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Why has our home form been so poor?

By Carl Rutherford :  23/01/2011 :  Comments (14) :
Another two points dropped at home today against inferior opposition and unfortunately our league season now seems reduced to trying to build for next season. So what has gone wrong after the expectation following last season?s end of season optimism?

Well perhaps many of us underestimated the size of the task of turning a moderately successful team who played direct football into a purists footballing side who could challenge at the right end of the table? It has been a strange season, even by Everton?s standards, while it has been incredibly frustrating and the results have been verging on unacceptable I can only think of one game (Newcastle at home) where the performance has not been acceptable. This makes it more frustrating in many respects as it seems we aren?t far from becoming a very good side. However this string of bad results has gone on too long to say we just need an additional bit of luck to turn the corner, we have to analyze the performances a little deeper.

I think the first problem has been highlighted and discussed in detail on many occasions this season ? an inability to convert possessions into chances and chances into goals. I think in recent weeks we have been encouraged by Saha?s return to goalscoring form and I thought his performance when he came on today was much more like his old self. I was also encouraged by Arteta?s performance today certainly before the goal his passing was imaginative and he showed a greater willingness to get on the ball. I also liked Osman?s contribution on the left. He seems much more effective there when he plays on the right he tends to go on the outside of defenders and get isolated and barged off the ball. However today he tried to come inside more often and link play letting Baines go outside of him. This suited him much better and hopefully he can fill some of the Pienaar void.

The major problem today is something which has been overlooked but I think needs addressing with some urgency. I think a major factor that has cost us so many points at home this season is how vulnerable we are from broken play. It seemed on each occasion that we lost the ball today West Ham would mount a dangerous attack. It cost us both goals and could have seen us further punished. This has not been a problem in previous seasons as we have always remained well organized at the back and have taken relatively few risks (both with and without the ball) during games. This is something that Moyes has been roundly criticized for in the past and I think trying to do something about it has cost us a significant number of points this term.

I know a lot of goals are scored on the break but are we more exposed to this threat because we are over committing against teams we feel we should be beating? Or is it a case that the very best who are used to coping with teams playing on the counter attack are much more adept at defending it? Whatever the reason I think the problem is becoming further exacerbated by an anxiety in the players caused by our poor home form, this leads to a lack of patience and a temptation to try passes that are not on or make forward runs that leave the defence exposed.

Our poor home form has been the cause of our disappointing season so far and while I think we have made significant improvements in the style of our play this has caused its own problems. Would we be struggling to kill off teams in the bottom quarter of the table with a more direct approach? Has it become easy for teams to sit back and soak up the pressure in the knowledge that they will create chances against us on the break?

While I certainly would not advocate a return to hoofball I would suggest the answer to second of these questions is yes. I don?t think we can blame any one player for our failure to defend counter attacks. I think defending in such circumstances needs to be done as a team and decision making is key. Perhaps we are further away from the top four than we thought and that to go forward we have had to take two steps back. I think this is a key moment in our clubs history if David Moyes can address our flaws at each end of the pitch we could still have a team that can challenge the elite. If not on our shoe string budget Pienaar?s departure may not be the first and we could well be about to witness the breakup of the current squad.

Reader Comments

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Leon Perrin
1   Posted 23/01/2011 at 17:05:16

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We are not set up to be creative. At home, that sticks out like a sore thumb; we're half-beaten before Z-Cars starts.
Dave Lynch
2   Posted 23/01/2011 at 21:29:44

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Home form is poor because.

A. Moyes is a poor tactician.

B. Round is worse.

C. The team is not good enough.

D. Prem survival is are aim each season, no more no less.

E. We are shit.

Karl Masters
3   Posted 23/01/2011 at 22:08:20

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It's happened a lot going right back to the first home game against Wolves. Shows a lack of concentration at the back whilst we attack and that we need a genuine Carsley type defensive midfielder ready to step in when our play breaks up.

Good to see something constructive on here rather than the Blame Game Merchants moaning away.
Daniel Johnson
4   Posted 23/01/2011 at 22:45:33

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An exam question.

Question: Why has Everton FCs home form been so poor this season?

Please Choose A, B, C or D as you answer.

Peter Bourke
5   Posted 23/01/2011 at 23:51:15

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With the current squad, how would you set us up to be more creative?
Roman Sidey
6   Posted 24/01/2011 at 00:14:41

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To be fair, the squad is not too bad, only too small. The main problem with the players at the moment is mindset. For some reason, they aren't being prepared properly for games, and on the field, they don't look instinctive, only reactive to circumstances, having pre-arranged actions to said circumstances. Now, what might be the root cause of this mindset? See Daniel Johnson's post at #4 for the explanation.
Roman Sidey
7   Posted 24/01/2011 at 00:14:41

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To be fair, the squad is not too bad, only too small. The main problem with the players at the moment is mindset. For some reason, they aren't being prepared properly for games, and on the field, they don't look instinctive, only reactive to circumstances, having pre-arranged actions to said circumstances. Now, what might be the root cause of this mindset? See Daniel Johnson's post at #4 for the explanation.
Roman Sidey
8   Posted 24/01/2011 at 00:23:30

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Also to Carl,
I don't see how you can sayt that the Newcastle game was the only game where the performance was unacceptable. I would say our only performance that was acceptable at home, at least was probably the Tottenham game, with a sneaky second maybe being the derby, but even that was questionable.
Leon Perrin
9   Posted 24/01/2011 at 06:26:44

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pay me 3 million and I'll tell you....
Kev Lacey
10   Posted 24/01/2011 at 08:03:03

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How many goals this season have we lost due to our inability to shut people down before the ball comes in the box? Time an time again I've see players back off and let the people come in which seems to cause chaos in our box or Howard to flap. Serious training ground needs to be on all areas of play because they are making shocking schoolboy errors, which whatever you think of our tactics over the past few years never used to be the case. If we can see it who knows how £90kplus a weeks worth of management cant.
Colin Potter
11   Posted 24/01/2011 at 09:05:26

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Daniel Johnson,
come on, give us a clue!
Norman Merrill
12   Posted 24/01/2011 at 14:24:33

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When a player comes out in the press and says we have got to have a go at the opposition, right from the start, instead of the final ten minutes, that answers your question.

Leon Osman after the West Ham match.

Alan Smeeth
13   Posted 24/01/2011 at 14:03:36

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Moyes's tactics is the problem. It's no coincidence that so many teams have some of their best away performances at GP.

For the teams that come and park the bus, we are too predictable; they in turn gain in confidence, relax and play well. We lose confidence because we can't move the bus and the boot is on the other foot. It will then take till half-time for something else to happen in our favour.

Watch how many times at home we have started very well, to reasonably well, and ? after 3 or 4 poor deliveries and an inability to get a shot away from decent positions ? watch how well the other side comes at us, no matter who they are.

Andy Crooks
14   Posted 24/01/2011 at 18:08:30

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Dave lynch, unfortunately you are absolutely right.

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