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I see many comments in other threads on the need for a 20/25-goal-a-season striker. Whilst this should always be the aspiration, the reality is that there are very few of these players around (Drogba, Rooney, Torres) and those that do exist are way out of our price range. The solution of course lies elsewhere with a team contribution to the 'goals for' column, particularly from the midfield.

This is one source of our current travails as, with the notable exception of Cahill, we just do not generate enough scoring opportunities and, therefore, goals from this area. I think the single best way to address this within current resources, other than Moyes exhorting Pienaar and Arteta to be more aggressive from the edge of the box, is to play Rodwell in an advanced role within the midfield.

He makes strong and powerful runs, has a good shot and seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time. I would definitley have Rodwell, with Arteta, Fellaini (holding midfield), Heitinga and Jagielka (centre-backs) as the first names on the team sheet as the spine each week. Everyone else should fit around this.
Dave  Hutchinson, Greatstone, Kent     Posted 24/08/2010 at 20:16:54

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Nick Veitch
1   Posted 25/08/2010 at 05:34:40

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Yeah I agree Dave.
With respect to the centre halves, I don't care that Jagielka/Heitinga would be a short defensive partnership. During set pieces we can bring Fellaini and Cahill (and potentially Rodwell if we went off your line up) back to defend. The amount of times Cahill heads away opposition set pieces is insane as it is. I think we need to get Heitinga in to get the ball moving well from the back. Distin just doesn't cut the mustard defensively or distribution wise.
Nick Veitch
2   Posted 25/08/2010 at 05:39:08

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The only issue I have with what you're saying is that to fit Rodwell, Arteta and Fellaini in the same team, you have to either sacrifice Cahill (which is the main midfield goalscoring threat you identified), or push Arteta to right-midfield. I don't think Moyes will do either to be honest, so expect Fellaini and Rodwell to rotate all season I'd say.
Paul Olsen
3   Posted 25/08/2010 at 06:57:30

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Except, so far this season Distin has been better than Jags. So if someone has to go to make way for Heitinga it should be Jags. At least the way it is right now.
Rupert Sullivan
4   Posted 25/08/2010 at 08:15:31

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I don't think you will find many 20-goals-a-season strikers operating up front on their own. Everton's strikers are possibly capable of this many ? Beckford, Saha and Yakubu (pre-injury) but without the support from the midfield and being stranded up front on their own how does anyone expect them to put away that many goals?

For me the problem is their lack of service, and for as long as 4-5-1 continues, I think this will remain the same.
Sam Hoare
5   Posted 25/08/2010 at 08:19:04

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Rupert Sullivan. Have to disagree.

Torres plays on his own up front for Liverpool. Or did under Benitez (with Gerrard playing the Cahill role)

Drogba quite often plays solo for Chelsea as well with Malouda and Anelka providing width as wingers.

In the same way that Fabiano and Villa played on their own in the World Cup in the 4-2-3-1. Which is what I think we should be playing.

Having just one striker does not mean they should be bereft of service. It depends on how well the rest of the system works.
Eugene Ruane
6   Posted 25/08/2010 at 08:35:18

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20/25 goals?

Well yes it would be great but you're right, not for us anytime soon.

In fact our top-scorers 'stats' over the past 10 years or so have not really been very impressive.

I think only twice have they got over 14 (I always think of 14 as it's what CENTRE HALF, Derek 'and we love ar Deggsy Mount' Mounffield scored for us in 85).

In fact I think 3 of those 'top' scorers didn't get into double figures.
Tony J Williams
7   Posted 25/08/2010 at 08:54:31

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If we are talking about goals from the midfield, how about the feckers actually having a shot from the edge of the box once in a while instead of looking for that precision pass.

The number of times we have been in positions to have a crack yet Arteta and Pienaar will try the pass instead is infuriating.

Hasn't Arteta remembered Round's quote of "putting his laces through it" after he scored that belter of a free kick against Bolton? Try it again, that was one of the best things with Kanchelskis, he would shoot all the time, 4 scenarios would occur, score, miss, save, save and parry, which opens it up for an attacker to get on the rebound.

You don't shoot, you don't score.... it's not rocket science.
Ray Roche
8   Posted 25/08/2010 at 09:00:19

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Sam Hoare @5

Rupert does make a very good point in saying that the service we provide to our forwards is woefull. You could have Drogba and Torres up front and they'd struggle to score if we just hoof the ball forward or over elaborate around the box. On Saturday Beckford didn't receive more than one pass to give him an opportunity to run at their defence, which is why we bought him. It's AJ all over again. We buy players and then forget why we bought them and give them a crap service. We should play TO our, and their, strengths.
Mike Elbey
9   Posted 25/08/2010 at 09:28:38

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The problem with our team is simple but unfortunately will not be addressed. Moyes will not drop his 'foot soldiers' of Cahill, Neville, Osman, Hibbert etc.

