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Season 2012-13

The Mail Bag

September 2012 Archive
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Sky 4 blues

Tuned into Sky Sports 6:00pm news after getting home from the match this evening. After correctly starting off with the league leaders, the gobshites then turned to the six-pointer at the bottom of the table involving our lovable neighbours followed by Man City. After enduring Golf, Rugby League and Cricket, we finally got a mention at 6:40 pm despite us being the current 2nd placed team in the league.

As usual "Game of the Day" features a Sky 4 team. Yes, I know they scored 5 but if Everton had scored 10 it still would have been them! Every week is the same with Sky and it sickens me to see the team currently playing the best football in the league getting next to no coverage.

I am just sick and tired of the same shite getting rammed down my throat regardless of a certain team's league position.

Ste Moorcroft     Posted 29/09/2012 at 20:21:16   Comments (83)

The Art of Cheating

We all know players "simulate" to get a free kick or (preferably) a penalty. We also know we often wear rose (blue) tinted spectacles when it comes to viewing the antics of our own players in this regard.

But the cheating doesn't just take place on the pitch – it also has become a habit now for managers to put pressure on referees before a ball is kicked. Wengers public vilification of Andy Johnson was for me the start of this trend; I maybe wrong but I don't remember AJ getting too many decisions after Wenger put the screws on.

So now we have the (for me) bizarre situation of Brendan Rodgers complaining again in public that his players don't get a fair crack. Humorously Suarez actually should have had a penalty on Saturday but has gained such a reputation for diving that he isn't given the benefit of the doubt anymore. Rodgers has seen this and is using his position to try to rectify that.

The whole cheating thing is wrong on so many levels but the worst for me is the tone and example it sets for kids watching and playing the game.

The FA need to clamp down on both the players AND the managers and get this nasty element out of the game. Impossible ? Probably, but they should at least try.
Steve Guy     Posted 28/09/2012 at 09:17:53   Comments (55)

The Kids are Alright?

It seems almosy heretical to throw a negative hand grenade into the swell of good vibes currently washing around the the good ship Everton, even despite the sickening loss at Elland Road on Tuesday night. However, the nature of that defeat and the actual lack of homegrown understudies in the team proved, in my view, to be very instructive in the cold light of defeat two days hence.

The thing that what I found rather alarming, particularly when placed next to the teams selected by the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and yes, Liverpool, was that there were no academy players considered good enough to play any part.

One can't help feeling that an accepted truism has sprung up regarding Everton's youth system in recent times despite compelling evidence to the contrary. Although we sold Rodwell for a handsome sum in the summer, was he really developing into the sort of dynamic enforcer we were all hoping for? The reaction of many Evertonians was along the lines of 'more fool Man City' when news of the deal first broke.

Apart from Rodwell, who else has really established themselves in the first team since Wayne Rooney eight long years ago? Yes, Anichebe is belatedly forcing his way through but his future is still far from certain. No, we have to go all the way back to Osman, Jeffers, Dunne etc to find the last homegrown players who made the grade.

What about Ross Barkley, aka 'The Great White Hope', I hear you say? Well I would suggest that his stunted development over the last year should be a huge source for concern to all Evertonians. Barkley should now be in the Everton team or at least on the bench every single week. His age is immaterial. He has the physique but does he really have what it takes?

One can only summise that the decision to ship him out on loan — along with his permanent residency in the reserves for the last 12 months — suggests that Moyes has real concerns about his prospects...

Is Rogers sending Sterling out on loan? No, he is in the first team every week because he is good enough. Barkley is at Sheffield Wednesday because he isn't... and possibly never will be.

Whereas Liverpool appear to have talented youngsters coming out of their ears, we have virtually nothing. Is it down to the manager not providing opportunities (whatever you think of Rogers, he is refreshingly willing to give youngsters a chance)? Or is our supposedly wonderful Academy just not doing its job properly?

When Everton has such a small first team squad with no money to strengthen it, a successful youth acedemy becomes ever more crucial in filling the gaps. Unfortuanately, as we all bore witness on Tuesday night, the shelf is worryingly bare at Finch Farm.
Idwal Hughes     Posted 27/09/2012 at 17:11:51   Comments (30)

Everton 8 - 0 Southampton

Hi everyone on Toffeeweb, first time poster here. I desperately need your help as Saturday's match against Southampton has brought back memories of my very first Everton match which was against Southampton all those years ago.

