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Timmy's Touch

By Colin Corrigan :  22/04/2008 :  Comments (22) :
Like many other Everton fans, I've at times been frustrated by Tim Cahill. I've always appreciated his eye for goal, and his passion for the jersey has never been in doubt ? he loves playing for Everton ? but I've sometimes moaned at his lack of impact in midfield, his inability to put his foot on the ball and control games, his tendency to go missing for long periods...

This season, though, thanks especially, I think, to the arrival of Pienaar and the Yak, when he's played he has seemed to be enjoying his football more than ever, and having a more consistent impact on games. We only really clicked into gear this season after his return from injury, and we've certainly struggled for goals since his season ended. And so, bored this evening after watching a stultifying Champions League semi-final (notwithstanding an entertaining finish), I had a look at the statistics...

Not counting the West Ham game at Goodison when we led 1-0 when Timmy went off injured after 9 minutes, he has started 17 games and missed 17 games this season. We got 21 points in the games he didn't play in, 39 points in those he did. He featured in three games against the so-called Big 4, and scored in all three of them (against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Man Utd).

I know there are other factors involved ? his initial return to the side, for example, coincided with the reaction to the savage injustices of the Goodison derby; Moyes has tended to only play one right back when he's been on the teamsheet; and our end of season lull has also been a result of injuries to Arteta, Pienaar, and Osman, and a general fatigue throughout the squad... but it's a pretty impressive impact.

Considering Man Utd top the table at the moment with 81 points from 35 games played, 39 points per 17 games is certainly title-contending form.

Maybe next season, with Timmy back to full health, and hopefully three or four good additions to bolster the squad, we'll be able to make a sustained push for those Champions League places, and the disappointing close to this season will be forever forgotten.

Reader Comments

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Dean Johnson
1   Posted 23/04/2008 at 07:34:32

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I think you’re right Colin.

During the time that Tim, Arteta, Yakubu, Pienaar, Osman were all in the team, it was some of the best Everton football I have seen in 20 years.

We have seen the same or similar line-ups since our purple patch yet we are left wondering, what happened to the form of mid-season? Why can’t we do the same again?

Tim Cahill, simple. We didn’t start playing until he came back, now we’ve stopped playing when he got injured. We just look a much more confident team with Tim in it. Maybe it’s his personality, goal-scoring or agression and work-rate in important areas of the pitch, but man, we really do miss him.
Erik Dols
2   Posted 23/04/2008 at 07:37:11

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"Next season we’ll push for fourth place!"

That sounds like Newcastle Colin...

But I’ve always been a big fan of Tim Cahill so I really really hope next season he’ll play every game or at least the vast majority of our games. It will give us a big lift.
Billy Dean
3   Posted 23/04/2008 at 08:46:47

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Erik, it’s not like Newcastle. We were pushing for 4th season, and with some midfield additions next season (Arshavin and Kallstrom would be excellent signings) we would hopefully be better equipped to cope with injuries and push even further.
Arthur Jones
4   Posted 23/04/2008 at 08:56:02

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There are some players who have that certain ?something? ? the part of the game that no stats or pro zone technology can measure. Tim, to me, is one of those players; you know he has an impact but you can?t quite put your finger on what it is. Paul Bracewell was the same in my eyes, he helped make peter Reid the great player he was. Roll on next season and a fully fit TC.
John Fitzpatrick
5   Posted 23/04/2008 at 09:16:30

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Cahill?s enthusiasm is infectious and has turned a lot of games around since we signed him from Millwall. Perhaps The Yak?s slump in form has somethimg to do with the fact that Cahill seems the only player in our team likely to give out a bollocking for slacking off. I think he?s our next captain and this will bring even more out of him. You get nothing for £2m nowadays.
Ciarán McGlone
6   Posted 23/04/2008 at 09:41:40

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The stats about Cahill are definitely impressive but his influence in the middle of the park is certainly never impressive...

Considering the lessening impact of AJ, I think it would be a educated gamble to play Timmy as an out and out striker and keep him away from midfield next season....
Cahill and the Yak is what I?ve wanted to see as a striking partnership all season... without Cahill having to drop back into midfield and TRY and cover for the wholly inadequate Nevilles and Carsleys...
Steve Pendleton
7   Posted 23/04/2008 at 10:23:47

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Whether 4-5-1 or 4-4-2, I’d have him in my starting eleven every time. Good call Colin.
Jason Lam
8   Posted 23/04/2008 at 10:45:41

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I like Tiny. But I would like to see Moyes further develop his game. His attacking play is wonderful, but in football you don’t attack for 90mins plus stoppages. Attacking and defending comes in phases regardless of who you play. It’s in the defensive phases that I would like to see Tim develop. The simple short passes, controlling/slowing the tempo, keeping possession, not making life difficult for your teammates with overly ambious through-balls. The game is played over 90 mins.

