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Tactics to beat Man Utd

By Peter Jones :  21/10/2008 :  Comments (74) :
Right, that?s it! If DM can?t come up with a tactical plan to at least come close to winning a game against one of the Big 4, then I will. So here goes:

Do not, I repeat DO NOT hoof the ball from defence to attack! A pass played from defence to attack in the air is: (A) predictable and therefore easy to defend, (B) difficult for your attackers to control and as a result YOU LOSE POSSESSION!!!

If you give up possession easily against good footballers they will create chances against you. The more times you hoof the ball upfield and consequently lose possession, the more chances you will indirectly hand to your opponents. As a result, it becomes almost impossible to keep a clean sheet as they will eventually and inevitably score a goal if you keep giving them possession of the ball.

Now I?ve got that off my chest, let?s look at our opponents and assess where they may have possible weaknesses:

1. Van der Saar ? aged 39, slow off his line, can?t jump. Therefore, (a) play passes in behind their back four for our forwards to run onto. Such passes must be played FROM MIDFIELD! I know we haven?t seen one for a long time, but please at least try to play a pass on the ground for a forward to run onto. With this in mind we must play with pace upfront ? therefore we must play with two attackers. Saha, Vaughan, and Anichebe all have pace. To play with just Yakubu on his own upfront would be a capitulation and unforgiveable (incidentally to play Yakubu upfront and Fellaini off him against Arsenal was astonishing ? no pace and what an insult to the other attackers to play Fellaini in that role).

(b) Ensure that Arteta and Pienaar vary their positions, on occasions, and play slightly infield, away from the touchline and closer to central midfield when we are in possession of the ball. From those positions they can look to play straighter balls in behind the Man Utd back four, or play chipped and weighted passes over their back four. Furthermore, give them freedom to swap their positions with each other and Osman. Man Utd will almost certainly expect Arteta to be on the right wing and Pienaar on the left wing. I?d give them something to think about straight from the start and swap them over. Arteta on the left wing enables him to play straighter passes with his right foot and more importantly greater opportunities to strike shots from outside the box as he cuts infield from the left.

(c) Play corners or free kicks high and beyond the goal to be headed back into the front of goal area in the hope it falls to one of our players. VDS won?t come for them, he never does, because he knows he can?t jump (he?s too old).

2. Ferdinand ? pressure him when he?s in possession. He can be great but he?s prone to errors. With this in mind this could be the sort of game to play Vaughan to harass Ferdinand. He always gives 100% and at least we?d know he wouldn?t meekly accept defeat like some of the players who I could name. Whoever plays with Yakubu should play up against Man Utd backline looking to break beyond and behind them. But also he will be required to run the channels to give midfielders options. Yakubu should drop deep , in ?the hole ? away from Man Utd?s central defenders ? he?s got the ability to retain possession in this position and can play short passes well. Also can turn and look for a shot from distance.

3. Brown ? he doesn?t like being pressured. Not a great first touch on him. Stay close to him when we are defending and try to close him down quickly as soon as he receives the ball. With luck he may lose possession in a dangerous position and give us a chance.

4. Evra ? brilliant and athletic attacking fullback. But therein lies his weakness. I?ve never seen a fullback advance so often so high upfield and more often than not into opposition?s penalty area. As soon as he does this the whole team should be looking for it. One of our forwards should then drop into position to the right side of central midfield. As soon as we regain possession that forward should start a diagonal run at pace into the channel where Evra should be. A long pass over the top of Man Utd midfield into that channel should be hit immediately once we regain possession. A Man Utd central defender is likely to try to come across to cover but they?ll be running at pace. If there is a clumsy touch in the box when running at pace then there is always a chance of a penalty (and a sending off). If our forward can beat that central defender he will be in on goal with a chance. Midfielders should get themselves into position to pick up any lose balls on the edge of the box.

5. Central midfield ? (a) A definite weakness for ManUtd at present. Scholes and Hargreaves injured. Fletcher an average player. O?Shea a central defender playing out of position. Anderson, inconsistent. Giggs, may possibly play central midfield due to injuries ? again not his position and very poor defensively (he can?t tackle). His great asset is running with pace. Not enough room in central midfield to do this. So whichever of them plays we can compete against them.

(b) So who should we play there? We MUST play a defensive midfielder in front of our back four to try to nullify Man Utd?s attacking talents. Rodwell or Castillo must play. Fellaini and Neville are too slow and just not acceptable in that position as they are guaranteed to give free kicks away on the edge of our box (a form of football suicide against Man Utd with Ronaldo, Rooney and Berbatov all brilliant free kick takers).Osman, if on form, gives support to the attack but only play him for 60/70 mins. After that he?s invariably a spent force. I?d have Fellaini on the bench and look to bring him on at that point.

So much for Man Utd?s weaknesses, what about dealing with their strengths?

1. Ronaldo ? Baines played him very well last year so he must play, he has quick feet and great balance to match Ronaldo. Lescott is having a troublesome season and the last thing he needs is a poor game against Ronaldo. Also Baines?s delivery into the box can be excellent so there is always the chance he may create a goal. Also he should be allowed to take some of our freekicks rather than predictably letting Arteta take them all.

2. Left wing for Man Utd is likely to be Park or Giggs. Both use pace to attack opposition?s right back. Neville is too slow so Hibbert must play.

