Everton 0 -
2 Manchester United
Half-time: 0 - 1
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 3
Wednesday 27 August 1997
Goodison Park, Merseyside
|« West Ham United (h)||Ref: Keith Burge||Bolton Wanderers (a) »|
|1997-98 Fixtures & Results||League Position: 15th||Premiership Results & Table|
|Manchester United:||Beckham (29), Sheringham (51)|
|LINEUPS||Subs Not Used|
Southall, Barrett (Thomas, 66), Phelan, Williamson,
Watson, Bilic, Short (Branch, 46), Stuart, Ferguson, Barmby (Oster, 66),
Unavailable: Parkinson (injured), Hinchcliffe, Grant (recovering).
|Manchester United:||Schmeichel, G Neville, Irwin, Pallister, Beckham, Butt, Sheringham (Cole, 79), Giggs, Keane, Scholes, Berg.||P Neville, McClair, Poborsky, Van Der Gouw.|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS|
|Guy McEvoy||A Date with Destiny?|
|Charles Brewer||Lacking in Intelligence and Guile|
|Huw Marshall||Get Real People, we are light years behind Man Utd|
|Richard Marland||Lambs to the Slaughter|
Sheringham opens new account as United take charge
by Oliver Holt
Sheringham off the mark as United look to Europe
by Henry Winter
|OTHER INTERNET REPORTS|
|EVERTON WEBSITE||Link to Official Match Report|
|SOCCERNET||Link to SoccerNet Match Report|
|CARLINGNET||Link to CarlingNet Match Report|
|A Date with Destiny?|
There comes a stage in relationships when it becomes serious enough for you
to pop the question. And so it was that, a couple of weeks ago, I asked my
girlfriend the big one; "Do you fancy coming to Goodison with me?"
Possibly, Man United wasn't the wisest choice to begin the indoctrination process. I guess I'd figured that, if we won, the atmosphere would slap her so hard we'd have her in the fold for life. Such logic, whilst sound enough, failed to take on board one key point; "if we won" was always a pretty damn big "if", my blind optimism obviously has no sense of inevitability.
I explained to her who was who and that the big bloke Bilic playing in a defensive midfield role was the man to watch, and that Duncan Ferguson is now the other bloke she's allowed to fancy as well as me; "nah, looks to gangly" was her disheartening reply.
The match started well enough and for a sweet half an hour or so the game deceptively looked so well matched. Stuart and Barmby buzzed around, tackles were won, the odd long distance effort was made and the crowd sung. I was at Goodison Park with a beautiful woman -- life cannot get any better.
It could therefore only get worse. Get worse it did.
A throw in by United, a loose ball in the box, a jump by spice boy Beckham, a weighted connection with the head -- a goal. From that moment on the game always looked hopelessly beyond us.
Now we were subdued, we had inflicted upon us a display of controlled passing, confidence on the ball, cheeky ideas and solid defending which was all the more impressive because it came so naturally to United whilst they didn't even look like they were particularly trying. Their travelling fans managed the largest repertoire of songs I've heard whilst our fans efforts became a mirror image of those from the boys in blue on the pitch. No imaginative reply.
Kendall's half time reorganisation was a token gesture. The removal of Short to give Branch a run out and shifting Bilic back to his natural position had no bearing on the outcome. United pressed, and the Everton defence were cast in the role of King Canute. They eventually succumbed to the tide in the form of Ryan Giggs who looked to be back at his peak. His endeavours made Dave Watson look about 50 years old, it was a simple job once past him for the Welshman to lay the ball off allowing Teddy Sheringham to open his United account.
Everton, even reinforced by Oster and Thomas, never offered the fans even the briefest hope of a revival. Well over a half of the Park End had demonstrated their feelings by having left the ground when there was still a full five minutes on the clock. They realised that the only thing they were likely to miss was the score-line being extended by United. Who wants to sit through that?
I stayed to the end though, the fool I am I always do; "Did you enjoy it?", I asked her.
"Yeah, sorry you lost. They were just better than you weren't they?".
And so in one nail-on-the-head sentence, the woman at her first match summed up quite succinctly the point that every forty-year veteran TV pundit would be gleefully waxing lyrical about. They were simply better than us.
