Tag Archives: Everton

Win, draw no we’ve lost! Everton 2 Spurs 1

Goodison Wall of fameIts 262 miles back from the scrap yard car park right next to Goodison Park to Colchester but it still wasn’t far enough for us to quite understand how we lost the game. As we pulled up on the drive we concluded; this is Tottenham Hotspur and it’s the type of result we specialise in.

You can say what you want about substitutions, formations, managers and individual players we’ve seen it so many times before but have normally not waited till time added on to start throwing it away! MoTD2 was quite helpful in showing the goals in their full glory as we walked back into the house as our seats prevented Goodisonus from getting a decent view of the action. As the ball rose up in the air it disappeared from view for most of the game and for the winner a post obstructed my view of the overhead kick so all I saw was Lloris diving again and thinking “that’s that then.” 

It certainly brought the stadium to life for it had been a little lacking in atmosphere previously but of course he who laughs last laughs longest and we were put to the sword by amongst others a couple of 11 year olds at the final whistle. Earlier the biggest outpouring came following the handballs that never were – clearly not for they never made the MoTD cut. Cue an extended hand ball retort from the Spurs fans which left the locals bemused at best, confused at worst, “they’re funny folk them lot from London.”

However, if Kevin Friend had awarded a penalty for Dempsey’s arm controlling the ball no one would have been surprised and having realised his error given a more dubious appeal against Gallas we could have gone in one down at the break. The fact we didn’t was down to a controlled performance that lacked a final ball to provide a chance in front of goal for us to capitalise upon.  

In midfield Dembele and Sandro were providing our defenders with decent protection and forcing Everton to float balls over the top for the front men to chase. Too many times our offside trap caught them out and Lloris was only forced once to charge out of his goal to intercept. We were a little vulnerable again down our left flank with Mirallas putting in some decent work and as the half wore on Baines and Pienaar began linking well.

As the second half began the introduction of Naismith was welcomed for the loss of Mirallas and he immediately missed a chance from which hitting the target was the minimum requirement. Yet even though Everton tried to step it up we didn’t seem in too much difficulty and were able to clear our lines reasonably comfortably.  

Then when Dempsey chipped in from outside the box I wasn’t sure it had gone in as the net didn’t appear to ripple much. Clint was delighted as he came across to the Spurs fans and after a difficult period he is starting to look a better prospect though with Adebayor back to full fitness his starting opportunities will be more limited.

This wasn’t the greatest of days for Defoe or Lennon. Apart from a superb interception that robbed JD of a shooting chance in the first half his day was limited to a yellow card for dissent. Lennon fared better but Baines was in top form and handled him well. He made way for Tom Huddlestone who played a more central role and Sigurdsson replaced Dembele who I thought as the game wore on held onto the ball a little too long before trying to release it.

For me Gylfi has been very poor thus far and had his curling shot put the victory beyond doubt it would have been his best moment for us but do he and Tom have the physical presence on the pitch to put fear in the opposition at the end of a game? I’m not convinced by that so is anyone else? Had this game come later and Parker been fit again it might have been a different story. 

And so to the fateful 90 seconds. Those at home or with a better view said Lloris called but once more Caulker ignored him. His fluffed clearance came back and was poorly headed by an out of position Vertonghen allowing a crossing opportunity under no pressure and the arrival of Pienaar to beat Lloris at the far post. Should the keeper have saved it? Possibly but by then it was a holocaust of errors…

What followed was typical Tottenham. When a bad goal goes in it often gets followed by a second in quick succession and so it proved once more. A quick throw allowed Gibson to float a hopeful ball towards the box that gets flicked on by an overhead kick allowing Jelavic to react first and nip between Gallas and Walker to prod it home.  

So three points becomes none in a minute and irrespective of either sides performance we turned a win into a loss without trying too hard. We’ve done it before; we’ll probably do it again. We have to understand that we have no divine right to win games and that Everton, or whoever we are playing, should throw everything at us until the final whistle in an effort to win but the crowd’s reaction and that of David Moyes made it clear that they had expected a defeat.

So what positives can be drawn? Kyle Walker is starting to look the player of last season and put in a good shift and with the exception of the time added on Gallas and Caulker played well and both made important clearances. Dembele makes the midfield tick and Sandro once again had a good day in the tackle.    

One has to ask if Vertonghen gets dragged out of position away from home being either too far forward or away from the line giving our opponents too many chances to cross and I would maybe question Lloris’s instructions in the box. Did Caulker not hear or understand his call?

Lloris3What I did see during the warm up was Tony Parks and Brad warming up together with the Frenchman nowhere to be seen. When he did come out some minutes later he spoke not a word to them as he caught up his jogging and stretches until Parks spoke to him. He then smiled and joined in with the group but he does look an isolated character.  

Since his arrival there have been repeated newspaper talk particularly after an international break and one wonders whether the transfer has gone well for him. I think he will settle and become a good goalkeeper. He rushes off the line effectively and is willing to come for crosses. I not sure about his palming punches but can live with them if they don’t lead to goals.

Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to excuse Caulker and throw blame upon him, far from it but he seems maybe a quiet and reserved guy – not the sort of keeper we are used to in the English league!          

Goodison SeatsSo if you’ve not been to Goodison what would you make of it? An old stadium like ours but with much a poorer view of the game. The wooden seats reminded me of the 1970’s footage that gets shown in the opening MoTD titles but the Wall of Fame which stretched all round the ground was impressive. Finally the Christmas card inside the programme was a nice touch, it was a shame that they snatched back the present just as we were starting to unwrap it!  

Heroes to Zeros? West Brom, Everton and Wolves

Tottenham Hotspur champions of England? A popular thought after Wednesday night’s win over Everton but an unlikely thought looking at the string of away games against the top sides. Of course we would like to win it and as it stood at 3 o’clock on Saturday we might never have a better chance but let’s make sure of Champions League qualification first and then look further.

As Spurs fans we are pretty realistic about our chances but once the whistle blows emotions take over and there was a fair amount of frustration at the Lane yesterday. In truth we were a little off with some of our passing and a returning Parker was certainly off the pace but is that a reason for some of criticism handed out?

In my predicted line up Livermore kept his place before giving way with the game won for Parker to get a run out for the last half hour. I thought he had deserved to after an excellent performance against Everton but Harry wanted his top line up so Jake gave way. No doubt gutted but with Parker having been our revelation player this season an understandable move to fit him in a game before the Etihad next week.

Dawson too looked a little uncomfortable after a strong return, maybe a little tired after a midweek game but on occasions some of our passes were a little under hit and put players under unnecessary pressure. The fact is you can’t play well in every game and when your opponents remain disciplined in their defending it is not easy.

West Brom had set out the example of what we should accept for the majority of January. A fixed formation of 10-1 that forced us to work hard to create the necessary opening for the victory. When it came courtesy of Jermain Defoe it looked an unlikely goal but a brilliant turn allowed him to guide the ball home with defenders all around.

Of the three league games Everton was by far the best performance with Rafa putting on a superb show for the whole 90 minutes. That may in some way be due to Everton contributing to a decent game and providing more ambition than both West Brom and Wolves.

Both these sides need points to escape relegation and trying to keep things tight provides them with a greater opportunity to do so. We will see more of this when Wigan arrive in town and they recall the consequences of not doing so when we ran them through 9-1.

Our job is to break down such resistance and yesterday we couldn’t do it. Once again we were not helped by the officials with a corner being wrongly awarded from which we conceded and then our equaliser being ruled out for offside – a decision which provoked much unfair criticism of Adebayor.

Lennon’s earlier absence had led to Rafa taking the right midfield berth and on top of that Bale adopting a greater free role. Whilst it provided an excellent goal away at Norwich since then it has drawn us to play in a narrower fashion that may make it easier to defend against us.

Bale has also taken it upon himself to shoot more often sometimes when everyone else is well placed for a cross. Yesterday provided an ideal example of this in the second half and the effort flew harmlessly over the bar. I’m not trying to do him down as the lad has it all but deciding when to use it might be that extra experience learnt this season.

Another thing that concerns me a little is Kaboul’s regular sojourns up the pitch. It was a trend of his first season and then he got caught out on occasions in his defensive duties, this term he has been excellent on the whole but the occasional lapse still exists. Early in the Everton game and the cross for the Wolves goal are maybe examples of this type of misunderstanding.

Personally I’d prefer to stick with Luka and Rafa having free roles and Bale and Lennon (if fit) to provide the width bringing Benny and Kyle Walker into the overlaps if needed. Both full backs have been putting in terrific performances with Walker showing how well he can defend and Benny getting up and back, decent crosses a fabulous cross field pass to Lennon for the first goal and a great strike for a well deserved goal against Everton.

The toughest task that we have between now and the season’s end is to work out how we begin to convert more of the chances we’ve been creating this season. I’m still impressed with Adebayor who is receiving much attention from defenders in the centre of the park. Yet he misses a hatful of opportunities.

Yesterday a number of shooting chances fell to Luka on the edge of the box. He took one, which maybe Hennessey should have saved, but I never fancy he will score and often his natural reaction is to control and put it wide. Rafa on the other hand is the most likely to put it away if he is able to get up front and have a little space to work with. Lennon might have scored a difficult chance yesterday where he was stretching and converted the first against Everton when it looked like he had overrun it and missed the chance.

Our dead ball situations might also need some improvement. From corners all too often we don’t deliver it to the right spot and when we do our central defenders lack a little potency. Free kicks present a range of opinions but all too often the net doesn’t ripple where it might for Man Utd or City and penalties always present opportunities for embarrassment.

So what do we need in the remainder of the window to put these things right? Samba might fix the attacking option but is he better at the back than who we have? I doubt it somehow otherwise Blackburn might not be struggling.

