COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
Sunday the 13th... unlucky for some, as we get a soaking both on and off the field. Anichebe preferred to Beckford up front ? a choice that must have had more to do with physicality than talent ? and Cahill brought back in for the injured Rodwell were the only changes from last week.
The game started and within minutes I had that feeling we were not ?at it? and it took just 10 mins to confirm that. Bolton, without looking anything special, were pinning us back and our efforts to get everyone behind the ball ensured that our clearances were no more than passes to the opposition who in turn attacked us again, and again.
On 10 mins, Big Vic got in a tangle with a Bolton player and the ref Mr Probert gave a free kick. The ball was delivered in regulation fashion but it was the Bolton players making the runs while our defenders stood. The wrong Cahill got to it first and got no more than a good connection but the ball hit Heitinga and wrong footed Howard and ended up in the net. It was a horrible feeling seeing that lot unfold in front of us as it seemed no-one made any great effort to mark and challenge properly.
We then seemed to wake up to the fact that the game had actually started and did put more effort into proceedings but our technical ability on the ball deserted us as passes either went behind the intended target or over-hit to no-one. Baines was getting forward when he could but Bilyaletdinov was doing him no favours by seeming oblivious to any off-the-ball runs he might make to our advantage.
Coleman was equally as bad on the right, seeming to be in two minds about everything and achieving nothing. Cahill and Arteta were taking it in turns to be the forward player but mostly on different wavelengths, Fellaini was breaking up some things in midfield but when it came to making the pass his mind seemed elsewhere. Baines got fouled wide near the edge of the box, Arteta took, and Arteta hit the first man; no change there then.
Again Baines put a peach of a cross in that picked out our Cahill but his effort was into the ground and over and wide, perhaps that trip to Asia has affected his timing. Then Arteta did deliver a great pass that put Big Vic through, as he shot Knight slid in and they sort of kicked each other. Both received treatment and both came back on but Knight took just a few limps and went down again this time to be stretchered off. Wheater came on to make his debut.
The game was now scrappy but the Blues were in control as Bolton were happy to soak up that pressure and break when they could and in so doing were more dangerous than us as we continued to miss-pass and run out of ideas anywhere near the final third. Up until the break we created just one shot from Arteta which did not trouble the keeper.
Bolton had a good shot turned for a corner and from that corner we broke, the ball reached Arteta on the left and he ran faster than I have seen him do for months leaving Bolton players in his wake, he found Bilyaletdinov in a central position and he quickly moved the ball wide to the oncoming Coleman but alas his ball control was akin to a playground kick-about and Wheater cleared man and ball out.
Half-time and all of the chat was unprintable! Moyes must have had just a few harsh words with the players as they seemed to be out some 5 mins before Bolton, no changes made so those that so spectacularly underperformed first half were sent out to rectify matters in the second half.
Nothing much changed although we did give the impression of trying harder but all the shortcomings of the first half were still in evidence and the manager on the hour mark had had enough. Osman and Beckford replaced Bilyaletdinov and Coleman... though why it had taken this long to realise that the two going off were extremely poor, I don?t know.
These changes made little difference and the game went on in its ragged fashion. Big Vic went right but didn?t stay there and was mostly seen lumbering forward and falling down then waving his arms at the ref of the injustice of it all. ?Pillock? was one printable cry.
Cahill was looking spent and in need of a rest but I could understand leaving him on at just one down because you just never know with him ? he could just salvage a point for us. But all that was rendered useless with some 25 mins to go when Sturridge, who is on loan from Chelsea and has obviously been through the Drogba school of ?Clever Effective Diving? deceived the Ref yet again and won a free kick.
And wouldn?t you just know it, we defended it as badly as the one for their first goal, no-one able to put their foot through it or a good header instead some powder puff stuff that saw Baines out-headed and the ball fall for the Drogba-like diver to finish like the Real thing.
With ten to go, the manager hauled off Big Vic and I felt a little sorry for him as he seemed to think he had had a good game. Baxter came on and was sprightly enough but just the wrong time to introduce an untried young lad. Bolton went up the other end and scored again but it was ruled out as the lino deemed that the ?Drogba-like diver? had run it out before back-heeling it to the excellent Holden to smash home.
