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Match Report - Wolves - our new bogey team?

By Paul Traill :  21/08/2010 :  Comments (10) :

Wolves ? Our new bogey team?

What was with the roads today?  Such was the traffic, a five-minute cruise to Ste?s transpired into a stressful 20-minute duck and dive through gridlock traffic.  From there we headed on to pick up Gary and Si, and were on our way at around 1pm.  From Gary?s to the Birkenhead tunnel is very basic.  One long road, a roundabout, a two mile dual carriageway and you're basically at the tunnel entrance.  This is hampered at the moment by the fact that there?s roadworks (I?ve never seen anyone working on it mind) restricting this to just one lane and a 30 mph limit.  This was worsened by the fact I managed to pull into the road with a police car directly behind me.   Watching the car ahead of me creep away with me unable to go a single mph over 30mph was devastating. One wrong move and the copper would nick me, I felt.  The road was long. It seemed to take forever. What?s the word?frustrating?  It summed up the match really.

This backlogged us a bit and it was actually nearer 2pm when we finally arrived at the crowded pub. By the time we left, we decided it was time to find a new one as Gary got shortchanged by the barman much to his dismay.  Sue?s tales of watching Everton ?down under? this summer were entertaining, and after much perseverance we were able to find the team news on my phone, only for Everton to go and text us the team news anyway!

Four changes from the Blackburn Rovers debacle.  Hibbert deputized at right back for the injured Neville; Heitinga made his first appearance of the season, replacing Fellaini in the holding midfield role; Bilyaletdinov came in for Osman, and Jermaine Beckford was preferred to Saha up front for his first Everton start.  Arteta captained the side.  The referee was Lee Mason. Sitting in our seats it was nice to see the usual familiar faces around us.  We attacked the Park End in the first half. 

We began the game brightly, dominating possession throughout the first half.  The rhythm to our play was broken up by Wolves' persistent fouling.  At first, the referee was giving us the decisions though, as the half wore on, he began to ignore many of the fouls altogether, leading towards an increasingly frustrated and angry home crowd.

Prior to the breakthrough, Jonny Heitinga had come the closest to scoring with a powerful drive from around 20 yards out which was tipped over the crossbar by Marcus Hahnemann. Bilyaletdinov smashed wide not once, not twice but thrice with semi-reasonable opportunities, and Baines dipped a free kick about a foot over the crossbar. Despite all our possession, we just couldn?t make the breakthrough?until?

Mikel Arteta was felled yet again, though this time right on the edge of the penalty area.  He drilled the free kick in himself powerfully.  The ball seemed to stick somewhere around the wall and whilst Wolves panicked in getting it clear, Cahill was first to react, instantly smashing the ball high into the net to make it 1-0? just about deserved with our domination.  Wolves' only effort was probably only a 16th-change, someone half-volleying tamely wide from about 25 yards. We were good value for the lead at the break.

Chatting to Ste at the interval and we felt that, with being a goal to the good, this may suck Wolves out of their defensive negative game plan and make them chase the game a little bit. Hopefully this would open them up a bit and we could capitalize and pick out another goal or two.

As the second half wore on, the necessity for another goal was palpable. It?s not as if Wolves really offered much attacking threat throughout but you felt we were very capable of conceding a silly goal somewhere.  Sadly this killer second goal wasn?t forthcoming thanks to Everton?s depressingly poor second half display.  Everything that was so right in the first half was sadly lacking in the second as Wolves snapped, giving us no time whatsoever on the ball.

Arteta was man-marked to perfection and Everton struggled to get it together in the second half. Bilyaletdinov had a wild swing at the ball from a Cahill knock-down only to do an air-shot with a decent opportunity, and Beckford had a run at goal with just one defender to beat though made it oh so obvious which way he was going and was easily tackled.  His pace may take it past the last defender in League One though he?ll need to learn fast if he is to cut it in the Premier League. He was replaced with Saha shortly after that.

Wolves' equalizer came somewhat out of nothing and I?m still at a loss as to how it happened.  We had both Heitinga and Saha in the middle against one Wolves midfielder though we somehow contrived to lose possession to Guedioura and, all of a sudden, Wolves had a break on.  Kevin Doyle got away down the right hand side and put a ball across the box which Ebanks-Blake just couldn?t help but tap past Howard.

Alarm bells were then ringing loud? and louder? and louder as the crowd's frustrations became noisier? and noisier? and noisier.  Everton?s confidence seemed to take a big dip and Wolves became even more determined to make sure they got something from the game? on the contrary, I felt Wolves now actually looked the more likely to grab a second goal than ourselves? Ebanks-Blake having a pop at goal from the edge of the box, though comfortable for Howard.

Moyes called for the cavalry a little bit late in my opinion: Fellaini and Osman entering the fray for Bliyaletdinov and Heitinga.  Perhaps Rodwell would have been a more suitable candidate?  perhaps Yakubu should have been in the squad? perhaps Coleman could have had a raid forward? perhaps Gueye could have been given an opportunity? perhaps we should have played Bilyaletdinov on the right and Pienaar on the left with his more familiar partner Baines?

