VIEW FROM THE BLUE
West Ham United 1 - 1 Everton
Everton exited 2010 in disappointing fashion with a sloppy draw at Upton Park that was notable more for the surprisingly negative approach adopted by David Moyes than the actual performance which, itself, was another frustrating one to endure for Blues fans.
Having fallen behind after a quarter of an hour when Tony Hibbert, operating as an emergency centre back in the absence of injured pair Phil Jagielka and John Heitinga, stuck out a leg to block Kovac's shot and diverted the ball into his own net, the Blues equalised through Seamus Coleman three minutes before the break. But handicapped by Moyes's own decision to leave three natural strikers on the bench in favour of deploying Tim Cahill up front on his own, the Blues struggled to find the winning goal against a poor Hammers side ? though, truth be told, even when Yakubu was eventually introduced after an hour, attack after attack fell apart as they tried to walk the ball through the home defence.
Cahill's status as the team's most potent weapon so far this season is unquestioned but the Australian has been effective as an auxiliary striker, not as the lone forward and it became clear very quickly that the decision to play him as such was not working. Yakubu has arguably shown the best ability to hold up the ball and bring others into play so far, Louis Saha did well in the same vein as a second-half substitute at Manchester City eight days ago and both players had scored on this ground in Everton wins in recent seasons but both were forced to watch from the bench.
Very little was sticking with Cahill isolated up front and with him constantly dropping deep, there were often no options at all when the likes of Coleman tried to break quickly. And with Avram Grant's players looking quicker, sharper and hungrier than the leaden-footed Everton midfield for much of the first half, it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon when the home side took the lead after 15 minutes.
Though Hibbert played well enough in his unfamiliar role, the Everton defence rarely looked comfortable without Jagielka alongside Sylvain Distin and when they failed to clear a corner and the ball eventually fell to Kovac, Hibbert deflected his effort past his own goalkeeper to hand West Ham the lead.
Perhaps illustrating the point about the overly conservative nature of the manager's team selection, the Blues' first three chances all fell to Distin, the French defender screwing a sixth-minute chance agonisingly across the face of goal and then going close on back-to-back corners before one-time Moyes target Victor Obinna easily nut-megged Mikel Arteta and hammered a shot off the stanchion behind the goal and Matthew Upson wasted a free header from a free kick later in the half.
Things clicked for Everton, though, after 41 minutes when Cahill turned provider on the left flank with a clipped cross to the back post to pick out Coleman, completely unmarked, and he slotted neatly past Robert Green to level the scores.
Scott Parker's audacious lob attempt dropped into the roof of Tim Howard's net before Coleman had the chance to turn the match on its head on first-half injury time but, having turned inside Luis Boa Morte and set up a great chance on his left foot, he couldn't find the inside of the post and the opportunity went begging.
Having exposed West Ham's frailties, you'd have thought that Moyes would have gone for their jugular after half time but the team was "as you were" when the players emerged from the tunnel for the second half. They were the better side for much of the second period but the propensity to over-elaborate in the final third and slow the game down with tedious passing proved to be their undoing time after time.
Steven Pienaar, well below his best but, along with Coleman, arguably the pick of an otherwise disappointing five-man midfield curled a terrific shot just over the bar and Jack Rodwell dropped a half-volley wide from 20 yards before Moyes finally introduced a second striking option in Yakubu just after the hour mark.
But the Nigerian hardly had a look in and the few chances that Everton created in the final quarter of the match fell to Cahill and Marouane Fellaini. After Carlton Cole had made a mess of what was West Ham's only real chance of the second 45 minutes, one of Everton's best moves of the match ended with Pienaar's square pass to Cahill but he could only shoot straight at the 'keeper.
A couple of minutes later, Fellaini rose highest to meet a corner from the right with a powerful header but Green beat it away with a two-handed save. Had the Belgian been able to place the ball anywhere else on target he would surely have scored.
Cahill then had the ball in the net with seven minutes remaining but after nodding back across goal for Yakubu he was adjudged to have been offside when he collected the striker's mis-cued scissor kick and slid the loose ball home ahead of Tomkins.
And that, despite five uneventful minutes of stoppage time, was pretty much that. The Blues had ended the calendar with their 10th draw of the season, together with Fulham the team to have racked up the most draws so far. Yes, Moyes's side may only have been beaten as many times as the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal but they just can't find enough ways to win and it's doubtful that further reducing the firepower in your ranks by leaving three strikers on the bench will help the cause.
