Does Moyes Read Tottenham On My Mind?

David Moyes reads Tottenham On My Mind. Obvious. How else would he know that the best way to counter our attacking tactics is to give us a taste of our own medicine. I’ve been saying so for ages, and more fool the rest of the Premier League for not paying attention. Big Sam for one. Comes to the Lane with a revolutionary 5-5-0 formation, four down in a trice, sacked a few weeks later. Sam Allardyce – My Part In His Downfall. At least Tottenham On My Mind can take some crumbs of comfort from last night’s emphatic defeat by Everton.

From first whistle to last, we were never comfortable. Saha and Beckford’s movement, coupled with Coleman’s right side raiding pulled the back four all over the place and occupied the midfield to snuff out our attacking intentions at source. Said midfield were also strung wide apart to the point where Bale and Lennon were as far apart as Peter Andre and Katie Price. Later, as the match wore on, Lennon, Kranjcar and then Keane gradually faded from view like ghosts disappearing into the mists on the moor. Did they ever really exist? The apparitions on Most Haunted have a greater presence.

We witnessed a series of poor individual performances but this is one for collective responsibility. The midfield provided the back four with absolutely no protection, bar a few blocks and tackles from Jenas. Bale and Lennon should have tucked in more during the extended periods when we did not have possession, a fault that we’ve seen before this season, especially in Europe. If they don’t work back, the full-backs are unprotected and vulnerable. Hutton and BAE both had torrid times, Benny in particular as Everton repeatedly pushed down our right, and Hutton’s distribution was rotten, but defending is primarily a team affair. They should not have been left one on one with their opposite number. As a result we were treated to the slightly bizarre sight of Phil Neville as the flying full back, cutting the ball back from the byline. He and Coleman combined well, creating several two v one situations.

A Pictorial Representation of the Gap Between Our Defenders

In short, we were a mess. Saha had so much time and space to shoot, although his was a well-struck shot. With nothing in front of him, Gallas had to come way out of his comfort zone and Saha found the room behind him. This pattern continued throughout the game and great credit to an Everton side whose passing and movement made us struggle in the first half, then in the second we went under, never to bubble back to the surface. Overwhelmed, we held out only because in front of goal, Beckford is rubbish and Saha and others little better.

It’s a while since we’ve been as badly mauled. Saying that it had to happen sometime is in this case a little more than mere philosophising to excuse a defeat. We have been stretched badly on other occasions but managed to get away with it. However, this Everton performance was the best I’ve seen against us for a while now. They were superior in every department. They applied themselves much better whereas we looked jaded, and passed the ball extremely well. In contrast, in the second half we reverted to the bad old habits of conceding possession.

Yet if we had taken the chances that came our way the outcome could have been different. Equalising was straightforward enough, and without playing well we made other chances in a first half that ebbed and flowed, with first Everton then ourselves getting on top before Everton finished the half the stronger.

VDV was running wild and free, largely unfettered by the opponents’ defence. Modric also did some good work before fading. He was pressured hard in the second half by his opposite number. We made passes and half-breaks into the channels but missed or the ball was just cut out. Crouch once again delighted in the way he set up Rafa’s goal (he’s assisted 6 out of Rafa’s 11 goals) then infuriated by missing decent chances in the air and on the ground. That header in the first half – for goodness sake. The offside goal – what a waste. In the home game, Baines did the best marking job on him this season by tucking himself into Crouchie’s armpit and easing him off-balance. Did him every time. Neville sussed this by the end of the first half and the big man couldn’t handle it. If only he didn’t do things like that brilliant run near the end, we could consign him to the bin, but that’s what makes him so exasperating, the ability is there, it’s just that he fails to make use of it so often. Too often.

Half time provided some respite and a chance for Harry to regroup. Before the break, JJ was being bellowed at by Jordan and Bond. That may not be unusual – one imagines Jordan’s normal conversation as starting with the bellow and building from there. Also, Harry was taking notes – never seen that before, although he was using the same type of biro that I have in front of me. Me and ‘arry – two sprigs from the same bush, us.

Didn’t do any good. By the middle of the second half I lost count of the number of times that we gave the ball away. Luckily it was almost matched by the number of Everton missed chances, but in the end the goal was both inevitable and deserved. By this time, Everton were swinging it around like champions, we were bewildered. Bale was off injured. Neville gave him the treatment but no worse than the tackling he’s received earlier this season. Niko came on and was pathetic. An inexcusably feeble effort. If you can’t be bothered, just leave.

