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Toothless Tigers

By Daniel Johnson :  01/12/2010 :  Comments (46) :
This season was destined for failure before a ball was kicked because of one major oversight: our strikeforce... or, more importantly, our blatant lack of it.

For all the grit, determination, effort, honesty and fancy football of the newly promoted sides, it?s the lack of goals which ultimately sinks them. The general rule is that the players which could bag 10-20 a season before in the Championship suddenly can?t cut the mustard in the Premier League. Goals win games and we're not scoring any... We're completely fucking impotent.

The fact David Moyes ? an experienced (not to mention highly rated by the majority) manager ? was unable to see the obvious problem staring him in the face amazes me.

The current roll of shame.

Yakubu: He will score goals if A) he's fit and B) he's motivated. Following his ruptured Achilles (a horrible injury) he?s certainly not fit. Plus, for whatever reason, he?s not motivated. During pre-season there was a massive question mark hanging over him; to be honest there always will be.

Louis Saha: Again, he will score goals if fit. But he?s only guaranteed to play 30-40% of matches a season and for half of those he will be nursing or playing his way back from injury.

James Vaughan: A striker once who had so much potential, would he have prospered better with a different manager and better coaching? Probably... But it was the devastating list of injuries which ultimately curtailed his development. Now he?s surplus to requirements and the Championship is his likely destination.

Victor Anichebe: He's a big athlete with a massive frame... but a striker? Does Moyes even know what his position is? Winger? Forward?? fuck knows! A good squad player but hardly the spearhead of your Premier League strikeforce.

Jermaine Beckford: A talented player, playing for a fallen giant in the lower leagues. Worth a punt? Yes. But only a mad man or a desperate man would rely on an untested League 1 player as your only striker up front in a 4-5-1 formation. Plus reading stories saying ?Moyes upset with Beckford misses? fucking enrages me. What does he expect?

I have a lot of time for Beckford ? he?s fucking trying, he?s fucking trying for his team, the fans and the manager... his head never goes down and I would take 11 of him over a team full of Artetas and Heitingas at the moment. The last things this lad needs is a kicking in the press from ?Mr Manager of the Month?, he needs an arm and encouragement.

But, either way, the pressure he is now under is unfair; he?s the victim of a manager who simply couldn?t see the wood for the fucking trees.

The fact that, given all the above, David Moyes insists on playing a defensive 4-5-1 only compounds the problem further. David Moyes is paid £65-75k a week to sort this out.

The reality is he probably would like to splash the cash on a new player but didn?t have the funds to do so. If so, why not sell to buy? Heitinga and Bilyaletdinov = New striker. Ultimately David Moyes has 100% control over the evolution and development of the squad ? the buck stops with him; it is his fault we only have a League 1 striker up front... no-one else's.

Goals ultimately change and win games; our lack of them is worrying ? especially when you see the options at our disposal. The fact that, within the space of few dark months, we have gone from a top 5 finish, down to the bottom 6, whilst playing a League One striker up front on his own sums up our plight.

There are a lot of unhappy players at Everton at the moment, but most are probably too scared to say anything. The first player to do so will be Pienaar when he unfairly leaves for nothing. It will be interesting to see what he has to say.

It's gonna be a long hard season.

Reader Comments

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Lee Courtliff
1   Posted 01/12/2010 at 17:28:44

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I am putting a tenner on us to beat Chelsea on Saturday!! I have a feeling it's going to be the start of our annual "comeback". Beckford is going to get one sooner or later... Another one, I should say. COYB.
Lee Courtliff
2   Posted 01/12/2010 at 17:38:37

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I am putting a tenner on us to beat Chelsea on Saturday. I have a feeling it's going to be our annual "comeback" game. I think Beckford is going to go on a goal spree before long. Remember Elmander last season? Couldn't hit a barn door. Now look at him. I hope the same happens for Jermaine. COYB.
Paul Loins
3   Posted 01/12/2010 at 17:56:05

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Bit harsh in parts, but good points made. I feel we need to stick with Moyes and sacking him will unsettle the club and cost a lot of money. Also, I think he can get us through this crisis and move us on again. Let's stay positive and get behind the manager and team and beat Chelsea on Saturday!!!
Andy Crooks
4   Posted 01/12/2010 at 18:02:57

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Daniel, a pretty fair review of our strikers. In my view, Beckford needs a decent run in the side. It seems to me, however, that strengthening the attacking options has always been well down the list of David Moyes's priorities.
Ray Robinson
5   Posted 01/12/2010 at 19:00:13

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Daniel, I totally agree - 100%. Moyes hasn't got a clue with forwards. There was one season when Beattie was our ONLY recognised striker - with McFadden as the backup and he's not an out and out forward. Just as then, going into this season with an ageing, injury-prone and increasingly impotent strikeforce was totally negligent and wholly undermined the team's potential.

