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Season 2011-12

Everton Left Smarting at Injustice

By Lyndon Lloyd   ::  21/03/2012
 9 Comments (Last)

There are times when you just throw your hands in the air and ask yourself, What's the fucking point?

Having been handed a footballing lesson by Arsenal for the first 15 minutes of this poorly officiated encounter and fallen behind to a sloppy set-piece goal, Everton recovered their composure and equalised with a goal of the kind of quality you usually associate with their opponents.

Except, of course, it wasn't allowed to stand. Despite being a yard onside when the final ball in a sweeping move was played through to him, Royston Drenthe's clinical finish was struck off by a linesman's flag and the Gunners were allowed to keep an advantage they would defend ably to record a sixth successive Premier League victory.

It's hard enough beating Arsenal without incompetence from the match officials robbing you of goals, but then we're very much used to that as Evertonians, aren't we?

Though they would fall short on the shots count, the Blues maintained the ascendency for long periods of the remainder of the game until their momentum was killed when Moyes inexplicably withdrew Drenthe with 12 minutes to go.

On the basis of the game's opening quarter, Arsene Wenger's men were full value for the three points. Assuming immediate control, they ran their hosts ragged with some sumptuous passing, movement and pace. Aaron Ramsey really should have made that early pressure tell with just five minutes on the clock when he was set up perfectly by Robin van Persie's header but he lashed well over the bar.

Arsenal only had to wait another minute, though. Carved open again, the Everton defence was almost punished when Bacary Sagne popped up in space in the penalty area but Ramsey's shot deflected up off Sylvain Distin and looped behind for a corner. Thomas Vermaelen shook off the attentions of Marouane Fellaini for the resulting kick and arrived unmarked to head past Tim Howard to make it 1-0.

Three minutes later, Howard had to save low to deny Van Persie and memories of the 6-1 mauling the Blues endured here a few years ago came flooding back.

To their credit, though, Everton righted the ship in fairly short order after that and began to dictate matters, exhibiting some slick passing of their own. As has so often been the case, though, they struggled with the final ball at times, Fellaini and Tim Cahill killing promising attacks with awful passes before everything came together beautifully with half an hour gone.

Osman intercepted Song's attempted ball forward superbly before laying it off to Fellaini who fed it further forward to Nikica Jelavic on the edge of the area. The Croatian's smart backheel found Cahill who rolled a perfect pass to Drenthe in space on the right side of the box allowing him to tuck it past Wojciech Szczesny. Flag up, offside decision, incredulity followed by seething anger among the home faithful.

Three more incorrect offside decisions, two for Everton and one Arsenal, would follow before the half-time break, the most glaring again went against Drenthe when Osman chose not to shoot at the end of another impressive move and tried to play the Dutchman in again on the right.

Moyes's side continued to probe and press in the second half but though they made a number of raids down the left flank, they just couldn't find the killer ball to find Jelavic and Fellaini in the centre. The Belgian international had been switched with Cahill earlier in the first half and forward by Moyes but he found the going tough at times against the aerial prowess of Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny

Fellaini did have perhaps the best Everton chance of the half, though, when he rose to meet Steven Pienaar's corner but planted his header straight towards the 'keeper who caught the ball under his crossbar.

The Blues were almost caught out at the other end in the 57th minute when Van Persie rattled Howard's post from fairly close range and Drenthe's clumsy challenge on Tomas Rosicky just inside the box went unheeded by referee Lee Mason before Fellaini came within a few inches of getting a toe to Baines' whipped cross.

Walcott burst through the home defence in the 73rd minute setting up Ramsey but Howard denied him with an excellent one-handed stop and Drenthe hammered a drive a foot or two over when a corner came out to him on the edge of the box as Everton stuggled to find the target.

In truth, Moyes's substitutions stalled any momentum his side had going into the final ten minutes. Drenthe had been having one of his most effective and mature performances of the season but was hooked in favour of Victor Anichebe, while Magaye Gueye replaced the flagging Osman. Neither sub made much of an impact and Arsenal held out to become the second team to do the double over Everton this season.

