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Howard or Mucha?

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Two more points thrown away, and again it's Tim Howard who must take the blame. Is he doing a good enough job to verify selection week-in, week-out? How many mistakes does he have to make before the more-than-able Mucha gets a chance? With the three points he has cost us so far, we would have been 7th in the league, just behind United and a mile ahead of Liverpool.

So what happened yesterday? If he has made his mind up to go out and punch, then he must get a hand on it. He was high enough, the ball didn't go over him, he just missed it!!

Sometimes I feel he has a nonchalant attitude to his job. Takes things for granted. But did you see Van der Vaarts run? He anticipated where that ball was going, why didn't Distin? Surely if he sees the keeper leave his goal then it should be his job to cover?

A real pity because this would have been a great 3 points, we lost all initiative at a very important time in the game. Otherwise I thought the defence looked good, reducing a powerful Spurs attacking force to a handful of long shots. Pity we were so toothless going forward.

Well... Is it time Jan Mucha got a chance, or are we happy with the job Tim is doing?


Tony Cheek, Haugesund, Norway     Posted 24/10/2010 at 09:27:04

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David Price
1   Posted 24/10/2010 at 15:52:31

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Howard; move on now to a Heitinga debate or Bily now Osman is injured.
Dean Adams
2   Posted 24/10/2010 at 16:10:20

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Still one of the best keepers around and we should stop being so quick to put the boot in to our players.
Rob Murphy
3   Posted 24/10/2010 at 16:46:53

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Don't think Mucha is much of an improvement on what we had before. Tim makes mistakes but what keeper doesn't???
Tony Cheek
4   Posted 24/10/2010 at 16:47:18

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No-one is putting the boot in, but when a player doesn't play well, maybe he should get a reminder that he has to do better to keep his place. Tim is a keeper who can be the best in the league one week and let us down another.

All keepers make mistakes (we saw Van der Saar`s miss last week), but I like to think that no Everton player should take for granted that they play every game.

Andy Crooks
5   Posted 24/10/2010 at 16:58:05

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I believe that Howard must start next time. The way to build a player's confidence is to play him after a howler. Let Tim have a couple of good games then give him a rest. Distin against Liverpool was an example of trusting someone paying off.
Dave Smith
6   Posted 24/10/2010 at 16:55:44

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To be honest, Howard was just unlucky. Had he stayed on the line he would have had to produce a world class save to stop Van der Vaart's shot. Especially from that range. He made the right decision to go for the ball.

Van der Vaart being unmarked in the area to make the shot is a bigger concern for me.
Dave Charles
7   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:04:49

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It was a costly error as was the one at Blackburn. His performance against Man Utd and his form in general has been OK. Leave things as they are.
Steve Higham
8   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:27:43

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Just posted on another thread about this issue... What is our 'wonderful' goalkeeping coach doing to address Howard's handling problems? It's about time he started earning his money. I believe Howard is a great shot-stopper but has his problems coming for high balls; this should be sorted out at Finch Farm.

I've never rated Woods; bring in Neville Southall or Nigel Martyn ? they would sort the problem out.

Ernie McAllister
9   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:34:19

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Both have their issues, but no thanks to Mucha... he isn't half as good as Howard can be. I think we need to be looking for a better second keeper, imo.
Ernie McAllister
10   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:35:21

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"...before the more-than-able Mucha"

Me thinks you have never seen this lad play for us in the reserves or in the first team... I am being diplomatic when I say NO!
Ernie McAllister
11   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:36:28

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I just want to say about Howard: One-n-one, head on he will save 99.9% of the time; same with pens really.

It just seems the lad has zero spatial awareness because, when a cross comes either side of his area, he completely flaps or just stands there watching it flop over, 9/10 he will let it go, usually straight into the net.

He simply can't deal with left / right crosses and it's here we are vulnerable with Howard.

The question is, why are our defenders so lackadaisical when defending from either the right or left of our area?

So, for me, the deeper question isn't so much Howard fucking up, but more to do with our defenders stood there ball-watching... which they are usually pretty guilty of on the edge of our box.
Paul Olsen
12   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:48:06

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I believe it is time for Mucha to be given a chance; however, I doubt he has what it takes to pip Howard for the long term.

An example should be set nevertheless, unless Mucha is considered the same mould as Wessels/Nash.

