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After simmering down after Sunday's debacle, I watched the game again and unsurprisingly came to the following conclusions:

Wenger certainly has done his job on the FA. His team's spoiling tactics are there to see but not many people notice it. Yesterday, Arsenal kept the ball for long periods, passing the ball and making our players chase shadows, but when they lose the ball they tended to foul our players so that our momentum came to a sudden end. Especially when they were 2-0 up.

It's called spoiling tactics, Mr Wenger, and your team gets away with it. Howard Webb didn't help, I know, and it's not sour grapes, but no wonder we struggled to get any rhythm into our game when after chasing shadows for 2-3 minutes all we end up with is a free kick. I hope the Gooners get a taste of their own medicine but I doubt it.
Antony Matthews, Darwen     Posted 15/11/2010 at 19:35:28

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David Barks
1   Posted 15/11/2010 at 21:07:42

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Arsenal have the worst disciplinary record in the league, they aren't completely getting away with anything. I'm not contradicting your assessment, I saw much of the same thing. However, this isn't why we lost.

I'm pretty sure we played more balls to our own keeper than we played into their box up until the final 5 minutes where we suddenly began to pressure. Their players are some of the worst divers, just look at the youngster Wilshere and new boy Chamack. Fabregas could be sent off in just about every match but does usually pick up at least a yellow.

Dick Fearon
2   Posted 15/11/2010 at 21:38:38

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I agree with both above gentlemen but did not mention it for fear of sour grapes etc.
After his third foul Song got little more than a mild warning whereas Heitinga for his first foul got a vociferous threatening lecture followed by a yellow.
Song went on fouling for the rest of the game while Johnnie was on thin ice and had to be subbed.
I also wondered why Fabregas without punishment was allowed to continuously get into the ear of our supposedly best referee. The TV commentators picked up on the same thing with one of them saying that Fabregas as usual was reffing the game.
There, Ive said it as I saw it and I don't care if its called sour grapes.
David Barks
3   Posted 15/11/2010 at 22:19:24

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It doesn't sound like sour grapes unless you say we would have won if not for them doing X, Y, and Z. I decided to watch the game and was extremely disappointed in the way we played. We were extremely cautious to attack Arsenal. As I said we played the ball back to Howard so many damn times it made me want to scream and it wasn't even half time yet. Any time an Everton player couldn't clearly find another Everton player completely unmarked, we played it backward once, then again to the keeper. Instead of simply playing the ball quickly to the other side of the pitch. It's a really simple theory tactic in football, reverse the ball. And it's not just Neville who does this although he might be the worst about it. It was the whole thing. In my opinion that's why we lost. You are only presented with so many chances in a football match to make something happen. The problem with Everton is that we constantly look for a clear cut opening or play the ball backward, letting the defense settle into position nicely and never feel too much pressure.
Andrew Keatley
4   Posted 16/11/2010 at 00:23:11

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I don't think the biggest problem on Sunday was when we were in possession ? but when we weren't.

It seemed to me that we (especially in central midfield) were slow to see danger developing, and some of the time and space we allowed the Arsenal players was massively worrying.

Moyes seemed to have set the team up to defend zonally; although that can work against predictable sides, a team like Arsenal ? especially if you give them time on the ball ? is only going to play into their hands.

Couple this with the fact that Arteta must have had his worst game in an Everton shirt, and Heitinga seemed to be on auto-pilot, and I think that's why we lost ? although Arsenal's spoiling tactics and Howard Webb contributed in their own way.
Dave Charles
5   Posted 16/11/2010 at 09:20:53

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That's football all over mate. Watch how Man United players crowd around refs when their players are fouled and then hold their hands up when they foul. Watch Gerrard in constant verbals with referees and Carragher always aiming one liners at the refs. It worked with Clattenberg a few years ago.

What annoys me about our players is, we don't do the same. We are always the goody goodies asking refs not to book the opponents (Cahill), when they chase down the ref until he books our players. It's not right but that's the way it is and if we don't do the same, then we'll be stuck forever moaning in the pub after the game.

