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Time for Our Disaster Game — To Wake Us Up

By Mike Oates :  14/11/2010 :  Comments (28) :
We?ve hit the rails and maybe someone giving us a good pasting ? you know, like Hull last year, Wigan the year before ? will do us a world of good. Kid me not, it should stop the stupid quotes from Baines, Neville etc that we are just a game away from really climbing up the table and blah blah blah?.

Clearly all is not well; it seemed to me yesterday that, for the first time, the players were at each other, the body language was poor, even new boy Coleman seemed to be having a right go. Some will say that shows they care, but I didn?t get that; I got the feeling that no-one has a clue how we are going to score, and added to that, I don?t think Moyes?s has a clue and the players sense that.

There is some deep frustration within the ranks ? none more so than Arteta. He seems to be on a distant planet, remote from the scene on the pitch, unaware of his duties ? should he back-track or is that Heitinga?s or Fellaini?s role ? should all play go through him... as he seems to think it should. Their second goal yesterday was a prime example: Baines had the ball and the better pass should have been to Rodwell 10 yds away, but he gives it to Arteta 20 yds away with two Arsenal lads all over him. Hey presto, he looses it, and four passes later ? it?s a goal.

But it's not all Arteta?s fault ? it's our current system. If it was an Arsenal player who lost the ball we would undoubtedly move it sideways, then backwards, then in-field again, then over to Baines and finally a cross into an area 12 passes and 40 seconds later, with 7 Arsenal defenders in it waiting to clear. Four of those passes would have gone through Arteta. The team has believed the hype that we are a skilful ball-passing, ball-retention team, but seems to have forgotten that you need to score goals to win games.

Back to the top comment ? it needs someone like Sunderland to stuff us at the Stadium of Light next week for Moyes and Co to finally say enough is enough, forget 4-1-3-1-1 (4-5-1 to some) ? it ain't working. The successful teams this year are teams with two forwards up front, two strong midfield men and pace/skill on the outside.

My team would be: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Fellaini, Neville; Arteta/Anichebe, Pienaar; Beckford, Yakubu;

The pace would be provided by Coleman and Baines with Arteta?s and Pienaar's roles to open up their back four with intelligent movement. Arteta won't like it, switching back to the outside... but he?s not cutting the mustard as our playmaker at the moment. Heitinga won't get in, and should be sold in January, and Rodwell (when fully fit) will have to push for Neville?s position.

The race for the League 3rd-6th places is really wide open and any team capable of WINNING games on the run would be in a prime position. DRAWING games is not good, winning 2 out of 3 is better than winning 1 and drawing 2 ? simple maths, but to win games you need to score, you need the balls to throw men forward from the first minute ? not in the last 10 mins.

Do you think Moyes will change anything unless we go through our yearly ?it was an absolute disgraceful performance and it won't be tolerated anymore? game? If not, then let's get it over and done with as soon as possible. Sunderland should be full of optimism after their game against Chelsea today.

Reader Comments

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Peter Bourke
1   Posted 15/11/2010 at 05:08:03

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All I can say, Mike, is, Thank God you have nothing to do with team selection. Although I do agree in principle with the title of your post.
Steve O'Malley
2   Posted 15/11/2010 at 05:46:36

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So who in your team are you banking on to score the goals required to win a game, Mike?
Sean McKenna
3   Posted 15/11/2010 at 05:42:39

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Mike, I stopped when Reading once you said Neville in midfield!! And you expect us to control games with Neville in midfield? Utter balls. But I like the rest of your post. It's not 4-5-1 that is the problem ? it's the way it is used.

For me, my team would be: Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Rodwell, Fellaini, Pienaar, and Arteta in the hole behind the Yak.

Now we would have pace in the middle with Rodwell, ball-retention from Felli, pace down the wings with Coleman and Pienaar, and Arteta sliding in killer balls to the Yak.

Arsenal play 4-5-1, the difference with them and us is.... Say Arshavin gets injured, on comes Rosicky; Song gets injured, on comes Diaby... Players coming on in their perfect positon.

In our case, Felli is out, in comes a centre back... Pienaar goes off, Osman to the left ? you get my drift. Arsenal known their system to a tee, Everton is a mis-match where, week to week, we don't know whether to play hoofball or football.

Tony Cheek
4   Posted 15/11/2010 at 06:36:54

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Dont think Fellaini can play that one Mike...Didnt he get a 3-gamer.....and you still have faith in Howard, despite another weak performance . How many points does he have to cost us before Muche gets a chance .
Might be a bad move , but I think he needs a real shake up . If Mucha is not a threat for Howard , then we need both a striker and a keeper in the transfer window.
Derek Thomas
5   Posted 15/11/2010 at 08:21:04

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Why? coz we have TWO excellent Wing Backs in Baines and Coleman.

To use them properly it must be 3 at the back, from Hibbo, Nev, Jags, Heitinga, Distin. Pip can cover the left if required.

This has the added bonus of keeping both PN and JH out of midfield.

