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Everton News, Season 2011-12

Case for the Defence

05/05/2012 |  4 Comments: First  |  Last
David Moyes believes the role of the defence has been overlooked in his side's recent resurgence.

Moyes feels his defenders received some unfair criticism during the Toffees' sluggish start to the campaign because deficiencies elsewhere on the pitch left them exposed.

Now the Merseysiders appear to be making their customary strong finish to a season, it is the likes of attacking pair Nikica Jelavic and playmaker Steven Pienaar who are earning the plaudits. Yet, while Moyes is delighted with the performances of both those two January signings, and another new arrival in Darron Gibson, the Scot is not overlooking his back line.

Moyes said: "I think we have always had a strong defensive base and that is why we tend to be strong. But at the start of the year we were being asked questions about the goals we were conceding but we weren't playing that well and we couldn't score.

"But over the year we have tended to be quite defensively strong and hopefully we will finish with a strong defensive record. In the last few games it's been important to keep clean sheets to encourage us to get more points. I think we have all had a big lift from scoring the goals from January. Let's hope we continue to do so."

Ordinarily Leighton Baines would feature prominently in any discussion of the merits of Everton's defence, but the England international has missed the last three games through injury. Centre-back Sylvain Distin has filled in at left-back and Moyes has hailed the Frenchman's flexibility.

He said: "I think everyone who comes to Everton knows they might have to do more than one job. We weren't quite so sure about Sylvain going to left-back but most of the players are adaptable. Phil Neville has played in midfield many times, and at right-back.

"Sylvain has helped us out at left-back and the form of our three centre-backs has allowed us to change them around. We have lost a bad goal here or there but in the main they have been in decent form. We have kept a few clean sheets, and got pretty good competition there."

Everton, who recently scored four goals against Manchester United and Fulham before drawing at Stoke in midweek, are unbeaten in their last seven Barclays Premier League games. They will hope to maintain their good run as they travel to relegated Wolves on Sunday.

They cannot finish higher than their current seventh position but victory would take them closer to achieving a higher finish than rivals Liverpool for only the second time since they won the title in 1987. Yet Moyes does not know what to expect from a Wolves side who put aside the dejection of relegation to draw 4-4 at Swansea last week.

Moyes said: "You never know when you play teams who are down. At the end of the day it is still a Premier League game. Those players at Wolves will be concentrating on their job and we'll be concentrating on ours.

"It will be a tough game but we are in good form and we are concentrating and hoping to play as attractively as we did against Stoke and as well as we did against Fulham. We are trying to keep the form going, keep scoring goals and trying not to concede too many."

Everton will again be without Baines at Molineux while Victor Anichebe is sidelined after suffering a groin injury at Stoke. Neville and Gibson are rated doubtful by Moyes after knocks but will be assessed.

Original Source: Sporting Life

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Dick Fearon
106   Posted 06/05/2012 at 00:52:10

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Moyes is a throwback to the Don Revie era at Leeds United. Don's mantra was, "If the other lot don't score, we can't lose."

Leeds Utd's brief period of success had most managers adopting Don's pinch-a-point style. This led to a countrywide period of boring god awful football that resulted in fans exiting the game in droves. The huge number of 0-0 draws caused pools companys to introduce a score draw system.

I particularly remember those times because my share of Littlewoods jackpot came to £5. On another occasion, my aunt spent thousands before finding her jackpot payout was only £40. On both occasions, Littlewoods did not bother paying minor prizes.

Concerned about a massive exodus of fans, the FA brought in the rule of 3 points for a win. They even gave serious consideration to widening the goals.

For the sake of the game as a whole, it could be a good thing that Moyes has not won trophies.
Had he done so, it could lead to a massed revival of the Revie philosophy.
James Flynn
127   Posted 06/05/2012 at 04:24:52

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Anyone responded to my "Toxteth" post. I apologize for not responding last week.

I've posted my responses today.
Anto Byrne
131   Posted 06/05/2012 at 05:26:13

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Dick, the Leeds team I remember had some very good players: Johnny Giles, Peter Lorimer, Allan Clarke and Billy Bremner, as well as the Giraffe (Jack Charlton) and they played hard football, "Dirty Leeds" usually on the deck and, such was their standing, Goodison Park was always packed.

If you want to look a team from past years that is very similar to the way we play, look no further than George Graham's Arsenal team. They were a hard non-compromising ultimately defensive team that settled for 1-0 wins and they were boring as bat-shit.

When Everton got the 40 points, the shackles came off and in recent weeks have played well. Under Moyes, we will revert back to the cautious and defensive play to ensure Premier League survival. The best we can hope for is a top 10 finish and a good run in the cup... at least George Graham won some silverware over his period in charge (8 years).
Richard Reeves
205   Posted 06/05/2012 at 17:03:27

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Anto, I've thought the same thing myself, in fact I remember Everton were interested in Graham at some point (I think after Smith was sacked but it could've been after Kendall's third spell).

At the time, I was dead against it as I thought his type of football would bore the shit out of me. It turns out we got George in the end.

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