COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL
I came back from that trip to Eastlands full of pride and fully convinced that Everton could take that 4th place. Fully convinced we could continue to make great strides in Europe in my absense. I was actually pretty gutted about missing out on the rest of the season given how well we'd been performing and the results we had been achieving, but from what I've seen now, it all seems to have fallen apart and I just don't know where our next result (or goal for that matter) is going to come from. Sure, we've lost Cahill, we've lost Arteta and we've lost Osman (the best of the three this season if you ask me). Sure that makes it difficult for us but I don't see why it should result in such nervousness from other players in the team. SO many players just look completely shot to pieces:
Yakubu: just what's gone wrong? I saw that miss against Derby County but hey I also so that dive against Liverpool (pathetic by the way). Players, particularly strikers, go through what they call "baron spells" but his attitude seems to have slipped and he doesn't look like the same player at the moment. For 12 million pounds...I expect more! Neville: Now I've never been his biggest fan but at the same time I don't think I'm as critical as some of the others! However he just looks completely clueless at the moment for me. Watching the Chelsea game, yeah great, a few bitting tackles and the odd accurate pass but some of his ideas are just darn right dangerous and whilst he never hides, quite frankly, from our captain...I expect more!
Pienaar: I haven't seen all the games so I may have missed something here but he hasn't looked the same player lately from what I can see. As one of our more creative players he has a lot more responsibilty than most in the absense of Osman, Cahill and of course Arteta, but for me he seems to be giving away a lot of silly free kicks and not finding passes the way he can do. I know there's a bit of debate regarding his contract and agent fees but for a player fighting for a contract (or hell, even in the shop window if that's what he wants)...I expect more!
David Moyes: Just to clarify: I'M NOT A MOYES HATER! For me he's the best thing that's happened to Everton for years. BUT...I have been a bit bemused by some of his decisions lately. Neville in midfield just doesn't work. End of! I can see that from here! With the injuries we have however I'd still rather see Baines in left midfield with Carsley and Fernandes in the middle at the moment. Accomadating Neville in midfield therefore pulling Fernandes out of position on the flanks just doesn't do it for me.
Otherwise, I'm dissapointed to see that he hasn't given Valente more of a go at left back even with Baines on left midfield. Gotta be worth a try hasn't it? Even if just in training! And Gravesen. OK, he was shite in his 20 odd minutes against Chelsea but there's been games (i.e. West Ham Utd at home, Liverpool away) when we've needed something, anything to unlock the door as the game trails off. Sometimes I just want to see him gamble a bit..I expect more!
I don't know why but the heads seem to have dropped. I didn't have the chance to see the Fiorentina game at Goodison (though I did catch the highlights online). It seems we battered them and from what I heard form the lads back home it was a very proud day to be a blue. SO where's that pride gone now? Since then (and I've seen all the games bar the Birmingham City one) we just seem clueless. I just hope we can eek out two more wins at home to Aston Villa and Newcastle United 'cos this season's been a bloody good one and we all want another crack at Europe.
The players should follow Manuel Fernandes example in these last few games. No, everything he tries doesn't work, but the key is he does try. He tries to make things happen. He tries hard to win the ball back if he does lose it. He tries to have a shot (could you really see anyone else scoring against Chelsea?). A bit more input from some of the others and we should be fine. More of this clueless, nervous tension, and we might not just surrender 5th. We'll probably surrender 6th too.
Thank God we applied for the Intertoto! COYB!
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1 Posted 19/04/2008 at 08:56:57
2 Posted 19/04/2008 at 11:21:40
3 Posted 19/04/2008 at 10:07:08
Against Chelsea my overriding sense was that we are a bit pussy. Not very big and unable to bully top class players. This was true in the early part of the season ? such as against Metalist away in the first half. When Chelsea were passing the ball around and boring the nation, we couldn?t get to them quick enough and when we did we were out muscled. We need players that are quicker and physically stronger.
To disagree with Paul, I think Pienaar gave free kicks away because he was trying to come on physical and tried to close down. I thought he was our best player and misses Arteta and Osman to bounce the ball off. I think he has been struggling with an ankle problem for a few weeks, yet playing through. We need to tie up his deal.
