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Fellaini shows up sorry Robinho

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Phil McNulty | 21:31 UK time, Saturday, 16 January 2010

At Goodison Park

David Moyes demonstrated a sure grasp on football's fickle fates when he was asked if he was worried about whether Everton could hang on to Marouane Fellaini.

"You lot make me laugh," said Moyes. "A few weeks ago you were talking about when I was going to get rid of him."

Moyes had plenty to laugh about after Everton mauled Manchester City - whom he accused having "no class" and breaking transfer rules in last summer's pursuit of Joleon Lescott as he reopened old wounds via some incendiary programme notes.

If revenge is indeed a dish best served cold, then Moyes could barely disguise his pleasure at pulling something right from the bottom of the deep freeze and forcing Manchester City to choke on it.

At the pinnacle of Everton's finest performance this season was the towering figure of 22-year-old Fellaini, in every sense head and shoulders above every player on the pitch.

When Moyes claimed Fellaini was, on current form, the best midfield player in the country, even he admitted some wondered if he had misplaced his marbles. Plenty raised an eyebrow - some even raised two.

Fellaini was streets ahead of an uninterested RobinhoRobinho made virtually no impact at Goodison Park - but Fellaini was in a class of his own

Fellaini, until recent times, had rarely looked like justifying his status as Everton's record £15m signing from Standard Liege, his main virtues being nuisance value and a knack for a goal. The drawbacks were a habit of attracting yellow cards from referees - sometimes very harshly and seemingly based on the fact that was just so hard to miss.

He sparked as much comment for his unruly mop of fuzzy hair as he did for his performances. I had serious reservations about the Belgian's ability to adapt in the Premier League, and thousands of Everton fans would be lying to themselves if they did not share those concerns.

Indeed after a particularly hopeless effort against Benfica in Lisbon I suggested through the Twittersphere that he should lose the Afro as it was drawing attention to just how badly he was playing, and what a poor return on £15m he was proving to be.

Fellaini did not look anything like a £15m player against Manchester City. He looked worth more as the young giant's transformation continued, helped by finally being played in the position Moyes bought him for.

He ruled Goodison Park from his favoured midfield anchor role on Saturday, giving a near flawless display that he capped with a Zinedine Zidane-style dragback that left Craig Bellamy chasing thin air and was afforded the accolade of a spontaneous and deafening standing ovation.

Bellamy was gracious enough to congratulate Fellaini on embarrassing him as the Belgian flourished once more away from the spot behind the striker that he occupied with mixed results last season.

Fellaini was assured in possession, instrumental at seeing and dealing with any City danger and posed a goal threat, particularly in the air as shown by one late header that was clawed on to the woodwork by Shay Given.

Gone was the player who could at times look a lost and lonely soul in games, replaced by a confident and dominating presence that helped Everton give City a going over that is not reflected in the scoreline.

A few swallows do not make a summer and Fellaini must keep producing consistently, but he is now playing to a level plenty of Everton fans never thought he would attain.

He is not the best midfield player in the country, but he is heading up the rankings - and proving plenty of observers inside and outside Goodison Park wrong in the process, myself included.

It all added up to the perfect day for Moyes. The Lescott affair still rankles badly as he complained that City treated Everton with "little respect" - although I would suggest offering £24m for the player in question is very respectful, not to mention foolhardy.

When I saw Moyes after the derby defeat against Liverpool at Goodison he looked at the end of his tether. Everton were struggling near the bottom of the table and the riches on offer at places like Eastlands suggested he had already banged his head on the Premier League's glass ceiling with a fifth-place finish and an FA Cup Final appearance last season.

Since then Moyes and his team have looked rejuvenated, and the manner in which they dominated Manchester City will have reaffirmed the Scot's faith that he can compete, even without massive reserves of cash in the bank, through the art of good management.

Landon Donovan's loan signing is the sort of market Everton operate in, and the man from LA Galaxy was one of the game's brightest performers, helping Steven Pienaar terrorise and trouble City from midfield.

And if there is a walking, talking advert for the perils of an unlimited transfer budget, it comes in the shape of Robinho, who deservedly suffered one of the biggest humiliations that can be visited upon a professional footballer: being the substitute who was so bad that he was substituted himself.

There was understandable surprise when Roberto Mancini hooked the Brazilian after 55 minutes of token effort, but the logic was perfectly clear. Why keep him on when he contributed nothing? Why keep faith with a player who barely broke sweat and went out of his way to ensure he was always second to a succession of challenges?

RobinhoRobinho has much to do to convince Roberto Mancini of his worth

Mancini was not posturing or grandstanding by taking off the £32.5m striker. He was doing the right thing - strong management in action.

Robinho's removal was an even bigger headline-grabber than Fellaini's brilliance, but he does not deserve the stage. I made my feelings clear about Robinho in a previous blog after his poor performance against Stoke in Mancini's first game.

Some Manchester City supporters felt the words were harsh. Were they really? Did you watch him at Goodison Park? He has no future at Eastlands. The problem will be finding someone to take him off Mancini's hands.

This was rightly touted as City's first serious test under the Italian. It was an examination they failed against an Everton side who appeared to share their manager's determination to make City pay publicly for the disaffection caused by the Lescott saga.

City's defeat should still be placed in its proper context. They are in a very healthy league position and Mancini's substitution of Robinho at least demonstrates they have a manager who will confront big decisions and big personalities.

Mancini was gracious in defeat as he praised Everton's excellence, while Moyes was obviously relishing the moment.

Back to those confrontational programme notes. "For many reasons I think this is a game we have all been looking forward to at Goodison Park."

And, judging by the unbridled elation written in every line on Moyes' face, it had been well worth the wait.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Obsession is never healthy....

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm absolutely ecstatic, Phil. I was immensely proud of the team performance on show last night. I thought, as did the legions of Blues fans I've spoken to, that Fellaini was absolutely class, and considering his age and development thus far - he could be some player in the future.

    He seems like a loyal sort of chap, but my worry (naturally) is that in a few years we simply won't have the resources to keep him. Would you agree?

    The performances all over the pitch were brilliant, and I think the game was a testament to the fact that you don't need billions to mix it with the "big boys", you just need good management, smart buys and players with heart.

    Doesn't get much more romantic than a footballing evening like that at Goodison, does it?

    Thanks for the blog!

  • Comment number 3.

    Excellent performance from Everton and Fellaini, it's so good to see that money doesn't buy immediate success but City will get there, and no doubt under Mancini as hats of to such a strong management decision to take Robinho off even though he was a sub himself!

    Welcome to Goodison Landon Donovan, cries of USA USA USA a sign of things to come over the next couple of months? I think so..

  • Comment number 4.

    I was dissapointed when Robinho did not sign for Chelsea but maybe it was lucky. I still believe he is an excellent player just suffering from poor form, much like Fellani was earlier

  • Comment number 5.

    Fantastic performance by Everton and as an English football fan it is nice to see City put in their place. They will probably win the title within 3 years but the hype after 4 wins is unbelievable, it takes time to gel a title winning side and they have to lose the bad apples like Robinho who was an embarrassment. £32 million ???
    My man of the match was David Moyes, while I will never forgive him for nicking Tim Cahill on the cheap the man is class. Forget Fellaini he is Everton's main man and has built another great team on a fraction of the budget his colleague on the other side of Stanley park has spent. Sadly for you I think he is the successor in waiting for another Scottish manager.

    Just one last mention on Fellaini. Who else enjoyed it more because it was Bellamy ? A great moment !

  • Comment number 6.

    Robinho is one of those players who believes he is better than he actually is.Yes he is a Brazillian international and has sublime skills,but his ability to go missing in games makes it hard for any manager to justify his inclusion in the City team.Robinho needs to pull up his socks and get stuck in.Quite frankly I can not see him changing his game so by the end of the season if Mancini is still in charge he could be on his way ala Elano.
    On the other hand every time I have watched Fellaini play football this season I have been impressed,he is not a finished product yet and the potential to improve is there for all to see,however when you consider the fact that Everton always end up selling their better players he too could be on his way by the end of the season.
    Finally was David Moyes serious when said Fellaini was the best midfielder in the in the country?He is proberbly joking.

