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FAN ARTICLES

Best players for their best positions

By Matthew Lovekin :  30/08/2010 :  Comments (47) :

I don?t claim to be an Alf Ramsey, a Brian Clough or even a Jose Mourinho, but sometimes, especially when a side is struggling, I think there is a need to get back to basics. I have always been a strategist, a thinker, even a football anorak, someone that likes other tactical sports rather than a kick and rush type of sport, a person that played football manager games on the computer compared to football playing games. However, things can often be over-complicated, and I feel this is one of those times.

To set the record straight first, I am a big Moyes fan, he has done wonders for our club and without him I dread to think where Everton would be right now, but no-one is perfect and the best can take criticism on board and react positively to it. For the first time in Moyes?s reign he has several quality options to choose from, with no excuses, and I feel this is why we are failing. Therefore it?s time to go back to basics and simply for Moyes to put the best players in each position.

Now I know football is not that simple, there are injuries (surprisingly not that many at the moment), lack of form (surprisingly a lot at the moment), lack of match practice due to returns from lengthy lay-offs, and the World Cup causing a lack of pre-season (a few) and the opposition to consider. Everton also seem to have a number of utility players which seems to be more of a hindrance than a help at present, but why can?t Moyes pick a player for one position?

  • Phil Neville was brought in and stated he wanted to play as a central midfielder, which he has done, but has also played at right-back which most people see as his more natural position.
  • Mikel Arteta started at right-midfield and it took Moyes about three years to shift him into the middle of the park where the fans knew he was an even better player.
  • Fellaini came to the club as an attacking midfielder (despite his say-so), even as a supporting striker in the Cahill role before finally ending in his chosen defensive midfield role.
  • Johnny Heitinga, a World Cup central defender finalist, gets played in the defensive midfield role, apart from when injuries forced Moyes to play him in central defence, where he was outstanding, then switching him back again.
  • Anichebe, a striker playing wide-right,
  • Osman, a central midfield playing wide right,
  • Pienaar, national vice-captain and playmaker playing wide left,
  • Bily, no-one knows to be honest,
  • Even ex-players like Lescott playing left-back...

This brings us to the most recent and most promising of all, Jack Rodwell. A player as promising as a young Wayne Rooney, but with more intelligence. Originally another defensive midfielder but Moyes has often stated a future centre-back. I remember watching Rodwell last pre-season as a centre-back, and I can say now, he never will be a defender. This pre-season he was tried as an attacking midfielder and excelled to surely put Cahill?s position in the team under threat. Overall, Rodwell is just an outstanding footballer, he can defend, pass, head, tackle, and he can shoot. Therefore, why limit him to such a confined, specific part of the pitch, especially on the right wing! Surely, Rodwell?s best position is covering as much grass as possible, a box-to-box midfielder.

Moving on, I know formations and systems should change and be flexible, another flaw that Moyes seems incapable of doing, and it should be a mixture of players into formations and formations fitting players, but for arguments sake here is my two penny?s worth:

Goalkeeper

Not too much to choose from here. Howard would still get my vote, but should be looking over his shoulder wary of making another mistake before Mucha takes his place.

Defence

Best players for each position means Coleman starts at right-back. Seamus has shown enough in pre-season and the small amount of playing time he has had to show that he has got more quality than Neville or Hibbert. He is not that young, he?s 22, bags of potential, give him a decent run in the team for him to learn and prove himself. He is the best of the three already and we?ve only seen his potential. Baines at left-back, there isn?t anyone else to even consider.

Heitinga is the best centre-back and also the best distributor from the back, a leader, World Cup finalist and generally top footballer, but a centre-back first and foremost. I would play Jagielka alongside Johnny, not much gets past Jags, as long as he gives the ball to someone close like Heitinga or Fellaini instead of hoofing it sixty yards and out of play. Distin and Yobo are simply too prone to errors.

Midfield

If Moyes sticks with his favoured 4-5-1 then Fellaini as the defensive midfielder as he excelled the second half of last season and quite rightly hailed as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. Felli?s height will help out Jags and Johnny in defence, but he can bring the ball out, pass and score goals. He is also still young and his mistake against Villa was hopefully a one-off. I would go for the World Cup favoured tactic of 4-2-3-1 with Rodwell playing alongside Fellaini.

Now, before you all say, I said Rodwell is not a defensive midfielder, I?d give him licence to bomb forward at every opportunity and be that box-to-box midfielder. He can do it; he has got the intelligence, the stamina and the ability to do it all. He would be a defensive midfielder when we haven?t got the ball, a creator when he has the ball and attacking midfielder when Everton attack. A Steven Gerrard type of player, but only better defensively! Rodwell?s height will also help out Jags and Johnny?s lack of height in defence.

