COLUMNIST JIM HOURIGAN
Let me start by pinning my colours to the mast and then explaining why. For me, Tim Cahill no longer deserves a place in the team and as soon as numbers allow he should be dropped. Why?
Reason 1: Tim has never been the most gifted of midfield players. His touch, passing and general ability to operate in midfield have always been questionable. Yes, he comes into the box late; yes, he is a danger at set pieces... but is that enough for a Premier League midfielder if we have any genuine desire to challenge those above us? Where are his passing and shooting abilities? Where is his ability to influence midfield?
Additionally, of late he has been a poor role model for those younger players around him. His lack of discipline and cover for Hibbert during the previous two games has been astounding and his general performance at both Bolton and Spurs was downright rank.
People complain about Fellaini, Rodwell and Gosling, but this man is a seasoned international (and captain), yet his leadership qualities were awful. He struggled to look like anything more than an ordinary player in the last few games because he couldn’t hide in terms of his midfield ability (not his commitment).
Reason 2: People cite his goals as a reason to keep him in the team and in effect because he can’t play in a four-man midfield (see above and last few matches) — that’s one of the main reasons we play five in the middle. That argument might have some substance if (a) he scored 20 goals a season; and (b) if we didn’t have any proven goalscorers.
Cahill has never scored more than the low teens in any season — does that justify sending out a team with five in midfield against all but the strongest teams? I would argue we play five to cover for his general inadequacies as a midfield player (and Osman's).
In effect, we carry him unless he scores; whilst he does score more than the rest of our midfield, is that because he has the licence to not play as a midfield player? Yes, we would miss his 10-12 goals but that is where the rest of the midfield have to step up to the plate and take us forward.
Reason 3: To play with five in midfield has to some extent been a necessity because of our lack of a goal threat up front. I accept that, in the past, that has been a solid reason for playing Cahill. However, we now have two proven 20+ goalscorers fit and able to play. How on earth do we justify playing five in midfield to accommodate a 12-goal-a-season player, when we would have to put a 20+ player on the bench to accommodate Cahill?
Some might say they can’t play together, well none of us know that and until you give them at least five games together (with some decent midfield players behind them), we will never know. I for one would rather see if Saha and the Yak can do it, rather than see a five-man midfield to keep Tim in the team.
Cahill has still a role to play, coming on for 20 or 30 mins as an additional goal threat would be scary for most Premier League sides, including the Sky 4. Playing him when we need his enthusiasm and commitment to gee up players is also a role he could have, but building and playing a whole system around him has had its day.
I don’t want him to go I just think its time we moved on in style and approach.
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1 Posted 31/10/2009 at 18:58:10
2 Posted 31/10/2009 at 19:04:32
Hell, who am I trying to kid?!?
3 Posted 31/10/2009 at 18:47:27
But you are quite right to point out that 11 players start the game and every one of those has to be there on current merit. I think we have a strengthened squad (all fit, that is) of footballers, capable of playing the control-pass-move game. Tim can do this of course, but others can do it better.
His undoubted contribution — for what... five years or so — hasn’t been the goals — for which he has become rightly famous — but as a wasp. An annoyance. One who disrupts the opposition. And to move up a gear or two we shouldn’t need that. They should be trying to do that to us.
I could argue all night about 4-5-1 being ’defensive’, but not this night. Praise be that we have had, still have and will have Tim Cahill and I’ll agree with you — his role has to be reassessed.
4 Posted 31/10/2009 at 19:21:53
The only area Cahill excels in is scoring headed goals from corners. Take that away and Everton have an average-at-best player. Cahill is not good enough to play in the centre midfield. He doesn’t have the ability to run the game.
I personally believe Cahill has made himself look a better player then he actually is because of his uncanny ability to score headed goals from corners. Lately, those goals have dried up and many people are now questioning his place in the team.
For me Everton’s strongest team now is:-
Heitinga Yobo Jagielka Baines
Pienaar Arteta Rodwell Bilyaletdinov
Cahill on the bench along with Distin, Hibbert, Fellaini, Neville and Osman.
5 Posted 31/10/2009 at 19:52:33
6 Posted 31/10/2009 at 20:14:23
Tim’s drop in form of late is down to him being shunted around by Moyes, usually to fit in the hapless Fellaini. His total commitment to our team is not in question and at 29 he is hardly ancient.
Get him back in his proper position and his main supply line in Arteta back and ive no doubt his form and goals will return. After all Tim has given us during the last 5 years, I think he deserves support not stick during a loss of form.
