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HighLee ImProber Officials

By Santosh Benjamin :  05/12/2010 :  Comments (24) :

David Moyes's 400th game in charge of us and there have been debates to and fro about his tenure on ToffeeWeb and other lesser forums. I must admit that after last week's debacle I was crossing my fingers and toes before the Chelsea game.

With Arteta suspended for 3 games, I figured that the midfield would choose itself with Rodwell and Fellaini patrolling the centre of midfield and Pienaar and Coleman providing the width. The striker conundrum lingered on and I was torn between Beckford and The Yak. When the team was announced, I was surprised to see Saha starting upfront.

Lee Probert was the ref and that seemed fine to me since he was no Webb/Clattenberg. Chelsea had Terry back and seemed up for it with Kalou, Drogba and Anelka upfront although in practical terms, one of them played wide as a right-sided midfielder. Lampard hadn?t returned to the side which was a relief since he always seems to score against us.

The game started brightly enough for us with Saha lashing a shot at Cech early on and us showing good composure and build in the first few minutes. That soon turned to Chelsea pressure as the game progressed. We were giving the ball away cheaply in midfield and were lucky not to be punished for that.

Then came one of the incidents that really got me vocal (and there were a few, mind you, in this game!). Neville went in hard on Malouda and the Chelsea man retaliated angrily. To Neville's credit, he walked away from it instead of acting out an Oscar-winning writhe. I was expecting a red for Malouda, but instead Lee Probert decided to just warn him (I guess he will deal with a two-footed lunge with a peck on the cheek!!!). The commentators were blatantly pro-Chelsea and hoped that that incident would wake the Bridge crowd up.

Chelsea seemed to have more meaningful possession for a while after that although Rodwell and Fellaini seemed to be getting more of the ball when we had possession. Baines and Coleman had a few forays into the Chelsea half but nothing significant came from it.

Just before half-time, disaster struck ? a Neville backpass was well short and was pounced on by Anelka. Howard rushed towards him to narrow the angle but Anelka deviously (like an experienced striker as the bloody commentators called it!) played the ball to the left of Howard and instead of running round him, decided to knock down the then stationary Howard leading to a wrongful penalty and a yellow for Howard. Replays clearly showed that Howard was looking at the ball and hoping to move towards it when Anelka flattened him.

Drogba knocked in the penalty and acted like he had won the World Cup for the Ivory Coast. The state of officiating in the Premier League has always leaned towards helping the ?Big four? or at least giving them the benefit of every fifty-fifty decision and the first half of this game didn?t make me think otherwise. Lee Probert?s stupid grin as he left the field made me wish I was at the ground to tell him what I thought of him.

I was hoping that the half-time team talk would include a good kick up the backside for some of the lads who didn?t seem to have got out of first gear. I was also hoping that Saha would come off as he seemed very ineffective in the first half. The teams trooped out in the second half and it was obvious we hadn?t made any changes to the squad.

Chelsea started the second half the better team and although we had small spells of possession, we didn?t retain possession for long enough periods. Baines was looking bright down the left and his crosses were threatening to their back four. Beckford came on for Saha in a straight swap upfront. A few poor touches from him made me wonder why the Yak wasn?t also sent on to go all out, since losing 1-0 or 2-0 were pretty much the same. The bookings for our challenges continued as did the Chelsea whining and exaggerations.

A great ball in from Baines saw Rodwell head it towards goal. Cech was well and truly beaten but the ball hit the left post and rolled across the goal line and was cleared. Another ball into the box led to Cech coming off his line to cut off Cahill who, in his attempt to get the ball, happened to kick Cech on the forehead. It was clearly a 50-50 ball and Cahill had every right to go for it but Terry reacted very strongly to it by shoving Cahill who gave as good as he got.

The feud simmered on for a while with poor Coleman getting booked for his two penny?s worth. Five minutes of fuss over the broken crown of Cech. To hear the inbred commentators say ?Only Cahill knows what his intentions were with that challenge? made me swear at the screen.

When it seemed like all was lost, another peach of a cross from Baines was met by Cahill at the back post. He cleverly headed it back across the face of goal where Beckford headed in from close range to send me out of my seat and pumping my fist and swearing in joy.

Bily was sent on in the dying minutes when I again felt that the Yak/Big Vic/ even poor Gueye would have been a better choice. Seven minutes of added time left both teams with a chance to take all three points. We should have done better with Fellaini, Rodwell and Bily being wasteful with their chances.

The final whistle went and I must say, I was pretty happy with our performance. We could have won, but with this ref we could have also easily lost our keeper and all the points. Wigan next and we need to go on a good run and try and get Donovan and that guy from Wolves in the January window. Let's try and keep the spirits up?


