Could be the best ever, says Moyes

, 5 November, 77comments  |  Jump to most recent
But need to be more professional in finishing games off

A shift in David Moyes's rhetoric in recent week reveals that the Everton boss finally feels able to talk of his side as top-four contenders but he needs to see a bit more from his players before he say that his current squad is superior to the 2004-05 side that did get a shot at the Champions League with a fourth-place berth.

Speaking with The Guardian after Saturday's head-scratching draw with Fulham in which his team battered the Cottagers but still only came away with a point after Steve Sidwell grabbed a last-minute equaliser, Moyes spoke glowingly of the brand of football his players have been exhibiting and the number of chances the side has been creating. He admits, however, that they still need to achieve the level of consistency required to still be in the CL qualifying spots come May.

Asked whether he feels his current squad is his best ever, the Scot said: "I think so. I think it's the best we've played. We're playing really well and we've got a huge amount of confidence. But the team that finished fourth was so consistent. We ground out results, the 1-0s, and we were really good at that, very resilient.

"But this, well, what was it today? Twenty-seven shots on goal. We've been playing that way all season and we've got so many attacking options in the team. We've had a good start compared to our usual starts but top four at the end? I hope so but I just don't know if we will be because of the level you need to get there."

The Everton of 2012-13 certainly look fully equipped to emulate, if not better, their predecessors in what is a far more challenging environment than nine years ago.

Had they managed to win half of their last four matches instead of drawing them, the Blues would be up challenging at the top of the table thanks to a more open and more attacking style that makes a mockery of Steven Gerrard's recent criticism.

"We've got players who can play and we've got players who can hold the ball and be physical as well," says Phil Jagielka.

"We had a lot of possession, we put a lot of passes together and created a lot of chances through neat interchanges. We all play a part in attacking and all play a part in defending. We're fourth, we're still up there, we just need to be more professional in finishing games off."

Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, who was effusive in his praise before this weekend's encounter in West London, was full of admiration after the final whistle.

"Everton are very difficult to play against," he said. "They play possession, they overlap, they play one-twos, they play with real purpose. That's a style and that's what I like."

Quotes or other material sourced from The Guardian

Reader Comments (77)

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Paul Smith
1 Posted 05/11/2012 at 14:30:43
I agree that this is the most exiting team we've had under Moyes. If we could get Gibson fit and add another centre midfielder in January, we could really challenge for that 4th place.
Anto Byrne
2 Posted 05/11/2012 at 15:35:58
I would like to see us go on a run of 6 consecutive wins just as we did in 2004-05 and we have a good chance of getting the next 4 games in the bag. Of course this is Everton so I'm not holding my breath. We do need to get back to winning ways and a bagful against Sunderland will be the perfect start. Here we go ....
Mike Powell
3 Posted 05/11/2012 at 15:52:38
I agree with Paul but would also like another centre half and maybe another striker. This could be a great season.
Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 05/11/2012 at 16:04:03
I'll go even farther. This is the best and most exciting Everton team I've seen in the nearly 30 years I've been a supporter, and the potential for a Top 4 finish is definitely there if we're fortunate with injuries. Jags is correct... the difference between a good team and a great one is the ability to finish teams off and not let them stay in the game as we did Saturday. I think that will come with experience and confidence.... we haven't had too many leads to hold over the past few years.

One other area that needs improvement is taking care of the ball. We've shipped 13 goals this season, and by my count at least seven of them including both at Fulham were the direct or indirect result of giveaways in midfield. Pienaar gave the ball away right before Neville's foul, and of course Coleman's turnover was fatal at the end.

If we clean up that problem, we can challenge for the top.

Kevin Day
5 Posted 05/11/2012 at 16:25:08
I'm going to be very brave and say we should be looking at 3rd and avoid the qualifying part of the Champions League, that's 20 million straight in the pot.
Here's hoping anyway.
James Martin
6 Posted 05/11/2012 at 16:17:42
I think we definitely have the ability to get fourth. No two ways about it Jelavic and Mirallas have added that top 4 quality to our team at the attacking end. They are the names on the team sheet that rivals fear even though it is the more household Baines, Pienaar and Osman which really make us tick. I think there's elements of Moyes's past teams which have been better. The Jagielka Lescott partnership was better than anything that went before or since. Equally Arteta was a magical player the type of which we have only really just replaced with Mirallas (although these two are very different in style). That class Arteta brought to the central midfield would have been perfect alongside Osman or Gibson and its a shame he never really had the types of Mirallas and Jelavic ahead of him. Martyn was also undoubtedly a better keeper than Howard is.

I think the rest of the league looks really poor this year and fourth is definitely up for grabs for anyone still, performance wise we look the strongest and even depth wise we are not too bad in certain key positions (Even Arsenal and Liverpool have been playing kids in key positions this year whilst some of us are annoyed if Naismith a full international comes off the bench).

