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By Iain Thomson :  25/09/2007 :  Comments (20) :
There?s a lot of talk of workrate ? both AJ?s, which is his contribution as he plays through his prolonged goal drought ? and Yakubu?s, which in the eyes of Moyes?s and several people on here is inadequate. In a team playing decent football the strikers are there to score not work their asses off. Of course they defend from the front and contribute when the opposition have the ball. My point is better to have a striker who scored than one who chases down every ball and runs about like a maddy.

As an example, I?d mention two strikers who play up here in Scotland or one does one just moved down south: Kenny Miller formerly of Celtic, and Kris Boyd of Rangers. Now I know the majority of people reading this are English so plenty will think of the SPL as a ?pub league?. However a sobering thought, as we drew 1-1 with Metalist, Aberdeen, a team 3rd bottom of the SPL drew 0-0 with Dnipro who are 5 points ahead of Metalist in the Ukranian league. Aberdeen operate on a minute fraction of Everton?s budget but coached by Jimmy Calderwood (who came through the Dutch coaching system) play far from the back through midfield than we do lately

Kenny Miller is a worker, not a great finisher, though his goal against Newcastle wasn?t bad. He chases down everything AJ-style but at Celtic though appreciated for his efforts didn?t score enough so was sold. Kris Boyd does almost nothing to the point that former manager Paul le Guen didn?t play him as he wanted strikers to run around a lot. Walter trusts him and accepts the periods of inactivity but if the ball is fumbled by the keeper or a cross is whipped in.. GOAL. Boyd?s is a game of anticipation in the box and finishing ability.

Kenny Miller is a Moyes-type player; we were loosely linked with him though of course likely just paper talk. Boyd wouldn?t get a game. Now Boyd?s goalscoring ratio is fantastic both at club level and international level: 5 from 8 I think. In our system of Sunday league aimless long balls into channels, of course Boyd would have a shocker ? he?s not the fastest and wouldn?t be doing any AJ chases into corners then the inevitable thumbs up. He?d look lazy; this site would be likely full of people saying we had signed a player from a crap league and wasn?t Premier League quality when in reality we just play in a way which makes it impossible for a striker to excel. Unless they are a Kenny Miller type like AJ and can chase and work and look busy.

AJ and Yak aren?t bad players ? both I think are potentially great ? they are stifled by out horrendous tactics. The return from injury of our more creative players will of course help, but the long ball game is Moyes?s way. I dream of the day when Everton pass and move and AJ's pace becomes a weapon due to the sharp incisive passing of our midfield and Yak appears to not do very much... except score.

Workrate is great in the right context; of course players need to work. It's when that work is due to the ineptitude of team mates and tactics it ceases to be a positive. The thought of another 5 years of this is horrifying...

If you were the agent of an up-and-coming creative midfielder or forward, would you recommend Everton, where the ball will be kicked over your head and you run after it? Then, as possession is conceded, you close down the opposition. The manager then drops you for not having enough workrate.

Fernandes is a football player, that?s why he didn?t sign for us.

Reader Comments

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John Holmes
1   Posted 26/09/2007 at 07:53:39

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Name me a Premiership striker who is successful without offering anything but a goal-poaching instinct? The difference between the SPL and the English Premiership is that unless you’re mobile and put the effort in you won’t get much of a chance in the Premiership. It’s too fast and the defenders are too powerful.

No one is asking for Yakubu to be like Johnson, constantly running the wings and dropping short. However, he needs to offer something more, whether it’s an agitator of defenders with his physical presence or a hold up player. He can’t just stand around the top end of the pitch waiting for the ball to come his way. If Baines is laying into him for failing to run down a simple pass then something clearly isn’t right.
Iain Thomson
2   Posted 26/09/2007 at 08:27:43

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Im not saying Yak shouldnt work, my point is that the long ball game we play demands a work rate from forward players which is excessive. AJ is the sort of player who can offer that. Beattie, MacFadden, Yakubu arent, all have done better away from Everton, though with yak its obviously early days.

Its not a question of how tough the premiership is to play up front in, its how tough it is to play upfront for a team who play long balls, delivered by players incapable of delivering them accurately.

Also Im not sure that Moyes
Steve Murdoch
3   Posted 26/09/2007 at 10:05:19

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I have to sat that I agree with Iain. A striker needs quality service or he wont score. Try and name a ’top’ striker who would score regularly for us with the inept service our midfiel provide.
The fact is that our midfielders score as many as our strikers which is down to tactical decisions as much as anything.
give Yak and AJ (and victor and macfadden for that matter) better service and they WILL score goals and that is a fact!!
Peter Singer
4   Posted 26/09/2007 at 10:07:49

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Things are actually much simpler than that.

