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Baines the new Bale?

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Ok, the title is a bit dramatic; however, I really think that over the summer, unless we get investment and splash out on on a big left wing signing (unlikely) that we should do what Redknapp did with Bale (and indeed Moyes with Coleman) and push our skilful and pacey full back further forward.

Baines is one of our most attacking players and has the flair of a left winger, regularly chipping in with assists and the odd goal, so why not use him there?

Before Pienaar left, our left side was very dangerous; however, Baines has looked a shadow of his former self since then and his partnership with our Russian mystery is average at best.

I am sure we will have SOME money in the summer, even if generated by the sale of one of our assets, so we could buy a budget left back of decent quality, even average quality and push Baines further forward. This would give us some needed pace on both wings and some direct running and crossing to assist our striker/s and Tim Cahill and his heading ability. Add to this, Baines's natural defensive qualities to help out the man behind him.

I am writing this based on the fact that I am convinced that Bilyaletdinov will not flourish as a left winger as I don't see any pace, crossing ability or work-rate to be a left winger and as a result, he exposes Baines too much.


Anthony Jaras, Widnes     Posted 03/02/2011 at 10:39:58

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Alex Baker
1   Posted 03/02/2011 at 14:22:31

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Erm... who exactly do we play left back for the rest of the season then Anthony? Neville? Distin? Bilyaletdinov? A totally untested youngster like Garbutt or Bidwell? Baines is our only left back in the squad, so moving him elsewhere seems very badly thought out when there's no-one to replace him. And besides, didn't Moyes experiemnt with Baines as a left midfielder a couple of seasons back, when Lescott was first choice at left back and we had a load of midfielders out injured? I seem to remember Baines not doing all that well when we pushed him further upfield.
Anthony Jaras
2   Posted 03/02/2011 at 14:45:36

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Oh dear!

I quote;

I really think that OVER THE SUMMER, UNLESS WE GET INVESTMENT AND SPLASH OUT ON A BIG LEFT WING SIGNING (UNLIKELY) THAT WE SHOULD DO WHAT REDKNAPP DID WITH BALE (AND INDEED MOYES WITH COLEMAN) AND PUSH OUR SKILFUL AND PACEY FULL BACK FURTHER FORWARD"

What has the rest of THIS season got to do with a potential problem solving plan for NEXT season?

If you are gonna have a go mate, read the article properly please first.
Anthony Jaras
3   Posted 03/02/2011 at 14:49:50

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As for last time he played there, he is a better player now with more confidence and has since been called up for England and set up and scored many goals since too.

Totally different Baines to when Lescott was here as everyone can see.
Milos Milenkovic
4   Posted 03/02/2011 at 14:34:18

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Anthony, I disagree with you that he looked a shadow of himself. For me he was man of the match at the Emirates and he was also great against Chelsea. He won every single battle against very strong and attacking teams. On the other side I agree that there is no cooperation with Bily and imho that is down to very poor Bily?s movement.

Still, for me, Baines is our Player of the Season, he plays every game, he is reliable, almost never loses the ball, always full of energy, with great technique and great crosses. While I would like to see him as a left wing that would depend of whether we can find better left back or left sided midfielder.

Paul Olsen
5   Posted 03/02/2011 at 14:57:09

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Baines has been good even without Pienaar, we can´t expect him to be everywhere in every game.

Great left-back, no need to change that.
Alex Baker
6   Posted 03/02/2011 at 14:55:30

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Ah, ok, sorry about that, thought you meant that we'd try it out this season and then address whether or not it worked over the summer. Still not entirely convinced by your argument though - if we moved Baines upfield, we'd still have to sign a new left back of equal (or better!) quality to replace him (which is hardly going to be cheap, considering how rare they are) AND hope that the transition to left midfield worked. Wouldn't signing a proven left winger be much less of a risk?

And as for Baines' imrovement, yes, that's true, but I would argue that a large part of Baines' success comes from overlapping as the winger cuts inside, drawing players away and giving Baines the time and space to pick out a cross - this was certainly effective when partnered with Pienaar. If Baines got moved upfield, this becomes a lot less effective, as Baines would have to make room for himself to swing in a cross, which I'm by no means certain he could do.

