Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

The turnaround team

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OK... so after what seems like an eternity off, finally we get to go back to Premier League action with a winnable game that sees us kick-off an enticing run with no games against the current top 6 till Tottenham on the 11th January. I am sure it will not be as simple as that but what team do we play to give us 3 points to start with against Wolves at Goodison tomorrow?

My pick would be as follows:

Howard
Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines
Coleman, Rodwell, Fellaini, Drenthe
Vellios, Saha

Unlikely i know that we suddenly adopt a 4-4-2 but I feel that the team above has width and balance... solidity and also creativity. And as much as possible the potential for goals and ? more importantly ? 3 points.

I would like to see Drenthe and Coleman swapping wings, Rodwell and Fellaini playing box-to-box, and Saha coming into the hole to pick up the ball or running off Vellios to receive the inevitable flick-ons from the 6'-3" youngster. Jags should be boosted by his performance against Spain and in my mind Distin has been our best defender all season. Hibbert just about pips Pip and Baines is a given.

If all else fails, then we will have Cahill, Ossie, Ross and maybe even Denis on the bench to come on and add extra firepower.

3 points please, maybe a clean sheet to boot. 2-0?
COYB!!

Sam Hoare, London     Posted 18/11/2011 at 11:19:08

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Tom Winek
1   Posted 18/11/2011 at 13:06:07

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I'd love a 5-man midfield with Rodwell, Barkley and Felliani in the middle, Drenthe on the left, Coleman on the right and either Saha or Vellios up front. Rodwell could push forward like he did for England. I know this won't happen though.
John Crook
2   Posted 18/11/2011 at 13:20:06

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Very optimistic, Sam. I just can't see a clean sheet at the moment. I'd go pretty much with your team selection but would imagine Cahill would start ahead of Vellios. We definitely need the experienced heads in a match so crucial. I'm going for a 2-1 home win (that's what Ive put on my Sky Sports Super Six so I guess I'll have to stick with it).
Ciarán McGlone
3   Posted 18/11/2011 at 13:32:05

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Mr Winek...
I wholeheartedly agree..that would be my prefered midfield at the minute...All three central midfielders could get forward..
Eugene Ruane
4   Posted 18/11/2011 at 13:39:12

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I wouldn't be unhappy to see your selection Sam. Especially if Coleman could get past his man a few times and put in a few decent balls.
Norman Merrill
5   Posted 18/11/2011 at 15:01:45

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It's a little early to be wishing for things to change, wrong month,
I have a strong feeling it will be same old, same old!
James Marshall
6   Posted 18/11/2011 at 15:19:54

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Can everyone please forget about 442 - nobody plays like that any more and if you do against a 5 man midfield, you get overrun, one of your strikers ends up dropping deep and the other one gets isolated - it simply doesn't work these days.

451 is the only way, and although we don't score many, its not for the want of trying, nor is it through not creating enough - we create plenty, we just don't have a finisher in the side. Saha and a barn-door spring to mind.

We should stick with 451 and hope (yeah, hope) that we're able to buy a creative midfield player and a striker that knows how to finish at some point before things get any worse.

Signing Fellaini again will be like having a new player.

No, really.....

Kevin Tully
7   Posted 18/11/2011 at 16:45:53

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If i had to wager my mortgage, the bet would be on the blues playing 4-5-1.

It probably makes sense if Moysey will let Drenthe & Rodwell get forward with Saha.

There are two ways to play 4-5-1 though, we can only hope it is not defensively - with Saha stranded 40 yards away from the midfield.
James Stewart
8   Posted 18/11/2011 at 17:01:38

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I'd also love to see a rodwell, fellaini, barkley centre 3. With Drenthe on the right for me as he looks much more dangerous there.

Highly doubt we will see it though. Most likely cahill and osman flogging a dead horse down the middle again.... Snore zzzzzzzzzzzz
Sam Hoare
9   Posted 18/11/2011 at 17:10:11

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Very much doubt Barkley will start as he hasn't even been on the bench recently.

Odds on we will play 5 in midfield but would just love to see us start with two strikers as too often our lone striker has been just that...totally isolated.

I think Wolves line up 442 so we could match them and then, hopefully, beat them.
Jay Harris
10   Posted 18/11/2011 at 18:05:57

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Irrespective of the formation and players it will be really important to ensure the team spirit is top notch and the players go out with fire in their bellies.

Comeon Moyesy liven up and get them fired up from the start.

I agree with Sam on the team and formation but I cant see Ossie and Cahill being benched by his loyal highness.

I just hope he doesnt go for a tight game and change things after an hour.

We really need to press from the kick off.
Gerard Carey
11   Posted 18/11/2011 at 19:26:17

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We rally need three points tomorrow, its a must win game. Hope its not a defensive setup, we need to go at them from the start, 3-0??!!
Tom Bowers
12   Posted 18/11/2011 at 20:38:06

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Sorry but I cannot see why Hibbert should be in. His positional marking is awful frequently drifting into the middle and leaving the flank wide open. His concentration is woefully amiss. Put Coleman back there and bring in Gueye or Barkley in midfield.

For crying out loud let's get out the old and bring in the new. Chances are Saha will only last an hour with Cahill coming on but Moyes will probably start Cahill anyway.

