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Reasons To be Cheerful - Part 2

By Glen Strachan :  09/08/2009 :  Comments (22) :

One year ago this week, I sat down and punched out the first part of an article with this title in response to the sea of negativity that was swilling around our website then. It seems that Part 2 is necessary to keep our True Blue Suicide rate manageable as the new season looms up in six days time. here is plenty to be positive about too.

Last August we had eight positions locked down by quality players and we would go on to add Saha and Fellaini in the weeks ahead — not to mention Nash — particularly important because he lessens the scary threat of ever having to play Turner in goal again.

This time I believe we have nine quality players set to take their first team places and to these you can add Jo as cover for Saha not to mention our three long-term wounded stars — Jagielka , our best defender last season; Arteta — our main creative genius in centre midfield; and Yakubu, our main striker.

On the positive side that, gives us 13 players who, if/when fit, could be picked for any game we play this season — even if we do not add a single inward transfer between now and the closing of the window.

Howard, Yobo, Lescott, Baines, Cahill, Neville, Pienaar, Fellaini, Saha and Jo are the ten which does not even take into account one of the most promising England players of his generation Jack Rodwell.

On the negative side general comment has our right side much weaker than the very strong left with Hibbert and Osman regularly coming in for savage criticism from various Evertonians.

How correct or even fair this is can, and no doubt will be argued but it is worth pointing out that the man who selects the team each week gave both of these players salary increases and long term contracts that have both at Goodison for at least another three years so David Moyes clearly has more faith in the abilities of both men than some of the fans.

Surely we knew five years ago when Wayne Rooney was sold that Premier Championships were hardly on the cards in Everton's future and right now Chelsea and Man U are well out in front of the rest of us in playing and financial terms while the 'second tier' of Man City , Arsenal and Liverpool will probably fight it out for the other two Champions league places.

Can we get ahead of a fading Arsenal or free spending City this time ?- we might know better after we meet both teams early in the new season but at worst we should be looking at another top six place and that would complete six years when we have finished fourth , fifth twice , sixth once and whatever we manage this time.

So we are stronger than last season - far stronger already - and after Christmas when Arteta , Jagielka and maybe even Yakubu are ready to join the fray , we look set to have a higher December to May points total in 2010 just as we had in 2009.

Again the bench is a young one with Gosling and Rodwell getting more playing time and young Jose Baxter maturing well.

Our young men can be used to good effect if we do qualify for the league section in the Europa and the two young Americans plus Coleman, Garbutt, Mustafi and Agard can look forward to some steep learning curve exercise.

James Wallace? — he just might be getting a regular 30 minutes in most Premier games by then.

Wallow in gloom if you like guys or, like last year, ask me what I've been smoking (same answer — nothing- but at my age I've seen a lot of seasons come and go and they are never to be judged on a crap pre...season or a poor first two Premier games) but I really do feel that we will be fine - a thought that is confirmed by looking at the sides that finished behind us last season.

Villa without Barry; Spurs clueless as ever... and even a Manchester City team that big old David Weir scored a winner against this week — is anybody around Goodison really scared of these sides over a season ?

Grant me just one wish for our squad and it would be a fast , young , tough right winger with an eye for goals but just about every top side in Europe wants one of these and Malouda is out of our price range.

We have a fine squad and before August is through it could be even better.

Now smile and enjoy 2009-10.

Reader Comments

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Jamie Crowley
1   Posted 10/08/2009 at 06:33:02

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Hear hear!

Just hang on to Lescott: upwards and onwards!

TY for the sunshine Glen. Although living in Florida, we’ve got enough of it to keep anyone in a fine mood and cheery. But nontheless, I concur.
Gavin Ramejkis
2   Posted 10/08/2009 at 07:41:49

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Sorry to piss on your chips, Glen, but the three wise monkey mode; see no, hear no, speak no — just doesn’t cut it anymore when it comes to describing the thinnest, most ill-equipped (to cope with injuries or suspensions) squad in the Premier League, despite record profits and yet again finishing fifth in the league. The Malaga friendly showed anyone that watched the starting eleven but equally the paucity of subs available right now.

Any sensible folk learn from mistakes but Everton have failed to strengthen or even increase squad size with players — I don’t mean no-marks, I don’t mean reserve players, and I certainly don’t mean kids who are for future teams. BK has us shopping in the bins now, not even Lidl or Netto.

I just don’t do burying my head in the sand and ignoring the bleeding obvious, not having shelled out for another season ticket to some lying bastard again.
John Maxwell
3   Posted 10/08/2009 at 07:56:36

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Didn't someone say some people are happy wallowing in their own misery? Well I'm glad to see someone who’s not and you are right in every department, Glen, I think we do outnumber those who choose otherwise. There are plenty of reasons to be looking on the bright side and I can't see any reason why we won't be pushing for 4th this season.

