Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Team for the Semi?

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I've just read on the OS (in the Norwich match preview article) that Drenthe has recently returned to training.

With Pienaar cup-tied, I'd say Drenthe is integral to my team for the semi-final which I've listed below. How does it compare to yours?

Howard - No explanation required here

Baines - Same as above

Heitinga - Has looked imperious in central defence.

Distin - Not much to choose between him and Jags but for me Distin has edged it over the season as a whole.

Neville - On the basis of experience, and the crunching (but fair) challenge which took Ashley Cole out of action. Showing that kind of intent as a captain is important as it can galvanise a team.

Gueye - Based on his performance against Sunderland. Still improving but really stepped up his game recently.

Gibson & Fellaini - Because they are the bedrock of our midfield, Screech picks up every loose ball and Gibson lets felli do his thing whilst throwing the odd attacking pass and thundering shot in to the mix.

Drenthe - Unpredictable I know, but worth including because of his willingness to run at a defence. Also think he performs better on the right when allowed to cut inside. When he's in front of Baines the two just don't gel somehow, and personally i think Gueye in front of Baines is a better combo.

Cahill - Jelly has brought the best out of the diminutive Aussie. A couple of cracking headers (albeit not resulting in goals) against west brom make me think he is brimming with confidence. Looks much more like his old self.

Bench consisting of:

Mucha
Barkley (I know, I know... wishful thinking)
Anichebe
Stracqualursi
Osman
Jagielka
Vellios

I'm sure it'll get pulled to pieces but that's my team. What's yours?

Adam  Luszniak, 188.223.210.237     Posted 09/04/2012 at

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David Gregory
661   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:02:34

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Howard
Neville
Heitinga
Distin
Baines
Osman
Fellaini
Gibson
Drenthe or Gueye
Cahill
Jelavic

That will be most people's, I'd imagine. I'd play Gueye from the start and use Drenthe and Anichebe as impact subs if we need to turn the game with 20 mins to go.

And as you implied, dropping Osman is crazy (there's a sentence I didn't think I'd write two years ago).
Dean Adams
664   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:04:04

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I would start with Ossie instead of Drenthe. I would save him for around the hour mark, to terrorise the weak Redshite defence, after Cahill has battered them for an hour. Otherwise your team is probably close to most peoples choice, I would imagine!!

We really do have a side worthy of a cup winners medal, lets hope it works out for us, for once.
Chris Butler
666   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:11:32

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I wouldn't play Gueye as I think that you need players who are trustworthy and don't make too many mistakes. The problem with Gueye is that 1 failed clearence 1, or 1 poor pass and Liverpool have the quality to punish us un like the rubbish teams we've faced recently.
Nick Waters
670   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:10:46

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About time Cahill battered someone then Dean.
Mark Tanton
671   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:04:39

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GK: Howard - obviously - you'd HATE to have to field your reserve goalkeeper in a semi... That would be TERRIBLE!

RB: Neville - Experience but can't pass
CB: Distin - Player of the Year?
CB : Heitinga - Finally showing his class
LB: Baines - Obviously

M: Gueye - Played himself in
M: Cahill - experience, though now generally thought to be gone at the game
M: Gibson - Composure will be essential
M: Fellaini - This could be a big afternoon for him

F: Jelavic - Love watching this player

Drenthe won't walk back in to the side from his leave, that's the kind of gamble Moyes doesn't take.

I think Hibbert will be dropped, and sit next to Jagielka, Osman, Straq, Mucha and others on the bench.
James Stewart
674   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:15:10

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Not a bad team but it won't be the one Moyes goes with. There is no way Osman will be on the bench. Definite starter.
Team will be
Howard
Neville Heitinga Distin Baines
Osman Gibson Fellaini Gueye
Cahill
Jelavic

Bench: Mucha, Jags, Vic, Strac, Drenthe, Coleman, plus one out of Duffy, Mcfadden etc


The only possible deviation from that I can see is Vic starting in place of Gueye.
Ryan Holroyd
675   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:17:27

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Are we only playing with 10 men then, Mark??

My team:

Howard
Neville
Distin
Heitinga
Baines

Osman
Fellaini
Gibson
Drenthe

Cahill

Jelavic

Subs
Mucha
Jagielka
Hibbert
Gueye
Anichibe
Stracqualursi
McFadden
Ian Smitham
676   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:24:51

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It is all about opinions. Mark above seems to be of the opinion we do not need 11 players.

