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Joseph Yobo

By Michael Jennings :  03/09/2009 :  Comments (34) :
Firstly let me establish that I am generally a positive Evertonian: I never boo our players and never leave before the final whistle. To me this summer has split Evertonians down the middle. I think last summer frustrated most but this summer has some Evertonian's seeing positives and negatives.

To me we have lost AVDM, short shorts Castillo and Valente — three experienced players but not of the right quality, fitness or mentality to take us forward. In their place we have a young untried Russian midfielder and two (on paper) quality defenders.

I am happy with my lot there and positively ecstatic that we're no longer paying £60k a week collectively for the above three players who only made about 20 appearences last season between them. I was gutted we sold Lescott and out of principle wouldn't have sold... but we sold him and in Distin I believe we replaced well, leaving another £15mil in the kitty!

Where I am struggling to be positive is Joseph Yobo; to me, he is still doing two 'Yobos' a game where he loses concentration and makes a minor mistake. The majority of the time his pace and athletism help him recover. Unfortunately he is still doing a major 'Yobo' every now and again and costing us goals — probably about 5 a season which is a small improvement none the less from the initial 10 a season when he first come. The fact that a defensive lapse in concentration is infamously named 'a Yobo' after him is a bad sign!

To me he was woeful against Arsenal and Wigan. (I've been on holiday for all the other games so can't comment on Sigma x2 and Burnley — would other Toffeeweber's please divulge on his form in these games???) Against Arsenal, everyone was poor but Yobo has been with us 6 years now and still there was no leadership from him, still no organisation. To concede first half set pieces at home when we score from so many was sinful — we should no our own tricks best and Yobo as our most senior centre-half should've had that organised.

Against Wigan he kept wanting too much time on the ball, the Wigan forwards nearly pinched it three times off him; if they did they were in. On one occasion, Yobo was the last defender when he was doing his prancing with the ball, auditioning for Strictly Come Dancing trick. I'm not advocating hoofball either, on every occasion there was a fullback or midfielder off him he could've played a 15-20 yard pass without dwelling on the ball so long. If someone had offered me valium on Sunday I would've taken it — he has me on edge constantly.

Another thing that annoyed me about Yobo on Sunday was Distin was telling him, and other defenders, what to do. Yobo has over 150 appearances for Everton and is our vice captain yet a man on debut was left with that responsibilty. Obviously selling Lescott and the injury of Jags really shortens our options but as our best defensive performances last season were Hibbert, Jags, Lescott and Baines I really advocate dropping Yobo and playing Heitinga alongside Distin. He gets a lot of stick on here but I'd be happier with Hibbert in the team over Yobo.

I'm trying very hard to make this not sound like a knee-jerk reaction to two bad games I've seen this season but in the last two seasons I can't say I have seen any improvement in him. He looks like he's stagnated although I don't think he has gone backwards like AJ McFadden and Beattie did. Therefore I certainly wouldn't sell next window as he would be an excellent SQUAD player.

He has obviously got some excellent attributes so maybe I am wrong with my assessment of him but I certainly feel better getting it off my chest. COYB!

Reader Comments

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Philip Rowe
1   Posted 03/09/2009 at 13:53:11

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Following the comments placed on here arising from the ’(in)action’ in the transfer window, I was ready to start following basketball or knitting. As supporters you guys can sure be negative. However, I apologise because I am now going to join in.

I totally agree Michael. I have been worried about Yobo for ages. Don’t get me wrong — I WANT to not worry about him but the evidence is there, his concentration stinks for an international, professional footballer. Maybe he’d be better at right back?

Erik Dols
2   Posted 03/09/2009 at 14:07:55

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Oh dear... I was discussing the Heitinga-transfer with a co-worker who supports Ajax. On the whole he thought Heitinga and Everton will be a great match, but he specifically said "Heitinga is the type of player who has that moment every game, one moment where concentration seems to slip away and he looses the ball unnecessarily or forgets to mark his opponent to give away a great chance". Apparantly Heitinga has his own Yobo’s from time to time!
Ciarán McGlone
3   Posted 03/09/2009 at 14:15:07

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He’s right... In Spain, when he played centre-half, he was a complete liability... no wonder they moved him to the right, where he was much better.