3. Since they?ve been managed by Ferguson Man Utd have always been outstanding on the break. Therefore our fullbacks MUST play defensively. They must concentrate on their defensive position even when we are attacking. Man Utd always look to play on the break , just look at the positions Ronaldo and Rooney take up when the opposition are attacking ? they look for open space to the wings or just infield away from the touchline. Our fullbacks must be alert to this and stay close to them.

Incidentally, when did Everton last score a goal on the break? Does DM do any training with the team in this respect?

4.Rooney and Berbatov ? I think in Jagielka and Lescott we have two central defenders who can match them but they must get cover from our defensive central midfielder, i.e. Rodwell or Castillo. In any event I don?t think Rooney has ever played well against us as his heart is not in it when he plays us. Berbatov can be lethargic so we can deal with him.

To conclude, I believe we can win this game but we must have a positive tactical plan to:

(a) take advantage of situations which will arise in the game, and
(b) create positions where we can cause Man Utd problems.

Hoofball and the over reliance on Arteta creating a chance will simply not work. Surely, after so many failures against the big 4, Moyes must try something different.

Reader Comments

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EJ Ruane
1   Posted 22/10/2008 at 17:25:33

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5) Stick a player (Jags maybe) centrally, just outside the box, maybe 4-5 yards from the penalty spot.

His instructions as follows.

"If you move more than 4 yards in any direction from that spot, you will be hauled off and local gangsters will be waiting in the changies with instructions to break both your thigh bones".


For any/all of those square balls or ’cut-backs’ they like so much and thrive on, you will be Johnny (’Jaggsy’?) on-the-spot.

For any of those balls that seem to drop with incredible regularity for Shrek or The Name Of The Rose, again you will be there to clear/sweep up.

If in doubt, row Z.

If you have time, Arteta.

Do not, at ANY time put the ball towards your own goal.

(you reading this Moyes!?)
Andy Kowalski
2   Posted 22/10/2008 at 17:42:51

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Well that sounds quite easy to do. I’m surprised more teams don’t beat Man Utd more often. All they would have to do was follow these instructions.

Man Utd are the reigning European and English champions but would probably get relegated if every team employed these tactics.

However, the facts of the matter are that our best player for 20 years is their 4th or 5th best player. They are superb team full of pace, flair, skill and technical ability. The only way we will win is if we do all the obvious things you say and we play to the best of our ability and they play very very badly.
Joey Brown
3   Posted 22/10/2008 at 17:26:27

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All fine, Moyes won’t do it.
Trevor Clatworthy
4   Posted 22/10/2008 at 17:57:17

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I'm a Man Utd fan, and have always liked Everton and their fans!

But by god fella! Do you not have a job?

That was one hell of a post!

I'm looking forward to a good game! We are playing really well and Ithink Rooney is going to be on real fire on Saturday!

All the best of luck!
Andy Crooks
5   Posted 22/10/2008 at 18:06:06

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Peter, I hope ypu?ve sent a copy of your article to David Moyes. We all know what the starting formation will be unfortunately.
Jeremy Benson
6   Posted 22/10/2008 at 18:15:03

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Hoofball is actually the only way for Everton to beat Man Utd at this time. Trying to outpass/outplay/out-midfield them is pure folly.

Hoofball when it has more than one man up front - when you?re hoofing to tall strikers for knock downs - is by far the best tactic moyes could employ, in my opinion.

Vaughan, Saha and the Yak up front. Hoof it up to them, and bypass the world-class midfield. Three tall strikers scrapping it out against 2 centre backs. Sorted.

But it?ll be 4-5-1 so I dont know why we bother speculating.
Trevor Dean
7   Posted 22/10/2008 at 17:37:31

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The basic tactics here are flawed. We?d end up ahead of the ball and overexposed.

You suggest we should play balls thru for our forward/s to run onto as if it?s that simple. In truth we won?t be able to do that as they will sit deep, just as they always do when they?re away from home. With your two upfront this will mean a massive gap between our forwards and midfield causing our midfield to push up, which will in turn cause our defence to play a high-line. And United therefore will just sit back, hit us on the break, kill us with pace, and score. And we?ll respond by going on the attack to get an equaliser and they?ll do exactly the same thing again.

United are successful because they have so many options and ways to play and condequently whichever way we play the odds are against us. HOWEVER, the best chance of us winning is to play 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1, screen the defence, make sure we?ve always got at least one midfielder supporting the striker, but not always the same one so it?s difficult for them to mark us, and play with discipline, but with a high tempo to upset their rhythm.

Beyond that, it is, quite simply, up to us the fans to raise the roof, inspire the team, and create a game to kick-start the season.
Cairan Armstrong
8   Posted 22/10/2008 at 19:23:45

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I struggle to see how we are going to win against a team absolutely on fire (realistic not defeatist) but I?d hope we can compete...

Like Arsenal, Utd do get a lot of goals from short passing in and around the box - so I?d adopt a 5-4-1 formation.

Yobo, Jags and Lescott holding the area...
Nev, Castillo and Baines as defensive midfielders...
Arteta, Osman and Pienaar creating and taking chances from outside the box...
and Yakubu - ?being Yakubu?

