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Lack of Creativity or Energy or Both

By Mike Oates :  21/03/2009 :  Comments (0) :
The two biggest problems Moyes faces is what to do when Cahill and Arteta are missing, either one of them... or even worse when both are missing. The end of last season was a tale of woe, with only 2 wins from last 9 fixtures when both were missing. The loss of any one of them causes problems — Arteta’s creativity, Cahill’s energy... we can just about cope with one missing but when both go — as today at Pompey — then we are completely lost.

I think the above paragraphs are the consensus views of the fans but I believe that Moyes also feels the exactly same way.

When he loses Arteta he has been unsure how best to get the side to be creative — there is no other like-for-like player in the squad. Ossie and Pienaar have not got the physical strength to dictate play and Fellaini hasn’t yet demonstrated that he can fill the role. Neville and Rodwell are both defensive-minded.

Cahill surprised us all when he managed against Middlesborough to dictate the play in the first 15 mins of the second half and we scored 2 quality goals. He unfortunately then faded. And when we loses Arteta, it's like losing the brain of the team. We can cope without Arteta with Cahill in the side —but as we all know our goals tend to be from set pieces rather than creative open football.

When we lose Cahill, we lose the only player who gets under the opposition noses, the only player capable of surprise in their box and quite frankly the heart of the team. Again, we have no like-for-like replacement. Once again, we can just about cope when Arteta is playing, but only just (stats show we miss Cahill more than Arteta); maybe just maybe Gosling can do this role in a season or so.

Moyes basically loves the 4-4-1-1 system, where Cahill is the either of the 1s depending on whether Jô or Fellaini is playing. When he loses Cahill he either goes 4-5-1 or more often now 4-4-2 (as today). What is clear is that 4-4-2 doesn’t suit us with the players we have left: Osman, Pienaar, Neville, Fellaini, Rodwell and Gosling.

Going 4-4-2 leaves us floundering in midfield. It's absolutely clear at the moment that Fellaini is lost big time when asked to play the centre midfield forward/creator position. Jô and Saha don’t have the energy or drive to make things happen up front and we as a team visibly weaken when the going gets tough.

With the players available to us now, the following are in my humble opinion the best teams to send out on the basis of Cahill playing or not playing:

Hibbert, Jags, Lescott, Baines
Gosling, Neville, Fellaini, Pienaar

Or without Cahill:

Hibbert, Jags, Lescott, Baines
Gosling, Neville, Osman , Pienaar

Whilst we all acknowledge that losing players of the like Yakubu, Vaughan, Saha (3 months) has caused us difficulties, all have been overcome in the long recent run by basically Cahill, and Fellaini. Losing both Arteta and Cahill is an act too far — we cannot perform without them and Moyes needs to act in the close season to have at least one back-up — I’d say another Arteta is a must. I’m only saying that as I don’t see another Cahill anywhere else around, he is unique.

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