This is my general Everton experience when they?re on the TV. I came in just before kick off and heard Rooney wasn?t playing. Good news. Who in the Utd ranks would take up the focus of their attack? The nearly man Berbatov nor the ageing fledglings of Giggs and Scholes gave cause for over-concern as the likes of Eagles and O?Shea showed up a lack of top-line talent for the opposition.
Everton really took the game to Utd and scoring a goal was more expected than at anytime this season. Utd coming back into it played an expansive passing game and took the confidence out of my early hopes as their players, no better than most of ours, just knew how to play. And play Properly.
As the game wore on, and our fleeting possession becoming more anaemic, I realised the missing link to our team achieving is down to a type of player we do not have, though came so close to signing. Yesterday, I was watching YouTube clips of Manny Fernandes (yeah, him again). He was a player who could strut around, play with arrogance, be the team?s focal point and not only that, relish the responsibility.
Not even Arteta takes up any of those roles yet all our team would be a masterful supporting cast to Manny?s headline act. All the top teams in the PL have at least one or two players who do this (Chelsea have a half dozen of the bastards) and we have none. Utd had players coming out of the shadow of Rooney to finish off the game and they were all the players I dismissed from the start!
Kevin Keegan, a man I normally have no time for, once said "Sometimes there are too many generals and not enough people waving to the generals as they walk past" ? A good point poorly put, as we have a bunch of wavers, waving to no one in particular.
We needed that arrogance throughout the game. Only when we pulled it back to 3-2 did I see Pienaar put his foot on the ball, tease his marker with panache, flick to an overlapping Baines and deliver a cross. If you exude this throughout the game, it spreads confidence to your own side, and hopefully an equal and opposite effect to the opposition. Into injury time, it really is too late. We need a Manny Fernandes. We need Fernandes?
3-1 and time coming to an end, I could have easily gone home early. But I don?t do that and the reason with this team is because I know the players would not give up so why should I? At least we still know they have that in them.
Anti-Utd fans in the pub were in the minority, and from what I could tell there was one other Evertonian. After celebrating our third goal we shook hands. We talked about how we got away with it. The ball was then swept forward at 3-3, one of the great moments in Everton history was there to be taken, yet whether the whistle is blown when time runs out or when an attack comes to an end, or if the ref was wearing Fergie?s watch, I?m still none the wiser. Moyes certainly seems to know.
One of the great aspects of a Utd failure down the pub is the deathly silence from the replica shirt-wearing crowd above that of the cheers. Combining that with the full-time stampede out the door, it really is the icing on the cake.
As we look for the catalyst to kick-start our season, as we do every season, I fear today is not the day. Nothing in the performance showed it to be the case. Though the manner of result will show in the next two games, leading up to the derby, if we have had that moment. Fingers crossed.
After full-time, my fellow Blue did confide that Everton were his second team, and revealed Arsenal were his first. I had no problem with that. "They?re a favourite of mine ever since ?89 and Thomas in the last minute". A puzzled look came over his face, "Oh yes, Thomas," he said. "That was ?89, wasn?t it?" Though his fifty years would not have let me believe it to begin with, his designer glasses and jeans with sports jacket just let on to me he knows only of football invented by Sky. Highbury? What?s that? He was kind enough to offer me a pint but I decided against it. Our connection was lost and I went on my way...
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1 Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:09:12
I think you're dead right about the need for arrogance. Too much pussy-footing around the edge of the area again... and that chance Oz and Yak did so well to create for Osman... horrible miss. But that's the problem: it's as if Osman epitomises our level of arrogance... Oh deary me!
I don't know how you have more than one Prem team... I only have time and interest in the one.
2 Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:17:29
3 Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:21:15
Should've asked if monopoly money was ok.
I feel your pain, Nick. I'm often the only Evertonian in the Pub.
I liked Manny. But I really believe that Rodwell can be the next Gullit or Beckenbauer. Or close enough, any. So today it finally became self-evident that the excellent Felli is a holding midfielder.
With Arteta and Pienaar, I think Everton are sorted for centre midfielders.
4 Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:36:07
5 Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:17:55
I remember reading a newspaper report on an Everton game when we were in our pomp of the mid-eighties. It described how we had strutted onto the pitch and looked at the opposing team with arrogant disdain before kick off ? suffice to say we won.
I believe getting the psychology right is essential in football. If you have that winning mentality then you will be a winner.
The question then becomes is DM the man to help instil that in his players? IMO ? No. You could of course argue that DM is a winner because he has made himself a very wealthy man out of football. That is the case. However, he has not been a winner as a player or as a manager.
The debate about DM will continue to rage on TW and good reading it makes too. If you are pro-Moyes you will point to him bringing stability to the club, working on a shoestring, some good buys/occasional good results etc etc. If you are not an "apologist" (surely a phrase that will go down in TW folklore), then you will despair at his negativity at times, the sterility of his tactics and giving too much respect to the opposition.
