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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Match Report - The Apprentice

By Paul Traill :  14/11/2010 :  Comments (19) :
The result aside, of course? a good day at the game. Ritchie doesn?t get to many games these days so it was nice to see him coming along. John is an Arsenal fan and it was nice to see him join the clan for the day also. I know John well from my time in college and we went to the odd game together back then, the first of which was a thrilling 4-4 draw with Leeds United back in the 1999-2000 season. I could have done with a game of such entertainment today.

Well, that didn?t happen? not if you?re an Everton fan at least anyway. Just a few changes from the midweek game. Heitinga back in for the suspended Fellaini. Coleman rightly back in for Bilyaletdinov. Saha wrongly preferred over Yakubu. Mr Webb was the referee. We attacked the Park End in the first half. ?Come on, boys. Come on!? yelled the bloke behind me. Indeed.

The first 20 minutes or so progressed quite nicely, the key moment of which was Tim Cahill heading over when superbly picked out by Coleman after a surging run into the box. Arsenal soon got themselves into the game, however, and were knocking loudly on the door long before Sagna practically burst the net to put the Gunners 1-0 ahead. Their domination in play and energy levels throughout he pitch were exemplary, and whilst Everton couldn?t match them for brilliance they sure coulda? done more with commitment? notably just before the Arsenal goal when Heitinga didn?t charge down the original shot.

Jut when Arsenal scored, I needed to take a toilet break. On the way back, I thought I might as well get a few beers in for Gary and me. I did my best to wait for Gary around the bar but the nimble bugger somehow evaded me and got the drinks in at a different bar. Resultantly we had four pints when we only needed two. Luckily I was able to sell the surplus beers back to someone else in the queue for less than what we paid for. ?That was like something out of The Apprentice? quipped Gary. Regardless. I felt better after a beer.

Early in the second half, Everton quelled this good feeling by going 2-0 down to a low Fabrigas drive after Arteta lost possession. We already had it all to do. Now we had it ALL to do... and, from that period until around the 80th minute, the football dished up was about as bad as anything ever produced by Everton under David Moyes and perhaps on par with some of the stuff dished up by Mr Smith. Why it takes us so long to make a substitution is just beyond me.

Eventually, we did kick into gear but this time just too little, too late. We tried hard to lose to Stoke, Blackpool and Bolton so I guess we had a defeat looming sooner or later. After plenty of pressure, Cahill eventually forced the ball home after a Saha knock-down to really bring on the cavalry... though we just couldn?t force the ball home. We trudged off seconds before the final whistle and all congregated in the pub for the Chelsea vs Sunderland game. It coulda? been worse eh!

Just a word about Arsenal though. For no apparent reason, I've always had a bit of soft spot for the Gunners... though it's hard to respect them with all the pathetic taunting of the crowd the players do, and the persistent fouling and whinging by Fabregas. Not the right ilk of a proper team if you ask me

Things need to improve for Everton, however. On paper, the next two games look comfortable enough though I?ll be surprised if we gather our full points quota from these fixtures. I just can?t see where the next win is coming from myself? although I am usually wrong of course.

Player Ratings:

  • Howard: More underworked than you?d probably expect against Arsenal but not the most inspiring performance either (sorry, I?m in negative mode). 6
  • Baines: One of the better ones. You know what you?re getting from Leighton every game. How Warnock gets picked for England ahead of him is criminal. 7
  • Jagielka: Not exactly performing like an international centre-back at the moment in my opinion. Hardly solid. 5
  • Distin: Probably our most consistent player at the moment. 8
  • Neville: Solid though unspectacular. About the norm really. 6
  • Heitinga: I thought he started the game well but appeared to lose focus and once he got his yellow card was just all over the place and was probably most culpable for Arsenal?s first goal. Not performing as he can. Rightly subbed at half time. 4
  • Pienaar: Certainly our most creative player today. If he?s leaving then fair enough but you can?t criticize him for commitment. 8
  • Coleman: Also one of the better ones. You just can?t bottle his enthusiasm. 8
  • Arteta: Crap. 4
  • Cahill: My Man of the Match. I was most impressed with him when Moyes went 4-3-3 and Cahill was the creative spark. He was placing balls around in a way of which I had no idea he was capable of?got the goal too. Others should take head. 8
  • Saha: Got plenty of stick but not exactly the worst one out there today. Still, I feel Yakubu and Beckford in particular are offering more at the moment. 6
  • Rodwell: Was the change I wanted though didn?t exactly have the desired impact. 4
  • Yakubu: Toiled. 6
  • Beckford: Worked hard. The way he can create something out of nothing (and I?m referring to that wonderful turn and volley here) is a skill you just can?t teach. It wouldn?t be the worst idea in the world to start with him a week tomorrow in my opinion. 7

Reader Comments

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Ian Smitham
1   Posted 15/11/2010 at 02:13:58

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Aside from the game today, can i just place on record the behaviour of the fans today and the way the club behaves towards the Armed forces.

