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Same Old Tired Story

By Lyndon Lloyd :  23/04/2011 :  Comments (40) :

Manchester United 1 - 0 Everton

Everton lost for the first time in eight games in what is arguably the most predictable fixture on their calendar as Javier Hernandez finally made the breakthrough that an increasingly unsettled Old Trafford crowd had been praying for. The Blues were six minutes ? 10 if you count stoppage time ? from successfully stymying United with a gritty defensive stand but an error in judgement by the otherwise impressive Sylvain Distin opened the door for Sir Alex Ferguson's men to grab the winner and consolidate their lead in the Premier League title race.

Everton arrived at Old Trafford with a recent League record surpassed only by Chelsea but also with the unwanted distinction of not having won on this ground for 19 years, and it seemed as though the psychology around the latter dominated their approach to this match. This was a team unrecognisable from the one that went to Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham and took the game to superior opposition to earn at least a point in all bar one of those games.

Instead, David Moyes executed his familiar Old Trafford gameplan of containment and heavy emphasis on defence and paid the price for a galling lack of adventure with a fifth straight defeat in these hostile environs.

Of course, no one should forget the handicaps on his team selection ? none of Marouane Fellaini, Mikel Arteta, Louis Saha or John Heitinga were available and Tim Cahill was only deemed fit enough to start on the bench ? but it's more or less been the same group of players that started today that have carried the Blues through a run of five wins in seven games.

The swagger, the sense of purpose and the convition that has characterised that recent unbeaten spell was wholly absent today, no more so than during an unforgiveably awful first half performance that surely would have been punished severely by United had Ferguson, with one eye on his upcoming Champions League commitments, not elected to field a much-weakened team.

Nevertheless, with Wayne Rooney and Hernandez leading the line and Antonio Valencia tearing Leighton Baines to shreds down the right, the home side had enough firepower on paper to get the job done. They found Distin and the magnificent Phil Jagielka in obdurate mood, though, and were frustrated not only by that pair's stoic defensive stand and also by Tim Howard who denied Nani by catching his effort after 12 minutes, turning Hernandez' shot from the angle behind after 24 and producing the save of the first half after half an hour, a double-handed parry to beat away another Hernandez effort after Rooney had played him in superbly.

United had the Blues' defence beaten all ends up seven minutes before the break, though, when Valencia was somehow allowed by referee Peter Walton to shove Baines off the ball with his hand and cross low for Nani but the Portuguese's goalbound shot deflected off the foot of the prone Hernandez and past the post.

Everton, for what little part they played in the opposition half, managed just one shot on goal in the entire first half, a powder-puff effort by last weekend's star of the show, Leon Osman. At the heart of their problem was a near total inability to keep possession. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who looked like he was playing in cement boots encased in lead, seemed to give the ball away at every opportunity, Osman was back to running into cul-de-sacs and being easily pushed off the ball, and Jermaine Beckford's perplexing unwillingness to leave the floor to challenge for any long ball meant that anything lumped up to the forward line came straight back.

There was precious little width, either, with Seamus Coleman, back in the starting line-up after recovering from injury, playing more like a fourth central midfielder for most of the first 45 minutes. It made for dismal viewing for the traveling faithful but their team at least made it to the interval on level terms.

Moyes responded positively enough at half time by withdrawing his two least productive players in Beckford and Bilyaletdinov and throwing on Cahill and Victor Anichebe and the improvement was almost immediate. Everton actually made a decent fist of the early stages of the second half and were appealing in vain for a penalty 10 minutes in when Anichebe burst past Rio Ferdinand and then tumbled under contact from the defender.

Of course, with no team having been awarded a penalty in the League at Old Trafford for the past 11 years ? could there be more stark evidence of the refereeing bias, conscious or otherwise, that exists on this ground? ? the chances were slim that the Blues would get the decision they so badly wanted and referee Walton duly waved play on. With Anichebe having prodded the ball too close to Edwin van der Sar and then appearing to go down too easily, Everton would need a more convincing case to defy history.

It was indicative of the change in both personnel and approach by Moyes that United didn't come close to scoring for a full quarter of an hour after half time, not until Darren Gibson's half-volley cannoned off Jagielka's back and flew over the bar.