I completed the night's misery by naively asking; "Do you think you'll support Everton now?"
Her eyes conveyed to me the sort of pitiful but sympathetic look you give a dog you are about to have put down. No more needed to be said.
|Lacking in Intelligence and Guile|
I was at Goodison last night and have never seen an Everton team so bereft
of ideas and creativity. What was worse was that everyone seemed to be playing
to their weaknesses.
For example, I have always rated Barrett an excellent defender, and been disappointed when he receives non-specific criticism and barracking. But last night the entire first half attack seemed to consist of Barrett receiving the ball wide, and unmarked, heading up the right hand side of the pitch until 5-10 yards short of the penalty area, and then belting it in at head height.
This was simply a rather long winded way of handing the ball to the opposition; there was no-one who could do anything with it (a ball from behind, aimed at a gentle angle to the goal is not something even Dixie Dean could have scored with I suspect).
Correct me if I am wrong, passing from that position sometimes results in goals as someone on the left hand side gets on the end of it, putting it in high and slow guarantees the other team wins it... Barrett is clearly not a good attacker, and the poor man seemed to have no one who would take on the role of wing attacker on the clearly weaker Man Utd left side. Yet we persisted.
Surely there was someone who could have taken on the role of right winger, run to the corner and put in a real cross. I also cannot remember how many times Barmby got into heading duels with ManU's Neanderthal defence, HEY GUYS -- HE'S ONLY 5'8" (or so) and naturally couldn't do a thing.
ManU realised that Dunc was going to be the target and therefore marked him two or three times over (largely illegally to my blue eyes, but then the ref generally appeared to let anything from handball to holding go if ManU were responsible). This should have given someone the idea that if Dunc was attracting this much attention, then there were gaps elsewhere... but no.
It seemed to me that we lacked any intelligence in our play. Our should-have-been breaks from defence usually involved someone stopping halfway up the pitch and waiting for everyone else (especially those in red) to catch up.
This was to be contrasted with Giggs who despite my view that he is much overrated at least had sufficient footballing brain to know that running at slow defenders such as Dave Watson, (but also Keene and Pallister) is a very good way of creating opportunities. Basically, we seemed to lack any idea of how to take apart a large static defence and a fast moving but rather brittle midfield.
The team selection troubled me also, surely this was an obvious match for Branch and Oster to start, and for Dave Watson to watch from the subs bench... speed (lower case) was always going to be of the essence.
Some of the details: Their first goal had a strong flavour of luck with a total miscue (was it off knee or shin?) flying sideways to the Big Jessie (as I understand it is proper to call Beckham), but Everton had already committed the cardinal sins of ball-watching and failing to snuff out threats. After all, a miscue is unlikely to cause harm if there is a large defender all over the miscuer -- or indeed his unwitting target.
The second goal was another of our "defender deflects the ball past the goalie who had it covered" specials. Not that I would blame Bilic, the man is truly outstanding. His tackle on Giggs was without doubt the finest move by either side in the match. But once again, there was no-one near Sheringham, a player who was probably ManU's worst man on the night. That said, they could easily have scored five if they had put their easier chances away.
We shot from range at first, and I was sure that if we kept it up, Schmeichel was going to fluff one, but then we remembered that the script called for banging it at Dunc, so we stopped all of that. In the second half, I don't remember an attack worth the name from Everton. Oh well, this is too depressing. But I wish we had persisted with signing Ince when we had the chance.
|Lambs to the Slaughter|
I'll put this is as simply as I can for you:- they murdered us. I cannot
recalled us ever being outclassed to that degree at Goodison Park; it was
men against boys. They are a very, very good side who really clicked
at Goodison. They bettered us in every facet of the game: speed of
thought and action, pace and movement both on the ball and off the ball,
defensive resilience. Quite simply they were miles better than us and
we should consider ourselves lucky to get away with "only" a 0-2 reverse.
It had all started so promisingly as well. Kendall kept with his experiment of playing Bilic in midfield. Nev was in goal with a flat back four in front of him -- Barrett, Watson, Short, Phelan. Bilic patrolled the area in front of the back four, Speed and Williamson played in advance of Bilic, Stuart played out on the right, notionally giving us width and Dunc and Barmby played up front. Gerrard, Thomas, Oster, Branch and Farrelly were on the bench.