Then we continued the Route One approach hoping that the now centre-forward Fellaini would create something and we did win a corner... from such a poor display, I was delighted with this corner as, for the first time I can remember in years, we tried a real inventive one. Baines pulled it right back to the edge of the box with great precision and found Baxter who just didn?t have the necessary technique and drove it powerfully wide but it did perk me up just a little to see us try something different from a set piece.
Final whistle and the players did sheepishly slope over to applaud the faithful but I fear not one present was in any mood for that.
Finding a MotM was not fun after that display but my vote would go to Baines who played to a good level throughout despite Bilyaletdinov thinking they were on different planets and Osman when he came on faring little better.
Overall, a game to forget but also one to remember because, if we carry on playing in that disjointed fashion, we will do well to stay in the league. I just hope we can put it down to just one of those days!
Before the game, I was reading in certain newspapers articles that virtually have us dead and buried if the club doesn?t find investment or a buyer, players named who may have to be sold to keep us afloat and how much they may fetch. Fellaini?s dad quoted as saying Chelsea was their aim.
Even if this sort of stuff is wide of the mark, I did wonder if players read such things and take any notice of them. It does worry me though as these things appear in the national press and can soon become gospel and that is how everyone will perceive us and could have an effect on us keeping players and even, for little money, getting others to join us. Perhaps some positive visible action should be undertaken by those in power before real damage can be done.
Still, onward and upward. Chelsea next in the cup replay and we always do well there... Don?t we?
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 13/02/2011 at 21:53:56
That is the saddest thing for me, I actually think that Anichebe did think he was having a good game.
Was the worst away performance I have been to since Boro in the cup with Walter Smith.
We looked like a team devoid of any drive, spirit, guts or leadership.
2 Posted 13/02/2011 at 21:58:35
3 Posted 13/02/2011 at 21:55:08
You are joking. Bill Kenwright has gone underground now we are doing shit. He couldn't give a fuck apart from his investment.
4 Posted 13/02/2011 at 22:01:31
5 Posted 13/02/2011 at 21:55:08
What strengh - physical or mental - Moyes sees in Anichebe is beyond me.
6 Posted 13/02/2011 at 22:12:30
Agreed David. It's becoming increasingly tiresome, especially when he can't back it up, and all evidence points to the contrary. I'm still embaressed by his half hearted challenge against Wolves and his subsequent shameful collapse in the centre circle as he realised it was about to lead to a goal. No effort to chase back at all and more concerned with feigning injury to cover up the fact he bottled it.
7 Posted 13/02/2011 at 22:36:54
We are in danger of imploding and hearing the travelling support boo one of our players off today was depressing. Yes Vic was shocking but the manager picks the team not the players. No money in the summer. Felliani will go. Baines as well possibly. Too depressing for words. No fun. When was the last time Moyes smiled? The joy has gone out of this marriage, divorce beckons.
8 Posted 13/02/2011 at 22:52:19
Today he seemed to give up!!
We were so poor at times it was unreal and the heatbreaking thing for myself is that Bolton arent that good!!
Sunderland at home is a massive game once more and I cant really see us getting anything out of Chelsea next week so bring on the youth team and reserves and give them a go!!!
9 Posted 13/02/2011 at 23:11:47
10 Posted 13/02/2011 at 23:10:19
But let's not be too hard on him: if we are frustrated at the lack of activity in the transfer market, just imagine how he will feel!
This was, indeed, one of our worst away performances for a long time. No penetration, no ideas, no determination. And the defence, as too often this season, looking apathetic at decisive moments.
11 Posted 13/02/2011 at 23:03:18
12 Posted 13/02/2011 at 22:36:38
1. Our massed defence that does not allow quick break outs.
2. Ponderous looping throw ins that are only taken after all avenues have been closed down.
3. Pathetic free kicks and corners that let opponents off the hook.
4.Lack of initiative in the final third.
5. clearly second best in physical fitness
6. Slow build ups
7. Coleman?s head down runs into blind alleys. And poor movement off the ball.
8. Bily?s lack of any kind of run.
9. Moyes poor team selection and tactics.
10. Moyes poor choice and timing of substitutes,Osman).
I subscribe to the view that in football the first five yards is in the head. That being the case Anichebe and Beckford are far too slow. To make it worse they are devoid of any semblance of a first touch.
