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You're the Manager

By Matthew Lovekin :  23/11/2009 :  Comments (38) :
Your team is in a terrible run of games. Your reputation is on the line and the club is on the verge of falling apart. You are not in the business of quitting and very unlikely to get the sack. Your club needs you now for inspiration. Something needs to be done and quick.

You are away to Hull on Wednesday night which is simply a must win game. After Wednesday, you play three Premier League games where you will be lucky to get one point, against Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea.

These Premier League games are mixed in with the last two Europa League games which will decide whether you go through to the knockout stages of the competition or out of Europe for at least another season and yet another cup competition in the first half of this season.

Your tried and tested 4-5-1 system is struggling. Do you keep with it or change? Players are playing out of position but there is no-one else to play. You have eight players out through injury and two suspended for the trip to Hull. It’s a must win game but you only have twelve first-team players available, most of which are defensive.

If I was the manager of Everton FC, my next team sheet would have to be: Howard, Heitinga, Neil, Yobo, Distin, Gosling, Rodwell, Cahill, Baines, Yakubu, Saha. Subs looking at bringing on would be Hibbert, Wallace & Baxter.

The team needs to be positive against another struggling team. Revert to 4-4-2 with two main positives in the team being Yakubu and Saha. Therefore, get them both on the pitch from the start. I would reluctantly keep Gosling (there are no other options) on the right but tell him to keep the width and get crosses in to supply the strikers.

Baines can create and get assists, and as the only real genuine wide player available (defence and midfield), he is more needed to create and Neil can play left-back and concentrate on stopping the opposition. Heitinga is similar on the right. Both full-backs, stay back and defend first, let Gosling and Baines attack from midfield.

A major problem to solve is Cahill. Get him back in centre midfield or behind a striker, he looks lost on the wing. Let Cahill do what he does best, break late from midfield and support the strikers and try to get a goal. Rodwell can cover Cahill and let him bomb forward. Unfortunately there aren’t many options left. Legs will tire as everyone is already knackered.

Hibbert could possibly come on if we are winning and go to right-back with Heitinga into midfield in place of Cahill or Gosling. If we are not winning and need fresh legs, then you have the young legs of Baxter and Wallace for any of Gosling, Cahill, Yakubu or Saha depending on how each are playing.

David Moyes’s job is currently not easy. He doesn’t have many choices but he seems to be just churning out the same team and tactics every game at the moment. They are not working and something needs to change, we need fresh impetus. If you carry on doing the same things whilst losing, you will inevitably carry on losing.

I understand the injury situation, but you have to do something, you can’t sit back and do nothing, game after game. When you do nothing, you have obviously lost interest and I’m afraid it will be time to go. Come on Davey, be brave, do something and let’s have a go at Hull.

Reader Comments

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Brian Waring
1   Posted 23/11/2009 at 16:52:49

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Hibbert Neill Yobo Distin
Gosling Rodwell Heitinga Baines
Yak Saha

Agree with Baines on the left. This set-up looks a lot more balanced than of late. Cahill gets a rest on the bench, and could be brought on for one of the strikers if things aren’t going too well.
Stefan Tosev
2   Posted 23/11/2009 at 18:03:30

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Tsk, tsk, tsk Brian for a man constantly whining about positive and attacking football, your team consist of 8 defenders… funny, isn’t it?
Sean McKenna
3   Posted 23/11/2009 at 18:10:41

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You say there are no options but there are... but they are attacking options which Moyes seems to forget. My team would be

Howard; Neill, Heitinga, Yobo, Distin; Agard (for his pace) Rodwell, Cahill, Baines; Yak and Saha.

Or: Howard; Neill, Heitinga, Yobo Distin; Saha, Rodwell, Cahill, Jo, Baines; Yakubu.....

Or: Howard; Hibbert, Neill, Yobo, Distin; Gosling Rodwell, Cahill, Heitinga, Baines; Saha....

Lots of options but I think it will be the usual negative crap and try to scrape a point at delegation fodder!

Keith Glazzard
4   Posted 23/11/2009 at 18:22:33

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This isn’t quite YADM , because we can’t be sure who will be available for Wednesday, and, of course, its trying to say what you would do, rather than guess what he actually will do. We have no influence over what he will do.

Yakubu is back as a physically present good footballer. He’s a bit like Rooney at the moment, playing deep, not as effective as he should be. Making him a goalscorer in and around the box would be a boost. Saha is intelligent enough to play around that. So -

Saha Yak

but how do you get four midfield around them to work in defence and attack right now? Baines can’t be moved forward.

