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Season 2011-12

Everton Sunk by The Yellow Submarine

By Luke O'Farrell   ::  05/08/2011
 17 Comments (Last)

The new season is almost upon us after, what feels like, the longest summer ever. Pre-season has been about as eventful as a Colin Firth film. A handful of youngsters and fringe players have left for pastures new and the only arrival has been the re-signing of Eric Dier, from Sporting Lisbon, on a season-long loan. Various fan groups, most notably Evertonians for Change and The People?s Group, have formed one large coalition that comes under the banner of The Blue Union.

Tonight?s opponents, Villarreal, need no introduction after the 2005 Collina debacle. The most notable players for them were Giuseppe Rossi, formerly of Man United, Borja Valero who was a flop at West Brom and Carlos Marchena, the ex-Spain international. The Boys in Blue lined up in the customary 4-4-1-1 formation, though the personal was slightly different from normal. Howard and the defence were our strongest, as expected. Coleman lined up in his, now, familiar position of right midfield. Fellaini and Rodwell were fit again and handed starts in the centre of the park. Anichebe began in a fairly unusual left wing position with Barkley, our much touted youngster, playing behind Saha.

The game began with Everton almost getting in down the left hand side, although the eventual move came to nothing. Fellaini and Distin looked sharp from the off, and made a crucial interceptions, in Everton territory. Barkley lashed over from just outside the area after a couple of minutes. Neville then hit a ball over the top and Coleman was in behind, however he dawdled in possession and the chance was gone with Saha and Rodwell well placed in the area. Barkley, who looked impressive from the off, played a one-two with Baines but Leighton was offside going for the return. The same pair linked up again, around the 15 minute mark, this time it was Barkley?s turn to stray offside. Around the same time came Villarreal?s first real attempt, after a period where they had started to see more of the ball.

After a foul by Fellaini, Rossi fired a free kick narrowly over the crossbar. Fellaini showcased the good and the bad in the space of 20 seconds; he under hit a pass into midfield and then won the ball back with a great tackle in the area. Rossi again tested Howard, after 20 minutes, playing a one-two on the edge of the area before firing a shot in. Shortly afterwards, Anichebe burst into the area but a poor touch meant the chance was gone. Our Spanish visitors then began to see more of the ball as we dropped deep, seemingly allowing them to have possession.

Nothing much happened over the next 10 minutes or so. Villarreal got on the ball more and we surrendered it all too easily when we got it back. However all their possession was out of the final third, we got behind the ball and looked to counter. Cani fired over, 10 minutes before half time, and the game had fallen well into full pre-season mode. A few minutes later Baines and Saha linked up, with a succession of one-twos, resulting in Saha firing in a low shot that Lopez tipped wide for a corner. Although other players where well placed and a pass may have been the better option. Moyes could be overheard shouting at Saha to ?stay centre forward?, so it?s not just me that Saha infuriates by dropping deep then.

Half time came, 0-0, with Barkley looking our best player. He has performed like a seasoned veteran, not a teenager making his Goodison debut. Fellaini and Distin had also played well for the first 45 and Baines got better as the half wore on. The only major down side was a horrendous Marchena tackle that ended Coleman?s game early; he left on crutches for scans; does not look good for him.

Just after the second half got underway Baines had a great chance to put Everton ahead. A marauding run down the left hand side led to another good one-two with Saha, but as the keeper advanced, Baines seemed to lose his composure and fired straight at Lopez. Villarreal continued to see more of the ball and Rossi was their biggest threat all night; Sir Alex must rue letting him leave. The diminutive Italian had another shot that brought a one-handed save from Howard.

With 25 minutes to go, it was Rossi who broke the deadlock. Distin gave away a foul on the edge of the area; Rossi stood over the ball and after a lay-off, dispatched the ball into the top corner via the post. The shot took a slight nick off Barkley?s leg although Howard seemed beaten anyway. Shortly after this the Spaniards almost had a second; Valero played in Oriol down the Everton right and drew a fine save from Howard. The American keeping the ball out with an outstretched right leg, the rebounding ball was cleared to safety.

Moyes then began to make substitutions which seemed to kill us. I understand giv people game time but not at the expense of the team. Heitinga was brought on and placed CM, he is a fine CB but that is it. Beckford was placed on the left of midfield; he had no impact out there. Neville was then moved to RM after Hibbert had replaced Anichebe. After this raft of substitutions, we had lost our way and Villarreal has us chasing shadows for the remainder of the game.

Hopefully Osman and Arteta are back for the Spurs game, although as of writing, there has been no news on Arteta and how long he?s out for. Barkley was withdrawn after 70 minutes of a performance he can be very proud of, he faded when moved to RM but that is to no reflection on him. He looks quite a prospect yet we know we cannot expect too much too soon. Over the course of the whole game, I would say Baines was our best player with Barkley a close second mainly for his first 45. We created no real chances or opportunities of not in the final 20 minutes as Villarreal gave us a bit of a run around.