Yobo is a player who has never improved — despite the impression that he would. I like him as a player but sometimes it’s hands-over-the-eyes stuff...
James Stewart
4   Posted 03/09/2009 at 14:19:05

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I have never had confidence in either Yobo or Lescott, they were both prone to just switching off! Liabilities. It has to be Jagielka - Distin every time for me. I think Distin is a fantastic footballer, the best signing we have made in quite a while... shame he isn't younger!
Tony Miller
5   Posted 03/09/2009 at 14:38:18

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Looking at transfers Chealse look to have been caught out good style.
James Bowman
6   Posted 03/09/2009 at 15:02:31

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Interesting stuff there, Tony Miller, wonder if the Lescott transfer will go the same way?

I have to agree with the above comments, although he is definetly not the worst in the PL by a mile. A very similar player to Lescott when it comes to mistakes, so hopefully with one of them gone it might improve. If we had a choice between selling Yobo or Lescott, I think I would have preferred Lescott to go due to his value. We wouldn’t have been able to con City out of that amount of cash for Yobo, like I said, I don’t see much between them.

I have to agree with James Stewart, Jags and Distin everytime for me.

Barry Bragg
7   Posted 03/09/2009 at 15:22:48

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The thing about Joseph that annoys the fuck out of me is the amount of possession he gives away with the long ball forward. You would think the law of averages would say that at least every so often the ball would land at the feet of one of his team mates but if you watch him kick long it is every single time straight to an opponent.

As an aside, he is also the only member of the squad who can only play ’effectively’ in one position. And before anyone says he can play defensive mid — don’t make me laugh!

Heitinga’s preferred position is right back; if he was bought by Atletico as a centre-half, maybe that is why they were prepared to let him go.
James Martin
8   Posted 03/09/2009 at 15:14:38

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I think this is rather an unfair assessment of Joseph Yobo both throughout his games this season and his Everton career in general. This season for example there are very few players who have started well and as a result the defence has been under unecessary pressure. No Jagielka, the shouter and leader of the defence and no Arteta, the safe outlet ball for the centre back. Add to this the fact that he has been playing with a disillusioned Lescott and a barely competent (at CB) Phil Neville and I think its unfair to single him out for criticism.

The 6-1 defeat aside... none of the Premier League goals we have conceded have been his fault directly. Indeed against Wigan him and Disitn looked solid and he was actually rewarded Graeme Sharp’s MotM on City Sport. He does have defensive liabilities but not nearly as any as people make out... he certainly does not get beaten in the air as infuriatingly often as Lescott did... and even the outstanding Jagielka has had the odd calamitous backpass.

"Yobo is a player who has never improved"... I find that hard to believe — especially when everyone seems to be thinking he’s definitely decreased the number of errors per season he makes. What's more, he nailed his colours to the mast last season despite being third choice and can seemlessly slot into the back four as he showed when he was called upon last year. He’s shown loyalty in the past when Arsenal were rumoured to be sniffing and has never been trouble off the pitch. He played well in the Cup Final and has not often been embarassed by the top class strikers.

Which Premier League side would not want this sort of professional who will stay and fight for his place despite being the quality to play for many other teams and here we are moaning about him? Fine if Jagielka and Distin are the first choice pairing when Jags returns but until then I have no problems with Yobo playing centre back. Much better than Kyriakos or Ayayla, that's for sure.

Mike Allison
9   Posted 03/09/2009 at 15:31:10

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I think this is harsh. Particularly to criticise him in the Wigan game. Their goal was nothing to do with him, neither was their single other chance that hit the post or the breakaway from a corner. He and Distin looked safe and comfortable throughout from where I was sitting.

Yobo’s a very good centre back, but his concentration weakness is why he’s very good and not great, and frankly, why he plays for Everton (although not really even as a first choice) and not a team that’s regularly in the Champions League.

I think another important point to consider is that he was out of the team for a long time last season. This may have affected him.
Dan McKie
10   Posted 03/09/2009 at 16:18:53

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I love watching Yobo! Yes, there are some heart in mouth moments with him because of his laid back style, but he is a great defender, and like the original post says, most of the time he recovers himself and most people end up having a chuckle because of it! He isnt going to change now, and I have mentioned before that he needs someone in his earhole for the whole game just to keep him awake. Jags did that perfectly and hopefully an experienced Distin will take that role now!
Alan Kirwin
11   Posted 03/09/2009 at 17:38:51

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Rather perversely, I find myself in almost total agreement with Ciaran.