Don?t care if Rooney or Ronaldo get the ball near the corner flag if they have to get past 2/3 players - better than having tonnes of space in front of goal.
Sean Patton
9   Posted 22/10/2008 at 19:39:02

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Hark at all the United fans on here the only player we need to fear is Phil Neville as he usually rolls out the red carpet.
James Boden
10   Posted 22/10/2008 at 19:50:31

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Peter, you made some decent points there; however, there is no way Moyes would do that. He simply is clueless. Let's be honest we haven't a hope in hell, so rather than trying to keep them out we might as well go for it. I'd rather get hammered knowing weve tried to beat the best team in europe rather than beat trying to hold them out. That might sound silly but let's face facts we can't defend. As they say the best form of defence is attack.

I think we should set out to attack and attack and attack. I seriously think all attack is the best option. id play 4-4-2. Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Yobo, Baines, Osman, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar, Yakubu, Vaughan. How about trying that, it can't be any worse than what we've already done this season.

About time Arteta delivered and please leave Neville away from the team forever, especially when we play 1 of skys team because he always makes a right cock up. But i can bet Neville plays and Moyes is ultra defensive, when it will be undone 5 minutes in. About time we put 1 over United, 1 win in 13 years is beyond pathetic. Didnt we use to be their bogy team. Then again we dont have the likes of Alan Ball, Alex Young or Kevin Sheedy these days. Hopefully Moyes will prove me wrong but i doubt it.

Colin Hyatt
11   Posted 22/10/2008 at 20:33:39

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You don?t think the thick heads who make up our squad could take all that in do you? They?ve been trained to play only one way-hoof it! I expect all the big boys will be in - Lescott at full-back, Fellaini, Castillo and Rodwell in midfield and the Yak on his own up front. Oh and Anichebe to come on at 70 mins. Now there?s a plan for you!
Alan Codd
12   Posted 22/10/2008 at 20:41:49

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Lets get real. We ALL know what Davey boys team will be and his tactics. He will do his usual shit his pants 4-5-1 fucking shite because the man doesn't know what else to do because he is tactically incompetent. Then he will spout shit about the money blah blah blah fucking groundhog day
Simon Jones
13   Posted 22/10/2008 at 20:37:18

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Here is my contribution to this discussion, play like Wimbledon, bite them in the tackles, upset them, tell them that their team coach smells of wee, indicate that their wives and girlfriends are dogs, or, you have had an affair with any one or all of them, play in a grey kit so they can’t see you, touch them in an inappropriate manner in the wall at free kicks, say random things such as "my kitchen is painted duck shell blue," wave to Fergie at every oppurtunity, wink if necessary, be polite to the referee and call him "sir" on occasion, try and swop shirts with them while the game is still in progress.

Its got as much chance as the footballing guidelines above.
John Martin
14   Posted 22/10/2008 at 20:45:26

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You make it sound so easy, I can't understand why your?e not the manager of a top side. If only football was as simple as Fifa 09.
Lee French
15   Posted 22/10/2008 at 20:43:40

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That's one of the funniest posts I've read in while! Lots of great lines but my fave has to be Utd's weakness No. 2 "Ferdinand ? pressure him when he?s in possession. He can be great but he?s prone to errors. With this in mind this could be the sort of game to play Vaughan to harass Ferdinand."

Ferdinand is one of the best defenders in the world and one of Man U?s top 3 players. To cite him as a weakness for me is completely laughable and destroys some of the credible (but obvious) points you make.
Dave Jeanrenaud
16   Posted 22/10/2008 at 21:31:07

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Jesus wept.

It is so easy this football management lark isn’t it? At least if Davey is fired anytime soon we now have a master tactician of a fan ready to fill his boots!

Sometimes you have no option other than to play a long aimless ball upfield. Trying to always pass the ball out of defence with limited footballers like Hibbert, Neville, Yobo, Jagielka and Lescott is tantamount to suicide. The last thing we want to be doing is giving the ball away to Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov et al within 30 yards of our goal.

Pass the ball when we are able to by all means but when under pressure clearing our lines is often the better option.

If we get beat on Saturday it might just be due to the fact that United are miles better than us as opposed to the tactics of David Moyes.

John Martin
17   Posted 22/10/2008 at 21:48:26

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Well said Dave
Clyde McPhat
18   Posted 22/10/2008 at 21:56:12

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I would like to wager all the money in my Icelandic account on a ManU victory and clean sheet against us on the weekend. Celtic is a fairly good side, and have options but they looked like Sunday players yesterday against them. Man U was pretty strong and won in a stroll. Although, your tactic talk sounds good in the column, in reality there is not a lot you can do with the players we have. Rooney appears to be playing the best of the bunch right now, and he proably would relish an opportunity to show up DM at Goodison. 2 or 3 nil would be what I would predict in favor of the Reds. I would love to see us win out, but I think I have to be a realist on this.
Alan Codd
19   Posted 22/10/2008 at 22:54:41

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Yeah Dave all those limited players are Davey boys signings or re-signings

"Sometimes you have no option other than to play a long aimless ball upfield. Trying to always pass the ball out of defence with limited footballers like Hibbert, Neville, Yobo, Jagielka and Lescott is tantamount to suicide"

Why does Davey Boy do the same for.................... EVERY match???
Please, Moyes's stats speak for itself: 5 wins in 25; 18 goals conceded in 8 games, he is grossly incompetent and can't think of a new approach.
Paul Niklas
20   Posted 22/10/2008 at 23:03:08

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All made common sense till you suggested Rodwell in Midfield.

He will never be a midfielder.

