Not much is really known about our Ukrainian opponents (although hopefully Moyes has done his homework) but we can assume that this will be a tricky fixture and playing in the same limp fashion as they did this weekend will surely end in Metalist earning a draw and Everton facing the scary prospect of having to win away.
Everton really need to beat Metalist by a couple of goals to take the sting out of the return leg. To do that, Everton need to return to their Spurs/Bolton beating best and actually score some goals. Which brings me to the point of this post, should Moyes continue with Andy Johnson or maybe bring in James McFadden?
I believe Moyes has to start with Yakubu, hopefully our record buy will be interested in this fixture and his Euro experience with Boro and International experience with Nigeria will be useful. So that leaves a simple choice: AJ or McFadden?
McFadden has played over 30 games for Scotland and has an excellent scoring record with 10 goals. You can argue that he plays for Scotland and wouldn't get in a top International side but his goals have come against the likes of Sweden, Holland, Romania and France.
AJ on the other hand has seven caps for England. A couple he was played out of position but his big chance came last season when he started the games against Israel and Andorra. This was his big chance but unfortunately he pretty much blew it. Maybe not totally his fault (England were going through a tough time) but he didn't do himself any favours when he failed to score. This season, AJ has slipped in the England pecking order as Crouch and Heskey show how to make the most of a chance when it comes your way.
McFadden is probably in the best form of his career. He salvaged a point against Blackburn with a great finish, came off the bench to score Scotland's third against Lithuania and then hit that wonder strike against France. McFadden has always been a form player and at the moment he's on fire.
AJ hasn't scored a goal at any level for over seven months. Sure he's had an injury in that time but that's a long time for a striker to go without a goal ? just ask James Beattie! To his credit AJ continues to run his hardest and work for the team, he gifted Yakubu a debut goal but he looks like he's lost half a step and his lack of confidence in front of goal is becoming more worrying by the match.
ABILITY On his day, McFadden is a great player, good pace, ability to go past players, underrated finisher and a shot that makes him a threat from distance. Unfortunately all too often McFadden has struggled to find that form. Far too often in the past McFadden has let himself down by making really poor decisions. Too many times he's lost the ball attempting to take a whole team. McFadden's form is sporadic but as we have already established he's currently on top of his game.
AJ on the other hand is Mr consistent. Even with his confidence low AJ continues to work hard for the team. He never gives up lost causes and is always a threat with the endless running. Unfortunately at the moment you wouldn't back to hit a barn door in front of goal.
McFadden has more experience of Euro football, a proven record of scoring against International sides and on his day is the sort of player who wins games with a stroke of brilliance but he's always a risk with his up-and-down form.
AJ is the safer bet, he'll no doubt turn in a good performance, his work ethic will hopefully cause Metalist problems which could create chances for Yakubu to finish. There's even a chance that AJ could score a goal himself, mind you so could Tony Hibbert.
It's a tough decision for Moyes who I feel may stick with the safer option AJ but personally I may roll the dice and use McFadden. Metalist is a must-win game. Let's hope Moyes gets the team playing on top of their game. If they are it should be a fairly easy task to move on to the next stage of the competition.
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1 Posted 17/09/2007 at 00:28:12
AJ is lacking in so many attributes, physical and skill, that make up a good central striker our expectations of him are too high. His role needs be re-defined but to what I am not sure. His particular strengths are in a very narrow range. Possibly he is best suited in a decoy role for a real centre forward or feeding on the hard work of others a la Michael Owen. Alternatively, we could give him a break and give Jimmy Mac an extended run.
2 Posted 17/09/2007 at 06:59:16
3 Posted 17/09/2007 at 07:30:53
Bearing in mind that AJ has failed to score in our last 5 games and rarely looked likely. We cannot wait much longer for AJ to produce the goods.
I wonder John, how many more scoreless games would you give him? one, two, three, more than that?
Is there any limit on the number before you would consider dropping him?
Loyalty toward players is good but it should not cloud our judgement.
4 Posted 17/09/2007 at 09:15:38
I know its only Championship level but AJ scored 17 for Palace in his last season.
I wonder if Beattie can beat that?
5 Posted 17/09/2007 at 09:32:14
The one thing that eastern block countries do is knock the ball around well.
If we don’t get it dead right and have to go their with a one goal lead, or worse, a drawn game then we will struggle.
Have done some digging on t’internet and by all accounts they try to play the passing game and flood the mid quickly on the break.
They have 2 quick wide men who by all accounts can cause us problems.
Got this info off a european footy chat room, the lad was ukrainian and although he doesn’t live their anymore still has contacts their.
Hold on to youre hats, it could be a dodgy one.
6 Posted 17/09/2007 at 11:06:10
7 Posted 17/09/2007 at 09:00:34
I am a big fan of Moyes. I can understand why he didn’t start McF against Utd. However, I cannot understand how he waited til the 85th minute for him to have a run. Well, I can actually but it disappoints me to admit it.