We've carried the team along through the loss of Gibson and we did similar when Jelavic was injured earlier in the season. No matter what the team, if a number of your stars get injured then you will suffer. If Liverpool lost Suarez their season would ciome crashing down, if Arsenal lost Cazorla they'd be fairly inept, Chelsea have suddenly started leaking without JT and City rely on Yaya Toure far too much.

I'm sick of hearing that we don't have a big enough squad to get fourth. I think we've shown already that we can cope with the loss of key personell (dominated Liverpool with half a team out) and as long as we don't have a full blown injury crisis (which would derail any team regardless of squad size) then we could and should do well.

Peter Laing
7 Posted 05/11/2012 at 16:32:13
If we can shore it up at the back then I have every confidence that this Everton side can can challenge for fourth place. I share the worry of many who have posted comments on here regarding the continuing absence of Gibson and the apparent lack of a holding Midfield player. Moyes was obviously looking for cover with the Belgian kid that he was trying to get in on loan and with Gibson spending lengthy periods on the treatment table we have become over reliant on Phil Neville in Midfield - with obvious detriment. Osman has been playing out of his skin this season, I fear though that the holding role may prove to be our archillies heel.
Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 05/11/2012 at 16:44:22
Can't beat having creative players, pity he didn't realise this earlier.
Ciarn McGlone
9 Posted 05/11/2012 at 16:57:52
The team that finished 4th was shit... fluked it because Liverpool finished like a damp squib.

There is no comparison between the two....

Ray Roche
10 Posted 05/11/2012 at 16:59:41
Barry, maybe he realised it but didn't have sufficient cash to splash. I think all of us Blues were delighted when we brought in reinforcements in the last window and we were, apparently, trying to bring more players in without success. It's some time since Bill K has been so generous.
Christopher Kelly
11 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:00:14
I'm happy that they're here, but really should it take 10 years to figure out how to play properly?

I will go so far as to say we've probably lost 4-6 points due to not picking up a proper midfielder (N'Zonzi or Vadis) during the transfer window. (2 points to Fulham, QPR and Newcastle come immediately to mind.)

Brian Furey
12 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:10:28
On a positive note players like the young Belgian might be more interested in joining us now that we are showing great promise and a nice style of play. I think our main striker has let us down a little in the last few games. For the amount of goal chances we're creating he should be getting at least 1 or 2 every other game.

I know Davey has admitted Jellyfish is going through a bad spell but he needs to come good soon. Our next 4 games are now need to win as we have dropped too many points on draws of late.

Kevin Day
13 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:18:31
I wonder what weapon we will be taking to the gun fight this year......?? Just a thought.........
Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:15:39
Of course he realized it. He's been bringing in creative players all along. Some worked out (Arteta, Pienaar) and some didn't (Fernandes, VDM, Drenthe), but the priority has always been there.
Alan McGuffog
15 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:22:30
Doesn't this equate to being the world's tallest midget. Let's face it, we've been shite for the best part of 25 years so this is bound to be the best. And it's grand!
Nick Armitage
16 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:17:26
I would love us to get a brick shithouse midfielder and a Speedy Gonzalez centre forward in January.

I think a few have forgotten about Oviedo. He looked out of sorts at Leeds but he looked very good in the derby when he came on. He could be another Moyes ace up the sleeve.

Things are looking up, at long last.

Adam Luszniak
17 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:11:50
Definitely the best Everton team I've ever seen (Born 1986). I also think that there is more to come. Mirallas is still relatively inexperienced in the Prem, Naismith is improving (if slowly and with the inclusion of that glaring miss at Fulham) and Coleman, despite great forward movement can definitely improve defensively. I'm sure Moyes and Round will see to that.

I agree with other posts that Gibson's time spent on the treatment table is a concern due to the lack of cover, however, it seemed that the Vadis loan deal was done bar paperwork timings so come Jan I'm confident that he should be in the fold. Plus we already have Hitz (yes I know I know he's injury prone too it seems). Between the three of these I feel we should have the CM spots reasonably well covered.

Perhaps a greater concern to me is Jelavic, who's form seems to have dropped a little in comparison to his amazing start for us. Who do we have to compete for or cover his position?

Christopher Kelly
18 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:30:52
I agree Nick. Brick shithouse midfielder would be great. Love what Gibbo brings but 9 weeks out with a thigh "strain" is waaay too long and we can't rely solely or so heavily on injury prone players.
Adam Luszniak
19 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:36:26
Oh and obviously I neglected to mention I fully expect Barkley to take the middle of the park by storm when he returns from his loan!
Wayne Smyth
20 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:28:20
I'd echo what Alan (#295) said, Saying this is the best side in his 10 years is nothing impressive. 10 years or so ago we had a team chock full of ageing, crocked has-beens and below average players.

