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Moyes Has a Decision to Make

By Liam Prenderville   ::  24/01/2013

After our disappointing performance at St Mary’s on Monday night, even the ardent Evertonians would have to admit, we barely deserved a point. Yes, we improved in the second half but looked a shadow of the team that has been so excellent in the first half of the campaign.

Despite our lacklustre showing, we could have still nicked all three points had Nikica Jelavic converted the guilt-edge opportunity that came is way.Cast your minds back to the Chelsea game on 30th December, when with the last kick of the game, the Croat made similar contact with a Leighton Baines cross.

Last season, he was scoring them chances for fun and his predatory instinct was being praised by managers across the Premier League who failed to take a gamble on him. Now, he looks a shadow of his former self and his confidence is at an all-time low.

David Moyes has publicly stated that he will stand by Jelavic because he feels the goals will soon come; but somewhere in his mind, he must be thinking about giving Victor Anichebe a go.It has taken him a number of years, but Anichebe is finally repaying the faith that his manager put in him, when he was handed his debut at the age of 17. Any Everton fan who watched the game at St Mary’s would have to admit that the game swung in Everton's favour after the 24-year-old's introduction.

There is no questioning Jelavic’s work rate and you can see how determined he is to rediscover his goal scoring touch, but it is just not happening for him right now.

The FA Cup game at Bolton on Saturday may give David Moyes the perfect opportunity to rotate our squad and give Anichebe a start. In addition, Kevin Mirallas returning to action ensures another attacking option and I would expect the Belgian to start at The Reebok as he looks to regain his fitness. On the other hand, Moyes may see the tie against a lower league side as the perfect opportunity for Nikica Jelavic to find the net, just as he did at Cheltenham in Round 3.

I think it might be the former and Jelavic will probably be given a rest ahead of the forthcoming home fixtures against West Brom and Aston Villa... You have to wonder where we would be in the table, if the Croatian striker was in the same vein of form that he was in, when he joined the club this time last year. He managed to rack up 11 goals after his move, so there is still time for him to find his touch once again.

The question is how long David Moyes will give him to come good because Victor Anichebe is putting real pressure on him for that forward spot at the moment. Every Evertonian wants our Number 7 to to start hitting the back of the net and I firmly believe it won’t be long until we start to ‘Follow the Jela-vic Road’ once again.

Reader Comments

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David Barks
318 Posted 24/01/2013 at 19:26:50
Moyes is always too reliant on one striker. Ferguson handles them best, albeit he has far superior quality and numbers. He brings them in and out, but when they're scoring they're never out for too long. Moyes continues with the same guy match after match, never trying something new. He should try Anichebe up front, bring Jelavic on as a sub. Then try Vellios bring Anichebe or Jelavic on as a sub. Then try Jelavic, keep them in and out and on their toes. But he just does the same thing over and over, when it works it looks great. When it doesn't it gets worse because he doesn't change it. Christ, even try Naismith up top instead of being crap out on the wing.
Anto Byrne
335 Posted 24/01/2013 at 19:50:13
Saha and Cahill were upront for us and never looked liked scoring, then Saha switches to Spurs and they provide the service and in go the goals.

Then we signed Pienaar who was fresh after warming the bench at Spurs for a good 12 months. He was a revelation; now he looks tired and devoid of ideas. Moyes wont put him on the bench – just as he won't rest Jelavic. Of course Jelavic needs to forget about running the flanks and just do what he does best and that is sniffing out goals in the box.

There have been so many occasions when the likes of Osman and Naismith have had guilt-edged chances and spurned them when in fact these chances should have been provided for Jelavic. Having said that, those two glaring misses are ample evidence that he is off his game and should be benched to come on as perhaps an impact sub.

Moyes just does not do this and is content to play Neville in midfield when we have better options. He has 10 years to get this shit right and still it goes on. Oh for a bit of bottle, some invention, and a 'devil may care' attitude from time to time.

Steavey Buckley
339 Posted 24/01/2013 at 20:14:11
Moyes has little scope for the rotation of players. His best players available, in his opinion, are playing from the start of a game. Which is pretty grim judging by Monday's game away to Southampton.
Robin Cannon
341 Posted 24/01/2013 at 20:22:15
Yeah, I agree with this. I'm pleased that you acknowledge that there are two reasonable ways to interpret this - that playing Jelavic against "weaker" opposition in the hope that he'll get back on the goalscoring trail is one option, just as resting him as another.

