Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up

The Football Manual: A Damning Verdict

By Matthew Lovekin :  24/11/2010 :  Comments (62) :
David Moyes has done an incredible job at Everton. His teams have meticulous planning, are well drilled and difficult to beat. Everything that coaches are told to teach their teams, Moyes does it perfectly.

Defensively all players move accordingly to the position of the ball. The full-backs tuck in to help the centre-backs and the wide midfielders drop back to cover the sidelines. The defensive midfielder sits just in front of the two centre-backs. There is a left-footer at left centre-half and a right-footer at right centre-half. Every player knows their place at set-pieces. Even during attacking play, the full-backs overlap the wingers, the central midfielders move accordingly to the play and the ball is passed the correct way to pull the opposition around.

Everton?s only mistakes this season seem mainly to be individual errors that are hard to compensate for. Howard has made a couple; Jagielka, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar have all made mistakes that have led to not just goals conceded but unfortunately points dropped.

Everton are probably playing the best football under Moyes. We are playing reasonably well, creating chances but not being clinical enough in front of goal. Surely this is just the strikers misfiring and being off form? This is again another case of individual errors. Goalkeepers and defenders making individual errors lead to goals conceded; strikers making individual errors lead to not scoring enough goals, but tactically there is not much wrong.

Unfortunately, I don?t believe this to be the case.

Perhaps Moyes has been too meticulous in his planning. The team is so well drilled that there is no margin for error, defensively or attacking except for individual errors. This margin for error is not just a good thing but also a negative. There is no individuality, no creativity, basically no skill or room for a genius.

Our main creator has been forced to play so deep as a defensive playmaker to keep the ball moving. I?m sure Arteta is happy to play the ball five yards sideways all match, but for £75k a week, he needs to be having more of an impact on our games and be forced to play further up the pitch where we know he can do some damage. Arteta playing as a defensive playmaker in Arsenal?s team might be ok where they have a luxury of attacking talent, but we can?t afford that luxury and Everton need to make the most of what we have.

Traditionally, the creativity comes from wingers in a team. This should be even more important in a 4-5-1 formation than in a 4-4-2 but Moyes plays with a full-back and a central midfielder on the wings, that?s when Osman and Anichebe aren?t fit ? another central midfielder and a striker! I know money is in short supply at Everton, but I can only remember Moyes buying one winger (Van der Meyde) in eight years of being in charge. How many central midfielders, central defenders, full-backs has he bought in that time?

Our lack of creativity in those eight years from the wings is down to Moyes alone. Even if Moyes thought that some of those potential wingers were not good enough or don?t run for 90 minutes, surely that would still be better than a full-back and central midfielder? Van der Meyde only did one good thing in his time at Everton and that was that cross for Gosling?s goal against the RS, but what a moment that was. Ok, McGeady, Etherington, Pennant, Kightly, etc may not have been good enough to grace the blue of Everton, but they might have given us more chance of winning a few more games than being concerned with not losing games as much.

Whatever happened to the likes of Gascoigne, Kanchelskis, Limpar, Sheedy, etc? Players that may have had their flaws but also a touch of genius, a piece of magic that would make spectators stand up and get excited, a touch of class that would bamboozle an average Premier League defender playing for the likes of Sunderland, Wolves and even Blackpool!

Moyes seems to have gotten so concerned with steadying the Everton ship and making us hard to beat that we have almost forgotten how to win a game, certainly against quality opposition. This is where Moyes has reached his managerial level: a manager that can make a team play above their level, do well on a shoestring and make a decent side.

However, he will never be a Champions League quality manager, he doesn?t have that spark, that touch of genius that separates the excellent from the good; he will just be a good solid manager, and Everton epitomise Moyes?s characteristics now. Everton have reached their peak under Moyes: falling just short of the big teams, just short of the Champions League, just short of a Cup win, and that?s because we need that extra bit of quality that Moyes doesn?t have because he is too busy studying his football manual.

I hate to see Spurs doing so well recently, but that?s because Redknapp has got two playmakers in the team, not one, but two!!! Van der Vaart is a world class player playing in his best position as playmaker with no restrictions, then Modric following up as an attacking midfielder! Add to that, two flying wingers in Lennon and Bale (yes he is a winger not a full-back) and you have five out and out attacking players on the pitch! Moyes's mind would explode!

Everton have one isolated strike... even if we had Drogba, he would struggle in our system. For all Cahill?s ability and superb form this season, he is not a playmaker, but is playing as the only supporting player to our lonely striker. Therefore, who is going to create our goals? Our main creator who is almost playing in the back four? Our right full-back playing right-winger or Pienaar, who for all his skill and endeavour, is being played out of position and has very little end product in terms of goals and assists. In fact our best creative attacking player this season is our left-back!

Sunderland go to Stamford Bridge playing 4-4-2 and win 3-0. Everton go to Brentford playing 4-5-1 and lose, as well as playing Blackpool, Bolton and Wolves and only getting draws. Moyes needs to be more positive and ambitious and go out and try to win games.