Reading the negative drivel these past 3 months was just like reading last years, did those at ToffeeWeb Towers send the wrong info to their web hosting company?
Andy Crooks
4   Posted 10/08/2009 at 08:14:03

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John,it really isn’t being negative to suggest that our squad simply isn’t strong enough.Even when Arteta ,Yakubu and Jags return we will still be a couple of injuries away from disaster.The effort and endeavour of the players has been magnificent but we lack quality as the cup final showed.
Idoubt that anyone comes on here and moans for the sake of it ,some people are just more realistic than others.
Peter Griffin
5   Posted 10/08/2009 at 08:21:58

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I prefer to be positive on our chances and still feel we will finish top 6 but what if pienaar gets injured this week? Without him and Arteta we lack creativity. If Baines got injured and Lescott goes to left back does Neville play CB?

As I’ve said before I don’t think we’re a million miles away from leapfroggong Arsenal or winning a cup but, we need more players who can come in and strengthen our first 11 and not just make up the numbers. I’m all for these young lads getting a chance, but only when the time is right.

Garbutt and Bidwell have both represented England in their respective age groups but they’re not ready to come in for an injured Baines in the Premier league. I think we play 5 games by the end of the month!

2 or 3 quality players every summer at the right age is what we need. DM knows this but getting the money is, and will continue to be our problem.
Colin Potter
6   Posted 10/08/2009 at 08:55:12

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Sorry, Glen, but you come over to me as if you are grasping at very slippery straws. Do you think because Moyes gave Hibbert and Osman loger contracts and more money, they have become better players? To me, it reflects more on his knowledge, and tactical ability than their prowess on the football field. I would like to know what he sees in them that approximately 30,000 fans can’t.
Iain McWilliam
7   Posted 10/08/2009 at 09:35:32

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I'm not a Villa fan but why does everyone think Villa will struggle without Barry? They still have Petrov, Reo-Coker and Sidwell — nothing outstanding I agree but then Barry always played it simple. We, meanwhile, won't have Arteta for a while... but we will have Neville, Rodwell and err errr Cahill (who is better up front) oh and Fellaini (who Moyes doesn't really trust playing in midfield so is desperately hoping will become some kind of Cahill clone but with bigger hair). Villa have something we don't have and haven't had for some time: Pace.
Ciarán McGlone
8   Posted 10/08/2009 at 09:36:12

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’So we are stronger than last season - far stronger already’

I’d love to know how you come to this conclusion. Players out that weren’t out at the start of last season, still got Neville and Cahill in central midfield, we have got rid of our cover for various positions....

Can’t agree with the above assertion in the slightest.
Steve Edwards
9   Posted 10/08/2009 at 10:30:14

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Iain, I agree with you. They have also got the guy Delph who we should have bought. He has impressed since he went there and I’ve got a feeling we are going to regret that one going west for a long time to come. Oh and there is a certain winger from Middlesborough on their books now if I’m not mistaken also. O’Neil just loves those wingers doesn’t he.
Peter Griffin
10   Posted 10/08/2009 at 10:48:53

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Steve, Iain — I agree Villa will be a threat and I envy the pace they have, but as well as losing Barry they have lost Laursen and Knight.

At the back is where they are short. They had Luke Young a right back playing left back last season and at times Reo coker at right back.

Heskey and Carew also pick up a lot of injuries and they’re squad is a similar size to our own.

Difference is I suppose is that MON has the money to go and sign several players for decent fees whereas we may not.

I would love to see somebody like Ashley Young on our right hand side this season, wishful thinking however.
Ajay Gopal
11   Posted 10/08/2009 at 10:38:36

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Glen, I wondered if I had stumbled into the wrong site!!

Seriously, I am glad that a positive article has been published and there seem to be quite a few "glass half-full" ToffeeWebbers !

To all those who counter the positivity by saying "Fine, the starting XI is very good, but what happens when we get hit with injuries?" — the same thing that happens to other teams. Where would Liverpool be if Gerrard and Torres got injured? What would happen to ManU, if in addition to their existing injuries (Vidic, Nani, Neville), Rooney were to damage his cruciate ligament? Similarly, for Chelsea — Drogba, Lampard, Terry?