Indeed, it was at the other end where the first goal so nearly arrived. After a pleasing spell of pressure by the visitors, Jack Rodwell found space for a shot from 20 yards that was destined to creep inside the far post until Van der Sar finger-tipped it wide at full stretch.

But Ferguson's side began to reassert their control after that and even with Cahill and the more robust Anichebe up front, the ball just wasn't sticking in forward areas for Everton. The Blues were riding their luck at times, none more so than when Fabio's cross from the byline ricocheted off Distin and onto the post, and It seemed only a matter of time before United found a way through.

Howard then impressively pushed Rooney's direct free kick over the bar and saved his best moment for the 81st minute when Hernandez seemed to certain to score with a header at the back post but the American 'keeper acrobatically pawed his shot over from close range.

Ultimately, after defending so diligently for 83 minutes, the Blues were undone by a moment of hestitation by Distin in the middle of his own half. Instead of making a routine clearance under pressure, the Frenchman tried to bring the ball down and move into space but when it clipped a United player's foot and fell to Valencia, the Everton defender was left crucially out of position. Valencia crossed from the right and Hernandez rose unmarked at the back post to squeeze a header past Howard. 1-0, game over.

Everton did try to mount a late assault with some sporadic attacks but the game was clearly lost and another defeat on this ground was in the books.

It's true that only West Bromwich Albion have come to Old Trafford and got anything this season, such a fortress this has been for Sir Alex's men, and it's equally true that this is an under-strength Everton team. But United were well below strength too and the Blues played so far below what they've shown themselves to be capable of recent weeks that we'll never know what might have happened had they really gone out and given it a really good go.

The fear, the crushing inferiority complex that plagued Everton against the top sides seems to have been eradicated against the other teams mentioned earlier but on this ground against this club, Moyes just can't seem to get it anywhere close to right. With nothing much to lose, he could have sent his side out to attack and even having escaped to half-time goalless his players lacked the conviction to take the game to their opponents in the second half. And so it goes in this fixture into a 20th year without an Everton victory...

Player Ratings: Howard 8, Hibbert 6, Jagielka 9*, Distin 7, Baines 5, Coleman 5 (Gueye 6), Rodwell 6, Neville 6, Osman 5, Bilyaletdinov 3 (Cahill 6), Beckford 4 (Anichebe 7)

Reader Comments

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Trevor Lynes
1   Posted 23/04/2011 at 17:46:16

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I enjoyed the article BUT....the only chance that we had to get anything from the game was to play the way we did and hope that after half time we may be able to nick a goal or score from a free for man we are not as good as UTD and all season our best players have been in defence !! Sharpy had Jags MOM and Hibbo, Distin and Neville the best of the rest !!......They put more into the game than any of our forward players and it was inevitable that if anyone scored it would be UTD.
If we had played a more open game we would have been stuffed good style !!
Mike Gray
2   Posted 23/04/2011 at 17:46:11

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Garbage! Once again, too much respect for Ferguson from Moyes. A typical Moyes performance at Old Trafford.

"We're going to get beat, so let's make sure we keep it respectable lads". When will Moyes go to Old Trafford and have a go? Man U are beatable, however, we will never beat them unless we go there and try to win and not defend for 90 minutes. A predictable result from a predictable team that go to Old Trafford. Sorry, but that's the way I see it.

Dick Anderson
3   Posted 23/04/2011 at 17:52:34

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The main problem Everton have is that a few of the players are just rubbish.

Bilyletdinov was so absent it was like playing with 10 men in the first half.

And Beckford offers no real goal threat. Hernandez was a continued threat for the entire game for Man Utd. But Beckford never looked like causing them any problems and he cant even hold the ball up to give the defense a break.

Moyes to his credit was proactive with his substitutions correctly removing both Bilyletdinov and Beckford at half time.

The replacements worked to a degree with Cahill working harder then Bily did and even though Anichebe offered no real goal threat he was at least more physical then Beckford. Moyes also introduced Guaye a bit later.

But the problem is Bilyletdinov, Beckford, Anichebe and Guaye are not good enough to actually worry Man Utd.

