Landon Donovan Weekend Preview: Everton Hosts Manchester City

donovan everton

Landon Donovan can continue his successful spell in England on Saturday evening when Everton hosts Manchester City at Goodison Park. Donovan will find the Manchester City backline to his liking, and for the second consecutive week he will face a third string left back. This provides the American superstar with a unique opportunity to make his impact felt in the Premier League.

Javier Garrido’s name will not strike fear into most Premier League attacking players. In fact, the left back did not feature for a single minute for former Manager Mark Hughes this season. When new manager Roberto Mancini took over the side, he featured Garrido as a left sided midfielder before dropping him to the backline. Garrido replaces Brazilian International Sylvinho who had been an injury replacement for Wayne Bridge.

Manchester City has given up the most goals of any team in the top half of the Premier League table. Many, if not most of those goals have come down the left side of defense, where Donovan can exploit City’s weakness as he did with Arsenal, last Saturday.

On the left hand side of midfield, Mancini has preferred Craig Bellamy to Robinho in recent matches and started Sylvinho at left wide midfield position in the recent FA Cup clash with Championship strugglers Middlesbrough. Bellamy is a fighter who tracks back defensively well and has the speed to match Donovan. Still, the Welshman’s fight does not negate the weakness City has at the left back position which Donovan should exploit.

Going forward, it will be interesting to evaluate how quickly Donovan’s confidence from the first game versus Arsenal, translates to more aggressive attacking intent. In his 2009 loan to Bayern Munchen, Donovan’s lack of confidence in front of goal seemed to be a reflection of the haphazard performances he was putting in out wide. Armand Traoré, Arsenal’s replacement left back last weekend was badly outclassed by Donovan, consistently throughout the match.

But in his first match at Everton, Donovan showed a quality on the flank he never demonstrated in Germany. The big question is whether that will translate to more confidence in front of goal. Three Americans playing currently in Europe, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey have developed a flair and confidence to slot home many of the chances they get in front of goal.

When you factor Manchester City’s inept defending into the equation it is clear that Donovan has a unique opportunity to stamp his place on English football tomorrow. The big question is whether he fulfills his opportunity.

36 thoughts on “Landon Donovan Weekend Preview: Everton Hosts Manchester City”

  1. City’s inept defending…. what an ill informed remark that is. City have lost two games in the EPL this season less than any other team in the league. They have conceed 1 goal in their last 4 games and somehow they have inept defenders. Do you actually watch the game? You would be better off trying to focus on Donovans defensive abilities and if he can in anyway be a factor in reducing the number of goals City will score and if he can handle Bellamy. I can’t see him getting anywher near Bellamy except before and after the final whistle.
    Yoy start your article with a reference to Donovan continuing his successful spell in England…. this amounts to the sum total of 70 minutes playing time – hardly a spell and hardly grounds for it to be deemed a success. Try looking at Dempsey for these phrases – someone who has performed well season on season in the worlds top league not a pitiful 70 minutes!!

    1. I watch every minute of every City game available to me since we were dead and buried in the third flight, so yes I watch the games. the defending is inept. Mancini has helped us greatly as far as organizing, but if not for DeJong being such a good holding midfielder and of course Given, City would have leaked even more than the 28 goals we have already conceded.

      The last four matches were against teams less powerful on the attacking end than Everton. Still, I concede Mancini has made an impact in organization and confidence level.

      Don’t bring up the Dempsey argument. Of course, I think you are right but the last time I wrote on the subject I was called various things such as un-American and a hater.

      1. @ Kartik
        If you’ve watched City for that period of time… which is commendable then you should give them more credit than you currently do. The defense has been solid since Mancini took over and all it has taken is organisation and the return of Kompany. We are still without Lescott, Bridge and Toure as cover so I see no ineptitude likely this weekend or for the rest of the season if the squad stays healthy.
        As for Everton being an attacking force – 14 goals at home in 10 games is hardly fear factor stuff. I’m sure someone will expect Donovan to get a goal soon but not this weekend… he’ll be too busy chasing Bellamy’s shadow.
        City to win 2-0 with a brace for Tevez

        1. Bluejester,

          The big question is whether or not Vieria plays tomorrow.

          Any thoughts or insight? I cannot wait to see him in blue, even though I hated him in Red (except when he’d take Keane out, then I LOVED him)!!!!!

