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Five Into One Won’t Go….

By David Cooper :  04/09/2009 :  Comments (20) :
Saha, Yak, Jo, Vaughan and Anichebe… apart from the obvious, what do they have in common?

Well, if Moyes stays true to form, which he usually does, only one of them will find themselves in a starting line-up when or if they are fit. Will there ever be a period of time when all 5 are fit and pushing for that starting place? Probably not, given their track records and the physical nature of playing as a lone striker in the Premier League. So a couple of questions immediately spring to mind in a week when there are no matches to occupy myself…

1) In what order would you choose to play them?
2) How do you keep four of them happy at not starting?
3) How do you keep possibly two of them happy from not making the bench?

I’m sure we all have our favourites and see different qualities in each. So here goes with my thoughts (pretending that all are fit and available) and are “partnered” hopefully with Tiny Tim!!!

1st pick: The Yak… proven Premier League goalscorer. Not the most mobile or hard working lone front runner, though he was beginning to do some defending from the front before his injury. As the saying goes “Feed the yak and he will score”. Often shows poor ball control but lethal in the box... which is what I want my striker to be.

2nd pick: Saha… flashes of brilliance in and around the penalty box. Again a proven goalscorer at the highest level. The best of all 5 in the air. Probably more mobile than the Yak but tends to go missing for parts of the game and doesn’t do much more than the Yak at putting defenders under pressure. Good control and very good at bringing others into play. Possibly is the best at playing or linking with Cahill.

3rd pick: Vaughan… I must admit, I am a huge Vaughan fan based on what he has done in the past and his huge potential. Definitely the most mobile and quickest of the five. The most willing of the five to chase lost causes and defend from the front. The most aggressive of the five in challenging the opposition. So why is he not Number 1? His close control is probably on a par with Anichebe and, with not playing, maybe he has lost the knack of scoring goals. Probably low on confidence (not that you would know it after his pen in the SF). But the biggest reason is that Moyes refuses to give him a chance for whatever reason. Lack of faith in his ability or his ability not to get injured.

4th pick: Jo… Great left foot and has sublime control, easily the best of the five with the ball at his feet. Like the Yak and Saha not the best at defending from the front but more mobile than both of them. Does not seem to travel well but has played a part in turning some games with his undoubted ability in the box. Moyes likes him but will he ever buy him? If no, then playing him certainly puts a block on the progress of Vaughan and Anichebe.

5th pick: Anichebe… Like Vaughan, I can’t remember the last time he started a game. Two years ago, we all remember his Euro goals. Built like the proverbial shithouse, Big Vic would appear to have all the attributes of being a dominant striker. But he pissed off Moyes big time last year so his chances are going to be extremely limited. Probably the first candidate for a transfer.

To answer my second question … the modern day footballer seems to be more than happy to sit on the bench!!! Rotation is obviously the answer using the Europa Vase to give them a meaningful game as playing in the reserves doesn’t do much. Bringing them off the bench at the 60-65 minute mark seems to keep most players happy. Telling them that they are a big part of the team etc… and paying them obscene amounts of money for doing very little!!!!

So to my last question…Do we need 5 lone strikers? No… so sell or loan out at least one of them. Don’t take up Jo’s option at the end of the season. However all the above discussion was based on the unlikely hypothesis that all 5 were healthy and fit together which I would bet my mortgage ain’t going to happen!!!

Hope others enjoy joining in the discussion while we wait for a game to watch!!!!

Reader Comments

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Steve Carter
1   Posted 05/09/2009 at 05:20:05

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Pretty much agree, David - although I don’t think we’re overly blessed with striking talent for the system that David Moyes seems to prefer. Our most potent attacking threat, in my view, is Tim Cahill, but he’d be better off with a (fully fit) Ferguson-type. The Yak is closest, but not real close, to that.
Mike Gaynes
2   Posted 05/09/2009 at 05:40:50

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OK, David, I’ll play. You’re right, it’s a nice time-killer until the next game.

1. Saha. No contest. The quickest, the most lethal, best shot, best in the air. I don’t care about his disinterest. He’s deadly.

2. Yak. Yes, a great finisher, but not the threat that Saha is, either in the air or outside the 18. And I remain convinced (until shown otherwise) that he can never fully recover from the ruptured Achilles. No top athlete has ever returned to peak form after this injury.

3. Jo. The crossover that pulled the penalty against Wigan is an example of his talent. And I think the role he played in that game, coming late off the bench, is ideal for him. He’s just not a complete player.

4. Cahill. Yes, Cahill. I think he’s a solid Prem striker, especially as a second man, and I’d love to see him in that role full time. He’s actually the best of the bunch at anticipating and getting into the right spot, and he’s scored more big goals than the rest of them put together.

