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The Mail Bag

Was Moyes kidding us?

Comments (57)

Following last night`s game, our manager was moved to tell Sky Sports `We deserved to win it, we`re a good side and well capable of challenging the top sides.`

Now I am one of his most ardent supporters and maintain my enthusiasm for his methods by keeping my aspirations at a modest level on the basis that he is required to work within a tight budget.

But `challenging the top sides`is a different thing all together! We may well have abandoned hoof-ball for a more aesthetic form of play but results will show it is hardly more effective. Given that our `strikers` have managed but two goals all season, we could play it around like Brazil and still be in the lower half of the table come May!

So does Davey really believe that he has a team to challenge the best or was he merely gilding the lily in an effort to keep our spirits up and our criticism down?

I`d love to think it was the former but can`t help feeling a little patronised by our man on the evidence available to us this season. Yes, we might well be able to repeat last season`s eighth position but challenge the top teams? Pull the other one, Davey!
Richard Dodd, Freshfield     Posted 23/11/2010 at 12:41:38

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Peter Warren
1   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:40:17

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I agree with Moyes in that I believe we are a good side and close to challenging the best. I'm content to wait and see but more optimistic than ever.
Norman Merrill
2   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:40:16

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During the game last night the cameras focused on Moyes just after Sunderland had scored, he looked like a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights.

Do they still do drug tests after games for players? Well, after his comments last night, they should make him take one.

Brian Lawlor
3   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:46:26

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We did deserve to win.
Anthony Hughes
4   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:47:45

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I'm sorry but we are definitely not close to challenging the best. That means competing for the top two or three places and with 3 wins in 14 games, it's a fucking ridiculous comment from Moyes. We're capable of competing around 7th-12th places until we have strikers who are going to contribute to the team.
Tony J Williams
5   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:50:09

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Actually, Norman, he just looked pissed off and fed up. I would be too if my players were playing shite and conceding stupid goals when we are on top of the play.

That's the problem though Brian, even if we deserved to win, the detractors will always have to pick on someone/something because we didn't, which in itself is fair enough but they go to some extremes to do it.

If we, as a team, remember how to actually fecken shoot from more than six yards, we will be fine.
Jay Harris
6   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:49:55

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Doddy, normally you are a parody of optimism so it is very worrying that you appear to be heading towards the disenchantment door.

For what it's worth, I think the most apt description of us is Arsenal Lite.

We have creative players but apart from Cahill do not have ANY goals from MF nor CB's in fact not even from strikers right now, but that will change.

However, the main concern for me (unlike many others) is the way our defence loses concentration too many times and they're ALL guilty of it ..... Howard, Baines, Neville, Jags, Distin.

If we keep giving "cheap" goals away and do not have the firepower to score goals then the obvious will happen. We will be doing a West Brom or West Ham i.e. too good to go down but go down all the same.

Your favourite Uncle (Bill) will have to dig deep in January to get some much needed reinforcements but, like everything Blue, it may be too little, too late.
Norman Merrill
7   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:06:12

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Tony (5):
You are right, he must have been in shock, and my comments are only in jest. But it's in his hands to get it sorted, and on Saturday we hope things really do improve, but how many times have we said that?
Anthony Hughes
8   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:32:20

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I'd like to see Darren Bent in an Everton shirt, how much did Sunderland pay for him? If we hadn't wasted the best part of £10 million on Bily maybe we could have tried to get him last year.
David Price
9   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:32:45

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They had a goal scorer, we didn't. Team play excellent, 2 players away I reckon from backing up Moyes's statement.
James Marshall
10   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:37:05

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It's glaringly obvious why we don't win enough games. We don't score enough goals, but why?

Well, Saha has never been prolific, mainly due to injuries. Yakubu has been out injured for so long he's forgotten how to run/pass/shoot. And Beckford couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo unless he's playing in the 3rd diviiosn by the looks of him. I mean that miss at the end was both comical and criminal in equal measure. Why didn't he just dink it into the corner? He had the entire goal to aim at!

Our midfield is void of creativity - Arteta looks a shadow of the player we know he is. I'd even go so far as to say we miss Osman - and thats saying something. Why do we continue to boot the ball about? Last night it looked like a game of volleyball at times. Get it on the bloody floor lads!

