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4-4-2 for City?

Comments (38)

Last night's performance was great and should do confidence the world of good for the massively important City game coming up on Monday. There were two major things i took from the game:

1) Pienaar's importance to the team is huge - its no coincidence that he comes back into the team and we find our scoring boots again - He had FOUR assists last night, played a big part in a fifth and hit the post. He has more assists than any other Everton player this season.

2) Despite reports to the contrary, it would seem that both Cahill and Johnson/Yakubu can play in a 4-4-2 effectively. Cahill played better than he has for a while and AJ and Yak showed us that potentially they can form the strike force that we all want them to be.

AJ's confidence will be back up now after two great goals (both from outside the box!) and with Cahill showing he can perform in a 4-4-2 and Pienaar creating opportunities as well as taking some of the pressure off Arteta to be our creative spark, I really hope Moyes will now persist with this system for the City game.
Seamus Murphy, Dundalk, Ireland     Posted 22/02/2008 at 13:22:19

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Ben Jackson
1   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:12:37

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I agree, I actually responded to a thread in defence of Cahill playing in a 4 man midfield and I think he’s gone a long way to proving me right! Also, once Pienaar got in to the swing of things he was a joy to watch. He’s everything we value at Everton, hard working, passionate, has technical ability to burn and creates so much for the rest of the team. I sense good times ahead!
Jimmy Millican
2   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:15:58

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Its a tricky one, its man city away, a team who are challenging for our position.

I have a feeling he may go back to a 4-1-4-1 with cahill.

I personally would drop Cahill and use ossie instead keeping peinar in.

But who would ye drop from johnson and yak, obviously johnson if he does go back to basics.

Either way I think we will do them either formation !
Nick Coyne
3   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:13:08

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We are on the same page Seamus. I had the Pienaar chat with the boys about three weeks ago. His influence on the team is immense, to such a degree that it could be argued we miss him on occasion more that mikel. Whilst he does have his limitations (size and his ability to beat a man one on one), he is nevertheless absolutely brilliant. Busy as a bee and typically Ajax youth, always asking for the ball, always plays with his head up and like the very best players around, doesn’t attempt to complicate things when the easy ball is on. Quite frankly, I love him!! And before everybody questions my size comment, despite the fact he must live in a timble with the rest of the borrowers, he is always up for the fight, never shirks a challenge and can rough it up with the best of them.

Now then, 4-4-2...

I am a huge fan of AJ. Runs his bollocks off, never hides and is, regardless of what others may say, an absolutely vital component to the squad. Furthermore, in the Owen style, when he scores one or two after a drought experience tells you that he will go on to score plenty more in a short space of time. However, in my opinion it is unfortunate for the boy that we have City and Pompey as our next two games and due to the style of the opposition, I think we will have to revert to 4-5-1. If we were playing Derby, I’d say fuck it, go on boys score 10. In fact Tim, take a chair and a newspaper out with you becasue you won’t be doing much.

The next two games are big, very big in terms of the season. Four or six points would affectively cut us away from our two opposition. As a result, we’ve got to ensure that we are hard to beat and solid across midfield, and therefore the likeliest candidate for the chop is sadly Johno for me.

Them’s the breaks.
Martin Doherty
4   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:36:30

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God post Seamus, I think Moyes has a real dilemna here against City. Will he go for his natural inclination to play a tight game away from home against a fellow Champions Leaue contender or will he for the throat in using last nights formation. To me in player terms its Johnson or Osman. I tend to think he’ll go for Osman for a couple of reasons despite the form of Johnson.
1) We struggled for half an hour against Brann and City will undoubtedy pose a bigger threat. As much as Cahill is suited to 4-5-1, so is Carsley as he doesn’t have to venture forward too far and he finds it much easier to break things up from a deeper position
2) He always has the option of bringing on Johnson should things not be going our way.
Personally I am not totally sure thats right. Despite his England form, Micah Richards at centre back is definitely vulnerable. Even City fans will vouch for the fact that Dunne has been the bedrock of their solid defensive form and he has pulled Richards out of the mire on more than one occasion. Playing two up top will definitely pose them more problems.
It’s certainly an interesting debate in the lead up the game and I for one can’t decide which way we should go. Maybe we should just forget about it till Monday and should remember that ’in Moyes we trust’.
Rupert Sullivan
5   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:56:12

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Good post Seamus - I agree that Pienaar is definitely an incredible influence on the team and must be bought in the summer - he and Mikel give us talent and width across the park. As for City... I would go for the 4-4-2 despite the importance of the match, the Yak and AJ look like they can work well together and seeing the change in performance against Reading when we brought on a second striker... we suddenly had chances on goal.

