The teams were received on phones at three but by kick-off, Heitinga had replaced Distin – strange, I thought... but later I learned he was taken poorly – as it appeared so was his deputy, certainly in a football sense anyway.
From the off we just didn't look at it and the feeling that this game was just not going to go our way crept in. Fergie had picked a full-strength team and meant business on the back of Man City's result and the combination of both soon began to tell.
Within minutes we were getting pegged back and unfortunately Heitinga was looking in the same form as the Villa game. Rooney shot over and, after we forced a corner which the massed bodies of the Man Utd rear-guard blocked away, a poor first touch from Vic and a weak attempt at a tackle by Pienaar, a swift break took place and Rooney found Van Persie who waltzed past Howard with ease but his right-footed shot toward an empty net hit a post and went out. It was a warning and a wake-up call that would not be heeded.
Before the 15-minute mark was reached, we were breached. Man Utd had a free kick sort of half-cleared and they were on to the second ball before we even thought about it and some interplay involving Valencia saw him play Van Persie into the box where he just seem to out muscle Heitinga and eased past him to roll the ball along the six-yard box to Giggs in space who rolled into the net via a post and a comical attempt by Howard who never had a chance of stopping it.
The half wore on with Mirallas looking the liveliest but even he wasn't his usual driving self. We were playing some decent stuff but once again that final third found us diffident rather than dynamic. Osman did have a good shot well saved for a corner which was cleared with difficulty.
From about the 30min mark until a minute before the break, we had our best spell of the match as we had Utd on the back foot. "We need to score in these spells," I thought... but all we had was good pressure without the end product. Utd were limited to quick counters and a couple of times Van Persie was pulled back from good scoring runs by the offside flag. "If he gets one of them right," I thought...
In that minute before half-time, with us looking like we just might get a good half-time equaliser. Utd countered again once more due to sloppy first touches but this time no offside flag, this time no post to save us as van Persie rounded Howard and despite a desperate swipe at the ball by Heitinga who had been left stranded, the ball hit the net and even the most optimistic Blue could have been forgiven for shrugging and thinking 'game over'.
Half-time and most were bemoaning our performance with Vic, Heitinga, Osman and Pienaar taking the brunt of blame. Many suggested giving our new signing from Barnsley a run but really we know nothing about him and to my mind a debut for an inexperienced player at Old Trafford may not be in his best interest. He must be good though – they named a paint trophy after him.
Second half and no changes surprised me as we just did not seem right first half; the tactic of the ball up to Vic for him to lay off to any support couldn't work because today his first touch was shocking and, for such a big strong-looking lad he was easily bullied off the ball by Vidic and Evans, with Vic's build it should have been the other way around.
Gibson was being no more than neat and tidy and hardly giving the ball away which sounds good but the reality was his passes were never rapier like to a team-mate in the box. Jags was doing the work of two men in the box and Fellaini was double-marked almost all the time and we kept aiming the ball at him – all of which suited Utd and they were in control and knew it.
On the hour mark, Moyes moved and replaced Vic with Jelavic which brought a smile to my face – as soon as Jelavic was seen ready to come on, Vic hit the deck, apparently injured... did he know it was him to be hooked or do I do him a dis-service? He didn't seem injured till Jelavic appeared.
As soon as he was on, he looked lively and was running and showing for the ball but, as much as we strived for cohesion, everything was breaking down in that final third due to some good defending but mostly our own doing as passes were delivered behind attackers, first touches were poor, and all-in-all, no clear-cut chances created.
On about 65 mins, we had some right action in our box when from a corner the mother of all goalmouth melees took place. From my seat, it was hard to tell what happened but Howard seemed to stop one on the line then slide out a leg to divert the ball again it was mayhem until I think it was Jelavic – I could be wrong – who booted it and hit another Everton player and went for another corner, again taken by Van Persie, which was only partly cleared and fell to Cleverly in what is known as the Scholes position but he fired in well for Howard to do well and tip over for another corner taken by Van Persie which was at last cleared after another heart-in-mouth scramble.
Really that was the last of the real action as it seemed both teams were resigned to the score remaining the same. On 70 mins, Mirallas was visibly tiring, even with a cock's crest injected into him, and was replaced by Naismith who went up with Jelavic and Fellaini dropping into centre mid. The Belgian looked a tad fed up by now and frustration got him needlessly booked.
We were now looking a beaten side but we did keep trying but you just knew a two-goal deficit would not be wiped out this visit. Last season they said that this fixture cost Man Utd the title... well, this season it could just be the fixture that won it for them.
Final whistle and the best thing to do is lick our wounds, get home and be ready for the cup.
MotM – Hard to find one but I nominate Jags.
