I don't want to waste too any time talking about the 5-0 drubbing from Benfica... Yes, it was embarrassing; yes, it's another heavy defeat for Moyes... and yes, I'm not looking forward to the rematch in a fortnight.
Rather I'd like to talk about something which I feel is the real problem of the current team. We don't have a midfielder who can sit in the middle of the park and run the game.
Everton have some great players and a quality squad but what they need is a Steven Gerard/Frank Lampard type player. A player who dominates games. A player who can win some tackles, make some defence splitting passes and score match winning goals.
I know that Gerard and Lampard are players who come along once a generation. I admit Moyes will probably never find a Gerard or Lampard but surely there's a player like that out there? Even if he's only three quarters as good. I'll take that.
The problem is that the current squad doesn't have that type of player.
A few years ago we had Thomas Gravesen. Every now and then the Mad Dog would perform like a genius. At his best, Gravesen could dominate a game. Tommy G was a player who could inspire Everton. Admittedly he was also piss-poor at times and let's be fair it didn't end well for Tommy, Real Madrid mistook him for a tough-tackling dog of war player and then he eventually went mad and started dating a porn star. But on his day he was great.
Tim Cahill is often credited as Everton's best player — our talisman... but Tim doesn't dominate games. His nickname is the invisible man and in big games he has a tendency to vanish. Cahill's best attribute is scoring headers from corners. Now that's a useful gift but he has very little else in his locker. Not particularly good at tackling, not particularly good at passing, no pace and let's be honest, the goals have dried up.
When Benfica were taking the piss out of the likes of Rodwell, Coleman, Gosling & Baxter, it's the senior players who need to stand up and be counted. Where was the invisible man?
Talking of Rodwell, yeah he's going to be a great player but he's not going to be a Steven Gerard type. Rodwell is too laid back and defensive to truely dominate a game. I expect eventually Rodwell will become a player similar to Gareth Barry or maybe Michael Carrick. Able to tackle and use the ball intelligently but he won't be a match-winning dominating game runner like Gerard or Lampard.
Osman is too lightweight and has a tendency to lose form too often. Neville is great at protecting the back four but limited on the ball.
Then there's the Big Freak. Our transfer-record-breaking midfielder Fellaini. In theory Fellaini should be that type of player. He certainly has the physique to dominate games. He can tackle reasonably well and at times can make a decent pass. But he's slow and has a tendency to make mistakes. Fellaini has looked both very promising and very average. So far I'd say he was a good player on his day but he's nowhere near his transfer fee and nowhere near ready to dominate games.
Finally we have Arteta. A much missed star who has proven he has the ability to run games. It's such a shame he's injured. This is his prime and he was just starting to become the type of central midfielder Everton needs. Personally I think Arteta has the ability to dominate games but apparently he's some way off returning from injury and there's no way of knowing how long it will take to get back to his best form.
I don't know what the answer is. Can Moyes hunt the lower divisions and find the next Steven Gerard? Can he search Europe for a new Cesc Fabregas? Can Jose Baxter stop smoking pot and counterfeiting money long enough to emerge from the ranks as the new Wayne Rooney?
I don't know answers to any of these questions. All I do know is that Everton will never dominate play and out-football teams with Tim Cahill in the middle of the park.
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1 Posted 23/10/2009 at 08:23:36
2 Posted 23/10/2009 at 09:26:45
How about a manager who can train a team to string a pass together! You could put Gerrard or Lampard in that team and it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference.
3 Posted 23/10/2009 at 09:56:05
James, like who? A lot of people come on here saying we need a new manager to change the way we play. But what manager would that be? Apart from Arsene Wenger I honestly can’t think of any manager that could do any better with the restraints that are on Moyes.
Remember the Newcastle side of the early 90’s, losing by the odd goal in 9. Very pretty to watch, really exciting, but how long before we were complaining about the lack of a solid midfield. Players like Reid and Bracewell, not technically wonderful but solid as a rock, and giving the flair players like Sheedy and Steven something to build on.
Would the title winning side of the 80’s been able to do it without Reid, Steven, Ratcliffe, Sharpe and Sheedy for long periods of the season?
I doubt it, yet we expect the current squad to cope without Neville, Arteta, Jags, Yak and Piennar.
4 Posted 23/10/2009 at 10:52:31
It is this lack of a central midfield ball player which prevents Moyes getting the best out of the most talented Everton squad in 20 years. if you remember it was only by accident that Moyes found out that Arteta could perform in that role and the difference in Everton’s play was substantial.
