Pienaar for the Subs Bench?

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We have seen an alarming drop in form from Steven Pienaar these last few weeks. There was the idiotic sending off against QPR and a downward dip in performance levels since his return.

This is the one area of management Moyes never seems to get quite right. He persists with players who are clearly out of form, not just for a few games either. Cahill always started if fit, no matter how he played.

I say put Pienaar on the bench against Arsenal, and start with Oviedo in front of Baines.

If a players know he will always start, even if playing poorly — how can you expect 100% effort from these players?

We cannot afford to turn over possession regularly to a good passing side, and Pienaar has been too sloppy with the ball lately.

Over to you, Mr Moyes.

Kevin Tully, Liverpool     Posted 27/11/2012 at 14:22:40

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Tom Owen
473 Posted 27/11/2012 at 15:29:58
I read somewhere that he was struggling with a slight injury and is playing through the pain? I could be wrong.

He also came out on Twitter on Saturday night and apologised to the fans about the game and his recent performances. I think himself knows he's not been playing well. Different to the boring arl' rallying crys of Neville and Distin on there.

You say drop him, but I look at the subs bench and don't see anyone better. OK, with Fellaini and Mirallas coming back, maybe, but at the moment, I'd keep him in. As they say class is permanent, form is temporary.

Dan McKie
489 Posted 27/11/2012 at 16:31:30
His ability was in his dreads. The sooner they grow back, the better.
David Holroyd
492 Posted 27/11/2012 at 16:37:57
We have dipped in form of late but a game against the Arsenal in midweek might just get our season rolling again. It's always tough against the Gooners but if we can keep the tempo up and get into them. Pienaar's form will come back especially against the bigger teams.
Paul David
496 Posted 27/11/2012 at 16:49:28
He deserves to be dropped but we know that will never happen.
Jeremy Benson
501 Posted 27/11/2012 at 17:08:35
We've been a bit short in midfield recently. With mirallas and gibson back, that might give some flexibility to leave pienaar out.

Having said that, he is a creative influence in midfield - its difficult to balance keeping him happy and playing with bringing in other players who might perform better on a given day.

Jeremy Benson
503 Posted 27/11/2012 at 17:08:35
We've been a bit short in midfield recently. With Mirallas and Gibson back, that might give some flexibility to leave Pienaar out.

Having said that, he is a creative influence in midfield — it's difficult to balance keeping him happy and playing with bringing in other players who might perform better on a given day.

Jay Harris
522 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:04:18
Get Gibson, Mirallas and Fellaini back and Pienaar will be on fire again.
Ian Bennett
523 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:06:24
I'd agree with Jay. Get your strongest team on the pitch, then you don't have problems when your winning.
Patrick Murphy
533 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:23:24
Perhaps Pienaar is playing poorly so that, when he decides to join up with SA for the African Nations, we won't miss him so much, how considerate is that of him?

Ian Bennett
536 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:27:10
Pat, he's retired from SA.
Patrick Murphy
537 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:32:32
I realise that he officially retired but one of the South African officials said he was going to talk it over with SP to see if he would change his mind. I'm not sure who it was but it was said by him during the past few weeks.
Anthony Lamb
538 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:14:13
While Pienaar certainly is a footballer with technical ability who has shown in spells that he can form good combination play with the magnificent Leighton Baines, I am afraid I have never quite been able to see why he has been elevated to the status he has enjoyed for so long at Everton. His form of late has been nothing short of woeful.

I have a feeling that the "clamour" that brought him back from Spurs has not done him any favours. From a position at Spurs where he was classed as pretty well superfluous to requirements and well down the midfield pecking order (Mind you, did they not have Modric/Bale etc?) he has returned to Everton seemingly as a "big fish" because all and sundry were desperate to bring him back. He benefits from the genuine lack of competition in key areas at the club; competition that keeps players sharp, focussed and committed.

The other classic example of this at the moment of course is Howard. I have often wondered why Pienaar has rarely received the constant negativity that for instance Osman has had to endure over the years. Both are gifted technical players with glaring weaknesses – one of which in the case of Pienaar is a woefully poor return when it comes to actually putting the ball in the net.