Overall I think you can say that the best team won but yet it is only our 4th defeat of the season so far. 12 games to go and who knows how we might do but I have to say that players are looking a touch jaded and with no real replacements to give them a breather then the inability to do business in the window may well have put paid to our Euro ambitions via the league; I hope not and pray for a second wind from somewhere. [I think there maybe a conflict between heart and head there sadly.]
A telltale sign of this is seen in both Osman and Pienaar reverting to 'weak as wet lettuce' mode and others sadly following suite. Still hope springs eternal etc etc.
Oldham next in the Cup and not the best time of year to visit the second highest ground in England, wrap up well. Could this be our route into Europe?
UP THE BLUES
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187 Posted 10/02/2013 at 22:55:01
188 Posted 10/02/2013 at 22:57:01
189 Posted 10/02/2013 at 22:56:44
190 Posted 10/02/2013 at 23:06:12
191 Posted 10/02/2013 at 23:04:30
192 Posted 10/02/2013 at 23:06:54
How we could do with a Van Persie or dare I say a Rooney right now. Can't understand why we didnt streghthen in the transfer window? Yet another piece of piss poor management. Lets just hope we can turn it on in the Cup next weekend.....
193 Posted 10/02/2013 at 23:21:29
206 Posted 11/02/2013 at 01:58:17
We did play some fairly good stuff at times but I think it was only because United let us. Jags was magnificent today doing the work of two CB's, Heitinga shouldn't get a game in a Sunday morning pub side, he is an embarrassment.
The Emperor hath no clothes I'm afraid.
208 Posted 11/02/2013 at 02:06:02
Recently I have struggled to maintain enthusiasm because far too often my hopes have crashed. I could deal with those slings and arrows but too often they have resulted from Moyes tactical naiveté and not the players ability.
Saturday's game left me with a sinking feeling that for as long as he stays things will not change. Everton has made him a millionaire several times over yet he cannot boast a single trophy to show for it. Too often when we were in with a chance of winning something it was his negativity, poor use of subs or tactical naiveté that threw it away.
When he came from Preston we accepted that he was on a learning curve. From a total of approx 40 games at OT, Anfield, Emirates and the Bridge he cannot boast one lousy victory. That is quite some learning curve, eh.
Recipient of multiple manager of the month awards yet he is regularly outmaneuvered by managers with less resources at their disposal. If he had a shred of dignity he would demand a decent transfer budget or shoot through. From being one of his strongest supporters, my views have turned full circle.
213 Posted 11/02/2013 at 04:00:37
214 Posted 11/02/2013 at 03:29:24
Watching the game on Foxtel, it looked like we had mostly given up from the start but we got it back together for a while without ever looking in danger of scoring. MU were clearly the better side on the day (no real surprise there!).
Personally, I would have liked to see Davey try something different, at least in the 2nd half. Same old, same old was never going to put us in sight of a repeat of last year. There is a time to try................
Strangely, after all the posts last week........... Jonny was at fault for the tirst and Pip for the second.
226 Posted 11/02/2013 at 06:42:28
Goind forward it looks as if we will be fighting with the team across the park for sixth spot. Arsenal and Spurs are on good runs and with Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea all away we are unlikely to collect the fourth of fifth spots.
We will rue or lack of activity in the transfer market in January 2013.
Oldham next Saturday, 2 stops from Wembley and 3 from the final.
231 Posted 11/02/2013 at 07:54:13
233 Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:00:22
As others have said before, if Moyes doesn't rate Duffy (who plays and scores for his country!) why keep him ?
Same with Vellios, Oviedo, etc.
Having said that Moyes also changes his tune, in December he said he would wait and see how the Board support him in the transfer window, obviously they didn't so is that just an excuse to sod off at the end of the season ?
Who's fault is it that no players were brought in at the beginning of the transfer window, was it Moyes not looking for players or was it the Board simply not giving him any money ?
No doubt we will never know the truth but one thing I do know is they are totally screwing up this Club and its us lifelong sufferers who will be here picking up the pieces of mid table mediocrity due to them.
244 Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:35:32
We can only hope-on both counts!
248 Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:33:14
Should you believe the club's spin and not for one moment do believe it, Moyes had at least 8 mil to spend. With only a few hours of the window remaining the move failed. The reason given was a failed medical. That begs the question why was it left so late to make that finding. Why did Moyes not have others lined up in case the Fer move fell through?
Blue Kipper has a 'Fishy' section devoted to potential transfers. The Leroy Fer case stinks to high heaven and was very 'fishy'.
I have stooped to this conspiracy theory because far too much has gone and continues to go under the bridge without any proof.
Whatever way you look at it, the whole debacle from start to finish was either a con job or Moyes eff'ed up yet again.