  2. Huge game !
    Everton has a chance to move up to 10th place with a win or a tie !

    Just figure it out, they are eliminated from winning the EPL.
    IF they win ALL of their games remaining, they get to 77 points.
    Not gonna happen and if it does, it is not enough to win it.
    Make the Euro playoffs for next year….not gonna happen either. Figure it out. The will have to be as good as Chelsea was in the first half of the season to get close and fail.

    Between MLS Cup where he didn’t hussle and this, I have lost all respect for LD. I will root for him in the World Cup, obviously, but I think someone else is going to have to step up.

    1. What is the “and this”? Between the MLS Cup (where he played just fine with an unlucky ending – and btw, it’s spelled hustle) and…what? The fact that he didn’t somehow magically vault Everton into first place in the Prem in his first game? That he’s playing with a team that is not going to be EPL champions? What is it that has caused you to “lose all respect” for him?

      Damn…criticism is fine but sometimes the LD hate just makes people sound crazy.

      1. I don’t hate Landon, I actually like him, seems like a very nice guy and a heck of an athlete.

        Thanks for the spelling lesson.

  3. Please, please, please, Everton, buy the man. Get him outta our exhibition league. Get him fully fit and fully trained for the task ahead.

    One day, when we choose a dynamic open pyramid over this single entity suck, an independent club will buy him back.

    In the meantime, hold onto him. He’s the best striker we’ve had since Archie Stark.

  4. I find it really interesting that MLS is being called an exhibition league and so inferior. How is it that both Beckham and Donovan were prepared to step in to their very first game after a long layoff and make important contributions including taking restarts? That didn’t happen playing in Serie A or EPL. It happened in MLS. How would La Tourae fare in MLS? Donovan is not the fastest or highest scoring player in MLS.

    In Donovan’s case all his preparation has taken place in MLS. I agree that the jury is still out. Donovan’s performance last week was a bit below par compared to what we are used to seeing in MLS. EPL might be a bit easier for him because he won’t have three opposing players dedicated to containing him.

    Players never succeed unless they are respected by their team mates. Beckham and LD are exhibit A. Until the Galaxy players respected Beckham he did not fare very well. Everton players and management (see Neville’s comments) appear to respect Donovan. It will be fun to see how far his MLS training takes him.

  5. MLS is not that far behind the other leagues, especially considering the salaries they pay out. Behind the best TEAMS in the world…yeah way behind, IMHO. IF they didn’t have league parity the Sounders would be one of the best teams in the world overnight. 67,000 filled to capacity in a rich city…done.

    Putting MLS down is a way that very insecure soccer fans can feel great about themselves.

    Think about it, how many times do you see someone calling someone out because they don’t know as much about the 17th best team in England’s reserve team.
    IF soccer ever makes it here, then they cease to be the soccer genius.
    They are a soccer genius by default now because no one in their right mind will care about a scrub on any league 17th place team.

    So what do they do now if MLS starts to get better? Rank it 72nd in the world in their opinions. ‘No one with brains cares about that league’ type comments run rampant.

    Look at LA Galaxy, Beckham can play first division in England of course ( not on one of the top four, thus he plays MLS ), He is paired up with LD and do they win….not yet. Came close, but so did a lot of teams.

  6. “Between MLS Cup where he didn’t hussle and this, I have lost all respect for LD.”

    Huh? I don’t understand. Donovan’s performance last weekend has made you respect him LESS??

    1. I respect is abilities.
      I didn’t watch last week, I am sure he was great.
      The thing I don’t repect him for is that he is going to a team that will not win anything….ever. For what ? Not for the money like most.

      No one gives Everton a shot of winning an EPL title ever obviously, so try to make the Euro-playoffs is best you can hope for, that will not happen for next year.

      In a time when other greats like Beckhm, Ljunberg, who’s Big 4 days are over, come to MLS for a challange ( not needing money obvi ).
      What does Donovan do ? Go to a loser team. I know they are a good team, EPL is great, but the fact remains they finished about 30 POINTS out of winning the EPL.
      What is his challange, win the respect of us two bit bloggers? I think it says a lot.

