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Moyes & Everton face testing times

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Phil McNulty | 06:30 UK time, Monday, 30 November 2009

David Moyes, by his own colourful admission, is choking on a lump in the back of his throat caused by the shuddering end to Everton's progress this season.

Moyes saw progress of sorts as Everton's display deserved more than defeat in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool - but one glance at the Scot's pained expression in the aftermath revealed his suffering.

There have been better weeks at Goodison Park. Everton's football and financial future is on an uneasy footing after the grim loss at Hull City and the rejection of a ground move designed to signpost a new start, so this unfortunate reverse rounded it off badly.

Moyes was in no mood for consolation, not even via praise for Everton's spirited efforts against Liverpool or by being informed of a favourable home draw against Carlisle in the FA Cup. No good news. Not this week.

Everton are now in trouble after only one win in 11 games and as Moyes said: "Lots of encouragement but it doesn't change the position."

Moyes attempted to prod a response from his players after the non-performance at Hull City - "right up there with the worst of them" - by suggesting they should shake him by the hand for allowing them to play for Everton.

"For some of them it might not get any better," he added by way of further provocation. The problem for Moyes and Everton is that it is approaching the time when the same might be said for the manager.

Moyes proved he can still coax a show out of Everton, who dominated the 212th derby for long periods only to be undone by their own wasteful finishing and the wonderful Pepe Reina, but they still lost to a Liverpool side who were abject for the most part.

But, if we wish to tell Everton a brutal truth, it is that they were confronted by a Liverpool side there for the taking and could not complete the task.

So while Rafael Benitez, who would be wise to restrict his elation to the victory as Liverpool's actual display was mediocrity itself, gets a measure of breathing space at the end of his own traumatic week, the agony goes on for Moyes and Everton.

Moyes, to use the traditional default option of the beaten manager, can take positives. Steven Pienaar was comfortably the most accomplished and composed player on show at Goodison Park and this was several thousand notches up on the fare served up at the KC Stadium.

davidmoyes595pa.jpgMoyes is the fourth longest-serving manager in the country, having taken over at Everton in 2002

And the concensus as the hordes departing into the rain-soaked streets around Goodison was that Everton had demonstrated enough to suggest they will not linger in the lower reaches of the Premier League for too long. Which is probably true.

Is this enough for Everton though? Is this enough for Moyes? This is because the concern is growing that fifth place in the Premier League and an FA Cup Final appearance last season is now looking increasingly like the peak of the Moyes era.

Moyes poured his heart out to provide a sombre backdrop to the meeting with Liverpool, who recorded their eighth win in their last 10 league games at Goodison Park. It was clear where the worries lay and prompted renewed speculation that Moyes was buying into the increasing sense that he had now taken Everton as far as he could without fresh finances.

Once the quick fix of satisfaction provided by a better showing, albeit in defeat, wears off, it is back to reality. No money, no fresh investment, no new ground and a treatment room that will not be clear of hugely influential figures such as Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka for some weeks.

And with a testing sequence of fixtures against AEK Athens in the Europa League and Spurs and Chelsea in the Premier League, Everton must continue the progress they showed against Liverpool.

It now appears the shape of Moyes' long-term future will be dictated by the success of owner and chairman Bill Kenwright in finding new investors and a new home - tasks which have proved beyond him in recent years.

And for Moyes it must be galling to reach a point after seven years in charge at Everton and have to admit there are no more signs of progress. It is also a stark admission from the manager of a struggling side, especially with the jury still out on his big summer signings Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga.

The signs of recovery were on show against Liverpool, with more of the spirit that has taken Everton so far on so little in evidence, but the resurgence is realistically aimed at mid-table safety rather than the riches of last season.

Moyes' record signing Marouane Fellaini showed long-overdue signs of life in patches against Liverpool, while the extra dimension Pienaar adds to Everton's game was obvious in every composed contribution and the sleight of foot that is his trademark.

With his return comes a worry, however, because Everton have yet to convince the gifted South African that his future lies at Goodison Park and he will have the biggest stage of all on which to flourish when the World Cup is staged on his home turf next summer.

And when the manager openly confesses progress has not so much stalled as come to a dead stop, it increases the need for Kenwright to deliver to ensure he has the tools to persuade players of Pienaar's quality to stay.

How Kenwright fares in his quest will sharply define the future for both himself and Moyes.

Liverpool, for their part, will hope this victory provides some sort of platform for a season in danger of dying on its feet to take off. In among the average, Benitez was able to call on some old reliables, the excellence of Reina, the resilience of Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher and the defensive patrol of Javier Mascherano.

This was not, however, the display of a team Benitez claims he is "100% confident" will reach the Champions League. Not by any stretch.

Some light relief among the serious business at Goodison Park was provided by the showbiz presence of one Henry Winkler, better known as "The Fonz" and currently starring as Captain Hook in Peter Pan pantomime in Liverpool.

What he made of this domestic squabble in anybody's guess, but when it comes to "Happy Days" there were few takers on the blue half of Merseyside - and not that many on the red.

You can follow me throughout this season at http://twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me at Facebook (requires registration)


Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Nice blog-

    It's certainly interesting how Everton's form from last year has completely depleted. As a Chelsea fan, I'm not entirely sure how this has happened; surely Moyes has a similar group of players to years previous. What in particular has changed?

  • Comment number 2.

    It's tough for Everton - they are a club with a great history and who have a very good manager who will do well long term - but they are not a top 4 side, they don't have the money to spend like many other teams they compete with (not just the top 4 but Villa, Spurs, Man City, etc), and as a result they will always be prone to "tough seasons".... Moyes has spent his money probably wiser than anyone on a £ for £ basis.... Saha (when fit), Yakubu (when fit), Jagielka (when fit), etc, etc are ll good signings for the money... ok Fellaini looks a bit pricey - but that is the market.....

    any way, my point is that Moyes is and will continue to do a good job, but when a club like everton have dips in form it is normal - they aren't going to go on endless winning runs, nor are they able to carry a squad big enough and good enough to cover injuries

    Moyes has done well - as £20m+ for Lescott shows.... there is no panic, this is what happens at a club like Everton in the modern era.

  • Comment number 3.

    Not sure why Everton & Liverpool deserve their own blog entries nearly every week?

  • Comment number 4.

    This was probably the worst game of the entire sunday line-up, yet it has an article on it... does anyone care about the scouse teams anymore?

    everton = midtable mediocritie
    liverpool = europa league hopefuls

  • Comment number 5.

    3. At 07:59am on 30 Nov 2009, ChocolateBoxKid wrote:
    Not sure why Everton & Liverpool deserve their own blog entries nearly every week?

    _______________________

    Most interesting story in the Premiership this week, that's why. Pivotal time in Everton's history, and damn important for Liverpool too.

    Only other game that is worth talking about is Chelsea/Arsenal, and to be honest, everyone saw that result coming and it doesn't pose enormous questions (or new ones at least) to the futures of either club.

    Nice post, Phil, but can't help but feeling it's all been said before and we're stuck in a time warp.

    I'm a Toffee, and I worry greatly for the future of our great club, but I'm confident we'll be OK. Given our current financial status, it was somewhat inevitable that we'd lose some players/form and be in some difficulty, because we simply don't have the resources to compensate.

    Personally, I think Moyes owes the club another few years and I don't think there would be too much animosity if he took his leave because of a lack of investment when that time comes. That time's not here, though.

    Kenwright and the board need to buck up their ideas and find a way of taking the club forward, because what they're up to just now simply isn't working. The Kirby fiasco never sat comfortably with me, and even the fans not against the move didn't find any beauty in the plan - it was a cow-shed stadium flanked by a Tesco superstore.

    To be honest, I just can't understand how we can attract NO investment. I think there are financial worries behind the scenes that make us unattractive, because it's not the team, manager, fan-base or wonderful (if aged) stadium.

    Crucial few years coming up.

  • Comment number 6.

    As ever putting more pressure on those already under pressure. Can't you do a blog on a team, or player who are on top of their game? Nearly always about people's/team's failings, and as a Liverpool fan I am fully aware of ours after the past two months, and state of the obvious for Everton's. Yawn.

  • Comment number 7.

    I was looking forward to a blog on the varying fortunes of Arsenal and Chelsea this week. The Merseyside teams have had more than their fair share of coverage this season.

    Everton are at the moment an average mid-table team, granted with a lot of injuries, but there's also an overriding feeling that they've slipped back a bit with all of the Lescott business etc.

    Liverpool have joined Arsenal in making the top 4 into two separate segments, with Chelsea and Man Utd better than both of those two. Liverpool are also vulnerable to Spurs, Villa and City. Although they won at the weekend, they still look weak away from home and were fortunate with the rung of the green yesterday.

  • Comment number 8.

    Morning all.

    Did not see the derby so cant comment on it.

    As for the issue regarding the ground rejection my view would be that Everton are better off redeveloping thier existing site. This could be done piece by piece and i would have thought work out much cheaper.

    OT was redeveloped, so was the old Highbury and of course Twickenham Rugby Stadium work carried out during the playing and closed season, minor disruption to put more bottoms on seats and generate more revenue.

    As for the dip in form they have not exactly been lucky with all the injuries and respect to moyes for not banging on about it after a game.

    as for Happy Days, not a bad series.

    Other slightly off topic developments at the Gilmour's household:

    Ive decided to splash the cash and get Sky, luckly the stuff did not arrive in time for me to see Arsenal get beaten by the chavs, but will be in situ to see a full reserve Arsenal side take on a full 1st team City in the CC. As for AW's " everything went against us " I would add
    less of the excuses please at the end of the day we were beaten RVP playing or not. Title over for Arsenal ? No WAY! 11 point gap? so what.

    Up The Gunners.

  • Comment number 9.

    @I Had Swine Flu at the FA Cup Final!!!

    If you don't care then why on earth are you up at 8.20 commenting on it? Or are you a man utd 'fan' in Hong Kong?

  • Comment number 10.

    5. At 08:29am on 30 Nov 2009, PeoplesToffeeScot wrote:

    3. At 07:59am on 30 Nov 2009, ChocolateBoxKid wrote:
    Not sure why Everton & Liverpool deserve their own blog entries nearly every week?

    _______________________

    Most interesting story in the Premiership this week, that's why. Pivotal time in Everton's history, and damn important for Liverpool too.

    Only other game that is worth talking about is Chelsea/Arsenal, and to be honest, everyone saw that result coming and it doesn't pose enormous questions (or new ones at least) to the futures of either club.

    Nice post, Phil, but can't help but feeling it's all been said before and we're stuck in a time warp.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    You've contradicted yourself. How is it the most interesting story this week, but then "it's all been said before and we're stuck in a time warp."

