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Arsenal (a) - Some thoughts

By Michael Kidd :  04/05/2008 :  Comments (34) :
Pity that Villa lost yesterday, in some ways, because this could have been a better game had we needed a win. Arsenal were mediocre today and there for the taking. I thought we played well last week against Villa, just losing the plot in defence twice to let them in, and was hoping for more of the same.

Today, there was more of the decent passing along the ground that we saw last week, but it mostly fizzled out once we got into a position to exert some real pressure. Some will blame Moyes for lack of ambition, and there certainly is some merit in that position today, but there is more to it than that.

I think Johnson has been disappointing this season because he is not suited to being alone up front or to the game we have been playing. In short, the combination is not right for him. Another problem, I think, is in recent weeks, and today was another example of this, our dead-ball play has been dreadful ?Arteta for several weeks and Fernandes today. One would have thought that such highly-paid professionals could put in a decent cross when the ball is stationary.

But I think out biggest deficiency is in midfield. Carsley has been much maligned on this site for weeks, but I think he has been, by and large, one of our best performers this season (which might say more about the rest of the team than about him). Today he was as solid as usual, but the rest of the midfield huffed and puffed to no real effect ? too often got knocked off the ball. Part of this is due to their size (another perennial Toffeeweb topic) but, again, that's too simplistic. Overall, our midfield (and team as a whole) lack pace. This is as much to blame for them being caught in possession as their lack of size, in my opinion. Before moving off the size issue, this is the second week where Osman has been marking much taller opposition at set pieces and been found sadly wanting.

Some individual observations ? the majority of the team not warranting any specific comment, being neither particularly good nor particularly bad:

Hibbert - one of the best games I've seen him play, other than the time he went on a run and clearly didn't know what to do with the ball, running into one of their (bigger) players and losing the ball.

Osman - too small and too slow (certainly in this match).

Jagielka - can't be a first choice player if we want to progress. Dependable defensively but clueless when it comes to distribution and gave the ball away dangerously today.

Fernandes - as I've said above, I didn't see one decent dead ball delivery the whole game.

Reader Comments

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Alan Wilkins
1   Posted 04/05/2008 at 22:36:30

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Same on things ?There for the taking?

Man U away - there for the taking
Liverpool away - There for the taking
Chelsea - There for the taking
and now Arsenal same old story

Today we had 5 midfielders
Neville - Fuck me hes awful
Carsley - Good luck Derby
Fernandes - Why bring back a player who didn't want ot join us.. He tries his skills all over the place and today did fuck all
Pienaar - About the only decent midfield we had
Osman - Had his usual 15 minute spell and nowhere for the other 75. Defense played well today is about the only good thing. We go for the draw and have no plan B.
Connor Rohrer
2   Posted 04/05/2008 at 22:40:42

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Carsley was our worst midfielder today in my opinion. He had a decent season but doesn’t contribute enough to the team.

Did he actually break up play today? I don’t think he did and he never once looked to get involved when we had the ball. Fernandes, Osman, Pienaar and even Neville where always looking for the ball and looking to get involved.

I’m no Neville fan but if he was given such a limited role like Carsley for example I’m sure he’d do a similar job. Carsley plays in a small box and rarely moves out of it and sometimes even plays as a third centre half! Neville does alot more in my opinion which shows up the flaws in his game.

Pienaar was excellent in my opinion. Hopefully back to his best. Some nice passing, always wanted it and some of his movement was excellent. Quality player in my opinion.

Osman and Fernandes where in and out but alot of that was due to playing out of position. Both where tidy in possession and passed it well. I was pleased with both. Osman’s touch was a little off at times like.

