Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Drenthe & Vellios, joint top scorers

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Drenthe and Vellios have found the net and, looking back, it is only when they both play together that we do well, create chances, and score a couple of goals. Now I don't believe in coincidence, and I have been watching these two guys closely when they have come on.

Needless to say, Drenthe is the one with the biggest impact this far, he has been the creative spark we need. Vellios also seems hungry to score goals and fights really hard to get to good chances and positions. It would be very wise to start with both these two as they started against Fulham and we ended up winning that match; also, the Wigan match showed that these two can give us the little extra that Saha and Osman can't deliver.

Saha and Osman are both over 30 so I think we are currently better off starting with these two younger players. We can call them from the bench or incorporate them into the team by changing our tactics. Saha could play in the Cahill role, as Saha tends to hold up the ball well and likes to be involved in the passing.

Now, tell me you disagree with the point I am making, and then give me an alternative to these two. We currently have none. Outsiders would be Barkley and Stracqualursi but I think they should be used as late subs for the moment, until they reach some kind of form again.

I am hoping Moyes puts out the same team that beat Fulham away, as we need to build on the good games.

Jiimy Sørheim, Stavanger,Norway     Posted 02/11/2011 at 18:18:34

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Max Main
1   Posted 02/11/2011 at 23:26:58

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I would start with Drenthe.

I have to disagree on Vellios though. He's looked good when he's come on as sub, but I was at the Fulham game - which he started - and it was noticeable how much more dangerous we were when Saha came on. I'm not just saying that because Saha scored. I just think Saha still has a lot to give and is a much more complete forward than Vellios. Would fancy Vellios to get on the end of chances but would definitely fancy Saha to create more of his own.

Kase Chow
2   Posted 02/11/2011 at 23:50:08

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Play both Vellios and Saha together. Drenthe on left, Coleman right with Rodders & Felli centre mid. Yup... Crazy... 2 strikers, 2 wingers... Entertainment!!!
Matthew Lovekin
3   Posted 03/11/2011 at 06:17:05

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Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Gueye, Barkley, Fellaini, Drenthe, Saha, Vellios.

An attacking team! The...mind....can't....cope......aaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!
Chris Rudd
4   Posted 03/11/2011 at 09:38:47

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Sorry guys but I believe Felli is suspended after picking up his 5th yellow last week.
Brian Waring
5   Posted 03/11/2011 at 10:10:01

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Chris, I'm sure he's only had 4 yellows.
Chris Fisher
6   Posted 03/11/2011 at 10:21:04

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Drenthe has to start when available, I would say, but I agree with Max Main ? Vellios at the moment is better coming on off the bench.

I would always start with Saha and bring Vellios on. I would though give him longer than 10-15 minutes; I would give him at least half-an-hour that way he gets more playing time which will eventually lead to him becoming a regular in the first 11.

By the way Fellaini is 100% out of the Newcastle game as he is suspended.
Chris Rudd
7   Posted 03/11/2011 at 10:35:29

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Brian - you may be right although according to the BBC he's had 3 in the Prem and 3 in the CC.

If so, we'll miss him I reckon.
Chris Rudd
8   Posted 03/11/2011 at 10:38:33

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Sorry that should be 2 in the CC!
Simon Thorne
9   Posted 03/11/2011 at 10:47:03

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Max #1 ? why do you think Saha looked so threatening when he came on? He hadn't already been playing for 70mins... Albeit the guy he skinned had only been on a few seconds. But why not use this to our advantage?

Saha is a class striker but he doesn't have the legs any more; he does have the ability to come on and get a goal later on though. Why not start Vellios and bring Saha on later. Vellios is young, needs game time and is hungry to learn. He will benefit from the extra playing time while Saha will benefit from less.
Anthony Millington
10   Posted 03/11/2011 at 11:03:59

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Spot on, I wish Moyes would listen to you and give Vellios another go instead of Saha. He should stick with the winning team at Fulham, the only issue is who plays instead of Fellaini? Hopefully not Heitinga!
Tony J Williams
11   Posted 03/11/2011 at 11:35:22

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Saha is a better player than Vellios and against ManUre he was actually starting to get his arse into gear when he was dragged off. he suddenly seemed to wake up but then was subbed.

I will stick by my view that Vellios, albeit a young kid, will not have the impact that many posters think he will.

Stracq is a donkey with a ten bob head, yet amazingly, some posters keep on calling for his involvement in the first XI.

I fear we will see the midfield of Rodwell and Heitinga again this weekend, too defensive if Rodwell doesn't push forward and stays back with Johnny5
Denis Richardson
12   Posted 03/11/2011 at 12:07:47

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Max @1, I believe Vellios had to play the lone role up front against Fulham, which he is a) far too young to be doing and b) is probabbly much better playing with a partner. So I think its unfair to say he should not be starting based on the Fulham game.

Both he and Saha would benefit from partnering each other so would be great to see them do that from the start. I think that would also really help Vellios as he can learn from Saha.

Still, would be surprised if the manager starts with two recognised strikers. Can see Saha starting and Osman or Cahill (if not injured) playing again with Vellios on the bench.
Tony J Williams
13   Posted 03/11/2011 at 12:13:37

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Denis, if you are good enough, you are old enough.