    Arsenal and Chelsea would have been much more interesting, there's been enough blogs on Everton and Liverpool to last a lifetime.

  • Comment number 11.

    I feel really sorry for moyes
    say what you will about yesterday but the everton side just werent upto it
    problem for moyes is, who else can he play? he doesnt have any other players, and no money to improve on whats there...

  • Comment number 12.

    Disagree with the comments that Phil shouldn't be blogging on this match - definitely the most interesting story of the weekend, even if it was one of the dullest games!

    Anyway, the blog is more about Everton, who haven't had a lot of coverage and have had an eventful week, than Liverpool, whose current plight has been covered to death.

    Feel a bit sorry for Everton, but can only see them going backwards without investment. It's been said before, but I swear Moyes is just killing time until SAF steps aside and he gets the nod for the OT gig...

  • Comment number 13.

    I do feel sympathy for Moyes, but he also has to take responsibility as manager. Everton's financial situation has been well-chronicled, but for the last two seasons Moyes has been attempting to conduct transfer business in the closing seconds of the window. This is not an indicator of a well-structured policy, either from him or the club hierarchy.

    Of course chairman Bill Kenwright takes the majority of the criticism from supporters, and I do wonder what he can actually do now to take Everton forward in their current position and with no investors in sight, but Moyes should also have acted more quickly.

    I also feel, and I stated this at the time, that for all Moyes' fine principles over refusing to sell Joleon Lescott to Manchester City, it was obvious he was going to go and the deal should have been done sooner, which may have saved all those late transfer dashes around Europe after the season had started.

    I do not believe Everton will get involved in a relegation scrap, but also do not think they have any chance of repeating last season's fifth place. Those times have gone.

    Just a point to those waiting for blogs on Chelsea and Arsenal. They will be coming after games in the next seven days - but the Merseyside derby is also a huge story at any time.

  • Comment number 14.

    Didn't see the game. However what I can gather from this season is Evertons injury list ( far more serious in numbers than that of liverpool) has had a damning effect on progress. I would think with a fully fit squad they will tackle anyone.
    However Liverpool are taking huge risks now. Luckily they came up against a team devoid of belief and ability on the day. If results had gone differently for Sunderland Stoke Villa and City , Liverpool could find themselves outside the top 10. If the teams behind them get it together before Liverpool they could have their most dismal season in a while. While the league is pretty exciting this year, I am questioning the talent and type of football on show, Apart from Chelsea, possibly United, and only sometimes arsenal, there seems to be a dearth of quality and perhaps it's why the teams at the top are so close.

  • Comment number 15.

    "the Merseyside derby is also a huge story at any time."
    -------------------------------------------------------

    To Liverpool and Everton fans, I grant you. But as a football lover, who will pretty much watch any group of men kick a ball around in an organised (or slightly disorganised fashion)... I do find the Merseyside Derby to be the dullest and most overhyped Derbies.

    I don't think the passion is on a par with a host of other derby games, although I appreciate that overfamiliarity can breed contempt.

    Sorry, Emperors new clothes and all that. Sunday's game was between two dull tedious teams, played in front of what appeared to be, tired supporters who had seen it all before.

  • Comment number 16.

    There's definitely something missing for Moyes and Everton at the moment. It seems to be like a similar situation to Liverpool to be honest.

    The Lescott situation definitely effected the season before it had even begun and the togetherness of Everton - arguably one of their strongest attributes last season was missing. It doesn't help that Everton outside of football doesn't share Moyes enthusiasm for a developing future with no new stadium plans and struggling finances. Testing times indeed.

    As for Liverpool, If I was a Liverpool fan I would still be concerned at the performance yesterday. I thought they were dominated for large periods, pivotal performances were missing from their big players and they were fortunate to be playing against a team lacking a lot of confidence, especially in front of goal.

    It may kick start Liverpool's season, but Rafa seems a little TOO confident that is the case based on very little evidence.

  • Comment number 17.

    good evening Ohil. i must point out that out of the signings moyes has made, heitinga currently looks the most assured and I think he will turn out to be a fine plyer for everton, he has all the attributes for the premiership. His versatility will also prove to be invaluable, and I see him making the right back jersey his own in time.

    Bilyaletdininov has undoubted talent, of which we will only see glimpses this season, as it will take him time to adjust to the england game, just as Arteta and Pienaar had to do. Russia not qualifying for the world cup will be a blessing for everton as it will give Billaletdininov a full summer to assert himself amongst the squad.

    Yob for me is the biggest let down just now, he has completely lost his way, and I feel this has hindered Distin in a way, I hate to say it but perhaps when Jagielka is match fit, and back into the swing of things, he must replace yobo. Unfortunately this will be for some time yet.

    As you stated, Fellaini produced his best and most energetic performance for a long while against Liverpool. He actually broke into a sprint at one point. He was aggressive in the right way, robust and kept the ball well. I would like to allude to his Interview which I saw in the Liverpool Echo last week with Fellaini. He stated how he was predominantly a holding midfielder for Liege, and although his aerial ability makes him an attacking threat, i believe this will be his best position, and I would like to see him play deeper and hold for everton, giving more freedom to the likes of Pienaar, Bilyatletdininov, Cahill and Arteta when he returns.

    I can take heart from this performance, I hope Moyes can too...as we really would be in limbo if we lost him

  • Comment number 18.

    To jaydrawmer...agree the Lescott saga had a very bad effect on Everton. And sadly for them it carried on into the start of the season when he played in the 6-1 home defeat to Arsenal on the opening day.

    How can Moyes rebuild that spirit and is it more than simply a question of getting injured players back? The platform is all yours.

    Moyes has made it clear there will be no big-money deals in January. He has no money. Loans only and there is no chance of getting big names in at Everton on temporary deals during that brief period.

    Happy to discuss Liverpool as well - but the main thrust of the blog is obviously the situation at Everton.

  • Comment number 19.

    Re. 14.
    "Evertons injury list ( far more serious in numbers than that of liverpool)"

    - How do you work that one out? I'd argue that Liverpool have had more of their first team missing for longer than any one else this season...!

    "If results had gone differently for Sunderland Stoke Villa and City , Liverpool could find themselves outside the top 10."

    - What an idiotic thing to say. Yes, and if results had gone differently for Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal and Spurs, Liverppol could be top of the league!!

    Typical clueless, part-time football fan who hears a few lazy journalists and pundits and thinks that gives them the vaguest clue what they're talking about...

  • Comment number 20.

    As a Blue, disappointment is still high, however, I think the biggest thing to come out of this game is not about either Everton or Liverpool. It is the dawning of a new era in the Premiership. I agree that this game to those outside of the City (so most of LFC's fanbase, sorry couldn't resist) don't care about the Merseyside Derby. Unfortunately the reasons are obvious, one team with no money no new ground and players lacking guile, craft or passion, and Everton were almost as bad. The future is with Spurs, City and Villa because of the cash injections they have. It must be galling for Moyes to look at Spurs and think "if only" I think with Rednap's money his team would have been much closer than Spurs are to Chelski and much further away from 5th. The same can be said about the other two teams and I think that Liverpool are in serious danger of being outside the Sky four for this and maybe the next few seasons. For Liverpool one or two seasons outside CL places will be a disaster and for Everton I think 8th is the best they can achieve without money. The Europa league and FA cup are realistically Evertons only chances of Europe for next year and on Wednesday we will see which team turns up.
    I hope that the "sky 4" monopoly is broken forever this season, and I hope that Moyes stays long enough for CL football again at Everton, but I (like a lot of Evertonians) am not convinced Kenwright will be able to deliver.

  • Comment number 21.

    TorbenPiechnick - Liverpools injury list has mainly consisted of Torres & Gerrard plus a few more missing for the odd couple of games (ok maybe this led to 7 or 8 missing for 1 or 2 games)

    Everton still have Jagielka, Arteta, Vaughan & Anichebe out injured (they have been missing since the end of last season), Neville & Osman are missing and have been for the last couple of months, Pienaar is only just back and Yakubu is still recovering from an injury that kept him out for most of last season, and Rodwell is now injured as well. At one point this season we could field a pretty decent 1st XI form players who were injured.

    the problem with Everton's injury list is not that its extensive (which it is), but that it is also full of players with serious injuries who are all out for months rather than weeks.
    Given that, I find it quite encouraging that in post match interviews David Moyes, when asked, says that injuries aren't an excuse as the players who are on the pitch are good enough - maybe a few managers could take note - Mr Benitez!)
    As an Everton supporter I was encouraged yesterday, as with a nearly 1st choice midfield we looked like we had potential and created a number of decent chances in the game, this has been lacking over recent weeks due to having to play too many defesive midfield players but with the return of Pienaar and Bily, it allowed Cahill & Fellaini to play in the more natural positions (Cahill has spent most of the season on the wing due to lack of options) and we looked ok. We won't lose to many games if we play like that every week - just a shame Saha wasn't fit enough to start as he has been deadly in front of goal this season

  • Comment number 22.

    3. At 07:59am on 30 Nov 2009, ChocolateBoxKid wrote:
    Not sure why Everton & Liverpool deserve their own blog entries nearly every week?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You are avin a laugh..! As an Everton fan for once its nice to have some attention..ok it not the best but for once someones writing about us.. normally I have to sit through hours of match of the day to hear how wonderful manu, chelsea and arsenal are and the only mention we will ever get is that they played these teams.. its nice someone recognises that there are more teams than the traditional top 4.. 99% of suporters in the UK dont support these teams but we spend hours talking about them..its good to hear about other teams for a change.. In Everons case we havent had much luck, with injuries etc, lack of money etc but we keep going , working hard.. Its interesting Liverpool have lost torres, Alonso and Gerrard for a bit and their sudenly poor, only 3 players...everton if you took the top 11 players must have lost 7 or 8 this season..Im not making excuses, its just an interesting fact.

    I just hope that someone comes in with a bit of money to stabalise the club..im not looking for a man city billionaire though that would be nice, because I actually like the fact everton work for the right to be where they are (when there). Unlike some clubs who buy their way up.. Villa and spurs deserve to be where they are as they have some money and work for it.. this is what I want to see from everton.. some investment to allow quality players in but not so much that you instantly think you deserve to be top.

    just hope we can ride out this bad patch and progress with some investment etc to help the club in the future...

  • Comment number 23.

    Will probably be shot at for bringing up Liverpool by many on the blog "as we have been covered so much over the course of the season", but anyway here it goes....

    Just read an interesting article from a Gooner saying that Liverpool's season is resembling that of Arsenal's last season and that many of the fans who were asking for Wenger's head have now looked back thinking how it was ridiculous to be doing so.

