This comment was written about our very own Mikel Arteta during his days at PSG, and as we discuss the replacement for the now departed Lee Carsley I believe we have the ready-made replacement in Arteta.
There are basically two types of deep-lying midfielder; the defensive player, such as Lee Carsley who play as an extra defender and whose role is to win back the ball when we are not in possession, and the attacking player, such as Carrick, whose role it is to maintain possession of the ball and act as a link between defence and attack.
Last season when we were in possession Carsley never offered to receive the ball when we were in possession and so the most important position of ?distributor? on the pitch for ball retention was redundant. Therefore, when our centre backs received the ball, instead of having three options for a pass; to either flank or to the deep lying midfielder, with Carsley in the side these options were reduced to the two full backs. When you consider both Neville and Hibbert are not natural passers and thus not keen to receive the ball the option is again reduced to Lescott, himself a more natural centre back than a full back. The results of which saw us watch Jags and Yobo aim long balls up to an isolated single striker with our four attacking midfielders (Arteta, Pienaar, Osman & Cahill) trying to pick up the scraps.
The ideal solution is to have a player that combines the attacking ability of Carrick and the defensive ability of Carsley, however this type of player is rare, hence Chelsea giving the 53year old Makelele another one-year contract.
The choice therefore is between ball retention and defensive solidity. Moyes has always chosen the latter, a wise policy in my opinion and the reason why over the course of last season we were hard to beat and finished behind the more attack-minded top four yet ahead of the more defensively weak mid-table sides. I am not going to speculate on other deep-lying midfield players that could fill this role in both an attacking and defensive capacity but suggest that with the players at our disposal we would play a better style of football and increase our possession percentage if we gave the deep-lying midfield role to Arteta rather than say Neville. This would hopefully see us make the transition from top 6 side to top 4 side, as we would play more possession football and less hoof-ball.
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1 Posted 11/07/2008 at 14:02:39
Now, assuming Davey has learnt this lesson (and I hope for our sake he has) then Neville is not an option in midfield...
The obvious answer, as you point out...is that we get a player with carsley’s strengths and one who also possesses a decent passing game - a critical factor missing from Lee’s locker...
I think we missed the boat big time whenever we let Mr Diarra got to Portsmouth for a pittance last season..
Lets just pray that we have at least enough money to cover this position so Neville never sees the middle of the pitch again.
2 Posted 11/07/2008 at 14:10:09
3 Posted 11/07/2008 at 14:34:49
In my opinion the perfect template of a player suited to the role we need is Marcos Senna. He has impressed me since the yellow subs put us out of the champions league and his stock has only risen significantly in the following years.
Senna is not a blood and guts defensive midfielder, his strength is his engine, technical ability, and his almost telepathic sixth sense of danger because he is always well positioned to break up opposing team play-at the right time.
I thought he was the player of the Euro’s for Spain-no doubt.
Mikel on the other hand is gifted in a technical sense but I do not think his awareness or strength will enable him to be successful in the role.
He is not very strong in the tackle and I can recall many occasions of him being out muscled off the ball by opposing players. He just would not cut it and would leave us open and exposed at the back.
Those who suggest Manny Fernandes also baffle the hell outta me. When will people get it into their heads that this lad is not in ANY WAY a defensive midfielder, or even a "sitter". Manny is NOT a good tackler, the only times I seen him tackle is when he has had a heavy touch and belatedly chases after the ball that he has just lost.
No doubt Manny is a fine passer of the ball with great vision, and he should be a centre mid, but he needs a destroyer behind him.
4 Posted 11/07/2008 at 14:57:14
5 Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:12:21
This has been tried and failed. Jags is an excellent centre back, in my opinion, and Neville a decent right back. As midfielders they are both pathetic and I cringe when I see the team lined out with Neville in midfield. We need a really good new face to fill this role, someone who can do what Carsley done and also pick a killer pass whilst going forward.
Mal, to summarise........NO!!!!!!
6 Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:24:47
7 Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:33:27
I take it that you didn’t actually watch many games then last season. Both we’re played there, both were shit.
