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Grim Monday night... time to look to the future.

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So, enough said about last night. Disappointing, even if i probably would have taken a point beforehand.

For me and many others, gathering from some of the comments on here, it was in the central midfield area that we were particularly poor. I think Arteta and Heitinga are, on their day (and in the right positions), top class players but at the moment they are passengers at best, liabilities at worst.

It's time to play Rodwell and Fellaini. For me these two at 19 and 22 have the capacity to become one of the best central midfield combinations in the league.

Fellaini (when not suspended) has looked class since midway through last season. He is composed, intelligent, has a good engine and range of passing to add to his obvious physical presence.

Rodwell, though raw, has pace, stamina, can pass and shoot well off both feet and is potentially a future captain of Everton and England.

Both these players are box-to-box and can both defend and create and score goals and it is my belief that if we are to challenge at the top in the next 4 or 5 years then they must be at our heart.

Arteta will come good again, Heitinga must return to centre back, but for now let's have a glimpse at the future. Oh, and enough Saha starting...feed the yak.
Sam Hoare, London     Posted 23/11/2010 at 11:17:47

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Peter Warren
1   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:37:58

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Ffellaini is class and undoubtedly starts when fit and available ? he wasn't last night. Rodwell fantastic potential.

As to last night, Arteta was again poor by his standards but I thought Heitinga was back to form, particularly second half.

Happy how we played but do agree that Yak should be ahead of Saha and that is a strange one.
Ben Jackson
2   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:37:37

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I think that's a great shout. Arteta hasn't looked himself at all this season, albeit he's ended up scoring 3 goals already! I'd personally put him back out on the right. He was class out there and only really moved inside cos we had a serious lack of quality centrally, but we have it now. People will be screaming for Coleman to stay out wide but, as good as he's looked at times this season, I'd still go with Arteta for now.
Danny Broderick
3   Posted 23/11/2010 at 13:40:46

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I couldn't agree more. I thought Cahill played as an out-and-out striker last night, which meant we had a 2-man centre mid. Arteta spent most of the evening chasing shadows. He can play centre-mid in a 3, but not a 2. Heitinga shouldn't be played in a 2 or a 3 full stop, he's a centre half.

I agree with the previous poster, give Coleman a rest and push Arteta out to the right.

Tony Christian
4   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:16:47

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I keep hearing that Rodwell is world class blah blah blah, am I the only person in the world who doesn't get it. I thought Heitinga was excellent in the second half and once Sideshow Bob is back then we need to push either Heitinga out to the right to accomodate Fell / Arteta / Cahill axis. As for Saha ? anybody up front but him!!!
Anthony Hughes
5   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:35:55

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I like Rodwell and, injuries permitting, I would like to see him have a run of 20 to 30 games in the team just to see if he can live up to the hype. As for being world class... nowhere near, yet. That title should only be used for a very small handful of players currently playing.
Sam Hoare
6   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:38:07

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Tony- Not suggesting rodwell is world class yet, far from it, but he surely has the potential to be.

As for Heitinga right mid? Not sure you'll get a lot of support for that idea.

Danny and Ben ? How about Arteta RM and Coleman overlapping at right back... that would surely make for a dangerous right side... but may be suspect defensively?
David Price
7   Posted 23/11/2010 at 14:38:06

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I think Arteta will end up on the left when Pienaar leaves with Rodwell and Fellaini in the centre. Sign Landon on the right, Coleman at RB, with the magic wallet required for a Striker alongside Cahill.
Mike Oates
8   Posted 23/11/2010 at 17:34:42

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Arteta would more likely leave than go back out wide. He was always a centre midfield player and only went wide with us initially in his first few seasons.

He is undoubtedly having a poor season ? I actually thought in the first half last night that he wasn't running properly and looked sluggish as hell, but he improved second half. I don't think he's fit and is carrying some sort of injury.

Mick Wrende
9   Posted 23/11/2010 at 17:45:56

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Sam, why on earth are you going on about the midfield when it is our strikers that are so woeful? We had enough chances last night to win 2 or 3 games but our attempts were pathetic.

Saha has now had 45 attempts at goal since he last scored. Yakubu needs about 5 seasons before he would get anywhere near that figure. So lay off the midfield and aim your criticism where it is most needed.

Fellaini will be back on Saturday anyway and Rodwell is not good enough yet. Not only that, but Arteta has scored 3 goals ? more than our strikers will get all season so talk of dropping him is nonsense. Or are you one of the lunatics who wan't Cahill dropped too?

