Looking Forward

 

EVERTON (Away)

Premier League

Friday 9th April 2004

There are few things more likely to happen in football than Tottenham to give points to the needy.  Everton desperately need to get back on track after a good run of results (two wins and three draws) came to an end when they lost to Newcastle.  The side have been battling to gain some semblance of stability after an up and down season in which they have not been able to string results together for any length of time.

As has been the situation in recent seasons, Everton fortunes have been similar to Tottenham's.  We have both underachieved and both are fallen big clubs, seeking to regain former glories, but slipping behind our local rivals.  The playing staff isn't too bad on paper, but with money being spent, there still seems little direct progress up the table.  With Leeds, Man. City, Blackburn and Bolton still to play, the relegation fate of some teams is still in Everton's hands.

Nigel Martyn has taken the gloves from Richard Wright, while the promising England Under-21 Steve Simonsen looks set to leave Goodison to get some first team football, after never establishing himself at the club as the number one keeper.  Martyn is reaching the veteran stage, but has performed heroically in some matches.  Never the best at crosses and kicking, he does have his weaknesses, but we are unlikely to be able to test him, without a big man up front, unless Kanoute plays alongside Defoe.  Wright left Arsenal to make his place in the England set-up permanent, after they bought Lehmann, but a fall from his loft on Friday 13th left him injured and he has not made a start since September.

The defence has seen the return of Alessandro Pistone, the Italian central defender who has been inconsistent since his move from Newcastle.  Talented and a good reputation forged with Inter, he has been found out a bit in the more physical Premiership.  Partnering him in the middle of defence is Alan Stubbs, a more typically English centre-half, who is rugged and strong, but often can be caught out by his desire to get drawn towards the ball.  A lively forward like Defoe might give him more problems than a big man.  David Weir and David Unsworth are out of the same mould, although Weir is a bit more mobile.  They both have an understanding of what the Premier League is about and Unsworth has a fierce shot, but not the legs to get up and back like he used to.  Weir also adds height to the back four, but there is plenty of that and younger players with it too, like Joseph Yobo.  The Nigerian has taken a while to settle in, but his first goal for the Toffees against Newcastle shows he can be dangerous at the far post at set-pieces.   Still young, his athleticism is a great asset, but his errors have tended to be costly so far for his side.  Wide on the left can be found Gary Naysmith, who came from Hearts and although he likes to get forward, a player who will tie him up defensively might restrict his upfield advances.  Rising star Tony Hibbert might be considered, but is more likely to be on the bench, although he too has concentration lapses, which can let opposition forwards cash in.

In midfield, Everton are missing a number of players.  Chinese international Li Tie is out with a broken leg, Niclas Alexandersson has returned to Sweden to play his football, while Scot Gemmill is on loan at Preston and Nick Chadwick out at Millwall too.  Therefore, they are pleased to welcome Alex Nyarko back tot he side after a loan spell in France. He didn't have a good introduction to the club and was faced on the pitch at Highbury by an angry fan, but has provided a presence in midfield on his comeback, which adds a defensive sensibility to their midfield.  It is something that Steve Watson also brings, originally being a defender himself, but press-ganged into a midfield slot to beef up that area of the side.  Ironically, he has scored a five goals too - with three coming against Leeds.  A whole hearted player, but another who might lack a little pace to keep up with younger legs running away from him.

Out wide, Kevin Kilbane plays and like a tricky winger, he can go past a player and can make runs late into the box.  He can finish, although that is not a speciality, having scored only three times in the league this season ... so expect him to notch one !!  The dynamo in midfield is Thomas Gravesen, who wins the ball, can move forward with it and has the ability to get on the end of balls into the box too.  Not the greatest of players technically, but one who shows a neat bit of skill to go with his more tenacious attitude.  His look-a-like Lee Carsley is of a similar style, but his time with other Premiership teams means we know a bit more about him.  Something we cannot say about Tobias Linderoth, the Swedish midfielder, who played against England last week, but hasn't made a great impact on the PL.  Able on the ball, he makes a lot of good covering runs and prompts the attack, but might not start, although he has been favoured over Carsley of late.