For me we have moved on from all these players, although I accept that Cahill has a role to play against certain opposition. Also, due to the lack of goals from our 'strikers', I don't see any reason why Cahill could not be used as an out-and-out striker with Rodwell offering the support behind.

The basic problem is that the following players should be automatic choices:- Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Arteta, Fellaini, Rodwell, Pienaar. Also Coleman, again for certain games. Therein lies the problem ? how can Moyes pick all these and still accomodate the 'foot soldiers'?

If we want to move on then we need to change the personel who are considered regulars, or change the system to a 3-5-2.

My team at the moment would be:-

Neville Jagielka Heitinga Baines
Anichebe Arteta Fellaini Rodwell Pienaar

Or a 3-5-2 with Coleman in for Neville as RWB and Distin in for Anichebe as the extra CB.

Has Moyes got the bottle to put the faithfulls on the sidelines? I reckon not....
Peter Bourke
10   Posted 25/08/2010 at 10:19:58

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@9 Mike,
You can't play Cahill as the lone striker because he loses his effectiveness. He can be marked out of the game when playing alone up front. He is best utilised where the opposition have no idea what he is doing or where he might pop up.

Cahill is not a foot soldier of Moyes and he is suited against all opposition. What does this guy have to do to prove his worth to the team...? I can't believe some people question this guy's place in the team when he has proved his worth a hundred timesover FFS.

Jimmy Hacking
11   Posted 25/08/2010 at 10:23:43

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I definitely agree that we need to try other options if we do not buy another striker, simply because I don't believe ANY of our current strikers can cut the mustard. Let's face it: Saha has lost it, Yak's virtually retired, and Beckford is the new Jason Scotland (I hope I'm wrong on this, but doubt it).
Alan Clarke
12   Posted 25/08/2010 at 10:23:03

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Paul Olsen is right, if anyone should be dropped, it should be Jagielka rather than Distin. Jagielka didn't mark his man for Wolves' goal and his hoofs on Saturday were so bad the ball came down with snow on it on several occasions.

With a near fully fit squad, Moyes has got to start showing some balls with his team selections. He's not going to keep everyone happy and will have to drop some of his players. Fellaini is essential in our midfield so he either drops Jags or Heitinga.

Danny Burke
13   Posted 25/08/2010 at 10:19:32

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Cahill is obviously our main threat from midfield but Arteta was quite effective last season when he came back and provided goals from midfield; he has done this previously. Pienaar should really score more and Osman does chip in with goals. Was it his first season Fellaini got 9(ish) ? albeit some time played up-front?

Anichebe should be a goal threat from the right as he started as a striker, Bily bagged a decent amount last season, and Rodders can certainly have a threat. I actually think we score a decent amount from midfield, the potential is certainly there.

Peter Bourke
14   Posted 25/08/2010 at 10:35:58

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I agree, Alan. I am sick of Jags playing hoofball. And he's the only one that does it. WHY? We can play the passing game, we proved that in the back end of last season. Jags is the Hoofball King of the EPL.
Danny Burke
15   Posted 25/08/2010 at 10:37:42

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Oh and as for a 20-goal-a-season striker, we have one by the name of Yakubu who, despite what people say, is far from finished.
Dave Lynch
16   Posted 25/08/2010 at 10:45:05

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Sam (No 5).

To equate Cahill with Gerrard is ridiculous to say the least. Now I hate the red gobshite, but he is far and away a better footballer than Cahill will ever be. His passing and reading of the game is much more advanced than Tim's will ever be.

The reason Torres can play up front on his own is that they break with speed down the flanks and through the middle, getting support up to Torres. We, it pains me to say, are pedestrian with a hoofball mentality.

Iain Love
17   Posted 25/08/2010 at 11:00:02

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Drogba & Torres are two of the best strikers I have ever seen, they will score goals for any team.

I read an article about 10 best strikers in the Prem past and present and whether to judge them purely on goals or not... the interesting thing was they mentioned Lampard didn't qualify as he is a midfielder but that he has scored over 130 for Chelski and would be up there with the best.

I remember when we played Chelski thinking "Oh Shit" every time he got the ball anywhere in striking distance. He has got a cracking shot on him and he uses it; Rodwell looks like he has that shooting ability, as does Bily, so why the fuck don't we use it more and Moyes saying to those two "SHOOT!!!"

Terry Hayes
18   Posted 25/08/2010 at 11:08:47

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Nice idea dave but wouldn't Rodwell actually have to get a game first for this to happen?

Tony (No 5), I totally agree, why are our players not encouraged to shoot more from outside the box instead of that one pass too many???