The thing is I now remember very little about the actual match itself. The score I could never forget as it was 8-0, 5-0 at half time and the pitch was covered in snow and so an orange ball was used.

I have a memory of Alan Ball picking up the ball deep in his own half running the lenght of the pitch and scoring a fantastic individual goal, made all the more amazing by the fact that it looked like he had no feet due to snow on the ground and his all white boots.

As I have said it was a long time ago (1972 or 73) and I`m not 100% sure about the Alan Ball goal.

Since then I have never heard a mention about the game, so I'm asking fellow Toffeewebbers to share their memories of the game as it must be one of our biggest victories and best games.

I also think based on what I`ve seen so far that we could get near that scoreline against some team this season.

Incidentally the Southampton keeper (Jim somebody or other) went on to concede 5 the next match at home against Man Utd and then 7 against Leeds the next match which is 20 goals in three matches — must be some sort of record.

Neil Davies     Posted 24/09/2012 at 12:05:33   Comments (65)

There's no substitute for speed!!

Other writers have mentioned how exciting we are to watch and how supporters of other teams are praising our performances.

We can all try to explain what the difference is 5 matches in... apart from a team brimming with confidence. For me, the difference is the speed of movement, thought and passing that some of the new players have bought to the team to compliment regulars.

The two that stood out for me on Saturday were Mirallas and Pienaar. Pienaar seems to be much faster than I remember from his first stay and the lightning movement that is generated when Pienaar, Baines and Osman work together down the left side seems unplayable at times.

I have often thought how slow we were in midfield in both passing and movement. On Saturday I thought Mirallas brought a new dimension to our play buzzing around just behind Anichebe and Fellaini linking up play from back to front.

Oveido was not on for long enough to make any comments but I have a gut feeling that he is another player who can play at a high tempo.

In the past, Moyes has always looked carefully at the physicality of the Blues and some of his team selections are made based on the size and strength of the other team.

I must admit I thought Heitinga struggle to cope with Michu who is considerable taller and stronger and for a while I was hoping to see Distin bought on to deal with the Swans' main threat... but what do I know?

Long may this new style, speed and swagger make us one of the top teams. Maybe even Sky will recognise that!!!

David Cooper     Posted 24/09/2012 at 00:13:17   Comments (17)

Cup Game against Leeds?

With the Swansea win fresh in our minds, what should we do away against Leeds in the League Cup game on the 25th? The three injuries to Hibbo, Jela and Gibson, make things ever so complicated but here are my thoughts:

1. Naismith – We must play him for 90 and get him firing ready and hungry.

2. Distin – He should play, perhaps with Duffy again with a view to keep the other two fresh.

3. Mucha – He should get a full game. As good as Howard is, he can be inconsistent as he was against Newcastle; he definitely needs the competition.

4. A new combination of Oviedo and Gueye on the left should also be given a full go. We can't afford any injuries to Baines and Pienaar at the moment.

5. Junior – is he fit yet? If so, we need to see him at the senior level ASAP as we need some options down the middle.

6. Anichebe the Beast could be tried at the Fellaini role. He's quite the holding forward himself and perhaps Vellios can do the Anichebe type role

So to summarise:

GK - Mucha
RB - Coleman
DC - Distin
DC - Duffy
LB - Oviedo
MR - ???? Neville / Coleman – one half each?
ML - Gueye
MC - Junior (if fit)
MC - ???? Cupboard's barren – Leon / Kevin one half each?
AMF - Anichebe / Vellios?
ST - Naismith

I suppose this is where the gaffer earns his keep. How to keep the cup run going while minimising any disruptions to the main squad.

Nigel Gregson     Posted 23/09/2012 at 22:42:51   Comments (35)

Another 5 years?

David Moyes has had plenty of critics during his time with Everton... and I'll admit I was one of those critics — but has Moyes seen the light? Has Moyes changed from ultra-negative to an all-out attacking force?