  7. I’m very glad to see the author reconsidering his prior negative P.O.V. on Landon Donovan given how sharp he looked vs. Arsenal. One big difference at Everton (vs. Bayern) is the way that LD is being welcomed by fans, the press, the manager, the captain, etc. Prima-Donna that he is, I think LD needs a bit of coddling to excel. There’s no doubt about his abilities in my book (still think he’s America’s best ever football talent), but he is mercurial. I have great anticipation for the Man City game. City look awesome in attack, however I think Everton has the toughness in the midfield to put a few wrenches in their transition game and I would not be surprised to see LD notch his first premiership goal tomorrow. Here’s hoping…

      1. Whoa! And forget about the non-existent CBA negotiations which aren’t affecting the future of the sport in the United States or anything, but hey, at least we can get in-depth into who’s playing at left back for Man City

  8. Regarding Donovan vs Dempsey, it’s interesting to see people on both sides offended. Most likely the Donovan supporters are US team fans, where he is nearly always MVP, and are made even more touchy by the frequently petty hating he gets on many blogs. People like Bluejester may not respect accomplishments outside of EPL or the top leagues. Anyway I appreciated both of Kartik’s previous articles on the subject, and it might be an interesting debate to bring up again at the end of the loan.

    1. The difference is that until you have done it in England/spain you, haven’t done it. I could say that we have this great basketball player playing in the English basketball league and he is as good as anyone in the NBA. What would you think of that? That I’m mad? Probably.
      Until someone as played with and against the best, they are nothing.
      That’s why no one in England rates Donovan, until he has done it here he is not a great player. By the way, 70 mins isn’t enough either.

      1. You can’t just throw out it is stupid…Why ?

        Because Everton WILL contend for the EPL title…NO.

        Because LD is not known for playing great in meaningless games and succeeding when it counts..WRONG
        (BTW go to Youtube US versus Germany in 2002, MLS Cup 2009, UEFA while in Germany to see if he like big games)

        More like smart not stupid. It seems like the EPL might be a perfect fit for him. Play in meaningless games all season long.

          1. Exactly.
            Well we agree then. Landon needs to focus on the World Cup and forget the circus side show of a team that will never win anything ever.

          2. Also, if you go back and watch youtube for Germany 2002 highlights, he choked big time in a few great opportunities.
            I am not a Landon hater. I hope he wins the World Cup for us, the capital US.

            But this is a circus sideshow, risking injury for nothing. Is he going to go down in history for the guy that brought Everton up to 10th place ? Only finishing 40-50 points behind the EPL winner ?
            No, in case it wasn’t obvious.

  9. “Until someone as played with and against the best, they are nothing.”

    Donovan has consistently played very well against top-rated national teams, last summer’s Confederations Cup being just one example. I know what your response will be, “that’s not enough; no body tries in the confederations cup; no body cares about the confed cup, league play is different from national team play; etc.”

    Some of that may have some merit, but it’s still unfair and incorrect to say that Donovan hasn’t shined against the best in the world.

  10. What more do you expect from Kartik?


    All he does is cover USL and this new NASL forcing us to care about what is really anatuer soccer.

    Also so many posts about obscure players who happen to be Americans in Europe and this wall to wall b/s about a 10th place team un England.

    The draft was this week Kartik, but you never wrote about.

    I agree with Charles. Donovan abadoning the Galaxy to shut up some idiot bloggers is disrespectful and does not deserve our attention.

  11. We need to start an online petition to prevent Kartik, and his buddies Richard Farley and Jamie Trecker from EVER discussing US related topics. When challenged this group, and Johnathan Starling also will claim we do not know who Wigan’s reserve goalie is and thus we are dumb yanks.

    Who is with me on a petition???

    As for Landon, his ego is forcing him to risk injury to satisfy Trecker and Kartik. I am for the players who stay in MLS and protect the legacy of their national league not England’s

    1. Hi Rey, did Kartik, Jamie, Richard and myself offend you? Glad you get offended very easily. Continue to get offended because quite frankly, you’ve made my day by being easily offended.

      So we’re not suppose to talk about anything US? Boy that’s a good one. I think I’ll continue to cover whatever the hell I want and if that does include the US Soccer scene, I will. Make sure when you’re finished with that petition to email it to me (my email address is easy to find on the Set Piece Analysts website) and email me not only the names, but the email addresses as well. I’ll have no problem emailing each person individually with a nice personal message for them.

      By the lack of reaction here, I don’t think many around here are with ya on that petition however. But keep trying, you might find one or two more people.