While I don't agree with the common interpretation of Moyes as a dull and defensively minded coach, I do think he is a pragmatist who has conservative leanings. So all other things being equal he'll stick with the status quo.

I think Jelavic would benefit from a rest, and the team could use a shake up. But I can see the other side, that dropping him may further harm his confidence and motivation, and I tend to think that Moyes will keep playing him through this "slump".

Phil Walling
343 Posted 24/01/2013 at 20:22:50
Moyes has always been clueless when it comes to handling strikers.Jelavic is just the latest in a long line who will leave Everton as a shadow of the player who arrived.But he will run around more!
David Flanagan
346 Posted 24/01/2013 at 20:31:27
If it's Moyes who ruins the strikers, then why after they leave don't they find their form again? AJ, Beattie, Saha have all achieved little or nothing since. The Yak had a decent season last year then takes the easy money in China.

The player himself needs questioning as he's getting chances but not taking them. I'd drop him / rest him as other players deserve a chance.

Dean Adams
350 Posted 24/01/2013 at 20:44:11
"Saha switches to Spurs and they provide the service and in go the goals. "

Anto thats one huge exageration you have there!! He left as soon as they could ditch him.

Dick Fearon
368 Posted 24/01/2013 at 20:54:39
I foresee a lesson for Moyes and Jelavic in the Bolton game. A pound to a penny that, when it matters, Kevin Davies won't be haring off to the wing — he will be sniffing out chances in the box. Expect Bolton to play to their simple and direct strengths, eschewing the dainty stuff and getting the ball into their attacking zone as quick as possible.

Because we have better players, we should win but if it comes down to tactics I would not fancy Moyes winning that battle. In trying to blind them with science the danger is we could blind ourselves to their much simpler approach. Now where have we seen that happen before.

Tom Bowers
371 Posted 24/01/2013 at 21:14:45
I don't think Anichebe is a good starting striker and certainly no replacement for Jela who though short on goals of late is still Everton's best option. I would sooner play Vellios with Jela from the off if Mirallas is still not considered 100%.

The lad Vellios has a lot more movement than Vic and can put himself about better. Vic has had ample opportunity but never really progressed despite the occasional goal.

We will miss the raiding of Coleman for a while but hopefully this means Pip will get the hell out of midfield to right back unless Hibbert is fit but against physical Bolton please don't play Naismith and Osman together.

Jim Knightley
374 Posted 24/01/2013 at 21:25:04
I'd give Anichebe a go up top tbh...I think he deserves a chance after his Southampton performance. However, playing Jelavic makes sense, as we should make a few chances against Bolton, and hopefully he can get the goal to lift his league form.

I'm not sure Mirallas is ready to start, so I'd be inclined to start both Jelavic and Anichebe, if Moyes opts against dropping Jelavic.

And Yes Dick... Who would fancy Moyes, who has us 5th in the league lately, winning a tactical Bolton against the tactical mastermind of Dougie Freedman.... Dick, did you even read over that comment? or has the ostensible anti-Moyes agenda affected the eyesight?

Jamie Tulacz
375 Posted 24/01/2013 at 21:16:23
Yes, that great goalscorer Kevin Davies! Seem to remember Saha scoring about 3 in 3 for Spurs to start with then completely disappearing from the scene. And I can't really recall any of the other strikers Moyes supposedly messed up doing much since they've left us
Jim Knightley
379 Posted 24/01/2013 at 21:34:32
The Yak did well for a season at Blackburn... but Saha certainly didn't. He started well, but soon reverted to type... an outlay of 4 goals in 25 matches says it all really.

We were treated to an in-form Jelavic... and his goal ratio was always going to be an impossible feat to repeat. I for one think he is the best striker of the Moyes era, bar Rooney, and I expect he will start scoring again soon. Simply out of form, and he looks tired.

Patrick Murphy
380 Posted 24/01/2013 at 21:37:30
The Yak got 17 goals for Blackburn didn't he? But you're right none of the strikers did much after leaving Everton, perhaps that is because few of them were good enough for the PL in the first place, is that a question of lack of funds or a lack of vision by the manager?

