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Progress: The Blue Boys of 2007!

By Glen Strachan :  07/09/2007 :  Comments (41) :
There have been many excellent recent artciles on this site both for and against the Kirby move but in this piece I want to consider only the staff -playing and coaching at Everton today. I used to write a piece like this ahead of each season but, as events last week would demonstrate, such a thing must wait until the dreaded window closes on August 31st.

Without the help of the 'Mystic Megs' of this world it is, I believe, impossible to predict the final placings in any Premier League table. This year is even harder than ever with tremendous parity amongst the sides pressing for European honours. Add to that some uncertainties at the four 'money clubs' and you have an awful lot of possibilities. Maybe the oldest cliche in the football coach's locker is that he will take one game at a time but that has to be the soundest policy for David Moyes right now.

Others might argue, but I believe Everton now has the best all-round squad in place since Howard Kendall's second championship season 20 years ago. Significantly, all but the veterans who are being considered on a year-to-year basis, are on long-term contracts lending a far greater possibility of security to the club than of late. David Moyes himself is contracted until June 2009 and, of the players who will likely make up the core of his squad until then, almost all are on four- or five-year contracts.

Since that Championship in 1987, our best league performance has been the fourth place finish in 2005 and it is quite interesting to look back at the team that we fielded in the Goodison game against Newcastle that clinched fourth spot. Of the 16 players named on field or bench that day, just over two years ago, 9 have now left the club and even more significantly they went because they were either injured in the case of Martyn and Ferguson or simply not regarded as good enough. The departed were: Watson, Weir, Kilbane, Bent, Beattie, Wright, Pistone and the two old warriors that I mentioned above.

Add to that the fact that just three of the starters that day are still core members of today's squad: Yobo, Arteta and Carsley, with the still unfit Cahill joining them later, and you can clearly see improvement. Hibbert, Stubbs and McFadden also took part in 2005 but all three are probably bench men at best, today.

Most Evertonians can probably recite Moyes's first eleven without pausing for breath. When was that last the case at Everton? Howard is a clear first-choice keeper with Neville, Lescott, Yobo and Baines as his back four. Johnson and Yakubu will obviously be first choices up front despite some near-ridiculous carping about the England striker from certain quarters of Evertonia. That leaves a midfield where a central mid pairing of the two complimenting baldies is surely in store when Tommy Boy has worked his way back to full power and perenial Moyes favourite Lee Carsley shakes off his thigh injury to resume duties as the team's 'water carrier'.

Arteta will be free to 'play the flanks' and if that is where most of us agree with selection , the remaining position could be the most interesting of all. Pienaar, Osman and maybe even a rejuvenated Van der Meyde (hopefully having had some long overdue good news about his ailing baby) will try to fill the spot that Cahill should slot into when he has fully recovered. That spot could often be split between any of the above in pairs with both playing 45 minutes.

No mention for Jagielka but there will be back-four injuries and that is where Phil can be of enormous value to the side along with the reserve back line of Hibbert, Stubbs and Valente until young Boyle has perhaps gone out on loan to 'toughen up ' after his severe back injury.

With the mighty Anichebe and perhaps the most spectacular finisher at the club today ? the inconsistent McFadden ? in support of the excellent first-choice striking pair, we are looking very promising up front and I haven't even mentioned the brilliant James Vaughan whom I was rash enough to tip pre-season as potentially our first man to score 20 goals in a league season in too many years. If the Yak does join Victor at the African Nations, James can keep our band-wagon rolling.

In saying we have our best squad in years, it is simply impossible at this stage to tip Everton for a title but there is every possibility that, given the shock that seems to have re-hashed the Moyes Coaching Manual after the Spurs debacle last season, we will see a better level of attack-minded football than the old ground has provided in two decades.

New Owners soon?... new ground? - who knows where that one will pan out but I do like what I see on the field right now. One further big splurge during the next transfer window could add the player who will eventually take over from the dogged Lee Carsley in centre mid.

One final note about the keepers - Wessels has been at a high level in German club football but nearly always as a back-up. That suggests he can do the same job at Everton if required but a mate of mine who has a season ticket at Sheffield Wednesday is adamant that the difference between his team's great run at the end of last season and today's problem form is the return to Everton of Iain Turner, whom he describes as simply the best keeper seen up there for years. The boy has been very unlucky so far at Everton but maybe he could be one for the future if his luck turns.