Everton are a couple of really good players short of troubling Man Utd.

If Moyes had had the likes of Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar and Saha available to him today it really could have been a different story.
Lyndon Lloyd
4   Posted 23/04/2011 at 18:06:22

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Here's the thing, Trevor, we had maybe one spell in the second half where we strung some passes together (the way we've been playing for weeks now) and we almost scored from it. Why do we have to sit and wonder what might have been if we'd done that more consistently throughout the game?

As we found at Goodison a year ago, United will often give you the space to play but we simply couldn't find a Blue shirt consistently enough today. So part of the blame is on the players but I think it was again a case of us having lost the game in our heads before it started.

We had bugger all to lose today by going out and giving it a go but we didn't even do that.
Mike Gray
5   Posted 23/04/2011 at 18:11:48

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I agree, Lyndon! It seems to be a psychological thing with Everton players and staff when we go to Manure! Still, there's always next year!! Yeah, right, same venue, same result. A defeat!
Andy Crooks
6   Posted 23/04/2011 at 18:19:34

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I watched the game in a bar full of Man U supporters. After 10 minutes I'd have grabbed a one-nil defeat. I'm prepared to accept that our injuries made a substantial difference and haven't ranted against Moyes because of this. I am just very disappointed that my expectations are now so low. The gulf between the two sides today was immense and 1-0 flatters us a lot.
Ian Tod
7   Posted 23/04/2011 at 18:21:04

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It's always a wrench to lose, but I think some people are being well too critical over our performance. We played resiliently with an XI that was certainly well under full strength and we were carrying a few passengers in the first half (Billy, Beckford and Rodwell); we were unlucky not come away with a point or more at a place were even the mighty Barca wouldn't come and expect to win.

Don't forget, United are in end-of-season turbo mode and were never going to drop points at Old Trafford. If we play with as much application in our remaining fixtures, we will get the wins required to consolidate a top 7 finish, which would mean we've only finished outside the top 7 twice in six years ? a fantastic record and proves we are just a couple of players away from really competing with the likes of United for Champions League places... not that I expect us to sign those couple of players with our budget.

Barry Thompson
8   Posted 23/04/2011 at 18:33:41

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Blimey, Rodwell must have played his joker to come out of this one with a rating of 6.
Dick Anderson
9   Posted 23/04/2011 at 18:49:06

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Theres a double page of Jack Rodwell in The Sun today.

The headline reads "I scored goal that beat Utd last year... I'll do the same today".

If only you were that good Jack. If only you were as good as you think you are and not Everton's most average sideways passing player.
Andrew Conroy
10   Posted 23/04/2011 at 18:48:37

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Utter fucking shit. We had absolutely nothing to lose: we're safe from relegation and we've got no chance of Europe. Surely, you would think, an opportunity to be brave and adventurous; to try new things in advance of next season ? which I'm absolutely dreading, because it can only get worse. Why not see if Vellios and Beckford can strike up a partnership? Why not give Gueye ? who received a standing ovation last week ? some more time to build his confidence? Why not actually attack, attack, attack this most ordinary of Champions elect?

But no... we'll keep it tight, invite constant Man Utd pressure, offer nothing going forward, and then succumb to the inevitable and hoof everything forward to try and equalise. It's so predictable it's depressing.

This game more than any other this season confirms that we'll never achieve anything under David Moyes. His deeply ingrained fear of the big boys means that he'll always be Mr Cautious; will always see attacking as an extravagant luxury a team like us can't afford to meddle with.

Yet another live TV embarrassment; one that confirms the 'dogged and plucky Everton' stereotype that I for one am fucking sick of.
Kevin Sparke
11   Posted 23/04/2011 at 18:46:50

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If we'd have come out all guns blazing against Manchester United (League leaders, 12 straight home wins prior to this game) they'd have torn us a new one. 0-4, 0-5, etc... Imagine the comments here then.

As it was, they almost ran out of ideas and we almost sneaked one.

Our midfield was non-existent ? Bily has to be the biggest waste of money since Betamax video recorders and just as useless.