7 Posted 31/10/2009 at 20:47:04
The only thing that should matter is CURRENT FORM... nothing else. Yet what you suggest is, unfortunately, exactly what Moyes does — playing his favourites, just like he did last season with Osman.
Making Cahill captain proved to have zero positive affect on the team and possibly a highly negative one. But of course, because of what he has done for us on the odd occasions over the last five years, he should be starting every game??? Ridiculous.
8 Posted 31/10/2009 at 21:15:42
9 Posted 31/10/2009 at 21:34:42
Cahill is and always will be a passenger in a poor side, as we are at the moment, but when we are playing well, he is vital when we need that breakthrough, and yes, he needs Arteta — we all do.
10 Posted 31/10/2009 at 21:28:22
Is it a bad excuse to keep our €15M dud in the team?
I agree when all are fit, Timmy has to be the fifth man in a five-man midfield.
TO SAY 4-4-2 IS THE WAY FORWARD IS CRAP,
11 Posted 31/10/2009 at 22:01:00
He runs around the pitch, getting up defenders’ shirts, doing little knicks on their ankles, shoving them, battering them about...
That is his main role. He does it bloody excellently. Other teams’ supporters look down at him for being a fouling little ratbag, but genuinely, he scares opposition and defences, allowing the forwards to be more effective.
Midfielders like this are invaluable to teams and their work is often unnoticed. Sidwell at Villa is another example. Villa do better with him in the team because he’s a tosser who gets up defences’ noses. Obviously he’s a different class to Tim, but Gerrard for the Shite and Lampard for Chelsea do exactly the same thing.
I hear a lot of talk about the makalele role — the Carsley role — in interrupting attacking play, but the same is true too — midfielders such as Cahill can and certainly do disrupt defenders, allowing the strikers to do their job.
12 Posted 31/10/2009 at 22:54:49
I think you just have to go game by game and the ones I look out for are those that show consistency game on game; unfortunately, they are the ones that others covet.
13 Posted 01/11/2009 at 00:20:36
Today I thought he was really good. Got great tackles in and hassled Villa so they never got command of the midfield. I have been critical enough myself lately but today I really enjoyed the game and Cahill's excellent contribution.
14 Posted 01/11/2009 at 00:54:59
Referring to Cahill’s past displays should not be looked as sentimental but rather his past form over a consistent basis has illustrated how important he is and will be to this team. His form this season, as with everyone, should be considered in context, namely the worst injury situation which we have seen at this club for many years.
But the fact is that Cahill works extremely hard and has a superb goalscoring record because of his positional ability and goal scoring instinct which should be viewed comparitively as useful a skill as the passing and vision of Arteta or Pienaar.
15 Posted 01/11/2009 at 00:51:17
Whether in attack or defence, his direct opponents know that for 90 minutes he will hassle, tackle and subject them to a non-stop physical test. Tim gives and takes his full share of knocks and unlike others in our squad he does not throw himself to the ground at the slightest nudge.
All strikers go through the kind of dry patch that Tim is currently in yet his primary role is ball winning midfielder, not as a striker. At corners and free kicks there is no doubt that opponents pay him extra special attention. In those situations it is vital that decent balls are sent his way but not many of them are delivered eh?
I could go on a bit more but nothing I can say will convince some that in Tim we have our only world class talent and a loyal play-anywhere clubman to boot.
16 Posted 01/11/2009 at 05:32:09
For the last couple of years we have always seen Cahill as a starter if fit (I seem to remember a single exception to that ...), and similarly Osman and Neville. These players represent the fundamental problem that we have at Everton. They are portrayed as all heart, players who will give their all, and do as Moyes asks of them.
That simply doesn’t work any more in a game where the skills and tactics are as fluid as the weather. An assault on Osman, for example, will often result in a rapid shift in pace, shape, and danger on our right. Press Cahill and the opposition will more than often win a foul or benefit from a missED pass, or at worst a high and wide shot.
I can’t forget that Cahill has scored some important goals in past seasons, but remember that this has always been as a ’ghost’ forward where we had limited choices. We now have much more effective and talented forwards. The other teams have done their homework and they now know how to counter his single dimension of operation.
If his job is to worry the opposition then does that absolve him from making any other significant contribution? Absolutely not! However he is as much as a liability in a real midfield position as Osman is and he is not a forward. So what’s next?