Didn’t Fernandes’s set piece set up Jags’s header? I’m sure it did.
Gerry Western
3   Posted 04/05/2008 at 22:51:36

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Carsley was steady today, as usual he kept things simple and made a meaningful contribution although he appeared to be deployed in an unusual role, at times he was ahead of the play in a much more forward position though it has to be said his overall performance fell well short of his candidature for MOM against the Villa. Neville appeared to dropping into Carsleys preferred position and made the occasional crucial interception but I’m afraid he’s a poor substitute for Carsley in that capacity and should never be selected to play in the middle.
Two players disappointed today Osman and Fernandes, Osman appeared to brushed aside all too easily frequently conceding possession. Fernandes yet again flattered to deceive I’m afraid with each passing game he appears to look more and more like a squad player than a star performer. 9m is a hefty price tag, I think I’d prefer to look elsewhere for that kind of money. Though it does have to be said that he was unfortunate to be substituted it really should have been Osman who was awful yet again. Without a doubt our star performers were Yobo and Pienaar both of whom were unlucky to be on a loosing side.
Tony Williams
4   Posted 04/05/2008 at 23:26:49

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Don’t mean to have a dig at you MIchael but there was a reverse Jerry Maguire moment, in so much as you lost me at "there for the taking"

That phrase gets bandied around quite often, however when I have asked for the reasonings behind that theory there seems to be a stony silence.

!Same on things ?There for the taking?

Man U away - there for the taking
Liverpool away - There for the taking
Chelsea - There for the taking
and now Arsenal same old story"

Intrestingly enough the games mentioned here show the top 4 and out of 72 games between them at home they have lost 2, the Mancs against Citteh and The Shite against the Mancs.

So once again explain to me why they were there for the taking?
Alan Wilkins
5   Posted 04/05/2008 at 23:57:00

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Posted 04/05/2008 at 22:36:30
Same old things ?There for the taking?

Man U away - there for the taking
Liverpool away - There for the taking
Chelsea - There for the taking
and now Arsenal same old story

Glen Strachan
6   Posted 04/05/2008 at 23:43:09

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Michael..............did you really mean to write the words :
?Pity that Villa lost yesterday?. ??? Are you one of these sporting neutrals who just wanted a jolly good game at Highbury today or what? The Wigan win at Villa was brilliant and set David Moyes up to pick a side that would get a point from a 0-0 against a weakened Arsenal selection.

We came within 15 minutes of that and the same tactic will be pressed into service next Sunday against Newcastle. They will give us a tough game but if we pack the midfield and Tim pulls out all the stops in goal, we should have some chance of getting that 0-0 with a bit of luck.

You don?t seem to have enjoyed the dull game at The Emirates but surely if you want entertainment just go to the Cinema. Everton 2008 is not there to entertain you or anybody else. It is there to qualify for Europe and make some more dosh next season. I can?t see Aston Villa winning at West Ham so we are probably in Europe with 5th place already. Just don?t go writing next week that you hope Villa wins at West Ham.

This Premier is played over 38 games and 5th place is the only target that will ever interest our Blues. Right now I would thrilled with an assurance that we will be 5th again in 2009 after going out of the FA Cup and Carling Cup at the first hurdle. That is the reality of today and of course there will be some out there who want daft things like entertaining football, a top four place, a cup of some kind.

Sure I would love that... ?just love it? as poor old Kev once said..... but only the deluded can be expecting more than we have right now with that 5th place.

You can bet Kev would have loved it, or Martin or Juande, or Sven or Harry or Curbishly or our old boy Mark at Blackburn. But dull and boring and ?long ball? we might be, according to the media, but we have done what none of these sides could manage.

Just stop whining folks... .eh? Can?t we just enjoy being best of the also-rans?

Agree with you about Hibbert.... but we always seem to need a whipping boy..... it has always been so!
Bob Parrington
7   Posted 05/05/2008 at 01:19:13

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Michael - I agree about Hibbert. he had an outstanding game. I’m no Neville as a midfielder fan but he actually made some passes to our guys in this game. if Carsley is to go it is likely that Moyesy thinks it is time to make the change & bring in some new blood. If he goes I just hope we get a hard, fit midfielder in his place - one who not only breaks up the play but feeds the ball off well.

Peinaar played oK but seemed to be lacking concentration with his first touch. Yobo and Lescott were steady.

There are some really good signs with the team development so we should be hopeful for next season. I agree with some other comments, though. AJ is having problems with our style of play. The opposition coaches have worked this out and continue to play deep.