A frenetic opening saw both teams fairly evenly matched. We played some nice stuff, Bilic sprayed it around a bit and we looked alright. We even managed a few long range pot shots all on target:
Everything changed at about the half hour mark when Man Utd, somewhat fortuitously scored. A long throw from Gary Neville sailed right through the defence to an unmarked Scholes at the back post, his miscue looped back across goal to the unmarked Beckham who headed it in. It was a sloppy goal and on the balance of play barely deserved.
However, the goal marked a watershed in the game as United stepped up a gear, ran us ragged and never gave us a chance to get back in the game. For the remainder of the first half we were all over the place. We couldn't cope with their pace and mobility up front. Sheringham, Scholes, Giggs and Beckham all interchanged positions as we were left chasing shadows. Half time couldn't come soon enough and we were fortunate to keep it at 0-1 to the break.
Half time brought the inevitable change: Branch coming on for Short. This brought a reshuffle which took Bilic back into defence, Barmby into midfield, and Branch going up front with Dunc. It was merely a cosmetic change, with United in this mood there was little or nothing we could do. Within 10 minutes we were 2 down. Giggs turned Watson inside out with embarrassing ease before finding Sheringham for his first goal for United.
The rest of the game was about damage limitation. At one point I looked at the clock and saw that there was 30 minutes remaining, normally I would think "plenty of time to get back in the game, nick one and we might have a chance." This time however the thoughts were more along the lines of: "Oh shit, how many more are they going to get?"
We made another change, Thomas and Oster coming on for Barrett and Barmby. They both equipped themselves fairly well but it was all pretty academic. Fortunately, United decided not to go for the jugular. They continued to create chances and they continued to pull us apart with their pace and movement up front but the goals their superiority probably deserved didn't come and it was a blessed relief when the final whistle came.
United gave us a stark lesson and left us in no doubt about how far we have to go if we are to challenge realistically at the top end of the table. It wasn't as though we were desperately bad it was just that they were so much better than us. It was a sobering evening and I am just thankful that we only have to play them once more this year.
Team 5 Completely and utterly outclassed, they bettered us in all departments. The team still looks unbalanced to me, the midfield unit just isn't working. It doesn't pose a threat down either flank, it doesn't have the guile to do anything down the middle and it is also struggling defensively. Personally, I think we have to sort out the defensive central midfield role and the right flank.
|Get Real People, we are light years behind Man Utd|
On Wednesday night we came up against a team in awesome form, full of confidence
and running, they played as a TEAM. It is is easy to feel down-hearted following
such a comprehensive beating but I think the person who said "It's against
the likes of West Ham and Barnsley we should be measuring our performances"
was dead right.
The differences between the two sides on Wednesday:
Having said that, I left GP a not too unhappy man, HK is getting us to play football again, he is cautiously building a new team, trying to get to know his current squad etc. Given time, and I reckon 3 years we could become a force again, but first we need to show our detractors, i.e. the press and, judging by recent postings, half of our own fans, that we can string together results and win games by playing attractive football. Once we do that, we might be able to attract new talent.
The current run of upcoming games -- Bolton, Derby and Barnsley -- will be the true measures of our current situation, and I for one will hang fire with my criticism until after the Barnsley game.
Anyway as always here are my blue tinted ratings from the Man U match:
In summary, our deficiencies were all too obvious, but I'm sure HK knows what they are....I hope!!!!!
|Sheringham opens new account as United take charge|
by Oliver Holt, The Times
STILL playing a shade below their formidable best but still winning, a Manchester
United team inspired by the second-half performance of Ryan Giggs eased Everton
aside at Goodison Park last night with a nonchalance that did not bode well
for those who would seek to wrestle their FA Carling Premiership crown from
them this season.
United, who moved on to the shoulders of Blackburn Rovers at the top of the table with a comfortable win over a limited Everton side, spurned a host of chances but were still good enough to leave Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, full of admiration.
"Whatever side I had selected," Kendall said, "whatever changes I had made, would not have affected that result. We just could not cope with Giggs. If that is the norm for them, it is a one-horse race. They were exceptional."