    I just hope that this time next year, when Lucas and Ngog have had the benefit of a season of playing games and Aquilani finally gets to play some football, many of our fans asking for Rafa's head will have realized how wrong they were. Similar to how Bendtenr and Song were treated las year... look at them now. Song especially has become a pivotal player for the Gooners. A la Viera.

    However bad our season, it is still not going to end up as bad as everyone is making it out to be. We will finish in the top four, we will get a good run in the Europa cup and we might very well end the season with some silver ware. We are turning a corner and it's not because we just got one win, albeit a lucky one against Everton, but finally because we are getting most of our squad back to fitness and bad luck can not run on forever.

    We have to look at Benitez's tenure in the the past 4 years and not the past 4 months. He has an outstanding record and no one can take that away from him.... Fact.

  • Comment number 24.

    "...fifth place in the Premier League and an FA Cup Final appearance last season is now looking increasingly like the peak of the Moyes era."

    For goodness' sake Phil, you make it sound as if Moyes is about to be fired!

    Everton have a small squad and key members of it have been injured at various points this season; of course this will affect their form

  • Comment number 25.

    As for Liverpool, If I was a Liverpool fan I would still be concerned at the performance yesterday. I thought they were dominated for large periods, pivotal performances were missing from their big players and they were fortunate to be playing against a team lacking a lot of confidence, especially in front of goal.

    It may kick start Liverpool's season, but Rafa seems a little TOO confident that is the case based on very little evidence.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I would agree (as a LFC fan) that this could be the perfect stepping stone to get our season back on track. I am very dissapointed with how the season has started but I think more confidence and a morale boost can be gained from getting a victory that was not really deserved, from grinding out a result. This I think is better from morale than just edging play and winning.

    Just another thought

    Liverpool without Torres = Arsenal without Van Persie??

  • Comment number 26.

    Morning all,

    I have to say i was a little surprised over the subjet of this blog, as it does seem you're talking about Liverpool every week. Fair enough this was more Everton-based, but considering the other derbies on display you could have opened it up to speak about all 3 (or 4 - i dare say as many people watched El Classico as our match).

    I too feel sorry for Moyes, and think Phil might've have been a little harsh re: transfer dealings. I'm pretty sure i've heard Moyes talking about getting his transfer dealings done as early as poss for the last 3 seasons, but the reality is that's only easy when you can pay over the odds, like they do in Manchester. The Lescott situation would have been as big a blow as we had with Xabi. In both cases the manager didn't want to sell, and therefore had to alter his original plans.

    Regarding the club as a whole, the season after they came 4th they did badly and everyone said Moyes had peaked, but he's come back stronger and i think he can again. For a team like Everton to have 3 of their best 4 players out for a considerable time (Arteta Jagielka & Saha - Howard being the other) will have a bigger effect than most teams because of their lack of depth, but i expect them to challenge for Europe again based on a strong 2nd half.

    Right, now onto the Others. I agree the Arsenal/Chelsea result was predictable once Chelsea took the lead, and it again leaves unanswered questions about the mental strength of Arsenal. How long can they be young and inexperienced before they have to start taking responsobility? 2 years? 3 years? Chelsea are playing like champions and i think they'll still have at least a 4 point lead going into the ANC.

    As for Birmingham/Wolves, there was more evidence that Birmingham are turning into a good Prem team. They were able to control the game & the atmosphere at the home of one of their biggest rivals and have got Lee Bowyer playing again, which is no mean feat. I'd like to swap them for Wolves in my relegation prediction, meaning the 3 will be:

    Wolves
    Hull (on a resurgence but i think it may be temporary)
    Burnley (more likely to start dropping points at home than start picking them up away)

  • Comment number 27.

    Oh yeah, and fair play to No.20 for getting to so many games from Moscow. Are you a pilot?

  • Comment number 28.

    Phil - Although I'm not an Everton fan, I do take great interest in all clubs and their goings on.

    Further to what I said originally, I believe it is a tough part of the season for Moyes. He has to pick himself up before he picks his players up. The news of no new stadium, no funds and no investment in the club must have been a real blow to Moyes who must have been starting to believe he was REALLY taking the club forward. It's going to be a big test for him!

    He's clearly capable of producing the goods and getting the best out of his players - and drawing from the performance against Liverpool, there isn't a WHOLE lot going wrong.

    They didn't look particularly fragile at the back, were pretty solid in midfield (except Heitinga who seemed to struggle with the pace of the game) and were producing good chances. Clearly, the problem was confidence in front of goal. If Bilyaletdinov had shown more composure in his two chances earlier on I believe the game would have been very different. As long as Moyes doesn't take this performance too much to heart and can maintain the work rate they will be ok.

    The problem is with all the behind the scenes problems, Everton look set for another few years of mediocrity.

  • Comment number 29.

    19. At 09:50am on 30 Nov 2009, TorbenPiechnick wrote:
    Nice one, so whats your view? Oh wait all you do is sit in the school of journalism and fail to understand correctly what anyone writes, then criticise it... Cool. Next time your missus throws you out of bed without any nookie go moan elsewhere. If you looked at the league the 4 teams I mentioned had a chance of leapfrogging liverpool this weekend. Liverpool are lucky in the extreme. Whereas if the teams you quoted all lost Liverpool would still be where they are. And you have the cheek to say I write idiotic things... Of Course you are correct Torres and Gerrard are more than half of Liverpools first team how crazy of me not to know that.

  • Comment number 30.

    To moscowblue...interesting thoughts those. Do other fans of Everton and Liverpool feel the Premier League is moving on and leaving them behind? A sobering thought, for Liverpool even more than Everton I would suggest.

    To flenderson...not suggesting for one second Moyes is about to be fired, but I would like to ask you and other Everton fans this question - and try not to let your heart rule your head.

    Do you think Everton will do better than fifth in the league and reach an FA Cup Final with the club in its current footballing and financial position? I don't - which means last season represents the peak of the Moyes era unless something changes.

  • Comment number 31.

    re 15 chocolatebox kid
    Iam assuming that you really are a kid because the merseyside derby is the original derby (ask your history teacher about Lord Derby of Liverpool )So when you see your team playing a "derby" you wouldnt have had it with out Everton and Liverpool, it gets the hype because its the biggest most passionate derby in world obviously if neither are your team its just a match the same as when your team play their local rivals.As for dull the fixture has had 17 red cards and god knows how many goals grow up kid

  • Comment number 32.

    25. At 10:13am on 30 Nov 2009, Doogle7691 wrote:

    I would agree (as a LFC fan) that this could be the perfect stepping stone to get our season back on track. I am very dissapointed with how the season has started but I think more confidence and a morale boost can be gained from getting a victory that was not really deserved, from grinding out a result. This I think is better from morale than just edging play and winning.

    Just another thought

    Liverpool without Torres = Arsenal without Van Persie??

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, this COULD be the kick-start Liverpool need, but my point is that Rafa seems OVER-confident that it will. There can be no guarantee that uninspiring victories against Everton and Debrecan will kick things off. There was still no real quality and there's only so much confidence that can be gained from performances like these.

    Blackburn will be physical but again, won't really pose a real threat. It's Liverpool v Arsenal which will provide good evidence about the immediate future of both teams.

  • Comment number 33.

    16. At 09:01am on 20 Aug 2009, TorbenPiechnick wrote:
    So on the early indicators of this new season is seems that...

    Liverpool > Stoke
    Stoke > Burnley
    Burnley > Man Utd

    He he he.

    Haven't seen anything so far to convince me against my pre-season predictions that united will be aiming for 3rd place come February.

    With Utd having weakened, Liverppol and Chelsea more or less stayed the same, Arsenal's young squad 'coming of age' and teams like Spurs and Man City having significantly strengthened their teams, looks like being the most wide open and interesting season in years...
    ---------------------------------------------------
    This is the funniest thing I have read in ages ;-)

  • Comment number 34.

    32. At 10:27am on 30 Nov 2009, jaydrawmer wrote:
    25. At 10:13am on 30 Nov 2009, Doogle7691 wrote:

    I would agree (as a LFC fan) that this could be the perfect stepping stone to get our season back on track. I am very dissapointed with how the season has started but I think more confidence and a morale boost can be gained from getting a victory that was not really deserved, from grinding out a result. This I think is better from morale than just edging play and winning.

    Just another thought

    Liverpool without Torres = Arsenal without Van Persie??

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, this COULD be the kick-start Liverpool need, but my point is that Rafa seems OVER-confident that it will. There can be no guarantee that uninspiring victories against Everton and Debrecan will kick things off. There was still no real quality and there's only so much confidence that can be gained from performances like these.

    Blackburn will be physical but again, won't really pose a real threat. It's Liverpool v Arsenal which will provide good evidence about the immediate future of both teams.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fully agree, I also think its time that Benitez plays Aquilani at least to give him half an hour to get some football.

    Although he is still untried in the premier league, he has more creativity in his right ear than Lucas.

  • Comment number 35.

    Kickstart? More like the deaththroes..

  • Comment number 36.

    23. At 10:12am on 30 Nov 2009, Haythnasr wrote:

    I just hope that this time next year, when Lucas and Ngog have had the benefit of a season of playing games and Aquilani finally gets to play some football, many of our fans asking for Rafa's head will have realized how wrong they were.
    =========================================================================

    Perhaps you should think about how wrong YOU are! Lucas Leiva signed for £6M (and rising) in 2007!

    He has had 2 full seasons playing for Liverpool. Let's put that into perspective...it's longer than Stan Collymore and Gary McAllister had playing for you.

    The fans feel he has been given enough time...and is still not producing, there are no real signs of improvement. He was terrible against everton yesterday. Yes he took a flailing elbow and a fe knocks, but can you imagine Gerrard taking that stick and meakly following the referee around looking for players to be booked - no, he would have rolled up his sleeves and gave as good as he got.

    I suppose the frustration lies when you sell a player like Danny Murphy for buttons, and bring in a foreign unproven replacement for big money - and they perform worse!

  • Comment number 37.

    I know it's ostensibly an Everton blog but can I ask any Liverpool fans out there...what has Alberto Aquilani got to do to get on the pitch and play for Liverpool Football Club?

  • Comment number 38.

    Re 29 - oh i see... so what you're saying is, that if, what, 5 results had gone differently this weekend, then liverpool could be in 10th?!

    Yes, well you could just as easlily say that if 5 other results had gone differently this season, Liverpool could be top of the table or Pompey could be 7th!! It's still an idiotic argument.

    Re. 33 - anyone with half a brain could see that this was a joke after the 3rd game of the season. Do you really think I was suggesting that Burnely were going to finish above ManU?!? As regards the other points, still reckon Man U are looking weak and that this is one of the widest open seasons in years - perhaps not in terms of Chelsea looking shoe-ins for top spot, but the other 6 teams vying for the other 3 champs league places.

