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Can FA Cup cheer Moyes and Ancelotti?

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Phil McNulty | 09:18 UK time, Friday, 28 January 2011

If the stakes were high when Everton met Chelsea in the 2009 FA Cup final at Wembley, then there will still be plenty riding on the outcome when the two clubs meet again in fourth-round combat at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Should Everton go out to the holders and last season's Double winners, Toffees manager David Moyes knows, for all the admiration he has won for fighting the financial odds at the impoverished Merseysiders, his reign might be measured by not landing a trophy.

If the men from Goodison Park lose, Moyes' next chance to get his hands on silverware will come around about the 10th anniversary of his arrival from Preston. For all the Scot's fine work, this is a stark and sobering statistic and one which may cause the 47-year-old to reflect on the direction in which his tenure is heading.

The FA Cup also has serious appeal for Moyes' Chelsea counterpart Carlo Ancelotti, with a collapse in form handing the Premier League initiative to Manchester United - the Red Devils are 10 points clear of the West Londoners at the top of the table - and Barcelona presenting an imposing obstacle for anyone with sights on the Champions League.

If some of the weekend's FA Cup ties will be played out by under-strength teams and managers with their eyes on other prizes, the confrontation between Everton and Chelsea is unlikely to be among them.

Moyes knows this is his side's last hope of success in a season of underachievement, while Ancelotti will accept any silverware as an answer to the charges that Chelsea's squad has been allowed to grow old and into decline together.

At least Ancelotti has the security - all things being relative of course - of an owner in Roman Abramovich who has demonstrated he still has deep pockets when the fancy takes him, as proved by his £35m bid for Liverpool's Fernando Torres and the expensive pursuit of Benfica defender David Luiz.

For Moyes, life exists on football's breadline and his scouring of the loan markets and the loss of stand-out performer Steven Pienaar to Tottenham in this brief transfer window is grim evidence of Everton's continuing reduced financial circumstances.

Former Chelsea and Everton winger Pat Nevin will be at Goodison Park for BBC Radio 5 live on Saturday - and expects an encounter that reflects the importance of the FA Cup to the two clubs this season.

Nevin told me: "Both sides will want this badly and I don't expect to see any weakened teams out there - anything but, in fact.

"There will be no danger of Chelsea taking this lightly. This is a competition they can possibly win and they will go for it. I would be stunned, amazed, if Carlo Ancelotti fielded a weakened team and I don't think David will either. This will be a proper FA Cup tie.

"The Premier League is looking more of a long shot for Chelsea with Manchester United now picking up and going so well. The Champions League is a tough gig as well with Barcelona still in it, so Chelsea may have more of an opportunity in the FA Cup.

"Chelsea and Ancelotti will not want to end up without silverware this season. It would only underline all the talk about Chelsea being on the way out, or done for and falling from a great height. This is why this tie so important to them.

"I am not hugely shocked by how Chelsea's form has deteriorated in the last few weeks, although the 4-0 win at Bolton will give them a real lift. If you look at the personnel they released in the summer all it needed was some injuries and the strength of the squad was really going to be put under the microscope.

"And it was always going to happen. It is a post-World Cup season and even if players didn't play long into the competition there was always the likelihood that they would pick up injuries. It has happened to Chelsea with Frank Lampard and John Terry being injured and Didier Drogba also getting malaria. This is the core, the spine, of Ancelotti's first choice team."

Nevin added: "Ancelotti has also been unlucky in that he has also lost two other key players through injury. Yossi Benayoun effectively came in to replace Joe Cole and if you asked me to make a choice between the two I would take Benayoun every day.

"Benayoun was on the level just below Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres at Liverpool. When he played, things usually happened. And one of the reasons I was never a huge fan of [former Reds manager] Rafael Benitez was that he often used to leave Benayoun out after he played well. It was beyond me.

"The other big loss has been Yuri Zhirkov, who provides cover all along the left-hand side. He had a brilliant run of form when he got his chance and then got injured."

Moyes has fought to hide his frustration at the lack of progress and lack of financial muscle at his disposal this season - but Nevin has no doubts he remains the central figure in Everton's future, irrespective of events over the rest of this season.

