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Reboot and Rethink

By Paul McAllister :  30/11/2010 :  Comments (13) :
I, like the rest of my fellow Evertonians on Saturday afternoon, sat perplexed, embarrassed and furious with Everton?s abysmal performance against West Bromwich Albion. That wasn?t the only time this season, however, we have failed miserably against opposition we should have beaten with ease. Oh no, it?s happened many times this season ? far too many times. Let?s look back at it.

Where do we begin? Against an in-form (but, at the same time, still relegation candidate) Blackpool team, we let slip two goals and handed them a point. Ok, yes one of them was a stunning free kick but the foul that lead to it was clumsy and ill-timed by Mikel Arteta which, to be honest, he only committed in the first place because Sylvain Distin again failed to grasp what defenders are supposed to do when put under pressure from strikers. We had to fight back to earn a point in a game we should have put to bed.

Next came Bolton at home ? another side in great form but still a class below us. Especially at Goodison Park, Everton should have put Bolton to the sword and thrashed the Wanderers two- or three-nil. Yet again, though, Everton lacked killer instinct and somehow Bolton ended up taking the lead through a very preventable goal. Everton?s players (Louis Saha in particular) spent the rest of the game unable to hit a cow?s behind with a banjo. Only when Jermaine Beckford and Yakubu were brought on did Everton finally begin to press and at the death, when the ground was half-empty, and the players were preparing to get back on the team coach, did Jermaine Beckford rescue a point for Everton with a wonderful strike.

This however wasn?t enough for most Evertonians to make up for an abysmal display. Everton had a glorious chance to keep up the pressure on the Top 4 and enter the European places for the first time this season. However, we ended up having to count ourselves lucky for managing a draw against Bolton, AT HOME.

Next up were Premier League giants Arsenal. After possibly suffering the worst thrashing of last season the last time we played them at Goodison, most Evertonians would have been happy if we only managed to escape a similar humiliation this time around. However, for the third game on the run, Everton made it all too easy for the opposition to exploit us. Arsenal got around our defence at will due to our clumsy centre-backs and non-existent holding midfielder (I believe he?s called John Heitinga... anybody seen him since he played in the World Cup?).

We were unable to trouble them in return due to the fact that, for reasons unknown to everyone except David Moyes, Louis Saha started up front alone even though he?s not done anything constructive whatsoever since December. On came Beckford and Yakubu and Everton finally began to trouble Arsenal. Despite forcing some good saves out of the normally unreliable ?Flapihandski? and a late consolation from talisman Tim Cahill, Everton went away empty-handed.

Next was a tricky yet winnable away game against Sunderland. Even with Sunderland coming off an astonishing 3-0 win at Chelsea, most Evertonians felt, if we learnt from the lessons of the past three games, we could win and it all started according to plan, Tim Cahill again nicking a goal. But after this, Everton didn?t get a sniff at goal for the rest of the half due to Louis Saha, who was again gifted a starting place for being non-existent, and our best midfielders being far to fussy with the ball.

Time and time again, Everton seemed to get it into their head they were Barcelona and attempted to walk the ball into the net. It wasn?t long, though, before more defensive errors gifted Sunderland an equalizer and a lead after the defence failed to do its job. Mikel Arteta, who, up until this point, had been terrible, grabbed the equalizer 10 minutes from time ? and we also had enough time to grab a late winner. Beckford looked poised to repeat his Bolton heroics and grab a late goal right at the death but somehow hit the ball over the bar when one-on-one with the goalkeeper, another winnable game thrown away. The positives, however, were the fact that Everton play better with Yakubu and Beckford up front was reinforced. Notice a pattern here?

Against West Brom... well, what is there to say? Everton?s worst performance of the season so far, embarrassed by a newly promoted and average team. Lessons were not learned. Chances were not taken (by Beckford).

It was good to finally see Saha out of the team and Yakubu back in but, for most of the game, the midfield left him completely isolated. Mikel Arteta was again terrible, Heitinga disgraceful, Pienaar below par. Defenders kept up their act of not behaving like defenders and gifting West Brom goals.