Phil Neville was brought into the midfield to beef it up a bit. I don?t like him there; he is a much better right back but we need to be able to close down, tackle and win headers. Trouble is neither Carsley nor Neville are able to use the ball creatively.
My one thing this season has been how to replace Carsley. The solution is the key to Everton?s success next year and to a certain extent our success and fall this year. We simply don?t have a natural holding player on the books at the moment to touch him. However he is limited when he gets the ball, he isn?t quick and the last 2 months or so he has gotten slower and his technique is suspect too. Now there is nothing new in what I am saying, but to challenge the top clubs we need a holding player that can tackle, head, pass, control the ball and create. This player is gold in football and we need to pay a lot of money for him. Everton away at Fiorentina, the ball came to Carsley in front of our defence, it bounced a little awkward, he floundered, it bounced off his knee to a Fiorentina player and we were under pressure again. That was the moment I realised we can?t accommodate players like Carsley if we are truly serious about moving forward. He has been a great asset and servant, and any club below us would be happy to have him; we have to move on.
With a fast, tough tackling, technically gifted holding player, Cahill, or Osman could partner him in a midfield four. This should be a priority.
As the season has progressed Carsley has been asked to play every game. He must be tiring and I think this has been one of the biggest factors to our recent loss of form. We aren?t getting to other teams high enough up the pitch to put pressure on. Carsley and the rest have been dropping off and letting teams play. This is a sign of tiredness and loss of confidence. The manager knows this and I think he has already made this known at board level, that to compete all season long and be Euro regulars we need a better and larger squad to build on the fine group of lads we already have.
To boost the squad we need some big signings. We need that holding player, an additional centre midfielder (perhaps Ferndandes who is young and has the technique), a fast winger, a top right back and a top class striker that can hold the ball up as well as bag 20 goals. A conservative estimate would be around £70 million for the lot. If we are serious in challenging on all fronts then this is what we must pay.
Do I think it will happen? Not even close!
4 Posted 19/04/2008 at 12:03:37
If we replace Carsley with a class experienced £10M+ holding midfielder, get Fernandes to play alongside him, and also somehow afford a genuine wide attacker, I actually do think we have a really good potential squad.
If Vaughan (IMHO head and shoulders in raw ability above our other attackers) is not going to be properly fit, we will need another attacker. Otherwise we can play him with AJ as his less talented deputy. Neville / Hibbert may have to do at RB for now until Gosling comes through. Keep Carsley as cover for our new holding guy.
Oh and please make Lescott or Cahill captain (Cahill with Lescott as deputy for when Timmy is injured / suspended would be perfect for me).
So that makes:
Defence: Hibbert, Neville, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Rodwell, Gosling.
Midfield: Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Fernandes, Cahill, new holding mid, new wide mid, Carsley.
Attack: Vaughan, Yakubu, Johnson, Anichebe.
£30-35M may just be enough, and may be doable.
5 Posted 19/04/2008 at 13:15:30
Albeit, I think Hibbert is not up to it.
And at last it seems as if a few people have statrted to agree with what i have been saying all season Fernandes is not a holding midfielder. Attack? That's a different issue.
Anichebe - Never in a million years is he going to be good enough.
Vaughan - love him but unless they can change his game a bit or his mind to stop trying to win everything (he injures himself more than someone injuring him,)we will have him always on the injury list.
Johnson - needs a major confidence boost but he has lost a yard of pace; on two occasions against Chelsea Terry and Carvagligho beat him to balls he would have left them for dead a year ago.
Yakubu - yes will always score but needs someone to hold the ball and bring him into the game more.
We can't rely fully on the 4 strikers we have as we have seen of late for various reasons.
I would get rid of at least one of them, and buy a class striker, who I don't know, but others can do it, Blackburn with Santa Cruz , we have to look abroad I suggest.
6 Posted 19/04/2008 at 13:30:40
7 Posted 19/04/2008 at 14:21:41
You are probably right that we really need: a holding mid, a box to box mid (Fernandes), an attacking wingman, a striker. Would selling Neville help? I can certainly live with that. Gosling better then be good enough!
