Arteta, Everton Suffer From Tim Duncan Syndrome

When Tim Duncan was a senior at Wake Forest University, his teammates often utilized a very basic strategy: 1.) get the ball to Duncan, and 2.) watch him play. A 7-footer can only do so much on a basketball court, however, and the lack of real help from Duncan’s teammates allowed opponents to double- and triple-team Duncan, decreasing his effectiveness. This kept Wake Forest from ever making the Final Four with the best player in that school’s history.

The moment Mikel Arteta stepped onto the Anfield pitch today, the exact same fate befell Everton.

In the 41st minute, Arteta replaced an injured Marouane Fellaini, who had to leave the match after a two-footed challenge from Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who was sent off. Every time Arteta got the ball in midfield, however, the Toffees seemed content to sit back and watch him to try and create something. That creativity, even more so in football than in basketball, requires more than one player. Arteta’s play became severely limited by the lack movement from his teammates. As a result, Everton showed shockingly little scoring threat, despite having a man advantage for more than a half.

Of course, that’s only part of the reason that Liverpool secured a crucial 1-0 victory in this Merseyside Derby.

The Reds’ physical play set the tone for the first half, and Everton’s equally physical response seemed to take them out of their usual game. Steven Pienaar’s yellow card in the 30th minute took the spark out of his game and made him a non-factor.

Defensively, 10-man Liverpool did well to limit Everton’s movement as much as than Everton themselves did. For example, the Reds showed a great deal of respect for Landon Donovan’s pace. Every time the American got the ball on the wing, two defenders stepped up to meet him, leaving him with no option but to kick the ball back to Phil Neville. Donovan looked better against Liverpool today than he did in a Bayer Leverkusen jersey five years ago, but Liverpool’s defense did very well to limit his play.

In addition, the Reds knew going into the 2nd half that their best chance for scoring would be from set plays, and they did well to win them. Sure enough, an inswinging corner kick from Steven Gerrard found Dirk Kuyt, who held Tim Howard off well and headed it in for the game’s only goal. Howard should have done better on that play.

That was true for everyone in blue today, though. Everton played as if they didn’t even realize they had a man advantage, and with so little movement and creativity, they squandered a golden opportunity to win their first game in Anfield in the 21st century. Liverpool, meanwhile, moved back into 4th place for the moment, and once again, we’re left to wonder if this is the game that will inspire Liverpool to separate itself from the pack and reclaim its Champions League status.

22 thoughts on “Arteta, Everton Suffer From Tim Duncan Syndrome”

  1. If you came into the match after Kyrgiakos was sent off and didn’t know it there is no way you could tell from the flow of play that Everton had a man advantage. A good job by Liverpool, but truly uninspired by Everton.

  2. well the game was a more open affair before the red card. Afterwards Liverpool sat back and looked to counter attack. Once again a red card ruins the flow of the game.

  3. I also think that Arteta wasn’t ready for this fight… Osman should have been substituted at halftime for Yakubu though. Everton looked pathetic in creating chances. It was like they didn’t focus at all in practice on creating chances this week.

    1. See what I mean Tony – very, very bitter! That said, in all seriousness mate, I never wish Everton to be relegated as we look forward to the six points every season. Agent Moyes to stay – he is doing a fine job!!!!

  4. Is that right Peter, ‘small and inferior, not to mention very, very bitter!’?

    Pot, kettle, Manchester United, the biggest club in the world.

    Your not bitter about them are you?

    No your that lovely gang of whacks who just go around murdering innocent fans, steal tickets off your own fans and try to turn over Ambulances while a patient is in the back with a broken leg (Alan Smith), your not bitter are you.

  5. Two weeks ago,80% of you redshite wanted Benitez sacked,now he’s the best thing since sliced bread,just goes to show what a gang of fickle f**kers you are.

  6. Does anyone else think Fellaini actually injured himself while stomping on Kyrgiakos’ ankle rather than from the challenge itself? It was his right leg that was injured … the one that did the stomping.

