Looking at the table tonight ? post Newcastle, I for one would wager that the current Top 6 will be the Top 6 at the end of the season, not necessary in the same order as it is tonight with the notable exceptions that 1st will be Man Utd and 6th will be Everton. Most of you will say well you don?t need a degree to forecast this and I would totally agree with you.
Why do I make this forecast? ? well, for the simple reason that Man Utd are simply the greatest by a country mile and the rest are merely good teams. The differentiator is that Man Utd have quality in numbers right from the back to front ? they do not have to solely rely on one or two individuals to dictate/win matches. Whereas Liverpool are ordinary without Gerrard, Arsenal without Fabregas, Aston Villa without Barry, Chelsea without Essien, and unfortunately Everton without Arteta.
I went into today?s game with some trepidation merely because of our previous record at Newcastle, but I seriously hoped that to win and come away with 3 points would be the springboard to push (after Saturday?s results) for the 5th spot and maybe just maybe for the 4th spot as Villa might just have too much on over the next few weeks whilst clearly they are just starting a bad spell.
We have since the Spurs game found a system that has completely transformed our season ? and the change was pushing Arteta into the middle to control our play ? stop the hoofball, and start the floorball. As we all know we have managed in that time to have our best results against the Top 4/5, and by actually dominating the games for long periods. At 4:04 today our potentially glorious finish to the season has been seriously challenged. We, like Arsenal and Liverpool, have lost our playmaker, our controller and I don?t see anyone else in our squad capable of fulfilling the role.
I?m sure we have enough in the squad to remain in 6th and compete against most of the rest of the Premier League teams but we still have tricky away games at AV, Chelsea and Fulham!!, which ? if we have any hopes of 4th or 5th ? we need to win. We will also almost certainly face a Top 4 team in the FA Cup Semis assuming we have enough quality to see us past West Ham in the Quarter Final (I can't see Middlesborough getting through).
We are just in the process of getting a good squad together and discussions on most websites have been centered on getting a wide player with pace this summer but, as history has showed us (just last season) losing Arteta for any length of time is disastrous for us. Some might argue the case is just the same for Cahill and I wouldn?t disagree with that, except to say that Arteta has with his free-kicks, dead-ball play assisted in Cahill?s goal tally. I don?t see a stand-in for Arteta or a new midfield/forward system, which can get us by without him. I don?t think Ossie or Pienaar are physically strong enough to fulfil the centre role whilst they might have the skill and vision.
I am worried that Moyes might revert to the use of a centre midfield made up of a pick from Rodwell, Castillo, Neville, Fellaini ? whilst all neat and tidy and better defensively, none have the skill, vision, creativity, quality to run a game.<
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1 Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:03:11
Either him or Rodwell, both players are willing to take the extra touches in midfield and be positive. Fellaini won’t do that and neither will Castillo.
Pienaar would be us an option in there but he’s needed outwide, we don’t have anyone who can fill in for him if he was to move into a central position.
We need as much creativity as possible so I think it’s a must that we try and find a place for both Saha and Jo, both players are good footballers and have craft.
Maybe push Saha onto the left or right, as a wing forward. Similar to the role Victor has played when he’s been out right.
2 Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:16:54
Both Cahill and Pinear has roughly equivalent ball skills but will choose to run most of the time missing vital passing options.
Osman is not, IMHO, quite the runner of the two aformentioned, nor the midfield genious that is Arteta, but Connors idea that he might be closer to the complete player than the two, might be correct.
I worry a little about his physical stature though. I have seen him pushed off the ball in midfield this season.
3 Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:47:31
"He(Arteta) was eventually carried off on a stretcher to join banned duo Tim Cahill and Tony Hibbert and the injured Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Ayegbeni Yakubu on the sidelines, and Anichebe’s name was also added to the list".
Ozzie was injured! And we’re all feeling miserable because of dropped points away.
I ge the feeling that Moyesey could start all of the kids and we’d still be getting wins and draws.
How long are Timmy and Tony out? Please say it was just the one game.
4 Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:47:40
Whilst I fear the worst, I hope the togetherness and collective strenghth of the remaining squad can see us through...the las need to dig even deeper and pull together once more.
In Pienaar, Osman, Rodwell, Gosling Felliani and Cahill there is creativity if the lads picked pass and move as they can do.
With Saha and Jo (and Vaughan nearing a come back) there is firepower there too.
If Mikel is out for the season (as seems likely) it is very big blow, but enough to derail our progress....I bloody well hope not! COYB!