I like this team! If we can avoid Davie's old failing of defending too deep, we are ready to rumble...

Reader Comments

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William Wallace
1   Posted 08/09/2007 at 16:17:13

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All and sundry have had their say about the stadium debate and the recent impressive start to the season thus far. whatever anyone says i for one think two top four finishes (1988,2005) since thwe 1987 championship year is simply not good enough for a club of this size. Tottenham Hotspur, a club of equal size, stature and success has done about as much as we have in the last twenty years. I wonder if their supporters feel the same, or their forums are full of similar gripes. Will moving to Kirkby guarantee success more than it will staying a goodison. Also i am not totally happy with a yakubu johnson front line. I would rather have vaughan in from the start with yakubu with mcfadden just behind as an attacking midfielder. of course people will berate this and have their own opinions but what kind of life would it be if we all felt the same. One other thing. With us having the dubious honour of being involved in the lowest attendance in the top flight (wimbledon 1993) with the now said club obselete (or should that be extinct) is that statistic now irrelevant and we are no longer part of that honour. Just curious. I have to go. There is some football on soon and as i need to find sanctuary. Go israel!
Dutch Schaffaer
2   Posted 08/09/2007 at 18:11:53

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All summer Moyes was slagged off as a ditherer because he didn’t enter the bidding for Nugent, Richardson and Koumas.

Instead he signed six new players (Baines, Jagielka, Wessels, Pienaar, Graveson and Yakubu) of his own choosing and really improved the squad.

Well done Mr Moyes. Great work.
Billy Brad
3   Posted 08/09/2007 at 18:25:06

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Lets not get too ecited, very early days yet. We desperately needed a centre of midfield player to be bought during this and the last 2 transfer windows, but still we have Carsley and partime mid fielder Neville. This must be the worst midfield in the prem. Gravesen will never be disciplined enough to be a regular and also his fitness has deteriated over the last 2 seasons.
KEIOC you know it makes sense.
Paul Johnson
4   Posted 08/09/2007 at 19:31:53

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The defence is as good as anybody’s, Forward line and backup superb but you right, the midfield is average. Arteta, Cahill & a fit Gravesen are all useful but we need 2 more quality signings such as Requelme and Wright Philips to move us on to the next level.
Lets face it though, we arn’t that far away and exciting times await. COYB.
glen strachan
5   Posted 08/09/2007 at 19:49:48

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Thanks for your comments , guys.

William W. A couple of things.

James Vaughan........great player , I agree but even Moyes cannot be blamed for not pairing him up with the Yak right now.

Vaughan unluckily picked up a freak injury at Preston in pre-season and is unlikely to be fit much before the end of 2007.

Watch him go then , William...........it is a very pleasing thought that James Vaughan could still be an Everton regular at the end of the next decade in 2020.

I take it you meant to write Arsenal when you mentioned Spurs but just in case you really did mean Spurs , this is the side that wants to dump its current manager , while the fans would like him to go and take chairman Dan Levy with him.

You are right to suggest that Spurs had a good side.

That would be the double-winning side of 1961 but two things stand out .....that was 46 years ago and since a couple of my Dad’s pals played for them then , I saw quite a lot of that team.

They were good but within two years Everton had overtaken them as Champions.

Three years later the Blues would win the 1966 Cup Final - generally regarded as the best Final of the century.

Why do you choose to talk about Tottenham over 20 years when they have won a single FA Cup with Walker’s own goal in the final ?

Let’s talk about 25 years of Spurs and Everton.................who do you like in that one William ?

Check the records for our 2 Championships.............just the same as Tottenham has managed in its entire history !

Last Five years then..............how many top-four finishes for your Spurs in that time.....
AHA..............NOT A SINGLE ONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

You saw the game with Spurs at White Hart Lane recently........................still want to talk about how good they are/were..........didn’t think so.

I hope you meant Arsenal....they have done well !

Maybe if there was a side to pick out in pushing your opinion it should be Blackburn as they won a Premier Championship but they have also been relegated since so maybe that doesn’t count.

Let me repeat , with the caveat about the midfield ,I LIKE THIS SQUAD !

Pedro.................Phew , I just thought for a minute there that two people around Everton believed Neville is a mid-field player.

