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Season review so far

By Stephen Kidd :  31/10/2007 :  Comments (8) :

Ok here it goes, as a first time poster on ToffeeWeb ? although using it constantly for the last 2 years whilst travelling around Europe ? I thought I would try and write review of the players during the season so far: I know it is still early days but their have been some causes for concern and some highlights as well that I thought I could pick up upon.

Tim Howard: An excellent Premier League goalkeeper although doubts still creep into my mind whether he has what it takes to make it at the very top. However during his absence you could see the defence did not play as confidently, this credit to the way he has performed over the last 18 months or so. He is the best keeper I have seen at Goodison after Nev (and I only saw him after his prime being 21) and Nigel Martyn who for me was probably in Moyes top 3 buys. 7/10

Stefan Wessels: He appears to be a good stand in goalkeeper with some confident performances whilst standing in for Howard. However I think that although he appears to be a good choice for back up keeper this season, next season Iain Turner (who I think has the makings of a fantastic keeper) should be given a chance to challenge for the number one jersey. 6/10

Tony Hibbert: O Dear, where to start? I have been a staunch defender of Tony Hibbert for a number of years now claiming that he was a great defender and that as long as he worked on the possession side of his game he would soon become one of the top right backs in the Premiership. However as we all know, Tony has not made any strides in his passing ability in the last 5 years and simply remains a quickish fullback who can tackle well. Jagielka will push him all the way for the spot this season from the evidence at Derby and the praise he receives from Sheff Utd fans. 4/10

Phil Jagielka: You may wonder why I have placed Jagielka in the defenders section, but that is exactly what I and the majority of Everton fans see him as. I think unfortunately he has become a victim of his own versatility due to the injuries we have received. Phil appears to be an extremely average centre midfielder, however I believe that his real position is right back and I think the mark I am going to give him will probably increase a lot by the end of the season, if he holds down the spot. 5/10

Joseph Yobo: This man is an enigma. He plays one day like a top quality defender and then the next like a headless chicken. He has all the attributes to his game to be a fantastic defender, but unfortunately lapses of concentration continue to let him down. I believe he plays better when Stubbs is there to tell him what to do, however this then results in Lescott playing out of position. 6/10

Joleon Lescott: Fantastic. This man has surpassed everything I ever thought he was going to be at Everton, and I thought he was going to be good aswell. Has performed excellently this term and his elevation into the England side was richly deserved. Comfortable at either centre half or left back, he has now added goals to his game. A fantastic start to the season, let?s hope it continues. 9/10

Alan Stubbs: The old war horse just refuses to lie down. He clearly still has something to offer to the team and I am not worried when he is forced to come into the side as I feel he offers a calming influence and makes Yobo play better (see above) 6/10

Leighton Baines: Looks more and more like another steal by Moyes. Lad seems to be an excellent defender who seems to be at home attacking as well (Hinchcliffe anyone). Classy fullback who has just gone and got injured at Derby. Hope the injury will not keep him out for long as he has made the left back spot his own which leads me onto... 8/10

Nuno Valente: Can?t even remember him playing a game this season [article was penned prior to the Luton tie ? Ed], although stats prove that he has played one. I really used to like Valente, thought he was a tidy footballer, however a tendancy for niggling injuries and a combination of old age have thrust him down the pecking order beneath Lescott and Baines. 4/10

Lee Carsley: Lee is not the purist footballer however there is still no one at the football club who can do the job as well as Carsley can. He simply has helped Everton get back to winning ways in the last few games by breaking up the play and giving it to the more gifted players as he has done his whole career. I realise that he is getting on in years now but a long term replacement for him should be a top priority for Moyes in January. 6/10

Thomas Gravesen: When I first heard that we were linked with a more for the crazy Dane I have to admit I was scared, what is it that they say, Never go back? However when I found out it was on loan I started to think of the positives and I have to say I think there are many. How good did it feel against Larissa when you saw Tommy and Mikel playing one-two by the corner flag, two midfielders who are genuinely comfortable on the ball. Gravesen is still a good player although clearly he won?t be the same as he was 3 years ago (although who knows now that he is playing in a better team!). Gravesen for me offers one things that no one else in the squad has( not even Arteta) and that is to pick up the ball and pass it first time through the defence. I thnk he will be a quality signing by Moyes and again if it wasn?t for injuries I think he would have scored higher! 6/10