Obviously he didn’t intend to play him at all if the game stayed at 0-0. So, we were happy to "settle for" a draw. I would have thought that in his current form that McF should have got at least 20-30 mins. Apart from giving us that bit of unpredictability and the chance to score a goal, he needs to get some time on the park if he is to build up his fitness and "consistency". The lad must be wondering what the McF he needs to do, to get a fair go.
8 Posted 17/09/2007 at 11:25:15
9 Posted 17/09/2007 at 12:42:58
10 Posted 17/09/2007 at 12:47:06
This game will not be easy, they will be up for this just as much as we will. But what we need to avoid is giving away possession easily like we did in parts against united. Im predicting everton will show strength and courage, and we will come out 3-1 winners. But i do hope deep down we have a clean sheet.
11 Posted 17/09/2007 at 13:14:36
However AJ’s lack of goals isn’t the biggest concern to me. The biggest concern I have is how we can buy two strikers (beattie and AJ) who were scoring well for their previous teams lower down the table and all of a sudden the goals dry up after a few months with us?
Is this a reflection on training techniques? Or does it highlight the lack of supply to our strikers meaning they have to go looking for the ball before getting anywhere near the goal?
Whatever the answer, it’s a worry.
As for the AJ/McFadden debate, it would be very interesting to see how Yakubu and McFadden get on as a pairing.
12 Posted 17/09/2007 at 13:50:10
13 Posted 17/09/2007 at 15:44:13
14 Posted 17/09/2007 at 16:51:22
I agree with Mark Stone, Aj brings more to the team than just goals: he’s an outlet of pace.
Although, obviously, the fact he’s missed a few chances so far this season is a bit of a worry.. He has also has put two goals on a plate (Wigan and Bolton) through really good work and imo had a very good game against Spurs (like the rest of the side, really).
IMO, The problem is not Aj, but the suply; the link between defence and attack.
Okay, Faddy has done fantastic for Scotland and scored a few beauts for us (seems like a nice guy too) but some of us seem to be getting carried away a bit.
15 Posted 17/09/2007 at 17:02:02
Or play a 433 with faddy running behined Yak and AJ with Grav, Jags and Oss in midfield.
16 Posted 17/09/2007 at 17:12:56
17 Posted 17/09/2007 at 17:07:31
hope Moyes goes out to try and nail em 4 or 5 nil...
if he goes with the keep it tight and try and sneak one goal mentality, then it will be curtains for us over there..
matalist will camp in their own half, so no need to use defensive midfielders...
18 Posted 17/09/2007 at 17:11:52
19 Posted 17/09/2007 at 17:46:46
20 Posted 17/09/2007 at 18:35:29
I may be wrong, probably am, but I suspect that AJ has scored more goals in one season than McFadden in the time he has been at Goodison. Premiership goals that is and not friendlies against Port Vale and the like.
I also suspect that trying to retrieve long, and more often than not high, balls is not doing his confidence the world of good. He is also, normally, up against big centre backs who love our hoofball approach. Were we to play the ball on the ground a bit more I think we would see a better Andy Johnson.
Andy Shaw, But how many for his club ?
21 Posted 17/09/2007 at 19:03:01
On the subject or Mcfadden and Johnson its Johnson every time. People dont seem to realise how much he offers the team and would notice a difference when he is not there. The one game that comes to mind last season was West ham away. We started brightly and when AJ was taken off we where never the same.
I would only feel comfortable if Johnson was replaced by Vaughan. They are the only two players that offer us that pace and workrate to unsettle defenders.
Mcfadden has talent but that is all talent. How is he in the best form of his life? He has hardly played. In his only game against Blackburn he was poor. Yes he scored but that tells you how unpredictable he is.
International experience means nothing. Mcfadden has competition from the likes of Boyd and Miller at Scotland whereas Johnson has to compete with Rooney and Owen. I think Faddy would have alot less caps if he was english.
So for me it is Johnson hands down. He is never going to be a natural goalscorer but his performances are consistent and he is a brilliant team player. If he scores against Mettalist I have no doubt that he will go on a scoring melee.
22 Posted 17/09/2007 at 19:40:28
23 Posted 17/09/2007 at 19:39:35
Pienaar has done next to FA.Ossie is looking lightweight recently and Tater is now being marked out of the game. Faddy's on fire at the moment and had the only decent effort on goal all day on Sat.
I say play Tater deeper and play faddy on the right wing and drop Pienaar.
24 Posted 17/09/2007 at 20:29:08
25 Posted 17/09/2007 at 20:42:47
Oh, and since we on the subject I would play the YAK upfront with big VIC Anichebe.