5. Vaughan. Yeah, loads of speed and talent, but he hasn’t shown me any finishing ability at all. I’ve always wondered why he didn’t get a chance at right midfield. With his pace and workrate, he’d be a fine winger.

6. Jose Baxter. Just because.

7. (tie) Michael Kenrick, Lyndon Lloyd, Ken Buckley, David Cooper. All of them can complete a good, solid, sensible column. Which makes them better finishers than:

11. Anichebe. 48 League appearances. 5 goals. FIVE. That’s not a strike rate. That’s the flat tire rate for a pothole in the highway. With his strength and willingness, Vic has shown some aptitude on the wing as well. But if he’s up front, no keeper needed.

That’s my take. For what it’s worth, I’d be starting a 4-4-2 right now with Cahill supporting Saha. The farther Cahill is from goal, the less I like it.

Martin Cutler
3   Posted 05/09/2009 at 07:16:48

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Very, very interesting. Probably a very key component as to how we’ll perform over the length of the season including all the cup competitions. Personally, I’d prefer Moyes to partner one of the above mentioned players with The Yak.

I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anybody make it "look easy" as The Yak does ... so if DM could pick one of the players to partner him and just basically piss off every team we play I’ll be fine with that. (Drogba and Anelka anybody?)

Given that we have Yakubu, Jo, Saha ... I don’t think we need both Anichebe and Vaughan in the same team... so I’d say either loan out or sell one of them. Not forgetting we have Cahill too. Either way, it’s a dilemma for our Davey.... all the best DM, earn your money!!

Norman Merrill
4   Posted 05/09/2009 at 08:29:44

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Good shout, David. We all have our own ideas, and rightly so. In my case I feel that a fit Saha is a must, he is far more mobile than the rest, and better in the air. Only for his penalty miss, he would have scored in each of our 3 league games.
It will be interesting to see how Moyes goes, when all are fit? And what benefit our new lads bring to the team?
Nick Marsh
5   Posted 05/09/2009 at 09:37:20

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For me, the order in which they play is irrelavent. What is important is the opposition defence. So if you are playing a team where you would think there would be chances, then stick Yakubu in; if you're playing a top team then, in my opinion, you need a striker who can create something on their own, like Saha or Jo. In European games, defences are used to having time on the ball so someone like Vaughan who runs and runs would be good...

Perhaps someone on here could enlighten me further as I always thought that Jo played as a second striker at CSKA... Jo is definately our most mobile forward and would also fit in playing either left or right of a front 3...
Suzy Whitehead
6   Posted 05/09/2009 at 10:58:54

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I think we over-rate Vaughan to be honest. I understand he has had huge injury problems but what really has he done for us to elevate his potential so high? He is capable of being very direct and aggressive but he is never going to set the world alight and he is not a great long-term solution.

Anichebe needs to have a reasonable season so we can offload him for some decent cash — he simple doesn’t cut it. Vaughan needs to prove he is worth keeping and we can no longer rest on the ’he is one for the future’ — he needs to start delivering this season and set himself up for a very good season next year. If he doesn’t then I fear we have to move on.

Saha is class and has the quality we need. Given more support and decent run of high level fitness we will score match winning goals.
As previously stated — the Yak is simply good at scoring goals — the hardest thing in football. When he is scoring he simply cannot be dropped. We just need to get him scoring throughout the season — with no significant dry patches.

Jo is too lightweight for me and I think this is the season where he determines if he will be a future Everton player and I, for one, am delighted Moyes signed on an extended loan rather than a long term contract. The ball is in Jo’s court.

I know this is a little out of left field but I would seriously start considering the selling of Cahill.

Dave Wilson
7   Posted 05/09/2009 at 11:11:11

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I think it's more 1 from 3, I had high hope for Vaughanny, but he’s missed crucial stages of his development, I can't see him getting his chance, let alone making it.

If Big Vic is going to carve a career out for himself at GP it will have to be playing out on the right, I think Moyes had decided he was a better option to Leo last season; unfortunately Nolan put an end to his promising form in that position.

The Yak: where do you start? World class on his day, but is prone to long unproductive periods and who’s to say he will ever be the same again?

Saha: Quality, but how many games will we get out of him?

Jo: again, flashes of potential, but frustrates.

Personally I think there is a question mark hanging over all of them and fully expect the Tiger to play his fair share of games up top.
Keith Glazzard
8   Posted 05/09/2009 at 11:49:32

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I thought that we might have snuck a second striker on with Jo playing from wide left. But that was before Dini Bily arrived. In any case, I still think Jo has much more to give us if the midfield goes up a gear or two.
Tim Lloyd
9   Posted 05/09/2009 at 12:22:57

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Of course this is a post regarding the out-and-out strikers in our squad.