    Anyway, how long did it take you to find a post i made, like, 3 and a half months ago?!? Jeez - must have got you really rattled...!

  • Comment number 39.

    Mr McNulty, I know you get a lot of stick from Liverpool fans, and much of it is unfair, but you seriously deserve it now...so I will give it.

    The difference in tune from this blog and your last about Benitez is scandalous. Sadly these days journalism isn't about reporting the news, but creating it (when it suits those doing the reporting!!!). A few people have alluded to the fact that the scouse teams have been blogged to death, but that is simply not true. For those that have missed it, Mr McNulty has joined a bandwagon of "reporters" in a continuous witch-hunt of Benitez ever since he put him on the pedastal of pre-season favourite for the title - Everton have barely had a mention.

    The fact is that the hordes of Bluenoses coming out the ground were thinking "Everton had demonstrated enough to suggest they will not linger in the lower reaches" because they, like most fans in this part of the country, know a bit about a football. They know they have a good manager who's team are going through a rough patch. They know the team has crucial injuries, they don't have the resources to "guarantee" (if that's even possible) a continuous high position year-in-year-out, but they know if they stick with a class manager they'll pull through - and there's always next season!

    This is the same over at Liverpool. We know we're not doing as well as could be, injuries have affected us etc, but we, like the Evertonions, and the Gooners, and unlike the Geordies, know, for the most part, a decent manager when we see one.

    Because, lets face it Mr McNulty, had the roles been reversed, and you were a Liverpool fan on a Moyes witch-hunt - the way you've been after Benitez these last few weeks - this is what your blog would have read like:

    "Moyes' long-ball tactics sparked memories of Wimbldon as they desperately launched waves of aerial attacks alarmingly lacking in ideas, quality or penetration. This damning defeat comes after weeks of embarrassing football, in fact its hard to pick out the low point - the humiliating loss to Benfica or the gaulling reverse at relegation strugglers Hull. The lack of squad depth is embarrasing given Moyes' time in the job, even on a shoestring budget surely a few more youth propsects should be coming through the ranks by now to fill those gaps, but the kids who make it look hopelessly out of their depth in Europe, and dare I say it - the Premier League. This result was not a surprise but the expected culmination of poor management and a complete lack of tactical awareness which must leave the fans desperate for change. Moyes can surely no longer blame the lack of funds, or injuries to a squad that is his alone, and the chairman must be looking at his options..blah, blah, blah".

    Before I get slated, that is ironic, I genuinely believe Moyes is an excellent manager (as is Benitez) and full respect to what he has acheived. Also, before it comes, Liverpool are lagging behind teams who spend money on a par with them (Man U, Tottenham - albeit only 3 points behind the latter) and Chelsea, and now ahead of Man City. Everton are lagging behind Blackburn, Fulham and ahead of West Ham. We hope to be up there with Man U and Chelsea as Everton hope to be able to compete with Blackburn, Fulham etc. The fact is that both are going through a dip. As a Liverpool fan who beleives Rafa is the right man for the job, I find it annoying (although unsurprising given Mr McNulty's Blue support and lack of integrity) that his witch-hunts only go after his fierce rivals.

    Mr McNulty, you are supposed to be a reporter, now report on our matches or simply leave the red halve of Liverpool alone.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 40.

    Regarding injuries, yes Everton have had players out for longer, but you could argue that having players out for a long time gives those behind a chance to stake their claims for the team.
    I think Sunday was the 1st time i can remember we've named an unchanged back 4 this season, which has got to have a detrimental effect on our ability to build partnerships, which is crucial in defence. In reality neither of us have the squad to take as many injuries as we have and still perform, although from Liverpool that is what's expected.

    There have been a few times this season where a good result has looked to kickstart our season, only to crumble badly, and i'm not overly confident based on Sunday's display. Both Kuyt & Gerrard have looked off the pace in the last 2 games, which is not helping David Ngog find his feet.

    That said, if we can go to Blackburn with Yossi & Torres in the starting line-up, and maybe Aquilani too, i might change my mind.

    PS Haythnasr, the Arsenal trend goes back even further....

    2005 - Arsenal win FA Cup
    2006 - Liverpool win FA Cup
    2006 - Arsenal beaten in Champions league final
    2007 - Liverpool Beaten in Champions League final
    2007 - Arsenal tread water & finish 4th
    2008 - Liverpool tread water & finish 4th
    2008 - Arsenal blow lead & are Caught for the title
    2009 - Liverpool Blow lead & are caught for the title
    2009 - Arsenal sell key midfielders & struggle after a poor start
    2010 - ........?

  • Comment number 41.

    Phil. Ask Rafa why. Everyone else is screaming for him to play.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Phil,

    Good blog as always, and although many football fans will disagree; this is the biggest issue in the game at the moment.

    Personally I thought there was no way that Liverpool deserved to win yesterday; Steven Gerrard was non-existent and had it not been for Jose Reina it could potentially have been a great day for Moyes.

    He has been unfortunate in that he has been unable to take the club forward. But my point would be that he knew this was the case when he took over - there was no money then and there is no money now. The club has handled business badly in the period he has been there. When you have no money you have to become clever with the strategy that you use and I fear Everton have been reduced to impulse buying rather than getting the most value.

    It is a worrying time for many football clubs as the world is debt-ridden and this makes it hard to compete in a league fuelled by big bucks. Take Rafa Benitez - his transfer dealings have been questioned endlessly, and correctly. If David Moyes had been given the same budget he may have been able to plan his ascent in some way, however, he has not had the same good fortune.

  • Comment number 43.

    It does seem like Benitez's comments at the moment are more designed to a) convince himself and b) convince the money lenders that things are going to be OK.

    The first thing he did when they were knocked out of the cash cow that is the Champions League is try and assure everyone they would certainly be back in it again next year - this is by no means a guarantee, and is actually quite disrespectful to the other teams vying.

    Was this to stop the money men getting jittery and asking Liverpool to start reducing their debt? I also thought it was odd that Purslow came on straight after the defeat to reassure everyone that it was business as usual and Rafa was safe.

    It will be interesting to see if a club comes in with a large bid for Torres in the transfer window to see how strong Liverpool's resistance is.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am a Liverpool fan through and through and was at the game yesterday, can I just say to all you true Evertonians you definitely 100% were the better team yesterday (not that I need to tell you that) we had to defend for our lives and after recent months the way our defence have been leaking in goals I am astonished we stopped you scoring, yes you did put two past us but they were both offside. I know us Liverpool and Everton fans have alot of rivalry between us but I personally dont like to see once a great club be in the position you are in at the moment, after all we have families who are mixed Red and Blue mine being one of them as my dad is a Blue and I hate to see him so down. I really do hope you can turn it round, im sure you will. Injuries unfortunately happen to every team Liverpool have had more than enough players out and unlike other teams ie chelsea, arsenal who have strong players sitting on the bench both Liverpool and Everton dont have good enough players to fill the boots of 1st team players ie Gerrard, Torres, Arteta to name a few.

    I am obviously thrilled Liverpool won yesterday as its points we need at the moment not performances but cannot wait till were playing more attractive football, more attacking football. Really upset with Stevie yesterday, couldnt believe the amount of times he give the ball away, hopefully yesterday will put alot of confidence back into the team then the confidence will come back into the fans, need to stick together

  • Comment number 45.

    I just don't get why Aquilani has yet to kick a ball in the league. He was fit enough to come on in the League cup. ?????? If he isn't match fit then why doesn't he get 10 mins after going 2 nil up. Rafa used to be a good manager but his man managing and stubbornness will cost liverpool for many years to come. The bloke baffles me, I can't remember the last time the tactical genius did anything remotely genius

  • Comment number 46.

    I think its a bit much to say the Jury is out on the new signings.

    It is very much the performances of 'Old' Everton players.

    I think Distin has been solid really but Yobo as usual has been nervous, and erratic.
    And Heitinga has been solid too, filling a void left by Phil Neville.
    Bily has a few assists, and as with most Flair players needs time to bed in.

    Its players Like Jo, who is just Terrible, and as Much as I hate to say it Cahill has not been on form at all this season, but you can forgive it because of what he has done.

    And in a Injury free squad, he could maybe be rested once in a while.

    Basically the injuries are crippling, but what is worse is players like Yobo, Jo and Tony HIBBERT! are just not good enough.

    Thats a sad fact, but the worse thing is all this Talk, fuelled by people like Phil - what am I on about? - McNulty push and push the Moyes out theory.
    Either he's not good enough for some fans, or he's hit a glass ceiling to so called experts.

    If Moyes leaves that will be the end of all that development, and That is that

  • Comment number 47.

    I am writing this not as fan of either Everton or Liverpool, but more as someone who sees football disappearing into an ever more tedious mess of predictability.

    Rather than look at this from the point of view of Everton needing more money, I think this should be examined from a different perspective.

    It is no longer possible for clubs like Norwich, QPR, Derby and Forest to have a hope of winning the top division or challenging for a top spot. The last club to win the league not having splashed out more money than everyone else was Leeds in 1992 and that's not going to happen again. Much as it was refreshing to see Blackburn win it, they did it by spending a load of money.

    No, the issue now is that is impossible to win the league unless you are an established top-four Champions' League club or have an ultra-rich Arab or Russian throwing around money like it's confetti at a celebrity wedding.

    So, rather than believe Everton also need to spend utterly obscene amounts of money to bring up the next generation of spoiled, pouting brats to swagger like petulant park princes and abuse referees as if it's a normal thing to do, there should be a cap on the amount of money teams are allowed to spend in a year. Rather like the F1 teams are trying to implement.

    It would be so good to see teams once again have the chance of coming from the second tier of football and taking the top tier by storm. So good to see of the smaller towns or cities have a shot at finishing top four. Even the FA cup, with the rare exception of Portsmouth v Cardiff recently has become a predictable Champions' League team playground.

    Once a club has reached its allotted spend, any prize money, Champions' League money etc should go into the pot and be divided into the other teams round the country.

    Since the Champions' League was founded and money pours into the same clubs year in year out it has got even more boring than since the Premier league started its march towards giving English football the same dull predictability of the Old Firm duopoly.

  • Comment number 48.

    A win in any shape or form will boost confidence. That's two on the trot and now the preferred pairing of Carragher and Agger is in place and will be the foundation laid for Liverpool to progress this season.
    Despite the terrible season Liverpool have had, we find ourselves in 5th place and still in touch with everyone up to 2nd. (Its Chelsea's year, as I predicted).