Sheringham, Giggs and Scholes all missed opportunities to make United's victory more emphatic but, of more importance to the visitors was the identity of the scorer of their second goal. Sheringham opened his account for his new club with a deflected second-half strike that sealed United's victory.
If that is the start of United's attack functioning properly, too, their challengers will struggle to keep up and Ferguson could not disguise his delight. "I'm pleased for Teddy," Ferguson said, "because any striker wants to score as soon as possible when he moves to a new club. That will do his confidence a lot of good."
For much of the first half, Everton dealt comfortably enough with the threat of United's front two of Giggs and Sheringham, snuffing out most potential problems by deploying Bilic just in front of the back four.
Schmeichel was the busier goalkeeper for the first 20 minutes, leaping above Barmby to head away an awkward Pallister back-pass, then hurling himself to his right to catch Speed's deflected shot. Midway through the half, the Danish goalkeeper needed two attempts to gather Stuart's ambitious 35-yard drive but gradually, as Everton's efforts foundered, United began to ease their way into the game.
In the 29th minute, the visitors broke the deadlock. Gary Neville's long throw eluded the Everton defence and after Scholes mis-hit it, it bounced up to Beckham at the far post and he nodded it unerringly back across Southall and into the far corner of the Everton net.
Now United began to dominate possession. Sheringham scuffed a near-post effort from Giggs's low corner and, six minutes before half-time, United nearly scored again when Beckham's cross skidded across the face of goal in front of a trio of United attackers. Only Butt, the last of them, made any contact with it, but he could not guide his header back into the goal.
In the second half, Everton's resistance crumbled completely. Kendall took Short off and pulled Bilic into the back four and they were quickly overrun. Giggs, in particular, was rampant, his pace a constant source of embarrassment to Watson and Bilic.
Six minutes after half-time, the Wales international created United's second goal when he beat Watson with nonchalant ease on the left and cut the ball back for Sheringham. Bilic tried to block the United striker's shot but succeeded only in deflecting it past Southall.
As Everton pressed forward, searching for a way back into the game, United exploited their openness in defence but wasted a string of chances to extend their advantage.
|Report © Times Newspapers Ltd|
|Sheringham off the mark as United look to Europe|
Henry Winter, Electronic Telegraph
QUICKER in thought and deed, Manchester United comfortably dealt with Everton
at Goodison Park last night. Goals from David Beckham, a header, and a first
strike for Teddy Sheringham capped another day at the office for the champions
Maybe it was the smell of the Champions' League, but United gave a typically European-style performance, resisting early pressure, stilling the home crowd before scoring on the break. By the end, Goodison was a bowl of rancour, criticism falling down on Howard Kendall's players.
Although Everton started promisingly, they faded against the high-tempo, high-pressure game of Roy Keane and his supremely competitive colleagues.
Although Andy Cole was at last able to sit, however uncomfortably, on the bench, United still lacked their forward focus, a long-standing deficiency that continues to place an extra onus on the midfielders. Ryan Giggs was pushed forward, working enthusiastically with Paul Scholes and Sheringham.
Such an approach initially allowed Everton room in central midfield, which Danny Williamson, Gary Speed and Graham Stuart began to use.
For the opening 20 minutes, Howard Kendall's team looked invigorated, spinning the ball wide for their wing-backs and always alive to the knock-down options afforded by the towering Duncan Ferguson. The tall Scotsman also showed he is no slouch on the ground, drilling one wonderful cross-field pass to Terry Phelan.
Everton seemed in the ascendancy, a false dawn prompted by Stuart's long-range shooting. Peter Schmeichel grasped the first effort cleanly but needed two attempts to smother the second. Having weathered the Everton storm, United stepped up a gear, counter-attacking with their traditional pace and gusto.
After 26 minutes, Giggs appeared on the right to collect a pass from Keane, United's captain as industrious and influential a figure as ever. Giggs ran in but failed to trouble Neville Southall with a low shot.
The warning went unheeded. Moments later, United moved ahead with a goal that had its roots in poor Everton marking. Taking a few short strides to the right-hand touchline, Gary Neville threw the ball powerfully into the box. It cleared a thicket of Everton defenders, eventually arriving close to Scholes, who was lurking unattended 10 yards out from the far post.
