We know Distin does not have the skill to play clever, thoughtful passes. He is a big docker centre half. We know Phil Neville neither has the skill nor the vision to pass the ball constructively forward ? sideways, sideways, backwards, sideways, an odd cross... but always with enthusiasm. Baines should be receiving passes on the run, preferably from Pienaar.
So it's left to Jagielka. Watch him against Hungary. Every time he received the ball, he looked petrified, rapidly looked for John Terry to his left or Glen Johnson to his right, laid it off to them as quickly as possible, usually backwards or sideways. He made Terry look like Bobby Moore in comparison (which he isn't). Every now and again he would receive the ball under no pressure ? he would look upfield but, under instructions not to hoof the ball, would wait, look, wait and then lay it off left or right again.
Jagielka is such a good defender when under attack. But the passing is a problem ? and is the source of Everton never getting going up the field. Allardyce left Howard to either punt upfield to an isolated Saha, or roll it to one of his 3 defenders - who then chose to punt it upfield to an isolated Saha or knock it sideways to each other.
The much vaunted midfield, not receiving balls in a constructive way, would be forced to turn towards their defence and come and take the pass ? facing the wrong way, with no sight of the attacking parts of the field, and with Blackburn players bearing down on them. Saha looks like a spectator at Wimbledon, watching the ball knocked back and forth, until he gets the opportunity to challenge for a ball 10 feet in the air against at least 2 waiting defenders who are facing and coming to the ball....
Moyes knows it. Not sure what he'll do. Jagielka and Heitinga together sounds simple but probably does not work; two right-sided defenders, both slightly undersized, both like to make the final tackle. Moyes likes to play right- and left-sided central defenders together. He can't drop Jagielka.
Maybe Heitinga back in at right back ? which is the position he joined Everton in ? just as a better outlet ball from defence. If we don't solve this, all Gwladys St will see this year of our great midfield is Arteta's number on the back of his shirt as he runs back towards his defence to take a pass....
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 17/08/2010 at 05:53:41
Ultimately, like the repeated suggestion of putting Coleman in on the right midfield (rather than playing him in his natural position), this is a workaround to avoid addressing the real issue: Neville and Jags together undermine our distribution on the right-hand side.
As was the case last season, our right side will continue to be our Achilles heel until Moyes buys a decent right-sided midfielder or drops Neville. I'm not optimistic either will happen.
2 Posted 17/08/2010 at 06:33:05
3 Posted 17/08/2010 at 08:07:59
Players like Arteta and Fellaini need to start taking more responsibility and demanding the ball short from the centre backs.
4 Posted 17/08/2010 at 08:43:56
5 Posted 17/08/2010 at 08:45:06
Heitinga is part of the answer to this. However, he struggled at right back last season because his lack of pace was cruelly exposed. I would play him in the middle of defence with Jags. Putting Heitinga in central midfield would not improve our ability to pass the ball as we would be replacing other good passers such as Arteta, Rodwell and Fellaini.
However we also need the central midfielders to be a bit more dynamic in asking for the ball then their immediate use of the ball. This also needs good off the ball movement by the whole team ? something that is hard to judge on TV.
Coleman at right back might also give us another option, but may come at the cost of a weaker defence.
Another way of relieving the problem is more pace up front. This should stop defensive sides holding a high line ? thus making it harder for them to press so far forward in our half. Someone like Landon Donovan would help on this score ? but in the meantime perhaps Anichebe on the right-hand side would pose more a threat than Osman.
6 Posted 17/08/2010 at 04:38:13
His defensive failties aside, he needs someone beside him who he can give the ball to. and who knows how to use it; Distin is not that person.
7 Posted 17/08/2010 at 09:46:57
8 Posted 17/08/2010 at 09:45:46
When we play teams like Blackburn, they do press to make us hoof the ball as players like Samba will deal with that all day long. The way to counteract that is passing in triangles (tika taka the Spanish call it) and pass through their midfield. Then, if they're pressing high and get bypassed, they will be light at the back, hence they will drop back and hey presto we're playing our way.
Doesn't help if we're behind at the time though.
9 Posted 17/08/2010 at 09:46:40
Our results are decent when the Jag plays but our style of play fell off a cliff when he returned to the team last season. Why blame everybody else?
It amazes me how many people claim Jagielka is irreplaceable... then complain about our tactics; for me, it's either or...
10 Posted 17/08/2010 at 10:14:22
However, I think the one glaring omission from your post (and the other respondents) is the role Cahill has in making us play long balls from the back. Cahill has little to offer in a constructive way, much like Jags ? no incisive passing, relatively poor first touch, no creativity but lots of enthusiasm and commitment. Playing him has only one purpose ? hit the balls high for him to challenge and upset the back 4. He does not play as an orthodox midfield player, nor is he a forward in the traditional sense. He rarely shows for the ball from the back, doesn't look to prompt Saha but merely looks to create a fuss upfield - hence the long balls in order to involve him in the game.