    I do sympathise with Evertonians. Their season has been decimated by injuries to key players and have also had to replace Lescott who moved to manchester, presumably for the weather. Its difficult to see them making any inroads on qualifying for European competition again this season and there is the spectre of being drawn inexorably into a relegation dog fight should the Christmas and New Year campaign go badly. Kenwright has a job on his hands to find suitable investors, but the biggest struggle is for Moyes who is having to replace people such as Lescott with players who I'm afraid are from the bargain basement.

  • Comment number 49.

    Moyes' record signing Marouane Fellaini showed long-overdue signs of life in patches against Liverpool, while the extra dimension Pienaar adds to Everton's game was obvious in every composed contribution and the sleight of foot that is his trademark.

    Does no-one else notice the number of filthy players Everton have? Fellaini is adding to a list that starts with Neville and Cahill (who should have been sent off yesterday, along with Fellaini) and includes pretty much everyone apart from Arteta. Everton are the new Bolton, but dirtier and with more excuses. Even with everyone fit they'd still be route one, foul following cynical foul.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    In response to Phil's question about whether the Moyes era has reached its peak. In my opinion this should have been obvious last season when they finished 5th and got to the cup final. They were punching above their weight basically. Moyes has worked wonders with Everton to get them where they are now compared to where they were when he took over.

    When he was being interviewed prior to the cup final he kept saying that the club was really going places, that this cup final would be the first of many, etc, but I didn't share that confidence. Unless things were going to change in a big way off the park then I found it difficult to see how they were going to be able to improve further. Man City and Spurs were spending in a big way as were a fair few others of Everton's direct competitors and unless Everton could match that ambition(Man City excepted) then they were bound to fall behind. I thought signings made in the summer would be the telling factor and once again it was a major disappointment. When the transfer deadline passed I lost hope for the season to be honest, I couldn't see how they could improve on last season.

    I have nothing but admiration and respect for Moyes, I think it would be a disaster if he left Everton. That's not to say he might not have some failings. He maybe leaves it a little late with his transfer dealings(although in the main his signings have been inspired). I also think his style maybe suits a club in the position of Everton right now where they have to battle and punch above their weight. However I have to say that although at times Everton can look dreadful(eg against Hull) at other times Moyes has them playing wonderful entertaining football.

    So I agree with Phil that I can't see Everton improving on last season without big changes off the park. And I can't see those big changes happening any time soon. I'm not too sure why there has been so much difficulty finding investment for the club. Is the lack of a top-notch stadium such an important factor? I would put Everton as potentially in the top 5 or 6 clubs in England in terms of their base support. They are at least on a par with Spurs and bigger than Villa but that's just my opinion.

    So it would be a shame then if Moyes left because I think an Everton with decent investment would be able to match all his ambitions no problem. That time when Everton have that investment will come at some point but probably after the Moyes era. I think if any big club comes in for Moyes right now then he will be off. I reckon also if it was a team like Spurs/Villa/Newcastle that had major investment then he would probably go as well. I think Moyes knows he can't take the club any further at the moment. He is very ambitious as he has always said and he may be looking for a new challenge. Even Celtic/Rangers may tempt him although they are hardly in great shape either.

    It's a painful situation and I think Liverpool City Council themselves have a lot to answer for in terms of supporting Everton's need for a new stadium. It seems to me that Liverpool FC are favoured and I think it's a disgrace that LCC should be disrespecting Everton like this who have a huge fanbase in the city and tremendous history.

  • Comment number 52.

    DiBosco

    That's an interesting argument/suggestion. I would also like to see a transfer cap and budget cap. But this will not happen as football is run by business men and not football fans. Having a cap would limit the amount of top quality players in the EPL which would mean TV ratings and fan support from abroad would go down, resulting in lost revenue for those business men. Plus we would fall behind Seria A and La Liga.

    Like your example with F1, too much money and figures like Bernie will stop any sence actualy reaching these sports, which essentialy have gotten to big.

  • Comment number 53.

    39. At 10:59am on 30 Nov 2009, JPLegend wrote:
    "This result was not a surprise but the expected culmination of poor management and a complete lack of tactical awareness which must leave the fans desperate for change. Moyes can surely no longer blame the lack of funds, or injuries to a squad that is his alone, and the chairman must be looking at his options..blah, blah, blah"
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I didn't know Moyes coached Liverpool...

  • Comment number 54.

    49. At 11:57am on 30 Nov 2009, captainlazytim wrote:
    Moyes' record signing Marouane Fellaini showed long-overdue signs of life in patches against Liverpool, while the extra dimension Pienaar adds to Everton's game was obvious in every composed contribution and the sleight of foot that is his trademark.

    Does no-one else notice the number of filthy players Everton have? Fellaini is adding to a list that starts with Neville and Cahill (who should have been sent off yesterday, along with Fellaini) and includes pretty much everyone apart from Arteta. Everton are the new Bolton, but dirtier and with more excuses. Even with everyone fit they'd still be route one, foul following cynical foul.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yep agree, Fellaini on Lucas was a disgrace. I would sometimes like to do that to Lucas as well mind....

    He also's enjoys pushing in the chest around set pieces, I can't believe he stayed on the pitch.

    Heitinga as well made perhaps 2 or 3 bookable offences in the opening 30 mins and didn't get a sniff of the yellow card.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hi Phil,

    Interesting Blog. I thought Everton deserved to get something from the game yesterday, they didn't get the luck. If they continue to play with the same spirit and get over what surely must be worst injury crisis in premier league history, then I can see them making move's up the table. Maybe they won't challenge for fifth spot this season but they can get into the top eight. Watching the debate here between the Everton and Liverpool supporters, it strikes me how much in the same boat both clubs are at the moment. I wonder where would Everton be now if David Moyes had anything like the money that Benitez has had to spend. Everton fans may not like me saying this but I think Liverpool should look very closely at Moyes for the new manager's post. It would be an interesting move. Anyone know if there's any precedent for manager's moving to their arch rival's?

  • Comment number 56.

    The result for Liverpool yesterday mattered far more than the performance. This seemed almost like a back to basics performance and the clean sheet was absolutely vital. Everton are a formidable team in the air and Liverpool managed to hold out against set pieces, so often their downfall this season.

    As for Alberto Aquilani's constant bench status, surely the next fixture is the time for his first start. I can understand Benitez's reluctance to play him in the derby where things can boil over at any given point, but it surely would've been helpful for him to get at least half an hour against Debrecen. I think all Liverpool fans will agree though, that it is better to be overly cautious with an injury prone player, than to rush him in only to find him back on the sidelines.

  • Comment number 57.

    Doogle - it's a trend, i really don't rate Moyes at all, and feel sorry for Arteta.

    How do Cahill and Fellaini get away with it? Small club favouritism?

  • Comment number 58.

    In response to captainlazytim

    I don't think Everton are a dirty side - they have players like Neville, Cahill and Fellani all willing to put themselves in a tackle to win the ball and get their team moving. To tag them as the new Bolton is a discredit to the football they play as Everton really got at Liverpool yesterday and played some nice stuff in the second half against Hull.

    Everton are simply a tall muscular side not scared of the physicality of the Premier League. Look at how well a fragile Arsenal side came out against a well-muscled Chelsea yesterday. It was a mismatch. There was an edge to Arsenal on the technical skill side but overall a team has to have more than that and that is why Everton will not be in the bottom half for long. I predict 9th for them this season.



  • Comment number 59.

    Such a shame English football fans don't appear to be good sportsmen these days and appreciate the great diversity we have in the English game of football.. Too many partisan viewsm and opinions which are biased to the extreme and for what? Because you support a different team so you jump on the bandwaggon and kick another team when they're down or experiencing problems both on and off the pitch.

    Everton have every right to be in the Premier League. As a founding member of the Football League and the Premier League they have done everything which has been expected of them as an opponent against other teams year in and year out. You win some and lose some that's the nature of the game. We live in a period now where money or the lack of it has tipped the ballance and altered the heirarchy of pre-exisiting status as clubs. Some clubs have attracted sickening amounts of wealth which obviously propells them to great heights of purchasing power, new ground development, better foriegn players and club investment. But not all clubs have been so lucky or experienced the same levels of investment for whatever reason.

    Everton are one of these clubs who have unfortunately been left behind for whatever reasons. Poor administration and failure to capitalise on what strengths as a club they do possess.. As time moves on these deficiences increase and become more glaring.

    Everton have a strict wage policy and are unable to stretch beyond this ceiling and as a consequence other clubs can and do offer higher saleries to players who grow and develop into improved quality players playingfor Everton and as a consequence some of Everton's better players are vulnerable to being targetted by those clubs with more money such as Manchester United and Manchester City, for example.. Sure the money from players such as Rooney and Lescott is good business but the club doesn't replace those quality players overnight and it takes a couple of seasons for any replacements to gell and fit it..

    The problem with Sunday's derby was obvious for all to see. The lack of sharpness is scoring goals by the strikers and midfield, whether this be nervousness or lack of fitness who can say but the other serious problem lies with the two central defenders Distin and Yobo.. I would suggest Yobo has lost his coinfidence and not only is this affecting his perfomances but is also costing Everton games and this needs to be nipped in the bud. He needs to be replaced as quick as possible in my view..

    Whether investment comes in the near future for Everton football club nobody can can say. David Moyes has performed miracles with the budgets he's given year in year out and he's also done great acquiring players from lower leagues and abroad and got them performing to the best of their abilities and Everton has tasted some success with these methods. But when a team experiences a horde of injuries which decimates 50 per cent of the first squad any team in the Premier League's form will suffer..

    Everton will bounce back from their current plight, whether this will be turned around during the latter half of this season or the beginning of next season, and will battle for more success..

    The current plight experienced at Everton is temporary and mainly bad luck... It could happen to any team..

    David Moyes is the man to turn it around and being an Everton supporter I have every faith in him..

    Everton are a club with a history which goes all the way back to the forming of the Football League, the club knows it, the fans know it and so does everybody else..

    Despite what rival fans think of Everton the Premier League wouldn't be the same without them and personally, I don't see that happening.. A temporary blip borne out of injuries and bad luck with plans and investment and lack of cash but as a football club Everton will overcome it - they always have and always will..

  • Comment number 60.

    Phil

    With regard to Aquilani, he will play regularly when fit.

    I believe he would have started last Tuesday but for the state of the pitch. Don't think realistically he would have started yesterday anyway, full league debut away against the local rivals. Was surprised he didn't come on for a run out at 2 nil up, although I imagine Rafa wanted to keep it tight, and give Stevie a few more minutes under his belt.

    The problem has been a lot of the attacking players have picked up injuries that have kept them out for a few games here and there. Apart from Kuyt, who looks in need of a rest, the players occupying the other 3 attacking positions are all looking to get fully match fit. I think Benitez is worried about throwing Aquilani in with a lot of other 'undercooked' players.

