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Well, They Came For The Point

By Paul Traill   ::  13/01/2013 Having watched the last two successful away fixtures from the comfort of my couch and the pub, it was nice to get back to a home game yesterday and a great opportunity to pick up three points in our first home game of 2013. Sadly, due to some dogged and determined defending from Swansea City, the three points proved elusive and we had to settle for just the one… the clean sheet being the main positive from the game.

We (my better half and me) arrived on County Road very early on a brisk but sunny afternoon. Getting to the Box Office, I was surprised to hear there were only obstructed view tickets left in the stadium if you wanted to get two seats together. Good news though with a large crowd obviously expected.

After a quick chippy we arrived in the pub early enough to see the bulk of QPR vs Tottenham, the rest of the guys all arriving a little later as the pub got busier and busier. There seemed to be quite a good buzz about the place and we walked on to Goodison Park in confident mood, taking to our seats amidst a bit of confusion, Ste and Gary somehow choosing the wrong row before eventually realizing and climbing down a row.

No surprises with the team with Anichebe in for Naismith and Coleman in for the "injured" Heitinga the only changes from the team which beat Newcastle Utd in our last league game. The much coveted Michu led the line for Swansea City, who’d had a busy week drawing at home to Arsenal and winning away at Chelsea… unfortunately we couldn’t do enough to buck that trend and they remained unbeaten throughout their hectic week.

We weren’t without chances, however, and on another day perhaps could have overseen a comfortable win. Jelavic and Anichebe both missed presentable opportunities in the first half and had either Jelavic or Anichebe been as brave as Vorm on another occasion perhaps could have found the net also. He’s looking quite the shadow of the cocky striker who burst on to the scene roughly a year ago does Jelavic. He’ll really need to improve as we have precious little else to work with.

At the other end, Swansea will be slightly aggrieved they hadn’t scored also when Michu chipped Howard following a slick counter-attack from the visitors. Luckily Howard was just able to get some fingers to the ball and tip it onto the top of the crossbar and away. Swansea were always a threat on the counter-attack despite their defensive-minded tactics throughout.

Into the second half and Everton certainly started more on the front foot and seemed to have a bit of momentum but just couldn’t turn it into a goal. There was always someone there to hack the ball away. At the beginning of the half Neville (much to Coleman’s dismay) took the ball off the Irishman as he rummaged into the penalty area but his low drive was comfortably saved by Vorm. Our two other best chances both came from corners and both ended in the same result – a header over the bar from one of our centre backs. Distin and Jagielka both failing to convert good opportunities.

Whilst the game seemed to be drifting away from us on the pitch, the onus is then on the manager to change it. We all felt it was quite obvious we needed more movement in the box and bringing on Vellios for Anichebe seemed the best option. Ste called it right however, saying that whilst it’s apparent to everyone this is what SHOULD be done, it’s not what WILL be done, and that Naismith will take to the field. Take to the field he did to replace Neville and he was utterly useless throughout his time on the pitch.

This brought Fellaini back into midfield but he was then missed up front despite his best efforts. Vellios did eventually replace Anichebe but our momentum was somewhat lost by then and Swansea, aided by some terrible time wasting, were able to see the game out comfortably and take their point back to South Wales. So bad was Swansea’s time-wasting they were unusually booed off by sections of the crowed as they made way at full time.

So a drab and disappointing draw, yes... but certainly no reason to panic. As long as we’re at the higher end of the table, teams will come to us to defend and at times will get the point they come for. It happens. Our home performances have been generally excellent thus far and with Southampton away followed by back-to-back home games against West Brom and Aston Villa on the way I’m confident we can keep up the momentum as we plough into 2013.