8 Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:34:12
If we did want a ball playing deep sitting midfielder (in a Senna mould) then why dont we pull our fingers out & get Manny! there is a player who has played that position with aplomb for the portuguese U-21s and benfica a lot more recently than Mikel for PSG.
To improve as a team, eventually we have to be in a position where all 11 players on the field are comfortable and capable of playing good football at the minute we’re not quite there, but thats where we gotta aim to be.
9 Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:48:27
As others have said, unless it's a dire emergency, keep em in defence and buy a quality replacement.
Dom - agree with you on this. I love to see Manny back but am NOT convinced he?s right for this role, wrong style & temperament.
10 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:07:10
Also Lescott for Captain
11 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:14:53
As I alluded to in my original post, I believe for us to progress as a footballing side rather than a safety first side the replacement for Carsley must have passing skills as a priority in the mould of Senna, as suggested by Dom. A player with confidence who will demand the ball and set a tempo to our play when in possession. I see no reason why Manny couldn?t also be that player, however at this moment in time he is a Valencia player.
Also, as it is looking increasingly like we lack the proverbial pot to piss in, looking at the players we already have, Arteta would be my suggestion over the more skillfully challenged Nev or Jags.
12 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:24:13
13 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:38:29
Nice thought! what Valente
Phil Neville RB and Bainesey LB
14 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:39:33
15 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:38:31
Answer: Because he genuinely believes that Neville or Jags can do the job and they are both a lot younger!
16 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:25:02
Arteta’s game isn’t about bringing people into play when he plays centre midfield. He’s there to create, pass and move and be effective in the final third. He’s not expansive enough in his passing for me. Despite being an excellent passer he has a tendency to keep it simple and look for the shorter option. If he had a bit more ambition and varied his passing he’d be much better midfielder.
He’s also doesn’t instinct of a deep lying midfielder. If you watch someone like Carrick or even Fernandes they naturally drop deep when the back four have the ball. Arteta doesn?t do that. He?s more similar to someone like Fabregas who likes the ball a little further forward and alot more centrally.
He?s a perfectly capable midfielder though. No question about it and if we don?t get Fernandes signed I?d like us to buy a quick winger and play Arteta centrally. I also think it?s a myth that Arteta is supposedly lightweight, he?s not at all. He like Fernandes is excellent at shielding the ball and keeping it under control when under pressure. I agree he goes down easily but he only does that when he wants too. He plays for free kicks but he?s not lightweight at all.
If we are looking for a real deep lying play maker then Manuel Fernandes is your man. He drops deep; he takes the ball off the back four and his ability to pass both short and long makes him a excellent candidate for the role. He has far more vision than Arteta and is much more suited to the role. So really if I was describing Arteta I?d say attacking midfielder in the Fabregas/Scholes mould whereas is I was describing Fernandes I?d say deep lying midfielder in the Pirlo/Alonso/Carrick mould.
Neither are the answers to the defensive midfield role though. You can get away with playing two deep lying play makers abroad but it?s very difficult in England. The games are faster, it?s more end to end and there?s alot more defensive responsibility. Only Man utd in England have pulled it off successfully with Scholes and Carrick playing central midfield for a full season two years ago.
We need a defensive midfielder to partner Osman/Fernandes/Arteta. Someone who is big, mobile and can tackle. He doesn?t have to be a Carsley by any means but he does have to have good defensive qualities, a high workrate, tidy distribution and good positioning.
17 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:44:15
I expect no more than the odd loan signing and the money the AJ sale makes going towards Kirkby.
18 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:53:40
The discussion is far from academic! JV is a great prospect but do you really think that DM will play him in all of the games? Or do you think he will stay injury free? Against the sky4 DM will want to play 4-5-1. I think there is a good shout for MA to play in the middle.
Totally agree with Martin Hughes; Lescott for captain (yes Peter, at centre half!).
19 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:59:02
From what I can read there is a lot of possibilities for the team, I thinks it?s a long time since we were in this rich position of being able to rotate players.
The only notable absentee is Cahill, should he be sold before AJ? Are we too one-dimensional and predictable when he plays? Yes, he does have an aerial prowess, but what about AJ streaking off to left or right flanks? Surely that stretches a team thus freeing up the Yak.
