As featured on News Now

by Peter Bottomley

Everton’s slow start syndrome; no Davie, hypnotism not the answer!

It took just half an hour for QPR to put the ball in the Park End net, a goal which in truth had been coming, with the visitors passing the ball neatly, dominating possession and keeping Everton pinned back in their own half for long periods. Amazingly, given all the discussion and a pre-season designed specifically at avoiding the slow starts of previous campaigns, the Blues looked soporific and off the pace. QPR’s passing game isn’t rocket science but Everton did not pressure them enough and were unable to get a foothold in the match. That said Jack Rodwell might well have won a penalty early on and a few minutes later Leighton Baines crashed a free kick against the underside of the bar, with Paddy Kenny beaten, after debutante Ross Barkley had won a free kick.

In the memory of this writer only two other home grown players have had the immediate impact that did 17 year old Barkley – the 16 year old Wayne Rooney and David Johnson back in 1971. Physically Barkley cuts an imposing figure; 6ft 2 tall and solidly built with a severe short back and sides haircut he has the look of a throwback to the sepia tinged days of the maximum wage and post-war austerity. Stationed in the wide midfield role he immediately impressed with his excellent close control, his ability to shield and hold the ball and his range of passing – his cross-field delivery was sublime, triggering murmurs of approval and ripples of applause. He has a hunger and obvious desire to hurt the opposition which on this day was sadly lacking in his team-mates. Time and again he worked himself into excellent positions around the edge of the QPR area, feinting and jinking to try and get a sight of goal.  On a couple of occasions he got his shot away, one attempt in the second half passing just a foot wide of Kenny’s right-hand post.

Arteta and Saha did not start and when they finally appeared as second-half substitutes, for Rodwell and Heitinga respectively, neither looked on the pace or match fit. It pains me to write this but Mikel Arteta was poor last season, as if his new won reputation and long term contract weighed on him. Where is the sparkling, penetrative player we used to know and love? It was more of the same yesterday; his sideways recirculating of the ball in benign areas in the pitch reminiscant of some sort of half-baked Ray Wilkins.  Anyone spreading the rumour that Arsene Wenger is interested in buying him either hasn’t seen him play recently or is mad. Osman was quiet, Cahill subdued and Rodwell again disappointed. There were a number of acceptable chances which were missed; Cahill – twice, Rodwell – once, Fellaini – once, Osman – once. Most telling of all is that the only involvement Tim Howard had in the action was stooping to pick the ball out of his net, for the full 95 minutes of this game he was a spectator.

Tuesday’s Carling Cup game against Sheffield United will be an excellent opportunity to rest Ross Barkley and Tim Howard, but as for the rest of the squad – they look like they could do with a further hard pre-season work out.

EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville ©, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Barkley, Heitinga (Saha 73), Osman; Rodwell (Arteta 55); Cahill; Beckford (Fellaini 64)

Unused subs: Mucha, Hibbert, Anichebe, Vellios    Booking: Osman

QUEENS PARK RANGERS (4-2-3-1): Kenny; Orr, Gabbidon, Hall, Connelly; Derry, Faurlin; Smith (Ephraim66), Buzsaky, Taarabt; Agyemang (Bothroyd 57)

Unused subs: Murphy, Gorkss, Perone, Moen, Andrade   Booking: Hall

Referee: K Friend

Gate: 35,008

Written by Peter Bottomley

Blogs for Everton site Dixie's60. First game at Goodison: 5 Nov 1960, EFC 1 - WBA 1...hooked ever since Follow me on Twitter: Follow me on Twitter: @dixies60pete


I completely agree with that Article 100% get the so-called seniors back out first chance and start to blow whatever it is out of thmselves and get on with ability we know they have, I think Beckford is looking good and hope he can kick on this season.

by macey on Aug 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I must have been watching a slightly different game.

Peter, I agree we were very poor, especially so when we didn’t have the ball. However, we dominated possession as far as I could see – QPR had a few spells definitely but overall we had the ball in the main and created far more chances. From what I recall Cahill missed an open net and Beckford & Fellaini both had free headers in the 6 yard box among other opportunities.

Speaking of Beckford, macey, he was absolute dog sh*t on Saturday. He passed to them more often than us. In fairness, he is a goal scorer but I’m seriously doubting – even if Moyes did decide to give him the srike partner he requires – if this sole attribute is at PL level. The rest of his game is woeful. Just not good enough.
I can’t think of any redeeming thing to say regarding his technical ability.

I’m a huge fan of Moyes and I understand the financial restrictions within which he has to work but really, could Vellios or even the Yak or Vic have been worse than Beckford? He’s not a lone striker, he does not have the talent to collect a pass, hold it up and link the midfield. It’s so blatantly obvious that you have to question Moyes.

Out of the rest of the team – Howard aside as he had nothing to do – only Barkley and Disitn played well. Baines did OK but wasn’t as adventurous as ususal, probably due to the fact that he had a 17 year old CENTRAL midfielder in front of him for much of the game. Rodwell was out of position but even so was poor by his satndards – I’m beginning to worry about him to be honest. Ossie had a terrible game and looked fed up now and again – it’s not often you see him giving up but he did on a number of occasions. Tim was below par too and should have scored. The only thing I can remember Heitinga doing is mishitting a needless Hollywood ball from left to right and giving up possession again.

None of the subs were fit, Saha particularly so (I think Moyes was definitely right not to start him). Fellaini was both unfit and out of position. I thought Arteta did OK considering he’s still off full fitness. He linked ok with Baines.

Going back to Baines… he’s our main (only?) attacking threat / goal provider. Why stick an inexperienced central midfielder – known to not be great at covering and to drift inside at every chance – in front of him?

by Matt on Aug 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

I thought Beckford’s movement was ok, but he’s really lacking composure in the box. His end product appears to be lacking, i know he’s only had one season to aclimbatise to the premier league, but he needs to start taking his chances.

“It took just half an hour for QPR to put the ball in the Park End net, a goal which in truth had been coming, with the visitors passing the ball neatly, dominating possession and keeping Everton pinned back in their own half for long periods”

I must have been watching a different game, up until about 5 minutes before QPR scored, they hadn’t passed it neatly and i was certain that they were not dominating possesion. If anything QPR couldn’t get out of their half. Then on about 20-25 minutes the match became more balanced before QPR had a good patch and scored, what in my eyes was a sloppily defended goal, they made it look too easy.

by Mick on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm

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