  • Comment number 61.

    " there should be a cap on the amount of money teams are allowed to spend in a year "

    Not a bad idea i would go further and scrap the january sales windows as well. All transfers should be negotiated in the closed seasons. You then play out the campaign with what you have as a squad.

  • Comment number 62.

    To maddog963. Excellent post - although it does appear poor old captainlazytim has got out of the wrong side of bed this morning. It is a frustration that Bill Kenwright does not appear able to find new investment because it was clear again yesterday what potential there is for Everton, given their passionate fan base.

    It is hard to see how Kenwright will find this now if he has not been able to do it before.

    Some interesting posts on a salary cap or transfer cap. It might level off the playing field but I just don't see it happening I'm afraid.

    Can't defend Marouane Fellaini's elbow on Lucas, which was at best careless, but I will defend him against claims about his behaviour at set pieces and corners. I would suggest he is more sinned against than sinner in those situations and was again yesterday.

    I have been critical of the Belgian in the past, but I thought he played much better yesterday. Can he do this more regularly - I still have my doubts? What do Everton fans feel about Fellaini and what do you regard as his best position?

    And to JF-Jake...nonsense to say I am pushing the "Moyes Out" theory. I am posing the perfectly reasonable question about whether he has, in Everton's current circumstances, taken the club as far as he can without new investment. Do you disagree with that?

    I'd like to hear more views from Everton fans on that? Do any of you think Everton can have another season as good as last season without that new investment Kenwright is struggling to find?

  • Comment number 63.

    39. At 10:59am on 30 Nov 2009, JPLegend wrote
    For those that have missed it, Mr McNulty has joined a bandwagon of "reporters" in a continuous witch-hunt of Benitez ever since he put him on the pedestal of pre-season favourite for the title.

    I’ve made much the same comments in the past about Phil McNulty’s barbed sideswipes at Benitez but, of course, he either ignores the allegation or simply denies what is plainly true.
    I’m glad others are now noticing this unnecessary need to join the hoards of other Manchestercentric journalists in attempting to make their own Liverpool/Benitez headlines.

    Good post mate.

  • Comment number 64.

    quick question -

    being a toffee fan myself, but i've just recently left the UK and since i've left it appears that Cahill is being completely under rated for Everton, is this the case? It seemed he was the savior almighty for a good few years running then all of a sudden, not much credit given to him as a crucial player

    whats your thoughts on this? Has Cahill had a dip in form and aside from injuries and financial woes does this coincide with Everton's demise from top 6 team?

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    59. At 12:21pm on 30 Nov 2009, Dixie_Blue_Dean wrote:
    Such a shame English football fans don't appear to be good sportsmen these days and appreciate the great diversity we have in the English game of football.

    then

    Some clubs have attracted sickening amounts of wealth which obviously propells them to great heights of purchasing power, new ground development, better foriegn players and club investment.

    is this meant to be ironic?

  • Comment number 67.

    64. At 12:29pm on 30 Nov 2009, fromthelanddownunder wrote:
    quick question -


    =========================================================================
    As a loyal yet honest Everton supporter. Cahil has a great nack of being in the right place at the right time and scoring important goals. He is energetic and lively, and pound for pound he is the best header of a ball in the premiership, and probably the most consistent headed goalscorer in the prem too.

    However if you are asking him to play in a midfield patrnership, he simply lacks the quality to be considered top class. His distribution is poor, and in terms of creativity he offers hardly anything. Defensively, his heading is a stregth and his all round aggression/assertiveness is a bonus too, but his tackling is not exactly match winning and positionally, he can get lost in the middle at times.

    He excels best as a player in a midfield 3, where he can have the license to bomb forward, and pick and choose his responsibilities. When we had him playing in a 3 with Carsley and Gravesen/Arteta is when he was at his best.

  • Comment number 68.

    What happened to Tim Cahill?

  • Comment number 69.

    33. This is the funniest thing I have read in ages ;-)

    39. As a Liverpool fan who beleives Rafa is the right man for the job, I find it annoying (although unsurprising given Mr McNulty's Blue support and lack of integrity) that his witch-hunts only go after his fierce rivals.

    Actually THIS is the funniest thing i have read in ages!!

  • Comment number 70.

    I believe we have peaked under Moyes in the sense that there appears to be a glass ceiling above us, that is lack of funds, with regards to getting a Champions League place, however I do believe there's no reason why over the next few years we can't be up there qualifying for Europe again and again.

    My reasoning is based on there being very few signficant players in our squad who have peaked in their careers in terms of their age. Neville will be turning 33 soon, Saha has only just turned 31 and Cahill isn't even 30 yet. They're the "senior members" of our squad.

    With regards to Fellaini, he's only just turned 22! I believe he will develop into an excellent player over the next few years.

    We do need to keep hold of Pienaar in the summer, that's my only current worry with the squad.

    The team we put out last night, despite lacking our best midfielder in Arteta, best defender in Jagielka, captain in Neville and a regular in Osman was balanced. Fully fit I actually believe we have an excellent squad. We've just been undermined by crippling injuries to our midfield.

  • Comment number 71.

    Commiserations to Everton yesterday. As a Liverpool fan, we've been on the end of defeats having dominated recently so I know what it is like.

    It is getting rather tired but what on earth is Rafa Benitez playing at? Bad enough that we've had to watch the decline of Liverpool with his blind faith in Lucas since near the end of last season, but now we have to watch a similarly talentless, ball losing, not-fit-for-purpose player in NGog every week. Pretty much all our attacks break down via NGog and Lucas, therefore inviting pressure onto our now frail (and short) defence.

    Yesterday, when he finally brought on Benayoun and Riera and moved Kuyt into the middle, we finally started to keep the ball and threaten, allbeit a tired, Everton. Why don't we play our best players from the start in these must win games and take them off when we've made the game safe? It's so predictable watching us playing as bad as I've ever seen in my 41 years, knowing that Benitez WILL NOT change the team round until the 75th minute+. And this season it has backfired spectacularly, notably against Lyon twice where we've lost the win late on having failed to make the game safe.

    Tactical genius? Not as far as I can see. Selling half your strike force with one hour of a transfer window left? Then leaving us again with only one striker (who is well known for being injury prone) after a whole new transfer window is tactically naive. That's what it looked like at the start of this season and that is exactly how it has turned out.

  • Comment number 72.

    To fromthelanddownunder...yes Cahill has had a dip in form this season, but in his defence he has had an incredibly busy schedule and has been playing out of position for large portions of the campaign.

    I thought he looked a lot more like his old self in the derby and almost scored with a trademark header that was brilliantly saved by Pepe Reina. I honestly think Cahill should only ever play just off the striker - he is not a man to put in a four-man midfield.

    The problem Everton have had is that Marouane Fellaini has looked more effective in that position than in others, so David Moyes has had a dilemma there as he tries to accommodate his record signing. Presonally, I would go with Cahill every time.

  • Comment number 73.

    I find it frustrating seeing so many people moan about the content of Phil's blogs. It is not always Liverpool. I've had a look at his last 50 blogs, and 10 of them have been about Liverpool, but 12 of them have been about Man Utd! 8 were about Chelsea, and only 4 about Arsenal. That leaves 16 blogs that aren't about any of the top 4 directly. So if you look at the numbers, 80% (EIGHTY!!!) of Phil's blogs have NOT been about Liverpool! Hopefully this will see all the moaners crawl back under their rocks.

    With regard to the game yesterday, i actually thought we were quite fortunate to win by 2 goals. We didn't play particularly well at all in patches. There were sections of the game which we controlled and showed glimpses of our quick one-touch passing, but Everton controlled most of the game. I thought that a draw would have been a fair result.

    Fellaini should have been sent off though in my opinion. Clear elbow to Lucas's face and it looked as though he kicked him on the way down too.
    But on the flip side, I thought Carragher was quite lucky not to give away a penalty. He needs to stop grabbing hold of opposition players in the box!

    Everton - you'll be fine this season. I'd even put money on you finishing mid-table quite comfortably. You've got some good players, and your work ethic cannot be called in to question. As soon as Arteta comes back you'll be sorted.

  • Comment number 74.

    38. At 10:58am on 30 Nov 2009, TorbenPiechnick wrote:

    twit, it took me 3 seconds to find it. and no, no five results would have got liverpool up to first this weekend. Would you care for me to draw you diagram perhaps? You are going down soon.

  • Comment number 75.

    Fellaini showed he can play a deeper role yesterday, maybe the result of his game maturing. I think from now on you will see Cahill playing off the striker and Fellaini alongside the likes of Heitinga/Neville. Hopefully once Arteta is back Fellaini can forge a good partnership with him.

  • Comment number 76.

    66. At 12:42pm on 30 Nov 2009, captainlazytim wrote:

    "is this meant to be ironic?"

    Yes.

  • Comment number 77.

    Everton played great yesterday, probably deserving of at least a point, which they would have got any other day but for Pepe Reina (how many more times is he gonna save liverpool this season?) and poor finishing. And the remarkable thing is they played well without half of their best attacking players...need I say more?

    Ok, I do agree that Fellaini was lucky to stay on the pitch as long as he did, but on the whole he is definately no worse than Drogba when it comes to freekick-argy-bargy, and is certainly less cynical than Kevin Davies! and for some people to suggest looking at Cahill's tackling i have two words: Paul Scholes. Box to box engine, good at popping up unexpectedly, RUBBISH tackler...but who would you want arriving late into the box? Lucas Levia? or Tim Cahill?

    Everton, on the whole though, are not a dirty team as a couple of people seem to think. and with regards to "small team favouritism" Id like, just once, to see Carragher sent off when he deserves it, regarding his lazy back tracking this season, (although he looked much more assured yesterday than in large parts of this season) he's given away alot of free kicks where he'd about to be blown apart for pace. It'll be interesting to see how long it continues! Everton are by no means favoured, and its somewhat hypocritical for the same fans who claim unfair treatment at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge etc due to "big teams pressuring the ref" to then complain of "favouring" the small team!

  • Comment number 78.

    Have just noticed SnowJacuzzi's post and am heartened that I am not the only one to have noticed Carraghers' habits! and am even more heartened that it comes from a liverpool fan! Hat's off to you sir!

  • Comment number 79.

    72. At 12:58pm on 30 Nov 2009, Phil McNulty - BBC Sport wrote:
    The problem Everton have had is that Marouane Fellaini has looked more effective in that position than in others, so David Moyes has had a dilemma there as he tries to accommodate his record signing. Presonally, I would go with Cahill every time.
    #########################################################################

    Presonally, I believe we should taylor Fellaini into out holding, ball playing midfielder. Thus making our best midfield:

    Fellaini
    Pienaar Arteta Bilyaletdinov
    Cahill


    Who would disagree with that gents?

