Everton 1 Arsenal 6 – Match Report

By Liam White • Aug 16th, 2009 • Category: Match Reports, News |

Why I expected anything different I don’t know, but our dreadful performance has really knocked out the optimism which foolishly crept into my mind this time yesterday.  At a time many will be blaming the Lescott saga or the board, this is a problem that has been around for some 8 seasons now.  Out of the 8 opening games Moyes has been in charge, we’ve lost 5, mostly due to awful organisation, drawn one against Spurs and barely stumbled over the line against Watford and Wigan, awful opening games seem to be a Moyes trait, and something he must address.

This time last year our awful incompetent performance was blamed on our injuries, lack of transfers and playing untried teenagers, but this year we played a well settled, Premierleague quality line up, who each played a key part in our season last year.  This performance was due to Moyes, his coaches and his players not gelling and getting up to speed over the pre season.  To have a team of players who have played with each other many times look like they’ve never seen each other, to have a team of set piece specialists forget to mark on set pieces, and to play Arsenal knowing they’ll hit us on the break, then leave ourselves completely exposed to counter attacks, that’s down to management, and whilst I’m a huge fan of Moyes, this incompetent performance has been replicated over most of his previous opening games, and if Moyes and Round can’t solve this obvious weakness, he should get someone who can.

The game itself yesterday was a lesson in how to throw away a match.  We weren’t outclassed, we gave Arsenal a list of our weaknesses and sat back as they took advantage of them, defensively the players may as well have been falling over each other, and up front we never got two passes together and simply lumped it up to an isolated Fellaini.  Baines and Pienaar were no match for Bendtner, who at twice their size won everything in the air and ran the pair ragged.  Jo looked lost up front, and on the rare event he did get into a decent position support was nowhere to be seen.  Fellaini won everything in the air, but had no one to flick it on to, whilst our old talisman Cahill was invisible.

For those of us you who left after the 6th goal, you missed what could possibly be described as the moment of the season.  Neville picked up the ball in the centre circle, and with the grace of Pele, skill of Maradona, and locked up frustration of a constipated Vinnie Jones, he dribbled the ball past the Arsenal team and volleyed it into the top right hand corner of the net, only for it to be ruled out for being so implausible.  But we were graced with one moment of sarcastic joy as Saha tapped the ball into an open net in injury time, much to the delight of the 6 of us left in the ground.

After such an awful performance, our game on Thursday has our annual European humiliation written all over it, and if Moyes doesn’t get to grip with his players soon, our work last year to get back into Europe will once again be for nothing.


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