I also agree that at times like this (especially with the advent of the internet & the keyboard warrior) that all facets of the club will come for criticism at some point, but the benefit of the net forums & websites is so we can respond to each other & try to balance out this criticism, so after reading some of the stuff flying around I thought I would throw my two bobs worth in which will not be knee jerk reaction to anything like most posts are but merely opinions & facts formed by watching the blues over the last couple of years, now I didn?t mean for this to turn out to be this long but once you start typing and your head gets going its difficult to stop!!
First off our biggest problem has been our defending, not the defence as such but our defending as a team. What has caused this? How can a team that has been one of the leanest in the last 5 years or so go to being a Newcastle type team who concedes so easily?
Like the path to the darkside everything in football is connected, uncertainty causes anxiety, anxiousness causes nerves & nerves lead to mistakes, one mistake leads to another which can then snowball causing a severe void in confidence & that is what we are suffering from more than anything!
So then you ask what has caused the chain of events I note above. Well for my monies worth the root cause has to be the lack of money provided to DM to spend on improving the squad, which then caused him to question the clubs ambition and his own tenure (had he taken us as far as possible?) which fed into the squad as most of these players were bought by DM & if he wasn?t committed where did that leave them? Then lo & behold we get a couple of last minute deals for players who have no experience in the premiership or are injury prone journeymen, hardly inspires the current crop does it? Then we have one of the strangest pre-seasons in history & definitely our worst under Moyes as the squad size and injuries we had gave the pre-season a reserve team tour feeling, yet this was the best we had!!
When you read & remember all these events we shouldn?t have been surprised at how poorly we started! Every single employee at the club is/was unsure at what the fuck was going on from top to bottom!!
The flipside to that is that we do have a decent squad, better than most give credit for at present & I can see already see signs of the confidence returning. And Moyes? recent interview on Sky before the Geordie game showed more passion & desire than he has shown in every game this year. He is the man to take us forward on the playing side, I truly believe that, but another old chestnut resurfaces here??he needs the resources to take us onwards, never mind onwards, just to maintain what he has achieved! For that we need to look above him and as we all know the club has been ran like dogshit for so long it is beyond laughable. But matters of finance, takeovers, boardroom dealings I have very little knowledge, plenty of opinions, but no real knowledge. So I will leave that debate to more suitable people.
Back to the football and if DM can get his own arse in gear he can certainly get the squads arse in gear, and hopefully push on to turn this poor start into a saveable season??.. Speaking of which let?s have a look at the players:-
Tim Howard ? He?s still a good goalkeeper, top shot-stopper & good communicator but this season is lacking in confidence, which in turn is causing confidence to drop in his defenders. If he needs a kick up the arse then give Carlo Nash a game, he is experienced enough to appreciate what a chance that would be.
Tony Hibbert ? Let's get it straight, I?m not a fan. I appreciate his commitment & effort week in, week out but some players are simply not good enough. I would keep him around as a squad player but there is no reason for him to be first choice.
Leighton Baines ? Quality player, quick, defends well & gets involved up the pitch. A top fullback in general. Admittedly his confidence is low but that is hardly his fault. Should be a regular.
Joseph Yobo ? We all know Joey like the back of our hand, world beater now & again but prone to lapses in concentration. I will say his distribution has deteriorated this season & that needs to be improved but still a good player.
Joleon Lescott ? Superb player & I can already see signs of him overcoming his early season jitters & poor start. Quality.
Phil Jagielka ? Old school, lump em? defender. Great when your backs are against the wall, but like Hibbert he is at fault for more of goals than we think & puts us in SOOO much trouble by constantly thumping the ball 50 yards to no-one in particular. Like Hibbo, no reason to sell as long as he is happy on bench but that is where he should remain.
The like of Nuno Valente are as we know past their past but provide great cover & experience to a young squad but if the likes of Dan Gosling cannot get in now then they should contact their agent, has to be worth sticking the young lad at right back surely?? Shame Jacobson was injured as he may have been an improvement from what I have heard, but being honest I now next to nothing about him so will have to wait & see!
