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Go 4-4-2

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West Brom at home on Saturday is now a huge game in my eyes. Lose or draw and we could easily be heading into December in 17th or 18th place and that simply isn't good enough if we are to have any ambitions of finishing in the top six again.

So my opinion is that David Moyes has to grow a set of balls and set his team out to win the game ? not rescue a point in the dying minutes as has been the case several times this season. We aren't playing Chelsea or Man City, we are playing a poor West Brom team here.

The tried and trusted, and usually dour 4-5-1 formation has to be abandoned when we are playing at home against average opposition and the performances against Wolves and Newcastle when we only collected a point from these games proves this.

The frustrating thing is that when we are predictably losing games such as Bolton, Arsenal and even against Sunderland on Monday, Moyes decides to go with two up front for the last 5 or 10 minutes and we look a different team and go on to score goals.

Moyes should take a leaf out of Owen Coyle's book and have a look at how playing an attacking game with two strikers can produce results ? big ones ? such as Bolton's home wins over Spurs and Newcastle (4-2 and 5-1)

My team for Saturday would be:

Howard; Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Neville; Pienaar, Rodwell, Cahill, Arteta; Saha, Yakubu.

Feel free to criticise or praise my idea's!!
Chris Sillett, Merseyside     Posted 24/11/2010 at 12:36:04

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Paul Gladwell
1   Posted 24/11/2010 at 21:07:41

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I wonder... where is the width coming from down the right-hand side? Playing Rodwell there is laughable.

To be honest, once Fellaini is back, Arteta should be put back there and put Rodwell in a more advanced centre-mid position, he has to start playing or he will start seeing his arse soon.

However, I think Arteta's new contract probably came with a number of clauses ? and one must surely have been he has to be played centre-mid.

Mike Rourke
2   Posted 24/11/2010 at 21:41:05

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Get Big Vic back in there partnering Yakubu, even half-fit he can't possibly be a worse option than Saha or Beckford.
Nathan Ward
3   Posted 24/11/2010 at 21:51:26

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Sorry but, after Monday, there is no way that I would play Saha again. He was gash.

The clamour for 4-4-2 is perverse. We played 4-4-2 on Monday and for most of the game Cahill was in an advance position to Saha.

I would leave Coleman in, put Jack in for Heitinga, and start with the Yak
Chris Sillett
4   Posted 24/11/2010 at 22:01:19

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Paul (#1), Arteta could play on the right, he has played there plenty of times. He couldn't be any worse than he is performing at the moment anyhow!
Sean McCarthy
5   Posted 24/11/2010 at 22:24:09

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Yak and Victor up front???? Do me a favour please!!!

Yak is finished and Victor never even got started!! It's nearly as absurd at the prospect of Victor playing wide right. A bull in a china shop springs to mind!!

David Hallwood
6   Posted 24/11/2010 at 22:49:23

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Why not try Cahill further forward and put Beckford to partner him? But NOT Beckford upfront on his own.
Jon Ferguson
7   Posted 24/11/2010 at 22:58:54

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I would not drop Coleman. He's the only one with any pace. That is except Beckford. If you are going to write off Beckford then you should at least give him a chance to play in a 4-4-2.

I'd go Howard; Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Neville; Pienaar, Arteta Rodwell, Coleman; Beckford, Yakubu.

I know Cahill is our top scorer but he can't play in a 4-4-2.

Why Moyes dropped the Yak after he scored a few weeks ago is beyond me. He was looking good for a few games got a goal under his belt and I thought he was about to go on a scoring run but he was dropped instead.
Jamie Tulacz
8   Posted 24/11/2010 at 23:04:17

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Interesting thing for me will be what happens when Timmy's off at the Asia Cup.

For me at the moment the formation's fine, it's the players that are the problem. But when Cahill's away to me we have to go 2 up front,. There's no-one else who can play the Cahill role for me (can't agree that Bily is the answer to anything) so surely time to go 4-4-2 then?
Jamie Sweet
9   Posted 24/11/2010 at 23:19:00

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You can discuss this until the cows come home. Fact is Moyes will put out pretty much the same team he did on Monday against the Baggies, my guess being that Yak will replace Saha up front and that's about it. Moyes isn't brave enough to change things too radically. Until we get a new manager or Cahill gets injured, you need to get used to the current system, whether it's getting us results or not.

I agree with Chris how frustrating it is that we only change things once we're losing and we often look more dangerous after the change. Why not start like we're a goal down and go and try to win a fucking game rather than wait until we're losing and try and fight back for a draw?