  • Comment number 7.

    simple but effective article; enjoyed it

  • Comment number 8.

    Monday night football sometimes provides exposure of a different sort when you next opponent is able to scout your strengths and weaknesses. City was scouted properly by Moyes at the COMS resulting in Everton able to strategized and stumped Tevez, Barry, Bellamy whenever they have one touch too many! Thats one the main reasons why Everton especially Fellaini able to pick off or close down Bellamy or Barry and nullify deJong.
    The main mistake was starting Hughes prodigy RSC (not only a physical but also a mental handicap) evident not to many when you compared his efforts at Hughes 'last game' and RSC subsequent games. To wit not passing to Tevez to firm up his hattrick and now coming up a 'crock'. after a few minutes. There's a big discoonect here.
    To Mancini's credit and guts he brought on Robinho (originally planned to sub Bellers). His intent is questioned but in the long run may pay more divedends for City when Robbie is up to speed. Robinhood is not in game shape yet for EPL rigours because of his slow or nonstarts this season. Remember Tevez!
    About the 2 goals, these are my thoughts.
    First goal : A soft freekick given on hometurf, a bad wall where de Jong should not have jumped (which distracted Shay) and opened a gap for Pineaar to curled in. It was not a hardhit shot.
    Second goal; It shouldn't have been a penalty. Foul if any (a lot of these goes on and most times never given) should be taken at instance of Richards' transgression or infraction outside the box.
    If Fellaini had assisted directly in both goals it would be right to exalt Fellaini. He was flattered to decieve because Bellers made a pub footballer lunge. A great player in the likes of Zidane? C'mon Phil!

    Anyways City was totally outplayed in all departments. It would have been a debacle under the previous Hughes regime. Thats a positive note that City can take

    Everton deserved the win!

  • Comment number 9.

    Everton were in superb physical shape and I do not mean they were kicking City or making crunching tackles. They closed down very quickly. The wonder was they did it for the full 90 minutes. Normally, you would expect a side to drop their energy levels towards the end but not Everton.

    They were absolutely awesome. Its all very well blaming Robinho but no City player had a chance yesterday against Everton.

  • Comment number 10.

    Soccerinteg; a long winded way of saying what virtually nobody else said-be honest now City were second best in every way,shape and form.

    And Felliani ran the show.

    Finally the Toffee's season is up and running!!!!


  • Comment number 11.

    Proferaiding is your friend. ;) A lot of words missing in this article - "his" seems to slip out of your grip in particular for some reason...

    Also, not surprised by Fellaini's improvement in performance for two reasons. Firstly, Moyes has shown every sign of having a pretty good eye for a player - or, at any rate, has got good scouting staff at Everton. Secondly, when I've watched him I've felt he's got plenty of talent, and that it's just a matter of squeezing it out of him.

    Rather like Nani, in fact, although with Nani I think it's simply not going to happen in England. It's too big of a stage for him at this time in his career and he's too keen to impress on it; I suspect this has to do with Ronaldo, even though he's left Manchester United now.

    Lastly, Twittersphere? Really? Do we need a made up word for a place that already has a name? Blogosphere is annoying enough.

  • Comment number 12.

    Phil, great blog, but with Chelsea looking at Robinho not so long ago, how much of this lack of effort is deliberate as he looks to move to a bigger club?

    I honestly don't think he would do this at a superstart club like one of the top 4.

    also, I'm not being funny or anything, but Robinho at his best gives you what Ronaldo gave United: a threat on goal, runs, and good crosses...

    Revenge for Tevez?

  • Comment number 13.

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

  • Comment number 14.

    Greetings from Belgium.

    Good to see Fellaini finally playing at his best place. He'll become unmissable for the Toffees and hopefully he'll stay a few more years at Goodison. He's still young, he doesn't need to go one of the top European club where he'll sit on the bench, or being rotated, and ultimately lose his confidence. He can be a legend at Everton! But I don't agree with him being the best midfielder in the Premier League, or a Zidane-like player. Let's not get carried away folks. Let's see in a year's time if he produced consistent displays and then Phil will be able to do a new blog on him.

  • Comment number 15.

    Drogba Strawb Laces,

    you really think that's true? He wouldn't do it at a top 4 club?

    Robinho did it at real, which is still one of the biggest in the world.

    He just seems to be a bit of a moody player, think it'll take a strong man-manager to really sort him and get the best out of him.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am surprised in that I thought Man Cini had the defence sorted out. By all Accounts Everton ran them off the parK. I imagine Hughes is immensely satisfied, Moyes is satisfied, Robinio will adapt with a Manger like Mancini over Hughes. Mancini, knows what he has and will endeavour to get the best. Subs are only taken off for being woefully bad, you can be playing brilliantly and be substiuted. I accept perhaps Robhinio didn't have a good game but to characterise the substitution in the way you do, sounds once again like you have projected your own embarrasement onto a professional footballer getting paid millions, embarrassed? I doubt it.

  • Comment number 17.

    I agree with everything you have said but your comment that "Mancini's substitution of Robinho at least demonstrates they have a manager who will confront big decisions and big personalities" suggests that Mark Hughes would not have taken similar action.

    I do not think this is fair. Robinho has been an enigmatic and inconsistent performer and Hughes gave him opportunities to prove his critics wrong. Mancini has this evidence and the lacklustre performances since his arrival as manager on which to base his judgements. If Hughes had still been manager I suspect that Robinho would have got similar treatment from him.

  • Comment number 18.

    Where do i start from? I dont think i enjoy ur blog today mr phil. U ll agree wit me dt not all footballers enjoy rich form thruout their career. Robinho no doubt is an excellent,talented,highly skilled brazilian player bt what u wrote about him isnt fair. We all know what injury does to players generally,even d best players in d world have at one time lost their form(s).I think city need to give him more time to get over it and i trust him dt he ll do jst dt. Fellaini on d other hand too had a bad spell when he jst arrived England-truly he was absolute class yesterday and i hope he keeps it up. Welcome to England Donovan.

  • Comment number 19.

    To Paul Matthews...totally agree with you Paul that Hughes was the sort of man who would make the same decision. My comment was not a suggestion Hughes might have ducked it, simply a reflection on what Mancini did yesterday.

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm sure all Toffees are delighted to have helped out Liverpool in their hour of need. :D

  • Comment number 21.

    Phew! As a City fan I'm glad I couldnt get a ticket for our 6-0 "mauling" at the hands of the mighty Everton!

    Oh hang on we lost 2-0 via two "homer ref" decisions, had a scratch back 4 and also had Ade, Santa Claus, Ireland and SWP out!
    Everton were the better team but come on this wasnt Brazil v Italy 1970!

    The media have been waiting for this, Everton will finish mid table City will finish Top 6, City will get players back from ACN and buy, this is a non story, I knew we would get beat because Everton have players back whilst we have injuries.

    As for Fergies poodle Moyes, I don’t recall him saying Utd had no class over Rooney, he blamed Rooney, over Lescott it was Mark Hughes who allegedly “lacked class” but he has gone so Moyes/Neville and the other Man U rejects needed to talk about City in general in order to fulfill the brief.

    As for Robinho this wasn’t his type of game, when he scores a hat-trick when we face this team of Everton Galacticos later this season you may have to eat more humble pie.


  • Comment number 22.

    @8 did you use the thesaurus to check every word?

    I agree, we were pretty lucky for both goals, but i think the boys played incredibly well. There was so much movement and fluidity to the game, i couldn't believe i was watching everton!!! If anything, the fortune for the goals came from the hard work and movement of the lads on the pitch. Man city don't have the best of defences at the moment, but at least they don't have sunderland's!

    I hope the boys can carry on playing like this for the next few games, cos on this form, we could give anyone a run for their money. I just hope nothing's wrong with distin.

  • Comment number 23.

