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The Final Ball

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I went the game yesterday and it again highlighted the problems that have blighted the season so far.

  • Poor distribution from the back
  • Lack of movement in midfield
  • Laboured build up and a reluctance to shoot from distance
  • Favourites chosen over good performers
Moyes needs to have a word with Jagielka and tell him he needs to keep his passes 10-15 yards and simple. The midfield need to be told to stop standing still and give the man on the ball 2-3 options instead of the usual one. He also needs to instigate a "shoot on sight" policy which means defenders have to come out and close down, play further up the pitch and leave space in behind.

Moyes should also start picking players based on form over favouritism. Distin is piss poor and has been since the dawn of time. The reason he looked OK yesterday is because they were marking a poor right winger playing up front. There is no way he should play before Heitinga. Hibbert is also a much better right back than Neville and dare I say it he's also a much better crosser.

Above all this is the midfield's ? and specifically Mikel's ? inability to find a through ball or killer pass. I love the guy but it's clear that he is bang out of form and yesterday I was hoping he would be withdrawn. He has done little more this season than work the ball out to the wings. We need a lot more from him than that. With star status and the contract that goes with it comes a responsibility to deliver consistently.

Luckily most of this didn't matter as we were playing a poor Fulham side lacking a cutting edge due to injuries. It is fair to say we were well on top for the majority of the game and should have done better with one or two situations in the game. The Yak still looked a bit rusty but showed signs he can be the player of old and made himself a few decent chances against a really good defender (Hangeland).

Seamus also looked like he could be a long-term solution on the right, several bursts of speed and dribbling got the whole end up out of our seats and only poor finishing by the Yak would have seen him create a goal. Having said that, he faded badly in the second half, so maybe some match fitness issues there.

Overall, although problems remain, I'm looking toward the Brum game with cautious optimism and a feeling that we may well take 6 points out of six and get our season going at last. Better late than never!
Ste Kenny, Liverpool     Posted 26/09/2010 at 10:33:56

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Ged Dwyer
1   Posted 26/09/2010 at 16:42:35

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Coleman finally played in the right position. All we need now is to get Vaughan back after suspension and play him instead of the Yak and play Heitinga instead of Distin and we could win a game!
Nick Entwistle
2   Posted 26/09/2010 at 16:55:02

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I thought the movement in midfield was vastly improved, the Lovechild came on as sub which was uninspiring but better from Os in the middle, but Cahill and Fallaini aren't the type to shoot on sight. Neither is Mikel for that matter... which further brings into question the one-man strike force and the lack of pressure the opposing defense will feel because of this.
David Gallant
3   Posted 26/09/2010 at 17:45:24

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Interesting the 'no-one shoots on sight' remark, which has been discussed many times. Funnily enough, one of our better players in this department is sitting on the bench, watching the likes of Osman (not a hater, but FFS how much more 'powder-puff' shots and being bundled off the ball and kept at bay like an annoying fly do you want?) getting a game week-in, week-out.

His name is Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (or something like that)... I know he hasn't set the world on fire, looked disinterested at best and a steaming pile of shite at worst, but at least he can score (wonder) goals. Give the lad a run in place of the injured Cahill or ineffectual Osman.

Jon Cox
4   Posted 26/09/2010 at 17:51:30

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Ged agreed about Vaughan. Not only should we bring him home but we should use him as a pair up front. Now whether it's with the Yak or Beckford, time (and it's not a luxury we have) for the best pairing may be needed.

Also it's time to drop Distan for Heitinga. Pienaar on the left Arteta and Fella in the middle, with Coleman or Donovan wide right. We saw at least one good half yesterday what happens when we give opposition defenders two flanks to worry about.

I wonder what it would be like to do the same with a doubled-up strike force.

It has to be better and more attack minded than the current setup.

Come on Moyesey go for this type of thing against Brum and let's see some quality attack-minded football.

COYB
Stephen Kenny
5   Posted 26/09/2010 at 18:18:01

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I'm really struggling to understand why everyone has turned on the Yak? After watching him yesterday it's clear he's our only striker who can play with his back to goal and make himself a chance. To replace him with a player who is made of glass would be one of Moyes worst decisions ever, as he will never, ever be fit enough to play 5-10 games on the bounce.