Phil Neville ? I believe there is a role for Neville, which I will explain further on but it?s the only one & if we play him as a lone defensive midfielder or a fullback then simple as, not good enough.
Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill & Steven Pienaar ? No need to separate these chaps as between them we have 3 talented, hard working & effective midfield. 3 names that should be on the sheet every week, bar none. Creativity, guile, goals, these 3 give you all of them.
Segundo Castillo ? Looks a good ball player, and covers space well. Not the defensive midfielder in the Carsley role. I also feel we have a role for him & if he tweaks his game & improves his workrate then he could earn a contract but this year will be more than likely be his one & only.
Leon Osman ? Provided some top moments in recent season, I thought last season would see him play less with SP coming in but he upped his game & credit to him. Unfortunately he has dropped down a level or 2 again & in centre mid looks absolutely overawed. We are always going on about dropping Baines for lack of height/stature but it is in midfield where that is needed, especially in the Prem. So for them reasons Everton TV?s favourite mouthpiece should be benched.
Marouane Fellaini ? Not the best start & a shockingly OTT fee, yes we all know this but there is fuck all we can do about that! I reckon he?s going to be a player this lad. He has the touch, pass, intelligence & awareness already an that?s the stuff you cant teach, he?s big enough (fuck me he?s big enough!) so once he adapts to the pace of the game & the culture we may have a top drawer player, big maybe though!
Jack Rodwell ? Even with the last minute signings I am surprised he hasn?t been involved a little more, I really see potential with this lad. Does need to decide if he is a centre back or centre mid but that is more down to management & coaching plus he still has a few years to settle down, but he will hopefully be the player we want, little more than a squad player this year though.
AVDM, JP Kissock, Jose Baxter & James Wallace ? For one reason or another will contribute very little if anything this season. AVDM is just a waste & the sooner we get this leech of our wage bill the better.
Yakubu ? even though he is bang out of sorts at present I would persist for a few more games as he is just a goal machine, simple as.
Victor Anichebe ? Showed when he played right wing v Stoke that he is still getting better & deserves more time on the pitch than currently getting, but probably would have had that if it wasn?t for his injury v Liege.
Louis Saha ? the phrase that keeps getting uttered about him is ?top player when fit? but I watched him against the Geordies & I thought, I?d rather have James Vaughan! But hopefully with match fitness & his returning sharpness he may prove me wrong.
James Vaughan ? which brings me on nicely to this injury prone youngster. IMO if he is fit, as he is now then we should play him. He has pace, power, willingness & is potentially a great foil for the Yak. Showed briefly at the tail-end of 06/07 season the player he can be.
With them players it is obvious that our strength is midfield so why we fail to play through it so often is a mystery to me, and according to Guillem Balagues latest piece David Moyes also prefers to play the game with controlled possession just doesn?t believe he has had the players to do so. So in my opinion I would play a formation similar to what Chelsea & Liverpool play at present like the following??.
Howard; Gosling, Yobo, Lescott, Baines; Castillo, Neville; Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar; Yakubu
That, bear in mind is a temporary formation which could serve a number purposes, more protection for the backline without sacrificing attacking threat, also most of the positions & players are interchangeable such as Felliaini could come in anywhere across the midfield, Anichebe can operate as a wide striker or along with Saha & Vaughan could swap with Yak & Osman is another who could come in for Mikel, Tim or Pienaar. Obviously with the players confidence returning & the likes of Fellaini & Castillo adapting to the pace & industry required in the Premiership the aim is to go 4-4-2 with a partner for the Yak.
I hope I haven?t bored everyone, I read so many massive articles relating to the stadium & clubs finances in the summer I didn?t think people would mind chewing over this ?football only? piece. I have just outlined what I believe the cause of our poor start was & how we can right things, also as a counter to a few arguments that are popping up on various sites with your typical knee-jerk reactions with everything from Sell Cahill, sack Round, Lescott is crocked, to the more obvious Dithering Dave articles from the usual suspects.
