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The Bench

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Over the past few years, teams Chelsea and United have quality players who don't start. Keeping them happy is man-management which I believe David Moyes is about to face for the first time. have been judged on the bench. On MotD we hear "look at the bench, players who could start at most other clubs in the Premier League."

This is what I would like to see our bench looking like for the opening day of the season: Mucha, Neville, Yobo, Cahill, Rodwell, Yakubu. Saha. I'm assuming Fellaini won't be fit. This is as good a bench as there is in the Premier League. If David Moyes gets the tactics right, this season can be the turning point in the history of Everton.
Andy Crooks, Belfast     Posted 23/07/2010 at 17:41:23

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Charlie Percival
1   Posted 23/07/2010 at 19:12:23

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Under the assumption that Pienaar, Arteta, Jagielka and Heitinga are still with us...
Charlie Percival
2   Posted 23/07/2010 at 19:12:58

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sorry add Yobo and Yakubu to that. 2 of those six players wont be with us next season, I just dont know which ones
Brendan O'Doherty
3   Posted 23/07/2010 at 19:23:01

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Now Andy, you know that Neville, Cahill, and Saha are all going to start if fit. Probably Rodwell as well, if Fellaini is not fit. So it is very unlikely you are going to see your desired bench.

Who would be starting upfront if your bench ever materialised?
Charlie Percival
4   Posted 23/07/2010 at 19:33:20

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Beckford... but I know for sure Beckford won't start, he will be bedded in slowly.

This team will start the season, I reckon (assuming everyone stays):

Howard
Neville Jagielka Distin Baines
Heitinga Arteta
Bilyaletdinov (likely Osman) Cahill Pienaar
Saha

I'll be amazed if it's any different unless injuries or outgoings, new recruits.... Even new players aren't likely to start.

That team will start the Prem season, I'd like to see Bily start and think Moyes will, BUT Moyes loves Osman and may go with him.
Andy Crooks
5   Posted 23/07/2010 at 19:37:14

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Brendan, I have a good feeling about Beckford. In my opening line-up he'd start with Bily behind him. Coleman at right back. I agree it won't happen but Moyes must be bold.
Danny Burke
6   Posted 23/07/2010 at 20:15:01

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I agree that the likely team (all being the same) will be the one Charlie has posted, with possibly Yakubu in for Saha:

Howard
Neville Jagielka Distin Baines
Heitinga Arteta
Bilyaletdinov (likely Osman) Cahill Pienaar
Saha

That leaves a likely bench of
Mucha, Rodwell, Yobo, Hibbert, Osman/Bily, Saha/Yak, Beckford,

Maybe Vaughan, Anichebe, Coleman, Gueye could make it into the team/bench. Decent, and importantly potentially game changing options from the bench for once instead of kids. Plus there is Fellaini to come back

Duffy, Mustaphi, J Silva, Agard, Gueye, Baxter, Wallace etc in and around the squad.
Pat Finegan
7   Posted 23/07/2010 at 22:57:16

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With the squad we have, I don't know who is going to start. Regardless of who starts, I'll be happy. That's an exciting thought.
Jay Harris
8   Posted 23/07/2010 at 23:20:35

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I have a feeling... but don't we all!! ? that DM may surprise some of us and I can see a 4-2-3-1 formation with:

Hibbert (or Coleman) Jags Distin Baines
Heitinga Neville (until Fellli's fit)
Anichebe Arteta Pienaar?
Saha
Andy Crooks
9   Posted 23/07/2010 at 23:58:29

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Here's a prediction. Our opening eleven will include Neville and Osman, both fine players but not what we need in a team challenging for the Champions League. Beckford will not start but will come on during an injury crisis. He will then be the catalyst that turns our season. I didn't want us to sign him but he is arrogant, selfish has lots to prove and is quick.

Some time ago, I posted a letter suggesting that Gary Lineker was the best signing we ever made. I am going to stick my neck on the line and suggest that Beckford will outdo him. It is totally illogical but I just have a feeling that he will be something special.

Mike Elbey
10   Posted 24/07/2010 at 09:20:15

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Given the fact that Feli is still out our openning team should be :-

Howard

Neville
Jagielka
Heitinga
Baines

Rodwell
Arteta

Anichebe
Cahill
Pienaar

Saha

However, Moyes will probably pick Ossie; if he does, I hope it's centrally and not wide right where big Vic is the only player we have who gives us proper balance. Also he will probably play Distin and move Johnny boy to the holding role, which is maybe fair enough based on the aerial bombardment we are likely to get from one of Big Sam's teams...
Adam Fenlon
11   Posted 25/07/2010 at 06:12:16

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Beckford to be better than Lineker? Well I guess it's better than the "not good enough - get rid!" comments we'll get the first time he has a mini-scoring drought!
Andy Crooks
12   Posted 25/07/2010 at 11:14:47

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Adam, I am suggesting that Beckford will be a better deal as he cost nothing and isn't on, relatively, huge wages.
Alan Kirwin
13   Posted 25/07/2010 at 15:59:43

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On the main question of the article, regarding the strength of our bench and therefore our squad, one can only agree. This is, without any question whatsoever, the finest, strongest, fittest, most skillfull and most valuable squad we have had for aeons.

I have a suspicion that Beckford will turn out a surprise package (for some) and both score goals and prove himself as a useful leader of the line. Gueye has already been receiving good reviews and he's barely arrived. But, almost wherever one looks in the squad, there are grounds for optimism.

It's a squad game and things will change game by game. But looking at the squad now, the options we have are unbelievable compared to just a few years back. Before I look into that, one must also factor in the settled, motivated and togetherness nature of the Everton squad and ethic under Moyes. It's usually true that the best teams beat the best players. That team ethic, coupled with excellent coaching and an increasingly retentive and expressive style of play are further reasons for looking forward to this season.

But just looking at the options in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-5-1 or even 4-3-3 if the occasion warrants it, this looks good. The arguable exception being left back.

Howard (Mucha)

Hibbert (Coleman, Neville)
Jagielka (Yobo)
Distin (Heitinga, Duffy)
Baines (Garbutt)*

Heitinga (Neville)
Fellaini (Arteta)

Rodwell (Anichebe, Cahill)
Arteta (Osman, Bilyaletdinov)
Pienaar (Gueye, Baxter, Vaughan)

Saha (Yakubu, Beckford, Silva)

I like our increasingly tika-taka retentive stye of play. I like our legendary commitment & determination. And I also like the fact that I see about 15 players in the squad who have goals in them. Despite the rumours about Arteta, Pienaar & Jagielka,I'm finding it rather difficult to contain my feeling of optimism.

On a different point, seems mad to me that the transfer window is open until 31 August, which in theory allows clubs like Man City the possibility of pissing on the fireworks of other clubs just as they are getting started on their season. Surely 31 July makes more sense.

Anyway, I just can't wait for this season to start, and it's a while since I felt like that.

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