If a 5 in midfield is to function correctly then surely the idea is to get the ball wide and behind the defenders (ie, like Villa), or to play through the middle with the three central players dictating, ie, like everyone else who plays the system: Arsenal, Man Utd, Spurs etc. Cahill has been a great servant for the club but his presence is now a hinderance if we wish to play progressive football.
Jags is limited in his passing but surely the central midfield should be demanding the ball and dictating play particularly when we need a goal. Having only 1 (Arteta) or possibly Fellaini is easily countered by a negative side such as Blackburn funneling back. Cahill then becomes irrelevant unless we get a set piece or you hit the ball long.
Time for some hard decisions in my view, and laying the blame at Jagielka's feet is too simple. Defenders should defend firstly and then allow the midfield to create by giving them simple passes. Can / will Cahill ever do that?
11 Posted 17/08/2010 at 10:56:20
I agree completely with your excellent yet wholly obvious conclusions. Expect brickbats from those who think certain players have a 'right' to be in the team...
12 Posted 17/08/2010 at 11:20:49
Playing out of defence shouldn?t be down to Jagielka, or any other centre half. It's down to the midfielders coming deep and using quick passing to move up the pitch. How many times do you see Chelsea?s centre half?s lumping the ball forward compared to how many times Essien or Mikel drop deep to collect the ball. Same with Man Utd, same with Arsenal, same with Spurs, in fact, same with every other good side in the league.
For me, bringing the ball out should be down to our deepest midfielder ? i.e. Fellaini on Saturday ? and then use the passing talents of Arteta and Pienaar to move up the pitch.
13 Posted 17/08/2010 at 11:26:42
I don't see why it's Cahill's fault, Jim. Cahill's asset is arriving late into the box to pick up on crosses put in by our supposed attacking full backs. His asset is not trying to head long balls on so I don't see why he gets the blame. Like Adam said, Fellaini should have been dropping deep and taking responsibility to make sure the ball wasn't lumped forward.
14 Posted 17/08/2010 at 11:32:46
On a side note, had it finnished 0-0, how many would be saying 'a good away point aganist a difficult side'?
15 Posted 17/08/2010 at 11:39:09
The point is that he offers nothing else apart from this... and while he's in midfield we sacrifice putting a decent football playing midfielder on the pitch.
Playing Cahill flat out, without question is an acceptance that we are reliant on set-pieces... if we are genuinely looking to improve then we need to get away from this mindset.
As for Jags... he panics. It doesn't matter if a midfielder is showing for him or not, 9 times out of ten he'll whack it. That is not the fault of the midfielders.
16 Posted 17/08/2010 at 12:22:52
Surely, once he is back to full fitness, this won't seem like so much of a problem, although I do agree with you Graham that our distribution from the back is poor.
17 Posted 17/08/2010 at 12:03:27
What that does is create acres of space for opponents to use in our half of the pitch. It becomes almost impossible to employ rapid counter sttacks. Our defenders' only option if they are to clear their lines is with lumping it.
18 Posted 17/08/2010 at 12:46:14
It almost seems like he plays these sideways balls for England (I know it's not constructive but it doesn't give the ball away) then when he comes home he says to himself "I'm the daddy of the defenders in this team, I'm loved here for my defending so I'm gonna punt this and I know no one will question me."
19 Posted 17/08/2010 at 12:53:33
20 Posted 17/08/2010 at 13:01:50
I think you may be a bit dissapointed in Beckford's touch of a Donkey routine by the end of the season..
If he gets 10 I'll be amazed.
We should be sticking with Saha... we know what he's capable of..
21 Posted 17/08/2010 at 13:19:56
As for further above, some interesting and valid observations. For my part a few points:
1) I agree that (hero that he is) playing Cahill limits our playing style. Not his fault necessarily but his inclusion can't but add to defenders willingness to hoof. He still has a huge part to play this season but i agree that to push on we might be better off starting with Billy in that position (or 2 strikers..)
2) Nothing wrong with Jagielka's passing for England the other night. Passing it along the back 4 or to a deep-lying midfielder is fine. It's what the Spanish back 4 do 95% of the time. Not many CBs can play constant incisive balls ? if they could, they wouldn't be playing there.
3) Playing Johnny inevitably improves distribution and is one of many reason why he should start with Jags. I don't see height being a problem as good positioning and strength can usually make up for lack of height (look at Vermaelen vs Fella in first game of last season!).