Then we have the problem of Moyes obsession over Osman.
Leon is so lacking in everything a midfielder requires it is baffling to me why he is allowed anywhere near the first team.
Sadly it seems that until he or Moyes decides to call it a day we will never see the end of him.
The annoying thing is that all the above faults should have long ago been sorted at training.
What was particularly galling was being completely out fought by an average Bolton side that had little to offer except the fighting qualities we so desperately lacked
Despite all the above flaws the main thing that brought about our defeat was being completely out fought by an average Bolton side that had little to offer except the fighting qualities we so desperately lacked
13 Posted 14/02/2011 at 01:24:07
Beagrie is Arteta
War is Cahill
Barlow is Anichebe
Ebrell is Osman
Preki is Billy
Howar id Southall.
So it all comes down to Graham Stuart (Coleman) and Barry Horne (Fellaini) saving us.
14 Posted 14/02/2011 at 01:29:39
15 Posted 14/02/2011 at 05:18:07
I never thought I would see an Everton centre forward give up the fight altogether, but that is exactly what Anichebe did last night.
His lack of fight makes Alex Nyarko's performance in a blue shirt seem positively tigerish!
16 Posted 14/02/2011 at 05:16:10
17 Posted 14/02/2011 at 10:29:59
18 Posted 14/02/2011 at 11:36:11
Really I am getting sick of football, even the pundits seem worse and worse, on MotD they said Bolton are a very good team! They are dirty brutish and hardly did anything except score two goals they were given by abject defending with no marking.
Notice we haven't really had a clean sheet all season so something is very wrong here ? we were even known once as a defensive team and Goodison a fortress! Work that one out.
Fellaini was appalling and seemed drunk and wayward, what is he on? Heitinga and Arteta almost as bad; Cahill anonymous and Seamus tired. Vic all huff and puff and being kicked around the park ? he seems to enjoy it! The one light in a dismal day was Baxter who at least showed signs of interest and passion. Was gutted to glimpse Pienaar playing for Spurs!
Maybe the rain was in their eyes... you've got to have some excuse. We go down if it stays like this ? we are worse than West Ham!
Wish I wasn't in love with this heart breaker team! We need a new manager for sure and a new owner and new board!
19 Posted 14/02/2011 at 11:43:54
What happened to Leon O's first touch! About 3 balls on the trot he failed to control! Not fair to single him out really. Summed it up seeing DM, instead of being on the touchline barking orders, sitting with arms folded looking forlorn in the pissing rain. Roll on Chelski!
20 Posted 14/02/2011 at 12:49:31
Other managers/scouts check out our games and can pinpoint exactly how to stop us.
The most frustrating thing about yesterday was the lack of urgency from any of the players. Not closing down quick enough, slow, lazy passing (Felli guilty of this the most) and as soon as we do win the ball back we end up at walking pace. Classic example was in the first half when Neville picked it up on edge of the area, Coleman starts his run whilst Neville strolls to the half way line then checks back.
Why Anichebe was picked before Beckford I don't know, but he seems to believe he's the greatest player in the world trying to beat three or four players every time he gets the ball, his control was awful and as soon as he lost the ball he just gave up.
I really this it's time for a drastic change in team selection and Moyes has to stand up to the so called better players and make his selection on merit, rather than just who they are.
21 Posted 14/02/2011 at 15:42:32
22 Posted 14/02/2011 at 21:27:20
Honesty from the players to try hard with endeavour
Honesty from the manager to not give up and keep giving our young home talent a chance.
But mainly, honesty from a board that gets increasingly quiet during the hard times, and tries to tell us that everything's fine when we are subject to a performance like yesterday.
23 Posted 15/02/2011 at 03:11:24
Would be a terrible way to end a career otherwise as at the moment he offers zilch!
24 Posted 15/02/2011 at 17:25:11
Sell fella, jonny, yobo (as he will be anyway), vaughn, Vic and billy. should generate enough cash to clear most of the debt debt. wages saved would amount to being able to sign a couple of average players.
of all these players only fella would really seem a big loss.
regroup and get back to what moyes does best, getting average players to over achieve.
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