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Mindless Rotation

By James Martin :  15/05/2011 :  Comments (33) :
To be honest I don't think it will make a difference who we will/won't buy in the summer. You can only sign a player after identifying an area that needs strengthening. Moyes has shown throughout this season that he has no idea what his starting line-up is, what his players best positions are, or indeed what formation to play.

I have generally been a supporter of Moyes throughout his tenure and I still think calls for his head are a little premature. You cannot escape the fact however, that he has been shambolic this season.

Take player positions for example. Osman has been behind the striker, either flank, deep lying midfielder. Rodwell, attacking mid, holding mid, right wing. Arteta, attacking, holding, both flanks. Every week the team sheet is different. One minute Heitinga and Neville are flavours of the month... then, by the end of the game, Osman and Arteta are back in the middle only to start the next game wide on the flanks with Cahill, Fellaini and Rodwell back in the middle.

Formations. Moyes takes a gamble with 4-4-2 and gets a stunning win against Spurs, next week its back to 4-5-1. Saha gets injured so he is replaced by Beckford who strikes up a promising partnership with Osman, only to then get dropped for no reason for Anichebe. Against City we went 4-4-2 for the second half and won only to then find 4-5-1 back out against West Brom. Does Moyes just desperately go for the 4-4-2 in hope or does he actually have it as a fully trained viable back up plan?

What manager in the premier league doesn't know his best starting 11? Even Fergie with all the talent at his disposal has finally settled on one. Moyes absurdly sticks to exactly the same players early season despite their horrible results. When injury forced him into a new line up and results improved he then morphed into the tinker man picking some of the most bizarre Everton teams I've seen for a while.

Versatility is fine and probably essential for our small squad. It is no surprise however that our results are poor when the starting line up is getting changed every week.

If Moyes buys in the summer, he's going to have to hope he gets lucky and buys a player that hits the gorund running straight away. Otherwise, how can you justify Moyes's transfer criteria? If you don't even know your own formation and what players will play in it, how can you accurately go out there and target the player you need to fit into a system and improve it?

Any summer dealing seems like a blind stab in the dark to me. I wouldn't know which department to overhaul first. Maybe I'll just cover all my bases and buy a midfielder who can play attacking, defensive mid on demand and can also function in any of the wide areas wilst covering both centre back and striker slots.

Reader Comments

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Mike Bates
1   Posted 15/05/2011 at 18:49:58

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Nail. On. Head.
Rob Teo
2   Posted 15/05/2011 at 18:43:25

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I actually think Moyes has a good idea of who his preferred starting 11 is and the formation that he wants to play (i.e. 4-5-1).

The trouble is, he generally sticks to that starting 11 and formation regardless of the players' form or who we're playing or if any of them is just coming back from injury and/or unfit. And should any of his first 11 be unavailable, either though injury or suspension, from what I can tell, his method is to stick "the next player in line" into the starting line-up without considering if 4-5-1 is still the best formation to use considering the personnel and any other circumstances.

To be fair, he has played 4-4-2 on occasion, but that's usually when we're already a goal or two down and he has no choice but to go for broke. If memory serves me right, he's only played 4-4-2 from the off on two or three occasions this season, and that was when Saha was fit and with Beckford partnering him. (I think it was the period after we beat Spurs.)

For my money, his preferred starting 11, regardless of form, fitness or who we're playing, are:

Rob Teo
3   Posted 15/05/2011 at 19:09:43

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That is to say, I agree with the general thrust of your post, James, in that while I think Moyes knows who his preferred starting 11 are and the formation they should be playing, he seems incapable of recognising that it seldom works and, in fact, actually sucks balls a lot of the time.
Terry Downes
4   Posted 15/05/2011 at 19:37:55

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Personally, I'm sick of us signing these young players who we never see: Spencer, Silva, the guy at Coventry, him who went Barnsley etc etc. Vellios will be the next, you can bet he'll be off somewhere soon. I just don't see the point; Moyes will never use them.
Trevor Mackie
5   Posted 15/05/2011 at 19:54:35

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It is unfortunate but, this season, when the excuses were put to bed, we could see the real DM and it wasn't good. It's pointless nailing his now familiar faults 'cos he won't change and he won't get sacked; I believe both him and the club are praying for Villa or someone to make an approach allowing fond farewells with attendant backslapping and all that fanny. I just hope it happens quickly so the new man can have a pre-season to give him a fighting chance.

