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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From my seat: West Brom (H)

By Ken Buckley :  27/11/2010 :  Comments (25) :

Blues bomb at home with a display as cold as the weather.

The team was txted through from the club and it revealed that Hibbert would replace Neville, Yak for Saha and the oddest one being Big Vic in on the right of midfield after just one reserve outing.  Seemed a bit of a gamble, that one.  Still, it was only West Brom at home... who hadn?t won here since the 70s and no away win since September, so some game time might be warranted.

The way we started seemed to indicate that we could register three much needed points and when Baines fired in the perfect cross from a free kick that just eluded Distin at the far post and the Big Vic had a cross shot well saved by Carson it looked ever so promising.

After this assured opening flurry, we seemed to forget all about joined-up stuff and pass-and-move was noticeable only by its absence.  The visitors were showing little which in reality was masking our deficiencies but, on 15 mins, they won a corner which was taken in regulation fashion and found our nemesis Scharner striding forward and heading firmly home; who his designated marker was was not clear.  We retaliated in a timid fashion but did gain a few free kicks near the edge of their box, the best of which Arteta brought a good save from Carson.

The visitors attacked when they could and started to realise they had caught the Blues on a very bad day.  Near the half-hour mark Cahill upended a player and Brunt superbly smashed the free kick home with Howard close but helpless.  The faithful were less than pleased and became quite critical of any semblance of a mistake by a player in Blue, which in turn rubbed off on the players and we went through a period of non-football and even less enthusiastic attempts at putting a foot through the ball when within range.

We attacked enough to gain our first corner with three minutes to go to half-time; Baines took it to his best standard and who else but Cahill was on the end of it and the net bulged.  For the first time in a long time, I witnessed many fans not leaving their seats to celebrate which just about summed up the first half non-performance... underlined a few minutes from the break when Baines took our second corner and it went across the goal with no-one busting a gut to convert a tap in, Heitinga being the closest at the far post.

Half-time and harsh words were exchanged as fans bemoaned our lack of just about everything.

No changes at the break and the same 11 but with Big Vic going left and Pienaar right, which was to prove the disaster it seemed to most.

We were flat from the off and the manager had seen enough after no more than 5 mins as he made the decision to haul off Heitinga and Saha for Beckford and the Yak, thus proving he can see beyond the 70 min mark.

This almost brought our equaliser in quick time but Beckford failed to miss the keeper's legs when one-on-one and the effort was cleared from the line.  This miss then culminated in Arteta being sent off when first Jara elbowed Baines as he tried to get on the clearance then the same player dived in on Arteta who foolishly retaliated by stamping down on him which was spotted by the linesman ? yet neither official spotted the offences by Jara even though within yards of the incidents. Another player with sawdust for brains??

This action at last stirred the faithful and they got behind the ten men.  On the hour, the manager swopped a very weary Big Vic for Rodwell.  We responded well and, had Beckford been a better marksman, we may have levelled but he either miss-hit them or wellied them over when well placed.

The visitors made substitutions and No 5 Tchoi was to prove a handful down our right... On 75 mins, he attacked Hibbert and Jags and with both our players going the wrong way he cut inside and curled a pearler beyond Howard.  1-3 DOWN AT HOME(!!!) and Goodison started to empty.

The same player again caused havoc down our right and fed Mullumbo, thus rubbing enough salt in to our wounds to grit all of the city?s streets as he slotted home, got booked for celebrating and then sent off for fouling Pienaar ? he had quite a few minutes of fame and infamy. More fans left, but Beckford still had time to miss horribly with just the keeper to beat, and at the final whistle the few that were left booed.

The walk from the ground was dire as snatches of conversation seemed to indicate we need a new manager and a whole new team! ?variously.  Such was the reaction to a truly horrible performance.

I considered who I might nominate as MotM and it was almost impossible but on reflection I would offer either Cahill, Distin or Pienaar as they were the only players I could think of that put in an acceptable performance ? albeit not great.