OK it’s back to one and I suspect Moyes will eventually bow to the inevitable conclusion that Phil is a full back and nowt else.

Billy Brad Do you really believe we have a worse midfield than say Sunderland , Derby ,etc etc ?

You are well entitled to your opinion , mate , but I really do think that one should be looked at again !

No idea where you are based Billy , but if it is far from Glasgow how could you have any idea of the current state of Tommy Boy’s fitness?

You could be right but I cannot believe it will be any worse than it was on the day he stepped back into Goodison and did anybody else see that last 30 minutes against a very physical Bolton team?

I think Graveson will be fine and most of us , probably like me without ever having met the man , would regard Tommy as a bit eccentric....maybe a bit of an egotist.

I think even the hint of failure at Goodison would be so hard for him to stand that he might just be sensational.

More than any other player -with the possible exception of Yobo and Martyn ,
did Graveson not make the biggest contribution to that 4th place in 2005 - even if he only played in roughly half of the games ?

Paul I know SWP scored today -AS DID JAMES MCFADDEN WHO ONLY PLAYED FOR A QUARTER OF THE MATCH IN GLASGOW - but I have to disagree with the two signings you suggest.

Just not the right players but we do have a lot of spending power planned for January although the choice of player should be greater next May.

Does anybody else think Graveson could save our favourite football club a ton of money?

Let’s wait and see !
Ray
6   Posted 08/09/2007 at 20:19:37

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So glad Moyes didnt make a serious bid for Nugent..It shows the mans jugdment may actually be better than people think..I always said if Nugent had not been a blue and maybe had he plied his trade at a club outside the North West Im sure we wouldnt have hardly heard much clamour for him from supporters..He looked average to me in the Championship and he looks shite put simply in the Premiership..Moyes has got his signings spot on and well done to him for not submitting to silly ideas..Proven Premiership players and top internationals..
Kev
7   Posted 08/09/2007 at 20:47:13

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Ray.. I do agree that with Preston N.E being in the region we did seem to get alot more of Nugent thrown at us on radio stations/teletext and such than we would had he been playing for someone down South or what.. Whenever I saw him play he looked too much similar to McFadden in the way he runs and he has no particluar strength or pace which also led me to wonder what would he really bring to Everton in the hurly burly no time in the box Premiership games..The answer as Pompey seem to be finding out is very little. Moyes did well to ignore both Nugents pleas harsh as it may seem but football is a business..Incidently Keiron Richardson has done nothing apart from be subbed at Sunderland so far..Another lucky escape?. Is he any better than Pienaar?. I doubt it. The only one who looks decent enough is Jason Koumas but in our midfield I dont see where he would have fitted in either really..Lucky escapes and up to now the right choices me thinks
Matt Willey
8   Posted 08/09/2007 at 20:27:35

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Yeah I agree with the concencus here; I don’t think we will be too far away this season. For someone to suggest that we have a poor midfield is simply crazy... particularly with the return of Tommy.

Osman has a deft touch and is a very good footballer (if somewhat lightweight) and he can pop up and score which is always useful...

Any of Carsley, Neville or Jagielka can do the water carrier job with consumate professionalism and all provide a good reading of the game.

Cahill is an utter menance to opposition defences and midfields, he regularly scores, plays in a very tenacious manner and never stops running.

In Gravesen we have a player who is genuinely comfortable on the ball, who can see strikers running into space and actually feed them with ammo.

In Arteta we have a simply outstanding talent; a great dribbler and a dead ball specialist to complement Tommy..a footballer that can create chances out of nothing.

Add to this Pienaar, VDM, Bjarni V and James McFadden and we do have a lot of quality waiting in the wings, potentially competing for midfield places.

I think Everton’s midfield is vastly under-rated; yes we have been forced to play two ’unspectacular’ defensive midfielders of late, but they get through tremendous work and provide a teriffic platform for others to make and score goals... we are joint top of the league and we haven’t even fielded our best team yet!