Dave Street
19   Posted 25/08/2010 at 11:33:09

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Peter (10) I disagree with you, Cahill most certainly is one of Moyes foot soldiers! He is one who gets picked week-in, week-out regardless of his form. He isn't a problem for us at the moment, because he is playing pretty well, but, if his form dips, you can be sure he will continue to be picked! It happened enough times last season.

I certainly don't think Mike Elbey is questionning his place in the team at the moment! Merely questioning Moyes's loyalty to out-of-form players, which we have seen on a number of occasions!

I also think your criticism of our best defender is unfair. If anything, his longer ball style is brought about by none other than Tim Cahill's ability to win knock-downs and headers!

Dave Street
20   Posted 25/08/2010 at 11:39:47

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So, ironically, after your initial comment, maybe if Cahill doesn't play then Jags will keep the ball on the green stuff a bit more!
Sam Hoare
21   Posted 25/08/2010 at 12:24:17

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Ray Roche:- Not disagreeing with the lack of service our team is providing, just with the idea that having a lone striker necessarily means that there will be lack of service. It doesn't seem that way for Spain.

Dave Lynch:- Did I compare Cahill to Torres? No. I just said that they played in the same role (off the striker) which they do.

I agree with your analysis of Tim's limitations in that position and our need to break with speed if we are to succesfully utilise a lone striker.
Dave Lynch
22   Posted 25/08/2010 at 12:48:08

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Point taken, Sam.
Stewart Littler
23   Posted 25/08/2010 at 13:02:17

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Nobody has mentioned goals from defence ? Lescott scored 15 in 2 seasons and that hasn't been replaced. I think we need more goals from there and midfield, and perhaps Rodwell is someone who might get some.
Liam Reilly
24   Posted 25/08/2010 at 13:09:35

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Dave #18:
"If anything, his longer ball style is brought about by none other than Tim Cahill's ability to win knock-downs and headers! "

So Cahill's ability in the air is now a liability?
Dave Street
25   Posted 25/08/2010 at 13:27:11

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Not necessarily, Liam; merely suggesting a potential reason for the so-called increase in hoofball.
Tony J Williams
26   Posted 25/08/2010 at 13:32:16

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Dave, if you actually watch Jags closely, his most used hoof is diagonal to Baines.....which rarely comes off.

However, it is the same story with all the defenders, if the midfield doesn't show for you and then you get put under pressure, what are you going to do? Pass it back... for a hoof, or hoof it?He can pass the ball. we have all seen it, but he needs someone to pass it too.

I have always had this argument with one of my mates about Hibbert. When someone shows for him, his passes are nearly always accurate but he hoofs it when there is no other option because no-one in the middle wants it.
Ernie Baywood
27   Posted 25/08/2010 at 13:49:01

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Play Bily and Cahill off a main striker in the Anelka/Malouda mould. Contrary to what happened with Bily at the weekend he is a finisher. Its almost what we did in the first half and created chances.

Our midfield is good enough to carry Bily.

There are goals in that.
Peter Warren
28   Posted 25/08/2010 at 13:54:59

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Here's a novel idea, against team like Wolves, why not play ball players at the back as you know they are going to sit deep. Also play your best goalscorer Yak.

Coleman Heitinga Rodwell Baines
Arteta Pienaar Cahill
Yakubu Beckford

Will Moyes ever have balls to play a team like that ? Nope
Tony J Williams
29   Posted 25/08/2010 at 14:38:51

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Imagine if he did play a team like that and we get beat by the likes of West Brom, some posters on here would go into meltdown calling for his head.

Nothing to do with balls but everything to do with knowing how well your players, that you see every day, are performing. Easy to call it when you romanticise about how good a certain player will be and also with hindsight.
Larry Boner
30   Posted 25/08/2010 at 15:51:07

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The only way you improve in life as well as in sport is by making mistakes, but learning from them and changing things.

We lost a Cup Final 2 years ago because of the insistence by Mr Moyes of playing Osman and Hibbert on the right side, this was immediately targeted by Hiddink.

We are still lining up with these two players in the same positions, teams look at this as Everton's chief weakness, whereas they see the left side as Everton's strength.

Now when Osman plays inside he looks twice the player and when Everton are under pressure Hibbert is a great defender, but put the two in tandem and I struggle to think of a combined match-winning performance from them.

The same with Jagielka and Distin, Moyes always wants a right- and left-footed combination at CB, but neither of them is a top class distributor of the ball (as Hietinga is) although Distin does try to bring the ball out of defence.