4) Yes, deep-lying midfielders Fella/Arteta should come to collect the ball from back 4 and then use their ability to start moves. See Fabregas for Arsenal and Xavi for Spain. This is what we started doing so well last season and need to return to.
With all this in mind, I hope to see vs Wolves:
Neville Jags Heitinga Baines
Rodwell Bily Pienaar
I would eat my hat if that team when fit (freak blunders aside) didn't get 3 points.
22 Posted 17/08/2010 at 13:37:36
The whole team was shite on Saturday as they were against Wolfsburg and the worst culprit was the best little Spaniard we know.
I watched Utd last night and their running off the ball and every player seeking the ball brought home the point even more that our players have not shown up in the last two matches.
Now I don't know why. Whether it's the training, the team selection, the motivation... the fact that some players may resent Mikey's deal... but something is wrong.
This is not the Everton team that finished so well last season.
23 Posted 17/08/2010 at 13:53:31
Why when we have Rodwell and Fellaini does Arteta play in central midfield? Arteta is the only player in our team capable of taking on players and played his best football for Everton on the wings, yet is being played in central midfield. Personally I'd play Rodwell and Fellaini in central midfield with Arteta and Pienaar being played on the wings and Saha being played behind Cahill.
24 Posted 17/08/2010 at 13:55:03
That sounds the perfect team to me although ? despite a lot of the good comments about hjm on here ? I still want to find a place for Tim, if he was to alternate with Rodwell (if Rodwell was struggling) that would make me happy.
The annoying with Neville is that he is capable of good distribution, he just keeps thinking he's Scholes and capable of 40-yard balls because he played with him for too long.....
25 Posted 17/08/2010 at 14:29:43
If Jags can't do it then pass to Baines, whoever is on the right of defence, or, if Fellaini is the defensive midfielder, then he can collect from deep. As long as it's not always hoof ball from Jags then I'm not too bothered as long as he is a top quality defender and by that I mean someone who is very good at DEFENDING, which he is.
26 Posted 17/08/2010 at 14:53:45
Don't blame Jags for hoofing the ball, blame must be laid at the talented feet of the midfield who should pick up defenders' short passes and provide the ammunition for Saha and the other strikers we have. The long punt upfield was our normal ploy when we had Ferguson and that has now become ancient practice.
I would try Coleman in the role of attacking right-sided midfielder in front of Neville as he has some ball control and crossing ability. Arteta should become our Scholes or Fabregas and demand the ball in space.
The likes of Osman, Cahill and Hibbert should be kept on the bench and chances should be given to Rodwell and Coleman. I would keep Anichebe and sell the Yak as I think Anichebe will develop into a decent player. If Pienaar is not wholeheartedly with the club then he also should be moved on or given a long-term contract if he is committed.
27 Posted 17/08/2010 at 15:11:32
28 Posted 17/08/2010 at 17:23:00
Rather than slaughtering almost every defender on the books, ad nauseam, why not instead look to the midfield.
Surely one of those could drop back, and take responsibility by demanding a short pass to feet, thereby allowing them to play the ball out, thus beginning the construction of moves.
A defenders job is to protect his goalkeeper, not fanny about with incisive, midfield-splitting slide-rule passes.
29 Posted 17/08/2010 at 19:06:11
30 Posted 17/08/2010 at 19:05:06
You haven't got a clue mate. Please don't ever coach junior footballers.
31 Posted 17/08/2010 at 19:07:11
Further in my eyes it is not a problem that the midfield come and take the ball off the defenders..in fact I applaud it. We keep posession and the midfielder's superior skill and vision should then come into play. If a midfielder is taking the ball with his back to the opponent's goal all of the time then he displays his own poor technique as he should be positioning his body and feet to take the ball on the turn or half turn so he knows what is around him so he can take a touch or lay off depending how much pressure he is under.
Jags is a very good defender; if he keeps defending and then passes short so we keep possession, that is a result... every single time.
32 Posted 17/08/2010 at 19:21:21
Answer? Get Coleman, Heitinga in there and we may be able to play football from the back.
33 Posted 17/08/2010 at 20:20:29
Joe (16) Fellaini did pick up the ball well from defence last season but that leaves us short in midfield, Better if a central defender brings it out to Fellaini who can then stay 20 yards further forward. Jagielka is limited and is nowhere near as good as Heitinga in any area of the game. Distin and John H in central defense for me.
34 Posted 17/08/2010 at 21:47:58
35 Posted 18/08/2010 at 00:31:14
Others said that the defensive midfielders need to step up and take responsibility. Unless you want to read it perversely, this was not a "now let's pick on Jags" thread.
36 Posted 18/08/2010 at 01:08:23
See posts #s 30, 33, 34, Dermot. Some would like to get rid.