Onwards and upwards for a top-4 finish and a major cup challenge... it is definately possible this year.
Mike
9   Posted 08/09/2007 at 21:11:41

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Forget about Fernandes and Requelme - How much would Scweinsteiger cost? Anyone who can play first class football in front of hostile fans who know his name means ’Pigclimber’ must be worth a look. He seems to have taken Wales apart tonight and yet no one really pays big money for Germans although Italians, French, Spanish & Portuguese players go for a fortune every time.
Vieter Machen Blauen Menschen
(I think that means ’Keep Going Blue Boys’ but I failed O level German with Distinction so it could mean anything or nothing at all).
If anyone has the ear of Davie Moyes get him to take a look in the January window. I see the Pigclimber was joint ’Player of the Year’ as far as Bayern fans were concerned last season but on the R5 commentary tonight they said he was struggling to keep his place in the team!
Let’s bury the hatchet, forget who bombed our chippie and get some Bavarian steel into our midfield.
Mike
Tony Fryer
10   Posted 08/09/2007 at 22:27:24

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Wow Glen. What’s your grip with Spurs? One mention of the club and it really set you off, just cos WW happened to mention that their fans might be feeling just like us
G Dog
11   Posted 08/09/2007 at 22:47:03

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I want Everton to do as well as the next Blue but some people are getting way too carried away. For Glen Strachan to say that it is too early YET to suggest a title challenge can be mounted, as if there is actually a chance this could happen, is laughable. Everton have some very exciting options upfront, but in midfield and defence we are still lacking quality cover. There is no adequate back up for Yobo and Lescott, right back remains a concern, and Lee Carsley looks to me like someone who has maybe gone on one season too far. Jags and Grav are the best combo we have but will they play together often enough under Moyes and is there any decent cover for them? Tiny Tim is not effective in a 4-4-2 system so where will he fit in when fit. Glen Strachans idea that he can be accomodated in a wide midfield position is wrong.
Its been proven in previous seasons that teams playing in the UEFA Cup invariably suffer a drop in League form. We may see a decent cup run this eason, but I will be amazed if we finish in the top 6 if our involvement in Europe is sustained, let alone challenge the top 4. But I would love to be proved to be wrong.
glen strachan
12   Posted 08/09/2007 at 23:07:35

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Absolutely no problem with Spurs at all , Tony...............a good big north London club that is often worth watching but my point really was that they don’t win much for all that outlay !

My point was in support of Everton’s efforts during these years..........never , ever an attack on Spurs - a club that has been very good to me over the years and even provided my tickets for that fantactic FA Cup semi final in 1995.

Their 1961 team was just fantastic and the late great John White was not only as good a man as you could ever meet but one of the great British midfielders of all time.

Did they do ’about as well as Everton over the last 20 years’ ?

Check the records , amigos.......and the answer - NOT ON YOUR LIFE !!!!!!!!!!

Despite a number of clubs having more cash than Everton over these years name me one club that has a better record over the last twenty than us....outside of the Big Four Money Factories of course.

Kev Are you maybe being a tad unfair to James McFadden when you compare him to a donkey like Mr Nugent ?

Have a look at Faddy’s goal scoring record for Scotland who usually paly him as a striker.

Nuge has never scored a Premier goal but doesn’t our boy have a few classics including the 2007 goal of the season and that beaut against Blackburn ?

I agree that he looks short on power but as a 20 minute sub at the end of matches , he could continue to prove useful.
Steve Williams
13   Posted 09/09/2007 at 00:31:27

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Glen,

I’ve read and re-read your article but, I’m sorry, can’t pick up it’s point.

- we are five games into the season, nothing has bedded in,
- we’ve failed to keep a clean sheet,
- our strikers have scored two goals between them,
- we are a point worse off against same opposition as compared with last season.

Now I hope we have moved forward, but we just don’t know yet. Just fasten your seatbelt and await the usual rollercoaster of a season.

Let the results do the talking otherwise we will just look foolish. I reiterate a previous comment - repeating a Uefa cup league position will be real progress, anything else is a real, and unexpected bonus!
glen strachan
14   Posted 09/09/2007 at 00:38:17

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Hi G Dog

Read my article again and you will find that I actually said that I could NOT tip Everton for a title at this stage.

Cahill will never be a winger but agree about his place in a 4-4-2 and he could well be a departure for decent money next year.

We are a new owner , a very large investment in players and infrastructure away from a real title bid.................and when that will happen is Mystic Meg stuff.

I do really like our squad but if you look at last year’s top four clubs , we do not compare well on a man for man basis.

Rumour has a new owner maybe before the year is our but a gentleman in London called Green is in charge of that and he will say nowt until the deal is struck.

