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Abject Blues fall at the Reebok

By Paul  Traill :  13/02/2011 :  Comments (12) :
Things had started badly when I left the flat only to have to go back for my car keys. I then somehow broke the glove compartment in the car before picking up Gary for the short trip down the M62? and then the M61.

As with last season, we parked up in the Tesco car park and made a bee-line straight for the pub, The Beehive. The drizzly rain outside had by this point become almost torrential. With the game on Sky TV, I began to wonder why I bothered as I could have just watched it from the comfort of the couch. As it turned out, it seemed Everton felt the same.

We got into the ground nicely in time for kick-off. Two changes for the Blues: Cahill back in the team, replacing the injured Rodwell, and Anichebe in for the injured Saha. The bloke next to me stared at me in abject horror when I confirmed the Anichebe news to him. I wasn?t completely shocked by that decision as I thought Moyes would want a bigger target man in attack, it was more at the back where I was surprised with Jagielka over-looked for Heitinga despite our leaky defense.

We attacked the end opposite to us in the first half as the rain continued to fall. Bolton started the game with a purpose? as if they actually wanted to win it? you know, like most teams do and all teams should do. The opening goal was not so much a surprise, more a matter of time...

I couldn?t quite believe the referee gave Bolton a free kick in the first place? I actually thought he?d give it to Everton at first but Christ, quite how Gary Cahill was allowed the luxury of a free header from this is simply shocking? Cahill meeting the ball well, heading it downwards and in via a Heitinga deflection.

This awoke Everton a little and, as the half wore on, we got a good foothold in the game. Really Cahill oughta have scored on the volley when picked out with a super ball from Baines but he side-footed the opportunity wide. Otherwise, Arteta bent a powerful shot straight into Jaaskelainen?s arms. Apart from that, and the usual inept set-piece deliveries, there was nothing else to show from the first half. We hadn?t played well, though you?d seen enough in the half to suggest we?d be able to get ourselves back into the game.

Alas, this didn?t materialize. We began the second half reasonably well, at one point forcing quite a lot of pressure onto Bolton and spending a bit of time in their penalty area, though sadly with no shots or decent opportunities of note to get excited about.

On the hour mark, Moyes rolled the dice with a few changes, replacing Bilyaletdinov and Coleman with Beckford and Osman, thereby moving Anichebe out to the wing and Beckford up front. Everton didn?t have time to get going from this however as five minutes later we found ourselves two goals behind.

I?m not even sure how it all happened. I just remember Sturridge buying himself another kick from the linesman on the far side and the ball somehow, eventually falling for Sturridge in too much space on the left hand side of our penalty area. He wasted no time in smashing his volley into the net and that was game over.

What followed was humiliating. Players gave up. Players lost their heads. Players went missing. They just didn?t show enough fight to try and get back into the game and things were simple from there on in for Bolton who really could have scored more before the full-time whistle.

Sadly for us, we could have played all night and not scored. The closest we came was when substitute Baxter turned and got his shot on goal but Jaaskelainen was down to palm the ball round the post. Gary asked if we could leave early and it wouldn?t have been a bad idea in hindsight. Quite where I thought a goal was coming from I just don?t know, and come it didn?t as Everton succumbed to their eighth defeat of the campaign.

We got away from the ground quickly and it wasn?t long before we were home? We can now lick our wounds before next weekend's game?

So... Chelsea away next and on this showing the season will likely be over come next Saturday afternoon. A few observations, most of which were contributed to me by Graeme Sharp and disgruntled Evertonians on the Radio City football phone in:

- Defense needs sorting, and quickly - We?ve no money, so must be only club willing to aid Leicester City?s promotion push by loaning them our best goal scorer
- Why did Anichebe play? He hasn?t got a goal in him. Doesn?t Vaughan offer a lot, lot more?
- That Sturridge playing for Bolton on loan from Chelsea looks a cracking player. Lively, full of energy and bags of skill. Why the blazes couldn?t we have signed him if we had to let Yakubu go? He seems exactly what we need.

We?ve got one rocky road now for the rest of the season, but wouldn?t it be just like Everton to now go and play well at Stamford Bridge before blowing it at home to Sunderland.

Player Ratings

Howard: No chance with the goals. Not many other saves to make otherwise. 6
Baines: Didn?t do a lot wrong but possibly should have been better positioned for the Sturridge goal. 6
Distin: All over the place basically. 5
Heitinga: Poor defensively and terrible with the few set-pieces he played in. The sooner Jagielka is back the better in my opinion. 4
Neville: Needs to lead better than that. Was missing today. 4
Fellaini: I couldn?t believe I heard Moyes pinpoint Fellaini for criticism after today?s game. Fine, he wasn?t great but kept going at least unlike several others. Not exactly going to inspire the big man into signing a new contract is it? My man of the match. 6
Arteta: Was rather lively and brought the ball forward well for the most part, but was horrendously absent once we went to 0-2 and just didn?t offer enough when needed. 5
Bilyaletdinov: The foul throw was probably what got him subbed but I don?t really think he should have been. He wasn?t exactly having a stormer but could have offered a flash of brilliance perhaps which just might have made a difference. 5
Coleman: Tried to get involved but it just didn?t happen for Seamus today. 5
Cahill: Anonymous. 4
Anichebe: Started alright I suppose and I understand he may have been a bit tired without much football for the best part of two years but the way he just gave up on the match was simply shocking. You do wonder where a goal is going to come from for Vic. Saddening to watch Sturridge cause us havoc at one end whilst Anichebe plods about at the other. 3
Osman (for Bilyaletdinov): He tried to get things going but struggled in this one coming off the bench. 4
Beckford (for Coleman): Didn?t appear to try and get as involved in the game as you?d expect him to. I wasn?t impressed with his moaning at Fellaini when Beckford himself failed to control a perfectly good pass. 4
Baxter: (for Anichebe): At least got himself involved and, lo and behold, forced a save out of Jaaskelainen. I wonder if he may have just played his way in a bit more towards the end of the season. 6

