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Today saw the worst Everton performance in the FA Cup ever. Worse than last year's debacle to Liverpool. Worse than Shrewsbury. Worse than the 1977 replay. Just awful. There was no passion, no commitment, no joy.
The FA have accounted Jack Rodwell wrongfully dismissed in the Merseyside derby last weekend. He will not serve the 3-match ban that usually follows a dismissal.
Steven Pienaar has left for Spurs and the aftermath has begun already. Undoubtedly, the winger will be missed, not least for his fantastic partnership with the ever-impressive Leighton Baines. However, his departure need not be destructive, it is not as if Everton are void of options in this position. The best of which, in my opinion, is Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
The Russian arrived at Goodison Park 18 months ago with a hefty price tag around his neck. A reported Â£8.9m is, in Evertonian terms, a Fellaini-esque acquisition for the Blues. Despite featuring less prominently than the Belgian, Billy did however manage to match his teammate's debut season return with seven goals which - it is worth considering - is one more goal than Billy's compatriot, Andrei Arshavin's debut season with Arsenal, and in only three quarters the amount of games. Following this, the Russian had an effective pre-season. Notably, scoring two fantastic goals against both Norwich and Everton de Vina.
Is it not therefore absolutely necessary for Billy to be given the chance to develop in such a way? To become if not as integral as Fellaini, at least as impactful as Arshavin? In my opinion, Billy's debut season not only justifies more games but demands it, and Moyes is simply fooling himself by not facilitating it. Time and time again I have seen Billy being brought on post-85 minutes -if not being completely overlooked - and wondered whether there was something up, hoping we weren't dealing with another Van Der Meyde situation.
Steven Pienaar's consistent form and high productivity are of course crucial factors in Bilyaletdinov's limited football. Everton simply revolved around the South African, who happened to play in Billy's favoured position. But I would throw into that argument that Victor Anichebe who, despite some excellent recent performances, is not and will never be a left-sided midfielder, has been given far more opportunity than Billy to stake his claim this term.
Beyond this, Bilyaletdinov is often rumoured to prefer the right midfield position, his much-adored wonderstrike versus Manchester United a clear statement of potential. And though seemingly all Evertonians have been pleased if not delighted with the emergence of Seamus Coleman in this position, can any of them honestly say they would have resented Billy being given a few games here, if for no other reason than resting the Irishman which increasingly evidently is looking to be required.
But for his part, and in contrast to the unreliable Van Der Meyde, Bilyaletdinov's attitude has been first rate. Any opportunity to voice his natural discontent has been ignored in favour of praising the club and reiterating the current goals for the team. And this after Russia's national coach Dick Advocaat stated in August that Bilyaletdinov may have to move in order to retain his place in the national side. This displays exactly the sort of humility and team spirit Moyes aims to instil into each and every Everton player, and it therefore deserves rewarding with a good run of games.
With the coffers at Goodison all too predictably and publicly bereft, how can a player that cost the best part of Â£9m sit on the bench? It is worth noting than Bilyaletdinov is Everton's third most expensive acquisition. After costly flops in the form of Beattie, Johnson and now seemingly Yakubu, Moyes owes it to Kenwright and the tens of thousands of Evertonians, disappointed time and time again by the manager's regular transfer excitement snuffing, to get the best out of the player. Were Billy not here, surely we could go out and buy two or three decent players to improve the squad. So that not being the case, let's make the best of what we have and play him.
Come on Moyes, the boy has served his spell on the side-lines and has passed the test. Turn that great goal against West Ham into momentum, and get him in the team. Who knows, it may just save this torrid season.
The transfer season is upon us! While so many people complain about how ridiculous it is I'm going to buck the trend and admit I love it. The drama, the ridiculous sums of money...I'm really just caught up in the romance of it. Which is why I'm furious that there's been so few rumour's surrounding Everton! Could the respective newspapers finally have realized that we have no money? It couldn't be true, could it? Half the fun is in the fact that we know it wouldn't happen, hearing foreign names that could possibly fit on the back of a shirt. It's my favourite time of year. Anyway, I thought I'd give a round up as to what I've heard.
According to various sources Everton are interested in David Wheater of Middlesbrough, who I watched play against Leeds a week or so ago, he seems strong and to read the play well, but do we really need another central defender? Especially with Yobo out on loan to Fenerbache, where according to my main source of information (Wikipedia) he's played thirteen times. If we're going to buy someone new I'd like to see us sell Yobo first, but above all I'd like to see Shane Duffy get a chance, he's gotten good reviews in the reserves and the only way we'll ever know is if he's given a chance, or atleast sent out on loan.
Everton produced the textbook derby performance to brush aside almost embarrassingly average opposition and gain the three points that all Evertonians cherish most, inevitably meaning that there will be a few sore heads for the blue half of Merseyside on Monday morning, mine included.
We had a number of stand out performers on the day, but for me Tim Cahill once again proved why he is held in such high esteem by everyone at Goodison Park. A fifth derby goal means that Tim is now Everton's leading post war derby goalscorer, over taking the iconic Duncan Ferguson in the process.
One goal in three games doesn't make very impressive reading, and with Louis Saha and Yakubu unlikely to be fit for the game against Manchester United and Jermaine Beckford continuing to adapt to his new Premier League surroundings, there have been suggestions that David Moyes might return the formation that served him well during Everton's injury crisis in the 2008/09 season.
After all the build-up, hype and optimism surrounding Everton's potential success this season, we should have known that there was only ever going to be one result on Saturday, this is Everton after all.
The performance against Sam Allardyce's well drilled Blackburn side took us all by surprise, as Everton, playing in the new pink away kit which is simply ghastly, produced an attacking performance devoid of any quality or cutting edge and were easily nullified out by the resolute Rovers defence.
Of course it is only the first game of the season and the Blues have plenty of time to recover from this early setback, but this was a chance to make a real statement about our intentions for this campaign, and visits to places like Ewood Park will have to be converted into three points if we are to genuinely compete for a Champions League place this season.
Everton finally secured the most important deal of the summer on Saturday 7th August, with Mikel Arteta agreeing a new five year contract that has effectively seen the Best Little Spaniard commit the rest of his career to the Blues.
David Moyes made the retaining of his current stars the number one priority in the close season at Goodison Park, and after the likes of Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines, Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman all committed themselves to long term deals, Arteta has also been persuaded that there is no better place to be right now than at Everton
Phil Jagielka is the latest member of Everton's squad to be linked with a big money move away from Goodison Park this summer, with the club confirming they have turned down an enquiry from Arsenal regarding Jags' availability.
Jagielka is a key figure in the Everton defence and was sorely missed during his ten month absence with a cruciate knee ligament injury last season. His return to the Everton line up, along with Mikel Arteta's, was crucial in Everton's excellent end of season form and it would be a devastating blow to lose him.
For Evertonians the situation will undoubtedly draw parallels with Joleon Lescott's move to Manchester City almost exactly 12 months ago, however there are some key differences that will hopefully result in Jagielka staying at Goodison.
David Moyes may face one of the most difficult decisions he has had to make as Everton Manager this season, actually getting to pick his starting eleven from a fully fit squad.
When the squad returns to Finch Farm and is reacquainted with the payers involved at the World Cup in South Africa, it is becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to predict who will be in the line-up that takes to the field against Blackburn on the 14th August.
The player that is perhaps providing Moyes with the greatest selection dilemma is Jack Rodwell.