Player Ratings

Howard: Good save first half and was otherwise fine. Claimed most things in the penalty area and distributed quickly from possession. Much more like it from Howard. 7

Baines: He and Pienaar just didn’t quite click as Swansea’s right side of Rangel and Tiendalli had certainly done their homework on the duo. I couldn’t believe the harsh yellow card Baines received however. 6

Distin: Marshaled well at the back and had to be alert as Swansea were always dangerous on the break. Probably should have scored with his chance. 7

Jagielka: Distribution hazardous but contributed in keeping Michu in check. Definitely should have scored with his chance. 6

Coleman: Man of the Match for me as he was the only one who really stood out. Showed good skills and got forward well. Will likely get a sustained run in the team now with Hibbert still unavailable. 7

Neville: Had a poor game I felt, particularly first half. Was substituted on 68 minutes. 4

Osman: Received a warm reception from the crowd pre-kick off to commemorate 10 years since his debut. Was tidy on the ball but didn’t quite impact on the game as much as he would have liked. 6

Pienaar: Not a good game from Pienaar. He and Baines just didn’t seem to be on their usual wave-length. Just an off-day hopefully. 5

Anichebe: Seemed to play off the right flank and come inside where possible. Effort was there but he didn’t quite get going and should have been subbed earlier I felt. 6

Fellaini: I think we may have gotten some success had we perhaps have thrown Vellios into the fray to give him a bit more movement in the penalty area. Instead he was flung back into midfield and, whilst he was busy in the middle, we lost that effectiveness up front as Naismith, Anichebe and later on Vellios were really lacking. This really stunted our chances of winning the game. 6

Jelavic: Poor I felt. Kept going but just doesn’t look like scoring at the moment. Needs to find form. 4

Naismith (replaced Neville): Woeful really. Made terrible decisions in attack and just didn’t quite get involved enough. Not a good substitution from Moyes. 3

Vellios (for Anichebe): Also never got going. Should have been introduced about 10 minutes earlier to give him more time to get into the game. 5

Reader Comments

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Nick Armitage
464 Posted 13/01/2013 at 15:36:57
Naismith 3. Remarkably generous of you Paul.

Usual suspects of Neville and Jagielka relinquishing possession over and over and over again.

Trevor Lynes
465 Posted 13/01/2013 at 15:33:00
We have an excellent first eleven when everybody is fit BUT...the players we have to come off the bench are awful and cannot change the game at all. They are basically journeymen jobbers and would not make the bench of many Premier League teams.

I'm afraid that like most things you get what you pay for. We miss Mirallas a lot and have no adequate substitute for him. We have done really well to be still in the mix at this stage of the season.

Sam Hoare
468 Posted 13/01/2013 at 15:44:28
Missed opportunities. Story of this season really. I just hope that frustrating days like this persuade the board or whoever to try and bring in just one or two more players who might be able to add to an underwhelming squad.

Also, if teams are camping in their own half like that then surely Hitzlsperger who is one of our only players capable of a rocket from outside the box has to get on the pitch? Ossie's shooting is pretty poor and as for Neville's...

Dick Brody
471 Posted 13/01/2013 at 16:18:41
At what point does Moyes rest Jelavic? He has been poor all season and six Premier League goals is a woeful tally for the season so far. I'm not saying give up on him altogether but maybe a spell on the bench would be beneficial. Give him a rest and maybe a kick up the back side. In my book, if he is not scoring goals he should not be an automatic starter. And maybe two or three games for Vellios would enable Moyes to see what the Greek youngster can offer.
Paul Ferry
477 Posted 13/01/2013 at 16:54:37
And replace him with who exactly Dick Brody? Vellios? Anishitbe? er ....... hang on, errr ... incoming??? ... well ... . I'm getting sick and tired of your raving and ranting against Jelly on the match-day thread. You've said some pretty unpleasant things about him there: remember, he's not up to scratch for the Prem?

Well you have not got any better alternatives that I at any rate can see here.

Ray Roche
481 Posted 13/01/2013 at 17:47:19
Paul, to be fair, Jelavic has been poor and looked jaded for some time. I was hoping he'd get a couple against Cheltenham which may have boosted his confidence but he even looked out of sorts against them. I also think he might benefit from a rest and whether Moyes plays Anichebe or Velios they couldn't produce less than Jelavic is doing at the moment. Anichebe has scored two fewer goals in 6 starts than Jelavic has scored in 21 starts.
Dick Brody
486 Posted 13/01/2013 at 18:09:49
I would argue that in recent games several clear-cut chances have come Jelavic's way and his failure to convert is costing Everton points.

