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By Mike  Oates :  22/02/2009 :  Comments (62) :

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.<

Suggestions welcome.

Reader Comments

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Connor Rohrer
1   Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:03:11

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I’d play Osman centrally, he’s no Arteta but he’s the closest thing we have to him. Osman and Carsley where our best combination last season, we actually playes some decent football like that.

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.
George Stuart
2   Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:16:54

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Arteta has many qualities, one of which is the ability to decide whether to run with the ball or set somthing up.

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.

George Stuart
3   Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:47:31

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Jees, I just read this from soccernet

"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.
Michael Hunt
4   Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:47:40

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Are we weaker without Arteta? YES! Should it mean ’the end’ of our progress this season? NO!
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!
Michael Hunt
5   Posted 23/02/2009 at 01:59:32

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Sorry...typo correction:

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!)
Nick Wood
6   Posted 23/02/2009 at 02:22:10

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Although we might not be able to push for 4th I still think we can nip Arsenal for 5th. Remember, we drew 1-1 at Anfield without Arteta...
Eric Myles
7   Posted 23/02/2009 at 04:23:21

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While discussions on website MAY have been centred on getting a wide player with pace it’s nothing more than FM wishful thinking as people have forgotten how many loan players that we have in the squad that we must either buy, or replace.
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.
James Wong
8   Posted 23/02/2009 at 04:34:17

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I think Fellaini is the answer - he was brought into Everton as a centre mid and I have seen him try to play a few through balls... he’s no Arteta - but he can start something.

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.
art jones
9   Posted 23/02/2009 at 05:15:23

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This must have been one of our strangest seasons I can recall ... and we’re only 2/3 of the way through it ! From our stumbling start , where whispers of relegation were heared , the uncertainty about Moyes’s contract , the injuries to our main forwards Yak and Louis along with Vauhany’s annual visit to the surgeon ... who was injured !! Then up to the plate steps Mikel and Tim Cahill , and then our previously misfiring defence reshuffles and is virtually unbeatable !! playing like a well oiled machine , abley assisted by Tim Howard .. Then Phil Neville has his best spell in a blue shirt and we finally start to get results from the " sky 4 "games , only beaten by a Ronaldo penalty , .. To top this , Out of the shadows steps Jack Rodwell and Danny Gosling and that never to be forgotten GP night and the goal after 118 mins with the assist going to , of all people AVDM !! ..... And now ...... Who’s going to be our end-of-season hero ? I’d love it to be Ossie ... but the way this season has gone ... Who knows ? TC , Felli , Pienaar , Gossie , Jack ?? ..... All I know is .... It’s great being a Blue
Richard Parker
10   Posted 23/02/2009 at 06:42:49

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Personally, I’d look at a midfield of Neville and Rodwell in front of the defence with a more advanced trio of Cahill, Fellaini and Pienaar as our best 5.

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.
Ped Pearl
11   Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:22:56

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I have said this time and time again... surely it’s time to give VDM a run in the team. That aside I agree with James Wong - play Fellaini in the position he was purchased for... he has got to stop coasting through games and get involved.
David Grace
12   Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:16:22

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Is it me or does someone up there not like us and is determined to stop us being successfull.

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!!!!!!
guy rogers
13   Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:36:37

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Jose Baxter.

Moutinho in the summer.
Dave Whitwell
14   Posted 23/02/2009 at 08:59:55

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Its been bugging me for a while that through all the injuries and suspensions the one player we can’t do without is Arteta. I agree with many on here that Cahill does a great job, but we have players all over who can chip in with goals. Arteta gives us something different, he breads confidence to play proper football to those around him, comes deep to collect the ball and dictates the tempo, quite simply he has become the heartbeat of this side.

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!
Matt Tait
15   Posted 23/02/2009 at 09:40:31

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Surely our best midfield 5 sans Arteta is Pienaar and Osman left/right, Neville Fellaini Cahill in the middle... I just can’t really see Moyes picking any other lineup as his first choice, sure Rodwell and to slightly lesser extent Gosling look very promising, but neither of them are or should be first choice starters week in week out yet. Of course this assumes we have a fit striker to play up front!
Iain Latchford
16   Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:12:43

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Areta out for the rest of the season.

If he needs a cruciate reconstruction we’ll be lucky to have him back for the start of next season.

