At the momment our link play is shambolic. We are so lop-sided all over the park! This is a result in part by the injuries we are currently nursing, but I also feel it is in part due to Moyes's stuborness with team selection. The ingredient we are missing currently seems (to me) to be how do we attach our solid defensive unit with our goal productive strike force. This is the job of our 'wing-backs' and midfield.
Firstly, it struck home to me more than ever that the omission of Leighton Baines from the team yesterday was a massive error. Without Baines we lacked pace down the left wing and someone with an ability to cross the ball in first time, or look for a ball with a left footed pass (surely not down the left wing!!). Numerous times in the first half yesterday my frustration boiled over as Arteta, Pienaar or Lescott gave the ball away in the top left of the pitch whilst trying to pass into ever decreasing circles.
I have seen Baines play on 3 (of the few) occasions this season, and when fit have been impressed with his ability to overlap, cross. Also he has had a good understanding with Pienaar and Arteta. Importantly he also takes on defenders and attacks at pace.
As a big Lescott fan I am not using this as a vehicle to attck him, but he should not have played at left back yesterday... or indeed recently. Baines should be taking that place. Lescott should be playing at centre back. Full-stop. He is for me England's best defender along side Ferdinand. An opinion backed up by the performances of Lescott and Terry respectively along side Ferdinand in mid-week. You won't find a respected website/newspaper that didn't have Lescott as one of England's better players, due to his superior marshalling of Anelka.
I am trying to say that we should be playing a balanced team not one that contains all Moyes's 'favourite players'. Jags and Yobo have been great recently, but to play 3 centre backs, regardless of how good they are is stupid unless we balance them. To fit all 3 in we would have to play 3-5-2, with Baines and (*Gasp*) Neville at 'wing' back. This is not our usual way so i'm afraid we need to drop one for the good of the team.
Another position where the side is unbalanced is central midfield. Our recent games without Cahill (and others here and there), has seen Moyes try to shoe-horn others into the roles left vacant. This may work against lesser teams but will always get exposed against better players. Rather than being so rigid we must show some adaptability of our team dynamic to field a balanced team capable of playin good football. Difficult with a small squad but definitely not impossible!
It should never be acceptable to include both Neville and Carsley in our team. It is to defensively balanced and we lack penetration (There is your answer to why we lacked that yesterday Mr Moyes). It is widely accepted that Carsley is best as our defensive midfielder. If Captain 'Pip is not at right back or covering for an injured (or increasingly worrying: retired) Carsley then he shouldn't be on the pitch. Maybe yesterdays retraction was Moyes's realisation of this.... but my breath is not being held.
Finally (for now) the likes of Osman, Pienaar, Fernandes, Arteta (and Mcfadden in days gone by) should not be being asked to plug themselves into Cahill/Johnson etc. shaped holes. Moyes by now (he's had 6 years!!) should know their best positions. Why comprimise so often? Why can't we play a different way so we play to the strengths we have available? Too much is said of injuries. Which of the players in the derby yesterday has so little experience in the premier league that they can be 'let off' for that crap show? They are all very well paid pros which have proved before that they can get results when played in their prefered roles.
Our team needs balance, and if that means dropping certain favourites then so be it. Moyes cannot set up for games as if we are scared of the opposition, or that psychology will rub off on to the players. Playing so many out of position, comprimising what we have, how many of them could've believed that they would beat Liverpool?
Please Mr Moyes, set up for our remaining games with the mind-set that we are going out to win, not play tightly and nick something. We have the skill, it's now time for a bit of belief in what you have begun to assemble!
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1 Posted 01/04/2008 at 09:16:17
However, he?s as good as we?re ever going to get and at least he?s made relegation fears a thing of the past.
Oh, he?s due to solve your balance problem against Derby County by retoring Neville and Baines to full-back and playing Jagielka in midfield.
Bet that will cheer you up!
2 Posted 01/04/2008 at 11:24:23
I don?t have coaching badges, managerial experience or a job at a Premier League club, but I do have eyes in my head...and week in, week out those eyes perceive quite clearly that Phil Neville is the weak link in out team... I wouldn?t even have him at right back as Hibbert is a better defender....
Repeating the Neville mistake is Mr Moyes's biggest and most frustrating ineptitude..... well, that?s apart from buying this furious pointer in the first place.
