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A true test

Comments (37)

So now we are unbeaten in 7 games with 17 points out of 21 but in fairness these games have all been against teams below us in the league and we would expect to be beating. Next Saturday will see the real test of how this patched-up team has galvanised! Up against the Premier League leaders and Champions League semi finalists but not only that ? we will be up against the match officials as well (this of course is only my opinion!). You just have to look at the ratio of penalties for and against United at Old Trafford to see evidence of this.

I hope with all my blue heart we can sink them next week but, playing against their extra men, I would be happy with a draw in the interests of keeping this run of form and team confidence together.
Thomas Owen, Kinsale     Posted 17/04/2011 at 10:27:27

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Phil Bellis
1   Posted 17/04/2011 at 17:06:52

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Pity we couldn't have beaten some of these teams "we would expect to be beating" in the first half of the season...

There could be some sense in the theory that, earlier on, opponents came only to avoid defeat and now they have to at least try to be more ambitious. (Mind you, Blackburn didn't show much.)

David Hallwood
2   Posted 17/04/2011 at 17:58:22

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It'll be interesting what team DM puts out, I hope he putd the same team out.
Brian Waring
3   Posted 17/04/2011 at 18:42:07

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Got to be a record for the quickest "It was the ref's fault" excuse, just in case we get beat.
Thomas Owen
4   Posted 17/04/2011 at 20:13:00

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Brian (3), if only excuses were that easy! Don't get me wrong I'm not saying it will happen just that it's always something to consider when playing united, even my manc supporting friends admit it!
Chris James
5   Posted 17/04/2011 at 19:53:20

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Ah what a surprise, another damned with faint praise comment on toffeewhinge - now apparently being top of the form league doesn't count because the opposition wasn't good enough!!!!

Get a bloody grip will you, if this season has shown anything at all it's that every dog can have it's day and no-ones unbeatable or a pushover in the premier league these days.

Are teams more open and desperate for points now than at the start of the season? Probably (although Blackburn weren't exactly all about constant attacking play).

Are we playing better than earlier in the season? Not noticeably. If anything I'd actually say there's a little less joined up football than earlier matches we dominated without success. The much derided 4-5-1 formation certainly hasn't changed as far as I can see (if anything we've started the last 2 more defensively than ever with Neville and Heitinga in midfield and scored 5 goals!)

Indeed the only difference I can see in recent weeks is that we're having some luck/precision in front of goal and hitting the back of the net.

But why is that? Could it be the extra mercurial sliver of confidence that comes from a winning run, or is it that Moyes tried and tested approach is coming good yet again? Maybe it's players (who largely seem to escape censure here in the rush to abuse Moyes and Kenright) actually stepping up and doing the job they're (grossly over)paid to do or ultimately, perhaps, like so much of football and life, it's just out and out dumb luck.

Whatever the reason, after the considerable lows suffered thus far, I for one am going to take some enjoyment from the fact that Everton are scoring goals, winning matches and looking to finish the season with a flourish.
After all If you can't be happy when your team is winning then when can you be?
Enjoy the now my friend, yesterdays gone and you could get knocked over by a bus tomorrow.
Andrew James
6   Posted 17/04/2011 at 20:32:47

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The fact we beat teams "we would expect to beat" is neither here nor there. We've come up against sides who are or were facing relegation. I am delighted we have shown enough class and discipline to beat them all. The only ones we didn't were Villa who were given a massive get out of jail free card by the officials and Brum who threw everyone behind the ball.

And hitherto, beating the lower half was the problem. We have already beaten Spurs, Liverpool and City and managed draws with Chelsea and Man U. These are the teams above us and getting points off them was never the issue. It was getting tonked at home to the likes of West Brom that was maddening!
Phil Bellis
7   Posted 17/04/2011 at 21:00:54

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Andrew (@6)

Could our early season difficulties also be due to Moyse's "tried and tested approach" of getting the buggars playing in January?
Imagine the "earlybird" take-up if the season's pattern were reversed!
Guy Hastings
8   Posted 17/04/2011 at 21:45:48

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I know they had the Carragher and Carroll injuries to deal with but that was a he; of a lot of injury time allowed in order to let the Dark Side get an equaliser. Even sitting in the stands of a neutral ground SAF seems to have charge of the clock.
Tony McNulty
9   Posted 17/04/2011 at 21:51:46

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If, if, if. When I look at the table and think about the number of draws we have had, especially at home, I wonder what might have been. The top teams have good home records. Ours is average.

