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Stubborn Moyes Loses His Balance

By Mike Elbey :  18/12/2010 :  Comments (59) :
Let me start by stating that I greatly admire what David Moyes has done for Everton FC. He took charge when the club was at one of its all-time lows and over the course of the past 8 years has managed to turn a team destined for a perennial relegation battle year on year to a team that many neutral advisors were tipping as being a solid bet for a top 4 finish this season. All this on a ridiculously pathetic budget compared with the managers he is now expected to compete with.

Despite the massive optimism going into this season the outcome has thus far been nothing short of disastrous. Numerous reasons have been put forward ? Moyes is too negative, Moyes is tactically inept, Arteta can?t be arsed because he has a big contract, Heitinga can?t be arsed full stop, what does Round do? Cahill dictates the shape of the team, Saha is a lazy git, Howard makes too many errors ? I could go on.

All the aforementioned are worthy of discussion, some may be valid comments, others not. However, for me the real route of our current problems lie in a failure by the manager in the summer to balance the team.

All the best teams have balance; we have none. We have been in desperate need for a right-sided midfielder for as long as I can remember and Donavan gave us a glimpse last year of how much of a difference one player in a particular position can make to a team. With a threat down the right, suddenly teams could not concentrate all their efforts on stopping Pienaar & Baines as someone had to look after Donavan ? this inevitably created more space for others and our attacking play improved immeasurably.

It has also been proven that we needed a new striker. If we had added these two positions I firmly believe we would currently be much further up the league and probably challenging the current top 4. Now I realise the standard answer to the above solution is ?where are we going to get the £25m from to buy these players?? and I appreciate that we basically have no money. However this is where I believe Moyes?s stubbornness in the summer halted our progress.

Moyes took the attitude in the summer of "If I am not being given any money I will accept that on the basis that you don?t sell any players without my say-so." Ebenezer Kenwright could hardly believe his luck in getting off so lightly in yet again failing to support the manager with anything resembling a transfer kitty and gratefully agreed.

Moyes has rightly championed the fact that he believes this to be the best Everton squad since he has been manager and I agree to an extent. However, as mentioned earlier, it lacks balance... and my criticism of Moyes is that by trading well in the summer we could have addressed the positions we were ? and still are ? lacking in. If we have no money, we can?t afford to have high value players sat on the bench ? they need to be on the pitch.

In the summer, we had 4 centre halves all worth decent money ? one should have been sold to fund incoming transfers. It was widely reported that we turned down £15m for Jagielka in the summer. This I find astounding! Yes, Jagielka is a fine defender but he is also one of the worst passers I have ever seen play for Everton ? there is little doubt we would be a better team with Heitinga playing centre back with Distin and Donavan in the team than what we are now with Heitinga sat on the bench.

We also should have sold one of Rodwell, Arteta or Fellaini ? we simply will never play all three and again, given our lack of money we can?t afford to have one sat on the bench. The sale of one of these plus the spare cash from the Jagielka / Donavan deal could have purchased a proven striker without doubt.

I understand that people will say that you need a squad, what about injuries, and I accept that. However, if we have no money, surely we need to concentrate the funds on what is on the pitch, not sat on the bench. The other irony is that, should injuries occur we have a manager who, for all his faults, is actually excellent when having to cope with injuries ? as we have always said, he knows how to organise 11 players to being hard to beat.

For all these reasons, Moyes's stubbornness in the summer at refusing to sell any of his players has resulted in us missing a real opportunity to improve our team and to me the poor displays of this season are really only highlighting the deficiencies we have had in the team for many years.

Reader Comments

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Kunal Desai
1   Posted 18/12/2010 at 15:41:19

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Mike ? In my opinion it's a Catch-22 situation. If we had sold either of our better players then fans would have been up in arms and failures of this season would have pointed to the fact that we sold X player ? a la Lescott last season.

You need a larger squad with better players to compete in this league, which we have; however, we never added the 'two' quality signings we needed in the summer to push on.

Everton are a prime example of if you stand still in football you go backwards. I firmly believe this has now come home to roost and, until changes in the hierarchy at Everton are made, we will continue to fall down the pecking order.

How BK can carry on as chairman beggars belief. It's his duty to to move the club on, just like any chairman of any business. Chairmen have business acumen, they look at different revenue streams and how to make the business a lot more profitable. Unfortunately, it seems this man just sits on his arse as does fuck all!