Paul, you talk about having no alternatives but there are strikers on the books at Everton. There's Vellios, Anichebe and Conor McAleny. That's three strikers who could replace Jelavic for two or three games. You will no doubt argue that Conor McAleny and Apostollos Vellios are too young — they both turn 21 this year so he needs to start making some impact.

Ultimately, my opinion is that if Anichebe, Vellios and McAleny are not good enough to play a couple of games while Jelavic is rested, then what the fuck are they doing on the books??? Why pay money to three strikers who are not good enough to be considered for a starting place? Paul says there is no alternative to Jelavic and if that is true then Moyes needs to get rid of Anichebe, Vellios and McAleny and find a couple of strikers who are good enough to offer competition to Jelavic.

Everyone keeps saying this is the strongest Everton squad in 20 years but it looks to me like there is only one striker in the squad who is ever considered and that striker is out of form — or just out of his depth in the Premier League.

Si Cooper
493 Posted 13/01/2013 at 18:04:51
Ray, if you are judging Jelavic purely on his conversion rate, composure in front of goal and tendency to pre-empt a through-ball then your comments may apply. That ignores, however, his general efforts and the impact that the rest of the team can have on his game.

He is not really quick but he is a willing runner and so he needs to try to get a jump on the defenders and at times I feel he has been let down by the timing of the pass as much as by his own over-eagerness.

The final ball to him in the danger areas hasn't always been top quality either. I know we can all come up with examples where the ball has come to him and he hasn't executed as we know he is capable of, but there have also been many occasions when he has taken up excellent positions only for the pass to go to someone else, or the rebound / ricochet to somehow avoid him completely. He was doing exactly what he needs to do against Cheltenham and yet the rebound very nearly evaded him. The fact that he was able to convert it at all was down to the speed of his reaction more than anything. That may point to part of his problem at least; the pressure to rediscover his goal-scoring knack is leading to him concentrating too much rather than letting things happen instinctively.

How do you cure this footballing version of the 'yips'? A lot of people are saying bench him as if that will automatically solve the problem. If his problem was simply related to tiredness or attitude, then that would be the rational answer, but some of us don't see a 'tired' player or someone avoiding their responsibilities. The consequences of benching someone who is giving their all and is already frustrated by how things are going, may not be as positive as you think. Instead it may just pile more pressure on the player. In the meantime, as others have pointed out, you are not guaranteed to get the goals through the replacements we have in any case.

There may not be an easy answer to this conundrum and it may just be a case of playing him and hoping that his goal-scoring touch will simply return. Ultimately it is up to the manager to sit down with the player and work something out, but benching a player who doesn't want it is possibly the least likely way to sort things out.

Ray Roche
497 Posted 13/01/2013 at 18:42:17
Si, you make good points and express them well, however, my point really is that Jelavic be given a break. I don't like it when a goal poacher, and that is what he does best, is asked to run the channels and also run himself into the ground. You only have to remember the Yak and Johnson being asked to do that and the overall effect it had on their game. He could benefit from a couple of games on the bench, to be brought on if needed, but in my post I reasoned that, with his goals return being no better than Anichebes, and winnable games against the Saints, Villa and West Brom to come, he might be fresher for the run in to the seasons end and also not missed as much as we might think.
Richard Earle
534 Posted 13/01/2013 at 20:50:19
Disappointing result but it's a big compliment to our club that sides come to play for a point against us this season knowing full well that if they were more attack-minded they would be taken apart.
Christine Foster
536 Posted 13/01/2013 at 20:41:07
Ray, I have been saying this for years, you're quite right, if we build a house you wouldn't tell the plumber to lay bricks.

Moyes seems to think that the main strikers role is to chase everything down, stay wide to offer an outlet for the long ball from "thumper" (that's Jags btw), and defend at corners etc, etc. Such is the expectations from a former defender who just doesn't understand that goals are scored by strikers in the box, not defending corners or winning the ball at their corner flag.