  7. peter you wouldnt know scouse humour if it come bit you in ar$e, you are probably sum nordic plum, who supports liverpool cos you won the ticket in a norwegian raffle. we dont blame anyone else for our lack of achievment reaching cup finals on a shoe string budget and supporting our team week in week out we have supported the team through relegation dogfights, whereas you Peter would call for the managers head if you suffered the same fate, and im guessin you go the game every blue moon. Underacheivement is when you spend near on 250 million over 5 years an dont win a thing, then get on benitez back wen you have a little slump in form.

    1. Dave – you should pick my lottery tickets fella! This is my point – I could be from Norway or Denmark, Singapore, Thailand, USA, Czech Rep, Eire, Spain…the list goes because we are massive, a global club, we can’t help that it comes with success – that is where your jealously, sorry I mean bitterness comes from. Ask anybody around the world which team plays in Liverpool and there is always only one answer! (ps I am from Fazakerley pmsl!!!)

  8. Well done to all Evertonians who contributed above. The experiment was a success and you have passed your test of bitterness with flying colours!! You all win a free bitterpill to swallow but will unfortunately have to live in our shadow for another 30 years!!!

  9. Napoleon Syndrome- an intriguing idea. A tactical genius who conquered Europe and great leader beaten by a bunch of mercenaries and thugs. How apt. Well said Peter, thanks for the compliment.

  10. Amazing how roles have reversed…I remember playing at Anfield a few years ago when Gary Speed headed an equaliser in last 10 mins…before the game Roy Evans had been going on about how LFC had to match EFC’s stregnth (it was the dogs of war era)…the funniest part was watching the likes of Jamie Redknapp ‘mix’ it with Joe Parky and John Ebbrell etc,. Some of the tackles from LFC were similar to EFC on Saturday…uncommitted and lacked any stomach! On Saturday, as much as I dislike the Carraghers and Gerrards, the fact is they go into the game with the right attitude…and we just couldn’t match it. LFC going to 10-men actually cost us more because we lost the big man. Up to that point we were just starting to get a foot in the game. Thought the ref was poor, as well as missing Pienaars challenge he also missed the assault by carragher in the first 30 seconds and failed to book macherano for his poor challenge on felli and many others!!! It was always going to be difficult with LFC having 10-men behind the ball…afterall, they have dominated europe with the same tactics!! Funny thing is when we applied the tactics LFC have over past 10 games, we were called the dogs of war – little football all fight – when they do it its football!! Let’s hope we can pick ourselves up for Wednesday.

  11. an absolute pathetic display from a club wanting to get into europe, everton could have played another 2 hours and still would not have scored, liverpool shut up shop and moyes was completely devoid of ideas, the players had been bragging about baine’s crossing of the ball all week, so instead of taking adavntage of the slow carragher they decided to play down the right, i’m sure baines and pienaar could have taken carragher to the cleaners, fellani goes off and they stopped and bringing on yakubo was the most ill thought substitution of the day, he can’t be bothered to find and open space or run for the ball, get rid of him now while we can get some of the money back that we paid for him

  12. “When Tim Duncan was a senior at Wake Forest University, his teammates often utilized a very basic strategy: 1.) get the ball to Duncan, and 2.) watch him play.”

    This is only a minor point of the article, but it allowed me to remember a classic college basketball player, one who had one of the best ACC tournaments of all time in 1995.

    Randolph Childress was one of my favorite collegiate players, and he was the best player on the Demon Deacons during Duncan’s freshman year. The Deacons also had Tony Rutland emerge later in Duncan’s time at Wake Forest.

  13. Yes we are bitter Peter, we are bitter that real fans who know the history of the club they support rather than because they watch them on sky, these so called fans stop real fans from going the game cos they cant get a ticket. actually we prob av more support in USA because of howard and donovan, and in china because of the legend that is Li Tie, May he rest in peace. If anyone is bitter Peter it is you, we have actually given liverpool credit because of our display was poor, you on the other hand im guessing would not be so gracious, and i guess if liverpool were beaten you wud be calling for the fat spanish waiters head.

  14. Am I missing something? Whatever happened to that famous scouse humour? I am just ribbing you cause the red half have the bragging rites and look at your responses – full of bad language and bitterness. And you wonder why the world calls you lot the bitters!!! Grow up and stop blaming others for your total underachievement as a football club!!! I look forward to six points new season, if you are still in the division.

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