He obviously relishes goalscoring opportunities as we have seen when he has collided with our own players this season in clear goalscoring opportunities. So now he gets in the way of his own players.
I believe, like Jim, that he can make a significant impact coming on as a sub later in the game, when his irritation of the opposition is more likely to give us an advantage.
But he is one of Moyes’s core team, unfortunately, and he will continue to start every game.
17 Posted 01/11/2009 at 06:36:24
18 Posted 01/11/2009 at 06:54:54
He has been asked to play out of position most of this season and this no doubt has affected his scoring. Whilst I respect each person has their opinion I have to disagree with this post. Timmy has more to his game than just about any other player in our squad.
I can see the case for bringing him on for impact for the last 20 minutes or so but who in our squad is going to give you as much as Tim has to offer? Lets not forget he does plenty when defending in our own box as well. Every clearing header seems to come from Tim.
I think the only "sentimental clap trap" we get on this forum is from those living in the past who believe it is our God given right to be dominating the league and winning trophies every year.
19 Posted 01/11/2009 at 10:40:35
Who would you put in his place? Arteta and Pienaar are the only better midfield players we have in the entire squad. Last time I checked you need at least 4. Fellaini is a waste of space on current form so I don’t see him as any improvement!
20 Posted 01/11/2009 at 10:31:53
Things to consider about him:
- The opposition hate playing against him — he is an absolute pest.
- Unfortunately he has started to fall over rather easily this season and referees have latched onto this. He now gets nothing from refs.
- The greatest asset he brings to a game is the energy level - this year he is just not quite there as in previous seasons.
- He has been played out of his best position to accomodate Fellaini. Tim playing wide right — awful decision from DM.
- Tim's touch, passing, shooting are all not top class — his heading ability is. He is also top class at getting on the end of chances - very rare in a midfielder.
- When he is on form Tim is definitely more than the sum of his parts.
21 Posted 01/11/2009 at 12:41:37
Any football fan in the country will tell you he is the best in the land at his best position but we play a lazy lump in this position instead as Moyes somehow has to justify his €15M he spent on a player whom he thought was a holding midfielder.
If you want to give stick at the Cahill dilemma, give it to the right man.
22 Posted 01/11/2009 at 12:36:04
Football is a team game. Just as picking the 11 best players you have, sending them out and hoping for the best rarely works, it’s all about the blend and how the pieces fit together.
Moyes has consistently produced a Team that is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts by getting the best combinations of what he has available.
Tim’s best position is as the 1 behind the Forward in a 4-4-1-1 formation. I am also convinced that Fellaini’s best position is also there by the way, and that they need Neville or Heitinga behind them to add defensive cover, but I digress.
Cahill’s goals, never-say-die attitude, and aggression are a vital part of our Team. The man is an example to all sportsmen of how to conduct yourself and is part of the ingredients that give Moyes’s teams more effect than people expect (recent bad performances not withstanding).
With Saha and Yakubu both having injury issues, there is still a strong likelihood that 4-4-2 will never be viable. 4-5-1 with a team of
Neill/Hibbert, Jags, Yobo, Baines;
Bily/Rodwell, Arteta, Neville/Heitinga, Pienaar;
... would be the way I’d go — allowing for suspensions and injuries of course.
23 Posted 01/11/2009 at 13:15:13
Worried we may have done our dosh on him. And while we are at it, how the fuck can he expect to head a ball with any decent power or accuracy when he’s carrying about 30k’s of steelo on his head???
24 Posted 01/11/2009 at 13:37:06
It's time to take him out for a bit as the fans are going to end up hating him. Put Cahill back where he belongs and watch the difference.
25 Posted 01/11/2009 at 18:10:51
Now he is a symptom of Moyes’s folly in not realising that 4-5-1 no longer works for Everton. I believe that, when Arteta and Pienaar are back, things should be better but I can’t see how Timmy can keep his place. I don’t mean to be too critical because he’s been a good club man and does his best — just trying to give my honest appraisal.
26 Posted 01/11/2009 at 18:36:13
Martin 4-5-1 would still work... it’s just Moyes that ballsed it all up by pissing around with Cahill's position to justify having Fellaini in the side.
27 Posted 01/11/2009 at 19:21:27
As far as I can see from those who disagree it basically boils down to his past exploits, past goals and his genuine commitment to the cause. No one seems to challenge the view that he is limited as a midfield player — although saying that, it will no doubt happen now.