No funds? Start trading. Doing nothing in the January window is not an option. Like you, I believe that Beckford may yet come good but it's totally unacceptable to rely on it happening.

This is one of the reasons I'm thoroughly pissed off at the moment - another example of unfulfilled potential because Moyes seemingly cannot see the obvious.
Tony Marsh
6   Posted 01/12/2010 at 19:29:00

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Doesn't matter who you stick up-front: Beckford, Yak,Saha and all the flop strikers of the Moyes era ? even Lionel Messi would reek in the Moyes system.

DM ain't got a clue how to deal with and play strikers and they all end up the same way. Good points, Johno.

Lee Courtliff
7   Posted 01/12/2010 at 19:40:22

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Ray ? There was never a season when Beattie was our only striker. During his time here, we had Big Dunc then AJ. I know you are pissed off but you can't just make things up to get your point across. Most people on here seem to agree with you anyway, mate. COYB.
Howard Don
8   Posted 01/12/2010 at 20:06:31

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You have a point on Beckford Daniel. He's been slated for missed chances in the last two games, on these pages as well as from DM. Yes he needs to start taking more of them but for me the key thing on Saturday was after he came on, for half an hour or so, he got in to more scoring positions than the rest of the strike force, on view, did all game. Great chance missed against Sunderland but he'd been on less time there and still got through on goal.

The guy certainly needs to score a couple for his confidence then, I agree, we could see a different player. Having said that some Leeds fans I met said he'll always score plenty of goals but miss loads into the bargain. Well frankly I'd settle for that right now. Downside is he only looks a danger when NOT playing up front on his own. A fit Yak and a confident Beckford could be a force to reckon with, but will the Yak ever be fully up to it again? I'm not sure.
Sam Hoare
9   Posted 01/12/2010 at 21:31:28

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'Goals ultimately change and win games; our lack of them is worrying ? especially when you see the options at our disposal. The fact that, within the space of few dark months, we have gone from a top 5 finish, down to the bottom 6, whilst playing a League One striker up front on his own sums up our plight.'

But we have the same strikers from last season so surely it's not quite that simple...
Ray Robinson
10   Posted 01/12/2010 at 22:25:14

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Lee#7, I usually do not try to make up facts to prove a point - I'm sure that during one transfer window, Beattie was our only fit striker (fit is the key word - sorry, missed that off the original point). My memory may be incorrect! Please help!

Sam #9, there was ample evidence towards the end of LAST season (yes, even during our "good" run) that the strike force wasn't adequate. Think Wolves and Stoke away, Pompey at home. We struggled to score even then - the difference was that the defence wasn't leaking. It;s been obvious to me for some while now that we haven't got enough goal scoring capability.

Moyes always underrates the importance of the attacking side or plays a part in undermining the capability of any decent striker that we do sign (Yakubu's purple patch excepted).
Michael Parkes
11   Posted 01/12/2010 at 22:30:41

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I am fed up of hearing that we need a top striker. Tim Cahill is our top striker! I am not arsed what anyone says ? he plays up front and he scores goals. If anyone disagrees with me, just check the Premier League scoring charts: he's 4th in the list, 3 goals behind Berbatov (who scored 5 in one game) and 1 goal behind Tevez and the so-called striker of the season so far, Carroll.

Our problem is no goals from midfield or defence. If we had had another 5 to 8 goals from this area, we would be in the Euro places now... Cahill has 8 goals so far and if he keeps it up he will break the 20 goals that all the so-called top strikers hit...

So I'll say it again: can we stop going on about needing a top striker when we have one.

Ray Robinson
12   Posted 01/12/2010 at 22:48:19

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Michael (#11), while agreeing that the midfield in general isn't contributing enough goals, Tim Cahill will a) regrettably not carry on scoring at the present rate and b) we cannot rely on a midfielder / striker to bale us out all the time.

If you can't see the need for a prolific striker to finish off some of the chances that we've created on the ground, then we must be watching a different game.

