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Season 2011-12

Ugly Everton Do Just Enough

By Luke O'Farrell   ::  20/11/2011
 26 Comments (Last)
Everton welcomed a Wolves team, yesterday, that hadn't won at Goodison for 32 years. Jack Rodwell, fresh from his England exploits, missed out with an injury he picked up in midweek. Sylvain Distin and Phil Neville were also out injured. Marouane Fellaini started after providing fans with a welcome boost by signing a new 5 year deal.

The game started off with Everton looking very shaky at the back. Drenthe almost gifted the opposition the lead, twice, in the opening moments. A pass to Baines was under hit and he then played another poor pass towards Heitinga. The home side looked nervous and the first 10 minutes saw them treat the ball like a hot potato; with nobody willing to get their foot on the ball and dictate the play.

Coleman had a shot blocked, Drenthe fired straight at the keeper from a difficult angle and a dangerous Baines cross evaded everyone; as Everton began to wake up. Everton's first real chance came with 15 minutes on the clock. Cahill headed a deep Coleman cross, to the far post, across goal and Hennessey was alert to Saha's effort as it bounced up and over.

Everton were still struggling to get into any sort of rhythm with the team guilty of surrendering possession too easily. The team looked short of leadership, with Phil Neville sorely missed. Wolves had kept the ball better, on the rare occasions they had it, but they rarely looked like troubling the Everton defence at any point.

Doyle broke quickly for Wolves, after a Coleman mistake, but Jagielka was on hand to avert the danger. Leon Osman was putting in a good shift, winning his fair share of headers and tackles; two aspects he isn't noted for. Saha had two efforts blocked around the 30 minute mark as Everton tried to find a goal.

Eventually, Everton paid for their somewhat insipid display, as Wolves took the lead in the 37th minute through a Stephen Hunt penalty. Fellaini upended Edwards in the box and the referee pointed to the spot; although it appeared a soft decision. Hunt hammered the spot kick down the middle; he'd never lost to Everton in a game he'd scored in.

Everton restored parity just before half time with the help of Baines' trusty left foot, after Roger Johnson had bundled Cahill over outside the area. Phil Jagielka headed the left back's superbly struck free kick into the Park End net; doubling his tally for the season.

Everton were visibly boosted by the equaliser and twice came close to taking the lead before the interval. A great last-ditch tackle from Stearman denied Drenthe whilst Hennessey made a good save from Fellaini's low shot. Cahill was clearly fouled in his attempts to reach the rebound; however his claims didn't interest the referee and that signalled the end of the first half.

Baines had linked up well with Drenthe during the first half; although Drenthe looks more of a threat when played on the right of midfield. Coleman had got forward well and Fellaini and Osman had grown into the match. The rest of the team was having solid, if unspectacular games.

Everton looked the more likely during the second period, although they looked very short on ideas and creativity. Too often, the Toffees' method of attack was a long ball forward; dealt with easily by the tall Wolves centre backs. Fellaini fired an effort over the bar after half time and that was Everton's only effort of note until the 67th minute; when Cahill spurned a golden chance.

Coleman showed good pace to get in round Elokobi; an achievement in itself, and Saha helped the ball on with a neat flick. The ball fell to Cahill, just a few yards out, but he failed to make any sort of telling contact. That allowed Ward and Hennessey to smother his effort. Bizarrely, the referee gave a free kick to Wolves; with no Everton player near the incident.

Vellios came on with 15 minutes remaining, as Everton tried to find a winner. The winner eventually came with less than 10 minutes remaining; after a blocked effort from Saha. The resulting corner lead to a soft penalty after Ward appeared to push Saha to the ground. Baines stepped up, and coolly sent Hennessey the wrong way, to make it 7 penalties out of 7 in the league for Everton's left back.

Everton saw the game out in relative comfort, as the manager introduced Bilyaletdinov; his arrival received a few boos, and Stracqualursi. They replaced the industrious Drenthe and a below par Saha, as the clock ran down. An O'Hara free kick, wide of the far post, was all the visitors could muster in their search for an equaliser.

