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The Blues’ London problem continues


By Chris Kirwan
October 5 2003

The Blues put in another poor London performance to undermine the hard work of recent matches. Everton’s form in the capital continues to frustrate.

The Leeds game had brought with it hope that the Blues were back on track, and were set to ease back into the form of last season. But the Blues were comprehensively outplayed by Tottenham, and the points total of 8 points from 8 games puts them level with a pair of teams that are said to be ‘in crisis’, Spurs and Leeds.

But while the loss at White Hart Lane is disappointing, it is a ground where the Blues rarely fare well. Last season Moyes team put in a battling performance in a 4-3 loss, but despite the showing came away with as many points as they did in a 3-0 surrender. But the worry for Moyes will be that the Blues continue to defend poorly. Moyes stated after the game: "That was our worst performance of the season and there are no positives at all from it.

"If you defend the way we did it is game over. I expect my team to win every game and I am disappointed when we don't.”

Despite the defensive frailty it took a cracking strike by Freddie Kanoute to open the scoring. But the Everton back four was always struggling against Spurs’ attack. David Pleat was full of praise for his front two after the game:

"Up front, Kanoute's got a magnificent goal and Keane was absolutely wonderful. I want to have a good look back at the video because that was like Zola, Bergkamp, all the fine front players. He got plenty of the ball and I was delighted with him."

Moyes felt it was poor defending after the break that took the game away from his team: “We were still in the game at half-time, but when you lose two goals in the opening five minutes of the second half, then the game's really over."

Other than Kanoute’s goal, and Everton’s poor defending the main talking point was Wayne Rooney getting booked. It provided the opportunity for the likes of Ron Atkinson to state that his temperament is too suspect for Istanbul, and that it’s an aspect of his game he needs to control. Thanks Ron, stick to nicking other people’s anecdotes and pretending they’re yours.

Moyes certainly has a lot of work to do if the team are to match last season’s effort, but graft is certainly one thing that Moyes’ Everton are not afraid of. The good thing is that there are plenty of sides struggling to find their form so far, and the Blues are well within reach of the top third of the table. But they will need to improve on the basics if they are to get to where Moyes expects his team to be.

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