5 Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:59:32
Whilst I fear the worst, I hope the togetherness and collective STRENGTH of the remaining squad can see us through...the LADS need to dig even deeper and pull together (Stating the obvious but just in case!)
6 Posted 23/02/2009 at 02:22:10
7 Posted 23/02/2009 at 04:23:21
I can think of 3 right off, Nash (so we certainly need to get an undertudy for Howard as a priority) Castillo and Jo (and I’d say a striker is a priority too). And what about a creative understudy for Mikel?
I think we’ll be struggling to make up squad numbers again next season unless BK pulls a Harvey size rabbit out of his arse.
8 Posted 23/02/2009 at 04:34:17
besides thats all we have.
This has definitely been a season of what ifs - im not sure i ever recall Everton having this many injuries at the one time.
9 Posted 23/02/2009 at 05:15:23
10 Posted 23/02/2009 at 06:42:49
Rodwell looks so comfortable on the ball, alongside Pip, we’d have someone who can play the ball out of our half. Although that would mean the advanced 3 would have to provide the width, which would force Cahill and Fellaini to play parts of games away from their preferred and most effective positions.
The other option would be to swap out Rodwell for Gosling, to provide more natural width, and maybe drop Fellaini back into a less advanced role. But Rodwell seems a much more accomplished player and Fellaini doesn’t seem to have the motor to get box-to-box quickly.
It’s sure that we’re less of a threat without Arteta and we’ll quite probably struggle to create without him. It seems to me that if Arteta and Pienaar are both in and playing well, that Everton play well. Without one or the other, we often seem to lack the ability to play any kind of joined-up football as we are reliant on one creative player.
It’s gonna be a tough end to the season but we have the players to grind out results. It’s not gonna be pretty, but it’s not over yet.
11 Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:22:56
12 Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:16:22
We have relied on luck (with injuries)to get us this far with a threadbare squad, but the lack of strength in depth is there to be seen. However, we have enough lads who have done us proud in blue shirts this season to get us through to the end of the season in 5th or 6th, and to Wembley.
Im gutted for Arteta if it is him out for the season, because he deserved a wembley trip just as much and more than everyone else, him and Cahill have been talismanic this season, but now is the time for Rodwell to come into the midfield and have an effect, we have most of the tough games out of the way and a relatively easier run in, i personally think a 5 man midfield of Neville, Rodwell as defensive and then Felli,Cahill and Pienaar/Osman just behind Jo.
Gosling has proved he can come off the bench and have an effect and hopefully we can keep Saha fit so he can come on and be effective too, i trust Moyes to get the best out of what weve got left, we didnt play that well yesterday but i think once Moyes can train the team knowing Arteta is not there then we can play to the strengths of that particular team.
Its a massive blow, but the seasons not over yet, lets stay positive and wish Mikel a speedy recovery, COYB!!!!!!
13 Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:36:37
Moutinho in the summer.
14 Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:59:55
IMO assuming he is out for the season I would have to go with Pinear left, Neville, Felliani, Osman in the middle and Gosling right with Cahill up front, assuming they are available of course!.
Can anyone remember the last time we played decent football without Arteta? I would love to see some pacy wingers brought in, in the summer but I think the main priority has to be another playmaker like arteta. If reports of Moutinho are true then he sounds like the ideal, but I won’t hold my breath!
15 Posted 23/02/2009 at 09:40:31
16 Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:12:43
If he needs a cruciate reconstruction we’ll be lucky to have him back for the start of next season.
17 Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:17:35
Fellaini is a roamer and, as others have pointed out, is clearly not fit. As Guy Rogers also pointed out, it seems an open secret that will do all in our power to get Moutinho in the summer. A task that will be helped no end by grabbing 4th spot.
It’s shocking stuff, both Mikel and that disgusting attack from Nolan. Hopefully when the men in suits see it he will get 6 - 10 games ban. It is a miracle that Anichebe didn’t end up like Eduardo.
Deeply disappointed, as Moyes clearly is, that even with such handicaps we didn’t win. Newcastle were there for the taking and we had so much more than them. Would have been meagre solace for losing our main man, but it would ave kept momentum in our season.
Was going to pray for a few miracles between now & May, but just a bit of luck would do.
18 Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:33:13
Secondly, it’s suddenly become fashionable to knock Fellaini. He’s clearly not fit at the mo. Once he’s eased his way back in the first choice midfield (when all fully fit) has to be (right to left) Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Cahill, Pienaar, with Jo / Saha up front on their own.
Rodwell and Gosling have shown in patches and in a couple of games that they are class acts, but neither is (as yet) better than the five I’ve just mentioned when all are fully fit.
