Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In  |  Sign Up
The Mail Bag

Defensive problems

Comments (18)

I have just noticed a few things during the last 2 or 3 games. Obviously the problems of our season have been scoring, and due to the form of Saha, this seems to have been quelled for the time being. At least we have striker looking dangerous, and having Beckford as a back-up and Cahill having just got back, this seems to look good for us.

However, defensively, we are leaking goals. If you look at the game against Blackpool, all of the goals were very sloppy. The first, Baines should have cleared. The second, Heitinga lost a 50-50 after Coleman did a careless chest pass to a Blackpool player. The third, Distin was pissing about and lost the ball. All very sloppy and I really think they could have been stopped.

The Arsenal goals: perhaps Rodwell could have some sympathy for their first, but the way he made contact with the header resulted in the Arshavin volley. Their second was through very bad marking on the corner. These are all mistakes that WE caused; we must stop these mistakes so we can start getting clean sheets.

Could it be that Jagielka hasn't been playing? I'm not too sure because Heitinga looks steady, but good training this week can hopefully stop our defence and midfield from making mistakes.

Ben Jones, Anglesey     Posted 06/02/2011 at 13:03:12

back Return to the Mail Bag


Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Dan Moorhead
1   Posted 06/02/2011 at 16:01:23

Report abuse

Heitinga is constantly beaten in the air, is very slow and shits out of tackles like I?ve never seen at Everton before especially for a center half. He also doesn?t want to be here and has listed Liverpool as one of the clubs he would like to join. But he claps the Gwladys Street so I suppose he?s alright.

I think jags will be back in next week.
Dennis Stevens
2   Posted 06/02/2011 at 17:40:34

Report abuse

You've only noticed this over the last 2 or 3 games? I think we've only kept about 3 clean sheets so far this season - in all competitions!
Anthony Hawkins
3   Posted 06/02/2011 at 17:42:01

Report abuse

I don't think Heitinga was all that bad and he didn't get beaten as much as people keep saying.

The back four have positively hemoraging goals, particularly compared to previous seasons but I couldn't place my finger on why. I don't think Jagielka is the answer as we've leaked goals even when he's been playing.

I'm beginning to wonder if Distin is the key? Almost like Cahill. I predicted the side would pick up when Cahill was removed and it has. May be there is an over reliance on Distin?

Only time will tell.
Gavin Ramejkis
4   Posted 06/02/2011 at 17:54:19

Report abuse

I've noticed an alarming lack of urgency we have had most of the season closing down opposition players from the midfield back to defence. We give opposition players far too much time and sopace on the ball and cause a lot of our own problems because of this. Howard is garbage against long range shots yet how many times have opposition teams had time and space on the ball often going over ten passes before we even look to put a foot in? Thats one lesson we could certainly take from Barca who crowd opposition teams off the ball as soon as they get it, if you have the ball you have more chance of doing something with it and if the opposition doesn't have it they are unlikely to score or get the ball anywhere near your net.
Chris Jones
5   Posted 06/02/2011 at 18:10:36

Report abuse

Heitinga is definitely the weak link in the back four. That was a 'shit-out' tackle yesterday, a repeat of one earlier this season. I wouldn't shed a tear if the arrogant bastard fucked off in the summer. He's the one lad in the starting eleven I have no time for.
Joseph Strumm
6   Posted 06/02/2011 at 18:27:16

Report abuse

Heitinga is shite but Howard is at the root of our defensive problems, there is no communication from him to his defenders and the amount of times he fails to come out of the six-yard box to collect the ball is frightening. He is terrible on anything from 20 yards+ and his kicking and distribution is diabolical. Though not his fault, he still stunk, positionally, for a couple of the Blackpool goals yesterday.
Andy Crooks
7   Posted 06/02/2011 at 18:32:16

Report abuse

The great Everton team of the eighties closed down the opposition very effectively. In fact ,the only two sides I've seen better at it are the Juventus of Viali and Ravinelli and the current Barcelona. What is needed are workhorses with talent. Maybe Fellaini and Rodwell can do this.
Col Noon
8   Posted 06/02/2011 at 18:46:28

Report abuse

Heitinga is an imposter. His cowardly tackles and inability to do the basics well have cost Everton deeply this season. I have never for once been fooled by this hard man image he pathetically tries to use as a bravado week in week out for the club. And as much as Jagelika hoofs the ball, Heitinga is just as guilty with sloppy passing when I have seen him this season. I dont get when people on here go on like he's Franz Beckenbauer's 2nd coming. These "fantastic" diagonal balls surrender possesion just as easily as Jagelkia's aimless punts up field. Neither are ball playing centre halfs, at least 1 of them actually attempts to defend....properly.
Jay Harris
9   Posted 06/02/2011 at 18:54:09

Report abuse

I have felt strongly about this since Lescott went. Him and Jags did seem to complement each other.

It takes time for CB's to gel but I certainly feel Heitinga is a better footballer than Jags although Jags does put his body on the line for those last minute blocks.

I really believe the problem is in MF where they lose the ball and then dont have the pace to get back.