"What I will say is that if David Moyes wasn't at Everton, I would be delighted to see him at Chelsea if there was ever a vacancy. I don't know one person who could have done a better job at Everton in the circumstances," Nevin commented.

"Things may not have gone right for David so far this season but I would say Everton need David Moyes more than David Moyes needs Everton. If he was relieved of his post on Saturday afternoon, which he won't be obviously, there would be a queue for his services. He would not be out of work for long because he is so highly regarded within the game.

"Everton's problem is something unbelievably simple and yet something made more complicated by the fact they have not been able to solve it through the transfer market. They need a striker who can score them 15 to 20 goals in a season.

"You see Aston Villa spending £24m on Darren Bent and Manchester City spending £27m on Edin Dzeko and Everton just cannot do that financially, nowhere near that.

"I saw Everton play at Liverpool recently and, while Liverpool were better player-for-player, Everton were brilliant tactically. I had a high vantage point at Anfield and was able to see the organisation and structure of Everton's team and the way they set up for set-pieces. It was outstanding and obviously the result of a lot of work from the manager.

"David has players like Tim Cahill, Seamus Coleman and Marouane Fellaini who can get goals from midfield but not the strikers. Yakubu was never going to do it, Louis Saha might do it but he misses games through injury. The one who might do it is Jermaine Beckford, who seems to get chances in every game he plays.

"My own opinion is that if Everton could have put together a deal to take Roque Santa Cruz on loan from Manchester City and got his attitude right - which I'm sure Moyes would have done - then he would have been perfection for them.

"As for the game itself, I wouldn't call it with confidence. Chelsea's home results have been fine but it is on their travels that they have struggled.

"Goodison Park is a tough place to go and Everton will know this represents their last chance of a trophy so they will be going for it. I actually think Everton are slight favourites, although if Didier Drogba continues to suggest he is finding his best form Chelsea's chances will improve dramatically."

The FA Cup may have lost a little of its lustre in the minds of some seasoned observers - but all evidence suggests will be fought for just as fiercely as it was at Wembley when battle commences at Goodison Park.

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  • Comment number 1.

    reigning European champions Barcelona presenting an imposing obstacle for anyone with sights on the Champions League.
    - last time i checked inter milan were champions!

  • Comment number 2.

    "I actually think Everton are slight favourites" oh come on...what are you on about? chelsea are showing vestiges of their amazing form again, home and away. that should be enough to beat an inconsistent evrton side

  • Comment number 3.

    Reigning European Champions is Inter Phil..............

  • Comment number 4.

    Phil Barca aren't reigning European champions. Forgotten Inter? Anyway, Chelsea are favourites for the FA Cup and without Cahill against the Londoners it's always gonna be difficult for Moyes. Unfortunately managers like Moyes & Wenger, it's trophies that count. La Masia gets all the plaudits because it produces league-winning teams, the Busby Babes & Ferguson Fledglings are remembered for similar reasons. Until Moyes gets a trophy under his belt, he'll soon be forgotten when a title-winning manager comes through.

  • Comment number 5.

    Moyes saved us, there is no doubting that, and whilst support is largely still in his favour it is becoming more difficult to ignore the dissenting voices.

    Our problem is insidious and sadly perennial - we're broke. Without investment there is no chance of Everton reaching the heights we as fans desire and only time will tell where this leaves us.


    IMWT - for now at least

    Oh and Fellaini is one of the best players in the Premiership -fact!

  • Comment number 6.

    Has a draw written all over it. 1-1 and Chelski to go through after a replay.

  • Comment number 7.

    I can't believe "BBC Sport's chief football writer" made such a basic factual error as writing that Barca are the reigning champions of Europe. That's poor, quite frankly.

  • Comment number 8.

    Since when has a "fact" got in the way of a good story? Nice one Phil, what about following up with something about World Cup winners England

  • Comment number 9.

    On a given day you'd say Everton could win this but if the game was played 10 times you'd expect a draw (in effect a Chelsea win by replay) or a Chelsea win the majority of the time. It's nice to see Chelsea have a difficult cup draw given the amount of lower division sides they have faced in the competition in recent years especially at home.