To win in football I believe you have to lose your fear of losing and the opposing team. If DM could overcome that psychological hurdle and instill that arrogant, self-belief into his players, then history would be kinder to him and show him and his team as winners.
6 Posted 11/09/2010 at 19:45:14
As for the kick-start to the season? Wouldn't it be great one year if the fact that it was the opening day of the season was the catalyst to kick-start it?
Well we can dream can't we?
7 Posted 11/09/2010 at 19:44:05
I don't think there's a huge gulf between these two teams, certainly with respect to the teams put out today. Both teams had the measure of the other when one over-committed. I did think United fouled early, stopping moves at the first sign of a break, and Mr Atkinson allowed that with just the one card. The foul count seems to reflect that. I don't get how Scholes and Neville and maybe Nani avoided cards... but that's me.
Efan Ekoku kept blathering on about how Cahill was basically in Vidic's and Evan's pocket... so it was nice to see Cahill rewarded for a good shift with the goal, and contributing to the panic in Man U's defence for the equalizer. It was a wonderful substitution by Sir Alex wasn't it, taking off Evra... didn't O'Shea and Evans look really great at the important climax of the game?!?
I agree with the sentiment that Howard and Pienaar were the standouts with an honorable mention to Cahill.
Other than the usual right-side conundrum, this game and Distin's performance highlighted a problem in the centre of the defence. The Manager is going to have to weigh losing Distin's height at the back if he opts for the Heitinga option. It's probably going to be game-to-game decision based upon the particular forward threat each opposition team poses, together with whether Fellaini, Cahill (our other strong headers of the ball) are playing.
Onward and upwards. COYB.
8 Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:10:30
9 Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:18:09
10 Posted 11/09/2010 at 19:34:00
11 Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:47:33
It has to be the day for Coleman... and Yakubu showed he is the man to lead the line. With Fellaini going box to box in the second half, he was a different player. It all looks positive(ish) to me.
12 Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:59:08
13 Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:43:56
I honestly believe in time Jack Rodwell will be one of the best players in England, with the ball at his feet, even now he looks far maturer than his tender years...
As far as Moyes is concerned, he's not perfect but his pros far outweigh his cons and the never-say-die ethic he instills into his players is a major reason why we rescued that game today.
14 Posted 11/09/2010 at 21:29:48
For a supposed creator, he creates next to nothing, he is more a chicken than a fox in the box. The slowest footballer on the planet and physically the weakest. He has no presence of any kind, he often completely disappears without trace. I have coached 12-year-olds with a harder shot.
I am honestly seeking something, anything, posititve to say about him, can someone help me out? Two of our best chances fell to him. The first one he panicked and ballooned it. The second he rolled gently to Van der Sar.
15 Posted 11/09/2010 at 22:21:56
"If David Moyes could overcome that psychological hurdle and instill that arrogant, self-belief into his players, then history would be kinder to him and show him and his team as winners." ? Michael Evans.
Nails it for me.
16 Posted 11/09/2010 at 19:53:22
17 Posted 11/09/2010 at 23:02:53
18 Posted 12/09/2010 at 08:46:03
How about the perfect pass to Pienaar for the first goal, a first-time, side foot volley, at speed, under pressure? The other players have frequently praised Leon's control and skills, perhaps this is something he brings to the team. I agree that he was at times anonymous yesterday, and the weak shot in the 2nd half was very poor, but to say he offers nothing at all is overly harsh.
19 Posted 12/09/2010 at 19:22:52
I too watched the game on FSC here in the States. Ekoku, I thought, pretty much nailed a few things:
Great praise for Howard on some magnificent saves. For me he was excellent.
He also astutely started calling for Moyes to make a substitution to change the flow of the match around the 55-minute mark. He follwed up later by stating Moyes made the substitutions entirely too late. I frankly agreed 100%.
I really didn't see him as pro-Man U at all. He just simply nailed Moyes's tactical shortcomings and any other criticism he had I can't remember disagreeing with him.
20 Posted 13/09/2010 at 11:39:45
Funny how your "feel" of the game differs wiith where you from; from my seat in the Lower Gwladys that was as a good a 30 minutes I've seen from Moyes's Everton
Stood there sulkily after 90 mins the general feeling was "we don't deserve this" - individual errors or poor team selection?
Anyway, the crowd never gave up - thankfully, neither did the players
Cahill again proved what a general he can be
As for arrogance - oh, for an Alan Ball or Tony Kay with this team; we''d be nearly there
21 Posted 13/09/2010 at 13:31:09
The idea that Moyes does not have a winning mentality is risible. You may not be satisfied tha he has achieved, but are blind to say he does not have that mentality.
I remember Smith saying we were a bottom six prem club, we had the finances of a bottom six, so that is where we shop. Bloody depressing times.
Heartfelt Thank You Moyes for delivering us from that.
There is ususally one Evertonian in the pub apart from me; two if my Aussie "Cahillw" mate comes along.
22 Posted 13/09/2010 at 23:45:45
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