The ball was at an awkward height, perhaps explaining why Scholes mishit it. Everton's defenders were still turning to deal with Scholes when the ball looped back over them towards Southall's other post. There, again untroubled, was Beckham who celebrated his second start of the season with a header directed over Southall and into the top corner.
Uplifted, the champions began to play with real cohesion, retaining possession where before they had been profligate. Beckham, clearly stirred up, fouled Slaven Bilic and was lucky to escape caution for the sort of petulance that Glenn Hoddle has warned him against.
Goodison, which hardly took to Beckham, then saw his more positive side, a whipped-in corner directed to Sheringham, who again was unable to exploit the opportunity. Beckham finished the half with another fine ball from the right, a cross to the far-post almost met by Nicky Butt and Sheringham.
Sheringham did not have long to wait for his debut goal. When another Everton mistake again ceded possession to the opposition, Giggs went gliding down the left.
Sheringham, meanwhile, was at his stealthy best, slipping unnoticed into the box. When Giggs's cross came in, nicely angled back towards the edge of the area, there was Sheringham to shoot past Southall. He was quickly enveloped in the embrace of his team-mates.
Everton were stunned but any culpability lay fairly and squarely at their back-door. United were never at their rampant best. Keane and Co just made their possession count.
Goodison's disatisfaction, heard in bouts of booing, was understandable. Their players were second best when it counted.
Kendall sent on Tony Thomas and John Oster, having earlier made the tactical switch to a back-four in replacing Craig Short with Michael Branch. Both formations looked vulnerable to the sort of incisive attacks United favour. Contrasting seasons lie ahead.
|Report © The Electronic Telegraph|
|FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP|
|RESULTS (Game 4)|
|Wednesday 27 August 1997|
BARNSLEY 2-1 BOLTON WANDERERS 18,661 Tinkler(12) Hristov(47) Beardsley(31) COVENTRY CITY 1-1 WEST HAM UNITED 18,289 Huckerby(38) Kitson(64) EVERTON 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED 40,079 Beckham(29) Sheringham(51) LEICESTER CITY 3-3 ARSENAL 21,089 Heskey(84) Elliott(90) Bergkamp(9,61,90) Walsh(90) SOUTHAMPTON 1-0 CRYSTAL PALACE 15,032 Davies(57) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3-2 ASTON VILLA 26,317 Ferdinand(6,66) Fox(77) Yorke(27) Collymore(58) WIMBLEDON 0-2 CHELSEA 22,232 Di Matteo(60) Petrescu(64)
|Tuesday 26 August 1997|
LEEDS UNITED 0-2 LIVERPOOL 39,775 McManaman(23) Riedle(75)
|Monday 25 August 1997|
BLACKBURN ROVERS 7-2 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 19,618 Gallacher(3,7) Hyde(og:10) Carbone(8,47) Wilcox(20) Sutton(24,74) Bohinen(53)
|LEAGUE TABLE (after 27 August 1997 )|
Club P W D L GF GA GD Pts Blackburn Rovers 4 3 1 0 13 3 10 10 Manchester United 4 3 1 0 5 0 5 10 Arsenal 4 2 2 0 9 5 4 8 Leicester City 4 2 2 0 6 4 2 8 West Ham United 4 2 1 1 6 5 1 7 Chelsea 3 2 0 1 10 3 7 6 Newcastle United 2 2 0 0 3 1 2 6 Crystal Palace 4 2 0 2 4 3 1 6 Tottenham Hotspur 4 2 0 2 5 6 -1 6 Barnsley 4 2 0 2 4 9 -5 6 Liverpool 4 1 2 1 5 4 1 5 Coventry City 4 1 2 1 6 7 -1 5 Bolton Wanderers 3 1 1 1 4 4 0 4 Leeds United 4 1 1 2 4 6 -2 4 Everton 3 1 0 2 3 5 -2 3 Southampton 4 1 0 3 2 5 -3 3 Wimbledon 3 0 2 1 2 4 -2 2 Sheffield Wednesday 4 0 1 3 5 13 -8 1 Derby County 2 0 0 2 0 2 -2 0 Aston Villa 4 0 0 4 2 9 -7 0