One of a defender's prime responsibilities is to shepard a forward away from goal, force them wide when they have the ball. We do it for them?

Stay in or around the box; for corners, stay on the half-way line. If playing two strikers, stay within ten yards of each other...

Simple game, football..

Edward Simpson
542 Posted 13/01/2013 at 21:38:19
I think Jelavic is clearly struggling, quite obviously, but his work rate is one of the best in the team. We are a different team this year, Fellaini has been playing quite further on up the pitch leaving Jelavic stranded on the flank at times.

What doesn't help is that we have no fit wingers who can do that role, it's more about giving the ball to Coleman and Baines when we do cross, and sometimes Pienaar.

We do miss Mirallas quite clearly also, but again his injury lingers on, hopefully he's back for the next game.

David Price
546 Posted 13/01/2013 at 22:07:31
Chance of Mirallas being available next week with Gibson a week later. Much needed.
Jelavic is fine, unlucky not to score, don't think Fellaini is the best partner though. His own outstanding contribution tends to leave Jelavic a little isolated.
Ian Bennett
551 Posted 13/01/2013 at 22:37:02
David – I agree. Unlucky with at least 3 decent chances, although non were sitters. Another day at least one goes in. I don't buy the tired line, although I would love a class backup striker.
Ian Allaker
566 Posted 13/01/2013 at 23:58:46
Christine, he's not building a house — he's picking a team.
Nick Entwistle
568 Posted 14/01/2013 at 00:11:24
I think Ian, Christine is regurgitating arguments from the days of AJ which resemble very little with how Jelavic is being deployed.

Ian Allaker
579 Posted 14/01/2013 at 02:05:18
It makes no sense Nick, thats like me saying. " It's like asking the guy who flips burgers in Burger king to go on the french fries counter" What the hell has that got to do with picking a football team?
Ian Allaker
580 Posted 14/01/2013 at 02:08:41
You pay over £20m for a proven top player then probably 9 times out of 10 you will get a consistant top quality player, with the odd poor season. Obviously you have to account for injury or bad attitude. You pay 5-10 million you will probably get a consistantly average player with the odd good season. If Moyes could spend £20 + million on a top proven player then we are likley to get a consistantly top player. What manager does get the best out of their strikers?

Looks like Raffa cant get the best out of Torres, SAF couldnt get the best out of Bellion Forlan or Berbatov, Wenger has only just realised Theo is a striker and since THand RVP all his other strikers have been shite.

Most of the time it is only the striker they have spent big money on that have come good.

Jason Lam
582 Posted 14/01/2013 at 02:09:53
All this talk about tactics and formations what we need is someone with a brain on the field. Can we entice Donovan out of retirement?
Si Cooper
587 Posted 14/01/2013 at 02:51:40
Ian (#580) - Supposedly we got Jela dirt cheap because Rangers were sinking quick, and on his goal return last season you would have expected to pay well over £10 million.

It is well known that Wenger hasn't really flashed the cash for a proven goalscorer and has suffered somewhat from failed experiments but then again he did have RvP until the summer. Walcott may be capable of converting chances but he is also a great threat as a winger. Up until getting Santi Cazorla and losing RvP it probably was the best use of the different players he had available. Torres is starting to look more like his old self (though he has a long way to go yet) and Berbatov will be a moody sod whoever he plays for. Lots of strikers look great in other leagues but fail in their time over here (and then do well when they go back) - horses for courses I suppose.

I thought Christine's analogy was beautiful in it's simplicity whether you agree with her point or not. Shame it went over your head (too busy thinking about food by the sounds of it). ;)

Si Cooper
588 Posted 14/01/2013 at 02:51:40
Ian (#580) - Supposedly we got Jela dirt cheap because Rangers were sinking quick, and on his goal return last season you would have expected to pay well over £10 million.