Rodwell, is either carrying an injury or already picturing his glittering career as one of SAF's 'discoveries'. He's nowhere near the same player he was last season ? he looked vacant (Apart from that grubber shot).

As to those saying we should have gone all out and attacked them ? well, I reckon the manager agreed with you as all I could hear was Moyes screaming to players to 'move up' 'move up'. The reason for this ? nobody in midfield could hold possession and nobody seemed to be arsed to try.

It's a pity, because with Fellaini, Arteta and Hetinga I'd have quite fancied us today...

Ah well ? there's always next season...
Ray Robinson
12   Posted 23/04/2011 at 19:05:48

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It would have been nice to go at United but with what personnel? We have no wingers, no pace and no real strikers? So how could Moyes have played this game any differently? This game didn't so much show Everton's undoubted inferiority complex when playing at OT as a complete lack of counter-attacking prowess which has existed for some years under Moyes.

I do blame Moyes for his purchasing policy but not so much for his tactics today ? I don't think we had any alternative.

Surely Bily has demonstrated that he will never truly cut it at PL level. And neither will Anichebe for that matter.

Attacking alternatives for next season please and then have a go at United.
Kevin Sparke
13   Posted 23/04/2011 at 19:17:27

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... One other point. A performance like the one Jagielka put in today was not deserving of being on the losing side ? that was one of the best performances I've seen from a centre-half wearing an Everton shirt ? he was gigantic today and it's a crying shame that Distin is in the Winter of his career; they make a fantastic defensive pairing.
Trevor Mackie
14   Posted 23/04/2011 at 19:19:26

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Ray @ 12

If it's Moyes's purchasing over the last 100 years (that's what it feels like) dictates his tactics, it's his fault, full stop.

I just don't get this admission by all and sundry about the Moyes mis-management followed by justification.
David Hallwood
15   Posted 23/04/2011 at 19:40:42

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Beckford was poor, but why did Howard persist with hoof after hoof when it wasn't working? Why not roll the ball out to a defender or a CM to start things happening and maybe give Beckford a ball that he can work with?

Also, I don't but that 'If we only had Fellani etc' we always play the same at OT: defend deep and try to nick it. It's all very well Moyes screaming to keep it high but he sets the team up and must know that it will always be pushed back...
Martin Mason
16   Posted 23/04/2011 at 19:52:09

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I completely agree with your view on Phil Jagielka, he was absolutely magnificent today.
Ray Robinson
17   Posted 23/04/2011 at 19:58:26

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Trevor 14, I agree. I guess my point was that, with the players available today, we had no alternative tactically ? but yes, Moyes is ultimately responsible for buying / picking those players.
Joe McMahon
18   Posted 23/04/2011 at 20:12:18

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I was in Manchester today, didn't even go to a bar to watch. I didn't see the point in any interest in this game, somehow I just couldn't see our first win there since 1992. It's just so easy to predict how Moyes sets up his gameplan. It does beg the question, when will Everton next win a match at Anfield or Old Trafford?
Trevor Lynes
19   Posted 23/04/2011 at 20:01:57

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We are light years away from Man Utd and the other top teams. If we played open football as Blackpool do, we would have been hammered with the team we had playing today. ALL OUR BEST PLAYERS WERE IN DEFENCE. It is no coincidence that Baines and Coleman have been our senior and best young players this season. We have the same situation every time we play top sides. We can only try to stifle them, defend well and hope to pinch a goal or score from a free kick... that is FACT and has been for years.

We do OK and can survive in the Premier League with a virtually NIL transfer budget. Average players with no real stars except in defence.

Looking at things realistically, we do not have many players on the books who would bring us much money from transfers apart from the one's we MUST keep. Collectively, the Yak, Vaughan, Yobo and co are either past it or not looking good enough for Premier League football...

I said years ago that we should have gone for Zamora when he was available at a small fee... instead, we take the Yak (who constantly moves from club to club), Saha (who was released free from United and injury prone) and Beckford (another freebee who cannot play alone up front and desperately needs a strike partner to allow him space). we do not have the means to be able to afford a decent, fit foil for the lad so he may as well be moved on....

