Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Post-transfer team analysis

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With Arteta, Yakubu, Beckford out and Drenthe, Stracqualursi in, our squad is effectively less one forward, less one central playmaker but more one wingback/winger.

Based on these changes, what formation can we expect Moyes to be playing for the rest of the season (or at least until the next transfer window)?

I'd expect the back four to remain unchanged ? Baines at the left with Drenthe or Neville as cover. Rightback comfortably filled from Coleman, Hibbert, or Neville. Centerbacks from Distin, Jagielka, or Heitinga.

At first I thought losing Arteta would severely curtail our assist rates, but looking at the past season, our top two assist-providers were Baines (14) and Osman (7). Arteta was third at (6)... perhaps of some concern, but not devastatingly critical.

I think what we've lost in Arteta is someone who is comfortable holding the ball and dictating play. None of our current squad seem to be on the same level as Arteta. Holding the ball yes ? Fellaini, Rodwell. Creativity, possible ? Osman. But noone who I feel can do both effectively.

In Arteta, I also feel we've lost someone influential on the field, someone whom the rest of the team feel comfortable in getting the ball to quickly. I feel that in the following months, we'll be seeing a return to more direct play instead of the ?keep ball? methods that we've been witnessing recently.

If Moyes does play Drenthe & Stracq regularly immediately, expect to see a more direct approach from the flanks (Drenthe left, Coleman/Barkley right). And probably a central midfield of Fellaini and Neville. Osman and Cahill to make up the support striker role.

I can't say I'm hugely optimistic. But perhaps losing Arteta will force us to be more direct.. which may be good because in the recent campaign, we seem to have been trying to play more attractive possession football, but with little effect. How many times have I read match reports saying Everton played some tidy link-up midfield play but with no cutting edge/ result in the final third.

I'm slightly optimistic that Drenthe offers some hope of a return to when Pienaar-Baines linked up so effectively a couple of seasons back. Time will tell... And perhaps with Barkley getting more regular playing time and when Coleman returns, we could actually see a more effective right-hand side... and perhaps more balance in our play on the wings.

Here's also hoping to no injuries ? well at least no serious long-term ones. I dread to think what would happen if Stracqualursi and Saha both got injured at the same time.
Marcus Choo, Thailand     Posted 01/09/2011 at 09:43:25

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Dave Rinehart
1   Posted 01/09/2011 at 12:46:48

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Very balanced assesment on the recent changes, very refreshing.
Neil Adams
2   Posted 01/09/2011 at 12:57:36

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So, deadline day has passed and we have what we have... some people are happy to have reduced the wage bill and others are angry that the club seems to be in a downward spiral.

Now that Mr Moyes knows what he has to work with for the next few months, how is the squad shaping up for the fixtures ahead?

Assuming for a moment that everyone is fit, I would like to suggest the following:

Goalkeeper - we are pretty well covered here, I see Tim H as the No 1 but with some decent competition from Jan Mucha who looked good in pre-season. I would like to see Mucha given a chance to impress in the cups and the odd league game to keep things fresh.

Defense - Jags and Baines are permanent fixtures here for the present, Distin seems to have the second CB post and we have Heitinga as a more than adequate backup. Yobo is still around I believe, and even though Duffy has gone out on loan we have Mustafi and Rodwell who could fill in at a pinch. Happy to keep Pip at RB until Coleman is fit, Hibbert is a useful player to have as extra cover at RB and CB and seems to play well in high-pressure games like the derby. Drenthe can I believe cover at LB too. Nothing to worry about here.

Midfield - We still have a few decent options. Ossie can fill in central mid along with Fellaini, Rodwell, Cahill and Barkley. Gueye, when fit, can fill in on the left or right and Drenthe looks to be first choice left mid now. Bily - still no sure what his best position is, but used as a late impact sub can still be effective. Heitinga or Pip can fill in the defensive role to cover for injuries if desperate but should not be considered first choice in this position. Yes, there is a lack of creativity, and maybe still not enough pace, but we do have options.

Strikers - El Traca and Saha should be first choice here, with Vellios ahead of Anichebe in my opinion, I like what I have been seeing/hearing about the Greek youngster so far. Plus there's Baxter too if we get desperate.

So, my team vs Villa based on fit players would be this:

Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Fellaini, Osman, Drenthe, Cahill, Barkley, Stracqualursi.

Subs: Mucha, Rodwell, Heitinga, Vellios, Anichebe, Saha, Bilyaletdinov.

(Coleman and Gueye I assume still injured).

That's actually not a bad 16, at least as good as many of the sides in and around us in the PL.

Jason Chew
3   Posted 01/09/2011 at 12:58:38

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Everyone is saying the Yak has moved to Blackburn. Why then can I NOT find this piece of news anywhere on Blackburn's official site? (They do report their capture of Scott Dann...)
Paul Rimmer
4   Posted 01/09/2011 at 12:57:27

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I think we'll struggle to score this season. Saha is good enough but injury prone and I question his attitude at times. We need a big season from him. Stracqualursi, an unknown, may take time to adjust to our league ? may be a sensation???

Anichebe isn't good enough.

Vellios still learning his trade. Moyes may have to turn to Cahill if these can't score/get injured. It's certainly not the most frightening forward line!