Jay Harris
8   Posted 05/05/2008 at 01:44:07

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I dont know what Baines has to do to get a game. Today was the ideal opportunity to try the following formation

Hibbert/Neville Yobo Jags Lescott
Pienaar Fernandes Carsley Osman Baines

Neville is never a central MF player and Fernandes and Osman are far more effective in the centre. I hope this team gets a chance against Newcastle.

Derek Thomas
9   Posted 05/05/2008 at 06:36:46

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There for the taking eh??

That was the problem....for nearly an hour or so we were the paper in the paper scissors stone game.

Our blue paper was wrapping their stone ( having lost their scissor sharpness with Eduardo etc etc missing for various reasons )

The aforementioned, there for the taking light bulb glimmered at about 15 watts and we started to get adventurous and unwrapped the blue paper, but as was proved later, lacked the spark to actually LIGHT the blue paper.

This, rather than tilting the balance, upset the balance. We then fell for the oldest trick in the book ( ? ) and allowed Arsenal, on the 80th Aniv. of Dixie’s 60 goals, to score one that was meat and drink to the Great Man....get it to the bye line and pull it back for the incoming big fella.

There for the taking???

The only thing that was there for the taking was a simple goal me Granny could have scored.

This was the time when PLAN A and no plan B was all that was needed.

Row Z beckoned so we tried to play footy, sometimes Moyes and the team just can’t win
Gareth Jones
10   Posted 05/05/2008 at 07:09:44

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Please get off Moyes and the players backs. At worst it will be a top six finish again and a place in Europe again! That means we will have finished in the top six three times in the last four seasons. How many other clubs apart from the so called big four can say that?We seem to have very short memories.

I am sure we would have secured 5th spot by now had Cahill, Arteta and Vaughan all been fit or fully fit for the run in. Osman has also missed games and you can include Johnson in that list too.

It's time to all get behind the management team and the players and give them our full support next Sunday and thank them for all their efforts. Pound for pound over the season they have put in a hell of a lot more than the majority of players in the Premier League.

Steve Ryan
11   Posted 05/05/2008 at 11:34:37

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Connor Rohrer, I know you’re a big fan of Osman but your list of excuses for his inconsistency is becoming embarassing. Ironically, you are always quick to criticise Carsley who may not have Osman’s technique but who has been much more consistent over the past few years. Your latest excuse for Leons "in and out" display yesterday was that he was "out of position" Can you please explain this statement? So how do you explain his inconsistency during the past 5 years? To be fair to Osman, the whole of our midfield (including Arteta) are extremely inconsistent and are therefore not good enough if we want to move to the next level. This area of our team needs to be completely reconstructed as it lacks pace, width, balance, penetration, strength, stature and bottle. Only Cahill would be an automatic choice in my opinion.
Connor Rohrer
12   Posted 05/05/2008 at 14:10:21

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Steve Ryan, I thought Osman flittered in and out of the game. Some of his touches where excellent and he supported Johnson well whereas he did go missing and at times his touch was heavy. Some things I liked about his performance yesterday and some things I didn’t.

Osman has been inconsistent but this season he hasn’t been. He’s by no means the long term answer but he’s been a solid performer this season, made us more creative centrally ans covered alot of ground each and every game. An excellent player to have in the squad in my opinion.

He was playing out of position. Is he a second striker? No he’s not he’s a centre midfielder.

As I’ve said before give me Osman over Carsley any day of the week. Osman contributes alot more to this team. He covers more ground and is a far better footballer. Carsley does a decent job in a five man midfield. He’s carried by other midfielders in my opinion.

