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vs Blackburn Rovers (A) 14 Aug
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Moyes’ misguided loyalty costs Blues at Blackburn

Evertonians bounced into Ewood Park yesterday brimming with confidence and arguably with good reason. They left with an all too familiar feeling of dismay and disappointment.

From the moment David Moyes announced his team for the Blues’ opening game of the new Premier League season, the writing was on the wall.

Seamus Coleman inexcusably didn’t make the squad, and dejectedly confirmed to us afterwards that injury was not the reason why. David Moyes opted for a suicidal right sided pairing of Phil Neville and Leon Osman as loyalty to the Goodison ‘brickwork’ reigned supreme.

Despite damning evidence to the contrary, Moyes, I would like to believe, is learning…but it would appear he is learning slowly. He still hasn’t realised that at the top level, if you want to achieve consistency, ability is far more important than attitude.

If you have both then great, but players with good attitudes alone are now holding this side back and it’s time the manager woke up and started picking and dropping players on merit instead of misguided loyalty to his favourites.

On to the action, and Everton started with all the fire of a wet lettuce. Looking edgy, unable to string three passes together and generally a shapeless shambles, it came as no surprise that Blackburn took the lead in the fourteenth minute through Nikola Kalinić.

The manner of how the goal came about was the biggest surprise. The usually impeccable Tim Howard made a fatal error of judgement, dropping the ball after attempting to clear his lines which allowed the bumbling Croatian to slide the ball home.

A horribly sloppy goal to concede, but hopefully one that won’t shatter a top goalkeeper’s confidence.

Half time arrived with Everton showing more purpose in possession but without a real effort on Paul Robinson’s goal to show for it. With no substitutions at half-time the lack of inspiration continued after the interval.

Hopeful punts ‘aimed’ at the static Saha was Everton’s sole strategy that David Moyes must have felt could have offered the Blues a route back into the game. Unsurprisingly, he was very much mistaken.

Not even the introductions of Beckford, Rodwell and Bilyaletdinov had any real effect.

The last 10 minutes consisted of almost exclusive Everton ‘pressure’, but it was lukewarm at best and by this point it was painfully obvious that we were clean out of ideas and as Blackburn’s wily defence ticked the clock down it was hard to see where the breakthrough was going to come from.

The closest Everton got was a Phil Jagielka piledriver in injury time, the only shot on target Everton managed in the second half, that Robinson palmed away and Rodwell’s acrobatic attempt to return it with interest was weak at best.

Evertonians rightly feel good about the squad we now have in place, but Everton will be fighting for the Europa League slots unless the manager, to put it bluntly, grows a pair. The side he sent out yesterday looked nothing like a team ready to challenge, or lay claim, to any form of title.

No invention, no real attacking thrust and a dumbfounding tactic of aerial assualt against a team of alehouses, Moyes needs to buck up his ideas and fast.

Last season David Moyes seemed too willing for my liking to use the freak injury situation as an excuse, justifcation in fact, for almost every dire display.

There is nothing to fall back on this season. The manager’s methods and application simply must improve if this group of players are to achieve its undoubted potential.

Over to you, ‘Moyesiah’.

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