The reason I feel Everton haven?t scored enough goals that our play has warranted so far this season, is simply lack of creativity in the final third. Ok, we created a few against Villa but hardly any real quality chances against Blackburn and Wolves. The problem is not scoring, but not creating enough real chances, not enough hitting the posts, shots cleared off goal-lines, goalkeepers making world class saves. We may have had a few against Villa, but not enough as our play deserved. To solve this, we need a playmaker, a Sneijder or Ozil in our formation and team.

Step forward, Mikel Arteta. Arteta has been playing brilliantly since moving off the right wing, but as a defensive playmaker, similar to Carrick, Huddlestone or Xavi. Arteta keeps possession, gets the team moving forward, but not enough of it is done around the opposition penalty area, the final through ball for a shot on goal, that is what Everton are currently missing, therefore Arteta needs to be pushed further forward. Fellaini can do the defensive work in midfield and start attacks instead of Arteta. Rodwell can take on Mikel?s current role, but Arteta is by far our best creative player and therefore for his best position, needs to be played further forward.

This brings us to the wings, and by my logic and explanation and tactics, these two players need to be more forwards than midfielders (take note Mr Moyes). The reason this defensive World Cup formation of 4-2-3-1 works so well is that the wide players are not midfielders like an Osman or Pienaar, but should be forwards to make a three man forward line with an attacking playmaker behind. This is where Everton will struggle as we don?t have enough of these players like a Messi or Robinho and as the rule of best player for each position goes, rules out Pienaar, Cahill and Osman.

On the right wing, I would put Bily there; his unpredictability is suited to a more forward role than simply a winger. He will also cut inside on his left and can score spectacular goals. On the left, there are limited options but Gueye looks a very promising player who looks like he can cross and create and possibly score goals. A more forward role will also suit him.

Attack

Again, there is limited choice. Anichebe I feel is not good enough, Vaughan too injury prone to make it at all, Saha too inconsistent and injury prone to play the lone striker and Yakubu too immobile for this role. This leaves Beckford whom I?m convinced will come good. He does have a knack for goals which will come the more he gets used to the Premier League and he has pace which this system needs. Simply the best striker for the role.

In summary, playing the best players in each of their positions means:

--------------------Howard
Coleman--Jagielka--Heitinga--Baines
--------------Fellaini---Rodwell
------Bily-------Arteta-------Gueye
-----------------Beckford

That leaves a bench of Mucha, Neville, Distin, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha, and Yakubu.

Pienaar?s best position is the playmaker, therefore back-up to Arteta. Cahill?s is probably back-up to Rodwell as he has the drive and determination for a box-to-box midfielder, otherwise as a striker but lacks pace.

I feel Moyes? current team is built around Cahill and although he has been a magnificent servant and signing to the club, his standards have slipped at the moment and he is never a creative attacking midfielder, just a goalscoring midfielder which needs the chances created for him and this is the main reason Everton are currently struggling, not enough creativity in the final third.

Reader Comments

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Colin Grierson
1   Posted 31/08/2010 at 08:10:31

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I personally wouldn't pick a team from our current squad that didn't include Pienaar and, as I've been watching Dragon's Den, I'm afraid that's why I won't be investing any time on that team. I agree that Rodwell and Coleman should be starters though.

I think the key is that form should be what picks the team. If a player's place is in jeopardy then perhaps certain established players will raise their game. Maybe the fans enthusiastic response when a player comes on could show Moyes who we want out there.

Derek Thomas
2   Posted 31/08/2010 at 08:22:20

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What have we got to lose... well a piss poor start for one thing.

I know it is a bit knee jerk but with the highs come the lows and this will of course colour our/my thinking and i find myself reverting to my default setting.

Moyes has NO idea of his best 11 OR where to play them. end of story.
Dennis Stevens
3   Posted 31/08/2010 at 08:36:31

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I'd have thought Heitinga would be an automatic selection at centre back, with the rest battling it out to play alongside him - & on current form Distin would get the nod. If Jagielka has picked up a knock perhaps we'll now see the Heitinga - Distin partnership, I can't help but think it would be an improvement.
John Reilly
4   Posted 31/08/2010 at 08:51:01

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This would be my team right now to solve our goalscoring problem and yes I've put Coleman as an attacking midfielder who can cover for Hibbo when he comes forward.
Cahill Saha

Peinar Arteta Coleman

Fellaini

Baines Heitinga Jags Hibbert

Howard
Aiden Doyle
5   Posted 31/08/2010 at 09:20:11

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Just three quick points I?d like to make:

First: Zonal Marking have done an interesting piece on Sunday?s match which includes a nice analysis of the way in which Pienaar & Baines complement each other. That?s why, whilst I like your line-up Matthew, I?d pick Pienaar over Gueye.