Having said that, I cannot believe I am advocating Neville in centre mid! Maybe he should go back to right back (or be left out?) to accommodate Rodwell.
19 Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:26:15
I’m a fan of Fellaini and think he offers something that very few in the Premier League can but I can’t see how we can afford to carry him with a midfield that isn’t going to retain possession as well as with Mikky in it. His wasted balls and lack of workrate will damage the team too much. I’d relegate Fellaini to being an impact sub for the rest of the season.
For this weekend I’d have:
Hibbert Jags Lescott Baines
Gosling Osman Neville Cahill Pienaar
But then on in rotate every one except Howard, the back 4, and Neville. Avoid playing Gosling and Rodwell in the same team (experience will be vital) but keep them involved, and bring Fellaini into games for the last half hour. Call it a Big Dunc role.
Keep the midfield tight with Baines getting forward (reuniting Baines and Pienaar is thankfully something to look forward to) and stay hard to beat.
We’ve all called for better football and it’s been great to see the development of this team but for this season they’ll do us proud if they just keep up their effort and their spirit. We’re not the only team with injuries and their will be a few more twists and turns this season for the teams above us. We’re not going to drop any lower... so let’s aim high. COYB!!!
20 Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:38:57
Well, life goes on. Strongly suspect as many on here that Osman will be the man in the centre if he is fit, with Neville, Cahill, Fellaini and Pienaar making up the rest, and Saha or Jo upfront. Maybe with our cracking team spirit we can still keep up the momentum. At last it looks like Villa’s over-inflated bubble has burst anyway.
21 Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:40:42
However, last year Arteta didn’t perform so well due to his groin injury and was injured for periods and we still played very well. I think as long as we have osman and pienaar in the same midfield we will be still be able to create chances and although its going to be so much tougher without arteta the season isnt over yet.
22 Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:12:00
I think before he joined us he was playing through the centre as an attacking midfielder, so its a job he’s done before and he’s arguably our most creative midfielder, always comfortable on the ball and able to pass to forwards to feet and see openings. Not to mention his workrate is second to none.
Admittedly hes a little lightweight and less effective in terms of his tackling and physical presence than arteta, but I think he’s probably our best bet along with rodwell and fellaini as a 3 with gosling and neville operating on the wings to provide width.
23 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:00:44
Huge loss. But Everton and Moyes have a track record of triumphing over adversity.
We relish in it.
Fellaini,time to shine.
24 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:05:23
Both could be decent subs but we can’t put our faith in these kind of blokes.
25 Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:46:53
Someone has to play wide right for a start, and Osman is surely better than AVDM or Gosling, and Anichibe is injured.
Also I think Moyes’s instinct will be to add a player with good defensive positioning and ideally height to the centre, neither of which Osman has. Ossie is a decent attacking ball-player, but I’m not sure I can see him running the midfield like Arteta has been and he won’t offer much defensively.
Definitely a big loss having Arteta out - only positive is that the team is at least in a good league position now, and might have enough momentum to struggle through the last third of the season without him.. maybe a miracle in the cup & 6th in the league?
26 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:10:19
27 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:27:14
28 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:29:02
I suppose the only positive thing to come out of it, is that we wont have any clubs sniffing round him this summer and tempting Kenwright and Moyes to cash in on him.
29 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:35:46
It’s a 9 month lay off. Look at Essien. He did his at the very start of the season and he still isn’t back.
Sorry to be a "doom monger" but it is a lot worse than simply the rest of the season.
30 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:25:01
It’s such a crying shame that the lad won’t have the opportunity to grace Wembley as he has played some great stuff in the past 3 months.
I hope that the remaining fit players take on board how fragile their careers can be and give 100% in every game between now and the end of the season.
The best tribute they could pay Mikel is to stretch every sinew in an effort to win the Cup. Knowing that the squad is so together, I’m sue that will be the case.
Losing the Yak and Arteta in such similar circumstances is a nightmare scenario - especially how both seemed innocuous incidents
. Victor is a very lucky boy indeed having survived that Horror Tackle by Nolan.
The more I see that tackle the more it seems that Nolan knew exactly what he was doing. Had he committed it on Ronaldo, Torres or Anelka the papers would have been calling for his head.
If the seaaon is not to peter out it is up to all the players and fans to get stcuk in for the remaining games COYB.
Good Luck Mikel.
31 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:38:49
Six months is very optomistic. I can’t think of many that have come back in that time.