The trouble is, without cash this Summer to support a decent squad, including one or two big money buys, we would seriously struggle with the extra games in Europe. When push came to shove, look what happened to Spurs. With our squad we would be in trouble. So, back again to the conclusion of thousands of us on Toffeeweb: we need some investment or a new owner to go further.

Everton sometimes remind me of what Mark Twain said about the weather: ?Everyone complains about it, but nobody ever does anything about it?

Andrew James
10   Posted 17/04/2011 at 22:32:40

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Phil @ 7

I don't go along with this "tried and tested" theory that we only start playing properly in January. That is undoubtedly the case over the last 2 seasons but I can think of 4 seasons under Moyes where we were better in the first half.
Andy Crooks
11   Posted 18/04/2011 at 00:36:22

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Chris, Moyes's "tried and tested approach* has won us nothing. I just despair that so many can't see that things could have been different.(I can already see the response, yes we could have been relegated blah blah)
Walter Smith saved us from relegation. The Moyes years have been years of wasted opportunity.
Jason Heng
12   Posted 18/04/2011 at 01:51:59

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The difference betwee now and the start of the season is Osman and Hibbert are starring in the first eleven.
Alan Clarke
13   Posted 18/04/2011 at 07:59:34

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There's a lot of this "if only" rubbish being talked about - "if only we'd won that game or that game". It's bollox. There were a fair few games we were lucky to even draw.

Every team in the division will think "if only". If only Carrick had hoofed it forward, Man U might be in the final. If only Eboue hadn't tried to hump Lucas in the box, Arsenal would have won. If only Howard hadn't totally cocked up in the first game against Blackburn this season and Heitinga had bothered to tackle against Blackpool and Beckford had scored away at Sunderland, we'd be sat above the shite now. For the most part, we have been shite this season. It says it all when our best 2 players this season have been 2 defenders. Don't let a run of 7 games start clouding your judgement to start thinking we're suddenly world beaters.

The pressure is off, expectation is low and the sun has come out. That's why we're winning. We didn't win those other games when it mattered and that's why we'll not finish higher than 7th.
Tommy Coleman
14   Posted 18/04/2011 at 09:47:48

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Well said Alan Clarke.
Dave Wilson
15   Posted 18/04/2011 at 08:58:56

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The one thing we can all agree on is that the league table does not lie.

A lot of us had hoped we could find those extra 3 wins that would have had us in the mix for the CL places, unfortunately we couldnt.

Many were ridiculed for daring to hope for a top four place, "we are relegation candidates" they were told. Happily the glass half empty fans were proved even wider of the mark.

We are dying, we desperately need investment just to compete on a level playing field - no matter who is the manager is.

But what a turnaround ! The people who were predicting relegation are now claiming we coulda/woulda/shoulda. . . .its now seems the people with the lowest expectations have suddenly and retrospectively developed the highest
Dave Wilson
16   Posted 18/04/2011 at 09:52:01

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Alan Clarke

Nonsense lad, when we embarked on this unbeaten run, we whad just been dumped out by Reading, dozens of people - you included - were screaming we were in a relegation battle. The "pressure" was as great as intense as it has been under Moyes`s leadership.

Only now are the panic merchants and the mathematicians who predicted 44 points would be needed to stay up, starting to relax.

A loser - Somebody who thinks there is ever a time when winning doesnt matter
Neil McKinney
17   Posted 18/04/2011 at 10:24:44

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There will always be ifs and buts for every team, no matter where you finish in the league, unless you win it. I bet there's a fair few Arsenal fans dealing in ifs and buts at the moment.

The start of the season was awful and if it wasn't for the fact that I believe the summer can only weaken us as a team, then I'd already be looking forward to next season. Instead I am filled with trepidation.

But winning is winning and it makes no odds to me who the teams are because I'm determined to finally enjoy a winning run. It doesn't paper over the cracks for me, but it makes life as an Evertonian just a bit more pleasant and right now I'll take it.

I don't think a run of 7 games unbeaten makes us "world beaters" and I haven't read any posts on here that suggest anyone has. I also didn't realise that the weather affected our ability to win, but if it does, long may the sun shine.