    One thing that could count in Everton's favour is Chelsea have a tricky looking trip to Sunderland which might instigate some degree of squad rotation by Chelsea for the weekend.

    Everton need to stop playing 442 as it's taken away their usual midfield tempo if they are to get on top of this. If they can they have a chance.

  • Comment number 10.

    Guys, it was a typo, get over it. Lot of smart@r$es on these blogs these days.

    I fancy Everton to win against Chelsea. Although away teams in the FA Cup get a bigger allocation for traveling fans, never underestimate the benefit of home advantage in a cup tie that neither team will want a replay from. I predict 2-1 to Everton with the winner scored by Pienaar.

    Elsewhere in the draw, I can't see too many upsets. There are lots of all premiership ties though, so it could boil up to quite an interesting competition this year.

    Oh, by the way, the Pienaar prediction was a joke to all you proof-readers out there. I wonder whether anyone will gleefully pounce on it without reading the rest of my comment...

  • Comment number 11.

    I saw the Pienaar bit but read on as I suspected it was a bit of humour.

    What's not humour is calling Phil's error a "typo", as that was no spelling mistake.


  • Comment number 12.

    Is it possible to sign a blog oath? If it is I shall sign one now and inform you all that I did NOT state in my original blog that Barcelona were the reigning Champions League holders.

    This was done, self-evidently, in error by someone as part of the production process for publishing the blog and I corrected the mistake as soon as I noticed it - which is why Barcelona have had their bonus Champions League taken back off them.

    I apologise for that.

    The person responsible has been formally punished by being ordered to read my previous 50 blogs over the weekend.

    It was a mistake, but in this instance it was not mine. I make enough of my own without others putting them in for me.

    Hope this clears things up - so on with the debate. Is this weekend a pivotal moment in David Moyes' reign? And how much with the FA Cup mean to Chelsea? Should their priorities lie elsewhere?

  • Comment number 13.

    Calm down gents. Easy enough mistake.
    1-1 if you ask me. Chelsea will do them at home.
    West Ham for the cup.


  • Comment number 14.

    I can only tell you the one thing on Chelsea's mind....WiNnInG

  • Comment number 15.

    Sorry IloveIBIZAandWHUFC your an idi,ot that was and is not a mistake end of. socrates_says your a twit a typo is a spelling/grammar mistake not a huge factual mistakefrom the BBC Sport's chief football writer.

    Anyway i believe we should win it but it will be very very very close. with cahill there they're very strong without him not so much BUT still dangerous

  • Comment number 16.

    This would be a good season for Everton to win the FA Cup, as it looks like their league campaign will continue to stutter & stall.

  • Comment number 17.

    I can definitely see this being a tough game for Chelsea but I think recent performances have offered enough for me to think that they will come out winners. The recent drop in form of Arteta and the loss of Cahill leads me to believe Everton may struggle to score, or at least outscore Chelsea.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Phil,

    I thought this was an interesting article and I realise there's often a lot of negativity surrounding the blogs you write. I was wondering why in an article which was 1340 words long 846 of those words were Pat Nevin's? His thoughts were very interesting and enlightening but surely as Chief Football writer your blog should be about your thoughts.

  • Comment number 19.

    This match has draw written all over it. Both side has 50-50 chance of nicking a win if you ask me. Lol

  • Comment number 20.

    Hoping for an Everton win as a neutral; but I can't see them getting as far as the final if they do progress past the 4th round, let alone winning the cup.

  • Comment number 21.

    @15. The word you are looking for is "you're". Typing "your an idiot" makes YOU the idiot. Actually your first paragraph makes NO sense.

    And to the clown who thinks Moyes should revert to must be joking, we look better playing 4-4-2.... when we played 4-5-1 we've never looked like scoring. Since the turn of the year we've scored a lot of goals and made lots of chances and generally played better football.

    And as for the Chelsea fan saying that their home form is improving.... Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge. This match is at Goodison Park so who cares about home form? Their away form is improving though

  • Comment number 22.