Six months takes us up until August so Oct or even Nov seems more realistic I’m afraid
32 Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:43:04
Having experienced the injury myself, there is a set timescale that surgeons and physio’s all adhere to with knee ligament injuries. The quickest you can come back is 6 months. The average is 9 months. All depends on the severity of the tear, if cartilage has been ruptured as well and the key one - how quickly the player wants to get back.
33 Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:10:26
Neville, Rodwell, Pienaar and Cahill make up the rest of the midfield, with one of Jo or Saha up front.
Osman is the nearest thing we have to Arteta.
I know he is not fit at the mo, but am not convinced by Fellaini. 11 bookings already. I haven’t seen him do one bad foul or tackle. I don’t think he knows how to tackle. He’s got no pace or power, and can’t jump despite the fact he is 6ft 4. Yes he looks comfortable in possession, but he needs far too long on the ball and is way off the pace for the premiership. Lets just hope it is a settling in period, and that he can pull through and prove me wrong.
However I have to say that Rodwell looks a much better prospect.
Even without Arteta we should be capable of winning our remaing home games against the likes of WBA, Wigan, Man City, Stoke etc.
I would also back us to get to the cup semi-final as we have a very winnable 6th round home tie.
Looking at the remaining teams in the cup it is more than likely we would get one of Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal in the semis. Then I think we would miss Arteta.
Good luck Mikel and hope you recover soon.
34 Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:14:01
35 Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:43:21
Re AVDM, I get the impression that DM doesnt think he can last 90 mins (or even 30 mins) so I think it is highly unlikely he can start.
Re Osman and Pienaar - yes they are the best replacements that we have but arent they both injured?
36 Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:44:29
People have also mentioned that we have played well this season without Arteta, which we have. So too with the Yak
But, I still can’t help but fear the worst on this one.
I don’t think we should put the weight of expectancy on our new 21y/o signing. Osman has waited years for this chance, to prove we are not carrying him, to prove we do not need to replace if we have top four ambitions.
Osman, your time has come. I for one would LOVE to see the lad pull the strings. The one thing you do not need for this role is pace, fortuantely for him! Look at Carrick, Alonso, Barry / Petrov Fabregas / Denilson, and Arteta. They are all about vision and awareness of the game around them.
37 Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:42:48
We?ve enough at the back and up front - hopefully Ossie, Cahill, Peanut, Fellaini etc can give us enough in the middle.
To be honest that midfield should be more than good enough to see off the likes of Stoke and West Brom.
Think the dream of 4th is gone and getting 5th will be tough, but 6th this season will be good enough for the Uefa Cup. Given the start we had if I had been offered 6th, a Uefa Cup place next season and an FA Cup semi, I would have been more than happy with that.
38 Posted 23/02/2009 at 13:19:21
For me the obvious person is Fellaini and if this does not work I would give Pienaar a run in the middle.
But whoever is used I hope Cahill remains up front where he has been a real success this season. I would also like to praise young Gosling, who I think has been terrific particularly as he is being asked to play on his wrong side.
Lets hope for a little bit of luck for the rest of the season.
39 Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:43:50
40 Posted 23/02/2009 at 14:07:43
I did say that we have no Premier League class players to rotate the first eleven and that suspensions, injuries and fatigue will cause massive problems towards the end of the season. Uunfortunately all our money was spent on Fellaini and although he is OK... he is certainly not worth £15 million. I wish we had been able to get Palacious and Moutinho as they would have definitely added some class to the side.
It showed how much we rely on Arteta and Cahill for real guile and cutting edge. We never really looked at all like scoring once Newcastle went down to ten men... first touches up front were very poor and it showed up particularly when Anichebe was badly fouled. Saha showed his ability as his first touch was much better than any other player up front... it is such a pity that he was not fit enough to start.
Newcastle seemed to be very physical and tried to intimidate from the off, particularly Taylor, who should have been booked early on... Fellaini has still not learned to tackle properly and he is a liability.
I hope we break the bank next time around for someone with real class who has the ability to really influence games and excite the fans.
41 Posted 23/02/2009 at 14:41:14
42 Posted 23/02/2009 at 14:44:44
43 Posted 23/02/2009 at 14:51:24
44 Posted 23/02/2009 at 15:22:59
Everton deserves champions league football and has been plauged with bad luck all season. I hope after this recent setback Everton will still be a pleasure to watch!
As a Leeds fan its hard to ever pay another team a compliment but I think after watching Everton’s fuck you attitude Its hard not to want them to win something!
You have the youngster’s in the league and the best midfield, Tim cahill is priceless and loves playing for the club. If Leeds players had a quarter of Everton’s passion I would be writing on their website!
Good luck Boys and hopefully catch a game before the seasons out.
