The views in these blogs are those held by the individual blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton Football Club.
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I left Goodison Park last night in pretty much the same downbeat mood that i'd felt almost 12 months to the day after that 1-1 draw with Metalist Kharkiv. It seemed then that our European adventure would be all too short lived. I was thankfully proved wrong. I hope i'm able to say that again in a fortnight's time, however my confidence isn't great. And that is purely down to our current defensive shortcomings.
Make no mistake we are capable of scoring in Belgium but keeping a cleansheet will be another matter. The logisitics I suppose are simple. Go there and win (we did in the Ukraine of course......and in Germany, Holland and Norway!) The question we are all asking though is what has gone wrong at the back? We've the same bunch of guys across the back line, Lescott has reverted to the left back slot as many of us stated he must and yet we're still shipping goals galore, poor goals at that!
Standard Liege had good players no question, and I believe they came with a plan in terms of attacking down the flanks having watched our opening four league games.
We did however contribute substantially to both of their goals and David Moyes will have been livid at half time. Defensively there was improvement in the second half although Joleon was very fortunate in stoppage time following another lapse in concentration. (101 consecutive games. Has he played too much football? Is that possible?) It's quite obvious then we must get back to basics because any slip ups in Liege and our European Campaign IS over.
The forthcoming games will serve us well in terms of preparation for Belgium. Two away trips (one of them a cup tie) and a derby encounter. That will certainly show whether we're up for the fight.
My own belief is that IF we can make the group stages of the UEFA Cup it will benefit us over the course of the season. Some of our best football last season came in the midst of those group stages, in fact a 13 game unbeaten streak from the first group match to the last, 11 of those games won. Our lads seemed to thrive on two games a week.........it was only when we exited the UEFA Cup our form took a dip. The experience gained is obviously crucial too. There is no substitute for playing matches.
So to Hull. Wigan scored 5 there. We must win it. We will win it. Probably 4-3 the way we look defensively!!
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