Lee Courtliff
13   Posted 01/12/2010 at 22:44:34

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Ray (#10) ? I can't say I remember Beattie being our only fit striker during a transfer window but I would not be suprised given our injury record. Obviously I would not have accused you of "creative license" if I had realised you meant fit strikers. Sorry.

Michael (#11) ? I hope you're right about Cahill bagging 20 goals but the most he has ever got for us is 12, in his first season. It's a big ask for him to continue a goal ratio that is slightly better than 1 every 2 games. If Beckford doesn't come good and the Yak never gets back to his old self, then I think we are going to need a real number nine. I would love Andy Carroll in our team.

Michael Parkes
14   Posted 01/12/2010 at 22:55:02

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Ray, Who should we sign then? Looking at the top 10 scorers in the league, only Newcastle have more than 1 player in it. After Berbatov Uniteds next player is Nani with 5... they have scored 35 goals. That's 19 shared out between the rest of the team.

We have Cahill doing his job (with his 8 goals) as a striker, what we need is more goals from other areas. I think the rest of the team are hiding behind the so-called striker problem and not taking enough responsibilty for the lack of goals.

Dick Fearon
15   Posted 01/12/2010 at 22:31:24

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Over the season so far, the combined wage of our three strikers would amount to approximately one million five hundred thousand pounds. Their grand total of 2 goals has cost seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds for each of them.

Makes you sick, dosen't it... especially when one of them spends half his time on a sick bed, another, although aged 26 still lacks experience, while the third is a lazy arsed diver.

With the exception of Beckford, who I would grant a run out over a couple of weeks, but as for the other two it is mind boggling that Moyes turned down offers for both of them. As things have turned out, I would pay good money to get them of the books.

Dick Fearon
16   Posted 01/12/2010 at 23:04:48

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Michael P (#13), I agree that we need goals from other areas but the focus should be on the so-called strikers.
Shaka Hislop summed it up best when he said that a striker should be judged on one thing and that is goals.
Ray Robinson
17   Posted 01/12/2010 at 23:05:41

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Michael ? more a case of who should we have signed in the close season? One of Dembele, Odemwinge, Obinna, Wellbeck, N'Zogbia etc might have been worth a punt, plus any host of foreign players that I know nothing about. They may all have failed, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Saha and Yakubu are not getting any younger, more prolific or less injury-prone are they? Cahill's goals should be an added bonus, not something that we have to rely on to keep our heads above water.

Jimmy Hacking
18   Posted 02/12/2010 at 00:29:08

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Problem is though, if we sign a world-class striker in January, Moyes would probably play him at left-back. then fall out with him and not play him at all, then he'd get injured for 16 months, then he'd be crap.
Eric Myles
19   Posted 02/12/2010 at 01:20:02

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First you criticise that we have no decent / fit strikers and then you criticise that we play defensive 4-5-1.
Could the formation be because we have no decent / fit strikers and it suits Cahill's inclusion.
Or should we drop Cahill and play 2 of the unproductive strikers up front?
Jay Harris
20   Posted 02/12/2010 at 01:41:50

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Michael, I wholeheartedly agree. I have been whingeing all season that Pienaar, Arteta and Heitinga, couldn't hit a barn door between them. We cannot afford for the majority of our MF not to be able to score especially if they are so called attacking MF.

For me it has to be Felli, Rodders and hopefully Donovan ? then watch the goals come. We have attacking MF players that can't score goals and can't defend ? resulting in only 3 wins all season.
Dave Lynch
21   Posted 02/12/2010 at 09:00:45

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When are some posters on here going to wake up and smell the coffee? We have good players, they have all performed at the highest level in the game and could still if our inept, useless gobshite of a manager would grow some balls and actually set the team out to attack, instead of defend a 0-0 from the off.
Chez Hutton
22   Posted 02/12/2010 at 11:54:00

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'James Vaughan: A striker once who had so much potential, would he have prospered better with a different manager and better coaching? Probably...' HOW?
Alan Clarke
23   Posted 02/12/2010 at 11:54:03

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How come Luke Varney has scored more this season than our strikers combined? How come Marlon fucking Harewood has outscored our strikers?

Like Marsh says, it's not our strikers that are the problem. Our slow lethargic passing game only moving sideways means the strikers are redundant. There's no space for them and they often have to pull out wide to find the ball.

I think Moyes was most happy when we played 4-6-0.
Norman Merrill
24   Posted 02/12/2010 at 11:56:41

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I know its a big ask, but I would like to see Beckford start on Saturday, but with a partner up front. I am not going to say who ? that's down to Moyes. The manager put Beckford on against Bolton, and he scored that fine goal, his reward, back on the bench.