Behind at the break, what was our answer? Nothing. Moyes made no changes at half time despite his team (bar Tim Cahill) doing sod all. Victor Anichebe appeared to everybody in the ground to be unfit, whilst super kid and star in the making, Seamus Coleman, sat on the bench. Later, on came Saha and Beckford to the rescue. Saha did his usual act of impersonating a stationary object and Beckford tried his best but wasted so many glorious chances to fire Everton back in the game. It finished 4-1 to West Brom and I was one of the very few who stayed until the whistle, simply so I could boo the team off in disgrace.

So here is my assessment: David Moyes must take a share of the responsibility. In all these games, he picked the wrong players ? or his ?favourites?, as they?re known. Players who don?t deserve to play but start week after week, or are repeatedly played in the wrong position. Yet nothing has been done about it. Why? Because Moyes is too stubborn ? that?s why.

Saha has done nothing except get his pay cheque since he signed his contract and Anichebe was clearly not fit to start on the right of midfield. Heitinga has, for weeks on end now, showed everybody why he is not a midfielder. Steven Pienaar has clearly made up his mind and will seek new pastures either in January or the summer. Arteta has entered a patch of bad form capped by his red card the other night. Beckford to be fair is still adapting and needs to be given more time. Yes, he missed several sitters but he at least is showing more hunger than anybody else.

So what do we do? We need to reboot and rethink. Moyes needs to accept his methods aren?t working and change. Players need to be dropped or played in their best positions. Start starting Beckford and Yakubu and the goals will come.

We play Chelsea next where we need to show some backbone, something that?s been lacking. We are dangerously hanging above the relegation zone and after fighting to escape it earlier this season we face a risk of dropping back into a relegation fight. We can?t keep living off our derby victory. It?s sad to say but I believe our chances of Top 4 are now gone. Please don?t let our chances of Europa League go too.

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
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1   Posted 30/11/2010 at 06:30:27

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Okay, that's definitely put me over the top. Paul, we've heard almost word for word every bit of that on the 20-odd threads that have been posted since Saturday.

Something fresh please, people! I'm going mad reading all this! (And that is something I never thought I would say!!!)
Neil Adderley
2   Posted 30/11/2010 at 08:06:11

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To paraphrase Neil Young:

"....round and round and round we spin...."

Unfortunately, until the ROOT of Everton Football Club's problem is dealt with, the futile wringing of hands will continue ad nauseum.

A little over one year ago, the current CEO informed a Public Inquiry into the DK debacle that Everton FC's business model was "unsustainable." No matter how much we want and need to 'blame' Moyes or Neville or Heitinga or Hibbert etc. etc. etc. (and yes, they are rightly deserving of criticism) It is the admittance of Robert Elstone and the simple law of cause and effect that is coming home to roost where it matters most.

EFC has deep seated problems that go way beyond the body language of Louis Saha. Until these are (allowed to be) tackled, then I'm afraid we'll be chasing the preverbial tail.....round and round and round.

In related news, I see that the Sheffield Wednesday board have agreed to sell the club for £1 (allowing the clearence of debt) whilst five former directors of the club have agreed to receive significantly reduced payments with full repayment due only if Sheff Wed' are ever promoted back to the Premier League.......

Derek Thomas
3   Posted 30/11/2010 at 08:41:46

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Thing is Michael, there is nothing fresh to say.

There is but one problem and Moyes is his name.

We can all see it, even Doddy has had what for him is a turnaround of St Paul on the road to Damascus proportions..

While in the many facets of the quantum multiverse all things can and do happen, I can only see a few out comes.

1) A severe pasting ala Man U Vs Bburn as Chelsea bounce back....which will lead to more of the same type of post you have ODed on

Or

2) We put in what used to be a typical Moyes keep it tight job and are undone ( yet again ) by some out of left field slings and arrows of outragious fortune and lose by the odd goal.

See Headlines ' Plucky Toffees make Chelsea sweat ' or some such.

Deadman walking, walking the Blue mile.