Considering the paucity of decent players DM has that are fit to play, I am amazed at the success so far. I have said it before and I frankly believe that BK is a clone of Faust and has sold his soul to the devil... How else can he continue to play brinkmanship football mismanagement and keep EFC in the Premier League?

David Hallwood
20   Posted 23/04/2011 at 20:59:12

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Disagree to a point, Trevor (#19). Last season, when we played Chelsea, Man U & Citteh, I saw the beginnings of a great side like the one that started to emerge in '84. We didn't stifle them but outplayed them (and Arsenal too at the Emirates). It is the failure of not building on those foundations that have cost us big time.
Ian Corky
21   Posted 23/04/2011 at 21:25:30

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I, for the umpteenth season, watched Moyes send a team out at OT a goal down mentally; this is the most beatable Utd team for years; we always go there with a 'keep the score down' mentality... we made them look like Barca at times today.

Not wanting to sound like a twisted kopite, Peter Walton should not be let near a league game higher than Division 2, he makes Atkinson and Webb look good.

Ray Robinson
22   Posted 23/04/2011 at 21:55:34

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Ian #21, granted they're not the best United team that I have seen ? by a long way ? but as they've only dropped 2 points at home all season, just how were United "the most beatable for years"?
Harvey Miller
23   Posted 23/04/2011 at 20:49:01

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We were second best to a very average Man Utd team. Rooney and maybe Hernandez were their only world class players but still the mediocre players could more than hold our midfield.

Now it clearly showed why Osman has never really made the grade. Against a better team which keeps the pressure on, he just can't shield the ball, can't pass accurately, and gets caught too often.

Hibbo is brave but very often his positioning lets him down. Sometimes it's not his fault, though, because one of the centre-backs should be covering the striker.

Baines is a little too lightweight for a fullback. Valencia beat him by force very easily a couple of times. I think he should be played as a wing back or a winger.

Distin is such a great player and then he makes a mistake like the one that led to the goal. Left footed guy as he is, he did not trust his right foot to pass it back to Howard but instead tried to hoof it. Ok, it was late in the game, he was tired, but still...

Beckford was really bad, his first touch is very poor and the body language is all about frustration and agony.

Bily was even worse. I like the guy, he is very talented and could give very much to the team but it looked like he gave the hosts too much respect (like Osman).

Cahill is so unfit it's a disgrace. Anichebe was not as bad as I thought he would be but still did not do much.

Rodwell is good but needs a little more time and will probably get that at the hosts.

Phil Neville did ok today, his passing is wayward pretty often but he does not hide.

This time Moyes did try to change things and he subbed the guys that underperformed. Sadly, it did not help much as we didn't have anything on the bench. Overall, it looked like Everton would not mind the Mancs winning if it was done with the "best possible taste". That is, don't hurt us too deep, make it look like we tried.

The "ref" Walton (some irony there!) was as bad as the commentators. Once when we were attacking, there was a 20-yard pass that he couldn't dodge because it was Everton attacking and we couldn't have that couldn't we? It got ridiculous at some point when he gave them a corner where everybody else saw it was a goal kick.

Walton did not win the game for Mancs but the general attitude of his and the various commentators everywhere is clear: Man Utd has more money and therefore they have to win. Any other result should be avoided. The Premier League is fastly moving to a point where winners and losers are more or less predefined, like in the "professional wrestling".

Ian Corky
24   Posted 23/04/2011 at 23:37:12

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Ray (#22) ? I watched Utd's last 3 games; they were beatable, with some bottle, balls and ambition.
James Martin
25   Posted 24/04/2011 at 00:08:52

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No excuse as to why we couldn't match them today. Yes, Rooney and Hernandez are a class above but it is annoying to see players like Gibson and Carrick dominate the midfield against undoubtedly talented players like Osman, Rodwell and Neville.

What's most annoying is teams like Liverpool can often go to Old Trafford and get something thorugh relentless clsoing down. We didn't even do that, if the brief before the game was to defend we made a bad job of it. Baines showed why Cole still gets in the England side: another goal from that side, he cannot stay in position. Distin was always bound to make one gaffe when he's doing two people's jobs.

