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Best team, always

Comments (40)

In these days of mass media, micro-scrutiny of football matches, there has (and only ever will be) one way of best management practice of a football team ? that simply being to pick your best players in the right positions!

This may be a simpleton's guide to football management in today's era of player power, with egos inflated to the size of Buster's nads, but the best team in Europe in the 80s played in Royal Blue! We knew their names and what positions they played in.

Alan Harper and Kevin Richardson, when called upon, never let anyone down... at times putting in Man of the Match performances, they knew and we knew that Kendall would drop the axe the minute the player they were covering for was back from injury or suspension ? that's the way it was and it made for a winning machine.

Today's squad is the best since that time; the best eleven may not pick itself at the moment, but in my opinion the best players at the club should start every game. I'll stick my neck out here and say who I think should start (4-4-1-1):

Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin / Heitinga, Baines; Rodwell, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar; Cahill; Saha / Beckford.

So that has Distin & Heitinga fighting for centre-back, Saha & Beckford fighting for centre-forward. Change the system to suit the game, but put your best players on the pitch always.

Rodwell may become the best centre mid in the country one day; at the moment, let's see him on the pitch, likewise Coleman!! Get them on the pitch playing regularly. No favourites, no players for certain games, just the best players on the pitch for all the important games ? ALWAYS!
Barry  Hughes, Liverpool     Posted 26/08/2010 at 17:34:45

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Christopher McCullough
1   Posted 26/08/2010 at 20:05:27

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Brendan O'Doherty
2   Posted 26/08/2010 at 20:27:55

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There is a slightly gigantic difference between the 80s and now - the squads are twice the size, making it much more difficult to pick a best 11.

Having said that, you have picked 13, Barry. The first thing a manager should do is get the numbers right, and avoid doing a 'Stuart Pearce'.
Gavin Ramejkis
3   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:13:42

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Brendan even a half-wit could read and understand the Distin/Heitinga and Saha/Beckford means one of not both so Barry can clearly count.
Jeff Armstrong
4   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:18:27

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Post # 1, Bily!!!!!!!!!!! no Tim,


Christopher McCullough
5   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:24:49

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I think he is a better footballer than Tim, therefore facilitates 'joined up' football to entertain us and win more games. Tim is an excellent impact option from the bench. Furthermore, he is old (relatively) and Bily is young.

'Please' yourself; it's only my opinion.
Brendan McLaughlin
6   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:20:48

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I think Brendan's point is that, despite the OP claiming the best approach is to pick your best 11 & stick with them, Barry hasn't actually done that ? even though he claims that he will "stick his neck out" and say who he thinks "should start (4-4-1-1)".
Ray Robinson
7   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:21:11

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But Gavin, the "/" is a cop out because it is an either or option that the manager does not have when selecting the team. For what it's worrh:

Mike Oates
8   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:39:59

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Moyes's problem as we all know is that assuming he'll stick with his beloved 4-4-1-1 then also assume he'll stick with a back 4 of Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines and a front 2 of Cahill and Saha then the big quandry is... !

How do you pick a midfield 4 from: Heitinga, Rodwell, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar, Bily, Osman and get width on both sides?

To me, you cannot play Heitinga, Rodwell, Fellaini and Arteta together ? only two of them ? and at the moment mine would be Fellaini and Arteta. Rodwell cannot play wide.

So team:- Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Bily, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar; Cahill; Saha.

Stephen Kenny
9   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:47:36

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You never actually stuck your neck out there, Barry ? you dodged the CB issue and the forwards issue.

My team with everyone fit would be:

Coleman Jagielka Heitinga Baines
Rodwell Fellaini
Anichebe Pienaar
John Brereton
10   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:52:47

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Jags cannot pass the ball. Heitinga at centre back every time.
Albert Perkins
11   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:37:16

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We don't have a BEST side right now.
Not like the winning sides of the 80's when they picked themselves.

We don't have stand-out stars in every position. (Although it's true that great sides often have the journeymen who just fit in well and complement the system).

So we have this wonderful conundrum when picking the next team. And it's not surprising that supporters disagree.

I'm not sure who I would pick for Sunday, especially if all are fit and lively in training. But I would definitely have Coleman and Rodwell on the team sheet as starters. Beckford would also get my nod for the 1st half with Saha ready to go in the 2nd.

We might not see Yak until there are injuries and I hope he keeps his spirits up (and gets mad enough to prove himself) in the meantime.