Phil Neville: Have you ever wanted to tear you eyes out when watching a footballer? Well that is how I feel when watching Neville, the best game I ever saw him have was his debut at home to Villareal where I thought he looked like he could be am excellent addition to the team. However his distribution is shocking and simply creates opportunities for the opposing side to attack us. Unfortunately he appears to be almost untouchable and I expect to see him back in the team after his ban. 4/10

Mikel Arteta: This lad is absolute class. I remember when we first got him on loan, I thought we had got a steal and it turned out I was right thank god! He has everything an attacking midfielder needs. I would give him and Lescott player of the season so far, he just needs to add more goals to his game because he is capable of doing that.

Tim Cahill: How obvious is it how much we missed him. The lad seems to have an incredible knack of scoring crucial goals for us. Although he is not the greatest passer of a ball, his workrate and scoring record mean that he is one of the most essential players we have. Hoepfully now he can just play enough games to get match fit quickly and stay fit for the rest of the season, because he will be a key figure for us. 6/10

Steven Pienaar: I trhink he has all the qualities of a class midfielder and looks like he is now settling into the pace of the premiership, he is a player I think that Moyes should be looking to sign permanently. Quick feet, a football brain and an eye for goal, could be a snip if we get in there quick enough. 7/10

Leon Osman: I am not the biggest Osman fan but I suppose he comes in and does a job. After having watched him against Liverpool he reminded me of the player that he cant be, direct and good with the ball at his feet. However I feel that he is too small for the prem, obviously there are players smaller than Osman who have done it but they are players like Zola etc, a completely diff class. He is took easily knocked off the ball and seems to fade out of games. Having said all this he is the type of player you need in your squad for a long season. 6/10

Andy Johnson: I think we all know what Johnson is. A pacy striker who will run all day for you and has a decent shot on him. However he has suffered a goal draught due to his lack of chances, he is constantly forced to run into corners to pick up the long ball smashed over the top. I think he could score a lot more goals if we just played it on the deck, him and Yak should be good together. 6/10

James McFadden: The eternal enigma. On fire for Scotland, On hold for us. He is such a confidence player and therefore he needs to play for us every week for us if he is scoring goals for Scotland. However would you like to be in Moyes position, Yak cost 11 and a half million, Anichebe scores a lot, Johnson works well in the system we have and Vaughan is back. I have a feeling that McFadden could be on his way in the summer, although I am not sure where. 7/10

Aiyegbeni Yakubu: I must say I have been really disappointed with the Yak, although his last few games have started to change my opinion of him. He looks a lazy player, but then I don?t really care as long as he scores goals. We can afford one lazy player in a team like ours as long as he does what he is meant to do, lets hope that he gets better than he has been. 6/10

Victor Anichebe: Ok, I am going to cause some controversy here but I don?t think he is really that good. His first touch is that of a rapist, and he is the luckiest footballer I have ever seen, and as we know at Everton luck don?t last long here so what will he have when this runs out. However on the flip side he does come on, shakes defenders up and scores goals so maybe I am being overly harsh. If he works on his first touch he could be a good player, but I think that?s a big maybe! 6/10

Reader Comments

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Steven Langford
1   Posted 02/11/2007 at 11:31:13

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Good analysis, however I think your being abit unfair on big Vic! His game has come on massively since he first broke into the side. He has strength, pace and knows where the goal is what more do you need? COYB
James Power
2   Posted 02/11/2007 at 12:02:08