The other thing that bugs me is how defensively we play once we're a goal up. You can't shut up shop with 84 minutes to go like we started looking like wanting to do against Sunderland. It was only after the inevitable equaliser that we started pressing forward again.

I believe that we have great players and a great squad, but a manager that doesn't quite know what to do with them. He would be better being in charge of the Dogs of War... they would suit his style far better!
Mike Gwyer
10   Posted 25/11/2010 at 00:24:11

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It's OK saying 4-4-2, but the real problem is who plays the two up front from the dross that we have? There are more posts on TW about what formation we should play than you can shake a stick at. Additionally, how we manage to put so many comments to each of these posts, regarding who plays out of the Yak, Saha and Beckford is beyond me!

Saha is stuck somewhere between being injured and not giving a fuck. The Yak, what can we say? 28 going on 48 ? we know it, he knows it! Beckford, maybe something is there, he has pace but the misses against Sunderland, the RS, Villa, Blackburn, Wolves ... shit lets end that one.

Anyway Moyes goes with Saha ? though it would seem that none of our players are in sync with this system because they don't seem to pass to Saha ? usually we go down the left through Pienaar and Baines then a cross for Cahill. Yes, I know, probably because Saha is pants, has no pace, and continually loses the ball.

So many issues ? fuckall solutions!
Stuart Downey
11   Posted 25/11/2010 at 09:11:23

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Agree with #3. Saha shouldn't play. 18 Premier League games without a goal was a statistic I heard about Saha after Sunderland.

I'd play

----------------Howard---------------
Neville Jags Distin Baines
Coleman Rodwell Fellaini Pienaar
-----Yak---- Beckford-----

In defence, we don't have much choice. Our only other centre backs are kids. Neville at RB because the only alternatives are Hibbert and Coleman. I think all round Neville is better than both.

In midfield, Coleman should start on the right, the only player that I'd bring on for him would be Arteta. In centre mid, I'd play Fellaini defensively, with Rodwell in front. Both players cover a lot of ground, and are prepared to shoot outside the box. With Pienaar on the left.

I've left out Cahill because in four four two, he's the one that goes.

Saha should be out of the team at the moment, with both Yak and Beckford deserving a chance.

Bench: Mucha, Arteta, Cahill, Bily, Heitinga, Hibbert, Saha.
Anthony Hughes
12   Posted 25/11/2010 at 09:41:09

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How Moyes had the audacity to claim this as his best ever squad amazes me. The striker situation is poor, we're playing a right back in right midfield and we only have three centre-halves. Below this is a load of barely tried kids. Looks like we're losing our leading goalscorer for a month or so and Pienaar and Heitinga could be off in a couple of months.
KPR Williams
13   Posted 25/11/2010 at 09:38:53

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Dropping Cahill??? Words fail me.
Chris Fisher
14   Posted 25/11/2010 at 10:07:37

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Yeah, I agree we should drop Cahill, he's our top goal scorer and has been our best player and is actually playing as a forward anyway, you only see him drop back when we are defending... but yeah, drop him, and play the unproven Beckford and the out-of-form Yak. I reckon that will solve our goalscoring crisis for sure. What is Moyes thinking playing an in-form player who seems to score when ever the ball gets near him in the box?
Alan Clarke
15   Posted 25/11/2010 at 10:20:26

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The problem is we can't drop Cahill, he's our only goal threat at the moment. No manager would drop him with the form he's in at the moment.

The thing Moyes needs to do is just get the team playing more quickly and higher up the pitch. Stop Arteta standing alongside the centre half in his own half to pick the ball up.

The other thing I'm unsure of is what the fuck Moyes does with them in training? Get them working on one-touch football. At the moment, every player needs 2 or 3 touches before passing it. It slows the whole thing down and makes it a lot easier to defend against. If it's quick one-touch football with players making intelligent runs from midfield, you struggle to defend it and you create space.

We all know what Moyes will do though. His instructions will be to keep the ball and keep it tight for the first 60 minutes (until the team have lost the crowd and the atmosphere is dead), then start lumping it down the channels, then throw on Beckford for the last 5 minutes.
Anthony Hughes
16   Posted 25/11/2010 at 10:44:48

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I think your last paragraph sums up our tactics perfectly at the moment, Alan. The way things are at the moment it's a blessing in disguise if we go behind in a game because only then do we seem to fire into some sort of attacking mentality. If we get the first goal, we retreat into our shell and invite pressure.

This would be an ok tactic if we could counter-attack with pace but the personnel we currently have at our disposal don't allow this. I think it was said before, start as if we are a goal down and, when we do score, keep on going for the second or more goals.