Before it does, perhaps people ought to look at the stats for yesterday's match — one of Tim's better recent ones according to most. Tim made only 15 passes in the match, fewer than any other Everton player and that includes the defenders — Bily 35, Fell 18, Heitinga 22, Rodwell 29, Neill 45, Baines 27, etc etc. Now I realise that one of those passes created a goal so I’m pleased with that, but don’t be fooled by 1 assist. I’m sure if I could be bothered to look at last season's stats he would have the fewest of all our midfield players.
However, the point I made about balancing a 10-12 goal a season midfielder against two proven 20+ goalscorers was dismissed with the ’injury prone’ tag — interesting, that... when you look at Tim’s recent injury record. Sacred cows are not impervious to criticism and loyalty can only be taken so far.
If we have two players with the ability to win more matches then why on earth do we not use them?
28 Posted 01/11/2009 at 19:44:20
I remember one specific incident at Blackburn the season before last, before AJ's disallowed goal. The 4-5-1 is based to suit round Cahill but with a fast striker, such as AJ. These guys were murdering him through the game.
But also, does anyone remember Man City away two seasons ago when it worked to perfection? Cahill is a useful player away from home at somewhere like Sunderland. But in home games, he goes missing. However, I thinks its unfair to blame him as there's been no Arteta or Pienaar in the team to create anything.
Fellaini looks to have a tonne of steel in his boots everytime he walks out as well... The reality is we need a player like Alan Smith or, hate to say it, Joey Barton — a player that can shoot like Lampard and pass.
29 Posted 01/11/2009 at 20:05:44
I agree he is average in a basic four-man midfield but we are best with him behind the main striker; we don't have strong enough midfielders to play 4-4-2 against the big boys.
Have a look at other supporters' views on websites when asked who they fear when playing us or who they would have if offered an Everton player, it’s Cahill all the time... and yet, since Fellaini has been here, it has cocked the whole balance of our team up. We had a tried and tested and fairly successful system until Moyes bought his holding midfielder who actually wasn’t.
I can see Cahill getting off at the end of the season and — just like when someone like Neville, Carsley or Pienaar gets injured — we don't realise what they are to us until we don't have them.
Fair enough, give him stick if he is not doing it playing in his natural position... but Cahill is no more a right winger than Tony Hibbert, and — just like Moyes has done with Osman, playing him out of position — he is turning the fans against Cahill, and that is unfair.
Drop Fellaini, get Cahill back where he belongs... and he will guarantee scoring and winding the big boys up. Tim Cahill is the only one who does it, time and time again, against the top four — and I include Arteta, Pienaar and whoever else you wish to mention.
So, when you do your stats, have a look at his against these teams compared to the others I mentioned — there is no contest.
30 Posted 02/11/2009 at 00:06:32
Do you happen to have the stats for tackles or clearances from our own penalty area?
31 Posted 02/11/2009 at 06:12:50
1) The crux of these posts seems to be that Cahill is a limited player who lacks the all-round skills to play in our midfield. To this I’d say pull you head out your arse. Sure we are all proud of the club's heritage but our midfield doesn’t really live up to the School of Science does it? Who do you think should take his place... Fellaini? I thought we wanted a player with all-round skills?
2) Yes, Cahill scores most of his goals from headers and set pieces. Look at how this team plays. I don’t like to say it but we are not Arsenal, this is not a smooth passing silky team. How many defence spitting passes has Cahill received from our other midfield players? Most of the time the only opportunity Cahill has to score is from set pieces and now he is having to compete with a beast called Screech.
3) He has played a shit load of football recently and no player can remain on top form 100% of the time. We have missed most of our creative players for some time so Cahill hasn’t been given the best of service. In reality Tim is a mix of a striker and a midfielder. He has been played out of position most of the season and still gives his all.
4) As for the argument that only his current form should be taken into account that amazes me. The man has a better goal scoring average than Gerrard or Lampard. Is a former nominee for the Ballon d'Or. So he has not been in the best of form this season and some of you think it’s a good idea to take him out. I could see the sense in that if we had a big squad of players of Cahill’s talent or better but we don’t.
The current situation is a result of Cahill not playing his best, not playing in his favoured position and having little support from his other midfielders.
32 Posted 02/11/2009 at 06:15:45
33 Posted 02/11/2009 at 09:58:33
34 Posted 02/11/2009 at 10:27:27
When all are fit Cahill should be played off Saha.