Will we get 3 at the back or any facsimile of radical push-the-envelop thinking?

Desperate times need desperate measures... Oh so you don't think it's desperate yet, you maybe right... but, once the snowball gets too big to stop, well we will be Newcastle upon Mersey. And just like them we will be too good to go down, until we actually do.

So it's 3 at the back (or some other cunning plan )


3 (Moyes, Round and Turner) out the door.
Gavin Ramejkis
6   Posted 15/11/2010 at 09:08:01

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Mike, the way Sunderland twatted Chelski yesterday, I can see a drubbing coming. Arteta was hopeless yesterday, the replay of the first goal shows him stood there doing fuck-all about it too.

Too many players didn't put in a shift yesterday; Saha needs to just fucking hit a ball instead of trying the fancy dan shit, Arteta needs to push up the pitch, Cahill looked knackered and injured but still has twice as many goals as our three strikers put together, Coleman and Baines look really pissed off and finally Moyes needs to realise how much better we look when he has finally grown some balls, too late in the match, and gone for it ? earlier subs DM!!!!!
Andrew Ellams
7   Posted 15/11/2010 at 09:54:01

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I really do think we are seeing the beginning of the end for this team and the management. But I'm genuinelly concerned where we go from there. We have too many key players who are starting to age and won't generate the cash if sold to buy adequate replacements. Kenwright has to sort out the investment issue ASAP or we could be going back to the bad old days of the 90s sooner rather than later.
Anthony Millington
8   Posted 15/11/2010 at 10:04:06

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Coleman and Baines put Arteta and Pienaar to shame in that game! Running past them two taking on players and putting crosses into the box, showing passion and commitment. It shows you how brilliant Pienaar is that a £40k right back from Sligo Rovers is more of an attacking threat than he is. Pienaar must be on a different planet to think he is too good for Everton. He tries clever balls game after game but he is not good enough to pull them off and he over hits passes and rarely scores. Don't get me wrong ? he is good enough for Everton, but he is certainly not as good as he thinks he is.

My criticism of David Moyes is that he bought a centre back, Heitinga and is paying him £40k a week to play in midfield where he is rubbish. I'll go as far as saying Phil Neville is better playing there because he will close down the opposition.
Alan Clarke
9   Posted 15/11/2010 at 11:18:55

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Anthony, the club are paying Heitinga £65k a week!

The disaster game was only drawing with Wolves. The next disaster game was losing to Newcastle at home. The next disaster game was drawing away at Blackpool. The one after that was only drawing with a last minute equaliser at home to Bolton.

All except three games this season have been a fucking disaster. What concerns me most is Moyes won't start playing attacking football, he will concentrate more on defence and trying to keep a clean sheet. We are in for a horrible season.
Brian Denton
10   Posted 15/11/2010 at 11:29:33

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And all this with the shitest Redshite team in the history of shite (with stylistic apolgies to Blackadder)........
Anthony Millington
11   Posted 15/11/2010 at 11:48:34

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Exactly ? why pay him £65k a week and play him in midfield! Why not just not sign him, keep Yobo as a third centre-back and spend the money on a midfielder instead of playing him out of position! Moyes is too defensive from the start of the game and only starts going attacking after the other team has scored and when do we win when we go 1-0 down?

I'd much rather see Rodwell start in midfield than Heitinga, but I am aware he may not be quite ready for 90 minutes after his injury. It's also sad that we've spent £9 million on Bily and people like Heitinga and Coleman are playing ahead of him in midfield.
Denis Richardson
12   Posted 15/11/2010 at 11:53:18

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Arteta is supposed to be our most creative player, so I don't understand why he is playing so deep. A lot of the time he is only about 15 yards in front of the defence. Would really like to see him get much further forward and let the supposed DM be that deep.

Or is it that he doesn't trust the other midfielders to get him the ball, or he really does want every last play to go through him? No idea... but seems stupid to have the best creative midfielder we have playing so deep.

Will be interesting to see what DM does when JR is fully fit ? will he put JH in the bench? If so, I cannot see him staying around too long warming our bench. If he goes in January, can we get Yobo back? Otherwise we have fuck-all cover at CB ? unless JR is going to play there.
Terry McLavey
13   Posted 15/11/2010 at 11:54:02

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Interesting article, Mike, although you'll never please everyone. It's been one of my carps that every time one of the players goes into print eg."now we can kick on", they usually end up eating their words!!

I also suggested in a previous post that DM should tell them before the match they are 2 - 0 down because that is when they seem to wake up. I thought Distin was quite good in defence but his passing forward (a la Unsworth ? just hoof it!) was dire, three consecutive "passes" went either into no-man's land or to a player heavily marked (used to be known in my day as a suicide pass!!)

There does seem to be a lack of spirit but hopefully this could be the "WAKE UP" match...

Norman Merrill
14   Posted 15/11/2010 at 12:13:06

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After watching yesterdays performance, I feel that David Moyes and Steve Round want to wake up and see that our formation and tactics are clearly not working.