Credit where it?s due, Moyes has assembled a top quality squad, many of whom deserve to be playing in a top 4 side. Unfortunately football isn?t played on paper, it?s played on grass and now Moyes has got a great squad and he has spent about £90m whilst in charge, he now needs to deliver and get the best out of the players.

Heitinga is being played out of position, he is a great centre-back so play him there or sit him on the bench as third choice, if he doesn?t like it then sell him as he is one of the few sellable assets we have, being a World Cup finalist and all that. As mentioned, Arteta is being played out of position which is all Moyes?s fault. We need to get the best out of our so-called best player, so play him as a playmaker á la Van der Vaart, Sneijder, Ozil, etc ? also known as Cahill?s position.

Cahill has to stay in the team as he is one of only a few good points so far this season. Therefore, play Cahill either as a striker, as our strikers don?t know how to score a goal, or as an attacking midfielder which he was originally, á la Lampard, but we need more creativity and can get this by pushing Arteta forward.

Moyes needs to try something different, not just because we aren?t winning games, but because opponents struggle to deal with something a bit different, like a player that likes to take an opponent on and try to beat him. I think Moyes has conformed too much to the football manual and needs to input a bit of originality into Everton to get results.

Insanity: ?Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.? ? Einstein.

Genius: ?Someone embodying exceptional intellectual ability, creativity or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of unprecedented insight.? ? Wikipedia

Reader Comments

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Jon Cox
1   Posted 24/11/2010 at 21:18:08

Report abuse

Matthew, post of the year !!

Everything you,ve said I totally agree with 100%
Gavin Fennessy
2   Posted 24/11/2010 at 21:38:34

Report abuse

Good post, Matthew. I think the least prudent purchase of Moyes's tenure has been Bilyatedinov. I cannot figure out if he was bought as a winger and (á la Krøldrup) was found to be not fit for purpose.
Dean Adams
3   Posted 24/11/2010 at 21:58:41

Report abuse

Its all fascinating stuff but the bare facts are, that we have lost the same amount of games as Chelsea, also Arsenal and the goals conceded is the same as Arsenal. So quite evidently we are where we are simply by not taking our chances. When we do, and I believe we will, we will climb the table quickly.

As fans we seriously need to look in the mirror and accept that we will never have a £20M-rated striker, but we do have some players capable of scoring shed loads, sooner rather than later. If we don't believe, then honestly who the hell will?

NSNO is closer now than at any time in the last 20 years.

Wayne Smyth
4   Posted 24/11/2010 at 22:40:36

Report abuse

Sorry Dean, but Matthew's post is spot on.

We may be difficult to break down, with a miserly defence, but how many chances have we actually created? I don't recall our strikers missing chance after chance during games. Beckford's 1 vs1 against Sunderland was the only real chance I can recall where you could say our strikers didn't do well enough.

One of our problems is we are too slow and predictable. We can't expect to win games with 3-4 players consistently being played out of position. Pienaar is the only player in our entire squad who has the quality to play on the wing, but even his natural position is centre attacking mid.

When Donovan arrived last year our ability to break teams down was 100x better than what we have achieved without him. Donovan is no world-beater, but he is another player with the ability to play as a winger and provides pace and a directness which our squad lacks. Rather than just shutting down Baines/Pienaar, teams had to cope with being hit from either flank.

Bily has talent and a lot of class, we have seen that in glimpses from him, as we do with Rodwell, Arteta et al. But play these guys out of position and it's no wonder their performances drop off and their confidence ends up shot. Saha didn't just become shit overnight, he along with our other forwards are consistently starved of service and this is the real reason why we are not scoring.
Dick Fearon
5   Posted 24/11/2010 at 22:21:37

Report abuse

Matthew, I would be delighted if my criticsm of your earlier contributions caused you to come up with this mini-masterpiece. By golly, lad ? you have pressed all the buttons with this, probably the best analysis of Everton's current on-field situation that I have seen in many a long day. I would be honoured to share in your reflected glory.

Neither of us should prematurely get carried away in the euphoria of the moment because lurking out there are even cleverer people than us and they will no doubt enter the fray with all guns blazing.

Leon Perrin
6   Posted 24/11/2010 at 22:52:25

Report abuse

Long-winded way of saying the penny's dropped, Moyes is one-dimensional, ie defensive. I can't wait for this waste of a season to end and ship him out.

By the way, if you think teams allowing us possession in areas that don't hurt, passing it side to side with no idea, THEN hoofing it, is creative, you're mistaken.
Jon Cox
7   Posted 24/11/2010 at 23:27:58

Report abuse

Moyes needs to read this thread. At some point someone will and then perhaps we'll start to play football in the final third with a bit of aggression and goal scoring vengence.

This is what the side of the 80s did and wow ? did it pay dividends.

Until DM gets this fact then we will be forever in a Premier League limbo.
Christine Foster
8   Posted 24/11/2010 at 23:42:22

Report abuse

Great post, Matthew, I feel currently we are playing to a system, irrespective of who we have in the squad, you end up with players out of position to suit the system and not their strengths. So we either have the wrong system or the wrong players (or the wrong coach). It really is a case of square pegs, round holes and a large hammer in the hands of David Moyes.

