COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
Today saw us entertain Man U who were coming off the back of a 1-6 reverse which should have seen us go at them with vim and vigour from the off but even considering that Sir Alex played a team not to lose rather than their usual attacking flair game we gave them far too much respect and paid a heavy price.
The line up saw the expected omission of Neville, Cahill and Drenthe but no Distin was a puzzler. Jags and Osman returned and Howard replaced Mucha. The attendance of just under 36,000 was down on this fixture from previous years.
We started well and within the first minute Coleman charged past Evra and shot unfortunately straight at the keeper and with muted force. It was a good chance it has to be said. United responded and Howard saved from Park.
Rooney, back on home soil, was afforded a reasonable reception except for one particular section of the Street end who were unforgiving. However it seemed water off a ducks back to him and but for the Ref. closing him down on the edge of the box he may well have made us pay for sloppy marking rather than poking it wide.
Then just before the 20min mark the out of sorts Baines sliced an intended pass or was it a clearance and allowed our players to be caught out of position and an Evra cross went to the back post that Baines was supposed to mark but due to his error was nowhere and Hernandez tapped home despite Jags best efforts to get across to him.
Just a little later we had quite a scary moment when Jags attempted a back header to Howard which did not have the required pace and a race ensued, Howard from his line and Welbeck from the edge of the box. Fortunately Howard won by a whisker and it remained 0-1.
It was then our turn, Osman in going past Vidic with excellent skill was upended near the edge of the box and from the free kick taken by Saha hit the wall. The ball came out to mid-field who worked it back in to Osman who tested De Gea. Just a few minutes later Rodwell strode forward after grabbing possession but hit his shot wide.
We were now pressing well but everything seemed fine in build up terms but the final third seemed once again a no go area. Fellaini was instrumental in almost all of our meaningful build up and just before the interval he was upended some 25yds out by a poor challenge by Fletcher. Many a ref would have booked him but hey this is Man U we are playing. Baines who was having a poor game stepped up and almost made up for his penalty miss on Wednesday night when he hit the bar full on with the keeper beaten. We didn?t let it phase us and just up to the break Saha had a couple of efforts that were at best powder puff.
H/T and the chat was of should changes be made and who for who considering our bench was best described as desperate. The manager decided to rest Bilyaletdinov who had has usual done some good things and some poor things and send on the overhyped Barkley.
The second half really belonged to the Blues but again it was that last third that let us down. We seem to be lacking a central midfield player who can surge and find a pass plus a striker who can put himself about and know how to finish. Yes I know this is old news but it still causes frustration to all associated with the club. Perhaps ?The Daisy Cutter? will be right and we can say Tata to our penalty box woes. United as you would expect had some forays forward and early on some close passing got Welbeck in but he lost control and was crowded out.
We attacked and Rodwell got forward and his left foot screamer that the keeper dived to save and it seemed to me he was lucky to have his face behind his hands. United did do some attacking but none of it was coming to anything and Howard was almost redundant since his early save. We continued to press forward but that final third was problematic as no matter who we put in seemed to lack the control or guile to either get in a decent cross or find a telling pass with Coleman and Baines being particularly out of sorts. Barkley unfortunately was unimpressive except for two or three long crossfield ball that found their target but Utd were happy to let that happen all day as it was always in front of them.
Before the end Utd had another chance when Welbeck got on the end of a good break but Howard was equal to his effort and palm away. We had a few penalty shouts especially for holding Fellaini but the Ref. Mr Halsey was having none of that despite venom from the faithful and outstretched arms from players. Rooney went down injured after a clash with Fellaini and as he lay prostrate the unforgiving section of the street end chanted ?Let him die??a bit harsh I thought.
We were pressing without looking likely to salvage something as we went into 6mins of time added which included when the liner on the Main Stand side in trying an intricate movement of waving his flag for offside as he ran toward the corner flag whilst slipping, doing the splits and receiving treatment for a hurt back. Fourth official Dowd took over.