Up front, everybody knows about Wayne Rooney, but it looks like he is now suspended.  Pressure has been heaped on him as a saviour for Everton, but Moyes has done a good job in easing him into the side.  Injuries and suspensions have meant he has had to be used more than perhaps Moyes wanted, but was enjoying a good run.  We also know about Duncan Ferguson, so it is no surprise he is suspended for trying to strangle Steffen Freund.  That will most likely see Tomasz Radzinski partner Campbell in attack.  The Canadian Pole is a nippy striker, who can produce goals from the most unlikely angles and works the line really hard, keeping defenders on their toes.  Gardner's pace will come in handy against him, with Doc taking Campbell as the more physical option.  Former Gooner Kevin Campbell is still at Goodison, although some Everton fans seem to wonder why, as he rarely plays and when he does, he doesn't impress.  He might provide a more physical presence in the air, if that is what Everton require.  Everton also have Francis Jeffers on loan from Arsenal, but he has done little to justify the price paid for him by the Gooners and even a return to Merseyside had not rekindled the flame that once burned within him.  He's another one who hasn't scored a league goal this season, so guess what ... ??  

One last player who has been brought in and looks to have a great future is James McFadden, the former Motherwell man.  He is fast, strong and shows the flair that Everton fans love to see, although he too has been limited in his appearances this season since arriving at the club.  He could be the one who can open closed doors for the Blues, but will Moyes go for the safer option in Radzinski and Rooney.

Spurs need to start scoring again and against Everton, there is always a chance of that happening.  They will be looking to tighten up after last week's sloppy defensive display at St. James' Park, so it might be harder for Spurs, especially as it is away from home, where we never do well.   A more forward moving team might throw some problems Everton's way, but will Pleat abandon his "0-0 and hold on" approach from the start ?  Tottenham need to show that they can get results in the run-in, but without a supply line from midfield, that might be hard.  For that reason, and with both clubs still needing a few points to be safe, I predict that it will end  ...

PREDICTION : -   Everton  1   Tottenham  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE

How do you think Everton have played this season?
Way below par.  The whole team hasn't seemed to get out of first gear this campaign and it has showed in some of our results.

Who do you think is your best player at the moment?
Up until the last few weeks it was a straight choice between Nigel Martyn and Kevin Kilbane (as strange as it must sound).  Martyn is the first keeper we have had at Goodison Park since Neville Southall who doesn't make Evertonian's have heart failure every time the ball goes near the goal.  Kilbane came from Sunderland who are officially the worst team to ever play in the Premiership and he was known as being one of their worst players - the signs weren't good.  He has proved EVERYONE wrong who thought they knew what to expect from the Republic of Ireland international. 
But on current form I would say that Wayne Rooney is probably our best player at the moment.  When we aren't playing well he seems to be the only one who can create something and turn a game.  He has been carrying the side for the last few weeks to be honest.  Although Thomas Gravesen has played two of his best games of the season recently and scored a couple of crackers too!

Which player isn't playing as well in recent games?
Steve Watson looks a yard too slow and unfit if truth be known.  He seems to be labouring an awful lot but as there isn't really anyone to challenge him for the position on the right side of midfield he keeps getting a game.

You will be without the suspended Duncan Ferguson.  He has been out of the side for a long while, but was just starting to score when he came back.  How will the side miss him?
We won't, he is over-rated shit who has outstayed his welcome in my opinion.  The guy is, along with the likes of Kevin Campbell,  stopping Everton from progressing under David Moyes.  Until these two high wage earners are off our payroll we cannot bring anyone into Goodison.  There is a strict wage structure in place at the club which has stopped us from going under but it is also preventing us from going forward.

Any exciting new names in the squad that we should look out for?
James McFadden - 20-year-old attacking midfielder/striker we signed from Motherwell in August.  He is the darling of the Scotland squad these days but Moyes has got a plan for this kid which involves the player being introduced into the first team VERY slowly.  He is a regular in the reserves and has started appearing on the bench.  Next season will could be very important for both that young man and Everton.

What do the crowd think of Moyes after this season's performances?
Despite what you might read in the trashy tabloids the crowd are totally behind the Moyesiah !  We know that Moyes is trying to take the club forward and we understand that he is basically doing it with one hand tied behind his back due to the financial constraints he is working within.  He is a young manager and he sometimes gets it a little wrong but most Evertonians can see the bigger picture. 