The nightmare is Moyes getting some dough from the sale of Baines or Rodwell ?- blowing it amidst the usual shit start, then jumping ship leaving us with our bollocks in our hands.

Joe McMahon
6   Posted 15/05/2011 at 20:11:16

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James, summed up very well. I know we need Kenwright to sell his train set; it ain't gonna happen. For me, David Moyes as a manager has failed to an extent also. I fail to see how a manager in charge at the same club for 9 year, cannot address areas of the squad that are weak, never learns from past mistakes, and has a week Plan B (even if there is one). What is it with this man with utility players and defenders???

Moyes going to Man U to replace a winner??? Eeerrrrrrr... nope.

Tom Owen
7   Posted 15/05/2011 at 20:01:13

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Moyes certainly likes to accommodate his favourites and the bigger egos in the camp in case he upsets them.

People say Moyes deserves a chance with financial backing. However, I don't think I could trust him to bring in the right players. He's had money before, and hasn't bought what we really needed. Moyes has hit a brick wall, and to me, he doesn't really know what he's doing.

The last two seasons have been abysmal by our standards. Moyes has set these standards, and he's failed to meet them.

I thank him for what he's done for us, but I think it's time to move on. You can blame Kenwright for not backing Moyes, but we all know that, despite spending nothing in the summer, we were all confident of doing something great this season. Moyes described it as the best squad in 25 years? We've suffered a lot of draws this season, and that's down to the negative style that we play. No doubt about it.

Graeme Sharp was spouting on the radio yesterday that we need a striker, and that we don't have nothing in the box. Well, if we went with Vic and Beckford up top together, and played a bit more positively, we might've done something yesterday.

We are boring at the moment, and that's down to Moyes. We had a great array of attacking talent when looking at the squad at the start of the season. But Moyes's tactical ability has held it back. Another season has been wasted. How many can we afford? While Arteta, Cahill, Jags, Saha are getting on and Lescott, Pienaar and Yakubu moving on. Not forgetting the dreaded sale of one of our star players again in the summer. How many disappointing seasons can we afford under Moyes???

"Unbelievable draws" and "7th places feels like winning the Champions League" ? How embarrassing.
Jim Hourigan
8   Posted 15/05/2011 at 21:19:17

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Does the fact that yesterday we played with 7 defenders, 2 midfield players, 1 forward and a fullback come winger not say it all?

This is his squad, his players and his tactics ? for all his talk at the start of his best squad, it is laid bare by his one-dimensional approach to football and his stubborn refusal to change his tactics. Yes, it is unlikely to get us relegated but will it ever win anything?

I for one think its time for a change.

Tony Stanley
9   Posted 15/05/2011 at 22:12:32

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if flanagan or kelly were at goodison youd have to go to a reserve team game to see them.
Andy Peers
10   Posted 15/05/2011 at 22:49:44

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I know we have nothing to play for but please tell me why is Anichebe a starter? I just want to know what Moyes likes about him. He had 1 decent game last week and still didn,t score. He seems like an automatic first choice Striker, that is the Stubborn part of Moyes that drives me crazy!!!! If Fergusson was our manager with this squad how many games do you think Anichebe would start? Fergusson doesn,t even start the leagues top goalscorer Berbatov. Pretty sure United fans will not be excited about any rumours that Moyes is there next
Chris Bannantyne
11   Posted 16/05/2011 at 01:33:50

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I liked Moyes.

I don't anymore.

Please go to Villa and leave us alone.

Take Anichebe with you.
Robbie Muldoon
12   Posted 16/05/2011 at 01:38:55

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I hate people who are surprised when I suggest that we should replace Moyes.

In my eyes, it's simple: we want to win things ? Moyes is not a winner. So let's look to replace him as you would look to replace a poor striker like Anichebe... oh hang on wait...
Roman Sidey
13   Posted 16/05/2011 at 04:37:12

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Apologise if you went on to rectify or expand on this in a constructive way, but I stopped reading after "I still think calls for his head are a little premature."

When won't they be premature? 15 seasons of 4-5-1, no trophies, 8 more record signings either sitting on the treatment table or heading down to a Championship club, and press conferences after a 1-0 loss saying how great the players performed?
Tony Cheek
14   Posted 16/05/2011 at 05:30:55

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Moyes lost his way a long time ago, but if he has trouble finding the door, for god's sake I hope somebody shows him!!!
Paul Gladwell
15   Posted 16/05/2011 at 06:39:48

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Great post, James, I am fed up of seeing him have to make subs either at half-time or just after because his negative plan has failed.