Jay Harris
2   Posted 18/12/2010 at 16:13:30

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Totally agree with Kunal.

If anyone does anything 24/7 for 10 years without success, they are an abject failure ? and that's not his only shortcoming regrettably.
Michael Coville
3   Posted 18/12/2010 at 17:04:30

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Well, I have to agree with Jay about our Chairman, I find it hard to believe he has any intention of giving up his train set.

However, I believe we could have improved the squad in the summer. I would have taken West Ham's offer of £6M for Yakubu, not given Saha a new contract, and sold the Russian waste of space. Surely with that we could have got in Donavan and/or a decent young striker.

David Holroyd
4   Posted 18/12/2010 at 17:14:12

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Don't agree that we won't play Arteta, Rodwell and Fellaini ? them along with Pienaar should be our first choice midfield, Mikel will have to play rightside untill Donavan comes. Or we sell Bily... I just don't see him playing.

The point I do agree on is that, after last season, we all knew that right side was one of our weak parts and if Moyes knew he wasn't getting any money, he needed to wheel and deal. Heitinga is another that i would sell as he doesn't look as if he really wants to be here.

Mike Elbey
5   Posted 18/12/2010 at 18:07:31

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Totally agree regarding the comments about Kenwright. I also agree that it can be seen as negative to sell your better players.

However, my point is that, like it or not, we are stuck with Kenwright and his pathetic management of the club... and, as such, the only way to improve areas of the team that are deficient in is to raise money by selling players in positions where we have an abundance of talent.

I stand by the fact that, if we have no money, we can't afford to have expensive players sat on the bench ? they need to be on the pitch. I singled out Jagielka and the others because it is a fact we could have sold two of them and improved the team. I am not sure there were any buyers for the likes of Bily etc...

Kevin Clarke
6   Posted 18/12/2010 at 18:35:11

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Arsene Whinger sells his best players on a regular basis and The Arse don't seem to be going backwards do they?
Ciarán McGlone
7   Posted 18/12/2010 at 18:55:44

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We do lack balance ? and every man and his dog knows we've needed a right-sided player since Moyes arrived here. However, there is a solution: Arteta played some fantastic football on both wings earlier in his everton career... he is the obvious choice to fill the hole on the right ? especially when we have so many central midfielders on the books.

But does Moyes use his nut and utilise the most appropriate players in the most appropriate positions? No, he plays Arteta in defensive midfield...

I do agree that we should've sold to fill the right midfield position during the summer... but Moyes must also take responsibility for not being able to adapt the team to get the best out of them.
Simon Templeman
8   Posted 18/12/2010 at 18:57:40

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Well said, Kevin Clarke; we can all be wise with hindsight. I would rather be us than WHUFC and many others including Blackburn with their "investment". I still cannot figure out Abramovitch and Mansour. They must know something we don't... why else would they commit all that cash?
Charles King
9   Posted 18/12/2010 at 19:15:03

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Well said ? particularly the standing still part ? it was bound to catch up eventually, the signs are dreadfully ominous.

However, a couple of posters on other threads can see us qualifying for Europe (I knew I didn't drink enough).
Richard Dodd
10   Posted 18/12/2010 at 19:12:41

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So it`s Kenwright's "duty to move the club on"! No doubt these writers and all the other Tony Marshes who inhabit these columns would have been happy to flog Everton lock, stock and stewpot to the Indian geniuses who have just acquired Blackburn. By now, Moyes would be ancient history and the team would be safely in the hands of the second team trainer whilst the chicken pluckers spend the next two and a half months finding a Tony Pewlis look-alike to take over.

But ,at least, the Swiss angency who handle all the transfers would have £5M to spend on players of their choice. Just think what we've missed! Yes, Kenwright must go!

Jimmy Changa
11   Posted 18/12/2010 at 19:34:32

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I seem to be the only one who remembers how absolute gash Arteta was on the wing and just WHY he was moved into the middle where he began to show his best form for us "pulling the strings"

- Has has no pace
- He is not a brilliant dribbler (though he is better than most of our side in fairness)
- He cannot cross a ball to save his life
- He will never track back

The reason why Donovan was such a success was because the ball stuck to his feet and he could leave most players in his wake when we were on the break. I don't really care if he comes back to be honest, but that is what you want from a winger ? bags of pace and the ability to drop a ball on a pinhead from the wing ? Arteta is not the answer, I'm afraid.