Moyes single-handedly turned us around and we now have one or two players who are verging on world-class and a side with pace and threat from multiple areas.

Unfortunately, if we don't click in the next few games it will be bye-bye Felli as no doubt some CL team will try to pick him up in the next 12 months. Might be just the thing we need. If we can get 25-30 mil for him, we could perhaps get the funds together to strengthen other areas of the team... and we need strengthening in all areas imho. Some of our 1st teamers are getting long in the tooth.

Mike Allison
21 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:40:17
Looks like Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe is the one to go for then if we want a big man in midfield.

As for things that need improving, how about we score the first goal for once instead of playing every game from 0-1 down?!

Phil Roberts
22 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:20:14
Let us all get carried away on the euphoria!

But the sting is in the tail. So far we are actaully only 1 point better off than last season on the same fixtures. In fact our season is heavily front loaded. By the time we get to 24 games, we would have 44 points if we do the same as last year. Then in our last 14 fixtures we would pick up just 13 points.

In fact we would have at that point only 4 defeats.

So if we are over 50 points before Villa at Home, so far so good. Over 60 by the end of the QPR at home fixture and then we have a chance. But it is a tough end to the season - so let us leave the talk of Champions League until then. Best could be the 6 pointer at Anfield on Star Wars day. Us to do Champions League, them to stay up.

Kevin Day
23 Posted 05/11/2012 at 17:50:58
There's always one who had to be negative... ffs Phil, just enjoy the positivity!
Phil Roberts
24 Posted 05/11/2012 at 18:02:19
Kevin this is ToffeeWeb. Just look at all the moans about dropping the points at Fulham rather than the fact we played them off the park with football (and not hoofball).

I am very excited about the way we are playing. I am old enough to remember the 85-87 years and the mid/late 60s teams. But we have had easy fixtures.

Clarence Yurcan
25 Posted 05/11/2012 at 18:28:08
We will win the league! If we believe it, it will happen!
Simon Harris
26 Posted 05/11/2012 at 18:31:31
Mork calling Clarence...

Or should I say, that's the spirit. COYB

Patrick Murphy
27 Posted 05/11/2012 at 18:26:25
There is little doubt that our performances are light years away from this time last year and long may it continue.

But you only have to look at our neighbours record this time last year 8 points ahead of us in the league and if I remember correctly bemoaning the fact that they had hit the woodwork so many times and that they felt they should have been up there challenging with the big boys.

It is for these reasons that as Evertonians we should be wary of not taking maximum points when our overall play warrants it.

Nobody knows what the next game will bring, never mind what the season holds for us, but I bet not one Kopite or Evertonian thought that Everton would finish the season ahead of LFC at this point last year.

Here's hoping the performances are maintained and that we collect many more wins in the coming months. COYB

Kevin Day
28 Posted 05/11/2012 at 18:57:13

I totally understand your point, myself being born in 1974 remember the great side if the 80s, that team had the attitude of no matter how many goals we concede we will always score more.

Anyway, back to the point in hand, as much as we could of had a cricket score against Fulham, I am always of the opinion that a point away from home is a good result. As for the fixtures so far, we can only play who is put in front of us, but we have had a lot of games away from home, bar West Brom, remain unbeaten, but we have also took maximum off utd, something we had not done last year, and scrapped a point off the Shite, something else I hate to say we had not done last year also. So from that point of view we have actually got 4 points from teams we didn't have last year. I've said it on here once in the last week, but will say it again, the glass in my hand is very much half-full.

Anthony Flack
29 Posted 05/11/2012 at 18:56:21
I think the obstacle to really getting 4th will be our results against our direct competitors plus Arsenal, Chelsea etc. In those games the limitations of Neville, Coleman and Osman will come to the fore.

I am not knocking the above three as I thought Ossie was fantastic against Fulham and at the same time a bit light weight. Coleman stumbling forward quite effectively but not quite with conviction imagine if he was 80% as good as Baines... Neville dies not cut it for me especially his pitching wedge free kicks...

The second half at Fulham was exhilarating viewed from behind the goal in the neutral area with thousands of blues and a few perplexed Jap tourists. Long may it last but it was very different to WBA, QPR and Wigan....

Christopher Kelly
30 Posted 05/11/2012 at 19:00:06
At least it's fun to watch! It is entertainment after all isn't it?

But also,

the good teams find a way to win. Bad teams find a way to lose, and average teams find a way to draw...

So far we're playing above average but keeping some points off the table. The table is how teams are measured so we're better than Tottenham but not as good as Man City. It doesn't go by form.

My hope is that this is a new style, our players need to learn how to play it well and then FINISH. It's a young season and our starting 11 (barring Neville; and I'm sorry to continuously bash him at CM) is on par with everyone in the league. That's fucking exciting.

