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Yobo, The Weak Link?

By Kev Prytherch :  29/09/2008 :  Comments (24) :
Just been to my 1st live derby since I had to stop renewing my season ticket a few years ago. It wasn?t pretty.

I began the day telling my girlfriend how derby games usually pan out, fast frantic affairs, more tackles and scuffles than skill and an atmosphere to savour. Quite what has happened to derby games since I was going every week I don?t know but this game seemed to lack all of this.

Contrary to most I believe that Moyes set out his stall correctly. Our defence has been shaky and putting Neville in front of them at least provided that extra body for Liverpool to get past, something which Fellaini (apologies if I?ve spelt his name wrong) and Castillo don?t seem to have the discipline to do for an entire 90 minutes. We held our own in the 1st half and had the better chances.

The second half was an all too familiar affair this season, and I believe a serious kick up the backside is needed for one of the defenders.

If you can watch the 1st goal again watch how much ground Joseph Yobo covers when the ball is played through to Keane. At this point Yobo is marking Torres, when the goal is scored Torres has ran in a semi circle to pick up the ball in acres of space, Yobo has strolled backwards about 3 yards. I?ve read criticism of Tony Hibbert being out of position for this goal, however there was an obvious threat down Liverpool's left and Hibbert was correctly positioned in case of this threat. When the ball is played for Keane Yobo should have 2 options, either turn and close Keane down, or track the Torres run into the area. He does nothing, simply stands there and watches as Keane is played in, Lescott is forced to cover the middle of the area and Torres has a clear run to the back post.

Yobo is not completely innocent for the second goal either. This time Neville is the culprit for simply standing there and watching as Torres walks past him. As the ball breaks for Keane (I think) Yobo rightly comes across slightly to cover as it wasn?t certain that Jagielka was going to make the challenge. However the amount he comes across to cover is suicidal, When he?s finally stopped moving in a sideways direction Keane (again correct me if it wasn?t Keane) could have walked straight in on goal if he hadn?t of been tackled and Yobo would have been on the other side of him.

Some people have suggested Yobo should be made captain, I think he should be dropped. It?s little wonder that when we had Stubbs and Weir playing at the combined age of about 76 they were preferred to Yobo, the man doesn?t seem to have any ounce of a football brain whatsoever.

We play Liege on Thursday and we need to keep a clean sheet, I can?t see this happening with Yobo in the team. Lescott had a reasonable performance against Liverpool, although teams do seem to be utilising his lack of pace on the flanks more this season, Jagielka seems to be the only person who can talk in the defence and Hibbert showed again in the 1st half why he?s so good at playing against the top teams. We know their right winger is pacy and showed Lescott up in the 1st leg so why not use Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott and Baines in defence. Baines was one of the better performers against Portsmouth and seemed to grow in confidence as the game wore on. After all the only factor that?s been apparent in every shambolic defensive performance is Yobo.

On another note why does Yakubu have to fling himself to the floor at every opportunity?

Finally, I would like to thank the club for spoiling the game for a number of fans sat in the Lower Bullens. I was 4 rows from the back and has all the rows behind me and half of my row filled by Liverpool fans. Two kids had to be moved because they were in tears due to the language and aggressiveness of these fans. My girlfriend (who I had told before the game that the atmosphere was like no other derby) was scared to say anything as constant abuse reigned out from behind us and around us. Quite how such a large number of fans got tickets in the same section is beyond me and the club should do everything to prevent this happening. Unfortunately for the kids who were in tears they didn?t.

Reader Comments

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Derek Thomas
1   Posted 30/09/2008 at 05:38:10

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Kev, sorry to say this, but if you think Moyes set his stall out correctly then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

4-5-1, In 04-05 to all intents and purposes we only had one striker, Bent.

4-5-1, then as now we only play 5 in the middle coz we can’t or won’t ( for numerous reasons) get 4 good enough 5 @ 80% = 4 @100%

When our supposed best player was at PSG he got the Carsley role, reason, all the others were better than him. Until he is our poorest player out of 4 and not our best player out of 5 will we do anything.

Yes, but see how far we’ve come since Walter, the best squad for 20yrs...if so WHY DOESN’T HE LET THEM PLAY???

Poor plan A and no plan B, remember the Spurs sub fiasco.

Keep it tight and pinch one ffs

Moyes his team, his tactics, one trick pony.