James must really be a Hibbert hater. Not even on the bench, Coleman, Macca or even etc ahead of him !!
Mark Tanton
678   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:29:17

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I think there's a chance we'll start with ten, and see how we get on. I don't know why you think that odd Ian...
Mark Tanton
679   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:29:17

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I think there's a chance we'll start with ten, and see how we get on. I don't know why you think that odd Ian...
James Flynn
682   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:31:31

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James (674) - I like that starting XI.
Graham Mockford
685   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:39:20

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You could put your house on the same starting line up as the Sunderland replay. The only question was Gueye, Moyes subbing him today told you all you needed to know, he was saving him for Saturday.
Ian Smitham
686   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:39:10

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James, seriously, the team you have picked is the one I think most likely.

Against that, I also think that Hibbo is going to be ralyy hard done by. With that in mind, on the way home from the game today I wondered if he might play Hibbo at RB and Pip as a cover right in front of the back four, with Gueye missing out. It means we are really top heavy on central midfield but more secure and perhaps allowing free roaming midfielders LO and MF opportunity to get forward without the worry of defensive duties.

Not sure what I would pick, but then again, I am not doing the picking.
Ben Jones
689   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:41:30

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My team would be James'

I think Drenthe can make a definite impact when coming on, far more than Gueye. He's just that kind of player.

I will be gutted if Heitinga and Distin doesnt play.
James Stewart
690   Posted 09/04/2012 at 20:51:30

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totally forgot Hibbert! He will be on the bench. I would be very surprised to see him start ahead of Neville. Crap as he is I just can't see Moyes leaving out his born "winner" in a Semi-Final.

For the record though I rate Hibbert above Neville. I can't think of one thing hibbert can't do better than Neville.

The team I posted earlier is the team I THINK Moyes is certain to play. I would throw drenthe in Wide right and push Osman in the Hole personally and drop Cahill.

Cahill just doesn't do enough anymore for me. If drenthe is doing nothing then by all means get him off. I am firmly in the camp of starting the game on the offensive though. If we can go 1 up in the first half their heads will drop. If we go behind I really don't fancy our chances chasing it against them and big time charlie howard webb!
James Morgan
694   Posted 09/04/2012 at 21:10:53

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I'm going with James and James' team. Although Osman is better in the middle, I like the idea of Drenthe coming on and scaring the shit out of Skrtel/Carragher etc late on. Vic is revelling as the super sub so I'd bring him on late on.
Hopefully we will be 3 up come the hour mark anyway! I just hope we don't bottle it as usual, especially as Liverpool are dog shit and if they were wearing any other jersey we would smash them on current form.
Dennis Stevens
697   Posted 09/04/2012 at 21:10:14

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Surely there is only one place in doubt. Ten of the starting eleven must be clear, even to Moyes : Howard, Neville, Baines, Heitinga, Distin, Gibson, Fellaini, Osman, Cahill, Jelavic + 1 from Gueye, Anichebe, Drenthe, Coleman, or McFadden. I wouldn't be surprised if he went with Anichebe on the right, shifting Osman to the left, which is less worse than Osy on the right I suppose.
Steve Smith
702   Posted 09/04/2012 at 21:32:24

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Form means nothing in these games, it's a cliché I know, but true. One thing we can be certain about is that, confidence should be sky high , our recent form should give the players the belief that they can go out and beat anyone next Saturday, the fact that it's the shite will make it that little bit harder I think.
James' team above is the one I'd be happy with.
Let's hope we can all be watching the National in the Green Man next Saturday with huge smiles on our faces as our nags fall one by one.
James Martin
705   Posted 09/04/2012 at 21:47:23

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I think he'll play Osman on the left and Coleman on the right. He usually opts for Coleman when he's fit in big games because of the defensive cover he offers. Drenthe to come off the bench if we are behind. Somehow I don't think Magaye Gueye would fare too well against the pace of Glen Johnson. Osman at least has the positional sense to make up for his lack of pace. What I'd give to have Pienaar available.
Ben Jones
710   Posted 09/04/2012 at 21:53:25

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James

I think form wont matter too much in the game against Liverpool. I think its more of a mental thing.

Thats why Neville and Cahill must play. Granted their form doesnt justify it, but theyre gonna be important for the derby, and a semi final.
Matt Byrne
716   Posted 09/04/2012 at 21:55:04

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I feel sure that this will be the team:

Howard;
Neville (capt), Baines, Distin, Heitinga;
Osman, Gibson, Fellaini, Gueye;
Cahill,
Jelavic

Subs: Hanheman, Hibbert, Jagielka, Drenthe, Coleman, Anichebe, Stracqualursi.

Gueye's goal and strong second half showing, allied to keeping the team the same as the excellent Stadium of Light performance, will surely give him the nod for the final place where there is debate.