It is well known that Wenger hasn't really flashed the cash for a proven goalscorer and has suffered somewhat from failed experiments but then again he did have RvP until the summer. Walcott may be capable of converting chances but he is also a great threat as a winger. Up until getting Santi Cazorla and losing RvP it probably was the best use of the different players he had available. Torres is starting to look more like his old self (though he has a long way to go yet) and Berbatov will be a moody sod whoever he plays for. Lots of strikers look great in other leagues but fail in their time over here (and then do well when they go back) - horses for courses I suppose.

I thought Christine's analogy was beautiful in it's simplicity whether you agree with her point or not. Shame it went over your head (too busy thinking about food by the sounds of it). ;)

Harold Matthews
593 Posted 14/01/2013 at 02:43:15
It is very difficult to criticize Jelavic because, unlike one or two of his teammates, he always gives 100%. The joy on his face when he or someone else scores a goal says much for his character and team ethic. Who will ever forget his"High Five" exuberance after doing the business for us quite recently. A terrific bloke and a really good one-touch goalscorer — and this, I think, is the key: "one-touch". The backroom boys must surely be studying the goal streak of last season when he seldom missed a chance. Whatever we did then we must do again.

Such is his commitment, I doubt he will ever admit to feeling slightly worn out but his legspeed is beginning to look laboured. Let's hope he regains his normal sharpness before too long because Mr Moyes is not about to replace him with Vellios.

Apart from any thing else, Vellios is still five or six years younger than the managers "Ideal" which appears to hover around 27-32... Such a pity because the boy shows promise and it would be nice to see more of him.

This age thing with DM is quite puzzling. Till young players have fully gained his trust, they will be used sparingly or not at all.

Or is this more to do with the club itself? The way it operates? I really have no idea... ToffeeWebbers with business acumen might have a thought or two on this particular matter.

Dick Fearon
619 Posted 14/01/2013 at 09:40:43
Christine F @538,
I agree with you totally. Jelavic has joined a long list that Moyes has converted from being a top class striker into a jack of all trades.
Patrick Murphy
623 Posted 14/01/2013 at 10:08:32
My worry about DM not utilising the youngsters is that if a young player gets into the first team and then onto the pitch it might just trigger some financial reward for the youngster and thus break our fragile budget. I don't know if this is true, but it might go some way to explaining the situation.
Ian Allaker
645 Posted 14/01/2013 at 12:32:04
So what point are you making Si? In some of what you say it sounds like you back Moyes and his use of strikers, and in other parts it sounds like you don’t.

Ok lets go with this building a house analogy, what if we have a plumber who spent a couple of years training to be a brick layer and his dad was a joiner who taught him a few things, so he was decent at it all and he offered to build you a house for a good price what then? Some players can play in different positions and do a job and if you are Everton its cheaper and easier to buy a man who can do a few jobs than a specialist position. Anyway like I say what has building a house and building a football team got to do with the price of fish?

Andrew Ellams
648 Posted 14/01/2013 at 12:43:12
Ian, utility defenders and midfielders and even a combination of both are handy to have in the squad but your number 1 goalscorer has to be exactly that. We had a guy in the second half of last season who looked as good as anybody in the league in and around the penalty area.

In one pre season our coaching staff seem to have turned him into a workhorse running himself into the ground every week instead of waiting to make the most of having players like Baines, Pienaar, Miralles, Fellaini and Osman around him to create the chances he was thriving on 8-9 months ago.

So yes, if you have plumber, leave him to do the plumbing

Drew O'Neall
650 Posted 14/01/2013 at 13:08:48
Andrew - 684.. Total bollocks I'm afraid.

Jelavic always ran around and did the hold up play, he did it last year and scored goals, he's done it this year and missed chances.

He's getting as many chances this year, possibly more but for some reason he's not converting them.

Whatever your agenda, you can't criticise the coaching staff for that.

Tony J Williams
651 Posted 14/01/2013 at 13:04:46
Dick, how is he a top class striker? He was plying his trade in the clogger league up North when we took a chance on him. he is/was not even the first choice for his country.

We took a punt and it worked for half a season, now the defenders know what he is like and what he can do and amend their defending accordingly, that's why he has started to stray out wide, just to get the ball. He doesn't win headers and isn't particularly good at holding the ball up. What he is good at is first time shots, but he is not doing that well at the moment.