It's time for a new era to start and this is a perfect opportunity Moyes has to show some positive moves to turn this club around and if it's another poor result tomorrow, then what next, Bill?
Ryan Holroyd
13   Posted 18/11/2011 at 20:54:24

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My Team:

Howard
Neville Jags Distain Baines
Coleman Fellaini Rodwell Drenthe
Saha
Vellios
James Stewart
14   Posted 18/11/2011 at 21:10:04

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Howard
Coleman Jageilka Distin Baines
Drenthe Rodwell Barkley Fellaini Gueye
Saha

Not a snowball in hell's chance morose Moyes would ever do that though.
Tony Twist
15   Posted 18/11/2011 at 21:10:16

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I don't think 4-4-2 is dead and buried as a formation at all you just need the players suitable to play it. It is obvious Moyes thinks we are not strong enough to play that type of formation and he is right about that because we are wide open playing with 5 in midfield.
I would like to see Gueye play and Drenthe so my formation would be
Howard
Neville, Jags, Distin, Baines,
Fellaini
Gueye, Barkley, Rodwell, Drenthe
Saha
But Moyes won't risk anything and will have neville, osman and cahill in the starting line up. It is vital we win this one and hope that we get on a run that ensures a Happy Christmas period.
It's going to be very tough tomorrow, I feel we will be lucky to even get a draw.
Kevin Hudson
16   Posted 18/11/2011 at 21:19:17

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Coleman aside, good line-up, James; But I agree with you that Moyes conservatism will probably be the order of the day.

I think the jury's still debating if Coleman can actually defend properly, sadly your earlier suggestion that Osman will play will probably come true.

For me, I would love an admittedly naive-looking 3-5-2 line-up of:

Tim H

Hibbo Jags Dizzy

Drench J-Rod Screech Ross Baines

Stracq Saha

Half-time or 60 min sub: Vellios for Stracq IF as is suspected, Stracq is pants. Though we need to see him, I think.

Probably get hammered 5-0 !!
Dick Fearon
17   Posted 18/11/2011 at 21:30:57

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Regardless what players we put out or what formation they are in we find it near impossible to create the kind of clear cut chances that fall so easily to opponents.
Is this the fault of lack of ingenuity on the part of the players or poor managerial tactics.
I think it is the latter.
I reckon that Moyes is a bloody genius at what I call blackboard footy.
This results in boring and predictable tactics. The problem is those rotten opponents who break the blackboard rules.
Derek Thomas
18   Posted 19/11/2011 at 01:02:25

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I could live with Sam's 11, with Saha as the withdrawn forward, not quite 4-4-2 but close enough for Moyes to be able to squint at it and calm his withdrawal symptoms re 4-5-1.

This system would work better with a forward, Saha, who has the ball skills to do say 25% of the MF duties requires rather than Cahill who is a genuine (if slightly average-ish) MF who can do a bit of Forwarding.

A bit like the difference between, in Cricketing terms, a batting all rounder and a bowling all rounder.

But I won't be holding my breathe that Moyes will pick it. Fellaini, go out and give me a £70k performance, Jack (J Rod ffs, give over reading the trashier womens magazines, Kevin!) Give me an England International performance... The rest of you ? go out and rip them a new one.
Eric Myles
19   Posted 19/11/2011 at 00:51:29

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Sam, we saw recently the swapping of wings between Coleman and Drenthe and Coleman was even more woefull on the left than on the right.

Winnable game? Weren't we completely outplayed by Wolves in the same fixture last season and were lucky to get a draw?
Derek Thomas
20   Posted 19/11/2011 at 02:58:10

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Eric; All we need (ALL!) is a few wins and a bit of momentum. The point of Coleman on the left and Drethe on the right is all about the option of cutting in but playing 'out of position' well requires confidence and a bit of form, the Team in General and Coleman in particular (but not on his own) have zero of either.

Which, in my eyes as a 0.02%er means Moyes must get a tad more positive because I don't see 'keep it tight and pinch one' which, btw, at the moment we are doing neither, as a viable stratagy for 38 Prem games.
Alex Kociuba
21   Posted 19/11/2011 at 03:01:42

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--------Howard
-----Jag Distin Heitinga
Coleman----------Baines
-----Fellaini Rodwell
--------Drenthe
------Saha Vellios

As we're playing Footy Manager, this would be my team considering we're playing Wolves at home. Instructions would be to aim for 3-0 at half time.
James Flynn
22   Posted 19/11/2011 at 03:06:57

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Feeling good about the game. Up we go.
Victor Chang
23   Posted 19/11/2011 at 04:02:54

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---------------------Howard----------------------
-------Neville---Jags---Distin---Baines------
----------------------Fellaini----------------------
--Coleman--Rodwell--Barkley--Drenthe---
----------------------Vellios-----------------------
Mick Davies
24   Posted 19/11/2011 at 05:07:06

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Kevin Hudson @16 You say we don't know if Coleman can defend properly. FFS we ALL know Hibbert can't defend at all. 10 years down the line and he's still the only leftover from the Smith era. You and Moyes must be the only ones who can find a reason for persisting with this average Sunday league player. Oh, I almost forgot, he's a local lad, so that makes it okay...
Ryan Rosenberg
25   Posted 19/11/2011 at 05:11:01

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Howard
Hibbert Jags Distin Baines
Drenthe Rodwell Fellaini Barkley
Saha Vellios
Matthew Lovekin
26   Posted 19/11/2011 at 07:50:33

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Sam, my ideal team would be:

Howard
Coleman, Jags, Distin, Baines
Rodwell, Fellaini, Barkley
Gueye, Vellios, Drenthe


Unfortunately this is not an ideal world, this is a David Moyes world and he will pick a defensive 4-5-1 with crock Saha isolated upfront by himself and 6 or 7 defenders playing 50 yards behind him.

Until Moyes goes, we will never see an attacking team.
Anthony Jones
27   Posted 21/11/2011 at 23:40:03

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Matthew, 26, I like the idea of the side you've picked. Alas, it will never ever happen. Here is Moyes's dream team:

Howard
Hibbert Jagielka Distin Baines
Osman Fellaini Cahill Rodwell Drenthe
Saha.

Boring boring Everton...

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