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Back to basics vs Chelsea?

By Barry Hunt :  14/04/2008 :  Comments (17) :
It's got to the point now where needs must I'm afraid, so why don't we just go back to basics?

The vast majority of our 'good' performances this, and indeed the past 2 season, have come when we have played 4-5-1. We pack the midfield making it difficult for the opposition to play, and then open them up with some clever play by Arteta or Pienaar (now maybe Fernandes).

I know Timmy Cahill is a massive contributing factor to the 4-5-1 working, but the likes of Ossie, if fit, need to step up. That link between the midfield and forwards is key; against Derby it happend once (we scored from it) and against Brum not at all. Timmy does this brilliantly and we do miss him, despite what some people think.

I love the Yak, however I think he is badly in need of a rest, so against Chelsea I'd consider playing AJ as the lone striker - I'm not a massive lover of him but I don't think anyone can argue that AJ's best performances for us have come when playing the lone striker role. Plus if we start lumping balls up to Yak like we have been doing recently, Terry and Alex/Carvaliho will mop up every time.

Under normal circumstances The Yak of course would be my first choice but I think we may have seen the best of him for this season. Although, maybe a couple of bench warming sessions would do him the world of good for the last two games vs Arsenal & Newcastle ? we may need him to pull a Yak special out of the bag in those to cement 5th spot?

Fingers crossed Yobo, Arteta & Pienaar will be fit enough for Chelsea, at least then we do have the quality in our ranks to break them down. Yak on the bench will also then give us the possibilty of actually changing it during the 2nd half should we need to. Anichebe is NOT an option in my view - but that's another issue all together.

In summary, I just think that at the minute 4-4-2 is leaving us exposed because the midfield is tired ? that extra man could make all the difference. We've already taken a point off Chelsea this season so why can't we take all 3 this time? COYB

Reader Comments

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Richard Parker
1   Posted 15/04/2008 at 08:03:46

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AJ up front on his own? Noooooooooo!!! He’s looked lost there the last few times we’ve tried it, he just doesn’t have the stature to stand up to the Chelsea defence and hold the ball.

I think 4-5-1 is the way to go, but with Yak looking a bit jaded of late and AJ the only realistic alternative, I just don’t see the goals coming without Cahill. And I certainly wouldn’t like to bet on us stopping Chelsea from scoring, especially as anything other than a win effectively ends any last hopes of the title.

A hard fought point would go a long way from this match.
Connor Rohrer
2   Posted 15/04/2008 at 08:47:38

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My team:

Howard

Neville
Yobo
Jagielka
Lescott

Arteta/Osman
Carsley
Fernandes
Pienaar

Yakubu
Johnson

I think it’ll be something like that. As much as I like Baines I feel we’ll need the bigger lads at the back against Chelsea. There a big team and could be dangerous at set pieces.

I think one of Osman or Arteta will make it. Possibly Osman although I’d rather have Mikel back. Fernandes in the middle and Pienaar out wide.

Hopefully Yakubu and Johnson can click upfront.
Paul Niklas
3   Posted 15/04/2008 at 08:50:01

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Richard , A hard fought point wont go any where.

Its a must win, lose this and the Arsenal game, Pompey have an easier run in and win three games we are sixth.

All out to win.

Even to the point of starting with a 352.

Jags, Yobo, lescott

Arteta, Osman, Fernandes,Pienar, baines

Aj, Yak.

get a goal and revert to 451 with Carsley drop baines back to left back.

radical, but we need to win.

Jason Lam
4   Posted 15/04/2008 at 09:32:05

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This was a good read until paragraph 4... AJ alone up front against Chelsea?! Didn’t we try this ALREADY??
John Fitzpatrick
5   Posted 15/04/2008 at 10:00:55

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Encouraging to see that Wigan got a point off them last night. If they can then we can get all three. People have questioned the belief of the players against the ’big 4’ this season, but I think we’ve had hard luck against them all.
The Carling Cup semi was dissapointing in the end but were playing well against them at Goodison, being patient and keeping the ball but once they got the goal on the break, that was that. Lets make sure we all have a few pints before the game and make the atmosphere push the players on to have a go. COYB
Greg Murphy
6   Posted 15/04/2008 at 11:47:21

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"Plus if we start lumping balls up to Yak like we have been doing recently, Terry and Alex/Carvaliho will mop up every time."

I know that, Barry, you know that, but I’m beginning to think that neither Moyes nor Howard, Jagielka, Hibbert, Lescott (*), Yobo, Neville or Hibbert are aware of it.

I will lay my mortgage that within the first five minutes of Thursday’s game we will see one of those culprits aimlessly hoof it forward and it will be mopped up in exactly the fashion you say.

In the Everton lexicon our interpretation of "second phase football" is to try and reclaim the possession we’ve just surrendered.

As soon as this happens on Thursday - and it will - it will send a clear signal to the likes of AJ, Yakubu, Arteta, Pienaar, Fernandes and the crowd that it’s another game of "same old, same old".

Hence the crowd will just sit there either hurling abuse, sending texts, discussing where to go for a bevvy afterwards or weighin-up any eye candy that might happen to go past etc. Incidentally, did anyone notice how sparse the stands were from 3.30pm until 4.15pm on the day of the Derby Co. game? The amount of blokes I witnessed heading down to Changsville was as laughable as it was understandable.