You can find the ZM article here...

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/08/31/aston-villa-1-0-everton/

Secondly, I think that, whilst his goalscoring touch may not be what it once was, the Yak?s hold up play is invaluable, so I?d give him the nod ahead of Beckford.

Finally - and not particularly relevantly - I?ve recently started getting a lot of spam from a company named ETradeWG.com. I received several more overnight. Judging by the other names & email addresses in the ?to? subject field, EVERY other person they?re spamming is a Toffeewebber. Has anyone else noticed? Or know how this happened?
John Daley
6   Posted 31/08/2010 at 09:23:01

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I agree with the formation you've selected. 4-2-3-1 is something I've been banging on about for a while now as it would allow us to incorporate Rodwell alongside Fellaini, with Arteta playing a bit further forward.

These three are, in my opinion, the best midfielders at the club and need to be starting games alongside each other on a regular basis. Rodwell can provide us with something we haven't had for a long time... an energetic, athletic presence that can drive
forward with the ball like a less odious Stevie G Laa.

Another plus point of this formation would be that we could cope better with having no natural wide players at the club. The other two players (I'd have to go with Pienaar and Bilyagethimoff for now) can tuck in further and allow the full backs to attack more down the flanks.

Obviously this would mean Coleman starting at right back and Cahill being confined to the bench and is therefore something Moyes would not countenance. He clearly feels that Colemans attacking attributes to do not compensate for his defensive naiveté and has always been loathe to leave Cahill out of his line up. Indeed, Moyes strict adherence to 4-5-1 throughout his reign has, in the main, been because it enables him to accommodate Cahill playing behind the front man.
Jamie Morgan
7   Posted 31/08/2010 at 10:26:10

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Matthew, I agree completely with what you say except I think Pienaar should stay on the left and we should use Gueye from time to time this year. I also think that any of Yak, Saha or Beckford could swap as that central striker as each offer slightly different styles.

I would do anything to see this formation come out and play next week; alas I fear a team without any of Neville, Cahill, Osman or Hibbert is merely a pipe dream!

Stephen Kenny
8   Posted 31/08/2010 at 10:46:53

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Matthew,

Considering most teams now play 4-5-1, we would end up with a crowded midfield with no room to play. We would suffer from a lack of width and teams would do what they do now and crowd our lone striker out of the game. Although if the full-backs get going then maybe this could work.

Bily IMO is useless and will be useless for quite some time,barring the odd great goal. I really dont see why we have kept hold of him as the only viable position for him to play is behind the frontman and both Pienaar and Cahill are better than him in that position. His transfer value along with one or two other deadwood players could have seen us go for a really good young striker or winger, player's i think we desparately need.

For what it's worth I would be looking to play a very powerful 4-3-1-2 formation with Fellaini,Rodwell and Arteta as the Midfield 3 and Pienaar playing high up the pitch just behind the Yak and Saha. Although this again depends on the fullbacks providing width.
Jon Cox
9   Posted 31/08/2010 at 10:24:09

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John (4),

A really good side that. Lots of flais and especially the Baines/pienaar/Arteta linkage when going forward.
We saw a bit of this against Villa culminating in the near miss (bar) by Pienaar.

Also you are right about Hibbs and Coleman. Firstly Coleman has energy to burn thus tracking back to help Hibbs. Second, the attacking prowess of Coleman. This is irrefutable and scared the shit out of Villa when he came on.

I've said this before, where is it etched in stone that Coleman has to be a right fullback.

Play the lad in his best position and what works best for the team.

All in all John I'd love to see that side start against Man U.

COYB
Jon Cox
10   Posted 31/08/2010 at 10:59:41

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Sorry post 9, should have read "flair" and not flais as this thread has nothing whatsoever to do with French cookery. Cordon Bleu??

COYB
Mark Scarratt
11   Posted 31/08/2010 at 11:21:25

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Good article and completely agree

We absolutely murdered Villa, but lost 1-0.
68% possession and 18 corners, away from home, shows that we are playing well enough, but lack the killer touch.

Arteta plays far too deep. He was picking the ball up from our centre halves. He needs to play in the opposition half, in and around their box.