Moyes is infamous for his conservatism but he really outdid himself today with a highly discouraging team selection. He sent out a team aimed at avoiding defeat ? not to a Champions League-chasing side but to a team mired in the relegation zone with far bigger problems than Everton's ? when this was the kind of opposition that would probably have wilted under a more attacking approach.
Of course, even with the negative starting line-up, Everton weren't helped by another poor performance by Mikel Arteta who, again, fell way short of the level required by someone of his import to the team. Fellaini was better but not much, giving the ball away with annoying regularity and Rodwell didn't ever really justify his presence as the extra midfielder before he was withdrawn in favour of Yakubu.
After the impressive manner in which they roared into a 2-0 lead at Eastlands, this "bottom-half" mindset against a limited Hammers side leaves one with more questions about just where Everton are heading under Moyes. Certainly, they can pass the ball about nicely enough but there's still little in the way of a cutting edge so it begs the question why you'd further deplete your attacking options by playing without a recognised striker.
This had nothing to do with an injury crisis or even the well-documented financial straitjacket within which Moyes operates and as another example of his overly defensive mindset it's a discouraging development. It also raises the question about what happens when one of those shunned strikers gets thrown into a starting berth cold when Cahill ships out to the Middle East for the Asia Cup next week. Or will Fellaini get pitched into the striker's role...?
Howard 6, Neville 6, Hibbert 6, Distin 7, Baines 7, Fellaini 6, Rodwell 6 (Yakubu 6), Arteta 6, Coleman 7, Pienaar 7, Cahill 7
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1 Posted 29/12/2010 at 08:15:24
2 Posted 29/12/2010 at 08:27:49
3 Posted 29/12/2010 at 08:52:08
When Yak came on, it looked like he was just back from a long injury, in fact one attempted back heel made him look likes someone's dad trying tricks on holiday and failing completely. Beckford must be getting close to calling it a day too!!
And dont get me started on Artetea, I think his poor presence disrupted Rodders and the Big Fella badly... sorry but he is now surplus to requirements.
4 Posted 29/12/2010 at 09:08:29
5 Posted 29/12/2010 at 09:11:23
Arteta was awful when played further forward but improved when swapped with Rodwell after half an hour an reverted to his deeper role. Still not sure what's wrong with him, he's lost the ability to go past a player.
Fellaini was the stand-out best player on the pitch though, the number of times he brought calm to an otherwise frenetic display really impressed me.
Hibbert made a couple of decent tackles, but he looks like he's afraid of the ball when we're in possession - his aimless thumps upfield gift the ball back to the oppo every single time.
Finally, though it's now obvious Cahill up top supported by Arteta failed, it was something that I'd suggested in a previous article, and I'd have though it would provide us with decent, fluent attacking play.
Unfortunately this proved not to be the case, primarily because it seems Arteta is no longer an attacking player...
6 Posted 29/12/2010 at 09:57:09
Dithering Dave always has major problems when he has a full compliment to pick from. To play with no recognised centre forward is an absolute disgrace. The football we play is far far too slow... pretty passing but so slow it gives the opponents far far too much time to get organised.
Moyes ? buck up or fuck off.
7 Posted 29/12/2010 at 10:02:37
8 Posted 29/12/2010 at 10:18:19
9 Posted 29/12/2010 at 10:38:17
Tend to agree with much of what you've said with the exception of Fellaini. I thought he was our best performer on the night. Coleman was also impressive again. Arteta was shocking yet again, and his inclusion in the starting eleven has echoes of 'Osman' syndrome - no matter how awful this guy plays, a position has to be found for him.
Yesterday, we had no forward line in order to accommodate him. A midfield of Rodwell and Fellaini which had performed so well against city was thrown into disarray. Cahill was totally isolated and often dropped into a left midfield position in order to pick up the ball. At times we had no-one upfront at all.
Two substitutions in the dying minutes? Whether you see these as a time wasting tactic or a last desperate attempt to to get something from the game matters not, as either way, the tactic can best be described as bizarre in the extreme. Tim Howard had a mare, on two occasions he raced way outside of his area and on another he was almost embarrassed by Parker, why on earth does he feel the need to come off his line?
Finally, we desperately need cover at CB, I've no wish to be overly critical of Hibbert, he's not a CB but we really looked at sixes and sevens in that department yesterday.
I read a recent post which suggested that our demise this season owed much to our failure to find a right sided midfield player. If only that were true. Yesterday Coleman was far and away one of our better performers. The truth is we have problems all over the park and the negativity displayed to date has little to do with Coleman who if anything has been one of our better performers alongside Cahill, Fellaini, Baines and Pienaar.