Heitinga - who is John Heitinga? What purpose does he serve exactly? Apart from having a good name for singing songs about and an uncanny knack of picking up pointless bookings.

Fellaini is a liability, and much in the same mould as Heitinga this season. Waste of space.

Coleman is doing his best but seeing as he's only about 9 years old, he needs help.

Rodwell needs to get fit, get back in the 11, and find some form badly.

Cahill is about the only attacking player pulling his weight, although Pienaar and Baines still look dangerous down the left. Apart from that particular threat, what exactly are we offering our opposition at the moment?

I'm noticing more questions than answers at the moment, and this coming from a man who's the eternal optimist and (nearly) always very philosophical about all things Everton (its my age).

If/when Pienaar leaves in January/end of the season, we're going to be in shit-street regarding any sort of attacking momentum. We're horribly pedestrian as an attacking force bar Pienaar/Baines.

Jags looks outstanding as ever though, and we're pretty decent at the back. I can't help thinking that Davey is relying on this fact getting us through another season where we'll come good post-Christmas and storm to the relative success of about 7th or 8th. Yeah, success.

Shaun Brennan
11   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:47:54

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We are capable of challenging for a top 4 or 5 position, I have no doubt in believing that. But Moyes keeps getting it wrong. He is the problem.

Plus Fellaini doesn't help too now and again.
Ian Kearney
12   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:47:45

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Heitinger serves the purpose of being a quality CH, as last season proved, but while Jags is either hoofing it aimlessly or rolling around on the floor, Jonny is being played out of position, play hm at the back and watch the midfielders infront of him improve, and even that aimless cliche quoting oaf at right back will get better.
John Barnes
13   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:46:08

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James, I'm definitely worried if , in fact, we are missing Osman and Jagielka looks outstanding!!!
Anthony Hughes
14   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:47:27

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Agree with most of what you say apart from the Fellaini comments James.
Saha just looks completely shot, 32 years age but with an injury ravaged body. If the rumours were true last year that we received an 8 million bid from a Turkish club we should have snapped their fucking hand off.
James Marshall
15   Posted 23/11/2010 at 15:03:44

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Fair point about Heitinga, Ian - as a midfielder he just looks utterly lost.

Saha doesn't seem to be able to find a team mate at any stage, nor does he take up any good positions, or make any runs.

We only have one, two players at a push that appear to be capable of making a decent run - Pienaar and Baines. Cahill is saving our bacon at present but he won;'t be able to do it all season.

We need Fellaini to sort himself out and start playing like he did before he got injured, and Rodwell (potentially) to play along side him.

Oh, and we need to buy a striker for about £20m minimum :-)
Gavin Ramejkis
16   Posted 23/11/2010 at 15:08:14

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Funny you've never written the same article about BK. To be fair DM has had long enough to learn from is mistakes and yet he repeats them ad nauseum, frustration and despair are the mildest way of putting how it makes me feel
Mike McLean
17   Posted 23/11/2010 at 15:09:07

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Richard D, I think part of the problem lies in that peculiar psychological change that can overcome people if / when they've been in a position of power for too long.

He's begun to feel he's infallible despite the mounting evidence that he is anything but.

He's a good manager. For too long, he's had people telling him he's great.
Larry Boner
18   Posted 23/11/2010 at 15:30:57

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Mr Moyes is a defensive minded manager, look at our goals total, we are still + 1 even though we have only scored 16 goals, but surely the players know that to score you have to take a chance and shoot?

I look at the transformation of Bolton by Owen Coyle, in just a few short months, his philosophy of attacking play epitomised by the resurgence of Elmander, in partnership with Davies, they have scored 26 goals already, having only scored 42 all last season.

Coyles mentality was the same at Burnley, to attack, Moyes is to defend, but try to attack in a unit so not to concede space.

I think Saha, playing for Bolton would score 15 goals, Yakubu the same, Coyle would play them in tandem. I ask you, how many Bolton players would get in a fully fit Everton team, not many if any, so why cant we score?