251 Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:25:40
258 Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:38:51
260 Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:45:24
Another thing that's been mentioned often of late, is Duffy and giving him a game, especially in light of Heitinga being in terrible form for some reason (lets not bother to debate that, it's plain to see he's struggling, and thats enough said). My opinion is this; David Moyes should be taking a leaf out of Alex Ferguson's book with young players. When he has defenders like Rio Ferdinand getting towards the end of their careers, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs close to the end, what he does is buys a young replacement a few years before and gently bloods them by using them in games against the 'lesser' teams. Then he uses them more & more and very gradually phases them in, and the older players out. It's not rocket science but most managers do not do this. SAF has been doing it for years in all positions, and it's the basic reason why Utd have had such prolonged success.
You can't just 'give Duffy a go' against Utd at OT and expect the guy to succeed - he has to be gently introduced, and Moyes fails to do this with ALL our young players, so when they do get a game (generally because his hand is forced), they so often fail to do well and then he discards them.
It's this bloody mindedness that is Moyes achilles heel, and shows a lack of flexibility and fore-thought.
Look at players like Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at Utd - both young Internationals who have been gently bedded into the team, while Ferdinand has been slowly eased out. It also keeps players as happy as they can be kept and doesn't rock the boat or cause a huge amount of instability. Moyes needs to be more flexible and have more faith in his younger players, especially on a tight budget.
If he drops Duffy in at OT, he'd probably get crucified by Rooney & Van Persie, but ease him in and he'll succeed - the kid has talent, it just has to be nurtured in the right way before it's too late and he slopes off to the lower leagues or becomes error-prone due to inactivity and not having his skills polished in the first team.
261 Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:48:27
If you've ever watched any of the reserve games on Everton TV you'll see that none of the Duffy's, Barkley's, are anywhere ready (and maybe never) for the PL. If you think Heitinga positional play and speed is poor, Duffy's exactly the same and his distribution is woeful. This is Moyes dilemma, we are still in shout for some sort of European place (probably Europa Cup) and whilst we are Moyes wont give any young lads a chance. If we drop out of both - he'll have to as the likes of Fellaini, Baines and Heitinga will be gone next year.
264 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:04:14
265 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:08:11
You could well be right about Duffy but out of him and Heitinga only one could improve with games.
273 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:23:59
274 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:39:05
276 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:32:32
The problem I have with your comparison to Fergie is its far easier to blood youngsters when you're playing with the players Utd have and are 2 or 3 up at half time.
Plus the fact that Smalling and Jones cost over Â£ 24 million to buy and had played over 40 games between them for their previous clubs.
As I said though, there has been games where we could have brought youngsters on (Cheltenham) but Moyes chose to bring on the usual suspects.
279 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:31:53
282 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:06:58
Promoting from within should be the name of the game for a club like ours, but all we ever seem to do is bring in young players to warm the bench. It all seems a bit pointless to me. Baxter/Oviedo/Guaye/Duffy/Barkley/Vellios etc etc have simply not been played enough in games where we should use them. Players need experience, otherwise they stagnate, don't develop and simply leave or get sold for next to nothing, leaving us further exposed.
In his 11 years at the club, who apart from Osman has come through, made an impact and stayed in the first team? Rodwell hasn't exactly set the World alight, and was sold at the right time so that one went pretty well!
283 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:05:10
Perhaps now the Man Utd fixture is over Duffy will perhaps start whenever Jags or Distin are unfit.
If he fails it will show up the reasons why he has not been selected before and show the fans the 'real' sparcity of our squad.
It would not be fair to shove Stones in against Man Utd but perhaps he should be given a subs few minutes in a game against a lesser side to see how he shapes.
Oviedo should be tried in front of Baines and give one of the midfield players a break.
Either Osman or Pienaar should be rested.
The team is looking Jaded and its no wonder !!
This transfer window was a missed opportunity, but we could still loan IN the likes of OFOE if we were seriously trying for a euro spot.
FFS we have loaned OUT two of our regular subs so now our bench is a shambles.
284 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:17:33
286 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:31:58
I just didn't think the comparison with Utd was right.
289 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:47:47
294 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:53:42
It means that we don't get the proper chance to rotate the squad like we could.
300 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:05:03
Or Duffy gets fed up of never getting a chance even though he deserves it and asks to leave and would go for next to nothing. That could cost the club even more in the long run than letting Heitinga's value drop.
If Merson is right then it still makes sense to give younger players a go in the games we're narrowly winning because its inevitable that the first 11 will burn out and badly under perform later in the season. What Merson says could be part of the reason but it could also be that the first 11 know their place in the team is secure regardless of how they play.
302 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:25:35
The lack of depth is killing us in so many ways. We don't progress as a squad and it's as we all know, a squad game more than ever before, plus our first team are all pretty much assured of their places so they don't compete as they should do.
All the top teams have players with cover in every position so their players put it all on the line in every game, otherwise they know they'll be in the stiffs before they know it - we simply don't have that competition and our first 11 must be knackered by now as Paul says.
