4-5-1 may be dated now but is still very effective with the right players who can switch to 4-4-1-1 or 4-3-3 during a game. Our problem is that we have got a midfield who have certain outstanding qualities and if you put them all in a mixer and had a midfield 5 with all their best qualities, you would have a solution. But we haven't and we haven't got any balance either.
Having been brought up on Ball, Harvey and Kendall, I believe ANY good midfield player needs the following qualities:
Tackling ? needs to be able to win the ball and hopefully come away with it.
Reading the game ? needs to watch the play and not be caught out of position and not get caught in possession.
Determination ? a winning mentality that to win the ball, keep it, and create goals is their criteria of success.
Passing ? needs to be able to pass long and short with accuracy.
Fitness ? needs a good engine to be able to get up and down the pitch.
Physique ? needs to be strong and not easily knocked off the ball
Heading ? needs to be able to win more than 50% of heading duels.
Dribbling ability ? needs to be able to hold off challenges while keeping possession of the ball.
Goals ? needs to contribute around 10 goals a season.
Pace ? desirable rather than essential but we all know pace can destroy opposition defences.
Which brings me to my main point: Not one of our current midfield players with the exception of Fellaini has even half of these qualities.
Señor 75 grand a week used to be close but, since his injury and embarassing pay-rise, seems unable to produce anything like his best form. In fact Pienaar, Heitinga and Arteta couldn't hit the net if they were standing inside it.
Tim Cahill is our only hope for a goal but lacks quite a few of the other qualities needed for a good all round midfield player. We hear so much about box-to-box midfielders but Arteta and/or Heitinga get nose bleeds if they get over the halfway line.
Osman seems to have lost his scoring boots and is so lightweight in other respects he can only be placed in the "squad" category. Bily used to know where the goal was but not the pitch... now he doesn't even know where the goal is.
Rodwell is a Felli in the making but still too inexperienced... It is embarassing that the most creative players we have with the best engines are full backs ? Baines and Coleman.
So what is the solution? There are two ways forward evolution and revolution.
We could accept our shortcomings and try to consolidate around what we've got while taking the opportunity to replace Pienaar with somebody who would complement our needs more. Or we could accept that we're only treading water while waiting to sink and go for broke by selling some of the more saleable players and rebuilding our midfield around Fellaini and Rodwell.
I would pesonally like to see a diamond formation with a "Manny Fernandes" type as defensive midfielder with "Arteta's replacement", Fellaini and Rodwell playing just behind Cahill and "Yak's replacement".
I would also add that a goalkeeper and quality defender would also be desirable.
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1 Posted 16/11/2010 at 06:20:45
We are a lightweight team, both physically and mentally; we don't need a Dogs of War midfield but a few terriers wouldn't go amiss.
Personally, I think someone like Olivier Dacourt would be ideal... class and steel.
I said at the end of last season that we needed to rebuild and get rid of a few players; that list has grown I think. We haven't done anything about rebuilding but I think Moyes should cash in on a number of players this January and not wait for summer. So, for sale this January:
Pienaar, sell if we can
I would give the Yak and Mikel until the end of the season but show no mercy if they fail to perform.
Clearout in summer? In addition to the above, I would let Phil Neville go or move him to a coaching role;
Osman and Hibbert, time for a change guys for all concerned;
Yobo, not sure how he is going to be honest but I am not convinced of the partnership of Distin and Jags.
That leaves Fellaini and Cahill... the sort of players who play well depending on the players around them... so I guess we wait and see.
Point is there are players that can be sold to bring in fresh blood... who, I wonder???
2 Posted 16/11/2010 at 07:23:12
Do players with all these outstanding qualities cost a fortune beyond our current means?
I do believe Rodwell is the future, but will we be able to keep hold of him?
Plus I would also ask if anyone picked up on DM's comments about never feeling safe in his job? Is that not manager speak to say I'm off at the end of the season and I'll be looking for a new Club?
Sorry Jay, your post has raised more questions in my mind than comments. I also believe that if big changes are to be made on and off the field, they should be completed at the right time, respecting all concerned and giving us sufficient time to move on and thank all those for their efforts.