  • Comment number 80.

    As a blue, I agree with the post of several others above who take the positives. As someone mentioned, this was the first time we've had a balanced midfield for about 8 or 9 weeks and it certainly showed. Before the weekend we have had no width whatsoever and have had to employ Cahill and Gosling out wide to do the jobs of Pienaar and Bilyaletdinov.

    I think in the second half we did go long a little too easily but I'd say this is more to do with playing Hibbert and Yobo, who aren't really great on the ball. You could see that Pienaar was frustrated playing with Hibbert as he just doesn't have the football brain that say, Baines has on the left. Pienaar and Baines combine to great effect when they play together.

    The difference yesterday was a little bit of luck and the fact that Liverpool took their chances when they came their way. Simple really.

    One further positive is that we are going to keep welocoming players back over the next 4-6 weeks which will do us the world of good. We are well capable of going on a run once the confidence picks up a bit and the last time I looked, the league was pretty congested. Although we're only a couple of points away from the relagation zone, we are not that far away from those teams above us and certainly not adrift.

    It's not been a great week for Everton but we've had worse. Keep the faith is what I say.

  • Comment number 81.

    To snowJacuzzi007...many thanks for that research. I appreciate it and the figures surprised even me and I wrote them! I should add that I have visits to Birmingham City and Burnley in the next couple of weeks.

    It is certainly true Everton have missed Arteta massively, as well as Phil Jagielka. Joseph Yobo is a talented defender, but unfortunately has a history of being accident-prone. No blame can be attached to him for the first goal yesterday, but the second was awful defending and David Moyes' face when asked about it later told the whole tale. Not happy.

    Fellaini has to be one of the most divisive figures in recent Everton history - not in a nasty way but in the way you get such a wide range of opinions about his ability.

    I remain to be convinced. What is his best position?

  • Comment number 82.

    I agree with others about who cares about the Everton v Liverpool match... surely the bigger story is the top of the league team (and probable champs) pretty much destroying one of the main challengers title hopes?

    And as for Everton... i'm sick of hearing about their hard luck stories with stadiums and money. If they are having such a tough financial time then why did they spend big money on Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov and Yakubu in recent times?!! I'd guess that those three cost in the region of £36 million. Not bad for a skint club... maybe if they didnt blow these vast sums they wouldn't be in the turmoil they're in now. Get in the real world toffee fans

  • Comment number 83.

    Fellaini's best position is simply "in the middle". I think he will develop into an excellent box to box midfielder. Stick him alongside someone like Arteta who will sit deep and control the play, and Cahill, who will bomb forward, and we'll have a balanced central midfield.

  • Comment number 84.

    yellowgreenred:

    profits made on lescott and rooney? £50million pounds...

    £36 mill spent on 3 players...£14 million...thats where exactly?

    skint club. thank you :D

  • Comment number 85.

    Phil

    I was hoping this question wouldn't come up again (as we'd actually won).

    "I know it's ostensibly an Everton blog but can I ask any Liverpool fans out there...what has Alberto Aquilani got to do to get on the pitch and play for Liverpool Football Club?"

    Which game in particular do you think he should have started??

    I really don't think the derby game away (or a boggy pitch in hungry for that matter) would have been the right time to start your £20M summer signing returning from injury (and I don't think he could have started any game prior due to fitness). Do you?

    He may have had more appearances from the bench if we hadn't been scrapping for draws due to poor confidence/form and high injuries. But Blackburn away is not the right time to start him either! A physical game away where we've not had the best of luck over the last few seasons. We'd need more grit (in Lucas) in midfield to start and see how the game pans out. And before we all get excited about Lucas, his critisism is based on previous seasons, he's looking much better.

    I'd like to think we'd see him start against Fiorentina, and that IS the right game for him to start, get some real time under his belt, and maybe set himself up for some action against the Van Persie-less Arsenal. Who seem to think can still win the league although they're only two points above Liverpool??

    So please, if he doesn't start against Blackburn, or doesn't come on from the bench if we're not cruising and its a tight game, can we NOT have this question in next weeks Liverpool blog.



  • Comment number 86.

    #84
    £14 million...thats where exactly?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Heitinga and Saha?

  • Comment number 87.

    The likes of Yakubu, Bilyaletdinov, Fellaini, Heitinga etc etc have all been payed for by outgoing sales, of the likes of Rooney, Johnson, McFadden and Lescot. This means that Moyes has to all intents and purposes had access to hardly any money during his tenure.

  • Comment number 88.

    Croftalicious:

    The same goes for pretty much every team in the premier league... most teams have to sell to survive, not many teams can splash £36 million on 3 players, but most of these teams don't bang on about it week in week out, that's a fact of life i'm afraid.. get over it... seriously boring listening to Everton's problems

  • Comment number 89.

    As someone who has followed Everton from a distance [South Africa] since the early seventies, I believe that the increasing globalisation of the Premier League has changed it's complexion forever [well at least for the foreseeable future]. Those clubs that embrace the international component of their support and develop it will thrive. An increased fan base, wherever it is found, will generate more revenue. If this is spent wisely it will promote further growth.

    Those that don't nurture their extended fan base will sink beneath the rest. Hence the suicidal prostitution going on by Premier League clubs to attract foreign capital.

    Unfortunately for now it appears that both Everton and Liverpool are falling off the wagon. Liverpool have an enormous international fan base and are not lost yet.

    But my poor beloved Everton are not well recognised internationally and would face an enormous task to gain a foothold. I don't think building a shabby new stadium [somebody described it as a shed] will attract the interest required. Goodison Park is hallowed turf to us oldies but the youth who are growing up looking for heroes and fairy tales hold the most promise for loyal support growth. A modern large stadium that compares with the best in the world is what is required. That is only the start. A group of core players with the cult status of a Ronaldo, Beckham or Kaka would also be required with a manager and management staff capable of dealing with these superstars. Ah, I can but dream.... Where oh where is the fairy godmother to wave her magic wand?

    More realistically, Everton will have a little dart at being a big club from time to time in future seasons, but until someone comes up with a BIG plan and BIGGER money they will keep losing their best and brightest prospects to the bigger clubs. David Moyes will move on to Man U eventually [I firmly believe Sir Alex is priming him to take over] and the youth policy will have to keep producing the odd Rooney to keep the books balanced. Not much of a future I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 90.

    Just thought I'd add my opinion to the mix.

    As things stand, David Moyes could take Everton further, but in very, very small steps and, the problem as that the Premier League is not a personal development plan, it is a competition. We could not progress at a speed to match those around us (see current situations Re: spurs, villa, city et al).

    The reason Everton have no been able to get new investment while others have is the same reason we like have Blue Bill Kenwright as chairman. Sentimentality.
    Like an overprotective father figure, any new suitor that comes along after the affections of his beloved daughter, Everton, are vetted to check that their intentions are pure. He has admitted, many times that he won't just take the money, he wants someone who will treat Everton with respect to its values, history and plans for the future.

    THAT HAS TO STOP!

    As things stood, the Kirkby stadium plan WAS the plans for the future. They are now to be thoroughly swept under the carpet and Kenwright has to know that we need money, not sentiment. With investment I know Moyes can break the top four, lest we forget that in the recent amount of 'can spurs 'finally' break the glass ceiling?' stories, that ceiling has been shattered since 2004/2005 season when a plucky group of players sealed the day against Newcastle and the stands rang out with an ironic, and now iconic (amongst Evertonians) "Champions League, We're Having a Laugh". Spurs wouldn't be breaking the glass ceiling if they were to achieve 4th or better, they'd be stepping through the door Everton opened those four to five years ago; the problem since then has been that since that moment the Sky 4 upped their game to protect their own ends, and Liverpool, far from struggling with their lack of Champions League action were gifted an unfair and undeserved, albeit (and it pains me to admit this as an Everton fan)warranted route back into the competition.

    Since then, though, Moyes and indeed Kenwright have been working well together to try to steadily put Everton back up where they belong. Moyes' clever signings (Kroldrups aside) have tended to show a mastery of the transfer market, and even now, while it is wise to question spending £15m on Fellaini, people neglect the fact that Pienaar, argueably the best player on the pitch last night, cost £2m! Saha was free for crying out loud! To put that in perspective. That would mean that Fellaini, Pienaar and Saha put together cost about the same as Nani did for Manchester United (approx. 15-18m estimated as fee undisclosed)! I know who I would rather have.
    Far from being the 'dithering' Dave he used to be, Moyes has applied himself well and yet, every year his dealings seem to be left late. But what this shows is that the media only peddles nonsense, and actual deals during transfer windows because every Everton fan sees on the club website and on fan websites the players that we do go in for, and that Moyes does try and get and, by the sounds of it he has to get a distinct go ahead from the board before he can sign anyone because they need to ok the money; putting further delays on deals and allowing other clubs to jump the queue and throw their money on the table. It is a dire situation that the club has to deal with, while Moyes does tremendously well with the restricted budget he has you cannot help but feel he could do better with a slightly bigger one (ooh err missus).

    With regards the aforementioned Fellaini. No, he isn't at his best, yes, there is potential and remember, he may be eight foot two and built like a terracotta number two-villa (to put a common phrase politely)he is still only young. If Arsenal can use it as an excuse for some of their players, why can't Everton? He is 22, which, in football terms equals barely out of nappies and yet he is holding a regular place in a premier league first team midfield; all well and good when he has those around him for support but, this season, Everton's midfield has been a hodge-podge of whoever is fit. Fellaini has shown as much consistency as the team in general! Recently he has been poor, but so has the rest of the team, so to pin blame on him is really quite unfair.

    The problem for Everton, as I have discussed before in comments is that they've been without 6 or 7 proper KEY players. When you look back at the greatest performances of Everton last season you'll see Tim Cahill in advanced positions (not out on the wing), Mikel Arteta bossing the ball around (not stuck in hospital or on the injury table) Phil Neville hanging back (Not sat next to Arteta in 'Baz' Rathbones injury room) pienaar and/or Osman throwing themselves down the wings (not stuck with nev and mikky). We had Jagielka at the back holding the fort (not getting robbed at knifepoint in his house) with Lescott (Been dicussed to death) or Yobo (the real one, not the imposter we saw yesterday). We had a fit, healthy and sharp Yakubu up front, sometimes joined by Anichebe or Vaughan who ALWAYS if they didn't provide a goal at least provided some fresh pace and strength.