    Chelsea still have the best defence in the league and even when they weren't winning games, they were enjoying a similar level of possession as previously and were creating as many chances.

    Surely it is simply that the strikers were off form? Sure, they missed Lampard's contribution but it is the fact that Malouda and Anelka couldn't find the back of the net, Drogba was suffering from malaria and Ancelotti didn't play Sturridge. Do you come to any conclusion other than that?

  • Comment number 23.

    15. ILOVECFC23 wrote:
    "socrates_says your a twit a typo is a spelling/grammar mistake not a huge factual mistakefrom the BBC Sport's chief football writer. PLANKS!!"

    I work in the publishing industry and we refer to a typo as any error in the text. It saves time because whether it is a factual error or a typing mistake, it still needs to be rectified. For example, you putting a comma in the word 'idiot', or writing 'your' instead of 'you're', or failure to use a capital C in 'Cahill' (or indeed your failure to include any commas in your comment) would be considered a typo to those in the industry.

    I will refrain from calling you a 'PLANK' in retaliation though because I'm over 12 years old.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have to say no very ahppy about tomorrow, despite Everton's record against the top five this year (1 defeat in 7/8 games).

    The Pressure on Everton is massive, I fear the home advantage will make the team nervous if we don't score 1st and quickly

    We do have a decent chance as Chelsea won't sit back. Everton's big problem is three years of doing very well has made most middle to lower team's play more defensively at GP. Unlike Utd, Chelsea etc we can't break them down and hence the results
    List most on I've seen 1-1 with CFC regrettably in the reply.....

  • Comment number 25.

    Chelsea fan heading up to Everton tomorrow morning. Cup game away is always a great day out, and Goodison is my favourite away venue, brilliant atmosphere and Everton are always a tough team to face. Frankly, I'm going up there more in hope than expectation, though. It's a reflection on the season we have had that my first priority is just seeing a Chelsea goal! My last three away games have all ended in defeat without us scoring. I don't know what to expect at the moment, especially after the result at Bolton, but I have to agree that Everton are probably slight favourites. Even if we play well, away at Everton with the fans behind them we could still lose.

  • Comment number 26.

    Agree with 1-1 draw, Chelsea to win second leg - but probably with a few twists and turns like the Birmingham vs West Ham game this week.

    Hyphen 86 (#5) comment about Fellani had me in stitches.

  • Comment number 27.

    If 'living on the breadline' is been able to afford £15 million for Fellaini and £10 million for Bilyetdinov! Then please, I hope I can live on the breadline!

    Of course Everton can't compete with the financial muscle of most premier league teams, but that is a bigger indication of the money and greed which is prevalent in English football than it is of the 'breadline' state of the toffee's finances!

  • Comment number 28.

    The quality of football 'experts' in this country has reached an all time low. Barcelona reigning European Champions? Oh dear........

  • Comment number 29.

    Firstly not sure I agree with this comment of yours Phil ''Yakubu was never going to do it, Louis Saha might do it but he misses games through injury. The one who might do it is Jermaine Beckford''.

    Apart from the last 2 injury hit seasons, Yakubu has hit double figures for whoever has played for, Boro, Portsmouth and Everton, surely out the 3 players mentioned he is the most likely to do it again?? Saha like you said is too injury prone but I cant believe you think Beckford might be the man. He clearly looks out of place in the Premiership, he is at best a Very good championship striker but definitely no more.

    I think Robbie Keane would do a decent job for them but whether Everton could stump up the £4 - £6 million quid needed is a different story.

  • Comment number 30.

    I would like to see David Moyes produce a tangible measure of success for all the work he has done at Everton as I believe that he genuinely works hard and gets the best out of the players he has.

    Still an aspect of hyperbole surrounding Chelsea (and Ancelotti) as far as I can see as, by the midpoint of the season, Chelsea are reasonably in touch in the league and still in two cup competitions. They may not have played so well recently but all teams seem to be having a few funny moments this season, so if they coincide a good run with Man Utd et al having an off game or two and they'll be right there again. A bit of an "if", I admit but it could happen (realistically, I would expect Man Utd to lose eventually. Even more draws may be even worse than losing just the once).