Apparently Velios is the second coming to some on here, so his age shouldn't make any difference.
Stephen Kenny
14   Posted 03/11/2011 at 12:28:26

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Against the majority of sides in this league we can go with Vellios and saha up top and a midfield four will be enough to compete.

If we start with Heitinga at the back we don't even need to have a player dropping deep to pick the ball up and start attacks.

The bast we have played in these past few years was when we played four attacking mid's and went for teams, around the time Arteta had just come back from his serious injury. Pace on the wings and a pair of players who both hace pace, aerial ability and look good with the ball to feet should see us picking points up through this run of winnable looking fixtures.

As I have always said it's the mentality that needs to change as much as the personnel. After stating the knife to a gunfight nonsense is the boss going to come out and tell the players publicly we've got the guns in a knife fight now?
Stephen Kenny
15   Posted 03/11/2011 at 12:34:06

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I forgot to add that Cahill is still an important member of this squad but at his age, with his style of play he will need to be carefully managed and cannot be an automatic starter if he's to extend his career with us beyond this and maybe next season.
Lee Courtliff
16   Posted 03/11/2011 at 12:33:25

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Fellaini is suspended boys.

Like others have said lets hope his replacement is not Heitinger.

Osman and Rodwell in the middle with Drenthe and Coleman on the wings. Saha and Velios up front.

That's what i would like to see but i very much doubt we will start with 2 up front.
Ciarán McGlone
17   Posted 03/11/2011 at 13:02:11

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If Saha's fit, then you play him...I like the look of Vellios, but Saha is proven quality.

Jay Harris
18   Posted 03/11/2011 at 14:13:35

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Undoubtedly 4-5-1 with Saha alone upfront.

MF of Coleman Rodwell Osman Heitiga(or Neville) and Drenthe(or Cahill).

Usual back 4 that cant keep a clean sheet.
Chris Fisher
19   Posted 03/11/2011 at 14:49:13

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Heitinga should keep his place at centre-back on Saturday, 100% ? what reason could Moyes possibly have to drop him from that position? I felt a lot more comfortable with Johnny at the back than I have with the Jags/Distin partnership this season.
Steve Higham
20   Posted 03/11/2011 at 15:33:30

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Agree Jimmy would play Velios and Saha in Cahill role - Saha likes to come deep and roam -could work.
Daniel Cross
21   Posted 03/11/2011 at 17:17:28

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Id like to see Heitinga and Jagielka from now on. Distin seems to be a good player but we concede goals on a regular basis, sorry Sylvain
Jay Harris
22   Posted 03/11/2011 at 20:54:47

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Daniel
usually from Jags misjudging a ball or Baines being too far up the pitch to get back.Distin has probably made the least mistakes amongst the back 4.

If we are going to use Bainesy's strengths we have got to use a more defensive minded LM certainly not Billy.
Andrew James
23   Posted 03/11/2011 at 20:47:48

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I really don't think you can link the presence of Drenthe and Velios as starters as the reason why we won that game at Fulham. Yes, Drenthe starting was clearly instrumental but Velios huffed and puffed for 50 minutes and got nothing out of their man mountain of a centre back. You could argue either Cahill or the Straq could have done exactly the same.

Nevertheless, I do like Royston. He's obviously pacy and has a sweet left foot, but what impressed me at the Cottage was his quick feet and quick footballing brain. By the time his opponent has come towards him, he's gone and is taking on the next man.

Recently someone suggested we should get Pienaar back?? Drenthe has already scored as many as Pienaar averaged by season so I think, although it took 8 months, Moyes has replaced Pienaar with a better player. I look forward to some crazy goals and pieces of skill from him.
Jimmy Sørheim
24   Posted 04/11/2011 at 07:52:35

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I agree with Denis,nr12. Saha and Vellios would be great together!
Our defence is the next priority and needs to be dealt with. I think Distin and Heitinga are the best we have form wise, but it is a whole different thing playing away games. So Jags and Distin will most likely start. Midfield we need to plug the hole left by Felli. Osman could be the answer, but he is in a bad run, so maybe Cahill should start in that role and Osman can come on.
I see one person here thinks the Fulham game was a fluke, but how do you explain away the fact we turned the wigan game with the help of both Vellios and Drenthe. I stand by these two and I also think that we should play Saha and Vellios in a 442 or 4411, with Saha just behind Vellios. I think we will see a whole different ball game once Drenthe is back and if Moyes picks the right players otherwise than I think we have a good chance to win the game. But if he reverts to using Neville in the middle then we dont stand a chance, they have a perfect in form midfield and the only way we can stop them is by having a dangerous one ourselves. Neville simply doesnt fit, too defensive. Anyway I hope we can turn things around, and at least get a point from Newcastle. We need to start being more safe in defence, that is number one, otherwise it doesnt matter how we play cause if we let in 2 goals each game then we will never win any games this season. Start with a clean sheet against Newcastle, that is the key going forward. We have always built our form on being tight defensively, and we can continue doing that. Saha and Vellios both score for us against Newcastle. That would be great launch into run of wins I belive.
James Stewart
25   Posted 04/11/2011 at 16:07:09

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Have to agree with the above posters who back Saha.

When fit he is the best we have so he has to play. Vellios could be a decent partner for him if god forbid the heavens collide and Moyes goes 442.

Stracq looks a donkey and I doubt we will ever see him start and rightly so. Leicester didn't even want him ffs!

I would like to see gueye and drenthe start more than vellios.

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