Azzurri Gio...
And Then There Was One
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For a long time now David Moyes has been saying that his time at Everton will only be deemed a success if he wins us a trophy. For a day and a half before the Leeds game I watched the Steve Round interview hourly on Sky Sports News where he insisted we were going to put out a very strong team as this was an opportunity for a good cup run, with the possibility of a trophy and a European place being won.

Then I saw the team we put out for the Leeds game.

I believe the main reasons for our good start to the season have been the superb interplay and understanding between Baines and Pienaar on the left flank, together with the outstanding form in nearly every match of Fellaini as a second striker/attacking midfielder.

I can't explain how deflated I was to see that both Baines and Pienaar were left out of the team only to be replaced by an untried Costa Rican full back and a talented but inconsistent and tactically unaware youngster. The Fellaini move, while also disappointing, was slightly easier to understand as he can play very well in midfield, and we did have other strikers who have been amongst the goals lately. This move meant we did lose his aerial power up front and perhaps this should have been explained to our defenders who still lumped the ball up front as though the big haired one was there.

Once the match started my worst fears became reality.

Oviedo and Gueye looked like they didn't know each other, and maybe they didn't. For all I know they could have just been introduced to each other in the dressing room before the game as the nearest they came to each other on the pitch was during the pre match handshake.

Seamus should be doing much better by now. His positional sense when playing full back is very poor, and his pace isn't always enough to save him. His best games appear to be when he's playing in front of a more experienced player, (Neville or Hibbo), who give him instructions constantly, and who also allow him to use his pace in attack, (although his final ball still needs a lot of work).

Francisco Junior. Why ? During pre season Junior had an excellent 45 minutes in a testimonial match at sunny Morecambe. In all of the games after that as they became more competitive he became more anonymous. Undoubtedly talented but not really ready to stamp his authority on a cup game in soggy Yorkshire against an experienced, hard working, and in the case of Michael Brown, one of the dirtiest midfields in the Championship.

As for Mucha I don't even know where to start. He is a decent shotstopper, and made one very good instinctive save. Unfortunately his inability to communicate with his centre backs, together with his reluctance to leave his goal line for any ball played into the box, causes panic amongst even the most experienced defenders.

The only thing of note that Captain Johnny did was foul Diouf, and then stamp on him as he got up. However tempting that must have been a more observant referee would have issued a red card.

Felli on the other hand picked up his regular booking from gobshite Mason without stamping anything of himself on the game.

As for the rest of the team there were some positives.

Naismith cleared one off the line, and balanced that up by missing the target with a header from 4 yards.

Mirallas ran around a lot, if only to create space for himself to shoot from anywhere on the pitch.

Distin had his usual good game, topped off with a goal, and Big Vic had a more than decent second half. 

Probably the most noticeable thing missing from our performance in the first half was a total lack of leadership.

No Howard, No Jags, and No Neville = No Shouting and No Direction.

I've waited until Thursday to write this article. I wanted to give myself 48 hours to calm down, and didn't want to put into print the knee jerk rant that I screamed after the final whistle. I have calmed down now, but the disappointment will take a bit longer to go.

At the start of this season we were entered into 3 competitions, with all but the most optimistic or drunken Evertonians believing we only had a chance of winning either of the 2 cups. September hasn't even ended yet and our only chance of success is winning the FA Cup. We've almost been there before, so with favourable draws, a bit of luck, and continued good form, who knows ? What I don't understand is how we can afford to throw away what was surely our best chance of success by putting out a weakened team instead of the strong one we were promised.

I hope we're not looking back at the end of February or whenever the final is, seeing a team other than Utd., Arsenal, or Chelsea picking the trophy up and thinking

"what if ?". 

Moysie has made this many changes to a team in form before, most recently the derby match last season, and we all know what happened then. Looking back, as much as I didn't like what he did, (as we were bang in form and would have won that game), at least you could see why he did it as the semi final was coming up. This time all that's coming up is a home game against Southampton and, with no disrespect to the Saints, it's hardly a match of the same magnitude.

A lot of teams use the League Cup to give their "squad" players some experience. We should just let them and continue to put out our strongest team possible for every game in the hope that our first string is better than their second string. If we get 3 goals up in a match put some of our squad players on for the last 20 minutes and give them that first team experience. Give the younger players back to Stubbsy and co. They'll get playing experience, and judging by the under 21 results so far he could do with their help. And now, thanks to Leeds, our fixture list has become slightly less congested so experiment with new players and youngsters in these much heard about "behind closed doors" friendlies.