20 Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:45:47
21 Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:09:32
22 Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:12:28
23 Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:19:23
He was sold as he was to slow, can?t pass straight unless it was sideways and 2 yards. Personally I would prefer one of the young lads in the reserve team to be given a shout i.e Rodwell, he may be young but we have been here before (Shrek & JV).
Aretea would be a good foil for that role however, what would we do when we play away from home as he goes missing.
Either that or BK gives the DM 20Mil for Ashravin!
Just seen KW down in Kirkby looking at Horse & cart routes for new transport links to DK.
24 Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:35:59
A core with Yobo, Jags and Lescott would allow us to build from strength.
25 Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:42:24
Let's put our most creative attacking player - the only player we have with the genuine ability to beat a man - and put him in the DM role. Carrick's excellent at that position due to his positional sence, he can't play out wide though so that argument's out the window, they're completely different players with completely different attributes.
i dont know if you follow Arteta?a career but he has played there before and he wasn?t very succsesful at all. Real Sociadad bought him as a direct replacement for Alonso and he was such a flop he couldn?t get in the team. That's why we got him so cheap! What Moyes has done is get a player with genuine football ability and harnessed it to get it out of him by using his as a creative force.
He wasted his early years playing that position, let's not waste him again
26 Posted 11/07/2008 at 18:03:41
Yes, it’s not ideal, and we are all hoping for a box to box centre mid who can win the ball and score goals too, but face it, we have limited funds and Jags almost certainly WILL play DM at least ones this season, due to injuries if nothing else.
Also, the defensive midfield role is NOT a modern myth. It may be in england, but it’s been standard in Europe for years. Think Matthaus or Guardiola in the 90s. One was a ballwinner, the other pretty much the definition of the "water carrier", who takes the ball of everybody and quickly moves it to another area of the pitch.
The modern change has been the movement towards more athletic players all over the pitch, which has let to the combining of the roles, resulting in your Makeles, Vieras, Flaminis, Diarras etc who do both roles.
27 Posted 11/07/2008 at 18:35:33
Last seasons peformances by Jagielka:
Defence : Excellent
We all know(or should do) that Neville is just as bad... here?s a radical idea, why don?t we buy some specialist midfielders, where midfield is there actual position! Also Arteta is not at his best in the centre, the play is too congested, he is more valuable to us and more productive out wide.... where he can actually beat a man or whip a cross in.
28 Posted 11/07/2008 at 19:36:47
Suppose AJ goes for £9 million as stated in the papers, £5.5M for McFadden in January, and a number of players off the wage bill, that's at least £15 million....right?? So the board would have to back Moyes and at least give him £15-20 million to compete?? That's £25 to £30 million, if he dosn't get the backing this year he is off, simple as that.
Now back to the question, Nev and Jags are defenders fullstop. Arteta does not have the positional sense of a defensive midfielder so they are out of the question for me. Answer: Diarra, top notch if we could get him; Luncho Gonzalaez excellent; Manny and Giles Barnes.... me happy now..COYB
29 Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:19:33
We missed out big time on Sidwell , Villa’s gain our loss.
How about this for a punt in midfield - Benayoun Arteta Cahill Lennon
30 Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:24:21
I reckon DM will go befoe the start of the season
31 Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:37:21
very funny, nearly as outlandish as Neville playing in midfeild.............. wait a minute
32 Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:52:42
This discusion only reinforces whats happening to the once great Everton FC and its fans, we have become used to watching avarage football, getting more and more depressed with every transfer window and waiting for the scraps in August.
33 Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:32:20
Good shout on DM leaving before the season starts though.
Going to Chester races tomorrow, might throw a tenner on that.
34 Posted 11/07/2008 at 22:43:37
The buggers seem to keep it wel stocked.
It used to be an Everton store ... !
35 Posted 11/07/2008 at 22:53:28
BTW, I know this thread is about Arteta in the holding role - not a terrible idea, but Moyes would never do it. He’s too valuable in the attacking third.