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1 Posted 08/10/2008 at 04:31:51
2 Posted 08/10/2008 at 06:58:49
3 Posted 08/10/2008 at 08:50:01
All this navel-gazing by amateur pshycologists and expert players of FIFA Football Manager are a total waste of time. Moyes has proved his merit as a manager and we should let him get on with it. He certainly needs no lessons from you, mate!
4 Posted 08/10/2008 at 09:23:31
Give us a break! As John says, after some of the kneejerk articles we’ve had on Toffeeweb, its good to have one that tries to examine what is causing our defensive problems at the moment. Nobody is claiming to be an expert - they’re just putting up ideas for discussion. That’s sort of the idea of these forums mate!
5 Posted 08/10/2008 at 09:52:15
Just how long do you give a manager before you get rid? Moyes has had over 6 years, and he is still dishing up crap tacticless hoofball ffs!!
6 Posted 08/10/2008 at 10:12:34
Its just a fans opinions, no-one dishing advice & no-one claiming to be experts just a fan who is giving his opinion on a site for fans opinions you tool!!
7 Posted 08/10/2008 at 10:21:19
I also don’t see the attraction with Vaughan...I don’t think he’ll cut it in the prem, which is a shame - because he was the pick of the bunch but now vic is well and truly far ahead of him..
As for your comments on Saha...whenever he gets the ball, he looks dangerous in terms of being a goal threat - I can not honestly say that about any other player on our team...even the Yak, who is a goal threat - never actually looks like one - a tired old cliche - but Saha is an absolutely fantastic player - who simply needs time.
8 Posted 08/10/2008 at 11:35:29
I agree that defence is a team thing and that to date most people (including Moyes it seems) have been looking only at individual defenders. Dropping Yobo was his answer and it has not changed anything. Similarly, I agree that confidence is another factor. Howard has been regularly criticised in these forums but has been a star for the US all year.
My take on this is that we need to look at our whole system of defence. The team needs to defend (and attack) as a unit. I personally do not think our current formation is working well for us. I would go with 5-3-2 with Baines/Nev as wing backs and Yobo/Jags/JL in the middle at the back. 2 can pick up the front 2 and 1 is free as a sweeper. Wing backs can get up & back depending on the play. In MF I?d have Pienaar, Fellaini, Arteta in the middle and Yak/Saha up front.
If DM insists on 4-4-2 then he needs to stick with a solid pair in the middle of MF. I?d go with Fellaini & Castillo. Yep, I know this pair has not been the strongest so far but they were thrown in at the deep end. Moyes needs to give them some game time (Castillo in particular) and try to build up their game. Moyes only tactic seems to be the kick up the arse. Castillo looks a good player, he needs encouragement and time. How he wasn?t played against Liege is unbelievable.
9 Posted 08/10/2008 at 11:46:41
But I think we’re poles apart on the Vaughan & Saha debate, I mention the tailend of the 06/07 season when he played as a partner to Beattie & he was amazing, like a young SHearer ( Iam not exxageratting) away at Chelsea we were robbed & he was superb, ran Terry all over the shop & had a goal disallowed.
Its that young lad that I wanna see, an if he’s not the same player then the only way we’ll know is by giving him a chance.
Saha is at best for me an impact player, who is not as good an impact player as Victor & not as good a striker as Yakubu so I’m unsure what he is bringing, but like I keep saying. Its only my opinion mate
10 Posted 08/10/2008 at 13:13:44
Nothing new to us, but it’s interesting to see someone outside of the club (and a pro footballer at that) stating the bleeding obvious. Whoever was to blame for this summer should hold their heads in shame for our current reversal of fortunes.
11 Posted 08/10/2008 at 13:25:00
this is your opinion mate, for the majority of the last season up untill injuries,suspensions and some dodgy refereeing decisions have taken their toll on our squad I have seen Everton perform how they should.
We won against Zenit,BTW the only side that has beaten Zenit in Europe last year,Fiorentina - CL competitors;got two good cup runs, I am telling you that was by far the best Everton side for the last 15 years I have seen. The only game I can blame Moyes was Chelsea first leg where we could and should have pressed for a winner after they were down to 10 - that was big cock up.