Also we played lots of pretty passing without ever taking players on. It was all played in front of Villa's back 4 and they coped well.

We need penetration in wide areas, and Coleman made a difference when he came on. I would play Coleman either at right back or right midfield. Perhaps he could play right back in the home games and the away games against the weaker teams, games that we should be taking the inititative.

I know there is still a slight question mark over Coleman defensively, so in the games against the better teams he could play right midfield and either Hibbert or Neville could play right back as cover

I also agree that we have lots of good players, but the balance is not quite right.
Fellaini and Arteta occupied the same space, and Rodwell also drifted inside, as does Pienaar leaving the midfield congested.

Also the lack of goals is a worry, especially when having had so much possession. We are good enough, especially at home to be more adventurous, and play 2 or 3 up front, rather than 4-5-1. This worked when he had Marcus Bent as a lone front man, and more limited midfielders, but we know have the talent to really take the game to teams.

Ciarán McGlone
12   Posted 31/08/2010 at 11:35:31

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For me...the football on Saturday is getting close to what we are capable of. However the biggest failings of the day go to Mr Moyes...

Rodwell has been played in right midfield before - and it doesn't work. His best spells occurred whenever he drifted inside. In order to facilitate this midfield then Moyes would needed to have played a wing back who can overlap....Hibbert had a great game...but he is not the player to do the wing work on his own. The other option would have been to make Arteta play in from the right - not ideal - but it certainly would have been more effective than completely nullifying Rodwell.

The substition that brought on young Coleman was a brave move and one that paid off - as we looked dangerous down both sides..with Hibbert providing the wall behind Coleman and overlapping well with the youngster - but alas, this was short lived as Moyes made the utterly pointless substitution of bringing on Heitinga - a move which nullified the threat of Coleman and replaced a good defender with a suspect one.

I'm also intrigued as to why Beckford was started. What has this kid done to deserve a starting place ahead of Saha?

All in all, it was good to see the glimpses of what our players are capable of...but utterly frustrating to see our manager ultimately stifle it.

To improve on that Cahill and Jags need to start from the bench - Cahill was anonymous and that back pass to Young from Jags was criminal. Saha is our best front man, play him.

But probably the most satisfactory loss i've seen in 25 years of watching this team.
Jon Ferguson
13   Posted 31/08/2010 at 11:34:13

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We only have on point from the first three games but I still feel there are a lot of positives to take. Most importantly we have not reverted to long balls. We have played some nice football, maybe not creating quite enough chances but I really see it all clicking into place and us going on a good run (allowing the familiar criticisms of how Moyes conducts pre-season to return).

Heitinga played center back in the World Cup Final and is the most natural player on the ball in our defence, he should be the automatic starter. I would play Jags alongside him in most games. Jags is a fantastic player and worth his place in the England starting line up; however Heitinga is better on the ball and when we play games against teams with a giant striker I'd player Distin instead.

Coleman has shown enough to get the nod at right back. However after watching the Villa game I wouldn't be apposed to seeing him given a run on the right midfield. Gueye might be the next big thing but I don't think you can drop Piennar, he has had a good start to the season. I don't think people can write off Bily until he is given a run in the team. He has shown flashes of genius and these might increase in frequency if given a proper run.

I agree with the above that Felliaini, Arteta and Rodwell are our best three and should be played together.

I think Beckord could develop into a good player but isn't there yet, Saha is a great impact sub but can't play a whole game leaving Yakubu as our best striker. If he could just get himself fit with the team behind him he could start banging them in.


Howard
Coleman Jagielka Heitinga Baines Fellianai Rodwell
Bily Arteta Piennar
Yakubu

Mucha, Neville, Distin, Osman, Gueye, Saha, Beckford

Which gives us a decent bench for the first time ever.

We do still need a pacey wide man who can run at people in order to complete the jigsaw.
John Daley
14   Posted 31/08/2010 at 11:58:00

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Grafite up front? Story on Sky Sports that Everton trying to get him on loan from Wolfsburg...but he would need a work permit.

Probably more deadline day bollocks.
Eugene Ruane
15   Posted 31/08/2010 at 12:25:36

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Chairman's office - 31st August

BK: "What about this feller Grafite?"

Elstone: "I've checked him out, no chance of a work permit".

BK: "Are you sure?"

Elstone: "100%!"

BK: "Fair enough............let's put in a bid then!"

Chairmen's office - 1st Sept.

BK: (on phone to nob-head from Echo) "Yeah... well imagine how annoyed WE are? David liked the player and we did everything humanly possible to get him. Unfortunately there's not much we can do about European laws regarding employ..." blah.