3 Posted 01/04/2008 at 12:19:27
4 Posted 01/04/2008 at 13:03:29
5 Posted 01/04/2008 at 13:03:27
The squad is too small, simple as that.
Some good money needs to be found to spend in the summer and I trust Moyes to spend it wisely (even though I have heavily critcised him in the past), but we do not want to shop in Home & Bargan we want to shop in Harrods.
6 Posted 01/04/2008 at 13:17:09
And this ’squad is too small’ excuse is a smokescreen...we had more than enough first team players to cover our favoured 451..
who were we really missing? Cahill? In my opinion, thats hardly a great loss from midfield.
You can only play 11 players at any one time!
7 Posted 01/04/2008 at 14:03:10
Total balance will be restored this weekend when Moyesie opts for Howard;Neville,Yobo,Lescott ,Baines;Arteta,Jagielka,Carsley,Osman and Fernandes. Easy, this Football Manager!
8 Posted 01/04/2008 at 14:12:30
I think that a balanced team would have been:
Howard, Neville, Yobo, Baines, Carsley, Fernandes, Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Yakubu.
This would however have only been the right choice in my eyes for this game with key players missing. I would certainly have included pace and youth on the bench too. For me Gravesen and Valente are not good enough and add nothing. A hungry youngster may have had more to give if necessary. There are tired legs across the whole league, which could be exploited, or certainly made to work by something unknown.
Jags would have lost out for me because although he has been playing very well this year, I lost a little confidence in how he defended Sears vs West Ham (yet more back up to the arguement that at this late stage in the season, young, fit, pacey players can play a part) . I still wince a little when he is our last line of defence. Hibbert could easily take the place of Neville here, but vs Babel I feel Neville would have been better.
I think a point you may have missed from what I was trying to convey is how the team is ’directed’ rather than it’s component parts. It is seen in the ’Big3’ teams that they can adapt their style of play around the same core of players and a few who are rotated. This is to suit the blend of players on show. We cannot play the 4-5-1 without Cahill, so why set up in that way with Osman trying to do what Cahill does? He tried, and to be fair, got his head on one chance, but for all the huff and puff, that isn’t his strength. If we have small, technical passers in midfield we need to play the pass and move game and get pace down the wings.
I do agree that the squad is small and that we need new additions (right-back, centre-mid and maybe a striker). But with our money situation we won’t be like Man ure with ~£30million warming the bench ready to plug straight in. We need to make the best of what we have, and frankly that has not been done in our last 3 games.
9 Posted 01/04/2008 at 14:51:14
Phil Neville never had 400 games for united...he had 260 odd games in 9 years!
but then again...as Mal suggests he clearly has some super power that normal occular vision cannot perceive!
10 Posted 01/04/2008 at 15:08:13
I have played in Sunday league games where Neville would be the worst player on the pitch.
Don’t let the fact that he has played for a knowledgeable manger fool you. He is absolutely useless. Believe your own eyes mate. Steptoe must go!
11 Posted 01/04/2008 at 15:39:13
12 Posted 01/04/2008 at 16:04:32
The Man Unt. stats site shows that Pip appeared in a total of 389 games including Prem,FA and Carling Cups and Europe.The figure includes sub appearances.
Sorry about missing Yakubu-could have sworn I typed his name in!
And, by the way,where did I criticise Moyes?I gave him credit for seeing something in Captain Marvel that we have all missed!
13 Posted 01/04/2008 at 16:11:00
14 Posted 01/04/2008 at 17:26:00
15 Posted 01/04/2008 at 17:37:24
He was shite and still will be with the Brum in the Coca Cola league
16 Posted 01/04/2008 at 17:44:32
£5 million for McFadden I thought it was daylight robbery.
17 Posted 01/04/2008 at 19:09:08
18 Posted 01/04/2008 at 19:29:53
19 Posted 02/04/2008 at 05:45:19
As pointed out elsewhere, MCFADDEN IS OUT INJURED!! He has been out with a bad knee and now it has been operated on. Please, if you insist on playing football manager, check the availability first....Enough said.
20 Posted 02/04/2008 at 08:59:40
21 Posted 02/04/2008 at 10:16:40
That?s what it is, he?s a complete suck up to the boss, whoever he plays for. I don?t see anything in him that other players don?t have. Professionals professional? WTF? Aren?t they all supposed to be professional?
22 Posted 02/04/2008 at 15:13:21
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