    It is a good blog Phil, but part of it almost reads "goodness, Fellaini's performance has shown that Moyes is a better judge of football than I am!"
    As a journalist with more time, resources and access to see games, I accept and indeed expect you will have more knowledge than I do (or most 'ordinary' fans do) but surely you, deep down like the rest of us, must accept a manager of Moyes experience and track record may have the edge even on a BBC journalist?

  • Comment number 24.

    Good blog as usual Phil, always an enjoyable read.
    Its finally nice to see a manager standing up to so called big named players. The guys defending Robinho on here cant have seen city away games because his work rate is pathetic, he just isnt interested. Im not doubting his ability but you cant defend a player who plays when he feels like it. Its a poor attitude and also disrespectful of players like Tevez who never stop running. Personally I don't think Man City would miss Robinho and neither would the premier league. They have the money to buy a winger/forward who will give more to the team and in return should receive a healthy amount for Robinho.

    Thought Everton were outstanding yesterday aswell, hope they can finally move up to table to places were they belong. Given the injuries they have had,at times almost an entire first team, they have done fantastic, credit Moyes and his players.

  • Comment number 25.

    For personal reasons, I have a soft spot for Everton. (The 'blue' in 'blueburns' being Chelsea).

    I enjoyed the highlights of Everton's win and couldn't help but laugh our loud and cheer at the simple and yet sublime skill that Fellaini showed when taking the ball from Bellamy.

    A good win for Everton but in all the praise, perhaps we have overlooked that this was one of those games that the players etc seem to give a little bit more when they thing there is a score to settle; namely the Lescott affair. Can they be like this against other teams and get something to show for it?

    Everton have a good team but anything more than a mid table finish looks a bit unlikely this season.

    As for Man City, in these crazy times, I don't think they'll have a problem getting rid of Robinho and they've certainly showed that taking a loss on him won't be an issue at all, other than from a public relations point of view.

    Still, for all the talk about inconsistency from the likes of Chelsea and Man U, it seems that the race for fourth place is going to be very interesting indeed with those likely teams struggling to string wins together, particularly against teams that they could or should be beating.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well done beeb, dont like freedom of speech so "refer to mods" yeah

  • Comment number 27.

    Robinho was inconsistent and regularly ineffective at Madrid and is the same here, not a great player. He occasionally produces pieces of class, but it does not happen anywhere near enough for him to be considered worthy of anywhere near his price tag. The only time he ever produces more than once or twice in a match is when he plays for Brazil. This kind of disrespect and lackadaisical attitude to his club is a massive put off and if i supported City I'd be wanting to get rid and keep the likes of Bellamy and Tevez who fight for the cause and produce match winning moments on a far more regular basis.
    Onto Everton and as a Liverpool fan I never thought I'd say this, but well done. Cracking performance and in a way it's good to see you getting some form back, should make the rivalry between us a bit more healthy with us dropping and you rising. I still think Tim Cahill is one of the best pieces of business in modern football, hate seeing his name on the teamsheet. Donovan looks like a great loan signing, maybe one worth trying to bring in on a permanent basis. He completely fits the Everton ethos that Moyes has creatde; competitive, athletic and with a nice bit of skill. Just glad you're still missing Arteta because otherwise we'd be in even more trouble.
    Oh and to whoever said Phil compared Fellaini to Zidane, if you read it properly he was just referring to the turn. Great performance from the big man and maybe he will start to prove wrong the people who said "he is an athlete not a footballer." Maybe Everton could do with making a move for his old Liege team mate Steven Defour? Would be an interesting prospect.

  • Comment number 28.

    Soccerinteg, sorry mate u have made a right pigs ear of expressing a woefully inaccurate impression of the game. Everton were by far the better side throughout and if theyd have won by 4-0 that wouldnt have flattered them on the balance of play. Very impressed by Everton in their last couple of games and i hope united find some better form before we have to play them.

  • Comment number 29.

    Bluedefence... Didnt SWP come on for Robinho? Everton were also missing players and you lost to the better team. Were you even watching the match? Cant believe im defending Everton but seriously, you cant complain about how he has reported it, you were bested in every area of the pitch and had no more injury problems or important absentees than Everton did. They should have won by more so the sarcasm is unwarranted.

  • Comment number 30.

    City are realising now that Robinho clearly never wanted to go there in the first place. His attitude stinks, he doesn't even try away from home and is starting to be inconsistent at home. They should get rid before he poisons the squad, which he's done at both his last clubs.

  • Comment number 31.

    Apart from having stupid hair, why is he a 'cult' favourite?

  • Comment number 32.

    "He has no future at Eastlands"

    I presume that is until he dominates a game and grabs the headlines, at which point you will harp on about how you and many others were wrong about him and that he has now proven himself in the Premier League etc.

    Why the absolute judgments all the time? It is infuriating.

  • Comment number 33.


    Of course Pool fans wanted Everton to win, this result was universally popular because City are everyone’s rival near the top and unless we are beating one of your relegation rivals even disliked by the strugglers.

    City are fighting 50 years of media bias against our club, its a battle that won’t be won overnight, we may lose a few battles like yesterday but I know were my money is on the final outcome.

  • Comment number 34.

    #32 twitstein

    Why the absolute judgments all the time? It is infuriating.
    Because too many journalists only look back as far as their last memory and then extrapolate based solely on that.

    Robinho was only bought because he was available and it was a chance for the new owners to make a statement.

    They made a statement alright, but not in an 'understanding football' sense. Perhaps Chelsea dodged a bullet when they didn't get him.

  • Comment number 35.

    The fact that Fellaini is playing well in the dm position is making me wonder why Moyes didnt revert to that system a little earlier in the season.

    We have got a few decent footballers in midfield and with Arteta and Jags back should finish the season strongly.

    Beating the red side in the Europa League at some stage in the process would be sweet as they fail to make the top 4 and change manager (Debacle).

  • Comment number 36.

    Got to admit I was sucked in by the hype - which is rare for me. Tevez was firing on all cylinders; Mancini looked to have sorted the defence. I had City down to win.

    However, the Evertonians at work were fairly confident and the resident Citeah fan was talking down their chances. Why? For the reasons that are now obvious. City had four games against the all too common dross in the EPL and Mancini had faced no real test -not that there are that many anymore outside the top five or six.

    On the other main talking point, Robinho has lived down to expectations in that despite having genuine talent, his temperament, as it has everywhere else he's played, once again has let him down. He will not dig deep when the goings tough, nor will he play if he doesn't want to.

    You could argue that is a fundamental problem with modern football, and with the work ethic of far too many footballers (how many people would get away with doing what Robinho does in any another job - including the rest of the entertainment industry) but he is noted for doing this.

    Elsewhere City have bought unwisely in terms of defence, Arsenal were laughing (literally) all the way to the bank with Toures (and Adebayors?) fee, and Lescott is looking less and less good value for money. As Phil points out.

    On the other hand the Evertonians were right. The tall Belgian lad, now he's playing in the right position, is showing what he truly is made of. Donovan has shown he's learnt the lessons of previous trips to Europe and is potentially ready to perform at the higher level. Another inspired Moyes move? On the other hand players are starting to return from injury and Everton are, as they showed Arsenal, beginning to look back to their best. Which, when everyone is fit, can be very good indeed.

    Against City they built on the Arsenal showing, and if they can maintain the current form, who knows, maybe they can recover lost ground and end up knocking on the door?

    There's still a long way to go.

    As for City, I'm sure Mancini can turn things around. He's got the pedigree (unlike Hughes - and please don't start, he's done nothing of note so far) to achieve, and, if he can make the right buy's, at the right price I'm sure he will.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have seen a few of the Everton games this season (the ones which are live) and I think it's Donovan who has made the difference.

    Before he came, it was only Pienaar who was a danger on the flanks, so opposition teams could easily snuff out the danger. With Donovan teams can't just concentrate their defence on one flank because they will be exposed on the other. This was evident in the Arsenal game aswell as the City game.

    Donovan is a very good player and he was very impressive in the confederations cup (as was Pienaar). Going off topic, I think the USA will be a tough team for anyone in the world cup. They are a strong side with a good defence and just enough pace and power upfront to score on a counter attack or on set peices.