He has lost confidence since he came back from his injury and, whilst he can still do a slide-rule pass, his heart is not in it. Hence why he's been playing side-swipe passes from deep in midfield (where he played at the start of his career at Rangers, remember). He should have been taken away from corners and free kicks years ago too.
Ciarán McGlone
12   Posted 18/12/2010 at 19:38:58

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What a puerile and pathetic argument Dodd..

Why do people who support Kenwright continually insist on presenting this 'lowest common denominator' argument...

'Whataboutery' that only presents the negative alternatives is idiotic.
Gavin Ramejkis
13   Posted 18/12/2010 at 19:41:11

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Kevin and Simon, the reason selling players doesn't kill Arsenal is because of the depth of squad they have. Wenger has been mercurial in his talent spotting and finding players for buttons that rip the piss out of far more expensive English yard dogs they have played against. It should also be noted that the calibre of the players at Arsenal means when they do sell through the player wanting out or to earn money for replacements they tend to be higher profile. Arsenal also have a business plan, you could fit Everton's on the head of a match.

Doddy, sounds like you are coming around to Kenwright selling out at long last, even if you do use the worst example in the current league to base your comparison on. As many have said before, you don't know until it happens and simply being too scared to do it doesn't make it a wrong move. The way the club is going, Doddy, we'll need to sell the likes of Rodwell and Baines in the summer to meet the bills, never mind replacements. Just how much has your beloved Black Bill raised this summer for replacements and additions to the squad and how many of them have actually played?
Richard Dodd
14   Posted 18/12/2010 at 19:49:47

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Well, Gavram, I could have examplared the porno kings at West Ham, the kit retailer at Newcastle, or the string of owners attracted to Pompey, Leicester and Hull. Surely you accept that the Arab sheik or oil baron you crave is never going to be interested in Everton?

Selling up these days is almost a passport to relegation and even the revered Randy Lerner has hardly rocketed the Villa into the top four, has he?

Ciarán McGlone
15   Posted 18/12/2010 at 20:09:38

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"Selling up these days is almost a passport to relegation"


Yeah, I have United, Chelsea, Arsenal and City all to go down this season..

Cut the scaremongering bollocks out Doddy. It's charmless.
Gavin Ramejkis
16   Posted 18/12/2010 at 20:06:54

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Doddy, Doddy, Doddy... you really need to read the threads that I've posted to over the years, I've even mentioned it the other day on another. I'll say it again so you can read it here, I don't think we even need a billionaire, just a businessman or woman with acumen who can create and propel a short-, medium- and long-term business plan at the club.

BK has failed to do this for a decade, the current income of the club appears to be: next season's Sky money, already borrowed against to pay existing creditors; Goodison Park, with multiple mortgages on it; Bellefield, still waiting for movement on the development (we're in a global recession if you hadn't noticed so house prices not as boom as they were); and, finally, the players registrations/contracts being his only assets left.

The latter appears to be our only source of income and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise the only players you can make decent money on would be your better ones, thus weakening the squad... which would have the consequence of affecting league table results ? a spiral you'd need to stabilise surely? How would you stabilise that spiral in reduction of quality in your squad if your current youth players aren't breaking into the first team and you can only unearth so many diamonds from lower leagues???

Do you get the problem yet? Less and less money as he is failing as the chairman of the club and the cupboards are bare... but for the players who you need to remain in the league and compete. Oh, whilst you're thinking about that, any chance you could ring your contacts in the club and explain to us all what and how much (financially) BK is beholden to Green?

Ever since Desperation Kirkby went pop, we haven't made a significant player purchase or has any "ringfenced" (cough, BULLSHIT, cough) money evaporated?

Richard Dodd
17   Posted 18/12/2010 at 20:32:53

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What`s your problem with Green? You crave for a rich businessman,don`t you? So what`s wrong with Phil in that role? Or is it just someone else to defile?
Ciarán McGlone
18   Posted 18/12/2010 at 20:38:28

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What have we against a tax dodging loan shark?

Well, let me see.......
Gavin Ramejkis
19   Posted 18/12/2010 at 20:47:00

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Doddy, if Kenwright sold to him then yeah, why not... but he reputedly just borrowed significant monies from him ? why would a Spurs supporter want to buy into Everton? Maybe the retail carrot that was car crash Kirkby; that goes pop... and so does perennial tax dodger Green. Over £1Bn he's avoided paying tax in the UK, Doddy ? if that was going to Everton then I'd have time for him but as all he reputedly appears to have done is lent money to Kenwright, paid for Earl to buyout Gregg, so Kenwright could keep the club, silenced Keith Wyness when he left, and silently backed Kirkby, then I've a few reservations on him.

