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Problems on the wing

Comments (23)

I think Andrei Kanchelskis was our last proper winger. I've just read an article here about AJ, and I think its right. AJ is a striker, yet he plays more on the wings. We play long ball to a guy who is 5'6 (and a half).

Yesterday, we had Pienaar, Osman and Fernandes in midfield and played longball to Johnson and the Yak. In my opinion the midfield didn't have a good or bad first half because they didn't see the ball, they were bypassed.

Pienaar is a great signing. But we need another wide player who can go past people, who will run at people, i'd say the next best player in the team is Lescott, our centre-left back! Johnson should be running on to through balls, on the ground! The Yak should be taking balls to his feet! Especially against Villa! Why were we playing long ball yesterday? It's beyond me.

For me though, my main point is, its because we simply do not have wide players in midfield that can do the job and haven't had for 10 years. Moyes seems to think that the pace of Johnson will have to do the job for the whole of the top third of the pitch. Unfortunately in 4-5-1 without Cahill, he's got no one to pass to! I'm just frustrating myself so I'll stop.
Stuart  Downey, Liverpool     Posted 28/04/2008 at 11:07:17

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Neil Styles
1   Posted 28/04/2008 at 14:03:29

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This article is why I (and perhaps many other Blues) get so bloody frustrated with Andy van der Meyde. The man is ideal in a lot of ways for the former Kan-kan role and yet there is always a roadblock of some kind preventing him from establishing himself int he first team. It just drives me crazy because he was once a premier player in Europe and has (had?) such potential. Maybe Davey will tend to this situation in the summer with a savy buy or two.
Terry Smith
2   Posted 28/04/2008 at 14:14:22

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If we had attacking wingers yesterday we would've caused Villa loads of problems. Did anyone notice that they had two donkeys at right & leftback in Bouma & that swedish lad. Not one person got at them.
John Lloyd
3   Posted 28/04/2008 at 14:28:56

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I dont think the ’winger’ exists in modern day football anymore. Players who stay on touch line and get crosses in whilst runing at fullback all game are few & far between.
But our midfield did burn my head out on sunday with thier inactivity, I honestly thought that when we played a bit of football we were the better side, but there wasnt enough of it, too many times the game bypassed Ossie, Pienaar & Fernandes.
Although it must of been hard with Jagielka,Yobo & Cars constantly just lumping it up to our 5ft 7 striker who was marked by two giants!!

In fact what has happened to Jag?? When he came into the side he was defending superbly, wining the ball then offloading to a player more comfortable with ball, easy balls. In the last 5 weeks he just wins it, panics & twats it as hard as he can!!! WTF is that all about, I’ve said it since before the derby. We HAVE to start playing Lescott & Yobo at the back, Jag is fine to come in & out but to be a 1st choice???? Never
Connor Rohrer
4   Posted 28/04/2008 at 15:01:08

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We just need a bit of pace and directness out wide. Wingers are very rare knowadays. Whether its from the bench of replacing Pienaar its definatly needed. We need to mix it up a bit and have different options.
Jay Harris
5   Posted 28/04/2008 at 15:18:53

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Didn't see Ashley Young stand out yesterday and he is being paraded as the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Didn't see many people on here wanting to take the side apart before Xmas.
I just think we need one or two quality additions and we?ll be cooking with gas next season.
Nelly Blythe
6   Posted 28/04/2008 at 15:31:04

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Yes Jay we do need quality additions in the summer...and at least one has to be a wide player with PACE who can beat a man
Nelly Blythe
7   Posted 28/04/2008 at 15:33:05

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...and in answer to the question as to why we continually play long aimless balls up to our front men ?...
because MOYES TELLS THEM TOO!! can be no other explanation. If he didn?t want them to do it the he would stop it happening simple as that!!
Davey Militwitch
8   Posted 28/04/2008 at 15:40:12

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What makes you think that Moyes sends the team out to play long balls?
Thats what really pisses me off about so called knowledgable fans. Can you honestly see Moyes rubbng his hands together before the game saying to messrs Neville, Yobo, Jagielka, and Lescott; "right lads, my team chat today is gonna be brief. Hoof the fucking thing up the pitch for AJ and Yak. There you go team talk over"

