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I?ve been pro-Moyes in all his time here over the last 9 years. He alone turned the club around and took us into Europe but I think following Tuesday night his time to leave has arrived.

Why ? because of his statement that ?he played his best 11 players out there?. He couldn?t find room for a striker as no striker was worth his place before Arteta, Rodwell, Pinnear, Fellaini etc etc. What an absolute cop-out, demonstrating a complete lack of football management. So on his current basis of team selection it means that when Tim has gone off to Asia he?ll play Jags in his place as he?s the next best player we have on the books, and we?ll end up playing a formation of 5-5-0 and draw the next 6 games all 0-0 hopefully.

I?m sick of him accusing the forwards as crap ? they have been living on pittance all season. We do not have a central midfield player who actually runs at defences and causes the opposition centre backs to come out and leave gaps to be exploited. Only Coleman and Baines run with the ball at the opposition, but they alone cannot force space in the middle, it has to be a central midfielder.

Our centre midfield players, Arteta, Rodwell, Fellaini are all two-touch, piroutte, pass sideways merchants, none of them commit defenders. Moyes must see this but other than Baxter I don?t know of anyone else on the books who is capable of running at defenders in a central postion.I actually thought Rodwell would do it this season (remember his goal against Utd last season) but it looks like its been trained out of him in favour of ball retention.

Moyes has really been found wanting this season in the ?New Tactical? Premier League where the likes of Spurs, Bolton, Sunderland, Blackpool have played 4-3-3 or 4-2-4, but more importantly have gone out to win games. It has caused the likes of Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal problems, but they have at least overcome it whereas the likes of us and Liverpool have been found out ? the days of the cautious managers (Moyes, Hodgson) are finished.
Mike Oates, South Coast     Posted 30/12/2010 at 17:54:09

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Marcus Kendall
1   Posted 30/12/2010 at 20:22:18

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I wouldn't get carried away with the football being played by Bolton or Sunderland, they have the odd game when they look impressive but they also have the same bad games we slate Moyes for. Bolton got battered at home by West Brom the other day and yet snuck a win (we also played Bolton off the park) ? and Steve Bruce is far from an attacking manager, he's another old schooler.

I hasten to add, I rate Owen Coyle highly but, as I said, his Bolton team are not always as attacking as the media portray. Same goes for Blackpool.
Alan Clarke
2   Posted 30/12/2010 at 20:29:42

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The West Ham game will become folklore now. We'll tell future generations about it.

The reason the likes of Blackpool and Bolton are ahead of us is because their managers play players in their correct position. They'd rather play a less talented player in their correct position than a more talented player in the wrong position.

Playing Beckford up front with Cahill in his correct position will always be more of a goal threat than that shite the other night.

Brian Waring
3   Posted 30/12/2010 at 20:33:13

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Marcus, I can't remember who Sunderland were playing, but it was live on Sky. Bruce got interviewed before the game, and was asked why he was playing with 3 strikers.

He said it was because he had injuries to key defenders, so he thought the best thing to do was to just go for it from the off. Seriously, could you imagine what the interviewer would have been asking Moyes, "So Davey, how coming your lining-up with 7-3-0?"

I've watched Sunderland a few times this season on the box and they always start the game as if they want to win it ? far from old school.

Chris Matheson
4   Posted 30/12/2010 at 20:29:54

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Mike, I agree.

We only seem to have one form of attack: play the ball out wide and then hump it into the middle. I am not opposed to this, but it is one-dimensional and we do it so slowly.

We rarely vary the manner of attack. We rarely, as you say, go through the middle, playing the ball on the ground for our attackers to run on to. I thought that playing the killer pass was supposed to be Arteta's main skill?

Why I like to see Shameless Coleman is because he will, at least, have a go at taking the ball into the opposition box and trying to make something happen, maybe taking a man on and beating him, rather than a hopeful high lob which is usually easy meat for opposing centre-backs.