Mare !
Alan Kirwin
17   Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:17:35

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If the worst is confirmed then, aside from bemoaning the luck of Job, centre mid will be combination of Osman & Rodwell, with Pienaar helping out ably.

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.
Tim Wardrop
18   Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:33:13

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Firstly, let’s try and stay positive about Mickey’s injury.

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.
John Doe
19   Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:26:15

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Shocking bad luck with Arteta, and at a time when he was putting in his most complete performances - certainly more so than when he was dominating out wide. Hopefully the other walking wounded can get back to fitness and give Moyes a few options for next week.

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!!!
Neil Pearse
20   Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:38:57

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Arteta gone for the season, a crying shame for us and for Mikel who was shaping up to be one of the Premiership’s players of the season, never mind ours.

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.
Timmy mongiat
21   Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:40:42

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Yeah its a massive blow, he is without a doubt our most important player and I just hope he will be back for the start of the next season however as it looks like a cruicate I expect he wont return for 9months.
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.
Wayne Smyth
22   Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:12:00

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I’d like to see pienaar in the centre, replacing arteta as our creative player.

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.

James Wilheim
23   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:00:44

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Devastated to see Mikky taken off like that.
Huge loss. But Everton and Moyes have a track record of triumphing over adversity.
We relish in it.
Fellaini,time to shine.
John Doe
24   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:05:23

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James, as much as I’d like Fellaini to shine I just don’t seem him breaking a sweat when the chips are down (as they now are). Can’t trust VDM in this situation either.

Both could be decent subs but we can’t put our faith in these kind of blokes.
Matt Tait
25   Posted 23/02/2009 at 10:46:53

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If Fellaini is too injured to start I’d expect Moyes will go with Rodwell or Castillo in the centre with Pip and Tim. I can’t see Osman moving into the Arteta role, even though it might not be a terrible idea.

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?
James Bowman
26   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:10:19

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I agree with Guy, lets get Jose Baxter in the team!! Rodwell and Gosling have done great jobs after coming in for some of our senior players... so why not blood this kid and see what he has. If he does as well as the other two, then maybe come the summer... we might just be saying, "Mourtinho, you had your chance!!"

steve callaghan
27   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:27:14

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Look on the bright side - at least Arteta will not be leaving us sometime soon - ie in the Summer. It is very sad that he may miss out on a Wembley appearance - gutted for the lad. Fellaini can do a job in there, as can Ossie and Tim - ok maybe not as effective but nevertheless they will do a job and are certainly capable of raising their game for the big games. Have no fear - this is not the end for us - quite the contrary - a few of the players will rise to the challenge and blow away the myth that Everton - unlike Liverpool - are a one-man team. Come on you Blues get us to Wembley in the Semis and let’s kick on from there...
Mike Whittaker
28   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:29:02

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With that injury we wont see Arteta back in the first team until September - it’s a 6 month lay off at best.

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.
Iain Latchford
29   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:35:46

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No one seems to be mentioning the fact the Arteta will be probably be out until Oct next season.

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.
Anthony Dyer
30   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:25:01

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Arteta’s injury is a ruptured knee ligament. I don’t know how long that will keep him out - rest of this seasonn at least - but I and all Blues wish him a speedy and sucessful recovery.
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.
Iain Latchford
31   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:38:49

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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
mike whittaker
32   Posted 23/02/2009 at 11:43:04

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I agree Iain,

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.

Mark Scarratt
33   Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:10:26

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Osman to replace Arteta.
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.
Colin Malone
34   Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:14:01

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It's Pienaar or Ossie for center mid. Sorry but Fellaini is just a hindrance in midfield, no pace, cannot tackle. As I've said many times, he's like a center half in midfield. The only position he may adapt to is a holding midfielder.
Damian Kelly
35   Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:43:21

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Agree that Fellaini isnt the solution but for a different reason. I thought in the spell before his injury/suspension he was starting to look the business and would have been the perfect person to step in/step up and take over the creative mantle in Mikels absence. Apparently though he has a broken bone in his back - since he has come back he has looked very immobile/ineffective against RS and Mags but I’m sure that this is more down to injury than ability. Comment on the TV yesterday was that he hasnt trained at all and I dont think he would be anywhere near the squad if it wasnt for out current threadbare state.

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?
Brett Bradshaw
36   Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:44:29

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We have lost our best centre midfielder before, and still finished 4th.


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.