Overall, I thought it was one of the most disappointing efforts I have seen since the dark days... but this was worse really because the players out there have such a lot to offer; today, for whatever reason, they just did not gel and made the visitors look rather good when in fact they were no more than enthusiastic... and by the end could not believe their luck in meeting such a disjointed and dispirited Everton team.

I am not one for knee-jerk reactions after such a display, as these things happen in football, and I remain convinced we can and will do much better... but I do have to say that I have had doubts about this season, right from the point when we were told this is the best bunch of players we have had for years and big things were expected.  My reason for doubt was based on the fact that we have no genuine experienced right-side midfield player on the books and no main striker with any sort of form as all are either coming back from serious injury or just injury-prone or just plain inexperienced.  This leads to playing with nine competent players and two ?hope and pray? hopefuls. which must be really difficult when trying to get a pattern of play and player confidence.

I will not apportion blame for this state of affairs as all involved, both upstairs and down, are professionals and know better than me the problems this state of affairs bring.  It?s how they put it right that matters.  In the meantime, I just hope players and manager come together and, in the games up until the first opportunity occurs to address problems, put in better performances than the one witnessed today by over 35,000 committed Blue fans at kick off, and the 5,000 left at the end.

Just a little matter of Chelsea away next.  Over to you, Davy and the lads...  Don?t embarrass us at the Bridge.
UP THE BLUES
 

Reader Comments

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Jake Wilson
1   Posted 28/11/2010 at 00:48:04

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The game against West Brom was a wake-up call. We were poor defensively and they punished us. The only player that had a good game defensively was Distin. He had a shaky start to the season and he got his stick for it. But he has bounced back and he has been a rock for us, he has been our player of the season so far.

His partner in defence, Jagielka, has been poor recently. His distribution from the back has been nothing better than shocking. Does anyone actually remember how solid Heitinga and Distin were at the back last season? We went unbeaten from basically the end of November to the end of the season. But because Jagielka has been good for us the past few seasons, he is now "undroppable".

Moyes is not well known for making big and bold decisions but we are a club in danger of letting the season fall into a season meaning nothing. We need to take a risk for a change... we could do a drastic thing like go 4-4-2 at home! Maybe I'm dreaming.... I am not a Moyes hater by any means. I think what he has done for our club is unbelievable and his transfers have been world class. There have been one or two disasters but you have to expect that in football.

Moyes has been found out; to get a result against Everton is easy. Put two strikers upfront, put a player to mark Cahill, and put one defender to make the lone striker's life hell. And then have a player to wind the crowd and the players up. How simple does that sound? We only ever play well when our backs are to the wall.

I think the suspension of Arteta could be a blessing in disguise. It will give Rodwell a run in the team and then Fellaini will have to come back in midfield with a clipped ear. I would personally play Heitinga in defence ? he isn't quick enough in midfield. We need to change things as soon as we can and then hopefully results will come.

I would like to also make a point that people shouldn't get on Beckford's back. He did miss two sitters but least he was in those positions and he made runs and gave his all. He needs to be in a 4-4-2 formation to bring out his best.

Martin Faulkner
2   Posted 28/11/2010 at 01:12:17

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Have to say I thought the Ref had a fuckin mare, bottled when it mattered and it changed the game. Should've had a few cards out earlier as well, that Mullumbu should've been booked early doors for a deliberate foul when we were breaking.
Michael Coville
3   Posted 28/11/2010 at 01:20:41

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Which is the best? Saha or Yakubu, who never miss anything because they never get in position to have a shot? Or Beckford who constantly gets into a position to shoot but misses most?

I would go with Beckford because he can't go on missing these golden chances forever.

Hibbert got the run-around today and if Neville is injured I would rather see Coleman at right-back. Heitinga should play nowhere but centre-half, his distribution today was pathetic.