Central defender yes but please stop advocating him in midfield .
Rich Boyston
21   Posted 22/10/2008 at 23:39:45

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"(a) take advantage of situations which will arise in the game, and
(b) create positions where we can cause Man Utd problems."

I can now see why managers are forced to take their coaching badges.
Anthony Millington
22   Posted 22/10/2008 at 23:36:35

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I agree with alot of that but playing a defensive midfielder such as Rodwell or Castillo alongside Osman would not be strong enough to compete against the league champions and I?m not convinced we?d beable to retain possession well enough. Osman is too lightweight to be playing as one of two centre mids against Manchester United and we?d be even more vulnerable to throw Castillo or Rodwell in at the deep end against the league champions. I say either stick with that line up but put Osman out wide and Arteta in the middle or put Fellaini in the midfield too and play with one upfront or leave Osman out and play 442.
Connor Rohrer
23   Posted 23/10/2008 at 00:00:56

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Paul Niklas,

Rodwell is a midfielder, he hasn’t played in defence for a year and a half now. Andy Holden moved him there and he’s revelled for both club and country.

Just because he started as a defender does not mean his future is in that position, alot of players change positions during there football education and development.

It’s quite obvious he has all the attributes required to be a good all round midfielder. So yes he is a midfielder, that how Everton see him.
Bob Parrington
24   Posted 23/10/2008 at 01:28:32

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Peter, yep, yep & yep but it might be a better plan to hijack their bus so they can’t turn up and have to forfeit. That is unless we want to be a little attack minded and put some pressure on the opposition for two halves! For this to happen we can only assume we need more than one lonely (dispirited)forward.
John Hall
25   Posted 23/10/2008 at 02:44:21

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4-5-1 is what we will get. 1 down at half time with a nother drubbing at home on final whistle. DM has no other options due to the players he has bought plus he is tactically shite. One system, one-dimensional and one who will never change.
RIP School of Science.
Jason Lam
26   Posted 23/10/2008 at 03:09:38

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It’s the tap water ain’t it? Try bottled water or at least filter and boil it afterwards.

Here’s one I found at a Manure fan site:

Right that’s it! It’s fucking goals galore! We’re on fire and Kirkby town are low in confidence and their only decent goal threat is Cahill who’s scoring for fun for Australia.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT pressure their back four as we’ll just be wasting time and energy in retrieving the ball. Sit back and have Ferdinand and Brown casually collect their aimless hoofs whilst lone-striker Yakubu stands around like a rhino in the baking sun.

1. Tim Howard. There’s one reason why we’re playing a 39 year old goalie and let go of Howard - it’s because he was crap! Howard may be faster and can jump, but he NEVER comes out to command his area! Keep throwing in crosses and watch him flap around aimlessly or more likely rooted dead in his 6 yard box.

b) There’s no need to TELL Rooney and Ronaldo to vary their positions. They play all over the park naturally and it’s like total football on steroids.

(c) Play corners or free kicks high and beyond the goal ... as Tim Howard won?t come for them, he never does, because he knows he can?t... COMMAND HIS PENALTY BOX!

2. Jags ? pressure him when he?s in possession. Wait don’t bother, wait for the hoof.

3. Lescott, Yobo - go green, save energy, wait for the hoof.

4. Baines. brilliant and athletic attacking fullback. But therein lies his weakness. I?ve never seen a fullback SO FUCKING SMALL that he never wins a header challenge in the left-back position.

5. Central midfield - Expect David Copperfield disappearing acts in Arteta. Mind the children too.

(b) So who should we play there? We’ve got 30+ players who could crap them! Massive headache for SAF, wouldn’t want to be in his shoes for this one!

So much for Everton’s weaknesses, what about dealing with their strengths?

Any takers????

Paul Niklas
27   Posted 23/10/2008 at 08:04:45

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Rodwell, thats how Everton might see him but not me, he has showed nothing to me that makes him a midfielder in fact he has looked lost playing there.

We have Castillo, Fellaini, Cahill, Osman, Arteta, Pienaar, Neville... he has no chance of playing in midfield as it stands and I doubt he will despite Everton's belief he is one.

If all our fit above then with Saha, Vaughan, Anichebe back I doubt he will make the bench.
Dave Jeanrenaud
28   Posted 23/10/2008 at 08:15:16

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Alan Codd,

You are another clearly suffering with memory loss. You talk eloquently about David Moyes? "....usual shit his pants 4-5-1 fucking shite...." whilst conveniently forgetting that we played our best football for years last season using this system.

Unfortunately the system relies upon Cahill being available and also Pienaar and Arteta joining in from the flanks. Watch out for the upturn in our fortunes after the United match.

All is not rosy in the garden at the moment and it would be folly to suggest otherwise. At a time like this, however, I choose to support the team and the manager in the knowledge that they have come good for us before and will do so again.

On a final point you chastise David Moyes for signing or re-signing ?limited? (my word) defenders. In the real world unfortunately we do not have the cash to splash on footballing defenders. That goes for the majority of the teams in the Premier League. And that is why the majority of the teams in the Premier League have a tendancy to launch long balls out of defence when pressurised by the opposition. This is not a habit solely related to Everton FC.
John Nelson
29   Posted 23/10/2008 at 08:24:27

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Great post in trying to find ways to beat Man Utd... however, to repeat many responses on this thread, deep down we all know what will happen on Saturday

First off, our very special Captain Marvel will no doubt come out with a rallying cry in the Echo tonight or tomorrow - this coupled with Moyes’ love for the ugly fucker will no doubt cement his starting place on Saturday in his "best position" of centre midfield (fuck me). Since Moyes has a love for shit, clueless, yard dog players, Hibbert and and Jagielka will be starting on Saturday also. Thirdly, as he likes to bemoan "our lack of height" every other week, a competent, fully able left back in Bainesy will make way for Lescott - a brilliant centre half who must be banging his head against the wall as to why he constantly gets played out of position. The rest of the team will then take it’s familiar foil and we will be playing a 4-5-1 system.