We had a goalmouth scramble that was eventually cleared, Fellaini got himself booked for kicking the odious big headed Jones, we yelled for a pen when sub Gueye fell over (well it was worth a shout) Final Whistle and somehow it was a bit of an anti-climax as it had been one of those games that left you thinking we should have won whilst struggling to identify the missing ingredients. I am glad I am not the manager who tried all sorts throughout the game but I reckon it boiled down to the fact we just don?t have the players in positions that make a big difference.
MotM --- Fellaini (Unfortunately by a mile)
Overall I found it a frustrating game as all through I thought Utd were there to be beat but we just did not seem to have the self-belief and afforded them too much respect.
I also believe Barkley is well overhyped and is struggling to live up to it. To me he plays like a promising 17-year-old and if you were to compare say Rooney and Wilshere at that age there is no comparison so I am with the manager in limiting his appearances because I think there is something to come that will serve the club well but not as a boy wonder.
Of the substitutes today I thought only Vellios did much and he still looks more like an impact sub than a starter but there will come the day when the manager will have to start him due to such a small squad picking up injuries and suspensions.
On today?s showing I really hope the manager, players and staff can persuade Drenthe to cut out the hair-brained stupidity as I am convinced his sheer pace and shooting could well have seen a different outcome today.
Newcastle away next and then one of those most unwelcome international friendly breaks before it?s Wolves at home. We really are going to have to beat those around us this season.
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 29/10/2011 at 21:42:12
Man U didn't have a shot in anger except the goal and Welbeck's late shot which it would have been quite difficult to score. I don't think Howard had much to do that was difficult.
I thought their goal was down to Heitinga ball-watching. I don't think he was Baines's man. Otherwise I thought Heitinga was decent.
On that point, I thought that most of the team had aceptable games, except for Bilyatedinov, who did more poor than good (wonder if he'll ever come good) and Barkley who was disappointing. I agree that Fellaini was class.
Our shortcomings were (as one of the commentators said) the lack of some guile in the last third (which we don't have - not even on the bench or injured) and the inability (once again) to clear the first man from a set-piece.
I don't thnk Man U were there for the taking - they were always going to be up for it after last week. We could have come out of that game with a point but not because they played particularly badly - I thought we gave a good account of ourselves and were a bit unlucky.
2 Posted 29/10/2011 at 22:47:41
Good report, Ken.
3 Posted 29/10/2011 at 23:15:41
4 Posted 29/10/2011 at 23:14:33
Bilyaletdinov is lacking in confidence but might have done better in Osman''s position just behind Saha. The lad has got a decent shot in him. Even Ross could have played behind the lone striker, to give him more freedom and take some of the responsibilty of playing wide on the left.
5 Posted 30/10/2011 at 03:15:01
To be honest, I have had enough of David Moyes and have never been his biggest fan. Sometimes things get stale and need freshening up. 1 win in 6 is not good enough, is it?
6 Posted 30/10/2011 at 09:23:27
7 Posted 30/10/2011 at 09:28:50
I'd also like to see Barkley play behind the front player and Marvin Gaye given more time. He can cross a ball, or so I heard it on the grapevine, and, given Vellios's height and ability in the air, he could form a usefull pairing with Drenthe providing width on the other side.
I'd also like Moyes to go at teams like United from the off instead of shitting himself in the "technical area"... (What a stupid description that is.."technical area". Who thinks these phrases up?) We could and should have had at least a point yesterday and, with a bit more aggression and courage from the man in the technical area, we would have.
8 Posted 30/10/2011 at 09:53:09
Why don't you Moyes, what the hell is wrong with starting Drenthe and Vellios?
9 Posted 30/10/2011 at 10:08:06
As soon as we got about them, we were the better side. Rodwell's effort in the first half was a direct result of making it difficult for them. Under pressure they were poor, but we didn't really take advantage.
I think we have to be realistic, the best we'll do is Top 10 and after a horrible run of games, we'll pick up points in the next two months. 9 games (3 against the best teams and a terrible decision in the derby) mean that we'll be comfortably top half.
We all know the problems that continue to make us miserable and until a takeover, we will have to make do and mend. I am not Moyes's biggest fan but we are competitive and we make it difficult for the top sides. You only need to look at City's results and performances to realise that we gave a very good account of ourselves at The Etihad.
Hey, I hate losing as much as anyone, probably less than than my 14- & 12-year-old boys, but it's in my blood, I will be in my seat until the end! Anyone who deserts is a traitor!