      The biggest issue is, US Soccer fans have a terrible problem with one thing: the truth. It’s easy to throw out every excuse under the sun when you don’t get your way. It’s even harder to actually watch a match and see the flaws that will see you go three and out at the World Cup. Yes, I want the USNT to succeed. However, I’m not going to be a rah rah cheerleader or a BJ artist for something that has obvious flaws when the games matter the most. If you can’t take the truth, I’m sure you can find other places to placate your tiny community. I demand as close to perfection as humanly possible and expect nothing less then that. When I can see with my own two eyes that’s not happening, I have absolutely no problems pointing that out and coming up with solutions that are up to the standard I expect this national team to be at. Frankly however, there aren’t many.

      And as for Landon Donovan’s ego, yea he’s got a big one. I just find it funny as hell it wasn’t until after David Beckham’s loan move to AC Milan was starting to be discussed again before it the rumblings of Landon Donovan making a loan move to Europe started to surface again. So no it’s not to placate the ego’s of journalists, it’s to try and placate his own damn ego and attempt to prove to Beckham anything he can do he can do better. Well that’s fine by me if he actually performs. After two games, so far so good from my vantage point. Much better second performance than the first, but I think that would be expected.

      So please try again you ‘dumb yank’ and if you don’t have anything intelligent to say, best thing would be to stay silent until you do. As for Richard Kingston, goes to show you haven’t been watching the African Cup of Nations.

      Now if you do have something rational to say, by all means try and prove me wrong. I am pretty certain you won’t be able to. But good luck trying!

  12. ‘Exactly.
    Well we agree then. Landon needs to focus on the World Cup and forget the circus side show of a team that will never win anything ever.’

    Proving yourself against the best is not a side show. I think he has some guts putting himself in the spotlight, trying to prove he has what it takes to cut it in the top league. He could of quite easily sat in the MLS and have everyone say how good he is but he and everyone else knows being the best in the MLS is nothing. So for that, I take my hat off to him.

  13. is it me or did Landon seem to get the freeze-out treatment – when the ball went up the right side it seemed to stop at neville then go back to the middle. Everton seemed to look to go up the left more than the right.

  14. “is it me or did Landon seem to get the freeze-out treatment”

    I couldn’t agree more. The attack almost always went up the left and midfielders seemed to never be looking for Donovan.

    That sad, there wasn’t anything too fantastic from LD today, although he did have a few nice passes and runs and even got off a solid on-frame shot that was deflected for a corner. All in all, a pretty mediocre performance; he neither hurt or helped himself today.

  15. Landon had a good – not great – game against Man. City. That said, some of the criticism lodged here warrants further analysis. Folks keep bashing Landon and Kartik. I suggest that the critics are not seeing the forest through the trees.

    In a different post on Kartik’s article on LD needing to emulate the Dempsey model, I commented that Landon’s true motivation for agreeing to a 10 week loan was to better prepare himself for game 1 against England. That is precisely what I see him doing. That does not in any way mean he won’t give 100% to Everton. He absolutely will. I’m just saying that I think folks are missing the real issue here. Read on.

    Landon fully appreciates the importance of game 1 in South Africa against England. He also understands the importance of his role in particular. Think about this. 10 weeks is not an opportunity. It is a camp… the likes of which there is no equivalent in MLS play. He can’t get this kind of preparation for game 1 anywhere else but the EPL. He’s getting it. He’ll come to South Africa better prepared than ever for his game 1 opponent.

    If Everton winds up signing LD, great! I’d love to see it. Frankly, I think he is an amazingly good fit there. But if not, Landon goes back to LA and his new $2million dollar a year plus contract. Injury is a potential downside, but that could happen playing in MLS before June. This loan is a smart move by LD that will benefit him, the USMNT and Everton.

    Also, Everton’s play as a team yesterday was a joy to watch – and that’s with half a dozen starters out due to injury. I give credit to Everton manager David Moyes for spotting someone (LD) who could fit right in and contribute immediately. That’s no small task in the middle of a season. It speaks highly of his coaching skills.

    Finally, I don’t agree that LD was deliberately shut out yesterday by his own team. Fellaini repeatedly kept telling LD to send the set pieces his way. But for a great save by Givens, one LD cross/Fellaini header just barely missed being a spectacular goal.

    Also give credit to Javier Garrido, who did a fine job defending for Man. City yesterday. The young Spaniard held his own against LD, Cahill and everyone else from Everton that tested him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *