Everton 1 Arsenal 0: Another inept away-day

Last updated : 21 January 2006 By Brian Dawes

Gilberto - Useless
I'm not sure that any of the team were worthy of the effort the fans made to get up early this morning and travel all the fecking way to Liverpool with the possible exception of our full backs Lauren and Gilbert. The rest treated us to a distinctly inept performance that was a total embarrassment and sank to depths lower than other recent inept displays at Bolton, Newcastle, Villa and Wigan. Therefore this report will be shorter than normal because if the team can’t be bothered to turn up why should I be bothered to write about them?

So in brief; there was no plan A today never mind a plan B, once again the fans turned up and the team didn't. We had one decent chance to win the game when a great cross from Kerrea Gilbert saw Freddie miss yet another chance that was pushed onto the post by Nigel Martyn the rebound came as far as Reyes chest and then out again to Fabregas whose shot went wide. Pretty well straight away Everton went up the other end and a through ball to Beattie saw the Arsenal defence give him the freedom of the park as he brushed past both Senderos and Campbell. He took it well but this was weak defending, 1-0 Everton and that’s how it remained. Any Arsenal fans without a strong stomach should stop reading now.

A seriously sad back pass by Cesc set up Beattie for his second but he inexplicably shot wide with the goal wide open. Alan Wiley missed no end of fouls, both ways, and other than a rash of cards towards the end was happy for Everton to stop any Arsenal attack however they wanted and then watch them all trot back behind the ball. Only Beattie was booked before the break for an outrageous hack on someone wearing the number 7 yellow shirt. Not that Everton had too many problems because the blues worked harder than us, wanted it more than us and our limp-wristed midfield were a defensive non-entity. Had Everton been a half-decent side they would have blown us away. Gilberto messed up a good chance near the end and during the rest of the match did nothing whatsoever that impressed. Cesc was playing in midfield by himself. Pires was alleged to have been on the pitch and at one point in the second half I thought I’d seen him have a shot but am now convinced this was some sort of Scouse mirage, in fact I’m certain it was. Pires definitely was nowhere to be seen today, at least not by me. One Gooner near me however claimed to have seen Pires wearing a yellow streak down his back wider than his shirt.

Abu Diaby - Ten minute debut
Henry should be paid truck loads of money on a match by match basis, so today he shouldn’t be paid. Today his most enthusiastic piece of captaincy came when he shook all the Everton players, except Cahill, by the hand at the end of the match. Cesc’s idea of shaking the noxious little git by the neck was far more preferable. I lost count of the number of snide little ankle taps committed by the Aussie tosser but Alan Wiley eventually noticed and had a word, some fecking good that was! When Arteta stood upright he played well but he prefers to lay on the ground whenever possible. The remainder of their team merely had to make some sort of minimal effort in order to do better than us at closing down, passing, running, tackling, shooting and heading. And they did.

Essentially we played second or sometimes third fiddle, because even Wiley was better at getting in the players way than our midfield.

Late in the second half Arsenal’s one positive and perpetually enthusiastic player Kerrea Gilbert was substituted and Freddie went to right back. Freddie was replaced in midfield by Hleb. Just what we needed really, another lightweight tackler in midfield. We have to fight for the right to play but right now we don’t, if the opposition chooses to stop us playing they can, pretty well any opposition can and recently pretty well any opposition has.

Nuno Valente, Gilberto, Hibbert, Cahill and Reyes were all carded while Fabregas was sent off for caring far more than our captain did about the way things were going.

On the way back down the motorway we listened to Wenger moaning about the foul play and he was right because as ever Alan Wiley was crap. But Wiley was no where near as crap as our team. So Arsene should be far more concerned that, other than Ralph and Kerrea, no one appeared to give a shit until it was far too late. Henry and Gilberto were absolute pants and despite what the team sheets may have said Pires definitely was not on the pitch today. Diaby made his debut to pretty well nil effect, which was hardly his fault.

We are possibly the best passing team in the world but if we want to score there has to be someone getting into the box to get on the end of a cross or a pass. Today no one took up that role, when two or three players should have been steaming forward into their box there was no-one. The number of times we over passed ourselves around the edge of their area without penetrating was deplorable. Unless the team pulls their collective finger out and actually battles for a change our domestic season could be effectively over within the week.

I see no point in travelling to Bolton for yet another lilly-livered performance at the Reebok, so I’m not going to, I’ll sit at home, save money and swear at the television instead.