What isn't is our bench. One injury and the domino effect leaves an under-performer in arguably the most important position on the pitch.

All negativity aside, if we can pick up a stud midfielder like we were going to, then we should be really up for it the rest of the way. I'd also try Mirallas as a striker as well. He was magnificent 2 weeks ago and will definitely come good He was playing in fucking Greece 4 months ago give him a bit of time!!!

I know our schedule gets tougher but it's about US and how well we can play (as evidenced by our late season runs the past few years) If we can fill out the team well, then we shouldn't fear anyone. we already beat Man Utd.

Michael Winstanley
31 Posted 05/11/2012 at 19:56:01
I think we will only get better.
Kevin Tully
32 Posted 05/11/2012 at 20:27:54
It may be a bit simplistic, but I am just happy to see us playing with so much attacking intent.

The days of witnessing a full 90 min's without a shot on target seem a distant nighmare away.

We have only failed to score on one occasion this season - our only defeat against West Brom.

I fully expect us to give the Mackems a smacked arse on Saturday, I will be getting on us for a 4 or 5 nil win. They have had 12 shots on target - ALL SEASON !!!!!

Paul Ellam
33 Posted 05/11/2012 at 20:31:20
I am just enjoying the fact we have a team with goals in it!

The last team we had that did was when Yakubu first joined but before that... maybe when Cottee was here?!!

Keep the faith folks, our best is yet to come.
Joe Clitherow
34 Posted 05/11/2012 at 20:35:56
Mike Gaynes #272

I guess it depends on your definition of exciting. However, since "nearly 30 years" encompasses two Championship winning sides as well as the side of 85-86 which included the goal machine Gary Lineker, I would respectfully suggest you are a bit wide of the mark with your assertion, but I can't help but like your enthusiasm.

If you had said last 20 years then I would agree that this is the best and most exciting side in that period (Kanchelskis on his own doesn't count), but in the last 30 years we have had teams which swept ALL before them, home and away, domestic and international. This is as well as being unfairly denied the chance to prove how exciting they were against real Champions of other leagues and not just 4th placers.

Unless you think it just isn't exciting to go into every single game and just know you are going to win then I can't agree with you at all. That's pretty much what it was like for us in an all too brief period in the 80s. I suppose concealing an injury time equaliser is exciting, but only for the neutral or opposing team fans.

Our present team is very good but lacks consistency in performance as well as the ability to completely shut a game down when necessary, which, in my opinion, is one of the hallmarks of a great side. Really good sides win ugly when they have to as well as being able to play flowing tikki-takka type stuff.

Ian Bennett
35 Posted 05/11/2012 at 20:20:26
I think we have even more to come, which is just ridiculous from where we were 12 months ago.

If a team plays high up the pitch, Mirallas can exploit it. If they drop deep then Fellaini can cause havoc. Defenders need to double mark Fellaini which (should) give jelavic space, or if they don't, it's guaranteed win ball every time.

We can play a short game with baines, pienaar, Osman, or we can knock up to fellaini for territory starting moves in the final third. West brom is the only game that we didn't turn up for in the league so far out of 10.

The record:
United win;
Villa win;
Swansea win;
Saints win;
West Brom loss;
Wigan draw, after battering the door down and dubious official decisions;
QPR draw, ref decisions made it uphill battle;
Liverpool a point gained after terrible start;
Newcastle 2 points dropped after failing to close out game and dubious officials;
Fulham 2 points dropped points after failing to close out game.

Spragg Johnson
36 Posted 05/11/2012 at 21:06:50
Agreed with most points here... We need cover at centre mid (Odjidja-Ofoe would suit me) and right back as this is surely/hopefully Pip's last season... and Coleman is a second choice RB in my opinion.

Other than that, the priority is keeping Fellaini but I suspect his intentions lay elsewhere as early as January?

Still, it's great to watch at the moment... we battered Fulham... let's do the same to the Black Cats but get three points!
Mike Gaynes
37 Posted 05/11/2012 at 21:33:51
Joe #326, I did say "nearly" 30 years... it's actually 26. I never saw the 1985 Champions because US TV coverage of English soccer back then was spotty, unreliable and pretty much Arsenal, Liverpool & Man Utd.

I did see a good deal of the 86-87 championship side, but I remember them as a gritty and tenacious side exemplified by Radcliffe and Heath, with most of the flair coming from my favorite Blue, Kevin Sheedy. That team won it all and this one won't, but for my money this one is a lot more fun to watch.

Phil Roberts
38 Posted 05/11/2012 at 21:58:03
Just checked my stats and I they are still correct. For the 4 extra points we have taken at home (Utd +3; Saints (B'burn) +2; Shite +1; Newcastle -2) we are 3 points lower away (WBA -3; Fulham -2; Villa +2) so only +1.