The next transfer window could be a doozy.

Interesting times at Goodison and nobody should bet on Kirby playing any part in the next set-up.

OK there’s a nice wee rumour for a Saturday night.

Last thing......what’s wrong with your own name , G Dog ?
anthony jaras
15   Posted 09/09/2007 at 00:55:51

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Chaill, depature....fuck off!!!!!!!!!!
anthony jaras
16   Posted 09/09/2007 at 01:01:42

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Cahill even!
Tony Ateman
17   Posted 09/09/2007 at 01:04:59

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Phillip Green buying Everton? Tell me more, or tell me it’s just fantasy!
Connor Rohrer
18   Posted 09/09/2007 at 00:58:05

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I disagree with the comments being made about Cahill. He will have to adapt his game but I am confident he will do it especially now that we have Vaughan, Johnson and Yakubu all battling for the forward roles. He is our only midfielder with energy and drive and I think that is very important. Carsley, Neville and Gravesen will run all day but they can not run at the same pace as the likes of Essien, Reo-coker, Gerrard, Hargreaves and Zokora who are very quick central midfielders.

Cahill has all te attributes to become a brilliant box to box midfielder. He is never going to pick out a killer pass but his energy, passion, aerial ability, agression and goalscoring ability from midfield will come in handy. He probably wont score as many goals but his all round game will improve.

We are moving in the right direction but what people have got to realise is so are alot of other clubs around us. The likes of Spurs, Villa, West ham, Blackburn and Newcastle are going to be close this season so it is going to be tough. I would be happy with a top 7 finish this season and although people might call me negative I would call it improvement. Showing the doubters that we are no longer a yo-yo side and finsih in europe again. I think its vital that we finish in europe especially if we want to keep hold of Arteta. I really do somethimes wonder he is thinking. He is the best midfielder outside the top four without a doubt and is nowhere near the spanish squad.

Our squad has defo improved. I am not going to judge the team until I see the full starting line up but from what I have seen in shades it looks better. Baines and Jagielka look to be cementing a place in the team already which is a good thing to see. Pienaar who I think is a much better player than Osman hopfully will continue from the Bolton game and kick on. Yakubu alongside Johnson is brilliant but I would tell them to keep an eye out because once Vaughan’s back they are going to have to be on top form or he will demand a place of one of them.

So yes if we can bed our new players into the team then I think we could definatly improve on last season but as people have said its to early to judge.
Liam
19   Posted 09/09/2007 at 03:44:11

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Cahill does well enough in other systems besides 451 when he plays for australia...
Dan Forde
20   Posted 09/09/2007 at 10:27:08

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Glen!! Rumour! i love a good rumour. What’s this about Phil Green? You can’t leave us hanging like that, spill the beans, man. Just like everybody else I surf the web sites, papers and teletext in search for something new, but i haven’t unearthed anything juicy about Phil and his wad! Tell us more.
Tony Fryer
21   Posted 09/09/2007 at 14:01:03

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Mr Green was rumoured back in summer 2006 to be interested but he denied any interest in owning a footy club. He is allegedly a good mate of Mr Planet Hollywood though so could be involved in bringing together other potential buyers
Jim Hourigan
22   Posted 09/09/2007 at 14:13:30

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A very readable analysis with some good points which got me thinking and to some extent disagreeing. For me the midfield poses some real issues for a team who might be able to compete.

I have not, and do not, subscribe to the view that Carsley is anything other than a very, very average player. He cannot pass water, he heads with a threepeeny bit on his forehead, his shooting is inconsistent, some great attempts and some utter garbage, he has little pace and absolutely no creativity. What he does do well is get in the way of shots and blocks things. His tackling is decent but he cannot pinch balls he has to tackle and this inevitably leads to lost possession rather than gained possession i.e. throw ins or blind clearances - I know there are hundreds of people shouting thats what we need - absolute rubbish. Tell me another successful side that has a central midfield player who can’t pass. He has survived at Everton for the last few years because of the lack of quality around him made sure he didn’t stand out like a sore thumb. For me Jagielka in the middle holding and Gravesen or Cahill depending on the opposition.