And what of the plans for the new ground?
There aren't any now I'm afraid.  The big idea was to move to a custom designed arena on the banks of the Mersey, next to the Albert Dock but due to our executives not being able to find their own arses with both hands and a map they failed to put a realistic financial model in place to enable the project to get off the drawing board.  Add to this pressure from Liverpool FC Season Ticket holding Council officials (I kid you not) and the fact that English Heritage (who own the land) didn't like the design we proposed and the whole thing was doomed from the start.  And just to add insult to injury the whole farce cost Everton a cool £1 million.  There has been talk of sharing Liverpool's new ground when it opens but I think they are pissing in the wind asking us to squat in the new Anfield ...

What is the line-up expected to be?
Rooney and Ferguson are suspended, Jeffers, Weir and Stubbs are injured so I guess we will start something like this:
GK: Martyn
RB: Hibbert
CB: Yobo
CB: Unsworth
LB: Naysmith
RM: Watson
CM: Linderoth
CM: Gravesen
LM: Kilbane
CF: Radzinski
CF: Campbell

What do you your fans think of Tottenham?
The feeling that I get is that there is a certain degree of respect towards Spurs due to you being another of the traditionally big sides in the top flight.  This is backed up when you look at what our two sides have in common: our local rivals are annoyingly successful, we are both seriously under achieving, used to be loaded but are now watching the bank balance and probably the most telling is a lack of success recently.

Which Spurs player do you like?
A couple of your strikers interest me a lot!  Although I can't stand the man I think that Robbie Keane is phenomenal.  The signing of Jermaine Defoe was inspired in my opinion...

What do you reckon the score will be?
I hope it will be a nice, comfortable 2-0 victory for the Toffee's but I'm a realist!  I can see a 1-1 draw at the end of a tight game lacking in any decent football.

Roo
www.efc-online.net

PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

EVERTON : -   Duncan Ferguson (suspended); Wayne Rooney (suspended); David Weir (suspended); Wayne Rooney (suspended); Li Tie (broken leg); Scot Gemmill (on loan to Preston North End)

TOTTENHAM : -  Dean Richards (Achilles); Rob Burch (ankle); Mauricio Taricco (thigh); Christian Ziege (groin)

COVERAGE : 

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Everton   3   Tottenham   1   (Half-time score : 3-0)
Premier League
Friday 9th April 2004
Venue : -  Goodison Park
Kick Off : -  20.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Mild, wet
Crowd : -  38,086
Referee : -  R. Styles (Waterlooville)
Teams : -  
Everton : -  Martyn; Pistone, Unsworth, Yobo, Naysmith; Watson, Linderoth, Kilbane, Gravesen (Carsley 88), McFadden (Jeffers 80); Radzinski
Unused subs:  Wright, Nyarko, Hibbert

Tottenham : -  Keller; Carr, Doherty, Gardner, Kelly; Davies (Ricketts 63), Redknapp (c) (Bunjevcevic 63), Brown, Ziege (Kanoute 46); Keane, Defoe
Unused subs: Hirschfeld, Jackson

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Everton Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Everton  -  
 Unsworth 16, Naysmith 25, Yobo 41

Tottenham -  Carr 76

Cards : -  
Everton  -      Linderoth (foul) 90

Tottenham -      Redknapp (foul) 37,     Doherty (foul) 38,     Carr (foul) 43,         Carr (foul) 78

A fourth straight defeat left Tottenham in a lowly position and with the possibility of getting dragged into a relegation battle, as losing to a depleted Toffees side means it is even harder to see where the next win is coming from.

The lack of will to put up any resistance was a disgrace to those who travelled through the horrendous holiday traffic to get to Goodison Park.  The staunch away support deserves much better than this and the lily-livered first half display by the Lilywhites was not what anyone expects from the side.  Being three down in the first half and rightfully it should have been about five, at least.  The defending was awful, but the biggest disappointment was the lack of challenge to the Everton midfield by our own.  Everyone knows that they fight for everything and we just didn't bother, let alone roll over for them.

All the early pressure was Everton's, with Spurs up against it from the start.  From Radzinski's early effort that was off target, the flow was one way at Kasey Keller.  KK stopped a fierce shot from the Canadian striker and was lucky that Ziege was on the spot to kick it away, but a sloppy piece of work by Gardner let Radzinski in behind him and he had to concede a 17th minute corner.  From it, Watson flicked it on and Unsworth was able to knee the ball in at the far post.  Claims that it was offside didn't really matter, as the goal had been coming for a while and it didn't take long until another came long.

