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Problem #1 ? our best are doing nothing

By Mike Gaynes :  18/09/2010 :  Comments (21) :
I?m disappointed ? not surprised, but disappointed ? to be reading the same old predictable stuff in most of the posts today after the Newcastle disaster. Blame Moyes for starting the wrong line-up, for using the wrong substitutes in the wrong places. Blame Osman for not being a finisher, or Hibbert for not being a good crosser, or Bily for not being much of anything. Heck, blame Kenwright for not building a good enough team.

All those points are valid. All those criticisms are appropriate. But they all overlook the biggest problem of all.

A team is only going to go as far as its BEST players will take it. And our best are playing very, very poorly. It?s utterly ridiculous to keep complaining about Everton?s weaknesses when the number one issue is that our strengths are nowhere to be seen. I see 20 mentions of Osman and Hibbert for every one I see of far greater disappointments, like:

Arteta ? captain? Spanish wizard? Outside of the magic moment against Man U, Mikkie has been just plain awful. His long passes have been short or wild, his decision-making poor, his inspiration and leadership nil. He?s still trying to pick out runners wide, but he either drops the ball on the defender?s head or sprays it into touch. Today, late in the game, he picked up the ball on the right side with a clear path to the center, but instead turned back outside to his right foot and walked into three defenders. Five seconds later, Newcastle were pouring back upfield with only the magnificent Distin to stop them. Arteta is supposedly Everton?s best. He has not remotely looked it.

Pienaar ? and where is the Toffees? tireless inspiration? He appears to be operating at three-quarter speed. His once-precise crosses are flying 20 yards long. He?s turning into traffic instead of choosing space. His relentless pursuit of the ball (remember when he could seemingly get the ball off anyone?) is now coming fruitless. And his by-play with Baines is nowhere to be found. Eight months ago, Pienaar with the ball at his feet, running at defenders, was cause for panic in the back. Not now.

Heitinga ? I really thought the Netherlands? crusading World Cup hero would displace Distin and pair with Jags to form the best central defensive partnership in the Prem. Foolish me. He?s a disaster. He was easily trounced for the goal today, acting as if he didn?t know (or care) that Ben Arfa was left-footed, and Newscastle midfielders repeatedly rampaged through his territory unimpeded. Heitinga?s endlessly surly visage and his scowls at his teammates for not providing him the ball (ridiculous, considering he does nothing when he gets it) help neither the team nor the game.

Jagielka and Howard ? England?s man in the middle? America?s shot-stopping genius? Yes, when there?s someone to stop. But they both suffer from the same disease ? call it Clearance Catastrophe. With the ball at their feet and pressure approaching, they frighten all of us. You just hope that the misdirected disposal will benefit from a happy accident and go to one of ours. Today most of them seemed to go straight to Barton.

Saha ? Saha? Anybody seen Saha? Even when he was healthy?

So... criticize Moyes and the rest of the usual suspects all you want. The fact is that, as long as our best players are (except for Cahill) bumbling like church leaguers, we?re going nowhere ? no matter who else Moyes puts on the pitch, or where.

Reader Comments

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Alan Clarke
1   Posted 19/09/2010 at 07:07:12

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I don't think our "best" players are actually that good. Similarly to our 'great' manager (as often described in the press), our players are overhyped and very average. That has been shown this season. For all the hype that surrounded our end of season form last year, we still failed to beat Wolves away and West Ham at home. These players and this manager just aren't that good and we all need to adjust our expectations accordingly. We were well beaten by Newcastle - outplayed in every department.

I think the big elephant in the room that noone wants to mention except you Mike is Arteta. I would love to see the stats of how many times he picked the ball up of Heitinga and passed it back to either Jags or Distin for them to hoof forward. Arteta's most meaningful contributions were when he pulled out wide. He looks scared to mix things up too, probably as a hangover from his serious injury. He's dropping far too deep to avoid challenges and find space. Moyes needs to move him out to the right again. Coleman and Arteta on the right might just provide that attacking threat we need on that side.