It would be interesting if he stepped back, looked at each player and their best position, and put them in it and throw the manual in the Mersey. I bet the players would be happier too.

We may be miserly but we do not have the guile to create chances and, as a result, the strikers we have fail badly. Frankly, this has been the way with EVERY striker failing to shine under Moyes. It's quite an indicement. Slaves to a system.
Mike Gwyer
9   Posted 25/11/2010 at 01:16:44

Report abuse


"However, he will never be a Champions League quality manager."

I'm sure you know what happened in 2004?

As a suggestion, speak to fans who support the opposition and, believe me, they would snap Moyes up in a micro second ? sure if you want an argument you are going to say United or Chelsea won't touch him, but there are 19 teams in the EPL. At the last game, Sunderland fans thought we were one of the best teams to turn out at their ground, additionally, they have a lot of respect for EFC and Moyes in particular. If you go on Saturday, speak to any West Brom fan in any of the locals and they will confirm the same thing.

Yeah, we have issues, a fucking striker who can score will sort that out!!
Steve O'Malley
10   Posted 25/11/2010 at 03:54:01

Report abuse


You have restored my faith in some of our supporters having an understanding of the game. You have also reassured me that I am not alone in my beliefs about certain players, the Manager and how we play.

This post of yours is as good as I have seen on this site and I am glad to say I agree with just about everything you say. As usual, not sure it will actually mean anything to those that make the decisions... but Superb!!!

Tony Cheek
11   Posted 25/11/2010 at 05:37:25

Report abuse

Great post, Matthew.... agree with it all, except "Traditionally, the creativity comes from wingers in a team." ? tell Gerrard or Messi that one!!!
John Barnes
12   Posted 25/11/2010 at 06:32:00

Report abuse

Agree. All the coaching and drilling is on the formation, defensive set-up or, in other words, without the ball. Is there any evidence of coaching when we have the ball: throw-ins, misplaced passes, long hoofs by Howard, Jagielka et al?

What is the 5 minute sideline lecture to the sub's for? More evidence of the coaching manual. I actually feel sorry for the strikers. They don't get anywhere near as much playing time as Cahill but are possibly given instructions to make space for him!

And the constant mention of Arteta's salary is totally irrelevant. It's a requirement of the position to play forward passes, not how many pounds a week he's on!

Chris Perry
13   Posted 25/11/2010 at 08:20:27

Report abuse

The saying goes ? we are not one or two players short of being a good team, we are a manager short of being a good team. It's time to say thanks and goodbye.

Who would replace him? I don't know, but what I do know is there is an injection of creativity required and as Lord Sugar said lat night, "You ain't got the spark, you're fired!"

Please, Lord Sugar, take over from Billy Bullshit at Everton.
Ray Robinson
14   Posted 25/11/2010 at 08:16:03

Report abuse

Matthew, best post I've read for ages. Agree with almost everything. Watching Everton sometimes I feel that Moyes's teams are indeed sent out to play according to the coaching manual ? the only problem is that the manual is 10 years out of date.

Watching the likes of Spurs in the CL reminds me that certain managers have embraced the change in top level football, whereas we are still Luddites by comparison. Yes, we did make the CL a few years ago (somehow) but that side was quickly exposed in Europe, wasn't it? ? unlike Spurs who have progressed to the knockout stages.

I feel truly indebted to Moyes for stabilising the club but we need a spark both on and off the pitch to kick on. We're now playing much better football than of recent years but it's all too SLOW. Does Moyes see this? Is he powerless to do anything about it because pacey players of genuine quality cost the Earth, or is he determined to do it his way at a much slower, less risk taking pace?

Dave Lynch
15   Posted 25/11/2010 at 08:56:28

Report abuse

Great post mate.
Snail mail it to the club marked for the attention of Mr Moyes.
Andy Crooks
16   Posted 25/11/2010 at 09:23:29

Report abuse

Excellent analysis, Matthew, which demonstrates how Moyes is a good coach who has kept us safe through some times, but who lacks the mindset to move us on.

Is it just a coincidence that under David Moyes we have never had a striker banging in goals?

Alan Clarke
17   Posted 25/11/2010 at 09:47:51

Report abuse

Good post, Matthew.

I think what we're seeing more this season is an attacking approach from the so-called lesser sides such as Blackpool and Bolton. Their managers have a winning mentality ? unlike Moyes's "don't get beat" mentality.

Dean (#3) makes the point in that we've not lost many this season and that warrants some praise. I don't think it does. It's simple maths. You can go unbeaten in 5 games but only draw them all. This only yields 5 points. If you create an attacking team and only win 2 but lose 3, this yields 6 points. Which run of form is better? Which run of form sees you nearer the top of the table? That's why all this nonsense before we lost to Arsenal of being unbeaten in 7 was very frustrating. We'd only won 3 of them.