Now to the game itself. We have a go and generally give a good account of ourselves... for about 15 minutes. Man Utd then score (via fat tramp Rooney, large fod Berbatov or the long necked, gawpy Ronaldo - take your pick). After that, our heads sink to the floor and surprise surprise - hoofball starts getting played.

The game eventually finishes 2 or 3 nil to Man Utd, with gobshite Phil Neville scoring a diving header own goal from the edge of the area. Moyes then decides to remind everyone for the 100th time in his post match interview that "we haven’t got the finances", "our squad isn’t big or strong enough" (I personally can’t believe Kenwright is letting him say these things, as not only is he making a cunt out of Kenwright but also out of our great club that is way bigger than David Moyes could ever come to terms with. I think it’s absolutely disgusting the way he’s getting away with saying these things, considering he’s just signed a big fuck off whopper contract for the next 5 years. I was a massive Moyes fan but the way he has carried on these past few months has put me right off him).

To conclude the weekends events, Neville the retard then comes out in Monday’s Echo with his obligatory "we’ll bounce back" article - again further cementing his place in the first eleven, not to mention David Moyes’ heart.

Obviously I hope I am oh so dearly wrong about the above, but with the way we’ve been for a long time, I can’t see things changing.

Anyhow, come on blue boys, prove me wrong and make a cunt out of me!
Dominic Duerden
30   Posted 23/10/2008 at 09:13:22

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Playing Hibbert, Baines and Rodwell is a sure fire way of getting hammered. Neville Right back, Lescott left back and centre midfield of Fellaini and Arteta is the best we have.

If we do play Rodwell, I know it's a crazy idea, but why don?t we play him centre half? Thats his position for christ sake... but not this weekend, not up against Rooney, Berbatov and Ronaldo.
Phil Mckay
31   Posted 23/10/2008 at 09:21:40

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John Nelson ? I agree with you 100%.
I also see fat boy is on 99 club goals so far ? how do I know that its written in the stars for him to score on Saturday.

Again ? I hope I'm wrong but it's got all the signs for it
Ciarán McGlone
32   Posted 23/10/2008 at 09:38:20

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Yeah, great idea Dominic!

Just as Lescott gets settled back into his natural role and Baines is playing well... drop Baines and move Lescott to a position that he clearly doesn't like to play.

Great idea!
Gary Hughes
33   Posted 23/10/2008 at 09:38:11

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Dave Jeanrenaud.....

You should read again what Alan Codd wrote because that is exactly what will happen.

The run of games you refer to last season were the exception not the rule. All it took was one bump in the road (Fiorentina) & Moyes reverted to type.

A dozen or so great performances in 6½ years of dross tells its own story.
Dave Jeanrenaud
34   Posted 23/10/2008 at 10:27:50

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You are another suffering with selective memory loss it would seem.

To dismiss the Moyes years as "..a dozen or so great performances in 6½ years of dross..." is frankly pathetic.

Bring back Walter Smith.
Gareth Mercer
35   Posted 23/10/2008 at 10:26:31

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Sometimes I just don’t understand the views expressed on here. LIke, "I have seen nothing in Rodwell as a midfielder". The boy is raw and needs a lot of work but he is a rare find for Everton: composed on the ball, nice passer, good vision.

And the real crowning turd in the water pipe is this comment about speed up front. You mention Vaughan, Saha and Anichebe. This suggests you think the Yak is slower than these. I disagree. I suspect Vic is the slowest of these, and that Saha and the Yak would be the front runners in a sprint race.
Andrew Flanagan
36   Posted 23/10/2008 at 10:33:35

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’Rooney’s heart won’t be in it’? Are you on crack. The guy hasn’t got a shred of sentimentality like us normal people. He wants to stuff us and kiss the badge in front of the Gwladys Street. Put him in the fucking stand boys. The only way were going to beat them is to out muscle them and break the game up, make no mistake. Moyes should put the fear of God in them and tell them to kick, grab and fight to the end. However I can tell you the way it will play out now. It will be 0-0 until 70 mins, having contained them quite well so far, we concede then we have no plan B so the balls start getting hoofed (if they haven’t already) and we concede another. Please prove me wrong boys!! COYB.
Dominic Duerden
37   Posted 23/10/2008 at 11:17:49

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I do come up with them from time to time...ha ha!

Last season, the back four of Neville, Jagielka, Yobo & Lescott was outstanding. Moyes has messed up the only bit of the team that was functioning properly. Baines can't defend, Lescott can. £6 million for a midget. Get rid, along with Hibbert.
Martin Hughes
38   Posted 23/10/2008 at 11:45:32

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Moyes this is your chance to shine and prove to us all that when our backs are up against the wall the 11 blue shirts will come out fighting.