What I did like on Saturday was his absolute class turning of the defender for the shot that narrowly missed the post. You can't teach that....you can try.

Ian Allaker
653 Posted 14/01/2013 at 13:16:18
Andrew, some of the best striker I have seen work as hard as anybody. Ian Rush was know for closing down and defending from the front. Rooney works as hard as anybody, even Suarez and Messi work very hard and they still get goal. It is even more important that if you don't have the very top players who can keep the ball well then everyone has to put a shift in, we can not afford to carry players or have luxury players.
Paul Bernard
656 Posted 14/01/2013 at 13:32:55
Maybe I watched a different game from everybody else but Neville wasn't actually that bad, I feel. Players in his position never get the credit they deserve. The Michu-Howard save you mention could've happened at least 3 times only for Neville to cover well. Too many times the centre-backs get caught out by a run, which is were Neville needs to cover.

In fairness, Neville no longer has the pace & Jags & Distin are both lucky they do to get out of the trouble. Overall though the defence did well.

Jelavic can be a poor as he wants because he knows he will always get picked to start. I say that bearing in mind he only needs one touch in 90 minutes to grab a goal!!!

Ray Roche
668 Posted 14/01/2013 at 15:09:14
Ian Allaker @653

Ian, fair comment, regarding work rate and Rush (spit) was indeed an excellent striker, however, Jimmy Greaves was as good a finisher, if not better, and would have thought you'd gone soft in the head if you'd asked him to "run the channels" or defend from the front. The point I made earlier, which Christine alluded to, was that Jelavic SHOULDN'T be turning up on the wing crossing to...er...who? There's no bugger there half the time because our goalscoring striker is pissing about on one wing or the other.

Much has been made of Jelavic's prowess in front of goal with his "one touch" statistic being brought up time and time again, but if he's by the corner flag it'll have to be some sort of special "one touch" to score from there. If Jelavic is to regain his form of last season, let him play around the box or in the middle of the front third of the pitch where he will have more chance of scoring, not wasting energy chasing lost causes, the poor bugger looks pretty tired to me.

Christine, I've been looking at my house... a plumber may not have laid the bricks, but I think a brickie did the plumbing.

Tony Cheek
669 Posted 14/01/2013 at 15:19:59
Watching Everton play this season has become unbelievably frustrating. Once again against Swansea we saw total domination against a very negative opponent, with us creating enough chances to easily put another three points in the pot. But once again, complete incompetence in front of goal let us down.

How many chances do we need to actually win a game this season? Yes, I know we have had our share of bad luck too, but Saturday's game must go down as typical, not an exception.

You could take a trip round any local park and watch Sunday pub football and see better and more clinical finishing than you see at Goodison, and I am not joking. Just imagine having a player as good as Osman who could score goals, for example Frank Lampard... yes, I mean it, someone who actually knows where the back of the net is. Someone who will win games for us on a regular basis.

It would not be so bad if we were playing crap and getting these draws, but some of our football this season has been sublime, and all we are missing is that last bleeding touch to give us the points!

I can't believe Moyes has got any hair left after watching us this year. For god's sake, if there is any money available please, please use it on somebody who can score goals!

Si Cooper
714 Posted 14/01/2013 at 17:33:42
Ian, it is an analogy not a plan!

Ian Rush was whippet like (unlike Jelavic) and his particular forte was running onto through balls as his pace gave him the edge over most attackers. We are talking about what a striker does in attacking situations (their speciality), not what they contribute defensively.

Ian Allaker
760 Posted 14/01/2013 at 19:31:57
Yes well its a daft anaolgy which has no relationship to football.

So we were talking about attackers attacking specifically not their all round contribution to the team? From what I read people were discussing what was hindering Jellys peformance such as spending too much time tracking back and running channels instead of being in the box. Maybe I misread it. Either way what I discussed had far more relevance than a discussion about building a house and when to use a plumber.