We have a burnt out team, with nobody to replace them and it's starting to show.
306 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:38:26
Heitinga is (somehow) a Dutch international so hopefully no one has noticed how bad he has been recently and we will be able to flog him to some european team for a reasonable amount
307 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:51:45
I still have very little idea how he managed to play the entire World Cup for them. The man is a charlatan who thinks he's something he's not.
309 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:00:44
To be honest I have never rated Heitinga and don't think he deserved player of the season last year. He simply lacks too many attributes for a CB in the Premier league.
311 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:43:33
So I think the lack of funds to build a decent squad is now beginning to cost us dearly, I see players who were playing great up to Christmas now looking like they badly need a rest. But with our only chance of silverware being the FA Cup I think it would be a very brave manager who decided to rest 3/4 players against Oldham, then the following week we are back trying to get back into the battle for 4th place so again little chance of resting our better players.
316 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:07:04
320 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:15:00
You can't blame players for being worn out when they've been overplayed, and you can't blame the Manager in some respects either. We simply don't have enough depth. That said, Moyes should have been playing players like Duffy to improve him, or at least try to. Again, that said (!), playing Duffy wouldn't have given the rest of them a rest either.
Pienaar & Osman both looked shagged out at the moment, Baines hasn't been his dynamic self of late either and Jelavic, well....
321 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:14:19
The modern game is intense and all top managers rotate their squad to prevent the type of burn out that Everton seem to have suffered from. We don't have good players in our squad to rotate and our first 11 takes a pretty heavy load. Very bad as some are also prone to injury.
322 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:13:22
Tiredness is mental and pyhsical. Couple of fresh faces would have lifted the players, provided impetus, new face day to day around the training ground etc.
I also think we don't have the same cutting edge or threat as to a large extent teams have found a way to play against us and we are lacking in other options and ideas.
Groundhog day for the players to a certain extent.
One thing though, we used to be great from corners and dead balls, attacking wise, under Moyes. Whats happened there? The goals used to compensate for our lack of goal threat from open play.
324 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:22:55
339 Posted 11/02/2013 at 14:17:13
1) We are only now returning to a consistent run of one game a week (assuming no cup replays), which has not been the case really since pre Christmas. That should cure fatigue.
2) Mirallas should come back into form soon.
3) Jelavic should come back into form soon.
4) Moyes may have an epiphany and send Heitinga to the glue factory or Findus / Tesco / Waitrose horse processing depot (unlikely).
5) Gibson should come back into form soon.
6) A confidence building dispatching of Oldham a la Cheltenham (hopefully John Stones will make his debut) can set us back on the right road.
7) Gareth Bale, Santi Cazorla and Rat Face may get crocked rendering our fellow 4th spot chasers impotent (unlikely).
349 Posted 11/02/2013 at 14:59:12
422 Posted 11/02/2013 at 17:51:24
Heitinga is getting dog's abuse and yet Neville to my mind was just as guilty for the first goal and he played RvP on for the second whilst looking along the line. His crossing yesterday was shocking and I fail to see what his inclusion brought to the team yesterday.
After they scored, our play improved as Pienaar and Mirallas swapped wings; we looked up for it and I thought we had a chance. We didn't really see Baines as an attacking threat as often Pienaar ran into the midfield rather than staying wide.
The goal before the break killed us and second half was rubbish at best, from both teams. It is clear to me Rooney and RVP are light years ahead and are the reason why Man Utd will win the league, their movement is immense. Cleverley looks a player but, apart from those three, I wasn't particularly impressed by them.
We don't possess a goal threat at the moment, starting with Big Vic against Man Utd was a joke. Both Pienaar and Osman faded badly as the game wore on and needed replacing. Not sure what has happened to our Kev, he looked a world beater during the derby but since then has gone backwards, possible as a result of working his way into our system of play.
One thing stood out yesterday and in recent weeks: our fluid quick passing has stopped; far too often, when in advanced positions, we stop and pass it back allowing the opposition to reorganise.
I can't see us getting into Europe now and if the players think so too then I can see us dropping like a stone. Sadly all the decent form of our players has gone, only Gibson and Jags played well yesterday and that is not acceptable. Changes in the summer are a must.
504 Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:37:36
509 Posted 11/02/2013 at 21:11:14
Also the weird formation at the start with Pienaar & Mirallas switching flanks; what was the point of that? All-in-all, a depressing performance from a tired looking side.
585 Posted 11/02/2013 at 22:51:28
Gareth #504. You really are feeling negative, mate! Hey, the cup has its surprises. Of course, we CAN win it! Let's get past Oldham first.
David #509. Are you saying that our management and coaching team is a tactic free zone???? Certainly, we've been out-guessed a plenty this season.
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