Liam Reilly
17   Posted 25/11/2010 at 11:18:40

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KPR #13
Totally agree. I don't know what Cahill has to do to please some folk. 1 goal in every 2 league games this season from an attacking midfielder, yep let's drop him and play Beckford.

Cahill was by far our best performer on Monday night, even after he dropped further back into a midfield 4.

Talk of dropping him is utter nonsense.
Anthony Barnett
18   Posted 25/11/2010 at 11:26:41

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Against West Brom I'd like to see:

Howard

Coleman (RB) ? Maybe weaker defensively but distribution and attacking ability would offer more than Neville's or Hibbo's.

Heitinga (CB) ? In place of Jags as I think he would be more composed and can pick a better forward pass. Although he was missing for big parts of the game on Monday, when he did play, his forward passing was accurate.

Distin (CB) ? Has been great last few games and provides balance with being a natural left footer. Good cover for both with Jags on the bench.

Baines (LB)

Arteta (RM) ? Give him 30-odd minutes there and if he still looks well off the pace, as has so far this season, replace him with Gueye or Big Vic.

Fellaini (DM)

Rodwell (AM) ? His shooting and ability to go on direct runs with the ball will be useful; more advanced of the two in central midfield

Pienaar (LM)

Cahill (CF) ? Playing just off more advanced striker

Yak (CF) ? Has showed signs of getting some sharpness back and is most natural finisher we have, can hold up the play and link with Cahill. If he's not done much after the first half, replace with Beckford or Saha.
Ben Howard
19   Posted 25/11/2010 at 12:30:23

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I totally agree with your line-up, Anthony (#17). I think Arteta is really useful out on the wing. We also need to see the Fellaini/Rodwell partnership flourish. Is Fellaini back in for this game? I thought this was the last of his banned games.
KPR Williams
20   Posted 25/11/2010 at 12:33:10

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Is Fellaini available? I read somewhere he was flying out to Thailand to toast our ongoing partnership with Chang... sounds like a reward for being a dick to me? Hard labour on the training field would be better served, I reckon.
Gavin Ramejkis
21   Posted 25/11/2010 at 12:44:48

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A real Catch-22: drop Cahill and lose the biggest chance we have of scoring a goal; drop Saha... in a heartbeat, shit and offered fuck all for far too long. Why not play Cahill as an advanced midfielder in a diamond four, and move Arteta to the bench were he needs to sort his head out?

Howard
Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines
Coleman, Rodwell, Cahill, Pienaar
Yakubu, Beckford

Bench - Mucha, Neville, Arteta, Gueye, Saha, Heitinga, Anichebe.
Norman Merrill
22   Posted 25/11/2010 at 12:35:56

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Chris, The one thing I don't agree with you on, is the omission of Coleman. As Jon said earlier, he is the only one with pace, and although the lad has a lot to learn, he is an outlet, and if used correctly would be far more beneficial.

I hope that Moyes changes his formation, as West Brom, although having a torrid time, are a good footballing side, and their luck will change; I hope it's not at our expense. Whatever side he chooses, we need to be more direct up front, and in midfield. Goals will come, but not before the service and finishing improves greatly...

And from the start, not chasing the game. There is enough pressure on forwards to score without putting them on with ten minutes to go, to claw back a point.

Mark Hill
23   Posted 25/11/2010 at 13:30:37

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If you ask me, we are in a relegation battle already because, and the facts are plain and simple...

We can't score, and if you can't score... then you don't win games.

End of.
Terry Downes
24   Posted 25/11/2010 at 16:19:57

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It ain't rocket science, surely everyone knows by now Moyes is only good when we're down to barebones and the team picks itself; when we've a full squad, he aint got a clue.

Mediocre manager... wank chairman. Bottom line is we're fucked ? nuff's head.

Daniel Hutchinson
25   Posted 25/11/2010 at 17:17:13

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Howard
Neville Heitinga Jagielka Baines
Rodwell Arteta
Coleman Cahill Pienaar
Yak
Brian Reidy
26   Posted 25/11/2010 at 18:14:29

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KPR Williams (#20) ? Fellaini is suspended still for the West Brom game and not due back until the Chelsea game according to the OS.

All I really want against West Brom is that we shoot on sight ? I'm still hoarse from roaring at them on Monday ? just bloody get the shot off!!!

Too much passing around the 18-yard area and, as said above, too many touches...