In the end though, I still think Howard will be No 1 for some time to come.
Andrew Conroy
13   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:58:13

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It was a howler, and no mistake, but I think some blame needs to be pointed at Baines who, not for the first time, gave far too much time and space to the guy putting the cross in.
Tom Bowers
14   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:57:55

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Yes, a little early to say if Tim should be given a rest. Yes, two blunders have contributed to dropping 5 points and we have to hope these are just blips on a career at Everton which has been excellent. I am sure Moyes will act if it starts to become a more frequent habit, as would any manager.
Dan Brierley
15   Posted 24/10/2010 at 17:51:35

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How on earth is it down to Howard, that the goalscorer was left unmarked in the centre? Yes, he was at error for missing the cross. But in the build up play, there were several errors that meant the cross even got put in.

We only got a point, due to our ineptitude going forward, not because Howard made a mistake. Yet again, our supporters have to find a scapegoat to blame, and made responsible. This is a team game, there are 10 other players on that pitch. if Howard makes mistakes week-in, week-out, then it's a fair call to drop him. But when you get players like Bily and Heitinga constantly failing to deliver, blame deserves to fall with them first.
Charlie Percival
16   Posted 24/10/2010 at 18:03:13

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No one mentions his save vs Man Utd. Best save I've EVER seen.

Briliant Keeper, just a shame his mistakes are resulting in goals. He won't make any more errors this season.

Trust me.
Michael Kenrick
17   Posted 24/10/2010 at 18:56:05

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Here's my take, FWIW! Yes, goalkeepers make mistakes. But at the highest level, such mistakes count against them ? or they should. I believe this is exactly why Howard was dropped by Alex Ferguson and failed to make the grade at Man Utd. ? Oh, and blaiming defenders for exposing Howard to easy floated crosses is way, way off the mark.

Howard at Everton is a different deal: there is no doubt he is one Moyes's favourites to the extent that, if he is fit, he will start. No ? scratch that: the new Moyes paradigm is, even if you are unfit, you will start!!! Those mistakes Howard makes are clearly NOT counting against him ? despite the words of David Moyes about putting some pressure on him that only I seem to remember...

Howard does a pretty good job, especially close range one-on-one. But 99.9% of penalties saved? Er.. no, but he has saved a few and that's always brilliant for me. I think he has two weaknesses: lack of concentration or focus when dealing with floated crosses (both of his howlers this season), and the ease with which some long-range shots will catch him out.

My comments elsewhere were intended to highlite the fact that Mucha is patently NOT putting any effective pressure on Howard's position. I believe they were empty words from Moyes: Mucha is clearly NOT an option. He is at Everton to sit on the bench as the required sub, needed only to provide cover in the event of injury or red card to Howard.

In this subordinate role, he joins a long list of such poor keepers purchased or retained by Moyes over the last 8½ years:

Paul Gerrard
Steve Simonsen
Iain Turner
Espen Baardsen
Richard Wright
Stefan Wessels
Carlo Nash
John Ruddy

and now...

Jan Mucha

I will be surprised if Moyes drops Howard to the bench and plays Mucha for a Premier League game.
Michael Kenrick
18   Posted 24/10/2010 at 19:22:08

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Dan Brierly, I've just read your comment and am staggered by the disparities:

1) Howard shouldn't be made responsible for his mistake. ? Err.. He made the mistake; of course he's responsible. How laughingly ridicuous!

2) To do so is "scapegoating"?!?! ? Don't be so silly. A player makes a mistake that losess us 2 points ? of course we're going to comment on it. To call that "scapegoating" is pathetic.

3) "We only got a point due to our ineptitude going forward." ? the Moyes game plan, lest you forget, is to grab one from a set-piece and then hold onto the lead by way of superbly disciplined defence. We got the goal brilliantly from the set piece and that was 3 points... we dropped 2 of them when Howard fluffed at the cross. Everything else was playing catchup, which we are not very good at.

4) "Heigtinga and Bily should be blamed instead". ? Unfuckingbelievable! They were poor, but they did not make nor even contribute in any way to the blatant error the keeper made that cost us the win.
Michael Kidd
19   Posted 24/10/2010 at 19:37:58

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At the place he jumped for it, he couldn't reach it. He didn't misjudge its direction, but its height. He did make a mistake, but I still want to know why Hutton had so long to put in his cross. Don't think it was Baines's job - he doesn't have to mark the opposition full back does he? Bily's job? And who the hell was marking Van der Vaart?
Ben Jones
20   Posted 24/10/2010 at 20:08:18

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Michael, a bit ott your reaction aint it? Howard has made two mistakes this season. There have been lots of games where he's kept us in the game, especially as Charlie says, against Utd.

People just remember the mistakes when I guarantee, when Mucha or whoever else we have playing, we would have dropped points.

The defenders letting Van der Vaart have that much space is just as bad as a crime.