So are you going to ring Goodison or give us an answer to my original question on what he has over Black Bill?
Dick Fearon
20   Posted 18/12/2010 at 22:21:38

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I have to smile at Mike's opening paragraph to this topic. One can almost hear the dagger being drawn from its sheath as he says, 'Let me start by stating that I greatly admire Moyes'.
Steve Smith
21   Posted 18/12/2010 at 23:42:25

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I'm getting a bit fed up reading these Moyes is this, that and the other articles, have another look at all the games we've played so far this season and if any of you can honestly say that those games have been lost or drawn because of Moyes's tactics, then I'll hold my hands up. But the fact is that our strikers have been shit, if they'd taken even half of the chances that have been put on plates for them, nobody would be questioning Moyes's ongoing tenure as manager.
Andy Crooks
22   Posted 19/12/2010 at 00:21:34

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Steve, as I said on another thread, David Moyes bought these strikers, he coaches them and continues to select Saha. If, as you say, they are shit, then they are Mr Moyes's shit.
Gavin Ramejkis
23   Posted 19/12/2010 at 00:24:07

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Steve, Chelsea: we start with Saha, he don't look like scoring until Saha gets injured and is replaced by Beckford who then scores the equaliser.

Saha starts against West Brom and we are woeful and don't start looking for a goal until Saha goes off and Beckford comes on; that time... too little too late.

Saha starts against Wigan and we look toothless up front again until he is replaced by Beckford: too little, too late.

Any of this sound familiar? ? and who is responsible for it?

James Stewart
24   Posted 19/12/2010 at 01:41:15

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I wish all this talk of our whole season being the strikers' fault would stop! Let's get the facts straight! Yes, they have been poor. Terrible in Saha's case, considering his ability previously. But the whole team/manager have been as well! Bar Baines, I'm struggling to think of one player who can say "I've been worth my wages."

Our main players:?
Jagielka ? Crap!
Arteta ? Crap!
Fellaini ? Barely played
Pienaar ? works hard but no end product.

The whole team/tactics have been terrible and pretty damn tedious to watch!
John Daley
25   Posted 19/12/2010 at 01:57:25

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"I seem to be the only one who remembers how absolutely gash Arteta was on the wing and just WHY he was moved into the middle where he began to show his best form for us, "pulling the strings" "

Didn't he win Player of the Year twice whilst playing out wide for us? At least he was more advanced and causing problems for the opposition further up the pitch, rather than fannying about in front of his own central defenders.
John Daley
26   Posted 19/12/2010 at 02:31:00

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Richard Dodd, you owe me a new laptop. You broke the screen on the last one by forcing me to smack it in frustration every time you post something on here.
Martin Paice
27   Posted 19/12/2010 at 04:45:45

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I'm pissed, but do still hold a vague pre-season hope that we're not that far away.

Come on, you Blues, and sign Donovan ? If Bill can't see the financial potential of having two of the most famous players in 'soccer' playing for your club, then it is time to jog on.
David Thomas
28   Posted 19/12/2010 at 09:49:45

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James Stewart,

"I'm struggling to think of one player who can say "I've been worth my wages." How about Cahill or Distin?

Gavin, "why would a Spurs supporter want to buy into Everton?" ? Why would it make any difference if he was a Spurs fan or not? Do you mean only someone who actually supports the club would have an interest in buying them?
Mike Elbey
29   Posted 19/12/2010 at 10:57:58

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The point I was trying to make in the article was that we could have funded the purchasing of a striker and right winger by flogging two of our marketable players. Maybe if we had signed these two players, the chances created this season would have been scored and we would be higher up. I remain convinced Moyes was too stubborn for his own good and missed an ideal opportunity to improve the TEAM.


Whilst I take on board your comments regarding selling players weakens the squad, that was not what I was advocating. I was talking about replacing a centre-back and a centre-midfielder with a right-midfielder and a striker of equal value to the ones sold. If you like, re-distributing the wealth within the squad.