Moyes is never going to change. We all look at a game like that against Bolton and think we should attack more. Moyes will look at it and think we should have defended better. I think the reason this season's league is more open is because the likes of Holloway, Coyle, Di Matteo and Hughton are all willing to let their teams attack and go for the win. They know the maths. It's refreshing but it makes you realise how stale our manager and the likes of Allardyce, McCliesh and Houllier all are.
Brian Waring
18   Posted 25/11/2010 at 10:10:32

Report abuse

Mike, Moyes never got us into the Champions League, he got us into the qualify stages of the Champions League, where he failed.
Mike Gwyer
19   Posted 25/11/2010 at 10:58:52

Report abuse


You can twist data to read however you like. However, it's a fact that the top 4 teams qualify for the CL, we finished 4th. Granted we did not qualify for the group games; however, the 2nd fact is that Moyes was the manager at that time.

I am not going to dispute that Matthew put some effort into his post but at the end of day if our strikers had been scoring goals all this chat would be pointless. For me Moyes will add a new striker in January, whether Saha and Yak will still be at EFC depends on whether anyone wants them.
KPR Williams
20   Posted 25/11/2010 at 11:21:50

Report abuse

Mike #18

Just been checking out stats an it backs up your theory completely.,19528,11662_2705370,00.html

Our shots on and off target are comparable with your Uniteds and amazing attacking Tottenhams. Unlike them we hit the keeper, the defender, our own player's arse instead of the back of the net. How could this be so with a negative team who play defensive one-dimensional football?

We need to put our chances away, end of story.

Alan Clarke
21   Posted 25/11/2010 at 12:59:47

Report abuse

Mike (18). All your saying is we finished 4th. Matthew's original point is Moyes won't get us competing in the CL, which he didn't and hasn't and won't.
KPR Williams
22   Posted 25/11/2010 at 13:06:11

Report abuse

Who will, without a serious pot of money?
That one goes to all the 'Moyes Out!!!' brigade.
John Daley
23   Posted 25/11/2010 at 12:47:45

Report abuse

"However, he will never be a Champions League quality manager."

"I'm sure you know what happened in 2004?"

Didn't we lose both legs against Villarreal and therefore fail to actually qualify for the Champions League?

How on earth can you use the fact that Everton finished 4th in 2004 as evidence that Moyes has the ability to successfully manage in the Champions League?

If you class the two qualification games as being 'real' Champions League matches, that still leaves Moyes record standing at played 2, lost 2. Certainly not the record of a "Champions League quality manager" is it? Unless the barometer of quality is falling flat on your face at the first hurdle.

KPR Williams
24   Posted 25/11/2010 at 13:22:34

Report abuse

Why are Everton supporters discussing managers who successfully manage in the champions league? Let's not get idea's above our station, there are folk in here starting to sound like the other lot. What next 'Spirit of Kendall'... no pun intended.
David Ellis
25   Posted 25/11/2010 at 13:32:39

Report abuse

An interesting post but full of flaws. Personally, I believe it is spurious to make comparisons with the likes of Spurs. They seem to have an unlimited amount of funds (remember they beat us to that Sheffield United full back a couple of seasons ago whom they didn't even need) and can buy all the flair players (midfielders) they want. The simple truth is, Moyes has been working under impossible financial constraints for some time. He will probably have to sell to buy from now on. He simply can't afford to buy the kind of players we all admire.
Mike Gwyer
26   Posted 25/11/2010 at 13:19:55

Report abuse

Guys we can argue all day and being honest you are just as pissed as the next Evertonian due to the fact that we should be challenging the top 4, not the bottom 4 ? but we ain't.

Now me, I like real data. I've attended 11 of our 14 games and IMO we bossed all 11 games (ok, 2nd half against Stoke) and how we did not win most of those games has been highlighted by the multitude of posts over the past 3 months (primarily down to our no-hopers who call themselves strikers).

Now Moyes is what he is, but hey please tell me what a CL manager is: Redknapp has won 3 out 5 games which saw Spurs destroy Inter Milan, does that make him a quality CL manager? Does it fuck! It's all here and now that gets the fans going and basically we ain't got going, therefore Moyes must be shit, I hear you say.

I don't think so... additionally, he is under no pressure to leave but believe me he'll walk if he thought the fan base were not behind him, and let me tell you, go to Goodison and you will see tens of thousands who think the sun shines out his arse.
Joe Rourke
27   Posted 25/11/2010 at 13:41:41

Report abuse

"Traditionally, the creativity comes from wingers in a team."

Okay what were (or are) Zola, Maradona,Mancini, Bergkamp, Zidane, Kaka, Riquelme, Messi, Gascoigne and I could go on. Wingers? And were they creative?

'Wingers' are divided up into two groups - inside or outside forwards who combine differently with the centre forward(s) depending on what formation and tactics are used. In a traditional 4-4-2 (not a diamond), for example, think Blackburn the year they won the league; the team was set up with two wingers who went wide and swung in crosses for SAS who were actively dragging the centre-halves all over the place trying to lose their markers. SAS scored loads but David Batty didn't score much did he?