The only problem this season is that the goals leaked are mostly individual mistakes and are spread throughout the team
James Martin
10   Posted 06/02/2011 at 21:47:03

Report abuse

The balance of the team is not right and that's why we are conceding goals. Our greatest attacking threat is a left back who also takes most of our set pieces and corners meaning he is stranded in any break away. The midfield three of Arteta, Fellaini and Rodwell don't really know who is supposed to be defending or attacking at any given time.

In games I've even seen Arteta and Fellaini "closing down" the oppositions centre-backs further up the field than Saha. To add to that neither are the quickest and Bilyaletdinov isn't either so, whenever Baines bombs on, there isn't any natural cover. Coleman and Neville seem to concede less from the right side so perhaps some teams are growing wise to this with most balls coming in from our left hand side.

Through Heitinga's and Distin's pursuit of playing out the back, they're making more mistakes than a 'put it in Row Z' centre-half would. I know the mention of Lescott ever playing well is anathema, and he did get beaten in the air but he was quality at both centre and left back; the current back four just aren't as good as previous years and the stats show that.

Thomas Williams
11   Posted 07/02/2011 at 00:13:59

Report abuse

Conceding goals was predictable after all called for more "attacking play" once 4-5-1 was removed; yes, we score more goals but will always concede more as well.

We have no balance in the middle, that is the problem; lose the ball and we only have Fellaini to stop it. Pienaar used to cover for Baines as well but Bily, Arteta, Osman and Rodwell to a degree don't tackle or cover back too well. Add in both full backs attacking and we will always be exposed playing like that.

Reminds me a lot of the United tean in the 70s and early 80s, great going forward but defensively niave.

Heitinga and Jagielka are not good enough in my opinion either, should have taken the £15M for Jags, I'm sure we could have got someone in for a lot less than that (Dan or Johnson), and then improved other areas of the team. Jags and Arteta may never be the same after the injuries, you have to take that into account... Yak wasn't.

Danny Broderick
12   Posted 07/02/2011 at 01:01:13

Report abuse

For me the problem is centre mid. Fellaini is a must pick at the moment, but him and Arteta do not work as a pair. Fellaini wins headers and glides around the pitch, and he needs a terrier alongside him who will run all day and win tackles. That is not a role Arteta can fill, and I don't think Rodwell can either as he is not mobile enough playing alongside Fellaini. The squad as a whole is not very well balanced at the moment, and I think we will keep shipping goals until we get a hard-working midfielder who can put his foot in.

It's time for Johnny Heitinga to go in the summer. Jagielka can cover his position, and at least he doesn't jump out of tackles.

Steven Pendleton
13   Posted 07/02/2011 at 07:04:15

Report abuse

No mention of Howard being culpable. Does anyone think he commands the box? I for one think he doesn't and it starts from here.
Gavin Ramejkis
14   Posted 07/02/2011 at 07:22:01

Report abuse

Thomas (#10) ? we have leaked goals all season, 4-5-1 has nothing to do with it.
Dave Wilson
15   Posted 07/02/2011 at 09:56:45

Report abuse

Both JH + Jags are complete liabilities. I can't think of two defenders who have cost their team more goals.

Once we have guaranteed prem status for next season, Duffy should be thrown in for the rest of this... If he shows promise, Great; if he doesn't he should be shown the door with the other two.
Dave Roberts
16   Posted 07/02/2011 at 10:29:33

Report abuse

I'm alarmed at the number of goals we give away on breakaways or when nippy players run directly at us. Almost inevitably they run right through our midfield without any real challenge. The Wolves equalizer at Goodison was a prime example and there have been many more.

There are problems with the back four but this is exacerbated by the fact that they are constantly exposed through the midfield's inability to offer any real defensive resistance. This has got to be sorted as at the moment we are having to score at least 2 goals to have a chance of winning a game.
John Crook
17   Posted 07/02/2011 at 11:57:45

Report abuse

i would say Heitinga is more of a technical defender ? quite clever in he knows what space he has and knows when to make a block and when to put a tackle in. He was excellent against Drogba last week as he was in the 2-1 win over them last year.

But yes, he can have an arrogance about him and he is a bad looser. When Adam scored their 3rd with that controlled diving header, Heitinga should've been throwing his body in front of that as he was really close to him.

Anyways, we have had Distin & Jagielka and then Distin & Heitinga... so maybe it's time for a Jagielka & Heitinga partnership for the final thrid of the season. I'm not saying Distin deserves to be dropped but it might freshen up a back four who don't look like keeping a clean sheet against anyone.

After watching Liverpool's win at Chelsea, with a back three and wing backs... I think that is something to be seriously taken into consideration for our repaly. As much as i hate them, that was an excellent tactical performance and Chelsea wouldn't've scored all day (expect the stone wall pen of course).

James Stewart
18   Posted 07/02/2011 at 14:00:44

Report abuse

I would prefer to see a Jagielka/Heitinga combination. While Distin has performed well after his horror show against Utd I just don't think he is as good as the other 2. He is purely being picked for his size.

For me the biggest problem at the moment is Howard. His positioning is awful and he just doesn't even get near enough of the goals that have been going in. His worst season by a long way for me.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to the MailBag, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.

© ToffeeWeb

Latest News

Subscribe to The Athletic, Get 40% off

Online Football Betting with Betway

Bet on Everton and get a deposit bonus with bet365 at

Recent Articles

Talking Points & General Forum

Pinned Links


We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.