Matthew Mackey
18   Posted 18/04/2011 at 11:12:31

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Go there with confidence,
Go there with pride,
Go there with no fear,
Go there unchanged
Go there with 4-4-2
Go there and attack

John Barnes
19   Posted 18/04/2011 at 10:30:05

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Regarding some of the views expressed above; Dave Wilson is right. The table tells the truth. Every season , every team has 'what if' moments but they only mean success or failure in cup competitions. In league terms 'what if' is a load of bollocks in my view and by the same token so are 'over' and 'under achieving'. I dont know about 'the pressure is off' as an answer to improved results but I do I believe at one time we were in a relegation fight, because we were bottom of the league. The final league table is the true test of where you stand. This season we look like finishing 7th or 8th best and don't you think that's about right? 'Moyes tried and tested' will likely always deliver just that and possibly slightly better, maybe slightly worse, as has been proven down the years. The Everton model as it is now will not win the league, may finish in a European place and might get lucky in a cup. That's reality. I believe even if we start next season like a house on fire we will be in a position similar to now come the end of the season. But it's fun reading the reactions to the previous 90 minutes ,or the season so far, substitutions, Osman, Hibbert, Heitinga etc. Some of the teams who were well placed in October are near the bottom now, and some on here wanted their managers in place of Moyes. I've said earlier I don't believe we will improve much under Moyes. I'd be amazed if ever we were relegated under him. I believe even if we start next season like a house on fire we will still be 6th, 7th or 8th best come the end of the season. That will only be challenged upward or downward when Moyes leaves, or we are bought by someone with real financial clout. Life as an Evertonian in this day and age, I suppose.
Alan Clarke
20   Posted 18/04/2011 at 12:08:24

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I'm in agreement with you Dave, the table doesn't lie that's why there's no point saying "if only" because every team can say that.

Maybe I was foolish enough to believe we should have been beating the likes of West brom, Wolves and Newcastle at home. I don't think many would have predicted our recent run especially with all the injuries so it's not right to criticise those who feared the worst.
Ben Jones
21   Posted 18/04/2011 at 12:25:27

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It's identical to last season if you think about it now. We started off very badly and finished very nicely. Some of our play has been very encouraging and some has been abysmal. The only difference perhaps is this season has been a bit more frustrating because all of the other teams are beating eachother as well.

Everyone has gathered this season has been frustrating. We did actually have a genuine chance of the top 4(and I wouldnt have guessed it to the world) this season. If we beat those teams, like Alan said at home, then we would be right up there. That is the sad thing.

However, at least it gets us a summer of optimism and hope again that if we do actually have a good start, we would be right up there. If we sell one of our big guns as well, we can buy some players to improve our team.

But then again, when have we ever had a good start?
Stephen Kenny
22   Posted 18/04/2011 at 12:46:06

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Get used to this pattern it's what mid-table clubs do.

Plenty we lost could have been wins and plenty of wins could have been losses.

The difference between us and 5 other sides in this league is marginal.

I've got a feeling that we will beat Man Utd, but over a season we still wont get close to them. Not without big changes anyway.
Dave Wilson
23   Posted 18/04/2011 at 12:27:29

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Fair enough, Alan.

I just felt a lot of people pressed the panic button unnecessarily; sure we had started badly but, given our run of fixtures, was this run really so hard to predict? We were going to be playing inferior teams who would have their injury problems too.

Slow starts under Moyes have sadly become predictable... but so too has the fact that, at some stage of the season, his team WILL put a run together.

That's not a defence of Moyes: in some way it's really quite damning,

Jim Hourighan's excellent article (25 March 2011) highlights how depressingly predictable our seasons have become.

Moyes's fault? Not really ? he does exactly what it says on his tin.
Dave Wilson
24   Posted 18/04/2011 at 12:59:48

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Ben Jones
25   Posted 18/04/2011 at 13:04:04

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I see where you're coming from, Dave, but the problem was we did lose/draw to these teams in the beginning of the season. We also have had injuries.

I certainly felt we could get a few points against them and enough to stay out of relegation, but certainly not enough to finish comfortably in the top half and a chance to finish above Liverpool. It is a testament to Moyes and the players to recover in the way they did.

But I agree, the panic of relegation was a bit ott.
Karl Meighan
26   Posted 18/04/2011 at 13:00:36

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All season we have all wanted a striker who gets 20-25 league goals yet imo its clean sheets and better defending that has led to the recent better form.

Moyes has built the team on a solid backline in previous seasons and we have been difficult to break down.

This season until recently we have been a shambles defending corners and have conceded far to many goals that should have easily been avoided.

We are always likely to score once in most games but having to score two and three with how the team is set up is unlikely in most games.

It's also noticeable imo that when are central midfielders are given licence to drive into the opponents penalty area with the ball and not always passing sideways we look a more threatening team.