He needs to accept the responsibilities of being one of the "senior" players in the squad and buckle down to getting his act together or Mr Moyes should start to exert some real discipline and shake some of these senior players up, put them on the bench and have some faith in the likes of Oviedo and hopefully Barkley etc.
Peter Thistle
545 Posted 27/11/2012 at 18:45:16
The way Oviedo played last Saturday, I'd be happy to see him replace Pienaar. Being dropped might light a fire under his arse.
James Martin
548 Posted 27/11/2012 at 19:00:32
Using this logic, let's drop the whole back 4, and Jelavic, oh and Fellaini should have been dropped for the previous 4 seasons. Pienaar's playing badly at the moment but he is one of those players you can't really afford to do without (semi-final) because at his best he is so good. If Mirallas is not fit then going against Arsenal without Pienaar would be suicidal.
Brent Stephens
551 Posted 27/11/2012 at 19:09:10
James, I think the difference is that we look to have a replacement for Pienaar, in Oviedo; but no replacements for a whole back 4, nor for Jelli?
David Price
561 Posted 27/11/2012 at 19:17:19
Pienaar will start, the lad actually played well on Saturday. He was asked to do a different role, began in a free role behind Jelavic, then switched to the right with Naismith, all the time looking for the ball and trying to create. Pienaar, as ever, did his job for the team as Moyes tried to change things in the light of injuries and suspensions.

On Wednesday, Pienaar will be on the left, Mirallas on the right, Hibbert will be at right back. Fellaini obviously back in but maybe in midfield and pushing Osman further forward behind Jelavic. Jags reverting to Centre Back instead of Heitinga.

The word is a deal is close with out of contract Craig Gordon and the Norwegian centre back Forren to have a medical at Goodison very soon.

Moyes knows our shortfalls and no doubt is aware that he made mistakes in not reacting to Heitinga's display.

Next three games will see Everton at their best, then we'll see how we measure up regarding top four aspirations.

Ian Bennett
569 Posted 27/11/2012 at 20:02:20
I thought Pienaar was poor on Saturday. He got a heavy knock early on which reduced his movement around the pitch, and his flicks didn't work. That said, he'd start for me plus the other big guns if fit.
Michael Winstanley
572 Posted 27/11/2012 at 20:15:05
Christ imagine how bad we'd play without him?
If he's fit he plays, simples.
James Martin
573 Posted 27/11/2012 at 20:15:55
Brent,

I agree with you that Oviedo does at least provide depth where we have none for other places. Equally I wouldn't after a few good games rely on Oviedo to repeat that sort of level against Arsenal; he might or he might not – there is no guarantee if he starts he'll offer more than Pienaar.

Equally, I think Pienaar is a victim of his own high standards. He plays usually immaculately anywhere across the three supporting Jelavic and even at times in the midfield two and is often our best player. He certainly was at the end of last season/start of this one. He's at his best though when he's ahead of Pienaar able to cut in on the left.

Fellaini looks bad anywhere else on the pitch, no one would expect Jelavic to be able to play out wide or Osman on the wing (apart from Moyes!), yet Pienaar is expected to perform wherever he plays. For me he's still one of our best players, an integral cog of the team and it would be taking a massive risk to drop him in such a big game.
Ian Glassey
577 Posted 27/11/2012 at 20:51:30
Pienaar is class, end of, one of the most hardworking and skillful players in the Prem. Just get off his case and let him get back to his best...
James Martin
592 Posted 27/11/2012 at 21:42:06
Well said, Ian. Since Arteta, left Pienaar has become our best player. His age and low media profile will naturally mean that many will not agree but for me I can't think of anyone in the side who is better than him. In his best form (which he has been in until recently) he has more ability on the ball than anyone (Mirallas may yet surpass him one day but not yet) and a better work rate off it than anyone.
Trevor Lynes
601 Posted 28/11/2012 at 07:02:50
Pienaar can never be accused of anything less than 100% and he definitely earned parity with Arteta for wages, he left us due to this problem and ironically shortly after Arteta left too!!

We do not have the playing resources of other teams and that is why we very seldom play a game without our best eleven starting.

The game against Leeds showed our lack of top class replacements; we cannot afford rotation or resting of first team players.

Our bench is proof as last week it was really threadbare and reminiscent of a few years ago when it looked like a creche.

I wish we went back to just one sub a game as the seven-man benches with three subs available is playing into the hands of the big clubs who have top class cover for every position. Man Utd can start with Rooney and Van Persie and bring on Hernandes and Welbeck if needed.

There is absolutely no comparison so I'm afraid that DM is playing with far less cards than the opposition!!

Jamie Sweet
602 Posted 27/11/2012 at 22:41:22
I agree with Dan (#489). Danny Cadamarteri lost his mojo as soon as he shaved his head, and sadly the same thing has happened to Pienaar.

And Fellaini just gets better and better as his hair gets bigger and bigger. Surely not just a coincidence?!