It has to be the manager's outlook on the game, if Moyes casts away his defensive mindset and attacks teams then he will be a successful manager, stay the way he is and nothing will change, we won't get relegated, we will win more than we lose, but never take that step forward.

I like Moyes, but putting a D/CM Rodwell at RM was a joke, he has a fast LW in Gueye who could have swapped with Pienaar and had a go at getting whipped crosses in, but no, shore up the right side instead.

Brian Waring
19   Posted 23/11/2010 at 15:57:01

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Why is it that every season we are only a couple of players away from challenging the top?
James Marshall
20   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:10:14

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Because we're only a couple of players away from challenging the top.
James Marshall
21   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:11:01

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.....of the Championship.
James Doran
22   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:12:10

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Do you think that DM has ever visited THE MAILBAG? Do you think he even knows that it exists?
James Marshall
23   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:25:51

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No, he'll be too busy shouting 'go on...go on!' at the players to use the Internet.
Aidy Dews
24   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:09:20

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On paper, we do have a good squad and should have a good starting 11 but, with the quality of player in our squad, the football we play is shite!

At times last night, we made the game of football look so hard to play, we lack movement and energy and nobody dropped within 10, 15 yards of the man on the ball to take it off him and play decent football; we all run away from the man on the ball and that leads to us playing backwards and then Jags hoofing it to the opposition or out of touch ? it's crap!.

Our strikers don't score cos we don't play good enough or creative football,our best chances come from free kicks and corners and then we get shit deliveries! We might work it a few times down the left or right but then when we get into good areas, we haven't a clue what to do or the cross is shit or we choose the wrong option, apart from when we scored obviously but after that, none of our deliveries hardly got near our players.

I can't remember once last night or in any of the other games where one of our midfield players put one of our strikers through one on one on goal with a through ball, you never see our strikers get put through 25 to 30 yards out from goal to go up against the keeper one-on-one hardly, if ever ? and that's why our strikers don't score, we don't give them the supply they want.

We only really create things from down the left and it's no coincidence that Cahill is our top goal scorer as he's the one getting on the end of things cos that's what his game is all about, arriving in the box and getting ahead or between CB's and nodding the ball away.

And some of our players want to wake up and start to work harder, Saha is and has been shit for a very long time and hasn't scored for god knows how long but yet Moyes persists with him, Heitinga was in midfield again last night and he wasn't himself, didn't put himself about and get stuck in and, even though I like him, we don't need him and he's just an expensive squad player on good wages that could be of use elsewhere cos, let's face it, Moyes won't pick him at CB and when Felli gets back he'll be out of midfield too!

And what's with Arteta, he's a shadow of his old self this season, last night he looked off the pace and has done for some time, there doesn't seem to be that buzz about him, he isn't putting himself about and demanding the ball all the time and, when he is on the ball, it's easy to take it off him these days compared to when he could hold on to the ball for fun or win free-kicks cleverly and his set plays have just got worse. There was a time when he was one of the best set-piece takers in the league and we got a lot of joy from his deliveries but he's lucky if he beats the first man at a corner or with a free-kick these days.

Moyesy for me needs to stop talking the team up and start to get tough with them before we're in a relegation battle cos, for too long now, we keep hearing that were this and that and yet we don't seem to prove it on a regular basis, so I think he needs to knuckle down with them and get them to start playing better and working a lot harder cos with the way were going, were going to get nowhere near the European spots, not a chance of it in my eyes!
James Doran
25   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:31:02

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A quick read through its threads every now and then would enlighten him as to what we, the fans, think of our team's performances and where we think that improvements could be made. Some very good points are often made via THE MAIL BAG, and when they are they usually prove to be the general consensus.

Shit!; DM could even tell us, via this website, which players are fit of a game-day morning and we, by way of a poll, could pick the starting eleven and the substitutes for him. We'd have to stop the Kopites from voting though. If only....

Danny Burke
26   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:10:05

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Im not depressed about the situation so far. Obviously I think we could and should be higher up the league but so far the league is that compact a semi decent run will see teams like Bolton and Sunderland up there. Should Beckford have taken his chance we would have been 10th today. Had we have won just one more game say Villa when we dominated we would be 7th, one point off 5th and only four points off the CL places. With teams dropping points like they are, our traditional end of season charge could see us right up there.