It wasn't a vintage Everton performance but the reward was a much-needed 3 points. Baines just edged man of the match for his constant work and his cool penalty. Coleman played better than he has for weeks and the back four all had solid games. Hibbert had a couple of poor early crosses but made up for it with some great tackles as the match progressed.

The team is clearly struggling with the loss of Arteta as his passing range is sorely missed. One thing is for certain, the standard of football has to improve. The passing and movement were again below par with the side's ball retention almost totally lacking; especially first half.

Many fans will blame the poor standard of football on the lack of investment but the players and the manager are both, still, capable of doing a lot better.

Reader Comments

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Ben Jones
1   Posted 20/11/2011 at 17:59:58

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Did anyone notice Mr Tony Hibbert taking our crossing freekicks yesterday? I was really shocked when I saw this.

I know his delivery has improved over the last couple of years, but surely Baines and Drenthe are better alternatives?

Still, I guess he's better than Mikel "can't beat the first man" Arteta at them.

Brian Waring
2   Posted 20/11/2011 at 18:00:43

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Arteta talking to sky.

Interesting where he says "Try a bigger club, and a club that wants to play football all of the time."

Jem Traynor
3   Posted 20/11/2011 at 18:18:33

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I thought we looked good yesterday, we were passing well and Saha looked good on the ball great touches just not killing off the game in the obviuos final third, as usual.

As for the Arteta interview, they just can't help themselves... footballer's having been given a second chance in their career at Everton then moving on and forgeting about the last 7 years. Good luck I say but don't start with the mildly derogatory comments about a club's stature because of the state of football in England, rise above it!

Mick McCarthy is one of the managers who does give Everton and Moyes credit for Everton being one of the better footballing sides in the Prem. I can't remember the amount of times I've watched Arsenal wanting to see a good passing game and was sorely dissapointed, I think it's a case of saying "How loyal he is now to his new club?" Nevermind.
Jimmy Sørheim
4   Posted 20/11/2011 at 18:32:35

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Yeah, Brian, I was amazed by that comment as well. However, I think he is clearly on to something. We don't like to play football here, it is defensive bullshit. Defend defend defend ? nothing else... and I am also sick of it.

I liked Arteta but I think his disloyalty is bad. He even took a pay cut to play for Arsenal, that tells me that he never wanted to be here in the first place... but in truth, who can blame him after last year?
Andrew James
5   Posted 20/11/2011 at 19:49:08

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I think this stuff about us not wanting to play proper football is a joke. Moyes has been bringing in a lot of flair players like Bily, Pienaar, Coleman, Baines, Drenthe, McFadden and Arteta himself. He doesn't shop in the Wolves/Stoke market. He also gets annoyed when Jags hoofs it. Yesterday you could see he was furious after we lost possession because Jags needlessly hit the ball long.

During 2006-2009 we played some lovely stuff which put to bed our image as being defensive and Dogs of War Mk II.

He's happy to keep playing Saha, who is lazy on the defensive front, and Drenthe, who is a bit of a loose cannon, because he respects their attacking prowess. Yesterday I thought we missed Rodwell's physicality and his ability to keep the ball moving. After years of attacking from the middle, we are now going down the flanks with Drenthe and Coleman. Give it time, we'll get up that table.
Trevor Mackie
6   Posted 20/11/2011 at 20:06:07

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Arteta stayed loyal through his best years; he and Pienaar were the only creativity we had under Moyes.

The 'big club' comment is spot on, we are absolute no-marks now ? not at the races in any way shape or form; Moyes and Kenwright can claim credit for that.

I don't blame him at all for his "footballing" references, he looked absolutely bemused at times under Moyes.

He's not your usual mindless footballer so his comments carry a bit more weight than the normal rent-a-gob.
Ian Tunstead
7   Posted 20/11/2011 at 20:32:23

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"The 'big club' comment is spot on, we are absolute no-marks now ? not at the races in any way shape or form; Moyes and Kenwright can claim credit for that."

Why must you always spout mindless bullshit? If you know your history you will know we were all ready a fading giant long before Moyes arrived. If anything, Moyes has brought a bit or respect back to this club and has took us from a relegation team to a top 8 team.
Sean McKenna
8   Posted 20/11/2011 at 20:33:19

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Fucking get a grip!! We hoof it more than Stoke!!! What pisses me off more is when I watch Swansea's pass & move, slick one-touch passing with piss-poor average no-mark joes in their team!! Yet we have a team full of internationals who couldn't pass water.