Go for it I say!
Paul Lenehan
6   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:01:15

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I agree Seamus I think AJ would be very unfortunate to be dropped. I would go 4-4-2. The thing about AJ is when we don’t have the ball he is tracking back, chasing and pressuring almost like a midfielder. I recall many times last night when he was tackling further back than Carsley. So i don’t think playing a 4-4-2 with AJ one of the strikers makes a great deal less solid than playing 4-1-4-1. Although I do accept that when Carsley plays in a five man midfield he does sit a lot deeper and possibly does cover our back four a little more.
John Lloyd
7   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:25:46

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Not sure why I’m posting cos I cant make my mind up between 4-4-2 & 4-5-1??? Its a good position to be in but at present I’m leaning toward 4-5-1 cos this game is MASSIVE & I thimk its more important that we dont lose it, the top sides are wary coming here and rightfully so cos City have a tremendous record at home & have had a mini break to recharhe thier batteries (M Richards column BBC) so will be fresh.

So I’ll stick my neck out an say 4-5-1 with AJ dropping to bench to come on in 2nd half to provide different option.

Just hope we get a result, I’m nervous but excited. Ilove the big games & dont be fooled into thinking this isnt one, as I say this is massive for our season.
Joe Rourke
8   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:28:38

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What might dicate 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 against chiteeh is what formation Moyes thinks Sven will play.

If Sven plays a conservative 4-5-1 formation crowds midfield Moyes will have to to the same I think.
James Matthews
9   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:33:47

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I think you have to tailor your formation against the opposition. City this season have had most of their success playing as a counter-attacking unit, looking for the quick breaks through players like Petrov and Elano. Teams that have sat a little deeper and invited them to break them down have caused City more problems this year, particularly if you have someone (Cars) sitting in the hole that Elano likes to play in, and denying Petrov the space behind to run into.

So, bearing that in mind, I would go 4-5-1. It’s tried and tested, and I think we would play into their hands to go more attacking. Plus, you have to remember that a draw wouldn’t be a bad result for the Toffees, so the onus will be on City to come out and try and force the game.

Brian Donnelly
10   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:36:59

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I agree with point 1, Pienaar is so important to the team.

As for point 2, I don?t agree at all. We were playing against 2nd rate opposition last night and in the first half , when Cahill & Carsley were together, we looked very poor in the centre of midfield. Both these players struggle in a 4 man midfield. Thus we can?t afford the luxury of playing both the Yak & AJ together. The only way we could play a four man midfield is playing Fernandes in one of the positions, but at the moment he?s not looking good - probably due to lack of match fitness..

I think Moyes will revert to 4-1-4-1, dropping AJ to the bench, particularly as we are away form home.

David Nicholls
11   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:56:07

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I’ve been a staunch defender of the 4-5-1 formation but last nights respective performances from our 2 strikers has given me food for thought.

If we do do 4-4-2 the Carsley, Pienarr and Arteta are guaranteed picks in midfield but who joins them.

Tim Cahill for his goal threat and athleticism?

Leon Osman for his great technique and ability to run at the opposition?

Or, do you go for Manny Fernandes? Ok, he had a Reggi Blinker when he came on last night but he has the potential to be an absolute world class midfielder.

I havent got a clue at the moment, it’s a nice problem to have.
Jay Campbell
12   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:20:52

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Get McFadden back!!!!!!
Paul Lenehan
13   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:25:02

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Forget Faddy bring back Zinedine Kilbane! and play Steve Watson up front. Those were the days!
Jimmy jones
14   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:16:39

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Enjoyed a good game last night, though we have to realise it was a bit comfortable after the first half hour. Feel Stevie Pie had a great game, and for me "Manny" does not compare he even got himself booked for mouthing about nothing. Might stir up a hornets nest here but Howard let in another soft one last night I was right plumb behind him & it should NOT have gone in sometimes he seems to lack a bit of concentration especially on the long ones.. Got to comment as well weren’t there fans great, never shut up did they even as the goals piled up. It must have been the cheap there standards.. The Winslow was choka before the game... Well done the Park end for giving them a big hand at the end...
Richard Watts
15   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:48:33

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The great win last night crystallised a real selection problem for Moyes.

Unlike others, I thought Cahill was, again, poor in a 4-4-2 formation. His almost supernatural ability to arrive in the box at the right time makes him a highly effective attacking midfielder in a 4-5-1 but ? on current form ? his all-round game isn?t good enough to hold his own in a midfield four.