  • Comment number 38.

    Fair play to Everton, on the day they made it look like men against boys.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think this was Everton's best performance of the season but to to see it as a one off is very short sighted. Even Wenger admitted Arsenal were lucky to get a point last week. Moyes has adapted a team again into being hard to beat and not without skill going forward.

    Fellaini was deservedly man of the match and has been our best player for the 6 or 78 games. Yesterday he was colossal but the whole team played well. Pienaar thenmost underarted player in the league, showing that he can play in the middle of the park and Phil Neville an escellent captain and organiser.

    Unlike a lot of neutrals, I dont despise City but it should be remembered they finished blow us last season and it was a comprehensive 2-0 victory. Given making two world class saves. I can only presume that the city fan moaning about injuries was being ironic as Arteta and Jageilka have still to kick a ball in anger.

    Finally Robinho, an embarassment to himself, at least panto villain Bellamy cares. The sooner City can get rid of Robinho the better.

  • Comment number 40.

    Bluedefence, you don't have to act like victims all the time. Everybody I know always used to see City as an honest, hard working club. Since Thaksin and now Mansour they are seen as crass and profligate and after buying Robinho, who contrary to what Twitstein says, HAS always been a bit useless (albeit with the odd flash of skill) this seems to be justified. I was happy to see City doing well as it made a change to Utd. It doesn't matter about your results when we are playing so poorly ourselves so that isnt why I was defending Everton. After the sacking of Hughes I started to realise that you've just become a poor mans Real. Too much money, not enough sense.

  • Comment number 41.

    Well done bluedefence, I've been looking for an example of how classless Citeh fans have become since they found some cash under the mattress, and you've given us some great ammunition.

    Just a few corrections, if I may, two of the players you say were injured, actually played during the game. Maybe they weren't too visible from your armchair. And to crib about injuries against an Everton side shorn of Arteta, Jagielka, Yobo, Yakubu, Hibbert, Rodwell, Anichebe, Osman and Gosling, well that's a little short sighted especially with a bench full of players that are unknown outside Goodison.

    So thanks for your input, next time it's not going to be Robinho's type of game, we'll send a card in advance so your man can keep his thermals in the cupboard

  • Comment number 42.

    Bluedefence - why not give credit where it's due? City were walloped all over Goodison and 2-0 was, quite frankly, a let off.

    As for Fellaini - the people who've ever doubted him are clueless. He's lacked application at some points but his class and, indeed, potential have always been clear to anyone who knows anything about football.

    Oh, and he's not going anywhere. He and Rodwell will form a fearsome partnership in Everton's midfield for years to come.

  • Comment number 43.

    FLETCH_DUBAI said:

    "Apart from having stupid hair, why is he a 'cult' favourite?"


    It's not "stupid hair", but simply a hairstyle that you dislike. Doubtless we'd all speak very highly of yours if we could see it.

  • Comment number 44.

    "A few swallows do not make a summer"

    More like one swallow doesn't make a summer. I can't help but feel reporters put players up on pedestals so that they can shoot them down as soon as they lose a bit of form. I believe that Fellaini was made to look good but a woeful City side, and I'm quietly confident that he'll be made to look distinctly average next week, whoever they are playing.

    As for Robinho, well he's going through a rough patch. Had he not scored 14 goals last season then I might have agreed with you that he has no place at Eastlands. However, he did, so I'm going to trust his ability to emerge from this downturn.

    Oh, and one other thing. Why do you refer to Robinho as the £32 million player? I can't say I've seen you refer to Berbaflop as a £30 million player. Let's not forget that Man Utd splash their cash, too.

  • Comment number 45.

    #41 - fatlatch

    Absolutly spot on

  • Comment number 46.

    Fellaini has made a point of saying he is enjoying playing the holding role. He did not look anywhere near as accomplished playing just off the striker last season, but David Moyes guided Everton to fifth place in the Premier League and the FA Cup Final, so the ploy was hardly a failure.

    The recent switch to an anchor role has had another effect on Everton in my opinion. It has put Tim Cahill back into his role tucked in behind the striker with licence to get into dangerous positions, and there have definitely been flashes of the old Cahill in the last few games. He is Everton's best weapon in that position.

    Everton had a good balance in midfield, and John Heitinga is also almost back to his best in central defence. He did well alongside Sylvain Distin yesterday.

    Moyes could have Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka back in the next few weeks - what do Everton fans think should be his first-choice line-up if those two crucial players are available again?

    To bluedefence...I think even the most ardent City fan would agree 2-0 was hardly a true reflection of Everton's superiority - but as I said let's put it in context. It is one defeat and City's season still looks very promising.

  • Comment number 47.

    Phil - it was not too long ago that you wrote an article regarding Everton's troubles this season and how Moyes could not really take them further than he had done last season. I wrote a response agreeing with you on that and I remember at the time I felt Moyes was looking pretty despondent.

    My view has not changed in that I still think Moyes will struggle to improve upon last season but fortunes certainly seem to have improved in the last month or two. Yesterday's performance was absolutely superb and I genuinely believe that they would have beaten any team in the country that had came to Goodison Park yesterday. It just underlines once again how good a manager Moyes is. He is the best thing to have happened to Everton in the last 20 years and it will be a tragedy if he goes. He deserves his chance to prove himself at a club with good money to spend and I just so wish he could do that at Everton. But it doesn't look as if Everton are going to be in that kind of position for a while yet so how long can we hold on to him for?

    The Everton players work extremely hard for each other but they're not just a team of grafters - there are some real top quality players in the side. There are quite a few players who could make it into any team in the country and it now looks like Fellaini might do as well! And we've still got Arteta and Rodwell to come back.

    I must admit I had serious doubts about whether Fellaini could ever justify his price tag and I'm pretty surprised at his transformation lately. I guess that's down to him playing in his favoured position but I also think he has strengthened up a bit and he now looks like he is fulfilling that potential.

    So without always having big money to spend, Moyes has managed to sign a lot of very good players. He has not made many mistakes in the transfer market.

    Everton somehow need to provide Moyes with the investment he needs to take the team further. Here's a nightmare thought - what if Benitez goes from Liverpool and they make a move for Moyes? I would hope that Moyes would have enough loyalty and respect for the fans not to make such a move but would there be some part of him that would be tempted? That would be my lowest point as an Everton fan.

    Yesterday was a victory for football over money. The rich investors like to think that money can buy everything, and in the long run they're probably right. That's a sad indictment of the game nowadays and in effect you have to sell the club's soul to the devil. Say what you like about Bill Kenwright but he's Everton through and through and his passion for the club is mirrored by Moyes and fans alike. Sadly he is going to have to sell out for the sake of the club but that's the way things have gone.

  • Comment number 48.

    What a great preformance from the Blues,Made up to give City a taste of reality .As for blue defences remarks ,you were lucky it wasn´t 6-0 ,funny how a few bob can change peoples perspective.Did you even see the game?And as to some of the remarks about the goals being lucky ,it´s laughable ,what about the two off the woodwork?Lucky?Everton are going to have a very strong second half of the season,done by hard work and good managment and player loyalty ,something that money can´t buy.

  • Comment number 49.

    Maddog,Moyes go to Liverpool?Are you serious?Never has there been a more loyal manager.I think he´s rather stick white hot pins in his eyes then go to the darkside.

  • Comment number 50.

    #8 (and a couple more) - What's this tosh about the free kick and penalty being home decisions or soft? One of the broadsheets (i.e. reasonably decent newspapers whose readers can understand words of more than 2 syllables) said that Zabaleta had "flattened" Saha, and I have to say I do not recall protests from City at the time? Your description gives no credit whatsoever to Pienaar. The wall did go AWOL, no doubt, and Pienaar took advantage brilliantly. And you say the shot was not hit hard - sorry is there some rule that says it has to be?

    And your comment on the penaly - "a foul if any". Hhm, watching the game through sky blue tinted spectacles were we? The broadsheets and every commentator I have seen says it was a nailed on and well-deserved penalty. Refs need to stand up and be counted on shirt-pulling, so maybe Andre Marriner took a huge step in that direction yesterday. Micah Richards and all other defenders would stop the holding and pulling if refs did that all the time.