IthangYEW!

Richard Reeves
16   Posted 31/08/2010 at 13:13:55

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Mathew, I agree with everything you have said in this article, including the line-up. I have been banging on for quite a while now about how Moyes should start with Coleman and that Rodwell for me would get the nod over Cahill.

The only slight disagreement I have with you is that I would have Pienaar on the left with Gueye challenging for that position. Very honest article though and spot on.

Peter Warren
17   Posted 31/08/2010 at 13:38:29

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Eugene - I thought exactly the same when I saw we were linked with. It reminds me of the farce last year linked with some Valencia playmaker and Inter Milan forward.

I'm not defending Bill but it's always been the same as far as I can remember with the board in terms of feeding fans bullshi#t - I remember years ago us bidding £12m for Shearer just in case he wanted to hoin us instead of Manu or Newcastle - the board (whoever the board is and whoever really runs he club) is a complete joke and embarassment.
Mike Allison
18   Posted 31/08/2010 at 13:58:40

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I was with you all the way until you bizarrely didn't put Pienaar in the side. He was our player of the season last year in that position, struggled badly in the middle during the World Cup, and his link-up with Baines down the left is one of the most dangerous combinations in the league. The problem is that the opposition know its the only side we attack down, for this reason alone, Coleman (or even Rodwell - a good midfielder is a good full back) must play right back.

Against Villa on Saturday Arteta played deeper than Fellaini. This hurts us, as our most creative player (Arteta) is spending too long a long way away from the opponents goal.
Ciarán McGlone
19   Posted 31/08/2010 at 14:29:40

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Rodwell at right back?

Yes, we've only got about 15 right backs at the club... The obvious solution is therefore to play our hottest central midfield propect in years there. Champions league here we come!
Iain Love
20   Posted 31/08/2010 at 14:23:11

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Two points: Pienaar for the left ? it works. Pace is the reason we didn't score against Villa, not flat-out speedster pace but the pace we move the ball, for example the RS scored the other day 16 secs after Reinia threw the ball out. We appear to fanny about too much. Otherwise, I agree.
James Stewart
21   Posted 31/08/2010 at 15:06:30

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I would agree with most of this. Not Beckford over Saha though. Saha is a class above and needs to be played whenever fit. The sad thing is a simply don't think Moyes knows his best 11. He tries various new ideas out every match virtually. The rodwell Rm was a disaster. I wonder who will be next out there!
Mike Allison
22   Posted 31/08/2010 at 16:28:59

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We've got three right backs at the club and two of them aren't good enough. Moyes doesn't seem to think the third is either.

And the 'hottest central midfield prospect' has played all his football whilst developing as a defender, so wouldn't be out of place. A good central midfielder makes a good full back. I'm not saying he should be playing right back in a full strength and totally balanced squad, but if we want to attack down that side, and Fellaini, Arteta and Cahill have the central midfield roles wrapped up, then its a perfectly sound idea.
Karl Masters
23   Posted 31/08/2010 at 16:31:21

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Sunday's game showed:

1/ Pienaar and Baines must link up on the left;

2/ Saha is a better bet than Beckford up front;

3/ Coleman is the answer on right of midfield:


Howard
Hibbert Jags Heitinga/ Distin Baines
Coleman, Arteta, Fellaini / Rodwell, Pienaar,
Cahill
Saha

Only 2 pieces of the jigsaw left.... who lays alongside Jags and who plays alongside Arteta?

Nearly there now.
Ciarán McGlone
24   Posted 31/08/2010 at 16:43:48

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"A good central midfielder makes a good full back."

-------------------

That's just pure and utter nonsense. However I'd love you to try and explain the logic behind it.

Rodwell has played almost the entirety of his senior career in central midfield (thank god).
Pat Finegan
25   Posted 31/08/2010 at 16:48:21

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Matthew, either I read something wrong or that was the most self-contradictory thing I have ever seen on TW. First you talk about playing guys in their natural positions. I agree with you to an extent there. But then you talk about playing Pienaar in the middle (did you watch the World Cup?) Arteta up front in the Cahill role. Fellaini, you say is an attacking midfielder originally, but you advocate playing him in holding CM.

The players should be played where they can best help the team. Heitinga could best help the team out of CHM last year. Pienaar is clearly a better outside player than inside player so keep him on the left wing. Coleman will probably end up as a right back but right now, he might be our best right wing so that's where he should be playing.