    Further, whilst I agree that the match-up between Chelsea and Everton has the makings of an excellent cup tie, looking at the FA Cup fixtures for the weekend, I can't help thinking that there'll be an unexpected (i.e. not premiership) team in the later stages, especially the semifinals, as there are a few all-premiership ties.

    Villa v. Watford or Chelsea v. Swansea anyone?

  • Comment number 31.

    Scraping the barrel a bit with this blog. Is an FA Cup tie between Everton and Chelsea the best you can manage? I think of a couple of juicier ties worth a mention. Though nice to see the end of sexism saga. Does anyone have any thoughts about the transfer window?

  • Comment number 32.

    if i can get decent odds on chelsea i'll be having a little flutter on them, everton are missing arguably their best player and chelsea are coming off the back of a 4-0 win all be it against a poor bolton team..... BUT.....the beauty of the FA cup is that anything can happen!! expect a winner from tony hibbert then haha!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm in denial mode dave parker, the quote you picked out about Everton's strikers came from Pat Nevin not me. I would have been reluctant to let Yakubu go on loan personally, although I accept he has not been the player he was since he got a serious Achilles injury.

    And to put my remark about Everton living on football's equivalent of the breadline in context, yes they paid £15m for Fellaini and £10m for Bilyaletdinov but it is a long time since purchases were funded by anything other than sales at Goodison Park.

    I'm sure Everton fans will correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that Fellaini was bought with the proceeds from the sales of Andrew Johnson and James McFadden, while the Russian arrived along with Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga courtesy of the money Manchester City paid for Joleon Lescott.

    It seems to get harder every season for Moyes and it appears he simply has no money to buy players, unless he uses cash from another reluctant sale, namely Steven Pienaar to Spurs. And let's face it, what does £2.5m get you these days unless he can pull off another masterstroke in the mould of his deal for Tim Cahill.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ #24

    Everton's big problem is three years of doing very well has made most middle to lower team's play more defensively at GP.

    Tremendous - this is exactly what I have noticed. Everton are recognised as a scalp, a top team meaning when we play away Moyes looks to win, but the home side sense a scalp and raise their game.

    Away from home, a draw is now seen as a great result at goodison whereas pre-moyes,teams would be looking to win.

    We have become enemies of our own success. But in turn, Moyes must realise a way of overcoming this and instill this in his players.

    Nevin's comments to me above are very wide of the mark. Particularly about Yakubu, who before injury was a regular marksman. In the Derby at Goodison he was fantastic, but has confusingly never been given the run of games this season. He goes to Leicester and notches 2 in 2.

    As for his comments on Santa Cruz, prepare yourself for huge disappointment. This is a player who is notorious for being unfit. Even when fit, he has had one good season throughout his entire career, as well as one good Copa America as a teen - there is nothing to suggest he will ever be a regular scorer of goals.

    The fear for me is that when Everton have had the chance to climb that final hurdle under Moyes, they have failed so miserably. FA Cup Semi-Final and Final in 2009 - we were atrocious. Fans were blinded by the performance against Man Utd in the Semi, It is the worst i've seen an Everton side play in years.

    In the Final, we shell shocked ourselves with an early goal, and then visibly has no ideas on what to do but defend for the rest of the game (90 mins)

    Away to Fiorentina in 2008 we sealed our fate in a competition we could have easily won with a terrible performance.

    We went out with a whimper to Chelsea in the league cup final of 2008. Failed play off games to the mighty Steaua Bucharest, Standard Liege and scraping past Metalist Kharkiv!!!

    Until Moyes actually gets his talented team to rise consistently to the big occasion, I don't see how a bigger club could gamble on him.

    He also refuses to field his strongest team. and if you have a young talent coming through such as Wayne Rooney or Jack Rodwell, you can be rest assured that he will confine him to the odd 15 mins off the bench until another team comes in, snaps him up and puts him straight in their starting 11!!!

    But yes, Tony Hibbert is a good professional and very loyal.

  • Comment number 35.