Give the man a little credit. He is responsible on some levels for signing the players who are so uncomfiortable in possession, but at the end of the day the buck stops with the players lumping it aimlessly up there.
Mark Cassin
9   Posted 28/04/2008 at 16:05:08

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Perhaps this is why Arshavin has been linked with us? He could play in the positions of Arteta/Pienaar and also Cahill. Would give us some rotation.
Michael Kenrick
10   Posted 28/04/2008 at 16:15:30

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Davey, I think you give him far too much credit in this regard. It has gone on for long enough and become a basic foundation of our tactical portfolio under him, there can be no doubt that hoofball is performed in all its ignominious glory with the full backing of one David Moyes.

Blaming the players would be fine if they just did it now and again but given the frequency and persistence, it simply defies belief that the manager does not only actively condone such dreadful stuff ? he believes we have to do it to survive.

Think about it: it fits totally with his Scottish/lower league brand of defending. What is the worst possible place to lose possession? In your own half. Ergo... boot it into the other half! At least that way, when you inevitably lose possession, you have 8 or 9 players positioned to deal wit it when it inevitably comes back at you.

And if by some miracle, a Blue shirt gets the ball, have a pop, win a free-kick or a corner. And then we can bring up the cavalry.

Football is really a very simple game. At least it is the way we play it.
Neal King
11   Posted 28/04/2008 at 16:23:55

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NowI fucking hate the long-ball game that our team has been playing for the last couple of months and I agree that the likes of Jags, Neville, Hibbo and the rest of the hoofers need a kick up the arse but it's not all their fault. I feel our main problem is a strong midfielder to come and recieve the ball from them and start up the play like Keane done so well at Man Utd for years. Whenever the hoofers get the ball there's never anyone with the quality and football brain a la Carsley, Osman etc to do this, resulting in hoof!!!!. If theres no short pass on the only thing to do is get rid before your closed down by oposition attackers.

This needs to be sorted in the summer with a good holding/ recieving early midfielder and a central playmaker. I thought Steven Reid at Blackburn would be just whats needed as well as a classy playmaker.

Joe McMahon
12   Posted 28/04/2008 at 16:39:46

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Mark Cassin - please stop! all this Arshavin talk, we every season get liknked with dozens of players, and how many of them actually arrive???

All this talk of we should buy this player/that player. We can’t afford them or their wages and we never will while the club doesn’t know where it will be playing in 5 years and Bill Kenwright is on his 24/7 amazing investment journey.

I agree with Micheal abot the lower league attitude, oh how I would love someone like Gianfranco Zola as his No 2, or even Mark Hughes as Everton Manager.
Mark Cassin
13   Posted 28/04/2008 at 16:46:04

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@Joe McMahon ? Interesting comments;

"Mark Cassin - please stop! all this Arshavin talk, we every season get linked with dozens of players, and how many of them actually arrive???"
- Quite a few actually. Haven't we broken our transfer record over the last few seasons? Didn?t we sign Yakubu last summer who is has been the top goalscorer in this league for years?

"All this talk of we should buy this player/that player. We can't afford them or their wages and we never will while the club doesn't know where it will be playing in 5 years and Bill Kenwright is on his 24/7 amazing investment journey."
-- Have you any idea how much money Arteta/Cahill etc are earning? I?m really lost on your points here as I said above we have consistently broken our transfer record over the last few seasons and our salaries are well above the league average.

The last point you make is interesting although I?m wondering what qualifications Zola has (1 year experience as number 2?) Also Hughes for Everton manager ? what position are his current team in ? are they above us?

I have no problem with any type of tactic which will see us increasing our points total season after season.
Joe McMahon
14   Posted 28/04/2008 at 17:03:30

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Mark- To be fair we should be breaking our transfer records every season, as every season the playes get more expensive.

I do worry about a manager that breaks transfer records for Beattie & Johnson (both records at the time)

I said "Someone like Gianfranco Zola", just someone with ideas with an attacking flair that would break the "Lower League Hoof" attitude of our manager.