Player performances:

  • Howard: Decent game, although he did spill the ball on two occasions. Needs to work on that in training I think.
  • Neville: Shocking back pass and he knows it too I'm sure. Say what you want but what I remember more about him from the game was his walking away from Malouda after the retaliation from the Chelsea player when he could have easily tried for Best Actor at the Oscars/BAFTAs
  • Distin: Good game
  • Baines: Cole the best left back in England? Not by a long, long way? peach of a cross for the equalizer and some good corners too.
  • Rodwell: Composed on the ball but needs to work on his shooting from long range if he wants to go for glory. Good header but unlucky to hit the woodwork.
  • Fellaini: Good game coming back after suspension and a Thai vacation.
  • Coleman: Needs to add to his repertoire. Opposing teams will figure out his running at them each time, although it's nice to have an option on the right wing.
  • Pienaar: Was involved in patches. Hope he will stay till the summer at least.
  • Cahill: Clever assist to help Beckford score. Passion and hard work are always more than 100% from this guy.
  • Saha: Poor game.
  • Beckford: Deserved his goal. Happy for the lad. Hope he goes on from here and proves the doubters wrong. Should start the next game with the Yak in a 4-4-2.
  • Bilyaletdinov: Too short an appearance.

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 05/12/2010 at 17:56:00

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Good report, Santosh, Welcome back!

One very minor nitpick: Gueye wasn't on the bench for this one... Moyes's "secret weapon" obviously needs some more work!

Interesting how nobody has provided comment on Bily; I thought he was good and tried to do a few adventurous things but hadn't been given enough time to get into the game. He was playing down the left too; I seem to remember him being more effective down the right channel last season, but I could be wrong about that.
Colin Ryan
2   Posted 05/12/2010 at 18:49:10

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Becks instead of Saha next week is the only change I'd make. Saha hasn't scored since he signed his new deal last March. Time to get rid me thinks. Fellaini and Rodwell looked good in the middle and should be even better against Wigan but someone has to encourage our players to have a shot from 20/25/30 yards. How many times did we pass up a shooting chance yesterday for another sideways pass?
Jay Harris
3   Posted 05/12/2010 at 19:05:06

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Michael, you are right he did play down the right last season, in fact that was where he scored "that" United goal.

But he himself said in a recent interview he prefers the left.

I personallly would prefer it if he were LEFT in the dressing room.

IMO he is the worst EFC player I have ever seen.
Al Reddish
4   Posted 05/12/2010 at 19:49:28

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I must admit to being a bit pissed off earlier. Whilst watching the Newcastle - West Brom game, Sol Campbell did exactly what Tim Howard did and a West Brom player clattered into him. Andy Gray then says it's legit because nothing says that Campbell has to move away from the oncoming player. I bet he was the first one screaming for a Chelsea penalty!
Steve Alderson
5   Posted 05/12/2010 at 20:09:19

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Can't believe that more people can't see the ability Bily has. He is probably one of the most technially gifted players at the club.

In his brief time on the pitch yesterday, he showed some lovely close contol that earlier could have got us a goal had the likes of Coleman or Pienaar done the same.

I know he has frustrated at times but I believe that Moyes should make it a priority to integrate him into the side.
Steve Pugh
6   Posted 05/12/2010 at 20:58:36

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Jay, you not seen many Everton players then?
Jeff Armstrong
7   Posted 05/12/2010 at 21:08:26

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I have seen plenty of efc players in 40 years of going to GP, and Bilyaletudown at £9 million, I think Jay is pretty accurate in his assessment.
Dick Fearon
8   Posted 05/12/2010 at 21:03:44

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Santos, spot on with your report, it coincides with my own TV view of the game.
One little thing though, the commentator after saying Baines was the best left back in England immediately corrected himself by saying, 'I meant the best English left back'. I personally would not argue with that.
Ian Kearney
9   Posted 05/12/2010 at 21:33:45

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Steve, I always back technique, it's one of the reasons I stuck by Fellaini, and I still think Billy has bags of it!

With the Tiger off to the Asia Cup, will Bily get a game in the position Hiddink rated him in? And, I would've thought, the position Moyes scouted him in.

Keith Edmunds
10   Posted 05/12/2010 at 21:33:20

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Jay you must be very young!

Bily reminds me of Duncan McKenzie, he could be a great player for us but unfortunately I think his time will be up this season. The only hope for him is if injury to others pushes him into the side in his best poition whatever that is.

Where have you been, Santos?
John Shaw
11   Posted 05/12/2010 at 21:57:33

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Jay (#3) - you must be either very young or have a short memory ! Bily is a very good player who has been given very little match time in his best position, IMHO, and that is the faulty of none other than the manager.