Cahill would be your only starter? Cahill has been inconsistent this season. His goals have masked up some very average performances this season. He’s useful if he’s got creative midfielders behind him. If he hasn’t then he’s as bad as anyone. I’d rather have Arteta and Pienaar in the team than Cahill.
John Bailey
13   Posted 05/05/2008 at 18:51:41

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I think some of you are being a bit critical of yesterdays performance. I'm not saying we were brilliant by any means but Carsley was as consistent as ever, Neville had one of his better games, Osman wasn?t his best but he still did a decent job (looked nackered towards the last 20 minutes), Pienaar looked much better than he has been in the last few weeks and Manny looked as though he was the only player that was going to create an opening and if you look back he set up AJ?s best chance and the Jags chance. I think some of you need to get off his back. I don't think he is a £12 or 9mil player but he is a player that will only get better through the years and IMO he is a must buy if the price is right.
Tony Marsh
14   Posted 05/05/2008 at 19:16:41

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Connor the only game since Christmas that Osman has played well in was the Florentina home game. The rest of the games he has been absolutely shite and that's being kind. Osman is a waste of a shirt and I just don't get it with you excuse-makers. Call a spade a spade FFS.
Tsing Tao
15   Posted 05/05/2008 at 19:40:51

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Osman flatters to deceive perhaps? But he will come good next season for sure. I did not think it was such a dull game ? Arsenal controlled it pretty well and scored a good goal, that?s all.
Connor Rohrer
16   Posted 05/05/2008 at 20:56:25

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Disagree with you there Tony. Osman has been one of our better performers in this shite patch in our season. That's my opinion anyway.

He?s not a waste of a shirt at all. What a ridiculous thing to say. Don?t get me wrong I don?t want him as a starter next season but he?s a very useful player to have in the squad. Versatile, hardworking and neat and tidy. Never moans just gets on with his job.

You obviously have problems with small players. You don?t seem to like Pienaar now but during our unbeaten run you praised him a few times if I remember correctly. Had an excellent game against Arsenal yesterday in my opinion.
Jonathan Smith
17   Posted 05/05/2008 at 23:35:17

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Am I the only one who thought Fernandes had a pretty decent game yesterday (ok albeit bar some of the set pieces)? He didn't give possession away much and made a couple of killer passes including that lovely piece of skill to set up Johnson in the first half.

Fair enough, his first few games back were fairly average but as he?s accumulated more playing time, he seems to have improved with it; if we can get him for sub £9M, I think we should get him back.
Jack Holden
18   Posted 06/05/2008 at 01:02:47

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As a gooner, have to say that we were there for the taking yesterday and surprised that you didn?t go for it because that was a fairly weak 1st team we had - a midfield that had NEVER played together (our 1st choice would be Rosicky-Fabregas-Flamini-Hleb as it was at Goodison, and NONE played!), a 3rd choice goalie, & 2 strikers who hate each other and don't pass. So happy that Yakubu was on the bench! Why?
Also thought Pienaar looked good - can you resist someone buying him though?
Griffin Silver
19   Posted 06/05/2008 at 03:08:41

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I think Moyes and the players would have been happy to run out of the clock and certainly played that way. To be honest, I would have been too and it looked like we were doing a good job of it until their goal, which I didn?t see coming (although Arsenal are obviously always dangerous). Hibbert played his best game of the season as you say which was very encouraging, but then again, the pace of the game was probably the slowest I?ve ever seen in the Premier League ? evident by the unusually high number of passes we completed.

Osman looked very tired from late on in the first half and AJ was, once again, completely ineffective. I?ve defended him strongly this season, but he looks like a little girl playing with her older brothers. I?d accept £8mil for him, but I think he could fetch more if West Ham and Newcastle are genuinely interested ? what is his record after his 6 in 7 start in 06-07? It must be about 6 in 60. Darren Bent could be a target offering equivalent pace but with strength and determination to match.

Again, Moyes could have been more proactive and make that double change after about 60 minutes when Osman & AJ looked done for ? that may have been counterproductive and sparked the game in to life (assuming he wanted it to fizzle to 0-0 draw) so perhaps that?s why he held back.

I was hoping for 70 points this season which would have been a great milestone and an achievable one until this 5 pts in 7 games run. Shame, but this drop off may be helpful in the long-run by highlights Moyes? need to heavily strengthen the squad.

What to do with Fernandes?

Mike Bates
20   Posted 06/05/2008 at 14:13:05

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Fernandes didn't put one decent dead ball in the whole match? Difficult when all you have to aim for is 5ft lads against a team of 6-footers. Even Mikky cant manage it.