Don't be scared of playing the youngsters play Anichebe and Vaughan Upfront they will terrorise the defence. Also put Carlo Nash in goal.

My team -
GK Nash
RB Jagielka
LB Valente
CB Yobo
CB Lescott (captain) go for it moyes
RM Pienaar
LM Baines
CM Castillo
AM Arteta (Free Role)
CF Anichebe
CF Vaughan

Subs - Howard, Yakubu, Fellaini, Neville, Rodwell

GO FOR IT boys!
Mike Keating
39   Posted 23/10/2008 at 11:24:43

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It’s 24 years almost to the day that we demolished Manure 5-0. We also beat them in the Cup Final ten years later when few gave us a chance and remember we were 2-0 up against this lot 2 yrs back before we imploded.
Keep the Faith
P.S. I predicted a 2-1 win against the Arseoles last week so what do I know?
Michael Dawson
40   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:01:00

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Martin Hughes, you really think dropping Yakubu is a good idea? In a game where we may be lucky to get even one or two chances, you reckon Moyes should leave by far the best finisher at the club on the bench? I’m not so sure Ferdinand and Vidic will exactly be ’terrorised’ at the prospect of Vic and Vaughny either...

I don’t think Moyes really does need to try anything different - we generally lose to Man United because they are one of the best teams in the world, not because of our tactics. Baines must start at left back, Castillo to shield the defence and Yakubu alone up front. Our only chance is to contain them and hope for a lucky break. Just the way it is unfortunately...
Martin Hughes
41   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:10:33

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Michael Dwason -

Maybe a fresh approach is what's needed. Just a thought, how about dropping Baines back to LB, moving Valente into Castillo?s position, and then possibly playing Fellaini on the left (might give him some more space) than 100 mph midfield. I wish he had Carsley in the team, and a younger Gravesen of five years ago.

I beleive 4-4-2 will test the United defence a bit more and not give them time, they play their attacks from defence

Over to you sir!
Peter Howard
42   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:10:09

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It?s just a pity the clocks don?t go back on Friday night ? if they did then at least Cap?n Pip would time his tackles right.
Dave Jeanrenaud
43   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:14:27

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Are you Walter Smith in disguise? I only ask because the last time i saw so many players played out of position was when Walter was in charge!

Fellaini left mid? Valente centre mid? Is this a wind up??

As for Carlo Nash in goal then you obviously did not see him in the mini-derby the other week. He gifted the opposition a goal by dropping an easy shot and then got beaten at his near post by a free kick from wide on the touchline. I think we might be better sticking with Tim Howard and hoping that his defence afford him better protection that he has had in recent games.
Martin Hughes
44   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:24:01

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Dave Jeanrenaud

Give me your line-up then, and reasons for

Over to you, sir.
Dave Dodd
45   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:09:10

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The only way is to pack the midfield, fight and work like our lives depend on it. Any plan that involves playing the beautiful game, how god intended, will result in complete humiliation.
Against most ?others? we should play and we?ll win more than less.
Everton forever.........
Robbie Muldoon
46   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:03:37

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These tactics are a million time better then Moyes’ which will be ’keep it tight lads’.
Dave Jeanrenaud
47   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:42:43

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I?m happy to leave picking the team to David Moyes. After all he has the benefit of seeing the players on the training pitch all week.

Seeing as you asked however and assuming all are fit and available:


4-5-1 formation as we are too weak in midfield to play only 2 centrally against United. Lescott dropped on the basis that he needs a kick up the backside.

Over to you, Sir.

Martin Hughes
48   Posted 23/10/2008 at 12:52:18

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I cant believe you would drop Lescott and put in Neville, maybe it?s you who?s Walter Smith in disguise!
Martin Hughes
49   Posted 23/10/2008 at 13:35:26

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By playing 4-4-2, this sytem would press the United defence back, with the attackers on their case, could Ferdinand & co find time to make the pass to midfield, maybe by harrasing the back four we would have a better chance of getting a result. I am humble enough to concede that the line-up is not the best but what else have we got at our disposal?

Is it true then that whatever team turns up at noon on Saturday they are doomed? Is it now the mentality of all supporters of this great team that defeat is the only conclusion? I?m sure DM doesnt feel all is lost? So come lets have some optimism, let's be positive it?s the only way to beat United. We sit back and they will score an abundance of goals.

Is everyone planning for the Championship or what?

COME ON LETS BE HAVING YOU (as Delia once said!)

John McKie
50   Posted 23/10/2008 at 13:30:05

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I might get slated for this, but, I think we actually should play 4-5-1, at least for the first half anyway, then maybe revert to a 4-4-2 straight away in the second half.

Based on recent performances, we simply cannot afford to concede a goal in the first half, the players heads drop, tactics go out the window, hoofball becomes prominent and we end up getting hammerred.

If we can go in 0-0 after 45 mins, then this will hopefully raise the confidence for the 2nd half, at which point, I would automatically revert to 4-4-2, as opposed to waiting for us to concede and then reacting, as Moyes usually does. Be PROACTIVE.

I would start with...


Neville/Hibbert (who is worst? I aint sure? particularly as Man Utd are the opposition)


Pienarr (right)
Arteta (central - free role)
Baines (left)


Then, second half, lose Yobo/Jags or Baines (i.e. Lescott into middle / Baines to left back), put Pin-head on the left, Arteta on the right and then get another forward up there, Vaughan or Anichebe. Not Saha for me, not looked great of late and will be too emotional given the situation and may try too hard.