Gomes did well. He might have parried the second out wide but it was a fizzing shot. No chance with the first – credit to Saha for a firm, well-placed effort. Otherwise he had plenty to do, being unprotected and all, and he handled it all. In particular, he stood tall when Coleman was given the freedom of Merseyside, rather than committing himself early as he has done in similar situations lately, and this was a factor in Coleman’s miss. Hopefully with Tony Parks he’s working on righting that fault.

A forgettable night. Let’s console ourselves with the fact that Everton played really well, that we remain 4th and we took 9 out 12 points in 4 knackering games in 10 days.

A final more sobering thought. Perhaps our open style caught up with us last night. The idea lingers, that Everton were the first team to exploit fully a weakness in our play. The midfield have to be 100% to make it work, in terms both of going forward and when we don’t have the ball. I didn’t see the game but I strongly suspect the two teams at the Emirates didn’t approach the battle for the CL spots in quite the same way. Maybe we have to moderate our natural instincts for the long term good. One thing’s for sure – we can’t play like that again in the future.



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30 thoughts on “Does Moyes Read Tottenham On My Mind?

  1. I’m a blue, and was at Goodison last night, your report on the game is genuine, honest and well written. Credit to Spurs for going away from home and trying to win the game, that’s the best Everton have played since our Derby, and its no co-incidence that the higher paced game suited us, Also, night games at the Old Lady tend to suit us too (maybe its the extra ale time). In my view i thought Crouch played superbly as the lone front man bringing other players into the game, and VdV reminds me of a skilful Cahill the way he ghosts into the area (signing of the year), Lennon, Bale and Krankjar were poor and the referee was abysmal ( have they been told to be more lenient?)
    Good luck for rest of the season, i’m sure you’ll do well, and might be my bet for the Cup.


  2. A lesson to be learnt by the playing staff, management & coaches. Maybe its time to engage someone (with balls) from the Spurs camp to take control & telling players ( individually) of their weaknesses, which they are either unaware of, or they don’t want to know.


  3. A great unbiased report. At least you saw what I did. As a season ticket holder at Goodison, it was refreshing to see such an open game. Some of the games this season have been painful to watch. Van de Vaart was fantastic, and I thought Modric showed Arteta how it was done. I do believe however that the victory was well deserved and three points gratefully accepted. Good luck for the season and I know that if we carry on playing like that then it wont be long before we are breathing down your necks….Here’s hoping…


  4. A very well written analysis of the game. I thought both teams put on a great display of attacking football. VDV is a joy to watch when he’s in the mood, but Everton were outstanding in the second half.


  5. fair play to the everton fans on here, some spurs fans this morning are moaning about harry, the players arent good enough, etc like we have been having a shocker this season. Pathetic. But there is no disgrace in losing to everton up there, they are a far better team than they have been showing of late. Fairplay to spurs also for having a go, ok last night it didnt work but i’d rather that than do what Man City did. We arent going to win the league, ridiculous even thinking about it but we are having a great year and some of us seriously need to enjoy it more and get real.


    • Jim, Everton fan here. You lost to us. So what. You are a great side and play better football to watch than Arsenal. My fave player for you is Modric. I think he’s as good in mid field as a certain little Argentinian who plays for Barca. I’m of an age when I used to love Spurs. Martin Chivers, Gilzean Alan Mullery. Great days great football and the ’67 final was a cracker. Good luck for the future and you are always welcome on our site called Toffeeweb.



  6. another blue who picked up on this through newsnow (i don’t stalk opposition sites)

    well written and very fair.

    I’m here to say VDV is a true talent, fizzing about, trying the impossible, and endless energy – a pleasure to watch – he’d have fitted in the wonderful Clive Allen/ Waddle era Spurs


  7. Good game last night do not mind us being beat if we turn up and have a go.Not blaming individuals but Gomes was truly awful last night Neville took bale out of the game and to bring Keane on when we needed a goal was a strande decision but never mind we are doing well and sure we will bounce back.COYS


  8. The players looked beat. I think this match also exposed Harry’s weaknesses (you did say the whole team is at fault), namely his inability/unwillingness to rotate players for games. It did not need to be wholesale, but after three straight in 7 days, several players needed a rest, especially Bale and maybe Hutton. Also thought Bassong had earned himself a start over a returning from injury Gallas and perhaps Corluka should have played a role on the right. I’m all for consistency in the starting 11 but sooner or later the manager has to have faith in his whole squad to get the job done and not just the so-called first string players.