It's never a good time to go to Stamford bridge, but Chelsea are going thru a spell just like us.

I would like to see Lee's (2) gamble pay off, even though it means Moyes being more adventurous. We can talk all we want, but it's his team selections, and hopefully change of tactics, that will bring some better results, and help bring confidence back to the team.

Kevin Tully
25   Posted 02/12/2010 at 13:39:12

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Perfect 20/20 hindsight.
Jamie Tulacz
26   Posted 02/12/2010 at 13:46:32

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All very well saying sell to buy, but I don't think many people were advocating selling Heitinga, who had a good season last year, in the summer. Likewise most thought that Bily should be given a bit more of a chance to prove himself.

Part of the problem is no money to spend on strikers ? both Saha and Beckford were free. Also the Yak did have a career threatening injury, before which he was one of the top scorers in the Premier League for a few years, but after which he's never really got back.

Could someone also tell me how the formation is the problem, when it seemed to be working pretty well second half of last season?
David Thomas
27   Posted 02/12/2010 at 13:34:43

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Alan 23,

I agree that Moyes is a more defensive minded manager. However, you state "Like Marsh says, it's not our strikers that are the problem." Well if Beckford had put his one-on-one chances away against West Brom, Sunderland and Blackpool etc he would have about 5 or 6 goals. If Saha had put his numerous one-on-one chances away at Blackpool etc then he would have a few goals. Same with Yak in a number of games this season, ie, Stoke.

Whilst I don't think the strikers are solely to blame they do have to take a big chunk of the responsibility for our lack of goals.
Michael Parkes
28   Posted 02/12/2010 at 16:27:08

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Ray (17#) ? Cahill's goals are not a bonus, he is in the side because he scores. He can't pass, can't tackle and can't dribble, so to say his goals are an added bonus is wrong. Moyes looks past his shortcomings because of the goals he scores. He's been scoring goals since we signed him, so now it is expected.

Of the other players you mention, Dembele has 2 goals for Fulham, no-one had heard of Odemwingie before this season, Wellbeck has only had 3 good games (3 goals same as Arteta), Moyes tried to sign Obinna but could not get a work permit and N'Zogbia is a midfielder. For a top stiker you need top money that we don't have.

Look at Spurs, their strikers have 5 league goals between them, that's Crouch, Pavluchenko, Defoe and Keane... or is someone going to tell me that Van der Vaart is a striker now! Just like our Tim.
Ray Robinson
29   Posted 02/12/2010 at 18:53:49

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Michael to get such a high number of goals from a midfielder at this stage of the season IS a bonus. If we don't get the forwards functioning soon, who will score when Cahill departs for the Asia Cup in a few weeks?

The players that I mentioned are not necessarily ones that I would have signed but are examples of recent acquisitions by other teams who recognise that pacey forwards are required in the Premier League.

Let's hope Beckford fits that bill - but it's a big risk to depend on it..
Denis Richardson
30   Posted 02/12/2010 at 18:55:20

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Nothing wrong with our strikers, waht the fuck are they supposed to do if they get crap service at about 5 mph?

Main issue in my opinion, and I'll say it till the cows come home, that the the manager should play players in their right frigging positions.

Arteta may have been poor recently but wtf is he doing paying defencive midfield.

Michael Parkes
31   Posted 02/12/2010 at 19:17:08

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Ray, Tim Cahill is not a midfielder! I can't understand why everyone keeps saying he is. you said earlier in the thread that we must be watching a different game, well I agree we must be because it's obvious that cahill plays in a forward role.

Teddy Sheringham played the same role for years but was regarded as a striker, same goes for Zola, Beardsley and even Bergkamp. All of them regarded as strikers who played off the main man up front and dropped deep into midfield,
what is so different about Cahills role apart from not having the same skills as the above mentioned?
Ray Robinson
32   Posted 02/12/2010 at 19:34:12

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Sorry, Michael, to me Cahill is an attacking midfielder and a makeshift striker when all else are injured. Even if he isconsidered a striker, who will score the goals when he disppears shortly to the Asia Cup for up to 6 weeks?