Compare that to Ronaldo or Giggs playing for United in the recent past where they would actively run (in counter-attack) at the gap between centre-backs and full-backs and try to exploit a team weakness by drawing two players towards the ball and then release another fast moving attacker ? Van Nistelroy / Rooney / Scholes or whichever of Giggs / Ronaldo didn't have the ball. The consequence of this free-flowing style was a large goal haul across all those players.

You can't just buy a single "genius", stick him out on the wing, and hope to introduce "creativity" to the team. And then get goals. It is a systemic thing and it's to do with the balance and blend of players you have.
Matthew Lovekin
28   Posted 25/11/2010 at 16:27:55

Report abuse

Joe (#27) the players that you described are all central playmakers, the famous No 10 position. As mentioned in my post, we have Cahill in this position, and although he is great at a number of things, he isn't a playmaker. Therefore, Everton don't have a playmaker, and we don't have wingers as Moyes almost refuses to buy wingers. Therefore, where is the creativity going to come from?

Our creative players play so deep (i.e. at defensive midfield and left-back) it's impossible to create anything. Our other players aren't good enough to create consistently at the top level.
Matthew Lovekin
29   Posted 25/11/2010 at 16:45:16

Report abuse

Mike (9) "Yeah, we have issues, a fucking striker who can score will sort that out!!"

Moyes has bought strikers that can score goals - Beattie, Johnson, Yakubu, Saha (£20m on three!). They were all proven goalscrorers when they signed.

Any fan that thinks we just need a striker that can score a goal is seriously deluded. It's not the strikers that are the problem or any of our players, it's the system which is down is Moyes. 9 if not 10 players are told to play defensive so we don't lose the game.
David Thomas
30   Posted 25/11/2010 at 17:34:38

Report abuse


How many goals have Beattie and AJ scored since they left everton? Surely if there lack of goals was simply down to Moyes tactics they would have gone back to scoring loads at their new clubs.

Also, the Yak was scoring before he gets his horrific injury at Spurs. I think the lad would be the first to say it has taken him a long time to get over this injury. That cannot be Moyes fault.
Martin Mason
31   Posted 25/11/2010 at 18:05:34

Report abuse

A well written and constructive critique which I agree with. My only worry is that whilst Moyes is unlikely ever to get us into the top strata, there are plenty of alternatives who could take Everton down.

It may be that a couple of good buys in January could be a turning point for us but I believe that DM's inherently conservative approach will preclude that.
Olly Bowes
32   Posted 25/11/2010 at 18:18:23

Report abuse

I certainly agree with the comment about Arteta, he needs to play more of an attacking midfield role to become more involved in the attacking play. For me he has a very generous salary for what he has been producing this season.
Andy Crooks
33   Posted 25/11/2010 at 18:24:53

Report abuse

David Thomas, AJ went to Fulham, his career having been ruined by chasing balls to the corner flag. Beattie was a decent striker before he went to Moyes. If they were duds, then why on earth did he buy them?
Joe Rourke
34   Posted 25/11/2010 at 18:33:32

Report abuse

Beattie's stats post-Everton:

34 goals in 65 apps. for Sheffield United. Bryan Robson diliberately brought him into a team structured with two proper (outside) wingers to feed him and he scored quite a lot. There is an interview outhere somewhere confirming that.

6 from 16 as a January 2009 signing initally with Stoke City until he got in a barney with Tony Pulis and then things went pear-shapped; 2 from 22 subsequentially and 0 from 6 with Rangers since the start of this season.

Andy Johnson's been mainly injured with Fulham; he scored 10 from 36 in his first season and hasn't played much since. (Note: have Everton lost money on his injury ? was it not appearance related?)

Joe Rourke
35   Posted 25/11/2010 at 18:44:01

Report abuse

"Traditionally, the creativity comes from wingers in a team."

Matthew - this was your starting statement. Elementary logic works like this. You make a true statement or a 'proposition'; you follow it with a 'premise'... and then you reach a 'conclusion'. Conclusions can quite possibly be argued. Premises can be questions. But, if the 'proposition' is easy proven false, the bloody lot falls, because the argument was initially based on the truth of that initial statement.
Joe Rourke
36   Posted 25/11/2010 at 18:51:44

Report abuse

Sorry typo! - "premises can be *questioned."

( note to self; typos can also destroy logical arguments )
John Daley
37   Posted 25/11/2010 at 18:49:50

Report abuse

"Also, the Yak was scoring before he gets his horrific injury at Spurs."


The goals had dried up for Yakubu long before he got injured. I remember him fluking one against Middlesborough, when the ball hit him on the back and went in, but apart from that he was playing crap and in the midst of a lengthy barren spell. He generally looked like he couldn't be arsed and rumour was he was on his way to Spurs.
Mike Gwyer
38   Posted 25/11/2010 at 19:01:53

Report abuse

Matt (#29).

"It's the system which is down to Moyes. 9 if not 10 players are told to play defensive so we don't lose the game."

That's a bold statement Matt and one I don't agree with. How do you figure 9 or 10 players are out there defending? ? I mean Saha does absolutely zilch for most of the match, which must mean the other 10 players are out there ensuring we don't lose the game. Please??