I remain convinced that if we have no money then ALL our high value players need to be on the pitch if fit. If Moyes was picking his full strength team at the moment Rodwell and Heitinga would be on the bench (Moyes's team ? not mine, incidentally). Thats £25m sat doing nothing and we cannot afford that ? it's the TEAM that matters at the moment...

Peter Wilson
30   Posted 19/12/2010 at 11:02:17

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This is spot-on, Mike. The balance of the squad is one of our biggest problems ? not least as almost all our midfielders are better in the centre ? even Piennar arguably. We also have the slowest squad in the Premier League.

I am not in the Moyes Out brigade... yet... but I do believe his dealings, or lack of, in the transfer market has always been his Achilles heel. It's a basic principle that, as we have got no money, then the manager has to do a degree of horse-trading and that means at times selling players you may not particularly want to in order to buy the type of players we need elsewhere.

I know that fans then turn this to "Why are we a selling club?" etc ? separate issue ? but it is the reality for the time being. It's totally shortsighted of Moyes to adopt the "no-one leaves" position because the outcome of that is the woefully imbalanced squad we have now which is massively short of pace.

He really does have to compromise that principle now because we are starting to stand still and that means be overtaken.

We all have our own ideas of who we would trade but my view would be Heitinga, Bily, Yak, Saha the obvious choices and perhaps most controversially Rodwell if we get a daft offer as I am not sure he would get in before Fellaini for me.

For different reasons, I would also consider selling Jags (as I think he is so poor on the ball) to try and get someone in like Shawcross or Gary Cahill and see if we can make a bit of cash to spend. Of course we don't know the financial detail of such deals so it may not be possible but it's that type of thing Moyes, (unlike Redknapp, Bruce, even Allardyce) seems unable to do.

One last point: you see teams at Goodison with unknown foreign players, particularly Eastern European and South American, that you have not heard of really. Again, the likes of shite such as Bolton, Blackburn, Stoke, Sunderland seem to get hold of these players relatively cheaply and unearth the occasional gem. We very rarely do. Again it's difficult to understand why that this is the case.
Paul Murray
31   Posted 19/12/2010 at 13:25:03

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Let's get it right, everyone. At the end of last season, the team were flying, we had the best record (post Xmas) in the league, and we all had a real sense of optimism going into the current campaign.

The displays so far haven't been that bad, we simply don't put teams to the sword. It is what being a bluenose is all about: 'disappointment' and 'Evertonian' are stamped into all our souls.

The sad thing is that I can't see it changing soon, not unless this Qatar royal family story has any truth... but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

Steve Smith
32   Posted 19/12/2010 at 13:48:05

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I understand your point but was that your opinion before the season started? Mine was that we should've let the Yak go and looked for a replacement and a right-sided midfielder, but also thought Coleman could do that job and said so on another forum before the season started.

Moyes is stubborn and, to be honest, some of his subs and tactics baffle me, but I also think that with the rub of the green in a few of the games, we would be up where most of us expected to be pre-season. The last game against Wigan could've ended 5- or 6-1 to us and other games before that, Villa away, Chelsea away, Bolton home etc etc.

Looking at the squad at the beginning of the season and a strikeforce of Yak, Saha, Anichebe, Beckford and Cahill, how many of us could honestly say that only one of the above five would be performing anything like their best?

Ciarán McGlone
33   Posted 19/12/2010 at 14:55:31

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"Lets get it right everyone. At the end of last season the team were flying, we had the best record (post Xmas) in the league and we all had a real sense of optimism goin into the current campaign"

We also had a right winger who gave us balance... and whose inclusion was indicative of what we could be with a decent player on the right.

We started the season without that person or an adequate replacement. That's the exact point of this thread...
Eric Myles
34   Posted 19/12/2010 at 14:46:13

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What lack of balance?

Isn't that why everyone was crying out for Coleman to be played on the right after a couple of showings last season?

And he's been there all this season bar a couple of games.
Ciarán McGlone
35   Posted 19/12/2010 at 15:34:13

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"What lack of balance?"


Are you serious? The 'lack of balance' that this threads about... the one that's been obvious to most fans for a very long time. Coleman was a move of desperation that hasn't worked.
John Barnes
36   Posted 19/12/2010 at 15:20:21

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Actually at the end of last season we'd ground to the halt that we are currently witnessing. We struggled badly against Wolves, Pompey and a few others right at the end of the season which actually cost a Europa slot to the Shite. Unfortunately, we've just carried on in the same vein. But I think you're right that some of the displays haven't been as grim as some on here make out.