Andrew Presly
4   Posted 28/11/2010 at 01:26:56

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That's a dignified way of looking at your role as a fan of our club, Ken, but I don't respect many of the current players / board in the same way you seem to.

Some people out there today are just blatant mercenaries ? Heitinga, Yakubu, Arteta... whilst those who I do believe give one about our club are highly limited footballers ? Cahill, Jagielka, Hibbert etc. To be fair to Pienaar, Baines and Distin, they showed some heart and quality today, in massively trying circumstances.

For the likes of Hibbert, Neville and, off the pitch, Steve Round, I can only admit jealousy that they have somehow made a living out of football whilst I and many like me have to work "real" jobs.

Moyes won't resign and is on too much to sack, so basically ? 4 pts from the next two games please, Everton.
David Moorcroft
5   Posted 28/11/2010 at 02:02:53

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Ashamed.

I am.

Sorry.

Dick Fearon
6   Posted 28/11/2010 at 01:36:55

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I would say to Moyes and his boys, please don't mouth the usual gibberish that may satisfy children with stars in their eyes. That kind of twaddle only serves to make adult fans cringe. We don't need nor want any more of your miserable excuses and pathetic juvenile rallying calls.

What we do want to know is what you are actually doing to justify your obscene wages.

Will you be calling everyone in for extra fitness training? Will the strikers have extra shooting practice and defenders extra practice on defending against free kicks and corners?

It would also be nice to know what if anything is being done about our ridiculously slow throw-ins. Perhaps our throw-in specialist could be told not to wait until everyone is tightly marked.

Is it beyond your ability to train midfielders to come for short clearances from Howard? Does he have to chase everyone over the half-way line before releasing the ball?

What extra exercise is Yakubu doing to improve his mobility and reduce his clearly obvious excess weight?

It would be nice to know that some of those things are in hand but I very much doubt it.

John Barnes
7   Posted 28/11/2010 at 02:41:56

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Jake; too many are, as you say, "undroppble". In addition to Jagielka, you can add Howard, Arteta, Cahill and Neville (although I dont know why he missed yesterday's game). Suspension for Arteta, and Cahill away with the Aussies will force Moyes's hand so let's see what happens then.
Liam Reilly
8   Posted 28/11/2010 at 08:20:45

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John Barnes ? I can't believe you are welcoming Cahill's departure in January. Words fail me.
Dick Fearon
9   Posted 28/11/2010 at 09:44:16

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David Moorcroft #5 ? Half dozen players are the ones who should be ashamed.
Dick Fearon
10   Posted 28/11/2010 at 09:48:03

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Liam #8, Words do not fail me but probably there is a law that prevents me from using appropriate words that describe JB #7.
Steve O'Malley
11   Posted 28/11/2010 at 10:14:48

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Jake (#1), I have to agree with you to a certain degree. I have been saying some of it for weeks.

Howard is an average keeper, good shot-stopper, but has cost us more points than I can keep track of. I do not blame him for the West Brom defeat but he is in the "undroppable" category.

Jagielka: You say he has not played well recently. He has never regained the form that gained him his first England cap. There is no way that he should be playing for England. I personally think Heitinga should have been playing alongside Distin for the past month at least. His hoofing, 60-yard passes to the opposition, and his general distribution leave a lot to be desired. Jag is obviously "undroppable".

Arteta has struggled big time for the past 3 games and his stomping was the result of his own frustration. He is going through a spell when he just cannot get into games and whatever he does, apart from his deflected goal, does not come off. When was the last time he ghosted past a player at pace and put a decent ball into the box? He should have been dropped but Moyes has now been spared that monumental decision.

Coleman for Tony Hibbert?? On paper, at least, we were not expected to be defending the way we did. Every Everton fan knows how effective Hibbo is. Moyes was obviously planning for a defensive afternoon.

Distin was my MotM and has been the best defender over the past 4-5 games.