Out of interest, how are you calculating your stats, most Sunday or Monday rags will provide me with stats that totally disagree with your comments. We play an attacking game of footy which is bell-ended with our pitiful strikers, we have spent more time in the opposition half than our own half (except Arsenal), we top the list with the likes of ManU and Spurs regarding shot's at goal (obviously ours tend to hit some poor sod in row F).

The above stats tend not to agree with your overall summary but hey crack on, your view is how you see things ? Goodison would be sad place if we all thought the same thing.
Andy Crooks
39   Posted 25/11/2010 at 19:17:43

Report abuse

KPR, we need to put our chances away. That's it? That is your explanation for our league position? As someone who feels that David Moyes's time is over, I would suggest that you are talking nonsense.

Our abject failure this season is a result of, as it has been every year recently, David Moyes's summer ineptitude. He signed away his independence and to a certain degree his integrity for £3.5 Million a year.

Is it your view that without a "serious pot of money" we shouldn't bother? There are sides above us with less money and less support. Without the money excuse. which you and sadly many Evertonians are happy to give him , David Moyes is an underachieving, defensive-minded, safety-first, relegation-fighting coach. He has done a job here and he really should move on.

Matthew Lovekin
40   Posted 25/11/2010 at 19:33:55

Report abuse

KPR Williams (22) Coyle, Poyet??? Attack minded young potentially good managers that like to play good football.
David Thomas
41   Posted 25/11/2010 at 20:00:18

Report abuse

Andy Crooks,

"I would suggest that you are talking nonsense". This coming from the man who thinks it would be a good idea if we dropped Tim Cahill from the team.

John Daley,

Yak's record before he got injured was 26 goals in 58 games. That to me is a fairly good record. I seem to remember Moyes was manager when he was scoring these goals.
Jamie Tulacz
42   Posted 25/11/2010 at 20:24:54

Report abuse

If the formation is so fundamentally flawed, how come it was working so well in the second half last season (including wins over Chelsea and United)? Can't believe things change in football that quickly that this formation is suddenly out of date?

The difference between now and then is Arteta playing poorly (compared to a great run of form at the end of last season) plus misfiring strikers.
Tony Tomkins
43   Posted 25/11/2010 at 23:49:58

Report abuse

Everton are where they are (or rather have been where they have been for the past few years) because of David Moyes!

Numerous European trips, visits to Wembley, 4th, 5th, 7th place finishes in the Premier League. Would we have managed this under any other Manager given the financial 'backing' Moyes has had? Okay we're not winning the league, or anything else for that matter but do you honestly believe we're in THAT league? To anybody who does, please get real!!!

Everton are on a similar financial footing to the likes of Bolton, Blackburn & Wigan, and well behind teams you'd like to think should way behind us (Villa, Sunderland, dare I mention Portsmouth?).
I don't deny Moyes has made mistakes & I agree the biggest at the moment is the Heitinga/Arteta midfield combination, but compare our recent performance to our financial equals in the Prem & ask yourself who's had more 'success' in the recent past? Also, where would/will be be without David Moyes?

Get used to him because, as much as I believe he (BK) is the major problem at the club, even the current Chairman knows he won't get as much 'bang for his buck' under anybody else!

Neil Steele
44   Posted 26/11/2010 at 07:32:58

Report abuse

Great post, Matthew, spot on. You have managed to spell out in real simple terms (or the idiots) exactly what many of us have been saying for an awful long time.

Moyes's dour style, his footballing philosophy, is soul-sapping.

As much as our gameplan makes us hard to beat and allows us to compete, it also completely levels the playing field for the opposition when we play against shite teams as well. The Sunderland game the other night being the perfect example: after we got ourselves in front, the way we hoofed, hacked and slashed at the ball,showing zero composure or footballing gameplan, was a complete embarrassment to watch,

This is the result of a manager who drills the fear of God into his players about losing the ball in dangerous areas though, to the extent that they would rather senselessly surrender possession than play a 'cute' pass to retain the ball and move things on.

Truthfully, after all this time, I don't see much changing. All we can do is sit tight until his time runs out.
Tim Keen
45   Posted 26/11/2010 at 10:07:32

Report abuse

Over the last 7 years (which is all I have data for) only the Sky 4 teams have accumulated more points than us.

Our total expenditure on wages + transfer fees (net) is between £100m and £840m less than 9 clubs over this period.

Fulham, Bolton, Blackburn and Birmingham have roughly similar total expenditure to us over this period.

Our goal difference over the last 4 seasons is +67.

Only one manager has outperformed his budget consistently ? literally only one ? and that is David Moyes.
KPR Williams
46   Posted 26/11/2010 at 09:24:10

Report abuse

#39 Andy Crooks

Check the OPTA stats I listed earlier. We are within 10 shots at goal all season of the all-attacking magnificent Spurs (and the unbeaten Manchester United) so explain how could this be when we are so utterly defensive? We should, by your logic, dispense with the man voted the best manager in the league by his peers on more than one occasion because our strikers are shooting blanks.

We started the season a 'form team' which raised expectations of some, not me as my glass is always half empty. but I think we should ignore the media hype and remember we are Everton Football Club and we are skint. His hands are tied by financial constraints the further we fall the more difficult it will become. He needs decent money as will his replacement. Which brings me onto...