This leads me to another point — it's all very well getting results such as 1-0 at Portsmouth and saying three points is the important thing but I am sure I’m not alone in having a desire to see an Everton side consistently trying to play the kind of football we saw against Arsenal at home last season.
5 Posted 23/10/2009 at 11:09:25
6 Posted 23/10/2009 at 11:10:30
It was by mistake that Jags got put in defence.
Everyone on this site wanted Arteta in the middle 2 years ago.
7 Posted 23/10/2009 at 12:02:43
8 Posted 23/10/2009 at 13:51:47
We play some of the worst football from an Everton team I have seen in a long while and there is no excuse for that.
9 Posted 23/10/2009 at 14:31:22
Moyes isn’t going to hunt out a Gerrard-type dominating player - it wouldn’t make sense to invest in an experienced player in that role when Arteta is due back soon, and a young player will take time to develop. So, really, we just have to wait.
As an aside - I don’t know where you got the idea Fellaini can tackle reasonably well Dick! Whatever his merits (and I do think he’s a handy player), tackling is sadly not even close to being one of them...
10 Posted 23/10/2009 at 14:51:49
11 Posted 23/10/2009 at 15:06:27
I seem to remember at the start of the 86-87 season we had an injury holocaust and just about everyone was out injured.
In came the likes of Kevin Langley, Ian Marshall, Dissa Pointon, Neil Adams and the rest...... We did ok and certainly never got tonked like we did last night.... In fact we went on to win the league.
I may be wrong, but that’s what it felt like at the time, and I can’t be arsed to research it but maybe one of the stattos could confirm.
12 Posted 23/10/2009 at 15:46:28
Interesting post. I remember Kendall saying that a player needs to have 2 out of 3 of tackling, passing and shooting. It’ll be hard to track down a player with all three.
By the way, can I ask you a question about something you posted a couple of weeks ago? You made a suggestion of an Everton song for Bily to Come on Irene, would you recall the original Everton version of that song at all?
Off the point sorry, but it’s been niggling away at me for a while now !!
13 Posted 23/10/2009 at 15:59:50
I’m glad you brought that up, for some reason I remember Inchy as being a supersub but not a regular starter, but in 86-87 he started everyone of his 41 games. Weird how memories can be so wrong. That season only Inchy, Rat, Clevor Trevor and Paul Power started more than 40 games in the league. We had early season injuries to Paul Bracewell, Pat Van den Hauwe, Gary Stevens, Derek Mountfield and Neville Southall, By this point in the season we had lost 3 times in the league and drawn 3 times too, against Sheff Wed, Coventry and QPR. The defeats were against Spurs, Arsenal and Charlton.
We had also lost twice to the RS in the silly cup 3-1 at Anfield and 4-1 at Goodison. It was only once the injured players returned that we really took off.
14 Posted 23/10/2009 at 17:12:33
In the days before internet and satellite TV we would be huddled around the radio - BBC World Service - every Saturday (remember when we used to play every Saturday).....
One of my fondest memories of that season was against Charlton at home (I think!) when Gary Stevens made a thunderous challenge on the edge of their box and it flew in, and we went on to win.
There was a purple patch around Christmas when Inchy was on fire and we seemed to win 3 and 4-0 every week....
Sigh..... getting all nostalgic now! hehehehe
Those were the days!
15 Posted 23/10/2009 at 17:17:28
He was ever present as I remember and weighed in with a couple of goals...... not bad for an over the hill Man City reject as he was called by some - including me - when we signed him :-)
16 Posted 23/10/2009 at 17:35:03
We clearly need some aggression and inspiration in midfield.
Seems a shame to keep him on the bench, while the likes of Rodwell, Fellaini and Cahill play ’after you Claude’...
Any thoughts anyone?
17 Posted 23/10/2009 at 18:25:04
18 Posted 23/10/2009 at 18:20:02
19 Posted 23/10/2009 at 18:29:55
20 Posted 23/10/2009 at 18:28:17
Fellaini, for his size, does not dominate games and the only other midfielder Moyes bothered to sign is Billy although skilled is not quick or strong or tall.
I am like a stuck record every summer hoping Moyes signs powerful or quick midfielders and every year we don't.
21 Posted 23/10/2009 at 21:19:58
22 Posted 24/10/2009 at 05:23:11
I even read a few of the replies, so I scrolled down and stopped at the ’ your comment ’ I look up and what do I see?? at the very top of my page, one line, it reads...
Ray Kelly.............Lack of leadership, tactics and footballing nouse, period.
SPOT ON RAYMONDO ’nough said.
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