Actually we don’t have any really lethal finishers other than the Yak when he’s in the mood so to speak. Saha is a better footballer and a fairly good striker but not great.

Ignore the other three contenders. Jo is the most interesting; termed a ’striker’ but I don’t think he is now and don’t see him really developing into one. A good footballer, maybe could be developed into a constructive attacking midfielder.

Fortunately, we have a midfield who can get goals, last season for example. So in addition to the strikers mentioned, we have Timmy, Fellaini, Mikky gets a few and it looks like Jack Rodwell may add his quota as he develops. How Bily will pan out, who knows? I have hopes but no great evidence.

Something though tells me that 2009-10 may turn out to be so much better than we have feared. Just that we seem to be that much stronger vis-s-vis ballplayers. They are essential in a successful team.

Are we going anywhere? Fingers crossed.
John Crook
10   Posted 05/09/2009 at 12:49:24

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David, you have mentioned the five 1st team strikers!! But what about Cahill? I personally would add him to our list of sritkers now. As an out-and-out central midfielder, he has no authority on the game and go’s missing for large parts. As a 2nd striker he is fantastic.

I believe if Moyes wants to play a 4-4-2 in certain games, Cahill should be dropped and the midfield should not be altered to accommodate Cahill because he is one of our bigger names and higher earners.

Going back to the order of strikers, I think Yak and Saha should be rotated, depending on fitness and goalscoring form, with Cahill behind them. Once Arteta is fit, we have such an interchangeable midfield, I personally would not drop Neville who is captain and takes the midfield place. We have Pienaar, Bily and Arteta who any 3 can play right, left or centre.

Best team with no injuries:
Heitinga Jagielka Distin Baines
Neville Pienaar Arteta Bily

Subs: Saha Nash Jo Fellaini Rodwell Yobo Osman.

James Boden
11   Posted 05/09/2009 at 13:55:16

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Jo is the best with the ball at his feet?!?! - hahaha. Aside from that I agreed with the majority of your assessments. Like you I believe Vaughan has great potential and cannot understand why he is thought of so lowly by both manager and half our fans despite having 2-5 mins here and there while Yakubu, who regularly goes games without scoring while offering nothing to the team, is defended to the hilt. Baffling to say the least.
Jay Harris
12   Posted 05/09/2009 at 15:17:59

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I agree with Nick Marsh. It depends who we are playing. I would add that it also depends whether we’re playing home or away. For home games I would play 2 up front pairing Jo with Yak and Cahill with Saha.

The big advantage in having so many strikers is it gives us options but I do think we need to start being more attack-minded at home.
Mike Allison
13   Posted 05/09/2009 at 19:37:22

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I don’t really see Vaughan and Anichebe as suited to a lone striker role. Vaughan I think needs to play in a two, and makes a great strike partner with his willingness to run. His pace and energy make him a good ’impact sub’ and he has the ability to really destroy lesser teams or slower defenders. He’s also a natural finisher whoe expects to score, I still can’t get over the penalty he took at Wembley.

Anichebe is kind of an Emile Heskey, or should be, in that you could play him up front and not necessarily worry about how many goals he scores. Anichebe is like a bull with his back to goal at times and playing the ball into him is like setting up a base camp on the edge of the opposition area. This draws defenders and opens up gaps for others. Unfortunately, for one reason or another we’ve seen very little of this side of him, but I still have high hopes for him being a useful player, whether its in a ’horses for courses’ rotational selection or as an impact sub in a specific situation.

I actually also think Jo is far better in a two, his £19M form in Russia was alongside another out and out striker in Vagner Love. He likes to drop a little deeper and set things up.

I agree with Jay, I’d love to see us playing 4-4-2 at home, but as John Crook points out, having Cahill up there that’s pretty much what it is, certainly against Wigan last time out Cahill and Saha were a fairly orthodox front two.

And to answer the original question, Saha is definitely ahead of Yakubu for the rest of this season, I agree with Mike Gaynes in that his injury leaves him with an awful lot to prove.
Martin Mason
14   Posted 05/09/2009 at 19:50:05

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Dare I say that Anichebe and Vaughan will never be top half premiership strikers and should be sold for whatever we can get for them? Saha is the real deal and Yak is nearly it. Our second tier strikers are Jo, Tim and Fellaini. How anybody paid £19M for Jo is beyond me, he’s a £5M player and never Everton's future.