Mike Powell
383 Posted 24/01/2013 at 21:37:31
Big Vic should start he deserves it he has been playing well and putting him self about. Jella should be on the bench it might give the kick up the arse he needs. I hope Oviedo and Hitz both start anyone except Naismith.
Bobby Thomas
389 Posted 24/01/2013 at 21:48:02
Some absolute bullshit about Saha on this thread.

After we got his body right or as right as it could be, his second season was as good as it was ever going to get for him.

From then on it was diminishing returns and in his last season before leaving in the window he was, to my eyes, clearly finished. He was done in this league as a starting striker.

Bench cameos were his limit as when starting he was having to pace himself through matches and pick and choose when to do it due to his physical decline. He was static, no threat in behind at all and ran zero channels which a lone striker has to do, you have to give your midfielders an option. He was a centre halves dream. Even The Strac was an improvement.

Moyes and his staff rehabilitated Saha mentally and physically and, after nursing him back to fitness first season got him playing the best football his injury plagued body was going to play post United.

Yakubu was great for us in his one full season. But there’s something about Yak people aren’t mentioning................he likes a move, likes the dollar and likes an easy life and is basically a lazy bastard.

After getting the injury he took ages to get fit and then even after having a major tournament in the summer returned the size of a house, was out of shape and was taking the piss. There was clearly a blow up as he was just frozen out after a decent run of form; coincidentally after he looked he may have been getting some weight off!!

Personally I don't think it should have made it that far. We should have cut our loses in that summer and if anyone was offering £6 million as rumoured it should have been taken as Yak was basically being unprofessional. That was what was mishandled, we threw away millions not getting rid of a player who wasn't arsed!!

He was clearly playing for a contract at Blackburn last season, he was lean and after a deal or was looking to make a big impact for a move......and look what happened!! Even by January last season he was starting to look heavier.......

Ian Bennett
390 Posted 24/01/2013 at 22:15:40
What that man just said. I couldn't have said any better, so I won't.
Brendan McLaughlin
392 Posted 24/01/2013 at 22:18:30
Too right Bobby #389
The chant should have been "Feed the Yak & his weight will soar"
Ian Allaker
400 Posted 24/01/2013 at 22:24:33
Put Neville at right back, Fellaini in midfield and play Jelly and victor together with Naismith on the bench or play Mirallas. The team looks out of sorts at the moment and clearly needs a shake up. Fellaini and Neville have not been at the their best for a number of games now and so all teams have to do is stop baines and Pienaar and they stop Everton.
Bobby Thomas
401 Posted 24/01/2013 at 22:29:04
People say Moyes mishandled Yak.

I think that's complete bollocks.

For me Moyes was exactly the kind of manager he needed, as Yaks, erm, relaxed attitude to things meant he was always capable of more. He was a very, very talented striker and a superb finisher. And Moyes had him going great, then he got injured and then he took the piss.

I don't know but Yak basically strikes me of one of those players who is good at football but isn't arsed about it, it's his job. But sometimes he would open up and you would see the pace, strength and ability and I would think, "More of THAT!!" But Yak does like to cruise.

He could go from sublime to awful from game to game. But he gave us quality and goals up top and was one of the reasons we played some great stuff in that full season he had, another thing people have conveniently forgotten.

Adam Nelson
439 Posted 25/01/2013 at 01:12:44
This is probably going to sound a bit daft and unusual, but it may work with all three on the pitch at once (Jela, Vic, and Kev). If Jela wants to run the channels then put him wide left, Kev out right where he can do what we've glimpsed him do already, and Vic up top where he is obviously best.

I know that this is nothing that Moyes would ever think of doing, but do we think it may work? Maybe with Coleman and Pienaar playing a bit more defensively minded on the flanks?

Eric Myles
444 Posted 25/01/2013 at 05:04:39
Wasn't Beattie the top scorer in the Championship when he left us?

And Saha was doing well until injuries took over.

And as pointed out The Yak performed well for a struggling Blackburn, he certainly scored more than any of our own players.