If Moyes had played Hietinga at CB against Wolves he could have accomodated Rodwell, eliminating the hoof and increasing our goal threat.
Tony Cheek
31   Posted 25/08/2010 at 16:38:08

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Amazing that Rodwell isn't pinning down a place in the team. He is a natural goalscorer and we don't have many of those. What we do have is lots of amazing things with balls... and a manager who doesn't have ANY!!!!
Tony Cheek
32   Posted 25/08/2010 at 16:44:16

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THAT SHOULD OF COURSE READ : lots of players that can do amazing things with balls and a manager who doesnt have any !!
Joe Carroll
33   Posted 25/08/2010 at 16:46:17

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The vast majority of teams in the Prem (dare I say it over Europe) play with a lone striker.

As many have already identified, there are very few who still play a traditional 4-4-2. Even Man U (Rooney) Chelsea (Drogba) and Liverpool (Torress) have played recently with just the lone striker. Even money bags City will no doubt play a lone striker (Adebayor/Balotelli) with other players in support.

David Thomas
34   Posted 25/08/2010 at 16:55:35

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"Amazing that Rodwell isn't pinning down a place in the team. He is a natural goalscorer"

Since when has he been a natural goalscorer????
Tony J Williams
35   Posted 25/08/2010 at 17:10:36

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He's scored about 5 goals dontchaknow!!!
Tony Cheek
36   Posted 25/08/2010 at 19:17:01

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Maybe if he got a game, difficult to score when you are sitting on the bench all game, and he is without a doubt our best midfield goalscorer (if we count Cahill as a striker) ...but we unfortunately will have to wait until he plays for Chelsea or City before anyone at Everton realises it!!
Tony Cheek
37   Posted 25/08/2010 at 20:28:49

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As I was saying....
Peter Warren
38   Posted 25/08/2010 at 21:01:42

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Tony J - # 29 - we've got to change otherwise we'll come 5th, 6th, 7th yet again and not win any silverware. We need to change how we set up and how we play.

It is to do with balls because he could get slated as you rightly say putting out that team and getting beaten by West Brom. The easy option is just keep doing the same old thing and hiding behind excuse of lack of finances.
Peter Bourke
39   Posted 25/08/2010 at 23:34:22

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@Dave Street.
Dave, i have to disagree with your reasoning behind Jags playing the long ball. Cahill does not win many headers from the long ball situation, it's from crosses and Distin doesn't play that much long ball so why does Jags. To suggest Jags playinmg hoofball because of Cahill being in the team is ridiculous.
David Thomas
40   Posted 25/08/2010 at 23:52:16

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Tony Cheek,

As you were saying what???????????
David Thomas
41   Posted 26/08/2010 at 00:05:09

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Gary Lineker, Ian Rush, Jimmy Greaves, Ian Wright etc etc etc they are natural goal scorers.

Jack Rodwell is a young player with immense potential who has an eye for goal, but he is not a natural goal scorer.
Tony J Williams
42   Posted 26/08/2010 at 00:34:43

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Peter, change what? Apart from possibly Rodwell, Moyes has his best players on the pitch. we won't win silverware, not because of the team selections but because the squad we have isn't good or consistent enough.
Brendan O'Doherty
43   Posted 26/08/2010 at 00:37:55

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Tony 'you've got some' Cheek (#31)

"What we do have is lots of amazing things with balls , and a manager who doesnt have ANY!!!!"

Very funny.

As you were saying........nothing.
Tony Cheek
44   Posted 26/08/2010 at 05:26:45

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Very good, Brendan, I've never heard that one before... what a card!! As I was saying, give him a game and he scores... again!!
David Thomas
45   Posted 26/08/2010 at 08:37:23

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"As I was saying, give him a game and he scores... again!!"

He has scored about 6 goals in 50+ matches for Everton.

He is a very good footballer with huge potential that he is starting to realise now on a regular basis. However, if you asked every football manager or coach in the country (actually the world) they will tell you he is not a "natural goalscorer".

Ruud Van Nistlerooy is a "natural goalscorer" ? would you say Jack Rodwell is an instictive goalscorer like him or any of the players i mentioned in my previous post or would?
Tony Cheek
46   Posted 26/08/2010 at 15:00:30

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Well, David , all I am saying is that he ought to be given a chance in a forward position. I played striker all my life and reckon that I can see a goalscorer when I see one.... remember his goal against United? Well, if that wasn't a goal scored by a natural, then I don't know what is. Let's just wait till it happens, I am quite sure if he went to another top club he would be played in a forward midfield position.
David Thomas
47   Posted 26/08/2010 at 23:54:43

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I remember the united goal well. It was an excellent goal scored by a natural footballer. I also agree that he should get an extended run in a more attacking position. However, I still don't class him as a natural goal scorer, just like I would not class Lampard & Gerrard as natural goal scorers. However, I would class their teammates Torres and Drogba as natural goalscorers.

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