10 Posted 29/12/2010 at 10:40:56
I am sure if we had a more experienced and foreceful assistant manager, he would be telling DM not to be an idiot and go with these formations. Can the coaching staff not see this and let the manager know?
All seems to have a feel of the emperor's new clothes somehow.
I am actually slowly getting to the point where I want us to lose games so it quickens the departure of the manager and hopefully chairman and entire board ? can't make an omlette without breaking eggs and all that.
Bring on Stoke, I guess...
11 Posted 29/12/2010 at 10:36:24
The whole club needs a shake up, at the moment the club are sat smugly in a cesspit of mediocrity and acceptance that its ok to be distinctly average.
I'm waiting for Kenwright's New Year message to the supporters. Let's hope he's honest and tells us why the board yet again are failing to provide adequate funds to strengthen a piss poor squad.
Mind you, if it was different, would you want Dithering Davey spending it? I think he is a fraud ? one of life's lucky guys that can do no wrong in the media's eyes, when in reality the likes of Pulis, Bruce, Coyle and even Holloway are showing that you can survive and thrive in this league with journeymen.
12 Posted 29/12/2010 at 10:52:21
13 Posted 29/12/2010 at 11:08:37
Personally, I was thinking that a point doesn't actually help us too much, we need to start winning if we are to move towards the top 6 again. The approach in the last few minutes from the manager ? two time wasting substitutions, and the players ? Howard taking an age to take a goal kick, suggest that we have totally lost confidence and Moyes's continual "forget Europe, we're in a relegation battle" mantra is starting to take hold.
14 Posted 29/12/2010 at 10:04:17
15 Posted 29/12/2010 at 11:18:43
16 Posted 29/12/2010 at 11:30:23
I don't understand why we changed things around so much after the Man City game? Anichebe suspended, Jags / Osman injured... surely like for like would have been more appropriate to possibly gain more confidence? Coinciding with this, putting Arteta straight back in the team was fucking disgraceful, and yet again we witness another fruitless, "can't be arsed" performance from him. He clearly needs to be on the fucking bench and has to earn the right to be starting games. Hopefully he'll get back to being the best little spaniard we all love.
So to summarise: Moyes fucks up yet again with strange selections and tactics. I'm well up for backing the manager, but I'm finding it unbelievably hard at the moment with being dished that shite, and I hate to say but I think this should be the last season ? whether we finish 16th or 4th for that matter ? for the ginger scottish one.
17 Posted 29/12/2010 at 11:41:43
18 Posted 29/12/2010 at 11:52:23
I would conclude that this performance was a woeful backward step. We didn't build on the recent positive of the Fellani/Rodwell central midfield axis & the season's success of deploying Tim Cahill behind a main striker.
Why throw Arteta into the mix in central midfield - he just reverts to his 'Ray Wilkins' mode. He should surely be re-deployed wide right to regain his attacking instincts.
Tim Chill's threat was made redundant by deploying him out of position as a lone striker. On the further subject of 'playing out of position' I will say no more on Hibbert suffice to say that there were two obvious choices ahead of playying him at CB - either Neville CB/Coleman RB or Duffy deployed as a true CB.
In terms of our goal scoring problems, am I the only person who thinks that Beckford should be given a proper chance ? whenever he's on the pitch, you at least feel that something might happen, and that he will eventually click into goalscoring gear. Why was he sent on last night with only 2 minutes on the clock?!?
The 3 points were there for the taking last night & were unfortunately squandered by a bizarre managerial display.
19 Posted 29/12/2010 at 12:31:06
My main point is that what Moyes hasn't learnt off his mentor, old whiskynose, is that there's no sentimentality in football (a bit like the Liverpool of old) and he can't continue to pick Arteta when he's obviously out of form.
Also yesterday was another illustration why Pienaar will never be as good as he thinks he is ? neat, tidy, good range of flicks and tricks, good engine etc, and yet at the business of the pitch offers little or nothing.
20 Posted 29/12/2010 at 12:35:07
Cahill on his own up front does NOT work ? and with three strikers on the bench, there was no excuse for such a shallow strategy. He's only a real danger playing off a striker, when there's someone to divert attention from him.
Arteta is simply not worth a place right now and contributes absolutely nothing. Pienaar too, despite his willingness to run and chase, is someone I think we can afford to let go in January. Apart from some energetic and sometimes fairly inventive 'huff & puff', he's at least 10 goals a season short of where he needs to be.