Cahill offers drive and energy and a real threat from set pieces, however in games that will require us to keep possession I would replace him with Gravesen. Tiny Tim is not a good passer and his control is average at best. Arteta has to play and personally Piennar seems to offer pace with quick feet, whereas Ossie has quick feet and no pace. For me in the Premiership pace is an absolute must and if the likes of Piennar and Arteta can get forward to support the front 2 quickly we offer a threat that will be difficult to cope with.

Up front I agree with the Yak and AJ and also think Vaughan has the potential, if he stays injury free, to be an absolute winner.

As one who is not convinced of DM’s tactical ability (and that of the back-room staff), the year ahead will be interesting. Does he have the nous to vary his tactics from the start i.e. in the team selection? or will he rely on changes to rectify poor selections which sadly have been far too frequent for me. However I do believe that the personnel is there to be more successful, the big question is can the manager use them effectively?
Mark Stone
23   Posted 09/09/2007 at 15:31:50

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Mike I can’t agree more with the pigclimber he’s a class act. I don’t think Bayern would let him go for much less than the fee we just paid for Yak. Especially as he’s been linked with the ’very recently slightly more succesfull than other clubs of a similar size’ 4
Connor Rohrer
24   Posted 09/09/2007 at 17:19:40

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Jim, I think you are being harsh on Carsley. He is very average and I would rather have him as a back up player but for the job he is set out to do he does it well.

You talk about successful sides not having players who can pass but the act of the matter is we are not a successful side. There are lots of teams who have midfielders at our level who cant pass a ball. Spurs have Jenas and Zokora, Blackburn have Savage, Newcastle have Butt, Villa have Reo-coker and Bolton have Nolan so there are many teams at our level who have midfielders with poor passing ranges. Are squad can not be full of quality creative midfielders because it wont get us anywhere. Carsley offers us a good workrate and tackling, blocking and intercepting from midfield. If anything I would rather remove Neville from midfield. Atleast Carsley knows how good he is whereas Neville seems to think he can pick out a pass when he blatently cant.

I agree with what our midfield should be though. Arteta, Gravesen, Jagielka and Pienaar should form the midfield four until Cahill is back. I think Cahill is perfectly capable of playing in a four man midfield. All he needs to remember is goals arnt everything. He has all the attibutes to be a good box to box player who will chip in for a few goals at set pieces.
Mark S
25   Posted 10/09/2007 at 09:52:09

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Mike, spot on suggestion about Scweinsteiger. A class performer with bags of energy but that all important X-factor too. £12m bid in January

I can’t remember the last time we had a German in our team
Connor Rohrer
26   Posted 10/09/2007 at 13:17:51

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Mark, Stefan Wessels is German.
William Wallace
27   Posted 10/09/2007 at 17:01:09

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So. I did not get want i wanted on saturday. well done anyway giving israel (one of the worlds greats) a sound beating. Whos up next? Greenland, Bermuda or St Kitts and nevis?. Anyways, back to today. Just to point out that when i first get on toffeeweb there are usually lots of posts and therefore i just type what i feel is justifiably relevant. Reading individuals comments will all be done in due course and subsequently i will get back with my own views. What did catch my eye was some feedback from a Mr Strachan (not scottish by any chance but if so then consider yourself born lucky) i would have to disagree that James Vaughan will still be an everton player in thirteen years time. As anyone can see he is a breath of fresh air at this club and will have a valuation of an eight figure sum by the time we enter the next decade. If an offer comes in or in the event we have another "rooney" scenario i cannot see him staying. With regard to the Tottenham articule of course they were good circa 1960-67. the same time we were incidentally. Neither was the 66 final not the best of the century. I would go for 1981 or 1987. both involved spurs sides ironically. And both sides has great success in the 1980s. Ours was in the middle of the decade while the former were at the beginning. Before anyone claims me as a spurs suporter or because i have a liking for jewish or amish things you could not be further from the truth. I have no interest in such nonsense but any oppostion for an england side gets my full support be it wales or brazil. And nobody cheered louder than me when amokachi scored twice at elland road in the semi final of our cup year. And i have fully enjoyed our succesive away days up the seven sisters road. As there have been no everton games this week i will return after the Manchester United fixture. have to go before i say something i later regret. Stay out of trouble everyone.
Neil McKinney
28   Posted 10/09/2007 at 19:10:13

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Hi Glen. Good article thanks for posting it.