26 Posted 17/09/2007 at 21:37:12
27 Posted 17/09/2007 at 22:25:18
Not a single one. Slightly worrying. Let’s hope it was just because Vidic was so good.
28 Posted 18/09/2007 at 04:20:52
Not on Thursday perhaps, but it?s worth a go against some of the weaker teams in the league.
29 Posted 18/09/2007 at 01:30:54
Why does everyone complain about long balls to AJ when that type of ball is his forte?. Have any of you any idea how difficult it is to hit a target that dissapears into the distance at a rate of knots and rarely comes to meet your pass.
Is everyone blind to the fact that he has minimal dribbling skill a poor first touch, is noticeably one footed and less than useless if the ball is head height.
I agree with the oft used statement that he provides an attacking option. Unfortunately depending entirely as it does on pace and guts it is one dimensional and predictable.
I cannot help but admire his selfless input but for all round skill and goal scoring ability he would not come above mid way in my table of central strikers. For 8 million quid and 30/40 thou per week I expect better.
30 Posted 18/09/2007 at 09:38:37
31 Posted 18/09/2007 at 10:52:50
32 Posted 18/09/2007 at 11:48:29
33 Posted 18/09/2007 at 13:01:11
aj will score 2 goals on thursday, i am putting £5 on it
34 Posted 18/09/2007 at 13:25:59
Surely when you are kicking the ball at the goal it is the same size area you trying to hit with some bloke trying to stop you? Does it matter if he is Ukrainian, Welsh, Scottish, English, Dutch or from Mars? He still has two arms and two legs.
35 Posted 18/09/2007 at 15:24:19
are you sure they only have 2 of each.(soz caps lock bust).
36 Posted 18/09/2007 at 15:19:42
Maybe we should try him in goal.
Attacking options ?
We seem to be missing Stubbs and his toe ended free kicks........remember - goal against Man U last season , goal against Spurs , brought a great save from Friedel and set up a rebound that should have been scored.
Sadly Stubbs has looked a more potent goal threat than AJ all season.
Yakubu will score goals if we use him in the box but going back to Saturday’s match , has anybody seen Yakubu at either of his other English clubs spend so much time in wide positions ?
Was the idea that AJ and the Yak should stay out wide and block any runs from United’s full-backs ?
We went for 0-0 and nearly got it but what a dire game in terms of entertainment.........just awful !
Mr Moyes does not really do tactics but it would be good to see a fraction more attacking than we managed against Blackburn or United but I do admit that is a harder task to achieve so there will always be the temptation to put two ’blockers’ in centre mid and stage a game where very little happens.
There has been quite a lot of talk on this site about the difference in Arteta these days. Is it just me or has he been turned into a little terrier who scraps and covers back in defence while he seems to be doing less and less in forward positions to accomodate his new ’ more defensive role’ ?
Please assure me that I am wrong and would it not be great if Moyes could make Carsley a bit more like the old Arteta rather than turning the little Spaniard into Lee Carsley , with a pass ?
Remarkably our season could depend on Graveson more than just about any other player.
37 Posted 19/09/2007 at 08:19:09
38 Posted 19/09/2007 at 09:56:13
McFadden is the flair player, and he has all the tricks n flicks to woo the punters, but I do question his link up play at times, his tendency to pick up needless bookings also concerns me . At the moment he lacks minutes on the everton pitch, by all means give him the last 30 mins to prove me wrong, I’d be quite happy if he does.
Putting the strikers aside a clean sheet is a must, then you know the team have had a good game...I’m hoping for a 2-0 win, come on the BLUES!
39 Posted 19/09/2007 at 18:08:19
40 Posted 20/09/2007 at 01:09:37
41 Posted 20/09/2007 at 12:46:38
42 Posted 20/09/2007 at 13:25:03
People have short memories ? does everyone not remember the last time Faddy started at Blackburn. He was absolutely shocking and the only reason some felt he done ok is because he managed to salvage his performance with a goal.
His hold up play was non-existent and too often in dangerous positions he goes for an elaborate flick instead of giving it simple ? truly infuriating. I?d say he?s best as an impact player off the bench like against Man U.
I?d also like to point out everyone is saying Faddy is on fire and AJ is mis-firing but if it was AJ who tested Van De Sar the way Faddy did then everyone would be saying how he should be putting them away blah blah. Vice versa if it was faddy who had one cleared off the line as AJ did then everyone would be saying Faddy is on fire blah blah. Faddy is doing well at the mo but how many times in the past have we said this after he?s scored for Scotland only for him to put in another sub-standard display for Everton.
On the other hand, while AJ is presently going through a drought in front of goal, you only have to look back at some of his finishes from last year i.e. Blackburn, Liverpool, Arsenal to name but a few, to see he knows where the net is. Form is temporary, class is permanent.
AJ will find his goal scoring boots and when he does all you doubters will be singing his praises!!
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