Also, why the fuck has Moyes brought in Beckford and sent Vaughan out on loan? That is the dealing of a mad man who has finally been shown up for what he is.
Ian Smitham
2   Posted 19/09/2010 at 08:33:11

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Mike. Spot on. Nail head hit.

I wrote on another thread a less detailed analysis of this and apologised i may be on the wrong thread.

I had not seen this piece and totally agree with every word.

Questions need asking and not of the usual suspects-or dare i say - for people on here-the easy targets.
clara blan
3   Posted 19/09/2010 at 08:45:49

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mary, Sorry to hear that but Your friend should contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for a consultation, here is a good one that I know who offers free consultation for situation like yours, wish she feels better soon

Charles King
4   Posted 19/09/2010 at 09:37:10

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Of course its the players, but who chose them?
Tony Cheek
5   Posted 19/09/2010 at 09:43:37

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Not to mention Fellaini, who was just plain embarassing ....back to all his bad habits from early last season. He behaves like a spoilt 16 year old and was very lucky not to get a red card on two occasions yesterday. Not too sure about Pienaar though, thought he was brilliant against United last week and absolutely shite this time, but who wasn't? Well Hibbert for one, he looked the only one with a brain in the back four and DM took him off, while once again Beckford is sacrificed after getting absolutely no service; he was making all the right runs but nothing was coming. Talk about kicking a man while he's down, well done DM!!
Brian Noble
6   Posted 19/09/2010 at 10:39:11

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Watching Beckford today, I had a `Bernie Wright` moment. Older fans will remember how, in his closing days, Catterick signed the Walsall hitman after he`d given a half-decent performance for them in the FA Cup.

Or perhaps it was a `Bret Angel` moment? Either way, these `super stars` from the lower tiers helped do for the Cat and Mike Walker as they served to illustrate how far Everton`s standards had fallen. Perhaps, poor Beckford will do the same for Moyes. We can only hope!

Robert Elliott
7   Posted 19/09/2010 at 10:50:38

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As Charles King says, who picks them? I'd go further and say who signed them and whose job is it to motivate and get the best out of them?
Dan Moorhead
8   Posted 19/09/2010 at 12:27:31

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Heitinga is a shocking player, he can pass the ball 10 yards to either side of him and hits the odd diagonal pass that gets to a man. Apart from that he is very slow and never puts a challenge in, runs about three yards away from the opposition at all times without doing anything. Looks very much like a player going through the motions and the same player who got slatted in Spain. The fact that he is keeping Fellaini out of his true position makes it all the more sickening, this though is down to Moyes trying to shoehorn his favorites into the side at all costs.
John McLoughlin
9   Posted 19/09/2010 at 12:43:52

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The top players are all out of form, I posted recently our team is full of nice quiet players, no winners amongst them apart from the much maligned Phil Neville. All seem quite happy to accept mediocrity. None had a clue yesterday how to get back into the game. Arteta our best most creative player did nothing to inspire us. Imagine the real top midfielders in this country Fabergas, Lampard, Gerrard looking so insipid. But then they are real world class and not just a good player who has been elevated to genius level by us fans. thats out biggest problem we did have it so bad under Smith that good players seem great.
David Thomas
10   Posted 19/09/2010 at 13:17:41

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Dan, I agree 100%. Heitinga is a complete waste of time playing in midfield. It baffles me when he keeps getting picked there. To me he offers nothing to the team there and to be quite honest in my opinion is a liability in that position. The last two game he has been run ragged by Fletcher and Barton and ended up running around like a headless chicken ie running straight into the back of Gary Neville last week.

Either play him in central defence or don't play him at all.
Christopher McCullough
11   Posted 19/09/2010 at 14:14:22

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An impressive amount of nonsense above.

Our best eleven could compete in the Champions League.

Moyes is not a good tactician. Understatement. The management team and senior players, however, are not proactive in arguing for their best places.

Firstly, Fellaini has been excellent. He will be one of the best players in the Europe.

Arteta is not a captain. When he first signed I was taking driving lessons. My instructor, a season ticket holder at Ibrox, sung his praises in terms of ability. However, he also warned that he may not have the psychological strength to cope with the nastier type of player. Proven yesterday. This wouldn't have been a problem if Fellaini was in his proper position. 'The Fro' is a nasty big shite on the pitch and I love him for it.