8 Posted 19/04/2008 at 15:40:12
I would imagine that Moyes watches videos of our games with the players after matches have been played and points out where they are going wrong by doing this and just inviting pressure on the defence, but this obviously does not seem to be the case cos it has happened for the past 5 or so games now and nothing seems to have changed.
I also hate to say this but another striker looks needed to me to help out the Yak as we have changed AJ from a 15-20 goal-a-season poacher to someone who now has to go chasing balls that have been hoofed over his head down the channels and it just does not suit the lad. We should play to his strengths and give him balls to run onto in and around the box to utilise his pace and I would bet his goal return would vastly improve.
As for Victor, well, the lad is young and has a lot to learn yet but I just don't think he is going to cut it at Everton unless attempts are made to improve his first touch and control of the ball and the instinct to shoot when needed instead of taking too many touches of the ball. I hope the kid proves me wrong but I can't see him turning out to be what we all hope for.
Young Vaughn gives me hope as he has pace and hunger and is like Andy Gray in the fact that he will go for anything with no fear of the outcome and is prepared to put himself amongst defenders to get the ball. He also reminds me of Rooney in the sense that he plays with no fear; one or two so-called senior players could learn from this and try applying it to their game...
9 Posted 19/04/2008 at 19:27:48
Well, if I have to watch a derby match where their best player is 26 years old (Gerrard) and is, running the show and we send out a 34 year old to mark him (Carsley), and he cannot get within 10 yards of him then we aint never going to break into the top four. We need money to build on Moyes's work. Then we can judge if he can take us on, but I understand the fans being unhappy, we are desperate for success.
10 Posted 19/04/2008 at 23:17:06
11 Posted 20/04/2008 at 05:34:46
12 Posted 20/04/2008 at 09:44:16
13 Posted 20/04/2008 at 09:53:34
14 Posted 20/04/2008 at 09:53:34
15 Posted 20/04/2008 at 14:20:28
16 Posted 20/04/2008 at 16:41:08
Secondly, about the lack of players we have: I can recall Moyes saying that we had enough players and he is wrong ? although I think he is realising it now. We all know Gravesen will be leaving at the end of the season because his legs have just gone, that means he will have to invest.
Jimmy bullard, Louis Saha, Stewart Downing and also Mario Melichiot ? the first three would be great signings for us. I know it would cost us greatly but these three can provide us with strengh, speed, creativity, width and an eye for a goal. I think Saha would be great with Yakubu.
Jimmy Bullard has been great for Fulham and he doesn't deserve to play in the Championship ? he won't cost much. I think he would be great for us. As for Downing, we need a left-sided midielder which we don't have. Baines could focus on the left back position rather than playing left midfield,
You may not think I am right here but Maro Melchiot for Wigan has be brilliant for them this seaon and he would add to our strong backline. He wouldn't cost much and I sure he would relish the chance of bieng near to the op of the table and also in Europe.
I think Everton should sign Manny Fernandes I believe he is a quality player and with the likes Bullard in the middle with him they both can create he also will ahve players like Arteta Pienaar and Downing to play and Saha and Yakubu ....
This would resolve Neville and Carsley playing in the midfield that should never be played again and we gain width and someone that can play upfront that has all the key aspects of a great striker.
17 Posted 20/04/2008 at 18:20:49
FFS, Please... TW ? Just Say NO!!!
18 Posted 20/04/2008 at 20:43:55
Unless we get some decent investment in, the kind that is enough to bring in world-class quality players into the squad regularly, then we will forever be looking up to the top 4 with an envious glare.
19 Posted 22/04/2008 at 00:36:13
Gravesen has come back and made Neville look like a quality midfielder! He was never a midfield general anyway!
20 Posted 22/04/2008 at 10:45:19
Saha and Downing could be great addictions and it?s time for us not thinking about moving to kirby but seriously buy players. I think you agree with me that reaching uefa spot is essential otherwise we have failed all season and we won?t be attractive at all...
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