    But credit to Everton for a great match. After Spurs, of course, Everton and Aston Villa are usually my two favorite teams to support. So well played to them.


    • Good point about rotation. I’m not in favour of this either but we were short of energy in the midfield. Even so, JJ should have done more – he wasn’t tired.

      Although I was and have been concerned about the defensive cover and positioning of Bale and Lennon when we don’t have possession, it shows how much work they have to do and 4 games in ten days is too much.



  9. Fantastic game to watch, arguably the best game at Goodison this season. Credit to Spurs for coming and having a real go (especially in the 1st half). VdV is a steal – by far the bargain of the season. You lot look good , even though you lost last night, and I would certainly tip Spurs to finish in the top 4 this season at maybe the expense of City or Chelsea.

    Good luck for the rest of the season and in Europe as well.


  10. Very surprised to see such a fair view from a spurs supporter to be honest. Good read that, personally i felt your main problem was you had no real control in the midfield in terms of defending. We had Fellaini sitting, tackling, heading, whre as you had Modric. I dont know if this is down to injuries or not but that seemed to be your problem for me.


  11. ‘Spurs blog gives fair analysis of match, shock horror.’

    Agree with the Everton visitors, we are having a great season and 4 games in 8 days was a fixture too far for the same 11/12 players.
    We played poorly against Fulham and got the three points and we deserved nothing at Everton especially in the second half.
    9/12 is a good haul and we have had a tremendous run.
    Time to rest and re-group before the Man.Utd game.
    Could be much worse you could be a Chelsea, WHam or Liverpool supporter.
    Nicely written.


  12. Thanks very much for all the comments.

    Evertonians – very kind, this has been picked up by a few Everton sites to the extent that this post is the most viewed on TOMM in a single day. Fair – a crazy concept that clearly most Everton readers can’t quite handle but hey – that’s the kind of guy I am.

    In no particular order:

    I’ve always liked Everton, thought we had a lot in common with them over the years – loyal fans, some success but a few disappointments on the way, overshadowed by their greatest rivals in recent years.

    Ta for good wishes in Europe.

    I meant to mention Fellaini – not only excellent but dug in at the end, tucked in with the defenders, everything JJ could be but wasn’t.

    Time to rest and regroup – yes. And that’s just me.




    • Alan, I know from a lot of Evertonians that Spurs have always been liked for the attractive football that they have always played. Good luck in Europe and I for one will be supporting you till the end.

      COYB, COYS



  13. Al,
    Have a read of this ToffeeWeb site, you wrote a very honest article – well done. You are obviously disappointed, but don’t be, I think the majority of fans don’t care who crashes the Sky 4 party, as long as some team does – I’m sure it will be yourselves, your team can be very attractive to watch…..good luck for the rest of the season now that Everton are out of your way….


  14. I was surprised at how many people assumed we just had to turn up to bag the points last night. Don’t they realise that Moyes/Everton are the all time spoilers – just ask Man City. Past form means nothing to Moyes – he just loves pricking bubbles. I don’t think we played particularly badly – certainly better than the bloodless stuff served up against Fulham and in recent matches we have been scraping out results when they could just as easily been going against us. The Villa game was a good example when we could’ve easily have been pegged back for a draw in the closing 15 minutes (yes, we had 10 men). I agree with the earlier posts about Gomes. He is not having a good, i.e. consistent, season and he was to blame for both goals. He was far too slow in going down for the Saha shot and his parry that led to the second goal was poorly directed. He’s been getting away with it in recent matches and it caught up with him last night. Having said that I’m a fan of Gomes, my outstanding memories of last season were Rose’s goal in the Arsenal game and Gomes’ saves against V. Persie as Arsenal climbed all over us in the closing minutes. Fantastic goalkeeping. But not last night.
    Hopefully, Harry can rest a few for the cup match and give them a breather in time for the big one against United. I fancy our chances. We play better when tagged as the underdogs. And VdV is current the best player in the country. Bale included.