We were second best to Bolton on Wednesday, and similar to Arsenal yesterday, basic things like corners and free kicks are a joke.

Too many players who don't look interested, and our passing in midfield goes from left to right without the much needed through ball, to bring our LONE striker into play.

We cannot go on hoping to catch opposition in the last 10 mins, it has worked a few times, but Bolton and Arsenal showed more agression, and in my opinion Bolton deserved to beat us.

Mike Gwyer
15   Posted 15/11/2010 at 12:47:29

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Norman. # 14.

"We were second best to Bolton". Get real!!!! Bolton attacked twice and scored once ? we spent about 80 minutes in their half trying to do what Bolton did in thirty seconds.

We have issues, that I will agree with, from Arteta down to Moyes being a controlling defensive twat ? but please, when you slag off the team keep it real.
Ernie Baywood
16   Posted 15/11/2010 at 13:12:42

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Norman ? I think Moyes will see our tactics as working. I think his theory is that if we have more than 50% possession in all our games then we'll win more than we lose and that will be enough to put some decent runs together and finish top half. Which seems a shame when you consider what this team could achieve.

I'm really starting to wonder if the opportunity right now is the gutsy one. Cash in. Move Moyes on, move our high earners/valued assets on and take a real punt on youth in this team. We could put ourselves in a decent financial position. We'd be just as close to breaking the top 4 (ie nowhere fucking near it) but maybe with a future after a couple of years of struggles.

Would just need to avoid relegation!
Jonathan Tasker
17   Posted 15/11/2010 at 16:26:08

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Short and sweet.

Do we ever practice scoring goals? I'm only asking because it never looks as if we do.

Tony J Williams
18   Posted 15/11/2010 at 16:59:32

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No BMT in our players except for Cahill.

Pienaar with his useless final ball and his girly powered shooting boots.

Arteta disappears in big games.

Beckford came on and had a great first time shot, pity no other forward does that anymore.

We are getting the ball to the box fine but then fall apart because for some reason they are scared to have a dig.

The build up play is good but the rest is shite... unfortunately.
Mick Harrison
19   Posted 15/11/2010 at 16:49:06

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Ernie ? Good idea but we will probably be trying to avoid being relegated from the Championship by using any of the younger lads right now. And going into the Championship would not put us in any decent financial situation.

Moyes needs to get Arteta further forward, at least then he can pass the ball sideways on the opponent's 18-yard box instead of the half-way line. Also getting Anichebe back will give us that extra bit of physical strength, or just give Saha a slap in the face to wake him up.

David Thomas
20   Posted 15/11/2010 at 17:15:10

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I really don't think not playing the guy who has scored 43% of our goals this season and is the joint second highest goalscorer in the league is going to help us.
Leon Perrin
21   Posted 15/11/2010 at 17:55:34

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I agree with the body language observation, we're clearly not a team and only Baines, Coleman and Pienaar play with energy. Moyes'S demeanour smacks of his sulk around the time of his contract talks.
Jon Cox
22   Posted 15/11/2010 at 18:19:27

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I remember when Arteta had a problem with corners free kicks etc. It turned out there was a problem with his groin. Has this injury come back because the clues seem to be there?

As I've said before, the team looks stale and ready for a re-fit. I noticed for parts of the Arsenal game Pienaar played a central attacking role which had me wondering was it him or orders from Moyes?

And to add to that, Arteta soon went off. Problem with this was that we stopped our threat down the left flank.

If this keeps up and Moyes cannot get sufficient funds in either January or the Summer, then I think Moyes will walk...
Mike Hargreaves
23   Posted 15/11/2010 at 20:05:56

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As we all know, we need someone to score goals, but no money, so we have to loan. Anybody reckon we should go for Roque Santa Cruz? Maybe Moyes can work the magic.
Mark Taylor
24   Posted 15/11/2010 at 21:21:58

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We all need to remember that when we win, we are not as good as we think we are. When we lose, we are not as bad as we think we are. What I saw yesterday was a team that in general held it's own against one of the best teams in Europe. Everyone just needs to lift it 5% and we'll be stringing some results together again.

Cheer up everyone.
Jamie Sweet
25   Posted 16/11/2010 at 00:15:07

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Look at the league table Mark Taylor... that should put an end to your glass half-full nonsense!
Dennis Karanikolopoulos
26   Posted 16/11/2010 at 05:21:53

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I am completely in the twilight zone or am I the only one that thinks Tim Cahill has been superb this season with his energy, running and effort? The only thing lacking is his first touch at the moment... what a player though ? underrated in my opinion.
Larry Boner
27   Posted 16/11/2010 at 09:48:38

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Roque SANTA Cruz, he will be fit over Christmas, then out for 6 months.

The only player I know with a worse injury record than Saha.

Terry Hayes
28   Posted 16/11/2010 at 14:43:02

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Mike (23) ? it really doesn't matter which centre-forward we go in for as he will immediately turn to shite as soon as he gets here... Oh and next time I see Arteta standing over a free kick, I am going to vigourously wank all over next doors cat!... nurse!

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