The result keeps Everton in 10th but within five points of Liverpool in seventh ahead of a tricky trip to in-form Swansea City at the weekend. If they play as well as they did at times tonight, they should be fine for at least a draw at the Liberty Stadium but it's been inconsistency and a failure to create clear-cut chances that has been their undoing this season. Jelavic has made an impressive start to life at Goodison Park but he can't create the goals for himself.

Man of the Match: A difficult one. I'd be tempted to award 7s across the board as it would be harsh to single anyone out. Jelavic ran himself ragged and took a clattering from Koscielny, Pienaar was a hive of activity but let himself down with a few wayward balls at crucial moments, while Drenthe was a constant threat and did everything that was asked of him for the goal that never was.

Reader Comments

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Anto Byrne
734   Posted 22/03/2012 at 05:13:03

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The swapping of Cahill and Fellaini ? when will it dawn on our unimaginative manager that this is never going to work and that he needs to drop Cahill to the bench and bring this aging warrior on only for impact, preferably for the last 6 minutes.

Fellaini is not a striker and Cahill has 2 goals in what seems like years. Why take RR off like fucking clockwork every game?

Why put Big Vic on the wing? He ain't a fucking winger and we saw what he is capable of when played in the middle. Remember the finish from the Donovan through-ball and sublime header to earn a draw at Wigan.

I would have thought Faddy offers more than Mageye and could do a job in the hole behind Jelly. Moyes has to have 8 fucking defenders on the pitch at all times and that includes Ossie and Timmy mopping up at the back. It's no wonder we ain't scoring goals and will be lucky to get 30 this season they way things are going.

I wonder if the Swans will give us a lesson this weekend and forget the FA Cup.
Kase Chow
741   Posted 22/03/2012 at 07:51:32

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Anto Byrne: Faddy in an Everton shirt again? Behave...
Colin George
742   Posted 22/03/2012 at 08:27:51

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Moyes is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Drenthe could not make the breakthrough, he was getting tired, why not shake it up and try a different approach?
Nick Entwistle
750   Posted 22/03/2012 at 09:17:21

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Cahill's two goals. One literally handed to him, the other a ricochet off his own head.

Trevor Lynes
799   Posted 22/03/2012 at 14:16:06

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DM has a very limited squad to choose from and we are very predictable..teams know what to expect and despite all the hard work and endeavour we are handicapped by having much of a muchness look about the side.
Every manager in the league know that we rely on Baines for delivery and that set pieces are our main source of goals if he dries up.

We need a creative midfielder to provide decent ammunition for Jelavic otherwise he wont score either. lets face it, other teams get more out of their strikers than we do...both Yakubu and Beckford are scoring now they have left us.

DM promised that barkley would get a chance THIS season so lets see if the lad can cut it with a decent midfield around him eg; Fellaini and Gibson to protect him.

If he struggles then he can be subbed, what do we have to lose ??
Paul Holden
873   Posted 22/03/2012 at 22:21:21

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30,000 at home to Arsenal - derby disgrace backlash??
Ciarán McGlone
877   Posted 22/03/2012 at 22:47:31

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The point being that there were other players in midfield who should've been dragged off well before Drenthe... probably a few years before.
Keith Glazzard
882   Posted 22/03/2012 at 23:54:40

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Colin ? the only sign of Drenthe getting tired was that one of our very few shots at goal went a foot over the bar. Victor added zero to the total.

Leon Osman started badly and got worse. We couldn't work out what he was doing, and I suspect he didn't know either. But why Gueye should be expected to do better is one you will have to ask DM about. I have yet to discover why he is playing for us.

The 'substitutes stalled any momentum' is something I can completely agree with.
Jackie Barry
896   Posted 23/03/2012 at 03:11:09

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Still think we were dire overall, simply not good enough. Simple fact of the matter is they could have been out of site in the time they were in charge of the game.

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