For me, the answer is somewhere in the middle. No doubt that this summer Moyes has done a great bit of shopping, off-loading fading stars and under-performing potential, he has brought in a new attacking flair with the ability to interchange pass-and-move with a bit of pace. What we witnessed today was simply a superb attacking performance; we had it all... passing, movement, pace on both flanks, it really was a joy to watch — with arguably our best two players out injured.

Now don't get me wrong: Moyes still frustrates me with the constant playing of Neville and Osman in the middle (it clearly doesn't work) but has Moyes finally seen the light? Would you like to see Moyes in charge for another 5 years?

From a Moyes-basher like me, based on these performances, Mr Moyes could stay for another 15 years if our team performs like this.


Sean McKenna     Posted 22/09/2012 at 21:54:01   Comments (154)

Without Gibson and Jelavic...

How did a bit-part Manchester United player become so important to us?

With Gibson and Jelavic out for a few weeks, much speculation has arisen as how best to set the team up. Of course this will depend on the opposition but with, arguably, the spine of the team missing and, in my opinion, a lack of like-for-like replacements, we'll need to look at an alternative way of playing.

A criticism of Moyes has been that he's not the most proactive (or even reactive), but this is a time to be so, and get a workable Plan B on the pitch.

I don't feel that continuing with the same shape, but replacing Gibson for Neville and Anichebe for Jelavic (admittedly from our able reserves they are the most similar in position) is a credible solution and will result in a stagnation that could be very detrimental to the recent positivity seen on the pitch and among the fanbase. Momentum must be maintained!

For one, I propose that Fellaini moves back into Midfield. He's been doing a great job as the upsetter and attacking playmaker so far this season but without Jelavic making the intellegent runs and pulling defenders away he cut a lone figure up front in the second half at Newcastle and would be further isolated if asked to play with Anichebe. With Osman alongside him, I think the midfield is fairly well balanced and I expect Leon to improve massively without having the burden of carrying an out-of-form Neville.

The defence picks itself I feel, bar an argument for Heitinga replacing Jags or Distin; Baines and Hibbert at full back. I've been impressed with Hibbert so far this season and there are encouraging signs of him developing better understandings with the winger. (Unfortunately Leon can't play that role and exposes Tony too often, I feel.)

Pienaar on the left, a given, but on the right I'm torn. I think Coleman could be a good stop-gap for now allowing my proposed forward partnership to work...

Naysmith and Mirallas. They're buzzy, quick, get in people's faces and, from what I've seen, have intelligent football brains (aside from Kevin's eagerness for glory – not that I'd want to stifle that).

I'd set my team out like this:

Hibbert Jagielka Heitinga Baines
Coleman Fellaini Osman Pienaar

What do you lot think?

Ben Howard     Posted 21/09/2012 at 11:12:04   Comments (31)

Will we ever win the league again?

Just out of interest, I was wondering if ToffeeWebers think we will ever win the Premier League? I had a look at the Grand Old Team poll and was surprised the majority think we will.

I am 25 years old and all I have seen is sort of remembering as a seven-year-old lad us winning the FA Cup in 1995, so I hope and pray we will... And I can perhaps enjoy the success my dad saw in the 80s.
Stephen Leary     Posted 16/09/2012 at 18:14:00   Comments (60)

Bangkok, the Home of Chang...

I just spent 2 days in Bangkok, our sponsor's home town.

Billboards showing small football exhibitions all over the city, all sponsored by Chang... Did I see the name Everton anywhere? Nope.

Barcelona, Real Madrid everywhere — all sponsored by Chang... life-size mannequins of Messi, Ronaldo etc everywhere.

I even wore my Royal Blue shirt and one Chang employee asked why the Chang logo was on my shirt... god forbid!!!

Sports stores had virtually every EPL team for sale with most French, German, Spanish and Italian clubs... but no Everton.

Okay, our marketing dept is crap, but surely if Kitbag or whoever don't want to support EFC in these markets then why don't they licence the shirts to a local company? Then everybody must win.

Come on Bill, give it some thought.

Mike Hargreaves     Posted 12/09/2012 at 05:16:24   Comments (260)

Burn the Witch!

Wow... so much bile and hate pouring out lately over Fellaini's comments, I thought I was reading a transcript of the Salem witchhunts: "Burn the Belgian! — The Belgian is GUILTY!!!".