The 5 goals has given me some hope but its in the PL that we need to produce.

The manager sees the pitfalls and the supporters, by-and-large see the possibilities of brave, attacking play. We are ready to take the risks and will support Moyes if he tries to be more positive.

I hope he reads these posts and takes note. We don't get paid 3mil a year to pick the team, but we are Everton, and I want to hear, "Here we go, here we go, here we go!", again, ringing round the Old Lady.
Nick Waters
12   Posted 26/08/2010 at 22:04:52

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Well said Stephen Kenny. There's been so much 'best team' thread variations in the last couple of weeks, and Anichebe has been conspicuous by his absence in the comments (and in real life I suppose).

For me he is an impact player, and ticks most of Moyes's boxes ? though not always for 90 mins. He has pace, strength, gets behind the opposition's defensive line, is direct and has a goal threat. Moyes himself said before the Blackburn game that 'Vic's the only one who'll miss out, which is a shame as we could do with him'.

It's a pity about the injury history (which the Nigeria squad controversy highlighted); otherwise he could have nailed down a place.

Jamie Sweet
13   Posted 26/08/2010 at 21:51:58

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I assume Barry and Rae (#7) have Arteta playing wide right? I agree that Arteta, Rodwell, Fellaini and Pienaar are our best four midfielders and should play... problem is, as soon as you stick Cahill in rather than another wide player, you are forced to play Arteta out wide, and we know from experience that this is not the way to get the best out of the best little Spaniard.

I would be more inclined to go with something like Stephen (#9) says, although I'd swap Arteta with the big Fella and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the Yak to get fit! I'd be keeping the faith in Beckford for the time being.
Justin Woods
14   Posted 26/08/2010 at 22:21:50

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Coleman Jags Heitinga Baines
Arteta Rodwell Pienaar
Cahill Saha
David Price
15   Posted 26/08/2010 at 22:18:09

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Best eleven? Fellaini, Rodwell, Arteta and Pienaar you would think should start. But where is the balance?

As the season goes on, Coleman could be our Gareth Bale for the right, Gueye could be de Guy for the left. So who supports Beckford or Saha? If it's Cahill or Bily, then it's two from the above mentioned: Four in midfield. Or can Rodwell be our Gerrard and support a striker?

At the start we felt we had never had it so good since the 80s, now we seem to have more questions than answers. So here goes:


4-5-1 set up, just have a feeling the leash will be off and Moyes attacks.

Mike Allison
16   Posted 26/08/2010 at 23:19:25

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Your best team one day might not be your best team the next; players are human and their ability to perform fluctuates.

Your best team for one opponent might not be the best team for a different opponent. Certain players or tactics are more or less effective depending on who you're playing.

Simply changing the team for the sake of it can keep things fresh and affect the mental approach of the players, not to mention the people coming in wanting to prove something and stay in the team.

Players not being sure of their place avoids complacency and should ensure they play at a high level consistently in order to maintain their position.

Over a long season, 20 players playing 40-45 games will be able to play at a higher level by the end than 15 players playing 55-60 games. You may not have much sympathy given the money they earn, but tiredness, both mentally and physically, plays a part.

Your post is either completely wrong, for the five reasons listed above, or it is completely pointless amounting to 'you should pick your best team'. Well, duh!

Which, incidentally, your 11/13 isn't. It looks like you've shunted Arteta out wide, a crazy waste of our best and most influential player, and you seem to consider Beckford to be ahead of Yakubu.
Brendan O'Doherty
17   Posted 26/08/2010 at 23:27:50

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Brendan (#6)

Thanks. That's exactly what I meant. I wasn't inferring that Barry couldn't count, just that he said he was 'sticking his neck out', and then... erm, didn't.
Nick Entwistle
18   Posted 27/08/2010 at 00:25:08

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Who's best, Saha, a French international, or Beckford... a lower league punt on a free? Great post.
Mike Green
19   Posted 27/08/2010 at 01:05:34

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To be honest Nick, Saha's quality but he's almost at the finishing line. Yak's over it. We need new, young strikers, so who's best for us....?


As for Bily, I was dead excited when we signed him, saw him on his debut and was thrilled by his ability to throw a great cross in from the left or a corner.... then a ball was played in front of him to chase and it was like watching Playdoh going uphill.

"Oh, Fuck." I thought.

He's got a great touch but he ain't no winger. Play him in the "1" behind the striker or get rid quick, I just don't think he's got the stomach for the PL.