  15. Spurs are the class entertainers in the League. I saw Rafael play for Ajax in Amsterdam when he was 16. Many Everton fans would have liked to have had him… but we have less money to spend than Accrington Stanley, we are broke.
    That was a cracking game last night, some of my best mates are Spurs fans and they are always gracious whatever the result. We needed to win on Wednesday but I would rather we had beaten someone else.
    Good luck for the season, and keep entertaining, football needs Spurs… hopefully that will will, for the 10th time this season, kick start our campaign. Believe me, we are not as poor as the table suggests. We scored three v manure, held Chelsea to a draw, beat Man City and the redshite (l@@@@@pool) so we aint that bad. Oh and four pon its from the best of the lot – Spurs


  16. Always good to read earnest analysis from sports fans. Another blue here, and yes, we’ve ad a shocking season and many of us believe Moyes has hit the ceiling now. But the team clearly has it within them to deliver a performance.

    Spurs have been the team of the season so far, no doubt. I concur with the analysis of our respective achievements & disappointments in recent times. Spurs’ football in last 2 years has been a revelation. I’m clearly only one of many non-Spurs fans hoping you go all the way in Europe. It would be a tragedy if Spurs couldn’t keep their normal performance level high right up to May. i think they will.

    Despite a below par front line (in which Yakubu remains the best, but Moyes has a problem with him) Everton have the beating of most teams on the day. After losing 2 of final 24 league games last season and having a fully fit squad, some of us (me!) put money on us at 250/1 for the league!

    You have to be romantic to be an Evertonian,and clearly to be a Spurs fan too. But it makes the success ever more sweet when it comes, as it surely will. Possibly even this season for you guys.

    Excellent piece & good luck to one of the best teams to watch anywhere. Spurs-Barcelona? now there’s a game 🙂


  17. Now look – this just has to stop. I’ve actually become a little emotional.

    Us Spurs fans are not used to our team being praised and liked by other teams. Correct me if I’m wrong, if you are one of the three Spurs fans who have read this article, but we are more used to being accused of having ideas above our station, of thinking we are a big club when we’re not. Being sneered at by our *feh* more successful neighbours in West and north London, or being hated as rivals by those in the east.

    Shows what a different perspective you get if you move outside of London.

    Everton are fine in my book, good people, TOMM is on your side from now on. Mostly.


  18. I’ve always liked Evertonians as, like us, they are hardcore passionate supporters who have had to live in the shadow of their rival’s superiority for a while now. It can be hard work.

    I will say this though, what a bunch a of whinging women on Wednesday. Whining at every single decision even at times when, quite clearly, there was nothing to whine about. Good atmosphere though.

    I thought the game was incredibly frustrating to watch as a Spurs’ fan, but I can see why a lot of blues enjoyed it. The biggest mistake on the night was picking my old mate Jenas instead of Palacios. Palacios’ passing hasn’t been good, but to go away to Everton with only three defensive players, the CBs and Gomes (who had a very poor game) was criminal. The back line was far too exposed and quite why Redknapp didn’t introduce a DM defies belief.

    Another problem with not rotating is that players like Kranjcar, Bentley and Keane either lack match sharpness when called upon, feel unwanted and lack application or try too hard to make an impression to the detriment of the team as a whole. You couldn’t accuse Kranjcar or Keane of the latter on Wednesday night mind. I don’t believe our squad is anywhere near as strong as the idiot pundits keep telling us. Yes there are lots of players who cost lots of money but are they any good?

    You can’t knock the bloke for effort and he does give us the possibility to play another style (one which I hate), but for the love of God if I have to watch Crouch start another game ‘There Will Be Blood’ (probably my own). Yes, he sets them up for VdV but it’s not enough. 1 goal 21 PL games in isn’t acceptable. I understand the beanpole isn’t just about goals, but they need to come from somewhere.

    Redknapp and Levy need to forget about golden bollocks and concentrate on shipping out the unwanted (Jenas, Keane, Gio, Pav, Bentley etc.) and bring in two strikers who could turn our season from a very good one into an amazing one.


  19. The squad rotation point is a good one, and as I implied, in the right circumstances a more cautious approach will pay dividends. I do think that the men on the field could have done more to cover – JJ, Bale and Luka could have dropped back 5 or 10 yards, we can break from deep if need be.

    As my revered correspondent knows, I agree re Crouch.

    There Will Be Blood is a saga spanning a lifetime with an ultimate message about the futility of chasing power and success. Maybe something a bit sooner, DL?