We sign approx 3 players a season, we get linked to approx 15 - thats’s the point I was making. I.E Bentley We ALL want him, but it ain’t gonna happen.

Wait til Mark Hughes has been incharge of a club for 6 years, then put me down.
Callum Wilson
15   Posted 28/04/2008 at 17:15:40

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Hoofball... the most annoying thing we do ? and have been doing for years. Someone released a good arcticle on here about Europe and good oppposition that they "usually" start their attack from the back with some passing. Bypassing the midfield is awful; it works against poor opposition because they just hoof the ball back and the cycle continues but quality opposition will retain the ball and build an attack. Watch how long Arsenal wait with the ball and most importantly in my opinion the stats on possession.

Now am not saying we are going to be Arsenal but when the other team is chasing the ball they get tired and in turn makes the game easier to win. I can't recall a game where are possession stats have been 55% throughout the whole game or more. At the end of the day possession usually wins games.

Another point; when we played Fiorentina, did you see how many times their left and right backs came forward and swung a qualitity ball in that caused us problems? Now count how many times that happens with us. We play negatively whereas Fiorentina break and that frees up people to get in the box with the left and right backs swinging in a cross, it's a numerical advantage.

Basically I am saying we need a No 2 who can introduce more attacking football and teach defenders to offload to the midfield. With a talented right back and Baines still learning we have potential. And if Arteta's distribution from free kicks and corners was up to scratch (like Fernandes in the chelsea game) we could really improve our results.

John Martin
16   Posted 28/04/2008 at 17:56:24

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The reason we play long ball is because our midfield against good teams isnt good enough. Physically too weak to hold onto the ball.
Put us against lower teams and Arteta, Osman & Pinaar look world beaters but against top players like Gerrard, Fabergas, Essien & Barry etc they get brushed aside.
I sat with a an Everton fan in his 70’s for the Chelsea game like everybody else i thought at 1 nil down we might get back into it until he said a phrase that hit home, "We are like a middleweight fighting a heavyweight"
Mark Pendleton
17   Posted 28/04/2008 at 18:18:22

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Aside from AvdM and Gravesen, keep the current squad (if possible securing the deal for Manny if a reasonable fee can be negotiated.

Then, i quite like the look of Aiden McGeady and Joe Ledley. It seems Moyes also likes the look of Michael Bradley so that?s fair enough. All those would be, what, £12m, maybe £15m top? Then perhaps either another strong midfielder or perhaps Arshavin or similar.
Mark Pendleton
18   Posted 28/04/2008 at 18:21:17

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Incidentally, John Martin, i think you are right. We played some great football when we had 5 midfielders available and played one up front. And by this i mean Carsley in the holding role and the other 4 midfielders were the likes of Arteta, Cahill, Ossie, Pienaar and Manny.

When playing 4-4-2, our midfield is indeed not good enough and Carsley is not effective, nor is Neville in midfield at all. Therefore we are often outnumbered and outplayed and must resort to longer balls. Yesterday we had Cars in his best position but this left us with a 3 man midfield and we were outnumbered as it was often left to 2 players vs 3 in the middle, hence again we often reverted to the longer ball.

Moyes knows this. Long ball is NOT his chosen tactic. He wants to play like we played when we had the midfield i mentioned in my first paragraph. I believe that he will address this in the summer. FFS when he had HIS squad available this is the way he played. I must admit, i’d rather we played AJ on the right wing and had three in the middle yesterday, but Moyes tried to take the game to them. And yes, he did have the option to play Nev in midfield and Hibbo at right back but he CHOSE not to.
Mark Cassin
19   Posted 28/04/2008 at 20:06:26

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@Mark Pendelton. -- I totally agree with your comments. As I wrote above, any tactic which earns us points is good enough for me. Moyes did indeed play a different tactic earlier in the season with all our midfielders fit. I think he will do the same against Arsenal, at least I hope he doe if Arteta gets back to fitness asap.

