February 2010 Archives
This month The Sav was able - via paranormal sources - to interview Karl Marx. Did the father of Communism want to talk about socio-economic structures around the world? No. Did he want to rail against the folly and greed of the Credit Crunch? No. He wanted to talk about football.
TS: Karl Marx, how come you want to talk about the beautiful game?
IT WAS a night when Evertonians, particularly those who had flown to Lisbon, would take any positives they could get.
As their last hopes of silverware in the 2009/10 season convulsed and then dropped dead in front of them, Blues could at least take some heart from the sight of another returning hero.
When Philippe Senderos felt his knee in a tackle and was forced to limp off with 52 minutes of the tie against Sporting on Thursday gone, David Moyes asked Phil Jagielka to return to action for the first time in 10 long months.
EVERTON manager thinks left back is ready for national selection.
Defender wants more European football next season and calls for renewed effort.
Listening to Sir Clive Woodward today on Radio Four's Desert Island Discs, I was struck by how fate can change history and how 'great' managers or coaches can depend on literally the toe of a player's boot. In 2003, with barely 26 seconds to go of extra time, Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal was the difference between Australia and England, the difference between glory and another hard luck story: Woodward the Wonder instead of Woodward the Wally.
Pan forward 7 years to a cold night in February at Goodison Park. Another young England star, casually back passes with disastrous effects: a penalty is awarded, a key defender dismissed and ineligible for the vital second leg and the momentum handed to a side low on confidence. The whole Europa venture crashed at that moment, and yet it will be the manager who is scrutinised rather than the players. Forced to play a semi-injured Senderos and the fragile Yobo, Moyes' tired midfield of Osman and Piennar could not help Arteta to create anything of note and the lacklustre Donovan and Saha looked pale imitations of the stars of the last month.
Did we under-estimate Sporting's undoubted ability? We do it every time in Europe. Did we believe the usual pre-match hype from Phil Neville? That sells papers and creates mirages. Should Moyes have left a tired Saha on the bench and made Yakubu and Anichebe earn their wages for a change? Maybe, but hoping for a bit of King Louis magic was a gamble worth taking (as was using Jags who showed more control in 10 minutes than the other two did all game).
But the facts will be recorded as going 2 goals up and being well beaten by another Lisbon lot. That makes a grand total of an unlucky 12 goals against and 2 goals against Portuguese teams this year. (I lied about the 'unlucky' bit!).
From Moyes the maestro to Moyes the misery in just 6 days, the fine line between heroes and zeroes, from hype to tripe, has been determined by the misplaced kick of young pup's boot.
One of the songs Sir Clive used to inspire his 2003 heroes was Eminem's "Lose Yourself". Maybe Moyes should have played this at half-time. The words might have struck a chord:
"Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?"
Mind you that might have been tempting fate as that is exactly what we do every time: lose OURSELVES! We lose it in the newspapers before a ball's even kicked and this time we lost it before we came off the pitch at Goodison.
Oooops there goes gravity............Back to reality!
PHIL NEVILLE today promised Everton will go on the attack in Lisbon tonight as they bid to banish the memories of their last visit to the Portuguese capital.
AS Phil Neville and his Everton team-mates woke up in the Portugese capital today they were in unpleasantly familiar surroundings.
WHAT a week - Chelsea were first put to the sword and then the Champions too and we gave them both a goal start! A certain Mr Rooney went missing - he barely got a kick all afternoon and was later found in the back pocket of Johnny Heitinga!
EVERTON today revealed their season ticket prices for the 2010/11 season and urged supporters to benefit from an early-bird discount.
IT was only voted the 37th greatest movie line of all time. But it quickly leaped into the top 10 of the Gwladys Street's favourite phrases when American idol Landon Donovan declared last night: "I'll be back!"
DAVID MOYES said "on our day we are a match for any team." A tremendous result against Manchester United.
TONY BELLEW says he'll follow up Everton's stunning win over Manchester United on Saturday with a comprehensive knockout victory against Atoli Moore on March 12.
PROMISING Everton defender Shane Duffy has rocked Northern Ireland by deciding to change his allegiance.
JACK RODWELL held one of the more unwanted records in the Premier League prior to Saturday's hugely impressive defeat of Manchester United.
PHIL JAGIELKA will end a 10-month injury nightmare tonight when he steps out for Everton Reserves against Bolton at Widnes.
EVERTON teenager Jack Rodwell believes the Blues' growing string of top four scalps means a top five finish is not beyond them.
THIS was supposed to be all about Wayne Rooney. It was a contest dominated by news of a reconciliation between the maturing England striker and his former manager.
EVERTON took part in their 5,000th first team football match on Saturday. For David Moyes, however, there was an even more significant milestone.
DAVID MOYES saluted his best of British chairman on Saturday afternoon, as he reflected on a handsome and deserved 3-1 victory over champions Manchester United.
The one thing I have learned from being an Evertonian is to enjoy moments like Saturday when they come along as you never know when they will happen again.
And enjoy it I did, along with 40,000 other Evertonians who revelled in as good an Everton performance we have seen at Goodison in recent years.
The thing is though we all knew the players had it in them, the problem this year has been getting them on the pitch and out of the treatment room.
1. Moyes tactics spot on from start to finish:
Learning from his mistakes in containing and showing 'respect' to the Big Three
Donovan stretching the ageing Neville
Bilyaletdinov cutting in from the right (useless from the left)
5 men across the middle
Johnny back and Yobo out
Substitutes at the right time
Pressing from the start right to the end
2. Players coming back to form
Osman: providing a real cutting edge and giving us more momentum in midfield, tackling better than any midfielder and skill is back.
Arteta: has been allowed to regain match fitness in big games without causing us too much damage.
Rodwell: reprieved and relieved with "Gerrard" goal.
Bilyaletdinov: undoubted ability needs to be allowed to grow into the team now. Heitinga: could he be the Number 1 Number 5?
The claim that "February could make or break our season" could have haunted David Moyes. Now, with the impetus of players returning and the confidence of knowing we can match the best, the task on Thursday doesn't seem so difficult, providing we stick to what we're good at: high tempo, right down the throat playing on the front foot with the confidence to spread it around.
We seem to have a harder time against the smaller teams - Hull away, Birmingham at home and a couple of poor games against the other lot - so let's hope Sporting Lisbon (who are not as good as Everton by any stretch of the imagination) don't poor water on what could be a great March.
If I was Moyes, I'd give the Yak and Vaughan a chance to restate their claim for a place and hope they do what Ossie has done - not been nervous of those ahead of him but made it difficult for Moyes to drop him. Or will Big Vic be allowed his chance for forgiveness by throwing him on for 20 minutes?
By the way, Liverpool might turn their nose up at the Europa League, but we should make sure we don't waste a great opportunity for more fantastic European nights. This could be the start not the finish!