I’ve always liked Jobo, he gives his all, he clearly has power and pace, and some skill. But defending these days requires so much concentration and awareness and I think Joe falls a little short in this department. He is prone to ball watching & distraction. As has already been pointed out, he also doesn’t talk much and tends to get on with his own game.

That said, I have often mused on his suitability as a right-back (where he used to play) and even as a holding midfielder. He has pace & power & track record at RB, so I’m somewhat surprised that David Moyes didn’t put him there when Lescott & Jags were fit.

But he has also shown skill and awareness winning the ball around the D and immediately counter attacking (something that almost seems to be banned at Everton), which has always made me think he could & should be tried as a holding midfierlder if the need or opportunity arouse.

It seems to be de rigeur at Everton for players to be adept in at least two roles. Joe is no exception. I personaly see him as 3rd behind Distin and Heitinga, but I’ll always be a fan. He was Moyes’ first signing and he’s a great lad.
Steve Ferns
12   Posted 03/09/2009 at 18:11:59

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I’m frankly amazed by some of the comments on here. In my humble opinion Joseph Yobo has been our best defender every year that he has been here.

He has everything physically that we want. He’s big strong, very fast, and can read a game well. He’s also comfortable on the ball. His positional sense is excellent and he is rarely caught out of position.

Where Yobo lets himself down is that because he is comfortable on the ball he can dwell in possession for too long, but I do not recall him ever being robbed of the ball, and this is just as attributable to lack of movement from midfield. He can also try a fancy pass or long ball that often does not come off.

I think that when Yobo first came he made maybe no more than 5 big errors a season and that he has long since erradicated this from his game.

He is not perfect, but then who is? Why is he often linked to sides like Arsenal? It is because he is a classly defender and one that we should be proud to have.

I believe that Jagielka compliments he perfectly and they have differing strengths and weakness which combine into a formidable partnership. Since Jagielka came, it has mainly been a partnership between these two, which for me, said a lot about Lescott.

Finally, I love Jagielka, and comend his effort and determination, but is frequently overlooked that half the time he is making a superb last-ditch saving tackle or block as a result of poor play on his own part. For me Yobo was the most consistant of the three and the one I would want to be the last man when someone like Torres is bearing down on goal in the dying seconds on a cup tie.
Martin Mason
13   Posted 03/09/2009 at 18:39:17

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I remember seeing Yobo when he first came and he was very good at right back moving into the centre when needed, fast athletic and bags of skill. At one time he’d been identified as a sure for Arsenal but that cooled. Still capable of very good performances but he needs a Jagielka or Distin around him.

I like Distin very much btw and saw him have some every good games for both City and Portsmouth. Not quite the all round game of Lescott but a very good signing nonetheless and I see him and Jags as impenetrable with Yobo on the bench or perhaps at RB again.

I was distraught how they conducted themselves in the window but two good defenders, a potentially very good left sided midfielder who’ll release Pienar to move to the right and some very good players in Yak, Arteta and Jags to come back. Add this to the rise and rise of Rodwell and hopefully the improvement of the multitude of good young players that we have, surely we must be almost there now?

Dan McKie
14   Posted 03/09/2009 at 18:43:31

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Also, in a time where we slate player loyalty, this is yet another article questioning one of our most loyal. You never hear a peep off Yobo off (or on) the pitch, even when he was out of the squad, he took it on the chin and knuckled down and waited for his chance. Im not even sure why his play is even being questioned! There was another article on Cahill the other day and questioning his ability. Osman and Hibbert often get stick, granted, they aint the greatest players in the world, but again, as loyal as they come! We should be glad of players like these in the squad!
Dick Anderson
15   Posted 03/09/2009 at 18:46:53

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Could not agree more Michael.

Yobo is a senior player but has not performed so far this season.

Yobo has been the only Central Defender available for the most of the games and could not be dropped. Maybe that made him take his place for granted and get a little lazy.

I personally think Hibbert is a better defender then he gets credit for. Not so good going forward but usually reliable in defence.

Baines, Disten, Heitinga & Hibbert.