Reader Comments

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Dave Robinson
1   Posted 14/02/2011 at 06:37:32

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Everton, the club I love, the club I hold so dear to my heart and have been a loyal supporter for 38 years. What as happened to you and why are we playing players who are not good enough to wear the shirt?

Moyes is a great manager and as his hands tied by financial constraints to build a great team and develop the squad to be a consistent top 6 side. We have too many players who have not got the ability on the ball or the technical know-how to control games and give that killer pass.

What has happened to Arteta, the wizardry on the ball, the vision and being the player to deliver the goods. Why is Jags not in the side alongside Distin, when Heitinga is a headless chicken who lacks conviction in a challenge and nowhere near the same class defender as Jags?

Anichebe can't control a ball, does not score enough goals, hold the ball up well enough and does not know how to link play up. But we stick him up front and stick Beckford on the bench. Not the best striker in the world, but does know how to score goals when needed.

Bily has lost his confidence and is not a winger who ghosts past players, can't tackle and not enough pace to keep up with Baines.

Gueye, the secret weapon, is so secret that I must've missed the performances in the season build up and wait for the weapon to explode on the scene.

You can't fault players like Baines, Distin, Cahill, Howard, Neville, Saha when fit and Fellaini when the team is performaning well but when you have a lot of players not good enough or performing then it won't be too many great performances. We don't have enough on the field, never mind what we have on the bench to change games.

Please come on, Everton ? we want better and please someone buy this great club with more true footballing history than any other. We love you and always will but deserve better.

Eugene Ruane
2   Posted 14/02/2011 at 07:50:18

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Dave Robinson has come up with a fun game to take all our minds off yesterday.

It's called 'Great'.

Anyone else up for playing? (you'll pick it up fast).

Dave says..

"Moyes is a great manager".

Ok, I'll go next.

"Cliff Richards is a great heterosexual who HATES the idea of arse action, would love to have married, but simply never met the right girl"

Who's next?
Peter Barry
3   Posted 14/02/2011 at 08:38:59

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Everton are in the relegation battle now get used to it. We have too many players who are just not good enough for the Premier League chiefly Anichebe, Heitinga, Osman, Neville, Hibbert and even Arteta on his form this season. Also Moyes's tactical team selection and substitutions are just not good enough too.

Replying to Eugene, Gerard and Carragher are great gentlemen and sporing opponents.

Charles King
4   Posted 14/02/2011 at 09:41:58

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My nob gets smaller the worse we play.

The great part is my underpants are very comfortable at the moment.
Eugene Ruane
5   Posted 14/02/2011 at 10:16:29

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Good job it's nor the other way round Charles, otherwise you'd look like Jake The Peg.
Henry Enzio
6   Posted 14/02/2011 at 14:34:43

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Ok, first things first. Yesterday was awful. So bad in fact I had a nightmare last night about us getting beat 9-1 at Goodison by Tranmere.

Looking at those players yesterday, I couldn't help but think that rather than not trying I was looking at a group who need a lift. Raining abuse down on the lads is going to get us nowhere. They can play! We've seen that against good teams this season.

I tend to think our worst perfoemances come when we are expecting us to do well. This season I think a fair amount of us thought we could push for top 4. Well we arent going to do that and we aren't going to get relagated. It's going to be (bar some cup herorics) a write off season.

Disappointing, yes, but after you've had a knock, the people who love you are meant to be there for you and we should be there for all of them.

Kevin Tully
7   Posted 14/02/2011 at 14:49:38

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Here's a prediction for the headlines in next Sunday's papers.

"Plucky Everton hold on for 2-0 defeat"

That brilliant manger Moyes has never won away against .... well, you all know the stat.

Pack the midfield, look for a bit of pride in the performance, and bend over to take your medicine. EFC 2011.
James Stewart
8   Posted 14/02/2011 at 16:29:57

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Kevin Tully ? depressingly spot on!
Brian Waring
9   Posted 14/02/2011 at 16:26:00

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Moyes is a great manager, whose tactical ability is up there with the best in the world.
Chris Jones
10   Posted 14/02/2011 at 19:05:35

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Kenwright - 12 years in charge no trophies.
Moyes - 9 years in charge no trophies.

John Moores will be crying in his grave.
Jon Cox
11   Posted 14/02/2011 at 19:48:07

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Eugene, Rock Hudson, the all time Hollywood stud that all the swooning girls got slightly wrong.

Great post mate, enjoyed that !!
Jon Cox
12   Posted 14/02/2011 at 20:05:57

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Charles (4) so by the end of the season should we call you Charlene?

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