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Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Who's got the Blues?

 20 Comments: First  |  Last

We are clearly not going to revamp our squad with two or three quality impact signings and, let's face it, we're all used to it by now, whether we like it or not. I am trying to be realistic and as optimistic as possible. If we look at the positives from last season, and the room for improvement, I am not as worried as some about our prospects for this year.


Tim Howard ? No worries here.

Sylain Distin ? Has his doubters but our best centre back last season.

Phil Jagielka ? Didn't quite match the high standards he had set himself last season but still solid and best blue centre back of my generation (I'm 24).

Leighton Baines ? Best left back in the league last year with ability to build/support attacks, and to deliver lethal crosses, that is outstanding. Free-kicks aren't bad either!

Leon Osman ? Great form towards the end of the season, confident on the ball and making things happen (how's Pienaar getting on, anyone?).

Seamus Coleman ?- Played his way into the team and his direct style of wing play is something we've been crying out for for years!

Jermaine Beckford ? Even when he struggled early season, he was always getting goal scoring chances. If he continues to improve conversion rate (which is why we signed him), he will get more goals for sure.

Room for improvement:

Mikel Arteta ? Best little Spaniard we know! If he can recapture the form of seasons past, it will be like signing a new £15m playmaker.

Marouane Fellaini ? Unlucky with injuries (mostly knocks rather than recurring injuries). Extended run of games will bring out the best in the big man. When Mo plays well, the team plays well.

Tim Cahill ? Dynamite start to last season and was carrying the team with his goals. Asian Cup and injuries wrecked his season; otherwise, he could easily have got 15-20 goals.

Louis Saha ? Usual story. Amazing ability with ridiculous injury record! Injury free (at least til Xmas) and we could see another goal rush. (See my optimism!!!)

Jack Rodwell ? Forget last season. He is still young and has shown his ability. Expect a lot more this year.

I know poor starts to the campaign and the terrible luck with injuries have cost us dear in past campaigns but the poor start to the season has yet to happen and there are more boys in pre-season training than are in the treatment room so look on the bright side! If we can stump up for one quality signing (N'Zogbia not likely to happen), and add two loan players (Canales with either Wellbeck or Sturridge) then it could be a great season!

At least we didn't fork out £85M for Carroll, Henderson, Downing and Adam! Are these players better than Saha, Rodwell, Baines and Arteta? NO!

Neil McCloskey, Belfast     Posted 19/07/2011 at 14:35:46

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Kirk McArdle
1   Posted 19/07/2011 at 15:33:14

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Negatives: Missing

Bily, Who, what, why, when, how.....

Anichibe, ummmm,

4-5-1, thats a negative tactic isn't it? And no clever responses about it could be 4-3-3. That's what Chelsea play and we don't.

No money.......

Negatives outweigh the positives. Again.
Dave Lynch
2   Posted 19/07/2011 at 15:41:36

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Neil, think you hit the nail on the head with the "improvers". This is the engine room of the team and MUST step up to the plate this coming season if we are to have any chance of a decent finish in the league.
John Wingrove
3   Posted 19/07/2011 at 15:35:25

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"Tim Howard ? No worries there."

Which planet are you on? This plonker cost our club about 12 points last season along with his clangers and weakness when attempting to save long shots and free kicks! He is an absolute disaster! Little wonder Man Utd didn't keep him! Little wonder there are no major clubs coming in for him! Little wonder that he wants to finish his career with the Blues!

To be fair to Howard, he does get his articles in the local press urging the club on, when saying we have enough good players, we must play better etc. However, he's the first one to run for cover after he has dropped one of his many clangers, and his attempts at dominating his goal area are farcical, and would be laughable if he weren't playing for us.

I'm not going to even comments about your observation on Arteta, other than that there are many other better little Spaniards serving behind bars in Benidorm. When will he ever beat the first man with a corner or free kick? When will he ever score double a figure goal tally for the Blues.

We supporters must accept that there are too many current players living on past glories ? and overpaid!

Anthony Jaras
4   Posted 19/07/2011 at 16:26:23

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"At least we didn't fork out £85M for Carroll, Henderson, Downing and Adam! Are these players better than Saha, Rodwell, Baines and Arteta? NO!"

Based on form and appearances, last season, Saha made 26 appearances and scored 10 goals, plus he's 33.

Carroll made 26 appearances and scored 13 goals. Plus, he's only 22. I'd rather have Carroll.

Jordan Henderson is an attacking midfield player, he has more experience than Rodwell at both Premier League and international level (slightly) and has scored more goals. I'd still rather have Rodwell though, just.

Downing is exactly the kind of player weed are screaming out for. He's not worth his fee, however, we need a left winger. You can't compare him to Baines as he's a winger, Baines is a left back.

