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What's good for the goose...

By Roman Sidey :  05/01/2011 :  Comments (37) :

By far the biggest talking point this week, amongst all the anti-/pro-Moyes talk, has been his refusal to start a game with two strikers (in some cases with none). For years, Moyes?s adoptive formation has been 4-5-1, and, as many have pointed out, we have enjoyed a few seasons in the upper area of the table, being dubbed ?best of the rest? for some of those seasons.

With success (using the word very lightly) comes the problem of complacency. This article is not going to lament on the issue of funding the manager has had at his disposal, as this is only a valid cry during the transfer windows ? once the window is shut, you get on with the job. Back to complacency: Moyes does not see the need or have the vision to change from his tactic which has been worked out, and is failing miserably.

It was only a few seasons ago when 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 were the popular formations being used by most clubs, mainly because Chelsea won the title playing the latter. Sir Alex was playing 4-5-1 for a few months, with Ruud van Nistelroy the usual striker. This was after a season where Man Utd finished 3rd in the Premier League ? ask anyone from the Prawn Sandwich brigade if 3rd is an acceptable finish... It didn?t take long for the fans to turn on Ferguson and demand that he revert back to the classic 4-4-2. They chanted, they lobbied, they made him know they weren?t happy. What did he do? Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest manager the country has seen, listened, and did what his real employers asked for. He went back to 4-4-2 and within a year had broken a three year title drought (a long drought by United?s standards).

Moyes refuses to change, after years of the same old formation. The strikers he brought into the side aren?t suited to play his style, yet he persists in selecting the team around one of them getting a game, and the others being expected to spend 10 minutes cleaning up a mess that took 80 to create. If it is okay for Sir Alex Ferguson to admit he was wrong and change his tactics back to how the game was invented, then why is it okay for David Moyes not to admit defeat and try something (in his mind) new and exciting?

This week, Everton face Tottenham without the only goal threat, forcing Moyes to shuffle the side. Everyone knows how they want to see the team shuffled, with many people agreeing on some tactics and disagreeing on others. What everyone can probably agree on is this: everyone has a fair idea how Moyes will shuffle the side. He has already come out in the press begging the fans to show faith, a day after his post-match press conference claiming he thought he was doing the right thing even though results said otherwise. This gives it all away.

The result against Spurs is actually irrelevant. Sure, if Everton lose, the club could be in relegation territory when they take on Scunthorpe at the weekend. Avoiding relegation doesn?t come down to nicking points off the top teams, it comes down to beating the teams around you and at the bottom ? something Moyes needs to rectify over the next 18 games. What is relevant in this match is the way Moyes communicates to the fans via the team sheet and the way the players move on the field that he truly is the man that they want managing their club.

Reader Comments

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Steve Smith
1   Posted 05/01/2011 at 14:31:05

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It's interesting that Pip Neville has broadly hinted to Moyes that with Cahill away, it may be time to try a new formation. Then I watched Moyes's press conference in which he stated Hibbo or Johhny H would replace Jags in defence, and kind of got the feeling that 4-5-1 will be on the cards tonight.
Phil Martin
2   Posted 05/01/2011 at 14:32:11

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How can the result be irrelevant tonight? It's usually this time of year a unexpected win kicks off our season.
Andy Peers
3   Posted 05/01/2011 at 14:44:17

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I am kind of dreading today,s game as Moyes may play a 4-4-2 formation and it probabky won,t work against Spurs. He should be using 4-4-2 against teams that concede a lot of goals. If 4-4-2 doesn,t work today, then Moyes and a lot of his fans will just say "I told you so". Once again Davey has to have a gameplan based on who we are playing and that is a major problem he has had this season hence our league position.
Michael Lynch
4   Posted 05/01/2011 at 14:45:42

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If Moyes starts with Hibbo again at CB then he really has lost plot. Hibbo was a liability against WH. Its not Hibbos fault though its the managers for playing him out of position. Why wont he try Duffy? He is so stubborn its infuriating. Why does he continue with his same shit tactics, that everyone has cottoned on to. Why wont he give Beckford a chance? Why did he drop Yakubu?

With his incresingly bizzare team selections im starting to wonder if Davey has an agenda. We know he wont walk away from 65k a week but, if he were sacked he would be in line for a nice big fat payout.