Neill and Heitinga are getting better, but Cahill and Fellaini are struggling without good players around them.

Somebody once suggested putting Hibbo into midfield - win ball, pass, rest. Why not?
Andy Crooks
5   Posted 23/11/2009 at 18:45:27

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If I were the manager I would offer one final service to the club: resign and walk away with a large sum of money.

People who do not watch Everton on a regular basis will still believe that I have the talent to manage a large club. They might even believe that the injury crisis is not a crutch and that I have had one single attacking idea in my life.

Brian Waring
6   Posted 23/11/2009 at 18:57:46

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Stefan, can’t be arsed anymore mate, we could have a midfield and strikeforce consisting of 6 Messi’s, and the clueless fucker would still use the same predictable negative tactics.
Anthony Bailey
7   Posted 23/11/2009 at 18:45:41

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I would probably start 4-5-1 and see how it goes and if its not working early on, switch to a 4-4-2.

Id keep the defence the same as it is now, I dont think its wholly their fault for the problems we are having, it lies mainly in the balance of the midfield. IMO we have Fellaini and Cahill who are similar players, as are Heitinga and Rodwell. They more or less play the same way and the way the Everton team has worked best with Neville, Arteta and Cahill is that they are all different and perform different roles. Cahill gets forward, Neville sits and protects the back 4 and Arteta controls the midfield, uses the ball and keeps us ticking.

Against Hull I would play Cahill off the striker (Saha) where he always plays his best football. Id tell Heitinga to ALWAYS sit in front of the back 4, and pick up any players who go in that area and use Rodwell to get the ball down and pass it around. Against Man U both Heitinga and Rodwell wanted to do the same thing, and no-one picked up any runners in between the midfield and defence and that was our main problem IMO. Get Heitinga to sit, tackle hard and then offload it to Rodwell to bring the offensive players in the game, as opposed to laying it back to Baines etc for them to just hoof it clear.

On the wings I would go for Jo (if fit?) and Baxter. Gosling has been crap and bringing Baxter in wouldnt exactly hurt the team in that respect. Jo has more creativity than any player we currently have fit even if his decisions arent always the best. Let him roam down the left and link up with the striker (s) when he can.

But at the end of the day as Clough said its players that win/lose games and not tactics, or at least something like that and they need to keep their heads and put on a performance regardless of the formation etc...
Eugene Ruane
8   Posted 23/11/2009 at 19:04:29

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"Come on Davey, be brave" ?

Surely that’s like saying "Come on Rafa, be un-fat, un-Spanish and un-cuntish"

Or like saying to Phil Brown "Come on Browny, look ever so slightly caucasian"

Not going to happen.
Keith Glazzard
9   Posted 23/11/2009 at 19:22:03

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Eugene - I got the fat waiter bit, but "Come on Browny, look ever so slightly caucasian" I have yet to work out. Can you explain?
Brian Waring
10   Posted 23/11/2009 at 19:38:42

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Keith, it’s because Brown is a sunbed head, and is err brown.
Mike Gwyer
11   Posted 23/11/2009 at 19:56:59

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One of the above posters has just nominated Hibbert for a midfield position.

Another poster wants EFC to play attacking footy and therefore selects 8 defenders (I’m guessing there is a GK).

Football Manager needs to get hold of Moyes immediately, and start programing footy games for xmas. Moyes has now got the EFC fan base selecting teams that really make you laugh (hysterically).

Maybe it’s a disease. We can call is Moyse-zitus.

Keith Glazzard
12   Posted 23/11/2009 at 20:01:26

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Thanks Brian - as I travel around the UK I have noticed that many former shops have been converted to ’tan cabins’. There must be a market for this sort of thing.

As a red haired person like me, Moyes is unlikely to go in for skin-cancer enhancing therapy such as this, but his teams can, and do, attack. We are unlikely to do that from the start at Hull. As ever, 30 minutes, or just after, will be the turning point.
Keith Glazzard
13   Posted 23/11/2009 at 20:11:48

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Mike Gwyer — when you say "Football Manager", I guess you must be talking about some sort of game — we used to call it Arcade, or Video, then I suppose virtual. Yes, virtual I suppose.