The added smile is the team with the worst performance compared to last year, dropping 9 points so far... and headed for 45 points and 14th place.... in fact one place lower than they are now...... bit like having your cake and eating it.

Joe Clitherow
39 Posted 05/11/2012 at 22:01:01
Mike whilst I'd agree with you that 86-87 did not have quite so much flair as the previous teams (though they still had Steven and Sheedy!), I still regard chasing the title as far more exciting than trying to be the best of the also-rans.
Barry Rathbone
40 Posted 05/11/2012 at 22:00:14
Ray Roche, he should have sold Bily a lot of earlier arguably shouldn't have bought him in the first place.

Potentially a Jelavic and Gibson 2 years earlier right there, he's had no money off Kenwright the loot is from Cahill, Arteta, Rodwell and Bily.

Moneywise the die was cast with Rooney and hasn't changed one iota, it's just that he'd buy a centre half every 3 weeks and twice at the end of the financial quarter.

He's realised that's not a goer.

Mike Allison
41 Posted 05/11/2012 at 22:25:58
Our present team have the problems of a top four side who aren't quite clinical enough so draw games they should win away from home.

That's a big step up from a mid table team who've had the problems of simply not having enough quality and having had to scrap for every point.

Just think of who we had this time last year in our 'front six'. Gibson, Pienaar, Mirallas and Jelavic have replaced Cahill, Saha, Bilyaletdinov and possibly Rodwell in the XI. Add to that the difference in the effect Fellaini is having on Premier League matches. That's more than a third of the team, basically half, taking a huge step up in quality/effectiveness. We may only compare similarly in terms of results to last season on a fixture by fixture basis, but this November's team would hammer last November's team.

We definitely lack beyond the XI though, only Anichebe could come off the bench and make a difference (maybe Naismith in time, but I'm not totally convinced). We can't afford not to strengthen in January, it doesn't have to massive, and it could be the right two loans, but it has to be something that will add to the matchday 18.

Ben Jones
42 Posted 05/11/2012 at 22:37:12
Certainly attacking wise, under Moyes this is the most attacking team, and two things have sorted out that for us in my opinion: the inclusion of a good right winger and the effectiveness of Fellaini.

Just a pity we don't have the usual Everton resolve though and stop conceding. We do need a few clean sheets.

Ray Roche
43 Posted 05/11/2012 at 22:49:59
Barry Rathbone

Barry, hindsight is a wonderful thing, Bily looked a good buy when we first heard we'd bought him (thanks to YouTube, but even I could look good on that but there you go) and I doubt if we'd have had the money for a Jelavic. Moyes has said that if he'd have cost what we were first quoted then we'd not have been able to afford him. It was only due to Rangers' situation that we got him at all.

And if you think back to when we got Gibson half the posts on here seemed to be slagging Moyes off for stealing a Man Utd cast off. Now he is, apparently, indispensable. I agree that the money for Mirallas etc has come from the sale of the players you mention, particularly Rodwell, I'm just glad BK didn't have to give it all to the bank.

Whatever, the end result is that we're playing the best football we've played for years.

Brendan McLaughlin
44 Posted 05/11/2012 at 23:01:54
I also think you can't overlook how desperate our financial situation was. There was certainly a period when any money raised from the sale of players would have gone straight to the banks. So the option of "selling to buy" wasn't open to Moyes
Ray Roche
45 Posted 05/11/2012 at 23:13:52
Brendan, I agree, I think Moyes has done a terrific job with the money made available to him.
Douglas Turner
46 Posted 06/11/2012 at 00:36:43
Totally agree with Mike Allison #304. Vadis in the Jan window would be a much welcome and needed and addition! Our back 4 would be grateful too! Anyone heard anything on how much (if any) we'll get to splash out on?
Jason Lam
47 Posted 06/11/2012 at 03:37:15
As Moyes stated, we lack the consistency and I would say ruthlessness to kill off games. The 2004-05 side had serious men that could grind out the wins.
Jason Heng
48 Posted 06/11/2012 at 04:29:30
Could be the best ever?

How much time does Moyes have before the greedy bankers return for their pound of flesh?

Paul Andrews
49 Posted 06/11/2012 at 06:05:15
Ray @ 290.

Bill Kenwright generous?

Nearly choked on me cornflakes there.
Karl Masters
50 Posted 06/11/2012 at 07:28:06
Phil makes a very valid point about the fixtures in the first half of this season mirroring the last half of last season.

But you would like to think we will have the momentum of an outstanding 2012 to take into 2013 where our run in will be very tough.

Everton have always sold to buy though. At least since the seventies anyway. Even when broke the transfer record for Latchford it involved half the value being made up by Styles and Kendall going the other way. In the glory years we sold McMahon to find Steven, we even sold Lineker to fund a new Street End roof, we sold Stevens to buy Nevin and when we started throwing the cash around under Chairman Johnson we then had to sell first Kanchelskis and later Ferguson to placate the Bank.