    Sorry - My fantasy football team which includes Cech and Ashley coles suggests that Chelsea don't have the best defence in the league

  • Comment number 36.

    Tough game to call! Saw Chelsea take apart Bolton and I'm not sure whether Everton are much better than Bolton, if at all better (hope I don't get too much stick for that comment).

    However, Everton can really spring a surprise every now and then and do have the players to beat Chelsea on their day considering Chelsea's form this season. If players like Arteta, Fellaini, Rodwell (if he's playing), Baines, Heitinga, Osman put in an absolute blinder then things will be very hard for Chelsea!

    Still, I put a fiver on Chelsea to win. I think Malouda will score a second half winner. Based on what? No idea! As I said, this is a tough one to call.

  • Comment number 37.

    As the only one to actually answer Phil's questions (sigh, you pedantic lot are ridiculous - this is a blog to provoke a debate, not to have a pop for accidentally getting a fact wrong), as a Chelsea fan - am expecting a tough game. They, along with Villa and Bolton tend to be our bogey teams and grounds where we drop points in the chase for 1st place in the PL. Carlo and the players and fans alike all want some silverware this season, and we are used to doing well in the competition in recent years. However, there are plenty of other fish to fry. Am not expecting Man Utd to drop many points until end of the season so focus has to be on the League. Problem is, they're already out in front and a 10 point lead at this stage of the season is tough to claw back. Chelsea's focus should also be on rebuilding the team with quality which they appear to be trying to do (albeit unsuccessfully so far with Torres and Luiz).
    As for Moyes, I think he is part of that club until he retires - he knows the score with Everton and although frustrated he has enjoyed a good relationship with the board. He has also developed the team bringing in quality and hungry players, and tactically getting them spot on. I can see him being tempted to join Man Utd when SAF retires, but there are more pivotal moments ahead for them. They need to concentrate on getting more consistent results and buying wisely. With Yakubu gone they desperately need to invest in firepower up front. Without the millions of the "bigger" teams their investment in Beckford is a step forward, but he needs to be regularly given a chance to show what he can do.

  • Comment number 38.

    Regarding the Barcelona mistake, why is somebody else embellishing/ruining your writing as part of the "production process"?

    May be an editor will correct poor grammar, or make the writing more concise etc. But change the content and add 'facts' to your writing? - outrageous!

  • Comment number 39.

    Tomefccam - As an Everton fan I feel the need to point out the errors in your post.

    1) Other teams playing more defensively at GP - like West Brom who scored 4? What about us playing a 4-5-1 at home, hardly the opposition parking the bus!

    2) The performances in the semi and final of 2009 were poor, funny you never mentioned the performances against Villa and Liverpool though which were very very good. We went 1-0 up against Chelsea and then didn't know what to do. As I recall from my seat we were playing against a very expensive and physical Chelsea side in the blistering heat. Hibbert vs Malouda there will only be one winner there!

    3) Fiorentina away (I was there too) we did not seal our fate - we lost 2-0 away and won 2-0 at home and we should have won the home leg by 3 or 4. Having tied the game and gone to ET you cannot say that we lost it on the first leg.

    4) We never made a League Cup Final vs Chelsea in 2008. We lost 2-1 away and 1-0 at home to them in the semis. The performance at GP was poor but we could and should have had at score draw at stamford bridge. Lescott at fault for a SWP header and then missed at sitter mins later at the other end.

    5) Bucharest was a one off, Kharkiv played excellently against us but we made it through and Standard Liege knocked us out having played Liverpool in the CL qualifier where there were very unlucky to go out. A little arrogant there with the assumption that any premier league team should knock out the champions of Belgium.

    I definitely agree that Rodwell should be playing much more often but Tony Hibbert is absolutely awful. Pay me 15k a week and I will be a model pro too!

  • Comment number 40.

    You're right jellywobble, Beckford needs a run of games. He always gets good chances whenever he plays, a run of games will build his confidence & maybe he will convert more of his chances. For me, Saha is still the best striker on our books, but he is injury prone. Yak has never been the same since his injury, he is a shadow of the striker who used to be. Personally, i don't know if i'm in the minority as an Everton fan, but i would keep Vaughan over Anichebe. For me, Vaughan has more of a goalscorers instinct than Anichebe. I think Anichebe is preferred for his physical attributes. Any other Evertonians have any thoughts on this?
    As for tomorrows result, i'm fairly optimistic we can maybe edge it. If we were playing a team at home, that we were expected beat, i would be less optimistic.