I say get off Fernandes?s back. He?s exactly wot we need. He?s always looking for a pass and is willing to shoot from distance. Or maybe I?m wrong and what we really need is more of the same from the likes of Pip and Cars, sideways and backwards passes and refusing to create anything.
Trudy Boston
21   Posted 06/05/2008 at 16:49:02

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Once more we have a result in sight only for the opposition to spoil it all late on. A point from the grandeur of the Emirates Stadium would have been lovely, but in the end that did not come to pass.

Still, all is not lost. Far from it. A point at the old lady next weekend against the Barcodes and hey presto, a UEFA cup place will be ours. I understand that Villa have West Ham United in their last fixture, and while Alan Curbishley’s side are rank at the moment, they have an abundance of good players that will cause no end of problems to the opposition.
It’s imperative that we get that 5th place and with it, a place in Europe, as we can then look to persuade or bring some new players in during the close season.

With regard to the next, and final opposition that Everton face this season, their manager, a one Mr Kevin Keegan has publicly stated that it’s a losing battle to gatecrash the top four as it currently stands. The glass ceiling as some call it, seems to be unbreakable although that was disproved recently as none other than ourselves outlasted the red shite to fourth place, even though the subsequent European adventure met with a premature end.

This year however, the team has done me proud, the first leg in Florence apart, and if we had got through that night I would have been quietly confident that we could have overcome PSV Eindhoven, then Rangers over two games and therefore we could be lining up in a European final for the first time since 1985.

It’s a case of what might have been, but it’s onwards and upwards so let’s turn out at Goodison and get those three points.

Mind you, one will do!
Ben Jones
22   Posted 06/05/2008 at 17:29:22

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I disagree with you Glen. I do agree to play for the draw against Arsenal, because they are a top class side and one of the best passing sides around, but play for the draw against Newcastle at home? That shows too much negativity in my part, and counter attacking at home is not a good idea. Why not play for the win? Give Yakubu another chance up front and go for it!!
Michael Hunt
23   Posted 06/05/2008 at 19:06:37

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The enigmatic Fernandes did play a great killer pass to put AJ through one and one for a great chance (sadly well saved by keeper’s leg).
I’d have backed Yak to bury it though.
Mike Allison
24   Posted 06/05/2008 at 20:40:14

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Fernandes keeps being asked to play out wide, no wonder he’s ’not interested’. Eventually, he gets annoyed and comes into the centre and tries to dictate play more, I think that’s why our passing was better in the two games he’s played. He’s a class above and makes the others look better. Even Neville was passing to our own team on a regular basis.

Shame Fernandes can’t make Carsley look anything other than slow though.
Eamonn Jones
25   Posted 06/05/2008 at 21:01:37

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I thought we deserved a point. We reduced the Sky 4 to limited chances as we have done all season... actually at the Bridge Chelsea had more chances but failed to score and we gained a result there.

The Gunners where very quiet until the goal went in and it must have been pretty strange to watch Everton to have the bulk of possession... Turning it into goals though is what counts.

I think we gave a good account of ourselves given our missing key players.
Connor Rohrer
26   Posted 06/05/2008 at 21:56:32

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I thought Fernandes had a good game personally. He and Pienaar looked our most likely midfielders to create. He passed it well, drifted about the pitch and obviously created our best chance.

He really is our only player capable of playing a through ball. 3 or 4 times in eleven starts he’s done it whereas the likes of Osman and Arteta haven’t done it once all season. Pienaar’s made one or two.
Anthony Lamb
27   Posted 06/05/2008 at 20:45:56

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With regard to the comments about Fernandes I wonder if the fact that he is Portuguese and seemingly in the "higher price bracket" that he seems able to acquire a supportive lobby often denied to players "home grown" or nearer home"? I may be completely out of step with many others or perhaps just not seeing things that are perfectly clear but if anybody disappeared without trace for prolonged periods of the game especially in the later stages as does Fernandes then they would be rightly pilloried. For someone who is apparently trying to secure a permanent contract his lack of consistent engagement with the game, and the obvious commitment to influencing it and changing it with his undoubted ability makes him far too great a risk regarding the investment of scarce resources.