Also, he needs complete rest on that metarsal. Bones that keep breaking become brittle - not good. I would take 6 months out it was possible (not likely with ’20 million fans’ on the Aussie coach’s back, fucking hell). Anyway, the injuries will accumulate and take it’s toll with these player types I’m afraid, and he will soon slow down and become Paul Scholes.
Ben Howard
9   Posted 23/04/2008 at 11:43:02

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"Moyes has tended to only play one right back when he’s been on the teamsheet"

That made me laugh!
Peter Laing
10   Posted 23/04/2008 at 12:17:58

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Simple fact of the matter is the blue kangaroo makes us tick, he inspires those around him with his energy, has the aussie never say die attitude and has a 1:3 goal scoring record. Cahill may not be the most cultured player on the books but he is dynamic, hard to pick up and mark and the opposition hate him. I cant wait to see Timmy and his mate James Vaughan back early next season, the spineless insipid performances of late remind me of what we are missing.
Jim Packer
11   Posted 23/04/2008 at 11:57:00

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I wish to ask where have all Tim Cahill's critics gone? Apart from his goals what does he give us? Having watched Everton at the start of the season without him, and our current feeble limping towards the end of the season without him. Then perhaps those who critisized his contributions should now admit he has been our most important player this season (as in previous) and without him we lack any real inventiveness as well as cutting edge.
Liam Rorke
12   Posted 23/04/2008 at 13:07:05

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Can’t really add much to what has been said. Haha. Tim just has that special something, and is obviously important to the team. Sure, he may need to improve his defence, but I disagree with Ciaran; Timmy wouldnt be anywhere near as dynamic as an out and out striker. He would be marked a lot tigher, and wouldn’t have the impact he does now. Those darting runs from midfield into the box make him what it is. The role he was playing with the Yak was a great one, just behind him, but slightly infront of the other mids. Thats his best role, and he and Yak seemed to gel well.
Darrel Pugh
13   Posted 23/04/2008 at 13:22:53

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Tim is the captian of Everton, full stop. The lad is inspirational gives 110% competes and scores against the biggest clubs and leads by example. He may not be the most gifted of players but Terry isn't at Chelsea, Keane never was at Man Utd. Making Tim captain is a big step forward.
Peter Barnes
14   Posted 23/04/2008 at 15:06:07

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Jim Packer, the reason our record is so good when Cahill is in the side is because when he plays we play the 4-5-1 formation. This suits both him because he?s not as effective in a 4-4-2 formation and Carsley who isn?t good enough to play in a 4-man midfield. Now I?m not slating Cahill, in fact I like the lad, but to say he?s been our most important player this season is a bit over the top. I think it?s more of a case of 4-5-1 has been our best formation this season but without him in the side we don?t have the players to make that formation work.
John Lloyd
15   Posted 23/04/2008 at 15:32:09

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I disagree Peter Barnes, I think someone has said it before me but sometimes you can over analyze football, it would be easier to look at the basics. When he played this season we were better than when he wasn’t.
To the people that say ’he cant play in a 4-4-2’ I would say to that he can play it better then carsley, osman and neville!!
He is an energetic, combative goalscoring footballer. He is fucking made for midfield, dont confuse yourself cos your used to him being more advanced, he is a top drawer centre mid.
When him, Pienaar, the yak, mikel & Osman were in front of Carsley we were superb, when one of them dropped out for AJ/Faddy or Vic we still played better than we are now.
Although Lescott has been our best player and IMO Mikel is our most talented player nobody is more important to our team than Tim Cahill.
Peter Barnes
16   Posted 23/04/2008 at 16:10:59

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John Lloyd, I agree that Cahill is a better midfielder than Neville and Carsley, don?t think he?s a better centre midfielder than Osman though. Osman?s played there a number of times this season and has been outstanding, he?s composed on the ball and creates chances and works just as hard as Cahill. IMO Cahill is average in a 4 man midfield and it?s been proved whenever he?s played there this season, he works hard but he?s never going to hurt a team with a pass which is something Osman is more than capable of. I agree that we?ve missed him but like i said earlier we?ve also missed the 4-5-1 formation, which is when he at his best.
Alan McGuffog
17   Posted 23/04/2008 at 17:39:56