The other day against Stoke, some free tickets.

Today all forces represented as they walked around the pitch and the applause was really strong and supportive. The Arsenal fans played their part too. The way PIP shook hands with the representatives as he went on to the pitch with a wreath and the silence were all an example of how to behave. Well done to all at the club for orgainising it and of course all that observed a minute's silence to a person impecably.

Proud to be a blue.

Derek Thomas
2   Posted 15/11/2010 at 04:22:38

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Arsenal Lite 1...Arsenal Full Strength 2
Steve O'Malley
3   Posted 15/11/2010 at 05:52:06

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Paul, I think your points assessment is a reasonable one. Particularly your marking and comments with regard to Howard (aka Calamity James), he has put us behind the eight ball on more occassions than I can count.

Jagielka, not even close to England class this season. Can someone tell him to stop those 60-yard diagonal passes that rarely if ever reach their intended target. Plus he is always good for a 10-yard pass straight to the opposition, normally between the 18-yard line and halfway...

Hetinga, I too thought started well and in trying to impose himself was a bit over-eager. Plus the theatrics of Wilshere didn't help his cause.

Arteta, not sure what to say other than he played a key role in both Arsenal goals.

Cahill, thank god at least he never throws the towel in. Anyone who says he lacks skill should watch a replay of the game. Having said that he should have buried that header in the first 10 mins.

Saha, thought he was a little unlucky but he always looked like he had a goal in him.

Beckford, rightly or wrongly, I am a believer that he will score goals.

Paul Olsen
4   Posted 15/11/2010 at 08:26:32

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Bla bla bla, Pienaar and commitment. When does ever all his huff and puff lead to anything?

Pienaar: 6
Baine: 6 Not up to usual standards
Heitinga: 5, he wasn't THAT horrible.
Jagielka: 6
Cahill/Coleman, maybe 7s but I won't complain to much about your evaluation of them.

Other than that, I agree. However, was Beckford's ONE moment enough to warrant a 7? I don't think so.
Ian McPherson
5   Posted 15/11/2010 at 09:16:33

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Limpar before the game said Everton will lose because their spirit is very low. Can someone set him up with a login to TW?

He was right: a half-hearted, un-interested performance by Everton. Arteta the biggest culprit. Going through the performances yesterday, Howard is not up to scratch. Jags and Neville cannot pass beyond 10 yards, Saha since he got his contract is seeing out his playing time.

Pienaar: "God is great but money talks", surely in wages terms it would cost even more for Moyes to replace a quality trusted Premier League player? Look at the wasted £9m on Billy.

Anyway, still pissed off at the performance. Sunderland away? We could be sucked in again towards bottom 3.
Ian Smitham
6   Posted 15/11/2010 at 09:54:03

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Paul, my comments at 1 above appear to have tried to hyjack your report. Sorry i thought i had submitted it as a wholly separate subject.

Anyway a well thought out and amusing report, especially the beer mix up.

Agree with most of what has been said, and the comments of the other Ian at 5 above.

It has just struck me though-its the oft repeated stuff and yet no one seems to be sorting it at the club.
Allan Barratt
7   Posted 15/11/2010 at 10:57:13

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I've got to disagree with Cahill as MotM, apart from the last 10 mins he was invisible. He never won a header or held the ball up and just got in the way.

What's going on with Arteta is incredible, the man is so uninterested its unreal, he looked reliefed to get subbed.

Heitinga is NOT a midfielder!! He's a centre-half who thinks he can pass a ball.

Matthew Tait
8   Posted 15/11/2010 at 11:16:28

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I don't know what game you were watching, Allan... Cahill was everywhere for us the whole game from what I saw. We didn't play great in the middle period of the game, but Cahill was one of the few bright points.

Agree that Arteta was very poor and Heitinga is very limited (though he was better than Rodwell, who was dire).
Peter Norris
9   Posted 15/11/2010 at 12:24:51

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Coleman was the only one over 90 mins who displayed a desire to do something. Cahill was in and out, Distin did fine, Pienaar was OK in flashes and Baines suffered once Peanuts moved inside more. Heitinga and Arteta were very poor.

What a shite day. Time for a change.