Anyone agree??? Probably not, ha.
Martin Hughes
51   Posted 23/10/2008 at 13:47:13

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I agree with you in relation to SAHA
Clyde McPhat
52   Posted 23/10/2008 at 14:01:18

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Dear Mr. Hughes.... Has your copy of Football Manager gotten a scratch on it so it cant be played any longer?

Your initial line-up for Everton against United was troubling. And I guess your heart was truly in it, but your brains were out on holiday.

I know you mean well and aren?t hurtful, but your line-up was fanciful at best and stupid at it?s worst.

If I work back from the front, your two forwards have actually shown a lot of promise over the last couple of years, and they will help us stay in the Championship next year, because they will be the starting pair upfront. In all truth, off what they have shown, they are OKAY players. Nothing spectacular. Championship players.

Your four midfielders can do a lot with the ball, but absolutely nothing to get the ball back. And as we have seen over the years, Baines is not actually a midfielder and off recent form, not actually a defender either. Castillo has not had a run in the first team in a month, and I?m not sure what you have planned for him. And are you saying Osman is unavailable? Is he? Because if he is, we have no chance of getting the weird goal.

Also, has jags ever played right back for us? I know you?re thinking right back, center back, what?s the difference. But, it is a bit of a difference in responsibilities and bringing the ball forward on the wing and getting crosses in. Not sure if I have ever seen him do those things. I have always liked Nuno, but he hasn?t had a full game in I can?t remember, plus he gets beaten for pace and there is a certain player who would run at him all day long on that side. I think you may have heard of him. Ronaldo? Ring a bell? By the way, Tim Howard is till our ?keeper and just because our back 4 has been absolutely terrible doesn?t mean you replace the ?keeper with someone who hasn?t played in the Prem in ages, and certainly hasn?t played against the likes of United. That lineup is an easy 3 or 4 nil victory for United.

Now to John McKie?s lineup.... The problem is with the exception of Castillo (who I don?t think is fit) this is probably what we will start with and United will get a goal around 35-40 mins in. And we will have had one or two shots on target and the yak will have run down three balls to Van de Sar before deciding this is crap. Arteta will be invisible, and Stevie P will do his best, but United?s pressure will be tough. DM will then wait until 71-72 min to bring on Saha and he will not be noticed until around the 90th min. Oh, look, they have put Saha in the Match. United will get another around the 80th and one in stoppage time, and we will limp away at 3-0. Neville will pick up a yellow for a horrible tackle in the 18th and you and I will spend the rest of the afternoon wondering at what juncture he will get his second yellow. That would be in the 88th minute for some stupid dissent thing. This is not the opponent you want to meet when you are struggling. I think you have to stay the course with the players you have been using and hope it turns around.
Peter Howard
53   Posted 23/10/2008 at 14:54:12

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To paraphrase the final entry in Kenneth Williams’ diary:
"..... oh! What’s the bloody point ! "
Martin Hughes
54   Posted 23/10/2008 at 15:49:11

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I?m sorry that you feel that my tactics are stupid, but the question is and nobody willingly is telling me this - should everton stick 11 men behind the ball or should we try and negate Utd?s tatcist and just go for it!, I agree that some players we have are championship level at best, but then what do you suggest. Jagielka has played right back for us on a numerous occassions last season, also how dare imply that my brains are on holiday! It seems to me that you and all the other negative supporters out their are quite happy to pick holes, but dont actual come up with a formation/tactics yourselves.

By all means pick holes on views and tactics, but do not start getting personal about people's abilities.
Ciarán McGlone
55   Posted 23/10/2008 at 16:13:06

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You have to admit mate..

Suggesting Valente in midfield, a whole raft of players out of position..and putting the two V’s ahead of the Yak and Saha..was a bit daft..

Not to mention the bit about Gravesen..who was one of the most overated tarts we ever had play for us...4 years of headless utter crap, followed by 6 months of good football..doesn’t make him the messiah. It makes him a knob in my book.
Kiern Moran
56   Posted 23/10/2008 at 16:11:36

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Excellent post Peter Jones, nice to read some positivity and ideas for a change, keep it up! I might be temped to give Baxter a start to see if he can upstage Ronney.
Clyde McPhat
57   Posted 23/10/2008 at 17:08:57

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I know you folks really do mean well.... but you want to start a 16 year old against Rooney because why? I hate to break it to you but Jose did not look like he was ready for the Prem in the two games he played earlier in the season. Enough with the fanciful stuff, and magical pixie dust formations and players. None of that stuff is ever going to happen in the real world, so, Martin, Cairan, and all the others who dream of DM breaking the mold and playing who you think should be played, well, it ain?t going to ever happen.

And as Martin asked, what is my formation? Well, it is a simple one, there are 4 along the back, 5 in t he middle and 1 upfront. DM has rarely employed a different formation than that when faced with superior opposition. So, it remains to be seen who lines up for us in the middle with Cahill still out and Castillo a doubt. Rodwell.... did you see his ability to stand and watch a goal or two against the Gunners? Brilliant stuff. He had no idea where he was supposed to be on the pitch in the defensive end. And I don?t know if you have watched every match like I have this year, and sometimes twice, but the Yak has cost us three or four goals by being unable to get the ball out of his feet in the defensive third and get the ball up field. the first Gunner goal on Saturday was a headed clearance right to the Yak, who was dispossessed and it turned into a deflected goal in a matter of seconds.