Thats my choice for the next game.
Tom Hutton
16   Posted 03/09/2009 at 19:21:05

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Yobo - 6 years of loyalty , as said on here a few hands over eyes and ’get rid’ spring to mind.

I can’t think of any other centre halves that haven’t had the same moments.

A player that always gives his all, is quick, get’s his head on the ball, generally in the right place and quick enough to sort it out if he isn’t.

His distribution leaves a little to be desired the long ball seemingly a favourite, I recollect an article on here a while ago suggesting for a preiod each half he had to pass to a fullback or a midfielder, this requires all the team working for space (basics) and giving the keeper and defenders an option.

Occasionally, to see how it works would be great to see and Joseph is more than capable and his loyalty in a world of Sky money is to be commended as a good player who is also a bloody good egg.

There is so much criticism of player’s leaving for big money, more money, a microwave and a cuddly toy if some waste of oxygen (agent) can get it for them.

Jon Cox
17   Posted 03/09/2009 at 19:02:07

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Dan, "granted, they aint the greatest players in the world, but again, as loyal as they come! We should be glad of players like these in the squad!

A great comment! The whole point is the team rather that the indiviual. This is moyes is all about. The indivdual is the bonus that every team who wins things has.

For Yobo leave him alone let him get on doing his best for our club. I can't remember that guy who played for Newcasle but for those implying that he is like him. YOU'Re WRONG.

Every one of us every day should learn something new to make us better and I’m sure that Mr Yobo is congruent of this philosophy.
Ben Jones
18   Posted 03/09/2009 at 19:46:20

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I think this assessment is pretty hard on him. He didn’t play badly at Wigan, and only played bad at Arsenal, in which the whole team play badly.

His defensive qualities are excellent, and not many players are as pacy and strong like he is. But I gotta admit he could read the game better, and does do a "Yobo" every so often, because I’ve always said that’s one of his very few weaknesses.

But to say he lacks leadership is a load or rubbish... he is Nigeria captain for a reason. And I remember against Sigma in the second leg, he was absolutely fantastic and really took charge in that game. I know it was against Sigma, but we had ten men for the majority of that game away to an unknown stadium in a strange country for us, and Yobo was outstanding.

He can’t be a holding midfielder though, and he moved us so he could play centre back, as I remember he rejected Juventus because they wanted to play him right back. I much rather see Heitinga there.

I will say that Jagielka and Distin should be our first choice pairing, but I’m sure a lot of clubs would like Yobo as a 3rd centre back. We’re kinda lucky in my opinion. And reflected in the comments above, he’s stayed with us for all this time, and has been loyal, he’s a great asset for us.
Steve Mink
19   Posted 03/09/2009 at 20:37:00

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I like Yobo. The only observation I’d make is that he looks world-class when he plays for Nigeria, but justs looks like an above average Prem defender when he plays for us.
Paul Kay
20   Posted 03/09/2009 at 20:44:29

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Yobo ain’t so bad - remember he could now be sat in the reserves at Arsenal smoking big fat cigar’s wrapped in 50 pound notes just like Lescott will end up doing! But no he wanted to play for efc - and that will do. Some very accurate comments both good and bad but hey, very soon we may run out out player’s to have a pop at. What next ’Jags has got no pace’!!
Chris Forshaw
21   Posted 03/09/2009 at 21:21:01

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Yobo is Nigerias captain a top class player. Steve Mink is right he seams a totally different player for his country but still miles better than most in the PL. This is my only frustration with Joey. As for the comment regarding our dutch signing Mr Positive (C McGlone) are you a red. I look on here now and again and all your comments are that everyone is shite, where as you talk it. Heitinga has been poor in Spain but Pienaar wasnt setting the world alight in Germany was he. The lad hasnt kicked a ball in anger however you still say you beleive he is liable to mistakes like Yobo?

With the likes of you, it's Yobo's fault today, Hibbert's tomorrow.

Yobo is liable to errors but so is Vidic, Ferdinand, Lescott, et al lets get behind the players instead of knocking them.

Garry Martin
22   Posted 03/09/2009 at 22:36:20

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Yobo's big problem, and has been for a while, is that he has a tendency to hold on to the ball for to long, this allows forwards to come onto him, which in turn, results in 1 of 2 things
a) he hoofs it up field & thus loses our possession of the ball, or,
b) he loses the ball in the immediate vicinity of the defence & results in a "yobo".