3 Posted 16/11/2010 at 07:19:07
I have to disagree with the view that Arteta should be discarded. Yes he is not playing well at the moment ? or is not at his best ? however, I am not sure that he is 100% fit, I think with others missing he has played in games which he may have in usual circumstances missed.
Personally, I have to admit I am a bit disappointed with Fellaini ? he has all the talent and ability and I wouldn't argue with that. However, he must sort out his temper ? I know that some of the cards he gets are totally undeserved, but quite a lot are for rash stupid actions and he needs to start showing maturity in his play. If he does that, he has all the attributes of becoming a world class player.
I am pleased at the progress of Coleman and hopefully that is a sign that there are some "gems" to be found at "bargain" prices. At the "higher" end of the market a Scott Parker type of midfielder would do a lot for our midfield. Even the man himself ? though I think West Ham wouldn't want to part with him!!! It would be a very brave West Ham manager/chairman who sanctioned that sale!!!
What do you think of the rumours re David Bentley and an exchange deal involving Pienaar in January? Personally I am not sure... on a footballing level Bentley is a fine player... but is he the type of player we need? Also, I am a bit concerned that off-the-field distractions might get in the way.
4 Posted 16/11/2010 at 08:48:57
You mention "sell players and build around Rodwell and Felli" ? who can we sell that would raise sufficient funds? Pienaar is going to go free? Jags and Baines are important to us and the rest of the players like the Yak, Saha, Osman or whoever, will raise little cash.
I can see Moyes wanting a new striker and I imagine that any funds he gets will come from the sale of Heitinga and/or Bily.
To be honest, this season has become a total disappointment with the Arteta issue looking a real problem, I cannot recall him being replaced in a game before (other than getting a standing ovation with 5 mins to go).
5 Posted 16/11/2010 at 09:25:43
No player is indispensible and Everton should not have pandered to Arteta's demands. They should have stuck to what they believed in and not joined in this embarrassing process of offering players ridiculous amounts of money. Arteta has proven he is not a god, he is an above average player who is playing poorly at the moment and has played poorly since his return form injury. Saha is another example having not scored since signing his new contract. If these players don't want to play for Everton for what is still a king's ransom then fuck off and play for City and we'll buy a replacement. Because everything's rosey amongst the playing staff at City at the moment.
From now on Everton should stick to their guns and only offer what they can afford where the top players have parity with each other. Don't offer Pienaar any more than what's been offered ? if he thinks he's worth more then let him go and find more. We need to improve our squad and offering these lazy players more money hasn't worked so Moyes should freshen it up.
6 Posted 16/11/2010 at 09:53:59
At the moment our two highest paid players, Arteta and Heitinga, are passengers, and we will never rise up the table till our central midefielders play a hell of a lot better than they did on Sunday.
7 Posted 16/11/2010 at 10:12:29
8 Posted 16/11/2010 at 11:10:28
he'd cost about £12 million in January. In a couple of years he'd cost about £30 million, awesome young player, and unlike Pienaar, Arteta and Cahill, can actually score consistently from long range.
Snap him up from Hoffenheim before bloody Spurs do.
9 Posted 16/11/2010 at 12:27:16
10 Posted 16/11/2010 at 12:25:42
11 Posted 16/11/2010 at 12:33:43
I was made up when he signed, but I am really worried about his performances since August. He has looked very slow, and players have been waltzing past him as he sticks out a leg at a half-hearted tackle.
12 Posted 16/11/2010 at 12:27:34
I think he's struggling a little for fitness and maybe the last couple of games have been poor by his standards but to talk about shipping him out are a bit premature. A little r & r and then a run of games in the centre with Fellaini will hopefully show us again the quality we know he has.
Heitinga is a centre half and should only be used thus (or RB if desperate).
Bily had a shocker v Bolton, confidence looks shot. Reckon Moyes would happily let him go for a half-decent offer.
Pienaar is a busy player but his end product is frighteningly poor. How many assists/goals this season?
I still think Euro qualification is in our hands thanks to the unpredictable nature of the league this season and I'm optimistic...... I think.
13 Posted 16/11/2010 at 12:35:08
I think he has never recovered physically and psychologically from his injury and the weight of expectation of 75 grand a week is weighing him down.
Maybe also his new wife is pressurising him to return to Spain.