So let's say Fellaini wants to move on at the end of the season; well, that's his choice. If we are still going to resort to abusing him for this choice, I certainly hope we remain constant and give any shithouse, greedy twat, traitor et al who decides to leave his club and move from Goodison Park the abuse they deserve... Don't forget, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

As a few people have already stated, if you want loyalty get a dog. The only constant at any club are the fans, it's only us that stay for the full circle of life. Everyone else is just a commodity to be bought and sold and hopefully improve the fortunes of the club. This also goes for managers and owner. At 56, I've seen about 4 owners, 9 managers and countless players come and go and we the fans are still here.

All I ask for is that, whilst a player wears the Blue he gives his best... and when they leave the club, the club tries to get the best deal possible — and we move on. This is the way it's always been; ask Alan Ball if you don't believe me.

Hatred though... it's a corrosive liquid that rusts from the inside — don't do it!
David Stewart     Posted 11/09/2012 at 05:48:39   Comments (27)

The problems (and the possibilities) with Barkley

I am interested to know how people think Ross Barkley will fit into the current Everton side. Personally I think it will be difficult for him despite him being, in my opinion, an exceptional talent.

One of his problems, at least as far as I can see, is that he isn’t the player that people want him to be. From some of the comments on here, people seem to expect him to play like Pele, barnstorming up and down the pitch, scoring goals left, right and centre. Personally I don’t see him being that kind of player.

For me his main strengths are his passing and movement. He does have a decent shot on him, but I would be surprised if he scored more than 10 goals a season. I think he should be controlling the centre of the park, setting things up, and orchestrating play, a bit like Boban used to do for Milan.

Another weakness, from what I saw last season in an Everton shirt, is that he is a bit too eager to make an impact. The side was really struggling at the time, so I understand why he wanted to make a big difference, but I think he needs to be a bit smarter than just to come out all guns blazing. He needs to work his way into games and use his head.

I thought he looked great for the England Under-18s. He was at the centre of everything, and really drove the team forward. I was particularly impressed by the range of his passing, and his movement off the ball.

Now, with the failure of the Odijdja-Ofoe loan deal, he may get the chance again in the Everton first team. I think this needs to be managed carefully. He is obviously not a straight replacement for Gibson. How do you think we should change the formation to accommodate him?

Should we change the formation to do so? I think we should as he is an exciting talent and football is about entertainment. It’s also important to us as a club that he is successful.
Another thing I would like to hear from people about is, how was the team set up for Alan Ball? Barkley seems to be in similar mode to him, so maybe the answer lies in how we played in the late 60’s early 70’s.
Gavin McGarvey     Posted 08/09/2012 at 10:35:11   Comments (40)

What was he thinking?

Injuries, West Brom, the right flank, assault charges. It’s a jolly ol’ time on ToffeeWeb. May as well have some fun and highlight the darker side of Moyes’s transfer record. For every Tim, Mikel and Leighton there’s a polar opposite. It's so bad even Carlo Nash doesn’t make the subs bench, and yet they were still able to line their pockets with your money.

Wessels Free

Krøldrup £5m
Jacobsen Free
Bosnar Holiday job
Gardner Loan

Van De Meyde £1.8m
Castillo Loan
Da Silva £700k
McFadden I/ II £1.25/ Free

Jeffers II Free
Jo II Loan


Baardsen Free
Bilyaletidinov £9m
Gravesen II Loan
Senderos Loan
Saeed Loan
Wei Feng Loan
Rodrigo Loan
Silva £500k

Nick Entwistle     Posted 06/09/2012 at 23:01:16   Comments (39)

Is Everton's Marketing Department Really Incompetent?

I have had something on my mind for a while ... I was watching the Man Utd game a few weeks ago at Mr Dennehy's, an Everton-friendly pub in New York, having taken the afternoon off work. There were several other American Toffees there, I'd say 8-10 or so in all, and we were enjoying a rousing performance.

Anyway, during the course of the game a pleasant English lady, who was also a fellow Evertonian, sat down next to me, and overhearing me talk with my brother during the match, asked me how I, as an American, came to be an Everton supporter. I told her all the reasons and history behind my decision (detailed in my first TW fan article) and went on a bit of a rant about Everton's lack of marketing/presence in the US.