Yes there are some valid points here about his distribution. But a defender is there to defend, first and foremost.
Player of the Season 08-09.
Torres in his pocket, as Carl says (#36).
Fickle isn't the word.
37 Posted 18/08/2010 at 02:00:07
Maybe (if rumours are true) this debate will be moot one day when Rodwell takes up a centre-half position ? we know he can pick a pass.
Although I'd love to see him nurtured into a Viera-esque captain.
38 Posted 18/08/2010 at 04:11:48
I for one don't believe that Saturday's result was just a blip. I believe that we have structural problems with the team in terms of ability and formation that were showing towards the end of last season too but we refused to acknowledge them in the wave of positive feeling.
I completely agree about Timmy Cahill too much as I love the bloke. When he isn't scoring regular and critical goals, he is a Championship standard player.
39 Posted 18/08/2010 at 06:29:03
Jagielka ? not Moyes ? is the most cautious man at our club, his first instinct is to get the ball out of danger, as too is his second. The guy is a fine defender, but moaning about our style of play whilst advocating he plays, is like giving a barman a hard time for putting vodka in the Bloody Mary you just ordered.
40 Posted 18/08/2010 at 09:49:48
Got to say where Johnny stands out is the long range passing.. Jags really can't pick out those long range ones at all... but thats no reason to have a go.. we just need to adapt to it... and play Johnny FFS!!!
41 Posted 18/08/2010 at 11:15:37
You're not the only one David. The people - like me - who don't think Jags should be dropped (as said above - Player of the Season 08-09 & Torres in his pocket - he'd be the 2nd name on the team sheet for me) are saying that he can pass short, as you rightly point out, he did that for England fine.
That's why we're annoyed he hoofs it for us.
42 Posted 18/08/2010 at 14:16:34
As you and others have pointed out, there's an easy way to compensate.
43 Posted 18/08/2010 at 14:43:37
Sam Haore #21 .. absolutely spot on.. so much right about what you are saying Moyes should pin it on his fridge!
44 Posted 18/08/2010 at 20:55:11
Johnny H would improve the passing from the back and I agree very few teams play long-ball big centre-forward hoof so playing alongside Jags should not present a height issue against most teams. I think they are good enough to sort out the left right issue ? Jags played both for England. Further it should be the responsibility of midfield to create options ? Felli did this when at the top of his game last year and can do this again but probably needs a couple of games to get back to his best. Colemen v Neville remains a conundrum and my cop out is horses for courses.
What I would really like to know is whether Jack the Lad can be effective wide right as to me clearly this is where the biggest issue is, he is a magnificent player and may just be able to solve the problem (the Stevie G issue for England).
45 Posted 18/08/2010 at 21:25:45
We have the personnel capable of losing at the weekend ,it can't happen though. Can it?
46 Posted 18/08/2010 at 21:48:37
47 Posted 19/08/2010 at 04:15:10
48 Posted 19/08/2010 at 07:35:12
Jagielka is great under pressure and he would have been perfect partnered with Distin in the dogs of war era. Unfortunately, they both lack any finesse in completing a pass especially when under pressure.
However, I do like the fact that Jags is quick enough to stay with the strikers if we get caught on a quick break. Perhaps him and Johnny H need a bit of time in the middle to get a good partnership going. Neither are perfect, but together they might prove to be solid. Jags makes the tackle, passes it to Johnny H and we move the ball successfully out of defense.
Then again, we get the same sort of option with Distin partnering Johnny H.
Some good points made about the rest of the team when it comes to distribution out of defense adam #12. Last Saturday the lads in midfield were not really making any effort to come and get the ball and were slack in loosing a marker, our right wing was poor, which made it easier for Peanut and Baines to be well marked. Was Cahill on the field? The end result is it was difficult for the defense to find an easy or obvious pass, which very frustratingly lead us back to the long ball.
From what I remember of the last game against Blackburn we were lucky to get a winner in the last minute and played most of the game in the same frustrating way. Perhaps we need to give some credit to big Sam for his tactics, and also reminding us all just how boring his teams can make a football match.
Hopefully we'll look awake against Wolves.
49 Posted 19/08/2010 at 11:37:45
I watched the whole of the Blackburn game on Foxtel and from what I saw there was no symmetry or balance in the team that played. Heitinga is in my opinion the key to this problem. I think Moyes will put him just in front of the back four slightly deeper than Fellaini. My back four would be:
Coleman, Jagielka, Distin and Baines.
That leaves for me:
Pienaar, Arteta and Bily as the creative midfield... with:
Saha up front.
Yes that means, Rodwell, Neville, Hibbert, Cahill, Osman, Yakubu, Anichebe on the bench.
This is the season, fellas!
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Fan Articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.