So the dilemma is: should Moyes play a 4-5-1 to get the best out of Cahill, which would mean dropping AJ and playing the Yak on his own up front? Or should we persist with 4-4-2 with the recognition that it will not get the best out of Tiny Tim?
Paul Lenehan
16   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:52:27

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I think you are right Richard in that 4-5-1 gets the best out of Cahill. There is no doubt the relative freedom that formation brings means Cahill is very effective and makes him a huge goal scoring threat. Having said that I thought Cahill played well last night. His passing was neat, he always made himself available for the ball and he tackled well.
Trudy Boston
17   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:46:36

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What a great advert for the Premier League that was! Who would have thought that we would register six goals last night. You could not even hear "Grand Old Team" after the game such was the cheering and euphoria.

While I will concede that there will be stiffer challenges ahead and a potential difficult tie in store in the next round I saw enough last night that convinces me that we really are starting to turn continental heads.

Even Lescott tried a piledriver from outside the area which landed inside someone's garden in Fazakerley. But in all seriousness there were times when the defence was so nearly caught out, and the Norway team was in no way outplayed as the scoreline suggests.

Johnson put in a full shift and will work hard and run all day if needs be and was worth his double last night and with Yakubu alongside him we really could be on to a winner. Only one for Arteta in the end but another one for his tally. I enjoyed it every time that Brann player with his free kick stepped up as you never knew what to expect, even though Howard was left with egg on face for the first one. I could sit here all night giving plaudits and accolades to all involved but I really am eager to see what happens in Italy in the next round, and with the return at Goodison that should work in our favour. I don't think we can play Bayern Munich in the semi final (again) by the means of the draw but it would have been such a feeling if it were possible.
Connor Rohrer
18   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:59:21

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Its got to be 4-5-1 for me. I’m still not convinced we can play 4-4-2 effectively.

Carsley has shown time and time again he can’t play in a four man midfield. He just doesn’t have the legs or the footballing ability to do it. Cahill won’t be dropped so he has to play which leaves us with the Carsley-Cahill partnership which doesn’t work. Neither are good on the ball and neither have the passing ability to break a defense like City’s down. I’d much rather have Fernandes or Osman in there who can provide the creativity.
Tony Andrews
19   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:07:08

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City and Pompey will fear a 4-4-2 far more than any other system after last night. I know it was a poor team we were against, but 6 goals is 6 goals...
Nick Marsh
20   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:48:46

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Pienaar was great but am I missing something with Manny? I saw him lose posession once with a failed trick and misplace one pass, there were two passes that were good but mis-controlled by PN and then TH other than that I thought his forward passing was generally pretty good and I have not seen forward passing to often being a relatively young toffee Arteta and Pienaar both make great deft passes but mannys really penetrate.

On the formation it will be 4-5-1 and my money is on Hibbo at right back. Osman in with Artea, Pienaar, Cahill and Carsley in the middle. To be honest, whatever team Moyes puts out if there not performing he will have a decent subs bench to change it!

Connor Rohrer
21   Posted 22/02/2008 at 18:05:27

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Nick Marsh, There was nothing wrong with Fernandes’s performance. I’ve just watched the game again on TV and he loses the ball four times in 45 minutes which is hardly bad and most of his passing was quality and forward thinking.

Its Fernandes though isn’t it. He seems to have firmly cemented himself as a scape goat and a boo boy. We may aswell not sign him because people will never give him the benefit of the doubt and support him.

Comparing him to Pienaar is just ridiculous. None of our midfielders have been a patch on Pienaar never mind Fernandes.
Jason Broome
22   Posted 22/02/2008 at 18:03:20

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For the 1st time we saw a midfield of Pienaar, Arteta & Fernandes resulting in limitless creativity & 4 goals which could have been 6.

Add in a defensive midfield enforcer and our midfield is unstoppable. However we don’t have one, so 4-4-2 is too risky.

Our objective should be to stop City from maximising the points & I agree that Moyes will counter Sven’s tactics. Petrov is a handful and City are excellent on the counter (as Man U recently found out).
Gerry Western
23   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:29:40

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Seamus, I’d echo those sentiments entirely. Last night with Arteta and Piennar in particular proving highly effective down the flanks there was no need for Johnson to be drawn into wide positions hence he was able to attack the opposition from a central position.