Si Cooper
877 Posted 15/01/2013 at 01:46:55
Ian, the crux of the matter is what worked well for Jelavic last season and why is he struggling to find his form in this one? Is there a solvable external problem, or is an internal thing that he has to work out himself?

Some people think the answer stems from their observances that he is being less selfish, i.e. working harder in areas outside the box for the good of the team, but that adversely affects the number of times he is in the right place at the right time to convert chances, or just the type of chances that are falling his way. My point was that just because Rush could run around all day long and still have the pace / energy to get onto and convert chances, doesn't mean you can apply the same to all strikers. Jelavic is a long way from being a Rush-type player.

I don't know why Jelavic isn't scoring and I can't really get behind the idea given above because I would need to revisit last seasons games to get a good idea of whether his expected duties have radically changed. The balance of the team changed quite a lot during the summer, and that may have done something to detract from his goal-scoring as well.

An analogy is a comparison of a complex or unfamiliar situation with something that most people would be able to relate to. It doesn't have to be about football to have relevance to a football scenario.

The point of the analogy (which does work on a very simple level) is that Jelavic's 'bread and butter' is lurking in and around the box scoring goals - in the analogy 'doing the plumbing' - not running all over the place supporting others (that is 'brick-laying' and someone else's prime responsibility). Maybe some strikers can do both but Jelavic can't so he is best left with plumbing duties only(?)

Jason Heng
880 Posted 15/01/2013 at 02:49:09
The season look altogether different for Jelavic if some of his shots that hit the woodwork went in, and if he was allowed to convert the Baines penalties. His play certainly isn't poor and neither is his work-rate low.
Harold Matthews
883 Posted 14/01/2013 at 22:12:30
Christine... As a big fan of your blogs, I love it when one or two of the guys beg to differ. Brickies and plumbers... Good one, red rag to a bull.

Wonderful analogy, as Si pointed out, but shoving square pegs in round holes is the way of the football world these days, I'm afraid. What's more... You know it. Employing two players for every position is just not possible. Also, a "Cole-York", "Gray-Sharp" scenario would be viewed as old-fashioned. (We could have done with them against Swansea.)

Pundits are forever pontificating about strikers being the first line of defence and since Barcelona decided to regain possession within 6 or 7 seconds, everyone is trying it. They see it as a must.

It all goes in circles... One fine day another great team will emerge, playing to a new revolutionary system which everyone will try to copy.

As for our leg-weary Croatian, he is too big and heavy a lad to be chasing all over the place, even if he enjoys doing it. Goodness knows what to do... It's a bit like telling Pienaar to stay on the wing.

Fellaini has not helped... and that's a fact. (Holy smoke... I Hope the "fact" boys are in bed.) The £15mil Belgium Buyout guy has not raised one single bead of sweat since he was docked two weeks wages. Chasing down the middle to score in the dying minutes at Cheltenham was a rare moment of real effort... aided by the fact that he had strolled around for 90 minutes and still had fresh legs Oh yes,he looks good.Gets his head on a few balls,combines nicely with whoever is near but thats about it. A big lump who is playing like a big girl.(Sorry Christine.I do not have your analogy talent.)

So what now?.......and it's where I join Michael the Editor even though he sometimes blows his top, uses weird words and gets into overcomplicated phrasing jousts with like-minded Webbers.

Forget the Transfer Window. Forget Pele and Marad... Sorry, Mirallas and Gibson. Mr David Moyes is paid a truly massive salary to get the very best out of what we have. It is his responsibility... His alone.

Missed chances and a flapping goalkeeper have cost us many points but we lie in fifth place and are still in with a shout for Europe. Apart from the top two, no-one is consistent but DM will need to do better than of late. A great start torn apart by rank bad management will not be easily forgotten or forgiven.

Reading the various posts on numerous threads, it is abundantly clear that ToffeeWebbers everywhere are delighted with our position but are demanding changes. Team selection, altering things early if it's not going well, remove the old favourites if they are out of form and getting 100% effort throughout... Oh yes... and not picking Naismith.

Watched a good movie last night. "The Adventures of a Plumber's Mate". I kid you not... Every bloke in it had a Leighton Baines haircut.