Coleman ? awesome last night within reason ? but playing him RB against Ashley Young on Sunday,,,,? You must be more pissed than me...!
Mike Green
20   Posted 27/08/2010 at 01:26:07

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Oh ? and for all those that say Coleman MUST start on Sunday, I'd say by the same logic Osman MUST also Captain the team.

And why not? He's a fucking legend!
Liam Kennedy
21   Posted 27/08/2010 at 01:44:13

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Mike i agree Coleman will get torn apart by Young but this could be solved by pushing him up and putting Hibbo behind him.

Hibbo Jonny Distin Bains
Fellaini Rodwell
Coleman Arteta Guaye
Eric Myles
22   Posted 27/08/2010 at 02:14:34

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Haven't we had enough of these Coleman for right back threads by now? They never say anyhing new so why not drop it or send an email to Moyes instead 'cos he's the one that will decide, not the readers here.
Anthony Hughes
23   Posted 27/08/2010 at 08:11:37

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Well said Eric.
Ellen West
24   Posted 27/08/2010 at 08:06:38

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Here's mine..

Howard and Mucha both in goal, which will mean we will only need 3 in midfield.

Baines, Distin, Jags, My Dad (he's sixty four, but still pretty good at bombing forward)

Arteta, Fellaini, Gueye (this will tick the diversity box)

Saha and Ferguson (not seen Duncan lately, but I'm sure he's still on the books)
David Chait
25   Posted 27/08/2010 at 08:18:14

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The issue from many posts above is that many (and I'm one) don't want Arteta on the wing. The issue is, would you rather have Osman on the wing and Rodwell on the bench? (Forget Coleman for this purpose please.)

Truth is, Arteta is the only CM we have that is actually quite good on the wing. This allows us to have a Rodders & Fellaini mid and Pienaar & Arteta quality on the wings... actually doesn't sound too bad does it? Better than the alternatives...

Unless of course Moyes drops Tim and sticks Arteta or Rodwell behind the striker... but I don't see that as their best positions. Bily makes more sense for me.

So, even though I don't want him out there, Arteta on the wing provides the best balance this side could have.
Gary Hegarty
26   Posted 27/08/2010 at 08:43:09

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You're all wrong

Goslings knee (it's still in the treatment room)

A team to strike fear into the hearts of every.......erm.....Evertonian?
Gavin Ramejkis
27   Posted 27/08/2010 at 08:46:39

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I think the similarity to Stevie Me of Rodwell against Huddesrfield and other pre-season games and Villa's midfield frailty should be exploited on Sunday with his inclusion. Villa got pumped and dumped out of Euope by Rapid Vienna again and on that showing if we can dominate the midfield and not fall for hoofball then Sunday's game is there for the taking. Yak's disappearance from even the bench leads me to suspect he's either on his way pending the right offer or has some significant problem.
Ciarán McGlone
28   Posted 27/08/2010 at 10:11:57

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"Coleman ? awesome last night within reason ? but playing him RB against Ashley Young on Sunday,,,,? You must be more pissed than me...!"

Ashley Young's been playing a more central role this season...

And as I said before...what's the difference between Neville's defensive lapses and Coleman's?
Ben Atkins
29   Posted 27/08/2010 at 10:28:37

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I've said this before, but why not Rodwell for the right hand side? Gerrard often gets pushed out wide and has had his best season for Liverpool playing there. Rodwell can do a similar job there for us this season. He has the pace and skill to do this.

There's no point in moving Arteta out wide, he's without doubt a key player for us in the middle and he needs to be there to pull the strings and get the passing moves flowing. Also those who are saying to leave Fellaini out I think are badly underestimating just how good he can be this season. I think he'll be our main man this year.

So, Rodwell on the right looks to be the best option to get him in the side. I know he was tried there once last season and it didn't really work. But I also remember that run down the right against Man City at Eastlands where he set up Arteta's goal. He definitely looked like he could do that regularly to me and surely it's worth a go as a way of getting our best players on the pitch?
Norman Merrill
30   Posted 27/08/2010 at 12:29:33

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Good comment Barry, It makes us all have a think about who is our chosen eleven, plus subs.
And it shows how hard it will be for Moyes, just hope that he gives some of the younger element a run.
The selection for the Villa match will be interesting, with Villa suffering two defeats on the bounce, I hope he is not too cauttious, and goes for it?
Richard Reeves
31   Posted 27/08/2010 at 12:33:33

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Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines; Fellaini; Pienaar, Arteta, Bily; Rodwell; Beckford.