Whatever it is, we need to cash in now while his kudos within the game is still high.
14 Posted 16/11/2010 at 12:45:39
He is exactly the sort of player we need. As it is, I'm not sure who out there would really help us. Not that I imagine Moyes will change much.
Bet on him to stick with the same formation, the same players and tactics. With the exception of perhaps bringing in Donovan on loan in January to replace Coleman.
Or perhaps he sells the increasingly poor Arteta and Heitinga for a small fortune, shifts money-grabbing Pienaar, and replaces them with the younger and cheaper Charlie Adam and Matt Jarvis. Leaving a small fortune to spend on a quick, phyisical striker who will actually score goals. A young Drogba. Maybe that Romelu Lukaku chap.
15 Posted 16/11/2010 at 13:26:34
16 Posted 16/11/2010 at 12:49:56
However, even though we want to sell them, who is going to want to buy them? Our whole transfer dealing this summer said it all, not one publicised offer for any player at all... except the joke of a comment about the Yak from the wet spammers.
Alan (5), I will see your Arsenal and raise you a Chelsea and a Man Utd. Terry, Lampard and Rooney have pissed over their clubs to get a sooper dooper mega pay rise from them. Player power and all that. The players you have mentioned were coming to the arse end of their career when dumped.
The problem with Arteta is that he probably can get more money elsewhere... in England but never in Spain. Pienaar's final ball and lack of goals/assists piss me off but I would certainly try my hardest to keep him, only because he makes us play better but if he is unreasonable in his demands then ta ra, Steven!
17 Posted 16/11/2010 at 13:53:18
18 Posted 16/11/2010 at 14:00:41
Rodwell will be an awesome midfielder.
Fellaini is already there.
Heitinga is clearly out of position playing centre-mid, but can't get a game at centre back.
I think the assumption that we are not going to challenge for Europe this season is very glass-half-empty. We are a side that comes into form around this time of the season, normally, and we are four points off 5th! There is a long way to go and I still harbour hopes of a CL finish (although maybe that is too glass-half-full)!
19 Posted 16/11/2010 at 14:18:47
20 Posted 16/11/2010 at 14:24:38
Does anyone know why Barca can "sign" someone outside the window? I see this happening from time to time but it only ever seems to be the big clubs that do it. Just curious, not that Everton would ever think to do that.
21 Posted 16/11/2010 at 15:38:20
We were hearing this about Cahill a couple of months ago, now he's flavour of the month again. First half of last year Fellaini was an ungainly waster of space, then he became a star. Now Arteta has a few mediocre games, so clearly he's got to go. And round we go.
Last season ,Arteta was our star and talisman that was receiving just reward. Now he's a greedy waster that we've sold our soul to placate.
And we football fans have the gall to demand 'loyalty' from our players? Flippin' heck!
22 Posted 16/11/2010 at 15:44:21
Bloody hell that is some clear out your talking about.
23 Posted 16/11/2010 at 17:41:10
If you can find even one midfielder with those qualities you're talking about on anything near our budget, then you should also consider trying to feed 5000 people with a bit of haddock and a couple of loaves.
24 Posted 16/11/2010 at 17:18:22
In my humble opinion, Everton should move hell and high water to land him. He made Arteta look like a mug when we played them recently. This guy has got the lot and I do think he is getable if we sell Heitinga.
We would also need to bring in a good young centre-back, someone like Taylor from Newcastle but that needs to be done anyway as Distin won't last forever.
25 Posted 16/11/2010 at 19:30:38
26 Posted 16/11/2010 at 20:15:17
We are a one dimensional team, other teams are told to block Arteta. We need a John Carew or a Santa Cruz for a Plan B option.
Some of the above say we need a clear-out and new blood, maybe the new blood we need is Martin O'Neill.
27 Posted 16/11/2010 at 20:38:44
I give up.
28 Posted 16/11/2010 at 20:41:12
29 Posted 16/11/2010 at 21:24:43
So anybody having a few bad games must be sold. On that basis I suppose Man Utd should sell Rooney, Chelsea should send John Terry and Ashley Cole packing, and Liverpool should have got rid of Torres a month ago before he started scoring again. They are all overpaid prima donnas after all aren't they?
Football is a simple game and its usually won and lost in the head.