But no it's always the obvious error - HOWARD, HOWARD, HOWARD
John Crook
21   Posted 24/10/2010 at 20:16:27

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Howard could quite earily go the next 10/15 games without a major mistake, keep 7/8 clean sheets and no-one would say fuck all apart from we are defending really well.

Yes, Tim has effectively cost us a couple of points but for all those of you with really short memories ? go back 6 weeks in time to the 3-3 United game and Howard's unbelievable reaction save in that match. Didn't that effectively gain a point?? There is no need to drop Howard unless the mistakes are happening regularly.

Dan Brierley
22   Posted 24/10/2010 at 19:58:08

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Michael, I know its difficult for you to understand. Your narrow mindedness is staggering sometimes.

It is fickle to believe that football matches hinge on single isolated incidents. Football matches are over 90 minutes, with 22 participants taking part. Who let Hutton put the cross in? Why didn't Distin follow Van Der Vaarts run? Why did Spurs have the ball anyway? Who lost possession that resulted in the goal? There is no foolish guarantee that says had Howard saved the cross, we would have won. Howard saving that cross may have resulted in us losing the game 4-1, as the whole balance of the game would have changed.

You are looking at the symptom as opposed to the cause. One shot on goal from a set play is not good enough nor deserving to win three points in the Premier League away from home. The simple fact is, we need to play better as a team. Bily and Heitinga were just as much if not more at fault, for being extremely ineffective for 90 minutes. Howard made a single mistake.

And your comment re Moyes is utter bollocks. You must have not watched the Birmingham game or the Derby last week.

Nicholas Harrison
23   Posted 24/10/2010 at 20:32:04

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Hang on a second, how the heck was that goal Distin's fault??? For a start, Heitinga was the man who let Van Der Vaart go. Secondly, while we're at it, why not criticise Jags for not anticipating the mistake from Howard and heading it away? Strikers are taught to anticipate the mistake and so are defenders. There seems to be an illogical hatred towards Distin from Evertonians at times. Similar to Yobo and, from other team's fans, toward Bramble. An almost racist dislike for these players.
Dave Smith
24   Posted 24/10/2010 at 20:39:52

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Nicholas #21. I think you're way off the mark with that one. Seems to me you added 2+2 and got 5. What about the illogical hatred directed towards Hibbert, Osman or Neville?

Micheal #17. I don't think you can criticise Moyes for retaining Simonsen and Gerrard. I seem to remember him bringing Wright in very quickly after taking charge.
Tony Cheek
25   Posted 24/10/2010 at 20:48:39

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Not at all Nicholas, I think Distin has been really solid lately and is making it difficult for DM to pick Heitinga instead, but it wasn't about following a player it was about covering an open goal. He should have anticipated better. The fault was Howard's, when he leaves his line to punch or catch, he has to get a hand on it ? he didn't!!!
Luke Dunn
26   Posted 24/10/2010 at 21:50:02

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It could be worse: at least we dont have Mr R Green. Mucha is shite; leave Howard alone, he is the least of our worries.
Aiden Jones
27   Posted 24/10/2010 at 23:05:14

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Steve ? how do you know if Woods is earning his money? He might work the keepers very hard in training on crosses but Howard just got it wrong on Saturday.

How would Nev or Nigel sort it out? Just because they were great/very good keepers does not mean they will be great coaches.

David Hallwood
28   Posted 25/10/2010 at 00:27:09

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As everyone has said, all GKs make mistakes, the problem with Howard's is that his mistakes are howlers, so it isn't a case of poor positioning, or not getting his feet right. Against Spurs and Blackburn the mistakes could be filed under 'the fat kid who gets put in goal cos he's crap everywhere else'.

I must've seen the goal 20 times and it looks worse everytime I see it. He's up there with clamity James, both of them go from the sublime to the ridiculous at the blink of an eye
Michael Kenrick
29   Posted 25/10/2010 at 00:06:19

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Dan (#22): "It is fickle to believe that football matches hinge on single isolated incidents." ? now you are becoming a parody of yourself... Consider what scoring a goal represents ? I'll give you a clue: a single isolated incident on which a match hinges.

Baines scores from free-kick ? Goal.
Howard flaps and misses ? Goal.
Baines fails to score from almost identical free-kick: no goal.

Are these the isolated incidents you are rejecting as match-hinging? In each case, they could go either way, but history records they went only one way, and two of those three events determined the outcome of the match.

Of course in your fantasy world, the score could have been anything you like. I'm sorry but I'm not sure quite what twisted mental process you invoke to make that particular diversion relevant to this discussion.