I love Moysie and I don't want anyone else to be our manager but, in my humble opinion, for someone who wants to win silverware he made a big mistake on Tuesday with his team selection and tactics. It would be nice to hear him come out and say "look lads, I got it wrong", but if he genuinely believes he made the right choices then he'll stand by his beliefs, although I'm sure there will be plenty of team changes for Saturday's game.

This article is filled with doom and gloom and I apologise for that. When you're an Evertonian the highs always seem so much higher, but the lows are devastating, and they don't come much lower than Tuesday.

Just to try and balance things up, (that's if you didn't stop reading two pages ago), I'd like to say that I genuinely believe that several of the players who I have criticised above have shown glimpses that they could become part of a great Everton team in the not too distant future.

I also have faith that Moysie can continue to mastermind our excellent start to the season, and I hope in May we are looking down the league on a lot of other clubs, and up to the royal box at Wembley to fulfil all our dreams.

Just the thought of it is starting to cheer me up !


Comments about And Then There Was One
Great coments, glad there's others who feel the same as me. I love Moyes and would love to have him as manager for life. Saying that I don't always agree with his decisions and as in the Leeds game and last years Derbythey sometimes totally amaze me. Given that even though I totally disagreed with the Leeds lineup I still thought that as Leeds were missing 6 regulars the line up was adequate to get a result. My take on what happened is that the repacements were greatly let down by the experienced players and in particular Fellani, Heitinga and Distin. While you can point the finger at Moyse in the team selection it was the players who were on the pi senior players. Given what happened it is a worry going forward that if we suffer a few injuries at the same time we will struggle to maintain our great start in the league.
BILL G, CAERNARFON, 9:49 AM 2/10/2012
If we qualify for the Champions League, the selections for this game will be justified. I am not optimistic that this will happen. Even if it does, I am not so stupid as to think we could win it. I was optimistic that we could win the League Cup thereby qualifying for the Europa League. I would also be optimistic that we could do well and even perhaps win that competition. Maybe my optimism could be described as delusional but not as delusional as those responsible for Tuesday's team since concentrating on Champions League qualification can be the only excuse for such a selection.
Angry, of Oxton, 11:28 PM 28/09/2012
Spot on Gio. It feels like after the derby when the chance was there just to be thrown away. I cant get out of my head. Still livid with the management.
Mark, North Wales, 3:18 PM 28/09/2012
Made some salient points given that only Baines Jags and Osman was eventually rested from available players then there is a concern that our limited resources were not managed properly. Although it does concern me that Steve Round thought we was fielding a strong "team" it was obviously not a team . Fans can have hindsight , well paid managers are expected to have foresight and this was not a one off. Also some of the players do not look as if they will ever be good enough for the consistent standard we require and should be moved on in January and the next generation of identified potential bought or moved forward given that we only remain in the leage and FA Cup.
BLUEHAWKLORD, Wirral, 2:17 PM 28/09/2012
Word for word you mirror my sentiments Gio, spot on Sir. The other evening was a throw back to some of the bad old days/evenings we've suffered down the calender years. Not courageous enough, i find very little positives to come out of Elland Road the other night, even Travis Bickle(Diouff) could not be rattled and was revelling in him getting the bird all night. Sorry but it truly was a kick in the teeth for all of us. Many of Moyes team selections have been nothing short of baffling over the years leaving us angry and empty in equal measures. Sky TV must have been lapping it up to get their much needed cup upset to the viewing public, mighty great start to the season Everton being humbled by little old inoffensive Leeds-ah the romance of the cup.
The Obstructed View, Liverpool, 2:00 PM 28/09/2012
The article is spot on and I agree totally with Gio's piece. I was at the game and I am still gutted about the team selection put out as this is a missed opportunity of at least a good cup run or winning the trophy. I also think Moyes thought he could turn up with the reserves on Tuesday and walk all over Leeds which was not the case. We have lost to WBA and Leeds which were sobbering defeats and just shows we are not quite the finised article yet! Come on blues our time is now!
Lawrie P, Bedford, 1:58 PM 28/09/2012
Couldn't agree more. Warnock's sides are always difficult to play against and you know in you're in for a physical challenge, so to throw in the likes of Oviedo, Gueye & Junior was suicidal and unfortunately a scoreline I expected once I saw that starting XI There was me hoping he'd learnt from the mistake at the analfield derby last year, obviously not!!!
H, in work, 12:51 PM 28/09/2012
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