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Ready to Move Forward?

By Mike Oates :  11/09/2010 :  Comments (5) :
What a game! And at last, lady luck took a shine to us. As said in an earlier article, what we needed was an inspirational moment or a result against the flow to perhaps kick-start our season. Today in fairness we got a result, which the majority would say wasn?t coming.

We started so well and after 15 minutes there was only one team in it and it wasn?t Utd. But you got the feeling after 30 minutes or so that we had lost our chance. It was a real surprise to me anyway to see an Everton breakaway goal ? we tend to take an eternity to get from one end to the other ? and what a brilliant spot by Osman to see Pienaar free. We then got sloppy, particularly Baines and to some extent Distin and Heitinga, and hey presto: 1-1.

Once again, sloppy defending by Baines and Distin and I thought here we go ? is it going to be another Arsenal? We were getting destroyed on our left-hand side, with Berbatov and Nani running amok. Distin was a bag of nerves by this stage and let Berbatov stroll past him for No 3. Further chances to Utd and we looked completely devoid of any ideas of how to open a defence. Sideways passes, poor through-balls and a totally congested United area waiting for the next cross to be cleared. No threat at all to Van der Sar.

Then, without any sign, we suddenly come alive and two goals within 90 seconds ? booth from great Baines crosses. Pienaar to me was our Man of the Match.

What did we learn?

Our left-hand side defence is poor: Distin was murdered today, Baines just about makes up for his defensive frailties with his attacking play. Distin needs a break to get over this but I really don?t see a Jagielka and Heitinga combination working. Johnny is too slow, is a poor man-marker, and has poor positional sense (Robinho goal in WC). Yes, he played in the World Cup Final but he doesn?t look comfortable to me.

Our right hand side needs Coleman ? it just does: Hibbert is fine defensively but we need Coleman there, to get any quality into our attacking play.

Fellaini definitely needs to be played as a midfielder with Arteta ahead of him. It?s a waste of him to play him upfront.

The quandary to me is Cahill ? 2 goals already to date and a real tiger performance, but whilst he?s there, our play is so predictable ? get it wide to Baines and hope that 1 cross in 10 finds Cahill. With Cahill there up front, we have no sharp forward movement creating space for midfielders to move into, in fact look at Utd?s midfielders today ? bombing into the spaces in the box created by excellent Berbatov movement. Our midfielders (bar Bily) don?t have this movement and will 100% of the time will look for a wide ball hoping to get around the back.

We desperately need a true forward up-front. The Yak did well today but I suspect will be used as a sub for the next few games to get himself fit. Till then, we have to get Beckford in there, but he needs better service. He can?t thrive on balls pumped up or crosses, he needs little through passes, quality through balls (like Scholes to Berbatov today) The passion is still there as shown today, and the team will play their hearts out till the last second.

To get to that Top 4 we need to score 20 goals more and concede 20 goals less than last season. I feel that we can develop the quality to score more, once we become threatening down the right BUT I?m afraid our defence, whoever is in it, will give too many goals away. Good teams defend well and at the moment we rely on Jagielka totally, to clear up mistakes made by Distin, and Baines, and I think we need to realise that playing Coleman to get quality attacking play on the right will ultimately bring poorer defensive play on that side? more for Jagielka to do.

I?m sure the majority of Evertonians like me see such a progression football-wise to our play but also see gaping defensive problems. Progressing up the league on the basis of always scoring more than we concede will be nail-biting but, if it continues, I feel Moyes will revert to a more defensive side (Hibbert staying in, Neville and maybe also Heitinga in front of back 4 to shore it up).

Anyway, for now, let's hope that Newcastle become our first win of many for the season ahead. Who said it was going to be easy???

Reader Comments

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Joe McMahon
1   Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:26:27

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I've been thinking, the two seasons we finished 5th was Lescott left back? Just a thought as, in my opinion, I don't rate Baines as a defender.

Folk slag off Coleman for defensive errors, even though we never keep a clean sheet when Coleman isn't even playing.

Just a thought. As we have zero money, it's nice to think that Baines, Distin and Bily cost over £22 million!!!

John Brennan
2   Posted 11/09/2010 at 21:00:07

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Mike/Joe: Baines is a difficult one to assess most of the time.

You are probably right when you say his attacking play just about makes up for his defensive frailty. He didn't have a clue where Nani was for their 1st goal (Fletcher), and had his back to Nani, concentrating on the middle of the pitch. Graeme Sharp said on Sky he thought Baines should have closed down Nani and prevented the cross going in at all. Agreed!

United's players knew that Nani would be out on the wing, and when attacking, simply sent the ball out there almost without checking first.

We seem to give the ball away when we ourselves are moving forward, and at first, it doesn't seem to be too dangerous, but then (particularly with a team like United), we get turned quickly and, BANG, we have conceded!

I have said on another thread, we panic when we are under pressure, and our defenders need to calm down, and play the ball out from the back instead of the big hoof, which simply gifts the ball back to the opposition. (Howard could aid this with his distribution). We need to find a regular slot for Bily as, with him and Fellaini (and perhaps to a lesser extent Heitinga), ball retention would improve immeasurably.

I dont see Neville as anything other than right back, but Coleman would be my preference.

Liu Weixian
3   Posted 12/09/2010 at 08:50:28

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I don't think we should play Beckford. He needs time to adapt to the higher standards of the Premiership and if you force him it'll shatter his confidence. We definitely need a big target man like the Yak to open up space for our other attackers to run into.

For me, Hibbert is a good defender and has hardly put a foot wrong. He may not be great at going forward but he is a defender and his defensive attributes should be ranked more important than his attacking ones. Coleman is very good venturing forward but may neglect his defensive duties so why not play him as a right winger?

Andy Crooks
4   Posted 12/09/2010 at 16:57:05

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Liu, Beckford has given United hell in the past and he should have had the chance to do it again. He has an arrogance about him which, as has been mentioned on another thread, is lacking at the moment. We are good enough to play with flair and arrogance. When we do we can beat any team.
Ernie Baywood
5   Posted 13/09/2010 at 13:07:29

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Liu, how is being dropped so that midfielders can take your place good for his confidence.

I don't think he's up to the task but he seems happy to play a selfless role up there and chase/harry/move players around. Could have made a big difference yesterday.

For all Cahill's battling he was facing a losing battle until a centre forward came on and let him make his runs from somewhere other than leading the line. Gave him a chance to break free of Vidic and get himself up against Evans too.

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