Surely our highly paid coaches can see this during games.
Alex Kociuba
23   Posted 03/09/2009 at 23:52:50

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Solid and consistent, in many ways like Dave Watson. These ’dodgy moments’ are highly exaggerated, one or two a season at most — I see the likes of Osman and Neville making half a dozen each game!

People always accuse players of not being loyal — it's only fair if you acknowkedge players when they are; Yobo is.

He keeps himself to himself off the pitch which is nice to see. He also has a couple of charities and sponsors football camps in Africa.

He is a model professional, I am positive he is highly respected by the other players. He does not get sent off and is by large a clean player.

He usually stays injury free and always gives 100%. When we start playing long balls, Yobo seems to be the only player to accurately target a blue shirt.

Yobo, just like Dave Watson before him, is a very underrated secret legend.
John Andrews
24   Posted 04/09/2009 at 00:05:39

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I agree 100% with James Martin. Just leave the bloke alone for pity's sake!
Chad Schofield
25   Posted 04/09/2009 at 02:31:41

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Michael, fully agree. I'm not sure why the "Yobo (dare say Bramble-lapse) moments" have increased... but cetainly not good. I never understood why he was not tried in DM because of his athleticism... but obviously his distribution would have to improve.

As others have said, Distin looks good and good players communicate.
Mike Dillon
26   Posted 04/09/2009 at 03:24:10

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I do hate to say it but I now think Yobo as our weakest defender. To me, though, that is a sign of how far we have come with respects to our team and expectations - well done lads.

But I will give him his due. Sure, he has been pretty poor this season but I will accept that he needs games to find his form and I have faith that he will do just that.

Although I do say he’s our weakest, I’m delighted to have him in our squad.

Let’s face it, our third choice centre half could be ... oh, wait, the shite don’t have a third choice centre half, do they...?
Zack Yusof
27   Posted 04/09/2009 at 04:42:45

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I’m with Alex, Steve Ferns etc
Yobo’s been a great servant to the club and deserves much better than some of the comments on here. Sure he makes the odd concentration lapse but there are few and far between and besides, which defender doesn’t? Rio? JT?

And i’ve certainly never heard of a defensive lapse of concentration being called a "Yobo" before.
The man’s a model pro, loyal as they come, our vice captain and should definitely be accorded a lot more respect by some of the fans on here. Come on guys!!! He’s one of us for fuck’s sake!!!
David Ellis
28   Posted 04/09/2009 at 07:22:13

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His main weakness is getting caught on the ball, or a panicky hoof up the field to avoid being caught on the ball.

This could be alleviated to a large extent by being surrounded by other players with excellent close control who are in short, unobstructed passing range. Arteta is the key man for this - has both the close control and the initiative to get into a possession where he can take the short pass (this was also one of Peter Reid’s great attributes).

Neville has not got the skills to do this. Rodwell not yet the sense of responsibility (but this is coming on fast). On the flank Yobo’s short passing option is Hibbert - again his close control is not good enough.

It seems from Moyes’ comments in the press today/yesterday that Heitinga is likely to be played at right back. I have not seen him play but I am assuming from his pedigree at Ajax that he has good technical skills and the confidence to take responsibility to receive the ball deep in his own half. His presence should give Yobo some other options to do the short pass and as a result make Yobo look a better player. I also think that the personality of Distin and Heitinger (who both have captained sides) will help take the pressure off Yobo and give him more confidence.

I would still prefer Jags in the first XI but I think Yobo is an excellent defender and the opposition has to play well to get past him, and his speed is sometimes a delight to watch. The opposition think they have a chance and yet I know Yobo is always going to get to the ball first. It’s when he gets to the ball that the problems sometimes start!
Kirindeep Singh
29   Posted 04/09/2009 at 07:42:29

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I agree with David, definitely Jags over Yobo in the first XI but Yobo definitely provides excellent cover, and certainly did the job when Jags was injured last season. He is strong, atheletic and fast (well faster than) many other central defenders in the EPL. Most of all he has been a loyal to Everton for years and a seasoned international. Yes, he does make those mistakes from time to time but so did Lescott! Can’t fault him for the Wigan goal, in fact I think he played pretty well. People always remember the bad moments (and there certainly I agree there have been some) but overall he has been consistent and solid.
Amit Vithlani
30   Posted 04/09/2009 at 12:27:06

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Sorry, but this is utter bollocks. Stubbsy and Weir made some horrific rics and they are lionised in some quarters.