"One shot on goal from a set play is not good enough nor deserving to win three points in the Premier League away from home." ? funny, I've never read that rule, and I'm sure managers whose teams succeed in winning 1-0 away from home might not be familiar with it either. But let's go back to this match and think if you can of Moyes's ethos: score from set piece... defend at all costs. That is the essential game plan. We did okay with one part... we did okay with the other too ? for 93 of the 94 mins. What happened in that other minute... actually more like 5 game-hinging seconds? From an easy floated cross, flying through the keeper's hands, a goal is scored. A goal that most likely would not have been scored if the goalkeeper had not made that error.

The final score was 1-1 ? not 4-1. Spurs scored their one goal through an error made by the Everton goalkeeper. If you can't accept that as reality, then we really are living on different planets.

The derby, we were playing at home, in case you hadn't noticed, and in that game we should have gone for the jugular because we were playing a weak and demoralized pile of shite, but Moyes had them back off and defend because they were all done in at 60-mins.

At Birmingham, the match hinged on one attack in which an own-goal was scored for the the visitors (oh I see your point: not a set-piece! Damn!), who had defended well to that stage and then defended well to the end of the game. They got a very heart-warming goal in added time in the last attack of the match when they were actually trying to play the clock down... you think that disproves the Moyes ethos?

Perhaps I do need to generalize it a little bit ? snatch a goal, *maybe* from a set piece, and defend to the hilt.

Jason Lam
30   Posted 25/10/2010 at 03:58:47

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If Mucha cannot provide competition to Howard it makes you wonder why we bothered signing him in the first place.
Matthew Tait
31   Posted 25/10/2010 at 09:25:53

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As Fergie so eloquently put it (?), sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's better than the cow you already have in your field. And it never really turns out that way.

Some of us are a fickle bunch... all I can say is careful what you wish for. Look, no-one's claiming that Howard is perfect. He's certainly made more silly, costly mistakes than I would like (but then all keepers make mistakes occasionally, even Van der Sar as seen recently).

Aside from those (relatively few) mistakes, Howard's generally a very good Premier League goalkeeper. He is extremely difficult to beat one-on-one, and makes a lot of top, top class saves. Credit for the way he stepped up after Saturday's mistake, and I can think of any number of times he's saved our bacon. I don't think there's any debate at all that behind Nigel Martyn he's the next best keeper we've had since Southall's heyday.

Of course there's a chance that Mucha is a superb keeper who will make as many top class saves as Howard but with fewer mistakes. I'm not in a position to judge, I've never seen him play. But, to be honest, I think the chances aren't all that good. Personally I'm happy for Howard to stay our No 1 for a long time.
Jamie Rowland
32   Posted 25/10/2010 at 09:58:50

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While Howard should have claimed that ball...it shouldn't ever have been allowed to be crossed in to the far post.

It was in out-swinging cross heading for the far post, it was a brilliant cross also ? had Bainesy put that ball in we'd have been happy.

Howard didn't flap at it either ? he was at full stretch try to punch it clear, he missed it, the rebound hit him and bobbled infront of goal for a tap in ? it happens and we'll get over it.

I bet Moyes is just as unhappy with the defending that allowed the space for the cross.
Jimmy Hacking
33   Posted 25/10/2010 at 10:56:20

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Jason Lam (30) ? good point mate, what's the point in having a back-up goalie? its not like our players ever get injured. Get rid of Mucha AND Turner I say.
James Cadwaladr
34   Posted 25/10/2010 at 11:56:11

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Tony, have a look again. I would say it was more Heitinga's fault not following Van der Vaart than Distin's.
Tony J Williams
35   Posted 25/10/2010 at 13:32:06

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To be honest, that was Spurs tactic all through the game, lump the ball up to Crouch and try and get the knock down. They were one-dimensional; however let's not beat around the bush, Howard's blunder costs us the points ? not a defender switching off because he fully expected his keeper to deal with an easy ball.
Michael Kenrick
36   Posted 25/10/2010 at 13:41:40

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TJW, a rare moment indeed: I think we may be in complete agreement on this.

I need some virtual flags to put out!
Matthew Tait
37   Posted 25/10/2010 at 14:15:07

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Yes Howard's mistake was very bad (though as others have said both the marking on the cross and the goal itself was also very poor, either of which could have prevented the goal), but I think personally that it's going a bit far to say he "cost us the points".

Yes, we were ahead at the time. But we were only a third of the way through the game, and frankly Spurs had been the better team to that point. For the rest of the game Spurs also looked more likely to score - Crouch in particular missed a couple of very good chances, and Modric also came close.

Ok sure maybe we could have held on for 1-0 and I'm sure conceding so quickly didn't help our momentum, but I just want to point out the obvious that it's a 90-minute team game and it isn't entirely fair to blame the result on one mistake by one player.

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