There have been even more stories about Pienaar's presence or otherwise.
Instead of re-treading those whys and wherefores, I wanted to consider for a moment what our current (and potential) solutions are on the flanks. I've dealt with each in turn, although to a degree they should be exchangeable
The obvious first choice and rightly so (provided he's here of course), Pienaar's combination with Baines on the flank and interpassing with Arteta and Co in the midfield were instrumental in much of our creative work last season. Even if the end product isn't always as clinical as we'd hope (he should score more goals), there's a reason why he's sought after elsewhere and we want him to stay ? he makes things happen.
Verdict: Proven success.
The new 'guy' has slotted in to Pienaar's position with comparative ease. Granted it was against inferior opposition in Australians and Preston, but nevertheless he's shown enough pace and precision to suggest he could be at least a back-up on the bench.
Verdict: Too early to say, but potential back-up
After a decidedly hit-and-miss first season where he served up equal measures of delight (some superlative crossing and shooting) and despair (often looked lost, knackered and off the pace, can't seem to dribble past players), most fans have high hopes for the Russian now that he's had time to rest and settle in. However, with pre-season performances so far looking remarkably similar to those at the end of last year, it's looking like maybe we don't have the next Kanchelskis on our hands after all but rather a reluctant winger.
Verdict: Has his moments but doesn't seem a naturally wide player.
A strong, pacy forward who's shown he has an eye for goal, but an equal ability to disappear when given the chance, Victor is going to be itching to make a breakthrough this year but, with the Yak and Saha ahead of him (for most likely just 1 CF slot), and competition alongside him from new boy Beckford and fellow youngsters Vaughan, Silva and Apkan (plus Cahill), the reality is that chances to lead the line will be thin on the ground. He's already been tried a number of times on the flank and I'd expect to see a lot more of him there this season.
Verdict: Has the power and pace, but does he have the discipline? ? I would give him a run of games to find out...
For my money (and I'm not expecting very long odds) Seamus will be this year's breakthrough youth player (assuming that Rodwell broke through last year), his pace, skill and fearlessness being bonded with a little more nous and experience to make him an all-round better defender.
Like many here, I think he will become our first-choice right-back in the near future (possibly even by the end of the season); however, also like many here, I can't see Neville and Hibbert being sidelined so easily and considering their experience that's perhaps rightly so.
So, what price on Coleman being given a chance to move from attacking full-back to attacker full-stop on the right flank?
Verdict: Has pace and skill in abundance, could be the answer but also needs to be given a chance at right back.
Little Leon has often flattered to deceive over recent seasons, putting in some match-winning performances against smaller clubs then wilting entirely in the bigger games. For my money, he's a good squad player that offers cover or an option from the bench rather than a nailed-on starter. Though he has had experience on the flanks and does have quick feet and good control, he lacks the pace to be a real hit in this position.
Verdict: A talented player but more cover/sub for midfield positions than starter.
Although his preferred position (and it would seem Moyes now agrees too) is the central midfield playmaker role, Mikky has spent much of his Goodison career working the flanks and could return there if required. (I'd be intrigued to see a switch with Bily for a friendly just to see if the Russian can do the biz in the middle.)
Verdict: Keep him in central midfield (assuming we keep him at all!)
It's also possible that Beckford, Silva, Baxter and Agard could all be given a run-out on the flanks, but we don't know enough about any of them to see how successful it would be (who plays on the wing for reserve matches?)
Ultimately then it would seem we're not short of candidates, but we are short of proven, pacy wide players who are happy to be out on the flanks, doubly so if Pienaar leaves.
Assuming Pienaar stays, I think we should be able to manage with Bily, Vic, Osman and Coleman rotating on the right till we find the best fit, but would still prefer to get one specialist in, ideally Donovan; if not, I think we should consider the likes of Bentley, Shawn Wright-Phillips (on loan if possible) or someone pacy from the lower leagues.
If Pienaar goes (and we get the £10M we'd hope) then I'd argue we have to hit the market for two wingers, one decent quality replacement (Landon) and one fresh option from the lower leagues.
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1 Posted 27/07/2010 at 14:28:31
2 Posted 27/07/2010 at 14:23:29
3 Posted 27/07/2010 at 14:55:29
Now I have no Idea how we fit him in there but that is the problem DM has as he is not a wide man.
4 Posted 27/07/2010 at 15:48:27
Pienaar is right-footed, and Bily left-footed, and Bily in particular is an excellent crosser from the left. Granted, putting Bily on the left minimises his shooting from distance (and we also lose the Baines/Pienaar axis), but my understanding was that Bily was bought primarily to play on the left wing and that's where I would tend to have him all other things being equal.
Otherwise, I agree entirely with your analysis of each player. Especially agree that Coleman should probably be given a chance at right mid, and I'm also not convinced that Anichebe has the skill to be effective on the wing (or anywhere else) against qualify defenses (but he could be a useful impact player).
5 Posted 27/07/2010 at 18:30:51
6 Posted 27/07/2010 at 19:24:47
Unless of course nobody ever wins anything with kids...
7 Posted 27/07/2010 at 22:19:07
8 Posted 27/07/2010 at 22:39:40
Then play Screech, Rodders and Mikki behind them.
Back four of Baines, Jags, Jonny, and Hibbo. I know that a lot of people would prefer Coleman at right back but I think that this formation needs a defensive right back more that an attacking one.
9 Posted 27/07/2010 at 22:54:03
10 Posted 28/07/2010 at 12:16:31
11 Posted 29/07/2010 at 15:05:59
12 Posted 29/07/2010 at 16:35:39
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