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The Mail Bag

Ball retention

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It may seem odd after a 6 ? 1 win that any of us could find reasons to complain about the performance, but I feel that our ball retention and passing could and should have been much better. Ok what does it matter, the game is all about scoring goals and that is something we did in abundance. But if we do harbour aspirations of competing with the very best then we must learn to hold onto the ball once we have won possession.

I have seen too many average teams come to Goodison and out-pass us in the middle of the park. Something is still missing in our midfield. I love the idea of Pienaar, Arteta and Fernandes playing together as they are all capable of adding that extra bit of creativity. However, we need to find somebody who can act as a fulcrum and bring a little cohesion to the midfield. Osman, Cahill and Carsley are all good players I agree, but they have not got the ability to provide the link between attack and defence.

Fernandes has the ability to spot a pass that other players could never see. I saw signs on Thursday that, despite an annoying habit of giving the ball away in dangerous places through over-elaboration, Fernandes could develop into one of the best midfielders we have seen for a long time. If Moyes can bring in that elusive ball winner/playmaker in the summer and sign Pienaar and Fernandes permanently then I think we will have the basis of a very good team who may even have the credentials to put more than a little pressure on the top 3.
Shaun  Sparke, Prescot     Posted 23/02/2008 at 11:06:23

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Teddy Draper
1   Posted 23/02/2008 at 16:12:38

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Shaun, super post mate, but has anyone got suggestions for this ball winner?
Sean Loftus
2   Posted 23/02/2008 at 19:03:39

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I must be seeing a different Manny Fernandes, everybody claims he is class but since hes been back I think he really has been woeful. £12 million for Fernandes? I would be very reluctant to pay half of that for him at the moment!
Connor Rohrer
3   Posted 23/02/2008 at 19:17:45

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I’d have to agree with that but I don’t think we where playing our strongest eleven in our favored system which allows us to play better football and keep the ball.

If we had played 4-5-1 and had a midfield containing Arteta, Fernandes and Pienaar right from the start then it would have been a lot better in my opinion.

Cahill and Carsley for all there strengths just aren’t ball players and don’t look for the ball. They also have a habit of passing sideways which doesn’t break down defenses.

Fernandes one he settles could help us play better football. His style and passing range is different to anyone’s at the club. He drops deep from midfield and takes the ball off the back four. He distributes and starts attacks which is very rare in our team.

His passing range is also superb. He can bring strikers into the game from a deep position with one right through the middle pass. Every big team has these players. Man utd have Scholes and Carrick, Arsenal have Fabregas, Chelsea have Mikel and Liverpool have Alonso and Gerrard. Is needed and especially in a European game where you have to keep the ball and dictate the pace of the game.

If he can cut out his lapses in concentration and keep it simple in dangerous situations like he did last year then he’ll be a good player for us as he offers something completely different to Arteta, Pienaar and Osman.
Patty Beesley
4   Posted 25/02/2008 at 10:28:05

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Did anyone watch any of the Roma v Florentina game on Channel 5 yesterday - seemed beatable as long as they don?t writhe all over the floor at the merest tap and earn free kicks in the good old Italian way.

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