Charlie Adam had a FAR better season than Arteta. His set pieces are far better, his overall play is better due to his passing and tackling and he scores more too. I'd swap him for Adam anyday based on last season. Plus, he's younger.
James Stewart
5   Posted 19/07/2011 at 16:52:44

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Howard ? Lots of worries there, cost us a lot of points last season, needs to massively improve!

Distin ? Shite! Heart in mouth everytime he plays. No improvement over Yobo and worst than Lescott.

Agree with most of the rest.
Chris Bannantyne
6   Posted 19/07/2011 at 16:59:50

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James ? Distin shite?? Dunno about that mate. There were occassions when his mistakes led directly to opposition goals ? but that's just a bit unlucky isn't it? I mean, I see defenders make howlers all the time, but often cleaned up by their teammates, or the attacking player makes a mistake.

I think Distin was by far our best CB last season ? his positive inputs far exceeded his negative ones.
Anthony Jaras
7   Posted 19/07/2011 at 17:14:42

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James, Chris ? Distin.

Awesome last season. Simple as that. Yes, he made mistakes, but didn't EVERY defender in the Premier League? Many a lot more expensive and highly rated that Distin.

I bet if you look at mistakes made by top defenders, they had other top defenders or keepers behind them to clean up the mess.

Whereas Distin might make a mistake and have Howard, Neville, Jags etc to clean up the mess. Compare these players to those of the top sides, no contest.

Distin was a rock last season and very strong for almost all of his game time. The odd mistake is to be expected.
Chris Bannantyne
8   Posted 19/07/2011 at 17:45:55

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Anthony #7 - I agree. He's fast too! And chips in with a few goals. I hope he remains fit and keeps playing as good as he did for us until he's 60!
John Wingrove
9   Posted 19/07/2011 at 17:36:14

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Anthony #7. Regarding Distin - please have a look at the Man Utd game at Goodison last season - three mistakes resulting in three goals in one game! I do agree that for much of the season he played well, but please don't begin to think that we have a class player here - If we had, then other clubs would have been knocking our door down to buy him. Chris #6 - not unlucky, just poor judgement!

In general, the Blues have, in my opinion, a relatively weak and ageing squad, and whilst I can relate again to Anthony #4 regarding the money paid by the shite for Henderson, he has been bought to do the 'water carrying', which he will do with speed and energy. We fans have been calling for a hard working hard driving midfielder for several years now, but instead have had to suffer watching Arteta, Osman, Cahill, Heitinga and several others shuffle about scoring perhaps five goals each per season, and getting knocked off the ball at our opponents leisure - I'll let others provide the detail. Oh how I would like to see Park of Man Utd in a Blue shirt doing the water carrying and providing the energy!

If there can be any doubt about some of the players in our squad, I look at the clubs competing for the likes of Modric and Nasri - then I look at Arteta and Osman. Not a single offer or enquiry from any club - certainly in the UK, yet Steve Round has the audacity to suggest Osman for England! It just goes to show how detached this guy is from reality. Sure, Osman had a few good games towards the end of last season, but he'll have to do it next season against the Shite, Man Utd and Chelsea on a regular basis before he can be taken seriously.

Who on earth decided to give Anichebe and Arteta new contracts recently, yet allows James Vaughan to leave? He's a player who will come back to haunt us! Answers please to David Moyes.

No my fellow Blues fans - a hard season to come unless major surgery takes place at our club soon - with the playing staff, the management, and in the Boardroom
Paul Gladwell
10   Posted 19/07/2011 at 18:00:05

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Some shout about Distin being shite, Baines aside he was our best player last year.
I have the blues but I also have this little feeling we are going to be up for the start of this season after all the negative stuff.
Anthony Jaras
11   Posted 19/07/2011 at 18:05:27

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Whilst I agree about Distin vs United, that was only one game. Also, if by your logic about If Distin was class, other clubs would be "banging our door down" to sign him, does that mean Baines isn't class too??

Don't get me wrong, I don't think Distin is class, but he was excellent for the most part last season and that's good enough for me.
John Wingrove
12   Posted 19/07/2011 at 18:33:33

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Anthony #11. Of all the players Everton have in their squad, Baines is the one player other clubs have coveted and would covet, and the links with other clubs does continue - a real class player - who funnily enough, Moyes bought, but wouldn't play for maybe a complete season. That speaks more about David Moyes than about Leighton Baines. One major way to establish the credentials of any player is to examine the number of Premiership clubs who would wish to sign them - this is no secret - it's a fact. Using this criteria, just go through each player in our squad - the major players who play 15 or more games a season, and try to ascertain how many Premiership clubs are linked with each player. Start with Howard, then Hibbert, then Neville, then Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Heitinga, Rodwell, carry on - Osman, Arteta, Cahill, Fellaini, Coleman, Beckford, Saha, Anichebe, Bilyaletdinov, then we get to Yakubu and Yobo, and a few others! This is the true measure of Everton's squad under David Moyes, and please - nobody need mention Pienaar, had he stayed!