Phil Walling
449 Posted 25/01/2013 at 06:22:48
What they did when they left is immaterial.Under Moyes,they all faded badly as he focussed on their 'all round game' rather than on sticking it in the bloody net!
Ruairi Furphy
450 Posted 25/01/2013 at 07:29:27
Give Jelavic a chance to play with Mirallas again and with 3 very scorable games next he could become the main man up front again, maybe not as lethal as last year but the best we have. Let Vic come on again from the bench when defenders are tiring and do a job for us, ease him back in from injury and please God keep them all fit for the run in.
Sam Hoare
456 Posted 25/01/2013 at 08:42:56
Jelavic is doing nothing different to what he did last season except missing the target (and sometime the ball). He worked hard and ran the chanell last season so can people please stop this ridiculous nonsense that he has been 'ruined' by Moyes.
Steve King
465 Posted 25/01/2013 at 08:54:46
Did Moyes ruin Papis Cisse as well? Seem to remember him making a similar impact at Newcastle last january..... been struggling this year though.
Apart from the absolute World Class strikers out there (a very rare breed) I firmly believe that confidence is a huge part of a strikers game. As soon as they go a few matches without a goal they start thinking and trying too hard and the results are what we are seeing with Jelavic and Cisse this year. I don' buy into the "moyes ruins strikers" theory.

Give Jelly a break whilst we have some competitors for his position. Anichebe, Vellios or Mirallas can play up front and would all benefit from a start for different reasons.
Maybe Jelavic will come back in a week or so with a clearer head and a rich vein of form will follow. Maybe he wont. At least Moyes will have acknowledged that there is a problem and will be seen to be trying something different after two 0-0 draws in a row.

Ray Jacques
472 Posted 25/01/2013 at 09:34:46
I agree we have looked jaded in the last two games. However to all the posters advocating a change in personnel please remember the game at Leeds when we lost to supposedly inferior opposition. I recall the frenzy calling for Moyes's head because he changed the team and ruined our best chance of a trophy.

unfortunately the 'fringe' players are just not good enough, hence the manager is reluctant to start them.

Paul Ellam
493 Posted 25/01/2013 at 11:16:12
Spot on, Ray. Fans moan when he doesn't change the team and then moan if he does and we lose!

I personally am from the side that thinks we should play our best team at all times.

It is frustrating that Jelavic is struggling to score but until we get an equal or better striker bought we may have to stick with him and I'm okay with that as I believe he will start scoring again soon.

Trevor Lynes
524 Posted 25/01/2013 at 13:17:38
We have no alternatives good enough !!

Liam Reilly
528 Posted 25/01/2013 at 13:22:45
This 'give the player a rest' bollix makes me laugh. There's one game a week until the end of the seasons for fucks sake.

Jelavic has missed a few chances, so do all strikers, he'll come good again. I seem to recall it was him who cleared off the line against Southampton the other night and followed that up with another clearance when the ball came back again off Howard.

Give the guy a break. Big Vic is doing well when he gets his chance but Moyes has said he's carrying an injury, so he'll be used sparingly as will Super Kev, so there's not many options other than Naismith..hmmmm.

Danny Jones
577 Posted 25/01/2013 at 14:27:18
Moyes knows his players' physical and mental fitness better than I but, in my opinion, Victor has earned a starting place against Bolton.

I'm not advocating 'resting' Jelavic, I'm talking about dropping him to the bench based on form. Victor may disappoint and Jelavic may be back for the next game. But if Vic does well, he should keep his place.

I don't think Vellios is anywhere near a first-team start.

Andy Meighan
580 Posted 25/01/2013 at 16:36:27
I've just posted on another article how Moyes is too loyal to under-achieving players and then go and read that's he's going to stick with Jelavic. Hasn't this joker learn't nothing from a couple of seasons ago when Saha and Cahill went months without notching yet he kept faith? Why??

Jelavic looks a really really poor player at the moment but he's going to stick with him... I could scream, I really could.

Ian Allaker
609 Posted 25/01/2013 at 18:44:34
I wouldn't say Jelly looks poor overall, just his finishing. Even without his scoring boots I think he is good enough to be in our starting 11 because of his all-round play.
Winston Williamson
664 Posted 26/01/2013 at 01:03:28
Feed us Jelly and the Crowd will Roar...
Clive Rogers
724 Posted 26/01/2013 at 10:34:51
Andy #580, my emotions exactly. Moyes is so frustrating. Its the same with Neville and Osman in midfield when they are clearly not playing well and not the right combination. Fellaini should be moved back to his BEST position. We've had 10 years of one up front, even for home games then people wonder why our strikers go off. Graeme Sharpe says every week, its the hardest job in the world up front on your own.

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