I do think a striker on our books who can win the ball in the air is a necessity to help cover should Adebayor move on elsewhere but don’t ask me who to get this January. My feeling is that a new player to the league is unlikely to put in the necessary immediate impact needed so maybe waiting would be better.

I’d like to see Pienaar and Pav move on to make room; it was a bit like finishing with 9 men on Wednesday. I cannot see them making the starting line up without a host of injuries and if that is the case what is the point of keeping them?

For now we need to keep creating the chances and hope that we can be a little more clinical. Against City we will be allowed to play so our opportunity to impress will exist and with YaYa Toure and Kompany being missing I fancy we can do better than our last game against City.

In honesty I’m not surprised by a draw coming along but I wouldn’t fault the efforts of the players on the day. We kept going for the whole game and whilst Wolves presented some danger their role was to reduce our threat, particularly in the second half. Having been behind at least we got a point and whilst yet again the officials have been a thorn in our side moaning about it is not going to change anything.

We are still playing some super football that continues to be a joy to watch so let’s enjoy that and hope that a strong performance in Manchester gives us at least a point.

Come On You Spurs

Another Lancashire performance? Everton 2 Spurs 1

Wednesday was a tough night. I arrived home five minutes before kick off to discover ptp, my usual feed, unavailable and spent until half time fiddling around trying to get pictures over just sound interspersed with updates from BBC and others tweets.

Unfortunately I managed to witness the second half. It wasn’t pretty despite having opportunities to force Tim Howard into making two excellent saves and Crouch putting a fierce shot over the bar after a fabulous run.

I taped the sky 50 minute highlights and wished that’s all I saw. That game looked well matched with Everton just about shading it. I can’t speak for the first half but I thought we were second best by a fair distance in the second from seeing all of the action but not according to Sky.

We passed poorly and conceded possession cheaply all half and some of our players had bad nights. When Gomes dealt badly with a pass back early in the half it did nothing to lighten my mood so I was pleased when he managed to hold onto the ball when Coleman was through and became undecided on a shot or cross.

Coleman is rapidly showing us all what a good player he is. Other work colleagues have commented upon his ability when their respective clubs have come up against him. He put Ekotto to the sword during the second half leaving him for dead for pace and also exposing him out of possession on a couple of occasions.

Benny had a bad night of that there is little doubt but Alan Hansen’s mauling of him was totally contradictory of David Moyes assessment “one of the best left backs in the league.” Whilst that might be a little exaggerated Hansen tore into him suggesting him to be awful and the weak link in the Spurs side. That’s unfair.

Benny has been one of best players in a number of games this season and whilst he can scare you with the confidence he has to take on the last man he has certainly not been a consistent liability. If opponents are to attack our defence it will be our full backs that they target because of the quality of the centre backs but most weeks he has dealt with his job very well.

Benny was not the only player to suffer a bad night. I did not think JJ looked too impressive in what I saw and when Bale had to be withdrawn Kranjcar produced a third awful display. This time he was on his favoured left side and not out right where Harry has recently revealed “he hates playing” so it should have been set up for him. Apart from one cleanly hit volley which cannoned off a defender I saw nothing to convince me that he deserves a run in the team. Hopefully 90 minutes against Charlton will perk him up.

So having gone down to a Saha shot in 3 minutes we were able to claw our way back into the game when Peter Crouch provided an assist to allow Van Der Vaart to head through Howard as he fell backwards. We should have gone in ahead at the break after Saha gave up the ball to Bale and he broke through and placed the ball exactly where Crouch ordered for him to put it away. Unfortunately he had drifted into an offside position so the goal was chalked off.

In the second half having struggled to hold Everton Van Der Vaart generated two chances, the first a guided shot from the edge of the box which Howard turned away with a full length dive and the second an instant snapshot from Modric’s cut back which Howard stood up to.

In between Hutton deflected a sharp strike from Saha out for a corner and Dawson was able to block a Yakubu shot that would have put the game to bed. The second Everton goal saw Saha pushed across the box but he got the ball onto his stronger left foot and sent a rasping shot that Gomes was only able to parry. Coleman following in headed home a deserved goal for a very good performance.

So the run is over. The good Everton turned up and we were overcome. To be fair it had been coming and too many of the team ran out of steam after the previous three wins. Should we have played like Manchester City in an effort to secure a point? I don’t think so as it is not our style but the way we conceded the ball in the second half that I saw was unacceptable if we are to mount a real challenge on the title.

It wasn’t all bad. Van Der Vaart did have another good performance and Modric was busy. Our biggest concern is that our next Premier League match is at home to the unbeaten Manchester United and the guile of Mr Ferguson. We need a win for Chelsea cannot continue like this for much longer and their loss gave us the chance we take advantage.

Had Crouch’s goal been as it should then maybe we would have won. He didn’t, we didn’t and we have to get back to winning ways once more in this year that finishes in 1.