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European tactics

By Connor  Rohrer :  06/10/2007 :  Comments (2) :
I was disappointed to hear the comments on the Metalist game. Did Moyes really fluff his tactics? I really don?t think so. People where harping on for weeks to see a midfield containing Arteta, Osman and Pienaar as well as Neville moving to right back. So Moyes understood that you have to keep the ball in European football played the three most creative passing players at his disposal.

What would have been better? Playing Carsley and Neville? I think it would have been even worse as we would have continually lost the ball and our midfield would have been even further away from the front two. The only things I would have changed would have been Carsley for Jagielka as well as Baines for either Yobo or Stubbs. Fans were also saying play Jagielka in the centre but we all found out how out of depth he is in this position, me included. I was sure Jagielka could fill the role but it was clear to see he couldn't.

The dropping of Baines I thought was interesting but as Moyes said he was trying to get a bit of height and physical presence to accommodate a small midfield. It could also be said that Lescott was played there to defend and attack both boxes. Metalist, although being a reasonably tall team, were vulnerable at set pieces as showed in the first leg. And in my opinion, Lescott was our best player. He played in three positions: at left back, left midfield and left forward. He was the one player who didn't give up and took the game by the scruff of the neck.

I also don?t think it was the team character that got us through the game, it was individual's who got us through the game. Apart from McFadden, Lescott, Howard, Pienaar and Anichebe the rest put their heads down and gave up. The likes of Arteta, Yakubu and Neville dissapointed me on Thursday. If Mikel wants to play for Spain then these are the games he needs to take by the scruff of the neck. That is the difference between class and world class. The big player?s don?t go missing but on Thursday Mikel did exactly that. Head down, stuck out wide he watched the game go by until the last 20 minutes when he knew we had a chance to win. I'm not having a go just stating in my opinion what I saw from our best player.

At the end of the day we found out Metalist are by no means a second-rate team. If anyone believes that then they need to watch more football. I haven?t seen a team pass us off the park like that for a while and I go to ¾ of the games per season. They where technically the better team; no matter what team we would have played they would have out passed us so and we had to dig deep and grind out a result.

It was a very important game in our season. If we had lost we could have had a repeat of the Villarreal/Dinamo Bucharest season where it took us about four months to recover so this win is in my opinion very important.

I?m still not sure whether Moyes is the man to take us to a whole new level but at least we should give the man a chance. How do people know that he has reached his peak? He has improved on our last European campaign so hopefully he is getting something right. Let?s see how he copes with these group games because we never know what will happen. Hopefully he has learned from his mistakes of the past and hopefully we will progress. He and the team are still very inexperienced in this competition but the more games you play the better we are likely to get.

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Ajay Gopal
1   Posted 07/10/2007 at 07:43:04

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As ever, Conner, you give an interesting perspective of the game (I rarely get to watch Everton games even on TV, so fans articles and opinions are all that I have to go by for most of the season).

David Moyes seems to be struggling with his starting line-up and tactics. Injuries to Vaughan and Cahill were known before the beginning of the season, and the other injuries (Gravesen, Johnson, Howard, Arteta) are what Moyes should surely have anticipated and prepared for over the course of a long season. So, that cannot be a valid excuse.

However, one thing that we need to keep in mind is that we got in a lot of new players during the summer (Jagielka, Baines, Pienaar, Gravesen, Wessels, Yakubu), and it is taking time to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are and how the team organises itself around these new players.

We need to be more patient to see our team settle down and play consistently.

So far, so good... 6th in the league, still surviving in the Carling Cup and the Uefa Cup. And our best players set to return from injury. Surely, we would have taken this at the beginning of the season?
Mark Stone
2   Posted 07/10/2007 at 12:10:29

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Is he struggling with starting line ups and tactics? We won 3 games on the run! He can struggle all season for me then!

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