Following the home defeat to Chelsea, Moyes spoke of finding the missing ingredient which will move us from the also-rans to the ranks of elite. I am glad that he has made that statement.
To me, it appears that he is a loyal manager and stands by his players in general, but that statement of intent, I hope, will give the players a kick up the arse in the final straight of the season, if they don?t want to be replaced in the summer. We need every last drop of effort from every member of the squad in the next 3 months.
My current verdict on the season is a B. A semi-final too easily surrendered, but a semi-final all-the-same. 4th spot in the league after a crazy Xmas schedule. Unbeaten and into the last 32 of the Uefa Cup. The above have all exceeded my expectations.
At the start of the season, I figured that re-qualification for Europe and a good run in the UEFA would be a relatively good season and a sign of progress (that wonderful word again). I never expected to win all 4 group games. Truth be told, after our last European ?experience? I expected us to scrape through behind AZ and Nuremberg and get knocked out to a big side in the first knockout round, such is the pessimism of this Evertonian.
Also, I think, in the grand scheme of things, realistic expectations would be for 5th or 6th in the league. I hate to do this, but money has to be considered. I think that if we were to finish in the top 4 this season, it would be a massive achievement. Please note the use of ?achievement? instead of ?success.?
OK, there was a very poor patch, just after the start of the season, but that was turned, well and truly, around. Then there was the highly disappointing loss to Oldham in the FA Cup, the only really serious failure this season, in terms of progress in competitions, in my opinion. I also dislike the fashion in which we surrendered to Chelsea in the semi-final, but I would lay equal blame at the feet of the players as Moyes for that. I?m not sure that it would have been possible to find a better XI with the players available for that game.
I would say that, so far, this season we are achieving a level in 3 of 4 competitions that even the most die hard Evertonian, with ?Nil Satis Nisi Optimum? tattooed across their heart, would consider at least satisfactory in today?s footballing world. I don?t agree that there is a big-4 and that the rest of us should be happy with a Uefa Cup place. I don?t think that Moyes would agree with that either.
I?m not going to go into the ?no-one else has done this or that? set of statistics or talk about the infamous glass ceiling. I have also read a lot about players who aren?t good enough, who should be sold. AJ, Hibbert, Neville, Ossie, etc. What I?m interested in is a serious discussion of what you think needs to be done to improve Everton to a level where the top 3 and then the top 2 is a possibility. I want to know, within the realms of reason, how you would change our squad and I don?t mean I would buy this player or the other? What is it that could be done within the boundaries of right here and right now, with Everton?s current resources, to give us that bit extra.
My opinion, to get the ball rolling is this:
I don?t agree with the talk about AJ not being up to it. I think he suffers from the style of play that we employ and I truly believe that in a front-2, he would be a huge player for us.
I think the key is the fact that we are limited, with the players available, to the 4-5-1 formation. We have great options in AJ, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar, Yakubu, now Fernandes, but we seem to lack the ability to play the best XI together. If we pick Cahill, we can?t pick AJ. If we pick Arteta and Pienaar, we absolutely must pick Carsley and we maybe can?t pick Fernandes.
I think we are missing some ingredients and I think the way we need to break into the top 3 is by signing one or 2 players who will allow AJ to play in a front 2 with Yakubu, with Cahill in midfield. That attacking trio would give all teams something to think about. I think the balance needs to be found alongside Cahill. A player who will fill-in when Cahill bursts forward and is mobile enough to go from box-to-box, who can win and play the ball.
I think that, potentially, our best defence is Neville ? Yobo ? Lescott ? Baines. Along with Timmy, I don?t think that is particularly worse than Liverpool or Arsenal?s defence. I think that AJ and Yakubu up-front is a good enough partnership, with Vaughan and Victor coming through. I truly believe that our downfall is the balance of the midfield. I think that we?re only a couple of players short of a first XI which is capable of troubling the top 3, but that they are going to be very difficult to find.
Anyway, all of this is my humble opinion and I hope against hope that a nice shiny piece of silverware is not too far away. I hope that we keep our performance up for the Brann games and that we get past Fiorentina. After that who knows what can happen?
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1 Posted 29/01/2008 at 06:22:36
" I want to know how you would change our squad and I don?t mean I would buy this player or the other? What is it that could be done within the boundaries of right here and right now, with Everton?s current resources, to give us that bit extra,"
but then go on to say:
"I think we are missing some ingredients and I think the way we need to break into the top 3 is by signing one or 2 players."
It?s contradictory but I agree with you.
As I?ve said in other threads on this topic, I don?t believe that top 3 or top 2 is possible with the current squad. That?s not to say that I don?t think there are improvements that can be made with the current personnel in terms of playing more effectively but we?re short on squad depth and lacking a really explosive forward player of the Kanchelskis ilk.
2 Posted 29/01/2008 at 09:54:11
So thats about 35 mill we need to spend.
3 Posted 29/01/2008 at 10:37:43
What people have to remember is he hasn’t really had a consistent back four in front of him. He started off with Yobo and Stubbs, then it was Yobo and Lescott, then Yobo and Jagielka and now Jagielka and Lescott. The full back position have also been mixed. Lescott, Baines and Valente have all mixed and matched at left back and Hibbert, Neville and Jagielka have all performed at right back.
There hasn’t really been any continuity and that is needed in a back 5. Keepers and defenders need to build partnerships. Howard is still a quality keeper in my eyes.
4 Posted 29/01/2008 at 12:21:06
5 Posted 29/01/2008 at 12:50:05
6 Posted 29/01/2008 at 12:11:42
I feel by playing 4-4-2 we would also be taking something away from his game by asking him to do something he just isn?t capable of doing and thats asking him to play a bit further up the pitch and to play a bit more football. There?s no doubting the fact 4-5-1 is our best formation and if that means only 1 spot for the Yak an AJ to fight over then so be it. You also say having pienaar and arteta in the side that maybe there?s no place for fernandes, well that?s another reason why the 4-5-1 suits us so well becuse it allows us to have the extra man in midfield.
Now we have Fernandes i feel we have a perfect balance to the midfield with Arteta and Pienaar out wide, Carsley breaking everything up, Cahill getting forward and finally someone like Fernandes who can dictate the play from the middle of the park, the kind of player we?ve needed for years.
7 Posted 30/01/2008 at 11:45:46
8 Posted 30/01/2008 at 13:19:50
We need a right back....being a good defender is no longer all you need to do...you have to be an athlete and a footballer and a good defender...so in that respect Tony Hibbert is out. Neville would be a reserve.... Justin Hoyte would be a fantastic replcement.
Midfield....this is going to hurt but Cahill is a one trick pony....when the team plays to his strength he is peerless....when the team struggles Cahill is useless as he is in a 4-4-2 formation. Carsely, again quite simply not good enough. I don?t want to hear any bullshit about this. He isn?t good enough. He?s done a good job for us.... granted and he?s been a loyal and hardworking player to Everton too, but you don?t win cups on sentimentality. You win through quality so sorry Cars.... your gone. short term answer, Gilberto at Arsenal, quality footballer and leader. We missed out on my first choice in Lassana Diarra who went to Pompey.
To be honest the rest of the squad would suit me down to the ground... those players I mentioned are who I would change out and try to bring in... I would have a little go for a winger and although I didn?t see him personally Arshavin sounds like a belter??
All ifs and buts obviously, but if we want to break into the "elite" we need better than we already have. These better players coming in would also show us how good the rest of the squad is.... Maybe having a top quality squad will then show a few of the better performers that they have to raise the bar too?
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