#40 Matthew

Coyle's Burnley team were rapidly heading for the trapdoor when he defected, the Bolton team he inherited will be mid-table come end of season which is what matters not where you are in November. As for Poyet, nah not having that for a minute.

Tim Keen
47   Posted 26/11/2010 at 11:16:12

Report abuse

I'll also point out that our last 38 league games have yielded 62 points and only 6 defeats.

It is hardly difficult to see the problem is our strikeforce. It is made up of a free signing from League 1 in Beckford, Saha who was signed for free due to his injury record, Yakubu who has been injured for the best part of 2 years and Anichebe and Vaughan who have spent about 2/3rd of their careers on the physio table.

If we'd scored just one extra goal per game we'd be 5 points clear at the top of the table.
John Daley
48   Posted 26/11/2010 at 11:11:08

Report abuse


18 of those goals came in his first 25 starts. The Yak's strike rate then dropped down to 8 goals in 31 starts immediately prior to his injury against Spurs. To claim that his injury is the reason the goals have dried up for the Yak is erroneous, because he'd stopped scoring long before it occurred.
David Thomas
49   Posted 26/11/2010 at 12:47:25

Report abuse


The point I am making is that the accusation is that our strikers are not scoring because of David Moyes tactics.

I have pointed out that the Yak scored 26 goals in 58 games before his injury.

Saha had scored about 15 goals by Feb last season.

When Yak and Saha were scoring these goals, were we playing a different system to what we are playing now? In my opinion, the answer to that question is no.

Therefore the main reason we are not scoring is because our strikers are misfiring.

Would it have made a difference if we were playing a different system when Saha went through twice and missed the target twice against Blackpool?

Would it have made a difference if we were playing different tactics when Becford missed his chances against Blackpool, Liverpool or Sunderland?
Tim Keen
50   Posted 26/11/2010 at 13:49:38

Report abuse

I'll say it again, as simply as I can.

Only 4 teams, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have accumulated more points than Everton since David Moyes has been in charge.

Between them these clubs have spent on wages and fees over £2 billion more than Everton during those 8 years.

What more do people expect Moyes to achieve?
KPR Williams
51   Posted 26/11/2010 at 14:09:52

Report abuse

#50 Tim

Bang on...
Joe Rourke
52   Posted 26/11/2010 at 15:57:50

Report abuse


Regarding Mr Cahill / Mr Arteta, our two non-playmakers (according to yourself), I read your article again - there's my impression.

You simply don't reach a conclusion on midfield, or on the nature of creativity or on a formation. It reminds me of the Lampard or Gerrard debate which has crippled England for nigh on 10 years. It's never been solved ? both have played generally, and England have been miserable as a team as a result. The answer was possibly neither should play, England should just field a balance team of players that work well together, but that was never suggested. The media and the public were given their way.

Team systems mean players are interdependent. I mean when Rooney left and we finished in 17th did anybody seriously reckon we would finish fourth with 2 new cheap players coming in for just £2 million? The balance of the team changed. The flow of the game played by Everton changed. Moyes played a 4-4-1-1 changing to 4-4-2 in last quarter with Big Dunc coming off the bench and it worked. Our most creative player had just left for £20 million plus.

You say you want Arteta in his normal position? He has played more times on Everton's right hand side than anywhere else in his professional footballing career ? at least that I know of. Where did he play at PSG or Rangers? He was on the bench at Real Sociedad.

Also, you say we can?t drop Cahill?

Everton played with a playmaker once under David Moyes ? Thomas Gravesen, in a diamond 4-4-2, with Gravesen as the point in the diamond, 3 kicking midfielders behind with the speedy Campbell and Radzinsky in front. That team finished 7th or so.

It was similar to Villarreal's formation when they knocked us out of the Champions League qualifiers two years later where Riquelme was the playmaker with the pacey Forlan & Franco up front. If you want Arteta to do this we need two fast strikers who can finish and few ?combative? midfielders.

Do you remember who played in midfield for Villarreal aside from Riquelme? Marcos Senna and who else? Riquelme was at Barcelona before Villarreal, he didn?t get on well... there were too many other players that were similar to him there too.

Fulham too played a bit like this under Hodgson with Dempsey and Zamora staring and Danny Murphy pulling the strings. Is that what you want? That?s not Cahill territory; you would have to get rid of him. There is not so much in the way of aerial balls to strikers played in this system. And Pienaar and Osman and Bily would also have to go for being too small and/or slow.

And you say Cahill can?t be removed? (don?t get me wrong: I think he should have been captain for years) ... Cahill thrives on late arrival into the box against a deep but static defence, so somebody has to be there before him occupying two centre-backs ? read the Yak, for instance (or Marcus Bent, James Beattie or Andy Johnson in the past).

Therefore they aren?t getting the ball so much in killer positions, are running into channels a lot, and don?t score as much as they could. Then the strikers get accused of playing crap, as above. I think Everton had it too good in the 80s with all those scoring centre-forwards. We had a 4-4-2 system that fed them though. The supporters are spoilt. The game is different now though too.