I've always felt that for a team that has employed 2 of the 3 most famous American soccer players in recent years, there should be a bigger push to brand them as "America's Soccer Club."

(Quick aside — I was just walking around a large sports retail store during my lunch break and saw, among other things, Juventus t-shirts for sale. I know they are a "big club," but how many Americans even know what Juventus is? And we can't get an Everton shirt anywhere over here??)

Anyway, after my rant, the woman sitting next to me told me, to my surprise, that Everton's marketing efforts in the UK are just as dismal! She said outside of the club stores in Liverpool, you can't get Everton merchandise anywhere in England! My fellow Toffees, is this true? And if so, why can't we get competent marketing/sales/PR people?

As evidenced by the recent worldwide TV deal, the Premier League is insanely popular, I'm convinced that with good marketing and branding, even Stoke City or Wigan could become "cool" clubs to root for. And yet a consistent top-8 club with a decorated history that has employed famous American players has no presence in this country. And it's not just here, why aren't we 'Australia's Team' due to Cahill, or even Thailand's team? Someone help me understand.

Clarence Yurcan     Posted 06/09/2012 at 18:52:03   Comments (61)

Our Physical Weakness

We’ve all been carried away on tidal wave of emotion following our successful summer purchases, close on the heels of last year’s find Jelavic. We didn’t lose any of are true top performers, Fellaini, Baines, Jags and even Jelavic, and we started the season on fire against Man Utd and Villa.

Suddenly cries resonated everywhere from everyone, fans, pundits, media, players, that we could be Top 4 material and then …. West Brom away, and that sudden earth shattering dose of reality. What went wrong?!?

Well I believe with our current playing formation we will still struggle to beat physical, defensive teams, hell bent on stopping us playing and hoping that they can snatch one on the break. Whilst we have undoubtedly bought good attacking players – Pineaar, Naismith and Mirallas – they are really all “lightweight”. When faced with a 6-ft, 13-stone muscular brawn in front of you – or, as we saw on Saturday, going right through you from the rear – there is likely to be only one winner! That’s not our 5-footers like Pineaar, Osman, Naismith, and Mirallas, unless they get preferential treatment from the refs, which we clearly didn’t have on Saturday.

I think David Moyes’s post match comments about lack of a cutting edge reflected this weakness we have. It’s at times like this when you need the likes of Gibson, Fellaini and possibly our new Belgian whatever his name is to be our backbone strength, our enforcers, allowing our creative group to ply their trade.

It will be interesting to see how Moyes reacts in his next team selection. As it's Newcastle, who will come undoubtedly to win the game on the front foot, we might be alright as we will have the space to attack. But when faced with the likes of Stoke, West Ham, QPR, etc in this league, we need to win the battles before we will be allowed to play.

I’m sure in time we will adapt to a system where we will have two defensive type midfielders (Gibson, new Belgian lad or Fellaini) winning the ball and allowing the likes of Pineaar, Mirallas, Naismith or even Barkley to create the scoring opportunities for themselves or Jelavic. It’s a system used by the better European teams (Real Madrid, Barcelona et al) and it's one that Man City have obviously used successfully since Mancini‘s been there.

One final note – if you can’t create and score you must not let the opposition score. Quite frankly, I don’t feel as though our current back 5 can ever guarantee that; I don’t fancy the likes of Heitinga or Duffy will improve the situation.

This note isn’t intended to be a doom scenario, because I’m sure we are going to see some real class football being played, particularly at Goodison; it's intended to set a little bit of reality that we aren’t yet the complete package.

Mike Oates     Posted 04/09/2012 at 15:21:59   Comments (17)

Davey Moyes — Cock-Up King!

After two wins from two games, the early season form looked a lot healthier than usual, and we went to West Brom with a spring in our step looking for another victory... Gibson goes of injured and the whole setup falls apart; Moyes does his usual "head up his arse" routine.

Can someone explain to me why, no matter what, Moyes insists in getting at least two if not all three of The Bermuda Three on the pitch even when there are better options available... Neville, Osman, Hibbert all on the pitch at the same time is asking for trouble. They all go missing and the right-hand side is rendered useless whenever Hibbert and Osman are played there.