We really must watch football differently if you think that Sheringham played a similar role to Cahill. And the other three players did indeed play off a main striker up front but who is that at Everton? Yakubu? Saha? Beckford? All misfunctioning at the moment - and for one reason or another (age, injury, attitude, inexperience), all currently not good enough.
David Holroyd
33   Posted 02/12/2010 at 19:43:11

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Michael Parkes Cahill can,t pass tackle or dribble i think you havn,t beeen watching him
David Holroyd
34   Posted 02/12/2010 at 19:43:11

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Michael Parkes Cahill can,t pass tackle or dribble i think you havn,t beeen watching him
David Holroyd
35   Posted 02/12/2010 at 19:43:11

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Michael Parkes -- Cahill can't pass tackle or dribble; I think you haven't beeen watching him.
Michael Parkes
36   Posted 02/12/2010 at 20:09:29

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I watch Cahill every week and he's a workhorse who's good in the air, if he could do all the things you say he can do why has no champions league club come in for him? Can you name one bit of speculation or of any bid for him in his time as Everton from a top top Club?
David Thomas
37   Posted 02/12/2010 at 22:10:54

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On what evidence has it been concluded that Cahill can't pass? Do you mean the fact that he is not spreading 40-yard passes all over the pitch means he can't pass? I too watch Cahill week-in, week-out... and in my opinion he does not give the ball away very much through bad passes.
John Daley
38   Posted 03/12/2010 at 02:51:01

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"Tim Cahill is not a midfielder! I can't understand why everyone keeps saying he is."

Even when the player himself says he's a midfielder?

Tim Cahill: "I don't feel like an out and out striker because I've never played as one really for Everton".
Michael Kenrick
39   Posted 03/12/2010 at 04:15:38

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Isn't that astounding, John? We have the fans split as to whether Cahill is a midfielder or really a striker.

The player himself comes out and says... "I don't feel like an out and out striker because I've never played as one really for Everton" [It's worth repeating]

But, no matter how many times it is repeated, those who are otherwise convinced ain't gonna let this one go easily.
Daniel Johnson
40   Posted 03/12/2010 at 12:00:16

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Tim Cahill is an average midfielder who can score goals.

It's the fact he can score goals in an Everton team that can't hit a barn door with banjo that he is more often than not thrust up in the hole behind the striker.

It's Moyes's overuse of him as a secondary striker due to lack of options which confuses people.

To say Cahill is a striker... ha ha ha.... oh my aching sides.
KPR Williams
41   Posted 03/12/2010 at 12:19:46

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Didn't Cahill play as our only recognised front man when everybody was injured a few years back... the FA Cup derbies spring to mind.
Michael Parkes
42   Posted 03/12/2010 at 18:59:00

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You're spot on, KPR Williams, but then again some people were complaining that we were playing 4-6-0 just because it was Tim up front.

As to him being able to pass a ball, have you ever seen him thread a ball through to players in an advanced position? He is one of the problems of our sideways passing.

Players playing as the second striker need a good eye for a pass to open up defences. I am not on about 40-yard passes, I am on about defence-splitting passes. Cahill (and he does it well) looks to get the ball out wide and then gets into the box so he can get on the end of a cross. That's why he does not give the ball away much because he plays it sideways or to the safe option.

Look! Don't get me wrong, I like Cahill, but he's a limited player. Who's to say if Rodwell or Bily were to be given a run in that position, they won't score 10 to 12 goals a season as well as creating a few?
David Thomas
43   Posted 03/12/2010 at 20:43:59

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"As to him being able to pass a ball, have you ever seen him thread a ball through to players in an advanced position. He is one of the problems of our sideways passing."

Well, off the top of my head, I would say the back-heel pass to Pienaar allowing him to score against Sporting Lisbon at home. That pass completely fooled their defence. Or the defence-splitting pass he played for Pienaar to score at the Emirates. Once again, this pass opened up the whole of the Arsenal back four.
James Lauwervine
44   Posted 03/12/2010 at 22:32:44

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Watch the 8 goals this season that Cahill has scored and tell me which wasn't a striker's goal. Every player has some limitations/faults and he has had some ropey patches over the years but Cahill is for me an Everton legend. By no means one of our greatest players or even close to my all-time 11 but a legend for sure.
Michael Kenrick
45   Posted 03/12/2010 at 22:36:51

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But does that make him a striker, James?

Especially when the player himself says he doesn't feel like a striker?

That's Tim Cahill: Midfielder... Not striker. I ain't gonna argue with him!
Michael Parkes
46   Posted 04/12/2010 at 09:12:04

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Just because he started off in midfield, does that make him a midfileder for life?

Is Jack Rodwell a centre half for ever then?

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