While Rodwell and Baxter may be the future, and Vaughan and Vic the future too, they are certainly not the present, and for you to suggest they are shows how little you understand about the game.

I think SAF will not start Ronaldo this week. That?s the only chance we realistically have of coming away with a point. Any mistake we make will be punished and any mistake they make will be covered.

Martin Hughes
58   Posted 23/10/2008 at 17:49:12

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We can dream thouch can’t we!
Simon Jones
59   Posted 23/10/2008 at 17:51:25

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Play to our strengths, a line up of 4-1-0-5 might do the trick. Plus instead of worrying about their world class midfield jus play the ball over them. It will pull Fat & Ugly boy out of position as he will always drop deep to look for the ball, thus negating one of the main threats. A few horse show jumps on the pitch should keep the show pony busy as he will be unable to resist jumping them and occassionally diving over one with that wonderful pleading look in his eyes. A handily placed mirror will put Gary Neville off, though careful Phil doesn’t look into it.

On a more serious note, I can’t see how technically we can beat them. Its going to need some good old fashioned bollocks, a few crunching tackles and a dose of luck.
Jon Martin
60   Posted 23/10/2008 at 15:54:53

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’If there is a clumsy touch in the box when running at pace then there is always a chance of a penalty (and a sending off). ’

Against Man Utd? Can you send me some of what you’re smoking, please? Or is Clattenburg reffing, and feeling like he owes us something? Either way, that’s a vain hope against the ’other RS’.
61   Posted 23/10/2008 at 18:32:34

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only one way to win against United, put it up them from the start. Pressure them and hope for a bit of luck
Jonny Clark
62   Posted 23/10/2008 at 19:23:21

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I’ll be happy as long as Phil Neville doesn’t start
Jon Martin
63   Posted 24/10/2008 at 00:54:06

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To John McKie

Sorry to bring this up here, but are you, or were you ever, anything to do with the church?

Does Oughtrington ’ring a bell’? Feel free not to answer, of course, but I’ve been trying to contact a namesake of yours.
Gary Hughes
64   Posted 24/10/2008 at 00:53:57

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Lads, Lads, please stop with the football manager nonsence. The key to beating a superior opponent lies with tactics & attitude.How many times have we all watched in horror as the likes of Shewsbury & Oldham have turned us over? How the fuck can inferior teams with inferior players pull off such results? I?ll tell you how, they go out & play without fear or respect for reputaions & they stop better teams from doing what they do best.

So what will we do on Saturday? My guess is that Moyes will send out an ultra cautious 4-5-1 aimlessly punting the ball up to an isolated Yakubu & constantly conceding possession, handing the initiative to our opponents. Eventually the constant pressure will lead to us conceding. Moyes will then fumble around not sure whether to change things around & try to force a change in the pattern of play or carry on as we are hoping that by some miracle we will manage an equalizer. While he?s piss balling around Utd will score a second & the game will be over. This is the moment Moyes will spring into action throwing on a second striker in a hopeless attempt to win a game that?s already lost

I hope to God I?m wrong but I seriously doubt it.

Steve Linden
65   Posted 24/10/2008 at 11:37:45

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Or tell each of our players to mark a United player and follow them all round the pitch. That way we?ll have a boring game and probably no goals.
Peter Howard
66   Posted 24/10/2008 at 12:38:48

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I’ll be wallpapering when the game is being played and I’ve a horrible feeling that it won’t just be my dining room wall that takes a pasting.
John McKie
67   Posted 24/10/2008 at 13:21:11

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Jon Martin... It aint me your looking for mate, not got a clue what your talking about, sorry.
Dave Lynch
68   Posted 24/10/2008 at 15:46:27

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Right. Here is my suggested tactics for beating Man Utd.
We place a sniper on the roofs of the stands in all 4 corners.
The first time one of their players crosses the half way they fire a warning shot across thier bows.
2Nd time they cross it. They lose a leg.
This will ensure that they stay in their own half and ensure we don’t have to defend anything .
We can then play our hoofball with confidence and i can guarantee us a least a draw.

Jimmy Hacking
69   Posted 24/10/2008 at 19:20:21

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The depressing fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter a great deal what slight variation Moyes picks from our regular starting line up, what we need to beat the Red filth is luck. Nine times out of ten they’ll beat us, Our best hope is to start praying that tomorrow is our lucky day, Rooney and Berbatov each miss four or five sitters, and The Yak nicks one with 90 seconds to go.
Jon Martin
70   Posted 25/10/2008 at 01:32:21

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John McKie - ta anyway, sorry for bothering you, like
Derek Thomas
71   Posted 26/10/2008 at 05:32:16

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Again with hindsight, Peter Jones wasn’t far off the mark.
Keep possession, get in their faces, pressure Ferdinand.

Robbie Muldoon
72   Posted 27/10/2008 at 13:27:40

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Full marks Pete... Looks like you were right and it would have been 3 points if it weren't for the post. You should be Moyes tactical adviser on here.
James McGlone
73   Posted 27/10/2008 at 15:29:52

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Jonny Clark - "I?ll be happy as long as Phil Neville doesn?t start".

Tut tut tut.

Martin Hughes
74   Posted 28/10/2008 at 16:01:11

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Told all of you doubters that 4-4-2 would work.

Over to you lot then!

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