Nice to see a bit of optimism on this site after the past few months. Although some still see fit to try and bring in stadium issues (BIlly Brad) it’s nice to see that most are discussing the content of your piece.

I agree on most of it and I am finally excited about an Everton squad! Even the teams that have got the recent finishes of 4th and 6th quite clearly over achieved and had to scrape through a lot of games 1-0. We look like a team for the future.

Yes of course it is too early to get overwhelmed with talk of trophies but this is what being a fan is about! Most Evertonians, whilst optimistic with their hopes for the current season, must have an underlying realism. All those years scrapping away at the foot of the table will see to that. However, I really enjoyed reading the positivity in most of the posts.

There are areas of the team that still concern me, but to say that we have the worst midfield in the league? Pleeeease, hang your head in shame anyone who thinks that. I’m not Arsene Wenger but even I can see that we have quality in there, statements like that are incredibly pecimistic.

Let’s hope the progression continues and with it the positivity on this site. Like a breath of fresh air!

COYB
Mark Pendleton
29   Posted 10/09/2007 at 19:29:00

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To add my worth to the debate, and Mr Cahill’s position in the team i can see maybe a 4-3-3 in the not too distant future. Howard between the sticks. Neville, Yobo, Lescott and Baines across the back. Jagielka, Arteta and Cahill in midfield and a front three of AJ, Yak and Faddy. With Hibbo, Stubbsy, Valente, Cars, Tommy G, Pienaar, Ossie, Vic and Vaughany in reserve that looks pretty good to me. Against the very top teams i still think we’d have to revert to 4-4-2 or even 4-5-1 but against most i think there’s enough there to trouble them.
Chris Masey
30   Posted 10/09/2007 at 20:07:07

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McFadden? McFadden? 4-3-3, are you out of your mind? And why are people forgetting about Phil Jagielka, the man is an absolute nemesis, and will play the holding role for us for many years to come. And I can’t accept Pienaar for Osman? Leon is a great footballer who can really finish, drag him off after 70 mins when he is tired, its a no brainer. Ozzie on form is one of the best footballers we have... Progress you say? Progress? A cup run would be nice, Johnson scoring would be nice, fans not over sensationalising would be a first for the mailbag. We are 5 games in for christs sake!
Neil McKinney
31   Posted 10/09/2007 at 21:02:09

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Chris - Didn’t think the optimism would last too long! lol

Have you forgotton what it’s like to dream? Are you so bitter and cynical that you can’t even get a little over excited anymore? I don’t really mean that mate, I know the fear of being an experienced Evertonian and how things can turn to shit in the blink of an eye.

However, I do like to read some positive posts and I don’t think they should be completely shot down.

Agree with you on Osman, he’s a good player especially since his loan spell. Still a bit lightweight for me though and I haven’t seen enough of Pienaar yet to make decisions about who is better, but on Osman’s current form he would have the edge on Pienaar at the moment.

I am concerned about AJ too, but I have seen his performances and the guy is not playing badly at all. If he was scoring we would probably be winning games 4-1 instead of 2-1. After his start last season I think defenders are paying him a lot of attention, allowing goals to come from elsewhere. I would love for him to be scoring, but as long as the results keep going our way, and we’re still scoring (whoever), I’m happy.

It’s only 5 games in and I’m not getting carried away, but at least for now the skies are blue!
Chris
32   Posted 11/09/2007 at 09:34:31

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Goodness me, how many games has he played for us?....His name is GravesEn for God’s sake!
Connor Rohrer
33   Posted 11/09/2007 at 23:13:12

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Chris you obviously do not go the game because Osman hasnt been consistently good for a year and a bit. Yes he can finish and yes he does score a few goals but his all round contribution to the game is poor.

Ossie on form? It would be nice to see him hit a bit of form because I certainly am getting sick of seeing his arse on the floor every time he is leaned on. Pienaar on his day is a much better player than Osman. He technically superiour, quicker and a better passer of the ball. I am not saying Pienaar is the answer but atleast give him a chance to show what he has got. Osman has been in the starting line up for to long now without actually playing well. He is not a creative midfeilder as Moyes and some fans like to think. He set up about 4 goals last season which for a supposed "great footballer".

I like his workrate and the fact that he has come through the academy but his has to show some consistency that guarantees him a place in the team.

