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Ten Games, Ten Points
Nick Armitage is not impressed with the story so far...

27 October 2003

Radzinski: the key factor?

The form Everton are currently showing is relegation form.  An average of a point a game has got teams relegated.  If we carry on as badly as we are and continually fail to pick up points, we will move backwards this season.  We are now more than a quarter of the way through this season, and we have been dismal.  For the last quarter of last season, we lost five in nine and were equally dismal.  Thats a half a season of it in total.  How come its all gone so wrong?

The common factor in both periods has been the absence or indifferent form of Radzinski.  As soon as we lost him last season we stuttered, and then nose-dived.  We havent recovered.  The media circus surrounding Rooney deflected a lot of attention away from our main attacking threat and player of the season.  Radzinski didnt receive the recognition he so blatantly deserved; without him, Europe would have a distant dream.

Now, without Radzinski committing defenders, theres no opportunity for players to get up and support.  Now, theres rarely a player running into the channels or cutting in behind defenders.  His pace and movement turn whole teams onto the back foot.  Without him firing on all cylinders, the ball goes straight up the middle, route one, and it would appear that the Walter and Archie Show is still in town.

A fit Radzinski is a vital cog in the Everton machine.  Its imperative that Radzinski gets back playing and back playing well.

The midfield hasnt helped matters.  The bite, desire and drive that were apparent last season have completely evaporated.  Its like watching a different team to the well-drilled cohesive unit that we took for granted for the majority of the last campaign.

Gravesen is virtually always AWOL, but if you were expecting anything different from that whopper, Ill have some of what youre on.  How hard is it to pick a man up when your team loses the ball?  As soon as possession is lost, Gravesen never makes any attempt to get tight to anyone.  He just ambles around like hes still warming up.  How can a player who has such barnstorming performances for his country look so average when he steps down a level?

And now, the midfielder we didnt sign over the summer has come back to haunt us.  If the rumours are true that Sean Davis wont be arriving in January, then I fear more frustrating times ahead.  If there was ever a player that needs to be signed for a team to move forward then it is Moyess top transfer target of last summer.

Despite the failure to capture the central midfielder we so desperately need, the squad has been strengthened.  Nigel Martyn appears to have had a steadying influence at the back and its refreshing not seeing goalkeeping cock-ups.  Provided the glass ankles of Jeffers hold up, he should give us another incisive option up front.  Kilbane, who is more mobile, younger and less injury prone, has replaced Pembridge.  As for McFadden, the young Scot can be as good as he wants to be.

In reality, David Moyes is still on the learning curve at Premiership level but must figure put how to shake the team out of the stupor that they are currently in.  Outside of the top echelons and contrary to all the razzamatazz and fanfares the Premiership is filled with mediocre teams.

Without the impetus of a new midfielder, we could remain in the average or below-average bracket that we are firmly stuck in.  Conversely, a fresh signing could result in a good run that would catapult us through the middle ground and back up to where we are capable of staying.  It can easily go either way.

Its frustrating watching the team perform poorly when you know if they had that last piece of the jigsaw we may see what they are capable of.  If we are frustrated then Ill bet Moyes will be as well.  Worryingly, frustration is the last thing that you want a talented, young and ambitious manager to feel.

Nick Armitage

2003 ToffeeWeb


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