Arteta is right ? it's not Moyes's way of pass and move; he is Big Sam in diguise... my local team play better football. Only because I love the club... I'd never ever watch Everton play football.
Trevor Mackie
9   Posted 20/11/2011 at 20:43:36

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"Why must you always spout mindless bullshit?"

Same reason you do.
Ciarán McGlone
10   Posted 20/11/2011 at 20:47:18

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Arteta is spot on. We haven't played good football, with any consistency, since the eighties.
Jamie Sweet
11   Posted 20/11/2011 at 20:27:20

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Andrew # 5... "Moyes has been bringing in a lot of flair players". You are taking the piss surely?!

In ten years, you've managed to compile a list of seven players... two of which are full-backs, two others (and the best on the list) he has fucking SOLD! Drenthe I like, but he was a desperate loan signing which we're not likely to see next year (he doesn't track back enough for Moyes), and Bily and McFadden don't get a game (because they are shite).

You state that two years ago we were playing some good football. By that token I guess you would concede that we've gone backwards then? And you'd be right. Moyes's team is so stagnant right now that they are really starting to stink the place out.

The only flair you're likely to see at Goodison these days is a distress signal. Please someone come and save us from Moyes and his anti-football.
Keith Pratt
12   Posted 20/11/2011 at 21:50:49

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I thought yesterday was a big improvement, but stopped reading the report when you said Neville was sorely missed!! About as much as deep heat in your boxers. He's been a great signing and good pro, but should be with Cahill on the bench at best.

For fuck's sake, let's see more of Vellios, young Ross and Magaye. If you are good enough, you are old enough ? and I think they are.
Ian Tunstead
13   Posted 21/11/2011 at 01:24:32

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At least you admit it Trevor, cant argue with that.
Michael Brien
14   Posted 21/11/2011 at 07:34:10

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Re flair players, if Moyes had been manager in the mid 1980s would someone like Kevin Sheedy play in the team regularly? I think Moyes tactics are hardly encouraging to " flair players". As was pointed out by Sean #8 Swansea play more of a "passing game" then we do - with a team that is made up of players who can hardly be described as household names.

Brendan Rodgers is a manager who has far less experience than Moyes. I saw Rodgers interviewed on MoTD: rather than blame his defender for making the mistake which led to the United goal he said "I tell them to play this way so if anyone is to blame it's me." How refreshing ? a manger who takes responsibility for his team's performance good or bad... would we see Moyes do that?
Stephen Kenny
15   Posted 21/11/2011 at 07:45:17

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You can buy all the flair players in the world If you tell them first priority is keep shape, cover your mans runs and don't get caught out of position then it makes no odds!!!

As well as individual skill, you also need a colelctive mentality. Thats why all Mourinho sides mirror his personality, as do Fergusons and Wengers and Moyes!
Robbie Shields
16   Posted 21/11/2011 at 08:29:54

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Ian #7 "If you know your history you will know we were all ready a fading giant long before Moyes arrived. If anything, Moyes has brought a bit or respect back to this club and has took us from a relegation team to a top 8 team."

Do you know what, that is about the first post you've put on here that I actually agree with. We were a fading giant long before Moyes came, no doubt, and he did give us a bit of respect back. In fact, even more than that, he saved us from relegation and got us in to Europe, playing dull football, but in Europe none the less, but those years of progress stopped 3 or 4 years ago as far as I am concerned.

Since then it's been shite, dour, dull, boring, negative pub football. Attendances are down massively, 31,000 for Wolves at home says it all.

Trevor's comment is valid too, both Moyes and Kenwright can take credit for where we are and what we've become, along with Carter.

Time for a change, thanks for all you've done for us and goodbye.
Ian Tunstead
17   Posted 21/11/2011 at 10:48:07

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Robbie, think back over the last 3 or 4 years as to why the progress stopped. Moyes knew the club was taking a backwards step when he was forced into selling Lescott at the last minute to his rivals. Then he was forced into rush buying. It is easy to sit back with hindsight and say he shouldn?t have listened to Guus Hiddink and bought Bily, but after the FA cup final I don?t know about you but if Hiddink gave me some advice and recommended a player I would listen.