Rob Birks
5   Posted 01/09/2011 at 13:17:32

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My thoughts about losing Arteta are as follows: a loyal servant, a midfield gem, an instigator of exciting things from midfield, a scorer of magnificent goals, a playmaker, an assister, a mentor to our younger players etc etc etc. However, since returning from his bad injury, you could argue he hasn't merited any of the above acclaims ( COULD YOU?)
I feel as if we've lost a member of the family, but, in the cold light of day, we have got 10M for a player who hasn't shined for 2 years, who is approaching 30, and furthermore, a player who we've lambasted for ages about NOT being able to clear the 'first man' at setpieces, or HITTING the wall when pinching the free kick from the much more competent Bainsey. We'll deffo score more now....you just watch. Peace to all Evertonians, Trust
Neil Mulhearn
6   Posted 01/09/2011 at 13:31:03

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I for one was expecting a non-event for blues yesterday, with maybe the departure of Yobo/Yakubu but no others out and no new faces in. Even Sky couldn?t be bothered to send a reporter to Finch Farm.

And now the dust has settled, what do we make of everything?

I?m disappointed to see Mikel leaving, but I think it was a good bit of business. 10mill for a player who I think we?ve seen the best of, and a huge saving on the wage bill.

Yakubu was hardly a surprise although I am saddened at the departure of a player who offered so much a few years back. Injuries happen though and better players have failed to recover fully. It?s just a shame we didn?t take 6M from West Ham last year.

Frustrated we didn?t get rid of Yobo, but not entirely surprised. That?s another 2M a year on the wage bill for a player I don?t think we?ll ever see play for us again.

Beckford was a shock. He?s hardly the highest earner on the books, and although he has hardly set the world alight, he does chip in with the odd goal and makes up the numbers of a very thin squad. We must really be under pressure from Barclays if we needed 3M from Sven.

On the plus side, I think we may have a couple of decent additions. I don?t know much about Drenthe, but a loan for a player available on a free in 12 months may be very good business. He has shown promise everywhere he has been, maybe we are the club to help him deliver it.

And I am assuming this means Bily moves into the centre, a position I?m sure a lot of Blues would love to see him.

I know absolutely nothing about Denis, but the stats look good. Who knows, but at least it is a centre forward.

And that leads me to my final conclusion. In defence, we have a good line up Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Distin & Coleman, with Hibbo, Pip, & Jonny ? as good as anybody outside the Sky 4. Midfield is as good as it gets, with the Sky 4 envious of some of our players. Probably a starting line up of Drenthe, Bily, Fellaini & Osman with Cahill supporting a lone striker, but obviously a few big names to fight for a spot.

What bothers me is the lone striker. We are now down to Saha, Victor & Denis. If we get 20 games out of Saha (& 10 goals) I?d be very happy. Just can?t see it happening. Victor has an awful lot to prove, and he?s hardly a stranger to the treatment room, and is off to Africa for 6 weeks in January. And the complete unknown of Denis, the 'loan striker'!

Who knows? 25 goals and a scramble to sign a permanent deal before the poachers get him. Or Brett Angell?

I really hope Moyes has got this right, but I really wish we?d brought in another centre forward. Oh well... we could still sign Beattie before tomorrow.

Lin Jinli
7   Posted 01/09/2011 at 16:44:43

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Quote from Neil Adams "Bily - still no sure what his best position is"

If you observe how he play, He tend to drift in and shoot with his left foot, i say play him as striker
Paul Coleman
8   Posted 01/09/2011 at 16:56:23

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Despite being a massive critic of the board, I really do not subscribe to the flak they and the manager are getting over the sale of Arteta.

Thanks to the great work of Blue Union, we now know exactly what the picture is at Everton and really it is what it is. We have to live within our means now and the only assets we have left are the playing staff. This is why it is essential that David Moyes moves players on at the right time and replaces them with younger talent.

For me, it was the right time to move on the outgoing players. Arteta is approaching 30 and, although once a great player, he never really got near to the form he had pre-injury. It also removes 75k off the wage bill and gives the club some breathing room from the banks.

Yakubu clearly was not 28 years old and is probably well past it. I still think he is capable of hitting a lot of goals in his debut season so I do have a slight issue with the paltry fee we received for him.

Beckford was also a good deal because Moyes clearly had a good look at him last season and decided it probably wasn't going to work out for him at Everton. I do think if we had more money then Moyes may have kept him for another season to see if he came good.

I've been saying for a long time now that this squad of ours needs breaking up and having some new life breathed into it. Too many players have become comfortable and their productivity has dropped as a result.

Incoming we have younger players, a fast winger, that we have been crying out for and a big target man to get on the end of those crosses.

Yes they are loan deals, but rightly so. Drenthe looks talented but a bit of a problem child, so Moyes will get a chance to take a look at him before spending any of our limited finances. The last thing we want is another Andy van der Meyde draining our finances on a long-term contract.

Denis Stracqualursi is an unknown quantity and so again, Moyes will get a chance to see if he can cut it before splashing the cash.

It is a shame the Arteta deal was done so late because we do now need to sign another playmaker and I fully trust David Moyes to find Arteta Mk 2.

Of course it?s sad to see such a loyal servant and thoroughly nice man leave the club but, once the dust settles, I hope we will all realise that this is just the normal evolution of our club.

Gary Hughes
9   Posted 02/09/2011 at 00:28:40

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Rob Birks #5 Bang on the nail about Arteta, couldn't put it any better. I wish him well & hope he gets a good reception on his return. I don't think he will be missed because post injury (critics will argue post new contract) he's not been very good. I would love to see a brave new world of Drenthe Rodwell Fellaini Barkley Osman (its always a midfield 5 with DM) supporting the new Argie kid but unfortunately I expect our technically challenged manager to throw Cahill upfront with Fellaini in support for flick ons. Can't wait.

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