February 2011 Archives
DAVID MOYES today hailed Mikel Arteta's return to form and insisted the Spaniard can be Everton's answer to Barcelona star Andres Iniesta.
THERE was a time, not so long ago, when routine victories over teams like Sunderland at Goodison Park were habitual.
SUNDERLAND and Goodison Park don't get on. Which is a little like saying Spider-Man and the Green Goblin had issues.
PHIL NEVILLE says he does not envy David Moyes' selection headache in central defence.
Everton FC keeper Tim Howard hopes the Blues can maintain their impressive FA Cup form against Sunderland
TIM HOWARD believes Everton must not waiver from their high standard of performance against Chelsea as they bid to resurrect their Premier League season.
Everton FC jury: Blues fans on the FA Cup triumph at Chelsea and the Sunderland clash
AFTER a woeful display from the same players a week ago at Bolton, the Everton players owed the travelling support a big result against Chelsea - and we got one.
EVERTON'S new striking starlet Apostolos Vellios showed a glimpse of why he was coveted across Europe by scoring on his first appearance in a blue shirt.
WIN A watch worn by a Premier League star!
JACK RODWELL has paid tribute to Everton's medical staff as he eyes a swift return to action against Sunderland at Goodison this Saturday.
EVERTON Football Club has both enjoyed and endured a chequered history from 12 yards.
IF ANYONE was wondering why the Radio City tower was shaking just after 3pm on Saturday I can solve the mystery.
PHIL JAGIELKA has saluted the role Everton's travelling army of fans played in Saturday's FA Cup victory over Chelsea.
During last week's disgraceful performance at Bolton, I more or less wrote off the rest of this season as meaningless. To be honest, I doubt whether any performance or run of form for the Blues will change that, so frustrating and embarrassing has this season been.
However, such is the miserable joy, or perhaps joyful misery, of being an Evertonian, Saturday presents us with an occasion to once again raise all hopes and expect a decent performance from the boys.
Now call me ridiculous but for some strange reason, I fully anticipate one. There are many factors which have led me to this conclusion. Firstly, the irrational nature of the games this season - winning superbly away at Manchester City one week and drawing with West Ham the next, losing to Stoke one week then beating Tottenham just four days later. Surely, after such an abysmal performance and result, the opposite will occur.
And, as foolish as that sounds, there is certainly something in it. Everton have tended to bounce back well this season. For example, the great Manchester City victory coming after a disappointing draw at home to Wigan, and the very credible draw away at Chelsea following the humiliation at home to West Brom. Moyes is certainly the kind of manager to let the players know exactly how they let everyone down - as he should - and seems fully capable of provoking a response.
Another factor is something I thought specific to Everton, but in light of this season, I will call it 'the Wolves factor'. That is that Everton produce their better displays against the better teams. It is something that I have really respected about the Blues in years gone by, something which gave me hope, false hope I now see, that we could compete with them.
Europe is completely out of the question. And, incidentally, to go against what Phil Neville has said this week, so is relegation. Therefore, the FA Cup is Everton's last chance, not for silverware or success - though either would be welcome - but a last chance to give the fans something to cheer, something they deserve after this drab year.
And let's be honest, this Chelsea team is beatable. Well not only beatable but actually quite poor. If anybody caught their recent game against Liverpool, you will know exactly what I'm getting at. They lack cohesion, rhythm and confidence and before anyone retorts 'so do we!' (which would be hard to contest), we have to pin our hopes on the Everton spirit to prevail, as it so nearly did in the first game.
Surely, the boys will be fired up after dominating the game and conceding a lucky equaliser. The absence of Louis Saha will be a big one, we all know his great record against Chelsea, but there are other reasons to be cheerful. Tim Cahill will be fitter than he was during last week's poor showing and keen to make amends. Seamus Coleman too will be looking to once again get the better of Ashley Cole, whereas on the other side, Leighton Baines will surely want to show the England full-back just how close he is to matching his standard.
One further point to make is that I feel the ridiculous time the match is being played may suit us. Aside from the scandalous delay which has allowed Chelsea to recuperate, the early kick-off will help to negate some of the atmosphere from their fans, something which was apparent at Goodison, in the first match. If Everton can make a promising start, possibly even nick a goal, then it will be difficult to win back the crowd.