Yobo was massive in the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. Drogba was in his pocket. The cup final was a different story, but Hibbert was so abysmal that Yobo stood no chance — the cross from Malouda for Drogba’s goal came from space behind the RB, which is pretty hard to defend.

People need to think abit more about the characters of players. This is not FM. Yobo’s head was not right at the start of last season and it may have been due to his brother’s kidknapping.

This season, there is no doubt he has been affected probably by the Lescott issue — having to play with alongside him in the first game, and then adjust to play with Neville, who himself was getting caught out of position.

There is no doubt that he loses concentration from time to time. Also, he tends to play better later in the season. But in the last couple of seasons, he has been affected by off the pitch issues and we need to lay off.

When he is in the right frame of mind, he can mark someone of Drogba’s ability out of a game. He has proven it.
Bob Parrington
31   Posted 04/09/2009 at 14:33:05

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I can agree with some of the comments about Yobo and switch off moments. This has been noticed over the years. there aren’t too many players who don’t have these moments. It is just that it’s not obvious sometimes as there is cover. The major problem is when more than one switch off occurs or the cover is lacking...... as when there is no Carsley like midfielder back checking.. Aslo, we see problems at defensive corners when both Yobo and Hibbo switch off.

Yobo is a class player and the question, as ever, is "does he do more good than bad?". I think so but I’ll leave this open for others to comment. Good subject, Michael.

I’ve been worried about Hibbo for the past 2 seasons. When he’s good he’s very very good but, as in the saying, when he’s bad he’s "orrid"
Martin Mason
32   Posted 04/09/2009 at 19:03:28

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Amit, I was a bit on the fence but I agree with you completely.

Yobo has been a marvelous player for Everton, he has his moments but which defender hasn’t. Look at the game Vidic had last year against Liverpool at Old Trafford. I believe with a settled personal life and playing in a good back four, he is and will continue to be a great player. I won’t slag Hibbert neither, he’s a true Blue through and through and gives his all. He’s struggled after a bad injury as many do.

I’ve always been amazed at how tolerant and supportive Evertonians have been during the many barren spells that we’ve had (1970-1984 or 1987 to now). Manchester City fans complain whatever they get even when they were Champions last but we are above that. Let's get behind the Blues now and try to be positive. Of course we have the right to criticise but criticism is only good if it’s constructive.

Tim Lloyd
33   Posted 04/09/2009 at 23:49:55

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Some good posts here. I’ve enjoyed reading this thread.

As for myself, whilst admitting Yobo is not the greatest centreback in the Premier League, I do feel he does a fair job and, when we consider he’ll probably be third choice, especially when Jags is back, I feel we should congratulate ourselves on acquiring a sound defensive line up.

My greatest disappointment this season to date was Hibbo’s lack of height which has resulted in his being beaten consistently in the air. He hasn’t shrunk I guess, so this must have been the case during his time at right back but glaring errors giving rise to two goals this season have tended to make it so obvious to me.

The acquisition of Johnny Heitinga, around 6’, at right back will hopefully correct this defect in our defence.

Strangely, Bainsey seems less confident as a defender so far this season. Hope he finds the answer. Good defence is the first requirement of the backs, it is not enough just to be a good attacking defender.
Denver Daniels
34   Posted 05/09/2009 at 09:42:48

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Firstly, Michael Jennings, you’re not the same MJ that plays for the Penrith Panthers in NRL Australian Rugby League, are you?

Probably not... pity!

Secondly, what a shit post. What the fuck kind of supporter are you? Yobo may not be the best defender in the PL, but he’s certainly not the worst, not by a long shot. And sure, he’s had us all pulling our hair out with some shocking lapses in defence, but is certainly not worthy of this hatchet job.

Did you actually watch any of our games last season if you think Hibbert was better at the back than Yobo? Did you watch the Cup Final? He was our best defender.

I’m not sure where all this anti-Yobo sentiment is coming from. As I recall, Jajelka was hardly fucking brilliant when he first got into the team. Now he seems to walk on water.

I’m not even sure what this post is about.

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