Mike, spot on.
John McLoughlin
37   Posted 19/12/2010 at 16:26:34

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Billy Liar is lucky that Moyes does not kick up a fuss over lack of transfer funds, but on the other hand Moyes should have wheeled and dealed in the summer. We cannot afford Bily & Heitinga on the bench, we loaned out Yobo, we should have been looking to sell these players to generate cash for a wide player and maybe even a striker. and then boost the squad with loans etc. But that's not Moyes's way ? he's loyal to the squad, it's why we have four players capable of playing right back but only one who can play at left. As somebody has said, there is no balance to our squad.
Mike Elbey
38   Posted 19/12/2010 at 16:47:28

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Being honest it was my opinion at the start of the season. I thought we were crackers to turn down an apparent Arsenal bid of £16m for Jagielka when we had Yobo, Heitinga and Distin ? at that stage, two of them were going to be sat on the bench and, as I keep repeating, if we have no money then our value needs to be on the pitch.

With the sale of Jagielka, we still could have had Heitinga at CB with Distin with Yobo as cover and we could have bought Donavan and stil had money over towards a striker. With that spare money and extra money from the sale of Yakubu, we could have afforded someone like Gyan and, had we cashed in on one of our centre-mids, we could have afforded even better. By doing this, we would be better than we are now, simple as that...
Andy Crooks
39   Posted 19/12/2010 at 16:48:06

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Ciaran, I agree that playing Seamus wide right was a move of desperation. Him, Osman or Arteta, what do you think? In my view, Arteta is the best player at the club but should play central. I fear that Seamus will suffer as a result of this. Incidentally what are your views on Duffy? I'd play him right now if he's fit?
Peter Wilson
40   Posted 19/12/2010 at 18:02:11

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Play Duffy instead of who Andy?
David Thomas
41   Posted 19/12/2010 at 18:07:22

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You seem to be talking up Duffy quite a bit. I have got to ask what you are basing your opinion on? He has only appeared a few times for Everton and, as far as I am aware, has only played a dozen or so games at international level ie for the under-16, -17, -19 & -21 etc. Are these the games you have seen him in and thus led you to suggest he should be in the first team now and that he is the best central defender at the club by a long way?
Andy Crooks
42   Posted 19/12/2010 at 18:25:13

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Peter, instead of Jagileka. David, yes.
Steve Smith
43   Posted 19/12/2010 at 18:50:10

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Mike, Fair enough mate, but I could imagine the uproar on here and other sites if we had sold Jags or Rodwell, £16M seems huge for Jags I admit, but I still don't think his sale would have gone down well with the majority of our fans. Landon Donovan was great for us but could you see Moyes shelling out £10M of that money to buy him? {he's nearly 30 isn't he?} he did give us better balance but we could still have it if all our players stopped looking left every time we try to clear from defence, the times I've seen Coleman standing in acres of space this season and just being ignored.
David Thomas
44   Posted 19/12/2010 at 19:07:28

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So based on watching Duffy playing in a handful of Under 16, 17 and 19 football games you would rather see Tevez and co running at him instead of say Heitinga, Distin or Jagielka on monday night? I can't see many agreeing with you on this one.

Gerry Western
45   Posted 19/12/2010 at 19:51:48

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Have to disagree with many of the calls here. Our poor start owed much to some shocking defending and we're still not solid in that department. Of greater concern has been our failings in the centre of the park. Fellaini has been badly missed. Arteta has been piss-poor, and Heitinga, although outstanding last year, has this year looks as though he no longer has any interest in playing for the club. The strikers have been piss poor.

Coleman if anything has been one of our better performers. The problem is, he rarely gets a full 90 min on the park and, even then, he's been deployed at right back. When played wide right, he's often expected to drop back and cover the aging and ineffective Neville. No doubt Donovan would be obliged to do the same.
David Thomas
46   Posted 19/12/2010 at 21:58:48

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Of the last 12 games, Coleman has played 80% plus of the minutes from these games so I don't think you could suggest game time is an issue. Also, you mention he has been deployed at right back. As far as I can remember he has played right midfield in these games and not right back as you suggest. With regards tracking back and covering the defender, of course he is expected to do this, that is part of working as a team. Pienaar is expected to cover Baines, Donavan would be expected to track back and cover Neville or Hibbert etc. If they did not do this then they should be dropped.
Andy Crooks
47   Posted 19/12/2010 at 23:15:17

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David, I think I owe you a more detailed explanation. I have over the years watched a lot of Irish football. I'm sure that Evertonians everywhere watch their local game and look who might make it.