I cant believe Moyes stuck Neville, who is a stand-in right back at best, in the centre of the pitch and left Fellaini were he was. Absolute terrible tactics that cost us the game. I mean come on, two of the engine room contains Osman and Neville and some of you lot think that's acceptable after what we have all seen in the past?!?

Moyes has this in-built desire to play these jokers when younger faster technically more gifted players warm the bench. Rolling over against WBA was a disgrace on par with the Anfield Derby last season. As for Dopey Distin why is he keeping our player of the year Johnny H out of the side?!? I can't forget what the guy did at Wembley last season... He should be ditched but he won't be because Moyes prefers him to JH. More useless man-management skills from Moyes.

After starting to look like a real side, Moyes has blown the feelgood factor for the fans with his nonsensical tactics and line-ups. Leon Osman is the slowest weakest most lightweight excuse for a footballer I have ever seen in a Blue shirt yet he is guarenteed first team football... WHY?!? What the fuck does he do?!?

Poor Tony Hibbert was only ever average at best yet 5 years after his sell-by date he is still being run ragged and giving goals away as if he isn't there and yet he to is getting gametime – ahead of Coleman FFS!!! I honestly find it hard to comprehend at times...

The real joke is our fans who were saying "If you had offered me 6 points from the first three games I would of bit your hand off" ... WTF?!? Well we had 6 points from the first two games and chucked three more away at the Hawthorns.

You get your points by trying to beat teams and playing your best players – not by some silly "if someone offered me..." bullshit!!!

It was a fantastic start to the season but it should've been so much better. I fell into the trap of believing Moyes had changed but he hasn't – he is still the same old dire Dave... Fucking winds me up a treat, that fella does. Get the deadwood out and play the new boys before we all go round the bend.

False dawns... I'm sick of them!!!

Tony Marsh     Posted 04/09/2012 at 13:17:44   Comments (155)

Who is on top?

I watched the Man Utd - Southampton game today and saw them win in injury time.

While a win is worth three points, the win only enabled them to match Everton's points total of six but later, when I looked at the league standings, once again they are above us in fifth place even though Man Utd and Everton both have six points and a goal difference of one.

I must say I am really pissed about that as I seem to remember we beat them in this season's opening match. Surely that counts for something?

When, oh when, are the press going to give us the respect we deserve????
Eric Owen     Posted 02/09/2012 at 21:53:06   Comments (41)

Getting shirty about numbers

Am I the only one who finds it vexing that our team never ever runs out in shirts numbered 1 to 11? (Before anyone starts up, yes, I know it’s not the most important issue at the club right now, but after yesterday’s dismal demise I feel like distracting myself.)

It all began with John ‘Hefty’ Hurst, our centre back in the early 70s, who stuck out like a sore thumb by always wearing the number 10 on his back. Inexplicably un-Catterick-like that. Admittedly, it did allow Kendall, Harvey and Ball to have 4, 6 and 8 – which had a pleasing symmetry – but it bugged me as a kid. Still does. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, niggled by it.

All I want is for shirt numbers to bear a closer relation to the position played on the field. For example, when Pienaar came back I thought: “Put all that number 20 nonsense behind you, lad. You’re our playmaker, it’s 10 for you”. But no, he went for (or was given) 22.

I was expecting Jelavic to go to 9 this season. Alas not. He had this to say in the Evertonian mag: “Number 7 is my lucky number – I used to wear seven as a kid with my first club. It is the number I am happiest with”. How sweet, and – how can I put it – amateurish! In the grown-up world of professional football, a player should be told by the manager: “You’re our centre forward, here’s the number 9 shirt”. It’s a simple idea, you have to admit...

I think I’m right in saying that the only player who changed shirt number for the new season was Rodwell, who went from 26 to 8, giving me the impression he was going to be our first-choice central midfielder... I don’t know, maybe it was a clever ruse to get Man City to stump up more money in the belief he was one of our best players? Ker-ching!

Shane Duffy, who must have been hoping to move on up this season, remained in the wilderness at 34, which couldn’t have done much for his self-confidence. Anichebe (bless him) is still at 28, which is neither here nor there – a bit like the man himself, it might be said. McAleny, who improved enough last season to imagine he might get a few substitute appearances this year, remains at 43, a number no-one could be proud of... Meanwhile, players in the inner circle such as Fellaini, Osman, Howard and Coleman are wearing outer circle numbers in the 20s, and the captain dons the far from pivotal 18.