    Fellaini was class - for once his little ballet act with the ball worked, as he hasn't quite puuled it off in a couple of other games. However, Steven Pienaar deserves credit too. He is built like Robinho but unlike Robinho he has bottle and heart and will run himself into the ground for the fans, his team mates and his manager. He tackled like a bulldozer, not shrinking from any challenge.

    A magnificent team performance. Just need to keep it going now.

  • Comment number 51.

    Excellent Blog Phil Everton tuley Deserved there win And i Hope They Carry On up The Table

  • Comment number 52.


    Fellaini should have played in defensive midfield role for the last 10 matches - Cahill would have been in better form if that was the case.

    Hats off to David Moyes once again for last night though

  • Comment number 53.

    It could've so easily been 6-0. Your obscenely expensive collection of footballers that was on the pitch were quite simply outclassed; it was embarrassing at times. This by a team assembled for a fraction of the cost.
    Perhaps you could try to be a little more gracious in defeat? However, that would require a modicum of decorum, which recent history would suggest, your club is devoid of.

  • Comment number 54.

    Moyes is right about the jokers in the media. Fellaini was getting pillored within two weeks of being there. I dont know whether it was just a lazy story for the journalist but it was certain poor journalism.

  • Comment number 55.

    Fellani is not that good his display aginst City cannot be judged properly because the team from Eastlands were hapless on the day its as simple as that.
    As for Everton their strength is their workrate and committment but in truth they are just another ALSO RAN team in the Premier League.put it this way CITY despite losing to Everton yesterday will finish above them this season that you can be sure in fact Liverpool FC will too!

  • Comment number 56.

    It would be a pretty poor manager indeed who didn't sub a player underperforming, I am shocked at the suggestion it's takes mental strength that MH wouldn't have had. It's just a pretty obvious decision. Weird comment.

  • Comment number 57.

    Good blog.
    Everton deserved to win and nice to see Man City shown that football is played on the pitch and not with chequebooks.

    A few comments:

    Fellaini - Yes. He is immensely talented and played worth every bit he can. The drag back fooled Bellamy to nothing and also he looks good on set-pieces. Bad luck to miss the goal. I hope he keeps on improving and make his way to a Top 4 team.

    Donovan - I was impressed by this guy when I saw him Confed Cup against Spain before the season started. I had thought he would join some big club in transfer window then... but didnt happen. How did Everton snap him is a pleasant surprise! He's the guy who is making runs and creating space for things to happen for Piennar and Cahill. He did the same against Arsenal last game.

    Robinho - Doesnt look like motivated enuff to play EPL. Time to haul him off.

    Ohh btw - I seek just one correction in the blog - Fellaini isnt the best midfielder in the country. Cesc Fabregas is !!! (12 goals and 12 assists)

  • Comment number 58.

    Always thought Fellani had skill but dodgy temperament, all the same one drag back doesn't make a zidane.

  • Comment number 59.

    Good Day to One and ALL.

    Although I am a Gooner I hope i am permitted to chip in with a few
    opinions of my own regarding Everton and City.

    Firstly, like many I have been very impressed with Fellaini and have
    commented about him on other forums. I actually thought the guy was
    an Italian until it was pointed out he's from Belgium. He is defo a
    good player. Mr Moyes is a decent guy and Everton are a good side and
    I would agree with many who say had it not been for thier injury list
    they would have without doubt been up there challenging for forth, but
    everyone, the way the PL is going this term they still might well do it!

    Now for City. I make no secret i never much rated Hughes, however I am
    a bit miffed to see the way he was treated for a mo i thought we had
    the second comming of chelsea, who as we all know command very little
    in the way of respect for Managers in the game.

    Someone has said, the media have set City up only to be knocked down as
    soon as they suffer a loss I agree. Its as if they are dying for City
    fail in the same way they pilloried Arsenal and Arsene Wenger and also
    hoped they too would fall by the wayside so the order at the Top can be
    changed. Alas there is particular bias towards Man u and now Chelsea
    the media in general are more than happy those two teams remain in the
    top tier.

    When City found new owners and the wealth that went with them I was
    pleased for them as a club and thier surporters who have for so long
    had to play under the shadow of Man U. I have not changed my mind,
    There can be no doubt they mean buisness, they have a great fan base
    and over the years have played some great entertaining footy and they
    more than deserve a place at the top table.

    and lastly, in defence of " Bluedefence " I have often seen him
    comment on various forums, he is far from Crass! and he is certainly
    not a glory hunter, he's sticking up for his team in the face of many
    who are perhaps jealous of Citys new found wealth and the threat they
    will defo pose in the PL. The fact his team now have buckets of wedge
    has not gone to his head and the same can be said for the majority of
    the City fans.

    Good Luck to both Everton and City for the rest of the campaign both
    more than warrent inclusion unlike a few other teams i could mention.


    Up the Gunner and Meerkats " simples "

  • Comment number 60.

    Great blog Phil, agree with virtually all you say. Fellaini did a reasonable, if inconsistent job in a more foward role last year. I think Moyes has proven again that he is an excellent manager, particularly in the timing of Fellaini's move to the holding role - I believe that he has waited for Fellaini to adjust to the pace of the English game before moving him. Lets face it last year his tackling was awful (resulting in 13 bookings - some harsh but many fair enough). As for your question (in comment 46) regarding our strongest 11, I think IF and when all players are available Moyes has some big decisions to make. Can't see places in the first 11 for some established players (Yobo, Distin, Rodwell, Hibbert, Osman, Yakubu etc.) My first choice 11 would be (1-4-5-1) Howard - Neville Jagielka Heitinga Baines - Pienaar Cahill Fellaini Arteta Billyatedinov - Saha. Would be interested in your view Phil and that of other Toffees

  • Comment number 61.

    Fantastic to see Fellaini putting in such a good performance, since we've signed him I have blindly defended him to Everton fans and non-Everton fans alike and I have to admit even my patience was beginning to wain. I saw him against Birmingham in December and he was lackluster at best, at fault for their goal and decidedly disinterested. Yesterday however he was virtuosic, Moyes may have been a bit over eager with his statement but that does not mean to say he was wrong, Fellaini has what it takes to be the best and I just hope we continue to see him proving it...

  • Comment number 62.

    Good article Phil, in response to your last question - what team would I like to see Everton play with a fully fit squad?


    The questions for us are - in defence, we're small with Heitinga and Jags. In Midfield, do we play Bily? 3 'wide' players yesterday in Bily Donovan and Pienaar was one of the most attacking teams I've ever seen Moyes play. Even with just Saha up front. Also what about the Yak?

    That team is a big IF though, Yakubu had a big achilles, Arteta and Jagielka have had big knee injuries, will they be the same players on their return? I agree with many that we'll struggle to make a Europa spot this year, and to do so would be an excellent season for us, all taken into account.

    Just want to say, absolutely fantastic last couple of games, without Jags and Arteta, arguably our best two players. And glad we've found out Fellaini is capable of replacing Carlsey, just hope he can find consistency now.

  • Comment number 63.

    To quote myself from these pages in September 2008:

    "I was rather hoping Chelsea would sign [Robinho] as he is pretty much a nailed on failure - I see the same problems with him as I saw with Veron when Man U signed him - he's brilliant if he's given time on the ball, but he won't get that in the premier league, and he is too lightweight.

    Man City had a lucky escape when they didn't sign Ronaldinho, but they've just blown £30m+ here."

    If any of the big 4, er 3, need any help choosing galacticos, give me a call first. ;-)

  • Comment number 64.

    The ability of football fans to deny reality and become defensive never ceases to amaze me. Especially Man City fans. Phil is right in stating what is obvious to every neutral observer; Robinho is a waste of space. Alright kiddies, calm down........this is not an attack on your beloved Man City, the greatest, most decent club on the planet. It's just the truth and it's part of a larger pattern; Brazilians don't do well in Manchester. They're an emotional, unpredictable, fickle crowd whose mood is apt to change for just about any reason and they sulk. Kleberson, Elano, Anderson and Robinho are/were great footballers but their presence on the Salford Riviera is/was simply for the purposes of accumulating as much moolah as possible for the least effort. Furthermore, their style of play is not suited to the helter skelter of the Premiership.