SHOOT!
Paul Gladwell
27   Posted 25/11/2010 at 20:17:50

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Getting Rodwell playing will at least see someone shoot, providing Mr Brainstorm does not decide to start him wide right, as I can see him dropping Coleman.
Nic Davies
28   Posted 25/11/2010 at 21:48:37

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Can't see 4-4-2 Saturday to be honest. If you look around you will struggle to find teams who play with 2 out-and-out strikers.

Most of the top sides only play with 1 striker and in many cases (Man City & Tevez) they play a 'ghost nine' where the designated striker comes deep leaving space for the supporting players to expose. When Man Utd last won the Champions League they had Rooney in this role with Tevez, Giggs & Ronaldo supporting from deep.

I don't really see our system as 4-5-1. Often its 4-1-4-1 with Heitinga anchor, but in spells v Sunderland it was 4-2-3-1 with Heitinga/Arteta deep and Pienaar/Cahill/Coleman playing higher up the pitch behind Saha. Cahill quite often plays right up top when we are in possession but then drops deeper when we don't have the ball to make us more compact defensively. I think Moyes likes this flexibility. If my memory serves me right, last time we played 2 out-and-out strikers (Saha & Yak) we were 0-3 down at Hull after 30 mins.

I agree with the comment about shooting more though!
Lee Courtliff
29   Posted 25/11/2010 at 22:28:29

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Even though I pretty much agree with everyone who says 3-5-2 with wing-backs is out-dated, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that it suits the ACTUAL players we have.

Maybe I should stop thinking about it. By the way, Cahill has a better than 1-in-2 goal ratio this season (7 in 13 games). He did not play against Fulham. We should not even consider dropping him.

Craig Taylor
30   Posted 26/11/2010 at 13:45:35

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4-4-2 ? no way will that happen. Let's remember, we are playing at home against West Brom. I wouldn't be suprised to see Heitinga and Rodwell in the middle, Cahill up front on his own.

Being serious though, I totally agree. If fit enough, I would like to see Vic given a go upfront. Either way, Saha must be dropped for me. I would put Arteta on the right.
Anthony Hughes
31   Posted 26/11/2010 at 14:00:06

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I agree Saha should be dropped but Anichebe up front? Is that really the answer? Someone who at best will probably be a capable Championship striker. Not for me thanks.
John Gee
32   Posted 26/11/2010 at 13:48:10

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I'm not an Aussie so I'm not going to extol the artistry of Cahill just because he's an Aussie. But I will say this for him: he's a busy little player. He gives us an industriousness that few match.

Also, as our top scorer, he should play up front, just off the main striker. So who is the main striker? ... BILY!

He's slower than both our wingers (and possibly the tea lady) so when they get to the by-line he's just getting to the edge of the area ready for the pull back. He's a skillful player with a good eye for a layoff, good with both feet and he knows where the goal is. I reckon, given a bit of a run, he'd be a tidy striker. Certainly no worse than the other options. Plus it would give Moyes a chance to say to Saha "Pull your finger out," and to Yak, "Put down that pie, fatboy".

Jon Cox
33   Posted 26/11/2010 at 18:37:38

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Go for 4-4-2.

Play as a diamond. The Yak and Beckford up front.

Cahill the tip of said diamond with Coleman and Pienaar either side and Fella/Rodwell at the bottom.

Hey presto we now have three strikers and a more attacking attitude to our line up. Leave Arteta on the bench because A, lets try something different B, He could be carrying an injury and C, he might just be out of form or having a lethargic spell. D, there is no D as yet.

Either way bench him.

Also whats this about Cahill cant play in a 4-4-2. What a load of bollox. He's a professional footballer and should be able to play anywhere attack mid, that the manager sees fit.

Problem is folks this is tooo radical for DM so expect the same i.e chasing the game.
Ernie McAllister
34   Posted 27/11/2010 at 13:55:13

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Terry Downes - Spot on analysis mate and Ive been saying the same thing for a long time.

Today though if Moyse doesn't select the Yak to partner Cahill, he needs to drop himself.
Ernie McAllister
35   Posted 27/11/2010 at 13:57:37

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Jon Cox - The diamond would never work because we don't have the quality players to carry it off. I mean that in all sincerity.

I remember a few years back Chelsea tried said formation, it was an absolute disaster for them, and they quickly changed back to 4-3-3 i think it was.

What we need is to get two lads up top, with plenty of pace on the wings, particularly the right side...which is where coleman comes into play.

As for the Heit, if Moyse is not willing to put him back in defense...then sorry he shouldn't be playing because it really would be 10 men instead of 11..he is absolutely useless in midfield.

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