There are currently 25 players listed on our first team squad list, with Odjidja-Ofoe making it 26 next week, hopefully. My bold plan is to have those players numbered 1-26 at the start of next season, following a huge petition started here on ToffeeWeb. Hey, Fellaini, you’re 8 – no arguing; Pienaar – you’ve blown your chance of the maestro’s number 10, pick up 7, Osman, you’re 16; Coleman, 12, but try and get your head up sometimes. Odjidja-Ofoe? Give him 10, and let’s see what he can do in the centre of the park. Oviedo, 17. Neville? No offence, but you can stay at 18, skipper!

There you go. All sorted. The ghost of John Hurst exorcised and everyone where they should be... You never know, it might even make us play better!

Kev Johnson     Posted 02/09/2012 at 11:20:40   Comments (95)

Right wing is our nemesis

Just like several Evertonians, I am very upset that we lost against WBA on the back of two impressive wins and a 100% start to this campaign. To be honest, and as highlighted in previous posts on Toffeeweb, we did not deserve much from the game. WBA had more fire in their belly yesterday.

Except for the two goals, we were not too heavily outplayed by WBA. However, we lost the game more based of our frailties on the right, than losing Gibbo during the match. I am not saying losing Gibbo was not a factor, but our weakness to provide cover to our right backs was more serious yesterday.

Right before WBA score, we were attacking. Suddenly the ball is shortchange to Odemwingie deep in his own half and he ran the full pitch on our right without being challenged. Poor Hibbo was the only guy trying to stop him but he was lost in the acres of space on the right that Odewingie had. In many games I have seen Hibbo being exposed because of a lack of cover in front of him. Also, we rarely attack from the right; when we do it’s always Hibbo putting a cross when he is playing right back or Neville in place of Hibbo, unless Coleman is playing.

This would not have happened on our left as any WBA player would have to go through Mirallas, Pienaar before getting to Baines at that instant of the game. Moreover, we rarely see on the right side of the pitch the kind of cover that Distin provides to Baines on the left side. Jag and Heitinga do not do same on the right side.

Even during the first half, our weakness on the right made Youssouf Mulumbu look like a real gem of a player. He was constantly attacking us on the right. Also, remember that Shane Long header on the bar came off a cross from our right.

If you consider the Villa game, we conceded a goal from a shot from the right side of Everton half. In the Man Utd game, we came under barrage from Man Utd from the right side after we scored. Valencia, Evra, Nani were all crossing from our right. Even Rooney was camping on our right as he had more space there to score a goal. That’s why on transfer deadline day I was calling for the signature of Nani or a right sided winger.

My wish was that we sign a player who can provide cover to our right back and make runs a-la Baines. I know that, in certain games, Osman has played on the right. Undoubtedly, this guy can score goals and play well, but he is more consistent in midfield rather than on the rightwing, as we found out yesterday against WBA. At times during games Moyes substitutes Pienaar to the right. But again we have seen several times that Pienaar’s real contribution comes from the left and not the right where he is not as effective.

Our lack of a player who can play on the right wing consistently can be our undoing. It seems to me it would be better to play Coleman from the start as he can run the right channels and also offer cover to our right backs, and he consistently plays on the right so he won’t be out of position like Osman. In 2010, Anichebe played a few good games on the right. In January Moyes absolute priority should be to buy/loan a right winger.
Sur Jo     Posted 02/09/2012 at 11:24:17   Comments (32)

Back down to earth

Going into the game against WBA, I shared the optimism, nay the dream of every Evertonian on this blue planet. This is our year, this is the season we would establish ourselves as the new Barcelona, this is moment when we would create a new world order, a time when out of the ashes of the last 30 years we would rise like a phoenix and sweep aside all comers.

Then the wife said “by the look on your face, Everton must be getting beat”. The truth is that shortly after kick off I kinda got that old feeling of frustration creeping in. Fellaini just seemed out of sorts, Pienaar’s deft little touches just handed possession back to WBA. And then around 20 minutes into the game Gibson hobbles off, Hibbert on, Neville moves to the middle...