Edward Kane
34   Posted 12/09/2007 at 16:55:47

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I would like to remind everyone that we will be without pienaar, yakubu, yobo and anichebe for six weeks die to the african nations thing. vaughan not due to return till the new year (ish) and lets not forget johnson is prone to injuries. of course most are saying strengthening of the midfield is an imperative so who am i are to argue. I would have liked someone like Matthew Taylor or Mark Delaney. What happens in two years when carsley and his doppleganger are surplus to requirements. this club has a way to go before we can even contemplate title achievements. a top four is an argumentative boderline case. top five or six is more realistic.
nick
35   Posted 13/09/2007 at 15:30:01

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Leighton Baines was a tremendous signing.
not sure it will be as significant a signing as the last time we signed a decent left back, (Psycho, Psycho) but you never knows.

Psycho Pat turned a good attacking side into a side good side who stopped conceding goals.

The most underrated player in the clubs history IMO.

I can still remember some guy stood behind me in the Gwladys shouting, "PUT HIM IN THE BULLENS PAT".

Go head Bainesy. Go head.
Jane Derbyshire
36   Posted 13/09/2007 at 17:44:06

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Although this current argument seems to be dead in the water the computers at my local library are being somewhat belligerent and it two minute tasks are taking twenty. As patience is not one of my virtues i am would like to offer some input. Whether anybody reads it is another matter. First off this swinestriker or whoever he is i have not heard of but for a 12 million valuation he must have done something right. did we not pay half of that for a certain "fish out of water" beattie and looked where that got us. As for mcfadden maybe we should change our name to scotland or the loch ness toffees or bannockburn waltons then maybe we will get the best out of him. johnson and yakubu - thats them not aj or the yak or some other silly abbrieveation are a good forward line but its far to soon to see what will become of it. As for title pretentions but thats just silly. top four is an outside chance but i think 2005 was a one off for the subsequent years. it was not long ago that i was content with a top ten finish but now we have talk of european berths and cup runs. not since the days of the mid 1980s have we had a chance of progression and what moyes has assembled is one step towards future prosperity. I will always remember crying after extra time of the 1985 cup final. a six hour journey down from allerton (the journey down was mayhem) and the end product was to be denied the treble simply because it was simply not possible to play after the exertsions in rotterdam just three days earlier. if only we had held on for another ten minutes and forced a replay that treble dream just may have become a reality. (to younger readers in those days tied games denoted a replay no penalty nonsense back then). Finally is there anyone out there who knows what became of Kevin Sheedy my favorite player of the time. i know he has attended some functions and after dinner speeches but seems to stay out of the limelight. Also Big Nev would be of interest. The greatest english goalkeeper of the last twenty years. With all due respect to the likes of Shilton, Clemence and Richard Wright.
Joanne Minster
37   Posted 14/09/2007 at 17:10:21

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Excellent jobs beating the frogs. A result and performance that runs itself out of superlatives. And Mr McFadden scoring the winner. I have the best of both worlds. I had a hangover of alpine proportions thursday morn but am slowly recovering. Lets hope for a similiar result on saturday. but bear in mind only one great scot can come out on top. unless its a draw of course. Dont forget the ukraine game is live on channel 5 next week.
Shaun Kelly
38   Posted 14/09/2007 at 18:09:47

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To be honest five games in is enough to say that we are goin to trouble the so called TOP four. We finally have a strike partnership that can score goals and create as we saw andy johnson do for the yak against bolton. I also believe we have the best central defender this club has had since The Rat!!!! Gravo is just a short term fix as the bloke is 30/31 not to sure to be honest but you know. I do see us signing a quality player(s) come january but who I could only take a guess at riquelme or from what ive heard through the grapevine john obi mikel!!!!!! COYB & K.E.I.O.C
Shaun Kelly
39   Posted 14/09/2007 at 18:27:53

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the central defender comment should have had Joleon Lescotts name in there sorry lol
Shaun Kelly
40   Posted 14/09/2007 at 18:28:55

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Big Nev was welsh jane and not english! also richard wright are you high?
robert treacy
41   Posted 14/09/2007 at 21:15:13

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sheedy does the odd commentry game on irish radio station today fm on saturdays they do every saturday there isnt a poxy international on but sheedy only does the odd game.

it is without doubht the best squad in years.

cyob keioc

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