Yes I am an optomist and no I'm not drunk at the moment!
Joe McMahon
27   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:51:37

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James- 10. We never have scored enough goals under Moyes. When we finished 4th we still had a negative goal difference, That says it all.

I can't get to Goodison often, due to lack of available finance, but I will never go again while Moyes is still manager, the football we are served is painful dross.

James Marshall
28   Posted 23/11/2010 at 16:54:00

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Good point, well made, Joe.

I'll still go to Goodison, because it's not the players or the manager that maketh the club... It's us, init.
James Doran
29   Posted 23/11/2010 at 17:15:33

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I'll continue to renew my young, impressionable son?s and my season tickets for EFC for a multitude of reasons; one of those reasons being that I only want the best for my son and he lives with his mum, my ex, who is a Kopite.
James Marshall
30   Posted 23/11/2010 at 17:20:24

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Good on yer, James.
Tony J Williams
31   Posted 23/11/2010 at 17:17:25

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Jo, why did we have a negative goal difference? It's because we were secure in 4th and the players went to the Baby Blue in the Albert Dock, got bladdered and then got beat 7-0 by Arsenal. That was the game that sent us into the minus column. I would glady have a minus goal difference and get up the table again.

The problem now is that our once-reliable defence is starting to ship goals and a lot have them have been more down to stupid individual errors than great play by the opposition.
GJ Butler
32   Posted 23/11/2010 at 17:29:22

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Going back to the original poster on Moyes's comments last night, it seems he was on a hiding to nothing either way.

If he takes the easy route, and takes pressure from himself and the players by claiming we're doing as well as we could expect given finances, injuries, etc etc, he would be bombarded on here by posters claiming he has no ambition and blasting the best squad we've seen at Goodison in decades.

He does the opposite by actually putting pressure on himself and the players by admitting he feels they should be challenging towards the top, and he's bombarded by posters telling him to get a grip!

Either way, he can't win... so you have to decide which side of the fence your on yourself, and I'm happier to see him aiming high.

As for those commenting on the actual football last night, I thought we played very well. We play some very good football and yes, it doesn't always result in a clear-cut chance, but we scored twice away from home, had two cleared off the line, missed a guilt edged chance with the last kick and had several last-ditch blocks from Ferdinand and Co ? or was I watching a different game? Our poor defensive lapses cost us once more but I genuinely believe we're close to seeing it all click in ? a game were all the bounces and luck go our way and we thump someone by 4 or 5. Maybe Saturday...
Kunal Desai
33   Posted 23/11/2010 at 17:44:33

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You see Everton and Moyes have been 'punching above their weight' for a number of years now. A number of years were we have no strength in depth and not enough players to play in the right positions.

The simple fact is that you can't go on season after season scraping the barrel and using the same squads season after season, you need to freshen things up and bring in quality players who will not only give the squad another dimension but give the current players a huge lift.

The shortage in the striking department was evident which was not addressed in the summer and now that has come to bite Moyes on the arse because, other than Cahill, no-one else has stepped up to scoring goals.

Whether things will change in January remains to be seen, but I really and truely hope that Everton's shortcomings are glaringly obvious and so obvious that perhaps Kenwright will finally let go of EFC and that he can do nothing further to take the club forward. (I know it's clutching straws and I shouldn't be holding my breath!) I'm clinging on to hope and hope that he pisses off sooner rather than later.

Ciarán McGlone
34   Posted 23/11/2010 at 18:58:09

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Capable of challenging the top side is somewhat of a loaded comment... It means nothing whatsoever. In fact, as we've seen, any team in the Premier League has been capable of challenging the 'top sides' this season.... In fact, it could be argued that putting a goal keeper in the opposing net is a 'challenge'...

This is a throwaway comment from Moyes ? which should be thrown away.

We are a reasonable side - capable of putting any team to the test but incapable of consistency. We are 3 or 4 quality players short of a very good team. There were many on here who seem to be convinced we were capable of a challenge this season ?it gives me no pleasure to see Evertonians genuinely dissapointed at the reality of the situation...

Things are not grim, but they are not rosy either.