There was also a horrible lack of pace thorughout the entire team. 37-year-old Giggs tearing past our right side was horrible to watch, as was Rooney swanning round in centre-mid towards the end like some luxury car on show.

James Barlow
26   Posted 24/04/2011 at 00:05:45

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I actually thought Baines was at fault for the goal... if watched again, after Distin clears the ball, Baines tucks in, pointing at Distin to go to Valencia, which he does. Baines then pushes out of the middle, towards Distin, leaving us out-numbered in the box.

Slight mis-jugdement by the boys cost us, but thought we deserved a point, Jags and Distin were immense for me. Thought Osman did well in terms of holding the ball up and keeping possesion, but lack of options for him to play the ball perhaps cost us the chances to win the game.
Ian Smitham
27   Posted 24/04/2011 at 00:36:23

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Ian, from one Ian to another, go on, Walton, Webb and Atkinson, can you say who is a good ref, who is better? further, what makes a good ref, in your eyes?
Chris Matheson
28   Posted 24/04/2011 at 08:43:09

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Here's two things Man Utd do better than us:

1 ? They play to space, we play to feet, so their attacks keep moving swiftly ? although your players have to put the effort in to make this work.

2 ? None of the "holding the ball up" nonsense. When they attack, they do it quickly and in numbers.

See Ray's comments at No 12:

"We have no wingers, no pace and no real strikers? So how could Moyes have played this game any differently? This game didn't so much show Everton's undoubted inferiority complex when playing at OT as a complete lack of counter-attacking prowess which has existed for some years under Moyes"

Agreed, Ray. I am pro-Moyes because, under the useless, miserly Kenwright, no manager we could afford could have done a better job than he. But his negative approach to the game is infuriating ? like that old chestnut of not leaving a single player up for corners.
Sam Hoare
29   Posted 24/04/2011 at 08:55:37

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Very disappointing but, to be fair, Man Utd are the best team in England, possibly the best team in Europe, and Old Trafford is a very hard place to go. We quite nearly got a point and but for some harsh refereeing might even have got 3.

I suspect if Moyes went gung-ho we may have lost by 3 or 4 goals and then everyone would be saying why on earth would you go out so attacking at Old Trafford against one of the best counter-attacking teams in Europe!!
Terry McLavey
30   Posted 24/04/2011 at 10:38:20

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Good fair article, Lyndon. If you decide to defend for 90 (plus Fergie time!) minutes, even a schoolboy team will eventually score. Where was all that joined-up football we've seen in previous weeks?

When Roy Keane managed Sunderland (?) he said most teams had lost the game in the tunnel at Old Trafford... a lot of truth in that I think. I believe, if we had taken the game to them, they weren't strong enough to cope with the displays we've had in the last few weeks... but the score stands so it doesn't really matter does it! Rooney still shouting at the camera I see, but without the expletives!

I streamed the match so didn't need to watch MotD ? I presume we weren't on last?!

David Hallwood
31   Posted 24/04/2011 at 11:57:40

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Sam (#29):? Sorry, Man Utd aren't the best team in Europe, FFS ? they're behind the Spanish giants by some distance and I would argue Bayern Munich.

Plus a lot of people are making the point that, if Moyes had gone gung-ho, etc etc... Bollocks! He doesn't have to go gung-ho ? just not send a team out beaten before the game has started. In Nani & Valencia they have two very good wingers, but the CMs Anderson & Gibson are OK; we had an extra man in midfield but couldn?t stop them dictating the play. FFS, run about a bit higher up the pitch and close them down a la giantkillers and stop the supply to the wings!!!

Away from home, Man U have won 5 games, but at home they?ve only dropped 2 points and they haven?t conceded a goal in the 1st half, so does it mean that they haven?t had an off day or a defensive lapse and if so they must rank as one of the greatest teams of all time, or does it point to managers giving a shithouse team talk along the lines of "We?ve got no chance here boys, keep it tight and try and nick one in the last 5 mins, when they?re starting to tire after pummeling us for the whole game."

Look at the hoof after hoof to Beckford from Howard, Moyes must?ve woke up that morning and decided that he was in fact Peter Crouch... what does that tell you? ? to me it screams out "Clear your lines; if the ball is in their half, it isn?t in ours, feed off scraps, we might get lucky" ? rather than setting out a team to compete with the opposition regardless of who the opposition is.