C’MON Ossie!
Denis Richardson
37   Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:42:48

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Arteta out is a massive blow, was hoping when he went off it would not be for the rest of the season. Still it?s done now and nothing can be changed so the others will have to step up. On the positive side at least we now have some fit strikers (Jo & Saha) and Cahil and Hibbo will now be back from suspension.

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.
David Bromwell
38   Posted 23/02/2009 at 13:19:21

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The injury to Mikel is obviously a terrific blow, and I with join with all those who have wished him well. For the immediate future I do hope the manager and his team remain positive which will mean trying someone new to fill Mikel’s roll, we all should know that Osman is not the answer.
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.
Stewart Littler
39   Posted 23/02/2009 at 12:43:50

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Gutted for Mikel. The lay off will depend on the exact specifics of the injury ? for a start, whether it is anterior or posterior cruciate. Anterior tends to need surgery more often than not, and therefore tends to be longer out. I was out for 2 years with 100% rupture to ACL and cartilage damage ? hope it is PCL and 6 months for ours and Mikky?s sake.
Trevor Lynes
40   Posted 23/02/2009 at 14:07:43

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I wrote precisely about my fears for the remainder of the season... we have no adequate replacements for Howard, Arteta, Cahill and to a lesser extent Fellaini... our squad is far too small and DM has been forced to blood youngsters who fortunately for the team have stepped up to the mark and played very well.

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.

Ciarán MacGiolla Eoin
41   Posted 23/02/2009 at 14:41:14

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Osman to replace Arteta... happy days!! Gosling looks like a player who is more comfortable coming through the middle than on the wings.
Michael Brooks
42   Posted 23/02/2009 at 14:44:44

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Let?s be honest with ourselves this is the worst player we could have lost, he is our best player by a good couple of miles. There is only one player in the squad who can come some of the way to filling Arteta?s boots and that?s Pienaar. With maybe Van Der Meyde given a very last chance wide on a wing. You never know may he could step up, he had the skill once.
Ray Kelly
43   Posted 23/02/2009 at 14:51:24

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The news on Arteta is absolutely sickening and i cant see where we’re going to get the creation from now,someone has said Osman but hes far too lightweight and doesn’t have the srength or stamina to hold the central midfield role,i think i’d rather see Rodwell tried there with Neville siting next to him for guidance,as young as he is, he looks our best choice and by the way he’s lucky not to be injured after a shithouse tackle from the RS gobshite Ryan Taylor,also that shithouse Nolan should receive a 10 game ban,if i see Nolan or Taylor about town i shall be having a stern word in their ear or something similar!What a pair of kopite shithouses!
Chris Palmer
44   Posted 23/02/2009 at 15:22:59

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Boys I am a die hard Leeds fan but appreciate watching a good footballing team and a well managed team. I would like to say that your luck with injurys has been terrible and now the best creative footballer in the premiership is out for the season!

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

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I know most of you on this website are guys but do any of you feel like joining the toffee girls in a damn good cry over
Mikel - might not even start next season - absolutely devastating.
Lee Hind
46   Posted 23/02/2009 at 16:42:46

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@ Jay Campbell

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.
Nick Heady
47   Posted 23/02/2009 at 16:40:50

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Yes we have played well before without Arteta,but in the last few games he was actually starting to boss games and totally dominate the midfield,this is a massive massive blow.As someone else pointed out the only plus side is he will still be an Everton player this time next year.
Ralph Wetzels
48   Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:11:56

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I always prayed this would never happen: a serious injury to Mikel. I’m absolutely gutted. Someone has to step up now and I’m affraid no-one can. It’s a big loss. Arteta is a great player. There isn’t a player in Eveton’s current squad who can replace him. More pressure will come on to Rodwell, Osman, Fellaini and Gosling. Hanging on to 6th place will be more of a challenge now.
Peter Laing
49   Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:15:08

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Just googled the rehabilitation time on anterior cruciate ligament damage and 6 months is conservative, nine months more realistic. Given this sobering fact we MUST find a solution to replacing the creative spark that we will undoubtedly miss through Mikel’s cruel absence. For the remainder of the season we have to look at the youngster’s as Castillo and AVDM offer absolutely nothing, during the summer blue bill and his cohorts will need to search 24/7 to find the bucks required to buy Moutinho or Fernandez as the last thing we need is pressure put on Arteta to rush back to soon from injury. Over to you Bill.....
Rezzie Flanders
50   Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:37:43

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Words for the times:

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.

