COLUMNIST JIM HOURIGAN
However, I am now beginning to wonder what role Irvine had and to what extent did he exert any influence. Equally I have to admit to being a little more than concerned at the lack of tactical nous and assistance that DM has alongside him or indeed seems to want at present. I think we will all accept that we stumbled somewhat across the finishing line at the end, and my question is: was it simply player tiredness or perhaps a more deep rooted problem? Did the influence of Irvine dissipate after his departure to only really begin to affect us a few months after his leaving?
The reason I begin to ask this question is because of the conversations I have had with Preston fans recently. After a difficult start when PNE were almost bottom of the division, Irvine has turned them around and got them playing decent football. Their supporters are positive about next season, not because of the natural optimism we all have before he season starts, but because of the style of play and the players brought in. They believe Irvine has unearthed a couple of gems from other clubs and think he has a real eye for good footballers.
Notwithstanding this is PNE and not the Premier League, it does beg the question, Did his influence gradually disappear as we came to the end of the season and our poor form was the outcome? Was it him or DM who spotted the talent?
Equally, no decent manager in the Premier League operates without an assistant and certainly none of the top clubs are run single-handed. DM is quite clearly a strong character but, however good he is, he is not good enough to operate without a decent right-hand man. Has Irvines departure demonstrated that?
Well, I'm beginning to think it has and whilst all the talk focusses on players in and players out and DK, in the very short term I think we ought to be concerned about the apparent lack of movement in this area. The present backroom staff have their strengths but do we really think they will move us on tactically to challenge the Sky4?
Perhaps his own lack of a contract is an issue but I just hope he has some plans in this area because left to his own devices I do not think DM will be good enough. Wegner, Ferguson et al realise they need assistance and DM is not better than them.
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1 Posted 14/06/2008 at 14:45:06
I think it is a lot simpler than analysing the contribution of assistant managers. In our case we have struggled due to Cahill's injury. Despite limited passing and tackling abilities for a midfielder, he has a huge influence on our results. I new we had lost the Anfield derby when I read that we win about a third of matches when he is missing and two thirds when he is in the side. I think he is the last Everton player to score at Old Trafford, the Emirates, Anfield and Stamford Bridge. Combine this with the injury to Artetta and I think we have the answer to why we struggled at the end.
2 Posted 14/06/2008 at 15:30:49
I do think we need someone that can offer something extra though and not just parrot Moyes-remember the famous documentary about Graham Taylor when he was England manager, when Taylor would shout to the players and RS nob head Phil Neal would shout the same message only a lot louder. May as well have a carboard cut out as that sort of assistant .
I take Grahams point about Cahill (who i would make captain) and agree about his influence, he seems to be the one player in our squad who has no fear and sees himself as the eqaul of any player on the field. I love Cahill’s attitude and only wish that a few more of the squad had the same spirit.
3 Posted 14/06/2008 at 16:22:00
I don’t think he was a problem at all. If anything he was an asset. The players liked him, Moyes liked him and everyone I have come across likes him. I suppose we’ll never know. It would be unfair to blame him without any facts.
Injuries, lacks of bodies and formations where the problems. Key players where struck down by injury, we didn’t have a big enough squad anyway and Cahill’s absence from the team made us revert to a formation we weren’t suited to(4-4-2).
4 Posted 14/06/2008 at 18:12:19
5 Posted 14/06/2008 at 18:19:37
6 Posted 14/06/2008 at 19:33:35
7 Posted 14/06/2008 at 20:44:19
8 Posted 14/06/2008 at 21:50:49
I?ve said it before though if we buy two mobile centre midfielders Cahill won?t be key. We?ll end up reverting to 4-4-2 and he will struggle for a place due to his one dimensional style of play. Don?t get me wrong he?s a decent central midfielder but there are alot of better ones out there. I don?t think Moyes fancies him an out and out centre midfielder anyway.
I do think people go over the top with his contribution to the team. If the likes of Arteta, Pienaar and Osman weren?t behind him he wouldn?t have anything to feed off and he?d be very infective. So really he needs them more than they need him. He fits our system together but he isn?t our best midfielder nor is he irreplaceable.
9 Posted 14/06/2008 at 23:22:58
10 Posted 15/06/2008 at 11:10:55
In your posts you continually favour those players who have a few fancy tricks up their sleeve. The point is however, that Cahill with Lampard is the top goalscoring midfield player in the country and goals win matches. Furthermore, he invariably produces the goods against the big teams home and away whereas Arteta, Osman have disappeared in these games for years.