    When I see Everton's performances and wonder what is missing; I think of the above. Pienaar showed yesterday just how much we'd missed that bit of skill on the ball; and had Bilyaletdinov been that little bit more match sharp, and composed in front of goal the entire match could have been different and this blog could have been highlighting Liverpool's misery more than Everton's. I can't guarentee Everton would have won (you hear that FAI, you can't guarentee who will win!) but the match could have been a lot different. Keep in mind yesterday that Jo was Everton's man when it came to getting goals for most of the game. Nuff Said.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Manchester United showed against Besiktas what happens when you have 6 or 7 key players out and it isn't a choice for Everton. It is in no way an excuse but it is at least an explanation.

    What does the future hold?

    Hopefully Moyes will stay, tell Kenwright to cough up with these investors and our squad will stop looking like an extras audition for Casualty and more like a football team again. Until then, expect more misery, more hassle, and more pundits and journos telling Everton how crap they are at the moment. Everton can go further, but not this season. I only hope that we can consolidate a predicted poor finishing league position with a good cup run to get us into Europe; but I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 91.

    To Nick Balaam...I said "play" with regards to Aquilani, not neccessarily start. There have been plenty of games when he could have got a taste as a substitute, a lot earlier against Debrecen for instance. And if you pay £20m for a player who is now presumably fit - my opinion is that if you are on the bench you are fit to play - surely you shouldn't have to worry about whether the game is a bit physical for him. If any player cannot cope with the physical side of the game I would suggest they are not cut out for the Premier League anyway.

  • Comment number 92.

    Yesteday's derby was not half as gutting to loose as others have been though to be honest that is probably because we played so much better than we have had recently. It was refreshing to see Moyes be able to field a side with balance, and players playing in their more natural positions. OK, so 4 changes meant that we still fail to field the same back 4 for 2 consecutive games (if we have managed that at all this season it has been rare).

    So on the field, I don't think Yobo had a bad game today, except for the second goal. He was unlucky with the first and in so many other occasions he was their putting the tackles and blocks in when needed and looked assured. However, it has been clear that generally him and Distin (who also, for the most part had an assured game) are failing to develop that partnership that is so crucial. Also sad to see a few people jump to the easy thing of criticizing Hibbert - he played well yesterday, except for some poor crosses.

    Hietinga looked poor yesterday though he seemed to relish breaking up the play. He commented recently that he prefers to play in the back 4 - maybe this can be tried out - switching Yobo or Distin for him. Fellaini had his best game of the season, Billy looked positive skillful at times and also was seen tracking back and making tackles. I was surprised he missed the better of his two chances after seeing his goals fro russia last weekend. Pienaar was far and away the best performer. Cahill was good, back in a position he can enjoy, but tired a lot in the second half and I was surprised he wasn't replaced earlier.

    Up from, it seems Yak is still struggling to return to form, and Saha didn't improve the situation after coming on for Jo. In fainess, Jo played ok and although looked rusty at tijimes, took his first "goal" well.

    Hopefully the players can stay fit for a few games. Injuries have played their part. Last season it was that we had no strikers fit. This season it was initially our defense, then it has been our midfield that has been worst hit, removed of all craetivity by the simlutaneous loss of Arteta, Pienaar, Osman and Bily. No surprise we are conseeding more and scoring less with these players missing - the create chances and are able to keep the ball well up the field. Hietinga, Cahill (wide) Gosling and Rodwell, for all their attributs, are no subsitiute for creating chances and holding up play.

    Hopefully Osman will be back soon but it sounds like a long wait for Neville, Arteta, Jags, Vaughan and Anichebe. Even when those players become availiable, much like Yak, it will take a long time to overcome their injuries - maybe their return to full fitness will be like having new signings a cliche that often doesn't work out but when players have been absent towards a full year it may hold more strength. In the mean time, I think Moyes has to figure out his best back four and do all he can to help those defensive partnerships, and wide partnerships form quickly. Hopeing for a fully fit Yak and Saha playing together before christmas.

    I do get why we are not an attractive investment - we loose money (ok, 26,000 profit maybe), our revenue potential is already maxed out, and we are seen as a team that can't exceed that right now, whilst teams lower down the table may bee seen as easier to lift up. As for Villa - the ground issue does come into play here - Villa park is not in any danger of failing safety certificates, Goodison maybe within 5 years and there are very few, especially now, who would fund a new stadium.


    Lastly, After finishing 4th we had a major dip the following season, people wrote us off again and then we were right back up there. I think we will turn it around and maybe get a top half finish, possibly even Europe again. The worry was obviously that while our form was so bad, other teams would run away with it. They haven't so far with Man City doing everything they can to draw games, Liverpool in 5th are still only 8 points ahead. Maybe it will be in Europe we will get going again. Maybe it will be the performance we just gave. I hope Moyes gives it at least one more season after this one, though I would not begrudge him if he left, however, i don't see it happening any time soon.

  • Comment number 93.

    Man City fan here, fed up with those complaining about the Blog topics and well done to SnowJacuzzi for those stats !

    I for one am always interested to hear about how Everton are doing as a great old club trying to compete in an era where you need billionaire owners to win anything - Kenwright et al are not that but also wont put the clubs future at risk like a Leeds utd or a Portsmouth.

    Also I am interested in Moyes as a good young British manager who does well with limited resources - he deserves a shot at a really top job (no disrespect to Evertonians !!).

    To those who only want positive blogs about their teams, trust me it really is a more interesting game if you look beyond your own team/the "Big 4"/etc

  • Comment number 94.

    Phil

    Nobody said "too physical" for the player. Its a reference to the fact that Aquilani is a creative player, and the game may need more of a defensive player (as was the case on sunday)...having said that, Lucas gets forward more than he gets credit. So it remains to be seen whether or not he can adapt.

    But im not sure which game you'd have thrown him on against? Birmingham at home?? Where we 2-1 down and lucas and masch were playing well - it was Torres we needed there, no problem in midfield. Fiorentina away?? Lyon away/home?? All games where we were under pressure and bringing him on may have been more detrimental to his recovery. I agree £20M is a lot of money for a player not to play. But more importantly £20M is a lot of money to spend on a player and have him miss the rest of the season because his recovery from injury wasn't handled correctly.

    Its easy for all us though, we have the benefit of speaking to physios and doctors each day, and watching him in training everyday. Unfortunately Rafa doesn't have that luxury...Does he??

    Does anybody actually believe Rafa would rather not play him?? We will see him though. Maybe for a spell against Blackburn (depending how the game goes), most likely against Fiorentina though, which "should" set him up for some time on the pitch against Arsenal.

  • Comment number 95.

    Tough times for the toffees at the moment. As an Everton fan it is quite worrying, but I have no doubt that we will finish mid-table. I have to say that I'd take a season of mediocraty if it means we can re-group for next season and give 4th/5th another good push. I thnk that with the level of (non) investment at the club such seasons can only be expected. If we have to have one poor season for every two or three good ones then I'd take that. We haven't been punching above our weight these past tqwo seasons - we were punching our proper weight, it's just we had a full squad.

    Of course we have had lot of injuries to key players, which has made a huge difference, but the players we have should be doing much better than they are and should be comfortably mid-table. In terms of cost the team we put out yesterday was prob higher.

    The teams around us have found investment and have strengthened, which makes it difficult too. And which is why Liverpool are under threat for a top four place.

    I think Moyes has an awesome track record when spending between £3-6m on a player, but when he has the big cash to spend I think he's dropped the ball. Fellani is a watse of space and is never worth 15m. He wasn't even the best player from the standard leige side. Panic buy!

    I think we need to get rid of a fair few of the players in the summer - the Yak, Felliani, Yobo. Due to how cahill has performed in the past I think he will stay, but if he's not popping up with the goals he gives very little to the team.

    Our only players of true quality who can turn a game are Arteta, Pienaar and Saha.

    I'd hate to see Moyes leave, but I agree with one of the posters earlie that I think he'll go if the Celtic job comes up in the summer. Mowbray isn't doing a great job and if they don;t win the SPL I think they'll make a change. Or if Newcastle get some investment if they come back up that might be a job that would appeal to him.

    It's strange how we cannot find an invester but the way the financial climate is at the moment I can't see it happening for a long time. And you only have to look at Liverpool to see how teams can start feeling the pinch.

    But this has been coming for a long time due to the obscene amounts of money in the game and the champions league and it will happen to more and more clubs over the next few years.

    There will be a changing of the guard as far as the top four teams are concerned, with two likely to drop out this season. But for the time being at least, money still talks.

  • Comment number 96.

    Spot on mercer88.. You write very eloquent and so intelligently put.. I agree with everything you've said.

    Great post, my friend... Hat off to you...

  • Comment number 97.

    To jfeelers. Good post, but when you say "as an Everton fan it is quite worrying, but I have no doubt that we will finish mid-table" does than not add weight to my theory that last season will prove to be the high point of Moyes' tenure unless Bill Kenwright gets investment or new owners are found?

    As you state, money talks - but in Everton's case it says goodbye.

  • Comment number 98.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Everton have only 4% more possession and one more shot on target? Reading the reports on the game you'd think Liverpool had had only two shots and simply been forced to chase Everton's twinkle toed dynamos for the whole game. Fellaini in particular was good only for winning headers, and could have been easily replaced by Kevin Kyle for example.

  • Comment number 99.

    I didn't realise blogs had to be about what people wanted them to be about, thought it was free expression.
    Anyway, Gerrard had a nightmare game(Lpool beat man u cos he didn't play!!) yesterday, he played like he was in mourning and Benitez played Aurelio to deny Everton any width, which worked. We've all seen enough football to realise that games can be won and lost on small details(such as beach balls. yes, the Fellaini miss was key, but in that case, so was Howards miraculous save from Insuas header. 0-2 HT game over.
    I'd still take Liverpool for 3rd, and Reina is the reason why. Him, VDS and Cech are streets ahead of Gomez, Friedel and Given. It's not so long ago that this team thrashed Utd at OT and with a fit Torres there's no reason they can't do it again this season. Vidic is still having nightmares according to his wife.

  • Comment number 100.

    'I don't think the passion is on a par with a host of other derby games'. Blimey, choclateboxkid, you've clearly not been to a good one. I admit it was a bit anticlimatic yesterday, but give is a break, we were all soaking wet, cold and it's been a bit of a trying week! :.) A year or three ago when Everton (for a change) carved Liverpool up at Goodison, the atmosphere nearly blew the roof off the old place. Also, check out some old coverage of the classic 5th round cup derby, also at Goodison, finished 4-4 in 1991. (Everton won the replay too, thought I'd pop that in!) I'm very sorry you feel that way, but I assure you you're mistaken! As for people bleating about Everton getting more coverage than most on Phil's blog, Arsenal and Chelsea get blanket coverage from a slavering media, and it at least makes up for Everton always being last on Match of the Day. ;.)

 

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