Yes, but he NEARLY got us into the CL a couple of times, 4TH 5TH 6TH

We used to be mediocre, but now there are too many people happy to be 4th 5th or 6th...well what can you do, it’s all about the money now innit....one word

HULL !

NEARLY-OCRITY IS THE NEW MEDIOCRITY
Adam Cunliffe
2   Posted 30/09/2008 at 07:51:29

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I thought Moyes made a massive mistake playing 4-5-1 on Saturday. When you are going to be doing a lot of defending, you need an attacking outlet and when Yak drops dead there is no one there to pass to so, when we hoof it up, it just comes straight back at us.

Also regarding the shithouse red fans sat behind you. They are probably the same fans who think it?s amusing to spit down from the Kemlyn Road (I think that's the away end at Anfield) at the Everton fans seated at the lower tier. Scum of the Earth and they give the majority of Liverpool fans a bad name.
James Davies
3   Posted 30/09/2008 at 09:14:29

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Moyes is making a massive mistake playing 4-5-1 in conjunction with the long ball?!?! This is borderline retarded. The pre match team talk must go something like this...

"OK I want to put 5 of you in the middle of the field, that’s half the outfield. Then I want the 4 of you at the back to clear those 5 with the ball an aim for the 1 upfront"
Darren Boyce
4   Posted 30/09/2008 at 09:14:45

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Glad you raised this because I’ve been thinking that Yobo is the weak link for a while now and have been bemused by the regular support he receives on the message boards. Couldn’t agree with you more in that I think Yobo could have done more to defend against both goals on Saturday.

For me Jags is our best Centre Half by a mile. Hard to choose between Yobo and Jolean for second choice.

I think Moyes gave Liverpool too much respect in playing 4-5-1, should have gone 4-4-2 and exploited the fact they played three strikers. I want him to give Saha and the Yak a chance to from what could be a formidable partnership. I think Anichebe showed promise out wide, I’d play him there rather than Osman.

Barry Bragg
5   Posted 30/09/2008 at 09:30:37

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Kev you are spot on about Yobo. While he possesses all the attributes to be a top defender he has no football nous to speak of. He is the only player at Everton who can only play in one position. His attempts at right back and centre midfield were embarrassing and even Moyes has now recognised his limitations and won’t ever play him out of position.

Torres was given both goals on a plate by Yobo’s lack of focus. His dawdling for the first was criminal and his lack of dicipline for the second was typical. Get Jags and Lescott back together in the centre and maybe we can get back to 442 and get this season back on track
Mike Oates
6   Posted 30/09/2008 at 09:33:45

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Yobo, ball watches , he dosen’t pick up players snd to my mind is the weaker of the 3 centre halves . The one thing he has had is pure pace and is good at recovering .

I think its time he had a rest and get Baines back in at left back. Jags is undoubtedly our best defensive player but lacks composure on the ball, but I’d still have him there than Yobo.

We cant play 4:4:2 with Cahill in the team , simple as that . He does not perform in the true centre midfield role. Its a major dilemma for Moyes , He can only play a 4:3:1:2 ,and to do that the middle man of the midfield 3 needs to be a high class defensive lad with good passing ability . We haven’t got one just yet but Felliani can fill the role , once he’s settled in to the new life at Everton - about January.
John Andrews
7   Posted 30/09/2008 at 09:30:10

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I also feel that it was a massive mistake to play 4-5-1 on Saturday. For pities sake LFC had three strikers, Riera, Keane and Torres on the pitch !
Or possibly two strikers and a winger ? Whichever way you look at it we were completely outthought and outplayed.
What was the point of playing Yakubu up front, on his own, with normally three defenders around him ? A blind man could have seen that this was not going to work ! No wonder he threw himself to the ground. Frustration I suspect.
At this moment in time Lescott does not look fit to me. He appears to running through treacle. He looks to have lost a yard of pace to me.
However I would prefer him to Jagielka any day of the week.
Time and again, even when the midfield are showing for Jagielka, he lashes the ball upfield. And time and again it comes straight back with interest. As happened Saturday.
It is all very well making the last ditch tackles etc., but there must be an end product and that is not happening at the moment.
I would like to see Yobo and Lescott as centre backs and give Baines a chance. Slightly contentious maybe but we paid over £5m for Baines and he has not had a look in. All this crap about his lack of height is garbage. I don’t think Moyes fancies him. End of.