As you know, to win trophies you have to be CONSISTENT and that?s why Arteta and Osman would never be in my first 11. The jury is still out on Pienaar who like Arteta and Osman has great technically ability but who also lacks consistency and strength on the ball. I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on this one. However, it is actually possible for midfielders to have great technique and still be consistent as Steven, Sheedy, Reid, Bracewell, Ball, Harvey, Kendall, and King proved.
11 Posted 15/06/2008 at 11:34:47
12 Posted 15/06/2008 at 11:41:52
13 Posted 15/06/2008 at 12:28:00
Our run of great form last season started because of:
1. The return of Cahill.
2. Being robbed in the Derby.
I too watch Cahill week in week out and I see a player having a massive influence on our games and scoring some very important goals.
I can’t really comment on the Irvine thing ’cause I don’t have any idea how much influence he really had.
14 Posted 15/06/2008 at 16:18:39
I don?t favour the likes of Osman, Arteta and Pienaar because there skilful at all. I favour them because I feel they bring more to the plate than Cahill. They cover more ground, they have defensive duties to attend to, they have to get on the ball and create and they have to chip in with goals. Cahill plays in a luxury role so he doesn?t need to do any of the things mentioned. All he basically does is drop back into midfield occasionally, act as a target man and try and cause havoc in the box.
People always talk about Cahill being the main man and its bollocks. We need the likes of Arteta before Cahill. If we didn?t have the likes of Pienaar, Arteta and Osman Cahill would be worthless. That?s my point really. Without his goals he offers nothing but aggression and a decent work rate. Cahill defiantly fits the 4-5-1 system together but without the likes of our creative midfielders he wouldn?t be worth having in the team.
Comparing Lampard to Cahill is also very wrong. Lampard is a goal scoring midfielder whereas Cahill is a goal scoring second striker. The likes of Lampard and Gerrard get on the ball, dictate games, create goals and do a lot of midfield donkey work. Lampard usually plays in a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 as a box to box midfielder whereas Cahill basically plays as a second striker in a 4-4-1-1 system. Completely different in my opinion. Lampard brings a lot more to Chelsea than goals. He gets a lot of assists and his pass completion is always high. Cahill sadly doesn?t. His pass completion last season was 66% which is poor and he only mad two goals himself.
The big game theory again comes down to the difference in contribution. It?s very unfair to compare someone like Cahill?s contribution against Man utd to someone like Arteta, Osman or Pienaar. Cahill can score a goal, give the ball away for the majority of the game and rarely touch the ball and that is considered a good game. Someone like Arteta for example has to do his defensive duties, get on the ball and create and try and make the team tick. He?s got a lot harder job on his hands. He doesn?t have the luxury of playing in such a limited role like Cahill. It would be very interesting to put Cahill as a centre midfielder in a 4-4-2 in a big game and see how he copes. He didn?t do too much against Chelsea in the Semi final at A Stamford Bridge. Infact he did fuck all. For me Cahill?s goals mask some very average performances.
Osman and Pienaar where without doubt our best midfielders last season. Osman had his best season so far, scored 8 goals and we tended to play better football when he was playing centre midfield. Pienaar give us another dimension down the left hand side, scored 2 goals and created 15. They also cover the most ground in our team week in week out. The only midfielder who was inconsistent was Arteta and he suffered from injury for 5/6 months of the season.
Don?t get me wrong I like Tim but I do feel people overdue his contribution to the team. I?ll as you this if Moyes decides to revert to 4-4-2 and buys two good centre midfielders will Cahill get into the team? I don?t think he would. So really he isn?t undropable nor is he as important as people think. On formation change and his position is in doubt. If we continue with 4-5-1 then he?s got a place in the team.
15 Posted 15/06/2008 at 17:51:37
Sorry for moving the debate away from Irvine and on to Cahill. I just think that Cahill has a huge influence on the team. He is a modern day David Platt neither were good enough players to play in a 4 4 2 but were very good at arriving in the box and scoring goals.In 1990 England had to change to 3 5 2 to get the best out of Platt (and the other attacking midfielders) and Moyes has to play 4 5 1 to accomodate Cahill. The task for moyes is to find the players and system that takes away our dependence on Cahill because at the moment the stats point to a real overeliance on him.