So this is it, as I see it Everton's last chance saloon, a chance to not only put in a good shift and secure some confidence, but also obtain a relatively straightforward draw in the next round. Come on boys, don't let us down.
STEVE ROUND has warned Everton must make every chance count against Chelsea in their FA Cup replay on Saturday.
Everton FC in focus: Supporters organisations give their views on the way forward for the Blues
IN the latest installment of our week-long series on the current situation at Everton FC, fans group leaders give their thoughts on the way forward for the club they love.
Everton FC jury: Blues fans on the Bolton defeat and the FA Cup replay at Chelsea
I HONESTLY don't know where to start when it comes to Everton at the moment.
AN ARMY of 6,000 fans will descend on the capital to cheer Everton's attempt to keep their season alive by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup.
EVERTON manager David Moyes is the club's best asset, football finance experts told the ECHO.
A RECENT Echo survey to reveal Goodison's greatest ever goal produced a surprise outcome.
MANY Everton FC fans do not believe enough is being done to find a new owner capable of transforming the club's fortunes, according to an exclusive survey of fans by the ECHO.
Players have let fans down and Everton FC are in relegation dogfight now - Phil Neville
SKIPPER Phil Neville insists the players are to blame for the poor form which has left Everton in a "dogfight" for Premier League survival.
Joe Royle tells Everton FC fans to lay off David Moyes
FORMER Everton boss Joe Royle has urged supporters to lay off David Moyes as he battles to lift the club away from the Premier League drop zone.
Ian Snodin: Toothless Everton FC are in a relegation scrap
DAVID MOYES says Everton are in a relegation fight and the manager is right. We're only three points above the bottom three and that's too close for comfort.
The news that Jack Rodwell will be out of action for at least a month comes as a big blow for the Blues. The midfielder had one of his best performances for Everton in the game against Blackpool and seemed all set to push on and firmly establish himself in the team.
Currently, David Moyes is utilising Rodwell in an advanced role. For me the jury is still out on whether or not this is his best position, it smacks a bit too much of the 'never-going-to-drop-Arteta' policy that is perhaps the manager's biggest weakness.
Ultimately, with a bit of luck, Everton's team will be built around Rodwell and Fellaini - the Chelsea away game which together they bossed demonstrative of what they can offer. However, for the time being, it seems the first choice central midfield partnership will be the Belgian alongside Arteta, for better or worse.
Now admittedly, I am not Arteta's biggest fan. Don't get me wrong, I used to be - he was once my favourite Everton player by miles. In seasons gone by, he, along with Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar symbolised the tremendous raising of standards that marks the Moyes era. But for whatever reason, be it aging, complacency or merely an extended run of bad form, Arteta has been too poor for too long.
I have long been of the opinion that Rodwell should be given Arteta's starting role, both for the good of the team and the future of the individual. But rather than bemoaning this or attempting to quantify it with statistics, I will attempt to be more positive and suggest that Arteta ought to grab this chance to dispel any doubters such as myself and make the position his own in Rodwell's absence.
This will mean a hopefully a return to the Mikel of old; the masterful, gifted footballer who could barely play a bad pass or control the ball without dazzling the crowd. To fight the Spaniard's corner, I will suggest that his usually shambolic corners have started to improve recently -though I wouldn't say the same for his free kicks - and he seems to playing with more urgency than usual which is essential to his and Everton's game.
The return of Everton's talisman, Tim Cahill, will be a great boost for everyone - the manager, the players and of course, us fans. Hopefully, it will galvanise Arteta's performances, the good friends that they are. Frankly, Cahill could not be arriving at a better time, as I see it. Starting today, Everton's next six league fixtures are as follows:- Bolton (a), Sunderland (h), Newcastle (a) Birmingham (h), Fulham (h) and Aston Villa (h).
In recent years, I would genuinely have expected Everton to win all of these games but now I will settle for anything between ten and twelve points. Anything more will be a bonus, anything less will be criminal.
So from one hopeful Evertonian speaking to who knows how many others, today I will put my faith into the stalwarts of Moyes' tenure: Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta, and hope during this game, these two players can return to their lofty heights and Everton can finally (finally!) begin their long-awaited ascent up the league table.