COYB....... Keep believing, you've no choice and stop the ridiculous criticism on this site......... especially if you can't even be bothered to go to the game. Unless you live in Australia, South Africa or some far flung country, you should be at Goodison, and if you're UK-based and you can't be arsed to go to the game, then STFU.
10 Posted 30/10/2011 at 10:30:26
11 Posted 30/10/2011 at 10:04:31
I noticed that he kept drifting in to the middle, always a sign of where they are naturally at home.
He was one of the few who looked up and tried to play a pass.
On playing people out of position... you can do it for a short time but only with players who are on form and confident enough to make a decent fist of it.
But if you have players who are struggling and put them in a strange position. They don't, having not played there much have the basis grounding and experience in say... fullbacking to do the simple things that they learned ( hopefully ) when they were juniors.
As to the result, a struggling out of form Untd still had enough to contain our Huffing and Puffing effort.
But seem to me to be repeating the Busby United of the early 70s which saw them fail to replace the Laws Crerands Charltons ( Keane, Giggs, Ronaldo ) etc with Grenhoffs etc... Busby ( SAF ) retired and was replaced by an in house McGuinness who tried to crack the whip on all and sundry including Best ( Rooney ? ) who was busy keeping them in the 1st Div on his own, until he had enough and spewed it. which led to relegation.
That will go down well with me especially if the rs fail to gain a place in CL again and go further backwards.
12 Posted 30/10/2011 at 10:40:43
13 Posted 30/10/2011 at 11:07:44
14 Posted 30/10/2011 at 12:44:20
15 Posted 30/10/2011 at 13:01:23
No ifs, no buts ? just cold hard facts.
16 Posted 30/10/2011 at 13:08:12
Vellios is not a better striker than Saha... He looks decent from the bench, but is 19 and inexperienced. A lot of players look good from the bench because they come on against tiring legs and are statistically more likely to be involved in goals in the last 15 mins, than in any other relevant portion within the game.
Barkley has looked good at points, and poor at points. He is still too young to be considered for a regular spot, and is doing well to just being in the squad. Gueye looks promising, but again how is better than who we are using?
We lost 5 of the last 6 because we played 5 teams with better first teams, squads and confidence (we won't mention financial capability). We dealt with Manchester United about as well as anyone has this season (baring the one obvious example to the contray) and should have got something against Liverpool and played admirably against Chelski twice and City.
We lost because we are not as good, there are no hidden gems on bench that will change that, or genius managers ready to take over from Moyes. I for one am happy with recent performances as they suggest we will win a fair amount against the clubs outside the top six.
17 Posted 30/10/2011 at 13:09:47
Overall I think Everton did well and were never negative. United are a very good team and we just don't have the resources to compete with them now. I thought Fellaini was incredible apart from his stupid booking and that Rodwell continues to develop well.
Fault for the goal? 100% Heitinga. He crouched and watched the ball go over him to Hernandez.
18 Posted 30/10/2011 at 13:52:26
We need to play Vellios upfront with Saha, it's simple as that. I am struggling to see what Leon offers behind the striker, particularly against quality teams like United. Jonny Evans is woeful and I would have fancied Saha or Vellios to make a mug of him.
Oh well... Newcastle next week within no Felli, and injuries mounting...
19 Posted 30/10/2011 at 17:05:41
"Vellios is not a better striker than Saha... He looks decent from the bench, but is 19 and inexperienced."
Correct,he's not a BETTER striker than Saha but he isn't as injury prone, better in the air, more interested and he'll never get experience sat on his backside on the bench. Play him from the start WITH Saha and let him learn from him as well as taking some pressure off Saha.At one point in yesterday's match Saha just stood on his own in the centre circle with his hands on his hips, the movement at times was woefull.
20 Posted 31/10/2011 at 04:55:45
Well someone who wants play football with a bit of passion and a desire to win would be a start. All too often we have seen a negative team go out and hope to nick one and hang on for a win. Is this what we want? Its not what i want from an everton team. I know its hard to compete without the money the rich clubs have but watching this team play is worse than watching paint dry. roll on the barcodes eh?
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