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  21. Yet another Evertonian snooping on a rival site here!. I loved this game..both teams went for it and made it a great spectacle to watch. We played better than we have in ages and if we hadn’t we could easily have been hammered by Spurs who are playing some terrific football at the minute. It is easy for us to like you lot because you remind us of what we were a few seasons ago and could be again if we had more that £7.28p to spend on new transfers. That said, at least Tottenham have spent wisely and VDV in particular was a steal. I also hope Spurs go far and do well for the rest of the season for no other reason than that you deserve it. Keep playing great football because you are a pleasure to watch and don’t be too hard on yourselves if you do come up short this year because Spurs will win something ….lets face it the so called big 4 are all under-performing so the only question is ‘How much do you want it?’ …. A pleasure to read this article which was honest and balanced.


  22. @TMWNN

    Mostly agree but not with the idea of decimating the squad this month. Lets leave that until the summer. Keane and possibly Bentley are the only ones likely to be sold.

    Sandro has to play instead of JJ. Palacios has to play instead of JJ.

    JJ should be benched and only play in a midfield containing Thud/Moddle when desperate. JJ is useful to have on the bench because in the event of an injury can fill any of 4 positions (CMR CML RW RB)

    Bentley can fuck off and yes I’d actually take Beckham on loan. Hopefully in the confines of Spurs Lodge he could teach Lennon how to cross a ball and Bale/vdV/Kaboul how to take a free kick properly. I know what people are saying about the WC and his influence on lennon. Thats irrelevant. At the club he’d make a world of difference and make a huge different to the mindset of our players.

    I’ve said before that this has the stamp of a Jose-esque masterstroke written all over it. If the media etc get so worked up over Beckham at the lane then it might take some of the pressure off the squad…because if we hang in there like we are doing now (the everton result changes very little overall IMO) and progress in the FA Cup and the CL (have to face the year ends in one thing as long as we are in the FA Cup) the pressure/expectation levels on the squad will be nothing our lads have ever experienced before except for maybe Gallas.

    Its warming to read so much positive stuff coming from the Everton fans. It has to be said that Everton deserved totally the 3 points on wed as much as I thought we’d actually win it, especially as we equalised pretty quickly, and continued to create chances in the forst hald. VdV is a joy to behold when up for it.

    BAE got a much undeserved hammering from Hansen on MOTD. Fair enough on wed it wasnt his greatest game but he’s been bloody good for us this season.

    Hutton is where the real problem is at Fullback. His positional sense is way off takes Lennon out of the game getting too far forward. As slow as he is Corluka is the best fit for Lennon and he can defend better than Hutton. My preference at RB is Kaboul now that Daws is back. Or young Smith next year hopefully he’ll be in the squad and not farmed out on loan again.

    Expect to see Hutton sold in the summer leaving is Charlie/Smith/either of the Kyles for RB. I reckon one of the Kyles will go in the summer too.

    Crouch……..just no. I dont give a toss how many he’s set up for vdV…I think its 6. How many has he scored…1…how many has he set up for others? dunno but assuming 4 then that’s 11 successful attacking things he’s done in the PL. For his wages he should be doing more. Like scoring. Doing the 7 step shuffle to get the ball under control and ending up back in the centre circle with it is not what I’d pay a forward to to. I’d actually at this point put Keane in the team ahead of him have have Keane and vdV supporting Defoe/Jan signing instead of Crouch. Aint going to happen I know. Actually play vdV as an out and out striker might not be a bad idea.

    Give the rest more game time. Anyone expecting Krankie to come on wed and change the game was deluded. He’s so far off match sharpness its embarassing.

    Ok i’ll leave it there.


  23. I’m a Bluenose, and, as previous posters have mentioned, have to commend the way you came to Goodison and gave us a game, which was an absolute belter.

    I think your a great club and team and wish you success in the future.

    ps…Wish we had Lennon!


  24. I am glad I read the article and didn’t start with the comments today, I thought it was an Everton site 😉

    Great read as always Alan, I fall into the camp that we were always going to lose one, and Everton deserved the win, but ‘Arry didn’t seem to know what to do in the second half.

    Not a crisis, not even close to a blip.
    We lost to the better side at the end of a hectic period for us being unbeaten for 2 months, now to destroy Man Utds unbeaten season in the league (after progressing to 4th rund of the cup..)


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