Reference is made to the pass that put Johnson in against Arsenal. It was a good pass, no more no less perhaps generating such positive responses because of the lamentable passing so often coming from those who shall remain nameless but who are known and loved by us all! In fact he is just as likely to play an equally loose ball in vulnerable situations as the good one in positive ones. We hear about him not being fully fit etc - what do we think these guys do all day? 9-5 and then train in in the evening? No, IF he is not "match fit" it is about attitude and in my opinion his attitude seems to be one that plays in fits and starts if he feels like it and before we hear that his moments of involvement surpass those of others just how many goal assists has he accomplished and lets not talk about actual goals?

Perhaps he is potentially a good player but to invest the kinds of money being associated with his purchase, and the urgent need Everton have for a truly authoritative midfield addition they need a good player now, proven and obvious. Fernandes is not it.

Connor Rohrer
28   Posted 06/05/2008 at 22:49:36

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Anthony Lamb, I’ve seen create a few chances this season that very well could have been assists. Yesterdays skill and through ball to AJ, the skill and through ball to AJ against Spurs, the through ball for Ossie to score against Derby and the shimmy and back heel that put Ossie through against Blackburn.

Is it his fault that our strikers cannot convert his chances? Those four creative passes would have given him 4 assists in 11 starts which is not bad for a deep lying player who does player a deeper role compared to the likes of Arteta, Osman and Pienaar.

Talking about the pass how many of our players actually can play a through ball? Arteta can’t and neither can Osman. Pienaar has made one or two all season and whilst Gravesen could do it he doesn’t play anymore. Personally I think Fernandes is the best passer in this squad.

How does he dissapear? From what I see he’s one of our few players always looking for the ball. If he is playing in his natural position he is the only midfielder who links defense to attack in our team. I think alot of posters will agree with me on that one because it has been mentioned a few times. Fernandes is always looking to get involved when we have the ball.

When he’s is playing on the wing like yesterday for example he doesn’t see enough of the ball and because of his lack of of experience in the wide positions he doesn’t know where to move or receive the ball. I seem to remember Fernandes drifting inside alot and looking for the ball.

Fact is we will be moaning about midfield not being able to dictate a game until the hoofs stop. The likes of Fernandes and Arteta or very capable of dictating the pace of a game if we play football. If we boot it over there heads then its impossible. What are they supposed to do jump 10 foot in the air and try and control the ball? Sadly its not that easy.

We could bring the best midfielder to Everton and there is a chance he wouldn’t be able to run a game. Once the hoofs stop then whoever is playing centre midfield will find it alot easier.

Match fitness is improved by playing games continually. The more you play the fitter you are. Training on a training ground can only get you so far. A fast paced match is completely different. Anyone who’s played at any level of football would understand this.

Fernandes a few games ago had a fitness excuse. He hadn’t played at Valencia and injuries and stopped him from getting any continuity hear.

I think he’s alot fitter now. He’s got a few successive games under his belt and for the last three or four games hasn’t been making the silly dangerous passes he was when he first came. He showed last season that if he’s fit and in good condition he rarely looses the ball.

His attitude is unfairly made a big deal of in my opinion. If he did have this awful attitude like people make out then he wouldn’t be hear. Moyes studies attitudes of player and considering he’s brought Fernandes back twice and was about to pay 12 million in the summer for him I doubt its a big problem.

People who don’t like him use it as an excuse to have a pop at him. There’s no doubting he needs to work harder but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care nor does it mean he’s got a bad attitude. All it means is he need to adapt to the English side of the game. Doing the dirty work so to speak.

What proven player are we talking about? The Kevin Nolan’s and Jimmy Bullards of this world will give you all the experience in the world but they won’t give you the quality and sheer ability of what Fernandes’s possesses.
Steve Dunne
29   Posted 07/05/2008 at 10:27:47

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Fernandes is quality. Strong and fantastic feet. If he is here at the start of next season he will have a massive impact - but I agree that the price as to be significantly less han the sugested £12 million. He?s different class to Osman, Carsley & even Arteta.
Dave Styles
30   Posted 08/05/2008 at 10:39:59

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We are clearly tired, short of pace, squad- lite, & missing the injured, but are still better than at least 15 other teams in the Premier League.