Tony J Williams
6   Posted 16/11/2010 at 09:49:45

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Dick, it was Sagna wasn't it... I only say this as I was continually saying Song aswell on Sunday in the pub afterwards.

Arsenal make me sick and my mate at the match actually labelled Wilshere as his "New Robbie Savage", this is the same lad who lost it only once at a match and stood up when it was quiet and shouted "Savage you twat, if it's the last thing I do I will find you and fucking kill you".

Diving bastards the lot of them; however, twice Webb did well and told Wilting and Chakka Khan to get up and waved play on. About the only right thing he did all afternoon.
Antony Matthews
7   Posted 16/11/2010 at 11:35:17

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I supose what I was trying to say, chaps, was that no wonder Arsenal can commit so many people going forward. When they lose the ball they foul and then they can get all their men behind the ball again. The only time it doesn't happen is if a ball is laid off quickly and the ref waves play on after the ensuing foul comes in.
Alex Gibney
8   Posted 16/11/2010 at 11:42:31

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Arsenal totally outclassed us for long periods of the game as they usually do against us. They made us look ponderous. That's why they have beaten us so many times in recent years. Whether they use "spoiling tactics" is debatable as everyone does anyway.
Anthony Hughes
9   Posted 16/11/2010 at 11:42:25

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Arsenal can commit so many men going forward because they have a manager who likes to play attacking, attractive and positive football. Implemented by technically adept and talented footballers with pace in each position on the park.
Gareth Humphreys
10   Posted 16/11/2010 at 13:30:27

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Maybe it was because they just have better footballers than us?
Brian Waring
11   Posted 16/11/2010 at 13:37:53

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Thats it Gareth, they have better players, and are an all round better team.

We had many pre-season, who were deluded enough to think that we were just as good as them.
Tony J Williams
12   Posted 16/11/2010 at 13:56:36

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Amen Gareth, simple isn't it?
Max Main
13   Posted 16/11/2010 at 14:10:06

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I actually agree with the OP. I noticed this on Sunday but in the depression of the defeat I sort of forgot all about it. They were full of nothingy little fouls that stopped us when we were building attacks.

Unfortunately, I just had a quick glance at the Telegraph stats page, hoping it would back up my point and I came to find that Everton have actually conceded one foul more than Arsenal this season... but they have amassed 24 yellow cards to our 13, and 4 red cards to our 1. So looking at those stats it's suddenly difficult to suggest they're getting away with it. Oh well.
James Marshall
14   Posted 16/11/2010 at 14:24:22

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I don't remember there being anything in the rules about the tactics you adopt?

Good luck to them if they stopped our attacks with silly little fouls ? win at all costs, gents, and that's about the end of it.

We were pretty bad, they weren't much better; man-up and move on.
Tom Bowers
15   Posted 16/11/2010 at 16:49:40

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Anthony, I sympathize with all your frustration but let's not hit out at Arsenal. Of all teams, they are the best at playing the game and a delight to watch except when they are playing and usually beating the Blues. I think they attack away from home more than all the other teams in the league. If there were no Everton, then I would support the Gunners, especially under Wenger.

We have all seen that it could have been so different on Sunday if Timmie had put away that early chance and scoring first for Everton is so crucial to get something out of the games. We have had a half decent run of late without being impressive whilst dodging a few bullets. However, teams like Arsenal make you pay.

On a side note, Sagna is not the first full back to score against the Blues this season and one wonders if more will do the same if defensive lapses continue like they have been?

Steve Cotton
16   Posted 16/11/2010 at 17:17:33

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Just a couple of points that struck me during the Arsenal match:

1. When Saha was brought down by the last man, we hardly made any complaints about the 'last man' and he should have walked... If it had been Torres brought down, the entire Liverpool side would have been in Webb's ear; same with Man Utd or Chelsea... We are just too easy-going.

2. If we had any sort of fully functioning central midfield, we would have kept them out. Arteta was 3/10 material, Heitinga was always going to get booked for something minor and either walk or play poorly, Rodwell was unfit. Saha needs a slap to make him wake up too!!

3. Arsenal's spoiling tactics were making our possession so bitty that we could not generate any momentum. Again, clever tactics by a team that knew they could get away with it...