Kieran Doyle
51   Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:41:40

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Just wrote the same thing on another thread but it amazes me how we have let ourselves have only one playmaker over the years. Appreciate we are fairly skinto but we have seemed only to buy quailty up front and in defence. Ok I like this Fellaini chap but he aint no Arteta...but for £15M quid he should be! Just feel as though we should have brought in another middle of the park creative player over the years as we are not the same team without an Arteta type player in it. How can we just have ONE creative spark in the team?
Adam Cunliffe
52   Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:43:03

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Chris, Good luck to you as well mate.As much as ive never really like Leeds, its a shame to see clubs like Wigan and Fulham etc who only get aroun 20000 if there lucky but teams like Leeds adn Notts Forrest, genuine big clubs are struggling.

Hope you get promotion.
Steve Edwards
53   Posted 23/02/2009 at 17:38:48

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Oh No, we’re not going to go through all that will he won’t he shite about Moutinho coming in the summer again. It done my head in last summer. I don’t think I could go through all that again!
Gerry Western
54   Posted 23/02/2009 at 20:16:45

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Osman for Arteta? A closer look at the incident which led to his Arteta’s injury should answer that one all on its own. How many times have we seen Arteta look to get between the player and the ball in an effort to dispossess the opposition and set something up. Not the biggest lad in the midfield but always prepared to make the effort. I’m sorry but I simply cannot see Osman even attempt to do that. Still unsure? then add to that his ability to give the ball away half of the time and I think even for the blinkered it becomes clear. In no way could he come anywhere close to replacing Arteta.

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.
Chris Brigden
55   Posted 23/02/2009 at 20:19:12

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I agree Steve, we would be better going for Theo Walcott.
John Vanderwerff
56   Posted 23/02/2009 at 22:14:24

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Arteta’s injury is a loss. However, with the defence looking ever more confident we are always going to be hard to beat. I think we still have decent midfielders without Arteta and Cahill will always score goals. We need Jo and Saha to stay fit. This is what its all about now and the team spirit we have been proud of to date will mean even more now. It’s also time for the crowd to get behind the team as it’s going to be tough and if ever there was a time for the twelfth man it’s now. CYOB
Connor Rohrer
57   Posted 23/02/2009 at 22:17:52

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Osman played centre midfield basically all season in which we played some decent football and came 5th in the League. He scored 7 goals and created his fair share aswell, pretty decent for a so called ?Championship? player.

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.
Alexa Dunne
58   Posted 23/02/2009 at 22:29:27

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I’ve been waiting for this to happen for months now... the big four are protected so much and yet we aren’t. our opponents have been hacking and kicking at Arteta and it was only a matter of time. I don’t know if I’m furious, devestated, or some combination of the both... I can’t get over how let down I feel by the refs who have let this bull happen for so long, how the media continually puts our club down and refuses to call these terrible fouls what they are, if they aren’t commited to "the holy quad". I don’t think this necessarily ends our season, but I don’t see us playing anywhere near where Arteta had us... The only possible replacement I see at the moment for the center is Rodwell... Fellaini was never sold to me all the way and frankly he has been acting way above his *proven* class lately. He needs to stop getting the crappy yellows, stop mouthing off to the ref and while we’re at it, cut the hair a little bit... Ossie is just too little, as is peanut IMO :(

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!
Jimmy Rimmer
59   Posted 23/02/2009 at 23:27:56

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I don’t think our season is over - not by a long way. I base this on the fact that our defence, which is still very much intact, is still looking pretty unbeatable!

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?!"
Tony Doyle
60   Posted 24/02/2009 at 07:38:19

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What I did notice this weekend in the Newcastle game was more hoofball than I’ve seen this year - and a lot of it came from Yobo, who of couse has been out over this period. Yobo’s absence (although quality) may be the reason we have played more on the deck, allowing Arteta more scope to play football and the reason for our recent success.
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.
Ciarán MacGiolla Eoin
61   Posted 24/02/2009 at 10:25:24

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Varying degrees of hypocrisy being shown on here.

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...

Irony eh!
tom hutton
62   Posted 25/02/2009 at 19:01:53

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moysesy has always made decisions based on what is best for our club.

i just wanted to add


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