When a striker is on form, he’ll score for fun. When he isn’t, that’s where workrate comes in. A hardworking striker can be useful for the team even when he can’t score, provided he has someone on his side who can. That’s why we need lazy bastards who don’t run a lot but can score.
James Elworthy
5   Posted 26/09/2007 at 10:12:44

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Tony Cottee did very little with the ball outside of the box. John Aldridge never touched the ball outside of the penalty area and he was a prolific marksman. Bob Latchford was another guy who never worked hard outside the box.
You can go back to the 60’s to two of the greatest scorers of all time Greaves and Law, neither did any work in other areas of the pitch.
We do not provide the service from midfield for our strikers to be prolific scorers and expect them to run all over the pitch.
steve jones
6   Posted 26/09/2007 at 10:11:26

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I’ve said it before on another thread, the fact of the matter is that Moyes has a defenders mentality. We play to avoid defeat, to close down, to chase & harass not to pass the ball & keep it. Moyes spends most of the game screaming at the players telling them to get rid of the ball rather than letting them play. That’s why nobody wants the ball, it’s clear that we need a change of mentality otherwise we will continue to base everything on avoiding defeat with wins based on keeping it tight & nicking a goal from a set piece. If you look at games when we score more than 1 goal it always starts with a set piece goal then we get more goals on the counter or very rarely (Portsmouth at home last season) start passing around a bit and gain some confidence. We’ve all had it drumed into from being kids but here’s a reminder for Moyes "Attack is the best form of defence".
Dick Fearon
7   Posted 26/09/2007 at 10:40:05

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I guess it is a little unfair and perhaps unkind to compare AJs non stop running style of play with that of Alex Young who would not dream nor be expected to chase balls down dead end chanels.
Any midfielder or fullback who delivered that kind of ball would rightfully suffer contempt and derision from team mates and both sets of fans.
How fans paying top money can sit there and uncomplainingly accept that kind of rubbish has got me beat./>
AJs non stop gut busting effort earns our admiration and lately our sympathy while Alex, invisible for most of the time would suddenly treat us to a spell of such pure artistry it had us gasping at its sheer brilliance.
At risk of sniggers from those fed on modern so called football I would further say that Alex lifted not only hearts but also souls to a level that bordered on religious.

Those who were privileged to witness the Golden Ghost in action would understand what I say.
Michael Newton
8   Posted 26/09/2007 at 10:46:17

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I watched two pub teams last Sunday the final score was 4-3. The standard was ok for that level but I actually got excited watching the teams play attacking football, goalmouth incidents, scrambles in the box.
It doesn’t matter what level of football you support if your team plays exciting football and attacking football you go home happy whether you support the Dog & Duck, Wrexham or Inverness Caledonians.
9   Posted 26/09/2007 at 10:51:20

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I watched a girls u16 game the other day at Heron Eccles. I got more excited watching that, than going to Goodison. There was a girl in centre mid spraying the ball round the park like a Braziian setting up chances galore.

I agree it doesn’t matter what level of football you are watching if its exciting you enjoy it from Premier League to schoolboy under 10’s.

Its like cricket a 5 day test match bores you to death unless your on the ale for all 5 days, but a 20/20 game gives you excitement and thrills.

David Moyes teams give you as much excitement as watching Boris Kaparov play Bobby Fisher at Chess.
Michael Newton
10   Posted 26/09/2007 at 11:02:43

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Sign that girl on Bernie as we need a creative midfielder.

Can Boris Kaparov play centre midfield?
Mark Hill
11   Posted 26/09/2007 at 12:29:24

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The problem with our strikers, be AJ, Yakubu, Vaughan or even Big tits who is now banging them in left right and centre....

The tactics employed by Everton, David Moyes, means chances created by midfield / defence are in short supply. that is one of the reasons AJ runs around all over the place trying to create havoc. Our strike force just isn’t supported enough to be able to score shedloads of goals. Currently, Marco Van Basten in his prime would struggle to score goals using these tactics. The problem is that employing a nine man defence means that the two boys, or one up front remain isolated by the fact the we play so deep. Thus the creativity?? is usually long ball punts from Hibbert, Neville and there are signs that Baines may be beginning to start the same, though he does show some endeavour to get forward to create something. There appears to be an unwillingness to attack teams under the current regime, playing on the counter and stifle the hell out of someone. How many times have you seen either live or on teletext that we are 1-0 down and thought oh well, we might snatch a draw??? Lots recently I bet. Whilst I don’t take awy what has been achieved, it will only go so far, before a change has to be made in order for us to move up the ladder. All the teams at the top of the table all have one thing in common, they attack and play a half decent brand of football, which means interchanging passing, moving, yes there is some long ball in there, but its mixed with other ranges of passing. Something our strikers unfortunately will not have the blessing of until Mr M changes his way of playing. So we will remain around the top ten until then.
Barry Lightfoot
12   Posted 26/09/2007 at 12:36:51

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Exactly Iain, who on earth is supposed to be in the middle waiting for the ball to come over if the strikers are running around in the corner chasing long balls. Certainly not the midfield as they’re usually still on the halfway line.
You cannot say it’s expected while they’re going through a lean patch as they’re going through a lean patch because of running around after long balls.
13   Posted 26/09/2007 at 13:52:57