That said, Kenwright has mismanaged all the TV money and Moyes has worked nothing far short of a miracle in last ten months.

Chris James
51 Posted 05/11/2012 at 23:51:35
The very fact we're having this discussion, i.e. about how the lads are not converting chances whilst playing teams off the park and our biggest issue is replacement defensive midfielder, shows how amazingly far we've progressed in the last 18 months or so.

The biggest criticism I recall on these boards (and that was even during our CL run) was the quality of football being served up on the pitch - defensive, hoofball, terrible to watch, etc. Whilst I think it's fair to say this has been addressed steadily in previous seasons, the performances being served up right now are nothing short of scintillating and everyone (even MotD) is noticing.

Sat at Fulham this weekend, watching the interplay of Baines and PIenaar down the left, the skills of Mirallas and Osman, Coleman driving on and Fellaini just forcing his way through... well, to be honest, it was breathtaking and did remind me of the excitement of watching the waves of attacks from Barca or Brazil pouring forward.

Yes it's frustrating that this play hasn't been turned into 4 or 6 more points, but one thing that hasn't been mentioned enough here is that it's not just down to poor finishing  we're achieving what we are against the rub of the green.

For starters, there's an easy case to make that terrible refereeing decisions have cost us points vs Newcastle, QPR and Wigan. Then there's the fact we have had some injury issues and been without key players in some important games (Gibson, Fellaini and Pienaar) for several games. We even lost out in the transfer market thanks to Fifa rejecting our legitimate last-minute bid for midfield cover.

If we can continue to play the way we are AND our luck evens itself out, then top 4 is well and truly on!

Ian Bennett
52 Posted 06/11/2012 at 08:39:54
Where's the 40 points comment in this article? That's right: Moyes is actually making comments on a firm foundation, rather than bragging his side would do X and Y after 2 games. For those who bash him for his realism comments, please take note.

He's a grounded manager that keeps his feet on the floor and rarely makes comment's that come back to haunt him (other than Phil Neville). He tell's it exactly like it is, which can be pretty uncomfortable for journalists who usually listen to the rubbish thrown out by most managers.

"Fulham is a tough place to come, you must be pleased with a point". Jesus, I thought he was going to lamp him, and as a football fan fed up with managers not seeing what their players do and being asked questions by journos that would embarrass a 5-year-old, who could blame him.

Ken Crowther
53 Posted 06/11/2012 at 09:33:18
I find the "best ever" debate intriguing.

It's a bit like comparing two boxers from different eras.

The Young, Vernon, Gabriel team was great because, up to then, it was the best that we'd had in my lifetime. I think the mid/late 80s team was better; but would accept as valid the arguments of those who disagree.

One main difficulty in comparing the present team with those two is that today's team has not played a dozen matches yet, so hoping for the best as we all do, we can't be sure just how they will settle down; but, more important, I think, is the quality of the opposition that today's team faces. The quality of the Premier League is superb, even the "mediocre" teams of today would have been thought of as world beaters in the old First Division.

So, on balance, if they settle down (and wherever they finish in the league) I think this lot are the best we've had.

Trevor Lynes
54 Posted 06/11/2012 at 09:57:43
If we had a Muamba or Dembele in midfield, it would be a virtually perfect squad.

This team is far superior to the side that finished 4th as we were very negative during that season and actually qualified with a negative goal difference?!? This team plays football reminiscent of the 60s side which was the best footballing team I have seen at Goodison.

BUT... we have not got a good record in goals return for chances created. In the past we relied on set pieces to score goals but now we create chances galore and it's fantastic entertainment just what our fans deserve.

Derek Thomas
55 Posted 06/11/2012 at 10:07:15
Jason Lam (#359) "serious men who could grind out wins..."

Three from that era I would love now would be: Martyn, Carsley and Gravesen (his first half-season's form was stupendous). We would be 2nd or 3rd by now.
Ciarn McGlone
56 Posted 06/11/2012 at 11:21:53
You mean, Gravesen's last half-season....
Chris Davies
57 Posted 06/11/2012 at 12:11:25
I've noticed lots of people are saying that we've had it easy up till now but my thoughts are this,.. No game on the road in the Prem is easy and our home games have been Man Utd (will finish above us), Newcastle (will be very close to us), Southampton (we played them off the park) and the RS (lets face it, they always beat us).

These are tough games. After we play Arsenal and Spurs at the end of the month, every home game (bar Chelsea and Man City) should be money in the bank.

Also, people continue with the leaky defense stuff but, as Jol pointed out, we've been playing 4-2-4 recently. I actually think it's more like 2-4-4 with Baines and Coleman pushing so far forward. It's reminding me a little bit of Blackpool's days in the Prem but with more quality. Good to watch, create loads of chances, too gung-ho and still get beat.