Your virtual imagination has you selecting TW posters selecting Moyes’s line-up for Wednesday. I guess your game ends you up with a tombraider person or the like... Not how it works here.
Bryan Douglas
14   Posted 23/11/2009 at 20:48:52

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If this was any other team Moyes would be sacked by now and this sort of discussion, that been going on for what seems like forever, would be over.
Will Green
15   Posted 23/11/2009 at 20:38:05

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We all have ideas about how team formations should line up, I think we should have lined up on Saturday with 3 center backs Neill, Yobo, and Distin, with Hibbert and Baines as wing backs pushing on, Cahill, Rodwell and Fellaini in the middle, and Saha and Yakubu up front.

I can count and I know there are a few defenders there but against United it would have made sense. (Remember Portsmouth’s formation hammering us last season at home?)

My problem is the absolute lack of a significant change in tactics when things clearly are not working. Come on, Moyes and Round, start earning your wages.

Dave Lynch
16   Posted 23/11/2009 at 21:17:02

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Round has never earned his wages at any club he has been with.
His record is pathetic.
Keith Glazzard
17   Posted 23/11/2009 at 21:24:59

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Bryan - a very fair point.

How many games has Moyes got left? We must be into that territory soon.
Bryan Douglas
18   Posted 23/11/2009 at 21:39:17

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I can’t think of any club with decency and self-respect, that would let this situation continue.

It’s appalling to everyone concerned, shareholders, fans, players, staff, that the gloom over Goodison is allowed to drag on and on.

I’m not interested in team selections and untold injuries anymore, or even aportioning blame, I want to see this club get back on its feet before it’s too late.
John Andrews
19   Posted 23/11/2009 at 21:47:34

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Keith, There is no chance whatsoever of Moyes getting the sack.

Bryan, I could not agree more!

Dick Fearon
20   Posted 23/11/2009 at 22:38:50

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Keith G, I agree that in our emergency stations Hibbo should be in the team but not the midfield. I would have Neil in that position and Hibbo at R fullback.

I also question whether our dire circumstances call for a classical exponent of the art such as Saha or someone fast with a bit of bulk to throw around and a never say die spirit to do just that.

Chris Butler
21   Posted 23/11/2009 at 22:54:53

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I am worried about this season as Moyes will be. The problem is we need to scrap the stadium and get the players in. We have no playmakers in the side.

I have a feelign this season won’t be enjoyable. In my opinion our next 2 games could make or break our season. Neither game will be easy as Hull will be thinking the same.Stupid draws against Wolves, Stoke, and Villa I fear we could pay for. We should've got draws against both Burnley and Bolton. We need to win about 4 or 5 games to get us out of trouble in my opinion. Liverpool will be hard but really it usually takes 1 defensive lapse to win 1.

The spartan in my says we’ve got to win at all costs and put some effort in for both games. Derby games are never very good for skilful players as they are gritty affairs.

I pray to god Torres and Babel are still out and Gerrard is injured for the game. I'm feeling depressed about this season. There was no major competition this year so perfect time for an early signing as City did.

Alan Kirwin
22   Posted 23/11/2009 at 23:50:08

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I’m resigned to the fact that David Moyes has run out of ideas & drive, he has clearly hit a ceiling with regards to performance and motivation and, as this is a business and elite professional sport, it has to be time for him to move on.

But what next?

God forbid we should go for deja vu with a manager like Alan Irvine, with no disrespect to him. My personal favourite is Jan Schindelmeiser, currently manager of Bundesliga minnows Hoffenheim.

Schindelmeiser has taken Hoffenheim (pop. 3,000) from the German 3rd tier to near top of the Bundesliga in just 2 years. Last season they led teh league for a long time.

Aside from his obvious achievement in taking Hoffenheim from obscurity to European football in just a few minutes, there are 3 very compelling reasons why Schindelmeiser is worthy of note.
  1. He has spent precious little money on the team. No big buys and great use of young players.
  2. He has a personal netwrork which is strong in South America in particular and has resulted in several excellent young players joining Hoffenheim for very little money, but now brilliant reputations.
  3. He plays open, attacking and controlled football. Hoffenheim revel in going to the big boys (Bayern etc) and doing them over, not through smasgh & grab, but by playing them off the park and scaring them.
He’s fluent in English, having done some of his early coaching over here. He wouldn’t expect anywhere near what Moyes is being paid, but IMHO he offers the perfect credentials for consolidating what Everton currently has and making us kick-on.

