. Jags was just poor. Was Cahill playing? Substitutions made a difference but why introduced so late and why were some even starting from the bench?

On that collective show, I fear we'll get stuffed by Arsenal.

Sega Kana
2   Posted 11/11/2010 at 01:43:18

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Time to bench some of Moyes's favourites. A very uninspiring performance by the team, Cahill, Arteta, Jags, Saha, Billy, Howard... to name a few.

Ditch the 4-5-1 now. Play with two strikers. Next up is Arsenal and I doubt Moyes will change anything.

Why Coleman was benched and Saha instead of Yak when both were hitting form? Was Moyes trying to keep them fit for Arsenal? Well, it almost backfired bigtime.

If we continue in this vein: mid table or relegation battle. Yes, we didn't lose but these are the games we should be winning if we have any hopes of finishing in the European places. Well done, Beckford.

Richard Flynn
3   Posted 11/11/2010 at 08:00:52

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Sometimes Moyes just hasn't got a clue, to admit that he "made mistakes" with Beckford is pathetic. Yakubu & Coleman dropped!!!! ? Why, Mr Moyes? And why does it take 10 minutes for us to make a substitution?

As usual more questions than answers.
Monty Carlo
4   Posted 11/11/2010 at 08:28:40

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Bily, Felli and Saha are decent with the head so I'd guess that Moyes decided he needed better aerial players on the night to deal with all the long and high balls in and around the box.
Joseph Strumm
5   Posted 11/11/2010 at 10:20:13

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Saha must be shown the door ASAP and Bily needs to be flogged to the highest bidder. Arteta needs a rocket up the arse, complacency and indifference have set in and the season is about to fall apart this early. If we don't have a run in the FA Cup it'll be a disaster, a watershed season for Moyes I think.
Richard Dawson
6   Posted 11/11/2010 at 10:04:18

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Monty (4), I can well believe that was his thinking, but as myself and everybody else I spoke to before the game predicted - it didn't work.

We've got far better players than Bolton Wanderers, so our whole approach should be how can we best hurt them, not how can we best STOP their inferior threat, it's just spineless overcautiousness and it's cost us yet more points.

While we also missed Coleman, and his omission was inexplicable, the root of the problem here was the lack of the excellent Yakubu and all his link up play which has been so important over the last month, the presence of the dreadful Saha instead of him just totally surrendered the final third of the pitch and left the midfield lost.

The same thing happened at home to Wolves ? we were cruising at 1-0 with Beckford on the pitch and looking lively, Moyes then replaced him with Saha and the game instantly swung in Wolves favour, we again surrendered the final third and Wolves soon equalised.

Saha simply has to go, absolutely beyond abysmal.
Tony J Williams
7   Posted 11/11/2010 at 10:46:48

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When I heard the team news I immediately thought that Coleman and the Yak were rested for Sunday.

The team out there was enough to win. If it wasn't for Jag's cock up, they would never have scored, the longer the game went on the more I thought 0-0 or we would sneak a 1-0 win.

The only threat they had was at corners.

Saha, Jags, Bily and Cahill had poor games today and I can't stress enough how fecking fed up I am of professional footballers who won't have a fecken shot. The intricate passing in the box doesn't work, the lack of goals clearly confirm that.

One good point last night was when Arteta realised we were all sick and tired of his shite corners and gave up the ghost and allowed Baines to take them, far post corners are evidently more dangerous that twatting it at their first defender. God, give me strength.
Mike Gwyer
8   Posted 11/11/2010 at 11:42:41

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Brian (#1):

Why do you think Arsenal will tonk us?

I have seen nothing, over the past few games, that worries me ? yes, I know, bar the fact that we cannot put the poxy ball into the poxy net.

However, Arsenal will come to GP looking to get points, not to defend like most teams have done this season, therefore the game will be more open which will definitely suit our style of play.

Obviously, looking at Arsenal and EFC, the ball is going to get passed to death so our back four will have to be switched on ? but IMO our back four have played quite well since the Brum game. So, I do not foresee a tonking, a close game ? yep, probably being won by a single goal.

As for last night, we had 23 hits at goal: two cleared off the line, 3 or could have been 4, deflected within inches of their goal plus numerous kickabouts in their penalty area (from roughly 14 corners) that would just not go our way. However, if you think the opposition will not get a chance in 90 minutes ? well of course they will, and they scored from their second break of the game. To me things even out, Stoke deserved something last week and Blackpool had a winner disallowed.
Roger Trenwith
9   Posted 11/11/2010 at 12:14:16

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I thought Arteta was dreadful last night. It seemed he let Fella take over the running of the midfield and sat back and .... well nowt really.

In recent games we've really riddem our luck ? we came within a whisker of losing last night, and the Stoke goal that was disallowed... if Arsenal are on form, they will stuff us (again).

On the bright side, there's only 6 points between 5th and 18th, as we are not the only stuttering team, so we could end up anywhere. With a decent striker and Donovan on board we'd be top 4 no probs.

Roger Trenwith
10   Posted 11/11/2010 at 12:19:32

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... and the Blackpool "winner"....
Ged Simpson
11   Posted 11/11/2010 at 17:26:16

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I have now started a weird campaign to applaud Baines in every post match thread.

Bear with me......may be a senior moment !

PS Though don't need to in this thread as you rightly recognise he was man of the martch
Brian Wilson
12   Posted 12/11/2010 at 18:29:21

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Mike (#8) ? Several reasons for being gloomy. First is based on 50 years experience of supporting the blues.... it does that to you.

Most other reasons are actually covered in your post ? eg our inability to hit a barn door, lucky to draw with last two limited opponents, and a real fear that the Arse passing game will mesmerise our backs ? plus Chamak looks like he can finish. Hope to hell I'm wrong.... but whatever and as always ? COYBs!

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