In my view the three best players to come out of Ireland lately are: Niall McGinn, Shane Duffy and Seamus Coleman. We are lucky enough to have two of them. Shane is commanding in the air, he is quick (for a centre back) and can pass the ball out of defence. He is comfortable on the ball and believe me, is good enough to play first team football now.

Gerry Western
48   Posted 19/12/2010 at 23:24:14

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David, there was me thinking we'd played 17 games to date. Added to this, he's made a number of substitute appearances in the games he's actually played. On one occasion he came on he made an immediate impact and within ten minutes he replaced Neville at right back. When we played Spurs at the Lane he spent much of the game tracking the runs of Bale. However, I guess you would consider that as having played right midfield although he spent much of the game covering Neville's ass.

There have been occasions when he's been a candidate for MotM only to find himself dropped to the subs bench for the following games and therein lies my point. His appearances are often punctuated and sporadic and his role is constantly changing not just from game to game, but within games.

As for comparing roles played by Baines and Neville, Baines is bombing forward at every opportunity, Neville rarely gets beyond the half-way line and offers Coleman nothing. Coleman is constantly dropping deep to bail out Neville and this has an adverse impact on his ability to get into attacking positions.

Like I said, Coleman has rarely played wide right for a full 90 minutes but it would be interesting to know what % of those 17 games Coleman has started wide right and finished wide right. If it's more than 50% I'd be very surprised.
Jamie Sweet
49   Posted 20/12/2010 at 02:01:11

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I completely agree with the sentiment of the OP.

Talking of a lack of balance... how about the fact that we have half a dozen right backs but just Baines on the left. If Bainesy gets injured, we'll be looking very inadequate there.

This is a potential problem Moyes must have been aware of since Lescott moved on over 12 months, and 2 transfer windows ago!
Eric Myles
50   Posted 20/12/2010 at 04:18:01

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Ciaran, Coleman was touted all last season as the answer to our prayers on the right of midfield and Moyes bashed for not playing him there, and now you say it's not working?

You mean Moyes was right all along?

David Thomas
51   Posted 20/12/2010 at 09:45:29

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"However, I guess you would consider that as having played right midfield"

Yes I would, because he has been playing RIGHT MIDFIELD. Whether he has assisted the right back with defensive duties during games (which I imagine everyone would fully expect him to do) or not, since the Fulham game up to the present day he has been playing RIGHT MIDFIELD.

Which games this season has he been close to being Man of the Match and then dropped for the next game?????
Matthew Mackey
52   Posted 20/12/2010 at 10:11:22

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I think part of David Moyes's problem and therefore Everton's problem is that he simply isn't prepared to change his ways and take the odd risk or two. Last season, after an abject start, we suddenly clicked into gear after a stirring away performance at the Emirates. This led to a series of great performances and thus great results against Chelsea (home) and Man City (home & away). And these results/performances were good because Moyes, for a short period of time, threw caution to the wind and just let the team play attacking football.

So the question now has to be:? Why the fuck has he gone back to the negative shit we have all witnessed this season? After all, the playing staff hasn't changed since last season (bar the absence of Donovan) so we know the players have the capability to get results and entertain at the same time.

I hope for all our sakes that Moyes can adopt some of this positive stuff for tonight's game at Eastlands. If he goes there with the usual mindset that we have seen so far this season then I don't think we are going to achieve the same result there as last season.

The clock is ticking for Moyes and if he's got any sense he should take note of what we, the fans are saying, because if we, as a club, continue in the current downward spiral his position will become untenable. Everton fans simply will not accept too much more of this crap that we are being served week-in, week-out.

David Thomas
53   Posted 20/12/2010 at 10:39:08

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Quote from David Moyes about Seamus Coleman "He's a right-back but has been playing right-midfield."
Amit Vithlani
54   Posted 20/12/2010 at 10:47:17

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I think Arteta on the wing is worth considering but I have to sit on the fence. The guy is badly out of form and playing an out-of-form player out of position can't exactly improve his confidence. Nor will it improve the balance of the side ? he has lost pace and it is conceivable that he will tend to drift more centrally anyway.

We need a proper right-sided player. Coleman has done well, but definitely needs to be rotated as he seems to be running out of gas.