Again, I find myself questioning Moyes tactics.  Either way, the changes offered little, though the otherwise ineffective Louis Saha did come mighty close to scoring with a header which looped narrowly over the crossbar.  That was pretty much it.  The full time whistle was met by a chorus of boos as the home crowd trudged off dejectedly? Wolves fans singing at the top of their voices.  A real opportunity to get the season off to a good start spoilt by Everton?s lack of creativity in the final third.

It has left me wondering if Wolves are perhaps our new bogey team?  I recall Coventry City and QPR being such teams throughout the 90s (ie, a generally bad team whom we just can?t seem to beat). Let?s hope we can get some points back at Molyneux later in the season.

Oh and it could be worse.  I?ve a mate who?s a Wigan fan who?s already now seen his team ship 10 without reply.  At least he?s got a sense of humour.  As Chelsea were scoring goals for fun he was texting me and added ?They score faster than I can text?.  Was pretty much the funniest thing I saw all day.

Let?s see if we can get back on track against the Terriers come Wednesday night.

Player Ratings:

  • Howard: Nothing to do really. Distribution acceptable. 6
  • Baines: I think we?d have gotten more out of him with Pienaar ahead of him and we didn?t see Baines get forward as much having to work with Bilyaletdinov, though he did OK defensively. 6
  • Jagielka: Fine. 6
  • Distin: Fine. 6
  • Hibbert: As usual ? fine defensively. Meek offensively. 6
  • Heitinga: Was seemingly at fault for the goal, though covered a lot of ground otherwise. Still doesn?t appear quite 100% though. 6
  • Arteta: Struggled to make an impact as he was marked like glue by Jones for the most part of the game. 6
  • Pienaar: Got into the game a bit more as it went on but didn?t do anything like what we know he can. 6
  • Bilyaletdinov: Didn?t do too badly first half but was practically non-existent in the second period. 5
  • Cahill: My Man of the Match. Scored the goal and certainly put more of a shift in than most if not all of his teammates. 7
  • Beckford: Simply put, I think he?s not of Premier League standard?I?d love to be proved wrong of course. 5
  • Saha (for Beckford): Really struggled to get going. He seems to have lost a bit of pace. 5
  • Fellaini (for Heitinga): Couldn?t get into the game. 5
  • Osman (for Bilyaletdinov): At least got into the game but ineffectively unfortunately. 5

Reader Comments

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Steve Cotton
1   Posted 22/08/2010 at 17:50:10

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2 major points.
1. no width
2. no pace
Charles King
2   Posted 22/08/2010 at 18:02:01

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may I add

point 3. no inspiration
Sam Hoare
3   Posted 22/08/2010 at 18:10:14

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Still so disappointed.

But amidst all the doom and gloom is it fair to say we have been just a little unlucky?

Admittedly we should never have been in a position where luck was going to count but in the last two games we have dominated possession and territory and conceeded goals to practically the oppostions only chances.

Has Tim Howard even touched the ball this season apart from to drop it an kalinic's feet?

NOT excusing poor tactics/subs and player performances but its not as though we have been outplayed by these teams. Is it?

John McLoughlin
4   Posted 22/08/2010 at 20:15:46

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No width or pace, We've been saying this for 3 years, As a club we have not done anything about it, apart from leave faster players on ther bench
Aiden Doyle
5   Posted 22/08/2010 at 23:19:41

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Cahill was our most effective player yesterday because we played a system that only suits Cahill. Discuss.
Peter Bourke
6   Posted 23/08/2010 at 01:10:32

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@Aiden 5.
Cahill was our most effective because he tried harder than the others, simple.
Devfensively and offensively he was our best and to suggest we played a system that only suits Cahill is not accurate. If we played to suit him then we would have scored 3 or 4 more goals. As it was we had a couple of scoring opportunities and none of our players took advantage.
Pete Gunby
7   Posted 23/08/2010 at 03:42:28

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Saha was at fault for the goal. He was too casual and got his pocket picked. His touch was poor . With a 1-0 lead at home any real contender would have finished Wolves off. We wasted a decent 1st. half, gave them the 2nd. half, and ended up only deserving 1 point. Whatever changes and adjustments that were needed after Blackburn were not made....just like last year we are leaking valuable points at the start of the season.
Martin Mason
8   Posted 23/08/2010 at 03:47:10

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The Daily Telegraph reporter said that Everton were a league above Wolves in class and given the breaks would and should have won comfortably.
Richard Reeves
9   Posted 23/08/2010 at 12:30:53

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Talking about bogey teams, I'm not looking forward to the St James's Park trip and I don't mean that because of the six-nil thrashing of Villa. We just don't seem to do very well there. We have a far better squad than Newcastle and on the day we should beat them (on paper at least) but something tells me that we won't and that something is previous experiences and past histories.
Bram Oliver
10   Posted 24/08/2010 at 04:39:49

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Yeah Paul. Your usual incisive comments.

Never mind.

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