Tony Stanley, spot on too ? we are skint so we need to get some of our youngsters up to scratch and if he cannot have the balls to play Gueye or one of the others in a meaningless game against poor opposition, what chance will they have next season?

My only worry is, when he does leave, Kenwright will take the cheapest option and give the job to Neville.

Richard Dodd
16   Posted 16/05/2011 at 09:21:26

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But in spite of all these `failings`, Davey has got us to seventh position ? a marvellous achievement when you consider our resources and where we were up to Christmas!

Let`s just enjoy him whilst he`s here ? might not be for long now!

Steve O'Malley
17   Posted 16/05/2011 at 10:13:35

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And when he does go, make sure he takes his best mate Round with him. He is the only person I have heard say positive things about Anichibe. No-one will ever know if Round was any good because, like the players, he just follows Moyes instructions.

It's time to go.... Davie.

Tony J Williams
18   Posted 16/05/2011 at 10:51:30

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Where has this myth that he went 4-4-2 against Citteh come from? It was a 4-5-1 with Vic moving to the right wing.
Anthony Hawkins
19   Posted 16/05/2011 at 12:39:16

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I have to say that after this season I'm beginning to lose patience with Moyes. This could have been a major season for us. Yes, the whole league has been strange this year but there were no excuses. A striker should have been bought in the summer, the team does almost pick itself and we've had the opportunity for relative consistency.

Each season I say to myself "a good preseason and all will be well with the world..." However, especially with the lack of cash I'm not convinced about next season.

Bily just hasn't stepped up. Anichebe just isn't going to be a striker and right wing hasn't been solved.

Arteta may be coming good again and hopefully he is but I think the time is now to off load him to a Spanish team. Let Osman or Rodwell take his place.

Sam Hoare
20   Posted 16/05/2011 at 12:51:46

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It's time to go, Davey, because there are so many other managers out there who would have seen us finish higher than 7th with our team and our finances.
Tony J Williams
21   Posted 16/05/2011 at 12:53:39

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Anthony, we did "buy" a striker, it's just that he isn't good enough.

I thought Arteta was absolutely non-existent for about 80% of the game on Saturday.

They all played rubbish, I was suprised with Victor's turn and shot because he absolutely raped the defender and but for Carson's trailing leg, it would have been a brilliant goal... he's still shit mind you, but perhaps there is a little sliver of hope for him... (I doubt it.)
Roman Sidey
22   Posted 16/05/2011 at 14:37:24

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I eventually read the rest of your article, thus confusing me as to why you think calling for his head is premature. You seem to have your mind made up on him, and I agree with everything you said.

Moyes is possibly the only man in the world working a non-government/city job for nearly a decade without getting results or being shown the door.

People say how poor certain players have been. For me, short spurts of poor form are down to the player, and the manager can help them get back into their game. Longer (season long for instance) periods of poor form, a la Bily, are down to a manager and his refusal to work with him in a productive way. I harp on about him, but in the last minute of our season last year, he scored one of the best goals an Everton players has scored in the Premier League, and in the space of an off season against Brisbane and Melbourne, he was not in Moyes plans. £10mil down the drain, and a very talented footballer going to waste.

Heitinga is a winner, and has acheived more in 27 years than Moyes will in a lifetime, yet isn't in our best 11? Sorry Davey, wrong again.
James Martin
23   Posted 16/05/2011 at 16:25:05

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Roman, you are right; I do largely argue against myself somewhat. I wanted to avoid this becoming another 'get Moyes out' post. I say calling for his head is premature because, as a younger Evertonian nurtured on relegation dogfights, the impulse is to cling to the man who brought you European football and players actually coveted by other teams in the league.

Perhaps a new fresh direction is needed and, if we had any sort of financial stability and spending power, then for me I would be all for a new manager. Knowing however that the 13 teams below us in the league are usually complete rubbish, fighting relegation all season, and that the 6 teams above us are laden with cash and the European football merry go round, with our current board's incompetence and meagre funds, I know which direction Everton are more likely to go.

