August 2008 Archives

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EVERTON collapsed to a 3-0 home defeat at Goodison Park this afternoon, where FA Cup winners Portsmouth picked up their first points of the season.

David James twice denied the Blues, saving a Yakubu penalty seconds after half-time and tipping Mikel Arteta's goalbound drive onto a post with the score still only 1-0.

But Everton's sloppy defending meant they were always struggling to stay alive.

Joleon Lescott was involved in a sloppy goal for the second home match in succession, Jermain Defoe profiting, while twice Pompey cut Everton's rearguard to ribbons for Glen Johnson and Defoe to score.

louissaha200.jpg

DAVID MOYES has hailed the match winning qualities of Louis Saha that could see him become Everton's shrewdest transfer in years.

The France international, who has agreed a three-year, deal was due to undergo a medical today at Goodison Park to rubberstamp his move from Manchester United.

Everton have not had to pay United any money up front, instead brokering a deal that will see them make regular instalments depending on the amount of games Saha plays.

Those economics are down to the fact Saha has been troubled by injury at Old Trafford but a look at his record shows that when fit, the 30-year-old is a top performer.

And Moyes - who is not putting a time scale on when Saha will be seen in a Blue shirt - is hoping that the former Fulham striker gets ample opportunity to show his worth.

"Louis has had no pre-season games, so there is no estimate when he may play," he said. "As far as I know, he is in pretty good nick, he had just picked up a calf strain in training.

"That's not far away from being okay now. Yes, he's had injury problems and if he had been playing every game, we wouldn't be getting him for next to nothing.

"There will be some money (to pay) after he's played games but there is no initial outlay.

"If you speak to people who have worked with him, they will tell you he is a top centre forward.

"If I can get him out 20 times a season, that would give us a chance of winning 20 games. I won't use him sparingly. I'll use him at every opportunity if he is fit."

Saha cost United £12.8m in January 2004 but only made 86 League appearances.

Moyes is hoping Saha will now bounce back to show he can cope with the physical demands of the Premier League.

"The thing is that your body misses the contact and rigours of playing games regularly," said Moyes. "If you are not used to that, you get concerns.

"You wonder whether they will be able to take the contact from challenges. We can't tell until he has played."

Saha will see his new team-mates tackle Portsmouth today and may be available before Everton start their UEFA Cup campaign against Standard Liege.

dominicking@liverpoolecho.co.uk

DAVID MOYES believes he can help imminent new arrival Louis Saha overcome his mental demons and rediscover his goalscoring touch at Everton.

The French striker will undergo a medical today after agreeing to leave Manchester United and become the Goodison outfit's most high-profile summer signing thus far.

Everton have brokered a deal with United that involves no initial cost, with the fee dependent on the number of games subsequently played by the 30-year-old.

NOT for the first time, a European draw in Monaco left Evertonians groaning at their rank bad luck.

Following on from Villarreal, Dinamo Bucharest and Metalist Kharkiv, the Blues were presented with an assignment to book a place in the UEFA Cup group stages that, at first glance, seems anything but straightforward.

One question. Why the worry?

PHIL JAGIELKA admits Everton were "a bit unlucky" to be paired with Standard Liege in yesterday's UEFA Cup first round draw.

The Belgian champions came close to eliminating Liverpool from the final qualifying round of the Champions League earlier this week, beaten only by a Dirk Kuyt goal two minutes from the end of extra time.

Goodison Park will host the first leg against Standard on Thursday, September 18, with the return match taking place at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne a fortnight later.

THE events in and around Goodison Park since last Friday mean that the outlook is brighter than it was before the last home match.

We've seen a hard earned victory at West Brom, and a "flurry" of transfer activity.

I don't think we should get too carried away just yet, though.

IF EXPECTING the unexpected was necessary to fathom Everton's previous Danish representative, it is comforting to know the latest is infinitely more reliable.

Thomas Gravesen's ability to thrill and infuriate in equal measure meant he was never an individual in whom you could place implicit trust but Lars Jacobsen, thankfully, is the kind of diligent professional that every squad needs.

While the Blues' first summer signing admits he will never indulge in the madcap antics that ensured Gravesen was known as the dressing room clown, he is hoping to make the kind of impact his compatriot had on the pitch during his first stint on Merseyside.

IT WASN'T just the garish glow of that dazzling new third strip that made Everton's pre-match huddle stand out so prominently before they faced West Bromwich Albion last Saturday.

It was what it represented. Togetherness. Commitment. Team spirit. Easy words to reel off, yes, but in reality they have carried Everton through the past two seasons, spurred them on to victory at The Hawthorns and will perhaps prove even more invaluable in the remainder of this season.

Such gestures are easy enough to execute. It is, after all, just 11 blokes stood in circle with their arms round each other's shoulders. Nothing difficult about that, except perhaps getting that many players to take part given Everton's recent numbers predicament.

A FRENZIED week in the transfer market with the probability of more activity to come before the window closes should leave two words in the thoughts of Evertonians - never again.

Despite fears that September 1 would come and go without the Toffees adding to their squad, the endless phone calls, faxes, e-mails and text messages finally bore fruit this week with a clutch of new faces arriving at Goodison Park.

Lars Jacobsen, Segundo Castillo and Louis Saha will all wear the famous Royal Blue shirt this season, as will the flying Nigerian winger Victor Obanni, subject to his work permit problems being rectified.

IT was possibly the latest goal ever scored at Anfield. A combination of a five past eight kick-off time, and the resilience of Standard Liege meant that it was 10.25pm before Dirk Kuyt finally broke through. But where does Kuyt's cracker come in our list of top 10 extra time goals?

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