Again, sorry for the misunderstanding above but I still don't think moving one of our best performers this season is the right way to go about things. Just my opinion though, so by all means feel free to find any more holes in my argument!
James Martin
7   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:05:14

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I'd shove him forward, out of position for the chelsea goal because he was taking the corner. A lot of crosses have come from that side too this season, off the top of my head fletcher in the manu game tottenham both home and away, zenden at sunderland, there have been more as well. Worth a try putting him at left wing, can't be any worse than bily there and would probably be a lot better. Something has to change in the defense anyway. Can't just keep playing the same players who are leaking soft goals every week. Why not try a garbutt, if baines got injured moyes would have to turn to someone and if this so called starlet who there was contoversy over signing isn't better at this stage than neville or hibbert is then he may as well hang up his boots.
Anthony Jaras
8   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:10:38

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No worries Alex :o)

Only problem is, you metion the link up and overlapping play with Pienaar as part of Baines success. The fact that Pienaar has gone is going to stop the overlapping as Bily can't do what Pienaar used to. He is too slow to do it effectively, meaning Baines won't be able to capitalise.

I think that buying a solid proven left winger would cost more than a solid proven left back to be honest pal.

Even if we bought a left back of lesser quality than Baines, he could be helped out by Baines, as Coleman does with Neville. Our right side is very strong defensively at the moment with Coleman attacking and defending the average Phil Neville. I dont see why this cant work on the right by pushing Baines forward, we get the best of both worlds then and a potent balance on the wings.
Milos Milenkovic
9   Posted 03/02/2011 at 14:57:08

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Alex, I would like, at least once, to see Arteta on the left. Arteta is similar to Pianaar and since his partnership with Fellaini in the middle doesn't look promising, maybe it could work on the left. Maybe it sounds strange, but Fellaini - Osman combination worked very well on every occasion.
Anthony Jaras
10   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:15:58

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Good point James, we need to sign or try another left back anyway in case of injury to Baines.
Shaun Brennan
11   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:15:47

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Comment not related, but why the fuck was Arteta back taing free kicks the other week against chelsea. He hit the wall again!!
Anthony Jaras
12   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:18:06

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It makes me ill when I see him taking them Shaun cos I know the opposition will end up with the ball either via goal kick or clearance.
Julian Wait
13   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:27:30

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@Milos #9

So probably a midfield of

Arteta (L)
Fellaini (C)
Cahill/Rodwell (pushed up w/ lone-wolf fwd)
Osman/Rodwell
Coleman (R)

hmmm. not sure about that.

Osman just seems too weak right now against some very robust midfields.

Rodwell needs a run but frankly he is looking lost in midfield at times, much as I think he has great talent, he's no Wilshire or even a McEachran (who looks VERY composed when I see him) just yet. Arguably Rodwell hasn't had enough time but I am also not sure he has got all the necessary attributes for any centre midfield role either, but we said the same about Fellaini at first too and he was more experienced when he joined than Rodwell is now ... basically we need to give Rodwell a run and see what he has got ... but can we risk it now we're 3 pts off relegation and in deep trouble?
Anthony Jaras
14   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:38:08

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I don't think Rodwell is all we thought he was going to be and he is no midfielder.

I say as he is one of our saleable assets, we cash in and invest in a striker and either left winger or left back.

Do this before Fellaini wants to leave due to lack of progress.
Brian Waring
15   Posted 03/02/2011 at 15:58:52

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Worth a try Anthony. Distin, left - footed, great defender, loads of pace, at left - back. Jags in the middle with Johnny. At the end of the day, Baines is great going forward, but is a bit suspect at defending.
Les Martin
16   Posted 03/02/2011 at 16:06:56

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Baines is a great left back as good as anything in the prem and i think he is still improving, certain to big courted by the big boys as you look around and who is better, answers please ?. As for the comment that he and Bily wont work as a partnership ? hell give them a chance to work it out, as they have only played two games together,and were moaning already. I thought Bily looked useful against Chelsea, he may not be the quickest but has speed of thought and quick feet add an eye for goal and you will soon be forgettting Baines/Pienaar
James Martin
17   Posted 03/02/2011 at 16:15:46

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Evra, Cole, Clichy, Konchesky..........ha! No, I jest, Baines is a lot better than Clichy.
Gavin Ramejkis
18   Posted 03/02/2011 at 17:48:27