It was always going to be difficult to replace Lescott and the partnership and understanding he had with Jagielka (as proved by the Spain friendly) but I think Distin was a decent buy. Again with hindsight we can criticise Moyes for bringing in Heitinga but to get a Dutch international for £6m was well worth a try who could potentially fill the gap left by Carsley or even act as competition to Distin, it seemed like a no-brainer to me.

After that though we virtually stopped spending and thus stopped progressing while teams around us like Spurs and Man City spent millions, it was inevitable that we were going to fall behind those two teams. It doesn?t help when three of your best players (Jags, Arteta and Yakubu) never fully recover from their career-threatening injuries and you are forced to sell your two most creative players Arteta and Pienaar.

No manager could cope any better in the circumstances. Give Moyes money and he will compete for the top 4 again.
Andrew Ellams
18   Posted 21/11/2011 at 12:27:20

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Lescott was a top player for us, but if the sale of a centre half signalled the demise of a club then God help us.
Ian Tunstead
19   Posted 21/11/2011 at 12:38:02

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Andrew, if you read all of what I said, you will see I list a whole lot of other factors, but the Lescott incident was where it all began.
Chris Fisher
20   Posted 21/11/2011 at 12:43:45

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Michael #14. Moyes often says he takes the blame whenever we lose; I have certainly never heard him blame anyone else for a defeat. And whenever we win, I have never heard him take the credit for it; he credits the players for it.
Tony J Williams
21   Posted 21/11/2011 at 12:38:25

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"Attendances are down massively, 31,000 for Wolves at home says it all" ? Not down that much, all of the upper stand in the away end was empty... how many does that hold?

"We haven't played good football, with any consistency, since the eighties" ? So it's not "all" Moyes's fault seeing as he wan't here in the 90s,.....or is it? The truth is out there.
Gavin Ramejkis
22   Posted 21/11/2011 at 12:53:39

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Tony, from Wolves own website the same fixture last season

Everton 1 - Wolves 1

Premier League

Goodison Park

21st August 2010

Attendance: 37,767

Referee: Lee Mason

Read more:

I'd say that was some drop
Gavin Ramejkis
23   Posted 21/11/2011 at 12:58:38

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Tony, add to that the away allocation is 3,000 in total and admit Wolves didn't take up the top tier, that's only 1,500 or so seats they failed to fill; the remaining 5,500 or so are missing Evertonians.
Ted Smeethes
24   Posted 21/11/2011 at 18:09:51

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Gavin / Robbie

The attendance was actually 33,953 which is 3,814 less than last year. Bearing in mind last year's game against Wolves was the first home game when everyone is still excited about the season ahead, it's not that much of a drop in attendance.
Robbie Shields
25   Posted 21/11/2011 at 21:49:25

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Ted, thanks for that, the first report I looked at showed the attendance at 31k. You're right, with the game not being the first of the season then you would expect it to be down anyway. I Don't know how many Wolves brought but it sounds like around half their allocation, which is still 2,000+ who've decided not to go this time round. That's a drop of more than 5% in 12 months.

With the quality of football on show I can only see that getting worse as the season progresses, many have just had enough of this crap. If I was back in the UK, I wouldn't be making as many journeys over to Goodison from Norfolk as I used to ? that's for sure.
Paul Ferry
26   Posted 22/11/2011 at 03:01:14

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There is absolutely nothing incompatible with what the best ever Spaniard we once knew is saying here and what will be his life-long affection for Everton. Arse are a much bigger team; they play creative football as close as EPL can ever be to the Barca education; and, unlike us, they have a coach with flair, dare, and a creative eye.

Watching Arteta play for Arse as I'm doing right now v Norwich (it's 9:00pm Monday in Chicago ? rerun), makes me think of: (1) how good a player he really is (2) how he was wasting his time and talents at Everton (lost it after his injury, my fucking ass: dour negative tactics and selection from a coach who always, always puts safety first) and (3) what a pleasure it was to have him with us.

All the best, Teta.

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