I really thought Moyes was onto a good long term plan a few seasons back when we were playing well at home and in Europe (cruelly ended by Fiorentina). We had good players at the top of their form in the right positions: Lescott, Arteta, Yakubu, Cahill, and a crop of promising youngsters coming through. This has been sadly dashed, however... and it has got to the point were even seeing Andy Johnson running into a channel for Fulham leaves me a tad jealous.

If Moyes shows next season he has some idea how to take this group of players forward, then fine; if he's just going to take a scatter-gun approach to team selection, focusing only on the short-term target of reaching 40 points every year, then I'd show him the door myself.

Heitinga isn't my favourite player but I agree with you in that how Moyes hasn't called on him once despite our inability to keep a clean sheet is baffling. The defense have been shocking this year yet all of them seem untouchable.

I totally agree with you on Bily. Less natural attacking players, Rodwell, Cahill and Fellaini, have all seen decent game time in central advanced roles. Bily hasn't been moved once from the left flank where he is so obviously wasted. Heitinga and Neville with their limited defensive games are preferred in central mid to a player who can obviously pass, has played their on an international level and has a goal threat. Criminal.
John Ford
24   Posted 16/05/2011 at 20:11:11

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Sam Hoare ? "It's time to go, Davey, because there are so many other managers out there who would have seen us finish higher than 7th with our team and our finances."

Sam, I'm assuming this is ironic? If so, I'll admit to being 'got'... at least for a second or so.

Sean Patton
25   Posted 16/05/2011 at 20:25:04

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Just a question as I am curious to find out from fans who back Moyes.

What would have to happen for you to lose faith in the manager?
John Ford
26   Posted 17/05/2011 at 00:00:46

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Sean... see all other non-moneyed clubs and their managers in the Premier League over the past 7/8 years. None of them has done as well as Everton under Moyes.

He makes mistakes, but the core of the team is always strong. This is something other managers aren't able to sustain, even if they may appear to make 'better substitutions' or appear clearer about their attacking intent. Both common criticisms of Moyes.
Roman Sidey
27   Posted 17/05/2011 at 04:56:54

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John, that is fair enough. The flip side of it though is that most of the teams below Everton in the league right now are relatively small clubs in the scheme of things, with a fair chunk of historically "bigger" clubs down in the lower leagues for the time being. Everton having a strong core means bugger all if we don't eventually win something... or, for that matter, lose twice in a season to a side like WBA.

Moyes has ridden the coat tales of 04-05 ever since, with a lot of supporters being led to believe that Europa League was a good enough achievement. Personally, if you finish top 4 in a season, miss out on the group stage of the Champ League, then fail to requalify the following year, you've failed as a team and the manager should go.

Personally, if Wenger leaves or is sacked by Arsenal before Moyes...

Tony J Williams
28   Posted 17/05/2011 at 10:04:03

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"Most of the teams below Everton in the league right now are relatively small clubs" ? yet they spend more money on new players than Everton.

"Lose twice in a season to a side like WBA." ? or do the double over the FA Cup Winners and Champions League Qualifiers... both our statements are as useless as each other. The season is 38 games not two where we played extremely poorly and had a man sent off, one our most creative player, straight after one of theirs should have been red carded for a terrible foul/elbow.
Mike Allison
29   Posted 17/05/2011 at 11:26:25

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"You cannot escape the fact however, that he has been shambolic this season. "

I can. And look up the word 'fact'. Then look up the word 'opinion'.

Everyone without money wishes they were us and wishes they had Moyes, we're what they're all aiming for.
Daniel A Johnson
30   Posted 17/05/2011 at 12:16:41

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Giving Anichebe a new contract following his stroppy attitude and lack of form. That was Moyes final nail in his coffin for me.

Couple tahtw ith hsi chronic inabilty to perpare a squad for a new season, dire tactics, baffling team selections.

Large amounts of money wasted e.g. Kroldrup, Bily.

ASTON VILLA please take him hes all yours.......
Tony J Williams
31   Posted 17/05/2011 at 12:48:14

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Daniel can you imagine if we didn't give Victor a new contract and he left like Gosling? There would be posters going postal on here.

We will sell him to a newly promoted side or one already in the Championship but at least we will get a little bit of money for him.
Eric Myles
32   Posted 17/05/2011 at 12:24:45

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"buy a midfielder who can play attacking, defensive mid on demand and can also function in any of the wide areas wilst covering both centre back and striker slots."
You forgot 'and can give his all between the sticks' (e.g. Jags)
Davey Boyes
33   Posted 17/05/2011 at 15:03:43

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