Cahill once again proved pivotal providing the killer pass to Yakubu who finished off the move with a wonderful strike. From that point on we grew in strength and by the time we reached the interval the game was out of sight and Moyes could afford to rest Cahill and Carsley for Monday’s crucial game. Hence my belief he may opt for a 4-4-1 line up.

I’ve believed for some time that Moyes has preferred 4-5-1 in order to accommodate Osman who simply cannot perform in a 4-4-2 set up as he lacks the physical stature consequently we have a tendency to be overrun in the middle of the park. Of course the weakness in this approach is that our threat in front of goal is greatly reduced.

With the tough games ahead I think we need to be both disciplined and clinical up front, bidding our time and picking off the opposition as we did last night. Hence I’d stick with the starting line up from last night’s game up with the exception of the return of Yobo. Piennar is a much better option than Osman and if need be Fernandes could be introduced from the bench. At the moment he is something of a liability as he is all too casual in his approach and is a pale shadow of the player he was last season. Some are suggesting he could replace Carsley in the holding role but based on his current form I think his inclusion in this role could be positively suicidal.
Shawn Dartmouth
24   Posted 22/02/2008 at 18:50:48

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4-5-1! Oh how quickly people forget. Listen, the team is better so we CAN play 4-4-2 ... but only against the lesser teams. Brann are not that good and knew they were 2-0 down. Once it got to 3-0 they were done. We didn’t look all that comfortable early in the game.

We’re facing a good City side ... away ... with little rest in between games. This is no time to get crazy. 4-5-1.
Jimmy Crack
25   Posted 22/02/2008 at 20:33:30

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Have to go with Shawn here...4-5-1

Terry Smith
26   Posted 22/02/2008 at 22:11:17

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There is no way Moyes will play 4-4-2 agains a full strength Man City team looking for revenge. Let's not forget some of the games we have played 4 in the middle this season in the league and have been given the run around. Even Oldham in the 2nd half. I just think the 4-5-1 gets the best out of our squad players. I agree with the above comments I would love to see Everton play 4-4-2 but we will have to blow most of our kitty on a world class leader/general.
Jay Harris
27   Posted 22/02/2008 at 22:55:28

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I think we?re all overlooking one important position. Who marks Petrov? Tony Hibbert had a cracking game against him at GP and I fear Phil?s candle is getting low recently. I know he gets up to suppport more than Hibbo but I feel we need a sharp tackler to take Petrov out of the game.

Apart from him I feel there?s only Dunne and Richards to take care of and I can see a tough close 3 points just like at GP.

I know Cahill is keen to play but really do believe there are better players for 4-4-2 i.e. Osman and Fernandes. If we go 4-5-1 I would replace AJ with Cahill so here?s my view on selection:
Hibbo Yobo Jags Lescott
Arteta Carsley Cahill Osman(Fernandes) Peanuts
Connor Rohrer
28   Posted 22/02/2008 at 23:31:29

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Jay Harris, I agree with you Hibbert would be a good option against Petrov but that means Neville in midfield which weakens us. Neville has to play right back four me as we need our creative midfielders on the pitch to break down a very good defense.

I’d start with a 4-5-1 with Arteta on the right, Fernandes and Carsley in the middle, Pienaar wide left and Cahill roaming behind the Yak.

The football in the second half against Brann was the best we’ve played in ages with Pienaar, Fernandes and Arteta all linking up well. I’d continue with that.
Jimmy Crack
29   Posted 22/02/2008 at 23:58:40

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Is Moyes willing to drop Neville??
Connor Rohrer
30   Posted 22/02/2008 at 23:58:08

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Yes way Pedro. I’d start him ahead of Osman but thats just my opinion. 4-4-2 with Osman in a four. Doesn’t work mate. He hasn’t got the legs or the physical stature to cope.

How I see it is the best football we have played in ages was in the second half against Brann and that midfield included Fernandes, Arteta and the classy Pienaar. We looked dangerous left, right and centrally and I’d continue with it.
Brian Garside
31   Posted 22/02/2008 at 23:43:13

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I wondered how long it would take for someone to mention Hibbert who had Petrov in his pocket at GP as previously stated.
Will DM finally "rest" Nev?
There is not room for both of them in the same team.
My biggest fear is Nev in midfield!!!
But instead of whom?
Shall we see
Hibbet Jags Yobbo Lescott
Pienaar Nev Cars Cahill Arteta
I pray not
For me:
Hibbet Jags Lescott Valente
Pienaar Carsley Fernandes Atreta
Yak AJ
Subs:GK myselfCahill Vaughn Osman Nev
Allow Joe to recover properly.
Baines not yet 100%
I feel it is better to play someone who is fit rather than one which may only last 60mins. Depending on the the game evolves may require a change in how subs are used creating the risk of having to carry someone durring the later stages. Remember that City's left flank also contains the threat of one M Ball.
Andrew Gaule
32   Posted 23/02/2008 at 01:15:27