I am not buying into that hoofball and negative tactics either in fact we have scored more goals than United and RS and have the 5 most prolific attacking line up thats hardly negative,dont you think? For me we are struggling for beeing too adventurous at the moment.
Furthermore we had a disastrous pre-season - board turmoils,lacks of funds,The Kirkby disaster, small squad - in the game with Chicago we were able to make only one half-time substitution?!? compared to their 11. We had to play with Jag and Rodwell in the middle of the park and even Baxter, there were no incomming players until the last days of the transfer window. Players are already beeing labeled flops after 6 games?!?!? Is this the cultured Evertonian football fan or the knee-jerk Barcode?
We started the season bad there is no denying that but there were also reasons for that which are blamed excusses and I simply dont think that its right to get on the backs of the boys or the manager right now
12 Posted 08/10/2008 at 15:30:42
totally agree with you.
The prem is so competitive these days you have to hit the ground running which we did ..... only it was backwards.
I blame the board for a shambles of a close season which the threadbare squad started with very little preseason "togetherness".
A few bad results, confidence draining, nerves jangling and hence a run of bad form exasparated by Moyes in his pissed off mode being unable/unwilling to gee them up.
13 Posted 08/10/2008 at 16:15:38
14 Posted 08/10/2008 at 16:20:45
15 Posted 08/10/2008 at 16:26:55
However on this forum, and others, he is almost idolised as being the only player to put himself about. The last ditch tackles etc.
I suspect that were he the top defender that some folks seem to think he may well have positioned himself correctly in the first place and negated the need for the last ditch tackle.
16 Posted 08/10/2008 at 17:25:29
I’ve only ever seen three last man defenders turn their back on an opposing striker while he’s coming at them with the ball...
Toure in the ACON...., titus bramble and Jagielka.
17 Posted 08/10/2008 at 17:57:12
We didn't even manage to score against Liverpool or Portsmouth and no doubt Moyes will be happy with another ?defend at all costs? performance against Utd and Arsenal.
18 Posted 08/10/2008 at 18:43:48
I wasn?t labelling the players as flops, except maybe Hibbert and Neville (in midfield). Of course we have played well occasionally, but it never seems to last, because of Moyes?s negativity, and intransigence. £17m over 5 years is another great big step in the wrong direction for kenwright.
19 Posted 08/10/2008 at 19:07:48
when you can state that:
"Cahill was a decent buy but he?s hardly god, his midfield play is close to Neville proportions" there is nothing wrong Jag to be bad defender in your opinion :)
20 Posted 08/10/2008 at 19:36:04
Against United, we will try to go 4-4-2 but poor defending will put us down 2-0 by half time, and United will take their foot off the gas and only score again in stoppage time... 3-0.
I bring these scenarios up because the better teams know exactly what tactics DM will use against them and how the game will play out. No panic. They know he will play it exactly the same way he played it last year in the corresponding fixture. The subs will occur at the appropriate time (damn the scoreline) and the hoofball will commence according to plan.
My point is, after all these years, we haven?t advanced past the point of Marcus Bent running down every passback to the opposing keeper. Now it?s the Yak who has to do it, but he gives it a couple of steps and peels off. And I?ll let other readers decide whether our players just aren?t good enough or our manager just can?t figure out how to tactically beat a superior opponent.
One of the marks of a good manager is when you can truly say a group of players are better now than when they started with the system. Is there one single Everton player right now who you can say has improved under DM? We took two England strikers and made them Championship style players. Our ?keeper plays better with his national team than with us. Arteta hasn?t put in a proper free since he hit one to Dunc to beat United almost a lifetime ago. Lescott went from sought after to run at.