16 Posted 15/06/2008 at 18:04:27
With Cahill - 84 points
Sans Cahill - 48 points
Case rested, yer ’onour
17 Posted 15/06/2008 at 20:26:14
Good to see you recognising the influence and importance that an astute, intelligent and diligent No2 can have upon a team.
I am sure David Moyes is simply being careful before appointing someone who will help move the club and his own thinking forward.
Cahill we could debate him all day and his shortcomings when compared to other players, fact is the guy has been huge for us. The data backs it up. Perhaps he is too important?
18 Posted 15/06/2008 at 21:26:36
19 Posted 16/06/2008 at 01:15:28
20 Posted 16/06/2008 at 04:34:35
21 Posted 16/06/2008 at 10:38:05
Hes plying his trade with Preston and gaining more experience and learning to become his own man.
When Moyes moves on I bet Irvine throws his hat in for the job.
22 Posted 16/06/2008 at 11:53:14
Maybe Moyes has helped Irvine at Preston with player recommendations? Possibly, more likely probably.
One worrying thing about no assistant is if Moyes is sick or not able to attend a game for some reason then who steps in for that training session/ match?
23 Posted 16/06/2008 at 12:08:10
Pienaar would start for me with Osman as bck up and neither of them ever let in the middle of the park as they are far too lightweight.
Cahill on the other hand would be first on my team sheet and with the captaincy.
24 Posted 16/06/2008 at 12:36:24
I think Pienaar and Osman where easily our best midfielders last season. If we are talking about consistency over a season and who showed the most it would be them two. I?m not talking about who scored a goal in a big game, just because Cahill did that doesn?t mean he?s was consistent. You forget to mention that Pienaar is the one who assisted Cahill?s goal. His excellent cross picked out Cahill for the goal. Is he not contributing in a big game?
?I can?t believe anybody could compare Osman?s or Pienaar?s contributions to Cahill?s. You must be looking at different games to me.?
Jack Burton, what is wrong with that? Pienaar made 15 assists last season and scored 2 goals whereas Osman scored 8 goals and assisted 4. I think they both made very good contributions to our season and are easily comparable to Cahill in terms of contribution over a season. Cahill scored 10 goals last season in 28 games. That?s a good record but then you look at Johnson?s record last season. 10 goals in 29 games, not a big difference at all and Johnson supposedly had a bad season. Even Lescott a defender chipped in with 10 goals.
Cahill?s individual performances for me haven?t been as good as people have made out. He is a key man more to with the fact that he fits the 4-5-1 system together. Without him we have to play 4-4-2 and that doesn?t suit us.
As I?ve said I like Tim, I?m not saying sell him at all and I do feel he can be a key player if he ups his all round performance. Tidies up his passing, works a little harder like he did in the 04/05 season and contribute more on the ball instead of playing as a striker with his back to goal. He?s one of my favourite players but no one is above criticism. That?s my opinion anyway.
25 Posted 16/06/2008 at 13:55:05
A. the possiblity of a big move in the next year or two North of the border or maybe to one of the Sky 4. Him and Ferguson are pretty good chums, right?
B. He?s waiting for transfer news before signing on the dotted line
C. He?s waiting to sign an assistant before commiting
D. There is the possibility of a takeover at Everton.
I suspect that B is the most likely of these reasons.
I recently totalled up all the points accrued by the current Premier League clubs for the last few seasons, and Everton were 4th highest scoring, which I believe is down to the progress made by Moyes. A good assistant will hopefully add to this.
26 Posted 16/06/2008 at 19:44:47
Is always delivering the goods time and time again when it matters not a more important quality than workrate (although how anyone can question his workrate God only knows).
And finally because you consistently score goals from midfield are you a one trick pony.
We all have our opinions on players but Tim Cahill would be the first name on my teamsheet every week. To say he relies on arteta, pienaar etc is bollocks he was scoring goals and influencing matches for us long before they played for us , and when osman never looked like making the grade. (still has?nt IMO)
If a few of the other players had his will to win we?d do a lot better than we are now!!!
27 Posted 16/06/2008 at 22:14:13
28 Posted 17/06/2008 at 18:34:40
I would rephrase your first sentence, people may infer the wrong idea. I am sure your judgement is sound and that you would show the appropriate prudence if you were faced with a similar dilemma.
29 Posted 17/06/2008 at 19:09:13
A killer response to Jim!
30 Posted 22/06/2008 at 23:27:09
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