Save your efforts Moysie take the Taxi and send me the bill FFS.
Brian Lloyd
4   Posted 30/11/2010 at 09:06:58

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Neil. Good points which unfortunately for us can only be resolved longer term. The immediate problem is what concerns me and many others, it's all gone grey, like Moyesey's hair. We are one of only 3 teams in the top flight who have not been relegated since I started watching the Blues in 1971. In the short term, David Moyes deserves all our respect for what he has done but needs to go sooner rather than later for the sake of our club. It's nothing to do with 4-5-1 or 4-4-2, the players appear to have stopped believing in the manager, and that's worrying and in most cases irreversible.
Ernie Baywood
5   Posted 30/11/2010 at 09:23:27

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There are plenty of other problems, Derek.

I think this team is as stale as their manager. I'd keep anyone young enough to be part of a rebuild and start again. Our young crop of players and manager of a few years back has reached its potential and it, ultimately, wasn't good enough.

So let's start again. Young coach with some fresh ideas. Rodwell/Fellaini centre mid (if they will stay). Anyone with a resale value who will be over 30 in 5 years time goes on the market.

Risk of relegation, yes, but that wouldn't feel like a tragedy if we were making some sort of progress. What is a tragedy is watching a tired manager picking tired, uninspiring teams, playing unimaginative, uninspiring, tired football.

I'm no fairweather fan. I'll support us through good times and bad. But I can't watch a manager and team who don't seem to give a fuck. Its an insult to people like us who have spent their lives dedicated to the club.
Alan Clarke
6   Posted 30/11/2010 at 09:45:14

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Can I summarise then: we've not played well enough and Moyes is a stubborn twat hence we're relegation candidates.
Rob Teo
7   Posted 30/11/2010 at 10:16:38

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Just want to tack on to what Michael has said about how these issues have been highlighted ad infinitum here, which is because most of us believe them to contribute in some way to our current malaise.

That being the case, I was wondering if it'd be worth a punt organising a Toffeeweb petition or something and listing all the issues and sending them off to Moyes. I know it sounds naive, but surely someone's got to let that mule-headed, tactically inept manager of ours know that we've had enough of his stubborn ineptitude? Even if it doesn't cause him directly to change his tactics, maybe, just maybe it'll finally cause him to rethink them? (Ok, it's naive and I'm clutching at straws here, but come on! What other shreds of hope can I cling on to?)
Sam Hoare
8   Posted 30/11/2010 at 09:43:12

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Wouldn't be against a total restructure... mainly because I'm totally bored of what I'm seeing this season.

Won't happen however. And if it did would be seriously risky...
Ernie Baywood
9   Posted 30/11/2010 at 12:34:40

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How else do we ever win anything? If we're not challenging for trophies I'd like to think we were at least trying to do something that might one day lead us in that direction.

Aiming for midtable and the odd jaunt across Europe doesn't mean shit to me. In fact, I don't even like European football. I put up with it as a means to financial betterment, but that's passed us by now. We won't be in the CL with this squad and manager.

This is so depressing that I almost wish we were in the Championship. I bet Newcastle fans fucking loved last season.
Liu Weixian
10   Posted 30/11/2010 at 13:05:36

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Europa League? Oh Please! I am happy with not being relegated!
Paul Olsen
11   Posted 30/11/2010 at 13:59:44

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Yep, so many words and I have read them all before.

Hopefully it was a cleansing experience for the author though.

Agree with #3 about Beckford, he is not the answer to anything.
Leon Perrin
12   Posted 30/11/2010 at 16:49:21

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Moyes is a winner.

His Mourinho style jesting and flamboyance sometimes clouds the issue but I expect an all out charge for the top 3. Being a footballing innovator, a maverick, he has experimented this season, and his zany humour may have gone a bit far, particularly in midfield. But remember he has promised to reveal his secret weapon.

[Dedicated to Micky K]
Ernie McAllister
13   Posted 01/12/2010 at 02:20:41

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Moyes needs to accept his methods aren?t working and change.

Laughed so hard I cried... time to get shut of him... tactically inept twat he is.

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