Letting Gosling go for nothing looks like an appalling error, to be compounded by Vic departing. Neither are the world's greatest players, but they gave us options.

Osman on the right is definitely not the answer, and Arteta needs to recover his form before coming back to the team. Coleman is a squad player.

This January window is Moyes's most important. It could also be his last. Let's hope he gets Landon or another decent right-sided player with pace. Otherwise, I hate to think how many more games we will struggle to win....
Jon Cox
55   Posted 20/12/2010 at 11:50:42

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The problem for Moyes concerning the right is: Does he play Neville? ? who couldn't find the weight of a pass even if his life depended on it, but is a good organiser of the back four... Or, does he go with Hibbert? ? who is a far better passer of the ball and could get Seamus into the game more than Neville does now.

Hibbert hasn't got the organisational skills that Nev has but that should be instilled into one of our back four. They certainly get payed enough.

Neville is just not a good enough footballer for what we need in our time of crisis. Hibbs is not brilliant either but i'd like to see him work with Coleman. I can't see Moyes doing this but it will sometime in the future be a contributing factor in his demise.
Mike Allison
56   Posted 20/12/2010 at 12:56:06

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Jimmy (#11), yeah, I think you are the only one who remembers Arteta being 'gash' on the wing.

I remember that he was pretty decent, could dribble (although not at much pace) and could definitely cross. He was probably our best player at the time and the problem was that he was wasted out wide when we didn't have the quality of player in the middle that we needed. Like many, I'm coming back to the idea that Arteta could be effective out wide for two reasons:

1. He's not playing all that well in the middle, whether it's personal form, Moyes's instructions, or the opposition targeting him to mark and forcing him to drop so deep to pick the ball up that he can't do anything useful with it.

2. In Rodwell and Fellaini, we do have the quality of player in the middle to mean we don't need Arteta there in the same way that we did.

Back to the OP's point about balance. You are right, of course, but I'm not sure transfer dealings are as simple as you seem to assume, and the attempted redistribution you suggest represented a risk in itself.

However, even accepting that Moyes's choice of squad stability over that risk was a reasonable one, two things occur to me; one is that any half-decent right winger would have done. Jermaine Pennant has played quite well for Stoke having cost them nothing, and I for one think he would add to our team simply by being a natural right winger who can dribble at pace, cross and occasionally score. The other is that, in Gueye and Bilyaletdinov, we have two options for the left wing that could have been tried, allowing Pienaar to play on the right. Thus we could have at least attempted to balance out our attacking threat a little, forcing the opposition to rethink, without any risk or outlay. That Moyes has failed to try even this simple manoeuvre is far more open to criticism for me than trying to re-jig the squad through transfer dealings.

Concerning the right-hand side, I think Coleman needs to be introduced to the right-back slot, and assuming no incomings, I'd have Arteta ahead of him. This is especially at home. If Jagielka and Distin (and possibly Heitinga) can't organise a back four without Neville there, then they're not good enough to play for us.
Steve Pugh
57   Posted 20/12/2010 at 14:20:01

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Be honest, all of you crying out for Arteta to be played out on the right... how many of you used to slag off Moyes for playing him out on the right when he is a central midfielder?

How many of you criticise Moyes for playing people out of position?

How many of you repeatedly called for Seamus to be played as a winger?

It strikes me that there are a lot of double standards being flung around at the minute.
Gerry Western
58   Posted 20/12/2010 at 22:42:14

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David, Coleman was outstanding against Blackpool and was then consigned to the subs bench for the next game against Bolton!!!!! Incidentally, when he came on as a sub in the Bolton game he initially took up a position wide right. However, he later dropped back to right back and finished the game in that position.

I think he may well have done the same against the Gunners and both of these games followed the Fulham game you mention. Shall I tell Moyes or should I leave it to you?
I'm sure we can both agree that was a sublime delivery to Cahill for tonight's opener and not for the first time either.
David Thomas
59   Posted 21/12/2010 at 01:07:07

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Coleman outstanding against Blackpool??? I don't think so. We must have really different ideas of what an outstanding performance is. In my opinion, an example of an outstanding performance would be Distin's performance tonight.

"I'm sure we can both agree that was a sublime delivery to Cahill for tonight's opener and not for the first time either." I would agree. He put in a good cross for Cahill's derby goal as well. Good job he was on the right of midfield tonight like he has been since he broke into the starting 11.

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