Yobo to blame ? I don’t think so.
Irish Toffee
8   Posted 30/09/2008 at 10:38:20

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I agree, I have been saying for a while now that Yobo is the weak link in our defence. He is fast, Ill give him that, but everytime he gets the ball he hoofs it up the field, he doesnt pick out a pass. His marking is terrible at times. I am also starting to get worried by our tactics under Moyes, we are not playing good football, everything is a long ball. We have good ball players in midfield, so lets use them.
David Carroll
9   Posted 30/09/2008 at 10:55:02

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The whole team are suffetring from square pegs in round holes syndrome.Neville isnt a midfield player tackles ok offers nothing going forward,no other team is this limited.Ateta i feel should be used centrally hes the only player who can see a pass which our forward or forwards lack.If he wants to be the main man then take the responsibility mikale.Lescott lokks to have lost weight and with it his confidence as we dont have any pace or genuine width he needs to bomb on but looks a shadow of last season.If we lose on thursday our season is finished.We havent played well yet and its not going to change overnight as we are not even showing any signs of turning our form around.I fear for our future and if moyes is still manager on jan 1st he will need to buy at least three new players.
Ciarán McGlone
10   Posted 30/09/2008 at 11:05:21

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People complain about hoofball and then advoate Jags as our best centre half.

Astounding really.

This is a man that has cost more goals than either Yobo or Lescott this season... someone who mistimes tackles, is routinely skinned and caught out or position... His innability to pass the ball on the ground is the main reason that we play hoofball.
Joe Rourke
11   Posted 30/09/2008 at 11:26:23

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Yeah - I’ve had the same opinion about Yobo for a few years. He’s brave and athletic but his brain ain’t great. He has needed somebody like Stubbs to tell him what to do. Nearly At the minute Lescott and Jags don’t have presence/authority with him to do the same.

When he was away for the ANC last year was he really missed?
Richard Harris
12   Posted 30/09/2008 at 12:32:35

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It’s not just Yobo at fault. Look at the goals again and Lescott is ambling back on both occasions, ball watching and looking like it’s not his job to defend. For the second goal there were five of our players to three of theirs and no-one was marking Torres. No wonder we’re conceding so many goals. Back to basics at training for Moyes and Round !!
Connor Rohrer
13   Posted 30/09/2008 at 12:53:31

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I think all our defence is going through a bad patch, all are making mistakes and it’d be hard to single one out. Yobo, Neville, Jagielka, Baines and Lescott have all made there mistakes this season and have all had dodgy games.

Jagielka looks to be getting back to his best which is a good thing, I thought he dealt with Torres very well in the Derby. I think in terms of consistency he’s our best centre back and he’s dependable. Not the flashiest but he’s very effective in what he does in my opinion.

I’d stick with the Neville-Yobo-Jagielka-Lescott combination as it’s our best and most effective. Chopping and changing it won’t help matters. The players who could potentially come in have done themselves no favours also with piss poor performances.

Really it’s between Baines and Yobo, I think I’d rather have Yobo in there. Baines is a good player but he leaves us exposed down the left flank in my opinion and it too easily beaten.
Matt Compton
14   Posted 30/09/2008 at 13:30:45

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I also think Yobo was at fault for the 1st goal at least. I would drop him as he’s been carrying some knocks (ankle?) so I believe therefore give him this coming week off and then he can have the 2 weeks after that off when we don’t have a game to get his head together.

I would like to see Baines given a game, it’s to easy to say he’s easily beaten and good going forward but weak at the back. Give him a chance to prove himself, at least he could offer Arteta some support in delivering a set piece!!!

This season has worried me with the hoofball tactics. It’s to easy to blame the players, yeah they are out on the pitch, but Moyes’ has assembled this group of players he should be telling them to keep it on the floor. It was easy back in the day we had to lump it forward because the players weren’t up to it but these are Moyes players so he should sort it out. He should also grab a hold of Arteta and tell him to shoot once in a while, Ronaldo scores all the time because he SHOOTS (to make a poor man vs rich man comparison!).
John Andrews
15   Posted 30/09/2008 at 13:38:12

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Well it appears I am in the minority here.
However can anybody please explain to me the difference between that which Yobo does and that which Jagielka does ?
As I mentioned before even when the midfield showed for him on Saturday he still lashed the ball upfield. And sure enough it came straight back again.
Possibly it more aimless with the boot of Jagielka behind it ?
Dan Murphy
16   Posted 30/09/2008 at 13:29:10

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Well done Kev for giving an accurate view of Hibbert’s performance.
The lad’s not Gary Stevens but the bile spat in his direction on this site and at goodison is totally disproportinate to his value to the side.
Hibbert never got credit for last year’s Anfiield derby when he shut down Babble completely, long balls to whom was their game plan that day.