Mike Allison
17   Posted 16/11/2010 at 17:41:50

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Yeah absolutely, because Arsenal have better players, they should be allowed to do what they want... after all, they'd probably have won anyway, so what does it matter if referees favour them?

In fact, why bother with matches? We could just decide who's got better players and award them the points. What a lot of effort that would save.

Gareth and Brian (10 & 11), that's exactly the mentality that leads to refs favouring the big teams, and pundits not really kicking up much of a fuss about it. That you're happy to sit there and accept it is beyond pathetic.

And Tom (15) yours is a whole different issue. I could never support a Wenger team, a lying, whingeing hypocrite with absolutely no grace, class or dignity. That they knock the ball around well when they feel like it (but lose on a regular basis because the other team ? shock horror ? defend! And sometimes even tackle!) doesn't mean they can do what they like.
Jon Cox
18   Posted 16/11/2010 at 19:10:33

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On a positive note (if there is one), this is a strange league this year and everybody is beating everybody else.

Just as we always start off crap, we seem to come good in the second half of the season.

Two or three wins before January and we'll still be in the mix. A couple of good signings in January should let the shirkers know that if they don't perform then it's the bench.

We are all disheartened and rightly so. There's not been a lot to cheer about. I just hope history repeats itself after January.

If Pienaar goes in January, what three players would enhance our side and give us the impetus we need to qualify for Europe?

Hopefully this downer won't last to long.

Well for Moyes's sake I sure hope not.
Craig Bellew
19   Posted 16/11/2010 at 19:41:19

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Andrew (post 4), I just wanted to pick up on something you said re Arteta.

This I suppose could be a whole new thread, but I will keep it simple and to the point, and apologies if I'm straying from the original post... Is it just me who thinks that, since Arteta signed his new contract, he has forgotten two things:

1. He has forgotten how to take control of a game from midfield, like he used to on a regular basis; this is also not just against so-called stronger oposition but also against the average teams of this league.

2. His movement and vision seem to have completely dissapeared.

I could add a third with his set-pieces and not being able to beat the first man but this has always been part of his game, so will leave that subject alone.

The reason I say this is because I expected him to kick on after signing and turn in performances we know he is capable of on a more consistent basis, but if anything he has gone in the opposite direction and it doesn't bode well for the remainder of the season if he carries on in his current form. I hope I'm wrong on this and he starts performing but I ain't holding my breath!!
David Price
20   Posted 16/11/2010 at 19:52:54

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Arsenal should have had two red cards. Imagine Heitinga doing the same challenge as Fabregas did on Distin. Then Jags hauling down their striker on the edge of the box through on goal. Come on guys, be honest we would have had 9 men.

Touching on the MotD debate from a few days ago. The presenter went to discuss the Arsenal yellow cards only to have the producer whisper in his ear to move and discuss how Marcus Hanaman cuts his sleeves up to his shoulder.

We got a raw deal on Sunday and it's gone unsaid by the media. Can you imagine Wenger putting up with that? Fucking press conference sharpish from the moaning twat that's what.

Anthony, totally right mate.

Brian Waring
21   Posted 16/11/2010 at 20:27:13

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Mike, the game's over, we lost. We didn't deserve to get anything out of it because we were shite for 80 mins of the game.

All this whinging is why we get called bitter, we always have to make ourselves out to be hard-done-by.

The way some of you go on, it's as if we are whiter than white; don't forget we have the Yak who is prone to the odd dive, we have Cahill who likes leaving his foot or arm in now and again, we have the tit Fellaini sitting in the stands for 3 games, after kicking out... I couldn't believe we had lads who actually backed him for doing what he did. Also, Fellaini is a bit tasty with his elbow as well.

I don't just accept it, I was actually fuming at some points in the game. I just think after the game's over, you should just get on with it, and move to the next game, because all this moaning just makes us out to sound 'Bitter'.
Trevor Lynes
22   Posted 16/11/2010 at 20:44:28

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Once again I agree with Brian... When they showed the replays, Fabregas's tackle was nothing like Heitinga's and the player that should have been booked for Arsenal was Song... but Heitinga is bloody awful in the tackle and is a liability. He was exactly the same when playing for Holland and, if he played for any other team, we would collectively deplore him.