Sounds mad i know, but not as mad as Daveys team selections and his tacticts.
James McGlone
5   Posted 05/01/2011 at 14:55:58

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Roman, that's an excellent article. In all seriousness, why don't you get your coaching qualifications and become a top premier league manager, since you know so much more than the fella who has been manager of the season, what? 3 times in nearly 8 seasons?

I always go with 2 up front against shit teams in Football Manager also. How can Moyes not see it when we can Roman, eh?
Andy Peers
6   Posted 05/01/2011 at 15:00:00

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I also have reservations about Moyes being sacked. I am not sure that is the answer this season as he might be able to pull us through a relegation battle and new blood may not be able to re-shape us in time. Moyes just needs to play attacking gutsy football and then all will be forgiven (with a few good results).
James McGlone
7   Posted 05/01/2011 at 15:00:56

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Christ Michael, what's wring with you people. He won't start Duffy (with no experience) instead of Hibbert (with a decade of experience) because it's bleeding Tottenham.

For Gods sake mate, if you're going to criticise Moyes, try to find something genuine like his fashion choices instead of making up crap and making yourself look like an idiot.
Michael Lynch
8   Posted 05/01/2011 at 15:14:55

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Yeah James lets start with Hibbo because he's got a decade of experience. Doesn't matter if he costs us a few goals, because he is shite at CB. Wouldn't want to start with a promising youngster with international experience at CB, that would be mad wouldn't it?

I wasn't stating a fact about Moyes, just wondering why he does what he does? Seems very strange to me.

Obviously not you though, so at least someone's happy. NSNO

Andrew McGreavy
9   Posted 05/01/2011 at 15:46:40

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Just on the conspiracy theory, where has gone? It's been down for hours.

Maybe they are changing all the pages ready for some big announcement, I think it could be 4-5-1 Fellani upfront and "Come on lads these are a brilliant team, let's try and get and 0-0, that will keep the natives happy, come on boys remember defend defend defend"
Ray Roche
10   Posted 05/01/2011 at 15:49:35

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Crouch. 6ft-7ins.
Hibbert. 4ft-2ins.
Now, I wonder if it'll work with Hibbo at CB...

Ian McPherson
11   Posted 05/01/2011 at 15:52:28

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Roman, very good article but just high lighting another flaw with our manager. Formations, tactics, players postions...It's all been covered I think.

Tonight I expect 4-5-1. Hibbert will start so we can call it a night early on. I will say it again, I would not let him cut the half time oranges unsupervised let alone start for our club.
KPR Williams
12   Posted 05/01/2011 at 15:52:38

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Yey....the 4-4-2 argument is back...
I was sat with my manc brother in law watching United play 4-4-2 against West Brom on news years day and they were getting royally battered. The bro in law and his mate were screaming for SAF to change what was blatently obvious. They were being over-run in midfield and were hardly keeping possesion for a minute, SAF 'eventually' reverted to 4-5-1 Berba off, Hernandez on, rooney out to the left and they went on and won the game.
Its horses for courses is what i'm saying. Who would have though the league leaders having to revert to 4-5-1 to beat West Brom? If we play 4-4-2 tonight against them tonight we will get ripped apart. We dont have the quality they have.
We have been absolutely shite over xmas...hopefully tonight we can turn these over...I'd nearly forgotten how hard it can be supporting Everton..
Trevor Lynes
13   Posted 05/01/2011 at 16:29:54

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Redknapp has so many alternative tactics and so many different types of players that he can get away with a very long injury list and still field a very good side. His side has pace in Bale and Lennon and guile in Modric... height (Crouch) if he needs him and a very strong bench. Compare that to what we have.

We cannot stand the absence of Cahill and Jags without it causing big problems at the front and back. Fellaini will no doubt be told to combat Crouch and DM will be working overtime trying to block the danger from Bale and Lennon.

He will not play untested youngsters against Spurs!!

John Shaw
14   Posted 05/01/2011 at 16:28:20

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While there's no doubt that Moyes has got a lot to answer for this season so far, (and I've been very critical of his team selection, formation and use of subs) after reading todays press and the fact that he doesn't even have any funds for the wages of any loan players, without selling players first, it really does illustrate just how appallingly bad our beloved club has/is being run by Bullshit Bill and his cronies, Green and Earl ! SACK THE BOARD, SACK THE BOARD, SACK THE BOARD.............
Phil Martin
15   Posted 05/01/2011 at 16:52:50

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agree with John Shaw 100%
Chez Hutton
16   Posted 05/01/2011 at 17:15:26

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It's so easy to take one teams formations and compare to your own, but it's also just as easy to have a completely different point of view of the same formation!