We need to be aiming higher than the Beckfords of this world... but unfortunately, that is our current financial level.
Charles King
35   Posted 23/11/2010 at 18:56:46

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Richard.

Moyes was kidding and is still kidding some Evertonians... The number is diminishing week by week.
Andrew Conroy
36   Posted 23/11/2010 at 20:41:12

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Richard,

As well as being stunned that you seem to be resembling an MDMA'd Tony Marsh these days, I'm surprised you're having to ask these questions, given the hotline you're always hinting at having to the Goodison Boardroom.

Maybe the source that told you Coleman was back off to Blackpool for the season could answer your questions for you?
John Daley
37   Posted 23/11/2010 at 20:39:14

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"The problem now is that our once reliable defence is starting to ship goals and a lot have them have been more down to stupid individual errors than great play by the opposition."

I agree entirely. A couple of seasons ago, two goals would have been enough for us to win most games and I was always quietly confident we could successfully defend a lead. Not anymore, and not for a while now. I'm now expecting an almost immediate equalizer as soon as we go ahead these days. The defence and goalkeeper always seem to have a silly mistake in them and appear to panic at the slightest hint of sustained pressure from the opposition.

Saying that, I don't think the midfield are helping them out enough. It's too easy for teams to drive straight through the centre unopposed. Woody Allen could muscle his way through most of our midfield.
Andy Crooks
38   Posted 23/11/2010 at 21:23:52

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Ciaran, would you not accept that Beckford really hasn't been given a fair run chance this season? He needs to play with another striker alongside him... how about Cahill if not Yakubu?

Also, he needs a run of games. It is unfair to dismiss him on the games he has had. He has shown that he can score against good opposition in the past and has a bit of pace and arrogance about him. I'd start him ahead of Saha.

Bren Connor
39   Posted 23/11/2010 at 22:16:05

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By coincidence, it is a calendar year since our good run started last season (2 defeats in 24) and so a "full season" of results is now up with this season's 14 games added... which is kind of useful for measuring our progress. I was a bit shocked when I added them up. Here's our record:

P38 W15 D17 L6 F62 A39 Pts 62.

Losing six games in a season proves that you're up there with the best (only Man Utd have lost less).

Only winning 15 proves you can't finish teams off... or you're too negative.

We've dropped 34 points in drawn games. That's where the damage is done. Moyes needs to look at the stats. If anything shows him as being negative, it is these facts. If we'd won half those drawn games and lost the others that's still an extra 16 or 18 points. And we have proven that, when we go for it, we CAN score goals.

We've got about a dozen last-minute goals in the past year when DM has finally gone for all out attack... so why does he wait until too late in games?

Robbie Shields
40   Posted 23/11/2010 at 22:58:58

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All this talk of us being 2, 3 or 4 players away from being a top team is Bollox...

WE ARE 1 MANAGER AWAY FROM BEING A TOP TEAM.

Look at the transformation at Bolton... Oh yeh, forgot ? you need to spend billions to play good football and score goals and compete and win matches, etc etc etc... Hang on a minute, remind me how much Bolton have spent again? How many of their players would get in our team?

This has all been going on for too long now. It IS possible to get into the top 4 without having the biggest and best squad, but you need to have one of the best managers and coaches; I'm afraid we don't. The squad Moyes has built, which I sincerely believe is the best since the mid-80s, has outgrown him, simple as that IMHO.

He came, he saw, he did his job, time to move on... but only if we can trust Blue Bill to get the right replacement!!!!!! I won't hold my breath for any of that.
Andy Crooks
41   Posted 23/11/2010 at 23:54:06

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Exactly , Robbie.
Tom Bowers
42   Posted 23/11/2010 at 23:51:18

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We have a defensive problem that has to be fixed soon. We have conceded 7 in the last 4 games and only 1 in the previous 4. When Hetinga played central defence he looked solid with Distin but since Jags came back from injury he has not looked as good as he was last year. How about them switching positions again? Let Jags be the holding player and see if things improve.

Also, I agree that Fellaini could be the key to team results but he needs to get his act together discipline wise or he will be waste of space. Pienaar and Arteta still show flashes of brilliance but are not preforming much above average.