Wing play to the near exclusion of everything else (particularly slow-build-up play) with time for the opposing defence to regroup is boring and unimaginative and is one of the main reasons why ? let's admit it ? we are not an attractive team to watch.

I have seen us play direct offensive attacking play this season but it is the exception rather than the norm ? generally when we are chasing a game in the last few minutes. Most of our nice passing is, sadly too ineffectual.
Marcus Kendall
5   Posted 30/12/2010 at 20:39:56

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Brian ? look, I agree that Moyes is way too cautious and he's not the man to take Everton forward but Steve Bruce IS old-school. I'm from near Birmingham and I know from his time at Birmingham how old-school he is.

As I said, Sunderland at times will look great, I hasten to add, so will we... but if anyone thinks Steve Bruce is an attacking manager... well, they clearly aren't aware of the full facts.
Simon Jenkins
6   Posted 30/12/2010 at 20:57:52

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Hang on ? don't people remember the 2008-09 season, when we 'didn't play with any strikers' for a number of games, and went with Cahill and Fellaini up front? That paid dividends; we finished 5th and reached the Cup Final.

Why are people so surprised anyway? I was glad he never played Saha, he's been given his chance. Anichebe was suspended and Vaughan was injured. Both Yakubu and Beckford are out of favour. All this 'the West Ham game will become folklore' stuff is just silly.

Marcus Kendall
7   Posted 30/12/2010 at 21:09:06

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Beckford should've started, Simon, his pace would've given West Ham's static back-line problems.
Brian Waring
8   Posted 30/12/2010 at 21:23:57

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Marcus, I'm not saying I would like Bruce here, far from it, but it's got to the point now, where you think you've sussed Moyes, only for him to out-do himself. At one point on Tuesday, it looked like the players didn't even know where they were supposed to be playing.
Andrew Gaule
9   Posted 30/12/2010 at 21:30:31

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You are right Mike. Blaming the strikers is the wrong response. It is in the midfield where the improvements must come.

Until Pienaar, Arteta and Fellaini start to provide consistent levels of service to the forwards, there will continue to be a goal drought.

Other thoughts:-

I think the role that Osman used to play is missed.

Pienaar has not really been trying this season. He should have been sold last summer. No point in hanging on to players when they want to leave. Pay him or sell him.

Arteta has been sloppy and seemingly not quite match fit this season. Same story with Fellaini.

All in all, very disappointing. I thought we would be challenging in the top 4 this season.
Marcus Kendall
10   Posted 30/12/2010 at 21:36:00

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Brian, we sing from the same hymn sheet. Moyes isn't my cup of tea either but I have to argue some of the managers who are suggested on these boards as more viable options.

I'm glad you're aware of Bruce's shortcomings, though, and, if I hear Holloway, Jol, Hughton or the Dave Jones of the management world being touted as being good appointments again, I think I'm going to lose the will to live!
Leon Perrin
11   Posted 30/12/2010 at 22:01:54

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A point I'd raise about Moyes departure is we should be making plans now. Personally I don't see him lasting the season, but I'd put money on him not being here for next season.

Elite managers such as Hiddink won't come and beyond Wenger and Ferguson only Hoddle has actually gone to a club and made a positive difference but he's cockney and uses faith healers.

We need to be short-listing the unproven younger lads, I've heard shouts for Paul Lambert, Roberto Martinez, Owen Coyle... even Ian Holloway from this country and I'm sure there's the equivalent abroad. Point is: we don't want to be caught with our pants down.

Marcus Kendall
12   Posted 30/12/2010 at 22:26:25

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Why is Hiddink elite? Look at his record, it's hardly brilliant.
Leon Perrin
13   Posted 30/12/2010 at 22:31:47

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Marcus, gotta disagree with ya on that one ? I'd be chuffed to bits if we got him in.
Gavin Ramejkis
14   Posted 30/12/2010 at 22:39:50

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Marcus, the Sunderland v Blackpool game the other day which Blackpool won, Sunderland had 31 shots on goal; I wouldn't say that wasn't attacking football.
Sean Patton
15   Posted 30/12/2010 at 22:42:27

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I think you are right, it does seem that way, it is not 2004-05 anymore: scoring a goal from a set piece and then defending won't get 3 points.