The most noticeable aspect about the game was that it is evident that the problems we had last season still remain. We lack pace in key areas and if Arteta, Fellaini and Osman don?t play then we lack creativity and composure in the middle of the park. We will hopefully have a few players back for the Spurs game as we looked ill-equipped, for what lies ahead, on tonight?s evidence. The thing that worries me most is that a couple of injuries or absences leave us with many people out of position and the team has a very disjointed look to it. The main positives to come out of tonight's friendly were the emergence of Barkley, the return of Fellaini and the fact that Baines is still in great form. Roll on next week; hopefully we can keep up our recent good form at the Lane.


Howard 6, Neville 6, Jagielka 7, Distin 7, Baines 8, Coleman 6, Rodwell 5, Fellaini 7, Anichebe 5, Barkley 7, Saha 6

Reader Comments

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Si Harwood
1   Posted 06/08/2011 at 04:18:07

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Just sat throught the 1st 45 minutes of our FINAL pre-season friendly v Villarreal.

For me a suprising line up - mianly that Vic A is given yet another start!? Screech, Rodders & Young Ross start in the middle.

Now I will be honest, with 2 Evertonians under 3 to put to bed on my own I missed the first 17 minutes.

However, for the remaining 28 minutes I have to be honest I am worried. Yet again there is no cuting edge in the fina 3rd, far too many long balls to the opposition.

Villarreal looked so much more composed on the ball, happy to keep the ball, pass to feet even in the depths of thie own half.

We looked devoid of ideas, and although at times we moved the ball sideways and backlwards with some nice passing ? this is not going to win a game.

Vic A looks as poor as ever, lost, lacking any real skill or pace ? and for a big lad yet again easy to shake off the ball.

Coleman looks like he has picked up a nasty knock and Cahill has come on.

So there it is... only 45 minutes to go till we KO the new season at Spurs - and Hawy sat in the stands must be thinking he can bag the first 3 points with ease.

Moyes is lacking any ideas with regarding systems and personel. Granted, no Arteta, but come on ? we could all have picked the first 11 with Mucha, Howard, Hibbert, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barkley Coleman, Osman, Heitinga, Vellios, Anichebe Saha, Cahill, Beckford Bilyaletdinov, Gueye, Rodwell.

Iain Love
2   Posted 06/08/2011 at 07:08:12

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Good summation Luke, Same old same old Everton & Moyes. Barkley apart same players & manager so what did i expect.
Possibly playing players in their best / proper positions. No Arteta [,where was Osman ?] so put Bily in the centre , Coleman goes off after a fucking terrible tackle that has no place in a friendly, so where was Gueye [ i thought he was a winger ? ] .Then ffs after going a goal down and looking like not scoring Hibbert coming on and moving Neville, NEVILLE!!!!!!!! to right mid .
After that 2nd half performance i would have taken £10mill for Jags [ piss poor distribution ] and got N'Zogbia in , or use Pienaar and Vaughans wages to bring Barton in and play him right mid [where he plays for the barcodes] .
Thought the Spaniards where a very good team.
Denis Richardson
3   Posted 06/08/2011 at 08:54:53

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Only a friendly I know, I also only managed to see the second half. I'm really worried.

There just does not seem to be any real structure to our team and I'm always left wondering where the creativity is going to come from. Exactly the same system and players as last year but without Arteta and Osman (end of season Osman) we dont have anything.

WTF is Gueye, who is supposed to be a left winger. WTF is Anichebe doing a) on the left wing, b) in the starting 11??

On this performance Spurs will tear us a new arsehole next week and the only hope is another backs to wall performance trying to nick a point!

Take the 12-13m from Arsenal and get some pace and creativity into the side. JH is a f'ing centre back not a CM!!
Brian Waring
4   Posted 06/08/2011 at 09:33:05

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The biggest positive is the emerging Barkley, who looks a great prospect.
What I thought though, is that he had a good first 20mins, but after that he faded, and the game passed him by.

For me, I don't think he is ready to be thrown in at the deep end, he should be given the odd 20 - 30 mins in games to get him used to the pace, and the difference in quality that he was used to.

This lad looks a gem,
David Hallwood
5   Posted 06/08/2011 at 09:41:05

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Good report Luke, I watched all of it on TV, and the 2nd half from behind the couch, in another thread david barks summed up the problems perfectly, but what made it even worse was the aimless long ball that was being swallowed by Villarreal and we just couldn't get the ball off them. hasn't anyone in the team have the sense to say knock it short to a blue shirt, cos we've got to work twice as hard to get it back.

All in all same old same old too many similar players not enough nounse to break a good team down
Mike Hayes
6   Posted 06/08/2011 at 09:54:57

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No too good a match second half, Barkley MotM. Gueye out with a foot injury, it was in a plastic boot when we saw him last night, told my lad he should be back next week.

Felli needs to get back into the from he can produce, even if it is in the "shop window" pending amove to another club (if it's true).