IMO Yak and Beckford could be a good goalscoring duo, especially with Seamus and Pienaar on the wings.
Mike Elbey
6   Posted 26/09/2010 at 18:35:49

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At last a balanced team picked with all players playing in their proper positions.

Agree that Heitinga should play instead of Distin but this is obviously not going to happen unless an injury comes along.

Also agree with the comment regarding Bily. One of our problems is that we don't even threaten to shoot from distance. As such, the opposition let us have the ball 30 yards out as they know all we are going to do is pass from one side to the other, by which time they have 10 men behind the ball.

Bily may be ineffective in general play I agree but then again so is Davey's love-child Osman who gets an extraordinary amount of game time for 1-2 goals a season. If Billy played the amount of games Osman does, yes, he would be frustrating in open play but I reckon he's a guaranteed 10 goals a season. And also, when people threaten to shoot, space is suddenly opened up for others.

Anyway, much better yesterday, with any luck we would have won comfortably.

Derek Thomas
7   Posted 26/09/2010 at 20:37:21

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Spot on Ste, to me and you and SOME others it seems simple, basic footy lore the kind the should be teaching kids at school, that basic!

But all the ' experts' and so called professionals won't have it. There seems to be a bit of the Emperoprs new clothes going on here.

Professionals and experts built the Titanic and an amateur built the ark, which one do you want to sail on??
Jay Harris
8   Posted 26/09/2010 at 21:38:04

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Interesting analogy that one Derek but would you have liked to have been in the Ark if it hit an iceberg.

Anyway totally agree with Stephen Kenny #5.

The yak is better than Cahill, Saha or Beckford in holding the ball up and linking play as well as the chances (he created himself) that come his way.
Sean McCarthy
9   Posted 26/09/2010 at 22:34:01

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"Coleman or Donovan wide right" ..... Have I missed something coz last time I looked we didn't have anyone called Donovan in our squad ? and we won't anytime soon either!!
Elgin Joshua
10   Posted 27/09/2010 at 00:18:44

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#9 Sean. We just might.... I just bought the home, away and 3rd kit today.
Ricardo Humphries
11   Posted 27/09/2010 at 06:38:29

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I haven't commented on any posts in ages, just reading all comments from you guys...

Guys, I'm getting worried, has anyone noticed every season we tend to get off the blocks slower and slower? Each season getting worse that the previous?

I simply can't wrap my head around around why this team's just not doing the job considering we've probably have the 6th or 7th best squad in the EPL.

Distin ? a shocker, does nothing for me
Neville ? plain crap. ( DM need to find a really good RB)
Yakubu ? needs to pick up his game
Heitinga ? Why is a player who played on in the World Cup Final here in SA sitting on the bench and not played in his best position? (puzzling)
Howard ? showing some real cracks in his game
Pienaar and Mikel ? much better than what they're currently doing. (This contractual issues needs to be resolved asap.)
Saha ? if we can't get 20 games from him this season, then DM needs to sell him
DM ? just plain crap!
Alan Clarke
12   Posted 27/09/2010 at 07:59:48

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For all our possession, we are incredibly slow in the build up. It's amazing that even Moyes has pointed the finger at the mis-firing forwards but fails to see how slow we are in midfield. We don't have one midfielder with any pace so by the time our strikers receive the ball it is incredibly easy for defenders to block them or they've so little time to get their shot off, it's hit far too softly.

If we had more pace and drive through midfield, we would score far more because the forward(s) would have a lot more time and space to shoot. Again, Moyes's failings in the transfer market by only buying slow defensive midfielders is hampering any progress.
John Barnes
13   Posted 27/09/2010 at 08:16:51

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I find it amazing that Jagielka is never mentioned as a weakness; it's always Hetinga for Distin. Not saying Distin is a world beater but look closer at Jagielka's game. It really isn't too good.
Tony J Williams
14   Posted 27/09/2010 at 13:52:41

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Ricardo, Heitinga is on the bench because that's where his performace this season merits. Don't ask me about Osman, it's an enigma inside a puzzle wrapped up in a question.

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