We played very timidly until we lost the goal and don't forget we were at HOME. We were second-best in passing and simple ball control for long periods and, if we played that way, our fans would love it.

My God, in the derby match, Cahill deliberately kicked one ball into the far corner to hopefully waste time; if we could play keep ball as well as Arsenal we would not be hanging onto leads so often at the end of games.

So long as fans of ours call the refs names when they don't decide things our way and, conveniently forget the decisions that DO go our way, like disallowed goals, we will be producing bile for the rest of the season.

Look at what is lacking in our own team and don't blame other sides for our errors. We have bags of endeavour with limited ability... I'm afraid that most of the other Premier League sides have improved while we have stood still!!!

Pete Keogh
23   Posted 16/11/2010 at 22:00:13

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One of the things from Sunday's game that I found infuriating was how, on at least two occasions, their players kicked the ball away from the position we were trying to take a free kick. Chamakh did it in the first half and I think Fabregas in the second. This slowed down any chance we had of a quick play.

They bossed us and we needed someone strong to stand up to them. Silly fouls notwithstanding, at least Johnny got stuck in.

As one match commentator even said, Fabregas was constantly in the Ref's ear, and the fact that he said afterwards they knew what to expect, that we were a long-ball team, makes me dislike him even more.

Jason Lam
24   Posted 17/11/2010 at 05:27:46

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Arsenal double-teamed on Arteta and nullified our midfeld. Simple.
Gareth Humphreys
25   Posted 17/11/2010 at 08:06:45

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Woe is me ? we were bullied by Arsenal and the ref fell for it.
Get a grip, lads ? it's pathetic.
Mike Allison
26   Posted 17/11/2010 at 16:38:24

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Brian, I didn't come on here to moan about refs because "I think it's so unfair" (although I would argue that's a perfectly legitimate use of a fansite). My points are made to temper over-the-top criticism of my team on Sunday, and refereeing is the lesser part of it.

We weren't shite (or if we were, so were Arsenal) for 80 mins, that just isn't true. We probably slightly edged the game up until they scored, and if we'd taken two crucial (and not particularly difficult) chances, we probably would have won.

You guys have turned it more into a ref conversation, when my main point is actually about it being a fairly even game and us missing chances.

That you're bothering to come on here and be an arse to fellow Evertonians about it beggars belief.
Andrew Conroy
27   Posted 17/11/2010 at 17:42:28

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They were better than us, Antony.
Brian Waring
28   Posted 17/11/2010 at 19:30:26

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Mike, I'm giving my opinion. You know ? "Perfectly legitimate use of a fansite."

Should I run my posts by you first in the future, just to make sure they are okay to send in?
Mike Allison
29   Posted 17/11/2010 at 21:28:02

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So you can add being sarcastic to being sanctimonious.

We can all 'give our opinion' but I'm wondering why you've bothered when it seems designed to heap more misery on already suffering Everton fans.

Has doing it made you feel better at our expense?
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
30   Posted 17/11/2010 at 21:36:54

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Come on, guys... it's not unheard of for different people to have different opinions on how the game went... in fact it happens on here EVERY WEEK.

Those different opinions translate into different emotional reactions to what went down, and different levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the performance and/or the result.

Come on here to discuss those aspects by all means, but no need to start slagging off, please.
Dan Murphy
31   Posted 17/11/2010 at 23:41:01

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What winds people up is all the 'Arsenal play the game the way it is meant to be played' drivel when in fact they are a shower of cheating shithouses.

Anyone remember a few years ago when Toure went down at the Park End goal like he been coined and stopped the game for 5 minutes. We were battering them at the time. Then Fabregas got Arteta sent off. Flamini didn't leave the ref alone all game.

While we'd like our players to be a bit more ruthless, I don't think our fans want our players cheating as bad as Arsenal. It's just never been the Everton way. Plus we'd never get away with it because we're not fashionable and don't have a shameless hypocrite like Wenger as manager.

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