You can never be the same team, when injuries happen to key personnel. In my opinion, if we get a little lucky with injuries, and Moyes is able to inject some self-belief into the squad, we can end up having a shot at the Top 4.
Peter Griffin
12   Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:05:34

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I think the point people were trying to make Ajay is that last season we had Nuno Valente and Lars Jacobsen as cover and now we don’t, which begs the question of one of Glen's points: "So we are stronger than last season — far stronger already." — How exactly?
Paul Gladwell
13   Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:07:26

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Glen I understand some of your points but what happens if Pienaar gets injured? We have absolutely no flair or pace in our side whilst Villa have both in abundance.

You mentioned after Xmas about the cavalry coming back well we will need more than that with the African Nations Cup taking a good few of our squad. Just look at our bench the other night, we have a good first eleven but squad wise it’s shocking, an injury or two and we are goosed and stuck with grinding out results, we need some width and flair and we are going to have the usual problems playing Osman wide as he is not a wide player.

It’s just so annoying to see as we are so close to that top four and yet, year after year, we fail to grasp the opportunity and end up playing catch-up.

Peter Griffin
14   Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:23:54

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I agree Paul.

We desperately need more width and creativity. Osman scored a few important goals last season but he should be a squad player, not starting on the right.

We have come close to winning a trophy and breaking the top 4 and this is why people are frustrated now, as they can see we are only a couple of quality additions away from making that extra step.
Brian Baker
15   Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:32:09

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I wouldn’t put Osman in the same ’poor’ category as Hibbert.

Osman has been played on the right, which is not his best position. When Moyes has played him in a central role he generally has a better game. Over the season he was our most consistent player after Jags. Ossie has even pitched in with some vital goals.

Hibbert on the other hand scares the life out of me with rash challenges. His distribution is quite often poor, playing hoofball as a norm, which just frustrates the hell out of me, when he ignores the easier obvious square ball.
Peter Hurley
16   Posted 10/08/2009 at 11:53:40

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Hmm, not to sure if its really reasons to be cheerful rather, reasons to be less miserable and pessimistic!

By all accounts, barring some Spurs-like food poisoning episode, we can’t possibly field an inferior team to that which started against Blackburn last season. A starting eleven that had on dislay no less than 7 defenders and a bench with zero Premier League games between them, other than Turner who would probably prefer to forget that experience. So we are clearly stronger but it's not by a great margin, let's hope it's enough to get something against Arsenal and into the Europa League places.
Peter Hurley
17   Posted 10/08/2009 at 12:21:07

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PS Ciarán you can’t possibly be talking about Shandy are you? He couldn’t cover a quilt FFS!
Anthony Hawkins
18   Posted 10/08/2009 at 12:15:24

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Looking back to the start of last season, everyone would say Everton, technically speaking, are in a better position than they were.

The main issues are that the team has not improved since the end of last season and that is what needs to be improved. Hibbert and Moyes particularly were taught a number of lessons in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea and yet it would appear little has been learned or remembered.

We will get by without new signings and 5th / 6th spot can be retained; however, it will be an extremely tough ask without new signings. With new signings — right back and right winger particularly — 5th and maybe 4th is achievable.

Man City will take a while to get up to speed and may even not be together for this season — one of the very reasons I believe Lescott will not sign for Man City.

There are many positives for the new season and a few "presents" from Moyes and Kenwright would do much to add to those positives.
Anthony Hawkins
19   Posted 10/08/2009 at 12:30:36

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Also to add that the Everton midfield is actually made up of 5 central midfielders who at one time or another all play out of position. Pienaar, Arteta, Osman, Fellaini, Cahill — and even Rodwell’s best position — are all central. Pienaar may have done well wide left but he’s better in the central role.
Robert Davis
20   Posted 10/08/2009 at 14:03:42

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I feel both Arsenal an Spurs will do better than people think this year. The Arse especially. We do need IMHO 3 good players to boost our squad. Those who left this summer appeared less than 20 times between them last season. Plus Rodwell and Gosling will play more.
Kevin Gillen
21   Posted 10/08/2009 at 14:04:01

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I’m with you Glen, Man U, Arsenal, Villa are all worse off than last year, only Sitteh have strengthened and Mark Hughes will be out of a job by November. Yes we should strengthen and I’m sure we will slightly before the transfer deadline. We do need an attacking wide player and cover for left back. The most important players at a club are the ones already there not the next person you’re going to sign. Also Osman and Hibbo have given brilliant service over the years and never cost the club a penny in transfer fees so leave them alone!!
Jay Harris
22   Posted 10/08/2009 at 14:56:17

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Glen it’s not a question of being negative it’s the frustration with the failure to build on another good season and the blatant lies that come out of the club.

"We have a decent transfer fund" — Robert Elstone.

"We would like to get all our signings in early so that they can gel pre season" — A number of Everton hiearchy.

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