Then on Friday, after the Chelsea game, someone like Moyes - or Dominic King in the Echo - will issue a thinly veiled dig at the crowd for being "strangely muted".

And then the whole circle of debate will start again.



In Moyes I really still wish to trust - and indeed I do...but it ain’t half a hard going slog at times.
(*) In fairness to Lescott he does at least try to forage forward and gain us some vital territory.

*predicts response from someone later in the thread saying "just stay at home on Thursday then, lad, if you’re already this negative - we need to get behind them"*
Peter Bourke
7   Posted 15/04/2008 at 12:48:30

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Hate to say "I told you so", but when we lost Timmy Cahill I knew our season would head south. I said this some weeks ago and I was castigated by all for suggesting such rubbish. Too many of our key players are injured or playing with injury. All Moyes can do is try and stop the bleeding and hang on for 5th. I know I sound negative but the facts speak for themselves and we have shown nothing in attack since we got shot down in the 2nd leg of the Uefa Cup.
Seamus Murphy
8   Posted 15/04/2008 at 12:56:21

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I agree Greg - my thoughts exactly. Plus I too noticed the very unusual early exodous from Goodison at the Derby game - even from the Gladys end which says it all really.

On the post i agree we should go 4-5-1, but only if we have enough bodies for midfield. I really don't want to see another midfield pairing of Neville/Carsley. I dont think I could take it.
Colin Grierson
9   Posted 15/04/2008 at 14:42:56

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Barry,
If only we did play Newcastle 3 times a season! Mind you the way we’ve been playing Keegan’s boys would wipe the floor with us on current form.
To get a result against the Cockneys (either of them) we need a 5-5-2 formation mate!
Joe McMahon
10   Posted 15/04/2008 at 16:40:43

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AJ alone.....FFS- No Way. AJ alone in the 2nd leg against Chelsea, at home to Spurs & at home to Oldham. Well we didn?t score in any of those games, inc Oldham. He also missed a sitter against Spurs. He may have cost £8.5m, but that's £8.5 million NOT well spent.
Andy Brittenden
11   Posted 15/04/2008 at 18:19:54

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Howard
Neville Yobo Lescott Baines
Arteta Carlsey Fernandes AVDM
Yak AJ

Peanuts is shattered (and I thought injured) but keep him on the bench for later with Jags, Vic, Tommy and Wessels!
Andy Crooks
12   Posted 15/04/2008 at 18:08:44

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Greg Murphy, you’re spot on.Long aimless confidence sapping punts up the pitch. It doesn’t have to be like this but it will be.
Mike Dyer
13   Posted 15/04/2008 at 18:25:56

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Andy, you are at it again aren’t you?????

Moyes hates Van the Man so it’s never gonna happen. I would have loved to see him pinging in crosses against some end of season Chelsea legs but you are gonna have to face it buddy ......
Barry Hunt
14   Posted 15/04/2008 at 18:37:15

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I appreciate what you say about Yak, and as I’ve pointed out he would be my No1 every time under normal circumstances, he’s arguably the best finisher in the division when he’s on fire - but when he’s not, he’s really not and he can be more of a liability. The ball doesn’t stick, he’s falling over etc and his touch seems to have deserted him along with his confidence.

As I said, drop him, make him think about it & then maybe he can save his best for the last couple of games.

Does anyone watch the reserves reguarly? Who’s looking like they could make the grade in an attacking sense?
Mike Hughes
15   Posted 15/04/2008 at 19:14:36

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We need to be more positive. It?s all gonna come good. This is how the Chelsea match will unfold:

EFC attack from the kick-off and get a penalty after 45 seconds. AJ scores. 1-0.

5 mins later a bullet Lescott header from 20 yards goes in off the post. 2-0 and the Blues are in Heaven.

Trouble in the stands as Sylvester Stallone smacks David Mellor in the mouth - improving his looks. Stewards turn a blind eye.

It?s 3-0 half time as a Phil Neville pass to Tony Hibbert goes unusually off-course and into the back of the Chelsea net.

News comes through during the hit-the-bar competition that Tom Hicks has 100% ownership of the RS. He?s bringing in his own team - the former Northern Rock management "dream team" and David O?Leary as manager.

It?s a siege in the 2nd half but EFC hold out.

Gotta go as my tea?s ready. COYB.
Connor Rohrer
16   Posted 15/04/2008 at 19:55:37

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"As I said, drop him, make him think about it & then maybe he can save his best for the last couple of games."

Who would replace him though? Johnson? Yakubu on a very very bad day is better than Johnson. You talk about nothing sticking and falling over but that happens to Johnson every game. No offence to the lad but he’s not very good.

We don’t have enough options to drop Yakubu. He’s showed consistency right throughout the season and is obviously going through a sticky patch. The service is the main problem. Its been terrible and we all know Yakubu isn’t good in the air. Play to his strengths and he will score goals.
Anthony Newell
17   Posted 15/04/2008 at 22:32:24

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Mike H, I was starting to ’believe’ there until you used Phil Neville and the word pass in the same sentence

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