I think we will do well this season, top 10 finish, higher if we get all players back and are kept fit, Louey, Felli, Arteta.

Is the Yak staying?
Al Reddish
7   Posted 06/08/2011 at 09:35:26

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I went to the game and I thought we were decent first half. Nothing special but we weren't out played and we did create a couple of openings. I liked the look of the Fellaini, Barkley and Rodwell trio. Fellaini was a little rusty but was only bettered on the pitch by Barkley. Rodwell was solid and seemed to throw himself into tackles. Defence was ok, Baines good getting forward, Coleman lively as was Saha for a while.
However, as everyone has pointed out so far, we have the same problems we have had for 3 years, and that is mainly from the fact we have had to name the same team for 3 years, bar a couple of kids coming through.
Second half was shit and Neville should never play right wing. Poor decision from Moyes.As is playing Heitinga in centre mid. I am surprised this game wasn't used to put his first team out and get them playing together before the big kick off next week. Give it to Bily or Gueye. Yak looked lazy, Cahill did nothing and Beckford's first touch is terrible, though he does put himself about and chased everything.
This team will do nothing unless we get some pace and creativity injected in it.........but we have all been saying that for far too long.
One other thing I noticed was the fact that Tim Cahill was still the predominant name on the fans backs. Good that he is that well thought of, but sad that the biggest idol is someone in his thirties that has been with us a long time. It would have been nice to see new names on backs and fans getting excited about a new signing or two. Nothing against Tim who is a great player but points lost for Bill and his 'investment!'
Matt Woods
8   Posted 06/08/2011 at 11:07:31

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Look, i have not seen a second of pre-season. You know why? Because it's shite! All pre-season is good for is a European piss drinking trip. I salute the lads who went to Germany, by all acounts typically massive numbers for a kick around. For professional footballers, it is different altogether. These people are thoroughbred athletes. Pre season is about conditioning, nothing else. Sometimes they train all day and play at night. THEY ARE FUCKED! This is not by accident, but by design. Lay the fuck off all the players, they need our support. Its understandable that fans are frustrated, but be honest with yourselves, the current Premiership is SHITE! We are struggling, yet we can beat anyone on our day!
Terry McLavey
9   Posted 06/08/2011 at 14:17:54

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#5 David,I watched 2nd half through my fingers, didn't think it was worth the effort to go behind the couch.They DID knock it to a blue shirt, but only ones that were surrounded by 5 yellow ones !fuck me it was painful !I know the idea is to give everyone a run out but 'kinel.Mourinho was a genius a substitutions Moyes is the anti Mourinho! How many times does Capt.Pip have to go up the right wing and belt an aimless ball into the area before he realises it comes to nothing!! I thought Unsworth had exausted that one!(younger threaders please refer to ancient team listings! yes he did play for us and with a bit more heart than some of the shirts today!)I really think we need a new manager with a fresh look and fresh tactics or we'll be having the same old moans next May, I do hope they prove me wrong ! And another thing how long will it be before Barkley is named "the new Rooney" and is poached by a club that has the money from searching for investment 24/7!! Rant over, all the best to everyone in blue and lets hope last night was a wakeup call!
Jimmy Sorheim
10   Posted 06/08/2011 at 15:36:03

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Thought we looked like our first week of pre-season instead of the last week. Moyes just cant put together a decent amount of games to test our players. They look unfit and unready for next weeks game.!!
Lori Fekete
11   Posted 06/08/2011 at 21:19:27

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Don't panic everyone, with Anichebe left wing and Neville on the right, we'll shit'em next week!
David Holroyd
12   Posted 07/08/2011 at 15:41:06

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Moyes substitutions have not changed in nine years they are still awful. The second half was one of the most onesided we have seen. We cannot play Anichibe anywhere near either wing, never seen a player who as gone downhill so far, when he came on the seen in those Euro games he looked good.Looks like we have a player in BARKLEY
Gareth Humphreys
13   Posted 08/08/2011 at 08:11:28

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Yeh, I don't care what all his fellow managers say, all the respected journalists say and those 3 manager of the year awards show - this Moyes fella is clueless.
Give me strength
Luke O'Farrell
14   Posted 08/08/2011 at 11:53:27

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So Gareth just because the media and press rate him so highly, we aren't allowed to criticise some of his poor decisions and tactics?
Gareth Humphreys
15   Posted 09/08/2011 at 07:12:36

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You can Luke, but you make yourself look pretty foolish.
When did you get your A license?
Luke O'Farrell
16   Posted 09/08/2011 at 20:58:36

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I don't need an A license to see that, Neville RM Heitinga CM Beckford LM, isn't good enough; nobody does.
Paul Radcliffe
17   Posted 21/08/2011 at 00:20:41

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Matt Woods is quite right. EFC can beat anyone on their day. Just not sure what day that is. Moaning at the players is about as helpful as pissing on a pitch in, say, New Zealand. Bring back Terry Darracott as defensive coach.

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