For example - Berbatov is one of the best strikers in the PL and Rooney is one of the best players in the world - you really cant compare them to Yak/Beckford/Saha/Anichebe............ meanwhile Rooney also tends to come in off the left or drop deep for the it could be argued that SAF is playing 4-51.........if Moyes had both I'm sure he'd play both!!!

Mike Allison
17   Posted 05/01/2011 at 17:55:10

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"He will not play untested youngsters against Spurs!!"

Which just goes to show he should have done it against West Ham. Moyes rarely plans ahead in that way. He missed a similar chance to integrate Coleman in the side at right back last year when we were on a good run and had home games against weaker sides.

Having said that, I didn't see Hibbert as a liability at all against West Ham, I thought he did okay, and the own goal was just unlucky. The problem in the West Ham game was our failure to attack them, not the way our central defenders played.
John Ford
18   Posted 05/01/2011 at 17:55:24

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I quote:

'This article is not going to lament on the issue of funding the manager has had at his disposal, as this is only a valid cry during the transfer windows ? once the window is shut, you get on with the job'

Naive, or just a bit daft

So the fact, and it is a fact, that Moyes hasnt had comparable funds to other clubs is only relevant in the transfer window? really?

So outside of the transfer window do the other clubs share their newly introduced top talent amongst the other teams? That would certainly provide us with an even playing field. Of course it matters if we havnt got or cant afford top players, it matters every single time they step out onto the pitch. All Moyes can do is get the best from his players. He isnt doing so at present ,but his record stacks up well.

As for Moyes apparent inability to adapt, I agree. I particularly lament the poor use of Heitinga. He may have limited resources but Davey boy should perhaps spend a weekend away with a few hippies, smoke a bit of something sticky and refresh his thinking.
Howard Don
19   Posted 05/01/2011 at 17:59:15

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Ah yes John Shaw (14) Sack The Board, that's a well thought through long term strategy alright. No hint of kneejerk overreaction and "oh shit what do we do now" then about that is there.

Bit like going gung ho 4-4-2 aaginst an on song midfield and potent attack like Spurs have. That'll really do it., what's that I hear people say? We'll get overrun in midfield while they score a bagfull. It'll never happen, they'll be so terrified by our upfront combination of - perm any two from four or five hopelessly out of form/unfit non-goalscorers - they won't dare come out at us.

Give me a break.
Phil Martin
20   Posted 05/01/2011 at 18:18:50

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Howard Don,

"kneejerk overreaction". Is 10 years of stagnation and fuck ups not long enough for you? How many decades of mediocrity would you suggest we abide before reacting?
Andrew McGreavy
21   Posted 05/01/2011 at 19:16:48

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My three young daughters are in bed, Mrs has gone out, I'm now ready to be fully entertained by the boys in blue (Everton NOT the Police)
Denis Richardson
22   Posted 05/01/2011 at 19:39:59

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Right - prayers have been answered, we finally have a starting line up with all 11 players in the proper positions.

Over to you the players.........COYB
Andy Peers
23   Posted 05/01/2011 at 19:57:10

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Why Arteta, Neville and Saha...not good.
Roman Sidey
24   Posted 05/01/2011 at 20:04:44

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I wasn't trying to compare our play or formations with United, merely pointing out that Ferguson listened to the fans and changed, which is what it's not taken Moyes until tonight to do.
Surprise, surprise, he started with 2 strikers and Saha breaks his duck with in 3 minutes.
Faith has been momentarily restored. No Hibbo and 2 strikers!
Eugene Ruane
25   Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:01:33

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Some really great, neat, clever football to watch tonight. Spurs are no slouches and if allowed, will rip your plums off. Well they DID look dangerous in patches, but you wouldn't find many who would say it wasn't a well-deserved win. Fellaini gave them very little second half and Coleman's fearless 'I'M FUCKING GOING FOR IT!' was great to watch. Plus with two strikers, we actually looked (for the first time in ages) like a team with options. If we can get that final ball sorted out and Arteta can find some form..well I'm not making any daft predictions but we'll give anyone in that league a game. Also, given the disappointment of Stoke, they showed a lot of bollocks to bounce back that way Credit where credit is due.
Roman Sidey
26   Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:39:59