The class players stand out from the dross. In my honest opinion, only Baines, Jagielka, Fellaini and perhaps Rodwell and a fit Yakubu would meet this criteria. If Arteta is so prized by David Moyes (and some fans), such that he gave him a new contract of, some say, £75000 a week, then why are not Man Utd, Chelsea, The Shite, Spurs and Arsenal not competing to sign him. In truth, his day has been - and gone! He may have the a few more decent games should he stay, but his record of good games against poor is pretty abysmal, and this will not change.
Roy Rennison
13   Posted 19/07/2011 at 20:22:52

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Moyes didn`t play Baines at first because(as Baines admitted afterwards) the lad was daunted at making a step up from Wigan.
Don`t want to get on your case John but Moyes handling of Baines has resulted in the player we have today.You can`t knock him for things he has done right imho.
I know I`ll no doubt get slaughtered for this,but I have a feeling he is doing the same with Bilyaletdinov.Yes I know he hasn`t been consistent or quality since he has been here,but the lad has the tools and is a proffesional off the field and I think he`ll suprise quite a few people.
David Price
14   Posted 19/07/2011 at 20:35:18

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Neil, little over optimistic but nonetheless all expectations possible for a nailed on 7th spot and the usual hope for a cup run.
Tom Bowers
15   Posted 19/07/2011 at 21:18:52

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There have been many good comments made this Summer about the good and the bad at Goodison but mostly the bad and we have too much of it on the playing and coaching staff.
Having said that it certainly looks like the boys in control are quite willing to keep the same squad and if that is the case and the Blues do not improve on last season ,what then? Will Moyes be sent packing. We shall see how the first dozen games turn out.
Although we all know there is no money to buy it is sad to reflect that no-one is serious about buying Everton players judging by the reported fees being offered. This may give you some insight into the quality of players we have.Yes we do have some real quality players and prospects which we have to keep. Sadly others are just downright inconsistant and Moyes just panders to them.
A lot of this squad are getting older and slower,not better which means it will be a struggle against younger,quicker teams.
I really do hope that the players on the sidelines are hungry enough to sieze their opportunities when they come as this team needs new blood desperately.
Eric Myles
16   Posted 20/07/2011 at 03:29:29

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How do we konw inquiries for our players have not been made? Because they're not reported in the Rumour Mills? and just how many of those rumours turn out to be reliable?
Maybe it's just that eveybody already knows what Moyes answer will be if asked to sell one of his players?
Sam Hoare
17   Posted 20/07/2011 at 09:41:50

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Eric, Yak and Yobo have not even been taken out to the states. they are clearly surplus to requirement. If an even semi decent offer had been made they would be long gone...
Tony Cheek
18   Posted 20/07/2011 at 10:08:33

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Now, I like Beckford and think he will do well for us this year, but just think he could have made the "Room for Improvement" section!
Neil McCloskey
19   Posted 20/07/2011 at 14:05:01

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Kirk#1 - Negatives are played to death on most posts so have been deliberately ignored. Bily could fall into room for improvement as he could not get any worse! He is one of the best strikers of a moving ball I've seen. I'm sure there is more to his game but I doubt we will ever see it in the EPL.

John#3 - I agree about Howard. He needs to cut out the silly mistakes but he is a good keeper and if any money is available for players, it is one spot we will not be looking to improve. Not as reliable as Neville Southall or Nigel Martyn but I am satisfied with him.

Anthony#4 - Fair enough about Saha/Carroll but £35m?! I suspect Carroll will be almost as injury prone as Saha, not to mention what he gets up to off the field. IMO Rodwell is better than Henderson. I know Downing and Baines play different positions but Bainesy is as good getting forward and is a better player. N'Zogbia is also better than Downin at half the price (not that we can afford him anyway!). I've watched Adam and Arteta since their Rangers days - Adam had a better season, Arteta is a better player (see room for improvement). Strange thing about Arteta though is that he used to be good at corners/free-kicks, not really sure what the hell he's done with his technique to be so sh*te at them recently!

John#9 - Distin was pathetic against Man Utd, totally agree, but he had a great season - more of the same needed.
Tony J Williams
20   Posted 21/07/2011 at 20:00:45

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Moyes didn't play Baines because Lescott was playing the games of his life. He got picked for England due to his performances at left back and was scoring.

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