Whose better than when they first started with us? And for those who say play the kids...it isnt that simple. There is such a dramatic difference to the Prem. Look at how many world class players struggle to get up to the speed of the league in their first year. We are an easy mark. We are simple to figure out. When we brought in Arteta it changed our style of play, but now, because of injuries and the ravages of time, we have gone backwards. Other clubs have made significant improvements and have changed their tactical form. We haven?t done that, so we become predictable and beatable.
21 Posted 08/10/2008 at 21:02:45
22 Posted 08/10/2008 at 21:21:25
Also great to see that I am not alone in thinking that Jags is very limited. If we want to move on and play football he has to be relegated to the bench. I can?t believe how many people on this site think he has been our best player this season.
Finally - Did anyony else see Jags and Lescott laughing and joking when they came out for the 2nd half on Sunday? What the hell does that tell you about their attitude or Moyes ability to motivate?
23 Posted 08/10/2008 at 22:07:41
24 Posted 09/10/2008 at 12:08:43
Arteta should be on the teamsheet week-in, week-out but I never said Osman should, cos I don't rate him? Re-read the piece if that wasn't a typo.
25 Posted 09/10/2008 at 12:36:05
Just because you say Jagielka is our most consistent player since last year, doesn?t mean it?s true... it is also not true simply because others similarly fail to spot his shortcomings, or recognise his mistakes.
26 Posted 10/10/2008 at 12:11:17
27 Posted 10/10/2008 at 16:49:51
That was supposed to be directed at Steve... I?m obviously in complete agreement with you.
28 Posted 10/10/2008 at 17:31:33
29 Posted 10/10/2008 at 21:34:31
The reason I ask is that the whole list of responses for the most part were thought out and logical, but here you are replacing two starters who are not injured with a kid and a journeyman. Why do you want to do that? Is there something about them you find appealing? Because if there is, please enlighten all of us, and then I might agree with you.
This is your sentence: "Drop Jags and bring Gosling in along the back four somewhere." That?s perfect. Let?s rearrange everybody in the back of the defense so we can try an untested kid up against 2 of the top teams in the Prem and let?s bring in a ?keeper who hasn?t played a regular season match yet. I think that will def turn the tide. We should win on the trot.
Oh, and a 16-year-old kid will do just fine against Arsenal and Man Utd... you?re brilliant. Didn?t realize the supporters were that smart. Hope you are able to get a post to DM with your ideas because surely SAF will appreciate your input. Do you have any others?
30 Posted 11/10/2008 at 09:20:11
I won?t go into detail because it will only be shot down by the mob and what would that achieve. Suffice to say some pre-conceived notions on the deity of certain individuals will have to be re-assessed.
31 Posted 11/10/2008 at 22:02:13
Both he and Yobo need a lot of work on it, but there you go. Personally I feel more confident with Jagielka?s name on the teamsheet than Yobo?s, but that's just me possibly.
But, as I said, yes, they need to learn to pass... both of them.
32 Posted 12/10/2008 at 18:45:10
This season I reckon he?s going to be back at his best, he looks like he?s recovered excellently.
33 Posted 13/10/2008 at 20:01:39
But I disagree on the Jagielka part: he is undoubtedly are best defender at the moment and he is the only one who seems to show eagerness in him, unlike Joleon. What as gone wrong with him?
I think Baines will be quality. Victor needs more games under his belt. He is starting to look a decent player.
As for Rodwell and Baxter... I can't wait to see them in a few years' time... they look like they could be great players.
34 Posted 13/10/2008 at 20:23:57
I think we just need to take this season as a building season and not expect too much out of it, it maybe too far gone already. If we can just iron out the creases in the team now and find the right balance, set ourselves up for a good FA Cup run in the new year. Whilst in the background sort out the finances (i.e. sell the club), sort out the new stadium and maybe get a couple of players in in Jan. Just get ourselves ready for an assault on 4th place next season.
I suppose we all have to ask ourselves is, that if at the end of the season the following was true, would you be happy??
- Finished 10th in the Prem
- FA Cup winners
- 2/3 excting new additions to the squad
- new owner(s)
- new ground build underway
- Moyesie with a 5-yr contract.....