The ball may be given away more but better this than Jageilka and Distan pumping long balls onto the Samba's of the worlds head.

Of course we would still love that 20-25 goal a season striker but being confident of shutting out the opponents is just as important.
Sam Hoare
27   Posted 18/04/2011 at 13:18:13

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Will be interesting to see where we finish but considering the financial restrictions imposed on Moyes in the last 3 seasons or so in comparison even with other mid table teams then i think the top 8 would represent a pretty decent job. Not what we all wanted an hoped for but a good job nonetheless.
Norman Merrill
28   Posted 18/04/2011 at 13:51:29

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Our record at Old Trafford is pretty dismal, and not just since Moyes has been manager. I have been there on some occasions when we have beaten them, in League Cup and League games over many seasons, and it's not one of our favoured venues.

I don't really see much hope this time around, but stranger things have happened this season.

Trevor Lynes
29   Posted 18/04/2011 at 14:47:10

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Hey Norman (#27) ? it's only been dismal since the Premier League was formed. Man Utd went a lot of years without a sniff of a title ... but that's BEFORE the PREMIER!! Look at the many years prior when we were the acknowledged bogey team of Man Utd. The problem is, most pundits only start their stats since the Premier League so the vast history of football before then is conveniently forgotten.

Stats are used to confuse, excuse and shroud real facts... please don't fall into the media claptrap lies and deceit.

I can well remember the Moores days when we were known as the Mersey Millionaires and, let's face it... Liverpool ruled with BOTH teams doing better than the Manchester sides without foreign players to bolster them up.

When the league had a level playing field, the title was won by many different teams until Liverpool's domination... where were Man Utd then???

Andy Crooks
30   Posted 18/04/2011 at 19:06:25

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Dave Wilson, you post some admirable and articulate defences of David Moyes. But.... sometimes I think your heart isn't totally in it. I know your views on Kenwright and agree with them. Would you not accept that your defence of Moyes is based on fear rather than belief. (Sorry, editor, I'm not trying to start another religious thread!)
Dave Wilson
31   Posted 18/04/2011 at 19:43:28

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Without a doubt, fear.

And if you don't fear the consequences of Kenwright appointing another manager you... well actually, Andy, I don't for one minute believe you don't have very grave reservations about Kenwright choosing a replacement.

I want Moyes here, as long as Kenwright is.
Dean Adams
32   Posted 18/04/2011 at 19:51:48

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If we qualify for the "Ropey league" next season then we should use the players who have been out on loan this season. They will then be getting plenty of first team action and not affecting our fight for the Champions League in the 2012-13 season.
We have probably achieved exactly what the crapy pundits forecast at the start of the season and no more, so for me we have neither achieved or not achieved. End result is for me disappointing.
Liu Weixian
33   Posted 19/04/2011 at 05:18:34

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ManUre are not as strong as they were in previous seasons. If we go to Old Trafford and play without fear, we will get a good result.
Tony J Williams
34   Posted 19/04/2011 at 09:03:32

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Keep that optimisim Liu, maybe we can do what no-one else can do this season. P16 W15 D1 L0 F42 A9 - doesn't make for good reading, especially if they are smarting over the semi final exit.

Hopefully though their mind will be on the Champions League and we can snatch a scrappy win.
Mike Allison
35   Posted 19/04/2011 at 11:12:12

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All the way back to Chris James (5), I'd agree there were times we played far better at the start of the season without picking up points. The Aston Villa game springs immediately to mind, but there were plenty of home draws we dominated, and even the West Brom game was a flattering scoreline to them, and if Jara had been sent off and not Arteta, we'd have won.

Now we're playing 'Sunday League' football according to some fellow Toffeewebbers after the Wolves game, but winning. It seems unless we're playing like Barcelona, scoring like Barcelona and winning like Barcelona, all on a non-existent budget, we're not allowed to be happy with our team and manager without being accused of being sheep/accepting mediocrity/holding the club back and all the other bollocks we're guaranteed to get from some miserable bugger or other on this site.
Tony Cawson
36   Posted 22/04/2011 at 03:22:19

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Dont know if this glorious weather is affecting my judgement but I am convinced we will win v Man Utd. Not sure why... it's just got to be one day soon.

3 pointless points I suppose after what we've thrown away but I'm going to fill my boots with the odds ? late winner, 2-1, 1-0....

Michael Winstanley
37   Posted 22/04/2011 at 23:59:27

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Hibbert to score!

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