How any of them though can shine in Everton’s negative one-up-front formation is beyond me. Is this really Everton we are watching, the most negative team in the Premier League? Are they the descendants of Ball, Harvey and Kendall?

Julian Wait
15   Posted 05/09/2009 at 22:35:03

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Last season we ended up with ZERO fit "top notch" strikers at one point.

Pre-season, people were noting that we hadn’t signed enough quality.

Now we have too many strikers? Won’t Yakubu be missing for 5 weeks for ANC, assuming he’s fit by then? Don’t we have multiple competitions to compete in? Isn’t 1 up striker the most wearing (physically, perhaps mentally too) position on the field?

I think we’ll need them all as the season goes by, and they will keep each other on their toes as well.
Art Jones
16   Posted 06/09/2009 at 03:23:32

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If he returns to full fitness then the Yak is number one starter for me but I’d love it if Moyes cold find a system to play Saha alongside him, in certain games at least but as has been mentioned then Cahill is also going to do a job as 2nd striker. The rest, IMO when we are injury free will remain bit part players with Vic and Jo quite capable of being used in a "supersub" situation in order to change the pattern of attack.

I am of the opinion that the boat may have sailed for Vaughany, as much as I’m loathe to say it... Maybe a long-term loan would be in his best interests, give him the minutes on the pitch he needs and hopefully he could return to the promise he shown as a 16-year-old who looked to have the world at his feet.

Mike Oates
17   Posted 06/09/2009 at 09:55:17

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I too have similar thoughts to a number above that Vaughan (who is injured again, but no news!!!!) has missed the boat. I really thought 1-2 years ago that he was our future international striker but, due to injuries and lack of development he (to me) is 5th in the order even behind Big Vic.

I don't rate Vic’s attitude at all but he is a more effective centre-forward who can hold play up, is strong, is fast (remember his penalty against Villa last season) — Vaughan cannot control or hold the ball up — he will never be a lone striker.

Vaughan is suited to the Adrian Heath type 2nd striker but will never get the opportunity in today’s Everton team. A long loan followed by a decision to sell or keep him or sell — I suspect he’ll want to leave.

Jim Hourigan
18   Posted 06/09/2009 at 16:37:00

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Well this may upset the apple cart, but I think you need to recognise the difference between a forward and an attacking midfielder. Cahill is not and never will be a forward. He does not think like a forward, make runs like a forward or bring players in from holding the ball up like a forward. Cahill has 2 major attributes - his energy / enthusiasm and his ability to come into the box late and find space, mostly at set pieces. His control is no better than average and his touch in and around the box is not good enough to be a threat as a forward. So for me the thought of discussing him alongside proper forwards is false.

Again it may be heresy to some but is Cahill actually good enough to dictate our whole pattern of play and our set up? Does his goal scoring record justify playing him at the expense of a natural forward? If the Yak regains full fitness and begins scoring does Cahill deserve a place over Saha? Will he score more goals and have more assists than Saha? If Saha continues scoring should he be dropped particulaly if the Yak comes back, just so that we can continue with 5 in midfield to accommodate Cahill?

Fundamentally you have to assume players stay fit and you only make changes when they are not. So if we look at the Yak, Saha and Jo realistically, would we not expect 15 or more goals from each if they are fit and playing? Can we realistically expect the same from Cahill? Lampard and Gerrard are the only midfield players for whom 15+ is a realistic target.

Cahill plays in a 4 or gets dropped and we play 2 forwards and for me that would be Saha and the Yak (if fit) and if not then Saha and Jo. Vaughan has yet to move from potential and I just fear the lad is so injury prone that he has already missed the boat. Similarly Victor flatters to deceive and if we can get some money for him then I’d sell him.
David Ellis
19   Posted 07/09/2009 at 03:06:23

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Cahill is not a striker. He is an attacking midfielder best suited in a 4-5-1. 4-5-1 is not an inherently defensive formation. It can be defensive or offensive. Jo, Anichebe and Vaughan all suffer from poor control. This is a deal breaker for a first-class striker in a 4-5-1 formation.

I think Jo is useful from the bench or as back up, but will not be the long term replacement for the Yak or Saha.

I have never seen Anichebe or Vaughan achieve more than good cameo performances as substitutes. I do not think they can hold the line and now that defenders know what to expect from them they seem quite easily handled. Time to move them both on and bring in the next generation of "ones for the future".

Saha is the best all rounder. Yakubu is the most dangerous — but I would prefer Saha as we probably score more with him on the pitch than the Yak as the team flows better.
Ciarán McGlone
20   Posted 09/09/2009 at 13:40:45

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1. Saha
2. Yak
3. Vaughan
4. Anichebe
5. McFadden
6. Jo

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