For the 1st goal on Saturday the much vaunted Jagielka loses track of Keane. Hibbert has stayed in position marking the left wing. Watch it again if you don’t believe me.

Everton has its problems at the moment, one of them is hysterical fans who want it all now, don’t know what they’re talking about and turn on decent players creating a negative atmosphere.

Get a grip!
Denis Aghaizu
17   Posted 30/09/2008 at 13:35:14

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I also agree that Joey should be on the bench for a couple of games. Jags has been the best CH so far and in the middle is Lescotts best position. Also I really rate Baines and think he has not been given a fair crack at the job - give him a few starts to show what he can do. Although I would disagree with the last position - nothing against Hibbo but there is absolutely no way I would have Neville anywhere near the middle of the park. He is a FULL BACK - the end. Neville, Jags, Lescott, Baines should be the back four. Yobo is a very good defender but a couple of games on the bench may give him the message that he needs to sort himself out. Osman, Cahill, Castillo, Arteta should be the midfield. Yak and Saha up front - dare I say it but on paper that is actually a pretty solid side.

If we start with 4-5-1 on Thursday (and don’t somehow fluke a result) Moyes should be sacked!

MOYES WE NEED TO SCORE SO PLEASE PLAY 4-4-2!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leige 1 - 2 Everton - the Yak and another Catillio 30 yarder (in the 90th minute!)
Kevin Gillen
18   Posted 30/09/2008 at 12:07:43

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I thought we were too slow all over the pitch. I think the problem on Saturday wasn’t with the back four but with the front six, not enough movement, pace or guile to bring the ball under control further up the field. Osman, Arteta, Cahill all good players but too slow as a group. Yakubu was also ineffectual although one might again say that he was given poor service. We missed Pienaar and it is clear why we tried to recruit Obinna. Generally though we were underprepared. Hats off to them, they played better than we did by a country mile in the second half. If we are going to compete with the top four we have to be at our best and we’re a long way off that at the moment.
Andrew Brown
19   Posted 30/09/2008 at 17:48:21

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I’m sick of this 4-5-1 crap too! Said the same last year during the UEFA Cup. What’s the point in playing that at home in a bloody derby match, or when you should be attacking. 4-5-1 is all well and good if you’re defending a lead or looking for a point, but ffs, all the time? As for Yobo, everytime I watch him he cocks something up!
Gerry Sheppard
20   Posted 30/09/2008 at 18:32:38

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We’ve been all over the place at the back in recent weeks and need to find some confidence.

Yobo is often caught watching the world go by. He is also capable of comedic errors (the putting the boot on episode anyone?!). Also, on the odd occasion he finds himself in a goalscoring position the results are awful.

Lescott is making a mess of left back in recent weeks, and we have been caught too many times with him out of position, often resultant from his overzeralous attacking. He is said to be unhappy out there.

I think it’s time to give Lescott and Jags an extended run in the centre of defence to see how they work out as a pairing, and put Joey on the bench. Lescott would be less likely to be caught out when he moves forward for set pieces in that scenario.

As a result Baines and Valente would get more opportunity to play a natural left back role in the defence.
Micky Norman
21   Posted 30/09/2008 at 18:44:56

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Tactics predictable and dull. Defence too slow in reacting. No confidence and nobody taking responsibility. But if you’d been through what Yobo and his family have been through this Summer, maybe your concentration would go sometimes.It doesn’t matter how much you’re paid or how good you are- he’s human. Lay off him.
Gerry Sheppard
22   Posted 30/09/2008 at 21:35:23

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Regardless, is he that good the rest of the that he is beyond dropping at the present time?
Norman Ludgate
23   Posted 30/09/2008 at 23:16:51

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We have 2 ’natural’ left backs and for some reason Moyes plays neither of them. I know Valente is getting on a bit but for me he’s our most effective left back and should be the 1st choice with Baines coming on as sub if he tires...
Paul Formby
24   Posted 30/09/2008 at 23:31:57

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Yobo the weak link. Cannot believe that blues fans have now hit onto something I have been saying since the day he made his debut. No awareness, always ball watching, no composure with the ball at his feet, guaranteed to give the opposition the ball when under pressure, and responsible for at least a third of all goals conceded each season. Why has it taken everyone so long to realise this?


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