Luke O'Farrell
621 Posted 28/11/2012 at 05:29:53
Talk about knee jerk. "The idiotic sending-off at QPR". That was an appalling decision and absolutely nothing to do with Pienaar, so I don't really understand that criticism.

People are all too quick to slate Pienaar's recent form but at least he takes responsibility for his form etc. He tweeted about his poor form; apologising to the fans and he doesn't hide in the game – unlike a number of our other players. Others are doing less but they get a free pass. In spite of his poor form, Pienaar continues to be positive on the pitch and make things happen.

He's currently the fourth most creative players in the Premier League. Not bad for someone who deserves to be benched. Oviedo played well at the weekend but removing Pienaar for him on the back of one decent showing against Norwich is a bit much. Also, we all know Moyes is highly unlikely to do something like that anyway.

Dropping Pienaar would also mean the end of the Baines-Pienaar partnership; another poor move. They account for 85 of Everton's 196 chances created this season – that's a whopping 43% of Everton's chances this season.

I don't agree with this made up notion that's he wasteful in possession either. He tries to be creative so there is obviously a greater tendency to concede possession through the greater risk taken. However, despite that, he recorded an 82% passing accuracy against Norwich. Only Osman (88%), Baines (87%) and Naismith bettered that. Finally, no Everton player topped his 2 chances created either.

Overall, his passing accuracy for this season is 82% and more than stands up against the rest of the squad. The South African is also tied with Fellaini in terms of league assists this season (3).

Pienaar is trying to play his way through an indifferent run but at least he is willing to do so. A number of our team disappear up their own arse when they're having a bad game. Pienaar deserves credit for still trying to make things happen, even though he isn't at the top of his game.

Fans should lay off and actually look a little closer at those who skip through games unnoticed and contribute very little. (Osman's second half against Norwich being a prime example; you wouldn't have even known he was there.)

Anto Byrne
622 Posted 28/11/2012 at 05:42:35
The opposing sides take him out early and he gets little protection from the officials, so it's no surprise he is off his game a bit.
Jim Harrison
626 Posted 28/11/2012 at 06:28:13
Its a big game, and he is a big player at the club. He may not be at his best, but if we get our full team out and he is able to play in his best position we will be laughing! When him and Mirallas both play and swap positions during the game, it gives the opposition a tough time.

Hopefully Kev will be fit, Gibson will be back to mop up, and we will get Hibbert playing like he was at the end of last season.
Dave Bruce
674 Posted 28/11/2012 at 12:23:14
Luke @621, the sending off at QPR was clearly Pienaar's fault — he was given ample warnings and should know by now you can't fly into needless tackles like that whilst on a yellow.

There appears to be some disharmony in a few players and I wonder if there is something unsettling the squad.

I wouldn't drop him just yet but I feel he needs to step up and earn his place. He is an exciting, quick player with good feet; however, he is also extremely wasteful and can fall a little to easily at times. I would rather have him in the team tonight than Arteta though
Aiden Jones
680 Posted 28/11/2012 at 13:41:56
"Get Gibson, Mirallas and Fellaini back and Pienaar will be on fire again"

If he is that good he should not need the others to be "on fire" ... he should be able to play to a high standard with other good players being out of the side.

Mike Gaynes
683 Posted 28/11/2012 at 14:05:03
Luke O'Farrell, I say Pienaar's passing accuracy statistics are somewhat misleading... his forward passing, particularly on the move, has been abysmal, missing people in advanced positions repeatedly. How many times in recent weeks have we seen him put the ball three yards behind his target?

I think the guy just needs a week off.

Sam Hoare
687 Posted 28/11/2012 at 14:52:56
Compelling case from Luke O'Farrell. Oviedo looks exciting but Pienaar has been one of our top players for some time now and deserves a few games to try and turn it around. Hopefully starting tonight.
Henrik Lyngsie
691 Posted 28/11/2012 at 15:16:47
I think my fellow everton-fans are a bit too critical sometimes. Yes Pienaar has not been as outstanding lately as he used to. On a few occasions like against Norwich he has been move away from the left to accomodate other players.

No doubt that he is at his best when in partnership with Baines on the left, but even when he is at left wing he has been struggling sometimes. Obviously it is no surprise for any manager in the world that Evertons strong side is the left, and at times we are very focused on our left side and easy to close down.

On saturday we simply had no alternatives to Piennar looking at the bench. Moyes even kept Naismith and Hitzlberger on the pitch although they were both dead after 65 minutes. But he simply had no alternatives from the bench.