He is in a different league, ability wise, to the likes of Brett Angell, Marc Hottinger, Per Krøldrup and the like.

Denis Richardson
12   Posted 05/12/2010 at 22:05:53

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Think people are being a bit harsh on Bily. David Moyes has not given him much match time or a decent run of games.

Also, when I think back to the likes of Mark Pembridge, Scott Gemmill and Alex Nyarko, I would rather have a slow technically gifted player, than just a slow crap player ? admittedly, Pembo did give his all if I remember correctly...

Good result but will not mean much if we don't get 3 points against Wigan.
Rob Hollis
13   Posted 05/12/2010 at 22:57:27

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Bily is a very talented player. In his limited time on the pitch we have seen enough goals that NO other Everton player could score to know how good he is.

His problem is that he can't double as a centre back when we don't have the ball. Moyes sees anyone who can't tackle as a luxury. Another great player going forward will be destroyed by Moyes.

Only Cahill, who is a great scrapper as well as scorer will survive under Depressing Dave.
Santosh Benjamin
14   Posted 06/12/2010 at 00:44:18

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Thank you, Michael. It's been ages since I wrote an article on here although i considered it a few times. Work was hectic and my wife and I had a little baby (now 2 months old) so I hope to get back on track now.

Thanks for bringing that to my notice about Gueye. I also realised that I forgot to assess Jags.

Jagielka: Had a good game but the passing still remains woeful.

MotM for me would be Baines/Fellaini. I know it's been discussed in other threads but I would like to discuss the Malouda incident and the penalty a bit more coz I thought they were both stinkers.

John Barnes
15   Posted 06/12/2010 at 02:35:04

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The entire 'panel' of referees are dire. In last night's Sunderland v West Ham game, what was different in Richardson's stamp on Boa Morte than Arteta's last week? Boa Morte yellow carded and Richardson not even spoken to! There is definite bias toward the Sky teams but the refs are pure shite in all the other games too.

And regarding 'worst' Everton player(s); Bernie Wright? Rod Belfitt? Glenn Keeley? Eamon O'Keefe? Bily is as superstar compared to those, believe me.

Jay Harris
16   Posted 06/12/2010 at 03:00:09

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Thanks to all of you who think I am young but I have watched EFC since 1959 and played at quite a high level myself.

Bily may have techical ability but does fuck all on the pitch.

He reminds me of a poor man's Duncan McKenzie without Duncan's level of skill.

In the modern game all 11 players need to put a shift in but Bily seems to have left half his energy in Russia.

5 minutes contribution out of 90 does not bode well for his future.
Jay Harris
17   Posted 06/12/2010 at 03:06:39

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John on reflection I do believe you are right with Glen Keeley who I believe only played not quite half a game for us.

He is worse than Billy.
Peter Barry
18   Posted 06/12/2010 at 04:44:22

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If any of you were ever in any doubt about Graham Poll's disgusting pro Chelsea bias this Daily Mail article will relieve you of it.

"GRAHAM POLL: Chelsea woes compounded by Stamford Bridge injustice...but refreshingly they didn't blame referee"

By Graham Poll
Last updated at 2:16 AM on 6th December 2010

Read more:
Guy Hastings
19   Posted 06/12/2010 at 09:17:39

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Anelka actually changed direction in order to clatter into Howard. Poor decision by the ref. And Moyes is bang on about Cech. The foul on him by Hunt is four seasons old. If he still has to wear a helmet in order to play then, in my opinion, Cech shouldn't be playing. If anything Terry's challenge on Cahill nudged his foot into Cech's forehead.
Dick Fearon
20   Posted 06/12/2010 at 09:18:14

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On football's biggest stage Graham Poll to his everlasting embarrasment never quite mastered the 3 card trick. Following that debacle, where does he find the gall to speak out on football related matters.
Santosh Benjamin
21   Posted 06/12/2010 at 09:43:36

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Just read the article that Graham Poll wrote. 3-card trick at international level and a lot of other rubbish that he was responsible for during his tenure in the league will not be forgotten for ages. He deserves a kick up the arse for this article alone. Can't believe people publish stuff like that too. I'm bloody mad... again!
Julian Wait
22   Posted 06/12/2010 at 13:46:21

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The picture with the article clearly shows Howard going for the ball in the opposite direction to where Anelka is coming from. Garbage decision, garbage commentary from Poll.
Neil Higginbotham
23   Posted 06/12/2010 at 22:37:16

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#18: Graham Poll: stupid twat and living proof of the 'big 4' bias that exists in the English media.
Mike Allison
24   Posted 08/12/2010 at 17:17:23

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Jay you must have slept through the years c.1990-c.2005 though right?

We've had threads in the past about the worst Everton players you've ever seen and plenty of the players in that period could be included.

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