Mike Allison
10   Posted 23/11/2010 at 18:15:29

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I agree with you apart from the headline. It was only grim between 10-30 minutes when we were shocking and were getting hammered. The rest of the time was in some ways promising but obviously also extremely frustrating. We were better than them, had more of the ball, had a few chances including two goallines clearances, but didn't quite have the quality to stick the ball away.

I've been against moving Arteta out wide because he's our best player and gets to influence the game more in the middle. However, his current form is really poor and it's looking like the time to try either resting him (very short term, maybe one match), or more medium term, playing him wide right with Coleman overlapping.

I don't think we'd miss him in the middle doing that, especially if Fellaini and Rodwell struck up the quality partnership they look capable of, and he'd have the freedom to create and put crosses in from the wide positions. His link up with Coleman could also be extremely effective.

This does mean dropping Phil Neville though, so it's all just a pipe dream despite his complete inability to put in a decent cross.

Chris Jones
11   Posted 23/11/2010 at 18:57:04

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Sam, I texted exactly the same message to my pal after the game last night.

I think Arteta did well in CM for a while, but he played his best football for Everton on the wing with Steven on the other flank, it gives him less responsibility and he can float about making us more fluid.

My midfield would be Pienaar, Rodwell, Felli and Arteta with Cahill alongside Alan Shearer!
Danny Broderick
12   Posted 23/11/2010 at 19:13:06

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Arteta's form has been terrible. OK, he has scored 3 goals, but for him to be classed as one of the best midfielders in the league, he really needs to step up this season. He has long been established as Everton's best midfield player but, in my opinion he has all too frequently come up short against the top 4 sides. This needs to change if he is going to be classed alongside the Gerrards, Lampards, Essiens, Fabregas etc. He needs to find a level of consistency which those guys all possess.

I think if Moyes left him out for a game, he could use it as a rest/kick up the backside and hopefully he would redouble his efforts to get back to the levels we all know he is capable of.

By the way, I think we squeezed the last few drops of quality out of Saha last season, and we really need to make the Yak our first choice striker now. His link-up play is better with Cahill, and he needs a run of games to see if he can get back to the player he was before his injury. If not, we'll have to bring a striker in in January. Failing that, I fear a season of mid-table mediocrity this year.

Matt Compton
13   Posted 23/11/2010 at 21:37:20

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The form player for us at the moment is Cahill without a doubt. He's looked good up front, behind the front man and even in a conventional midfield role when he's had to drop back there in the back end of games.

I'd have a midfield and forward line of:

Coleman Cahill Fellaini Pienaar

Arteta

Yakubu/Beckford/Saha

I feel Arteta will do more damage if he's allowed to roam behind the front man. He'll get us goals from that position and assists. The alternative is him on the left and Pienaar in that role.

I'd also consider Billy for the role behind the front man. He's the only player we have that hits an early pass and I reckon he'd work well with Beckford if given time.

Cahill provides more energy so I'd have him as a conventional midfield player with a license to get forward.
Christine Foster
14   Posted 23/11/2010 at 22:28:57

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Its a Chicken and Egg thing, we have out-of-form strikers and a midfield that can't deliver a killer pass or deliver a cross into the final third.

The only player living up to his own expectations is Cahill and, say what you will about his general play, he delivers the goods. The only one worth his pay packet in the midfield and forwards currently.

It's the reason we are seeing Jags hoofball it so much, no-one shows in midfield and when they do get it they run around in circles or go backwards.

We need a general in midfield, someone to control the team and those around him. Dictate play, not just with the ball but HOW we set up, cover and formation.

Would we be any better with the squad we have with an experienced general in the middle? Yes, I think so, but even so, the time has come to stop moving the deckchairs on the Titanic by playing players out of position (JH, JR, SC, BD) you can get away with one player in a game out of position but we regularly seem to have several! It don't work!

Finally, you don't score unless you get the ball in the box. We rely on Baines or Coleman to deliver crosses, if Baines has his hands full with an attacking wide player it doesn't happen. If Coleman comes up against a good fullback it doesn't happen... We end up with pumped balls from the half way line from Neville or Jags, it's crap and we all know it.. (on the one occasion in a season it works the strikers blow it ... sigh).

So... we need a hard-nosed defensive midfield general who can dictate how the team plays and players in the right positions. That means changes in the team...
Ernie Baywood
15   Posted 24/11/2010 at 01:35:57

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This has been at the forefront of my mind recently. This team has probably reached its potential ? how do we now put a team together that can actually challenge and over what timescale?