Ziege had plonked a ball straight at Martyn at the other end in a brief moment of respite, but Kilbane got a near post header on a corner, but put it wide before they got a second goal.  A mis-timed challenge on McFadden by Doherty gave Everton a free-kick some 25 yards out.  Despite a wall, Naysmith strode up to hit a shot that left Keller helpless as he hit the top corner of the net.

Almost straight from the kick-off, Defoe wriggled into space to hit a shot at goal, but he failed to get it far enough away from Nigel Martyn, who stopped it easily.  There were some weak claims for a penalty on the half hour when Davies and Keane linked well to produce a shot for Davies that hit Naysmith on the arm, but Styles was not impressed.  So little was he impressed that he booked three Spurs players in the ten minutes before the break, taking the names of Doherty, Redknapp and Carr to make it a miserable 45 minutes for Tottenham.  Doherty was having a mare and he headed a short back pass to Keller, who came out to head it clear.  It was headed back over him by Kilbane and Doc got back to head it away from goal, but nodded it straight back into the danger area and conceded another free-kick.  The misery was complete when Gravesen lashed his shot at goal from the dead ball situation and Kasey could only parry the ball in keeping it out.  As usual, it fell to a blue shirt and Yobo hit his second goal in successive games to make it 3-0 from close range.

It was hard to see what the team had thought they were doing.  There was no effort, no shape and little cohesion.  Among the more experienced players, there appeared to be little ingenuity to bring the side together to sort things out on the pitch and when Ziege looked to the heavens and threw his hands up in the air as a pass went behind him and off for a throw-in, it was evident that there was little solidarity among the players.

Kanoute coming on for Ziege at the break was designed to provide an outlet to target balls at from the back.  However, Kanoute still appears to have his heart elsewhere, as he gave little indication that his appearance would have an energising effect like it did against Everton at the Lane.  It was only when Ricketts came on later that the midfield pepped up.

The second half started with Everton on the attack again, with Gardner nipping in between Carr and Keller to dispatch the ball from danger, but in the next move, McFadden brought a good save from KK.  Radzinski was proving a troublesome presence, even though he was virtually a lone forward and his wide play ended with him firing a couple of balls across the six yard box and it was lucky for Spurs no-one was coming in on them to finish.

Stephen Kelly was having a torrid time, with other players around him playing like novices, but he did have one moment of note, when he took on Pistone and sped past him easily to get in a cross that was blocked by Linderoth.  The introduction of Ricketts halfway through the half livened up the Tottenham side a bit and within three minutes, he had set up the sole goal Spurs got.

Turning inside, he slipped a ball inside the defender to Carr, who took it in his stride curling it left-footed past Martyn into the bottom corner.  It sparked a little flurry of occupation in the home penalty area, with Keane having a shot blocked from a corner and Brown forcing Martyn to save after Gravesen had let the ball escape his reach.  In between, Carr pulled McFadden back as he had a clear run on Kelly and received his second yellow card and his first ever sending off.

That left Spurs short, but that did make them push forward, with Ricketts playing a one-two with Kanoute and hitting his shot wide, while Kanoute also did the same in injury time.

With the determination of the Everton side, it was never going to be an equal contest, as Tottenham lack sufficient numbers of players who are willing to give their all for the the mere ninety minutes they are out on the pitch.  Keane, Brown (in the second half) and Ricketts when he got on the pitch were worthy of mention.  The others need to buck their ideas up before Monday, as most of the teams around us at the bottom are battlers and Spurs seem to think that all they have to do is turn up for the points.

The next few games will rudely abuse them of that notion.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  ROBBIE KEANE

Burton Coggles

 

PASSION ?  CHRIST !!

 

11.04.2004

GOOD FRIDAY!

Settling down in front of the telly to watch Tottenham take on a side a depleted side that had more injuries than us (if that’s possible), I thought that we might have a chance of taking all three points!

Well the first five minutes told me that we had two chances of taking all the points. Fat chance and no chance. The Spurs players were second to every ball and were put under pressure as soon as they got the ball, and forced into mistakes.  A goal to Everton was on the cards, it was just a matter of time.

All three goals came from set pieces.  Surely, Pleat must look at the defensive partnership of Gardner and Doherty and see it just doesn’t work.  Just as the Gardner and Richards partnership doesn’t work.  Opposition teams do their homework and know that Doherty or Richards are the weakest links.  Why did we let Perry go or why aren’t we playing Mabizela ?  King should play there.  He expressed his preference for playing at centre back (and did so for England with great success).  I and many others cannot understand why Pleat continues to play Doherty ?