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Good review, but can anyone lend their opinion here, what has happened to us defensively this season? I am a little perturbed about our inability to defend without Stubbsy in the team. I am a big fan of Alan, but as he is getting on a bit, I am worried as to what we will do without him. Yobo and Lescott don’t seem to be able to work too well together in central defence, whereas Stubbs is an organiser, and the difference really shows when he is involved. Our two talents do not seem to be organisers and it appears to me that when Stubbs is not involved we really do look a little lost. Secondly, I would like to see Carsley more involved (as he has been of late and in the absence of a ’complete’ midfielder like Reidy or Alan Ball that would allow us to play our more skillful players as well) because he does seem to have the same galvanising effect as Stubbs. Without him, we also seem defenisvely out of sorts. He seems to pick up the pace a little in the middle (I know this is helped by the formation we play when he is deployed) and seems to focus the minds of those around him. I would be interested to hear the opinion of others as mine is just one of the many that goes to make up those who care about the club. Cheers JP
Darren White
3   Posted 02/11/2007 at 12:23:19

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I like your style of review.

Taking it a step further, on current and past performances, and if managed correctly, I believe that within 2/3 years time the following players are capable of being an integral part of a Premiership tile challenging first eleven:


The next few guys guys could be an integral part of a Premiership tile challenging squad:


The foolwing are currently adequate stop gaps but are either too old or not good enough to form part of a title challengers squad in 2/3 years:


In summary with a few clever signings, and good management, the outlook is good from where I’m standing.
Dick Flaherty
4   Posted 02/11/2007 at 14:14:17

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Thought everybody should be pleased that both neville and hibbert will be available for selection in tomorrows fixture.

That should get everyones weekend off to the perfect start...
John Andrews
5   Posted 03/11/2007 at 00:07:42

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Darren, I was just about to agree with you and then I saw McFaddens name in the top list.
Are you on medication ?
Dave Tootill
6   Posted 03/11/2007 at 17:31:11

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Didn’t realise Valente was that old, he doesn’t look it from a distance- although full backs can go on & on. But if he can’t defend by now, he’s not going to learn.
Connor Rohrer
7   Posted 03/11/2007 at 23:02:08

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Stephen, a lot of good points but some I just dont agree with. Anichebe has come on leaps and bounds and for you to judge him now is just ridiculous. He’s started 7 games and scored 3 goals which for me is good considering he is only 19. I dont think he is ready to play away from home or week in week out but coming from the bench or starting in a home game he can be really affective. You talk about his touch but that comes with experience and what he does have is pace and power in abundance aswell as being a good finisher. There is more to come from Vic but fans must be patient as in football terms he is still a kid.

Osman I also do not agree with. Leon is also a very good player if he’s used in the right position. Either behind one or two strikers or in the middle of a 5 man midfield he is perfect but he suffers on the wing. He has no pace and strength and on the wing he doesn’t have enough space to use his main attributes. I dont go along with this to small for the Prem shite. If your talented enough you deserve to play and Ossie has got natural talent. He has a football brain, great movement and can find space, quick feet and decent passing aswell. I’d rather see small but talented players coming through than untalented brick shit houses but thats just my opinion.

Other than that I agree with you.
Chris James
8   Posted 04/11/2007 at 14:43:11

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Really good analysis of the squad although just a couple of points.

I do agree you are possibly harsh on Vic. He’s still very young, has a great eye for goal and gives us the battering-ram option up front that we haven’t had since big Dunc. He’s only had limited opportunities so far and hasn’t let us down yet. 7/10

Also I think you’ve been way too tough on Phil. Granted I don’t want to see him in central midfield with Jagielka EVER again unless we’ve absolutely no choice or it’s the last 10 minutes hanging on, but he is a pretty good right back. He can tackle, offers direction and as for his distribution, I think that’s actually way off. He does put some decisive passes through and was second in today’s Observer Opta charts of defensive crossers (with 45.83% success). 5 or 6

Leon is about right though, has potential to be really great, creates chances and scores some fab goals but then frustratingly disappears - definitely a good squad player that we should keep hold of.

The real unsung hero of Moyes’ side though (as he has been for the last few seasons) is Carsley. An honest team player who wins the ball, distributes it quickly and has some shots from distance, it’s no coincidence that we look to have a much better shape when he’s in the side with defence looking solid and creative players able to do their thing.
Although he’s got a season or two left, we do need to get a back-up/replacement in January/Summer. It sounded like Vogel would have filled this role but then that fell through.

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