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Julian 13# DM will be damned if he does and damned if he doesn't play an attacking formation against Blackpool, with 14 games to go will 14 draws if we are lucky be enough to keep us up? I think it may go to 42/43 points and we need to start winning games. Will DM go for what is needed 3 points or grind out an arsehole healing over boring draw? Scoring goals wins games, that hasn't been addressed and that's tantamount to footballing suicide.
David Holroyd
19   Posted 03/02/2011 at 18:06:49

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There is a way to accomodate Baines at wing back Distan at left back. HOWARD NEVILLE JAGIELKA HEITINGER DISTAN COLMAN RODWELL FELLAINI ARTETA BAINES SAHA . DISTAN HAS PLAYED LEFT BACK BEFORE just a thought?
Mark Wayman
20   Posted 03/02/2011 at 18:10:50

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I think Baines started out as a winger at youth level, not that I'm saying he should play there.

Lescott and Baines were a good partnership on the left, Baines and Pienaar replaced them in those positions. So as someone else said why not Baines and Arteta. Worth a try, not like it is completely alien to them playing the roles.
Richard Dodd
21   Posted 03/02/2011 at 18:11:57

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I`ll break the habit of a lifetime and dare to advise My hero on his formation.
Picking up on the need to utilise our best players in their best positions (particularly Coleman and Baines as wing-backs),how about a line-up that sees us go 3-5-2 viz: Howard;Heitinga,Jagielka,Distin; Coleman,Rodwell Fellaini,Arteta,Baines;Cahill,Saha?
No doubt my many critics will use this post to tell me,yet again,how little I know about the game!
Anthony Jaras
22   Posted 03/02/2011 at 18:35:52

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Richard, it certainly makes our defence look stringer whilst also providing width and pace. Why not?
Anthony Jaras
23   Posted 03/02/2011 at 18:38:03

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*stronger
Anthony Jaras
24   Posted 03/02/2011 at 19:11:43

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Only one problem. Neville won't be dropped.
Joe McMahon
25   Posted 03/02/2011 at 19:10:14

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I'm still trying to get the horrible image of Baines behaving like a 4 year old and curling up into a ball to avoid being hit by the shot that Meireles scored for Liverpool in the derby. Shocking and pathetic, if he just stood there and let it hit him, they wouldn't have gone ahead and we prob would have won.
Trevor Lynes
26   Posted 03/02/2011 at 20:07:07

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I've said it for ages, ad nauseum,we do not have a replacement for BAINES!! If the lad gets injured, we are in even more trouble!! We also do not have a replacement for Arteta, Fellaini and Saha. We have stop-gaps but not anywhere near the quality that we need to stave off problems. We are really quite threadbare with no youngsters pushing for places and Rodwell for my money has not shown sufficient progress to warrant the rave revues.
Gavin Ramejkis
27   Posted 03/02/2011 at 20:13:44

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Playing wing backs takes a lot of pace and the ability to be great going forward and tracking back, Coleman and Baines are good going forward but no great shakes tracking back. A decent pacy winger would rip through a 3-5-1.
Dick Fearon
28   Posted 03/02/2011 at 20:41:04

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I've seen it happen so many times that a player who is top class in one position is ruined by using him elsewhere.

If the coaching staff were any good at all they would concentrate all their effort on the next in line for whatever position needs filling.

Though to be honest I cannot see any good in having our current coaches cluttering up the place. People talk about having a clear out, I would start with that lot of negative ex-defenders.

Dick Fearon
29   Posted 03/02/2011 at 20:51:37

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And another thing, if Osman is to be Baines's partner on the left the latter can forget any aspiration he may hold for an England place. Ossie will leave him out to dry, just as he did with Hibbert, who remember was once touted for international honours.
Eric Myles
30   Posted 04/02/2011 at 06:55:46

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Baines has had more partnership time with Anichebe until his injury than with Bily so to blame Baines current poor form on our 'Russian mystery' is a bit much. I think Baines is having to stay back to defend because of Vic's and now Bily's poor defensive abilities.

We seem to have been linked with a teenage left back wunderkid from the Bendesliga but where we'd get the money from is anyone's guess. Kenwright OUT!

Neil Vaughan
31   Posted 04/02/2011 at 10:39:46

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Baines the new Bale... err, quite simply ? NO!!
Mark Wayman
32   Posted 04/02/2011 at 11:27:58

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I don't think Baines has been playing poorly, I think his amount of time attacking has been negated since Pienaar left; until he builds up an understanding with whomever plays left midfield permanently, this will continue to be the case in the short term.

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