I think we’ve pretty much all had enough of horrible starts to the season, tedious & unimaginative football and a team afraid to express itself. The earlier he goes, the better he’ll be remembered & appreciated. But I really think he now has to go.
Russell Buckley
23   Posted 24/11/2009 at 00:04:09

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My team would be:

Neill, Heitinga, Yobo, Distin,
Gosling, Rodwell, Cahill, Baines
Saha, Yakubu.

As the game went on I’d sub Gosling and bring on Jo allowing one of the stikers to play on the wing.

I have a feeling this is going to be an ugly ugly game. Hope I’m wrong but I have a feeling even against Hull we are going to be defensive and try to nick a goal.
Kirk McArdle
24   Posted 24/11/2009 at 06:16:19

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Neill - Jobo - Distin - Baines
Baxter - Rodwell - Jo

I think with the injuries and suspensions that we have at the moment this formation can be solid at the back and quite attacking as well. I would love to see Baxter given a proper chance and although they are premiership opposition, a team like Hull might not faze him like Man Utd or Chelsea. This would still leave Hibbert, Gosling, Yakubu, Nash, Agard, Wallace, Duffy on the bench. Cahill back to his best position. Rodwell in the middle with the destroyer in Hetinga behind. I do not feel moving the defenders around to play Baines left mid is right. The entire back line needs to be consistent with each other. I am not Jo’s greatest fan but I do feel he does have something to offer given enough playing time. I know I have still picked a 4-5-1 but not a variation seen often. Wasn’t Moyes the first to use a 4-1-4-1 formation? How about a new bit of innovation Davey??
Kirk McArdle
25   Posted 24/11/2009 at 06:29:23

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Team above can be used for Liverpool as well but with Bily in for Jo and Fellaini in for Rodwell. This gives Rodwell the rest that everyone is on about but moves him to the bench instead of a novice like Wallace.
Kirk McArdle
26   Posted 24/11/2009 at 06:41:41

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Sorry but I felt I had to!!!

Neill - Jags - Distin - Baines
---- Arteta - Hetinga----
Pienaar - Fellaini - Bily
------ Saha ------

Nash, Yobo, Hibbert, Neville, Rodwell, Cahill, Yakubu.

That team and bench is mouthwatering.

And some posters are saying that the injuries should not be that much of an issue. FFS back to planet earth please.
Mike Gwyer
27   Posted 24/11/2009 at 08:00:23

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Not quite with your response but my exposure to FM is limited to how much notice I take when my son plays it.

My problem, I am guessing here, is that I have supported EFC since 76, had the dizzy heights of the 80’s and therefore find this drivel served up most Saturdays as pathetic. But hey thats my view.

Team selection to me at the moment is quite easy due to injuries - but with Moyes you can guarantee it will be defensive so perm your 4-5-1 with 8 defenders and Billy or Peanuts (if those two are out then its nine defenders plus Saha or Yak).


Michael Lynch
28   Posted 24/11/2009 at 08:18:24

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Neil Distin Yobo Heitinga
Gosling Rodwell Fellaini Baines
Saha Yakubu

Bench: Cahill Nash Baxter Jo Agard Hibbert

Baines needs to play on the left wing so we can some balance. I beleive heitinga has done a job at left back for the Dutch before.

That team will beat Hull.
Bryan Douglas
29   Posted 24/11/2009 at 08:25:42

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Moyes is already ’bigging up’ the prospect of Pienaar playing at the weekend. The real chances of this are slim - even by Moyes’ standards - so why provide this prospect - agh, yes, to keep the fans interested. This is cynical and belittles fans, well those who have a brain.
Ajay Gopal
30   Posted 24/11/2009 at 08:23:05

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My team:

Hibbert ----Yobo--------Distin----Neill

SUBS: Gosling, Baxter, Jo

Rodwell on the right, because he had 1 great strike from the right side against ManU.

This team should go out to browbeat Hull, but will Moyes allow that ?
Ajay Gopal
31   Posted 24/11/2009 at 08:32:55

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Mic hael Lunch, Fellaini is suspended for the Hull game. He will not play.

For the derby, we can have 3 players potentially coming in (Pienaar, Fellaini, Bily). The team against Liverpool could be:

Neill ----Yobo-------Distin----Baines

Subs: Cahill, Jo, Baxter, Gosling, Hibbert, Nash

Quite an attacking line-up.