  • Comment number 41.

    "What I will say is that if David Moyes wasn't at Everton, I would be delighted to see him at Chelsea if there was ever a vacancy......"

    Wheres the laughing yourself senseless graphic when you need it?

  • Comment number 42.

    This particular post is a bit sensationalist, i.e

    "his side's last hope of success in a season of underachievement"
    When every year Everton usually aim for the 2 trophies plus European football, and I don't remember Everton expecting to win any trophy in any year- the big clubs are always favourite and Everton wont be too miffed at losing to such a big club- especially as we're nowhere near the final"

    "his [Moyes]reign might be measured by not landing a trophy"
    I havent heard any signs of Moyes wanting to leave Everton- hes still very young, so why insinuate that tomorrow's game is any more important than in the other years....

    However, whilst I criticise at this blog- I must say Phil that (if you do read this comment) I do enjoy nearly all of your other blogs and think that it has become sheer habit for other people to blindly criticise you for every and any fault you make- and faults you dont make!

    It seems people just jump on the bandwagon and if people did understand journalism then they'd realise why you write the way you do.
    Sure I don't agree with everything you write but then isnt that the point of these blogs- theres a lovely mini forum at the bottom of the page for the whole reason of debating....ahh well

  • Comment number 43.

    Surely this should have been published as an interview article rather than a blog?

  • Comment number 44.

    looking forward to what should be a good team. Everton midfield without Pienaar and Cahill may struggle against an improving Chelsea so have to go for Chelsea in this on.

  • Comment number 45.

    I did want to make a point on here about tomorrow's game, but by the time I got to the bottom of the posts and realised how many people write only to make snide and surly comments about Phil McNulty and his obviously unforgivable 'mistakes', I'd kind of lost interest. Instead I thought I'd ask the pedantics on here to chill out and use the blog as a springboard for a football debate rather than launching some ridiculously overwrought and petty anti-McNulty/anti-BBC/anti-journalist rant. It makes you sound bitter, rather pedantic and quite pathetic.
    By the way it'll be two all tomorrow. With Chelski winning the reply. Moyes is still the best young manager in the Prem a country mile.

  • Comment number 46.

    Please, oh please let Chelsea's decline be serious (I fear it won't be). We can't just go back to a top 4 of the four richest clubs run by Bond villains stroking white cats. Good (the likes of Everton and Spurs) must triumph over evil (Chelsea, Man City and refs' favourites Man U)!

    It's funny about the sub editor error on the Champs League. Imagine altering the text of the chief football writer in order to insert such a craven error. Unreal. Glad Phil explained what happened... too often football pundits are being caught out being ignorant and lazy these days. That's why I put John Motson top of the tree. He's meticulous and obsessive about research. When he gives facts you can be sure they are right.

  • Comment number 47.


    Please tell me that u didnt describe Spurs as a good team (as in not splashing cash) when they are the 4th most (if not 3rd or 2nd) most expensive team in the premier league. They have spent almost as much if not more than man city in the last few seasons so please stop with that jibberish.

    Redkanpp has completely underachieved and it is only people being biased as he is british that they he still has a job. P.S Bentley was never worth 15million, rebuying keane was a waste of money, gomes as good as almunia in goal, 2 centre backs that are permanently injured and How much have crouch and defoe cost???????? 1 good buy (van der Vaart, bale was there pre redknapp) does not make a good team.

    Back to the blog and I feel that Chelsea are back to their best and with everton stuttering it will be a 2-0 comfortable win. I also feel chelsea shouldnt be written off when Man utd play all the big games away and chelsea still have to play them twice.

    Hopefully my team (arsenal, a good non spending team) can keep up there and perhaps snatch the league(unlikely i know, but not impossible) , and F.A cup is chelsea's or man utds i fear.

