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Lunchtime London

By Nick Entwistle :  11/09/2010 :  Comments (22) :
Chicken burger and a coke please. Pepsi ok? Sure.

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...

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1   Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:09:12

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Good piece of writing, Nick ? Thanks!

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.

Nick Entwistle
2   Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:17:29

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Let me just explain that Arsenal remark. They're a team I have time for, and not a second team like Everton is to the bar fly. Nowhere near that. Let's just say I prefer them to win over the other sky 4 lot, that's all... honest. Only one team for me too... Leeds. No, I mean was was born there, but no, erm, it is Everton... honest, like... really!
Christopher McCullough
3   Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:21:15

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"Coke please." "Pepsi ok?" "Sure"...

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.

Andy Crooks
4   Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:36:07

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Excellent stuff, Nick. Match of the Day will be fine tonight. Christopher, I am always the only Evertonian in the pub. Today it was unexpected joy. It's great to be wrong.
Michael Evans
5   Posted 11/09/2010 at 18:17:55

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Thanks Nick ? very enjoyable.

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.

Dave Richman
6   Posted 11/09/2010 at 19:45:14

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Nice one Nick..... great piece.

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?
Paul McGinty
7   Posted 11/09/2010 at 19:44:05

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I watched the game in the USA on Fox Soccer Channel, though Efan Ekoku often went into his best MUTV mode. Paraphrasing at one point, he said that if Man U ever game out of 3rd gear, Everton just couldn't match it.

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.

Brian Hill
8   Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:10:30

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Nick Entwistle, Eagles? He has played for Burnley for a while and only warranted an appearance on their bench today. What was in your chicken burger???!!!
Nick Entwistle
9   Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:18:09

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Sorry Brian, meant Evans... about as good though... mmm, now what would an eagle burger taste like?
Dennis Stevens
10   Posted 11/09/2010 at 19:34:00

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Indeed, I really do think that a bit of self-belief & confidence ? yes, even arrogance ? are all that stops this squad really achieving something more than striving to be "best of the rest". Can Moyes instill such a sense of positivity in his players? I really do hope so.
Andrew Ellams
11   Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:47:33

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Nick, whilst I agree the performance had many holes, surely the confidence from this and, going into a game against a very dodgy Newcastle team, surely next week has to be our week.

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.
Jamie Tulacz
12   Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:59:08

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Andrew ? exactly; people seem to be ignoring the positives, and focussing on negatives despite a good result today. Plenty of character and commitment to keep fighting to the end like that. Thought that the passing was very good at times and a lot less hoofball, which was encouraging to see.
Art Jones
13   Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:43:56

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I don't actually think that there is too much drastically wrong with us... a bit of tweaking here and there. Hopefully we can get Yak fully fit, maybe Vic filling that 'right wing' spot and dropping Heitinga back into defence.Don't forget,Felli is only 22 and him and Johnny are not short of confidence... ditto Cahill.

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.

Dick Fearon
14   Posted 11/09/2010 at 21:29:48

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Chris Eagles or any right-sided player in the Prem or, come to that, any right-sided player in professional football, could not be as bad as Osman. I honest to Christ don't see what Moyes sees in him.

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.

Michael Kenrick
15   Posted 11/09/2010 at 22:21:56

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I think we need a Quote of the Day corner here on ToffeeWeb... starting with this:

"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.
Tony I'Anson
16   Posted 11/09/2010 at 19:53:22

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In the words of a famous son of the City: "All we are give Colemen a chance"... Yes it is...
Tony I'Anson
17   Posted 11/09/2010 at 23:02:53

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I'm just off to watch MotD ? if we are now on first......
Matteo Rosingana
18   Posted 12/09/2010 at 08:46:03

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Dick (14) re Osman "I am honestly seeking something, anything, posititve to say about him, can someone help me out."

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.
Jamie Crowley
19   Posted 12/09/2010 at 19:22:52

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Paul (7)-

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.

Phil Bellis
20   Posted 13/09/2010 at 11:39:45

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Just on my darn sarf to wind up the Cockney reds - lovely
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
Roberto Birquet
21   Posted 13/09/2010 at 13:31:09

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Michael Evans
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.
Kevin Gillen
22   Posted 13/09/2010 at 23:45:45

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Did anyone see Manny score a rocket for Portugal against Cyprus? He is going to be a big player for them for years to come.

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