But first, i am hope that we play well get all 3 points against Hull.
Alan Clarke
32   Posted 24/11/2009 at 09:49:59

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Careful there Kirwin, you’re showing some ambition! I would have thought you’d be aiming for someone of Megson’s calibre.

If I were the manager, first and foremost, I’d resign and apply for the Celtic job. The next manager should then come in and apply attacking prinicples to the team then whoever slots into any position knows how the game should be played i.e. not lumping the ball forward all the time. I’d emphasise to all the players that posession is key and therefore try and keep the ball. Even for a defence minded coach, they can’t score if you’ve got the ball. This would also solve our injury problems because the workload of the players would be eased instead of having to spend 85 minutes chasing after the ball. It’s no wonder our players are knackered.

With the players available I would build the team around our main goal threats - Cahill and Saha. Play them in their best positions. So either Fellaini adapts to play in a deeper position or he’s dropped. I would also leave one man up when we defend set pieces to allow us to break more quickly. Then with what transfer budget I had I’d buy some attack minded players instead of defenders all the time.

I think under Moyes our team lack even the basics, which if applied properly would make a difference.
Paul Niklas
33   Posted 24/11/2009 at 10:22:58

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I was at Old Trafford on Saturday and I spoke to a few Everton supporters who all agreed with me that if Everton had an offer of anything half decent for Rodwell they would be happy to see him go.

I for one have not seen anything that most people on this site seem to to see, he has no real craft, no skill, hides most of the game in positions that keep him out the game.

He can pass 10 yards at best and mainly backwards.

This is only my opinion and that leads me to believe he will never be good enough.

Forget age, forget tiredness you always see some ability and apart from a cameo performance in a derby last season he has produced not a lot, certainly not enough to command a first team place when all are fit and I believe with that scenario he would not be picked.

Please someone tell me what I am missing and those that agreed with me at the weekend who by the way were loyal well versed Everton fans involved at various levels with the club and supporters.

To answer your point re who to pick then I suppose you have one of the answers.

Lin Jinli
34   Posted 24/11/2009 at 09:35:39

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Hibbert ---Yobo-------Distin------Neill

Sub : Nash/Heitinga/Fellaini/Cahill/Jo
Sub should come in if there any problem or sub @ 65min.
Full back : STAY BACK forgodsake

Yobo : His fast so he will stay and cover up if anyone bypass Distin
Distin : he will go right @ who has the ball and pass it away to the Midfield

Gosling will go forward while rodwell stay back and assist in def

Baines : Cross and assit
Billy : back @ his last club, it show he can cut in and score

Saha : should make full use of his pace
Yakubu : Big and Strong, Hold up play and pass to Saha or even score afew if there any chance

We have being playing some pretty boring football lately but with these player we have i do believe we can play pass and move style.

Hull is a team we should not look down on as all the player from hull are hardworking.
Chris Butler
35   Posted 24/11/2009 at 11:38:56

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We have gone from being a top 5 side to a poor mid table side. In my opnion we have lost our team ethic. Moyes has been behaving quite out of character, it seems to me like we’ve lost most of our team when really only lescott has left.

We were never a Barcelona with all players fit. If we get anymore injuries were fucked. I think we should've gone for the likes of Darren Bent or Jermain Defoe last year. We seem to have got to cockey and it's paid.

Stephen Kenny
36   Posted 24/11/2009 at 13:58:58

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Matthew hows this?

Distin Yobo
Hibbert Baines
Baxter Cahill Yakubu Saha jo

Tactics: These are crap, keep the ball on the floor, dont stand still when a team mate has it and they won't get near us. Full backs get forward whenever you can and look to play the ball in behind every chance you get
Tony Dove
37   Posted 24/11/2009 at 17:44:00

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The arrival of Neil has only served to strengthen our position as the slowest team in the Premier League. However, the abuse he will get get from the red shite on Sunday will help to keep the atmosphere tasty.
Karl Masters
38   Posted 24/11/2009 at 22:16:18

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Lin Jinli

You have it spot on except that central midfield which wil be powder puff with Rodwell and Gosling in it. Take them out and put in Cahill and Heitinga or possibly keep Rodwell at Heitinga’s expense. On Sunday we need to battle for everything so I don’t see that as a game for Fellaini and Rodwell to be prancing around in midfield.

Hibbert, Yobo, Distin, Neill

Billy, Heitinga, Cahill, Baines,

Yak, Saha

And if Pienaar is fit, he should play instead of Billy.

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