I certainly would, things would be looking up again, and all of these are very realistic targets and very acheiveable if we go about things in the right way and dont panic.
Food for thought maybe...
35 Posted 14/10/2008 at 07:20:31
Fellaini and Saha will prove to be good signings and given a bit more luck with injuries I think we are capable of putting together a good run and climbing up the table. Football can be very much a confidence thing ? a good result and players who have been struggling with form can start to do themselves justice. Take Lescott for example: last year, everything he was doing was coming off, and he was scoring goals for fun. This season he has not been in good form. But that can change after all as somebody once said ? form is temporary, class is permanent.
36 Posted 14/10/2008 at 18:21:16
37 Posted 14/10/2008 at 19:38:38
38 Posted 14/10/2008 at 19:53:14
The Yak and Arteta are class but can also drive you to despair, the new players need time to settle in but should be playing better, they were not cheap; the defence is brilliant and crap in the same match.
How have we conceded so many goals so soon? How have we got knocked out of every competition we have been in, and how are we going to get back to winning ways? I look forward to the games against Arsenal and United because we are going to give one of them a shock; I don?t know which and I don?t how, but that?s the beauty of supporting Everton ? the greatest football club in the world, bar none!
39 Posted 15/10/2008 at 08:48:46
I would agree with John that he is worth no more than a place on the bench.
40 Posted 15/10/2008 at 12:13:42
41 Posted 16/10/2008 at 05:44:09
Cannot agreed more with you on Hibbo & Jag: they are starters with Championship teams but not in Premieriship! Pip Neville and Osman need to be gone as well, and their presence basically is blocking the promotion of the youngsters like Rodwell and Baxter.
if we are shit with the aforementioned "Veterans", why not going with the kids? We might be as shit by playing the kids, but at least that would give them the opportunity to make mistake and learn from playing regularly: this is what we call "HOPE"!
In terms of progress talent wise, the aforementioned quartet basically is "what you see is what you get" and what we have seen from them are simply not good enough!
Look at the "Kids Movement" in Arsenal: not that I’m saying our kids are as good as the Gunners’, but one more day of playing the "Vets", one more day of Pain!
42 Posted 19/10/2008 at 20:30:08
Totally agree with your reasons for the bad start. Regardless of what people say, all our major transfer dealings have been done early in the summer. Eg, Johnson, Lescott are two.
Fellaini’s first home game was against that twat gerrard! Felt sorry for the lad, give him time, he will produce the goods.
The 15% I don’t agree with.
Gosling - unproven, would be in the team if Moyes liked him. I don’t think you could put him in the starting XI. Neville must play right back, and Rodwell must be given time to play the defensive midfielder role.
Jagielka - always gives 100% and to be fair, its Lescott, Yobo and Baines that have made the mistakes this season.
The last thing I need to say is.
CARLO NASH is an EVERTONIAN
43 Posted 20/10/2008 at 10:32:38
During all the games this season Phil Jagielka has been the best player in Defence, so dropping him is beyond me.
I agree about Gosling he’s amazing, but he still needs time to develop, maybe give him some games against the bottom teams.
Saha? Not dangerous, maybe you’ve forgotten all the great goals he’s scored for Man Utd, the fact he hit the post a few games ago and also the fact hes the only player he is the only player to come out and say "ill loose my wages, till im match fit".
As for dropping Osman, how many goals in Europe and the League does he need to score?
Nash maybe I agree, but the mistake in the reserve game, was schoolboy. I like John Ruddy myself.
44 Posted 20/10/2008 at 15:04:27
The way forward is to sack Moyse; bring in genuine investors (BUSINESSMEN ? not Evertonians with a bit of spare cash) link up/partnerships with foreign clubs eager to bring on their own home grown talent and willing to ?lend? players.
For such a change we need a financial director with power; a recruitment and Publicity officer with power; a Chairman who insists on RESULTS.
The players are PROFESSIONALS ? they must be held responsible but responsibility is not much fun if you haven?t got the freedom to express your opinions and views on tactics. This is part of a new learning curve for everyone. Moyes is part of the past.