    On a brighter note, you guys will love Landon Donovan. He's fast, smart, has a great touch and above all he has a great work ethic and doesn't come with all the emotional baggage which the Brazilians carry around with them.

    From a Yank (I know........I know........we know NOTHING about soccer......excuse me, FOOTBALL).

  • Comment number 65.

    lol@55,Sour grapes?Bitter taste?Fellaini is that good ,it wasn´t just yesterday he´s put in man of the match preformances and he is improving every game .Unlike Liverpool .Though why you mention them is beyond me ,or maybe not , is it your a red and just couldn´t stand the praise heaped on a great Everton preformance whilst Liverpool are falling apart?Ipersonally think Everton will continue to rise up the table and will finish in a european spot ,whilst Liverpool will drop like a stone ,No torres no gerrard no Liverpool.City may well make forth ,but then again who knows it is after all ,Man city .

  • Comment number 66.

    Fellaini is a very good player and I don't think Everton have seen the best of him. Am not sure he was worth the money they paid but still a good signing.

    Donavon looks like a very good loan signing - are Everton intending to make it permanent?

    And, finally, what of Robinho? Will he be pushed out in the summer and, if so, who will buy him? He wants to go to Barca but, to be honest, do Barca need him?


  • Comment number 67.


    City were outclassed on the day, no doubt about that and congratulations to Everton who totally bossed us and thoroughly deserved the 3 points.

    However, as for our "obscenely" expensive squad that played, we were missing a hell of a lot of top first team players, not bench warmers. As a result, we only had two midfielders playing and it was more a 4-2-4 formation. Not surprisng that we couldn't string a single pass together though the middle of the park. The cost of our defense yesterday was roughly 14m;

    Garrido 1.5m
    Micah Free
    Zab 6.5m
    Kompany 6m

    So as for our "obscenely" assembled squad, I think you've been reading too many redtops.

    That isn't to say that even with a full strength squad we'd have got a result because I honestly doubt we would have given the way Everton played, and I appreciate they have injuries too.

    My point is, City are better than the account we gave of ourselves yesterday, the league table doesn't lie. As for the real "test", I dont really buy that there are easy games in the Premiership. If that's true, it's really a poor reflection on Hughes who could only manage draws (1 win in 11) against what could be described as mostly "easy" games.

    As for Robinho, questioned Mancini's judgement for the first time when he elected to bring him on when SWP was on the bench, saw the error of his ways though so thumbs up, he's still learning about the squad.

    Rant over, anyway well done Everton. Played with passion and that's what I always like to see.

  • Comment number 68.

    #48 At last I've found the Blue that stole my user name! I've now had to reinvent myself, kinda like Chad Ochocinco!
    Top performance and nothing more than we deserved. Be honest, every Blue was scratching their collective heads when Fellaini turned up and not Defour. However, Moyes and Round saw something in the big guy that would make him the new Tommy Gravesen or Lee Carsley. Expect the big fella to be in the new Head and Shoulders advert.
    As for Robinho, like me he should change his name, perhaps to Lombard. Loads Of Money But A Right Drip! The biggest waste of oxygen in the Premiership. Like having a Ferrari with a Lada engine in it.
    The return of Jags and Mickey Arteta gives Moyes the one thing he's not had all season, a selection dilemna due to having available players. We all know that a fit Jags would be on the plane to South Africa, so lets hope that he's soon back to his best. Mickey will slot back into the midfield playmaker role, alongside Fellaini as the defensive midfielder. Peanut and Lando go wide with TC playing behind Saha or the Yak.

  • Comment number 69.

    59. At 1:58pm on 17 Jan 2010, davidgilmourthe3rd wrote:
    Good Day to One and ALL.

    Cheers David....if only all football fans could see the wood for the trees!

    #67: Sorry mate but letting facts get in the way of a good story is totally unacceptable, please do not question the spin.

    Watching Villa v West Ham and notice a lot of empty seats, we get taken to the cleaners by the media if we dont sell out every game, but of course Villa, Everton, Spurs are "propper clubs" not 100 year old Johnny com lately's like City!

    PS Phil explain your revenge nonsense, it was Hughes who said Lescott wanted to move to a "big club" or do you still blame Gordon Lee every time Everton lose a game.


  • Comment number 70.



    to be fair, you cant really use the injuries as excuse against everton, who have 7 first team players out. having said that, losing one game doesnt suddenly make city a bad team, and im sure they'll be looking to bounce back, though i'd like to think that wont happen against us in the carling cup!

    honestly what are you views on robinho? for me hes incredibly talented, but with a poor mentalility. and until he changes that he wont reach his potential

  • Comment number 71.

    see the prob w/ people in YOUR job (writing) is you are always chasing the now. what's happening now. but there is no real vision. you watch a game, but don't really see- just go w/ the trend, what's happening at the moment. this is why you misjudged felliani before. this is why you misjudge robinho now...even great players sometimes have bad games. usually an older, more experienced player opposite them makes sure of it. sometimes the player is just not clicking w/ their teammates. these things happen more often when players are young, but can still occur anytime to any player. robinho will be fine. felliani will be fine. this is why the people who make the important decisions in sport regarding players and their worth are teachers in a way. talk to them. learn from them. improve...

  • Comment number 72.

    A great performance from Everton, probably their best this season by Moyes own account. As a City fan I was hoping for the draw but I am gracious enough to accept we were outplayed all over the park, credit to Everton.

    The problem I have is those 'incendiary' comments in the match day programme. Suppossing Everton would have won by 4 or 5 goals as could have been the case, comments like that only may have only led to rioting City fans, fueled by the defeat and Moyes deliberate efforts to anger the away support.

    Lets hope Mancini does not take Moyes lead and talk about the poor regard Everton has for city and how their manager thinks the fans lack class and all the connotations that evokes...

    Interestingly I read comments in one of the red tops today that appeared to indicate Moyes was rather (jealous) annoyed about City potentially taking 4th spot in the PL this season, in his arrogance he obviously missed the fact several teams are competing for this....I suspect the Arab money is the real 'cause celebre' and not the ridiculous sum we paid for an average defender..

    Good luck to Everton for the rest of the season, don't expect such an easy ride at coms though....ctid

  • Comment number 73.

    Its been said earlier that Fellaini has been playing out of position. Isnt this a good reason as to why he was playing below par? Its not difficult to analyze. Now hes in his natural position, he is at his best. I dont know how you can create a blog so long when you can some it up in this short paragraph.

    Regarding Robhino, he just doesnt look like he wants to be at City. He is a great player when on form, but mentally, something is wrong and football is mostly about keeping your head. Hes kind of lost his. I wathed him for Brazil in the Confed cup last summer and he was excellent. He needs a move.

  • Comment number 74.

    Average at best.

  • Comment number 75.

    I also think the result may actually benefit City.

    1. The media will stop talking about this PL title run nonsense

    2. Mancini might now dip into the transfer market having concluding he can't paper over the cracks until first choice players recover.

    3. We will be fired up for 'redemption' Tuesday

  • Comment number 76.

    firstly iv always liked fellaini - good on the ball, good in the air and does his job (when played in the right position) - a key man for everton.

    on to robinho however... when he first came he was doing well coz he was expected to do well, and had confidence in himself. i remeber that beautiful dink over almunia he scored - one of my favourite goals in recent times. but as soon as it went wrong, hes never picked himelf up again. i just wonder if Robinho would do a job at a bigger English club becasue they've got an established reputation. at city he was the linchpin when he arrived, and the focal figure, expecting a team to be built around him, but perhaps if he moved to man united, arsenal or chelsea (teams which are more established, and have more quality), would he settle down and produce the talwnt and magic that he so obviously has got?

  • Comment number 77.