Howard
Neville/Hibbert, Jags, Heitinga/Distin, Baines
Coleman, Fellaini, Arteta/Osman, Pienaar
Cahill/Rodwell
Saha/Yakubu/Beckford
Matthew Lovekin
26   Posted 31/08/2010 at 17:46:28

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Pat (25) you did read something wrong.

The Pienaar argument I can understand, however for me, Pienaar does not create enough or score enough as a winger, lots of fancy tricks but not enough end product. I think his end product will be better when played in the middle.

Arteta is not playing "up front", but simply as a playmaker in the Sneijder mould. Everton clearly lack attacking creativity and I feel Moyes is not getting the best out of Mikel by playing him so deep.

Fellaini came to Everton and Moyes started playing him as an attacking midfielder as he scored a few goals. However, Fellaini himself said he was a defensive midfielder and his best football at the club has been as a defensive midfielder, so that is where he surely should play.

The article is about getting the best out of the players by playing them in their best positions and not square pegs in round holes.
John Daley
27   Posted 31/08/2010 at 18:02:15

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Pat,

in Matthews team there is no 'Cahill' role. That was one of the points he was making.

Karl,

"Only 2 pieces of the jigsaw left...who lays alongside Jagielka.."

That would be Mrs Jagielka presumably.
Mike Allison
28   Posted 31/08/2010 at 18:13:07

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I have experience of trying to explain things to you Ciaran. Its taught me not to bother.
Mike Elbey
29   Posted 31/08/2010 at 17:36:52

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I have said it numerous times, the biggest problem is that Moyes will not move away from his tried and trusted favourites - Hibbert, Neville, Osman, Cahill.

There are 5 issues in the team for me and the problem at the moment is that Moyes is picking the wrong player relating to each issue because of his loyalties.

1 Right back. Coleman is our best option here. Yes we may concede a fw goals because of his inexperience and defensive nievety but these goals will be well outnumbered by the amount of additional goals we score. Remind me, what is our problem at themoment ? Howevr Moyes will pick either Neville or Hibbert.

2. Centre back - Heitinga must play CB. He allows us to distribute the ball from the back and is also our most intellegent defender. He played in a WC Final for Gods sake. However Moyes will pick Jagielka and Distin irrspective of form or balance of the side.

3. Right midfield. This problem is not caused by Moyes need to pick his favs, more to do with the fact that he has failed to address a problem position that has been obvious for many many years. For now all we can do is hope to get and keep Victor fit as he is the only player we have who can play in this position. Whilst he is injured then Coleman would be the only other option with either Neville or Hibbert back in at RB (that will appeal to Davie !!).

4. Attacking centre midfield. Our centre 3 in my opinion should be Felaini, Arteta and Rodwell. These 3 would give a great balance of defense and attack and it would also get Rodwell into the team which in my opinion is a must. The problem is that Moyes will not leave out another chum, Tim Cahill. This is not a criticism of TC who has been a fantastic servant and still has a role to play (see later) but im affraid his days as the best attacking mid in our team have gone.

5. Striker - Beckford may turn out to be a decent 'purchase' and in time could develop into a premier league quality striker. However at the moment he is nothing more than a third level striker. When you play 1 up front a vital need is the ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play - Beckford cannot do this, he is based facing the goal not with his back to it - he traps the ball further than most players can kick it ! Saha and Yakubu are far better thgan Beckford. However neither are playing well (or even playing ??) and i would be tempted at the moment to play Cahill up front as he would hold the ball up and be a constant pain to the defenders.

So, in summary my team would be as follows :-

Howard

Coleman Heitinga Jagielka Baines

Fellaini

Anichebe Arteta Rodwell Pienaar

Cahill / Saha / Yakubu

This would give a bench of Mucha, Distin, Neville, Billy, Osman, and 2 of Yakubu, Saha, Cahill.
David Hallwood
30   Posted 31/08/2010 at 18:31:20

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I agree with the 4-2-3-1, mainly because we've got players that would make it work, I'd have pienaar over Guye all day long. Coleman could overlap and there would always be a defensive mid as cover.

I don't agree with John Daley #27, that it has to be Mrs Jagielka, FFS he's a footballer, and it's probably half the women in the city.
Joe McMahon
31   Posted 31/08/2010 at 19:10:36

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Just aswell theres no new signings, as we always have to accomodate Hibbert, Neville, Osman, Cahill, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith, Koldrop, Le Tie. What a waste of fucking time this club is. God I curse the day I decided to support Everton, I just should have gone with man u or redshite like everyone else.
Alan Kirwin
32   Posted 31/08/2010 at 18:59:26

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Ciaran (13) sums most of it up. I'm not satisfied with Saha's contribution of late, but anybody who selects Beckford ahead of Saha for anything other than trivial games needs a head transplant.