Beckford will come good, he will get a couple of goals under his belt and a bit of confidence will be the making of him. You have to credit him with the ability to get into positions and he won't continue miss.

JB (#7) ? I can only think it's either a case of mistaken identity or you are on medication to suggest that Cahill might be dropped.

Peter Webster
12   Posted 28/11/2010 at 10:39:16

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The stream I was watching the game on disappeared when we were 3-1 down and for the first time I can't say I was that bothered.

Apart from about 15 mins before shit-for-brains got sent off, we were terrible. Moyes's OCD showed itself again with his beloved 4-5-1 and continual playing of Heitinga in midfield; I almost lost count of the number of his misplaced passes and bad positioning.

Hibbert got ran ragged and Saha/Yak looked pretty useless. Beckford tried and got in good positions but he's got a monkey on his back at the mo' and just can't put it away. ?We're gonna be in trouble once Cahill goes off. It's gonna be lonely this Christmas.

Ian McPherson
13   Posted 28/11/2010 at 10:49:40

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I was at the game yesterday and it just confirmed a few things to me.

The "undroppables" or "Moyes's boys" is not just first-team related. Kenwright will not sack Moyes ? that result alone in years gone by was a sackable offence. Moyes with Steve Round... WTF does he do? Or offer? Zip! I would prefer Neville in that position next season.

Moyes's first 11: yesterday alone, Vic is not a right winger! Hibbert is not of Premier League standard. To play them both on one side of the pitch and then it taking Moyes 50 mins to realise that is just poor management.

The "undroppable" Howard, Jags, Arteta, Neville are just not doing the business. Also, another of the above, Osman who will walk straight back into the team when he is fit, is another concern that Moyes does not realise the guy falls into the Hibbert category. Johnny H or Bily do not want to be part us either.

Got the flu from yesterday, woke up still pissed-off and worried about this season and, after next weekend, being possibly in the bottom 3. Do most of our highly paid stars? Don't think so...
Andy Codling
14   Posted 28/11/2010 at 12:09:18

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So, John Barnes, you saying we should drop the top scorer, at a time when goals are hard to come by? Arteta and Jagielka certainly need dropping but Cahill??? I don't think so...
Colin Malone
15   Posted 28/11/2010 at 11:56:56

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Imagine Kevin Sheedy playing in this side, he'd be getting the stick that Bily gets right now. The only difference is, Sheedy was what I call the water-carrier, either Richardson or Harper, who did all the scruffy, dirty work, then Sheedy with that left foot did the rest.

Lee Carsley did the water-carrying for Arteta, Pienaar and Ossie. It's no coincidence, since Carsley's departure, it's gone pear-shaped. That Mulumbo was the water-carrier for West Brom.

David Hallwood
16   Posted 28/11/2010 at 12:19:01

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Great report, as ever, Ken ? even more informative because I didn't go to the game yesterday, only watched the extended lowlights on Sky, so I don't normally comment. But one of the more remarkable stats came from BBC website. West Brom had 3 shots on target ? yes 3!! They must've reckoned the og was going wide.

But as one of the posters said about Beckford, he gets in great positions ? pity he can't score. The miss against Sunderland was a brilliant piece of running between the 2 CBs. On an earlier post I said give him time and play to his strengths because we don?t know if he?ll turn out to be Gary Lineker or Stuart Barlow, he seems to be an amalgamation of the two players; the movement of Lineker and the finishing of Barlow.

Oh and one last point , how about a new nickname for King Louis; my suggestion is FucKing Louis...
Andy Tyler
17   Posted 28/11/2010 at 14:51:25

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Great report Ken, and I agree with your comments about us playing with 9 men. Moyes has had ample opportunity to bring in a right-sided player and failed. I'd expect him, for the money we pay him, to realise this causes a problem with the balance of team. Donovan's loan spell showed how much better we were with a natural right-sided player.