What has happened to Moyes? Is he in one of his titty sulks again. Since when has playing for a point against West Ham been acceptable to him? This is a ground where Everton have won for the last three seasons, who are bottom of the league, and have just played a match 2 days ago.

Leon is right ? we should be sounding out prospective new mangers now; my choice would be McLaren ? Moyes should go at the end of the season and the only way in my eyes that he remains is if he wins the Cup.

It is not that big a deal ? better managers have left doing far better than Moyes is at the moment. The way some fans go on about who would we get, you would be forgiven for thinking this was Leyton Orient.
Marcus Kendall
16   Posted 30/12/2010 at 22:59:57

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Fair enough, Leon, I just think he's another media hype job coz he did well at Chelsea (so did Grant and he's hardly great). The rest of his CV isn't that impressive and most of his good work was done long ago.

I'd rather a young and upcoming manager with hunger to develop the club long term.
Marcus Kendall
17   Posted 30/12/2010 at 23:02:00

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And Gavin, I know Sunderland battered Blackpool the other day but Steve Bruce isn't an attacking manager. Being from the Birmingham area, I know the kind of manager Bruce is and it's definitely old school.
Micheal Lynch
18   Posted 30/12/2010 at 22:18:32

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"Pienaar not trying"? ? He tries his heart out, as do Distin, Baines, Coleman, Cahill and maybe Fellaini and Jags. Rodwell I can't see it. Neville tries but is shit... and as for the Yak and Saha, they can fuck off and take Bily with them. Arteta is just not in form and should not play ? end off ? until he regains form.

As for Moyes, thanks but enough is enough. Being at Upton Park was the last straw. His mentality and game approach maybe can excuse the above players, in particular Arteta. That negative shit does not suit a player like him. If you watch the game until West Ham scored, even Baines did not give Pienaar support on the left. I can only imagine he was told stay back to cover Hibbert.

The last straw was the time-wasting changes at the end and Howard delaying with the ball. I will never forget that ? and we were playing West Ham! Even our support hardly sang cause they are now totally deflated. Some of their faces have expressions of total sadness and acceptance of this shite. Like we know it's going to happen, and it always does, only worse this time.

I have read posts that Moyes experimented and that was the reason he played Cahill on his own. Well, why not fucking experiment with TWO strikers or play another with Cahill??? Experiment with Rodwell driving forward at all times. When it's clear that players are not in form, make a change ? even if it means pulling Arteta off after 30 minutes. Play Duffy at centre back and Hibbert at right back...

But no; we have to have Neville playing. He gives all kids hope of playing Premier League football 'cause you can make it, even when you are totally shit. He can't cross the ball. He could not give Coleman the support his hard running deserved.

Why is Duffy a sub and not plyed when he is the next recognised centre-half available? Moyes has assembled this squad ? and credit to him under the financial restraint ? but now it's time to let somebody else have a go... Billic, anyone?

Marcus Kendall
19   Posted 30/12/2010 at 23:09:07

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Neville should play but only as a defensive midfielder as he hasn't got the legs or the ability for the full-back position.

The team for Stoke, if the likes of Jags/Heitinga are fit, should be:

GK Howard
DR Coleman
DL Baines
DC Distin
DC Jagielka
MR Anichebe
ML Pienaar
DMC Neville
MC Fellaini
AMC Cahill
SC Beckford

Personally, I think that has the most balance and, considering it's Stoke, the best physical players we have to combat them.
Micheal Lynch
20   Posted 30/12/2010 at 23:12:10

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Neville should never play. Sorry but he can't pass the ball even 5 yards.
Alex Kociuba
21   Posted 31/12/2010 at 00:44:49

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I agree; Neville is diabolically bad and should be a used as a decent utility-man sub in emergencies. Every single game it's constant misplaced passing. It would be interesting to see what his pass completion rate is?
Mike Elbey
22   Posted 31/12/2010 at 00:42:50

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This is an excellent article.