So friends keep faith in Piennar with a little bit of a stronger team around him than on saturday, he will be much more of an assett

I have high hopes that we will get a right side with Mirallas and maybe Hibbert (since I have zero faith in Coleman both offensively and defensively). If we get a half decent right side it will open some space for our left.

And to Pienaars credit he seems to be really committed and put a shift in even when his tricks are not working.

I am living in Copenhagen and will be really surprised if Oviedo is making it a the Premier League level. I do admit that I was impressed with him on saturday, but I do not rate him nowhere near Pienaars class. (hope I will be proven wrong).

Henrik Lyngsie
692 Posted 28/11/2012 at 15:36:59
I think my fellow Everton fans are a bit too critical sometimes. Yes, Pienaar has not been as outstanding lately as he used to. On a few occasions like against Norwich he has been moved away from the left to accomodate other players.

No doubt that he is at his best when in partnership with Baines on the left but, even when he is at left wing, he has been struggling sometimes. Obviously it is no surprise for any manager in the world that Everton's strong side is the left, and at times we are very focused on our left side and easy to close down.

I have high hopes that we will get a right side with Mirallas and maybe Hibbert (since I have zero faith in Coleman both offensively and defensively). If we get a half-decent right side it will open some space for our left.

And to Pienaar's credit, he seems to be really committed and put a shift in even when his tricks are not working.

I am living in Copenhagen and will be really surprised if Oviedo is making it at the Premier League level. I do admit that I was impressed with him on Saturday, but I do not rate him nowhere near Pienaar's class. (I hope I will be proven wrong.)

On Saturday we simply had no alternatives to Pienaar looking at the bench. Moyes even kept Naismith and Hitzlsperger on the pitch although they were both dead after 65 minutes. But he simply had no alternatives from the bench.

So friends keep faith in Pienaar with a little bit of a stronger team around him than on Saturday, he will be much more of an asset.

Ciarαn McGlone
694 Posted 28/11/2012 at 15:47:26
Luke,

I know you love your stats, but using them to support the continued inclusion of an out of form player, doesn't really stack up.

Contrary to popular opinion, I actually though Pienaar had a really good first half last week and he should be included solely on that basis. Oviedo is however snapping at his heels, whether its on a single performance or not.

Mike Allison
704 Posted 28/11/2012 at 16:35:42
Dave (674), did you not see the QPR incident then?

He didn't make a challenge when he was sent off.

Andy Meighan
709 Posted 28/11/2012 at 17:04:30
I was waiting for that chestnut to pop up. "He's carrying an injury..." er, no he's not — he's just woefully out of touch and if Moyes had any balls he'd be on the bench tonight. But he hasn't so he won't.
Dave Bruce
711 Posted 28/11/2012 at 17:08:36
Mike I saw it at the time and I knew he was going to be given a red for the needless challenge from behind I also saw the clumbsy challenge minutes earlier when he could also have been given a red.

Stop blaming the ref Pienaar should take full responsibility he knew the repercussions with the Derby looming.

Alan Clarke
777 Posted 28/11/2012 at 23:10:00
Where's the incentive? Occasionally a bit of pride, but the game needs more than that!
Lee Mandaracas
877 Posted 29/11/2012 at 14:56:10
I logged into this thread to check whether there had been any updates since last night's match. Surprise surprise there hasn't - bar Alan Clarke (777), which makes no reference to the game so one can assume he didn't see it.

Yes, Pienaar has been out of form recently but last night was (quite literally) a man-of-the-match performance but I see not a word of humble pie on this page. Maybe word got back to him and he needed the prod of threads like this but if that is the case credit where it is due, surely?

By the way, his sending off at QPR was an utter farce (as have been so many other decisions to cost us a bundle of points and even more confidence already this season). He was on a yellow but there was no tackle and even if there was the tiniest of contact it was with him pulling away from any possible challenge.

Tony Waring
894 Posted 29/11/2012 at 17:12:56
I second that Lee (877). I saw only the Sky highlights of last night's match but Pienaar looked bang on back to form. Better than a certain Mr Arteta who pulled him down and should have conceded a penalty. I thought the whole team were considerably improved on the Norwich game. Now let's hope we can show City a thing or two on Saturday.
Ben Hunt
985 Posted 30/11/2012 at 09:03:27
No. We have little creativity as it is. The problem isn't Pienaar – it's been the lack of movement around him in recent weeks. Hitzlsperger looks like his legs have gone, Osman is knackered and Naismith isn't good enough at this level.

Mirallas & Gibson will make a big difference when they're properly fit. Form is temporary....

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