The mid field was just outrun.  The Everton players worked hard.  Very hard.  Closing down, harrying and not letting The Spurs players settle on the ball.  Technically Spurs players are better than their counterparts, but the Toffees showed what they lacked in skill, they more than made up for in commitment and playing for “The Shirt”

Our strikers had a go, but apart from a weak shot from Defoe, Ziege and a penalty claim from Davies we really did not look like scoring.  Three nil at half time.

The second half Spurs showed more, but it was too little, too late.  Pleat really does need to have a close look at his team selection, because it’s PANTS !

The form we are in is pure relegation form, and if the players and caretaker don’t buck their ideas up then it will be Nationwide for us.

Mario Sergides

10.04.2004

For Smiler's take on proceedings, click here.

10.04.2004

I am a season ticket holder at Spurs and have been watching them since i was old enough to understand football.

I have just watched the Everton game and I am sick to the back teeth of watching players who are half hearted about Spurs and also I am sick of the fact that Spurs seem to constantly employ people to pick our team and they haven't got a clue !!!???  Pleat is a dickhead who has bled Spurs dry for too long (£300,000 a year ?).  How many games do we have to watch where he picks the wrong team in the first half and loses us the three points ?  I am sick to the back teeth of wasting my money on watching sub standard football from players that could barely get into the Wimbledon team let alone play for Spurs !
Somebody please explain to me how a useless tosser like Doherty gets into our team every week ??????
Plus he has been given a new contract ?????

Pleat is incompetent, and it is disgusting that we as supporters of Spurs have paid good money for 95% of the season to watch a team without a proper manager !

When I watch Spurs play at the moment I can see that all they have on there minds is their summer holidays !

This is not good enough and I hope that our new manager (We haven't got anybody lined up by the way !  The board have lied to us again !) will be somebody who will install a stronger mentality plus a will to win.  Spurs has become a club that you go to (from a players perspective) for an easy ride with good money and not too much expectancy !  This has to stop.

I always get the feeling that Spurs are rotten from top to bottom, and as a loyal supporter for more than 30 years I think I deserve better.  It is a fact that Spurs have never finished in the top six and they have never finished in the bottom six, but every home game we fill the stadium and the away support is always excellent.

It is all too easy for the Spurs board.  The fans have become too complacent.  Every season has become the same.  We don't expect to win but we have a few beers and a good day out and there is always next season ?

This has to stop and we should demand more.  We are one of the most expensive clubs in the Premier League to follow and so we should expect more.

Pleat has to go and we must install a top class manager (money no object) to steer our club back to where we should have been 10 years ago ! . How many millions have crap managers wasted of our money ? (If only we had employed decent managers !)

Pete Liddon

 

Other scores this Easter weekend :

Arsenal

4 Liverpool 2 Friday
Birmingham City 1 Manchester United 2 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 1 Leeds United 2 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Aston Villa 2 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 1 Portsmouth 1 Saturday
Chelsea 0 Middlesbrough 0 Saturday
Leicester City 0 Fulham 2 Saturday
Manchester City 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Saturday

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 31 23 8 0 62 22 77 +40
2 Chelsea 32 22 5 5 58 24 71 +34
3 Manchester United 31 20 5 6 58 31 65 +27
4 Liverpool 32 13 10 9 48 35 49 +13
5 Newcastle United 31 12 12 7 45 33 48 +12
6 Birmingham City 32 12 10 10 38 38 46 0
7 Aston Villa 32 12 9 11 41 38 45 +3
8 Charlton Athletic 31 12 8 11 42 40 44 +2
9 Fulham 32 12 8 12 44 40 44 +4
10 SCBC 31 11 9 11 34 29 42 +5
11 Middlesbrough 32 11 9 12 37 39 42 -2
12 Bolton Wanderers 32 9 11 12 36 50 38 -12
13 Everton 32 9 10 13 41 46 37 -5
14 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 32 11 4 17 41 51 37 -10
15 Manchester City 32 7 12 13 45 46 33 -1
16 Blackburn Rovers 32 8 7 17 43 54 31 -11
17 Portsmouth 31 8 7 16 33 46 31 -13
18 Leeds United 32 8 7 17 34 63 31 -29
19 Leicester City 32 5 13 14 41 57 28 -16
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 32 5 10 17 30 69 25 -39

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