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Great comments Iain, I believe you are absolutely right in your comments about our tactics, comparisons of strikers and the way we under utilise our strikers. AJ and Yak have excellent scoring records prior to coming to Everton. How can a striker get a shot in on goal when he’s being asked to chase down a ball in the corner flag, thats the wingers job isnt it ?.I can guarentee you that when Tommy comes back he will look at AJ and think "i can put this lad through on goal everytime with the right pass", and watch him do it, we will all agree thats the chasing that AJ should be doing and how it has to be done. All is not lost my friends
Nick Veitch
14   Posted 26/09/2007 at 14:44:05

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Ok, firstly, good post Iain.

Secondly, answering John Holmes’ question: "Name me a Premiership striker who is successful without offering anything but a goal-poaching instinct?"
Mark Viduka...this guy is slower than bigtits, yet he has scored (and is still scoring) lots of goals. I think he had 40 goals in 80 games for boro. Now he’s banging them in for Newcastle. He does fuck all running and manages to score goals. Yak used to do the same for boro (similar goal scoring record) with very little ’workrate’. If you give these guys the service, they will repay you with goals. They will have some games where you barely notice them on the field (mainly due to their lack of running), the next game they will score 2-3 goals (provided good service). That’s why i believed that AJ would be the perfect partner for the Yak as he’ll run all day and provide chances where there necessarily wouldn’t have been.

Tony Marsh
15   Posted 26/09/2007 at 16:09:39

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I have got an Idea.Why dont AJ and Yakubu tell Moyes were to go and just goal hang.He cant drop both of them can he?If they refuse to run channels and just loiter around the box when the balls come in they will be there<>to snap up the chances.Its so easy this footy stuff.
seany blue
16   Posted 26/09/2007 at 16:37:56

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lets just think about it a minute people. ive read all your comments and yes tatics personel lack of pace and so called lack of workrate is not our downfall...its simply really without arteta we are screwed.. aj works his balls goals..nev works his balls goals cars jags the back line..except goals..i couldnt give a shit that yak dosnt work his balls off...if he gets the chance he will score..simply isnt it, that why we brought him for 11 million?? to score goals!! we need to pass the ball,,,,suck teams in then you can hit the ball over the top..9 times out of ten the yak or aj will be on the end of it!!! please dont judge moyes yet wait till we get mikel gravesen cahill and dare i say it van der meyde..and then if we are still playing hoofball its time for a change...loyal blue
17   Posted 26/09/2007 at 17:58:16

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RE john holmes. only 1 i can think of was van nistelrooy but i agree ther isnt too many who can only score. especially in a team lyk ours. our style of play doesnt allow goalscorers unless a striker who scores 12 or 13 also takes the pens. he might add another 5 then and appear to be prolific.
George, London
18   Posted 26/09/2007 at 19:23:01

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John Holmes there are quiet a few forwards who have been prolific in the Premier League without exhibiting the workrate of an over-zealous puritan; Van Nistelrooy, Fowler and current England no. 10 encumbent Michael Owen.

Ofcourse we expect any striker to put in an effort but not of Dirk Kuyt proportions (seriously is this guy Moyes’ love child-they would seem like a match made in heaven).

Yakubu, queit simply, can score but prone to long periods of idleness. It would have been very naive of Moyes to assume(and pay knowing) that was not the case. When Yakubu gets the ball in or around the box, I always feel like he can score. Sadly I can’t say the same about Johnson.The two could strike a very good partnership given their different attributes. But, frankly i would rather have Yakubu do very little for 70 minutes only to pop up with a goal (or two) than fruitlessly huffing and puffing. If you want case in point ask Liverpool fans about a certain Mssr. F. Inzaghi.
19   Posted 27/09/2007 at 07:23:01

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All this talk about "running the channels" etc..A quick quote attributed to the great Roy Vernon, who I had the pleasure of watching on many occasions, both before,during and after his signing for EFC.After he’d left, and began the inevitable drift towards non-league football, he was enjoying his half-time ciggie whent the manager said "And you could help a bit too,Roy.Try moving about a bit more" to which Roy replied " If they can’t find me when I’m standing still, they’ll NEVER find me if I keep moving about" And that my friends is one of our problems.We don’t have sufficient qualty passers of the ball without Arteta, Gravesen or a Fernandes.
dave t
20   Posted 28/09/2007 at 15:56:53

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I don?t usually like american sports, but they do certain things very very well adn are years ahead of us.
for example in american football they have defensive coaches and offensive coaches
we do not seem to have that
fair enough, we have a fitness coach which is a good start but we need to have a coach that JUST focus?s on the attacking aspect of the game
moyes was a defender as a player so his natural inclination is gonna be to defend and if we are honest he has bought some fantastic defenders since being at the club.

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