For me, it's the two players that you've mentioned in the original post that dictate it. At 19 and 22 we should be looking at what we could be when they are in their prime ? possibly in 4 or 5 years time.

Arteta will be history so let's sell if a decent offer comes in. This isn't knee-jerk ? if I thought we could do anything in the next 2 or 3 years then I'd happily keep him.

Cahill has little value at his age so might as well keep him to guide younger players. And you carry on like that through the squad. Sell players with some resale but no prospect of being around in 4 or 5 years and bring in players with some potential. Promote the youth and see what they can do... do they have the potential?

You could make a similar case about our manager ? his potential seems have been achieved. He's solid but unspectacular. He can take a team from the bottom and get them somewhere near the top half. Now lets see if there's someone out there who has greater potential.

I've little doubt that this represents our best chance at challenging for a title. Even then it's still a long shot but what's the alternative? I just don't see one. What does a football club exist for if it is not aiming to win something? The majority of teams are happy to stagnate in midtable in hope of snagging a CL spot in a lucky year ? it's simply a business decision to hold onto the money. Wouldn't it be great to see teams try something in order to genuinely challenge? Even with a few years of struggles, I'd consider that to be closer to our club motto than simply finishing as high as we can with no possibility that we will win anything.

The big balancing act is staying in the Premier League while we're building. But at least it might show a plan, and we might see some progress. I'd love to see a young Everton team win only 10 games in a season playing the right way and making progress. I'd prefer it to an ageing Everton team finishing 8th-10th in the knowledge that it isn't going to get any better.

I might be on my own?
Sega Kana
16   Posted 24/11/2010 at 02:51:24

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How can anyone say that Arteta plays better on the right when his deadballs and corners doesn't even clear the first opponent? He has lost his speed somewhat to the knee injury and hasn't looked the same since. He doesn't run at defenders nor track back as much as he used to. I say put Fella at DM and push Arteta further up behind the 2 strikers. Our problem this season has been goal scoring with the tons of chances that were created. Yak and Beckford should play every game. Either play Heitinga in CB or bench him. Sell Billy or send him out on loan to a championship side for regular games. Give Gueye a run on the left and Saha as sub.
Tony Waring
17   Posted 24/11/2010 at 09:25:13

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Does anyone feel that Coleman should be dropped for a while? It's becoming increasingly evident that opponents are sussing him out on a regular basis. They know he has a burst of speed and can cross a ball but he isn't exactly of Brazilian quality and tends to tire (seemingly) after about 60 minutes. He needs to develop a little more guile and dribbling skills.

I agree with those who call for Saha to be replaced by the Yak and Beckford should be played alongside him for a decent run of games. How is he expected to improve and adapt to the PL if he doesn't get playing time?

Jon Cox
18   Posted 24/11/2010 at 19:12:50

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A few have mentioned it. I think Arteta is not a well person.

Cast your mind back to a couple of seasons ago. I remember on this site everyone having a go at Arteta because of the way he was taking dead ball kicks, corners, free kicks etc. It turned out that he had a problem with his groin.

Check out the last 5 games. A footballer doesn't stop, overnight taking dead ball kicks. There must be a reason for it. I say the guy's got a problem again with his groin.

Now that Fellaini and Rodwell are back it's time to give Arteta a rest and if he has got a problem with his groin then we must let the management sort it out.

I believe that at the moment, this guy is doing nothing for us and it isn't down to a lack of skill or fortitude.
Jon Cox
19   Posted 24/11/2010 at 19:36:34

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Oh PS, Sam for me after the onset of a riotous weekend then it's got to be, when the alarm goes off.....

"Grim Monday morning"

Jon Cox
20   Posted 24/11/2010 at 20:43:53

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Christine,(14)

Charlie Adam, Blackpool, is your man.

This was our Lee Carsley. We have never replaced him !!!
Christine Foster
21   Posted 24/11/2010 at 23:57:55

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Funny you should say that, but I watched him the other day and thought of Carsley... It's like we had the experience of Gough at the back and Carsley in midfield, both would get a grip, but no one in the current team seems to have that bottle or respect... or leadership.

You're right, Jon, Charlie Adam is the ilk we need... btw just saw Rangers go down to Manure... they have a couple of good players in there too.
Alex Gibney
22   Posted 25/11/2010 at 11:15:19

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Lee Carsley was an average premiership player at best and Richard Gough was way past his best when he joined us. If we have to go back to buying the likes of those players, then we really have gone backwards... Does anyone not remember the type of football we played then...??

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