Personally for me, Drenthe would come close to selection. Moyes is unlikely to trust him (which is partially understandable given his lack of defensive discipline). He may be a maverick, but sometimes a gamble and bravery in selection is what is needed to win you a cup. Who could forget Anders Limpar's performances against Spurs and Utd in 95? Not saying Drenthe is in that class, but he's a similarly unpredictable performer who can hurt the opposition. COYB!
Stephen Sullivan
719   Posted 09/04/2012 at 22:17:02

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I agree with Ben (710)
It's a mental thing so we have to play those who don't bottle it under pressure. More importantly, players who will have a psychological affect on Liverpool. Pass the "mental thing" straight back to them?Tim Cahill upsets them and they know he has a good record against them. He has to play. They are a big and physical side. We need a few scrappers with huge heart to inspire the more technically gifted players.
Tom Bowers
725   Posted 09/04/2012 at 22:20:20

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Fascinating to see the diverse opinions for the formation of the Semi starting eleven.
Yes I would go with Drenthe to start sinply because he has explosive power and speed to get at Redshite's back four.
However Moyes will always pick Osman ahead of anyone and after today's good showing against the Black Cats (doesn't he always play well against them?) he will be a starter on Saturday.
Would have been an added bonus if Peanuts was eligible as his industry and cleverness is really a big boost to the side at the moment.
The midfield 4 will of course be Fellaini,Gibson,Osman and El Capitaine Pips with Cahill filling in his usual spot just behind Jelavic. I cannot see Moyes starting Neville at right back in place of Hibbert. Moyes will be going with his tried and trusted tactics and if they work then he will be a hero but if not we do not have a back up plan.
I would prefer not to have to chase the game but if we do I would hope the likes of Drenthe is introduced early rather than late.
Graham Mockford
727   Posted 09/04/2012 at 22:37:52

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Tom I would be amazed at Phil in midfield. He will play right back with Gueye out wide, I think he sealed it with today's goal and evidenced by his early withdrawal. Davey is not a gambler by nature and for all his positives I can't see him going with Royston, the final goal in the Derby probably sealed his fate.
James Royston
730   Posted 09/04/2012 at 22:50:05

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There is talk on Radio Merseyside of Baines moving forward. If that is right could we line up with Howard, Neville or Hibbert, Jagielka, Heitinger, Distin, Osman, Fellaini, Gibson, Baines, Cahill, Jelavic?

It will not be an easy game because Liverpool will have a real go. But we must be in with a great chance... I'm off to get ready....

Graham Mockford
735   Posted 09/04/2012 at 22:52:01

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Anyway just to change the subject a little here is the 'Dear Deidrie' question. This Saturday my wife's best friend is getting married kick off (!) 2pm. I also have an all expenses invite from the good people of Coca- Cola to watch the game in their corporate box.

Obviously not attending would consign me to months of grief but I still haven't had the heart to turn Coca-Cola down. Any advice?
Mark Stone
736   Posted 09/04/2012 at 22:58:54

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James #730 talk from who, on Radio Merseyside? If its not Moyes or round I'd take it with a pinch of salt. I'd be amazed if Baines doesn't play left back.
James Stewart
741   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:33:17

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Agree with the Pienaar shout above. If he were playing I would be a lot more certain of victory.
James Flynn
743   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:37:03

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Fuck Liverpool. We're better than them and lined up for the weekend. Fuck em.

EFC 2 - LFC 0

Unless we get 3 or 4.
Derek Thomas
744   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:33:37

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Graham 735: she's your wifes best friend not yours. Throw out some chaff to deflect the missiles in the form of 2 bunches of flowers, one for your missus and one for the bride. Go to the match and keep your guard up when you get back. Whatever stick you take it will be worth it.
James Stewart
745   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:37:08

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I also think the Bookies have called this one seriously wrong. Liverpool are in complete freefall. This is the worst Liverpool side I think I have ever seen in my lifetime. You can get great odds on a blue victory!
Derek Thomas
748   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:39:58

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What ever you do DON'T bet on the game it will just tempt fate. Don't give the rs any help at all. We go down there, do the biz in a dignified workman like manner and once the final whistle goes...THEN you can laugh like fuck.
Jim Knightley
750   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:43:40

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Whether Liverpool are the realistic favorites or not...I'm glad the bookies believe they are, and I hope every newspaper and pundit describes Liverpool as favorites. They have spent the money, they have the £60 million strikeforce, and they can have the pressure.

