Brentford win 4-3 on penalties
Everton crashed out of the League Cup against League One Brentford, going down 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes when both Jermaine Beckford and Phil Jagielka missed from 12 yards. Coupled with the dreadful Premier League defeat at the hands of Newcastle United on Saturday, it is hard to remember a more disappointing few days in David Moyes’ Goodison Park tenure.
Moyes made six changes from the XI that was so underwhelming against the Magpies, drafting in Yakubu and Seamus Coleman from the start in place of Beckford and Tony Hibbert. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Magaye Guyere, Jan Mucha and captain Phil Neville made up the rest of the half-dozen as Moyes stuck to his preferred one striker formation, a cross between 4-5-1 and 4-2-3-1 with Yakubu as the lone man supported by a trio of attacking midfielders. Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar both dropped to the bench only to replace Guyere and Bilyaletdinov just after the hour mark.
Everton dominated portions of the game but, as has so often been the case this season, that dominance was not converted into goals. After creating just six shooting chances on Saturday against Newcastle, Everton this time got 29 efforts in on the home side’s goal, which, even taking into account the drop in the quality of opponents, is an impressive number. But with nearly 30 chances – 14 of which were on target – only one found the net. A certain number of the Toffees’ 28 shots that did not beat the goalkeeper can be credited to good work by Brentford’s net minder Richard Lee, and the former Watford player did make a few impressive stops, but weak finishing, a lack of composure and poor decision making contrived to leave Everton’s slender lead vulnerable and Brentford duly punished the profligacy.
With Fulham next on Everton’s agenda, another resolute, hard to break down side, the Everton forwards have to start taking whatever chances come their way. The five goals put past Huddersfield Town in the last round of the Carling Cup and three netted in the draw with Manchester United have been the all-too-rare exception to the season so far. Compounding matters has been an inability to keep a clean sheet – not one this season, even against both lower league teams that have crossed Everton’s path since August. A team not scoring while leaking goals at the other end is a recipe for disaster and so it has proved this term. Finding a balanced formation that offers attacking options and defensive strength has been a task that has eluded Moyes so far this season, as has settling on a preferred starting XI. But perhaps even more than that, a number of Everton’s players need to reconsider whether they are doing enough when they cross the white line. Well-intentioned pre-and post-match platitudes are worthless when accompanied by such lacklustre performances lacking in even the basics of what makes a successful team.
23 Coleman – 6 Jagielka – 15 Distin – 3 Baines
18 P. Neville – 25 Fellaini
7 Bilyaletdinov – 21 Osman – 19 Guyere
67 – 20 Pienaar on for 19 Guyere
68 – 10 Arteta on for 7 Bilyaletdinov
98 – 16 Beckford on for 22 Yakubu