    As Hughes was sacked for the "Trajectory of results" and the trajectory from a loss is more loss and therefore the sack, do you think city should now be consistant and sack him? I mean if they truely believed what they said about Hughes the would wouldn't they?

    While I think Mancini will probably do a good job at City (how that hurts as a Utd fan) i think hughes would of too, but the so did Sven, he beat the owners end of season target just like hughes was, and still got sacked!

    The Cities and Evertons respective fortunes show one simple thing, the media are a right fickle bunch!

  • Comment number 78.

    Everton have been playing well for a while now but need to start scoring more goals from open play. They have sometimes been guilty of trying to walk the ball in the net. There is still so much improvement to come from this side. A decent run in either the fa cup or europa is the least David moyes deserves after having such a hard time with injuries. Injuries are part of the game but with very little money to spend what a job Moyes continues to do. Fellaini was always going to improve and im sure Bilyaletdinov will settle and be a very good everton player. Next season is going to be massive for Everton. As for Man City I just cant see them winning the league for years. They dont have a name big enough to attract the galacticos. I know Chelsea done it but they have the attraction of playing in the capital.

  • Comment number 79.

    To maddog963...Moyes said after the game that he had been "a bit grumpy" recently because a) he was convinced he had a better team than results suggest and b) he was still without important players.

    Yesterday's result and performance, plus players like Jagielka and Arteta on the way back, made him a very happy man.

    Moyes was despondent a few weeks ago, but what a difference there is now. He has got players like Steven Pienaar fit again - he had only just returned for the derby game against Liverpool - and Landon Donovan looks a very clever addition.

    Team spirit has also been a big Everton strength and it was noticeable when Donovan was substituted, and captain Phil Neville, Marouane Fellaini and John Heitinga all made a point of running over to shake his hand and congratulate him on his performance.

    And for a player who has occasionally had his critics, what a great influence Phil Neville is when he is fit and playing.

  • Comment number 80.


    I think you are being too harsh, and once again and as always, precocious in your comments.
    Why do you have to single out Robinho for yesterday's performance? I don't think Tevez or Bellamy had a better game. City had an awful game, Mancini had to change things and he subbed the out of form player. That's an alright decision, no sub has a given right to finish the game. It wasn't brave management, it was just correct.
    You're such a pamphleteering journalist, fickle and always writing at the heat of the moment without looking at the bigger picture. I'm sorry to criticize you, because I don't wanna fall into the same trap.

    Robinho had a decent start to last season and faded. This season he's been injured and hasn't had a chance to hit form and yet you bang on him like he's been playing every game this season.
    You also ruled Fellaini out in the past without having the necessary vision to recognize that if he played in the middle of the park he could impose himself due to his frame. And now you're praising him...
    Plus, why do you have to question Robinho for skipping challenges. He isn't a player to get stuck in, that's just being picky.
    I know that his price tag is absurd, but he's not responsible for that nor he has to bear it.

    Anyways, I'm not defending Robinho's form because he has been criticized in Brazil too. He does have attitude problems and as someone else says, he thinks he's a better player than he is. It just angers me that your criticism has no foundations and it's set to stir things up.
    I think Robinho does have a future at Eastlands because for the 1st time in a long while, his body language indicates a player that is unhappy with his form. I hope that brings some humility that will change his fortune. I'm a strong believer of quality. There's nothing worst than dumping a player that becomes a hit somewhere else. In that situation, the club is the loser, not the player.

    Finally, do assume your positions, don't write "many believed that...". Who are the many??
    I'm not gonna say you should be sacked or that you are terrible because I do read your posts and I'm no hypocrit. I just urge you, please refrain your tone. "Plenty" would appreciate that.

  • Comment number 81.

    Agree about Fellaini and Robinho - but what's that in your match report about a "contentious" penalty - because the shirt tugging started outside the area but was only penalized when it continued inside the area? When oh when will players, fans and journalists understand this issue: if a player is fouled outside the area, and play continues, and the player is fouled again, this time inside the area, without the ref having previously blown the whistle to stop the game, it's a penalty. It's not rocket science - it's about playing advantage. It's odd that people who have huge experience of football fail to understand this clearly. I remember an incident in an England-Holland game years ago, when a speedy Dutch attacker was hauled back by an England defender outside the box, but carried on running and was hauled back again inside the box. Easy decision - it's a penalty. It's not up to defenders to referee the game and decide the location of a free kick. "I chopped him outside the area before I chopped him inside the area, so I have decided it's a free kick on the edge of the area, ref." "Oh, that's OK then." My 12-year-old son can understand that it's about a combination of logic, justice, the advantage law and an understanding of the laws of the game. Why can't you? Rant over.

  • Comment number 82.

    Hi phil, Good blog. It's nice to see that people are finally starting to see that Felli is a proper player. A lot if people forget that he came to England as a 20 year old, speaking no English and had to adapt quickly. The fee was high but his personal circumstances were disregarded, unfairly in my opinion. Gosling for example is a similar age and is afforded far more leeway than fellaini ever was. As someone who has defended him in the past it is satisfying that he is now doing the business. He is only going to get stronger too by building himself up and in a short while we'll have a beast on our hands.

    It's no co-incidence that everton's 7 game unbeaten run has coincided with Fellaini's run of form. He's been excellent for months now. An earlier poster criticised him when he played against Birmingham but I thought he was colossal that day too. It wasn't his man for the goal that they scored. I think it was billy that didn't track back. Against Sunderland too he had a great battle with kenwyne jones and finished thy match scoring a deserved equaliser. The same can be said in the games against burnley, arsenal and Chelsea. We've been unlucky of late and haven't been getting the results we have deserved.

    In response to the poster who has criticised moyes' pre match comments re te lescott saga; I have said this before on this forum and will say it again. I have it on good authority from a man city employee that the club were releasing stories though the media in the summer to specifically unsettle players. Moyes will be fully aware of this and is right to be annoyed. I, like moyes thought we were pretty similar to city and it is disappointing to see how money can make people think they can just drive a coach and horses through the proper way of doing things. In short, they should have had
    more respect.

    Anyway, another great result from the indomitable White socks of Walton. I was looking at our run of fixtures in February with dread a few weeks ago and I now look forward to them with eagerness.

  • Comment number 83.

    In response to the poster who has criticised moyes' pre match comments re te lescott saga; I have said this before on this forum and will say it again. I have it on good authority from a man city employee that the club were releasing stories though the media in the summer to specifically unsettle players. Moyes will be fully aware of this and is right to be annoyed. I, like moyes thought we were pretty similar to city and it is disappointing to see how money can make people think they can just drive a coach and horses through the proper way of doing things. In short, they should have had
    more respect.


    Is the proper way of doing things signing a player on a full time contract (Tim Howard) i.e. not loan, and then not playing him against the selling club, is that legal, appropriate fair on other Premier League clubs?

    I doubt there is a single club in the country whose not done a few dodgy things in their time, yet it seems City are the only ones criticized for their misdemeanors.

    I dont like Moyes and i dont like Neville but have always found Everton fans decent, grounded people so good luck apart from when we play at COMS and look forward to a McNulty report on Robinho's revenge blah de blah.

    PS Well done to West Ham at Villa, great support from the traveling Irons fans yet again.

  • Comment number 84.

    Robinho has always been the same he used to go missing for Real Madrid in front of the hostile basque crowds. He only can perform when the crowd is behind him or at least not too hostile.

  • Comment number 85.

    I'm not privy to the reasoning for the Howard deal but I don't think that's comparable to the way lescott was pursued. I liked lescott very much and still
    do. I don't blame him for tripling his wages and playing with the calibre of player you are now able to sign. Plus we
    did ok out of the deal too.

    I don't begrudge city any success, if anyone deserves some success it's your lot. Anyway, good luck for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 86.

    "The drawbacks were a habit of attracting yellow cards from referees - sometimes very harshly and seemingly based on the fact that was just so hard to miss."

    or maybe based on the fact that he seems physically unable to go up for anything in the air without elbowing the other player in the face.

  • Comment number 87.

    An enjoyable article, although a bit simplistic - there were 22 players on the field, not 2. Also, I agree with the comment about 'Twittersphere' - yuck!