Laurie Hartley
32   Posted 27/08/2010 at 12:26:19

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Have a look very closely at the team Ray Robinson # 7 has picked. I bet you Distin was the first man on his team sheet, followed by Heitinga and Arteta. No cop out there - he's dropped the Jag which is controversial but the correct decision. Heitinga can pass the ball out of defence and Distin is big, pacy and left footed. Best player in each position to start. COTB
Ciarán McGlone
33   Posted 27/08/2010 at 13:02:06

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Mr David Chait,

Come on down, the price is right.

I am in entire agreement with your post about playing Arteta on the left while we don't have a specific player for that position. He is the most adaptable player in our team. It does not mean we need to stick rigidly to a wingers system ? it means the midfield three of Arteta, Billy and Pienaar can float around and overlap in front on Fellaini and Rodwell ? with the full backs providing the width when needed... but that Arteta primarily plays in from the left.

Unfortunately this also means playing Coleman ? which won't happen, because Moyes is a big stick-in-the-mud.
John Sutton
34   Posted 27/08/2010 at 13:30:58

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JAGIELKA!! ... why does everyone persist in naming him in our best XI?

Distin has been our best defender this season, he doesn't panic in possession and has the pace to get out of trouble. He is good in one-on-one situations as he has the pace and strength to defend properly. His distribution could be improved although he is good at running the ball out of defence.

Heitinga has to play week-in, week-out. His use of the ball improves the way we play 100%. On Wednesday night, Mucha passed every goal kick to Heitinga and this allowed us to build from the back. Everyone comments on his lack of size, however, this is countered by having Fellaini in front of the back 4 ? he wins almost every header. Heitinga's reading of the game is good as is his ability to get stuck in.

I willingly admit that Jagielka is a good defender although to say he is our best centre-back is lame. I've lost track of the number of home games that I've sat through were he constantly lumps the ball out to the left wing; although to nobody in particular. The reason he finds himself in these last-ditch situations making last-ditch tackles is because he often puts himself there with a bad pass or decision.

Playing Heitinga and Distin together provides balance with the left/right combination. They are both comfortable in possesion and this makes Arteta and Fellaini more comfortable. People often moan that they don't give Jags an option so he lumps it. That is becasue they don't trust his passing and realise that it's "safer" to just get rid. Whereas the other two will always show for the ball when Distin and Heitinga play as they have and trust in each others ability to use and retain the ball.
David Crowe
35   Posted 27/08/2010 at 14:08:03

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Brendan, it's so obvious that that's not what you meant :')
John Crook
36   Posted 27/08/2010 at 14:18:10

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With Villa currently in turmoil ? out of Europe, just been whacked six-nil by Newcastle, and doubts over their caretaker manager actually wanting the job ? now is the perfect time to put on a show in front of the TV cameras and get a much need fist league win and long overdue away win at Villa Park.

Here's my team to start at Villa. It sounds defensive on paper but I'm taking into account the physical strengths of Heskey, Carew, Agbonlahor etc

GK Howard
RB Coleman
LB Baines
CD Jagielka
CD Distin
HCM Heitinga
HCM Fellaini
M Arteta
M Cahill
M Pienaar
CF Saha

Subs: Mucha, Beckford, Rodwell, Yakubu, Osman, Bily and Hibbert

Steve Pugh
37   Posted 27/08/2010 at 22:36:52

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Ciaran, what's the difference between Neville's defensive lapses and Coleman's?

The difference is, Neville gets slaughtered on here over his whilst Coleman's get ignored.
Michael Kenrick
38   Posted 27/08/2010 at 22:49:13

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Steve, that's because Coleman is a relative youngster (22!) and just starting out on his Premier League career. We of positive and generous disposition allow a good few mistakes to be made because we see the potential and excitement the player represents.

And then there's Phil Neville, old and exceedingly wise: he's been around a while and should certainly know better, so get s held quite rightly to a much higher standard of consistency.

Of course you knew this, didn't you?
Brendan O'Doherty
39   Posted 27/08/2010 at 23:24:12

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"We of positive and generous disposition "

OK Michael, I'll give you 'generous'.

But 'positive'? Come on.
Laurie Hartley
40   Posted 28/08/2010 at 02:36:17

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John Crook # 36 - I like your team. The only thing I disagree with is your comment that it looks defensive. It's got balance at the back, in midfield and going forward. I would love to see David Moyes start with that team against Villa.

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