35 Posted 02/11/2009 at 11:58:38
As you said when fit get him behind Saha and they would cause murder for the best defences.
36 Posted 02/11/2009 at 12:50:51
For me its simples,
In a 4-5-1 he’s the man - theres noy many in the premiership better than him at playing support to the striker.
In a 4-4-2 he doesnt fit. Its not what he does!
4-5-1 is, in my opinion, our strongest option.
However I’m now drooling and dreaming of our 2 x proven 20+ goalscorers delivering our first league title in over 20 years....
37 Posted 02/11/2009 at 18:48:03
38 Posted 02/11/2009 at 22:41:01
39 Posted 02/11/2009 at 23:34:14
The illness, the symptom and the cure.
The Illness; We have to play 5 coz we haven’t got, couldn’t afford to buy or pay 4 GOOD ENOUGH.
The Symptom; Moyes does the best he can buying in at bargain rates, Arteta, potential but previous failure in UK. Piennar, potential. Cahill, Cheap pate jack of all trades, though he did look good in the Championship. Osman from the ranks, but has failed to improve passed an average level. less said about Davies and Shandy the better.
The Cure; Better players and or MORE MONEY.
We will never challenge the top4 unless we have players of the calibre that will keep out Arteta and Pienaar.
We don’t play 5 just because we have Cahill.
The goal scoring...IT’S A REALLY REALLY GOOD TRICK and neglect him at your peril.
But the going rate per pony is still ONE TRICK.
40 Posted 03/11/2009 at 00:29:43
What must be remembered is that every opposition team puts their biggest man on him. He is being marked becasue he is a threat, and teams are scared of him due to his excellant timing and leap.
However, he is slowing, and didnt have a great deal of pace to begin with. He also lacks great passing ability (yes he set up the goal vs villa...but the same people mentioning this will happily forget Fellaini’s goal vs Bolton and say Fellaini offers NOTHING???).
I do think its time for Cahill to take a step back (when we have the players available to make such decisons).
I think he could become a great super-sub, and still play a great role in the future of our club. I dont have the stats but i’m sure the majority of Cahill’s goals come in the last 15minutes. This could be in part a product of tiring defnces not picking up his runs in the box.
It would give the oppositon problems as they wouldnt train as much to prepare for someone who will ot start the game. This role I feel, with Fellaini/Rodwell and Arteta Bily and Pienaar and s strike force of Yak and Saha gives us numerous options....take of Fellaini/Roddwell for Cahill, or the Yak or Saha.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has become a Man U legend due to his effectiveness coming off the bench, I feel Tim could be similar.
41 Posted 02/11/2009 at 12:15:17
I was watching the game on Saturday and his contribution was terrible. He certainly would not make my midfield... Bily, Arteta, Heitinga, Pienaar would be my choice, I would put Rodwell and, dare I say it, Osman before Cahill.
42 Posted 03/11/2009 at 06:14:20
43 Posted 03/11/2009 at 06:29:07
Wake up FFS, Osman should be in the team ahead of Cahill. I’m happy enough to admit I’ve had a few at the moment but whats your excuse.
I have nothing at all against Osman. I like the guy he is scouse, puts in and is an Evertonian... but I dare say he will never come anywhere near being nominated for the Ballon d’Or.
Cahill is not at his best right now but there are several factors affecting him at the moment. He is one of our most recognised players for a reason.
Simply put he is a good player. He is head and sholders above most of our squad and bleeds blue.
How many players in our squad do you think Wenger would like? He singled Cahill out recently as a great player.
44 Posted 03/11/2009 at 16:10:14
So he shouldn’t be playing there then?
I agree with the sentiment of the article..He wouldn’t feature in preferred team...
Fellaini is much better at linking up play in that position..
Great servant to Everton..but there’s absolutely no room for sentimentality in this game..
45 Posted 03/11/2009 at 16:13:56
46 Posted 03/11/2009 at 16:10:14
So he shouldn’t be playing there then?
I agree with the sentiment of the article. He wouldn’t feature in preferred team...
Fellaini is much better at linking up play in that position. Great servant to Everton... but there’s absolutely no room for sentimentality in this game.
47 Posted 03/11/2009 at 18:18:28
Fellaini is a DM and played anywhere else he just looks lost.
48 Posted 04/11/2009 at 09:57:09
He was superb... and so was those he linked up with.
He needs the correct players and to be played in the correct position... and that’s certainly NOT defensive midfield.
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