The hardest thing any manager ever has to do is leave out "legends", or players who by most people's estimation are auto-choices. For the first half of last season Cahill was a shadow of the player who used to terrorise opposition defences (and fans) and should have been left out. Second half of last season he made up for it. But, despite humungous affection for the little guy and his contribution from day 1, I can't see how he is an automatic choice. He is not an attacker & cannot do an attacker's job. He is a midfielder and we have rather a lot of those, good ones too. TC is, for me, the perfect impact player.

Jags either seems slightly off the boil, or his head was ever so slightly turned by the Arsenal talk, or it's just that he can't function properly with Distin. Who to drop? Heitinga showed last season why he's first choice for the world cup finalists in that position.

But juts to finish on Matthew's article. The premise of square pegs in square holes is almost unarguable, although I do think there's a certain quaintness about modern players only being able to play one position. When one looks at the tactical fluidity of Barca, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spain etc you can see how good teams always find new ways to confuse the opposition.

But to quote that as a mantra and then to suggest Bily on the right wing is bizarre, is it not? And to leave out our current player of the year and the man involved in so much of our offensive play (I'd like to see the stats) is equally bemusing.

It's a squad game and to my mind we have several options for most positions. But if I had to choose my best possible team for our biggest possible game I would go 4-2-3-1 with:

Howard
Coleman - Heitinga - Distin - Baines
Fellaini - Rodwell
Bily - Arteta - Pienaar
Saha / Yakubu
Karl Masters
33   Posted 31/08/2010 at 19:38:55

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John Daley - .I left the P off - which is what you should do too, you cheeky git! :)

One other thing is that Moyes picks Distin becausehe is left footed and balances up the central defence, but can he really leave Heitinga out in favour of Distin?

Sorry to see Yobo go - was a rock in defence during many a hanging on to a one nil lead. This is an attribute we have lacked of late. And to think Arsenal would have given us about £7m for him a year ago.
Ciarán McGlone
34   Posted 31/08/2010 at 19:39:41

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Nice swerve, Mike...

Similarly to your previous attempts at explaining yourself ? this one would probably go south as well... Best leave this non-sequitur where it is eh! There was an episode of Jam where a plumber was brought in to fix a dead baby. Not quite on that scale ? but it's a simliar jump in logic nonetheless to suggest that all good midfielders make good right backs. What about Paul Scholes? Anyway... back to Rodwell.

Rodwell was lost in right midfield, and has shown that he's not the most adept defensively? so it's pretty obvious that he'd be frankly useless at right back ? and that's before we even consider the wastefulness of trying such a hair-brained scheme.
David Price
35   Posted 31/08/2010 at 19:29:48

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Joe #31, No-one decides to be an Evertonian. You are indeed correct to curse God as Bluenoses are created by a higher force, which makes us special.
Supporting Man Utd and RS for trophy hunting purposes is not the aim of a real fan like what you are, one that is hurting like the rest of us. Our day will come my friend and we are all frustrated because the players are here to make it happen.
Joe McMahon
36   Posted 31/08/2010 at 20:24:53

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Cheers David, I just had a Momentary Relapse. We are Everton, when I'm down south and all I see are Man U and redshite shirts, I do smile to myself. Still I don't want to see Osman or Rodwell in right midfield again.
Peter Warren
37   Posted 31/08/2010 at 20:34:39

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Firstly, I believe we have a very good team and will come through this poor run; I have not written us off for challenging for 4th.

Secondly, I confess that I slagged off Moyes for ages for him sticking Arteta on the wing. However, last year, Fellaini showed he can play deep and distribute the ball.

It?s a team game and we are so unbalanced in midfield, I believe Arteta should be moved to the right as this would balance the team. He showed he can play there and be disciplined unlike Rodwell who moved inside on Sunday all the time. I also think Rodwell is that good, he needs to be playing in the middle.

Mike Elbey
38   Posted 31/08/2010 at 20:58:13

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Peter,

I can see where ou are coming from with moving Arteta out wide but he is our best player when on form and our improved play began when he was moved centrally.

Whilst he has not been poor he has also not been at his best this season but i believe this has more to do with the fact he is playing so deep.