And Hibbert at centre half... well, we got out of jail there didn't we? Why on earth was Duffy not given a game ? it was only West Ham!
On a more positive note, I thought Fellaini looked the business in his rightful position in front of the back four and Leighton Baines continues to be a revelation at left back.
But three points were there for the taking yesterday and we seemed to have settled on our laurels after doing just that against Citeh. From the moment the team was announced, it had draw (and even potential defeat), written all over it. Let's hope that is taken on board by the time we visit Stoke on New Year's Day and that Jagielka, or Heitinga, is fit to play.
The thought of Hibbert ? with all due respect to him ? defending one of Delap's long throws will not fill anyone (including his fellow defenders) with confidence.
Sadly, fan as I am, David Moyes is not a quick learner though... and I fear we may suffer more of the same at the Britannia. That being said, we'd have taken four pioints against Citeh and West Ham away, wouldn't we? Ought to have been six though...
21 Posted 29/12/2010 at 12:58:45
Moyes is simply too negative ? this was ok when he first came but now we have some decent players, wouldn't it be just nice to attack a few teams?
22 Posted 29/12/2010 at 12:58:07
We were set up for a draw and played for one, even time-wasting at the end with our subs. All this against a team who are beyond poor.
Shane Duffy, Mustafi etc must be dismayed to see Hibbert playing at centre back, They are not 16-year-old kids, this will be a massive blow to their confidence.
Neville hung Seamus out to dry with his lazy lack of support down the right. The amount of time he had to try and beat two men without an ounce of support was ridiculous, something any manager worth their salt would have seen. Swapping Hibbo and Neville would have remedied this.
At this point I'm thinking that Moyes is trying to goad our fans into some kind of protest. His position is rapidly becoming untenable. "Lost the plot" was the first thought that popped into my mind at the final whistle. I'd never advocate changing a manager half-way through a season but I'd be more than happy to see him go after this disgrace.
Anybody asking who could do a better job after that joke performance yesterday needs to ask themselves, are you an Evertonian or a Moyestonian?
23 Posted 29/12/2010 at 13:03:41
The next time you visit a game, see how many stroll to the ground not looking forward to it; see how many leave early for a half-time pint, pissed off; see how many leave early at full-time, sick of the shit and stick from fans from tin pot clubs taking the piss out of us.
The thing the pisses everyone off is that it should not be happening ? there is no injury excuses this time. He states the strikers' form, well there is no player in a worse state of form than our big wage player, Arteta, he could not lace Pienaar's boots with his crab-like displays... and which one are we letting sail off into the sunset for jack shit?
As for the forwards, The Yak was superb against the shite and, in Moyes's own words, was looking good when he scored against Stoke ? and then what? He drops him!
Beckford has hardly played a game and has still scored twice as a sub and created himself a few chances which he has missed through not being sharp enough... and then the following day he gets slaughtered by his manager in the press!!!
If he wants to slaughter people, try Saha and Arteta and yet he thinks the sun shines out of their arses. I bet there are some rumblings in that dressing room right now with his man-management, and rightly so in my eyes.
He is a former defender and don't it show: negative and stubborn and never holds his hands up when it`s his fault.
24 Posted 29/12/2010 at 13:29:40
It's very simple: if you booed that night, you don't understand football to a decent level.
If you've ever emitted the sentence 'Moyes is tactically naive', you know nothing about football.
I bet Lyndon wrote a jaundiced report that night too.
25 Posted 29/12/2010 at 13:45:34
Quite a lofty position you've taken there. Feel free to enlighten us?
26 Posted 29/12/2010 at 13:43:22
Also, isn't that being 'tactically naive' especially when you have three strikers sitting on the bench?
27 Posted 29/12/2010 at 14:28:50
I felt Hibbert did okay at centre back, and can't be blamed for the goal other than for being a bit of a short arse, that was just a stroke of luck for West Ham.
The real issue is that we should have scored 3/4 against that West Ham side, and we never even tried. Moyes seems to have genuinely stifled Yakubu's progress, as he look bad again when he came on, having started to show some promise as his fitness came back. To me its clear that Yakubu just needs to play and play and play. If he does that he'll get strong and fit and score goals.
As for the (rather pointless) 'tactically naive' debate, I'd argue that its the wrong phrase. A tactically naive manager is one that over attacks and leaves gaps at the back. Moyes is the opposite vice to that ('tactically cynical or jaded maybe) and he needs to move much nearer to the 'golden mean', particularly when we're at home, or playing shit teams like West Ham.