People always talk about form going out the window...but it is bullshit. Liverpool have won more than us lately, because they have had the better teams. But now they have no confidence, no self belief and tons of pressure. We have incredible form since January and self belief. Such a shame we can't use Pienarr (or Donovan) though.
Martin Paice
751   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:46:36

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First off i'd like to say previously I've always thought MON was a arrogant fucker, but he's changed my mind in his response to the last two games we've turned them over.

My team for the semi is:

Howard
Baines, Distin, Johnny, Neville,
Guye, Fellaini, Gibson, Osman,
Cahill, Jelavic.

And i think we'll turn them over.

COYB
Roman Sidey
754   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:55:23

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Adam, exactly the same team I just put on another thread.

Mark Tanton, loved your 10 man side, but even more your rebuttal to being called on it. Done, mate.

I guess it's best to prepare to be playing with 10 men against this lot anyway, right?
James Flynn
759   Posted 09/04/2012 at 23:48:55

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Derek - Who's fate? Does he play for the Shite? Is that F'ate, some French guy?

Fuck them, we're better and will prove it this weekend. James (745) got it right. Why not line your pockets while enjoying the victory?
Ste Traverse
764   Posted 10/04/2012 at 00:14:54

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My preferred line-up

Howard
Neville
Baines.
Distin
Heitinga
Osman
Fellaini
Gibson
Gueye
Cahill
Jelavic
Pat Finegan
772   Posted 10/04/2012 at 00:44:00

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I actually don't think there is any real dispute what our best line up would be. Jags or Distin in central defense is a discussion point. Osman, Coleman or Drenthe on the right is also a discussion point but I would be shocked if Ossie wasn't in the line-up. Everything else is pretty much set.

In response to moving Baines further forward, what the heck were those people on radio Merseyside thinking? This is our most important game in years, maybe since 1995 (Villareal in '05 and Chelsea in '09 also spring to mind.) We're in some of the best form we've been in since I've supported Everton. Why would we dick with our squad now?

Howard
Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines
Osman, Fellaini, Gibson, Gueye
Cahill
Jelavic

I'd be shocked if it was anything else bar Jags in for Distin.
Derek Thomas
774   Posted 10/04/2012 at 01:04:13

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James 759; never underestimate the power of the darkside. Or are you prepared to risk everything for the sake of a few dollars. Don't say you weren't warned, didn't I tell you in Jan that City didn't have the right stuff and would bottle it.
Anthony Jones
776   Posted 10/04/2012 at 01:30:54

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Moyes's team for the semi:

Howard
Neville Hibbert Jagielka Baines
Osman Fellaini Yobo Cahill Coleman
Andy Gray

(We need experienced heads etc...)
James Flynn
777   Posted 10/04/2012 at 01:32:15

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Derek - Ha. Good to see you already have your gameface on days away from the match. The "darkside" always loses in the end. That's life (even in the movies).

Not talking about a few dollars. I'm saying we're winning, comfortably at that. Why shouldn't you make a killing as you enjoy the match? Altruism augmented with naked financial interest. What's wrong with that?

"Don't say you weren't warned, didn't I tell you in Jan that City didn't have the right stuff and would bottle it". Slow down there Nostro. Only one team finishes first every season. Looks like ManU, but the season isn't over yet.

Look at it this way, getting down on the Semi is a perfect way for you to banish the demons. I'd do it here if we didn't still have our demented laws on gambling.

C'mon Derek. Down to the bookies and go Everton. Go heavy. We're better than that other bunch. What games have I been watching lately that you haven't?
Chris Odedun
778   Posted 10/04/2012 at 01:51:52

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interesting aside - yobo is still technically ours, right? will that have any effect on summer transfer policy?
Paul Holmes
779   Posted 10/04/2012 at 01:42:56

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For all supporters who have forgotten about the 3-0 derby defeat, here is a reminder of some of the players who played that night and in my opinion should not be in the starting 11:

Hibbert, Jags, Vic, Coleman, Rodwell, Strac (and don't moan about Pienaar being cup-tied as he played the whole match and was terrible!).

We must start with Neville, Cahill, Jelavic, Heitinga, plus Drenthe or Osman or Gueye!

Roman Sidey
781   Posted 10/04/2012 at 02:26:46

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Chris, I would imagine that Moyes will call him back from loan to cover the loans, losses and sales of Vellios, Jelavic and Drenthe.
James Stewart
782   Posted 10/04/2012 at 02:31:09

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Yes Chris Yobo is still ours. I would have no problem having him back as cover. Think his 50k plus wages will mean he's shipped out again pretty sharpish though. Always liked him as a player though.
Mike Hayes
882   Posted 10/04/2012 at 13:27:46

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Cant get to wembley but wanting to watch it on TV. Anyoen know if Goodison Park are showing it at all, cant get thru on the phone?

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