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Can?t disagree with the consensus above. If Moyes is remembered for only one thing it will be for taking a punt on Tim.
But whilst on the topic of the best little aussie we know may I make a prediction....
with our wonderful back room set-up we will not see him play a competetive match until October at the earliest.
He will have the usual string of set backs etc the club will say he is due to return in "three weeks"and it will all go quiet for a month or so.
You watch.
Paul Gladwell
18   Posted 23/04/2008 at 21:11:43

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Peter your opinion so fair enough ,but cannot agree with that shout of Osman is a better central midfielder than Cahill.
I like Osman very much, but if there is one man in our squad who is just does not have what it needs in a four man midfield then it is Osman, take a look when we play the big boys year after year, he is like a lost child and mainly down to his size, I think he can do a great job when we are playing the five in midfield but not a chance with four.
As for Cahill in this role, he proved enough to me at City and a few other games this season, but just lets see what happens if we get a midfielder who has a set of legs that mean he does not have to sit in front of the back four and can offer better support to his midfield partner.
Peter Barnes
19   Posted 23/04/2008 at 22:10:47

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Fair comment paul i think your right, osman is too lightweight to play in a 4 man midfield but the point i was trying to make is osman has more technichal ability than cahill and is more comfortable in possesion. Either way you look at it it’s pretty obvious what our number 1 priority has to be in the transfer market this summer and thats a dominting centre midfielder, hopefully to play alongside manny who i think is the best central midfielder at the club.
Pete Gunby
20   Posted 24/04/2008 at 03:26:12

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Peter Barnes - If you like midfielders that can ’hurt a team with a pass" you must love PN.
Paul Gladwell
21   Posted 24/04/2008 at 16:34:35

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Totally agree about Manny, get him settled and signed and watch what he will do, yes he has been getting ccaught a bit in possession and getting some stick for it but you can just see what he has and getting him settled, fit and playing each week, will without a shadow of doubt shut the boo boys up and to me there is far too much shit being thrown at some players lately, we all know our captain is not a midfielder but he is an ok full back and against Chelsea he was one of our best players in my eyes and played far better than Carsley, who to me is finally showing his age.
Get behind the lad for once, at least he does not hide like our Spanish wizard has a few times in the last few games he has played.
David Gallant
22   Posted 26/04/2008 at 12:19:39

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Before I continue, allow me to say that reading the eloquent, well-argued opinions (not to mention some of the hilarious one-liners) of my fellow blues from across the world is - despite the blinkered negativity of a small minority - wholly refreshing! And Tony Marsh, thanks for the laughs!

I agree with the sentiment that the team is far more potent when Cahill is in than when he isn’t. On the formation debate, I think its fair to say that the 4-4-1-1 (with Cahill playing just behind the Yak) formation suits the squad we currently have better than any other. In it Osman, Pienaar (and surely a Manny in the kind of form he is starting to show glimpses of now) all have more time on the ball to play the kind of short passing game that I believe Moyes wants us to play. As was mentioned by others in this thread, when those players (Manny excluded, naturally:) all played in that formation, the team played some of its best football for many a year.

Tim Cahill has many technical limitations, and is by no means the most gifted player. What he does have are some pretty important other qualities, such as awareness, guts, big-match-temperament and a determination to win. Not to mention an eye-for-goal and an aerial threat in the final third of the field. His record against the Sky Four bears testimony to that. What I would like to see him add to his arsenal are some more shots from outside the box, which is a thing lacking in our team.

As for whether Moyesie will make him captain, I seriously doubt it. I think Yobo was promised it when he arrived, so I think that even if by some miracle Phil Neville is dropped, the Nigerian will be first in line. Not a bad choice but personally I would have Joleon Lescott, who continues to grow in stature with every game and is more vocal than Yobo. Tim Cahill would make a fantastic captain as well and as someone suggested this might take his game up another level, but needs to sort out his injury problems, which is becoming another slight worry. Your captain needs to be someone who plays week in, week out (for the most part) imho.

These are awesome times indeed to be a blue. If we can get Arshavin or similar in and this Michael Bradley, who I think could well be the next Moyes rabbit to be pulled from the hat, then we are going to seriously knock on the door of the Sky Four next year. Oh, and get Manny signed as well - he is going to be class with a full pre-season under his belt, and his future sorted.

Oh, and we’ll beat Villa 2-0, with the Yak rediscovering his appetite ;)

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