28 Posted 29/12/2010 at 14:37:35
29 Posted 29/12/2010 at 14:46:52
30 Posted 29/12/2010 at 15:36:10
31 Posted 29/12/2010 at 16:07:03
32 Posted 29/12/2010 at 16:11:59
Let me assure you that after 49 years of following the Blues, I do know quite a bit about football although I agree, I may still be learning. That night against Spurs was the ONLY time I have booed Moyes. Judging by recent performances, it may not be the last, however.
33 Posted 29/12/2010 at 17:37:10
I've booed Moyes on numerous occasions and will continue to do so when the "entertainment" I have paid hundreds of fucking pounds of my own money for, for years, is shite every week.
34 Posted 29/12/2010 at 18:55:54
35 Posted 29/12/2010 at 19:17:57
36 Posted 29/12/2010 at 20:15:09
Message to all fans.... the time for "discussion" is gone. Make yourselves heard. Vote with your feet. Do the unthinkable! Don't go to the game every week and then moan on this site. Be big boys and girls and don't go! Get a hobby. Go sailing, or crocheting, or see a play. Whatever does it for you.
As long as YOU put up with this dire spectacle, there is no pressure to exact change. IEWT
37 Posted 29/12/2010 at 21:01:55
Rodwell instead made way for The Yak after again waiting until 60 odd minutes (early move for Moyes), but with it was shocking not to go for the throat rather than simply trying to waste time with bringing on Beckford and Bily in injury time... simply awful.
38 Posted 29/12/2010 at 22:08:30
Although I am cut to the core that I am likened to Richard Dodd.
39 Posted 29/12/2010 at 23:08:36
feel free to put your argument across and I'll enlighten you.
40 Posted 29/12/2010 at 23:35:40
Sean, there are many waiting for your enlightenment. I've watched Everton home and away for decades, spent a bloody fortune doing it, haven't coached professionally but have played as a right winger then right back and coached kids. Many on here may have even done more, stop your patronising shit and get to the point if you have one.
41 Posted 29/12/2010 at 23:38:59
Not taking anything away from DM, he deserved the awards during those seasons - as is noted by the fact the other managers voted for him.
However, achievments a couple of seasons ago is totally irrelevant to the current state of play. I am pretty sure he is not going to come close to any award in the near future playing with no frigging striker!
Every srriker on the whole club must be wondering WTF is going on, as are probably most of the other players. I truly hope this is a one off but history would seem to say that it is not.
42 Posted 30/12/2010 at 09:40:31
43 Posted 30/12/2010 at 10:32:44
44 Posted 30/12/2010 at 11:15:02
"How many times has Moyes been able to play, what can reasonably be considered, his first eleven? How often has this squad yielded a fully match-fit team that has played several games together? Not once this season for a start. The squad is better equipped than for many years, but still under strength compared to at least 6 of our competitors for a Champs league place. The idea that Moyes holds us back is beyond a joke. He looks for consistency, which he has achieved at extraordinarily high levels, season in season out, and then moves on. It's taken him eight years so far to get where we are, sometimes one step back to make two forward. If we give him time, and understand what's really happening, he'll deliver us the league within another 5 years. Patience.
Or £150million cash.
He'd use that well too."
45 Posted 30/12/2010 at 11:28:55
46 Posted 30/12/2010 at 13:15:44
47 Posted 30/12/2010 at 13:41:51
You have a platform here, to tell us why we're all wrong, and your right, but instead, you keep dodging the issue. Why?
48 Posted 30/12/2010 at 14:15:25
49 Posted 30/12/2010 at 18:13:03
Perhaps you should consider simply ending all your posts with "neh-neh-na-neh-neh" or something equally intelligible. You're not even saying that if people disagree with you that they are not real Evertonians/fans/supporters ? you're simply saying that 99% of people of those who watch don't understand the game at all. You seriously believe that?! And where did you find the fount of all football knowledge, picking an orchid from FIFA mountain?
50 Posted 30/12/2010 at 19:29:15
51 Posted 30/12/2010 at 19:32:35
1) This website is for the discussion of Everton. Denigration of this website, the debates and arguments, or the posters and contributors will result in a loss of posting privileges.
2) We will no longer tolerate this garbage about "lack of football knowledge" or "know nothing about football".
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Discuss the topics without throwing abuse around, please. If you have any issues with this policy or its implementation, contact me directly via the feedback page.
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