@Joe McMahon--Fair enough, although at the time both Johnson and Beattie were scoring goals for fun. Personally I think we have struck gold with Yakubu as long as we get the midfield sorted for next season. As for the transfer speculation I agree with you although I do think there is strength in a rumour on Ashavin when he has stated that he wants to join us along with the fact that Moyes was in Russia. A couple of guys I know who follow Marseilles also heard that he was personally watching one of their players; later speculation pointed to Lorik Cana - who i rate.

@John Martin -- I think the middleweight analogy is fair enough. The players you mentioned are all class, though dont forget that we have had confirmed bids in for both Essien and also Lucho in the past -- with a player like that perhaps we would be in the top 3. I am sure Moyes knows this although these players are hard to find.
Rob Jones
20   Posted 28/04/2008 at 23:04:07

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I’ve just been reading the Brian Clough book and interestingly he had a go at one of his coaching instructors for trying to get them to use the useless non footballing tactic of long ball (or somewhere along there) so if true greats like ol’ big nose knows that It’s a load of bollocks why hasn’t the English game sat up and taken notice?
Nelly Blythe
21   Posted 29/04/2008 at 11:17:53

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Davey Millitwitch...What makes me think Moyes sends the team out to play the long ball....???
The fact that he?s the fucking Manager is a big clue. Moyes picks the team (Hibbert, Carsley & Neville in midfield, Fernandes on the wing etc) and HE decides our TACTICS and pattern of play, that?s what he?s employed to do isnt it ?

If the players are responsible as you suggest, what is his actual role at the club? These tactics have been going on for quite a few seasons and but for a very PLEASANT few months in the middle of this season when we played to feet, passed & moved, entertained the crowd and actually WON games, we have played this way (long balls) for the majority of his tenure.

FFS sake what is wrong with you people... Moyes has done a good job in making us what we are at this moment in time but he is NOT repeat NOT the be all & end all of football management. HE DOES get things wrong... He DOES make mistakes and He DOES have flaws (shitting himself against the Sky/Grandslam 4 and being too scared to attack them being his biggest one IMO)... If he is as perfect as you & the rest of the ?Moyes can do no wrong brigade? want us to believe and beyond criticism then we would sweep all before us and reign supreme for his entire rieign as manager and WE would be winning the league and NOT Man U/Chealsea.

If Moyes doesn?t instruct the team to employ aimless long ball tactics then tell them to STOP simple as that!!

As a final footnote and a response to your 'knowledgable fan' jibe I?ll leave you with this ... For the past three seasons I have helped coach a junior football team. Our coaching/tactics are based around playing the ball to feet, passing and moving, not giving the ball back to the opposition unneccessarily and putting the other team under pressure at every opportunity... Guess what ?!?!.. The team has bulit up a reputation as being one of the best around and this coming week-end is in with a chance of WINNING yet ANOTHER trophy !!

Perhaps if Moyes were to employ these tactics more often then we would be celebrating winning some silverware and not shitting our selves as to whether we are going to hang on to 5th place !!... Just a thought..

Mark Cassin
22   Posted 29/04/2008 at 14:07:46

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@Nelly -- Before we started getting injuries didn?t Moyes?s team play ball to feet? After our injuries kicked in he lost some of the best passers we have.

What would you do if your midfield passers were injured and the replacements? attributes were not passing.

If a junior is a top all round player tackling / heading / passing / shooting / positioning / leadership skills but can't pass would he then not get in your team?
Nelly Blythe
23   Posted 29/04/2008 at 15:55:46

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@ Mark Cassin
We are not talking about junior players, we are talking about alledged top professionals who get paid a kings ransom as they are supposedly better than the man in the street....and IMO and its only my opinion if a professional does not possess the basic ability/skill of being able to pass a ball form A to B over 10-15yrds to feet when not under pressure then he SHOULD NOT be a professional player never mind playing in the Premier League.
If a player junior or otherwise cant pass a ball then I dont think he/she can be considered to be a TOP all round player (as you suggest but it would appear you contradict yourself with your comments)..IMO passing is one of the BASIC skills of the game which all COMPETANT players should possess no matter what position the play or at what level they play at..
To take the attributes of the ’junior’ player you describe then if he possess all of the quailties listed you can bet your bottom dollar he/she will be able to pass a ball

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