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Wow! The analyses in all of the posts is amazing. You guys really think about this stuff ! All the posts are interesting. However the ones that resonate the most with me are the ones that point out that Sven is a counter-attacking coach. We must therefore select the best team to counter his tactics. OK. So what is the best formation to play against a counter-attacking coach with a team that just nailed Man U who have just as potent a strike force as us? It has to be 4-5-1 for the first 45 and maybe 4-4-2 for the last 45 (or some variation).

Notwithstanding my comments about Man U, four of our goals on Thursday were simply world class. I can?t make up my mind if Yaks second was better than his first and I have the same dilemma with Johnson! If Ronaldo etc had scored any of them it would have been all over the media. I think any team looking at the highlights will not be looking forward to playing us.
Ray Roche
33   Posted 23/02/2008 at 08:26:20

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Just a thought regarding Thursday's "second rate" side as some people on here are calling Brann. They are in next seasons Champions League. They are they sort of opposition that the RS played to get their "5 times" position.......
Laurie Hartley
34   Posted 23/02/2008 at 09:43:54

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I tnink DM brought Carsley and Cahill off at half time on Thursday because they are starting on Monday. Petrov is a threat so Hibbert has to play. So to me it looks like:

Hibbert,Yobo, Jagjielka, Lescott
Arteta, Osman, Piennar

That is tough on Johnson, Fernandes, Neville and Valente, who will be on the bench with Anichebe or Vaughan.

Can you believe this? Changed days indeed,

Come on the Blues!!!
Neil McKinney
35   Posted 23/02/2008 at 10:19:38

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My preference would be to start with 4-1-4-1. As has been rightly pointed out, Citeh are a counter attacking side with the kind of pace that can really damage over extended teams. They are at home and we must respect that at first.

I would also like to make a point about Manny. I agree with Connor on this one, I really see quality in this guy. If we’re going to rubbish him everytime he loses the ball when he tries a killer pass or a drag back then how do we expect flair players to ever settle? He needs to try and keep his fancy stuff in the right areas of the pitch and his performances have been well short of what I expect, but you can see this guy has more technique than Nev, Cars and Cahill put together.

I wouldn’t be willing to blow our ntire summer budget on him based on what I’ve seen so far, but I really think this is the kind of player we are now looking to sign to go to that next level. Maybe he’ll never get going and we’ll send him back to Spain in the summer, but if we keep getting on a players back everytime he gives the ball away then we’ll never have that player who really sparkles. Why do you think these type of players don’t come through the English grass roots? I’ll tell you why, because we discourage flair and skill and instead instill the "play safe" mentality which we all whinge about.

If we want beautiful football then we’re going to have to accept that sometimes the trick won’t come off or the pass will be intercepted. Then again, we could always go back to hoof ball?

Not losing to Citeh is definitely more important than winning, so a tight opening 45 is imperative.

Mark Pendleton
36   Posted 23/02/2008 at 11:03:10

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I?ve picked up on a few comments in this thread. Yes, I think we will go back to the 5-man midfield. Moyes can?t be carried away by the performance in Europe and stick with 4-4-2 in what is an entirely different contest. Also, while Cars has played in the 4-man midfield he?s been lucky to stay on a couple of times. As the man in front of defence he?s been superb facing up to players. In a 4-man midfield he?s been chasing back and it?s an entirely different game. As for Neville vs Hibbo at right back to deal with Petrov and Nev being jaded, it?s Man City for goodness sake ? there?s no way Phil wouldn?t be up for that one!
John Gilly
37   Posted 23/02/2008 at 20:02:39

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I think Moyes should put Hibbert in at right back, although he gets slated for his distribution defensively he is briliant quick and a good tackler. With Petrov citys main attacking threat Hibbert is the man to cancel him out. Think he did a job on him the last game against them.?????????????
Connor Rohrer
38   Posted 23/02/2008 at 20:27:43

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John Gilly, it is a good shout but having Hibbert at right back will only mean Neville in midfield which isn’t the answer. If we want to be positive and have a go at City then we need attacking players on the pitch and Neville doesn’t offer that in midfield.

We can talk all day about Neville being dropped but he won’t. He is our captain and he is undroppable in Moyes eyes.

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