Nelaj Behajiha
10   Posted 15/11/2010 at 12:48:45

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Disagree with Baines though he was shit today as was Pienaar.
Jay Woods
11   Posted 15/11/2010 at 12:56:52

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I'm really weary of the same old outcome against Arsenal. We beat them something like once every 5 years, same for the rest of the Sky 4.

Arteta and Pienaar are not as good as most of us have convinced ourselves they are. And Howard is a serious and worsening liability. That all said, there seems a gutlessness in the team going forward and we all know where that originates from.
Gerard Carey
12   Posted 15/11/2010 at 15:33:40

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After watching the game yesterday, I really feel down. Another season of waste. Why do we persist with 4-5-1 until it is too late in every game? It makes one feel helpless. Beginning to believe things will never change under Moyes. Coleman is a case in point, the dogs in the street could see he was worth a try at RM yet, until it was forced on Moyes, everyone knew it was a non-starter.
Paul Olsen
13   Posted 15/11/2010 at 16:03:14

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Did anyone catch a glimpse of Arteta on the bench after he was subbed, seemed to me his eyes were trying to burn a whole in Moyes's head.
David Price
14   Posted 15/11/2010 at 16:30:52

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Centre midfield is our problem. Get that right and we will score more goals and probably concede less. Arteta has two games to sort himself out before Fellaini walks in. Rodwell needs to start instead of Johnny and battle Arteta for the one place.

Or slip Pienaar in the centre and try Magaye Gueye left... something different that gets us moving the ball faster.

Moyes has made comments about the quiet atmosphere on Sunday, he has to attack now and wake us up.

James Stewart
15   Posted 15/11/2010 at 16:21:58

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Exactly Gerard. Cautious is not even the word for Moyes!

Stubborn to the point of stupidity.
David Hallwood
16   Posted 15/11/2010 at 18:31:59

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Good Report, Paul?.. Arteta ? let's hope it?s the old cliché about form & class, because that is the worst I've ever seen him play, and he was partly responsible for the two goals. And is it just me or does anyone else blame Howard for the first goal ? beaten by the near post by a ball, albeit a fucking quick ball, about shoulder height.

I thought Baines was playing to orders, and played a lot deeper than usual, and DM still hasn't shed the inferiority complex, when playing the Sky 3 ? all the more galling listening to Steve Bruce in the post match interview that the Sky 3 expect teams to shut up shop against them and if you have a good go at them they don?t like it.
Jay Harris
17   Posted 15/11/2010 at 23:57:04

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David #14

Totally agree.

We need more goals from MF and Felli and Rodders are the only ones beside Cahill that can score goals.

Arteta hasn't been the same since his injury, marriage and £75k a week. Don't know which to blame but he needs to sort himself out or he could be playing for Levante never mind Spain or England.
Pat Finegan
18   Posted 16/11/2010 at 04:17:08

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David # 16, I didn't think the goal was Howard's fault. I've always played keeper (because it's the one position I don't suck at) and I've found that when a guy comes in at a weird angle like that, you don't expect him to shoot. You're anticipating a pass and even kind of allowing him to shoot because he's probably going to miss. Well done to Sagna, it was a very good shot and just taking it was very creative. He knows it's not expected and he takes advantage.

I thought both goals were good goals. We didn't make any massive mistakes, they just capitalized on our smaller ones. We were simply outplayed. I'm disappointed but not angry like I usually am (Newcastle, Bolton, Blackburn, etc). I thought Moyes made the right subs at the right times. Some guys played better than others but it wasn't an overwhelmingly bad game.
Martin Faulkner
19   Posted 18/11/2010 at 09:03:56

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Howard 5
Neville 5
Jags 4
Distin 6
Baines 6
Pienar 6
Arteta 4
Heitinga 5
Tim 7
Coleman 7
Saha 5

Drop Howard; we bought Mucha to press him so you gotta drop him when he's off form,and he's been average for a while now.

Drop Jags and put Heitinga back to CB; Heitinga can pass but he's no midfielder, not used to having to be aware of people in front and behind him, the arse in black didn't help booking him. He'll improve massively at CB when everyone's in front of him, played well there last year (I blame Moyes for his current form).

Can't blame anyone but Arteta for his form; Moyes needs to drop him and move Pienaar inside and put Gueye out wide till he recovers some kind of form.
Can we please just fuck Saha off in the window? I think Yak deserved to be starting the last couple of games after the effort and raised performances of late.

There's no point in having a squad if Moyes doesn't have the balls to drop some of the so-called better players who are obviously out of form. Grow some balls, Moyes, and drop the out-of-form players, you can see every other game it gets worse and worse, take the heat off them by giving them a break.

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