Hopefully Moyes can get this team motivated better soon?

Andy Crooks
43   Posted 24/11/2010 at 00:12:35

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Tom. Jags as the holding player? It nearly finished his career when he tried it. I agree that Heitinga and Distin should start in central defence.

A while ago, I argued that we needed to play players in their correct position and as a result the manager must make tough decisions and leave good players on the bench. Jags is an example. David Moyes has shoehorned his favourites into the wrong position rather than leave them out.

Osman wide right, Neville and Heitinga holding midfield. Fellaini, striker? I just wish he'd be bold. Could it be any worse than where his negativity has led us?

Ernie Baywood
44   Posted 24/11/2010 at 01:08:37

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Robbie, Bolton were pretty much awful when they came to Goodison - organised, solid, but nothing in an attacking sense at all. Can't quite understand the current media obsession with them ? nowhere near as good as people think they are.

I think Jay Harris nailed us with the term 'Arsenal Lite'. That's us. Tippy, tappy, little Spaniard who's heart isn't in it, no real goalscorer, injuries all over the show because we're basically weak as piss.

Coincidentally, I read a fan piece on an Arsenal site http://arsenal-mania.com/articles/3109559/Has-Wenger-dropped-injured-Fabregas.html

Read through the comments ? it's like a mirror to some of the opinions we have about Everton, Moyes, and Arteta. Or maybe Pienaar.

I've seen the truth ? we're Arsenal Lite!
Alan Clarke
45   Posted 24/11/2010 at 08:42:56

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Ernie, Bolton should have beaten us. They had the better chances and showed more intent when attacking.

Do you know why that is? It's because they played 2 up front. We played 1 up front at home against a team we should be looking to beat at home.

Ernie Baywood
46   Posted 24/11/2010 at 09:47:53

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We didn't play well against Bolton but, by any measure, we were comfortably the better team. Prior to the mistake that led to their counter-attack goal they had threatened all of once that I can remember ? a header from a corner.

I can understand pessimism but let's not distort recent history. Bolton have put in some good attacking performances of late but Goodison wasn't one of them.
Dick Fearon
47   Posted 24/11/2010 at 11:46:58

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That Osman is being spoken of as a saviour says it all for me. Anyone got a shilling for the gas meter?
Chris Perry
48   Posted 24/11/2010 at 13:30:38

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I watched Everton v Sunderland on Monday night and it's as clear as day light, we want to walk the ball into the net, our strikers are "used matches" and will not strike again. Arteta goes missing, whereas Pienaar tried but failed.

As for Beckford... well, he is just shite. I

Here comes a depressing comparison: I went to watch Southampton vs Brighton: we play like a 3rd Tier team... No clue upfront, no midfield creativity.

We are not a few players short of a good team, we are a manager short of being good.

Mike Rourke
49   Posted 24/11/2010 at 13:31:23

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Robbie #40.

Which of Bolton's players would get in our team?

I'd take Elmander and Davis for starters. I would also take that fella who scored against us the other night. In fact, right now, I would have Peter Kay starting up front if it meant I didn't have to suffer the performances of Saha, Yak or Beckford.

We are 1, 2, or 3 strikers away from challenging the top teams.

I blame the bloke controlling the purse strings, not Moyes who continues to do the best he can with the dog-earred hand he has been dealt.
Greg Murphy
50   Posted 24/11/2010 at 13:40:38

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Agreed, Chris Perry. And basically the root reason why we're left trying to walk it into the net is because, as much as Moyes has built a team full of character, with some very decent players, he's also succeeded (whether intentionally or not) in creating the slooooooowest team in the Premier League.

It appears that, the moment we get the ball, we're intent on letting every opposition player get firmly back into position and then we're faced with a brick wall that we just can't penetrate and we're constantly trying to carve open an extra micro second when a clear shot will become available on a player's favoured foot.

It's the reverse of the hoof ball mentality that prevailed until 18 months ago. Then players couldn't wait to get shut and lumped it because they had no confidence in their own ability to beat a man or switch the play.