Saha would never play in blue shirt again for me, he never shows commitment or desire and only came to us to see his career out. The same can be said for the Yak, for the money WE pay him he can't even get fit. If I continually turned up for work out of condition, I would get sacked.

My biggest concern is that there is no confidence or spirit and we seem flat. Only Baines, Pienaar, Cahill and Distin are showing anything and that probably says more about them as individuals than it does about Moyes's management. He needs to pick this group of players up and get something out of them.
Michael Carney
18   Posted 28/11/2010 at 18:53:12

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I've had a season ticket for several years and, after Saturday's match, I feel my hard-earned cash is being used to pay the wages of mercenaries who don't really give a damn about Everton. Win, lose or draw, they get obscenely paid and now it's dawning on me why I should give my money to them.

I think it's time to give up my ticket and spend it on something that will give me guaranteed enjoyment

John Andrews
19   Posted 28/11/2010 at 20:03:17

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As I said on Michael's thread it was quite possibly the worst display I have seen from an Everton side in a very long time. What on earth is Moyes doing? The team selection is very poor. I really think he has lost the plot.
Colin Malone
20   Posted 28/11/2010 at 21:32:57

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Re 15. Sheedy needed a water carrier.
Ian Smitham
21   Posted 28/11/2010 at 22:06:12

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Ken, Thanks for the report, which reflects much of how I saw the game from a really cold Top Balcony. My position being just in front of where our Captain effected the only meaningfull thing he did, again. (Señor £75 grand ? WTF must the hardest working player we have think? ... and before some reply, those that think him hanging out for a better deal is making him not wothy of playing for the shirt ? grow up ? watch him and his sheer industry-and those that say there is no end -roduct ? at least he tries...)

I understand PIP was injured. TH had a torrid time and i support him but they has his number.

Another free kick conceeded, albeit a great shot. That bloke, the guy sent off, and the goalie need recruiting. I assume TH is undroppable for some reason (don't know why)... FFS

At CB, JH is simply not big enough. Jags has lost it and I read in the paper today that the Arse are about to offer £15M ? I will drive him. Along with JH ? not interested; Yak ? sad but lost it; Bily ? sad but not upto the pace; King Louis ? Sicknote, and probably a few more who make no difference other than the cost of wages. Bin the lot.

Add that lot up above and maybe some of the money we don't have will be created and some bods brought in. Who? I am just a lover of Everton and not qualified to say.

Back to the plot and next game I would write off, anything we get is a bonus. That said, absolute effort is a minimum and thanks to Arteta the issue of our best midfield is defferred a while... but, sooner or later, decisions are going to have to be made and, with funds from what I said above, changes need to be made.

The changes may not be limited to the formation and players...
Jan Kowsky
22   Posted 28/11/2010 at 22:43:31

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For his attitude alone, Heitinga should be dropped.
Ian Smitham
23   Posted 28/11/2010 at 23:09:37

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Jan ? BTW, when JH went off, were the bods booing him or the decision to take him off?

Also, did anyone observe the body language of DM for the last 20 mins?
Paul Olsen
24   Posted 30/11/2010 at 20:52:30

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#15 ? We did pretty well for a couple of seasons without Carsley.

Somehow I don't think that's the reason for the "pear shape"
Aidan Ross
25   Posted 02/12/2010 at 19:33:10

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The torpor we are in at he moment is something we need to shake out of-and quickly. It should be noted that both Wolves and de Hammers got wins last Saturday and out momentum has gone from one of an upward to a downward spiral in the space of just three weeks.If it were not for Timmy 's prolific scoring form we would be in even greater trouble.
It is time to be bold. There are plenty of winnable games out there and we should be going away from home with a 4-4-2 .If Landon returns (please God) we will have pace and delivery on the right hand side , and let's have Nev re-installed as soon as possible with Jack in Def-mid. We are where we deserve to be,there are no excuses, but we need to start getting wins on the board.

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