Cahill needs a supply too in the air. That?s why Arteta looked so good on the right. I don't know why people decided he would dominate the center of the pitch. He could put it on Cahill?s head and Cahill knew when he was going to do it. Arteta never really feeds lots of killer balls to Cahill on the ground. Maybe that one day against Aston Villa, the 4-1 away game, in 2005? I haven?t seen them since.

My conclusion is that you are right about Cahill ? he can?t play with Arteta as an advanced playmaker. So sell Arteta or move him back to right side? Ferguson can be this ruthless. Moyes won?t be though.

Perhaps the solution is get rid of them both? Maybe Everton need to find a new balance?

Arteta is no deep forward. It will have to be the diamond formation and 4-4-2 for him to have a chance to succeed as a deep playmaker.

Joe Rourke
53   Posted 26/11/2010 at 16:17:13

Report abuse

The problem for me with Everton isn't so much on the pitch as off it. It lies with Dithering Dave and his lack of a ruthless streak, mis-placed loyalties and general slow progress with additions to the team, at about 1 improvement per year. This creeping improvement is routinely to be put back several years when Valencia / Man Utd / Man City / Fulham and some injuries strike simultaneous and take all the built up ?great? potential away and we spend yet another season in the doldrums.
Nelaj Behajiha
54   Posted 26/11/2010 at 16:38:04

Report abuse

There's two sets of fans on here ? those who consider us to be club similar to Bolton and Fulham, and those who realise Everton are a big club and should be doing well. Moyes hasn't spent that much and has previously done well. But I believe that we could be doing better. I believe that, since Lescott left, he's never been the same.
Tim Keen
55   Posted 26/11/2010 at 17:41:34

Report abuse

#54 Nelaj

Of course we are a bigger club than Bolton or Fulham however we do not have any more money than them. We have the 4th lowest wage/turnover ratio in the league meaning we live within our financial means whilst others accumulate massive debt.

I'll say it again so the penny drops ? In Moyes's time in charge only Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have accumulated more points. This has cost those 4 clubs a combined £2 billion.

What more do people on here expect of him?
Richard Diver
56   Posted 26/11/2010 at 18:09:00

Report abuse

Great post Matthew.

I think Moyes also signed Simon Davies as a winger ? I mention this not to be a smartarse but to back up your point of a skilful and potentially creative player hamstrung by having to play a strict role in the team.
Stephen Kenny
57   Posted 26/11/2010 at 19:19:42

Report abuse


Haven't you got your own forum for calling fellow Evertonians idiots?

You may "believe in the club?s motto with a force that probably annihilates rational logic" but most people live in the real world. You can't make an aeroplane with lollipop sticks and bluetac, and you can't go from near the bottom of the Premier League to the top with £90m over 10 years whether you like it or not. English and European football has been this way for 30 years and won't be changing anytime soon.
Stephen Kenny
58   Posted 26/11/2010 at 19:30:11

Report abuse


Simon Davies was the worst pile of shite I've seen in a blue shirt, he played in his preferred position, was given loads of chances, but was just piss poor. A poor signing up there with the worst... but not Moyes's fault or his tic-tacs.
James Flynn
59   Posted 26/11/2010 at 20:27:58

Report abuse

KPR (20) - The hammer on the head of the nail.
Guy Wilkinson
60   Posted 26/11/2010 at 21:54:39

Report abuse

Great post.

Moyes can certainly pick a player - Coleman, Jags, Lescott as examples.

However, he is hamstrung by conservatism.
Drew O'Neall
61   Posted 27/11/2010 at 10:16:38

Report abuse

Over simplistic view IMO.

Despite the statistics, I would argue that our defence is not miserly enough. Distin was out of position and at fault for at least the fifth time this season, on Monday against Sunderland, despite recent improvements in his general play. Yes Moyes has built his team on the principle of a solid defence but unfortunately this has been undermined lately.

As for the rest of it, I wouldn?t blame Moyes for Arteta not playing further forward. To me he looks unfit or tired which is the reason for him ?sitting? and frankly when he does ?sit? he doesn?t provide enough defensive cover.

I personally think Arteta is the main problem and should be moved out to the right until he proves he deserves to be in the centre again, obvious candidates to replace him are Rodwell and Cahill.
Dan Brierley
62   Posted 27/11/2010 at 13:34:51

Report abuse

Let me just throw a simple question out there... if Moyes had the money to buy a top striker, would Everton be where we currently are, or challenging at the top end?

For me, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the system we are playing. After all, it is also played by United and Chelsea. All we are lacking is a striker able to put the chances away. We are struggling, as our players that chip in with goals (Osman, Anichebe, Rodwell, Fellaini) have not been playing. Our other Talisman who chips in with goals, Arteta, needs dropping.

I would hope that the next transfer target is a striker, this should be priority over the right hand side.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to Fan Articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.

© ToffeeWeb
Subscribe to The Athletic, Get 40% off

Bet on Everton and get a deposit bonus with bet365 at


We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.