Heitinga is a centre back. Cahill, Howard and Jagielka have been good. Yakubu is coming back into form.

So those are our best players and the spine of the team. One of the best in the league.
Peter Laing
12   Posted 19/09/2010 at 14:30:28

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Newcastle were good for the win and should have won by more. I agree totally Arteta totally stunk the gaff out and, for all the bating of Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton, they wanted it more, set the tempo and we couldnt get near them.

Shit tactics, shit team formation and shit attitude from the players; piss poor management and a Chairman that continues to fiddle whilst Rome burns. My heart is totally gone with Everton these days...

Nelaj Behajiha
13   Posted 19/09/2010 at 15:04:45

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It is Moyes fault.
Mike Oates
14   Posted 19/09/2010 at 15:18:38

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Heitinga is neither a CB (poor in WC - as Robinho) nor a DM . He will turn out to be Moyes's Andy Shandy No2.

NOt a team player nor by the looks of it has he shown any willingness to muck in.
Ryan Holroyd
15   Posted 19/09/2010 at 15:26:22

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Mike I don't agree. JH was one of our better players last year. He should be played at centre back not midfield. Using one example of robiniho in one game is just silly. He was quality last year as a centre back.
Dave Richman
16   Posted 19/09/2010 at 16:42:59

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Christopher, perhaps you're right. Maybe our best 11 could compete in the Champs League..... arguments for and against - most notably it would be nice if they all played in their best positions.

But we don't ever see our best 11 in the Premier League, so the chances of ever seeing them in the CL are pretty remote to say the least.
Mike Oates
17   Posted 19/09/2010 at 17:11:54

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Ryan # 15

Apologies , I have overstepped the mark - I usually give new players at least a season to bed in. My concerns are that a Jags, Heitinga combination just wont survive the ariel combats from the you know who teams of the league , let alone the true class forwards , like Drogba, Crouch (our nemesis), etc.

Distin had a bad game at Utd but I thought played well yesterday and he has done on numerous occasions and I just don't see a place for Johnny. At least Jags co-ordinates the back 4 , I dont feel Johnny can be as effective communicator.
John McLoughlin
18   Posted 19/09/2010 at 17:37:28

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We will never have a best 11, because the problem areas of the side (known for 2 years) have not been dealt with. As for our team being good enough to compete in CL that is a laugh as we are not good enough to qualify for it
Dennis Stevens
19   Posted 19/09/2010 at 18:22:39

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Mike, you can justifiably criticise the players, but it all comes back to Moyes nonetheless. It is Moyes job to prepare the players, his players, to select the team & determine the tactics - it's also his job to try & make changes if things aren't going according to plan.

Regardless of any valid points made about players collectively or individually, Moyes is failing as a manager. I hope he can turn things 'round swiftly, or that he'll do the decent thing if he feels it's beyond him to do so & quit.

Albert Perkins
20   Posted 19/09/2010 at 21:31:37

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Come on. Most of us were confident that a good season was ahead of us and we are rightly disappointed.

I don't think our confidence was unfounded. I think it's about a lack of confidence among the players.

A bad start against Blackburn, where they figured us out, and the rest of our opponents did the same. In my life, when I'm confident, things tend to go my way. Same with Everton.

I'm writing off the great season we were hoping for and settling for a regrouping soon which will make us a good team to watch, a hard team to beat and I'm looking to beating some of the top teams again, especially the Reds.

Hey, this Everton. This is family. Let's not get too down on each other. Pick up, dust off and look to cheer them on again.

Peter Norris
21   Posted 20/09/2010 at 13:12:45

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Tony #5. I watched Beckford in the firts half from my speck in the top balcony. You are spot on. he made several runs across the back four but got sweet FA from the middle - they seem to prefer to hoof or play aimless diagonal balls. Taking him off was wrong. Agree TH was our best first half player - Osman should have gone for Coleman not TH. Finally, whilst Felli worked his bollocks off and was the only one to keep trying - if I was asked to play in 4 positions in a match like he was I'd be f*cked off too.

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