A word on Fernandes ? what is it with him? Great skill some times, but team ethic? Have a look at Arsenal's goal: after ball was lost leftside upfront, who was standing in the middle of our half, stock still, made no attempt to track the crosser of the ball for their goal ? Yes, & not for the first time.

Re AJ, he is either injured or demotivated or not as good as we thought. He gives us nowt currently, even if/when he tries hard. We clearly need more strength & depth to push on, I fear AJ & Fernandes should be sacrificed to pay for some new recruits, but disagree re Osman & Pienaar, both of whom I rate... & Hibbo had an ace game, partly cos he didn?t have to cross it, but mainly as he totally tamed Walcott. COYB!

Peter Roberts
31   Posted 08/05/2008 at 12:42:08

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Connor, I want to direct you back to this

"Fact is we will be moaning about midfield not being able to dictate a game until the hoofs stop. The likes of Fernandes and Arteta or very capable of dictating the pace of a game if we play football. If we boot it over there heads then its impossible. What are they supposed to do jump 10 foot in the air and try and control the ball? Sadly its not that easy.

We could bring the best midfielder to Everton and there is a chance he wouldn?t be able to run a game. Once the hoofs stop then whoever is playing centre midfield will find it alot easier"

Does it not occur to you that once we bring a midfield general in that the hoofs may indeed stop? There?s no leadership in the midfield, no-one coming to Jags, Nev, Joey or Joleon saying "give me the ball". Once we have someone of that ilk, we a) will start to play it more on the ground b) dominate the midfield c) stop giving the ball away in endless hoofs.

If we brought in Kaka, he would demand the ball and our style of play would improve. What you?re implying is that Moyes encourages hoofball which, even though he was a no-nonsense defender in his playing career, I can?t envisage him condoning if we have players who can play quick pass-and-move football. Look at the football we?ve played this season when we?ve had our first-choice team out as a perfect example.
Connor Rohrer
32   Posted 09/05/2008 at 16:06:55

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Peter Roberts, in some ways I agree with you but even when we where playing good football for a two month spell we still had a tendency to hit the ball long and pick up the pieces in the final third.

"Does it not occur to you that once we bring a midfield general in that the hoofs may indeed stop? There?s no leadership in the midfield, no-one coming to Jags, Nev, Joey or Joleon saying "give me the ball"."

We already have two midfielders capable of doing this. Fernandes style of play is based around dropping deep in demanding the ball in his own half. Arteta is also very capable of doing this albeit a little more attacking version. If we have the ball on the floor then these players will look for it.

Fact is we have the players capable of doing it. I’m not saying Moyes encourages the long ball I just think we lack in players in certain position who are comfortable on the ball. Jagielka, Neville, Carsley and occassionly Yobo spring to mind. Players who hoof under pressure and lack any genuine composure.

Carsley is a big reason for the hoofing aswell. He doesn’t look for the ball neither does he make any movement to create space and bring another midfielder into the game. I’m not having a go at Cars hear because really he is trying his best but he does lack in these areas.

Get Fernandes and another midfielder comfortble on the ball next season and the football will improve as will the players all round contributions to the game. They more they see it the more they’ll be able to do things with it.
Mike Allison
33   Posted 09/05/2008 at 17:09:41

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I’ve said this before and hardly ever get agreed with but Fernandes and Arteta should be the central midfield. Both demand the ball and pass it well. Arteta was a central midfielder when he arrived and was dictating European games from their for Rangers at the age of 19. We need an extra wide man to allow this, preferably left footed.
Connor Rohrer
34   Posted 09/05/2008 at 17:43:23

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Mike Allison, in a five-man midfield with a defensive ball-winner behind them it would work a treat and we would have the ability to run games and dictate the pace.

In a four-man midfield no chance. Neither have the defensive qualities or the work rate. Fernandes may develop the defensive qualites once his is fully bedded into English football but Arteta doesn?t have them.

I have always wanted to see Arteta in the middle alongside Manny. It would work in Europe definitely where the aim is to keep the ball.

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