36 Posted 12/07/2008 at 00:00:30
I don’t buy this defensive midfielder stuff. When I first started playing midfield I asked our boy’s team coach what I was supposed to do. "Defend and Attack" was the answer.
Let’s have midfielders that can do everything, that can interchange, that can keep the opposition guessing. Most importantly - let’s get ones that can pass and trap the ball aswell as tackle.
37 Posted 12/07/2008 at 06:26:29
Fast forward to 1966 Nobby Stiles sat infront of the back 4.
Moyes won’t play his best player in a withdrawn position. At PSG Arteta was not the big star, thus he got the shit job and foreign influx not withstanding he could get away with his average tackling in the French league.
Fact(?) we only play 5 in the middle coz we don’t have 4 good enough to do the job...5 @ 80% = 4 @100%
Until Arteta is the least among equals in a midfield 4 will we do any good
If it comes to mixing and matching the pluses and minuses of the various candidates and still being unable to find one person to fill the gap. Why not go with 3 at the back, Jags, who is a right sided CB; Yobo, a centre CB; Lescott who is a leftsided CB, Baines as L Wingback...anybody except Hibbo and Pip as R wingback. Arteta and Manny plus one other (cahill ? peanut ?) in the middle. JV and the Yak .
38 Posted 12/07/2008 at 10:12:29
39 Posted 12/07/2008 at 14:14:01
40 Posted 12/07/2008 at 14:24:59
It used to kill me when we had no choice but to play people like steve watson upfront, unsworth in midfield etc and if we find ourselves doing this again it will signal the end of our resurgence and make us a laughing stock throughout the league.
41 Posted 13/07/2008 at 07:19:29
You're right; we will be lthe laughing stock of the league.
42 Posted 13/07/2008 at 07:51:29
43 Posted 13/07/2008 at 10:48:43
This lad would be a perfect replacement and would improve the midfield quite a lot. Beside from Champions League football that they don't stay long in, why would he knock us back for them? Surely we can match his wages.
44 Posted 13/07/2008 at 15:27:30
45 Posted 13/07/2008 at 18:14:58
46 Posted 14/07/2008 at 03:06:05
If you play Arteta at DMF he’s eventually gonna to lose dribbling..
47 Posted 14/07/2008 at 10:20:02
This is something I think we (and many other clubs) get wrong - ie: Who?s the senior pro? Make him captain!
We have been a quiet side for a long time and although Neville points and shouts a lot, I feel his unthreatening demeanour doesn?t instill enough fear in those around him.
I realise Lescott is not the genuine nasty bastard I would like to see as captain, but he?s big and maybe given the armband, he could grow intro the role.
Phil Neville NEVER will (and I?m NOT a Neville Hater - compared to many, I actually have a lot of time for him)
Anyway, until there?s a change, I?ll just close my eyes and remember the days when we had a few captains on the pitch, all at the same time (smiles at mental image of Peter Reid crippling Marwood out for having a go at Inchy or screaming at Sheedy "HEEEEY!!! FUCKING WAKE UP YOU!!!")
48 Posted 14/07/2008 at 13:14:55
PN is exactly like that; points and shouts but nothing comes out of it.
But I have to say that we have got a few captains on the pitch; Yobo (Nigeria), Lescott (Wolves), Jags (Sheff Utd) and of course we had Cars last year.
We can only hope that some of the signings that come in are of the ilk of past players.
49 Posted 14/07/2008 at 16:23:41
Lets hope Moyesey signs this contract, I reckon once signed we should see some action in transfer market.
50 Posted 15/07/2008 at 03:53:10
51 Posted 16/07/2008 at 14:58:28
52 Posted 17/07/2008 at 08:30:41
What will actually happen though, by the looks of it, is that we’ll sign another right back (we’re being linked with two at the moment) and Neville will be the ’out and out tackler’, despite not being able to tackle. I’m feeling very upset this summer, as I always do, with the lack of transfer activity, while players we could do with go elsewhere.
53 Posted 17/07/2008 at 10:26:45
Nobody has mentioned Shaun Wright-Phillips as a target.........worth a go but the Fernandes on-off loan debacle must end and we must sign him permanently ASAP.