Attitude, confidence, momentum of thought is what 90% of it is about. It's why Sunderland can go and win at Chelsea when removing a few mental shackles and why teams like Blackpool, Hull and Burnley can make an impact with seemingly impossible odds stacked against them.
Moyes needs to sort himself out, get out on that training ground and get that team understanding what they should be doing. A bit of shooting practice would not go amiss. There are still 24 matches and 72 points left to go for and we need around 50 points for a place in Europe, maybe top 4. 15 wins, 5 draws,4 defeats would be enough and it's still more than do-able.
30 Posted 16/11/2010 at 21:36:13
Last season he was playing as a more attacking midfielder which is what got him some goals. It was the same position Fabregas plays. That is why Arsenal were contemplating using Arteta as Fabregas's replacement.
To me, Arteta seems unfit and low on confidence. Is he carrying an injury? I think he's over the psychological aspects of his injury as proved last season but perhaps the burden of an underperforming team is getting too much for him. Luckily the £75k he receives will help in that regard!
For me, I wouldn't drop him but I'd take him off all corners and set-pieces. When he first came back, he didn't take them initially (I guess to protect against injury). I'd like this burden taken off him, to allow him to concentrate on football in free play, on creating and scoring goals.
31 Posted 16/11/2010 at 21:55:43
Am I wrong in my selection?
Probably right in that it's not going to happen in one hit, but it should start.
I should have added Big Vic to the list as well... never going to make it.
Fresh blood required.. call in the builders!
32 Posted 16/11/2010 at 21:51:49
He always looked class to me in other respects but not since his injury and I do feel the 75 grand a week is weighing heavily on his shoulders. In his heart, he may well have wanted to return to Spain but the money was too much to refuse.
Who knows... but all I can say is he is a poor shadow of the player he was before the injury.
33 Posted 16/11/2010 at 22:39:16
Having read your article do you not think you're going a bit OTT? "Barring a major miracle, we will be facing a second season out of Europe" ? We are only 4 points off the team in 5th place with about 25 games still to play. Before anyone says we are only a couple points off the bottom three, I had noticed. However, in my opinion, to suggest at this stage of the season we need a "major miracle" to finish in a position we are currenly only 4 points off is a bit of a silly statement.
Also, the list you have put up about what a good midfielder needs ? how many midfield players in world football have all of those attributes? I could maybe think of one... maybe two at a push ? and they are up there with the best footballers in the world. Kendall, Ball or Harvey did not individually have all of these attributes ? does that mean by themselves they were not "good" midfield players?
Also, what is wrong with having a full back having the best engine in the team? Chelsea won the double last year and arguably the player with the best engine in their team is Ashley Cole. What position does he play in again?
Also, if ever a player's reputation grew in his absence it has to be Manny Fernandes. I always wonder, if he is as good as people make out, why is he not a regular for his current team?
34 Posted 16/11/2010 at 23:46:21
As far as I remember, Arteta was a resonable distance out when he found the net against Man Utd and Liverpool. Short / selective memory syndrome. Form is temporary etc etc.
I agree there's a bit of dead wood that needs chopping. A couple of games on the bench for Arteta to wake him up a bit may be in order but no more. Getting rid? Hell no!
35 Posted 17/11/2010 at 01:55:13
You are spot on. Some Blues supporters would have to be the most impatient short-sighted people on the planet. If Tim Cahill doesn't score next week, he will be next to go.
36 Posted 19/11/2010 at 07:16:52
Funnily enough, all these so called "poor" signings or poor decisions in the offering of new contracts and David Moyes gets very little criticism. I would think that he has some say in who is signed and who is offered a new contract.
Having been an Evertonian since 1964, I have yet to see an Everton player who has been brilliant in every game. Come to think of it, I have yet to see a player for ANY team club or international side that has played well every game. Howard Kendall is an Everton legend as both a player and a manager. I recall him making one of the worst mistakes I have ever seen in a match v Derby County in Sept 1971 ? playing a pass without looking and giving the ball away resulting in a goal. A true "schoolboy error". Had they had the mass TV coverage of today at that time I am sure it would have been replayed time and time again as one of the gaffs of the season. Mistakes and bad form are part of football... NO player is immune from these ? get real.
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