I have been pro-Moyes for the duration of his tenure but the West Ham game was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

Firstly, to publicly criticize the strkers is ridiculous man-management. Secondly, not to pick Duffy sends out the message to him when he picks an average right back instead. Thirdly, his totally negative tactics against the side bottom on Xmas Day was beyond belief.

The line he believes in the opposition players more than his own is masterclass and sums Moyes up perfectly.

In summary, thank you, David, for giving us some respectability back... but now the choice is yours ? start sending your teams out with the intention of scoring more than the opposition score, as opposed to your current instruction of concede less than the opposition concede.

If you are not willing to change then move aside and let someone in who will play in the true traditions of our club because most of us have had enough of this negative boring shit now...

Justin Woods
23   Posted 31/12/2010 at 02:28:10

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Good article, Mike

I particularly agree with your statement about Moyes blaming the lack of goals solely on the forwards. In my opinion, the goal drought is caused by a combination of strikers not finishing and Moyes's own defensive, listless tactics.

In his 4-5-1, every time a striker gets the ball, it's 1 against 4. Nobody is there to work with him. By the time the mids push up, the surprise is lost. And the slow development and backpasses make even a sound attack a boring attack.

Watching teams like Spurs run a counter-attack and send 5, 6, 7 players on a committed run is exciting (and effective). DM is quick to blame his strikers (by the way, they are HIS strikers), but maybe he should take a look in the mirror and realize the real reason we can't score is his tactics.

Alan Clarke
24   Posted 31/12/2010 at 09:07:49

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The reason all these other managers get mentioned is because they're all better than Moyes. Holloway might not be a genius but he's already achieved more than Moyes ? he's taken an unfashionable Lancashire club up through the play-offs with no money, something Moyes failed to do. Same goes for Coyle.
Tony Waring
25   Posted 31/12/2010 at 09:41:40

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Sunderland look good at the present time because of a certain youngster named Welbeck. Once he returns to Old Trafford, I think you'll see a different Sunderland. On the subject of goal scorers what about taking Michael Owen on loan on a pay-per-goal basis?
Anthony Hughes
26   Posted 31/12/2010 at 10:21:12

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A fit and firing Owen would be a good option but unfortunately he makes Saha look like the Man of Steel and would just clog up the treatment room.
Kunal Desai
27   Posted 31/12/2010 at 12:02:37

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Moyes's decision to have three strikers on the bench could backfire on him for the remainder of the season if he doesn't manage to get a striker or two in the transfer window. It's easy for him to say we'll be on the lookout for a striker in the loan market but will he be able to get someone in is another thing.

If not, then do you really think the strikers we have will give a fuck about the rest of the season? Have heartfelt performances put in unless of course their injured.
Just what do his decisions do to the confidence of Beckford and, if he's not prepared to give him a decent run in the side, even as a sub, then surely this has to be poor decision to get him in the summer... even if he was a free.

Norman Merrill
28   Posted 31/12/2010 at 12:10:52

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Mike, The young lads in the side, Rodwell and Coleman, are playing under orders from Moyes. Just watch the two of them during the game ? they are always looking towards the bench, you notice it more when we are on TV, as you can scrutinize later after getting back from match. They look frightened to take any initiative in a more creative mode, in fact Coleman seems to have made his mind up more lately and just goes for it and gives Phil Neville a hard time when the ball is not delivered to him quicker, and rightly so.

I am sure some fans will have noticed this, I just hope the shackles are taken off these young lads, and he lets them express themselves more.

It will be interesting to see who he playes up front, as the remarks made at the West Ham game will not have helped to give any confidence to lads sitting on the bench.
Nelaj Behajiha
29   Posted 31/12/2010 at 13:59:45

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"Our centre midfield players, Arteta, Rodwell, Fellaini are all two-touch, piroutte, pass sideways merchants". Our biggest problems.

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