Christine Foster
897 Posted 15/01/2013 at 07:39:07
Harold, Adventures of a Plumbers Mate? I am assuming they all had the right tools to do the job?
Seriously the point of my Brickies and Plumbers analogy was that when you build a house OR a team, you have specialists or the final build will be poor overall at best, crap at worst.

A strikers role is primarily to score goals, live in the box, so to speak, certainly be available to be on the end of anything that should come his way. Not waiting at the corner flag for the midfield to catch up...

A defenders role is to shepard him away from where he can do the most damage, in the box. My point is that Moyes should be telling him to stay in the box, not the channels, thats the wide mens roles, btw did you ever see any striker playing on the same wing when Donovan was playing? No, you didn't, you didn't have to. He knew his job, up and down and could deliver into the box with a vengence, consistantly.

So, we are masking the shortcomings elsewhere in the team by asking strikers to cover more area than any other players on the pitch AND be on the end of every cross and be sharp enough to stick it in the net every time.. come on guys, give me a break, thats comic book hero stuff, Roy of the Rovers.. damm THATS the coaches manual Davey is using.. wow.

Ian Allaker
899 Posted 15/01/2013 at 08:09:59
Si, Jelly does or at least did have the ability to run around like Rush and score because he is doing the same this season as he did last except missing chances that would have gone in last season, such as the 2 great chances against Chelsea and the one at the end against Swansea. Just because he is mis fireing people are searching too deeply to find the the answer and over complicating matters. These things happen to strikers. Only the very top strikers worth big money are able maintain a very high standard the rest will have a good season and a not so good season no matter whether DM is manager or not, some examples off the top of my head include: Torres, Cisse, Beattie, Chicharito, Berbatov Darren Bent, the list goes on.

The fact is Jelly overachieved slightly last season and yes there are other factors including a bit of luck perhaps a lack of confidence and perhaps Fellaini playing in place of Cahill, but I doubt it has any thing to do with Moyes because like I said, I read before the FA cup game Moyes saying that Victor keeps drifting out wide even though he is not being told to do so. Moyes might be a lot of things but I would never call him a liar. So maybe Jelly is doing the same.

Also why is it ok when Rooney runs all day for Man Utd and hardly gets in the box, should SAF be blamed as well?

Peter Warrington
908 Posted 15/01/2013 at 09:08:33
One of his misses against Chelsea, it missed his leading foot altogether. I think it's a confidence thing. like putting, or batting.

He's out of form; it will come back... but he deserves to be dropped because bad form should be punished and good form rewarded. Give Vellios at least 30 mins against Soton and let Vellios start at home the next week.

Harold Matthews
937 Posted 15/01/2013 at 08:17:09
Christine... Nice response. I'll keep away from the other stuff or they'll all be at it again.

With regard to the specialist issue. Believe me, I know exactly what you're getting at. When Alan Shearer drifted to the wing in his England days, I would scream blue murder. He was a penalty-box specialist and though he couldn't park inside the area for 90 minutes, I wanted him on the end of every cross.

The Donovan thing is a good one. Being very right-sided, Jelavic would love him. So would all the other right-footed players. The way it is now, with everything coming from the left, we either get a bunch of southpaws into the box or we find someone like Valencia or Donovan.

Incidentally... I hate to say it but your striking duo scenario was played out fairly well by those two unspeakables in the second half at Old Trafford. Great result though.

Christine, What gives you the idea that Dogged David actually studies a coaching manual? He wouldn't know a 4-4-2 from a 4-3-2-1... and where does Naismith the Nonentity figure? A decoy perhaps.

Finally... Your observation "shortcomings elsewhere in the team" is spot on. Even more so when you include the coaching staff. For me, the shortcomings are not the actual players... Okay, several are injured but the remainder are a fine skilled group of quality professionals who deserve to be coached and used in a proper manner. This, I believe, is just not happening. The inability to put the ball in the net on Saturday and the daft early goal at Newcastle... Yes — where was the Stubbs, Weir, Moyes coaching manual when that went in?!!

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