Still, I wouldn't mind too much if we finished at boring old 7th again if it means being entertained on the way as we are at the moment.

Bring on the spanking of the Mackems!

Liam Reilly
58 Posted 06/11/2012 at 13:06:50
To have any chance of the top 4, we must hold onto our key players come the Jan transfer window; Baines, Pienaar, Fellaini, Mirallas & Jelavic.

None of them will be cup-tied in Eurpoe and the only surprise would be if there was no interest.

Gavin Ramejkis
59 Posted 06/11/2012 at 13:26:47
One game at a time and see where it goes, approach each game on its merits and play to win. There are no such this as an easy run in the league as everyone plays the same teams, the order means nothing.

Improvements? Look at the weaknesses and sort them:

Poor defending has let us down
Poor midfield mistakes have given away dangerous free kicks which have led to leaking goals
Poor goalkeeping for long range shots has let us down

On a lesser level, missed shots... but, if you fire as many shots as we are at the moment, on the law of probability, you've got a hell of a lot more chances of some of them going in, so more of the same please.

I would love to see some uber hard bastard in midfield that puts the fear of Christ into the opposition before a ball has been kicked, knowing they are in for a torrid time and no walkover.

Sam Hoare
60 Posted 06/11/2012 at 13:41:15
We certainly seem to be playing the best consistent football under Moyes that I can remember, though after a run of games with no home bankers it will be interesting to see what happens against Sunderland when pressure will be very much on us to win and probably win well. Hope we don't choke or get complacent as we could very easily slide back into a familiar 7th-8th spot.

A midfield general to do Gibson's job a little better than Neville can if Gibson is injured would be a good addition in January and a little more squad depth in general though I'm quite excited to see what Oviedo can do when he is given a chance.

Tom Bowers
61 Posted 06/11/2012 at 13:47:16
Definitely there has been an improvement and it's down to the extra zip we have in Mirallas and the great form of Fellaini. However, if Gibson returns soon, and he plays like he did, then we can start winning again.

We are still lacking that extra bite in midfield that could elevate this team and the right signing in January could make that possible. Whilst Ossie obviously has fans, he is still a weak link. Being one paced and not very strong, he is still chasing shadows for the most part when he is not in possession; yes, I know he has had his moments but not enough to warrant his starting role.

Moyes will continue to see things differently as he has proved by continuing with the same team selection but, if we cannot get some wins together, we will slip down the table.

James Martin
62 Posted 06/11/2012 at 14:54:01
Tom, why do you have this agenda against Osman? How much more evidence do you need?

'He has had his moments but not enough to warrant his starting role' Who's going to take it from him? If luck had gone our way, or with some better refereeing, we would be well amongst the top three after a run that has been dominated by away games.

Plus we're playing some of our best ever football under Moyes, can you not see how Osman in the middle is contributing to that? When has he been chasing shadows this season? Do you think Pirlo or Xavi run around after people chasing shadows?

We've dominated nearly every midfield we've come up against this season. Gerrard Allen and Sahin were chasing Osman's shadow in the derby. No-one is noticing what he does off the ball because there's barely a time he doesn't have it.

Very few players in the league have bite combined with agility and technique, you can get a big physical yarddog wherever you want but there's a reason they play for most of the bottom clubs. Everyone dreams of uncovering the next Keane or Vieira but only really Yaya Toure can lay claim to this sort of profile at the top of the league. Carrick, Scholes, Cleverly, Wilshere, Arteta, are all closer to Osman than they are Papa Bouba Diop.

If we sacrifice Osman for a younger better Arteta then fine but if we sacrifice him for another Segundo Castillo just because he's got that 'extra bite' then we'll soon see all of our possession football fall apart and we'll end up back in mid table.
Jack Lee
63 Posted 06/11/2012 at 15:42:12
James, I agree with you totally. I like Osman, and his tackling is actually pretty good together with decent skills. He gets goals as well. His only weak point might be his consistency but he's pretty consistent for a top 6 EPL team. Yes we need a stronger, faster player with his skills but that will cost at least 5M.

The thing that frustrates me is Neville. He's OK at right back but c'mon at centre mid? He is too slow, and too weak for EPL now. I hope Moyes stop playing him and that he retires after this season.

Ray Roche
64 Posted 06/11/2012 at 15:55:09
Paul Andrews @363

Paul, that was my attempt at sarcasm....