45 Posted 23/02/2009 at 16:18:06
Mikel - might not even start next season - absolutely devastating.
46 Posted 23/02/2009 at 16:42:46
Fernandes was not in the Moyes mould ? meaning he wouldn?t work for the side. He has less creativity than Arteta and NONE of the team ethic.
This team is built on working for each other, I for one trust Moyes not to bring in players who are going to fuck that up.
47 Posted 23/02/2009 at 16:40:50
48 Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:11:56
49 Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:15:08
50 Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:37:43
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on"...
Just because it’s a cliche doesn’t make it any less true, gents.
Time for Evertonians to suck it up. As long as Davey doesn’t dither, we’ll be through this. Remember how bleak things looked coming back from Wigan? Remember how one tackle from Pip on a certain brillantined icon changed the flow of fate? Hold on, Blues - time to see what we’re made of. My money’s on Moyes.
51 Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:41:40
52 Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:43:03
Hope you get promotion.
53 Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:38:48
54 Posted 23/02/2009 at 20:16:45
The fact is we simply cannot replace Arteta, we can only hope that we can adopt an alternative approach to our game. Some have already pointed out we’ve played well in games were Arteta has not played or has had an off day. What we need to hope for is that Fellaini returns to full fitness soon. He’s not Arteta but like Arteta he has the capacity to influence games, he too is also a goal threat.
The key to our future success now lies with Cahill - his link up play will be more crucial than ever but I think the prospect of Pienaar’s return could also be vital particularly if he can hit off with Jo. I’m not suggesting he plays in the middle but rather he remains out wide he is always looking to play the early ball which I think Jo would thrive upon. Absolutely gutted at the loss of Arteta but we’re not finished by a long shot.
55 Posted 23/02/2009 at 20:19:12
56 Posted 23/02/2009 at 22:14:24
57 Posted 23/02/2009 at 22:17:52
As I said he?s no Arteta but in terms of ability on the ball he?s the closest thing we have to him. Osman wants the ball and he?ll try and make things happen. I?d much rather have that than the likes of Fellaini and Castillo who control the ball and pass it sideways. We are looking for something a bit different, something a little bit more creative and Osman offers that.
Neville and Fellaini would be a nothing partnership, no creativity or craft in there. I think it?s a must that we get someone in there like Rodwell, Pienaar or Osman. Players who are willing to try and make things happen, players with some bottle going forward.
58 Posted 23/02/2009 at 22:29:27
Add to that I really wanted Arteta to get his Spain nod. He deserves it after his play lately. Yet realistically by the time he gets back from this injury, then gets back to full match fitness, 2010 WC is over, and Spain will likely bring in the new youngsters to get them experience in the four years till 2014.
freakin’ gutted. It’s disgusting when you want to turn the game off because all you can see is more injuries to your side... Newcastle went out for blood and they got it. The Ref was ridiculous but for the Red card. We’ll see if our lads can pull me out of this funk this weekend... I’ll be cheering as loud as I can no matter what. COYB!
59 Posted 23/02/2009 at 23:27:56
I do think the football from here on in isn’t going to be so pretty without the artistry of our Arteta - But we still do have the kind of players who will grind out enough results for us (three results in the FA Cup would be nice!)
It aint gonna be pretty at times and yes the old hoofball may rear it’s ugly head more frequently than many of you will stand for - but it’s at times like this when we all need to pull together as a club and that includes us fans as well as the players, and do our best to push us towards the finish line.
Our injury list is pretty sickening and thank god for the youngsters who are coping admirably and without whom we really would be looking thread-bare and screwed!
Forget Nil Satis Nisi Optimum for now (maybe next season eh)... What’s the Latin for "Triumph Through Adversity?!"
60 Posted 24/02/2009 at 07:38:19
He will be sorely missed but this may give Rodwell an opportunity to have a decent run as I think he can become a midfield general and is showing huge potential. He may prove the best 5 year deal we have done since tiny Tim.
With the small squad and injuries we have performed well above expectations but need funds to ensure we can buy players to push on and thus attract the quality needed for consistent Europrean football.
The future is in the balance.
61 Posted 24/02/2009 at 10:25:24
For a start, Arteta’s injury was no-one’s fault....And if anyone hasn’t noticed, our style is also hard - similar to the sylte Newcastle used on Sunday..
Quick to criticise other teams, while celebrating Phil Neville’s illegal and dangerous tackle on Ronaldo...
62 Posted 25/02/2009 at 19:01:53
i just wanted to add
GET WELL SOON MIKEY !!!!!