Now, it seems that the moment we get the ball, and it also starts with Howard at the back (like he'd ever bowl it out!), the first thing to ensure is that the opposition defence is nicely re-arranged in front of us and then our players are confident to stroke it around at will (one touch control, little drag action to make it look silky, turn, look sideways, lay it off square ? repeat to fade).

The basic malaise is still there, though: they're just not confident of beating a man and that's why they let the opposition reform their ranks so easily. It masks the problem.

On the odd occasion that the opposition forgets that there actually might be a pace threat from Everton (e.g. when Baines got free on Monday) they quickly learn the lesson and close that avenue down (it was also no surprise that Coleman was so shackled on Monday because Bruce will have witnessed his barnstorming run and cross versus Arsenal, who played expansively enough to allow him to make that dash, and ordered his team to cut that off at source).

You can almost hear Di Matteo's team talk on Saturday: "Nullify Baines, keep that Coleman kid tight and erm, that's it, they can't score."

The sheer frustration watching Everton right now is actually a health risk.

You can only hope that someone like Donovan arriving might change things because it's all there, just waiting to be unleashed ? we can all see that. The opposition need to be given enough things to worry about. But right now, due to our chronic lack of pace, Everton are the easiest team in the Premier League to contain.
GJ Butler
51   Posted 24/11/2010 at 15:16:25

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Robbie @ 40:

Refering to your comment, you CAN finish top four without the biggest or best of squads ? name one team in the last decade thats done it, apart, of course, from Everton (who where managed by the Manager your looking to get rid off). Spurs last year? They went and spent big to get there, didn't they?

And as for Bolton looking good ? it annoys me when people pick the flavour of the month and say, "Why can't we be more like them?" Last month it was West Brom. Two years ago it was Hull, FFS. And year on year, we finish above them. I'll stick my neck out and say the same about Bolton this year.
Anthony Hughes
52   Posted 24/11/2010 at 16:04:30

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I think there is a bigger spread of sides who can challenge for fourth place this season making our task to get there more difficult than it was five years ago.

If you look at United and Chelsea as the top two then you have teams such as Arsenal, Spurs, Man City, the Shite who are all going to be in the mix. We are in a little group with the likes of Villa and Sunderland and a couple of others where it's going to be a real battle just to make the top eight.

Lee Kidd
53   Posted 24/11/2010 at 16:28:51

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Everytime Richard Dodd criticises Moyes, a fairy dies.
Ciarán McGlone
54   Posted 24/11/2010 at 17:18:29

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"Ciaran, would you not accept that Beckford really hasn't been given a fair run chance this season? He needs to play with another striker alongside him... how about Cahill if not Yakubu? "

---------------

What do you mean 'a fair run', Andy?

My point was that he's not a very good player ? a position I've held for a long time ? and we should be aiming higher than that.
Karl Masters
55   Posted 24/11/2010 at 18:59:16

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Greg - you have hit btghe nail on the head. We keep trying to walk it in.

When somebody finally had a dig on Monday, it resulted in a deflection and a goal! Even then Arteta took an age trying to beat two men before finally getting a shot in.

Have dig from the edge of the area! Deflections, rebounds, defence now not sure what you will do and rush to the player with the ball leaving space for others will all result.

I nearly went mental on Monday night. Yet again, clearly the better team, we had Sunderland pinned back time and again, but did naff all with the ball.

However, all that said, once we get over this issue, we look good enough to do some serious damage. We are tantalisingly close to being very good, but just can't make that final step.

It's like the joke ? ''What have a Gynaecologist and a Pizza delivery boy got in common? Answer, they can both smell it, but they can't touch!''
Andy Crooks
56   Posted 24/11/2010 at 22:44:58

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Cairan, my point is I think he is a good player and, with 5 or 6 games playing with a striking partner, be it Yakubu or perhaps Cahill, he will prove it. I think you have judged him too soon. He and Cahill would provide movement and pace... neither of which are provided by Saha.
John Audsley
57   Posted 25/11/2010 at 08:53:21

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Beckford may/may not be a good prem player, I've got my doubts... but his finish again Bolton was promising.

Sadly, Andy, Moyes will never give him or anyone 5+ games playing together ? EVER.

Would be interesting to know when we last had 2 strikers for 5/6 games, bet it was 2002-03 in early Moyes times...

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