  • Comment number 48.


    I don't think you are being fair on Harry.He hasn't underachieved.You underachieve when you do little with a club you don't have to do little with.He has transformed the fortunes of the teams he has managed.Just look at what he did at West Ham,for starters.They enjoyed their best top-flight finish of 5th place with some exciting youngsters(Lampard,Ferdinard.Cole,Carrick).
    He brought Pompey from the Division One,replaced Juande Ramos(an underachiever but not British) and helped Spurs to a top-half finish when they were rooted bottom when he took over.Now they are in the Champions league(and even have a realistic chance of progression compared to your team) thanks to this same old Harry.what more do you want from him?

  • Comment number 49.

    everyone needs to get off his bak with their comments about inter milan, inter wil never again be able to win the champions league with that tactical system, that is why mourinho left cos he knew that he could not recipricate the success 2 years in a row, and barcelona are undoubtedly the best team on the planet this year last year, the year before, their exit to inter milan was an injustice after their goal was diallowed for hand ball wen it clearly struck the chest of yaya toure and had bojan scored an easy header then they wud hav become european champions. Barcelona are debatebly the best team of all time, wen u compare them to the brazil team of the 1970s the total football dutch team with cruyff and rinus michells as head coach the real madrid team in the 1960s with di stefano, barcelona and spain (the majority of which ar barca players) can easily stake their claim to being the best team of all time, look at spain's world cup win, despite the fact that most teams used the boring negative mourinho tactic with 2 holding midfield players spain still managed to play their quality football and win the world cup. I think chelsea wil win 2day, im not sure wat happened 2 everton, moyes had a well drilled loyal team who played for him, they were committed and had quality players like pienarr who has unfortunately left which is a mistake on his part as i dont think he wil feature in the spurs team, look at wat happened 2 krankjar, he was very good for a few months and is now on the fringes and wil probably move in the summer, chelsea ar bak on form i think, this season has been odd as so many teams hav slipped up this is why man utd ar at the top, their form wud not hav made them title contenders last year same with arsenal, wud they stil b in the title race having lost at home 2 spurs newcastle west brom and drawn with man city sunderland and wigan and lost to both man utd and chelsea away i think not.

  • Comment number 50.

    As an Everton fan I have always been dubious of Moyes' ability in transfer markets. He has always stated that he will only go for players who he thinks will strengthen the side, which is admirable. Can anyone explain why during the summer he bought Mageye Gueye, Joao Silva, Beckford, for a combined 1.8m in the summer. This was at a time everyone else was throwing millions at the transfer market. Im not greedy and am not ungrateful, yet I saw these signings like unknown / unearthed rough gems in the shape of Seamus Coleman. So why have none of them either featured or progressed. There is no way these players were brought in because they improved the squad because they have added nothing extra. Here is a brain teaser: Since last summer we have banked the £25m from tv money that every club receives as a minimum. We also banked £9m from the sale of our training ground, £9m from the new Chang sponsor deal, £8m from the Kitbag distributors deal, which adds up to £51m and does not include kit sales, hospitality, ticket sales. All this and we are one of the lowest wage spenders in the premiership, why did we only spend 1.8m in the summer and cant afford to buy a player this January? Where has it all gone? And now for another brain teaser that is probably a little easier to work out: What is at the end of space??

  • Comment number 51.

    I agree that i may have been a little bit harsh on redknapp... However there is no denying that Tottenham have spent alot of money and are still outside the top 4 this year, and have only won the league cup since the spending began.

    I do believe however that tottenham are now the most fun team to watch when on form. Just think that with the players you have you should be above us (arsenal) and chelsea in the league.

    Back to the match in question and really hope everton manage a win i just cant see it lol :(

  • Comment number 52.


    I for 1 wholeheartedly agree with what you say.

    Why in Britain do we meticulously scrutinise everything looking for reasons to frown, I believe Mr McNulty writes an excellent blog most of the time... but Motty's attention to detailmakes him a living legend!

  • Comment number 53.

    @ jamesxfm

    I am not a Spurs fan.I just thought you were harsh on Harry,that's all.


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