I know we all think we are right but i genuinely believe a central midfield 3 of Fellaini, Arteta and Rodwell would be awsome. The problem is that Moyes will not leave out Cahill. Rodwell is a vastly superior footballer than TC and i believe those 3 would provide the ideal balance between defensive strength and offensive ability. Rodwell would provide Arteta with more freedom to play in the final third of the pitch instead of around the centre circle. I also believe Rodwell would provide a genuine goal threat as he is a strong runner with the ball (something we lack) and also has an excellent shot both from long and short distance.

Cahill still has a massive role to play at Everton and his influence on us as a club cab bever be understated but until Moyes realises when certain players have been bypassed by others we will never progress. Afterall, despite our favouritism of certain players isnt that what we should all want ?
Wayne Smyth
39   Posted 31/08/2010 at 22:47:40

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Agree completely with you, Matthew.

None of the players Moyes has bought are wingers. All consider their best positions to be central midfielders, or forwards.

A change in formation is required to bring about the best in the players we have and we need to start getting players much further forward to support our striker(s). Having 1 player try to accept a 60 yard forward pass, up against 2-3 defenders and the nearest Everton shirt is 40 yards away is not likely to result in many goals.
Jamie Sweet
40   Posted 31/08/2010 at 23:04:46

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I'm praying the Yak gets back to full fitness. I think he must have a chance otherwise surely we would have flogged him to West Ham. Man do we need him right now.

He is the missing piece in this jigsaw.

I would like to see:

----------------Howard------------------

Hibbert - Heitinger - Distin - Baines

----------------Fellaini -----------------

-----------Arteta -- Rodwell------------

Coleman-----------------------Pienaar

-----------A FIT YAKUBU---------------
Pat Finegan
41   Posted 31/08/2010 at 23:50:11

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Matthew, I see where I misread now but I still disagree to an extent. I agree about not fitting square pegs in round holes but when there are no square holes left, you need the best players on the field. Pienaar, for example, is better than Gueye. Rodwell is better than Bily. The best player for the position, if available, should start regardless of their natural position.
Ernie Baywood
42   Posted 01/09/2010 at 02:20:42

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The worrying thing here is that this isn't rocket science. Everyone will have a different team but Moyes seems to be missing the absolute basics.

If you play a central player (and that's all we have available) in a wide position then you need to have the width provided by the fullback. For me, that makes Seamus an absolute certainty for the right back position unless he believes that he can get a player playing correctly on the right. I'll say now that if he believes that Osman or Rodwell can be that player then he's far more limited than I imagined. I'd previously given Moyes some credit for the Pienaar/Baines axis but maybe I'm being too kind and he's just fluked it?!

The rest is just preference. Cahill for Rodwell, Pienaar for Gueye etc. Pick those guys on form, ability, and potential... just don't play players out of position with no support.
Eric Myles
43   Posted 01/09/2010 at 06:04:09

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First you go on about players playing out of position and then put Rodwell in midfield and say "Now, before you all say, I said Rodwell is not a defensive midfielder, I?d give him licence to bomb forward at every opportunity and be that box-to-box midfielder" when Rodwell's favoured position is centre back.
Eric Myles
44   Posted 01/09/2010 at 06:09:29

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And doesn't Bily prefer the left so you'd also have him out of position?
Shahrul Mandani
45   Posted 01/09/2010 at 07:51:07

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Why not we try Bily at the back of the striker. Arteta on the right and Pienaar left feeding Bily so he can just shoot on or off target.

Hm, i'd really like to see this line-up:

------------------Howard-------------------
Coleman--Heitinga--Distin--Baines
------------Fellaini--Rodwell-------------
Arteta------------Bily------------Pienaar
---------------Yakubu/Saha--------------
Tony I'Anson
46   Posted 01/09/2010 at 08:13:44

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If DM is reading this he would probably think...hmmmm...some good points there, so here is what I'll do for our next home game:

------------------Howard
Hibbert--Jagielka--Heitinga--Baines
------------Fellaini----Rodwell
Coleman-------Arteta-------Pienaar
-----------------Cahill

I say Cahill based on performances of forwards, who could have impact with 30 mins to go.
Subs to bring on Saha, Bily, Beckford or Gueye if things aren't going well.
Matthew Lovekin
47   Posted 02/09/2010 at 16:14:23

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Alan (32) you criticise my selection of Bily on the right wing, then in your favoured team you put Bily .... on the right wing!!!

Eric (43) the reason I would put Bily on the right is I feel that this would be his position, the right forward of a front three. I don't believe he is a left winger, he can't beat a defender for pace and get to the bye-line to get a cross in. His best ability seems to be scoring spectacular goals, therefore play him as a right forward similar to Messi at Barca where he will cut inside on his left foot to shoot.

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