So I don?t expect us to do a Blackpool, or play with 10 upfront like a gang of kids, but play without this inferiority complex that we always adopt at OT despite being the form side and Man U missing as many of their fist team as us, albeit their 2nd string could walk into most teams.

David Holroyd
32   Posted 24/04/2011 at 13:11:05

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The old adage "beaten before you started" sums us up when we go to Old Trafford. With the players we had today, the result was never in doubt.
Jason Lam
33   Posted 24/04/2011 at 13:16:38

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Our attacking players were just not good enough. Beckford was not competing for the long ball and Bily was non-existent. Osman kept running into the crowd and losing the ball.

Anichebe to his credit did his job: battling ram up front and knock down the ball to Cahill. Too bad the whole world knows his limitations, and the only real threat was to look out for a Cahill header off a Baines cross. Our offense today was not good enough to break down Man Utd.

Towards the end, the players tired and eventually the mistake came when we lose possession under little pressure and they caught us at the break. When you look at their goal, you think we don't have any striker who could produce that kind of moment, speed and jumping header.
John Crossley
34   Posted 24/04/2011 at 14:20:24

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Many of the Everton players and manager this past week were saying they had nothing to lose, that Man U were under pressure.

Too many talk the talk. It was total shit watching Everton not walk the walk, absolutely clueless in attack.
Ian Corky
35   Posted 24/04/2011 at 14:35:38

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Ian (#27): 2 refs who try to ref without the crowd influencing them are Dowd and Halsey. They don't ponce about the pitch trying to grab the attention.

I remember a couple of years ago reading an article from Rob Styles in his last season; he said he always felt if the Kop shouted handball or offside, then they have seen something. If I had been the FA, he would never had been let loose with a whistle ever again.

Trevor Lynes
36   Posted 24/04/2011 at 18:47:31

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Forget the penalty claims ? DM said that they were NOT pens and he is our manager!!

We played to the best of our very limited ability with a weakened team. If we had 'done a Blackpool' we would have got murdered.

Hernandez is much smaller than Beckford but he is much more intelligent and knows how to find space. We had no one upfront who could hurt them!! Our defenders kept the score down.

Ian Corky
37   Posted 24/04/2011 at 20:25:45

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Totally agree Trev, we need a rebuild (in my opinion). Take the £25 mil for Rodwell, £6 mil for Heitinga, £5 mil for Yak and Vaugahn, tuck Bily off for £5 mil, take £2 mil for Beckford... total = £43 mil.

Barkley is a better prospect than Rodwell; the others? That leaves us plenty to replace deadwood.

Andy Crooks
38   Posted 24/04/2011 at 21:17:41

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Ian, if only it were so easy: "Take the £25 mil for Rodwell..."
Andy Crooks
39   Posted 24/04/2011 at 21:19:14

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Sorry about that. What £25 million? How would any of us feel if David Moyes had paid that for him? Also no-one is going to pay the money you suggest for the others.

Say, however, football went even more insane and we raised £43 million. It certainly won't be handed to Moyes to replace dead wood. Fellaini is our most valuable asset but selling him would greatly reduce the little quality we have and not all of any money raised will be handed to David Moyes.

I think that Bily is a good player but a confidence player. Bit parts and being played out of position might just have damaged him beyond repair as far as Premier League football goes. I'll be surprised if he features much again. It is disappointing such money was spent so quickly without, it appears, the prudence that a broke club should apply in every financial dealing.

Trevor Lynes
40   Posted 24/04/2011 at 21:39:54

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The problem is... ambition!! I'm really afraid that our better players may get fed up and want away. Already, it's accepted that Jags, Baines and Fellaini have been our most consistent players and they are already being reported about other decent teams being interested in them. Even if all the reports are not true, some maybe, and players have a short career.

If the likes of Baines, Jags and Co were enticed away then we will be in deep shit. Most players want trophies and I just hope that our better players stay loyal. We must unload our dead wood and show ambition by buying a decent striker and wide player. We also desperately need cover at left back.

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