  • Comment number 88.

    If you want a giggle, get yourselves over to the official Liverpool site, where they're banning hslf the regulars like there's no tomorrow.

    It's absolutely comoical.

  • Comment number 89.

    shame your colleague Garth Crooks once again ignored our players especially Fellaini for favour of players from higher league clubs for his team of the week. He does it a lot:(

  • Comment number 90.

    I was one of the few Chelsea fans who did not shed a tear when we failed to sign Robinho. I had watched the player before he went to Real Madrid, followed his "progress" at Real Madrid and saw the fiasco that preceded his exit from the Spanish club. I had long come to my conclusion that Robinho was a little more than a decent player with a little character and non-existent personality.

    Robinho's fanboys would say he is at the wrong club. The problem is, they can't really point to Robinho taking the Bernabeu by storm when he was there. He was struggling both in techniques and in physique. His agents of course succeeded in making his exit from Real Madrid look like the result of a clash of personalities (with whom, I can't tell) Sadly many football punters bought it.

    Some point to his decent performance with the Brazil national team. But then going by that measure Darius Vassel should command a transfer fee of £32x2m.

    The task for Mancini (as far as Robinho is concerned) is to package him and sell him on to recoup a decent fraction of what City paid for him. Robinho has never been and will never be a top footballer.

  • Comment number 91.

    Clearly Fellaini took time to adapt but had to play further forward last season, as he was giving away so many fouls it is less dangerous to do so in the opposition final third rather than in his own. Every signing is a gamble to some degree, although clearly Moyes can pick a player and wouldn't have chucked most of his budget for the season at a 20 year old when he did so.

  • Comment number 92.

    This may have been mentioned before but has anyone else noticed just how badly £30million + signings tend to fair in the Premier League.

    Shevchenko = Flop
    Robinho = Flop
    Berbatov = Flop

    Only Rio Ferdinand, who I believe cost £30million, can claim to have been a success. I think this is astonishing. Football really has gone mad. If you are going to sign a player for that sort of money they should at least be decent surely???

  • Comment number 93.

    Robinho is a prima donna, it's as simple as that. Undoubted talent but little work ethic to match.

    As a Chelsea fan, I was not all that disappointed to miss out on signing him; I knew the baggage and the attitude that came with him.

    The jury's still out on Fellaini for me. He looks a little clumsy, which is to be expected from such a big, lanky lump of a man. He was linked to Chelsea not too long ago and I, as with Robinho, wouldn't be too disappointed if that simply turned out to be a rumour.

  • Comment number 94.

    Phil - really surprised you don't mention the illness that Fellini suffered over the summer of 2009 that led to a significant weight loss (I think he suffered some sort of virus?). For someone with Fellini's lanky physique, it's not surprising he has taken time to get back to his former physical condition and therefore started to play as he did in the second half of last season. A decent article nonetheless, but failing to mention the illness given this could be the main reason for Fellini's below average early season form is a bit of a omission.

  • Comment number 95.

    Firstly would like to say well done to Everton for their win over man city especially with injuries they have had to endure over the first half of the season.

    With regards to Fellaini I think he'll be a cracking player-bags of potential, keeps it simple, and looks like the confidence is starting to flow within him. He seems to thrive in the DM position and personally I think when Arteta comes back into the Everton team the differnce in the Everton team will be noticeable-fellaini will shore things up and arteta will add the killer touch in the last third that will allow the likes of Saha, Yakuba and Cahill to finish-so I think Everton will be climbing the table before long.

    What I do wonder is how long Everton can keeps Moyes for? I do apologise to Everton fans because I likely ask a queation that they are (rightfully) sick and tired of-but the worry i guess is, if Everton dont match his ambitions in terms of funding and imroving the squad does he feel he has taken them as far as they can go? Personally i hope not-Everton are a team i have a soft-spot for so i do hope the fans and players get the success the so crave and deserve.

    Finally with reagarsd to Robinho-he may have more talent in his little finger than I have in my entire body but what a lazy and dare I say it, ungrateful sort he looks! I personally think city are better off without him look at Tevez, Bellamy, SWP, Ireland-players who are as talented in terms of skill, but in terms of effort and to coin an old phrase 'playing for the jersey' they are certainly the type of player I'd love in my team-the mighty St. Mirren!

  • Comment number 96.

    I would have to echo the sentiments of a few other posters when I say I find the rather shortsighted and triumphalist nature of this piece to be slightly grating.

    To begin with the whole subject matter of the article seems to based on a single game. Fellaini has gone from being a misfit to a top premiership midfielder by virtue of one performance is the impression you are giving. You give reason for his earlier misfit status by pointing to a patchy start of the season but you neglect to mention he was suffering from an illness that caused him to lose significant amounts of weight and weakened him. This led to him being in and out of the side early in the season in which the entire Everton team wasnt playing particularly well and were missing key players. To suddenly decide Fellaini is now in the top midfielders bracket based on his performance against Man City seems to rather hasty.

    With regards to Robinho - he is clearly a talented but somewhat temperamental player. I find for summary of him to be as much vindictive as insightful. For starters, Man City, if they wanted to, would easily find a club in Italy or Spain who would be more than happy to buy Robinho provided the price was reasonable. You make it sound as if the player is so bad that no club on earth would want him. Completely innaccurate. Your attitude seems to suggest you think he is just a poor player as opposed to a talented player who is struggling for form and perhaps confidence/motivation which is what I would guess most people believe. His promising start at Man City showed that he does have talent and last season he wasnt all that bad. His price tag has offerded you some ammunition to attack him with but that has nothing to do with him. A player like Robinho may need a little extra man management from a coach in order to get the best out of him. You need only look at his team mate Bellamy to see how a player that has had bust ups at several clubs as well as causing dressing room disharmony (recently after Hughes was sacked for example) can find form when conditions are right. Something I think you should bear in mind given your overwhelming support of Bellamy in your previous blog on City.

    Overall the article was a bit reckless - more a sense of bandwaggoning rather than insight. A player has a good game and suddenly he is a top player, a player has a bad game and now he is useless. Very little insight into the reasons behind both.

  • Comment number 97.

    Nice blog Phil! Having a soft spot for the Toffees it's good to see Fellaini playing well. David Moyes is an excellent manager and Everton are going to do some major damage to their rivals I think.

  • Comment number 98.

    82. At 5:58pm on 17 Jan 2010, Mogba1 wrote:
    Hi phil, Good blog. It's nice to see that people are finally starting to see that Felli is a proper player. A lot if people forget that he came to England as a 20 year old, speaking no English and had to adapt quickly.
    Having done similar I can guarantee it's a tough experience. Some thrive on it, like Tevez, some take their time at little, then thrive, like Vidic or Evra or even Fellaini, some don't make it, Veron and perhaps Robinio.

    For my money, I am delighted, no one was talking about Evertons injury list they were banging on about Arsenal liverpool and United. Now Everton have improved the squad and have players coming back I tip them for a top 10 finish.
    What I don't understand is the abysmal form of Fulham and Sunderland, just as they were catching Liverpool, they seem to have fallen away completely.
    Sorry to be the one to mention the usual suspects but relevant really. Phil I am wondering if you can see why those teams have fallen and do everton have a good chance of finishing above Liverpool?

  • Comment number 99.

    I think this article is a teeny bit hysterical Phil. You've admitted that you don't fancy Robinho, and would appear to be looking out for him. Is this based on the two games you mentioned in your article or what your mates at the BBC are saying?

    I agree with you that it was a poor performance, but I can't think of a good performance from any City player, barring maybe a couple of good saves from Given. Seems to me that you're jumping on the old bandwagon. Robinho is going through some very poor form, not helped by being out injured for 3 months. Hopefully he can turn it round, as he's definitely a player who can light up the Prem when he's on his day.

    Get stuck into the HRT Phil, and try to be a bit more balanced and objective next time eh?

    Congratulations to Everton, on a thoroughly deserved win.

  • Comment number 100.

    Hey phill whats it like having 50 editors reply to your blog?


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