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Spot on Eugene. Like comedy, football is about timing, and the timing for this win was priceless.
Howard Don
27   Posted 05/01/2011 at 22:44:59

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You misunderstand me Phil (20) I'm not necessarily supporting the current board , but it IS knee jerk to say "sack the board" without having an alternative in place or even likely to be in place. That way lies chaos.
John Shaw
28   Posted 06/01/2011 at 00:52:22

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Howard Don - just to clear up the obvious misunderstanding on your part, I did not mean sack the board literally, as this is not possible, this is due to the fact that they own the company and can't be sacked!

My point was that we cannot criticise the manager endlessly when he has NET spend since Jan 2008 of roughly £0.00, now we find that he can't even bring a loan signing in without selling because we can't afford the wages! The company is pretty much bankrupt and that completly down to Kenwright and Co ? nobody else!

I am looking forward to analysing the latest accounts when they are published because they will show the Board up for what they are, asset strippers who are clueless, people who have left us with NO tangible assets ? not Goodison, not Bellefield, not Netherton and not Finch Farm. This is obviously only my opinion, but it's an opinion born from over 20 years working in finance and successfully running companies!

My point was that it is now that bad we need rid of Kenwright, Green and Earl if we are to survive, let alone prosper, which would obviously require a buyer. Oh, and what a great win for the Blue Boys tonight, fantastic, get in boys.

Derek Thomas
29   Posted 06/01/2011 at 08:04:22

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Post #19...' A bit like going gung-ho 4-4-2 etc etc '

Knock knock !

Mr Don? Mr Howard Don?

Good evening Sir, Humble Pie Home Delivery Service, we have your order.

1 Large Humble Pie, a portion of Sq. pegs in Sq. holes, a medium attacking intent. Hold the usual favourites, no Hibbo, Osman, no Jags... Oh and there is no Cahill to be found in the Country at present. Sorry but we only have 1 defensive midfielder... But, as a special offer to our regulars, due to having something to shout about we can supersize the crowd reaction for you.

KPR Williams
30   Posted 06/01/2011 at 09:21:33

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Humble pie with a dribble of custard for me please. 4-4-2 worked a treat against them, though where were Bale and Lennon?...

The best match we've played since the derby... Coleman was like Kanchelskis against Ekotto.

One happy Blue in the office today... couple of not so happy reds though..bliss.

Carlsberg dont do results to suit Manchester United..

Eric Myles
31   Posted 06/01/2011 at 09:28:17

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When was 4-4-2 the formation when the game was invented?

The School of Science played 2-3-5 and that was what I was taught at school.

Phil Bellis
32   Posted 06/01/2011 at 10:55:22

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Don't forget Johnny Morrissey - the 4th man in the midfield 3
Roman Sidey
33   Posted 06/01/2011 at 12:25:15

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Sorry Eric, it was late when I wrote it, and I DID mean to say "modern football". I know that the Madrid team of the 60s usually used 4-2-4 and similar ones, and didn't mean to disrespect the SOS. Too many times watching Mike Bassett perhaps too. Hedges and Benson for a run against Scunthorpe anyone?
Howard Don
34   Posted 06/01/2011 at 14:57:36

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Fair enough Derek (29) Humble pie duly scoffed. In mitigation I'd plead I'd have been happy to play that formation against West Ham and Stoke, I just thought Spurs would rip us apart going all out attack and you have to admit there was a period in the first half when they looked like overunning us in midfield. However can't argue with the facts, I was wrong on this one.
Derek Thomas
35   Posted 07/01/2011 at 07:59:47

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Fair play for that Howard. Now lets go out and do it to the RS. and every one else game after game.

A good pasting for the RS, Roy might go and if we are really lucky the serial quitter king kenny might get the nod
Howard Don
36   Posted 07/01/2011 at 13:20:04

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That would be dreamtime Derek, but with our luck Roy will be sacked before the game, new manager comes in, team plays out of it's skin etc etc.

Being so cheerful keeps me going!!
Eric Myles
37   Posted 08/01/2011 at 17:44:40

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Phil, I remember Morrissey bring our outside right, which would be the 'modern' equivalent of a right back, which he certainly wasn't.

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