After that I was thinking perhaps a draw would be a good result given WB’s start to the season. When we got to half time, I thought, well hoped, we’d come out dust ourselves down and get back into the saddle, unfortunately it didn’t happen.

Now to the real point of my post, it’s no coincidence that when Gibson is out of the side there just seems to be a lack of any real fluidity, rhythm, creativity or urgency (please don’t challenge the point with the Orient game).

Without Gibson the back four seem more fragile, the midfield has no real cohesiveness or balance, everything is played down the left side. Gibson seems to offer a more expansive game plan, allowing the likes of Hibbert or Coleman to get down the right, stretching the defence allowing more movement from Fellini and Jelavic.

The stats speak for themselves; we’ve never lost a league game with Gibson in the starting eleven. Well here’s my epiphany, whilst all the Oohhs!!! and Aahhs!!! have been for Peinaar, Fellaini and Jelavic, if you had to pick one player that has transformed the fortunes of Everton on the pitch it has to be Gibson.
Sam Fitzsimmons     Posted 01/09/2012 at 16:45:29   Comments (29)

Biggest signing still to come?

I am with everyone else in applauding the transfer business this summer at EFC. We have kept our best players and added some depth and quality.

We are playing attractive penetrative football helped by the signing of Jelavic in January (teams can't commit as many players forward against us now for fear Jelly wil get behind them).

Humble pie on the part of Pienaar (and the Club) has meant the return of the prodigal son who is playing as well as he ever has.

We also seem to be turning this all into points and hopefully that contiinues in the very winnable games coming up.

The undercurrent to all this would appear to be a shift in Moyes's thinking and approach. His ability to unearth golden nuggets for next to nothing has been a mainstay of his relative success at Goodison and versatile players are still the order of the day for what is still a small squad. The players he is now bringing in however, appear to be more attacking in outlook and this is reflected on the pitch where we are pressing teams much more effectively and for prolonged periods in games.

The only concern with alll this? Moyes has not committed himself to another 5 years at Goodison. He was very non-committal during the summer when the "smart" money had him nailed on for the Spurs job. I think I am right in saying his current contract does not have long to run.

Not so long ago, I was one of those who would not have been concerned by this. But, with his seeming change of heart in how to play the game and the positivity this has engendered, he continues to prove that, whilst Everton have limited funding, he is still the best man for the job.

I would now like to see Moyes re-commit to the Club – sooner rather than later – as maybe our biggest signing for the future.

Steve Guy     Posted 01/09/2012 at 10:33:18   Comments (15)

Pinch me...

…because I must be dreaming.

Cast your minds back to the end of last season. If you'd taken a survey of Evertonians about what they'd (realistically) like to achieve in the summer transfer window I'm willing to bet the response would have been something along the lines of "Don't sell any of our star players, sign some attackers and get our business done early". That at least is what I would have responded with.

I think it's safe to say that this is the best summer transfer window (and I say this now that it's slammed shut so as not to jinx anything) for many years. We got Naismith, who looks like a fine attacking player, in early doors and got the Pienaar saga finally put to bed. Then of course there was the sudden news that we'd sold Rodwell. I'll admit, my first reaction to the news was massive disappointment. I still think Rodwell will develop into a great player, but £12-15m for a player who is very injury prone and still just "potential" is a lot of money. From the looks of things we've spent the money on Mirallas (another attacking player!) and on Oviedo who can cover both Baines and Pienaar. Then just when it appeared the window was closed we pull another loan out of the bag for Odjidja-Ofoe and sign a young striker from Scotland.

If that doesn't count as a successful transfer window then I don't know what does! We've kept Baines and Fellaini for another year, have hugely increased our attacking options and have some real cover for Baines at last.

A massive well done to David Moyes on this one and, I guess, to Kenwright for letting Moyes spend most of the Rodwell money. We're now in a very strong position in the race for European places and I can't wait to see Jelavic getting on the end of passes from Mirallas, Pienaar and Fellaini. Our attack looks pretty damn tasty.

Now lets see where we are after 10 games!

Paul Mackie     Posted 01/09/2012 at 09:15:06   Comments (1)

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