Tom Bowers
65 Posted 06/11/2012 at 16:04:05
As I said, James, Ossie has his fans and and they are entitled to see things differently and say so accordingly.
Phil Skelton
66 Posted 06/11/2012 at 18:48:11
All I can say is that, if Jeli was firing, who knows what scorelines we could be talking about! Top of Europe in the Opta stats! Barcelona fans singing "It's just like watching Everton!" I've not been this excited since Graeme Stuart scored our winner against Wimbledon to keep us in the Prem and I fell and broke the guy's seat infront in celebration!
Paul Andrews
67 Posted 06/11/2012 at 19:34:45
Ray, I know mate.:)
Christopher Kelly
68 Posted 06/11/2012 at 20:40:11
I agree Trevor completely. With one adjustment in the middle we will be a fully fleshed out team.

We are still team improving. One who has a bunch of exciting young players mixed with a few of the old guard (the slow, junkyard dog types). in time we will have a complete team.

To do this we'll probably have to sell Felli in the summer (unless we come 4th). I'm ok with that and if we get the right price, we can really add some talent and depth. Then we'll really have our best team.

One quick point... The game has changed. We have as well (finally). The game is about players who can play. play out of the back, be quick with the touch and keep the ball moving side to side and then quickly forwards. You see it in every champions league team. There is no more room for the likes of the Hibberts and Nevilles of this world. That's why Osman is playing better. Finally we have caught up with him and his best position/playing style. -- I am not an Ossie lover - far from it - but I do think that he is adequate enough for this season but should be moved to the bench if we sell Felli.

Christopher Kelly
69 Posted 06/11/2012 at 20:56:12
Oh, and Trevor, I think you meant Mulumbu, mate.

He's the type of player we should be definitely looking for. Played a blinder, yesterday.

Kunal Desai
70 Posted 06/11/2012 at 21:18:21
Creating chances and scoring goals, but the other issue is conceding them at the other end, and it doesn't help that the burden is significantly put on the shoulders of defence in recent weeks, this ofcourse isn't helped by a weak central midfield (Neville/Osman). We are lacking a tough tackling ball winner - Gibson perhaps?? we need another powerhouse in that midfield in the absence/cover for Gibson who can retain the ball whilst in the oppositions half, otherwise the pendulum very much swings in the direction of the defence and more goals being conceded.
Thomas Windsor
71 Posted 07/11/2012 at 10:51:02
Four draws on the bounce is not going to get us in the top 4.

Defence is all over the place in some games... Gibson needs to be fit to get us tighter in midfield as Neville is not the answer.
Danny Kewley
72 Posted 07/11/2012 at 13:57:44
It's no exaggeration to say that we should have been top of the league now. Losing Gibson obviously hasn't helped and, as much as Neville would bust a gut for the club, he just can't cut it in the middle for us. I may well be in the minority but Osman is getting better!

Hope to fuck we can maintain a good position and come the January sales we can get a couple of good lads in to boost the squad. We are playing some of the best football I have seen in years!

Living in London now for over 35 years  it's great to hear all the positive comments (at last) on how good the team is!
Patrick Murphy
73 Posted 07/11/2012 at 22:09:11
According to the Official web site David Moyes will take charge of his 400th Premier League game (199th at Goodison); let's hope he gets the result he and the team deserve.

Anto Byrne
74 Posted 08/11/2012 at 01:32:16
This game has 0 - 0 all over it. Saha can't score unless it's drugs to keep him playing. Prove me wrong and give me six.
David Lyall
75 Posted 08/11/2012 at 14:20:14
I think Moyes is right to be cautious about the current team being better than 2004-05... although we definitely play better football now.

Here's my combined team:

Martin (not Howard)
Coleman (not young Hibbert)
Baines (not Pistone)
Stubbs (not Jagielka)
Weir (not Distin)
Carsley (not Gibson)
Gravesen (not Phil or old Osman)
Mirallas (not young Osman)
Pienaar (not Kilbane)
Fellaini (not young Cahill)
Jelavic (not Bent)

So it's 6 of current team and 5 of the team that finished 4th for me.

Steel comes from the past and flair from the present
John Wilson
76 Posted 08/11/2012 at 16:20:01
Osman's selection by RH reminds us that it was almost too late to be effective for England and at 31 for Everton too. Pienaar is also aging a bit. But both are icons for mentoring new introductions.

Moyes needs to test Barkley again and soon. He also needs to groom some more youthful tacticians for his midfield.

I trust he's keeping tabs on Southampton's Lallana, who apart from being a merging star in a team seemingly headed back to the Championship, is also a Toffee fan born into an Evertonian family, and like Holtby would need only a nod from Moyes to reach agreement. Just a thought.

Ken Crowther
77 Posted 09/11/2012 at 09:38:18
Why do so many people on here assume that because they come from an Evertonian background, or are/were Evertonians themselves, any footballer will automatically grab a pen if the Moysiah comes calling? Think about Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and many others including, of course, Rooney.

Just because most TWebbers would die to pull on the shirt, doesn't mean a professional would do the same.

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